Castles and Cave Dwellings of Europe
Sabine Baring-Gould

Part 1 out of 6

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[Illustration: CLIFF-CASTLE, BRENGUES. In this castle the Bishop of
Cahors took refuge from the English, to whom he refused to submit, and
in it he died in 1367. It was however captured by the English in 1377.]

"The house i' the rock
. . . no life to ours."


When in 1850 appeared the Report of the Secretary of War for the United
States, containing Mr. J. H. Simpson's account of the Cliff Dwellings
in Colorado, great surprise was awakened in America, and since then
these remains have been investigated by many explorers, of whom I need
only name Holmes' "Report of the Ancient Ruins in South-West Colorado
during the Summers of 1875 and 1876," and Jackson's "Ruins of South-
West Colorado in 1875 and 1877." Powell, Newberry, &c., have also
described them. A summary is in "Prehistoric America," by the Marquis
de Nadaillac, 1885, and the latest contribution to the subject are
articles in _Scribner's Magazine_ by E. S. Curtis, 1906 and 1909.

The Pueblos Indians dwell for the most part at a short distance from
the Rio Grande; the Zuni, however, one of their best known tribes, are
settled far from that river, near the sources of the Gila. In the
Pueblos country are tremendous canons of red sandstone, and in their
sides are the habitations of human beings perched on every ledge in
inaccessible positions. Major Powell, United States Geologist,
expressed his amazement at seeing nothing for whole days but
perpendicular cliffs everywhere riddled with human dwellings resembling
the cells of a honeycomb. The apparently inaccessible heights were
scaled by means of long poles with lateral teeth disposed like the
rungs of a ladder, and inserted at intervals in notches let into the
face of the perpendicular rock. The most curious of these dwellings,
compared to which the most Alpine chalet is of easy access, have ceased
to be occupied, but the Maqui, in North-West Arizona, still inhabit
villages of stone built on sandstone tables, standing isolated in the
midst of a sandy ocean almost destitute of vegetation.

The cause of the abandonment of the cliff dwellings has been the
diminished rainfall, that rendering the land barren has sent its
population elsewhere. The rivers, the very streams, are dried up, and
only parched water-courses show where they once flowed.

"The early inhabitants of the region under notice were wonderfully
skilful in turning the result of the natural weathering of the rocks to
account. To construct a cave-dwelling, the entrance to the cave or the
front of the open gallery was walled up with adobes, leaving only a
small opening serving for both door and window. The cliff houses take
the form and dimensions of the platform or ledge from which they rise.
The masonry is well laid, and it is wonderful with what skill the walls
are joined to the cliff, and with what care the aspect of the
neighbouring rocks has been imitated in the external architecture."
[Footnote: Nadaillac, "Prehistoric America," Lond. 1885, p. 205.]

In Asia also these rock-dwellings abound. The limestone cliffs of
Palestine are riddled with them. They are found also in Armenia and in
Afghanistan. At Bamian, in the latter, "the rocks are perforated in
every direction. A whole people could put up in the 'Twelve Thousand
Galleries' which occupy the slopes of the valley for a distance of
eight miles. Isolated bluffs are pierced with so many chambers that
they look like honeycombs." [Footnote: Reclus, "Asia," iii. p. 245.]

That Troglodytes have inhabited rocks in Africa has been known since
the time of Pliny.

But it has hardly been realised to what an extent similar cliff
dwellings have existed and do still exist in Europe.

In 1894, in my book, "The Deserts of Southern France," I drew attention
to rock habitations in Dordogne and Lot, but I had to crush all my
information on this subject into a single chapter. The subject,
however, is too interesting and too greatly ramified to be thus
compressed. It is one, moreover, that throws sidelights on manners and
modes of life in the past that cannot fail to be of interest. The
description given above of cliff dwellings in Oregon might be employed,
without changing a word, for those in Europe.

To the best of my knowledge, the theme of European Troglodytes has
remained hitherto undealt with, though occasional mention has been made
of those on the Loire. It has been taken for granted that cave-dwellers
belonged to a remote past in civilised Europe; but they are only now
being expelled in Nottinghamshire and Shropshire, by the interference
of sanitary officers.

Elsewhere, the race is by no means extinct. In France more people live
underground than most suppose. And they show no inclination to leave
their dwellings. Just one month ago from the date of writing this page,
I sketched the new front that a man had erected to his paternal cave at
Villiers in Loir et Cher. The habitation was wholly subterranean, but
then it consisted of one room alone. The freshly completed face was cut
in freestone, with door and window, and above were sculptured the aces
of hearts, spades, and diamonds, an anchor, a cogwheel and a fish.
Separated from this mansion was a second, divided from it by a buttress
of untrimmed rock, and this other also was newly fronted, occupied by a
neat and pleasant-spoken woman who was vastly proud of her cavern
residence. "Mais c'est tout ce qu'on peut desirer. Enfin on s'y trouve
tres bien."




Formation of chalk--Of dolomitic limestone--Where did the first men
live--Their Eden in the chalk lands--Migration elsewhere--Pit
dwellings--Civilisation stationary--Troglodytes--Antiquity of man--Les
Eyzies--Hotel du Paradis--The first colonists of the Vezere Valley--
Their artistic accomplishments--Painting and sculpture--Rock dwellings
in Champagne--Of a later period--Civilisation does not progress
uniformly--The earth--Book of the Revelation of the past--La Laugerie
Basse--Blandas--Conduche--Grotte de Han--The race of Troglodytes not



Troglodytes of the Etang de Berre--The underground town of Og, King of
Bashan--Troo--Sanitation--Ancient mode of disposing of refuse--The
talking well--Les Roches--Chateau de Bandan--Chapel of S. Gervais--La
Grotte des Vierges--Rochambeau--Le Roi des Halles--La Roche Corbon--
Human refuse at Ezy--Saumur--Are there still pagans among them?--
Bourre--Courtineau--The basket-makers of Villaines--Grioteaux--Sauliac
--Cuzorn--Brantome--La Roche Beaucourt--The Swabian Alb--Sibyllen loch--
Vrena Beutlers Hoehle--Schillingsloch--Schloessberg Hoehle--Rock village
in Sicily--In the Crimea--In Egypt--In volcanic breccia--Balmes de
Montbrun--Grottoes de Boissiere--Grottoes de Jonas--The rock Ceyssac--
The sandstone cave-dwellings of Correze--Their internal arrangement--
Cluseaux--Cave-dwellings in England--In Nottinghamshire--In
Staffordshire--In Cornwall--In Scotland--The savage in man--Reversion
to savagery--The Gubbins--A stone-cutter--Daniel Gumb--A gentleman of
Sens--Toller of Clun Downs



Prussian invasion of Bohemia--Adersbach and Wickelsdorf labyrinths--
Refuges of the Israelites--Gauls suffocated in caves by Caesar--
Armenians by Corbulo--Story of Julius Sabinus--Saracen invasion--The
devastation of Aquitaine by Pepin--Rock refuges in Quercy--The
Northmen--Persecution of the Albigenses--The cave of Lombrive--The
English domination of Guyenne--Two kinds of refuges--Saint Macaire--
Alban--Refuge of Chateau Robin--Exploration--Methods of defence--
Souterrain of Fayrolle--Of Saint Gauderic--Of Fauroux--Of Olmie--
Aubeterre--Refuges under castles--Enormous number of souterrains in
France--Victor Hugo's account of those in Brittany--Refuges resorted to
in the time of the European War--Those in Picardy--Gapennes--Some
comparatively modern--Condition of the peasantry during the Hundred
Years' War--Tyranny of the nobles--Their barbarities--Refuges in
Ireland--In England--The Dene Holes--at Chislehurst--At Tilbury--Their
origin--Fogous in Cornwall--Refuges in Haddingtonshire--In Egg--
Slaughter of the Macdonalds--Refuges in the Isle of Rathlin--Massacre
by John Norris--Refuges in Crete--Christians suffocated in one by the
Turks--Lamorciere in Algeria. . . . . .



Distinction between souterrain and cliff refuges--How these latter were
reached--Gazelles--Peuch Saint Sour--Story of S. Sour--The Roc d'Aucor
--Exploration--How formerly reached--Boundoulaou--Riou Ferrand--Cliff
refuge near Brengues--Les Mees--Fadarelles--Puy Labrousse--Soulier-de-
Chasteaux--Refuges in Auvergne--Meschers--In Ariege--The Albigenses--
Caves in Derbyshire--Reynard's cave--Cotton's cave--John Cann's cave--
Elford's cave on Sheep's Tor.... 103-116



The seigneural castle--Protection sought against the foes without and
against the peasant in revolt--Instance of the Chateau Les Eyzies--
Independence of the petty nobles--Condition of the country in France--
In Germany--Weakness of the Emperor--The Raubritter--Italy--The nobles
brought into the towns--Their towers--Division of the subject--
Difference between the English manor-house and the foreign feudal
castle--The English in France--The Hundred Years' War--Hopeless
condition of the people--The Free Companies--How recruited--Crusade
against the Albigenses--Barons no better than Routiers--Death of
chivalry--Routiers were rarely Englishmen--Had no scruples as to whom
they served--Disregarded treaties--The captains were Gascons or French
--The nobles of the south on the English side--Nests in the rock--
Depopulation and devastation--Insolence of the Companies--Bigaroque--
Roc de Tayac--Corn--Roquefort--Brengues--The Bishop of Cahors dies
there--Chateau du Diable at Cabrerets--Defile des Anglais--Peyrousse--
Les Roches du Tailleur--Trosky--The scolding women--The English not
forgotten in Guyenne . . . . . 117-141


CLIFF CASTLES--_Continued_

The difference between feudal castles and those of the Routiers--
Illustration of the character of the nobles--Two Counts of Perigord--
The nobles in Auvergne--"Les grands Jours"--La Roche Saint Christophe--
Surprised and destroyed--Reoccupied by the Huguenots--Final
destruction--La Roche Gageac--Its history--Jean Tarde--Ravages of the
Huguenots--Gluges--La Roche Lambert--Habichstein--Buergstein--The spy--
Kronmetz--Covolo--Puxerloch--The shadowless man--Nottingham Castle--
Arrest of Mortimer--Outmost castles--La Grotte de Jioux--Clovis
crosses the Vienne--Le Gue du Loir--Antoine de Bourbon--Calvin at
Saint Saturnin--His cave--La Roche Corail--Cave in which the "Institute
of the Christian Religion" was written--Effects produced by this work
--Preparation of men's minds for reform--Havoc wrought to art by the
Calvinists--La Rochebrune--A cave-colander--Necessity for outlook
stations--Frontier fortifications



Basilicas and catacumbal churches--Preference of the people for the
latter--The cult of martyrs encouraged this--Crypts--Elevation of
relics--Church of SS. John and Paul on the Coelian Hill--Temples were
originally sepulchres--Basilican churches converted into mausoleums--
Dedications--Altars of wood changed for altars of stone--At first the
bodies of martyrs were not dismembered--But dismemberment was made
necessary by the transformation--The Martyrium of Poitiers--S. Emilion
--Carvings--Crypt--Aubeterre--A Huguenot stronghold--Orders issued by
Jeanne d'Albret--Her extended powers--The monolithic church--Menaced by
ruin--Rocamadour--Lirac--Mimet--Caudon--Natural caves used as
churches--Gurat--Lanmeur--Story of S. Melor--Dolmen Chapel of the
Seven Sleepers--Another at Cangas-de-Ones--Confolens--Subterranean
churches in Egypt--In Crete--The sacred caves in Palestine--Revival of
cave sanctuaries by the Crusaders--Springs of water in crypts



