List Of Contents | Contents of Urbain Grandier, by Dumas, Pere
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"Nimia curiositas" (Too much curiosity), and on being asked again,

"Deus non volo."

This time the poor devil went astray in his conjugation, and
confusing the first with the third person, said, "God, I do not
wish," which in the context had no meaning.  "God does not wish,"
being the appointed answer.

The Scotchman laughed heartily at this nonsense, and proposed to
Barre to let his devil enter into competition with the boys of his
seventh form; but Barre, instead of frankly accepting the challenge
in the devil's name, hemmed and hawed, and opined that the devil was
justified in not satisfying idle curiosity.

"But, sir, you must be aware," said the civil lieutenant, "and if you
are not, the manual you hold in your hand will teach you, that the
gift of tongues is one of the unfailing symptoms of true possession,
and the power to tell what is happening at a distance another."

"Sir," returned Barre, "the devil knows the language very well, but,
does not wish to speak it; he also knows all your sins, in proof of
which, if you so desire, I shall order him to give the list."

"I shall be delighted to hear it," said the civil lieutenant; "be so
good as to try the experiment."

Barre was about to approach the superior, when he was held back by
the bailiff, who remonstrated with him on the impropriety of his
conduct, whereupon Barre assured the magistrate that he had never
really intended to do as he threatened.

However, in spite of all Barre's attempts to distract the attention
of the bystanders from the subject, they still persisted in desiring
to discover the extent of the devil's knowledge of foreign languages,
and at their suggestion the bailiff proposed to Barre to try him in
Hebrew instead of Gaelic.  Hebrew being, according to Scripture, the
most ancient language of all, ought to be familiar to the demon,
unless indeed he had forgotten it.  This idea met with such general
applause that Barre was forced to command the possessed nun to say
aqua in Hebrew.  The poor woman, who found it difficult enough to
repeat correctly the few Latin words she had learned by rote, made an
impatient movement, and said--

"I can't help it; I retract" (Je renie).

These words being heard and repeated by those near her produced such
an unfavourable impression that one of the Carmelite monks tried to
explain them away by declaring that the superior had not said "Je
renie," but "Zaquay," a Hebrew word corresponding to the two Latin
words, "Effudi aquam" (I threw water about).  But the words "Je
renie" had been heard so distinctly that the monk's assertion was
greeted with jeers, and the sub-prior reprimanded him publicly as a
liar.  Upon this, the superior had a fresh attack of convulsions, and
as all present knew that these attacks usually indicated that the
performance was about to end, they withdrew, making very merry over a
devil who knew neither Hebrew nor Gaelic, and whose smattering of
Latin was so incorrect.

However, as the bailiff and civil lieutenant were determined to clear
up every doubt so far as they still felt any, they went once again to
the convent at three o'clock the same afternoon.  Barre came out to
meet them, and took them for a stroll in the convent grounds.  During
their walk he said to the civil lieutenant that he felt very much
surprised that he, who had on a former occasion, by order of the
Bishop of Poitiers, laid information against Grandier should be now
on his side.  The civil lieutenant replied that he would be ready to
inform against him again if there were any justification, but at
present his object was to arrive at the truth, and in this he felt
sure he should be successful.  Such an answer was very unsatisfactory
to Barre; so, drawing the bailiff aside, he remarked to him that a
man among whose ancestors were many persons of condition, several of
whom had held positions of much dignity in the Church, and who
himself held such an important judicial position, ought to show less
incredulity in regard to the possibility of a devil entering into a
human body, since if it were proved it would redound to the glory of
God and the good of the Church and of religion.  The bailiff received
this remonstrance with marked coldness, and replied that he hoped
always to take justice for his guide, as his duty commanded.  Upon
this, Barre pursued the subject no farther, but led the way to the
superior's apartment.

Just as they entered the room, where a large number of people were
already gathered, the superior, catching sight of the pyx which Barre
had brought with him, fell once more into convulsions.  Barre went
towards her, and having asked the demon as usual by what pact he had
entered the maiden's body, and received the information that it was
by water, continued his examination as follows:

"Quis finis pacti" (What is the object of this pact?)

"Impuritas" (Unchastity).

