Before I get into today’s post, I want to acknowledge the tragic fire at Notre Dame de Paris. Visiting Notre Dame was an amazing experience, and I was heartbroken during yesterday’s news coverage. If you wish, you may visit N is for Notre Dame as well as reading today’s post. I have not yet decided on how my readers and I might best help with the restoration efforts, but watch this space. Something is coming.
As I laved Josephine’s knees with cool water prior to preparing a poultice, I remembered the first note.
“Mademoiselle Delacroix, I have seen your kindness and expertise with the horses. I have a horse, Cesare, for whom your services are required. You will groom him promptly at five o’clock each evening, while the hands from the stables are caring for your own animals. You will provide his evening feed of the same treacle and grain formulation you provide to your own horses. You will find him in a stall on the fifth basement of the opera. Come alone, and do not dare to tell others of this mission. O.G.”
Like so many involved in the Opera Garnier, I knew the legend of the so-called Opera Ghost and his linkage to the Vicomte and Comtesse de Chagny: how the Phantom had loved and trained Christine Daae, a soubrette. He saw to it that she came out of the chorus to become a prima donna. She then unmasked him onstage.
I had no idea that he still lived until I received that note. It had been almost a year since the incidents in question, after all. Nevertheless, I could not in good conscience fail to at least examine Cesare for myself, to see what his needs were — if, in fact, this horse existed and it was not another stable hand joke. — Excerpt from In The Eye of The Beholder
In both the original Leroux and just about every other version of The Phantom of the Opera, Erik sends a lot of notes. Most of the time, they carry some kind of threat or demand — up to and including blackmail. Even his first note to Claire contains his orders, and he always expects his orders to be obeyed.