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The Phantom of the Opera by Gaston Leroux

Part 3 out of 6

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"The man must be either a villain, or the girl a fool: is that it?"


"Raoul, why do you condemn a man whom you have never seen,
whom no one knows and about whom you yourself know nothing?"

"Yes, Christine....Yes....I at least know the name
that you thought to keep from me for ever....The name
of your Angel of Music, mademoiselle, is Erik!"

Christine at once betrayed herself. She turned as white as a sheet
and stammered: "Who told you?"

"You yourself!"

"How do you mean?"

"By pitying him the other night, the night of the masked ball.
When you went to your dressing-room, did you not say, `Poor Erik?'
Well, Christine, there was a poor Raoul who overheard you."

"This is the second time that you have listened behind the door,
M. de Chagny!"

"I was not behind the door...I was in the dressing-room,
in the inner room, mademoiselle."

"Oh, unhappy man!" moaned the girl, showing every sign
of unspeakable terror. "Unhappy man! Do you want to be killed?"


Raoul uttered this "perhaps" with so much love and despair in his
voice that Christine could not keep back a sob. She took his hands
and looked at him with all the pure affection of which she was capable:

"Raoul," she said, "forget THE MAN'S VOICE and do not even remember
its name. .. You must never try to fathom the mystery of THE

"Is the mystery so very terrible?"

"There is no more awful mystery on this earth. Swear to me that you
will make no attempt to find out," she insisted. "Swear to me
that you will never come to my dressing-room, unless I send for you."

"Then you promise to send for me sometimes, Christine?"

"I promise."



"Then I swear to do as you ask."

He kissed her hands and went away, cursing Erik and resolving
to be patient.

Chapter XI Above the Trap-Doors

The next day, he saw her at the Opera. She was still wearing
the plain gold ring. She was gentle and kind to him. She talked
to him of the plans which he was forming, of his future, of his career.

He told her that the date of the Polar expedition had been put forward
and that he would leave France in three weeks, or a month at latest.
She suggested, almost gaily, that he must look upon the voyage
with delight, as a stage toward his coming fame. And when he
replied that fame without love was no attraction in his eyes,
she treated him as a child whose sorrows were only short-lived.

"How can you speak so lightly of such serious things?" he asked.
"Perhaps we shall never see each other again! I may die during
that expedition."

"Or I," she said simply.

She no longer smiled or jested. She seemed to be thinking
of some new thing that had entered her mind for the first time.
Her eyes were all aglow with it.

"What are you thinking of, Christine?"

"I am thinking that we shall not see each other again..."

"And does that make you so radiant?"

"And that, in a month, we shall have to say good-by for ever!"

"Unless, Christine, we pledge our faith and wait for each other
for ever."

She put her hand on his mouth.

"Hush, Raoul!...You know there is no question of that...
And we shall never be married: that is understood!"

She seemed suddenly almost unable to contain an overpowering gaiety.
She clapped her hands with childish glee. Raoul stared at her
in amazement.

"But...but," she continued, holding out her two hands to Raoul,
or rather giving them to him, as though she had suddenly resolved
to make him a present of them, "but if we can not be married, we can
... we can be engaged! Nobody will know but ourselves, Raoul.
There have been plenty of secret marriages: why not a secret
engagement?...We are engaged, dear, for a month! In a month,
you will go away, and I can be happy at the thought of that month
all my life long!"

She was enchanted with her inspiration. Then she became serious again.


Raoul jumped at the idea. He bowed to Christine and said:

"Mademoiselle, I have the honor to ask for your hand."

"Why, you have both of them already, my dear betrothed!...
Oh, Raoul, how happy we shall be!...We must play at being
engaged all day long."

It was the prettiest game in the world and they enjoyed it like
the children that they were. Oh, the wonderful speeches they made
to each other and the eternal vows they exchanged! They played at
hearts as other children might play at ball; only, as it was really
their two hearts that they flung to and fro, they had to be very,
very handy to catch them, each time, without hurting them.

One day, about a week after the game began, Raoul's heart was badly
hurt and he stopped playing and uttered these wild words:

"I shan't go to the North Pole!"

Christine, who, in her innocence, had not dreamed of such a possibility,
suddenly discovered the danger of the game and reproached herself bitterly.
She did not say a word in reply to Raoul's remark and went straight home.

This happened in the afternoon, in the singer's dressing-room,
where they met every day and where they amused themselves by dining
on three biscuits, two glasses of port and a bunch of violets.
In the evening, she did not sing; and he did not receive his
usual letter, though they had arranged to write to each other daily
during that month. The next morning, he ran off to Mamma Valerius,
who told him that Christine had gone away for two days. She had
left at five o'clock the day before.

Raoul was distracted. He hated Mamma Valerius for giving him such
news as that with such stupefying calmness. He tried to sound her,
but the old lady obviously knew nothing.

Christine returned on the following day. She returned in triumph.
She renewed her extraordinary success of the gala performance.
Since the adventure of the "toad," Carlotta had not been able
to appear on the stage. The terror of a fresh "co-ack" filled her
heart and deprived her of all her power of singing; and the theater
that had witnessed her incomprehensible disgrace had become odious
to her. She contrived to cancel her contract. Daae was offered
the vacant place for the time. She received thunders of applause in
the Juive.

The viscount, who, of course, was present, was the only one
to suffer on hearing the thousand echoes of this fresh triumph;
for Christine still wore her plain gold ring. A distant voice
whispered in the young man's ear:

"She is wearing the ring again to-night; and you did not give it
to her. She gave her soul again tonight and did not give it to you.
... If she will not tell you what she has been doing the past two
days...you must go and ask Erik!"

He ran behind the scenes and placed himself in her way. She saw
him for her eyes were looking for him. She said:

"Quick! Quick!...Come!"

And she dragged him to her dressing-room.

Raoul at once threw himself on his knees before her. He swore
to her that he would go and he entreated her never again to withhold
a single hour of the ideal happiness which she had promised him.
She let her tears flow. They kissed like a despairing brother
and sister who have been smitten with a common loss and who meet
to mourn a dead parent.

Suddenly, she snatched herself from the young man's soft and timid
embrace, seemed to listen to something, and, with a quick gesture,
pointed to the door. When he was on the threshold, she said,
in so low a voice that the viscount guessed rather than heard her words:

"To-morrow, my dear betrothed! And be happy, Raoul: I sang
for you to-night!"

He returned the next day. But those two days of absence had broken
the charm of their delightful make-believe. They looked at each other,
in the dressing-room, with their sad eyes, without exchanging a word.
Raoul had to restrain himself not to cry out:

"I am jealous! I am jealous! I am jealous!"

But she heard him all the same. Then she said:

"Come for a walk, dear. The air will do you good."

Raoul thought that she would propose a stroll in the country,
far from that building which he detested as a prison whose jailer
he could feel walking within the walls...the jailer Erik....
But she took him to the stage and made him sit on the wooden
curb of a well, in the doubtful peace and coolness of a first scene
set for the evening's performance.

On another day, she wandered with him, hand in, hand, along the deserted
paths of a garden whose creepers had been cut out by a decorator's
skilful hands. It was as though the real sky, the real flowers,
the real earth were forbidden her for all time and she condemned
to breathe no other air than that of the theater. An occasional
fireman passed, watching over their melancholy idyll from afar.
And she would drag him up above the clouds, in the magnificent
disorder of the grid, where she loved to make him giddy by running
in front of him along the frail bridges, among the thousands of ropes
fastened to the pulleys, the windlasses, the rollers, in the midst
of a regular forest of yards and masts. If he hesitated, she said,
with an adorable pout of her lips:

"You, a sailor!"

And then they returned to terra firma, that is to say, to some
passage that led them to the little girls' dancing-school, where
brats between six and ten were practising their steps, in the hope
of becoming great dancers one day, "covered with diamonds...."
Meanwhile, Christine gave them sweets instead.

She took him to the wardrobe and property-rooms, took him all over
her empire, which was artificial, but immense, covering seventeen
stories from the ground-floor to the roof and inhabited by an
army of subjects. She moved among them like a popular queen,
encouraging them in their labors, sitting down in the workshops,
giving words of advice to the workmen whose hands hesitated to cut
into the rich stuffs that were to clothe heroes. There were
inhabitants of that country who practised every trade. There
were cobblers, there were goldsmiths. All had learned to know
her and to love her, for she always interested herself in all
their troubles and all their little hobbies.

She knew unsuspected corners that were secretly occupied by little
old couples. She knocked at their door and introduced Raoul to them
as a Prince Charming who had asked for her hand; and the two of them,
sitting on some worm-eaten "property," would listen to the legends
of the Opera, even as, in their childhood, they had listened to the old
Breton tales. Those old people remembered nothing outside the Opera.
They had lived there for years without number. Past managements
had forgotten them; palace revolutions had taken no notice of them;
the history of France had run its course unknown to them; and nobody
recollected their existence.

The precious days sped in this way; and Raoul and Christine,
by affecting excessive interest in outside matters, strove awkwardly
to hide from each other the one thought of their hearts. One fact
was certain, that Christine, who until then had shown herself
the stronger of the two, became suddenly inexpressibly nervous.
When on their expeditions, she would start running without reason
or else suddenly stop; and her hand, turning ice-cold in a moment,
would hold the young man back. Sometimes her eyes seemed to
pursue imaginary shadows. She cried, "This way," and "This way,"
and "This way," laughing a breathless laugh that often ended
in tears. Then Raoul tried to speak, to question her, in spite
of his promises. But, even before he had worded his question,
she answered feverishly:

"Nothing...I swear it is nothing."

