A piece of life
Only one part of Guillaume Manier's life is known. We are in the 18th century : he goes on a pilgrimage to Santiago de Compostela. A very picturesque story : the tailorman has a few adventures with his friends, adventures that no one could repeat today...
Let's quote Jean-Claude Bourlès, in "Passants de Compostelle" (Petite bibliothèque Payot), about the group of pilgrims as they reach Saint Jean de Luz in the South-West corner of France :
"They've walked a lot already. And they've seen a lot of things. After having left their village of Carlepont, in Picardy (north of France) they got to Paris. The tailorman lists almost everything and shows an open mind. In the Sainte Chapelle, he is amazed by the quantity of relics.
He mentions Christ's Crown of Thorns, the diapers in which the Virgin Mary wrapped him, the iron chains that tied him, the table-cloth of the Last Supper, pieces of the Genuine Cross, the sponge and
the spear that wounded his side, the red dress, the rod which the Jews gave him as a skepter, part of the Holy Shroud, part of St John the Baptist's Head.
|Then they went to Orléans, Blois, Amboise, Châtellerault, Poitiers and Briou(x), where they escaped from a raid by the bowmen of the militia, in a time it was frequent for foreigners to be sent to the Islands by force for any reason whatever... Wonderful Manier, who forgives them, the excuses of the arrestations were too frequent thefts or rapes by a gang of forteen bad boys ...|
Actually he doesn't know and goes on to Aulnay (between Melle and Saintes) and reminds the "Big Fear" they had. Further down, still on the Paris Way of St James, they walk across Saintes, and stop at Lajard early enough to see companions of Cartouche, "Bride les Boeufs", and his son "Bride les Vaches", tortured on the wheel on the public square. They carry on towards Blaye, Bordeaux, Gradignan, Dax, where Guillaume is surprised by a hot spring :
"It is a boiling fountain, neither square nor round in shape, it gives a smoking water on the street and every one can take it to wash the dishes. Once upon a time, a carpenter who was completely crazy fell into it. When they picked him up, quickly, his skin was peeling off"...
They resume their journey to Bayonne, where they stay overnight at Madame Belcourt's..."
And what about Spain ? And on their way back ? You'll know what happened ...
in a future article.