At these words the bailiff interrupted the exorcist and ordered him
to make the demon say in Greek the three words, 'finis, pacti,
impuritas'.  But the superior, who had once already got out of her
difficulties by an evasive answer, had again recourse to the same
convenient phrase, "Nimia curiositas," with which Barre agreed,
saying that they were indeed too much given to curiosity.  So the
bailiff had to desist from his attempt to make the demon speak Greek,
as he had before been obliged to give up trying to make him speak
Hebrew and Gaelic.  Barre then continued his examination.

"Quis attulit pactum?" (Who brought the pact?)

"Magus" (The sorcerer).

"Quale nomen magi?" (What is the sorcerer's name?)

"Urbanus" (Urban).

"Quis Urbanus?  Est-ne Urbanus papa?"

(What Urban?  Pope Urban?)


"Cujus qualitatis?" (What is his profession?)


The enriching of the Latin language by this new and unknown word
produced a great effect on the audience; however, Barre did not pause
long enough to allow it to be received with all the consideration it
deserved, but went on at once.

"Quis attulit aquam pacti?" (Who brought the water of the pact?)

"Magus" (The magician).

"Qua hora?" (At what o'clock?)

"Septima" (At seven o'clock).

"An matutina?" (In the morning?)

"Sego" (In the evening).

"Quomodo intravit?" (How did he enter?)

"Janua" (By the door).

"Quis vidit?" (Who saw him?)

"Tres" (Three persons).

Here Barre stopped, in order to confirm the testimony of the devil,
assuring his hearers that the Sunday after the superior's deliverance
from the second possession he along with Mignon and one of the
sisters was sitting with her at supper, it being about seven o'clock
in the evening, when she showed them drops of water on her arm, and
no one could tell where they came from.  He had instantly washed her
arm in holy water and repeated some prayers, and while he was saying
them the breviary of the superior was twice dragged from her hands
and thrown at his feet, and when he stooped to pick it up for the
second time he got a box on the ear without being able to see the
hand that administered it.  Then Mignon came up and confirmed what
Barre had said in a long discourse, which he wound up by calling down
upon his head the most terrible penalties if every word he said were
not the exact truth.  He then dismissed the assembly, promising to
drive out the evil spirit the next day, and exhorting those present
to prepare themselves, by penitence and receiving the holy communion,
for the contemplation of the wonders which awaited them.


The last two exorcisms had been so much talked about in the town,
that Grandier, although he had not been present, knew everything that
had happened, down to the smallest detail, so he once more laid a
complaint before the bailiff, in which he represented that the nuns
maliciously continued to name him during the exorcisms as the author
of their pretended possession, being evidently influenced thereto by
his enemies, whereas in fact not only had he had no communication
with them, but had never set eyes on them; that in order to prove
that they acted under influence it was absolutely necessary that they
should be sequestered, it being most unjust that Mignon and Barre,
his mortal enemies, should have constant access to them and be able
to stay with them night and day, their doing so making the collusion
evident and undeniable; that the honour of God was involved, and also
that of the petitioner, who had some right to be respected, seeing
that he was first in rank among the ecclesiastics of the town.

Taking all this into consideration, he consequently prayed the
bailiff to be pleased to order that the nuns buffering from the so-
called possession should at once be separated from each other and
from their present associates, and placed under the control of
clerics assisted by physicians in whose impartiality the petitioner
could have confidence; and he further prayed that all this should be
performed in spite of any opposition or appeal whatsoever (but
without prejudice to the right of appeal), because of the importance
of the matter.  And in case the bailiff were not pleased to order the
sequestration, the petitioner would enter a protest and complaint
against his refusal as a withholding of justice.

The bailiff wrote at the bottom of the petition that it would be at
once complied with.

After Urbain Grandier had departed, the physicians who had been
present at the exorcisms presented themselves before the bailiff,
bringing their report with them.  In this report they said that they
had recognised convulsive movements of the mother superior's body,
but that one visit was not sufficient to enable them to make a
thorough diagnosis, as the movements above mentioned might arise as
well from a natural as from supernatural causes; they therefore
desired to be afforded opportunity for a thorough examination before
being called on to pronounce an opinion.  To this end they required
permission to spend several days and nights uninterruptedly in the
same room with the patients, and to treat them in the presence of

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