Joan of Arc - Maid of Heaven

The Life of Joan of Arc
By Anatole France
VOLUME 2 CHAPTER 13

THE ABJURATION—THE FIRST SENTENCE

ON Saturday, the 19th of May, the doctors and masters, to the number of fifty, assembled in the archiepiscopal chapel of Rouen. There they unanimously declared their agreement with the decision of the University of Paris; and my Lord of Beauvais ordained that a new charitable admonition be addressed to Jeanne.[842] Accordingly, on Wednesday the 23rd, the Bishop, the Vice-Inquisitor, and the Promoter went to a room in the castle, near Jeanne's cell. They were accompanied by seven doctors and masters, by the Lord Bishop of Noyon and by the Lord Bishop of Thérouanne.[843] The latter, brother to Messire Jean de Luxembourg who had sold the Maid, was held one of the most notable personages of the Great Council of England; he was Chancellor of France for King Henry, as Messire Regnault de Chartres was for King Charles.[844]

The accused was brought in, and Maître Pierre Maurice, doctor in theology, read to her the twelve articles as they had been abridged and commented upon, in conformity with the deliberations of the Uni[Pg ii.300]versity; the whole was drawn up as a discourse addressed to Jeanne directly:[845]

Article I

First, Jeanne, thou saidst that at about the age of thirteen, thou didst receive revelations and behold apparitions of angels and of the Saints, Catherine and Margaret, that thou didst behold them frequently with thy bodily eyes, that they spoke unto thee and do still oftentimes speak unto thee, and that they have said unto thee many things that thou hast fully declared in thy trial.

The clerks of the University of Paris and others have considered the manner of these revelations and apparitions, their object, the substance of the things revealed, the person to whom they were revealed; all points touching them have they considered. And now they pronounce these revelations and apparitions to be either lying fictions, deceptive and dangerous, or superstitions, proceeding from spirits evil and devilish.

Article II

Item, thou hast said that thy King received a sign, by which he knew that thou wast sent of God: to wit that Saint Michael, accompanied by a multitude of angels, certain of whom had wings, others crowns, and with whom were Saint Catherine and Saint Margaret, came to thee in the town of Château-Chinon; and that they all entered with thee and went up the staircase of the castle, into the chamber of thy King, before whom the angel who wore the crown made obeisance. And once didst thou say that this crown which thou callest a sign, was delivered to the Archbishop of Reims who gave it to thy King, in the presence of a multitude of princes and lords whom thou didst call by name.

Now concerning this sign, the aforesaid clerks declare it to lack verisimilitude, to be a presumptuous lie, deceptive,[Pg ii.301] pernicious, a thing counterfeited and attacking the dignity of angels.

Article III

Item, thou hast said that thou knewest the angels and the saints by the good counsel, the comfort and the instruction they gave thee, because they told thee their names and because the saints saluted thee. Thou didst believe also that it was Saint Michael who appeared unto thee; and that the deeds and sayings of this angel and these saints are good thou didst believe as firmly as thou believest in Christ.

Now the clerks declare such signs to be insufficient for the recognition of the said saints and angels. The clerks maintain that thou hast lightly believed and rashly affirmed, and further that when thou sayst thou dost believe as firmly etc., thou dost err from the faith.

Article IV

Item, thou hast said thou art assured of certain things which are to come, that thou hast known hidden things, that thou hast also recognized men whom thou hadst never seen before, and this by the Voices of Saint Catherine and Saint Margaret.

Thereupon the clerks declare that in these sayings are superstition, divination, presumptuous assertion and vain boasting.

Article V

Item, thou hast said that by God's command and according to his will, thou hast worn and dost still wear man's apparel. Because thou hast God's commandment to wear this dress thou hast donned a short tunic, jerkin, and hose with many points. Thou dost even wear thy hair cut short above the ears, without keeping about thee anything to denote the feminine sex, save what nature hath given thee. And oftentimes hast thou in this garb received the Sacra[Pg ii.302]ment of the Eucharist. And albeit thou hast been many times admonished to leave it, thou wouldest not, saying that thou wouldst liefer die than quit this apparel, unless it were by God's command; and that if thou wert still in this dress and with those of thine own party it would be for the great weal of France. Thou sayest also that for nothing wouldst thou take an oath not to wear this dress and bear these arms; and for all this that thou doest thou dost plead divine command.

