Tuesday 11 August
It was Monday evening at the theatre, the general rehearsal for the officers and their families, of the show that was supposed to be played a few days later to our Langres troopers.
The evening had been charming. Lancelot had been even sweeter and Niel more hilarious than usual. Fontaliérand’s violin had vibrated even better as well. The orchestra had never been so melodious, and Sergeant Giguet’s Muse more inspired.
The patriotic play « His son » had shaken the audience, who was then cheered up by the amusing comedy «The good doctor».
Then, after numerous rounds of applause, everyone went back home joyfully.
After only half an hour, voices were heard in the streets saying: “The theatre is on fire!” The tocsin was ringing, the bugle was calling. A wide luminous mist was floating in the night!
Wednesday 18 August
Ongoing good weather.
A knowledgeable archeologist told the successive outcomes of the monument which became the Langres Theatre. It took only a few minutes to tear down the building which had been the witness of so many centuries.
After the tocsin rang, everyone rushed towards the fire. Firemen, troopers, willing civilians, everybody was rushing up. Flames were already raging towards the sky, the theatre was becoming a huge blaze. The fire engines were finally working, after waiting for water for too long.
Firemen could be seen at the edge of ladders thrown with no support, surrounded by smoke and twirling flames; others, standing on the edge of roofs, defying vertigo, were flooding the neighbouring roofs with water.
A light wind was blowing South-East; the houses of Saint Ferjeux Street were threatened. Light infantrymen and soldiers tried to save the furniture, and the sight of these hasty removals in the night was lamentable.
Finally, the fire was under control, but only the walls of the theatre remained. All the decoration inside, the boxes that had been visited only minutes before, elegant decors set up for the show, music instruments still vibrating, costumes which had just been worn, all these accessories of talent were destroyed.
And one could only imagine what the consequences would have been if the fire had started a few moments beforehand, while the theatre was still crowded with spectators.
The Rue des Moulins seeker.
(En avant, 22 August 1915)