Joan of Arc - Maid of Heaven

The Trial of Joan of Arc
By W.P. Barrett

Chapter 9: First Session in Prison

Saturday, March 10th First session in prison

The following Saturday, the tenth day of March, we repaired to the chamber in the castle of Rouen which had been assigned as the prison of Jeanne, and there, with the said master Jean de La Fontaine, our Commissary and Deputy, and the venerable doctors of sacred theology, masters Nicolas Midi and Gérard Feuillet; in the presence of the witnesses, Jean Secard, advocate, and of master Jean Massieu, priest, we summoned Jeanne to swear and take oath to answer the truth to what was asked of her. She replied, saying: "I promise to answer you truthfully that which touches your case; and the more you constrain me to swear, the longer I shall take to tell you."

Whereupon master Jean de La Fontaine, specially charged and deputed by us to this end, interrogated the said Jeanne. And he asked her, by the oath she had taken, whence she had come when she last went to Compiègne. She answered that she had come from the town of Crespy-en-Valois.

Asked whether she spent several days at Compiègne. before she made any sally or attack therefrom, she answered that she came there secretly in the morning; and entered the town unknown, she thought, to the enemy; and the same day, towards evening, she made the sally (in French "la saillie") in which she was taken.

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Asked whether, when she attacked, the bells were rung, she replied that if they were, it was not at her order or with her knowledge; she did not think so, or remember saying they were rung. Asked whether she made the sally at the instruction of her voice, she answered that in Easter week last, when she was in the trenches at Melun, she was told by her voices, namely by St. Catherine and St. Margaret, that she would be captured before St. John's Day; it had to be so; and she should not be distressed, but take it in good part, and God would aid her. Asked if since Melun she had been told by her voices that she would be taken, she answered yes, several times, nearly every day. And she asked of her voices, that when she was taken, she might die quickly without long suffering in prisons; and the voices told her to be resigned to everything, that it must so happen; but they did not tell her when. If she had known the hour, she would not have gone. She had often asked them at what hour she would be taken, but they did not tell her.

Asked whether, if her voices had ordered her to make this attack from Compiègne, and had signified that she would be captured, she would have gone, she answered that if she had known when she was to be taken she would not have willingly gone; nevertheless she would have done their bidding in the end, whatever it cost her.

Asked whether, when she made this attack from Compiègne, she had any voice or revelation to go forth and make it, she answered that that day she did not know she was to be captured, and she had no other order to go forth: but she had always been told that she must be taken prisoner. Asked whether when she made the sortie, she crossed over the bridge of Compiègne, she answered that she went over the bridge and through the boulevard (in French 'boulovart') and

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with those of her company she attacked the followers of lord Jean de Luxembourg, and twice drove them as far as the camp of the Burgundians, and the third time to the middle of the highway. Then the English who were there cut off the road from her and her company; and she, retreating to the fields on the Picardy side near the boulevard, was taken; and between the place where she was captured and Compiègne there was nothing but the river and the boulevard with its ditch. Asked whether the world was painted on the banner she carried, with two angels, etc., she answered yes, she had but one. Asked what this signified, to paint God holding the world, and two angels, she answered that St. Catherine and St. Margaret told her to take the banner, and bear it boldly, and to have painted thereon the King of Heaven. She told her king this, much against her will, and she knew no more than that of what it signified.

Asked whether she had a shield and arms, she answered that she never did; but her king granted arms to her brothers, namely a shield azure, two fleurs-de-lys, and a sword between; and in that town she described these arms to a painter because he asked what arms she bore. She said the king gave them to her brothers (to please them) without her request and without revelation.

Asked whether she had a horse when she was taken, either a charger or a hackney, she answered that she was riding a horse then, a demi-charger (in French "ung demi coursier").

Asked who had given her this horse, she answered her king, or his people from the king's money, gave it to her; she had five chargers from the king's money, not counting her hacks, which were more than seven.

Asked whether she had any other riches from her king,

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besides these horses, she answered she asked nothing of her king except good arms, good horses, and money to pay the people of her household.

Asked whether she had no treasure, she answered that the ten or twelve thousand worth she had was not much to carry on a war with, very little indeed; and that, she thought, her brothers have. She says that what she has is her king's own money.

Asked what sign she gave the king when she went to him, she replied it was fair and honorable, and most credible, and good, and the richest in the world.

Asked why she would not tell and show the sign, since she herself wanted to have the sign of Catherine de La Rochelle, she answered that she would not have asked to know the sign of the said Catherine, if it had been as well shown before notable ecclesiastics, and others, archbishops and bishops, as her sign was, namely before the archbishop of Reims, and others whose names she knew not; there were Charles de Bourbon, the Sire de la Trémouille, the Duke d'Alençon, and many other knights who saw and heard it as distinctly as she saw those speaking and standing before her there. Moreover she already knew through St. Catherine and St. Margaret that the affairs of this Catherine were nothing.

Asked whether the sign still exists, she replied yes certainly, and it will last for a thousand years and more. She said the sign is with the king's treasure.

Asked whether it was gold, silver, or precious stone, or a crown, she answered: "I will not tell you, no man could describe a thing so rich as this sign; but the sign you need is for God to deliver me out of your hands, the most certain sign He could show you." Then she said that when she had to leave to see her king she was told by her voices: "Go boldly:

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when thou art before the king he shall have a good sign to receive and believe in thee."

Asked what reverence she showed the sign when it came to her king, and whether it came from God, she answered that she thanked Our Lord for her deliverance from the trouble arising from the opposition of the clergy of her party; and she knelt down many times. She said that an angel from God, and from none other but Him, bore the sign to her king, and she thanked God many times for this. She said the clergy ceased opposing her when they had recognized the sign.

Asked whether the clergy of her party saw the sign, she answered that when her king and those of his company had seen it and also the angel that bore it, she asked her king if he were content, and he replied yes. And then she left, and went to a little chapel hard by, and heard that after her departure more than three hundred people saw the sign. She added that for her sake and to stop men from catechizing her, God willed that those of her party who were there should see the sign.

Asked whether her king and she did reverence to the angel when he brought the sign, she answered that she did, she knelt down and uncovered her head.

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