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The Glass Box and Ball.

The next trick presented to us is usually the glass box and woollen ball. The performer takes a very badly constructed glass box through which one can see in any direction. He covers this with a handkerchief and places it on the ground. Having played his “bean” for some moments he takes up the box. There is a loud click, and snatching away the handkerchief the Jadoo-wallah shows the box filled with a variegated cloth ball. He opens the lid, takes the ball out, and after casually showing it to the audience thrusts it into his bag. He is inordinately proud of this effort, as he assures one that it is from “Bilayat” (England), a slander that is at once discountenanced by a glimpse at the box, obviously made by the most indifferent “teen banane wallah” (tinsmith) that ever had the impertinence to undertake to make anything.

The construction of the box is shewn in the diagram below. Its sides are of glass but the top and bottom are of tin. Before presenting the trick a cloth ball, made of a spiral spring covered with cloth, (triangular pieces of different colours sewn together), is compressed and placed between the bottom of the box and a glass flap which is pressed down over it until caught by a pin at the back of the box. When the ball is to appear, this pin is pressed and the catch releases the glass flap. The spring in the ball forces it up against one of the sides while the ball fills the box and holds the flap up.

It is a most futile trick with little effect and usually uncommonly badly shewn. But the man of mystery himself is delighted with it and thinks it is the best trick in his repertoire.

The Bunder Boat.

Our next trick so called because the toy boat used is intended to be a miniature of the harbour or “bander” boat used in Bombay is a trick which depends entirely on natural principles, and only needs a careful eye to time its required patter. It is a trick that is more commonly shewn in the Bombay districts than elsewhere, though there is no reason why it should not have travelled throughout India since its invention countless years ago.

which the water pours into the boat while the bottom of the mast is free of the water in the boat.

Cocoa-nut shell full of water

Hollow mast

Hole through which the water leaks. This leakage is not observed owing to the careless(!) spilling of the water referred to in the text.]

A piece of wood cut into the shape of a boat is placed on the ground, and a mast about 12 inches high is fixed into its one and only seat by being firmly pressed into the hole cut through the seat. To the top of the mast is affixed a cocoa-nut shell which has a small hole cut into it about one third of the way up. Prior to the fixing of the mast and the shell, the boat and the shell are filled with water. The bottom of the mast which is hollowed down its centre just touches the top of the water in the boat. While filling the articles with water the performer carelessly very carelessly spills some on the ground all round the boat. He then blows his “bean.” After a short interval he orders water to pour out of the hole in the shell. It does so until he tells it to stop. He again blows his “bean.” Again he orders the water to pour out of the shell. Again it pours out until told to stop. And so on until the shell is quite empty and the trick is at an end.

Wonderful isn’t it? Marvellous! Mahatmaism!

Now let us have the explanation.

The cocoa-nut shell is full of water. It has only one outlet, the small hole in its side. This is so small that the air cannot get in to let the water out. The only way the air can get in is up the hollowed mast, the bottom of which is immersed in the water in the boat. There is a small hole in the bottom of the boat through which the water in it leaks away. This lowers the water until it has cleared from the bottom of the mast through which a puff of air goes up into the shell, allowing some of the water in the shell to pour out into the water in the boat. Now the water from the shell pours out in greater volume into the boat than the water that is leaking out of the boat. This fills it up again until the bottom of the mast is again immersed, stopping any air going up into the shell and the water stops pouring out of it.

The performer drones away on his musical instrument until he sees that the water level in the boat is just about to clear the bottom of the mast. He then orders the water to come out of the shell. He watches until the newly added water to that in the boat is about to cover the bottom of the mast again, and then gives that wonderful and much used order “Bus” that, possibly, many of my readers may use from time to time after the sun has set. The water stops pouring out of the mast.

Wonderful isn’t it? Mahatma. Ghandi ki Jai!