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The Phantom of the Opera by Gaston Leroux

Part 2 out of 6

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No one ever sees the Angel; but he is heard by those who are meant
to hear him. He often comes when they least expect him, when they
are sad and disheartened. Then their ears suddenly perceive celestial
harmonies, a divine voice, which they remember all their lives.
Persons who are visited by the Angel quiver with a thrill unknown
to the rest of mankind. And they can not touch an instrument,
or open their mouths to sing, without producing sounds that put
all other human sounds to shame. Then people who do not know
that the Angel has visited those persons say that they have genius.

Little Christine asked her father if he had heard the Angel of Music.
But Daddy Daae shook his head sadly; and then his eyes lit up,
as he said:

"You will hear him one day, my child! When I am in Heaven,
I will send him to you!"

Daddy was beginning to cough at that time.

Three years later, Raoul and Christine met again at Perros.
Professor Valerius was dead, but his widow remained in France
with Daddy Daae and his daughter, who continued to play the violin
and sing, wrapping in their dream of harmony their kind patroness,
who seemed henceforth to live on music alone. The young man,
as he now was, had come to Perros on the chance of finding them
and went straight to the house in which they used to stay.
He first saw the old man; and then Christine entered, carrying the
tea-tray. She flushed at the sight of Raoul, who went up to her
and kissed her. She asked him a few questions, performed her duties
as hostess prettily, took up the tray again and left the room.
Then she ran into the garden and took refuge on a bench, a prey
to feelings that stirred her young heart for the first time.
Raoul followed her and they talked till the evening, very shyly.
They were quite changed, cautious as two diplomatists, and told each
other things that had nothing to do with their budding sentiments.
When they took leave of each other by the roadside, Raoul, pressing a
kiss on Christine's trembling hand, said:

"Mademoiselle, I shall never forget you!"

And he went away regretting his words, for he knew that Christine
could not be the wife of the Vicomte de Chagny.

As for Christine, she tried not to think of him and devoted herself
wholly to her art. She made wonderful progress and those who heard
her prophesied that she would be the greatest singer in the world.
Meanwhile, the father died; and, suddenly, she seemed to have lost,
with him, her voice, her soul and her genius. She retained just,
but only just, enough of this to enter the CONSERVATOIRE, where she
did not distinguish herself at all, attending the classes without
enthusiasm and taking a prize only to please old Mamma Valerius,
with whom she continued to live.

The first time that Raoul saw Christine at the Opera, he was charmed
by the girl's beauty and by the sweet images of the past which
it evoked, but was rather surprised at the negative side of her art.
He returned to listen to her. He followed her in the wings. He waited
for her behind a Jacob's ladder. He tried to attract her attention.
More than once, he walked after her to the door of her box, but she
did not see him. She seemed, for that matter, to see nobody.
She was all indifference. Raoul suffered, for she was very beautiful
and he was shy and dared not confess his love, even to himself.
And then came the lightning-flash of the gala performance:
the heavens torn asunder and an angel's voice heard upon earth for
the delight of mankind and the utter capture of his heart.

And then...and then there was that man's voice behind
the door--"You must love me!"--and no one in the room. ...

Why did she laugh when he reminded her of the incident of the scarf?
Why did she not recognize him? And why had she written to him?...

Perros was reached at last. Raoul walked into the smoky sitting-room
of the Setting Sun and at once saw Christine standing before him,
smiling and showing no astonishment.

"So you have come," she said. "I felt that I should find you here,
when I came back from mass. Some one told me so, at the church."

"Who?" asked Raoul, taking her little hand in his.

"Why, my poor father, who is dead."

There was a silence; and then Raoul asked:

"Did your father tell you that I love you, Christine, and that I
can not live without you?"

Christine blushed to the eyes and turned away her head.
In a trembling voice, she said:

"Me? You are dreaming, my friend!"

And she burst out laughing, to put herself in countenance.

"Don't laugh, Christine; I am quite serious," Raoul answered.

And she replied gravely: "I did not make you come to tell me
such things as that."

"You `made me come,' Christine; you knew that your letter would
not leave me indignant and that I should hasten to Perros.
How can you have thought that, if you did not think I loved you?"

"I thought you would remember our games here, as children, in which
my father so often joined. I really don't know what I thought.
... Perhaps I was wrong to write to you....This anniversary
and your sudden appearance in my room at the Opera, the other evening,
reminded me of the time long past and made me write to you as
the little girl that I then was. ..."

There was something in Christine's attitude that seemed to Raoul
not natural. He did not feel any hostility in her; far from it:
the distressed affection shining in her eyes told him that.
But why was this affection distressed? That was what he wished to know
and what was irritating him.

"When you saw me in your dressing-room, was that the first time
you noticed me, Christine?"

She was incapable of lying.

"No," she said, "I had seen you several times in your brother's box.
And also on the stage."

"I thought so!" said Raoul, compressing his lips. "But then why,
when you saw me in your room, at your feet, reminding you that I
had rescued your scarf from the sea, why did you answer as though
you did not know me and also why did you laugh?"

The tone of these questions was so rough that Christine stared
at Raoul without replying. The young man himself was aghast at
the sudden quarrel which he had dared to raise at the very moment
when he had resolved to speak words of gentleness, love and
submission to Christine. A husband, a lover with all rights,
would talk no differently to a wife, a mistress who had offended him.
But he had gone too far and saw no other way out of the ridiculous
position than to behave odiously.

"You don't answer!" he said angrily and unhappily. "Well, I will
answer for you. It was because there was some one in the room
who was in your way, Christine, some one that you did not wish
to know that you could be interested in any one else!"

"If any one was in my way, my friend," Christine broke in coldly,
"if any one was in my way, that evening, it was yourself, since I
told you to leave the room!"

"Yes, so that you might remain with the other!"

"What are you saying, monsieur?" asked the girl excitedly.
"And to what other do you refer?"

"To the man to whom you said, `I sing only for you!...to-night
I gave you my soul and I am dead!'"

Christine seized Raoul's arm and clutched it with a strength
which no one would have suspected in so frail a creature.

"Then you were listening behind the door?"

"Yes, because I love you everything....And I heard everything...."

"You heard what?"

And the young girl, becoming strangely calm, released Raoul's arm.

"He said to you, `Christine, you must love me!'"

At these words, a deathly pallor spread over Christine's face,
dark rings formed round her eyes, she staggered and seemed on the
point of swooning. Raoul darted forward, with arms outstretched,
but Christine had overcome her passing faintness and said,
in a low voice:

"Go on! Go on! Tell me all you heard!"

At an utter loss to understand, Raoul answered: "I heard
him reply, when you said you had given him your soul,
`Your soul is a beautiful thing, child, and I thank you.
No emperor ever received so fair a gift. The angels wept tonight.'"

Christine carried her hand to her heart, a prey to indescribable
emotion. Her eyes stared before her like a madwoman's. Raoul
was terror-stricken. But suddenly Christine's eyes moistened
and two great tears trickled, like two pearls, down her ivory cheeks.



The young man tried to take her in his arms, but she escaped
and fled in great disorder.

While Christine remained locked in her room, Raoul was at his wit's
end what to do. He refused to breakfast. He was terribly concerned
and bitterly grieved to see the hours, which he had hoped to find
so sweet, slip past without the presence of the young Swedish girl.
Why did she not come to roam with him through the country where they
had so many memories in common? He heard that she had had a mass said,
that morning, for the repose of her father's soul and spent a long
time praying in the little church and on the fiddler's tomb.
Then, as she seemed to have nothing more to do at Perros and,
in fact, was doing nothing there, why did she not go back to Paris
at once?

Raoul walked away, dejectedly, to the graveyard in which the church
stood and was indeed alone among the tombs, reading the inscriptions;
but, when he turned behind the apse, he was suddenly struck by the
dazzling note of the flowers that straggled over the white ground.
They were marvelous red roses that had blossomed in the morning,
in the snow, giving a glimpse of life among the dead, for death was
all around him. It also, like the flowers, issued from the ground,
which had flung back a number of its corpses. Skeletons and skulls
by the hundred were heaped against the wall of the church, held in
position by a wire that left the whole gruesome stack visible.
Dead men's bones, arranged in rows, like bricks, to form the first
course upon which the walls of the sacristy had been built.
The door of the sacristy opened in the middle of that bony structure,
as is often seen in old Breton churches.

Raoul said a prayer for Daae and then, painfully impressed by all
those eternal smiles on the mouths of skulls, he climbed the slope
and sat down on the edge of the heath overlooking the sea.
The wind fell with the evening. Raoul was surrounded by icy darkness,
but he did not feel the cold. It was here, he remembered,
that he used to come with little Christine to see the Korrigans
dance at the rising of the moon. He had never seen any, though his
eyes were good, whereas Christine, who was a little shortsighted,
pretended that she had seen many. He smiled at the thought and then
suddenly gave a start. A voice behind him said:

"Do you think the Korrigans will come this evening?"

It was Christine. He tried to speak. She put her gloved hand
on his mouth.

"Listen, Raoul. I have decided to tell you something serious,
very serious....Do you remember the legend of the Angel
of Music?"

"I do indeed," he said. "I believe it was here that your father
first told it to us."

"And it was here that he said, `When I am in Heaven, my child,
I will send him to you.' Well, Raoul, my father is in Heaven,
and I have been visited by the Angel of Music."

