The fair, when Biggles and Smith reached it, was in full swing. Naphtha flares hissed and spluttered everywhere, casting a lurid light on a throng of people who, with boisterous shouts, struck at each other with paper whips, pelted each other with confetti, or squirted water from lead tubes. Above the human din rose the blare of mechanical music, the clanging of bells and the crack of shots at the rifle ranges, where coloured celluloid balls dancing on jets of water formed the target. For a time they watched the fire-eater eating fire, and the boxer trying to persuade people in the crowd to knock him down. After that they moved along the line of stalls, from one of which a very fat woman in a star-spangled shawl invited Biggles to have his fortune told. The noise, the crowd, and the smells were now such that he would have gone home; but Smith would not hear of it.