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This week it so happened that Gogol’s Circus was in San Sebastian, just over the border, and Willie’s host and hostess had greatly enjoyed being taken behind the scenes for an hour or so before a performance. To provide a special treat for Consuela, who was artless as a child in many ways, Willie had conspired with Georgi to put on an extra act that evening.

As a result, Consuela and Etienne were puzzled when both Modesty and Willie vanished during the intermission; and later, between the trapezists and the big cats, they were astonished to see Modesty appear in spangles, fishnet tights and heavy make-up, to act as target for the knives, machetes and tomahawks hurled alarmingly close to her by a character Georgi announced as Pancho Caramba, the World Famous Thrower of Knives.

Wearing an enormous Mexican sombrero, a red shirt, black trousers with silver buttons down the legs, and a ten-inch drooping moustache, Willie Garvin had hammed his way outrageously through a six-minute act to leave Consuela weak with laughter.

(The Xanadu Talisman, chapter 1)