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Author of The Mystery of the Yellow Room and 
The Perfume of the Lady in Black 





Copyright 1911 






I Is It the Ghost? 

II The New Margarita . 

III The Mysterious Reason 

IV Box Five . 
V The Enchanted Violin 

VI A Visit to Box Five 

VII Faust and What Followed 

VIII The Mysterious Brougham 

IX At the Masked Ball 

X Forget the Name of the Man's Voice 129 

XI Above the Trap-Doors 
XII Apollo's Lyre .... 

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

XIV The Singular Attitude of a Safety 

XV Christine! Christine! 

XA'I Mme. Giry's Revelations 

XVII The Safety-Pin Again 

XVIII The Commissary, the Viscount and the 
Persian . . . , . 










XIX The Viscount and the Persian . 234 

XX In the Cellars of the Opera . . 243 

XXI Interesting Vicissitudes . . . 264 

XXII In the Torture Chamber . . . 282 

XXIII The Tortures Begin . . . .291 

XXIV Barrels! Barrels! . . . .300 

XXV The Scorpion or the Grasshopper: 

Which? 315 

XXVI The End of the Ghost's Love Story 325 
Epilogue ...... 337 


The Phantom of the Opera 






THE Opera ghost really existed. He was not, as 
was long believed, a creature of the imagina- 
tion of the artists, the superstition of the managers, 
or a product of the absurd and impressionable brains 
of the young ladies of the ballet, their mothers, the 
box-keepers, the cloak-room attendants or the con- 
cierge. Yes, he existed in flesh and blood, although 
he assumed the complete appearance of a real phan- 
tom; that is to say, of a spectral shade. 

When I began to ransack the archives of the 
National Academy of Music I was at once struck by 
the surprising coincidences between the phenomena 
ascribed to the "ghost" and the most extraordinary 
and fantastic tragedy that ever excited the Paris 
upper classes ; and I soon conceived the Idea that this 
tragedy might reasonably be explained by the phe- 
nomena in question. The events do not date more 
than thirty years back; and it would not be dlificult 
to find at the present day, In the foyer of the ballet, 


old men of the highest respectability, men upon 
whose word one could absolutely rely, who would 
remember as though they happened yesterday the 
mysterious and dramatic conditions that attended the 
kidnapping of Christine Daae, the disappearance of 
the Vicomte de Chagny and the death of his elder 
brother, Count Philippe, whose body was found on 
the bank of the lake that exists in the lower cellars 
of the Opera on the Rue-Scribe side. But none of 
those witnesses had until that day thought that there 
was any reason for connecting the more or less leg- 
endary figure of the Opera ghost with that terrible 

The truth was slow to enter my mind, puzzled by 
an inquiry that at every moment was complicated 
by events which, at first sight, might be looked upon 
as superhuman ; and more than once I was within an 
ace of abandoning a task in which I was exhausting 
myself in the hopeless pursuit of a vain image. At 
last, I received the proof that my presentiments had 
not deceived me, and I was rewarded for all my ef- 
forts on the day when I acquired the certainty that 
the Opera ghost was more than a mere shade. 

On that day, I had spent long hours over The 
^Memoirs of a Manager, the light and frivolous work 
of the too-skeptical Moncharmin, who, during his 
term at the Opera, understood nothing of the mysteri- 
ous behavior of the ghost and who was making all the 
fun of it that he could at the very moment when he 
became the first victim of the curious financial oper- 
ation that went on Inside the "magic envelope." 


I had just left the library in despair, when I met 
the delightful acting-manager of our National Acad- 
emy, who stood chatting on a landing with a lively 
and well-groomed little old man, to whom he intro- 
duced me gaily. The acting-manager knew all about 
my investigations and how eagerly and unsuccess- 
fully I had been trying to discover the whereabouts 
of the examining magistrate in the famous Chagny 
case, M. Faure. Nobody knew what had become of 
him, alive or dead; and here he was back from Can- 
ada, where he had spent fifteen years, and the first 
thing he had done, on his return to Paris, was to 
come to the secretarial offices at the Opera and ask 
for a free seat. The little old man was M. Faure 

We spent a good part of the evening together and 
he told me the whole Chagny case as he had under- 
stood it at the time. He was bound to conclude in 
favor of the madness of the viscount and the acci- 
dental death of the elder brother, for lack of evi- 
dence to the contrary; but he was nevertheless 
persuaded that a terrible tragedy had taken place be- 
tween the two brothers in connection with Christine 
Daae. He could not tell me what became of Chris- 
tine or the viscount. When I mentioned the ghost, he 
only laughed. He, too, had been told of the curious 
manifestations that seemed to point to the existence 
of an abnormal being, residing in one of the most 
mysterious corners of the Opera, and he knew the 
story of the envelope ; but he had never seen anything 
in it worthy of his attention as magistrate in charge o| 


the Chagny case, and it was as much as he had done 
to listen to the evidence of a witness who appeared 
of his own accord and declared that he had often 
met the ghost. This witness was none other than 
the man whom all Paris called the "Persian" and who 
was well-known to every subscriber to the Opera. 
The magistrate took him for a visionary. 

I was immensely interested by this story of the 
Persian. I wanted, if there were still time, to find 
this valuable and eccentric witness. My luck began 
to improve and I discovered him in his little flat in 
the Rue de Rivoli, where he had lived ever since and 
where he died five months after my visit. I was at 
first inclined to be suspicious; but when the Persian 
had told me, with child-like candor, all that he knew 
about the ghost and had handed me the proofs of the 
ghost's existence — including the strange correspond- 
ence of Christine Daae — to do as I pleased with, I 
was no longer able to doubt. No, the ghost was not 
a myth ! 

I have, I know, been told that this correspondence 
may have been forged from first to last by a man 
whose imagination had certainly been fed on the most 
seductive tales; but fortunately I discovered some of 
Christine's writing outside the famous bundle of let- 
ters and, on a comparison between the two, all my 
doubts were removed. I also went into the past 
history of the Persian and found that he was an up- 
right man, incapable of inventing a story that might 
have defeated the ends of justice. 

This, moreover, was the opinion of the more ser- 


ious people who, at one time or other, were mixed up 
in the Chagny case, who were friends of the Chagny 
family, to whom I showed all my documents and set 
forth all my inferences. In this connection, I should 
like to print a few lines which I received from Gen- 
eral D : 


I can not urge you too strongly to publish the re- 
sults of your inquiry. I remember perfectly that, a 
few weeks before the disappearance of that great 
singer, Christine Daae, and the tragedy which threw 
the whole of the Faubourg Saint-Germain into 
mourning, there was a great deal of talk, in the foyer 
of the ballet, on the subject of the "ghost;" and I 
believe that it only ceased to be discussed in conse- 
quence of the later affair that excited us all so great- 
ly. But, if it be possible — as, after hearing you, I 
believe — to explain the tragedy through the ghost, 
then I beg you, sir, to talk to us about the ghost again. 
Mysterious though the ghost may at first appear, he 
will ahvays be more easily explained than the dis- 
mal story in which malevolent people have tried to 
picture two brothers killing each other who had wor- 
shiped each other all their lives. 

Believe me, etc. 

Lastly, with my bundle of papers in hand, I once 
more went over the ghost's vast domain, the huge 
building which he had made his kingdom. All that 
my eyes saw, all that my mind perceived, corrobor- 
ated the Persian's documents precisely; and a won- 
derful discovery crowned my labors in a very definite 
fashion. It will be remembered that, later, when 


digging in the substructure of the Opera, before 
burying the phonographic records of the artist's 
voice, the workmen laid bare a corpse. Well, I was 
at once able to prove that this corpse was that of the 
Opera ghost. I made the acting-manager put this 
proof to the test with his own hand; and it is now 
a matter of supreme indifference to me if the papers 
pretend that the body was that of a victim of the 

The wretches who were massacred, under the 
Commune, in the cellars of the Opera, were not bur- 
ied on this side; I will tell where their skeletons can 
be found in a spot not very far from that immense 
crypt which was stocked during the siege with all 
sorts of provisions. I came upon this track just when 
I was looking for the remains of the Opera ghost, 
which I should never have discovered but for the 
unheard-of chance described above. 

But we will return to the corpse and what ought to 
be done with it. For the present, I must conclude 
this very necessary introduction by thanking M. 
Mifroid (who was the commissary of police called in 
for the first investigations after the disappearance of 
Christine Daae), M. Remy, the late secretary, M. 
Mercier, the late acting-manager, M. Gabriel, the 
late chonis-master, and more particularly Mme. la 
Baronne de Castelot-Barbezac, who was once the 
"little Meg" of the story (and who is not ashamed 
of it), the most charming star of our admirable 
corps de ballet, the eldest daughter of the worthy 
Mme. Giry, now deceased, who had charge of the 


ghost's private box. All these were of the greatest 
assistance to me; and, thanks to them, I shall be able 
to reproduce those hours of sheer love and terror, in 
their smallest details, before the reader's eyes. 

And I should be ungrateful indeed if I omitted, 
while standing on the threshold of this dreadful and 
veracious story, to thank the present management of 
the Opera, which has so kindly assisted me in all my 
inquiries, and M. Messager in particular, together 
with M. Gabion, the acting-manager, and that most 
amiable of men, the architect intrusted with the pres- 
ervation of the building, who did not hesitate to lend 
me the works of Charles Gamier, although he was 
almost sure that I would never return them to him. 
Lastly, I must pay a public tribute to the generosity 
of my friend and former collaborator, M. J. Le 
Croze, who allowed me to dip into his splendid the- 
atrical library and to borrow the rarest editions of 
books by which he set great store. 

Gaston Leroux. 



IT was the evening on which MM. Deblenne and 
Poligny, the managers of the Opera, were giv- 
ing a last gala performance to mark their retirement. 
Suddenly the dressing-room of La Sorelli, one of the 
principal dancers, was invaded by half-a-dozen young 
ladies of the ballet, who had come up from the stage 
after "dancing" Polyeiicte. They rushed in amid 
great confusion, some giving vent to forced and un- 
natural laughter, others to cries of terror. Sorelli, 
who wished to be alone for a moment to "run 
through" the speech which she was to make to the 
resigning managers, looked around angrily at the 
mad and tumultuous crowd. It was little Jammes — 
the girl with the tip-tilted nose, the forget-me-not 
eyes, the rose-red cheeks and the lily-white neck and 
shoulders — who gave the explanation in a trembling 
voice : 

"It's the ghost!" And she locked the door. 

Sorelli's dressing-room was fitted up with official, 
commonplace elegance. A pier-glass, a sofa, a dress- 
ing-table and a cupboard or two provided the neces- 
sary furniture. On the walls hung a few engravings, 
relics of the mother, who had known the glories of 
the old Opera in the Rue le Peletier; portraits of 


Vestris, Gardel, Dupont, Bigottini. But the room 
seemed a palace to the brats of the corps de ballet, 
who were lodged In common dressing-rooms where 
they spent their time singing, quarreling, smacking 
the dressers and hair-dressers and buying one another 
glasses of cassis, beer, or even rhum, until the call- 
boy's bell rang. 

Sorelli was very superstitious. She shuddered 
when she heard little Jammes speak, of the ghost, 
called her a "silly little fool" and then, as she was 
the first to believe in ghosts in general, and the 
Opera ghost in particular, at once asked for details : 

"Have you seen him?" 

"As plainly as I see you now!" said little Jammes, 
whose legs were giving way beneath her, and she 
dropped with a moan into a chair. 

Thereupon little Giry — the girl with eyes black as 
sloes, hair black as ink, a swarthy complexion and a 
poor little skin stretched over poor little bones — < 
little Giry added: 

"If that's the ghost, he's very ugly!" 

"Oh, yes !' cried the chorus of ballet-girls. 

And they all began to talk together. The ghost 
had appeared to them in the shape of a gentleman in 
dress-clothes, who had suddenly stood before them In 
the passage, without their knowing where he came 
from. He seemed to have come straight through the 

"Pooh !" said one of them, who had more or less 
kept her head. "You see the ghost everywhere !" 

And It was true. For several months, there had 


been nothing discussed at the Opera but this ghost 
in dress-clothes who stalked about the building, from 
top to bottom, like a shadow, who spoke to nobody, 
to whom nobody dared speak and who vanished as 
soon as he was seen, no one knowing how or where. 
As became a real ghost, he made no noise in walking. 
People began by laughing and making fun of this 
specter dressed like a man of fashion or an under- 
taker; but the ghost legend soon swelled to enor- 
mous proportions among the corps de ballet. All 
the girls pretended to have met this supernatural 
being more or less often. And those who laughed 
the loudest were not the most at ease. When he did 
not show himself, he betrayed his presence or his 
passing by accident, comic or serious, for which the 
general superstition held him responsible. Had any 
one met with a fall, or suffered a practical joke at 
the hands of one of the other girls, or lost a powder- 
puff, it was at once the fault of the ghost, of the 
Opera ghost. 

After all, who had seen him? You meet so many 
men in dress-clothes at the Opera who are not ghosts. 
But this dress-suit had a peculiarity of its own. It 
covered a skeleton. At least, so the ballet-girls said. 
And, of course, it had a death's head. 

Was all this serious? The truth is that the idea 
of the skeleton came from the description of the 
ghost given by Joseph Buquet, the chief scene-shifter, 
who had really seen the ghost. He had run up 
against the ghost on the little staircase, by the foot- 
lights, which leads to "the cellars." He had seen 


him for a second — for the ghost had fled — and to 
any one who cared to listen to him he said: 

"He is extraordinarily thin and his dress-coat 
hangs on a skeleton frame. His eyes are so deep 
that you can hardly see the fixed pupils. You just 
see t-wo big black holes, as in a dead man's skull. 
His skin, which is stretched across his bones like a 
drumhead, is not white, but a nasty yellow. His 
nose is so little worth talking about that you can't 
see it side-face; and the absence of that nose is a 
horrible thing to look at. All the hair he has is three 
or four long dark locks on his forehead and behind 
his ears." 

This chief scene-shifter was a serious, sober, 
steady man, very slow at imagining things. His 
words were received with interest and amazement; 
and soon there were other people to say that they 
too had met a man in dress-clothes with a death's 
head on his shoulders. Sensible men who had wind 
of the story began by saying that Joseph Buquet had 
been the victim of a joke played by one of his assist- 
ants. And then, one after the other, there came a 
series of incidents so curious and so inexplicable that 
the very shrewdest people began to feel uneasy. 

For instance, a fireman is a brave fellow! He 
fears nothing, least of all fire! Well, the fireman in 
question, who had gone to make a round of inspec- 
tion in the cellars and who, it seems, had ventured 
a little farther than usual, suddenly reappeared on 
the stage, pale, scared, trembling, with his eyes start- 
ing out of his head, and practically fainted in the 


arms of the proud mother of little Jammes.* And 
why? Because he had seen coming toward him, 
at the level of his head, but without a body attached 
to it, a head of fire! And, as I said, a fireman is not 
afraid of fire. 

The fireman's name was Pampin. 

The corps de ballet was flung into consternation. 
At first sight, this fiery head in no way corresponded 
with Joseph Buquet's description of the ghost. But 
the young ladies soon persuaded themselves that the 
ghost had several heads, which he changed about as 
he pleased. And, of course, they at once imagined 
that they were in the greatest danger. Once a fire- 
man did not hesitate to faint, leaders and front-row 
and back-row girls alike had plenty of excuses for 
the fright that made them quicken their pace when 
passing some dark corner or ill-lighted corridor. 
Sorelli herself, on the day after the adventure of the 
fireman, placed a horse-shoe on the table in front of 
the stage-door-keeper's box, which every one who en- 
tered the Opera otherwise than as a spectator must 
touch before setting foot on the first tread of the 
staircase. This horse-shoe was not invented by me — 
any more than any other part of this story, alas! — 
and may still be seen on the table in the passage out- 
side the stage-door-keeper's box, when you enter the 
Opera through the court known as the Cour de I'Ad- 

*I have the anecdote, which is quite authentic, from M. 
^Pedro Gailhard himself, the late manager of the Opera. 


To return to the evening in question. 

"It's the ghost!" little Jammes had cried. 

An agonizing silence now reigned in the dressing- 
room. Nothing was heard but the hard breathing of 
the girls. At last, Jammes, flinging herself upon the 
farthest corner of the wall, with every mark of real 
terror on her face, whispered : 

"Listen 1" 

Everybody seemed to hear a rustling outside the 
door. There was no sound of footsteps. It was 
like light silk sliding over the panel. Then it stopped. 

Sorelli tried to show more pluck than the others. 
She went up to the door and, in a quavering voice, 
asked : 

"Who's there?" 

But nobody answered. Then feeling all eyes upon 
her, watching her last movement, she made an effort 
to show courage, and said very loudly : 

"Is there any one behind the door?" 

"Oh, yes, yes! Of course there is I" cried that 
little dried plum of a Meg Giry, heroically holding 
Sorelli back by her gauze skirt. "Whatever you do, 
don't open the door! Oh, Lord, don't open the 

But Sorelli, armed with a dagger that never left 
her, turned the key and drew back the door, while 
the ballet-girls retreated to the inner dressing-room 
and Meg Giry sighed: 

"Mother! Mother!" 

Sorelli looked into the passage bravely. It was 
empty; a gas-flame, in its glass prison, cast a red and 


suspicious light into the surrounding darkness, with- 
out succeeding in dispelling it. And the dancer' 
slammed the door again, with a deep sigh. 

"No," she said, "there is no one there." 

"Still, we saw him!" Jammes declared, returning 
with timid little steps to her place beside Sorelli. 
"He must be somewhere prowling about. I shan't 
go back to dress. We had better all go down to the 
foyer together, at once, for the 'speech,' and we will 
come up again together." 

And the child reverently touched the little coral 
finger-ring which she wore as a charm against bad 
luck, while Sorelli, stealthily, with the tip of her pink 
right thumb-nail, made a St. Andrew's cross on the 
wooden ring which adorned the fourth finger of her 
left hand. She said to the little ballet-girls : 

"Come, children, pull yourselves together! I 
dare say no one has ever seen the ghost." 

"Yes, yes, we saw him — we saw him just now!" 
cried the girls. "He had his death's head and his 
dress-coat, just as when he appeared to Joseph 

"And Gabriel saw him too !" said Jammes. "Only 
yesterday! Yesterday afternoon — in broad day- 
light " 

"Gabriel, the chorus-master?" 

"Why, yes, didn't you know?" 

"And he was wearing his dr^ss-clothes, in broad 

"Who? Gabriel?" 

"Why, no, the ghost!'' 


"Certainly! Gabriel told me so himself. That's 
what he knew him by. Gabriel was in the stage- 
manager's office. Suddenly the door opened and the 
Persian entered. You know the Persian has the evil 
eye " 

"Oh, yes!" answered the little ballet-girls in 
chorus, warding off ill-luck by pointing their fore- 
finger and little finger at the absent Persian, while 
their second and third fingers were bent on the palm 
and held down by the thumb. 

"x\nd you know how superstitious Gabriel is," con- 
tinued Jammes. "However, he is always polite. 
When he meets the Persian, he just puts his hand in 
his pocket and touches his keys. Well, the moment 
the Persian appeared in the doorway, Gabriel gave 
one jump from his chair to the lock of the cupboard, 
so as to touch iron ! In doing so, he tore a whole skirt 
of his overcoat on a nail. Hurrying to get out of the 
room, he banged his forehead against a hat-peg and 
gave himself a huge bump; then, suddenly stepping 
back, he skinned his arm on the screen, near the 
piano; he tried to lean on the piano, but the lid fell 
on his hands and crushed his fingers; he rushed out 
of the office like a madman, slipped on the staircase 
and came down the whole of the first flight on his 
back. I was just passing with mother. We picked 
him up. He was covered with bruises and his face 
was all over blood. We were frightened out of our 
lives, but, all at once, he began to thank Providence 
that he had got off so cheaply. Then he told us what 
had frightened him. He had seen the ghost behind 


the Persian, the ghost with the death's head, just like 
Joseph Buquet's description!" 

Jammes had told her story ever so quickly, as 
though the ghost were at her heels, and was quite 
out of breath at the finish. A silence followed, while 
Sorelli polished her nails in great excitement. It was 
broken by little Giry, who said: 

"Joseph Buquet would do better to hold his 

"Why should he hold his tongue?" asked some- 

"That's mother's opinion," replied Meg, lower- 
ing her voice and looking all about her as though 
fearing lest other ears than those present might 

"And why is it your mother's opinion?" 

"Hush ! Mother says the ghost doesn't like being 
talked about." 

"And why does your mother say so?" 

"Because — because — nothing " 

This reticence exasperated the curiosity of the 
young ladies, who crowded round little Giry, begging 
her to explain herself. They were there, side by 
side, leaning forward simultaneously in one move- 
ment of entreaty and fear, communicating their ter- 
ror to one another, taking a keen pleasure in feeling 
their blood freeze in their veins. 

"I swore not to tell!" gasped Meg. 

But they left her no peace and promised to keep 
the secret, until Meg, burning to say all she knew, 
began, with her eyes fixed on the door: 


"Well, it's because of the private box.'* 

"What private box?" 

"The ghost's box !" 

"Has the ghost a box? Oh, do tell us, do tell 

"Not so loud!" said Meg. "It's Box Five, you 
know, the box on the grand tier, next to the stage- 
box, on the left." 

"Oh, nonsense !" 

"I tell you it is. Mother has charge of it. But 
you swear you won't say a word?" 

"Of course, of course." 

"Well, that's the ghost's box. No one has had it 
for over a month, except the ghost, and orders have 
been given at the box-office that it must never be 

"And does the ghost really come there?" 


"Then somebody does come?" 

"Why, no! The ghost comes, but there is no- 
body there." 

The little ballet-girls exchanged glances. If the 
ghost came to the box, he must be seen, because he 
wore a dress-coat and a death's head. This was 
what they tried to make Meg understand, but she 
replied : 

"That's just it! The ghost is not seen. And he 
has no dress-coat and no head ! All that talk about 
his death's head and his head of fire is nonsense! 
There's nothing in it. You only hear him when he 
is in the box. Mother has never seen him, but she 


has heard him. Mother knows, because she gives 
him his program." 

Sorelli interfered. 

*'Giry, child, you're getting at us!" 

Thereupon little Giry began to cry. 

*'I ought to have held my tongue — if mother ever 
came to know! But I was quite right, Joseph Bu- 
quet had no business to talk of things that don't con- 
cern him — it will bring him bad luck — mother was 
saying so last night " 

There was a sound of hurried and heavy footsteps 
in the passage and a breathless voice cried: 

"Cecile! Cecile! Are you there?" 

"It's mother's voice," said Jammes. "What's the 

She opened the door. A respectable lady, built 
on the lines of a Pomeranian grenadier, burst into 
the dressing-room and dropped groaning into a va- 
cant arm-chair. Her eyes rolled madly in her brick- 
dust colored face. 

"How awful!" she said. "How awful!" 

"What? What?" 

"Joseph Buquet '* 

"What about him?" 

"Joseph Buquet is dead!" 

The room became filled with exclamations, with 
astonished outcries, with scared requests for explana- 

"Yes, he was found hanging in the third-floor cel- 

"It's the ghost !" little Giry blurted, as though in 


spite of herself; but she at once corrected herself, 
with her hands pressed to her mouth: "No, no! — 
I didn't say It ! — I didn't say It ! " 

All around her, her panic-stricken companions re- 
peated under their breaths : 

"Yes — It must be the ghost!" 

Sorelll was very pale. 

*'I shall never be able to recite my speech," she 

Ma Jammes gave her opinion, while she emptied 
a glass of liqueur that happened to be standing on a 
table; the ghost must have something to do with it. 

The truth is that no one ever knew how Joseph 
Buquet met his death. The verdict at the inquest 
was "natural suicide." In his Memoirs of a Mana- 
ger, M. Moncharmin, one of the joint managers who 
succeeded MM. Debienne and Poligny, describes the 
incident as follows : 

"A grievous accident spoiled the little party which 
MM. Debienne and Poligny gave to celebrate their 
retirement. I was in the manager's office, when Mer- 
cier, the acting-manager, suddenly came darting in. 
He seemed half mad and told me that the body of 
a scene-shifter had been found hanging In the third 
cellar under the stage, between a farm-house and a 
scene from the Roi de Lahore. I shouted: 

" 'Come and cut him down !' 

"By the time I had rushed down the staircase and 
the Jacob's ladder, the man was no longer hanging 
from his rope!" 

So this Is an event which M. Moncharmin thinks 
natural. A man hangs at the end of a rope ; they go 


to cut him down; the rop'" has disappeared. Oh, 
M. Moncharmin found a very simple explanation! 
Listen to him: 

"It was just after the ballet; and leaders and 
dancing-girls lost no time in taking their precautions 
against the evil eye." 1 

There you are! Picture the corps de ballet scut- 
tling down the Jacob's ladder and dividing the sui- 
cide's rope among themselves in less time than it 
takes to write! When, on the other hand, I think 
of the exact spot where the body was discovered — 
the third cellar underneath the stage — I imagine that 
somebody must have been interested in seeing that 
the rope disappeared after it had effected its purpose; 
and time will show if I am wrong. 

The horrid news soon spread all over the Opera, 
where Joseph Buquet was very popular. The dress- 
ing-rooms emptied and the ballet-girls, crowding 
around Sorelli like timid sheep around their shep- 
herdess, made for the foyer through the ill-lit pas- 
sages and staircases, trotting as fast as their little 
pink legs could carry them. 



ON the first landing, Sorelll ran against the Comte 
de Chagny, who was coming up-stairs. The 
count, who was generally so calm, seemed greatly ex- 

"I was just going to you," he said, taking off his 
hat. "Oh, Sorelll, what an evening! And Chris- 
tine Daae : Vv^hat a triumph !" 

"Impossible !" said Meg GIry. "Six months ago, 
she used to sing like a crock! But do let us get by, 
my dear count," continues the brat, with a saucy curt- 
sey. "We are going to Inquire after a poor man 
who was found hanging by the neck." 

Just then the acting-manager came fussing past 
and stopped when he heard this remark. 

"What!" he exclaimed roughly. "Have you girls 
heard already? Well, please forget about It for to- 
night — and above all don't let M. Debierrne and M. 
Poligny hear; it would upset them too much on their 
last day." 

They all went on to the foyer of the ballet, which 
was already full of people. The Comte de Chagny 
was right; no gala performance ever equalled this 
one. All the great composers of the day had con- 
ducted their own works in turns. Faure and Krauss 



had sung; and, on that evening, Christine Daae had 
revealed her true self, for the first time, to the aston- 
ished and enthusiastic audience. Gounod had con- 
ducted the Funeral March of a Marionnette; Reyer, 
his beautiful overture to Si guar; Saint Saens, the 
Danse Macabre and a Reverie Orientale; Massenet, 
an unpublished Hungarian march; Guiraud, his Car- 
naval; Delibes, the False lente from Sylvia and the 
Pizzicati from Coppelia. Mile. Krauss had sung the 
bolero in the Vespri Siciliani; and Mile. Denise Bloch 
the drinking song in Lucrezia Borgia. 

But the real triumph was reserved for Christine 
Daae, who had begun by singing a few passages from 
Romeo and Juliet. It was the first time that the 
young artist sang in this work of Gounod, which had 
not been transferred to the Opera and which was re- 
vived at the Opera Comique after it had been pro- 
duced at the old Theatre Lyrique by Mme. Car- 
valho. Those who heard her say that her voice, in 
these passages, was seraphic; but this was nothing to 
the superhuman notes that she gave forth in the 
prison scene and the final trio In Faust, which she 
sang In the place of La Carlotta, who was III. No 
one had ever heard or seen anything like it. 

Daae revealed a new Margarita that night, a Mar- 
garita of a splendor, a radiance hitherto unsuspected. 
The whole house went mad, rising to Its feet, shout- 
ing, cheering, clapping, while Christine sobbed and 
fainted In the arms of her fellow-singers and had to 
be carried to her dressing-room. A few subscribers, 
however, protested. Why had so great a treasure 


been kept from them all that time ? Till then, Chris- 
tine Daae had played a good Siebel to Carlotta's 
rather too splendidly material Margarita. And it 
had needed Carlotta's incomprehensible and inexcus- 
able absence from this gala night for the little Daae, 
at a moment's warning, to show all that she could do 
in a part of the program reserved for the Spanish 
diva! Well, what the subscribers wanted to know 
was, why had Debienne and Poligny applied to Daae, 
when Carlotta was taken ill? Did they know of her 
hidden genius? And, if they knew of it, why had 
they kept it hidden ? And why had she kept it hid- 
den? Oddly enough, she was not known to have a 
professor of singing at that moment. She had often 
said she meant to practise alone for the future. The 
whole thing was a mystery. 

The Comte de Chagny, standing up in his box, 
listened to all this frenzy and took part in it by 
loudly applauding. Philippe Georges Marie Comte 
de Chagny was just forty-one years of age. He was 
a great aristocrat and a good-looking man, above 
middle height and with attractive features, in spite 
of his hard forehead and his rather cold eyes. He 
was exquisitely polite to the women and a little 
haughty to the men, who did not always forgive him 
for his successes in society. He had an excellent heart 
and an irreproachable conscience. On the death of 
old Count Phihbert, he became the head of one of 
the oldest and most distinguished families In France, 
whose arms dated back to the fourteenth century. 
The Chagnys owned a great deal of property; and^ 


when the old count, who was a widower, died, it was 
no easy task for Philippe to accept the management of 
so large an estate. His two sisters and his brother, 
Raoul, would not hear of a division and waived their 
clairn to their shares, leaving themselves entirely in 
Philippe's hands, as though the right of primogeni- 
ture had never ceased to exist. When the two sis- 
ters married, on the same day, they received their por- 
tion from their brother, not as a thing rightfully 
belonging to them, but as a dowry for which they 
thanked him. 

The Comtesse de Chagny, nee de Moerogis de La 
Martyniere, had died in giving birth to Raoul, who 
was born twenty years after his elder brother. At 
the time of the old count's death, Raoul was twelve 
years of age. Philippe busied himself actively with 
the youngster*s education. He was admirably as- 
sisted in this work first by his sisters and afterward 
by an old aunt, the widow of a naval officer, who 
lived at Brest and gave young Raoul a taste for the 
sea. The lad entered the Borda training-ship, fin- 
ished his course with honors and quietly made his 
trip round the world. Thanks to powerful influence, 
he had just been appointed a member of the official 
expedition on board the Reqidn, which was to be sent 
to the Arctic Circle in search of the survivors of the 
D'Artoi's expedition, of whom nothing had been 
heard for three years. Meanwhile, he was enjoying 
a long furlough which would not be over for six 
months; and already the dowagers of the Faubourg 
Saint-Germain were pitying the handsome and appar- 


cntly delicate stripling for the hard work in store 
for him. 

The shyness of the sailor-lad — I was almost saying 
his innocence — was remarkable. He seemed to have 
but just left the women's apron-strings. As a mat- 
ter of fact, petted as he was by his two sisters and his 
old aunt, he had retained from this purely feminine 
education manners that were almost candid and 
stamped with a charm that nothing had yet been 
able to sully. He was a little over twenty-one years 
of age and looked eighteen. He had a small, fair 
mustache, beautiful blue eyes and a complexion like 
a girl's. 

Philippe spoiled Raoul. To begin with, he was 
very proud of him and pleased to foresee a glorious 
career for his junior in the navy in which one of their 
ancestors, the famous Chagny de La Roche, had held 
the rank of admiral. He took advantage of the 
young man's leave of absence to show him Paris, 
with all its luxurious and artistic delights. The count 
considered that, at Raoul's age, it is not good to be 
too good. Philippe himself had a character that 
was very well-balanced in work and pleasure alike; 
his demeanor was always faultless ; and he was incap- 
able of setting his brother a bad example. He took 
him with him wherever he went. He even intro- 
duced him to the foyer of the ballet. I know that 
the count was said to be "on terms" with Sorelli. 
But it could hardly be reckoned as a crime for this 
nobleman, a bachelor, with plenty of leisure, especially 
since his sisters were settled, to come and spend an 


hour or two after dinner in the company of a dancer, 
who, though not so very, very witty, had the finest 
eyes that ever were seen! And, besides, there are 
places where a true Parisian, when he has the rank of 
the Comte de Chagny, is bound to show himself; and 
at that time the foyer of the ballet at the Opera was 
one of those places. 

Lastly, Philippe would perhaps not have taken 
his brother behind the scenes of the Opera if Raoul 
had not been the first to ask him, repeatedly renew- 
ing his request with a gentle obstinacy which the 
count remembered at a later date. 

On that evening, Philippe, after applauding the 
Daae, turned to Raoul and saw that he was quite 

"Don't you see," said Raoul, "that the woman's 

"You look like fainting yourself," said the count. 
"What's the matter?" 

But Raoul had recovered himself and was stand- 
ing up. 

"Let's go and see," he said, "she never sang hke 
that before." 

The count gave his brother a curious smiling glance 
and seemed quite pleased. They were soon at the 
door leading from the house to the stage. Numbers 
of subscribers were slowly making their way through. 
Raoul tore his gloves without knowing what he was 
doing and Philippe had much too kind a heart to 
laugh at him for his impatience. But he now under- 
stood why Raoul was absent-minded when spoken to 


and why he always tried to turn every conversation to 
the subject of the Opera. 

They reached the stage and pushed through the 
crowd of gentlemen, scene-shifters, supers and chor- 
us-girls, Raoul leading the way, feeling that his heart 
no longer belonged to him, his face set with passion, 
while Count Philippe followed him with difficulty 
and continued to smile. At the back of the stage, 
Raoul had to stop before the inrush of the little 
troop of ballet-girls who blocked the passage which 
he was trying to enter. More than one chaffing 
phrase darted from little made-up lips, to which 
he did not reply; and at last he was able to pass, and 
dived into the semi-darkness of a corridor ringing 
with the name of "Daae! Daae!" The count was 
surprised to find that Raoul knew the way. He had 
never taken him to Christine's himself and came to 
the conclusion that Raoul must have gone there alone 
while the count stayed talking in the foyer with So- 
relli, who often asked him to wait until it was her 
time to "go on" and sometimes handed him the little 
gaiters in which she ran down from her dressing- 
room to preserve the spotlessness of her satin danc- 
ing-shoes and her flesh-colored tights. Sorelli had an 
excuse; she had lost her mother. 

Postponing his usual visit to Sorelli for a few min- 
utes, the count followed his brother dovm the passage 
that led to Daae's dressing-room and saw that it had 
never been so crammed as on that evening, when the 
whole house seemed excited by her success and also 
by her fainting fit. For the girl had not yet come to ; 


and the doctor of the theater had just arrived at the 
moment when Raoul entered at his heels. Christine, 
therefore, received the first aid of the one, while 
opening her eyes In the arms of the other. The count 
and many more remained crowding In the doorway. 

"Don't you think. Doctor, that those gentlemen 
had better clear the room?" asked Raoul coolly. 
"There's no breathing here." 

"You're quite right," said the doctor. 

And he sent every one away, except Raoul and the 
maid, who looked at Raoul with eyes of the most un- 
disguised astonishment. She had never seen him be- 
fore and yet dared not question him; and the doctor 
imagined that the young man was only acting as he 
did because he had the right to. The viscount, there- 
fore, remained In the room watching Christine as she 
slowly returned to life, while even the joint managers, 
Deblenne and Pollgny, who had come to offer their 
sympathy and congratulations, found themselves 
thrust Into the passage among the crowd of dandles. 
The Comte de Chagny, who was one of those stand- 
ing outside, laughed: 

"Oh, the rogue, the rogue !" And he added, under 
his breath : "Those youngsters with their school-girl 
, airs! So he's a Chagny after all!" 

He turned to go to Sorelll's dressing-room, but met 
her on the way, with her little troop of trembling 
ballet-girls, as we have seen. 

Meanwhile, Christine Daae uttered a deep sigh, 
which was answered by a groan. She turned her 
head, saw Raoul and started. She looked at the doc- 


tor, on whom she bestowed a smile, then at her maid, 
then at Raoul again. 

"Monsieur," she said, In a voice not much above 
a whisper, "who are you?" 

"Mademoiselle," replied the young man, kneeling 
on one knee and pressing a fervent kiss. on the diva's 
hand, "I am the little boy who went into the sea to 
rescue your scarf." 

Christine again looked at the doctor and the 
maid; and all three began to laugh. 

Raoul turned very red and stood up. 

"Mademoiselle," he said, "since you are pleased 
not to recognize me, I should like to say something 
to you in private, something very Important." 

"When I am better, do you mind?" And her 
voice shook. "You have been very good." 

"Yes, you must go," said the doctor, with his 
pleasantest smile. "Leave me to attend to mademoi- 

"I am not ill now," said Christine suddenly, with 
strange and unexpected energy. 

