List Of Contents | Contents of Urbain Grandier, by Dumas, Pere
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treatment from those with whom he came in contact, turned towards the
surgeon with tears in his eyes, saying--

"So you are the only one who has any pity for me."

"Ah, sir," replied Fourneau, "you don't see everybody."

Grandier was then shaved, but only two marks found on him, one as we
have said on the shoulder blade, and the other on the thigh.  Both
marks were very sensitive, the wounds which Mannouri had made not
having yet healed.  This point having been certified by Fourneau,
Grandier was handed, not his own clothes, but some wretched garments
which had probably belonged to some other condemned man.

Then, although his sentence had been pronounced at the Carmelite
convent, he was taken by the grand provost's officer, with two of his
archers, accompanied by the provosts of Loudun and Chinon, to the
town hall, where several ladies of quality, among them Madame de
Laubardemont, led by curiosity, were sitting beside the judges,
waiting to hear the sentence read.  M. de Laubardemont was in the
seat usually occupied by the clerk, and the clerk was standing before
him.  All the approaches were lined with soldiers.

Before the accused was brought in, Pere Lactance and another
Franciscan who had come with him exorcised him to oblige the devils
to leave him; then entering the judgment hall, they exorcised the
earth, the air, "and the other elements."  Not till that was done was
Grandier led in.

At first he was kept at the far end of the hall, to allow time for
the exorcisms to have their full effect, then he was brought forward
to the bar and ordered to kneel down.  Grandier obeyed, but could
remove neither his hat nor his skull-cap, as his hands were bound
behind his back, whereupon the clerk seized on the one and the
provost's officer on the other, and flung them at de Laubardemont's
feet.  Seeing that the accused fixed his eyes on the commissioner as
if waiting to see what he was about to do, the clerk said

"Turn your head, unhappy man, and adore the crucifix above the

Grandier obeyed without a murmur and with great humility, and
remained sunk in silent prayer for about ten minutes; he then resumed
his former attitude.

The clerk then began to read the sentence in a trembling voice, while
Grandier listened with unshaken firmness and wonderful tranquillity,
although it was the most terrible sentence that could be passed,
condemning the accused to be burnt alive the same day, after the
infliction of ordinary and extraordinary torture.  When the clerk had
ended, Grandier said, with a voice unmoved from its usual calm

"Messeigneurs, I aver in the name of the Father, the Son, and the
Holy Ghost, and the Blessed Virgin, my only hope, that I have never
been a magician, that I have never committed sacrilege, that I know
no other magic than that of the Holy Scriptures, which I have always
preached, and that I have never held any other belief than that of
our Holy Mother the Catholic Apostolic Church of Rome; I renounce the
devil and all his works; I confess my Redeemer, and I pray to be
saved through the blood of the Cross; and I beseech you,
messeigneurs, to mitigate the rigour of my sentence, and not to drive
my soul to despair."

The concluding words led de Laubardemont to believe that he could
obtain some admission from Grandier through fear of suffering, so he
ordered the court to be cleared, and, being left alone with Maitre
Houmain, criminal lieutenant of Orleans, and the Franciscans, he
addressed Grandier in a stern voice, saying there was only one way to
obtain any mitigation of his sentence, and that was to confess the
names of his accomplices and to sign the confession.  Grandier
replied that having committed no crime he could have no accomplices,
whereupon Laubardemont ordered the prisoner to be taken to the
torture chamber, which adjoined the judgment hall--an order which was
instantly obeyed.


The mode of torture employed at Loudun was a variety of the boot, and
one of the most painful of all.  Each of the victim's legs below the
knee was placed between two boards, the two pairs were then laid one
above the other and bound together firmly at the ends; wedges were
then driven in with a mallet between the two middle boards; four such
wedges constituted ordinary and eight extraordinary torture; and this
latter was seldom inflicted, except on those condemned to death, as
almost no one ever survived it, the sufferer's legs being crushed to
a pulp before he left the torturer's bands.  In this case M. de
Laubardemont on his own initiative, for it had never been done
before, added two wedges to those of the extraordinary torture, so
that instead of eight, ten were to be driven in.

Nor was this all: the commissioner royal and the two Franciscans
undertook to inflict the torture themselves.

