Mr Irjava-scriptter, the blacksmith, accompanied by a kind blond bitch, comes to drink a glass of fresh water at the fountain (official pretext) and asks me without ceremony whether it is true that the builder from Ninive will redo the roof : he himself who had him work for him, finds that this man’s tariffs are much on the high side and that he has found a far more reasonable artisan from Toulouse, who will rerender the façade for him. The conversation quickly turns to the subject which grips him entirely : agriculture is a hard trade and one which cannot be improvized. Shall I find a tenant easily to keep the property going or do I have in mind to take care of everything myself ? “In any case, that’s less easy than holding a pen”, he lets out to me half mocking, half concerned. It seems to me, again, that I hear the harsh voice of this REFAS sword-carrier from the Aude accusing me, in the image of any buffoon (ô Jean Gabin !) of not giving a damn about the future of the small agriculturers of our regions and whom I had allowed myself, in return, to ask - in the language of my ancestors - how many of his own he had resting in the little cemetery where my family, my grand-family and my great-grand-family have been lying for “milo nau-cent jaoupos” , as on occasion my grandmother Marie remarked, who did not always care for the niceties of counting procedures, quite the opposite to her brother Pepi ‘Stieni, a railwayman, counting and recounting, like his white sheep in former times, the black panting locomotives (with a weakness for the 801 !) leaving for Saint-Couserans via the gradient of the magnificent Viaduct of Vernajoul and the tunnels of Cadarcet (“quai d’Orsay !”, in the words of Mr Pitchfork) for whose passage Marie de Sarbos, who had not known school, ritually lit a candle.
The countryside depopulates and repopulates, the city-dwellers come back into the phantom-villages, the bisons reoccupy the plains, the Indians dash forward from their “tepees”, bows and arrows in hand. One rediscovers artisanship, one makes the mills of former times turn, one opens small shops, one revives collapsed ovens in order to bake there the new bread, one reactivates the language of our fathers and their faith unadulterated and one sings in the grooves like any Emma Calvé who encouraged her brothers at the plough, knowing how helpful the voice is, supremely troubling the hearts of fashionable society, if not that of the Devil of Rennes-le-Château.*
*Cf : Les Saltimbanques, Operetta by Louis Ganne (1862 - 1923), created in Paris at the Gaîté Lyrique 30 December 1899