"I have no doubt of it," replied the young man gravely, for it
seemed to him that his friend, in obedience to a pious thought,
was connecting the memory of her father with the brilliancy of her
last triumph.

Christine appeared astonished at the Vicomte de Chagny's coolness:

"How do you understand it?" she asked, bringing her pale face
so close to his that he might have thought that Christine was going
to give him a kiss; but she only wanted to read his eyes in spite
of the dark.

"I understand," he said, "that no human being can sing as you
sang the other evening without the intervention of some miracle.
No professor on earth can teach you such accents as those.
You have heard the Angel of Music, Christine."

"Yes," she said solemnly, "IN MY DRESSING-ROOM. That is where he
comes to give me my lessons daily."

"In your dressing-room?" he echoed stupidly.

"Yes, that is where I have heard him; and I have not been the only
one to hear him."

"Who else heard him, Christine?"

"You, my friend."

"I? I heard the Angel of Music?"

"Yes, the other evening, it was he who was talking when you were
listening behind the door. It was he who said, `You must love me.'
But I then thought that I was the only one to hear his voice.
Imagine my astonishment when you told me, this morning, that you could
hear him too,"

Raoul burst out laughing. The first rays of the moon came and
shrouded the two young people in their light. Christine turned
on Raoul with a hostile air. Her eyes, usually so gentle, flashed fire.

"What are you laughing at? YOU think you heard a man's voice,
I suppose?"

"Well!..." replied the young man, whose ideas began to grow
confused in the face of Christine's determined attitude.

"It's you, Raoul, who say that? You, an old playfellow of my own!
A friend of my father's! But you have changed since those days.
What are you thinking of? I am an honest girl, M. le Vicomte de Chagny,
and I don't lock myself up in my dressing-room with men's voices.
If you had opened the door, you would have seen that there was nobody
in the room!"

"That's true! I did open the door, when you were gone, and I found
no one in the room."

"So you see!...Well?"

The viscount summoned up all his courage.

"Well, Christine, I think that somebody is making game of you."

She gave a cry and ran away. He ran after her, but, in a tone
of fierce anger, she called out: "Leave me! Leave me!"
And she disappeared.

Raoul returned to the inn feeling very weary, very low-spirited
and very sad. He was told that Christine had gone to her bedroom
saying that she would not be down to dinner. Raoul dined alone,
in a very gloomy mood. Then he went to his room and tried to read,
went to bed and tried to sleep. There was no sound in the next room.

The hours passed slowly. It was about half-past eleven when he
distinctly heard some one moving, with a light, stealthy step,
in the room next to his. Then Christine had not gone to bed!
Without troubling for a reason, Raoul dressed, taking care not
to make a sound, and waited. Waited for what? How could he tell?
But his heart thumped in his chest when he heard Christine's door
turn slowly on its hinges. Where could she be going, at this hour,
when every one was fast asleep at Perros? Softly opening the door, he
saw Christine's white form, in the moonlight, slipping along the passage.
She went down the stairs and he leaned over the baluster above her.
Suddenly he heard two voices in rapid conversation. He caught
one sentence: "Don't lose the key."

It was the landlady's voice. The door facing the sea was opened
and locked again. Then all was still.

Raoul ran back to his room and threw back the window.
Christine's white form stood on the deserted quay.

The first floor of the Setting Sun was at no great height and a tree
growing against the wall held out its branches to Raoul's impatient
arms and enabled him to climb down unknown to the landlady.
Her amazement, therefore, was all the greater when, the next morning,
the young man was brought back to her half frozen, more dead
than alive, and when she learned that he had been found stretched
at full length on the steps of the high altar of the little church.
She ran at once to tell Christine, who hurried down and,
with the help of the landlady, did her best to revive him.
He soon opened his eyes and was not long in recovering when he saw
his friend's charming face leaning over him.

A few weeks later, when the tragedy at the Opera compelled the
intervention of the public prosecutor, M. Mifroid, the commissary
of police, examined the Vicomte de Chagny touching the events of
the night at Perros. I quote the questions and answers as given
in the official report pp. 150 et seq.:

Q. "Did Mlle. Daae not see you come down from your room
by the curious road which you selected?"

R. "No, monsieur, no, although, when walking behind her, I took no
pains to deaden the sound of my footsteps. In fact, I was anxious
that she should turn round and see me. I realized that I had no excuse
for following her and that this way of spying on her was unworthy
of me. But she seemed not to hear me and acted exactly as though
I were not there. She quietly left the quay and then suddenly
walked quickly up the road. The church-clock had struck a quarter
to twelve and I thought that this must have made her hurry, for she
began almost to run and continued hastening until she came to the church."

Q. "Was the gate open?"

R. "Yes, monsieur, and this surprised me, but did not seem
to surprise Mlle. Daae."

Q. "Was there no one in the churchyard?"

R. "I did not see any one; and, if there had been, I must have seen him.
The moon was shining on the snow and made the night quite light."

Q. "Was it possible for any one to hide behind the tombstones?"

R. "No, monsieur. They were quite small, poor tombstones, partly hidden
under the snow, with their crosses just above the level of the ground.
The only shadows were those of the crosses and ourselves.
The church stood out quite brightly. I never saw so clear a night.
It was very fine and very cold and one could see everything."

Q. "Are you at all superstitious?"

R. "No, monsieur, I am a practising Catholic,"

Q. "In what condition of mind were you?"

R. "Very healthy and peaceful, I assure you. Mlle. Daae's curious
action in going out at that hour had worried me at first; but, as soon
as I saw her go to the churchyard, I thought that she meant to fulfil
some pious duty on her father's grave and I considered this so natural
that I recovered all my calmness. I was only surprised that she
had not heard me walking behind her, for my footsteps were quite
audible on the hard snow. But she must have been taken up with her
intentions and I resolved not to disturb her. She knelt down by
her father's grave, made the sign of the cross and began to pray.
At that moment, it struck midnight. At the last stroke, I saw
Mlle. Daae life{sic} her eyes to the sky and stretch out her arms
as though in ecstasy. I was wondering what the reason could be,
when I myself raised my head and everything within me seemed drawn
Christine and I knew that music; we had heard it as children.
But it had never been executed with such divine art, even by M. Daae.
I remembered all that Christine had told me of the Angel of Music.
The air was The Resurrection of Lazarus, which old M. Daae
used to play to us in his hours of melancholy and of faith.
If Christine's Angel had existed, he could not have played better,
that night, on the late musician's violin. When the music stopped,
I seemed to hear a noise from the skulls in the heap of bones;
it was as though they were chuckling and I could not help shuddering."

Q. "Did it not occur to you that the musician might be hiding
behind that very heap of bones?"

R. "It was the one thought that did occur to me, monsieur, so much
so that I omitted to follow Mlle. Daae, when she stood up and walked
slowly to the gate. She was so much absorbed just then that I
am not surprised that she did not see me."

Q. "Then what happened that you were found in the morning lying
half-dead on the steps of the high altar?"

R. "First a skull rolled to my feet...then another...then
another...It was as if I were the mark of that ghastly game
of bowls. And I had an idea that false step must have destroyed
the balance of the structure behind which our musician was concealed.
This surmise seemed to be confirmed when I saw a shadow suddenly
glide along the sacristy wall. I ran up. The shadow had already
pushed open the door and entered the church. But I was quicker than
the shadow and caught hold of a corner of its cloak. At that moment,
we were just in front of the high altar; and the moonbeams fell
straight upon us through the stained-glass windows of the apse.
As I did not let go of the cloak, the shadow turned round; and I
saw a terrible death's head, which darted a look at me from a pair
of scorching eyes. I felt as if I were face to face with Satan;
and, in the presence of this unearthly apparition, my heart gave way,
my courage failed me...and I remember nothing more until I
recovered consciousness at the Setting Sun."

Chapter VI A Visit to Box Five

We left M. Firmin Richard and M. Armand Moncharmin at the moment
when they were deciding "to look into that little matter of Box Five."

Leaving behind them the broad staircase which leads from the lobby
outside the managers' offices to the stage and its dependencies,
they crossed the stage, went out by the subscribers' door and
entered the house through the first little passage on the left.
Then they made their way through the front rows of stalls and
looked at Box Five on the grand tier, They could not see it well,
because it was half in darkness and because great covers were flung
over the red velvet of the ledges of all the boxes.

They were almost alone in the huge, gloomy house; and a great silence
surrounded them. It was the time when most of the stage-hands go
out for a drink. The staff had left the boards for the moment,
leaving a scene half set. A few rays of light, a wan, sinister light,
that seemed to have been stolen from an expiring luminary,
fell through some opening or other upon an old tower that raised
its pasteboard battlements on the stage; everything, in this
deceptive light, adopted a fantastic shape. In the orchestra stalls,
the drugget covering them looked like an angry sea, whose glaucous
waves had been suddenly rendered stationary by a secret order
from the storm phantom, who, as everybody knows, is called Adamastor.
MM. Moncharmin and Richard were the shipwrecked mariners
amid this motionless turmoil of a calico sea. They made
for the left boxes, plowing their way like sailors who leave their
ship and try to struggle to the shore. The eight great polished
columns stood up in the dusk like so many huge piles supporting
the threatening, crumbling, big-bellied cliffs whose layers were
represented by the circular, parallel, waving lines of the balconies
of the grand, first and second tiers of boxes. At the top,
right on top of the cliff, lost in M. Lenepveu's copper ceiling,
figures grinned and grimaced, laughed and jeered at MM. Richard and
Moncharmin's distress. And yet these figures were usually very serious.
Their names were Isis, Amphitrite, Hebe, Pandora, Psyche, Thetis,
Pomona, Daphne, Clytie, Galatea and Arethusa. Yes, Arethusa herself
and Pandora, whom we all know by her box, looked down upon the two
new managers of the Opera, who ended by clutching at some piece
of wreckage and from there stared silently at Box Five on the grand tier.