Once, when they were passing before an open trapdoor on the stage,
Raoul stopped over the dark cavity.

"You have shown me over the upper part of your empire, Christine,
but there are strange stories told of the lower part. Shall we
go down?"

She caught him in her arms, as though she feared to see him disappear
down the black hole, and, in a trembling voice, whispered:

"Never!...I will not have you go there!...Besides, it's not

Raoul looked her in the eyes and said roughly:

"So he lives down there, does he?"

"I never said so....Who told you a thing like that? Come away!
I sometimes wonder if you are quite sane, Raoul....You always
take things in such an impossible way....Come along! Come!"

And she literally dragged him away, for he was obstinate and wanted
to remain by the trap-door; that hole attracted him.

Suddenly, the trap-door was closed and so quickly that they did
not even see the hand that worked it; and they remained quite dazed.

"Perhaps HE was there," Raoul said, at last.

She shrugged her shoulders, but did not seem easy.

"No, no, it was the `trap-door-shutters.' They must do something,
you know....They open and shut the trap-doors without
any particular reason....It's like the `door-shutters:'
they must spend their time somehow."

"But suppose it were HE, Christine?"

"No, no! He has shut himself up, he is working."

"Oh, really! He's working, is he?"

"Yes, he can't open and shut the trap-doors and work at the same time."
She shivered.

"What is he working at?"

"Oh, something terrible!...But it's all the better for us.
...When he's working at that, he sees nothing; he does not eat,
drink, or breathe for days and nights at a time...he becomes a
living dead man and has no time to amuse himself with the trap-doors."
She shivered again. She was still holding him in her arms.
Then she sighed and said, in her turn:

"Suppose it were HE!"

"Are you afraid of him?"

"No, no, of course not," she said.

For all that, on the next day and the following days, Christine was
careful to avoid the trap-doors. Her agitation only increased as
the hours passed. At last, one afternoon, she arrived very late,
with her face so desperately pale and her eyes so desperately red,
that Raoul resolved to go to all lengths, including that which he
foreshadowed when he blurted out that he would not go on the North Pole
expedition unless she first told him the secret of the man's voice.

"Hush! Hush, in Heaven's name! Suppose HE heard you,
you unfortunate Raoul!"

And Christine's eyes stared wildly at everything around her.

"I will remove you from his power, Christine, I swear it.
And you shall not think of him any more."

"Is it possible?"

She allowed herself this doubt, which was an encouragernent,
while dragging the young man up to the topmost floor of the theater,
far, very far from the trap-doors.

"I shall hide you in some unknown corner of the world, where HE
can not come to look for you. You will be safe; and then I shall
go away...as you have sworn never to marry."

Christine seized Raoul's hands and squeezed them with incredible rapture.
But, suddenly becoming alarmed again, she turned away her head.

"Higher!" was all she said. "Higher still!"

And she dragged him up toward the summit.

He had a difficulty in following her. They were soon under
the very roof, in the maze of timber-work. They slipped
through the buttresses, the rafters, the joists; they ran
from beam to beam as they might have run from tree to tree in a forest.

And, despite the care which she took to look behind her at every moment,
she failed to see a shadow which followed her like her own shadow,
which stopped when she stopped, which started again when she did
and which made no more noise than a well-conducted shadow should.
As for Raoul, he saw nothing either; for, when he had Christine in
front of him, nothing interested him that happened behind.

Chapter XII Apollo's Lyre

On this way, they reached the roof. Christine tripped over it
as lightly as a swallow. Their eyes swept the empty space between
the three domes and the triangular pediment. She breathed freely
over Paris, the whole valley of which was seen at work below.
She called Raoul to come quite close to her and they walked side
by side along the zinc streets, in the leaden avenues; they looked
at their twin shapes in the huge tanks, full of stagnant water, where,
in the hot weather, the little boys of the ballet, a score or so,
learn to swim and dive.

The shadow had followed behind them clinging to their steps;
and the two children little suspected its presence when they at
last sat down, trustingly, under the mighty protection of Apollo,
who, with a great bronze gesture, lifted his huge lyre to the heart
of a crimson sky.

It was a gorgeous spring evening. Clouds, which had just received
their gossamer robe of gold and purple from the setting sun,
drifted slowly by; and Christine said to Raoul:

"Soon we shall go farther and faster than the clouds, to the end of
the world, and then you will leave me, Raoul. But, if, when the moment
comes for you to take me away, I refuse to go with you--well you must
carry me off by force!"

"Are you afraid that you will change your mind, Christine?"

"I don't know," she said, shaking her head in an odd fashion.
"He is a demon!" And she shivered and nestled in his arms with a moan.
"I am afraid now of going back to live with him...in the ground!"

"What compels you to go back, Christine?"

"If I do not go back to him, terrible misfortunes may happen!...
But I can't do it, I can't do it!...I know one ought to be sorry
for people who live underground....But he is too horrible!
And yet the time is at hand; I have only a day left; and, if I
do not go, he will come and fetch me with his voice. And he will
drag me with him, underground, and go on his knees before me,
with his death's head. And he will tell me that he loves me!
And he will cry! Oh, those tears, Raoul, those tears in the two
black eye-sockets of the death's head! I can not see those tears
flow again!"

She wrung her hands in anguish, while Raoul pressed her to his heart.

"No, no, you shall never again hear him tell you that he loves you!
You shall not see his tears! Let us fly, Christine, let us fly
at once!"

And he tried to drag her away, then and there. But she stopped him.

"No, no," she said, shaking her head sadly. "Not now!...It would
be too cruel...let him hear me sing to-morrow evening...and then
we will go away. You must come and fetch me in my dressing-room
at midnight exactly. He will then be waiting for me in the dining-room
by the lake...we shall be free and you shall take me away....
You must promise me that, Raoul, even if I refuse; for I feel that,
if I go back this time, I shall perhaps never return."

And she gave a sigh to which it seemed to her that another sigh,
behind her, replied.

"Didn't you hear?"

Her teeth chattered.

"No," said Raoul, "I heard nothing."

"It is too terrible," she confessed, "to be always trembling
like this!...And yet we run no danger here; we are at home,
in the sky, in the open air, in the light. The sun is flaming;
and night-birds can not bear to look at the sun. I have never seen
him by daylight...it must be awful!...Oh, the first time I
saw him!...I thought that he was going to die."

"Why?" asked Raoul, really frightened at the aspect which this
strange confidence was taking.


This time, Raoul and Christine turned round at the same time:

"There is some one in pain," said Raoul. "Perhaps some one has
been hurt. Did you hear?"

"I can't say," Christine confessed. "Even when he is not there,
my ears are full of his sighs. Still, if you heard..."

They stood up and looked around them. They were quite alone
on the immense lead roof. They sat down again and Raoul said:

"Tell me how you saw him first."

"I had heard him for three months without seeing him. The first time I
heard it, I thought, as you did, that that adorable voice was singing
in another room. I went out and looked everywhere; but, as you know,
Raoul, my dressing-room is very much by itself; and I could not find
the voice outside my room, whereas it went on steadily inside.
And it not only sang, but it spoke to me and answered my questions,
like a real man's voice, with this difference, that it was as beautiful
as the voice of an angel. I had never got the Angel of Music whom
my poor father had promised to send me as soon as he was dead.
I really think that Mamma Valerius was a little bit to blame.
I told her about it; and she at once said, `It must be the Angel;
at any rate, you can do no harm by asking him.' I did so;
and the man's voice replied that, yes, it was the Angel's voice,
the voice which I was expecting and which my father had promised me.
From that time onward, the voice and I became great friends.
It asked leave to give me lessons every day. I agreed and never failed
to keep the appointment which it gave me in my dressing-room. You
have no idea, though you have heard the voice, of what those lessons
were like."

"No, I have no idea," said Raoul. "What was your accompaniment?"

"We were accompanied by a music which I do not know: it was behind
the wall and wonderfully accurate. The voice seemed to understand
mine exactly, to know precisely where my father had left off
teaching me. In a few weeks' time, I hardly knew myself when I sang.
I was even frightened. I seemed to dread a sort of witchcraft
behind it; but Mamma Valerius reassured me. She said that she
knew I was much too simple a girl to give the devil a hold on me.
... My progress, by the voice's own order, was kept a secret
between the voice, Mamma Valerius and myself. It was a curious
thing, but, outside the dressing-room, I sang with my ordinary,
every-day voice and nobody noticed anything. I did all that the
voice asked. It said, `Wait and see: we shall astonish Paris!'
And I waited and lived on in a sort of ecstatic dream. It was then
that I saw you for the first time one evening, in the house.
I was so glad that I never thought of concealing my delight when I
reached my dressing-room. Unfortunately, the voice was there before
me and soon noticed, by my air, that something had happened.
It asked what was the matter and I saw no reason for keeping our
story secret or concealing the place which you filled in my heart.
Then the voice was silent. I called to it, but it did not reply;
I begged and entreated, but in vain. I was terrified lest it had
gone for good. I wish to Heaven it had, dear!...That night,
I went home in a desperate condition. I told Mamma Valerius, who said,
`Why, of course, the voice is jealous!' And that, dear, first revealed
to me that I loved you."

Christine stopped and laid her head on Raoul's shoulder. They sat
like that for a moment, in silence, and they did not see, did not
perceive the movement, at a few steps from them, of the creeping
shadow of two great black wings, a shadow that came along the roof
so near, so near them that it could have stifled them by closing
over them.

