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T h e V o i ce 1 1 had taken more than than a decade to complete com plete the Paris Paris Opera I House, with its seventeen floors of grand architecture, making it the largest theatre in the world. Here, wealthy and noble nob le Parisian Parisianss enjoyed great musical performances, either from the magnificent auditorium auditorium or from their elegant, private private boxe bo xes. s. Intervals provided provided the opportunity to walk about the imposing Grand Foyer and v/ Grand Staircase, decorated with precious marbles and onyx, and to socialise amongst statues of the world’s greatest composers" Here the most elegant members of Parisian society could display themselves in their finest clothing and jewels. This was just as important as watching watch ing the performa perfo rmance nce itself. itself. The Th e Paris Opera House was an architectural jewel, but while its patrons applauded the great performances, they were quite unaware of another, strange world hidden beneath the stage. Here, in its many dark cellars and web of passageways lay the secrets of another world, a world where no ray of light ever shone, where a ghostly creature living in the furthest depths would rise to terrorise the patrons and performers of the Paris Opera.This is where our story of darkness and intriguejanfolds: the story of the Phantom of the Opera. Dawn had not broken one Paris morning, when a voice could be heard in a small flat in the Rue Notre-Dame-des-Victoires, a voice so perfect and pure, one would believe only an angel could possess it. Christine Daae, a singer at the Opera, awoke to the heavenly singing, experiencing the joy of a young child on its first Christmas. She thought she was still dreaming to hear a sound
so perfect. Wh When en she was fully fully awake, the voice vo ice began bega n to fade, and then disappeared with the light of day, leaving her to wonder what being could have produced such a beautiful sound. She was unable to sleep again and thought only of the melodic voice the whole day. Even though she had witnessed so many exceptional performances at the Paris Opera, Christine had never heard such musical perfection and she longed to experien expe rience ce again the thri thrill ll it had brought brought her and she was not no t to be b e disappointed. The Th e voice vo ice returned returned to her again and again in her room each morning before dawn; then one day it vanished as suddenly as it had come. She prayed with all her heart each night that the angelic voice would return, but she waited alone in a silence broken only by the occasional rumble of a carriage on the cobblestone street below. A few weeks later in her dressing room, as she was preparing for the evening’s performance, she became aware of a faint sound, gradually gaining strength and coming near her. It was the voice! Its song filled her with a sensation she could not describe as its beauty flowed through the walls. She did not know where it had come from, and yet it seemed to be all around her. She was attracted to the voice v oice like a magnet. Then the singing stopped, and the voice spoke to her. “I’ve I’ve com c omee to offer you a gift gift,, Christine Christine - to make your greatest dream come true. I ask only one thing in return ...” At that very moment, a bond was created between Christine Daae and the voice that would change her life forever.
T h e M y st er y Begi ns :?r^ome months later, as the curtain fell on die evening’s performance, J
six frightened ballerinas rushed breathlessly into the dressing
room of Annie Sorelli, the principal dancer. The youngest, Meg Giry, was squealing,“The Phantom! We saw him!” Everyone had heard stories about the Phantom, but the level-headed Sorelli had always dismissed diem as mere superstition. “Madame, we really saw him! He was ... he was with the Persian!” Now Sorelli had to struggle to stay calm. The Persian was a dark, mysterious man, with deep green eyes that seemed to pierce the very soul of anyone who met his gaze. No one knew his name. No one knew what he did. The only thing anyone knew for certain was that he was always som ewhere In the Opera, startling people by appearing and disappearing at odd times, usually when someone thought they had seen the Phantom. As the young dancers fluttered about, chattering on and on about the incident, a tall dark figure slipped past the crowd and vanished out of sight, his black cloak hiding him in the shadows backstage. Sorelli pulled herself together. “You’re acting like a silly goose, Meg.There is no Phantom.” Meg, with hands on her hips, answered back crossly. “Well, if he’s not a Phantom, he certainly looks like one - just like Monsieur Buquet said! He was as thin as a rake, with eyes
so deep in his face they looked like black holes, and a face that didn’t even seem human. His skin was pale and grey and his nose was so small it almost wasn’t there ... and there was not one hair on his head!” Joseph Buquet was the chief scene changer and, like Sorelli, a calm and sensible person who would not make up stories about seeing the Phantom. So, those who believed in the Phantom took him seriously; those who did not thought someone had just played a joke on him. One thing was certain: there were now six more witnesses who had seen this terrifying creature. Sorelli, however, insisted. “My dears, pull yourselves together!” Excitedly, Little Meg told the dancers, “My mother says the Phantom doesn’t like people talking about him - and when they do, terrible things happen!” “And how does your mother know what he does and doesn’t like?” “Well,” the other dancers leaned closer to hear,“he talks to her!” “Oh, Meg! Stop it!”Sorelli was annoyed. “In Box 5, to the left of the stage. Mama looks after that box and she knows!” The others looked at her in horror. “It’s true! Others have seen him there, too. He wears a long black evening cloak and a white mask that covers most of his face and ... ” At that moment they heard a woman’s voice, screaming frantically. It was Meg’s mother, Mme Giry, a short plump woman, whose clothes looked as though they had once belonged to someone else. She was usually chatty and friendly, but now she appeared deathly white with shock.
“Monsieur Buquet’s dead! They found him lying in the third cellar with rope marks on his neck! He’s hanged himself!” Sorelli, too, went white with shock. Monsieur Buquet was a reasonable man and she could not imagine what might have made him take his own life. She and the other dancers looked at each other with the same awful-words on their lips: the Phantom! Suddenly, in spite of the disorder backstage, Sorelli noticed the Count Philippe de Chagny, a Parisian nobleman and patron of the Opera. He was accompanied by his younger brother,the Viscount Raoul de Chagny, a young blond-haired blue-eyed man with a neatly trimmed moustache, who attracted the attention of women wherever he went. “Count de Chagny! How delightful to see you!” “Madame, what a wonderful evening! As always, your dancing was superb and I must say, I had no idea the Opera had such a great talent as Christine Daae! She sang so beautifully tonight!” When Meg Giry heard this, she hid a frown and muttered, “If only he’d heard her six months ago; she could barely sing a note then!” Meg was close to the truth. Christine Daae had not been well received by the hard-to-please Parisian Opera audience.The death of her father when she was younger had robbed her of her inspiration and her performances lacked their former energy. But recently her voice had developed exquisitely. Tonight, she had stood in for Carlotta, the Spanish diva, who had been taken ill, and she sang like an angel as the lead in the evening’s performance. It did seem strange that someone who was untrained only months ago could now be so gifted. Some would call it unbelievable. What was her secret? Everyone wondered.
