`The Angel of Music! Really! That is very curious!...The Angel of Music!' And, turning to the managers, M. Mifroid asked, `Have you an Angel of Music on the premises, gentlemen?'

Richard and Moncharmin shook their heads, without even speaking.

`Oh,' said the viscount, `those gentlemen have heard of the Opera ghost. Well, I am in a position to state that the Opera ghost and the Angel of Music are one and the same person; and his real name is Erik.'

M. Mifroid rose and looked at Raoul attentively.

`I beg your pardon, monsieur but is it your intention to make fun of the law? And, if not, what is all this about the Opera ghost?'

`I say that these gentlemen have heard of him.'

`Gentlemen, it appears that you know the Opera ghost?'

Richard rose, with the remaining hairs of his mustache in his hand.

`No, M. Commissary, no, we do not know him, but we wish that we did, for this very evening he has robbed us of twenty-thousand francs!'

And Richard turned a terrible look on Moncharmin, which seemed to say:

`Give me back the twenty-thousand francs, or I'll tell the whole story.'

Moncharmin understood what he meant, for, with a distracted gesture, he said:

`Oh, tell everything and have done with it!'

As for Mifroid, he looked at the managers and at Raoul by turns and wondered whether he had strayed into a lunatic asylum. He passed his hand through his hair.

`A ghost,' he said, `who, on the same evening, carries off an opera-singer and steals twenty-thousand francs is a ghost who must have his hands very full! If you don't mind, we will take the questions in order. The singer first, the twenty-thousand francs after. Come, M. de Chagny, let us try to talk seriously. You believe that Mlle. Christine Daaé has been carried off by an individual called Erik. Do you know this person? Have you seen him?'



`In a church yard.'

M. Mifroid gave a start, began to scrutinize Raoul again and said:

`Of course!...That's where ghosts usually hang out!...And what were you doing in that churchyard?'

`Monsieur,' said Raoul, `I can quite understand how absurd my replies must seem to you. But I beg you to believe that I am in full possession of my faculties. The safety of the person dearest to me in the world is at stake. I should like to convince you in a few words, for time is pressing and every minute is valuable. Unfortunately, if I do not tell you the strangest story that ever was from the beginning, you will not believe me. I will tell you all I know about the Opera ghost, M. Commissary. Alas, I do not know much!...'

`Never mind, go on, go on!' exclaimed Richard and Moncharmin, suddenly greatly interested.

  By PanEris using Melati.

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