List Of Contents | Contents of Urbain Grandier, by Dumas, Pere
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and all his works once again, and commended his soul to God.

Four men entered, his legs were freed from the boards, and the
crushed parts were found to be a mere inert mass, only attached to
the knees by the sinews.  He was then carried to the council chamber,
and laid on a little straw before the fire.

In a corner of the fireplace an Augustinian monk was seated.  Urbain
asked leave to confess to him, which de Laubardemont refused, holding
out the paper he desired to have signed once more, at which Grandier

"If I would not sign to spare myself before, am I likely to give way
now that only death remains?"

"True," replied Laubardemont; "but the mode of your death is in our
hands: it rests with us to make it slow or quick, painless or
agonising; so take this paper and sign?"

Grandier pushed the paper gently away, shaking his head in sign of
refusal, whereupon de Laubardemont left the room in a fury, and
ordered Peres Tranquille and Claude to be admitted, they being the
confessors he had chosen for Urbain.  When they came near to fulfil
their office, Urbain recognised in them two of his torturers, so he
said that, as it was only four days since he had confessed to Pere
Grillau, and he did not believe he had committed any mortal sin since
then, he would not trouble them, upon which they cried out at him as
a heretic and infidel, but without any effect.

At four o'clock the executioner's assistants came to fetch him; he
was placed lying on a bier and carried out in that position.  On the
way he met the criminal lieutenant of Orleans, who once more exhorted
him to confess his crimes openly; but Grandier replied--

"Alas, sir, I have avowed them all; I have kept nothing back."

"Do you desire me to have masses said for you?" continued the

"I not only desire it, but I beg for it as a great favour," said

A lighted torch was then placed in his hand: as the procession
started he pressed the torch to his lips; he looked on all whom he
met with modest confidence, and begged those whom he knew to
intercede with God for him.  On the threshold of the door his
sentence was read to him, and he was then placed in a small cart and
driven to the church of St. Pierre in the market-place.  There he was
awaited by M. de Laubardemont, who ordered him to alight.  As he
could not stand on his mangled limbs, he was pushed out, and fell
first on his knees and then on his face.  In this position he
remained patiently waiting to be lifted.  He was carried to the top
of the steps and laid down, while his sentence was read to him once
more, and just as it was finished, his confessor, who had not been
allowed to see him for four days, forced a way through the crowd and
threw himself into Grandier's arms.  At first tears choked Pere
Grillau's voice, but at last he said, "Remember, sir, that our
Saviour Jesus Christ ascended to His Father through the agony of the
Cross: you are a wise man, do not give way now and lose everything.
I bring you your mother's blessing; she and I never cease to pray
that God may have mercy on you and receive you into Paradise."

These words seemed to inspire Grandier with new strength; he lifted
his head, which pain had bowed, and raising his eyes to heaven,
murmured a short prayer.  Then turning towards the worthy, friar, he

"Be a son to my mother; pray to God for me constantly; ask all our
good friars to pray for my soul; my one consolation is that I die
innocent.  I trust that God in His mercy may receive me into

"Is there nothing else I can do for you?" asked Pere Grillau.

"Alas, my father!" replied Grandier, "I am condemned to die a most
cruel death; ask the executioner if there is no way of shortening
what I must undergo."

"I go at once," said the friar; and giving him absolution in
'articulo mortis', he went down the steps, and while Grandier was
making his confession aloud the good monk drew the executioner aside
and asked if there were no possibility of alleviating the death-agony
by means of a shirt dipped in brimstone.  The executioner answered
that as the sentence expressly stated that Grandier was to be burnt
alive, he could not employ an expedient so sure to be discovered as
that; but that if the friar would give him thirty crowns he would
undertake to strangle Grandier while he was kindling the pile.  Pere
Grillau gave him the money, and the executioner provided himself with
a rope.  The Franciscan then placed himself where he could speak to
his penitent as he passed, and as he embraced him for the last time,
whispered to him what he had arranged with the executioner, whereupon
Grandier turned towards the latter and said in a tone of deep

"Thanks, my brother."

At that moment, the archers having driven away Pere Grillau, by order
of M. de Laubardemont, by beating him with their halberts, the
procession resumed its march, to go through the same ceremony at the
Ursuline church, and from there to proceed to the square of Sainte-
Croix.  On the way Urbain met and recognised Moussant, who was
accompanied by his wife, and turning towards him, said--

"I die your debtor, and if I have ever said a word that could offend
you I ask you to forgive me."

