HAROLD B. LEE LI8RAFIY
BRIGHAM YOUNG UtJSVERSITY
OF THE OPERA
Author of The Mystery of the Yellow Room and
The Perfume of the Lady in Black
GROSSET & DUNLAP
PUBLISHERS : : NEW YORK
THE BOBES-MERRILL COMPANY
BjySHAM YOUNG UNIVERSITY:
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
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:
XXVI The End of the Ghost's Love Story 325
Epilogue ...... 337
THE PHANTOM OF THE OPERA
The Phantom of the Opera
IN WHICH THE AUTHOR OF THIS SINGULAR WORK
INFORMS THE READER HOW HE ACQUIRED
THE CERTAINTY THAT THE OPERA
GHOST REALLY EXISTED
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,
2 THE PHANTOM OF THE OPERA
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|
4 THE PHANTOM OF THE OPERA
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
6 THE PHANTOM OF THE OPERA
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.
IS IT THE GHOST?
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
"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
IS IT THE GHOST? . 9
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
lo THE PHANTOM OF THE OPERA
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
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
IS IT THE GHOST? ii
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
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
12 THE PHANTOM OF THE OPERA
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.
IS IT THE GHOST? 13
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 :
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,
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:
Sorelli looked into the passage bravely. It was
empty; a gas-flame, in its glass prison, cast a red and
14 THE PHANTOM OF THE OPERA
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-
"Gabriel, the chorus-master?"
"Why, yes, didn't you know?"
"And he was wearing his dr^ss-clothes, in broad
"Why, no, the ghost!''
IS IT THE GHOST? 15
"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
"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
1 6 THE PHANTOM OF THE OPERA
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
"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:
IS IT THE GHOST? 17
"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-
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
"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
1 8 THE PHANTOM OF THE OPERA
has heard him. Mother knows, because she gives
him his program."
*'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!"
"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
IS IT THE GHOST? 19
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
20 THE PHANTOM OF THE OPERA
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.
THE NEW MARGARITA
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
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
22 THE PHANTOM OF THE OPERA
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
THE NEW MARGARITA 23
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^
24 THE PHANTOM OF THE OPERA
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
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-
THE NEW MARGARITi^ 25:
cntly delicate stripling for the hard work in store
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
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
26 THE PHANTOM OF THE OPERA
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-
"Let's go and see," he said, "she never sang hke
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
THE NEW MARGARITA 27
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 ;
28 THE PHANTOM OF THE OPERA
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-
THE NEW MARGARITA 29
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
30 THE PHANTOM OF THE OPERA
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
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
THE NEW MARGARITA 311
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"
"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,
32 THE PHANTOM OF THE OPERA
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.
"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
THE NEW MARGARITA 33
"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;
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.
THE MYSTERIOUS REASON
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
THE MYSTERIOUS REASON 35
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.
36 THE PHANTOM OF THE OPERA
"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
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
THE MYSTERIOUS REASON 37
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
38 THE PHANTOM OF THE OPERA
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
"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."
THE MYSTERIOUS REASON 39
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
"The ballet-girls are right," he said. "The death
of that poor Buquet is perhaps not so natural as
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
"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;
40 THE PHANTOM OF THE OPERA
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,
THE MYSTERIOUS REASON 41'^
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-
42 THE PHANTOM OF THE OPERA
"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
THE MYSTERIOUS REASON 43
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,
"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 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
BOX FIVE 451
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
46 THE PHANTOM OF THE OPERA
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,
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,
BOX FIVE 47
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
48 THE PHANTOM OF THE OPERA
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,"
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-
BOX FIVE 49
ance for the current year; their privileges finished on
the evening of the tenth inst.
On the other hand, there was a letter from MM,
Debienne and Poligny:
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
so THE PHANTOM OF THE OPERA
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
"Well, but what were those people laughing at?"
"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!"
52 THE PHANTOM OF THE OPERA
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
"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 :
BOX FIVE f53
"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
"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
54 THE PHANTOM OF THE OPERA
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,
BOX FIVE 55
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
S6 THE PHANTOM OF THE OPERA
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
"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
"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."
