Page:A book of the Cevennes (-1907-).djvu/202

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134
THE CEVENNES

From the foot of the cone issues the source of the Fontollière, 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 Suc de Bauzon, another volcanic vent, red-headed, and 4,430 feet high. On the summit is a large stone table, at which, according to tradition, every year the four Seigneurs of Montpezat, 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 suc.

We return again to the valley of the Ardèche 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 Pavé des Géants, 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