The performer spreads a newspaper on a table, so that there may be no suspicion of a trap or opening of any sort, and on it sets a glass of wine. Over this, for a moment, he throws a borrowed handkerchief. Then, picking up the covered glass, he exclaims in the language of Horace: "Nunc est bibendum," and, snatching away the handkerchief, shows a glass of water, which he drinks.
Inside the glass, and dividing it like a partition, is a piece of transparent celluloid stained of a wine color; to this is attached a piece of fine silk thread, which hangs over the side of the glass. On the free end of the thread is fastened a small black button, which enables the performer to get hold of the thread easily and to pull out the celluloid partition when removing the handkerchief.
The drinking of the water is to do away with the idea, that some of the audience may have, of any chemical preparation.