"clean conveyance" and "cups and balls" -- not in OED

Mullins, Bill CIV (US) william.d.mullins18.civ at MAIL.MIL
Fri Dec 27 19:32:08 UTC 2013

 Clean Conveyance

 James Heath, _Flagellum, or, The Life and death, birth and burial of O.
 Cromwell . . ._ London: Randall Taylor, 1669.

 p. 46 "One thing primarily requisite, was the assistance of some
 confident Privado, and to this purpose he had before pitch'd upon Col.
 Ireton, a man of most profound and deep dissimulation, and of a most
 clean conveyance of any mischievous design, one very well learned, but
 who had converted it (as Toads do the best nutriment unto the most
 exquisite poison) to barbarous and most Horrid Artifices of Impiety and
 Treason . . ."

 John Gay's "Fable 42:  The Jugglers" (1727) contains the lines:

 "Twelve bottles rang'd upon the board,
 All full, with heady liquor stor'd,
 By clean conveyance disappear,
 And now two bloody swords are there."

 William Warburton, _Remarks on Several Occasional Reflections . . ._
 (London:  John and Paul Knapton, 1744) p. 124

 "But the Man's a Bungler; and neither understands clean Conveyance, nor
 has Assurance enough to outface the Fraud."

 _Aris's Birmingham Gazette_, May 1749: 'At the Black Boy, in Edgbaston
 street, this and every Evening during his stay in Town, Mr. Yeates from
 London will perform his inimitable Dexterity of Hands: Who, for his
 Cards, and the clean conveyance of his Outlandish Birds, that Talk very
 agreeably at the Word of command, together with his sudden and
 surprising production of an Apple-Tree, which he causes to Grow,
 Blossom, and bear Ripe Fruit fit for any Person to Eat of it in less
 than Three Minutes' Time: and several other surprising Tricks, is
 allowed, by the curious, to excel all other Performers."

 [Quoted in _Abracadabra_ 5 Apr 1975 p 264-265]

 [in the anonymous commentary on Shakespeare's King Lear, from a 1765

ance%22 ]

 "To convey is rather to carry through than to introduce; in this place
 it is to manage artfully; we say of a juggler, that he has a clean

 Cups and Balls

 The trick is quite old.  Seneca described it in Epistle 43 (ca. 65 AD).
 It is depicted in the painting "The Conjurer" by Hieronymus Bosch, ca.
 1502.  The trick is described, but named "Of the Play of the Balls", in
 _Hocus Pocus Junior_ (1634)

 Francis Rabelais, _The works of Mr. Francis Rabelais, doctor in
physick, vol 1_ 1653

 [from a later undated edition:

ls%22 ]

 "After that they had given thanks, he set himself to sing vocally, and
 play upon harmonious instruments, or otherwayes passed his time at some
 pretty sports, made with cards or dice, or in practicing the feats of
 Legerdermain, with cups and balls."

> ________________________________
> From: American Dialect Society on behalf of Joel S. Berson
> Sent: Wed 12/25/2013 5:15 PM
> Subject: "clean conveyance" and "cups and balls" -- not in OED
> ---------------------- Information from the mail header
> --------
> Sender:       American Dialect Society <ADS-L at LISTSERV.UGA.EDU>
> Poster:       "Joel S. Berson" <Berson at ATT.NET>
> Subject:      "clean conveyance" and "cups and balls" -- not in OED
> --------
> 1772 Oct. 19, Pennsylvania Packet, 4/3.  EAN.
> "Mr. Saunders ... is allowed to be the most astonishing [sic]
> proficient in the art of clean conveyance, that ever attempted an
> exhibition of its kind, without descending to the low tricks of cups
> and balls, ribbons, &c."
> (1)  "Clean conveyance" does not appear in any quotations.  For a
> definition, I'm told to see Philip Butterworth, _Magic on the Early
> English Stage_ (Cambridge Univ. Press, 2005), chap. 3.
> (2)  The term "cups and balls", referring to the conjurer's
> (sharper's) equipment, is not in the OED.  The earliest quotation is
> 1733, under "virtuoso" sense 2.a, and the next (of a total of 4
> this sense) is 1819.
> Joel
> ------------------------------------------------------------
> The American Dialect Society - http://www.americandialect.org
> <http://www.americandialect.org/>

The American Dialect Society - http://www.americandialect.org

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