List Of Contents | Contents of Urbain Grandier, by Dumas, Pere
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Grandier was then seen to make attempts to strangle himself, but
either because it was impossible, or because he felt it would be
wrong to end his life by his own hands, he desisted, and clasping his
hands, prayed aloud--

"Deus meus, ad te vigilo, miserere me."

A Capuchin fearing that he would have time to say more, approached
the pile from the side which had not yet caught fire, and dashed the
remainder of the holy water in his face.  This caused such smoke that
Grandier was hidden for a moment from the eyes of the spectators;
when it cleared away, it was seen that his clothes were now alight;
his voice could still be heard from the midst of the flames raised in
prayer; then three times, each time in a weaker voice, he pronounced
the name of Jesus, and giving one cry, his head fell forward on his

At that moment the pigeons which had till then never ceased to circle
round the stake, flew away, and were lost in the clouds.

Urbain Grandier had given up the ghost.


This time it was not the man who was executed who was guilty, but the
executioners; consequently we feel sure that our readers will be
anxious to learn something of their fate.

Pere Lactance died in the most terrible agony on September 18th,
1634, exactly a month from the date of Grandier's death.  His
brother-monks considered that this was due to the vengeance of Satan;
but others were not wanting who said, remembering the summons uttered
by Grandier, that it was rather due to the justice of God.  Several
attendant circumstances seemed to favour the latter opinion.  The
author of the History of the Devils of Loudzin gives an account of
one of these circumstances, for the authenticity of which he vouches,
and from which we extract the following:

"Some days after the execution of Grandier, Pere Lactance fell ill of
the disease of which he died.  Feeling that it was of supernatural
origin, he determined to take a pilgrimage to Notre Dame des
Andilliers de Saumur, where many miracles were wrought, and which was
held in high estimation in the neighbourhood.  A place in the
carriage of the Sieur de Canaye was offered him for the journey; for
this gentleman, accompanied by a large party on pleasure bent, was
just then setting out for his estate of Grand Fonds, which lay in the
same direction.  The reason for the offer was that Canaye and his
friends, having heard that the last words of Grandier had affected
Pere Lactance's mind, expected to find a great deal of amusement in
exciting the terrors of their travelling-companion.  And in truth,
for a day or two, the boon companions sharpened their wits at the
expense of the worthy monk, when all at once, on a good road and
without apparent cause, the carriage overturned.  Though no one was
hurt, the accident appeared so strange to the pleasure-seekers that
it put an end to the jokes of even the boldest among them.  Pere
Lactance himself appeared melancholy and preoccupied, and that
evening at supper refused to eat, repeating over and over again--

"'It was wrong of me to deny Grandier the confessor he asked for; God
is punishing me, God is punishing me!'

"On the following morning the journey was resumed, but the evident
distress of mind under which Pere Lactance laboured had so damped the
spirits of the party that all their gaiety had disappeared.
Suddenly, just outside Fenet, where the road was in excellent
condition and no obstacle to their progress apparent, the carriage
upset for the second time.  Although again no one was hurt, the
travellers felt that there was among them someone against whom God's
anger was turned, and their suspicions pointing to Pere Lactance,
they went on their way, leaving him behind, and feeling very
uncomfortable at the thought that they had spent two or three days in
his society.

"Pere Lactance at last reached Notre-Dame des Andilliers; but however
numerous were the miracles there performed, the remission of the doom
pronounced by the martyr on Pere Lactance was not added to their
number; and at a quarter-past six on September 18th, exactly a month
to the very minute after Grandier's death, Pere Lactance expired in
excruciating agony."

Pere Tranquille's turn came four years later.  The malady which
attacked him was so extraordinary that the physicians were quite at a
loss, and forced to declare their ignorance of any remedy.  His
shrieks and blasphemies were so distinctly heard in the streets, that
his brother Franciscans, fearing the effect they would have on his
after-reputation, especially in the minds of those who had seen
Grandier die with words of prayer on his lips, spread abroad the
report that the devils whom he had expelled from the bodies of the
nuns had entered into the body of the exorcist.  He died shrieking--

"My God! how I suffer!  Not all the devils and all the damned
together endure what I endure!"  His panegyrist, in whose book we
find all the horrible details of his death employed to much purpose
to illustrate the advantages of belonging to the true faith,

"Truly big generous heart must have been a hot hell for those fiends
who entered his body to torment it."

