I think that the directors of the Odeon will regret Bouilhet in every way. I shall be less easy than he was at rehearsals. I should very much like to read Aisse to you so as to talk a little about it; some of the actors whom they propose are, to my way of thinking, impossible. It is hard to have to do with uneducated people.
Our poor friend is not to be buried till the day after tomorrow, they will let me know where and when we ought to be there, I shall tell you by telegram.
I have seen the directors twice. It was agreed this morning with Duquesnel that they should make an attempt with de la T(our) Saint-Y(bars). I yielded my turn to Aisse. I was not to come till March. I went back there this evening, Chilly is unwilling, and Duquesnel, better informed than this morning, regards the step as useless and harmful. I then quoted my contract, my right. What a fine thing, the theatre! M. Saint-Ybars’ contract antedates mine. They had thought le Batard would last two weeks and it will last forty days longer. Then La Tour Saint-Ybars precedes us [Footnote: This refers to l’Affranchi.] and I can not give up my turn to Aisse without being postponed till next year, which I’ll do if you want me to; but it would do me a good deal of harm, for I have gotten into debt with the Revue and I must refill my purse.—Are directors rascals in all that? No, but incompetents who are always afraid of not having enough plays, and accept too many, foreseeing that they will have failures.—When they are successful, if the authors contracted for are angry they have to go to court. I have no taste for disputes and the scandals of the side-scenes and the newspapers; and neither have you. What would be the result? Inadequate compensation and a deal of uproar for nothing. One needs patience in any event, I have it, and I tell you again if you are really upset at this delay, I am ready to sacrifice myself.
With this I embrace you and I love you.
No! no sacrifices! so much the worse! If I did not look at Bouilhet’s affairs as mine absolutely, I should have at once accepted your proposition. But: (1) it is my affair, (2) the dead must not hurt the living.
But I am angry at these gentlemen, I do not hide it from you, for not having said anything to us about Latour Saint-Ybars. For the aforesaid Latour was engaged a long time ago. Why did we not know anything about him?
In short, let Chilly write me the letter on which we agreed Wednesday, and let there be no more discussion about it.
It seems to me that your play can be given the 15th of December, if l’Affranchi begins about the 20th of November. Two and a half months are about fifty performances; if you go beyond that, Aisse will not be presented till next year.