This narrative was found in the cellars of the Paris Opera House when the underground lake was at last drained. Undoubtely, there were a lot of people who were waiting for this - the legend of the Phantom of the Opera remained unconfirmed and troubled a lot of romantically inclined minds. Now, at last, the researchers were able to get to the farther shore and really found the ruins of an underground dwelling there.
Needless to say how thrilled were they to enter the legendary House by the Lake! So the beautiful and terrible legend was being confirmed at last, and MM. Renier and Galenier thought with elation about the forthcoming findings.
And they were not disappointed. Among other things they found a ruined organ, several pieces of furniture matching M. Leroux's description, the remains of the miniature 'palace of illusions' - the terrible torture chamber, a small room, which must have been Christine Daae's..
In that room MM. Renier and Galenier found a manuscript, written in red ink. To their great delight, it was the legendary score of Don Juan Triumphant! Nobody ever confirmed the existence of the mysterious piece, and now they held it in their hands. One that thing confirmed the existence of the Phantom of the Opera.
They also found several sketch schemes of different devices using counterweights. One of them was recognised as the mechanism used in the celebrated mirror in Mlle Daae's dressing room, another was the device controlling the door of the torture chamber... but some of the schemes couldn't be interpreted so easily.
These findings inspired the two researchers for the further research of the site by the fountain where Erik's remains had been found some time ago. And their efforts were soon rewardes with finding another manuscript, hidden in a small cavity inside the wall of the passage just over the grave.
This second manuscript turned out to be even more amazing. Written with an unsure hand, it was lying in a dry niche behind a wallstone. M.Renier opened it and read several first lines. And it occured to him that he was holding the thing never mentioned by anyone - the Phantom of the Opera's own diary!
Needless to say how great the finding was. Now we have a genuine picture of the mysterious 'ghost', and, though the narrative explains a lot of dark moments, there's another, much more important meaning of it. Now we can really glance to the abysmal depth of one of the darkest souls which ever existed.
And why do we need it? Perhaps to see the possible level of our own fall. And perhaps to remember that all we are part of the so-called 'humanity', which can not only proclaim beautiful ideals, but also twist someone's soul into something very far from ideals... Is the Phantom of the Opera to blame for what he was? Or it is people to blame, such people as you and we?..
By the way, there's no dates in this diary. We think that Erik didn't feel a real need to know the exact moment of his existence. For him dates meant nothing or almost nothing. So we couldn't use this diary for dating the events concerning the legend. May be it's good. Let something remain a mystery.
The mirrors. The mirrors...
Just last night I've had a dream about them. The damned things whirled around me, taunted me, laughed at me! At me, who had curbed them once!
I know, the Sultan of Mazenderan never had guessed the real reason of creating the Palace of Illusions. Well, he never had thought of things like that. He got what he liked, and that was all. And may be it was good for me, because... Good? God, who am I to know what is good and what is not? Is it good that I still live? Is it good that I have the power over the reflecting glasses?
Is it good to see my reflection in a mirror?
Ah, mirrors... One of the most devilish inventions of human mind. Nobody in the world knows their real gist, nobody but Erik. And what is that gist? Ah, that gist is in the fact that mirrors seem to tell the truth, but really they always lie! And the most terrible thing in all this is that the truth is caught in that lies, like a moth in a spider-web.
And every innocent girl, admiring herself in a mirror, becomes a victim of that terrible spider-web, not knowing that her soul is already in its unseen threads.
No one is free. No one - but me.
And that is why it was me who invented the Palace of Illusions, because only I could see the source of the real power of mirrors and master it.
If I could only look in a mirror myself!
She was walking through the mirrors.
She walks among the mirrors, and they don't reflect her! Oh, they have not the power to reflect her, to catch her in their cursed web. There was only she - and the blank glasses.
And me, unseen.
I believe I was mistaken. She can be reflected by a mirror.
That great mirror in her dressing room. Yes, I saw her reflection there. Evidently, her clarity is not flawless. But why only that mirror? The mirror I had devised?
Has it some of my power in it?
How dared it to steal from my power?
I wanted to break it last night, but she appeared, and I withdrew. No, she is not flawless... she can cry. Goddesses don't cry, and humans have the reflections in the mirrors. She was crying, sitting before the damned glass, and it must have been reflecting her disheveled mass of golden hair on her table.
Damn! I won't give her up to that glass!
And I began to sing.
She goes through the mirrors, and they don't reflect her. She goes through them every day and even doesn't notice. Any other person would have tangled in all those reflections, but there aren't any ones of her, so she is free to sing for me. Only that reflection, in that damned, big, mockering mirror.
The only mirror which has power over her unperfectness and that's why it will take her to me.
There's no truth in sight; images always lie. Sound is truthful. It deceives, but everyone knows it deceives, so it's a sort of honest deception. When I sing, do I promise to be good or please everyone around? No. I promise nothing. I only sing.
I have never been so happy. Even when I was killing on the arena in Mazenderan or in some Persian or Turkish labyrinth. I enjoy singing, unseen, oh, how thrilling it is for me! My blood runs through the veins, my voice lives and gives life to me, my soul trembles and unfurls itself; my body contourts in pleasure, because everything I want to pass to her returns to me and ignites my body as I want to ignite hers. Oh, her eyes, glittering in the half-gloom, filled with tears of joy and hope! They can't discert truth from lies, but who would say they must? They must never see the ugliness of truth. Oh, Christine, why are you not blind? You could see better if you were... Maybe then you would see me...
It's not important, when we plunge into the darkness. In the darkness sight is powerless and can't tell anyone its revelations poisoned by lies.
In the darkness everyone is blind.
In the darkness she would see me at last.
The darkness is punishment for the lying sight; thank God, there's no darkness for a voice. I always relied on my vocal prowess. I'm my voice; I'm the unseen Angel.
Angel of Music!
It was she who called me so. She had always been shy before, but yesterday she dared to ask at last:
"You are the Angel of Music sent by my father, aren't you?"
For a moment I believed that sound was lying as well as sight.
And then I understood there was no lie.
