Urbain Grandier HTML version

Chapter 4
That evening Grandier asked the bailiff for an audience. At first he had made fun of the
exorcisms, for the story had been so badly concocted, and the accusations were so
glaringly improbable, that he had not felt the least anxiety. But as the case went on it
assumed such an important aspect, and the hatred displayed by his enemies was so
intense, that the fate of the priest Gaufredi, referred to by Mignon, occurred to Urbain's
mind, and in order to be beforehand with his enemies he determined to lodge a complaint
against them. This complaint was founded on the fact that Mignon had performed the rite
of exorcism in the presence of the civil lieutenant, the bailiff, and many other persons,
and had caused the nuns who were said to be possessed, in the hearing of all these people,
to name him, Urbain, as the author of their possession. This being a falsehood and an
attack upon his honour, he begged the bailiff, in whose hands the conduct of the affair
had been specially placed, to order the nuns to be sequestered, apart from the rest of the
sisterhood and from each other, and then to have each separately examined. Should there
appear to be any evidence of possession, he hoped that the bailiff would be pleased to
appoint clerics of well-known rank and upright character to perform whatever exorcisms
were needful; such men having no bias against him would be more impartial than Mignon
and his adherents. He also called upon the bailiff to have an exact report drawn up of
everything that took place at the exorcisms, in order that, if necessary, he as petitioner
might be able to lay it before anyone to whose judgment he might appeal. The bailiff
gave Grandier a statement of the conclusions at which he had arrived, and told him that
the exorcisms had been performed that day by Barre, armed with the authority of the
Bishop of Poitiers himself. Being, as we have seen, a man of common sense and entirely
unprejudiced in the matter, the bailiff advised Grandier to lay his complaint before his
bishop; but unfortunately he was under the authority of the Bishop of Poitiers, who was
so prejudiced against him that he had done everything in his power to induce the
Archbishop of Bordeaux to refuse to ratify the decision in favour of Grandier,
pronounced by the presidial court. Urbain could not hide from the magistrate that he had
nothing to hope for from this quarter, and it was decided that he should wait and see what
the morrow would bring forth, before taking any further step.
The impatiently expected day dawned at last, and at eight o'clock in the morning the
bailiff, the king's attorney, the civil lieutenant, the criminal lieutenant, and the provost's
lieutenant, with their respective clerks, were already at the convent. They found the outer
gate open, but the inner door shut. In a few moments Mignon came to them and brought
them into a waiting-room. There he told them that the nuns were preparing for
communion, and that he would be very much obliged to them if they would withdraw and
wait in a house across the street, just opposite the convent, and that he would send them
word when they could come back. The magistrates, having first informed Mignon of
Urbain's petition, retired as requested.
An hour passed, and as Mignon did not summon them, in spite of his promise, they all
went together to the convent chapel, where they were told the exorcisms were already
over. The nuns had quitted the choir, and Mignon and Barre came to the grating and told