A monologue from the novel by Gaston Leroux
NOTE: This monologue is reprinted from The Phantom of the Opera. Gaston Leroux. Indianapolis: Bobbs-Merrill, 1911.
I had heard him for three months without seeing him. The first time I heard it, I thought, as you did, that that adorable voice was singing in another room.
I went out and looked everywhere; but, as you know, my dressing-room is very much by itself; and I could not find the voice outside my room,
whereas it went on steadily inside. And it not only sang, but it spoke to me and answered my questions,
like a real man’s voice, with this difference, that it was as beautiful as the voice of an angel.
I had never got the Angel of Music whom my poor father had promised to send me as soon as he was dead.
I thought that it had finally come, and from that time onward, the voice and I became great friends.
It asked leave to give me lessons every day. I agreed and never failed to keep the appointment which it gave me in my dressing-room.
You have no idea, though you have heard the voice, of what those lessons were like. We were accompanied by a music which I do not know:
it was behind the wall and wonderfully accurate. The voice seemed to understand mine exactly, to know precisely where my father had left off teaching me.
In a few weeks’ time, I hardly knew myself when I sang. I was even frightened. I seemed to dread a sort of witchcraft behind it.
My progress, by the voice’s own order, was kept a secret. It was a curious thing, but, outside the dressing-room, I sang with my ordinary,
every-day voice and nobody noticed anything. I did all that the voice asked. It said, `Wait and see: we shall astonish Paris!’
And I waited and lived on in a sort of ecstatic dream. It was then that I saw you for the first time one evening, in the house.
I was so glad that I never thought of concealing my delight when I reached my dressing-room. Unfortunately, the voice was there before me and soon noticed,
by my air, that something had happened. It asked what was the matter and I saw no reason for keeping our story secret or concealing the place which you filled in my heart.
Then the voice was silent. I called to it, but it did not reply; I begged and entreated, but in vain. I was terrified lest it had gone for good.
I wish to Heaven it had! The next day, I went back to my dressing-room in a very pensive frame of mind.
The voice was there, spoke to me with great sadness and told me plainly that, if I must bestow my heart on earth,
there was nothing for the voice to do but to go back to Heaven. And it said this with such an accent of HUMAN sorrow that I ought then and there to have suspected
and begun to believe that I was the victim of my deluded senses. But my faith in the voice, with which the memory of my father was so closely intermingled,
remained undisturbed. I feared nothing so much as that I might never hear it again; I had thought about my love for you and realized all the useless danger of it;
and I did not even know if you remembered me. Whatever happened, your position in society forbade me to contemplate the possibility of ever marrying you;
and I swore to the voice that you were no more than a brother to me nor ever would be and that my heart was incapable of any earthly love.
Meanwhile, the hours during which the voice taught me were spent in a divine frenzy, until, at last, the voice said to me,
`You can now, Christine Daae, give to men a little of the music of Heaven.’ I don’t know how it was that Carlotta did not come to the theater that night nor why I was called upon to sing in her stead;
but I sang with a rapture I had never known before and I felt for a moment as if my soul were leaving my body!
I felt myself fainting, I closed my eyes. When I opened them, you were by my side. But the voice was there also, Raoul!
I was afraid for your sake and again I would not recognize you and began to laugh when you reminded me that you had picked up my scarf in the sea!…
Alas, there is no deceiving the voice!…The voice recognized you and the voice was jealous!… But I was no longer mistress of myself: I had become his thing!
You remember the terrible evening when Carlotta thought that she had been turned into a toad on the stage
and when the house was suddenly plunged in darkness through the chandelier crashing to the floor?
There were killed and wounded that night and the whole theater rang with terrified screams. My first thought was for you and the voice.
I was at once easy, where you were concerned, for I had seen you in your brother’s box and I knew that you were not in danger.
But the voice had told me that it would be at the performance and I was really afraid for it, just as if it had been an ordinary person who was capable of dying.
I thought to myself, `The chandelier may have come down upon the voice.’ I was then on the stage and was nearly running into the house,
to look for the voice among the killed and wounded, when I thought that, if the voice was safe, it would be sure to be in my dressing-room and I rushed to my room.
The voice was not there. I locked my door and, with tears in my eyes, besought it, if it were still alive, to manifest itself to me.
The voice did not reply, but suddenly I heard a long, beautiful wail which I knew well. It is the plaint of Lazarus when, at the sound of the Redeemer’s voice,
he begins to open his eyes and see the light of day. And then the voice began to sing the leading phrase, “Come!
And believe in me! Whoso believes in me shall live! Walk! Whoso hath believed in me shall never die!…’
I can not tell you the effect which that music had upon me. It seemed to command me, personally, to come, to stand up and come to it.
It retreated and I followed. `Come! And believe in me!’ I believed in it, I came….I came and– this was the extraordinary thing–
my dressing-room, as I moved, seemed to lengthen out…to lengthen out….Evidently, it must have been an effect of mirrors…
for I had the mirror in front of me….And, suddenly, I was outside the room without knowing how! I was not dreaming, I was outside my room.
Suddenly, there was no mirror before me and no dressing-room. I was in a dark passage, I was frightened and I cried out.
It was quite dark, but for a faint red glimmer at a distant corner of the wall. I cried out. My voice was the only sound, for the singing and the violin had stopped.
And, suddenly, a hand was laid on mine…or rather a stone-cold, bony thing that seized my wrist and did not let go.
I cried out again. An arm took me round the waist and supported me. I struggled for a little while and then gave up the attempt.
I was dragged toward the little red light and then I saw that I was in the hands of a man wrapped in a large cloak and wearing a mask that hid his whole face.
I made one last effort; my limbs stiffened, my mouth opened to scream, but a hand closed it, a hand which I felt on my lips, on my skin…a hand that smelt of death.
Then I fainted away.