Magic Trick: The Perambulating Walking-Stick

This is a very amusing trick, in which a walking-stick is made to walk across the stage by itself. The invisible agency is again a fine black thread. On a stage provided with "flies," it is managed from above, in which case the only direction required is to affix one end of a thread round the head of a walking-stick, and convey the other end above to an assistant. By means of this thread the walking-stick is made to progress across the stage by means of little jumps. But on the drawing-room stage the matter is not quite so easy. Two threads will be required, and they must lie across the floor when the curtain is drawn. If possible, an assistant at each wing should hold the ends, but when one assistant only can be obtained, he must do the best he can from one side, the ends of the thread on the other being tied to the back of a chair, about the height of a walking-stick from the ground. The walking-stick should be provided with a substantial head, and the performer must hand it round for minute examination. He then takes it back to the stage, and flourishes it vigorously to show there are no threads or wires anywhere about. The instant the flourishing portion of the business is over, the assistants must raise the threads to the proper level, and one of them, by crossing his hands, causes the threads to cross each other at about the middle of the room. The performer then places the stick, with apparent carelessness, upright on the floor, but, as he takes care to place it between the threads just where they are crossed, it does not fall on the one hand being removed from it. The assistant who has crossed his hands now uncrosses them, which action has the effect of holding the stick tolerably firmly between the threads. On receiving commands from the performer the stick is made to dance, fall down and jump up again, and walk either to the right or to the left. If it is to go to the right, the assistant on that side lowers his hands slightly, and the one on the left administers a succession of jerks to the threads, which will cause the stick to progress by means of a series of jumps. These jumps can be made alternately long and short. As a final exhibition of skill, it can be made to turn a complete somersault, by both the assistants swinging their hands round in complete circles. For this it will be necessary to have a good head to the stick. When the performance is finished hand the stick round again for examination. In my opinion the trick shows best in a room, where the audience know there is no means of concealing anyone above.

The Ascent can be performed by means of the same threads. Books, pieces of music, &c., are laid upon the floor, and rise slowly or quickly, and remain suspended in the air, where they can be made to rock about. Of course, they are simply laid upon the threads, the ends of which are then raised evenly and simultaneously. The best ascent is a sudden one, as being the most startling.

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