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Hor. Od. ii. 6. 









John Long 

Norris Street, Haymarket 

[A/l rights reserziecf] 

First Published in igo^ 


Illustrations reproduced by the Hentschel-Colourtjrpe Process 



I. The Crescent 




Le Velay 



Le Puy 



Round about Le Puy 









The Volcanoes of the Vivarais 



The Canon of the Ard^che 



The Wood of Paiolive . 



The Ravine of the Allier 



The Camisards . 






Ganges . 



Le Vigan 






The Land of Ferdinand Fabre 



The H^rault 



The Tamargue from La Souche 

From a photograph by Artige freres. 

Lacemaker, Le Puis . 

From a photograph by Margerite-Br^mont. 

Castle of Ventadour 

From a photograph by Bigot-Croze. 

Peasants of the Causses 
The Goat's Leap, Le Vigan 
Peasant Girls of the Causses 
Dolmen of Grandmont 

From a photograph by L. Froment. 

To face page 24 

„ 128 

>, 241 

» 249 

„ 292 


The Cyclopses at MouRfezE 

From a photograph by L. Froment. 

Le Sue DE Sara 

From a photograph by Margerite-Br6mont. 

La Voute-sur-Loire . 

From a photograph by Margerite-Brdmont.' 

Cascade des Estreys . 

From a photograph by Margertte-Br^mont. 

La Beate 

From a photograph by Margerite-Br^mont. 

Cevenol Peasant 

From a photograph by Margerite-Bremont. 

Cathedral, West Front, Le Puy 

From a photograph by Margerite-Bremont. 

Porch, Cathedral, Le Puy 

From a photograph by Margerite-Bremont. 












From a photograph by Margerite-Br^mont. 

Basalt, Espaly 

From a photograph by Vazelle. 

La Roche Lambert 

From a photograph by Margerite-Diimont. 


From a photograph by Artige freres. 

Gerbikr de Jonc 

From a photograph by Artige freres. 

The Tavern of Peyrabeille . 

From a photograph by Margerite-Br^mont. 


From a photograph by Artige freres. 

The Vivarais Chain . 

From a photograph by Artige freres. 

The Volane Valley . 

From a photograph by Artiga freres. 

Le Fauteuil du Diable 

From a photograph by Artige freres. 

Fall at Antraigues . 

From a photograph by Bigot-Croze. 

In the ARDfeCHE 

From a photograph by Artige freres. 

Crater of L\ Gravenne 

From a photograph by Bigot-Croze. 

Falls of Ruy Pic 

From a photograph by Artige freres. 

Gorges of the Ardeche 

From a photograph by Artige freres. 

Pont de L'Arc 

From a photograph by Artige freres. 

"The Cathedral" 

From a photograph by Artige frferes. 


From a photograph by Artige freres. 

Castle of Ganges 

From a photograph by J. Bernard. 

. To face 

pag' 43 



• »> 


• i» 






• n 
















• J» 






• >l 






Bramabiau . . 

From a photograph by C. Bemheim. 

Cheesemakers, Roquefort 

From a photograph by E. Carrere. 


From a photograph by L. Froment. 

In the Cirque, MouRi:zE 

From a photograph by L. Froment. 

Group at Mour4:ze 

From a photograph by L. Froment. 

The Sentinel at MouRfezE 

From a photograph by L. Froment. 

On the H^rault 

From a photograph by L. Froment. 

S. Guilhem-le-Desert 

From a photograph by L. Froment. 

Mills on the Herault 

From a photograph by L. Froment. 

To face page 253 


Sketch Map of the Cevennes 




THE Cevennes are a mountain fringe to the up- 
lifted plateau of Central France, and are less 
visited by English tourists than any other mountainous 
district in la belle France. They have been most un- 
justly neglected. The scenery is singularly varied. The 
historical associations are rich, but mainly tragic. 

This is not a guide-book, but an introduction to the 
country, to be supplemented by guide-books. The area 
is so extensive, that I have had to exercise restraint and 
limit myself to a few of the most salient features and 
most profitable centres whence excursions may be made. 
The Cevennes should be visited from March to June, 
afterwards the heat is too great for travelling to be com- 
fortable. For inns, consult the annual volume of the 
French Touring Club ; Baedeker and Joanne cannot 
always be relied on, as proprietors change, either for 
the better or for the worse. I have been landed in 
unsatisfactory quarters by relying on one or other of 
these guide-books, owing to the above-mentioned 

The " Touring-Club de France," Avenue de la Grande 
Armee 65, Paris, is doing excellent work in refusing 
to recommend a hotel unless the sanitary arrangements 
be up-to-date. 



The great central plateau — The true Cevennes — The character of the 
range— The watershed — The Garrigues — The Boutieres — M^zenc — 
— The Coiron — The mountains of the Vivarais — The Ardeche — 
< Volcanoes — The Camisard country — Larzac— The Herault — The 
Espinouse — The Montagne Noire — Neglect of the Cevennes — Their 
great interest. 

THE great central plateau of France that serves as 
the watershed between the Atlantic and the 
Mediterranean, and severs France proper — the old 
medieval France — from Languedoc, is due to a mighty 
upheaval of granite, carrying with it aloft on its back 
beds of schist, Jura limestone, chalk, coal, and red 
sandstone. The granite has not everywhere reached 
the surface, it has not in all parts shaken off the burden 
that lay on it. The superincumbent beds do not lie in 
position one above another, like ranges of books on 
shelves. Many of them over a large tract have been 
carried away by denudation through the action of water. 
The plateau under consideration stretches over an 
area of 3,ocx) square miles. It dies down towards the 



north-west, but reaches its highest elevation in the east 
and in the south. This great upland district had to be 
crossed before the peoples dwelling north and south of 
it could be fused into one. The plateau extends 
through the old provinces of Marche and Limousin, 
Auvergne, Forez, the Velay, the Vivarais, Rouergue, 
and the Gevaudan. But it was disturbed, broken up, 
and overlaid by volcanic eruptions at a comparatively 
recent date, pouring forth floods of lava and clouds of 
ash in Auvergne, le Velay, and le Vivarais. In its up- 
heaval, moreover, the granite turned up, snapped, and 
exposed the superposed beds, and left them as bristling 
ridges to the east and south. It is this fringe that con- 
stitutes the Cevennes. These describe a half-moon, 
with its convexity towards the basin of the Rhone. 
Locally, indeed, the name Cevennes is limited to a 
tangle of schist ridges and deep-cleft ravines, con- 
stituting that portion of the arc which is between the 
Coiron and the limestone plateau of Larzac. But such 
is not the original limitation. The Romans un- 
doubtedly, looking from the basin of the Rhone on 
the long purple chain, behind which set the sun in a 
glow of amber, as they passed up and down between 
Aries and Vienne — designated that range Cebennae, 
and geographers still are disposed to so name the 
entire series, as constituting an orological entity, 
although the several portions have received dis- 
tinguishing appellations. 

They all belong to the same system, were all in their 
main lines thrown up at the same time, though not by 
any means all of the same geological formation ; and 
they are all peopled by the same race, all speaking the 
Langue d'Oc. 

The Cycloi'ses, Moureze 

Page 3 


It seems therefore reasonable to take the entire 
curve as forming the Cevennes from the depression of 
the J arret, through which runs the line from Lyons 
to the coalfields of S. Etienne, as the northern limit, 
and the Montagne Noire, east of the gap of Revel, by 
which the road by which Castelnaudary and Castres are 
linked, as the western termination. 

" The Cevennes," says Onesime Reclus, " have this striking 
feature, that they separate two climates, two vegetations, two 
natures. To the north and to the west are rain, snow, light 
fog silvered by the moon, and dense vapours which the sun 
cannot pierce ; and the streams that water the smallest valleys 
nourish rich green meadows ; to the south and east is a blazing 
sun, are glare, heat, drought, barrenness, dust, the vine, the 
olive, springs of water few and far between, but where they do 
issue, copious and clear ; here — contrasts of colour, sharp-cut 
horizons, more beautiful than those of the north. What a 
contrast within a few leagues' distance between the verdure of 
Mezamet and the vari-coloured marbles of Cannes, between 
the Agout and the Salvetat d' Angles . . . between the valley 
of the Dourbie at Nant and the Herault at Ganges, between 
the Tarn at Pont-de-Montvert and the embattled gorges of 
the Gardens, between the Allier at La Bastide and the ravines 
down which rushes the C^ze, between the young Loire and 
the terrible rapids of the Ardeche ... on one side a French 
Siberia, on the other an Africa where the sirocco does not 
parch up the harvests, but where the mistral shrieks, itself 
producing a brief winter."^ 

The chain of the Cevennes, of which M^zenc may be 
regarded as the hinge, forms a ridge on the right bank 
of the Rhone, running for a while parallel to the French 
Alps upon the left bank. But whereas these latter 

^ France : Algerie et Colonies, Paris, Hachette et C'^. 


turn and curve to the east, forming the Maritime Alps, 
the Cevennes have bent in exactly the opposite direction. 

Geographically and historically the Cevennes divide 
into two great sections — the Cevennes Meridionales and 
the Cevennes Septentrionales. This continuous moun- 
tain ridge, in fact, forms a line of separation of waters 
very distinct, without solution of continuity, and which, 
in spite of the variety of its geological structure, has 
been determined by the same fold in the earth's crust, 
by one and the same act of pressure. 

From the main chain, like the rib of a fern, extend 
lateral offshoots, between which are valleys watered by 
the drainage of the principal spinal chain. On the east 
side of the Cevennes these are all approximately at 
right angles to the axis. But this is not the case on 
the west side; nor is it so on the south. On this latter, 
before the main range a sort of outwork has been 
thrown up that deflects the streams, where they have 
not cut through it. These bastions are the Garrigues 
and the Espinouse. 

The eastern face of the Cevennes towards the Rhone 
is torn and steep. That towards the west exhibits a 
different aspect altogether, as there the range starts out 
of a high uplifted plain but little eroded. 

The Garrigues above mentioned form a barren, 
waterless bastion, with little growing on them but 
the dwarf Kirmes oak {Quercus cocci/era) evergreen, 
with spiky leaves, locally called garrus, giving the 
name to the range. They are full of pot-holes (avens), 
down which the rain that falls sinks to travel under- 
ground and reappear often at great distances in 
copious springs. 

The northernmost portion of the Cevennes is the 



5k€tch Map of 





chain of the Boutieres, composed of granite and gneiss, 
and they are the least interesting portion of the series. 
Few of the summits surpass 3,6cx) feet, but they throw 
out a spur that is a supreme effort, the Mont Pilat, 
4,700 feet ; precisely as the Pyrenees, before expiring in 
the east, have projected to the north-east, and tossed 
aloft the noble pyramid of the Canigou. The Boutieres 
attach themselves at their southern extremity to 
M^zenc, the loftiest peak of the Cevennes, 5,750 feet. 
So also does the chain of the Megal, separated from the 
Boutieres by the valley of the Lignon. Seen from Le 
Puy, this ridge is fine, broken into peaks. The Megal 
itself attains to the height of 4,345 feet. This cone 
formerly belched forth a torrent of lava reaching to a 
thickness of 450 feet, and extending to a distance of 
fifty miles by eight miles wide. 

From the volcanic nucleus of Mezenc branches south- 
east the chain of the Coiron, volcanic as well, stretch- 
ing to the Rhone, where its last deposits of lava are 
crowned by the ruins of Rochemaure. The geologist 
Cordier, who had travelled in Auvergne, Italy, Syria, 
and Egypt, declared that he had never seen a volcanic 
region comparable to the Coiron, This chain is of 
special interest to the geologist, and is full of surprises 
to the ordinary traveller, for the lava bed caps the 
mountains, composed of friable limestone, that once 
formed a great calcareous plain. The Rhone has 
lowered its bed a thousand feet since the liquid stone 
flowed, and torrents have cut through lava and lime- 
stone, fashioning deep and even broad valleys. Next, 
the weather ate into the flanks where the stone was 
soft, undermined the basalt, that came down for lack of 
support in huge masses. 


Not only so, but man from the remotest period has 
burrowed into the rock to form habitations for himself 
Near S. Jean-le-Centenier are the Balmes de Montbrul, 
a volcanic crater 300 feet in diameter and 480 feet 
deep. Men have scooped out rudimentary dwelling 
places in the sides in fifteen to twenty stages, one above 
another ; a chapel and a prison were among these ex- 
cavations. A troglodyte family lived in one of these 
caves at the end of the eighteenth century. 

The mountains of the Vivarais are the finest portion 
of the Cevennes, so noble are their outlines, so deep are 
the clefts that seam them, so tumbled is the aspect 
of range heaped on range ; and they are supremely in- 
teresting on account of the volcanic vents that remain 
in good preservation, and the wondrous walls of pris- 
matic basalt that line the rivers. 

The Ardeche is certainly the most extraordinary river 
in Europe ; after leaping, and burrowing, and sawing its 
way through basalt, it passes down a cleft o( lias dis- 
posed in beds completely horizontal, and rising like the 
walls of houses. In fact, it traverses a long white 
street, many miles in length, and then enters the great 
ravine between lofty precipices of Dolomitic limestone, 
where runs no road, and where one must descend in a 
boat, shooting rapid after rapid in the midst of scenery 
only rivalled by the noted gorges of the Tarn. 

It is not necessary to do more than indicate the 
general aspect of this portion of the Cevennes, to give 
an outline that may be filled in with details later on. 

But before quitting this department, I must quote 
some words of Mr. Hammerton, no mean judge of 
landscape : — 

"The department of Ardeche on the right bank of the 


Rhone is but little visited by tourists, and does not contain a 
single mountain whose name is known in England. It is 
natural that the hills of the Ardeche should be little known, 
as the fame of them is extinguished by the Alps ; yet they are 
highly picturesque and full of geological interest. As to 
the altitudes, they are not considered high mountains in 
France, but there are twelve of them that exceed Ben Nevis." 

The volcanic region of M6zenc and the Coiron to the 
east of the granitic plateau separates the southern 
from the northern Cevennes. The first volcanic cones 
are met with immediately north of Mont Tanargue 
(4,785 feet). The southernmost is the Coupe de Jaujac. 
There are six of these volcanoes lying at the foot of 
the granite plateau, but they are insignificant in com- 
parison with those of the principal range, which forms 
the watershed between the Loire and the Rhone, in the 
centre of which range is the three-toothed M^zenc, 
surrounded by subsidiary cones, among which is the 
Gerbier de Jonc (5,090 feet), which was 5,610 feet 
high before a landslip occurred in 1821, that reduced 
its height. On the flank of this mountain rises the 

The department of Gard takes it name from several 
Gardons, a name as common in this part of the 
Cevennes as Gave is in the Pyrenees. 

We are now in the midst of the Camisard country, 
an inextricable network of mountains of lacerated 
schist and of deeply furrowed valleys, in which the 
revolted Cevenols held at bay the armies of Louis XIV. 
At the present day the department of Gard contains 
more Protestants than any other in France, and whole 
villages are entirely Calvinist, with scarce a Catholic in 


The Cevennes are drifting westward. In Herault 
they take a definitely western direction. Here comes 
in the limestone plateau of Larzac, that feeds the 
countless flocks from which are derived Roquefort 
cheese. This is a barren land. It was not always so, 
but man has devastated it with the axe, and the sheep 
devour every plant that shoots, and kill the future of 
Larzac. Little soil now remains on this elevated white 
tableland ; what there is is swept away by the rains 
and carried underground in the avens or pot-holes. 
M. Martel says: — 

"Nowadays that atmospheric condensation is weak, the 
rains so soon as they touch the calcareous rock are engulfed in 
its thousands of fissures, at once, as if evaporated by contact 
with red-hot iron. The porosity of the soil is guilty of this 
legerdemain. Save on the morrow of great storms, drunk up 
thirstily by the parched causse in a few hours, there is not 
a drop of water on the plateau. In the stony bed of the 
torrents one may make almost a complete circuit of such a 
peninsula as that circumscribed by the Vis on the east, and 
the Virenque on the north, west, and south, where run their 
trenches, cut to the depth of 600 to 900 feet, forming 
tortuous chaplets of rubble beds, grey and sunburnt. Torrent 
beds these, sufficiently large to accommodate the Dordogne 
with ease, but now only rivers of ballast, where the flood of a 
passing storm rarely troubles the sleep of the sand and 
the solitary pebbles." 

The river Herault, that gives its name to the de- 
partment, flows through a ravine, up which runs no 
road, save to S. Guilhem-le-Desert. Another river not 
easy to be explored is its tributary, the Vis. One 
can look down into the canon from above, but not 
thread it. 


We come next to the coalfields that are more or less 
energetically exploited. Some talk has been about 
running a special line from them to Marseilles, so as to 
furnish the vessels with home-produced steam-coal. 
But the fuel here turned out has not the heating power 
of the anthracite of Cardiff, and it has proved cheaper 
to obtain a supply by water from Wales than to employ 
that which is dug out of the flanks of the Cevennos 
150 miles distant. 

The Espinouse gives birth on one slope to affluents 
of the Tarn, that discharges its waters into the 
Garonne and finally into the Atlantic. On the 
southern face, which is not a slope but a precipice, 
through chasms it sends feeders to the Orb that throws 
its waters into the Mediterranean. The Espinouse is 
composed of gneiss and schist, penetrated by veins of 
eruptive matter. Although the actual heights are 
not great, rarely exceeding 3,300 feet, yet the sheer 
cliffs, and the manner in which they have been cleft by 
torrents, gives them a grandeur which makes this por- 
tion of the Cevennes well deserving of a visit. 

The Monts de Lacaune, almost wholly sterile, link 
the Cevennes of Herault to those of Aveyron. The 
highest crest is the Pic de Montalet, 3,810 feet. They 
are composed of mica-schists, granite, and porphyry, 
and stretch in barren plateaux, or monotonous rolling 
ground, frozen for a great part of the year. The 
Montagne Noire, on the other hand, is well wooded. 
From its wretched hamlets come the men who help to 
gather in the vintage in the more fertile plains. 

"These mountaineers arrive," says Mme. L. Figuier, 
"to earn in one month enough to support them and their 
families all the rest of the year in their contracted valleys, 


rich in vegetation but very poor in products. The Languedoc 
peasants treat them harshly. The unfortunate mountaineers, 
who ought to inspire compassion, are often enough badly 
treated, and serve as butts for chaff to the grape gatherers of 
the country to which they have come as assistants. The farmer 
who has hired a band of these montagnards gives them a granary 
and some hay in and on which to rest after the fatigues of 
the day. Here they are huddled together, men, women, and 
children, living on the grapes and on a coarse soup which 
they cook in common in the evening, and eat together out of 
one porringer. But these veritable pariahs are linked together 
by strong ties of affection. They rise, walk, work, eat, sleep 
together always in herds. In the evening, on returning from 
the vineyards, they dance their national bourses, not so much 
for enjoyment, as to bring back to their minds their native 
country, and sometimes great tears may be seen rolling down 
the cheeks of the young girls, who think of the happy times 
when they danced so merrily on the earthen floors of their 
cottages. The most fertile plains, the most brilliant cities, 
cannot compensate, to these poor people, for the century- 
old nut trees and the chestnuts which nourish them in their 
miserable hovels. Their hearts crave for the freshness of 
their valleys, the fragrance of their meadows, their snowy 
mountains, and the distaff over the fire of the winter's 

I have not in this book included the Montagne Noire. 
I have not described the range beyond the Espinouse 
westward, nor the mountains about Annonais and Mont 
Pilat, as these portions of the Cevennes are less interest- 
ing than that which intervenes, and, also, lest I should 
unduly extend the book. 

It is strange that the region of the Cevennes should 

^ FiGUlBR (L). Nos <U Lavene, Paris, Marpon. 


have been neglected by tourists to such an extent as it 
has ; but it is explicable. 

Those who seek sunshine during the winter in the 
Riviera leave the Cevennes far away as a bank of cloud 
silver-fringed on their right hand beyond the Rhone. 
On their way back to England in spring they are dis- 
inclined to loiter, and break their home journey for the 
sake of excursions into this region, so little explored. 
In like manner, those who go to Pau are carried by the 
railway far away to the west, and see nothing of the 
plateau, because it slants downwards from the lofty 
ridge to the east. 

Those who travel from Toulouse to Montpellier by 
the railway have their eyes attracted south to the snows 
and glaciers of the Pyrenees, and do not turn their 
heads to look north at the range that is so unassertive, 
sheltering itself behind the desolate Garrigues. 

In 1894 I published a book. The Deserts of Central 
France, in which I described the great tableland high 
uplifted that lies in the penumbra of the great crescent, 
and I shall say nothing in this of the plateaux of Lot, 
Tarn, and Lozere, dealt with in the former work, but con- 
fine myself to the marginal range. Since M. Martel first 
drew attention to the gorges of the Tarn, and possibly 
due in a measure to my work, these gorges are becoming 
annually frequented more and more by tourists. How- 
ever fine they may be, there are others in the depart- 
ments of Ardeche, Gard, and H6rault, that fall but little, 
if at all, short of them in savagery and strangeness. 

There are no great towns in the Cevennes. Such as 
there are are sleepy and stationary ; but from Beziers, 
Montpellier, Nimes, Le Puy, where every comfort may 
be found, it is easy to run into the mountains, and 


return from them to recruit. Hotels are vastly im- 
proved of late years owing to the insistence of the 
Touring Club on the sanitary arrangements being at 
least decent, which they were not ten years ago. 

Enough has been said to show that the Cevennes 
abound in scenes of great beauty, and that they are of 
special interest to geologists. They are interesting in 
another way. The limestone hills are overgrown with 
aromatic herbs, mint, marjoram, thyme, sage, lavender, 
rosemary, so as to be veritable spice mountains over 
which the warm air wafts fragrance. The shrubs and 
trees present to our eyes, familiar with northern vegeta- 
tion, an unfamiliar appearance. They are for the most 
part evergreens, where the chestnuts do not spread in 
forests, or the mulberry is not cultivated for silkworm 

For the geology of the volcanic district of Haute 
Loire and Ardeche, an excellent guide is Mr. Paulett 
Scrope's Geology and Extinct Volcanoes in Central 
France, London, second edition, 1858. 

Lovers of the writings of Robert Louis Stevenson 
know his Travels with a Donkey in the Cevennes — a 
delightful book, but dealing very little with the Cevennes 
proper, mainly with the Upper G6vaudan, and with that 
portion of Lozere threaded by the Tarn, and with 
neither of these do I deal in this volume. 


Haute Loire — Geological structure of the plateau — Trap dykes — Volcanoes 
— Crater of Bar — The Lac de Bouchet — Legends — Offerings made to 
lakes — Mezenc — Direction of the rivers — Peculiarities in their course — 
How the basalt was broken through — The River Loire —The Borne — 
The Ceysac — Process of valley formation — The climate — Lacemaking 
— La Beate — The peasantry — Costume — History of Le Velay — The 
Polignacs — The Mint — The Revolution. 

THE department of Haute Loire is made up mainly, 
but not wholly, of the ancient province of Le 
Velay. It is situated at the limit of the Langue d'Oc, 
on the confines of the region of the Langue d'Oil. Le 
Velay forms a rude triangle of which the bounds are 
the mountains of the Vivarais on the east, those of the 
Velay on the west, and the broad basis of the triangle 
is to the north towards Auvergne and Forez, fringed 
there by lower heights. It consists of an uplifted 
plateau with an average elevation above the sea of 
2,700 feet, and is the least rainy portion of France. 
The summers there are never oppressively hot ; but, on 
the other hand, in winter it is a Southern Siberia. Origin- 
ally composed of granite, it has been pierced by volcanic 
cones, and covered with igneous dejections. As many 
as a hundred craters have been counted in it, and 
through the rents in the granite and schist opened 
during the throes of eruption, dykes of trap have been 



thrust, forming spires and truncated columns. The heat 
of the molten matter so altered and disintegrated the 
rocks through which it was driven, that in many places 
these rocks have crumbled away, and have left the 
dykes erect in black nakedness high above the surround- 
ing level. Such is the Aiguilhe by Le Puy, 210 feet 
high, to reach the summit of which a flight of steps has 
been hewn in the side, and on the top, in 962, Truan, 
Dean of Le Puy, erected a church in honour of 
S. Michael, and called it Seguret, The Secure Refuge ; 
the church was consecrated in 980. Another of 
these obelisks is at Fay le Froid, another basaltic 
monolith is La Roche Rouge on the banks of the 

But sometimes the eruptive dykes are more massive, 
and form stone tables with precipitous sides, as at 
Polignac, the cradle of an illustrious family, and at 
Arlempdes on the Loire. 

There are few crags of basalt or tufa in the Velay 
that are not crowned by a ruined castle, and to enu- 
merate these would be a tedious and unprofitable task. 

The last of all the volcanoes to explode was the 
Denise, near Le Puy, and that erupted when man was 
on the earth, for under the lava, in a bed of breccia or 
volcanic ash, was found in 1884 the skeleton of a man ; 
another was discovered shortly after, and a third is 
reported to have been recently disinterred. In the case 
of the first of these, the man seems to have been over- 
taken by the shower of falling ash, to have sat down, 
placed his head between his knees, and held his hands 
over his skull to protect it, and so perished, and the 
rain of cinders finally enveloped and buried him. No 
weapons or ornaments have been found with these 


bodies. The relics of plants and animals in the same 
bed belong to species still existing in the neighbour- 

Of the craters the most perfect is that of Bar, thus 
described by Georges Sand : — 

"This ancient volcano rises isolated above a vast plateau 
that is as bare as it is sad. It stands there as if planted as a 
boundary mark between the old Velay and Auvergne. From 
the summit of its truncated cone a superb view is obtained 
extending to the Cevennes. A vast forest of beech crowns 
the mountain and clothes its sides, which are much rifted 
towards the base. The crater is a mighty bowl full of verdure, 
perfectly circular, and with the bottom covered with a turfy 
sward in which grow pale birch trees thinly scattered. Here 
was at one time a lake, dried up in the times of Roman 
occupation. The tradition of the country is strange. It 
was said that this tarn bred storms; and the inhabitants of 
Forez accordingly came hither, sword in hand, and forcibly 
drained it."^ 

The Lac de Bouchet is not a sheet of water filling an 
ancient crater, but occupies a hollow produced by the 
bursting of a great bubble of air in the molten lava. 
It is almost circular, and the ground around it is very 
slightly raised. Curiously enough, Roman substructures 
have been traced in the lake. Probably some Gallo- 
Roman noble had his summer villa there, overhanging 
the water, as at Baiae. 

" Nullus in orbe sinus Baiis prselucet amoenis, 
Si dixit dives — lacus et mare sentit amorem 
Festinantis heri." 

This originated a tale told by the peasantry to the 

^ Jean de la Roche, Paris, Calmann-Levy. 


effect that a city lay submerged under the crystal water. 
The story is this: Our Lord visited Le Velay to see what 
way the Gospel was making there. He lodged with an 
aged widow, who nourished herself on the milk of a single 
goat. The people received Christ badly, and pelted 
Him with stones. Then He laid hold of the widow by 
the hand and drew her away ; and she, leading the 
goat, followed. They had not proceeded far before she 
turned and looked back. And lo ! where the town had 
been was now a lake. Three stones mark the spot 
where the widow took up her final residence, and on 
one of these she is said to have sat to milk her goat. 
The same story is told of another of these lakes, that 
of Arconne, near Fay le Froid, and there also are found 
three blocks ranged in a line. 

That these lakes were held sacred admits of no 

Gregory of Tours, in the sixth century, says that in 
the land of the Gabali (the adjoining Gevaudan) was a 
Mount Helanus, where was a lake. Every year the 
inhabitants of the country flocked thither and cast 
oblations into the water — linen, weaving-materials, 
cheese, wax, bread, and coins. They arrived in 
wagons, bringing their food with them, and feasted by 
the lakeside during three days. On the last day a 
storm of thunder, lightning, and hail was wont to 
break over the sheet of water. This usage lasted till a 
bishop of Clermont went thither, and preached to the 
people ; but as he found it impossible to dissuade the 
natives from the practice, he built there a chapel to 
S. Hilary, and exhorted them to leave their gifts there in- 
stead of throwing them into the tarn. This lake is now 
called Lac S. Andeol, on the mountains of Aubrac, and 


the ruined chapel of S. Hilary remains. The people still 
reverence the pool, which they call the Father of Hail 
Storms, and till last century continued to cast offerings 
into the water. The visible result of the efforts of the 
good bishop so many centuries ago was no more than 
the construction of a chapel now in ruins. 

It is probable enough that were the Lac de Bouchet 
drained, it would yield a rich spoil of coins. The lake 
is 2,800 feet across and 98 feet deep. In the morass 
occupying the bowl of Bar have been found a great 
many early coins, a necklace, and bracelets of bronze. 

The loftiest of the Cevennes is Mezenc, on the 
frontier of Haute Loire. It is 5,750 feet high, and was 
at one time the central point of violent Plutonic erup- 
tions. Several craters poured forth trachyte, phonolith, 
and basalt, which overflowed the granite, gneiss, clay 
deposits, and limestone to a great distance. 

One of the craters, La Croix-des-Boutieres, remains 
very distinct. 

" The phonolith of which Mezenc is composed," says Elisee 
Reclus, "appears to have issued from the crater in a state of high 
fluidity, and to have spread very rapidly over the slopes of the 
crystalline plateau. The result is that the volcanic cones have, 
relatively to the anterior formations that support them, but a 
feeble elevation. The lavas which issued from the crater of 
Mezenc, of very unequal texture, have been attacked by 
storms, so as to represent a range of distinct cones on which 
grow forests of oak and pine." 

If the map be studied, it will be seen that there are 
two features in the water system of this region that 
merit notice. 

In the first place, we have the Allier on the west, and 


the Loire in the midst of this tableland flowing due 
north to shed their waters ultimately into the Atlantic. 
Parallel with them, divided from the Loire only by the 
chain just described, distant from it from forty to fifty 
miles, is the Rhone, running in a precisely opposite 
direction, due south, to discharge into the Mediter- 

Then, again, going west, we have the Lot, the Tarn, 
the Jonte, the Truy6re, and the Dordogne, all in their 
early youth streaming from east to west, their sources, 
or those of some of them, twenty miles from the Allier, 
which is racing as hard as it can run to the north. 
The explanation of this last feature is easy. When the 
granite was upheaved it lifted a crust of Dolomite on its 
back like a huge shell, and in lifting split the shell in 
many places. 

The rivers, rising in the granite of the Margeride, the 
Mont d'Aubrac, the Aigoual, the Monts de Loz^re, and 
slipping off their impervious sides looking for outlets, 
found these fissures, took possession of them, and 
rushed down them on their way to the plains in the 

The average depth of these chasms is from 1,300 to 
1,500 feet, and their width at the bottom varies from 160 
to 1,500 feet. Their rocky walls are carved by rain and 
frost into the most fantastic forms. At one time I held, 
with M. Martel, that these canons were originally sub- 
terranean watercourses, and that the caverns formed 
by the underground waters became open valleys by the 
falling in of their roofs. But this idea is untenable, as 
I now see. The rivers descending from the granitic 
range must have found a passage, and they found it in 
the already cleft masses of the Gausses. They rise out- 


side the limestone area, and cut right through it, sepa- 
rating one Causse from another.^ 

A second feature in the river system of Haute Loire 
is that a certain number of the affluents of the Loire 
run into it from the direction in which it is flowing, 
and their mouths are more or less against the stream 
they are about to feed. A river usually affects the form 
of a deciduous tree, of which the branches represent 
the tributaries. The branches are attached to the 
trunk at an obtuse angle, as seen from below. With 
pines it is different ; with them the limbs are attached in 
the reverse fashion, at an acute angle as seen from 
below. Some of the affluents of the Loire come into 
it in the way in which a fir branch grows out of the 
main trunk. This is notably the case with the Arzon 
and the Borne. The reason for this is that the basin of 
Le Velay has a rim to the north, and the drainage from 
the north naturally runs down to the lowest point in 
the basin. But on reaching this spot the streams come 
on the Loire, which has cut for itself a huge gap 
through the northern lip of the bowl, and is able to 
discharge its waters through that. 

How this was done demands some explanation. The 
Rhone is the mightiest of the rivers of France, but its 
sources are in the Swiss Alps, and it does not enter 
France till after it has passed through the Lake of 
Geneva. But the Loire is next in size and importance, 
and it flows through French soil only. The source is 
under the Gerbier de Jonc, in the department of 
Ardeche, but flows in it for a short course only. It is 
still a feeble stream when it enters the department of 

* See '* The Canons of Southern France," by A. T. Jukes-Browne, in 
Natural Science ^ vol. vi., 1 895. 


Haute Loire, through which it makes its way till it 
leaves it for Forez. The Loire rises 4,500 feet above 
the sea, and when it quits the department it has fallen 
to 1,450 feet. When the volcanoes of Le Velay were 
in eruption and the tableland was overflowed with 
molten lava, the Loire must have been arrested and 
have mounted to heaven in a column of steam. In 
time the lava cooled, and the stream groped for beds of 
scoria and fallen dust through which it could nibble its 
way with ease. But when it encountered a barrier of 
basalt the case was altered. This blocked its course as 
with rows of iron piles rammed into the ground and 
running far back. But the crystallisation of the lava 
into basaltic prisms helped the river to break through. 

The molten matter, of the consistency of treacle, 
flowing over the country followed its undulations, filling 
hollows here and rounding obstructions there. When 
it cooled it began to crystallise, and form hexagonal 
columns that are upright. But when the surface of the 
original soil would not allow of regular crystallisation, 
there the columns shaped themselves in all directions 
and in great confusion ; the result being that in many 
places the basalt was fractured, fissured, and ruinous 
from the very first. The water speedily detected these 
weak points, worked at them, tumbled the columns 
down, overleaped them, bored further, and did not rest 
till it had cut its way completely through the barrier. 

Hercules in his cradle strangled a couple of serpents, 
and the infant Loire, a ridiculously small stream for the 
work it effected, on entering the department laid hold 
of and split the bed of Plutonic deposit, and held on its 
way between basaltic escarpments. It is, however, 
below Le Puy, after the Sumene has entered it, under 

Castle of La Voute-suk-Loire 

Page 23 

Cascade des Estrkys 

P^ge 23 


the mighty rocks of Peyredeyre that begin its finest 
achievements. The eruptions that took place in this 
part were later than those which had obstructed it in its 
infancy. They entirely blocked the exit, and the Loire 
was dammed back in the basin of Le Puy, where it 
spread into an extensive lake. In time, however, it 
succeeded in sawing a way through. The railway from 
Le Puy to St. Etienne runs through the furrow that it 
formed. The barrier had been thrown up from both 
sides by the meeting and overlapping of lava floods 
from the volcanoes of Velay in the west, and those of 
the Vivarais in the east, and the beds were piled 
one upon another. It is marvellous to see the passage 
which the river forced for itself through these super- 
incumbent beds, from Peyredeyre to La Voute. The 
rock at this latter place sustains a restored castle belong- 
ing to the Duke of Polignac. 

Below this point the gorge ceases for a while, till 
another barricade was reached below Vorey, where the 
Arzon enters the Loire. 

There the river struggles between the Miaune and 
the Gerbizon, in the defiles of Chambon and Cham- 
alieres. The beds of phonolith of these mountains, 
which formerly corresponded unbrokenly, are now 
separated by a gash 1,500 feet deep, which the waters 
of the Loire have achieved, cutting through the lava 
to the granite beneath. 

The Borne, on which is Le Puy, also traverses gorges, 
notably that of Estreys, and passes the well-preserved 
castle of the Leaguer Baron de S. Vidal. Then it 
sweeps under the pillared rocks of Espaly and slides 
beneath I'Aiguilhe. Perhaps as interesting an example 
as any of the way in which an insignificant stream has 


overmastered all difficulties may be seen in the Valley 
of Ceyssac. The rill flows into the Borne at an acute 
angle against the current. The valley was choked with 
a mass of tufa ejected from La Denise, and the current 
was arrested in its downward course. The stream then 
formed a lake that rose till it overflowed the dam in 
two places, leaving between them a prong of somewhat 
harder rock. When the water had poured for a con- 
siderable time over the left-hand lip, and it had worn this 
down to the depth of about seventy feet, it all at once 
abandoned this mode of outlet and concentrated its 
efforts on the right-hand portion of the barrier, where it 
found that the tufa was less compact, and it sawed this 
down till it reached its present level, leaving the prong of 
rock in the middle rising precipitously out of the valley 
with the water flowing below it, but attached to the 
mountain-side by the neck it had abandoned. The Polig- 
nacs seized on the fang of tufa and built a castle on the 
top, only to be reached by steps cut in the face of the 
rock ; and the villagers covered the neck with their 
houses. They then proceeded to scoop out a great 
vault in the body of the living rock, blocked the entrance 
with a wall in which is inserted a pretty Romanesque 
doorway, and so provided themselves with a parish 
church at very little expense. On a saddle overhead 
they constructed a belfry for three bells. 

In no part of Europe can be studied with greater 
facility the process of valley formation, for here that 
process is comparatively recent. That which has been 
accomplished elsewhere in hundreds of thousands of 
years, has here been achieved in thousands only. The 
great elevation of the valley, and the fact that it lies 
open to the north cause it to be a cold country. The 



high tableland is swept by the winds, of which the most 
dreaded is that of the south, le vent blanc, bringing with 
it tempest that devastates the harvest. 

" In these quasi-Alpine regions," says M. Malegue, " snow, 
scourged by the blasts, flies in clouds, heaps itself up in drifts, 
encumbers the roads that have to be marked out with poles to 
guide the traveller, buries the cottages of the poor moun- 
taineers, holding them prisoners for months at a time in their 
dwellings, and by its long stay, as by the intensity of the cold, 
makes administrative and commercial relations often im- 
possible and sometimes perilous." 

To this fact is due the creation of the great industry 
of the land — lacemaking. 

In feudal times Le Velay was a small province 
inaccessible for half the year, obliged accordingly to 
depend on itself for its existence. Auvergne, Forez, 
the Vivarais circumscribed it ; these were rich provinces. 
Moreover, the Velaviens had to pay tax and tithe and 
toll to the barons, the clergy, the king. Such burdens 
might be borne elsewhere with a grumble, but here they 
ate into the sinews of life, unless the culture of the soil 
were supplemented from some other source. And it 
was precisely this that created the industry of Le Velay 
— lacemaking. 

So soon as the first snows appeared, the men aban- 
doned their farms and cottages, and went, some to Le 
Puy, where they occupied an entire quarter, and gained 
their livelihood as tapsters, farriers, weavers, carpenters, 
pin-makers, etc., or else departed for Lyons, Nimes 
Montpellier, and Toulouse, to work as masons. All the 
women of the country pressed into Le Puy. There 
they formed congregations under the name and patron- 


age of some saint. Each of these congregations had 
its hall, and in this gathered the wives and daughters of 
the absent men, and spent their days and evenings 
in making pillow-lace, in singing, telling tales, and in 
gossip. There they remained working at their little 
squares with flying bobbins, till the spring sun brought 
back fathers and husbands and brothers, when the 
women put aside their bobbins and returned to their 
several farms. 

Lacemaking was a flourishing business till the year 
1 547, when a sumptuary law was promulgated by the 
Parliament of Toulouse and sanctioned by the King, 
forbidding the wearing of lace by any save nobles, for 
the odd reason that there was no means of obtaining 
domestic servants in Le Velay, as every girl was a lace- 

Great consternation was caused by this edict. That 
same year a late frost smote the vines, corn was dear, 
and a pestilence broke out. In the midst of this dis- 
content, Huguenot preachers appeared in the land, and 
they did their utmost to direct the disaffection of the 
people against the Church. Happily, S. Francis Regis 
arrived in Le Velay on a preaching mission, and 
speedily saw that the limitations imposed on the pro- 
duction of lace was the real grievance angering the 
people and inducing them to hit out blindly at all 
authority. He hurried to Toulouse and obtained the 
withdrawal of the law. He did more : his brethren of 
the Jesuit Order, incited by him, spread abroad the 
passion for lace in the New World, became in fact 
commts voyageurs for the industry, and thus opened out 
fresh fields for the produce. It is due to this that the 
memory of S. Francis Regis is still fragrant in the 

La Be ate 


land, and that his figure so often adorns the pillows on 
which the lace is made, and that his tomb at Lalouvesc, 
where he died on December 31st, 1640, receives such 
streams of pilgrims. 

The paralysis of the industry had hit more than the 
women of Le Velay. It had affected the colporteurs who 
brought to the market of Le Puy the linen thread out 
of which the lace was made. It is remarkable that at 
a time when roads were execrable, and means of com- 
munication faulty, the lacemakers were dependent on 
Holland for the material with which they worked. The 
linen of the district was too coarse to serve, and all that 
was used by them was derived from the Low Countries. 

Lacemaking continues to be the main industry of the 
country. In fact. Haute Loire is the most important 
centre in the world. In the report on the lace at the 
Exhibition at Chicago, it is stated that the number of 
women there engaged on this dainty and beautiful art 
was 92,000, whereas in Belgium but 65,000 are thus 

In the most remote hamlets, in the most solitary 
cottages among the mountains, the societies of lace 
workers still gather, in summer before their doors, in 
winter in the cottage of la beate. The house of this 
woman is surmounted by a little bell-cott. One such is 
to be found in the smallest cluster of cottages. The 
house consists uniformly, on the ground floor, of one 
large room that serves as chapel, refuge, school, and 
place of assembly. In the upper story lives la Beate. 
This woman, whose official title is Dame de V Instruction, 
fulfils many duties. In a land where the children are 
occupied in the fields throughout the summer, they can 
attend school only in winter, precisely when communica- 


tions are difficult and are often impossible. It is then 
that they flock to the house of the B6ate, who gives 
them the first elements of instruction. She also teaches 
the young girls how to use the bobbins. During the 
summer she has a creche, and attends to the infants 
whilst their mothers are in the fields ; she nurses the 
sick, lays out the dead, and exerts her influence, which 
is second only to that of the cur6, to counsel those who 
are in perplexity, to console the sorrowful, and to 
reconcile those who have quarrelled. She is the peace- 
maker in every little agglomeration of cottages. As a 
return for her services she obtains her lodging gratis, 
corn and wood sufficient for her needs. Every well-to- 
do peasant also contributes fifty centimes per month 
for her maintenance. In her house in the winter even- 
ings the women gather to work together, and each 
meeting is begun and concluded with prayer. How 
valuable are the services of these women may be judged 
by the fact that in Haute Loire there are 265 parishes, 
but made up of 3,300 widely-scattered hamlets. 

The peasant of the uplands of Le Velay and Le 
Vivarais is of medium height, is strongly built, and of 
a vigorous constitution. Accustomed from childhood 
to follow his sheep and oxen in their leisurely move- 
ments, he also becomes a being of slow habit of body 
and even slower of mind. He is shy, timorous, and 
cautious of compromising himself in any way with his 
neighbours, above all with the officials. 

A writer in 1829 says : — 

" His broad-brimmed hat shades a face that when calm 
seems to be incapable of expression. Chestnut hair flows over 
his shoulders. His eye is calm and assured. In speech he is 
curt, to the point ; but he is often figurative in his expressions. 

Cevenol Peasantj 

Page sg 


He makes no distinction in his address to any one to whatever 
rank he may belong, and however wealthy he may be. Com- 
municative when on terms of familiarity with him, an ex- 
pression of goodwill steals out on and overspreads his usually 
rugged and harsh features, like the flowers that open on 
the face of a rock. But should one inadvertently offend his 
pride, at once wrath, prompt and fierce, flames forth, an oath 
breaks from his lips, and in a moment the weapon, hidden 
but never quitted, is drawn and raised, and often blood flows 
to efface a quite trivial offence." 

Descriptions of character of a people are never 
satisfactory. I shall give in a subsequent chapter 
the story of the Tavern of Peyrabeille, that shows 
what the character of this people is in a way unmis- 

Robert Louis Stevenson's account of the people of Le 
Velay is peculiarly unpleasant. He speaks of their dis- 
courtesy, and accentuates their brutality of manner 
and speech. I venture, with all due deference, to differ 
from him. The peasant in Languedoc is much towards 
you as you are to him. If you meet him with 
courtesy and kindliness it is cordially reciprocated, and 
my experience is altogether the reverse of his. I do 
not think that R. L. Stevenson treated the French 
peasant quite as he expects to be treated. Here is one 
instance : — 

"At the bridge of Langogne a lassie of some seven or 
eight addressed me in the sacramental phrase, ' D'oii 'st que 
vous venez ? ' She did it with so high an air that she set me 
laughing; and this cut her to the quick. She was evidently 
one who reckoned on respect, and stood looking after me in 
silent dudgeon as I crossed the bridge." 


But I will quote again, and this time from Georges 
Sand : — 

"I find here a race very marked in its characteristics, 
ahogether in harmony with the soil that supports it ; meagre, 
gloomy, rough, and angular in its forms and in its instincts. 
At the tavern every one has his knife in his belt, and he drives 
the point into the lower face of the table, between his legs; 
after that they talk, they drink, they contradict one another, 
they become excited, and they fight. The houses are of an 
incredible dirtiness. The ceiling, made up of a number of 
strips of wood, serves as a receptacle for all their food and for 
all their rags. Alongside with their faults I cannot but 
recognise some great qualities. They are honest and proud. 
There is nothing servile in the manner in which they receive 
you, with an air of frankness and genuine hospitality. In 
their innermost soul they partake of the beauties and the 
asperities of their climate and their soil. The women have 
all an air of cordiality and daring. I hold them to be good 
at heart, but violent in character. They do not lack beauty so 
much as charm. Their heads capped with a little hat of black 
felt, decked out with jet and feathers, give to them, when 
young, a certain fascination, and in old age a look of dignified 
austerity. But it is all too masculine, and the lack of clean- 
liness makes their toilette disagreeable. It is an exhibition of 
discoloured rags above legs long and stained with mud, that 
makes one totally disregard their jewellery of gold and even 
the rock crystals about their necks." 

The elder women alone preserve a distinctive costume, 
and that is confined to the head-dress. Its main feature 
consists in a white frilled cap with a highly coloured 
broad ribbon forming a bow in front ; the ends are 
carried back over the ears, and a little peculiarly shaped 
black felt hat, fit only for a child, is perched on the 


front of the head. It is not becoming, therefore the 
young women will have none of it. But in flying 
the smoke they fall into the smother, for in place of 
this they adopt the most tawdry modern hats, a con- 
geries of feathers and cheap sham flowers. 

The history of Le Velay is involved in that of the 
bishops of Le Puy, who were counts under the 
sovereignty of the King of France. They were either 
under the domination of the Polignacs, or were fight- 
ing with them over the rights to coin money. This 
right had been conceded to the bishops in 924. But 
the viscounts of Polignac also had their mint, and 
neither could debase his coinage lest his rival should 
obtain a predominant circulation for his currency. In 
the twelfth century Pons de Polignac fought the bishop 
on this question. Louis VII. had to intervene. He 
carried off the viscount and his son Heracleus prisoners 
to Paris, and the strife was only concluded four years 
later, in 1173, by a compact, by virtue of which the 
bishop and the viscount were to share equally the 
profits of a mint held in common. 

The Polignacs were a thorn in the side of the Bishop 
and Chapter of Le Puy. Sometimes by menace with 
the sword they determined the elections to the see, 
and when it suited them they appointed one of the 
family to the throne. At the close of the eleventh 
century, one of these Polignac prelates, Stephen Taille- 
fer, surnamed " The Ravager," brought down on his 
head the anathema of Pope Gregory VII. He had 
been Bishop of Clermont, but in 1073, when the see of 
Le Puy was vacant, transferred himself to it as the 
wealthier of the two. Another Stephen had been elected 
by the Chapter, and there was fighting in the streets. 


Taillefer summoned his kinsman of Polignac to his aid, 
and drove the rival candidate out of the city. But as 
the canonicity of his election was disputed, he deemed 
it advisable to visit Rome with a valise stuffed with 
gold, and establish his claim by the most cogent of all 
arguments. He persuaded the Pope to consent to his 
retaining the see, but the case was so gross, and his 
hands were so steeped in blood, that Gregory imposed 
the condition that he should not exercise episcopal 
functions, which were to be delegated to a suffragan, 
and that he should revisit Rome with another load of 
gold somewhat later. This was in 1074, but in 1076 
the Pope excommunicated him because he had not ful- 
filled his promise of again visiting Rome. Gregory was 
in the midst of his strife with the Emperor Henry IV., 
whom he deposed in that year, and he was sorely in 
need of money wherewith to support William of 
Utrecht, whom he had set up in opposition. 

It is remarkable how sensitive Rome was to simony 
when practised anywhere else save in Rome itself. 

At a council held at Clermont in 1077, Stephen was 
deposed by order of Gregory. Nevertheless, he managed 
to retain the see till 1078. 

After a while open oppression of the Church by the 
Polignacs came to an end ; cadets of the family quietly 
appropriated to themselves the canonries and best 
benefices ; and the last bishop of the name, William de 
Chalen§on, has left a memory that was even savoury. 

But if the Polignacs were meddlesome neighbours of 
the see, they lent lustre to Le Velay. These masters 
of the rock were brave nobles. They fought in the 
Crusades; they fought the English. They espoused the 
faith, the passions, the fervour of their native land. In 


every generation illustrious marriages added to the 
splendour of their escutcheon. As the feudal towers of 
Polignac dominated, and dominate still, the green and 
flowery land that lies spread below it, so does the name 
of Polignac dominate the history of Velay. The race 
was one that abounded in energy, was robust and 

Velay was ravaged by the Free Companies, and 
summoned Du Guesclin to its aid against them. Of its 
troubles in the Wars of Religion I shall have to speak 
in the next chapter. Le Puy was occupied by the 
Leaguers, who made themselves masters of nearly 
every stronghold in Velay, and it was not till some 
years after Henry IV. had come to the throne that 
it submitted to his authority. 

The Revolution brought the same results in Velay 
as elsewhere ; the cathedral of Le Puy was pillaged, 
the monasteries destroyed, and a certain amount of 
blood was shed ; sixty priests were hung or shot, and 
many nobles guillotined. Since then it has enjoyed 
tranquillity, only recently ruffled by the taking of the 
Inventories, leading to the breaking open of the church 



The basin of Le Puy — Situation of the city — Mont Anis and I'Aiguilhe — 
How to reach Le Puy — The Velauni — Their capital — Transferred — 
The feverstone — Temple of Adido — Monument of Scutarius — Baptistery 
— The Black Virgin — The cathedral — Murder of a chorister by Jews — 
Western entrance and fa9ade — Cloister — Vaulting of nave — Tower — 
Lay canonry — Paintings — Walls — Old houses — S. Michel de I'Aiguilhe 
— How did the builders work? — S. Laurent — Du Guesclin — The Bible of 
Theodulf — Wealth of the see — Bad bishops — Bertrand de Chalen9on — 
William de la Roue — Revolt of the people — Murder of the bailiff — The 
White Hoods — Antoine de S. Nectaire — His sister — Massacre ordered 
— The bishop at Fay-le-Froid — Espaly — Vidal Guyard — Capture of 
castle — Defence of Le Puy — Church militant — The old gunner — 
Christopher d'Allegre — The Huguenots retire — The Revolution. 

yf\SSUREDLY no city in Europe occupies a site so 
jt\. fantastic as does the capital of the Velay. The 
high wind-and-snow-swept tableland to south and west 
falls away and forms a pleasant basin covered with 
vineyards and sprinkled over with white villas or 
summer-houses of the citizens, as if there had been a 
giant's wedding and much rice had been thrown. 

The Borne, that has hitherto struggled through 
ravines and tumbled in cascades, here ceases to be 
boisterous, and puts on an air of placidity as it glides 
past the cathedral city. 

In this basin the climate is mild compared with that 
of the uplands, and the soil is fertile. The train from 


West Front of Cathedral, Le Puy 

Page 34 


Arvant curves round the town before it settles into the 
station, much as a dog turns about before he lies down 
to snooze. 

What at once arrests the eye on approaching Le Puy 
is that out of the very midst of the basin up start two 
rocks ; the largest is Mont Anis, and about this, up its 
steep sides, the town scrambles. On a ledge above all 
the houses is the cathedral, and soaring above that 
again is the rock of Corneille, crowned by a colossal 
statue of the Virgin fifty-two feet high, and the largest 
in the world. It is run out of two hundred Russian 
cannons taken at Sebastopol, and stands on a pedestal 
of twenty feet. It is a disfigurement to the town, for it 
dwarfs the venerable cathedral. The site was formerly 
occupied by a ruined tower. 

The other rock is the Aiguilhe, the Needle, on the 
summit of which stands the church of S. Michel, 
reached by 265 steps cut in the face of the rock. 

The town is composed of houses grappling to every 
ledge; the streets are stone stairs, and \he place is staged 
on steps. When to this is added that the cathedral is 
unique in its way, a marvel of Romanesque architecture, 
treated in original fashion, then it will be conceived 
that Le Puy is an attractive place to visit. 

But when we come to consider how it may be reached 
we are beset with difficulties. The direct line from Paris 
is undoubtedly that leading to Vichy, but the trains 
from Vichy onward do not correspond, and are more- 
over omnibus trains that loiter for six hours and a half 
over seventy-four miles. 

Nor can we reach Le Puy by the main line from 
Paris to Nimes in a day, for at the junction, S. George's 
d'Aubrac, the trains do not communicate, and there is 


no tolerable inn at this junction where one can spend 
the night. 

The third way is by Lyons and S. Etienne, and this 
is by far the best, for by it the whole journey can be 
effected in a day ; but for that one must travel by 
express first-class as far as Lyons. 

The people anciently occupying Le Velay were the 
Velauni, and they had their capital at Rheusio, so called 
from rhew, the Celtic for cold ; and that was at 
S. Paulien. There also was the first seat of a bishop, 
but S. Evodius (351-374), whose name has been 
corrupted into Vosy, transferred his throne to Le Puy, 
then called Anisium. It is supposed that a dolmen stood 
on the platform now occupied by the cathedral, and 
that a large slab of trachyte laid down in the porch, its 
blue colour distinguishing it from the rest, was the cap- 
stone. This slab is called the Feverstone, and those 
with fire in their blood were wont to sleep a night upon 
it. The earliest mention of a cure performed by this 
means is in the time of S. Vosy. To the dolmen, if it 
ever existed, succeeded a Gallo- Roman temple dedicated 
to a local deity, Adido, conjointly with Augustus. 

When Scutarius, the second bishop of Le Puy, was 
buried, a monument was erected over him. To save the 
trouble of shaping a stone for the purpose, the mason 
of that day took a slab on which was an inscription, 
" Adidoni et Augusto Sex. Tolonius musicus D. S. P.," 
turned this about and carved on the other side a mono- 
gram of Christ, and under that " Scutari Papa vive Deo." 
The form of the letters, the title of Pope applied to the 
bishop, not yet restricted to the pontiff at Rome, and the 
expression of hope so like those found in the Catacombs, 
speak for the antiquity of this inscription. But it was 


not allowed to remain where placed ; when the present 
cathedral was built, this stone was employed as lintel to 
one of the north doorways. 

The oldest building in Le Puy is the baptistery of 
S. John, near to the cathedral. It was much altered in 
the Middle Ages, but is still an interesting relic of the 
fourth century. From it was removed the white marble 
sarcophagus of the fifth century, now in the museum of 
the town, on which are figured the cure of the paralytic, 
the cursing of the barren fig tree, and other scriptural 

This baptistery was in use till 1791, as the exclusive 
place where children of Le Puy could be christened. In 
this Le Puy resembled Florence, Pisa, and other North 
Italian towns, where baptism was a sacrament reserved 
for administration at the Mother Church. 

The fame acquired by Le Puy as the chief seat of the 
worship of the Virgin dates from an early but unknown 
period. Charlemagne in 803 founded ten poor canonries 
la pauperad in connection with the church ; but the 
great prosperity of the church as an attractive point for 
pilgrims is due to a black image said to have been 
brought from the East by Louis IX. But as it happens, 
the Eastern Church does not tolerate carved images, and 
contents herself with paintings of sacred subjects. Le 
Puy was, however, an objective of pilgrimage long 
before that, for in 1062, Bernard, Count of Bigorre, went 
thither, and in a fit of devotion vowed himself and his 
county to Our Lady of Le Puy, and undertook to pay 
to this church annually a considerable sum of money. 

High above the altar is now set up what looks like an 
Aunt Sally at a fair. It has a black head, from which 
the garments are spread out like the feathers of a 


shuttlecock. But this is not the original doll, for that 
was burned at the Revolution. One might have 
supposed, perhaps expected, that the clergy on return- 
ing to the church would have rejoiced to be rid of such 
an object of degrading superstition. But not so, they 
had another black virgin made by a joiner, and dressed 
it in frills and furbelows, and set it up to receive the 
adoration of the ignorant and the stupid. One thing 
they did change ; the new doll was made a little less 
grotesque and uncouth than was the first, of which 
representations remain. 

The original image was of cedar wood, swathed about 
with bands of papyrus glued to it and partly inscribed. 
Upon this the features of the face, of negro tint, the 
flesh of hands and feet and the draperies were painted 
in distemper, in an archaic style. One story relative to 
it was that it came from Mount Carmel, and had been 
carved by the prophet Jeremiah in prophetic ecstasy. 
What seems most probable is that it was an Egyptian 
idol representing I sis and the infant Horus. S. Louis 
may have found this on his crusade to Egypt, and have 
frankly believed that it was a representation of the 
Virgin and Child, and so have presented it to the 
church of Le Puy. It certainly had a suspiciously 
Egyptian appearance. 

Devotion to the original image brought kings and 
nobles to it, and made them open their purses and pour 
forth gold, and sign charters delivering over to bishop and 
chapter vast estates and privileges. The church became 
extremely wealthy, and it was owing to its wealth that 
the glorious cathedral was built. The basilica is ap- 
proached from the west by the Rue des Tables, so 
named on account of the stalls set out there at the 


time of the great pilgrimages. At the foot of the 
ascent is a fountain erected in commemoration of a 
choirboy, supposed to have been murdered by the Jews 
in 1320 and thrown into a well. He was given up as 
lost, when on Palm Sunday he reappeared, took his 
place in the procession, and told how he had been 
slaughtered, and how, by the intervention of Our Lady, 
he had been resuscitated. The mob believed the story, 
burst into the Jew's house, tore him to pieces, and cast 
his dismembered limbs to be devoured by dogs. 

If they had but looked closer into the matter, they 
would have discovered that the urchin had been playing 
truant, and disguised his idleness by a lie. 

From the Rue des Tables the remarkable west front 
of the minster may be seen in full. It is Romanesque 
in style, of the Auvergnat character, the facade is en- 
riched with stones white and red and black, arranged 
in alternating bands, in lozenges and in lattice work. 
The zebra-like appearance is not pleasing. The eye 
desires repose, and is teased with the intricacy of the 

This western fagade is actually the frontispiece of a 
vast porch or narthex that stretches back through four 
of the bays of the nave, with flights of steps, eleven in 
each, and with landings between. Half-way up the 
porch are two chapels, one on each side, with large oak 
doors carved and painted. They represent groups of 
figures from the story of the Gospel. The background 
is sunk, but the surface left smooth, and is painted. 
The chapel on the right is dedicated to S. Stephen, 
that on the left to S. Giles. Neither is now used. 

On two of the steps of the ascent is inscribed in 
Latin, " Ni caveas crimen, caveas contingere limen, 


Nam Regina poli vult sine sorde coH." " Unless free 
from guilt shun this threshold, for the Queen of Heaven 
will be worshipped only by a guiltless soul." 

Formerly at the head of the fourth landing was a 
central doorway leading into the nave by another flight 
of steps continued inside the church ; and it was said of 
Notre Dame du Puy, that you went in at the navel and 
came out at the ears, i.e. at the lateral doors in the 
transepts. But the central entrance has been walled up, 
and a floor been laid over these steps. Access is now 
obtained to the nave by a side flight that turns round 
the church and gives admission in the south transept. 
The corresponding lateral flight gives access to the 
magnificent cloister, partially closed by a gate of intri- 
cate and beautiful ironwork. The arcade in the cloister 
rests on twin columns with richly carved capitals, no 
two alike, and the wall space above the arcade is filled 
in with mosaic work of red, yellow, white, and black. 

The interior of the church is not less remarkable 
than the exterior. Originally it consisted of a small 
square basilica, now forming the retro-choir ; this was 
prolonged into nave with aisles, and transepts were 
added forming a Greek cross, with a dome at the inter- 
section. Later on the church was carried further west- 
ward, and the singular western portion, a nave over 
a porch, was raised in the twelfth century. 

Each bay of the nave is surmounted by an octagonal 
cupola. Two sides contain windows looking north and 
south. Two sides have also windows sustained on an 
arch flung across the nave, and looking into it. The 
four other sides of the octagons are in the depth of the 
wall. The lateral south porch, opening on to the little 
Place du For, where is the episcopal palace, is a noble 

Porch, Cathedral, Le Puy 

Page 40 


piece of work. Two bold arches give access to it. To 
the left is a doorway only opened for a pope to pass 
through ; the other gives admission to ordinary person- 
ages into the transept. 

The tower is a campanile detached from the church, 
unbuttressed, and though fine, is too small for the size 
of the minster. But this is due to the fact that every 
inch of space on the rock was precious, and had to be 
economised. Accordingly a tower of greater bulk at 
base would have encroached on the way of access to the 
basilica. There are two more doorways, one, further 
on, a bold and daring sweep that spans not the entrance 
only, but also the little street. A third is on the north 

Until this year, 1906, the head of the French State, 
King, Emperor or President was ex officio lay canon 
of Le Puy, just as our King is a lay canon of 
S. David's. But with the separation of Church and State 
in France, this has ceased, and M. Loubet was the last 
of the lay canons of Le Puy. 

At one time there existed a promising school of 
painting in Le Velay, but it was killed by the troubles 
of the Wars of Religion. The frescoes in the cathedral 
and in some of the churches exhibit great merit. Such 
as remain, unfortunately very few, may be best studied 
in the Museum, where are accurate copies. 

The finest of all represents the liberal arts, and was 
discovered by Merim6e in the capitular hall of the 
cathedral, in 1856. It is of the fifteenth century, and 
is conjectured, but on insufficient grounds, to have been 
the work of Jean Perreal, painter to Kings Charles IX. 
and Francis I. In the Museum may be seen reproduc- 
tions of some paintings from Langeac, in which the 


figures are in gold on a brown diapered background. 
One series represents the Annunciation, the Nativity, 
Christ among the Doctors, speaking from a pulpit, and 
the Good Shepherd. The Incarnation is figured alle- 
gorically by the Blessed Virgin alluring to her the 
Lamb of God. 