If I'm not a man, if I have no face to be reflected in a mirror, if I have no body to feel hot pleasures of life, if I'm only a voice, who am I, if not an angel?
I was not lying when I told her "Yes".
There's always punishment for those who doesn't tell lies!
Certainly - how foolish I was! I saw her not reflecting in those dirty mirrors and forgot that human eyes were not mirrors. They see her and admire her. I'm only a voice; she has a body and a face of a goddess. Her body has its own needs, her face shows it; the poor unsubstantial Angel can satisfy only her soul.
Oh, how happy she was, when she was telling me about her childhood friend's arrival!
I think she believed I would share her delight...
Oh, no, I'm not an angel at all! Angels do not feel such misery, angels do not weep in the darkness of despair. Angels do not know self-loathing.
She needed someone who had a mirror reflection. Someone whose adoring eyes she could see, whose hand would hold her, whose body would feel her divine form with pleasure. She needed not an Angel... she needed a man.
Am I a man yet?
Erik, you know the answer perfectly well! And if not, if you happened to forget it, take the mirror and look in it!
And see once more the hideous truth... so hideous it couldn't be the truth.
I am not a monster!
Christine, don't look at my face... It shows nothing... Christine, I have hands which crave to hold you, body which craves to share its passion with you... I have even lips to whisper your name and caress your face in the night...
If only you were in the darkness, Christine...
If only you woudn't want to see.
She wants. Damn that Vicomte! I saw him. A gorgeous human shell, what else to say. Is there anything inside? Who knows. That handsome shell hides everything but itself.
Sight and light always lie.
But she looks at him with appreciation, he looks at her with adoration.
And I look at the mirror.
Look at the mirror, Erik, look at the mirror well!
What do you see there?
Do you think you see yourself?
My face is the greatest lie of all. Even my mask is more honest. But what is a mask but a mask? Everyone believes in facial truth. They even have a synonymous expression to 'frank' - 'with an open face'.
With my open face no one will believe my frankness...
Look, Erik, look at the mirror. How do you like the monster there? What do you think, she will kiss you and you will be turned to a beautiful prince? I haven't even guts to laugh at this idea.
She will kiss you... She will kiss you...
I'm breaking that mirror!
Oh, how beautiful is the rain of shards! In all that candlelight... Stop, why candles? Why are there so many candles lit in my home?
I blow them out. Only two candles remain.
And then I'm leaving my home to give one more lesson to Christine - a non-corporeal, non-passionate, solely spiritual Angel...
I creep to the shadows of the Box Five.
I'm as unsubstantial as it is possible; neither mirrors nor eyes can see me.
I'm a shadow of a shadow; I'm a ghost as a ghost may be. No, there's no desire in my form; only in my spirit. That desire will be fulfilled now.
Oh, to hear her sing!
I could never sing on the stage - the stage is just another incarnation of the eternal mirror. There're always eyes around, thousands, millions of eyes. They are hungry for sights, they want to devour their prey. My voice was the voice of darkness - it had nothing to show them.
But now it's a different matter.
Was it teaching her that I've done? No, it wasn't. Why would I teach anybody? What on earth could I achieve by it? No, I wasn't teaching her; I did something more devious and devilish: I inserted my voice in her.
She is the sights for the hungry eyes; she sings with my voice.
There's nothing in her but my voice!
Beware, Vicomte - you're playing with fire. She's for eyes to admire, not for flesh to touch.
And here, in the shadows of the Box Five, I'm inspiring her silently. I give her everything I have. And the hungry-eyed crowd is listening to me thinking that it is listening to her. That's the irony of truth triumphant! Sing, my Angel of Music! Sing for me!
Oh, what a triumph!
There was never such a roaring in the Opera. I know, I'm here since the beginning of its existence. It was I who constructed the Opera basement, and then Garnier created that immence building, and all this, though nobody knew it, was for this evening, for you, for your divine singing, for your triumph, Christine.
It's my triumph!
You were the mask for me; it was I who sang tonignt.
Oh, Christine, how longing I am...
You fainted after the performance, and all those hands caught you, held you and carried you to her dressing-room. She was half-conscious, her head resting on some girl's shoulder, and all those hands... Not mine. Damn, it's not fair! It was me who was to take her into loving arms, to carry her to her bed, to caress her, to soothe her, to give her the pleasure of caring and caresses...
But she lives in the world where mirrors rule, there's no justice in it.
I shall take her to my world!
"Christine, it is necessary to love me!"
Necessary... necessary... like a gulp of air for the one locked in the airless torture chamber. A gulp of air to soothe the burning lungs...
"How can you tell me that, when I sing only for you?"
This is the triumph of the Angel of Music!
Of course she sings for me, how else it can be if there's my voice in her chest, my mind in her memory, my passion in her soul? But I never thought she apprehended it - that she would be able to apprehend.
She sings for me... she sings for me... my poor girl, my child, my fragile and exquisite Christine!
"You're tired, aren't you?"
She's pale and slightly trembling. It's not easy for a mortal to sing with an angel's voice.
"Oh yes! Tonight I've given you all my soul and I'm dead."
Oh my poor child.
My arms ache to take her in, my lips ache to soothe her...
"Your soul is beautiful, my child, and I thank you. No emperor has ever got such a gift! The angels wept tonight."
At least, one...
The corridors of mirrors; there are many of them. They fork, meet, bend, pass in intricate patterns through the whole world, and people don't understand it. Some of them are forever fated to go through mirror corridors and even not to notice it.
One of them leads to Perros-Guires. One would say that a corridor of mirrors can't lead anywhere, that it's just an illusion - and would be wrong. Corridors of mirrors always lead to some point - only to achieve it you must have a certain power.
She has. She is perfect enough not to be caught by the endless illusion, and she knows the way. The Vicomte doesn't - but he sees her and just follows. How easy it is to follow perfectness of others, to rely on it, not to find one's own way!
And I, of course, I have the power to pass through that corridor, because I know my way through the mirrors.
She invited the Vicomte to go with her - I shall go uninvited!