The handsome young Viscount Raoul went to Christine's dressing room immediately after the performance. The room was full of people congratulating her on her wonderful singing. She was polite and gracious, a real beauty, with clear blue eyes and smooth white skin. She was laughing and talking with her guests, but when she turned and saw Raoul, she became noticeably uneasy. As their eyes met, Raoul bowed and kissed her hand. “We meet again, Christine. Don’t you remember the little boy you knew so many years ago? Don’t you remember when I ran into the sea to get your scarf for you?” Christine only looked away, as though she hadn’t recognised him, and went on to greet her other admirers. Raoul’s face saddened; he couldn’t have imagined that she might forget him. He desperately wanted to speak to her alone, so he waited outside her dressing room until everyone else had left. Just as he was about to knock on her door, he heard a voice inside - a man’s voice! “Christine, your voice was as sweet as honey tonight!” “I promised to sing only for you and I have. I gave you my soul.” “You have a beautiful soul, my dear, and I am grateful. Be sure you are ready for tomorrow.” “Yes, of course. I’ll be waiting ... ” Raoul’s heart filled with jealousy. Who was this other man? He hid in the passage and waited for him to leave. When the door opened and Christine left alone without locking it behind her, Raoul crept back inside. He could see nothing in the darkness and called out, “Who’s there?” When there was no reply, he persisted. “You won’t leave this room, sir, until you identify yourself!”
Raoul lit the gaslight and looked around, but the room was completely empty! He opened all the wardrobes. He found nothing. There were no windows in the room.The man had vanished into thin air! Hurt by Christine’s rejection and confused by the disappearance of this other man, Raoul finally left the dressing room and the Opera. Riding home in his carriage, the same thought echoed in his head.
The Phantom's Box hat night, despite the tragedy that had been discovered earlier,
a costume party was being held in the Grand Foyer to welcome T the new managers of the Opera, Monsieur Moncharmin and Monsieur Richard. All the guests were wearing elaborate costumes and masks for the occasion and enjoying the party, not concerning themselves with other matters. Suddenly, Meg Giry cried out,“Look - the Phantom! That’s him!” All eyes in the room turned to a tall thin shadow of a figure wearing a long red velvet cloak and a large feathered hat. As he turned and faced the other guests, everyone gasped in horror at his terrible face, more horrifying than any mask. It was such an awful sight that everyone present wondered the same thing: was this a costumed guest, or did the so-called Phantom have the nerve to appear before them? Before anyone could speak, the cloaked figure slipped silently out of the room. The next day, Moncharmin and Richard were discussing their new responsibilities, as outlined in a memorandum from the previous managers. “Our predecessors must be mad! Either they think we’re stupid or they’ve got a very strange sense of humour.” Richard was half-smiling as Moncharmin responded, “I don’t believe all this nonsense about a Phantom! Box 5 belongs to the
and must remain vacant at all times?
And we mustn’t forget to pay him - or it - 20,000 francs a month or we’ll be sorry!”
The managers quickly decided that their predecessors were indeed mad and that they would not be threatened by some invisible creature. So, they welcomed patrons into Box 5 and, of course, left no money for the mysterious Phantom. Before long, however, they realised they should have paid closer attention to the memorandum of the former managers. One morning, soon after this conversation, Moncharmin arrived to find a strange-looking letter on his desk. It was in childish handwriting in red ink:
Dear A Aoncharm'n and A Richard, This is to inform you that I h
“Look at this!” Moncharmin snorted at Richard. “It looks like our predecessors are trying to play a joke on us!” “Do you think they’re trying to keep a box for themselves?” “Of course! What else could it be?” “Well, let them have it, then.” “Fine. I’ll send them some tickets for tonight’s performance Box 5, of course!”
Moncharmin and Richard were so busy with their new responsibilities that they did not pay attention to Box 5 that night. The next morning, however, they had an unpleasant surprise.They found another note from the Phantom:
Dear t\ Moncharmin
Thank you for keeping my box vacant, last night's performance was most enjoyable. I sha£P write soon about the m°ney the Opera sti-W owes m® for this year. The Phantom
So the other managers had not attended last night’s performance but the Phantom had. Richard was furious. “That’s it, I’ve had enough! I’m not giving in to this madness! Our patrons will sit in Box 5, Phantom or no Phantom!” However, some days later, Moncharmin and Richard received a report concerning the questionable activities in Box 5 that week. It was written by the Opera Inspector, Monsieur Bertillon, whose job it was to inform the management about complaints and matters of security at the Opera.This was important to Moncharmin and Richard, as they were responsible for the comfort and enjoyment of their customers. “I demand an explanation for this report,” Richard snapped at the shy Monsieur Bertillon.The inspector responded nervously, “Well, sir, people are complaining about strange noises in Box 5 and they say they’ve been ordered by someone to leave."
“And what does the box-keeper have to say about all this?” Richard was losing more than his temper. “She says it’s the Phantom.” ^Bring that woman to me at once,” Richard roared. " When Mme Giry came into the office, Richard was blazing with anger.
“Madame, whaj: is your name?” “Mme Giry.” “What is all this nonsense about a Phantom in "Box 5?” he demanded irritably. “It isn’t nonsense! The Phantom is angry because his box has been occupied. All you need to do is follow his instructions and no one will be harmed. He told me that himself.” Richard wiped his damp forehead and groaned with frustration. Moncharmin said simply, “Fine, you may go, Madame.”
When she had left, Richard looked at Moncharmin. “She’s bad for business. Let’s get rid of her and find someone who doe sn ’t have such an active imagination. As for all this nonsense about Box 5,1suggest we look into the matter ourselves!” In the meantime, the Opera performers were going about their usual rehearsals. Christine practised endlessly, sometimes by herself, into the early morning hours. One morning, when only a few workers remained at the Opera, Christine stood in front of her dressing room mirror. Suddenly, to her horror, the mirror seemed to move - to shimmer and turn as if by itself, and in a blinding flash of light she felt herself swept into a damp dark place. A cold bony hand touched her face and she fell faint from the fright of it.
Coming to, she felt a tall thin man pick her up and carry her off. She couldn’t see his face as they hurried through the darkness and she wondered how he moved so easily without light, stepping effortlessly over and around what must have.been pieces of stage sets stored behind her dressing room. It seemed as if only skin and bones were holding her as they continued down, deep into the cellars. Christine was too frightened to speak, sure that her captor would do something awful to her if she made any noise. Suddenly, she was aware of the sound of water lapping gently against a boat.They had reached a lake beneath the Opera House itself.There, the bony hands placed her in the boat and they rowed off into the mist. A gas lamp on the front of the vessel gave off a soft glow as he rowed her towards a house on the other side of the lake. In the dim light, she could see that he was wearing a long black cloak and a high silk evening hat. A white mask covered most of his face.When they reached the opposite shore, he carried her from the boat and set her down onto the ground. He knelt before the frightened trembling girl and said, “You are in no danger, Christine. I could never harm you. Do not let my mask frighten you. I only beg you not to touch it. If you see my face and learn my secret, I can never.let you go.You have sung only for me and your devotion has touched my heart ...” Christine cut off his words with a desperate cry, and with a feeling of horror so deep she could hardly breathe, she now realised who he was. It was the one who had transformed her from a nameless voice in the chorus to the star she had become. It was the voice! She was weak with shock, but somehow gathered the strength not to faint. Now that she knew who he was, she could think only of what was hidden behind that mask.
