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  • Chapter 1: The dancers

  • Quick! Quick! Close the door! It’s him!’

  • Annie Sorelli ran into the dressing-room, her face white.

  • One of the girls ran and closed the door, and then they all turned to Annie Sorelli.

  • Who? Where? What’s the matter?’ they cried.

  • It’s the ghost!’ Annie said.

  • In the passage. I saw him. He came through the wall in front of me!

  • And... and I saw his face!’

  • Most of the girls were afraid, but one of them, a tall girl with black hair, laughed.

  • Pooh!’ she said.

  • Everybody says they see the Opera ghost, but there isn’t really a ghost.

  • You saw a shadow on the wall.’

  • But she did not open the door, or look into the passage.

  • Lots of people see him,’ a second girl said.

  • Joseph Buquet saw him two days ago. Don’t you remember?’

  • Then all the girls began to talk at once.

  • Joseph says the ghost is tall and he wears a black evening coat.’

  • He has the head of a dead man, with a yellow face and no nose...’

  • ‘... And no eyes - only black holes!’

  • Then little Meg Giry spoke for the first time.

  • Don’t talk about him. He doesn’t like it. My mother told me.’

  • Your mother?’ the girl with black hair said.

  • What does your mother know about the ghost?’

  • She says that Joseph Buquet is a fool.

  • The ghost doesn’t like people talking about him, and one day Joseph Buquet is going to be sorry, very sorry.’

  • But what does your mother know? Tell us, tell us!’ all the girls cried.

  • Oh dear!’ said Meg.

  • But please don’t say a word to anyone.

  • You know my mother is the doorkeeper for some of the boxes in the Opera House.

  • Well, Box 5 is the ghost’s box!

  • He watches the operas from that box, and sometimes he leaves flowers for my mother!’

  • The ghost has a box! And leaves flowers in it!’

  • Oh, Meg, your mother’s telling you stories!

  • How can the ghost have a box?’

  • It’s true, it’s true, I tell you!’ Meg said.

  • Nobody buys tickets for Box 5, but the ghost always comes to it on opera nights.’

  • So somebody does come there?’

  • Why, no!... The ghost comes, but there is nobody there.’

  • The dancers looked at Meg.

  • But how does your mother know?’ one of them asked.

  • There’s no man in a black evening coat, with a yellow face. That’s all wrong.

  • My mother never sees the ghost in Box 5, but she hears him!

  • He talks to her, but there is nobody there!

  • And he doesn’t like people talking about him!’

  • But that evening the dancers could not stop talking about the Opera ghost.

  • They talked before the opera, all through the opera, and after the opera.

  • But they talked very quietly, and they looked behind them before they spoke.

  • When the opera finished, the girls went back to their dressing-room.

  • Suddenly, they heard somebody in the passage, and Madame Giry, Meg’s mother, ran into the room.

  • She was a fat, motherly woman, with a red, happy face.

  • But tonight her face was white.

  • Oh girls.’ she cried. ‘Joseph Buquet is dead!

  • You know he works a long way down, on the fourth floor under the stage.

  • The other stage workers found his dead body there an hour ago - with a rope around his neck!’

  • It’s the ghost!’ cried Meg Giry. ‘The ghost killed him!’

  • Chapter 2; The directors of the Opera House

  • The Opera House was famous, and the directors of the Opera House were very important men.

  • It was the first week of work for the two new directors, Monsieur Armand Moncharmin and Monsieur Firmin Richard.

  • In the directorsoffice the next day, the two men talked about Joseph Buquet.

  • It was an accident,’ Monsieur Armand said angrily.

  • Or Buquet killed himself.’

  • An accident?... Killed himself?’ Monsieur Firmin said.

  • Which story do you want, my friend? Or do you want the story of the ghost?’

  • Don’t talk to me about ghosts!’ Monsieur Armand said.

  • We have 1,500 people working for us in this Opera House, and everybody is talking about the ghost.

  • Theyre all mad! I don’t want to hear about the ghost, OK?’

  • Monsieur Firmin looked at a letter on the table next to him.

  • And what are we going to do about this letter, Armand?’

  • Do?’ cried Monsieur Armand.

  • Why, do nothing, of course! What can we do?’

  • The two men read the letter again. It wasn’t very long.

  • To the new directors.

  • Because you are new in the Opera House, I am writing to tell you some important things.

  • Never sell tickets for Box 5; that is my box for every opera night.

  • Madame Giry, the doorkeeper, knows all about it.

  • Also, I need money for my work in the Opera House.

  • I am not expensive, and I am happy to take only 20,000 francs a month.

  • That is all. But please remember, I can be a good friend, but a bad enemy. O.G.

  • Don’t sell tickets for Box 5! 20,000 francs a month!’

  • Monsieur Armand was very angry again.

