The Phantom of the Opera (Chapter 5, page 1 of 11)


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Chapter 5

Christine Daae, owing to intrigues to which I will return later, did
not immediately continue her triumph at the Opera. After the famous
gala night, she sang once at the Duchess de Zurich's; but this was the
last occasion on which she was heard in private. She refused, without
plausible excuse, to appear at a charity concert to which she had
promised her assistance. She acted throughout as though she were no
longer the mistress of her own destiny and as though she feared a fresh
triumph.

She knew that the Comte de Chagny, to please his brother, had done his
best on her behalf with M. Richard; and she wrote to thank him and also
to ask him to cease speaking in her favor. Her reason for this curious
attitude was never known. Some pretended that it was due to
overweening pride; others spoke of her heavenly modesty. But people on
the stage are not so modest as all that; and I think that I shall not
be far from the truth if I ascribe her action simply to fear. Yes, I
believe that Christine Daae was frightened by what had happened to her.
I have a letter of Christine's (it forms part of the Persian's
collection), relating to this period, which suggests a feeling of
absolute dismay: "I don't know myself when I sing," writes the poor child.

She showed herself nowhere; and the Vicomte de Chagny tried in vain to
meet her. He wrote to her, asking to call upon her, but despaired of
receiving a reply when, one morning, she sent him the following note: MONSIEUR: I have not forgotten the little boy who went into the sea to rescue my
scarf. I feel that I must write to you to-day, when I am going to
Perros, in fulfilment of a sacred duty. To-morrow is the anniversary
of the death of my poor father, whom you knew and who was very fond of
you. He is buried there, with his violin, in the graveyard of the
little church, at the bottom of the slope where we used to play as
children, beside the road where, when we were a little bigger, we said
good-by for the last time.

The Vicomte de Chagny hurriedly consulted a railway guide, dressed as
quickly as he could, wrote a few lines for his valet to take to his
brother and jumped into a cab which brought him to the Gare
Montparnasse just in time to miss the morning train. He spent a dismal
day in town and did not recover his spirits until the evening, when he
was seated in his compartment in the Brittany express. He read
Christine's note over and over again, smelling its perfume, recalling
the sweet pictures of his childhood, and spent the rest of that tedious
night journey in feverish dreams that began and ended with Christine
Daae. Day was breaking when he alighted at Lannion. He hurried to the
diligence for Perros-Guirec. He was the only passenger. He questioned
the driver and learned that, on the evening of the previous day, a
young lady who looked like a Parisian had gone to Perros and put up at
the inn known as the Setting Sun.

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