6 La Cariotta sings
On Friday morning La Cariotta had her
breakfast in bed. She drank her coffee and opened her morning
letters. One letter had no name on it. It was very short.
You are ill. You cannot sing Margarita tonight. Stay at home
and don't go to the Opera House. Accidents can happen. Do
you want to lose your voice - for ever? La Carlotta was very,
very angry. She got out of bed at once and did not finish
'This is from Christine Daae's friends,' she thought. 'They
want her to sing again tonight. That Daae girl is going to
be sorry for this! I, La Carlotta, I am the best opera singer
in Paris. And nothing is going to stop me singing Margarita
At six o'clock that evening the dancers were in their dressingroom.
They talked and laughed and put on their red and black dresses
for Faust. But Meg Giry was very quiet.
'What's the matter, Meg?' Annie Sorelli asked.
'It's the Opera ghost,' Meg said. 'My mother says he's angry.
She's afraid that something's going to happen tonight.'
'Oh, pooh!' the girl with black hair said. 'Who's afraid of
an old ghost?'
An hour later Monsieur Armand and Monsieur Firmin went into
Box 5 and sat down. They were not afraid of ghosts. Of course
not. There were no ghosts in the Opera House. Then Monsieur
Armand saw some flowers on the floor by the door of the box.
'Firmin,' he whispered, 'did you put those flowers there?'
Monsieur Firmin looked. 'No, I didn't,' he whispered back.
'Of course not, you fool! Shh, the music's beginning.'
La Carlotta did not sing for the first hour. There were no
strange voices in Box 5, and the two directors began to feel
happier. Then La Carlotta came out onto the stage, and Monsieur
Firmin looked at Monsieur Armand.
'Did you hear a voice just then?' he asked quietly.
'No!' Monsieur Armand said, but he looked behind him twice,
then three times, and suddenly felt cold.
La Carlotta sang and sang, and nothing happened. Then she
began a beautiful love song.
'My love begins to - Co-ack!'
Everybody stared. What was the matter with Carlotta's voice?
What was that strange noise - Co-ack? Carlotta stopped and
began the song again.
'My love begins to - Co-ack! I cannot forget my - Co-ack!'
It was the noise of a road! People began to talk and laugh.
Monsieur Firmin put his head in his hands. Then he felt Monsieur
Armand's hand on his arm. There was a voice in the box with
them! A man's voice, laughing! Poor Carlotta tried again,
'I cannot forget my - Co-ack!'
Then the two directors heard the voice again, behind them,
in front of them, everywhere.
'Her singing tonight is going to bring down the chandelier!'
The two directors looked up at the top of the Opera House.
Their faces were white. The famous chandelier, with its thousand
lights, broke away from its ropes and crashed down on to the
people below. That was a terrible night for the Paris Opera
House. One woman was killed by the chandelier, and many people
were hurt. The Opera House closed for two weeks. And La Carlotta
never sang again.