“I must see you." With her last ounce of courage, she reached out and grabbed the mask, ripping it from his face. Her screams of horror echoed around the lake and through the cellars of the Opera. Remembering her Angel’s words, she was shocked to find herself awakening alone in her dressing room. It seemed like an eternity since her last ghastly memory. Leaving Christine’s dressing room, the saddened creature held a small piece of gold tightly in his hand. He returned to his home beneath the ground before his anger became stronger than his love.
T h e A n gel o f M u si c he Viscount Raoul de Chagny had tried to visit Christine many
Ttimes since the night she had ignored him in her dressing
room, but she continued to refuse to see him. She had recovered
with difficulty from her horrific experience beneath the Opera and was now too upset to respond to the young man’s requests. Just when Raoul had nearly given up hope, he received a letter from her in which she said:
M onsieur, I h ave not forgotten the little b oy w ho w ent into the sea to get m y scarf. Soon I a m goin g to Perros. My fa th e r is b u rie d there a t th e little chu rch w here you a n d I used to p lay w hen we were children, a n d w here we said goodby e fo r the last tim e. Come to P erros i f you wish to see me. Christine
Raoul was overjoyed and confused at the same time. Why would she pretend not to know him, and then send him a letter inviting him to visit her? There was only one way to find out. He would accept her invitation. Christine visited her dressing room at the Opera House to collect a few things for her trip, but before she could go out of the door a voice full of pain and suffering rang out from the walls.
“Christine, where are you going?” She stopped at once, not wishing to upset him. When he spoke in that tone, it alarmed her and she responded softly, “It’s the anniversary of my dear father’s death. I’m taking the train to Perros to visit his grave.” “Are ybu travelling alohe?” Christine could not lie. It was not in her character to do so. But it was more than that. He would know. She could hide nothing from him.
“The Viscount Raoul de Chagny is planning to visit me there. He’s been a good and respected friend of my family’s since our childhood, and he wishes to pay his respects to my father’s memory.” “I won’t hear of it! You may reject my ugliness, but you cannot stop me from loving you. I warned you not to touch my mask, but you insisted on seeing my face. Now we shall never be apart. I shall be your shadow until death parts us. You will never be alone with another man!” Christine’s heart sank, but she replied, /
“I shall not betray you.” As Raoul sat in his compartment on the express train to Perros,
the city of Paris faded from sight and visions of Christine’s life filled his memory. As a young child, she had lived with her parents near the city of Uppsala in Sweden. Her father often amused himself by playing the violin, his favourite pastime. After the death of Christine’s mother, M Daae decided they would move on with their lives in a new place, and he would make a career of his music. During a concert, a music professor named Valerius and his wife heard M Daae play.They were impressed by his musical skill and took him
and Christine with them to France, hoping to help him professionally. At the seaside village of Perros, where they settled, he spent endless days on the beach playing the violin, while Christine sang to his music. Even as a child, she had a beautiful voice and many thought she would become a great star. One summer day at the beach, a strong wind blew Christine’s scarf into the sea. She heard an unfamiliar voice shouting, “Don’t worry, I’ll get it!” Then she saw a little boy running into the water. It was Raoul, the Viscount de Chagny. From that moment on, she and Raoul were constant companions. M Daae enjoyed telling stories to Raoul and Christine and there was one in particular that Raoul would remember for the rest of his life: the story of the Angel of Music. M Daae asked Raoul, “Have you ever heard the Angel of Music sing?” The boy shook his head. “Well, my boy, if you do, you’ll know it. His voice is so beautiful, only an angel could possess it. He blesses the gifted so they may share with the world a perfect voice, or play such wonderful music it could come only from Heaven.” “How does the Angel find you?” “When someone you love passes into Heaven, he may ask the Angel to bless you with the gift of perfect music, and I shall ask him to bless my dear daughter when I leave this life. Just remember one thing: if you wish to be blessed by the Angel, he will ask you for something in return, and it’s always something precious. You must prove your devotion by granting the Angel his request and you must never reveal the secret of your gift.”
Raoul did not understand and M Daae was amused by the boy’s innocence. Christine understood, though, and she would give anything to have a perfect voice. Professor Valerius died that summer, but Christine and her father continued to live with Mme Valerius, playing and singing $
for h^r ’every day. Christine and Raoul spent many summers together in Perros until they were grown up. Raoul then went to university and Christine attended music school. With tears in his eyes at the end of their last summer together, Raoul exclaimed, “My darling, I’ll never forget you!” At the Opera, when he saw Christine again after their years apart, he remembered all the wonderful times they had shared in the village, and how much he still loved her. Raoul reached Perros just as it was getting dark. When he arrived at the old village inn, Christine was waiting for him at a table in the hall. She looked more beautiful than ever. Raoul was pleased to see her, but he also needed answers to his questions. “Christine, why did you reject me when I came to your dressing room at the Opera?” She was silent. Raoul became very serious. “There’s another man, isn’t there?” “What are you saying, Raoul?” “The man in your dressing room - I heard his voice!” Christine gripped his arm. “You were listening!”
When Raoul tried to take her hand, she pulled away and ran to her room. Much later, Raoul heard footsteps passing his door. When he looked out, he saw Christine walking down the corridor towards the stairs, as if she was hypnotised. Where was she going in the middle of the night? He decided to follow her; he had to find out. If there
another man, Raoul would confront him.
Raoul followed in the pale moonlight as Christine walked towards the sea and entered the old churchyard where they had played as children among the gravestones. As she glided past the church in the eerie light, he thought he saw her disappear and was beginning to panic when he felt a hand on his shoulder. He turned around so quickly he nearly lost his balance.Then he saw her standing there, pale and sad in the moonlight. “Raoul, I have something to tell you. Do you remember the story my father used to tell us when we were children? The one about the Angel of Music?” He remembered the strange story only too well. “Raoul, the Angel has visited me.” “What do you mean?” “The voice you heard in my dressing room belongs to
He teaches me there. It is he who has given me this voice.” “You really believe in this Angel, don’t you?” “My father has sent him to me.” “And what has your Angel asked of you in return?” Christine did not reply. She was hurt that Raoul could doubt her. As she turned and ran away, Raoul tried to follow, but she shouted to him, “You must leave me alone - you don’t understand!”
As if to protect Christine, a tall black figure suddenly shot up in front of Raoul, blocking his way. He froze, terrified. When he found the courage to reach out and touch it, the figure pulled back the hood of its cloak and Raoul looked into the face of death. >
The next morning, the Viscount was found by a priest outside the church, half-frozen, more dead than alive, and barely able to remember what had happened. After asking Raoul where he had come from, the priest took him back to the old inn. Christine had already returned to Paris without a word.