Laubardemont ordered Grandier to be bound in the usual manner, I and
then saw his legs placed between the boards.  He then dismissed the
executioner and his assistants, and directed the keeper of the
instruments to bring the wedges, which he complained of as being too
small.  Unluckily, there were no larger ones in stock, and in spite
of threats the keeper persisted in saying he did not know where to
procure others.  M. de Laubardemont then asked how long it would take
to make some, and was told two hours; finding that too long to wait,
he was obliged to put up with those he had.

Thereupon the torture began.  Pere Lactance having exorcised the
instruments, drove in the first wedge, but could not draw a murmur
from Grandier, who was reciting a prayer in a low voice; a second was
driven home, and this time the victim, despite his resolution, could
not avoid interrupting his devotions by two groans, at each of which
Pere Lactance struck harder, crying, "Dicas! dicas!" (Confess,
confess!), a word which he repeated so often and so furiously, till
all was over, that he was ever after popularly called "Pere Dicas."

When the second wedge was in, de Laubardemont showed Grandier his
manuscript against the celibacy of the priests, and asked if he
acknowledged it to be in his own handwriting.  Grandier answered in
the affirmative.  Asked what motive he had in writing it, he said it
was an attempt to restore peace of mind to a poor girl whom he had
loved, as was proved by the two lines written at the end--

    "Si ton gentil esprit prend bien cette science,
     Tu mettras en repos ta bonne conscience."

     [If thy sensitive mind imbibe this teaching,
     It will give ease to thy tender conscience]

Upon this, M. de Laubardemont demanded the girl's name; but Grandier
assured him it should never pass his lips, none knowing it but
himself and God.  Thereupon M. de Laubardemont ordered Pere Lactance
to insert the third wedge.  While it was being driven in by the
monk's lusty arm, each blow being accompanied by the word "'Dicas'!"
Grandier exclaimed--

"My God! they are killing me, and yet I am neither a sorcerer nor

At the fourth wedge Grandier fainted, muttering--

"Oh, Pere Lactance, is this charity?"

Although his victim was unconscious, Pere Lactance continued to
strike; so that, having lost consciousness through pain, pain soon
brought him back to life.

De Laubardemont took advantage of this revival to take his turn at
demanding a confession of his crimes; but Grandier said--

"I have committed no crimes, sir, only errors.  Being a man, I have
often gone astray; but I have confessed and done penance, and believe
that my prayers for pardon have been heard; but if not, I trust that
God will grant me pardon now, for the sake of my sufferings."

At the fifth wedge Grandier fainted once more, but they restored him
to consciousness by dashing cold water in his face, whereupon he
moaned, turning to M. de Laubardemont

"In pity, sir, put me to death at once! I am only a man, and I cannot
answer for myself that if you continue to torture me so I shall not
give way to despair."

"Then sign this, and the torture shall cease," answered the
commissioner royal, offering him a paper.

"My father," said Urbain, turning towards the Franciscan, "can you
assure me on your conscience that it is permissible for a man, in
order to escape suffering, to confess a crime he has never

"No," replied the monk; "for if he die with a lie on his lips he dies
in mortal sin."

"Go on, then," said Grandier; "for having suffered so much in my
body, I desire to save my soul."

As Pere Lactance drove in the sixth wedge Grandier fainted anew.

When he had been revived, Laubardemont called upon him to confess
that a certain Elisabeth Blanchard had been his mistress, as well as
the girl for whom he had written the treatise against celibacy; but
Grandier replied that not only had no improper relations ever existed
between them, but that the day he had been confronted with her at his
trial was the first time he had ever seen her.

At the seventh wedge Grandier's legs burst open, and the blood
spurted into Pere Lactance's face; but he wiped it away with the
sleeve of his gown.

"O Lord my God, have mercy on me!  I die!" cried Grandier, and
fainted for the fourth time.  Pere Lactance seized the opportunity to
take a short rest, and sat down.

When Grandier had once more come to himself, he began slowly to utter
a prayer, so beautiful and so moving that the provost's lieutenant
wrote it down; but de Laubardemont noticing this, forbade him ever to
show it to anyone.

At the eighth wedge the bones gave way, and the marrow oozed out of
the wounds, and it became useless to drive in any more wedges, the
legs being now as flat as the boards that compressed them, and
moreover Pere Lactance was quite worn out.

Grandier was unbound and laid upon the flagged floor, and while his
eyes shone with fever and agony he prayed again a second prayer--a
veritable martyr's prayer, overflowing with faith and enthusiasm; but
as he ended his strength failed, and he again became unconscious.
The provost's lieutenant forced a little wine between his lips, which
brought him to; then he made an act of contrition, renounced Satan

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