The Art of Magic (with 68 Illustrations) by Thomas Nelson Downs, John Northern Hilliard
CHAPTER I. Flourishes and Fancy Sleights With Cards
CHAPTER II. Card Tricks With Unprepared Cards and Not Requiring Sleight of Hand
CHAPTER III. Card Tricks Involving Sleight of Hand
CHAPTER IV. Sleight of Hand With Cards, continued
CHAPTER V. Sleight of Hand With Cards (continued)
CHAPTER VI. Card Tricks Based on a New and Original System of Locating a Chosen Card
CHAPTER VII. Clairvoyance With Cards
CHAPTER VIII. A Series Of Card Tricks Based On A New And Original System.
CHAPTER IX. The Rising Cards
CHAPTER X. The Four Ace Trick
CHAPTER XI. Card Tricks with Apparatus and in Combination with Other Objects
CHAPTER XII. Fancy Flourishes with Coins, Useful Sleights, and Additions to The Miser's Dream
CHAPTER XIII. Coin Tricks With and Without Apparatus
CHAPTER XIV. A Coin Act and a Coin Ladder
CHAPTER XV. Tricks of the Trade
CHAPTER XVI. Tricks with Eggs
CHAPTER XVII. Tricks with Balls
CHAPTER XVIII. Miscellaneous Tricks
An excerpt from the beginning of the:
For the purpose of this book it will be convenient to divide magic into three branches: manual dexterity, mental subtleties and the surprising results produced by a judicious and artistic blending of the second and third branches. There are other branches, to be sure; but they are of little interest to modern students of the magic art. A century ago, and, indeed, as late as Robert-Houdin's day, a general knowledge of the physical sciences was considered necessary to the equipment of the conjurer or magician; and the old writers on magic filled their pages with clumsy experiments in chemistry, physics, mechanics and mathematics. In order to be an original conjurer of the first magnitude, said Robert-Houdin, it is necessary to have more than a speaking acquaintance with the sciences, so as to apply their principles to the invention of illusions and stage tricks. Houdin himself utilized chemistry, optics and physics, while many of his greatest and most successful illusions were based on the then little known science of electricity. Things have changed since Houdin's day, however, and the art he practiced has taken many forward strides toward the goal of perfection.
The modern conjurer is little inclined to base his magical effects on the expedients of physical science, but rather places his reliance on neatness of manipulation, on ingenious and interesting patter, and on a dexterity which, in many cases, seems to have been raised to its Nth power. It was the "Father of Modern Conjuring" who laid down this admirable rule: "To succeed as a conjurer, three things are essential: first, dexterity; second, , dexterity; and third, dexterity." Would not Robert-Houdin open his eyes in amazement could he return to earth and remark the advance made in dexterity and manipulation since his day? "I myself practiced palming long and perseveringly," he tells us in his monumental work on conjuring, "and acquired thereat a very considerable degree of skill. I used to be able to palm two five-franc pieces at once, the hand nevertheless remaining as freely open as though it held nothing whatever." He is a very ordinary performer who, in this age, cannot conceal a dozen or fifteen coins in his hand, and pluck them singly from the palm to produce in a fan at the finger tips; and there are several specialists in coin manipulation who experience no difficulty in handling a larger number of coins, thinking nothing, for instance, of concealing from thirty-five to forty coins in the hand; and, what is even more remarkable, executing the pass with this unstable stack as easily and indectably as if they were handling three or four half-dollars.
Magic has undergone many changes in, the last quarter of a century. The devotees of the art have gone from one extreme to the other; from the simplicity of the school of Frickell to the cumbersome stage setting of Anderson, and from Anderson to Frickell again. The last decade was devoted to manipulation and specialization. Kings and emperors and dukes and panjam-drums of cards and coins, monarchs of eggs and handkerchiefs, czars of cabbages and billiard balls sprung up like mushrooms. Magic degenerated into a mere juggling performance. Dexterity was paramount and the psychological side of the art neglected. Mind gave way to matter. The conjurer aimed at novelty rather than entertainment. He "worked in one," to employ the vernacular of the stage, and in most instances gave a silent act. Of course, there were exceptions. A few—a very few—performers presented a really artistic act with cards and coins; but as each clever performer had a host of bungling imitators the profession became overcrowded and vaudeville managers were "not in" when an engagement-seeking magician sent in his card....