4 The Phantom is
That was Tuesday night. On Wednesday
morning Monsieur Armand and Monsieur Firmin were happy men.
Paris liked the new Margarita - everything in life was good.
The next opera night was Friday. It was Faust again, but this
time with La Carlotta singing Margarita. By Wednesday afternoon
they were not so happy. A second letter arrived for them -
Why don't you listen to me? I am getting angry. Leave Box
5 free for me. And where are my 20,000 francs? On Friday Daae
must sing Margarita again. She is now the best singer in Paris.
La Carlotta cannot sing - she has a very ugly voice, like
Remember, I am a bad enemy. O.G.
'So, Firmin, is this still a joke?' Monsieur Armand shouted.
'What are we going to do now, eh? Is O.G. the director here,
or are we?'
'Don't shout, Armand,' said Monsieur Firmin tiredly. 'I don't
know the answers. Let's talk to Madame Giry, the doorkeeper
of Box 5. Perhaps she can help us.'
But Madame Giry was not helpful. Madame Giry was not afraid
of ghosts, and she was not afraid of directors of Opera Houses.
'People say that you're a friend of the Opera ghost, Madame
Giry,' Monsieur Armand began. 'Tell us about him. Some people
say he has no head.'
'And some people say he has no body,' said Monsieur Firmin.
'What do you say, Madame Giry?'
Madame Giry looked at the two men and laughed.
'I say that the directors of the Opera House are fools!'
'What!' Monsieur Armand shouted. He stood up, and his race
was red and angry. 'Listen to me, woman...'
'Oh, sit down, Armand, and listen,' said Monsieur Firmin.
'Why do you say that, Madame Giry? Because, Monsieur, the
Opera ghost is angry with you. When the ghost wants something,
he must have it. He is clever and dangerous, this ghost. The
old directors before you, they knew that, oh yes. At first
they tried to stop him. Then there were many accidents in
the Opera House, many strange accidents. And when did these
accidents happen? When the ghost was angry! So, the old directors
learnt very quickly. The ghost wants Box 5? He can have it
every night. The ghost wants money? Let's give the money to
him at once. Oh yes, the old directors understood very well.'
'But we are the directors, not the Opera ghost!' Monsieur
Armand shouted. He turned to Monsieur Firmin. 'This woman
is mad. Why do we listen to her? On Friday night La Carlotta
is going to sing Margarita. And you and I, Firmin, are going
to watch the opera from Box 5.'
'Well, we can try that, Armand. But we don't want any accidents.'
Madame Giry came nearer to the two men.
'Listen to me,' she said quietly. 'Remember Joseph Buquet?
I tell you, the Opera ghost is a good friend, but a bad enemy.'
The two men stared at her.
'Those words,' Monsieur Firmin said slowly, 'why did you say
those words, Madame Giry?'
'Because the ghost says them to me. I never see him, but I
often hear him. He has a very nice voice - and he doesn't
shout at people.'