In such matters the clerks declare that thou blasphemest against God, despising him and his Sacraments, that thou dost transgress divine law, Holy Scripture and the canons of the Church, that thou thinkest evil and dost err from the faith, that thou art full of vain boasting, that thou art addicted to idolatry and worship of thyself and thy clothes, according to the customs of the heathen.

Article VI

Item, thou hast often said, that in thy letters thou hast put these names, Jhesus Maria, and the sign of the cross, to warn those to whom thou didst write not to do what was indicated in the letter. In other letters thou hast boasted that thou wouldst slay all those who did not obey thee, and that by thy blows thou wouldst prove who had God on his side. Also hast thou oftentimes said that all thy deeds were by revelation and according to divine command.

Touching such affirmations the clerks declare thee to be a traitor, perfidious, cruel, desiring human bloodshed, seditious, an instigator of tyranny, a blasphemer of God's commandments and revelations.

Article VII

Item, thou sayest that according to revelations vouchsafed unto thee at the age of seventeen, thou didst leave thy parents' house against their will, driving them almost mad. Thou didst go to Robert de Baudricourt, who, at thy re[Pg ii.303]quest, gave thee man's apparel and a sword, also men-at-arms to take thee to thy King. And being come to the King, thou didst say unto him that his enemies should be driven away, thou didst promise to bring him into a great kingdom, to make him victorious over his foes, and that for this God had sent thee. These things thou sayest thou didst accomplish in obedience to God and according to revelation.

In such things the clerks declare thee to have been irreverent to thy father and mother, thus disobeying God's command; to have given occasion for scandal, to have blasphemed, to have erred from the faith and to have made a rash and presumptuous promise.

Article VIII

Item, thou hast said, that voluntarily thou didst leap from the Tower of Beaurevoir, preferring rather to die than to be delivered into the hands of the English and to live after the destruction of Compiègne. And albeit Saint Catherine and Saint Margaret forbade thee to leap, thou couldst not restrain thyself. And despite the great sin thou hast committed in offending these saints, thou didst know by thy Voices, that after thy confession, thy sin was forgiven thee.

This deed the clerks declare thee to have committed through cowardice turning to despair and probably to suicide. In this matter likewise thou didst utter a rash and presumptuous statement in asserting that thy sin is forgiven, and thou dost err from the faith touching the doctrine of free will.

Article IX

Item, thou hast said that Saint Catherine and Saint Margaret promised to lead thee to Paradise provided thou didst remain a virgin; and that thou hadst vowed and promised them to cherish thy virginity, and of that thou art as well assured as if already thou hadst entered[Pg ii.304] into the glory of the Blessed. Thou believest that thou hast not committed mortal sin. And it seemeth to thee that if thou wert in mortal sin the saints would not visit thee daily as they do.

Such an assertion the clerks pronounce to be a pernicious lie, presumptuous and rash, that therein lieth a contradiction of what thou hadst previously said, and that finally thy beliefs do err from the true Christian faith.

Article X

Item, thou hast declared it to be within thy knowledge that God loveth certain living persons better than thee, and that this thou hast learnt by revelation from Saint Catherine and Saint Margaret: also that those saints speak French, not English, since they are not on the side of the English. And when thou knewest that thy Voices were for thy King, you didst fall to disliking the Burgundians.

Such matters the clerks pronounce to be a rash and presumptuous assertion, a superstitious divination, a blasphemy uttered against Saint Catherine and Saint Margaret, and a transgression of the commandment to love our neighbours.

Article XI

Item, thou hast said that to those whom thou callest Saint Michael, Saint Catherine and Saint Margaret, thou didst do reverence, bending the knee, taking off thy cap, kissing the ground on which they trod, vowing to them thy virginity: that in the instruction of these saints, whom thou didst invoke and kiss and embrace, thou didst believe as soon as they appeared unto thee, and without seeking counsel from thy priest or from any other ecclesiastic. And, notwithstanding, thou believest that these Voices came from God as firmly as thou believest in the Christian religion and the Passion of Our Lord Jesus Christ. Moreover thou hast said that did any evil spirit appear to thee in the form of Saint Michael thou wouldest know such a spirit and distinguish him from the saint. And again[Pg ii.305] hast thou said, that of thine own accord, thou hast sworn not to reveal the sign thou gavest to thy King. And finally thou didst add: "Save at God's command."

