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Étienne De Fay

1669–1747

1669-1747

He got a little famous once 

How it happened was the monks at Saint-Jean d’Amiens Abbey got tired of 
their old building

And who else but their clever mute artist should draw up the plans and 
take charge of its reconstruction

So the man who had learned at the abbey writing reading numbers geometry 
mechanics drawing architecture history holy and profane especially of 
France got busy

He went to the quarry with Brother Claude and Père Postel and squinted in
the sun and pointed here and there

After twelve years of drawing and squinting in the sun and explaining himself 
very well to the workmen the abbey sparkled

Magnificent magnificent they all said the most beautiful house in the town

A memorable day was when Père Postel wrote in his diary March the eighth in 
the year of Our Lord seventeen hundred eighteen the Bishop of Amiens graced 
us with a visit

He wanted to see Monsieur de Fay our deaf mute boarder to witness himself 
all the good things he had heard about him and after seeing his talent and 
capabilities he ought to say that we had a true miracle among us 

After smiling and nodding and bowing and explaining himself very well 
Étienne de Fay hurried back to draw up the month’s lists of things he would 
buy at market for the brothers

And always there were deaf children under his charge all of whom learned 
everything and to explain themselves very well

One of the pupils was Azy d’Etavigny and he stayed with his master for eight years 

But then his father heard of the oralist Pereire that he could make the mute speak 

The oralist Pereire said yes yes your poor stricken son shall be a beneficiary of my 
secret method and he shall be famous in all the land

Only the deaf pupils remembered their master and told their deaf friends about 
him and for one hundred fifty years his French name was buried inside the house 
he built and he was known only as old deaf mute there Amiens