When the place of execution was reached, the provost's lieutenant
approached Grandier and asked his forgiveness.

"You have not offended me," was the reply; "you have only done what
your duty obliged you to do."

The executioner then came forward and removed the back board of the
cart, and ordered his assistants to carry Grandier to where the pile
was prepared.  As he was unable to stand, he was attached to the
stake by an iron hoop passed round his body.  At that moment a flock
of pigeons seemed to fall from the sky, and, fearless of the crowd,
which was so great that the archers could not succeed even by blows
of their weapons in clearing a way for the magistrates, began to fly
around Grandier, while one, as white as the driven snow, alighted on
the summit of the stake, just above his head.  Those who believed in
possession exclaimed that they were only a band of devils come to
seek their master, but there were many who muttered that devils were
not wont to assume such a form, and who persisted in believing that
the doves had come in default of men to bear witness to Grandier's

In trying next day to combat this impression, a monk asserted that he
had seen a huge fly buzzing round Grandier's head, and as Beelzebub
meant in Hebrew, as he said, the god of flies, it was quite evident
that it was that demon himself who, taking upon him the form of one
of his subjects, had come to carry off the magician's soul.

When everything was prepared, the executioner passed the rope by
which he meant to strangle him round Grandier's neck; then the
priests exorcised the earth, air, and wood, and again demanded of
their victim if he would not publicly confess his crimes.  Urbain
replied that he had nothing to say, but that he hoped through the
martyr's death he was about to die to be that day with Christ in

The clerk then read his sentence to him for the fourth time, and
asked if he persisted in what he said under torture.

"Most certainly I do," said Urbain; "for it was the exact truth."

Upon this, the clerk withdrew, first informing Grandier that if he
had anything to say to the people he was at liberty to speak.

But this was just what the exorcists did not want: they knew
Grandier's eloquence and courage, and a firm, unshaken denial at the
moment of death would be most prejudicial to their interests.  As
soon, therefore, as Grandier opened his lips to speak, they dashed
such a quantity of holy water in his face that it took away his
breath.  It was but for a moment, however, and he recovered himself,
and again endeavoured to speak, a monk stooped down and stifled the
words by kissing him on the lips.  Grandier, guessing his intention,
said loud enough for those next the pile to hear, "That was the kiss
of Judas!"

At these words the monks become so enraged that one of them struck
Grandier three times in the face with a crucifix, while he appeared
to be giving it him to kiss; but by the blood that flowed from his
nose and lips at the third blow those standing near perceived the
truth: all Grandier could do was to call out that he asked for a
Salve Regina and an Ave Maria, which many began at once to repeat,
whilst he with clasped hands and eyes raised to heaven commended
himself to God and the Virgin.  The exorcists then made one more
effort to get him to confess publicly, but he exclaimed--

"My fathers, I have said all I had to say; I hope in God and in His

At this refusal the anger of the exorcists surpassed all bounds, and
Pere Lactance, taking a twist of straw, dipped it in a bucket of
pitch which was standing beside the pile, and lighting it at a torch,
thrust it into his face, crying--

"Miserable wretch! will nothing force you to confess your crimes and
renounce the devil?"

"I do not belong to the devil," said Grandier, pushing away the straw
with his hands; "I have renounced the devil, I now renounce him and
all his works again, and I pray that God may have mercy on me."

At this, without waiting for the signal from the provost's
lieutenant, Pere Lactance poured the bucket of pitch on one corner of
the pile of wood and set fire to it, upon which Grandier called the
executioner to his aid, who, hastening up, tried in vain to strangle
him, while the flames spread apace.

"Ah! my brother," said the sufferer, "is this the way you keep your

"It's not my fault," answered the executioner; "the monks have
knotted the cord, so that the noose cannot slip."

"Oh, Father Lactance!  Father Lactance!  have you no charity?" cried

The executioner by this time was forced by the increasing heat to
jump down from the pile, being indeed almost overcome; and seeing
this, Grandier stretched forth a hand into the flames, and said--

"Pere Lactance, God in heaven will judge between thee and me; I
summon thee to appear before Him in thirty days."

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