Tibetian recluses--Christian hermits in Syria and Egypt--The Essenes
and Therapeutae--Description by Philo of the latter--Buddhist and
Manichaeean influence--Difference in motive--Likeness superficial--
Possible necessity for the adoption of asceticism--Instance of
extravagant asceticism in Syria--Extravagances in Ireland--In England
--Early European solitaries--The Beatus Hoehle--Grotto of S. Cybard--
Decadence--Hermits in Languedoc--In Germany--A grocer hermit--
Hermitage at S. Maurice--The Wild Kirchlein--The cave of S. Verena at
Soleure--That of Magdalen at Freiburg--Oberstein--Hermitage at Brive--
La Sainte Beaume--Souge--Villiers--Montserrat--Subiaco--La Vernia--
Warkworth--Knaresborough--Robin Hood's stable--Roche--Anchor Church--
Royston cave--Its carvings--Kindly remembrance of the hermit--The
hermit a loss



The hermits self-excommunicate--Liability to create a schism--S. Paul--
S. Mary of Egypt--S. Anthony--Enormous number of solitaries compels
organisation into monasteries--Causes inducing flight to the desert--S.
Athanasius at Treves--Writes the "Life of S. Anthony"--Impulse given to
flight from the world in the West--S. Martin--Desires to imitate the
Lives of the Fathers of the Desert--At Poitiers--Founds Liguge--Rock
cells--Later history and ruin--Martin becomes Bishop of Tours--Founds
Marmoutier--History and ruin--Martin and the masqueraders--Present
state--Baptistry--The Seven Sleepers--Brice elected bishop--Obliged to
fly the see--Return and penance--Cave of S. Leobard--Abbey of Brantome
--Underground church--Other caves--"Papists' Holes" at Nottingham--Rock
monastery of Meteora--Der el Adra--Inkermann



Polignac--Greek oracles--Charonion--Cave of the Nymphs--Exhalations--
Delos--Care of Trophonios--Experiences of Pausanius--Cave at Acharaca
--Sibylline oracles--Destruction--Forged oracles--Oracles among the
Jews--Story of Hallbjoern--Sounds issuing from caves--Echo--AEolian cave
of Terni--Purgatory of S. Patrick--The Knight Owain--Visit by Sir
William Lisle--By a monk of Eymstadt--Prohibited by Alexander VI.--
Prohibition rescinded by Pius III.--Destroyed in 1622--Revival of
pilgrimages--Description by Gough--Friar Conrad--Lazarus Aigner--
Roderic, King of the Goths--Sortes Sacrae--Condemned by the Church--
Nevertheless practised--Instances from Gregory of Tours--Incubation in
pagan shrines--The cave of Cybele--Temples of Isis and Esculapius--
Churches founded by Constantino dedicated to S. Michael--Incubation
practiced in them--Instances--Churches of S. Cosmas and Damian--
Practice at Caerleon--Superstition hard to kill--Grotto of Lourdes



Humphrey Kynaston--His adventurous life--Cave at Ness Cliff--Chinamen--
David at Adullam--Bandit caves in Palestine--Lombrive--Surtshellir--
Feruiden's cave--Gargas--La Crouzafce--The haunts of Grettir--
Dunterton--Precautions against burglary--Story of K. F. Masch--His
capture--The Leichtweishohle--Adersbach retreats--Babinsky--His capture



Difference between the tombs of the Israelites and those of the
Egyptians--The reason for this--Jewish catacombs at Rome--Christian
catacombs--Puticoli--Numerous catacombs--Those of Syracuse--Those of
Paris--Crypts became vaults for kings and nobles--Desecration--That of
Louis XI.--The instinct of immortality--Cave burials--In the Petit
Morin--Scandinavian burials--Death regarded as suspended animation--
Hervor at the cairn of Angantyr--The cairn-breaking of Gest--The barrow
of Gunnar--Sigrun visits her husband in his cairn--The story of Asmund
and Asvid--The same ideas in Christian times--Mamertinus and
Corcodemus--"De Miraculis Mortuorum"--Ancestor worship--Persistence of
usages derived from a remote antiquity--Neglect of thought of the dead
--Double nature of man--The spiritual world--A walking postman--



SAULIAC (_Photo by_ GIBMA)
CORN, LOT (_Photo by_ BAUDEL, S. CERE)




In a vastly remote past, and for a vastly extended period, the mighty
deep rolled over the surface of a world inform and void, depositing a
sediment of its used up living tenants, the microscopic cases of
foraminiferae, sponges, sea-urchins, husks, and the cast limbs of
crustaceans. The descending shells of the diatoms like a subaqueous
snow gradually buried the larger dejections. This went on till the
sediment had attained a thickness of over one thousand feet. Then the
earth beneath, heaved and tossed in sleep, cast off its white
featherbed, projected it on high to become the chalk formation that
occupies so distinct and extended a position in the geological
structure of the globe. The chalk may be traced from the North of
Ireland to the Crimea, a distance of about 11,140 geographical miles,
and, in an opposite direction, from the South of Sweden to Bordeaux, a
distance of 840 geographical miles.

It extends as a broad belt across France, like the sash of a Republican
mayor. You may travel from Calais to Vendome, to Tours, Poitiers,
Angouleme, to the Gironde, and you are on chalk the whole way. It
stretches through Central Europe, and is seen in North Africa. From the
Crimea it reaches into Syria, and may be traced as far as the shores of
the sea of Aral in Central Asia.

The chalk is not throughout alike in texture; hard beds alternate with
others that are soft--beds with flints like plum-cake, and beds
without, like white Spanish bread.

We are accustomed in England to chalk in rolling downs, except where
bitten into by the sea, but elsewhere it is riven, and presents cliffs,
and these cliffs are not at all like that of Shakespeare at Dover, but
overhang, where hard beds alternate with others that are friable. These
latter are corroded by the weather, and leave the more compact
projecting like the roofs of penthouses. They are furrowed
horizontally, licked smooth by the wind and rain. Not only so, but the
chalk cliffs are riddled with caves, that are ancient water-courses.
The rain falling on the surface is drunk by the thirsty soil, and it
sinks till, finding where the chalk is tender, it forms a channel and
flows as a subterranean rill, spouts forth on the face of the crags,
till sinking still lower, it finds an exit at the bottom of the cliff,
when it leaves its ancient conduit high and dry.

But before the chalk was tossed aloft there had been an earlier
upheaval from the depths of the ocean, that of the Jurassic limestone.
This was built up by coral insects working indefatigably through long
ages, piling up their structures, as the sea-bottom slowly sank,
straining ever higher, till at length their building was crushed
together and projected on high, to form elevated plateaux, as the
Causses of Quercy, and Alpine ranges, as the Dolomites of Brixen. But
in the uplifting of this deposit, as it was inelastic, the strain split
it in every direction, and down the rifts thus formed danced the
torrents from higher granitic and schistous ranges, forming the gorges
of the Tarn, the Ardeche, the Herault, the Gaves, and the Timee, in

It has been a puzzle to decide which appeared first, the egg out of
which the fowl was hatched, or the hen which laid the egg; and it is an
equal puzzle to the anthropologist to say whether man was first brought
into existence as a babe or in maturity. In both cases he would be
helpless. The babe would need its mother, and the man be paralysed into
incapacity through lack of experience. But without stopping to debate
this question, we may conclude that naked, shivering and homeless
humanity would have to be pupil to the beasts to learn where to shelter
his head. Where did man first appear? Where was the Garden of Eden?
Indisputably on the chalk. There he found all his first demands
supplied. The walls of cretaceous rock furnished him with shelter under
its ledges of overhanging beds, flints out of which to fashion his
tools, and nodules of pyrites wherewith to kindle a fire. Providence
through aeons had built up the chalk to be man's first home.

Incontestably, the great centres of population in the primeval ages
were the chalklands, and next to them those of limestone. The chalk
first, for it furnished man with flints, and the limestone next when he
had learned to barter.

He could have lived nowhere else, till, after the lapse of ages, he had
developed invention and adaptability. Besant and Rice, in "Ready-money
Mortiboy," speak of Divine Discontent as the motive power impelling man
to progress. Not till the chalk and the limestone shelters were
stocked, and could hold no more, would men be driven to invent for
themselves other dwellings. The first men being sent into the world
without a natural coat of fur or feathers, would settle into caves or
under overhanging roofs of rock, and with flint picked out of it,
chipped and pointed, secure the flesh of the beast for food and its
hide for clothing. Having accomplished this, man would sit down
complacently for long ages. Indeed, there are certain branches of the
human family that have progressed no further and display no ambition to

Only when the districts of chalk and limestone were overstocked would
the overflow be constrained to look elsewhere for shelter. Then some
daring innovators, driven from the favoured land, would construct
habitations by grubbing into the soil, and covering them with a roof of
turf. The ancient Germans, according to Tacitus, lived in underground
cabins, heaped over with dung to keep them warm during the long winter.
With the invention of the earthenware stove, the German Bauer has been
enabled to rise above the surface; but he cherishes the manure round
his house, so to speak, about his feet, as affectionately as when it
warmed his head.

For a long time it was supposed that our British ancestors lived in pit
dwellings, and whole clusters of them were recorded and mapped on the
Yorkshire Wolds, and a British metropolis of them, Caer Penselcoit, was
reported in Somersetshire. Habitations sunk deep in the rock, with only
a roof above ground. But the spade has cracked these archaeological
theories like filberts, and has proved that the pits in the wolds were
sunk after iron ore, or those in Somerset were burrowings for the
extraction of chert. [Footnote: Atkinson, "Forty Years in a Moorland
Parish." Lond. 1891, p. 161, _et seq._ Some pits are, however, not
so dubious. At Hurstbourne, in Hants, pit habitations have been
explored; others, in Kent and Oxfordshire, undoubtedly once dwelt in.
In one of the Kentish pits 900 flakes and cores of flint were found.
The Chysoyster huts in Cornwall and the "Picts houses" in Scotland were
built up of stones, underground.] But the original paleolithic man did
not get beyond the cavern or the rock-shelter. This latter was a
retreat beneath an overhanging stratum of hard rock, screened against
the weather by a curtain of skins. And why should he wish to change so
long as these were available? We, from our advanced position, sitting
in padded arm-chairs, before a coal fire, can see that there was room
for improvement; but he could not. The rock-dwelling was commodious,
dry, warm in winter and cool in summer, and it cost him no trouble to
fashion it, or keep it in repair. He had not the prophetic eye to look
forward to the arm-chair and the coal fire. Indeed, at all periods,
down to the present day, those who desire to lead the simple life, and
those who have been reared in these nature-formed dwelling-places, feel
no ambition to occupy stone-built houses. In North Devon the cottages
are reared of cob, kneaded clay, and thatched. A squire on his estate
pulled down those he possessed and built in their place brick houses
with slated roofs. The cottagers bitterly resented the change, their
old mud-hovels were so much warmer. And in like manner the primeval man
would not exchange his _abris_ for a structural dwelling unless
constrained so to do.

The ancients knew that the first homes of mankind were grottoes. They
wrote of Troglodytes in Africa and of cave-dwellers in Liguria. In
Arabia Petraea, a highly civilized people converted their simple rock-
dwellings into sumptuous palaces.

I might fill pages with quotations to the purpose from the classic
authors, but the reader would skip them all. It is not my intention to
give a detailed account of the prehistoric cave-dwellers. They have
been written about repeatedly. In 1882, Dr. Buckland published the
results of his exploration of the Kirkdale Cave in Yorkshire in
_Reliquiae Diluvianae_, and sought to establish that the remains
there found pertained to the men who were swept away by Noah's flood.
The publication of Sir Charles Lyall's "The Geological Evidences of the
Antiquity of Man," in 1863, was a shock to all such as clung to the
traditional view that these deposits were due to a cosmic deluge, and
that man was created 4004 B.C.

