1 The dancers.
'Quick! Quick! Close the door! It's
Annie Sorelli ran into the dressing-room, her face white.
One of the girls ran and closed the door, and then they all
turned to Annie Sorelli.
'Who? Where? What's the matter?' they cried.
'It's the ghost!' Annie said. 'In the passage. I saw him.
He came through the wall in front of me! And... and I saw
Most of the girls were afraid, but one of them, a tall girl
with black hair, laughed.
'Pooh!' she said. 'Everybody says they see the Opera ghost,
but there isn't really a ghost. You saw a shadow on the wall.'
But she did not open the door, or look into the passage.
'Lots of people see him,' a second girl said. 'Joseph Buquet
saw him two days ago. Don't you remember?'
Then all the girls began to talk at once.
'Joseph says the ghost is tall and he wears a black evening
'He has the head of a dead man, with a yellow face and no
'... And no eyes - only black holes!'
Then little Meg Giry spoke for the first time.
'Don't talk about him. He doesn't like it. My mother told
'Your mother?' the girl with black hair said. 'What does your
mother know about the ghost?'
'She says that Joseph Buquet is a fool. The ghost doesn't
like people talking about him, and one day Joseph Buquet is
going to be sorry, very sorry.'
'But what does your mother know? Tell us, tell us!' all the
'Oh dear!' said Meg. 'But please don't say a word to anyone.
You know my mother is the doorkeeper for some of the boxes
in the Opera House. Well, Box 5 is the ghost's box! He watches
the operas from that box, and sometimes he leaves flowers
for my mother!'
'The ghost has a box! And leaves flowers in it!'
'Oh, Meg, your mother's telling you stories! How can the ghost
have a box?'
'It's true, it's true, I tell you!' Meg said. 'Nobody buys
tickets for Box 5, but the ghost always comes to it on opera
'So somebody does come there?'
'Why, no! ... The ghost comes, but there is nobody there.'
The dancers looked at Meg.
'But how does your mother know?' one of them asked. 'There's
no man in a black evening coat, with a yellow face. That's
all wrong. My mother never sees the ghost in Box 5, but she
hears him! He talks to her, but there is nobody there! And
he doesn't like people talking about him!'
But that evening the dancers could not stop talking about
the Opera ghost. They talked before the opera, all through
the opera, and after the opera. But they talked very quietly,
and they looked behind them before they spoke.
When the opera finished, the girls went back to their The
directors of the Opera House 5 dressing-room. Suddenly, they
heard somebody in the passage, and Madame Giry, Meg's mother,
ran into the room. She was a far, motherly woman, with a red,
happy face. But tonight her face was white.
'Oh girls.' she cried. 'Joseph Buquet is dead! You know he
works a long way down, on the fourth floor under the stage.
The other stage workers found his dead body there an hour
ago - with a rope around his neck!'
'It's the ghost!' cried Meg Giry. 'The ghost killed him!'