For other stories from this series refer to ‘Cardinal Stories‘ category from the sidebar (>>>) … scroll down, quite a bit.
He was consecrated Archbishop of Paris in December 29, 1929, created a cardinal priest 13 days earlier. He participated in the March 1 -2, 1939 conclave that elected Eugenio Pacelli as pope on his birthday, he becoming Pius XII (#261).
Pacelli was elected on the third round of balloting, on March 2 — no balloting taking place on the first evening of a conclave prior to 2005.
After the first two round of balloting that morning it was already a foregone conclusion that Pacelli was going to win. He is said to have got 35 votes on the very first round; 56.5%.
Per the ‘rumors’ he got either 41 or 42 on the second round; 42 being the bare minimum two-thirds majority. It was most likely 41 because they adjourned for lunch without a new pope. However, there was no doubt that Pacelli would carry the next round and become the next pope.
The cardinals adjourned for lunch at the Apostolic Palace — there was no ‘Domus Sanctae Marthæ‘ in those days.
After lunch they trooped back to the Sistine, most likely using the Regal, Bernini designed, Scala Regia. Pacelli was chatting with U.S. Cardinal, Archbishop of Boston, William Henry O’Connell (created November 1911) — who had missed the conclaves of 1922 and 1914, though he even flew from Boston to New York in 1922 in order to get to Rome in time. Distracted, Pacelli tripped and fell down (the Scala Regia, though designed to minimize this, known to trip people up).
Verdier, known for his humor and flair for Latin, immediately punned: ‘Vicarius Christi in terra’ for ‘the Vicar of Christ on the ground’ (probably also alluding to Pacelli’s soon to be rise once they got to the Sistine).