Charles Dickens loved magic tricks. he loved them This should not come as a surprise to anyone acquainted with his showmanship tendencies, but in December 1842, at the age of 30, he was already highly regarded as a novelist for his fifth degree. When he was gaining, he decided that he wanted to spend his spare time cultivating his interest in Leisure de Mann. life. In her 1885, fifteen years after Dickens’ death, Dickens’ daughter Mamie said that when she was growing up, her father “frequented magical pastimes by dressing up as a wizard”. I’m talking about
The young Dickens made his debut on New Year’s Eve at a party thrown by his friend John Forster. They “purchased between” [them] From the Hamleys Toy Store in London, with the intention of putting on a spectacular magic show for his friends, all stocks of the conjuror’s trade”. Dickens was dizzy. Before arriving at Forster’s, he wrote to his friend his CC Felton: [sic] I will never forget it as long as I live in my room where there is no one I respect.
But this was a gentle launch for his new act. His real debut came a week later, on January 6. It was the feast of Epiphany and also the birthday of his eldest son Charlie, who was six years old. and his surprise act of magic was the centerpiece of the party. I chose an assistant named Stanfield.
A few weeks later, the wife of an acquaintance promised Dickens that she would put on a magic show for her own children in February, so the show seemed to be a huge success. Only a few weeks after Charlie’s birthday party, Dickens had revamped his act for this new audience. rice field.
Eleven months later, he had his biggest engagement to date. On December 26, 1843, he was invited by the famous actor William his Macready’s daughter, Nina, to perform his show Magic at her Macready’s birthday party. Both his friends Forster and Stanfield joined in the act, this time surprising the audience with the caliber of his tricks.
That night he turned “a box of bran…into a living guinea pig” (controversially when he jumped off stage and ran around the audience’s feet). he “[produced] A pocket handkerchief from a wine bottle” and “hot plum pudding from an empty pot set over a blazing fire, without damaging the lining, set the Stanfield hat on fire.”
Jane Carlyle, wife of the famous theologian and philosopher Thomas Carlyle, subsequently wrote to a friend praising Shaw. drunk with their efforts!Just think of that wonderful Dickens performance. magician a full hour— number one The magician I’ve ever seen—(and I paid to see some).She recounts his tricks of making plum-his pudding in a Stanfield hat and his tricks of turning a woman’s pocket his handkerchief into confit and a box full of bran into a box full of live guinea pigs. One trick allows him to live a handsome life [and] Take control of your bookstore business! ”
Dickens remained in the book business, but he was still increasing his act. party to procure elaborate costumes for him and Stanfield to wear during their performance.
But no performance was more sensational than the magical act he performed in the summer of 1849 at his family’s summer cottage at Bonchurch on the Isle of Wight. For his friends and family, as well as an audience of “all the children of Bonchurch”, he appeared in the character of “the peerless necromancer Leah Lama Loos”. [sic] In the Orange Grove of Salamanca and the sea caves of Alum Bay.”
Most information about this performance would have been lost had Forster, who wrote his huge biography (after Dickens’ death), not transcribe the program from this event. Many of the program’s tricks — programs that Dickens “created himself, of course” — had been previously displayed in Dickens’ other demonstrations. But many seem new. The program looks like this:
Leaping Card Wonder.
If two cards are drawn from the pack by two people in the company and placed in the Necromancer’s box with the pack, they will pop out at the command of a woman over eight or over eighty.
***This marvel is the result of nine years of isolation in a Russian mine.
Wonders of the Pyramids.
A shilling lent to a necromancer by a gentleman over 12 months old or over 100 years old A shilling, carefully marked by the gentleman, vanishes from the brass box with the word of order and passes. At the necromancer’s direction, it passes through the hearts of countless boxes, then forms a pyramid and sinks into a small mahogany box.
***5,000 guineas were paid to acquire this wonder, to a Chinese official who died of grief shortly after relinquishing the secret.
Any card drawn from the pack by any woman, not under the direct and affirmative promise of marriage, is immediately named by the necromancer, destroyed by fire, and regenerated from its own ashes.
***Because of this marvelous secret, a pension of £1,000 was offered to the Necromancer by the Director of the Sun Fire Office, but was refused!!!
The wonder of a loaf of bread.
Imprisoned in a sturdy box by a necromancer, a truly attractive lady clock, regardless of age, single or married, jumps out of that box at the word of command into the center of a regular half-quarter bread. , you will hear a cry of surprise from miles away.
***Ten years on the Tartari plains were spent researching this wonder.
The wonder of the traveling doll.
The traveling doll is made entirely of solid wood, but by wearing the simplest travel clothes, it becomes invisible, travels tremendously in 30 minutes, and becomes visible in an expedition that is invisible. Things change into invisible things. its conversion.
***A necromancer’s attendant usually faints upon seeing this wonder and is only revived by administering a dose of brandy and water.
The Pudding Wonder.
The company agreed to lend the Necromancer a gentleman’s hat whose head had reached a mature size, the Necromancer’s Hat. Boil it on top, make it in two minutes, bring it to perfection, cut it up and distribute it in portions to the whole company, then for their consumption, and there; returned the hat to its rightful owner.
***The extreme generosity of this marvel aroused the jealousy of the benevolent Austrian government, and when exhibited in Milan, the necromancer had his honor seized and was imprisoned in that city’s fortress for five years.
Afterwards, Dickens’ magical performances seem to have been few, but he continued to be interested in the subject. He kept in touch with famous and eminent magicians and participated in many of his magic shows well into the 1850s. Forster notes in his biography that Dickens, despite being a master of fame, sought to satisfy himself as an assistant to a French magician. yet,
“…the Frenchman disregards help, stands in his company with no tools, and by mere sleight of hand and astonishing memory has achieved feats such as no Dickens had ever seen, and he has accomplished a feat that is completely inexplicable to the “most careful reflection.” “As far as I can tell, he’s a utterly original genius, completely rebelling against all sorts of Legedeman knowledge, such as I thought he had.” We were only dealing with two exploits. He will also say of this Frenchman that he turned the cards into something very demonic. I’ve never seen anyone change them with such an impossible skill.
Perhaps this intimidation is why Dickens seems to have given up public magic shortly thereafter. By all accounts, however, he is, in Forster’s words, a “Capital Summoner”, which is too commonly unknown.
This post is a largely abbreviated version of the first chapter of my doctoral dissertation.
All quotes included are taken from:
Dickens, Charles. British Academy/Pilgrim Edition of Charles Dickens Letters. roll. 3: 1842–1843Ed. Madeline House, Graham Story, Kathleen Mary Tillotson. Oxford: Oxford UP, 1974. Oxford Scholarly Editions Online
Dickens, Charles. British Academy/Pilgrim Edition of Charles Dickens Letters. roll. Four: 1844–1846Ed. Madeline House, Graham Story, Kathleen Mary Tillotson. Oxford: Oxford UP, 1978. Oxford Scholarly Editions Online.
Forster, John. The Life of Charles Dickens,roll. 1. Boston: James R. Osgood & Company, 1875.