List Of Contents | Contents of Urbain Grandier, by Dumas, Pere
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Now it happened that this young girl fell into such a state of
debility that she was obliged to keep her room.  One of her friends,
named Marthe Pelletier, giving up society, of which she was very
fond, undertook to nurse the patient, and carried her devotion so far
as to shut herself up in the same room with her.  When Julie
Trinquant had recovered and was able again to take her place in the
world, it came out that Marthe Pelletier, during her weeks of
retirement, had given birth to a child, which had been baptized and
then put out to nurse.  Now, by one of those odd whims which so often
take possession of the public mind, everyone in Loudun persisted in
asserting that the real mother of the infant was not she who had
acknowledged herself as such--that, in short, Marthe Pelletier had
sold her good name to her friend Julie for a sum of money; and of
course it followed as a matter about which there could be no possible
doubt, that Urbain was the father.

Trinquant hearing of the reports about his daughter, took upon
himself as king's attorney to have Marthe Pelletier arrested and
imprisoned.  Being questioned about the child, she insisted that she
was its mother, and would take its maintenance upon herself.  To have
brought a child into the world under such circumstances was a sin,
but not a crime; Trinquant was therefore obliged to set Marthe at
liberty, and the abuse of justice of which he was guilty served only
to spread the scandal farther and to strengthen the public in the
belief it had taken up.

Hitherto, whether through the intervention of the heavenly powers, or
by means of his own cleverness, Urbain Grandier had come out victor
in every struggle in which he had engaged, but each victor had added
to the number of his enemies, and these were now so numerous that any
other than he would have been alarmed, and have tried either to
conciliate them or to take precautions against their malice; but
Urbain, wrapped in his pride, and perhaps conscious of his innocence,
paid no attention to the counsels of his most faithful followers, but
went on his way unheeding.

All the opponents whom till now Urbain had encountered had been
entirely unconnected with each other, and had each struggled for his
own individual ends.  Urbain's enemies, believing that the cause of
his success was to be found in the want of cooperation among
themselves, now determined to unite in order to crush him.  In
consequence, a conference was held at Barot's, at which, besides
Barot himself, Meunier, Trinquant, and Mignon took part, and the
latter had also brought with him one Menuau, a king's counsel and his
own most intimate friend, who was, however, influenced by other
motives than friendship in joining the conspiracy.  The fact was,
that Menuau was in love with a woman who had steadfastly refused to
show him any favour, and he had got firmly fixed in his head that the
reason for her else inexplicable indifference and disdain was that
Urbain had been beforehand with him in finding an entrance to her
heart.  The object of the meeting was to agree as to the best means
of driving the common enemy out of Loudon and its neighbourhood.

Urbain's life was so well ordered that it presented little which his
enemies could use as a handle for their purpose.  His only foible
seemed to be a predilection for female society; while in return all
the wives and daughters of the place, with the unerring instinct of
their sex, seeing, that the new priest was young, handsome, and
eloquent, chose him, whenever it was possible, as their spiritual
director.  As this preference had already offended many husbands and
fathers, the decision the conspirators arrived at was that on this
side alone was Grandier vulnerable, and that their only chance of
success was to attack him where he was weakest.  Almost at once,
therefore, the vague reports which had been floating about began to
attain a certain definiteness: there were allusions made, though no
name was mentioned, to a young girl in Loudun; who in spite of
Grandier's frequent unfaithfulness yet remained his mistress-in-
chief; then it began to be whispered that the young girl, having had
conscientious scruples about her love for Urbain, he had allayed them
by an act of sacrilege--that is to say, he had, as priest, in the
middle of the night, performed the service of marriage between
himself and his mistress.  The more absurd the reports, the more
credence did they gain, and it was not long till everyone in Loudun
believed them true, although no one was able to name the mysterious
heroine of the tale who had had the courage to contract a marriage
with a priest; and considering how small Loudun was, this was most

Resolute and full of courage as was Grandier, at length he could not
conceal from himself that his path lay over quicksands: he felt that
slander was secretly closing him round, and that as soon as he was
well entangled in her shiny folds, she would reveal herself by
raising her abhorred head, and that then a mortal combat between them
would begin.  But it was one of his convictions that to draw back was
to acknowledge one's guilt; besides, as far as he was concerned, it
was probably too late for him to retrace his steps.  He therefore
went on his way, as unyielding, as scornful, and as haughty as ever.

