Raoul's first thought, after Christine Daaé'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!
People pushed him aside, laughing. They made fun of him.
They thought the poor lover's brain was gone!
By what mad road, through what passages of mystery and darkness
known to him alone had Erik dragged that pure-souled child to the
awful haunt, with the Louis-Philippe room, opening out on the lake?
"Christine! Christine!...Why don't you answer?...Are you
Hideous thoughts flashed through Raoul's congested brain.
Of course, Erik must have discovered their secret, must have known
that Christine had played him false. What a vengeance would be his!
And Raoul thought again of the yellow stars that had come,
the night before, and roamed over his balcony. Why had he not put
them out for good? There were some men's eyes that dilated in the
darkness and shone like stars or like cats' eyes. Certainly Albinos,
who seemed to have rabbits' eyes by day, had cats' eyes at night:
everybody knew that!...Yes, yes, he had undoubtedly fired at Erik.
Why had he not killed him? The monster had fled up the gutter-spout
like a cat or a convict who--everybody knew that
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
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 worn
at the hour of their flight. Oh, why had she refused to leave earlier?
Why had she toyed with the threatening catastrophe? Why toyed
with the monster's heart? Why, in a final access of pity,
had she insisted on flinging, as a last sop to that demon's soul,
her divine song:
"Holy angel, in Heaven blessed,
My spirit longs with thee to rest!"
Raoul, his throat filled with sobs, oaths and insults,
fumbled awkwardly at the great mirror that had opened one night,
before his eyes, to let Christine pass to the murky dwelling below.
He pushed, pressed, groped about, but the glass apparently obeyed
no one but Erik....Perhaps actions were not enough with a glass
of the kind? Perhaps he was expected to utter certain words?
When he was a little boy, he had heard that there were things
that obeyed the spoken word!
Suddenly, Raoul remembered something about a gate opening into
the Rue Scribe, an underground passage running straight to the Rue
Scribe from the lake....Yes, Christine had told him about that.
...And, when he found that the key was no longer in the box,
he nevertheless ran to the Rue Scribe. Outside, in the street,
he passed his trembling hands over the huge stones, felt for outlets
...met with iron bars...were those they?...Or these?...
Or could it be that air-hole?...He plunged his useless eyes
through the bars....How dark it was in there!...He listened....
All was silence!...He went round the building...and came to bigger bars,
immense gates!...It was the entrance to the Cour de I'Administration.
Raoul rushed into the doorkeeper's lodge.
"I beg your pardon, madame, could you tell me where to find a gate
or door, made of bars, iron bars, opening into the Rue Scribe...
and leading to the lake?...You know the lake I mean?...Yes,
the underground lake...under the Opera."
"Yes, sir, I know there is a lake under the Opera, but I don't know
which door leads to it. I have never been there!"
"And the Rue Scribe, madame, the Rue Scribe? Have you never been
to the Rue Scribe?"
The woman laughed, screamed with laughter! Raoul darted away,
roaring with anger, ran up-stairs, four stairs at a time,
down-stairs, rushed through the whole of the business side
of the opera-house, found himself once more in the light of the stage.
He stopped, with his heart thumping in his chest: suppose Christine
Daaé had been found? He saw a group of men and asked:
"I beg your pardon, gentlemen. Could you tell me where Christine
And somebody laughed.
At the same moment the stage buzzed with a new sound and, amid a crowd
of men in evening-dress, all talking and gesticulating together,
appeared a man who seemed very calm and displayed a pleasant face,
all pink and chubby-cheeked, crowned with curly hair and lit up by a
pair of wonderfully serene blue eyes. Mercier, the
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 Rémy, 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 building. Mercier took advantage
of the confusion to slip a key into Gabriel's hand:
"This is all going very badly," he whispered. "You had better let
Mother Giry out."
And Gabriel moved away.
They soon came to the managers' door. Mercier stormed in vain:
the door remained closed.
"Open in the name of the law!" commanded M. Mifroid, in a loud
and rather anxious voice.
At last the door was opened. All rushed in to the office,
on the commissary's heels.
Raoul was the last to enter. As he was about to follow the rest
into the room, a hand was laid on his shoulder and he heard these words
spoken in his ear:
"Erik's secrets concern no one but himself!"
He turned around, with a stifled exclamation. The hand that was
laid on his shoulder was now placed on the lips of a person with an
ebony skin, with eyes of jade and with an astrakhan cap on his head:
The stranger kept up the gesture that recommended
discretion and then, at the moment when the astonished viscount
was about to ask the reason of his mysterious intervention,
bowed and disappeared.
Next: Mme. Giry's Revelations