She rose and passed her hand over her eyelids. 

"Thank you. Doctor. I should like to be alone. 
Please go away, all of you. Leave me. I feel very 
restless this evening." 

The doctor tried to make a short protest, but, per- 
ceiving the girl's evident agitation, he thought the 
best remedy was not to thwart her. And he went 
away, saying to Raoul, outside : 

"She is not herself to-night. She is usually so 


Then he said good night and Raoul was left alone. 
The whole of this part of the theater was now de- 
serted. The farewell ceremony was no doubt taking 
plac6 in the foyer of the ballet. Raoul thought that 
Daae might go to it and he waited in the silent soli- 
tude, even hiding in the favoring shadow of a door- 
way. He felt a terrible pain at his heart and it was 
of this that he wanted to speak, to Daae without 

Suddenly the dressing-room door opened and the 
maid came out by herself, carrying bundles. He 
stopped her and asked how her mistress was. The 
woman laughed and said that she was quite well, but 
that he must not disturb her, for she wished to be 
left alone. And she passed on. One idea alone 
filled Raoul's burning brain : of course, Daae wished 
to be left alone for him! Had he not told her that 
he wanted to speak to her privately? 

Hardly breathing, he went up to the dressing-room 
and, with his ear to the door to catch her reply, pre- 
pared to knock. But his hand dropped. He had 
heard a man's voice in the dressing-room, saying, in 
a curiously masterful tone : 

"Christine, you must love me!" 
" And Christine's voice, Infinitely sad and trembling, 
as though accompanied by tears, replied: 

"How can you talk like that? JFhen I sing only 
for you!" 

Raoul leaned against the panel to ease his pain. 
His heart, which had seemed gone for ever, returned 
to his breast and was throbbing loudly. The whole 


passage echoed with its beating and Raoul's ears 
were deafened. Surely, if his heart continued to 
make such a noise, they would hear it inside, they 
would open the door and the young man would be 
turned away in disgrace. What a position for a 
Chagny! To be caught listening behind a door! He 
took his heart in his two hands to make it stop. 

The man's voice spoke again : 

"Are you very tired?" 

"Oh, to-night I gave you my soul and I am dead I" 
Christine replied. 

"Your soul is a beautiful thing, child," replied the 
grave man's voice, "and I thank you. No emperor 
ever received so fair a gift. The angels wept to- 

Raoul heard nothing after that. Nevertheless, he 
did not go away, but, as though he feared lest he 
should be caught, he returned to his dark corner, de- 
termined to wait for the man to leave the room. At 
one and the same time, he had learned what love 
meant, and hatred. He knew that he loved. He 
wanted to know whom he hated. To his great aston- 
ishment, the door opened and Christine Daae ap- 
peared, wrapped in furs, with her face hidden In a 
lace veil, alone. She closed the door behind her, but 
Raoul observed that she did not lock it. She passed , 
him. He did not even follow her with his eyes, for 
his eyes were fixed on the door, which did not open 

When the passage was once more deserted, he 
crossed it, opened the door of the dresslng-roomj, 


went in and shut the door. He found himself in ab- 
solute darkness. The gas had been turned out. 

"There is some one here!" said Raoul, with his 
back against the closed door, in a quivering voice. 
, "What are you hiding for ?" 

All was darkness and silence. Raoul heard only 
the sound of his own breathing. He quite failed to 
see that the indiscretion of his conduct was exceed- 
ing all bounds. 

"You shan't leave this until I let you!" he ex- 
claimed. "If you don't answer, you are a coward! 
But ril expose you !" 

And he struck a match. The blaze lit up the 
room. There was no one in the room ! Raoul, first 
turning the key in the door, lit the gas-jets. He went 
into the dressing-closet, opened the cupboards, 
hunted about, felt the walls with his moist hands. 
Nothing ! 

"Look here!" he said, aloud. "Am I going mad?" 

He stood for ten minutes listening to the gas flaring 
in the silence of the empty room; lover though he 
was, he did not even think of stealing a ribbon that 
would have given him the perfume of the woman he 
loved. He went out, not knowing what he was doing 
f nor where he was going. At a given moment in his 
wayward progress, an icy draft struck him in the 
face. He found himself at the bottom of a stair- 
case, down which, behind him, a procession of work- 
men were carrying a sort of stretcher, covered with a 
white sheet. 


"Which is the way out, please?" he asked or one 
of the men. 

"Straight in front of you, the door is open. But 
let us pass." 

Pointing to the stretcher, he asked mechanically; 

"What's that?" 

The workmen answered : 

" 'That' is Joseph Buquet, who was found in the 
third cellar, hanging between a farm-house and a 
scene from the Roi de Lahore." 

He took off his hat, fell back to make room for the 
procession and went out. 



DURING this time, the farewell ceremony was 
taking place. I have already said that this 
magnificent function was being given on the occasion 
of the retirement of M. Debienne and M. Poligny, 
who had determined to "die game," as we say now- 
adays. They had been assisted in the realization of 
their ideal, though melancholy, program by all that 
counted in the social and artistic world of Paris. All 
these people met, after the performance, in the foyer 
of the ballet, where Sorelli waited for the arrival of 
the retiring managers with a glass of champagne In 
her hand and a little prepared speech at the tip of her 
tongue. Behind her, the members of the corps de 
ballet, young and old, discussed the events of the 
day in whispers or exchanged discreet signals with 
their friends, a noisy crowd of whom surrounded the 
supper-tables arranged along the slanting floor. 

A few of the dancers had already changed into 
ordinary dress ; but most of them wore their skirts 
of gossamer gauze; and all had thought it the right 
thing to put on a special face for the occasion: all, 
that Is, except little Jammes, whose fifteen summers 
— happy age! — seemed already to have forgotten 
the ghost and the death of Joseph Buquet. She 
never ceased to laugh and chatter, to hop about and 


play practical jokes, until MM. Deblenne and Pol- 
igny appeared on the steps of the foyer, when she 
was severely called to order by the impatient Sorelli. 

Everybody remarked that the retiring managers 
looked cheerful, as Is the Paris way. None will ever 
be a true Parisian who has not learned to wear a mask 
of gaiety over his sorrows and one of sadness, bore- 
dom or indifference over his inward joy. You know 
that one of your friends is in trouble; do not try to 
console him : he will tell you that he is already com- 
forted; but, should he have met with good fortune, 
be careful how you congratulate him: he thinks it 
so natural that he is surprised that you should speak 
of it. In Paris, our lives are one masked ball; and 
the foyer of the ballet is the last place in which two 
men so "knowing" as M, Debienne and M. Poligny 
would have made the mistake of betraying their 
grief, however genuine it might be. And they were 
already smiling rather too broadly upon Sorelli, who 
had begun to recite her speech, when an exclamation 
from that little madcap of a Jammes broke the smile 
of the managers so brutally that the expression of 
distress and dismay that lay beneath It became appar- 
ent to all eyes : 

"The Opera ghost!" 

Jammes yelled these words In a tone of unspeak- 
able terror; and her finger pointed, among the crowd 
of dandies, to a face so pallid, so lugubrious and so 
ugly, with two such deep black cavities under the 
straddling eyebrows, that the death's head in ques- 
tion immediately scored a huge success. 


"The Opera ghost! The Opera ghost!" 

Everybody laughed and pushed his neighbor and 
wanted to offer the Opera ghost a drink, but he was 
gone. He had slipped through the crowd; and the 
others vainly hunted for him, while two old gentle- 
men tried to calm little Jammes and while little GIry 
stood screaming like a peacock. 

Sorelli was furious; she had not been able to finish 
her speech; the managers had kissed her, thanked 
her and run away as fast as the ghost himself. No 
one was surprised at this, for It was known that they 
were to go through the same ceremony on the floor 
above, in the foyer of the singers, and that finally 
they were themselves to receive their personal 
friends, for the last time. In the great lobby outside 
the managers' office, where a regular supper would 
be served. 

Here they found the new managers, M. Armand 
Moncharmin and M. Firmin Richard, whom they 
hardly knew; nevertheless, they were lavish In pro- 
testations of friendship and received a thousand flat- 
tering compliments In reply, so that those of the 
guests who had feared that they had a rather tedious 
evening In store for them at once put on brighter 
faces. The supper was almost gay and a particularly 
clever speech of the representative of the govern- 
ment, mingling the glories of the past with the suc- 
cesses of the future, caused the greatest cordiality to 

The retiring managers had already handed over 
,to their successors the two tiny master-keys which 


opened all the doors — -thousands of doors — of the 
Opera house. And those little keys, the object of 
general curiosity, were being passed from hand to 
hand, when the attention of some of the guests was 
diverted by their discovery, at the end of the table, 
of that strange, wan and fantastic face, with the hol- 
low eyes, which had already appeared in the foyer 
of the ballet and been greeted by little Jammes' ex- 

"The Opera ghost!" 

There sat the ghost, as natural as could be, except 
that he neither ate nor drank. Those who began by 
looking at him with a smile ended by turning away 
their heads, for the sight of him at once provoked 
the most funereal thoughts. No one repeated the 
joke of the foyer, no one exclaimed: 

"There's the Opera ghost!" 

He himself did not speak a word and his very 
neighbors could not have stated at what precise mo- 
ment he had sat down between them; but every one 
felt that if the dead did ever come and sit at the 
table of the living, they could not cut a more ghastly 
figure. The friends of Firmin Richard and Armand 
Moncharmin thought that this lean and skinny guest 
was an acquaintance of Debienne's or Poligny's, 
while Debienne's and Poligny's friends believed that 
the cadaverous individual belonged to Firmin Rich- 
ard and Armand Moncharmin's party. 

The result was that no request was made for an 
explanation; no unpleasant remark; no joke in bad 
taste, which might have offended this visitor from 


the tomb. A few of those present who knew the 
Story of the ghost and the description of him given 
by the chief scene-shifter — they did not know of Jo- 
seph Buquet's death — thought, in their own minds, 
that the man at the end of the table might easily have 
passed for him; and yet, according to the story, the 
ghost had no nose and the person In question had. 
But M. Moncharmin declares, in his Memoirs, that 
the guest's nose was transparent: "long, thin and 
transparent" are his exact words. I, for my part, 
will add that this might very well apply to a false 
nose. M. Moncharmin may have taken for trans- 
parency what was only shininess. Everybody knows 
that orthopaedic science provides beautiful false noses 
for those who have lost their noses naturally or as the 
result of an operation. 

Did the ghost really take a seat at the managers' 
supper-table that night, uninvited? And can we be 
sure that the figure was that of the Opera ghost him- 
self? Who v\^ould venture to assert as much? I 
mention the incident, not because I wish for a second 
to make the reader believe — or even to try to make 
him believe — that the ghost was capable of such a 
sublime piece of impudence; but because, after all, 
the thing is impossible. 

M. Armand Moncharmin, in chapter eleven of his 
Memoirs, says: 

"When I think of this first evening, I can not sep- 
arate the secret confided to us by MM. Debienne and 
Poligny in their oflice from the presence at our sup- 
per of that ghostly person whom none of us knew." 


What happened was this: MM. Debienne and Po- 
ligny, sitting at the center of the table, had not seen 
the man with the death's head. Suddenly he began 
to speak. 

"The ballet-girls are right," he said. "The death 
of that poor Buquet is perhaps not so natural as 
people think." 

Debienne and Poligny gave a start. 

"Is Buquet dead?" they cried. 

"Yes," replied the man, or the shadow of a man, 
quietly. "He was found, this evening, hanging in 
the third cellar, between a farm-house and a scene 
from the Roi de Lahore." 

The two managers, or rather ex-managers, at once 
rose and stared strangely at the speaker. They were 
more excited than they need have been, that is to 
say, more excited than any one need be by the an- 
nouncement of the suicide of a chief scene-shifter. 
They looked at each other. They had both turned 
whiter than the table-cloth. At last, Debienne made 
a sign to MM. Richard and Moncharmin; Poligny 
muttered a few words of excuse to the guests; and all 
four went into the managers' office. I leave M. Mon- 
charmin to complete the story. In his Memoirs, he 
says : 

"MM. Debienne and Poligny seemed to grow 
more and more excited, and they appeared to have 
something very difficult to tell us. First, they asked 
us if we knew the man, sitting at the end of the table, 
who had told them of the death of Joseph Buquet; 


and, when we answered in the negative, they looked 
still more concerned. They took the master-keys 
from our hands, stared at them for a moment and 
advised us to have new locks made, with the greatest 
secrecy, for the rooms, closets and presses that we 
might wish to have hermetically closed. They said 
this so funnily that we began to laugh and to ask if 
there were thieves at the Opera. They replied that 
there was something worse, which was the ghost. 
We began to la-ugh again, feeling sure that they 
were indulging in some joke that was intended 
to crown our little entertainment. Then, at their 
request, we became 'serious,' resolving to humor 
them and to enter Into the spirit of the game. 
They told us that they never would have spoken to 
us of the ghost, if they had not received formal or- 
ders from the ghost himself to ask us to be pleasant 
to him and to grant any request that he might make. 
However, In their relief at leaving a domain where 
that tyrannical shade held sway, they had hesitated 
until the last moment to tell us this curious story, 
which our skeptical minds were certainly not pre- 
pared to entertain. But the announcement of the 
death of Joseph Buquet had served them as a brutal 
reminder that, whenever they had disregarded the 
ghost's wishes, some fantastic or disastrous event 
had brought them to a sense of their dependence. 

"During these unexpected utterances made In a 
tone of the most secret and important confidence, I 
looked at Richard. Richard, in his student days, 
had acquired a great reputation for practical joking, 


and he seemed to relish the dish which was being 
served up to him in his turn. He did not miss a 
morsel of it, though the seasoning was a little grue- 
some because of the death of Buquet. He nodded 
his head sadly, while the others spoke, and his feat- 
ures assumed the air of a man who bitterly regretted 
having taken over the Opera, now that he knew that 
there was a ghost mixed up in the business. I could 
think of nothing better than to give him a servile 
imitation of this attitude of despair. However, in 
spite of all our efforts, we could not, at the finish, 
help bursting out laughing in the faces of MM. Deb- 
ienne and Poligny, who, seeing us pass straight from 
the gloomiest state of mind to one of the most inso- 
lent merriment, acted as though they thought that 
we had gone mad. 

"The joke became a little tedious; and Richard 
asked half-seriously and half in jest: 

" 'But, after all, what does this ghost of yours 

"M. Poligny went to his desk and returned with a 
copy of the memorandum-book. The memorandum- 
book begins with the well-known words saying that 
'the management of the Opera shall give to the per- 
formance of the National Academy of Music the 
splendor that becomes the first lyric stage In France' 
and ends with Clause 98, which says that the privi- 
lege can be withdrawn If the manager Infringes the 
conditions stipulated In the memorandum-book. This 
Is followed by the conditions, which are four in num- 


"The copy produced by M. PoHgny was written in 
black ink and exactly similar to that in our possession, 
except that, at the end, it contained a paragraph in 
red ink and in a queer, labored handwriting, as 
though it had been produced by dipping the heads 
of matches into the ink, the writing of a child that 
has never got beyond the down-strokes and has not 
learned to join its letters. This paragraph ran, word 
for word, as follows : 

" *5. Or if the manager, in any month, delay for 
more than a fortnight the payment of the allowance 
which he shall make to the Opera ghost, an allowance 
of twenty thousand francs a month, say two hundred 
and forty thousand francs a year.' 

"M. PoHgny pointed with a hesitating finger to 
this last clause, which we certainly did not expect. 

" *Is this all? Does he not want anything else?' 
asked Richard, with the greatest coolness. 

" 'Yes, he does,' replied PoHgny. 

"And he turned over the pages of the memoran- 
dum-book until he came to the clause specifying the 
days on which certain private boxes were to be re- 
served for the free use of the president of the repub- 
lic, the ministers and so on. At the end of this 
clause, a Hne had been added, also in red ink: 

" 'Box Five on the grand tier shall be placed at the 
disposal of the Opera ghost for every performance.' 

"When we saw this, there was nothing else for us 
to do but to rise from our chairs, shake our two pre- 
decessors warmly by the hand and congratulate them 
on thinking of this charming Httle joke, which proved 


that the old French sense of humor was never likely 
to become extinct. Richard added that he now un- 
derstood why MM. Debienne and Poligny were re- 
tiring from the management of the National Acad- 
emy of Music. Business was impossible with so un- 
reasonable a ghost. 

" 'Certainly, two hundred and forty thousand 
francs are not be picked up for the asking,' said M. 
Poligny, without moving a muscle of his face. 'And 
have you considered what the loss over Box Five 
meant to us? We did not sell it once; and not only 
that, but we had to return the subscription : why, it's 
awful 1 We really can't work to keep ghosts ! We 
prefer to go away!' 

" 'Yes,' echoed M. Debienne, 'we prefer to go 
away. Let us go.' 

"And he stood up. Richard said: 'But, after all 
all, it seems to me that you were much too kind to the 
ghost. If I had such a troublesome ghost as that, I 
should not hesitate to have him arrested ' 

" 'But how? Where?' they cried, in chorus. 'We 
have never seen him !' 

" 'But when he comes to his box?' 

" 'We have never seen htm in his box* 

" 'Then sell it.* 

" 'Sell the Opera ghost's box ! Well, gentlemen, 
try It.' 

"Thereupon we all four left the office. Richard 
and I had 'never laughed so much in our lives.' " 



ARMAND Moncharmin wrote such voluminous 
Memoirs during the fairly long period of his 
co-management that we may well ask if he ever found 
time to attend to the affairs of the Opera otherwise 
than by telling what went on there. M. Moncharmin 
did not know a note of music, but he called the min- 
ister of education and fine arts by his Christian name, 
had dabbled a little in society journalism and enjoyed 
a considerable private income. Lastly, he was a 
charming fellow and'showed that he was not lacking 
in intelligence, for, as soon as he made up his mind 
to be a sleeping partner in the Opera, he selected the 
best possible active manager and went straight to 
Firmin Richard. 

Firmin Richard v/as a very distinguished com- 
poser, who had published a number of successful 
pieces of all kinds and who liked nearly every form 
of music and every sort of musician. Clearly, there- 
fore, it was the duty of every sort of musician to 
like M. Firmin Richard. The only things to be said 
against him were that he was rather masterful in his 
ways and endowed with a very hasty temper. 

The first few days which the partners spent at the 
Opera were given over to the delight of finding them- 
selves the head of so magnificent an enterprise; and 


they had forgotten all about that curious, fantastic 
story of the ghost, when an incident occurred that 
proved to them that the joke — if joke it were — was 
not over. M. Firmin Richard reached his office 
that morning at eleven o'clock. His secretary, M. 
Remy, showed him half a dozen letters which he 
had not opened because they were marked "private." 
One of the letters had at once attracted Richard's 
attention not only because the envelope was addressed 
in red ink, but because he seemed to have seen the 
writing before. He soon rememberd that it was the 
red handwriting in which the memorandum-book 
had been so curiously completed. He recognized the 
clumsy childish hand. He opened the letter and 

Dear Mr. Manager : 

I am sorry to have to trouble you at a time when 
you must be so very busy, renewing important en- 
gagements, signing fresh ones and generally display- 
ing your excellent taste. I know what you have done 
for Carlotta, Sorelll and little Jammes and for a few 
others whose admirable qualities of talent or genius 
you have suspected. 

Of course, when I use these words, I do not mean 
to apply them to La Carlotta, who sings like a squirt 
and who ought never to have been allowed to leave 
the Ambassadeurs and the Cafe Jacquin; nor to La 
Sorelll, who owes her success mainly to the coach- 
builders; nor to little Jammes, who dances like a calf 
in a field. And I am not speaking of Christine Daae 
either, though her genius is certain, whereas your 
jealousy prevents her from creating any important 


part. When all is said, you are free to conduct your 
little business as you think best, are you not? 

All the same, I should like to take advantage of the 
fact that you have not yet turned Christine Daae out 
of doors by hearing her this evening in the part of 
Siebel, as that of Margarita has been forbidden her 
since her triumph of the other evening; and I will ask 
you not to dispose of my box to-day nor on the fol- 
lowing days, for I can not end this letter without tell- 
ing you how disagreeably surprised I have been once 
or twice, to hear, on arriving at the Opera, that my 
box had been sold, at the box-office, by your orders. 

I did not protest, first, because I dislike scandal, 
and, second, because I thought that your predeces- 
sors, MM. Debienne and Poligny, who were always 
charming to me, had neglected, before leaving, to 
mention my little fads to you. I have now received a 
reply from those gentlemen to my letter asking for 
an explanation, and this reply proves that you know 
all about my memorandiim-book and, consequently, 
that you are treating me with outrageous contempt. 
// you wish to live in peace, you must not begin by 
taking away my private box. 

Believe me to be, dear Mr. Manager, without pre- 
judice to these little observations. 

Your Most Humble and Obedient Servant, 

Opera Ghost. 

The letter was accompanied by a cutting from the 
agony-column of the Revue Thedtrale, which ran : 

O. G. — There is no excuse for R. and M. We 
told them and left your memorandum-book in their 
hands. Kind regards. 

M. Firmin Richard had hardly finished reading 
this letter when M. Armand Moncharmin entered, 


carrying one exactly similar. They looked at each 
other and burst out laughing. 

"They are keeping up the joke," said M. Richard, 
"but I don't call it funny." 

"What does it all mean?" asked M. Moncharmin. 
"Do they imagine that, because they have been man- 
agers of the Opera, we are going to let them have a 
box for an indefinite period?" 

"I am not in the mood to let myself be laughed at 
long," said Firmin Richard. 

"It's harmless enough," observed Armand Mon- 
charmin. "What is it they really want? A box for 

M. Firmin Richard told his secretary to send Box 
Five on the grand tier to MM. Deblenne and Polig- 
ny, If it was not sold. It was not. It was sent off to 
them. Deblenne lived at the corner of the Rue Scribe 
and the Boulevard des Capuclnes ; Pollgny, In the Rue 
Auber. O. Ghost's two letters had been posted at 
the Boulevard des Capuclnes post-office, as Mon- 
charmin remarked after examining the envelopes. 

"You see!" said Richard. 

They shrugged their shoulders and regretted that 
two men of that age should amuse themselves with 
such childish tricks. 

"They might have been civil, for all that!" said 
Moncharmin. "Did you notice how they treat us 
with regard to Carlotta, Sorelli and Little Jammes?" 

"Why, my dear fellow, these two are mad with 
jealousy ! To think that they went to the expense of 


an advertisement in the Revue Thedtrale! Have they 
nothing better to do?" 

"By the way," said Moncharmin, "they seem to 
be greatly Interested In that little Christine Daae !" 

"You know as well as I do that she has the repu- 
tation of being quite good," said Richard. 

"Reputations are easily obtained," replied Mon- 
charmin. "Haven't I a reputation for knowing all 
about music? And I don't know one key from 

"Don't be afraid: you never had that reputation," 
Richard declared. 

Thereupon he ordered the artists to be shown in, 
who, for the last two hours, had been walking up 
and down outside the door behind which fame and 
fortune — or dismissal — awaited them. 

The whole day was spent In discussing, negotiat- 
ing, signing or cancelling contracts ; and the two over- 
worked managers went to bed early, without so much 
as casting a glance at Box Five to see whether M. 
Debienne and M. Pollgny were enjoying the per- 

Next morning, the managers received a card of 
thanks from the ghost: 

Dear Mr. Manager : 

Thanks. Charming evening. Daae exquisite. Cho- 
ruses want waking up. Carlotta a splendid com- 
monplace Instrument. Will write you soon for the 
240,000 francs, or 233,424 fr. 70 c, to be correct. 
MM. Debienne and Pollgny have sent me the 6,575 
fr. 30 c. representing the first ten days of my allow- 


ance for the current year; their privileges finished on 
the evening of the tenth inst. 
Kind regards, 

O. G. 

On the other hand, there was a letter from MM, 
Debienne and Poligny: 

Gentlemen : 

We are much obliged for your kind thought of us, 
but you will easily understand that the prospect of 
again hearing Faust, pleasant though it is to ex-man- 
agers of the Opera, can not make us forget that 
we have no right to occupy Box Five on the grand 
tier, which is the exclusive property of him of whom 
we spoke to you when we went through the memo- 
randum-book with you for the last time. See Clause 
98, final paragraph. 

Accept, gentlemen, etc. 

*'0h, those fellows are beginning to annoy me!" 
shouted Firmin Richard, snatching up the letter. 

'And that evening Box Five was sold. 

The next morning, MM. Richard and Monchar- 
min, on reaching their ofiice, found an inspector's re- 
port relating to an incident that had happened, the 
night before, in Box Five. I give the essential part 
of the report: 

I was obliged to call in a municipal guard twice, 
this evening, to clear Box Five on the grand tier, once 
at the beginning and once in the middle of the second 
act. The occupants, who arrived as the curtain rose 
on the second act, created a regular scandal by their 
laughter and their ridiculous observations. There 


were cries of "Hush !" all around them and the whole 
house was beginning to protest, when the box-keeper 
came to fetch me. I entered the box and said what 
I thought necessary. The people did not seem to me 
to be in their right mind; and they made stupid re- 
marks. I said that, if the noise was repeated, I 
should be compelled to clear the box. The moment 
I left, I heard the laughing again, with fresh protests 
from the house. I returned with a municipal guard, 
who turned them out. They protested, still laughing, 
saying they would not go unless they had their money 
back. At last, they became quiet and I allowed them 
to enter the box again. The laughter at once recom- 
menced; and, this time, I had them turned out 

"Send for the Inspector," said Richard to his sec- 
retary, who had already read the report and marked 
It with blue pencil. 

M. Remy, the secretary, had foreseen the order 
and called the inspector at once. 

"Tell us what happened," said Richard bluntly. 

The Inspector began to splutter and referred to 
the report. 

"Well, but what were those people laughing at?" 
asked Moncharmln. 

"They must have been dining, sir, and seemed 
more Inclined to lark about than to listen to good 
music. The moment they entered the box, they came 
out again and called the box-keeper, who asked them 
what they wanted. They said, 'Look In the box: 
there's no one there. Is there?' 'No,' said the woman. 
'Well,' said they, 'when we went In, we heard a voice 
saying that the box was taken!' " 



M. Moncharmin could not help smiling as he 
looked at M. Richard; but M. Richard did not smile. 
He himself had done too much in that way in his 
time not to recognize, in the inspector's story, all the 
marks of one of those practical jokes which begin by 
amusing and end by enraging the victims. Th'^ in- 
spector, to curry favor with M. Moncharmin, who 
was smiling, thought It best to give a smile too. A 
most unfortunate smile ! M. Richard glared at his, 
subordinate, who thenceforth made it his business tq 
display a face of utter consternation. \ 

"However, when the people arrived," roared 
Richard, "there was no one in the box, was there?" 

"Not a soul, sir, not a soul! Nor in the box on 
the right, nor in the box on the left: not a soul, sir, 
I swear! The box-keeper told it me often enough, 
which proves that it was all a joke." 

"Oh, you agree, do you?" said Richard. "You 
agree! It's a joke! And you think it funny, no 

"I think it in very bad taste, sir." 

"And what did the box-keeper say?" 

"Oh, she just said that it was the Opera ghost. 
That's all she said!" 

And the inspector grinned. But he soon found 
that he had made a mistake in grinning, for the words 
had no sooner left his mouth than M. Richard, from 
gloomy, became furious. 

"Send for the box-keeper !" he shouted. "Send for 
her! This minute! This minute! And bring her 
in to me here! And turn all those people out!" 


The Inspect or tried to protest, but Richard closed 
his mouth .with an angry order to hold his tongue. 
Then, when the wretched man's lips seemed shut for 
ever, the manager commanded him to open them once 
more. • 

"Who is this 'Opera ghost?' " he snarled. 

Bi';t the inspector was by this time incapable of 
speaking a word. He managed to convey, by a de- 
;;pairing gesture, that he knew nothing about it, or 
lather that he did not wish to know. 

"Have you ever seen him, have you seen the Opera 

The inspector, by means of a vigorous shake of 
the head, denied ever having seen the ghost in ques- 

"Very well !" said M. Richard coldly. 

The inspector's eyes started out of his head, as 
though to ask why the manager had uttered that 
ominous "Very well !" 

"Because I'm going to settle the account of any 
one who has not seen him !" explained the manager. 
"As he seems to be everywhere, I can't have people 
telling me that they see him nowhere. I like people 
to work for me when I employ them !" 

Having said this, M. Richard paid no attention to 
the inspector and discussed various matters of busi- 
ness with his acting-manager, who had entered the 
room meanwhile. The inspector thought he could 
go and was gently — oh, so gently! — sidling toward 
the door, when M. Richard nailed the man to the 
floor with a thundering : 


"Stay where you are !" 

M. Remy had sent for the box-keeper to the Rue 
de Provence, close to the Opera, where she was en- 
gaged as a porteress. She soon made her appearance. 

"What's your name?" 

"Mame GIry. You know me well enough, sir; I'm 
the mother of little Giry, little Meg, what!" 

This was said in so rough and solemn a tone that, 
for a moment, M. Richard was impressed. He 
looked at Mame Giry, in her faded shawl, her worn 
shoes, her old taffeta dress and dingy bonnet. It was 
quite evident from the manager's attitude, that he 
either did not know or could not remember having 
met Mame Giry, nor even little Giry, nor even "little 
Meg!" But Mame Giry's pride was so great that 
the celebrated box-keeper Imagined that everybody 
knew her. 

"Never heard of her!" the manager declared. 
"But that's no reason, Mame Giry, why I shouldn't 
ask you what happened last night to make you and 
the inspector call in a municipal guard . . ." 

"I was just wanting to see you, sir, and talk to 
you about it, so that you mightn't have the same 
unpleasantness as M. Debienne and M. Poligny. 
They wouldn't listen to me either, at first." 

"I'm not asking you about all that. I'm asking 
what happened last night." 

Mame Giry turned purple with indignation. 
Never had she been spoken to like that. She rose 
as though to go, gathering up the folds of her skirt 
and waving the feathers of her dingy bonnet with 


dignity, but, changing her mind, she sat down again 
and said, in a haughty voice : 

"I'll tell you what happened. The ghost was an- 
noyed again !" 

Thereupon, as M. Richard was on the point of 
bursting out, M. Moncharmin Interfered and con- 
ducted the interrogatory, whence It appeared that 
Mame Giry thought it quite natural that a voice 
should be heard to say that a box was taken, when 
there was nobody In the box. She was unable to 
explain this phenomenon, which was not new to her, 
except by the intervention of the ghost. Nobody 
could see the ghost in his box, but everybody could 
hear him. She had often heard him; and they could 
believe her, for she always spoke the truth. They 
could ask M. Dcbienne and M. Pollgny, and anybody 
who knew her; and also M. Isidore Saack, who had 
had a leg broken by the ghost ! 

"Indeed!" said Moncharmin, interrupting her. 
"Did the ghost break poor Isidore Saack's leg?" 

Mame Giry opened her eyes with astonishment at 
such Ignorance. However, she consented to enlighten 
those two poor Innocents. The thing had happened 
In M. Debienne and M. Poligny's time, also In Box 
Five and also during a performance of Faust. 
Mame Giry coughed, cleared her throat — It sounded 
as though she were preparing to sing the whole of 
Gounod's score — and began : 

"It was like this, sir. That night, M. Maniera 
and his lady, the jewelers In the Rue Mogador, were 
sitting in the front of the box, with their great friend, 


M. Isidore Saack, sitting behind Mme. Maniera. 
Mephistopheles was singing" — Mame Giry here 
burst into song herself — " 'Catarina, while you play 
at sleeping,' and then M. Maniera heard a voice in 
his right ear (his wife was on his left) saying, 'Ha, 
ha! Julie's not playing at sleeping!' His wife hap- 
pened to be called Julie. So. M. Maniera turns to 
the right to see who was talking to him like that. 
Nobody there! He rubs his ear and asks himself 
if he's dreaming. Then Mephistopheles went on 
with his serenade. . . * But, perhaps I'm bor- 
ing you gentlemen ?'* 

"No, no, go on." 

"You are too good, gentlemen," with a smirk. 
"Well, then, Mephistopheles went on with his sere- 
nade" — Mame Giry, burst into song again — " 'Saint, 
unclose thy portals holy and accord the bliss, to a 
mortal bending lowly, of a pardon-kiss.' And then 
M. Maniera again hears the voice in his right ear, 
saying, this time, 'Ha, ha! Julie wouldn't mind ac- 
cording a kiss to Isidore!' Then he turns round 
again, but, this time, to the left; and what do you 
think he sees? Isidore, who had taken his lady's 
hand and was covering it with kisses through the 
little round place in the glove — like this, gen- 
tlemen" — rapturously kissing the bit of palm left 
bare in the middle of her thread gloves. "Then they 
had a lively time between them! Bang! Bang! 
M. Maniera, who was big and strong, like you, M. 
Richard, gave two blows to M. Isidore Saack, who 
was small and weak like M. Moncharmin, saving his 


presence. There was a great uproar. People In the 
house shouted, 'That will do! Stop them! He'll 
kill him !' Then, at last, M. Isidore Saack managed 
to run away." 

"Then the ghost had not broken his leg?" asked 
M. Moncharmin, a httle vexed that his figure had 
made so little impression on Mame Giry." 

"He did break it for him, sir," replied Mame Giry 
haughtily. "He broke it for him on the grand stair- 
case, which he ran down too fast, sir, and it will be 
long before the poor gentleman will be able to go up 
it again!" 

"Did the ghost tell you what he said in M. 
Maniera's right ear?" asked M. Moncharmin, with 
a gravity which he thought exceedingly humorous. 

"No, sir, it was M. Maniera himself. So " 

"But you have spoken to the ghost, my good 

"As Fm speaking to you now, my good sir!" 
Mame Giry replied. 

"And, when the ghost speaks to you, what does 
he say?" 

"Well, he tells me to bring him a footstool!" 

This time, Richard burst out laughing, as did 
Moncharmin and Remy, the secretary. Only the in- 
spector, warned by experience, was careful not to 
laugh, while Mame Giry ventured to adopt an atti- 
tude that was positively threatening. 

"Instead of laughing," she cried Indignantly, 
"you'd do better to do as M. Poligny did, who found 
out for himself." 


"Found out about what?" asked Moncharmin, who 
had never been so much amused in his life. 

"About the ghost, of course! . . . Look 
here . . ." 

She suddenly calmed herself, feeling that this was 
a solemn moment in her life : 

"Look here'' she repeated. "They were playing 
La Juive. M. Poligny thought he would watch the 
performance from the ghost's box. . . . Well, 
when Leopold cries, 'Let us fly!' — you know — and 
Eleazer stops them and says, 'Whither go ye?' . . 
well, M. Poligny — I was watching him from the 
back of the next box, which was empty — M. Poligny 
got up and walked out quite stiffly, like a statue, and 
before I had time to ask him, 'Whither go ye?' like 
Eleazer, he was down the staircase, but without 
breaking his leg. . . ." 

"Still, that doesn't let us know how the Opera 
ghost came to ask you for a footstool," Insisted M. 

"Well, from that evening, no one tried to take 
the ghost's private box from him. The manager 
gave orders that he was to have It at each perfor- 
mance. And, whenever he came, he asked me for 
a footstool." 

"Tut, tut ! A ghost asking for a footstool ! Then 
this ghost of yours is a woman?" 

"No, the ghost is a man." 

"How do you know?" 

"He has a man's voice, oh, such a lovely man's 
voice! This is what happens: When he comes to 


the opera, it's usually in the middle of the first act. 
He gives three little taps on the door of Box Five. 
The first time I heard those three taps, when I knew 
there was no one in the box, you can think how puz- 
zled I was! I opened the door, listened, looked; no- 
body! And then I heard a voice say, *Mame Jules' — 
my poor husband's name was Jules — 'a footstool, 
please.' Saving your presence, gentlemen, it made 
me feel all-overish like. But the voice went on, 
'Don't be frightened, Mame Jules, I'm the Opera 
ghost!' And the voice was so soft and kind that I 
hardly felt frightened. The voice was sitting in the 
corner chair, on the right, in the front row." 

"Was there any one in the box on the right of 
Box Five?" asked Moncharmin. 

"No; Box Seven, and Box Three, the one on the 
left, were both empty. The curtain had only just 
gone up." 

"And what did you do?" 

"Well, I brought the footstool. Of course, it 
wasn't for himself he wanted it, but for his lady! 
But I never heard her nor saw her." 