Among those who were supposed to be most active in spreading the
slanders relative to Urbain was a man called Duthibaut, a person of
importance in the province, who was supposed by the townspeople to
hold very advanced views, and who was a "Sir Oracle" to whom the
commonplace and vulgar turned for enlightenment.  Some of this man's
strictures on Grandier were reported to the latter, especially some
calumnies to which Duthibaut had given vent at the Marquis de
Bellay's; and one day, Grandier, arrayed in priestly garments, was
about to enter the church of Sainte-Croix to assist in the service,
he encountered Duthibaut at the entrance, and with his usual haughty
disdain accused him of slander.  Duthibaut, who had got into the
habit of saying and doing whatever came into his head without fear of
being called to account, partly because of his wealth and partly
because of the influence he had gained over the narrow-minded, who
are so numerous in a small provincial town, and who regarded him as
being much above them, was so furious at this public reprimand, that
he raised his cane and struck Urbain.

The opportunity which this affront afforded Grandier of being
revenged on all his enemies was too precious to be neglected, but,
convinced, with too much reason, that he would never obtain justice
from the local authorities, although the respect due to the Church
had been infringed, in his person he decided to appeal to King Louis
XIII, who deigned to receive him, and deciding that the insult
offered to a priest robed in the sacred vestments should be expiated,
sent the cause to the high court of Parliament, with instructions
that the case against Duthibaut should be tried and decided there.

Hereupon Urbain's enemies saw they had no time to lose, and took
advantage of his absence to make counter accusations against him.
Two worthies beings, named Cherbonneau and Bugrau, agreed to become
informers, and were brought before the ecclesiastical magistrate at
Poitiers.  They accused Grandier of having corrupted women and girls,
of indulging in blasphemy and profanity, of neglecting to read his
breviary daily, and of turning God's sanctuary into a place of
debauchery and prostitution.  The information was taken down, and
Louis Chauvet, the civil lieutenant, and the archpriest of Saint-
Marcel and the Loudenois, were appointed to investigate the matter,
so that, while Urbain was instituting proceedings against Duthibaut
in Paris, information was laid against himself in Loudun.  This
matter thus set going was pushed forward with all the acrimony so
common in religious prosecutions; Trinquant appeared as a witness,
and drew many others after him, and whatever omissions were found in
the depositions were interpolated according to the needs of the
prosecution.  The result was that the case when fully got up appeared
to be so serious that it was sent to the Bishop of Poitiers for
trial.  Now the bishop was not only surrounded by the friends of
those who were bringing the accusations against Grandier, but had
himself a grudge against him.  It had happened some time before that
Urbain, the case being urgent, had dispensed with the usual notice of
a marriage, and the bishop, knowing this, found in the papers laid
before him, superficial as they were, sufficient evidence against
Urbain to justify him in issuing a warrant for his apprehension,
which was drawn up in the following words:

"Henri-Louis, Chataignier de la Rochepezai, by divine mercy Bishop of
Poitiers, in view of the charges and informations conveyed to us by
the archpriest of Loudun against Urbain Grandier, priest-in-charge of
the Church of Saint-Pierre in the Market-Place at Loudun, in virtue
of a commission appointed by us directed to the said archpriest, or
in his absence to the Prior of Chassaignes, in view also of the
opinion given by our attorney upon the said charges, have ordered and
do hereby order that Urbain Grandier, the accused, be quietly taken
to the prison in our palace in Poitiers, if it so be that he be taken
and apprehended, and if not, that he be summoned to appear at his
domicile within three days, by the first apparitor-priest, or
tonsured clerk, and also by the first royal sergeant, upon this
warrant, and we request the aid of the secular authorities, and to
them, or to any one of them, we hereby give power and authority to
carry out this decree notwithstanding any opposition or appeal, and
the said Grandier having been heard, such a decision will be given by
our attorney as the facts may seem to warrant.

"Given at Dissay the 22nd day of October 1629, and signed in the
original as follows:

"HENRI-LOUIS, Bishop of Poitiers."

Grandier was, as we have said, at Paris when these proceedings were
taken against him, conducting before the Parliament his case against

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