`I shan't go to the North Pole!'
Christine, who, in her innocence, had not dreamed of such a possibility, suddenly discovered the danger of the game and reproached herself bitterly. She did not say a word in reply to Raoul's remark and went straight home.
This happened in the afternoon, in the singer's dressing-room, where they met every day and where they amused themselves by dining on three biscuits, two glasses of port and a bunch of violets. In the evening, she did not sing; and he did not receive his usual letter, though they had arranged to write to each other daily during that month. The next morning, he ran off to Mamma Valérius, who told him that Christine had gone away for two days. She had left at five o'clock the day before.
Raoul was distracted. He hated Mamma Valérius for giving him such news as that with such stupefying calmness. He tried to sound her, but the old lady obviously knew nothing.
Christine returned on the following day. She returned in triumph. She renewed her extraordinary success of the gala performance. Since the adventure of the `toad,' Carlotta had not been able to appear on the stage. The terror of a fresh `co-ack' filled her heart and deprived her of all her power of singing; and the theater that had witnessed her incomprehensible disgrace had become odious to her. She contrived to cancel her contract. Daaé was offered the vacant place for the time. She received thunders of applause in the Juive.
The viscount, who, of course, was present, was the only one to suffer on hearing the thousand echoes of this fresh triumph; for Christine still wore her plain gold ring. A distant voice whispered in the young man's ear:
`She is wearing the ring again to-night; and you did not give it to her. She gave her soul again tonight and did not give it to you....If she will not tell you what she has been doing the past two days...you must go and ask Erik!'
He ran behind the scenes and placed himself in her way. She saw him for her eyes were looking for him. She said:
And she dragged him to her dressing-room.
Raoul at once threw himself on his knees before her. He swore to her that he would go and he entreated her never again to withhold a single hour of the ideal happiness which she had promised him. She let her tears flow. They kissed like a despairing brother and sister who have been smitten with a common loss and who meet to mourn a dead parent.
Suddenly, she snatched herself from the young man's soft and timid embrace, seemed to listen to something, and, with a quick gesture, pointed to the door. When he was on the threshold, she said, in so low a voice that the viscount guessed rather than heard her words:
`To-morrow, my dear betrothed! And be happy, Raoul: I sang for you to-night!'
He returned the next day. But those two days of absence had broken the charm of their delightful make- believe. They looked at each other, in the dressing-room, with their sad eyes, without exchanging a word. Raoul had to restrain himself not to cry out:
`I am jealous! I am jealous! I am jealous!'
But she heard him all the same. Then she said:
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