THE usual plan is to arrange the whole pack in the order suggested by the following jingle, viz.:
"Eight Kings threatened to save Ninety-five Queens from one sick Knave."
Thus indicating the order of the thirteen values, as Eight, King, Three, Ten, Two, Seven, Nine, Five,
Queen, Four, Ace, Six, Jack. The suits are taken in a regular order, say, Diamonds, Clubs, Hearts,
Spades. To arrange the deck, lay the Eight of Diamonds face up on the table, then place the King of Clubs face up on that, then the Three of Hearts on that, then Ten of Spades, Two of Diamonds, Seven of Clubs, Nine of Hearts, Five of Spades, Queen of Diamonds, and so on, continuing until the fifty-two cards are laid out, the last card being the Jack of Spades.
Any arrangement is as good as another so long as the values do not run in their regular order, i. e., one, two, three, four, five, etc., and though the above arrangement is well known it does not matter in the least when performing. Only those who are well versed in card tricks would recognize the order. and such persons cannot be deceived with any kind of arrangement. The tax on the memory is very slight, there being but thirteen names to commit, and conning them over for half an hour or so should impress their order on the mind permanently. The deck so arranged makes every thirteenth card the same value, and of the next suit in the order of suits; every fourth card the same suit, and every second card the other suit of the same color.
Cutting does not disturb the order and the top card is always next in the regular order to the bottom, and the performer, secretly noting the bottom card, has the key to the situation. We shall describe several very startling effects that may be caused by the employment of the prearranged deck in the hands of a really clever operator.
Of course, the prearrangement must be carefully concealed. The performer first blind shuffles, then requests some spectator to cut. Then spreading the cards fawns with both hands, requests the spectator to select any number of the cards, and permits him to do so but from only one position in the fan. withdrawing the deck immediately as the cards are drawn, so as to prevent any attempt to select from different positions.
The performer now separates his hands and the deck, at the point where the cards were drawn, and the right hand carelessly places the cards which were above those drawn, under the left-hand portion. He now secretly notes the bottom card, barely sighting the index at the base of the left thumb, then raises the inner corner of the top card slightly with the left thumb, getting a glimpse of its index. There is little or no fear of this action being noticed, as the company is not yet informed of the nature of the trick, and the principal attention is taken by the cards selected.
The performer may now finish the trick in any manner. He has learned the number of cards drawn, and what cards they are, by naming over mentally in the prearranged order, beginning from the bottom card that he has noted, the cards that should be between it and the top card, which he has also noted. He may first pretend to determine the number drawn by weighing those that are left, and then take back the selected cards one at a time, boldly proclaiming that though the difference in the weight of each card is infinitely little, still there is a difference; and delicately ascertaining its suit and value by this means as he holds it poised in the right hand. Or he may assume the power of mind-reading, determining first the color then the suit, then the value of each card. Or he may terminate the trick by simply naming the cards in their order. There are a hundred and one variations, and in carrying them out the performer must see that the arranged order is not disturbed, so that he may continue his experiments with the deck. There is no reason that he should not look at the cards when they are returned, but they are rarely changed from the order drawn.
The performer may now request the company to call for any particular card, and he can locate it almost instantly from his knowledge of the bottom card, and he makes the two-handed shift, bringing it into view. He may hold the deck face up in the left hand, and slightly spring the outer corners under cover of the right hand, glancing at the index; or hold it face down and spring the inner corners. In either event he has only thirteen cards to run through before finding one of the same value as that called for, and if the suit is not the same it instantly tells him that it must be the thirteenth, or twenty-sixth card from the one found.
The performer may, of course, name every card in the deck, taking them off one at a time and calling the value and suit before he throws it face up on the table; but rather than make the trick so long, and such a constant repetition, it is preferable to name half a dozen or so, then execute a blind shuffle, have the deck cut again, and begin once more. By assuming to determine the value and suit by the sense of smell, or any chicanery, is more misleading, and has a better effect.