T h e P ha nt o m St r i k es! aving returned to the familiar surroundings of the Opera,
HChristine continued to avoid contact with Raoul. She received
her lessons every day from the Angel, and every night she left the
glittering lights of the stage wondering when she would be whisked away again and imprisoned in the darkness of his underground hideaway She was sickened at the thought of his horrific face, but could do nothing if she were to protect Raoul from his jealous anger. Raoul, too, had returned to Paris and was still searching for answers. He was troubled by Christine’s behaviour and wanted to know what had nearly frightened him to death in Perros. Moncharmin and Richard, meanwhile, were now occupied with their own investigation into the events in Box 5. Strange things were happening elsewhere in the Opera, too. Weird shadowy figures appeared in the theatre, then seemed to disappear into thin air; lights flickered on and off and scenery was raised and lowered mysteriously. Talk of the Phantom was now starting to spread outside the Opera and patrons were nervously staying away. To ease the fears of their customers, the managers decided to sit in Box 5 themselves for the next performance. They would get to the bottom of this Phantom business and prove it was nothing but rubbish. Carlotta had recovered from her illness and was expected to sing in her usual role, but it became obvious that someone was displeased when Moncharmin and Richard received yet another letter on the morning of her return performance:
My Dear MMoncharmin and MRichard, If you want to avoid war, here are my conditions: 1. Return Pox 5 to me immediately. 2. Christine wiM ofay the -Pead in tonight’s * performance. (Cariotta wi-M be iM). 3. You mast give Mme Giry her job back. If you do not meet my terms, tonight’s performance wi-Mbe cursed. Pe warned. The Phantom Richard pounded his fist on the desk. “That’s it! We shall not give in to this ridiculous creature’s demands!” Carlotta, too, got a note that morning - one that sent a cold shiver down her spine:
If you sing at the Opera tonight, you wi-Mwish you were dead! The Phantom
Thinking Christine must be plotting to take her role for the rest of the season, Carlotta decided on a plan of her own. She asked all her friends to come to the Opera that night to cheer and applaud her, so that everyone would think she was the more popular of the two performers. That night there was not an empty seat in the Opera.
Moncharmin and Richard settled into box 5 to enjoy the performance. Carlotta was superb and Christine had returned to sing in the chorus. She could see Raoul in his private box. It was as close as she could be to him under her Angel’s watchful eye. Suddenly, as Carlotta was singing the most beautiful song in the opera, the scenery behind her began to rise and fall out of control, sending stagehands and scene changers running for the ropes to bring it back into place. Before they could act, a mountain of wood, canvas and paint smashed onto the stage, just inches from Carlotta. The shocked singer fainted and had to be carried from the stage. Almost immediately, when it seemed that nothing more dreadful could happen, a horrendous cracking sound was heard coming from the highest point in the auditorium. Then, as all eyes looked up to the ceiling, the thousand glistening lights of the great crystal chandelier crashed down into the audience, plunging the Opera into near darkness! Everyone flew into a panic and the police arrived, searching everywhere for the managers. At the same time, a dark cloaked figure holding a fragile young form swept across the stage on a rope and disappeared into the wings. “The Phantom!” Moncharmin and Richard were beside themselves with fear and frustration. Not only were they frightened into giving Mme Giry back her job that very night, they also stopped laughing at the Phantom. Christine did not struggle when she realised who had snatched her from the darkened stage. She recognised his bony grasp and knew it would be useless. Once again, she crossed from the outer world of the living into his world. She thought sadly of Raoul.
During the next few days, Raoul searched everywhere for her. He then remembered Mme Valerius. When he called at her little flat, a maid showed him to the elderly woman. “Madame, I cannot find Christine; she has disappeared. I’ve looked everywhere. Do you know where she is? Please, I am desperate!”'- * Mme Valerius’s kind expression became serious. “She’s with the Angel of Music, my friend.” Raoul could hardly believe what he was hearing, but let the dear old woman continue. Mme Valerius put a finger to her lips and spoke in a whisper. “What I’m going to tell you, you can never repeat. I’m telling you only because I know how much Christine cares for you. Raoul, you and Christine can never be together.” “But why?” “The Angel of Music would never allow it. She belongs to him. He is her teacher, her companion, her master. Each night at the Opera, when hardly a soul is left, she has her singing lessons with the Angel. Without his blessing, her voice would not have become so perfect. It was her greatest dream, but a tragic one for both of you.” Raoul was furious. Who was this Angel of Music’ and why was he controlling Christine? Distressed by his younger brother’s suffering, the Count, too, did his best to discourage Raoul’s relationship with Christine. He told him he had seen her in a carriage with another man, hoping that it would put him off. His plan failed, however, when Raoul raced to the Opera determined to find her. He waited, night after night, in the freezing cold outside, longing to see his beautiful
Christine. At last his patience was rewarded. Late one night, he saw a beautiful face looking out of a carriage window. “Christine!” He called out to her, but she only turned her head away as the carriage drove off into the night. As it pulled away, Raoul saw a note fall to the ground.
My D ear R aoul, P lease do not try to see m e ag ain . You mustforg et m e o r w e sh all both be in terrible danger. Christine After a fortnight, no one had seen Christine, but Raoul was sure she was somewhere close by. Again he waited, hidden in the shadows outside her dressing room. At last he saw her slip quietly inside.Through a crack in the door he watched and listened. Her words startled him. “Erik! Erik, are you there?” Raoul’s entire body tensed. He saw Christine with her arms stretched out towards the mirror in front of her. “Erik! I’m waiting for you.” As she walked towards the mirror, its surface began to shimmer like sunshine on a lake. Then, suddenly, in a blinding flash of light, she was gone. How and why did she keep disappearing? Raoul had lost her once more, but now at least he had a clue to the identity of the Angel - the name Erik. Christine stumbled in the dark, but Erik’s bony hands caught her before she could fall. She didn’t want him to touch her, but
knew that she could not refuse to go with him or Raoul would be in danger. As they descended into the gloomy dampness of the cellars and rowed across the lake, Christine was silent. When they entered his house, he spoke softly to her. “You’ve been loyal to me, Christine, and I can no longer keep this from you.
am not your Angel of Music, but
they call the Phantom of the Opera!” Christine was horrified. It was more than she could stand. “Come, my dear. Let me show you the rest of my world. Please think of this house as your home, my love. It is yours to share with me - as my wife!” Erik grasped her trembling hand and placed a gold ring on it. “I beg you, Christine, never let this ring leave your finger.” Christine felt sick, but she knew she must promise this to him if she were to protect Raoul. As Erik walked her through the gloomy house, she was nearly overcome by the heavy atmosphere and musty smell. Dark oversized furniture of carved wood and red velvet filled the rooms, and dozens of candles provided the only light.There were no mirrors, no windows. The touch of his horrible hand on hers made her feel even sicker, and she feared she could not remain in that awful place one more minute. At last she found the courage to plead, “Erik, may I beg you to take your kindness one step further? I’m feeling quite overwhelmed by all this. Could you find it in your heart to allow me a short time with Mme Valerius to recover my strength?” His terrible gaze met her soft blue eyes and the strange part of him that loved her responded, “Very well, my dear, this once. But don’t become too accustomed to such outings.”
