Urbain Grandier HTML version

Chapter 7
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
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 other nuns and some of the magistrates.
Further, they required that all the food and medicine should pass through the doctors'
hands, and that no one, should touch the patients except quite openly, or speak to them
except in an audible voice. Under these conditions they would undertake to find out the
true cause of the convulsions and to make a report of the same.
It being now nine o'clock in the morning, the hour when the exorcisms began, the bailiff
went over at once to the convent, and found Barre half way through the mass, and the
superior in convulsions. The magistrate entered the church at the moment of the elevation