At first the announcements proving the antiquity of man were received
with orthodox incredulity, because, although the strata, in which the
remains were found, are the most modern of all earth's formations,
still the testimony so completely contravened traditional beliefs, that
the most conclusive evidence was required for its proof. Such evidence
has been found, and is so strong, and so cumulative in character as to
be now generally accepted as conclusive.

Evidence substantiating the thesis of Lyall had been accumulating, and
the researches of Lartet and Christy in the Vezere valley, published in
1865-75, as _Reliquiae Aquitanicae_, conclusively proved that man in
Perigord had been a naked savage, contemporary with the mammoth, the
reindeer and the cave-bear, that he had not learned to domesticate
animals, to sow fields, to make pots, and that he was entirely ignorant
of the use of the metals.

Since then, in the valley of the Vezere, Les Eyzies in the Department
of Dordogne, has become a classic spot. I have already described it in
another work, [Footnote: "The Deserts of Southern France." Lond.,
Methuen, 1894.] but I must here say a few more words concerning it. On
reaching the valley of the Vezere by the train from Perigueux, one is
swung down from the plateau into a trough between steep scarps of
chalk-rock that rise from 150 to 300 feet above the placid river. These
scarps have been ploughed by the weather in long horizontal furrows, so
that they lean over as though desirous of contemplating their dirty
faces in the limpid water. Out of their clefts spring evergreen oaks,
juniper, box and sloe-bushes. Moss and lichen stain the white walls
that are streaked by black tricklings from above, and are accordingly
not beautiful--their faces are like that of a pale, dirty, and weeping
child with a cold in its head, who does not use a pocket-handkerchief.
Jackdaws haunt the upper ledges and smaller caves that gape on all
sides chattering like boys escaped from school, and anon a raven starts
forth and hoarsely calls for silence. At the foot of the stooping
crags, bowing to each other across the stream, lie masses that have
broken from above, and atop and behind these is to be seen a string of
cottages built into the rock, taking advantage of the overarching
stratum of hard chalk; and cutting into it are russet, tiled roofs,
where the cottagers have sought to expand beyond the natural shelter:
they are in an intermediate position. Just as I have seen a caddis-worm
emancipating itself from its cage, half in as a worm, half out as a

Nature would seem to have specially favoured this little nook of
France, which must have been the Eden of primeval man on Gallic soil.
There he found ready-made habitations, a river abounding in fish, a
forest teeming with game; constrained periodically to descend from the
waterless plateaux, at such points as favoured a descent, to slake
their thirst at the stream, and there was the nude hunter lurking in
the scrub or behind a stone, with bow or spear awaiting his prey--his
dinner and his jacket.

What beasts did he slay? The wild horse, with huge head, was driven by
him over the edge of the precipice, and when it fell with broken limbs
or spine, was cut up with flint knives and greedily devoured. The
reindeer was also hunted, and the cumbersome mammoth enabled a whole
tribe to gorge itself.

The grottoes perforating the cliff, like bubbles in Gruyere cheese,
have been occupied consecutively to the present day. Opposite to Les
Eyzies, hanging like a net or skein of black thread to the face of the
precipice, is a hotel, part gallery, part cave--l'Auberge du Paradis;
and a notice in large capitals invites the visitor to a "Course aux

When I was last there, reaching the tavern by a ladder erected in a
grotto, I learned that an American couple on their honeymoon had
recently slept in the guest-chamber scooped out of the living rock. The
kitchen itself is a cavern, and in it are shelves, staged against the
rock, offering Chartreuse, green and yellow, Benedictine, and Creme de
Menthe. The proprietor also possesses a gramophone, and its strident
notes we may well suppose imitate the tones of the first inhabitants of
this den. Of the Roc de Tayac, in and against which this paradisaical
hotel is plastered, I shall have more to say in another chapter.

The first men who settled in this favoured valley under shelters open
to the blaze of the sun, in a soft and pleasant climate, where the air
when not in proximity to men, is scented with mint, marjoram and
juniper, where with little trouble a salmon might be harpooned, must
have multiplied enormously--for every overhanging rock, every cavern,
even every fallen block of stone, has been utilised as a habitation.
Where a block has fallen, the prehistoric men scratched the earth away
from beneath it, and couched in the trench. The ground by the river
when turned up is black with the charcoal from their fires. A very
little research will reward the visitor with a pocketful of flint
knives and scrapers. And this is what is found not only on the main
artery, but on all the lateral veins of water--wherever the cretaceous
rocks project and invite to take shelter under them. Since the
researches of Lartet and Christy, it has been known as an established
fact that these savages were indued with rare artistic skill. Their
delineations with a flint point on ivory and bone, of the mammoth,
reindeer, and horse, are so masterly that these men stand forth as the
spiritual ancestors of Landseer and Rosa Bonheur. And what is also
remarkable is that the race which succeeded, that which discovered the
use of metal, was devoid of the artistic sense, and their attempts at
delineation are like the scribbling of an infant.

Of late years fresh discoveries have been made, revealing the fact that
the Paleolithic men were able to paint as well as to engrave. In Les
Combarelles and at Font-de-Gaume, far in the depths, where no light
reaches, the walls have been found turned into a veritable picture-
gallery. In the latter are twenty-four paintings; in the former forty-

Doctor Capitan and the Abbe Breuil were the first to discover the
paintings in Les Combarelles. In an account read before the Academy of
Sciences, they say: "Most frequently, the animals whose contours are
indicated by a black outline, have all the surface thus circumscribed,
entirely covered with red ochre. In some cases certain parts, such as
the head of the urochs, seems to have been painted over with black and
red together, so as to produce a brown tint. In other cases the head of
the beast is black, and the rest of the body brown. This is veritable
fresco painting, and the colour was usually applied after the outline
had been graven in the stone. At other times some shading is added by
hatching supplied after the outline had been drawn. Finally, the
contours are occasionally thrown into prominence by scraping away the
surface of the rock around, so as to give to the figures the appearance
of being in low relief."

These wall paintings are by no means unique. They have been found as
well at Pair-sur-Pair in Gironde, and in the grotto of Altamira at
Santillana del Mar, in the north of Spain.

Still more recently an additional revelation as to the artistic skill
of primeval man has been made; in a cave hitherto unexplored has been
discovered actual sculpture with rounded forms, of extinct beasts.

These discoveries appeared incredible, first, because it was not
considered possible that paintings of such a vastly remote antiquity
could remain fresh and distinguishable, and secondly, because it was
not thought that paintings and sculpture could be executed in the
depths of a rayless cavern, and artificial light have left no traces in
a deposit of soot on the roof.

But it must be remembered that these subterranean passages have been
sealed up from time immemorial, and subjected to no invasion by man or
beast, or to any change of air or temperature. And secondly, that the
artists obtained light from melted fat in stone bowls on the floor, in
which was a wick of pith; and such lamps would hardly discolour ceiling
or walls. Of the genuineness of these paintings and sculptures there
can be no question, from the fact that some are partly glazed over and
some half obliterated by stalagmitic deposits.

Another discovery made in the Mas d'Azil in Arriege, is of painted
pebbles and fan-shells that had served as paint-pots. [Footnote: Piette
(E.), _Les Galets colorres du Mas d'Azil._ Paris, 1896.] The
pebbles had been decorated with spots, stripes, zig-zags, crosses, and
various rude figures; and these were associated with paleolithic tools.
In the chalk of Champagne, where there are no cliffs, whole villages of
underground habitations have been discovered, but none of these go back
to the earliest age of all; they belong to various epochs; but the
first to excavate them was the Neolithic man, he who raised the rude
stone monuments elsewhere. He had learned to domesticate the ox and the
sheep, had made of the dog the friend of man. His wife span and he
delved; he dug the clay, and she formed it with her fingers into
vessels, on which to this day her finger-prints may be found.

These caves are hollowed out in a thick bed of cretaceous rock. The
habitations are divided into two unequal parts by a wall cut in the
living chalk. To penetrate into the innermost portion of the cave, one
has to descend by steps cut in the stone, and these steps bear
indications of long usage. The entrance is hewn out of a massive screen
of rock, left for the purpose, and on each side of the doorway the
edges show the rebate which served to receive a wooden door-frame. Two
small holes on the right and left were used for fixing bars across to
hold the door fast. A good many of these caves are provided with a
ventilating shaft, and some skilful contrivances were had recourse to
for keeping out water. Inside are shelves, recesses cut in the chalk,
for lamps, and to serve as cupboards. But probably these are due to
later occupants. The Baron de Baye, who explored these caves, picked up
worked flints, showing that their primitive occupants had been men of
the prehistoric age, and other caves associated with them that were
sepulchral were indisputably of the Neolithic age. [Footnote: De Baye
(J.), _L'Archeologie prehistorique._ Paris, 1888.]

Mankind progresses not smoothly, as by a sliding carpet ascent, but by
rugged steps broken by gaps. He halts long on one stage before taking
the next. Often he remains stationary, unable to form resolution to
step forward; sometimes even has turned round and retrograded.

The stream of civilisation flows on like a river, it is rapid in mid-
current, slow at the sides, and has its backwaters. At best,
civilisation advances by spirals. The native of New Guinea still
employs stone tools; whilst an Englishman can get a nest of matches for
twopence, an Indian laboriously kindles a fire with a couple of sticks.
The prehistoric hunter of Solutre devoured the horse. In the time of
Horace so did the Concanni of Spain. In the reign of Hakon, Athelstan's
foster son, horseflesh formed the sacrificial meal of the Norseman. At
the present day, as Mr. Lloyd George assures us, the haggard, ill-paid
German mechanic breaks his long fast on black bread with rare meals of

At La Laugerie Basse, on the right bank of the Vezere, is a vast
accumulation of fallen rocks, encumbering the ground for at least
thirty-five feet in height under the overhanging cornice. The fallen
matter consists of the disintegration of the projecting lip. Against
the cliff, under the shelter of the rock, as already said, are cottages
with lean-to roofs, internally with the back and with at least half the
ceiling composed of the rock. In one of these Lartet and Christy began
to sink a pit, beside the owner's bed, and the work was carried on to
conclusion by the late Dr. Massenat. The well was driven down through
successive stages of Man; deposits from the sous dropped and trampled
into the earth floor by the children of the cottagers till the virgin
soil was reached; and there, lying on his side, with his hands to his
head for protection, and with a block of fallen rock crushing his
thigh, lay the first prehistoric occupant of this shelter.

On the Causse de Larzac is Navacelles, in Gard; you walk over the arid
plain with nothing in sight; and all at once are brought to a
standstill. You find yourself at the edge of a crater 965 feet deep,
the sides in most places precipitous, and the bottom is reached only by
a zig-zag path. In the face of one of the cliffs is the grotto of
Blandas, that has been occupied since remote ages. A methodical
exploration has revealed a spearhead of silex, a bronze axe, bone
bracelets, a coin of the Hundred Years' War, and lastly a little pin-
cushion of cloth in the shape of a heart, ornamented with metal
crosses, the relic of some refugee in the Reign of Terror, hiding to
escape the guillotine.

At Conduche, where the Cele slides into the Lot, high up in the yellow
and grey limestone precipice is a cave, now accessible only by a
ladder. Hither ascended a _cantonnier_ when the new road was made
up the valley, and here he found chipped flints of primeval man, a
polished celt, a scrap of Samian ware, and in a niche at the side
sealed up with stalactite, a tiny earthenware pitcher 2-1/2 inches
high, a leaden spindle-whorl, some shells, and a toy sheep-bell. Here a
little shepherdess during the stormy times, when the Routiers ravaged
the country, had her refuge while she watched her flock of goats, and
here made her doll's house.

