The Passing of Belzévuthe

Simon Whitechapel

Vous avez pour père le diable, et vous voulez accomplir les désirs de votre père.
      --L'Évangile de Jean.

It was in such things that the hand of Providence was seen clearly at work, Thomas de Tourcrémée, the Dominican Prior of the Monastery of Sante Pierre at Touraine and Grand Inquisitor of Averoigne, had stated at the beginning of the letter he wrote to his uncle Jean de Tourcrémée, Bishop of Ximes. The Jew Moïse ben Belzévuthe, a notorious sorcerer and fomenter of heresies, had three months before vanished, on the eve of his long-planned arrest by agents of the Holy Inquisition, from his cramped but richly furnished house in the Jewish quarter of Touraine. For those three months, despite the immediate circulation of his description for many leagues in all directions, there had been no word of the fugitive, not even the most fragmentary, and no sighting, not even the most uncertain, and it had been judged that he had fled with praeternatural and indeed unwholesome despatch far beyond the borders of the province or else had sought the shelter of the great forest of Averoigne, a perpetual nest of heresy and sedition and the scene, in hidden ceremonials conducted by woodcutters and swineherds, of certain survivals of pre-Christian days against which the clergy of Averoigne had long tonitruated their anathemas in vain.

But it was not so: the Jew, with all the native cunning and perfidy of his race, had concealed himself closer at hand than any had guessed, as was discovered when the watch upon his house was finally called off and officers of the Holy Inquisition conducted a final search preparatory to its demolition and the levelling of the site as a perpetual in memoriam of Belzévuthe's crimes. The floorboards had been wrenched up in the days following Belzévuthe's disappearance and the friable earth beneath probed with rods of iron, but nothing had been detected at the time. The house had then been sealed and a watch placed upon it, that all who knocked on its portals in coming days might be arrested and taken away for interrogation. Three unfortunate peddlers and a great-aunt of Belzévuthe's from Ximes now languished in the dungeons of the Inquisition, but even Prior Thomas, a fanatic whose drawn and haggard features spoke of chronic self-mortification and whose eye glimmered perpetually with the light of the auto de fe, was half-convinced that none of them, not even the great-aunt, knew anything substantial of Belzévuthe's whereabouts.

Now, with the passage of three months, it had been decided to call off the watch and conduct the demolition and levelling of the house, and accordingly Thomas went thither through the mists and snow of an early winter morning with a notary bearing parchment and quill, with which to take record of any discoveries, and eight brawny friars bearing hammers and crows, with which to begin the work of demolition. When the wax seals on the Jew's front door were broken and Thomas stepped within, his narrow nose, super-sensitized by prolonged fasting, caught at once a faint but unmistakable odor of cooking, as of meagre meals fried or stewed over exiguous flames, nor, as he advanced further into the house, did he discover the air lacking in other, less savory odors, as of certain other, less nominable activities connected with the consumption of food. The rufous spark of the Prior's eyes glowed more fiercely still and his voice, hoarse with the same fasting that had sensitized his nose, trembled with ill-suppressed excitement as he ordered the friars to make a renewed search of the house, reporting any suspicious signs, however small, of recent change or disturbance. The friars scattered and almost at once his attendance was shouted for from a rear room. Balancing nimbly on the beams that criss-crossed the naked earthen floor of the house, he hurried to the spot with the notary, noting a suddenly waxing odor of cloying sweetness underlain noxiously with decomposition; and when he entered the rear room he discovered the friar who had called pointing to a singular herb, source of the troubling odor, that had burst through the earth of the floor in the glaucous light filtering through a window of cracked horn.

The leaves alone of the herb would have excited Thomas's sincere reprobation, for they were fleshy and black, mottled with purple blotches and spots suggestive of crawling flies or beetles, but they, with the scent, were the lesser of the herb's distasteful features, for it bore atop a repulsively veined and swollen stem eight or nine sanguineous flowers whose swollen and lewdly gaping petals counterfeited, in some unwholesome and surely diabolic correspondence, the vertical lips of lamiæ or succubi. Indeed, a thick and glistening nectar was trickling slowly like spittle or drool between these lips and even as Thomas paused before the thing, crossing himself with well-justified distaste and disbelief, a large bead of the nectar sank slowly floorward on an extended thread that did not snap until the bead touched the earth of the floor, whereupon the thread was slowly and obscenely sucked back to the floral lips that had released it.

