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Jeanne d'Arc by Mrs. Oliphant

Part 5 out of 6

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a woman's dress. "I certify you that you shall hear mass," the
examiner replied, "but you must be dressed as a woman." "What would
you say," she answered as with a momentary doubt, "if I had sworn to
my King never to change?" but she added: "Anyhow I answer for it. Find
me a dress, long, touching the ground, without a train, and give it to
me to go to mass; but I will return to my present dress when I come
back." She was then asked why she would not have all the parts of a
female dress to go to mass in; she said, "I will take counsel upon
that, and answer you," and begged again for the honour of God and our
Lady that she might be allowed to hear mass in this good town.
Afterwards she was again recommended to assume the whole dress of a
woman and gave a conditional assent: "Get me a dress like that of a
young /bourgeoise/, that is to say, a long /houppelande/; I will wear
that and a woman's hood to go to mass." After having promised,
however, she made an appeal to them to leave her free, and to think no
more of her garb, but to allow her to hear mass without changing it.
This would seem to have been refused, and all at once without warning
the jurisdiction of the Church was suddenly introduced again.

She was asked, whether in all she did and said she would submit
herself to the Church, and replied: "All my deeds and works are in the
hands of God, and I depend only on Him; and I certify that I desire to
do nothing and say nothing against the Christian faith; and if I have
done or said anything in the body that was against the Christian faith
which our Lord has established, I should not defend it but cast it
forth from me." Asked again, if she would not submit to the laws of
the Church she replied: "I can answer no more to-day on this point;
but on Saturday send the clerk to me, if you do not come, and I will
answer by the grace of God, and it can be put in writing."

A great many questions followed as to her visions, but chiefly what
had been asked before. One thing only we may note, since it was one of
the special sayings all her own, which fell from the lips of Jeanne,
during this private and almost sympathetic examination. After being
questioned closely as to how she knew her first visitor to be St.
Michael, etc., she was asked, how she would have known had he been
"l'Anemy" himself (a Norman must surely have used this word), taking
the form of an angel: and finally, what doctrine he taught her?

She answered; above all things he said that she was to be a good child
and that God would help her: and among other things that she was to go
to the succour of the King of France. But the greater part of what the
angel taught her, she continued, was already in their book; and THE

The pity of it! That which has always gone most to the tender heart: a
country torn in pieces, brother fighting against brother, the invader
seated at the native hearth, and blood and fire making the smiling
land a desert: "/la pitie qui estoit au royaume de France/."

Did the Inquisitor break down here? Could no one go on? or was it mere
human incompetence to feel the divine touch? Some one broke into a
foolish question about the height of the angel, and the sitting was
hurriedly concluded. Monseigneur might well be on his mettle; that
very pity, was it not stealing into the souls of his private committee
deputed for so different a use?


Next day the questions about St. Michael's personal appearance were
resumed, as a little feint we can only suppose, for the great question
of the Church was again immediately introduced; but in the meantime
Jeanne had described her visitor in terms which it is pleasant to
dwell on. "He was in the form of a /très vrai prud' homme/." The term
is difficult to translate, as is the Galantuomo of Italy. The "King-
Honest Man," we used to say in English in the days of his late Majesty
Victor Emmanuel of Italy; but that is not all that is meant--/un vrai
prud' homme/, a man good, honest, brave, the best man, is more like
it. The girl's honest imagination thought of no paraphernalia of wings
or shining plumes. It was not the theatrical angel, not even the angel
of art whom she saw--whom it would have been so easy to invent, nay to
take quite truthfully from the first painted window, radiating colour
and brightness through the dim, low-roofed church. But even with such
material handy, Jeanne was not led into the conventional. She knew
nothing about wings or emblematic scales. He was in the form of a
brave and gentle man. She knew not anything greater, nor would she be
seduced into fable however sacred. Then once more the true assault

She was asked, if she would submit all her sayings and doings, good or
evil, to the judgment of our Holy Mother, the Church. She replied,
that as for the Church, she loved it and would sustain it with all her
might for our Christian faith; and that it was not she whom they ought
to disturb and hinder from going to church or from hearing mass. As to
the good things she had done, and that had happened, she must refer
all to the King of Heaven, who had sent her to Charles, King of
France; and it should be seen that the French would soon gain a great
advantage which God would send them, so great that all the kingdom of
France would be shaken. And this, she said, that when it came to pass,
they might remember that she had said it. She was again asked, if she
would submit to the jurisdiction of the Church, and answered, "I refer
everything to our Lord who sent me, to our Lady, and to the blessed
Saints of Paradise"; and added her opinion was that our Lord and the
Church meant the same thing, and that difficulties should not be made
concerning this, when there was no difficulty, and they were both one.
She was then told that there was the Church triumphant, in which are
God, the saints, the angels, and all saved souls. The Church militant
is our Holy Father the Pope, vicar of God on earth, the cardinals, the
prelates of the Church, and the clergy and all good Christians and
Catholics, which Church properly assembled cannot err, but is guided
by the Holy Spirit. And this being the case she was asked if she would
refer her cause to the Church militant thus explained to her. She
replied that she had come to the King of France on the part of God, on
the part of the Virgin Mary, the blessed Saints of Paradise, and the
Church victorious in Heaven, and at their commandment; and to that
Church she submitted all her good deeds, and all that she had done and
might do. And if they asked her whether she would submit to the Church
militant, answered, that she would now answer no more than this.

Here again the argument strayed back to the futile subject of dress,
always at hand to be taken up again, one would say, when the judges
were non-plussed. Her first reply on this subject is remarkable and
shows that dark and terrible forebodings were already beginning to
mingle with her hopes.

Asked, what she had to say about the woman's dress that had been
offered to her, to hear mass in: she answered, that she would not take
it yet, not until the Lord pleased; but that if it were necessary to
lead her out to be executed, and if she should then have to be
undressed, she required of the Lords of the Church that they would
give her the grace to have a long chemise, and a kerchief for her
head; that she would prefer to die rather than to alter what our Lord
had directed her to do, and that she firmly believed our Lord would
not let her descend so low, but that she should soon be helped by God
and by a miracle. She was then asked, if what she did in respect to
the man's costume was by command of God, why she asked for a woman's
chemise in case of death? answered, /It is enough that it should be

The effect of these words in which so much was implied, must have made
a supreme sensation among the handful of men gathered round the
helpless girl in her prison, bringing the stake in all its horror
before the eyes of the judges as before her own. No other thing could
have been suggested by that piteous prayer. The stake, the scaffold,
the fire--and the shrinking figure all maidenly, helpless, exposed to
every evil gaze, must have showed themselves at least for a moment
against that dark background of prison wall. It was enough that it
should be long--to hide her as much as was possible from those
dreadful staring eyes.

The interrogatory goes on wildly after this about the age and the
dress of the saints. But a tone of fate had come into it, and Jeanne
herself, it was evident, was very serious; her mind turned to more
weighty thoughts. Presently they asked if the saints hated the
English, to which she replied that they hated what God hated and loved
what He loved. She was then asked if God hated the English. She
replied that of the love or hate that God had for the English, or what
God did for their souls, she knew nothing; but she knew well that they
should be driven out of France, except those who died there; and that
God would send victory to the French against the English. Asked, if
God was for the English so long as they were prosperous in France: she
answered, that she knew not whether God hated the French, but believed
He had allowed them to be beaten because of their sins.

Jeanne was then brought to a test which, had she been a great
statesman or a learned doctor, would have been as dangerous, as the
question concerning John the Baptist was to the priests and scribes.
"If we shall say: From heaven, he will say, Why then believed ye him
not? but if we shall say of men we fear the people." And she was only
a peasant girl and the event of which they spoke had been before her
little time.

Asked, if she thought and believed firmly that her King did well to
kill Monseigneur de Bourgogne, she answered that IT WAS A GREAT
MISFORTUNE FOR THE KINGDOM OF FRANCE: but that however it might be
among themselves, God had sent her to the succour of the King.

One or two other questions of some importance followed amid perpetual
changes of the subject: one of which called forth as follows her last
deliverance on the subject of the Pope.

Asked, if she had said to Monseigneur de Beauvais that she would
answer as exactly to him and to his clerks as she would have done
before our Holy Father the Pope, although at several points in the
trial she would have had to refuse to answer, if she did not answer
more plainly than before Monseigneur de Beauvais--she said that she
had answered as much as she knew, and that if anything came to her
memory that she had forgotten to say, she would say it willingly.
Asked, if it seemed to her that she would be bound to answer the plain
truth to the Pope, the vicar of God, in all he asked her touching the
faith and her conscience, she replied that she desired to be taken
before him, and then she would answer all that she ought to answer.

Here we seem to perceive dimly that there was beginning to be a second
party among those examiners, one of which was covertly but earnestly
attempting to lead Jeanne into an appeal to the Pope, which would have
conveyed her out of the hands of the English at least, and gained
time, probably deliverance for her, could Jeanne have been made to
understand it.

This, however, was by no means the wish of Cauchon, whose spy and
whisperer, L'Oyseleur, was working against it in the background.
Jeanne evidently failed to take up what they meant. She did not
understand the distinction between the Church militant and the Church
triumphant: that God alone was her judge, and that no tribunal could
decide upon the questions which were between her Lord and herself, was
too firmly fixed in her mind: and again and again the men whose desire
was to make her adopt this expedient, were driven back into the ever
repeated questions about St. Catherine and St. Margaret.

One other of her distinctive sayings fell from her in the little
interval that remained, in a series of useless questions about her
standard. Was it true that this standard had been carried into the
Cathedral at Rheims when those of the other captains were left behind?
"It had been through the labour and the pain," she said, "there was
good reason that it should have the honour."