Now touching these matters, the clerks affirm that supposing thou hast had the revelations and beheld the apparitions of which thou boastest and in such a manner as thou dost say, then art thou an idolatress, an invoker of demons, an apostate from the faith, a maker of rash statements, a swearer of an unlawful oath.

Article XII

Item, thou hast said that if the Church wished thee to disobey the orders thou sayest God gave thee, nothing would induce thee to do it; that thou knowest that all the deeds of which thou hast been accused in thy trial were wrought according to the command of God and that it was impossible for thee to do otherwise. Touching these deeds, thou dost refuse to submit to the judgment of the Church on earth or of any living man, and will submit therein to God alone. And moreover thou didst declare this reply itself not to be made of thine own accord but by God's command; despite the article of faith: Unam sanctam Ecclesiam catholicam, having been many times declared unto thee, and notwithstanding that it behoveth all Christians to submit their deeds and sayings to the Church militant especially concerning revelations and such like matters.

Wherefore the clerks declare thee to be schismatic, disbelieving in the unity and authority of the Church, apostate and obstinately erring from the faith.[846]

Having completed the reading of the articles, Maître Pierre Maurice, on the invitation of the Bishop, proceeded to exhort Jeanne. He had been rector of the University of Paris in 1428.[847] He was esteemed an orator. He it was who, on the 5th of[Pg ii.306] June, had discoursed in the name of the chapter, before King Henry VI on the occasion of his entering Rouen. He would seem to have been distinguished by some knowledge of and taste for ancient letters, and to have been possessed of precious manuscripts, amongst which were the comedies of Terence and the Æneid of Virgil.[848]

In terms of calculated simplicity did this illustrious doctor call upon Jeanne to reflect on the effects of her words and sayings, and tenderly did he exhort her to submit to the Church. After the wormwood he offered her the honey; he spoke to her in words kind and familiar. With remarkable adroitness he entered into the feelings and inclinations of the maiden's heart. Seeing her filled with knightly enthusiasm and loyalty to King Charles, whose coronation was her doing, he drew his comparisons from chivalry, thereby essaying to prove to her that she ought rather to believe in the Church Militant than in her Voices and apparitions.

"If your King," he said to her, "had appointed you to defend a fortress, forbidding you to let any one enter it, would you not refuse to admit whomsoever claiming to come from him did not present letters and some other token. Likewise, when Our Lord Jesus Christ, on his ascension into heaven, committed to the Blessed Apostle Peter and to his successors the government of his Church, he forbade them to receive such as claimed to come in his name but brought no credentials."

And, to bring home to her how grievous a sin it was to disobey the Church, he recalled the time when she waged war, and put the case of a knight who should disobey his king:[Pg ii.307]

"When you were in your King's dominion," he said to her, "if a knight or some other owing fealty to him had arisen, saying, 'I will not obey the King; I will not submit either to him or to his officers,' would you not have said, 'He is a man to be censured'? What say you then of yourself, you who, engendered in Christ's religion, having become by baptism the daughter of the Church and the bride of Christ, dost now refuse obedience to the officers of Christ, that is, to the prelates of the Church?"[849]

Thus did Maître Pierre Maurice endeavour to make Jeanne understand him. He did not succeed. Against the courage of this child all the reasons and all the eloquence of the world would have availed nothing. When Maître Pierre had finished speaking, Jeanne, being asked whether she did not hold herself bound to submit her deeds and sayings to the Church, replied:

"What I have always held and said in the trial that will I maintain.... If I were condemned and saw the fagots lighted, and the executioner ready to stir the fire, and I in the fire, I would say and maintain till I died nought other than what I said during the trial."

At these words the Bishop declared the discussion at an end, and deferred the pronouncing of the sentence till the morrow.[850]

The next day, the Thursday after Whitsuntide and the 24th day of May, early in the morning, Maître Jean Beaupère visited Jeanne in her prison and warned her that she would be shortly taken to the scaffold to hear a sermon.

"If you are a good Christian," he said, "you will[Pg ii.308] agree to submit all your deeds and sayings to Holy Mother Church, and especially to the ecclesiastical judges."

Maître Jean Beaupère thought he heard her reply, "So I will."[851]

If such were her answer, then it must have been because, worn out by a flight of agony, her physical courage quailed at the thought of death by burning.

