Stage 3 (Journeyman): The Phantom of the Opera, chapter 3

Chapter 3 

Christine Daaé did not immediately continue her triumph at the Opera. It seemed that she was no longer in control of her life. “I don’t know myself when I sing,” – she wrote in her diary. The viscount, Raoul Chagny, tried unsuccessfully to see her. He wrote to her and desperately waited for her reply. When it came, he read:

 

‘Monsieur:

I have yet to forget the little boy who went into the sea to rescue my scarf. I am going to Perros-Guirec, where my father is entombed(1) with his violin. You knew my father and he was very fond of you. I will go to the graveyard of the little church where we used to play as children. And where we said goodby for the last time’

 

Viscount Chagny hurried to the train station. He questioned the train driver and learned that a Parisian-looking lady had gone to Perros Guirec the day before and was staying at the Setting Sun. As he came nearer and nearer to her, he fondly remembered the story of the Angel of Music.

Christine Daaé’s father was a poor Scandinavian peasant, and a dexterous(2) violinist. His wife passes away when Christine was only six, so he sold his farm and went to Uppsala, the nearest town, in search of fortune. But none did he found.

He returned to the country, where he continued busking(3). One day, a music teacher, Monsieur Valérius, heard father and daughter perform, and took them to Gothenburg. He recognised them as the most talented artists he had ever witnessed. Valérius paid for Christine’s education and she made rapid progress. When Monsieur Valérius and his wife moved to France, they took Daaé and Christine with them. Madame Valérius treated Christine as a daughter.

One summer, Daaé took Christine to Perros-Guirec, in a faraway corner of Brittany. He would play his violin and she would sing. They slept at night in barns and refused money for their music. People could not understand such behaviours, but they followed them from village to village.

One day, a little boy was enchanted(4) by Christine’s mellifluous(5) voice. Suddenly, a high wind blew Christine’s scarf out to sea. She cried out, but the scarf was already faraway on the waves. Then, she heard a voice say: “It’s all right, I’ll go and get your scarf,” and saw the little boy running fast. When he brought it back to her safely, Christine laughed and kissed him. The boy was Raoul Chagny.

That week, they played together everyday.

One day, Christine’s father told them a story that went: “Little Lotte thought of everything and nothing. She loved her toys, her little red shoes, and her violin. But most of all, she loved to hear the Angel of Music when she went to sleep.”

He constantly said that every great musician received a visit from the Angel at least once in his life. If the Angel visits an infant(6), that child grows up to play the violin at the age of six better than any men. This is what happened to little Lotte.

The Angel is heard only by those who are meant to hear him. He often comes when they least expect him. They then hear heavenly music, and a divine(7) voice that they will remember all their lives. People who are visited by the Angel cannot touch an instrument, or open their mouths to sing, without producing sounds that put all other human sounds to shame.

Little Christine asked her father if he had heard the Angel of Music, but he shook his head wistfully(8). Then his eyes lit up and he said, “You will hear him one day, my child! When I am in Heaven, I will send him to you!”

Three years later, Raoul and Christine met again at Perros-Guirec. Monsieur Valérius was now dead, but his widow remained in France with Daaé and his daughter. The young man, Raoul, had come to Perros, hoping to find them, and went straight to the house where they used to stay.

Christine turned red when she saw Raoul. They talked shyly until evening, telling each other things, but not their true feelings. When Raoul left, he kissed Christine’s trembling hand and said, “Mademoiselle, I will never forget you!”. He went away regretting his words because he knew that a poor girl like Christine could never be the wife of a viscount.

Her father died, and suddenly she seemed to had lost, with him, her voice, her soul, and her genius. She continued to live with Madame Valérius and went to a very fine music school.

 

Ultimately, Raoul reached Perros. He walked into the smoky sitting room of the Setting Sun and at once saw Christine, smiling, unsurprised.

“So you have come,” she said. “Someone told me.”

“Who?’ asked Raoul, taking her little had in his.

“My departed(9) father.”

Then Raoul asked, “Then did he tell you I was bewitched(10), Christine, and that it is impossible to live without you ?”

Christine’s face was red. “Me? You’re dreaming, my friend!” – said she, trembling.

And she burst out laughing to hide her feelings.

“Don’t laugh, Christine; I am serious,” Raoul replied.

“I did not make you come to tell me things like that.”

“You made me come, Christine. You knew that I would hurry to Perros. How could you send that letter, if you did not think I loved you?”