The Ri ng After searching for Christine for days, Raoul again turned to
Mme Valerius for help.To his great relief, when he arrived at
her flat, Christine was sitting beside her. “Christine! Thank heavens you’re safe!” She was still weak from her experience and did not speak. Instead, the elderly lady warned, “Raoul, I’m happy to see you, but you’re getting involved in something very dangerous. It’s a miracle that Christine has been returned to us safely.” Christine looked at Raoul sadly and said, “Someday I hope I can explain it all to you, Raoul, but this isn’t the time.” “I don’t understand what is happening, but I
the truth.” Then, as the poor girl brushed a tear from her cheek, Raoul had the shock of his life. She was wearing a gold ring - a wedding ring! When he tried to grab her hand, she pulled it away and turned from him. Raoul took her by the shoulders, fearing the worst. “Christine,you can’t be ...” “No, Raoul, it was just a gift.” “Who gave it to you?” he demanded. Christine did not speak, but Raoul knew the answer. “The voice in your dressing room! It’s from Erik, isn’t it?” “How could you know? Were you listening there? Raoul, just knowing his name is dangerous.”
--------------------- :— “Who is this man? Why are you so frightened of him?”
A look of sadness crossed her face.
“I ca n’t tell you, Raoul. Just promise never to come to my dressing room again unless I send for you.” Raoul tried not to look defeated. “But will you?”
She held his hands in hers. “Soon, I promise.”
Christine did as she had promised and sent Raoul a note asking
him to com e to her dressing room after the performance the
As he dressed for the evening, Raoul summoned his courage and practised the words he would say to Christine. He had made
| up his mind: the only way to protect her was to make her his | wife.They would flee Paris and Erik forever. >
When they met, Raoul took Christine’s hand in his and said,
“My darling, I have thought and thought. I love you and want
: | i
you to be my wife. I’ll protect you. You’ll never have to be afraid
even back to Sweden, if you wish.”
again! We can leave Paris tonight and go anywhere you like -
“I can’t leave the Opera now, Raoul. It’s too soon.”
“But, why? Please, Christine, I want us to be together.”
Her eyes were full of hope and fear at the same time. Raoul noticed that she was still wearing the gold ring, “I promised to sing for him again - for him alone. I cannot
break my word.” Raoul was confused. “Trust me, Raoul. We cannot talk of this now.”
An unexplained absence of a few days passed before Raoul
| saw Christine perform again. The audience was delighted with
her performance and Raoul was bursting with pride for her, tnough he was hurt to see her still wearing the ring. At that moment, as though someone had read his mind, a voice whispered from the back of his box, “She’s wearing another man’s ring, Raoul.” The Voice laughed like a demon. Raoul turned around quickly toward the voice, but could see no one. “Do you know where she’s been, Raoul? Why don’t you ask Erik? He knows. She belongs to him.” At the end of the performance, now questioning his own sanity, Raoul went to Christine’s dressing room. She smiled sadly, Is Raoul gently touched her cheek. “I heard a voice in my box tonight, but there was no oite |iere! It said you belong to Erik. Who is this Erik? I demand to kifow!” Before he could continue, she put her finger to hisi lijjs to silence him. It would not be safe to speak there.Then sheltook his hand and led him quietly away from danger. As they moved through the corridors looking for a safe place to speak, someone climbed down through one of the many trapdoors separating the stage from the cellars below. Christine froze for an instant. “Why are you afraid, Christine? Why does such mystery surround everything here?” Christine did not reply, silently pulling him along behind her. As they climbed the many stairs to the safety of the roof, they were unaware of a shadowy presence nearby. “It’s all right, now. I’m sure he can’t hear us here.” “Christine, please, tell me what’s going on.” She sat down, hardly knowing where to begin.
‘Oh,Raoul,at first I wasn’t afraid, because he sang so beautifully. When I heard the voice, I believed that my prayers had lx en I
answered - that my father had sent the Angel of Music to me! I had no idea ...” She took a deep breath and continued.
made me what I am, Raoul, and I’ll always be in his debt.
as my father warned me, he wants something in return At
firs! he asked that I sing only for him and I promised. When I thought he was the Angel, I could accept it. But Raoul, he’s not." fChristine, who is he?” ‘’Raoul, he’s the Phantom of the Opera! And he wants me for his wife!” ‘|No! That cannot happen!” “What can I do? If I leave him, he will do terrible harm to us both! That first night when you came to my dressing room, I knew he could hear us there, so I pretended not to know' you. He was very strict about my training and allowed me no social life at all. I was afraid that if he thought we cared for each other, j
there would be trouble!” In
Raoul was dazed as he listened to Christine’s story. Suddenly they heard an awful sound coming from behind them, the moan ing of something in terrible pain. It echoed through every corner of the Opera. Christine was petrified. ftOh, no! It’s Erik! He’s heard us!” The echo died away, but Raoul knew there was more than pain in that tortured voice; there was deep, terrible anger. He whispered to Christine, “We must leave tonight.” She shook her head sadly.
“We’ll leave, Raoul, but not tonight. Not before I sing for hjm one last time, my next performance. If I don’t, I’m afraid of what he might do. Raoul, he would
These words sent a cold shiver down the young man’s spine; Erik was even more dangerous than he had thought. The two clung to eafch other tightly in the darkness. When they heard an even more agonising cry, they knew he had heard everything they had said. Terrified, they ran through the building, up and down steps and along the shadowy passageways. Suddenly, a tall dark man appeared from the darkness. “Quickly! Go the other way!" he warned. Christine pulled Raoul back. “It’s the Persian.” When they reached Christine’s dressing room, Raoul tried |tol compose himself. “Why must you sing again for Erik?” “I gave him my word. I can’t go back on it now - I’m afraid he’ll kill us both" Suddenly she turned pale and cried out, “Oh, no! Raoul!” “What is it? What’s wrong?” “The ring! It’s gone!” Christine looked at her hand in terror. “He’ll never forgive me! I promised I would never take it off! Oh, what will happen to us now?” Raoul tried to comfort her and begged her to leave with him immediately, but she pulled herself together and said, “Please, Raoul, you must be patient. Not before tomorrow. Wig’ll leave after my next performance, I promise.”
On the roof, a moaning heartbroken shadow stepped out from the darkness. He bent down and picked up the small gleaming piece of gold that had slipped off the delicate finger of the onl> woman he would ever love. Erik wept.
Jo u r n ey o f T er r o r adly shaken, Raoul and Christine left the Opera. When he had
Bseen Christine safely to her flat, he went home, too weak >
even to undress. He was drained of emotion and simply lay on
his bed, trying to make sense of his life. In the dark early morning hours he woke up to see two blazing eyes staring at him through the window. He sat up quickly, pale with fright. /
“Erik! Is that you, you evil beastT Raoul remembered Christine’s words.'He would kill for me’.When the eyes appeared to float towards him, he took a gun he kept under his bed and, trying desperately not to shake, shot straight at them. All his servants ran into the room, but found nothing inside or outside. Raoul went to the window and saw that the bullet had gone right through the glass.Then, he saw blood on the balcony. “Hah! A phantom that bleeds ... less dangerous than one that doesn’t!” Woken by the clatter, and thoroughly distressed, the Count entered Raoul’s room. “Have you gone mad?” “No, but I must find that madman!” “What are you talking about? In the middle of the night?” “You wouldn’t understand.” ^
Raoul spent most of the next day planning his departure with Christine. He prepared a carriage for their escape and left it outside the Opera.They would flee Paris, the Opera and Erik immediately after the performance.