This last movement of a proud spirit, absolutely disinterested and
without thought of honour or advancement in the usual sense of the
word, gives a sort of trumpet note at the end of these wonderful
wranglings in prison, in which, however, there is a softening of tone
visible throughout, and evident effect of human nature bringing into
immediate contact divers human creatures day after day. Jeanne is
often at her best, and never so frequently as during these less formal
sittings utters those flying words, simple and noble and of absolute
truth to nature, which are noted everywhere, even in the most rambling


The private examination, concluding with that last answer about the
banner, came to an end on the 17th March, the day before Passion
Sunday. Several subsequent days were occupied with repeated
consultations in the Bishop's palace, and the reading over of the
minutes of the examinations, to the judges first and afterwards to
Jeanne, who acknowledged their correctness, with one or two small
amendments. It is only now that Cauchon reappears in his own person.
On the morning of the following Sunday, which was Palm Sunday, he and
four other doctors with him had a conversation with Jeanne in her
prison, very early in the morning, touching her repeated application
to be allowed to hear mass and to communicate. The Bishop offered her
his ultimatum: if she consented to resume her woman's dress, she might
hear mass, but not otherwise; to which Jeanne replied, sorrowfully,
that she would have done so before now if she could; but that it was
not in her power to do so. Thus after the long and bitter Lent her
hopes of sharing in the sacred feast were finally taken from her. It
remains uncertain whether she considered that her change of dress
would be direct disobedience to God, which her words seem often to
imply; or whether it would mean renunciation of her mission, which she
still hoped against hope to be able to resume; or if the fear of
personal insult weighed most with her. The latter reason had evidently
something to do with it, but, as evidently, not all.

The background to these curious sittings, afterwards revealed to us,
casts a hazy side-light upon them. Probably the Bishop, never present,
must have been made aware by his spies of an intention on the part of
those most favourable to Jeanne to support an appeal to the Pope; and
L'Oyseleur, the traitor, who was all this time admitted to her cell by
permission of Cauchon, and really as his tool and agent, was actively
employed in prejudicing her mind against them, counselling her not to
trust to those clerks, not to yield to the Church. How he managed to
explain his own appearance on the other side, his official connection
with the trial, and constant presence as one of her judges, it is hard
to imagine. Probably he gave her to believe that he had sought that
position (having got himself liberated from the imprisonment which he
had represented himself as sharing) for her sake, to be able to help

On the other hand her friends, whose hearts were touched by her
candour and her sufferings, were not inactive. Jean de la Fontaine and
the two monks--l'Advenu and Frère Isambard--also succeeded in gaining
admission to her, and pressed upon her the advantage of appealing to
the Church, to the Council of Bâle about to assemble, or to the Pope
himself, which would have again changed the /venue/, and transferred
her into less prejudiced hands. It is very likely that Jeanne in her
ignorance and innocence might have held by her reference to the
supreme tribunal of God in any case; and it is highly unlikely that of
the English authorities, intent on removing the only thing in France
of which their forces were afraid, should have given her up into the
hands of the Pope, or allowed her to be transferred to any place of
defence beyond their reach; but at least it is a relief to the mind to
find that all these men were not base, as appears on the face of
things, but that pity and justice and human feeling sometimes existed
under the priest's gown and the monk's cowl, if also treachery and
falsehood of the blackest kind. The Bishop, who remained withdrawn, we
know not why, from all these private sittings in the prison (probably
busy with his ecclesiastical duties as Holy Week was approaching),
heard with fury of this visit and advice, and threatened vengeance
upon the meddlers, not without effect, for Jean de la Fontaine, we are
told--who had been deep in his councils, and indeed his deputy, as
chief examiner--disappeared from Rouen immediately after, and was
heard of no more.
[1] Compiègne was a strong point. Had she proclaimed a promise from
St. Catherine, of victory? Chastelain says so, long after date and
with errors in fact. Two Anglo-Compiègnais were at her trial. The
Rehabilitation does not go into this question.--(From Mr. Lang.)


MARCH-MAY, 1431.

Upon all these contentions followed the calm of Palm Sunday, a great
and touching festival, the first break upon the gloom of Lent, and a
forerunner of the blessedness of Easter. We have already told how--a
semblance of charity with which the reader might easily be deceived--
the Bishop and four of his assessors had gone to the prison to offer
to the Maid permission to receive the sacrament if she would do so in
a woman's dress: and how after pleading that she might be allowed that
privilege as she was, in her male costume, and with a pathetic
statement that she would have yielded if she could, but that it was
impossible--she finally refused; and was so left in her prison to pass
that sacred day unsuccoured and alone. The historian Michelet, in the
wonderful sketch in which he rises superior to himself, and which
amidst all after writings remains the most beautiful and touching
memorial of Jeanne d'Arc, has made this day a central point in his
tale, using with the skill of genius the service of the Church
appropriate to the day, in heart-rending contrast with those doors of
the prison which did not open, and the help of God which did not come
to the young and solitary captive. /Le beau jour fleuri/ passed over
her in darkness and desertion: her agony and passion lay before her
like those of the Divine Sufferer, to whom every day of the succeeding
week is specially consecrated. There is almost indeed a painful
following of the Saviour's steps in these dark days, the circumstances
lending themselves in a wonderful way to the comparison which French
writers love to make, but which many of us must always feel, however
spotless the sufferer, to have a certain irreverence in them. But if
ever martyr were worthy of being called a partaker of the sufferings
of Christ it was surely this girl, free, if ever human creature was,
from self-seeking, or thought of reward, or ambitious hope, in whose
heart there had never been any motive but the service of God and the
deliverance of her country, who had neither looked before nor after,
nor put her own interests into consideration in any way. Silently the
feast passed with no holy privileges of religion, no blessed token of
the spring, no remembrance of the waving palms and scattered blossoms
over which her Lord rode into Jerusalem to die. She had not that sweet
fallacious triumph; but the darker ordeal remained for her to follow.

On Tuesday the 27th of March, her troubles began again. Before Palm
Sunday, the report of the trial had been read to her. She had now to
hear the formal reading of the articles founded upon it, to give a
final response if she had any to give, or explanation, or addition, if
she thought proper. The sitting was held in the great hall of the
Castle of Rouen before a band of more than forty, all assembled for
this final test. The Bishop made a prefactory speech to the prisoner,
pointing out to her how benign and merciful were the judges now
assembled, that they had no wish to punish, but rather to instruct and
lead her in the right way; and requesting her at this late period in
the proceedings to choose one or more from among them to help her. To
which Jeanne replied; "In the first place concerning my good and our
faith, I thank you and all the company. As for the counsellor you
offer me I thank you also, but I have no need to depart from our Lord
as my counsellor."

The articles, in which the former questions put to her and answered by
her, were now repeated in the form of accusations, were then read to
her one by one; her sorcery, sacrilege, etc., being taken as facts. To
a few she repeated, with various forcible and fine turns of phrase,
her previous answers, with here and there a new explanation; but to
the great majority she referred simply to her former replies, or
denied the charge, as follows: "The second article concerning
sortilège, superstitious acts and divination, she denied, and in
respect to adoration (i.e. allowing herself to be adored) said: If any
kissed her hands or her garments, it was not by her will, and that she
kept herself from it as much as she could; and the rest of the article
she denies." This is a specimen of the manner in which she responded,
with a clear-headed and undisturbed intelligence, point after point--
/ipsa Johanna negat/, is the usual refrain: or else she referred with
dignity to previous replies as her sole answer. But sometimes the girl
was moved to indignation, sometimes added a word in her own defence:
"As for fairies she knew not what they were, and as for her education
she had been well and duly instructed what to believe, as a good child
should." This was her answer to the article in which all the folk-lore
of Domremy, all the fairy tales, had been collected into a solemn
statement of heresy. The matter of dress was once more treated in
endless detail, with many interjected questions and reports of what
she had already said: and at the end, answering the statement that
woman's dress was most fit for woman's work, Jeanne added the quick
/mot/: "As for the usual work of women, there are enough of other
women to do it." On another occasion when the report ran that she
claimed to have done all things by the counsel of God, she interrupted
and said "that it ought to be, all that I have done well." To her
former answer that she had yielded to the desire of the French knights
in attacking Paris, she added the fine words, "It seemed to me that it
was their duty to attack their adversaries." In respect to her visions
she added to her former answer, "that she had not asked advice of
bishop, curé, or any other before believing her revelations, but had
many times prayed God to reveal them to others of her party." About
calling her saints when she required their aid she added, that she
asked God and Our Lady to send her council and comfort, and
immediately her heavenly visitors came; and that this was the prayer
she made:

"Gentle God, in honour of Your[1] passion, I pray You, if You love
me, that You would reveal to me how I ought to answer these people
of the Church. I know well by what command it was that I took this
dress, but I know not in what manner I ought to give it up. For
this may it please You to teach me."

In respect to the reproach that she had been a general in the war
(/chef de guerre/), she explained that if she were, it was to drive
out the English, repelling the accusation that she had assumed this
title in pride; and to that which accused her of preferring to live
among men, she explained that when she was in a lodging she generally
had a woman with her; but that when engaged in war she lived in her
clothes whenever there was not a woman present. In respect to her hope
of escaping from prison, she was asked if her council had thrown any
light on that question, and replied, "I have yet to tell you."
Manchon, the clerk, makes a note upon his margin at these words,
"Proudly answered"--/superbe responsum/.

