Urbain Grandier HTML version

Chapter 6
The next day, November 25th, the bailiff and the majority of the officers of the two
jurisdictions came to the convent once more, and were all conducted to the choir. In a few
moments the curtains behind the grating were drawn back, and the superior, lying on her
bed, came to view. Barre began, as usual, by the celebration of mass, during which the
superior was seized with convulsions, and exclaimed two or three times, "Grandier!
Grandier! false priest!" When the mass was over, the celebrant went behind the grating,
carrying the pyx; then, placing it on his head and holding it there, he protested that in all
he was doing he was actuated by the purest motives and the highest integrity; that he had
no desire to harm anyone on earth; and he adjured God to strike him dead if he had been
guilty of any bad action or collusion, or had instigated the nuns to any deceit during the
The prior of the Carmelites next advanced and made the same declaration, taking the oath
in the same manner, holding the pyx over his head; and further calling down on himself
and his brethren the curse of Korah, Dathan, and Abiram if they had sinned during this
inquiry. These protestations did not, however, produce the salutary effect intended, some
of those present saying aloud that such oaths smacked of sacrilege.
Barre hearing the murmurs, hastened to begin the exorcisms, first advancing to the
superior to offer her the holy sacrament: but as soon as she caught sight of him she
became terribly convulsed, and attempted to drag the pyx from his hands. Barre,
however, by pronouncing the sacred words, overcame the repulsion of the superior, and
succeeded in placing the wafer in her mouth; she, however, pushed it out again with her
tongue, as if it made her sick; Barge caught it in his fingers and gave it to her again, at the
same time forbidding the demon to make her vomit, and this time she succeeded in partly
swallowing the sacred morsel, but complained that it stuck in her throat. At last, in order
to get it down, Barge three times gave her water to drink; and then, as always during his
exorcisms, he began by interrogating the demon.
"Per quod pactum ingressus es in corpus hujus puellae?" (By what pact didst thou enter
the body of this maiden?)
"Aqua" ( By water), said the superior.
One of those who had accompanied the bailiff was a Scotchman called Stracan, the head
of the Reformed College of Loudun. Hearing this answer, he called on the demon to
translate aqua into Gaelic, saying if he gave this proof of having those linguistic
attainments which all bad spirits possess, he and those with him would be convinced that
the possession was genuine and no deception. Barre, without being in the least taken
aback, replied that he would make the demon say it if God permitted, and ordered the
spirit to answer in Gaelic. But though he repeated his command twice, it was not obeyed;
on the third repetition the superior said--