  • That’s the best box in the Opera House, and we need the money, Firmin!

  • And who is this O.G., eh? Tell me that!’

  • Opera ghost, of course,’ Monsieur Firmin said.

  • But youre right, Armand. We can do nothing about this letter.

  • It’s a joke, a bad joke.

  • Somebody thinks we are fools, because we are new here.

  • There are no ghosts in the Opera House!’

  • The two men then talked about the opera for that night.

  • It was Faust, and usually La Carlotta sang Margarita.

  • La Carlotta was Spanish, and the best singer in Paris.

  • But today, La Carlotta was ill.

  • Everybody in Paris is going to be at the opera tonight,’ said Monsieur Armand,

  • and our best singer is ill.

  • Suddenly! She writes a letter to us just this morning - she is ill, she cannot sing tonight!’

  • Don’t get angry again, Armand,’ Monsieur Firmin said quickly.

  • We have Christine Daae, that young singer from Norway.

  • She can sing Margarita tonight. She has a good voice.’

  • But she’s so young, and nobody knows her!

  • Nobody wants to listen to a new singer.’

  • Wait and see. Perhaps Daae can sing better than La Carlotta. Who knows?’

  • Chapter 3; Christine Daae

  • Monsieur Firmin was right.

  • All Paris talked about the new Margarita in Faust, the girl with the beautiful voice,

  • the girl with the voice of an angel. People loved her.

  • They laughed and cried and called for more.

  • Daae was wonderful, the best singer in the world!

  • Behind the stage Meg Giry looked at Annie Sorelli.

  • Christine Daae never sang like that before,’ she said to Annie.

  • Why was she so good tonight?’

  • Perhaps she’s got a new music teacher,’ Annie said.

  • The noise in the Opera House went on for a long time.

  • In Box 14, Philippe, the Comte de Chagny, turned to his younger brother and smiled.

  • Well, Raoul, what did you think of Daae tonight?’

  • Raoul, the Vicomte de Chagny, was twenty-one years old.

  • He had blue eyes and black hair, and a wonderful smile.

  • The Chagny family was old and rich, and many girls in Paris were in love with the young Vicomte.

  • But Raoul was not interested in them.

  • He smiled back at his brother.

  • What can I say? Christine is an angel, that’s all.

  • I’m going to her dressing-room to see her tonight.’

  • Philippe laughed. He was twenty years older than Raoul, and was more like a father than a brother.

  • Ah, I understand,’ he said.

  • You are in love! But this is your first night in Paris, your first visit to the opera.

  • How do you know Christine Daae?’

  • You remember four years ago, when I was on holiday by the sea, in Brittany?’ Raoul said.

  • Well, I met Christine there.

  • I was in love with her then, and I’m still in love with her today!’

  • The Comte de Chagny looked at his brother.

  • Mmm, I see,’ he said slowly.

  • Well, Raoul, remember she is only an opera singer.

  • We know nothing about her family.’

  • But Raoul did not listen.

  • To him, good families were not important, and young men never listen to their older brothers.

  • There were many people in Christine Daae’s dressing-room that night.

  • But there was a doctor with Christine, and her beautiful face looked white and ill.

  • Raoul went quickly across the room and took her hand.

  • Christine! What’s the matter? Are you ill?’

  • He went down on the floor by her chair.

  • Don’t you remember me - Raoul de Chagny, in Brittany?’

  • Christine looked at him, and her blue eyes were afraid.

  • She took her hand away.

  • No, I don’t know you. Please go away. I’m not well.’

  • Raoul stood up, his face red.

  • Before he could speak, the doctor said quickly,

  • Yes, yes, please go away. Everybody, please leave the room.

  • Mademoiselle Daae needs to be quiet. She is very tired.’

  • He moved to the door, and soon everybody left the room.

  • Christine Daae was alone in her dressing-room.

  • Outside in the passage the young Vicomte was angry and unhappy.

  • How could Christine forget him? How could she say that to him?

  • He waited for some minutes, then, very quietly and carefully,

  • he went back to the door of her dressing-room.

  • But he did not open the door, because just then he heard a man’s voice in the room!

  • Christine, you must love me!’ the voice said.

  • Then Raoul heard Christine’s voice.

  • How can you talk like that? When I sing only for you...?

  • Tonight, I gave everything to you, everything. And now I’m so tired.’

  • Her voice was unhappy and afraid.

  • You sang like an angel,’ the man’s voice said.

  • Raoul walked away.

  • So that was the answer! Christine Daae had a lover.

  • But why was her voice so unhappy?

  • He waited in the shadows near her room.

  • He wanted to see her lover - his enemy!

  • After about ten minutes Christine came out of her room, alone, and walked away down the passage.

  • Raoul waited, but no man came out after her.

  • There was nobody in the passage, so Raoul went quickly up to the door of the dressing-room, opened it and went in.