The city of Le Puy was formerly surrounded by walls 
erected by the citizens against the Routiers, the Free 
Companies, and those troublesome near neighbours the 
Polignacs. But their house was divided against itself, 
for bishop and chapter were continually at strife with 
the citizens, and to protect themselves against the tur- 
bulence of these latter, the ecclesiastics drew an inner 
ring of walls about themselves on the height above the 

In the tortuous streets may be seen many specimens 
of medieval domestic architecture, angle-turrets, door- 
ways richly carved, and if one can look into the court- 
yards, some dainty subjects for the pencil may be 

But after having seen the cathedral and the old town, 
the feet are attracted to S. Michel I'Aiguilhe. 

" The rock of S. Michel," says M. Paulett Scrope, " seems 
to contain a dyke, which may probably have been erupted on 
this spot. It is, however, of course evident that the conglom- 
erate of which it is composed must have been originally en- 
veloped and supported by surrounding beds of softer materials, 
since worn away by aqueous erosion." 

The plan of the church on the pinnacle of rock is 
peculiar, resembling the attitude of a sleeping dog. 
The chancel lies beside the main entrance, at a higher 
level, and the nave is curved and has an aisle also on 

L'AiGUii.HE, Le Puy 

Page 43 


a curve, divided from it by columns and arches, the 
former with carved capitals of the end of the twelfth 
century, but with one or two of an earlier date. The 
entrance is a superb specimen of Byzantine-Romanesque 
work. The carving in tufa is delicate, and every portion 
of surface not sculptured is inlaid with mosaic. The 
chancel is the oldest part of the church, and may 
possibly belong to the original structure consecrated in 
980 ; but all the rest is two centuries later, and the tower 
is a copy in small of that of the cathedral. 

How did the builders of those days construct churches 
and donjons on the tops of these obelisks ? The Rabbis 
say that an angel can pirouette on the point of a 
needle, but the work done here is more wonderful than 
that of balancing for a few minutes on an acute point, 
for the masons had to fill in all the rifts of the rock so 
as to form a terrace on which to build. They must 
have been let down in cradles. As to the tower, it was 
probably built up from within, as is done nowadays 
with a factory chimney. On a lower level than the 
doorway are the ruins of the habitation of the chaplain 
who served the church. He could obtain plenty of 
fresh air there to fill his lungs, but could not get exer- 
cise to circulate his blood, save by running up and down 
the stair in the face of the rock. 

On the way up to the chapel may be noticed recesses 
cut out of the cliff. These formerly contained statues 
of saintly helpers in all kinds of difficult and unpleasant 
situations. Among these was S. Wilgefortis, a young 
lady with beard and moustache, much invoked by 
women with vexatious husbands, who wanted to be rid 
of them. A fine statue of her is in Henry VH.'s Chapel 
at Westminster. The Huguenots destroyed all these 


figures in the niches. They were restored and again 
broken up at the Revolution, but have not been rein- 

In the same hamlet of I'Aiguilhe is a circular 
Romanesque chapel, called the Temple of Diana, but 
which is actually a structure of the twelfth century. It 
is now undergoing repair. 

The church of St. Laurent has been given a modern 
gable with pinnacles to the west front out of keeping 
with the character of the original architecture. The 
western doorway was once rich, and had on it two 
ranges of angels, twelve in each. The Huguenots 
broke the figures in their hatred of everything beautiful, 
and mutilated the delicate foliage as well. 

The church has a broad nave with narrow side aisles. 
It contains a carved stone organ gallery once rich with 
statuary, but the niches are now empty. On the north 
side in the aisle is the tomb of Du Guesclin, who did 
more than any other, except the Maid of Orleans, to 
drive the English out of France. Even this monument 
did not escape the iconoclastic rage of the Calvinists ; 
but it has been judiciously restored. 

Guyenne, Poitou, Saintonge, Perigord, Brittany 
had been in turn the theatre of his victories ; but the 
war continued in Languedoc. Bands of the Free Com- 
panies desolated the Gevaudan, Auvergne, and Le 
Velay. The nobles and towns unassisted could not 
expel them, and appealed to Charles V. to send them an 
experienced captain who would aid them against these 
brigands, and he despatched thither Du Guesclin. In 
August, 1380, the Constable entered Le Puy, and in a 
few days had assembled an army. He then departed 
for the Gevaudan to lay siege to Chateauneuf Randon, 


the head-quarters of the English routiers. The Constable 
besieged the place, attempted to take it by assault, but 
failed ; and he vowed that he would not withdraw till 
it was captured. The garrison defended themselves 
valiantly, but at length agreed to capitulate. Du 
Guesclin was suffering at the time from a mortal sick- 
ness, and he lay on his deathbed when the terms of 
capitulation were agreed upon. 

He died on the 13th of July according to history, on 
the 14th as stated on his monument ; and upon the 
day fixed for the surrender the Governor laid the keys 
on the coffin of the deceased Constable. Charles V. 
ordered the body to be transported to S. Denys ; but 
it was first taken to the Dominican church of Saint 
Laurent, there to be embalmed. The intestines of the 
great warrior that were removed alone occupy the tomb 
there erected. 

The recumbent statue well answers to the description 
he gave of himself: "Les epaules larges, le col court, 
la t^te monstreuse ; je suis fort laid, jamais je ne serai 
bienvenu des dames, mais saurais me faire craindre des 
ennemis de mon roi." 

The cathedral library of Le Puy contains a copy of 
the Bible written by Theodulf, Bishop of Orleans 
(788-821), a friend of Alcuin of York. This MS. was 
written by his own hand whilst in prison at Angers for 
having been involved in the conspiracy of Bernard, 
King of Italy, against Louis " le Debonaire," a son of 
Charlemagne. On Palm Sunday the King was at 
Angers and rode through the streets. As he passed 
under the prison, Theodulf thrust his head out of the 
window, and at the top of his voice chanted a poem he 
had composed in honour of Louis. The prince drew 


rein and listened. Flattery, however fulsome, goes a 
long way. He was pleased with it, though " laid on 
with a trowel," and ordered the release of the Bishop. 
It is said that, when in captivity, Theodulf had vowed 
to give to the church of Le Puy the Bible he had 
transcribed in his dungeon. 

The MS. is written partly on white vellum and partly 
on vellum stained purple. On the white sheets the 
letters are in black, with the capitals in vermilion ; but 
on the purple pages are in silver, and the capitals in 
goldleaf. The cover was repaired in the reign of 
Francis I., the velvet of the ninth century being over- 
laid with velvet of the sixteenth. At the Revolution 
this precious relic would have been flung into the 
flames that consumed the Black Virgin had it not been 
for the richness of the cover, with its ornaments of 
silver-gilt and the precious stones with which it was 
encrusted. The text is not divided into verses, and 
there is no punctuation, for the use of punctuation did 
not become general till the tenth century. The text is 
that of the Vulgate as corrected by Alcuin. Several 
of the passages in the Vulgate as now used differ from 
those in the version employed by Theodulf; and the 
Psalter is not that of the Vulgate. The preservation 
of the writing is due to pieces of fine tissue having 
been placed between the leaves, and of these fifty-three 
remain, and are interesting specimens of the textures 
of the time of Charles the Great. The Bible has poems 
composed by Theodulf prefixed to and following the 
sacred text. 

Five of the early bishops of Le Puy are accounted 
saints, though almost nothing is known about them. 
They must have monopolised the stock of sanctity 


allotted to that Church, for of their successors none 
could lay claim to much holiness, and many were a dis- 
grace to their order. But Le Puy was one of the richest 
sees in France, as the bishop was count as well as 
prelate. The volcanic soil was extraordinarily fertile, 
and the Black Virgin acted as a magnet, attracting to 
it an inexhaustible stream of gold ; and this made the 
see to be coveted by ambitious and appropriated by 
unscrupulous prelates. Add to this that the bishop 
was under the jurisdiction of no archbishop, and was 
responsible to the Pope alone, who was too far off and 
too busy with affairs of greater importance to trouble 
himself about the misdeeds of the prelate princes of 
Le Puy. 

It is open to debate which does most harm to 
the Church, the occasional torrential rush through the 
ranks of the episcopate of some wild blood, whose life 
is conspicuously at variance with his profession, or a 
continuous and unabating flood invading every see of 
smug, smooth, and colourless nonentities, who dilute 
the quality, abate the force, and lower the temperature 
of the Church to insipidity, lukewarmness, and inertia. 

Some instances will suffice to show what manner of 
men they were who now and then were bishops of 
Le Puy. 

Adhelmar (1087-98), who died at Antioch as a 
Crusader, was succeeded by Ponce de Tournon, who 
was an assassin. Bertrand de Chalengon's hands were 
also stained by blood ; he exasperated his flock to mad- 
ness by his exactions, heavily fining widows who re- 
married, and levying exorbitant fees on burials. When 
Innocent III. proclaimed a holy war against the 
Albigenses, and promised pardon for all sins to such 


as should outrage, rob, and murder these heretics, 
Bertrand headed an army of Crusaders, composed of 
the riff-raff of Velay, Auvergne, and the Gevaudan, 
and marched south. The citizens of one town at his 
approach, terrified at the prospect presented to them, 
fired their city and fled to the dens and caves of the 
earth. . They were premature. Bertrand was more 
greedy of gold than of blood, and he made the towns 
as he passed buy exemption from destruction, and 
pocketed the money himself, to the rage and resent- 
ment of his followers. But they had full scope for 
their brutal instincts at B^ziers on June 22nd, 1209, 
when, at the most moderate calculation, 20,000 persons, 
men, women, and children, indiscriminately Catholics 
and heretics, were butchered, and the papal legate look- 
ing on, is reported to have said, smiling, " Kill all ; God 
will know His own ! " 

Bernard de Montaigu (1237-48), to enforce recogni- 
tion of his seigneurial rights, subjected the city to an 
interdict, and excommunicated the flock he was set to 

William de la Roue (1263-82) had appointed 
De Rochebaron as his bailiff. This man fell in love 
with the beautiful wife of a butcher in the town, lured 
her within the precincts of the ecclesiastical fortifica- 
tions, and outraged her. The guild of the butchers 
complained to the prelate, who scoffed at the deputa- 
tion, and refused to reprimand his bailiff. The city 
was in commotion. When a party of the prelate's 
men-at-arms returned from an expedition, after harry- 
ing the peasantry in the country, and were laden with 
the spoils, the people rose. The tocsin sounded. The 
butchers came down with their cleavers. There was 



fighting in the streets. The troopers were despoiled 
of their plunder, and were obliged to take refuge 
within the walls of the bishop's fortress, William de la 
Roue was furious. He sent down the obnoxious bailiff 
with all the force he could muster to chastise the 
citizens. But they were surrounded by the enraged 
populace, and driven to take refuge in the Franciscan 
convent. The butchers with their choppers hewed 
down the door and slew the provost and six sergeants. 
De Rochebaron fled up the tower. The butchers 
pursued, caught him hiding among the bells, flung him 
down, and his mangled body was hewn to pieces. 

Eventually the bishop reduced the city to subjection. 
He had its consuls hung in chains, and put to death 
all the butchers on whom he could lay his hands. The 
old town, built about a volcanic dyke, was ill provided 
with water. The wells tapped no springs, and were 
filled with surface-water only, and the soil was im- 
pregnated with sewage soaking down from every street 
and yard and lane through the joints in the rock. As 
a natural result typhoid fever — or the Pestilence, as 
the people called it — broke out, and became endemic. 
Frantic at this, the citizens looked about for a cause, 
and looked in the wrong direction. It did not occur 
to them that they poisoned their own wells. They 
assumed that the sickness was due to a league among 
the lepers, jealous of the health and happiness of sound 
men, and that they insidiously poured poison into the 
pits. In 1 32 1, after a great outbreak of the plague, 
the citizens complained to the bishop, Durand de 
S. Pourcain. Perhaps he shared their conviction, perhaps 
he sought only to gratify the people. He swept together 
all the lepers in the county and burned them alive. 


Le Puy saw the formation of a remarkable con- 
federacy that promised at first to achieve the liberation 
of the country from the scourge of the routiers. 

These bands of lawless men, under captains of their 
own selection, overran the country, levying blackmail, 
and pretending that they were in the service of the 
English King ; or, if it suited them better, in that of the 
King of France. They passed from one allegiance to 
the other indifferently. Actually they served neither 
one side nor the other, but themselves. The merchants 
were robbed, the farmers despoiled, towns plundered. 
Existence became intolerable. Castles were erected on 
the top of rocks accessible only by a goat-path, or by 
steps cut in the stone, and there nests were built by 
the robbers for themselves. In these strongholds the 
captains and their companies lived riotously with bold 
women, sometimes nuns, whom they had carried off. 
The routiers held churches in special aversion, and 
plundered them without scruple. At their orgies they 
drank out of chalices, and vested their harlots in the 
silks and velvets of ecclesiastical wardrobes. 

Such was the condition of affairs when, in 1 1 82, a 
carpenter of Le Puy, named Pierre Durand, announced 
that a paper had fluttered down to him from heaven 
bearing on it a likeness of the Blessed Virgin, and that 
he had been commanded to found a society to combat 
and extinguish the routiers. At first the Bishop of 
Le Puy looked coldly on the carpenter. But the man 
obtained adherents. The need of combination to rid 
the country of a general nuisance was so largely felt, 
that Durand readily obtained a hearing and enrolled 
followers. According to the Laon Chronicle, the car- 
penter was a tool in the hands of one of the canons, 


who got a young man to dress up and pose as an 
apparition of the Virgin and so influence Durand. Be 
that as it may, the movement grew with rapidity. 
Durand gave to his adherents a white hood, with a 
medal to be worn on the breast, bearing a representa- 
tion of N, D. du Puy, and the invocation, " Lamb of 
God, that takest away the sins of the world, grant us 
Thy peace." Bishop Peter IV., now that the movement 
promised to be a success, thought well to assume a lead 
in it. He had a platform erected, on which he took his 
stand along with the carpenter ; he flourished the 
heaven-sent daub, asserted its genuineness, and ex- 
horted his hearers to assume the white hood. The 
growth of the confraternity was now rapid. Clergy, 
monks, merchants, farmers, artisans, nobles joined it. 
Great armies of these Brethren of Peace marched 
against the routiers, defeated them in pitched battles, 
stormed their castles and burnt them. After a victory, 
no quarter was accorded. For the nonce the free- 
booters were quelled, and quailed before the people 
risen in a body to lynch their tormenters. But the 
victories they had won, the applause they had drawn on 
themselves, made the White Hoods headstrong and 
presumptuous. They knew well enough that the 
routiers only existed because the princes and nobles 
were at strife with one another ; and now they pressed 
on the feudal lords, to insist on the abolition of private 
war, and to threaten such as would not submit, with the 
same treatment as that dealt out to the routiers. At 
the same time they adopted communistic notions, and 
refused submission to all authorities save those of their 
own election. They swarmed over the country and 
devoured the produce of the land. They had lost all 


appetite for peaceful avocations ; and they threatened 
to become as great a peril as had been the freebooters. 
The nobles leagued against them, the royal forces were 
set in motion ; the White Hoods were defeated and 
butchered without compunction, and the society founded 
for a good purpose came to an end, and its disappear- 
ance gave free scope for the great Companies to 
reorganise and resume their depredations. 

When the massacre of S. Bartholomew was deter- 
mined on in 1572, sealed orders were sent to the Count- 
Bishop of Le Puy as to all other governors to order a 
butchery of the Huguenots. Antoine de S. Nectaire 
was bishop at the time. He was the brother of the 
famous Madelaine who had been married to Guy de 
Miremont. Left a widow when young, beautiful, and 
rich, she was surrounded by aspirants after her hand. 
Madelaine had embraced the reform of Calvin. She 
enrolled her sixty lovers in a corps to serve as body- 
guard. A word, a look sufficed to send this enthusiastic 
corps to smash crucifixes, burn villages, and storm 
castles. She rode in armour at the head of her suitors, 
and of an army that had gathered about her eager for 
plunder. She advanced to the gates of Riom and 
Clermont at its head, taking fortresses and burning 
towns and villages on her way. The King's Lieutenant, 
the Sieur de Montal, was routed by her in several en- 
counters, and he, exasperated at his humiliation, resolved 
on storming and destroying her castle of Miremont, to 
which she had withdrawn. So soon as he appeared 
before it, at the head of the royal troops, she issued 
from the gates, her visor raised and mounted on a 
noble steed, sword in hand, followed by her bodyguard, 
engaged the lieutenant in single combat and smote 


him from his steed. Finally, after an ineffectual siege 
that lasted forty days, Madelaine forced the royal host 
to retire. "Ventre saint gris!" exclaimed Henry ot 
Navarre, "if I were not king, I would desire to be 
Madelaine de Saint Nectaire !" This by the way. 

Her brother was Bishop of Le Puy, and by no means 
inclined to accept Calvinism. When the order came to 
him requiring a massacre of the Huguenots in Le Puy, 
he called the consuls together, and read to them the 
royal letter. " Messieurs," said he, " this concerns 
only rebels and disloyal Calvinists, and there are none 
such here. We read in the Gospel that the love of God 
and of our neighbours form the sum of the Law and 
the Prophets. Let us live together as a Christian 
people in all good charity." 

This was excellent. If we knew no more of him 
than this, we would set him down as an enlightened 
prelate and a man of high principle. But unhappily it 
is not all. 

Next year the Calvinists had entered the Province, 
and had captured several places ; amongst others Fay-le- 
Froid. The Bishop at once, with promptitude, marched 
thither at the head of five hundred men. He rode a 
richly caparisoned mule, clad in black armour, with a 
gold cross on his breast, and his arms, five silver 
spindles on a field azure, emblazoned on his mantle. 
He was a magnificent man, ruddy-faced, with bright 
blue eyes and a flowing white beard. He was of 
Herculean strength, and as canon law forbade a Church- 
man shedding blood, he bore a heavy club with which to 
brain the enemies of the King and of the Church. In his 
train were two cannons. As he arrived unexpectedly 
before Fay-le-Froid, the town surrendered. He swept 


the inhabitants and the rebel garrison together, and hung 
as many as were involved in the insurrection. " What 
a lamentable scene it was," wrote a contemporary- 
author; "poor women weeping, tearing their hair, plead- 
ing for the lives of their husbands, their brothers, and 
their friends ; but Mgr. de Saint Nectaire would not so 
much as vouchsafe them a look." 

Then, with the bodies dangling from the gibbets, he 
had an altar erected in the public square and a Mass 
sung, whilst his pikemen prodded the Calvinists at 
the proper moment to oblige them to cross themselves 
and to kneel. 

The Bishop returned to Le Puy highly elated at his 
success, but his elation was damped on his arrival by 
hearing that in the meantime the Huguenots had 
captured his castle at Espaly, at the very door of Le 
Puy, and were menacing the capital. He made his way 
in with all speed, and despatched a courier to the Baron 
de S. Vidal to come to his aid. 

Espaly was then a walled town at the foot of a trap 
dyke that shoots above the Borne, and on which stood 
a castle, the summer residence of the bishops. 

The castle had been erected in the thirteenth century 
by William de la Roue, of whose misdeeds I have 
already told. It was completed by Jean de Bourbon 
(1443-85). The part taken by this prelate in the 
League of the Public Good brought on Espaly the 
horrors of a siege. But it suffered especially in the 
Wars of Religion. Within thirty years it was taken 
and retaken by Huguenots and Catholics eight times. 

The story of the last siege is sufficiently curious to be 

In 1 574, Vidal Guyard, a hatmaker of Le Puy, placed 


himself at the head of a hundred and twenty Cal- 
vinists, and, favoured by the moon, on the night of 
January 9th approached Espaly, and by penetrating 
into the castle by a drain succeeded in surprising the 
garrison and making themselves masters of the place. 
The news reached Le Puy through fugitives from the 
town, and next day the young men of the city, acting 
against the advice of the Bishop, determined on retaking 
the fortress. A crowd of citizens armed, assumed a 
white cross on their breasts, and marched against the 
place. But heavy rain came on, they were drenched to 
the skin, and their powder and courage were damped, 
so they returned having effected nothing. The Cal- 
vinists now set to work to destroy the houses in the 
little town, sparing only such as were redeemed by their 
owners with a heavy money payment. 

On January 20th the Baron de S. Vidal, whom the 
Bishop had summoned to his aid, assembled troops at 
Le Puy and marched to Espaly, forced his way into the 
town, but could effect nothing against the castle, that 
was accessible by one path only, cut in the face of the 
rock. One of the garrison with his arquebus wounded 
S. Vidal in the shoulder. After that they made a sortie 
and did much execution among the besiegers. 

S. Vidal, despairing of reducing the place by force of 
arms, resolved on trying negotiation. But Guyard 
demanded such an exorbitant sum for its surrender that 
it was refused. S. Vidal now tried stratagem. He 
framed a letter, as from Guyard, addressed to the 
consuls of Le Puy, offering to deliver up the castle, his 
lieutenant Morfouse, and the garrison, if his own life 
were spared and he were liberally rewarded. This 
letter was smuggled into the fortress, read by Morfouse, 


and in a paroxysm of jealousy and alarm he and the 
rest fell on Guyard and killed him. Then they entered 
into communication with S. Vidal, and surrendered on 
February 3rd, the day on which the baron received the 
news of his nomination by the King to be governor 
of Le Velay. Le Puy itself had undergone a siege by 
the Huguenots twelve years before this. 

In 1562 the terrible Baron des Adrets, who was in 
Dauphine stamping out every spark of Catholicism, 
deputed his lieutenant, Blacons, to secure Le Puy. 
Blacons was a man as ruthless as his commander, but 
without his military genius. It was settled that Blacons 
should assemble an army at Pont-en-Peyrat, a village 
on the borders of Forez and Velay. Thither accordingly 
gathered the Calvinists and a horde of adventurers 
thirsting for the pillage of the wealthy city and the 
shrine of the Madonna. The consuls of Le Puy sent 
the brother of their seneschal, Christopher d'Allegre, 
with 20,000 livres to treat with Blacons, and offer this 
sum if he would divert his column on some other town. 
Christopher d'Allegre, who was himself a Calvinist, and 
had been selected for the embassy on that ground, 
pocketed the money without intimating to Blacons the 
purpose for which it had been confided to him, and was 
instant in urging the Huguenot captain to capture 
and sack the city. The consuls, bishop, and chapter 
met in consultation and armed all the male inhabi- 
tants of the place, and hastily repaired the fortifica- 

On August 4th arrived the citizens of S. Paulien, 
escaping with their goods and chatels from the Calvinists 
with terrible stories of outrage and murder committed 
by them. The alarm-bells pealed ; a message was sent 


to the Viscount PoHgnac for aid, but he remained inert 
on the top of his rock, alleging that he had not a force 
sufficient at his disposal to be able materially to assist 
the citizens. 

On the night of the same day the siege began. The 
Huguenots crossed the Borne, which was then dry, and 
planted their cannon. After a steady bombardment 
they rushed to the assault, and a desperate struggle 
ensued. Towards evening of August 5th the resistance 
of the citizens slackened, and the Calvinists pressed on, 
when a postern was thrown open and out poured a body 
of monks and friars variously armed. They fell upon 
the enemy in flank and put them to rout. The members 
of the monasteries and convents round Le Puy had fled 
to the city at the approach of Blacons, and had been 
clustered on the top of the rock Corneille watching 
events. Observing the progress of the Huguenots, and 
knowing that if the city fell every one of them would 
be hung or hurled down the rock, they had gone to the 
episcopal armoury and seized whatever weapons came 
to hand ; and these men determined the fate of the 

The disconcerted Huguenots retired for the night to 
Espaly. Next day they returned to the assault, and 
planted their cannon on a height whence they could play 
on the town. The suburb of Aiguilhe fell into their 
hands and was sacked. The hospital and the monasteries 
were burnt, the church of S. Laurence and the chapel 
of S. Michael were plundered and the carved work 
mutilated. If the latter escaped better than the former, 
it was due to the height at which it stood, and the 
danger attending any who climbed aloft to smash the 
sculptures with axes and hammers. 


On the third day the Calvinists met with no better 
success. One man troubled them greatly, an aged 
hermit from the Mont Denise, who had been an artillery 
officer in his younger days. He was now very old and 
bent double ; but the fire of battle kindled in his veins, 
and he undertook the disposition of the artillery and 
pointed the guns. " That holy man," says a con- 
temporary historian, " did so well that he killed more 
men than did all the arquebusiers together." 

The Huguenots lost heart and demanded a parley. 
They sent Christopher d'Allegre as their envoy into 
the city. This man must have been endowed with con- 
siderable effrontery to accept such an office, after having 
betrayed and robbed his fellow-citizens. He appeared 
before the consuls with a confident air, and demanded 
that the gates should be thrown open to Blacons. 
" How can you suppose," said he, " that we intend 
harm, we who are zealous propagators of the Reformed 
religion and the defenders of the oppressed? We are 
incapable of committing acts of violence. We will not 
exact of you any contribution, not even food for our 
men. All that we seek is to hew in pieces the gods of 
wood and stone and emblems that profane the temple 
of the living God." 

But the consuls knew what such protestations were 
worth, by the experience of the refugees of S. Paulien, 
which had offered no resistance to the Huguenots. 
They dismissed the envoy, and he returned to stimulate 
the investing army to renewed exertions. At once, in a 
paroxysm of zeal, the host rushed again to the attack ; 
but the citizens sallied forth, cut them down, and made 
many captures. 

Next day the consuls and the bishop hoisted flags on 


every tower, and minstrels paraded the walls playing 
lively tunes on hautboys, fifes, and clarions. 

Blacons supposed that they must have received 
reinforcements. He called his officers together and 
said, " See, gentlemen, how the citizens of Le Puy 
mock us ! Let us chastise them, severely for such im- 
prudent and unseemly mirth." But he could no 
longer rouse his host to venture on another assault. 
His soldiery dispersed over the open country to sack 
and burn villages, desecrate churches, and hang such 
priests as they could take. They completely wrecked 
five or six monasteries, the castles of the bishop, and 
they set fire to the peasants' harvests, so that a sheet of 
flame ran over the country as far as the eye could see. 
In a few days the cannon were withdrawn, and not a 
Calvinist in arms remained before the walls of Le Puy. 

So the city can boast proudly, " Civitus non vincitur, 
nee vincetur," or in the words of Odo de Gissey, " Ne 
fut oncq' surmontee, ni le sera." 



Limitations of language — Guides to Le Velay — Espaly — The castle — 
Death of Charles VI.— The Orgues— Baron de S. Vidal— La Roche 
Lambert — Polignac — The oracle of Apollo — S. Paulien — Roman re- 
mains — Julien, the sculptor — Barrier of the Loire — Vorey — La 
Lepreuse — Chamalieres — Mezenc — Les Esiables — Ascent — La Foire 
aux Violettes — The violet harvest — Flora of Mezenc — Gerbier de 
Jonc — View — Lake of Issarles — Menaced — A man without a chance 
in life — Le Monastier — Stevenson's estimate of the people — The abbey 
— Change of names — Arlempdes — Caves of Chacornac — Mandrin — 
The haunted mill of Perbet. 

THERE exist but a limited number of terms where- 
with to describe an infinite variety of natural 
objects that possess one common character, but differ 
from one another in every other particular. Needle, 
spike, pinnacle, spire, obelisk have to serve for all rocks 
that start up from the soil and terminate in a point. 
Ravine, gorge, fissure, chasm, cafion have to be employed 
indiscriminately for those clefts in the surface, rents 
formed by the contraction on cooling of the earth's 
crust, or by the erosion of water. And yet all the 
difference in the world exists between spires of tufa 
and trap and those of granite or of limestone. The 
gorge down which swirls the river between calcareous 
walls is one thing, that which is cleft into a street lined 


Basalt, Espaly 

Page 60 


with basaltic columns is another, yet the same term 
must be employed for both. 

If it fell to me to describe all the most remarkable 
sites in Le Velay, I should have to use these expressions 
ad nauseam, and leave off with the consciousness that I 
had conveyed to the mind of the reader but a poor idea 
of the wonders of a wondrous land. 

Happily for me, my purpose is not so extensive. I 
have not undertaken to write a guide-book. Baedeker 
has given us the skeleton of a tour in this region in five 
pages. Joanne has clothed the bones with flesh and 
blood in thirteen or fourteen, and Ardouin Dumazet 
has breathed into it the breath of life in three hundred 
and seventy. Moreover, a Syndicat d'Initiative exists at 
Le Puy that distributes gratis a capital guide to the 
sights around. But it does more than this. Throughout 
the summer, at a trifling cost, it organises excursions, 
provides vehicles to every point of interest that can be 
visited in a day. 

A farmer does not take to market all the corn 
thrashed out of his stack, but a sample of his produce. 
He opens his hand and displays the grain to a would-be 
purchaser, and all I can pretend to do in this chapter is 
to give a few samples of what Le Velay has to show to 
a visitor, and I shall begin with Espaly, easily reached 
by electric tram. There, out of the valley of the Borne, 
rise two volcanic crags, washed by the river. One of 
these is surmounted by a toy castle, a battlemented 
summer-house that belongs to a gentleman of Le Puy. 
The other, and by far the finer, was once capped by the 
castle of the bishops of Le Puy. In this a bishop- 
designate halted the night before making his entry into 
the city, and here, before he was suffered to enter, the 


consuls of the town exacted from him an oath to 
respect its liberties. Charles the Dauphin, son of 
Charles VI., was staying in this castle in 1422, on 
October 25th, when, at 7 p.m., he received the tidings 
of the death of his father, which had taken place five 
days before. He at once ordered the De profundis to 
be chanted, and put on mourning, which he quitted on 
the 27th to array himself in purple velvet. Mass was 
performed, and then the banner of France was unfurled 
to shouts of " Vive le Roy ! " After that he departed 
for Poitiers, where he was crowned. 

By far the finest view of the rocks is to be had from 
the bridge over the Borne. 

Of the castle almost nothing remains. It was blown 
up by order of S. Vidal, and now the fragments are 
incorporated in a wall set with peepholes, and sur- 
mounted by what looks like a gigantic gasholder, but 
which is intended to serve as a pedestal for a colossal 
statue of S. Joseph. 

The Orgues d'Espaly attract visitors. The organ 
front forms the face of a spur of Mont Denise, and is 
composed of ranges of basaltic columns. We shall see 
others far finer in the gorge of the Allier and in the 
mountains of Vivarais. 

Some way up the valley of the Borne stand the well- 
preserved ruins of the castle of Saint Vidal, the sturdy 
Leaguer. Near this are a cascade of the Borne and 
the ravine of Estreys. 

Antoine, Baron de la Tour, and de Segard, and de S. 
Vidal, Governor of Le Velay, made a desperate and 
ineffectual effort, conjointly with the Governor of the 
Vivarais, in 1572, to capture the castle of Beaudine in 
Velay, held by the Huguenot captain, La Vacheresse, 

S. VIDAL 63 

who had secured it by stratagem, and who from it 
issued to ravage the country, destroy churches, hang 
priests and monks, and levy blackmail on the villages. 

Two months later he was wounded at Espaly, as 
related. In the same year he was successful in dis- 
possessing the Calvinists of five other castles. Then 
he besieged and took the town of Tence, hung the 
pastors, and gave up the inhabitants to massacre. 

In 1577 he laid siege to Ambert in Auvergne, but 
failed to take it, and retired discomfited. By royal 
command, in 1580 he advanced upon S. Agreve, which 
had become the head-quarters of the Calvinists in the 
Vivarais. During the siege he lost an eye. After 
having taken measures for the defence of Le Puy, 
which was menaced by Polignac, who was at war with 
the city, he hastened to the relief of Bedoues in the 
Gevaudan, that was besieged by the redoubted Captain 
Merle, but was unsuccessful. 

A few years later, in 1586, he left Le Puy with six 
cannons to assist the Duke of Joyeuse in the siege of 
Malziac. It was taken, and he was appointed governor; 
he also obtained the governorship of Marvejols, which 
capitulated after a siege of eight days. In 1588 he was 
before S. Agreve for the second time, and he took it 
and levelled the town walls. Devoted to the cause of 
the League, he hotly and zealously contested the 
governorship of Velay with De Chattes, who had been 
appointed by Henry IV. In 1590 he beseiged Espaly 
again, burnt the town, and blew up the castle. In a 
negotiation in 1591 between the Royalists and the 
Leaguers the quarrel took so personal a turn that 
S. Vidal and the commandant of Le Puy challenged 
De Chattes and another to duel, and in it S. Vidal fell. 


Still further up this picturesque stream is the Castle 
de La Roche Lambert, the theatre of Georges Sand's 
novel Jean de la Roche. 

"I may say without exaggeration that I was reared in a 
rock. The castle of my fathers is strangely incrusted into an ex- 
cavation in a wall of basalt five hundred feet high. The base 
of this wall, with that face to face with it of identically the 
same rock, form a narrow and sinuous valley, through which 
winds and leaps an inoffensive torrent in impetuous cascades, 
athwart delicious meadows shaded by willows and nut trees. 

" This Chateau de la Roche is a nest — a nest of troglodites, 
inasmuch as the whole flank of the rock we occupy is riddled 
with holes and irregular chambers which tradition points to as 
the residence of ancient savages, and which antiquaries do not 
hesitate to attribute to a prehistoric people. 

"The castle of my fathers is planted high up on a ledge of 
rock, but so that the tops of the conical roofs of the towers just 
reach above the level of the plain. One detail will illustrate 
our situation. My mother having poor health, and having no 
other place to walk save one little platform before the castle 
on the edge of the abyss, took it into her head to create for 
herself a garden at the summit of the crag on which we were 

The castle, which Georges Sand describes as in a 
dilapidated condition, and a " vrai bijou d'architecture," 
is small, and its chambers are scooped out of the 
rock. It has been carefully restored, and is a mu- 
seum of medieval antiquities, armour, old cabinets, and 

The road from Le Puy to Paris quits the valley of 
the Borne, and ascends the slopes of Mont Denise. As 
it mounts it commands grand views. To the east is 
stretched the long chain culminating in Mezenc, and 

Castle of la Roche Lambert 

Page 64 


Megal with its group of sues. M. Paulett Scrope's 
panorama should be taken so as to identify the peaks. 

After turning the flank of Mont Denise, the most 
modern of the volcanoes, a basin opens before one, out 
of which starts up the lava mass, like a huge pork-pie, 
that supports the scanty remains of the Castle of 
Polignac, the eagle nest of this mighty family. At the 
foot of the crag lies the village like a red girdle encirc- 
ling it. Only the donjon of the fortress remains perfect, 
repaired in 1893-7 by Heracleus Armand XXV., Duke of 
Polignac. The entire platform was at one time covered 
with buildings ; now only foundations can be traced. 
But the fallen masses have revealed the fact that this 
was a stronghold before the Polignacs were thought of. 
It was certainly a prehistoric fortress, then a Gaulish 
oppidum, next a Roman station. The name has been 
supposed to derive from Apollo, who is thought to have 
had a temple here, whence oracles were delivered. 
Within the precincts is a vault in which is the mouth of 
a well 250 feet deep reaching to a spring. It is con- 
jectured that a colossal mask of stone, with open 
mouth, represents the bearded head of a local Apollo, 
and that priests concealed in the subterranean chamber 
uttered oracles which were made to issue from the 
mouth. What is more certain is that an inscription of 
the time of the Emperor Claudius has been found here, 
and that Roman tablets are built into the walls of the 
little Romanesque church below the rock. 

The Paris road leads onwards to S. Paulien, the 
ancient Ruessio capital of the tribe of the Velavi. It has 
little to interest the visitor. A stone now surmounted 
by a cross is called Lou Peyrou dou tresvirs, the 
stone of the Triumviri, on which are carved three heads; 



the church, reconstructed in the ninth century, stands on 
the ruins of an edifice of the fourth. Some Roman 
fragments are incrusted in the walls. Above the town, 
trailt into modem constructions, are many fragments of 
the old city. The chapel of N. Dame du Haut-Solier 
has been regarded as occupying the site of a temple 
dedicated to the sun, and is built up of Gallo-Roman 
materials. Hereabouts the spade is continually turning 
up relics, among others were found a head of Jupiter 
Serapis, and inscriptions, of which one is commemorative 
of Etrusdlla, wife of the Emperor Decius. The chapel of 
the Sisters of S. Joseph possesses a Romanesque door- 
way with bold zigzag ornament, removed from the 
ruined commandery of Montredon. 

S. Paulien was the birthplace of the sculptor Julien, 
of whose work some specimens may be seen in the 
museum at Le Puy. He was a shepherd boy, the son 
of very poor parents, but he had an unde in the Jesuit 
Order. One day this priest, walking on a tnt of wild moor 
scantily covered with coarse grass and juniper bushes, 
lit on his nej^ew, then aged fourteen, guarding his 
flock, and engaged in modelling a figure out of clay 
with a bit of stick. The lad looked up with his brown, 
intelligent eyes, coloured, and said — 
** Sorry, mon pere, that the figure is so bad." 
"Bad!" exclaimed the priest. ''Do you call that 
bad ? On the contrary, I pronounce it admirable. Go 
on and prosper." He hastened back to S. Paulien, 
burst in on the Julien family, and insisted on their sur- 
rendering the lad to him. " He is moulding a saint out 
of clay," said the Jesuit. "Give me that lump of 
humanity, and I will shape it into a great artisL" So 
the uncle carried off young Julien and committed him 


to the sculptor Samuel at Le Puy. The pupil speedily 
surpassed his master, and went to Lyons, and thence 
to Paris, where he was under Coustin, sculptor to the 
King. He was elected to the Academy in 1778, and 
was highly favoured by Louis XVI. But evil days 
came, not for nobles only, but also for artists. The 
Revolution broke out, and men were more busy in 
framing constitutions than in fostering art. Not till 
the times of the Consulate and Empire was occupa- 
tion found for sculptors and painters. However, Julien 
had made sufficient money before the upheaval to 
be able to purchase for himself a little estate near 
Le Puy, and to that he retired till better days came. 
He was born in 1731, and died in the Louvre, in 1804. 
His bust as a shepherd boy adorns a fountain at S. 

After traversing th^ basin of Emblaves below Le 
Puy, the Loire enters a second defile, where its passage 
was barred by a great current of clinkstone, or laminated 
lava, poured forth from M^zenc, and of this two colossal 
remnants exist, the rocks Miaune and Gerbison, rising 
one on each side of the river to a height of 1,800 feet 
above it. This enormous dyke suddenly thrown across 
the valley must have caused the waters of the Loire 
to accumulate into a vast lake, till they effected their 
escape by sawing through it. 

Where, further up, the Arzon flows into the Loire is 
Vorey, lapped in a fold of the mountains, facing Gerbi- 
son, which is striated with rills descending in small 

On June i6th, annually, is celebrated at Vorey a Mass 
"de la Lepreuse," which is attended by the people of 
the hamlets of Vertaure and Eyravazet. Once upon 


a time a ragged leper woman arrived at the latter cluster 
of houses and begged for food. No one would give her 
even a crust of bread or a bowl of milk. She went on 
to Vertaure, and there fared as ill ; and she crept for 
the night into an abandoned shed, where she remained 
too exhausted to proceed further, and there she died. 
Whereupon the people dug a deep pit and cast in the 
corpse and the woodwork and thatch of the shed, 
and heaped earth over the grave. The spot is still 
pointed out, and is called Las Cabannas. After that, 
for several years in succession, hailstorms smote the 
harvests and blighted the vines, whereas about Las 
Cabannas all remained green and flowery. Then the 
inhabitants of the two hamlets conceived that they 
were being punished for their lack of charity, and vowed 
a Mass in perpetuity for the repose of the leper-woman's 
soul. Her body was exhumed, conveyed to Vorey, and 
there buried in holy ground, and she herself received a 
popular canonisation as Ste. Juliette. 

The Loire receives a goodly addition of water through 
the Arzon, and below Vorey descends through profound 
gorges to Chamalieres, a village inhabited by quarry- 
men, and preserving one of the most curious and 
interesting Romanesque churches of the department. 
It is of the twelfth century, and has an arcaded clere- 
story. There are three windows in this clerestory on 
each side, and between the windows blind arches, some 
circular, some trefoil -headed. The tower is of two 
stages, with four windows on the first and two on the 
second, on each side ; it is capped by a curious octagonal 
stone spire, rising from an octagonal lantern, with 
trefoil-headed windows, and nothing but a slight 
moulding indicates the junction. 


The M^zenc, the highest of the Cevennes, rises out of 
a dreary plateau. It is, says M. Paulett Scrope : — 

" The most elevated of an extensive system of volcanic rocks, 
resting partly on granite or gneiss, and in part on the Jurassic 
formation, which by their position and constitution prove 
themselves to be the remains of a single and powerful volcano, 
of the same character as those in the Mont Dore and Cantal. 
Its products, however, are disposed in a somewhat different 
manner, being spread over an almost equally extensive surface 
without accumulating into such mountainous masses around 
their centre of eruption. Two causes seem to have contributed 
to occasion this diversity of aspect, namely : first, that the 
eruptions of this volcano appear to have been less frequent 
than in the other instances ; secondly, that its lavas consist 
either of basalt or clinkstone almost exclusively. They there- 
fore were possessed of great comparative fluidity ; and having 
burst out on one of the highest eminences of the primary 
platform, which afforded a considerable slope in most direc- 
tions, they appear to have flowed to great distances immediately 
upon their protusion from the volcanic vent. 

" We shall be fully justified, by the universal declination of 
these volcanic beds from the Mont Mezenc, in fixing the site of 
the eruptions in its immediate proximity ; and on the south- 
east of this rocky eminence, in the vicinity of the Croix des 
Boutieres, there still exists a semicircular basin whose steep 
sides are entirely formed of scoriae and loose masses of very 
cellular and reddish-coloured clinkstones." 

The desolate tableland over which one travels to 
reach Mezenc is well described by Georges Sand in her 
novel Le Marquis de Villemer, and the backward and 
unprogressive character of the inhabitants has not 
altered since her time. 

The carriage is left at the village of Les Estables, a 


poor and dirty place, where the natives shiver through 
half the year. Their condition is indeed miserable. 
Their cottages, built of lava-blocks, are thatched with 
straw, or roofed with clinkstone {phonolith). The street 
is filthy, encumbered with stones and deep in slime. 
Were it not for the lace industry and for the violet 
harvest, the place would be deserted. The cattle are 
lean and poor in quality, from lack of lime in the soil ; 
the harvests ripen so late that when gathered in the 
crops are frequently spoilt. 

At Ste. Eulalie, on the Sunday after the 12th July, is 
held the Foire aux Violettes. To that stream the 
cottagers from Les Estables and all the hamlets about 
Mezenc, laden with baskets heaped up with violets, and 
not violets only, but also the thousand aromatic herbs 
that luxuriate in this desolate region. The violets of 
M6zenc are so numerous and so large that in spring the 
mountain is arrayed in royal purple. The Mezenc 
violet is, moreover, more intense in colour than that 
of the Alps, and it retains its colour longer when dried. 
To this fair come the merchants of Lyons, Marseilles, 
and Nimes, Every kind of simple used by druggists, 
every herb used for the production of essences, is there 
to be procured. But the violet is the staple of the 
trade. The air is scented with it, but the sweetness 
cannot neutralise the bad savour of the village — that 
defies suppression. 

The flowers are gathered at the end of May by 
women and children. Then they are dried in the hay- 
loft, never allowed so to do in the sun. And when we 
buy the crystallised violet at Gunters, or try the withered 
flowers as a cure for cancer, ten to one but we are 
employing the produce of Mezenc, and putting a few 


petits sous into the pockets of those leading a hard life 
in this southern Siberia. 

The flora of Mezenc is subalpine, with many gaps. 
One rare plant alone is found on it, the Senecio leuco- 
phyllus, that flowers in August and September, and is 
found also on the Pyrenees at heights between 3,000 
and 6,000 feet. It resembles the Senecio maritimus 
that grows on the Mediterranean littoral, which is 
cultivated in our gardens as an ornamental plant on 
account of its imbricated and silvery foliage. 

Oaks here are low-growing and yield acorns once 
in six years, and beech once in four, whereas the 
service tree gives its fruit every year. This arrest of 
oak and beech is due to spring frosts when the trees 
are in flower, and an early winter forbids the glands 
and mast to ripen even when formed. 

It is quite easy to " do " Mezenc from Le Puy in a 
day. That admirable institution, the Syndicat d' Initia- 
tive, provides a conveyance, starting from the capital 
every Sunday morning in summer at 5 a.m., and from 
Estables the mountain may be climbed in an hour and 
a half. The conveyance is back at Le Puy at 10 p.m., 
and the cost of a seat is but five francs. But if 
the visitor desires to extend his expedition, he should 
seek the Gerbier de Jonc and the lake of Issarley and 
return by Le Monastier. But this will occupy two 

The Gerbier de Jonc is a conical clinkstone moun- 
tain, not so high as the Mezenc, but commanding quite 
as fine a prospect. It has been compared not inaptly 
to a pine cone, bristling with foils of phonolith that make 
the ascent by no means easy. Indeed, from the source 
of the Loire at its foot it is but a climb of 530 feet, but 


the dislocation of the rock and the steepness make the 
climb somewhat laborious. 

" Yet — how one is repaid for the labour ! The view over 
the Vivarais is one of inexpressible beauty. No other bel- 
vedere offers a view of such an ocean of peaks, puys, ridges, 
and precipices, such folds of mountains, such abysses, and 
such plateaux. I do not know any impression I have received 
quite comparable to that produced by the view from the 
Gerbier. The glare of southern sunlight gives extraordinary 
relief to the rocks and woods, the vast stretches of turf, to this 
illimitable world of mountains of every shape. There are 
panoramas more vast and sublime, but none more striking. 
The clouds drifting across the sky cast great patches of shadow 
over the storm-tossed and solidified ocean ; and when the wind 
disperses the veil, it seems as though the abysses gaped suddenly 
under one's eye, so deep are the clefts, so tumultuous are the 
crests of the mountains. And the Alps ! yonder they are, far 
away on the horizon. To the south is the immeasurable mass 
of the tossed Cevennes ; blue to the north stands the great 
boundary heap of Mont Pilat. Above the haze to the east 
calcareous walls rear themselves, much hacked about, and 
some heights thrusting forward their cliffs like the beaks of 
birds. On the side of Le Velay is a platform bristling with 
sues. At the foot of the Gerbier is the nascent rill of the 
Loire crossing the road and flowing through a vast prairie in 
which ooze forth a thousand springs that plunge into the ravine 
in which the Loire gathers its waters." — Ardouin Dumazet. 

The lake of Issarles is indisputably the most beauti- 
ful of the sheets of water in the Cevennes. It is circu- 
lar, and has no visible exit. It swarms with trout, yet 
they do not breed in it, as these fish will not spawn 
unless they can go up stream to a suitable gravelly bed, 
and no stream enters Issarles. 


But if no stream issues visibly from the lake, numer- 
ous springs rise at the bottom of the bank that bounds 
it, due doubtless to filtration through the scoria, and 
unite to form a current sufficient to turn a mill before 
it reaches the Loire distant three-quarters of a mile. 

This beautiful tarn, 330 feet deep in the middle, has 
been menaced more than once. The lake belonged in 
the Middle Ages to the Chartreuse of Bonnefoy, the 
ruins of which are in the neighbourhood, and which 
was founded in 1 1 56 by a Seigneur of Mezenc. The 
Carthusians used the lake not only as a fishpond to 
furnish their table, but also as a reservoir for the irriga- 
tion of their meadows by means of canals. 

In 1793 it ran its first risk. With the laudable object 
of draining marshy land and rendering such lake 
bottoms as could be reclaimed serviceable for culture, 
a law was passed on the 14th to i6th Frimaire (4th to 6th 
December), and at the beginning of 1794 the Citizen 
Auzillon was deputed to inspect and report on Issarles. 
But he was driven back by storms of snow, and obliged 
to postpone his examination of the lake. He started 
again in July, and was accompanied by the deputy sent 
down from Paris to organise an expedition for hunting 
out and bringing to the lamp-post or the guillotine the 
priests and royalists who were supposed to be in conceal- 
ment in the neighbourhood. Auzillon declared in his 
report that the draining of the lake would cause an un- 
warrantable expense and prove unprofitable. It lay, he 
said, in the crater of an extinct volcano, and that he had 
been unable by sounding to discover the depth. 

The lake has been again threatened, this time with 
conversion into a reservoir for the water-supply of 
factories, to be established at a lower level. 


A scene, however beautiful it may be, always acquires 
additional charm when with it is connected something 
of human interest. And this must serve as an excuse 
for my introducing here a story that attaches to 

Beside the lake some years ago resided a man of 
singular character, a man over whose fortunes Fate 
seemed to have decreed " pas de chance." A memoir of 
this man was written after his death by an acquaintance. 
Pierre Noirot was born at Nimes of a Protestant father 
and a Catholic mother. His father, Jacques, was a 
descendant of one of the Camisards, who had run his 
knife into the heart of the Abbe du Chayla at the Pont 
de Montvert. Noirot pere had inherited from his 
ancestors nothing but an implacable hatred of Catho- 
licism. He was a coarse-minded man of a brutal 
character, and was wholly uneducated. Having become 
a soldier, he passed from barrack to barrack, always 
quarrelsome, always discontented, always finding fault, 
so that he acquired the name of Captain Grumbler. 
When he left the army, he retired to Nimes and lived 
on his pension. Inconsistently enough, he married a 
Catholic, a little needlewoman. Pierre was the fruit of 
this union. Mme. Noirot had him baptised privately 
by a priest of her religion. Jacques heard of this the 
same day, and mad with rage he fell on his wife and 
beat her so severely, though only just recovering from 
her confinement, that she died of the injuries inflicted 
upon her. From this moment the father bore an im- 
placable dislike to his son. He sent him into the 
mountains to be fostered by peasants in the village of 
Issarles, and thenceforth cared no further for him than to 
send grudgingly the meagre sum necessary for his keep. 


Pierre grew up in rough surroundings. His foster- 
parents, Antoine and Veronique Vidil, had three children, 
two boys and a girl, but lost their sons in one day by 
typhoid fever. Only the little Genevieve remained to 
them, and the orphan, Pierre, whom thenceforth the 
Vidils regarded as their own. But among these rude 
peasants affection displayed itself uncouthly. Antoine 
Vidil was a man who rarely spoke, and expressed him- 
self in monosyllables only, and when he corrected the 
children it was without discretion and with a heavy 
hand. The woman Vidil, stout and florid, was the re- 
verse of her husband. She was effusive, noisy, variable 
in temper. Sometimes she treated the little Pierre with 
plenty of food and smothered him with caresses, at 
another time she stinted him in his diet and scolded him 
for nothing at all. 

Pierre's sensitive soul was wounded by the injustice 
wherewith he was treated, and he found his only happi- 
ness in the society of Genevieve. 

The Vidils, without consulting the " Captain," brought 
up Pierre in the Catholic faith, and sent him to the 
village school. There from the first he became the butt 
of the children. Pale, delicate, taciturn, and a dreamer, 
he consorted with none, and he obtained the nickname 
of lou mou, the Dumb One. Endowed with exceptional 
intelligence, he rapidly made his way, and in three 
months had learned to read. Then he begged to be 
sent to college. The case was embarrassing. It was 
necessary to consult the Captain. Vidil wrote in two 
lines to the pere Noirot : " The child desires to go to 
college. Where shall he be put ? " The Captain replied 
even more laconically, " Where you will." The Vidils, 
at their own cost, sent him to the college at Aubenas ; 


and by the death of an aunt he was furnished with 
small means to relieve them and to defray the cost of 
his education. He was not more happy at Aubenas 
than he had been at Issarles. He had no friend. Always 
alone, he spent his time when out of class in reading. 
His father held no communication with him, and 
Aubenas was too far from Issarles for the Vidils to see 
him. He tasted of happiness only in the holidays, when 
he returned to Genevieve. Study was his great consola- 
tion. Philosophy and mathematics proved an irresitible 
attraction to his eager mind. Always first in his class, 
he surprised the professors, and sometimes alarmed them 
by his precocity. 

At the age of seventeen he entered the Polytechnic 
School, and was the first to pass in his examination. 
The regimen of this institution suited him. He spent 
all his spare hours in the library. Pierre read vora- 
ciously books treating of the destiny of man and the 
problems of the universe, even at this early age. He 
felt assured of being able to enter one of the learned 
professions, when an event occurred that dashed his 
hopes. On the eve of All Saints, 1856, he was seated 
at his examination, when a despatch, " Very urgent," 
was put into his hand. On opening it he read : "Nimes, 
31st October, 1856. Captain Noirot is dead. Apoplexy. 
Come at once. Doctor Moulon." 

Pierre packed his valise and departed. He found that 
his father's affairs were in a deplorable condition. He 
had taken to cards and to drinking. Pierre paid all old 
Noirot's debts with the money left him by his aunt, but 
in so doing exhausted that sum. He was consequently 
unable to return to college, and nothing else was left 
him but to enlist. He was, however, too young by six 


months, and accordingly returned to the Vidils, who 
received him with a warm welcome. These good people 
had planned to marry him to Genevieve, but he was too 
shy to speak, and when he departed left without a word 
to her to intimate his affection. He was sent to garrison 
Toulouse. There he proved quiet, orderly, attentive to 
his duties, respectful to his officers, and courteous to his 
comrades-in-arms. But he made no friends. One day 
he received this letter : — 

"IssARL^s, May \st, 1859. 
'* My Little One, 

"I am obliged to apply to the beate, who is more 
skilled in writing than myself, to inform you that misfortune 
has overtaken us. Father is dead — may God rest his soul ! — 
and Genevieve has died of a languor. I am growing old, and 
am alone. Come and comfort maman Veronique, who loves 
you, and has none but you left to her in the world. 

" V. ViDIL. 

"P.S. — You will find in a fold of this letter a thousand 
francs wherewith to buy a substitute." 

Genevieve was dead — had died of despondency, 
perhaps because he had not spoken that which would 
have given her an object for which to live. From that 
day no smile ever brightened up his features. He 
returned to Issarles. The Vidils had done well, and 
had amassed a little money. 

Twenty years passed. In 1879 M. Firmin Boissin, 
who had been at college at Aubenas with Noirot, went 
to Issarles to visit his friend there, the Cure T^raube ; 
and when there learned that his old schoolfellow lived 
near, but in strange fashion — solitary, speaking to few, 
spending his time in study and in contemplation, still 


wrapped in philosophic pursuits. He had brought 
away with him from Nimes some of the doctrinal 
books that had belonged to his ancestors, but which 
pere Noirot had not read. All his spare cash was 
expended in the purchase of others. 

M. Boissin visited him. Noirot's first words were : 
" Explain to me, if you can, the contradiction that 
exists between the foreknowledge of God and free-will 
in man. How can man be a free agent when his course, 
his every act is irrevocably predestined ?" 

The iron of Calvinism had entered into his soul, and 
was festering it. 

M. Boissin and he had many disputes on this per- 
plexing theme. Pierre was ever revolving the question 
in his mind fruitlessly, making no further progress than 
does a squirrel in its rotating cage. At last, one day, he 
exclaimed bitterly, " How well I can understand the 
saying of Ackermann, ' I have lost all faith — I believe 
now in nothing but in the existence of evil.' And the 
evil is the Great Cause — is God." 

A few days later Pierre disappeared. Mme. Vidil 
came in alarm to the presbytere to inform the Cur^ 
that she could not find her foster-son, and that she 
fancied he had fallen into the lake. The alarm was 
given, the whole village turned out, and he was 
discovered in the water. The Cur6 managed to drag 
him out by the hair of his head. Pierre Noirot was 
conveyed to his bed. Life was not quite extinct. The 
Abb^ T^raube, stooping over him, said, " Monsieur 
Noirot, do you recognise me ? " The dying man made a 
sign in the affirmative. " Do you commit yourself into 
the hands of God, and put your trust in the infinite 
mercy of Christ ? " 


At these words the eyes of Noirot opened ; he looked 
up and said in a whisper : " Je vois — ^je sais — je crois — 
je suis desabuse." 

The Abb6, laying his hand on the unfortunate man's 
head, pronouned Absolution. Then kneeling at his 
side, he recited the Lord's Prayer. At the words, " Thy 
will be done," the spirit of him, qui n'avait pas de 
chance, passed away.^ 

Le Monastier is the place whence Robert Louis 
Stevenson started with his donkey after having spent 
there a month. 

He says : — 

" Monastier is notable for the making of lace, for drunken- 
ness, for freedom of language, and for unparalleled political 
discussion. There are adherents of each of the four French 
parties — Legitimists, Orleanists, Imperialists, and Republicans 
— in this little mountain town, and they all hate, loathe, decry, 
and calumniate each other. Except for business purposes, or 
to give each other the lie in a tavern brawl, they have laid 
aside even the civility of speech. 'Tis a mere mountain 
Poland. In the midst of the Babylon I find myself a rallying 
point; everyone was anxious to be kind and helpful to a 

The book was published in 1879. Since then 
Legitimists, Orleanists, and Imperialists are no more 
such. They have acquiesced in being good Republicans. 
Perhaps they have found other themes on which to 
contend. I do not think that the peasant has much 
respect for the Republic, but he is content to live 
quietly under it. As for the deputies he sends to the 
National Assembly, for them he has no respect at all. 

^ R^vu du Vivarais, 1893. 


They go up needy attorneys and return flush with 

A peasant said to me one day : " Have you been at a 
chase and seen the poor brute down, all the hounds tear- 
ing at it and fighting each other for scraps of the 
carcass ? That prey is France, and the hounds are the 

In 680 Calminius, Count of Auvergne, founded a 
Benedictine monastery under the red crags of La 
Moulette that rises to the east of the monastery. 
The abbey buildings which had suffered in the Wars 
of Religion were rebuilt in 1754 and are character- 
less. They have been converted into mairie and corn 
market. Everywhere in France we see Virgil's Sic vos 
non vobis exemplified. Monks erect monasteries that 
serve as barracks and schools, asylums and municipal 
buildings to a future generation. 

The abbatial church remains, an edifice of the 
eleventh century, but with an apse of the fifteenth. The 
fagade is Romanesque with mosaic work of lava, and 
the arcades of window and doorway are striped in the 
same manner. 

On the south side of the choir is the pretty renais- 
sance chapel of S. Chaffre, the second abbot, who was 
martyred by the Saracens in 732. This chapel with its 
painted roof dates from 1543. Names of saints be- 
came marvellously altered in the south. Theofred has 
been transformed into Chaffre, we have seen Evodius 
become Vozy, and in Herault we come on St. Agatha 
disguised under the form of Ste. Chatte, and in Ardeche, 
M^lany is rendered Boloni. At the entrance of the 
town is another church, built of blocks of lava, of the 
twelfth century, S. Jean, but it has undergone alterations. 


From Monastier one can drive to Goudet and thence 
walk to Arlempdes, distant but three miles, one of the 
most picturesque sites, with one of the most interesting 
castles in the Velay. At Goudet itself are the ruined 
castles of Goudet and Beaufort. At Arlempdes the 
Loire has cut its way through a mass of lava exposing 
prismatic columns, and the village is commanded by a 
castle flanked by round and square towers on a basaltic 
rock above it, and looking down from a sheer precipice 
on the Loire that glides below. The summit of the rock 
was irregular, and the feudal remains were grouped 
about on the platform equally irregularly. The chapel 
of Arlempdes is of the twelfth century. The Lac du 
Bouchet has been already spoken of. It is visited from 
Cayres. It is not the only object worth seeing in that 
direction ; three-quarters of a mile ofif the main road 
from Le Puy to Langonne at Chacornac are caves 
excavated by the hand of man, that served Mandrin as 
one of his mints for forged coins. He was a native 
of S. Etienne ; his principal factory of coins was at 
S. Andr6 on the sea coast, but when disturbed there he 
set up his workshop at Chacornac. Caught repeatedly, 
he managed to break out of prison again and again, but 
finally was broken on the wheel in 1755 at the age of 
forty-one. For some time he used an old castle as his 
place for coining, first scaring the owner out of it by 
spectral appearances and keeping up the idea among 
the peasantry around that it was haunted. 

Some commotion was caused in the spiritualistic 
world in 1903 by stories circulating relative to a haunted 
mill at Perbet between Le Puy and S. Front. It was 
occupied by a miller, Joubert, and his wife and two 
daughters, Marie aged fourteen, and Philom^ne aged 


twelve. On November 27th, 1902, three peasants were 
returning from market at Lausanne, and had reached 
the glen of the Aubepine, when they heard startling 
noises issue from the mill of Perbet accompanied by 
screams of terror, and the bellowing of the cattle in the 
stable that was under the same roof Next moment 
they saw the miller's wife — he himself was absent at 
the time — at the door gesticulating and calling for help. 
The men hastened to the door, and beheld the two girls 
writhing in convulsions on the floor, the crockery flying 
about the kitchen, and the furniture performing a waltz. 
Next moment a volley of stones was discharged at their 
heads. The men, panic-struck, crossed themselves and 
departed to talk about what they had seen. Next day 
and during several that followed crowds visited the 
ramshackle mill of Perbet, to witness the performances 
that continued till the clock, the sacred pictures, the 
window-panes, the crockery, every article the poor 
dwelling contained, had been reduced to wreckage. 
The children were conducted to the parish priest, who 
exorcised them, but all to no purpose. The editor of 
the Radical VAvenir at Le Puy went to the scene, but 
saw none of the performances. He contented himself 
with collecting evidence from eye-witnesses, and con- 
vinced himself that the phenomena were due to some 
supernatural cause. 

That the two girls were at the bottom of the diablerie 
admitted of no doubt. It was obvious to all. When 
they were removed to their uncle's elsewhere, the pheno- 
mena ceased at the mill and recommenced in the house 
into which they had been received. 

Nevertheless it occurred to no one, not even to the free- 
thinking editor, that all was due to clever legerdemain. 


A precisely similar exhibition took place in my own 
neighbourhood many years ago, and was investigated 
by my father. In this instance there was one girl instead 
of two who called the performances into existence. 
My father speedily satisfied himself that they were due 
to sleight of hand. When a stone flew across the room 
and smashed a window every eye was turned in the 
direction taken by the projectile, and the girl obtained 
thereby an opportunity of providing herself with some- 
thing fresh to throw. Plates and bowls were made to 
dance by horsehairs which had been attached to them 
by dabs of wax. 

In the case of the mill of Perbet, it was noticed that 
the stones flung were warm, in itself a significant token 
that they had been in the hands of the children or 
secreted about their persons. 

The witnesses at Perbet were doubtless all honourable 
men and disposed to speak the truth, but it is open to 
question whether there was one among them capable 
of observing correctly. 

An account of the manifestations at the mill at 
Perbet found its way into the transactions of the 
Psychical Research Society in London. But one may 
say without hesitation that the whole " show was run " 
by Marie and Philomene, and that the only spirits re- 
sponsible for the disturbance and damage done were 
the spirits of the two mischievous girls, who ought to 
have been exorcised by the use of a stick across their 
backs instead of Latin prayers. 