This re-examination lasted for two long days, the 27th and 28th of
March. On several points Jeanne requested that she might be allowed to
give an answer on Saturday, and accordingly, on Saturday, the last day
of March, Easter Eve, she was visited in prison by the Bishop and
seven or eight assessors. She was then asked if she would submit to
the judgment of the Church on earth all that she had done and said,
specially in things that concerned her trial. She answered that she
would submit to the judgment of the Church militant, provided that it
did not enforce anything that was impossible. She explained that what
she called impossible was to acknowledge that the visions and
revelations came otherwise than from God, or that what she had done
was not on the part of God: these she would never deny or revoke for
any power on earth: and that which our Lord had commanded or should
command, she would not give up for any living man, and this would be
impossible to her. And in case the Church should command her to do
anything contrary to the command given her by God she would not do it
for any reason whatsoever. Asked whether she would submit to the
Church if the Church militant pronounced that her revelations were
delusions or from the devil, or superstitious, or evil things, she
answered that she would refer everything to our Lord, whose command
she always obeyed; and that she knew well that everything had come to
her by the commandment of God; and that what she had affirmed during
this trial to have been done by the commandment of God it would be
impossible for her to deny. And in case the Church militant commanded
her to go against God, she would submit herself to no man in this
world but to our Lord, whose good commandment she had always obeyed.
She was asked if she did not believe that she was subject to the
Church on earth, that is, to our Holy Father the Pope, the Cardinals,
Bishops, and other prelates of the Church. She answered, "/Yes, our
Lord being served first/." Asked if she had directions from her voices
not to submit to the Church militant which is on earth, nor to its
judgment, she replied that she does not answer according to what comes
into her head, but that when she replies it is by commandment; and
that she has never been told not to obey the Church, our Lord being
served first (/noster Sire premier servi/).

Other less formal particulars come to us long after, from various
witnesses at the /procès de rehabilitation/, in which a lively picture
is given of this scene. Frère Isambard had apparently managed, as was
his wont, to get close to the prisoner, and to whisper to her to
appeal to the Council of Bâle. "What is this Council of Bâle?" she
asked in the same tone. Isambard replied that it was the "congregation
of the whole Church, Catholic and Universal, and that there would be
as many there on her side as on that of the English." "Ah!" she cried,
"since there will be some of our party in that place, I will willingly
yield and submit to the Council of Bâle, to our Holy Father the Pope,
and to the sacred Council."[2] And immediately--continues the
deposition--the Bishop of Beauvais cried out, "Silence, in the devil's
name!" and told the notary to take no notice of what she said, that
she would submit herself to the Council of Bâle; whereupon a second
cry burst from the bosom of Jeanne, "You write what is against me, but
you will not write what is for me." "Because of these things, the
English and their officers threatened terribly the said Frère
Isambard, warning him that if he did not hold his peace he would be
thrown in the Seine." No notice whatever is taken of any such
interruption in the formal record. It must have been before this time
that Jean de la Fontaine disappeared. He left Rouen secretly and never
returned, nor does he ever appear again. Frère Isambard is said to
have taken temporary refuge in his convent; they scattered, /de par
l'diable/, according to the Christian adjuration of Mgr. De Beauvais;
though l'Advenu would seem to have held his ground, and served as
Confessor to Jeanne in her agony, at which Frère Isambard was also
present. We are told that the Deputy Inquisitor Lemâitre, he who had
been got to lend the aid of his presence with such difficulty,
fiercely warned the authorities that he would have no harm done to
those two friars, from which we may infer that he too had leanings
towards the Maid; and these honest and loyal men, well deserving of
their country and of mankind, should not lose their record when the
tragic story of so much human treachery and baseness has to be told.


After this there came a long pause, full of much business to the
judges, councillors, and clerks who had to reduce the seventy articles
to twelve, in order to forward a summary of the case to the University
of Paris for their judgment. Jeanne in the meantime had been left, but
not neglected, in her prison. The great Feast of Easter had passed
without any sacred consolation of the Church; but Monseigneur de
Beauvais, in his kindness, sent her a carp to keep the feast withal,
if not any spiritual food. It was quite congenial to the spirit of the
time to imagine that the carp had been poisoned, and such a thought
seems to have crossed the mind of Jeanne, who was very ill after
eating of it, and like to die. But it was not thus, poisoned in
prison, that it would have suited any of her persecutors to let her
die. As a matter of fact, as soon as it was known that she was ill,
the best doctors procurable were sent to the prison with peremptory
orders to prolong her life and cure her at any cost. But for a little
time we lose sight of the sick-bed on which the unfortunate Maid lay
fully dressed, never relinquishing the garb which was her protection,
with her feet chained to her uneasy couch. Even at the moment when her
life hung in the balance we read of no indulgence granted in this
respect, no unlocking of the infamous chain, nor substitution of a
gentler nurse for the attendant /houspillers/, who were her guards
night and day.

When the Bishop and his court had completed their business and sent
off to Paris the important document on which so much depended, they
found themselves at leisure to return to Jeanne, to inquire after her
health and to make her "a charitable admonition." It was on the 18th
of April, after the silence of more than a fortnight, that their visit
was made with this benevolent purpose. Seven of her judges attended
the Bishop into the sick-chamber. They had come, he assured her,
charitably and familiarly, to visit her in her sickness and to carry
her comfort and consolation. Most of these men were indeed familiar
enough: she had seen their faces already through many a dreadful day,
though there were one or two which were new and strange, come to stare
at her in the depths of her distress. Cauchon reminded her how much
and how carefully she had been questioned by the most wise and learned
men; and that those there present were ready to do anything for the
salvation of her soul and body in every possible way, by instructing
or advising her. He added, however, that if she still refused to
accept advice, and to act according to the counsel of the Church, she
was in the greatest danger--to which she replied:

"It seems to me, being so ill as I am, that I am in great danger of
death. And if it is thus that God pleases to decide for me, I ask of
you to be allowed to confess and receive my Saviour, and to be laid in
holy ground."

"If you desire to have the rites and sacraments of the Church," said
Cauchon, "you must do as good Catholics ought to do, submit to Holy
Church." She answered, "I can say no other thing to you." She was then
told that if she was in fear of death through sickness she ought all
the more to amend her life; but that she could not have the privileges
of the Church as a Catholic, if she did not submit to the Church. She
answered: "If my body dies in prison, I hope that you will bury me in
consecrated ground: yet if not, I still hope in our Lord."

She was then reminded that she had said in her trial--if anything had
been said or done by her against our Christian faith ordained by our
Lord, that she would not stand by it. She answered, "I refer to the
answer I made, and to our Lord."

It was then asked of her, since she believed herself to have had many
revelations from God by St. Michael, St. Catherine, and St. Margaret,
whether if there should appear some good creature (/sic/) who
professed to have had a revelation from God in respect to her, she
would believe that? She answered that there was no Christian in the
world who could come to her professing to have had a revelation, of
whom she should not know whether he spoke the truth or not: she would
know it through St. Catherine and St. Margaret.

Asked, if she could not imagine that God might reveal something to a
good creature who might be unknown to her, she answered: "Yes; but I
would not believe either man or woman without a sign."

Asked, if she believed that the Holy Scripture was revealed by God,
she answered, "You know that I do, and it is good to know."

The last answer she made in respect to submission to Holy Church was
this, "Whatever may happen to me I will neither do nor say anything
else, for I have answered before, during the trial."

She was then "exhorted powerfully by the venerable doctors present"
(four are mentioned by name) to submit to our Mother the Church, with
many authorities and examples drawn from the Holy Scriptures; and
finally, Magister Nicolas Midi made her an exhortation from Matthew
xviii.: "If your brother trespass against you," and what follows, "If
he will not hear the Church, let him be to you as a heathen man and a
publican." This was expounded to Jeanne in the French tongue and,
finally, she was told that if she would not obey and submit to the
Church she must be given up as if she was a Saracen. To which Jeanne
replied that she was a good Christian and well baptised, and that she
desired to die as a Christian. She was then asked whether, since she
begged leave of the Church to receive her Saviour, she would submit to
the Church if it were promised to her that she should receive. She
answered that she would say no more than she had said; that she loved
God, served Him, and was a good Christian, and would aid and uphold
the Holy Church with all her power. Asked if she wished that a
beautiful procession should be made for her to restore her to health,
she answered that she would be glad if the Church and the Catholics
would pray for her.

For another fortnight Jeanne was sent back into the silence, and to
her own thoughts, which must have grown heavier and heavier as the
weary days went on, and no sound of approaching deliverance came, no
rumour of help at hand. All was quiet and safe at Rouen; amid the
babble of the courtyard which she might hear fitfully when her
guardians were quieter than usual, there was not one word which
brought the hope of a French army at hand, or of any movement to
rescue her. All was silent in the world around, not a breath of hope,
not the whisper of a friend. It was not till the 2d of May that the
dreadful blank was again broken, and she was called to the great hall
of the castle for another interview with her tormentors. When she was
led into the hall it was full, as in the first sitting, sixty-three
judges in all being present. The interest had flagged or the pity had
grown as the trial dragged its slow length along; but now, when every
day the verdict was expected from Paris, the interest had risen again.
On her way from her prison to the hall, it was necessary to pass the
door of the castle chapel: and here once or twice Massieu, the officer
of the court, had permitted her to pause and kneel down as she passed.
This was all the celebration of the Paschal Feast that was permitted
to Jeanne. The compassionate official, however, was discovered in this
small service of charity, and sternly reprimanded and threatened.
Henceforward she had to pass without even a longing look through the
door at the altar on which was the holy sacrament.

She came in on the renewed sitting of the 2d May to find the assembled
priests settling themselves, after the address which had been made to
them, to hear another address which John de Chasteillon, Archdeacon,
had prepared for herself, in which he said much that was good both for
body and soul, to which she consented. He had a list of twelve
articles in his hands, and explained and expounded them to her, as
they were the occasion of the sitting. He then "admonished her in
charity," explaining that those who were faithful to Christ hold
firmly and closely to the Christian creed, and adjuring her to consent
and to amend her ways. To this Jeanne answered: "Read your book,"
meaning the schedule held by Monseigneur the Archdeacon, "and then I
will answer you. I refer myself to God my master in all things; and I
love Him with all my heart."