Wait, Christine: it's not the time yet for you to pass through the corridor leading to my domain...
You need some training before. Not to find your way - I shall lead you, oh I shall always lead you - but just to understand the truth and the deceptions of sight and sound. Oh in my underground kingdom you will need the skill. All right, I'll teach you - here I will really teach you.
That violin - you remember it, of course, don't you? It enters your dreams, sounds in your head when you're praying, it follows you when you're sad or merry with your past. Well, I'm showing you that what you called the past is also an illusion - the sound of the enchanted violin of your father's is returning to you!
Because love is not an illusion...
He loved you...
I love you...
"The resurrection of Lazarus", the resurrection of the past. The resurrection of the lost joy - you had got used to rely on the music of the one who loved you, you were lost without it? I shall return to you the music you need to be happy, I shall give you everything you had had before and much, much more! Could your Vicomte give you this? No, never! He can only follow you, whining and complaining... Ah, he's here, the little sailor who thinks he's a seasoned mariner who has nothing to be afraid in a quiet Brettany village? I'll show him he is wrong!
Those who try to get you out of my unseen grasp always have something to be afraid.
Aha, my dear mariner, it's not so easy for the young man fascinated by a beautiful girl's features to see my face? You're already going to swoon - here, in the empty nocturnal Brettany church? I'll help you!
And I'm absolutely indifferent to what will become to you.
Know that entering a maze of mirrors is dangerous.
I'm going through mirrors, and there's no reflection of me. I'm perfect; in every move, in every step, in every detail of the costume. I'm perfect; there's no one like me.
Don Juan Triumphant!
Beware those who find themselves in my world; if you have a mirror reflection, if you have eyes, you will lose your way hopelessly in the glassy labyrinth. You will be fully at my mercy, and I'm not merciful. I'm too perfect for mercy; why must I have pity for those imperfect creatures?
Enter the labyrinth, Vicomte... You will like it. That damned stagehand liked it too. He liked it so much that he decided not to look at anything else in his life...
You think of yourself as handsome, don't you, Vicomte? Well, we'll see. Handsomeness is entirely in the power of reflection, and it's I who govern the reflections. Enter the labyrinth, Vicomte, enter - enjoy your handsomeness in full measure. In such a measure you've never even suspected you could.
It was not me who murdered Joseph Buquet; mirrors did.
There are a lot of ones wandering in the reflection mazes. The stupid managers, for example, who even don't try to look around and go, seeing only the illusions of what they want to see. Madame Giry, who was so easily lured to the mirror maze that I would have problems with the thing other people call conscience if I had one. But angels needn't conscience, do they?
Oh, spare me of listening to that woman's singing! She is awful. She is considered to be a great singer by everyone - then everything I can express on it is contempt to the human race. I could produce better sounds using a rusty metal bar! At least, I would put some sense in it! No, I don't want to do anything to this La Carlotta but she will have a lot of problems if she doesn't remove herself from the stage tonight...
She hasn't. And seemed to be supported in it by all those hungry-eyed dwellers of reflections. All right, Messieurs - if you haven't enough sense to see just before you in full light, a disaster beyond your imagination will occur, and you will have to face the darkness - maybe it will teach you to see!
And the great chandelier falls. It kills the stupid thing they tried to insert istead of Madame Giry... kills Carlotta's triumph... kills everything around those maze-dwellers, crushing the fragile edifices of the glass corridors around them... you didn't know they were so fragile, did you? Oh now you will have enough problems with finding where you are really among all these shining shards... but for me it means nothing anymore.
I'm playing for Christine "The Resurrection of Lazarus".
When I was a young child, a monster came for me. My mother showed it to me, and I was so frightened, I was crying for the whole night. I was so afraid, and my mother even didn't sit with me while I was trying to sleep. But the monster was with me.
It is with me still. Everyone sees it just looking at me.
But I can see it only in a mirror.
Isn't it magic?
Am I not a magician? Ha! I can conjure things out of nowhere and make them disappear by the slight move of my hand; I can close and open doors when I even don't see them; I can create such things no one can even imagine. May be it's good for the world of mirrors and reflections not to know of my greatness - how could they accept it without losing their sanity or what they are calling by this word?
I cannot do only two things, and it's my greatest mystery.
I can't conjure another's soul and I can't make the monster disappear.
Erik, why are you such a coward as to conjure some 'monster' idea out of nowhere? You know perfectly well it's your face!
Damn it! Shut up, you sane idiot! What does that so-called 'my face' do with me? If that's 'my face', I have no face at all! That's why I'm perfect!
I believe I can conjure another person's soul.
Christine, she came to he, dear girl, she came, bewitched by my wicked voice, dear innocent child, she didn't know my voice was omnipotent. She thought it was her own decision. Isn't it the greatest magic? Oh, yes, I'm a liar in her eyes - an 'angel' with human hands. But... when I lifted her in my arms and she fell unconscious, dear child, in my embrace, I pressed her head to my chest and carried her to the fountain in my trembling arms, my treasure, my dear life, the only thing in all the worlds we can imagin which was important for me, and it was worth all the lies she could accuse me of. It was all for her - lessons, the triumph on the stage, the white horse, the immence number of flowers in the room I had prepared.
Oh, what a pleasure just to hold her, to inhale deep the aroma of her hair, her tumbled silky hair over her shoulders; to feel her heartbeat, to sence her soft skin under my cold palm. Her light breath touches my neck, as she lies in my arms, that soft warm touch of breath gives a great pleasure to me. No one has ever touched me with care, no one...
Christine, my love...
I bent low over her face, meaning to kiss her on the lips - oh, how my lips ached! - but no, I don't want stolen kisses... Only one kiss - and I'm rewarded for everything! Christine, Christine, here in the darkness you will see me, if you don't want to see with your eyes - your soul will see me as I am, Christine, and, may be, you will bestow a gift of one kiss to your poor Erik.
Only don't try to take off my mask.
Here, in the world where mirrors don't rule, we will be free to love each other, Christine.
