"Yes, of a silly joke." "One doesn't joke with twenty-thousand francs." "That's what I think," declared Moncharmin, unfolding a newspaper and ostentatiously studying its contents. "What are you doing?" asked Richard. "Are you going to read the paper next?" "Yes, Richard, until I take you home." "Like last time?" "Yes, like last time." Richard snatched the paper from Moncharmin's hands.
To quote his own words, in his Memoirs: "This moonshine about the Opera ghost in which, since we first took over the duties of MM. Poligny and Debienne, we had been so nicely steeped" Moncharmin's style is not always irreproachable "had no doubt ended by blinding my imaginative and also my visual faculties.
Moncharmin, looking severe and dissatisfied, at once insisted that the good lady should explain herself. "What does this mean, Mme. Giry?" he asked. "And why do you say that M. Richard ought to know better than you where the twenty-thousand francs went to?" As for Richard, who felt himself turning red under Moncharmin's eyes, he took Mme. Giry by the wrist and shook it violently.
At the top, right on top of the cliff, lost in M. Lenepveu's copper ceiling, figures grinned and grimaced, laughed and jeered at MM. Richard and Moncharmin's distress. And yet these figures were usually very serious. Their names were Isis, Amphitrite, Hebe, Pandora, Psyche, Thetis, Pomona, Daphne, Clytie, Galatea and Arethusa.
The friends of Firmin Richard and Armand Moncharmin thought that this lean and skinny guest was an acquaintance of Debienne's or Poligny's, while Debienne's and Poligny's friends believed that the cadaverous individual belonged to Firmin Richard and Armand Moncharmin's party.
Thereupon, Raoul and the Persian saw the startled faces of the joint managers appear above the landing and they heard Moncharmin's excited voice: "There are things happening here, Mr. Commissary, which we are unable to explain." And the two faces disappeared. "Thank you for the information, gentlemen," said Mifroid, with a jeer.
This extraordinary and inexplicable incident filled them with a dread which was the more mysterious inasmuch as for some little while, they had fallen within the direct influence of the ghost. They had felt his breath. Moncharmin's hair stood on end. Richard wiped the perspiration from his forehead.
Moncharmin's last phrase so dearly expressed the suspicion in which he now held his partner that it was bound to cause a stormy explanation, at the end of which it was agreed that Richard should yield to all Moncharmin's wishes, with the object of helping him to discover the miscreant who was victimizing them.