Les Vill'ries, November 1947
Guernsey French section of the Guernsey Eisteddfod. From the Star.
There were many reminders of 'le bouan vier temps' on Saturday at the Guernsey French session of the Eisteddfod. Mrs Messervy, shopkeeper of Les Buttes, St Saviour's, clad in a grey silk shawl, and a white frilled Guernsey bonnet, described the villainies of old Guillaume (Les Vill'ries du vier G'llaume) and the adjudicator, Jurat Gavey, described her voice as 'a typical voice from Le Haut Pas.' It was. Clear and harsh, it was perfect for the broad, noisy humour of the West.
To hear a 'recitation' like Corbet's Les Vill'ries is convincing enough proof of the rich material which lies hidden away in our neglected patois poems and plays.
A chew of Tabac
Another example of that bouan vier temps was the play La Raison du Pus Fort, picturing a Guernsey family, farmers, of many years ago, seated in their kitchen before the terpied gossiping.
The play was written by Jean Dunord, better known as Jurat John Roussel.1 The first scene was enacted this year, but Mr F L Gibbons, secretary of elocution, told me that the total of six scenes were now printed, and act 2 would be the set piece for next year. When it was first performed, he said, the players read it from manuscript.
Real artist in Saturday's performance was Mr W Robin. For when the curtain failed to come down immediately at the end of the act, he just casually spat his chew of tabac into the terpied. It was the end of a perfect afternoon, for which the Gaine du Nord was chiefly responsible.
1 The Library has a manuscript of the four-volume musical A Silver Lining, written by John Roussel. Please contact a Librarian for further information about this and other plays in Guernsey French.