The stalactite cavern of Han in the Ardennes is visited yearly by
crowds. You may see highly coloured illustrations of its interior
illumined by Bengal lights in all the Belgian and many of the French
railway stations. What is now a peepshow was in past ages a habitation
and a home. In it the soil in successive layers has revealed objects
belonging to successive periods in the history of mankind. Its floor
has been in fact a Book of the Revelation of the Past, whose seals have
been opened, and it has disclosed page by page the history of humanity,
from the present, read backwards to the beginning.

At the bottom of all the deposits were discovered the remains of the
very earliest inhabitants, with their hearths about which they sat in
nudity and split bones to extract the marrow, trimmed flints, worked
horn, necklaces of pierced wolf and bears' teeth; then potsherds formed
by hand long before the invention of the wheel; higher up were the arms
and utensils of the bronze age, and the weights of nets. Above these
came the remains of the iron age and wheel-turned crocks. A still
higher stratum surrendered a weight of a scale stamped with an effigy
of the crusading king, S. Louis (1226-1270), and finally francs bearing
the profile of a king, the reverse in every moral characteristic of
Louis the Saint--that of Leopold of Congo notoriety.



Herodotus, speaking of the Ligurians, says that they spent the night in
the open air, rarely in huts, but that they usually inhabited caverns.
Every traveller who goes to the Riviera, the old Ligurian shore, knows,
but knows only by a passing glance, the Etang de Berre, that inland
sea, blue as a sapphire, waveless, girt about by white hills, and
perhaps he wonders that Toulon should have been selected as a naval
port, when there was this one, deeper, and excavated by Nature to serve
as a harbour. The rocks of S. Chamas that look down on this peaceful
sheet of water, rarely traversed by a sail, are riddled with caves,
still inhabited, as they were when Herodotus wrote 450 years before the
Christian era.

The following account of an underground town in Palestine is from the
pen of Consul Wetzstein, and describes one in the Hauran. "I visited
old Edrei--the subterranean labyrinthic residence of King Og--on the
east side of the Zanite hills. Two sons of the sheikh of the village--
one fourteen and the other sixteen years of age--accompanied me. We
took with us a box of matches and two candles. After we had gone down
the slope for some time, we came to a dozen rooms which, at present,
are used as goat stalls and storerooms for straw. The passage became
gradually smaller, until at last we were compelled to lie down flat and
creep along. This extremely difficult and uncomfortable progress lasted
for about eight minutes, when we were obliged to jump down a steep
well, several feet in depth. Here I noticed that the younger of my two
attendants had remained behind, being afraid to follow us; but probably
it was more from fear of the unknown European than of the dark and
winding passages before us.

"We now found ourselves in a broad street, which had dwellings on both
sides, whose height and width left nothing to be desired. The
temperature was mild, the air free from unpleasant odours, and I felt
not the smallest difficulty in breathing. Further along there were
several cross-streets, and my guide called my attention to a hole in
the ceiling for air, like three others which I afterwards saw, now
closed from above. Soon after we came to a market-place, where, for a
long distance, on both sides of the pretty broad street, were numerous
shops in the walls, exactly in the style of the shops seen in Syrian
cities. After a while we turned into a side street, where a great hall,
whose roof was supported by four pillars, attracted my attention. The
roof, or ceiling, was formed of a single slab of jasper, perfectly
smooth and of immense size, in which I was unable to perceive the
slightest crack.

"The rooms, for the most part, had no supports. The doors were often
made of a single square stone, and here and there I also noticed fallen
columns. After we had passed several cross-alleys or streets, and
before we had reached the middle of the subterranean city, my
attendant's light went out. As he was lighting again by mine, it
occurred to me that possibly both our lights might be extinguished, and
I asked the boy if he had any matches. 'No,' he replied, 'my brother
has them.' 'Could you find your way back if the lights were put out?'
'Impossible,' he replied. For a moment I began to be alarmed at this
underworld, and urged an immediate return. Without much difficulty we
got back to the marketplace and from hence the youngster knew the way
well enough. Thus, after a sojourn of more than an hour and a half in
this labyrinth, I again greeted the light of day." [Footnote:
_Reisebericht in Hauran_, ii., pp. 47-48.]

I have quoted this somewhat lengthy account because, as we shall see in
the sequel, the subterranean dwellings and above all refuges in Europe,
bear to this town of King Og of Bashan a marked resemblance.

Within four hours of Paris by Chartres and Sarge is the town of
Montoire with a clean inn, Le Cheval Rouge, and next station down the
Loir is Troo. The Loir, male, is the river, not La Loire of the
feminine gender. Le Loir is a river that rises in the north-east,
traverses the fertile upland plain of Beauce, and falls into and is
lost in La Loire at Angers. It is a river rarely visited by English
tourists, but it does not deserve to be overlooked. It has cut for
itself a furrow in the chalk tufa, and the hospitable cliffs on each
side offer a home to any vagrant who cares to scratch for himself a
hole in the friable face, wherein to shelter his head.

Troo bears a certain resemblance to the city of Og. Originally it was
all underground, but in process of time it effervesced, bubbled out of
its holes, and is now but half troglodyte. The heights that form the
Northern declivity of the valley of the Loir come to an abrupt end
here, and have been sawn through by a small stream creating a natural
fosse, isolating the hill of Troo that is attached to the plateau only
on the North. The hill rises steeply from the river to a crest occupied
by a Romanesque church recently scoured to the whiteness of flour, and
beside it is a mighty tumulus, planted with trees.

Formerly on this same height stood a castle, but this has been so
completely broken down that nothing remains of it but a few
substructures and its well.

Troo was at one time a walled town, and as it was the key to the valley
of the Loir, was hotly contested between the English and French during
three hundred years, and later, between Catholics and Huguenots. The
place was besieged by Mercader, the captain under Richard Coeur-de
Lion, who had flayed alive the slayer of his master under the walls of
Caylus, although Richard had promised him immunity. Here Mercader met
his death, and was buried under a mound that is still shown.

But what makes Troo especially interesting is that the whole height is
like a sponge, perforated with passages giving access to halls, some of
which are circular, and into store-chambers; and most of the houses are
wholly or in part underground. The caves that are inhabited are staged
one above another, some reached by stairs that are little better than
ladders, and the subterranean passages leading from them form a
labyrinth within the bowels of the hill, and run in superposed storeys.
In one that I entered was an oven, with a well at its side. A little
further, in a large hall, a circular hole in the floor unfenced gave
access by rope or ladder to a lower range of galleries. Any one
exploring by the feeble light of a single candle, without a guide,
might be precipitated down this abyss without knowing that there was a
gaping opening before him. A long ascending passage, with niches in the
sides for lamps, leads to where the fibres of the roots of the trees on
the mound above have penetrated and are hanging down. It is said that
the gallery led on to the castle, but since this latter has been ruined
it has been blocked. In the holes whence flints have dropped spiders
harbour, that feed on ghostly moths which flit in the pitch darkness,
and when caught between the fingers resolve themselves into a trace of
silver dust. But on what did these spectral moths feed? A pallid boy of
sixteen who guided me about the town told me that he had been born in a
cave; that he slept in one every night, and worked underground all day.
His large brown eyes could see objects in the dark where all was of
inky blackness to me. It is astonishing with what unconcern mites of
children romp and ramble through these corridors, where there is danger
not only on account of pitfalls, but also of the roof falling in. Where
I went, guided by a child of ten, every now and then I was warned--
"Prenez garde, c'est ecroule."

The town--it was a town once, but now contains 783 inhabitants only--is
partly built at the foot of the bluff, but very few houses are without
excavated chambers, store-places or stables. The cafe looks ordinary
enough, but enter, and you find yourself in a dungeon. There is but one
street--La Grande Rue--and that has space and landscape on one side,
and houses built against and into the rock on the other. A notice at
the entrance to the street warns that no heavy traffic, not much above
the weight of a perambulator, is permitted to pass along it, for the
roadway runs over the tops of houses. A waggon might crash through into
the chamber of a bedridden beldame, and a motor be precipitated
downwards to salt the soup of a wife stirring it for her husband's
supper. At Troo chimneys bristle everywhere, making the hill resemble a
pin-cushion or a piece of larded veal. There are in the depth of the
hill wells, and to these mothers fearlessly despatch their children to
fill a pitcher, as often as not without a light.

Many of the cave-dwellings have but a ledge a few feet wide, and
perhaps only a dozen or twenty feet long before their doors, and at the
extreme edge one may see the children standing, unaffected with
giddiness, like a row of swallows, contemplating the visitor. I cannot
say how it may be with the lower houses, but those high up are
pronouncedly odoriferous; for the inhabitants have no means of
disposing of their garbage save by exposing it on their little shelves
to be dried up by the sun, or washed down by the rain over the windows
and doors of their neighbours beneath.

I wonder how a sanitary officer would tackle the problem of sweetening
Troo. If he attempted to envelop it in a cobweb of socketed drainpipes
he would get into a tangle with the chimneys; to carry them underground
would not be feasible, as he would have to run them through kitchens,
bedrooms and salles-a-manger. But even did he make this cobweb, he
could not flush his pipes, as the water is at the bottom of the hill.
The ancient Gauls and Britons had a practical and ingenious method of
disposing of their refuse. They dug shafts in the chalk, shaped like
bottles, and all the rubbish they desired to get rid of was consigned
to these, till they were full, when they planted a tree on the top and
opened another. Great numbers of these _puticuli_ have been found
in France. They have been likewise unearthed on the chalk downs of
England. They were used as well for the graves of slaves. Now the good
citizens of Troo cannot employ the pitfalls in their caves for this
purpose, or the wells would be contaminated. As it is, those wells are
supplied from the rain-water falling on the hill of Troo and filtering
down, ingeniously avoiding the passages and halls. There are, however,
some dripping caverns incrusted with stalagmitic deposit. But conceive
of the sponge of Troo acting as a filter through two thousand years and
never renovated. Not the most impressive teetotal orator would make me
a water drinker were I a citizen of Troo.

At the summit of the hill is _Le Puit qui parle_, the Talking
Well. It is 140 feet deep, and is shaped like a bottle. If any one
speaks near the mouth, it soon after repeats in an extraordinary
articulate manner the last two syllables uttered, a veritable "Jocosa
Imago." Drop in a pin, and after eight seconds its click is heard as it
touches the water. A stone produces a veritable detonation.

There is another Troglodyte town, also formerly walled, Les Roches,
above Montoire. It is occupied by six hundred souls, and most of the
houses are dug out of the rock. There is hardly space for the road to
run between the Loir and the crags, and the church has to curl itself
like a dog going to sleep to fit the area allowed it. This rock forms
perpendicular bluffs of chalk tufa, and masses of fallen stone lie at
their feet. Some rocks overhang, and the whole of this cliff and the
fallen blocks have been drilled with openings and converted into
habitations for man and for beast. Doors and windows have been cut in
the stone, which has been hollowed out as maggots clear out the kernel
of a nut. Rooms, kitchens, cellars, stables have been thus contrived.
The chimneys run up the rocks, and through them; and on the plateau
above open as wells, but are surrounded by a breastwork of bricks to
protect them against the rain, which might form a rill that would
decant playfully down the opening in a waterfall. In winter, when all
hearths are lighted, the smoke issuing from all these little structures
has the effect of a series of steaming saucepans.

A little way up the river outside the walls is the Chateau de Boydan,
half scooped out of the cliff, with pretty sixteenth century mullioned
and transomed windows. At right angles to the rock a wing was thrown
out to contain the state apartments with their fireplaces and chimneys.
But unfortunately it was tacking on of new cloth to the old garment,
and the face of the rock slid down carrying with it the side walls and
windows, and has left the gable containing the handsome stone chimney-
pieces and the chimneys as an isolated fragment. Just beyond, excavated
in the bluff, is the chapel of S. Gervais, consisting of two portions,
an outer and an inner chamber. But the cliff face had been cut for the
windows too thin, and the whole slid away at the same time probably as
the disaster happened to the castle, and has exposed the interior of
this monolithic church. There are remains of frescoes on the wall
painted with considerable spirit; a king on horseback blowing a horn,
and behind him a huntsman armed with a boar-spear. Benches cut in the
rock surround the sanctuary. Externally a niche contains a rude image
of the saint.