You are lying on the floor, your head is resting on my lap, I'm bathing your temples. Wake up, dear child, here's the world for you, the whole world of magic and truth. I created it for myself, but now I'm giving it to you, whole, as it is - the whole world as a gift! Oh, I can give you more, much more, than any other man ever could! Oh, you are opening your eyes... your dear eyes, now you will know the truth - here, in this world of mine, I can't pretend to be an angel or a ghost, I'm just a man, a man who loves and aches for care and comfort in his loneliness. Forgive me, dear Christine, for my cheating... how else in the world could I approach you? Believe, I had reasons to act in such a way... Don't be angry for me, please... I love you, Christine, does it mean nothing?.. What a gorgeous feeling - your body touching mine. Oh, I know - you fainted at the touch of my hand, here I can't do anything, my hands are almost as loathsome as that thing I cover with my mask - cold... thin... but they can play the music no one ever had even heard, perform things no one ever had imagined, they can caress... Oh, how could they caress you, if you only let me do it! No, Christine, I shall not touch you, if you don't want...
The boat is rocking slowly on the water. The lake is black, I'm rowing, you're in the boat not looking at me. Well, Christine, don't look at me, if you don't want to - here sight means nothing. There're no nasty mirrors here except those submitted to me. But they are not for you.
And you are bewitched, dear child, by the power of mine, of the one who is creator of all this world and of everything that belongs here, including you. My power over you is growing stronger with every minute, I can feel it, but it's not the power I really want to have over you. Come, dear love, to my solitary abode, enter it, and let love and music cherish you here as no one cherished you yet and no one will be.
Behold - I'm kneeling at your feet.
I'm the voice!
But the voice has no power now. I want you, Christine, you can't imagine how I want you... all, with your eagerness and passion. What? Dear child, what do you want? Liberty? Certainly, there's no prison here for you, just a warm house... as long as you don't touch my mask.
Let me sing for you, Christine, let me sing all my soul out, for it's only for you I'm living, breathing, and singing yet.
God help me to die!
There's a scene in 'Lohengrin' when Elsa asks Lohengrin who he is and what his name is, though he forewarned her not to do it. He is to answer, but to answer means for him to lose all his power on earth and return to Monsalvat. It's a matter of trust, not curiosity. Lohengrin was paid for his love with trivial untrust and wish for some mirrorial guarantees. Lohengrin's name is his mystery as much as my mask is mine, and why was I to suffer the same untrust?
She has done it, she has unmasked me!
Christine, Christine... Why, why...
What have I done for you to be so cruel to me?
God, will you send me the merciful death? No, He doesn't. The cleric in my village had told the little child who late somehow became me that it was only in His power to decide when a person was to die. I think He is inwardly cruel - be He benevolent, He would kill me now...
Christine wanted to see - she is to pay for it!
That's the monster's name. That's my name too, since we share everything but the face - it's only his, I have no other face but the mask. Yet I have many other names - I'm the Phantom of the Opera, the Opera Ghost, the Angel of Music... I'm even Erik, but HE has no name but Don Juan Triumphant.
No woman has a chance to stand her ground when she is beholded by Don Juan Triumphant. No woman can calmly look at his burning eyes, no woman can endure his touch, his embrace. He triumphs with his outlook only, and standing over a woman's unconscious form he understands that his triumph has done nothing to satisfy his longing - my longing, is it not? - and goes further, to the new fruitless triumphs.
Christine wanted to see Angel of Music's face, but she was forewarned. I thought she had understood, but she hadn't - and beholded the face of Don Juan Triumphant.
Now she is in his power, and God help her - I don't want to do it... I can't do it.
God help me!
O, Christine, Christine... Why did you need to know my face? Is a face really a man? This unhappy Phantom of the Opera would cherish you all his life, would give you everything he has, would do anything you like, would endure hell for you... he needn't any face to do it. But I have no face, only Don Juan Triumphant has... now you're in his power, and he fiercely desires you and... hates you...
I love you...
My master used to tease me: Don Juan Triumphant. I was a circus freak then - me! Damn every breath of mine at that time!
It was then I learned that women swooned at the sight of my face. It was then I learned no woman would ever want me. I learned it too early, I think...
Christine, I love you... Why did you do it? Why? Maybe you could want me masked - gentle, loving, forever devoted, who knows, maybe you could? Maybe? Now there's no hope. There's only Don Juan Triumphant's triumph.
Damned triumph - her terrified form, my unfulfilled longing.
What other music could compose this freak?
I'm floating in the red waves of music.
Oh, who ever have written such music? There's no one. I'm the greatest composer in the world, hey? In what world? In mine - certainly, since there're no others - whom I must compare myself with? In that world of mirrors - yes! The humble music they got used to has nothing to do with the maelstrome of sounds I'm drowning in. They're red, red, those waves, red like ink I use to write them down, red like roses, redder than blood. The music of the hell... Music, which burns, but is not struck by the fire of Heaven...
Music of the truth. Music of the darkness.
What is it?
A sound from the world of mirrors?
It's Christine! I know it, though I do not dare to turn to her. These are her steps - as if I don't know their sound, even through the organ roaring. Her breath and her words... What?!
'Erik, show me your face without fear!'
I believed at once, though I hadn't any reason to believe. What happened to her? I didn't think of it. I believed her words because most of all in the world I wanted to believe them.
And I fell at her feet, and I kissed the hem of her dress, and I cried of happiness...
But, though I didn't see her face, I felt her stiffening.
Don Juan Triumphant was triumphant once again.
Christine, I beg you...
I beg you, please show some kindness to me. You show it to everyone from little dancer apprentices to the old people dwelling peacefully somewhere in the remote corners of the Opera. There's no reason for Erik to be excluded from that circle of your kindness, is there?
Oh, yes, the kindness Erik needs is really great, much greater than those old pairs in their God-forsaken dwellings have got...
But, after all, he's done much more for you - doesn't he deserve a little more from you? Doesn't he deserve any kindness? Why?
Just because those people have their nice faces, and Erik hasn't?
