Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 43.djvu/309

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295
THE SPANISH INQUISITION AS AN ALIENIST.

ance of the worshipers, and they were forthwith brought before the Inquisitor General, Andrés Pacheco. Apparently his experience of the Toledo Inquisition in the previous affair had not been satisfactory, for he at once himself undertook the preliminaries of the case, and hastily organized for its trial in Madrid a tribunal which sat in extemporized quarters in the convent of the Barefooted Carmelites. The documents concerning Guevara are not accessible, but those of the trial of Perrault present to us another aspect of the dealings of the Inquisition with insanity.

Friday was busily occupied with the examination of witnesses, and at 10 p. m. Perrault was brought before the inquisitor. He was still defiant, and told his story without hesitation or concealment. He was about forty years old, born at Angers, of Catholic parents. Brought up in strict orthodoxy, he had, until within a fortnight, always been a good Catholic, regular in his attendance on confession, communion, and mass. For twelve years he had wandered around Spain as a peddler of needles, thimbles, and such small wares, till a fortnight before at Talavera, while in the street seeking customers, a sudden revelation from God showed him that there was only one God, the Creator; that Christ was an impostor, who had properly expiated on the cross the blasphemy of calling himself the Son of God, and that what the people adored was idolatry and an offence to the Almighty. From that time this idea was ever present to him, on the road and in the house. God impelled him to do what he had done, and to come to Madrid for the purpose, so that the act should be more conspicuous. He had left his saddle-bags at Getafé, a village a few leagues distant, on Tuesday, July 2d, and had come with his mule to Madrid. There he first looked up a French paper and fruit seller named Domingo Diaz, of whom he inquired the address of his brother, Pierre Perrault, an embroiderer living in Madrid. He found him, and told him of the revelation and his consequent intention, when Pierre earnestly reasoned with him, telling him that it was a suggestion of the devil, and that he would denounce him to the Inquisition if he were not his brother. The next morning Pierre came to him with an Italian, a tailor; they bought some food, crossed the bridge of Toledo, breakfasted by the road-side, and René agreed to return to Getafé. After parting he traveled half a league on his mule; he chanced to overtake a man going thither, by whom he sent word to his host to forward his saddle-bags to Madrid, and he turned back to the city. To render his act more symbolical, he resolved to postpone it until Friday, so he had a day and a half on his hands. These he spent in seeing the sights of the capital, and he mentioned his disappointment on going to the theatre and finding there was no performance. On Friday morning, at breakfast, he abstained from his customary