I have said that they were distressed. At least, I presume so.
M. Moncharmin, in any case, admits that he was impressed. To quote
his own words, in his Memoirs:

"This moonshine about the Opera ghost in which, since we first
took over the duties of MM. Poligny and Debienne, we had been
so nicely steeped"--Moncharmin's style is not always irreproachable--
"had no doubt ended by blinding my imaginative and also my
visual faculties. It may be that the exceptional surroundings
in which we found ourselves, in the midst of an incredible silence,
impressed us to an unusual extent. It may be that we were the sport
of a kind of hallucination brought about by the semi-darkness of
the theater and the partial gloom that filled Box Five. At any rate,
I saw and Richard also saw a shape in the box. Richard said nothing,
nor I either. But we spontaneously seized each other's hand.
We stood like that for some minutes, without moving, with our
eyes fixed on the same point; but the figure had disappeared.
Then we went out and, in the lobby, communicated our impressions
to each other and talked about `the shape.' The misfortune was that
my shape was not in the least like Richard's. I had seen a thing
like a death's head resting on the ledge of the box, whereas Richard
saw the shape of an old woman who looked like Mme. Giry. We soon
discovered that we had really been the victims of an illusion,
whereupon, without further delay and laughing like madmen, we ran
to Box Five on the grand tier, went inside and found no shape of any kind."

Box Five is just like all the other grand tier boxes. There is
nothing to distinguish it from any of the others. M. Moncharmin
and M. Richard, ostensibly highly amused and laughing at each other,
moved the furniture of the box, lifted the cloths and the chairs
and particularly examined the arm-chair in which "the man's voice"
used to sit. But they saw that it was a respectable arm-chair,
with no magic about it. Altogether, the box was the most ordinary box
in the world, with its red hangings, its chairs, its carpet and its ledge
covered in red velvet. After, feeling the carpet in the most serious
manner possible, and discovering nothing more here or anywhere else,
they went down to the corresponding box on the pit tier below.
In Box Five on the pit tier, which is just inside the first exit
from the stalls on the left, they found nothing worth mentioning either.

"Those people are all making fools of us!" Firmin Richard ended
by exclaiming. "It will be FAUST on Saturday: let us both see
the performance from Box Five on the grand tier!"

Chapter VII Faust and What Followed

On the Saturday morning, on reaching their office, the joint
managers found a letter from O. G. worded in these terms:


So it is to be war between us?

If you still care for peace, here is my ultimatum. It consists
of the four following conditions:

1. You must give me back my private box; and I wish it to be at
my free disposal from henceforward.

2. The part of Margarita shall be sung this evening by Christine Daae.
Never mind about Carlotta; she will be ill.

3. I absolutely insist upon the good and loyal services of Mme. Giry,
my box-keeper, whom you will reinstate in her functions forthwith.

4. Let me know by a letter handed to Mme. Giry, who will see
that it reaches me, that you accept, as your predecessors did,
the conditions in my memorandum-book relating to my monthly allowance.
I will inform you later how you are to pay it to me.

If you refuse, you will give FAUST to-night in a house with a curse
upon it.

Take my advice and be warned in time. O. G.

"Look here, I'm getting sick of him, sick of him!" shouted Richard,
bringing his fists down on his office-table.

Just then, Mercier, the acting-manager, entered.

"Lachenel would like to see one of you gentlemen," he said.
"He says that his business is urgent and he seems quite upset."

"Who's Lachenel?" asked Richard.

"He's your stud-groom."

"What do you mean? My stud-groom?"

"Yes, sir," explained Mercier, "there are several grooms at the Opera
and M. Lachenel is at the head of them."

"And what does this groom do?"

"He has the chief management of the stable."

"What stable?"

"Why, yours, sir, the stable of the Opera."

"Is there a stable at the Opera? Upon my word, I didn't know.
Where is it?"

"In the cellars, on the Rotunda side. It's a very important department;
we have twelve horses."

"Twelve horses! And what for, in Heaven's name?"

"Why, we want trained horses for the processions in the Juive,
The Profeta and so on; horses `used to the boards.' It is the grooms'
business to teach them. M. Lachenel is very clever at it. He used
to manage Franconi's stables."

"Very well...but what does he want?"

"I don't know; I never saw him in such a state."

"He can come in."

M. Lachenel came in, carrying a riding-whip, with which he struck
his right boot in an irritable manner.

"Good morning, M. Lachenel," said Richard, somewhat impressed.
"To what do we owe the honor of your visit?"

"Mr. Manager, I have come to ask you to get rid of the whole stable."

"What, you want to get rid of our horses?"

"I'm not talking of the horses, but of the stablemen."

"How many stablemen have you, M. Lachenel?"

"Six stablemen! That's at least two too many."

"These are `places,'" Mercier interposed, "created and forced
upon us by the under-secretary for fine arts. They are filled
by protegees of the government and, if I may venture to..."

"I don't care a hang for the government!" roared Richard.
"We don't need more than four stablemen for twelve horses."

"Eleven," said the head riding-master, correcting him.

"Twelve," repeated Richard.

"Eleven," repeated Lachenel.

"Oh, the acting-manager told me that you had twelve horses!"

"I did have twelve, but I have only eleven since Cesar was stolen."

And M. Lachenel gave himself a great smack on the boot with his whip.

"Has Cesar been stolen?" cried the acting-manager. "Cesar, the white
horse in the Profeta?"

"There are not two Cesars," said the stud-groom dryly. "I was ten
years at Franconi's and I have seen plenty of horses in my time.
Well, there are not two Cesars. And he's been stolen."


"I don't know. Nobody knows. That's why I have come to ask you
to sack the whole stable."

"What do your stablemen say?"

"All sorts of nonsense. Some of them accuse the supers.
Others pretend that it's the acting-manager's doorkeeper..."

"My doorkeeper? I'll answer for him as I would for myself!"
protested Mercier.

"But, after all, M. Lachenel," cried Richard, "you must have some idea."

"Yes, I have," M. Lachenel declared. "I have an idea and I'll
tell you what it is. There's no doubt about it in my mind."
He walked up to the two managers and whispered. "It's the ghost
who did the trick!"

Richard gave a jump.

"What, you too! You too!"

"How do you mean, I too? Isn't it natural, after what I saw?"

"What did you see?"

"I saw, as clearly as I now see you, a black shadow riding a white
horse that was as like Cesar as two peas!"

"And did you run after them?"

"I did and I shouted, but they were too fast for me and disappeared
in the darkness of the underground gallery."

M. Richard rose. "That will do, M. Lachenel. You can go....
We will lodge a complaint against THE GHOST."

"And sack my stable?"

"Oh, of course! Good morning."

M. Lachenel bowed and withdrew. Richard foamed at the mouth.

"Settle that idiot's account at once, please."

"He is a friend of the government representative's!" Mercier ventured
to say.

"And he takes his vermouth at Tortoni's with Lagrene, Scholl and Pertuiset,
the lion-hunter," added Moncharmin. "We shall have the whole press
against us! He'll tell the story of the ghost; and everybody
will be laughing at our expense! We may as well be dead as ridiculous!"

"All right, say no more about it."

At that moment the door opened. It must have been deserted
by its usual Cerberus, for Mme. Giry entered without ceremony,
holding a letter in her hand, and said hurriedly:

"I beg your pardon, excuse me, gentlemen, but I had a letter this
morning from the Opera ghost. He told me to come to you, that you
had something to..."

She did not complete the sentence. She saw Firmin Richard's face;
and it was a terrible sight. He seemed ready to burst. He said nothing,
he could not speak. But suddenly he acted. First, his left arm
seized upon the quaint person of Mme. Giry and made her describe
so unexpected a semicircle that she uttered a despairing cry.
Next, his right foot imprinted its sole on the black taffeta of a
skirt which certainly had never before undergone a similar outrage
in a similar place. The thing happened so quickly that Mme. Giry,
when in the passage, was still quite bewildered and seemed not
to understand. But, suddenly, she understood; and the Opera
rang with her indignant yells, her violent protests and threats.

About the same time, Carlotta, who had a small house of her own
in the Rue du Faubourg St. Honore, rang for her maid, who brought
her letters to her bed. Among them was an anonymous missive,
written in red ink, in a hesitating, clumsy hand, which ran:

If you appear to-night, you must be prepared for a great misfortune
at the moment when you open your mouth to sing...a misfortune
worse than death.

The letter took away Carlotta's appetite for breakfast.
She pushed back her chocolate, sat up in bed and thought hard.
It was not the first letter of the kind which she had received,
but she never had one couched in such threatening terms.

She thought herself, at that time, the victim of a thousand jealous
attempts and went about saying that she had a secret enemy who had
sworn to ruin her. She pretended that a wicked plot was being hatched
against her, a cabal which would come to a head one of those days;
but she added that she was not the woman to be intimidated.