Ah, you're kind to me. You are, really. No one has ever been. I'm sitting at the hearth, playing with the ashes of my mask you've burned today...
The touch of the warm aches is almost caring.
I would keep her here, in my domain, forever. But she needs to see the sunlight, to sing, to be admired. Why - it is beyond my understanding, why my devotion is not enough. But if she wants it, let it be so. She has promised me to return.
Only her eyes seemed to be empty.
Just you try not to return, Christine, just you try. I'll do such inspeakable things that the chandelier fall would seem an innocent joke. I would do them to your Vicomte, your sweet childhood friend, Raoul, I would do them to the people in the Opera, to the whole world. You would tread in darkness and remember that this darkness is created by you, by your own disobedience of my will. You will forever remember the tortured face of the dying Vicomte... oh his face won't be much better than Erik's when he is dying - believe me! That sweet face! Only try not to return - I'll turn the whole Opera in the tumult, where every nice old man from those dark corners would turn mad seeing the terrible transformation of their universe! I would do that, and that, and many other things! You know Erik is capable of them!
Christine... please return... don't leave me here, in the depth of despair, alone forever...
She leaves, a spark in the subterranian gloom. I imagine how she passes the tunnel to the Rue Scribe, goes along the street and enters the Opera... what costume would she wear for tonight's Masquerade?
What is a Masquerade? It's a party where everyone puts on masks trying not to be recognized. The ultimate goal of a Masquerade is to walk among people like some other person, to conceal the face betraying one's identity.
But Erik never acts like everyone else. Oh he would love to, maybe, but he can't. All right, says Erik, Masquerade, you say? For me the whole life is a damned masquerade! And tonight, tonight I will come to your petty party with an open face!
Grinning, I'm reaching for a mirror. Oh, I broke it lately, I've forgotten. All right. I'll see my reflection in your eyes, you humans, in your empty, stupid, widely opened eyes!
I think the red velvet costume really flatters me, wouldn't you say? How nicely it fits, how beautifully presents my slim figure... And for the role I've chosen for tonight I needn't any mask!
The red velvet cloak is so soft, so brightly and yet deep-coloured, so beautiful with its majestic train, so alluring and pleasant to touch... unlike my hands. But anyone who dares to touch me would get the touch of my hand. Not for any real goal - just to amuse myself. This is a Masquerade, after all!
And so I'm plunging in the depths of worldly mirrors...
Hm, I'm having a real success. I must admit I'm flattered. At last they treat me as they should, these who call themselves human beings!
They're afraid of me, really afraid. That's right, humans, when you see a threat you recognise it, for it you have enough brains, don't you? I'm passing among them majestically celebrated, I'm undoubtely the best costume in this Masquerade... everyone tries to guess who I am, sweetly trembling at the thought that this gorgeous mask conceals the face so well...
And no one recognizes me!
Fools, the Phantom of the Opera has arrived with his face open and you don't recognize him? My contempt to the human race is increasing with every minute.
No one recognizes me but the black domino... and the white domino.
Ah, the black domino! Christine, have you forgotten the deceptions of sight mean nothing for me? Have you really hoped to deceive me with that pitiful mask?
And the white domino, matching your black! Have you hoped to deceive me with this cheap trick? If you did, then your ally was too stupid. He failed you and betrayed himself. The young man who began flailing his hands and run like mad as soon as he saw me - who could that be but your precious Raoul de Chagny? Really, the costume of Pierrot befits him well - all he can is whining and complaining!
Christine, where are you? And where is that damned white domino? Where? Are you somewhere in a private box together with him? Kissing? Embracing? Giving that whining nothing everything I crave and I am bereft of? Oh, only try to be late to your dressing-room, and your Vicomte won't see the next dawn...
Black, red and white - the three are locked in the fatal triangle, and someone won't leave it alive. I know that.
Ironic - it was I who was late. I was so engrossed in looking for Christine, for the Vicomte, for them both... that I forgot about the meeting time.
But that meant nothing. She was there, in her dressing-room, when I called her.
Fate links thee to me!
Fate links thee to me!
Of course it's fate, and it's sheer stupidity to fight it. Christine... you seem to have understood that, haven't you? Come to me, my love, come to me! Oh you're returning, you decided not to desert me!
My voice rings with delight: my little Christine loves me. She has proved it by her return! Oh yes, she does love me! She loves me!
Oh, what a majestic feeling! She loves me, and soon, soon we shall be happy together. Fate links thee to me! Fate links thee to me!
I even didn't kill that little pest when he appeared from his hiding point and tried to catch Christine while she was passing through the mirror. He seems to be everywhere beside Christine when she's above the ground, the petty boy. It was evident she hadn't known of his presence, and for me he was nothing then. I showed him many laughing Christines... let him satisfy himself with fleeting images. The only real Christine is mine!
Maybe you, Chagny, even have some chances to live yet.
I love you, Christine. I want you to love me for myself. I'm not as bad as I may seem. You liked my voice, didn't you? And you like it still, though you know the horrible face beneath the mask of the man singing with that voice. You liked my presents, my lessons, my selfless devotion to you. If I had a face, a normal face, wouldn't you be touched by all this? You would, of course. So... my face is the only flaw, isn't it? But... I'm not to blame for it. I'm not to blame for my thin, cold hands... for all this frame, for this repulsive mortal carcass. I didn't choose it, after all. And my soul had not been worse than any other human souls until the world showed me it didn't wait for anything than evil from me. Why would I act differently if the world doesn't see the difference? Doesn't want to see? It gets from me the very things it expects, and that's all right for those who call themselves humans.
But I'm sick and tired of being regarded as a monster or an animal. I can't bear it anymore. I want to be like anyone else. Do you hear me? I want to be like anyone else!
Christine, Christine... please save me from this pit of despair... please... please. I could show you so much... tell you so many things... I possess knowledge no one in the world possesses. I'm the best singer and musician in the world - you know that. But I'm also a scientist, an architect, an inventor... isn't it possible to love me? Of course it is. You love me, Christine, don't you? Now, when you know me, you love me for myself. You love me, and I feel things I've never felt. Hope, and gentleness.
