14.05.2020 17:18, anyamaleva97

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It was the evening on which the managers of the Opera were giving a last gala performance to mark their retirement. Suddenly the dressing room of Sorelli, one of the principal dancers, was invaded by half-a-dozen young ladies of the ballet, who had come up from the stage. They rushed in among great confusion, some laughing unnaturally, others crying in terror. Sorelli, who wished to be alone for a moment to go through the speech which she was going to make to the resigning managers, looked around angrily at the mad crowd. It was little Jammes – the girl with the upturned nose, the forget-me-not eyes, the rose-red cheeks and the lily-white neck -who explained in a trembling voice: “It’s the ghost!” And she locked the door. Sorelli’s dressing room was decorated elegantly. A mirror, a sofa, a dressing table and a cupboard provided the necessary furniture. On the wall hung an engraving of her mother, who had known the glories of the old Opera. But it seemed a palace to the brats of the ballet, who in their dressing rooms, spent their time singing, quarrelling, smacking the dressers and hairdressers and buying one another drinks until the stage bell rang. Sorelli was very superstitious. She shook when she heard little Jammes speak of the qhost, called her a “silly little fool” and then, as she was the first to believe in ghosts in general, and the Opera ghost in particular, at once asked for details: “Have you seen him?” “As plainly as I see you now!” said little Jammes, who dropped with a moan into a chair. Then, little Giry — the girl with eyes black as plums, hair black as ink, a dark complexion and a poor little skin stretched over poor little bones — added: “If that’s the ghost, he’s very ugly!” “Oh, yes!” cried the chorus of ballet girls. The ghost had appeared to them in the shape of a gentleman in dress-clothes, who had suddenly stood before them in the passage, without their knowing where he came from. He seemed to have come straight through the wall. “Rubbish!” said one of them. “You see the ghost everywhere!” And it was true. For several months, there had been nothing discussed at the Opera but this well-dressed ghost who stalked about the building, like a shadow, who spoke to nobody, to whom nobody dared speak and who vanished as soon as he was seen. Like a real ghost, he made no noise in walking. People began by laughing and making fun of this spectre dressed like a man of fashion or an undertaker; but the ghost legend soon grew to enormous proportions among the ballet dancers. All the girls pretended to have met this supernatural being. And those who laughed the loudest were not the most at ease. When he did not show himself, he betrayed his presence by causing accidents, for which everyone held him responsible. Whenever someone fell, or had a practical joke played on them, or lost something, it was at once the fault of the ghost. After all, who had seen him? You meet so many well-dressed men at the Opera who are not ghosts. But his suit was peculiar. It covered a skeleton, the ballet girls said. The chief stage designer had met the ghost on the little staircase which leads to the cellars. He had seen him for a second – for the ghost had fled – and claimed that: “He is extraordinarily thin and his dress-coat hangs on a skeleton frame. His eyes are so deep that you can hardly see the fixed pupils. You just see two big black holes, as in a dead man’s skull. His skin, which is stretched across his bones like a drum, is not white, but a nasty yellow. His nose is so little that you can’t see it from the side; and the absence of that nose is a horrible thing to look at. All the hair he has is three or four long dark locks on his forehead and behind his ears.”

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