Louis Gallet devoted a large part of his time to administrative duties, for he was successively treasurer and manager of hospitals. Nevertheless he produced works in abundance. He left a record of no less than forty operatic librettos, plays, romances, memoirs, pamphlets, and innumerable articles. I wish I knew what to say about the man himself, his unwearying goodness, his loyalty, his scrupulousness, his good humor, his originality, his continual common sense, and his intellect, alert to everything unusual and interesting.
What good talks we used to have as we dined under an arbor in the large garden which was his delight at Lariboisiere! I used to take him seeds, and he made amusing botanical experiments with them.
He was seriously ill at one period of his life. He was wonderfully nursed by his wife—who was a saint—and he endured prolonged and atrocious sufferings with the patience of a saint. He watched the growth of his fatal disease with a stoicism worthy of the sages of antiquity and he had no illusion about the implacable illness which slowly but surely would result in his premature death. A constantly increasing deafness was his greatest trouble. This cruel infirmity had made frightful progress when, in 1899, the Arenes de Beziers opened its doors for the second time to Dejanire. In spite of everything, including his ill health which made the trip very painful, he wanted to see his work once more. He heard nothing, however—neither the artists, the choruses, nor even the applause of the several thousand spectators who encored it enthusiastically. A little later he passed on, leaving in his friends’ hearts and at the work-tables of his collaborators a void which it is impossible to fill.
[Illustration: The First Performance of Dejanire at Les Arenes de Beziers]
HISTORY AND MYTHOLOGY IN OPERA