The Night Circus

by Erin Morgenstern

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Part 3, Chapters 9-11 Summary

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It is 1902. Poppet and Widget are waiting to see if Bailey will decide to join them. As they wait, Poppet tells her brother that she had a vision about an extremely bright light that she thought was the circus’s courtyard consumed in white flames. Bailey was present in that vision, so she knows he must be with them. Because Bailey has not yet shown up, Widget suggests that they kidnap him. Poppet does not believe that would be a good idea.

This same night, Chandresh Lefevre shows up at the circus. It is Halloween, and Chandresh dons a silver mask provided by a woman at the circus’s gate. Chandresh is following a man in a gray suit who has chosen not to wear a mask. It is the first time Mr. A. H. has visited the circus.

Someone is also following Chandresh. He is described as young, a man Chandresh would not recognize even if he were to turn around and stare at his face. This man is Marco, who has altered the artificial facial features that Chandresh thinks is Marco’s real face.

It is now past midnight, and most of the circus patrons have gone home. The three men, however, continue on their path until Mr. A. H. stops. At that moment everything, including time, seems to halt. Even the night breezes settle down. Chandresh watches Mr. A. H., who appears to be talking to someone.

At this same moment, in a distant tent, one of the acrobats loses her balance and would have crashed to the ground if one of her fellow performers had not caught her at the last moment. In the courtyard, the white flames in the caldron sputter, causing black smoke to ascend. The smoke is thick enough to make those standing nearby cough. One of Poppet’s kittens twists the wrong way in the middle of a jump; instead of landing on its feet, it hits the ground on its back. Celia hesitates for a moment in the middle of her act. When several audience members see Celia’s complexion turn white, they go to her, fearing that she is about to faint. Simultaneously, Marco doubles over as if someone had punched him in his stomach.

Just then, Chandresh pulls out a silver dagger and quickly throws it forward. The trajectory is perfectly on target; Chandresh has aimed it at Mr. A. H.’s back. But at the last second, Mr. A. H. jerks to the side and the dagger brushes by him and pierces the chest of the man to whom he had been talking. Friedrick Thiessen falls forward into Mr. A. H.’s arms.

As soon as this incident is complete, Chandresh forgets about the dagger and turns to go home. The next day, when he sees the silver mask, he has no idea where he got it.

Meanwhile Bailey is packing his bags. He has waited to give his parents and sister enough time to fall asleep. He is almost ready to leave when he hears a voice sound out behind him. His sister has awakened and wants to know what he is doing. Bailey finally admits that he is going away with the circus. She protests, but Bailey does not listen to her. He leaves her standing with her mouth open.

As Bailey walks across the field in the direction of the circus, he feels like the distance between his house and the circus has dramatically increased. He cannot get there soon enough. Finally he gets into a position where he should be able to see the tents. To his astonishment, the circus is gone.

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Part 3, Chapters 12-13 Summary