"The next day," Christine continued, with a sigh, "I went back
to my dressing-room in a very pensive frame of mind. The voice
was there, spoke to me with great sadness and told me plainly that,
if I must bestow my heart on earth, there was nothing for the voice
to do but to go back to Heaven. And it said this with such an accent
of HUMAN sorrow that I ought then and there to have suspected
and begun to believe that I was the victim of my deluded senses.
But my faith in the voice, with which the memory of my father
was so closely intermingled, remained undisturbed. I feared
nothing so much as that I might never hear it again; I had thought
about my love for you and realized all the useless danger of it;
and I did not even know if you remembered me. Whatever happened,
your position in society forbade me to contemplate the possibility
of ever marrying you; and I swore to the voice that you were no
more than a brother to me nor ever would be and that my heart was
incapable of any earthly love. And that, dear, was why I refused to
recognize or see you when I met you on the stage or in the passages.
Meanwhile, the hours during which the voice taught me were spent in
a divine frenzy, until, at last, the voice said to me, `You can now,
Christine Daae, give to men a little of the music of Heaven.'
I don't know how it was that Carlotta did not come to the theater
that night nor why I was called upon to sing in her stead; but I
sang with a rapture I had never known before and I felt for a moment
as if my soul were leaving my body!"

"Oh, Christine," said Raoul, "my heart quivered that night at every
accent of your voice. I saw the tears stream down your cheeks and I
wept with you. How could you sing, sing like that while crying?"

"I felt myself fainting," said Christine, "I closed my eyes.
When I opened them, you were by my side. But the voice was
there also, Raoul! I was afraid for your sake and again I would
not recognize you and began to laugh when you reminded me that
you had picked up my scarf in the sea!...Alas, there is no
deceiving the voice!...The voice recognized you and the voice
was jealous!...It said that, if I did not love you, I would not
avoid you, but treat you like any other old friend. It made me
scene upon scene. At last, I said to the voice, `That will do!
I am going to Perros to-morrow, to pray on my father's grave, and I
shall ask M. Raoul de Chagny to go with me.' `Do as you please,'
replied the voice, `but I shall be at Perros too, for I am wherever
you are, Christine; and, if you are still worthy of me, if you
have not lied to me, I will play you The Resurrection of Lazarus,
on the stroke of midnight, on your father's tomb and on your
father's violin.' That, dear, was how I came to write you the
letter that brought you to Perros. How could I have been
so beguiled? How was it, when I saw the personal, the selfish
point of view of the voice, that I did not suspect some impostor?
Alas, I was no longer mistress of myself: I had become his thing!"

"But, after all," cried Raoul, "you soon came to know the truth!
Why did you not at once rid yourself of that abominable nightmare?"

"Know the truth, Raoul? Rid myself of that nightmare? But, my poor boy,
I was not caught in the nightmare until the day when I learned
the truth!...Pity me, Raoul, pity me!...You remember
the terrible evening when Carlotta thought that she had been
turned into a toad on the stage and when the house was suddenly
plunged in darkness through the chandelier crashing to the floor?
There were killed and wounded that night and the whole theater rang
with terrified screams. My first thought was for you and the voice.
I was at once easy, where you were concerned, for I had seen you
in your brother's box and I knew that you were not in danger.
But the voice had told me that it would be at the performance and I
was really afraid for it, just as if it had been an ordinary person
who was capable of dying. I thought to myself, `The chandelier
may have come down upon the voice.' I was then on the stage
and was nearly running into the house, to look for the voice among
the killed and wounded, when I thought that, if the voice was safe,
it would be sure to be in my dressing-room and I rushed to my room.
The voice was not there. I locked my door and, with tears in my eyes,
besought it, if it were still alive, to manifest itself to me.
The voice did not reply, but suddenly I heard a long, beautiful wail
which I knew well. It is the plaint of Lazarus when, at the sound
of the Redeemer's voice, he begins to open his eyes and see the light
of day. It was the music which you and I, Raoul, heard at Perros.
And then the voice began to sing the leading phrase, "Come! And believe
in me! Whoso believes in me shall live! Walk! Whoso hath believed
in me shall never die!...' I can not tell you the effect which that
music had upon me. It seemed to command me, personally, to come,
to stand up and come to it. It retreated and I followed. `Come! And
believe in me!' I believed in it, I came....I came and--
this was the extraordinary thing--my dressing-room, as I moved,
seemed to lengthen out...to lengthen out....Evidently,
it must have been an effect of mirrors...for I had the mirror
in front of me....And, suddenly, I was outside the room without
knowing how!"

"What! Without knowing how? Christine, Christine, you must really
stop dreaming!"

"I was not dreaming, dear, I was outside my room without
knowing how. You, who saw me disappear from my room one evening,
may be able to explain it; but I can not. I can only tell you that,
suddenly, there was no mirror before me and no dressing-room.
I was in a dark passage, I was frightened and I cried out.
It was quite dark, but for a faint red glimmer at a distant corner
of the wall. I tried out. My voice was the only sound,
for the singing and the violin had stopped. And, suddenly,
a hand was laid on mine...or rather a stone-cold, bony thing
that seized my wrist and did not let go. I cried out again.
An arm took me round the waist and supported me. I struggled
for a little while and then gave up the attempt. I was dragged
toward the little red light and then I saw that I was in the hands
of a man wrapped in a large cloak and wearing a mask that hid
his whole face. I made one last effort; my limbs stiffened,
my mouth opened to scream, but a hand closed it, a hand which I
felt on my lips, on my skin...a hand that smelt of death.
Then I fainted away.

"When I opened my eyes, we were still surrounded by darkness.
A lantern, standing on the ground, showed a bubbling well.
The water splashing from the well disappeared, almost at once,
under the floor on which I was lying, with my head on the knee
of the man in the black cloak and the black mask. He was bathing
my temples and his hands smelt of death. I tried to push them
away and asked, `Who are you? Where is the voice?' His only
answer was a sigh. Suddenly, a hot breath passed over my face
and I perceived a white shape, beside the man's black shape,
in the darkness. The black shape lifted me on to the white shape,
a glad neighing greeted my astounded ears and I murmured,
`Cesar!' The animal quivered. Raoul, I was lying half back on
a saddle and I had recognized the white horse out of the PROFETA,
which I had so often fed with sugar and sweets. I remembered that,
one evening, there was a rumor in the theater that the horse
had disappeared and that it had been stolen by the Opera ghost.
I believed in the voice, but had never believed in the ghost.
Now, however, I began to wonder, with a shiver, whether I was
the ghost's prisoner. I called upon the voice to help me, for I
should never have imagined that the voice and the ghost were one.
You have heard about the Opera ghost, have you not, Raoul?"

"Yes, but tell me what happened when you were on the white horse
of the Profeta?"

"I made no movement and let myself go. The black shape held me up,
and I made no effort to escape. A curious feeling of peacefulness
came over me and I thought that I must be under the influence of
some cordial. I had the full command of my senses; and my eyes became
used to the darkness, which was lit, here and there, by fitful gleams.
I calculated that we were in a narrow circular gallery, probably running
all round the Opera, which is immense, underground. I had once
been down into those cellars, but had stopped at the third floor,
though there were two lower still, large enough to hold a town.
But the figures of which I caught sight had made me run away.
There are demons down there, quite black, standing in front of boilers,
and they wield shovels and pitchforks and poke up fires and stir up
flames and, if you come too near them, they frighten you by suddenly
opening the red mouths of their furnaces....Well, while Cesar was quietly
carrying me on his back, I saw those black demons in the distance,
looking quite small, in front of the red fires of their furnaces:
they came into sight, disappeared and came into sight again, as we
went on our winding way. At last, they disappeared altogether.
The shape was still holding me up and Cesar walked on, unled and
sure-footed. I could not tell you, even approximately, how long
this ride lasted; I only know that we seemed to turn and turn and
often went down a spiral stair into the very heart of the earth.
Even then, it may be that my head was turning, but I don't think so:
no, my mind was quite clear. At last, Cesar raised his nostrils,
sniffed the air and quickened his pace a little. I felt a moistness
in the air and Cesar stopped. The darkness had lifted. A sort
of bluey light surrounded us. We were on the edge of a lake,
whose leaden waters stretched into the distance, into the darkness;
but the blue light lit up the bank and I saw a little boat fastened
to an iron ring on the wharf!"

"A boat!"

"Yes, but I knew that all that existed and that there was nothing
supernatural about that underground lake and boat. But think of the
exceptional conditions in which I arrived upon that shore! I don't
know whether the effects of the cordial had worn off when the man's
shape lifted me into the boat, but my terror began all over again.
My gruesome escort must have noticed it, for he sent Cesar back
and I heard his hoofs trampling up a staircase while the man jumped
into the boat, untied the rope that held it and seized the oars.
He rowed with a quick, powerful stroke; and his eyes, under the mask,
never left me. We slipped across the noiseless water in the bluey
light which I told you of; then we were in the dark again and we
touched shore. And I was once more taken up in the man's arms.
I cried aloud. And then, suddenly, I was silent, dazed by the light.
...Yes, a dazzling light in the midst of which I had been put down.
I sprang to my feet. I was in the middle of a drawing-room that
seemed to me to be decorated, adorned and furnished with nothing
but flowers, flowers both magnificent and stupid, because of
the silk ribbons that tied them to baskets, like those which they
sell in the shops on the boulevards. They were much too civilized
flowers, like those which I used to find in my dressing-room
after a first night. And, in the midst of all these flowers,
stood the black shape of the man in the mask, with arms crossed,
and he said, `Don't be afraid, Christine; you are in no danger.'

