List Of Contents | Contents of Urbain Grandier, by Dumas, Pere
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But he was an instrument full of intelligence, detecting by the
manner in which he was wielded the moving passion of the wielder, and
adapting his whole nature with marvellous dexterity to gratify that
passion according to the character of him whom it possessed; now by a
rough and ready impetuosity, now by a deliberate and hidden advance;
equally willing to strike with the sword or to poison by calumny, as
the man who moved him lusted for the blood or sought to accomplish
the dishonour of his victim.

M. de Laubardemont arrived at Loudun during the month of August 1633,
and in order to carry out his mission addressed himself to Sieur
Memin de Silly, prefect of the town, that old friend of the
cardinal's whom Mignon and Barre, as we have said, had impressed so
favourably.  Memin saw in the arrival of Laubardemont a special
intimation that it was the will of Heaven that the seemingly lost
cause of those in whom he took such a warm interest should ultimately
triumph.  He presented Mignon and all his friends to M. Laubardemont,
who received them with much cordiality.  They talked of the mother
superior, who was a relation, as we have seen, of M. de Laubardemont,
and exaggerated the insult offered her by the decree of the
archbishop, saying it was an affront to the whole family; and before
long the one thing alone which occupied the thoughts of the
conspirators and the councillor was how best to draw down upon
Grandier the anger of the cardinal-duke.  A way soon opened.

The Queen mother, Marie de Medici, had among her attendants a woman
called Hammon, to whom, having once had occasion to speak, she had
taken a fancy, and given a post near her person.  In consequence of
this whim, Hammon came to be regarded as a person of some importance
in the queen's household.  Hammon was a native of Loudun, and had
passed the greater part of her youth there with her own people, who
belonged to the lower classes.  Grandier had been her confessor, and
she attended his church, and as she was lively and clever he enjoyed
talking to her, so that at length an intimacy sprang up between them.
It so happened at a time when he and the other ministers were in
momentary disgrace, that a satire full of biting wit and raillery
appeared, directed especially against the cardinal, and this satire
had been attributed to Hammon, who was known to share, as was
natural, her mistress's hatred of Richelieu.  Protected as she was by
the queen's favour, the cardinal had found it impossible to punish
Hammon, but he still cherished a deep resentment against her.

It now occurred to the conspirators to accuse Grandier of being the
real author of the satire; and it was asserted that he had learned
from Hammon all the details of the cardinal's private life, the
knowledge of which gave so much point to the attack on him; if they
could once succeed in making Richelieu believe this, Grandier was

This plan being decided on, M. de Laubardemont was asked to visit the
convent, and the devils knowing what an important personage he was,
flocked thither to give him a worthy welcome.  Accordingly, the nuns
had attacks of the most indescribably violent convulsions, and M. de
Laubardemont returned to Paris convinced as to the reality of their

The first word the councillor of state said to the cardinal about
Urbain Grandier showed him that he had taken useless trouble in
inventing the story about the satire, for by the bare mention of his
name he was able to arouse the cardinal's anger to any height he
wished.  The fact was, that when Richelieu had been Prior of Coussay
he and Grandier had had a quarrel on a question of etiquette, the
latter as priest of Loudun having claimed precedence over the prior,
and carried his point.  The cardinal had noted the affront in his
bloodstained tablets, and at the first hint de Laubardemont found him
as eager to bring about Grandier's ruin as was the councillor

De Laubardemont was at once granted the following commission:

"Sieur de Laubardemont, Councillor of State and Privy Councillor,
will betake himself to Loudun, and to whatever other places may be
necessary, to institute proceedings against Grandier on all the
charges formerly preferred against him, and on other facts which have
since come to light, touching the possession by evil spirits of the
Ursuline nuns of Loudun, and of other persons, who are said like wise
to be tormented of devils through the evil practices of the said
Grandier; he will diligently investigate everything from the
beginning that has any bearing either on the said possession or on
the exorcisms, and will forward to us his report thereon, and the
reports and other documents sent in by former commissioners and
delegates, and will be present at all future exorcisms, and take
proper steps to obtain evidence of the said facts, that they may be
clearly established; and, above all, will direct, institute, and
carry through the said proceedings against Grandier and all others
who have been involved with him in the said case, until definitive
sentence be passed; and in spite of any appeal or countercharge this
cause will not be delayed (but without prejudice to the right of
appeal in other causes), on account of the nature of the crimes, and
no regard will be paid to any request for postponement made by the
said Grandier.  His majesty commands all governors, provincial
lieutenant-generals, bailiffs, seneschals, and other municipal
authorities, and all subjects whom it may concern, to give every
assistance in arresting and imprisoning all persons whom it may be
necessary to put under constraint, if they shall be required so to