Just when he was leaving her, as she stood near a door, Maître Nicolas Loiseleur gave her the same advice, and in order to induce her to follow it, he made her a false promise:

"Jeanne, believe me," he said. "You have your deliverance in your own hands. Wear the apparel of your sex, and do what shall be required of you. Otherwise you stand in danger of death. If you do as I tell you, good will come to you and no harm. You will be delivered into the hands of the Church."[852]

She was taken in a cart and with an armed guard to that part of the town called Bourg-l'Abbé, lying beneath the castle walls. And but a short distance away the cart was stopped, in the cemetery of Saint-Ouen, also called les aitres[853] Saint-Ouen. Here a highly popular fair was held every year on the feast day of the patron saint of the Abbey.[854] Here it was that Jeanne was to hear the sermon, as so many other unhappy creatures had done before her. Places like this, to which the folk could flock in crowds, were generally chosen for these edifying spectacles. On the[Pg ii.309] border of this vast charnel-house for a hundred years there had towered a parish church, and on the south there rose the nave of the abbey. Against the magnificent edifice of the church two scaffolds had been erected,[855] one large, the other smaller. They were west of the porch which was called portail des Marmousets, because of the multitudes of tiny figures carved upon it.[856]

On the great scaffold the two judges, the Lord Bishop and the Vice-Inquisitor, took their places. They were assisted by the most reverend Cardinal of Winchester, the Lord Bishops of Thérouanne, of Noyon, and of Norwich, the Lord Abbots of Fécamp, of Jumièges, of Bec, of Corneilles, of Mont-Saint-Michel-au-Péril-de-la-Mer, of Mortemart, of Préaux, and of Saint-Ouen of Rouen, where the assembly was held, the Priors of Longueville and of Saint-Lô, also many doctors and bachelors in theology, doctors and licentiates in canon and civil law.[857] Likewise were there many high personages of the English party. The other scaffold was a kind of pulpit. To it ascended the doctor who, according to the use and custom of the Holy Inquisition was to preach the sermon against Jeanne. He was Maître Guillaume Erard, doctor in theology, canon of the churches of Langres and of Beauvais.[858] At this time he was very eager to go to Flanders, where he was urgently[Pg ii.310] needed; and he confided to his young servitor, Brother Jean de Lenisoles, that the preaching of this sermon caused him great inconvenience. "I want to be in Flanders," he said. "This affair is very annoying for me."[859]

From one point of view, however, he must have been pleased to perform this duty, since it afforded him the opportunity of attacking the King of France, Charles VII, and of thereby showing his devotion to the English cause, to which he was strongly attached.

Jeanne, dressed as a man, was brought up and placed at his side, before all the people.[860]

Maître Guillaume Erard began his sermon in the following manner:

"I take as my text the words of God in the Gospel of Saint John, chapter xv: 'The branch cannot bear fruit of itself, except it abide in the vine.'[861] Thus it behoveth all Catholics to remain abiding in Holy Mother Church, the true vine, which the hand of Our Lord Jesus Christ hath planted. Now this Jeanne, whom you see before you, falling from error into error, and from crime into crime, hath become separate from the unity of Holy Mother Church and in a thousand manners hath scandalised Christian people."

Then he reproached her with having failed, with having sinned against royal Majesty and against God and the Catholic Faith; and all these things must she henceforth eschew under pain of death by burning.

He declaimed vehemently against the pride of this woman. He said that never had there appeared in[Pg ii.311] France a monster so great as that which was manifest in Jeanne; that she was a witch, a heretic, a schismatic, and that the King, who protected her, risked the same reproach from the moment that he became willing to recover his throne with the help of such a heretic.[862]

Towards the middle of his sermon, he cried out with a loud voice:

"Ah! right terribly hast thou been deceived, noble house of France, once the most Christian of houses! Charles, who calls himself thy head and assumes the title of King hath, like a heretic and schismatic, received the words of an infamous woman, abounding in evil works and in all dishonour. And not he alone, but all the clergy in his lordship and dominion, by whom this woman, so she sayeth, hath been examined and not rejected. Full sore is the pity of it."[863]

Two or three times did Maître Guillaume repeat these words concerning King Charles. Then pointing at Jeanne with his finger he said:

"It is to you, Jeanne, that I speak; and I say unto you that your King is a heretic and a schismatic."