Roman road — The inn — Pierre Martin, his wife, and man— Haussmann 
at the inn — Number of murders committed never known — Claude 
Beraud — Assassination of an unknown man — A body boiled — Vincent 
Boyer — Murder of an old man — Marriage of the youngest daughter — 
Michel Hugon — Robbery of a pedlar woman — Marriage of the eldest 
daughter — Murder of Anjolras — Testud and the barrel of bran — Arrest 
of the Martins and their man — Difficulty of procuring evidence — 

TH E story of the Tavern of Peyrabeille is, perhaps, 
the most ghastly in the annals of crime, but I 
give it here partly because it has been so overladen and 
altered by fiction that the facts have disappeared in a 
cloud of fable ; mainly because that story reveals, in a 
manner nothing else could, some of the characteristics 
of the Cevenol peasant. 

The facts have been gathered from the archives of 
the Court of Justice at Privas, and published there by 
M. Paul d'Albigny. But the book is very scarce, long 
out of print, and I had great difficulty in procuring a 
copy. It is a book of 495 pages, and I shall have to 
compress the contents into one chapter. 

In the valley of the Ardeche, above Aubenas, at 
Pont de la Baume, is a Roman milestone now bearing 
a cross on its summit. Above the road tower the ruins 
of the castle of Ventadour commanding the valley. 



Both indicate that a great high road of ancient date led 
this way. In fact, that road was the main artery of 
communication between France proper and Languedoc. 
It was up this road that Caesar pressed in his memor- 
able winter march when he surprised the Arverni. 

The great road came down from Clermont to Le Puy, 
passed over the tableland to near the source of the 
Ardeche, and followed down that river to Aubenas and 
thence into the Rhone valley. At almost the highest 
point, 3,850 feet above the sea, in a bleak spot away 
from other human habitations, stood a hostelry, Peyra- 
beille, at which travellers were almost bound to halt to 
refresh or to pass the night. Faujas de Saint Fond, who 
was almost the first man to draw attention to the 
volcanic phenomena of the district, visited Peyrabeille 
in or about 1770, and he wrote : " There is no habitation 
so isolated as this inn ; and not a year passes that 
solitary travellers do not find their safety in this 
shelter." If he had lived seventy years later he would 
not have used the same flattering language about it, for 
after that the family of Martin-Blanc took the tavern ; 
for twenty-five years it became a murderous den, in 
which the travellers who lodged there were robbed and 
sent to their long rest. It was never known how many 
were there murdered, but it was believed that some sixty 
had become the victims of Pierre Martin, his wife, and 
his serving-man, and with what was taken from them 
the taverner bought up land and extended his posses- 
sions on all sides. Not till 1833 was this murderous 
band convicted and guillotined beside the inn, the scene 
of their crimes. 

Pierre Martin, called also Blanc, with his wife Marie, 
came first of all as tenant farmer to a man named 


Beyraud, in a small habitation near the inn, in or about 
1802. They had two daughters, Jeanne, born in 1800, 
and Marguerite, born after they came to this farm, in 
1805. Martin and his wife did well there, by what 
means we do not know, but he speedily grew so easy in 
his circumstances that he purchased a site and land of 
Beyraud, and built a new inn which was completed in 

This building still stands, very slightly altered. It is 
a long, low structure of granite and lava, with a huge 
stable, coachhouse, and loft over it adjoining. The 
front door from the road gave access to the kitchen, 
dimly lighted by one small hole of a window. In this 
kitchen was a large fireplace, beside which was the stair- 
case leading to the upper floor, where were the principal 
bedrooms. On the left a door gave access to the 
salle-a-manger, lighted by two small windows. Beyond 
this was a washhouse, within it a huge oven in which 
Martin and his wife cremated the bodies of their 
victims. It must have been contrived for this purpose 
when the house was built, for it could serve no other, and 
since their time it has been destroyed. There was and 
is still an oven for domestic purposes in the kitchen. 
Behind this range of apartments was the bedroom of the 
Martins, husband and wife, adjoining it that of the two 
daughters and the servant-man Jean Rochette, and in 
rear of the washhouse a cellar. From the kitchen 
access was obtained by a door to the coachhouse. The 
vast stable had a door on to the road, and another at 
the further end. Above the stable the hayloft was 
reached by a sloping ascent from the ground. In the 
upper story of the dwelling-house were four bedrooms 
opening out of a wide passage in which was a fold-up 


cupboard bed, and from which a doorway led into the 

Pierre Martin, towards the end of his life, had an 
appearance somewhat patriarchal, with long flowing 
hair almost white. He had a high colour in his cheeks, 
and was a short, thick-set man. His forehead was 
retreating, his mouth firm. In manner he was unctuous, 
and he affected to be gracious. 

His wife Marie, or Marion as commonly called, was a 
woman of avaricious, violent character, with a strength 
of will and decision capable of urging on her husband 
and servant to the worst deeds. Their servant, Jean 
Rochette, was born in 1785 ; he was a strongly built 
man, with auburn hair, large bright eyes, and a face at 
variance with the ferocity of his character ; he was aged 
forty-eight when executed. 

The new inn at Peyrabeille (the Old Stone) was 
much frequented, lying on the main road from 
Clermont and Le Puy to Aubenas and Viviers, con- 
sequently linked with the Rhone valley as also with 
Langonne, the great cattle market for the farmers and 
cattle-breeders of the Margeride ; merchants, dealers, 
colporteurs passed and repassed it, and as habitations 
were few and inns still fewer, and such as there were of 
the most wretched description, Peyrabeille could not 
be gone by without some refreshment being taken 
there, and in stormy and cold weather the blazing fire 
kept up in the kitchen out of wood from the forest of 
Bauzon lured travellers to stay. 

Baron Haussmann, in his Memoirs^ relates a visit 
made to this inn in 1832. He was then sous-prefet of 
Yssingeaux : — 

"It was six o'clock at night. We decided reluctantly to 


stay anywhere for the night, dine, and rest our horses. We 
halted at a lonely inn at the crossing of two roads on a bleak 
plateau of most melancholy appearance. Darkness settled 
down, and the stars did not suffice to show the way. We 
were reluctantly induced to spend the night there. But it 
was stifling in the kitchen, which served also as salle-a-manger 
and as salon, and to take a breath of air we had opened the 
door, which the host had already barricaded. A light appeared 
between the mountains, and we soon became aware that the 
moon was about to rise. The prospect of escaping from beds 
of doubtful cleanliness to go elsewhere to rest where less 
suspicious, made us, late as it was, determine to proceed. We 
ordered our horses to be saddled, turning a deaf ear to the 
solicitations of our hosts, whom we urged to draw up our bill. 
Midnight struck when we arrived, greatly exhausted, at Le Puy." 

Eight months later the papers rang with news of the 
arrest of the host and hostess and servant of the inn 
for repeated murders of their guests, whose bodies they 
burned in an oven. Among those who had disappeared 
was a stout cattle-dealer whom Haussmann and his 
companion had that night met in the tavern, and with 
whom they had held discussion. 

It is doubtful whether the Martins would have ven- 
tured to assassinate two men so well known as Hauss- 
mann and his comrade, M. Dumoulin. Possibly, had 
they stayed the night, it would have saved the life of 
the cattle-dealer. 

The Martins were cautious to treat well and leave 
unmolested persons of some condition, whose dis- 
appearance would rouse inquiry. Moreover, they did 
not always assassinate their victims in the house, but 
waylaid them at a distance, and disposed of the bodies 
in lava chasms or snow-drifts. 


Only a fraction of their misdeeds came to light. At 
their trial such cases alone were brought up against 
them of which evidence was procurable to convict. 
Indubitably other persons were involved, sending in- 
formation of intending lodgers well furnished with 
money, in advance of the arrival of the guests. Further- 
more, Andr6 Martin, the nephew, aged thirty-five, was 
acquitted, although no doubt whatever existed that he 
had assisted in some of the murders. I will give a 
summary of the cases proved against the Martins and 
their man. 

In 1808 Europe was the theatre of considerable wars, 
there was the continental blockade, the war in Spain and 
Portugal. The difficulties with Rome obliged Napoleon 
to raise 27o,ocxD conscripts, torn from their families to 
lay their bones on foreign battlefields. The dislike to 
conscription caused many young men to retire into 
hiding away from their homes, and others to desert 
after enrolment. These were the object of incessant 
research by the imperial gendarmerie. Among such 
was a young fellow of twenty called Claude Beraud, 
son of well-to-do parents near Le Puy, who had already 
lost one son at Jena, and another was with the army of 
occupation of Naples, but had not been heard of for 
long. His parents furnished Claude with money sewn 
into a leather belt he was to wear next his skin, and 
bade him hide till the search was over. One winter 
night, in 1808, this unfortunate young man came to the 
inn at Peyrabeille and asked to be taken in. Snow 
was falling, and a storm raging. He was received, and 
incautiously told his hosts what he was and that he 
was well supplied with money. They made up for him 
a roaring fire, and gave him hot spiced wine as he sat 


over it. The change from the cold without to the heat 
within made him drowsy, and as he nodded, Pierre 
Martin struck the leg of his chair and upset the youth, 
about whose neck Rochette at once slipped a thong 
and strangled him. The body was searched, the belt 
taken off, and the pockets emptied. From the belt 
350 francs were taken ; from the pockets a peculiarly 
ornamented knife, which Jean Rochette appropriated, 
and a watch from which hung a piece of cornelian in 
the form of a disc. It was by identifying these latter 
articles twenty-five years later that the parents of 
Claude first learned his fate. 

When he was dead, Pierre Martin and the serving- 
man carried the body to a distance, leaving a little 
loose silver in the pocket, and threw it into a snow- 
drift that filled a ditch. Not till late in the spring was 
the corpse found, and then it was so disfigured by 
wolves that identification was impossible, and the 
money in the pocket led the police to suppose that the 
death was due to accident. 

In the month of July, 18 12, Jean Rochette received 
news through a wagoner who halted at the inn that a 
stranger, presumedly a merchant and well-to-do, was 
on his way thither, and might or might not spend the 
night at Peyrabeille. He was riding on an apple-grey 
horse with a long tail, and had holsters to his saddle 
with pistols in them. 

At six o'clock in the evening this man arrived, 
looked at the tavern, and not relishing its appearance 
was pushing on, when Jeanne, then aged fourteen, ran 
out, and standing before the horse, entreated the man 
to make proof of her mother's kitchen ; at the same 
time Rochette came out and joined in persuading him 


to alight. The traveller was on his way, he said, to 
Pradelles, and could not reach it till well on in the 
night. The merchant allowed himself to be persuaded, 
and surrendered the horse to the servant, who took it 
to the stables and at once removed the pistols from 
their cases. The stranger, whose name never transpired, 
remained in the inn and dined there ; he did not leave 
till eight o'clock, when night was falling. He had not 
observed that whilst he was at his meal the two men, 
Martin and his servant, had disappeared. 

After departing, he had gone some way on the road 
to Pradelles, when from a coppice the host and Rochette 
leaped out on him, and Martin dealt him a blow with 
a cudgel on the back of his head which sent him from 
his horse. Martin then laid hold of the bridle and bade 
his man finish the stranger. So soon as the traveller 
was dead he was robbed, despoiled of most of his 
clothes, and then the body flung across the saddle, the 
horse led to a great distance, and the corpse thrown into 
a cleft in the rock, and pieces of granite heaped upon it. 

Some days later a couple of poachers after a fox 
pursued the animal till it took refuge in this very cleft, 
and in removing the stones to reach it discovered the 
dead man. The tidings of what had been found was 
buzzed about, but the police acted in such leisurely 
fashion that they did not go to the spot till three days 
after its discovery, and then — the body had disappeared. 
Pierre Martin had removed and cremated it in his oven. 
He took the horse, after having docked its tail, to 
Le Puy to sell it at a fair, but a dealer there seemed 
to recognise it, and asked inconvenient questions, so 
Martin hastily left, and he and Rochette killed the 
beast and buried it. 


In the same year a farmer named Brisac, living at no 
great distance, having sold some hay to Pierre Martin, 
went one morning very early, as dawn was breaking, 
to claim his money. On reaching Peyrabeille his sur- 
prise was great to see a strong light gleaming from the 
crevices of the door and the curtained window. He 
knocked with his stick, but only after some delay did 
a voice from within ask who he was and what he 
wanted. He stated his business ; the woman Martin 
opened, and seemed to be somewhat disconcerted and 
in a very bad temper. The morning was raw, and 
Brisac went to the hearth, where he saw it piled up 
into faggots, making a huge blaze about a cauldron sus- 
pended in the flames, and the ebullition was so great 
that the lid of the cauldron was in constant agitation 
to emit the steam. At the same time, whatever was 
boiling sent forth a peculiar and disagreeable odour, as 
from something decayed. 

Pierre Martin and his wife were obviously impatient 
to be rid of their creditor, and Pierre left the room to 
fetch the money that was due. Brisac seized the oppor- 
tunity as Marie Martin's back was turned to lift the lid 
of the cauldron, and to his horror beheld a human 
hand. As he dropped the lid Pierre re-entered, ob- 
served what he had done, and fixing his eyes on 
Brisac, said to him sternly : " Here is your money. Be 
off, and take care that not a word as to what you have 
seen here passes your lips. If you forget my warning, 
you are a lost man." 

Brisac took the money and fled the house, and never 
again set foot across its threshold. Such, however, is 
the cowardice of the peasant, his fear of compromising 
himself, his shyness of having anything to do with the 


police, that it was not till the Martins were in prison 
that he ventured to relate what he had seen, and he 
appeared in court with his evidence only when it was 
certain that they could do him no harm. The next 
case illustrates this timidity even more clearly. I will 
quote the deposition of the witness textually. It is 
that of Vincent Boyer, tinner, aged twenty-nine. 

" One day, in the winter of 1824, I was going to my family 
at Aubenas, when I was surprised by the bad weather (the 
land was covered with snow), and I was forced to stay at the 
Martins' inn at Peyrabeille. I saw several persons there, 
notably an old man also delayed by the bad weather and 
forced to pass the night there. Martin's wife having invited 
me to draw near to the fire, entered into conversation with me, 
and questioned me on my gains in my trade, and as to how 
much money I had with me. She told me that there was a 
band of robbers in the neighbourhood, and she asked me 
what I would do if attacked by them. ' I would give up to 
them the thirty sous I have with me and be off.' ' But,' 
said she, 'supposing that they were disposed to kill another 
man and let you alone, what would you do?' 'I would 
defend him at the peril of my life if I saw there was a chance 
of saving him. If not, I would let be.' 'Are you a heavy 
sleeper ? ' ' Very. When once asleep you might remove the 
house without awaking me.' 

"This strange questioning frightened me; I saw clearly 
enough into what company I had got. However, I did my 
best to disguise my suspicions. After having catechised me, 
the woman Martin went to the old man and asked him the 
cause of his journey. He replied without mistrust that he 
had sold a cow and was taking the money back with him. This 
lack of reticence further alarmed me. 

" Bed -time arrived. The people of the house told us 
plainly enough to go to our respective chambers aloft. Then 


only did some suspicion cross the mind of the old man, and 
he asked to share the same room with me, but this was peremp- 
torily refused. 

" They led us to our separate bedrooms at some little dis- 
tance apart. I heard the old man make some demur as to 
his, and a voice replied : ' Manage as you will. There is no 
other room for you.' Then I heard the door of his chamber 
shut, and whoever had led him to his room descended. One of 
the girls had conducted me to my chamber, and she recom- 
mended me not to leave my door open, speaking in a tone 
that expressed an order. 

" As soon as the girl Martin had left I examined my bed, 
and was horrified to find on the bolster splashes of blood as 
big as the bottom of a pail. I went to bed more dead than 
alive. At the end of about an hour some one entered my 
room, thinking that I was aleep — I made good pretence that 
I was so — and searched my pockets, and finding in them no 
more than the thirty sous, left them there and descended again 

" Two or three hours later I heard strokes at the old man's 
door, and a voice call, ' Get up, it is time.' There was, how- 
ever, no response. Then those who had made this noise 
went back below, but returned in half an hour. They knocked 
again at the door, repeating the words as before. But seeing 
that the stranger persisted in reftising to reply, they burst in 
the door. Immediately I heard cries of ' Help ! Help ! ' But 
soon the victim uttered no more articulate cries, but such as 
I can only liken to the squeals of a pig that is being killed. 
During the accomplishment of the crime — that is to say, whilst 
the unhappy man was uttering these cries of distress — the two 
Martin girls, aged twenty-eight and thirty, were keeping guard 
at my door, laughing in fits and singing. I could compare 
them only to demons from hell. 

" Next morning I rose late, to give the scoundrels time to 
conceal their crime, and by this means make it safer for myself. 
The woman Martin asked me how I had slept and if I had 


heard anything. I said that I had been sound asleep all 
night. I was so frightened, that when I had got a hundred 
paces from the house I ran the rest of my way as hard as my 
legs could carry me." 

This self-revelation of abject cowardice and meanness 
in a young man drew from the judges no comment. It 
was in the nature of the peasant to be such, and com- 
ment would be useless. Only they remarked on Boyer 
having said nothing of what had occurred to the police 
or any one else for fourteen years. But this also was 

By means of repeated crimes Pierre Martin had 
amassed a good deal of money. He bought more land 
to round off his property, also another house, at a few 
paces from his own. He was also able to announce 
that he would give a handsome dot with each of his 
daughters. This brought a suitor, Philemon Pertuis, son 
of a well-to-do farmer, above the Martins in position, to 
ask the hand of Marguerite. They were married, and 
installed in the house that Pierre had bought. Young 
Pertuis was a mild, inoffensive man. There is no 
evidence that he took any part in the crimes, but he 
became aware of them, and cautioned his father-in-law 
to be more circumspect ; and finally, in 1830, four years 
after his marriage, quitted the house and went to a 
distance so as to avoid implication in the misdeeds of 
the old man and his wife. He also said nothing to the 
police or to any one else of what he knew or suspected. 

In 1826, just two months after the marriage, another 
crime was attempted, that came to light later. 

A farmer, named Michel Hugon, was at the fair at 
Jaujac, where he sold a drove of young bullocks. He 
was annoyed at being followed and watched by a little 


hunchback named Pannard, who endeavoured to get 
into conversation with him and learn where he intended 
to pass the night on his way home to Pradelles. He 
curtly informed him that he would sleep at the house of 
a friend at Mayres. 

Hugon was on his way home when he was passed by 
Pannard riding a mountain pony, and going the same 
way as himself. In fact, the hunchback was on the 
road to Peyrabeille to announce to the Martins that 
some good game was coming to their net. After sleep- 
ing at Mayres, Hugon pursued his journey on the 
following morning, and halted at the inn of the Martins 
to breakfast, but saw none there save the women. 
When about to leave, Marie Martin strongly advised 
him to take a short cut which she pointed out, and which 
would save him over a mile. Without suspicion he 
followed her directions, and had gone some way, when 
out of the bushes leaped Pierre Martin and Jean 
Rochette, armed with picks ; and the former with his 
weapon dealt a blow at Hugon that cut his head open and 
wounded his back, but happily failed to stun him or split 
his skull. The farmer at once whirled his cudgel and 
struck Martin under the knee with such force as to bring 
him to the ground. Rochette, who was behind, yelled to 
his master, " Strike on ! strike on ! " But Pierre was un- 
able to rise for a moment, and Hugon took to his 
heels and ran before Jean could deal him another blow. 
Pierre got up now, and he and Rochette pursued the 
farmer, who fled and did not draw breath till he reached 
the high road on which were passengers, and where he 
felt himself safe. He also breathed not a word of his 
adventure and escape till the Martins were under lock 
and key. Not long after this Pannard was arrested on a 


charge of theft and imprisoned for six months. In gaol 
he opened his mouth and complained to his fellow- 
prisoners that he had helped the innkeeper at Peyra- 
beille to do a good stroke of business, and that he had 
not been paid for his assistance ; for he could not 
believe that Hugon had escaped with his money. This 
got spoken of Moreover, ugly rumours began to circu- 
late relative to the tavern, but no one was willing to 
speak out and lay a definite charge against the Martins. 

The attempt on Hugon was in May. In June of 
the same year a pedlar-woman, named Catherine 
Vercasson, on a very hot day, came to the inn and 
showed her wares to the Martin girls and their mother, 
in the hopes that they would purchase. They bought 
a few trifles, and then Catherine locked her box with a 
key that she carried suspended to her belt. As she was 
hot and tired, she asked leave to lie down on a bed for 
a rest. This was readily accorded. She was given a 
tumbler of drugged wine, and led to one of the upper 
rooms, where she was soon fast asleep. As she lay un- 
conscious Jeanne Martin possessed herself of the key, 
opened the box, and took from it several articles of 
jewellery, and the mother relieved the pedlar's purse of 
some of its contents. 

Catherine Vercasson woke after a long sleep and 
unsuspiciously went on her way, but had not gone far 
before she sat down to count her money, when to her 
alarm she found that she had been robbed of two louis 
d'or. She went into the nearest village to sell more of 
her goods, and, on opening her box, found that that also 
had been rifled. She was now positive that she had 
been pillaged at Peyrabeille. She confided her distress 
to the innkeeper at Lanarce, the village where she was. 



He shrugged his shoulders and bade her put a good face 
on it, and not venture back to reclaim the money and 
goods. But Catherine was not disposed to accept her 
losses so easily, and with great difficulty she induced 
two young men to accompany her to Peyrabeille. They 
went with her, but no persuasion would induce them to 
enter the house. The determined woman went in and 
charged the mother and daughters with the theft, which 
they stoutly denied. " I will not leave till I receive my 
money and goods," said she. The women exchanged 
glances, and the mother bade one of her daughters go 
out and fetch Pierre and the servant. The girl returned 
in haste to say that two men were watching the house, 
but hiding their faces so as not to be recognised. Under 
these circumstances the three women deemed it expe- 
dient to restore the major part of what they had taken, 
and to pretend that the whole was a practical joke. 
The story got wind, and increased the suspicion with 
which the Martins were regarded. 

In 183 1, the eldest of the daughters was married to a 
man named Deleyrolles, he also occupying a better 
social position than the Martins ; he was drawn to 
ask for her by the rich dot that went with her, and he 
took his wife with him to Vans. 

One would have supposed that now all reason for 
amassing money by crime was taken away. The 
Martins had no more children for whom to save, and 
they were very comfortably off themselves. But avarice 
is insatiable. 

Other crimes and attempted crimes I will pass over, 
to come to the last which led to the arrest of the 
Martins and their man. 

In October, 1831, an old man of seventy-two, named 


Anjolras, a relative of Pierre Martin, had sold to him a 
cow at the fair at S. Cirgues, and as he wanted his 
money asked Martin to pay for it at once. The 
taverner said he had not the sum by him, but invited 
Anjolras to accompany him to Peyrabeille, where he 
would give him what was owed. The old man con- 
sented, and went with his kinsman to the fatal inn, 
which they reached at nightfall. 

There were in the house at the time Andr6, the 
nephew of Pierre Martin, and a girl named Marie 
Arnaud, the betrothed of Andre, engaged there at 
needlework, a pale, serious-faced girl, whose part in 
what follows is difficult to discover. There was also in 
the house at the time a beggar named Laurent Chaze, 
who had asked to be taken in for the night. Pierre 
Martin, as soon as he entered, demanded roughly what 
this fellow wanted, and when Chaze stated his require- 
ments he was bidden be off, there was no bed at his 
disposal. Chaze went forth into the dark, walked some 
way along the road, then bethought himself of the 
hayloft, stole back, and finding the loft door unbarred 
went in and concealed himself in a corner beneath the 
hay. When bedtime arrived, under some excuse the 
host induced Anjolras to sleep in the loft and not in 
one of the bedrooms, and the beggar heard Martin 
bring his kinsman in and point out a place where he 
could lie, near the door of communication with the 
house. About an hour later Chaze saw Jean Rochette 
with a lamp enter and examine Anjolras to ascertain if 
he were asleep. Then he descended, but returned with 
Marie Martin, she carrying a large iron ladle full of 
scalding soup. Having satisfied themselves that the 
old man was sound, she said to Jean Rochette, " Strike ! " 


and he brought a hammer down on the sleeper's head. 
As Anjolras started and opened his mouth she threw 
the scalding contents of the ladle into it. The old 
man fell. " Strike again," said the woman, " he is not 
dead yet." Jean obeyed till the skull was beaten in. 

Before dawn the beggar had fled the scene. 

The disappearance of Anjolras caused a commotion, 
and search was made for him in all directions. It was 
heard that he had been last seen along with Pierre 
Martin on his way to Payrabeille. 

The murder had been committed on the night of the 
1 2th October. On the 25th, thirteen days after, the 
authorities began to bestir themselves, and as every 
trace pointed to the inn, the Mayor of Lanarce, accom- 
panied by a party of young men, went to Peyrabeille 
to institute inquiries. On entering the kitchen, Marie 
Martin informed him that the Juge de Paix of Cou- 
couron was already there in the parlour, and would 
speak with him. No one knew what passed between 
these magistrates, but presently the mayor came out 
and said to his attendants : " Gentlemen, you may 
depart, there is nothing to be done " ; and, in fact, nothing 
was done. No search was made ; some politenesses 
passed between the two officials and the hostess, and 
they retired with bows. Yet the corpse, all the while, 
was within a few yards of the house. It was discovered 
in a startling manner. 

Philemon Pertuis, son-in-law of the Martins, who had 
left the house in which he had been for a few years at 
Peyrabeille, had retained the little farm about it, and 
employed the sheds and stable and cellars for his 
crops, etc. 

One day he sent his servant, Jean Testud, with a 


tumbril to fetch away his potatoes that were in the 
cellar. Testud went in with a lamp and saw in a corner 
a barrel of bran. He was aware of an unpleasant smell 
in the cellar, which he could not explain. On one of his 
journeys the lamp went out, and he returned to grope 
for it. In so doing he put his hand into the barrel and 
encountered the cold remains of a human body. Frozen 
with horror, he staggered to the inn, sank in a chair, 
and said he was ill, and must go home to his parents 
at Banne. 

Pierre Martin and his wife were uneasy. They went 
to the cellar and found there the lamp of Testud, and 
at once saw that the corpse must be removed. This was 
done during the night on the back of a mule, and was 
conveyed to a precipice at Lesperon and flung over it, so 
as to give an idea that Anjolras had fallen accidentally. 

The body was discovered on October 26th, was 
identified and examined, and it was soon seen that 
this was no case of an accidental fall, but of murder. 
On November ist, Martin and his wife and his nephew 
Andre, and after that Jean Rochette, were arrested, but 
were not brought to trial for three years, as the prosecu- 
tion met with extraordinary difficulty in getting together 
evidence against them, so timorous were the peasants, 
so afraid of appearing in court and being subjected to 
cross-questioning, and of incurring the resentment of 
the relatives of the Martins, who were numerous. The 
two daughters were not arrested. Nothing could be 
wrung from the girl Marie Arnaud, who preserved 
throughout remarkable self-possession and self-restraint. 
Andre, as already said, was acquitted, but Pierre and 
his wife and Jean Rochette were guillotined close to 
the inn on October 2nd, 1833. 


Pierre Martin affected to be penitent, made loud 
professions of remorse. Rochette was sullenly penitent, 
but Marion literally kicked the prison chaplain out of 
the cart in which he purposed attending her to the 
gallows, was resentful and hardened to the last, and 
when, on the scaffold, another priest held up the crucifix 
before her eyes as she was being bound to be placed 
under the fatal knife, she turned away her face from it 
with a scowl. 

Vast crowds attended the execution, and when the 
bloody scene was over and the scaffold removed, the 
crowd spent the rest of the day till late into the night 
dancing over the spot where the blood had flowed, to 
the strains of a piper, whilst the old folks got fuddled 
over the liquor from the cellar of the inn, sold to them 
by the nearest relatives of the Martins, who had 
inherited it through the execution a few hours previ- 
ously. To Peyrabeille may be applied the words of 
Jules Claretie, relative to Paris after the Terror : " II 
y avait encore dans Paris une odeur de sang, et Paris 
cependant s'ammusait ; folle de joie." 



Geological formation — Characteristics of the Boutieres and of the people — 
S. Peray and its wine— Castle of Crussol — Valley of the Erieux — A 
masterpiece of engineering — La Voute — Its decay — The chapel of the 
castle — Vernoux, the Geneva of the Huguenots — The Momiens — Party 
feeling — Massacre of S. Bartholomew — La Pourasse — The Cachard 
family — The drummer — Gorge of the Dunniere — La Tourette — 
Chalen9on — Diana of Poitiers — Le Cheylard. 

E3 BOUTIERES have already had some sentences 
devoted to them. They differ geologically, and 
consequently in scenery, altogether from the high range 
of volcanic peaks of the mountains of the Vivarais 
below Privas. They are composed of granite and 
gneiss, and continue the Cevennes chain northwards. 
There are among them no craters, no floods of crystal- 
lised lava. Their heights are not extraordinary ; they 
throw out long lateral spurs towards the Rhone. The 
scenery is tamer than in any other part of the Cevennes ; 
that portion from Annonay to S. Etienne is given up to 
factories, which makes the country people prosperous 
but the country unattractive. 

But from Annonay south to Privas there is pleasant 
if not fine scenery, and it is very rarely visited. 

" It is," says Dr. Francus (A. Mazon), " a land that has a 
stamp of its own ; its mountains, its agriculture, its customs, 
even its religion are peculiar to it. A land of steep slopes, 



boisterous rivers, rude summits, with pines above and chestnut 
trees below, with Biblical types of men, bullet-headed, and 
with brains not altogether like other men's brains. Nature 
herself puts on a severe countenance; the woods look like 
gloomy conspirators, the wind seems to chant psalms, and 
with a little imagination it is possible to fancy that one hears 
a far-off echo of some Assembly of the Desert that Time has 
forgotten to sweep away in its onward march." 

Looking westward from Valence is seen the little 
town of S. Peray, and towering above it the ruined 
castle of Crussol on a limestone cliff, 

S. Peray is famous, with a limited fame, for its spark- 
ling wine. 

The white wine of S. Peray always had a certain 
celebrity. The wine merchants of Burgundy and 
Champagne, seeing that very good juice of the grape 
was to be had there cheap, bought it up and sold it as 
their own crus, or else doctored it. They purchased 
whole vintages at the time of the gathering in and 
crushing of the grape, and by means of the navigation 
of the Rhone and Saone, were able to bring them into 
the heart of France. 

But after a while the owners of the vineyards of 
S. Peray saw their way to selling direct to the con- 
sumer. In 1798 one of them discovered the secret how 
to make the wine effervesce, and he set to work to 
produce sparkling S. Peray, which soon obtained great 

The phylloxera came in 1874 and devastated the 
vineyards. But they have been replanted with stocks 
from America, grafted with the indigenous vine, and 
these are strong and flourishing, and yield abundantly, 
the wine somewhat coarse at first, but mellowing as 


the vine becomes more and more accustomed to the 

The huge crag surmounted by the ruins of the castle 
of Crussol is extensively quarried. The stone is of a 
fawn colour, and receives a polish. The huge castle, 
with its rifted donjon called the Horns of Crussol, at 
one time contained a town within its enclosure. Now, 
all is ruin. 

The family of Crussol was not of much note till 
Louis de Crussol gained the favour of Louis XL, and 
was appointed governor of Dauphine, The son married 
the heiress of Uzes, and with her the title of viscount 
passed to their son Charles, whose son Antoine was 
created Duke of Uzes. The ruined castle belongs still 
to the Uzes family. 

The castle was destroyed by Richelieu in 1623. 

In my book, In Troubadour Land^ I have told the 
story of how the Uzes race sprang from a strolling 
company of three travelling comedian brothers, and so 
will not here repeat it. On a terrace above the Miolan 
that enters the Rhone at S. Peray is the castle of Beau- 
regard, formerly a State prison, now a cafe restaurant 
with a speciality in tripe. So the whirligig of Time 
brings about its revenges. 

The most interesting excursion among the Bouti^res 
is up the valley of the Erieux, that takes its rise above 
S. Agreve. It is a capricious river, at one time a small 
stream, at another a boiling torrent. In the great flood 
of 1876 it rose forty feet, and rolled down three times 
the amount of water that does the Seine at Paris. It 
brings with it from the granite particles of gold, but not 
in sufficient amount to make it worth while searching 
for the precious metal. 


The line up the valley is a masterpiece of engineer- 
ing ; in places it is carried in cornice along the face of 
the gorge, now cut out of the rock, and now on a 
terrace built up on arches. The river enters the Rhone 
a couple of miles above La Voute, but the junction of 
the line to Le Cheylard is at this place. La Voute sur 
Rhone is an ancient town planted at the foot of and 
scrambling up a rock crowned with the ruins of a castle 
of the great family of Ventadour. The old town, with 
its tortuous streets, its venerable but crumbling houses, 
its steep, ladder-like ascent, is almost deserted, life has 
run down and settled in modern houses at the foot. 
But even the new town is death-struck. 

The iron mines which made the place prosperous, 
and in 1870 yielded 60,000 tons of ore, produced but 
12,683 tons in 1891, and in the following year only 
520; and now, none. Ruin has fallen on La Voute, 
and it is doubtful if it will ever recover. In the old 
castle of the Ventadours was set up the bureau of the 
company that worked the mines. Now the offices are 
ruinous and deserted, like the halls and towers of the 
feudal princes. 

The fortress was begun in 13 19, and enlarged and 
made splendid in 1582. Ichabod ! Its glory is departed. 
The beautiful Renaissance chapel with its marbles and 
sculpture is crumbling away. The chapel is vaulted 
with delicate ribs, and against the walls are carved a 
Resurrection and statues of the Duke and Duchess 
of Ventadour. But all, sculptured capitals of pilasters, 
dainty cornices, figures, have suffered under the hammers 
of the Revolutionary fanatics. 

In the valley of Erieux, where it opens out, vineyards 
have been staged up the mountain sides, in narrow 


walled terraces, with infinite labour, and where there 
are not vines there are chestnuts and cherry trees. At 
S. Fortunat, the Duniere enters the Erieux, and hence 
a road leads to Vernoux, the Geneva of the Protestants 
of Upper Ardeche. It is mainly occupied by descen- 
dants of the Huguenots, but there are Catholics as well, 
living in a separate quarter. The Protestants are much 
divided among themselves. One sect is that of the 
Momiens, whose head-quarters are S. Agreve and 
Vernoux. They represent the original Huguenots far 
more truly than those who call themselves Evangelicals, 
for these latter have lapsed into Freethought, Indiffer- 
ence, Agnosticism, and the best are Deists. The 
Momiens do not attend the " Temples Protestants," 
but hold their assemblies in the open air, in fact have 
camp meetings. Every one brings his provisions with 
him ; they have exercises of prayer, psalm-singing, and 
exhortation, and then all dine peaceably under the 
chestnut trees. They come into town only on Sundays 
and market-days, and do not frequent the public- 
houses. They have the character of being scrupulously 

Many of the Evangelicals never attend public wor- 
ship. Out of eleven thousand inhabitants of Vernoux, 
about eight thousand are Protestants ; they are able, 
accordingly, to engross all the offices and determine the 
elections. Conversions one way or the other are most 
rare, perhaps four or five in thirty years, and these only 
on account of marriages. The Protestant young men 
are desirous of getting Catholic wives, as the girls of 
this latter confession have a better moral character — 
being more carefully looked after by the clergy and 
sisters than are the others ; but the cures in every way 


oppose mixed marriages, which is a mistake, for no 
more effective missionary can be found than a God- 
fearing, consistent wife. 

Unhappily party feeling runs strong. An old cure of 
Vernoux named Chifflet, with the help of a M. Demars, 
who was a large contributor, founded a hospital, and 
when it was complete handed it over to the town for 
general use without regard to denomination. At once 
the town council elected a governing board, from which 
it excluded the principal donor, M. Demars, because he 
was a Catholic, and struck off the name of M. Lanthois, 
the only Protestant in the place who had given a sou 
towards the hospital. 

So when the Calvinist temple wanted rebuilding 
a rate was imposed on all the citizens, and the Catho- 
lics had to contribute as well as the Evangelicals. 
But when the Catholics desired to erect a church 
for themselves a rate was refused. If the propor- 
tions had been the other way on, without a doubt the 
Catholics would have acted with precisely the same 

As a cure said to me the other day : " Live and let 
live is not a principle we understand in France, and 
never have. We who are bullied to-day, if we get the 
upper hand to-morrow would bully in our turn." 

Charles IX. could not have made a more grateful 
present to French Protestantism than the massacre of 
S. Bartholomew. It is to them a perpetual and cherished 
grievance. They would not be without it any more than 
a professional mendicant would be without his sore. 
The massacre is introduced into every sermon, alluded 
to in every contingency, thrown in the face of a Catholic 
in every dispute, flourished even at a wedding-breakfast. 


A Calvinist infant is brought up on it. It is the first 
historic fact he has to acquire, and often when grown to 
man's estate is the only historic fact that he remembers. 
The massacre has been so rubbed into the minds of the 
Evangelicals that they cannot look in the face of their 
fellow-citizens of the other persuasion except through 
blood-red glass. 

This temper sometimes produces vexatious results. 
In a village in the Boutieres, where the meeting-house 
happened to possess a bell, one Sunday an old woman 
went to sleep during the discourse, and did not wake 
when the congregation dispersed ; and being over- 
looked, was locked in. When she roused from her 
slumber, she went to the bell-rope and pulled long and 
hard. At the sound of the tocsin all the Protestants 
within hearing were roused. Now at last the long- 
expected massacre was coming off. Women and 
children fled to the woods. The men barricaded their 
houses, loaded their rifles, and prepared to sell their lives 
dearly. The bell pealed on, every scrap of courage 
save among the most heroic sank to their stocking-soles, 
when the old woman, having failed to summon relief, 
took to relieving herself from her situation by flinging 
the rope out of a window and crawling down it. 
Parturiunt monies nascetur ridiculus mus. 

In 1885, when at the election for the Legislature 
the Conservative list passed in its entirety, the 
Protestants of Les Boutieres were so impressed with 
the revival of Catholic hopes and their successes that 
one of these panics fell on them. Indeed, they have 
a name for such, la pourasse. 

Before the outbreak of the Revolution there were 
many little nobles and landed gentry in the country 


whose chateaux are now in ruins or turned into farm- 
houses. They lived sociably, giving dances, meeting 
for shooting-parties or games of tennis. 

One of these was the Monsieur de Cachard. On 
June 24th, 1786, he gave a dance to his neighbours, but 
found a difficulty in getting musicians. He applied to 
the garrison at Valence, and was offered the drummer of 
the regiment, who could also play the fife, and courte- 
ously he extended the invitation to any of the officers 
who would care to take a part in the entertainment. 
A young lieutenant accepted, his name was Napoleon 
Bonaparte, and he brought with him the drummer, 
Victor Beausoleil. Towards the conclusion of the ball, 
M. de Cachard went to the musician and asked how he 
could repay his services. " Only by letting me have 
a dance with mademoiselle your daughter." " By all 
means," replied the master of the house, and Beausoleil 
led out the young lady. 

The Revolution came. The family of Cachard was 
dispersed ; some were guillotined, some emigrated. 
At the Restoration, the head of the family went to 
Paris to solicit the restitution of some of the confiscated 
and sold estates. He solicited an audience with Marshal 
Victor, Duke of Belluno, minister of war. No sooner 
was he introduced, than the Duke started forward, 
grasped his hand and said : " Monsieur ! we have not 
met since Midsummer Day, 1786, when I piped, and had 
the honour to dance with mademoiselle." The minister 
was, in fact, the drummer from Valence. He interested 
himself in the case and obtained for M. de Cachard the 
recovery of the ancient chateau and a portion of his 
lands. The Duke was wont to joke over his title. " As 
a drummer-boy I was Beausoleil. I have lost, not 


gained, by becoming a duke, for now I am only Belluno 
(Belle Lune)." 

The river Duniere sweeps past Vernoux, and the 
road from S. Fortunat to this town presents a succes- 
sion of striking scenes. The gorge through which the 
Duniere enters the Erieux has precipitous sides, above 
which the mountains rise bare, or but meagrely dotted 
with evergreen oaks, that grow low and stunted. 
Below rolls, leaps, and foams the torrent. In the con- 
tracted throat of Pontpierre, after the bursting of storms 
in the Cevennes, the water rises and writhes to escape, 
and issues from it into the valley of the Erieux as from 
a spout. The road follows the edge of the chasm as 
far as Roumezoux, after which the hills fall back and 
allow of cultivation. Then again they contract, but the 
gorge is less savage, and is commanded on the left bank 
by one of the noblest ruins in the Vivarais. The Duniere 
flowing from the east receives a torrent descending from 
the north, and at this point rises a mighty crag on the 
top of which two lofty towers stand out sharply against 
the sky. They belong to the castle of La Tourette, 
close to Vernoux. According to popular tradition it 
was built by the Saracens ; it was the feudal centre of 
the district and occupied by a Marquess de La Tourette. 
The castle was intact till the Revolution, and was a 
scene of much hospitality extended to the bourgeoisie 
of Vernoux, who danced in the great hall, hung with 
stamped and gilded leather. At the Revolution the 
castle was unroofed and ruin set in rapidly, as every one 
who wanted to build a pigsty or a factory used its walls 
as a quarry. Happily of late years the family of La 
Tourette, that has its residence at Tournon, has re- 
purchased the eagle nest of its ancestors and has put 


a stop to the destruction. From its isolated rock the 
castle was connected by a drawbridge with a terrace, 
beyond which was the farm, a building of the sixteenth 
century, that had not been molested. The terrace is 
sustained by a wall and was originally planted with 
trees, and must have been a delightful walk, suspended 
above the precipice, and from which one could look down 
on the birds of prey darting and fluttering in the depths, 
and which also had their habitations in these rocks. 

In 1 67 1, the Marquess de La Tourette bought the 
barony of Chalengon to the south of Vernoux. This 
was at one time one of the most powerful baronies in 
the country. It extended its jurisdiction over eighty 
parishes, all of which were bound to furnish men-at- 
arms when summoned to do so by the Seigneur of 

In 1523, Jean de Poitiers, father of the famous Diana, 
Baron of Chalengon, was condemned to death for 
felony. But the beauty and the tears of his daughter 
saved his life ; and after her father's death Diana be- 
came Baroness Chalen^on and Privas. She seems never 
to have set foot in either. This left-handed queen died 
in 1 566, and bequeathed the barony to the youngest of 
her daughters, Louise, who had married in 1 546 Claude 
de Lorraine, Due d'Aumale. In the square of Chalengon 
may be seen a gigantic elm, a Sully, one of the trees 
planted in all parishes on the conversion of Henry IV. 
The old castle was flanked by three towers, but was 
almost totally destroyed. It has been reconstructed. 

The railway from S. Fortunat, where we abandoned it, 
deserves to be followed to its terminus at Le Cheylard, 
as it runs through some of the finest scenery in the Bou- 
tieres to the cone of M^zenc, to which the chain hitches 


itself on. Moreover, it has been finely engineered 
the whole way. But Le Cheylard itself is not a place 
of interest, being a modern manufacturing town, created 
by Lyons speculators calculating on the cheapness and 
abundance of labour in that part, where agriculture is 
hampered by the elevation. The chateau of La Mothe 
is picturesque, but has had the tops of its towers knocked 
off and rehatted. 

Le Cheylard may be employed as quarters for a visit 
to Mezenc and the Gerbier de Jonc, if these have not 
been made an object of pilgrimage from Le Puy, and 
from this side they present a better appearance than 
from the other. 



Attraction of cohesion — Vals — Aubenas — Factory girls — Anomalies in 
the department — View from the terrace — When the volcanoes ceased to 
erupt — The castle — The Ornano family — The poisoning of the Marshal 
— Attractions of Vals — Intermittent spring — Castle of Boulogne — 
The Lestranges — Antraigues — The Count — Cascades — The Marquesses 
— Fete of S. Roch — The Coupe d'Aizac — Castle of Ventadour — 
Pretended Jewish origin of the family of Levis — Valley of the Lignon — 
Jaujac — The Coupe — The Gravenne — Castle of PourcheiroUes — The 
Flandrins — Bourzet — Good Friday there — Prismatic basalt — Montpezat 
— Le Pal — Huge crater — Sue de Bauzon — Thueyts — Pave des Geants — 
The royal ladder — Mayres — The great eagle — What medieval men 
thought about basalt — First discovery of the Vivarais mountains being 

THE attraction of cohesion is one of the mightiest 
and most active forces in nature. It went to- 
wards the formation out of molecules of the terrestrial 
globe, it acts in the accumulation of large fortunes in 
the hands of millionaires, and it draws together great 
masses of human beings to one spot. Even when the 
heat of summer and the dispersion of schools scatter 
them to the north and south, east and west, out of 
cities, they draw together and coagulate in knots. But 
why one of these centres of concentration should be 
Vals and not Aubenas is to me a puzzle. Why when 
engaging a lodging should one select the cellar instead 
of an upper suite of apartments ? 





IBV'' < 










W^ iu^ 






















Vals-les-Bains lies in a hole shut in between steep 
hills, it commands no view, it trails like an ugly worm 
along the bank of a petty stream ; whereas Aubenas, 
hard by, accessible by electric tram, is throned on a 
height, sits as a queen on a platform of rock, and com- 
mands such a prospect as is worth going thither from 
England to see if that were its only attraction. 

Are there good hotels in Vals? So there are in 
Aubenas. Shops? As good in both. Electric illumi- 
nation, telegraph and telephone? Each is similarly 
supplied. That which draws a crowd in the season 
to Vals is the baths. But the baths are a mere excuse. 
The fashion has set in and the crowd follow the fashion. 

The river Ardeche, after having ploughed its way 
through beds of basaltic lava, runs between the prismatic 
columns as though sweeping through a forest of petrified 
bulrushes. It emerges above Aubenas into a broad, 
luxuriant, and well-peopled valley, where white walls 
smile and glass windows wink in the sun as far down 
as the eye can reach, and as far up the sides of the hills 
as folk choose to climb to their homes. 

Moreover, factories stretch their long roofs below the 
rock of Aubenas and throw up their smoke, but without 
disfigurement to the scene or vitiation of the limpid 

Come to Aubenas from the junction at Vogu6 on a 
Sunday evening, and you will see something of merry 
girl-life. The factory-hands from the lower country are 
returning from their homes to resume their work on 
Monday morning. They swarm into every carriage, 
crowding in at every station, each with a basket in one 
hand and a sack over the shoulder or under the arm. 
All are chattering, laughing; one wiping away a tear 


either because she is suffering from toothache or heart- 
ache at parting with her intended. But neither ache is 
very enduring. Before the train has gone a thousand 
metres, she is laughing and chirping like the rest. 
When settled into their seats they open their baskets to 
show each other the posies of flowers they are taking to 
Aubenas to brighten the poor little attic bedrooms and 
diffuse through them a fragrance and memory of home. 
But the sacks — what do they contain? As I helped 
some of the girls to heave these into the carriage and 
stow them under the seats or into the shelf above, 
I could guess from the feel, and see when the sack 
mouth gaped and discharged some of its contents. It 
holds their factory clothing washed by their mothers — 
aprons, bibs, and among them huge loaves of bread and 
greasy sausages, these latter wrapped round with a 
newspaper that has transferred its information reversed 
on to the skin of the saucisson. 

These mill-hands do not wear the pretty scarlet or 
blue handkerchief over the head that adorns the 
Lancashire and Yorkshire factory girl, the theme of 
one of our most charming folk-songs. 

" Why wear you that kerchief tied over your head ? 
'Tis the country girls' fashion, kind sir, then she said ; 
And the fashion young maidens will always be in. 
So I wear a blue kerchief tied under the chin. 

Why wear a blue kerchief, sweet maiden ? I said. 
Because the blue colour is not one to fade. 
As a sailor's blue jacket who fights for the king, 
So's my bonny blue kerchief tied under the chin." 

These Vivarais girls wear no costume. There is not 
much beauty among them ; but their honest faces are 
good to look on. The glorious southern sun has 


penetrated to their hearts and shines back on you from 
their merry eyes. 

They do not leave the train at the Aubenas station, 
but go on to the next, the group of factories at the 
foot of the hill at the head of the basin, between the 
town and the opening of the Valley of Vals. 

From the station is a long ascent to the town ; there 
is a gradual inclined road for carriages, and a short, 
steep climb for foot travellers. 

Aubenas is, next to Annonay, the most important 
town in the Vivarais ; neither is the seat of the prefet, 
nor of the bishop, nor of a university. 

The department of Ardeche has been treated some- 
what perversely in this respect. Its capital is Privas, of 
difficult access at the extremity of a branch line served 
by trains that run forward and back, advance and 
retreat again to pick up or to discharge luggage trucks, 
and that is ignorant of any other train than an 

The cathedral city is at one end of the department 
at its extreme verge, at Viviers, one of the deadest of 
dead cities, with a population of three thousand. The 
lycee is near the other end of the department, also at 
its eastern limit, with only a streak of water between it 
and Drome. That is Tournon, which has indeed a 
population of a little over five thousand, whereas in 
Annonay it is seventeen thousand, and in Aubenas 
above eight thousand. Moreover, Aubenas is not 
even a chef-lieu d arrondissement, which Largentiere is, 
numbering 2,780. 

Aubenas stands 930 feet above the sea. You can 
breathe there ; you stifle at Vals. And what a prospect 
it commands ! To the west the wild heights of the 


mountains of the Vivarais, volcanoes that have burst 
through the rocks, and flung them aloft in rents that 
reveal to this day the agony through which the earth 
passed when fire and fury broke forth. To the north the 
Coiron, a chain of huge lava beds overlying other 
rocks, that have given way and left the chain a mighty 
hacked and battered saw standing up against the sky. 
A look at a geological map of the Vivarais shows the 
Plutonic deposits extended like the fingers of a hand or 
the nerves of a vine-leaf over the mountain tops. 

When did these explosions cease? Some of the 
deposits are of great age, others are comparatively 
recent. As we have seen, the bones of men have been 
found under the lavas of Mont Denise, near Le Puy. 
Nothing of this kind has been so far discovered in the 
Vivarais, only the skeletons of the mastodon. But 
there is historic evidence that leads us to suspect that 
the last expiring throe was in A.D. 468. S. Mamertus, 
Bishop of Vienne, instituted Rogation processions, and 
drew up a litany for use there, because the people were 
panic-stricken by the earthquakes, by a glare of light 
in the sky and the falling of ashes, and by loud ex- 
plosions that were heard. The stags, the wolves even, 
fled from the Cevennes and took refuge in the towns, 
laying aside their instinctive fear of men. 

Aubenas was erected about a large castle that was 
begun in the twelfth century and completed in the 
sixteenth by the Ornano family. It afterwards passed 
into the possession of the Count of Vogue, who held it 
till the Revolution. It has happily not been destroyed, 
and now serves as mairie, tribunal of commerce, etc. 
The fagade is imposing, flanked by round towers and 
commanded by a square keep. The whole was roofed 


with glazed brown and yellow tiles. A portion was 
ripped by a storm and has been repaired with green 
tiles, and the effect is singular, as if a huge pot of green 
paint had been spilled over the roof. 

The church, with a vulgar modern west-front, is 
wholly modernised within, but without, where not built 
into houses, shows that the original church was of the 
fourteenth century. The buttresses were round turrets 
that have been deprived of their tops. In a chapel of 
the church is the monument in black marble of the 
Marshal Ornano, raised by his wife the Duchess. It 
was mutilated at the Revolution. 

The Ornano family was that of the Sovereign Counts 
of Corsica, descended from Ugo Colonna whom 
Leo III. charged with the expulsion of the Saracens 
from that isle. He was invested with the title of Count 
by Charlemagne, and he obtained at the same time 
sovereign rights. 

The Genoese, by making themselves masters of Cor- 
sica, drove out the Ornanos, and Sanpietro, who went 
into the service of France, was engaged all his life in 
fighting the Genoese ; and he succeeded in gaining the 
whole island for France, but Henry II. basely restored 
it to the Genoese. His son, Alphonso d'Ornano, born 
in 1548, died in 1610. He fought the Genoese like his 
father, and with equal success, and was created Marshal 
of France. His son, Jean Baptiste, was born in 1583, 
and died in 1626. He was brought up at the Court 
and was appointed governor of Pont-Esprit, and he was 
there when tidings reached him of the assassination of 
Henry IV. He married the Countess of Montlaure, an 
heiress. Under De Luynes he was appointed tutor to 
the Duke of Orleans, the King's brother, and governor 


for the King in Normandy. The favour in which he 
was held raised him many enemies, and they persuaded 
Louis XIII. to withdraw his offices from him, and bid 
him retire to his estates. Ornano at once demanded 
admittance to the young King, and placed his person at 
his disposal. Let him be sent to prison, he urged, for 
he was resolved not to go back into Languedoc with 
the stigma of disgrace upon him. This bold conduct 
confounded his foes, and satisfied the King as to his 
innocence. His former offices were restored to him, 
and he was named Marshal of France. But Ornano 
was a bad courtier. He refused to go cap in hand and 
thank Richelieu for his restoration to honour, and he 
was so imprudent as to advise the King that he was old 
enough no longer to be held in leading-strings. The 
Cardinal, in alarm, had him arrested and thrown into 
the Castle of Vincennes and summarily poisoned, 
before any steps could be taken to obtain his release 
under the King's hand and seal. The Marshal died at 
the age of forty-three without issue, and his sorrowing 
widow had the magnificent mausoleum erected to him 
in the church of Aubenas. 

From Aubenas an electric tram conveys one in ten 
minutes to Vals on the Volane, a lively spot during the 
season, dead out of it when the hotels are shut and the 
shops containing wares to attract visitors are closed. 
The only object of interest in Vals itself is the inter- 
mittent spring on the left bank of the stream. This 
rises in a paved basin with no outlet ; and springs forth 
five times during the day. The hours are not certain, 
but almost invariably it jets at eleven o'clock or a few 
minutes later, sometimes leaping to the height of fifteen 
feet, sometimes rising no more than three, and emitting 

VALS 121 

sulphuretted hydrogen, which phthisic patients inhale 
eagerly. When the water falls it is sucked back into 
the bore. 

" For the inhabitants of the plains of Gard and the Bouches- 
du-Rhone," says Ardouin-Dumazet, "lands roasted by the 
sun, without shade or water, the valley of the Volane, with its 
growling torrents, its green chestnuts, the freshness of its 
slopes, is a little Switzerland. Vals has become to these 
exuberant populations what Dieppe and Trouville are to the 
Parisian. But it must not be concluded that folk come here 
only to be intoxicated with the gas from the springs that rise 
at every step under cupolas or from amidst rockwork. I have 
met here with many and genuine bathers, who have come to 
cure their livers and other internal vessels, by drinking the 
waters of the spring La Precieuse or that of Saint Jean. 
Those of the former are not only agreeable to the palate, they 
have also their clientelle which finds health in this mineralised 
draught. On tasting this light, sparkling, pleasant water one 
has some wish to be a patient so as to linger at the taps under 
the shade of the great trees, and to listen to the murmur of 
the Volane." 

The splendid ruins of the Castle of Boulogne attract 
a host of visitors from Vals annually during the season. 
It is reached by carriage, quitting the high road from 
Aubenas to Privas by a branch road from Auriolles 
to S. Etienne. The castle was built by a Count of 
Valentinois in the eleventh century. It remained in 
the hands of the Grimaldi, Counts of Valentinois, to 
1344. In 1384 it became the property of the Lestranges, 
and they retained it to 1579; when it passed to the 
de Hautefort de Lestranges till 1632. After that it 
shifted proprietors rapidly. At the Revolution it be- 
longed to Fay-Gerlande till 1794, when it was sold. The 


Count, seeing what was coming, disposed of most of his 
land to one Blaise Comte on condition that he should 
every year present a violet at the castle on the 15 th of 
March. Nevertheless it was disposed of to a man of 
S. Etienne, who pulled much of it down and sold the 
materials. It was then purchased by the Abbe Voile, 
cure of Asperjoc, to rescue it from complete demolition, 
and he retained it for thirty years and then disposed of 
it to the Marquess Theodore de Lestrange. The magnifi- 
cent gateway with twisted columns and the arms of 
Montlaun was erected by Claude Rene d'Hautefort de 
Lestrange, who brought to him the barony of Privas ; 
he it was who transformed a feudal stronghold into a 
sumptuous palace. The fa9ade is sustained on a struc- 
tural terrace. 

A favourite walk of but an hour above Vals and 
through the valley of the Volane leads to Antraigues. 
The river has worked its laborious course through 
masses of basalt and beds of scoria overlying granite 
and porphyry. At every step some fresh picture opens 
or some fresh object of interest arrests the eye. Here is 
a precipice over which leaps a stream in a beautiful fall ; 
there colonnades of prismatic form ; further on masses 
of scoriae brought down by the rains from the mountain 
side, whose flanks have been bared. The road plunges 
even deeper into the ravine that narrows. Then a 
stream bounds in a double fall over a basaltic face of 
rock, the second leap being formed by a ledge entitled 
the Devil's Chair, on which His Majesty is said to cool 
himself in the water on leaving his heated realms 
below. Next the Cheese Rock is reached, a mass of 
basalt standing by itself, and Antraigues appears as an 
eagle's nest perched on a peninsula of crag between 

Valee de la Volane (Le Fauteuil du Diable) 

Pa?e 122 


three valleys, those of the Mas, the Bise, and the 
Volane. The tower of the church is all that remains 
of the old fortress of the Marquesses of Antraigues. 
The site is savage, amidst green chestnuts, black lava 
rocks, and red volcanic cinders. The Marquesses of 
Antraigues bore an evil name as robbers, lawless and 
violent in the extreme, for which several were executed 
at Toulouse. The story of the last of those who owned 
and for a while occupied the castle forms the theme of 
Jules Claretie's Les Muscadins. 

Emmanuel- Louis- Henri de Launez, Comte d'An- 
traigues, was born at Villeneuve de Berg, in the 
Vivarais, in 1755. In 1788 he published a M^moire 
sur les etats g^neraux, which attracted attention, as in it 
he denounced the hereditary nobility as the greatest 
scourge with which heaven could chastise a free people. 
It is an ill bird that befouls its own nest, and that the 
Count was sincere in his attack on the prerogatives of 
the aristocracy in France is doubtful judging by his 
subsequent conduct. This pamphlet caused him to be 
elected to the States-General convoked for the follow- 
ing year. But no sooner had he taken his seat in the 
Assembly than he changed his note, and spoke for the 
retention of the privileges of his class. This sudden 
conversion caused great offence, and he did not long 
retain his seat. In consequence of the events of the 
5th and 6th October he quitted the Assembly, and left 
France in 1790 and went first to Switzerland, then to 
Russia, and after that to Vienna. The coalition of 
princes forgot his early encouragement of the Revolu- 
tion and charged him with divers secret missions, and 
granted him a pension of 36,000 francs. He became 
the chief organiser of various plots to effect a counter- 


revolution in France, that " guerre de pots de chambre," 
as Napoleon called it in his highly coloured language ; 
and he was at the bottom of the intrigue that provoked 
the treason of Pichegru. In 1797 he was in Venice, but 
when he saw that the capital of the Adriatic was about 
to succumb he fled, but fell into the hands of an out- 
post of the French army in Italy, and was arrested with 
all his papers that contained full evidence of the con- 
spiracy of Pichegru. However, he managed to escape 
by the contrivance of Mme. Sainte-Huberti, who, 
after having been his mistress, later became his wife. 
Then he fled to Russia, where he joined the Greek 
Church, was accorded a pension by the Emperor, 
and was sent to Dresden as attach^ to the Russian 
Legation. There he published a pamphlet against 
Bonaparte so violent and scurrilous, that the Saxon 
Government was constrained to expel him so as to 
avoid a conflict with France. He departed for London, 
carrying with him certain documents containing secret 
articles of the Treaty of Tilsit, of which he had ob- 
tained a copy. He communicated these to the English 
ministry, and in return was granted a liberal pension. 

He still maintained relations with Paris, and was 
mixed up in every plot for the restoration of the 

However, it was not given to him to see the realisa- 
tion of his schemes. The imperial police had sent two 
emissaries to London, who managed to seduce Lorenzo, 
the Italian valet of the Count, and through him to obtain 
notes and despatches which his master was preparing 
for transmission to the Cabinet of the Prime Minister. 
On July 22nd, 1 8 12, the Count d'Antraigues having 
expressed his intention to visit the Prime Minister to 

Fall at Antraigues 

Page 125 

S. ROCH 125 

obtain his opinion on a certain memoir, Lorenzo, who 
had purloined it and committed it to the spies of 
Napoleon that they might make a transcript of it, 
saw that his faithlessness was at the point of being 
discovered. Then he resolved on killing his master and 
mistress and on blowing out his own brains. 

This he did. Such was the version of the story as 
given in the English newspapers. The only witness to 
the murder was the Count's coachman. The circum- 
stances of the assassination and suicide were never 
sifted ; the whole matter was hushed up ; and it became 
a matter of mutual recrimination between the French 
and English Governments, each casting on the other 
the blame of the murder of this miserable man — a 
man without a respectable quality. 

The name of Antraigues is taken from its position. 
Inter Aquae, between the three streams — the Volane, 
the Bise, and the Mas. 

On August 1 6th, the fete of S. Roch, a great pilgrim- 
age is made to Antraigues, attended by many thousand 
persons. The neighbouring villages send their proces- 
sions with clergy, crosses, and banners waving. The 
bells of Antraigues clash merrily. The whole bourg is 
in gala costume. At nine o'clock a.m. all the proces- 
sions unite and form one long, many-coloured, winding 
line that creeps up the hill towards the chapel of 
S. Roch, hid among chestnut trees. The path is rough, 
stony, sun-scorched. At intervals are little shrines con- 
structed of boughs and adorned with flowers, roses, 
broom, lavender. In each of these is a little girl dressed 
in white with a chaplet on her head, holding a scroll 
that bears an inscription in honour of the patron saint, 
lavishing on him every possible expression of love and 


respect. The procession advances, now murmuring a 
litany, now breaking into hymn, and in the rear come 
the clergy in white, with the blue smoke of incense 
rising and spreading in the clear summer air. 

On reaching the chapel the pilgrims separate their 
files to allow the ecclesiastics to pass. The priest 
ascends to the altar for Mass, and the crowd falls into 
a living stair along the slope of the mountain, kneeling 
in ranges, some among the chestnut trees, athwart 
whose leaves the sun shoots arrows of fire that make 
the white caps and the gold chains of the women flash. 
The Mass ended, the procession descends in the same 
order as that in which it mounted, and disperses. The 
second scene is less edifying — it is changed to the 
cabaret, where the pilgrims refresh themselves, and the 
men, in too many cases, carouse. 

