Joan of Arc - Maid of Heaven

The Maid of France
Being The Story Of The Life And Death of Jeanne d'Arc (Joan of Arc)
CHAPTER 22

THE TRIAL I

HAD Jeanne d'Arc a fair and lawful trial? The question has been angrily debated, because, on the one side, some French historians, though devoted to the Maid, have felt bound to allow the judges fair play, and to look at the question with the eyes of clerical lawyers of the fifteenth century (in which they have not been successful) ; while other historians, again, have been carried away by the passion of pity for the innocent and noble victim, and declare the judges under Cauchon to have been capable even of forgery. As regards the trial, no person in the situation of Jeanne, a feared and hated captive in hostile hands,--no man accused of high treason or of witchcraft,--had anywhere;--for centuries after 1431, the slightest chance of being fairly tried. More than two hundred years later than 1431, a great Scottish lawyer, Sir George Mackenzie, observed that he had scarcely ever known a witch to be acquitted, if tried, as was customary, by the judgment of the neighbours. The witch was usually arrested on the ground of public rumour {fama) of her guilt, a great element in Jeanne's own case. The Scottish witch was tortured, illegally, into confession ; she was not allowed, as by the Inquisition, any place for repentance ; and she was burned, with the full approval of the Scottish preachers, two of whom led her to the stake. Her sufferings in prison, from torture, cold, and starvation, were not inferior to those of the Maid.

Jeanne d'Arc was used in much the same way ; for she, too, was to the French of the Anglo-Burgundian party an object of terror and hatred. It must be remembered that wealth, rank, and gallant military service could not save an accused wizard and heretic, even among his own people. The companion-in-arms of the Maid, the Marshal de Rais, who had fought with her at Les Augustins, at the Tourelles, and at Paris, was tried, like her, for magic, heresy, and unspeakable crimes. He was condemned, like her, by judges who had a strong personal interest in his ruin ; and was found guilty on evidence which, to-day, would be reckoned worthless, as Monsieur Salomon Reinach has demonstrated. Guilty he may have been, but he was not proved to be guilty by external evidence, as we reckon proof. This kind of unfairness was not greater than that which, under Charles II, procured the execution of many innocent priests and laymen during the panic of the " Popish Plot " devised by Titus Oates ; while, at the same period, the trials for treason, in Scotland, were a proverb for in- justice. Cauchon and his company were not unique in their guilt.

Just as Catholics, in the affair of the "Popish Plot," discerned the wicked dishonesty of the proceedings, so did Protestants dis- cern it when their turn came to suffer for the Rye House Plot. In the same way, when the party of Jeanne was victorious, the judges in the Trial of Rehabilitation (1450-1456) upset the law and denounced the injustice of her judges in 1431.

Concerning her trial, we have the official record of the men who condemned her, a document certainly not unimpeachable ; and we have the evidence of some of the same men, given in 1450-1456. It was on the later occasion their interest to prove their own sympathy with the victim, and to accuse the chief agents in her trial. Some of the witnesses had, in fact, been sympathetic, even though they lacked the courage to pronounce her innocent. But, in 1450-1456, they had a new bias, and, after the lapse of more than twenty years, their memories were probably malleable and plastic. We can only examine the two sets of testimonies, the hostile report of the trial, the friendly later reports of the witnesses.

The affair opens with a statement by Cauchon and Le Maitre, Vice Inquisitor in the diocese of Rouen. On February 19 this unhappy man tried to shuffle out of the business, as holding office only in the diocese of Rouen, whereas the case was said to belong to the diocese of Beauvais. His conscience, he said, was not at ease ; however, by command of the chief Inquisitor, he sat among the judges after March 13. Cauchon and this timid shaveling were the only judges ; the rest of the clergy present were mere assessors, whose votes Cauchon could, and did, ignore.

