Page:A book of the Cevennes (-1907-).djvu/400

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298
THE CEVENNES

wild pomegranate with its crimson flowers may be found here and about Aniane.

As we ascend the valley, looking down into emerald green pools or wreaths of foam, we light on curious domed structures by the water. These are ancient mills, vaulted over with stone as a protection against floods that sometimes cover them many feet with rolling water, and in one place is a tower beside them up which the millers might fly for refuge when the torrent came rolling down unexpectedly.

All at once we reach the opening of a narrow lateral valley, where are the remains of a tower and walls, and where also are two humble inns, in one of which, as I can vouch, at very short notice an excellent déjeuner can be improvised. "Go up and see S. Guilhem," said the old woman of the inn, "and see what I shall have when you return." So we went, and on coming back she produced crayfish just caught in a net, also a rabbit; further, a couple of fieldfares plump with juniper berries; these, with vegetable soup, foie gras, boiled beef, etc., made a rare lunch.

S. Guilhem is a little town drawn out in a thread alongside of a small stream that rises at the base of a cirque of pink and yellow Jura-limestone above the place. It is itself surmounted by a crag towering high into the sky with what appears to be a lacework of stone on top, actually the ruins of a castle, called of Don Juan. Halfway up is a tower and gateway, through which alone the castle could be reached by a stair cut in the rock, but now the summit can be attained by a circuitous path cut for the purpose.

The village, or little town, grew about an abbey founded by Guillaume, Duke of Aquitaine, in 804. He