Still nearer to Montoire, on the left bank of the Loir is Lavardin;
high up on the side of the hill, completely screened by a dense wood,
is a hamlet of Troglodytes. The principal excavation served originally
as a hermitage, and is called La Grotte des Vierges. There is a range
of rock-dwellings in connection with it, some inhabited and some
abandoned. The Grotte des Vierges is entered by steps descending into
the principal chamber that is lighted by a window and is furnished with
a fireplace. At one of the angles is a circular pit, six feet deep,
with a groove at top for the reception of a cover. This was a silo for
grain. From the first chamber entrance is obtained to a second much
larger, that has in it a fireplace as well, and a staircase leading
into a little oratory in which is an altar. The same staircase
communicates with a lower chamber, probably intended as a cellar, for
though the hermit might be frugal in meat there was no ban on the
drink. The rock-dwelling nearest to the Grotte des Vierges on the left
hand was of considerable proportions and pretence. It consisted of
large halls, and was in several stages. The windows are broken away,
the floors are gone, and it is reduced to a wreck. Below this series of
cave-dwellings is the Fountain of Anduee of crystal water, supposed to
be endowed with miraculous properties. The whole hill is moreover
pierced with galleries and store-chambers, and served as a refuge in
time of war, in which the villagers of Lavardin concealed their goods.
The noble ruin of the castle shows that it was once of great majesty.
It was battered down by the Huguenots, who for the purpose dragged a
cannon to the top of the church tower.

Nearer to Vendome is the Chateau of Rochambeau. The present mansion
that has replaced the ancient castle is a very insignificant and
tasteless structure. All the interest it possesses consists in its
dependencies that are rock-hewn. The bass-court is reached through a
long and lofty gallery bored athwart the rock, and issuing from it we
find ourselves in a sort of open well, probably originally natural but
appropriated and adapted by man to his needs. This vast depression, the
walls of which are seventy-five feet high, is circular, and measures
eighty feet in diameter. Round it are cellars and chambers for domestic
purposes. Others are accessible from the gallery that leads to the
court. One of them, the Cave-Noire, possesses a chimney bored upwards
through the rock to the level of the surface. Another peculiarity of
this cavern is that along one side, throughout its length, 120 feet,
are rings cut in the rock showing tokens of having been fretted by
usage. They are at the height of four feet above the soil, and are on
an average four feet ten inches apart. A second range is three feet or
four feet higher up. In an adjoining cavern are similar ranges of
rings. A third is cut almost at the level of the soil. Precisely the
same arrangement is to be found at Varennes hard by in artificial caves
still employed as stables, and some as dwellings for families.

In the park is shown the cave in which the Duke of Beaufort, the Roi
des Halles, was concealed when he escaped from the prison of Vincennes.
Francois de Vendome, Duke of Beaufort, was a grandson of Henri Quatre,
a man of inordinate conceit and of very limited intelligence. During
the regency that began in 1643, he obtained the confidence of Anne of
Austria, but his vanity rendered him insupportable, and he went out of
his way to insult the regent, so that she sent him to Vincennes.
Voltaire passes a severe judgment on him. He says of the Duke: "He was
the idol of the people, and the instrument employed by able men for
stirring them up into revolt; he was the object of the raillery of the
Court, and of the Fronde as well. He was always spoken of as the Roi
des Halles, the Market-King." One day he asked the President Bellevue
whether he did not think that he--Beaufort--would change the face of
affairs if he boxed the ears of the Duke of Elbeuf. "I do not think
such an act would change anything but the face of the Duke of Elbeuf,"
gravely replied the magistrate.

There are in the Quartier S. Lubin at Vendome chambers still occupied
in the face of the cliff, high up and reached by structural galleries.

At Lisle, on the river above Vendome, are many caves, one of which was
the hospital or Maladerie.

Above Tours and Marmoutier, on the road to Vouvray, is La Roche Corbon.
The cliff is pierced with windows and doors, and niches for a pigeonry.
This, till comparatively recently, was a truly Troglodyte village. But
well-to-do inhabitants of Tours have taken a fancy to the site and have
reared pretentious villas that mask the face of the cliff, and with the
advent of these rich people the humble cave-dwellers have "flitted."
One singular feature remains, however, unspoiled. A mass of the
cretaceous tufa has slipped bodily down to the foot of the crag,
against which it leans in an inclined position. This was eviscerated
and converted into two cottages, but the cottagers have been ejected,
and it is now a villa residence. An acquaintance at Tours has rented it
for his family as a summer seat.

Some fifty or sixty years ago La Roche Corbon was "a village sculptured
up the broken face of the rocks, with considerable skill, and what with
creeping vines, snatches of hanging gardens, an attempt here and there
at a division of tenements, by way of slight partitions cut from the
surface, wreaths of blue smoke issuing out of apertures and curling up
the front, and the old feudal tower, called Lanterne de la Roche
Corbon, crowning the summit, the superincumbent pinnacle of excavated
rock on which it stands looking as if it were ready to fall and crush
the whole population beneath, this lithographed village has altogether
a curiously picturesque look." But at Beaumont-la-Ronce, north of
Tours, may be seen a whole street of cave habitations still occupied,
wreathed with vines and traveller's joy.

In the department of Maine et Loire, and in a portion of Vienne, whole
villages are underground.

There is often very valuable vineyard land that has to be walled round
and every portion economised. What is done is this: the owner digs a
quarry in the surface; this forms a sort of pit accessible on one side,
the stone taken from this being employed to fence round his property.
Then, for his own dwelling, he cuts out chambers in the rock under his
vineyard, looking through windows and a door into the quarry hole. For
a chimney he bores upwards, and then builds round the opening a square
block of masonry, out of which the smoke escapes.

A whole village, or rather hamlet, may therefore consist of--as far as
one can see--nothing but a series of chimneys standing on the ground
among the vines. Those who desire to discover the inhabitants must
descend into the quarries to these rabbit warrens.

In some villages the people live half above ground and half below. At
St. Leger, near Loudun, is a fine mediaeval castle, with a fosse round
it cut out of the rock: and this fosse is alive with people who have
grubbed out houses for themselves in the rock through which the moat
(which is dry) has been excavated.

A very singular settlement is that of Ezy in the valley of the Eure, at
the extreme limit of the department of that name. About a kilometre
from the village, along the side of the railway, are numerous
subterranean habitations in three storeys, with platforms before them
which are horizontal. These were the dwellings of the owners of the
vines which at one time covered the hill overhead. But these vineyards
failed, and the dwellings were abandoned. However, after their
abandonment, it was customary at times for the villagers to resort to
them for drinking and dancing bouts. This tradition continues still in
force, and on Easter Tuesday these cave dwellings are visited, and
there is merrymaking in them. Between the caves at one time some little
taverns had been erected, but these also fell into ruin some forty or
fifty years ago.

Since then a range of these caverns has become the refuge of a special
population of social and moral outcasts. There they live in the utmost
misery. The population consists of about eighty persons, male and
female and children.

The history of the adults will hardly bear looking into. None of these
people have any fixed occupation, and it is difficult to discover how
they subsist. In fact, the life of every one of them is a problem. One
might have supposed that they maintained a precarious existence by
thieving or by begging, as they are far below the ordinary tramp; for
with the exception of perhaps two or three of them, these cave-dwellers
possess absolutely nothing, and know no trade whatever. They sleep on
dry leaves kept together by four pieces of wood, and their sole
covering consists of scraps of packing cloth. Sometimes they have not
even the framework for their beds, which they manufacture for the most
part out of old broken chairs discarded from the churches. A visitor
says: "In one of the caverns I entered there was but one of these
squalid and rude beds to accommodate five persons, of whom one was a
girl of seventeen, and two were boys of fourteen and fifteen. Their
kitchen battery consists exclusively of old metal cases of preserved
fruit or meats that they have picked up from the ashpits. The majority,
but by no means all, have got hold, somehow, of some old stoves or the
scraps of a stove that they have put together as best they could. They
have a well in common at the bottom of the hill, whence they draw water
in such utensils as they possess, and which they let down into the
water on a wooden crook. Every one has his crook as his own property,
and preserves it near him in the cavern. The majority of these
underground people have no clothes to speak of. Girls of fifteen and
big boys go about absolutely without any linen. The rest--perhaps three
or four--have only a few linen rags upon them. In the stifling
atmosphere of these cave-dwellings it is by no means rare to see big
children almost, if not absolutely, naked. I saw a great girl with a
wild shock of uncombed hair, wearing nothing but a very scanty shift.

"These cave-dwellers live with utter improvidence, although deprived of
sufficient food. Three or four couples there have some four or five
children to each.

"These families have for the most part formed in the cave-dwellings. A
young mother whom I saw there with four children, the only one dressed
with an approach to decency, when interrogated by me told me that she
had been brought there by her mother at the age of eight. That was
twenty-four years ago. She was fair, with tawny hair, and of the
Normandy type. She had been born in a village of the neighbourhood, and
her mother took refuge in the caverns, apparently in consequence of the
loss of her husband.

"I heard of an individual who had been on the parish on account of his
incurable laziness, till the mayor losing all patience with him, had
him transported to these cave-dwellings and left there. There he
settled down, picked up a wife, and had a family.

"These people live quite outside the law, and are quit of all taxes and
obligations. As to their marriages they are preceded and followed by no
formalities. No attempt is made on the part of the authorities to get
the children to school. One gentleman resident in the neighbourhood, a
M. Frederic Passy, did take pains to ameliorate their condition. He
collected the children and laboured to infuse into their hearts and
heads some sort of moral principle. But his efforts were ineffectual,
and left not a trace behind. They recollect him and his son well
enough, but confuse the one with the other. And two of those who were
under instruction for a while, when I questioned them about it, allowed
that they had submitted to be bored by them for the sake of profiting
by their charity.

"I interrogated an old but still robust woman, who had lived in the
caverns for three years. She had been consigned to them by her own
children, who had sought by this means to rid themselves of the
responsibility of maintaining her.

"The elements of this population belong accordingly to all sorts. I
noticed only one woman of an olive tint and with very black hair, who
may have come from a distance. But I was told she was a recent
accession to the colony, and I might be sure of this, as her clothing
was still fairly sound and clean. As she is still young and can work,
her case is curious; one wonders what can have induced her to go there.

"I saw there also a couple without children; the man had the slouch and
hang-dog look of an habitual criminal.

"I may give an instance which will show the degradation to which this
population has fallen. An old beggar I visited, who has lived in a
cavern belonging to his brother for forty-seven years, and who has had
a wife, allowed a billiard ball to be rammed into his mouth for two
sous (a penny) by some young fellows who were making sport of him. He
was nearly killed by it, for they had the greatest difficulty in
extracting the billiard ball." [Footnote: Zaborowski, "Aux Caves
d'Ezy," in _Revue Monsuelle de l'ecole d'Anthropologie_, Paris,
1897, i. p. 27, _et seq_.]

At Duclair also, on the Seine, are rock dwellings precisely like those
on the Loire, and still inhabited.