"My anger equaled my amazement. I rushed at the mask and tried
to snatch it away, so as to see the face of the voice. The man said,
`You are in no danger, so long as you do not touch the mask.'
And, taking me gently by the wrists, he forced me into a chair
and then went down on his knees before me and said nothing more!
His humility gave me back some of my courage; and the light restored
me to the realties of life. However extraordinary the adventure might be,
I was now surrounded by mortal, visible, tangible things.
The furniture, the hangings, the candles, the vases and the very
flowers in their baskets, of which I could almost have told whence
they came and what they cost, were bound to confine my imagination
to the limits of a drawing-room quite as commonplace as any that,
at least, had the excuse of not being in the cellars of the Opera.
I had, no doubt, to do with a terrible, eccentric person, who, in some
mysterious fashion, had succeeded in taking up his abode there,
under the Opera house, five stories below the level of the ground.
And the voice, the voice which I had recognized under the mask,
was on its knees before me, WAS A MAN! And I began to cry. ...
The man, still kneeling, must have understood the cause of my tears,
for he said, `It is true, Christine!...I am not an Angel,
nor a genius, nor a ghost...I am Erik!'"

Christine's narrative was again interrupted. An echo behind them
seemed to repeat the word after her.


What echo?...They both turned round and saw that night had fallen.
Raoul made a movement as though to rise, but Christine kept him
beside her.

"Don't go," she said. "I want you to know everything HERE!"

"But why here, Christine? I am afraid of your catching cold."

"We have nothing to fear except the trap-doors, dear, and here we
are miles away from the trap-doors...and I am not allowed to
see you outside the theater. This is not the time to annoy him.
We must not arouse his suspicion."

"Christine! Christine! Something tells me that we are wrong
to wait till to-morrow evening and that we ought to fly at once."

"I tell you that, if he does not hear me sing tomorrow, it will
cause him infinite pain."

"It is difficult not to cause him pain and yet to escape from him
for good."

"You are right in that, Raoul, for certainly he will die of my flight."
And she added in a dull voice, "But then it counts both ways...
for we risk his killing us."

"Does he love you so much?"

"He would commit murder for me."

"But one can find out where he lives. One can go in search of him.
Now that we know that Erik is not a ghost, one can speak to him
and force him to answer!"

Christine shook her head.

"No, no! There is nothing to be done with Erik except to run away!"

"Then why, when you were able to run away, did you go back to him?"

"Because I had to. And you will understand that when I tell you
how I left him."

"Oh, I hate him!" cried Raoul. "And you, Christine, tell me,
do you hate him too?"

"No," said Christine simply.

"No, of course not....Why, you love him! Your fear, your terror,
all of that is just love and love of the most exquisite kind, the kind
which people do not admit even to themselves," said Raoul bitterly.
"The kind that gives you a thrill, when you think of it.
... Picture it: a man who lives in a palace underground!"
And he gave a leer.

"Then you want me to go back there?" said the young girl cruelly.
"Take care, Raoul; I have told you: I should never return!"

There was an appalling silence between the three of them:
the two who spoke and the shadow that listened, behind them.

"Before answering that," said Raoul, at last, speaking very slowly,
"I should like to know with what feeling he inspires you, since you
do not hate him."

"With horror!" she said. "That is the terrible thing about it.
He fills me with horror and I do not hate him. How can I
hate him, Raoul? Think of Erik at my feet, in the house on
the lake, underground. He accuses himself, he curses himself,
he implores my forgiveness!...He confesses his cheat.
He loves me! He lays at my feet an immense and tragic love.
... He has carried me off for love!...He has imprisoned me
with him, underground, for love!...But he respects me: he crawls,
he moans, he weeps!...And, when I stood up, Raoul, and told
him that I could only despise him if he did not, then and there,
give me my liberty...he offered it...he offered to show me
the mysterious road...Only...only he rose too...and I
was made to remember that, though he was not an angel, nor a ghost,
nor a genius, he remained the voice...for he sang. And I listened
... and stayed!...That night, we did not exchange another word.
He sang me to sleep.

"When I woke up, I was alone, lying on a sofa in a simply furnished
little bedroom, with an ordinary mahogany bedstead, lit by a lamp
standing on the marble top of an old Louis-Philippe chest of drawers.
I soon discovered that I was a prisoner and that the only outlet from my
room led to a very comfortable bath-room. On returning to the bedroom,
I saw on the chest of drawers a note, in red ink, which said,
`My dear Christine, you need have no concern as to your fate.
You have no better nor more respectful friend in the world than myself.
You are alone, at present, in this home which is yours. I am going
out shopping to fetch you all the things that you can need.'
I felt sure that I had fallen into the hands of a madman.
I ran round my little apartment, looking for a way of escape which I
could not find. I upbraided myself for my absurd superstition,
which had caused me to fall into the trap. I felt inclined to laugh
and to cry at the same time.

"This was the state of mind in which Erik found me. After giving
three taps on the wall, he walked in quietly through a door which I
had not noticed and which he left open. He had his arms full
of boxes and parcels and arranged them on the bed, in a leisurely
fashion, while I overwhelmed him with abuse and called upon
him to take off his mask, if it covered the face of an honest man.
He replied serenely, `You shall never see Erik's face.' And he
reproached me with not having finished dressing at that time of day:
he was good enough to tell me that it was two o'clock in the afternoon.
He said he would give me half an hour and, while he spoke, wound up
my watch and set it for me. After which, he asked me to come to
the dining-room, where a nice lunch was waiting for us.

"I was very angry, slammed the door in his face and went to the
bath-room....When I came out again, feeling greatly refreshed,
Erik said that he loved me, but that he would never tell me
so except when I allowed him and that the rest of the time would
be devoted to music. `What do you mean by the rest of the time?'
I asked. `Five days,' he said, with decision. I asked him if I
should then be free and he said, `You will be free, Christine, for,
when those five days are past, you will have learned not to see me;
and then, from time to time, you will come to see your poor Erik!'
He pointed to a chair opposite him, at a small table, and I sat down,
feeling greatly perturbed. However, I ate a few prawns and the wing
of a chicken and drank half a glass of tokay, which he had himself,
he told me, brought from the Konigsberg cellars. Erik did not eat
or drink. I asked him what his nationality was and if that name
of Erik did not point to his Scandinavian origin. He said that he
had no name and no country and that he had taken the name of Erik
by accident.

"After lunch, he rose and gave me the tips of his fingers,
saying he would like to show me over his flat; but I snatched away
my hand and gave a cry. What I had touched was cold and, at the
same time, bony; and I remembered that his hands smelt of death.
`Oh, forgive me!' he moaned. And he opened a door before me.
`This is my bedroom, if you care to see it. It is rather curious.'
His manners, his words, his attitude gave me confidence and I went
in without hesitation. I felt as if I were entering the room of a
dead person. The walls were all hung with black, but, instead of
the white trimmings that usually set off that funereal upholstery,
there was an enormous stave of music with the notes of the DIES IRAE,
many times repeated. In the middle of the room was a canopy,
from which hung curtains of red brocaded stuff, and, under the canopy,
an open coffin. `That is where I sleep,' said Erik. `One has to get
used to everything in life, even to eternity.' The sight upset me
so much that I turned away my head.

"Then I saw the keyboard of an organ which filled one whole side
of the walls. On the desk was a music-book covered with red notes.
I asked leave to look at it and read, `Don Juan Triumphant.'
`Yes,' he said, `I compose sometimes.' I began that work twenty years ago.
When I have finished, I shall take it away with me in that coffin
and never wake up again.' `You must work at it as seldom as you can,'
I said. He replied, `I sometimes work at it for fourteen days
and nights together, during which I live on music only,
and then I rest for years at a time.' `Will you play me something
out of your Don Juan Triumphant?' I asked, thinking to please him.
`You must never ask me that,' he said, in a gloomy voice.
`I will play you Mozart, if you like, which will only make you weep;
but my Don Juan, Christine, burns; and yet he is not struck by fire
from Heaven.' Thereupon we returned to the drawing-room. I noticed
that there was no mirror in the whole apartment. I was going
to remark upon this, but Erik had already sat down to the piano.
He said, `You see, Christine, there is some music that is so terrible
that it consumes all those who approach it. Fortunately, you have
not come to that music yet, for you would lose all your pretty
coloring and nobody would know you when you returned to Paris.
Let us sing something from the Opera, Christine Daae.'
He spoke these last words as though he were flinging an insult
at me."

"What did you do?"

"I had no time to think about the meaning he put into his words.
We at once began the duet in Othello and already the catastrophe
was upon us. I sang Desdemona with a despair, a terror which I
had never displayed before. As for him, his voice thundered
forth his revengeful soul at every note. Love, jealousy, hatred,
burst out around us in harrowing cries. Erik's black mask made
me think of the natural mask of the Moor of Venice. He was
Othello himself. Suddenly, I felt a need to see beneath the mask.
I wanted to know the FACE of the voice, and, with a movement
which I was utterly unable to control, swiftly my fingers tore
away the mask. Oh, horror, horror, horror!"

Christine stopped, at the thought of the vision that had scared her,
while the echoes of the night, which had repeated the name of Erik,
now thrice moaned the cry:


Raoul and Christine, clasping each other closely, raised their eyes
to the stars that shone in a clear and peaceful sky. Raoul said:

"Strange, Christine, that this calm, soft night should be so full
of plaintive sounds. One would think that it was sorrowing with us."