The preliminary document states that there is a fama, or common report, against Jeanne for shamefully wearing male attire, and doing and saying many things contrary to the Catholic faith. On January 9 a solemn deliberation on her case has been held by Doctors in canon law and in theology, by abbots and Masters of Arts, including Migiet (accused of favouring Jeanne) and Loiselleur, or Loyseleur, a canon of Rouen, and a mouton, or prison spy, who insinuated himself into the confidence of the Maid, and combined the functions of judge, mouton, and (it is said) of confessor. This feat is in accordance with the etiquette of Inquisitorial justice, say Quicherat and others. Their authority hardly justifies them. "Let none approach the heretic, save occasionally two faithful and adroit persons to warn him, cautiously, and as if in compassion, to secure himself against death by confessing his errors. . . ." This rule does not really warrant Loiselleur's visits to Jeanne in the disguise of a shoemaker from her own country, persuading her to adhere to her belief in her visions (so Migiet says) ; while Estivet, the " Promoter " of the trial, played the same part. As Jeanne does not seem to have been allowed a confessor, it is not probable that she confessed to Loiselleur, though this was believed by his accomplice, Thomas de Courcelles, and by Manchon, the clerk. If Loiselleur died suddenly of remorse at Basle his remorse worked tardily ; he seems to have expired thirty-four years after the trial.

We see, in the opening document of the trial, the kind of company which judged the Maid. These virtuous associates first deliberated on the evidence (information) already accessible. Cauchon told them what he had got, and directed that more should be procured. He appointed some of his assessors to arrange and digest the evidence. Among them was de la Fontaine, who attempted, later, to enlighten Jeanne on some points, was threatened by Cauchon, and fled from Rouen. Estivet was more true to his master, Cauchon ; he acted as prison spy, bullied the clerks, and died later in obscure circumstances, if that matters!

The clerks--ecclesiastical notaries--Manchon and Colles, represented themselves, in 1450-1456, as honourable, sympathetic, but timorous. All these people, all the judges and assessors, were clerics of good fame, legal learning, and ecclesiastical dis- tinction. Many were canons of Rouen, abbots in Normandy, Doctors and even passed Rectors of the University of Paris, furiously Burgundian ; among these the most notable was Guillaume Erard, a friend, a constant friend, of Machet, the confessor of Charles VII. Machet continued to speak of Erard as "a man of illustrious virtue and heavenly wisdom." Now Machet had been on the Commission at Poitiers which approved of the Maid, and his persistent admiration of Erard shows the pusillanimity of the clergy of her party. Moreover, Erard, when preaching at the Maid, averred that her King had adhered to a heretic and a schismatic, or even said, " Jeanne, I speak to you, and I tell you that your King is heretic and schismatic." He had his answer, we have quoted it before, " My King is the most noble of all Christians." She was more true to her King than was his tutor and confessor.

Another light of the University was Nicole Midi, falsely said to have died early of leprosy. He welcomed Charles vii on his entry into Paris!

Another judge, one of the very few who voted for the torture of the Maid, was Thomas de Courcelles, much admired, during the Council of Basle, by yEneas Sylvius Piccolomini, later Pope Pius II. He was, says the Pope, "respected for his learning and amiable in his character, so modest that he was always looking at the ground, like one who would fain pass unnoticed." He had good reason, before he died, for trying to escape observation. This most eminent of professors became dear to Jeanne's King, and preached his funeral sermon. Let us be lenient to a fault of youth; cette faute de jeunesse, says Quicherat! In 1431 the would- be tormentor of the Maid was only thirty, a down-looking pedant, whose skulking and evasive replies, at the Trial of Rehabilitation, prove that his memory was strangely defective. He could remember little, and remembered unveraciously, about his own conduct.

Despite his pitiable appearance in the Trial of Rehabilitation, Courcelles wormed himself into Royal favour. In 1516 a French poet, Valeran Varanius, published a Latin epic on the Maid, De Gestis Joannce, Virginis Francice. . He based his poem, in a manner most unusual, not on legend, but on the two manuscript records of the trials of 1431, 1450-1456. At the close of his Fourth Book he gives, in hexameters, the " Oration of Thomas de Courcelles on Illustrious Women." After exhibiting much classical and Biblical lore concerning ancient heroines, Thomas delivers himself of a long panegyric on Jeanne, her patriotism, and the cruelty of the English, who would not allow her to have a confessor or an advocate. With this cruelty the English had nothing to do ; the French clerks saw to these matters. He defends the authenticity of the Voices, praises the Maid for her devoutness, tells the legend of the white dove that hovered over her ashes at the stake, and, in fact, adroitly recommends himself to the new state of opinion!

