The Practical Magician and Ventriloquist’s Guide (1876)


The Practical Magician and Ventriloquist’s Guide, a Practical Manual of Fireside Magic and Conjuring Illusions, also Containing Complete Instructions for Acquiring & Practising the Art of Ventriloquism; 1876; Hurst & Co., New York
Ex. 1. The Suffocated Victim – This was a favorite illustration of Mr. Love, the polyphonist. A large box or close cupboard is used indiscriminately, as it may be handy. The student will rap or kick the box apparently by accident. The voice will then utter a hoarse and subdued groan, apparently from the box or closet.

Student (pointing to the box with an air of astonishment) : “What is that ?
Voice: I won’t do so any more. I am nearly dead.
Student: Who are you ? How came you there ?
Voice: I only wanted to see what was going on. Let me out, do.
Student: But I don’t know who you are.
Voice: Oh yes, you do.
Student: Who are you ?
Voice: Your old schoolfellow, Tom. You know me.
Student: Why, he’s in Canada.
Voice (sharply): No he aint, he’s here; but be quick.
Student (opening the lid): Perhaps he’s come by the underground railroad ? Hallo !
Voice (not so muffled as described in direction): Now then, give us a hand.
Student (closing the lid or door sharply): No, I won’t.
Voice (as before): Have pity (Tom, or Jack, or Mr_____, as the case may be), or I shall be choked.
Student: I don’t believe you are what you say.
Voice : Why don’t you let me out and see before I am dead ?
Student {opening and shutting the lid or door and varying the voice accordingly): Dead ! not you. When did you leave Canada?
Voice: Last week. Oh ? I am choking.
Student : Shall I let him out ? {opening the door). There’s no one here.



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