Magic Trick: Sugar

Take four well-shaped pieces, of a medium size, and place them before you on a table, at which you will sit at your ease, in the form of a square, and about a foot from each other. Hatch up a long rigmarole about one piece being the Emperor of Japan, another his wife, another his daughter, and another his prime minister, or any other rubbish you please, so long as you bring it about that it is necessary that all four should assemble together in one place. In the country of which you are speaking, you will explain, it is the custom of Royalty to travel by telegraph, and invisible to the gaze of the "common herd." To illustrate how it is done, you will cover two of the four pieces, each with a separate hand, and, at the word "pass," make a slight movement as if throwing a piece from one hand to the other. On raising the hands, two pieces will be found under one, and none under the other. Repeat this operation (the minority always going over to the majority) until all four pieces are collected under one hand. The explanation of this really pretty, and, to the uninitiated, inexplicable trick, is, that you have a fifth piece of sugar palmed. If this piece be released, and that under the other hand palmed, the effect is the same as if an invisible journey had really been made. Supposing the five pieces of sugar to be represented by numerals, the various changes may be thus tabulated:

 Left Hand. Right Hand. 1.—Raise 1 and Drop 5 with 2. 2.—Drop 1 with 5 and 2 and Raise 3. 3.—Raise 4 and Drop 3 with 1, 5, and 2. 4.—Raise both hands and pocket 4.

The rough and adhesive nature of sugar renders it very easy to palm. In palming, avoid all contraction of the muscles of the back of the hand, which is visible to the audience, or a clue to the solution of the trick will be given. If going out to a place where you are likely to be asked to exhibit your skill, be provided with a piece of sugar, and then ask for the requisite four pieces. If you are unprovided, then you must secure possession of the sugar basin, and secrete the extra piece as best you can. The extreme simplicity of this trick is only equalled by the astonishment of the audience, who are straining their eyes to catch a glimpse of the piece of sugar as it passes. I need hardly remark that they never succeed.