The truth is that, if there was a cabal, it was led by Carlotta
herself against poor Christine, who had no suspicion of it.
Carlotta had never forgiven Christine for the triumph which she had
achieved when taking her place at a moment's notice. When Carlotta
heard of the astounding reception bestowed upon her understudy,
she was at once cured of an incipient attack of bronchitis and a
bad fit of sulking against the management and lost the slightest
inclination to shirk her duties. From that time, she worked with all
her might to "smother" her rival, enlisting the services of influential
friends to persuade the managers not to give Christine an opportunity
for a fresh triumph. Certain newspapers which had begun to extol
the talent of Christine now interested themselves only in the fame
of Carlotta. Lastly, in the theater itself, the celebrated,
but heartless and soulless diva made the most scandalous remarks
about Christine and tried to cause her endless minor unpleasantnesses.

When Carlotta had finished thinking over the threat contained
in the strange letter, she got up.

"We shall see," she said, adding a few oaths in her native Spanish
with a very determined air.

The first thing she saw, when looking out of her window, was a hearse.
She was very superstitious; and the hearse and the letter convinced
her that she was running the most serious dangers that evening.
She collected all her supporters, told them that she was threatened
at that evening's performance with a plot organized by Christine Daae
and declared that they must play a trick upon that chit by filling
the house with her, Carlotta's, admirers. She had no lack of them,
had she? She relied upon them to hold themselves prepared for any
eventuality and to silence the adversaries, if, as she feared,
they created a disturbance.

M. Richard's private secretary called to ask after the diva's health
and returned with the assurance that she was perfectly well and that,
"were she dying," she would sing the part of Margarita that evening.
The secretary urged her, in his chief's name, to commit no imprudence,
to stay at home all day and to be careful of drafts; and Carlotta could
not help, after he had gone, comparing this unusual and unexpected
advice with the threats contained in the letter.

It was five o'clock when the post brought a second anonymous letter
in the same hand as the first. It was short and said simply:

You have a bad cold. If you are wise, you will see that it
is madness to try to sing to-night.

Carlotta sneered, shrugged her handsome shoulders and sang two
or three notes to reassure herself.

Her friends were faithful to their promise. They were all at the Opera
that night, but looked round in vain for the fierce conspirators
whom they were instructed to suppress. The only unusual thing
was the presence of M. Richard and M. Moncharmin in Box Five.
Carlotta's friends thought that, perhaps, the managers had wind,
on their side, of the proposed disturbance and that they had
determined to be in the house, so as to stop it then and there;
but this was unjustifiable supposition, as the reader knows.
M. Richard and M. Moncharmin were thinking of nothing but their ghost.

"Vain! In vain do I call, through my vigil weary, On creation
and its Lord! Never reply will break the silence dreary! No sign!
No single word!"

The famous baritone, Carolus Fonta, had hardly finished Doctor Faust's
first appeal to the powers of darkness, when M. Firmin Richard,
who was sitting in the ghost's own chair, the front chair on the right,
leaned over to his partner and asked him chaffingly:

"Well, has the ghost whispered a word in your ear yet?"

"Wait, don't be in such a hurry," replied M. Armand Moncharmin,
in the same gay tone. "The performance has only begun and you know
that the ghost does not usually come until the middle of the first act."

The first act passed without incident, which did not surprise
Carlotta's friends, because Margarita does not sing in this act.
As for the managers, they looked at each other, when the curtain fell.

"That's one!" said Moncharmin.

"Yes, the ghost is late," said Firmin Richard.

"It's not a bad house," said Moncharmin, "for `a house with a curse
on it.'"

M. Richard smiled and pointed to a fat, rather vulgar woman,
dressed in black, sitting in a stall in the middle of the auditorium
with a man in a broadcloth frock-coat on either side of her.

"Who on earth are `those?'" asked Moncharmin.

"`Those,' my dear fellow, are my concierge, her husband and her brother."

"Did you give them their tickets?"

"I did. .. My concierge had never been to the Opera--this is,
the first time--and, as she is now going to come every night,
I wanted her to have a good seat, before spending her time showing
other people to theirs."

Moncharmin asked what he meant and Richard answered that he had
persuaded his concierge, in whom he had the greatest confidence,
to come and take Mme. Giry's place. Yes, he would like to see if,
with that woman instead of the old lunatic, Box Five would continue
to astonish the natives?

"By the way," said Moncharmin, "you know that Mother Giry is going
to lodge a complaint against you."

"With whom? The ghost?"

The ghost! Moncharmin had almost forgotten him. However, that mysterious
person did nothing to bring himself to the memory of the managers;
and they were just saying so to each other for the second time,
when the door of the box suddenly opened to admit the startled

"What's the matter?" they both asked, amazed at seeing him there
at such a time.

"It seems there's a plot got up by Christine Daae's friends
against Carlotta. Carlotta's furious."

"What on earth...?" said Richard, knitting his brows.

But the curtain rose on the kermess scene and Richard made a sign
to the stage-manager to go away. When the two were alone again,
Moncharmin leaned over to Richard:

"Then Daae has friends?" he asked.

"Yes, she has."


Richard glanced across at a box on the grand tier containing
no one but two men.

"The Comte de Chagny?"

"Yes, he spoke to me in her favor with such warmth that, if I
had not known him to be Sorelli's friend..."

"Really? Really?" said Moncharmin. "And who is that pale young
man beside him?"

"That's his brother, the viscount."

"He ought to be in his bed. He looks ill."

The stage rang with gay song:

"Red or white liquor,
Coarse or fine!
What can it matter,
So we have wine?"

Students, citizens, soldiers, girls and matrons whirled light-heartedly
before the inn with the figure of Bacchus for a sign. Siebel made
her entrance. Christine Daae looked charming in her boy's clothes;
and Carlotta's partisans expected to hear her greeted with an ovation
which would have enlightened them as to the intentions of her friends.
But nothing happened.

On the other hand, when Margarita crossed the stage and sang
the only two lines allotted her in this second act:

"No, my lord, not a lady am I, nor yet a beauty,
And do not need an arm to help me on my way,"

Carlotta was received with enthusiastic applause. It was so
unexpected and so uncalled for that those who knew nothing about
the rumors looked at one another and asked what was happening.
And this act also was finished without incident.

Then everybody said: "Of course, it will be during the next act."

Some, who seemed to be better informed than the rest, declared that
the "row" would begin with the ballad of the KING OF THULE and rushed
to the subscribers' entrance to warn Carlotta. The managers left
the box during the entr'acte to find out more about the cabal of which
the stage-manager had spoken; but they soon returned to their seats,
shrugging their shoulders and treating the whole affair as silly.

The first thing they saw, on entering the box, was a box of English
sweets on the little shelf of the ledge. Who had put it there?
They asked the box-keepers, but none of them knew. Then they went back
to the shelf and, next to the box of sweets, found an opera glass.
They looked at each other. They had no inclination to laugh.
All that Mme. Giry had told them returned to their memory...and
then...and then...they seemed to feel a curious sort of draft
around them....They sat down in silence.

The scene represented Margarita's garden:

"Gentle flow'rs in the dew,
Be message from me..."

As she sang these first two lines, with her bunch of roses and lilacs
in her hand, Christine, raising her head, saw the Vicomte de Chagny
in his box; and, from that moment, her voice seemed less sure,
less crystal-clear than usual. Something seemed to deaden and dull
her singing. ...

"What a queer girl she is!" said one of Carlotta's friends
in the stalls, almost aloud. "The other day she was divine;
and to-night she's simply bleating. She has no experience, no training."

"Gentle flow'rs, lie ye there
And tell her from me..."

The viscount put his head under his hands and wept. The count, behind
him, viciously gnawed his mustache, shrugged his shoulders and frowned.
For him, usually so cold and correct, to betray his inner feelings
like that, by outward signs, the count must be very angry. He was.
He had seen his brother return from a rapid and mysterious journey
in an alarming state of health. The explanation that followed was
unsatisfactory and the count asked Christine Daae for an appointment.
She had the audacity to reply that she could not see either him
or his brother. ...

"Would she but deign to hear me
And with one smile to cheer me..."

"The little baggage!" growled the count.

And he wondered what she wanted. What she was hoping for.
...She was a virtuous girl, she was said to have no friend,
no protector of any sort....That angel from the North must be
very artful!

Raoul, behind the curtain of his hands that veiled his boyish tears,
thought only of the letter which he received on his return to Paris,
where Christine, fleeing from Perros like a thief in the night,
had arrived before him:


You must have the courage not to see me again, not to speak of
me again. If you love me just a little, do this for me, for me
who will never forget you, my dear Raoul. My life depends upon it.
Your life depends upon it. YOUR LITTLE CHRISTINE.

Thunders of applause. Carlotta made her entrance.

"I wish I could but know who was he
That addressed me,
If he was noble, or, at least, what his name is..."

When Margarita had finished singing the ballad of the KING OF THULE,
she was loudly cheered and again when she came to the end
of the jewel song:

"Ah, the joy of past compare
These jewels bright to wear!..."

Thenceforth, certain of herself, certain of her friends in the house,
certain of her voice and her success, fearing nothing, Carlotta flung
herself into her part without restraint of modesty....She was no
longer Margarita, she was Carmen. She was applauded all the more;
and her debut with Faust seemed about to bring her a new success,
when suddenly...a terrible thing happened.

