Magic Trick: The Ubiquitous Glass of Water: First Method

Procure two small tumblers, exactly similar in size, shape, and appearance. Fill one with water, cover it with a tight-fitting india-rubber cover, and place it in the breast pocket or inside the vest. These little covers are easily procurable, as they are universally sold as covers for jam-pots. They cost about sixpence each. Have a small double handkerchief or cloth, containing a circular piece of card, the size of the mouth of the tumbler, with a few stitches through it to keep it in the centre. Show the empty tumbler, and then fill it with water. Cover it with the handkerchief, and affect to take it up, but place it on the shelf. Advance very carefully with the supposed glass of water, and either stumble on the floor and drop everything, or else pretend to place the glass in someone's hands. If you stumble you must take care to avoid injuring the concealed tumbler. The glass and water vanished, it is now your business to find them again. For this purpose, you call in the aid of a spectator (a youth preferred), whom you request to stoop. Over his back spread the cloth or handkerchief, and, grasping that portion containing the card, raise it gently. Hold it a short time in the air, and then say that you will throw it into someone's pocket, indicating the particular person. Shake out the handkerchief or cloth again and then desire the person indicated to examine his or her pocket. Of course nothing will be found, but you borrow the handkerchief, which will have been taken from the searcher's pocket during the examination, and, waving it about, get the tumbler into it from the pocket, according to the directions given for producing the bowls of water and fish. Remove the cover and produce the glass and water, saying that you knew you had passed them into the indicated pocket. The cover being small, it can be easily removed and the handkerchief returned. It improves the effect a great deal if a small piece of wet sponge can be introduced beneath the cloth whilst the glass, presumably found in the youth's back, is being held, and then squeezed in imitation of the spilling of water from the glass. The sponge can be carried at the mouth of one of the large breast pockets, and, if carefully disposed, need not make the performer uncomfortable by wetting him. I have even seen the sponge attached to the under side of the prepared cloth or handkerchief, which is an excellent plan if the performer is careful not to expose that side, as the sponge is always at hand, and there is no necessity to introduce the hand under the covering, compression from the outside being equally effective in exuding the water.

Some performers think it necessary to go through certain actions for the purpose of convincing the company that the handkerchief does not contain a card or other shape. I must confess that I regard such actions as being decidedly supererogatory, for there is not the least foundation for assuming that the audience suspect the existence of any such thing; and for the performer to do anything indicative of an anticipation on his part that the company are likely to divine what is the true secret of the trick is highly suicidal. However, all are not of my opinion, so, if any beginner thinks he would like to be able to draw the handkerchief through the fingers previous to using, he can easily do so. All he will have to do will be to run a couple of stitches from two adjacent corners to the centre of the handkerchief, and inclose his card in the triangular space thus formed. As it is now loose, when the handkerchief is held by one of the opposite corners, the card falls to the extreme border, and the bulk of the handkerchief may be drawn through the hands. When the handkerchief is held by that side which forms the base of the triangle, the card falls at once into position in the centre. A copper or brass wire ring, being heavier than card, is perhaps more serviceable, as it more readily falls into position.

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