"Eh? What? So now the ghost is married!" 
The eyes of the two managers traveled from Mame 
Giry to the inspector, who, standing behind the box- 
keeper, was waving his arms to attract their atten- 
tion. He tapped his forehead with a distressful 
forefinger, to convey his opinion that the widow Jules 
Giry was most certainly mad, a piece of pantomime 
which confirmed M. Richard in his determination to 
get rid of an inspector who kept a lunatic in his serv- 


ice. Meanwhile, the worthy lady went on about her 
ghost, now painting his generosity: 

"At the end of the performance, he always gives 
me two francs, sometimes five, sometimes even ten, 
when he has been many days without coming. Only, 
since people have begun to annoy him again, he gives 
me nothing at all. . . ." 

"Excuse me, my good woman," said Moncharmin, 
while Mame Giry tossed the feathers in her dingy 
hat at this persistent familiarity, "excuse me, how 
does the ghost manage to give you your two f rants?'* 

"Why, he leaves them on the little shelf in the box, 
of course. I find them with the program, which I 
always give him. Some evenings, I find flowers in 
the box, a rose that must have dropped from his 
lady's bodice . . . for he brings a lady with 
him sometimes ; one day, they left a fan behind them." 

"Oh, the ghost left a fan, did he? And what 
did you do with it?" 

"Well, I brought it back to the box next night." 

Here the inspector's voice was raised. 

"You've broken the rules; I shall have to fine you, 
Mame Giry." 

"Hold your tongue, you fool !" muttered M. Fir- 
min Richard. 

"You brought back the fan. And then?" 

"Well, then, they took it away with them, sir; it 
was not there at the end of the performance; and in 
its place they left me a box of English sweets, which 
I'm very fond of. That's one of the ghost's pretty 


"That will do, Mame Giry. You can go." 
When Mame GIry had bowed herself out, with the 
dignity that never deserted her, the manager told 
the inspector that they had decided to dispense with 
that old madwoman's services; and, when he had 
gone in his turn, they instructed the acting-manager 
to make up the inspector's accounts. Left alone, the 
managers told each other of the idea which they both 
had in mind, which was that they should look into 
that little matter of Box Five themselves. 



CHRISTINE DAAE, owing to Intrigues to 
vv'hich I will return later, did not Immediately 
continue her triumph at the Opera. After the famous 
gala night, she sang once at the Duchess de Zurich's; 
but this was the last occasion on which she was heard 
in private. She refused, without plausible excuse, to 
appear at a charity concert to which she had promised 
her assistance. She acted throughout as though she 
were no longer the mistress of her own destiny and 
as though she feared a fresh triumph. 

She knew that the Comte de Chagny, to please his 
brother, had done his best on her behalf with M. 
Richard; and she wrote to thank him and also to 
ask him to cease speaking In her favor. Her reason 
for this curious attitude was never known. Some 
pretended that it was due to overweening pride; 
others spoke of her heavenly modesty. But people 
on the stage are not so modest as all that; and I think 
that I shall not be far from the truth If I ascribe 
her action simply to fear. Yes, I believe that Chris- 
tine Daae was frightened by what had happened to 
her. I have a letter of Christine's (it forms part of 
the Persian's collection), relating to this period, 
which suggests a feeling of absolute dismay: 


"I don't know myself when I sing," writes the 
poor child. 

She showed herself nowhere; and the Vicomte de 
Chagny tried in vain to meet her. He wrote to her, 
asking to call upon her, but despaired of receiving 
a reply when, one morning, she sent him the follow- 
ing note : 


I have not forgotten the little boy who went into 
the sea to rescue my scarf. I feel that I must write 
to you to-day, when I am going to Perros, in fulfil- 
ment of a sacred duty. To-morrow is the anniversary 
of the death of my poor father, whom you knew and 
who was very fond of you. He is buried there, with 
his violin, in the graveyard of the little church, at the 
bottom of the slope where we used to play as children, 
beside the road where, when we were a little bigger, 
we said good-by for the last time. 

The Vicomte de Chagny hurriedly consulted a rail- 
way guide, dressed as quickly as he could, wrote a 
few lines for his valet to take to his brother and 
jumped into a cab which brought him to the Gare 
Montparnasse just in time to miss the morning train. 
He spent a dismal day in town and did not recover 
his spirits until the evening, when he was seated in 
his compartment in the Brittany express. He read 
Christine's note over and over again, smelling its 
perfume, recalling the sweet pictures of his childhood, 
and spent the rest of that tedious night journey in 
feverish dreams that began and ended with Chris- 
tine Daae. Day was breaking when he alighted at 


Lannion. He hurried to the diligence for Perros- 
Guirec. He was the only passenger. He questioned 
the driver and learned that, on the evening of the 
previous day, a young lady who looked like a Paris- 
ian had gone to Perros and put up at the inn known 
as the Setting Sun. 

The nearer he drew to her, the more fondly he 
remembered the story of the little Sv/edish singer. 
Most of the details are still unknown to the public. 

There was once, in a little market-town not far 
from Upsala, a peasant who lived there with his fam- 
ily, digging the earth during the week and singing 
in the choir on Sundays. This peasant had a little 
daughter to whom he taught the musical alphabet 
before she knew how to read. Daae's father was a 
great musician, perhaps without knowing it. Not a 
fiddler throughout the length and breadth of Scan- 
dinavia played as he did. His reputation was wide- 
spread and he was always invited to set the couples 
dancing at weddings and other festivals. His wife 
died when Christine was entering upon her sixth 
year. Then the father, who cared only for his daugh- 
ter and his music, sold his patch of ground and went to 
Upsala in search of fame and fortune. He found < 
nothing but povert}\ 

He returned to the country, wandering from fair 
to fair, strumming his Scandinavian melodies, while 
his child, who never left his side, listened to him in 
esctasy or sang to his playing. One day, at Ljimby 
Fair, Professor Valerius heard them and took them 
to Gothenburg. He maintained that the father was 


the first violinist in the world and that the daughter 
had the making of a great artist. Her education 
and instruction were provided for. She made rapid 
progress and charmed everybody with her prettiness, 
her grace of manner and her genuine eagerness to 

When Valerius and his wife went to settle in. 
France, they took Daae and Christine with them. 
"Mamma" Valerius treated Christine as her daugh- 
ter. As for Daae, he began to pine away with home- 
sickness. He never went out of doors in Paris, but 
lived in a sort of dream which he kept up with his 
violin. For hours at a time, he remained locked up 
in his bedroom with his daughter, fiddling and sing- 
ing, very, very softly. Sometimes Mamma Valerius 
would come and listen behind the door, wipe away 
a tear and go down-stairs again on tiptoe, sighing for 
her Scandinavian skies. 

Daae seemed not to recover his strength until the 
summer, when the whole family went to stay at 
Perros-Guirec, in a far-away corner of Brittany, 
where the sea was of the same color as in his own 
country. Often he would play his saddest tunes on 
the beach and pretend that the sea stopped its roar- 
ing to listen to them. And then he induced Mamma 
Valerius to indulge a queer whim of his. At the time 
of the "pardons," or Breton pilgrimages, the village 
festival and dances, he went off with his fiddle, as in 
the old days, and was allowed to take his daughter 
with him for a week. They gave the smallest ham- 
lets music to last them for a year and slept at night 


in a barn, refusing a bed at the inn, lying close to- 
gether on the straw, as when they were so poor in 
Sweden. At the same time, they were very neatly 
dressed, made no collection, refused the halfpence 
offered them ; and the people around could not under- 
stand the conduct of this rustic fiddler, who tramped 
the roads with that pretty child who sang like an 
angel from Heaven. They followed them from vil- 
lage to village. 

One day, a little boy, who was out with his gov- 
erness, made her take a longer walk than he intended, 
for he could not tear himself from the little girl 
whose pure, sweet voice seemed to bind him to her. 
They came to the shore of an inlet which is still 
called Trestraou, but which now, I believe, harbors 
a casino or something of the sort. At that time, 
there was nothing but sky and sea and a stretch of 
golden beach. Only, there was also a high wind, 
which blew Christine's scarf out to sea. Christine 
gave a cry and put out her arms, but the scarf was 
already far on the waves. Then she heard a voice 

"It's all right, I'll go and fetch your scarf out of 
the sea." 

And she saw a little boy running fast, in spite of 
the outcries and the indignant protests of a worthy 
lady in black. The little boy ran into the sea, 
dressed as he was, and brought her back her scarf. 
Boy and scarf were both soaked through. The lady 
in black made a great fuss, but Christine laughed 
merrily and kissed the little boy, who was none other 


than the Vicomte Raoul de Chagny, staying at Lan- 
nion with his aunt. 

During the season, they saw each other and played 
together almost every day. At the aunt's request, 
seconded by Professor Valerius, Daae consented to 
give the young viscount some violin lessons. In this 
way, Raoul learned to love the same airs that had 
charmed Christine's childhood. They also both had 
the same calm and dreamy little cast of mind. They 
delighted in stories, In old Breton legends; and their 
favorite sport was to go and ask for them at the 
cottage-doors, like beggars : 

"Ma'am . . ." or, "Kind gentleman . . . 
have you a little story to tell us, please?" 

And it seldom happened that they did not have 
one "given" them; for nearly every old Breton 
grandamc has, at least once in her life, seen the 
"korrlgans" dance by moonlight on the heather. 

But their great treat was, in the twilight, in the 
great silence of the evening, after the sun had set in 
the sea, when Daae came and sat down by them on 
the roadside and, in a low voice, as though fearing 
lest he should frighten the ghosts whom he evoked, 
told them the legends of the land of the North. And, 
the moment he stopped, the children would ask for 

There was one story that began : 

"A king sat in a little boat on one of those deep, 
still lakes that open like a bright eye in the midst 
of the Norwegian mountains . . ." 

And another: 


"Little Lotte thought of everything and nothing. 
Her hair was golden as the sun's rays and her soul 
as clear and blue as her eyes. She wheedled her 
mother, was kind to her doll, took great care of her 
frock and her little red shoes and her fiddle, but most 
of all loved, when she went to sleep, to hear the 
Angel of Music." 

While the old man told this story, Raoul looked 
at Christine's blue eyes and golden hair; and Chris- 
tine thought that Lotte was very lucky to hear the 
Angel of Music when she went to sleep. The Angel 
of Music played a part in all Daddy Daae's tales; 
and he maintained that every great musician, every 
great artist received a visit from the Angel at least 
once in his life. Sometimes the Angel leans over 
their cradle, as happened to Lotte, and that is how 
there are little prodigies who play the fiddle at six 
better than men at fifty, which, you must admit, is 
very wonderful. Sometimes, the Angel comes much 
later, because the children are naughty and won't 
learn their lessons or practise their scales. And, 
sometimes, he does not come at all, because the 
children have a bad heart or a bad conscience. 

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 remem- 
ber 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 won- 
derful 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 

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 suf- 
fered, 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 show- 
ing 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, Chris- 
tine, 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 coun- 

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

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. . . . Per- 
haps 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 mis- 
tress who had offended him. But he had gone too 
far and saw no other way out of the ridiculous posi- 
tion than to behave odiously. 

"You don't answer!" he said angrily and unhap- 
pily. "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 even- 
ing, it was yourself, since I told you to leave the 
room 1" 

"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 . . . And I heard 
everything. . . ." 

"You heard what?" 

And the young girl, becoming strangely calm, re- 
leased Raoul's arm. 

"He said to you, 'Christine, you must love me I* " 


At these words, a deathly pallor spread over Chris- 
tine'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 to-night.' " 

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 posi- 
tion 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 Chris- 
tine 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 short- 
sighted, 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 even- 

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

"Listen, Raoul. I have decided to tell you some- 
thing, serious, very serious. . . . Do you remem- 
ber 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 obedi- 
ence 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, bring- 
ing her pale face so close to his that he might ha-ve 
thought that Christine was going to give him a kiss; 
but she only wanted to read his eyes in spite of the 

"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 dally." 

"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 talk- 
ing 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 Chris- 
tine's determined attitude. 

"It's you, Raoul, who say that? You, an old play- 
fellow 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 1" And she disappeared. 

Raoul returned to the inn feeling very weary, very 
low-spirited and very sad. He was told that Chris- 
tine 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 trou- 
bhng 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 moon- 
light, 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 de- 
serted 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 charm- 
ing 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. i^o et seq.: 

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


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 v/alked 
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 Mile. 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 hght." 

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. 
Mile. 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 con- 
sidered this so natural that I recovered all my calm- 
ness. 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 Mile. Daae life 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 toward 
the invisible, zvhich was playing the most perfect 
music! 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 remem- 
bered 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 chuck- 
ling 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 Mile. 
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 musi- 
cian was concealed. This surmise seemed to be con- 
firmed when I saw a shadow suddenly glide along 
the sacristy wall. I ran up. The shadow had al- 
ready 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 win- 
dows 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 appari- 
tion, my heart gave way, my courage failed me 
and I remember nothing more until I re- 
covered consciousness at the Setting Sun." 



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 Httle 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 expir- 
ing luminary, fell through some opening or other 
upon an old tower that raised Its pasteboard battle- 
ments 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 shipwreck- 
ed 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 strug- 
gle to the shore. The eight great polished columns 
stood up In the dusk like so many huge piles support- 
ing the threatening, crumbling, big-bellied cliffs whose 
layers were represented by the circular, parallel, wav- 
ing 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, Areth- 
usa 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 excep- 
tional 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 mis- 
fortune 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 Mame 
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, ostensi- 
bly 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 possi- 
ble, 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!" 



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

My Dear Managers: 

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 even- 
ing by Christine Daae. Never mind about Carlotta; 
she will be ill. 

3. I absolutely insist upon the good and loyal ser- 
vices 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 ac- 
cept, 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- 



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 c)pera .f' Upon my word, 
I didn't krioi^'. 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 

"Why, we want trained horses for the processions 
In the Juive, the Prof eta 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?" 

"Fm not talking of the horses, but of the stable-/ 

"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 doTi't are a hang iOr the gov*i .,nentV' roai^j 
Richard. "We don't need more than four stablemen 
for twelve horses." 

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

"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-man- 
ager. "Cesar, the white horse in the Prof eta?" 

"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. Lachencl," 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 man- 
agers and whispered. "It's the ghost who did the 

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 

"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 under- 
ground 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 I 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 representa- 
tive'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 Mame 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 Onera 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 Mame 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 Mame 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 

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 

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 

The letter took away Carlotta's appetite for break- 
fast. 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 Inclina- 
tion to shirk her duties. From that time, she worked 
with all her might to "smother" her rival, enhsting 
the services of influential friends to persuade the man- 
agers not to give Christine an opportunity for a fresh 
triumph. Certain newspapers which had begun to 
€xtol 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 rehed upon them to hold 
themselves prepared for any eventuality and to silence 
the adversaries, if, as she feared, they created a dis- 

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 ad- 
vice 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 wcre^ 
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. Ar- 
mand Moncharmin, in the same gay tone. "The per- 
formance 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 broad- 
cloth 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 Mame 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 

"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 stage-manager. 

"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 


On the other hand, when Margarita crossed the 
stage and sang the only two hnes 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 dur- 
ing 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 Thide and rushed to the 
subscribers' entrance to warn Carlotta. The man- 
agers 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, shrug- 
ging their shoulders and treating the whole affair as 

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 fol- 
lowed was unsatisfactory and the count asked Chris- 
tine 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, flee- 
ing from Perros like a thief in the night, had arrived 
before him : 

My Dear Little Playfellow : 

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 en- 

"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 suc- 
cess, 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 sud- 
denly ... a terrible thing happened. 

Faust had knelt on one knee : 

"Let me gaze on the form below mc, 
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: 

*'0h, 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 tcr- 


rible 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 ex- 
clamation of horror. Every one felt that the thing 
was not natural, that there was witchcraft behind It. 
That toad smelt of brimstone. Poor, wretched, de- 
spairing, 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 her- 
self If she had really heard that note, that sound, that 
Infernal noise Issue from her throat, she tried to per- 
suade herself that it was not so, that she was the vic- 
tim 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 Inex- 
phcable 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 trem- 
bled. . . . 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. 


Their joint exclamation of horror was heard all 
over the house. They felt that they were smarting 
under the ghost's attacks. 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. l« w 

"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 im- 
possible voice, the mouthless voice, saying: 

^^She is singing to-night to bring the chandelier 

With one accord, they raised their eyes to the ceil- 
ing 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 
yrush for the doors followed. 

The papers of the day state that there were num- 
bers 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 Mame Giry, the ghost's box-keeper, in her 


functions ! She died on the spot and, the next morn- 
ing, a newspaper appeared with this heading: 


That was her sole epitaph I 



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 in- 
creased 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 sub- 
scribers thought that some event even more horrible 
than the fall of the chandelier must have affected 
their state of mind. 

In their dally 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 Mile. Daae 
had requested leave of absence for reasons of health. 

"Then she is 111 !" he cried. "What is the matter 
with her?" 

"We don't know." 

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

"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 dress- 
ing-room door, his conversation with Christine at the 


edge of the moor made him suspect some machina- 
tion which, devihsh though it might be, was none 
the less human. The girl's highly strung imagina- 
tion, her affectionate and credulous mind, the primi- 
tive 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 bed- 
room, because she can no longer stand on her poor 


Five minutes later, Raoul was ushered Into an 111- 
llt 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 put- 
ting 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 be- 
coming 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 Chris- 
tine too!" 

"She is fond of mel" sighed the young man. He 
found a difficulty in collecting his thoughts and bring- 
ing 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 whole- 
heartedly. 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 mar- 
ried, 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 

"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 authorita- 
tive 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 Indis- 
creet 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 reahzed 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 fori" 

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 

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

"Now that she has gone away with him, I can't 
§ay; 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 be- 
lieved 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-look- 
ing jackanapes, who mouthed and simpered as he 
sang ! He thought himself as absurd and as wretched 
as could be. Oh, what a miserable, Httle, 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 sug- 
gested 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 Bols. 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 Long- 

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 Long- 
champ race-course. 

It was bitterly cold. The road seemed deserted 
r.nd 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. 

"Christine !" 

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 

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 car- 
riage 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 : 

Dear : 

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. 




THE envelope was covered with mud and un- 
stamped. 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 I'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 sen- 
sibility. 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 crudl 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 F^wj/ and triumphed ! . . . 

The Angel of Music! . . . For three months 
the Angel of Music had been giving Christine les- 
sons. . . . Ah, he was a punctual singing-mas- 
ter I . . . And now he was taking her for drives 
in the Bols! . . . 

Raoul's lingers clutched at his flesh, above his 
jealous heart. In his inexperience, he now asked him- 
self 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 vis- 
count : 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 ex- 


pected 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 stair- 
case 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 

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 under- 
stood that it was she and followed her: 

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

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, forgive- 
ness 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 scar- 
let, with a huge hat and feathers on the top of a won- 
derful 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 em- 
broidered, 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 

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, ap- 
parently, on two occasions saw something that 
startled her, for she hurried her pace and RaouFs 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 stair- 
case 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 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 tem- 

"Who?" he repeated angrily. "Why, he, the 
man who hides behind that hideous mask of death I 
. 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 1" 

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 he, 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 
Pcrros . . . 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 mc ! 
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 

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

"May one ask at least to what darkness you arc 
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 fort- 
night? . . . What is this tale about the Angel 
of Music, which you have been telling Mamma 
Valerius? Some one may have taken vou 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 Mam- 
ma Valerius lies waiting for you at home and appeal- 
ing to your 'good genius!' . . . Explain your- 
self, 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 unspeak- 
ably 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, forbid- 
ding 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 know- 
ing 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 be- 
gin 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? fk(^ 

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. Sud- 
denly, 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 sing- 
ing! . . . The song became plainer . . . 
the words were now distinguishable ... he 
heard a voice, a very beautiful, very soft, very capti- 
vating 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. Chris- 
tine'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 cer- 
tainly 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 Chris- 
tine Daae was able to appear one evening, before the 


stupefied audience, with accents of a beauty hitherto 
unknown, of a superhuman exaltation, while doubtlesg 
still under the influence of the mysterious and invisi- 
ble 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 Resur" 
rection 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. Strug- 
gling 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 mc for ever and a day !" 

Christine walked toward her image in the glass 
and the image came toward her. The two Chris- 
tines — the real one and the reflection — ended by 
touching; and Raoul put out his arm.s to clasp the 
two in one embrace. But, by a sort of dazzling 
miracle that sent him staggering, Raoul was sudden- 
ly 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 return ? . . . 

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 )r 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. 



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 ador- 
able 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 Vale- 
rius, "don't you Icnow 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 I . . 


You know there is no such thing as the Angel of 

"But, child, he gave you lessons for three months 1" 

"Mamma, I have promised to explain everything 

to you one of these days ; and I hope to do so , . . 

but you have promised mc, 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 be- 
tween 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 c\npM th\<i mpan"?" "sfip rriprl "Tc Pfiricf-inft 


"Yes, madame," said Raoul courageously, notwith- 
standing the signs which Christine made to him. 

"My God!" exclaimed the good, simple old 
woman, gasping for breath. "You must tell me evcry- 
, thing, 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 

"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 Chris- 
tine, 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 m.e 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 I" 

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- 

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

"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 tor- 
ture 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 exaspera- 
tion. "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 uaw, 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 710 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 mj^self, 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 cer- 
tain 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 

< • • 

"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 be- 
hind 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 man's voice." 

"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, 

"I promise." 



"Then I swear to do as you ask." 

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



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 

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 attrac- 
tion 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 : 2 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. 

"This," she said, 'Hs a happiness that will harm no 

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

"Mademoiselle, I have the honor to ask for your 

"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 tv\? '.earts 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 play- 
ing 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 th'^ 
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 morn- 
ing, 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 stupefy- 


Ing calmness. He tried to sound her, but the old lady 
obviously knew nothing. 

Christine returned on the following day. She re- 
turned 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 In- 
comprehensible disgrace had become odious to her. 
She contrived to cancel her contract. Daae was offer- 
ed the vacant place for the time. She received thun- 
ders of applause In the Ju'ive. 

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 to- 
night 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 en- 
treated 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 com- 
mon 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 exchang- 
ing 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 

Raoul thought that she would propose a stroll In 
the country, far from that building vv^hlch 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 perfor- 

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 flow- 
ers, 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 dis- 
order 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 sub- 
jects. She moved among them like a popular queen, 
encouraging them in their labors, sitting down in 
the workshops, giving words of advice to the work- 
men 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 Charm- 
ing 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 child- 
hood, they had listened to the old Breton tales. 
Those old people remembered nothing outside the 
Opera. They had lived there for years without num- 
ber. 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 pur- 
sue 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 an- 
swered feverishly: 

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

Once, when they were passing before an open trap- 
door 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 I 
Besides, it's not mine . . . everything 
that is under graund belongs to himT' 

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 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 rea- 
son. . . . 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, includ- 
ing 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's voice. 

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


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

"I will remove you from his pov/er, Christine, I 
swear it. And you shall not think of him any more." 
"Is it possible?" 

She allowed herself this doubt, which was an en- 
couragement, 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 av/ay ... 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 be- 
hind her at every moment, she failed to see a shadow 
which followed her like her own shadow, which 
stopped when she stopped, v/hich 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. 


Apollo's lyre 

IN 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, 

"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 horri- 
ble! 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, under- 
ground, 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. 

''Because J had seen himT 

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

"There is some one in pain," said Raoul. "Per- 
haps 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 appoint- 
ment 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 v/hlch I do not 


know: it was behind the wall and wonderfully ac- 
curate. The voice seemed to understand mine ex- 
actly, 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 ordi- 
nary, 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. Unfor- 
tunately, 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 en- 
treated, 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." 


letter that brought you to Perros. How could I have 
been so beguiled? How was It, when I saw the per- 
sonal, 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 your- 
self 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 re- 
member 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 be- 
lieves in me shall live! Walk! Whoso hath be- 
lieved in me shall never die 1 . . . ' 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 I And believe in me I' I believed In it, I 
came. ... I came and— this was the extraor- 
dinary 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 know- 
ing 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 mkror 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 cried 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 wear- 
ing 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 Prof eta, 


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, 

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

"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 com- 
mand 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 cir- 
cular 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 
i 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 disap- 
peared altogether. The shape was still holding me 
up and Cesar walked on, unled and sure-footed. I 
could not tell you, even approximately, hov/ 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 

"A boat!" 

"Yes, but I knew that all that existed and that 
there was nothing supernatural about that under- 
ground 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 hfted 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, pow- 
erful 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, be- 
cause of the silk ribbons that tied them to baskets, 
like those which they sell in the shops on the boule- 
vards. 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.' // was the voice! 

"My anger equaled my amazement. I rushed at 
the mask and tried to snatch it av/ay, so as to see the 
face of the voice. The man said, 'You are in no dan- 
ger, so long as you do not touch the mask.' And, tak- 
ing 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 
realities of life. However extraordinary the adven- 


ture might be, I was now surrounded by mortal, visi- 
ble, tangible things. The furniture, the hangings, the 
candles, the vases and the very flowers in their bas- 
kets, 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 


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

"Don't go," she said. "I want you to know every- 
thing 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 sfng to- 
morrow, 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 v/ill understand that 
when I tell you how I left him." 

"Oh, I hate him!" cried Raoul. "And you, Chris" 
tine, 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, speak- 
ing very slowlj^ "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 him- 
self, he Implores my forgiveness ! . . . He con- 
fesses his cheat. He loves me! He lays at my feet 
an immense and tragic love. . . . He has car- 
ried 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 1 . . . That night, we did not ex- 
change 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 ordi- 
nary 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 bed- 
room, 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 
arc 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 apart- 
ment, 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 in- 
clined 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, w^here 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 ex- 
cept 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 vnll 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 hke 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 v/ent 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 Ira, 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 Tritcmphant.' '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 four- 


teen 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 Tri- 
umphantf 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.' There- 
upon 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 al- 
ready 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 some- 
thing 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 Desdernona with a despair, a terror which I had 
never displayed before. As for him, his voice thun- 
dered 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 Othel- 
lo 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 : 

"Horror! . . . Horror! . . . Horror!" 

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 cars, like 
mine, will be full of lam.entatlons." 

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 cen- 
turies, 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 

"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 satis- 
fied? 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 ! / 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 ..nd adores you and will never, 
never leave you! . . . Look, I am not laugh- 
ing 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 ycu 
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 m.e 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 or- 
gan; and then I began to understand Erik's con- 
temptuous 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, av/ful, mag- 
nificent 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 sepa- 
rated 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 man- 


aged 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 pas- 
sages 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 hig 
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 my- 
self 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 hard- 
ly a few hours before you returned to Erik! Re- 
member the masked ball!" 

"Yes; and do you remember those hours which I 
passed with you, Raoul ... to the great dan- 
ger 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 hor- 
ror 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. 


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, 

"Quick! Go away quickly!" 

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

"But who is he? Who is that man?" he ask^d. 

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 prob- 
ably 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 Do7i Juan 
Triumphant and not thinking of us." 

"You're so sure of that you keep on looking be- 
hind 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 en- 

"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 

"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 m_e, exclusively, and not to be approached by 

"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 
him.self by hving underground. He does things that 
ino other man could do; he knows things which no- 
body 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 I 


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 pal- 
lor 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 

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

"No! To-morrow!" 

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

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


"If I don't save her from the hands of that hum- 
bug," 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: 

"Humbug! . . . Humbug! . . . Hum- 

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 

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 

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 out- 
stretched 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 

"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 vv^indow, stepped out on the balcony. 

The count sav/ 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 I" 
he grinned. 

"Raoul! Raoul! Raoul!" 

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

"But, my dear brother, I'm not asleep !" Raoul pro- 
tested impatiently. "You can see the blood for your- 
self. 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 forgiv- 
ing me. . . . All this would not have happened 
if I had drawn the curtains before going to bed." 

"Raoul, have you suddenly gone mad? Wake 

"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 re- 
marks 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 magis- 
trate, on receiving the report of the com.missary 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 Epoqiie and said: 

"Read that!" 

The viscount read: 

"The latest news in the Faubourg is that there Is a 
promise of marriage between Mile. 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-magls- 
trate 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 prep- 
arations 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 

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 brough- 
ams, belonging respectively to Carlotta, who had 
suddenly returned to Paris, to Sorclli and, at the head 
of the rank, to Com.te Philippe de Chagny. No one 
left the barouche. The coachman remained on his 
box, and the three other coachmen remained on 

A shadow in a long black cloak and a soft black 
felt hat passed along the pavement between the Ro- 
tunda and the carriages, examined the barouche care- 
fully, went up to the horses and the coachman and 
then moved away without saying a word. The magis- 


trate 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 Vi- 
comte de Chagny was wearing a tall hat, which hat, 
besides, was subsequently found. I am more inclined 
to think that the shadow v/as 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 be- 
hind the fans. Christine Daae met with a rather 
cold reception. That special audience could not for- 
give 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 pre- 
tended 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 turn- 
ing and looking at Philippe de Chagny's box v/hen 
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 111, 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 mo- 
mentarily interrupted her career in Paris, 

Just then, Carlotta made her entrance In a box 
facing the stage, a sensational entrance. Poor Chris- 
tine raised her eyes upon this fresh subject of excite- 
ment. 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 

"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 stupe- 
faction, 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 in- 
terrupted 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 con- 
nected in any way with the paragraph In that morn- 
ing'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 disap- 
peared before our eyes and nobody can tell us how I" 



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 examina- 
tion 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; Mercler, the acting-man- 
ager; and Remy, the secretary. They retired to a 
corner of the lobby by Vv^hlch the stage communicates 
with the wide passage leading to the foyer of the bal- 
let. Here they stood and argued behind some enor- 
mous "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. 

*'A1I the same," exclaimed Gabriel, "a singer isn*t 
run away with, from the middle of the stage, every 

"Did you shout that to them?" asked Mercier, im- 

"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 
jrou two doing here? You're wanted, Mr. Acting- 

"I refuse to know or to do anything before the com- 
missary 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?" 

"You're right!" said the stage-manager, frantically 
pushing his hands through his rebellious haii< 
"You're right ! But there might be some one at the 
organ who could tell us how the stage came to be sud- 
rfdenly darkened. Now Mauclair is nowhere to be 
iound. 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 be- 
side 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 v/hile the 
whole theater was topsyturvy. 

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 ac- 
count. Remy had violated that order and met with 
no success. 

At that moment he returned from his new expedi- 
tion, 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, clear out!' 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 I" 

"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 mana- 
gers are going mad! . . Besides, it can't go on 
like this! Pm not used to being treated in that 

Suddenly Gabriel whispered: 

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

Remy gave a grin, Mercier a sigh and seemed about 
to speak . . . but, meeting Gabriel's eye, said 

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

"Look here, Pll go and hunt them out myself I" 

Gabriel, turning very gloomy and serious, stopped 

"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 

But Mercier shook his head. 

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

And he went. 

"What's everything?" asked Remy. "What was 
there to tell the police? Why don't you answer, Ga- 
briel? . . . 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 be- 
having like lunatics, here, between the acts." 

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

"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 man- 
agers !" 

"But what were our managers doing?" asked Ga- 
briel, 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? 
JVhy ivon't they have any one come near them now?'' 

"What? JVon't they have any one come near 

^^And they won't let any one touch them!" 

"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 1 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 mc, 'Go 
away! Go away! Whatever you do, don't touch 


'M. le directeiirF Am I supposed to have an Infec- 
tious disease?" 

"It's Incredible !" 

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

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

"What v/as he doing? Why, you saw him! He 
turned about, bowed in front of him, though there 
was nobody in front of him, and withdrew back' 


"And Moncharmin, behind Richard, also turned 
about; that is, he described a semicircle behind Rich- 
ard and also walked backzvardi . . . And they 
went like that to the staircase leading to the managers' 
office: backward, backward, backwardf . . . 
Well, if they are not mad, will you explain what It 

"Perhaps they were practising a figure In the bal- 
jlet," suggested Gabriel, without much conviction In 
I 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 mat- 
ter! Open the door! It's I, Mercier.' I heard foot- 
steps. 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 

"The §af ety-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. 



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 mys- 
tery 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 

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

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 dark- 
ness 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! . , . 
lYes, 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 v/orn at the hour of their 
flight. Oh, why had she refused to leave earlier? 

Why had she toyed with the threatening catastro- 


phe? 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 rAdministratlon. 

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 M. 
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 !" 

And M. Mifroid, followed by an ever-increasing 
crowd, turned toward the business side of the build- 
ing. Mercier took advantage of the confusion to slip 
a key into Gabriel's hand: 

"This is all going very badly," he whispered. "You 
had better let Mother Giry out." 

And Gabriel moved away. 

They soon came to the managers' door. Mercier 
stormed in vain : the door remained closed. 

"Open in the name of the law!" commanded 
M. Mifroid, in a loud and rather anxious voice. 

At last the door was opened. All rushed in to the 
office, on the commissary's heels. 

Raoul was the last to enter. As he was about to 


'follow the rest into the room, a hand was laid on his 
shoulder and he heard these words spoken in his ear: 
^'Erik's secrets concern no one but himself!" 
He turned around, with a stifled exclamation. The 
hand that was laid on his shoulder was now placed on 
the lips of a person with an ebony skin, with eyes of 
jade and with an astrakhan cap on his head: the 
Persian ! 

The stranger kept up the gesture that recommended 
discretion and then, at the moment when the aston- 
ished viscount was about to ask the reason of his mys- 
terious intervention, bowed and disappeared. 



BEFORE following the commissary Into the 
manager's office I must describe certain ex- 
traordinary occurrences that took place in that office 
which Remy and Mercler had vainly tried to enter 
and into which MM. Richard and Moncharmin 
had locked themselves with an object which the reader 
does not yet know, but which It Is my duty, as an his- 
torian, to reveal without further postponement. 

I have had occasion to say that the managers' mood 
had undergone a disagreeable change for some time 
past and to convey the fact that this change was due 
not only to the fall of the chandelier on the famous 
night of the gala performance. 

The reader must know that the ghost had calmly 
been paid his first twenty thousand francs. Oh, there 
had been walling and gnashing of teeth, indeed 1 And 
yet the thing had happened as simply as could be. 

One morning, the managers found on their table an 
envelope addressed to "Monsieur O. G. (private)" 
and accompanied by a note from O. G. himself: 

The time has come to carry out the clause in the 
memorandum-book. Please put twenty notes of a 
thousand francs each Into this envelope, seal it with 
your own seal and hand It to Mme. Giry, who will 
do what is necessary. 



The managers did not hesitate; without wasting 
time in asking how these confounded communications 
came to be delivered in an office which they were care- 
ful to keep locked, they seized this opportunity of 
laying hands on the mysterious blackmailer. And, 
after telling the whole story, under the promise of 
secrecy, to Gabriel and Mercier, they put the twenty 
thousand francs into the envelope and without asking 
for explanations, handed it to Mme. Giry, who had 
been reinstated in her functions. The box-keeper dis- 
played no astonishment. I need hardly say that she 
was well watched. She went straight to the ghost's 
box and placed the precious envelope on the little shelf 
attached to the ledge. The two managers, as well as 
Gabriel and Mercier, were hidden In such a way that 
they did not lose sight of the envelope for a second 
during the performance and even afterward, for, as 
the envelope had not moved, those who watched It 
did not move either; and Mme. GIry went away 
while the managers, Gabriel and Mercier were still 
there. At last, they became tired of waiting and 
opened the envelope, after ascertaining that the seals 
had not been broken. 

At first sight, Richard and Moncharmin thought 
that the notes were still there; but soon they per- 
ceived that they were not the same. The twenty real 
notes were gone and had been replaced by twenty 
notes of the "Bank of St. Farce" 1* 

*Flash notes drawn on the "Bank of St. Farce" in France 
correspond with those drawn on the "Bank of Engraving" in 
England, — Translator's Note. 


The managers' rage and fright were unmistakable. 
Moncharmin wanted to send for the commissary of 
police, but Richard objected. He no doubt had a 
plan, for he said: 

"Don't let us make ourselves ridiculous ! All Paris 
would laugh at us. O. G. has won the first game: 
we will win the second." 

He was thinking of the next month's allowance. 

Nevertheless, they had been so absolutely tricked 
that they were bound to suffer a certain dejection. 
And, upon my word, it was not difficult to understand. 
We must not forget that the managers had an idea 
at the back of their minds, all the time, that this 
strange incident might be an unpleasant practical joke 
on the part of their predecessors and that it would 
not do to divulge it prematurely. On the other hand, 
Moncharmin was sometimes troubled with a suspicion 
of Richard himself, who occasionally took fanciful 
whims into his head. And so they were content to 
await events, while keeping an eye on Mother Giry. 
Richard would not have her spoken to. 

"If she is a confederate," he said, "the notes are 
gone long ago. But, in my opinion, she is merely an 

"She's not the only idiot in this business," said 
Moncharmin pensively. 

"Well, who could have thought it?" moaned Rich- 
ard. "But don't be afraid . . . next time, I 
shall have taken my precautions." 

The next time fell on the same day that beheld the 
disappearance of Christine Daae. In the morning, a 


note from the ghost reminded them that the money 
was due. It read: 

Do just as you did last time. It went very well. 
Put the twenty thousand in the envelope and hand it 
to our excellent Mme. Giry. 

