The Phantom of the Opera HTML version
Chapter 22. In the Torture Chamber
THE PERSIAN'S NARRATIVE CONTINUED
We were in the middle of a little six-cornered room, the sides of which were covered with
mirrors from top to bottom. In the corners, we could clearly see the "joins" in the glasses,
the segments intended to turn on their gear; yes, I recognized them and I recognized the
iron tree in the corner, at the bottom of one of those segments...the iron tree, with its iron
branch, for the hanged men.
I seized my companion's arm: the Vicomte de Chagny was all a-quiver, eager to shout to
his betrothed that he was bringing her help. I feared that he would not be able to contain
Suddenly, we heard a noise on our left. It sounded at first like a door opening and
shutting in the next room; and then there was a dull moan. I clutched M. de Chagny's arm
more firmly still; and then we distinctly heard these words:
"You must make your choice! The wedding mass or the requiem mass!" I recognized the
voice of the monster.
There was another moan, followed by a long silence.
I was persuaded by now that the monster was unaware of our presence in his house, for
otherwise he would certainly have managed not to let us hear him. He would only have
had to close the little invisible window through which the torture-lovers look down into
the torture-chamber. Besides, I was certain that, if he had known of our presence, the
tortures would have begun at once.
The important thing was not to let him know; and I dreaded nothing so much as the
impulsiveness of the Vicomte de Chagny, who wanted to rush through the walls to
Christine Daae, whose moans we continued to hear at intervals.
"The requiem mass is not at all gay," Erik's voice resumed, "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."