The following epitaph which was placed over his grave was
interpreted, according to the prepossessions of those who read it,
either as a testimony to his sanctity or as a proof of his

"Here lies Pere Tranquille, of Saint-Remi; a humble Capuchin
preacher.  The demons no longer able to endure his fearlessly
exercised power as an exorcist, and encouraged by sorcerers, tortured
him to death, on May 31st, 1638."

But a death about which there could be no doubt as to the cause was
that of the surgeon Mannouri, the same who had, as the reader may
recollect, been the first to torture Grandier.  One evening about ten
o'clock he was returning from a visit to a patient who lived on the
outskirts of the town, accompanied by a colleague and preceded by his
surgery attendant carrying a lantern.  When they reached the centre
of the town in the rue Grand-Pave, which passes between the walls of
the castle grounds and the gardens of the Franciscan monastery,
Mannouri suddenly stopped, and, staring fixedly at some object which
was invisible to his companions, exclaimed with a start--

"Oh! there is Grandier!

"Where?  where?" cried the others.

He pointed in the direction towards which his eyes were turned, and
beginning to tremble violently, asked--

"What do you want with me, Grandier?  What do you want?"

A moment later he added

"Yes-yes, I am coming."

Immediately it seemed as if the vision vanished from before his eyes,
but the effect remained.  His brother-surgeon and the servant brought
him home, but neither candles nor the light of day could allay his
fears; his disordered brain showed him Grandier ever standing at the
foot of his bed.  A whole week he continued, as was known all over
the town, in this condition of abject terror; then the spectre seemed
to move from its place and gradually to draw nearer, for he kept on
repeating, "He is coming! he is coming!" and at length, towards
evening, at about the same hour at which Grandier expired, Surgeon
Mannouri drew his last breath.

We have still to tell of M. de Laubardemont.  All we know is thus
related in the letters of M. de Patin:--

"On the 9th inst., at nine o'clock in the evening, a carriage was
attacked by robbers; on hearing the noise the townspeople ran to the
spot, drawn thither as much by curiosity as by humanity.  A few shots
were exchanged and the robbers put to flight, with the exception of
one man belonging to their band who was taken prisoner, and another
who lay wounded on the paving-stones.  This latter died next day
without having spoken, and left no clue behind as to who he was.  His
identity was, however, at length made clear.  He was the son of a
high dignitary named de Laubardemont, who in 1634, as royal
commissioner, condemned Urbain Grandier, a poor, priest of Loudun, to
be burnt alive, under the pretence that he had caused several nuns of
Loudun to be possessed by devils.  These nuns he had so tutored as to
their behaviour that many people foolishly believed them to be
demoniacs.  May we not regard the fate of his son as a chastisement
inflicted by Heaven on this unjust judge--an expiation exacted for
the pitilessly cruel death inflicted on his victim, whose blood still
cries unto the Lord from the ground?"

Naturally the persecution of Urbain Grandier attracted the attention
not only of journalists but of poets.  Among the many poems which
were inspired by it, the following is one of the best.  Urbain

"From hell came the tidings that by horrible sanctions
I had made a pact with the devil to have power over women:
Though not one could be found to accuse me.
In the trial which delivered me to torture and the stake,
The demon who accused me invented and suggested the crime,

And his testimony was the only proof against me.

The English in their rage burnt the Maid alive;
Like her, I too fell a victim to revenge;
We were both accused falsely of the same crime;
In Paris she is adored, in London abhorred;
In Loudun some hold me guilty of witchcraft,
Some believe me innocent; some halt between two minds.

Like Hercules, I loved passionately;
Like him, I was consumed by fire;
But he by death became a god.
The injustice of my death was so well concealed
That no one can judge whether the flames saved or destroyed me;
Whether they blackened me for hell, or purified me for heaven.

In vain did I suffer torments with unshaken resolution;
They said that I felt no pain, being a sorcerer died unrepentant;
That the prayers I uttered were impious words;
That in kissing the image on the cross I spat in its face;
That casting my eyes to heaven I mocked the saints;
That when I seemed to call on God, I invoked the devil

Others, more charitable, say, in spite of their hatred of my crime,
That my death may be admired although my life was not blameless;
That my resignation showed that I died in hope and faith;
That to forgive, to suffer without complaint or murmur,
Is perfect love; and that the soul is purified
From the sins of life by a death like mine."

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