Magic Trick: How to Make and Cook a Pudding in a Hat

Procure a large size gallipot with nice thin sides. Have a tin lining made to fit the inside of this, and divide the lining into two portions by means of a horizontal division across the middle. The inside of a gallipot being somewhat narrower at the bottom than it is at the top, the lining will be taper, and consequently one partition will be larger than the other. Into the larger partition put a plum pudding, or cake, hot, and stand it on the shelf, without the gallipot. Borrow a hat, and, whilst busy about putting some paper at the bottom of it, and explaining that it is to prevent its being spoilt, take an opportunity of slipping the tin containing the pudding into it. Now take some flour, eggs, plums, sugar, and water, and mix them all up in the gallipot, to the accompaniment of some facetious remarks about your being a first-rate cook. Next pour the paste from the gallipot into the empty division of the tin, and, putting the pot momentarily into the hat, press it down well over the tin. which it will bring away, leaving the pudding alone behind. Now hold the hat over a spirit lamp (a candle would spoil the hat), and profess to be cooking the contents, which presently take out close to the audience and distribute. Some conjurors make omelettes and pancakes, which certainly make a good show, and are suggestive of being cooked on the crown of a hat. Some address is required in executing this trick, especially in getting the tin into and out of the hat. The knack of putting things into hats from the shelf neatly is one of the most difficult things to acquire, and the performer must never be nervous at the moment, or he will be certain to allow himself to be discovered. Sometimes the egg is first broken into the hat (i.e., the tin), and the flour and water afterwards mixed up in the gallipot. The effect of the contents of an egg dropping into a hat is certainly good.

An amusing interlude, when borrowing a hat, is to apparently push the forefinger through the crown and then restore the hole supposed to be made by the act. This deception is managed by having a cast of a human forefinger made in either wax, guttapercha, or plaster, and provided with a pointed wire at the thick end. This finger is concealed in the right hand, and the left hand put inside the hat. The right hand is then brought on the outside of the crown, and with the remark, "I fancy you have a hole in your hat, sir," an apparent effort is made, and a finger shown protruding through the crown. All that is done is to pass through the wire, which is held on the inside by the left hand. After making a few sharp movements simulating a finger in the act of being shaken, bring the right hand on to the crown again, and make as though considerable exertion were required in order to get the finger back again. The dummy is, of course, merely secured in the right hand, and the hat immediately shown ostentatiously round, so as to keep attention away from the right hand. The imitation finger must naturally be coloured to resemble the performer's flesh. The trick must not last long—a quarter of a minute is ample. If the finger remains through the hat for any length of time the audience will soon realise what the nature of the deception is. It should appear as if the finger had been just pushed through, shaken derisively, and then withdrawn.

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