To read this book, however, was precisely what Monseigneur the
Archdeacon had no intention of doing. She was never allowed to hear
the twelve articles upon which the verdict against her was founded;
but the speaker gave her a long discourse by way of explanation,
following more or less the schedule which he held. This "monition
general," however, elicited no detailed reply from Jeanne, who
answered briefly with some impatience, "I refer myself to my judge,
who is the King of Heaven and earth." The "Lord Archdeacon" then
proceeded to "monitions particulares."

It was then once more explained to her that this reference to God
alone was a refusal to submit to the Church militant, and she was
instructed in the authority of the Church, which it was the duty of
every Christian to believe--/unam sanctam Ecclesiam/ always guided by
the Holy Spirit and which could not err, to the judgment of which
every question should be referred. She answered: "I believe in the
Church here below; but my doings and sayings, as I have already said,
I refer and submit to God. I believe that the Church militant cannot
err or fail; but as for my deeds and words I put them all before God,
who has made me do that which I have done"; she also said that she
submitted herself to God, her Creator, who had made her do everything,
and referred everything to Him, and to Him alone.

She was then asked, if she would have no judge on earth and if our
Holy Father the Pope were not her judge; she answered: "I will tell
you nothing more. I have a good master, that is our Lord, on whom I
depend for everything, and not an any other."

She was then told that if she would not believe the Church and the
article /Ecclesiam sanctam Catholicam/, that she might be reckoned as
a heretic and punished by burning: to which she answered: "I can say
nothing else to you; and if I saw the fire before me, I should say
only that which I say, and could do nothing else." (Once more at this
point the clerk writes on his margin, "Proud reply"--/Superba
responsio/--but whether in admiration or in blame it would be hard to

Asked, if the Council General, or the Holy Father, Cardinals, etc.,
were there--whether she would submit to them. "You shall have no
other answer from me," she said.

Asked, if she would submit to our Holy Father the Pope: she answered,
"Take me to him and I will answer him," but would say no more.

Questioned in respect to her dress, she answered, that she would
willingly accept a long dress and a woman's hood to go to church to
receive her Saviour, provided that, as she had already said, she were
allowed to wear it on that occasion only, and then to take back that
which she at present wore. Further, when it was set before her that
she wore that dress without any need, being in prison, she answered,
"When I have done that for which I was sent by God, I will then take
back a woman's dress." Asked, if she thought she did well in being
dressed like a man, she answered, "I refer every thing to our Lord."

Again, after the exhortation made to her, namely, that in saying that
she did well and did not sin in wearing that dress, and in the
circumstances which concerned her assuming and wearing it, and in
saying that God and the saints made her do so--she blasphemed, and as
is contained in this schedule, erred and did evil: she answered that
she never blasphemed God or the saints.

She was then admonished to give up that dress, and no longer to think
it was right, and to return to the garb of a woman; but answered that
she would make no change in this respect.

Concerning her revelations: she replied in regard to them, that she
referred everything to her judge, that is God, and that her
revelations were from God, without any other medium.

Asked concerning the sign given to the King if she would refer to the
Archbishop of Rheims, the Sire de Boussac, Charles de Bourbon, La
Tremouille, and La Hire, to them or to any one of them, who, according
to what she formerly said, had seen the crown, and were present when
the angel brought it, and gave it to the Archbishop; or if she would
refer to any others of her party who might write under their seals
that it was so; she answered, "Send a messenger, and I will write to
them about the whole trial": but otherwise she was not disposed to
refer to them.

In respect to her presumption in divining the future, etc., she
answered, "I refer everything to my judge who is God, and to what I
have already answered, which is written in the book."

Asked, if two or three or four knights of her party were to be brought
here under a safe conduct, whether she would refer to them her
apparitions and other things contained in this trial; answered, "Let
them come and then I will answer:" but otherwise she was not willing
to refer to anyone.

Asked whether, at the Church of Poitiers where she was examined, she
had submitted to the Church, she answered, "Do you hope to catch me in
this way, and by that draw advantage to yourselves?"

In conclusion, "afresh and abundantly," she was admonished to submit
herself to the Church, on pain of being abandoned by the Church; for
if the Church left her she would be in great danger of body and of
soul; and she might well put herself in peril of eternal fire for the
soul, as well as of temporal fire for the body, by the sentence of
other judges. "You will not do this which you say against me, without
doing injury to your own bodies and souls," she said.

Asked, whether she could give a reason why she would not submit to the
Church: but to this she would make no additional reply.

Again a week passed in busy talk and consultation without, in silence
and desertion within. On the 9th of May the prisoner was again led,
this time to the great tower, apparently the torture chamber of the
castle, where she found nine of her judges awaiting her, and was once
more adjured to speak the truth, with the threat of torture if she
continued to refuse. Never was her attitude more calm, more dignified
and lofty in its simplicity, than at this grim moment.

"Truly," she replied, "if you tear the limbs from my body, and my soul
out of it, I can say nothing other than what I have said; or if I said
anything different, I should afterwards say that you had compelled me
to do it by force." She added that on the day of the Holy Cross, the
3d of May past, she had been comforted by St. Gabriel. She believed
that it was St. Gabriel: and she knew by her voices that it was St.
Gabriel. She had asked counsel of her voices whether she should submit
to the Church, because the priests pressed her so strongly to submit:
but it had been said to her that if she desired our Lord to help her
she must depend upon Him for everything. She added that she knew well
that our Lord had always been the master of all she did, and that the
Enemy had nothing to do with her deeds. Also she had asked her voices
if she should be burned, and the said voices had replied to her that
she was to wait for the Lord and He would help her.

Afterwards in respect to the crown which had been handed by the angel
to the Archbishop of Rheims, she was asked if she would refer to him.
She answered: "Bring him here, that I may hear what he says, and then
I shall answer you; he will not dare to say the contrary of that which
I have said to you."

The Archbishop of Rheims had been her constant enemy; all the
hindrances that had occurred in her active life, and the constant
attempts made to balk her even in her brief moment of triumph, came
from him and his associate La Trémouille. He was the last person in
the world to whom Jeanne naturally would have appealed. Perhaps that
was the admirable reason why he was suggested in this dreadful crisis
of her fate.

A few days later, it was discussed among those dark inquisitors
whether the torture should be applied or not. Finally, among thirteen
there were but two (let not the voice of sacred vengeance be silent on
their shame though after four centuries and more), Thomas de
Courcelles, first of theologians, cleverest of ecclesiastical lawyers,
mildest of men, and Nicolas L'Oyseleur, the spy and traitor, who voted
for the torture. One man most reasonably asked why she should be put
to torture when they had ample material for judgment without it? One
cannot but feel that the proceedings on this occasion were either
intended to beguile the impatience of the English authorities, eager
to be done with the whole business, or to add a quite gratuitous pang
to the sufferings of the heroic girl. As the men were not devils,
though probably possessed by this time, the more cruel among them, by
the horrible curiosity, innate alas! in human nature, of seeing how
far a suffering soul could go, it is probable that the first motive
was the true one. The English, Warwick especially, whose every
movement was restrained by this long-pending affair, were exceedingly
impatient, and tempted at times to take the matter into their own
hands, and spoil the perfectness of this well constructed work of art,
conducted according to all the rules, the beautiful trial which was
dear to the Bishop's heart--and destined to be, though perhaps in a
sense somewhat different to that which he hoped, his chief title to

Ten days after, the decision of the University of Paris arrived, and a
great assembly of counsellors, fifty-one in all, besides the permanent
presidents, collected together in the chapel of the Archbishop's
house, to hear that document read, along with many other documents,
the individual opinions of a host of doctors and eminent authorities.
After an explanation of the solemn care given by the University to the
consideration of every one of the twelve articles of the indictment,
that learned tribunal pronounced its verdict upon each. The length of
the proceedings makes it impossible to reproduce these. First as to
the early revelations given to Jeanne, described in the first and
second articles, they are denounced as "murderous, seductive, and
pernicious fictions," the apparitions those of "malignant spirits and
devils, Belial, Satan, and Behemoth." The third article, which
concerned her recognition of the saints, was described more mildly as
containing errors in faith; the fourth, as to her knowledge of future
events, was characterised as "superstitious and presumptuous
divination." The fifth, concerning her dress, declared her to be
"blasphemous and contemptuous of God in His Sacraments." The sixth, by
which she was accused of loving bloodshed, because she made war
against those who did not obey the summons in her letters bearing the
name Jhesus Maria, was declared to prove that she was cruel, "seeking
the shedding of blood, seditious, and a blasphemer of God." The tenor
is the same to the end: Blasphemy, superstition, pernicious doctrine,
impiety, cruelty, presumption, lying; a schismatic, a heretic, an
apostate, an idolator, an invoker of demons. These are the conclusions
drawn by the most solemn and weighty tribunal on matters of faith in
France. The precautions taken to procure a full and trustworthy
judgment, the appeal to each section in turn, the Faculty of Theology,
the Faculty of Law, the "Nations," all separately and than all
together passing every item in review--are set forth at full length.
Every formality had been fulfilled, every rule followed, every detail
was in the fullest order, signed and sealed and attested by solemn
notaries, bristling with well-known names. A beautiful judgment, equal
to the trial, which was beautiful too--not a rule omitted except those
of justice, fairness, and truth! The doctors sat and listened with
every fine professional sense satisfied.

"If the beforesaid woman, charitably exhorted and admonished by
competent judges, does not return spontaneously to the Catholic
faith, publicly abjure her errors, and give full satisfaction to
her judges, she is hereby given up to the secular judge to receive
the reward of her deeds."