Along the banks of the Loire from Tours to Saumur are numerous cave
habitations still in occupation. Bell, in his "Wayside Pictures," says
of those at Saumur: "Close to the town are residences, literally
sculptured in the face of the naked rock. They are cut in the stone,
which is the tufa, or soft gravel stone, and easily admits of any
workmanship demanded by taste or necessity. There is no little care
displayed in the formation of these strange habitations, some of which
have scraps of gardens or miniature terraces before them; hanging from
the doorways are green creeping things, with other graceful adjuncts,
which help to give a touch of beauty to their aspect. In some cases,
where the shelving of the rock will admit of it, there are chimneys, in
nearly all windows; and it not unfrequently happens, especially higher
up the road near Tours, where art has condescended to embellish the
facades still more elaborately, that these house-caves present an
appearance of elegance which is almost impossible to reconcile with the
absolute penury of their inhabitants. The interiors, too, although
generally speaking naked enough, are sometimes tolerably well
furnished, having an air of comfort in them which, certainly, no one
could dream of discovering in such places.

"These habitations are, of course, held only by the poor and outcast,
yet, in spite of circumstances, they live merrily from hand to mouth
how they can, and by means, perhaps, not always of the most legitimate
description. I have a strong suspicion that the denizens of these rocks
are not a whit better than they should be; that their intimate
neighbourhood is not the safest promenade after dark: and that, being
regarded and treated as Pariahs, they are born and baptized in the
resentments which are contingent upon such a condition of existence.
You might as well attempt to chase an eagle to his eyrie among the
clouds, as to make your way to some of these perilous chambers, which
are cut in the blank face of the rock, and can be reached only by a
sinuous track which requires the fibres of a goat to clamber. There are
often long lines of these sculptured houses piled in successive tiers
above each other; sometimes with a view to architectural regularity,
but in almost all cases they are equally hazardous to the unpractised
foot of a stranger.

"Stroll down the spacious quay of Saumur in the dusk of the evening,
when the flickering tapers of the temperate town are going out one by
one. Roars of merriment greet you as you approach the cavernous city of
the suburb. There the entertainments of the inhabitants are only about
to begin. You see moving lights in the distance twinkling along the
grey surface of the rock, and flitting amongst the trees that lie
between its base and the margin of the river. Some bacchanalian orgie
is going forward." [Footnote: Bell (R.), "Wayside Pictures," Lond.
1850, pp. 292-3.]

[Illustration: CAVE DWELLERS AT DUCLAIR. These are typical of countless
others on the Seine, the Loir, the Loire, and its tributaries, as also
on the Dronne and Dordogne.]

There was a curious statement made in a work by E. Bosc and L. Bonnemere
in 1882, [Footnote: _Hist. des Gaulois sous Vercingetorix_. Paris,
1882.] reproduced by M. Louis Bousrez in 1894, [Footnote: _Les monu-
ments Megalithiques de la Touraine_. Tours, 1894.] which, if true,
would show that a lingering paganism is to be found among these people.
It is to this effect: "What is unknown to most is that at the present
day there exist adepts of the worship (of the Celts) as practised before
the Roman invasion, with the sole exception of human sacrifices, which
they have been forcibly obliged to renounce. They are to be found on the
two banks of the Loire, on the confines of the departments of Allier and
Saone-et-Loire, where they are still tolerably numerous, especially in
the latter department. They are designated in the country as _Les
Blancs_, because that in their ceremonies they cover their heads with
a white hood, and their priests are vested like the Druids in a long
robe of the same colour.

"They surround their proceedings with profound mystery; their
gatherings take place at night in the heart of large forests, about an
old oak, and as they are dispersed through the country over a great
extent of land, they have to start for the assembly from different
points at close of day so as to be able to reach home again before
daybreak. They have four meetings in the year, but one, the most
solemn, is held near the town of La Clayette under the presidence of
the high priest. Those who come from the greatest distance do not reach
their homes till the second night, and their absence during the
intervening day alone reveals to the neighbours that they have attended
an assembly of the Whites. Their priests are known, and are vulgarly
designated as the bishops or archbishops of the Whites; they are
actually druids and archdruids.... We have been able to verify these
interesting facts brought to our notice by M. Parent, and our personal
investigations into the matter enable us to affirm the exactitude of
what has been advanced."

If there be any truth in this strange story, we are much more disposed
to consider the Whites as relics of a Manichaean or Albigensian sect
than as a survival of Druidism. More probable still is it that they are
or were a political confederation. But I suspect that the account is
due to a heated imagination.

At Bourre (Loir et Cher) are extensive quarries in the face of the
hill. Here the chalk is hard and of beautiful texture. The stone has
been derived hence for the erection of several of the castles in the
Touraine, as also for buildings in the towns of Tours, Blois,
Montrichard, &c. Most of the habitations of the villagers, who are
nearly all quarrymen, are excavated in the rock, occupy old disused
workings, or have been specially dug out to suit the convenience and
dispositions of the occupants. In some of these old underground
quarries, that are not open to the light of day, dances and revelries
take place, when they are brilliantly illuminated. At Sainte Maure, on
the road from Tours to Chatelherault, in a deep cleft of the
_Cande_ that is covered with the _falun_, an extensive deposit of
marine and freshwater shells, marking the beach of an old estuary of the
sea, is the village of Courtineau, wholly made up of Troglodyte habita-
tions, and with its chapel also excavated in the rock.

[ILLUSTRATION: SAULIAC. A village in the valley of the Cele Lot, built
partly into the rocks, with chambers excavated out of the cliff.]

At Villaines (Indre et Loire) the cliffs are pierced with caves that
are inhabited by basket-makers, and the watercourses below are planted
with willow, or else have cut osiers lying in them soaking to preserve
their suppleness. In the caves, on the roads, in every house, one sees
little else but baskets in process of making or cut osiers lying handy
for use. The women split and peel the green rods, men and children with
nimble fingers plait the white canes. All the basket-makers are
themselves plaited into one co-operative association. From time
immemorial Villaines had made baskets, the osier of the valley being of
excellent quality. But the products could not be disposed of
satisfactorily; they were bought by regraders, who beat down the prices
of the wares, and the workmen had no means of seeking out the markets,
in which to sell with full advantage to themselves. In 1845 an old
cure, whose name is remembered with affection, the Abbe Chicogne,
conceived the idea of creating a co-operative society; and aided by the
Count de Villemois, he grouped the workers, and drew up the statutes of
the Association, that remain in force to the present day. All the
products are brought together into a common store, and sold for the
benefit of the associates. No member is permitted to dispose of a
single piece of his workmanship to a purchaser; he may not sell in
gross any more than he may in detail. The cave-houses are comfortably
and neatly furnished, and their appearance and that of their
inhabitants proclaims well-being, content and cheerfulness.

On the Beune, a tributary of the Vezere, is the hamlet of Grioteaux,
planted on a terrace in a cave, the rock overhangs the houses. Above
the cluster, inaccessible without a ladder, in the face of the cliff,
is a chamber hewn out of the rock, and joist holes proclaiming that at
one time a wooden gallery preceded it. This cavern, that is wholly
artificial, served in times of trouble as a place in which the
community concealed their valuables.

The river Cele that flows into the Lot passes under noble cliffs of
fawn and orange-tinted limestone, and the road here is called Le Defile
des Anglais, as the whole valley during the Hundred Years' War was in
the possession of the Companies that pretended to fight for the
Leopards. And it was down this defile that the cutthroats rode on their
plundering expeditions. In this valley is the village of Sauliac, in an
amphitheatre of rocks, where road and river describe a semicircle. The
cliff runs up to a height of 300 feet. Houses are perched on every
available ledge, grappling the rock, where not simply consisting of
faced caverns. In the midst of this cirque stands the castle, buried in
stately oaks. It was not built till 1460, when the long agony of the
war was over, and nothing remained of the English save their empty
nests in the rock, and their hated name.

A modern chapel, very white and not congruous with its surroundings, is
perched above the road on a terrace under Le Roc Perce, so named from a
natural cavern, very round, drilled through it, as though wrought by a
giant's boring tool.

At Cuzorn, on the line from Perigueux to Agen, are very fine rocks in a
meander of the Lemance, starting out of woods, and these contain
caverns that have been, and some still are, inhabited. In this region
are many quarries, not open to the sky, but forming halls and galleries
under the hill, and some of these have been taken possession of and
turned into habitations.

At Brantome on the Dronne a good many of the houses are against the
rock, the caves built up in front with the usual window and door to
each. More have their workshops in grottoes, in them blacksmiths have
their forges, carpenters their planing benches, tinkers, tailors,
cobblers carry on their business in comparative obscurity. The superior
stratum of rock is of so hard and tenacious a quality that it holds
together with very few piers to support it. When a citizen wants to
enlarge his premises, he merely digs deeper into the hill; he has no
ground-rent to pay. Some caves open a hundred feet wide without a

[Illustration: GRIOTEAUX. A hamlet under overhanging rocks and with
chambers excavated in the rock. Above is a cave used as a place of
refuge, and notches that indicate where was a gallery reached by a rope
or ladder.]

[Illustration: LA ROCHEBRUNE. The upper chamber with eight holes in the
floor, six for stabbing at those who had invaded the lower chamber, and
two providing the means of escape.]

Any one motoring or going by rail from Angouleme to Perigueux should
halt half-way at La Roche Beaucourt, where the rock l'Argentine
contains a nest of cave-dwellings, with silos in the floors and
cupboards in the walls.

That the savage is not extinct in these out-of-the-way parts may be
judged from this--that at Hautefaye near by, the peasants in 1870 laid
hold of M. de Moneis, who objected to the prosecution of the war with
the Prussians after Sedan, cruelly maltreated him, and threw him alive
on a bonfire in which he expired among the flames.

The whole south-east angle of the Isle of Sicily is full of underground
cities, of which that of the Val d'Ispica is the most famous. These
excavations are vulgarly called Ddieri, but they are not in most cases
tombs, but dwelling-places for the living, as is shown by the handmills
for oil and corn that are found in them.

The Val d'Ispica is a narrow valley situated between Modica and
Spaicaforno; and throughout its entire length of about eight miles, the
rock walls are pierced on both sides with countless grottoes, all
artificial, and showing the marks of tools on their walls. They are
scooped in the calcareous rock. Some consist of as many as ten or
twelve chambers in succession, and are seldom more than 20 feet deep by
6 feet high, and they are of the same breadth. At the bottom of the
valley flows a little stream that supplied the inhabitants with water,
and irrigates wild fig-trees and pink-flowered oleanders. On a higher
level grow broad-leaved acanthi and wild artichokes, and thick festoons
of cactus hang down from the top of the rock and shade the entrances to
the grottoes. A portion of the rock wall on the right bank of the
stream has fallen, and exposed to sight the internal arrangement of the
dwellings. But previous to this, ascent could only have been made by
ladders or by notches in the rock for the insertion of toes and
fingers, as among the cliff-dwellers in Arizona. There are ranges of
these habitations on several stages, and steps cut in the rock allowed
communication between them; but above all is a ledge or gallery open
to the sky and commanding a magnificent prospect. This could be
reached only by a ladder, and probably formed the rendezvous of the
women of the Troglodyte town in an evening to enjoy the cool air, and
exercise their tongues. It may also have served as the last refuge of
the inmates of the caverns, who, after escaping to it could withdraw
the ladder.

One dwelling of three storeys, with flights of steps in good
preservation, is called the Castle by the peasants. Parthey, a German
traveller, who investigated these dwellings, reckoned their number to
be over 1500. He saw nowhere any trace of ornament about them. Doors
and windows were mere rough holes cut through the limestone. Rings hewn
in the stone which are found in the chambers probably served some
purpose of domestic economy. Fragments of Samian ware and carved marble
have been found in them, but are probably later than the construction
of these habitations. Some contain graves, and these also may be later,
but actually we know from history nothing about them. Rock tombs may
have been utilised as dwellings or abandoned dwellings as tombs. To the
present day some of them are still occupied, mainly by shepherds and
poor peasants. The range in the Crimea from Cape Kersonese to the Bay
of Ratla is formed of layers of limestone alternating with clay and
argilaceous schist, a disposition of the strata that tends greatly to
accelerate the disintegration of the cliffs. The clay gradually washed
out by springs or eaten away by the weather forms great caverns in the
sides, and these are liable to fall in when deprived of support. They
have, however, been utilised as habitations. The Rock of Inkermann, the
ancient Celamita, runs east of the town beyond the marshy valley of the
Chernaya; it has been converted into a vast quarry which menaces with
destruction the old Troglodyte town that occupied the cliffs. The
galleries of this underground town form a rabbit warren in which it is
dangerous to penetrate without a guide or a clue. Some of the chambers
are large enough to contain five hundred people.

