Now for the explanation of this ingenious illusion. The secret of it is that you have a second basin, with a pudding in it, concealed in the palm of your right hand. At the critical moment, when the handkerchief flares up, you take advantage of the excitement produced to substitute the one basin for the other. The watch from which you extract the works is not the borrowed one, but one which you have had concealed between the third and fourth fingers of the left hand. You show the empty case of this watch to the company, before wrapping the watch in the handkerchief and handing it back to its owner. Meanwhile with the aid of a little wax you have attached an invisible hair to the handkerchief, the other end of it being fastened to the palm of your left hand. With a little practice it is not difficult to withdraw the handkerchief, by a series of trifling jerks, from, the pocket of your fellow-guest to its resting place between the first and second finger of your left hand.
One word more. I am afraid that the borrowed handkerchief to which you applied the match really did get burnt, and you will probably have to offer the owner one of your own instead. That is the only weak spot in one of the most baffling tricks ever practised by the amateur prestidigitator (to use the word for the last time). It will make a fitting climax to your evening’s entertainment—an entertainment which will ensure you another warm invitation next year when the “festive season” (copyright) comes upon us once again.
VII. AND OTHERS
MY FILM SCENARIO
[Specially written for Economic Pictures, Limited, whose Manager has had the good fortune to pick up for a mere song (or, to be more accurate, for a few notes) several thousand miles of discarded cinema films from a bankrupt company. The films comprise the well-known “Baresark Basil, the Pride of the Ranch” (two miles long), “The Foiler Foiled” (one mile, three furlongs, two rods, poles or perches), “The Blood-stained Vest” (fragment—eighteen inches), “A Maniac’s Revenge” (5,000 feet), “The Life of the Common Mosquito” (six legs), and so forth.]
Twenty-five years before our film opens, Andrew Bellingham, a young man just about to enter his father’s business, was spending a holiday in a little fishing village in Cornwall. The daughter of the sheep-farmer with whom he lodged was a girl of singular beauty, and Andrew’s youthful blood was quickly stirred to admiration. Carried away by his passion for her, he—