Come forward with package of cardboards. It is well to have a spectator come up to assist you.
"There are some things in Magic which are as mysterious to me as they are to my audiences from the standpoint of scientific analysis And this is one. There was an Old English merchant once who used to keep track of his financial department in an odd way. In a most mysterious manner he could tell just how his business was prospering day by day, even when he was away on a long journey. This was his method. He used to carry with him two pieces of cardboard tied up with baby blue (or pink) ribbon with a pretty bow on them, such as I have here."
To assistant, handing him pencil:
"Please take this pencil. And now I want you to know that these pieces of cardboard are really just pieces of cardboard with a side on each side. I shall ask you to mark all four sides, one at a time. Mark this one here in the lower right-hand corner with the number 1."
Hold slate in front of assistant as shown in Figure 30 and have him mark Number 1 in the lower right-hand corner of this card — the one with the numbers concealed under the ribbon.
"I shall turn the cards over and have you mark this side Number 2."
Turn the cards over so that bow of ribbon is on top, and have assistant mark the number 2 in the lower right-hand corner, Figure 31.
"That's two sides."
Unfasten the ribbon and remove. Audience sees all of this card B, and it is blank. Take upper card B and place it under Card A with the number 2 still facing upward. This brings the numbered side of card A, which was marked Number 1, between the two cards.
"Now mark the Number 3 on this side in a similar manner."
Spectator marks top card Number 3.
Square cards up and turn both over together so that assistant may mark fourth side, Figures 32 and 33.
"And finally, mark this remaining side with the Figure 4. Now you have plainly marked all four of the sides, sir."
Move the upper card to the right about an inch and a half to show the Numbers 4 and 1 to audience. Then turn cards over and show the Numbers 3 and 2.
"I shall again tie up the cards with the ribbon, and then ask you, sir, to act as guardian over them." Tie the ribbon around the cards again, making a bow on the side marked 4, Figure 34. Give cards to assistant.
Take the prepared pad and hold numbered side against palm of left hand. Hold pencil in right, Figure 35.
"On this small pad of paper I want several people to write numbers of three digits, such as 689 or 405 — any number you choose. Write your numbers under each other so that we can add them later. I shall ask five people to write any numbers that come into their heads so that you may be convinced that the numbers are absolutely written of free choice by the spectators. Will you, sir, write your number of three digits?"
Hold pad in palm of your left hand while assistant writes his number. Go to four more people and have them write a three-digit number each.
In some cases you may hand pad to spectator as he writes number, but be sure he holds numbered side down on knee or hand. A GOOD MAGICIAN USES JUDGMENT. If he sees any movement to turn pad, he quickly puts his thumb on top and fingers under it, apparently to steady it.
Take pad after five spectators have written numbers and go some distance away to a spectator who does not know what numbers have been written. Have pad in left hand and drop it to side.
"Who is a good mathematician for adding purposes in this assembly?"
As you say this, turn pad over so that faked numbers are uppermost and spectators' numbers are against palm of left hand. This is very easy to do without being noticed.
Tear off upper sheet of pad with faked numbers.
"Ah, here is a person who looks like a likely mathematical expert. Would you mind just adding these numbers together?"
Draw a line under the figures.
Give pencil and this sheet of paper to spectator. Place pad in pocket.
"Just take care that the total is correct, as it is a matter of grave responsibility."
Say this in a joking way to give a touch of humor to the situation.
"You have added the numbers, sir? Thank you. Now the secret of the English merchant's ability to keep track of his daily business finances every day and to see how much business he did even while he was on a journey was accomplished through the power of the magical cards which the gentleman there holds."
Motion to assistant holding the cardboards tied together.
"All the merchant did was to take these two blank cardboards which the gentleman examined and marked — tied them together — and left the rest to their mysterious power. Let the numbers which the various people wrote represent the five sales of the day."
To spectator holding paper with list of numbers.
"What was the day's business? How much money did we take in?"
Spectator who added numbers' reads sum.
"Two thousand, two hundred, and eighty-five dollars. Not bad for a day, is it? Of course, that is just one of our light days."
Take paper with figures from spectator so that he will have no evidence left with which to check up later the numbers which other spectators actually wrote.
To spectator holding cards:
"Will you please untie the cards, sir, and look on the inside?"
Assistant unties the cards, separates them, and looks on the inside.
"A number has mysteriously appeared cm one of the blank cardboards. Two thousand, two hundred, and eighty-five -- the exact numbers that the sum of the five figures totaled."
Take cards from assistant and show card A with the number on it so that all can see it plainly, Figure 36.
"So here was the merchant's secret. His answer was recorded daily on the cards. And now that the business men here have seen this remarkable system, I know that their business methods will be completely revolutionized."
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