I was looking through my copy of the book and I found the part where Mame Giry explains how Erik left her money when he used Box Five. The footstool, in particular, struck me as interesting. Surely Christine wouldn't need one...? Anyway, this is set pre-book, and is my explanation for the footstool.
Erik knew that dear Mother was terrified out of her wits as she changed into the dress that her son had bought for her, for this occasion. He pulled on his gloves, and checked his face in the mirror to see if the mask was on properly.
After kidnapping his mother from her home, he had brought her here to his home a week ago. Of course, she had been afraid; after the hate and fear she had shown him in his childhood, it was only normal that she would expect him to wreck his vengeance on her.
He bore no such ill will towards her. He loved his Mother, because even though she had feared him, she had taken care of him as a child. It showed that she still had some love to him, if not plenty.
Erik heard timid footsteps behind him and turned.
"Ah, Mother!" he said, spreading his arms out as if to hug her. She recoiled as he took a step towards her. "You look wonderful."
She didn't cut too bad a figure; yes, her face was gaunt and thin, but there was enough to know that she had once been a fairly pretty woman in her youth. Of course, she was sixty now; her hair was almost entirely white.
"What do you want to do to me?" she asked quietly. She squared her shoulders, preparing herself for some terrible fate. "Kill me?"
Erik feigned horror. "Mother! No, I would never do that to my dearest mamma." He tried to ignore the shudder that he saw pass through her when he called her by that name. He put a hand to his heart. "I love my mother."
She looked at him with a trace of suspicion. Erik found it sad that a mother would suspect her own son of trying to kill her. At least they had come a long way from when he had first taken her back here; then she had tried to kill him. Now she trusted him to some degree.
"Why have you brought me here?" she asked again, for the umpteenth time.
He smiled his most disarming smile. "It is your sixtieth birthday, Mother. I thought we should celebrate by watching a Paris Opéra production."
She still regarded him with that same suspicion. Sighing, Erik knew that she would never fully trust him. "Come, Mother, we must not be late. The curtain shall be raised soon." Extending a hand to guide her to the boat, he led her to the boat and pushed off from the shore.
Minutes later they were seated in Box Five, watching the talented cast of the Opéra Populaire perform. Even as his Mother sat enraptured by the performance, Erik sighed inwardly. Really, Carlotta needed to be taught how to act! She was strutting around the stage like some over-stuffed peacock, ruining hisOpéra's otherwise flawless production.
Well, except maybe for Piangi, who was almost as bad. Erik consulted the program which Madame Giry had so kindly left on the seats. He would need to thank her with something later.
He sighed to himself again. It was supposed to be a wedding scene, not some kind of scream-fest. Carlotta surely was better than this. Or not, he winced as she reached the climax of her piece. She was terrible!
Finally the production ended. Erik wasn't sure if he could stand any more of Carlotta's screeching without going insane.
He turned to look at his mother as they left the box. She was positively beaming, happy that her son had asked Madame Giry for a footstool for her. Erik smiled. It was good that his mother was happy.
They returned to his underground lair unnoticed. Erik had left a few coins for Madame Giry, knowing that she would probably use it to buy something for her beloved Meg. Who was, in Erik's opinion, rather noisy but otherwise harmless. She could use some tutoring in ballet, though...
"Oh no," his mother suddenly said. Erik turned; she had been changing back to her normal garmets of muslin and cotton behind the screen.
"What is it, Mother?"
"I think I dropped the fan," she said, turning around, eyes searching between the folds of the rich blue fabric of the dress. "In the box."
Erik frowned. Had he seen her leave the box with the fan? Come to think of it, he hadn't.
"I shall get it for you, Mother," he said, pulling on his cape. "Stay here and wait for me."
She nodded, the very figure of demure motherhood he had remembered of her...besides the screaming and crying that made up the other half of his memories of her.
Erik searched the box. Blast it, what could have happened to that fan? It was nowhere to be found. He had searched the rest of the boxes and stalls to no avail; the stage, even, nothing there. Backstage, the secret passageways, the seats...nothing.
He groped around the bottom of Box Five, wondering where the blazes that lace fan could have disappeared to. Could Madame Giry had found it and thrown it away? Or had she kept it?
Briefly he considering going to Rue de Provence to search the Giry's flat, but he decided against it. Meg had done fairly well today, and Madame Giry was always nice to him. Besides, Mother was waiting. He sighed.
It would break her heart to know that a part of the very expensive outfit he had gotten for her was missing.
The next night, Erik arrived at Box Five with Mother to find the fan sitting on the little shelf where he always left the money for her.
Mother was glad to see her fan again; the night before she had been sad. Erik did not like his mother to be sad.
Madame Giry must be thanked well, he thought. He considered leaving twenty francs for her, but decided against it. She would probably enjoy English sweets more. After asking for the footstool again, Erik made a mental note to leave a box of English sweets for her. Madame Giry had clearly broken the rules of the Opéra — anything found in the boxes were supposed to be discarded if they did not have any name on them.
Madame Giry, widow of the late Jules Giry, peered into Box Five. Had the Opera Ghost and his lady companion left?
It seemed so. A little braver — for she feared the Ghost as well, even though he was so nice to her — she stepped inside, checking to see if they had left anything behind.
She broke out into a smile when she saw the little box sitting on the shelf. It was English sweets, her favourite!
Madame Giry smiled as she kept the sweets. It was worth being nice to the Opera Ghost, wasn't it?