Why does Varanius make Courcelles deliver this speech to the managers of the Trial of Rehabilitation ? Varanius well knew the shabby and shameful part which Courcelles really played at that trial. One may guess, periculo suo, that Courcelles, in later years, did compose a kind of rhetorical exercise on Illustrious Women, and found it convenient to praise Jeanne at the expense of the English ; while Varanius turned the bad Latin of Courcelles into his own inelegant hexameters, and introduced it into his epic.

Thomas was paid 113 livres for his work in condemning the Maid, in which he tried to insinuate that he took little part. The labourer is worthy of his hire. In editing the Prods this humble person, not desiring to be observed, left out his own name occa- sionally. Uriah Heep was not more humble.

Loiselleur, Estivet, Cauchon, and Erard are all great, but the greatest is the modest Thomas de Courcelles.

Of the judges, many were strongly of the Burgundian party ; others, holding benefices in Normandy, an English possession, were in favour of whatever upheld the existing state of things ; a few were not devoted to the English cause, and were influenced, as far as their timidity would permit, by sentiments of pity and justice. Few had the boldness of Jean de Lohier. Concerning him the modest Thomas, who " could not remember having heard any of the evidence against Jeanne read/' depones thus : Lohier was at Rouen, and the Proces was to be communicated to him, apparently by Thomas, for his opinion. He told Thomas that " in his view Jeanne could not be proceeded against in matter of faith except on evidence proving that there was zfama against her ; the production of such information was legally necessary." It was not publicly produced, nor is it given in the official record. Manchon, the notary and clerk, says that Lohier asked for three days to consider the documents, and declared that the mode of the trial was not valid. (1) It was held in a castle, where men were not at liberty to give their full and free opinions. (2) The honour of the King of France was impeached ; he was a party in the suit, yet did not appear, and had no representative. (3) The "libel," or accusation, had not been given to the Maid, and she had no counsel ; she a simple girl, tried in deep matters of faith. To Manchon, Lohier said, " You see how they are going on ! They will catch her in her words, as when she says, ' I know for certain that I touched the apparitions.' If she said, 'so it seemed to me,' I think no man could condemn her." She would never have said that!

Cauchon was very angry, and Lohier had to fly the country ; he was threatened with drowning ; he died at Rome.

Nicolas de Houppeville was also imprisoned for saying that the procedure was not valid : since Cauchon and others were enemies of the accused, who had been passed as orthodox at Poitiers by Cauchon's superior and Metropolitan, the Archbishop of Reims. As to the Archbishop of Reims, Cauchon could plead that he, and the inquirers at Poitiers, had recognised their error by not in any way acknowledging and standing up for the Maid.

The preliminary Instruction, or presentation of hostile evidence, about which Lohier spoke, was another matter. It is not denied, as we have already seen, that evidence about the fairies and the Fairy tree was taken at Domremy, though the favourable evidence was suppressed (cf. pp. 34-36).

The evidence, or the fairy part of it, was read to the judges on February 13, as the documents edited by Courcelles state, and other testimonies from other places were perused. From this information articles were to be drawn up by the Doctors in Law. By February 19 the astute Loiselleur and others had composed these articles. On February 23 the articles were read before Doctors from Paris and Courcelles,--whose memory did not retain the circumstance. Manchon, too, could remember no such informations (he must have heard them read), but was sure that they were not inserted in the Proces by himself. In fact, they nowhere appear. " The documents of the Instruction were pro- duced," says Quicherat, "but were not inserted in the Proces" as they ought to have been. We do not know the names of the witnesses, or anything about them : there is no evidence against Jeanne. We know the kind of tattle that was collected, even at Compiegne and other places under French allegiance, through the seventy articles presented against the Maid by Estivet, the promoter and prison spy.

Many witnesses, or tattlers, had been examined, not one was cited. Jeanne, like Mary Stuart on more than_pne_occasion, was judged on the evidence of persons with whom she was not con- fronted, whose very names were unknown to her. The peasant girl had from the French judges the same measure of injustice as the Scottish Queen, a hundred and fifty years later, received from the English Court. The practices of the Inquisition were no better than those of English justice under Queen Elizabeth where a feared and hatedtfeaptive was concerned.