Furnished with this order, which was equivalent to a condemnation, de
Laubardemont arrived at Laudun, the 5th of December, 1633, at nine
o'clock in the evening; and to avoid being seen he alighted in a
suburb at the house of one maitre Paul Aubin, king's usher, and son-
in-law of Memin de Silly.  His arrival was kept so secret that
neither Grandier nor his friends knew of it, but Memin, Herve Menuau,
and Mignon were notified, and immediately called on him.  De
Laubardemont received them, commission in hand, but broad as it was,
it did not seem to them sufficient, for it contained no order for
Grandier's arrest, and Grandier might fly.  De Laubardemont, smiling
at the idea that he could be so much in fault, drew from his pocket
an order in duplicate, in case one copy should be lost, dated like
the commission, November 30th, signed LOUIS, and countersigned
PHILIPPEAUX.  It was conceived in the following terms:

LOUIS, etc. etc.
"We have entrusted these presents to Sieur de Laubardemont, Privy
Councillor, to empower the said Sieur de Laubardemont to arrest
Grandier and his accomplices and imprison them in a secure place,
with orders to all provosts, marshals, and other officers, and to all
our subjects in general, to lend whatever assistance is necessary to
carry out above order; and they are commanded by these presents to
obey all orders given by the said Sieur; and all governors and
lieutenants-general are also hereby commanded to furnish the said
Sieur with whatever aid he may require at their hands."

This document being the completion of the other, it was immediately
resolved, in order to show that they had the royal authority at their
back, and as a preventive measure, to arrest Grandier at once,
without any preliminary investigation.  They hoped by this step to
intimidate any official who might still be inclined to take
Grandier's part, and any witness who might be disposed to testify in
his favour.  Accordingly, they immediately sent for Guillaume Aubin,
Sieur de Lagrange arid provost's lieutenant.  De Laubardemont
communicated to him the commission of the cardinal and the order of
the king, and requested him to arrest Grandier early next morning.
M. de Lagrange could not deny the two signatures, and answered that
he would obey; but as he foresaw from their manner of going to work
that the proceedings about to be instituted would be an assassination
and not a fair trial, he sent, in spite of being a distant connection
of Memin, whose daughter was married to his (Lagrange's) brother, to
warn Grandier of the orders he had received.  But Grandier with his
usual intrepidity, while thanking Lagrange for his generous message,
sent back word that, secure in his innocence and relying on the
justice of God, he was determined to stand his ground.

So Grandier remained, and his brother, who slept beside him, declared
that his sleep that night was as quiet as usual.  The next morning he
rose, as was his habit, at six o'clock, took his breviary in his
hand, and went out with the intention of attending matins at the
church of Sainte-Croix.  He had hardly put his foot over the
threshold before Lagrange, in the presence of Memin, Mignon, and the
other conspirators, who had come out to gloat over the sight,
arrested him in the name of the king.  He was at once placed in the
custody of Jean Pouguet, an archer in His Majesty's guards, and of
the archers of the provosts of Loudun and Chinon, to be taken to the
castle at Angers.  Meanwhile a search was instituted, and the royal
seal affixed to the doors of his apartments, to his presses, his
other articles of furniture-in fact, to every thing and place in the
house; but nothing was found that tended to compromise him, except an
essay against the celibacy of priests, and two sheets of paper
whereon were written in another hand than his, some love-poems in the
taste of that time.


For four months Grandier languished in prison, and, according to the
report of Michelon, commandant of Angers, and of Pierre Bacher, his
confessor, he was, during the whole period, a model of patience and
firmness, passing his days in reading good books or in writing
prayers and meditations, which were afterwards produced at his trial.
Meanwhile, in spite of the urgent appeals of Jeanne Esteye, mother of
the accused, who, although seventy years of age, seemed to recover
her youthful strength and activity in the desire to save her son,

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