The attendant judges, each in his place, now added their adhesion.
Most of them simply stated their agreement with the judgment of the
University, or with that of the Bishop of Fecamp, which was a similar
tenor; a few wished that Jeanne should be again "charitably
admonished"; many desired that on this selfsame day the final sentence
should be pronounced. One among them, a certain Raoul Sauvage
(Radulphus Silvestris), suggested that she should be brought before
the people in a public place, a suggestion afterwards carried out.
Frère Isambard desired that she should be charitably admonished again
and have another chance, and that her final fate should still be in
the hands of "us her judges." The conclusion was that one more
"charitable admonition" should be given to Jeanne, and that the law
should then take its course. The suggestion that she should make a
public appearance had only one supporter.

This dark scene in the chapel is very notable, each man rising to
pronounce what was in reality a sentence of death,--fifty of them
almost unanimous, filled no doubt with a hundred different motives, to
please this man or that, to win favour, to get into the way of
promotion,--but all with a distinct consciousness of the great yet
horrible spectacle, the stake, the burning:--though perhaps here and
there was one with a hope that perpetual imprisonment, bread of sorrow
and water of anguish, might be substituted for that terrible death.
Finally, it was decided that--always on the side of mercy, as every
act proved--the tribunal should once more "charitably admonish" the
prisoner for the salvation of her soul and body, and that after all
this "good deliberation and wholesome counsel" the case should be

Again there follows a pause of four days. No doubt the Bishop and his
assessors had other things to do, their ecclesiastical functions,
their private business, which could not always be put aside because
one forsaken soul was held in suspense day after day. Finally on the
24th of May, Jeanne again received in her prison a dignified company,
some quite new and strange to her (indeed the idea may cross the
reader's mind that it was perhaps to show off the interesting prisoner
to two new and powerful bishops, the first, Louis of Luxembourg, a
relative of her first captor, that this last examination was held),
nine men in all, crowding her chamber--/exponuntur Johannæ defectus
sui/, says the record--to expound to Jeanne her faults. It was
Magister Peter Morice to whom this office was confided. Once more the
"schedule" was gone over, and an address delivered laden with all the
bad words of the University. "Jeanne, dearest friend," said the orator
at last, "it is now time, at the end of the trial, to think well what
words these are." She would seem to have spoken during this address,
at least once--to say that she held to everything she had said during
the trial. When Morice had finished she was once more questioned

She was asked if she still thought and believed that it was not her
duty to submit her deeds and words to the Church militant, or to any
other except God, upon which she replied, "What I have always said and
held to during the trial, I maintain to this moment"; and added that
if she were in judgment and saw the fire lighted, the faggots burning,
and the executioner ready to rake the fire, and she herself within the
fire, she could say nothing else, but would sustain what she had said
in her trial, to death.

Once more the scribe has written on his margin the words /Responsio
Johannæ superba/--the proud answer of Jeanne. Her raised head, her
expanded breast, something of a splendour of indignation about her,
must have moved the man, thus for the third time to send down to us
his distinctly human impression of the worn out prisoner before her
judges. "And immediately the promoter and she refusing to say more,
the cause was concluded," says the record, so formal, sustained within
such purely abstract limits, yet here and there with a sort of throb
and reverberation of the mortal encounter. From the lips of the
Inquisitor too all words seemed to have been taken. It is as when amid
the excited crowd in the Temple the officers of the Pharisees
approaching to lay hands on a greater than Jeanne, fell back, not
knowing why, and could not do their office. This man was silenced
also. Two bishops were present, and one a great man full of patronage;
but not for the richest living in Normandy could Peter Morice find any
more to say.

These are in one sense the words of Jeanne; the last we have from her
in her prison, the last of her consistent and unbroken life. After,
there was a deeper horror to go through, a moment when all her forces
failed. Here on the verge of eternity she stands heroic and
unyielding, brave, calm, and steadfast as at the outset of her career,
the Maid of France. Were the fires lighted and the faggots burning,
and she herself within the fire, she had no other word to say.
[1] It is correct in French to use the second person plural in
addressing God, /thou/ being a more intimate and less respectful
form of speech. Such a difference is difficult to remember, and
troubles the ear. The French, even those who ought to know better,
sometimes speak of it as a supreme profanity on the part of the
profane English, that they address God as /thou/.

[2] The French report goes on, "et requiert ----," but no more. It is
not in the Latin. The scribe was stopped by the Bishop's profane
outcry, and forbidden to register the fact she was about to make a
direct appeal to the Pope.


MAY 24, 1431.

On the 23d of May Jeanne was taken back to her prison attended by the
officer of the court, Massieu, her frame still thrilling, her heart
still high, with that great note of constancy yet defiance. She had
been no doubt strongly excited, the commotion within her growing with
every repetition of these scenes, each one of which promised to be the
last. And the fire and the stake and the executioner had come very
near to her; no doubt a whole murmuring world of rumour, of strange
information about herself, never long inaudible, never heard outside
of the Castle of Rouen, rose half-comprehended from the echoing
courtyard outside and the babble of her guards within. She would hear
even as she was conveyed along the echoing stone passages something
here and there of the popular expectation:--a burning! the wonderful
unheard of sight, which by hook or by crook everyone must see; and no
doubt among the English talk she might now be able to make out
something concerning this long business which had retarded all warlike
proceedings but which would soon be over now, and the witch burnt.
There must have been some, even among those rude companions, who would
be sorry, who would feel that she was no witch, yet be helpless to do
anything for her, any more than Massieu could, or Frère Isambard: and
if it was all for the sake of certain words to be said, was the wench
mad? would it not be better to say anything, to give up anything
rather than be burned at the stake? Jeanne, notwithstanding the
wonderful courage of her last speech, must have returned to her cell
with small illusion possible to her intelligent spirit. The stake had
indeed come very near, the flames already dazzled her eyes, she must
have felt her slender form shrink together at the thought. All that
long night, through the early daylight of the May morning did she lie
and ponder, as for far less reasons so many of us have pondered as we
lay wakeful through those morning watches. God's promises are great,
but where is the fulfilment? We ask for bread and he gives us, if not
a stone, yet something which we cannot realise to be bread till after
many days. Jeanne's voices had never paused in their pledge to her of
succour. "Speak boldly, God will help you--fear nothing"; there would
be aid for her before three months, and great victory. They went on
saying so, though the stake was already being raised. What did they
mean? what did they mean? Could she still trust them? or was it
possible ----?

Her heart was like to break. At their word she would have faced the
fire. She meant to do so now, notwithstanding the terrible, the
heartrending ache of hope that was still in her. But they did not give
her that heroic command. Still and always, they said God will help
you, our Lord will stand by you. What did that mean? It must mean
deliverance, deliverance! What else could it mean? If she held her
head high as she returned to the horrible monotony of that prison so
often left with hope, so often re-entered in sadness, it must soon
have dropped upon her tired bosom. Slowly the clouds had settled round
her. Over and over again had she affirmed them to be true--these
voices that had guided her steps and led her to victory. And they had
promised her the aid of God if she went forward boldly, and spoke and
did not fear. But now every way of salvation was closing; all around
her were fierce soldiers thirsting for her blood, smooth priests who
admonished her in charity, threatening her with eternal fire for the
soul, temporal fire for the body. She felt that fire, already blowing
towards her as if on the breath of the evening wind, and her girlish
flesh shrank. Was that what the voices had called deliverance? was
that the grand victory, the aid of the Lord?

It may well be imagined that Jeanne slept but little that night; she
had reached the lowest depths; her soul had begun to lose itself in
bitterness, in the horror of a doubt. The atmosphere of her prison
became intolerable, and the noise of her guards keeping up their rough
jests half through the night, their stamping and clamour, and the
clang of their arms when relieved. Early next morning a party of her
usual visitors came in upon her to give her fresh instruction and
advice. Something new was about to happen to-day. She was to be led
forth, to breathe the air of heaven, to confront the people, the
raging sea of men's faces, all the unknown world about her. The crowd
had never been unfriendly to Jeanne. It had closed about her, almost
wherever she was visible, with sweet applause and outcries of joy.
Perhaps a little hope stirred her heart in the thought of being
surrounded once more by the common folk, though probably it did not
occur to her to think of these Norman strangers as her own people. And
a great day was before her, a day in which something might still be
done, in which deliverance might yet come. L'Oyseleur, who was one of
her visitors, adjured her now to change her conduct, to accept
whatever means of salvation might be offered to her. There was no
longer any mention of Pope or Council, but only of the Church to which
she ought to yield. How it was that he preserved his influence over
her, having been proved to be a member of the tribunal that judged
her, and not a fellow-prisoner, nor a fellow-countryman, nor any of
the things he had professed to be, no once can tell us; but evidently
he had managed to do so. Jeanne would seem to have received him
without signs of repulsion or displeasure. Indeed she seems to have
been ready to hear anyone, to believe in those who professed to wish
her well, even when she did not follow their counsel.

It would require, however, no great persuasion on L'Oyseleur's part to
convince her that this was a more than usually important day, and that
something decisive must be done, now or never. Why should she be so
determined to resist her only chance of safety? If she were but
delivered from the hands of the English, safe in the gentler keeping
of the Church, there would be time to think of everything, even to
make her peace with her voices who would surely understand if, for the
saving of her life, and out of terror for the dreadful fire, she
abandoned them for a moment. She had disobeyed them at Beaurevoir and
they had forgiven. One faltering word now, a mark of her hand upon a
paper, and she would be safe--even if still all they said was true;
and if indeed and in fact, after buoying her up from day to day, such
a dreadful thing might be as that they were not true ----

The traitor was at her ear whispering; the cold chill of
disappointment, of disillusion, of sickening doubt was in her heart.