“I don’t know what I thought, maybe I was wrong to write to you. Your sudden appearance in my dressing room the other evening reminded me of the time long past…”

Christine was agitated(11). Raoul asked her why she had laughed when he reminded her of the scarf and why she had pretended that she did not know him. Raoul was surprised at the roughness of his questions, when he had wanted to speak words of gentleness and love. But he could see no way out except to behave unpleasantly.

“You don’t answer!” he yelled. “Well, then let me. It was because your heart and soul  belong to someone else!”

“What are you saying? Who are you referring to?”
“To the man you spoke to and said, ‘I sing only for you. Tonight I gave you my soul and I am a deceased!”

“Then you confessed having been listening behind my door?”

“Indeed! Because I love you! All because I love you!”

“You heard what?” – she asked, phlegmatically(12).

“He said to you, ‘Christine, you must love me!”

Suddenly, she looked very unwell. Raoul rushed to catch her before she fainted, but she quickly recovered.

“Tell me, everything you heard”

“‘Your soul is an alluring one, child, and I shall express my deepest gratitude. No king ever received such a far gift. The angels in Heaven cried tonight.’”

Christine’s hand covered her heart and her eyes stared ahead like a madwoman’s. Raoul was struck with terror.

“Christine!” The lad(13) tried to take her in his arms, but she escaped and ran away.

Raoul did not know what to do. The hours that he had hoped to spend with the young girl slipped past. Later that evening, he went to the graveyard, then climbed the hill and sat down. He looked out over the sea, and was surrounded by icy darkness, but he did not feel the cold. Hearing a noise, he turned and saw Christine coming towards him.

“Raoul, do you remember the story of the Angel of Music?”

“Of course, I do” he said. “I believe your father first told it to  us here.”

“And here he said, ‘When I am in Heaven, my child, I will send him to you.’ Well, he did, he comes to my dressing room to give me lessons daily.”

“In your dressing room?” – repeated Raoul.

Precisely(14)! He was the one who was talking when you were listening behind the door. But, I thought I was the only one to hear his voice. Imagine how surprised I was this morning when you told me that you could hear him too.”

Raoul burst out laughing, which made Christine very angry. She cried out and ran away. He ran after her, but she shouted, “Leave me!” and disappeared.

It was eleven-thirty, he heard her leave her room in the Setting Sun, and he heard her speaking to someone downstairs. He looked out of the window and watched her leave. He climbed down the tree outside his bedroom window and went after her.

The next morning he was brought back, more dead than alive. He had been found stretched out on the steps of the little church.

A few weeks later, after the tragedy at the Opera, the police spoke to Viscount Chagny about that night at Perros-Guirec. He told them that he had followed Christine to the church, where she knelt down at ther father’s grave and began to pray. Suddenly, Raoul heard the most perfect music. It was a piece of music that Monsieur Daaé used to play to them when they were children – The Resurrection of Lazarus. Christine stood up and walked to the gate. When Raoul got up to leave, a skull rolled towards him…then another…and another. There were hundreds of them up against the wall of the church, held in position by a wire. Then he saw a shadow moving along the church wall. He ran up. The shadow pushed open the door and entered the church. Raoul caught his coat. The shadow turned around. The face of Death with a pair of burnt-out eyes appeared in front of Raoul. Then he fainted, and he saw nothing again until he was in the Setting Sun.

 

At the opera house, Monsieur Richard and Monsieur Moncharmin went to have a look at Box Five. They stood below and looked up. At that moment, they seized(15) each other’s hand. They stood, wide-eyed, but the shape had disappeared. Moncharmin had seen a face of Death resting on the edge of the box. Richard had seen the shape of an old woman who looked like Madame Giry. They both ran to Box Five but found nothing. There was nothing different about this box.

“On Saturday, let’s both see the performance from Box Five!” – said Monsieur Richard.

GLOSSARY

  1. Entomb (v.): bury or trap in or under something
  2. Dexterous (adj.): showing or having skill, especially with the hands
  3. Busk (v.): play music or otherwise perform for voluntary donations in the street
  4. Enchant (v.): fill (someone) with great delight
  5. Mellifluous (adj.): (of a voice or words) sweet or musical; pleasant to hear
  6. Infant (n.): a very young child or baby
  7. Divine (adj.): of, from, or like God or a god
  8. Wistfully (adv.): with a feeling of vague or regretful longing
  9. Departed (adj.): dead
  10. Bewitched (adj.): enchanted and delighted
  11. Agitated (adj.): feeling or appearing troubled or nervous
  12. Phlegmatically (adv.): calmly
  13. Lad (n.): a boy or youth
  14. Precisely (adv.): Exactly
  15. Seize (v.): take hold of suddenly

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