The Lucky Ring

PETER WARLOCK

TO THE Percy Naldrett " Collected Series " I

made some three contributions. Two of these,

"The Willow Pattern" and the "Hatpin" have well proved worthy of improving with the advantage of experience. The third item was called the " Silver Shoe " and a recent glance at this teenage effort convinced me that it was also worthy of revival even though the earlier method could well stand improvement.

The plot which is simple goes like this : —

A silver painted horseshoe is shown and also a length of pale blue ribbon. Next a wedding ring is borrowed and dropped into a glass. Asking two members of his audience to assist him, the length of ribbon is threaded through the two topmost holes in the horseshoe and each assistant is given one end to hold. Over the shoe, which hangs from the centre of the ribbon, an opaque handkerchief is placed. Now taking the ring from the glass the performer wraps it in a piece of paper. The latter is flashed off and no trace of the ring is left. Removing the handkerchief from the horseshoe the missing ring is found safely threaded upon the ribbon between the two holes of the horseshoe.

The requirements are few.

1. The horseshoe of course needs contracting and a glance at the accompanying illustrations will help the reader in this very simple task. This illustration shows that the shoe is made from two pieces of plywood measuring approximately 3 /16" in thickness. One piece is cut out to the shape of a horseshoe, the necessary seven holes being made in the appropriate places. The other is a duplicate, apart from the fact that the top hole should be circular and measure one inch in diameter. The two pieces of wood are glued together and when dry and sandpapered are given a coat of silver paint.

SECTION OP SECOND PIECE OP WOOD SHOWING ROUND INSTEAD OP RECTANGULAR HOLE.

2. A length of quarter inch light blue satin ribbon, seven feet in length.

3. An opaque handkerchief.

4. A good quality bottomless glass tumbler.

5. A sheet of flashpaper.

6. A cigarette lighter.

7. A duplicate plain wedding ring.

As a note before dealing with the preparation side it should be mentioned that the horseshoe can be made up from pieces of thick cardboard, a form of manufacture that may appeal to those who are not woodworkers.

Preparation. This amounts to very little. The opaque handkerchief and glass are set on the table adjacent to the horseshoe which should have the side with the faked hole nearest to the table top. The lighter is placed in the right hand trousers or jacket pocket whilst the piece of flash-paper cut to a size for the usual fold vanish is folded and placed inside the left hand waistcoat pocket together with the duplicate ring. The length of ribbon is draped across the table. The table should be to the left of two chairs which are placed about nine feet apart.

Asking for the loan of a wedding ring the performer takes the bottomless glass with his left hand. The bottom is cupped by the fingers but care should be taken that the holding of the glass does not look unnatural. It will be found that the second, third and fourth fingers will comfortably cover the opening whilst the thumb and first finger encircle the base of the glass. The ring being forthcoming, the performer takes it with the fingertips of his right hand which is clearly shown to be empty. The ring is then lowered to a position about two inches above the lip of the tumbler and then dropped so that it strikes the inside of the glass near the bottom. The ring of course then falls into the waiting fingers of the left hand. The illusion is perfect if the ring is dropped as stated. The conjurer moves back to his platform and the left hand moves the glass backwards and forwards allowing the ring to rattle against the sides of the glass. This piece of byplay over, the right hand comes across and takes the glass which is placed upon the table, the left hand falling to the side with the ring fingerpalmed.

The horseshoe is now taken by the right hand and shown on both sides, care being taken to cover the faked hole. With the faked hole side nearest to his body the conjurer passes the horseshoe across to the left hand. It is passed in such a way that the faked hole goes over the ring. Let me make this clear. The end of the horseshoe with the faked hole goes over the base of the fingers of the left hand which should be held horizontal with the ground at elbow height. The recess in the horseshoe allows a quick positioning of the ring without any attendant fumbling.

When the ring is positioned inside the hole it will be found that by inclining the shoe so that the top part is nearest to the audience, the ring will stay quite safely inside the hole. Actually, however, there is little call for doing such a thing and for safety's sake, I suggest that a slight left hand finger pressure be exerted against the edge of the ring. The right hand has a reason for passing the shoe to the left, for as the left hand takes it the right, now free takes one end of the ribbon and lifts it from the table. The assistance of two members of the audience is now requested and on arriving on the platform they are seated right and left in front of the performer.

The conjurer now threads the ribbon through the two top holes of the horseshoe, and then holding the ribbon on each side about a foot from the shoe, (the tautness of the ribbon caused by the weight of the shoe making this a safe procedure) he approaches the assistant on the left requesting him to take the end of the ribbon on that side with his right hand. This done he moves across and requests the right hand assistant to hold the right hand end with his left hand. The ribbon at this point should be fairly well stretched and almost horizontal. The positioning of the hands of the assistants with the ribbons makes certain that under normal conditions there is no possibility of their seeing the back of the horseshoe.

Taking the handkerchief from his pocket, the conjurer shows it on both sides and then drapes it over the shoe. " Perhaps," he says to the assistants, " it would be better were you to stand and give the audience a better view of the trick." As he says this he still retains his hold on the handkerchief. Gripping the ribbons at about an inch from the shoe (as shown in Figure 2) with his third and fourth fingers, the thumb

CHCWIKG HOW HANDKERCHIEF & SHOE ARE HELD SO THAT SUFFICIENT SLACK IS OBTAINED TO RELEASE RING FROM SEMIFIXED POSITION.

and the first finger of each hand grip the ends of the shoe. As the two spectators rise, the ribbon held by the performer is allowed to slacken and the top of the shoe is tilted towards him so that the ring falls out of the hole and takes up a position on the ribbon midway between the holes. The movement is simple and unnoticeable and by the time the assistants have risen to full height and once again pulled the ribbon taut the main part of the trick is complete.

The conjurer's left hand then goes to his waistcoat pocket taking both the ring and the flashpaper, the former being brought into a fingerpalm position on the way out. The performer should stand well to the left of the assistants at this stage. The flashpaper is passed to the right hand and the left goes to the table and takes the bottomless glass in just such a way that it took it at the beginning of the trick. The glass is moved backwards and forwards so that the duplicate ring rattles and then the glass is turned over and the ring allowed to drop through from the palm on to the flashpaper. The glass is then replaced upon the flashpaper. The glass is then replaced upon the table whilst both hands assist in parcelling the ring in the paper using the standard fold so that it will slide out when required. The right hand holds the packet at the open end and the ring is banged against some hard object. After this the ring is allowed to slide into the curled right fingers as the packet is passed to the left hand, which holds it at the fingertips. The right hand with the duplicate finger palmed goes to the pocket for the lighter, ditching the ring in transit. A flick on the lighter, a flash of the paper and then with the removal of the handkerchief from the shoe and ribbon the conjurer is safely in port.

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