And the note was accompanied by the usual en- 
velope. They had only to insert the notes. 

This was done about half an hour before the cur- 
tain rose on the first act of Faust. Richard showed 
the envelope to Moncharmin. Then he counted the 
twenty thousand-franc notes in front of him and put 
the notes into the envelope, but without closing it. 

"And now," he said, "let's have Mother Giry in." 

The old woman was sent for. She entered with a 
sweeping courtesy. She still wore her black taffeta 
dress, the color of which was rapidly turning to rust 
and lilac, to say nothing of the dingy bonnet. She 
seemed in a good temper. She at once said : 

"Good evening, gentlemen ! It's for the envelope, 
I suppose?" 

"Yes, Mme. Giry," said Richard, m.ost amiably. 
"For the envelope . . * and something else be- 

"At your service, M. Richard, at your service. 
And what is the something else, please?" 

"First of all, Mme. Giry, I have a little question 
to put to you." 

"By all means, M. Richard : Mme. Giry is here to 
answer you." 

"Are you still on good terms with the ghost?" 


"Couldn't be better, sir; couldn't be better." 

"Ah, we are delighted. . . . Look here, 
Mme. Giry," said Richard, in the tone of making an 
Important confidence. "We may just as well tell you, 
among ourselves . . . you're no fool !" 
f "Why, sir," exclaimed the box-keeper, stopping the 
pleasant nodding of the black feathers In her dingy 
bonnet, "I assure you no one has ever doubted that!" 

"We are quite agreed and we shall soon understand 
one another. The story of the ghost is all humbug, 
Isn't it? . . . Well, still between ourselves, 
. . , it has lasted long enough." 

Mme. Giry looked at the managers as though they 
were talking Chinese. She walked up to Richard's 
table and asked, rather anxiously: 

"What do you mean? I don't understand." 

"Oh, you understand quite well. In any case, 
you've got to understand. . , . And, first of all, 
tell us his name." 

"Whose name?" 

"The name of the man whose accomplice you are, 
Mme. Giry!" 

"I am the ghost's accomplice? I? . . . His 
accomplice In what, pray?" 

"You do all he wants." 

"Oh ! He's not very troublesome, you know." 

"And does he still tip you?" 

"I mustn't complain." 

"How much does he give you for bringing him that 

"Ten francs." 


"You poor thing! That's not much, is it? 


"I'll tell you that presently, Mmc. Giry. Just now 
we should hke to know for what extraordinary rea- 
son you have given yourself body and soul, to this 
ghost . . . Mme. Giry's friendship and devo- 
tion are not to be bought for five francs or ten 

"That's true enough. . . . And I can tell you 
the reason, sir. There's no disgrace about it. . . 
on the contrary." 

"We're quite sure of that, Mme. Giry!" 

"Well, it's like this . . . only the ghost 
doesn't like me to talk about his business." 

"Indeed?" sneered Richard. 

"But this is a matter that concerns myself alone. 

. . . Well, it was in Box Five one evening, 
I found a letter addressed to myself, a sort of note 
written in red ink. I needn't read the letter to you, 
sir; I know it by heart, and I shall never forget it 
if I live to be a hundred!" 

And Mme, Giry, drawing herself up, recited the 
letter with touching eloquence : 

Madam : 

1825. Mile. Menetrler, leader of the ballet, be- 
came Marquise de Cussy. 

1832. Mile. Marie Taglioni, a dancer, became 
Comtesse Gilbert des Voisins. 

1846. La Sota, a dancer, married a brother of 
the King of Spain. 

1847. Lola Monies, a dancer, became the mor- 


ganatic wife of King Louis of Bavaria and was 
created Countess of Landsfeld. 

1848. Mile. Maria, a dancer, became Baronne 

1870. Theresa Hessler, a dancer, married Dom 
Fernando, brother to the King of Portugal. 

Richard and Moncharmin listened to the old 
woman, who, as she proceeded with the enumeration 
of these glorious nuptials, swelled out, took courage 
and, at last, in a voice bursting with pride, flung out 
the last sentence of the prophetic letter: 

1885. Meg Giry, Empress! 

Exhausted by this supreme effort, the box-keeper 
fell into a chair, saying: 

"Gentlemen, the letter was signed, 'Opera Ghost.' 
I had heard much of the ghost, but only half be- 
lieved in him. From the day when he declared that 
my little Meg, the flesh of my flesh, the fruit of my 
womb, would be empress, I believed in him alto- 

And really it was not necessary to make a long 
study of Mme. Giry's excited features to understand 
what could be got out of that fine intellect with the 
two words "ghost" and "empress." 

But who pulled the strings of that extraordinary 
puppet? That was the question. 

"You have never seen him; he speaks to you and 
you believe all he says?" asked Moncharmin. 

"Yes. To begin with, I owe it to him that my 
little Meg was promoted to be the leader of a row. I 


said to the ghost, 'If she is to be empress in 1885, 
there is no time to lose; she must become a leader at 
once.' He said, 'Look upon it as done.' And he had 
only a word to say to M. Poligny and the thing was 

"So you see that M. Poligny saw him !" 

"No, not any more than I did; but he heard him. 
The ghost said a word in his ear, you know, on the 
evening when he left Box Five, looking so dreadfully 

Moncharmin heaved a sigh. "What a business !'' 
he groaned. 

"Ah!" said Mme. Giry. "I always thought there 
were secrets between the ghost and M. Poligny. Any- 
thing that the ghost asked M. Poligny to do M. 
Poligny did. M. Poligny could refuse the ghost 

"You hear, Richard: Poligny could refuse the 
ghost nothing." 

"Yes, yes, I hear!'* said Richard. "M. Poligny 
Is a friend of the ghost; and, as Mme. Giry is a friend 
of M. Poligny, there we are ! . . . But I don't 
care a hang about M. Poligny," he added roughly. 
"The only person whose fate really interests me is 
Mme. Giry. . . . Mme. Giry, do you know what 
is in this envelope ?" 

"Why, of course not," she said. 

"Well, look." 

Mme. Giry looked into the envelope with a lacK- 
luster eye, which soon recovered its brilliancy. 

"Thousand-franc notes!" she cried. 


"Yes, Mme, Giry, thousand-franc notes ! And you 
knew it!" 

"I, sir? I? . . . I swear . . ." 

"Don't swear, Mme. Giry! . . . And now I 
will tell you the second reason why I sent for you. 
Mme. Giry, I am going to have you arrested." 

The two black feathers on the dingy bonnet, which * 
usually affected the attitude of two notes of interroga- 
tion, changed into two notes of exclamation; as for 
the bonnet itself, it swayed in menace on the old lady's 
tempestuous chignon. Surprise, indignation, protest 
and dismay were furthermore displayed by little 
Meg's mother in a sort of extravagant movement of 
offended virtue, half bound, half slide, that brought 
her right under the nose of M. Richard, who could 
not help pushing back his chair. 

"Have me arrested!" 

The mouth that spoke those words seemed to spit 
the three teeth that were left to it into Richard's face. 

M. Richard behaved like a hero. He retreated no 
farther. His threatening forefinger seemed already 
to be pointing out the keeper of Box Five to the 
absent magistrates. 

"I am going to have you arrested, Mme. Giry, as 
a thief!" 

"Say that again!" 

And Mme. Giry caught Mr. Manager Richard a 
mighty box on the ear, before Mr. Manager Mon- 
charmin had time to intervene. But it was not the 
withered hand of the angry old beldame that fell 
on the managerial ear, but the envelope itself, the 


cause of all the trouble, the magic envelope that open- 
ed with the blow, scattering the bank-notes, which 
escaped in a fantastic whirl of giant butterflies. 

The two managers gave a shout, and the same 
thought made them both go on their knees, feverishly 
picking up and hurriedly examining the precious scraps 
of paper. 

"Are they still genuine, Moncharmin?" 

"Are they still genuine, Richard?" 

"Yes, they are still genuine!" 

Above their heads, Mame Giry's three teeth were 
clashing in a noisy contest, full of hideous interjec- 
tions. But all that could be clearly distinguished was 
this Leit-motif : 

"I, a thief! . . . I, a thief, I?" 

She choked with rage. She shouted : 

"I never heard of such a thing!" 

And, suddenly, she darted up to Richard again. 

"In any case," she yelped, "you, M. Richard, 
ought to know better than I where the twenty thou- 
sand francs went to !" 

"I ?" asked Richard, astounded. "And how should 
I know?" 

Moncharmin, looking severe and dissatisfied, at 
once insisted that the good lady should explain her- 

"What does this mean, Mme. Giry?" he asked. 
"And why do you say that M. Richard ought to know 
better than you where the twenty-thousand francs 
went to?" 

As for Richard, who felt himself turning red un- 


der Moncharmin's eyes, he took Mme. Giry by the 
wrist and shook it violently. In a voice growling and 
rolling like thunder, he roared: 

"Why should I know better than you where the 
twenty-thousand francs went to? Why? Answer 

"Because they went into your pocket!" gasped the 
old woman, looking at him as if he were the devil 

Richard would have rushed upon Mme. Giry, if 
Moncharmin had not stayed his avenging hand and 
hastened to ask her, more gently: 

"How can you suspect my partner, M. Richard, of 
putting twenty-thousand francs in his pocket?" 

"I never said that," declared Mame Giry, "seeing 
that it was myself who put the twenty-thousand francs 
into M. Richard's pocket." And she added, under 
her voice, "There! It's out! . . . And may 
the ghost forgive me !" 

Richard began bellowing anew, but Moncharmin 
authoritatively ordered him to be silent. 

"Allow me ! Allow me ! Let the v/oman explain 
herself. Let me question her." And he added: "It 
is really astonishing that you should take up such a 
tone ! . . . We are on the verge of clearing up 
the whole mystery. And you're in a rage ! . . . 
You're wrong to behave like that. . . I'm enjoy- 
ing myself immensely." 

Mame Giry, like the martyr that she was, raised 
her head, her face beaming with faith in her own 


"You tell me there were twenty-thousand francs 
in the envelope which I put into M. Richard's pocket; 
but I tell you again that I knew nothing about it. , ,, 
Nor M. Richard either, for that matter!" 

"Ahai" said Richard, suddenly assuming a swag- 
gering air which Moncharmin did not like. "I knew 
nothing either! You put twenty-thousand francs in 
my pocket and I knew nothing cither! I am very 
glad to hear it, Mme. Giry!" 

"Yes," the terrible dame agreed, "yes, It's true. 
,We neither of us knew anything. But you, you must 
have ended by finding out!" 

Richard would certainly have swallowed Mame 
Giry alive, if Moncharmin had not been there ! But 
Moncharmin protected her. He resumed his ques- 
tions : 

"What sort of envelope did you put in M. Rich- 
ard's pocket? It was not the one which we gave 
you, the one which you took to Box Five before our 
eyes; and yet that was the one which contained the 
twenty-thousand francs." 

"I beg your pardon. The envelope which M. le 
directeiir gave me was the one which I slipped into 
M. le directetir's pocket," explained Mame Giry. 
"The one which I took to the ghost's box was another 
envelope, just like it, which the ghost gave me be- 
forehand and which I hid up my sleeve." 

So saying, Mame Giry took from her sleeve an 
envelope ready prepared and similarly addressed to 
that containing the twenty-thousand francs. The 
managers took it from her. They examined it and 


saw that it was fastened with seals stamped with their 
own managerial seal. They opened it. It contained 
twenty Bank of St. Farce notes like those which had 
so much astounded them the month before. 

*'How simple!" said Richard. 

"How simple !" repeated Moncharmin. And he 
continued with his eyes fixed upon Mamc Giry, as 
though trying to hypnotize her. 

"So it was the ghost who gave you this envelope 
and told you to substitute it for the one which we 
gave you ? And it was the ghost who told you to put 
the other into M. Richard's pocket?" 

"Yes, it was the ghost." 

"Then would you mind giving us a specimen of 
your little talents? Here is the envelope. Act as 
though we knew nothing." 

"As you please, gentlemen." 

Mame Giry took the envelope with the twenty 
notes inside it and made for the door. She was 
on the point of going out when the tv/o managers 
rushed at her: 

"Oh, no! Oh, no! We're not going to be 'done* 
a second time! Once bitten, twice shy!" 

"I beg your pardon, gentlemen," said the old 
woman, in self-excuse, "you told me to act as though 
you knew nothing. . . . Well, if you knew noth- 
ing, I should go away with your envelope 1" 

"And then how would you shp it into my pocket?" 
argued Richard, whom Moncharmin fixed with his 
left eye, while keeping his right on Mame Giry: 
a proceeding likely to strain his sight, but Mon- 


charmin was prepared to go to any length to discover 
the truth. 

"I am to slip it into your pocket when you least 
expect it, sir. You know that I always take a little 
turn behind the scenes, in the course of the evening, 
and I often go with my daughter to the ballet-foyer, 
which I am entitled to do, as her mother; I bring her 
her shoes, when the ballet is about to begin . . « 
in fact, I come and go as I please. . . . The 
subscribers come and go too. . . . So do you, 
sir. . . . There are lots of people about. . . 
I go behind you and slip the envelope into the tail- 
pocket of your dress-coat. . . . There's no 
witchcraft about that!" 

*'No witchcraft!" growled Richard, rolling his eyes 
like Jupiter Tonans. "No witchcraft! Why, I've 
just caught you in a lie, you old witch !" 

Mame Giry bristled, with her three teeth sticking 
out of her mouth. 

"And why, may I ask?" 

"Because I spent that evening watching Box Five 
and the sham envelope which you put there. I did 
not go to the ballet-foyer for a second." 

"No, sir, and I did not give you the envelope that 
evening, but at the next performance ... on 
the evening when the under-secretary of state for fine 
arts . . ." 

At these words, M. Richard suddenly interrupted 
Mame Giry: 

"Yes, that's true, I remember now! The under- 
secretary went behind the scenes. He asked for me. 


I went down to the ballet-foyer for a moment. I was 
on the foyer steps. . . . The under-secretary 
and his chief clerk were in the foyer itself. . . . 
I suddenly turned around , . . you had passed 
behind me, Mme. Giry. , . . You seemed to 
push against me. . . , Oh, I can see you still, 
I can see you still!" 

"Yes, that's it, sir, that's it. I had just finished 
my little business. That pocket of yours, sir, is very 

And Mame Giry once more suited the action to the 
word.' She passed behind M. Richard and, so nim- 
bly that Moncharmin himself was impressed by it, 
slipped the envelope into the pocket of one of the 
tails of M. Richard's dress-coat. 

"Of course!" exclaimed Richard, looking a little 
pale. "It's very clever of O. G. The problem which 
he had to solve was this: how to do away with any 
dangerous Intermediary between the man who gives 
the twenty-thousand francs and the man who re- 
ceives it. And by far the best thing he could hit 
upon was to come and take the money from my pocket 
without my noticing it, as I myself did not know that 
it was there. It's wonderful !" 

"Oh, wonderful, no doubt!" Moncharmin agreed. 
"Only, you forget, Richard, that I provided ten-thou- 
sand francs of the twenty and that nobody put any- 
thing in my pocket !" 



MONCHARMIN'S last phrase so clearly ex- 
pressed the suspicion in which he nov/ held 
his partner that it was bound to cause a stormy ex- 
planation, at the end of which it was agreed that 
Richard should yield to all Moncharmin's wishes, 
with the object of helping him to discover the mis« 
creant who was victimizing them. 

This brings us to the interval after the Garden Act, 
with the strange conduct observed by M. Remy and 
those curious lapses from the dignity that might be 
expected of the managers. It was arranged between 
Richard and Moncharmin, first, that Richard should 
repeat the exact movements which he had made on 
the night of the disappearance of the first twenty- 
thousand francs; and, second, that Moncharmin 
should not for an instant lose sight of Richard's coat- 
tail pocket, into which Mame Giry was to slip the 
twenty-thousand francs. 

M. Richard went and placed himself at the iden- 
tical spot where he had stood when he bowed to 
the under-secrctary for fine arts. M. Moncharmin 
took up his position a few steps behind him. 

Mame Giry passed, rubbed up against M. Richard, 
got rid of her twenty-thousand francs in the mana- 


ger's coat-tail pocket and disappeared. . . .Or 
rather she was conjured away. In accordance with the 
instructions received from Moncharmin a few minutes 
earlier, Mercier took the good lady to the acting- 
manager's office and turned the key on her, thus mak- 
ing it impossible for her to communicate with her 

Meanwhile, M. Richard was bending and bowing 
and scraping and walking backward, just as if he had 
that high and mighty minister, the under-secretary for 
fine arts, before him. Only, though these marks of 
politeness would have created no astonishment if the 
under-secretary of state had really been in front of 
M. Richard, they caused an easily comprehensible 
amazement to the spectators of this very natural but 
quite inexplicable scene when M. Richard had no- 
body in front of him. 

M. Richard bowed ... to nobody; bent his 
back . . . before nobody; and walked back- 
ward . . . before nobody. . . . And, a 
few steps behind him, M. Moncharmin did the same 
thing that he was doing, in addition to pushing away 
M. Remy and begging M. dc La Borderie, the am- 
bassador, and the manager of the Credit Central "not 
to touch M. le directeur." 

Moncharmin, who had his own ideas, did not want 
Richard to come to him presently, when the twenty- 
thousand francs were gone, and say: 

"Perhaps it was the ambassador ... or the 
manager of the Credit Central ... or Remy." 

The more so as, at the time of the first scene, as 


Richard himself admitted, Richard had met nobody 
in that part of the theater after Mame GIry had 
brushed up against him. . . . 

Having begun by walking backward In order to 
bow, Richard continued to do so from prudence, un- 
til he reached the passage leading to the offices of 
the management. In this way, he was constantly 
watched by Moncharmin from behind and himself 
kept an eye on an,y one approaching from the front. 
Once more, this novel method of walking behind the 
scenes, adopted by the managers of our National 
Academy of Music, attracted attention; but the man- 
agers themselves thought of nothing but their twenty- 
thousand francs. 

On reaching the half-dark passage, Richard said to 
Moncharmin, In a low voice: 

"I am sure that nobody has touched me. . . . 
You had now better keep at some distance from mc 
and watch me till I come to door of the office: it is 
better not to arouse suspicion and we can see anything 
that happens." 

But Moncharmin replied. "No, Richard, no! 
You walk ahead and I'll walk immediately behind 
you ! I won't leave you by a step !" 

"But, in that case," exclaimed Richard, "they will 
never steal our twenty-thousand francs !" 

"I should hope not, indeed!" declared Monchar- 

"Then what we are doing is absurd !" 

"We are doing exactly what we did last time. 
, . . Last time, I joined you as you were leaving 


the stage and followed close behind you down this 

"That's true!" sighed Richard, shaking his head 
and passively obeying Moncharmin. 

Tv/o minutes later, the joint managers locked them- 
selves into their office. Moncharmin himself put the 
key in his pocket : 

"We remained locked up like this, last time," he 
said, "until you left the Opera to go home." 

"That's so. No one came and disturbed us, I sup- 

"No one." 

"Then," said Richard, who was trying to collect 
his memory, "then I must certainly have been robbed 
on my way home from the Opera." 

"No," said Moncharmin In a drier tone than ever, 
"no, that's impossible. For I dropped you In my cab. 
The twenty-thousand francs disappeared at your 
place: there's not a shadow of a doubt about that." 

"It's incredible!" protested Richard. "I am sure 
of my servants . . . and If one of them had 
done it, he would have disappeared since." 

Moncharmin shrugged his shoulders, as though to 
say that he did not wish to enter Into details, and 
Richard began to think that Moncharmin was treat- 
ing him in a very insupportable fashion. 

"Moncharmin, I've had enough of this !" 

"Richard, I've had too much of it!" 

"Do you dare to suspect me?" 

"Yes, of a silly joke." 

"One doesn't joke with twenty-thousand francs." 


"That's what I think," declared Moncharmin, un- 
folding a newspaper and ostentatiously studying its 

"What are you doing?" asked Richard. "Are you 
going to read the paper next?" 

"Yes, Richard, until I take you home." 

"Like last time?" 

"Yes, like last time." 

Richard snatched the paper from Moncharmin's 
hands. Moncharmin stood up, more irritated than 
ever, and found himself faced by an exasperated 
Richard, who, crossing his arms on his chest, said: 

"Look here, I'm thinking of this, I'm thinking of 
what I might think if, like last time, after my spend- 
ing the evening alone with you, you brought me honse 
and if, at the moment of parting, I perceived that 
twenty-thousand francs had disappeared from my 
coat-pocket . . . like last time." 

"And what might you think?" asked Moncharmin^ 
crimson with rage. 

"I might think that, as you hadn't left me by a 
foot's breadth and as, by your own wish, you wef«e 
the only one to approach me, like last time, I might 
think that, if that twenty-thousand francs was no 
longer in my pocket. It stood a very good chance of 
being in yours!" 

Moncharmin leaped up at the suggestion. 

"Oh!" he shouted. "A safety-pin!" 

"What do you want a safety-pin for?" 

"To fasten you up with ! , « , A safety-pml 
K . . A safety-pin !" 


"You want to fasten me with a safety-pin?" 

"Yes, to fasten you to the twenty-thousand francs I 
Then, whether it's here, or on the drive from here 
to your place, or at your place, you will feel the hand 
that pulls at your pocket and you will see if It's mine ! 
Oh, so you're suspecting me now, are you? A 

And that was the moment when Moncharmin open- 
ed the door on the passage and shouted: 

"A safety-pin! . . . somebody give me a 

And we also know how, at the same moment, 
Remy, who had no safety-pin, was received by Mon- 
charmin, while a boy procured the pin so eagerly 
longed for. And what happened was this: Mon- 
charmin first locked the door again. Then he knelt 
down behind Richard's back. 

"I hope," he said, "that the notes are still there?" 

"So do I," said Richard. 

"The real ones?" asked Moncharmin, resolved not 
to be "had" this time. 

"Look for yourself," said Richard. "I refuse to 
touch them." 

Moncharmin took the envelope from Richard's 
pocket and drew out the bank-notes with a trembling 
hand, for, this time, In order frequently to make sure 
of the presence of the notes, he had not sealed the 
envelope nor even fastened It. He felt reassured on 
finding that they were all there and quite genuine. 
He put them back In the tail-pocket and pinned them 


with great care. Then he sat down behind Richard's 
coat-tails and kept his eyes fixed on them, while 
Richard, sitting at his writing-table, did not stir. 

"A little patience, Richard," said Moncharmin. 
"We have only a few minutes to wait. . . . The 
clock will soon strike twelve. Last time, we left at 
the last stroke of twelve." 

**0h, I shall have all the patience necessary!" 

The time passed, slow, heavy, mysterious, stifling. 
Richard tried to laugh. 

"I shall end by believing in the omnipotence of the 
ghost," he said. "Just now, don't you find something 
uncomfortable, disquieting, alarming in the atmos- 
phere of this room?" 

"You're quite right," said Moncharmin, who was 
really impressed. 

"The ghost!" continued Richard, in a low voice, 
as though fearing lest he should be overheard by 
invisible ears. "The ghost! Suppose, all the same, 
it were a ghost who puts the magic envelopes on the 
table . . . who talks in Box Five . . . who 
killed Joseph Buquet . . . who unhooked the 
chandelier . . . and who robs us! For, after 
all, after all, after all, there is no one here except 
you and me, and, if the notes disappear and neither 
you nor I have anything to do with it, well, we shall 
have to believe in the ghost -. . . In the ghost." 

At that moment, the clock on the mantleplece gave 
its warning click and the first stroke of twelve struck. 

The two managers shuddered. The perspiration 


streamed from their foreheads. The twelfth stroke 
sounded strangely in their ears. 

When the clock stopped, they gave a sigh and rose 
irom their chairs. 

'T think we can go now," said Moncharmin. 

"I think so," Richard agreed. 

"Before we go, do you mind if I look in your 

"But, of course, Moncharmin, you must! . . . 
.Well?" he asked, as Moncharmin was feeling at 
the pocket. 

"Well, I can feel the pin." 

"Of course, as you said, wc can't be robbed with- 
out noticing it." 

But Moncharmin, whose hands were still fumbling, 
bellowed : 

"I can feel the pin, but I can't feel the notes I" 

"Come, no joking, Moncharmin ! . . . This 
Isn't the time for it." 

"Well, feel for yourself." 

Richard tore off his coat. The two managers 
turned the pocket inside out. The pocket was empty. 
And the curious thing was that the pin remained, 
stuck in the same place. 

Richard and Moncharmin turned pale. There was 
no longer any doubt about the witchcraft. 

"The ghost!" muttered Moncharmin. 

But Richard suddenly sprang upon his partner. 

**No one but you has touched my pocket! Give 
me back my twenty-thousand francs ! . » . Give 
me back my twenty-thousand francs ! . , ." 


"On my soul," sighed Moncharmin, who was ready 
to swoon, "on my soul, I swear that I haven't got it!" 

Then somebody knocked at the door. Monchar- 
min opened it automatically, seemed hardly to recog- 
nize Mercier, his business-manager, exchanged a few 
words with him, without knowing what he was say- 
ing and, with an unconscious movement, put the 
safety-pin, for which he had no further use, into the 
hands of his bewildered subordinate. . . . 



THE first words of the commissary of police, on 
entering the managers' office, were to ask after 
the missing prima donna. 

"Is Christine Daae here?" 

"Christine Daae here?" echoed Richard. "No. 

As for Moncharmin, he had not the strength left 
to utter a word. 

Richard repeated, for the commissary and the com- 
pact crowd which had followed him into the office 
observed an impressive silence. 

"Why do you ask if Christine Daae is here, M. le 

"Because she has to be found," declared the com- 
missary of police solemnly. 

"What do you mean, she has to be found? Has 
she disappeared?" 

"In the middle of the performance !" 

"In the middle of the performance? This is ex-, 

"Isn't it? And what is quite as extraordinary is 
that you should first learn it from me !" 

"Yes," said Richard, taking his head in his hands 
and muttering. "What is this new business? Oh, 
it's enough to make a man send in his resignation!" 


And he pulled a few hairs out of his mustache with- 
out even knowing what he was doing. 

"So she ... so she disappeared In the middle 
of the performance?" he repeated. 

"Yes, she was carried off In the Prison Act, at the 
moment when she was Invoking the aid of the angels ; 
but I doubt If she was carried off by an angel." 

"And I am sure that she was !" 

Everybody looked round. A young man, pale and 
trembling with excitement, repeated : 

"I am sure of It!" 

"Sure of what?" asked MIfroId. 

"That Christine Daae was carried off by an angel, 
'M. le commissaire, and I can tell you his name." 

"Aha, M. le VIcomte de Chagny! So you main- 
tain that Christine Daae was carried off by an angel : 
an angel of the Opera, no don' t?" 

"Yes, monsieur, by an ang^i of the Opera; and I 
will tell you where he lives . . . when we are 

"You are right, monsieur." 

And the commissary of police, inviting Raoul to 
take a chair, cleared the room of all the rest, except- 
ing the managers. 

Then Raoul spoke: 

*'M. le commissaire, the angel Is called Erik, he 
lives in the Opera and he Is the Angel of Music!" 

"The Angel of Music! Really! That is very 
curious! . . . The Angel of Music!" And, 
turning to the managers, M. Mifrold asked, "Have 
you an Angel of Music on the premises, gentlemen?" 


Richard and Moncharmin shook their heads, with- 
out even speaking. 

"Oh," said the viscount, "those gentlemen have 
heard of the Opera ghost. Well, I am in a position 
to state that the Opera ghost and the Angel of Music 
are one and the same person; and his real name is 

M. Mifroid rose and looked at Raoul attentively. 

"I beg your pardon, monsieur, but is it your in- 
tention to make fun of the law? And, if not, what 
is all this about the Opera ghost?" 

"I say that these gentlemen have heard of him." 

"Gentlemen, it appears that you know the Opera 

Richard rose, with the remaining hairs of hjs 
mustache in his hand. 

"No, M. Commissary, no, w€ do not know him, 
but we wish that we did, for this very evening he has 
robbed us of twenty-thousand francs!" 

And Richard turned a terrible look on Monchar- 
min, which seemed to say: 

"Give me back the twenty-thousand francs, or I'll 
tell the whole story." 

Moncharmin understood what he meant, for, with 
a distracted gesture, he said: 

"Oh, tell everything and have done with It!" 

As for Mifroid, he looked at the managers and at 
Raoul by turns and wondered whether he had strayed 
into a lunatic asylum. He passed his hand through 
his hair. 

"A ghost," he said, "who, on the same evening, 


carries off an opera-singer and steals twenty-thousand 
francs is a ghost who must have his hands very full! 
If 3^ou don't mind, we will take the questions In order. 
The singer first, the twenty-thousand francs after. 
Come, M. de Chagny, let us try to talk seriously. 
You believe that Mile. Christine Daae has been car- 
ried off by an individual called Erik. Do you know 
this person? Have you seen him?" 



"In a churchyard." 

M. Mifroid gave a start, began to scrutinize Raoul 
again and said: 

"Of course! . ^ , That's where ghosts usual- 
ly hang out! . . .. And what were you doing 
in that churchyard?" 

"Monsieur," said Raoul, "I can quite understand 
how absurd my replies must seem to you. But I beg 
you to believe that I am in full possession of my facul- 
ties. The safety of the person dearest to me in the 
world is at stake. I should like to convince you in a 
few words, for time is pressing and every minute is 
valuable. Unfortunately, if I do not tell you the 
strangest story that ever was from the beginning, you 
will not believe me. I will tell you all I know about 
the Opera ghost, M. Commissary. Alas, I do not 
know much ! . . ." 

^ "Never mind, go on, go on!" exclaimed Richard 
and Moncharmin, suddenly greatly Interested. 

Unfortunately for their hopes of learning some 
detail that could put them on the track of their 


hoaxer, they were soon compelled to accept the fact 
that M. Raoul de Chagny had completely lost his 
head. All that story about Perros-Guirec, death's 
heads and enchanted viohns, could only have taken 
birth in the disordered brain of a youth mad with 
love. It was evident, also, that Mr. Commissary 
Mifroid shared their view; and the magistrate would 
certainly have cut short the incoherent narrative if 
circumstances had not taken it upon themselves to 
interrupt it. 

The door opened and a man entered, curiously 
dressed in an enormous frock-coat and a tall hat, 
at once shabby and shiny, that came down to his ears. 
He went up to the commissary and spoke to him in a 
whisper. It was doubtless a detective come to deliver 
an important communication. 

During this conversation, M. Mifroid did not take 
his eyes off Raoul. At last, addressing him, he said: 

"Monsieur, we have talked enough about the ghost. 
Wc will now talk about yourself a little, if you have 
no objection: you were to carry off Mile. Christine 
Daae to-night?" 

"Yes, M. le cojnmissaire." 

"After the performance?" 

"Yes, M. le commissaire." 

"All your arrangements were made?" 

"Yes, M. le commissaire." 

"The carriage that brought you was to take you 
both away. . . . There were fresh horses in 
readiness at every stage. . . ." 

"That is true, M. le commissaire." 


"And nevertheless your carriage is still outside 
the Rotunda awaiting your orders, is it not?" 

"Yes, M. le commissaire." 

"Did you know that there were three other car- 
riages there, in addition to yours?" 

"I did not pay the least attention." 

"They were the carriages of Mile. Sorelli, which 
could not find room in the Cour de I'Administration; 
of Carlotta; and of your brother, M. le Comte dc 
Chagny. . . ." 

"Very likely. . . ." 

"What is certain is that, though your carriage and 
Sorelli's and Carlotta's are still there, by the Rotunda 
pavement, M. le Comte de Chagny's carriage is 

"This has nothing to say to . . ." 

"I beg your pardon. Was not M. le Comte op- 
posed to your marriage with Mile. Daae?" 

"That is a matter that only concerns the family." 

"You have answered my question : he was opposed 
to it . . . and that was why you were carrying 
Christine Daae out of your brother's reach. 
Well, M. de Chagny, allow me to inform you that 
your brother has been smarter than you! It is he 
who has carried off Christine Daae !" 

"Oh, impossible!" moaned Raoul, pressing his 
hand to his heart. "Are you sure?" 

"Immediately after the artist's disappearance, 
which was procured by means which we have still to 
ascertain, he flung into his carriage, which drove right 
across Paris at a furious pace." 


"Across Paris?" asked poor Raoul, in a hoarse 
voice. "What do you mean by across Paris?" 

"Across Paris and out of Paris ... by the 
Brussels road." 

"Oh," cried the young man, "I shall catch them I'* 

And he rushed out of the office. 

"And bring her back to us!" cried the commis- 
sary gaily. . . . "Ah, that's a trick worth two 
of the Angel of Music's !" 

And, turning to his audience, M. Mifroid deliv- 
ered a little lecture on police methods. 

"I don't know for a moment whether M. le Comte 
de Chagny has really carried Christine Daae off or 
not . . . but I want to know and I believe that, 
at this moment, no one is more anxious to inform us 
than his brother. . . . And now he is flying in 
pursuit of him! He is my chief auxiliary! This, 
gentlemen, is the art of the police, which is believed 
to be so complicated and which, nevertheless, appears 
so simple as soon as you see that it consists in get- 
ting your work done by people who have nothing to 
do with the police." 

But M. le Commissaire de Police Mifroid would 
not have been quite so satisfied with himself if he 
had known that the rush of his rapid emissary was 
stopped at the entrance to the very first corridor. A 
tall figure blocked Raoul's way. 

"Where are you going so fast, M. de Chagny?" 
asked a voice. 

Raoul impatiently raised his eyes and recognized 
the astrakhan cap of an hour ago. He stopped : 


"It's you!" he cried, in a feverish voice. "You, 
who know Erik's secrets and don't want me to speak 
of them. Who are you ?" 

"You know who I am! ^ > .. I am the Per- 



RAOUL now remembered that his brother had 
once shown him that mysterious person, of 
whom nothing was known except that he was a Per- 
sian and that he lived in a little old-fashioned flat in 
the Rue de Rivoli. 

The man with the ebony skin, the eyes of jade and 
the astrakhan cap bent over Raoul. 

"I hope, M. de Chagny," he said, "that you have 
not betrayed Erik's secret?" 

"And why should I hesitate to betray that monster, 
sir?" Raoul rejoined haughtily, trying to shake off 
the intruder. "Is he your friend, by any chance?" 

"I hope that you said nothing about Erik, sir, 
because Erik's secret is also Christine Daae's and to 
talk about one is to talk about the other 1" 

"Oh, sir," said Raoul, becoming more and more 
impatient, "you seem to know about many things 
that interest me; and yet I have no time to listen to 
you !" 

"Once more, M. de Chagny, where are you going 
so fast?" 

"Can not you guess? To Christine Daae's assist- 
ance. . . ." 

"Then, sir, stay here, for Christine Daae is here I" 

"With Erik?" 



"With Erik." 

"How do you know?" 

"I was at the performance and no one in the world 
but Erik could contrive an abduction like that ! . . . 
Oh," he said, with a deep sigh, "I recognized the. 
monster's touch! ..." 

"You know him then?" 

The Persian did not reply, but heaved a fresh sigh. 

"Sir," said Raoul, "I do not know what your in- 
tentions are, but can you do anything to help me? 
I mean, to help Christine Daae?" 

"I think so, M. de Chagny, and that is why I spoke 
to you." 

"What can you do?" 

"Try to take you to her . . . and to him," 

"If you can do me that service, sir, my hfe Is 
yours! . . . One word more: the commissary 
of police tells me that Christine Daae has been carried 
off by my brother. Count Philippe." 

"Oh, M. de Chagny, I don't believe a word of it." 

"It's not possible, is it?" 

"I don't know if It Is possible or not; but there 
are ways and ways of carrying people off ; and M. le 
Comte Philippe has never, as far as I know, had 
anything to do with witchcraft." 

"Your arguments are convincing, sir, and I am a 
fool ! . . . Oh, let us make haste ! I place my- 
self entirely in your hands! . . . How should 
I not believe you, when you arc the only one to be- 
lieve me . . . when you are the only one not to 
smile when Erik's name is mentioned?" 


And the young man impetuously seized the Per- 
sian's hands. They were ice-cold. 

"Silence!" said the Persian, stopping and listen- 
ing to the distant sounds of the theater. "We must 
not mention that name here. Let us say 'he' and 
'him;' then there will be less danger of attracting 
his attention." 

"Do you think he is near us?" 

"It is quite possible, sir, if he is not, at this mo- 
ment, with his victim, in the house on the lake." 

"Ah, so you know that house too?" 

"If he is not there, he may be here, in this wall, 
In this floor, in this ceiling! . . . Come!" 