S. Roch was a native of Montpellier. His story is 
an ecclesiastical romance. The earliest biographer 
states candidly that he found "nothing trustworthy 
about him " in record, and so compiled his life from 
popular legend. In or about 1350 a squalid-looking 
man, a beggar, was taken up by the authorities of 
Montpellier and cast into gaol, where he died. On 
the removal of the body for burial, it was discovered 
that the vagabond was Roch, a nephew of the governor 
of the town, who had embraced a life of dirt and 
poverty out of " sheer cussedness." There always have 
been and always will be men who, like Falstaff, " have 
a kind of alacrity in sinking " ; who revolt against the 
restraints and refinements of social life, and find their 
pleasure in living like swine. S. Roch had his parallel 
in Bampfylde Moore Carew. 

There is nothing edifying in the story, nothing in his 


career to justify canonisation. Nevertheless he is in 
vast repute as a patron against plague and fever and 
sores, and he has been given a place in the Roman 
martyrology, accepted and held up to be invoked, 
although absolutely nothing trustworthy is known of 
him. Can slackness and carelessness go further? In 
fact, the Roman martyrology, possessing the sanction 
of the self-entitled Vicar of Christ, is a veritable Noah's 
Ark containing clean and unclean beasts. 

From Antraigues, a climb of an hour leads to the 
Coupe d'Aizac, the best-preserved crater in the Vivarais. 
M. Paulett Scrope thus describes it : — 

"The Coupe d'Aizac rises on the ridge of one of the 
granitic abutments that project from the steep escarpment of 
the Haut Vivarais. It has a beautiful crater slightly broken 
down towards the north-west, and from the breach a stream 
of basalt may be seen to descend the flank of the hill, and 
turning to the north-east enter the valley of the river Volane, 
which has subsequently cut it entirely across, and discloses 
three distinct storied ranges; the lowermost very regularly 
columnar, that in the middle less so, and the upper nearly 
amorphous, cellular, and with a ragged scoriform surface. 
This current, which appears originally to have occupied the 
bottom of the gorge in an extent of four miles, from the 
village of Antraigues nearly to Vals, has been worn away and 
carried oif on many points by the violence of the torrent. 
Its relics adhere in vast masses to the granite rocks on both 
sides, sometimes reaching the height of 160 feet above it. 
The lower portion of this bed is very beautifully columnar, 
the upper obscurely so ; this latter has been in parts destroyed, 
and a pavement or causeway left, formed by an assemblage of 
upright and almost geometrically regular columns fitted together 
with the utmost symmetry," 


One interesting lesson one learns from the overflow 
of this crater, and that is that the prismatic structure 
of basalt is due to pressure from above. Except under 
great superincumbent weight it has not crystallised 

A beautiful fall in four dives under the bridge of 
the road to Genestelle, on the road to Antraigues, 
irresistibly obliges one with a camera to take views. 
But indeed the whole neighbourhood is weeping these 
beautiful tears — tears of joy that the fire floods are over. 

The valley of the Ardeche above where it falls into 
the basin of Aubenas is finer still ; it leads into the 
heart of the noblest volcanic heights. 

At Pont de la Beaume one has the stately tower of 
the castle of Ventadour rising from the summit of a 
rock that commands the road up to Thueyts (pro- 
nounced Two-ets) and that to Jaujac, where the Lignon 
flows into the Ardeche. 

The Ventadour family were Levis by origin, and 
claimed to be descendants of the tribe of Levi of the 
seed of Aaron, and therefore justified in meddling to 
any extent in ecclesiastical matters. It is really won- 
ful what changes can be rung on the name of Levi. 
It becomes in England Lewis and Levison, Lowe and 
Lyons, and Lawson. 

But there was absolutely no justification in the 
Ventadour family asserting to themselves a Hebraic 
origin. It is strange how eager these Levis were to 
assert a fabulous descent, and how desirous the modern 
sons of Levi are to obscure the traces of what is 
undoubtedly theirs. 

The Levis first appear in history in the eleventh 
century, and derive their name not from Levi, but from 

In the Ardeche 


their castle of Levis near Chevreuse ; they became 
Seigneurs of Mirepoix. Philippe IV. de Levis, who 
died in 1440, was the father of Bermond, the ancestor 
of the Ventadour branch. He became Baron of La 
Voute, and was father of Louis, who married the heiress 
of the Count of Ventadour. Gilbert III. de Levis was 
created Duke of Ventadour and peer of France, the 
former in 1578, the latter in 1589. The castle was 
blown up by that determined wrecker of feudal strong- 
holds, Richelieu, in 1626. 

At Pont-de-la-Beaume a steep ascent leads to a level 
road, over a terrace of lava through which the Lignon 
has cleft a way from Jaujac, clean cut as by a knife, 
with basaltic ranges on both sides. The mountain 
forms here are very fine ; to the right is the Gravenne 
de Soulhiol, rent by a ravine down which flows a thread 
of silver. On the left La Tan argue, 4,330 feet, and the 
rock of Abraham, 4,630 feet, closing up the scene. The 
whole when powdered with snow, as I saw it, of Alpine 

The Coupe de Jaujac, that sent a flood of lava down 
the valley of the Lignon, rises to an insignificant height 
above the village, and is easily visited. At the foot of 
the cone of scoria rises a spring where picnickers from 
Vals settle to lunch, and amuse themselves with smash- 
ing there the bottles of wine they have brought with 
them, and raising a pile of the fragments. The side of 
the cone of Jaujac is indeed so strewn with broken 
pots oifoie gras and battered sardine-tins, that the vol- 
canic vent conveys the impression of having been the 
eruption of a great establishment of grocery and pre- 

The sides of the bowl of the crater are dotted with 


chestnut trees, so as somewhat to disguise its character. 
Volcanic dust and cinder seem to be peculiarly favour- 
able to the vegetation of the Spanish chestnut. 

The village of Jaujac stands on the bed of lava that 
issued from this cone, on the edge of a mural precipice, 
150 feet high, and is connected with old Jaujac on the 
further side by a stone bridge. There are the scanty 
remains of a castle in this latter. The chateau, in close 
proximity to the village or town, is now converted into 
a school. 

The Gravenne de Soulhiol also disgorged its lava into 
the valley of the Lignon, about three hundred yards 
above the junction of this river with the Ardeche. 

" A wide and massive plateau of basalt thus formed, after 
entering the valley of La Beaume, prolongs itself to some dis- 
tance below Neigles, bordering the Ardeche on the south 
with a bold and precipitous wall which may be seen to rest on 
a layer of pebbles, the ancient bed of the river." 

At Pont-de-la-Beaume a road to the right leads up 
the valley of Fontolliere to the fertile basin of Cham- 
pagne, at the head of which stands Montpezat, the foot 
of the mountain, as its name implies, and it lies, in fact, 
under the Gravenne, that has poured its flood of molten 
lava into the valley and filled it to a depth of 1 50 feet. 
The Gravenne de Montpezat has a very regular crater 
dipping slightly to the north, and it was on this side 
that the stream of basalt flowed for a width of half a 
mile. It reached the point where the Bourges entered 
the Fontolliere and there stopped, the volcano having 
exhausted its efforts. Before reaching Montpezat, the 
ruins of the Castle of Pourcheirolles appear in a site 
truly marvellous, perched on a tongue of land between 
the rivers Fontolliere and Pourseilles. 


When the Gravenne had turned the former valley 
into a lake of molten stone, and when that lake had 
chilled, then the watery elements began their work. 
The two rivers laboured to fray themselves a course. 
The Pourseilles has cut through an upper and amor- 
phous bed of lava, then it leaps over a lower and very 
regular bed of prismatic basalt that rests on softer 
material, which has been worn away by weather and 
water so that the basalt forms a cornice and canopy 
overhead. Pourcheirolles is undoubtedly one of the 
most picturesque points in Ardeche. The castle, 
perched as a vultures' lair in the midst of the valley of 
Montpezat, suspended between precipices, seems cal- 
culated to evade and defy assault. The castle was, 
however, erected not by a man of war, but a man of 
peace, Cardinal Pierre Flandrin, born on the flanks 
of the Mezenc in 13 12. He was created Cardinal by 
Gregory XI., who employed him in various delicate 
negotiations. He died in 1378. His tomb was at 
Viviers, but was destroyed by the Huguenots. His 
nephew, Jean Flandrin, after having been Archbishop 
of Auch, was created Cardinal by Clement VII. The 
choice of the valley of Montpezat for their residence in 
summer heats was due to proximity to Avignon, at 
that time the seat of the papacy. The castle was never 
very large, and its importance was due to its position, 
not to its walls and towers. 

The river Burzet flows into the Fontolliere, and a road 
leads up the valley to the little town of the same name 
as the stream. The church, with nave and side aisles, 
dates from 1400. When the three bells in the tower 
are rung, the tower sways eight inches out of the per- 
pendicular. A walk of from three to four hours from 


Burzet leads to the very fine cascade of Ray-Pic, where 
the river leaps over a basaltic escarpment that had been 
vomited by the volcano of the same name, which filled 
the valley of the Burzet to the distance of ten miles. 
" He who has not seen Ray-Pic has seen nothing" is a 
saying among the peasantry. 

At Burzet, on Good Friday, a procession peram- 
bulates the little place, bearing representations on cars 
of the scenes of the Passion, much like that which is 
famous at Seville, but here on a much smaller scale. 

The river of Burzet has not, like other streams, sawn 
its way through the basalt, only through the upper un- 
crystallised portion which it has carried away, and it 
slides on its course over a paved bed of the tops of the 
prisms, " not unlike the Roman roads in ttaly, but 
arranged with far greater neatness and accuracy of 
design." The columns in Lower Vivarais, says Mr. 
Scrope, are usually hexahedral, often five-sided ; those 
of four occur rarely, of seven still more rarely. 

But to return to the valley of Montpezat. Of this 
small town not much need be said. It is a very ancient 
place, and was the second stage on the high road to 
Gergovia. It contained a temple to Jupiter Olympus, 
and a medieval castle of which very little remains. 
But at Montpezat quarters must be found for the night, 
if it be desired to ascend so as to explore the Vestide du 
Pal, the most formidable mouth by which subterranean 
fires were belched, in all France, and perhaps even in 
all Europe. 

An excellent road following the course of the Roman 
highway mounts here to the miserable village of Le 
Pal, 3,600 feet above the sea, where in winter the snow 
heaps itself up before the raging winds and buries the 

Falls of Ruy Pic 

Page 132 


houses so that not infrequently a week passes before the 
inhabitants see daylight. The Vestide rises above this 
village to the height from the sea of 4,220 feet. The 
name Vestide in patois signifies a sheltered place, and is 
applied to the crater itself, the only sheltered spot there- 
abouts, and indeed this huge basin is an Eden to the 
peasants of Le Pal. The bottom is cultivated, but the 
sides are covered with timber. The volcano is remark- 
able not only for its enormous proportions, the bottom 
of the crater being over two miles in circumference, but 
also for its alternate dejections of lava, mud, and cinders. 
The depth of the crater is 900 feet, and its diameter 
5,500 feet. 

In the midst of the crater a slight cone has been 
raised by the expiring efforts of the volcanic fires. 
Each eruption has left its traces written in inefface- 
able characters on the slopes of the crater. Here 
was one of sand and mud, there one of lava and 
scoriae ejected over the bed of mud. Then again 
an outpour of lava, and after that another of mud 
containing great boulders of granite burnt red and 
rendered friable. 

" Imagination is roused," says M. A. Mazon, " at the 
thought of what must have been the scene when the volcano 
of la Vestide belched forth tempests of fire which agitated, 
upset, and shaped the soil of the Vivarais. The huge 
bowl, incessantly active, threw out showers of cinders into the 
basins alike of the Rhone and of the Loire. When winter 
came with its hurricanes of snow, deluges of water were precipi- 
tated into the furnace, but quenched the fires for a moment 
only, and then burst forth in torrents of mud mingled with 
steam. It was thus that the walls of the crater were built up 
into veritable mountains." ^ 

^ Voyage aux Pays Volcaniques du Vivavais, Privas, 1878. 


From the foot of the cone issues the source of the 
Fontolliere, strong enough at ten paces down to turn 
a mill. Near the Vestide is the little lake Forraud, not 
situated in a crater, but formed in a depression of the 
surface. Also, near at hand, is the Sue de Bauzon, 
another volcanic vent, red-headed, and 4,430 feet high. 
On the summit is a large stone table, at which, accord- 
ing to tradition, every year the four Seigneurs of Mont- 
pezat, Roux, Urclades, and S. Cirgues met, and each 
sat on a seat in his own territory, as all their lands met 
in the midst of this table. There is no crater on this sue. 

We return again to the valley of the Ardeche and 
mount to Thueyts, leaving on the left the pretty little 
bathing establishment of Neyrac. 

The road ascends along the flank of the Petit Gravenne 
on the left bank of the river and crosses a bridge thrown 
over the stream of the Mordaric, whose waters form the 
cascade of the Gueule d'Enfer. The huge basaltic wall 
now comes into sight that sustains the plateau of 
Thueyts, on which the town is built. The river has 
carved for itself a channel through this mass of lava and 
the granite below, and exhibits a majestic colonnade of 
basalt 150 feet high, and extending with few breaks for 
a mile and a half along the valley. But one of these 
breaks forms the Echelle du Roy, a rift due to dislocation 
of the flow. To visit the Pave des Geants, the finest 
basaltic causeway in the Vivarais, it is well to descend 
to the river at the Gueule d'Enfer, sometimes on basaltic 
prisms, then on masses of granite. The columnar 
basalt now becomes regular ; some prisms 60 feet long, 
others shorter jointed. The black walls rise like those 
of a fortress, and the path follows the base till the 
Royal Ladder is reached, a staircase in a natural 


chimney, where every step is a basaltic prism that has 
been broken. The view of the valley from the top of 
the ladder is of striking beauty. The ascent is 240 feet. 

In Thueyts itself there is not much to be seen of 
architectural interest. 

Still further up the valley of the Ardeche, by the 
fine road constructed by the Estates of Languedoc 
for communication with Le Puy as easier than that 
followed by the Romans by Montpezat, is Mayres in 
the bottom of a valley and in a delightful situation 
surrounded by mountains. It is the last station before 
ascending the pass over the backbone of the Cevennes. 

Here flutters and soars a great black eagle, that 
carries off lambs to the nest in the rocks of Astel rising 
over 900 feet from the valley. It is believed to come 
from the Alps to spend its breeding season in the 
Vivarais, both in these rocks and in those of Abraham, 
and that it returns to the Alps in winter. This is not 
the Aquila fulva, which is common enough, but the 
Aquila imperialis. It soars so high and keeps so well 
at a distance from men that the hunters very rarely are 
able to kill one. 

How greatly one would like to know what the men 
in medieval days thought of the volcanic phenomena 
of Auvergne and the Velay and the Vivarais. Possibly 
enough they did not give a thought to them, any more 
than does the peasant of to-day. But the baron who 
built his castle on the top of a rock compiled of basaltic 
prisms thick-set as reeds by a river side, the builders of 
churches who exploited these naturally faced columns 
— did they never ask how these came into existence, 
what their origin was ? One can understand how they 
explained the existence of fossil shells on the moun- 


tains — they were relics of the universal deluge. But 
these marvellous prisms, as neatly made and put 
together as the cells of wax in a honeycomb — did they 
look at them and not exercise their minds over them ? 
There is not a particle of evidence that they did, 
although there were men of inquiring and eager minds 
in all ages. No suspicion that volcanoes had raged and 
spluttered on French soil occurred to any man till the 
year 1 751, when Guettard and Malesherbes arrived at 
Montelimar on their way to Paris from Italy, when 
they halted in amazement at the pavement of the 
streets composed of polygonal cubes of basalt. " Why ! " 
exclaimed Guettard, " these are precisely the same sort 
of stones we have seen paving the Roman roads of Rome 
and Naples — and those came from volcanoes." The 
two men asked to be shown the quarries whence these 
blocks came, and they were taken to Rochemaure. 
They turned aside from their direct course, visited the 
mountains of Vivarais, but not till they reached 
Auvergne were their minds thoroughly convinced. In 
1 75 1, that same year, Guettard published his Mevioire 
sur quelques Montagues de la France qui ont /// des 
Volcans. It roused a storm of jeers and objections. 
A savant of Clermont even wrote to controvert his 
thesis, and argued that the cinders were the remains of 
forges established by the Romans. But at Montelimar 
Guettard and Malesherbes had dined with an Abbe 
Faujas de S. Fond, living on the spot. His eyes were 
unsealed, his interest was kindled, and he went through 
the Vivarais and explored the basaltic beds and the 
craters. Finally, the works of this man in 1778, and of 
de Soulaire in 1 870, placed the further existence of vol- 
canoes beyond possibility of dispute. 



Ruoms — The church — Aven of Remejadou — Sampson — Vallon— Captaiu 
Merle— The last Marquess — Tapestries — Clotilde de Surville — Pont 
de I'Arc — Salavas — Slaughter of the garrison — Caves — Goule de 
Foussoubie — Chames— Castle of Ebbo — Pas du Mousse — Grotte of 
Oustalas — Rapids — La Madeleine — Tour d' Aiguilles — Aigueze — S. 
Martin — The return journey — Two men in a boat — Grotte de 
S. Marcel — The Gours — Dolmens — The Aven of Vigneclose. 

RUOMS is a quaint little town on the Ardeche, 
where that river issues from between parallel 
walls of lias, not of great elevation, laid in regular 
horizontal beds. The road follows the river upwards 
for a short way only, and then turns up the Ligne 
towards Argentiere. Ruoms was a walled town, and a 
considerable portion of the fortifications remains en- 
closing the church, old houses, and narrow and dirty 
lanes. The church is interesting, very early and rude 
Romanesque, lofty, with three bays and side aisles. 
There are quasi-transepts, not extending beyond the 
aisles. The east end is square. The piers and arches 
are unmoulded. A curious feature is a window on the 
south, apparently to serve for a clerestory light, with 
pilasters and sculptured capitals, but it has never been 
pierced through, so that it acts merely as a relieving 
arcade in the wall. Another unusual feature is that the 
wall of the south aisle has in it narrow square-headed 



lights in recesses under relieving arches. The tower 
has a zigzag ornament above the bell windows in black 
lava alternating with white limestone. 

The Ardeche is joined below the town by the river 
of La Beaume, that flows through a canon very similar 
to that through which the Ardeche itself has run before 
it reaches the bridge of Ruoms. These canons through 
the lias are curious rather than picturesque, the strata 
lie horizontally as regularly disposed as stones in an 
artificial wall. On the high ground some way up the 
Beaume, on the plateau, or gras, is the avert or pot-hole 
of R^mejadou, twenty-five feet in diameter and eighty 
feet deep. One can hear the rush of water below, and 
this issues from the rock in the spring of Bourbouillet, 
two miles off, with sufficient volume to turn a mill. 
M. Janet says : — 

" This aven has water flowing in its depths, filling the entire 
bottom. This stream issues from an arcade on one side about 
eighteen feet high, and disappears under a similar arch. It 
flows from north to south, which agrees with what the shep- 
herd of Bourbouillet asserted, that this subterranean stream 
issues at the spring of that name. According to him, the in- 
habitants of Bourbouillet were much surprised one day to see 
the water of this spring charged with sawdust, and the ex- 
planation of the phenomenon was obtained only some days 
later, when they ascertained that some woodcutters who had 
been sawing up a good deal of timber had ridded themselves 
of the sawdust by throwing it into the aven"^ 

This pot-hole was explored in 1892 by M. Gaupillat, 
and he established the curious fact that the under- 
ground stream enters and leaves the aven by natural 

^ A. Janet, Annuaire du Club Alpin, 1891. 


syphons, and not through galleries, so that it is not 
possible to track the stream up or down. 

Standing high above the junction of the Chassezac 
and Ardeche are the mountain and rock of Sampson, 
supporting a little village and church with spire on a 
col between the mighty crest of perpendicular rock and 
the crag that falls abrubtly to the Chassezac, A small 
omnibus conveys travellers to Vallon, which is the place 
at which to stay, whence to make the descent of the 
canon of the Ardeche. But the visitor who does this 
must be prepared either to return to Vallon by carriage 
over the Causse, some twenty miles, or he must be 
without luggage, and catch the train at S. Just or 
S. Marcel, and meet his impedimenta elsewhere, perhaps 
at Le Teil, for the canoes that shoot the rapids of the 
Ardeche are too small to accommodate baggage. 

Vallon is not a town in itself of much interest, but it 
contains the chateau of the redoubtable Huguenot 
captain. Merle de I.agorce, who sacked Malzieu and 
Issoire, and burnt the cathedral at Mende. Vallon was 
in the hands of the Reformed, but, on the other hand, 
old Vallon with its castle on the height above it re- 
mained to the Catholics. Opposite that, on the further 
side of the river, is Salavas, where a strong and exten- 
sive castle, now in ruins, occupied the crest of a 
precipitous rock. These two positions Merle was deter- 
mined on taking ; he succeeded, and died in the castle 
of Salavas at the end of January, 1584, at the age of 
thirty-five. I have given his life in my Deserts of 
Central France. 

His son Herail de Merle, Baron de Lagorce, joined 
the Church, and entered into the service of the King, 

On February 6th, 1842, died in the chateau of Vallon 


the Marquess Emmanuel de Merle de Lagorce, last 
male descendant of the eldest branch of the family, and 
left the chateau to his sister, married to the Count de 
Chapelain, who sold it to the town of Vallon in 1846. 
When the citizens came to take possession and convert 
the castle into a mairie, school, etc., they discovered in 
a loft a whole series of superb tapestries rolled up and 
forgotten. These came from the chateau of Montreal 
in L'Argentiere, brought thence in 1783. They are 
from Aubusson looms, and are in seven panel pictures 
representing scenes from the " Jerusalem Delivered " of 
Tasso. They adorn the chamber now used by the 
magistracy. Very fine is the hammered ironwork of the 
balustrade of the great staircase. 

Vallon had its hour of celebrity under the Empire 
and the Restoration, when Vanderbourg published 
the medieval poems of Clotilde de Surville, who lived 
at Vallon at the period when Joan of Arc was fighting 
against the English. 

Marguerite Eleonore Clotilde de Vallon-Chalys, or 
de Surville, was supposed to have been a noble lady 
authoress of a series of sentimental poems. She was 
said to have been born in 1405 in the chateau of Vallon. 
Her mother, Pulcherie de Fay Collon, had lived in the 
court of Gaston Phoebus, Count of Foix, and had taken 
advantage of his library to enrich her mind by the 
study of Greek and Latin authors, of French and 
Italian poets, and she brought up the young Clotilde 
with the same tastes. The girl was a precocious genius, 
and composed verses at the age of twelve. In 1421 
she married the Chevalier Beranger de Surville, who 
quitted her early to fight under the command of the 
Dauphin, afterwards Charles VII. It was then that 


she wrote a HeroYde, opening with the words " Clotilde 
au slen amy doulce mande accolade," But the com- 
position contains allusions, and repeats ideas of a period 
so much later, that suspicions were aroused as to its 
authenticity when published in 1803. Vanderbourg, the 
editor, insisted on it being genuine. He had obtained 
the MSS. from the heirs of the Marquess Joseph Etienne 
de Surville, a noble who during the period of the 
Revolution had been executed at Le Puy in 1798. But 
this de Surville v/as himself a poet, of a mediocre 
quality certainly, and it was from his leavings that the 
editor produced Clotilde's compositions. According to 
the Memoir prefixed to her poems, from the pen of the 
Marquess, her graceful verses attracted the attention 
of Margaret of Scotland, who sent her a crown of 
golden leaves bearing the inscription : " Marguerite 
d'Ecosse a Marguerite d'Helicon." 

Clotilde lost her husband at the siege of Orleans after 
a union that had lasted but one year. About 1450 
she married her son to Heloise de Goyon de Vergy 
Both died in 1468, leaving to Clotilde a grandchild, 
Camille, who never married, and Clotilde closed a long 
life at the end of the fifteenth century, after having 
celebrated the victory of Fornoue in a poem that she 
dedicated to Charles VIII. 

That the poems are a late fabrication by the marquess, 
who was shot at Le Puy, cannot be doubted. In the 
" Verselets a mon premier ne " that begin " O cher 
enfantelet, vray pourtraict de ton pere," there is obvious 
imitation of a romance by Berguin, published in 1775. 
But the whole tone and character of the poems make 
it quite certain that they were composed in the eigh- 
teenth century, to be palmed off as the literary achieve- 


ments of a lady of the forger's ancestry in the fifteenth. 
Villemain, after showing that they are fictions antiques, 
concludes: " After one has recognised that the poems of 
Clotilde are a modern fabrication, betraying itself by 
the very perfection of the artifice employed, yet the 
fraud once established, the merit of the fraud remains 

A good road leads down the Ardeche to the Pont de 
I'Arc, one of the great natural curiosities of the south 
of France. The river in descending the ravine between 
walls of Jura limestone encountered a long spur that 
barred its way, and drove it to describe a great loop. 
But the limestone is full of holes, caves, and cracks, and 
the torrent rushing down and beating against the great 
escarpment, impatient to get through and resenting the 
detour, bored till at last it burst a way through, and 
having once penetrated proceeded to enlarge the 
portal, till the river even in its greatest floods can rush 
through. The measurements are 193 feet from side to 
side, no feet to the crown of the arch, and to the 
summit of the rock 215 feet. Formerly the people of 
the country used this natural bridge to pass from one 
side of the river to the other. In the sixteenth century 
a fortress was erected on it, the possession of which was 
sharply contested by Catholics and Protestants, and 
Louis XIII. had it destroyed. The passage can still be 
made by means of a very narrow path cut in a ledge of 
the rock, but only one person, and he with a steady 
head, can traverse it. Louis XIII. had this path broken 
down, but the gap has been bridged over by poles. 

The descent of the cafion is made from Vallon to 
S. Martin, and takes from five to eight hours according 
to the amount of water in the river, and costs 30 francs. 


Rapids are numerous, and some not a little dangerous. 
The gorge, cut through the lower cretaceous limestone, 
has not its walls as lofty as those of the famous canon 
of the Tarn, but the scenery in it is more varied, and it 
is of the wildest beauty. 

Opposite old Vallon, as already mentioned, is Salavas. 
Herail de Merle, son of the great Huguenot captain, 
abjured Protestantism, and married the daughter of 
Montreal, chief of the Catholics of the Vivarais. Profit- 
ing by his absence, his Huguenot vassals in Vallon 
revolted, and aided by a locksmith of Salavas entered 
the castle and butchered all the garrison. They cap- 
tured the baroness and her children. But as Salavas 
was unimportant as a stronghold without the Tour du 
Moulin in the river, the Calvinists brought the Baroness 
Lagorce and the children under its walls in a boat, 
drew their long knives and threatened to cut all their 
throats unless the tower surrendered. 

Salavas again fell into the hands of the Catholics, and 
was held by M. de la Chadenede in 1628, with forty-five 
men against the Duke de Rohan, head of the Calvinists, 
at the head of 500 men, 200 cavalry, two cannon, and a 
body of sappers and miners. Salavas was not taken 
till 200 of the assailants were killed and wounded. 
The castle, though in ruins, still has portions of its walls 
and a gate intact. Le Tour du Moulin, mentioned 
above, is built on a rock in the middle of the river, 
and was the key of the passage. It was captured by 
the Huguenots in 1570 by artifice. The small Catholic 
garrison one evening saw a train of women leading 
mules with sacks of corn come down to the waterside. 

The garrison at once went over to assist them in 
unloading. But scarcely had they left their boat than 


they were fallen upon. The women were, in fact, 
Huguenot men disguised in female attire. They shot 
down every one of the soldiers and took possession of 
the tower. 

Before reaching the Pont de I'Arc the canon begins ; 
rocky walls, grey, yellow, and fawn colour, stand up 
above the river, leaving no space between them but for 
the river ; the road has been cut in cornice in the rock 
above it. The caves of the Bear, the Temple, and the 
Pulpit are but some of the thousands that open in cliffs 
that are honeycombed with them. The two latter were 
employed for meetings during the time of the revolt of 
the Camisards. The Prophetess Isabeau, clothed in 
white and wearing a gold circlet on her head, here 
went into ecstasies and harangued the insurgents, 
bidding them slay and spare none of the Philistines, 
and promising to them invulnerability. 

A little further down is the Goule de Foussoubie, a 
stream that issues from the rocks just above the level of 
the Ardeche. The water that feeds it consists of seven 
rills on the Causse, three miles distant, that plunge into 
a pot-hole and disappear. Various attempts have been 
made to follow the underground course, but all have 
failed and one ended fatally. In dry weather very little 
water issues from the Goule, but it comes forth in 
volumes after a storm. 

The boat shoots under the Pont de I'Arc ; the rock 
that has been pierced is ninety feet thick. As already 
said, a fortress stood above, destroyed by Louis XIII., 
on a bit of rising ground on the left bank. There are 
still remains of the octagonal tower and enclosing wall 
and of some of the chambers tenanted by the garrison. 
But it was an oppidum^ a place of refuge from pre- 


historic times, as early stone weapons, and later Gallo- 
Roman ware, have been found there, as well as 
accumulations of pebbles to serve as sling-stones. The 
road down the river ends at Chames, where is a boatman, 
who lives by fishing and ferrying over any of the in- 
habitants of S. Remeze or la Bastide de Verac, who 
desire to cross. A stream issues from a grotto ; it is the 
Fontaine de Vamale. The cave is apparently closed 
at the end, but on entering one finds on the right hand 
an opening into a valley, giving access to a terrace above 
the river, lighted by the setting sun, in which luxuriate 
lavender, Judas trees, evergreen dwarf oaks, juniper, 
and wild asparagus. This tiny valley is bounded on 
the west by a lofty calcareous wall in which is a rent, 
and a narrow path leads up this gap among bushes to 
the top of the plateau. It is by this track that the 
inhabitants of Vic descend and ascend before or after 
crossing the river. 

Hard by is a natural cave on the right bank, partly 
closed by a wall, so overgrown with ivy that were it not 
pointed out one might pass without discovering that 
man built himself a residence here. This is called the 
Castle of Ebbo, and the tradition is current that the 
Templars of La Madeleine fled to it and hid there when 
sentence had gone forth against them by Philip the 
Fair in 1312 ; but it was probably a post that belonged 
to the Seigneur of Verac to watch his fisheries. 

Chames is a little hamlet on the left bank of the 
Ardeche, where the rocks fall back and allow of slopes 
on which can grow olive trees, vines, plums, and 
almonds. The water is here still and seems trans- 
formed to a mirror, so that from the opposite side, that 
of the Castle of Ebbo, when the sun is full on the white 



cottages and gleaming limestone rocks, they as well as 
the fruit trees are reflected with intensity in the glassy 

The Rock of the Five Windows seems to block the way. 
Below Chames the river bends around a peninsula which 
is called the Pas du Mousse, so called in satire, for no 
moss grows there or can grow ; it is all rubble brought 
down and deposited there by the river. A rock shoot- 
ing up some eighty or ninety feet to a sharp point and 
pierced at bottom is called the Needle, and the cave is 
its eye. A little further down is the Grotto of Oustalas 
in the face of a cliff above a narrow meadow, with trees 
and a farmhouse and sheds. In order to reach the 
entry, that is like a giant's mouth yawning, steps have 
been cut in the rock; so also within to reach portions of 
the cave that have been employed as chambers. There 
are remains of a wall that formerly closed the mouth, 
and this cave was undoubtedly inhabited at some time, 
but when cannot be said. One can see the notches in 
the wall for beams of a roof, and recesses employed as 

As we continue our descent, the heights of the sheer 
walls full of holes are as slices of Gruyere cheese, 
streaked here black, there flaming red, then of a ghastly 
white, now forming into needles, then with their crests 
riddled as though the walls of a ruined castle pierced 
with windows. Evergreen oaks, the spiky-leafed kermes, 
bursts of flame from yellow broom, flashes of pink when 
the Judas tree is in bloom ; not a house, not a field — 
all silent, the only sound the roar of the water over a 
rapid. The canoe dances, bounds, shoots ; by a skilful 
turn of the oar avoids a fang of rock, escapes a huge 
boulder, darts into still water, where the boatman bails 

The Cathedral' 

Page 147 


out that which has poured over the gunwale, for it is 
over your ankles. Then, again, the growl of another 
rapid, more swinging down between rocks in races of 
water green as grass, then gliding over shallow por- 
tions where we can see the stones and gravel at the 
bottom and the fish darting ; then over a depression, 
the water bottle-green, too deep for the sunlight to 
penetrate, close under an overhanging cliff. 

A long green tongue of land shoots out with ruins 
on the summit, La Madeleine, a leper-hospital, where 
these unfortunates were nursed and kept in seclusion 
under the Templars, Again, huge fawn-coloured preci- 
pices, caves out of which the drip of water has hung 
stalactitic deposits like dropping veils, one in which it 
has built up a huge finger ; and then, right before one, 
a Gothic cathedral with spires — Le Tour des Aiguilles. 
We are carried round, and the forms have completely 

Then after five hours or more the walls begin to sink, 
a stream breaks in through a doorway on the left, and we 
issue through a portal. The river runs more smoothly, 
and on the summit of the rock, creeping down its side, 
studded with ruins, is the imposing dead town of 
Aigueze, long a subject of dispute between the counts 
of Toulouse and the bishops of Viviers. There were 
houses near the river bank, but all are now in ruins, 
destroyed by the great floods of 1890 and 1895. On 
the left bank is the little village of S. Martin, where we 
disembark, and think we have seen a succession of 
marvels the like of which are not to be seen elsewhere 
save — with a difference — on the Tarn. But just here, to 
spoil the last tableau, a company has erected huge 
and hideous factories for silk-weaving on the top of the 

hs the cevennes 

rock opposite S. Martin, to disfigure the last spur of 
crag on the Ardeche. Failure has attended the attempt, 
and the factories are abandoned. Even if they fall into 
ruins, their ruins cannot possibly become picturesque. 

Below is a light and graceful suspension bridge flung 
across the river to take the place of a stone bridge, 
swept away by the great flood of 1895, that rose half- 
way up the church of S. Martin and filled most of the 

And now, to conclude this chapter, I must give my 
personal experiences, which I am usually unwilling to 
obtrude, but which I give as they may be valuable to 
others who descend the canon. 

There are humours in travelling ; some make you 
laugh out at once, others only after the experience is 
past. To this latter belong mine on the day I descended 
the Ardeche. 

The beginning of the trouble was this. I had arranged 
that the hotel keeper at Vallon should furnish me and 
my wife and the boatmen with a sound lunch, to be 
taken on our way down, and when we arrived at the 
place where the boat was to attend to us we found that 
neither the gargon of the inn who guided us had 
brought the food, nor had the boatmen fetched it from 
the hotel. Time was precious, the distance was con- 
siderable, and we could not wait to send back for it. 
Any one who knows what a French caf^ au lait means 
will understand how internally unprovided we were 
for many hours without food. We started, and for five 
hours were descending the rapids. When we reached 
S. Martin there was no carriage, but after an hour we 
obtained at five o'clock an excellent dijeuni^ having 
eaten nothing since 8 a.m. ; but we had hardly felt 


hunger, so gorgeous had been the scenery through 
which we had passed. At 6 p.m. the carriage from 
Vallon arrived, and the horses had to be baited for two 
hours. At 7 p.m. we started. Now the high road to 
Vallon makes a long detour ; it passes by S, Just and 
S. Marcel, and crawls slowly up to the causse. The 
horses were put in at 7 p.m., and we departed. As it 
happened, I had tipped the boatmen at S. Martin, think- 
ing I had seen the last of them, and they were flush of 
money. They had thirty francs, plus the tips to both 
of them, and during three hours they had been im- 
bibing absinthe, cognac, and wine. 

We had not proceeded far before I heard voices 
behind the carriage in lively conversation, not to say 
in altercation, and standing up and looking back I saw 
that we were dragging behind the carriage a cart laden 
with the canoe and the two men in the boat. 

I stopped the carriage and inquired the meaning of 
this, and the driver informed me that he had drawn the 
cart behind him from Vallon to S. Martin for the express 
purpose of bringing back the boat and the men, as it 
was not possible for the canoe to make its way up the 
rapid on the return journey. Twenty miles uphill 
with a trailer behind and dark night setting in was a 
serious prospect, especially after the horses had already 
done all the miles from Vallon to S. Martin. When 
we reached S. Just, but a few miles out of S. Martin, 
the bright light from a tavern and the voices of happy 
men within were too much for the two men in a boat 
behind ; they unhitched the cart and dropped into the 
cabaret to recruit. As we drove on our coachman 
found that the horses went freer. He looked behind 
and saw that the cart and boat were not attached. He 


swore freely and copiously, but drove into the next 
village, S. Marcel, where he halted in front of a public- 
house, and no words of mine could induce him to 
proceed till he knew what had become of the trailer. 
After a while up came the cart and the boat. One of 
the men had a cousin at S. Just, and he had cajoled 
him into lending his horse to draw the cart so as to 
catch us up. Our coachman, with a volley of expletives 
not worth recording, bade them hitch on again. And 
he drove forward. I, sitting back in the carriage, heard 
a dialogue proceed behind. 

" But, Jean, my cousin lent me his horse." 

" That is certain." 

" But I cannot let him return to S. Just without re- 
freshment. I must assuredly give him a glass of some- 
thing to warm him." 

" That is reasonable." 

" Then let us unhitch." 

So again the trailer was unfastened, and the cart, boat, 
and men in the boat fell away into the darkness behind. 

After a while the coachman rose from his seat, and 
looking back saw that the trailer was no longer in its 
place. He exploded east, he exploded west, also to 
north and south ; and would have halted again, but 
that I interfered and insisted that he should proceed. 
After some demur he did so. We reached Vallon at 
midnight. The night was pitch dark and cold ; the 
month was March. When we would have reached the 
town had we been encumbered with the trailer, good- 
ness only knows. We left Vallon next day at 1 1 a.m., 
and the two boatmen had not arrived by that time, 
nor do I know when they did arrive, and what is more, 
I do not care. 


This I relate as a caution to future visitors to the 
canon of the Ardeche. If they intend to return by 
carriage to Vallon, let them remember that they will 
have to drag back with them the boat en queue. 

At S. Marcel is a notable cavern that may be visited 
from the village or from the river, near the bank of 
which is a lodge for the man who undertakes to act as 
guide through its halls and galleries, and illumine them 
with Bengal lights. The grotto was discovered in 1838 
by a man in pursuit of a rabbit. The cavern extends 
for several kilometres underground, and is rich in 
stalactites and stalagmites. The main gallery was the 
channel of an ancient river formed by the drainage of 
the fissured causse of Bidon and S. Remeze. This 
corridor, which is without incrustations, leads to 
le Balcon, a vertical wall thirty feet high, over which 
the ancient river fell in cascade. This is surmounted 
by an iron ladder. The second portion of the cavern 
consists of another long gallery conducting to the 
Foret-Noire, a stone cascade of sixty feet, up which one 
mounts by a second iron ladder, to attain to the third 
portion of the cave, the Cathedral, where is the finest 
group of stalagmites in the whole grotto. Two more 
ladders lead to the Catacombs, a chaos of blocks fallen 
from the roof, and remarkable for its "bassins de 
dentelles," or '* gours " — that is to say, a series of basins 
as holy-water stoups, formed by incrustations. I will 
let M. Martel describe them : — 

" Here begins one of the most curious and admirable 
stalagmitic formations to be found in these caverns. Imagine 
if you can a series of irregular basins set in the wall and 
superposed in retreat one above the other, forming steps — 
they are of various widths and depths, from a few decimetres 


to several metres — their walls so transparent that they allow 
the light of the candles put in them to shine through. Their 
lips are capriciously twisted like writhing serpents, and they 
are lined with minute needles and tiny prisms of carbonate of 
lime, as delicate in their details as the antennae of polypi, all 
either white, yellow, or rose colour, forming all together a vast 
pyramid of water-basins in onyx set with diamonds." ^ 

Further ladders and galleries are traversed, and more 
splendid masses of stalactite and stalagmite are seen. 

Formerly there were collections of these in the outer 
galleries, but they were wantonly destroyed by the 
peasants and by visitors. 

This cavern was anciently occupied by man not only in 
the prehistoric age, but later, for Gaulish black pottery 
has been found in it. I may add that on the Causse 
Grand Champ and on the Champ Vermeil are dolmens. 

An avert of a really appalling character is that of 
Vigne Close, near the hamlet of Fontlongue. It was 
explored by M. Martel in 1892, and descends 575 feet 
into the bowels of the causse, or grasse, as the lime- 
stone plateau is here called. 

A well had to be descended 165 feet deep. Then 
came a redan, a slope, and this had to be gone down 
and a second ladder of ropes attached. The second 
well was 135 feet. Then a second inclined plain or 
redan, and a third well 60 feet ; after that a succession 
of slides and drops in stages for another 60 feet. Then 
a well of 150 feet. It demands no little daring to 
descend into such an abyss entirely shut off from the 
light of day, and where a few falling stones caused by 
the vibration of the ladder might prove fatal. 

* Les Abtmes, Paiis, 1894. 

Paiolive : The Lion akd the Bear 

Page 153 



Curiosity of the wood — How the rock disintegrated — Extraordinary 
shapes — A labyrinth — La Gleyzasse — Hermitage — the King of 
Paiolive — The Royalists of 1792 — ^Jales — The Bailli of Suffren — 
Taking the inventories. 

LE BOIS DE PAIOLIVE is in repute among the 
^ inhabitants of the plain and its great cities as 
one of the wonders of the world, at least of that self- 
contained world of France, in which is everything, 
outside of which nothing. Paiolive is Pagus OlivtB. 
Curious the wood is, but cannot compare with Moureze 
or MontpelHer le Vieux, which have characteristics in 
common with it. The characteristics are these. There 
is an extensive elevated platform of cretaceous lime- 
stone of very unequal consistency. The result of this 
inequality has been that the softer matter has been 
washed away, whether at the retreat of the Tertiary 
ocean, or whether by atmospheric degradation alone 
is uncertain, leaving the cores of greater resistance 
isolated, as turrets, obelisks, bridges. And these cores 
themselves containing soluble matter have been riddled 
in all directions by the rain that, resting on them for a 
moment, has been then absorbed, and has carried forth 
through every crevice what it was able to dissolve. 
But even the masses of hardest texture are so soft that 



the rain soaking into them and then running out at 
every perforation has furrowed the white face with its 
trickling tears. 

The wood measures three miles in each direction, and 
a guide is needed through the labyrinth of galleries and 
masses of insulated rock, all buried in a wood of oaks, 
here and there cleared for mulberry plantations. 

It lies beside the road from the station of S. Paul le 
Jeune to Les Vans, and reaches to the river Chassezac, 
that has cut its way through the plateau in a profound 
ravine. In fact, the same formation continues on 
the further side of the stream, but the shapes of the 
rocks assumed there are less eccentric. A guide lives in 
a cottage where a road to the right joins that coming 
from S. Paul, and he charges three francs for showing 
visitors the principal sights in the wood, five francs for 
a complete exploration. 

The path, or track rather, changes direction at every 
moment, wriggling in and out among the rocks, over 
fallen masses, down descents where the brambles throw 
long streamers across one's path to arrest progress ; the 
thorns claw and rend ladies' dresses. But the turf is 
purple with violets, and the fantastic shapes of the rocks 
draw one forward in defiance of thorn and prickle. 

Some rocks resemble monstrous beasts. Near the 
road are the Lion and the Bear, engaged in a wrestle. 
There are castles with windows and doors, pointed 
arches, a very orgy of natural architecture in which 
every style is represented. We pass through narrow 
rifts into which the sun never penetrates, arrive by long 
galleries at culs-de-sac, and are forced to retrace our 
steps. Everywhere cavities, grottoes, piercing the rock 
that glares white in the sun and almost blinds the eye. 


We arrive in a great cirque, in the midst of which are 
mulberries. In and out, everywhere grow oaks and 
broom ; suddenly we come forth upon the gaping chasm 
through which rolls the Chassezac. A narrow and 
dangerous path down a rift enables one to descend to 
the river. 

By scrambling among fallen blocks, after having 
passed under a little natural arch, a tunnel is reached in 
which a score of persons might shelter from the rain. 
Then a path emerging into the light leads along a 
terrace above the abyss, and by climbing and sliding 
and clinging to the bushes La Gleyzasse (the Church) is 
reached, a rift and cavern, once inhabited, as has been 
proved by the discovery under the soil of flint weapons 
and fragments of pottery. 

This is the best known of the caverns of Paiolive. 
But the mysterious wood grows above a whole subter- 
ranean world of vaults and passages. The entrances to 
these grottoes are known only to the guide ; they are 
hidden among bushes, and often they are pot-holes, 
wells that open without warning, and down which an 
incautious visitor might fall. Stones thrown in strike 
the sides with a sound that becomes ever feebler till 
they reach the unexplored bottom. 

M. de Malbos describes some of these : — 

** I visited as well a grotto forming a gallery, on a very rapid 
slope. I would not speak of it but that, entering it without a 
candle, I found that my right foot did not touch the ground ; 
so I retraced my steps to light a candle, and thus illumined I 
saw with horror that I had had half my body suspended over a 
precipice, sustaining myself only by my left foot on a slide of 
loose stones. 

"On ascending the river of Chassezac, on top of the 


precipice one can reach the Grott of the Chouans. One 
descends, or rather jumps, down to it, where it opens on a preci- 
pice with a ledge before it. Down to this cave one has to 
climb with difficulty. It divides into several galleries, that are 
lighted by small cracks, visible at the height of one hundred 
feet above the Chassezac. It was in this grotto that seven 
Royalists, who had fled to it, were taken by means of fires of 
straw and sulphur lighted in the entrance. They were shot at 
a little distance from it. One only, Gavidel, managed to 
escape, having managed to breathe through the barrel of his 
gun, which he had unscrewed and thrust through one of the 
cracks I have mentioned." 

Near the entrance to the wood is the group that goes 
by the name of the Lion and the Bear, already 
mentioned. There is a Lot's Wife, there is a nun, a 
sphynx, and so on. The Castle of the Trois Seigneurs 
does seem actually to have possessed a little fortress, 
built in and out among the spires of rock, for frag- 
ments of wall are vi^orked into the fissures and sur- 
mount some of the points. 

But perhaps the most remarkable spot is the Cros de 
la Perdrix, where the limestone is in a craggy jumble 
of all kinds of forms. 

One enters this sort of fortified circus with precipitous 
sides by a noble rock, pierced by a natural arch, at the 
entry to a cleft, something like that of Gleyzasse — 
already described. 

If we follow the edge of the ravine of the Chassezac 
we see the river gliding smoothly below through green 
pastures between sheer walls. On the promontory of 
Cornillon are the remains of an ancient village. 

At the north-west of the wood is the hermitage of 
S. Eugene, at the fringe of the forest. It is as though 


suspended above the valley, standing on the limestone, 
which here lies in narrow, almost horizontal beds. 
Architecturally it is nothing. Only a poor, ruinous, 
abandoned structure ; no hermit has occupied it for 
many years. 

According to tradition, for many generations the wood 
was inhabited by a family, the head of which assumed 
the title of Kingof Pai'olive. Louis XIV. was informed 
of the existence of this sovereign in a corner of his 
province of Languedoc, and ordered that the man 
should be arrested and tried. Several detachments of 
troops were sent to surround the wood and to explore 
its depths. No one was to be seen in it ; all was silent, 
till a crack of a firearm sounded, and a man fell. After 
a quarter of an hour, those who had ventured into the 
labyrinth struggled out, but with the loss of ten of their 
number, each of whom had received a ball in his heart. 
The troops retired, and as there was no question of 
rebellion against royal authority or of religion, Louis 
was content to let the matter rest ; only he succeeded 
in entering into communication with the petty king by 
means of the hermit of S. Eugene, and requiring of him 
as recognition of suzerainty annually a pair of part- 
ridges — a tribute, however, that was never paid. The 
succession of kings of Paiolive continued till the 
Revolution, when it was not safe on French soil for any 
man to bear a royal title, and the last king, rather than 
run the risk of losing his head on the scaffold, assumed 
the red cap and sank into a plain citoyen. 

In 1792, the Royalist bands of the Count of Saillans 
took refuge in the wood of Paiolive, confident that it 
would not be possible for the Republican troops to dis- 
lodge them, and their head-quarters was in the Grotto of 


Gleyzasse, three hundred feet above the river. The 
Directory of Ardeche, however, found means of securing 
the conspirators when they met at the Chateau of 
Jales, and they were taken to Les Vans and there put 
to death, the Count among them. Jales had belonged to 
the Templars, but these, sacrificed by Clement V. to the 
cupidity of Louis the Fair, were taken to Aigues Mortes 
and there burnt alive on false charges. To the Temp- 
lars succeeded the Knights of Malta. The most 
celebrated commander among these, who resided at 
Jales, was the Bailli of Suffren, whom the vassals com- 
plained of as devouring forty pounds of meat in a day. 
But the Bailli was a fire-eater as well, and his exploits 
in the Mediterranean, fighting the English, form the 
theme of a ballad introduced by Mistral into " Mireio," 
The Bailli was killed in a duel by the Marquess of Mire- 
poix, in 1788. 

" Our Captain was Bailly Suffren ; 
We had sail'd from Toulon, 
Five-hundred seafaring Provengeaux, 
Stout-hearted and strong : 
'Twas the sweet hope of meeting the Enghsh that made our hearts 

And till we had thrashed them we vowed we would never return." 

And, of course, these stout-hearted Provengeaux thrash 
the English like curs, just as our bluejackets always 
thrash the French — in ballads. 

Between the wood and Berrias on the bare plateau 
are many dolmens. 

On the lovely day in early spring upon which 
I visited the Bois de Paiolive, the inventories were 
being taken in the churches of Banne and Berrias. 
As we drove to the wood the bell of Banne church 


was pealing the alarm ; as we left, that of Berrias was 
sounding, and we drove thither. The village was 
occupied by soldiers, and these surrounded the church, 
and held every avenue, whilst a body of gendarmes 
with axes smashed the barricaded west door. Out- 
side the village was an ambulance wagon, rendered 
necessary, as the people were offering a strenuous 
resistance. In the adjoining village of Beaulieu on the 
preceding day they had thrown quicklime in the faces 
of the assailants, and had blinded one soldier, who had 
to be conveyed to the hospital. 

The hostility provoked by the Government by order- 
ing the taking of the inventories of the contents of the 
churches is not very explicable, for there was no threat 
made of confiscation. The reasons given me were 
these. At the first Revolution every church had been 
pillaged and its treasures seized. Only in some cases 
had certain of these latter been saved before the sacred 
buildings were plundered, by being confided to the 
custody of reliable men in the parish, who restored 
them when the churches were reopened for divine 
worship. The people suppose that the taking of the 
inventories is a preliminary step to confiscation, and to 
protect the State against the secretion of any of the 
church treasures when that confiscation takes place. 
As, however, it is exceedingly unlikely that such a step 
will occur, the violent excitement over the taking of 
the inventories is not very reasonable. " We," say the 
people, " our fathers and grandsires, gave the furniture 
to the church ; it belongs to the Commune, and not to 
the State." 

The attitude assumed by the bishops and cures has 
been diverse. Here the taking of the inventory has 


been opposed by force, there permitted under protest. 
At Lodeve, where very fine new wrought-iron gates 
have lately been added to the porch, the clergy took 
good care not to fasten them and expose them to be 
damaged, but bolted the inner door of wood, very thin, 
and easily cut through. That was the form of their 
protest. At Alais the cure received the State officials 
at the door and contented himself with reading a 
written remonstrance, after which he drew aside and 
allowed them to do their duty. 

Actually, the cur^s in most places took no lead in the 
demonstrations, which were often organised by re- 
actionaries so as to excite hostility to the Republic, in 
view of the approaching elections for the Chamber of 
Deputies. They failed utterly in their purpose, as the 
election, when it did take place, proved to demonstra- 
tion. But in many a country place the resistance was 
due to the excited passions of the people ungoaded on 
by their superiors. A man said to me when I asked 
him the object of these futile resistances to authority : 
" Mais, il nous faut, a tout prix — des emotions." 



The Allier — Difficulty of ascent — Remarkable engineering of the line — 
Summer visitors — Difference between the Allier and the Ardeche — 
Langeac — Chanteuges — Disorderly monks — Fete on Whit-Sunday — 
The Lafayettes — The Margeride and its inhabitants— Sauges — The 
Drac — Church — Tour de la Clauze — Tomb of an English captain — La 
Voute-Chilhac — Basalt — Used on the roads — Monistrol d' Allier — 
S. Privat — Find of an oculist's tools — Alleyras — Bed of old lake — 
Langogne — Church — N. D. du Tout Pouvoir — the Vogue — Proprietor- 
ship versus tenancy — Pradelles — Delivered from the Huguenots — 
Chateau of De Belsunce — S. Alban — Cave — Trappist monastery — 
The Liborne— The rule of La Trappe. 

I PASS now from the east to the west by direct 
flight from the Vivarais over the plateau of Le Puy 
to where the Allier descends into the plains from the 
lofty ridge of the southern Cevennes. 

Almost from its source the Allier has met with 
difficulties. It has had to contend with granite, schist, 
and finally with basalt, and it has had to form for itself 
a ravine that widens into a valley below Langeac 
where are coal-beds. 

That ravine is peculiarly tantalising, because it is 
difficult to explore satisfactorily. From Langeac a 
road runs up the riverside only till it encounters that 
from Sauges to S. Privat. Beyond that there is none. 
The line, indeed, does follow the stream, and it is of all 
French lines the most remarkable for the engineering 

M l6l 


feats achieved. The road for the rails has been hewn 
as a cornice in the face of the cliff, every salient buttress 
has been bored through, and every inconvenient lateral 
gorge overleaped. In 132 kilometres (81 miles) from 
the confluence of the D^ge with the Allier up to 
La Levade, there are ninety tunnels, which happens to 
be precisely the number of kilometres between those 
points as the crow flies. 

Precisely this fact makes the ascent of the ravine by 
train prove so unsatisfactory. It consists in a rapid 
succession of flashes followed by darkness — a constant 
flutter, as it were, of the eyelid. Moreover, the tunnels 
are carried through the shoulders of the mountain, 
avoiding the finest parts of the canon. 

The only possible way of doing justice to the scenery 
is to halt at the little stations where poor villages have 
been planted at the opening of lateral ravines, and 
thence follow the river by a footpath as far as it will 

The ascent of the river by train is indeed one of the 
great curiosities of the country, and it will be done 
generally in this way till the authorities of the depart- 
ment undertake to drive a carriage-road up the gorge. 
It is true that the villages are few, the population small, 
and trade a negligible quantity at present. But the 
scenery and the coolness of the mountain air, and the 
abundance of crystal water, are drawing annually more 
and ever more from the sweltering plains of Languedoc 
and the burning zone of Provence to this region for the 
summer, and it is accordingly to be regretted that they 
are debarred by lack of roadway from exploring what 
is the most magnificent feature of the country. 

I have described the canon of the Ardeche ; this of 


the Allier is also a canon, but they are as unlike as is 
a blonde beauty to one who is dark. They are both 
superb, but in manner totally different. The Allier runs 
through rough basalt and crystalline rocks; the Ardeche 
flows between bluffs of limestone. The latter can be 
descended in a boat, the Allier cannot. The Allier 
looks north — the colouring, the vegetation, the climate 
are northern ; the Ardeche in every one of these particu- 
lars is southern. The Ardeche has cut its way through 
a level plateau ; the Allier flows between ranges of 
mountains. The canon of the Ardeche is a street ; the 
defile of the Allier is a lane. We cannot seek the 
Ardeche in the height of summer; it is just then when 
we would refresh in the cool draughts and the blue 
shadows of the Allier. 

The chasm of this latter river has been formed at 
the point of contact of the lava with the granite. The 
volcanoes of Le Velay poured forth their molten floods 
which beat against the granitic mass of the Margeride, 
and the lava in cooling may have shrunk and cracked 
and so allowed the river an opportunity of escaping 
into the plain. In places it has cut through granite 
and schist. It had cut this channel before the volcanic 
vents opened. What these latter did was to deposit 
what they threw out in the trough of the Allier, and 
force that stream to renew its work of excavation ; in 
the latter part of its course the ravine is cut through 

Langeac will serve as a starting-point for visits if the 
tourist be not very particular as to accommodation. It 
does possess one passable inn, and that is at some dis- 
tance from the station in the town. The place itself is 
of no great interest. It has manufactures, favoured by 


the presence of coal-beds near at hand. The church, 
however, is curious. It consists of a nave without 
aisles, but with chapels between the buttresses, and 
with an apse, lined within with well-carved oak stalls 
of the sixteenth century ; once occupied at Mass by 
canons, now by schoolboys. The tower is at the east 
end, and supports an octagonal campanile. 

From Langeac Chanteuges is easily reached. It 
clusters about a basaltic hunch at the junction of the 
Dege with the AlHer. The village creeps up the side 
of the hill, the summit of which is occupied by a church 
and the ruins of a priory. The original church was 
a fine example of Romanesque, but is now a sad jumble 
of styles ; every age as it passed has left a trace on the 
building. The platform on which it stands is ascended 
by a zigzag path ; basaltic prisms, range above range, 
form the mass of the rock. 

The main entrance to the old priory is on the north, 
and was defended by a tower. On one of the blocks at 
the top of the wall may be read the date 1115. The 
monks had evidently converted their habitation into a 
fortress, and it was precisely this that led to their sup- 
pression and the dispersion of the fraternity. 

One Iter de Maudulf, a knight who had led a lawless 
life, felt a twinge of compunction, and resolved on quit- 
ting the world and embracing a life of religion. Accord- 
ingly he assumed the cowl in Chanteuges. But the old 
Adam was not dead in him. Cucullus non facit viona- 
chum. The choir offices proved tedious, the meagre 
fare unacceptable, and the wine was vinegar. His 
temper gave way, and with it his good resolutions. He 
became restive. In the refectory he talked to the other 
monks of the good old days when he roistered and 


roved over the country; ate and drank and did wild 
deeds of devilry. They listened ; their mouths watered, 
and their fingers itched. Eventually Maudulf succeeded 
in corrupting the whole fraternity. The monks aban- 
doned their reading and psalmody to fortify the height. 
Every night a diabolical horde issued from the gate of 
the monastery, clothed in mail armour under their serge 
habits. They swept the country, levied blackmail on 
the farmers, stopped and robbed merchants, and plun- 
dered the pilgrims bound for the shrine of Our Lady of 
Le Puy. In the dead of night they forced their way 
into convents, and romped and revelled with the nuns, 
or else carried off comely peasants' daughters en croupe 
to their stronghold at Chanteuges. 

Of all the confraternity, the abbot alone kept his head ; 
but his objurgations were disregarded, his authority was 
flouted. In despair he appealed to the Bishop of 
Clermont, who at once visited the monastery, but took 
the precaution of doing so at the head of a body of 
armed men. " I saw," said he, " the abbey in the 
most deplorable condition. The buildings were in 
ruins, the sanctuary was despoiled, the church con- 
verted into a fortress, no one serving God, the holy 
habitation transformed into a den of thieves and 

Accordingly the monastery was suppressed, the 
monks dispersed among other houses, and the abbey 
converted into a priory under the rule and supervision 
of Chaisedieu. To the present day the belief prevails 
among the peasantry that in winter, at night, when a 
storm rages and the snow is driving, a black caval- 
cade issues from the gate, with cowls drawn over grin- 
ning skulls, and with serge habits flapping in the wind, 


that it sweeps over the plateau till cock-crow, when it 
returns through the portal and vanishes. 

East of the church is a little chapel of flamboyant 
character with richly sculptured doorway, surmounted 
by a representation of the Assumption. It is the sole 
specimen of this style in the department. At the 
Revolution it was converted into a haystore. 

The fete at Chanteuges is on Whitsun Day, and has 
a peculiar observance. It begins in the Pre du Fou. 
This field may not be mown till after Pentecost. A 
beggar is induced to hide in the long grass. The 
youths of the parish, wearing hats decked with cock's 
feathers, march to the field in two files led by fifes and 
drums and preceded by a banner. The procession 
circles thrice about the field, and some of the young 
men detach themselves from it and beat it in search of 
the beggar. If they do not find him at once, others 
come to their aid. When the/ou has been discovered, 
he is grasped by the legs, thrown on his back, and spun 
round once by each of the youths forming the proces- 
sion. Then a pistol is discharged, the procession re- 
forms, and the train mounts to the church, taking the 
poor fool along with it. There he is again thrown down 
and undergoes the same process of spinning. After this 
he is indemnified by a few coppers from each of the 
Spinners, and every seller of cakes and buns who has a 
stall there is bound to supply him with sufficient food 
to satisfy his maw. The spinning over, the young men 
enter the church for Mass. At Chanteuges the festival 
of Pentecost is devoted partly to God, partly to dancing, 
partly to drinking. God is often forgotten, dancing 
sometimes, the bottle never. 

Opposite Chanteuges is S. Arcons, where the Fioule 


flows into the Allien It rises among the pine-clad 
heights of Fix S. Genys, and receives the stream that 
issues from the Lake of Limagne, a volcanic basin like 
that of Bourget, but not of like regularity of outline. 

Above Langeac is the land of the Lafayettes. They 
were great seigneurs in the Middle Ages. They derive 
from Gilbert Motier, lord of Lafayette, who was one 
of the great captains that drove the English out of 
France. He died in 1463, and was grandson of a 
Gilbert who fell on the field of Poitiers, 1356, also with 
his face set against the English. So Marie Jean Paul, 
the famous marquess, fought the English on the side of 
the Americans, 1 777-1 785. The Marquess was born at 
Chavagnac, 1757, on the tableland about the junction of 
lines at S. Georges dAurac. The castle was built in 1701. 

From Langeac one can explore the granitic Mar- 
geride, peopled by a race distinct from the Cevenols. 
They are pale, often fair-headed and blue - eyed, 
grave, dignified, and intensely conservative. They 
are and ever have been sturdy Catholics, have never 
been shaken, even ruffled, by the shock to faith given 
by Calvin and his followers. Whereas a Cevenol is 
ready at all times for a prophecy, a revelation, a new 
doctrine, the upset of one that is old, taking up what is 
fresh with fanaticism, and then letting it drop and 
lapsing into indifference, the man of the Margeride 
remains as constant, as unmoved as his own rocky moun- 
tains. The Margeride, " as seen from the Pec Finiels, is 
a long black line drawn against the sky of central 
France, a wall without battlements, without towers, 
without a keep." It is in reality a long series of 
successive undulating plains high uplifted, covered with 
forests of oaks, beech and pines, or else with pastures 


on which feed during the summer the sheep of Basse 
Languedoc and the oxen of the Camargue. It is 
composed of granite, and its loftiest points reach only 
4,650 feet. A visitor will probably content himself 
with an expedition to Sauges, that lies in scenery 
called the Switzerland of the Margeride. The rich 
green swath, the dark pine-woods, the abundance of 
crystal rills contrast with the bare lava plain and 
mountain cones of Le Velay. 