"When you know the secret, Raoul, your ears, like mine, will be
full of lamentations."

She took Raoul's protecting hands in hers and, with a long shiver, continued:

"Yes, if I lived to be a hundred, I should always hear the superhuman
cry of grief and rage which he uttered when the terrible sight appeared
before my eyes....Raoul, you have seen death's heads, when they
have been dried and withered by the centuries, and, perhaps, if you
were not the victim of a nightmare, you saw HIS death's head at Perros.
And then you saw Red Death stalking about at the last masked ball.
But all those death's heads were motionless and their dumb horror
was not alive. But imagine, if you can, Red Death's mask suddenly
coming to life in order to express, with the four black holes of its eyes,
its nose, and its mouth, the extreme anger, the mighty fury of a demon;
AND NOT A RAY OF LIGHT FROM THE SOCKETS, for, as I learned later,
you can not see his blazing eyes except in the dark.

"I fell back against the wall and he came up to me, grinding his
teeth, and, as I fell upon my knees, he hissed mad, incoherent words
and curses at me. Leaning over me, he cried, `Look! You want
to see! See! Feast your eyes, glut your soul on my cursed ugliness!
Look at Erik's face! Now you know the face of the voice! You were
not content to hear me, eh? You wanted to know what I looked like!
Oh, you women are so inquisitive! Well, are you satisfied?
I'm a very good-looking fellow, eh?...When a woman has seen me,
as you have, she belongs to me. She loves me for ever. I am a kind
of Don Juan, you know!' And, drawing himself up to his full height,
with his hand on his hip, wagging the hideous thing that was
his head on his shoulders, he roared, `Look at me! I AM DON
JUAN TRIUMPHANT!' And, when I turned away my head and begged for mercy,
he drew it to him, brutally, twisting his dead fingers into my hair."

"Enough! Enough!" cried Raoul. "I will kill him. In Heaven's
name, Christine, tell me where the dining-room on the lake is!
I must kill him!"

"Oh, be quiet, Raoul, if you want to know!"

"Yes, I want to know how and why you went back; I must know!...
But, in any case, I will kill him!"

"Oh, Raoul, listen, listen!...He dragged me by my hair and then
...and then...Oh, it is too horrible!"

"Well, what? Out with it!" exclaimed Raoul fiercely.
"Out with it, quick!"

"Then he hissed at me. `Ah, I frighten you, do I?...I dare
say!...Perhaps you think that I have another mask, eh, and that
this...this...my head is a mask? Well,' he roared,
`tear it off as you did the other! Come! Come along! I insist!
Your hands! Your hands! Give me your hands!' And he seized my
hands and dug them into his awful face. He tore his flesh with
my nails, tore his terrible dead flesh with my nails!...`Know,'
he shouted, while his throat throbbed and panted like a furnace,
`know that I am built up of death from head to foot and that it
is a corpse that loves you and adores you and will never,
never leave you!...Look, I am not laughing now, I am crying,
crying for you, Christine, who have torn off my mask and who therefore
can never leave me again!...As long as you thought me handsome,
you could have come back, I know you would have come back...but,
now that you know my hideousness, you would run away for good.
...So I shall keep you here!...Why did you want to see me?
Oh, mad Christine, who wanted to see me!...When my own father
never saw me and when my mother, so as not to see me, made me
a present of my first mask!'

"He had let go of me at last and was dragging himself about on the floor,
uttering terrible sobs. And then he crawled away like a snake,
went into his room, closed the door and left me alone to my reflections.
Presently I heard the sound of the organ; and then I began
to understand Erik's contemptuous phrase when he spoke about Opera music.
What I now heard was utterly different from what I had heard up to then.
His Don Juan Triumphant (for I had not a doubt but that he had rushed
to his masterpiece to forget the horror of the moment) seemed to me
at first one long, awful, magnificent sob. But, little by little,
it expressed every emotion, every suffering of which mankind is capable.
It intoxicated me; and I opened the door that separated us.
Erik rose, as I entered, BUT DARED NOT TURN IN MY DIRECTION.
`Erik,' I cried, `show me your face without fear! I swear that you
are the most unhappy and sublime of men; and, if ever again I shiver
when I look at you, it will be because I am thinking of the splendor
of your genius!' Then Erik turned round, for he believed me, and I
also had faith in myself. He fell at my feet, with words of love...
with words of love in his dead mouth...and the music had ceased...
He kissed the hem of my dress and did not see that I closed my eyes.

"What more can I tell you, dear? You now know the tragedy.
It went on for a fortnight--a fortnight during which I lied to him.
My lies were as hideous as the monster who inspired them;
but they were the price of my liberty. I burned his mask;
and I managed so well that, even when he was not singing,
he tried to catch my eye, like a dog sitting by its master.
He was my faithful slave and paid me endless little attentions.
Gradually, I gave him such confidence that he ventured to take me
walking on the banks of the lake and to row me in the boat on its
leaden waters; toward the end of my captivity he let me out through
the gates that closed the underground passages in the Rue Scribe.
Here a carriage awaited us and took us to the Bois. The night when we
met you was nearly fatal to me, for he is terribly jealous of you
and I had to tell him that you were soon going away....Then,
at last, after a fortnight of that horrible captivity, during which I
was filled with pity, enthusiasm, despair and horror by turns,
he believed me when I said, `I WILL COME BACK!'"

"And you went back, Christine," groaned Raoul.

"Yes, dear, and I must tell you that it was not his frightful
threats when setting me free that helped me to keep my word,
but the harrowing sob which he gave on the threshold of the tomb.
... That sob attached me to the unfortunate man more than I myself
suspected when saying good-by to him. Poor Erik! Poor Erik!"

"Christine," said Raoul, rising, "you tell me that you love me;
but you had recovered your liberty hardly a few hours before you
returned to Erik! Remember the masked ball!"

"Yes; and do you remember those hours which I passed with you,
Raoul...to the great danger of both of us?"

"I doubted your love for me, during those hours."

"Do you doubt it still, Raoul?...Then know that each of my
visits to Erik increased my horror of him; for each of those visits,
instead of calming him, as I hoped, made him mad with love!
And I am so frightened, so frightened!..."

"You are frightened...but do you love me? If Erik were
good-looking, would you love me, Christine?"

She rose in her turn, put her two trembling arms round the young
man's neck and said:

"Oh, my betrothed of a day, if I did not love you, I would not give
you my lips! Take them, for the first time and the last."

He kissed her lips; but the night that surrounded them was rent
asunder, they fled as at the approach of a storm and their eyes,
filled with dread of Erik, showed them, before they disappeared,
high up above them, an immense night-bird that stared at them with
its blazing eyes and seemed to cling to the string of Apollo's lyre.

Chapter XIII A Master-Stroke of the Trap-Door Lover

Raoul and Christine ran, eager to escape from the roof
and the blazing eyes that showed only in the dark; and they
did not stop before they came to the eighth floor on the way down.

There was no performance at the Opera that night and the passages
were empty. Suddenly, a queer-looking form stood before them
and blocked the road:

"No, not this way!"

And the form pointed to another passage by which they were to reach
the wings. Raoul wanted to stop and ask for an explanation.
But the form, which wore a sort of long frock-coat and a pointed
cap, said:

"Quick! Go away quickly!"

Christine was already dragging Raoul, compelling him to start
running again.

"But who is he? Who is that man?" he asked.

Christine replied: "It's the Persian."

"What's he doing here?"

"Nobody knows. He is always in the Opera."

"You are making me run away, for the first time in my life.
If we really saw Erik, what I ought to have done was to nail him
to Apollo's lyre, just as we nail the owls to the walls of our
Breton farms; and there would have been no more question of him."

"My dear Raoul, you would first have had to climb up to Apollo's lyre:
that is no easy matter."

"The blazing eyes were there!"

"Oh, you are getting like me now, seeing him everywhere!
What I took for blazing eyes was probably a couple of stars shining
through the strings of the lyre."

And Christine went down another floor, with Raoul following her.

"As you have quite made up your mind to go, Christine, I assure
you it would be better to go at once. Why wait for to-morrow? He
may have heard us to-night."

"No, no, he is working, I tell you, at his Don Juan Triumphant
and not thinking of us."

"You're so sure of that you keep on looking behind you!"

"Come to my dressing-room."

"Hadn't we better meet outside the Opera?"

"Never, till we go away for good! It would bring us bad luck,
if I did not keep my word. I promised him to see you only here."

"It's a good thing for me that he allowed you even that. Do you know,"
said Raoul bitterly, "that it was very plucky of you to let us play
at being engaged?"

"Why, my dear, he knows all about it! He said, `I trust you,
Christine. M. de Chagny is in love with you and is going abroad.
Before he goes, I want him to be as happy as I am.' Are people
so unhappy when they love?"

"Yes, Christine, when they love and are not sure of being loved."

They came to Christine's dressing-room.

"Why do you think that you are safer in this room than on the stage?"
asked Raoul. "You heard him through the walls here, therefore he
can certainly hear us."

"No. He gave me his word not to be behind the walls of my dressing-room
again and I believe Erik's word. This room and my bedroom
on the lake are for me, exclusively, and not to be approached by him."

"How can you have gone from this room into that dark passage,
Christine? Suppose we try to repeat your movements; shall we?"

