Page:A book of the Cevennes (-1907-).djvu/394

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296
THE CEVENNES

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 condemned 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 France.

S. Guilhem-le-Désert is one of the strangest and most