The rocks of Djonfont-kaleharri are also honeycombed, with still
inhabited caves; some are completely cavernous, but others have the
openings walled up so as to form a screen. Beneath an overhanging rock
is a domed church used by this Troglodyte community.

If we cross the Mediterranean to Egypt, we see there whole villages of
cave-dwellers. The district between Mansa-Sura and Cyrene is full of
grottoes in the very heart of the mountains, into which whole families
get by means of ropes, and many are born, live and die in these dens,
without ever going out of them.

The volcanic breccia as well as chalk and limestone has been utilised
for the habitation of man. There is a very interesting collection of
cave-dwellings all artificial, the Balmes du Montbrun, a volcanic
crater of the Coiron, near S. Jean le Centenier in the Vivarais. The
crater is 300 feet in diameter and 480 feet deep; and man has burrowed
into the sides of porous lava or pumice to form a series of
habitations, a chapel, and one that is traditionally said to have
served as a prison. This rock settlement was occupied till the close of
the eighteenth century.

The Grottoes de Boissiere are twelve in number, on the side of the Puy
de Chateauneuf, commanding the road from Saint Nectaire to Marols, Puy
de Dome. They are excavated in the volcanic tufa, and are all much of
the same dimensions; one, however, measures 28 feet by 12 feet, and is
7 feet high. Below the grottoes the slope of the hill is parcelled out
into small fields or gardens by means of walls of stones laid one on
another without mortar, showing that the inhabitants of these caves
lived there permanently and cultivated the ground below their
dwellings. [Footnote: There are others, Les Grottes de Rajah, in the
same mass of rock, with near them an isolated rock carved about and
supposed to have been an idol.] More curious still are the Grottoes de
Jonas on the Couze, also in Puy de Dome, near Cheix. They are in stages
one range above another to the height of from 90 to 120 feet. The face
of the mountain is precipitous, and is of a porous tufa full of holes.
As many as sixty of these artificial caves remain; but there were at
one time many more, that have been destroyed by the fall of the very
friable volcanic rock. It is impossible to determine the period at
which these caves were excavated; they were probably prehistoric to
begin with, but were tenanted during the Middle Ages when--if not
later--the tracks leading to them were cut in the tufa and stairs to
connect the several stages. Then paths were bordered by walls as a
protection, and fragments of the parapet remain. Probably it was during
the English occupation of Guienne which extended into Auvergne, that a
castle and a chapel were sculptured out of the living rock. At the same
time a remarkable spiral staircase was contrived in like manner.
Numerous relics of all periods--flint tools, bronze weapons,
statuettes, and coins--have been found among the rubbish thrown out
from these dens. [Footnote: G. Tournier, _Les Megalithes et les
Grottes des environs de S. Nectaire_. Paris, 1910.]

On the Borne, in Haute Loire, dug out of the volcanic rock are several
cave-dwellings. The caves at Conteaux are fourteen in number, the
largest is divided into three compartments; each is 45 feet deep and 11
feet wide, but the usual dimension is from 28 to 36 feet. In all, the
vault is rather over 6 feet high. An opening in the roof of one gave
vent to smoke.

The rock of Ceyssac is curious. Formerly a barrier of volcanic tufa
stretched across the valley of the Borne; this barrier had been ejected
from the volcano of La Denise. The river, arrested in its onward
course, was ponded back and formed a lake that overflowed the dam in
two places, leaving between them a fang of harder rock. When the water
had spilled for a considerable time over the left-hand lip, and had
worn this down to a depth of about 70 feet, it all at once abandoned
this mode of outlet and concentrated its efforts on the right-hand
portion of the dam where it found the tufa less compact. It eventually
sawed its way completely through till it reached its present level,
leaving the prong of rock in the middle rising precipitously out of the
valley with the river gliding peacefully below it, but attached to the
mountain side by the neck it had abandoned. The fang was laid hold of,
burrowed into, and converted into a village of Troglodytes. In it are
cave-dwellings in five superposed storeys, stables with their mangers,
with rings for tying up cattle, a vast hall, that is circular, and
chambers with lockers and seats graven out of the sides of the walls.
There is also a subterranean chapel, with the entrance blocked by a
wall that contains an early Romanesque doorway. The Polignacs seized on
the spike of rock and built on the summit a castle that could be
reached only by a flight of steps cut in the face of the rock. By
degrees the inhabitants have migrated from their caves to the neck of
land connecting the prong with the hill, and have built themselves
houses thereon. They have even abandoned their monolithic church and
erected in its place an unsightly modern building.

There are other cave-dwellings in the volcanic rocks of the Cevennes
and Auvergne, but the above account must suffice.

I will now say something about the Troglodyte dwellings in the
sandstone in Correze, in the neighbourhood of Brive, caves that have
been inhabited from the time of the man who was contemporary with the
mammoth, to this day. Some have, however, been abandoned comparatively

They do not run deep into the rock; usually they face the south or
south-west, and are sometimes in a series at the same level; sometimes
they form several storeys, which communicated with each other by
ladders that passed through holes cut in the floor of the upper storey,
or else by a narrow cornice, wide enough for one to walk on. Sometimes
this cornice has been abraded by the weather, and fallen away; in which
case these cave-dwellings can be reached only by a ladder. There are
caves in which notches cut in the rock show where beams had been
inserted, and struts to maintain them, so as to form a wooden balcony
for communication between the chambers, or between the dwellings of

The doorways into these habitations are usually cut so as to admit a
wooden frame to which a door might be attached; and there are deep
holes bored in the rock, very much as in our old churches and towers,
for the cross-piece of timber that effectually fastened the door.

The grottoes are cut square, the ceilings are always sensibly
horizontal, and the walls always vertical. But where a natural hollow
has been artificially deepened, there the opening is usually irregular.
Moreover, in such case, the gaping mouth of the cave was in part walled
up. The traces of the tool employed are everywhere observable, they
indicate that the rock was cut by a pick having a triangular point.
Small square holes in the sides, and long horizontal grooves indicate
the position of shelves. Square hollows of considerable size served as
cupboards, and oblong rectangular recesses, 18 inches above the floor,
and from 3 feet 9 inches to 4 feet 6 inches high and a foot deep were
benches. Bedplaces were also cut in the rock.

There are also indications of a floor having been carried across in
some of the loftier caves, and there are openings in the roofs through
which ascent was made to the series of chambers on the upper storey.
Holes pierced in the ceiling served for the suspension of articles
liable to be injured by proximity to a damp rock. A string was attached
to the middle of a short stick, that was thrust into the hole. The
string was then pulled and it was fast. Another plan was that of boring
holes at an angle into the rock at the side. Into these holes rods were
thrust and what was required to be kept dry was suspended from them.

[Illustration: Sketch Plan of Rock Stable, Commarques.]

Some of the grottoes served at once for man and beast and fowl. Not
only are there chambers for the former, but also mangers for cattle,
and silos to contain the fodder; and there are nooks for pigeons in an
adjoining cave. In many cases there are cisterns; in one is a well. The
cisterns had to be filled laboriously. They are provided with bungholes
for the purpose of occasional cleaning out. The walls are scored with
concave grooves slanting downwards, uniting and leading into small
basins. The moisture condensing on the sides trickled into these
runnels and supplied the basins with drinking water. The mangers have
holes bored in the stone through which passed the halters. There are
indications that the cattle were hauled up by means of a windlass.

That these were not places of refuge in times of danger, but were
permanent habitations, would appear from the fact that those of
Lamouroux contain mural paintings, and that in them, in addition to
stables, there is a pigeonry. In one or two instances the piers that
support the roof have sculptured capitals, of the twelfth or thirteenth
century. In the cave-dwelling still tenanted at Siourat is cut the
date, I.D. 1585, surmounted by a cross. [Footnote: Lalande (Ph.),
_Les Grottes artificielles des environs de Brive_. In _Memoires
de la Soc. de Speliologie_. Paris, 1897.]

I have given the plan of the caves of Lamouroux in my "Deserts of
Southern France."

How general rock habitations were at one time in Perigord may be judged
by the prevalence of the place-name _Cluseau_, which always meant
a cave that was dwelt in, with the opening walled up, window and door
inserted; _roffi_ is applied to any ordinary grotto, whether
inhabited or not.

It would be quite impossible for me to give a list of the cave-
dwellings in France still inhabited, or occupied till comparatively
recent times, they are so numerous and are to be found in every
department where is the chalk or the limestone, sandstone or volcanic

They are to be met with not only in those parts of France from which
the above specimens have been taken and described, but also in Var,
Bouches du Rhone, Aveyron, Gard, Lozere, Cantal, Charente, Vienne, &c.

There is a good deal of sameness in the appearance of those still
inhabited--a walled face, a mask, with window and door, and above a
chimney of brick rising out of the rock.

[Illustration: Plan of the Rock Holes in Nottingham Park. Total length
of excavation on South Front 110 yards.]

In England, Nottingham drew its ancient British name of Tigguocobauc
(House of Caves) from its troglodyte habitations; at Mansfield in that
county such caves exist, and were associated with a class of
inhabitants somewhat nomadic, who obtained their living by making
besoms from the heather of the adjoining forest and moorland. They
established a colony on the roadside waste, and sank wells in the rock
for water. Nottingham enjoyed possibly the largest brewing and malting
business in the country, and those trades were nearly wholly carried on
in chambers and cellars and kilns cut out of the living rock. Mr. W.
Stevenson, author of "Bygone Nottinghamshire," writes to me: "Last week
I was with an antiquarian friend exploring an ancient passage in the
castle rock, originally made as a sally-port to the castle, but at some
later period when bricks came on the scene, converted or enlarged into
a set of malt offices with malt kilns complete. Their original use and
locality have been lost for a century, and their recovery is just being
brought about. Their situation, high over the adjoining meadow, and
their presence in the very heart of the rock that rises abrupt to the
height of 133 feet is truly romantic. The foot of the range of cliffs,
with a south aspect, was a favoured site. Here we find communities of
monks dwelling for centuries, hermits spotted about, and a great part
of the town-dwellers, tanners, dyers, and other trades where water was
largely required. A peculiarity of these houses was their fresh-water
supply. The denizens sank holes in their living apartments with steps
cut in the rock until they got down to the water level, where they had
little pools of fresh water. The system was known as _Scoop-
wells_, and must have been very ancient. Those who lived on higher
levels burrowed into the sides of sunken roads, and the track-lines of
ancient military defences. In deeds of transfer of property it was
customary to describe tenements as _below_ or _above_ ground.
Old writers have said that they doubted if the erections above ground
would fill the space excavated below ground; and to-day, when erecting
new buildings, it is necessary to drill down into the rock a yard or
more to ascertain that the foundations are not to be laid above the
crowns of hidden vaults, chapels, or unknown habitations."

Thoroton, in his history of Nottinghamshire, 1797, gives an
illustration of rock-dwellings at Sneynton, adjoining Nottingham, but
they have recently been cleared away for railway extension.

The sanitary authorities have done their best to sweep the tenants out
of the Nottingham cave habitations, but in Staffordshire at Kinver
there are still troglodytes.

