List Of Contents | Contents of Urbain Grandier, by Dumas, Pere
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pretended to believe; and the worldly-minded, who were numerous,
discussed the doctrine of possession in all its phases, and made no
secret of their own entire incredulity.  They wondered, and not
without reason it must be confessed, what had induced the devils to
go out of the nuns' bodies for two days only, and then come back and
resume possession, to the confusion of the exorcists; further, they
wanted to know why the mother superior's devil spoke Latin, while the
lay sister's was ignorant of that tongue; for a mere difference of
rank in the hierarchy of hell did not seem a sufficient explanation
of such a difference in education; Mignon's refusal to go on with his
interrogations as to the cause of the enmity made them, they said,
suspect that, knowing he had reached the end of Ashtaroth's classical
knowledge, he felt it useless to try to continue the dialogue in the
Ciceronian idiom.  Moreover, it was well known that only a few days
before all Urbain's worst enemies had met in conclave in the village
of Puidardane; and besides, how stupidly Mignon had shown his hand by
mentioning Gaufredi, the priest who had been executed at Aix: lastly,
why had not a desire for impartiality been shown by calling in other
than Carmelite monks to be present at the exorcism, that order having
a private quarrel with Grandier?  It must be admitted that this way
of looking at the case was not wanting in shrewdness.

On the following day, October 12th, the bailiff and the civil
lieutenant, having heard that exorcisms had been again tried without
their having been informed beforehand, requested a certain Canon
Rousseau to accompany them, and set out with him and their clerk for
the convent.  On arriving, they asked for Mignon, and on his
appearance they told him that this matter of exorcism was of such
importance that no further steps were to be taken in it without the
authorities being present, and that in future they were to be given
timely notice of every attempt to get rid of the evil spirits.  They
added that this was all the more necessary as Mignon's position as
director of the sisterhood and his well-known hate for Grandier would
draw suspicions on him unworthy of his cloth, suspicions which he
ought to be the first to wish to see dissipated, and that quickly;
and that, therefore, the work which he had so piously begun would be
completed by exorcists appointed by the court.

Mignon replied that, though he had not the slightest objection to the
magistrates being present at all the exorcisms, yet he could not
promise that the spirits would reply to anyone except himself and
Barre.  Just at that moment Barre came on the scene, paler and more
gloomy than ever, and speaking with the air of a man whose word no
one could help believing, he announced that before their arrival some
most extraordinary things had taken place.  The magistrates asked
what things, and Barre replied that he had learned from the mother
superior that she was possessed, not by one, but by seven devils, of
whom Ashtaroth was the chief; that Grandier had entrusted his pact
with the devil, under the symbol of a bunch of roses, to a certain
Jean Pivart, to give to a girl who had introduced it into the convent
garden by throwing it over the wall; that this took place in the
night between Saturday and Sunday "hora secunda nocturna" (two hours
after midnight); that those were the very words the superior had
used, but that while she readily named Pivart, she absolutely refused
to give the name of the girl; that on asking what Pivart was; she had
replied, "Pauper magus" (a poor magician); that he then had pressed
her as to the word magus, and that she had replied "Magicianus et
civis" (magician and citizen); and that just as she said those words
the magistrates had arrived, and he had asked no more questions.

The two officials listened to this information with the seriousness
befitting men entrusted with high judicial functions, and announced
to the two priests that they proposed to visit the possessed women
and witness for themselves the miracles that were taking place.  The
clerics offered no opposition, but said they feared that the devils
were fatigued and would refuse to reply; and, in fact, when the
officials reached the sickroom the two patients appeared to have
regained some degree of calm.  Mignon took advantage of this quiet
moment to say mass, to which the two magistrates listened devoutly
and tranquilly, and while the sacrifice was being offered the demons
did not dare to move.  It was expected that they would offer some
opposition at the elevation of the Host, but everything passed off
without disturbance, only the lay sister's hands and feet twitched a
great deal; and this was the only fact which the magistrates thought
worthy of mention in their report for that morning.  Barre assured
them, however, that if they would return about three o'clock the
devils would probably have recovered sufficiently from their fatigue
to give a second performance.