BOX FIVE 57
"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
"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
'58 THE PHANTOM OF THE OPERA
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
"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-
BOX FIVE 59
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,
"Hold your tongue, you fool !" muttered M. Fir-
"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
6o THE PHANTOM OF THE OPERA
"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.
THE ENCHANTED VIOLIN
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:
62 THE PHANTOM OF THE OPERA
"I don't know myself when I sing," writes the
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
THE ENCHANTED VIOEIN 63
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
64 THE PHANTOM OF THE OPERA
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
THE ENCHANTED VIOLIN 65
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
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
66 THE PHANTOM OF THE OPERA
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 . . ."
THE ENCHANTED VIOLIN 67
"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
68 THE PHANTOM OF THE OPERA
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
THE ENCHANTED VIOLIN 69
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:
70 THE PHANTOM OF THE OPERA
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
THE ENCHANTED VIOLIN 71
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
72 THE PHANTOM OF THE OPERA
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
"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* "
THE ENCHANTED VIOLIN 73
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
74 THE PHANTOM OF THE OPERA
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
THE ENCHANTED VIOLIN 75
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
"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
76 THE PHANTOM OF THE OPERA
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,
THE ENCHANTED VIOLIN 77
you would have seen that there was nobody in the
"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.
78 THE PHANTOM OF THE OPERA
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-
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
THE ENCHANTED VIOLIN 79
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
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?"
So THE PHANTOM OF THE OPERA
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."
THE ENCHANTED VIOLIN 8i
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
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."
A VISIT TO BOX FIVE
WE left M. Firmin Richard and M. Armand
Moncharmin at the moment when they were
deciding "to look into that little matter of Box Five."
Leaving behind them the broad staircase which
leads from the lobby outside the managers' offices to
the stage and its dependencies, they crossed the stage,
went out by the subscribers' door and entered the
house through the first 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
A VISIT TO BOX FIVE 83
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
"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 —
84 THE PHANTOM OF THE OPERA
*'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
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,
A VISIT TO BOX FIVE 85
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!"
FAUST AND WHAT FOLLOWED
ON the Saturday morning, on reaching their
office, the joint managers found a letter from
O. G. worded in these terms:
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.
"Look here, I'm getting sick of him, sick of him !'*
shouted Richard, bringing his fists down on his office-
FAUST AND WHAT FOLLOWED 87
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
"And what does this groom do?"
"He has the chief management of the 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
"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,
88 THE PHANTOM OF THE OPERA
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
FAUST AND WHAT FOLLOWED 89
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-
M. Richard rose. "That will do, M. Lachenel.
90 THE PHANTOM OF THE OPERA
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
FAUST AND WHAT FOLLOWED 91
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.
92 THE PHANTOM OF THE OPERA
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
FAUST AND WHAT FOLLOWED 93
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
94 THE PHANTOM OF THE OPERA
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
"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.
FAUST AND WHAT FOLLOWED 95
"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
96 THE PHANTOM OF THE OPERA
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
FAUST AND WHAT FOLLOWED 97
On the other hand, when Margarita crossed the
stage and sang the only two hnes allotted her in this
"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
98 THE PHANTOM OF THE OPERA
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
FAUST AND WHAT FOLLOWED 99
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
loo THE PHANTOM OF THE OPERA
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-
FAUST AND WHAT FOLLOWED loi
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.
102 THE PHANTOM OF THE OPERA
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?
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 :
FAUST AND WHAT FOLLOWED lo^
"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
104 THE PHANTOM OF THE OPERA
functions ! She died on the spot and, the next morn-
ing, a newspaper appeared with this heading:
TWO HUNDRED KILOS ON THE HEAD OF A CONCIERGE
That was her sole epitaph I
THE MYSTERIOUS BROUGHAM
THAT tragic evening was bad for everybody.
Carlotta fell ill. As for Christine Daae, she
disappeared after the performance. A fortnight
elapsed during which she was seen neither at the
Opera nor outside.
Raoul, of course, was the first to be astonished at
the prima donna's absence. He wrote to her at Mme.