Holy Austin's Rock is a mass of red sandstone, a spur of the bluff of
Kinver Edge, that is crowned by the earthworks of what is supposed to
have been a camp of Penda. But it has been broken through by wind and
rain and perhaps sea, and now stands out unattached. It is honeycombed
with habitations. I have been into several. They are neat and dry, and
the occupants are loud in praise of them, as warm in winter and cool in
summer. They are in two stages. At Drakelow also there are several,
also occupied, somewhat disfigured by hideous chimneys recently erected
in yellow and red bricks. One chimney is peculiarly quaint as being
twisted, like a writhing worm, to accommodate itself to the shape of
the overhanging rock. Another series of these habitations is now
abandoned, but was occupied till a comparatively recent period, and
other houses have their stables and storerooms excavated out of the

Although Derbyshire abounds with caverns, some natural, some the work
of miners, from Roman times, they do not appear to have been inhabited,
at least since prehistoric times, except as occasional refuges. But
there is a rock hermitage at Dale Abbey that has been lived in till
recently, and when Mr. St. John Hope was excavating the Abbey ruins,
one of his workmen informed him that he had been born and bred in it.

A writer in _The Cornish Magazine_ gives the following account of
some Cornish cave-dwellers.

"People in the habit of frequenting the shore of Whitsand Bay, between
Lore and Dowderry, are familiar with the sight of a couple of women
moving about among the rocks exposed at low tide. They are shell-fish
gatherers, who live in a small cave a little to the west of Seaton. The
illustration shows almost the extent of this cleft in the shady cliff,
and any one who examines the place must wonder how two human beings can
exist there. Along one side is a strip of sand, and from that the floor
slopes upwards at an angle of about sixty degrees. Whether by years of
practice the women have attained such perfection in the art of
balancing their bodies that they go to sleep on the slanting rock
without fear of falling, or whether they rest on the sand (wet when I
saw it from a late storm), I was not informed; but it is evident that
they know no comfort at any time. When I came suddenly upon the cave
one morning in October, the smouldering ashes of a drift-wood fire, a
kettle, a teapot, and two cups were dotted about just inside. Further
up the floor their 'cupboards'--a couple of iron boilers--were
standing, and in a niche near the fire was a pipe--short, dark, and
odorous. The women who have made this their dwelling are Irish widows,
'born in Ireland and married in Ireland,' as one of them said. They are
between fifty and sixty years of age, and for the last thirty years
have managed to gain a subsistence by gathering limpets week after week
and taking them to Plymouth. When the sea is rough they obtain few or
no fish, but under favourable circumstances the two sometimes get
fourteen shillings a week between them. In fine weather, when from Rame
Head to Looe Island the sea lies calm and glistening under a summer
sky, this smoke-blackened cave is an uninviting hovel; and in the
winter, especially when there is a gale from the south-east, the women
must be almost blown out of the hollow or frozen to death. On such
occasions they are forced to leave the cave, and then they go to a
disused pigsty near by. In talking with them while they dexterously
chipped limpets from the weed-mantled rocks, I mildly remarked that
workhouses were now very comfortable. Immediately the younger woman
stood erect, and with something akin to pride and determination,
exclaimed in a voice more than tinctured by the Irish patois, 'Never,
sir, will us go to the workhouse while us can get as much as an crust
in twenty-four hours.' Hitherto I had seen her only in a stooping
attitude, and I was surprised to see how tall a woman she was, and what
strength of character was indicated by her features. As she stood there
amongst the sea-weed, with feet and legs bare, and her hair confined by
a handkerchief, beating the palm of one hand with the knuckles of the
other to emphasise her words, it dawned upon me that I had named the
thing against which these two women had fought grimly for more than a
quarter of a century." [Footnote: _The Cornish Magazine_, i.
(1878), pp. 394-5.]


[Illustration: AUBETERRE. One of the subterranean excavations at
Aubeterre on the Dronne, serving as stables, storehouses, etc. At the
side on the right may be seen an oven for bread, scooped out of the

Sir Arthur Mitchell describes some troglodytes in Scotland.[Footnote:
"The Past in the Present," Edin. 1880, pp. 73-7.] "In August 1866,
along with two friends, I visited the great cave at the south side of
Wick Bay. It was nine at night, and getting dark when we reached it. It
is situated in a cliff, and its mouth is close to the sea. Very high
tides, especially with north-east winds, reach the entrance and force
the occupants to seek safety in the back part of the cave, which is at
a somewhat higher level than its mouth.

"We found twenty-four inmates--men, women, and children--belonging to
four families, the heads of which were all there. They had retired to
rest for the night a short time before our arrival, but their fires
were still smouldering. They received us civilly, perhaps with more
than mere civility, after a judicious distribution of pence and
tobacco. To our great relief, the dogs, which were numerous and
vicious, seemed to understand that we were welcome.

"The beds on which we found these people lying consisted of straw,
grass and bracken, spread upon the rock or shingle, and each was
supplied with one or two dirty, ragged blankets or pieces of matting.
Two of the beds were near the peat-fires, which were still burning, but
the others were further back in the cave where they were better

"On the bed nearest the entrance lay a man and his wife, both
absolutely naked, and two little children in the same state. On the
next bed lay another couple, an infant, and one or two elder children.
Then came a bed with a bundle of children, whom I did not count. A
youngish man and his wife, not quite naked, and some children, occupied
the fourth bed, while the fifth from the mouth of the cave was in
possession of the remaining couple and two of their children, one of
whom was on the spot of its birth. Far back in the cave--upstairs in
the garret, as they facetiously called it--were three or four biggish
boys, who were undressed, but had not lain down. One of them, moving
about with a flickering light in his hand, contributed greatly to the
weirdness of the scene. Beside the child spoken of, we were told of
another birth in the cave, and we heard also of a recent death there,
that of a little child from typhus. The Procurator-Fiscal saw this dead
child lying naked on a large flat stone. Its father lay beside it in
the delirium of typhus, when death paid this visit to an abode with no
door to knock at.

"Both men and women, naked to their waists, sat up in their lairs and
talked to us, and showed no sense of shame. One of the men summoned the
candle-boy from the garret, in order that we might see better, and his
wife trimmed the dying fire, and then, after lighting her pipe,
proceeded to suckle her child.

"In the afternoon of the next day, with another friend, I paid a second
visit to this cave, when we found eighteen inmates, most of whom were
at an early supper, consisting of porridge and treacle, apparently well
cooked and clean. One of the women was busy baking. She mixed the
oatmeal and water in a tin dish, spread the cake out on a flat stone
which served her for a table, and placing the cake against another
stone, toasted it at the open fire of turf and wood. This was one of
three fires, all situated about the centre of the wider part or mouth
of the cave, each with a group about it of women and ragged children.

"There was no table, or chair, or stool to be seen, stones being so
arranged as to serve all these purposes. There was no sort of building
about the entrance of the cave to give shelter from the winds, which
must often blow fiercely into it. Yet this cave is occupied both in
summer and winter by a varying number of families, one or two of them
being almost constant tenants.

"I believe I am correct in saying that there is no parallel
illustration of modern cave life in Scotland. The nearest approach to
it, perhaps, is the cave on the opposite or north side of the same bay.
Both of these caves I have had frequent opportunities of visiting, and
I have always found them peopled. Only occasional use is made of the
other caves on the Caithness and Sutherland coasts. Of these, perhaps
the cave of Ham, in Dunnet parish, is the most frequented. It is the
nearness to a large town which gives to the Wick caves their steady
tenants. The neighbouring population is large enough to afford room for
trading, begging, and stealing--all the year round.

"The occupants of the Wick caves are the people commonly known by the
name of Tinkers. They are so called chiefly because they work in tinned
iron. The men cut, shape, hammer, while the women do the soldering.

"The Tinkers of the Wick caves are a mixed breed. There is no Gipsy
blood in them. Some of them claim a West Island origin. Others say they
are true Caithness men, and others again look for their ancestors among
the Southern Scotch. They were not strongly built, nor had they a look
of vigorous bodily health. Their heads and faces were usually bad in
form. Broken noses and scars were a common disfigurement, and a
revelation at the same time of the brutality of their lives. One girl
might have been painted for a rustic beauty of the Norse type, and
there was a boy among them with an excellent head. It is possible that
one or both of these may yet leave their parents, from dissatisfaction
with the life they lead."

These cave-dwellers of Wick were the offscourings of society, such as
might be found in any town slum. "Virtue and chastity exist feebly
among them, and honour and truth more feebly still; they neither read
nor write; they go to no church, and have scarcely any sort of
religious belief or worship. They know little or nothing of their
history beyond what can be referred to personal recollection."

These, like the slum dwellers of a town, are recruited from outside,
they do not constitute a race; they are the dregs of a race--persons
who have dropped out of the line of march.

An amusing story was told by Mr. Grant Allen. A missionary society had
captured, converted, and educated a black man. He was such a promising
pupil, and looked so respectable in black clothes and a white tie, that
he was advanced to the ministry, and in due course consecrated bishop,
and sent out shovel-hat, lawn sleeves, rochet, and all complete, to the
Gold Coast, to found a church there among the natives.

Now Bishop Black got on for a little while decorously; but one day the
old wild blood in him boiled up--away went shovel-hat and boots, he
peeled off his gaiters and knee-breeches, tore his lawn sleeves to
rags, and dashed off a howling savage, stark naked, to take to himself
a dozen wives, and to go head-hunting. What was born in the bone would
come out in the flesh.

Probably there is an underlying vein of the savage in all of us, but it
is kept in control by the restraints of habit accumulated through
generations of civilisation. Yet there it is. A quiet, well-conducted
dog will sometimes disappear for a few days and nights. It has gone off
on a spree, to poach on its own account. Then, when it has had its
fling, it returns, and is meek, docile, and orderly as before.

There is something of this in man. He becomes impatient of the trammels
of ordinary life, its routine and matter-of-fact, and a hunger comes
over him for a complete change, to shake off the bonds of
conventionality, escape the drudgery of work, and live a free, wild
life. Among many this takes the form of going to the Colonies or to
Wild Africa or Western Canada, to shoot game, to camp out, and be a
savage for a while. Among the artisan class it takes another form--the
great army of tramps is recruited thus. The struggle to maintain a
family, the dry uninteresting toil, drives the man into a fit of
impatience, and he leaves his work, his wife and bairns, and becomes a
wanderer; idle, moving on from place to place, never starving, never
very comfortable--in dirt and idleness, and often in drink--but with no
ties, and going here, there, and everywhere as he lists.

Not many years ago there was a man who lived by the Devil's Dyke, on
the South Downs of Sussex, in a shelter under a hedge, picking up
coppers from visitors to the Dyke, dressed like Ally Sloper, but living
in a manner more squalid and under a worse shelter than would be
endured by most savages in the darkest parts of Africa. What his
history was no one knew.

It is now somewhat longer since a medical man, in an excess of
impatience against civilisation, constructed for himself a hovel out of
hurdles thatched with reeds, in South Devon. He lived in it, solitary,
speaking to no one. Occasionally he bought a sheep and killed it, and
ate it as the appetite prompted, and before it was done the meat had
become putrid. At length the police interfered, the stench became
intolerable in the neighbourhood, as the hovel was by the roadside. The
doctor was ordered to remove, and he went no one seems to know whither.

In Charles the First's time there were men living in the caves and dens
of the ravines about Lydford in South Devon. They had a king over them
named Richard Rowle, and they went by the name of the Gubbins. William
Browne, a poet of the time, wrote in 1644:--

"The town's enclosed with desert moors,
But where no bear nor lion roars,
And naught can live but hogs;
For all o'erturned by Noah's flood,
Of fourscore miles scarce one foot's good,
And hills are wholly bogs.

And near hereto's the Gubbins' cave;
A people that no knowledge have
Of law, of God, or men;
Whom Caesar never yet subdued,
Who've lawless liv'd; of manners rude;
All savage in their den.

By whom, if any pass that way,
He dares not the least time to stay,


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