At these words Jeanne was deeply wounded in her love for the Lilies of France and for King Charles. She was moved with great feeling, and she heard her Voices saying unto her:

"Reply boldly to the preacher who is preaching to you."[864]

Then obeying them heartily, she interrupted Maître Jean:

"By my troth, Messire," she said to him, "saving your reverence, I dare say unto you and swear at the[Pg ii.312] risk of my life, that he is the noblest Christian of all Christians, that none loveth better religion and the Church, and that he is not at all what you say."[865]

Maître Guillaume ordered the Usher, Jean Massieu, to silence her.[866] Then he went on with his sermon, and concluded with these words: "Jeanne, behold my Lords the Judges, who oftentimes have summoned you and required you to submit all your acts and sayings to Mother Church. In these acts and sayings were many things which, so it seemed to these clerics, were good neither to say nor to maintain."[867]

"I will answer you," said Jeanne. Touching the article of submission to the Church, she recalled how she had asked for all the deeds she had wrought and the words she had uttered to be reported to Rome, to Our Holy Father the Pope, to whom, after God, she appealed. Then she added: "And as for the sayings I have uttered and the deeds I have done, they have all been by God's command."[868]

She declared that she had not understood that the record of her trial was being sent to Rome to be judged by the Pope.

"I will not have it thus," she said. "I know not what you will insert in the record of these proceedings. I demand to be taken to the Pope and questioned by him."[869]

They urged her to incriminate her King. But they wasted their breath.

"For my deeds and sayings I hold no man responsible, neither my King nor another."[870]

[Pg ii.313]

"Will you abjure all your deeds and sayings? Will you abjure such of your deeds and sayings as have been condemned by the clerks?"

"I appeal to God and to Our Holy Father, the Pope."

"But that is not sufficient. We cannot go so far to seek the Pope. Each Ordinary is judge in his own diocese. Wherefore it is needful for you to appeal to Our Holy Mother Church, and to hold as true all that clerks and folks well learned in the matter say and determine touching your actions and your sayings."[871]

Admonished with yet a third admonition, Jeanne refused to recant.[872] With confidence she awaited the deliverance promised by her Voices, certain that of a sudden there would come men-at-arms from France and that in one great tumult of fighting-men and angels she would be liberated. That was why she had insisted on retaining man's attire.

Two sentences had been prepared: one for the case in which the accused should abjure her error, the other for the case in which she should persevere. By the first there was removed from Jeanne the ban of excommunication. By the second, the tribunal, declaring that it could do nothing more for her, abandoned her to the secular arm. The Lord Bishop had them both with him.[873]

He took the second and began to read: "In the name of the Lord, Amen. All the pastors of the Church who have it in their hearts faithfully to tend their flocks...."[874]

Meanwhile, as he read, the clerks who were round Jeanne urged her to recant, while there was yet time.[Pg ii.314] Maître Nicolas Loiseleur exhorted her to do as he had recommended, and to put on woman's dress.[875]

Maître Guillaume Erard was saying: "Do as you are advised and you will be delivered from prison."[876]

Then straightway came the Voices unto her and said: "Jeanne, passing sore is our pity for you! You must recant what you have said, or we abandon you to secular justice.... Jeanne, do as you are advised. Jeanne, will you bring death upon yourself!"[877]

The sentence was long and the Lord Bishop read slowly:

"We judges, having Christ before our eyes and also the honour of the true faith, in order that our judgment may proceed from the Lord himself, do say and decree that thou hast been a liar, an inventor of revelations and apparitions said to be divine; a deceiver, pernicious, presumptuous, light of faith, rash, superstitious, a soothsayer, a blasphemer against God and his saints. We declare thee to be a contemner of God even in his sacraments, a prevaricator of divine law, of sacred doctrine and of ecclesiastical sanction, seditious, cruel, apostate, schismatic, having committed a thousand errors against religion, and by all these tokens rashly guilty towards God and Holy Church.[878]"

Time was passing. Already the Lord Bishop had uttered the greater part of the sentence.[879] The executioner was there, ready to take off the condemned in his cart.[880]

[Pg ii.315]

Then suddenly, with hands clasped, Jeanne cried that she was willing to obey the Church.[881]

The judge paused in the reading of the sentence.

An uproar arose in the crowd, consisting largely of English men-at-arms and officers of King Henry. Ignorant of the customs of the Inquisition, which had not been introduced into their country, these Godons could not understand what was going on; all they knew was that the witch was saved. Now they held Jeanne's death to be necessary for the welfare of England; wherefore the unaccountable actions of these doctors and the Lord Bishop threw them into a fury. In their Island witches were not treated thus; no mercy was shown them, and they were burned speedily. Angry murmurs arose; stones were thrown at the registrars of the trial.[882] Maître Pierre Maurice, who was doing his best to strengthen Jeanne in the resolution she had taken, was threatened and the coués very nearly made short work with him.[883] Neither did Maître Jean Beaupère and the delegates from the University of Paris escape their share of the insults. They were accused of favouring Jeanne's errors.[884] Who better than they knew the injustice of these reproaches?