Had Moïse ben Belzévuthe been a prelate of high standing in the Church Herself, with a character untouched by the slightest breath of scandal from his earliest days and bearing letters of accreditation from the Pope and all the College of Cardinals, the presence of such a growth in his former dwelling would have served to damn him irrevocably as a trafficker with the Devil. Thomas spoke two words and the friar who had discovered the nefandous herb stepped forward and aimed his crow with righteous vigor in a blow intended to sever the stem half-way up its length. What happened next was never fully settled: the friar himself, a devout but obtuse youth of some twenty-one summers, insisted that his sandal slipped as he aimed the blow; the notary, though less vehemently, maintained that the herb itself evaded the blow by an uncanny spasm of its stem; Thomas himself would not speak of what he had seen, saying only that it provided unneeded confirmation of what he had already decided of the herb on first setting eye to it, viz., that the parent whereof it was seeded had grown on the banks of the Acheron or Styx, nourished daily with the waters thereof.

What is certain is that the blow aimed by the young friar went sadly astray, leaving the friar sprawling on the earthen floor, his crow flying from his hand to crash through the window of horn, and the unharmed herb quivering sinisterly as though with righteous indignation at the violence offered to it. Thomas ordered the friar to his feet and the blow re-administered when once the crow had been retrieved. The friar hastened to lean out through the broken window and retrieve the crow, then stepped back to re-administer the blow, which Thomas accompanied this time with a murmured verse of the Gloria Patri. Whether the friar took more care with his balance or the sacred syllables paralyzed the malefic will of the herb, the second blow went home, and with a repulsively moist crunch the stem was broken in two. A vile and blood-like ichor instantly began to ooze from the severed ends and the half-sweet, half-sickening odor redoubled, forcing the three spectators involuntarily back. Thomas indeed was heard to retch as he ordered first the notary to make careful note of what had occurred and second the friar to uproot the thing and delve beneath it in the earth, to see whereof it had sprung.

At this juncture a friar elsewhere in the house called for the Prior's attendance, and he gladly left to see what else had been discovered. When he returned with two more friars, the very flames of an auto de fe were flickering in his eyes, for a fall of fresh soot had been discovered in the fireplace of the main room and the Prior's suspicions had hardened into certainty: Moïse ben Belzévuthe had not fled Touraine on hearing that the Inquisition intended to arrest him, but instead had concealed himself with a supply of food and fuel in his own house, no doubt hoping to find some opportunity to slip therefrom after some weeks had passed and the vigilance of the Inquisitors, as might naturally be expected, had relaxed from its initial high pitch. However, the watch placed on his house and street had apparently proved too tight for him to carry out his plan, and he had been forced to remain in hiding until now, like a rat in a wood-pile.

"Alas, Seigneur Juif," Thomas murmured to himself as he gazed with satisfaction at what had been discovered in the rear room while he had been away, "the wood-pile is about to be set afire, and nolens volens thou must come out into the Godly light of day. This, I believe, will prove a most satisfactory tinder."

What he referred to was a small chest of dark wood that had been unearthed beneath the roots of the herb, which had sprouted through a hole driven in the lid of the chest: it appeared that one of the rods with which the earth beneath the Jew's floorboards had been probed had broken into the chest without meeting sufficient resistance or making sufficient noise to alert him who wielded the rod to the presence of some buried object. Thomas decided to seek out and punish the slack-witted friar who had been responsible for searching this room, but when, on his brief order, the chest was hoisted from its hole, it was apparent that it had been constructed with just such a search in mind, for the wood was of the very lightest and flimsiest kind, and the chest broke apart even as two friars lifted it forth, spilling the papers and small clothen bags of dried herbs and seeds with which it had been cunningly half-filled.

"See there, fratres mei," Thomas pronounced, pointing at the chest with a fasting-sharpened index, "note the perfidious cunning of the Jew. He hath made his chest of light wood, nor hath he filled it to the brim, lest the enclosing wood yield to the probing rod and the tight-packed contents yield not. Nay, Frère Jerôme, read not the blasphemies written therein, lest they work the ruin of thy soul. Gather them, and bring them with me to the fireplace for purification."

Blushing for shame, the young friar who had paused to examine the papers spilling from the chest obeyed his superior's order, and Thomas led the way to the fireplace of the main room, where the chest and its contents were piled atop the fresh soot already reported to the Prior. Thomas gazed upon the pile with satisfaction, but as the most skilful of the friars busied himself with flint and steel to kindle a flame, he clicked his fingers sharply for a pause.

