Yes Thanks Richard. Plantard also mentioned it. Just a bit of interest to the proceedings. Do you think that Cailhol is a made up name?
I think more likely a real person. This is what I wrote last May, after reading the
I have now read the [article] by Peter O'Reilly entitled "The Mysterious Monsieur Cailhol" that was published in the Rennes Observer
in April 2005. And it transpires that this is not a translation of the similarly titled article by Jean-Alain Sipra, as we speculated that it might be, although it does make reference to it. Sipra, it seems, questions whether Cailhol was real and suggests this might have been one of Boudet's puns, whereas O'Reilly argues that he was likely a real person.
Someone has very kindly indeed furnished me with a copy of the O'Reilly article. A combination of technical ineptitude and, more importantly, due respect for the author and the copyright of his work, precludes me from reproducing it here, but I have summarised the salient points below. In essence, the author makes a persuasive case for M Constantin Cailhol of Alet-les-Bains having been a real person, and contemporary of Boudet's.
The article contains three principle arguments, each of which I've addressed below.References in La Vraie Langue Celtique
The article cites the reference we have been discussing some way above, to the head of the Saviour taken from Cap de l'Homme and entrusted to M Cailhol for safekeeping. But it transpires that there are two other references to Cailhol in Boudet's book - one about him (described as an explorer) finding a carved stone in a cave at Bize, and another about him having in his possession a millstone fragment found in the soil by workers constructing the road from Rennes-les-Bains to Sougraines in 1884.Fossiles de Rennes-les-Bains (Aude)
On searching the website of the Academie des Sciences, Inscriptions et Belles-Lettres de Toulouse, the author finds in the index of articles a reference to one entitled Fossiles de Rennes-les-Bains (Aude), the author of which is given as a Cailhol. There are no initials before the surname, but as O'Reilly surmises, it would surely be too much of a coincidence for this to be referring to a different person. O'Reilly speculates that Cailhol was likely a notable contributor to Boudet's research for LVLC.Queen Victoria
A letter is reproduced in the article - it also apparently appears in L'Alphbet Solaire by Chaumeil and Riviere, and in Jarnac's Histoire du Tresor de Rennes-le-Chateau - from Sir Henry Ponsonby, private secretary to Queen Victoria, sent from Biarritz on 29th March 1889, where the Queen spent some time that year, and following receipt of LVLC. It reads:
Sir Henry Ponsonby presents his compliments to Monsieur Cailhol and is commanded by the Queen Victoria to request him to thank the Reverend Pere Boudet for the interesting work on Languedoc and English which he has had the kindness to present to Her Majesty.
As O'Reilly goes on to argue, this letter strongly suggests that Cailhol was an intermediary for Boudet, and therefore likely a close friend and confidante.
Another letter is reproduced, including a facsimilie of the hand written version, from an H Austin Lee, secretary to Lord Lytton, British Ambassador to France (1887-91), and also referring to Boudet's book, also sent from Biarritz in March 1889, and although absent the name of the addressee, O'Reilly reasonably surmises that this letter was also written to Cailhol.
There then follows some interesting speculation about how the visit of Queen Victoria to France might have inspired Boudet and Cailhol to use the opportunity of her relative proximity to the Aude to present the book to her.
I hope Peter O'Reilly won't mind if I quote verbatim the very last part of the article, because I liked this part very much, and it sums things up rather nicely, I think.
Precisely what the recipients made of La Vraie Langue Celtique is not recorded, it seems, but [Giles] St Aubyn [biographer of Queen Victoria] tells us that the Queen enjoyed her visit to Biarritz.
The country reminded her of the Isle of Wight - probably the only time the resemblance had ever been noted - and she claimed that nothing could exceed the extraordinary kindness and civility of "the French high and low". Wherever she went the Basques shouted "Viva la Reina", just like the denizens of East Cowes.
One cannot help wondering if the Queen's sense of welcome and belonging might also have owed something to a reading of La Vraie Langue Celtique, for this would have revealed to her the astonishing esteem in which the English language was held by Abbe Boudet - and, it seems, by his friend and intermediary Constantin Cailhol.
Thanks so much again to the person who sent me the article. Based on this, and other parts of the discussion above, I'd say that Constantin Cailhol was a real person, and a rather interesting sounding one as well.