Then there came into the prison a better man than L'Oyseleur, Jean
Beaupère, her questioner in the public trial, the representative of
all these notabilities. What he said was spoken with authority and he
came in all seriousness, may not we believe in some kindness too? to
warn her. He came with permission of the Bishop, no stealthy visitor.
"Jean Beaupère entered alone into the prison of the said Jeanne by
permission, and advertised her that she would straightway be taken to
the scaffold to be addressed (/pour y être preschée/), and that if she
was a good Christian she would on that scaffold place all her acts and
words under the jurisdiction of our Holy Mother, the Church, and
specially of the ecclesiastical judges." "Accept the woman's dress and
do all that you are told," her other adviser had said. When the car
that was to convey her came to the prison doors, L'Oyseleur
accompanied her, no doubt with a show of supporting her to the end.
What a change from the confined and gloomy prison to the dazzling
clearness of the May daylight, the air, the murmuring streets, the
throng that gazed and shouted and followed! Life that had run so low
in the prisoner's veins must have bounded up within her in response to
that sunshine and open sky, and movement and sound of existence--
summer weather too, and everything softened in the medium of that soft
breathing air, sound and sensation and hope. She had been three months
in her prison. As the charrette rumbled along the roughly paved
streets drawing all those crowds after it, a strange object appeared
to Jeanne's eyes in the midst of the market-place, a lofty scaffold
with a stake upon it, rising over the heads of the crowd, the logs all
arranged ready for the fire, a car waiting below with four horses, to
bring hither the victim. The place of sacrifice was ready, everything
arranged--for whom? for her? They drove her noisily past that she
might see the preparations. It was all ready; and where then was the
great victory, the deliverance in which she had believed?

In front of the beautiful gates of St. Ouen there was a different
scene. That stately church was surrounded then by a churchyard, a
great open space, which afforded room for a very large assembly. In
this were erected two platforms, one facing the other. On the first
sat the court of judges in number about forty, Cardinal Winchester
having a place by the side of Monseigneur de Beauvais, the president,
with several other bishops and dignified ecclesiastics. Opposite, on
the other platform, were a pulpit and a place for the accused, to
which Jeanne was conducted by Massieu, who never left her, and
L'Oyseleur, who kept as near as he could, the rest of the platform
being immediately covered by lawyers, doctors, all the camp followers,
so to speak, of the black army, who could find footing there. Jeanne
was in her usual male dress, the doublet and hose, with her short-
clipped hair--no doubt looking like a slim boy among all this dark
crowd of men. The people swayed like a sea all about and around--the
throng which had gathered in her progress through the streets pushing
out the crowd already assembled with a movement like the waves of the
sea. Every step of the trial all through had been attended by
preaching, by discourses and reasoning and admonishments, charitable
and otherwise. Now she was to be "preached" for the last time.

It was Doctor Guillaume Érard who ascended the pulpit, a great
preacher, one whom the "copious multitude" ran after and were eager to
hear. He himself had not been disposed to accept this office, but no
doubt, set up there on that height before the eyes of all the people,
he thought of his own reputation, and of the great audience, and
Winchester the more than king, the great English Prince, the
wealthiest and most influential of men. The preacher took his text
from a verse in St. John's Gospel: "A branch cannot bear fruit except
it remain in the vine." The centre circle containing the two platforms
was surrounded by a close ring of English soldiers, understanding none
of it, and anxious only that the witch should be condemned.

It was in this strange and crowded scene that the sermon which was
long and eloquent began. When it was half over, in one of his fine
periods admired by all the people, the preacher, after heaping every
reproach upon the head of Jeanne, suddenly turned to apostrophise the
House of France, and the head of that House, "Charles who calls
himself King." "He has," cried the preacher, stimulated no doubt by
the eye of Winchester upon him, "adhered, like a schismatic and
heretical person as he is, to the words and acts of a useless woman,
disgraced and full of dishonour; and not he only, but the clergy who
are under his sway, and the nobility. This guilt is thine, Jeanne, and
to thee I say that thy King is a schismatic and a heretic."

In the full flood of his oratory the preacher was arrested here by
that clear voice that had so often made itself heard through the
tumult of battle. Jeanne could bear much, but not this. She was used
to abuse in her own person, but all her spirit came back at this
assault on her King. And interruption to a sermon has always a
dramatic and startling effect, but when that voice arose now, when the
startled speaker stopped, and every dulled attention revived, it is
easy to imagine what a stir, what a wonderful, sudden sensation must
have arisen in the midst of the crowd. "By my faith, sire," cried
Jeanne, "saving your respect, I swear upon my life that my King is the
most noble Christian of all Christians, that he is not what you say."

The sermon, however, was resumed after this interruption. And finally
the preacher turned to Jeanne, who had subsided from that start of
animation, and was again the subdued and silent prisoner, her heart
overwhelmed with many heavy thoughts. "Here," said Èrard, "are my
lords the judges who have so often summoned and required of you to
submit your acts and words to our Holy Mother the Church; because in
these acts and words there are many things which it seemed to the
clergy were not good either to say or to sustain."

To which she replied (we quote again from the formal records), "I will
answer you." And as to her submission to the Church she said: "I have
told them on that point that all the works which I have done and said
may be sent to Rome, to our Holy Father the Pope, to whom, but to God
first, I refer in all. And as for my acts and words I have done all on
the part of God." She also said that no one was to blame for her acts
and words, neither her King nor any other; and if there were faults in
them, the blame was hers and no other's.

Asked, if she would renounce all that she had done wrong; answered, "I
refer everything to God and to our Holy Father the Pope."

It was then told her that this was not enough, and that our Holy
Father was too far off; also that the Ordinaries were judges each in
his diocese, and it was necessary that she should submit to our Mother
the Holy Church, and that she should confess that the clergy and
officers of the Church had a right to determine in her case. And of
this she was admonished three times.

After this the Bishop began to read the definitive sentence. When a
great part of it was read, Jeanne began to speak and said that she
would hold to all that the judges and the Church said, and obey in
everything their ordinance and will. And there in the presence of the
above-named and of the great multitude assembled she made her
abjuration in the manner that follows:

And she said several times that since the Church said her apparitions
and revelations should not be sustained or believed, she would not
sustain them; but in everything submit to the judges and to our Mother
the Holy Church.


In this strange, brief, subdued manner is the formal record made.
Manchon writes on his margin: /At the end of the sentence Jeanne,
fearing the fire, said she would obey the Church/. Even into the bare
legal document there comes a hush as of awe, the one voice responding
in the silence of the crowd, with a quiver in it; the very animation
of the previous outcry enhancing the effect of this low and faltering
submission, /timens igneum/--in fear of the fire.

The more familiar record, and the recollections long after of those
eye-witnesses, give us another version of the scene. Èrard, from his
pulpit, read the form of abjuration prepared. But Jeanne answered that
she did not know what abjuration meant, and the preacher called upon
Massieu to explain it to her. "And he" (we quote from his own
deposition), "after excusing himself, said that it meant this: that if
she opposed the said articles she would be burnt; but he advised her
to refer it to the Church universal whether she should abjure or not.
Which thing she did, saying to Èrard, 'I refer to the Church universal
whether I should abjure or not.' To which Èrard answered, 'You shall
abjure at once or you will be burnt.' Massieu gives further
particulars in another part of the Rehabilitation process. Èrard, he
says, asked what he was saying to the prisoner, and he answered that
she would sign if the schedule was read to her; but Jeanne said that
she could not write, and then added that she wished it to be decided
by the Church, and ought not to sign unless that was done: and also
required that she should be placed in the custody of the Church, and
freed from the hands of the English. The same Èrard answered that
there had been ample delay, and that if she did not sign at once she
should be burned, and forbade Massieu to say any more."

Meanwhile many cries and entreaties came, as far as they dared, from
the crowd. Some one, in the excitement of the moment, would seem to
have promised that she should be transferred to the custody of the
Church. "Jeanne, why will you die? Jeanne, will you not save
yourself?" was called to her by many a bystander. The girl stood fast,
but her heart failed her in this terrible climax of her suffering.
Once she called out over their heads, "All that I did was done for
good, and it was well to do it:"--her last cry. Then she would seem to
have recovered in some measure her composure. Probably her agitated
brain was unable to understand the formula of recantation which was
read to her amid all the increasing noises of the crowd, but she had a
vague faith in the condition she had herself stated, that the paper
should be submitted to the Church, and that she should at once be
transferred to an ecclesiastical prison. Other suggestions are made,
namely, that it was a very short document upon which she hastily in
her despair made a cross, and that it was a long one, consisting of
several pages, which was shown afterwards with /Jehanne/ scribbled
underneath. "In fact," says Massieu, "she abjured and made a cross
with the pen which the witness handed to her:" he, if any one must
have known exactly what happened.

No doubt all this would be imperfectly heard on the other platform.
But the agitation must have been visible enough, the spectators
closing round the young figure in the midst, the pleadings, the
appeals, seconded by many a cry from the crowd. Such a small matter to
risk her young life for! "Sign, sign; why should you die!" Cauchon had
gone on reading the sentence, half through the struggle. He had two
sentences all ready, two courses of procedure, cut and dry: either to
absolve her--which meant condemning her to perpetual imprisonment on
bread and water: or to carry her off at once to the stake. The English
were impatient for the last. It is a horrible thing to acknowledge,
but it is evidently true. They had never wished to play with her as a
cat with a mouse, as her learned countrymen had done those three
months past; they had desired at once to get her out of their way. But
the idea of her perpetual imprisonment did not please them at all; the
risk of such a prisoner was more than they chose to encounter.
Nevertheless there are some things a churchman cannot do. When it was
seen that Jeanne had yielded, that she had put her mark to something
on a paper flourished forth in somebody's hand in the sunshine, the
Bishop turned to the Cardinal on his right hand, and asked what he was
to do? There was but one answer possible to Winchester, had he been
English and Jeanne's natural enemy ten times over. To admit her to
penitence was the only practicable way.