"A moment, Frère Lucien. Frère Renault, bring the remnants of that blasphemous Jew-wort too: we shall send the Jew's papers and Hell-flower up together in flame."

Brother Renault, the clumsy youth who had required two blows to break the herb, hastened to obey, but in seconds his moon-face was gaping back through the door of the rear room to report that the herb had deliquesced with unwholesome speed, leaving only a patch of foully dampened earth that was already attracting unseasonably belated flies through the broken window. Indeed, even as he spoke a fat black fly buzzed over his shoulder, made a circuit of the main room, then returned whence it had come, disappointed of more enticing nourishment than the deliquesced Jew-wort. Prior Thomas scowled at the young friar.

"Cover the patch with fresh earth at once, thou great lummock! Those unnatural creatures must be the Jew's familiars and may yet contrive his escape if they gather in sufficient number. Quickly! And thou, Lucien, light the fire. Aye, you heard aright: I said the Jew's escape. Are you all so dull of wit that you have not read the significance of the soot already present in the fireplace? Mayhap he is in hiding up this very chimney, as a few moments' work with flint and steel will serve to test. Unless, Seigneur Juif," he went on, raising his voice and turning to address the walls and ceiling, "thou carest to honor us with thy presence at once and save us the labor of bringing thee forth?"

Whether the hidden Jew cared or no, the honor of his presence, after a fashion, was quickly vouchsafed, for the first smoke had scarcely gone curling up the chimney than a coughing and choking was heard, followed by objurgations in a voice of superhuman resonance and depth proceeding from the chimney itself and speaking in a guttural language with which none of the Christians present was familiar. Brother Lucien blanched and stepped back from the fireplace, the flint and steel falling from his nerveless fingers. "Prieur Thomas!" he cried, trying to cross himself. "It is the Devil Himself, come to rescue Belzévuthe! Let us flee for our lives!"

But the Prior laughed, shaking his head so that gorged lice in his beard flew left and right like grains of ruby. "Nay, Frère Lucien: it is not the Devil, it is but his servant, our long-awaited guest, the Jewish sorcerer Moïse ben Belzévuthe. As I told thee, he is concealed in the chimney and must come forth presently or roast. Do thou liven the fire for a moment, that he may feel it kiss his skin more lingeringly still. Nay, do not let his words affright thee: it is only the chimney that deepens his voice so. I know the coistrel's habitual tones, and his chords are tuned to a higher pitch by far."

A little uncertain still, Lucien stepped back to the fire and encouraged it to burn higher, exciting a further round of objurgation from the Jew hidden above. Prior Thomas watched with satisfaction, then ordered the fire banked before stepping forward to the chimney himself and stooping to shout up it: "Moïse ben Belzévuthe! Hearken to me! Thou canst not escape, but thou canst, for the nonce at least, save thyself further blistering. Come down now or I will order the fire piled high with fuel and let thee roast for a time before offering thee the choice again."

He paused, waiting for an answer. None came, but as the Prior opened his mouth for a final taunt, there was a sound of scrabbling high above and lumps of soot began to descend into the hearth, shattering there to create a black and thickly billowing cloud that drove the Prior back coughing and spluttering, his face converted on an sudden from famished pallidity to startling negritude. Having wiped his lips with a hand that shook with rage, he spat for several moments, then said, almost as to himself: "The deicide will pay dearly for that." He then turned to the friars: "Frères Abraham and Bertrand: meseemeth that our guest seek to decline our humble hospitality by climbing up the chimney and out onto the roof. Go you two outside and watch how he fare. Frère Lucien, thou hast made a poor job yet of this fire. I wish to see it burning high as our heads, if thou please, and we will give the Jew a foretaste of what certainly awaits him in his master's infernal domain. If the foretaste translate into the reality, that will be sad, no doubt, but the Jew is already destined for death and we will have done no more than anticipate it by a month or two. Ah, Frère Renault: hast thou done in there? Yea? Hast covered the patch with earth? Good: then go with Frère Germain and gather fuel for thy brother Lucien."