Christine was nervous that night, but was singing superbly, when suddenly the Opera was plunged into darkness. For several minutes, the building was in a state of panic and confusion. When the lamps were relit, the dancers and actors were still on stage but the jvorst that could have happened had happened - Christine had vanished again! Raoul’s heart sank. He stood up as tall as he could, hoping to see her in the crowd, but it was useless. As he hurried from his box, stagehands were trying to understand what had happened. They began to inspect the areas surrounding the stage and one was heard shouting, “Blood! Look, there’s blood over here!” Raoul pushed his way through the crowds of frightened patrons and performers, searching for Christine. He knew Erik was responsible for this. He had to act quickly. He raced through the Opera, searching everywhere. Finally, in Christine’s dressing room, he collapsed in her chair. “Oh Christine! Where are you? I can’t take any more!” Tears came to his eyes when he saw the clothes that she had put out to wear that night when they left. Now she was gone again and in his frustration and pain he cried, “Give her back to me, Erik! You beast, you evil creature, give her back!” Suddenly Raoul was aware of someone else’s presence in the room. “Erik is very dangerous,” said a deep, almost familiar voice.“Do not get involved!” Raoul jumped up quickly to see the Persian standing in front of him, but before he could respond, the mysterious visitor slipped out of the room and was gone. Raoul slumped back into Christine’s
chair and, with horror and pain, he saw on the floor in front of him the unthinkable, blood! “Oh, Christine, what has he done to you?” Raoul was not in a condition to think clearly and his senses escaped him as he touched his finger to the blood on the floor, heartbroken and longing for Christine. Under increasing public pressure, Moncharmin and Richard requested the services of the Chief Inspector of Police, Monsieur Mifroid. Christine’s admirers wanted to know what had happened to their beloved soprano and the managers had to prove quickly that they were regaining control of the Opera. Inspector Mifroid was a short stocky man with a bald head and a black moustache. He wore a wrinkled dark grey suit that made him look quite ordinary. He did, however, have a good
reputation for solving crimes, and Moncharmin and Richard hoped that he would get to the bottom of this Phantom business. When Raoul heard that the inspector was asking questions about the recent events at the Opera, he decided to speak to him about Christine. “Monsieur Mifroid, please help me. Christine Daae is in danger and I’m afraid something terrible will happen to her. You must v help me find her! She’s been kidnapped by the Angel of Music, \/ but he is actually the Phantom o f The Opera! His name is Erik and he lives under the Opera House, in his own secret kingdom.” Mifroid thought the young man was completely mad, but as it was his job to gather all the information he could, he replied, “I see. Do go on.” “Sometimes he’s just a voice without a body and at other times, he appears and then disappears into thin air!”
Mifroid was becoming irritated. “Sir, do you think the police are stupid?” “Of course not! But, you must believe me! I saw him.” The Inspector frowned, doubting the truth of such a tale.Then Raoul told him the story of his journey to Perros and the terrible fright he had in the churchyard. “Very well, sir. Ill take all this into consideration.” The inspector clearly did not believe him and Raoul knew it. If the police would not help him find Christine, he would do it himself. As he ran from the room and flew down the stairs, the Persian appeared out of nowhere, blocking his way. He stared straight at Raoul. “Where do you think you’re going?” “Christine is in great danger and I must find her! I found blood in her dressing room!” The Persian frowned. “Are you sure the blood is hers?” Raoul was finally shaken back into his right mind. “Of course, that’s it! The gunshot! The blood must be Erik’s! Now he’s trying to keep us from leaving Paris tonight.
her ... ” “I told you before, Erik is very dangerous. You cannot go after Christine yourself. You don’t know the way and you could be killed.” But when he saw the desperation in Raoul’s eyes, he decided to help the pitiful young man. “Come, I will take you there myself. I warn you, however, if he discovers us, he will kill us both.” The Persian led the way, stopping to collect two pistols and a lantern from a small storeroom.
“Now, take this pistol and hold it high in front of you.” Raoul did as he was told.Then, to his surprise, the Persian led him back to Christine’s dressing room. He climbed onto a chair, searching for something high on the wall. “There’s a switch somewhere that opens this mirror. It’s a door that leads to an underground passage. It will take us to the lake near his house. Here, I’ve found it!”the Persian said, pressing a button. The mirror began to turn. Raoul now understood what had happened when he saw Christine disappear there before. “Quickly, this way,” said the Persian, and they entered the dim passageway that led to the secret world of the Phantom. The lantern gave off a faint ray of light above their heads, making the Persian’s face look almost ghostly. He came close to Raoul and whispered, “Follow me and do exactly as I say.” In the gloomy light, they made their way through the narrow passages of the cellars. Suddenly, they thought they heard someone coming. The Persian quickly covered the lantern. “Quickly! Hold your pistol in front of you!” They waited, hardly breathing, but saw nothing. The underground cellars were full of sudden noises to startle an unsuspecting visitor. They were also full of things that seemed to come out of nowhere. Just then Raoul tripped over one of them. To his horror, it was a body! The Persian lowered his lantern to the floor and they could see the feet, and then the face, of some poor victim who had doubtlessly met with Erik’s displeasure.
A closer look revealed that the body belonged to M Fournier, one of the gas men. When a nudge from the Persian’s foot produced no living response, the two men made their way quickly around a corner, relieved to find the next passageway clear. As they crept deeper into the cellars, Raoul became more and ,>
more anxious. Even the Persian was uneasy as they approached the lake. Once they had reached the fifth cellar, they were confronted by a new horror: a face of fire floated towards them, at the height of a man’s head, with no body attached to it! Terror-stricken, they fled through the passageway, but the burning face followed them, coming closer and closer. Then they became aware of a sound so awful it sent shivers through them from head to toe. A horrible sound like claws scratching across a blackboard seemed to move with the face, and continued to chase them until it was upon them. Raoul and the Persian flattened themselves against the wall, waiting for a dreadful end to follow. The unbearable scratching and scraping became little rushes of sound that scampered over their feet and up their legs - rats! “I’m the rat catcher,” the face of fire said matter-of-factly.“Kindly let me pass.” He rushed on, just doing his job, holding his lantern so closely in front of his face that its fire had distorted his features and blocked the rest of his body from view. Raoul and the Persian slumped against the wall, shaking with fright. It was several minutes before they could regain enough courage to continue.
