The Phantom of the Opera (Chapter 7, page 1 of 9)

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Chapter 7

On the Saturday morning, on reaching their office, the joint managers
found a letter from O. G. worded in these terms: MY DEAR MANAGERS: So it is to be war between us?

If you still care for peace, here is my ultimatum. It consists of the
four following conditions: 1. You must give me back my private box; and I wish it to be at my
free disposal from henceforward.

2. The part of Margarita shall be sung this evening by Christine Daae.
Never mind about Carlotta; she will be ill.

3. I absolutely insist upon the good and loyal services of Mme. Giry,
my box-keeper, whom you will reinstate in her functions forthwith.

4. Let me know by a letter handed to Mme. Giry, who will see that it
reaches me, that you accept, as your predecessors did, the conditions
in my memorandum-book relating to my monthly allowance. I will inform
you later how you are to pay it to me.

If you refuse, you will give FAUST to-night in a house with a curse
upon it.

Take my advice and be warned in time. O. G.

"Look here, I'm getting sick of him, sick of him!" shouted Richard,
bringing his fists down on his office-table.

Just then, Mercier, the acting-manager, entered.

"Lachenel would like to see one of you gentlemen," he said. "He says
that his business is urgent and he seems quite upset."

"Who's Lachenel?" asked Richard.

"He's your stud-groom."

"What do you mean? My stud-groom?"

"Yes, sir," explained Mercier, "there are several grooms at the Opera
and M. Lachenel is at the head of them."

"And what does this groom do?"

"He has the chief management of the stable."

"What stable?"

"Why, yours, sir, the stable of the Opera."

"Is there a stable at the Opera? Upon my word, I didn't know. Where
is it?"

"In the cellars, on the Rotunda side. It's a very important
department; we have twelve horses."

"Twelve horses! And what for, in Heaven's name?"

"Why, we want trained horses for the processions in the Juive, The
Profeta and so on; horses 'used to the boards.' It is the grooms'
business to teach them. M. Lachenel is very clever at it. He used to
manage Franconi's stables."

"Very well ... but what does he want?"

"I don't know; I never saw him in such a state."

"He can come in."

M. Lachenel came in, carrying a riding-whip, with which he struck his
right boot in an irritable manner.

"Good morning, M. Lachenel," said Richard, somewhat impressed. "To
what do we owe the honor of your visit?"

"Mr. Manager, I have come to ask you to get rid of the whole stable."

"What, you want to get rid of our horses?"

"I'm not talking of the horses, but of the stablemen."

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