All this, and not neglecting the undignified episode of the soot, Prior Thomas described in the letter to his uncle the Bishop of Ximes, before, his quill beginning to shake with the memory of it, he went on to describe the hilarious sequela, when the Jew Belzévuthe, despite the extreme thinness consequent on three months of semi-starvation, had become wedged in the chimney-pot of his own house as he sought final egress to the roof. There, with only his grey-bearded head visible, he had stayed for some time, throwing down curses of increasing virulence and blasphemy in his harshly accented French on the Gentile crowd that gathered below to jeer at him and rejoice in his discomfiture. He looked a veritable imp from the Pit, Prior Thomas wrote, with smoke still billowing up around him, though doubtless the lungs of the imps of the Pit are better adapted to a diet of smoke; and it was not until the Godly folk of Touraine began to supplement with stones the dung and refuse with which they were responding to his blasphemous maledictions that I ordered them dispersed and the Jew brought down. He now awaits my tender attentions in the deepest cell of our dungeons, but I have decided to let him lie for a week or t.

Here the letter broke off with a blot, before resuming in a swifter, less legible hand, for the Prior had been brought most disturbing news: the Jew Moïse ben Belzévuthe had escaped. Once the Prior had added the intelligence to his letter, signed and sealed it, and handed it to an underling for despatch with the week's mail to Ximes, he hastened to examine the Jew's cell for himself, promising to arrest on the spot any guard on whose breath he detected the faintest trace of wine. Belzévuthe should have been under the closest possible guard in the deepest cell of the Inquisitorial dungeons, and his escape bespoke either a wholly reprehensible incompetence or diabolic intervention, or both. When he came to the dungeons, Thomas therefore sniffed carefully first for wine, on the breath of the guards he had paraded before him, and second for sulfur, in the cell in which Belzévuthe had but an hour before lain chained; but he detected in the former case only stale garlic, and in the latter only the stench of the Jew's close confinement, for he had, on Thomas's explicit orders, been suffered to sit up and move only when he was fed and watered at midday. The chains with which he had been bound, rusted with his sweat and excrements, were lying on the floor of packed earth, and Thomas gagged with nausea as he stooped to peer at them in the flickering light of a torch held by the guard who had accompanied him into the cell.

"'Tis the Jew-stink, your beatitude," said the guard; "from the first day I remarked it. A Christian would not smell sweet from the first day, I grant you, but he would not truly stink till day three or four, but a Jew, like this Belsebouthe, he—"

"Shut up, thou fool," said the Prior. "I am still inclined to think that if thou and thy addle-pated fellows had kept closer watch on the deicide this could never have happened. These chains: do thou examine them and tell me what thou thinkst of the manner in which they lie."

The guard stooped too and peered at the chains.

"Think, your beatitude?"

"Yea, think, thou fool. Art thou capable of it?"

"Well, your beatitude, it seems too foolish—"

"Too foolish for thee? Nay, it cannot be so. Say what thou thinkst and say it quick. I have matters to arrange."

"Then, your beatitude, it seems to me that the chains lie as though he whom once they bound had melted into air. They are not broken in any link and the lock—"

"Aye, aye, enough. I think the same. There has been devilry at work here: the stink of it is as metaphorically plain as the veritable stink of that damnable Jew."

"So I said as soon as I was brought news of his vanishment, your beatitude: the Devil has had a hand in this, I said, else the Jew could never have—"

"Aye, aye, that is enough. The walls are thick, the stair steep, the cell was locked, and the Jew himself chained upon the floor. He could not have escaped but by some devilry, and that is why, much against my initial inclination, I will take no measures against thee and thy fellows. Nay, do not thank me: escort me out of this place. I have matters to arrange, as I told thee before."

What matters Prior Thomas had to arrange were known to the guard himself by midday and bruited throughout Touraine by nightfall: six elders among the Jews of the town had been arrested, chained, and thrown into the cell from which Belzévuthe had escaped, and would remain there until Belzévuthe had surrendered himself to justice or been re-captured by information received from his own people. By the end of the month one of the elders was dead and the rest seriously ailing, but Thomas merely ordered a fresh hostage taken to replace him who had died, with orders to renew the procedure after any subsequent fatality among the occupants of the cell. If the supply of Jewish elders gave out, he was prepared to arrest merchants or maids — indeed, to sacrifice the entire Jewish quarter of Touraine, from the most venerable patriarch to the youngest infant, to his lust for vengeance on the Jewish sorcerer who had already twice cheated the righteous justice of the Church.

