THE PUBLISHERS PRINTING CO.
By HARRY HOUDINI
Entered at Stationer’s Hall, London, England
All rights reserved
Composition, Electrotyping and Printing by
The Publishers Printing Company
New York, N.Y., U.S.A.
This Book is affectionately dedicated to the memory of
Rev. M. S. Weiss, Ph.D., LL.D.,
who instilled in me love of study and patience in research
||Significant Events in the Life of Robert-Houdin,
||The Orange-tree Trick,
||The Writing and Drawing Figure,
||The Pastry Cook of the Palais Royal,
||The Obedient Cards—The Cabalistic Clock—The Trapeze Automaton,
||The Inexhaustible Bottle,
||The Suspension Trick,
||The Disappearing Handkerchief,
||Robert-Houdin’s Ignorance of Magic as Betrayed by His Own Pen,
||The Narrowness of Robert-Houdin’s Memoirs,"
THIS book is the natural result of the moulding, dominating influence which the spirit and writings of Robert-Houdin have exerted over my professional career. My interest in conjuring and magic and my enthusiasm for Robert-Houdin came into existence simultaneously. From the moment that I began to study the art, he became my guide and hero. I accepted his writings as my text-book and my gospel. What Blackstone is to the struggling lawyer, Hardee’s “Tactics” to the would-be officer, or Bismarck’s life and writings to the coming statesman, Robert-Houdin’s books were to me.
To my unsophisticated mind, his “Memoirs” gave to the profession a dignity worth attaining at the cost of earnest, life-long effort. When it became necessary for me to take a stage-name, and a fellow-player, possessing a veneer of culture, told me that if I would add the letter “i” to Houdin’s name, it would mean, in the French language, “like Houdin,” I adopted the suggestion with enthusiasm. I asked nothing more of life than to become in my profession “like Robert-Houdin.”
By this time I had re-read his works until I could recite passage after passage from memory. Then, when Fate turned kind and the golden pathway of success led me into broader avenues of work, I determined that my first tour abroad should be dedicated to adding new laurels to the fame of Robert-Houdin. By