Joan of Arc - Maid of Heaven

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

Chapter 31: The Trial for Relapse. Jeanne Resumes Man's Dress

THE TRIAL FOR RELAPSE

Monday, May 28th

Jeanne resumes man's dress

On Monday following, the day after Holy Trinity Sunday, we the said judges repaired to Jeanne's prison to observe her state and disposition. We were accompanied by the lords and masters Nicolas de Venderès, William Haiton, Thomas de Courcelles, brother Ysambard de La Pierre, Jacques Le Camus, Nicolas Bertin, Julien Flosquet, and John Grey.

Now because the said Jeanne was wearing a man's dress, a short mantle, a hood, a doublet and other garments used by men (which at our order she had recently put off in favor of woman's dress), we questioned her to find out when and for what reason she had resumed man's dress and rejected woman's clothes. Jeanne said she had but recently resumed man's dress and rejected woman's clothes.

Asked why she had resumed it, and who had compelled her to wear it, she answered that she had taken it of her own will, under no compulsion, as she preferred man's to woman's dress.

She was told that she had promised and sworn not to wear man's dress again, and answered that she never meant to take such an oath.

[349]

Asked for what reason she had assumed male costume, she answered that it was more lawful and convenient for her to wear it, since she was among men, than to wear woman's dress. She said she had resumed it because the promises made to her had not been kept, which were to permit her to go to Mass and receive her Saviour, and to take off her chains.

Asked whether she had not abjured and sworn in particular not to resume this male costume, she answered that she would rather die than be in chains, but if she were allowed to go to Mass, if her chains were taken off and she were put in a gracious prison [and were given a woman as companion], she would be good and obey the Church.

As we her judges had heard from certain people that she had not yet cut herself off from her illusions and pretended revelations, Which she had previously renounced, we asked her whether she had not since Thursday heard the voices of St. Catherine and St. Margaret. She answered yes.

Asked what they told her, she answered that they told her God had sent her word through St. Catherine and St. Margaret of the great pity of this treason by which she consented to abjure and recant in order to save her life; that she had damned herself to save her life. She said that before Thursday they told her what to do and say then, which she did. Further her voices told her, when she was on the scaffold or platform before the people, to answer the preacher boldly. The said Jeanne declared that he was a false preacher, and had accused her of many things she had not done. She said that if she declared God had not sent her she would damn herself, for in truth she was sent from God. She said-that her voices had since told her that she had done a great evil in declaring that what she had done was wrong. She said that what she had declared and recanted on Thursday was done only for fear of the fire.

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Asked if she believed her voices to be St. Catherine and St. Margaret, she answered "Yes, and they came from God."

Asked to speak truthfully of the crown which is mentioned above, she replied: "In everything, I told you the truth about it in my trial, as well as I could."

When she was told that when she made her abjuration on the scaffold or platform before the judges and the people, she had admitted that she had falsely boasted that her voices were St. Catherine and St. Margaret, she answered that she did not mean to do or say so.

She said she did not deny or intend to deny her apparitions, that is that they were St. Catherine and St. Margaret; all that she said was from fear of the fire. She recanted nothing which was not against the truth. She said she would rather do penance once and for all, that is die, than endure any longer the suffering of her prison. She said that whatever they had made her deny she had never done anything against God or the faith: she did not understand what was in the formula of abjuration. She said she did not mean to revoke anything except at God's good pleasure. If the judges wished, she would once more wear woman's dress, but for the rest she would do no more.

After hearing these declarations we left her to proceed further according to law and reason.

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