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The Phantom of the Opera

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THE PHANTOM OF THE OPERA ***

This etext was prepared with the use of Calera WordScan Plus 2.0 donated by:

Calera Recognition Systems 475 Potrero Sunnyvale, CA 94086 1-408-720-8300 mikel@calera.com Mike Lynch

The footnotes have been incrementally numbered in [ ] marks, and placed after the paragraph in which they appear

The Phantom of the Opera by Gaston Leroux Author of "The Mystery of the Yellow Room" and "The Perfume of the Lady in Black"

The Phantom of the Opera by Gaston Leroux

Contents

Chapter PROLOGUE I IS IT A GHOST? II THE NEW MARGARITA III THE MYSTERIOUS REASON IV BOX FIVE V THE ENCHANTED VIOLIN VI A VISIT TO BOX FIVE VII FAUST AND WHAT FOLLOWED VIII THE MYSTERIOUS BROUGHAM IX AT THE MASKED BALL X FORGET THE NAME OF THE MAN'S VOICE XI ABOVE THE TRAP-DOORS XII APOLLO'S LYRE XIII A MASTER-STROKE OF THE TRAP-DOOR LOVER XIV THE SINGULAR ATTITUDE OF A SAFETY-PIN XV CHRISTINE! CHRISTINE! XVI MME. GIRY'S REVELATIONS XVII THE SAFETY-PIN AGAIN XVIII THE COMMISSARY, THE VISCOUNT AND THE PERSIAN XIX THE VISCOUNT AND THE PERSIAN XX IN THE CELLARS OF THE OPERA XXI INTERESTING VICISSITUDES XXII IN THE TORTURE CHAMBER XXIII THE TORTURES BEGIN XXIV BARRELS! BARRELS! XXV THE SCORPION OR THE GRASSHOPPER: WHICH XXVI THE END OF THE GHOST'S LOVE STORY EPILOGUE

{plus a "bonus chapter" called "THE PARIS OPERA HOUSE"}

The Phantom of the Opera

Prologue

IN WHICH THE AUTHOR OF THIS SINGULAR WORK INFORMS THE READER HOW HE ACQUIRED THE CERTAINTY THAT THE OPERA GHOST REALLY EXISTED

The Opera ghost really existed. He was not, as was long believed, a creature of the imagination of the artists, the superstition of the managers, or a product of the absurd and impressionable brains of the young ladies of the ballet, their mothers, the box-keepers, the cloak-room attendants or the concierge. Yes, he existed in flesh and blood, although he assumed the complete appearance of a real phantom; that is to say, of a spectral shade.

When I began to ransack the archives of the National Academy of Music I was at once struck by the surprising coincidences between the phenomena ascribed to the "ghost" and the most extraordinary and fantastic tragedy that ever excited the Paris upper classes; and I soon conceived the idea that this tragedy might reasonably be explained by the phenomena in question. The events do not date more than thirty years back; and it would not be difficult to find at the present day, in the foyer of the ballet, old men of the highest respectability, men upon whose word one could absolutely rely, who would remember as though they happened yesterday the mysterious and dramatic conditions that attended the kidnapping of Christine Daae, the disappearance of the Vicomte de Chagny and the death of his elder brother, Count Philippe, whose body was found on the bank of the lake that exists in the lower cellars of the Opera on the Rue-Scribe side. But none of those witnesses had until that day thought that there was any reason for connecting the more or less legendary figure of the Opera ghost with that terrible story.

The truth was slow to enter my mind, puzzled by an inquiry that at every moment was complicated by events which, at first sight, might be looked upon as superhuman; and more than once I was within an ace of abandoning a task in which I was exhausting myself in the hopeless pursuit of a vain image. At last, I received the proof that my presentiments had not deceived me, and I was rewarded for all my efforts on the day when I acquired the certainty that the Opera ghost was more than a mere shade.

On that day, I had spent long hours over THE MEMOIRS OF A MANAGER, the light and frivolous work of the too-skeptical Moncharmin, who, during his term at the Opera, understood nothing of the mysterious behavior of the ghost and who was making all the fun of it that he could at the very moment when he became the first victim of the curious financial operation that went on inside the "magic envelope."

I had just left the library in despair, when I met the delightful acting-manager of our National Academy, who stood chatting on a landing with a lively and well-groomed little old man, to whom he introduced me gaily. The acting-manager knew all about my investigations and how eagerly and unsuccessfully I had been trying to discover the whereabouts of the examining magistrate in the famous Chagny case, M. Faure. Nobody knew what had become of him, alive or dead; and here he was back from Canada, where he had spent fifteen years, and the first thing he had done, on his return to Paris, was to come to the secretarial offices at the Opera and ask for a free seat. The little old man was M. Faure himself.

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