Having issued the order for this fresh arrest, Thomas climbed to his cell for meditation and prayer. It was now the depth of winter and his breath steamed freely on the stairs, yet redoubled in inspissation when he entered his cell, for he had chosen it specifically for its narrow southward-facing window, through which the sun never fell whether by morning or evening. The resultant bone-deep cold was another of the mortifications he willingly imposed upon himself, believing he gained much merit by them and shed many centuries in Purgatory. He knelt on the floor before the open window and began to pray, but even as he did so he heard a low, thick bombilation and looking up saw a great black fly lift from the pages of his Bible where this sat open on a lectern by his narrow pallet. The fly circled the room once, buzzing more obscenely still, and then vanished through the window before the astonished Prior thought even to move. Now he did so, his knees cracking sharply as he rose to his feet and hastened to the window himself. For a moment he thought he caught a glimpse of a black speck moving against the snow-smothered landscape outside and heard a final mocking bombilation, and then both were gone. Muttering with superstitious dread, he turned away to examine the Bible, which he knew he had left firmly closed and clasped.

But it was open now, to the Book of Exodus, and a cry of horror burst from the Prior's lips as he saw that the fly had blasphemously obelized its presence there: a streak of excrement lay in one margin, angled like an obscene rubric to a verse of the scripture. Even as he tried to scrape the foulness away with a trembling finger, his eyes were moving involuntarily over the rubrick'd verse and his lips pronouncing the following words: QVOD SI NON DIMISERIS EVM ECCE EGO INMITTAM IN TE ET IN SERVOS TVOS ET IN POPVLVM TVVM ET IN DOMOS TVAS OMNE GENVS MVSCARVM ET IMPLEBVNTVR DOMVS AEGYPTIORVM MVSCIS DIVERSI GENERIS ET IN VNIVERSA TERRA IN QVA FVERINT.** Fortunately the excrement was still fresh and came away easily enough, and Thomas hastened out of the cell to wash his soiled finger, carrying the Bible under his other arm lest the fly return in his absence and defile the book again.

He spoke of the incident to no-one, though he wrote of it to his uncle the Bishop of Ximes, who confirmed his decision to keep silence, and he ordered his window covered with sackcloth; nor did he ever again, in the two months remaining to him, leave his Bible unattended in his cell. By the vernal thaw three further Jews had died in the dungeon cell from which Belzévuthe had so mysteriously escaped, and Thomas had twice dismissed petitions from the guards that they be allowed to swill the cell of its accumulated filth, lest it bred a pest in the days of heat that would succeed the thaw. He told them that he would sacrifice every Jew in Touraine to re-capture the criminal and count it cheap at the price, reminding them that it was all upon the Jews' own heads in any case. It was more than likely that one, at the very least, among that sly and perfidious race had some clew to Belzévuthe's whereabouts, and by his refusal to come forward that one rendered himself, not the Prior of the Monastery of Saint Pierre, culpable in the deaths of the elderly Jews.

However, it was but minutes after a friar announced a third petitionary delegation from the guards and Thomas was, in customary fashion, letting them await his pleasure, that the news for which he had long prayed at last arrived: a messenger burst into his cell to inform him that Belzévuthe was re-taken, though not in such fashion as he had wished. Following the departure of the third petitionary delegation of guards from the Inquisitorial dungeons, waters of the vernal thaw had flooded the lowest cell, drowning two of the Jews before the cries of the remainder, who had managed to wriggle in their chains to the highest-lying section of floor, had alerted the guards on duty to their predicament. The survivors had been dragged forth still in chains, but when guards re-entered the cell to retrieve the two corpses, they discovered to their astonishment that there were now in fact three: the water had collapsed the roof of an oval cavity in the floor from which the corpse of Moïse ben Belzévuthe, bound in curious leathery integuments, had floated free. In this way the mystery of his escape was solved for the second time as it had been for the first: Belzévuthe had never actually left the site whence he had been supposed to have fled, though how, in this second instance, he had managed, chained as he was, to delve a cavity in the floor without attracting the attention of the guards, let alone discard his chains and conceal himself in the cavity leaving the floor apparently undisturbed, none could yet conjecture.

