The Night Circus

by Erin Morgenstern

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Part 3, Chapters 6-8 Summary

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Poppet appears in the field where Bailey is watching his family's flock of sheep. It is 1902, and Bailey is caught off guard by Poppet’s presence. He has never before seen her outside of the circus. He was planning on visiting her that night at the circus and wonders why she could not wait. Poppet tells Bailey that she has something important to ask him, and she wanted to give him time to think about his answer. She asks if he would consider coming with the circus.

Poppet cannot give Bailey a precise reason for his coming with them, but she knows he is meant to be there. She has had a vision in which Bailey played an important role. That is all she knows and all she can tell him. She says that she understands how improbable this sounds, but she knows that if he does not come with them, the circus will never return. The circus will never come back anywhere—there will not be a circus. To save the circus, she, Bailey, and Widget have to be together.

Bailey is in shock. He had wanted his life to take an adventurous turn, but he did not expect it to happen so quickly. He cannot give Poppet a definitive answer right then; he asks how much time he has to make a decision. Poppet tells him that the circus is leaving at the end of that night’s performance. Then she kisses him and leaves.

The story here returns to 1901, and the circus is in London. Celia pays a visit to the Midland Grand Hotel, where Mr. A. H. is known to stay. Celia does not go to the desk to inquire about him but merely stands in the lobby until he appears. She and he converse for a short period of time, then Celia leaves. Readers are not informed about their conversation.

At the circus, Marco appears in the fortuneteller’s tent. What he has come to tell Isobel does not surprise her, though hearing the words from his own mouth is difficult for Isobel. As he speaks, memories come back to Isobel of seeing Marco kiss Celia in the ballroom at Lefevre’s home.

After Marco expresses his feelings for Celia, Isobel asks him to choose a card from the Tarot deck. La Papessa, or High Priestess, turns up; it represents love, relationship, and secrets. Again, Isobel is not surprised. Similar cards have been shown whenever she did a reading in her attempt to understand Marco. It is just that now everything makes more sense. The symbols of love were not for her.

After Marco leaves, Isobel is shaken. She thinks about statements Marco has made over the years. She wonders why she so long avoided the truth. Marco had once said that everything he did in the circus was for Celia, but now Isobel understands the depth of his attachment to Celia. He has loved Celia all this time.

Isobel thinks about the box she has kept secret and reaches under the table to retrieve it. Dust has gathered on the lid. She unties the ribbons and opens the box. Inside is one of Marco’s old hats. Wrapped around it is one of Celia’s handkerchiefs. Isobel knew that Celia and Marco were the central figures who not only created the circus but were keeping it together. Isobel had cast spells, hoping to maintain the balance the circus required. But that was before she realized that Marco and Celia were in love. They were silly spells she had cast. Isobel laughs at her beliefs that she had the power of magic. Then she unties the strings and pulls the hat and the handkerchief apart. The Tarot card she had placed between them falls to the ground. It is the angel of temperance, a symbol of balance. She wonders what difference it makes whether she keeps these silly things together or takes them apart. But as Isobel reaches down to pick the Tarot card up, she hears a loud scream outside. The voice belongs to Poppet.

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