Valerius' flat and received no reply. His grief 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
io6 THE PHANTOM OF THE OPERA
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
"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
THE MYSTERIOUS BROUGHAM 107
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
io8 THE PHANTOM OF THE OPERA
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,
"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
THE MYSTERIOUS BROUGHAM 109
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-
"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. . .
no THE PHANTOM OF THE OPERA
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
"Oh, she went to Perros with her good genius,
"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 !"
THE MYSTERIOUS BROUGHAM iii
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;
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
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
"Now that she has gone away with him, I can't
§ay; but, up to a fortnight ago, It was In Christine's
112 THE PHANTOM OF THE OPERA
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
THE MYSTERIOUS BROUGHAM 113
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-
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.
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
114 THE PHANTOM OF THE OPERA
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
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
THE MYSTERIOUS BROUGHAM 115;
man's hands. He had recognized Christine's paper
and hand-writing. She said :
Go to the masked ball at the Opera on the night
after to-morrow. At twelve o'clock, be in the little
room behind the chimney-place of the big crush-room.
Stand near the door that leads to the Rotunda. Don't
mention this appointment to any one on earth. Wear
a white domino and be carefully masked. As you
love me, do not let yourself be recognized.
AT THE MASKED BALL
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
AT THE MASKED BALL 117
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
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-
ii8 THE PHANTOM OF THE OPERA
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
AT THE MASKED BALL 119
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
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
I20 THE PHANTOM OF THE OPERA
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
AT THE MASKED BALL 121
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! . . ."
122 THE PHANTOM OF THE OPERA
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
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!"
AT THE MASKED BALL 123
"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
124 THE PHANTOM OF THE OPERA
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
AT THE MASKED BALL 125
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
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
126 THE PHANTOM OF THE OPERA
"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
AT THE MASKED BALL 127
stupefied audience, with accents of a beauty hitherto
unknown, of a superhuman exaltation, while doubtlesg
still under the influence of the mysterious and invisi-
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;
128 THE PHANTOM OF THE OPERA
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.
FORGET THE NAME OF THE MAN's VOICE
THE day after Christine had vanished before his
eyes in a sort of dazzlement that still made
him doubt the evidence of his senses, M. le Vicomte
de Chagny called to inquire at Mamma Valerius'.
He came upon a charming picture. Christine herself
was seated by the bedside of the old lady, who was
sitting up against the pillows, knitting. The pink
and white had returned to the young girl's cheeks.
The dark rings round her eyes had disappeared.
Raoul no longer recognized the tragic face of the day
before. If the veil of melancholy over those 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 . .
I30 THE PHANTOM OF THE OPERA
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
"What c\npM th\<i mpan"?" "sfip rriprl "Tc Pfiricf-inft
THE NAME OF THE MAN'S VOICE 131
"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,"
"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
132 THE PHANTOM OF THE OPERA
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
"I beg your pardon for speaking as I did,
mademoiselle. You know the good intentions that
THE NAME OF THE MAN'S VOICE 133
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
134 THE PHANTOM OF THE OPERA
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?"
"How do you mean?"
"By pitying him the other night, the night of the
THE NAME OF THE MAN'S VOICE 135
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,
"Then I swear to do as you ask."
He kissed her hands and went away, cursing
Erik and resolving to be patient.
ABOVE THE TRAP-DOORS
THE next day, he saw her at the Opera. She was
still wearing the plain gold ring. She was
gentle and kind to him. She talked to him of the
plans which he was forming, of his future, of his
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
"What are you thinking of, Christine?"
"I am thinking that we shall not see each other
again . . ."
"And does that make you so radiant?"
ABOVE THE TRAP-DOORS 137
"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
"Mademoiselle, I have the honor to ask for your
"Why, you have both of them already, my dear
betrothed! . . . Oh, Raoul, how happy we
138 THE PHANTOM OF THE OPERA
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-
ABOVE THE TRAP-DOORS 139
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
"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
140 THE PHANTOM OF THE OPERA
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
"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
ABOVE THE TRAP-DOORS 141
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
142 THE PHANTOM OF THE OPERA
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
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.
ABOVE THE TRAP-DOORS 143
But, even before he had worded his question, she an-
"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
144 THE PHANTOM OF THE OPERA
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 m.an's voice.
"Hush! Hush, in Heaven's name! Suppose he
heard you, you unfortunate Raoul !"