Here arises a great question, already referred to, as to what it was
that Jeanne signed. She could not write, she could only put her cross
on the document hurriedly read to her, amid the confusion and the
murmurs of the crowd. The /cédule/ to which she put her sign
"contained eight lines:" what she is reported to have signed is three
pages long, and full of detail. Massieu declares certainly that this
(the abjuration published) was not the one of which mention is made in
the trial; "for the one read by the deponent and signed by the said
Jeanne was quite different." This would seem to prove the fact that a
much enlarged version of an act of abjuration, in its original form
strictly confined to the necessary points and expressed in few words--
was afterwards published as that bearing the sign of the penitent. Her
own admissions, as will be seen, are of the scantiest, scarcely enough
to tell as an abjuration at all.

When the shouts of the people proved that this great step had been
taken, and Winchester had signified his conviction that the penitence
must be accepted, Cauchon replaced one sentence by another and
pronounced the prisoner's fate. "Seeing that thou hast returned to the
bosom of the Church by the grace of God, and hast revoked and denied
all thy errors, we, the Bishop aforesaid, commit thee to perpetual
prison, with the bread of sorrow and water of anguish, to purge thy
soul by solitary penitence." Whether the words reached her over all
those crowding heads, or whether they were reported to her, or what
Jeanne expected to follow standing there upon her platform, more
shamed and downcast than through all her trial, no one can tell. There
seems even to have been a moment of uncertainty among the officials.
Some of them congratulated Jeanne, L'Oyseleur for one pressing forward
to say, "You have done a good day's work, you have saved your soul."
She herself, excited and anxious, desired eagerly to know where she
was not to go. She would seem for the moment to have accepted the fact
of her perpetual imprisonment with complete faith and content. It
meant to her instant relief from her hideous prison-house, and she
could not contain her impatience and eagerness. "People of the Church
--/gens de' Église/--lead me to your prison; let me be no longer in
the hands of the English," she cried with feverish anxiety. To gain
this point, to escape the irons and the dreadful durance which she had
suffered so long, was all her thought. The men about her could not
answer this appeal. Some of them no doubt knew very well what the
answer must be, and some must have seen the angry looks and stern
exclamation which Warwick addressed to Cauchon, deceived like Jeanne
by this unsatisfactory conclusion, and the stir among the soldiers at
sight of his displeasure. But perhaps flurried by all that had
happened, perhaps hoping to strengthen the victim in her moment of
hope, some of them hurried across to the Bishop to ask where they were
to take her. One of these was Pierre Miger, friar of Longueville.
Where was she to be taken? In Winchester's hearing, perhaps in
Warwick's, what a question to put! An English bishop, says this
witness turned to him angrily and said to Cauchon that this was a
"fauteur de ladite Jeanne," "/this fellow was also one of them/."
Miger excused himself in alarm as St. Peter did before him, and
Cauchon turning upon him commanded grimly that she should be taken
back whence she came. Thus ended the last hope of the Maid. Her
abjuration, which by no just title could be called an abjuration, had
been in vain.

Jeanne was taken back, dismayed and miserable, to the prison which she
had perilled her soul to escape. It was very little she had done in
reality, and at that moment she could scarcely yet have realised what
she had done, except that it had failed. At the end of so long and
bitter a struggle she had thrown down her arms--but for what? to
escape those horrible gaolers and that accursed room with its ear of
Dionysius, its Judas hole in the wall. The bitterness of the going
back was beyond words. We hear of no word that she said when she
realised the hideous fact that nothing was changed for her; the bitter
waters closed over her head. Again the chains to be locked and double
locked that bound her to her dreadful bed, again the presence of those
men who must have been all the more odious to her from the momentary
hope that she had got free from them for ever.

The same afternoon the Vicar-Inquisitor, who had never been hard upon
her, accompanied by Nicole Midi, by the young seraphic doctor,
Courcelles, and L'Oyseleur, along with various other ecclesiastical
persons, visited her prison. The Inquisitor congratulated and almost
blessed her, sermonising as usual, but briefly and not ungently,
though with a word of warning that should she change her mind and
return to her evil ways there would be no further place for
repentance. As a return for the mercy and clemency of the Church, he
required her immediately to put on the female dress which his
attendants had brought. There is something almost ludicrous, could we
forget the tragedy to follow, in the bundle of humble clothing brought
by such exalted personages, with the solemnity which became a thing
upon which hung the issues of life or death. Jeanne replied with the
humility of a broken spirit. "I take them willingly," she said, "and
in everything I will obey the Church." Then silence closed upon her,
the horrible silence of the prison, full of hidden listeners and of
watching eyes.

Meantime there was great discontent and strife of tongues outside. It
was said that many even of the doctors who condemned her would fain
have seen Jeanne removed to some less dangerous prison: but
Monseigneur de Beauvais had to hold head against the great English
authorities who were out of all patience, fearing that the witch might
still slip through their fingers and by her spells and incantations
make the heart of the troops melt once more within them. If the mind
of the Church had been as charitable as it professed to be, I doubt if
all the power of Rome could have got the Maid now out of the English
grip. They were exasperated, and felt that they too, as well as the
prisoner, had been played with. But the Bishop had good hope in his
mind, still to be able to content his patrons. Jeanne had abjured, it
was true, but the more he inquired into that act, the less secure he
must have felt about it. And she might relapse; and if she relapsed
there would be no longer any place for repentance. And it is evident
that his confidence in the power of the clothes was boundless. In any
case a few days more would make all clear.

They did not have many days to wait. There are two, to all appearance,
well-authenticated stories of the cause of Jeanne's "relapse." One
account is given by Frère Isambard, whom she told in the presence of
several others, that she had been assaulted in her cell by a /Millourt
Anglois/, and barbarously used, and in self-defence had resumed again
the man's dress which had been left in her cell. The story of Massieu
is different: To him Jeanne explained that when she asked to be
released from her bed on the morning of Trinity Sunday, her guards
took away her female dress which she was wearing, and emptied the sack
containing the other upon her bed. She appealed to them, reminding
them that these were forbidden to her; but got no answer except a
brutal order to get up. It is very probable that both stories are
true. Frère Isambard found her weeping and agitated, and nothing is
more probable than this was the occasion on which Warwick heard her
cries, and interfered to save her. Massieu's version, of which he is
certain, was communicated to him a day or two after when they happened
to be alone together. It was on the Thursday before Trinity Sunday
that she put on the female dress, but it would seem that rumours on
the subject of a relapse had begun to spread even before the Sunday on
which that event happened: and Beaupère and Midi were sent by the
Bishop to investigate. But they were very ill-received in the Castle,
sworn at by the guards, and forced to go back without seeing Jeanne,
there being as yet, it appeared, nothing to see. On the morning of the
Monday, however, the rumours arose with greater force; and no doubt
secret messages must have informed the Bishop that the hoped-for
relapse had taken place. He set out himself accordingly, accompanied
by the Vicar-Inquisitor and attended by eight of the familiar names so
often quoted, triumphant, important, no doubt with much show of
pompous solemnity, to find out for himself. The Castle was all in
excitement, report and gossip already busy with the new event so
trifling, so all-important. There was no idea now of turning back the
visitors. The prison doors were eagerly thrown open, and there indeed
once more, in her tunic and hose, was Jeanne, whom they had left four
days before painfully contemplating the garments they had given her,
and humbly promising obedience. The men burst in upon her with an
outcry of astonishment. What she had changed her dress again? "Yes,"
she replied, "she had resumed the costume of a man." There was no
triumph in what she said, but rather a subdued tone of sadness, as of
one who in the most desperate strait has taken her resolution and must
abide by it, whether she likes it or not. She was asked why she had
resumed that dress, and who had made her do so. There was no question
of anything else at first. The tunic and /gippon/ were at once enough
to decide her fate.

She answered that she had done it by her own will, no one influencing
her to do so; and that she preferred the dress of a man to that of a

She was reminded that she had promised and sworn not to resume the
dress of a man. She answered that she was not aware she had ever sworn
or had made any such oath.

She was asked why she had done it. She answered that it was more
lawful to wear a man's dress among men, than the dress of a woman; and
also that she had taken it back because the promise made to her had
not been kept, that she should hear the mass, and receive her Saviour,
and be delivered from her irons.

She was asked if she had not abjured that dress, and sworn not to
resume it. She answered that she would rather die than be left in
irons; but if they would allow her to go to mass and take her out of
her irons and put her in a gracious prison, and a woman with her, she
would be good, and do whatever the Church pleased.

She was then asked suddenly, as if there had been no condemnation of
her voices as lying fables, whether since Thursday she had heard them
again. To this she answered, recovering a little courage, "Yes."

She was asked what they said to her; she answered that they said God
had made known to her by St. Catherine and St. Margaret the great pity
there was of the treason to which she had consented by making
abjuration and revocation in order to save her life: and that she had
earned damnation for herself to save her life. Also that before
Thursday her voices had told her that she should do what she did that
day, that on the scaffold they had told her to answer the preachers
boldly, and that this preacher whom she called a false preacher had
accused her of many things she never did. She also added that if she
said God had not sent her she would damn herself, for true it was that
God had sent her. Also that her voices had told her since, that she
had done a great sin in confessing that she had sinned; but that for
fear of the fire she had said that which she had said.