The Maid was condemned, after all, on her own confessions malignantly interpolated and erroneously stated by her examiners. She averred that she had seen, touched, heard, and adored her Saints ; and as these were ruled to be devils, she was guilty. No more was needed, according to Cauchon's idea of justice. It was stated, as matter of fact and of her own confession, that she had evoked and worshipped devils. Her evidence, on the other hand, did not even bear that she had evoked her Saints by a direct appeal. She had addressed herself to God in prayer, and He had heard and had sent the Voices to her. The annals of witchcraft probably contain no example, certainly none is known to me, of a sorcerer who summons fiends by an appeal to God. The men who drew up this charge were conscious liars and deliberate murderers.

On February 21 the first public session was held before a set of forty-two clerics ; formal business was transacted, and Estivet, the promoter, demanded the Maid's appearance. She had asked to be allowed to hear Mass, her chief comfort in life; her petition was refused. She was under charges so grave that she must not be allowed, by these merciful churchmen, the consolations of their religion. She had also requested that clerics of her own party might be among the assessors. They were not permitted to come, and, as far as we can judge by their silence and the con- temptuous words of him of Reims, they would not have come had^they been summoned. An exception must be made for the loyal Jacques Gelu, Archbishop of Embrun, who spoke his mind freely to his recreant King.

According to Jean Massieu, an officer of the Court examined in 1450-1456, Jeanne asked not only that the clergy of her party should have representatives among her judges, but that she might have the assistance of counsel. Her petition was rejected. The official report says nothing about this request and refusal. Later, Jeanne was asked if she would accept the aid of a legal adviser, which she declined. We cannot be certain that Massieu spoke the truth on this point, twenty-five years later : his evidence is often under suspicion. The question as to whether Cauchon had the right, as Quicherat averred, to refuse counsel, under the rules of ecclesiastical procedure, is intricate and difficult. References to authorities are given in the Notes.

Jeanne was brought into court ; she wore a page's black suit, an outrage to the chaste eyes of the learned. She was bidden to speak the whole truth ; and at this time, as always, she refused to take the oath without qualification. " I do not know on what subjects you will question me." She had received no " libel," as it is called in Scottish law, such was their idea of justice. "You may ask me things which I will not tell you. About revelations to my King I will not speak if you cut my head off." Her 11 Counsel " might later give her some licence to speak. She swore, save on these topics, to answer questions touching matters of faith. Her oath, thus limited, was accepted. She did answer on points of her name and parentage, and was invited to repeat the Pater Noster after the bishop. She would not do so, except in confession. They seem to have held the old belief that a witch could not say the Pater Noster--except backwards. She refused to give her parole not to attempt to escape ; she would never cease to try, and would not give parole ; no man should be able to say she had broken parole. She was handed over to John Gray, an Esquire, to William Talbot, and another English gaoler, though she should have been in an ecclesiastical prison with women about her. In her examinations, before she could answer Midi, Courcelles would be at her with another question, or Beaupere would interrupt Touraine.

In the early examinations in the chapel she was interrupted at almost every word, and secretaries of the English King recorded her replies as they pleased. Manchon said that he would throw up his task as clerk, and the scene was changed for another chamber, two English men-at-arms guarding the door. The records were variously written, and were disputed, so Manchon marked such passages for reconsideration and further interrogation. The season was Lent, and, in the morning examinations, the Maid had been fasting since the one meal of the previous day. But nothing shook her strength and courage. When Massieu accompanied her from her cell to the hall of inquiry, he was wont to let her pray in front of the chapel. Estivet rebuked Massieu, " Rogue, how do you dare to let that excommunicate whore come so near the church ? I shall put you in a tower whence you shall not see sun or moon for a month if you go on thus.'' Massieu did not change his way, and Jeanne, asking, " Is not the Body of our Lord in that chapel ? " was pre- vented by Estivet from praying near that holy place.

Are we to suppose that Massieu invented all these outrages ? They look brutally real, but Massieu was a man of loose life, perhaps of loose tongue.

