Monday, April 20, 2009

Cevennes France St Germain de Calbert Chapelier 2008

Well, back to the August 2008 adventure to the roots of my Chapelier Huguenot ancestors in Languedoc France. Here is a view from the mountain retreat of Jean Luc Chapelier, in St Germain, who was kind enough to introduce me to the "desert" where my pro-test ant ancestors hung out when the dominant French Catholics (think Cardinal Richeleau and all) persecuted our people back in the day of the revocation of the Edict of Nantes. Robert Lewis Stevenson visited here in 1879 and wrote in his Travels With a Donkey "“That these continual stirs were once busy in St Germain de Calbert, the imagination with difficulty receives; all is now so quiet, the pulse of human life now beats so low and still in this hamlet of the mountains Boys followed me a great way off, like a timid sort of lion-hunters; and people turned round to have a second look, or came out of their houses, as I went by. My passage was the first event, you would have fancied, since the Camisards.”
“I took refuge on the terraces, which are here greenly carpeted with sward, and tried to imitate with a pencil the inimitable attitudes of the chestnuts as they bear up their canopy of leaves. Ever and again a little wind went by, and the nuts dropped all around me, with a light and dull sound, upon the sward. The noise was a of a thin fall of great hailstones; but there wet with it a cheerful human sentiment of an approaching harvest and farmers rejoicing in their gains. Looking up, I could see the brown nut peering through the husk, which was already gaping; and between the stems the eye embraced an amphitheater of hill, sunlit and green with leaves. I have not often enjoyed a place more deeply. I moved in an atmosphere of pleasure, and felt light and quiet and content. But perhaps it was not the place alone that so disposed my spirit." I too felt a deep peace in these mountains. Merci Jean Luc

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