"It is dangerous, dear, for the glass might carry me off again;
and, instead of running away, I should be obliged to go to the end
of the secret passage to the lake and there call Erik."

"Would he hear you?"

"Erik will hear me wherever I call him. He told me so. He is a
very curious genius. You must not think, Raoul, that he is simply
a man who amuses himself by living underground. He does things that
no other man could do; he knows things which nobody in the world knows."

"Take care, Christine, you are making a ghost of him again!"

"No, he is not a ghost; he is a man of Heaven and earth, that is all."

"A man of Heaven and earth...that is all!...A nice way to speak of him!
...And are you still resolved to run away from him?"

"Yes, to-morrow."

"To-morrow, you will have no resolve left!"

"Then, Raoul, you must run away with me in spite of myself;
is that understood?"

"I shall be here at twelve to-morrow night; I shall keep my promise,
whatever happens. You say that, after listening to the performance,
he is to wait for you in the dining-room on the lake?"


"And how are you to reach him, if you don't know how to go out
by the glass?"

"Why, by going straight to the edge of the lake."

Christine opened a box, took out an enormous key and showed it
to Raoul.

"What's that?" he asked.

"The key of the gate to the underground passage in the Rue Scribe."

"I understand, Christine. It leads straight to the lake.
Give it to me, Christine, will you?"

"Never!" she said. "That would be treacherous!"

Suddenly Christine changed color. A mortal pallor overspread
her features.

"Oh heavens!" she cried. "Erik! Erik! Have pity on me!"

"Hold your tongue!" said Raoul. "You told me he could hear you!"

But the singer's attitude became more and more inexplicable.
She wrung her fingers, repeating, with a distraught air;

"Oh, Heaven! Oh, Heaven!"

"But what is it? What is it?" Raoul implored.

"The ring...the gold ring he gave me."

"Oh, so Erik gave you that ring!"

"You know he did, Raoul! But what you don't know is that,
when he gave it to me, he said, `I give you back your liberty,
Christine, on condition that this ring is always on your finger.
As long as you keep it, you will be protected against all danger
and Erik will remain your friend. But woe to you if you ever part
with it, for Erik will have his revenge!'...My dear, my dear,
the ring is gone!...Woe to us both!"

They both looked for the ring, but could not find it.
Christine refused to be pacified.

"It was while I gave you that kiss, up above, under Apollo's lyre,"
she said. "The ring must have slipped from my finger and dropped
into the street! We can never find it. And what misfortunes are
in store for us now! Oh, to run away!"

"Let us run away at once," Raoul insisted, once more.

She hesitated. He thought that she was going to say yes.
... Then her bright pupils became dimmed and she said:

"No! To-morrow!"

And she left him hurriedly, still wringing and rubbing her fingers,
as though she hoped to bring the ring back like that.

Raoul went home, greatly perturbed at all that he had heard.

{two page color illustration}
They Sat Like that for a Moment in Silence

"If I don't save her from the hands of that humbug," he said,
aloud, as he went to bed, "she is lost. But I shall save her."

He put out his lamp and felt a need to insult Erik in the dark.
Thrice over, he shouted:


But, suddenly, he raised himself on his elbow. A cold sweat poured
from his temples. Two eyes, like blazing coals, had appeared
at the foot of his bed. They stared at him fixedly, terribly,
in the darkness of the night.

Raoul was no coward; and yet he trembled. He put out a groping,
hesitating hand toward the table by his bedside. He found the matches
and lit his candle. The eyes disappeared.

Still uneasy in his mind, he thought to himself:

"She told me that HIS eyes only showed in the dark. His eyes
have disappeared in the light, but HE may be there still."

And he rose, hunted about, went round the room. He looked
under his bed, like a child. Then he thought himself absurd,
got into bed again and blew out the candle. The eyes reappeared.

He sat up and stared back at them with all the courage he possessed.
Then he cried:

"Is that you, Erik? Man, genius, or ghost, is it you?"

He reflected: "If it's he, he's on the balcony!"

Then he ran to the chest of drawers and groped for his revolver.
He opened the balcony window, looked out, saw nothing and closed
the window again. He went back to bed, shivering, for the night
was cold, and put the revolver on the table within his reach.

The eyes were still there, at the foot of the bed. Were they
between the bed and the window-pane or behind the pane, that is
to say, on the balcony? That was what Raoul wanted to know.
He also wanted to know if those eyes belonged to a human being.
...He wanted to know everything. Then, patiently, calmly, he seized
his revolver and took aim. He aimed a little above the two eyes.
Surely, if they were eyes and if above those two eyes there was
a forehead and if Raoul was not too clumsy...

The shot made a terrible din amid the silence of the slumbering house.
And, while footsteps came hurrying along the passages, Raoul sat
up with outstretched arm, ready to fire again, if need be.

This time, the two eyes had disappeared.

Servants appeared, carrying lights; Count Philippe, terribly anxious:

"What is it?"

"I think I have been dreaming," replied the young man. "I fired
at two stars that kept me from sleeping."

"You're raving! Are you ill? For God's sake, tell me, Raoul:
what happened?"

And the count seized hold of the revolver.

"No, no, I'm not raving. .. Besides, we shall soon see..."

He got out of bed, put on a dressing-gown and slippers, took a light
from the hands of a servant and, opening the window, stepped out
on the balcony.

The count saw that the window had been pierced by a bullet at a
man's height. Raoul was leaning over the balcony with his candle:
"Aha!" he said. "Blood!...Blood!..... Here, there, more blood!
... That's a good thing! A ghost who bleeds is less dangerous!"
he grinned.

"Raoul! Raoul! Raoul!"

The count was shaking him as though he were trying to waken
a sleep-walker.

"But, my dear brother, I'm not asleep!" Raoul protested impatiently.
"You can see the blood for yourself. I thought I had been dreaming
and firing at two stars. It was Erik's eyes...and here is his
blood!...After all, perhaps I was wrong to shoot; and Christine
is quite capable of never forgiving me....All this would not
have happened if I had drawn the curtains before going to bed."

"Raoul, have you suddenly gone mad? Wake up!"

"What, still? You would do better to help me find Erik...for,
after all, a ghost who bleeds can always be found."

The count's valet said:

"That is so, sir; there is blood on the balcony."

The other man-servant brought a lamp, by the light of which they
examined the balcony carefully. The marks of blood followed the rail
till they reached a gutter-spout; then they went up the gutter-spout.

"My dear fellow," said Count Philippe, "you have fired at a cat."

"The misfortune is," said Raoul, with a grin, "that it's
quite possible. With Erik, you never know. Is it Erik?
Is it the cat? Is it the ghost? No, with Erik, you can't tell!"

Raoul went on making this strange sort of remarks which corresponded
so intimately and logically with the preoccupation of his brain
and which, at the same time, tended to persuade many people
that his mind was unhinged. The count himself was seized with
this idea; and, later, the examining magistrate, on receiving
the report of the commissary of police, came to the same conclusion.

"Who is Erik?" asked the count, pressing his brother's hand.

"He is my rival. And, if he's not dead, it's a pity."

He dismissed the servants with a wave of the hand and the two
Chagnys were left alone. But the men were not out of earshot
before the count's valet heard Raoul say, distinctly and emphatically:

"I shall carry off Christine Daae to-night."

This phrase was afterward repeated to M. Faure, the examining-magistrate.
But no one ever knew exactly what passed between the two
brothers at this interview. The servants declared that this
was not their first quarrel. Their voices penetrated the wall;
and it was always an actress called Christine Daae that was in question.

At breakfast--the early morning breakfast, which the count took
in his study--Philippe sent for his brother. Raoul arrived silent
and gloomy. The scene was a very short one. Philippe handed
his brother a copy of the Epoque and said:

"Read that!"

The viscount read:

"The latest news in the Faubourg is that there is a promise of marriage
between Mlle. Christine Daae, the opera-singer, and M. le Vicomte
Raoul de Chagny. If the gossips are to be credited, Count Philippe
has sworn that, for the first time on record, the Chagnys shall not
keep their promise. But, as love is all-powerful, at the Opera as--
and even more than--elsewhere, we wonder how Count Philippe intends
to prevent the viscount, his brother, from leading the new Margarita
to the altar. The two brothers are said to adore each other;
but the count is curiously mistaken if he imagines that brotherly
love will triumph over love pure and simple."

"You see, Raoul," said the count, "you are making us ridiculous!
That little girl has turned your head with her ghost-stories."

The viscount had evidently repeated Christine's narrative
to his brother, during the night. All that he now said was:

"Good-by, Philippe."

"Have you quite made up your mind? You are going to-night? With her?"

No reply.

"Surely you will not do anything so foolish? I SHALL know
how to prevent you!"

"Good-by, Philippe," said the viscount again and left the room.

This scene was described to the examining-magistrate by the
count himself, who did not see Raoul again until that evening,
at the Opera, a few minutes before Christine's disappearance.

Raoul, in fact, devoted the whole day to his preparations for
the flight. The horses, the carriage, the coachman, the provisions,
the luggage, the money required for the journey, the road to be
taken (he had resolved not to go by train, so as to throw the ghost
off the scent): all this had to be settled and provided for;
and it occupied him until nine o'clock at night.

At nine o'clock, a sort of traveling-barouche with the curtains of its
windows close-down, took its place in the rank on the Rotunda side.
It was drawn by two powerful horses driven by a coachman whose
face was almost concealed in the long folds of a muffler.
In front of this traveling-carriage were three broughams,
belonging respectively to Carlotta, who had suddenly returned to Paris,
to Sorelli and, at the head of the rank, to Comte Philippe de Chagny.
No one left the barouche. The coachman remained on his box,
and the three other coachmen remained on theirs.