ABOVE THE TRAP-DOORS 145
And Christine's eyes stared wiidly at everything
"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
"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.
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
APOLLO'S LYRE 147
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
"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
148 THE PHANTOM OF THE OPERA
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 . . . "
APOLLO'S LYRE 149
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
"We were accompanied by a music v/hlch I do not
I50 THE PHANTOM OF THE OPERA
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."
APOLLO'S LYRE 153
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
154 THE PHANTOM OF THE OPERA
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
APOLLO'S LYRE 155
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,
156 THE PHANTOM OF THE OPERA
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
APOLLO'S LYRE 157
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
"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
fi58 THE PHANTOM OF THE OPERA
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-
APOLLO'S LYRE 159
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-
"But why here, Christine? I am afraid of your
"We have nothing to fear except the trap-doors,
i6o THE PHANTOM OF THE OPERA
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
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.
APOLLO'S LYRE i6i
"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 . . .
1 62 THE PHANTOM OF THE OPERA
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
APOLLO'S LYRE 163
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
"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
1 64 THE PHANTOM OF THE OPERA
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-
APOLLO'S LYRE 165
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
"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
1 66 THE PHANTOM OF THE OPERA
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
APOLLO'S LYRE ' 167
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 !"
i68 THE PHANTOM OF THE OPERA
"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
APOLLO'S LYRE 169
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-
I70 THE PHANTOM OF THE OPERA
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?"
APOLLO'S LYRE 171
"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
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
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."
THE TRAP-DOOR LOVER 173
"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
And Christine went down another floor, with Raoul
"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-
"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?"
174 THE PHANTOM OF THE OPERA
"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
THE TRAP-DOOR LOVER 175
A nice way to speak of him ! . . . And are you
still resolved to run away from him ?"
"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:
176 THE PHANTOM OF THE OPERA
"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:
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
THE TRAP-DOOR LOVER 177
"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
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,
178 THE PHANTOM OF THE OPERA
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 . . ."
THE TRAP-DOOR LOVER 179
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"
"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
i8o THE PHANTOM OF THE OPERA
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
"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.
THE TRAP-DOOR LOVER i8i
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:
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 :
"Have you quite made up your mind? You are
going to-night? With her?"
"Surely you will not do anything so foolish? I
shall know how to prevent you!"
1 82 THE PHANTOM OF THE OPERA
"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-
THE TRAP-DOOR LOVER 183
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
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
"I wish I could but know who was he
That addressed me,
If he was noble, or, at least, what his name Is."
1 84 THE PHANTOM OF THE OPERA
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
THE TRAP-DOOR LOVER 185
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
1 86 THE PHANTOM OF THE OPERA
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"
THE SINGULAR ATTITUDE OF A SAFETY-PIN
BEHIND the curtain, there was an Indescribable
crowd. Artists, scene-shifters, dancers, supers,
choristers, subscribers were all asking questions,
shouting and hustling one another.
"What became of her?"
"She's run away."
"With the VIcomte de Chagny, of course!"
"No, with the count!"
"Ah, here's Carlotta! Carlotta did the trick!"
"No, It was the ghost !"
And a few laughed, especially as a careful 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-
"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."
1 88 THE PHANTOM OF THE OPERA
"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?"
THE ATTITUDE OF A SAFETY-PIN 189
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
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
I90 THE PHANTOM OF THE OPERA
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
"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
THE ATTITUDE OF A SAFETY-PIN 1 9 1
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-
"But what were our managers doing?" asked Ga-
briel, putting on his most innocent air.
192 THE PHANTOM OF THE OPERA
"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
"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
"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
THE ATTITUDE OF A SAFETY-PIN 1 93
'M. le directeiirF Am I supposed to have an Infec-
"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
"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
"Don't be so sly, Gabriel. There are things going
on for which you and Mercier are partly responsible."
194 THE PHANTOM OF THE OPERA
"What do you mean?" asked Gabriel.
"Christine Daae is not the only one who suddenly
"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
"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.
THE ATTITUDE OF A SAFETY-PIN 195
"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.
CHRISTINE ! CHRISTINE !
RAOUL'S first thought, after Christine Daae's
fantastic disappearance, was to accuse Erik.
