Page:A book of the Cevennes (-1907-).djvu/160

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108
THE CEVENNES

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 curé 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 Catholics 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 proportions had been the other way on, without a doubt the Catholics would have acted with precisely the same intolerance.

As a curé 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.