Gallet felt this hostility keenly. He felt that he did not deserve it, since he took so much care in his work and put so much courtesy into his criticism. The blank verse he used in Thaïs with admirable regard for color and harmony, counting on the music to take the place of the rhyme, was not appreciated.
Three hundred hidden musicians, divided into wind and chord orchestras, accompany a chorus of two hundred executants, and furnish the music for a ballet of seventy dancers. As the third stroke dies away, the Muse, Mademoiselle Rabuteau, enters and declaims the salutation addressed by Louis Gallet to the City of Béziers. At its conclusion the tragedy begins.
"And it repented the Lord that he had made man on the earth," and so I proposed to Gallet that we do a Deluge. At first he wanted to introduce characters. "No," I said, "put the Bible narrative into simple verse, and I will do the rest." We know with what care and success he accomplished his delicate task.
Madame Adam followed my advice and found it good. At this period, under the guise of Wagnerism, the wildest theories and the most extravagant assertions were current in musical criticism. Gallet was naturally well poised and independent and he did not do as the rest did.
At a meeting of the Royal Society on the 28th of February, 1678, a discussion arose respecting the figure of Mercury which M. Gallet of Avignon had remarked to be oval on the occasion of the planet's transit across the sun's disk on the 7th of November, 1677.
Here some of the transports received the fire of six different batteries; and a considerable body of troops appeared in arms to dispute the landing; nevertheless, the general resolved that the forts Querqueville, l'Hommet, and Gallet, should be attacked in the night by the first regiment of guards.
Suddenly Paul turned back, saying to the chauffeur in a low, hard voice: "Gallet, to-morrow go and tell madame my wife that I am unexpectedly called to the capital. Tell her tell her that I will write to her. But, at all hazards, do not let her know the truth that I am under arrest," he added hoarsely. "That is understood, monsieur," replied the man, saluting.
We put together, with difficulty but with infinite zest, our historical opera, Etienne Marcel, in which Louis Gallet endeavored to respect as far as is possible in a theatrical work the facts of history. Despite illustrious examples to the contrary he did not believe that it was legitimate to attribute to a character who has actually lived acts and opinions that are entirely fanciful.
Gallet was then employed in some capacity at the Beaujon hospital and lived near me in the Faubourg Saint-Honoré. We soon formed the habit of seeing each other every day. Du Locle had judged aright. We had the same tastes in art and literature. We were equally averse to whatever is too theatrical and also to whatever is not sufficiently so, to the commonplace and the too extravagant.
We both despised easy success and we understood each other wonderfully. Gallet was not a musician, but he enjoyed and understood music, and he criticised with rare good taste. Japan had recently been opened to Europeans. Japan was fashionable; all they talked about was Japan, it was a real craze. So the idea of writing a Japanese piece occurred to us.