A shadow in a long black cloak and a soft black felt hat passed along
the pavement between the Rotunda and the carriages, examined the barouche
carefully, went up to the horses and the coachman and then moved away
without saying a word, The magistrate afterward believed that this
shadow was that of the Vicomte Raoul de Chagny; but I do not agree,
seeing that that evening, as every evening, the Vicomte de Chagny
was wearing a tall hat, which hat, besides, was subsequently found.
I am more inclined to think that the shadow was that of the ghost,
who knew all about the whole affair, as the reader will soon perceive.

They were giving FAUST, as it happened, before a splendid house.
The Faubourg was magnificently represented; and the paragraph
in that morning's EPOQUE had already produced its effect, for all
eyes were turned to the box in which Count Philippe sat alone,
apparently in a very indifferent and careless frame of mind.
The feminine element in the brilliant audience seemed curiously puzzled;
and the viscount's absence gave rise to any amount of whispering
behind the fans. Christine Daae met with a rather cold reception.
That special audience could not forgive her for aiming so high.

The singer noticed this unfavorable attitude of a portion
of the house and was confused by it.

The regular frequenters of the Opera, who pretended to know
the truth about the viscount's love-story, exchanged significant
smiles at certain passages in Margarita's part; and they made a show
of turning and looking at Philippe de Chagny's box when Christine sang:

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

The count sat with his chin on his hand and seemed to pay no attention
to these manifestations. He kept his eyes fixed on the stage;
but his thoughts appeared to be far away.

Christine lost her self-assurance more and more. She trembled.
She felt on the verge of a breakdown....Carolus Fonta
wondered if she was ill, if she could keep the stage until the end
of the Garden Act. In the front of the house, people remembered
the catastrophe that had befallen Carlotta at the end of that act
and the historic "co-ack" which had momentarily interrupted her
career in Paris.

Just then, Carlotta made her entrance in a box facing the stage,
a sensational entrance. Poor Christine raised her eyes upon this
fresh subject of excitement. She recognized her rival. She thought
she saw a sneer on her lips. That saved her. She forgot everything,
in order to triumph once more.

From that moment the prima donna sang with all her heart and soul.
She tried to surpass all that she had done till then; and she succeeded.
In the last act when she began the invocation to the angels,
she made all the members of the audience feel as though they too
had wings.

In the center of the amphitheater a man stood up and remained standing,
facing the singer. It was Raoul.

"Holy angel, in Heaven blessed..."

And Christine, her arms outstretched, her throat filled with music,
the glory of her hair falling over her bare shoulders, uttered the
divine cry:

"My spirit longs with thee to rest!"

It was at that moment that the stage was suddenly plunged in darkness.
It happened so quickly that the spectators hardly had time to utter
a sound of stupefaction, for the gas at once lit up the stage again.
But Christine Daae was no longer there!

What had become of her? What was that miracle? All exchanged
glances without understanding, and the excitement at once reached
its height. Nor was the tension any less great on the stage itself.
Men rushed from the wings to the spot where Christine had been
singing that very instant. The performance was interrupted amid
the greatest disorder.

Where had Christine gone? What witchcraft had snatched her,
away before the eyes of thousands of enthusiastic onlookers and from
the arms of Carolus Fonta himself? It was as though the angels
had really carried her up "to rest."

Raoul, still standing up in the amphitheater, had uttered a cry.
Count Philippe had sprung to his feet in his box. People looked
at the stage, at the count, at Raoul, and wondered if this
curious event was connected in any way with the paragraph in that
morning's paper. But Raoul hurriedly left his seat, the count
disappeared from his box and, while the curtain was lowered,
the subscribers rushed to the door that led behind the scenes.
The rest of the audience waited amid an indescribable hubbub.
Every one spoke at once. Every one tried to suggest an explanation
of the extraordinary incident.

At last, the curtain rose slowly and Carolus Fonta stepped
to the conductor's desk and, in a sad and serious voice, said:

"Ladies and gentlemen, an unprecedented event has taken place and
thrown us into a state of the greatest alarm. Our sister-artist,
Christine Daae, has disappeared before our eyes and nobody can
tell us how!"

Chapter XIV The Singular Attitude of a Safety-Pin

Behind the curtain, there was an indescribable crowd.
Artists, scene-shifters, dancers, supers, choristers, subscribers
were all asking questions, shouting and hustling one another.

"What became of her?"

"She's run away."

"With the Vicomte de Chagny, of course!"

"No, with the count!"

"Ah, here's Carlotta! Carlotta did the trick!"

"No, it was the ghost!" And a few laughed, especially as a
careful examination of the trap-doors and boards had put the idea
of an accident out of the question.

Amid this noisy throng, three men stood talking in a low voice
and with despairing gestures. They were Gabriel, the chorus-master;
Mercier, the acting-manager; and Remy, the secretary. They retired
to a corner of the lobby by which the stage communicates
with the wide passage leading to the foyer of the ballet.
Here they stood and argued behind some enormous "properties."

"I knocked at the door," said Remy. "They did not answer.
Perhaps they are not in the office. In any case, it's impossible
to find out, for they took the keys with them."

"They" were obviously the managers, who had given orders,
during the last entr'acte, that they were not to be disturbed
on any pretext whatever. They were not in to anybody.

"All the same," exclaimed Gabriel, "a singer isn't run away with,
from the middle of the stage, every day!"

"Did you shout that to them?" asked Mercier, impatiently.

"I'll go back again," said Remy, and disappeared at a run.

Thereupon the stage-manager arrived.

"Well, M. Mercier, are you coming? What are you two doing here?
You're wanted, Mr. Acting-Manager."

"I refuse to know or to do anything before the commissary arrives,"
declared Mercier. "I have sent for Mifroid. We shall see when
he comes!"

"And I tell you that you ought to go down to the organ at once."

"Not before the commissary comes."

"I've been down to the organ myself already."

"Ah! And what did you see?"

"Well, I saw nobody! Do you hear--nobody!"

"What do you want me to do down there for{sic}?"

"You're right!" said the stage-manager, frantically pushing his
hands through his rebellious hair. "You're right! But there
might be some one at the organ who could tell us how the stage came
to be suddenly darkened. Now Mauclair is nowhere to be found.
Do you understand that?"

Mauclair was the gas-man, who dispensed day and night at will on
the stage of the Opera.

"Mauclair is not to be found!" repeated Mercier, taken aback.
"Well, what about his assistants?"

"There's no Mauclair and no assistants! No one at the lights,
I tell you! You can imagine," roared the stage-manager, "that that
little girl must have been carried off by somebody else: she didn't
run away by herself! It was a calculated stroke and we have to find
out about it....And what are the managers doing all this time?
... I gave orders that no one was to go down to the lights and I
posted a fireman in front of the gas-man's box beside the organ.
Wasn't that right?"

"Yes, yes, quite right, quite right. And now let's wait
for the commissary."

The stage-manager walked away, shrugging his shoulders, fuming,
muttering insults at those milksops who remained quietly squatting
in a corner while the whole theater was topsyturvy{sic}.

Gabriel and Mercier were not so quiet as all that. Only they
had received an order that paralyzed them. The managers were not
to be disturbed on any account. Remy had violated that order
and met with no success.

At that moment he returned from his new expedition, wearing a
curiously startled air.

"Well, have you seen them?" asked Mercier.

"Moncharmin opened the door at last. His eyes were starting out
of his head. I thought he meant to strike me. I could not get
a word in; and what do you think he shouted at me? `Have you
a safety-pin?' `No!' `Well, then, clearout!' I tried to tell him
that an unheard-of thing had happened on the stage, but he roared,
`A safety-pin! Give me a safety-pin at once!' A boy heard him--
he was bellowing like a bull--ran up with a safety-pin and gave it
to him; whereupon Moncharmin slammed the door in my face, and there
you are!"

"And couldn't you have said, `Christine Daae.'"

"I should like to have seen you in my place. He was foaming at
the mouth. He thought of nothing but his safety-pin. I believe,
if they hadn't brought him one on the spot, he would have fallen
down in a fit!...Oh, all this isn't natural; and our managers
are going mad!...Besides, it can't go on like this! I'm not used
to being treated in that fashion!"

Suddenly Gabriel whispered:

"It's another trick of O. G.'s."

Rimy gave a grin, Mercier a sigh and seemed about to speak...but,
meeting Gabriel's eye, said nothing.

However, Mercier felt his responsibility increased as the minutes
passed without the managers' appearing; and, at last, he could
stand it no longer.

"Look here, I'll go and hunt them out myself!"

Gabriel, turning very gloomy and serious, stopped him.

"Be careful what you're doing, Mercier! If they're staying
in their office, it's probably because they have to! O. G. has
more than one trick in his bag!"

But Mercier shook his head.

"That's their lookout! I'm going! If people had listened to me,
the police would have known everything long ago!"

And he went.

"What's everything?" asked Remy. "What was there to tell the police?
Why don't you answer, Gabriel?...Ah, so you know something!
Well, you would do better to tell me, too, if you don't want me
to shout out that you are all going mad!...Yes, that's what
you are: mad!"

Gabriel put on a stupid look and pretended not to understand
the private secretary's unseemly outburst.

"What `something' am I supposed to know?" he said. "I don't know
what you mean."

Remy began to lose his temper.

