The Night Circus

by Erin Morgenstern

Start Free Trial

Part 2, Chapter 20 Summary

Download PDF PDF Page Citation Cite Share Link Share

A few months after Tara’s funeral, the circus sets up in London. Celia takes advantage of being in this location to attend one of Chandresh Lefevre’s midnight dinners. After eating and taking part in the conversations that linger well into the early morning, all the guests leave except Celia. Marco asks Celia to stay to have a drink. She accepts his invitation. This is the first time they have had an opportunity to talk with one another about their personal lives.

Celia tells Marco about her mother, who often cried over her father’s many long absences. Marco tells her that he never knew either of his parents. As she watches Marco, she notes that there is something artificial about his face. His countenance is handsome, but it does not appear natural. When she comments on this, Marco’s appearance changes. His face softens. The color of his eyes becomes less intense. Celia feels more comfortable around him. Then she remembers having seen his natural face before when he attended one of her performances. When she tells him this, she adds that she remembers the way he looked at her, as if he were either afraid of her or wanted to kiss her. Marco responds that he definitely was not afraid of her.

Then Marco picks up a deck of cards and manipulates them, changing a king of spades into the king of hearts. Celia accepts the challenge and makes the king of hearts stand up on edge and then tear itself in half. Celia gestures and the card repairs itself and then turns into the queen of diamonds.

Marco asks what else she can do, so Celia takes a decorative dagger that had been hanging on the wall and stabs her hand, then she repairs the wound. Marco says that he is glad they were not challenged to a physical fight because he is certain he would lose.

As Marco takes Celia on a tour of Chandresh’s house, he and she relax in one another’s company. At one point, while he offers his hand so Celia can stand up from sitting on the floor, there is an exchange of energy that startles both of them. Later, as they are saying good-bye, Marco again takes Celia’s hand. The energy between them is still there, but this time they both enjoy it and do not want to let each other go. Marco tells Celia how much he enjoys watching her perform in public. In contrast, his is not allowed to acknowledge any of his magical acts. Celia tells Marco that she is impressed at how well he disguises his true power. Then she warns him that she will be watching him more closely now that she is aware he is her challenger.

See eNotes Ad-Free

Start your 48-hour free trial to get access to more than 30,000 additional guides and more than 350,000 Homework Help questions answered by our experts.

Get 48 Hours Free Access
Previous

Part 2, Chapters 18-19 Summary

Next

Part 3, Chapters 1-2 Summary