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The Phantom of the Opera

I have now told the singular, but veracious story of the Opera ghost. As I declared on the
first page of this work, it is no longer possible to deny that Erik really lived. There are to-
day so many proofs of his existence within the reach of everybody that we can follow
Erik's actions logically through the whole tragedy of the Chagnys.
There is no need to repeat here how greatly the case excited the capital. The kidnapping
of the artist, the death of the Comte de Chagny under such exceptional conditions, the
disappearance of his brother, the drugging of the gas-man at the Opera and of his two
assistants: what tragedies, what passions, what crimes had surrounded the idyll of Raoul
and the sweet and charming Christine!...What had become of that wonderful, mysterious
artist of whom the world was never, never to hear again?...She was represented as the
victim of a rivalry between the two brothers; and nobody suspected what had really
happened, nobody understood that, as Raoul and Christine had both disappeared, both
had withdrawn far from the world to enjoy a happiness which they would not have cared
to make public after the inexplicable death of Count Philippe....They took the train one
day from "the northern railway station of the world." ...Possibly, I too shall take the train
at that station, one day, and go and seek around thy lakes, O Norway, O silent
Scandinavia, for the perhaps still living traces of Raoul and Christine and also of Mamma
Valerius, who disappeared at the same time!...Possibly, some day, I shall hear the lonely
echoes of the North repeat the singing of her who knew the Angel of Music!...
Long after the case was pigeonholed by the unintelligent care of M. le Juge d'Instruction
Faure, the newspapers made efforts, at intervals, to fathom the mystery. One evening
paper alone, which knew all the gossip of the theaters, said:
"We recognize the touch of the Opera ghost."
And even that was written by way of irony.
The Persian alone knew the whole truth and held the main proofs, which came to him
with the pious relics promised by the ghost. It fell to my lot to complete those proofs with
the aid of the daroga himself. Day by day, I kept him informed of the progress of my
inquiries; and he directed them. He had not been to the Opera for years and years, but he
had preserved the most accurate recollection of the building, and there was no better
guide than he possible to help me discover its most secret recesses. He also told me
where to gather further information, whom to ask; and he sent me to call on M. Poligny,
at a moment when the poor man was nearly drawing his last breath. I had no idea that he
was so very ill, and I shall never forget the effect which my questions about the ghost
produced upon him. He looked at me as if I were the devil and answered only in a few
incoherent sentences, which showed, however--and that was the main thing-- the extent