There were forty-seven of these divines in court on the second day (February 22) ; one of the session was a doctor in medicine. Jeanne made the usual qualifications as to her oath, for she perfectly understood that they desired to elicit answers com- promising to her King as to his secret, the sign she had given to him.

It is unnecessary to repeat answers which have already been quoted in the accounts of her early life, and of her Voices and Visions. We shall take up, in Appendix C, some of the gravest charges against her, and follow each by itself through the in- vestigation. These questions referred to the King's secret, to the wearing of male attire, to alleged false prophecies, to the fairies of Domremy (a subject already exhausted, pp. 34-36), and to other points. The questions were purposely mixed and confused so as. to entrap the Maid in contradictions, and they can only be understood when each subject is disengaged and examined apart.

On the third day (February 24) she warned Cauchon of the risk he ran by taking upon him to be her judge. Had he cherished his reputation he would have done wisely in accepting the warning. The examination was mainly an attempt to elicit replies about the aspect of the Saints ; and about the fairies. Of the fairies she spoke as freely as if she had been at a Folklore Congress. They asked her the unfair question, " Do you know that you are in a state of grace ? " If she replied, " Yes," she was presumptuous ; if " No," she condemned herself Her inspired reply was, " If I am not in grace, may God bring me thither ; if I am, God keep me there." No clerk could have answered more wisely, no Christian more graciously.

Many witnesses spoke of the Maid as a simple ignorant thing. In fact her genius rose to every occasion.

Between February 24 and 27 no examination was held, probably because of Jeanne's illness. At the Trial of Rehabilitation, two physicians were examined, Tiphaine of Paris, and de la Chambre. Both said that they had been reluctant to sit as assessors, and only yielded to fear ; de la Chambre voted (not unconditionally) for her condemnation,--though, as he said, it was not his affair as a medical man,--being coerced by threats. . It does not appear that they were consulted as to the pathology of Jeanne's Voices and visions. Tiphaine found her in a tower, with irons on her legs. He heard one examiner ask her if she had ever been present when English blood was shed.

"In God's name, yes ! How mildly you talk! Why did they not leave France, and go back to their own country?"

Thereon a great English lord, in a very English way, cried, "She is a brave girl ! If only she were English!" The chivalry of England here made its nearest approach tq_aprjreciating the Flower of Chivalry.

It was Estivet who brought Tiphaine to see the Maid in her sickness. She attributed it to having eaten of a carp, a present from Cauchon. Estivet called her by the most shameful names at his command, and said that she had eaten herring. There was a passage of angry words. De la Chambre was called in on the same occasion by Cardinal Beaufort and the Earl of Warwick, Captain of Rouen. The King of England, said Warwick, "the Father of Courtesy," held Jeanne dear, and expensive ; not for worlds would he have her die a natural death, burned she must be ; and when de la Chambre proposed to bleed her, Warwick said that she might take the opportunity of suicide. De la Chambre also heard the brutal words of Estivet.

After being let blood the Maid recovered, and was again examined on February 27. They were curious about the Voices, about her reasons for wearing male dress, and about the King's secret, the sword of Fierbois, her standard, and her use of the words JHESUS Maria. She told them about her prophecy of her arrow wound at Orleans, and about the storming of Jargeau. Questioned about the prominence of her standard at the corona- tion, she said "it had been in the strife, it might share the honour."

The fifth day was March 1. They examined her on her letter to the Comte d'Armagnac, concerning the true Pope. Then she broke into prophecies of a most annoying kind, which they were to see fulfilled within a few years. " I know that before seven years are passed the English will lose a greater stake than they did at Orleans" (they lost Paris in 1436), "and that they will lose all they hold in France. They will have sorer loss than ever before in France, through a great victory given by God to the French." (The battle of Formigny, 1439, with loss of Normandy.) "I know by revelation that this will be in seven years " ; if she meant to include Formigny, she was wrong by a year.

It has been argued, correctly I venture to think, that Jeanne did not include the English loss of " all they held in France " within the seven years before which they will lose Paris. (" Item, dicit quod antequam sint septem anni, Anglici demittent majus vadium quam fecerint coram Aurelianis, et quod totum perdent in Francis.")

