The Night Circus

by Erin Morgenstern

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Part 2, Chapters 9-10 Summary

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It is 1891, and the circus has arrived in London. Tsukiko kids Celia that she spends too much time alone; she encourages the younger performer to join her at Lefevre’s home for a midnight dinner. The other guests were not expecting Celia to come, but they are delighted to share her company. Ana Padva, the Burgess sisters, and Mr. Barris are already there. Celia knows all the guests well, but she has not often met with them socially, so she feels a little out of place.

After being in their company for a few hours, Celia notes how likeable the Burgess sisters are. Their bubbly personalities are infectious. Without them present, Celia concludes, the party would be a lot less lively and entertaining. They always seem to know how to keep a good conversation going. She also thinks that Mr. Barris, the architect who helped her construct the carousel, keeps the group balanced with his rational and serious personality.

While listening to the conversations, Celia sees something familiar out of the corner of her eye and steps unnoticed into the hallway, where she finds her father. He admonishes her for wasting her time socializing. She is in the midst of arguing further when Marco steps in. Celia attempts to distract him so he will not ask her to whom she was speaking. When Marco speaks to her, she cannot help but notice the charming smile Marco seems unable to wipe off his face. Marco suggests that Celia rejoin the other guests because dinner is about to be served.

As they are eating, Celia is distracted by Tara Burgess. She finds Tara’s behavior somewhat strange. One moment Tara is completely involved in the conversations, laughing along with her sister, Laine. The next moment Tara’s mind seems to be miles away, uninvolved in what is going on right in front of her. At one point, Celia feels that Tara’s laughter is not true—it almost sounds as if she were crying. This reminds Celia of her mother, who often seemed to be in a depressed state when Celia was a child.

The story then moves to Germany, where Friedrick Thiessen has just received a card in the mail. The only words written on the note inform him that the circus will be in Dresden on the twenty-ninth of September. Thiessen is pleasantly surprised. This is the first time the circus will have come this close to his hometown. Each night the circus is there, Thiessen spends the whole time wandering through the tents and enjoying the performances. When the circus departs, he feels compelled to write about his experiences. He writes so much that he decides to send his pieces out as news articles. First the articles appear in German papers, but then papers in Sweden, Denmark, France, and finally London pick them up. His writing inspires other people to seek out the circus. These people are so enthused they eventually start a club and call themselves the Reveurs.

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