Ah, allow me to give you the first present as my bride. You are Erik's beloved bride, and what is presented to beloved brides? Rings! Look, here's the engagement ring for you. So small, so innocent, it is very much like you. Will you put it on? Do it! And remember: until you wear that ring nothing will harm you and Erik will always be your friend. But if you ever discard it you will have the greatest remorse because Erik's revenge would be terrible!
I told her that when she was once again leaving my cozy world of darkness, magic and truth for the harsh world of light and deception. I don't know what to do with my world for her not to want to return back from it. She doesn't agree to forget the world where mirrors rule. God sees I don't understand what attracts her there. But I gave her that ring linking her to me now. At least while she wears it I can know a semblance of peace... and some hope...
After all, she can't kiss the Vicomte while wearing my engagement ring! It's against all the human rules she acknowledges!
I crounched under the trapdoor I'd just shut not to see how she was embracing him. The pain was too great. I dug my nails into my flesh not to cry aloud. My head was aching, my lips were bleeding, and still it was only beginning of the pain. I still could, yes, could control myself to keep silence.
I was already guessing that some time later - very soon, really - I would experience a pain much greater than that. But I didn't want to believe it... I wanted to believe her... I wanted to believe her so much!
Yes she was afraid of me. How could she be so silly? Why she, the perfect creature with the body of a goddess and the soul of an angel, she for whom I am ready to suffer the very hell, consider me dangerous for her? I would never touch a hair on her head... why is she afraid of me?
Why is she afraid for her plaything, this Vicomte? She is wearing my ring, she has assured me that he is nothing for her, nothing but the old friend - nothing!
And now she drags him far from the trapdoors, far, as far as she can - to the very roof of the Opera.
She, the naive thing, she decided I wouldn't follow her there!
She is going to leave...
I clutched the strings of Apollo's lyre with all my strengh in order not to fall, and I couldn't close my eyes with my hands, and Don Juan Triumphant was standing in front of me, laughing, grimacing, displaying his hateful, hateful face.
She doesn't love me... doesn't love me at all...
Everything I've done, everything I've given to her, all my tenderness, all my care, all my love and my music mean only one thing for her - terror. Betrayal is everything I can count on. Terror and revulsion is everything she feels towards me. This is the real triumph of Don Juan Triumphant, the mockery of love, the repulsive, loathsome essense I present in this world.
God... they say you have mercy sometimes... even to the most loathsome creatures in the world... can't I get a little of your mercy... The pain... the pain...
But the torture hasn't ended yet... in fact, it has only began. I'm tied to the Apollo statue, as if it is some intricate torture design I've seen in Persian court. And her words are everything in the world - fire, acid, cold, blades, electricity... Don Juan Triumphant is laughing louder and louder... it hurts... hurts...
I couldn't contain a moan when she told the Vicomte how she saw me for the first time. They heard... there was even the lilt of compassion in their voices... but they didn't look at the statue. Ah, I'll listen to her till the end... to her sweet, beautiful beyond any imagination, beloved, innocent voice... through that laughter... cutting me like the finest blades...
She told him my name...
She told everything.
Nothing remained for Erik. Nothing unknown by this repulsively handsome creature of mirrors. She revealed to him my love, adoration, jealousy, deceit and ugliness.
"Yes I would return if I didn't see his face... He moved, interested, even touched me enough with his tears concealed by his mask... I can't be called ungrateful and I couldn't forget that he was the Voice who had inspired me with his genius. I would return! But now if I managed to leave the catacombs I would never return there! One doesn't return to the grave to the infatuated corpse!"
You abominable miscreation of God, stop laughing... stop laughing... stop...
And when Christine gave Raoul her lips, Don Juan Triumphant abruptly ceased laughing... There is nothing for me... nothing... no love... no air...
Even no music in my voice - only the shriek of despair.
And when they had left, scared, and I, unable to hold to anything any more, fell on the roof from my torture perch, my numbing hands felt something under the palm... something small, and round, and still warm.
And for a long time I wept, lying there forsaken on the roof and hopelessly kissing the last mocking shard of my broken hope... feeling the warmness of her hands leaving the golden band.
There's no Don Juan Triumpant... no monster... there's only myself.
Angel of Music is defeated, defeated forever by the mocking mirrors.
The lying sight celebrates its victory over the truthful sound.
Nothing remains - music is empty, soul is hollow, spirit is broken.
But somehow I still live; however powerful my desire to lie into my coffin, close my eyes and stop existing is, I am not able to do that. There's the sound beating in my hideous head, the hollow, weeping sound of a single violin string, the hopeless, hapless cry in the void. It hurts and doesn't allow me to forget about my existence. The last song of the angel dying in the world...
My music, Don Juan Triumphant... The sound in my head is the counterpoint to the main theme.
I'm creeping to the score and writing down the notes sounding in my head. Maybe it would be a little easier for me to exist after it.
The music slowly transforms. The weep turns into the calm, fruitless despair, and then dissolves. The orchestration is written almost by itself, automatically. This is the final. The work of my life - Don Juan Triumphant - is finished.
Why do I live still, I wonder...
All right, Christine. You are no better than the whole world of mirrors. You are not flawless, though how it can be, I can't apprehend. You don't regard me as a man, all my love and devotion notwithstanding, you only think of me as a monster...
And everything I want is to be like anyone else and to have the things anyone else in this world has - love, normal home above the ground, family...
Is it difficult for you to understand such simple things?
All right, Christine, if to be a monster is the only way to
my dream left to me by you, so be it!
So listen to my proposal.
As you can't understand when I'm treating you as a man would, if you still regard me as the monster, than the monster I am. You will never belong to anyone but me! Yes or no, if no, everyone is dead and buried! So it's either the wedding mass or the requiem mass!
My dear, my love, what have you done? Your head is bleeding, your face is bruised... Oh, I understand. You wanted to kill yourself... so you prefer to be dead than married to me... But that's not right! I won't allow you to do it like this! If you want to die, all right, but don't hope you'll die alone! In life or in death, I'll follow you, have you forgotten that fate links thee to me?