Certain of the high personages sitting on the platform at the side of the judge complained to the Lord Bishop that he had not gone on to the end of the sentence but had admitted Jeanne to repentance.

He was even reproached with insults, for one was heard to cry: "You shall pay for this."

He threatened to suspend the trial.[Pg ii.316]

"I have been insulted," he said. "I will proceed no further until honourable amends have been done me."[885]

In the tumult, Maître Guillaume Erard unfolded a double sheet of paper, and read Jeanne the form of abjuration, written down according to the opinion of the masters. It was no longer than the Lord's Prayer and consisted of six or seven lines of writing. It was in French and began with these words: "I, Jeanne...." The Maid submitted therein to the sentence, the judgment, and the commandment of the Church; she acknowledged having committed the crime of high treason and having deceived the people. She undertook never again to bear arms or to wear man's dress or her hair cut round her ears.[886]

When Maître Guillaume had read the document, Jeanne declared she did not understand it, and wished to be advised thereupon.[887] She was heard to ask counsel of Saint Michael.[888] She still believed firmly in her Voices, albeit they had not aided her in her dire necessity, neither had spared her the shame of denying them. For, simple as she was, at the bottom of her heart she knew well what the clerks were asking of her; she realised that they would not let her go until she had pronounced a great recantation. All that she said was merely in order to gain time and because she was afraid of death; yet she could not bring herself to lie.

Without losing a moment Maître Guillaume said[Pg ii.317] to Messire Jean Massieu, the Usher: "Advise her touching this abjuration."

And he passed him the document.[889]

Messire Jean Massieu at first made excuse, but afterwards he complied and warned Jeanne of the danger she was running by her refusal to recant.

"You must know," he said, "that if you oppose any of these articles you will be burned. I counsel you to appeal to the Church Universal as to whether you should abjure these articles or not."

Maître Guillaume Erard asked Jean Massieu: "Well, what are you saying to her?"

Jean Massieu replied: "I make known unto Jeanne the text of the deed of abjuration and I urge her to sign it. But she declares that she knoweth not whether she will."

At this juncture, Jeanne, who was still being pressed to sign, said aloud: "I wish the Church to deliberate on the articles. I appeal to the Church Universal as to whether I should abjure them. Let the document be read by the Church and the clerks into whose hands I am to be delivered. If it be their counsel that I ought to sign it and do what I am told, then willingly will I do it."[890]

Maître Guillaume Erard replied: "Do it now, or you will be burned this very day."

And he forbade Jean Massieu to confer with her any longer.

Whereupon Jeanne said that she would liefer sign than be burned.[891]

[Pg ii.318]

Then straightway Messire Jean Massieu gave her a second reading of the deed of abjuration. And she repeated the words after the Usher. As she spoke her countenance seemed to express a kind of sneer. It may have been that her features were contracted by the violent emotions which swayed her and that the horrors and tortures of an ecclesiastical trial may have overclouded her reason, subject at all times to strange vagaries, and that after such bitter suffering there may have come upon her the actual paroxysm of madness. On the other hand it may have been that with sound sense and calm mind she was mocking at the clerks of Rouen; she was quite capable of it, for she had mocked at the clerks of Poitiers. At any rate she had a jesting air, and the bystanders noticed that she pronounced the words of her abjuration with a smile.[892] And her gaiety, whether real or apparent, roused the wrath of those burgesses, priests, artisans, and men-at-arms who desired her death.

"'Tis all a mockery. Jeanne doth but jest,"[893] they cried.

Among the most irate was Master Lawrence Calot, Secretary to the King of England. He was seen to be in a violent rage and to approach first the judge and then the accused. A noble of Picardy who was present, the very same who had essayed familiarities with Jeanne in the Castle of Beaurevoir, thought he saw this Englishman forcing Jeanne to sign a paper.[894] He was mistaken. In every crowd there are those who see things that never happen. The Bishop would not have permitted such a thing; he was devoted to the Regent, but on a question of form he would never have given way. Meanwhile, under[Pg ii.319] this storm of insults, amidst the throwing of stones and the clashing of swords, these illustrious masters, these worthy doctors grew pale. The Prior of Longueville was awaiting an opportunity to make an apology to the Cardinal of Winchester.[895]

On the platform a chaplain of the Cardinal violently accused the Lord Bishop. "You do wrong to accept such an abjuration. 'Tis a mere mockery," he said.

