This trick is variously performed, but I shall only give one method, as being the one best within reach of the amateur. It requires the aid of an assistant, who comes forward undisguisedly as such. A large sack is handed round to the company, along with a piece of cord, for examination. As a matter of fact, there is nothing to be discovered in connection with these articles. Into the sack the performer or his assistant steps, and it is tied securely over his head, the cord being finally sealed by one of the company. A screen is placed in front of the individual in the sack, and, in a very short space of time, he comes from behind it with the sack in his hand, and minus a boot. The sack is given to the company for examination, when the mouth is found to be firmly tied and the seal unbroken, whilst the missing boot is clearly inside, it being thereby conclusively demonstrated that it was actually the sack which contained the owner of that piece of wearing apparel. The seal has to be broken before the boot can be recovered.
The explanation is that there are two sacks, the second one being concealed up the back of the person who is tied up. So soon as he is put into the first sack he gets down the concealed one, and pops his boot into it. He then folds the mouth of it neatly, and, as his confrère forms up that of the visible sack for tying, he thrusts it up into his hand. The tyer, holding his hand so as to conceal the fact of there being two mouths, ties up the inside one very securely—a few folds of the cords just nipping the outside sack also, so that the hand holding them may be presently removed without any exposure resulting. The greatest care must, of course, be taken that the sealing is done upon the inside sack only, the tyer superintending this operation very closely. Everything depends upon the neatness with which he performs his part. If it is a clumsy job, the sealing must be dispensed with, or the sealer will notice the presence of two sack mouths. The material of which the sacks are made should, therefore, not be very thick, or the cord will not be able to conceal the outside sack mouth. When the screen is placed in front, the man inside carefully pulls away the outside mouth from under the cord, and he is free. The first sack he merely hangs up behind the screen—which is afterwards folded up and carried away with the sack inside it—and comes forward with sack number two, which he has never been inside, in his hand. It is a good stage trick.