Faust had knelt on one knee:

"Let me gaze on the form below me,
While from yonder ether blue
Look how the star of eve, bright and tender,
lingers o'er me,
To love thy beauty too!"

And Margarita replied:

"Oh, how strange!
Like a spell does the evening bind me!
And a deep languid charm
I feel without alarm
With its melody enwind me
And all my heart subdue."

At that moment, at that identical moment, the terrible thing happened.
...Carlotta croaked like a toad:


There was consternation on Carlotta's face and consternation on
the faces of all the audience. The two managers in their box could
not suppress an exclamation of horror. Every one felt that the thing
was not natural, that there was witchcraft behind it. That toad
smelt of brimstone. Poor, wretched, despairing, crushed Carlotta!

The uproar in the house was indescribable. If the thing had
happened to any one but Carlotta, she would have been hooted.
But everybody knew how perfect an instrument her voice was;
and there was no display of anger, but only of horror and dismay,
the sort of dismay which men would have felt if they had witnessed
the catastrophe that broke the arms of the Venus de Milo.
... And even then they would have seen...and understood...

But here that toad was incomprehensible! So much so that,
after some seconds spent in asking herself if she had really
heard that note, that sound, that infernal noise issue from
her throat, she tried to persuade herself that it was not so,
that she was the victim of an illusion, an illusion of the ear,
and not of an act of treachery on the part of her voice. ...

Meanwhile, in Box Five, Moncharmin and Richard had turned very pale.
This extraordinary and inexplicable incident filled them with a dread
which was the more mysterious inasmuch as for some little while,
they had fallen within the direct influence of the ghost. They had
felt his breath. Moncharmin's hair stood on end. Richard wiped the
perspiration from his forehead. Yes, the ghost was there, around them,
behind them, beside them; they felt his presence without seeing him,
they heard his breath, close, close, close to them!...They were
sure that there were three people in the box....They trembled
....They thought of running away....They dared not....
They dared not make a movement or exchange a word that would
have told the ghost that they knew that he was there!...What
was going to happen?

This happened.

"Co-ack!" Their joint exclamation of horror was heard all over the house.
Leaning over the ledge of their box, they stared at Carlotta
as though they did not recognize her. That infernal girl must
have given the signal for some catastrophe. Ah, they were waiting
for the catastrophe! The ghost had told them it would come!
The house had a curse upon it! The two managers gasped and panted
under the weight of the catastrophe. Richard's stifled voice was
heard calling to Carlotta:

"Well, go on!"

No, Carlotta did not go on....Bravely, heroically, she started
afresh on the fatal line at the end of which the toad had appeared.

An awful silence succeeded the uproar. Carlotta's voice alone once
more filled the resounding house:

"I feel without alarm..."

The audience also felt, but not without alarm. ..

"I feel without alarm...
I feel without alarm--co-ack!
With its melody enwind me--co-ack!
And all my heart sub--co-ack!"

The toad also had started afresh!

The house broke into a wild tumult. The two managers collapsed
in their chairs and dared not even turn round; they had not
the strength; the ghost was chuckling behind their backs!
And, at last, they distinctly heard his voice in their right ears,
the impossible voice, the mouthless voice, saying:


With one accord, they raised their eyes to the ceiling and uttered
a terrible cry. The chandelier, the immense mass of the chandelier was
slipping down, coming toward them, at the call of that fiendish voice.
Released from its hook, it plunged from the ceiling and came smashing
into the middle of the stalls, amid a thousand shouts of terror.
A wild rush for the doors followed.

The papers of the day state that there were numbers wounded
and one killed. The chandelier had crashed down upon the head
of the wretched woman who had come to the Opera for the first time
in her life, the one whom M. Richard had appointed to succeed
Mme. Giry, the ghost's box-keeper, in her functions! She died on
the spot and, the next morning, a newspaper appeared with this heading:


That was her sole epitaph!

Chapter VIII The Mysterious Brougham

That tragic evening was bad for everybody. Carlotta fell ill.
As for Christine Daae, she disappeared after the performance.
A fortnight elapsed during which she was seen neither at the Opera
nor outside.

Raoul, of course, was the first to be astonished at the prima
donna's absence. He wrote to her at Mme. Valerius' flat and received
no reply. His grief increased and he ended by being seriously alarmed
at never seeing her name on the program. FAUST was played without her.

One afternoon he went to the managers' office to ask the reason
of Christine's disappearance. He found them both looking
extremely worried. Their own friends did not recognize them:
they had lost all their gaiety and spirits. They were seen crossing
the stage with hanging heads, care-worn brows, pale cheeks, as though
pursued by some abominable thought or a prey to some persistent sport
of fate.

The fall of the chandelier had involved them in no little responsibility;
but it was difficult to make them speak about it. The inquest had
ended in a verdict of accidental death, caused by the wear and tear
of the chains by which the chandelier was hung from the ceiling;
but it was the duty of both the old and the new managers to have
discovered this wear and tear and to have remedied it in time.
And I feel bound to say that MM. Richard and Moncharmin at this
time appeared so changed, so absent-minded, so mysterious,
so incomprehensible that many of the subscribers thought that some
event even more horrible than the fall of the chandelier must
have affected their state of mind.

In their daily intercourse, they showed themselves very impatient,
except with Mme. Giry, who had been reinstated in her functions.
And their reception of the Vicomte de Chagny, when he came to ask
about Christine, was anything but cordial. They merely told him
that she was taking a holiday. He asked how long the holiday was for,
and they replied curtly that it was for an unlimited period,
as Mlle. Daae had requested leave of absence for reasons of health.

"Then she is ill!" he cried. "What is the matter with her?"

"We don't know."

"Didn't you send the doctor of the Opera to see her?"

"No, she did not ask for him; and, as we trust her, we took her word."

Raoul left the building a prey to the gloomiest thoughts. He resolved,
come what might, to go and inquire of Mamma Valerius. He remembered
the strong phrases in Christine's letter, forbidding him to make
any attempt to see her. But what he had seen at Perros, what he had
heard behind the dressing-room door, his conversation with Christine
at the edge of the moor made him suspect some machination which,
devilish though it might be, was none the less human. The girl's
highly strung imagination, her affectionate and credulous mind,
the primitive education which had surrounded her childhood with a
circle of legends, the constant brooding over her dead father and,
above all, the state of sublime ecstasy into which music threw her
from the moment that this art was made manifest to her in certain
exceptional conditions, as in the churchyard at Perros; all this
seemed to him to constitute a moral ground only too favorable for
the malevolent designs of some mysterious and unscrupulous person.
Of whom was Christine Daae the victim? This was the very reasonable
question which Raoul put to himself as he hurried off to Mamma Valerius.

He trembled as he rang at a little flat in the Rue Notre-Dame-des-Victoires.
The door was opened by the maid whom he had seen coming out of Christine's
dressing-room one evening. He asked if he could speak to Mme. Valerius.
He was told that she was ill in bed and was not receiving visitors.

"Take in my card, please," he said.

The maid soon returned and showed him into a small and scantily
furnished drawing-room, in which portraits of Professor Valerius
and old Daae hung on opposite walls.

"Madame begs Monsieur le Vicomte to excuse her," said the servant.
"She can only see him in her bedroom, because she can no longer stand
on her poor legs."

Five minutes later, Raoul was ushered into an ill-lit room where he
at once recognized the good, kind face of Christine's benefactress
in the semi-darkness of an alcove. Mamma Valerius' hair was now
quite white, but her eyes had grown no older; never, on the contrary,
had their expression been so bright, so pure, so child-like.

"M. de Chagny!" she cried gaily, putting out both her hands to her visitor.
"Ah, it's Heaven that sends you here!...We can talk of HER."

This last sentence sounded very gloomily in the young man's ears.
He at once asked:

"Madame...where is Christine?"

And the old lady replied calmly:

"She is with her good genius!"

"What good genius?" exclaimed poor Raoul.

"Why, the Angel of Music!"

The viscount dropped into a chair. Really? Christine was with
the Angel of Music? And there lay Mamma Valerius in bed, smiling to
him and putting her finger to her lips, to warn him to be silent!
And she added:

"You must not tell anybody!"

"You can rely on me," said Raoul.

He hardly knew what he was saying, for his ideas about Christine,
already greatly confused, were becoming more and more entangled;
and it seemed as if everything was beginning to turn around him,
around the room, around that extraordinary good lady with the white hair
and forget-me-not eyes.

"I know! I know I can!" she said, with a happy laugh. "But why don't
you come near me, as you used to do when you were a little boy?
Give me your hands, as when you brought me the story of little Lotte,
which Daddy Daae had told you. I am very fond of you, M. Raoul,
you know. And so is Christine too!"

"She is fond of me!" sighed the young man. He found a difficulty
in collecting his thoughts and bringing them to bear on Mamma Valerius'
"good genius," on the Angel of Music of whom Christine had spoken
to him so strangely, on the death's head which he had seen in a sort
of nightmare on the high altar at Perros and also on the Opera ghost,
whose fame had come to his ears one evening when he was standing
behind the scenes, within hearing of a group of scene-shifters
who were repeating the ghastly description which the hanged man,
Joseph Buquet, had given of the ghost before his mysterious death.

He asked in a low voice: "What makes you think that Christine
is fond of me, madame?"

"She used to speak of you every day."

"Really?...And what did she tell you?"

"She told me that you had made her a proposal!"