He no longer doubted the almost supernatural powers
of the Angel of Music, in this domain of the Opera
in which he had set up his empire. And Raoul rushed
on the stage, in a mad fit of love and despair.
"Christine ! Christine !" he moaned, calling to her
as he felt that she must be calling to him from the
depths of that dark pit to which the monster had
carried her. "Christine! Christine!"
And he seemed to hear the girl's screams through
the frail boards that separated him from her. He
bent forward, he listened, ... he wandered
over the stage like a madman. Ah, to descend, to
descend into that pit of darkness every entrance to
which was closed to him, . . . for the stairs that
led below the stage were forbidden to one and all
that night !
"Christine! Christine! . . ."
People pushed him aside, laughing. They made
fun of him. They thought the poor lover's brain
was gone !
By what mad road, through what passages of mys-
tery and darkness known to him alone had Erik
dragged that pure-souled child to the awful haunt,
CHRISTINE! CHRISTINE! 197^
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.
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-
198 THE PHANTOM OF THE OPERA
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
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
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
CHRISTINE ! CHRISTINE ! 1 99
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
"Yes, sir, I know there is a lake under the Opera,
but I don't know which door leads to it. I have never
"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.
200 THE PHANTOM OF THE OPERA
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
CHRISTINE! CHRISTINE! 201
'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
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.
MME. GIRY's astounding REVELATIONS AS TO HER
PERSONAL RELATIONS WITH THE OPERA GHOST
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.
MME. GIRY'S REVELATIONS 203
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.
204 THE PHANTOM OF THE OPERA
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
"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
MME. GIRY'S REVELATIONS 205
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,
"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
"Are you still on good terms with the ghost?"
2o6 THE PHANTOM OF THE OPERA
"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."
"The name of the man whose accomplice you are,
"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
MME. GIRY'S REVELATIONS 207
"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 :
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-
2o8 THE PHANTOM OF THE OPERA
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
MME. GIRY'S REVELATIONS 209
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 !''
"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
"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.
Mme. Giry looked into the envelope with a lacK-
luster eye, which soon recovered its brilliancy.
"Thousand-franc notes!" she cried.
2IO THE PHANTOM OF THE OPERA
"Yes, Mme, Giry, thousand-franc notes ! And you
"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
"I am going to have you arrested, Mme. Giry, as
"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
MME. GIRY'S REVELATIONS 211
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
"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
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
As for Richard, who felt himself turning red un-
212 THE PHANTOM OF THE OPERA
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
MME. GIRY'S REVELATIONS 213
"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-
"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
"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
214 THE PHANTOM OF THE OPERA
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-
MME. GIRY'S REVELATIONS 21 5;
charmin was prepared to go to any length to discover
"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
"Yes, that's true, I remember now! The under-
secretary went behind the scenes. He asked for me.
2i6 THE PHANTOM OF THE OPERA
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 !"
THE SAFETY-PIN AGAIN
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
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-
21 8 THE PHANTOM OF THE OPERA!
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
THE SAFETY-PIN AGAIN 219
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-
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
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
220 THE PHANTOM OF THE OPERA
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-
"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."
THE SAFETY-PIN AGAIN 221
"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 !"
222 THE PHANTOM OF THE OPERA
"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
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
THE SAFETY-PIN AGAIN 223
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
"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
224 THE PHANTOM OF THE OPERA
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
"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,
"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 ! . , ."
THE SAFETY-PIN AGAIN 225
"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 COMMISSARY, THE VISCOUNT AND THE PERSIAN
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
"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!"
THE COMMISSARY AND VISCOUNT 227
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?"
228 THE PHANTOM OF THE OPERA
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
"A ghost," he said, "who, on the same evening,
THE COMMISSARY AND VISCOUNT 229
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
230 THE PHANTOM OF THE OPERA
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
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
"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."
THE COMMISSARY AND VISCOUNT 23 n
"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."
232 THE PHANTOM OF THE OPERA
"Across Paris?" asked poor Raoul, in a hoarse
voice. "What do you mean by across Paris?"