Eri k 's St ory “ A re we close to Erik’s house yet?” Raoul asked. “Yes, but we / i m u s t find the wall on this side of the water that forms part of his house. Erik created many false entrances and exits down J here so that he can move about unseen or disappear in an instant. As I recall, we can get in through one of them from over there.” They continued on, feeling around in the near dark for the wall. Eventually, the Persian pressed a stone sticking out from the wall - that was it! A small door slid open in the wall and they crawled through to the other side, making their way slowly and cautiously. Finally, they reached a trapdoor in the floor. The Persian opened it carefully and shone his lantern into the darkness below. “Well have to jump down here. It’s not too deep. I’ll go first. Here, take the lantern.” Raoul heard a loud thud as the Persian landed on the floor. He passed the lantern to him, then dropped down himself. When the Persian shone the light around the room they discovered that the walls of the room were full of mirrors - hundreds and hundreds of mirrors! Raoul was dazzled by the display of flickering lights and images the mirrors created. “Where are we?” “This looks like one of his torture chambers,” the Persian said. Raoul shuddered. “What do you mean?” “Erik knows a lot about architecture and he actually helped build this Opera House. At the same time, he created this underground world for himself. I recognise his work, especially the trapdoors.”
The room was empty apart from a metal rack in one corner and a piece of rope on the ground next to it.The only way out appeared to be through the trapdoor above them. The Persian walked over to the rope and picked it up, thinking to himself, ‘Poor Buquet; he died because he just knew too much.’ “How do you know Erilr so well?”Raoul asked the Persian. “I met him a long time ago. He is a complicated creature, sir, and evil. He knows no difference between right and wrong.” Raoul wanted to know more about the beast that was controlling Christine and begged the Persian to tell him everything. His companion hesitated, but decided they needed a rest before moving on and so he began to reveal the story of the Phantom of the Opera. “I met Erik many years ago when he was just a young lad. I was Chief of Police in Persia at the time, visiting France on holiday. I was attending a circus in the countryside one day when I was attracted to a voice, singing like nothing I’d ever heard before. A huge crowd was listening. Fascinated by this heavenly sound, I pushed my way through to see who was singing. When I saw his terrible face I was horrified.What made things worse, the curious onlookers who paid to stare at his deformity treated him as nothing more than a freak. I learnt from someone in the crowd that he had run away from home to escape the misery of his ugliness and had found some comfort and acceptance in the circus, amongst the other poor unwanted souls there. He was once a brilliant lad with the ambition of becoming an architect, when a gas lamp, knocked over one night in the barn where he was studying, put an end to his dream. He was helplessly trapped in the terrible fire until his face was burnt beyond repair and his life was changed forever. The scars on the outside, however, were not as deep as those on Erik’s heart and soul. It’s what turned
him into a madman, determined to destroy everything around him. His mother forced him to wear a mask to conceal his deformity; she couldn’t bear to look at her own son or to kiss his poor face. She hid from the stares of others and turned her ears away from their heartless remarks. It was her rejection that finally drove him to leave home. When he told me about his pathetic existence after the fire, I wondered if it would have been better if he had not survived. The circus served him well, though. He was able to develop the beautiful singing voice that drew Christine into his dark, dreadful world. He learnt to throw his voice in different directions so that no one could tell where it came from, and to perform skilful magic tricks which he later used to frighten and confuse everyone at the Opera. I returned to the circus many times to hear him sing and, after a while, we became friends. I convinced him to return with me to Persia. I hoped that it was not too late to prevent the scorn of society from turning him against the world. I pitied him, but I didn’t know then what wickedness already lay in his heart. Perhaps I was a fool. In Persia, I introduced him to the Shah, the ruler of the country, who I knew well. He found Erik fascinating and helped him turn his interest in architecture into practical skill by having him work with his own builders to construct a palace full of secret chambers. It was Erik’s genius that created a torture chamber, just like this one. When the palace was completed, the Shah had all the builders killed so that its secrets could never be revealed. Erik was supposed to be killed, too, but I felt responsible for him, so I helped him escape. We returned to France together, but then he disappeared without a trace.When I learnt that one of the architects of the Opera House was living there, I thought it might be Erik and decided to find him.
Sure enough, while he was working on the foundations of the Opera, he created his own private kingdom here, within the cellars. This is where he now lives, hidden and protected from the cruel world outside. He has long wanted revenge for the misery others have caused him, and now he doesn’t care who suffers for his pain. And so here we are - trapped in this torture chamber at the mercy of a madman! My greatest fear now is that he may find us before we find him. We
find Christine and get out before it’s too late!”
Before Raoul could say anything, they were startled by a distant voice. As it grew louder, he saw sweat break out on the Persian’s face. It was Erik. “You must choose, Christine, between a wedding and a funeral!” They could not make out Christine’s reply, as she was sobbing uncontrollably. When they heard his voice again, it was harsh. “Why are you crying? Am I so terrible? All I want is to be loved. Is that too much to ask? I am already suffering terribly for you!Look at me!” The Persian and Raoul looked around, desperately trying to find a way to reach Christine. As they kicked at the mirrored walls, searching for an opening, they aroused Erik’s attention - and his anger. “What fool has entered my kingdom?” he roared. “Let me give you the warm welcome you deserve, one you’ll never forget - if you ever live to tell the tale!” Suddenly, hundreds of fiery lights filled the chamber and the damp cold of the room gave way to intense heat. Christine could only weep, “Erik ... please ... stop!”
T h e T o r t u r e C h a m b er he Persian was right; the room was indeed a torture chamber.
T Soon it became as hot as an oven. The heat was unbearable
and Raoul and the Persian could hardly breathe. The Persian moaned,
“No wonder poor Buquet is dead! Rather than roast like a lamb on the spit, he hanged himself from that rack in desperation.” They had to find a way out, but the trapdoor above had shut behind them. Their throats were on fire and Raoul was crying out, “Water! Water! We’ll die of thirst!” The two men were fainting from the heat, so intense now that it felt as if they were being burnt alive! They collapsed on the floor, overcome by it. As the Persian frantically searched for a way out, a tiny black spot on the floor, no bigger than the head of a nail, caught his eye. With all the strength he had left in his body, he pressed it and another trapdoor opened in the floor. Cool air rushed in from the blackness below. They jumped through the trapdoor, neither thinking nor caring about what they were falling into. Luckily, the drop was short and they found themselves in a low cellar. When their eyes adjusted to the dark, they saw that they were surrounded by barrels. Could they be water barrels?Their throats were parched and they longed for cool water. “Barrels! Barrels!” sang a voice. It was not their imagination. It was Erik. He was everywhere! Raoul approached the barrels and slowly pulled a stopper out of one of them, hoping to find water, but only a small cloud of black dust emerged. Gunpowder! What was this madman planning?