And the good old lady began laughing wholeheartedly. Raoul sprang
from his chair, flushing to the temples, suffering agonies.

"What's this? Where are you going? Sit down again at once,
will you?...Do you think I will let you go like that?...If
you're angry with me for laughing, I beg your pardon. .. After all,
what has happened isn't your fault. .. Didn't you know?...Did
you think that Christine was free?..."

"Is Christine engaged to be married?" the wretched Raoul asked,
in a choking voice.

"Why no! Why no!...You know as well as I do that Christine
couldn't marry, even if she wanted to!"

"But I don't know anything about it!...And why can't Christine marry?"

"Because of the Angel of Music, of course!..."

"I don't follow..."

"Yes, he forbids her to!..."

"He forbids her!...The Angel of Music forbids her to marry!"

"Oh, he forbids her...without forbidding her. It's like this:
he tells her that, if she got married, she would never hear
him again. That's all!...And that he would go away for ever!
.. So, you understand, she can't let the Angel of Music go.
It's quite natural."

"Yes, yes," echoed Raoul submissively, "it's quite natural."

"Besides, I thought Christine had told you all that, when she met
you at Perros, where she went with her good genius."

"Oh, she went to Perros with her good genius, did she?"

"That is to say, he arranged to meet her down there,
in Perros churchyard, at Daae's grave. He promised
to play her The Resurrection of Lazarus on her father's violin!"

Raoul de Chagny rose and, with a very authoritative air,
pronounced these peremptory words:

"Madame, you will have the goodness to tell me where that genius lives."

The old lady did not seem surprised at this indiscreet command.
She raised her eyes and said:

"In Heaven!"

Such simplicity baffled him. He did not know what to say in
the presence of this candid and perfect faith in a genius who came
down nightly from Heaven to haunt the dressing-rooms at the Opera.

He now realized the possible state of mind of a girl brought up
between a superstitious fiddler and a visionary old lady and he
shuddered when he thought of the consequences of it all.

"Is Christine still a good girl?" he asked suddenly, in spite
of himself.

"I swear it, as I hope to be saved!" exclaimed the
old woman, who, this time, seemed to be incensed.
"And, if you doubt it, sir, I don't know what you are here for!"

Raoul tore at his gloves.

"How long has she known this `genius?'"

"About three months....Yes, it's quite three months since he
began to give her lessons."

The viscount threw up his arms with a gesture of despair.

"The genius gives her lessons!...And where, pray?"

"Now that she has gone away with him, I can't say; but, up to a fortnight
ago, it was in Christine's dressing-room. It would be impossible in this
little flat. The whole house would hear them. Whereas, at the Opera,
at eight o'clock in the morning, there is no one about, do you see!"

"Yes, I see! I see!" cried the viscount.

And he hurriedly took leave of Mme. Valerius, who asked herself
if the young nobleman was not a little off his head.

He walked home to his brother's house in a pitiful state.
He could have struck himself, banged his head against the walls!
To think that he had believed in her innocence, in her purity!
The Angel of Music! He knew him now! He saw him! It was beyond
a doubt some unspeakable tenor, a good-looking jackanapes, who mouthed
and simpered as he sang! He thought himself as absurd and as wretched
as could be. Oh, what a miserable, little, insignificant, silly young
man was M. le Vicomte de Chagny! thought Raoul, furiously. And she,
what a bold and damnable sly creature!

His brother was waiting for him and Raoul fell into his arms,
like a child. The count consoled him, without asking for explanations;
and Raoul would certainly have long hesitated before telling him
the story of the Angel of Music. His brother suggested taking him
out to dinner. Overcome as he was with despair, Raoul would probably
have refused any invitation that evening, if the count had not,
as an inducement, told him that the lady of his thoughts had been seen,
the night before, in company of the other sex in the Bois.
At first, the viscount refused to believe; but he received such exact
details that he ceased protesting. She had been seen, it appeared,
driving in a brougham, with the window down. She seemed to be slowly
taking in the icy night air. There was a glorious moon shining.
She was recognized beyond a doubt. As for her companion, only his
shadowy outline was distinguished leaning back in the dark.
The carriage was going at a walking pace in a lonely drive behind
the grand stand at Longchamp.

Raoul dressed in frantic haste, prepared to forget his distress
by flinging himself, as people say, into "the vortex of pleasure."
Alas, he was a very sorry guest and, leaving his brother early,
found himself, by ten o'clock in the evening, in a cab,
behind the Longchamp race-course.

It was bitterly cold. The road seemed deserted and very bright
under the moonlight. He told the driver to wait for him patiently at
the corner of a near turning and, hiding himself as well as he could,
stood stamping his feet to keep warm. He had been indulging
in this healthy exercise for half an hour or so, when a carriage
turned the corner of the road and came quietly in his direction,
at a walking pace.

As it approached, he saw that a woman was leaning her head from
the window. And, suddenly, the moon shed a pale gleam over her features.


The sacred name of his love had sprung from his heart and his lips.
He could not keep it back. .. He would have given anything
to withdraw it, for that name, proclaimed in the stillness of
the night, had acted as though it were the preconcerted signal
for a furious rush on the part of the whole turn-out, which dashed
past him before he could put into execution his plan of leaping
at the horses' heads. The carriage window had been closed and
the girl's face had disappeared. And the brougham, behind which
he was now running, was no more than a black spot on the white road.

He called out again: "Christine!"

No reply. And he stopped in the midst of the silence.

With a lack-luster eye, he stared down that cold, desolate road
and into the pale, dead night. Nothing was colder than his heart,
nothing half so dead: he had loved an angel and now he despised
a woman!

Raoul, how that little fairy of the North has trifled with you!
Was it really, was it really necessary to have so fresh and young
a face, a forehead so shy and always ready to cover itself with
the pink blush of modesty in order to pass in the lonely night,
in a carriage and pair, accompanied by a mysterious lover?
Surely there should be some limit to hypocrisy and lying!...

She had passed without answering his cry....And he was thinking
of dying; and he was twenty years old!...

His valet found him in the morning sitting on his bed. He had not
undressed and the servant feared, at the sight of his face, that some
disaster had occurred. Raoul snatched his letters from the man's hands.
He had recognized Christine's paper and hand-writing. She said:


Go to the masked ball at the Opera on the night after to-morrow.
At twelve o'clock, be in the little room behind the chimney-place
of the big crush-room. Stand near the door that leads to the Rotunda.
Don't mention this appointment to any one on earth. Wear a white
domino and be carefully masked. As you love me, do not let yourself
be recognized. CHRISTINE.

Chapter IX At the Masked Ball

The envelope was covered with mud and unstamped. It bore the words
"To be handed to M. le Vicomte Raoul de Chagny," with the address
in pencil. It must have been flung out in the hope that a passer-by
would pick up the note and deliver it, which was what happened.
The note had been picked up on the pavement of the Place de l'Opera.

Raoul read it over again with fevered eyes. No more was needed
to revive his hope. The somber picture which he had for a moment
imagined of a Christine forgetting her duty to herself made way
for his original conception of an unfortunate, innocent child,
the victim of imprudence and exaggerated sensibility. To what extent,
at this time, was she really a victim? Whose prisoner was she?
Into what whirlpool had she been dragged? He asked himself these
questions with a cruel anguish; but even this pain seemed endurable
beside the frenzy into which he was thrown at the thought of a lying
and deceitful Christine. What had happened? What influence had
she undergone? What monster had carried her off and by what means?

By what means indeed but that of music? He knew Christine's story.
After her father's death, she acquired a distaste of everything in life,
including her art. She went through the CONSERVATOIRE like a poor
soulless singing-machine. And, suddenly, she awoke as though through the
intervention of a god. The Angel of Music appeared upon the scene!
She sang Margarita in FAUST and triumphed!...

The Angel of Music!...For three months the Angel of Music had been
giving Christine lessons....Ah, he was a punctual singing-master!...
And now he was taking her for drives in the Bois!...

Raoul's fingers clutched at his flesh, above his jealous heart.
In his inexperience, he now asked himself with terror what game
the girl was playing? Up to what point could an opera-singer make
a fool of a good-natured young man, quite new to love? O misery!...

Thus did Raoul's thoughts fly from one extreme to the other.
He no longer knew whether to pity Christine or to curse her;
and he pitied and cursed her turn and turn about. At all events,
he bought a white domino.

The hour of the appointment came at last. With his face in a mask
trimmed with long, thick lace, looking like a pierrot in his white wrap,
the viscount thought himself very ridiculous. Men of the world
do not go to the Opera ball in fancy-dress! It was absurd.
One thought, however, consoled the viscount: he would certainly
never be recognized!

This ball was an exceptional affair, given some time before Shrovetide,
in honor of the anniversary of the birth of a famous draftsman;
and it was expected to be much gayer, noisier, more Bohemian than
the ordinary masked ball. Numbers of artists had arranged to go,
accompanied by a whole cohort of models and pupils, who, by midnight,
began to create a tremendous din. Raoul climbed the grand staircase
at five minutes to twelve, did not linger to look at the motley
dresses displayed all the way up the marble steps, one of the richest
settings in the world, allowed no facetious mask to draw him into
a war of wits, replied to no jests and shook off the bold familiarity
of a number of couples who had already become a trifle too gay.
Crossing the big crush-room and escaping from a mad whirl of dancers
in which he was caught for a moment, he at last entered the room
mentioned in Christine's letter. He found it crammed; for this
small space was the point where all those who were going to supper
in the Rotunda crossed those who were returning from taking a glass
of champagne. The fun, here, waxed fast and furious.