But the most remarkable feats that may be accomplished with the prearranged deck; have yet to be described. The performer executes a blind shuffle thoroughly, requests a spectator to cut, and lays the deck; face down on the table. Now some member of the company is requested to give any number between one and fifty-two, and the performer immediately names the card that will be found at that number. When this has been verified, and the shuffle and cut are again made, the performer lays the deck on the table and this time desires the company to give the name of any card in the pack. The performer at once calls the number at which it will be found, and proves his accuracy by slowly and openly counting the cards until it is reached. Of course, in each instance the performer has noted the bottom card after the cut was made, and before he placed the deck on the table. We have formulated the following rules for determining the card that will be found at the number given, and for ascertaining the number at which any particular card called for will be located.
To determine the card that is at any particular number, its suit is first determined. Divide the number by four, and if there is no remainder the suit is the same as the bottom card. If the remainder is one, the suit is the next in the order of suits. If the remainder is two, the suit is the second in the order of suits, or the other suit of the same color. If the remainder is three, the suit is the third in the order of suits, or the preceding suit, always calculating from the suit of the bottom card.
Now having ascertained the suit of the card at the number given, we proceed to learn its value. First divide the number by thirteen. If there is no remainder, the value is the same as the bottom card; but this is very improbable. If there is a remainder, name over mentally in the arranged order, as many cards as the remainder, beginning with the top card (which is next in order to the bottom), and the last card mentally named will denote the value of the card at the number given. Then the value and suit, or the name of the card at the number, is proclaimed to the company and the prediction verified.
To ascertain the number at which any particular card called for will be found, we first determine where the first card of that value is, and the suit of that first card. To find the number at which this first card of like value is located, mentally name over the arranged order, starting with the top card (which is next in order to the bottom) until the card of like value is reached. Of course, the number will be less than thirteen. Then find the suit of this card by dividing its number by four, as explained in the first rule. Now if the suit chances to be the suit of the card called for, the task is completed, but the odds are three to one against it. If the required suit is the next in the order of suits, add thirteen to the first number. If the suit required is the second in the order, add twenty-six to the first number; and if the suit of the card called for is the third in the order of suits, or the preceding suit, add thirty-nine to the first number, and in each instance it will be the number at which the card called for will be found.
We shall first give an example of determining the card that will be found at any particular number. Assume that the company gives the number thirty-five, and the bottom card is the King of Spades. Following the rule, we divide the number thirty-five by four, and get a remainder of three. This gives us the suit as the third in order from the bottom suit, or the preceding suit which is Hearts. Now to determine the value of the thirty-fifth card. The rule is "divide the number by thirteen," and this gives us a remainder of nine. Now we mentally name our nine cards in their order, from the King at the bottom: "Three, Ten, Two, Seven, Nine, Four, Queen, Four, Ace." The Ace being the ninth card determines the value. Hence the thirty-fifth card is the Ace of Hearts.
Dividing any number under fifty-two by thirteen is very simple; remembering that it goes evenly into thirteen, twenty-six, and thirty-nine, the remainder can be instantly calculated. When mentally running over the order, the values only are rehearsed, thereby taking half the time that would be required to rehearse both value and suit of each card. The suit having been obtained by the first division by four, only the value remains to be determined. A clever performer can name the card almost instantly.
As an example of determining the number at which any particular card will be found, we shall assume the company calls for the Ten of Diamonds, and the bottom card is the Six of Clubs. The rule is to "first, determine where the first card of the same value is, and the suit of that card." We mentally rehearse the order from the Six at the bottom until we reach the first Ten, viz.: "Jack, Eight, King, Three, Ten," finding the first Ten is the fifth card. Now to learn its suit, we divide by four, getting the remainder of one. This gives us the suit as the first in order from the bottom card. As the bottom card is a Club, the Ten located is a Heart. Now, as the card called for is the Ten of Diamonds, and Diamonds is the second suit from Hearts, we apply the rule and add twenty-six to the first number found (five), and get thirty-one, which is the number at which the Ten of Diamonds will be found.
The card conjurer's repertory is never complete without employing the prearranged deck to some extent, and we believe the rules here given for determining the card at any number given, and the number of any card called for, are the first ever formulated for a fifty-two-card deck.