The Sauge stream falls in cascade over a dyke of 
trap that has been forced through a rent in the granite, 
near the farm of Luchadou, built on and out of the 
ruins of a castle. There a phantom horse, magnificently 
caparisoned, is said to be seen grazing. It neighs 
when it sees children approach, and invites them to 
mount its back, which will lengthen conveniently to 
accommodate as many as desire to have a ride. When 
the horse has received a full complement, it dashes into 
the river, and buck- jumps till it has flung all the riders 
against the rocks or into the pools. 

One day when a couple of dozen children were on its 
back, as the steed was galloping towards the stream 
one little boy sang out " Gloria Patri," etc., whereby he 
was able to master the " Drac " and make it gallop 
round and round the field till exhausted, when it let the 
children descend unmolested. This is none other than 
the Irish Pooka. The celebrated fall of the Liffey, 
near Ballymore Eustace, is named Pool-a-Phooka, and 
precisely the same story is told there of a phantom 
horse as here at Sauges. The same also in North 
Wales of the Cefiyl - y - Dwyr, the water - horse of 
Marchlyn. Can this myth have originated and been 
told by the Celtic race before its separation into several 


branches ? I can see no other explanation of the 

The church at Sauges has an early and remarkable 
belfry. An immense arch, richly moulded, admits to a 
porch. Above this is a still larger relieving arch to 
sustain the octagonal tower that is on two stages. 
Granite and black basalt are employed in bands and 
in the arches of the windows, two-light in the tower 
story, single in that above, and the whole is capped by 
a dwarf spire. 

Near Sauges is the Tour de la Clauze, erected on a 
protuberant mass of granite fissured into blocks. The 
rest of the castle is completely ruined. But that which 
is most curious at Sauges is a monumental structure 
composed of a cubical base, on which stand four pillars 
supporting arches and a vault with groined ribs. This 
goes by the name of the Tombeau du General Anglais, 
and is supposed to have been set up in honour of a 
Captain MacHarren, who commanded one of the 
mixed companies of English and Gascons that held the 
land or harried it for the English Crown nominally, 
actually for themselves. This MacHarren was probably 
one of the English garrison that held Sauges till 1360, 
when they were driven out by the Viscount Polignac. 

La Voute-Chilhac down the river stands on a 
peninsula between the Allier and the Avesne that 
here debouches into it. It possesses a church of the 
fifteenth century that has taken the place of one 
erected by S. Odilo of Cluny in 1075, The original door- 
valves remain, but injured by cutting to make them fit 
the ogee portal. In the midst it bears the inscription : — 

"Hie tibi rex regum hoc condidit Odilo templum 
Agminibus superis quern miscuit arbiter orbis." 


There were other inscriptions, but they have been 
mutilated. Chilhac stands on a rock composed in the 
lower portion of beautiful prismatic columnar basalt, 
capped with an amorphous flow. It is curious how 
sharp the line of demarcation is between the two beds. 
The situation is pretty, the church Romanesque. 

The course of the AUier above Langeac presents 
many faces like organ fronts of basalt; in places the 
pillars form a pavi de giants. The prisms are em- 
ployed along the roads to mark distances, and might 
easily be supposed to have been specially cut for the 
purpose. But all lava does not crystallise into prisms ; 
under pressure it does. When not squeezed by super- 
incumbent beds it is cinderous. But there is another 
form it assumes, that of phonolith or clinkstone, flakes 
that can be cut like slates and divided into lamina;. 
As slates they are employed extensively in Velay. 
But why the ejected lava should form films here and 
prismatic pillars there, I do not comprehend. 

At Monistrol d'Allier the Ance du Sud comes in 
from the Margeride after traversing a picturesque 
gorge. Here may be studied a fine basaltic face, called 
Escluzels. There are grottoes in the neighbourhood ex- 
cavated in the tufa by the hand of man, but when is not 
known. A chapel dedicated to the Magdalen has been 
scooped out of the rock, but given a frontage of wall, 
and is an object of pilgrimage on the Sunday following 
July 22nd, when and where may be seen some of the 
costumes of the neighbourhood not yet wholly dis- 

On the opposite bank of the Allier is S. Privat, where 
the stream of Bouchoure comes down writhing between 
high precipices. The tower of Rochegude occupies the 


summit of a peak 1,500 feet high, commanding the 
river and the roads. In 1865 a discovery was made at 
S. Privat of a cache of a Roman oculist of the third 
century. Along with his little store of coins lay his 
delicate instruments, and a cube as well, bearing on 
each face the name of one of the medicaments em- 
ployed by him, and the cube used probably by him for 
sealing up his packets. The man seems to have known 
his business, or at all events of having both instru- 
ments and remedies not by any means barbarous. On 
reaching Alleyras the valley opens into a basin. Above 
the little town shoots up a mass of rock looking like a 
gigantic thumb as we approach from the north, but 
changing form as Alleyras is passed. It is actually a 
huge slab of rock that is detached from the mountain 
by a wide fissure. 

The basin of Alleyras was once a lake, where the 
river paused to rest before it renewed its efforts to 
break a way through the lava. From this point up- 
wards the scenery is less savage and gloomy. At 
Chapeauroux the railway describes a great curve, and 
pursues its way through tunnel and over viaduct till 
it draws up at Langogne, a busy little town of the 
Gevaudan, of some commercial importance. A monas- 
tery was founded here in 998 by Stephen Count of the 
Gevaudan, and Silvester 1 1, presented to it the relics of 
SS. Gervasius and Protasius, and further conferred on 
the town the more than doubtful privilege of being out 
of episcopal jurisdiction, to be looked after or let alone 
by the Holy See only. The place suffered severely in 
the Hundred Years War, and again and worse even in 
those of religion. From 1 562 for nearly a century and 
a half the Gevaudan was devastated turn and turn 


about by Protestants and Catholics, and Langogne 
passed from the hands of one party to those of the 
other. In 1568 the Huguenots sacked the town and set 
fire to the church and monastery. 

The church comprises a nave and side aisles, and is 
substantially in the Romanesque style, but with many 
alterations. There are three arcades resting on piers 
with engaged columns in granite, with capitals carved 
to represent fruit, acanthus leaves, and the seven 
deadly sins. A pretty flamboyant doorway replaces 
the western porch, which had been destroyed. Over it 
is a window in the same style. On the right of the 
entrance a doorway, that seems to give access only to a 
passage, communicates with a chapel below the soil, 
dimly lighted, and containing an image of N. D. de 
tout Pouvoir, supposed to have been given by Agel- 
modis, the widow of the founder of church and monas- 
tery. It was accorded a crown in 1900 by the Pope, and 
the anniversary of this ceremony, July 29th, is kept as 
a fete at Langogne. But the great festival in the town 
is on the Sunday following June 19th, when is the 
vogue, in honour of the two patrons, Gervasius and 
Protasius. On that occasion cars are drawn through 
the streets bearing groups of allegorical figures ; but 
the special sport of the day is the " chute d'eau." A 
species of gallows is erected in the main street, with 
a vessel full of water balanced in the middle. The 
young men vie with one another as to who by throwing 
a stick can upset the vessel, and then dash under it so 
speedily as not to be splashed by the falling water. 
He who succeeds receives a prize. 

Langogne is becoming annually more and more a 
summer resort. The Languiron here flows into the 


Allier ; it does not fill its bed, which is the receptacle 
for the refuse from the abattoir and the town, and the 
odours arising from these dejections infect the other- 
wise pure mountain air. 

It is doubtless excellent in principle that every man 
should be able to dwell under his own fig tree and 
inhabit his own house ; but this has its drawbacks. 
The theory may be sound, yet the results other than 
those anticipated. In England, where most house- 
holders are tenants, if a slate be blown off the landlord 
is applied to. If the putty be cracked that retains a 
window-pane, the landlord must see to it less the glass 
fall out. If the plaster scales off in one patch the size 
of a leaf, the landlord must replaster the whole face 
of the house. If the rats have gnawed through the 
floor, " Please, squire, have the boards relaid lest my 
child puts its leg through." If the well be contami- 
nated, he is called upon to clear it, under the threat of 
complaint to the Local Government Board. But in 
France, where every man owns his own habitation, 
the habitations are allowed to fall into a ragged and 
measly condition. If a slate be carried away, the patron 
tells his wife to put a basin where it can catch the drip 
whenever it rains. If the putty falls from the glass, the 
pane is retained by the gummed border of postage 
stamps, renewed when necessary. If the rats have 
eaten through the floor, the child must learn to avoid 
the hole ; it affords a useful lesson in circumspection. 
If the plaster peals away in masses from the front of 
the house, " Shall I squander money in titivating it ? " 
asks the owner. " My relatives would consign me to 
an asylum as incapable of managing my affairs." And 
as for the well, M. le propri^taire says to himself, " / never 


drink water, only wine. If some of my children get 
diphtheria, it will leave more money for those who 

This it is that gives to so many of the towns and 
nearly every village in France a palsied, neglected look, 
as if the houses had lost their self-respect, like a man 
who has gone down in the world and sunk to be a 

Pradelles is four miles from Langogne, built in an 
amphitheatre on the flanks of the mountains of Le Velay, 
surrounded by rich meadows, from which it derives its 
name {pratellcB). The many Prades that occur in the 
south are all so called from the pratse that spread 
about them. In 1588 Chambaud, at the head of a 
large body of Huguenots, besieged the town. As it had 
but a scanty garrison, he shouted to those on the walls, 
" Ville prise, ville gagn^e ! " To which a young woman 
called back, " Pa'ncaro ! " (not yet) and flung a great 
stone at him which broke in his skull. This act of 
heroism saved Pradelles from being sacked and its 
citizens from massacre. The memory of that woman, 
Jeanne de Verdette, is still green there, and in 1888 the 
third centenary of the deliverance was commemorated 
at Pradelles. 

At Naussac, in the opposite direction, on a granite 
tableland that goes by the name of the Kidney of 
Lozere, is an ancient house with a tower that formed a 
portion of the chateau of Mgr. de Belsunce, the brave 
Bishop of Marseilles, who was so devoted in his atten- 
tions to the plague-stricken in the terrible pestilence of 
1720, which carried off forty thousand of its population. 
S. Alban-en-Montagne is four miles from Langonne in 
the department of Ard^che. It lies high — 3,565 feet. 


On the face of an enormous basaltic rock is a remark- 
able cave divided into several chambers, and large 
enough to contain all the villagers. It was employed 
as a place of refuge during the wars of feudal times, 
and again in those of religion. Access to it is not easy. 
As the railway reaches the watershed, barricades on 
both sides protect it from snow-drifts. Luc is passed, 
having an old castle on a rock, the donjon braced to 
sustain a colossal statue of the Virgin. Then the train 
halts at La Bastide, where is a branch line to Mende. 

The Trappist monks have an establishment near this 
on these bleak heights. Their buildings are tasteless. 
Hitherto the monks have been left unmolested by 
Government, due possibly to the fact that they receive 
and examine the silkworm moths that have laid 
their eggs, sent to them from great distances round, 
to examine if they are free from the disease that so 
fatally threatened the silk industry in the Cevennes. 

The breaking out of this complaint caused consterna- 
tion some years ago, and M. Pasteur was sent down 
to investigate it. He found that no remedial efforts 
availed, and that the sole way of getting rid of the 
disorder was to stamp it out. Accordingly every moth 
after it has laid its eggs is enclosed along with the seed 
that has been deposited in a muslin bag and sent to be 
inspected. Each bag is numbered and ticketed with 
the name of the sender. The body of the moth is 
pounded up and submitted to examination under a 
powerful microscope, and this reveals the presence of 
the germs of fibrine if they exist. Should these be 
detected, the eggs of that particular moth are destroyed 
by fire. 

In addition to this service rendered by the Trappists, 


they have shown the peasantry of the High Cevennes 
how to improve the quality of the land by the use of 
lime and artificial manures, and they have also improved 
the breed of the sheep and cattle. 

But these are side products of monachism, and they 
are benefits that might just as well be rendered by 
laymen ; and, in fact, the examination of the silkworm 
moths is carried out in laboratories established for the 
purpose in some of the large towns of Languedoc. 

The Trappist Order is the severest of all. The 
members are condemned never to speak, never to eat 
meat or fish, are denied even butter and oil. They have 
but two meals a day, and these of vegetables only. 
They never take off their garments to wash or to sleep, 
and do not wear linen. They go to bed at 8 p.m. in the 
summer, at 7 p.m. in winter, and rise at 2 a.m., but have 
no meal of any sort till midday. Every day part of 
their duty is to dig a portion of their future grave. 

In Quarles' Hieroglyphics of the Life of Man, pub- 
lished in 1635, is an emblem of a dark lantern placed 
on a coffin and the sun in total eclipse, and this is 
above a poem, of which I give two stanzas : — 

" Was it for this, the breath of Heav'n was blown 
Into the nostrils of this heavenly creature? 
Was it for this, that the sacred Three in One 
Conspired to make this quintessence of Nature ? 
Did heav'nly Providence intend 
So rare a fabric for so poor an end ? 

" Tell me, recluse monastre, can it be 

A disadvantage to thy beams to shine ? 
A thousand tapers may gain light from thee : 
Is thy light less or worse for light'ning mine ? 
If wanting light I stumble, shall 
Thy darkness not be guilty of my fall } 


The country of the Camisards — Revocation of the Edict of Nantes — 
Shepherdess and angel — Corhi^re — Gabriel Astier — Excitement in the 
Boutieres — Expectations of help from England — Prophecies — Murder 
of Tirbon — Prophetic gifts at Porcheres — Attack of Cheilaret — What 
the prophetic gift really was — Isabeau Charras — Vivens — Battle of 
Florae — Assassinations — Correspondence with Schomberg — Capture of 
Vivens — Peace of Ryswick — Second outbreak of prophetic ecstasies — 
Children prophets — Cruelties — Break-up of meetings — Massacre of 
Creux de Vaie — Durand Fage — The Abbe du Chayla — Seguier — Pont 
de Montvert — Fresh murders — Seguier taken and burnt — Catinat — 
Murder of Saint C6mes — Laporte — Roland — Additional murders — 
Battle of Ste. Croix — Four degrees of inspiration — The prophet Clary 
passes through fire — Fight at Mas de Gaffard — Death of Captain Poul 
— Moussac — ^Jean Cavalier — Defeat of Du Roure — Rout of Camisards 
— Flight of Cavalier — Massacre of Chamborigaud — La Tour de 
Belot — Battle of Ste. Chatte — Marshal Villars — Change of tactics — 
Submission of Cavalier — Cessation of prophecy — What produced the 
prophetic exaltation. 

WE are now drawing near to the country of the 
Camisards, and I must give a brief sketch of 
the rise of the movement due to prophets and pro- 
phetesses, its culmination in revolt, and its suppression. 
The Edict of Nantes had been revoked ; shoals of 
Huguenots had left France, where the exercise of their 
religion was no longer tolerated ; the temples had been 
levelled with the dust, the pastors arrested, imprisoned, 
and executed. Those who escaped to Geneva or 
Holland exhorted such of their flock as remained to 

N 177 


continue steadfast to their convictions and to their 
prejudices. In the spring of 1668, near Castres, a 
shepherdess, aged ten, had a vision of an angel, who 
forbade her to attend Mass. The news spread every- 
where, and crowds went to see the girl and hear her 
narrative from her own lips. This was the first mani- 
festation, but it was not till twenty years had elapsed 
that such became common. A preacher, Corbiere, from 
the same district, by some trickery caused two angels 
armed with sticks to enter the assembly where he was 
haranguing and to well thrash and expel such as had 
attended Mass. The intendant of the province sent 
his agents to take him. Corbiere was surprised whilst 
holding a meeting in a wood. He drew a circle about 
him with a stick, and thundered, " Get thee behind me, 
Satan ! " The dragoons hesitated, but the commandant 
shot him through the head. 

Now appeared in Dauphin6 la belle Isabeau, a 
shepherdess of about seventeen, who went into trances 
and preached and prophesied when in them. When 
she emerged from one of these ecstasies she remem- 
bered nothing about what she had said and done when 
in it. Usually to prophesy she lay on a bed, and this 
was the position almost always adopted by the 
prophets and prophetesses who succeeded her. 

She was arrested and imprisoned, but treated with 
the utmost kindness, well fed, and visited daily by 
good charitable ladies. Under this influence, and when 
well nourished, her fits became fewer, and finally totally 
left her. Then she married a lusty young peasant, and 
ceased to be of consequence in the movement. 

Meanwhile a pastor, Jurieu, from the place of his 
exile, Rotterdam, had proclaimed himself to be in- 


spired. He had a medal struck with "Jurius Propheta" 
on it, and largely circulated in the Cevennes. More- 
over, he printed his prophecies in 1686, and they passed 
from hand to hand. In them he announced that the 
Papacy would fall in the year 1690, and that the 
Reformation would be established throughout France. 

But the spirit was not quenched when la belle 
Isabeau gave up prophesying. It broke out in a peasant 
of twenty-two named Gabriel Astier, of Clieu. His 
first solicitude was to communicate the spirit to his 
father, his mother, and his sisters ; then he inoculated 
his neighbours and all the inhabitants of his village. 
Finding himself an object of pursuit by the police, he 
escaped over the Rhone into the Vivarais, and, followed 
by a troup of prophets and prophetesses, he went 
through the Boutieres. His words propagated the 
agitation ; men, women, and children went into fits and 
preached and announced the future. The epidemic 
passed through the country with the rapidity of a fire 
driven by the wind. No preacher, even at the time 
when the inspiration was at its height, possessed the 
power over crowds that Astier exercised. 

Vast multitudes attended his assemblies in the moun- 
tains, and the meetings were always held in places 
which commanded a view of the country round, so that 
they might be dispersed in the event of the dragoons 
being seen to approach. Often the wandering multi- 
tude remained for many days away from their homes, 
feeding on apples and chestnuts. Nothing like it had 
been seen since John the Baptist drew crowds to the 
banks of the Jordan, or the Son of Man had preached 
in the wilderness of Judea. 

The theme of the preacher was always the same : 


" Repent ; do penance for having attended Mass." And 
the thrilled congregation fell on the ground, screaming 
out, " Pardon, Lord, O pardon ! " 

At this very time it was that the Revolution occurred 
in England, when James II. fled and the nation sum- 
moned William of Orange to the throne. William, it 
must be remembered, drew his title from the Princi- 
pality of Orange, which he held, and this adjoined 
Dauphine, where the prophetic afflatus had first been 
felt. It was concluded as certain that William would 
come to the aid of his afflicted co-religionists. Astier 
was so confident, that he ventured to predict the day on 
which William would arrive at the head of an army of 
a hundred thousand men, led by an exterminating angel. 
Then all the levelled temples would sprout up, built 
without hands, and the Catholic churches which had re- 
placed them would go off in a puff of smoke. A star 
would fall from heaven on Babylon and consume the 
papal chair. He assured his hearers that God had 
made them invulnerable, so that neither sword nor ball 
could hurt them. Another prophet, named Palette, 
made the same assurances to the Calvinists, and as he 
and his congregation came upon a Captain Tirbon with 
his soldiers, they rushed on them, flinging stones, and 
killed the captain and nine of his soldiers, but not till 
some of the elect had fallen. 

This event alarmed Colonel Folleville, in command of 
the troops in the province. 

M. de Broglie, brother-in-law of Baville, intendant of 
Languedoc, went to Porcheres where he heard that a 
religious assembly was to be held. In this hamlet lived 
a poor old man named Paul Beraut, who had for long 
resisted the Spirit ; but one day he heard his children 


tell of the marvels that took place in the assemblies, 
and all at once a convulsion shook him ; he jumped up in 
bed, pulled down the canopy of the four-poster and 
flung it into the middle of the room, uttering incoherent 
words. This sublime victory of the Spirit over their 
father filled his children with joy. They ran through 
the village, entering every house, saying, " Come and 
see our father who has received the Spirit, and is 
prophesying ! " The old man was in wild excitement 
when M. de Broglie arrived in the village. Beraut and 
his eldest daughter Sarah, at the head of all those who 
had been listening to his prophetic utterances, rushed 
on de Broglie and his troop, throwing stones. The 
soldiers retaliated, the new-made prophet and a dozen 
others were killed, and Sarah was taken prisoner. 

Folleville, learning that Gabriel Astier was holding 
an assembly on the height of Cheilaret, surrounded the 
mountain. As soon as the dragoons were seen, Astier 
harangued the faithful : " Children of God, be without 
fear. I promise you that your bodies will be as adamant 
against ball and sabre. The angels of the Lord will 
fight for us." 

Before attacking, Folleville sent the provost of his 
regiment to urge the fanatics to disperse and return to 
their duty. He was met with shouts of " Tartara ! 
Get thee behind me, Satan ! " The cry of Tartara was 
supposed to have the power to paralyse the enemy. 
Then one of the Calvinists rushed upon the provost 
and pelted him with stones, so that he was forced to fly. 
Folleville, reluctant to proceed to extremities, sent 
another parliamentary to the crowd ; he was received 
with a volley of stones. The fanatics could be seen 
breathing on one another to communicate the gift of 


the Spirit to all. Then they marched in a solid body 
against the soldiers, shouting Tartara ! Some were 
armed with guns, most carried large stones. They 
fought valiantly, but their ranks were broken ; three 
hundred were left dead on the field, fifty who were 
wounded were taken to Privas, and those who recovered 
were hung. 

The prophetic inspiration was really nothing more 
than an epidemic malady, such as is found among the 
North American Indians, the tribes in Siberia, and such 
as broke out among the early Quakers and Wesleyans. 
It is a nervous disorder, as natural as chicken-pox, 
though not so common. Roman Catholic nuns have it, 
so had the pagan prophetesses of old. 

Some Calvinist women professed to have received 
the gift of shedding tears of blood, and showed the 
crimson streaks washing their cheeks. This was by no 
means necessarily a fraud. Roman Catholic ecstatics 
have had the same, and the stigmata as well. 

F16chier, a contemporary, thus describes the ecstasy 
of Isabeau Charras, one of the principal prophetesses, 
and not to be confounded with la belle Isabeau. He 
gives it from the relation of an ecclesiastic who with 
some friends entered her cottage to see what really took 

" lis furent surpris du spectacle qui s'offrit k leurs yeux. La 
prophetesse etait couchee a la renverse dans una cuisine, les 
jambes nues et I'estomac tout a fait decouvert. Tous les 
assistants, k genoux autour d'elle, etaient attentifs a ces pieuses 
nudites. Le pretre voulut faire quelque remontrance a la fiUe, 
mais la mere indignee lui dit : * Quoi ! malheureux que tu 
fetes, vous ne respectez pas ma fiUe qui a le Saint Esprit dans 
restomac ! ' " 


Gabriel Astier was finally taken and broken on the 
wheel in 1690. 

Francois Vivens was a wool-comber of Valleraux, a 
small man and lame, but with a robust and indefatigable 
body. He had gone to Holland, but, on the accession 
of William to the English throne, felt so confident that 
the Prince of Orange would bring all the power of his 
kingdom to assist the Calvinists of Languedoc, that he 
returned thither. When he arrived in the Cevennes he 
found the people agitated by the spirit of prophecy. 
He was the first to organise rebellion. He exhorted to 
it, and collected arms, manufactured powder, and cast 
bullets. He soon had four hundred men under arms, 
and he met Baville and de Broglie near Florae at the 
head of a considerable body. A fight ensued. Vivens 
was obliged to fly and hide in a wood ; he lost three 
men killed, and some prisoners, who were hung next 

Baville executed several persons charged with having 
given him shelter. To revenge this Vivens, with his 
own hand, killed the cure of Conguerac, and had the 
priest of S. Marcel and the vicaire stabbed and four 
officers assassinated, either in their houses or on the 
roads. " This Cevenol," says Peyrat in his Histoire des 
Pasteurs du Desert, " had in his soul something of the 
Tishbite who had four hundred and fifty of the prophets 
of Baal slain by the brook of Carmel." 

Whilst Vivens was ordering these bloody reprisals 
he was carrying on a correspondence with Schomberg, 
late Marshal of France, who was at this time in Savoy 
in command of a regiment of refugee Protestants. He 
proposed to Schomberg a plan. He was to raise an army 
of several thousands, make a sudden descent on Aigues- 


Mortes, march across the plain, and join hands with the 
Cevenols. The correspondence was intercepted, and 
Baville, seeing he had to do with a dangerous man, put 
a price on his head. 

A preacher named Languedoc, a companion of 
Vivens, was arrested, and made revelations — amongst 
others that Vivens had converted four dragoons, who 
kept him informed of every movement of the royal 
troops. These men were taken, and one betrayed where 
Vivens hid, in a cave. The commandant of Alais with 
a body of soldiers went to the place, which was not far 
off. The cavern was in a rock that had to be sur- 
mounted, and descent to the cave was by a narrow path. 
Vivens, who was there with two of his lieutenants, was 
only aware of his danger when the enemy were close at 
hand. His first assailant, a sergeant, he shot as he 
descended. Vivens had several guns loaded that were 
passed out to him by his companions. He killed two 
more soldiers and wounded the lieutenant, but was him- 
self shot by a man who had succeeded in creeping down 
in his rear. All but one of the pastors in the Cevennes, 
Pierre Roman, had been captured and hung. The death 
of Vivens and the peace of Ryswick deprived the Cal- 
vinists there of hope of assistance from the Protestant 
powers, and resistance ceased. However, although all 
seemed quiet, the authorities redoubled their measures 
of severity. Everywhere new excesses of cruelty were 
committed by the governors of the provinces, the judges 
and the provosts of the mounted police, against poor 
creatures who desired only to be let alone to serve God 
according to their dim lights. 

"In 1700," says Court, the historian of the Camisards, 
" the country groaned with the crowds languishing in prison 


and in irons. In April a chain of sixty-three were sent to the 
galleys, whose only crime was fidelity to and zeal for their 
religion, and among them were several fathers of families with 
grey heads." 

The death of Charles II,, King of Spain, at the close 
of 1700, roused expectations of a new foreign war, into 
which England and Holland would be drawn to take 
part with Austria against France. The news of the 
War of Succession breaking out, spread through the 
provinces, and revived the hopes of the Reformed ; 
the spirit of prophecy that had languished since the 
execution of Gabriel Astier burst forth again. At the 
end of that year, 1700, an old maid who earned her 
livelihood by tailoring in the villages on the Ardeche 
brought the prophetic gift into the Cevennes. She 
communicated it to a number of young boys and girls, 
and they in turn transmitted it to the population of 
the mountains. This was done by wild gesticulation, 
loud invocation of the Spirit, and by breathing into the 
mouths of those who were to be inspired. The winter 
had not passed before the epidemic had spread with 
astounding rapidity, and prophets prophesied by the 
thousands. Women and children were especially liable 
to take the contagion. It was calculated that as many 
as eight thousand children in the Cevennes preached 
and prophesied. The Governor of Languedoc had a 
number of them arrested and put in prison, and re- 
quired the faculty of medicine at Montpellier to examine 
into the nature of the phenomenon. The doctors 
observed, discussed, wrangled, and produced an opinion 
that these children v^qxq. fanatics. That was the sum of 
what they had to say. 

Baville released the youngest of the children, but 


sent the rest either to the galleys or to serve in the 
army. He announced that he would hold the parents 
responsible for their offspring who prophesied, and that 
they should be fined. Dragoons were quartered upon 
those who could not cure their children or prevent them 
from taking this epidemic. Things went so far that some 
parents denounced their own children so as to shelter 
themselves from these violent measures. They handed 
them over to the magistrates, and said, " There, take 
them, and do with them what you will ; cure them if 
you can." 

But the spirit of prophecy did not remain with the 
children, it communicated itself to their elders. Baville 
had such arrested as he could lay hold on and hung or 
sent them to the galleys. 

But in spite of these cruelties, or rather in conse- 
quence of them, the prophets multiplied more and 
more. The prospect of the gallows, the wheel, or the 
galleys only served to fire their zeal to madness. 

The number and importance of the assemblies in- 
creased, and the Governor of Languedoc began to deal 
with hearers as he had with prophets. In October, 
1 70 1, he sent a company to disperse one of these meet- 
ings near Alais. Three of the audience, unable to 
escape in time, were broken on the wheel. But the 
most atrocious of these executions was that of Creux 
de Vaie, in the Vivarais. The massacre was so great 
that, beside the bodies left on the field, a boat and two 
wagons were laden with the wounded who were taken 
captive, and these were conveyed to Montpellier. 
Among them was a prophet with his four sons. The 
prophet was hung, one son died of his wounds in prison, 
three were sent to the galleys ; and his house was torn 


down. Thus, in one day, the wife was deprived of 
husband, children, home, and substance. 

Throughout the Cevennes spirits were stirred with 
expectation of a great deliverance. A prophetess 
announced that the millennium was at hand. A 
prophet declared that a ladder was about to be let 
down from heaven. 

In February, 1702, Durand Fage was at an assembly, 
carrying arms. The prophetess Marguerite Bolle, aged 
twenty-three, fell into an ecstasy, and announced that 
the sword of Durand would smite the enemies of the 
truth hip and thigh. Later on the great prophets of 
the mountains, Abraham Mazel, Solomon Couderc, and 
Pierre Siguier, received similar revelations. 

The Abbe du Chayla, archpriest and inspector of 
missions in the Cevennes, had a house in which he 
sometimes dwelt at Pont-de-Montvert. He had been 
a missionary in China, and had there suffered martyr- 
dom, was left for dead, and brought back to life by the 
charity of a poor Chinese. One Massys, a muleteer, 
was guiding a party of fugitives who were escaping to 
Geneva, and on him, with his convoy, consisting mostly 
of women dressed as men, Du Chayla laid his hands. 
He was a cruel man; he plucked out the beards and 
eyebrows with pincers, he put live coals into the hands 
of his victims and then forced them to clench their 
fists. Sometimes he surrounded their fingers with 
cotton steeped in oil and set fire to it. 

On the Sunday following the capture of the convoy 
there was a gathering of the Protestants in the woods 
of Altefage, on Mount Bouges, when Seguier fell into 
ecstasy and prophesied. He was a wool-carder, tall, 
black-faced, and toothless, but a man full of energy 


and self-confidence. He declared that the Spirit 
announced that arms must be taken, the prisoners at 
Pont-de-Montvert delivered, and the priest of Moloch 

(On July 24th, 1702, at half-past ten at night, were 
heard at Pont-de-Montvert strains of distant psalmody 
drawing nearer and nearer ; it was Esprit Seguier, the 
terrible prophet, who was on his way with fifty-three 
of his men, and as they marched they sang Marot's 
psalm — 

" Nous as-tu rejetd, Seigneur, sans esp^rance 
De ton sein paternel ? 
N'apaiseras-tu pas, apres tant de soufierances, 

Ton courroux ^ternel ? 
Sion, qui dut avoir I'dclat et la dur^e 

Du cdeste flambeau, 
Regarde, h^las ! Seigneur, ta Sion adorde 
N'est qu'un vaste tombeau ! " 

Du Chayla heard the chant, and did not trouble him- 
self much about it. He went to the window and saw 
the assembled crowd. " Get away with you ! " he 
shouted ; " dogs of Huguenots ! " 

But the door was burst in by a beam of wood driven 
against it, and the house was invaded. The fanatics 
occupied the ground floor. Du Chayla and his men 
held the staircase. " Children of God ! " shouted the 
prophet, " let us set fire to the house of Baal and burn 
it and its priest." The flames spread. Du Chayla and 
his men lowered themselves into the garden by means 
of knotted sheets ; some escaped across the river under 
the fire of the insurgents, but the Inspector of Missions 
fell and broke his thigh, and could only crawl among 
some bushes. The Calvinists went through the house 
shouting for his blood. Finding on the staircase a 


priest who had not escaped, they murdered him. They 
hunted for their arch-enemy, and at last, by the light of 
the flames, found him. To the last he maintained his 
composure. " If I be damned," said he, " will you 
damn yourselves also ? " Seguier gave the order, and 
he was despatched, in the place of the little t Avn to 
which they dragged him. According to Brueys, Seguier 
fell into an ecstasy, and offered Du Chayla his life if 
he would apostatise. The priest peremptorily refused. 
" Then die," said the prophet, and stabbed him. Then 
began a horrible scene. All the insurgents one after 
another approached, and driving their weapons into the 
bleeding body, reproached Du Chayla for some of the 
barbarities he had committed. " This thrust," said one, 
" is for my father, whom you caused to be executed on 
the wheel." " And this for my brother," said another, 
" whom you sent to the galleys." " And this for my 
mother," exclaimed a third, as he ran his sword through 
the body, *' who died of grief." The body of the Abb6 
du Chayla received fifty-three stabs, every one of which 
he had richly deserved. But the astounding thing in 
the whole story is that he, a man who had suffered all 
but absolute martyrdom for the Faith in China, should 
not have seen that barbarities could not turn a soul 
from one conviction to another. 

Seguier and his companions employed the remainder 
of the night in prayer, kneeling around the corpses. 
They had murdered all found in the house, except the 
prisoners whom they had released, one soldier and a 
servant. When dawn broke they retired in good order, 
still singing, and ascended the Tarn to Frugeres, When 
the last notes of their psalmody died away, two Ca- 
puchins who had managed to conceal themselves in a 


cellar of one of the houses in the town, crept from their 
retreat and carried off the body of Du Chayla to the 
church of S. Germain de Colberte, for burial. 

But during the funeral a cry was heard outside, "The 
insurgents are coming ! Frugeres, S. Maurice, S. Andr6 
de Lancize, have been given up to fire and massacre ! " 
At once all the assembled clergy fled for their lives, 
and some did not stay their feet till they had found 
refuge behind the walls of Alais. 

However, the storm that threatened to break over 
S. Germain rolled away to the west. 

Seguier, whose name in the patois signifies The 
Mower, had assumed the appellation of Esprit, as he 
deemed himself a channel through whom the Holy Spirit 
spoke. He was subject to frequent ecstasies, and he 
had no doubt but that it was due to direct inspiration 
that he was prompted to the deeds of blood of which 
he was guilty. It is deserving of note that when he or 
any of the prophets and prophetesses gave forth their 
oracles it was never in their own names. They always 
spoke as if the Holy Spirit were uttering commands 
through their mouths, as, " I, the Spirit of God, com- 

Whilst the funeral of Du Chayla was in progress, 
actually Siguier, followed by a band of thirty men sing- 
ing psalms, had entered Frugeres and shot the parish 
priest They went on to S. Marcel, but thence the vicaire 
had escaped. At S. Andre the cur6, hearing of the 
approach of the band, rang the alarm bell. Siguier's 
men pursued him, flung him out of a belfry window, 
and then hacked him to death. The schoolmaster was 
also murdered and his body mutilated. Wherever he 
went Seguier destroyed the crosses and every emblem 


of Catholicism. On the night of the 29th July the 
band surrounded the Castle of Ladevese, where was a 
store of arms taken from the Protestants. When sum- 
moned to deliver them up, the seigneur replied by a 
volley which killed two men. The insurgents, furious 
at their loss, broke in and massacred all the inhabitants 
of the chateau, not sparing even a mother aged 
eighty, or a young girl who on her knees prayed for 
her life. 

The authorities, in serious alarm, took immediate 
measures to repress the insurrection, and gave the com- 
mand of the troops to a Captain Poul, who managed to 
capture Esprit Seguier, and The Mower was tried at 
Florae and sentenced to have his hand cut off and then 
to be burnt alive. On August 12th, 1702, Seguier 
underwent his sentence at Pont-de-Montvert. Neither 
the blow of the axe nor the violence of the flames 
could draw from him a cry or a groan. He shouted 
from his pyre, " Brethren, await and hope in the Eternal 
One ! Carmel that is desolate will flourish ; Lebanon 
that is left barren will blossom as a rose." 

The command of the insurgents, who now were given 
the name of Camisards by their enemies, but called 
themselves the Children of God, was assumed by 
Laporte, an ironmonger. He was joined by Castanet, 
a forester of the Aigoual, by Jean Cavalier, a baker's 
boy, and by Abdias Morel, an old soldier, who went by 
the name of Catinat, on account of his admiration for 
the general of that name ; also by the two arch-prophets, 
Abraham Mazel and Solomon Couderc. Many other 
prophets and prophetesses joined the band, and excited 
it to undertake the most daring enterprises. 

The execution of Seguier was avenged on the follow- 


ing day. The band, knowing that the Baron de Saint- 
Comes, who was especially obnoxious to them as a 
convert to the Church from Calvinism, was going in his 
carriage to Calvisson, Catinat and six of his men laid 
an ambush for him, stopped the carriage, blew out the 
brains of the baron, and murdered his valet. 

The insurrection spread rapidly. Laporte declared : 
" The God of Hosts is with us ! We will thunder forth 
the psalm of battle, and from the Lozere to the sea all 
Israel will rise." His prediction was fulfilled ; the revolt 
extended from the mountains to the plain, even to the 
shores of the Mediterranean. Laporte had sent his 
nephew Roland into lower Languedoc to collect re- 
cruits. Circumstances favoured his project. Execu- 
tions had multiplied of persons merely suspected of 
having attended the religious assemblies, so that the 
Calvinists alarmed fled their homes and in great num- 
bers joined the bands of insurgents. The Camisards 
next caught and killed the secretary of Du Chayla, 
the prior of S. Martin, and Jourdan, a militia captain 
who had shot Vivens. Panic fell on the Catholics ; 
fifteen churches were in flames, and great numbers of 
the cur^s had fled. 

On October 22nd, 1702, being a Sunday, Captain 
Poul and his corps, led by a traitor, surprised Laporte 
on a hill at Ste. Croix with a body of the faithful. 
Laporte had barely time to marshal his men for 
defence. Unfortunately for him a heavy rain came on 
that disabled their guns ; only three could be fired. 
Poul, who saw the disadvantage, charged with im- 
petuosity. Laporte fell shot through the heart, but the 
Children of God effected their retreat without disorder, 
having left nine of their comrades dead on the field. 


Roland, nephew of Laporte, now assumed the com- 
mand. He had served in the army under Catinat in 
the campaigns of the Alps, and had consequently 
acquired military experience in mountainous country. 
Roland was a middle-sized man with a robust constitu- 
tion ; he had a broad face marked by small-pox, large 
grey eyes, flowing brown hair. He was naturally grave, 
silent, imperious, and was aged twenty-five. 

The Catholics in derision called him Count Roland, 
but he assumed the title of General of the Children of 
God. It was not his military experiences or capacity 
that gave the young chief the ascendancy over his co- 
religionists, but his prophetic ecstasies. There were four 
degrees of inspiration. The first was the Announce- 
ment, or Call ; the second was the Breathing. Those 
who had received the breath were highly regarded, but 
not considered capable of becoming leaders. The third 
degree was Prophecy, and such as had this were re- 
garded as vehicles for the communication of the will of 
God. But the highest of all was the Gift. Those who 
had received this could work miracles; they disdained 
to prophesy, but were supposed to be exalted into 
personal communication with God. Roland had passed 
through all these degrees. 

There were now five legions of insurgents under 
their several captains, but all subject to the supreme 
control of Roland. This remarkable man now set to 
work to collect the material of war. He created maga- 
zines, powder mills, arsenals, and even hospitals in the 
caverns that abound in the Cevennes, notably in the 
limestone mountains. He also required all his co-re- 
ligionists to pay a tax in money or goods for the 
maintenance of the army. He formed wind and water 


mills on heights or by streams, and as the chestnut 
woods produced abundance of food there was little fear 
of starvation. When the hosts were assembled the 
prophets prophesied, and pointed out men here and 
there whom they declared to be false brethren ; these 
men were at once led aside and summarily shot. 

On one occasion a prophet, Clary, pointed out two 
traitors and demanded their execution. Cavalier had 
them bound, but a good many of those present mur- 
mured and expressed doubts. Clary, who was in a 
condition of delirious elevation, cried out : " Oh, men 
of little faith ! Do you doubt my power ? I will 
that ye light a great fire, and I say to thee, my son, 
that I will carry thee unhurt through the flames." The 
people cried out that they no longer needed the ordeal ; 
they were satisfied, and the traitors should be executed. 
But Clary, still a prey to his exaltation, insisted, and a 
huge bonfire was made. An eye-witness, quoted in 
the " ThMtre sacrd des Cevennes," describes what 
follows : — 

" Clary wore a white smock, and he placed himself in the 
midst of the faggots, standing upright and having his hands 
raised above his head. He was still agitated, and spoke by 
inspiration. Some told me that he himself set the pile on fire 
by merely touching it — a miracle I observed often, especially 
when one cried, A sac I a sac ! against the temples of Babylon. 
The wife of Clary and his father-in-law and sisters and his own 
relatives were there, his wife crying loudly. Clary did not leave 
the fire till the wood was completely consumed, and no more 
flames arose. The Spirit did not leave him all the while, for 
about a quarter of an hour. He spoke with convulsive move- 
ments of the breast and great sobs. M. Cavalier made prayer. 
I was one of the first to embrace Clary and examine his 


clothing and hair, which the flames had respected, even to 
having left no trace on them. His wife and kinsfolk were in 
raptures, and all the assembly praised and glorified God for the 
miracle. I saw and heard these things." 

This seems precise and conclusive, but Court, in his 
account, gives another colour to the story. He says : — 

" This incident made a great noise in the province ; it was 
attested in its main features by a great many witnesses, but 
the information I obtained on the spot went to establish these 
three points : 

" I. Clary did not remain in the midst of the fire. 

*' 2. He dashed through it twice. 

*' 3. He was so badly burnt in the neck and arms that he 
was forced to be taken to Pierredou to have his wounds 
attended to. The Brigadier Montbonnoux, an intimate friend 
of Clary, and one who lived with him long after this event, 
confirmed all these three points, but nevertheless considered 
that he would have been more seriously injured but for 
miraculous intervention." 

The condition of w^ild excitement in which the 
Calvinists were rendered them incapable of calm ob- 
servation, and led them involuntarily to pervert facts 
and imagine miracles. It is curious, moreover, that 
although the prophecies of the inspired were almost 
always belied by the event, the insurgents never lost 
their confidence in these oracles of God. 

At this point it becomes necessary to devote a few 
words to Jean Cavalier, the ablest commander of the 
Camisards. He was born at Ribaut, near Anduze, was 
the son of a labourer, had been a swineherd and then a 
baker's boy. He was short and stoutly built, had a big 
head, broad shoulders, and the neck of a bull. His eyes 


were blue, his hair long and fair. Sent as a boy to 
school, he was encouraged by his mother, a venomous 
Calvinist, to oppose and hate everything that savoured 
of Catholicism. Every evening, on his return from 
school, she sought to undo all the doctrinal teaching 
that had been given him there. His father, a Catholic, 
urged him to attend Mass ; the boy refused. The per- 
secution to which the Huguenots were subjected led 
him to quit the land at the age of sixteen, and he went 
to Geneva, where he resumed his occupation as a baker. 
Meeting a Cevenol refugee in the streets of Geneva, he 
was told that his mother had been imprisoned at Aigues- 
Mortes, and his father, as suspected, at Carcassonne. 
He determined to return to the Cevennes, and he crossed 
the frontier in 1702. He found that his father and 
mother had been released, she on promising conformity. 
He at once dissuaded her from attending Mass, and he 
succeeded equally with his father. 

A few days later occurred the murder of the arch- 
priest Du Chayla, at Pont-de-Montvert. Cavalier at 
once offered his hands to The Mower, and he speedily 
gathered about him a body of followers, and they 
secured arms by forcing the doors of the parsonage of 
S. Martin-de-Durfort, where was a collection of weapons, 
but no injury was done to the prior in charge there, 
who had taken no part in the persecution of the 

The area of insurrection extended through six dioceses, 
those of Mende, Alais, Viviers, Uzes, Nimes and Mont- 
pellier — in fact, over the present departments of Lozere, 
Ardeche, Gard and Herault. 

In January, 1703, the Marshal de Broglie, with a 
considerable force of dragoons and militia, went to 


Vaunage in quest of Cavalier, but could not find him, 
for he, in fact, was then in Nimes, disguised, purchasing 
powder. De Broglie was on his way back when some 
dragoons, who were reconnoitring, came to him to 
announce that a large body of Camisards was assembled, 
with drums beating and singing psalms, at two farms 
forming a hamlet called the Mas de Gaffard. He gave 
immediate orders to Captain Poul, who was in command, 
to dislodge them. De Broglie was in the centre, Poul 
on the right wing, and La Dourville, captain of dragoons, 
on the left. When the insurgeuts saw the royal troops 
approach they drew up, prepared for battle, in a situa- 
tion naturally adapted for defence. The insurgents 
received the first volley without breaking formation ; 
they replied by a musket discharge that disordered the 
left wing and centre of the enemy. The militia were 
seized with panic, and in turning to fly threw the 
dragoons into confusion. Poul alone rushed forwards 
brandishing his sword, when a boy threw a stone at him 
that brought him down from his saddle, and Catinat 
rushing forward despatched him. Then seeing the royal 
troops in rout the Camisards pursued, shouting ** Voila 
votre Poul (cock) ! We have plucked his feathers ; stay 
to eat him." 

Immediately after this success the Camisards marched 
to Roquecourbe, near Ntmes, and on the way set fire to 
the church and village of Pouls and massacred several of 
the inhabitants. Thence they directed their attentions 
to Moussac, where was a garrison of militia com- 
manded by M. de Saint-Chattes. They took the place, 
and the whole detachment was either slaughtered by 
them or were drowned in the endeavour to escape 
across the Gardon. 


Cavalier now departed at the head of eight hundred 
men to rouse the Vivarais. The Count du Roure, at 
the head of the militia, attempted to stop him ; a 
desperate conflict ensued in the night. The Baron de 
Largorce, wounded in the thigh, a very old man, fell from 
his horse. Du Roure was forced to retreat with only 
sixty men. Five hundred corpses of his men strewed 
the battlefield. Largorce was lying on the snow. He 
was clubbed to death by Cavalier's men. 

But this victory was a preliminary to a disaster. 
Cavalier was drawn into an ambuscade by S. JuHen, the 
new commander of the troops ; he lost two hundred of 
his men, was obliged to fly and hide himself, and make 
his way back to his comrades in the Cevennes as best he 

As the contest went on, each side became more cruel. 
Forests were set on fire that were supposed to serve as 
hiding-places for the Camisards, villages were burnt that 
were known to harbour them. 

On their side the insurgents did not spare even the 
Protestant nobles who hesitated about joining in the 
insurrection. In December, 1702, the Camisards burnt 
the church of S. Jean de Ceyrargues, and taking the 
cur^ they bound him hand and foot, and putting knives 
into the children's hands, bade them stab him to death, 
encouraging them with the words, " Dip your hands in 
the blood of the ungodly." 

In January, 1703, Cavalier burnt the church and 
thirteen houses in S. Jean de Marvejols, that belonged 
to Catholics, and massacred twenty of these latter, 
among them four women and a child of two years old. 

In February, 1703, at Robiac, the insurgents murdered 
seven persons, among these a woman whom they dis- 


membered alive because she refused to abjure her 

On the 17th of the same month, in the same year, 
the band under Joany entered Chamborigaud and com- * 
mitted atrocious acts. They tied three children up in J 
sacks and threw them into a furnace. A mother flying 
with her five children was caught; her eldest son was 
stabbed with a bayonet and his tongue torn out, the 
youngest had his eyes scooped out, the third was dis- 
membered ; the mouth of the fourth was filled with 
burning coals, and the fifth was brained with clubs. 
The mother was then stabbed to death. The six victims 
were then put on a bed, along with other inhabitants of 
the place, in one heap, and the whole consumed by fire. 
Twenty-four victims perished. When Joany left, the 
Catholics retaliated by destroying the houses of the 
Protestants, so that only two houses remained standing, 
those of the Catholics having been burnt by Joany. 
The two last were burnt by the fanatics on August 27th, 
1703, and three more Catholics killed. Next year seven 
houses that had been rebuilt or repaired were again set 
on fire and three Catholic families slaughtered. 

At S. G^nies de Malgoire, Cavalier took the place in 
April, 1704, and cut the whole garrison to pieces. He 
set fire to the church and the houses of the Catholics, 
and burnt in them seven of the inhabitants and the 
cure and vicaire. 

At Ambais Sommiere, on September 27th, 1703, the I 
band of Cavalier roasted a girl of three years old over 
a slow fire. 

The war was degenerating into fiendish reprisals on^ 
one side as well as the other. But the sad feature in 
this was that the victims in most cases were not those 


who had been actively engaged in hostilities, but inoffen- 
sive peasants. 

Thirty-one parishes in the Cevennes, by order of the 
governor, were destroyed, every house was required to 
be burnt, and three days only were accorded to the 
inhabitants to retire with their cattle and their 

It is unnecessary to relate all the engagements in 
which the Camisards were either victorious or defeated 
by the royal troops. Cavalier and Roland marked 
themselves out as the most able commanders, but Roland 
was defeated at Pompignan, with the loss of three 
hundred men. A month later, April, 1703, a body of 
the same number were surrounded in La Tour de Belot ; 
Cavalier, who was with them, escaped ; the rest perished 
by fire, the place catching from the hand grenades 
cast in. 

The last and final victory gained by Cavalier was at 
Ste. Chatte at the end of 1704, against the royal troops 
commanded by La Jonquiere, who was himself wounded. 
A whole regiment of six hundred soldiers and twenty- 
five officers was swept away by the Camisards. 

Montrevel, the governor after Baville, had shown equal 
incapacity and barbarity. He was now replaced by the 
Marshal Villars, who at once inaugurated a different 
system in dealing with the insurgents. He recognised 
that the cruelties committed had exasperated the evil. 
He announced that he was come to pacify spirits, not to 
outrage consciences ; all he desired was to bring those 
who were in revolt into allegiance to the King. He was 
ready to accept the submission of the Camisard leaders, 
to grant them commissions in the army, and to let the 
past be forgotten. Cavalier received a pension and 


retired, first to Holland and then to England. The 
revolt lingered on, the most fanatical refusing all com- 
promise; but gradually opposition died away, prophecy 
ceased — prophecy that had always proved false and 
had led to terrible disaster. And very many years had 
not passed before dead indifference had settled down 
over a people that had gone mad with zeal. 

When we come to look at what was the creed and 
what the moral code of these Cevenols, we are not 
surprised at this collapse of faith. They had but one 
article of belief — conviction that they themselves were 
the infallible oracles of the Holy Ghost. They had but 
one duty — to overthrow and root out whatever per- 
tained to Catholic faith and worship. They recognised 
but one sin — attendance at Mass. 

Their fanaticism was the natural and irresistible out- 
come of the cruel persecution to which they were 
subjected. Their prophetic trances, revelations, visions, 
ecstasies were due to nervous and cerebral exaltation 
caused by lack of wholesome nourishment. Had they 
been treated as was la belle Isabeau at the first, in- 
spiration, as they considered it, would have ceased. 
Cavalier, with tears in his eyes, when well nourished on 
English beef and ale, lamented that the spirit of pro- 
phecy had left him. 

And finally, what was gained to the Church of Rome 
by these forcible conversions and these butcheries? 
Ferdinand Fabre well says : — 

" No land bears so deeply impressed on it the scars of battles 
fought for liberty of conscience as does our Cevenol country. 
Nowhere else in the world were fire and sword employed with 
more savagery to conquer the human being to God, and no- 
where has it succeeded worse. It is the chastisement of all 


criminal enterprises to lead to ends the reverse of those aimed 
at. Our mountaineers have remained what the Romans 
found them — energetic, sober, satirical. Certainly we have 
no end of processions; corporations and pious congregations 
abound. But it is a remarkable fact, that these gatherings of 
the faithful lack that gravity which a religious character 
should impress upon them. There is prayer, perhaps, but 
most assuredly there is diversion as well." 

Cavalier in England was made a great deal of; he 
was feted as a h^ro, received into the best society, and 
died Governor of Jersey in receipt of a handsome in- 
come ; which he certainly did not deserve, as he had 
shown himself atrociously cruel, not to priests only, but 
to harmless peasant men and women, whose only crime 
consisted in adherence to the faith of their fathers. 


Descent from La Bastide — Viaduct of the Luech — Coal-beds — The town 
of Alais — Rochebelle — Ancient oppidum — Hermitage — The last hermit 
— Sidonius ApoUinaris — The Citadel — Family quarrels — The Cambis 
family — A ghost story — Making polemical use of a ghost — Huguenots 
take Alais — Murders — The Bishopric — The Cathedral — Silk culture — 
Introduction of the mulberry and the worm to Europe — Silk husbandry 
in France — Favoured by Henry IV. — Olivier de Serre — Colbert — The 
Magnanerie — Silk-weaving introduced into England — A disaster that 
proved a blessing — Transformations of the caterpillar — Florian — The 
faults of an Englishman. 

WHEN the train, after quitting La Bastide, has 
passed through a tunnel at the highest point of 
the pass, you rush out of a northern clime, with northern 
vegetation, into a climate with tree, shrub, and flower 
wholly southern. The Allier and its tributaries were 
making full gallop for the Atlantic ; you see at once 
torrents racing down gorges to fling themselves into the 
Mediterranean in which no Greenland icebergs ever float 
to chill alike the currents and the air. Gulfs open beside 
the line clothed in chestnuts, mulberries, almonds, vines ; 
oleanders appear, and the kermes oak with its var- 
nished leaves covering the slopes. 

The line does not descend the first valley entered, 
but bores its way through spur after spur of the 
mountain chain till it reaches the furrow through which 
flows the Gardon d'Alais. Genolhac is passed, that 



suffered cruelly from Catholic and Camisard alike, 
whence Pont-de-Montvert may be visited, and the 
house seen where lived the Abbe du Chayla. 

A magnificent curved viaduct crosses the basin of the 
Luech, carried on two stages of arcades i8o feet above 
the river to Chamborigaud, the tragic story of which 
has been told in the preceding chapter. The line 
traverses the masses of a rock and earth slide from the 
Montagne du Gouffre, and enters a region of coal-beds. 
The coal seams can be seen between sandstone in the 
cuttings for the line. On the right is the donjon of La 
Tour commanding the abbey of Cendras, burnt by the 
Camisards, then gorges and smoking cinder heaps, and 
we arrive at Alais, a neat, pleasant, cheerful town, once 
the seat of a bishop, situated in a loop formed by the 
Gardon,with the lofty rock of Rochebelle opposite on 
the further side of the river. This height was the site 
of the primitive oppidum of Alesia, or Alestia. The 
Cyclopean walls remain in places fairly perfect, and the 
enclosure can be traced throughout Alais never was a 
Roman city ; it was, however, probably a place where 
the iron mines were worked. A hermitage was there 
till the Revolution. When the plague raged in Alais 
in 172 1, a Carmelite, Esprit Boyer, worked indefatig- 
ably among the sick, and on its cessation obtained 
leave to retire to this hermitage, where he planted a 
garden and reared a chapel. On his death another 
hermit took his place, and he assumed the honoured 
name of Esprit, but as he was a drunkard he was nick- 
named Esprit de Vin. He ran away, carrying with 
him the chapel bell, but was caught and ordered to 
return to his hermitage. In 1793 he was denounced 
as suspect, and some individuals were sent up the 


height to arrest him. He refused to open to them, 
and threw stones at their heads and threatened to 
shoot the first man who entered. They, however, stove 
in the door with a pole, whereupon Esprit escaped out 
of a window, but in trying to crawl away unseen fell 
over the rocks and broke his leg. He was taken to the 
hospital and died there. 

In the year 472 that magnificent prelate, Sidonius 
Apollinaris, Bishop of Clermont, and a great noble 
to boot, came to Alais to pay a visit to Tonantius 
Ferreolus, Prefect of Gaul, who had his villa at 
Prusianus, now Br6gis, a little to the south-west of 
Alais. Another friend, a Roman senator, had his 
country house on the opposite or Alesian side of the 
river. Sidonius says : " The Vardo (Gardon) separates 
the two domains. These splendid dwellings were com- 
manded by hills covered with vines and olives ; before 
one of them stretched a rich and vast plain, the other 
looked out on woods. Every morning there was a 
strife between our two hosts, very flattering to myself, 
as to which should have our society for the day, which 
should make his kitchen smoke on our behalf. With 
them we flew from pleasure to pleasure. Hardly had 
we set foot in the vestibule of one or the other, before 
there appeared bands of those who played tennis, and 
above their noisy shouts we could hear the braying of 
cornets. . . , Whilst any one of us was occupied in 
reading or in playing, the butler would come to inform 
us that it was time for us to take our places at table. 
We dined promptly, after the manner of senators." 

Where stands now the citadel of Alais stood formerly 
two castles frowning at one another side by side. The 
lordship of Alais was in the family of De Pelet, but the 


last of the name died in 1405, leaving two daughters 
and the barony to be divided between them. Naturally 
they quarrelled. Each would have the rock and a 
castle on the summit, and as neither could be induced 
to yield a right, they had their two castles and scolded 
and swore at one another out of the windows. At last 
the situation became so intolerable that first one and 
then the other sold their half baronies to a De Cambis, 
and he ran the two castles into one. 

Jacques de Cambis, lord of Alais, was engaged in 
Catalonia under the great Conde. His war-cry was 
" Allez comme Al^s 1" and on his son's sword was in- 
scribed : 

** Je suis Cambis pour ma foi, 

Ma maitresse at men roi, 

Si tu m'attends, confesse toi ! " 

Both Jacques and his son died on the same day, 
August 2 1 St, 1653, of wounds received at the taking of 
Tortosa. With them died out the male branch of the 
barons of Alais. 

On November 15th, 1323, died a citizen of Alais, 
named Guy de Corbian. A week after his burial his 
widow came in great agitation to the Dominican con- 
vent to say that her husband walked and made un- 
pleasant noises in the house, and she begged that the 
prior would lay his spirit. Jean Gobi was prior at the 
time. He took three brethren with him and went to 
the house. As soon as darkness settled in, all at once 
the widow screamed out, " There he is ! There is my 
husband ! " All present were dreadfully frightened, 
but the prior recovered first, and bade the woman ques- 
tion the ghost She asked, " Are you a good or a bad 
spirit?" Answer: "Good." — "Where are you now?" 


Ans. : •' In purgatory." — " Why do you trouble the 
house?" Ans.: "A sin was committed in it by my 
mother."— " What did she commit?" Ans.: "That is 
a delicate question, which I decline to answer." — " Can 
you make the sign of the cross?" Ans. : "Do not ask 
silly questions. How can I when I have no hands?" — 
" How then is it that you can hear, having no ears ? " 
was the shrewd repartee. The ghost hesitated a mo- 
ment and then replied, " By a special privilege of God." 
Now it so happened that at this very period a furious 
controversy was going on between the Dominicans and 
the Franciscans as to whether the disembodied spirits 
of the just had the sight of the Face of God. The 
Franciscans said they had not, the Dominicans asserted 
that they had. The strife became so hot and acri- 
monious that Pope John XX H. on November 12th, 
1323, issued a decision condemning the opinion of the 
Friars Minor. They refused to surrender their tenet. 
The General of the Order appealed from an ill-informed 
Pope to a General Council. Such an appeal is absurd, 
argued their adversaries. A council derives all its 
authority from the Pope. Philip of Valois threatened 
that unless John withdrew his judgment he would have 
him burned as a heretic. But he had not the power to 
carry his threat into execution. Now this ghost story 
occurred a week or fortnight after John XXH. had 
issued his homily, in which he asserted that the dead 
did enjoy the beatific vision. Jean Gobi saw his oppor- 
tunity. He published at once an account of his inter- 
view with a good spirit, and related how that he had 
catechised the ghost on the very point under dispute, 
and that the departed Guy de Corbian had affirmed 
precisely the doctrine for which the Dominicans con- 


tended, and which the Pope had ratified. What better 
evidence could be desired : 

The Franciscans might have replied that they had 
no better evidence than the word of Gobi, and that 
they doubted his veracity. But they said nothing, they 
saw that every sensible man would judge that Jean 
Gobi told fibs. 

**The tenet," says Milman, "had become a passion with 
the Pope ; benefices and preferments were showered on those 
who inclined to his opinions — the rest were regarded with 
coldness and neglect." 

Jean Gobi doubtless had hopes of reaping some solid 
advantages by his opportune revelation. But he was 
disappointed. John XXII. died, and his successor, 
Benedict XII., published his judgment on the question, 
determining that the holy dead did not immediately 
behold the Godhead, thus at least implying the heresy 
of his predecessor. 

In 1567 the Huguenots occupied Alais, and mas- 
sacred six of the canons in the church whilst they 
were singing Matins, as also two cordeliers and 
several other ecclesiastics. But Alais was retaken. 
In 1575 they again surrounded Alais, under their 
captains Guidau and Broise, the latter of whom 
managed to escalade the walls by means of a vine- 
trellis. One part of the population was massacred ; 
those who could fled into the castle. Damville came 
to the aid of the besiegers, and on Easter Eve, after 
nine weeks of gallant defence, the castle surrendered. 
The see of Alais was constituted in 1694. The 
cathedral was consecrated in 1780, and is a heavy and 
hideous building. Only the west tower remains of the 


old church. At the Revolution it was turned into a 
place for clubs to assemble ; but as the church was 
inconveniently large for the purpose, it was decided to 
pull it down. No one in Alais, however, could be found 
to set his hand to its destruction. 

The last bishop, De Bausset, escaped into Switzer- 
land at the time of the outbreak ; but unable to endure 
exile from France he incautiously returned, was 
arrested, and thrown into prison. It was only due to 
his having been forgotten that he escaped the guillotine. 
In 1 801, by order of Pius VII., he resigned the see to 
facilitate the reorganisaton of the dioceses under the 
Concordat, and he died in Paris in 1824. The great 
esplanade above the Gardon before the Place de la 
R^publique, planted with plane trees, commands an 
extensive view over the plain green with mulberries and 
chestnut, and with here and there the silver-grey of the 
olive rising from among the darker leaves like a puff 
of smoke. 

Alais is one of the principal centres of silkworm 
culture in Languedoc, and it has raised a statue to 
Pasteur, representing him holding a twig of mulberry 
in his hand, in gratitude for his discovery of the fibrine, 
the malady which threatened the industry, and for 
indicating the means of arresting the plague. 

Neither the white mulberry nor the bombyx — the 
silkworm that feeds on its leaves — is a native of Europe. 
Both come from China. The history of the origin of 
the silkworm culture and the introduction of both the 
mulberry and the worm into Europe is sufficiently 
curious, and may be summed up in a few lines. 