And the Persian, asking Raoul to deaden the sound 
of his footsteps, led him down passages which Raoul 
had never seen before, even at the time when Chris- 
tine used to take him for walks through that laby- 

"If only Darius has come !" said the Persian. 

"Who is Darius?" 

"Darius? My servant." 

They were now in the center of a real deserted 
square, an immense apartment ill-lit by a small lamp. 
The Persian stopped Raoul and, in the softest of 
whispers, asked: 

"What did you say to the commissary?" 

"I said that Christine Daae's abductor was the 
Angel of Music, alias the Opera ghost, and that the 
real name was . . ." 

"Hush! . . <. And did he believe you ?" 



"He attached no Importance to what you said?" 


"He took you for a bit of a madman?" 


"So much the better !" sighed the Persian. 

And they continued their road. After going up 
and down several staircases which Raoul had never 
seen before, the two men found themselves In front 
of a door which the Persian opened with a master- 
key. The Persian and Raoul were both, of course, 
In dress-clothes; but, whereas Raoul had a tall hat, 
the Persian wore the astrakhan cap which I have 
already mentioned. It was an infringement of the 
rule which insists upon the tall hat behind the scenes; 
but In France foreigners are allowed every license : the 
Englishman his traveling-cap, the Persian his cap of 

"Sir," said the Persian, "your tall hat will be in 
your way : you would do well to leave it in the dress- 

"What dressing-room?" asked Raoul. 

"Christine Daae's." 

And the Persian, letting Raoul through the door 
which he had just opened, showed him the actress* 
room opposite. 

They were at the end of the passage the whole 
length of which Raoul had been accustomed to tra- 
verse before knocking at Christine's door. 

"How well you know the Opera, sir!" 

"Not so well as 'he' does!" said the Persian 


And he pushed the young man into Christine's 
dressing-room, which was as Raoul had left it a few 
minutes earHer. 

Closing the door, the Persian went to a very thin 
partition that separated the dressing-room from a 
big lumber-room next to it. He listened and then 
coughed loudly. 

There was a sound of some one stirring in the 
lumber-room ; and, a few seconds later, a finger tapped 
at the door. 

"Come in," said the Persian. 

A man entered, also wearing an astrakhan cap and 
dressed in a long overcoat. He bowed and took a 
richly carved case from under his coat, put it on the 
dressing-table, bowed once again and went to the door. 

"Did no one see you come in, Darius?" 

"No, master." 

"Let no one see you go out." 

The servant glanced down the passage and swiftly 

The Persian opened the case. It contained a pair 
of long pistols. 

"When Christine Daae was carried off, sir, I sent 
word to my servant to bring me these pistols. I have 
had them a long time and they can be relied upon." 

"Do you mean to fight a duel?" asked the young 

"It will certainly be a duel which we shall have 
to fight," said the other, examining the priming of 
his pistols. "And what a duel!" Handing one of 
the pistols to Raoul, he added, "In this duel, we shall 


be two to one; but you must be prepared for every- 
thing, for v/e shall be fighting the most terrible adver- 
sary that you can imagine. But you love Christine 
Daae, do you not?" 

"I worship the ground she stands on ! But you, sir, 
who do not love her, tell me why I find you ready to 
risk your life for her! You must certainly hate 

"No, sir," said the Persian sadly, "I do not hate 
him. If I hated him, he would long ago have ceased 
doing harm." 

"Has he done you harm?" 

"I have forgiven him the harm which he has done 

*T do not understand you. You treat him as a 
monster, you speak of his crime, he has done you 
harm and I find in you the same inexplicable pity 
that drove me to despair when I saw it in Christine !" 

The Persian did not reply. He fetched a stool 
and set it against the wall facing the great mirror 
that filled the whole of the wall-space opposite. Then 
he climbed on the stool and, with his nose to the wall- 
paper, seemed to be looking for something. 

"Ah," he said, after a long search, "I have it!" 

And, raising his finger above his head, he pressed 
against a corner in the pattern of the paper. Then 
he turned round and jumped off the stool: 

"In half a minute," he said, "we shall be on his 
road!" and crossing the whole length of the dressing- 
room he felt the great mirror. 

"No, it is not yielding yet," he muttered. 


"Oh, are we going out by the mirror?" asked 
Raoul. "Like Christine Daae." 

''So you knew that Christine Daae went out by 
that mirror?" 

"She did so before my eyes, sir! I was hidden 
behind the curtain of the inner room and I saw her 
vanish not by the glass, but in the glass !" 

"And what did you do?" 

"I thought it was an aberration of my senses, a 
mad dream. . . ," 

"Or some new fancy of the ghost's !" chuckled the 
Persian. "Ah, M. de Chagny," he continued, still 
with his hand on the mirror, "would that we had to 
do with a ghost! We could then leave our pistols 
in their case. . . . Put down your hat, please 
. . . there . . . and now cover your shirt- 
front as much as you can with your coat ... as 
I am doing. . . . Bring the lapels forward 
. . . turn up the collar. . . . We must 
make ourselves as invisible as possible. . , ." 

Bearing against the mirror, after a short silence, 
he said: 

"It takes some time to release the counterbalance, 
when you press on the spring from the inside of the 
room. It is different when you are behind the wall 
and can act directly on the counterbalance. Then 
the mirror turns at once and is moved with incredi- 
ble rapidity." 

"What counterbalance?" asked Raoul. 

"Why, the counterbalance that lifts the whole of 
this wall on to its pivot. You surely don't expect it 


to move of itself, by enchantment! If you watch, 
you will see the mirror first rise an inch or two and 
then shift an inch or two from left to right. It will 
then be on a pivot and will swing round." 

"It's not turning!" said Raoul impatiently. 

"Oh, wait ! You have time enough to be impatient, 
sir! The mechanism has obviously become rusty, 
or else the spring isn't working. . . . Unless It 
is something else," added the Persian anxiously. 


"He may simply have cut the cord of the counter- 
balance and blocked the whole apparatus." 

"Why should he? He does not know that we are 
coming this way!" 

"I dare say he suspects it, for he knows that I 
understand the system." 

"It's not turning! . . . And Christine, sir, 

The Persian said coldly: 

"We shall do all that it is humanly possible to do I 
But he may stop us at the first step ! . . . 
He commands the walls, the doors and the trap- 
doors. In my country, he was known by a name 
which means the 'trap-door lover.' " 

"But why do these walls obey him alone? He did 
not build them !" 

"Yes, sir, that is just what he did!" 

Raoul looked at him in amazement; but the Per- 
sian made a sign to him to be silent and pointed to 
the glass. . . . There was a sort of shivering 
reflection. Their Image was troubled as in a rippling 


sheet of water and then all became stationary 

"You see, sir, that It Is not turning! Let us take 
another road!" 

"To-night, there Is no other!" declared the Persian, 
In a singularly mournful voice. "And now, look out ! 
And be ready to fire." 

He himself raised his pistol opposite the glass. 
Raoul Imitated his movement. With his free arm, 
the Persian drew the young man to his chest and, 
suddenly, the mirror turned, in a blinding daze of 
cross-lights: It turned like one of those revolving 
doors which have lately been fixed to the entrances 
of most restaurants, it turned, carrying Raoul and 
the Persian with it and suddenly hurling them from 
the full light into the deepest darkness^ 



6 6"\7'OUR hand high, ready to fire!" repeated 
A. Raoul's companion quickly. 

The wall, behind them, having completed the cir- 
cle which it described upon itself, closed again; and 
the two men stood motionless for a moment, holding 
their breath. 

At last, the Persian decided to make a movement; 
and Raoul heard him slip on his knees and feel for 
something in the dark with his groping hands. Sud- 
denly, the darkness was made visible by a small dark 
lantern and Raoul Instinctively stepped backward as 
though to escape the scrutiny of a secret enemy. But 
he soon perceived that the light belonged to the Per- 
sian, whose movements he was closely observing. 
The little red disk was turned in every direction and 
Raoul saw that the floor, the walls and the celling 
were all formed of planking. It must have been the 
ordinary road taken by Erik to reach Christine's 
dressing-room and impose upon her Innocence. And 
Raoul, remembering the Persian's remark, thought 
that It had been mysteriously constructed by the ghost 
himself. Later, he learned that Erik had found, all 
prepared for him, a secret passage, long known to 
himself alone and contrived at the time of the Paris 
Commune to allow the jailers to convey their prlson- 


ers straight to the dungeons that had been constructed 
for them in the cellars; for the Federates had oc- 
cupied the opera-house immediately after the eigh- 
teenth of March and had made a starting-place right 
at the top for their Mongolfier balloons, which car- 
ried their incendiary proclamations to the depart- 
ments, and a state prison right at the bottom. 

The Persian went on his knees and put his lan- 
tern on the ground. He seemed to be working at 
the floor; and suddenly he turned off his light. Then 
Raoul heard a faint click and saw a very pale lumin- 
ous square in the floor of the passage. It was as 
though a window had opened on the Opera cellars, 
which were still lit. Raoul no longer saw the Persian, 
but he suddenly felt him by his side and heard him 

"Follow me and do all that I do." 

Raoul turned to the luminous aperture. Then he 
saw the Persian, who was still on his knees, hang by 
his hands from the rim of the opening, with his 
pistol between his teeth, and slide into the cellar 

Curiously enough, the viscount had absolute con- 
fidence in the Persian, though he knew nothing about 
him. His emotion when speaking of the "monster" 
struck him as sincere; and, if the Persian had cherish- 
ed any sinister designs against him, he would not have 
armed him with his own hands. Besides, Raoul must 
reach Christine at all costs. He therefore went on 
his knees also and hung from the trap with both 


"Let go !" said a voice. 

And he dropped into the arms of the Persian, who 
told him to lie down flat, closed the trap-door above 
him and crouched down beside him. Raoul tried to 
ask a question, but the Persian's hand was on his 
mouth and he heard a voice which he recognized as 
that of the commissary of police. 

Raoul and the Persian were completely hidden be- 
hind a wooden partition. Near them, a small stair- 
case led to a little room in which the commissary 
appeared to be walking up and down, asking ques- 
tions. The faint light was just enough to enable 
Raoul to distinguish the shape of things around him. 
And he could not restrain a dull cry: there were 
three corpses there. 

The first lay on the narrow landing of the little 
staircase ; the two others had rolled to the bottom of 
the staircase. Raoul could have touched one of the 
two poor wretches by passing his fingers through the 

"Silence!" whispered the Persian. 

He too had seen the bodies and he gave one word 
in explanation: 


The commissary's voice was now heard more dis- 
tinctly. He was asking for information about the 
system of lighting, which the stage-manager sup- 
plied. The commissary therefore must be in the 
"organ" or its immediate neighborhood. 

Contrary to what one might think, especially in 
connection with an opera-house, the "organ" is not 


a musical instrument. At that time, electricity was 
employed only for a very few scenic effects and for 
the bells. The Immense building and the stage itself 
were still lit by gas; hydrogen was used to regulate 
and modify the lighting of a scene; and this was done 
by means of a special apparatus which, because of the 
multiplicity of its pipes, was known as the "organ." 
A box beside the prompter's box was reserved for the 
chief gas-man, who from there gave his orders to his 
assistants and saw that they were executed. Mauclair 
stayed in this box during all the performances. 

But now Mauclair was not in his box and his as- 
sistants not in their places. 

"Mauclair! Mauclair!" 

The stage-manager's voice echoed through the 
cellars. But Mauclair did not reply. 

I have said that a door opened on a little stair- 
case that led to the second cellar. The commissary 
pushed It, but it resisted. 

"I say," he said to the stage-manager, "I can*t 
open this door: is It always so difficult?" 

The stage-manager forced It open with his shoul- 
der. He saw that, at the same time, he was push- 
ing a human body and he could not keep back an ex- 
clamation, for he recognized the body at once: 

"Mauclair! Poor devil! He is dead!" 

But Mr. Commissary MIfroid, whom nothing sur- 
prised, was stooping over that big bod}^. 

"No," he said, "he is dead-drunk, which is not 
quite the same thing." 

"It's the first time, if so," said the stage-manager. 


*'Then some one has given him a narcotic. That is 
quite possible." 

Mifroid went down a few steps and said: 


By the light of a little red lantern, at the foot of 
the stairs, they saw two other bodies. The stage- 
manager recognized Mauclair's assistants. Mifroid 
went down and listened to their breathing. 

"They are sound asleep," he said. "Very curious 
business! Some person unknown must have inter- 
fered with the gas-man and his staff . . . and 
that person unknown was obviously working on be- 
half of the kidnapper. . . . But what a funny 
idea to kidnap a performer on the stage ! . . . 
Send for the doctor of the theater, please." And 
Mifroid repeated, "Curious, decidedly curious busi- 

Then he turned to the little room, addressing the 
people whom Raoul and the Persian were unable to 
see from where they lay. 

"What do you say to all this, gentlemen? You 
are the only ones who have not given your views. 
And yet you must have an opinion of some 

Thereupon, Raoul and the Persian saw the star- 
tled faces of the joint managers appear above the 
landing — and they heard Moncharmin's excited 
voice : 

"There are things happening here, Mr. Commis- 
sary, which we are unable to explain." 

And the two faces disappeared. 


"Thank you for the Information, gentlemen," said 
Mifroid, with a jeer. 

But the stage-manager, holding his chin in the hol- 
low of his right hand, which is the attii;ude of pro- 
found thought, said: 

*"It is not the first time that Mauclair has fallen 
asleep in the theater. I remember finding him, one 
evening, snoring in his little recess, with his snuff-box 
beside him." 

"Is that long ago?" asked M. Mifroid, carefully 
wiping his eye-glasses. 

"No, not $o very long ago. . , . Wait a 
bit ! . . . It was the night ... of course, 
yes ... It was the night when Carlotta — you 
know, Mr. Commissary — gave her famous *co-ack' I" 

"Really? The night when Carlotta gave her 
famous 'co-ack'?" 

And M. Mifroid, replacing his gleaming glasses 
on his nose, fixed the stage-manager with a contem- 
plative stare. 

"So Mauclair takes snuff, does he?" he asked 

"Yes, Mr. Commissary. . . . Look, there 
is his snuff-box on that little shelf. . . . Oh, 
he's a great snuff-taker!" 

"So am I," said Mifroid and put the snuff-box in 
his pocket. 

Raoul and the Persian, themselves unobserved, 
watched the removal of the three bodies by a num- 
ber of scene-shifters, who were followed by the com- 
missary and all the people with him. Their steps 


were heard for a few minutes on the stage above. 
When they were alone the Persian made a sign to 
Raoul to stand up. Raoul did so; but, as he did not 
lift his hand in front of his eyes, ready to fire, the Per- 
sian told him to resume that attitude and to continue 
it, whatever happened. 

"But it tires the hand unnecessarily," whispered 
Raoul. "If I do fire, I shan't be sure of my aim." 

"Then shift your pistol to the other hand," said 
the Persian. 

"I can't shoot with my left hand.'* 

Thereupon, the Persian made this queer reply, 
which was certainly not calculated to throw light into 
the young man's flurried brain : 

"It's not a question of shooting with the right 
hand or the left; it's a question of holding one of 
your hands as though you were going to pull the 
trigger of a pistol with your arm bent. As for the 
pistol itself, when all Is said, you can put that In your 
pocket!" And he added, "Let this be clearly under- 
stood, or I will answer for nothing. It is a matter 
of life and death. And now, silence and follow me I" 

The cellars of the Opera are enormous and they 
are five In number. Raoul followed the Persian andj 
wondered what he would have done without his com-t 
panion In that extraordinary labyrinth. They went 
down to the third cellar; and their progress was still 
lit by some distant lamp. 

The lower they went, the more precautions the 
Persian seemed to take. He kept on turning to 
Raoul to see if he was holding his arm properly, 


showing him how he himself carried his hand as if 
always ready to fire, though the pistol was In his 

Suddenly, a loud voice made them stop. Some 
one above them shouted : 

"All the door-shutters on the stage! The com- 
missary of police wants them !" 

Steps were heard and shadows glided through the 
darkness. The Persian drew Raoul behind a set 
piece. They saw passing before and above them 
old men bent by age and the past burden of opera- 
scenery. Some could hardly drag themselves along; 
Others, from habit, with stooping bodies and out- 
stretched hands, looked for doors to shut. 

They were the door-shutters, the old, worn-out 
scene-shifters, on whom a charitable management had 
taken pity, giving them the job of shutting doors 
above and below the stage. They went about inces- 
santly, from top to bottom of the building, shutting 
the doors; and they were also called "The draft- 
expellers," at least at that time, for I have little doubt 
that by now they are all dead. Drafts are very bad 
for the voice, wherever they may come from.* 

The Persian and Raoul welcomed this incident, 
which relieved them of inconvenient witnesses, for 
some of those door-shutters, having nothing else to 
do or nowhere to lay their heads, stayed at the Opera, 
from idleness or necessity, and spent the night there. 

*M. Pedro Gailhard has himself told me that he created a 
few additional posts as door-shutters for old stage-carpenters 
whom he was unwilling to dismiss from the service of the 


The two men might have stumbled over them, waking 
them up and provoking a request for explanations. 
For the moment, M. Mifroid's inquiry saved them 
from any such unpleasant encounters. 

But they were not left to enjoy their sohtude for 
long. Other shades now came down by the same 
way by which the door-shutters had gone up. Each 
of these shades carried a little lantern and moved it 
about, above, below and all around, as though look- 
ing for something or somebody. 

"Hang it!" muttered the Persian. "I don't know 
what they are looking for, but they might easily find 
us. ... Let us get away, quick ! . . . 
Your hand up, sir, ready to fire ! . . . Bend your 
arm . . . more . . . that's it ! ... 
Hand at the level of your eye, as though you were 
fighting a duel and waiting for the word to fire! 
Oh, leave your pistol in your pocket. 
Quick, come along, down-stairs. Level of your eye ! 
Question of life or death! . . . Here, this 
way, these stairs!" They reached the fifth cellar. 
"Oh, what a duel, sir, what a duel!" 

Once in the fifth cellar, the Persian drew breath. 
He seemed to enjoy a rather greater sense of security 
than he had displayed when they both stopped in the 
third ; but he never altered the attitude of his hand. 
And Raoul, remembering the Persian's observation — 
"I know these pistols can be relied upon" — was more 
and more astonished, wondering why any one should 
be so gratified at being able to rely upon a pistol 
which he did not intend to use ! 


But the Persian left him no time for reflection. 
Telling Raoul to stay where he was, he ran up a few 
steps of the staircase which they had just left and then 

"How stupid of us!" he whispered. "We shall 
soon have seen the end of those men with their lan- 
terns. It is the firemen going their rounds."* 

The two men waited five minutes longer. Then 
the Persian took Raoul up the stairs again; but sud- 
denly he stopped him with a gesture. Something 
moved in the darkness before them. 

"Flat on your stomach!" whispered the Persian. 

The two men lay flat on the floor. 

They were only just in time. A shade, this time 
carrying no light, just a shade in the shade, passed. 
It passed close to them, near enough to touch them. 

They felt the warmth of Its cloak upon them. For 
they could distinguish the shade sufficiently to see 
that it wore a cloak which shrouded It from head to 
foot. On Its head It had a soft felt hat. 

It moved away, drawing Its feet against the walls 
and sometimes giving a kick Into a corner. 

"Whew!" said the Persian. "We've had a nar- 
row escape ; that shade knows me and has twice taken 
me to the managers' ofBce." 

*In those days, it was still part of the firemen's duty to watch 
over the safety of the Opera house outside the performances; 
but this service has since been suppressed. I asked M. Pedro 
Gailhard the reason, and he repHed: 

"It was because the management was afraid that, in their 
utter inexperience of the cellars of the Opera, the firemen 
might set fire to the building!" 


"Is it some one belonging to the theater police?" 
asked Raoul. 

"It's some one much worse than that!" replied the 
Persian, without giving any further explanation.* 

"It's not . . . her 

*'Hef . . . If he does not come behind us, 
we shall always see his yellow eyes ! . . . That 
is more or less our safeguard to-night. . . . But 
he may come from behind, stealing up; and wc are 
dead men if we do not keep our hands as though about 
to fire, at the level of our eyes, in front!" 

The Persian had hardly finished speaking, when 
a fantastic face came in sight ... a whole ncry 
face, not only two yellow eyes 1 

Yes, a head of fire came toward them, at a man's 
height, but with no body attached to it. The face 
shed fire, looked in the darkness like a flame shaped 
as a man's face. 

"Oh," said the Persian, between his teeth. "I 
have never seen this before ! . . . Pampin was 
not mad, after all: he had seen it! . . . What 
can that flame be? It is not he^ but he may have 

*Like the Persian, I can give no further explanation touch- 
ing the apparition of this shade. Whereas, in_ this historic 
narrative, everything else will be normally explained, however 
abnormal the course of events may seem, I can not give the 
reader expressly to understand what the Persian meant by 
the words, "It is some one much worse than that!" The 
reader must try to guess for himself, for I promised M. Pedro 
Gailhard, the former manager of the Opera, to keep his secret 
regarding the extremely interesting and useful personality of 
the wandering, cloaked shade which, while condemning itself 
to live in the cellars of the Opera, rendered such immense 
services to those who, on gala evenings, for instance, venture 
to stray away from the stage. I am speaking of state services; 
and, upon my word of honor, I can say no more. 


sent it ! . . . Take care ! . . . Take care 1 
. . . Your hand at the level of your eyes, in 
Heaven's name, at the level of your eyes ! . . . I 
know most of his tricks . . . but not this one. 
. . . Come, let us run. ... it is safer. 
Hand at the level of your eyes!" 

And they fled down the long passage that opened 
before them. 

After a fev/ seconds, that seemed to them like long 
minutes, they stopped. 

"He doesn't often come this way," said the Per- 
sian. "This side has nothing to do with him. This 
side does not lead to the lake nor to the house on 
the lake. . . . But perhaps he knows that wc 
are at his heels . . . although I promised him 
to leave him alone and never to meddle in his busi- 
ness again!" 

So saying, he turned his head and Raoul also 
turned his head; and they again saw the head of fire 
behind their two heads. It had followed them. And 
it must have run also, and perhaps faster than they, 
for it seemed to be nearer to them. 

At the same time, they began to perceive a certain 
noise of which they could not guess the nature. They 
simply noticed that the sound seemed to move and to 
approach with the fiery face. It was a noise as 
though thousands of nails had been scraped against 
a blackboard, the perfectly unendurable noise that is 
sometimes made by a little stone inside the chalk that 
grates on the blackboard. 

They continued to retreat, but the fiery face came 


on, came on, gaining on them. They could see its 
features clearly now. The eyes were round and star- 
ing, the nose a little crooked and the mouth large, 
with a hanging lower lip, very like the eyes, nose and 
lip of the moon, when the moon is quite red, bright 

How did that red moon manage to glide through 
the darkness, at a man's height, with nothing to sup- 
port it, at least apparently? And how did it go so 
fast, so straight ahead, with such staring, staring 
eyes? And what was that scratching, scraping, grat- 
ing sound which it brought with it? 

The Persian and Raoul could retreat no farther 
and flattened themselves against the wall, not know- 
ing what was going to happen because of that incom- 
prehensible head of fire, and especially now, because 
of the more intense, swarming, living, "numerous" 
sound, for the sound was certainly made up of hun- 
dreds of little sounds that moved in the darkness, 
under the fiery face. 

And the fiery face came on . . . with its 
noise . . . came level with theml . . . 

And the two companions, flat against their wall, 
felt their hair stand on end with horror, for they now 
knew what the thousand noises meant. They came 
in a troop, hustled along in the shadow by innumer- 
able little hurried waves, swifter than the waves that 
rush over the sands at high tide, little night-waves 
foaming under the moon, under the fiery head that 
was like a moon. And the little waves passed be- 
tween their legs, climbing up their legs, irresistibly, 


and Raoul and the Persian could no longer restrain 
their cries of horror, dismay and pain. Nor could 
they continue to hold their hands at the level of their 
eyes: their hands went down to their legs to push 
back the waves, which were full of little legs and 
nails and claws and teeth. 

Yes, Raoul and the Persian were ready to faint, 
like Pampin the fireman. But the head of fire 
turned round in answer to their cries, and spoke to 

"Don't move I Don't move! . . . Whatever 
you do, don't come after me! . . . I am the 
rat-catcher! . . . Let mc pass, with my 
rats! . . ." 

And the head of fire disappeared, vanished in the 
darkness, while the passage in front of it lit up, as 
the result of the change which the rat-catcher had 
made in his dark lantern. Before, so as not to scare 
the rats in front of him, he had turned his dark lan- 
tern on himself, lighting up his own head; now, to 
hasten their flight, he lit the dark space in front of 
him. And he jumped along, dragging with him 
the waves of scratching rats, all the thousand sounds. 

Raoul and the Persian breathed again, though still 

"I ought to have remembered that Erik talked to 
me about the rat-catcher," said the Persian. "But 
he never told me that he looked like that . . . 
and it's funny that I should never have met him 
before. ... Of course, Erik never comes to 
this part!" 


"Arc we very far from the lake, sir?" asked Raoul. 
"When shall we get there? . . . Take me to 
the lake, oh, take me to the lake! . . . When 
we are at the lake, wc will call out! . . . Chris- 
tine will hear us! . . « And he will hear us, 
too ! . . . And, as you know him, we shall talk 
to him!" 

"Baby!" said the Persian. "We shall never 
enter the house on the lake by the lake ! . . . I 
myself have never landed on the other bank . . . 
the bank on which the house stands. . . . You 
have to cross the lake first . . . and it Is well 
guarded! ... I fear that more than one of 
those men — old scene-shifters, old door-shutters — 
who have never been seen again were simply tempted 
to cross the lake. . . . It Is terrible. ... I 
myself would have been nearly killed there . . . 
If the monster had not recognized me in time! 
. . . One piece of advice, sir; never go near the 
lake. . . . And, above all, shut your ears if you 
hear the voice singing under the water, the siren's 

"But then, what are we here for?" asked Raoul, 
in a transport of fever, impatience and rage. "If 
you can do nothing for Christine, at least let me die 
for her!" 

The Persian tried to calm the young man. 

"We have only one means of saving Christine 
Daae, believe me, which is to enter the house unper- 
ceived by the monster." 

"And Is there any hope of that, sir?" 


"Ah, if I had not that hope, I would not have 
come to fetch you !" 

"And how can one enter the house on the lake 
without crossing the lake?" 

"From the third cellar, from which we were so 
unluckily driven away. We will go back there now. 
... I will tell you," said the Persian, with a sud- 
den change in his voice, "I will tell you the exact 
place, sir: it is between a set piece and a discarded 
scene from Roi de Lahore, exactly at the spot where 
Joseph Buquet died. . . . Come, sir, take 
courage and follow me ! And hold your hand at the 
level of your eyes! . . ,. But where are we?" 

The Persian lit his lamp again and flung its rays 
down two enormous corridors that crossed each other 
at right angles. 

"We must be," he said, "in the part used more 
particularly for the waterworks. I see no fire coming 
from the furnaces." 

He went in front of Raoul, seeking his road, stop- 
ping abruptly when he was afraid of meeting some 
waterman. Then they had to protect themselves 
against the glow of a sort of underground forge, 
which the men were extinguishing, and at which 
Raoul recognized the demons whom Christine had 
seen at the time of her first captivity. 

In this way, they gradually arrived beneath the 
huge cellars below the stage. They must at this time 
have been at the very bottom of the "tub" and at an 
extremely great depth, when we remember that the 


earth was dug out at fifty feet below the water that 
lay under the whole of that part of Paris.* 

The Persian touched a partition-wall and said: 

"If I am not mistaken, this is a wall that might 
easily belong to the house on the lake." 

He was striking a partition-wall of the "tub," and 
perhaps it would be as well for the reader to know 
how the bottom and the partition-walls of the tub 
were built. In order to prevent the water surround- 
ing the building-operations from remaining in imme- 
diate contact with the walls supporting the whole of 
the theatrical machinery, the architect was obliged 
to build a double case in every direction. The work 
of constructing this double case took a whole year. 
It was the wall of the first inner case that the Persian 
struck when speaking to Raoul of the house on the 
lake. To any one understanding the architecture of 
the edifice, the Persian's action would seem to indi- 
cate that Erik's mysterious house had been built in 
the double case, formed of a thick wall constructed as 
an embankment or dam, then of a brick wall, a tre- 
mendous layer of cement and another wall several 
yards in thickness. 

At the Persian's words, Raoul flung himself against 

the wall and listened eagerly. But he heard nothing 

nothing . . . except distant steps 

*A1I the water had to be exhausted, in the building of the 
Opera. To give an idea of the amount of water that was 
pumped up, I can tell the reader that it represented the area 
of the court-yard of the Louvre and a height half as deep again 
as the towers of Notre Dame. And nevertheless the engineers 
had to leave a lake. 


sounding on the floor of the upper portions of the 

The Persian darkened his lantern again, 

"Look out !" he said. "Keep your hand up ! And 
silence ! For we shall try another way of getting in." 

And he led him to the little staircase by which they 
had come down lately. 

They went up, stopping at each step, peering into 
the darkness and the silence, till they came to the third 
cellar. Here the Persian motioned to Raoul to go 
on his knees ; and, in this way, crawling on both knees 
and one hand — for the other hand was held in the 
position indicated — they reached the end wall. 

Against this wall stood a large discarded scene 
from the Roi de Lahore. Close to this scene was a 
set piece. Between the scene and the set piece there 
was just room for a body . . . for a body which 
one day was found hanging there. The body of 
Joseph Buquet. 

The Persian, still kneeling, stopped and listened. 
For a moment, he seemed to hesitate and looked at 
Raoul; then he turned his eyes upward, toward the 
second cellar, which sent down the faint glimmer of 
a lantern, through a cranny between two boards. 
This glimmer seemed to trouble the Persian. 

At last, he tossed his head and made up his mind 
to act. He slipped between the set piece and the 
scene from the Ro'i de Lahore, with Raoul close upon 
his heels. With his free hand, the Persian felt the 
wall. Raoul saw him bear heavily upon the wall, 
just as he had pressed against the wall in Christine's 


dressing-room. Then a stone gave way, leaving a 
hole in the wall. 

This time, the Persian took his pistol from his 
pocket and made a sign to Raoul to do as he did. He 
cocked the pistol. 

And, resolutely, still on his knees, he wiggled 
through the hole in the wall. Raoul, who had wished- 
to pass first, had to be content to follow him. 

The hole was very narrow. The Persian stopped 
almost at once. Raoul heard him feeling the stones 
around him. Then the Persian took out his dark 
lantern again, stooped forward, examined something 
beneath him and immediately extinguished his lan- 
tern. Raoul heard him say, in a whisper: 

"We shall have to drop a few yards, without mak- 
ing a noise; take off your boots." 

The Persian handed his own shoes to Raoul. 

"Put them outside the wall," he said. "We shall 
find them there when we leave."* 

He crawled a little farther on his knees, then 
turned right round and said : 

"I am going to hang by my hands from the edge 
of the stone and let myself drop into his house. You 
must do exactly the same. Do not be afraid. I will 
catch you in my arms." 

Raoul soon heard a dull sound, evidently produced 
by the fall of the Persian, and then dropped down. 

♦These two pairs of boots, which were placed, according to 
the Persian's papers, just between the set piece and the scene 
from the Rot de Lahore, on the spot where Joseph Buquet was 
found hanging, were never discovered. They must have been 
taken by some stage-carpenter or "door-shutter." 


He felt himself clasped in the Persian's arms. 

"Hush !" said the Persian. 

And they stood motionless, listening. 

The darkness was thick around them, the silence 
heavy and terrible. 

Then the Persian began to make play with the dark 
lantern again, turning the rays over their heads, look- 
ing for the hole through which they had come, and 
failing to find it : 

"Oh !" he said. "The stone has closed of itself !" 

And the light of the lantern swept down the wall 
and over the floor. 

The Persian stooped and picked up something, a 
sort of cord, which he examined for a second and 
flung away with horror. 

"The Punjab lasso!" he muttered. 

"What is it?" asked Raoul. 

The Persian shivered. "It might very well be the 
rope by which the man was hanged, and which was 
looked for so long." 

And, suddenly seized with fresh anxiety, he moved 
the little red disk of his lantern over the walls. In 
this way, he lit up a curious thing: the trunk of a 
tree, which seemed still quite alive, with its leaves; 
and the branches of that tree ran right up the walls 
and disappeared in the ceiling. 

Because of the smallness of the luminous disk, it 
was difficult at first to make out the appearance of 
things : they saw a corner of a branch . . . and 
a leaf . . . and another leaf . . . and, 
next to it, nothing at all, nothing but the ray of light 


that seemed to reflect itself. . . . Raoul passed 
his hand over that nothing, over that reflection. 
"Hullo !" he said. "The wall is a looking-glass !" 
"Yes, a looking-glass!" said the Persian, in a tone 
of deep emotion. And, passing the hand that held 
the pistol over his moist forehead, he added, "We 
have dropped into the torture-chamber!" 

What the Persian knew of this torture-chamber 
and what there befell him and his companion shall be 
told in his own words, as set down in a manuscript 
which he left behind him, and which I copy verbatim. 



The Persian's Narrative 

IT WAS the first time that I entered the house on 
the lake, I had often begged the "trap-door 
lover," as we used to call Erik in my country, to 
open its mysterious doors to me. He always 
refused. I made very many attempts, but in vain, 
to obtain admittance. Watch him as I might, 
after I first learned that he had taken up his 
permanent abode at the Opera, the darkness was 
always too thick to enable me to see how he 
worked the door in the wall on the lake. One day, 
when I thought myself alone, I stepped into the boat 
and rowed toward that part of the wall through 
which I had seen Erik disappear. It was then that 
I came into contact with the siren who guarded the 
approach and whose charm was very nearly fatal to 

I had no sooner put off from the bank than the 
silence amid which I floated on the water was dis- 
turbed by a sort of whispered singing that hovered 
all around me. It was half breath, half music; it 
rose softly from the waters of the lake; and I was 
surrounded by it through I knew not what artifice. 
It followed mc, moved with me and was so soft that 


it did not alarm me. On the contrary, in my long- 
ing to approach the source of that sweet and enticing 
harmony, I leaned out of my little boat over the water, 
for there was no doubt in my mind that the singing 
came from the water itself. By this time, I was 
alone in the boat in the middle of the lake; the voice 
— for it was now distinctly a voice — was beside me, 
on the water. I leaned over, leaned still farther. The 
lake was perfectly calm, and a moonbeam that passed 
through the air hole in the Rue Scribe showed me ab- 
solutely nothing on its surface, which was smooth and 
black as ink. I shook my ears to get rid of a possi- 
ble humming; but I soon had to accept the fact that 
there was no humming in the ears so harmonious as 
the singing whisper that followed and now attracted 

Had I been inclined to superstition, I should have 
certainly thought that I had to do with some siren 
whose business it was to confound the traveler who 
should venture on the waters of the house on the lake. 
Fortunately, I come from a country where we are too 
fond of fantastic things not to know them through 
and through ; and I had no doubt but that I wa: face 
to face with some new invention of Erik's. But 
this invention was so perfect that, as I leaned out of 
the boat, I was impelled less by a desire to discover 
its trick than to enjoy its charm; and I leaned out, 
leaned out until I almost overturned the boat. 

Suddenly, two monstrous arms issued from the 
bosom of the waters and seized me by the neck, drag- 
ging me down to the depths with irresistible force. 


I should certainly have been lost, if I had not had 
time to give a cry by which Erik knew me. For it 
was he; and, instead of drowning me, as was cer- 
tainly his first intention, he swam with me and laid 
me gently on the bank : 

"How imprudent you are!" he said, as he stood 
before me, dripping with water. "Why try to enter 
my house ? I never invited you ! I don't want you 
there, nor anybody! Did you save my life only to 
make it unbearable to me? However great the ser- 
vice you rendered him, Erik may end by forgetting It; 
and you know that nothing can restrain Erik, not even 
Erik himself." 

He spoke, but I had now no other wish than to 
know what I already called the trick of the siren. 
He satisfied my curiosity, for Erik, who is a real mon- 
ster — I have seen him at work in Persia, alas — is also, 
in certain respects, a regular child, vain and self-con- 
ceited, and there is nothing he loves so much, after 
astonishing people, as to prove all the really miracu- 
lous ingenuity of his mind. 

He laughed and showed me a long reed. 

"It's the silliest trick you ever saw," he said, "but 
It's very useful for breathing and singing in the water. 
I learned it from the Tonkin pirates, who are able to 
remain hidden for hours in the beds of the rivers." * 

*An official report from Tonkin, received in Paris at the 
end of July, 1909, relates how the famous pirate chief De Tham 
was tracked, together with his men, by our soldiers; and hoW 
all of them succeeded in escaoing, thanks to this trick of the 


I spoke to him severely. 