Thomas hastened to view the corpse of his enemy at once: it had accompanied the messenger who brought the news, dragged behind the messenger's horse on an ashen hurdle. When he saw it laid out on the hurdle in the shadow of the walls of the Priory, the joy he had felt as soon as he heard the news was tempered with unease, for the curious leathery integuments of which the messenger had spoken were more curious than he had imagined. Indeed, so tightly did they convolve the corpse, and so closely did they seem to merge with its skin, that the dead Belzévuthe seemed more like a huge pupa or chrysalis than a human being, and Thomas could not rid himself of the notion that the dead Jew's lips were curled in a cryptic and mocking smile. He said nothing of this to the messenger or the friars who crowded to the spot to see the recaptured sorcerer, however, and his voice had all its wonted authority as he ordered an auto de fe prepared for the following day, at which Belzévuthe would pay in death the penalty he should by rights have paid in life. As he turned away, having delivered the order, his path was blocked by one of the delegation of guards who had come to petition him, and he was asked if it was permitted now, seeing as the Jew Belzévuthe was found, to release the hostages held against that eventuality in the Inquisitorial dungeons. He stared at the questioner for a moment, fixing his features for later enquiries into his name and antecedents, then nodded curtly.

"Aye, let it be so. They can attend the auto de fe with the rest of the perfidious crew. Dost thou hear that, Frère Anselme? Send criers into the Jewish quarter and order attendance at the auto on pain of the customary fines. Nay, on pain of a doubling of the customary fines. We want a goodly attendance of his brethren to see how the Church repays those who assail Her."

That night he began a letter to his uncle the Bishop of Ximes, telling him the long-awaited news of Belzévuthe's re-capture. He laid the letter aside to be concluded with a description of the auto held the following day, and it was thus it was discovered on the afternoon of the following day by an official of the town council, who added a hurried postscriptum informing the Bishop of the death of his nephew, into which the severest investigations were already proceeding. No coherent tale ever emerged, however, despite the urgency with which the few surviving witnesses were pressed in the torture chambers of the Inquisition of Touraine, which had been hastily re-staffed from Ximes and Vyones. Most of the crowd, Jew and Gentile alike, had scattered in panic when Belzévuthe's corpse, propped up amid the freshly lit faggots of the auto de fe, had first shown signs of commencing its alleged transformation, and only Thomas and his friars had voluntarily remained, the drone of their exorcisms contending, in the ears of the fleeing crowd, with the shrill cries of the elderly Jews whose emergence the day before from imprisonment had been too recent to allow them chance to recover use of their limbs.

It was these elderly Jews, indeed, who were the only surviving witnesses of the final act of the auto de fe, and it was upon them, in consequence, that the Inquisition centered its investigations into the curious exsanguination discovered in the corpses of Prior Thomas and his friars. The stories wrung from the Jews by torture contradicted most grievously, however, and contained details too fantastic for even the credulous Inquisitors brought in from Ximes and Vyones to readily accept. That the corpse of Belzévuthe should have burst as it burnt was quite within the bounds of credibility: had not such things been observed many times before when sentence of ignis crematio had been inflicted post mortem? That the corpse should have swollen to oliphauntine proportions and greater before it burst, however, quite smothering the fire atop which it had formerly stood, could not be accepted with equanimity, and as for the tales of what had emerged from the corpse as it burst — no, such things could not be, or at least could certainly not be admitted to be, lest the populace come to doubt the power of the Church over all such manifestations of the Satanic Host.

Nevertheless, there was more than one nervous friar of Ximes or Vyones in attendance at the first of the autos de fe held at Touraine later in the year, in which the elderly Jews were burnt seriatim for their part in the assassination of the widely respected and loved Prior Thomas de Tourcrémée and his friars; but when the first elderly Jew burnt in customary fashion, without supernatural manifestations of any kind, these lingering fears were laid finally to rest. It is true that the condemned man, like several of those who succeeded him, called upon "Moïse! Moïse!" as he died, but this was almost certainly a misplaced invocation of the Patriarch, not of the accursed sorcerer Moïse ben Belzévuthe of Touraine. Indeed, Belzévuthe's memory was already beginning to fade, though his corrupted name remained attached for some decades to come to a large black species of fly popularly known as the moche de Belfoute, which was unusually numerous in the summer and autumn of the year in which he died and which possessed at that time a painful and occasionally veneniferous bite.

*John 8:44 Ye are of your father the devil, and the lusts of your father ye will do.

**Exodus 8:21 Else, if thou wilt not let my people go, behold, I will send swarms of flies upon thee, and upon thy servants, and upon thy people, and into thy houses: and the houses of the Egyptians shall be full of swarms of flies, and also the ground whereon they are.

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