`No!...I'm frightened!...I tell you, I'm afraid of the dark!... I don't care about that room now....You're always frightening me, like a child, with your torture-chamber!...And so I became inquisitive....But I don't care about it now...not a bit...not a bit!'
And that which I feared above all things began, automatically. We were suddenly flooded with light! Yes, on our side of the wall, everything seemed aglow. The Vicomte de Chagny was so much taken aback that he staggered. And the angry voice roared:
`I told you there was some one! Do you see the window now? The lighted window, right up there? The man behind the wall can't see it! But you shall go up the folding steps: that is what they are there for!...You have often asked me to tell you; and now you know!...They are there to give a peep into the torture- chamber ...you inquisitive little thing!'
`What tortures?...Who is being tortured?...Erik, Erik, say you are only trying to frighten me!...Say it, if you love me, Erik!...There are no tortures, are there?'
`Go and look at the little window, dear!'
I do not know if the viscount heard the girl's swooning voice, for he was too much occupied by the astounding spectacle that now appeared before his distracted gaze. As for me, I had seen that sight too often, through the little window, at the time of the rosy hours of Mazenderan; and I cared only for what was being said next door, seeking for a hint how to act, what resolution to take.
`Go and peep through the little window! Tell me what he looks like!'
We heard the steps being dragged against the wall.
`Up with you!...No!...No, I will go up myself, dear!'
`Oh, very well, I will go up. Let me go!'
`Oh, my darling, my darling!...How sweet of you!...How nice of you to save me the exertion at my age!...Tell me what he looks like!'
At that moment, we distinctly heard these words above our heads:
`There is no one there, dear!'
`No one?...Are you sure there is no one?'
`Why, of course not...no one!'
`Well, that's all right!...What's the matter, Christine? You're not going to faint, are you...as there is no one there?... Here...come down...there!...Pull yourself together...as there is no one there!...but how do you like the landscape?'
`Oh, very much!'
`There, that's better!...You're better now, are you not?... That's all right, you're better!...No excitement!...And what a funny house, isn't it, with landscapes like that in it?'
`Yes, it's like the Musée Grévin....But, say, Erik...there are no tortures in there!...What a fright you gave me!'
`Why...as there is no one there?'
`Did you design that room? It's very handsome. You're a great artist, Erik.'
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