our miscellaneous programme. In the " Jinx," under the title of the " Jest of Gratoulet," we described one version, a version that from certain points of view has advantages over the method to be described. However, from experience in working both methods we prefer the one to be described.
Three silks of contrasting colours are taken one at a time by the conjurer and tied together. Supposing that the colours are sepia, orange and tan, the orange silk should be tied between the other two. The silks are then rolled into a ball, care being taken that the audience see that the hands are otherwise empty. An elastic band is now placed around the ball and the latter is dropped into a brandy glass; in order that nothing can touch the silks from below or above a small table mat is rested on the rim of the glass, whilst another is placed under the foot. A long strip of black paper is taken; it is shown on both sides and then folded widthwise and then lengthwise. It is momentarily placed inside a glass whilst the conjurer takes a box of matches and with his right hand fingers removes one match which he strikes. The box is placed on the table by the left hand which then takes the tissue by the folded end. The match is applied to the other end, after which it is extinguished and dropped. Suddenly there is a flash and instead of a piece of burning paper the conjurer is seen to be holding an orange silk. Draping this latter on his table he goes to the glass containing the rolled bundle. The topmost mat is removed and then the silks. Removing the elastic band and at the same time taking care that the audience can see that his hands are otherwise empty, the bundle is unrolled to reveal the orange silk missing whilst in its place, completely restored, is the piece of tissue paper !
Six 18in. silks, say two sepia, two orange, two tan. A box of safety matches. A little preparation is involved here (some may think it f /kl r~£2//sc/ th/p ur&y ^
unnecessary but I found that it helped considerably in smoothing what I considered a rough spot). The drawer is removed and it is shortened to two-thirds of its length. The matches which are then to be used for the purpose of filling it are also shortened.
Some black flash paper.
Some black tissue paper.
One brandy, or large-bellied wineglass.
Two elastic bands.
Two round wooden table mats.
A chair servante. The one that I used was simply made of silk on a wire frame. Its only purpose is to act as a bag and its presence is easily covered by having a silk hanging over the back of the chair.
The tissue paper is first taken and cut so that the conjurer has some pieces measuring 30in. by 3in. At about two inches from each end a round hole fin. in diameter is cut. The ends of the paper are now rolled inwards until the nearest edge of the hole is reached. One end of the sepia silk is pushed through the hole and a knot tied. In a similar manner the tan silk is attached to the other end of the tissue. Starting with the tan silk, silks and tissues are rolled into a ball care being taken that no portion of the tissue is exposed. When the rolling is completed an elastic band is placed round the ball. A piece of black flashpaper is now cut, size 8in. by 3in., and to each end of this, with the aid of a little seccotine or rubber cement, is attached a length of tissue measuring 11 in. by 3in. The conjurer thus has a composite strip measuring 30in.
One of the orange silks now comes in for a little preparation; to one corner is sewn a small bead. The silk is now placed flat on the table, bead corner to the left of conjurer. The corner nearest to the conjurer and its diagonal opposite are now rolled in towards the centre of the silk until a rope of silk about l^in. in width is obtained (to stop the silk moving about it is best to have some heavy object handy). The bead end is now taken about 2in. inwards and then upwards (see illustration) and the length of silk rolled into a ball. The ultimate effect being that the end to which the bead is attached will protrude. The balled silk is now wedged into that part of the matchbox left vacant because of the shortened length of the drawer.
When all these preparations are made, the conjurer places the cigarette box on the table so that the hinge part of the lid lies parallel and nearer to the audience. Inside the box is first placed the matchbox complete with wedged silk. The box should be in such a position that the end containing silk is furthest from audience. The piece of tissue-cum-flashpaper is then folded and placed on top of the matchbox and the lid of the cigarette box closed. The ball of silk is placed behind the cigarette box and the two mats placed on top in such a position that in picking them up the silk bundle can easily be clipped against and lifted with them. The chair with the servante is left of the table and on its seat is placed the brandy glass. On the table beside the cigarette box is placed the other glass and some elastic bands. The three silks are placed over the chair back. Thus set the conjurer is ready for the Presentation.
The silks are taken from the chair one at a time and knotted together by their corners. Carefully they are rolled into a ball. At this point the conjurer should be standing midway between the table and chair. When the rolling procedure is complete, the bundle is held by the left hand whilst the right goes to the table and removes an elastic band which is adjusted around the ball of silk. Taking the latter with his left hand the conjurer turns quarter right, the right hand taking the mats" thumb on top, fingers underneath, the second and third clipping the silk bundle. In lifting the mats care is taken that they hang from the fingers so that the bundle has plenty of cover. The conjurer changes his position naturally from quarter right to half left (he is going to place the silk bundle in his left hand in the glass on the chair seat, don't forget !) As he reaches, or almost reaches the half-left position the left hand approaches the mats. It apparently passes the silk bundle that is holding under the mats and into the right hand and at the same time takes the mats. What actually happens is that the right hand releases its hold on the mats and leaves the duplicate bundle of silks exposed whilst the left hand takes the mats still retaining the original hall of silks underneath. The whole thing is most natural and the follow through takes the right hand down towards the glass whilst the left hand rests in a most natural way (as the silks are dropped by the right hand) on the back of the chair. The silk bundle at this stage is released and it finds its resting place in the servante. The right hand comes up and the left hand moves slightly forward. One mat is taken and placed on top of the glass. The right hand now iifts the glass by the stem and the left hand places the mat it has been holding underneath.
The conjurer now goes to the table and lifting the lid of the cigarette box, he leaves the former erect and removes the length of black tissue. This is carefully shown and folded first in half widthwise and then in half lengthwise. After which it is stood inside the glass beside the box. The right hand now goes into the box for the matches and in taking the latter by the rolled silk end twists the ball of silk from the opening so that by the time the matchbox is in view of the audience the ball of silk can be held by the pressure of .the third and fourth fingers against the palm, the matchbox being held at the cavity end by the tips of the second finger and thumb. The whole business is almost instantaneous and is far superior to the ordinary method of using a matchbox for a silk production. The matchbox is now taken by the left hand and the first finger of the right hand pushes the drawer out and removes a match. (Care, of course, must be taken regarding angles for at this stage a sight of the concealed silk in the right hand would be fatal). The match is struck and the left hand places the box down and removes the tissue from the glass. It is held at the flash paper end, the open end, i.e., non-folded end, being ignited with the flaming match in the right. This done the match is extinguished with a nail snap and dropped on to the table. The paper burning the conjurer moves nearer to his audience and indicating the silks in the glass passes the burning paper to his right hand so that his left can be free. (If the tissue is well folded and it is held in a vertical position the burning should be comparitively slow. If the performer finds that his movements have to be unduly hurried in order to effect the change-over from one hand to another, I suggest that the paper be folded lengthwise again). The flame reaches the flash-paper . . there is complete disintegration and at the same time holding the bead in the corner of the orange silk between thumb and second finger the remainder of the silk is allowed to drop. The effect to the audience is that of an instantaneous change. The effect is nearly finished. The orange silk is draped on the table and it only remains for the conjurer to remove the top mat, take the bundle of silk out of the glass, remove the elastic band and show that the tissue, like the proverbial Phoenix, has arisen once more !
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