They returned to the personal aspect of her Saints, vainly, and asked about her rings. " You have one of them, give it back to me. The Burgundians have another. Let me see my ring. My father or mother gave me the ring which the Burgundians have. I think the words on it were JHESUS Maria" (she could not read a letter), "who inscribed them I do not know." (The jeweller did so : such inscriptions on rings were common, at least in Scot- land and England.) " My brother gave me the ring which you have ; give it, I charge you, to the church. I never used any ring of mine to heal any mortal." As to promises from her Saints, she asked them to take her to Paradise, and they assented." About another promise I will tell you in three months."

"Are you to be set free then?"

"This is no affair of yours. I know not when I shall be set free." She certainly had a presentiment that she would be free from bonds in three months, and she was, to the day, set free-- through the gate of fire. She could not understand the promise thus, she did not always understand the sense of her Voices, but the coincidence is one of the many strange points in her ex- perience which suggest that, in some way, she caught faint rumours and glimpses of things to be.

"What have you done with your mandrake ? "--what a question ! She knew a little of the folklore of mandrakes, nothing more. They jumped to St. Michael, and thence to the sign given to the King. On that subject she gradually, as is to be shown later, built up an allegory based on the actual sign, and on the coronation at Reims. The rest of the day was occupied with this matter.

Jeanne never truckled, never tried to conciliate, she stood up to these shavelings as she had stood up to the recreant clerks of Poitiers, with the scorn of a Queen who is tried by rebellious subjects, with the contempt of a sane mind for their "heavenly science." On the sixth day (March 3) they returned to their puerilities about her Saints, who promised liberty, and bade her boldly " bear a glad countenance,"--her natural expression of gaiety. To questions about her male dress she usually said, " I do not remember." They seem to have heard that her King desired her to discard it ; she would not answer, so probably he had done so.

Her own company in arms, she said, consisted of but two or three lances,--those of d'Aulon and her brothers ; at Orleans her military command was unofficial, those who loved her followed her, and adopted the white penoncels of her household, of white satin with the lilies. The attempt was to show that she had used the penoncels superstitiously, perhaps she had them sprinkled with holy water ; she refused to say. She denied that she had caused any portraits of herself to be made, she had seen only one, in the hands of a Scottish archer at Arras. Doubtless there were many popular images, medals, and miniatures not done from the life. She knew nothing of Masses and prayers for her (which were duly made, in fact), but saw no harm in them. Her friends were not mistaken, she said, if they believed that she was sent from God. People could not always be prevented from kissing her hands and her raiment ; " the poor flocked to me gladly, for I did them no displeasure, and helped them to the uttermost of my power." They asked about her alleged promise to find a lost pair of gloves at Reims. She denied that she had promised to discover them. She explained an affair of a hackney of the Bishop of Senlis. She had paid for it, and offered to return it, it was not up to her weight when she was in armour. She told the simple truth about the dying child at Lagny. She, with other girls, prayed for it ; it was as black as her coat, but began to regain colour, gasped thrice, was baptized, and died.

" Did people say that you caused this resurrection ? "

" I did not inquire." She told the story of Catherine of La Rochelle, and about the leap from the tower of Beaurevoir, as already given, and denied having sworn at the traitor of Soissons. Cauchon then decided to appoint a Committee to make a synopsis of her answers. Another Committee would re-examine her, and all the judges were to receive the report in writing.

On March 10, Cauchon, with only five assessors, visited Jeanne in her cell. Examined in prison she was remote from sympathy, and lost the breath of free air, and the little relief to her fettered limbs during the short walk to the court, and the sight of the open church door. Jean de La Fontaine was her interrogator. He began with questions about her doings at Compiegne, her alleged false prophecies there. The events at Compiegne and Melun have already been narrated in their place. They returned to the King's secret; her replies are later examined in due sequence. (Appendix C.)

On March 13 the timid Vice Inquisitor appeared, bringing with him a Dominican, Isambart de la Pierre, who, at the trial of Rehabilitation, represented himself as very pitiful and sym- pathetic. In this, though he lacked the courage to vote for her acquittal, he seems to have spoken truth. De la Fontaine asked silly questions about the Voices and Saints, and about the Burgundian version of the story of the young man whom she was said to have cited for breach of promise of marriage. (See p. 63.) Had she not sinned when she went to France against the will of her father and mother?