"It's a trick that nearly killed me I" I said. "And 
It may have been fatal to others 1 You know what 
you promised me, Erik? No more murders!" 

"Have I really committed murders?" he asked, 
putting on his most amiable air. 

"Wretched man!" I cried. "Have you forgotten 
the rosy hours of Mazenderan?" 

"Yes," he replied, in a sadder tone, "I prefer to 
forget them. I used to make the little sultana laugh, 

"All that belongs to the past," I declared; "but 
there is the present . . . and you are responsi- 
ble to me for the present, because, if I had wished, 
there would have been none at all for you. Re- 
member that, Erik: I saved your life!" 

And I took advantage of the turn of conversation 
to speak to him of something that had long been on 
my mind : 

"Erik," I asked, "Erik, swear that . . ." 

"What?" he retorted. "You know I never keep 
my oaths. Oaths are made to catch gulls with." 

"Tell me . . . you can tell me, at any 
rate. . . ." 


"Well, the chandelier . . , the chandelier, 
Erik? . . ." 

"What about the chandelier?" 

"You know what I mean." 

"Oh," he sniggered, "I don't mind telling you 


about the chandelier ! . . . It wasn't // . . . 
The chandelier was very old and worn." 

When Erik laughed, he was more terrible than 
ever. He jumped Into the boat, chuckling so horribly 
that I could not help trembling. 

"Very old and worn, my dear daroga !* Very 
old and worn, the chandelier! ... It fell of 
itself! ... It came down with a smash! 
, . . And now, daroga, take my advice and go 
and dry yourself, or you'll catch a cold in the head ! ' 
. . . And never get Into my boat again. . . . 
•And, whatever you do, don't try to enter my house : 
I'm not always there . . . daroga ! And I 
should be sorry to have to dedicate my Requiem Mass 
to you!" 

So saying, swinging to and fro, like a monkey, and 
still chuckling, he pushed off and soon disappeared in 
the darkness of the lake. 

From that day, I gave up all thought of penetrat- 
ing into his house by the lake. That entrance was 
obviously too well guarded, especially since he had 
learned that I knew about it. But I felt that there 
must be another entrance, for I had often seen Erik 
disappear In the third cellar, when I was watching 
him, though I could not imagine hov/. 

Ever since I had discovered Erik Installed in the 
Opera, I lived in a perpetual terror of his horrible 
fancies, not in so far as I was concerned, but I dreaded 

*Daroga is Persian for chief of police. 


everything for others.* And whenever some acci- 
dent, some fatal event happened, I always thought 
to myself, "I should not be surprised if that were 
Erik," even as others used to say, "It's the ghost!" 
How often have I not heard people utter that phrase 
with a smile ! Poor devils ! If they had known that 
the ghost existed in the flesh, I swear they would not 
have laughed! 

Although Erik announced to me very solemnly that 
he had changed and that he had become the most 
virtuous of men since he was loved for himself — a 
sentence that, at first, perplexed me most terribjy — • 
I could not help shuddering when I thought of 'the 
monster. His horrible, unparalleled and repulsive 
ugliness put him without the pale of humanity; and 
it often seemed to me that, for this reason, he no 
longer believed that he had any duty toward the 
human race. The way in which he spoke of his love- 
affairs only increased my alarm, for I foresaw the 
cause of fresh and more hideous tragedies in this 
event to which he alluded so boastfully. 

On the other hand, I soon discovered the curious 
moral traffic established between the monster and 
Christine Daae. Hiding in the lumber-room next to 

*The Persian might easily have admitted that Erik's fate 
also interested himself, for he was well aware that, if t^e gov- 
ernment of Teheran had learned that Erik was »till alive, it 
would have been all up with the modest pension of the erst- 
while daroga. It is only fair, however, to add tha. the Per- 
sian had a noble and generous heart; and I do not doubt for a 
moment that the catastrophes which he feared for others greatly 
occupied his mind. His conduct, throughout this business, 
proves it and is above all praise. 


the young prima donna's dressing-room, I listened 
to wonderful musical displays that evidently flung 
Christine Into marvelous ecstasy; but, all the same, 
I would never have thought that Erik's voice — ^which 
was loud as thunder or soft as angels' voices, at will — 
could have made her forget his ugliness. I understood 
all vvhen I learned that Christine had not yet seen 
him ! I had occasion to go to the dressing-room and, 
remembering the lessons he had once given me, I had 
no difficulty In discovering the trick that made the 
wall with the mirror swing round and I ascertained 
the means — of hollow bricks and so on — ^by which he 
made his voice carry to Christine as though she heard 
it close beside her. In this way also I discovered 
the road that led to the well and the dungeon — the 
Communists' dungeon — and also the trap-door that 
enabled Erik to go straight to the cellars below the 

A few days later, what was not my amazement to 
learn by my own eyes and ears that Erik and Chris- 
tine Daae saw each other and to catch the monster 
stooping over the little well, in the Communists' 
road and sprinkling the forehead of Christine Daae, 
who had fainted. A white horse, the horse out of 
the Prof eta, which had disappeared from the stables 
under the Opera, was standing quietly beside them. 
I showed myself. It was terrible. I saw sparks fly 
from those yellow eyes and, before I had time to say 
a word, I received a blow on the head that 
stunned me. 

When I came to myself, Erik, Christine and the 


white horse had disappeared. I felt sure that the 
poor girl was a prisoner in the house on the lake. 
Without hesitation, I resolved to return to the bank, 
notwithstanding the attendant danger. For twenty- 
four hours, I lay in wait for the monster to appear; 
for I felt that he must go out, driven by the need of 
obtaining provisions. And, in this connection, I may 
say, that, when he went out In the streets or ventured 
to show himself in public, he wore a pasteboard nose, 
with a mustache attached to it, instead of his own 
horrible hole of a nose. This did not quite take away 
his corpse-like air, but It made him almost, I say 
almost, endurable to look at. 

I therefore watched on the bank of the lake and, 
weary of long waiting, was beginning to think that he 
had gone through the other door, the door In the 
third cellar, when I heard a slight splashing In the 
dark, I saw the two yellow eyes shining like candles 
and soon the boat touched shore. Erik jumped out 
and walked up to me : 

"You've been here for twenty-four hours," he said, 
"and you're annoying me. I tell you, all this will end 
very badly. And you will have brought It upon your- 
self; for I have been extraordinarily patient with you. 
You think you are following me, you great booby, 
whereas it's I who am following you; and I know 
all that you know about me, here. I spared you yes- 
terday, in my Communists' road; but I warn you, 
seriously, don't let me catch you there again ! Upon 
my word, you don't seem able to take a hint!" 

He was so furious that I did not think, for the 


moment, of interrupting him. After puffing and 
blowing like a walrus, he put his horrible thought 
into words : 

"Yes, you must learn, once and for all — once and 
for all, I say — to take a hint! I tell you that, with 
your recklessness — for you have already been twice 
arrested by the shade in the felt hat, who did not 
know what you were doing in the cellars and took 
you to the managers, who looked upon you as an ec- 
centric Persian interested in stage mechanism and life 
behind the scenes : I know all about it, I was there, 
In the office ; you know I am everywhere — well, I tell 
you that, with your recklessness, they will end by 
wondering what you are after here . . . and 
they will end by knowing that you are after 
Erik . . . and then they will be after Erik 
themselves and they will discover the house on 
the lake. ... If they do, it will be a bad look- 
out for you, old chap, a bad lookout! ... I 
won't answer for anything." 

Again he puffed and blew like a walrus. 

"I won't answer for anything ! ... If Erik's 
secrets cease to be Erik's secrets, it will be a had look- 
out for a goodly tmmber of the human race! That's 
all I have to tell you, and unless you are a great 
booby, it ought to be enough for you . . . except 
that you don't know how to take a hint." 

He had sat down on the stern of his boat and was 
kicking his heels against the planks, waiting to hear 
what I had to answer. I simply said: 

"It's not Erik that I'm after here!" 


"Who then?" 

"You know as well as I do : It's Christine Daae," I 

He retorted: 'T have every right to see her in 
my own house. I am loved for my own sake." 

"That's not true," I said. "You have carried her 
off and are keeping her locked up." 

"Listen," he said. "Will you promise never to 
meddle with my affairs again, if I prove to you that 
I am loved for my own sake?" 

"Yes, I promise you," I replied, without hesita- 
tion, for I felt convinced that for such a monster the 
proof was impossible. 

"Well, then, it's quite simple. . . . Christine 
Daae shall leave this as she pleases and come back 
again! . . . Yes, come back again, because she 
wishes . . . come back of herself, because she 
loves me for myself ! . . ." 

"Oh, I doubt If she will come back! . . . But 
it is your duty to let her go." 

"My duty, you great booby! . . . It is my 
wish . . . my wish to let her go; and she will 
come back again . . . for she loves me ! . . . 
All this will end in a marriage ... a marriage 
at the Madeleine, you great booby ! Do you believe 
me now? When I tell you that my nuptial 
mass is written . . . wait till you hear the 
Kyrie. . . ." . 

He beat time with his heels on the planks of the 
boat and sang: 

"Kyrie! . . . Kyrie! . . . Kyrie 


eleisonf . . . Wait till you hear, wait till you 
hear that mass." 

"Look here," I said. "I shall believe you if I see 
Christine Daae come out of the house on the lake and 
go back to it of her own accord." 

"And you won't meddle any more in my affairs?" 


"Very well, you shall see that to-night. Come 
to the masked ball. Christine and I will go and have 
a look round. Then you can hide in the lumber- 
room and you shall see Christine, who will have 
gone to her dressing-room, delighted to come back 
by the Communists' road. . . . 7\nd, now, be 
off, for I must go and do some shopping!" 

To my intense astonishment, things happened as 
he had announced. Christine Daae left the house on 
the lake and returned to it several times, without, ap- 
parently, being forced to do so. It was very diiScult 
for me to clear my mind of Erik. However, I re- 
solved to be extremely prudent, and did not make the 
mistake of returning to the shore of the lake, or of 
going by the Communists' road. But the idea of the 
secret entrance in the third cellar haunted me, and I 
repeatedly went and waited for hours behind a scenei 
from the Roi de Lahore, which had been left there 
for some reason or other. At last my patience was 
rewarded. One day, I saw the monster come toward 
me, on his knees. I was certain that he could not see 
me. He passed between the scene behind which I 
stood and a set piece, went to the wall and pressed on 
a spring that moved a stone and afforded him an in- 


gress. He passed through this, and the stone closed 
behind him. 

I waited for at least thirty minutes and then 
pressed the spring in my turn. Everything happened 
as with Erik. But I was careful not to go through 
the hole myself, for I knew that Erik was inside. On 
the other hand, the idea that I might be caught by 
Erik suddenly made me think of the death of Joseph 
Buquet. I did not wish to jeopardize the advan- 
tages of so great a discovery which might be useful 
to many people, "to a goodly number of the human 
race," in Erik's words; and I left the cellars of the 
Opera after carefully replacing the stone. 

I continued to be greatly interested in the relations 
between Erik and Christine Daae, not from any mor- 
bid curiosity, but because of the terrible thought 
which obsessed my mind that Erik was capable of 
anything, if he once discovered that he was not loved 
for his own sake, as he imagined. I continued to 
wander, very cautiously, about the Opera and soon 
learned the truth about the monster's dreary love- 

He filled Christine's mind, through the terror 
with which he inspired her, but the dear child's 
heart belonged wholly to the Vicomte Raoul de 
Chagny. While they played about, like an innocent 
engaged couple, on the upper floors of the Opera, to 
avoid the monster, they little suspected that some one 
was watching over them. I was prepared to do 
anything: to kill the monster, if necessary, and explain 
to the police afterward. But Erik did not show 


himself; and I felt none the more comfortajle for 

I must explain my whole plan. I thought that the 
monster, being driven from his house by jealousy, 
would thus enable m.e to enter it, without danger, 
through the passage in the third cellar. It was im- 
portant, for everybody's sake, that I should know ex- 
actly what was inside. One day, tired of waiting for 
an opportunity, I moved the stone and at once heard 
an astounding music: the monster was working at 
his Don Juan Triumphant, with every door in his 
house wide open. I knew that this was the work of 
his life. I was careful not to stir and remained pru- 
dently in my dark hole. 

He stopped playing, for a momicnt, and began 
walking about his place, like a madman. And he said 
aloud, at the top of his voice : 

"It must be finished jirst! Quite finished!" 

This speech was not calculated to reassure me and, 
when the music recommenced, I closed the stone very 

On the day of the abduction of Christine Daae, I 
did not come to the theater until rather late in the 
evening, trembling lest I should hear bad news. I 
had spent a horrible day, for, after reading in a morn- 
ing paper the announcement of a forthcoming mar- 
riage between Christine and the Vicomte de Chagny, 
I wondered whether, after all, I should not do better 
to denounce the monster. But reason returned to me, 
and I was persuaded that this action could only pre- 
cipitate a possible catastrophe. 


When my cab set me down before the Opera, I 
was really almost astonished to see it still standing I 
But I am something of a fatalist, like all good Ori- 
entals, and I entered ready for anything. 

Christine Daae's abduction in the Prison Act, 
which naturally surprised everybody, found me pre- 
pared. I was quite certain that she had been juggled 
away by Erik, that prince of conjurers. And I 
thought positively that this was the end of Christine 
and perhaps of everybody, so much so that I thought 
of advising all these people who were staying on at 
the theater to make good their escape. I felt, how- 
ever, that they would be sure to look upon me as mad 
and I refrained. 

On the other hand, I resolved to act without fur- 
ther delay, as far as I was concerned. The chances 
were in my favor that Erik, at that moment, was 
thinking only of his captive. This was the moment to 
enter his house through the third cellar; and I re- 
solved to take with me that poor little desperate vis- 
count, vv^ho, at the first suggestion, accepted, with an 
amount of confidence in myself that touched me pro- 
foundly. I had sent my servant for my pistols. I 
gave one to the viscount and advised him to hold 
himself ready to fire, for, after all, Erik might be 
waiting for us behind the wall. We were to go by 
the Communists' road and through the trap-door. 

Seeing my pistols, the little viscount asked me If 
we were going to fight a duel. I said : 

"Yes; and what a duel!" 

But, of course, I had no time to explain anything 


to him. The little viscount is a brave fellow, but 
he knew hardly anything about his adversary; and it 
was so much the better. My great fear was that he 
was already somewhere near us, preparing the Punjab 
lasso. No one knows better than he how to throw 
the Punjab lasso, for he is the king of stranglers even 
as he is the prince of conjurors. When he had fin- 
ished making the little sultana laugh, at the time of 
the "rosy hours of Mazcnderan," she herself used 
to ask him to amuse her by giving her a thrill. It was 
then that he introduced the sport of the Punjab 

He had lived in India and acquired an incred- 
ible skill in the art of strangulation. He would make 
them lock him into a courtyard to which they brought 
a warrior — usually, a man condemned to death — 
armed with a long pike and broadsword. Erik had 
only his lasso; and it was always just when the war- 
rior thought that he was going to fell Erik with a 
tremendous blow that we heard the lasso whistle 
through the air. With a turn of the wrist, Erik 
tightened the noose round his adversary's neck and, 
in this fashion, dragged him before the little sultana 
and her women, who sat looking from a window and 
applauding. The little sultana herself learned to 
wield the'Punjab lasso and killed several of her 
women and even of the friends who visited her. But 
I prefer to drop this terrible subject of the rosy hours 
of Mazenderan. I have mentioned it only to explain 
why, on arriving with the Vicomte de Chagny in the 
cellars of the Opera, I was bound to protect my com- 


panion against the ever-threatening danger of death 
by strangling. My pistols could serve no purpose, 
for Erik was not likely to show himself; but Erik 
could always strangle us. I had no time to explain 
all this to the viscount; besides, there was nothing to 
be gained by complicating the position. I simply told 
M. de Chagny to keep his hand at the level of his 
eyes, with the arm bent, as though waiting for the 
command to fire. With his victim in this attitude, it 
is impossible even for the most expert strangler to 
throw the lasso with advantage. It catches you not 
only round the neck, but also round the arm or hand. 
This enables you easily to unloose the lasso, which 
then becomes harmless. 

After avoiding the commissary of police, a num- 
ber of door-shutters and the firemen, after meeting 
the rat-catcher and passing the m'an in the felt hat 
unperceived, the viscount and I arrived without ob- 
stacle in the third cellar, between the set piece and 
the scene from the Roi de Lahore. I worked the 
stone, and we jumped Into the house which Erik had 
built himself in the double case of the foundation- 
walls of the Opera. And this was the easiest thing 
In the world for him to do, because Erik was one of 
the chief contractors under Philippe Gamier, the 
architect of the Opera, and continued towork by 
himself when the works were officially suspended, dur- 
ing the war, the siege of Paris and the Commune. 

I knew my Erik too well to feel at all comfortable 
on jumping into his house. I knew what he had 
made of a certain palace at Mazenderan. From being 


the most honest building conceivable, he soon turned 
it into a house of the very devil, where you could not 
utter a word but it was overheard or repeated by an 
echo. With his trap-doors the monster was respon- 
sible for endless tragedies of all kinds. He hit upon 
astonishing inventions. Of these, the most curious, 
horrible and dangerous was the so-called torture- 
chamber. Except in special cases, when the little sul- 
tana amused herself by inflicting suffering upon some 
unoffending citizen, no one was let into it but v/retches 
condemned to death. And, even then, when these 
had "had enough," they were always at liberty to put 
an end to themselves with a Punjab lasso or bow- 
string, left for their use at the foot of an iron tree. 

My alarm, therefore, v/as great when I saw that 
the room into which M. le Vicomte de Chagny and 
I had dropped was an exact copy of the torture-cham- 
ber of the rosy hours of Mazenderan. At our feet, 
I found the Punjab lasso which I had been dreading 
all the evening. I was convinced that this rope had 
already done duty for Joseph Buquet, who, like my- 
self, must have caught Erik one evening working the 
stone in the third cellar. He probably tried it in his 
turn, fell into the torture-chamber and only left It 
hanged. I can well imagine Erik dragging the 
body, in order to get rid of it, to the scene from the 
Roi de Lahore, and hanging It there as an example, 
or to Increase the superstitious terror that was to help 
him in guarding the approaches to his lair! Then, 
upon reflection, Erik went back to fetch the Punjab 
lasso, which Is very curiously made out of catgut, and 


which might have set an examining magistrate think- 
ing. This explains the disappearance of the rope. 

And now I discovered the lasso, at our feet, in the 
torture-chamber! ... I am no coward, bu^ 
a cold sweat covered my forehead as I moved the lit- 
tle red disk of my lantern over the walls. 

M. de Chagny noticed it and asked: 

"What is the matter, sir?" 

I made him a violent sign to be silent. 



The Persian's Narrative Continued 

WE were in the middle of a little six-cornered 
room, the sides of which were covered with 
mirrors from top to bottom. In the corners, we could 
clearly see the "joins" in the glasses, the segments in- 
tended to turn on their gear; yes, I recognized them 
and I recognized the iron tree in the corner, at the 
bottom of one of those segments ... the iron 
tree, with its iron branch, for the hanged men. 

I seized my companion's arm: the Vicomte de 
Chagny was all a-quiver, eager to shout to his be- 
trothed that he was bringing her help. I feared that 
he would not be able to contain himself. 

Suddenly, we heard a noise on our left. It sounded 
at first like a door opening and shutting in the next 
room; and then there was a dull moan. I clutched 
M. de Chagny's arm more firmly still; and then we 
distinctly heard these words : 

"You must make your choice ! The wedding mass 
or the requiem mass !" 

I recognized the voice of the monster. 

There was another moan, followed by a long 



I was persuaded by now that the monster was un- 
aware of our presence in his house, for otherwise he 
would certainly have managed not to let us hear him. 
He would only have had to close the little invisible 
window through which the torture-lovers look down 
into the torture-chamber. Besides, I was certain that, 
if he had known of our presence, the tortures would 
have begun at once. 

The important thing was not to let him know ; and 
I dreaded nothing so much as the impulsiveness of the 
Vicomte de Chagny, who wanted to rush through the 
walls to Christine Daae, whose moans we continued 
to hear at intervals. 

"The requiem mass is not at all gay," Erik's voice 
resumed, "whereas the wedding mass — you can take 
my word for it — is magnificent! You must take a 
resolution and know your own mind ! I can't go on 
living like this, like a mole in a burrow ! Don Juan 
Triumphant is finished; and now I want to live like 
everybody else. I want to have a wife like everybody 
else and to take her out on Sundays. I have invented 
a mask that makes me look like anybody. People 
will not even turn round in the streets. You will be 
the happiest of women. And we will sing, all by 
ourselves, till we swoon away with delight. You are 
crying ! You are afraid of me ! And yet I am not 
really wicked. Love me and you shall see! All I 
wanted was to be loved for myself. If you loved me 
I should be as gentle as a lamb; and you could do 
anything with me that you pleased." 

Soon the moans that accompanied this sort of love's 


litany increased and increased. I have never heard 
anything more despairing; and M. de Chagny and I 
recognized that this terrible lamentation came from 
Erik himself. Christine seemed to be standing dumb 
with horror, without the strength to cry out, while 
the monster was on his knees before her. 

Three times over, Erik fiercely bewailed his fate: 

"You don't love me! You don't love me I You 
don't love me!" 

And then, more gently: 

"Why do you cry? You know it gives me pain 
to see you cry!" 

A silence. 

Each silence gave us fresh hope. We said to our- 
selves : 

"Perhaps he has left Christine behind the wall." 

And we thought only of the possibility of warning • 
Christine Daae of our presence, unknown to the mon- 
ster. We v/ere unable to leave the torture-chamber 
now, unless Christine opened the door to us; and it 
was only on this condition that we could hope to help 
her, for we did not even know where the door 
might be. 

Suddenly, the silence in the next room was dis- 
turbed by the ringing of an electric bell. There was 
a bound on the other side of the wall and Erik's voice 
of thunder: 

"Somebody ringing! Walk in, please!" 

A sinister chuckle. 

"Who has come bothering now? Wait for me 


here. . . . / am going to tell the siren to open 
the door J' 

Steps moved away, a door closed. I had no time 
to think of the fresh horror that was preparing; I 
forgot that the monster was only going out perhaps 
to perpetrate a fresh crime; I understood but one 
thing : Christine was alone behind the wall ! 

The Vicomte de Chagny was already calling to 

^'Christine! Christine!" 

As we could hear what was said in the next room, 
there was no reason why my companion should not be 
heard in his turn. Nevertheless, the viscount had to 
repeat his cry time after time. 

At last, a faint voice reached us. 

*'I am dreaming!" it said. 

"Christine, Christine, it is I, Raoul!" 

A silence. 

"But answer me, Christine ! . . ., In Heaven's 
name, if you are alone, answer me !" 

Then Christine's voice whispered Raoul's name. 

"Yes ! Yes ! It is I ! It is not a dream ! . . . 
Christine, trust me! . . . We are here to save 
you . . . but be prudent I When you hear the 
monster, warn us !" 

Then Christine gave way to fear. She trembled 
lest Erik should discover where Raoul was hidden; 
she told us in a few hurried words that Erik had gone 
quite mad with love and that he had decided to kill 
everybody and himself with everybody if she did not 
consent to become his wife. He had given her till 


eleven o'clock the next evening for reflection. It was 
the last respite. She must choose, as he said, between 
the wedding mass and the requiem. 

And Erik had then uttered a phrase which Chris- 
tine did not quite understand: 

"Yes or no ! If your answer is no, everybody will 
be dead and buried!" 

But I understood the sentence perfectly, for it cor- 
responded in a terrible manner with my own dreadful 

"Can you tell us where Erik is?" I asked. 

She replied that he must have left the house. 

"Could you make sure?" 

"No. I am fastened. I can not stir a limb." 

When we heard this, M. de Chagny and I gave a 
yell of fury. Our safety, the safety of all three of 
us, depended on the girl's liberty of movement. 

"But where are you?" asked Christine. "There 
are only tv/o doors in my room, the Louis-Philippe 
room of which I told you, Raoul; a door through 
which Erik comes and goes, and another which he has 
never opened before me and which he has forbidden 
me ever to go through, because he says it is the most 
dangerous of the doors, the door of the torture-cham- 

"Christine, that is where we are !" 

"You are in the torture-chamber?" 

"Yes, but we can not see the door." 

"Oh, if I could only drag myself so far! I would 
knock at the door and that would tell you where 
it is." 


"Is it a door with a lock to it?" I asked. 

"Yes, with a lock." 

"Mademoiselle," I said, "it is absolutely necessary 
that you should open that door to us!" 

"But how?" asked the poor girl tearfully. 

We heard her straining, trying to free herself from 
the bonds that held her. 

"I know where the key is," she said, In a voice 
that seemed exhausted by the effort she had made. 
"But I am fastened so tight. . . . Oh, the 
wretch 1" 

And she gave a sob. 

"Where is the key?" I asked, signing to M. de 
Chagny not to speak and to leave the business to me, 
for we had not a moment to lose. 

"In the next room, near the organ, with another 
little bronze key, which he also forbade me to touch. 
They are both in a little leather bag which he calls 
the bag of life and death. . . . RaoulIRaoul! 
Fly! Everything Is mysterious and terrible here, and 
Erik will soon have gone quite mad, and you are in 
the torture-chamber ! . . . Go back by the way 
you came. There must be a reason why the room is 
called by that name !" 

"Christine," said the young man. "we will go from 
here together or die together!" 

"We must keep cool," I whispered. "Why has 
he fastened you, mademoiselle? You can't escape 
from his house; and he knows it!" 

"I tried to commit suicide ! The monster went out 
last night, after carrying me here fainting and half 


chloroformed. He was going to his banker, so he 
said ! . . . When he returned he found me with 
my face covered with blood. ... I had tried 
to kill myself by striking my forehead against the 

"Christine!" groaned Raoul; and he began to sob. 

"Then he bound me. ... I am not allowed 
to die until eleven o'clock to-morrow even- 

"Mademoiselle," I declared, "the monster bound 
you . . . and he shall unbind you. You have 
only to play the necessary part! Remember that he 
loves you !" 

"Alas !" we heard. "Am I likely to forget it!" 

"Remember it and smile to him ... en- 
treat him . . . tell him that your bonds hurt 

But Christine Daae said: 

"Hush! ... I hear something in the wall 
on the lake! . . . It is he! . . . Go 
away! Go away! Go away!" 

"We could not go away, even if we wanted to," 
I said, as impressively as I could. "We can not leave 
this! And we are in the torture-chamber!" 

"Hush!" whispered Christine again. 

Heavy steps sounded slowly behind the wall, then 
stopped and made the floor creak once more. Next 
came a tremendous sigh, followed by a cry of horror 
from Christine, and we heard Erik's voice: 

"I beg your pardon for letting you see a face 
like this! What a state I am in, am I not? It's 


the other one's fault! Why did he ring? Do / ask 
people who pass to tell me the time? He will never 
ask anybody the time again! It is the siren's 

Another sigh, deeper, more tremendous still, 
came from the abysmal depths of a soul. 

"Why did you cry out, Christine?" 

"Because I am in pain, Erik." 

"I thought I had frightened you." 

"Erik, unloose my bonds. . . . Am I not 
your prisoner?" 

"You will try to kill yourself again." 

"You have given me till eleven o'clock to-morrow 
evening, Erik." 

The footsteps dragged along the floor again. 

"After all, as we are to die together . . . 
and I am just as eager as you . . . yes, I have 
had enough of this life, you know. . . . Wait, 
don't move, I will release you. . . . You have 
only one word to say: ''No!' And it will at once 
be over with everybody! . . . You are right, 
you are right; why wait till eleven ' o'clock to-mor- 
row evening? True, it would have been grander, 
finer. . . . But that is childish nonsense. 
. . We should only think of ourselves in this 
life, of our own death ... the rest doesn't 
matter. . . . You're looking at me because I 
am all wet? . . . Oh, my dear, it's raining cats 
and dogs outside! . . . Apart from that, 
Christine, I think I am subject to hallucinations. 
. . . You know, the man who rang at the siren's 


door just now — go and look if he's ringing at the 
bottom of the lake-well, he was rather like. . . . 
There, turn round ... are you glad? You're 
free now. . . . Oh, my poor Christine, look 
at your wrists: tell me, have I hurt them? . . . 
That alone deserves death. . . . Talking of 
death, / must sing his requiem!" 

Hearing these terrible remarks, I received an aw- 
ful presentiment ... I too had once rung at 
the monster's door . . . and, without know- 
ing it, must have set some warning current in motion. 
. . . And I remembered the two arms that had 
emerged from the inky waters. . . . What 
poor wretch had strayed to that shore this time? 
Who was 'the other one,' the one whose requiem we 
now heard sung? 

Erik sang like the god of thunder, sang a Dies 
IrcB that enveloped us as in a storm. The elements 
seemed to rage around us. Suddenly, the organ and 
the voice ceased so suddenly that M. de Chagny 
sprang back, on the other side of the wall, with emo- 
tion. And the voice, changed and transformed, dis- 
tinctly grated out these metallic syllables : 

"What have you done with my hagf* 



The Persian's Narrative Continued 

THE voice repeated angrily: "What have you 
done with my bag? So it was to take my bag 
that you asked me to release you !" 

We heard hurried steps, Christine running back 
to the Louis-Philippe room, as though to seek shel- 
ter on the other side of our wall. 

"What are you running away for?'* asked the 
furious voice, which had followed her. "Give me 
back my bag, \\n\\ you? Don't you know that it is 
the bag of life and death?" 

"Listen to me, Erik," sighed the girl. "As it is 
settled that we are to live together . . . what 
difference can it make to you?" 

"You know there are only two keys in it," said the 
monster. "What do you want to do?" 

"I want to look at this room which I have never 
seen and which you have always kept from me. 
. . It's woman's curiosity!" she said, in a tone 
which she tried to render playful. 

But the trick was too childish for Erik to be taken 
in by it. 

"I don't like curious women," he retorted, "and 
you had better remember the story of Blue-Beard 


and be careful. . . . Come, give me back my 
bag! . . . Give me back my bag! . . . 
Leave the key alone, will you, you inquisitive little 

And he chuckled, while Christine gave a cry of 
pain. Erik had evidently recovered the bag from 

At that moment, the viscount could not help utter- 
ing an exclamation of impotent rage. 

"Why, what's that?" said the monster. "Did 
you hear, Christine?" 

"No, no," replied the poor girl. "I heard noth- 

"I thought I heard a cry." 

"A cry! Are you going mad, Erik? Whom do 
you expect to give a cry, in this house? ... I 
cried out, because you hurt me ! I heard nothing." 

"I don't like the way you said that! . . . 
You're trembling. . . . You're quite excited. 
. . . You're lying! . . . That was a cry, 
there was a cry ! . . . There is some one in the 
torture-chamber! . . . Ah, I understand 

"There is no one there, Erik!" 

"I understand !" 

"No one!" 

"The man you wan-t to marry, perhaps !" 

"I don't want to marry anybody, you know I 

Another nasty chuckle. 

"Well, it won't take long to find out. Christine, 


my love, we need not open the door to see what is 
happening in the torture-chamber. Would you like to 
see? Would you like to see? Look here! If there 
is some one, if there is really some one there, you 
will see the invisible window light up at the top, near 
the ceiling. We need only draw the black curtain 
and put out the light in here. There, that's it. 
.. . . Let's put out the light! You're not afraid 
of the dark, when you're with your little husband!" 

Then we heard Christine's voice of anguish: 

"No! . . . I'm frightened! ... I tell 
you, I'm afraid of the dark! ... I don't care 
about that room now. . . . You're always 
frightening me, like a child, with your torture-cham- 
ber ! . . . And so I became inquisitive. . . . 
But I don't care about it now . . . not a bit 
. . . not a bit!" 

And that which I feared above all things began, 
automatically. We were suddenly flooded with light ! 
Yes, on our side of the wall, everything seemed 
aglow. The Vicomte de Chagny was so much taken 
aback that he staggered. And the angry voice 
roared : 

"I told you there was some one! Do you see the 
window now? The lighted window, right up there? 
The man behind the wall can't see it ! But you shall 
go up the folding steps: that is what they are there 
for ! . . . You have often asked me to tell you ; 
and now you know! . . . They are there to 
give a peep into the torture-chamber . . , you 
inquisitive little thing!" 


"What tortures? . . . Who is being tor- 
tured? . . . Erik, Erik, say you are only try- 
ing to frighten mc ! . . . Say it, if you love me, 
Erik! . . . There are no tortures, are there?" 

"Go and look at the little window, dear!" 

I do not know if the viscount heard the girl's 
swooning voice, for he was too much occupied by 
the astounding spectacle that now appeared before 
his distracted gaze. As for me, I had seen that 
sight too often, through the little window, at the 
time of the rosy hours of Mazenderan; and I cared 
only for what was being said next door, seeking for 
a hint how to act, what resolution to take. 

"Go and peep through the little window! Tell 
me what he looks like!" 

We heard the steps being dragged against the 

"Up with you! . . . No! . . . No, I 
will go up myself, dear!" 

"Oh, very well, I will go up. Let me go!" 

"Oh, my darling, my darling! . . . How 
sweet of you! . . . How nice of you to save 
me the exertion at my age ! . . . Tell me what 
he looks like!" 

At that moment, we distinctly heard these words 
above our heads: 

"There is no one there, dear !" 

"No one? . . . Are you sure there is no 

"Why, of course not . . . no one!" 

"Well, that's all right I . . . What's the 


matter, Christine? You're not going to faint, are 
you ... as there is no one there? . , . 
Here . . . come down . . . there! . . . 
Pull yourself together ... as there is no one 
there! . . . But how do you like the land- 

"Oh, very much !" 

"There, that's better! . . . You're better 
now, arc you not? . . . That's all right, you're 
better! . . . No excitement! . . . And 
what a funny house, isn't it, with landscapes like 
that in it?" 

"Yes, it's like the Musee Grevin. . . . But, 
I say, Erik . . . there are no tortures in there ! 
,., . . What a fright you gave me!" 

"Why ... as there is no one there?" 

"Did you design that room? It's very handsome. 
You're a great artist, Erik." 

"Yes, a great artist, in my own line." 

"But tell me, Erik, why did you call that room the 

"Oh, it's very simple. First of all, what did you 

"I saw a forest." 

"And what is in a forest?" 


"And what is in a tree?" 


"Did you see any birds?" 

"No, I did not see any birds." 

"Well, what did you see? Think! You saw 


branches! And what are the branches?" asked the 
terrible voice. "There's a gibbet! That is why I call 
my wood the torture-chamber! . . . You see, 
it's all a joke. I never express myself like other peo- 
ple. But I am very tired of it! . . . I'm sick 
and tired of having a forest and a torture-chamber 
in my house and of living like a mountebank, in a 
house with a false bottom! . . . I'm tired of it! 
I want to have a nice, quiet fiat, with ordinary doors 
and windows and a wife inside it, like anybody else ! 
A wife whom I could love and take out on Sun- 
days and keep amused on week-days. . . Here, 
shall I show you some card-tricks? That will 
help us to pass a few minutes, while waiting for 
eleven o'clock to-morrow evening. . . . My 
dear little Christine ! . . . Are you listening to 
me? . . . Tell me you love me! . . . 
No, you don't love me . . . but no matter, you 
will! . . . Once, you could not look at my 
mask because you knew what was behind. . . . 
And now you don't mind looking at it and you for- 
get what is behind! . . . One can get used to 
everything ... if one wishes. . . . Plenty 
of young people who did not care for each other be- 
fore marriage have adored each other since! Oh, I 
don't know what I am talking about ! But you would 
have lots of fun with me. For instance, I am the 
greatest ventriloquist that ever lived, I am the first 
ventriloquist in the world! . . . You're laugh- 
ing. . . . Perhaps you don't believe me? 


The wretch, who really was the first ventriloquist 
in the world, was only trying to divert the child's 
attention from the torture-chamber; but it was a 
stupid scheme, for Christine thought of nothing but 
us! She repeatedly besought him, in the gentlest 
tones which she could assume : 

"Put out the light in the little window! . . . 
Erik, do put out the light in the little window!" 

For she saw that this light, which appeared so sud- 
denly and of which the monster had spoken in so 
threatening a voice, must mean something terrible. 
One thing must have pacified her for a moment; and 
that was seeing the two of us, behind the wall, in the 
midst of that resplendent light, alive and well. But 
she would certainly have felt much easier if the light 
had been put out. 

