[Illustration: “Putting his ’and to Bill’s mug, he took out a live frog.”]
“It must ha’ been asleep in the mug,” he ses.
Bill said that ’e thought ‘e knew who must ha’ been asleep, and was just going to take a drink, when the conjurer asked ’im to excuse ’im agin. Bill put down the mug in a ’urry, and the conjurer put his ’and to the mug and took out a dead mouse. It would ha’ been a ’ard thing to say which was the most upset, Bill Chambers or Smith, the landlord, and Bill, who was in a terrible state, asked why it was everything seemed to get into his mug.
“P’r’aps you’re fond o’ dumb animals, sir,” ses the conjurer. “Do you ’appen to notice your coat-pocket is all of a wriggle?”
He put his ’and to Bill’s pocket and took out a little green snake; then he put his ’and to Bill’s trouser-pocket and took out a frog, while pore Bill’s eyes looked as if they was corning out o’ their sockets.
“Keep still,” ses the conjurer; “there’s a lot more to come yet.”
Bill Chambers gave a ’owl that was dreadful to listen to, and then ’e pushed the conjurer away and started undressing ’imself as fast as he could move ‘is fingers. I believe he’d ha’ taken off ’is shirt if it ’ad ’ad pockets in it, and then ’e stuck ’is feet close together and ’e kept jumping into the air, and coming down on to ’is own clothes in his hobnailed boots.
“He ain’t fond o’ dumb animals, then,” ses the conjurer. Then he put his ’and on his ’art and bowed.
“Gentlemen all,” he ses. “’Aving given you this specimen of wot I can do, I beg to give notice that with the landlord’s kind permission I shall give my celebrated conjuring entertainment in the tap-room this evening at seven o’clock; ad—mission, three-pence each.”
They didn’t understand ’im at fust, but at last they see wot ’e meant, and arter explaining to Bill, who was still giving little jumps, they led ’im up into a corner and coaxed ’im into dressing ’imself agin. He wanted to fight the conjurer, but ’e was that tired ’e could scarcely stand, and by-and-by Smith, who ’ad said ’e wouldn’t ’ave anything to do with it, gave way and said he’d risk it.
The tap-room was crowded that night, but we all ’ad to pay threepence each—coining money, I call it. Some o’ the things wot he done was very clever, but a’most from the fust start-off there was unpleasantness. When he asked somebody to lend ’im a pocket-’andkercher to turn into a white rabbit, Henery Walker rushed up and lent ’im ’is, but instead of a white rabbit it turned into a black one with two white spots on it, and arter Henery Walker ’ad sat for some time puzzling over it ’e got up and went off ’ome without saying good-night to a soul.
Then the conjurer borrowed Sam Jones’s hat, and arter looking into it for some time ’e was that surprised and astonished that Sam Jones lost ’is temper and asked ’im whether he ’adn’t seen a hat afore.