The Chinese assert that the discovery of the use of 
silk and how to weave it took place in the year 


B.C. 2,697, and great secrecy was observed as to how 
the silkworm was reared and how the cocoon was un- 
wound ; and Chinese laws forbade under penalty of 
death the divulgation of the secret and the exportation 
beyond the limits of the Celestial Empire of the seed 
of the mulberry and the eggs of the worm. 

However, about three thousand years later, in the 
year A.D, 400, a Chinese princess married the King of 
Khotan on the borders of Turkestan, and she, at the 
peril of her life, carried off some of the grains of mul- 
berry and the eggs of the caterpillar, and by this means 
introduced the culture of silk into the domains of the 
king. Some years later, in 462, Japan got possession 
of the means of sericulture by a similar method. 

From Khotan the industry slowly spread to Persia 
and India. 

A century and a half later, about 550, two monks of 
Mount Athos, but of Persian origin, went to preach 
Christianity in the unknown regions beyond the Caspian 
Sea. These courageous apostles penetrated to Khotan, 
and there discovered whence came the silk stuffs that 
found their way into Europe in small quantifies, and 
which were so costly that they sold for their weight 
in gold. 

Rejoiced at their discovery, the monks schemed how 
they might make Greece benefit by it This, however, 
was not easy, as the inhabitants of Khotan, knowing 
the value of their industry, had, like the Chinese, for- 
bidden the exportation of the seeds of the mulberry 
and the eggs of the silkworm. The monks employed 
craft. In all caution and secrecy they collected mul- 
berries, crushed them in water, and obtaining thus the 
seed alone, dried it and enclosed it in their hollow 


bamboo canes. Then they departed on their return 
journey. On reaching Greece they related their ad- 
ventures and sowed the seed. 

The young plants did not fail to spring up, and thus 
was Greece supplied with the precious tree that is to- 
day spread along all the coast of the Mediterranean. 

But they had not done enough. Only half of their 
self-imposed task was accomplished. The Emperor 
Justinian sent for the monks, listened to their narrative, 
gave them money, and urged them to return into 
the East and obtain a supply of the bombyx grain. 
Nothing loath they started, arrived in Khotan, and in 
much the same manner as before secreted and brought 
to Europe in all haste the eggs that would hatch out 
in spring. The date of their return was 553. 

Meanwhile the young mulberries had grown vigor- 
ously, and when the worms issued from their shells 
they found abundant nourishment. They passed through 
their several stages of development and gave vigorous 

European sericulture was created, but was slow in 
making progress. However, in Greece the diffusion 
was so rapid that in a short time what had been called 
the Peloponnesus changed its name to Morea, the land 
of the mulberry. From the borders of the .^gean the 
culture spread to Sicily, to Italy, and to Spain. The 
Arabs, who had already in the East acquired a know- 
ledge of how to produce silk, spread the industry 
through all the countries that they conquered. 

France was slow in acquiring it. The raw silk was 
indeed imported to Lyons and Tours in the latter part 
of the fifteenth century, but it was not till after the 
campaign in Naples of 1495 that the gentlemen who 


had attended Charles VIII. brought back with them 
the seed of the white mulberry and the eggs of the silk- 
worm into Languedoc and Provence. The first mul- 
berries planted there were at Alban, near Montelimar, 
by Guy Pape, Sieur de Saint-Alban. 

The first steps taken in this new culture were slow 
and timid during nearly a century. Francis I. accorded 
special favours. His successor, Henry II., is said to 
have been the first King of France to wear silk stock- 
ings, 1550. The religious troubles and the rivalries 
between the great seigneurs did much to impede the 
progress of agriculture and of sericulture. The culti- 
vators of the soil were crushed by taxation and exactions 
of every sort, as well as by the ravages of rival political 
and religious factions. 

But when Henry IV. was well settled on his throne, 
and the League was at an end, it was possible for agri- 
culture and all the trades save that of the armourer to 
revive. Henry was keenly desirous to raise them from 
the deplorable condition into which they had been 
plunged during the long period of civil and religious 
discord which had marked the end of the dynasty of 
the Valois. 

The Bearnais, who had spent his early years among 
farmers, nourished great ideas as to how to help them 
on and to make trade flourish in the land, so great as 
sometimes to startle his most devoted councillors, 
notably Sully, his finance minister. The King, seeing 
that the industry of weaving silks was on the increase, 
and that to supply the looms raw material had to be 
imported in great quantities, was desirous of en- 
couraging the production of silk in France, and he 
confided to a gentleman of the Vivarais, Olivier de 


Serres, the mission of developing sericulture by writing 
a treatise advocating it. De Serres published his 
"La cueillette de la sole" in 1599. Two years later 
he brought to Paris twenty thousand young mulberry 
trees, which were planted in the gardens of the Tui- 
leries. At the same time Traucat, a gardener at 
Nimes, with royal assistance, erected vast nurseries, 
which in forty years supplied over five millions of mul- 
berry stocks. Sully, who had at first thought the 
King's projects chimerical, threw himself eagerly into 
them when he saw that they were likely to increase the 
wealth of the country ; prizes were offered, subventions 
were promised to such as should take active part in the 
development of the industry. There exist still some 
of the old mulberry trees planted four centuries ago, 
that the Cevenol peasants designated Sullys in com- 
memoration of the great minister of Henry. 

Sericulture made no progress during the reign of 
Louis Xin. It lost ground, and it was Colbert, the cele- 
brated minister of Louis XIV., who resumed forty years 
later the policy of Henry IV., and had to struggle 
against just the same difficulties of inertia and indiffer- 
ence among nobles and peasants alike. Colbert, follow- 
ing the same idea as his predecessors, wished that France 
should produce the raw material needed for the looms 
of Lyons, which were using 500,000 kilogrammes of 
foreign silk, whereas the French harvest produced at 
the outside 20,000 kilos of raw silk. 

To attain this result, exemptions from taxation were 
accorded to plantations of mulberry trees and to mag- 
nanaries of silk. In the Langue d'Oc, the silkworm is 
called magnan, derived from the Latin magnus, as giving 
the greatest profit to the farmer, and the sheds in which 


the worm is brought to spin is called a magnanerie. A 
bonus of twenty-four sols, equal to five francs, was given 
for every mulberry plant that lived over three years. 
The Protestants of the south devoted themselves 
especially and with great energy to the rearing of silk- 
worms. In 1650 De Comprieu, Consul of Le Vigan, in- 
troduced the new industry into the Cevennes from the 
Vivarais where it had taken root, due to the initiation 
of Olivier de Serres. 

A few years later Colbert brought a silk-spinner, 
Pierre Benay, from Bologna and installed him near 
Aubenas, in a factory for the spinning of the thread. 

The production of the cocoon and of silk was pros- 
pering and developing, when in 1605 the Edict of 
Nantes was revoked, and this disastrously affected the 
growing industry. The Protestants, hunted out and 
persecuted, were forced to expatriate themselves, and 
carry their knowledge and their energies elsewhere. 
The creation of silk-weaving factories in Switzerland, 
Germany, and England was mainly due to these 
refugees. Some 50,000 French Protestants had come 
to England. Of these the silk -spinners settled in 
Spitalfields, and introduced several new branches of 
their art. At this time foreign silks were freely 
imported, and about 700,000 pounds' worth were 
annually admitted. But the establishment of the 
refugees in this country led to monopolies and restric- 
tions. In 1692 they obtained a patent, giving them the 
exclusive right to manufacture lute-strings and a-la- 
modes, the two fashionable silks of the day, and in 
1697 their solicitations were effectual in obtaining 
from Parliament a prohibition, not only of the impor- 
tation of all European manufactured goods, but also 


of those of India and China. From this period the 
smuggling of silks from France became extensive, 
reaching, it is said, to the value of ;^500,0(X) per 

In France a disaster at the beginning of the eighteenth 
century gave a new impulse to sericulture in the 
south. The winter of 1709 was of exceptional severity, 
and froze the olive trees of Languedoc and Provence. 
The farmers, obliged to root out their stricken olives, 
replaced them by mulberries, and the rearing of silk- 
worms, the spinning and weaving of the silk made 
rapid progress. From this time sericulture issued from a 
period of groping and hesitation to become a standard 
industry. The production of cocoons rose to six and 
seven millions of kilogrammes between 1760 and 1790, 
again to slacken during the period of revolution. Nor 
were the first years of the nineteenth century, marked 
as they were by the great wars of the Empire, favour- 
able to the industry. But an event that had consider- 
able influence on the destinies of agricultural France 
had taken place. The lands of the clergy and of the 
emigrated nobility had been declared national property, 
and had been sold at ridiculously low prices to the 
peasants on account of the depreciation of the paper 
money of the period, the assignats. The peasants 
worked with enthusiasm and energy on the land as 
proprietors where they had lived painfully as common 
labourers. Great plantations were made on ground 
newly cleared, and so soon as peace gave the people 
breathing time, the production of France doubled as 
by enchantment. From 500,000 kilogrammes, the output 
of silk passed to a million, between 1826 and 1830, 
and between 1840 and 1854 it grew to two millions. 


"The silkworm is the caterpillar of the mulberry-tree moth 
{Bombyx viort) belonging to the tribe of mealy-winged noc- 
turnal insects, of which in the summer evenings we see so 
many examples. The eggs of this moth are smaller than 
grains of mustard-seed, very numerous, slightly flattened, 
yellowish at first, but changing in a few days to a slate 
colour. In temperate climates they can be preserved through 
the winter without hatching until the time when the mulberry 
tree puts forth its leaves in the following spring. This tree 
forms the entire food of the caterpillar, and seems almost 
exclusively its own ; for while other trees and vegetables 
nourish myriads of insects, the mulberry tree is seldom 
attacked by any but this insect, which in many parts of its 
native country, China, inhabits the leaves in the open air, and 
goes through all its changes without any attention from man. 
The common mulberry {Moms nigra), so well known in Great 
Britain, is not the best species for the nourishment of the 
silkworm. The white-fruited mulberry {Af. alba), a native of 
China, is the best, and is greatly preferred by the insect." * 

The silkworm when first hatched is about a quarter 
of an inch long. After eight days' feeding, it prepares 
to change its skin. It throws out filaments of silk, 
attaching its skin to adjacent objects, becomes slug- 
gish, raises the forepart of its body, and finally the 
whole outer case is cast off, including the feet and 
jaws. The newly moulted worm is pale in colour, but 
speedily regains its appetite, which had failed previous 
to the change, and it swells so fast that in five days 
another uncasing becomes necessary. Four of these 
moults and renewals of the skin bring the caterpillar to 
its full size, when its appetite becomes voracious, and 
the succulent parts of the mulberry leaf disappear with 

* Tomlinson's Cyclopedia of the Useful Arts^ sub voce. 


extraordinary rapidity. The insect is now nearly 
three inches long. Beneath the jaw are two small 
orifices through which the worm draws the silken lines 
out of its body. 

Having acquired full size in the course of twenty- 
five to thirty days, and ceasing to eat during the 
remainder of its life, it begins to discharge a viscid 
secretion in the form of pulpy twin lines that rapidly 
harden in the air. It begins now to climb and seek 
out a suitable place for spinning the cocoon. For this 
purpose broom and heath-bushes are erected about the 
trays in which they have hitherto lived and fed and 
sloughed their skins. The insect first forms a loose 
structure of floss-silk, and then within it the closer 
texture of its nest, of an ovoid shape ; within this the 
caterpillar remains working out of sight, spinning its 
own beautiful winding-sheet, the production of which 
reduces its size to one-half. On the completion of the 
cocoon it changes its skin once more and becomes 
a chrysalis. In this corpse-like state it remains for 
a fortnight or three weeks. Then it bursts its 
cerements and comes forth furnished with wings, 
antennse and feet for living in its new element — the 
atmosphere. The female moth flutters its wings, but 
rarely uses them for flight, but the male employs his 
for seeking a partner. As the moth is not furnished 
with teeth, it perforates its tomb by knocking with its 
head against the end of the cocoon, after moistening it 
with saliva, and thus rendering the filaments more 
easily torn asunder by its claws. In the perfect or 
imago form the insect takes no food, and lives only 
two or three days ; the female dies after laying her 
eggs, and the male does not long survive her. 


The cocoons destined for filature are not suffered to 
remain many days with the worms alive within them. 
Those containing male moths are distinguished as 
being lighter than those that hold the female. Only 
so many of each are retained as are required for the 
propagation of the worm. The rest are plunged in 
boiling water or put into an oven to extinguish the life 
in the chrysalis. The reeling off of the silk is the next 

The cocoons are softened by immersion in warm 
water, and then the reeler stirs them with brushes, to 
which the loose threads adhere, and are thus drawn out 
of the water. They are taken up four or five together 
and twisted by the fingers into one thread, passed 
through a metal loop, and reeled off. The silk hus- 
bandry is completed within six weeks from the end of 

The life of the insect from leaving the egg has been 
about fifty days, and in that period what a series of 
changes — transformations even — it has gone through ; 
and all for what, but the produce of one of the most 
beautiful imaginable textures for the adornment of 
womankind ! Verily Nature has made laborious pro- 
vision that she should be coquette. 

Even the severe Quakeress, objecting on principle to 
all adornment, must don a pearl-grey silk bonnet 

On the Place de la Republique is a bronze statue to 
Florian (Jean Pierre Claris), born in the chateau of 
Florian, near Sauve, in 1755, and who died in 1794. 
He wrote plays, stories, verses, and fables. Not know- 

^ De I'Arbousset, Les Cevennes Sericoles, and Cours de Siricultur t 
Pratique, Alais, n.d. Maillot (E.), Ltfons sur le I'er <J Soie, Paris, 


ing much about his works, I went to a bookseller at 
Alais to ask if he had them. 

"The works of Florian!" he exclaimed. "We have 
his statue in the place." 

" Yes ; but that is the work of the sculptor Gaudez, 
not of Florian himself." 

" Les oeuvres de Florian — mais — " The man looked 
puzzled. " He lived a very long time ago. What did 
he write ? " 

" I fancy, fables." 

" Ah, monsieur! you mistake. That was La Fontaine." 

" There is an * F ' in each," said I, " as there is a river 
in Macedon, and there is also a river in Monmouth, and 
there is salmon in both." Of course, the allusion was 
lost on him. 

" I think his works have never been reprinted," said 
the bookseller. " I will tell my child to ask the school- 
master about him." 

Now I happen to possess at home an edition of 
Florian, printed in the year III. of the Republic, 1797, 
and on my return I read some of his works — as much 
as was possible. Among them is an " English novel," 
very complimentary to our nation at the opening, but 
full of the most amusing blunders. The characters are 
Sir Edouerd Selmours, Mistriss Hartlay, a M. Pikle, and 
a Mekelfort. Florian gives a translation into French 
verse of " Auld Robin Gray," but in an evil moment 
appended the original Scottish text, which is rendered 
thus — 

" Vhen the shepare in the fauld, and the kyeat hame 
And all the weary vvarld asleop is gane, 
Thewaes o my heart fall in shovers fra my eye " — 

and so on. 


We have a fault, Florian is kind enough to inform 
us : — 

" lis dedaignent d'ouvrir les yeux sur le merite, sur les 
qualites qui sont propres a chaque peuple ; cette insouciance 
donne a leurs vertus un air d'orgueil qui en diminue I'attrait ; 
enfin, ils comptent pour fort peu de chose I'approbation, le 
suffrage des autres ; et le seul moyen d'etre aimable, c'est de 
les compter pour beau coup." 

I suspect that this criticism is more just than his 
rendering of English surnames and his spelling of 
Scottish words. 



Quissac — A tree gallows — The micocoulier — Sauve — Massacre by the 
Camisards — The abbot's summer-house — Manufacture of essences on 
the garigue — S. Hippolyte-du-Fort — Cruelties of Roland — Ganges — 
The murder of the marchioness — Grotto des Demoiselles — Manu- 
factures of Ganges — Season for excursions. 

FROM Alais the train that runs on to Nimes drops 
one dX Quissac, whence diverges a branch to Le 
Vigan and Tournemire on the main line from Paris to 
Bezier, Narbonne, and Barcelona. Quissac lies on the 
Vidourle, that flows a thin stream in a vast bed of 
pebbles, on which the washerwomen spread their linen. 
The esplanade by the river is planted, and on it is the 
Protestant temple^ a feeble imitation of the Maison 
Car^e at NImes. The parish church is in another part 
of the town, and is an astounding bit of patchwork 
after wreckage by the Camisards. The west front is 
an architectural curiosity. In the little place in front 
of it is a plane tree, serving, I presume, as a gallows 
for all the vermin caught in the place and neighbour- 
hood. When I was there, rats, mice, weasels depended 
from the branches, and a sulky doll that would not eat 
had been hoisted up as well, and was dangling by 
its neck, whilst the little executioner stood below 
haranguing it. 


The micocouHer, or nettle tree {Celtts Australis), is 
much grown around Quissac. This tree flourishes 
along the south of Europe bordering on the Mediter- 
ranean, in Italy, Greece, on the coast of Asia Minor, 
and stretches to the south of the Caspian. The tree is at 
home also in Algeria and Tunis. It is grown here for 
making whip-handles and for pitchforks. For the latter 
purpose it is suffered to have but two or three shoots 
at the top, and pains are taken to give the stem the 
utmost regularity, as that is to serve as the handle to 
the fork. Of the wood is also made the yokes for the 
oxen. The wood is heated in an oven, and given the 
desired bend or shape when hot. 

Sauve bears for its arms argent a mountain, on top 
of which grows a plant of sage (sauve), and in chief 
the words Sal-Sal, that stand for Salvia Salvatrix, 
Originally the town occupied the height where is now 
the ruined castle, but the inhabitants drifted down to 
the abbey, which was below. In the religious wars, 
Sauve was taken by the Huguenots, and remained a 
stronghold of the Calvinists till 1629. In the war of 
the Camisards the Protestants of the upper town offered 
to open the gates to them disguised in the uniform of 
the royal soldiery, but the plot was detected, and in 
resentment the Camisards set fire to the abbey church 
and monastic buildings, murdered the old prior, aged 
ninety-one, and the cur^, aged seventy. They swept 
together forty of the parish priests of the neighbour- 
hood and mutilated them in the most horrible manner. 

The country-house of the abbots of the fourteenth 
century has the inscription on it : " In urbe omnibus, 
in deserto mihi." (In the town I am at everybody's 
beck and call, in the desert I belong to myself only.) 


And " desert " is not at all an inappropriate term for 
the country between Sauve and S. Hippolyte. It is a 
land of disintegrated rock, white as chalk, and assuming 
strange forms, fissured in parts vertically, in others 
horizontally, the wide desert growing nothing but 
aromatic herbs, as sage and juniper. The Vidourle 
sinks and flows underground. The ruins of a castle 
stand above the dry bed at a curve in the channel. 

But even this desolate garigue has its use, as have 
those further south. It grows lavender, rosemary, 
thyme in abundance, savin, sage, savory ; and the 
peasants collect these herbs and distil essences from 
them. To the fragrant essences is added bitter rue. 
The distillation takes place on the garigue by means 
of movable retorts that travel about from one place to 
another. Vast quantities of herbs are required for the 
purpose. Thus, to obtain one kilogramme of essence 
of thyme, it requires 400 kilogrammes of leaves, except 
in May, when the plant is in greatest vigour and most 
redolent, then only half that amount is required. 

The great centre of the industry is Sommieres to the 
south of Quissac, where the garigues are more extensive 
than near Sauve. 

A great rivalry exists between the manufacturers of 
scents in this part of Languedoc and those of Provence. 
All have been hit alike of late years by the fabrication 
of scents out of coal tar, that seems as ready to pro- 
duce sweet odours as it is to yield bright dyes. 

These deserts of limestone apparently grow nothing 
but what is fragrant. Their vegetation expires in sweet 

At S. Hippolyte-du-Fort the mountains draw near, 
terraced up for olives. The town with its three churches, 


commanded by a castle with its walls and towers, is 
eminently picturesque. The town was moved from its 
ancient site, S. Hippolyte le Vieux, about a castle 
built on a rock, Roquefourcade, so called from its form. 
The old parish church was there to the Revolution 
when it was sold. The bulk of the population of 
S. Hippolyte adopted the Reform of Calvin, and 
Catholic worship was not restored till 1601, and then 
only intermittently. In 1774 the bishop found that 
there were only two or three Catholic families in it. 
All the rest were Huguenot " au dernier point," 
although the Protestant temple had been pulled down 
at the revocation of the Edict of Nantes. A garrison 
was placed in the castle. It was attacked by the 
Camisards in vain. Roland entered the faubourgs on 
January 14th, 1704, burnt a church, and slaughtered 
three girls and five men. 

Ganges lies in a valley at the junction of the Sum^ne 
with the Herault, and near where the Vis emerges from 
its gorge to shed its waters into the Herault. It is a 
bright town, with good inns,. and is an admirable centre 
for several interesting excursions. The station is at 
a height at some distance from the town, and near it 
is a huge modern convent, very conspicuous, planted 
on a rock. 

The town contains little of interest except the 
chateau of the Marquesses of Ganges, which unhappily 
is doomed to destruction, as it has been purchased by 
the town to be pulled down and the site to be occupied 
by a market-hall. This is the more to be regretted, 
as it is not only a very fine Renaissance structure, 
but is also rendered famous by the murder of the 
Marchioness in 1667. The story has been often told, 


but must not here be omitted on that account. All 
versions rest on that of Pitaval, taken from the records 
of the Parliament of Toulouse. Pitaval's narrative was 
published in 1734. Unhappily he has decked it out 
with romantic features, drawn from conjecture, to ex- 
plain the motive of the murderers, and we shall be 
obliged to distinguish between these and the facts that 
were proved. 

At the Court of Louis XIV. one of the great beauties 
was the Marquise de Castellane, a woman as good as 
she was beautiful. Queen Christian of Sweden, who 
was then at the Court, declared that she had never 
seen one who was more lovely, and the painter, 
Mignard, took her portrait. 

She was the daughter of a M. de Roussan, of 
Avignon, and after the death of her father had been 
educated in the house of her grandfather, M. de 
Nocheres, who loved her as the apple of his eye. He 
was a very wealthy man, and she would be his heiress. 
At the age of thirteen she married the Marquess, who 
brought her to Paris. When aged twenty she was a 
widow, as her husband was drowned in the Mediter- 
ranean. She then returned to Avignon, and was at 
once surrounded by suitors. Her choice fell on the 
Marquess de Ganges, younger than herself, a man of 
a weak character, but with pleasant manners. The 
marriage took place in 1658. By him she became the 
mother of two children, a son and a daughter. 

After a while the affection of the Marquess for his 
wife died away. Her superiority in mind and character 
offended his self-esteem, and to add to this his brother, 
the Ahh6 de Ganges, did his utmost to estrange the 
married couple. 


The Marquess had three younger brothers. The elder, 
the Count de Ganges, does not enter into the story except 
towards its close. The second brother was the Abb^. 
This man was clever, cultured, of insinuating manners. 
He was not really in Holy Orders, but was one of 
those who at the period assumed a semi-ecclesiastical 
dress, and was given a benefice in comvtendam, the 
duties of which he never performed as unqualified, but 
the income of which he devoured. The third brother, 
the Chevalier, was a poor, weak creature, completely in 
the hands of the Abb^. The Marquess was much from 
home. He lived on bad terms with his wife ; he found 
life dull in a little country town, and he liked the dis- 
sipation of a capital. He left his two younger brothers 
at the chiteau, and placed the management of his 
estates in the hands of the Abbe. 

According to Pitaval, both brothers fell in love with 
the far older Marquise, and the Abb^ ventured to 
declare his sentiments towards her, and was repulsed 
with disdain so cutting as to fill him with resentment. 
Soon after M. de Nocheres died, and left his vast 
fortune to his granddaughter in such a manner that her 
husband could not touch a penny of it without her 
consent. The Marquise at once had her will drawn up, 
bequeathing all her fortune to her mother, Mme. de 
Roussan, in trust for her children, but with the singular 
proviso that this old lady was to leave it entire to 
either one or other of her grandchildren, whichever 
she chose. When she deposited this will with the 
town councillor of Avignon, she added a codicil to the 
effect that in the event of her death and a later will 
being found this later will was to be regarded as invalid, 
as wrung from her against her intent, and that the 


above will was alone to take effect. This provision 
was witnessed by several persons of authority, and she 
insisted further that it should be kept secret and in no 
way divulged. 

On her return to Ganges she was cheerful, saw a 
good deal of company, and seemed to be without 
suspicion of evil devised against her. What made her 
the more easy was that her stepmother was there, and 
in her presence the Abbe and the Chevalier were circum- 

But before long the dowager marquise left for Mont- 
pellier, and her husband also departed. Since she had 
become an heiress he had feigned greater affection for 
her, and had treated her with courtesy. After his 
departure the Abbe had conferences with her. He 
assured her that the Marquess was deeply attached to 
her, but was wounded to the quick by her having made 
a will that passed him over ; that the only possible way 
of concord being completely re-established was for her 
to alter the terms of her will. 

The Marquise was a woman. She allowed herself 
to be persuaded, and under the dictation of the Abbe 
drew up a second will, whereby she constituted her 
husband sole heir. But she did not revoke the other, 
the former will deposited at Avignon, and the Abbe, 
knowing nothing of her final declaration made there to 
vitiate any second disposition of her property, was 

It is wholly unnecessary to accept the romance of 
the passion of the Abb^ for his sister-in-law imported 
into the story by Pitaval, and for which no evidence 
was produced later. She was then aged twenty-nine, 
older than the two elder brothers. The fact of the will 


having been extorted from her, and the prospect of 
being able to share in the spoils should she die, is 
sufficient to account for what follows. The object of 
the Abbe now was to get rid of the Marquise. 

She was not feeling well, and on the morning of May 
17th, 1667, sent for the doctor, and asked for a draught. 
But when this was brought to her it looked dark and 
muddy, and she refused to drink it. It was not proved 
that this was poisoned, but it is not improbable that 
it was so. The Abbe and the Chevalier all day 
seemed restless, and were continually inquiring as to 
her condition, and seemed little pleased to learn that 
she was recovering from her indisposition. 

The Marquise spent the day in bed. Several ladies 
of the town visited her, and she invited them to remain 
for dinner. She appeared in very good spirits ; but it 
was noted that both her brothers-in-law spoke little and 
seemed distracted in mind. She joked the Chevalier 
about this, and he and the Abb^ roused and attempted 
to talk, but manifestly with an effort. Nor would either 
of them eat. Presently the party broke up. The Abb6 
undertook the duties of host, and accompanied the ladies 
to the door of the chateau. The Chevalier remained 
behind with his sister-in-law. His manner was peculiar, 
he remained buried in thought. She asked him the 
reason, but could get no answer from him ; then the 
door opened, the Abb^ entered, and the solution to the 
puzzle was given. 

So far we have the facts from the evidence of the 
witnesses before the Parliament of Toulouse; what 
follows is from the narrative of the Marchioness herself. 

The Abb^ entered the bedroom, a pistol in one hand 
and a tumbler with some dark turbid liquid in the other. 


His features had changed expression. Rage flared from 
his eyes. He locked the door behind him, took his 
station before his sister-in-law, and signed to his 
brother, who drew his sword. At first it seemed to her 
that hesitation appeared in his face and movements, but 
if that were so, it passed rapidly away. The Abbe 
broke the silence. He stepped up to the bed and said : 
" Madame, you must die. Choose steel, lead, or poison." 

She cried out, asking what she had done. She 
implored the two men to spare her. She promised to 
forget their conduct if they would withdraw. She 
turned to the Chevalier. She reminded him that she 
had frequently furnished him with money, and had 
recently given him a bill for several hundred livres. 
But in vain. He also spoke. " Enough, enough, 
Madame. Make your selection, or we shall choose for 

The miserable woman took the glass out of the hand 
of the Abbe. She drank whilst he held the pistol to 
her breast, and the Chevalier menaced her heart with 
his rapier. Some drops falling on her bosom blistered 
it, and her lips were also blistered. The draught was a 
composition of arsenic and sublimate of mercury dis- 
solved in aquafortis. The Chevalier noticed that she 
had not swallowed the dregs. He took a silver hairpin 
and swept all that remained attached to the side of the 
tumbler together into the bottom, and saying, " Be quick 
about it ; drain to the last drop," forced her to take it. 
She received it into her mouth but did not swallow what 
she had taken, but sank back into the bed, and in con- 
vulsive movements turned away and covering her head 
with the bedclothes spat out what she had last taken. 
Then she exclaimed, " For God's sake do not slay my 


soul as well as my body ; send for a confessor." Both 
brothers left the room. They had no reason for refus- 
ing this last request, for the vicar was Perette, a bad 
man who had been tutor to the Marquess, and was in 
the confidence of the brothers. 

No sooner was the door shut than the Marchioness 
sprang out of bed. In haste she drew on her petticoat, 
and opened the window that looked into the yard. The 
window was twenty-four feet from the ground, never- 
theless she leaped down. At the same moment the door 
had opened and Perette entered ; he sprang after her, 
and succeeded in laying hold of her dress and retaining 
her for a moment or two. But the garment rent, and 
she fell to the ground on her feet without serious 

The vicar laid hold of a silver water-jar and hurled it 
after her, but missed his aim. The jug, instead of brain- 
ing her, struck a stone and broke. 

The Marquise found every door of the courtyard 
fastened and locked. In fear of the operation of the 
poison she thrust one of her tresses down her throat, 
and this produced sickness. Fortunately she had 
partaken of a good deal of pudding at the meal, and 
this in a measure prevented the immediate working of 
the poison. She tried to escape through the stable, but 
that was locked. A groom, however, came up. " Save 
me ! Save me ! I must escape ! " she cried. The man, 
overcome with terror and pity, hesitated a moment, then 
caught her up in his arms, carried her through the stables, 
and handed her over to the first woman he encountered 
in the street. 

The Marquise continued her flight. Already the 
brothers-in-law were in pursuit, shouting, " Hold her 


fast ! She is mad ! " And whoever saw the Marquise 
running in her nightshirt, with a torn skirt and with 
bare feet over the pavement of the street, might well 
believe what they called out. 

The people were already assembling and preparing 
to stop her, when the Chevalier caught her at the door 
of a Mme. de Prets, thrust her in, and entering himself 
bolted the house door. The Abbe coming up, pistol in 
hand, stood on the threshold and threatened to shoot 
any one who interfered. His sister-in-law in her mad- 
ness was not to be made a spectacle of to every one. 

In the house of Mme. de Prets a party of ladies was 
assembled. The Marquise rushed into the midst of 
them, followed by the Chevalier, crying out that she had 
been poisoned. The Chevalier declared before the ladies 
that his sister was insane, and they did not know at 
first what to make of this extraordinary scene. Mme. 
Brunette, the wife of the Calvinist preacher in the place, 
gave her some treacle, at the time supposed to be a 
sovereign remedy against poison. She swallowed it, 
but the fire of the poison made the Marchioness entreat 
for water. A tumbler was handed to her, but the 
Chevalier smashed it in her mouth as she was drinking. 
He succeeded in persuading the ladies that his unfortu- 
nate sister-in-law was out of her mind, and begged them 
to excuse such an unseemly irruption into their midst. 

Then the poor creature implored to be allowed to go 
into the adjoining room ; this was granted, but the 
Chevalier followed her, and with his rapier stabbed her 
twice in the breast. She cried out, ran to the door and 
entreated help. He followed, and, blind with rage, 
stabbed her five times in the back. The last time the 
weapon broke and left the blade sticking in her 


shoulder. She fell at the feet of the assembled ladies 
drenched in blood. The Chevalier then ran downstairs, 
and cried to his brother, " Away ! away ! the job is 
done ! " But as they hurried down the street they 
heard the women at the window crying for help and for 
a surgeon. The Abb^, in the idea that the Marquise was 
still living, had the incredible audacity to go back, enter 
the house, thrust the women aside, and put the pistol to 
the breast of his victim. Mme. Brunette struck up his 
hand, and the pistol did not go off. Thereupon the Abbe 
hit Mme. Brunette on the head, and again attempted to 
kill his sister-in-law, this time by braining her with the 
butt-end. Now, however, all the women present fell on 
him, dragged, beat, thrust, and succeeded eventually in 
expelling him from the house. 

It was nine o'clock at night when the murderous 
attempt was made. Darkness favoured the assassins ; 
they knew that they would be pursued, so they fled to 
an estate that belonged to the Marquess at Aubernas, 
thence by boat down the river to the sea, and escaped 
pursuit by fleeing from France. 

The unfortunate Marquise lingered nineteen days. 
The surgeon was obliged to plant his knee against her 
back in order to obtain leverage for the extraction of 
the broken blade ; but she died of the result of the 
poison rather than of her wounds. 

The two scoundrels before they fled had sent a 
message post-haste to Avignon to inform the Marquess 
that his wife had been so treated by them that she could 
not possibly live. He did not hurry himself to go to 
Ganges, and when he arrived expressed no sympathy 
with her, no concern for what had been done, but 
pestered the dying woman about her will, for in 


Avignon he had got wind of what she had done to pro- 
tect it from being revoked. 

The case was tried at Montpellier. The Marquess 
was decreed to have forfeited his title and estates, which 
reverted to the Crown. The Abbd and Chevalier were 
condemned to be broken on the wheel, but as they were 
beyond reach the sentence could not be carried into 
effect. The vicar, Perette, was sentenced to the galleys 
for life, and died on his way to them. Louis XIV. 
conferred the estates of the Marquess on the brother, 
the Count of Ganges ; he held them till his nephew 
was of age, and then surrendered them to him. The 
Chevalier entered the service of Venice, and was killed 
by a Turkish bullet in Candia. 

The Abb6 escaped into Lippe, where, under the 
assumed name of Montelliere, he passed as a Huguenot 
refugee, was received into favour, and was appointed 
tutor to the children of the Count of Lippe. He even 
aspired to the hand of a kinswoman of the Count. The 
latter demurred. He liked Montelliere well enough, 
but objected that he was not noble. 

" Oh ! as to that, do not concern yourself," said the 
Abb^, " I am the Abb6 de Ganges, of whom you may 
possibly have heard." 

The horrible story was known — it had been bruited 
about Europe. The Count was horror-struck, and 
would have surrendered the miscreant to the authorities 
in France, but that the pupil of the Abbe pleaded for 
him, and he was allowed to escape into Holland, where 
the Count's cousin, who had lost her heart to him 
although knowing what a ruffian he was, followed 
him in disguise and married him. Six months 
after his marriage, a stranger accosted him in the streets 


of Amsterdam. "You are the Abbe de Ganges," he 
said. " I avenge the Marquise," and he blew out the 
miscreant's brains. Who the avenger was, was never 

Near Ganges is the Grotte des Demoiselles, a cave 
that has so long enjoyed notoriety that the smoke 
of torches has somewhat spoilt its freshness. It was, in 
fact, discovered in 1780. There are other grottoes finer, 
as that of Dargilan. However, the great hall called 
that of the Virgin, which is one hundred and forty-five 
feet in height, is fine ; in it is a stalagmite supposed 
to represent the Virgin, and another forms a natural 
porch, eighteen feet high and nine feet wide. It 
demands, I think, a special aptitude of the mind to 
appreciate caverns. I, for my part, am so fond of the 
light of day that I do not go underground before my 
time comes. 

There is another at Ganges, L'Aven Laurien, as 
picturesque as it is interesting from an archaeological 
point of view. The phenomenon of this pot-hole is 
one very common in this limestone district. A well 
gapes before you descending to unknown depths. 
Honeysuckle, clematis, wild vine droop down it, disguise 
its presence, and interlace about it in the branches of 
the ilex and the wild fig, flinging their boughs across 
the orifice. Bunches of scolopendria let their long fronds 
droop into the depth, and laurels add their sombre 
verdure to the clear notes of the deciduous plants. 

At 150 feet below the mouth of this pot-hole on the 
mountain flank is a cave, reduced by accumulations to 
a small opening. One can enter on all fours only. 
But after having passed within, a spacious chamber 
is reached about 120 feet in length, with branches as a 


cross, but at the extremity opposite the entrance it 
opens abruptly on the verdant well of the aven. 

It is impossible not to be struck on reaching this 
point at the picturesque appearance of the cave. It 
receives light that filters down the aven through the 
network of foliage above, and long trails of leaves fall 
from above as though to decorate the unsounded abyss 
that opens below. Now this cavern was a habitation of 
neolithic man, as has been shown by finds there of his 
handiwork. But think of the mothers of families re- 
siding there on the brink of that awful gulf! What 
agonies of apprehension they must have been in when 
the little urchins played puss-in-the-corner there ; when 
they saw them totter to the verge to look up at the 
green descending light and the pendent leaves ! If a 
child tripped and went down, its little body could 
never be recovered. But how docile and meek and 
mealy-mouthed the wives must have been when, if 
one raised her voice to scold her lord and master, he 
could point over his shoulder with his thumb to the 
unfathomed abyss where it could be silenced for ever — 
by a push. 

Another aven again is that of Rabanel, down which 
M. Martel has descended. Nothing disguises the open- 
ing of this horrible well, that sinks precipitously 390 
feet. The explorers found a heap of debris at the 

" It took us three days to construct the scaffolding for the 
windlass. I went down first, fastened by a double rope, and I 
spun round forty-seven times in the void, happy to discover 
that the only way to save myself from giddiness was to count 
the revolutions I made. 

" But what a spectacle when I reached the bottom ! A 


slope of rubbish inclined at thirty-five degrees which one can 
descend without difficulty for 60 feet, and then a great vault, 
like the nave of a cathedral, 300 feet long by 45 feet, and 
450 feet high, lighted from above by a lucarne of blue sky, 
the light falling down which, is sifted, strange, glinting with 
violet reflexions from the walls, whence depended stalactites 
formed drop by drop like crystal tears." 

Ganges is a manufacturing town, its speciality being 
the most delicate silk fabrics, ^tarvels of lightness are 
produced. Dyeing the silk is also done here. The 
workers produce stockings so fine that a pair will weigh 
only 185 grains. The spider does not spin a finer web, 
and not so strong, for these impalpable tissues are re- 
markably resistant. The silk is purchased in cocoons 
in the markets of Alais and S. Hippolyte in May and 
June. The weaving is done only by day, and embroi- 
dresses work with their needle adorning the tissues, 
and are remarkably dexterous and tasteful. 

The population is divided into Protestants, who have 
a large circular meeting-house on the Grande Place, 
and the Catholics, who have a stately new church 
opposite the old chateau of the Marquesses of Ganges, 
in another part of the town. 

Excursions may be made from Ganges to explore 
the gorges of the Vis and the Herault, but there is a 
dearth of roads. They do not penetrate these ravines ; 
and to traverse the glaring plateau or to thread the 
burning ravines in summer is impossible. They must 
be visited in April and May, but even March is not too 


Schist ravines — Valley of the Arre — Wolves — Vindomagus — Fountain of 
Isis — Saracens — Priory — ^Jean Peyrenc — Persecution of Huguenots — 
Murder of Daud^ — Execution of B^n^zet — Reprisals — Aveze — Pont 
de Mousse — Brigand barons — A long lawsuit — The Montcalm 
family — Aulos — A man of many duels — The Vis — Montdardier — The 
Ginestous — Causse de Blandas — Navacelles — Le Vigan — The Cheva- 
lier d'Assas — Triaire. 

WHEN the line leaves Ganges it leaves the white 
limestone crags and plunges among broken 
schist mountains, and the curious rugged mass of 
Esparon stands up before one as a fortress against the 
blue sky. The valley of the Arre is entered, and pre- 
sently we arrive at Le Vigan in a pleasant site, a green 
smiling valley enclosed within a triple range, first of 
hills terraced up, step above step, with walls to retain 
the meagre deposit of soil laboriously cultivated. The 
second stage is one of mountains dense with chestnuts. 
Above this rises the rugged range of granite that forms 
the watershed between the Atlantic and the Mediter- 
ranean. Among the higher rocks sprout a few twisted 
and stunted beech, the relics of the ancient forests that 
formerly sheltered the bear, the wild boar, and the 
wolf. These forests have disappeared, partly through 
fires kindled to clear away the lurking-places of the 
Camisards, partly to destroy the shelter of the wolves, 



mainly through the improvidence of the peasantry. It 
has been found simpler to get rid of the wolves by 
strychnine than by fire, and they are now very nearly 
exterminated. But the destruction of the forests has 
had such lamentable results that the Board of Forestry 
is engaged in replanting large tracts. 

Le Vigan is supposed to occupy the site of the old 
Gallo-Roman town of Vindomagus. The name implies 
that a Celtic population was settled there. Magh 
signifies meadow or plain, and vindo is the Latin form 
given to the word we find in so many places to signify 
open country, wind-swept, sun-scorched, rambled over 
by sheep, that still lingers on upon the Welsh border, 
as Gwent. No descriptive appellation could better suit 
Le Vigan. 

The town gathered a little way below the great 
sacred spring that now supplies its fountains and run- 
nels with limpid water, once dedicated to Isis, the 
Egyptian goddess, who was introduced into Rome and 
became fashionable. It is still called the Fontaine d'ls, 
and the bath and remains of her temple are under the 
present corn market. 

The Saracens penetrated the defiles of the Cevennes, 
and attacked and destroyed Vindomagus. They have 
left their traces in the terminology of certain localities 
about the town, as Le Champ de Maoureses and Le 
Camp Sarrasin. 

In the Middle Ages Le Vigan was a walled town, about 
a priory; the prior exercised rights of high justice alter- 
nately with the King of France, each for three years, 
turn and turn about, one of these clumsy, confusing 
arrangements only possible in those topsy-turvy days. 
It suffered the usual miseries also of those days from 


English freebooters. It was always zealous on the 
national side. In the reign of Louis XV. a grandson 
of a barber of Le Vigan became Minister of Marine, 
and fitted out the fleets in the struggle against England 
for the supremacy of the seas and the maintenance of 
French dominions in North America. An epigram 
was written on this man, Jean Peyrenc : — 

" Pour raser I'Angleterre, 
On met au ministere 
Peyrenc dont le grand-pcre, 
Faisait fort proprement, 
Des barbes au Vigan." 

The most woeful time of all for the place was that 
of persecution of the Huguenots. The odious Edict 
of 1685 brought perturbation into the town and neigh- 
bourhood, which had become Calvinist. Companies of 
dragoons were quartered on the Protestants, and made 
them suffer such vexations that the townsfolk passed 
bodily over to the Church in less than a twelvemonth ; 
but thirty families, rather than submit to forcible con- 
version, expatriated themselves. Others were arrested 
and condemned to deportation. Among these was a 
Seigneur du Fouquet, who died on the voyage. His 
daughter, Madeleine, was sent to be educated in a 
convent, and left it only when she had abjured heresy, 
and she became the grandmother of the Chevalier 
d'Assas, a son of the soil, the hero of Clostercamp, 
whose statue adorns a square in Le Vigan, and of 
whom more presently. 

On the night of October 6th, 1686, two thousand of 
the Reformed assembled on a little plateau near the 
height of rOiselette, visible from Le Vigan, to hear one 
of the pastors preach, when a body of dragoons, guided 


by a traitor, Moreau, rushed upon them after having 
shot down the sentinels. The Protestants were armed, 
and seeing the military approach fired on them, and 
shot the captain in command ; the lieutenant was 
stabbed by a bayonet in the belly, and died two days 
later. The assembly dispersed in all directions, but 
twenty-two persons were arrested, and eight of them, 
among them three women, were hung in the market- 
place of Le Vigan. 

On June 5th, 1704, the delegate of Baville at Le 
Vigan, named Daud6, was murdered by the Camisards. 
He was walking home from a little property he had 
at La Valette when he was assailed by shots from the 
insurgents, who had concealed themselves in a corn- 
field. They blew out his brains, but they did no harm 
to Claude d'Assas, who was accompanying him, other 
than depriving him of his sword and his embroidered 
cap. They were caught, and convicted on the evidence 
of that cap found on them. At the same time were 
taken two farmers, who had given them asylum. One 
of these was proved not to be a Camisard, and knew 
nothing of the plot. Nevertheless, at the instance of 
Judith, the widow of the murdered man, he was con- 
demned and hung. 

Two days after, the implacable widow was found 
dead ; she had died of uterine hemorrhage. 

The last of the assemblies of the Calvinists in the 
desert was on Sunday, January 30th, 1752. It was 
presided over by the pastor, Marazel, and a candidate 
for the ministry named Ben^zet, who in his prayer 
invoked God " for the King, the Queen, and the Royal 
Family." That same evening the two preachers were 
in a house at Le Vigan, when it was surrounded by 

THE goat's leap, LE VIGAN 

AVEZE 241 

the dragoons. Marazel managed to escape ; the other 
was conveyed a prisoner to Montpellier. Ben^zet was 
not a full-blown pastor, and it was hoped that he would 
be sentenced to exile only, and his young wife made 
ready to accompany him. But on March 27th, by order 
of Louis XV., for whom he had prayed in the forest 
of Quinte two months before, he was sentenced to 
the gallows. This drama had its terrible epilogue. A 
few days later a woman, Marie Flavier, who was sus- 
pected of having betrayed the ministers, was found 
dead, with her tongue torn out of her head. 

Above Le Vigan is Aveze, where is the sacred 
spring of Isis, the source of the V^zenobres, a torrent 
that flows under a natural bridge called Le Pont de 
Mousse. The spring is actually fed by the stream of 
Coudeloux, that disappears in the fissures of the cal- 
careous rocks near Aulas, Aveze is a village built in 
amphitheatre above the junction of the Gleppe and 
the Coudeloux, which disembouch into the Arre. 
Aveze was founded by three Benedictine monks in the 
year 803. The castle commanding the village was the 
seat of two seigneurs, who successively occupied it, and 
who lived as brigands, pillaging the neighbourhood and 
carrying off women from the very gates of Le Vigan. 
In consequence of a colloquy, one of these robber nobles 
was induced to abandon the castle. To bring the 
other to reason, th^ civil authorities at Le Vigan im- 
plored the Constable Montmorency to lend them aid. 
This he did, and the castle was subjected to a formal 
siege in 1607 ; it was taken, and the sergeant was hung 
from the top of the keep. As to the two seigneurs, 
both came to a violent end. The first, Jean dAyemard, 
was assassinated on the high road by murderers sent 



after him by his enemy, Jean de Vabres, who contested 
with him the ownership of the castle. Three years 
later this second seigneur was shot on his way to Arre. 
The castle of Aveze was a matter of a lawsuit that 
lasted over a century and a half. Sentence was pro- 
nounced against De Beaufort, its legitimate owner, but 
he refused submission to the judgment. He armed his 
vassals, defended himself, and killed some of the con- 
stables sent to demand the surrender of the castle. 
He had, however, finally to yield ; and the chateau 
became later, by a judgment of the Parliament of 
Toulouse in 1788, the property of the family of Mont- 
calm, descended from the Sire de Beaufort. Next year 
the marquess, son of the heroic defender of Quebec, 
came to inhabit Av^ze, and it is a satisfaction to know 
that during the turmoil of the Revolution the venerated 
name of Montcalm preserved the chateau from being 
destroyed. It still belongs to the family, and is sur- 
rounded by a handsome park — as parks go in France. 

Aulas, now a small village, was in the thirteenth 
century the chief town of the barony of Hierle ; and in 
162 1 it was one of the five most important places in the 
district devoted to the principles of the Reformation, 
that was fortified by De Chatillon, grandson of the 
Admiral Coligny. Castle and walls have fallen; they 
were levelled after the peace of Alais. Just beyond 
Aulas is the Chateau de Clapisse, in which was born, in 
1740, Henri de Celadon, Chevalier de Lanuejols, noted 
for his periodic duels. M. de Celadon left home every 
year on a fixed day and took his way to the Isle of 
Basthellasse in the Rhone, near Avignon. At the same 
time, annually, another gentleman left Lyons, and made 
his way to the same spot, from which one or the other 


returned wounded. This continued for twelve years ; 
but on the last De Celadon must have inflicted a more 
than ordinary wound, for on the thirteenth visit to the 
isle, in the following year, his adversary was not there. 
He withdrew, but in the fourteenth year returned, and 
again he with whom he had crossed swords twelve suc- 
cessive times was not there. Then he instituted inquiries, 
and ascertained that his foe had died two years pre- 
viously. What the cause of the long-protracted quarrel 
was never came to light ; De Celadon, who died in 
1 8 10, carried the secret with him to the grave. 

The source of the ravine of that strange river, half 
subterranean, the Vis, is best visited from Le Vigan. 
The Vis, a river as large as the H6rault, where it effects 
its junction with the latter, rises at S. Guiral, near the 
frontier of Aveyron. It passes Alzon, flows below the 
sheer limestone escarpments of the Larzac, and receives 
the immense spring of the Foux, after which only does 
it become a river ; passing between the rocks of Tude 
and d'Aujean it traverses a fine ravine. Montdardier 
{inons arduus) is five miles from Le Vigan, and to reach it 
the Causse has to be passed under from Av^se. Here 
the limestone is so compact that it can be exploited as 
lithographic stones. Much of the way is shaded by 
chestnuts below the white escarpments of the rocks of 
La Tude and of the Pic d'Anjeau, forming the edge of 
the Causse de Blandas, an islet of limestone separated 
from Larzac by the Vis, as is also the much smaller 
islet of Campestre, that lies between the Vis and the 
Virenque. These causses are strewn with dolmens and 
bristle with menhirs. 

The Castle of Montdardier, that has been restored by 
Violet le Due, occupies a well-timbered height above the 


little stream that joins the Arre at Aveze, The village 
clusters about the hill, the extremity of which sustains 
the castle and the park. 

In 1684, the last male heir of the Ginestous, lords of 
Montdardier, was a Protestant pastor. He had an only 
child, a daughter, whom he married to Frangois d'Assas 
on condition that her descendants should assume the 
name and bear the arms of Ginestous. The castle is 
now the property of the Viscount de Ginestous at Mont- 
pellier. In the village are the remains of a hospital of 
the Templars. 

On leaving Montdardier the causse appears before 
one in all its nudity, and the eye that has been gratified 
by the green woods and pastures of the valley is now 
smitten and half blinded by the glare of the bald lime- 
stone, with here and there only a little field of corn 
where some snuff-coloured earth has accumulated. Not 
a stream, not a spring, all the water that falls is 
absorbed and disappears in the fissures to fill the 
mysterious reservoirs that feed the rivers. Flocks of 
lean sheep wander about the waste and eat the herbs 
and bushes that attempt to grow, as well as the burnt 
and scanty grass. Even the droppings of the sheep are 
not suffered to remain and enrich the meagre soil. 
They are carefully collected and sold to the vinedressers 
of the plain. 

Blandas is four miles from Montdardier. There are 
eleven megalithic monuments in this commune alone. 
Nothing breaks the monotony of the Causse, beyond 
the white plateau of which is the blue chain of distant 
mountains, of pure cobalt. All at once, what seems to 
be a fold in the plain gives way, and we stand at the 
edge of a tremendous depression of 960 feet. Below, 


beneath the escarpments of white Jura limestone, a 
silver line appears winding among green meadows, and 
flowing from a cascade. 

" The view of Navacelles produces an impression never to 
be forgotten. I really do not know how better to advise those 
who accompany tourists than to make them halt at a great 
tree about two hundred yards from the gap. There they 
should have their eyes bandaged, and they should be led to the 
edge of the precipice, and their backs turned to it. The 
bandage removed, they would see before them only the naked- 
ness of the Causse. But let them turn about, and they would 
spring back filled with amazement. Even the details of the 
spectacle presented before them are most curious. The posi- 
tion of the declivity against which leans the village of 
Navacelles has an extraordinary resemblance to a gigantic 
oyster-shell, whilst to right and to left the spirals of the Vis 
are surmounted by precipitous rocks in fangs. 

The source of this strange river is not less interesting than 
its canon. In half an hour one reaches La Foux. There 
between the escarped flanks of the Causse the river pours out 
of a deep cavern, and at once puts a mill in movement." ^ 

Neither pencil, camera, nor description can do justice 
to the remarkable scene. The road, a zigzag, descends 
into a veritable crater-like hollow down a shoulder less 
precipitous than the rest of the sides of the abyss, here 
barred with the horizontal beds of rock, there covered 
with rubble slides, scantily sprinkled over with box and 
juniper. At the bottom a ring of green meadow 
encircles a cone of rock. To live in Navacelles 
requires the constitution of a salamander, as the sun's 
rays are reflected from every side. 

' Chante : Un Coin des Cevennes. Paris, Berger-Levrault. 


Le Vigan is becoming annually more appreciated, and 
justly so, as a summer residence. The knowledge that 
it is abundantly supplied with pure water, that it is well 
drained, cleaner than most towns in the Cevennes, enjoys 
fresh air, and is surrounded by scenery of a high 
character, and that almost endless excursions may be 
made from it to places of great interest, have drawn to 
it numerous visitors. I have but touched on some of 
the attractions of the neighbourhood. I would recom- 
mend those who feel disposed to stay there for a few 
weeks to provide themselves with the little guide from 
which I have drawn my last quotation. 

And now, finally, for the Chevalier d'Assas, whose 
statue adorns one of the squares. 

Louis d'Assas was born at Le Vigan in 1733. He 
entered early on a military career, and at the age of 
twenty-seven was captain in the Auvergne regiment — 
that regiment in violet uniform which immortalised 
itself on the field of Parma, in the war in Italy 1733-4. 
The king of Sardinia, the ally of France, was in the 
battle. Seeing the field strewn with the violet uniforms, 
he turned to a French marshal at his side and asked, 
" Where are the rest of the violets ? " " Those not 
cropped are still fighting," was the reply. 

The action that made the name of Assas one dear to 
the hearts of the men of Le Vigan took place dur- 
ing the War of Seven Years. After the disgraceful 
defeats of Rossbach and Crevelt, a detachment was sent 
against the Prussians, and a battle was fought at Closter- 
camp in 1760; the corps of d'Assas lost fifty-eight 
officers out of eighty, and eight hundred soldiers. On 
the night of the 15th October, Captain Assas fell into 
an ambuscade. Surrounded by the enemy, who threat- 


ened to run him through with their bayonets if he 
uttered a cry of warning, he thought only of patriotic 
devotion, and shouted, " A moi, Auvergne ! ce sont les 
ennemis ! " and fell pierced through and through. 

In 1777, Louis XVI. granted a pension for all time 
of a thousand livres to the eldest son of the race. 
During the Revolution this ceased to be paid, but it was 
restored by Napoleon I., and is still received by the 
representative of the family. 

But he is not the only hero Le Vigan has honoured 
by a monument. Pierre Triaire was born there in 1771. 
He was sergeant of artillery in Egypt, and was in the 
battle of the Pyramids, was at the taking of Cairo, and 
was in El Arish, which according to Bonaparte was 
one of the two keys to Egypt. It was defended by 300 
men under the command of Cazal, when it was invested 
by the Turks. A portion of the garrison, discouraged 
by the desertion of his post by the General Commander 
in Egypt at a critical moment, and having but one 
desire, to return, like Napoleon, to France, paralysed the 
defence. Some traitors cast cords down to the Turks, 
who climbed over the walls. At this moment Triaire, 
indignant at the cowardice of a portion of the garrison, 
rushed to the powder magazine, of which he had the 
key, and blew the fort up. According to General 
Desaix, 3,0CXD Turks were destroyed by the explosion. 

This was on December 30th, 1799, when Triaire was 
aged twenty-nine. 

The statue in bronze of Triaire was inaugurated in 



Meteorological station — Battle of the winds — Warnings of floods — 
Different aspects of the Aigoual — The Garden of God — Meyrueis — 
Bramabiau — Exploration of — Valeraugue — Roman road — Barre — 
Limestone cirques — Causse de I'Hospitalet — Florae — Dirty streets — 
Mimente — Cassagnas — Fontaine du Pecher — The Dourbie — Treves — 
Baume de S. Firmin — Prehistoric man — Nant — Source of the Durzon 
— Cantobre — S. Veran — Roquesaltes. 

THE Aigoual is the hinge or knot of the inner 
range of the Cevennes, as Mezenc is that of the 
outer range. On one of its summits sits a meteorologi- 
cal observatory astride on the ridge of the watershed. 
Indeed, so exactly is it so placed, that the rain pouring 
off the roof on one side reaches the Mediterranean, 
whereas that off the other side goes to replenish the 

The station is admirably calculated for the purpose, 
as thence can be watched the atmospheric currents as 
they sweep from the north or from the south, and the 
battle of the winds may be contemplated when the 
northern blast rolls back the moisture-laden currents 
from the south. This battle of the winds is an interest- 
ing phenomenon. Occasionally it happens that a veil 
of mist rising from the Mediterranean is swept forward, 
obscuring the landscape as it gathers density, and is 
propelled by the south-east wind till it reaches the 




Cevennes. It gradually becomes thicker and darker, 
packing in the valleys and then creeping up the heights. 
No sooner, however, has it reached the summit of the 
chain, than it is caught by the north-west wind and sent 
back in flying streamers, like the mare's tails we are 
accustomed to see in our skies presaging a change of 
wind, but with this difference, that these streamers are 
viewed from above. 

The north wind gathering strength, as though muster- 
ing its forces against the audacious invasion of the 
southern vapours, rages and blusters for several days. 
Meanwhile the south-east wind is still thrusting forward 
volumes of vapour and compacting them in the gorges 
and valleys, cautiously throwing up a tentacle towards 
the heights, up lateral ravines, as though to feel whether 
the north wind is still on the alert. Should Boreas 
slacken his efforts, then the clouds climb the mountain 
sides like storming parties and reach the battlements. 
But their success is momentary only. The north wind 
has been dozing, and awakes to resume the combat. 
The heavily charged clouds, packed beyond endurance 
in the valleys, can make no progress, and the volleys of 
ice-cold wind overhead condense the mist and bring 
about torrential rains, accompanied by incessant explo- 
sions of thunder and lightning. In a few minutes the 
granitic or limestone cliffs are seamed with cascades. 
The silver thread that meandered through the meadows 
below is transformed into a yellow raging torrent, carry- 
ing before it masses of rock torn from the mountain 
side, trees, the wreckage of enclosures, houses even with 
their inhabitants. The rivers hitherto sliding through 
rubbly beds, vastly out of proportion to their diminu- 
tive size, swell to the brim and overflow, carrying 


devastation on every side. As in the story of Puss in 
Boots the magician transforms himself into a mouse at 
one moment and into an elephant at another, so is it 
with these Cevenol rivers — what is a rill to-day is like the 
Thames to-morrow. 

Those in the Observatory on the Aigoual perform 
a most valuable service. They can predict the coming 
of a flood, and they telegraph to all villages and towns 
that are menaced, to be on their guard, and evacuate 
dwellings on low ground, and remove their cattle to 

The inmates of the Observatory have become very 
weathervvise, and note many indications of an approach- 
ing tempest. One that is infallible in summer is the 
conduct of the bees. These shrewd insects, that have 
been humming and honey-gathering among the wild 
thyme, fly to the Observatory and cling to the panes, 
darkening them, and remaining motionless till the 
atmospheric disturbance is over. 

How furious the wind may be, and what a force it 
exercises on the Aigoual, may be judged by looking 
at the refuge of the Touring Club that is fastened to 
the rock by chains, like the ropes of a tent. 

The Mont Lozere, though higher than the Aigoual, 
is not so subject to these veritable tornadoes. There 
the wind blows almost invariably from the north. The 
Cevenol peasant says : 

" Se lo nibou h6n de I'Oual prdn tons bioous et bai o I'oustal. 
Se lo nibou bdn de Louzero, prdn tons bioous et bai o lo rego " ; 

which may be rendered, " If the cloud comes from the 
Aigoual, take your oxen and go to the stable. If the 
cloud comes from the Lozere, take your oxen and go 
to the furrow." 


The Aigoual is a granitic mass, reaching to 5,140 
feet, whereas the Roc de Malpertus, in the Mont 
Lozere group, rises to 5,520 feet, but this latter is far 
less suitable for meteorologic observation. Around the 
Aigoual erosion has formed a labyrinth of gorges and 
profound valleys, in the beds of which race torrents 
impatient to reach lower levels. 

From the side of Merueys, the Aigoual does not 
present by any means an imposing appearance. It 
is a domed green mass, on the top of which gleam 
white the walls of the Observatory. From the side of 
La Luzette it bears some resemblance to a huge ante- 
diluvian monster in a crouching posture with fore paws 

On the south side the Aigoual is rugged and abrupt. 
Its precipices descend to great depths. The stream 
of the Claron there in a succession of falls drops to the 
depth of 3,000 feet in a very short distance. 

The Aigoual has two heads, one of these. La Fayede, 
looking towards the sun-bathed basin of the Rhone ; 
the other, that of the Hort Dieu, the loftiest but the 
least picturesque. Between these is a coombe, watered 
by a thousand springs that ooze from the turf and 
nourish a rich vegetation. It is this coombe really 
which is the Garden of God, as the natives term it. 

On the one side the Aigoual rises out of mulberry 
and chestnut woods, torn and precipitous ; on the other 
it is smooth and velvety, wooded only with distorted 
beech. It has been ravaged by the merciless axe of 
the peasant that has left it bald and desolate. From 
the summit a superb view is obtained of the tossed 
and torn ridges of schist mountain, some rounded, but 
furrowed like the face of one very aged, some starting 


up into peaks, some stretching out saw-like ridges, 
some flat-headed, according to the nature of the rock 
of which composed. To the north rises the Tarnon 
that passes by Florae, below which it enters the Tarn. 
A little to the north-east is the Signal de I'Hospitalet, 
and beyond Barre des Cevennes. The old Roman road 
ran over this latter col to penetrate into the heart of 
the Cevennes; it kept to the crest, commanding glorious 

The Aigoual should be ascended from Meyrueis, a 
little town half the population of which is Protestant. 
Near it, and on the way, is the Renaissance castle of 

Here one passes abruptly from the limestone to the 
granite, and at once notes a corresponding difference 
in the flora. Among the limestone rocks the pinks 
show as drops of blood. On the granite are none. 
The fields by Roquedols are white with narcissus 
poeticus, not a flower of that bulb is in the calcareous 
fields. The distance from Meyrueis to the Aigoual is 
just over nineteen miles, and a carriage should be 
taken at least as far as to Camprieu, where Bramabiau 
demands a visit. On the top of the Aigoual a dinner 
and a bed may be obtained at the Observatory. Brama- 
biau may also be visited from Le Vigan. The rivulet 
of the Bonheur, that descends from the Col de Seyre- 
rede near the Aigoual, after flowing over granite and 
schist, encounters a mass of Dolomitic limestone, 
through which it has bored a channel for a distance 
of 1,200 feet. The tunnel through which it flows is 
in one place open to the sky through the falling in 
of the roof The name Bramabiau given to this cavern 
traversed by a stream is onomatopoeic, and signifies 


the bellowing of a bull, as the water in time of flood 
gives forth angry sounds. 