Meantime, the other had already begun to play the 
ventriloquist. He said: 

"Here, I raise my mask a little. . . . Oh, 
only a little! . . . You see my lips, such lips 
as I have? They're not moving! . . . My 
mouth is closed — such mouth as I have — and yet you 
hear my voice. . . . Where will you have it? 
In your left ear? In your right ear? In the table? 
In those little ebony boxes on the mantelpiece? 
. . . Listen, dear, it's in the little box on the 
right of the mantelpiece: what does it say? 'Shall 
I turn the scorpion?' . . . And now, crack! 
What does it say in the little box on the left? 'Shall 
I turn the grasshopper?' . . . And now, crack I 
Here it is in the little leather bag. . . . What 


does it say? '/ am the little hag of life znd death/' 
. . . And now, crack ! It is in Carlotta's throat, 
in Carlotta's golden throat, in Carlotta's crystal 
throat, as I live! What does it say? It says, 'It's 
I, Mr. Toad, it's I singing ! / feel without alarm — 
co-ack — with its melody enwind me — co-ackf 

. . And now, crack! It is on a chair in the 
ghost's box and it says, 'Madame Carlotta is singing 
to-night to bring the chandelier down/' . . . 
And now, crack ! Aha ! Where is Erik's voice now ? 
Listen, Christine, darling ! Listen ! It is behind the 
door of the torture-chamber! Listen! It's myself 
in the torture-chamber! And what do I say? I say, 
'Woe to them that have a nose, a real nose, and come 
to look round the torture-chamber ! Aha, aha, aha !" 

Oh, the ventriloquist's terrible voice! It was 
everywhere, everywhere. It passed through the lit- 
tle invisible window, through the walls. It ran 
around us, between us. Erik was there, speaking to 
us! We made a movement as though to fling our- 
selves upon him. But, already, swifter, more fleeting 
than the voice of the echo, Erik's voice had leaped 
back behind the wall ! 

Soon we heard nothing more at all, for this is 
what happened : 

"Erik! Erik!" said Christine's voice. "You tire 
me with your voice. Don't go on, Erik! Isn't it 
very hot here?" 

"Oh, yes," rephed Erik's voice, "the heat is un- 

"But what does this mean? . . . The wall 


is really getting quite hot! . . . The wall is 
burning! . . ." 

"I'll tell you, Christine, dear: it is because of the 
forest next door." 

"Well, what has that to do with it? The forest?" 

''Why, didn't you see that it was an African for- 

And the monster laughed so loudly and hideous- 
ly that we could no longer distinguish Christine's 
supplicating cries ! The Vicomte de Chagny shouted 
and banged against the walls like a madman, I could 
not restrain him. But we heard nothing except the 
monster's laughter, and the monster himself can have 
heard nothing else. And then there was the sound 
of a body falling on the floor and being dragged 
along and a door slammed and then nothing, nothing 
more around us save the scorching silence of the 
south in the heart of a tropical forest! 

"barrels! . . . barrels! . . . any barrels 


The Persian's Narrative Continued 

I HAVE said that the room in which M. le Vicomte 
de Chagny and I were imprisoned was a regular 
hexagon, lined entirely with mirrors. Plenty of these 
rooms have been seen since, mainly at exhibitions: 
they are called "palaces of illusion," or some such 
name. But the invention belongs entirely to Erik, 
who built the first room of this kind under my eyes, 
at the time of the rosy hours of Mazenderan. A 
decorative object, such as a column, for instance, was 
placed in one of the corners and immediately pro- 
duced a hall of a thousand columns; for, thanks to 
the mirrors, the real room was multiplied by six 
hexagonal rooms, each of which, in its turn, was mul- 
tiplied indefinitely. But the little sultana soon tired 
of this infantile illusion, whereupon Erik altered his 
invention into a "torture-chamber." For the archi- 
tectural motive placed in one corner, he substituted an 
iron tree. This tree, with its painted leaves, was ab- 
solutely true to life and was made of iron so as to 
resist all the attacks of the "patient" who was locked 
into the torture-chamber. We shall see how the 


scene thus obtained was twice altered instantaneously 
into two successive other scenes, by means of the 
automatic rotation of the drums or rollers in the 
corners. These were divided into three sections, fit- 
ting into the angles of the mirrors and each support- 
ing a decorative scheme that came into sight as the 
roller revolved upon its axis. 

The walls of this strange room gave the patient 
nothing to lay hold of, because, apart from the solid 
decorative object, they were simply furnished with 
mirrors, thick enough to withstand any onslaught 
of the victim, who was flung into the chamber empty- 
handed and barefoot. 

There was no furniture. The ceiling was capable 
of being lit up. An ingenious system of electric heat- 
ing, which has since been imitated, allowed the tem- 
perature of the walls and room to be increased at 

I am giving all these details of a perfectly natural 
invention, producing, with a few painted branches, 
the supernatural illusion of an equatorial forest blaz- 
ing under the tropical sun, so that no one may doubt 
the present balance of my brain or feel entitled to 
say that I am mad or lying or that I take him for a 

I now return to the facts where I left them. When 

*It is very natural that, at the time when the Persian was 
writing, he should take so many precautions against any spirit 
of incredulity on the part of those who were likely to read his 
narrative. Nowadays, when we have all seen this sort of room, 
his precautions would be superfluous. 


the ceiling lit up and the forest became visible around 
us, the viscount's stupefaction was immense. That 
impenetrable forest, with its innumerable trunks and 
branches, threw him into a terrible state of conster- 
nation. He passed his hands over his forehead, as 
though to drive away a dream; his eyes blinked; and, 
for a moment, he forgot to listen. 

I have already said that the sight of the forest 
did not surprise me at all; and therefore I listened 
for the two of us to what was happening next door. 
Lastly, my attention was especially attracted, not so 
much to the scene, as to the mirrors that produced 
it. These mirrors were broken In parts. Yes, 
they were marked and scratched; they had been 
"starred," in spite of their solidity; and this proved 
to me that the torture-chamber in which we now were 
had already served a purpose. 

Yes, some wretch, whose feet were not bare like 
those of the victims of the rosy hours of Mazen- 
deran, had certainly fallen into this "mortal illusion" 
and, mad with rage, had kicked against those mirrors 
which, nevertheless, continued to reflect his agony. 
And the branch of the tree on which he had put an 
end to his own sufferings was arranged in such a way 
that, before dying, he had seen, for his last consola- 
tion, a thousand men writhing in his company. 

Yes, Joseph Buquet had undoubtedly been through 
all this! Were we to die as he had done? I 
did not think so, for I knew that we had a few 
hours before us and that I could employ them to bet- 
ter purpose than Joseph Buquet was able to do. Af- 


ter all, I was thoroughly acquainted with most of 
Erik's "tricks;" and now or never was the time to 
turn my knowledge to account. 

To begin with, I gave up every idea of return- 
ing to the passage that had brought us to that ac- 
cursed chamber. I did not trouble about the possi- 
bility of working the inside stone that closed the 
passage; and this for the simple reason that to do 
so was out of the question. We had dropped from 
too great a height into the torture-chamber; there 
was no furniture to help us reach that passage; not 
even the branch of the iron tree, not even each other's 
shoulders were of any avail. 

There was only one possible outlet, that opening 
into the Louis-Philippe room in which Erik and 
Christine Daae were. But, though this outlet looked 
like an ordinary door on Christine's side, it was ab- 
solutely invisible to us. We must therefore try to 
open it without even knowing where it was. 

When I was quite sure that there was no hope for 
us from Christine Daae's side, when I had heard the 
monster dragging the poor girl from the Louis- 
Philippe room lest she should interfere with our tor- 
tures, I resolved to set to work without delay. 

But I had first to calm M. de Chagny, who was 
already walking about like a madman, uttering In- 
coherent cries. The snatches of conversation which 
he had caught between Christine and the monster 
had contributed not a little to drive him beside him- 
self: add to that the shock of the magic forest and 
the scorching heat which was beginning to make the 


prespiration stream down his temples and you will 
have no difficulty in understanding his state of mind. 
He shouted Christine's name, brandished his pistol» 
knocked his forehead against the glass in his endea- 
vors to run down the glades of the illusive forest. 
In short, the torture was beginning to work its spell 
upon a brain unprepared for it. 

I did my best to induce the poor viscount to lis- 
ten to reason. I made him touch the mirrors and 
the iron tree and the branches and explained to him, 
by optical laws, all the luminous imagery by which 
we were surrounded and of which we need not allow 
ourselves to be the victims, like ordinary, ignorant 

"We are in a room, a little room; that is what you 
must keep saying to yourself. And we shall leave the 
room as soon as we have found the door." 

And I promised him that, if he let me act, with- 
out disturbing me by shouting and walking up and 
down, I would discover the trick of the door in less 
than an hour's time. 

Then he lay flat on the floor, as one does in a 
wood, and declared that he would wait until I found 
the door of the forest, as there was nothing better 
to do! And he added that, from where he was, 
"the view was splendid!" The torture was work- 
ing, in spite of all that I had said. 

Myself, forgetting the forest, I tackled a glass 
panel and began to finger it in every direction, hunt- 
ing for the weak point on which to press in order 
to turn the door in accordance with Erik's system of 


pivots. This weak point might be a mere speck on 
the glass, no larger than a pea, under which the 
spring lay hidden. I hunted and hunted. I felt as 
high as my hands could reach. Erik was about the 
same height as myself and I thought that he would 
not have placed the spring higher than suited his 

While groping over the successive panels with 
the greatest care, I endeavored not to lose a minute, 
for I was feeling more and more overcome with the 
heat and we were literally roasting In that blazing 

I had been working like this for half an hour 
and had finished three panels, when, as ill-luck would 
have it, I turned round on hearing a muttered ex« 
clamation from the viscount. 

"I am stifling," he said. ''All those mirrors are 
sending out an infernal heat ! Do you think you will 
find that spring soon? If you are much longer about 
it, we shall be roasted alive !" 

I was not sorry to hear him talk like this. He 
had not said a word of the forest and I hoped that 
my companion's reason would hold out some time 
longer against the torture. But he added: 

"What consoles me is that the monster has given 
Christine until eleven to-morrow evening. If we 
can't get out of here and go to her assistance, at 
least we shall be dead before her! Then Erik's 
mass can serve for all of us !" 

And he gulped down a breath of hot air that 
nearly made him faint. 


As I had not the same desperate reasons as M. 
le Vicomte for accepting death, I returned, after 
giving him a word of encouragement, to my panel, 
but I had made the mistake of talcing a few steps 
while speaking and, in the tangle of the illusive for- 
est, I was no longer able to find my panel for cer- 
tain! I had to begin all over again, at random, 
feeling, fumbling, groping. 

Now the fever laid hold of me in my turn . . . 
for I found nothing, absolutely nothing. In the next 
room, all was silence. We were quite lost in the for- 
est, without an outlet, a compass, a guide or anything. 
Oh, I knew what awaited us if nobody came to our 
aid . . . or if I did not find the spring! But, 
look as I might, I found nothing but branches, beauti- 
ful branches that stood straight up before me, or 
spread gracefully over my head. But they gave no 
shade. And this was natural enough, as we were in 
an equatorial forest, with the sun right above our 
heads, an African forest. 

M. de Chagny and I had repeatedly taken off our 
coats and put them on again, finding at one time that 
they made us feel still hotter and at another that 
they protected us against the heat. I was still mak- 
ing a moral resistance, but M. de Chagny seemed to 
me quite "gone." He pretended that he had been 
walking in that forest for three days and nights, 
without stopping, looking for Christine Daae ! From 
time to time, he thought he saw her behind the trunk 
of a tree, or gliding between the branches; and he 


called to her with words of supplication that brought 
the tears to my eyes. And then, at last: 

"Oh, how thirsty I am!" he cried, in delirious ac- 

I too was thirsty. My throat was on fire. And, 
yet, squatting on the floor, I went on hunting, hunt- 
ing, hunting for the spring of the invisible door 
. . especially as it was dangerous to remain in 
the forest as evening drew nigh. Already the shades 
of night were beginning to surround us. It had hap- 
pened very quickly: night falls quickly in tropical 
countries . . suddenly, with hardly any twilight. 

Now night, in the forests of the equator, is al- 
ways dangerous, particularly when, like ourselves, 
one has not the materials for a fire to keep off the 
beasts of prey. I did indeed try for a moment to 
break off the branches, which I would have lit with 
my dark lantern, but I knocked myself also against 
the mirrors and remembered, in time, that we had 
only images of branches to do with. 

The heat did not go with the daylight; on the con- 
trary, it was now still hotter under the blue rays of 
the moon. I urged the viscount to hold our weapons 
ready to fire and not to stray from camp, while I 
went on looking for my spring. 

Suddenly, we heard a lion roaring a few yards 

"Oh," whispered the viscount, "he is quite close I 
. . . Don't you see him? . . . There . . . 
through the trees ... in that thicket ! . . , 
If he roars again, I will fire ! . . ." 


And the roaring began again, louder than before. 
And the viscount fired, but I do not think that he 
hit the Hon; only, he smashed a mirror, as I per- 
ceived the next morning, at daybreak. We must 
have covered a good distance during the night, for 
we suddenly found ourselves on the edge of the 
desert, an immense desert of sand, stones and rocks. 
It was really not worth while leaving the forest to 
come upon the desert. Tired out, I flung myself 
down beside the viscount, for I had had enough of 
looking for springs which I could not find. 

I was quite surprised — and I said so to the vis- 
count — that we had encountered no other dangerous 
animals during the night. Usually, after the lion 
came the leopard and sometimes the buzz of the 
tsetse fly. These were easily obtained effects; and I 
explained to M, de Chagny that Erik imitated the 
roar of a lion on a long tabour or timbrel, with an 
ass's skin at one end. Over this skin he tied a string 
of catgut, which was fastened at the middle to 
another similar string passing through the whole 
length of the tabour. Erik had only to rub this 
string with a glove smeared with resin and, accord- 
ing to the manner in which he rubbed it, he imitated 
to perfection the voice of the lion or the leopard, or 
even the buzzing of the tsetse fly. 

The idea that Erik was probably in the room be- 
side us, working his trick, made me suddenly resolve 
to enter into a parley with him, for we must obviously 
give up all thought of taking him by surprise. And 
by this time he must be quite aware who were the 


occupants of his tortiire-chamber. I called him: 
"Erik! Erik!" 

I shouted as loudly as I could across the desert, but 
there was no answer to my voice. All around us lay 
the silence and the bare immensity of that stony 
desert. What was to become of us in the midst of 
that awful solitude? 

We were beginning literally to die of heat, hun- 
ger and thirst ... of thirst especially. At last, 
I saw M. de Chagny raise himself on his elbow and 
point to a spot on the horizon. He had discovered 
an oasis ! 

Yes, far in the distance was an oasis ... an 
oasis with limpid water, which reflected the iron 
trees! . . . Tush, it was the scene of the 
mirage. ... I recognized it at once . . . 
the worst of the three ! . . . No one had been 
able to fight against it ... no one. ... I 
did my utmost to keep my head and not to hope for 
water, because I knew that, if a man hoped for water, 
the water that reflected the iron tree, and if, after 
hoping for water, he struck against the mirror, then 
there was only one thing for him to do: to hang him- 
self on the iron tree ! 

So I cried to M. de Chagny: 

"It's the mirage! . . . It's the mirage! 
. . . Don't believe in the water! . . . It's 
another trick of the mirrors ! . . ." 

Then he flatly told me to shut up, with my tricks 
of the mirrors, my springs, my revolving doors and 
my palaces of illusions! He angrily declared that 


I must be cither blind or mad to Imagine that all 
that water flowing over there, among those splendid, 
numberless trees, was not real water ! . . . And 
the desert was real ! . . . And so was the for- 
est! . . . And it was no use trying to take 
him in ... he was an old, experienced trav- 
eler . . . he had been all over the place! 

And he dragged himself along, saying: "Water! 

And his mouth was open, as though he were drink- 

And my mouth was open too, as though I were 

For we not only saw the water, but we heard it! 
. . . We heard It flow, we heard It ripple ! . . . 
Do you understand that word "ripple?" . . . It 
is a sound which you hear with your tongue! 
. . . You put your tongue out of your mouth to 
listen to it better ! 

Lastly — and this was the most pitiless torture of 
all — we heard the rain and it was not raining! This 
was an Infernal Invention. . . . Oh, I knew 
well enough how Erik obtained It! He filled with 
little stones a very long and narrow box, broken up 
inside with wooden and metal projections. The 
stones, in falling, struck against these projections 
and rebounded from one to another; and the result 
was a series of pattering sounds that exactly imitated 
a rainstorm. 

Ah, you should have seen us putting out our 
tongues and dragging ourselves toward the rippling 


river-bank! Our eyes and ears were full of water, 
but our tongues were hard and dry as horn ! 

When we reached the mirror, M. de Chagny licked 
it . . . and I also licked the glass. 

It was burning hot ! 

Then we rolled on the floor with a hoarse cry of 
despair. M. de Chagny put the one pistol that was 
still loaded to his temple; and I stared at the Punjab 
lasso at the foot of the iron tree. I knew why the 
iron tree had returned, in this third change of scene ! 
. . . The iron tree was waiting for me! . . . 

But, as I stared at the Punjab lasso, I saw .a thing 
that made me start so violently that M. de Chagny 
delayed his attempt at suicide. I took his arm. And 
then I caught the pistol from him . . . and 
then I dragged myself on my knees toward what I 
had seen. 

I had discovered, near the Punjab lasso, 'in a 
groove in the floor, a black-headed nail of which I 
knew the use. At last I had discovered the spring! 
I felt the nail. ... I lifted a radiant face 
to M. de Chagny. . . . The black-headed nail 
yielded to my pressure. . . . 

And then. . . . 

And then we saw not a door opened in the wall, 
but a cellar-flap released in the floor. Cool air came 
up to us from the black hole below. We stooped 
over that square of darkness as though over a limpid 
well. With our chins in the cool shade, we drank 
it in. 

And we bent lower and lower over the trap-door. 


What could there be in that cellar which opened 
before us? Water? Water to drink? 

I thrust my arm Into the darkness and came upon 
a stone and another stone ... a staircase 
. . . a dark staircase leading into the cellar. 
The viscount wanted to fling himself down the hole ; 
but I, fearing a new trick of the monster's, stopped 
him, turned on my dark lantern and went down first. 

The staircase was a winding one and led down 
into pitchy darkness. But oh, how deliciously cool 
were the darkness and the stairs? The lake could 
not be far away. 

We soon reached the bottom. Our eyes were be- 
ginning to accustom themselves to the dark, to dis- 
tinguish shapes around us . . . circular shapes 
. . on which I turned the light of my lantern. 

Barrels ! 

We were in Erik's cellar: it was here that he must 
keep his wine and perhaps his drinking-water. I 
knew that Erik was a great lover of good wine. Ah, 
there was plenty to drink here ! 

M. de Chagny patted the round shapes and kept 
on saying: 

"Barrels! Barrels! . * . What a lot of bar- 
rels ! . . ." • 

Indeed, there was quite a number of them, sym- 
metrically arranged in two rows, one on either side 
of us. They were small barrels and I thought that 
Erik must have selected them of that size to facili- 
tate their carriage to the house on the lake. 


We examined them successively, to see If one of 
them had not a funnel, showing that it had been 
tapped at some time or another. But all the barrels 
were hermetically closed. 

Then, after half lifting one to make sure it was 
full, we went on our knees and, with the blade of a 
small knife which I carried, I prepared to stave in 
the bung-hole. 

At that moment, I seemed to hear, coming from 
very far, a sort of monotonous chant which I knew 
well, from often hearing it in the streets of Paris : 

"Barrels! . . . Barrels! . . . Any bar- 
rels to sell? . . ." 

My hand desisted from Its work. M. de Chagny 
had also heard. He said: 

"That's funny! It sounds as if the barrel were 

The song was renewed, farther away: 

"Barrels! . . . Barrels! . . . Any bar- 
rels to sell? . . ." 

"Oh, I swear," said the viscount, "that the tune 
dies away In the barrel! . . ." 

We stood up and went to look behind the barrel. 

"It's Inside," said M. dc Chagny, "it's inside!" 

But we heard nothing there and were driven to 
accuse the bad condition of our senses. And we re- 
turned to the bung-hole. M. de Chagny put his two 
hands together underneath It and, with a last effort, 
I burst the bung. 

"What's this?" cried the viscount. "This Isn't 


The viscount put his two full hands close to my 
lantern. ... I stooped to look . . . and 
at once threw away the lantern with such violence 
that it broke and went out, leaving us In utter dark- 

What I had seen in M. de Chagny's hands . . . 
was gun-powder I 



The Persian's Narrative Concluded 

THE discovery flung us into a state of alarm that 
made us forget all our past and present suffer- 
ings. We now knew all that the monster meant to 
convey when he said to Christine Daae : 

"Yes or no ! If your answer is no, everybody will 
be dead and buried!" 

Yes, burled under the ruins of the Paris Grand 
Opera ! 

The monster had given her until eleven o'clock 
in the evening. He had chosen his time well. There 
would be many people, many "members of the human 
race," up there. In the resplendent theater. What 
finer retinue could be expected for his funeral? He 
would go down to the tomb escorted by the whitest 
shoulders In the world, decked with the richest 

Eleven o'clock to-morrow evening! 

We were all to be blown up in the middle of the 
performance ... if Christine Daae eald no! 

Eleven o'clock to-morrow evening ! . . . 

And what else could Christine say but no? Would 
she not prefer to espouse death Itself rather than that 
living corpse? She did not know that on her accep- 


tance or refusal depended the awful fate of many 
members of the human race! 

Eleven o'clock to-morrow evening! 

And we dragged ourselves through the darkness, 
feeling our way to the stone steps, for the light in 
the trap-door overhead that led to the room of mir- 
rors was now extinguished; and we repeated to our- 
selves : 

"Eleven o'clock to-morrow evening!" 

At last, I found the staircase. But, suddenly I 
drew myself up on the first step, for a terrible 
thought had come to my mind : 

"What is the time?" 

Ah, what was the time? . . . For, after all, 
eleven o'clock to-morrow evening might be now, 
might be this very moment ! Who could tell us the 
time? We seemed to have been imprisoned in that 
hell for days and days . . . for years . . . 
since the beginning of the world. Perhaps we should 
be blown up then and there ! Ah, a sound ! A crack ! 

"Did you hear that? . . . There, in the cor- 
ner . . . good heavens! . . . Like a 
sound of machinery ! , . . Again ! . . . Oh, 
for a light! . . . Perhaps it's the machinery 
that is to blow everything up ! . . . I tell you, 
a cracking sound: are you deaf?" 

M. de Chagny and I began to yell like madmen. 
Fear spurred us on. We rushed up the treads of the 
staircase, stumbling as we went, anything to escape 
the dark, to return to the mortal light of the room 
of mirrors ! 


We found the trap-door still open, but It was now 
as dark In the room of mirrors as In the cellar which 
we had left. We dragged ourselves along the floor 
of the torture-chamber, the floor that separated us 
from the powder-magazine. What was the time? 
We shouted, we called: M. de Chagny to Christine, 
I to Erik. I reminded him that I had saved his life. 
But no answer, save that of our despair, of our mad- 
ness : what was the time ? We argued, we tried to cal- 
culate the time which we had spent there, but we 
were Incapable of reasoning. If only we could see 
the face of a watch! . . . Mine had stopped, 
but M. de Chagny's was still going. . . . He 
told me that he had wound It up before dressing for 
the Opera. . . . We had not a match upon us. 
. . . And yet we must know. . . . M. dc 
Chagny broke the glass of his watch and felt the 
two hands. . . . He questioned the hands of 
the watch with his finger-tips, going by the position 
of the ring of the watch. . . . Judging by the 
space between the hands, he thought It might be just 
eleven o'clock ! 

But perhaps It was not the eleven o'clock of which 
we stood In dread. Perhaps we had still twelve 
hours before us! 

Suddenly, I exclaimed: "Hush!" 

I seemed to hear footsteps In the next room. Some 
one tapped against the wall. Christine Daae's voice 

"Raoul! Raoul!" 

We were now all talking at once, on either side 


of the wall. Christine sobbed; she was not sure 
that she would find M. dc Chagny alive. The mon- 
ster had been terrible, it seemed, had done nothing 
but rave, waiting for her to give him the "yes" which 
she refused. And yet she had promised him that 
"yes," if he would take her to the torture-chamber. 
But he had obstinately declined, and had uttered 
hideous threats against all the members of the human 
race ! At last, after hours and hours of that hell, he 
had that moment gone out, leaving her alone to re- 
flect for the last time. 

"Hours and hours? What is the time now? 
What is the time, Christine?" 

"It is eleven o'clock! Eleven o'clock, all but five 

"But which eleven o'clock?" 

"The eleven o'clock that is to decide life or death I 
He told me so just before he went. . . . 
He is terrible. . . . He Is quite mad: he tore 
off his mask and his yellow eyes shot flames ! . . . 
He did nothing but laugh! . . . He said, 'I 
give you five minutes to spare your blushes ! Here,' 
he said, taking a key from the little bag of life and 
death, 'here Is the little bronze key that opens the 
two ebony caskets on the mantelpiece in the Louis- 
Philippe room. ... In one of the caskets, you 
will find a scorpion. In the other, a grasshopper, both 
very cleverly imitated In Japanese bronze: they will 
say yes or no for you. If you turn the scorpion 
round, that will mean to me, when I return, that you 
have said yes. The grasshopper will mean no.' 


And he laughed like a drunken demon. I did noth- 
ing but beg and entreat him to give me the key of the 
torture-chamber, promising to be his wife if he 
granted me that request. . . . But he told me 
that there was no future need for that key and that 
he was going to throw it into the lake! . . . 
And he again laughed like a drunken demon and left 
me. Oh, his last words were, 'The grasshopper! Be 
careful of the grasshopper ! A grasshopper does not 
only turn : it hops ! It hops ! And it hops jolly 

The five minutes had nearly elapsed and the 
scorpion and the grasshopper were scratching at my 
brain. Nevertheless, I had sufficient lucidity left to 
understand that, if the grasshopper were turned, it 
would hop . . . and with it many members of 
the human race! There was no doubt but that the 
grasshopper controlled an electric current intended 
to blow up the powder-magazine ! 

M. de Chagny, who seemed to have recovered all 
his moral force from hearing Christine's voice, ex- 
plained to her, in a few hurried words, the situation 
in which we and all the Opera were. He told her to 
turn the scorpion at once. 

There was a pause. 

"Christine," I cried, "where are you?" 

"By the scorpion." 

"Don't touch it!" 

The idea had come to me — for I knew my Erik — 
that the monster had perhaps deceived the girl once 
more. Perhaps it was the scorpion that would blow 


everything up. After all, why wasn't he there? 
The five minutes were long past . . . and he 
was not back. . . . Perhaps he had taken shel- 
ter and was waiting for the explosion! . . . 
Why had he not returned? ... He could not 
really expect Christine ever to consent to become his 
voluntary prey! . . . Why had he not return- 

"Don't touch the scorpion!" I said. 

"Here he comes!" cried Christine. "I hear him! 
Here he is!" 

We heard his steps approaching the Louis-Philippe 
room. He came up to Christine, but did not speak. 
Then I raised my voice : 

"Erik! It is I! Do you know me ?" 

With extraordinary calmness, he at once replied: 

"So you are not dead in there? Well, then, see 
that you keep quiet." 

I tried to speak, but he said coldly: 

"Not a word, daroga, or I shall blow everything 
up." And he added, "The honor rests with made- 
moiselle. . . . Mademoiselle has not touched 
the scorpion" — how deliberately he spoke ! — "made- 
moiselle has not touched the grasshopper" — with 
that composure! — "but it is not too late to do the 
right thing. There, I open the caskets without a 
key, for I am a trap-door lover and I open and shut 
what I please and as I please. I open the little ebony 
caskets : mademoiselle, look at the little dears inside. 
Aren't they pretty? If you turn the grasshopper, 
mademoiselle, we shall all be blown up. There is 


enough gun-powder under our feet to blow up a whole 
quarter of Paris. If you turn the scorpion, made- 
moiselle, all that powder will be soaked and drowned. 
Mademoiselle, to celebrate our wedding, you shall 
make a very handsome present to a few hundred Pari- 
sians who are at this moment applauding a poor 
masterpiece of Meyerbeer's . . . you shall make 
them a present of their lives. . . . For, with 
your own fair hands, you shall turn the scorpion. 
. . . And merrily, merrily, we will be married!" 

A pause; and then: 

"If, in two minutes, mademoiselle, you have not 
turned the scorpion, I shall turn the grasshopper 
. . . and the grasshopper, I tell you, hops jolly 

The terrible silence began anew. The Vicomte de 
Chagny, realizing that there was nothing left to do 
but pray, went down on his knees and prayed. As 
for me, my blood beat so fiercely that I had to take 
my heart in both hands, lest it should burst. At last, 
we heard Erik's voice: 

"The two minutes are past. . . . Good-by, 
mademoiselle. . . . Hop, grasshopper! . . ." 

"Erik," cried Christine, "do you swear to me, 
monster, do you swear to me that the scorpion is 
the one to turn? . . ." 

"Yes, to hop at our wedding." 

"Ah, you see! You said, to hop!" 

"At our wedding, ingenuous child ! . . . The 
scorpion opens the ball. . . . But that will do I 


. . . You won't have the scorpion ? Then I turn 
the grasshopper!" 



I was crying out in concert with Christine. M. dc 
Chagny was still on his knees, praying. 

"Erik! I have turned the scorpion!" 

Oh, the second through which we passed! 

Waiting ! Waiting to find ourselves in fragments, 
amid the roar and the ruins ! 

Feeling something crack beneath our feet, hear- 
ing an appalling hiss through the open trap-door, a 
hiss like the first sound of a rocket! 

It came softly, at first, then louder, then very 
loud. But it was not the hiss of fire. It was more 
like the hiss of water. And now it became a gurgling 
sound: "Guggle! Guggle!" 

We rushed to the trap-door. All our thirst, which 
vanished when the terror came, now returned with 
the lapping of the water. 

The water rose in the cellar, above the barrels, 
the powder-barrels — "Barrels! . . . Barrels! 
Any barrels to sell ?" — and we went down to it with 
parched throats. It rose to our chins, to our mouths. 
And we drank. We stood on the Hoor of the cellar 
and drank. And we went up the stairs again in the 
dark, step by step, went up with the water. 

The water came out of the cellar with us and 
spread over the floor of the room. If this went on, 
the whole house on the lake would be swamped. The 


floor of the torture-chamber had Itself become a regu- 
lar little lake, in which our feet splashed. Surely 
there was water enough now! Erik must turn off 
the tap ! 
-, "Erik! Erik! That is water enough for the gun- 
" powder ! Turn off the tap ! Turn off the scorpion !" 

But Erik did not reply. We heard nothing but 
the water rising: it was half-way to our waists! 

"Christine!" cried M. de Chagny. "Christine! 
The water Is up to our knees !" 

But Christine did not reply. . . . We heard 
nothing but the water rising. 

No one, no one In the next room, no one to turn 
the tap, no one to turn the scorpion ! 

We were all alone, In the dark, with the dark 
water that seized us and clasped us and froze us I 

"Erik! Erik!" 

"Christine ! Christine !" 

By this time, we had lost our foothold and were 
spinning round In the water, carried away by an irre- 
sistible whirl, for the water turned with us and dashed 
us against the dark mirror, which thrust us back 
again; and our throats, raised above the whirlpool, 
roared aloud. 

Were we to die here, drowned In the torture-cham- 
ber? I had never seen that. Erik, at the time of 
the rosy hours of Mazenderan, had never shown me 
that, through the little Invisible window. 

"Erik! Erik!" I cried. "I saved your life! Re- 
member! . . . You were sentenced to death! 
But for me, you would be dead now ! . . . Erik !" 


We whirled around In the water like so much 
wreckage. But, suddenly, my straying hands seized 
the trunk of the iron tree I I called M. de Chagny, 
and we both hung to the branch of the iron tree. 

And the water rose still higher. 

"Oh! Oh! Can you remember? How much 
space is there between the branch of the tree and the 
dome-shaped ceiling? Do try to remember I 
. . . After all, the water may stop, it must find 
its level! . . . There, I think it is stopping! 
. . . No, no, oh, horrible ! . . . Swim ! 
Swim for your life !" 

Our arms became entangled in the effort of swim- 
ming; we choked; we fought in the dark water; al- 
ready we could hardly breathe the dark air above the 
dark water, the air which escaped, which we could 
hear escaping through some vent-hole or other. 

"Oh, let us turn and turn and turn until we find the 
air hole and then glue our mouths to it!" 

But I lost my strength; I tried to lay hold of the 
walls ! Oh, how those glass walls slipped from under 
my groping fingers! . . . We whirled round 
again ! . . . We began to sink ! . . . One 
last effort! . . . A last cry: 

"Erik! . . . Christine! . . ." 

"Guggle, guggle, guggle!" In our ears. "Guggle! 
Guggle !" At the bottom of the dark water, our ears 
went, "Guggle! Guggle!" 

And, before losing consciousness entirely, I seemed 
to hear, between two guggles : 

"Barrels ! Barrels ! Any barrels to sell ?" 



THE previous chapter marks the conclusion of 
the written narrative which the Persian left 
behind him. 

Notwithstanding the horrors of a situation which 
seemed definitely to abandon them to their deaths, M. 
de Chagny and his companion were saved by the sub- 
lime devotion of Christine Daae. And I had the rest 
of the story from the lips of the daroga himself. 

When I went to see him, he was still living In his 
little flat in the Rue de Rivoli, opposite the Tuilerles. 
He was very ill, and it required all my ardor as an 
historian pledged to the truth to persuade him to live 
the Incredible tragedy over again for my benefit. His 
faithful old servant Darius showed me in to him. 
The daroga received me at a window overlooking the 
garden of the Tuilerles. He still had his magnificent 
eyes, but his poor face looked very worn. He had 
shaved the whole of his head, which was usually cov- 
ered with an astrakhan cap ; he was dressed In a long, 
plain coat and amused himself by unconsciously twist- 
ing his thumbs inside the sleeves; but his mind was 
quite clear, and he told me his story with perfect 

It seems that, when he opened his eyes, the daroga 


found himself lying on a bed. M. de Chagny was 
on a sofa, beside the wardrobe. An angel and a 
devil were watching over them. 

After the deceptions and illusions of the torture- 
chamber, the precision of the details of that quiet lit- 
tle middle-class room seemed to have been invented 
for the express purpose of puzzling the mind of the 
mortal rash enough to stray into that abode of living 
nightmare. The wooden bedstead, the waxed ma- 
hogany chairs, the chest of drawers, those brasses, 
the little square antimacassars carefully placed on 
the backs of the chairs, the clock on the mantelpiece 
and the harmless-looking ebony caskets at either end, 
lastly, the whatnot filled with shells, with red pin- 
cushions, with mother-of-pearl boats and an enor- 
mous ostrich-egg, the whole discreetly lighted by a 
shaded lamp standing on a small round table: this 
collection of ugly, peaceable, reasonable furniture, at 
the bottom of the Opera cellars, bewildered the 
imagination more than all the late fantastic happen- 

And the figure of the masked man seemed all the 
more formidable in this old-fashioned, neat and trim 
little frame. It bent down over the Persian and said, 
in his ear: 

"Are you better, daroga ? . . . You are look- 
ing at my furniture? . . . It is all that I have 
left of my poor unhappy mother." 

Christine Daae did not say a word: she moved 
about noiselessly, like a sister of charity, who had 
taken a vow of silence. She brought a cup of cordial, 


or of hot tea, he did not remember which. The man 
in the mask took it from her hands and gave it to the 
Persian. M. de Chagny was still sleeping. 

Erik poured a drop of rum into the daroga's cup 
and, pointing to the viscount, said : 

"He came to himself long before we knew if you 
were still alive, daroga. He is quite well. He is 
asleep. We must not wake him." 

Erik left the room for a moment, and the Persian 
raised himself on his elbow, looked around him and 
saw Christine Daae sitting by the fireside. He spoke 
to her, called her, but he was still very weak and fell 
back on his pillow. Christine came to him, laid her 
hand on his forehead and went away again. And 
the Persian remembered that, as she went, she did not 
give a glance at M. de Chagny, who, it is true, was 
sleeping peacefully; and she sat down again in her 
chair by the chimney-corner, silent as a sister of 
charity who had taken a vow of silence. 

Erik returned with some little bottles which he 
placed on the mantelpiece. And, again in a v/hisper, 
so as not to wake M. de Chagny, he said to the Per- 
sian, after sitting down and feeling his pulse: 

"You are now saved, both of you. And soon I 
shall take you up to the surface of the earth, to please 
my wife." 

Thereupon he rose, without any further explana- 
tion, and disappeared once more. 

The Persian now looked at Christine's quiet pro- 
file under the lamp. She was reading a tiny book, 
with gilt edges, like a religious book. There are 


editions of The Imitation that look like that. The 
Persian still had in his ears the natural tone in which 
the other had said, "to please my wife." Very 
gently, he called her again ; but Christine was wrapped 
up in her book and did not hear him. 

