Magic Trick: Coin Trick 12

The trick I am now going to describe, as a drawing-room experiment with coins, surpasses, for simplicity and effect, all others. But its simplicity must not lead the learner to attempt it without having attained some proficiency in the foregoing tricks, for considerable neatness is required to execute it effectively. Procure a piece of glass of the size and thickness of a penny, and have the edges ground smooth, but not polished. This is best obtained from a lapidary—not an optician. Have it palmed in either hand (Palm No. 1). Borrow a penny, and, whilst it is being marked, ask one of the audience to half fill a wineglass, which has been well examined, with water. Always let the audience attend to such matters as these, as it tends to disarm suspicion, and also saves you trouble. You will, of course, not omit to make the most of there being no possible deception in the glass, which you will give a lady to hold by the stem or foot. Now borrow a white handkerchief, as coarse as you can procure it (do not ask for a coarse handkerchief, for that would be impolite, but say you want a gentleman's handkerchief, and then you can select which you prefer), and, taking the marked coin in the same hand as that in which the glass is palmed, spread the handkerchief over it. Approach the lady holding the wineglass, and affect to take up the coin, with the handkerchief, from the outside, by means of the disengaged hand, but in reality take up the glass, palming the coin (Palm No. 1). Now spread the handkerchief over the wineglass, with the supposed coin exactly above the latter, and within an inch of its rim. Let the holder of the wineglass grasp the coin (i.e., the counterfeit presentment thereof) with the thumb and forefinger of the disengaged hand, and keep it in the same position, with the understanding that at the word "three" it is to be allowed to fall into the glass (see Fig. 13). Take great care that the piece of glass is held exactly over the wineglass, and utter the word of command only when there is a dead silence. The jingling of the falling glass will, of course, be assumed by the audience to be that of the penny. You will now express your intention of invisibly extracting the coin from the glass. Use any cabalistic form you may choose, and, with a flourish of the wand from the wineglass towards your hand, exhibit the coin, and give it to be examined. Let the lady withdraw the handkerchief from the wineglass, which at once seize and show rapidly round. The glass at the bottom will not be perceived, and you must take an early opportunity of extracting it. Some tricks "take" in various degrees at different times, but this one never fails to throw the audience into a state of bewilderment. Alway obtain possession of the wineglass as soon as you can after the completion of the trick, for people will sometimes feel to the bottom of it with their fingers, although without the faintest notion of what they are looking for. When you bewilder people, you must not be surprised if they do inexplicable things, and must prepare yourself for all emergencies.

Fig. 13.

My reason for directing the performer to borrow a penny for this trick is that it has, similarly with the circle of glass, no milled edge, and is of the size most convenient for the occasion. In extreme cases an eyeglass may be used, when, if it has a milled edge, as most of them have, it would be as well to borrow a florin; but in such instances there must be no dallying in showing the glass round after the trick, or the ribbed edge will infallibly be seen. I remember finding myself, on one occasion, without my piece of glass, and borrowed an eyeglass of one of the audience, under the pretext that the silken cord by which it was suspended was the very thing I required for a trick. I did some trivial thing with the cord, but forgot to return the glass for an hour or so, having in the interim forced it out of its frame (it was mounted in tortoiseshell), performed the trick, and replaced it. I knew that I should have to perform this particular trick, or have my reputation tarnished, so made a bold stroke for victory. Now I am never without the glass, and advise my readers to observe the same precaution. A port wine glass is the best to use, the piece of glass being liable to stick in the comparatively narrow sherry glass. Always give the wineglass to a lady to hold: ladies are less liable to attempt to conduct experiments after their own manner, or to make premature disclosures, either of which proceedings is embarrassing to the performer. The conjuring repositories supply a champagne tumbler, with a glass exactly the size of the interior of the bottom. This is an undoubted improvement, as the water may be poured out, if an examination be demanded, when the glass will still adhere to bottom of the tumbler, although the latter be turned upside down. This trick, when "worked" in conjunction with the nest of boxes, previously mentioned, makes an excellent combination. The nest can be used for any sized coin by the simple expedient of removing the very smallest boxes.

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