The requiem mass is not at all gay, whereas the wedding mass - you can take my word for it - is magnificent! You must take a resolution and know your own mind! I can't go on living like this, like a mole in a burrow! Don Juan Triumphant is finished and now I want to live like everybody else. I want to have a wife like everybody else and to take her out on Sundays. I have invented a mask that makes me look like anybody. People will not even turn round in the streets. You will be the happiest of women. And we will sing, all by ourselves, till we swoon away with delight. You are crying! You are afraid of me! And yet I am not really wicked. Love me and you shall see! All I wanted was to be loved for myself. If you loved me I should be as gentle as a lamb and you could do anything with me that you pleased.
But you don't love me!
You don't love me!
You don't love me!
The man who is known as the Persian is the only person known to me who doesn't allow mirrors to deceive him completely. That's why he survived in Persia after meeting me. That's why later I survived, though God sees I really don't know why exactly he did it. Sometimes I supposed just to make my life unbearable, especially after he had learned who the Opera Ghost was and took a habit to spy after me. The damned man could hide on the far shore of the lake for twenty-four hours! He had been poking his nose in all my affairs! He learned about my romance with Christine and tried to persuade me that I wasn't loved for myself. He didn't leave me in peace, as if he couldn't! Damn, why people sometimes don't understand simple things, even such clever people as the Persian? He's not a police chief in Persia any more, well I suppose it's me who is to blame for it, from the mirrorial point of view... but we both seem to share the contempt to the mirrors. I didn't make him save me, after all, it was purely his choice. I suppose he just likes to have something macabre to think about, for example, me.
But I suppose he's thought about his favourite idea too much recently!
And - here's the result of his thoughts - he's here, inside the torture chamber, with this young fellow...
But I have neither time no desire to think of them now. They really don't exist any more. Everything that makes sense is Christine's choice.
The choice is very simple, as simple as all the words I've spoken to her. Why can't she comprehend it, I don't know. She even doesn't need to tell me anything - I know how a gentleman respecting woman's modesty must behave! These scorpion and grasshopper she has to turn would say everything for her. It's so simple, God knows, it's so simple... But I'm so tired already, I can't wait any more, my lungs have burned out... if she doesn't revive me with her yes - even for the sake of those petty humans above - I'll say no for her and stop this misery for all four of us.
This is the choice... this is the point of no return.
[Several lines are drawn in absolutely unrecoginzable writing]
...When you love, you love not to possess and take, but to offer and give...
I had known it. Did I? I had read about it in books and I have seen it in operas, and I have been sure I was doing everything in accordance to that. Was it another mirrorial lie? I can't understand any more where's truth and there're lies. It's not... just... just I've...
I don't know the words... I don't know why I have...
[A sketch silouette of a young woman leaving through a door]
...Everything is finished, everything is fixed. Absolutely clear, now, the walls of my world have crumpled... I'm alone in the dark, cold emptiness assieged by all the mirrors in the world.
My hand is crumpling a lump of earth at the rim of my grave I'm lying next to. I mustn't do that - when she comes everything should be in perfect order, no extra dirt...
I love her...
I love her...
In my grave I'll be sleeping calmly at last, no one would point at me, terrified or laughing, no one would chase me or recoil from me.
My love granted me the release I have been seeking for such a long time. The whole life craving peace I have found it in death, granted by love...
Will she come...
Actually, I'm not in pain any more, only a little cold... no more...
I've prepared the grave, she will have only to push my body there and release the counterweight holding the mass of earth against falling. I can't make her dig me in, at least here I was able to use my mind and knowledge to save her from this macabre work...
Will she come...
She will come.
She's a good girl, she won't betray me, after all, I believe in her, like I believe in God. I couldn't live and love like anyone else, but I will be buried like anyone else - death unifies everybody, there're no beauty or ugliness for this fair mistress, mirrors don't have the power over it at all... So she will come, my love, and grant me the last gift a living can give to a deceased - the gift of decent burial. I believe, she will do it, because there's no one in the whole world I can trust...
She will return, and return soon. And, if there's God in the world, - and I know He exists, for no one but Him could create such a gorgeous creature as Christine, - I'll feel her last touch when she puts the ring on my finger...
[Here the narrative ends, but under the text there's one word written across the page with crampling, big, almost unrecognisible letters, the final two dropping down from the line:]
S t e p s
For a long time I was studying the diary. I was fascinated by it. I never parted with it for about a year.
Once, as a researcher, I visited a well-known architect, Charles Denoit. He was a man of about fifty, certainly talented and seasoned in his work. For half a day we discussed the problems of constructing buildings on the sandy ground, since that was the project we both were involved in.
After the dinner M. Denoit got a letter from his department and told that he was ordered to arrive immediately. He asked me to excuse and offered to finish our discussion after his return. I agreed and set myself waiting for him (certainly with the Phantom's diary).
After an hour of waiting Charles' mother came and offered me some coffee. His mother was of about 70 and very beautiful. I left for the drawing-room and had coffee there along with the pleasant chat to the old lady.
When I refreshed himself after the coffee and returned to the room where I had left the diary, I saw Charles' mother there. She was standing rigid near the table, touching the diary with its telltale red-ink lines with stiffened hands. She was evidently reading.
Hearing me entering, she turned to me. Her face was pale and frozen.
- Where have you found this? - she asked in a husky whisper.
And I understood whom I was talking with.
- In the wall beside the grave, - I answered calmly.
She only nodded. She understood that I had guessed her identity and made no remarks on it.
- Impossible. I never knew of its existence...
- I guess nobody did. But, after all, it seems to be logical - sometimes he needed to talk to somebody, and for it he had only himself!
She nodded again.
- Have you found his body?
- Yes, I have.
- What have you done with it?
- I closed his grave and left him to his eternal rest.
- It's good. Thank you, - Christine said. - I wouldn't like someone defiling his remains. He didn't deserve it. Let him rest, God knows he needs it.
She looked at the narrative in red ink.
- May I read it? - she asked.
