Gaston Leroux: The Phantom of the Opera

Chapter 15. Christine! Christine! (continued)

Such were the cruel thoughts that haunted Raoul as he ran to the singer's dressing-room.

"Christine! Christine!"

Bitter tears scorched the boy's eyelids as he saw scattered over the furniture the clothes which his beautiful bride was to have worn at the hour of their flight. Oh, why had she refused to leave earlier?

Why had she toyed with the threatening catastrophe? Why toyed with the monster's heart? Why, in a final access of pity, had she insisted on flinging, as a last sop to that demon's soul, her divine song:

            "Holy angel, in Heaven blessed,
             My spirit longs with thee to rest!"

Raoul, his throat filled with sobs, oaths and insults, fumbled awkwardly at the great mirror that had opened one night, before his eyes, to let Christine pass to the murky dwelling below. He pushed, pressed, groped about, but the glass apparently obeyed no one but Erik....Perhaps actions were not enough with a glass of the kind? Perhaps he was expected to utter certain words? When he was a little boy, he had heard that there were things that obeyed the spoken word!

Suddenly, Raoul remembered something about a gate opening into the Rue Scribe, an underground passage running straight to the Rue Scribe from the lake....Yes, Christine had told him about that. ...And, when he found that the key was no longer in the box, he nevertheless ran to the Rue Scribe. Outside, in the street, he passed his trembling hands over the huge stones, felt for outlets ...met with iron bars...were those they?...Or these?... Or could it be that air-hole?...He plunged his useless eyes through the bars....How dark it was in there!...He listened.... All was silence!...He went round the building...and came to bigger bars, immense gates!...It was the entrance to the Cour de I'Administration.

Raoul rushed into the doorkeeper's lodge.

"I beg your pardon, madame, could you tell me where to find a gate or door, made of bars, iron bars, opening into the Rue Scribe... and leading to the lake?...You know the lake I mean?...Yes, the underground lake...under the Opera."

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