Nothing surprises one more than the apparent in- 
adequacy of the means to the end attained. The 
Bonheur is but a small stream, yet the work it has 
achieved is tremendous. But it must be borne in mind 
that where stands Camprieu was once a lake, the water 
held back by the barrier of limestone, and that the 
accumulated force was brought to bear on the rock to 
effect this tunnel of drainage. Moreover, the rock itself 
was full of holes like a sponge, with large vaults like 
huge bubbles in its interior, so that it was not a solid 
mass through which the stream had to bore its way. It 
was further aided by several springs rising within the 
rock, all working in their several courses to effect their 

The exploration of Bramabiau was accomplished 
in June, 1888, by M. Martel and his guides. They 
attempted first to penetrate by the opening through 
which the Bonheur leaps into light again, but found 
that the gallery consisted of a series of ascents, with 
cascades and pools ; and although by wading and with 
ladders they succeeded in reaching a considerable dis- 
tance, they could not attain to the point where the 
stream begins to dive underground. On the following 
day these indefatigable explorers attacked the tunnel 
from above, where the Bonheur enters, and were able 
to descend to the point reached on the preceding day, 
and further to pursue their course till they came out 
where the stream issues, a distance as the crow flies of 
a kilometre. 

In January, 1888, a man of Camprieu disappeared, 
and there was reason to suspect he had committed 


suicide. As his body could not be found, it was 
supposed that he had flung himself down the abyss of 
the Bonheur ; and, in fact, when M. Martel searched the 
cavern he found the body wedged into a spot where, in 
the cave itself, the stream disappears underground for 
a while, to again reappear and continue its subterra- 
nean course. It goes through these vagaries twice, and 
perpetrates seven cascades. 

"To avoid repetitions," says M. Martel in his account of 
the exploration, " I will say no more of the magic of 
magnesium light under vaults lofty as Gothic naves ; I must 
only ask of the reader to figure, if he can in the profound 
night of these caverns, the deafening roar of the falling water, 
the dispersion of the party groping in all directions for passages, 
the flicker of the feeble candles, the distant calls and signals, 
whistles, and horns, the cords strained, and the ladders set up 
against steep walls, our silhouettes magnified against the walls 
in shadows, and profiled against the boiling torrent, all under 
vaults 150 feet high and at the extremity of galleries of 300 

"One portion of our course was effected only by a series of 
gymnastics, according to the width of the gallery that varied 
from three feet to ten feet, according to how far the ledges 
were practicable — so we crept along, a few yards above the 
torrent, clinging to the rock with our fingers, our breasts 
against the wall, or else wading in the water up to our armpits. 
Often our candles went out, caused by our rapid movements, 
or by the rush of wind that swept through the tunnel ; the 
drip of our soaked clothes, the difficulty of communication 
amidst the roar of the falling water, increased our difficulties 

Where the Bonheur escapes into daylight there is an 
immense rift in the rocks, and out of this the stream 
leaps in a fall of some dignity. Up to 1888 it was not 


thought possible that the Bonheur could be the stream 
that issued at Bramabiau, for anything thrown in above 
never issued below. But the exploration by M. Martel 
solved the mystery. The stream sinks, filters through the 
rock, leaving above that which is thrown in, and issues 
limpid at the cascade that rushes from the entrance. 

The descent of the Aigoual on the sideofValleraugue 
is by a thousand steps hewn in granite and schist, and 
at the bottom of this is the vegetable garden of the 
officials of the Observatory. 

Valleraugue lies at the bottom of a cirque of moun- 
tains at the confluence of the rivers of the Mallet and the 
Clareau, and it is after their marriage that the united 
streams assume the name of Herault. The descent 
from the Aigoual to Valleraugue occupies two hours, 
the ascent .by the carriage road takes seven. Valle- 
raugue is a busy factory town ; the population is mainly 
engaged in silk spinning and weaving. The place is 
almost wholly Protestant. This valley of the H6rault 
as far as Ganges is one of the most active in silk industry 
in the Cevennes. The vegetation is wholly southern ; the 
hillsides disposed in terraces are planted with vines and 
mulberries ; and ilexes abound, providing the tanneries 
with their bark. " This valley," says Ardouin Dumazet, 
" is a synthesis of all the somewhat severe graces of the 
Cevenol land." The Roman road over I'Hospitalet 
has been already referred to. It runs from Avignon to 
Anduze and then ascends the crest above the Gardon, 
and passing under Barre stretches away to Florae. Barre 
itself occupies a Gallo-Roman oppidum, of which traces 
remain, and throughout the neighbourhood relics of the 
Roman tenure of the land are found. After the Col 
dAire de Cote ensues a series of frightful cirques, whose 


vertical walls crumble away by degrees under the action 
of the weather. The flanks of the mountain areprofoundly 
breached, and form precipices. The nature of the rock 
contributes to augment the savagery of the region. It 
is composed of schists steeply inclined towards the 
north, and penetrated by numerous veins of porphyry 
that metamorphized them. Here are needles, here 
masses of schist support tables of limestone. A little 
triangular plateau, a lost islet of the Causse, succeeds 
to the schists. This is the Can de I'Hospitalet. 

"Here, atmospheric agencies have carved the strangest 
edifices. Huge calcareous hats cover and overhang slender 
schistous supports, shaped like the tables in a glacier. Many 
of these gigantic mushrooms have reeled on their corroded 
stalks and are thrown into a sloping position like fallen 
dolmens. The plateau of I'Hospitalet is both picturesque and 
of scientific interest." ^ 

Florae hardly comes within the range that I have 
marked out for description, and yet some words must 
be given to it, as it was the centre of the Cevenol 
revolt, and was the scene of several conflicts and of the 
execution of Camisards. 

It is a very dirty place, originally walled ; the houses 
were so crowded that the streets were contracted to the 
narrowest possible width. One has to be careful not to 
walk down them before eight o'clock in the morning, as 
all the slops are thrown from the windows into the 
street, and may fall on the head of the incautious 
passenger ; and here no warning call is given, as in the 
narrow lanes of old Edinburgh, to put the man in the 
street on his guard. What is cast forth remains where 
it falls till torrential rains sweep away the accumulated 

^ Martel : Les Cevenves. Paris, 1891. 


filth of weeks and even months. In the Languedoc 

towns that reek with evil odours, in a country too where 

the hillsides are redolent with aromatic herbs, lavender, 

sage, marjoram, rosemary, beds of violets, thyme in 

sheets, one can hardly help repeating the lines of 

Bishop Heber : 

" What though the spicy breezes 
Blow sweet o'er Ceylon's isle, 
And every prospect pleases, 
Yet only man is vile." 

But it is not man who is vile, that he is nowhere, it is 
the refuse he casts about him that is offensive, and the 
offensiveness is a provision of nature to instruct him to 
remove it beyond the reach of the nose. But familiarity 
must breed a liking for these disgusting odours, or 
women would not sit on their doorsteps all day working 
and chatting, and let their children play about amidst 
festering garbage. 

Florae is, in spite of dragonades and gallows and the 
stake, almost entirely Protestant. The large meeting- 
house contains nothing but a pulpit and bare benches. 
The Catholic church is a new and mean structure, the 
temple bare as a barn, the church ugly as a modern 
French architect can make one. 

Florae is near the influx of the Mimente into the 
Tarnon. The three valleys of the Mimente, the Tarn, 
and the Tarnon lead into the inextricable labyrinth of 
defiles in which the Camisards were able to establish 
their arsenals, hospitals, and storehouses. The Mi- 
mente rises in the mountain of Bouges, whose summit 
is crowned by the forest of Altefage, where under three 
huge beech trees met the murderers of the Abb^ du 
Chayla. At Cassagnas, a village near the source of 


the Mimente, the caverns may be inspected that served 
the Camisards as magazines, filled with corn, wine, oil, 
and above all chestnuts. Roland had established here 
a powder factory ; the saltpetre was obtained, as later 
during the European wars of Bonaparte, from the 
numerous caverns that contained the bones of extinct 
beasts. Drugs were procured for the wounded from 
Montpellier, where there were many well-wishers ready 
to smuggle them into the mountains. When the water- 
mills for grinding the corn were destroyed by the 
military commander of Languedoc, the Camisards 
reverted to the use of querns. In some of the caves 
whole flocks and herds were secreted ; others were 
stored with salted meat. 

Florae possesses its natural curiosity, the Fontaine du 
richer, that discharges the water infiltrated from the 
plateau of M^jan. It pours forth in an abundant 
stream and forms a cascade, but the water is at once 
eagerly captured for the purpose of irrigation. During 
the winter and after a storm it vomits forth a torrent 
with a roar like that of a lion. 

After a visit to the summit of the Aigoual it would 
be well to descend the Dourbie to Milau, reaching the 
Dourbie by the ravine of the Tr^vesel. The Pas de 
r Ase is a profound gorge, i ,200 feet deep, between fiery- 
red dolomitic cliffs, in three stages superposed and 
separated by slopes of detritus. At midday, when the 
sun streams down on these rocks, the effect is dazzling. 
At Treves, where are coal mines, is the cave called the 
Baume de S. Firmin, and near by the ruins of a castle. 

S. Firmin was the grandson of Tonantius Ferreolus, 
Prefect of Gaul, who, as we have seen, was the host of 
Sidonius Apollinaris. He had a villa here, Trevido, as 

S. FIRMIN 259 

the town was then called, and in it he died in the year 
470. Firminus was educated by his uncle Noricus, 
Bishop of Uzes, the son of Tonantius, and he in turn 
became bishop of the same see, and died at the early 
age of thirty-seven, in the year 553, and was succeeded 
by his nephew, Ferreolus ; so that at that time it is 
pretty clear bishoprics had become the perquisites of 
members of the great families of Gallo-Roman origin. 
When S. Firmin visited his grandfather or his father, at 
Treves, he was wont to retire to the cave that bears his 
name, for reading and devotion. Possibly the dampness 
of this grotto may have sowed the seeds of the disorder 
from which he died. The cave runs deep into the 
mountain, and is adorned with numerous white and 
graceful stalactites. But it is very damp; notwith- 
standing this, prehistoric man occupied it, for in the 
first two halls of the grotto have been found old hearths, 
remains of feasts, broken and split bones, and fragments 
of badly burnt pottery. 

About ninety feet above the Baume de S. Firmin is 
another cave forming a great vault that is filled with 
water during heavy rains. Nevertheless man inhabited 
it at a remote period; for thence also have been 
excavated numerous fragments of vessels, which by 
their paste and ornamentation show that they belonged 
to the age of polished stone. 

How the men of that period must have suffered from 
rheumatism ! And it has been noticed that among the 
bones of prehistoric man, who was a cave dweller, 
rheumatic swellings of the joints are common. Usually 
the caves in limestone and chalk are tolerably dry. 
France must have teemed with peoples at that early 
period, for not only on the Causse, but also in the chalk 


districts of Dordogne and Lot, and in the sandstone 
regions of Maine-et- Loire and Vienne, troglodite habita- 
tions abound. 

After crossing the Col de la Pierre-Plantee, the road 
winds down into the valley of the Dourbie, which 
wriggles along at a great depth below between rocks 
of quartz and schist, then passes among chestnut trees, 
and reaches S. Jean-du-Bruel, when we are in the valley 
of the Dourbie. Here comes in the road from Saudieres, 
where is a station on the line from Le Vigan to the 
junction on the main line opposite Roquefort ; and the 
lower valley of the Dourbie can be visited from Le 
Vigan by taking the train to Saudieres and a carriage 
thence to Milau. 

Nant, a little town on the left bank of the Dourbie, has 
a Celtic name, very descriptive, for Nant signifies a valley 
or a river bottom. Nantes in Brittany has the same 
derivation, as has also Devon in Welsh, Dyffneint, the 
county of valleys. So also the Dourbie and the 
Durzon proclaim that they were named by Celts, for 
dotir signifies water in Welsh. 

The church of S. Pierre of the twelfth century is all 
that remains of a Benedictine abbey ; the Romanesque 
chapel of S. Alban stands on a barren rock 2400 feet 
high. But the great attraction is the source of the 
Durzon, as Reclus describes it : — 

" A little river issuing from a deep foux some six or seven 
kilometres from Nant, near the Mas-de-Pommier, at the 
bottom of a cirque where walls, which are those of the 
Larzac, rise above the well to the height of 900 feet. There 
opens a great gulf, im dormant qui tie dort pas toujours. A 
slight rain on Larzac agitates it, and it begins to boil languidly 
in the centre of the well ; but after a long rain, a storm, or the 

S. VERAN 261 

melting of the snows, the water rises in clashing floods like a 
cascade turned upside down; it is no longer a murmuring 
stream, but a growling torrent whose voice breaks the austere 
silence of the cirque." 

Still descending the valley, we see perched high up on 
the right the curious village of Cantobre, on a point of 
the Causse Begon, shaded by gigantic dolomitic mush- 
rooms, and comprised within the walls of a ruined castle 
that was destroyed in 1660, after its owner, Jean de 
Fombesse, had been executed as a coiner. 

But more curious even than Cantobre is the village of 
S. Veran, plastered against the rocks which shoot up 
into needles. The ravine opening behind it describes 
a circus bristling with pinnacles and rocks scooped out 
and shaped into the most fantastic forms. The whole 
is commanded by an immense wall of limestone on 
which, and intermingled with which, are the artificial 
structures of a castle, the cradle of the family of Mont- 
calm, whose most illustrious member was the Marquess 
who fell on the heights of Abraham, 14th September, 
1759, in the struggle over Quebec, that cost also the life 
of Wolfe. The inhabitants of this poor hamlet, in a 
barren and waste land, are themselves wretchedly poor. 
Some one said to one of them : " So, the Montcalms 
left this place ! " " Aye ! and would to God we could 
leave it too," was the reply. 

Below this is La Roque, whence Roquesaltes may be 
visited, and the Rajol, extraordinary groups of rocks 
little less curious than those of Montpellier le Vieux, that 
are also reached from the valley of the Dourbie. But 
these I have described elsewhere, and I am not so 
garrulous that I care to repeat myself. 


Ferdinand Fabre — His novels — Biography — The uncle — Discouragement 
— Les Courbezon — B6darieux — Ruined by a strike — Herault — The 
Population — Iberians — Ligurians — Umbranici — The Gauls — Chestnuts 
— The Beaters — Ballad of the Chestnut-tree — The S^choire — F6tes in 
Herault — Carotat at B^ziers — Pepezuc — The Ass of Gignac — Roquefort 
Cheese — Le Bousquet d'Orbe — Lamalou — N. Dame de Capimont — 
Extinction of the hermits — Villemagne — Gorge of the H6ric — S. 
Gervais — The church spire — The inhabitants of the Highland and of 
the Lowland— The Pillard. 

THE number of readers of the novels of Ferdinand 
Fabre in England is but few, I fear ; but those 
few recognise in him one of the most graceful and 
delightful of writers. His novels may be divided into 
two categories : those that deal with his reminiscences of 
early life in the Cevennes about Bedarieux, and those in 
which he combats the intrigues of the Jesuits, " they 
which creep into houses, and lead captive silly women 
laden with sins " ; or who meddle with and thwart the 
good work of the simple country and town cures, acting 
as spies for Rome on the bishops and the parochial 

To the first class belong — I mention only the best — 
Les Courbezon, Julien Savignac, Mon Oncle Cdestitiy 
Barnab^, Monsieur Jean, and Xaviere. To the latter 
a series — La Paroisse du Jugement Dernier, Le Calvaire 
de Mme. Fuster, Le Couvent de la Falosque Bergonnier, 



L Hospice des Enfants Assisth ; and the purely clerical 
romances, Lucifer and VAbb^ Tigranne. 

The delicacy of touch, the exquisite delineation of 
character among the peasantry of the Cevennes, and 
the beautiful descriptions of scenery and bird life in the 
first category make these stories essential to a know- 
ledge of the country I am describing in this chapter, 
and no one should visit it without having read at least 
some of them. Ferdinand Pabre was born in 1830 at 
B6darieux, and was the son of an architect. After 
having spent his first school years in his native place, he 
was committed to his uncle, the cur6 of Camplong, and 
he remained with him for two years. These years left 
an indelible impression on his mind. The happy life 
in the country, the habits of the villagers, the ways of 
the birds, the bald causses, and the chestnut woods of 
the valleys; above all, the kind, simple-minded old uncle, 
and the grumbling, economising, but tender-hearted 
old housekeeper, filled the young heart so full, that it 
was Fabre's delight in mature life to pour forth his 
reminiscences of those two happy years. The uncle 
and the housekeeper recur again and again, the former 
either as the Abbe Courbezon, the Cur6 Fulcran, or 
Mon Oncle Celestin. 

On leaving Camplong, Ferdinand entered the Petit 
Seminaire at S. Pons, and thence passed in due time 
to the Grand Seminaire at Montpellier. It was there 
that he made those experiences of clerical life that he 
has given forth in the remarkable novel, VAby Tigranne^ 
remarkable if only in this particular, that it is a novel 
without a woman in it. This story represents the 
conflict of an ultramontane bishop imposed on the 
diocese with his clergy, who are Gallican-minded. 


Not feeling a vocation for the priesthood, Fabre 
went to Paris, and was at first a lawyer's clerk, but 
was soon left to his own resources. There he published 
his first literary venture, Feuilles de Lierre^ 1853, which 
attracted little notice, and, disheartened, with enfeebled 
health, he returned to the south. Then he began to 
write stories concerning scenes and personages with 
which he was intimate. He produced Les Courbezon 
in 1862, and this "caughfon" at once. The charm of 
style, the sweetness of mind it displayed, the keenness 
of insight into character, and the daintiness of descrip- 
tion caused the literary world to realise that a writer 
of extraordinary merit had risen as a star on the 
horizon. Les Courbezon was crowned by the Academic. 
Next year, 1863, appeared Julien Savignac, a study of 
a mind affected with incipient insanity. The tale is 
powerful and painful. Le Chevrier was produced in 
1868, a disappointing performance, but, with the curious 
perversity that characterises many an author, preferred 
by Fabre to his other works ; and as it did not obtain 
success as a novel, he converted it into a drama, which 
was also a failure. Barnabi, an excellent study of a 
class of men now completely passed away, appeared 
in 1875. Fabre died in Paris on 11 February, 1898. 

Bedarieux is, or rather was, a busy manufacturing 
town, with forges and glass works, indebted for its coal 
to the neighbouring mines of Grassensac. But a few 
years ago a strike took place. The ironmasters and 
glassmasters could not meet the demands of the men, 
and forges and factories have since been closed, and 
the population has dwindled to nearly half what it was. 
This also has seriously affected the miners of Grassensac. 

Bedarieux is on the Orbe at the confluence into it 


of the Courbezon. The station is three-quarters of a 
mile from the town. There is nothing of interest in 
the place itself, except the church of S. Alexandre of 
the fifteenth century, and that not remarkable. For 
a centre of excursions it is good, but preferable is 
Lamalou-les- Bains, where are excellent hotels; but 
Bedarieux must be tarried at for a few nights if Roche- 
fort, Lunas, and Boussagues are to be visited, or much 
time will be lost in the trains. Bedarieux is the station 
of bifurcation of three lines from the main trunk from 
Clermont to Beziers, and any one who has had experi- 
ence of French lines will know that as often as not 
this implies a tedious halt, perhaps of an hour, at the 
station where a change has to be made. 

The nature of the mountains through and by which 
flows the Orb differs greatly from that of the schisty 
Cevennes — the Cevennes proper — and the limestone 
of the causses and of the garigues. They are a 
ripple rather than a billow, and being sheltered from 
the north winds by the high range at their back form 
a sort of natural hothouse, in which the sweetest fruits 
of a southern clime ripen readily, where the spring 
comes earliest and the autumn sun lingers longest. 

In the Languedoc plain, in Roussillon, even to 
Perpignan, the icy blasts from the Cevennes are 
dreaded. The olives, the planes, the mulberries are 
bent, leaning towards the south, permanently given this 
incline under the influence of these cruel winds. They 
scourge Beziers and Montpellier as with a cat-o'-nine- 
tails dipped in water that has been frozen. But these 
winds pass over Bedarieux and the valley of the Orb 
to expend their violence elsewhere. Here in the upper 
reaches of the Orb the vine, the fig, the olive, the 


pomegranate, the almond, the nettle -tree luxuriate, 
untortured, unnipped. 

Villages are many, clustering as so many sets of 
beehives in every warm and sheltered nook that faces 
the sun, and has a mountain wall at its back. 

And it is precisely here, where least wanted, that a 
prodigal nature lavishes heating material in beds of 
anthracite and other coal. 

"The peasants of the low hills of the Monts d'Orb are 
less accessible to superstition than those of the highlands, 
but they have less character and veritable greatness. The 
sun has not only heated their land, it has also sucked up from 
their brains all those vapours full of poetry that make of the 
merk of the causses a type original and picturesque. Between 
the inhabitant of Servier, who never sowed a seed, and he 
of Camplong, who gets fuddled on new wine, the distance is 
immeasurable, and yet they are parted by nothing more than 
the granite mass of Bataillo." 

This is what Fabre says of the natives. There are 
two types not due to difference of blood, but of sur- 
roundings and of occupations. We are now in the depart- 
ment of H6rault, of Lower Languedoc, and I may be 
allowed a few words on the mixture of peoples of 
diverse origin that have been fused together into a 
homogeneous race. 

From a period before history began, this country was 
inhabited by populations of diverse origins, habits, and 
language, drawn thither by the delicious climate, its 
natural resources, or simply by the chance of migration. 
One fact characterises the establishment of the tribes 
or nationalities in these parts ; so far as we can judge, it 
was their attitude towards the people who preceded 


them. If some of them swept away the indigenous race, 
more often they planted themselves beside the earlier 
population peaceably and fused with them. Most of 
these invaders seem to have possessed gentle manners, 
and were not goaded on by the passion for extermina- 
tion, for which there was no provocation or need, as the 
land was wide and rich enough to sustain all. This 
mode of colonisation had the result of filhng Lower 
Languedoc with very heterogeneous inhabitants, the 
complexity of which explains the apparent contradic- 
tions of early writers. But on one point these writers 
are unanimous : the variety of races or mixtures that 
occupied the land in Gallia Narbonensis. In the first 
century before Christ, Cicero notices this ; and in the 
fourth century after Christ, Ausonius sang : " Who can 
record all thy ports, thy mountains and thy lakes, who 
the diversity of thy peoples, their vestures and their 
languages ? " 

The most ancient inhabitants recorded were the 
Iberians, who extended their domination over the 
Spanish peninsula and to the Rhone on the east, which 
formed the boundary between them and the Ligurians. 
But at a time difficult to determine these latter crossed 
the river and invaded the territories of the Iberians. 
But instead of expelling the conquered peoples, the 
Ligurians, having an aptitude for absorption, mingled 
with those whom they had subdued and formed the 
mixed race of the Iberian-Ligurian. There was, 
however, already in the land a third nation, that of the 
Umbranici, apparently the same as the Umbrians of 
Northern Italy. They have left their name at Ambrus- 
sum, now Pont-Ambroise, on the Vidourle. Twenty- 
three inscriptions remain, mostly in Gard, in an unknown 


tongue, but written in Greek characters, that bears an 
affinity alike to the Ossian and Umbrian language in Italy. 

The Greek trade of Marseilles spread through the land. 
At Murviel, a cyclopean enclosure, not many miles from 
Montpellier, have been found Greek coins of Marseilles. 

In the fourth century before the Christian era a new 
ethnic element came to add to what already existed. 
The Gauls appeared in the land. A branch of this stock 
was that of the Volci. These established themselves 
between the Rhone and the Garonne, and extended their 
authority over the Ibero-Ligurians. These new arri- 
vals seem to have treated the conquered much as the 
Ligurians had the Iberians. They established them- 
selves peaceably among them or alongside of them. 
This was the more easy, for, as Strabo says, though the 
Gauls belonged to a wholly different stock, yet they 
resembled the Ligurians in their mode of life. 

Their dominion was not for long — not for more than 
two centuries — for in B.C. 121 their country was con- 
quered by the Romans. 

Such, then, is the origin of the population of Lower 
Languedoc, and explains the diverse origin of the 
names of rivers, mountains and towns, some Iberic, 
some Celtic, some Latin, some of undiscoverable deriva- 
tion, given perhaps by the Umbrian colony. 

The staple of life in the Cevennes, mainly in the 
southern portion, is not corn, but the chestnut. That 
is why we see this tree everywhere, old and twisted, but 
sturdy still, young and vigorous when recently planted. 
But unhappily a malady has broken- out among them, 
the cause of which has not been discovered with cer- 
tainty, nor has any remedy been found efficacious. In 
some years the leaves fall in September, and the fruit 


comes to nothing, reducing the people to a condition 
almost of famine. In order to preserve the nuts through 
the winter and spring and prevent the sprouting, they 
are subjected to desiccation in cledes that may be seen 
as a part of the outbuildings of every farmhouse and of 
many cottages. 

The Spanish chestnut is a beautiful tree. It was 
indigenous in England. A few years ago I was draining 
a field by the river, and cut down to glacial clay nearly 
nine feet below the surface, and lying on this was a huge 
tree, black as ebony. With great labour I had it 
removed to the sawmill, thinking it to have been black 
bog oak. It was Spanish chestnut, and since then others 
have been found in the same valley. It seems willing 
to grow anywhere. The peasants build up terraces no 
larger than a doormat, and it grows there. But where 
there is plenty of soil it will grow much more vigorously 
than on a ledge of rock. 

" I wish," said R. L. Stevenson, " I could convey a notion 
of the growth of these noble trees ; of how they strike out 
boughs like the oak, and trail sprays of drooping foliage like 
the willow ; of how they stand as upright fluted columns like 
the pillars of a church ; or like the olive, from the most 
shattered bole can put out smooth and youthful shoots, and 
begin a new life upon the ruins of the old. Thus they 
partake of the nature of many different trees ; and even their 
prickly top-knots, seen near at hand against the sky, have a 
certain palm-like air that impresses the imagination. But this 
individuality, although compounded of so many elements, is 
but the richer and the more original. And to look down upon 
a level filled with these knolls of foliage, or to see a clan of 
old unconquerable chestnuts cluster like herded elephants 
upon the spurs of a mountain, is to rise to higher thoughts of 
the powers that are in Nature." 


I believe that the reason why we have so few old 
chestnuts in England, why we have not woods of them, 
is that the rabbit dearly loves its sweet bark when young. 
In planting chestnuts they must be protected by wire, 
or every one will be pealed in early spring by these 
wretched rodents. The beating of the trees and the 
gathering of the fallen chestnuts is a great festival 
among the Cevenol, as is the vintage in the plains. I 
will give an account of the beginning of the gathering 
in from the pen of Ferdinand Fabre. I must premise 
that the mountaineers from the bald causses come 
down to the zone where the precious tree grows and 
hire themselves out as beaters and gatherers. A body 
of men, mostly young, arrive in a village waving 
branches, and is met by the old people in the 

" Our old men and women, very attached to the Fete of the 
Chestnuts which brightened their youthful years, had quitted 
the fireside and had advanced to the first house of the village. 
There they drew up in file, ranged against the south wall. 
From one end of the line to the other the features were grave 
with wrinkles and furrows, softened on some by their white 
hair. Warped, bowed, shivering, they looked ahead with glassy 
eyes kindled with curiosity. The young folk of the mountain 
were about to pass by and they desired to see them, and in 
seeing them revive recollections of their own young days, and 
warm themselves thereat. 

*' At the first house the arrivals halted ; then waving their 
boughs in salutation, asked altogether, ' Good folk, how go 
the chestnuts this year ? ' ' Very well, children,' replied the 
old people. Then a little woman, aged eighty-five, detached 
herself from her nook in the wall and advanced towards the 
beaters. * You have not forgotten, friends, the Complaint of 


the Chestnut Tree ? ' ' To be sure, the Complaint of the 
Chestnut Tree,' cried all. 

" From the midst of the grove of boughs carried in their 
hands, and which seemed suddenly to have taken root in the 
soil of the road, rose the Complainte (ballad), so popular 
among the Cevenols of the south, and which, like most of their 
popular songs, express their toil, their sweat, their sighs of 
hunger at last assuaged by labour. 

" Quand le chataignier est plante 
II monte, monte, monte ! 
Quand le chataignier est plants 
Nous buvons largement k sa sante. 

Quand le chataignier est en fleur, 

Belle, belle, belle ! 
Quand le chataignier est en fleur, 

Le pays prend son odeur. 

Quand le chataignier a graine, 

II graine, graine, graine ! 
Quand le chataignier a graine, 

Chacun danse dans son pre. 

Quand les chataignes nous avons, 

Bonnes, bonnes, bonnes ! 
Quand les chataignes nous avons, 

Nous les mangeons, puis nous mourons. 

" After the fourth couplet the ballad was interrupted. 
Our Cevenols raised their boughs, brandished the leaves, and 
made therewith the sign of the cross, 

* On your knees ! ' said the old woman, extending her hand. 
The beaters knelt at once. Then, all at once, from a thousand 
sturdy breasts young for the most part, rolled forth the final 
verse of the Complainte du Chataignier. It was as grand, as 
beautiful, as sublime as any psalm, any hymn I have heard in 
any church. 


" Cevennes pleins de rochers, 
Hautes, hautes, hautes ! 
Cevennes pleins de rochers, 
Faites nous forts et religieux." 

When the chestnuts have been gathered, then in 
November they are dried in sichoirs. These are small 
square structures with a door and window on one side, 
and on the other three or more long narrow loopholes, 
called in the country carezeiros, that are never closed. 
A fire of coals is lighted and kept burning incessantly 
in the drying-house, and the smoke passes through 
shelves on which the chestnuts are laid, in stages, and 
escapes by the loopholes. To any one unaccustomed 
to the atmosphere in these sichoirs, it is hard to 
endure the smoke, and one stands the risk of being 
asphyxiated. Nevertheless the peasants spend two 
months in the }ear in these habitations, amidst cobwebs 
and soot, swarming with mice and rats, and the smoke 
at once acrid and moist, for in drying the chestnuts 
exude a greenish fluid that falls in a rain from the shelves. 
The natives do not seem to mind the dirt and smell of 
these horrible holes. Moreover, if there be in a village 
any one suffering from phthisis, at the end of autumn 
the patient is taken by the relations in his or her bed, 
and this is deposited in a corner of the skhotr. The sick 
person is not allowed to leave the drying-house, and it 
is a singular phenomenon that not infrequently, under 
the influence of the heat and the sulphurous smoke, 
the tuberculosis is arrested, and the sufferer lives on for 
many long years. 

It is economy that drives the peasants to live in the 
drying-houses. As they are forced to light fires for the 
chestnuts, they extinguish those on their hearths in the 


farm-houses. Why have two fires going when one will 
suffice ? So the peasant bids his wife and children cook 
their soup at the brazier in the sechoir. And he him- 
self, driven under shelter by the rain and cold, brings to 
the common hearth his hatchet and long strips of wild 
chestnut, of which he fashions hoops for barrels or 
baskets for the collectors of olives. Through the two 
months from the Jour des Morts to Christmas Eve the 
sichoir is the village centre ; to it flock the poorest 
members of the commune, who have no drying-houses 
of their own. 

The fetes in Herault are often very curious, and 
evidently date from an early period, and are reminis- 
cences of paganism. 

For instance, the Carotat at Beziers on Ascension 
Day has nothing Christian about it. Till 1878, on the 
eve, the servants of the Consuls were wont to parade 
the town with music going before them, and knock at 
the doors of houses asking for contributions. They 
were followed by a clumsy wooden structure covered 
with hide to represent a camel ; and all largesses re- 
ceived were put into the mouth of the beast. 

Next day, to the sound of cannon and bells, the Cor- 
poration assembled in three ranks, led by the Provost 
bearing a cake decked out with ribbons and attached to 
his left arm, attended by a servant carrying a basket of 
bread, followed by the camel. This fdte is dead. But 
what does survive at Beziers and at Montpellier and 
elsewhere is the Danse des Treilles at the fSte called 
Roumarin. The young people, in their gala dresses 
and adorned with bunches of rosemary, carry hoops 
similarly decorated, with which they perform the evolu- 
tions of a graceful ballet in which there are seven 



figures ; and the bystanders pelt them with violets. At 
Montpellier the dance is considered to be a com- 
memoration of the marriage of Peter II. of Aragon 
to Marie de Montpellier, June 15th, 1204.^ 

At B^ziers no public festival formerly took place 
without a preliminary visit to Pepezuc, a mutilated 
white marble statue with the head knocked off and 
replaced by one of common stone. It is obviously a 
representation of a Roman emperor, perhaps of Au- 
gustus. It stood on a fluted column, and on the base is 
inscribed P.P.E.S.V. But the common story was that 
it represented a gallant officer who had driven out the 
English from the town, of which they had obtained 
possession. Pepezuc was wont to be dressed up and 
decorated with flowers. That is stopped, as the statue 
has been removed to the town museum. 

The Ass of Gignac continues to be feted. The town 
was besieged by the Saracens. One night, after a hard 
day's fighting, the defenders, wearied out, had gone to 
sleep, when an ass brayed long and loud. His master 
had forgotten to feed him, and this he resented. The 
man awoke, for the braying of an ass would rouse the 
Seven Sleepers, and he saw that the enemy was 
escalading the walls. He roused the garrison, and they 
succeeded in hurling back the ladders. However, the 
deliverance was temporary, for a few days later the town 
was captured and burnt. In gratitude for what the ass 
had done, the people of Gignac instituted an annual 
commemoration, in which they march a figure of an ass 
through the street to the sound of fife and tabor. Then 
in reminiscence of the fight a contest takes place in a 
field called Le Senibelet, in which one duellist wears 

* Ferd. Troubat : Dam* des TreilUs, Toulouse, 1900. 


a huge helmet, preserved in the town hall, to represent 
the Christian warrior, whilst the adversary has a turban 
on his head. They fight with sticks of the garrigou, 
that grows on the otherwise barren limestone, till the 
Mussulman drops with exhaustion, when the victor is 
divested of his helmet and conducted in triumph to the 
house where the ass is supposed to have brayed. 

A visit should certainly be made to Roquefort, where 
the famous cheese is made from ewe's milk. The town 
is built not only against, but into a rock of limestone 
that has been riddled with caves natural and artificially 
bored to serve as cellars, in which the cheese is kept at 
an even temperature, and is supposed then to attain its 
special flavour. The cheese is, however, not all made 
there ; it is brought there from the Larzac, that main- 
tains enormous flocks of sheep, and indeed from through- 
out the arrondissement of Ste. Affrique. The cheeses 
are conveyed to Roquefort, there to mature. The blue 
mould in them is not, however, due to natural mildew 
in the cheese, but to mildewed crumbs of bread blown 
into the curd in process of formation. The cheeses are 
ranged on stages of wooden boards by over nine hundred 
girls in short petticoats, called cabanieres, whose special 
duty it is to attend to the cheeses. They are clean, 
good-natured, happy-faced lasses, who marry early, 
usually at sixteen. It is extraordinary if one is still 
unmarried at nineteen. 

I have described the making of the cheese in my 
Deserts of Central France. The natural caves in Roque- 
fort number twenty-three, and there are thirty-four in 
all. The rocks in part of the town overhang the 

At Lunas, commanded by the escarpments of the 


Pioch, there is not much more to be seen than the 
ruins of a castle and a church partly Romanesque. 
Le Bousquet d'Orb occupies a picturesque situation, on 
a mamelon in the midst of a basin. On the highest 
terrace the church stands up boldly. This is a place 
with mines of coal and copper. Boussagues is a very 
ancient village, once a town enclosed within walls, and 
possessing two churches and two castles. The town has 
retained its medieval physiognomy — and its smells. 

The train from Bedarieux to Lamalou follows the 
Orb, that flows through a green and smiling plain. 
Properly the Orb should pursue its further course due 
south, but a low range of hills obstructs the way, and 
the river is forced to turn abruptly round and flow due 
west. The hills to the south rise ; on a lofty isolated 
height above green forest gleams white a pilgrimage 
chapel. We pass on to Lamalou, where every comfort 
may be obtained. 

Lamalou is picturesquely situated in a narrow lateral 
valley of the Orb, in the midst of the buttresses of 
the Espinouse, or rather of the Caroux, that links the 
Cevennes proper to the Montaigne Noire. This thermal 
station is growing in importance, the waters being 
thought specially and peculiarly beneficial in spinal 
troubles, above all in cases of S. Vitus's Dance. In 
winter it has but 900 inhabitants, but in summer arrive 
10,000 visitors, and a special train-de-luxe starts twice a 
week from Paris for Lamalou, enabling the journey to be 
made in fifteen hours. 

A favourite walk is to N. D. de Capimont, which 
occupies from two hours to two and a half This is a 
little chapel on the height above the village, with a 
hermitage attached. There is no hermit there now. 


The last died five years ago. He was found dead in 
his cell, some days apparently after that he had expired. 
He was the last, and there are not likely to be any suc- 
cessors to an Order that was by no means an element 
of good in the country. Ferdinand Fabre has given a 
graphic account of the hermits in Barnabe, and also in 
Mon Oncle Celestin. 

" I am in despair," says he. " Letters from the South in- 
form me that one by one the hermitages are being closed; 
that the hermits, knapsack on back, are quitting their solitary 
chapels, and that they do not return. Did the order for their 
suppression issue from the Prefecture or from the Episcopal 
Palace? It is supposed from both simultaneously. What a 
pity ! O how the picturesqueness of our South will be the 
poorer thereby." 

The hermits, calling themselves Free Brothers of 
S. Francis, were a begging fraternity ; they rambled 
about the country selling sacred pictures, rosaries, and 
other religious trifles ; they frequented the fairs and the 
taverns, and neither ate nor drank in moderation, and 
their morals were not irreproachable. But they served 
a purpose. They attended to the solitary chapels, and 
made ample provision for the pilgrims who visited these 

*' Mon Dieu ! " says Fabre ; " I know well enough that the 
Free Brothers of S. Francis, as they loved to entitle them- 
selves, had allowed themselves a good deal of freedom, more 
than was decorous. For instance, it was not particularly 
edifying at Bedarieux on a market-day to see the hermits from 
the mountains round about leave the tavern of the Golden 
Grapes staggering, jolting against one another, shouting, and 
at nightfall describing ridiculous zigzags as they went on their 
way straying along the roads leading to their solitary dwellings. 


" But as these monastically habited gentry in no way scan- 
dalised the population of the South, who never confounded 
the occupants of the hermitages with the cures of the parishes, 
why sweep away these fantastic figures, who, without any 
religious character, recruited from the farms, never educated in 
seminaries, peasants at bottom, in no way priests, capable, 
when required, to give a helping hand with the pruning-knife 
in the vineyard or with the pole among the olives, or the 
sickle among the corn. Alas ! they had their weaknesses, and 
these weaknesses worked their ruin." 

At the French Revolution the Free Brothers of 
S. Francis did not creep into their shells and hide their, 
heads there — they knew better than that. Though not 
even in minor orders, they did something smack of the 
clerical, and might be sent d la lanterne. So they 
doffed the brown habit and donned the blouse, went to 
farmers and served them till the tyranny was over- 
passed. In 1806 the cures of the parishes were glad to 
find any pious laymen who would keep the chapels 
clean and serve at Mass on the days when pilgrims 
streamed to them. The men thus installed assumed a 
Franciscan snuff-coloured habit, and called themselves, 
without other justification, Brethren of S. Francis. 

When he was a child, Fabre says, there were six 
hermitages in the upper valley of the Orb. Now most 
of the chapels are falling to decay, as there is no one 
authorised to look after them. But N. D. de Capimont 
is still in considerable repute, and is frequented by 
crowds on the Feast of the Assumption. A curious old 
town, situated high, may be visited from either Lamalou 
or Bedarieux. This is Villemagne, with a ruined abbey 
and niint. The abbey was founded by Charlemagne in 
780. The church of the parish is dedicated to S. Majan, 


and is a vast building ; the choir alone was erected in 
the fourteenth century. It contains a curious altar of 
the sixth century, now used as a benitier. The old 
church of S. Gregory, of the thirteenth century, long 
used as a granary, has been restored. The old town is 
full of ancient buildings, in narrow streets, and is very 

But the finest excursion of all is that to the gorge of 
Heric. For this it is advisable to take the train to 
Colombieres and walk thence, or drive from Lamalou. 
The station of Trivalle is close to the entrance of the 
gorge, but from that side it can rarely be ascended, as 
the path built up against the precipice is often broken 
down and not repaired. But from the other side the 
ascent is easily made. The view up the ravine to the 
needle rocks of granite above is hardly to be surpassed 
for beauty of colour and form. The sides are precipitous 
for goo feet. By the path one can reach the village 
of Heric, lost at the extremity of this tremendous 
ravine, and by this is its only means of communication 
with the outer world ; and so dangerous is the path that 
there is a saying in the country that no inhabitant of Heric 
dies in his bed. What I have said before I repeat here. 
None of the gorges in the Cevennes resemble one 
another ; they have not even a family likeness, for the 
Caroux from which the stream descends, and into the 
bowels of which this gorge is cleft, is of granite ; and 
what resemblance can there be between granite and 
basalt or dolomitic limestone? When I visited the 
ravine, snow powdered the silvery-grey needles at the 
head and lay in the laps. So seen, the picture of that 
ravine is indelibly impressed on my memory as one of 
surpassing savage beauty. 


S. Gervais is a picturesque little town situated at the 
junction of the Casselouvres and the Mare, that takes its 
rise in the Signal de I'Espinouse, 3,380 feet. Its church 
has the peculiarity of the spire being a grove of trees and 
a bed of wallflowers that have rooted themselves in the 
stonework and been allowed to grow there unmolested. 
The town, notwithstanding that it preserves many relics 
of the Middle Ages and a general aspect that is venerable, 
is but modern compared with the older town, now aban- 
doned, that was built on a jagged rock, its ruins ming- 
ling with the rock and scarce distinguishable from it. 
The more modern town is planted on a hillock standing 
by itself; the streets are narrow, scrambling up the side 
of the hill, and the houses are dingy, dirty, and dilapi- 
dated. The still more modern town lies below the hill. 
There is an intermittent spring in the side of the Hotel 
Soulie. At Saint Gervais at fair time may be noted the 
contrast that exists between the inhabitant of the sun- 
baked, semi-tropical lower land, rich in oil, honey, and 
wine, and the mountaineer who descends there to sell 
his cattle. Those who live in the sheltered valleys are 
clothed in stout broadcloth and serge, or bottle-green 
velvet. They arrive at a fair or market, noisy, sprightly, 
their mules laden with corn and fruit. On the other 
hand, the inhabitant of the heights of the Espin- 
ouse or Larzac is grave, reserved, uncommunicative, 
clothed in a garment of coarse cloth called grisaoud, 
followed by interminable flocks of sheep, goats, and 

At B6darieux — 

"They trade, they chaffer over almonds, olives, honey, 
cocoons, wheat, the produce of a sunny nature; at Saint 
Gervais is a cattle market, and is of a graver character, for 


though a man can dispose lightly of the fruits of the earth 
that he has tilled, of the tree he has planted, it is not without 
a pang that the shepherd can separate himself from the beast 
he has nourished. Between the pastor and his flock do there 
not exist, moreover, mutual sentiments of affection, even of 
love, that defy all psychology ? " 

But the market is not one of cattle and corn only, it is 
of human beings as well, for hither come the shepherds 
to hire boys to attend during the year on the sheep and 
herds of swine. These lads are locally called pillardsy 
and the token that one has been engaged is that the 
shepherd buys the boy a pair of new sabots out of his 
own money, a sort of investiture in the pastoral office. 
These lads and the shepherds lead a lonely life in the 
mountains. The boys are not unkindly treated, for the 
Cevenol, if rough and silent, has a gentle and kindly 
heart. But what a life for a growing boy in wild 
nature, among mountains and shrubs, birds of all kinds, 
and creeping things innumerable, and at night with the 
stars shining above his head with a sharpness and 
intensity as though they stabbed him to the heart, but 
left an exquisite pain behind. He learns to know the 
signs of the times, the winds, the voices of nature, to 
distinguish one bird's note from another, and to ascertain 
the virtues of the aromatic herbs on the limestone 
causse. The life may be hard, but it is healthy both to 
body and mind and soul. 



Clermont I'Herault — Church and castle — Aimar Guilhetn — Deserts the 
cause of his Count — Peyrolles the Potter — N.D. du Peyrou — Ville- 
neuvette — Military cloth factory — Its semi-feudal organisation — Valley 
of the Dourbie — Moureze — The quarries — Decomposition of the rock — 
Church — Lodeve — The Count — Contest with him carried on by S. 
Fulcran — The bishops — Perjury — The people gain the victory — 
Cathedral — S. Michel-de-Grammont — Dolmen — Caverns — L'Escalette 
— Larzac — Le Caylar — Flora of Larzac — Abdias Maurel — La Couver- 
toirade — Aniane — Gorges of the Herault — Mills— S. Guilhem-lc- 
Desert — Guillaume de Courtenez — His parting from his wife — His 
visit to Paris — Church — Monuments — Cloister — Saracen inscriptions — 
Farewell to the Cevennes. 

AN admirable centre for several expeditions of no 
J~\ little interest is Clermont I'Herault, where is a 
good hotel. 

Clermont, though called I'Herault, is not actually on 
the river of that name, though near it. The town is 
built at the base and up the sides of a steep hill crowned 
by a ruined castle. 

The church is one of the very few in the department 
with side aisles to the nave. Indeed, the form affected 
throughout southern Languedoc is a vast nave without 
pillars, and chapels between the buttresses. This church 
was begun in 1275 and ended in 1313. It has a seven- 
sided apse. Over the west window is a gallery with 


S. Guilhem-le-Desert 

Page 282 



machicolations, so that it could be used as a fortress, 
and melted lead or boiling pitch could be thrown down 
on besiegers. Narrow, steep, and dirty streets climb 
the hillside to the castle, now enclosed within the walls of 
a convent ; little remains, however, but a keep of this once 
sumptuous seigneural residence of the barons of Cler- 
mont Formerly it consisted of a semicircular ring of 
wall defended at intervals by seven round towers, and 
with an eighth on the side of the chord of the arc. 
The view from the height extends over the plain watered 
by the Herault and the Lergue, that begins at the feet 
of the Lodeve Mountains and extends to the low range 
of the Taillades de Gignac. From thirty to forty towns, 
villages, and hamlets dot this plain. 

In 1209 Aimar Guilhem, seigneur of Clermont, was 
the ally of the unfortunate Raymond, Count of Tou- 
louse, against whom Innocent III. hurled the thunders 
of excommunication because he would not butcher and 
burn his subjects, who had embraced the Albigensian 
heresy; and Aimar was accordingly involved in his sen- 
tence. Innocent called together the riff-raff of Europe 
to join in a crusade against Raymond, promising life 
eternal and absolution from all sins to those who would 
join in an indiscriminate slaughter of the Albigenses, 
and placed Simon de Montfort at the head of this horde 
of the Children of God, as they called themselves, who 
swept over the land committing indescribable horrors. 
After the massacre of the inhabitants of Beziers by the 
crusaders, Aimar retired to his castle and awaited 
events. His conduct may have been prudent, as he 
saved the town from sack and slaughter, but it was 
unworthy of him ; as had he roused the country of 
Lodeve, he would have menaced the rear of Simon de 


Montfort, and might have forced this commander of 
the soldiers of the Papacy to deal less cruelly with 
the seigneurs of Languedoc, whom he robbed of their 
domains with impunity. 

On the Place under trees is a monument, surmounted 
by a bust of Peyrolles, a potter of Clermont, who com- 
posed verses in the Languedoc dialect. He became 
jealous of the fame acquired by Jasmin, the hairdresser 
of Agen, the great vernacular poet, and sent him a 
challenge. " I will go to Montpellier any day and hour 
you choose to name. Let four men of literary notoriety 
give us three themes on which to compose poems in 
twenty-four hours ; and let us be shut up in one room, 
with no admission of any one to us or of anything but 
our food — and see who in the time will turn out most 
poetry." Jasmin replied that he declined the contest. 
For his part, he could not produce verses as fast as 
Peyrolles could pots ; his powers did not reach further 
than the composition of two or three verses in a 

A delightful walk or drive is to Moureze, up the 
valley of the Dourbie. On the col crossed by the road 
leading into this valley is the quaint chapel of N. D. du 
Peyrou. It is pointed, with an immense porch com- 
posed of two flying buttresses sustaining a roof. A 
chapel at the west end is out of line with the axis of 
the principal building. The nave was rebuilt or altered 
at the Renaissance. In the choir on one side are oval 
frames containing representations of girls who have 
made their first communion, in white paper cut out 
with scissors, and on the other side similar frames con- 
tain nuptial crowns. A largely attended pilgrimage 
visits this chapel on Monday in Easter week. This 

In the Cirque, Moureze 

Page 284 


shrine is at the entrance to the beautiful basin of Ville- 
neuvette, rich with cork trees, micocouh'ers {Celtis Aus- 
tralis), mulberries, chestnuts, tall ancient cypresses, 
pines, caper bushes, and the kermes-oak. 

Here in the bottom, by the little river, is the indus- 
trial settlement of Villeneuvette. An avenue of planes 
leads to a wall, with a gateway in it, over which is the 
inscription, " Honneur au travail." Up to 1848 it bore 
the title " Manufacture royale." This is the last exist- 
ing example of the factories established by Colbert in 
1666 for the weaving of cloth for the Levant trade, and 
for each piece of cloth woven was received a bonus of 
ten francs. It was found that the trade in the Levant 
of French cloth was failing owing to English competi- 
tion. Colbert founded this among other colonies of 
workmen to ensure that the cloth exported was of good 
quality, and agents in Constantinople and in Pondi- 
cherry received and sold it. In order to protect the 
establishment during the religious wars that desolated 
the Cevennes, the settlement was surrounded by a ram- 
part, crenelated and flanked by redoubts. Within are 
the factory, a church, and the houses of the artisans, 
arranged on a formal plan. The colony had its own 
municipal government, and elected its own mayor. 
Every night the drawbridge was raised and the gate 

Villeneuvette owns a considerable territory around it, 
and the land is parcelled out among the workmen 
engaged in the factory. Each family has its garden, 
its vineyard, and its plantation of mulberries, so that 
when work is slack in the factory there is plenty of 
occupation for the hands in the fields. 

For more than two centuries Villeneuvette has been 


in private hands. It had failed to be a success finan- 
cially in 1703, and was disposed of to M. Castam^- 
d'Aurac, who built the church. A century later, in 
1803, it became the property of the family of Maistre, 
and it has remained in the same hands ever since. 

It now turns out exclusively cloth for the army and 
uniforms for colleges and railway officials. Long 
stretches of dark blue and crimson cloth are seen in the 
meadows outside the walls, destined to be cut into the 
jackets and breeches of the military. ViNeneuvette has 
retained much of its curious patriarchal organisation. 
There is no village outside the embattled walls ; of the 
ninety-eight cottages all are given rent free to the 
artisans, and nothing more is exacted of them save 
respect for rules of decency and cleanliness. Here no 
slops may be thrown out of the windows, nor may 
birds' nests be molested. These restrictions have been 
indignantly protested against by the Radicals, who 
charge the organisation of the little community with 
being bound down by the chains of feudalism. Where 
is liberty if a householder may not throw his slops 
down on the head of any one passing in the street ? 
Where is equality if the urchins of Clermont may rob 
robins' nests and not those of Villeneuvette ? Where is 
fraternity if the artisans may not get fuddled together 
and roar and riot in drunken bands ? 

The road ascends the valley of the Dourbie,but to reach 
Moureze it makes a circuit round the conical mountain, 
Le Puy de Bissou, on the summit of which is a chapel 
where once lived a hermit, but to which no pilgrimages 
are now made. A bridge has been thrown over the 
river, and a new road has been begun which will give 
speedier access by carriage to Moureze, but which can 



now only be traced on foot. The sparkling stream 
slides over contorted slate rocks, and trout dart through 
the pools. The hillsides are covered with pale grey 
flowered heath and the stunted kermes-oak with its 
glistening leaves. This, the Quercus cocci/era, never 
grows higher than five feet, the garus it is that gives 
its name to the garigues, the desolate regions of lime- 
stone on which nothing else will grow. On its leaves 
feeds the kermes insect, round as a ball, and formerly 
supposed to be the fruit growing out of the rib of the 
leaf as does the berry of the butchers' broom. It produces 
a red dye, less brilliant than cochineal, and some of the 
Oriental reds are produced from it. The dye of the 
kermes is more permanent than cochineal. Suddenly 
on our eyes bursts Moureze, one of the most fantastic 
groups of rock, castle, church, and village to be seen 
anywhere. We are disposed to regard the pictures by 
Gustave Dore of rock scenery interspersed with ruined 
towers as in his series, Le Juif errant, to be the creations 
of a fevered dream. But they are not so. He must have 
lived or travelled among the dolomitic formations of 
Languedoc, and thence drawn his inspiration. 

The approach to Moureze by the old carriage road is 
different ; it is through red sandstone, soft and friable, 
and torn by streams into gullies. One would suppose 
that Moureze had been founded originally by refugees 
from a world devastated by wars. It is concealed from 
view on all sides. It is Nature's hiding-place for perse- 
cuted men. At its back start up sheer cliffs of lime- 
stone, pink and yellow and grey, rising from 1,300 
to 1,600 feet. Dolomitic limestone is composed of 
carbonate of lime and carbonate of magnesia, and 
the- texture is mostly crystalline and granulated. 


Each grain, having a power of resistance different 
from the other, yields or remains under the influence 
of the air and rains, so that alongside of massive 
rocks, eroded, hollowed out, perforated, or protruding 
in knots and elbows, are heaps of sand formed by 
the decomposition of the cement that held the grains 
in place. Thus are obtained the most bizarre and 
varied shapes of rock. All that imagination can 
picture of what is strange is found here — dismantled 
towers, gigantic monoliths, excavated walls, narrow 
gullies between monstrous shapes, great porticoes, 
pyramids standing on their heads, grouped together, 
and among them cottages clinging to their sides, a 
church on a ledge above a precipice, and over all 
a castle, the walls of which can hardly be distinguished 
from the rock out of which they grow. Contrast adds 
to the picturesque effect. The dolomite bristling with 
needles lies in the lap of a great cirque or cradle of 
more compact calcareous rock, disposed in regular 
horizontal beds, and attaining to a top over i,6io feet 
that supports the ruins of the Romanesque church of 
S. Jean d'Aureillan. These walls back the scene on the 
north. The south is closed by the Puy de Bissou, 
clothed in woods, 1450 feet. To the west is the 
mountain of S. Scholastica, 1,500 feet, and wooded 
ranges to the east of less elevation complete the en- 
closure and the screen that hides Moureze from the 
world without. 

The dolomite formation of Moureze forms an almost 
continuous belt from B6darieux to Bories and the north 
of Clermont. The region of Carlencas on this line 
presents an equally extraordinary appearance. The 
same rock is found north of Lodeve, above Pegairolles, 

The Sentinel, Moureze 

age 388 


where they constitute the picturesque passage of 

The castle is mentioned in records from 790; it is 
called Castrum Morelinum, or Morazios Villa; Mourez^s 
in 1625, and Moureze in 1659. 

The church, of two bays, has a seven-sided apse, and 
is of the thirteenth century. It is vaulted, and has 
no aisles. The tower is square. 

The train will take one to Lodeve, an ancient 
cathedral city, and before that a Roman Castrum 
Luteva. Paris was also a Luteva. 

When Charlemagne completed the expulsion of the 
Arabs out of Septimania, he made of Lodeve a county 
under his empire, and granted considerable privileges 
to the bishops. 

There arose by degrees three powers to dispute pos- 
session of the land, the Municipality, the Count, and 
the Bishop, representing the people, the aristocracy, 
and the clergy. The history of Lodeve is thenceforth 
a history of their conflicts for pre-eminence. In the 
tenth century arose a man who gave a new direction to 
affairs. Hitherto the counts had retained the mastery ; 
now the Church would attempt to grapple with their 

This man was Fulcran, who ascended the episcopal 
throne at the age of thirty in 947. He was noted for 
his beauty, for his grace of manner towards all men, so 
that, although a member of a noble family, he was 
greatly beloved by the common people. He wrote 
nothing ; he was above all an orator and a man of 
action. He began to build a tower to his cathedral. 
The Count Eldin, who occupied the Castle of Mont- 
brun, ordered him to pull it down. Fulcran refused. 


Meanwhile the oppressions of the people by the count 
had become intolerable. They were crushed with taxa- 
tion and denied municipal rights. The tower served as 
an excuse for a quarrel. Gentle as he was, Fulcran was 
determined to come to conclusions with the count. At 
his word the citizens rose, were aided by the country 
folk, Montbrun was stormed, and the bishop held Count 
Eldin prisoner till he had given guarantees not to con- 
tinue his misrule. When Fulcran died in 1006 he had 
marked out the course his successors were to follow. 
They continued to snatch from the seigneur one right 
after another, and when the county passed into the 
hands of the Duke of Rodez, the Castle of Montbrun 
went by way of purchase to the bishops, and they 
became both spiritual and temporal lords of the 

But what all this while of the people ? At the outset 
it had assisted Fulcran in his strife with the count ; it 
had contributed to effect the revolution that finally 
transferred the temporal power from lay into ecclesi- 
astical hands. The ambition of Fulcran's successors 
knew no limits. After having conquered the seigneur 
they attacked the municipal liberties. 

The people of Lodeve soon saw that they had 
changed masters for the worse. A struggle broke out 
between them and their masters that caused much 
blood to flow. One bishop was driven from his palace. 
Later, in 1202, the inhabitants sent delegates to the 
prelate, Pierre de Frotier, to complain of his unendur- 
able exactions. He refused to admit them to his pre- 
sence. Then the mob broke in on him and made him 
swear to grant concessions. He appealed to Innocent 
in., who at once relieved him of his oath. The people. 


enraged at this bit of deceit, again rose, broke into the 
palace, and killed the perjured bishop. The punish- 
ment inflicted on the town for this act was severe. 
However, the citizens were determined on resistance, 
and at last the controversy was submitted to arbitra- 
tion, and they gained most of what they had de- 

The cathedral is of the fourteenth century. The nave 
of three bays has side aisles and chapels on the south 
side, one of which, dedicated to S. Michael, is recessed 
behind richly moulded arches. The choir consists of 
two bays, with a nine-sided apse with lofty narrow two- 
light windows in each side. A curious arrangement is 
the walling up on each side of the choir so as to trans- 
form the continuation of the aisles into lengthy inde- 
pendent chapels. On the north side is the richly 
adorned chapel of S. Fulcran. The west front has no 
doorway in it, but a beautiful rose window between 
machicolated turrets. To see it one must enter the 
gendarmerie which occupies this end of the building. 
Poor fragmentary cloisters remain on the south. 

Ferdinand Fabre thus describes the interior of the 
cathedral : — 

" It has a nave and side aisles. The choir is large, lengthy, 
and occupies almost half the church, which gives an impression 
of surprise, and awakes in one the unpleasant idea that there is 
a want of proportion in the general disposition of the monu- 
ment. But when this vexatious impression has passed away, 
one admires the nine windows of the apse, of original design, 
enormously lofty, certainly not in the purest style. The Gothic 
of the South always retained something incomplete, coarse, 
disagreeable, and never attained to the marvellous proportion, 
to the supreme elegance, to the aerial grace of the North. 


Nevertheless, with all its faults, the clumsiness of hand of an 
unskilled artist, who opened these windows to let in the light 
of heaven ; — these immense bays, enriched with little pillars 
having carved capitals, divided into two by a single muUion 
that rises unsustained to the point where the tracery begins, 
and receive the ribs of the vaulting, lay hold of and retain 
one's eyes. The vaults, distributed in five bays, are designed 
not without dignity. The whole edifice, in spite of gross and 
many architectural faults — faults of construction, faults of ar- 
rangement — breathes a certain robust grace, a barbaric charm, 
making it the most interesting and most grateful of sanctuaries 
in our land." 

A pretty, late flamboyant, melting into early Re- 
naissance, chapel is between the cathedral and the 

The old episcopal palace has been converted into 
municipal buildings, and the gardens into a fine pro- 
menade ; so that the long conflict that endured for 
centuries has ended in the complete victory of the 
people. The bishopric was suppressed at the Con- 

Between Clermont and Lodeve the line runs through 
a red sandstone district, curiously bare and water-torn. 
The red stone seems to melt like butter under the rain, 
and with the least rush of water it swims away in 
masses, and grass can scarcely grow on the denuded 

At the distance of an hour and a half from Lodeve 
is the well-preserved monastery of S. Michel-de-Gram- 
mont, now converted into farm buildings. It has a 
Romanesque cloister and a pointed chapter-house. The 
tower bears an octagonal campanile, rising out of a 
square base, the four windows of which are flamboyant. 


The octagon is surmounted by a dome. The church 
is of great simplicity, and consists of a nave, vaulted, 
with a circular apse. On the north side is a pretty 
portal of three orders, resting on pillars with foliaged 

Near the church is a little chapel, on the front ot 
which is inlaid an inscription in characters of the twelfth 
century, stating that it was consecrated on the nth of 
the Calends of June in honour of S. Michael, but with- 
out date of the year. 

At no considerable distance is a remarkably well- 
preserved dolmen. The end stone is pierced with a 
triangular opening, through which food was thrust for 
the dead who lay within. From Lodeve the great 
upland causse can be reached by the road that 
leads to Le Caylar, through the valley of the Lergue 
and by the passage of I'Escalette. This was formerly a 
scramble up a stair of rocks, but now a good road has 
been driven up the heights to the vast plateau of 
Larzac, which has been seen as the train passes over it 
from Le Vigan to Tournemire. 

There are caves to be explored near Lodeve by such 
as enjoy such underground excursions ; and these with 
marvellous stalagmitic and stalactitic formations. Such 
are the Mas de Bouquet, in the commune of Soubes. 
Another is the Grotte de Labeil, opening out of a 
cirque of rocks above the source of the Baume-Bauede, 
that once found its issue thence, but has now burrowed 
its way to a lower level. 

Larzac {Larga saxa) is the most extensive and the 
most barren of all the limestone causses — a Siberian 
tundra in winter, an Arabia Petraea in summer. 

It seems to be transpierced by the Cevennes, that 


penetrate it at the Col de Sanctieres, and issue from its 
huge bulk again at Mont Paon, a distance of fifteen 
miles. But from its abrupt precipices above Milau to 
the bold frontage of glaring white at L'Escalette is a 
distance of twenty-four miles. Elisee Reclus says 
of it :— 

" The plateau of Larzac is a veritable table of stone. Water 
lacks on its surface. The soil, pierced by fissures, is hardly 
moistened by torrential rains. The drops falling on it pass 
through it as through a sieve and disappear. At certain spots 
the rifts in the rock are large, their walls have fallen in, and 
one sees huge funnels, avens, open in the calcareous surface, 
and descend to frightful depths. But almost everywhere the 
surface of the causse is uniform, and the subterranean wells 
are only indicated by superficial zigzags. Nowhere does a 
single spring rise. 