"I had obeyed them in everything else, and I wrote to them, begging their pardon. As God bade me go, I would have gone if I had a hundred fathers and mothers, or was the daughter of a king' Her Voices left to her the choice of telling her parents before her departure.

She declared that she had spoken of her visions to no priest ; a point against her. But her enthusiastic advocate, Father Ayroles, S.J., believed that here she did not tell truth, and had the full permission of her Church. " The inviolable secrecy imposed on the confessor extends also to the penitent. As he speaks to God in the person of his minister, the penitent may swear that he never spoke to any mortal concerning what he revealed under the seal of confession. This is the teaching of theology." So much the worse for theology ! Jeanne is not likely to have known, or to have acted on, these instructions ; to do so was an acte de sagesse, says Father Ayroles ; but of such wisdom the Maid was incapable. A learned priest informs me that these subtleties had probably not been evolved in the time of the Maid.

On March 13 the Vicar of the Inquisitor interrogated her about the King's secret, and the crown borne by the Angel. She went on with the allegory which their foolish questions had suggested. They asked her about her alleged discovery of a stolen cup and of the immorality of a priest. She said that she had never heard of these legends. Had she received letters from St. Michael ? She would answer later. We do not know any- thing of this strange matter. The letters were not in Court.

They asked her if she had received revelations about the attacks on Paris and La Charite\ She replied that she had none, nor about going to Pont l'Eveque. After her Voices, at Melun, announced her capture, she relied on the captains, to whom she did not mention her approaching fate. She evaded the question, " Was it right to attack Paris on the Nativity of the Virgin?"

On March 14, Isambart de la Pierre, the sympathetic Dominican, was present. They inquired about the leap from the tower of Beaurevoir. Would she refer to the evidence that, after her fall, she blasphemed God and her saints? She would only refer " to God and good confession." She knew of no such words ; she could not know what she might say in delirium. She declared that St. Catherine promised succour, how or when she knew not ; she might be set free, or there might be a tumult at her execution. " Generally the Voices say that I shall be delivered through great victory," and thereafter the Voices say, "Take all things peacefully : heed not thine affliction (martire). Thence thou shalt come at last into the kingdom of Paradise!'

The Voices never made a prophecy more true. She did not understand the monition. By an astonishing coincidence the Voices repeated the message of St. Michael to St. Catherine, when she lay in prison awaiting her trial by the Doctors of heathendom. In an old English Life of St. Catherine, written in 1430-143 1, while the new St. Catherine was contending with the French Doctors, St. Michael says, " Drede not, thou mayden acceptable to God, but worke sadly and myghtyly, for our Lord ys wyth thee, for whose worschep thou hast entered into this batayle ; he schal give into thy mouth the stronge floode of hys plenteous word to the whyche thyn adversaries schal not wythstende . . . and thou wythynne short whyle after schalt end thy batayle with glorious deeth and be so receyved amonge the worthy company of Virgins." Jeanne could not believe that death was to be the end of her " batayle."

The words of Jeanne, from the lips of the Saints, were the most touching that ever maiden uttered. Their effect on her tormentors was what might have been expected. They seized the chance to ask her if she had assurance of salvation ; a deadly error. She believed in her salvation " as firmly as if she were in heaven already."

"Do you believe that, after this revelation, you could not sin mortally?"

"I know not. I leave it to God."

"Your answer" (about her assurance of salvation) "is very weighty."

"I hold it for a very great treasure."

De la Fontaine, Le Maitre, Midi, and Feuillet were the examiners who sought their own damnation on this day. Who are we that we should judge them, creatures as they were, full of terror, of superstition, and of hatred ; with brows of brass and brains of lead ; scientific, too, as the men of their time reckoned science. In the afternoon they returned to this point, making quite sure of it and then laboured the affair, already described (pp. 229, 230), of Franquet dArras.

"What with your attack on Paris on a holy day, your behaviour in the matter of the Bishop's hackney, your leap at Beaurevoir, and your consent to the death of Franquet, do you really believe that you have wrought no mortal sin ? "

"I do not believe that I am in mortal sin ; and, if I have been it is for God to know it, and for confession to God and the priest."

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