After losing most of his conquests, de Montfort's position became more hopeful towards the spring of 1210, as his forces were swelled by the arrival of successive bands of "pilgrims" — as these peaceful folk were accustomed to style themselves — and his ambitious views expanded. The short term for which the cross was assumed rendered it necessary to turn the new-comers to immediate account, and de Montfort was unceasingly active in recovering his ground and in reducing the castles which still held out. It is not worth our while to follow in detail these exploits of military religious ardor, which, when successful, were usually crowned by putting the garrison to the sword and offering the non-combatants the choice between obedience to Rome and the stake — a choice which gave occasion to zealous martyrdom on the part of hundreds of obscure and forgotten enthusiasts. Lavaur, Minerve, Casser, Termes, are names which suggest all that man can inflict and man can suffer for the glory of God. The spirit of the respective parties was well exhibited at the capitulation of Minerve, where Robert Mauvoisin, de Montfort's most faithful follower, objected to the clause which spared the heretics who should recant, and was told by Legate Arnaud that he need not fear the conversion of many, as ample experience had shown their prevailing obstinacy. Arnaud was right ; for, with the exception of three women, they unanimously refused to secure safety by apostasy, and saved their captors the trouble of casting them on the blazing pyre by leaping exultingly into the flames. If the playful zeal of the pilgrims sometimes manifested itself in eccentric fashion, as when they blinded the monks of Bolbonne and cut off their noses and ears till there was scarce a trace of the human visage left, we must remember the sources whence the Church drew her recruits, and the immunity which she secured for them, here and hereafter.
If Raymond had fancied that he had skilfully saved himself at the expense of his nephew of Beziers, he had at last discovered his
- Guill. de Pod. Laurent, c. 17, 18.— Gnillel. Nangiac. ann. 1210.— Rob. Autissiodor. Chron. ann. 1211. — Vaissette, III. Pr. 29, 35. — Guillem de Tudela, xlix., lxviii.— lxxi., lxxxiv. — Regest. xvi. 41.— Chron. Turon. ann. 1210. — Pet. Sarnens. c. 37, 52, 53.— Teulet, Layettes, I. 371, No. 968.
themselves that Innocent's letter confirming Albi to de Montfort (xni. 86) is an approbation of the Dominican Order and a proof that de Montfort was a member of it (Ripoll Bullar. Ord. FF. Praedicat. T. VII. p. 1).