Page:A book of the Cevennes (-1907-).djvu/130

From Wikisource
Jump to: navigation, search
This page has been validated.


CHAPTER V


L'AUBERGE DE PEYRABEILLE


Roman road—The inn—Pierre Martin, his wife, and man—Haussmann at the inn—Number of murders committed never known—Claude Béraud—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—Execution.


THE 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 Ardèche, 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.

84