As part of the author/character features for 2019 I am starting 3 Questions With….
We get to meet, in brief characters or authors who answer only 3 questions, but have to bare their soul…
Three questions with…
Name: Comte Raoul De Chagny
Tell us a little about your life and story:
My life is one of riches and luxury, I should have everything I money can buy. Yet I do not. I have an aching loneliness, sadness and my family is touched by a curse. I have three children – a son and heir, and two daughters – but I cannot love them, not truly as a father should. My wife Christine lies in the marble tomb yonder and my heart with her, but my soul belongs to a devil in a mask, who sang like an angel and entrapped us all. And I am ashamed of it. I could not save her, he was beyond saving and I surely cannot save myself.
I was a young man, wealthy and privileged, I married beneath my station and that choice brought death to my family, and left us semi-exiles. I loved Christine and was foolish enough to believe she loved me. But love is strange – there is the love of the heart, and then there is the love of the soul. Love keeps us alive as it slowly kills us. I would have died for her, and almost did, and her loss tears me apart. But I know now I am not worthy of her love, and certainly not his pity or love. And so love and hate dance hand in hand and I can tell not one from the other these days.
They boy – Charles looks through me, he is far more intelligent than either myself or his mother. I see nothing of myself in him, and he misbehaves. The girls grow more like their poor mother each day – and it breaks my heart. What lives will they have when I am gone? Who will take care of them? We are the last of the De Chagny’s in a world where the old nobility is long fallen. Once we had a name, now we have a curse.
Who is this nemesis?
Erik. I do not know his family name if he even had one. I can’t tell you from where he came, or how. He is a ghost, a monster and an angel. I once believed he was just an unfortunate man – disfigured by God for his sins, but I am not sure. There was that music – I still hear it in my dreams, oh God that music.
Erik is dead. He died over a decade ago, yet I cannot escape him. I will never escape him whilst one of us lives. That terrible night he let us go – I thought myself the victor. I thought the loss of her would kill him, and surely it did – but this ghost of a man haunts me still and I get no satisfaction in my gains and his loss. The world is poorer for his loss. Some nights I wonder if he ever existed, or if I do. It all seems so far away, and so bizarre – it must be a dream or the plot of one of the Operas we used to attend.
How do you see your future?
My mind plays tricks and my sleep is plagued by awful dreams. Laudanum is my solace and my vice. I hope to see my children grown but ever winter becomes harder to bear, ever summer a little colder. I see the darkness and the mask which haunts me. I hear the music calling… the music always calls.
Raoul was originally created by Gaston Leroux, he has been adapted in many forms and by many writers. My own tragic adaptation is here in Echoes of a Song.