The Night Circus

by Erin Morgenstern

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Part 2, Chapters 6-8 Summary

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In 1889 France, Friedrick Thiessen is on holiday. Thiessen has never seen his large, animated circus clock on display. While talking to a local resident, Thiessen discovers that the circus is in town. So after dinner, Thiessen walks to the borders of the village, where he sees the black and white circus tents. Once inside the gates, Thiessen is pleased to find his clock in a prominent position and looking no worse for wear, although it is exposed to the elements. He inquires about the person who is in charge of the circus and is given the name and address of Chandresh Lefevre.

After enjoying several of the attractions, Thiessen walks by his clock once more, reflecting on how well the clock fits the circus. Once home, Thiessen writes a letter to Lefevre. He asks for the circus itinerary, hoping the attraction will one day come to his home country, Germany. He receives a response from Marco, who thanks Thiessen for his compliments about the circus. But Marco includes no itinerary.

In Cairo in 1890, the red-headed twins who were born on the first night the circus opened are now seven years old. They are allowed to roam freely around the circus but only with a chaperone. On this particular night, Celia acts as their guardian. As they walk, Poppet suddenly exclaims that she does not want the nice lady to die. Celia has noted that the twins have special powers, but on this night she finally realizes they are able to see things other people do not see. When Celia asks Poppet about whom she is talking, Poppet can only tell her that she does not know because they look so much alike. It is apparent that Poppet has envisioned one of the Burgess sisters, either Tara or Laine. The woman in her vision is being placed in the ground, as in a funeral. When Celia calms Poppet, she asks the young girl how she sees her visions. Poppet tells her she sees them in the stars. Poppet tells Celia that Widget, her brother, also sees visions. Widget sees things when he looks at people. He can tell where they have been and certain events that have occurred in their lives. When Widget starts to read images on Celia, Celia is able to make the visions go away. When Widget protests, Celia tells him that there are some things she does not want him to see about her. Celia realizes how powerful Poppet and Widget might become, and she decides to tutor them. She will teach them the things she knows but they must keep everything a secret.

In 1891 when the circus is in Paris, Marco pays an unexpected visit. He enters the fortuneteller’s tent and surprises Isobel. Marco has just learned about a new exhibit. It is called the Wishing Tree, and Marco senses that the magical wishes that have been ascribed to the tree have everything to do with Celia. The Wishing Tree marks an advance by Celia in the challenge.

When Isobel asks Marco to better explain the challenge to her, Marco tries to find a metaphor that would explain the situation. He draws her attention to an image of a woman holding scales in her hand. One side of the scales is his, Marco says. The other belongs to Celia. The object of the challenge is to tip the scales in the favor of one or the other illusionist. Isobel wants to know how long the challenge will go on and whether the scales might break if they continue to load the them. Marco can answer neither of her questions.

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