"Across Paris and out of Paris ... by the
"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 :
THE COMMISSARY AND VISCOUNT233
"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-
THE VISCOUNT AND THE PERSIAN
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
"Once more, M. de Chagny, where are you going
"Can not you guess? To Christine Daae's assist-
ance. . . ."
"Then, sir, stay here, for Christine Daae is here I"
THE VISCOUNT AND PERSIAN 235
"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
"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?"
236 THE PHANTOM OF THE OPERA
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
"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
"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 ?"
THE VISCOUNT AND PERSIAN 237
"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.
And the Persian, letting Raoul through the door
which he had just opened, showed him the actress*
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
238 THE PHANTOM OF THE OPERA
And he pushed the young man into Christine's
dressing-room, which was as Raoul had left it a few
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
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?"
"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
THE VISCOUNT AND PERSIAN 239
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
"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.
240 THE PHANTOM OF THE OPERA
"Oh, are we going out by the mirror?" asked
Raoul. "Like Christine Daae."
''So you knew that Christine Daae went out by
"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,
"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-
"What counterbalance?" asked Raoul.
"Why, the counterbalance that lifts the whole of
this wall on to its pivot. You surely don't expect it
THE VISCOUNT AND PERSIAN 241
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
242 THE PHANTOM OF THE OPERA
sheet of water and then all became stationary
"You see, sir, that It Is not turning! Let us take
"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^
IN THE CELLARS OF THE OPERA.
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
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-
244 THE PHANTOM OF THE OPERA
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
IN THE CELLARS OF THE OPERA 245
"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
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
246 THE PHANTOM OF THE OPERA
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.
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.
IN THE CELLARS OF THE OPERA 247
*'Then some one has given him a narcotic. That is
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
"There are things happening here, Mr. Commis-
sary, which we are unable to explain."
And the two faces disappeared.
248 THE PHANTOM OF THE OPERA
"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
"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
And M. Mifroid, replacing his gleaming glasses
on his nose, fixed the stage-manager with a contem-
"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
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
IN THE CELLARS OF THE OPERA 249
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
"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,
250 THE PHANTOM OF THE OPERA
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
IN THE CELLARS OF THE OPERA 251
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 !
252 THE PHANTOM OF THE OPERA
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!"
IN THE CELLARS OF THE OPERA 253
"Is it some one belonging to the theater police?"
"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.
254 THE PHANTOM OF THE OPERA
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
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-
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
IN THE CELLARS OF THE OPERA 255
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,
256 THE PHANTOM OF THE OPERA
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
IN THE CELLARS OF THE OPERA 257
"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
"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
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?"
258 THE PHANTOM OF THE OPERA
"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
IN THE CELLARS OF THE OPERA 259
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.
26o THE PHANTOM OF THE OPERA
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
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
IN THE CELLARS OF THE OPERA 261
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."
262 THE PHANTOM OF THE OPERA
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
IN THE CELLARS OF THE OPERA 263
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.
INTERESTING AND INSTRUCTIVE VICISSITUDES OF A
PERSIAN IN THE CELLARS OF THE OPERA
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
INTERESTING VICISSITUDES 265
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.
266 THE PHANTOM OF THE OPERA
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
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
INTERESTING VICISSITUDES 267
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
268 THE PHANTOM OF THE OPERA
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
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.
INTERESTING VICISSITUDES 269
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
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.
270 THE PHANTOM OF THE OPERA
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
When I came to myself, Erik, Christine and the
INTERESTING VICISSITUDES 271
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
272 THE PHANTOM OF THE OPERA
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!"
INTERESTING VICISSITUDES 273
"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
274 THE PHANTOM OF THE OPERA
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-
INTERESTING VICISSITUDES 275
gress. He passed through this, and the stone closed
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
276 THE PHANTOM OF THE OPERA
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.
INTERESTING VICISSITUDES 277
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
278 THE PHANTOM OF THE OPERA
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-
INTERESTING VICISSITUDES 279
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
28o THE PHANTOM OF THE OPERA
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
INTERESTING VICISSITUDES 281
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.
IN THE TORTURE CHAMBER
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
IN THE TORTURE CHAMBER 283
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
284 THE PHANTOM OF THE OPERA
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!"
Each silence gave us fresh hope. We said to our-
"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
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
"Somebody ringing! Walk in, please!"