Raoul leaned against a door-post and waited. He did not wait long.
A black domino passed and gave a quick squeeze to the tips of
his fingers. He understood that it was she and followed her:

"Is that you, Christine?" he asked, between his teeth.

The black domino turned round promptly and raised her finger
to her lips, no doubt to warn him not to mention her name again.
Raoul continued to follow her in silence.

He was afraid of losing her, after meeting her again in such
strange circumstances. His grudge against her was gone. He no
longer doubted that she had "nothing to reproach herself with,"
however peculiar and inexplicable her conduct might seem. He was
ready to make any display of clemency, forgiveness or cowardice.
He was in love. And, no doubt, he would soon receive a very natural
explanation of her curious absence.

The black domino turned back from time to time to see if the white
domino was still following.

As Raoul once more passed through the great crush-room, this time
in the wake of his guide, he could not help noticing a group crowding
round a person whose disguise, eccentric air and gruesome appearance
were causing a sensation. It was a man dressed all in scarlet,
with a huge hat and feathers on the top of a wonderful death's head.
From his shoulders hung an immense red-velvet cloak, which trailed
along the floor like a king's train; and on this cloak was embroidered,
in gold letters, which every one read and repeated aloud,
"Don't touch me! I am Red Death stalking abroad!"

Then one, greatly daring, did try to touch him...but a skeleton
hand shot out of a crimson sleeve and violently seized the rash
one's wrist; and he, feeling the clutch of the knucklebones,
the furious grasp of Death, uttered a cry of pain and terror.
When Red Death released him at last, he ran away like a very madman,
pursued by the jeers of the bystanders.

It was at this moment that Raoul passed in front of the funereal
masquerader, who had just happened to turn in his direction.
And he nearly exclaimed:

"The death's head of Perros-Guirec!"

He had recognized him!...He wanted to dart forward, forgetting Christine;
but the black domino, who also seemed a prey to some strange excitement,
caught him by the arm and dragged him from the crush-room,
far from the mad crowd through which Red Death was stalking. ...

The black domino kept on turning back and, apparently, on two
occasions saw something that startled her, for she hurried
her pace and Raoul's as though they were being pursued.

They went up two floors. Here, the stairs and corridors
were almost deserted. The black domino opened the door of a
private box and beckoned to the white domino to follow her.
Then Christine, whom he recognized by the sound of her voice,
closed the door behind them and warned him, in a whisper,
to remain at the back of the box and on no account to show himself.
Raoul took off his mask. Christine kept hers on. And, when Raoul
was about to ask her to remove it, he was surprised to see her put
her ear to the partition and listen eagerly for a sound outside.
Then she opened the door ajar, looked out into the corridor and,
in a low voice, said:

"He must have gone up higher." Suddenly she exclaimed: "He is
coming down again!"

She tried to close the door, but Raoul prevented her; for he had seen,
on the top step of the staircase that led to the floor above,
A RED FOOT, followed by another...and slowly, majestically,
the whole scarlet dress of Red Death met his eyes. And he once
more saw the death's head of Perros-Guirec.

"It's he!" he exclaimed. "This time, he shall not escape me!..."

But Christian{sic} had slammed the door at the moment when Raoul
was on the point of rushing out. He tried to push her aside.

"Whom do you mean by `he'?" she asked, in a changed voice.
"Who shall not escape you?"

Raoul tried to overcome the girl's resistance by force, but she
repelled him with a strength which he would not have suspected in her.
He understood, or thought he understood, and at once lost his temper.

"Who?" he repeated angrily. "Why, he, the man who hides behind
that hideous mask of death!...The evil genius of the churchyard
at Perros!...Red Death!...In a word, madam, your friend...
your Angel of Music!...But I shall snatch off his mask,
as I shall snatch off my own; and, this time, we shall look each
other in the face, he and I, with no veil and no lies between us;
and I shall know whom you love and who loves you!"

He burst into a mad laugh, while Christine gave a disconsolate moan
behind her velvet mask. With a tragic gesture, she flung out her
two arms, which fixed a barrier of white flesh against the door.

"In the name of our love, Raoul, you shall not pass!..."

He stopped. What had she said?...In the name of their love?...
Never before had she confessed that she loved him. And yet she
had had opportunities enough....Pooh, her only object was to gain
a few seconds!...She wished to give the Red Death time to escape...
And, in accents of childish hatred, he said:

"You lie, madam, for you do not love me and you have never loved me!
What a poor fellow I must be to let you mock and flout me as you
have done! Why did you give me every reason for hope, at Perros...
for honest hope, madam, for I am an honest man and I believed you
to be an honest woman, when your only intention was to deceive me!
Alas, you have deceived us all! You have taken a shameful advantage
of the candid affection of your benefactress herself, who continues
to believe in your sincerity while you go about the Opera ball
with Red Death!...I despise you!..."

And he burst into tears. She allowed him to insult her.
She thought of but one thing, to keep him from leaving the box.

"You will beg my pardon, one day, for all those ugly words, Raoul,
and when you do I shall forgive you!"

He shook his head. "No, no, you have driven me mad! When I think
that I had only one object in life: to give my name to an opera wench!"

"Raoul!...How can you?"

"I shall die of shame!"

"No, dear, live!" said Christine's grave and changed voice.
"And...good-by. Good-by, Raoul..."

The boy stepped forward, staggering as he went. He risked one
more sarcasm:

"Oh, you must let me come and applaud you from time to time!"

"I shall never sing again, Raoul!..."

"Really?" he replied, still more satirically. "So he is taking
you off the stage: I congratulate you!...But we shall meet
in the Bois, one of these evenings!"

"Not in the Bois nor anywhere, Raoul: you shall not see me again

"May one ask at least to what darkness you are returning?...For
what hell are you leaving, mysterious lady...or for what paradise?"

"I came to tell you, dear, but I can't tell you now...you would
not believe me! You have lost faith in me, Raoul; it is finished!"

She spoke in such a despairing voice that the lad began to feel
remorse for his cruelty.

"But look here!" he cried. "Can't you tell me what all this means!
... You are free, there is no one to interfere with you. ...
You go about Paris....You put on a domino to come to the ball.
... Why do you not go home?...What have you been doing this
past fortnight?...What is this tale about the Angel of Music,
which you have been telling Mamma Valerius? Some one may have taken
you in, played upon your innocence. I was a witness of it myself,
at Perros...but you know what to believe now! You seem to me
quite sensible, Christine. You know what you are doing....And
meanwhile Mamma Valerius lies waiting for you at home and appealing
to your `good genius!'...Explain yourself, Christine, I beg of you!
Any one might have been deceived as I was. What is this farce?"

Christine simply took off her mask and said: "Dear, it is a tragedy!"

Raoul now saw her face and could not restrain an exclamation of
surprise and terror. The fresh complexion of former days was gone.
A mortal pallor covered those features, which he had known so
charming and so gentle, and sorrow had furrowed them with pitiless
lines and traced dark and unspeakably sad shadows under her eyes.

"My dearest! My dearest!" he moaned, holding out his arms.
"You promised to forgive me..."

"Perhaps!...Some day, perhaps!" she said, resuming her mask;
and she went away, forbidding him, with a gesture, to follow her.

He tried to disobey her; but she turned round and repeated her gesture
of farewell with such authority that he dared not move a step.

He watched her till she was out of sight. Then he also went down among
the crowd, hardly knowing what he was doing, with throbbing temples
and an aching heart; and, as he crossed the dancing-floor, he asked
if anybody had seen Red Death. Yes, every one had seen Red Death;
but Raoul could not find him; and, at two o'clock in the morning,
he turned down the passage, behind the scenes, that led to
Christine Daae's dressing-room.

His footsteps took him to that room where he had first known suffering.
He tapped at the door. There was no answer. He entered, as he
had entered when he looked everywhere for "the man's voice."
The room was empty. A gas-jet was burning, turned down low.
He saw some writing-paper on a little desk. He thought of writing
to Christine, but he heard steps in the passage. He had only time
to hide in the inner room, which was separated from the dressing-room
by a curtain.

Christine entered, took off her mask with a weary movement and flung
it on the table. She sighed and let her pretty head fall into her
two hands. What was she thinking of? Of Raoul? No, for Raoul
heard her murmur: "Poor Erik!"

At first, he thought he must be mistaken. To begin with, he was
persuaded that, if any one was to be pitied, it was he, Raoul.
It would have been quite natural if she had said, "Poor Raoul,"
after what had happened between them. But, shaking her head,
she repeated: "Poor Erik!"

What had this Erik to do with Christine's sighs and why was she
pitying Erik when Raoul was so unhappy?

Christine began to write, deliberately, calmly and so placidly
that Raoul, who was still trembling from the effects of the tragedy
that separated them, was painfully impressed.

"What coolness!" he said to himself.

She wrote on, filling two, three, four sheets. Suddenly, she raised
her head and hid the sheets in her bodice....She seemed
to be listening... Raoul also listened... Whence came
that strange sound, that distant rhythm?...A faint singing
seemed to issue from the walls...yes, it was as though
the walls themselves were singing!...The song became plainer
...the words were now distinguishable...he heard a voice,
a very beautiful, very soft, very captivating voice...but,
for all its softness, it remained a male voice...The voice came
nearer and nearer...it came through the wall...it approached
...and now the voice was IN THE ROOM, in front of Christine.
Christine rose and addressed the voice, as though speaking to some one:

"Here I am, Erik," she said. "I am ready. But you are late."