" The inhabitants have for their own use and that of their 
cattle but the rain-water collected in cisterns or lavagnes, care- 
fully cemented inside. Where water lacks, vegetation lacks 
also, and so also inhabitants. 

" On most of the causses not a tree is to be seen, hardly a 
bush, save in dips offering some shelter from the wind. The 
rock is covered with naught but a short herbage, and the 
inhabitants, few in number, have utilised but scanty surfaces 
for the growth of barley, oats, and potatoes." 

When the water in the cisterns fails, the caussenard 
has to make a day's journey to descend into the valleys 
and fetch the pure liquid from one of the springs that 
issue there, either in boisterous cascades or welling up 
out of deep abysses, thrust forth silently by the pressure 
of the water from above. 

A century ago the Larzac could be reached from 


Lodeve only by ladders planted against the precipice at 
the Pas de I'Escalette. 

Le Caylar stands 2,400 feet above the sea, and was 
once a walled town, with its castle on a rock above it. 
From the summit the prospect is strange, and not to be 
forgotten. The eye stretches over the vast barren plain 
of the same white rock, that here and there assumes 
strange forms. At night, when the moon glares over it, 
these rocks with their black shadows stand up in the 
most fantastic shapes, and nothing can be conceived 
more surprising. One is in la belle France, indeed — 
but where is the beauty .-' 

The flora of these plateaux is sufficiently interesting. 
A list of the plants that the Larzac produces will be 
found in Fabre (A.), Hisioire du Canton du Caylar, 
Montpellier, 1895. 

Le Caylar was the birthplace of Abdias Maurel, 
called Catinat, the Camisard chief, of whom I have 
already related some of the achievements. 

When Cavalier submitted, Catinat in wrath withdrew 
and vowed to continue the conflict ; but finally he also 
was compelled to abandon the struggle, and he retired 
into Switzerland in September, 1704. But he was 
restless, and two months later recrossed the frontier and 
entered into a conspiracy, the object of which was to 
remove the governor Baville and the Duke of Berwick 
by assassination. The plot was discovered whilst he 
was in Nimes, 20th April, 1705, and Catinat attempted 
to escape from the town in disguise, having shaved his 
face, A price had been set on his head. At the gate of 
Nimes something suspicious in his appearance caused 
his arrest, and compromising letters were discovered 
secreted about his person. He was led to the Duke of 


Berwick. He demanded to be exchanged for Marshal 
Tallard, who was a prisoner in the hands of the English, 
and threatened that if this were not done the English 
would make Tallard suffer the same death that was 
inflicted on him. His trial was short, and he was con- 
demned to be burnt alive along with Ravanel, his 
accomplice in the intended murder. 

At the stake Ravanel thundered forth a psalm of 
Marot, but Catinat, who was chained by him, died 
biting Ravanel's shoulder, possibly in the delirium of 
his agony. 

A very interesting walled town on the causse is 
La Couvertoirade, for which there is a station on the 
line from Le Vigan. It was a commandery of the 
Templars, and after their suppression of the Knights of 
S. John. 

La Couvertoirade seems to attest to the present day 
the power of these military orders, and to reveal to us 
as in a picture the story of their greatness, their faults, 
and their misfortunes. The general plan is that of an 
irregular hexagon ; the southern portion is occupied by 
a huge rock that sustains the castle and the church. 
The ramparts of the town, that are almost perfect, were 
begun at the end of the thirteenth century and finished 
at the beginning of the fourteenth. The houses of the 
little place have a character that harmonises well with 
the ring of walls enclosing them. If La Couvertoirade 
shows traces of decay produced by time or the violence 
of men, the town is, nevertheless, one of the most 
curious and best-preserved examples of a fortified place 
of the Middle Ages that can be found in Southern 

S. Guilhem-le-Desert is one of the strangest and most 


;^-. ^ 


picturesque towns in France. It can be reached from 
Montpellier by taking the train to Aniane and walking 
or driving thence, or from Clermont in a carriage. 

The Herault escapes from its gorges at S. Jean de 
Foss, a little walled town, of which one gate remains. 
The church, crowded about by houses, is very early 
Romanesque and peculiar in many ways. It under- 
went alterations in the second Pointed period. There 
is a west tower, and the chancel is bored out under 

Aniane is an uninteresting place, with a church built 
in the eighteenth century, very ugly. The huge abbey 
was also rebuilt about the same period, and now serves 
as a prison. I have not stayed the night at Aniane, 
and think that perhaps the inns may be better on the 
inside than they appear without. They do not invite to 
try their internal comforts. 

The Herault breaks out into the plain through a 
gorge of calcareous rocks, and it has sawn for itself 
a deep cleft in the bed below the roadway. The strata 
therein are strangely contorted. From Aniane a bridge 
is crossed, Le Pont du Diable, not very alarming, in spite 
of its name, and above is an aqueduct that conveys the 
water of the H6rault by a channel into the plain to 
Gignac and beyond that to S. Andre, carrying fertility 
with it. 

Springs break forth from the cliffs, forming tables of 
calcareous deposit. One of these, of a high tempera- 
ture, has constructed a large shelf extending towards 
the river, into which it flows. 

The cliffs on each side of the ravine are very bare, 
striated, grey and yellow and white, spotted here and 
there with shrubs, aromatic and evergreen, and the 


wild pomegranate with its crimson flowers may be found 
here and about Aniane. 

As we ascend the valley, looking down into emerald 
green pools or wreaths of foam, we light on curious 
domed structures by the water. These are ancient 
mills, vaulted over with stone as a protection against 
floods that sometimes cover them many feet with 
rolling water, and in one place is a tower beside them up 
which the millers might fly for refuge when the torrent 
came rolling down unexpectedly. 

All at once we reach the opening of a narrow lateral 
valley, where are the remains of a tower and walls, and 
where also are two humble inns, in one of which, as I 
can vouch, at very short notice an excellent dejeuner 
can be improvised. " Go up and see S. Guilhem," said 
the old woman of the inn, " and see what I shall have 
when you return." So we went, and on coming back 
she produced crayfish just caught in a net, also a rabbit ; 
further, a couple of fieldfares plump with juniper 
berries ; these, with vegetable soup, /ote£-ras, boiled beef, 
etc., made a rare lunch. 

S. Guilhem is a little town drawn out in a thread 
alongside of a small stream that rises at the base of a 
cirque of pink and yellow Jura-limestone above the place. 
It is itself surmounted by a crag towering high into the 
sky with what appears to be a lacework of stone on top, 
actually the ruins of a castle, called of Don Juan. Half- 
way up is a tower and gateway, through which alone the 
castle could be reached by a stair cut in the rock, but 
now the summit can be attained by a circuitous path cut 
for the purpose. 

The village, or little town, grew about an abbey 
founded by Guillaume, Duke of Aquitaine, in 804. He 



was grandson of Charles Martel, and he also was a 
hammer to smite the Saracens. In 793 he fought them 
at Carcassonne and drove them back ; in 797 he 
wrested Narbonne from them. Then, pursuing them, 
he drove them out of Barcelona. War made him a 
misanthrope, and misanthropy made a monk of him. 
He retired to this desert, settled there with his sisters 
twain, Albara and Bertrara, and died there on May 28th, 
812 ; and when he died the bells pealed of themselves. 
His heroic life and pious end became the theme of one 
of the longest and finest of the Proven9al Chansons de 
Gestes, that of Guillaume de Courtenez — whence the 
honoured name of Courtenay in England. This is what 
Fauriel says of the romance : — 

"William is the ideal of the Christian knight, fighting for 
the maintenance of his faith against the Saracens. The epic, 
in accord with history, does not always paint him as happy, as 
always victorious. It represents him sometimes as defeated, 
reduced to the most deplorable extremities, but never losing 
courage, and always vanquishing in the long run. No other 
epic of the Carlovingian cycle is so deeply impressed with a 
sentiment of shuddering apprehension, which one may assume 
to be a traditional reflection of the contemporary feelings 
excited by the terrible struggle that took place in the South 
and lasted two centuries against the Andalusian Arabs." 

I think I must find place for a single episode from 
this poem. It relates to the parting of Guillaume and 
his wife Gibors, when he was about to go to Paris to 
ask for succour : — 

" Sire Guillaume," said she, " you go into France so highly 
lauded, and you leave me here, sad, among people that love 
me not. In the honoured land of France you will meet with 


many a fresh-faced damsel, many a well-dressed dame, and 
therefore will lose your heart. You will forget me and this 
land where you have suffered such pains and endured hunger 
and thirst." 

It must be known that at this time Guillaume and 
Gibers had been married something like five-and- 
twenty years. They were not a young couple just out 
of their honeymoon. Then he replied, kissing Gibors 
tenderly : — 

" Gentle lady, do not concern yourself about me. Receive 
now my solemn vow, which I will keep faithfully. During my 
journey I will not change my linen or my coat. I will not 
taste meat or anything peppered. I will not drink wine nor 
water out of a goblet ; only such of the latter as I can scoop 
up in my hand. And know further that never shall another 
mouth be joined to mine, which has been kissed and made 
spicy by your lips." 

On reaching Paris, Guillaume was very badly re- 
ceived. The reason was that Louis the Emperor had 
married Blanchefleur, the sister of the Duke ; that she 
was white only in name ; was, in fact, a disreputable char- 
acter ; so dreading a scolding from her pious brother 
she had prejudiced her husband against him. When he 
reached the door of the palace, no squire came to his 
aid, no one saluted him, no groom offered to take his 
horse, which he accordingly tied to an olive tree. The 
southern poet, never having been in the north, sup- 
posed that the same trees grew there as in Provence 
and Languedoc. Guillaume entered the royal hall and 
saw the Emperor on his throne and the Empress in 
ermine and gold at his side, both crowned. Neither 
took notice of him, and all the princes and nobles 
turned the cold shoulder to him. And indeed he cut a 


sorry figure. His garments were threadbare and ragged, 
his linen had obviously not been washed for months, 
nor was his hair combed and brushed. He was con- 
strained to take a stool far back in the hall. Presently 
his wrath overcame his astonishment at this insulting 
reception. He stood up, as he saw his own father and 
mother, the Count and Countess of Narbonne, received 
with favour and seated beside the Emperor and Em- 
press. In a loud and terrible voice he cried : " Louis ! 
for all the great services I have rendered you, for all 
the battles I have fought for you — is this my reward ? " 
" Set your mind at rest," answered the King ; " you 
shall be rewarded by and by." " What ! " cried the 
Queen, " will you rob me of my heritage to give it to 
him ? " Then Guillaume shouted : " Tais-toi, impure 
chienne ! " and he recited before all the court some of 
his sister's escapades. Then, striding through the crowd 
of nobles, he mounted to the throne, plucked the crown 
from his sister's head, and dashed it on the floor. 

The abbey church is a fine Romanesque building, not 
earlier than the first years of the eleventh century. Of 
that date are the nave and side aisles. Choir, transepts, 
and porch were added at the end of the twelfth century. 
The nave communicates with the side aisles by five 
great arches supported by cruciform piers, and is lighted 
by three loftily placed windows. The ornamentation 
of the church is on the outside. To each transept is an 
apse. The principal apse has an arcade externally like 
the Lombardic churches on the Rhine. In the apse of 
the north aisle are the sarcophagi of Guillaume Courtenez 
and his sisters. That of the founder was so broken by 
the Camisards that it was not possible to piece it 
together again, as has been done with the tomb of the 


ladies, which they also broke. Their sarcophagus is a 
Christian tomb of the fourth century, with Christ and 
the evangeHsts, or apostles, carved on it ; at the extremi- 
ties Adam and Eve and the Three Children in the 
Furnace. Perhaps the greatest treasure in the church 
is a black marble altar with panels of white marble and 
inlaid work of coloured glass, very beautiful, of the date 
1 138. 

Pilgrimages arrive at S. Guilhem on Monday in 
Easter week and October ist. 

On the south side of the church is the cloister, very 
early, contemporary with the nave, and with traces of 
painting in it ; but it has been pulled to pieces. In the 
midst stood a fountain that spouted water in as many 
jets as there are days in the year. But it was sold to a 
Paris dealer in antiquities, and where it now is cannot be 
said. The old monastic buildings, burnt by the Cami- 
sards, were reconstructed, and are now occupied by a 
Baron d'Albenas. 

Some of the houses in the town are certainly 
Romanesque. There was a second church in the place, 
but it is now in ruins. 

Returning to Aniane, it is worth mentioning that in 
destroying the old presbytery a marble slab was found 
bearing an Arabic inscription : " In the name of Allah, 
the clement and merciful, peace be with Mahomed. 
There is but one God. It is to Him, and to Him 
alone, that all power is due." A precisely identical in- 
scription has been found at Montpellier, and this shows 
that the Saracens were in Languedoc not only as 
destroyers and raiders, but as inhabitants. Guillaume 
planted himself very close to where they had been, and 
whence he had turned them out. 

ADIEU 303 

And now my account is ended : not that I have 
exhausted the country. I have done no more than 
touch upon some points in it. It is a country that 
fascinates any one who visits it, that lays hold of his 
heart in strange fashion, and he is inclined when back 
in England to say, with Ferdinand Fabre : — 

" Quand men cerveau a vide sur le papier blanc sa mince 
provision d'idees journalieres, les coudes a la barre d'appui (de 
ma fenetre) je coule Ik, en una paresse delicieuse, de longues 
hears a rever. Men ame alors s'envole au pays si profonde- 
ment incruste en elle, ce pays que je retrouve dans le moindre 
plis de mes pensees, ce pays qui, le plus ordinairement, lorsque 
j'ose ecrire, me commande, et auquel j'obeis." 


Aigoual, Mt., 20, 248-58 

Aigueze, 147 

Aiguilhe, the, 16-35, 4^-4 

Alais, 160, 186, 204-19 

Albigensian crusade, 47-8, 283 

AUeyras, 171 

AUier, River, 19, 161-71 

Alzon, 243 

Aniane, 297, 302 

Antraigues, 122-5 5 Comte d*, 123-5 

Arabic inscriptions, 302 

Ard^che, River, 8, 128, 137-48, 163 

Arlempdes, 16, 81 

Arzon, River, 68 

Assas, Claude, 240 ; Louis, 246-7 

Astier, Gabriel, 179-83 

Aubenas, 114-15, 117-20 

Auvergne violets, 246 

Avens, 4, 138, 152, 155, 234-6 

Aveze, 241-2, 243 

Balmes de Montbrul, 8 

Bar, crater of, 17 

Barre des Cevennes, 252, 255 

Basalt, 16, 22, 62, 81, 122, 129, 

134, 135-6, 170 
Bastide, La, 175, 203 
Battle of the winds, 248-50 
Baville, 180, 183, 185, 240, 295 
Beate, La, 27-8 
Bedarieux, 262, 264-5 
Belzunce, Mgr. de, 174 
Benedict XIL, 208 
Benezet, 240-1 
Berrias, 158-9 
Beziers, 273-4 
Bible of Theodulf, 45-6 
Blacons, 56-9 

Blandas, 244 

Bonaparte, no 

Borne, River, 23, 34, 62 

Boulogne, Chateau de, 12 1-2 

Bousquet d'Orb, 276 

Boussagues, 265 

Bouti^res Mountains, 7, 103-13 

Bramabiau, 252-5 

Broglie, M, de, iSo-i, 183, 196-7 

Burzet, 1 3 1-2 

Cachard, M, de, iio-ii 

Cambis family, 206 

Camisards, 9, 177-202, 221-2, 224, 

240, 256-8 
Camplong, 263 
Camprieu, 252-3 
Cantobre, 261 
Carotat, 273 
Castle of Ebbo, 145 
Catinat, 191-2, 295 
Causses, 10, 13, 144, 244, 256, 261, 

263, 269, 293 
Cavalier, Jean, 191, 195-202 
Caylar, le, 293-5 
Cendras, 204 
Ceyssac, 24 
Chacornac, 81 
Chamalieres, 68 
Chamborigaud, massacre at, 199- 

Chames, 145 
Chanteuges, 164-5 
Chapeauroux, 171 
Chassizac, River, 139, 154 
Chayla, Abbe du, 187-90, 196, 204 
Cheese, 275 
Chestnut, 268-73 




Cheylard, le, 1 13 

Chilhac, 170 

Chorister murdered, 39 

Clary, prophet, 194-5 

Climates, N. and S., 3, 121, 203, 

251, 265 
Clotilde de Surville, 140-2 
Coalfields, 3, 11, 161, 264 
Coiron Mountains, 7, 9, 118 
Colbert, 285 

Companions, the Free, 33, 50-2 
Costume, 30-1 
Coupe d'Aizac, 127 ; de Jaujac, 9, 

Couvertoirade, la, 296 
Craters, 9, 15, 17, 19, 127, 129, 

130, 132-4 
Creux de Vaie, massacre, 180 
Crussol, Castle, 104-5 

Danse des Treilles, 273-4 

Daude, murder of, 240 

Denise, la, 16, 62, 65 

Diana of Poitiers, II2 

Dolmens, 243, 293 

Dolomitic limestone, 8, 252, 287-8 ; 

see also Jura limestone 
Dourbie, River, 258-61 
Drac, 168-9 
Duel, a strange, 242-3 
Du Guesclin, 33, 44-5 
Duniere, River, ill 
Durzon, source, 260-1 

Eagle, 13s 
Echelle du Roy, 134 
Ecstasy, 178, 182, 187, 190 
Erieux, River, 105-7, iii 
Espaly, 54-6, 61-2 
Espinouse, 11, 276, 280 
Essences, 223 
Estables, Les, 69-70 
Estreys, 23 

Fabre, Ferdinand, 2^2-4, 291, 303 
Factory girls, 1 15-16 
Fauteuil du Diable, 122 
Faye le Froid, 16, 53-4 
Fiandrin, Cardinal, 131 
Florae, 191, 255-7 

Florian, 218-20 
FontoUiere, 131, 134 

Ganges, 224-36 ; Marquise de, 

murder of, 225-34 
Garigues, 4, 223, 287 
Gerbier de jonc, 9, 71-2, 113 
Ghost story, 206-8 
Gignac, 274-5 
Gleyzasse, cave of, 155, 158 
Gobi, Jean, 206-8 
Goule de Foussoubie, 144 
Goudet, 81 
Grassensac, 264 
Gravenne de Montpezat, 130-1 ; 

de Soulhiol, 130 
Gregory VII,, 31-2 
Grotte des Demoiselles, 234 
Guetard, 136 
Gueule d'Enfer, 134 
Guillaume Courtenez, 298-301 

Haunted Mill, 81-3 

Haute Loire, department, 15 

Herault, fetes in, 273-4 ; River, 

10, 236, 297-8 
Hermits, 204-5, 276-8, 286 
Heric, gorges of, 279 
Hort Dieu, 251 
Hierle, 242 
Huguenots, 52-9, 62-3, 107-9, I39. 

143-4, 172, 177-202, 208, 222, 

224, 239-41 

Iberians, 267 

Innocent III., 47, 283, 290 

Inspiration, degrees of, 193 

Intermittent spring, 1 20- 1 

Inventories, taking the, 158-60 

Isabeau, la belle, 178-9 

— another prophetess, 144 

Jales, 158 

Jaujac, 129-30 

Joany, a Camisard, 199 

John XXII., 207-8 

Julien, sculptor, 66-7 

Jura limestone, l, 142, 245 ; see 

Dolomitic limestone 
Jurieu, pastor, 178-9 



Kermes oak, 4, 2S7 

Lac d'Anconne, 18 

— de S. Andeol, 18 

— de Bouchet, 17, 19 

— d'Issarles, 72-3, 77 

— Lemagne, 167 
Lacemaking, 25-7 
Lafayette, 167 
Lagorce, murder of, 198 
Lamalou-les-Bains, 265, 276 
Langeac, 161, 163-4 

Langue d'Oc, 2, 15; population of, 

Larzac, 2, 10, 293-5 
La Voute, 23 
Lay canons, 41 

Lepers burnt, 49 ; hospital for, 147 
Lepreuse, la, 67-8 
Le Puy, 31-3, 34-59, 61, 63, 66, 

67, 71, 81 
Levis family, 128-9 
Lodeve, 160, 289-92 
Loire, River, 20-3, 67-8 
Luc, 175 
Lunas, 275-6 

MacHarren, Captain, 169 
Madelaine, Ste., chapel of, 170 

— de S. Nectaire, 52-3 
Margeride, 163, 167-8 
Mayres, 96, 135 
Mamertus, S., 118 
Mandrin, 81 

Martin family, 84-102 

Massacre of S. Bartholomew, 52, 

Megal, 7, 65 
Mejan, Causse de, 258 
Merle, Captain, 139 
Mezenc, 3, 9, 19, 67, 69-71, 113, 

Micocoulier, 222 
Mimente, River, 257 
Monastier, 79, 80 
Monistrol d'AUier, 170 
Montaigne Noire, 1 1 
Montcalm, 242, 261 
Montdardier, 243-4 
Montpellier le Vieux, 261 

Montpezat, 132 
Murriel, 268 

Nant, 260 

Noirot, Pierre, 74-9 
Naussac, 174 
Navacelles, 245 

Oculist, Roman, 171 
Oracle, 65 

Orange, William of, 180 
Orbe, River, 264-5 
Ordeal by fire, 194-5 
Ornano dukes, 1 18-20 
Oustalas, 146 

Paiolive, wood of, 153-7 

Peasants, 28-30, 79-80, 167, 266, 

Pepezuc, 274 

Perbet mill, 81-3 

Peyrabeille, tavern of, 84-102 

Peyrenc, Jean, 239 

PeyroUes, 284 

Phonolith (clinkstone), 19, 70, 170 

Pilat, Mont, 7 

Pillard, le, 281 

Plateau, great central, i 

Polignac, 16, 23, 31-3, 65-6 

Pont de I'Arc, 142, 144 ; de la 
Beaume, 128-9, 130; de Mont- 
vert, 187-9, 191 » 204; de Mousse, 

Poui, Captain, 191-2, 197 

Pourasse, la, 109 

Pourceilles, River, 131 

Pourcheirolles, Castle, 131 

Pradelles, 174 

Private ownership, 173-4 

Prophetic inspiration, 182, 185 

Prophets, see Camisards 

Quissac, 221-2, 223 

Rabanel, cave of, 235-6 
Ray-Pic, cascade, 132 
Red sandstone, 292 
Remejadou, aven of, 138 
Revolution, 33, 46, 106, 166, 209, 



Rochebelle, 204 

Roche Lambert, Castle, 64 

Roland, Camisard, 193, 200, 224, 

Roquefort, 275 
Roquesaltes, 261 
Rouve, Baron de, 198 
Ruoms, 137-8 

S. Alban, 174-5 

S. Arcons, 166 

S. Evodius, 36 

S. Firmin, 258-9 

S. Fulcran, 289-90 

S. Gervais, 2S0 

S. Guilhem-le-Desert, 296, 298-302 

S. Hippolite-le-Fort, 223-4 

S. Jean de Foss, 297 

S. Marcel, cave, 15 1-2 

S. Martin-sur-Ardeclie, 147-9 

S. Michel-de-Grammont, 292-3 

S. Paulien, 36, 65-6 

S. Peray, 104 

S. Privat, 170-1 

S. Veran, 261 

Salavas, 143 

Sampson, 139 

Sauges, 168-9 

Sauve, 222 

Scutarius, tomb of, 36 

Seguier, Pierre, 187-91 

Sidonius Apollinaris, 205, 258 

Silkworm culture, 204-18 ; disease, 

175, 209 
Sue de Bauzon, 134 
Suffren, the Bailli of, 158 
Sully, 112 

Tanargue, Mount, 9, 129 
Tapestries, 140 

Tartara, cry of, 18 1-2 

Tears of blood, 182 

Templars, 145, 147, 158, 296 

Thueyts, 134-5 

Trappist monks, 175-6 

Treves, 258 

Triaire, 247 

Tourette, la, 111-12 

Two men in a boat, 149-50 

Umbranici, 267-8 
Uzes, 105 

Valeraugue, 255 

Vallon, 139-40 

Vals, 1 14-15, 120-2 

Vans, les, 154 

Velay, le, 15-33, 34, 44, 61 

Ventadour, 106, 128 

Vernoux, 107-8, iii 

Vestide du Pal, 132-4 

Viaduct, 204 

Vidal, Baron de S., 23, 54-6, 62-3 

Vidourle, River, 223, 267 

Vigan, le, 237-47 

Villars, Marshal, 200 

Villemagne, 278-9 

Villeneuvette, 285-6 

Violets, fair of, 70-1 

Vis, River, 10, 236, 243 

Vision, 178 

Vivarais chain, 8, 114-36 

Vivens, Fran9ois, Camisard 183-4 

Viviers, 117 

Volane, River, 120, 122 

Vorey, 67-8 

Voute Chilhac, 169-70 

— sur Loire, 23 ; sur Rhone, 106 

White Hoods, the, 51-2 


Telegrams & Cables "Longing, London " June SepT I Q07 

Telephone No. 9313 Central •' •> ^ / 




Crown 8vo», cloth gilt 

(Mme. LoNGARD de Longgarde) 

In this story Dorothea Gerard tells of the result of an experiment, invented 
and tried on four girls, to whom home life had become irksome, by an 
up-to-date doctor. This experiment forms, in the main, the peg on which the 
story hangs, and which dissects and lays bare the characters of the heroines. 
The manner in which the girls meet the fate falling to them provides a great 
variety from the ordinary love-story, and the novel promises to be one of the 
most original and amusing published for some considerable time. . 

ONLY BETTY By Curtis Yorke. With Coloured 

Frontispiece by E. J. Sherie 

In "Only Betty" Curtis Yorke has imagined a story which gives full rein 
for the display of those gifts of tenderness, naturalness, and distinction 
which readers and critics alike associate with her work. " Only Betty " is one 
of a large family left in poverty by the death of their father, and she answers 
an advertisement for services in a remote Welsh village. Betty obtains the 
post, and the authoress proceeds with great vivacity and charm to describe the 
lively series of events which follow. Curtis Yorke's popularity grows with 
every new book she produces, and her public will be immeasurably increased 
by her latest. 

JOHN LONG, 12, 13 & 14 Norris Street, Haymarket, London 

John Long^s New & Forthcoming Books 



In Violet Tweedale's new novel an excellent plot is unfolded with subtlety 
and force. It would spoil the reader's pleasure to enter fully into details — 
the curious psychic experiences, the tragfedy and pathos of an immature soul, 
misunderstanding and misunderstood — ^but we can promise to those who read 
the novel that they will not find a dull page in this newest work of a writer 
to whom we can always look for novelty, brilliance and substantial interest. 


Bertram Mitford 

Mr. Bertram Mitford has done for South Africa what Mr. Rudyard Kipling 
has done for India. He has brought home to the English people the character 
of the work that Britons are doing in the outposts of Empire. Mr. Mitford's 
knowledge, like Mr. Kipling's, has been acquired at first hand, by living in 
the land and among the people he describes. In his new novel the author 
chooses as background a Rising of the Blacks against the Whites. The 
reader is brought into contact with various kinds of natives, good and bad, 
with the British official of the better class, and with the grit and solidity and 
daring of the ordinary Britisher who finds himself in a tight comer and fights 
with his back against the wall. Trickling through the stirring incidents of 
the story is a love romance. Mr. Mitford has intimate knowledge, insight, 
sympathy and imagination, and he has written a novel of virility and vigour 
whose superiority to most fiction may be observed on every page. 

DELILAH OF THE SNOWS By Harold Bindloss 

No living writer has a more intimate knowledge of colonial manners than 
Mr. Harold Bindloss. He describes for the stay-at-home Englishman not so 
much the well-ordered life in the great settlements as the virile, rugged, 
desperate, and often lawless struggles among the colonists in the undeveloped 
outposts of Empire. The earlier scenes in " Delilah of the Snows " take 
place in England. Later on the characters are transplanted bodily to Western 
Canada among the gold-seekers. In such surroundings Mr. Harold Bindloss, 
as may be conjectured, is in his element, and he develops a story of consummate 
artistry and strength. The spirit of adventure and tragedy and comedy is 
over it all, and an unconventional ending is in keeping with the rest of this 
brilliant book. 

JOHN LONG, 12, 13 & 14 Norris Street, Haymarket, London 

John Long's New & Forthcoming Books 

DR. MANTON By Morice Gerard 

Mr. Morice Gerard has advanced with rapid strides to the position of one of 
the most popular writers of the day. " Dr. Manton " is a splendid instance 
of his power in weaving a dramatic story, made up of the great elements 
of love, mystery and conflict between opposing forces, with a wondenful 
dinov^ment, which no reader can read without being moved. Mr. Morice 
Gerard believes in a happy ending; hero and heroine find their happiness and 
peace achieved after stress and struggle. The story is up to date in every 


A new story by Mr. Richard Marsh is an event which is eagerly anticipated; 
and " A Woman Perfected " will not disappoint the expectations, however 
high, of any of Mr. Marsh's innumerable admirers. The starting-point of 
the story is the sudden death of a man of mysterious habits and ostentatious 
wealth, whose only daughter, Nora, is apparently left unprovided for. The 
young girl has been led to believe that she would be a great heiress, but the 
secret of her father's past and the source of his income cannot be discovered. 
A series of events follow, which excite a curiosity that amounts to anxiety. 
The author marshals his plot and characters with conscious mastery; and 
he has written what may, with very truth, be described as a brilliant book. 


Wales. Author of " Mr. and Mrs. Villiers," " The Yoke " 

This book almost reverses the question raised by the author's earlier work, 
" Mr. and Mrs. Villiers." It is a study of a wife who, through the incapacity 
of her husband to understand or respond to the deeper woman in her, finds 
herself shut out upon the wilderness of joyless things. Mr. Hubert Wales 
has made his mark as an author, and his first two books, " Mr. and Mrs. 
Villiers "and "The Yoke," have been out-standing successes. 

HER FATHER'S SOUL By Lucas Cleeve 

An incident which occurs in India between a Native Prince and an English 
Peeress is the source whence the subsequent events spring. The power of the 
story lies in its imagination and its phantasy. Lucas Cleeve has the great 
gift of expression, and in "Her Father's Soul," she enables the reader to 
realize something of the weird, mysterious beauty and fascination of the 
land of the Oriental. 

JOHN LONG, 12, 13 & 14 Norris Street, Hay market, London 

John Long's New & Forthcoming Books 

SIX SHILLING ^OY¥UE>— Continued 

THE WHITE COUNTESS By Florence Warden 

It may safely be stated of Miss Florence Warden's new story, "The 
White Countess," that before the reader has reached the end of the first 
chapter he will find himself immersed in a mystery of baffling complexity, and 
that the sensational events which follow in swift succession will give him no 
pause until the last lines are in sight. "The White Countess " is a story of 
action and plot, and it will uphold Miss Florence Warden's reputation as a 
writer of straightforward, dramatic, and exciting fiction. 


With coloured Frontispiece by E. J. Sherie 

Mrs. L. T. Meade has chosen the subject of heredity as the theme of 
her new novel; but, as might be imagined, there is nothing unpleasant or 
technical in her treatment of "The Curse of the Feverals." On the contary, 
Mrs. Meade invariably looks at the brighter side of life — upon its joys rather 
than its sorrows — and she has brought her best talents to bear in the con- 
struction of this effective and moving story of domestic life. 


A boating accident on the Thames, the rescue of Jeannie, a beautiful girl, 
and her sudden disappearance almost immediately afterwards, are the events 
which occur in the first chapter of Mr. G. W. Appleton's new novel. 
Thenceforward the reader's perplexity is mingled with an intense desire to 
probe the mystery. Mr. Appleton keeps well within the region of probability, 
and his sunny outlook upon life peeps forth in this exciting^ dramatic, and 
withal humorous story. 


Deals with the passionate love of two girls for one man, and shows how 
the one whose love he did not return yet loved him so thoroughly, so nobly, 
so unselfishly, that in the end she was the means of his salvation. The story 
largely deals with an old family curse, and a strange mystery which is partially 
founded on fact. The characters of some of the most important persons 
are taken from life. In a word, this is the most exciting story that Mrs. Meade 
has ever produced, and the publisher predicts a more than ordinary success 
for it. 

JOHN LONG, 12, 13 & H Norris Street, Haymarket, London 

John Long^s New & Forthcoming Books 


IN HIS GRIP By David Christie Murray 

Mr. David Christie Murray has imagined in his new story a combination of 
circumstances which afford ample scope for the exercise of his uncommon 
powers. A merchant of character is left, by a dying friend, in the position 
of trustee without documentary conditions, and the property, which he thinks 
to be worthless, provesto be of untold value. His own financial embarrassments 
create the temptation to which he momentarily succumbs. The story gallops 
along at a furious pace amid an atmosphere of stirring events, through 
which runs a delightful love episode. 


In the opinion of the critics, Mr. R. H. Forster knows Northumbria as 
Mr. Hardy knows Wessex, as Mr. Crockett knows Galloway, and as 
Mr. Blackmore knew Exmoor, Higher praise for a writer of historical 
fiction it would be difficult to imagine. In "A Jacobite Admiral" the 
Jacobite rebellion of 1715 forms the superstructure of the story, and the hero's 
adventures in his loyalty to the doomed house of Stuart, as conspirator, rebel, 
fugitive, and lover, afford ample scope for the description of scenes and 
localities of great natural beauty and historic interest. Over and above this, 
Mr. R. H. Forster has written a novel which is instinct with the finest romantic 


Dick Donovan has gone back to the troublous times of Mary Queen of 
Scots for the incidents which form the basis of his new romance, "In the 
Queen's Service." Manners and morals were doubtless less refined and less 
humane in those days, and objects were pursued with more violence and more 
disregard of consequences. From the novelist's standpoint, the period is rich 
in materials and possibilities. Intrigue, treachery, murder, disaster, chivalry, 
gallantry, passion, self-sacrifice — these are the constituents of " In the Queen's 
Service," and the author has, with his accustomed skill, created .Irpnj them 
a story of great and penetrating interest. . ::)^oM 


JOHN LONG, 12, 13 & 14 Norris Street, Hay market, London 

John Long's New & Forthcoming Books 

SIX SHILLING "^OYYl^S— Continued 


The late Hawley Smart was a master of the true sporting novel, and 
Alan St. Aubyn has run him very close in ** Purple Heather." In this she 
has given us a picture of the wilds of Exmoor the whole year round, with 
vivid descriptions of some of the inhabitants, and at the same time has woven 
about them a story of very human interest which centres on the packs of stag 
and fox hounds. 


To the English reader there is a perennial fascination in the conditions of 
life in the mighty realms of the Czar, and few English writers have a more 
intimate knowledge of the various revolutionary currents in Russian affairs than 
Mr. Fred Whishaw. The action of "The Victims" transpires mainly in St. 
Petersburg, and the characters are wholly Russian. A young journalist and 
a young girl of the landed class are the central figures, and around these two 
are described the events which culminate in the recent peasant revolt. The 
story is graphically told, and has the air of being a veritable transcript from 


The novel which tells of a complete, triumphant, and overwhelming success 
is always delightful to read. This is the case in Mr. Ranger Gull's new book, 
"The Pleasure Monger," one which will be found to be the best of all the 
brilliant studies of modern life which this author has given us. The character 
studies are especially strong and vivid, and the keen love-interest, which runs 
like a scarlet thread through the warp and woof of the tale, is novel and 
daring. It is very rarely, moreover, that a well-known author lifts the veil of 
the modern literary life and shows it as it really is. Stories which deal in part 
with literary life are nearly always written by amateurs. "The Pleasure 
Monger," in short, will be found full of force, brilliancy, and interest. 

JOHN LONG, 12, 13 & 14 Norris Street, Haymarket, London 

John Long^s New & Forthcoming Books 

SIX SHILLING "^OY^LS— Continued 

THE SIN OF GABRIELLE By Mrs. Coulson Kernahan 

In this story Mrs. Kernahan has shown in the character of Gabrielle 
Desturnelle a beautiful young French adventuress, who has all the seductive 
charm of " Fanchette," without that heroine's innocence. The story shows 
how, by her arts and unscrupulous cleverness, she wrecks the life of Donovan 
Fitzgerald, a man of high ideals. The heartlessness of Gabrielle is put forth 
with power, while the nobility of Fitzgerald will win the sjrmpathy of the 

THE SECOND BEST By Coralie Stanton & Heath 


The work of Coralie Stanton and Heath Hosken stands out from the fiction 
of to-day in bold outline ; there is nothing commonplace or anaemic about it. 
Their new novel, "The Second Best," is a realistic story of modern English 
society ; the characters are vivid and natural, and the incidents palpitate with 
drama. The title is in keeping with the underlying idea, but " The Second 
Best" is, in point of fact, the authors' very best; it grips from the first, and 
a rich treat is in store for those who come within the spell of this rousing story. 


The work of Alice M. Diehl has two main recommendations — its freedom 
from the unpleasant and its polished and artistic setting. " A Lovely Little 
Radical," however, is not a placid story. It recounts the love of a young 
girl of patrician birth and heritage for a simple man of the people. The 
author manipulates her theme with unfailing tact and discrimination, and 
succeeds in eliciting the reader's sympathies from the commencement. "A 
Lovely Little Radical " may be regarded as the crowning achievement of this 
popular romanticist. 

JOHN LONG, 12, 13 & 14 Norris Street, Hay market, London 

John Long^s New & Forthcoming Books 



Paternoster. With Coloured Frontispiece 

Mr. Paternoster seems determined to prove in this novel that the motor-car 
provides inimitable opportunities for the rebirth of romance in an unromantic 
twentieth century. The central character, " My Lady Melody," is a veritable 
heroine of romance. From the time she makes her appearance, enshrouded 
in a cloud of mystery, in the salon of a hotel at Versailles, she is the centre of 
a series of thrilling adventures and dramatic situations which enchain the 
reader's attention until the happy outcome is reached. 


This story is founded on an incident which happened at Blackheath up- 
wards of thirty years ago. Two baby girls were exposed and left on the same 
night at opposite points of the heath to the charity of wayfarers. There is 
abundance of interest and incident before the mystery of their origin is solved. 
On one occasion the wrong waif is installed with an old city knight and his lady 
as their lost grandchild and heiress, but all comes right in the end. Best of 
all, the two waifs are innocent, good girls, although their adventures should 
appeal to every lover of true romance. 

RUBINA By James Blyth. With Coloured Frontispiece 

Mr. James Blyth stands almost alone among English novelists as a realist 
of the Zola School, but superadded to his realism is a strain of thought at 
once subtle and poetical. " Rubina " is the story of a girl of the people, and 
her life is passed wholly in a village in the heart of the Fens. Surrounded by 
the sights and sounds of nature, she herself is a child of nature, untrammelled 
by the niceties and scruples of modern conventions. Mr. Blyth pursues his 
theme in a legitimate and logical fashion, and he has produced a work which 
is a veritable piece of life, the poigfnant emotional power and truth of which 
will be acknowledged by every thoughtful reader. 

JOHN LONG, 12. 13 & 14 Norris Street, Hay market, London 

John Long's New & Forthcoming Books 

SIX SHILLING '^OY'EUi— Continued 

THE PASSING OF NIGHT By J. Fovargue Bradley 

'* The Passing of Night " is a political novel written with a purpose. The 
author is a Congreg-ational Minister who does not write at random, but whose 
views will be found worthy of attention, if they do not find acceptance. The 
story, from its argumentative side, treats of the attitude of the Church 
Association towards the Ritual excesses in the Church of England, and of 
Disestablishment in the interests of religious and social life ; but the author 
challenges the advocates of Disendowment to show the equity of their case. 
"The Passing of Night " is polemical and controversial, but it is also a romance 
of consummate interest ; there is wit, imagination, insight, sense of character, 
and high literary quality in it. It is a first work, but it is certain to be regarded 
as one of the most remarkable novels of the year. 

A BRIAR ROSE By Sarah Tytler 

It is a characteristic of most fiction that the last chapters close to the 
sound of wedding bells. In "A Briar Rose" the order has been reversed, 
and the marriages take place at the commencement of the story. Miss Sarah 
Tytler has chosen the everyday lives of two young couples as her foundation, 
and around their joys and sorrows she has written a domestic story of quiet 
and penetrating charm. In this book, as in all her works. Miss Sarah Tytler's 
delicate literary gifts are distinctively apparent. 

LITTLE JOSEPHINE By L. T. Meade. With Coloured 

Frontispiece by E. J. Sherie 

There is scarcely a household in which the novels of Mrs. L. T. Meade 
are not known and appreciated ; her work is infinite in its variety, and 
never dull. The thesis of her new story, " Little Josephine," is the marriage 
of a good and charming young girl with a man of blemished character. 
Incidentally, the follies and vices of the worst side of society are exposed and 
castigated in the manner of Father Vaughan. Mrs. L. T. Meade has never 
written with greater effect than in this poignant story. 

JOHN LONG, 12, 13 & 14 Norris Street, Hay market, London 

John Long^s New & Forthcoming Books 


A WOMAN'S AYE OR NAY By Lucas Cleeve 

All who are interested in the suffragette movement — and who is not? — 
will read Lucas Cleeve's new novel with profit and pleasure. The story is set 
some ten years ahead, when women are allowed to vote for Parliament ; but 
although there is much in the novel of a quasi-political character, it is the love 
side of it which is uppermost, and which will call for highest appreciation. 
As an exponent of the "tender passion," few living novelists can compare 
with Lucas Cleeve. 

VALDORA By Thomas Pinkerton 

" Valdora " belongs to the order of romance which is a perpetual joy to 
the novel reader. A Princess of a small State secures the services of an 
Englishman to defend her possessions from the attacks of envious neighbours. 
There is the clash of arms, and the delight of love. "Valdora " suggests the 
method of Mr. Anthony Hope, with whose work it will well bear comparison. 


Archer Philip Crouch 

The particular fascination of Mr. A. P. Crouch's new story is that the 
scene of its operations is placed in that weird, mysterious land, Thibet. A 
young Englishman of the self-reliant, strong, and adventurous type determines 
to visit Lhasa — the sacred Thibetan capital — a city which the foreigner is 
not allowed to explore upon pain of death. How the Englishman succeeds 
in his object, and how he brings back with him " A Wife from the Forbidden 
Land," is the function of the story to tell. Mr. Crouch knows the peoples 
of the wonderful East like a native ; and his book is not only an engrossing 
romance : it is a vivid presentment of the customs, institutions, and manners of 
a land which is as yet but little known to the European . 

JOHN LONG, 12, 13 & 14 Norris Street, Haymarket, London 


John hong's New & Forthcoming Books 

A YANKEE NAPOLEON By John F. Macpherson 

The " Yankee Napoleon " is a scientist who manufactures a brain serum, by 
which his own intellect and will-power are so enormously increased that the 
whole of America lies helpless at his feet. He uses his power, not like a 
benevolent genius, but like a criminal lunatic who is held in check by no law, 
human or divine. How, after a devastating war, in which East and West are 
involved, the "Yankee Napoleon's" plans are frustrated and brought to 
nothingness by an English scientist and a Japanese Marquis, the reader 
must discover for himself. He is confidently promised a story unique in plot 
and inventive power, full of amazing thrills, and written witl) the pen of a 
wizard. " '' '" 


Douglas Brewer 

The action of this story is placed in Paris, and the characters are wholly 
French, but "A Full-Length Portrait of Eve" will appeal with irresistible 
force to English readers. In its essence it is a love-story — a fiery, passionate, 
overwhelming love-story ; and it is written with a beauty of phrase and a 
distinctive style rarely to be found in the work of a new writer. 

THE JEWEL HOUSE By Mrs. Isabel Smith 

Mrs. Isabel Smith has already achieved a reputation by her first work, 
" The Minister's Guest." In her new story, "The Jewel House," the same 
qualities of quiet charm and literary style will be found united to a fine gift 
of portraiture. The incidents happen in the country, and the chief characters 
are a baronet, the scion of an ancient house, and a young and beautiful girl 
of the yeoman class. " The Jewel House " is a love-story ; but it is natural, 
healthy, and wholly delightful, and it cannot fail to win fresh admirers for 
an authoress whose work has only to be known to be justly appreciated. 

JOHN LONG, 12, 13 & 14 Norris Street, Hay market, London 

John Long*s New & Forthcoming Books 

SIX SHILLING '^OY'El.^^— Continued 


A new historical romance which can bring effectively before the reader the 
life and manners of a bygone age, and make real flesh and blood of the 
characters which it introduces, is a rarity, and sure of a warm welcome. Such 
is " In Search of J6hanne." Miss Avis Hekking has taken the sixteenth century 
and the Massacre of the Huguenots as a background. The characters are 
French, and the events happen wholly in France. " In Search of J^hanne " is a 
romance of first-rate quality, and it should create for the author a high position 
among writers of historical novels. 



In this story the author unwinds a plot in which there is nothing hackneyed 
or commonplace, but which in character and incident is fresh and natural 
and wholesome, and brimming with delightful comedy. Humorists are rare, 
and readers will assuredly be glad to have their attention directed to this 
light, bright, laughable, captivating book. 


Of late there have been attempts (feeble, it must be admitted) to portray in 
fiction the jealousy of Continental nations against our realm, but in no case 
hcis one of them approached the realistic and thrilling description of the 
sudden and secretly planned attempted invasion by Germany of Great Britain, 
as set forth in Hew Scot's splendid work, "The Way of War," Commencing 
with the admittance of a German patient into an Edinburgh hospital, and the 
suggestion of a strong love interest, we are carried swiftly through seven 
days of intense stress and adventure, during which the fate of our country 
seems to hang on the skill and resource of a single individual, by whose 
adroitness and courage the secret designs of the enemy are discovered, and 
as far as possible prepared for, until the climax is reached in a naval battle, 
when the steel-clad might of England, being at length let loose, swoops 
down in all its tremendous power and sweeps the foe from our waters. This 
is a book full of life and movement, and one it is impossible to lay aside, 
having once commenced. 

JOHN LONG, 12, 13 &; 14 Norris Street, Hay market, London 

John Long's New & Forthcoming Books 

ONE EVENTFUL SUMMER By Ethel Grace Tapner 

" One Eventful Summer " is the work of a new writer, but not since the 
days of " Lorna Doone " has a story been written which conveys so much of 
the subtle charm of Devonshire. The central idea of the story is whimsical, 
but there is comedy and trcigedy in it — love and laughter and tears. " One 
Eventful Summer " differs essentially from fiction in general, and upon that 
account, as well as upon its undoubted intrinsic merits, it will be greatly 
appreciated by those who are fortunate enough to read the book. 

A HUMAN BACILLUS By Robert Eustace 

A story that will make some demand upon the nerves of the reader, and 
leave behind it a burning remembrance. Such is "A Human Bacillus." 
It describes the life and love of a strange being — partly genius, partly saint, 
and partly madman — whose subtle acts of renunciation and revenge lead to an 
extraordinary denouement. The story is written by Robert Eustace, who is 
well known as the collaborator of L. T. Meade in " The Brotherhood of the 
Seven Kings," "The Sanctuary Club," "The Sorceress of the Strand," etc. 


A new work of humour is rare in these days, and if the humour is of the right 
sort — if it is wholesome and natural and unforced — such a book is something 
to be thankful for. " Incapable Lovers " is written in great good spirits, and 
the characters and incidents sparkle and bubble over with delightful fun. 
Not since the days of "Three Men in a Boat" has so popular and infectious 
a work of humour appeared. 

JOHN LONG, 12, 13 & 14 Norris Street, Hay market, London 


John Long^s New & Forthcoming Books 



To say that " The Shade of the Acacia " fulfils the high promise which was 
held out in the author's previous story, "The Little Tin Gods," does not 
adequately describe the fine qualities of this novel. It not only shows literary 
gifts of an unusual order, but there are flashes of insight and penetration in 
it of rare power. The plot is taken up with the marriage of a baronet to 
a young girl who loves her husband's best friend; and the eternal duel 
between love and duty is presented in an entirely original form ; even the 
minor characters are distinct and individual. In a word, " The Shade of the 
Acacia " belongs to the higher rank of fiction. 


This story deals with a herb, brought from the South Seas, which is used for 
religious ceremonial, and is called the " Devil Root " by the natives. When 
burnt, the fumes produce insensibility, and release the spirit, which can see 
all that takes place on the physical world, without being able to interfere. The 
hero is a witness (while in such a trance) to a murder, for which he is after- 
wards blamed ; but he cannot prove his innocence, until assisted by the heroine, 
whose psychic powers enable her to clear his character. The book is a new 
departure for Mr. Fergus Hume, as, although the mystery is still retained, the 
tale deals largely with the power of the occult in modern life. 

JOHN LONG, 12, 13 & 14 Norris Street, Haymarbet, London 


John Long's New & Forthcoming Books 


The Sales of Nat Gould's Novels exceed 
5,000,000 (five million) Copies 


Mr. JOHN LONG is now the exclusive Publisher of all Mr. Nat 
Gould's New Novels, with cover designs in four colours by Mr. Haring- 
TON Biro, the well-known horse painter. 

The following is the List to October, 1907 : 

Price 2s. each, illustrated boards ; or in cloth gilt, 
2s. 6d. each. Crown 8w., 2^^ pages 









TIME Ready 





Price Is., large demy 8w., i6o pages, sewed, cover in colours 
*,* Orders are now being taken for NAT GOULD'S ANNUAL for 1907 

[Ready in October 

JOHN LONG, 12, 13 & 14 Norris Street, Haymarket, London 


John Long's New & Forthcoming Books 


In large demy 8vo., sewed. Striking cover in colours 










"The fool hath said In bis heart, 'There is no Qod'" 

Crown Svo., paper cover, Is. net; or in cloth gilt, 2s. 6d. net 

"A real triumph of modern publishing:."— Pall Mall Gazette 
"A marvel of cheapness." — Spectator 


A series of great works of fiction by modern authors. Not pocket editions, but large, 
handsome, and fully-illustrated volumes for the bookshelf, printed in large type on the best 
paper. Biographical Introductions and Photogravure Portraits. Size, 8 in. by 5J in. ; thick- 
ness, il in. Prices : Cloth Gilt, as. net each ; Leather, gold blocked and silk marker, 3s, 
net each ; or in Classic Half- Vellum, 58. net each. 

THE THREE CLERKS - - - . - (480 pp.) Anthony Trollope 
THE CLOISTER AND THE HEARTH - (672pp.) Charles Reade 
THE WOMAN IN WHITE - - (576 pp.) Wilkie Collin.s 

ADAM BEDE - (480 pp.) George Eliot 


WESTWARD HO! (600 pp.) Charles Kingsley 

TOM BROWN'S SCHOOLDAYS - - (320 pp.) Thomas Hughes 
A TALE OF TWO CITIES - - - (384 pp.) Charles Dickens 

Oiher Volumes to /allow. 

JOHN LONG, 12, 13 & 14 Nor lis Street, Haymarket, London 


John Long's New & Forthcoming Books 


Each in Crown 8vo., thread sewn, printed on superior antique wove 

paper. With beautiful cover designs in colour by 

Charles E. Dawson 


Being the astounding Revelations of Manners and Morals in European Courts. 

The late editor of the Saturday Review writes : " The book gives one an extraordinary 
impression of reality; it is true, truer even than the shorthand account of a trial in our 
Divorce Court. I have enjoyed the book, and I will maintain before all and sundry that it is 
a good book, an excellent book, a book that had to be written." 

N.B. — The Sales of this remarkable book in the more Expensive Edition exceeded 
200,000 copies. 


By Barry Pain, Author of " Eliza," etc. 

Standard — " A most amusing and delightful book. Take it along in the train, and you 
won't have to struggle for sleep against comfortless cushions and exiguous seats." 

PcUl MtUl Gatett*. — " A light, charming piece of literary frivolity." 


By Hubert Wales, Author of "The Yoke " 

The Times: "The situations and the dialogue are handled with sureness and skill, 
and the tw» sisters present feminine character studies of singular beauty." — Daily 
Telegraph : " Hubert Wales is a capable writer, and has produced a story which is 
worth being read." — Daily Chronicle : " The story is extremely well written, the 
characterization admirable. Mr. Wales has amused us, and we have enjoyed his book." 
Morning Leader : " There is no denying the cleverness of the book." — Athencevm : 
" Powerfully written." — Tatler: "A very notable book." 

JOHN LONG, 12, 13 & 14 Norris Street, Haymarket, London 


John Long's New & Forthcoming Books 



Gould, M.A. 

With upwards of 40 Illustrations on art paper, printed in sepia, with 8 plates in 

colours and a Map. Crown 8vo., cloth gilt, price 6s. 

*»* This work is uniform in scope and size with the author's well-known books on Devon, 
Cornwall, Dartmoor, Brittany, the Riviera, etc. [Prospectus post Jree 


from Life in Wood and Field. By H. W, Shepheard-Walwyn, M.A., 
F.Z.S., F.E.S., etc. Author of " Nature's Nursery," " Nature's Riddles," 
"The Lay of the Wee Brown Wren," etc. 

With 78 Illustrations on art paper, printed in sepia, from the author's photographs 
direct from Nature. Crown 8vo., cloth gilt, 6s. [Prospectus post free 

TERRIERS : Their Points and Management By Frank 

TowNEND Barton, M.R.C.V.S. 
With upwards of 40 Illustrations jrom photographs on art paper, printed in sepia. 
Crovm 8V0., cloth, heavily gilt, price 6S. net. {Prospectus post free 

This is an entirely new and important work on Terriers, and the only 
one of its kind yet published. It is a departure from the style usually 
followed by authors in canine literature. In a word, it is a book for every- 
body who wants to know all about terriers. 


In royal \bmo, cloth gilt and gilt top, with silh marher, price 3s. 6d. net each. 


Wasiyyat), comprising his Testament (or Last Words), A Song, Hymn of 
Prayer, The Word in the Desert, Hymn of Praise, also the Marathi, or Odes 
of the Disciples. By Louis C. Alexander 

THE COMING OF SPRING ; and Other Poems By 


VOCES AMORIS By John B. Rankin 

JOHN LONG, 12, 13 & 14 Norris Street, Hay market, London 

John Long^s New & Forthcoming Books 

" Will outbid all rivals." — The Bookman. 

" Certainly wonderful . ' ' — A thencsum, 

"It has remained for Mr. John Long to undersell all rivals by his 
' Carlton Classics. ' The copy before us — Thackeray's ' English Humorists ' 
— is extremely well printed and nicely got up, and must certainly be 
reckoned as the last word in cheap editions." — Daily News. 


Prices : Artistic Cloth, gilt, 6d. net ; Leather, gilt top, gold-blocked back and side, 
IS. net ; postage, ijd. per toI. Length from i6o to 320 pages, newly set in clear, new type, 
and printed on the best paper. Each Volume contains a Biographical Introduction by tha 
Editor, Mr. Hannapord Bennett. The first iwehit only are bound in decorative ^aper 







6. TALES (Selected) 

7. CHRISTABEL, and other Poems 



other Poems . - . - 




12. RASSELAS ... - 


14. ESSAYS (Selected) 

15. HIS BOOK ... - 

16. THE DUNCIAD, and other Poems - 



18. THE JUMPING FROG, and Other 

Sketches . . . . 

19. SONGS 

20. ESSAYS (Selected) 


W. M. Thackeray 
Lord Byron 
Lord Macaulay 
Robert Southey 
Edgar Allan Poe 
S. T. Coleridge 
Laurence Sterne 

Dante Gabriel Rossetti 

Thomas Carlyle 
Samdel Johnson 
Edmund Spenser 
Joseph Addison 
Artemds Ward 
Alexander Pope 

W. M. Thackeray 

Mark Twain 
Robert Burns 
Leigh Hunt 

[List continued ever. 

JOHN LONG, 12, 13 & 14 Norris Street, Haymarket, London 


John Long^s New & Forthcoming Books 


22. HUMOROUS POEMS - - Thomas Hood 


OPIUM EATER - - - Thomas De Quincey 

24. A VOYAGE TO LILLIPUT - - Dean Swift 

25. GRACE ABOUNDING- - - John Bunyan 

26. ESSAYS ----- Matthew Arnold 

27. POEMS - . . - Percy Bysshe Shelley 

28. MR. GILFIN'S LOVE STORY - George Eliot 

29. SCENES FROM LORREQUER - Charles Lever 

30. POEMS ----- Ben Jonson 


32. MINOR POEMS - - - John Milton 

33. SELECTIONS - "OVIIH*^ " E°"°nd Burke 

34. SONNETS - - ' -* - William Wordsworth 

35. A VOYAGE TO LISBON - - Henry Fielding 

36. ESSAYS ----- James Anthony Froude 

Other Volumes in Preparation 


A Series of Copyright Novels by Popular Authors. The Volumes are printed upon 
a superior Antique Wove Paper, handsomely bound in specially designed cover, red 
cloth, heavily Gold Blocked at back. The size of the volumes is 7J in. by si in. by 
ij in., the length from 300 to 350 pages, and the price 2s> 6cl. each. 


FATHER ANTHONY (Illustrated) - - Robert Buchanan 

A CABINET SECRET (Uluatrated) - - Guy Boothby 

AN OUTSIDER'S TEAR - - . . Florence Warden 

FUGITIVE ANNE ----- Mrs. Campbell Praed 

THE FUTURE OF PHYLLIS - - Adeline Sergeant 

JOHN LONG, 12, 13 & 14 Norris Street, Haymarket, London 

John Long's New & Forthcoming Books 




AN nj. WIND 

















CURIOS : or, the Strange Adventures of Two 
Bachelors (Illustrated) . . . 







IN SPITE OF THE CZAR (Hlustrated) 






Adeline Sergeant 

Dick Donovan 

Mrs. Lovett Cameron 

Mrs. Lovett Cameron 

Fergus Hume 

Fergus Hume 

Fergus Hume 

Sarah Tytler 

Richard Marsh 

Curtis Yorke 

Curtis Yorke 

Mrs. Campbell Praed 


Lucas Cleeve 

May Crommelin 

Florence Warden 

Guy Boothby 

George Griffith 

Harold Bindloss 

Mrs. Coulson Kern ah an 

Richard Marsh 

Dick Donovan 

Richard Marsh . 
Guy Boothby 
Mrs. Lovett Cameron 
Fergus Hume 
Richard Marsh 
Florence Warden 
Curtis Yorke 
Guy Boothby 
Lucas Cleeve 
Fergus Hume 
Mrs. Campbell Praed 
Florence Warden 
Curtis Yorke 

[List continued (wer. 

JOHN LONG, 12, 13 & H Norris Street, Haymarket, London 


John Long's New & Forthcoming Books 



THE SEC3RET PASSAGE - - - . Fergus Humb 






L. T. Meadk 
Adeline Sergeant 
William Le Queux 
Richard Marsh 
Frank Barrett 




THE YOKE (Author of " Mr, and 

Mrs.Villiers ") 

SELMA - . . . 

EYES . . - - 



LADY - - - - 

Curtis Yorke 
David Christie Murray 
Harold Bindloss 
Adeline Sergeant 
Sir Wm. Magnav, Bart, 
r. h. forster 

G. W. Appleton 
C. Guise Mitford 
Mrs. Campbell Praed 
Violet Tweedale 

Hubert Wales 

Richard Marsh 
Lucas Cleeve 

Florence Warden 
May Crommelin 
James Blyth 

Gertrude Warden 

JOHN LONG, 12, 13 ac 14 Norris Street, Haymarket, London 

John Long's New & Forthcoming Books 

RECENT POPULAR "^OYYl.^— Continued 













L. T. Meade 

Baroness von Goldacker 

Daisy Hugh Pryce 

G. Sidney Paternoster 

Sarah Tytler 

Alice M. Diehl 

Sadi Grant 

E. Way Elkington 

CoRALiE Stanton and 

Heath Hosken 
G. G. Chatterton 

Mrs- C. E. Phillimore 
Suzanne Somers 
Charles Dawson 
Lady Dunbar of Mochrum 
Mrs. Darent Harrison 
S. R. Keightley 

L. T. Meade 
Sarah Tytler 


In Striking Picture Covers, 9 in. by 6 in. 

58 A BRIDE FROM THE SEA Guy Boothby 

59 WHEN IT WAS LIGHT (A Reply to " When It was 

Dark") Well-known Author 

60 A BIT OF A ROGUE Nat Gould 

61 THE GIRL IN GREY Curtis Yorke 

62 HIS ITALIAN WIFE Lucas Cleeve 

63 THE LADY TRAINER " Nat Gould 


65 IN SPITE OF THE CZAR Guv Boothby 



68 THE STORM OF LONDON F. Dickberry 

69 A LOST CAUSE Guy Thorne 

70 ONE HUNDRED TO ONE CHANCE - - . - Nat Gould 

71 FUGITIVE ANNE Mrs. Campbell Praed 


[List continued over. 

JOHN LONG, 12, 13 & 14 Norris Street, Haymarket, London 


John Long^s New & Forthcoming Books 


AN OUTSIDER'S YEAR Florence Warden 


THE LOVELY MRS. PEMBERTON .... Florence Warden 

THE MYSTERY OF DUDLEY HORNE - - • Florence Warden 


OUR WIDOW ....... Florence Warden 

No. 3, THE SQUARE Florence Wardkm 

THE JADE EYE - Fergus Hume 

THE TURNPIKE HOUSE - .... Fergus Humk 






A WOMAN'S " NO ' Mrs. Lovett Cameron 


A PASSING FANCY Mrs. Lovett Cameron 

BITTER FRUIT - Mrs. Lovett Cameron 

AN ILL WIND - - Mrs. Lovktt Cameron 

MIDSUMMER MADNESS Mrs. Lovett Cameron 





THE MASK - . . . ... William Le Queux 

THE EYE OF ISTAR - William Le Queux 

THE VEILED MAN William Le Queux 

A MAN OF TO-DAY Helen Mathers 

THE SIN OF HAGAR . - . - - Helen Mathers 

THE JUGGLER AND THE SOUL .... Helen Mathers 

FATHER ANTHONY Robert Buchanan 








BENEATH THE VEIL Adeline Sergeant 

DELPHINE - . - Curtis Yorke 

THE COUNTESS OF MOUNTBMOT .... John Strange Winter 


ONE OF A MOB Nat Gould 

THE OTHER MRS. JACOBS Mrs. Campbell Praed 

THE FLUTE OF PAN John Oliver Hobbes 


THE STOLEN EMPEROR ...... Mrs. Hugh Fraser 

A BEAUTIFUL REBEL .-...- Ernest Glanville 

THE WORLD MASTERS George Griffith 




GEORGE AND SON Edward H. Cooper 



JOHN LONG, 12, 13 & 14 Nortis Street, Hay market, London 


DC Baring-Gould, Sabine 

611 A book of the Cevennes