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Two Little Gems
by George Ernest Arrowsmith

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Two Little Gems by George Ernest Arrowsmith

Two surprising card tricks based on a little known principle.

My Lady's Jewels

The performer starts with: "The story goes that a certain queen had some very valuable diamonds, and one day when she opened her jewel casket lo and behold some of them were missing. Summoning the court detective, she commanded him to trace the stolen gems and return them to her, and, being a very able sleuth his quest was soon accomplished. If you will take your own pack of cards and follow my directions, I will show you how he did it."

The cards having been produced (and emphasis is laid upon the fact that it is a borrowed pack so ruling out of account any prearrangement or faking) the lender is told to remove the Queen of Diamonds to represent the royal lady whose treasure was stolen, the Jack of Diamonds, to play the role of court detective, and anyone of the diamond pip cards to act as the stolen property (the denomination of this last card is not revealed to the performer). Now while his back is turned, or, if preferred, while he is out of the room, the diamond pip card (i.e. the missing jewels) is reversed and put back in the pack somewhere towards the middle: the cards are squared up, and then, of course, there is no indication as to its position or its identity, which facts are carefully stressed by the magician before taking the pack into his own hands.

The Jack is placed reversed on top of the pack, and the Queen, also reversed, on the bottom, and the performer points out that there are now three cards facing in the opposite direction to the others - those on top and bottom, and the diamond pip card which is somewhere in the middle, no one knows exactly where this latter card is but the detective will soon find it and restore it to the Queen.

Putting the pack on the table with the Jack uppermost, the assistant is asked to name a number and to cut the cards that number of times. This done he runs through the pack himself and finds that the court detective has succeeded in his task for the three reversed cards are now together, the jewels (i.e. the diamond pip card) being between the Queen and the Jack.


  • A borrowed and entirely unprepared pack is used.
  • There is no secret marking of any card.
  • There is no forcing of any card.
  • There are no difficult sleights (only one easy move).
  • There is no handling of the pack by the performer until after the jewel card has been inserted by the assistant.

The Number and The Card

The following effect will be very baffling. What perplexes is the fact that a borrowed pack of cards is used and, until the last moment, they never leave the hands of the spectator.

"Take your pack and shuffle it yourself", says the mentalist, "then select any card you like and reverse it in the pack somewhere near the middle. Now count down silently to your reversed card and note how far it is from the top. This number (and I think you will admit that it is one that you get by sheer chance) is the one on which I wish you to concentrate and, if your powers of concentration are sufficiently strong, I ought to be able to read your mind and tell you the number you have chosen".

While the volunteer follows these instructions the mentalist has his back turned, or is blindfolded, or is disposed of in such a way that it is obvious that he can do no underhand business with the cards which, up to this point he has not even touched. The above manoeuvres having been completed, the pack is placed in his hands behind his back as he stands facing the audience. "Now", he says, "please think very fixedly of your number". There is a pause of intense concentration and then the performer slowly and impressively brings one card forward from behind his back and, holding it face towards himself, announces, "The number you have in mind is so-and-so I am sure I am right because this is the card you reversed and I found it at that number from the top". The card is turned around and, sure enough, it is the very one that was selected.

Unlike many tricks this one can be immediately repeated and it becomes more bewildering every time. And the secret is, oh, so simple.

PDF 7 pages.
word count: 1085 which is equivalent to 4 standard pages of text