Magic Trick: A Novel Welsh "Rabbit"

Employ a tinman to make a saucepan of tin, the dimensions of which should be 7in. or 8in. in depth, and about 5½in. in diameter at the widest part, which will be the top, from whence it should taper slightly to the bottom. To this have fitted an outer casing (A, Fig. 57), also of tin, that is 2in. less in height than the saucepan itself. At the line where the upper rim of the casing comes when the saucepan is fitted into it, have a beading (B, Fig. 57), either put on or hammered out of the metal. This will effectually conceal the fact that any outer casing exists, which will be regarded as the body of the saucepan. Into the saucepan fits loosely a secret pan, about 1½in. only in depth, and into this again fits a lid, which is ostensibly the lid of the saucepan. The saucepan is provided with a handle, which must, of course, come from that part which is above the outer casing. The saucepan is prepared by having a rabbit placed in it, and the false pan put in, the lid lying loosely on the top. Holding it with one hand, and sustaining the casing, in which is a piece of cotton or cambric, by means of the pressure of one or more fingers, it is brought on, and going with it towards the audience, care being taken to hold it high, a hat is borrowed. Observe, on receiving the hat, that you intend making a stove of it, and then borrow a small handkerchief, which, you will explain, when you have obtained possession of it, you purpose using as fuel. As if indicating the meaning of your words, put the saucepan into the hat, and, on withdrawing it, leave the outer casing behind. Place the hat upon the table, with the saucepan beside it, and then, removing the lid, break an egg or two into the secret pan—apparently into the saucepan itself. Put in any ingredients you please, not omitting candle drippings, and then place the lid firmly on. Place the borrowed handkerchief into the hat, between its side and the tin lining within it. Pour some spirits of wine upon the piece of linen or cambric, and then set fire to it. Of course the audience, on seeing the flames, will suppose that the borrowed handkerchief is being burnt inside the hat, and mingled amusement and consternation will be exhibited. Do not allow the burning to last long, or the tin casing will become undesirably heated; but put the saucepan quickly into the hat, after affecting to cook the contents, and perform the double operation of putting out the flames and bringing away the casing. If the casing be too hot, the action of the heat upon the fingers will speedily make the fact known, so any further directions upon this point will be unnecessary. Remove the lid, which, if it fits as tightly as it should into the false pan, will bring that away as well, and then take out the rabbit. Return the hat, previously taking out the handkerchief, and point out that neither are injured; and also show that the interior of the saucepan is quite guiltless of any contents. If such a combination of apparent impossibilities as are presented in this trick do not astonish, then nothing ever will. It is a great trick for large mixed audiences. Doves or guinea pigs can be used as successfully as rabbits. I have even seen a kitten employed, but the difficulty was to get it into the saucepan.

Fig. 57.

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