By the Sea
His only regret of the day was not asking to keep the scarf, although it would have been highly unorthodox to do so. Christine Daaé had entered his soul, and the Vicomte Raoul de Chagny was having a devil of a time getting her out of his head. As he stood in his bedroom, still shivering from the coldness of water, despite having left the shore hours ago (his thick hair was still dripping wet); Raoul muttered her name under his breath. Being of noble birth, she’d met plenty of girls before, but this one was special. As he was only just fourteen, he knew next to nothing of love, and yet he was certain he had shot with Cupid’s arrow.
His manservant was standing a few feet away, his arms laden with extra blankets, though Raoul ignored his persistent pleas that he take one; his mother was worried he would catch pneumonia. “Sir,” the boy (for the servant was only Raoul’s age) said, this time his voice laced with curiosity, “what possessed you to fetch that girl’s scarf?” Raoul turned to Jacques, for that was the boy’s name, with an expression of pure euphoria decorating his handsome face.
“Why, Christine Daaé is the most beautiful girl I’ve ever laid eyes on!” he exclaimed jubilantly. “When I saw how she mourned the loss of her red scarf, I had to do something to help her. Angels shouldn’t weep, you know!” He had seeking the perfect word to describe Christine for some time now, and ‘angel’ had finally appeared to him. Jacques didn’t seem convinced as to the Swedish village girl’s being the ‘most beautiful,’ for at the parties held by his master he had seen dozens of gorgeous women. He hadn’t meant to show his doubt on his face, but apparently he had, for Raoul sighed with bliss and added, “If only you had seen her, Jacques! Surely you would agree with me!”
He recalled the feel of her soft lips on his cheek, and wished to Heaven that she had many more scarves that needed saving. He had to see her again. She had told him she was staying with her papa and Professor Valerius, and the next day (after begging his mother) he, accompanied by Jacques, paid a visit to the family. Christine was delighted to see him, and her father immediately took a liking to Raoul, as he cared for nothing but his daughter’s happiness.
They spent the summer together, and Raoul found himself more and more entranced by this little Swedish soprano who looked and sang like an angel, and fell more and more in love with her gentle heart. They spent hours at a time studying music with Papa Daaé and listening to the stories he told from their homeland. Raoul let Christine choose their stories at first, as he knew none and he’d come to accept that she knew best. But as time wore on and he became more familiar with the tales he told, Raoul had a favorite. Coincidentally it was also Christine’s. The story was about a girl named Lotte who was visited by the Angel of Music, who came to her at night and sang songs in her head.
Raoul called Christine ‘Little Lotte,’ as he was decided on the fact that a voice such as hers could only come from an angel. She would laugh whenever he told her so, and insist that he was only trying to flatter her. She would put on a pout, and before he could try and appease her, she would giggle. “I’m only teasing, silly!” she would say, and kiss his cheek. He, in turn, would sternly tell her that he would never attempt to falsely praise her- for there was not a beautiful sentence in the world that did not describe her.
He loved her, and she him (although she would never admit such a thing). Of course, it could not last forever. When the summer ended, she told Raoul she had to return to Paris. He met their carriage the day of their departure to bid her farewell. While he did not make it visible, he was terribly torn up about the entire affair. Christine was perhaps more so, but she managed to smile at him when she saw him coming. Around her neck was the red scarf.
He had once told her in a moment of honesty that he’d hoped to keep it the day they’d met. She had laughed gaily and told him that if ever she got a new one, she would give the old to him. She had no new scarf, but she did not know if they would ever meet again. Slowly, she removed it from her neck and placed it in his hands. “It’s yours, Raoul!” she said. “Goodbye, dear friend. I shall miss you dearly.” She pressed a kiss to his lips for the time, and in his happiness he helped her into the carriage.
“Au revoir, Christine,” he said. “We will meet again, I hope. Until then, promise to think of me fondly.”
“I promise,” she replied, a tear coming to her eye. The carriage pulled away, leaving Raoul alone holding the scarf. His only regret of the day was not begging her to stay with him.