A sinister chuckle.
"Who has come bothering now? Wait for me
IN THE TORTURE CHAMBER 285
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
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!"
"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
286 THE PHANTOM OF THE OPERA
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
IN THE TORTURE CHAMBER 287
"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
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
288 THE PHANTOM OF THE OPERA
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
IN THE TORTURE CHAMBER 289
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
"You will try to kill yourself again."
"You have given me till eleven o'clock to-morrow
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
290 THE PHANTOM OF THE OPERA
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 TORTURES BEGIN,
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
292 THE PHANTOM OF THE OPERA
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 !"
"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,
THE TORTURES BEGIN 293
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
"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!"
294 THE PHANTOM OF THE OPERA
"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
THE TORTURES BEGIN 2951
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
296 THE PHANTOM OF THE OPERA
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 TORTURES BEGIN 297
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
298 THE PHANTOM OF THE OPERA
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
THE TORTURES BEGIN 299
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
BARRELS! BARRELS! 301
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.
302 THE PHANTOM OF THE OPERA
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-
BARRELS! BARRELS! 303
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
304 THE PHANTOM OF THE OPERA
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
BARRELS! BARRELS! 3^5
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.
3o6 THE PHANTOM OF THE OPERA
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
BARRELS ! BARRELS ! 307
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 ! . . ."
3o8 THE PHANTOM OF THE OPERA
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
BARRELS ! BARRELS ! 309
occupants of his tortiire-chamber. I called him:
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
3IO THE PHANTOM OF THE OPERA
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
Ah, you should have seen us putting out our
tongues and dragging ourselves toward the rippling
BARRELS! BARRELS! 311
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
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
And we bent lower and lower over the trap-door.
312 THE PHANTOM OF THE OPERA
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.
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
"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.
BARRELS! BARRELS! 313
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
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
314 THE PHANTOM OF THE OPERA
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 SCORPION OR THE GRASSHOPPER: WHICH?
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
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-
3i6 THE PHANTOM OF THE OPERA
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-
"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 !
SCORPION OR GRASSHOPPER? 317
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
We were now all talking at once, on either side
3i8 THE PHANTOM OF THE OPERA
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.'
SCORPION OR GRASSHOPPER? 319
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
320 THE PHANTOM OF THE OPERA
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
SCORPION OR GRASSHOPPER? 321
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
322 THE PHANTOM OF THE OPERA
. . . You won't have the scorpion ? Then I turn
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
SCORPION OR GRASSHOPPER? 323
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
"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,
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 !"
324 THE PHANTOM OF THE OPERA
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 END OF THE GHOST's LOVE STORY
THE previous chapter marks the conclusion of
the written narrative which the Persian left
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
326 THE PHANTOM OF THE OPERA
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,
END OF GHOST'S LOVE STORY 327
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
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
328 THE PHANTOM OF THE OPERA
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-
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-
END OF GHOST'S LOVE STORY 329
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!
330 THE PHANTOM OF THE OPERA
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
END OF GHOST'S LOVE STORY 331
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.
332 THE PHANTOM OF THE OPERA
"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. . . ."
END OF GHOST'S LOVE STORY 333
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.
334 THE PHANTOM OF THE OPERA
*'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
END OF GHOST'S LOVE STORY 335
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
"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.
336 THE PHANTOM OF THE OPERA
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.'*
338 THE PHANTOM OF THE OPERA
. . . 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."
340 THE PHANTOM OF THE OPERA
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-
342 THE PHANTOM OF THE OPERA
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
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
344 THE PHANTOM OF THE OPERA
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
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-
346 THE PHANTOM OF THE OPERA
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
348 THE PHANTOM OF THE OPERA
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 PARIS OPERA HOUSE
THE PARIS OPERA HOUSE
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
"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
352 THE PARIS OPERA HOUSE
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
THE PARIS OPERA HOUSE 353
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
354 THE PARIS OPERA HOUSE
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
. THE PARIS OPERA HOUSE 355
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
2S^ THE PARIS OPERA HOUSE
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
"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-
THE PARIS OPERA HOUSE 357
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.
gjjPi^iM — W-
JUN ^-^jipqp? 1996'