T came first into the Kingdome by certain ?gyptians, that were transported hither, who growing to numerous multitudes, dispersed themselues thorow most parts of the Kingdome: who being most expert in this art, and in Palmestrie, cousened the people in all parts wheresoeuer they came. Now diuers vagrant English joyning with them in time learnt both their language and cousening delusions, whereby at length they were discovered, and thereupon the next ensuing Parliament, there was a statute enacted: that whosoeuer should transport an Egyptian, should have a Fine imposed upon him; Moreouer, that whosoever should assume unto themselves the names of ?gyptians, it should be imputed unto them as fellonie, in so high a degree, that they might not haue their Booke granted unto them, which statute was put in execution, and since that time our Kingdome hath beene well disburdened of those ?gyptian Iuglers.The Definition of the Art of Legerdemain, with its principall parts.
LEgerdemaine is an operation, whereby one may seeme to worke wonderfull, impossible, and incredible things by agility, nimblenesse, and slightnesse of hand. The parts of this Art are principally two. The first is in the conveyance of Balls, Cards, Dice, Money, &c. The second is in Confederacie.The end of the Art of Legerdemaine.
THe end of this Art is either good or bad, accordingly as it is used: Good, and lawfull when it is used at Festivals, and merry meetings to procure mirth: especially if it be done without desire of estimation above what we are. Bad, and altogether unlawfull when it is used on purpose, to cozen, deceive, or for vaine glory to esteemed above what is meet and honest.The Definition, or description of the Operator.
FIrst, hee must be one of an impudent and audacious spirit, so that hee may set a good face upon the matter.
Secondly, he must have a nimble and cleanly conveance.
Thirdly, he must have strange termes, and emphaticall words, to grace and adorne his actions, and the more to astonish the beholders.
Fourthly, and lastly, such gesture of body as may leade away the spectators eyes from a strict and diligent beholding his manner of conveyance.Of the Play of the Balls.
THe Operator thus qualified must have his Implements of purpose to play withall: and first he must have three Cups, made of brasse, or Crooked lane plate:
These Cups must be all of one sise, and the bottome of each of them must bee set a little within the cup; marke the following figure, for thereby they are truely represented, both in forme and bignesse: it is noted with the letter B. Also he must have foure Bals, made of Corke about the bignesse of small Nutmegs. First, he must practise to hold these Cork balls, two or three of them at once in one hand. The best place, and the readiest to hold one ball is betweene the ball of the thumbe, and the palme of the hand; but if you hold more than one at one time, betweene your fingers towards the bottoms. The place to hold a great ball is betweene your two middle fingers....