Monday, April 6, 2009

More Finds

Greetings MAB,
Have read your article on Saunier. Fascinating stuff. I didn't realize just what a complicated web of intrigue and conspiracy surrounds the whole affair of Rennes-le-Chateau.The Johann Salvator business is particularly intriguing and I may have found something in the diary that could be relevant to this - but more of that later. In connection with Rodrigo and his diary I have made an interesting find or finds. Reading the manuscript diary (which by the way runs to about 215 pages) made me turn back to the books from the chest which I held on to. I went through them all most carefully in the hope that something useful might have been left between the pages. After all people do use all manner of things (from the mundane to the bizarre) as bookmarks even personal papers which they then forget about. However no joy with the novels although I did retrieve 3 decorative bookmarks all advertising patent beauty products of the time! Then I remembered that there was another book which I thought particularly interesting and potentially valuable namely "Egypte, Nubie, Palestine et Syrie," by Maxime du Camp. This is a large book of photographs by du Camp taken for the French Government when he accompanied Gustave Flaubert on his travels in 1849/50 and on a later journey solo in 1851 and published in 1852. It may have inspired Castillon to make his own travels. But I digress. In the back of this tome is a pocket for large folding maps, the maps are still there and I took them out and discovered folded into them several postcards of North African scenes and dusky North African maidens (bare-breasted) of the type taken specifically for tourists by the firm of Lehnert and Landrock in the late nineteenth/early twentieth centuries. Eight in all, four(the scenic ones) had been used (saying the usual things tourists say when writing home) and were addressed to Mme E. Saenz de Castillon at Villa Ara Coeli, Vaulx-en-Velin all in Rodrigo's handwriting. Not very earth-shaking but there was also a studio portrait photograph of a woman (not a postcard this) who I would like to think could be Semiramis but as there is nothing written on it that is pure conjecture on my part. There is also a letter from a French Officer who served with Rodrigo in World War I. This is a letter of condolence, unfortunately there is no envelope to go with it but it is written from an address in Lyon. Most interestingly though it starts off:-
"Chere Mademoiselle Senza...." Not Madame de Saenz de Castillon. Another mystery.
Hope I am not trying your patience with all this. Good luck with the giants!

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