"You lie," retorted my Lord Pierre. "I, the judge of a religious suit, ought to seek the salvation of this woman rather than her death."

The Cardinal silenced his chaplain.[896]

It is said that the Earl of Warwick came up to the judges and complained of what they had done, adding: "The King is not well served, since Jeanne escapes."

And it is stated that one of them replied: "Have no fear, my Lord. She will not escape us long."[897]

It is hardly credible that any one should have actually said so, but doubtless there were many at that time who thought it.

With what scorn must the Bishop of Beauvais have regarded those dull minds, incapable of understanding the service he was rendering to Old England by forcing this damsel to acknowledge that all she had declared and maintained in honour of her King was but lying and illusion.

With a pen that Massieu gave her Jeanne made a cross at the bottom of the deed.[898]

In the midst of howls and oaths from the English,[Pg ii.320] my Lord of Beauvais read the more merciful of the sentences. It relieved Jeanne from excommunication and reconciled her to Holy Mother Church.[899] Further the sentence ran:

"... Because thou hast rashly sinned against God and Holy Church, we, thy judges, that thou mayest do salutary penance, out of our Grace and moderation, do condemn thee finally and definitely to perpetual prison, with the bread of sorrow and the water of affliction, so that there thou mayest weep over thy offences and commit no other that may be an occasion of weeping."[900]

This penalty, like all other penalties, save death and mutilation, lay within the power of ecclesiastical judges. They inflicted it so frequently that in the early days of the Holy Inquisition, the Fathers of the Council of Narbonne said that stones and mortar would become as scarce as money.[901] It was a penalty doubtless, but one which in character and significance differed from the penalties inflicted by secular courts; it was a penance. According to the mercy of ecclesiastical law, prison was a place suitable for repentance, where, in one perpetual penance, the condemned might eat the bread of sorrow and drink the waters of affliction.

How foolish was he, who by refusing to enter that prison or by escaping from it, should reject the salutary healing of his soul! By so doing he was fleeing from the gentle tribunal of penance, and the Church in sadness cut him off from the communion of the faithful. By inflicting this penalty, which a good Catholic must needs regard rather as a favour than[Pg ii.321] a punishment, my Lord the Bishop and my Lord the Holy Vicar of the Inquisition were conforming to the custom, whereby our Holy Mother Church became reconciled to heretics. But had they power to execute their sentence? The prison to which they condemned Jeanne, the expiatory prison, the salutary confinement, must be in a dungeon of the Church. Could they send her there?

Jeanne, turning towards them, said: "Now, you Churchmen, take me to your prison. Let me be no longer in the hands of the English."[902]

Many of those clerics had promised it to her.[903] They had deceived her. They knew it was not possible; for it had been stipulated that the King of England's men should resume possession of Jeanne after the trial.[904]

The Lord Bishop gave the order: "Take her back to the place whence you brought her."[905]

He, a judge of the Church, committed the crime of surrendering the Church's daughter reconciled and penitent, to laymen. Among them she could not mourn over her sins; and they, hating her body and caring nought for her soul, were to tempt her and cause her to fall back into error.

While Jeanne was being taken back in the cart to her tower in the fields, the soldiers insulted her and their captains did not rebuke them.[906]

Thereafter, the Vice-Inquisitor and with him divers doctors and masters, went to her prison and charitably exhorted her. She promised to wear woman's apparel, and to let her head be shaved.[907]

The Duchess of Bedford, knowing that she was a[Pg ii.322] virgin, saw to it that she was treated with respect.[908] As the ladies of Luxembourg had done formerly, she essayed to persuade her to wear the clothing of her sex. By a certain tailor, one Jeannotin Simon, she had had made for Jeanne a gown which she had hitherto refused to wear. Jeannotin brought the garment to the prisoner, who this time did not refuse it. In putting it on, Jeannotin touched her bosom, which she resented. She boxed his ears;[909] but she consented to wear the gown provided by the Duchess.

RETURN TO TABLE OF CONTENTS                          CONTINUE TO VOLUME 2 CHAPTER 14

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