- Certainly, - I gave it to her.
She took it with trembling hands. Evidently, the 50-year past had yet the powerful inluence on her.
Christine began to read. I looked at her.
Having read several first pages, she lifted her head, turned to me and said:
- We'd changed our name, Raoul and I... He had to relinguish his Comte title (he was the Comte after his brother's death), but we both thought it was necessary. Raoul died about 5 years ago. We have two children, Charles whom you know and Lilly, who is thirty-eight now. They, too, have their children. We are such a normal family... I know, everyone in Paris wondered then where I had got to. There were some fantastic theories. And we just wanted to mingle with other people and forget all this story. - She nodded to the notebook. - Yet how could it be forgotten?
I silently agreed. She continued to read.
She was slim, graceful, her legendary gold hair was now completely gray, but still thick. A lot of wrinkles, like small crevices, lined her face, but the eyes shone the deepest blueness - those same eyes that had enraptured the Phantom of the Opera 50 years ago. Her small hands were wrinkled, too, but I easily could imagine them young and unlined, trembling in the darkness of the underground passages.
She again lifted her head:
- You sit here and think: "This is the legendary Christine, the beloved of the Phantom of the Opera." That's why Raoul and I changed our name. We wanted people to think of me only as of Raoul's wife. The fact that we were still Raoul and Christine interested nobody - there are a lot of Raouls and Christines, after all. So we got what we wanted, and I thought I would be able to forget it all now...
- But you didn't? - I guessed what was next.
She shook her head.
- But there was no horror in those memories. Just a pity. After I had learned not to fear him, - she nodded to the notebook, - I still pitied him. I thought the pity was all...
She was evidently reading something concerning her.
- And was it?
She lifted her gase and looked to the lush delicate potted plants on the windowsill.
- Yes, - she told me firmly. - I married the man I wanted to marry, the best man in the world, the man who cherished me ever since. I loved him. He loved me. No one could interfere with that fact.
She paused and added:
- And only when I was about 28, I understood what I had lost!
I looked at her with a surprised look. She caught it and said:
- Well, as a young girl I thought I had to choose between my childhood friend who loved me and whom I loved and a... deformed man who frightened me with his face and his passion. Raoul meant to me the pleasant life I dreamed about, and Erik could mean only the darkness for my eyes and soul. So I thought. And only getting older, being myself already a mother of a ten-year child, I understood what there really was. I was offered a great, impossible love, the love which transforms everything around. Not the usual gentle convenient love we think as of the limit of our dreams, but the love like a thunder, like an earthquake - troublesome, unconvinient, disastrous. The love born in a darkness, but able to shine with impossible blinding light, dissolving that darkness forever. I was offered the greatest treasure in the world, and I rejected it only because the man who wanted to give it to me was ugly and crazy!
- But you loved Raoul, didn't you? - I said softly.
- Well, I loved him... Why such unjustice? Why such a love - I mean Erik's love - turned out to be unrequired by anyone? He deserved a little happiness... maybe a lot of happiness. What he got was just the death in the cellars... Well, I never thought I could take him out of there, and I never ever tried!
She continued to read. I took another book. Two hours and a half passed. Suddenly she gasped aloud.
She was looking at the past page. Seeing me watching her, she said incomprehensibly:
- So he wrote it till the last time... I told it to nobody... to nobody...
She saw the question in my eyes and began to tell.
- Well, in the novel by Leroux there were not any passionate kisses between me and Erik. He kissed me on the forehead, then I kissed him on the forehead, and Raoul and I left. Well, it was just so! Never did I give Raoul a chance to doubt me.
But when I wrote that advertisement in the 'Epoque', I did what I was obliged to do. I went to the opera cellars. But when I found him, he was still alive.
He evidently had underestimated his health. When I came, he even managed to stand for several seconds. And I was there with him about 18 hours till he died. He died before my eyes.
I really didn't want him to die. When he didn't threaten me and someone whom I cared for, I could care for him, and I did. I offered to take him out of the cellars, to call a doctor, I really wanted to save his life. But he said he was too tired. The life without me seemed to him just worse than the death. - The woman smiled sadly. - I tried to heal him, but he died nethertheless. I did as he had asked. Then I returned to my Raoul, and we said nothing to each other. Soon we were married.
- As the Denoits?
The woman closed the diary and returned it to me. We both said nothing for a while.
Finally I asked:
- Do your children know who you are?
- No, - she smiled. - For them I am just Christine Denoit, their mother. They used to tease us as 'Raoul and Christine' after reading M.Leroux's novel, but they don't know it wasn't a teasing, it was the truth.
Soon Charles Denoit returned, and we finished our pleasant discussion. Then the whole family gathered in a large, well-lit drawing-room.
- By the way, where's Michel? - Christine asked Charles suddenly.
He didn't have time to answer - a young man of about 19 entered the drawing-room, bearing a striking resemblance to Charles.
- This is my eldest grandson, - Christine said. - Michel, will you sing for our guest tonight?
The youth nodded in silence and quickly left. Christine explained:
- Michel is a student in Sorbonna, studies mathematics, but he posesses a good voice. I taught him myself when he was a child, but he chose another career. Still, he sings for us sometimes.
And the time came when Michel sat at the piano and began to sing.
With the first sound of his voice I started. His voice, a clear and strong tenor, had an unearthy quality in it, something almost impossible to imagine in a human voice. Of course, he was the grandson of Christine Daae...
I looked at her. Her eyes shone, and I suddenly I saw her not as she was, but as she had been 50 years ago - young, eager, all in childish love for the Angel of Music's fascinating voice. Then the image disappeared, but she continued to listen intently.
Were her words about her sole devotion to Raoul a convenient lie? Perhaps, I thought, listening to the charming voice, Erik had got the happiness he desired before his end. And Raoul didn't need to know it.
I looked at Christine. She looked back at me, and in her eyes I saw the flame of triumph.
[The author's note: I have used the genuine Leroux' text, as it is the original book I'm using the concept of. I also used some lines from A.Lloyd Webber's musical libretto.]