As the two gentlemen had determined to see the affair to the end,
they returned to the convent at the hour named, accompanied by
Messire Irenee de Sainte-Marthe, sieur Deshurneaux; and found the
room in which the possessed were lying full of curious spectators;
for the exorcists had been true prophets--the devils were at work

The superior, as always, was the more tormented of the two, as was
only to be expected, she having seven devils in her all at once; she
was terribly convulsed, and was writhing and foaming at the mouth as
if she were mad.  No one could long continue in such a condition
without serious injury to health; Barre therefore asked the devil-in-
chief how soon he would come out.  "Cras mane" (To-morrow morning),
he replied.  The exorcist then tried to hurry him, asking him why he
would not come out at once; whereupon the superior murmured the word
"Pactum" (A pact); and then "Sacerdos" (A priest), and finally
"Finis," or "Finit," for even those nearest could not catch the word
distinctly, as the devil, afraid doubtless of perpetrating a
barbarism, spoke through the nun's closely clenched teeth.  This
being all decidedly unsatisfying, the magistrates insisted that the
examination should continue, but the devils had again exhausted
themselves, and refused to utter another word.  The priest even tried
touching the superior's head with the pyx, while prayers and litanies
were recited, but it was all in vain, except that some of the
spectators thought that the contortions of the patient became more
violent when the intercessions of certain saints were invoked, as for
instance Saints Augustine Jerome, Antony, and Mary Magdalene.  Barre
next directed the mother superior to dedicate her heart and soul to
God, which she did without difficulty; but when he commanded her to
dedicate her body also, the chief devil indicated by fresh
convulsions that he was not going to allow himself to be deprived of
a domicile without resistance, and made those who had heard him say
that he would leave the next morning feel that he had only said so
under compulsion; and their curiosity as to the result became
heightened.  At length, however, despite the obstinate resistance of
the demon, the superior succeeded in dedicating her body also to God,
and thus victorious her features resumed their usual expression, and
smiling as if nothing had happened, she turned to Barre and said that
there was no vestige of Satan left in her.  The civil lieutenant then
asked her if she remembered the questions she had been asked and the
answers she had given, but she replied that she remembered nothing;
but afterwards, having taken some refreshment, she said to those
around her that she recollected perfectly how the first possession,
over which Mignon had triumphed, had taken place: one evening about
ten o'clock, while several nuns were still in her room, although she
was already in bed, it seemed to her that someone took her hand and
laid something in it, closing her fingers; at that instant she felt a
sharp pain as if she had been pricked by three pins, and hearing her
scream, the nuns came to her bedside to ask what ailed her.  She held
out her hand, and they found three black thorns sticking in it, each
having made a tiny wound.  Just as she had told this tale, the lay
sister, as if to prevent all commentary, was seized with convulsions,
and Barre recommenced his prayers and exorcisms, but was soon
interrupted by shrieks; for one of the persons present had seen a
black cat come down the chimney and disappear.  Instantly everyone
concluded it must be the devil, and began to seek it out.  It was not
without great difficulty that it was caught; for, terrified at the
sight of so many people and at the noise, the poor animal had sought
refuge under a canopy; but at last it was secured and carried to the
superior's bedside, where Barre began his exorcisms once more,
covering the cat with signs of the cross, and adjuring the devil to
take his true shape.  Suddenly the 'touriere', (the woman who
received the tradespeople,) came forward, declaring the supposed
devil to be only her cat, and she immediately took possession of it,
lest some harm should happen to it.

The gathering had been just about to separate, but Barry fearing that
the incident of the cat might throw a ridiculous light upon the evil
spirits, resolved to awake once more a salutary terror by announcing
that he was going to burn the flowers through which the second spell
had been made to work.  Producing a bunch of white roses, already
faded, he ordered a lighted brazier to be brought.  He then threw the
flowers on the glowing charcoal, and to the general astonishment they
were consumed without any visible effect: the heavens still smiled,
no peal of thunder was heard, and no unpleasant odour diffused itself
through the room.  Barre feeling that the baldness of this act of
destruction had had a bad effect, predicted that the morrow would
bring forth wondrous things; that the chief devil would speak more
distinctly than hitherto; that he would leave the body of the

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