Erik had given Christine till eleven o’clock that night to decide if she would marry him and time was running out. Many lives were at stake as Raoul and the Persian searched the cellar for a way to escape.They found nothing. Faced with the possibility of death in this miserable cellar, they climbed back through the trapdoor into the torture chamber above. The lights were now out and the air was cool enough for them to breathe. They heard Erik’s voice coming from the next room. “You have five minutes to decide if you will be my wife, Christine. Take this key and open that box on the table - my little box of life and death. Inside it you’ll find two handles attached to a little invention of mine. One handle is shaped like a scorpion and the other like a grasshopper. If you turn the scorpion, I’ll know that your answer is yes. If you turn the grasshopper...” His evil laugh rang around the room. “The fate of everyone here and in the Opera above is in your lovely hands.” “Of course!” exclaimed the Persian. “The gunpowder!” Everything became clear now. Erik was planning to set off an explosion that would bring down the Opera House. Everyone and everything would be reduced to ashes if Christine did not marry him. “You have two minutes left to decide, Christine. Remember, a wedding or a funeral.” Christine was terrified. “Erik, please! I don’t want to hurt anyone.” Her tears, and the pain in her voice, suddenly sent a wave of self-pity through Erik. He knew that Christine did not love him; he knew he was alone. And now, with the pain of his wound, he was too weak to go on.
“If you loved me, Christine, you would not be afraid. You would not hesitate. You can’t bear to stay with me and I can’t go on without you. Make your choice. It doesn’t matter any more.” Raoul and the Persian could hear each other’s hearts pounding as they waited for Christine to move. Had Erik given up? Would he set them free? If there was an explosion, at least he would die and there would be an end to his madness. He would never hurt anyone again.The passing seconds felt like hours.Waiting, absolutely still, waiting to be buried alive or to be freed. Suddenly their hearts jumped into their throats as they heard a terrible crack beneath their feet. But there was no explosion, only the sound o f ... running water!They were saved! But, no, the water rose quickly, soon reaching the waists of the terrified prisoners. Were they saved from the explosion, only to drown in the cellars of the Opera? The Persian called out, “Erik, Christine!” There was only silence. He tried one last time. “Erik! Have you forgotten that I once saved your life? Don’t you remember that I rescued you from the Shah? You would be dead now if it hadn’t been for me! Please, Erik, have mercy, don’t do this!” There was no reply and the water continued to rise.The only way out was the trapdoor and they could not reach it.They were drowning - saved from one death only to be faced with another! As the water covered them and they began to lose consciousness, Raoul and the Persian heard a mad, distant voice singing, “Barrels! Barrels! Barrels!” The Persian’s last thought was that death would now be welcome.Then ...darkness.
T h e L a st P r o m i se hristine rushed to Erik and begged him to stop the insanity.
that she had to. agree to be his wife or Raoul
and the Persian would die. She knew she had to sacrifice everything if her true love were to live. She had no choice, she had to do it. It was almost too late when she took his arm and looked into his hollow, haunted eyes. “Erik, please have mercy on them! If you do, if you save them, I’ll be your wife! I’ll stay with you and we’ll sing together day and night.” She could not control her tears and her hold on his arm tightened. “Please, Erik, I beg you!” He returned her gaze. “Will you, my darling? Will you stay with me forever?” “Yes, Erik, I promise.” And with those terrible words she gathered more courage than she could imagine and kissed him on his dreadful forehead. Her tears swept across his face and he, too, wept. A few days later, after the terrible events in the torture chamber, the Persian woke up, surprised to find himself in his own flat. Slowly he realised he was not alone in the room. A tall pale figure swayed nearby. Erik was weak and could barely speak or walk. His cloak was wet with blood and he held his chest tightly. “You will be fine, my old companion. It is I who am dying.”
Pity did not enter the mind of the Persian, who could remember only the torture he had suffered at the hands of this madman. “What have you done with the Viscount and Christine? Where are they?” Erik’s mind was clouded with pain. “Love is my killer, old friend. The Viscount’s bullet pierced only my body. Now love has pierced my soul and I can leave this world in peace. She kissed me, old friend. She kissed me and promised to be my wife!” “Where are they?”the Persian insisted. “I have released the girl. She is safe with Mme Valerius and I have returned the young man to his home. See that they find each other." Erik dragged himself slowly towards the door. As he left, he put on his mask before stepping into a waiting carriage in the street. The Persian never saw him again, nor did he hear the faint voice say to the driver, “Take me to the Opera.” Some days later, a black evening cloak was found by a dresser, neatly folded and lying at the foot of a mirror in a dressing room at the Paris Opera House. In it were wrapped a mask and a gold ring, and on top of it lay a note in faint red ink:
A tall dark figure walked alone along the shore of the underground
overturned. In the dim light of a gas lamp he carried, something shiny caught his eye. He bent over to look more closely and picked it up. A bullet! Was this the last trace of the mysterious legend that had haunted the world above for so many years? The Opera had been free from strange happenings and accidents for many years now. Still, in the dark passageways behind the scenes, a stagehand or scene changer would be startled by a sudden noise or a fleeting shadow and wonder if the Phantom had ever really left. Later, sitting in the window of his flat overlooking the gardens of Paris, the Persian contemplated the story of the young boy he had found in a circus sideshow, the boy who grew up to become a ghost. Would anyone now believe that this creature had been flesh and blood, that his name was Erik and that he wanted only to love and be loved? The Persian alone could tell the story, for he alone knew the details of that miserable life. So, as the terrible memories returned, he put pen to paper and began to write ... 7
f e el i t i s m y d u t y t o i n f o r m y o u o n t h e su b j ect o f t h e o n e
r ef er r ed t o a s T h e P h a n t o m o f t h e O p er a . A s s o m eo n e w h o h a s p er s o n a l k n o w l ed ge o f h i s l i f e a n d t i m es, I ca n sa y w i t h a u t h o r i t y t h at t h i s p er s o n w h o co m m i t t ed so m a n y cr i m es w i t h i n t h e O p er a i s n o w d ea d ...”
He continued to write, describing Erik’s life in Persia and his work for the Shah, the design of the Shah’s palace with the secret chambers, and his invention of instruments of torture. He
had learnt well how to use them and it was the perfect training for his evil deeds at the Opera! The Persian laid down his pen and considered whether or not to continue. Would anyone believe such a fantastic tale? ‘No,’ he thought.‘I have cleansed myself now of the terrors of >
the past. Perhaps Erik’s story is better left to the secret chambers of the Opera cellars.’ Years passed before Mme Christine de Chagny was able to unwrap the old black evening cloak she had kept for so long. She took one last look at the remains of a part of her life which was almost too painful to remember and then placed it with the mask and the gold ring in a mahogany box. She would never look at them again. Locking the box, she left her old dressing room and the Paris Opera forever. A carriage took her from the Rue Scribe through the city streets to the other side of town. Stopping briefly on the way, she left the carriage only long enough to throw a small brass key into the River Seine. She held the mahogany box in her lap as the carriage entered the Cemetery of Montparnasse. The poor tormented soul who had changed her life would in death be remembered with dignity. Mme de Chagny laid to rest the last tragic evidence of his sorrow and pain. A simple stone engraved with the words: In m emory o f Erik, a true lover o f the
Opera ’ now stands among the grander ones of the Parisian artists and celebrities buried there.The dusty air of Paris sweeps its surface, but the spirit of Erik is no longer hidden in the darkness. The compassion and forgiveness of the one he loved brought him into the light at last.