Page:A book of the Cevennes (-1907-).djvu/393

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295
LE CAYLAR

Lodève only by ladders planted against the precipice at the Pas de l'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.), Histoire 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 Bâville and the Duke of Berwick by assassination. The plot was discovered whilst he was in Nîmes, 2Oth 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 Nîmes something suspicious in his appearance caused his arrest, and compromising letters were discovered secreted about his person. He was led to the Duke of