"This evening, Richard and Moncharmin were behaving like lunatics,
here, between the acts."

"I never noticed it," growled Gabriel, very much annoyed.

"Then you're the only one!...Do you think that I didn't see
them?...And that M. Parabise, the manager of the Credit Central,
noticed nothing?...And that M. de La Borderie, the ambassador,
has no eyes to see with?...Why, all the subscribers were pointing
at our managers!"

"But what were our managers doing?" asked Gabriel, putting on his
most innocent air.

"What were they doing? You know better than any one what they
were doing!...You were there!...And you were watching them,
you and Mercier!...And you were the only two who didn't laugh."

"I don't understand!"

Gabriel raised his arms and dropped them to his sides again,
which gesture was meant to convey that the question did not interest
him in the least. Remy continued:

"What is the sense of this new mania of theirs? WHY WON'T THEY



"Really? Have you noticed THAT THEY WON'T LET ANY ONE TOUCH
THEM? That is certainly odd!"

"Oh, so you admit it! And high time, too! And THEN, THEY WALK BACKWARD!"

"BACKWARD! You have seen our managers WALK BACKWARD? Why, I thought
that only crabs walked backward!"

"Don't laugh, Gabriel; don't laugh!"

"I'm not laughing," protested Gabriel, looking as solemn as a judge.

"Perhaps you can tell me this, Gabriel, as you're an intimate friend
of the management: When I went up to M. Richard, outside the foyer,
during the Garden interval, with my hand out before me, why did
M. Moncharmin hurriedly whisper to me, `Go away! Go away!
Whatever you do, don't touch M. le Directeur!' Am I supposed to have
an infectious disease?"

"It's incredible!"

"And, a little later, when M. de La Borderie went up to M. Richard,
didn't you see M. Moncharmin fling himself between them and hear
him exclaim, `M. l'Ambassadeur I entreat you not to touch
M. le Directeur'?"

"It's terrible!...And what was Richard doing meanwhile?"

"What was he doing? Why, you saw him! He turned about,


"And Moncharmin, behind Richard, also turned about; that is,
he described a semicircle behind Richard and also WALKED
BACKWARD!...And they went LIKE THAT to the staircase leading
to the managers' office: BACKWARD, BACKWARD, BACKWARD!
... Well, if they are not mad, will you explain what it means?"

"Perhaps they were practising a figure in the ballet," suggested Gabriel,
without much conviction in his voice.

The secretary was furious at this wretched joke, made at so
dramatic a moment. He knit his brows and contracted his lips.
Then he put his mouth to Gabriel's ear:

"Don't be so sly, Gabriel. There are things going on for which you
and Mercier are partly responsible."

"What do you mean?" asked Gabriel.

"Christine Daae is not the only one who suddenly disappeared to-night."

"Oh, nonsense!"

"There's no nonsense about it. Perhaps you can tell me why,
when Mother Giry came down to the foyer just now, Mercier took
her by the hand and hurried her away with him?"

"Really?" said Gabriel, "I never saw it."

"You did see it, Gabriel, for you went with Mercier and Mother Giry
to Mercier's office. Since then, you and Mercier have been seen,
but no one has seen Mother Giry."

"Do you think we've eaten her?"

"No, but you've locked her up in the office; and any one passing
the office can hear her yelling, `Oh, the scoundrels! Oh,
the scoundrels!'"

At this point of this singular conversation, Mercier arrived,
all out of breath.

"There!" he said, in a gloomy voice. "It's worse than ever!...
I shouted, `It's a serious matter! Open the door! It's I, Mercier.'
I heard footsteps. The door opened and Moncharmin appeared.
He was very pale. He said, `What do you want?' I answered, `Some one
has run away with Christine Daae.' What do you think he said?
`And a good job, too!' And he shut the door, after putting this
in my hand."

Mercier opened his hand; Remy and Gabriel looked.

"The safety-pin!" cried Remy.

"Strange! Strange!" muttered Gabriel, who could not help shivering.

Suddenly a voice made them all three turn round.

"I beg your pardon, gentlemen. Could you tell me where Christine
Daae is?"

In spite of the seriousness of the circumstances, the absurdity
of the question would have made them roar with laughter, if they
had not caught sight of a face so sorrow-stricken that they were
at once seized with pity. It was the Vicomte Raoul de Chagny.

Chapter XV Christine! Christine!

Raoul's first thought, after Christine Daae's fantastic disappearance,
was to accuse Erik. He no longer doubted the almost supernatural
powers of the Angel of Music, in this domain of the Opera in
which he had set up his empire. And Raoul rushed on the stage,
in a mad fit of love and despair.

"Christine! Christine!" he moaned, calling to her as he felt
that she must be calling to him from the depths of that dark pit
to which the monster had carried her. "Christine! Christine!"

And he seemed to hear the girl's screams through the frail boards
that separated him from her. He bent forward, he listened,
...he wandered over the stage like a madman. Ah, to descend,
to descend into that pit of darkness every entrance to which was
closed to him,...for the stairs that led below the stage were
forbidden to one and all that night!

"Christine! Christine!..."

People pushed him aside, laughing. They made fun of him.
They thought the poor lover's brain was gone!

By what mad road, through what passages of mystery and darkness
known to him alone had Erik dragged that pure-souled child to the
awful haunt, with the Louis-Philippe room, opening out on the lake?

"Christine! Christine!...Why don't you answer?...Are you

Hideous thoughts flashed through Raoul's congested brain.
Of course, Erik must have discovered their secret, must have known
that Christine had played him false. What a vengeance would be his!

And Raoul thought again of the yellow stars that had come,
the night before, and roamed over his balcony. Why had he not put
them out for good? There were some men's eyes that dilated in the
darkness and shone like stars or like cats' eyes. Certainly Albinos,
who seemed to have rabbits' eyes by day, had cats' eyes at night:
everybody knew that!...Yes, yes, he had undoubtedly fired at Erik.
Why had he not killed him? The monster had fled up the gutter-spout
like a cat or a convict who--everybody knew that also--would scale
the very skies, with the help of a gutter-spout....No doubt Erik
was at that time contemplating some decisive step against Raoul,
but he had been wounded and had escaped to turn against poor
Christine instead.

Such were the cruel thoughts that haunted Raoul as he ran
to the singer's dressing-room.

"Christine! Christine!"

Bitter tears scorched the boy's eyelids as he saw scattered over
the furniture the clothes which his beautiful bride was to have worn
at the hour of their flight. Oh, why had she refused to leave earlier?

Why had she toyed with the threatening catastrophe? Why toyed
with the monster's heart? Why, in a final access of pity,
had she insisted on flinging, as a last sop to that demon's soul,
her divine song:

"Holy angel, in Heaven blessed,
My spirit longs with thee to rest!"

Raoul, his throat filled with sobs, oaths and insults,
fumbled awkwardly at the great mirror that had opened one night,
before his eyes, to let Christine pass to the murky dwelling below.
He pushed, pressed, groped about, but the glass apparently obeyed
no one but Erik....Perhaps actions were not enough with a glass
of the kind? Perhaps he was expected to utter certain words?
When he was a little boy, he had heard that there were things
that obeyed the spoken word!

Suddenly, Raoul remembered something about a gate opening into
the Rue Scribe, an underground passage running straight to the Rue
Scribe from the lake....Yes, Christine had told him about that.
...And, when he found that the key was no longer in the box,
he nevertheless ran to the Rue Scribe. Outside, in the street,
he passed his trembling hands over the huge stones, felt for outlets
...met with iron bars...were those they?...Or these?...
Or could it be that air-hole?...He plunged his useless eyes
through the bars....How dark it was in there!...He listened....
All was silence!...He went round the building...and came to bigger bars,
immense gates!...It was the entrance to the Cour de I'Administration.

Raoul rushed into the doorkeeper's lodge.

"I beg your pardon, madame, could you tell me where to find a gate
or door, made of bars, iron bars, opening into the Rue Scribe...
and leading to the lake?...You know the lake I mean?...Yes,
the underground lake...under the Opera."

"Yes, sir, I know there is a lake under the Opera, but I don't know
which door leads to it. I have never been there!"

"And the Rue Scribe, madame, the Rue Scribe? Have you never been
to the Rue Scribe?"

The woman laughed, screamed with laughter! Raoul darted away,
roaring with anger, ran up-stairs, four stairs at a time,
down-stairs, rushed through the whole of the business side
of the opera-house, found himself once more in the light of the stage.

He stopped, with his heart thumping in his chest: suppose Christine
Daae had been found? He saw a group of men and asked:

"I beg your pardon, gentlemen. Could you tell me where Christine
Daae is?"

And somebody laughed.

At the same moment the stage buzzed with a new sound and, amid a crowd
of men in evening-dress, all talking and gesticulating together,
appeared a man who seemed very calm and displayed a pleasant face,
all pink and chubby-cheeked, crowned with curly hair and lit up by a
pair of wonderfully serene blue eyes. Mercier, the acting-manager,
called the Vicomte de Chagny's attention to him and said:

"This is the gentleman to whom you should put your question, monsieur.
Let me introduce Mifroid, the commissary of police."

"Ah, M. le Vicomte de Chagny! Delighted to meet you, monsieur,"
said the commissary. "Would you mind coming with me?...And
now where are the managers?...Where are the managers?"

Mercier did not answer, and Remy, the secretary, volunteered the
information that the managers were locked up in their office
and that they knew nothing as yet of what had happened.

"You don't mean to say so! Let us go up to the office!"

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