Monday, 19 March 2012

THE OLD APPLE-WOMAN (Boys Own, 1879)


A capital trick for budding ventriloquists is “The Talking Hand” and when neatly performed it is very amusing. Having first provided yourself with a mitten purposely made, with a hole in the centre, and a frill round it thus:

  And painted the side of your hand to represent Biddy the apple-woman’s face, so:

You are ready to make a nice little speech, and introduce “Biddy” to your expectant audience in the back parlour.

Indian ink will give her eyes as black as Susan’s, and a little red paint, judiciously applied to the top of the thumb and that part of the hand immediately above it, will materially assist the illusion by giving her a mouth.

 The above is a picture of Biddy with her new cap on. Her nose must be indicated by black lines, and a slight redness at the uptilted end may not be considered out of character. The chin, you observe, is painted on the thumb.

Now stitch a skirt to the lower part of the mitten, and throw a shawl round her head, and you have the old apple-woman to the life.

You must arrange a little dialogue between Biddy and yourself, keeping the imaginations of the spectators in full play, so as to draw attention from your lips and muscles, which you must nevertheless keep in as much rest as possible. Let Biddy’s sentences be short and emphatic, and in a tone as unlike your natural voice as you can assume. As Biddy speaks you must move your thumb up and down, which motion can be so made as to give the idea of the lips moving.  [See the articles on “Ventriloquism” in our last volume, and also page 80 of this.]

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