Raoul, peeping from behind the curtain, could not believe his eyes,
which showed him nothing. Christine's face lit up. A smile
of happiness appeared upon her bloodless lips, a smile like that
of sick people when they receive the first hope of recovery.

The voice without a body went on singing; and certainly Raoul had
never in his life heard anything more absolutely and heroically sweet,
more gloriously insidious, more delicate, more powerful, in short,
more irresistibly triumphant. He listened to it in a fever and he
now began to understand how Christine Daae was able to appear
one evening, before the stupefied audience, with accents of a beauty
hitherto unknown, of a superhuman exaltation, while doubtless still
under the influence of the mysterious and invisible master.

The voice was singing the Wedding-night Song from Romeo and Juliet.
Raoul saw Christine stretch out her arms to the voice as she
had done, in Perros churchyard, to the invisible violin playing The
Resurrection of Lazarus. And nothing could describe the passion
with which the voice sang:

"Fate links thee to me for ever and a day!"

The strains went through Raoul's heart. Struggling against the charm
that seemed to deprive him of all his will and all his energy and
of almost all his lucidity at the moment when he needed them most,
he succeeded in drawing back the curtain that hid him and he walked to
where Christine stood. She herself was moving to the back of the room,
the whole wall of which was occupied by a great mirror that reflected her
image, but not his, for he was just behind her and entirely covered by her.

"Fate links thee to me for ever and a day!"

Christine walked toward her image in the glass and the image came
toward her. The two Christines--the real one and the reflection--
ended by touching; and Raoul put out his arms to clasp the two
in one embrace. But, by a sort of dazzling miracle that sent
him staggering, Raoul was suddenly flung back, while an icy blast swept
over his face; he saw, not two, but four, eight, twenty Christines
spinning round him, laughing at him and fleeing so swiftly that he
could not touch one of them. At last, everything stood still again;
and he saw himself in the glass. But Christine had disappeared.

He rushed up to the glass. He struck at the walls. Nobody!
And meanwhile the room still echoed with a distant passionate singing:

"Fate links thee to me for ever and a day!"

Which way, which way had Christine gone?...Which way would she

Would she return? Alas, had she not declared to him that everything
was finished? And was the voice not repeating:

"Fate links thee to me for ever and a day!"

To me? To whom?

Then, worn out, beaten, empty-brained, he sat down on the chair
which Christine had just left. Like her, he let his head fall into
his hands. When he raised it, the tears were streaming down his
young cheeks, real, heavy tears like those which jealous children shed,
tears that wept for a sorrow which was in no way fanciful, but which
is common to all the lovers on earth and which he expressed aloud:

"Who is this Erik?" he said.

Chapter X Forget the Name of the Man's Voice

The day after Christine had vanished before his eyes in a sort
of dazzlement that still made him doubt the evidence of his senses,
M. le Vicomte de Chagny called to inquire at Mamma Valerius'.
He came upon a charming picture. Christine herself was seated
by the bedside of the old lady, who was sitting up against
the pillows, knitting. The pink and white had returned to the young
girl's cheeks. The dark rings round her eyes had disappeared.
Raoul no longer recognized the tragic face of the day before.
If the veil of melancholy over those adorable features had not
still appeared to the young man as the last trace of the weird
drama in whose toils that mysterious child was struggling,
he could have believed that Christine was not its heroine at all.

She rose, without showing any emotion, and offered him her hand.
But Raoul's stupefaction was so great that he stood there dumfounded,
without a gesture, without a word.

"Well, M. de Chagny," exclaimed Mamma Valerius, "don't you know
our Christine? Her good genius has sent her back to us!"

"Mamma!" the girl broke in promptly, while a deep blush mantled to
her eyes. "I thought, mamma, that there was to be no more question
of that!...You know there is no such thing as the Angel of Music!"

"But, child, he gave you lessons for three months!"

"Mamma, I have promised to explain everything to you one of these days;
and I hope to do so but you have promised me, until that day,
to be silent and to ask me no more questions whatever!"

"Provided that you promised never to leave me again! But have you
promised that, Christine?"

"Mamma, all this can not interest M. de Chagny."

"On the contrary, mademoiselle," said the young man, in a voice
which he tried to make firm and brave, but which still trembled,
"anything that concerns you interests me to an extent which perhaps
you will one day understand. I do not deny that my surprise equals
my pleasure at finding you with your adopted mother and that,
after what happened between us yesterday, after what you said and
what I was able to guess, I hardly expected to see you here so soon.
I should be the first to delight at your return, if you were not
so bent on preserving a secrecy that may be fatal to you...and I
have been your friend too long not to be alarmed, with Mme. Valerius,
at a disastrous adventure which will remain dangerous so long as we
have not unraveled its threads and of which you will certainly end
by being the victim, Christine."

At these words, Mamma Valerius tossed about in her bed.

"What does this mean?" she cried. "Is Christine in danger?"

"Yes, madame," said Raoul courageously, notwithstanding the signs
which Christine made to him.

"My God!" exclaimed the good, simple old woman, gasping for breath.
"You must tell me everything, Christine! Why did you try to reassure me?
And what danger is it, M. de Chagny?"

"An impostor is abusing her good faith."

"Is the Angel of Music an impostor?"

"She told you herself that there is no Angel of Music."

"But then what is it, in Heaven's name? You will be the death
of me!"

"There is a terrible mystery around us, madame, around you,
around Christine, a mystery much more to be feared than any number
of ghosts or genii!"

Mamma Valerius turned a terrified face to Christine, who had already
run to her adopted mother and was holding her in her arms.

"Don't believe him, mummy, don't believe him," she repeated.

"Then tell me that you will never leave me again," implored the widow.

Christine was silent and Raoul resumed.

"That is what you must promise, Christine. It is the only thing
that can reassure your mother and me. We will undertake not to ask
you a single question about the past, if you promise us to remain
under our protection in future."

"That is an undertaking which I have not asked of you and a promise
which I refuse to make you!" said the young girl haughtily.
"I am mistress of my own actions, M. de Chagny: you have no right
to control them, and I will beg you to desist henceforth.
As to what I have done during the last fortnight, there is only one man
in the world who has the right to demand an account of me: my husband!
Well, I have no husband and I never mean to marry!"

She threw out her hands to emphasize her words and Raoul turned pale,
not only because of the words which he had heard, but because he
had caught sight of a plain gold ring on Christine's finger.

"You have no husband and yet you wear a wedding-ring."

He tried to seize her hand, but she swiftly drew it back.

"That's a present!" she said, blushing once more and vainly striving
to hide her embarrassment.

"Christine! As you have no husband, that ring can only have been
given by one who hopes to make you his wife! Why deceive us further?
Why torture me still more? That ring is a promise; and that promise
has been accepted!"

"That's what I said!" exclaimed the old lady.

"And what did she answer, madame?"

"What I chose," said Christine, driven to exasperation.
"Don't you think, monsieur, that this cross-examination has lasted
long enough? As far as I am concerned..."

Raoul was afraid to let her finish her speech. He interrupted her:

"I beg your pardon for speaking as I did, mademoiselle. You know
the good intentions that make me meddle, just now, in matters which,
you no doubt think, have nothing to do with me. But allow me to
tell you what I have seen--and I have seen more than you suspect,
Christine--or what I thought I saw, for, to tell you the truth,
I have sometimes been inclined to doubt the evidence of my eyes."

"Well, what did you see, sir, or think you saw?"

"I saw your ecstasy AT THE SOUND OF THE VOICE, Christine: the voice
that came from the wall or the next room to yours...yes,
YOUR ECSTASY! And that is what makes me alarmed on your behalf.
You are under a very dangerous spell. And yet it seems that you
are aware of the imposture, because you say to-day THAT THERE
IS NO ANGEL OF MUSIC! In that case, Christine, why did you follow
him that time? Why did you stand up, with radiant features,
as though you were really hearing angels?...Ah, it is a very
dangerous voice, Christine, for I myself, when I heard it, was so much
fascinated by it that you vanished before my eyes without my seeing
which way you passed! Christine, Christine, in the name of Heaven,
in the name of your father who is in Heaven now and who loved you
so dearly and who loved me too, Christine, tell us, tell your
benefactress and me, to whom does that voice belong? If you do,
we will save you in spite of yourself. Come, Christine, the name
of the man! The name of the man who had the audacity to put a ring
on your finger!"

"M. de Chagny," the girl declared coldly, "you shall never know!"

Thereupon, seeing the hostility with which her ward had addressed
the viscount, Mamma Valerius suddenly took Christine's part.

"And, if she does love that man, Monsieur le Vicomte, even then it
is no business of yours!"

"Alas, madame," Raoul humbly replied, unable to restrain his tears,
"alas, I believe that Christine really does love him!...But
it is not only that which drives me to despair; for what I am not
certain of, madame, is that the man whom Christine loves is worthy
of her love!"

"It is for me to be the judge of that, monsieur!" said Christine,
looking Raoul angrily in the face.

"When a man," continued Raoul, "adopts such romantic methods
to entice a young girl's affections. .."

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