Erik returned, mixed the daroga a draft and 
advised him not to speak to "his wife" again nor to 
any one, because it might be very dangerous to every- 
body's health. 

Eventually, the Persian fell asleep, like M. de 
Chagny, and did not wake until he was in his own 
room, nursed by his faithful Darius, who told him 
that, on the night before, he was found propped 
against the door of his flat, where he had been 
brought by a stranger, v/ho rang the bell before going 

As soon as the daroga recovered his strength and 
his wits, he sent to Count Philippe's house to inquire 
after the viscount's health. The answer was that the 
young man had not been seen and that Count Philippe 
was dead. His body was found on the bank of the 
Opera lake, on the Rue-Scribe side. The Persian re- 
membered the requiem mass which he had heard 
.from behind the wall of the torture-chamber, and 
had no doubt concerning the crime and the criminal. 
Knowing Erik as he did, he easily reconstructed the 
tragedy. Thinking that his brother had run away 
with Christine Daae, Philippe had dashed in pursuit 
of him along the Brussels Road, where he knew that 
everything was prepared for the elopement. Failing 
to find the pair, he hurried back to the Opera, remem- 


bered Raoul's strange confidence about his fantastic 
rival and learned that the viscount had made every 
effort to enter the cellars of the theater and that he 
had disappeared, leaving his hat in the prima donna's 
dressing-room beside an empty pistol-case. And the 
count, who no longer entertained any doubt of his 
brother's madness, in his turn darted into that infer- 
nal underground maze. This was enough, in the 
Persian's eyes, to explain the discovery of the Comte 
de Chagny's corpse on the shore of the lake, where 
the siren, Erik's siren, kept watch. 

The Persian did not hesitate. He determined to 
Inform the police. Now the case was in the hands 
of an examining-magistrate called Faure, an incredu- 
lous, commonplace, superficial sort of person, (I 
write as I think) , with a mind utterly unprepared to 
receive a confidence of this kind. M. Faure took 
down the daroga's depositions and proceeded to treat 
him as a madman. 

Despairing of ever obtaining a hearing, the Per- 
sian sat down to write. As the police did not want 
his evidence, perhaps the press would be glad of it; 
and he had just written the last line of the narrative 
I have quoted in the preceding chapters, when Darius 
announced the visit of a stranger who refused his 
name, who would not show his face and declared 
simply that he did not intend to leave the place until 
he had spoken to the daroga. 

The Persian at once felt who his singular visitor 
was and ordered him to be shown In. The daroga 
was right. It was the ghost, It was Erik! 


He looked extremely weak and leaned against the 
wall, as though he were afraid of falling. Taking off 
his hat, he revealed a forehead white as wax. The 
rest of the horrible face was hidden by the mask. 

The Persian rose to his feet as Erik entered. 

"Murderer of Count Philippe, what have you done 
with his brother and Christine Daae?" 

Erik staggered under this direct attack, kept silent 
for a moment, dragged himself to a chair and heaved 
a deep sigh. Then, speaking in short phrases and 
gasping for breath between the words: 

"Daroga, don't talk to me . . . about Count 
Philippe. . . . He was dead ... by the 
time ... I left my house ... he was 
dead . . . when ... the siren sang, 
. . . It was an . . . accident ... a 
sad ... a very sad . . . accident. 
He fell very awkwardly . . . but simply and 
naturally . . . into the lake! . . ." 

*'You lie !" shouted the Persian. 

Erik bowed his head and said: 

"I have not come here ... to talk about 
Count Philippe . . . but to tell you that 
. . . I am going ... to die, . . ." 

"Where are Raoul de Chagny and Christine 

"I am going to die. . . ." 

"Raoul de Chagny and Christine Daae?" 

"Of love . . . daroga . . . I am dying 
. . . of love. . . . That is how it is. 
. . . I loved her so! . . . And I love her 


still . . . daroga . . . and I am dying of 
love for her, I ... I tell you! ... If 
you knew how beautiful she was . . . when she 
let me kiss her . . . alive. ... It was the 
first . . . time, daroga, the first . 
time I ever kissed a woman. . . . Yes, alive. 
. . . I kissed her alive . . . and she looked 
as beautiful as if she had been dead ! . . ." 
The Persian shook Erik by the arm : 
"Will you tell me if she is alive or dead." 
"Why do you shake me like that?" asked Erik, 
making an effort to speak more connectedly. "I tell 
you that I am going to die. . . . Yes, I kissed 
her alive. ..." 

"And now she is dead?" 

"I tell you I kissed her just like that, on her fore- 
head . . . and she did not draw back her fore- 
head from my lips! . . . Oh, she is a good 
girl ! ... As to her being dead, I don't think 
so; but it has nothing to do with me. . . . No, 
no, she is not dead ! And no one shall touch a hair 
of her head! She is a good, honest girl, and she 
saved your life, daroga, at a moment when I would 
not have given twopence for your Persian skin. As 
a matter of fact, nobody bothered about you. Why 
were you there with that little chap? You would 
have died as well as he! My word, how she en- 
treated me for her little chap ! But I told her that, 
as she had turned the scorpion, she had, through that 
very fact, and of her own free will, become engaged 
to me and that she did not need to have two men 
engaged to her, which was true enough. 


"As for you, you did not exist, you had ceased to 
exist, I tell you, and you were going to die with the 
other I . . . Only, mark me, daroga, when you 
were yelling like the devil, because of the water, 
Christine came to me with her beautiful blue eyes wide 
open, and swore to me, as she hoped to be saved, that 
she consented to be my living wife! . . . Until 
then, in the depths of her eyes, daroga, I had always 
seen my dead wife; it was the first time I saw my 
living ivife there. She was sincere, as she hoped to 
be saved. She would not kill herself. It was a 
bargain. . . . Half a minute later, all the 
water was back in the lake; and I had a hard job 
with you, daroga, for, upon my honor, I thought 
you were done fori . . . However! . . . 
There you were ! ... It was understood that 
I was to take you both up to the surface of the earth. 
When, at last, I cleared the Louis-Philippe room of 
you, I came back alone. . . ." 

"What have you done with the Vicomte de 
Chagny?" asked the Persian, interrupting him. 

"Ah, you see, daroga, I couldn't carry him up like 
that, at once. . . . He was a hostage. . . . 
But I could not keep him in the house on the lake 
either, because of Christine; so I locked him up com- 
fortably, I chained him up nicely — a whiff of the 
Mazenderan scent had left him as lim.p as a rag — in 
the Communists' dungeon, which is in the most de- 
serted and remote part of the Opera, below the fifth 
cellar, where no one ever comes, and where no one 
ever hears you. Then I came back to Christine. 
She was waiting for me. . . ." 


Erik here rose solemnly. Then he continued, but, 
as he spoke, he was overcome by all his former emo- 
tion and began to tremble like a leaf: 

"Yes, she was waiting for me . . . waiting 
for me erect and alive, a real, living bride . 
as she hoped to be saved. . . . And, when I 
. . . came forward, more timid than . . . 
a little child, she did not run away . . . no, no 
. . . she stayed . . she waited for me. 

. . I even believe . . . daroga . . . 
that she put out her forehead ... a little 
. . . oh, not much . . . just a little 

like a living bride. . . . And 
and . . . I . . . kissed her! . . . H 
. . . I! . . I! . . . And she did not 
die! . . . Oh, how good it is, daroga, to kiss 
somebody on the forehead ! . . . You can't tell I 
. . . But I ! I ! , . . My mother, daroga, 
my poor, unhappy mother would never ... let 
me kiss her. . . . She used to run away . . . 
and throw me my mask! . . . Nor any other 
woman . . . ever, ever ! . . . Ah, you can 
understand, my happiness was so great, I cried. 
And I fell at her feet, crying . . . and I kissed 
her feet . . . her little feet . . . crying. 
You're crying, too, daroga . . . and she cried 
also . . . the angel cried ! . . ." 

Erik sobbed aloud and the Persian himself could 
not retain his tears in the presence of that masked 
man, who, with his shoulders shaking and his hands 
clutched at his chest, was moaning with pain and 
love by turns. 


*'Yes, daroga ... I felt her tears flow on 
my forehead ... on mine, mine! . . . 
They were soft . . . they were sweet ! . . . 
They trickled under my mask . . . they min- 
gled with my tears in my eyes . . . they flowed 
between my lips. . . . Listen, daroga, listen to 
what I did. ... I tore off my mask so as not 
to lose one of her tears . . . and she did not 
runaway! . . . And she did not die ! . . . 
She remained alive, weeping over me, with me. We 
cried together! I have tasted all the happiness the 
world can offer!" 

And Erik fell into a chair, choking for breath : 

"Ah, I am not going to die yet . . . presently 
I shall . . . but let me cry! . . . Listen, 
daroga . . . listen to this. . . . While I 
was at her feet ... I heard her say, 'Poor, un- 
happy Erik!' . . . And she took my hand! 

. . I had become no more, you know, than a 
poor dog ready to die for her. ... I mean it, 
daroga ! . . . I held in my hand a ring, a plain 
gold ring which I had given her . . . which she 
had lost . . . and which I had found again 

. . a wedding-ring, you know. ... I 
slipped it into her little hand and said, 'There 1 
. . . Take it ! . . . Take it for you . . 
and him ! ... It shall be my wedding-present 
. . . a present from your poor, unhappy Erik. 

. . . I know you love the boy . . . don't 
cry any more!' . . . She asked me, in a very 
soft voice, what I meant. . . . Then I made 
her understand that, where she was concerned, I was 


only a poor dog, ready to die for her . . . but 
that she could marry the young man when she pleased, 
because she had cried with me and mingled her tears 
with mine ! . . ." 

Erik's emotion was so great that he had to tell the 
Persian not to look at him, for he was choking and 
must take off his mask. The daroga went to the 
window and opened it. His heart was full of 
pity, but he took care to keep his eyes fixed on the 
trees in the Tuileries gardens, lest he should see the 
monster's face. 

"I went and released the young man," Erik con- 
tinued, "and told him to come with me to Christine. 
. . . They kissed before me in the Louis-Philippe 
room. . . , Christine had my ring. ... I 
made Christine swear to come back, one night, when 
I was dead, crossing the lake from the Rue-Scribe 
side, and bury me in the greatest secrecy with the gold 
ring, which she was to wear until that mo- 
ment. ... I told her where she would find my 
body and what to do with it. . . . Then Chris- 
tine kissed me, for the first time, herself, here, on the 
forehead — don't look, daroga! — here, on the fore- 
head ... on my forehead, mine — don't look, 
daroga ! — and they went off together. 
Christine had stopped crying. ... I alone 
cried. . . . Daroga, daroga, if Christine keeps 
her promise, she will come back soon ! . . ." 

The Persian asked him no questions. He was 
quite reassured as to the fate of Raoul Chagny and 
Christine Daae ; no one could have doubted the word 
of the weeping Erik that night. 


The monster resumed his mask and collected his 
strength to leave the daroga. He told him that, 
when he felt his end to be very near at hand, he would 
send him, in gratitude for the kindness which the 
Persian had once shown him, that which he held 
dearest in the world: all Christine Daae's papers, 
which she had written for Raoul's benefit and left with 
Erik, together with a few objects belonging to her, 
such as a pair of gloves, a shoe-buckle and two pocket- 
handkerchiefs. In reply to the Persian's questions, 
Erik told him that the two young people, as soon as 
they found themselves free, had resolved to go and 
look for a priest in some lonely spot where they could 
hide their happiness and that, with this object in view, 
they had started from "the northern railway station 
of the world." Lastly, Erik relied on the Persian, as 
soon as he received the promised relics and papers, to 
inform the young couple of his death and to advertise 
it in the Epoqiie. 

That was all. The Persian saw Erik to the door 
of his flat, and Darius helped him down to the street. 
A cab was waiting for him. Erik stepped in ; and the 
Persian, who had gone back to the window, heard 
him say to the driver : 

"Go to the Opera." 

And the cab drove off into the night. 

The Persian had seen the poor, unfortunate Erik 
for the last time. Three weeks later, the Epoque 
published this advertisement: 

"Erik is dead." 


I HAVE now told the singular, but veracious story 
of the Opera ghost. As I declared on the first 
page of this work, It is no longer possible to deny that 
Erik really lived. There are to-day so many proofs 
of his existence within the reach of everybody that wc 
can follow Erik's actions logically through the whole 
tragedy of the Chagnys. 

There is no need to repeat here how greatly the 
case excited the capital. The kidnapping of the artist, 
the death of the Comte de Chagny under such excep- 
tional conditions, the disappearance of his brother, 
the drugging of the gas-man at the Opera and 
of his two assistants : what tragedies, what passions, 
what crimes had surrounded the idyll of Raoul and 
the sweet and charming Christine! . . . What 
had become of that wonderful, mysterious artist of 
whom the world was never, never to hear again? 
She was represented as the victim of a 
rivalry between the two brothers; and nobody sus- 
pected what had really happened, nobody under- 
stood that, as Raoul and Christine had both disap- 
peared, both had withdrawn far from the world to 
enjoy a happiness which they would not have cared 
to make public after the inexplicable death of Count 
Philippe. . . . They took the train one day 
from "the northern railway station of the world.'* 


. . . Possibly, I too shall take the train at that 
station, one day, and go and seek around thy lakes, 
O Norway, O silent Scandinavia, for the perhaps still 
living traces of Raoul and Christine and also of 
Mamma Valerius, who disappeared at the same time ! 
. . Possibly, some day, I shall hear the lonely 
echoes of the North repeat the singing of her who 
knew the Angel of Music! . . . 

Long after the case was pigeonholed by the unin- 
telligent care of M. le Juge d'Instruction Faure, the 
newspapers made efforts, at intervals, to fathom the 
mystery. One evening paper alone, which knew all 
the gossip of the theaters, said: 

"We recognize the touch of the Opera ghost." 

And even that was written by way of irony. 

The Persian alone knew the whole truth and held 
the main proofs, which came to him with the pious 
relics promised by the ghost. It fell to my lot to 
complete those proofs with the aid of the daroga 
himself. Day by day, I kept him informed of the 
progress of my inquiries; and he directed them. He 
had not been to the Opera for years and years, but 
he had preserved the most accurate recollection of 
the building, and there was no better guide than he 
possible to help me discover its most secret recesses. 
He also told me where to gather further information, 
whom to ask; and he sent me to call on M. Poligny, 
at a moment when the poor man was nearly drawing 
his last breath. I had no idea that he was so very ill, 
and I shall never forget the effect which my questions 
about the ghost produced upon him. He looked at 


me as If I were the devil and answered only In a few 
incoherent sentences, which showed, however — and 
that was the main thing — the extent of the perturba- 
tion which O. G., in his time, had brought into that 
already very restless life (for M. Poligny was what 
people call a man of pleasure) . 

When I came and told the Persian of the poor 
result of my visit to M. Poligny, the daroga gave a 
faint smile and said: 

"Poligny never knew how far that extraordinary 
blackguard of an Erik humbugged him." — The Per- 
sian, by the way, spoke of Erik sometimes as a demi- 
god and sometimes as the lowest of the low — "Po- 
ligny was superstitious and Erik knew it. Erik knew 
most things about the public and private affairs of 
the Opera. When M. Poligny heard a mysterious 
voice tell him, in Box Five, of the manner in which he 
used to spend his time and abuse his partner's confi- 
dence, he did not wait to hear any more. Thinking 
at first that it was a voice from Heaven, he believed 
himself damned; and then, when the voice began to 
ask for money, he saw that he was being victimized 
by a shrewd blackmailer to whom Debienne himself 
had fallen a prey. Both of them, already tired of ( 
management for various reasons, went away without 
trying to investigate further into the personality of 
that curious O. G., who had forced such a singular 
memorandum-book upon them. They bequeathed the 
whole mystery to their successors and heaved a sigh 
of relief when they were rid of a business that had 
puzzled them without amusing them in the least." 


I then spoke of the two successors and expressed 
my surprise that, in his Memoirs of a Manager, M. 
Moncharmin should describe the Opera ghost's be- 
havior at such length in the first part of the book 
and hardly mention it at all in the second. In reply 
to this, the Persian, who knew the Memoirs as thor- 
oughly as if he had written them himself, observed 
that I should find the explanation of the whole busi- 
ness if I would just recollect the few lines which Mon- 
charmin devotes to the ghost in the second part afore- 
said. I quote these lines, which are particularly in- 
teresting because they describe the very simple man- 
ner in which the famous incident of the twenty-thou- 
sand francs was closed : 

"As for O. G., some of whose curious tricks I have 
related in the first part of my Memoirs, I will only 
say that he redeemed by one spontaneous fine action 
all the worry which he had caused my dear friend 
and partner and, I am bound to say, myself. He felt, 
no doubt, that there are limits to a joke, especially 
when it is so expensive and when the commissary of 
police has been informed, for, at the moment when 
we had made an appointment in our office with M. 
Mifroid to tell him the whole story, a few days after 
the disappearance of Christine Daae, we found, on 
Richard's table, a large envelope, inscribed, in red 
ink, "fVith O. G/s compliments." It contained the 
large sum of money which he had succeeded in play- 
fully extracting, for the time being, from the treasury. 
Richard was at once of the opinion that we must be 
content with that and drop the business. I agreed 
with Richard. All's well that ends well. What do 
you say, O. G. ?" 


Of course, Moncharmin, especially after the money 
had been restored, continued to believe that he had, 
for a short while, been the butt of Richard's sense of 
humor, whereas Richard, on his side, was convinced 
that Moncharmin had amused himself by inventing 
the whole of the affair of the Opera ghost, in order 
to revenge himself for a few jokes. 

I asked the Persian to tell me by what trick the 
ghost had taken twenty-thousand francs from Rich- 
ard's pocket in spite of the safety-pin. He replied 
that he had not gone into this little detail, but that, 
if I myself cared to make an investigation on the 
spot, I should certainly find the solution to the riddle 
in the managers' office by remembering that Erik had 
not been nicknamed the trap-door lover for nothing. 
I promised the Persian to do so as soon as I had 
time, and I may as well tell the reader at once that 
the results of my investigation were perfectly satis- 
factory; and I hardly believed that I should ever dis- 
cover so many undeniable proofs of the authenticity 
of the feats ascribed to the ghost. 

The Persian's manuscript, Christine Daae's papers, 
the statements made to me by the people who used 
to v/ork under MM. Richard and Moncharmin, 
by little Meg herself (the worthy Madame Giry, I 
am sorry to say, is no more) and by Sorelli, who is 
now living in retirement at Louveciennes : all the 
documents relating to the existence of the ghost, 
which I propose to deposit in the archives of the 
Opera, have been checked and confirmed by a num- 


ber of important discoveries of which I am justly 
proud. I have not been able to find the house on 
the lake, Erik having blocked up all the secret en- 
trances.* On the other hand, I have discovered the 
secret passage of the Communists, the planking of 
which is falling to pieces in parts, and also the trap- 
door through which Raoul and the Persian pene- 
trated into the cellars of the opera-house. In the 
Communists' dungeon, I noticed numbers of initials 
traced on the walls by the unfortunate people con- 
fined In it; and among these were an "R" and a "C." 
R. C: Raoul de Chagny. The letters are there to 
this day. 

If the reader will visit the Opera one morning and 
ask leave to stroll where he pleases, without being 
accompanied by a stupid guide, let him go to Box Five 
and knock with his fist or stick on the enormous col- 
umn that separates this from the stage-box. He will 
find that the column sounds hollow. After that, do 
not be astonished by the suggestion that it was occu- 
pied by the voice of the ghost: there is room inside 
the column for two men. If you are surprised that, 
when the various incidents occurred, no one turned 
round to look at the column, you must remember that 
it presented the appearance of solid marble, and that 

*Even so, I am convinced that it would be easy to reach it 
by draining the lake, as I have repeatedly requested the 
Ministry of Fine Arts to do. I was speaking about it to 
M. Dujardin-Beaumetz, the under-secretary for fine arts, only 
forty-eight hours before the publication of this book. Who 
knows but that the score of Don Juan Triumphant might yet 
be discovered in the house on the lake? 


the voice contained in it seemed rather to come from 
the opposite side, for, as we have seen, the ghost was 
an expert ventriloquist. The column was elaborately 
carved and decorated with the sculptor's chisel; and 
I do not despair of one day discovering the ornament 
that could be raised or lowered at will, so as to admit 
of the ghost's mysterious correspondence with Mamc 
Giry and of his generosity. 

However, all these discoveries are nothing, to my 
mind, compared with that which I was able to make, 
in the presence of the acting-manager, in the man- 
agers' office, within a couple of inches from the desk- 
chair, and which consisted of a trap-door, the width 
of a board in the flooring and the length of a man's 
fore-arm and no longer; a trap-door that falls back 
like the lid of a box; a trap-door through which I 
can see a hand come and dexterously fumble at the 
pocket of a swallow-tail coat. 

That is the way the forty-thousand francs went I 
.... And that also is the way by which, 
through some trick or other, they were returned. 
Speaking about this to the Persian, I said : 
"So we may take it, as the forty-thousand francs 
were returned, that Erik was simply amusing him- 
self with that memorandum-book of his?" 

"Don't you believe it !" he replied. "Erik wanted 
money. Thinking himself without the pale of hu- 
manity, he was restrained by no scruples and he em- 
ployed his extraordinary gifts of dexterity and imag- 
ination, which he had received by way of compensa- 
tion for his extraordinary uglinesss, to prey upon his 


fellow-men. His reason for restoring the forty-thou- 
sand francs, of his own accord, was that he no longer 
wanted it. He had relinquished his marriage with 
Christine Daae. He had relinquished everything 
above the surface of the earth." 

According to the Persian's account, Erik was born 
In a small town not far from Rouen. He was the son 
of a'master-mason. He ran away at an early age from 
his father's house, where his ugliness was a subject of 
horror and terror to his parents. For a time, he fre- 
quented the fairs, where a showman exhibited him 
as the "living corpse." He seems to have crossed 
the whole of Europe, from fair to fair, and to have 
completed his strange education as an artist and ma- 
gician at the very fountain-head of art and magic, 
among the Gipsies. A period of Erik's life remained 
quite obscure. He was seen at the fair of Nijni- 
Novgorod, where he displayed himself in all his hide- 
ous glory. He already sang as nobody on this earth 
had ever sung before; he practised ventriloquism and 
gave displays of legerdemain so extraordinary that 
the caravans returning to Asia talked about it during 
the whole length of their journey. In this way, his 
reputation penetrated the walls of the palace at Maz- 
enderan, where the little sultana, the favorite of 
the Shah-in-Shah, was boring herself to death. A 
dealer in furs, returning to Samarkand from Nijni- 
Novgorod, told of the marvels which he had seen 
performed in Erik's tent. The trader was sum- 
moned to the palace and the daroga of Mazenderan 
was told to question him. Next the daroga was in- 


structed to go and find Erik. He brought him to 
Persia, where for some months Erik's will was law. 
He was guilty of not a few horrors, for he seemed 
not to know the difference between good and evil. He 
took part calmly in a number of political assassina- 
tions; and he turned his diabolical inventive powers 
against the Emir of Afghanistan, who was at war 
with the Persian empire. The Shah took a liking 
to him. 

This was the time of the rosy hours of Mazen- 
deran, of which the daroga's narrative has given us 
a glimpse. Erik had very original ideas on the sub- 
ject of architecture and thought out a palace much 
as a conjuror contrives a trick-casket The Shah 
ordered him to construct an edifice of this kind. 
Erik did so; and the building appears to have been 
so ingenious that His Majesty was able to move 
about in it unseen and to disappear without a possi- 
bility of the trick's being discovered. When the 
Shah-In-Shah found himself the possessor of this 
gem, he ordered Erik's yellow eyes to be put out. But 
he reflected that, even when blind, Erik would still 
be able to build so remarkable a house for another 
sovereign; and also that, as long as Erik was alive, 
some one would know the secret of the wonderful 
palace. Erik's death was decided upon, together 
with that of all the laborers who had worked under 
his orders. The execution of this abominable decree 
devolved upon the daroga of Mazenderan. Erik 
had shown him some slight services and procured 
him many a hearty laugh. He saved Erik by pro- 


viding him with the means of escape, but nearly paid 
with his head for his generous indulgence. 

Fortunately for the daroga, a corpse, half-eaten by 
the birds of prey, was found on the shore of the Cas- 
pian Sea, and was taken for Erik's body, because the 
daroga's friends had dressed the remains in clothing 
that belonged to Erik. The daroga was let off with 
the loss of the imperial favor, the confiscation of his 
property and an order of perpetual banishment. As 
a member of the Royal House, however, he contin- 
ued to receive a monthly pension of a few hundred 
francs from the Persian treasury; and on this he 
came to live in Paris. 

As for Erik, he went to Asia Minor and thence 
to Constantinople, where he entered the Sultan's em- 
ployment. In explanation of the services which he 
was able to render a monarch haunted by perpetual 
terrors, I need only say that it was Erik who con- 
structed all the famous trap-doors and secret cham- 
bers and mysterious strong-boxes v/hich were found 
at Yildiz-Kiosk after the last Turkish revolution. 
He also invented those automata, dressed like the 
Sultan and resembling the Sultan in all respects,* 
which made people believe that the Commander of 
the Faithful was awake at one place, when, in reality, 
he was asleep elsewhere. 

Of course, he had to leave the Sultan's service for 
the same reasons that made him fly from Persia : he 

*See the interview of the special correspondent of the Matin, 
with Mohammed-Ali Bey, on the day after the entry of the 
Salonika troops into Constantinople. 


knew too much. Then, tired of his adventurous, 
formidable and monstrous life, he longed to be some 
one "like everybody else." And he became a con- 
tractor, like any ordinary contractor, building ordi- 
nary houses with ordinary bricks. He tendered for 
part of the foundations in the Opera. His estimate 
was accepted. When he found himself in the cellars 
of the enormous playhouse, his artistic, fantastic, wiz- 
ard nature resumed the upper hand. Besides, was he 
not as ugly as ever ? He dreamed of creating for his 
own use a dwelling unknown to the rest of the earth, 
where he could hide from men's eyes for all time. 

The reader knows and guesses the rest. It is all 
in keeping with this incredible and yet veracious story. 
Poor, unhappy Erik ! Shall we pity him ? Shall 
we curse him ? He asked only to be "some one," like 
everybody else. But he was too ugly ! And he had 
to hide his genius or use it to play tricks with, when, 
with an ordinary face, he would have been one of the 
most distinguished of mankind ! He had a heart that 
could have held the empire of the world; and, in the 
end, he had to content himself with a cellar. Ah, 
yes, we must needs pity the Opera ghost. 

I have prayed over his mortal remains, that God 
might show him mercy notv/Ithstanding his crimes. 
Yes, I am sure, quite sure that I prayed beside his 
body, the other day, when they took it from the spot 
where they were burying the phonographic records. 
It was his skeleton. I did not recognize it by the 
ugliness of the head, for all men are ugly when they 
have been dead as long as that, but by the plain gold 


ring which he wore and which Christine Daae had 
certainly slipped on his finger, when she came to bury 
him in accordance with her promise. 

The skeleton was lying near the little well, in the 
place where the Angel of Music first held Christine 
Daae fainting in his trembling arms, on the night 
when he carried her down to the cellars of the opera- 

And, now, what do they mean to do with that skel- 
eton? Surely they will not bury it in the common 
grave ! . . . I say that the place of the skeleton 
of the Opera ghost is in the archives of the National 
Academy of Music. It is no ordinary skeleton. 




The Scene of Gaston Leroux^s Novel, ''The Phantom 
of the Opera" 

THAT Mr. Leroux has used, for the scene of 
his story, the Paris Opera House as it really 
is and has not created a building out of his imagina- 
tion, is shown by this interesting description of it taken 
from an article which appeared in Scribner's MagO' 
zine in 1879, a short time after the building was 
completed : 

"The new Opera House, commenced under the Em- 
pire and finished under the Republic, is the most com- 
plete building of the kind in the world and in many 
respects the most beautiful. No European capital 
possesses an opera house so comprehensive in plan 
and execution, and none can boast an edifice equally 
vast and splendid. 

"The site of the Opera House was chosen in 1861. 
It was determined to lay the foundation exceptionally ; 
deep and strong. It was well known that water would 
be met with, but it was impossible to foresee at what 
depth or in what quantity it would be found. Excep- 
tional depth also was necessary, as the stage arrange- 
ments were to be such as to admit a scene fifty feet 


high to be lowered on its frame. It was therefore nec- 
essary to lay a foundation In a soil soaked with water 
which should be sufficiently solid to sustain a weight 
of 22,000,000 pounds, and at the same time to be 
perfectly dry, as the cellars were intended for the 
storage of scenery and properties. While the work 
was in progress, the excavation was kept free from 
water by means of eight pumps, worked by steam 
power, and in operation, without interruption, day 
and night, from March second to October thirteenth. 
The floor of the cellar was covered with a layer of 
concrete, then with two coats of cement, another 
layer of concrete and a coat of bitumen. The wall 
includes an outer wall built as a coffer-dam, a brick 
wall, a coat of cement, and a wall proper, a little 
over a yard thick. After all this was done the whole 
was filled with water, in order that the fluid, by pene- 
trating into the most minute interstices, might deposit 
a sediment which would close them more surely and 
perfectly than It would be possible to do by hand. 
Twelve years elapsed before the completion of the 
building, and during that time It was demonstrated 
that the precautions taken secured absolute imperme- 
ability and solidity. 

"The events of 1870 interrupted work just as It was 
about to be prosecuted most vigorously, and the new 
Opera House was put to new and unexpected uses. 
During the siege, it was converted into a vast mili- 
tary storehouse and filled with a heterogeneous mass 
of goods. After the siege the building fell Into the 
hands of the Commune and the roof was turned Into 


a balloon station. The damage done, however, was 

"The fine stone employed in the construction was 
brought from quarries in Sweden, Scotland, Italy, 
Algeria, Finland, Spain, Belgium and France. While 
work on the exterior was In progress, the building 
was covered in by a wooden shell, rendered trans- 
parent by thousands of small panes of glass. In 
1867 a swarm of men, supplied with hammers and 
axes, stripped the house of its habit, and showed in all 
its splendor the great structure. No picture can do 
justice to the rich colors of the edifice or to the har- 
monious tone resulting from the skilful use of many 
diverse materials. The effect of the frontage is com- 
pleted by the cupola of the auditorium, topped with 
a cap of bronze sparingly adorned with gilding. 
Farther on, on a level with the towers of Notre- 
Dame, is the gable end of the roof of the stage, a 
'Pegasus', by M. Lequesne, rising at either end of 
the roof, and a bronze group by M. Millet, repre- 
senting 'Apollo lifting his golden lyre', commanding 
the apex. Apollo, it may here be mentioned, is use- 
ful as well as ornamental, for his lyre Is tipped with a 
metal point which does duty as a lightning-rod, and 
conducts the fluid to the body and down the nether 
limbs of the god. 

"The spectator, having climbed ten steps and left 
behind him a gateway, reaches a vestibule in which 
are statues of Lully, Rameau, Gluck, and Handel. 
Ten steps of green Swedish marble lead to a second 
vestibule for ticket-sellers. Visitors who enter by 


the pavilion reserved for carriages pass through a 
hallway where ticket offices are situated. The larger 
number of the audience, before entering the audi- 
torium, traverse a large circular vestibule located 
exactly beneath it. The celling of this portion of the 
building is upheld by sixteen fluted columns of Jura 
stone, with white marble capitals, forming a portico. 
Here servants are to await their masters, and specta- 
tors may remain until their carriages are summoned. 
The third entrance, which is quite distinct from the 
others, is reserved for the Executive. The section 
of the building set aside for the use of the Emperor 
Napoleon was to have included an antechamber for 
the bodyguards; a salon for the aides-de-camp; a 
large salon and a smaller one for the Empress; hat 
and cloak rooms, etc. Moreover, there were to be 
in close proximity to the entrance, stables for three 
coaches, for the outriders' horses, and for the twenty- 
one horsemen acting as an escort; a station for a squad 
of Infantry of thirty-one men and ten cent-gardes, 
and a stable for the horses of the latter; and, besides, 
a salon for fifteen or twenty domestics. Thus ar- 
rangements had to be made to accommodate in this 
part of the building about one hundred persons, fifty 
horses, and half-a-dozen carriages. The fall of the 
Empire suggested some changes, but ample provision 
still exists for emergencies. 

*Tts novel conception, perfect fitness, and rare 
splendor of material, make the grand stairway un- 
questionably one of the most remarkable features of 
the building. It presents to the spectator, who has 


just passed through the subscribers' pavilion, a gor- 
geous picture. From this point he beholds the ceiling 
formed by the central landing; this and the columns 
sustaining it, built of Echaillon stone, are honey- 
combed with arabesques and heavy with ornaments; 
the steps are of white marble, and antique red marble 
balusters rest on green marble sockets and support a 
balustrade of onyx. To the right and to the left of 
this landing are stairways to the floor, on a plane with 
the first row of boxes. On this floor stand thirty 
monolith columns of Sarrancolin marble, with white 
marble bases and capitals. Pilasters of pe,ach-blos- 
som and violet stone are against the corresponding 
walls. More than fifty blocks had to be extracted 
from the quarry to find thirty perfect monoliths. 

"The foyer de la danse has particular Interest for 
the habitues of the Opera. It is a place of reunion 
to which subscribers to three performances a week are 
admitted between the acts in accordance with a usage 
established In 1870. Three immense looking-glasses 
cover the back wall of the foyer, and a chandelier 
with one hundred and seven burners supplies it with 
light. The paintings include twenty oval medallions, 
in which are portrayed the twenty danseiises of most 
celebrity since the opera has existed in France, and 
four panels by M. Boulanger, typifying 'The War 
Dance', 'The Rustic Dance', 'The Dance of Love' 
and 'The Bacchic Dance.' While the ladies of the 
ballet receive their admirers in this foyer, they can 
practise their steps. Velvet-cushioned bars have to 
this end been secured at convenient points, and the 


floor has been given the same slope as that of the 
stage, so that the labor expended may be thoroughly 
profitable to the performance. The singers' foyer, 
on the same floor, is a much lees lively resort than the 
foyer de la danse, as vocalists rarely leave their dress- 
ing-rooms before they are summoned to the stage. 
Thirty panels with portraits of the artists of repute 
in the annals of the Opera adorn this foyer. 

"Some estimate . . . may be arrived at by 
fitting before the concierge an hour or so before the 
representation commences. First appear the stage 
carpenters, who are always seventy, and sometimes, 
when L'Africabie, for example, with its ship scene, 
is the opera, one hundred and ten strong. Then come 
stage upholsterers, whose sole duty is to lay carpets, 
hang curtains, etc. ; gas-men, and a squad of firemen. 
Claqueurs, call-boys, property-men, dressers, coifeurs, 
supernumeraries, and artists, follow. The super- 
numeraries number about one hundred; some are 
hired by the year, but the 'masses' are generally 
recruited at the last minute and are generally work- 
ing-men who seek to add to their meagre earnings. 
There are about a hundred choristers, and about 
eighty musicians. 

"Next we behold equeries, whose horses are 
hoisted on the stage by means of an elevator; elec- 
tricians who manage the light-producing batteries; 
hydrauliciens to take charge of the water-works in 
ballets like La Source; artificers who prepare the 
conflagration in Le Profeta; florists who make 
ready Margarita's garden, and a host of minor em- 


ployees. This personnel Is provided for as follows : 
Eighty dressing-rooms are reserved for the artists, 
each including a small antechamber, the dressing- 
room proper, and a little closet. Besides these apart- 
ments, the Opera has a dressing-room for sixty male, 
and another for fifty female choristers; a third for 
thirty-four male dancers; four dressing-rooms for 
twenty female dancers of different grades ; a dressing- 
room for one hundred and ninety supernumeraries, 

A few figures taken from the article will suggest 
the enormous capacity and the perfect convenience of 
the house. "There are 2,531 doors and 7,593 keys; 
14 furnaces and 450 grates heat the house; the gas- 
pipes if connected would form a pipe almost 16 miles 
long; 9 reservoirs, and two tanks hold 22,222 gallons 
of water and distribute their contents through 
22,829 2-5 feet of piping; 538 persons have places 
assigned wherein to change their attire. The musi- 
cians have a foyer with 100 closets for their instru- 

The author remarks of his visit to the Opera House 
that it "was almost as bewildering as it was agreeable. 
Giant stairways and colossal halls, huge frescoes and 
enormous mirrors, gold and marble, satin and velvet, 
met the eye at every turn." 

In a recent letter Mr. Andre Castaigne, whose re- 
markable pictures illustrate the text, speaks of a river 
or lake under the Opera House and mentions the fact 
that there are now also three metropolitan railway 
tunnels, one on top of the other. 


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