Wanderings by southern waters, eastern Aquitaine eBook

This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 361 pages of information about Wanderings by southern waters, eastern Aquitaine.

On returning to the inn I passed the Fontaine de Burlats, where St. Enimie was cured of her leprosy in the Merovingian age.  It was a change to see something that really seemed to enjoy the incessant downpour and to enter into the spirit of it.  The fountain would be remarkable in another region by the volume of water that gushes in all seasons like a little river out of the earth; but there are so many such between the Dordogne and the Tarn, wherever the calcareous formation has lent itself to the honeycombing action of water, that this copious outflow loses thereby much of its claim to distinction.

The legend of St. Enimie is fully set forth in a Provencal poem of the thirteenth century by the troubadour Bertrand de Marseilles, who received his information from his friend the Prior of the monastery at Sainte-Enimie, which in the Middle Ages was the most important religious house in the Gevaudan.  The MS. is preserved in the library of the Arsenal, Paris.  It was at the express recommendation of St. Ilere that Enimie sought the fountain of Burla (now Burlats), and bathed her afflicted body in its pure waters.  The passage of the poem containing this injunction is as follows: 

    ’Enimia verges de Dyeu,
    Messatges fizels ti suy yeu. 
    Per me ti manda Dieus de pla
    Que t’en anes en Gavalda,[*]
    Car, lay trobaras una fon
    Que redra ton cors bel e mon
    Si te laves en l’aygua clara.
* * * *
    A nom Burla; vay l’en lay
    Non ho mudar per negun play.’

  [*] Gevaudan.

The relics of the saint were destroyed or lost at the time of the Revolution; but high upon the side of a neighbouring hill a chapel has been raised to her, and it is a place of pilgrimage.


The rambler in the highlands of the North knows so well what the wretchedness of being shut up by bad weather in a mountain inn means, that he may have grown reconciled to it, and have learnt how to spend a day under such circumstances pleasantly.  But to me, a sun-lover, to whom the charm of the South has been irresistible, such a trial is one that taxes to the utmost all the powers of endurance.  Hence it is that, when I think of Sainte-Enimie, I can recall nothing but impressions of dismal wetness.  This may seem shocking to those who have seen, under a different aspect, the little town on the Upper Tarn, named after the Merovingian saint.  Be it remembered, however, that I was shut up hour after hour in an inn crowded with peasants in damp blouses, shouting patois at each other, and clutching great cotton umbrellas, whose fragrance under the influence of moisture, was not idyllic; In that abominable little auberge, that styled itself a hotel, I decided to go no farther up the Tarn, but, as soon as the weather would set me free, to cross the causse that separated me from the Lot, and to descend the valley of this river towards the warmer and dryer region of the plains.

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Wanderings by southern waters, eastern Aquitaine from Project Gutenberg. Public domain.
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