She was asked (all over again) if she believed that these voices were
those of St. Catherine and St. Margaret. She answered, Yes, they were
so; and from God. And as for what had been said to her on the scaffold
that she had spoken lies and boasted concerning St. Catherine and St.
Margaret, she had not intended any such thing. Also she said that she
never intended to deny her apparitions, or to say that they were not
St. Catherine and St. Margaret. All that she had done was in fear of
the fire, and she had denied nothing but what was contrary to truth;
and she said that she would like better to make her penitence all at
one time--that is to say, in dying, than to endure a long penitence in
prison. Also that she had never done anything against God or the faith
whatever they might have made her say; and that for what was in the
schedule of the abjuration she did not know what it was. Also she said
that she never intended to revoke anything so long as it pleased our
Lord. At the end she said that if her judges would have her do so, she
might put on again her female dress; but for the rest she would do no

"What need we any further witness; for we ourselves have heard of his
own mouth." Jeanne's protracted, broken, yet continuous apology and
defence, overawed her judges; they do not seem to have interrupted it
with questions. It was enough and more than enough. She had relapsed;
the end of all things had come, the will of her enemies could now be
accomplished. No one could say she had not had full justice done her;
every formality had been fulfilled, every lingering formula carried
out. Now there was but one thing before her, whose sad young voice
with many pauses thus sighed forth its last utterance; and for her
judges, one last spectacle to prepare, and the work to complete which
it had taken them three long months to do.


MAY 31, 1431.

It is not necessary to be a good man in order to divine what in
certain circumstances a good and pure spirit will do. The Bishop of
Beauvais had entertained no doubt as to what would happen. He knew
exactly, with a perspicuity creditable to his perceptions at least,
that, notwithstanding the effect which his theatrical /mise en scène/
had produced upon the imagination of Jeanne, no power in heaven or
earth would induce that young soul to content itself with a lie. He
knew it, though lies were his daily bread; the children of this world
are wiser in their generation than the children of light. He had
bidden his English patrons to wait a little, and now his predictions
were triumphantly fulfilled. It is hard to believe of any man that on
such a certainty he could have calculated and laid his devilish plans;
but there would seem to have existed in the mediæval churchman a
certain horrible thirst for the blood of a relapsed heretic which was
peculiar to their age and profession, and which no better principle in
their own minds could subdue. It was their appetite, their delight of
sensation, in distinction from the other appetites perhaps scarcely
less cruel which other men indulged with no such horrified
denunciation from the rest of the world. Others, it is evident, shared
with Cauchon that sharp sensation of dreadful pleasure in finding her
out; young Courcelles, so modest and unassuming and so learned, among
the rest; not L'Oyseleur, it appears by the sequel. That Judas, like
the greater traitor, was struck to the heart; but the less bad man who
had only persecuted, not betrayed, stood high in superior virtue, and
only rejoiced that at last the victim was ready to drop into the
flames which had been so carefully prepared.

The next morning, Tuesday after Trinity Sunday, the witnesses hurried
with their news to the quickly summoned assembly in the chapel of the
Archbishop's house; thirty-three of the judges, having been hastily
called together, were there to hear. Jeanne had relapsed; the sinner
escaped had been re-caught; and what was now to be done? One by one
each man rose again and gave his verdict. Once more Egidius, Abbot of
Fécamp, led the tide of opinion. There was but one thing to be done:
to give her up to the secular justice, "praying that she might be
gently dealt with." Man after man added his voice "to that of Abbot of
Fécamp aforesaid"--that she might be gently dealt with! Not one of
them could be under any doubt what gentle meaning would be in the
execution; but apparently the words were of some strange use in
salving their consciences.

The decree was pronounced at once without further formalities. In
point of view of the law, there should have followed another trial,
more evidence, pleadings, and admonitions. We may be thankful to
Monseigneur de Beauvais that he now defied law, and no longer
prolonged the useless ceremonials of that mockery of justice. It is
said that in coming out of the prison, through the courtyard full of
Englishmen, where Warwick was in waiting to hear what news, the Bishop
greeted them with all the satisfaction of success, laughing and
bidding them "Make good cheer, the thing is done." In the same spirit
of satisfaction was the rapid action of the further proceedings. On
Tuesday she was condemned, summoned on Wednesday morning at eight
'clock to the Old Market of Rouen to hear her sentence, and there,
without even that formality, the penalty was at once carried out. No
time, certainly, was lost in this last stage.

All the interest of the heart-rending tragedy now turns to the prison
where Jeanne woke in the early morning without, as yet, any knowledge
of her fate. It must be remembered that the details of this wonderful
scene, which we have in abundance, are taken from reports made twenty
years after by eye-witnesses indeed, but men to whom by that time it
had become the only policy to represent Jeanne in the brightest
colours, and themselves as her sympathetic friends. There is no doubt
that so remarkable an occurrence as her martyrdom must have made a
deep impression on the minds of all those who were in any way actors
in or spectators of that wonderful scene. And every word of all these
different reports is on oath; but notwithstanding, a touch of
unconscious colour, a more favourable sentiment, influenced by the
feeling of later days, may well have crept in. With this warning we
may yet accept these depositions as trustworthy, all the more for the
atmosphere of truth, perfectly realistic, and in no way idealised,
which is in every description of the great catastrophe; in which
Jeanne figures as no supernatural heroine, but as a terrified,
tormented, and often trembling girl.

On the fatal morning very early, Brother Martin l'Advenu appeared in
the cell of the Maid. He had a mingled tale to tell--first "to
announce to her her approaching death, and to lead her to true
contrition and penitence; and also to hear her confession, which the
said l'Advenu did very carefully and charitably." Jeanne on her part
received the news with no conventional resignation or calm. Was it
possible that she had been deceived and really hoped for mercy? She
began to weep and to cry at the sudden stroke of fate. Notwithstanding
the solemnity of her last declaration, that she would rather bear her
punishment all at once than to endure the long punishment of her
prison, her heart failed before the imminent stake, the immediate
martyrdom. She cried out to heaven and earth: "My body, which has
never been corrupted, must it be burned to ashes to-day!" No one but
Jeanne knew at what cost she had kept her perfect purity; was it good
for nothing but to be burned, that young body not nineteen years old?
"Ah," she said, "I would rather be beheaded seven times than burned! I
appeal to God against all these great wrongs they do me." But after a
while the passion wore itself out, the child's outburst was stilled;
calming herself, she knelt down and made her confession to the
compassionate friar, then asked for the sacrament, to "receive her
Saviour" as she had so often prayed and entreated before. It would
appear that this had not been within Friar Martin's commission. He
sent to ask the Bishop's leave, and it was granted "anything she asked
for"--as they give whatever he may wish to eat to a condemned convict.
But the Host was brought into the prison without ceremony, without
accompanying candles or vestment for the priest. There are always some
things which are insupportable to a man. Brother Martin could bear the
sight of the girl's anguish, but not to administer to her a diminished
rite. He sent again to demand what was needful, out of respect for the
Holy Sacrament and the present victim. And his request had come, it
would seem, to some canon or person in authority whose heart had been
touched by the wonderful Maid in her long martyrdom. This nameless
sympathiser did all that a man could do. He sent the Host with a train
of priests chanting litanies as they went through the streets, with
torches burning in the pure early daylight; some of these exhorted the
people who knelt as they passed, to pray for her. She must have heard
in her prison the sound of the bell, the chant of the clergy, the
pause of awe, and then the rising, irregular murmur of the voices,
that sound of prayer never to be mistaken. Pray for her! At last the
city was touched to its heart. There is no sign that it had been
sympathetic to Jeanne before; it was half English or more. But she was
about to die: she had stood bravely against the world and answered
like a true Maid; and they had now seen her led through their streets,
a girl just nineteen. The popular imagination at least was subjugated
for the time.

Thus Jeanne for the first time, after all the feasts were over,
received at last "her Saviour" as she said, the consecration of that
rite which He himself had instituted before He died. But she was not
permitted to receive it in simplicity and silence as becomes the
sacred commemoration. All the time she was still /preschée/ and
admonished by the men about her. A few days after her death the Bishop
and his followers assembled, and set down in evidence their different
parts in that scene. How far it is to be relied upon, it is difficult
to say. The speakers did not testify under oath; there is no formal
warrant for their truth, and an anxious attempt to prove her change of
mind is evident throughout; still there seem elements of truth in it,
and a certain glimpse is afforded of Jeanne in the depths, when hope
and strength were gone. The general burden of their testimony is that
she sadly allowed herself to have been deceived, as to the liberation
for which all along she had hoped. Peter Morice, often already
mentioned, importuning her on the subject of the spirits, endeavouring
to get from her an admission that she had not seen them at all, and
was herself a deceiver: or if not that, at least that they were evil
spirits, not good,--drew from her the impatient exclamation: "Be they
good spirits, or be they evil, they appeared to me." Even in the act
of giving her her last communion, Brother Martin paused with the
consecrated Host in his hands.

"Do you believe," he said, "that this is the body of Christ?" Jeanne
answered: "Yes, and He alone can free me; I pray you to administer."
Then this brother said to Jeanne: "Do you believe as fully in your
voices?" Jeanne answered: "I believe in God alone and not in the
voices, which have deceived me." L'Advenu himself, however, does not
give this deposition, but another of the persons present, Le Camus,
who did not live to revise his testimony at the Rehabilitation.

The rite being over, the Bishop himself bustled in with an air of
satisfaction, rubbing his hands, one may suppose from his tone. "So,
Jeanne," he said, "you have always told us that your 'voices' said you
were to be delivered, and you see now they have deceived you. Tell us
the truth at last." Then Jeanne answered: "Truly I see that they have
deceived me." The report is Cauchon's, and therefore little to be
trusted; but the sad reply is at least not unlike the sentiment that,
even in records more trustworthy, seems to have breathed forth in her.
The other spectators all report another portion of this conversation.
"Bishop, it is by you I die," are the words with which the Maid is
said to have met him. "Oh Jeanne, have patience," he replied. "It is
because you did not keep your promise." "If you had kept yours, and
sent me to the prison of the Church, and put me in gentle hands, it
would not have happened," she replied. "I appeal from you to God."
Several of the attendants, also according to the Bishop's account,
heard from her the same sad words: "They have deceived me"; and there
seems no reason why we should not believe it. Her mind was weighed
down under this dreadful unaccountable fact. She was forsaken--as a
greater sufferer was; and a horror of darkness had closed around her.
"Ah, Sieur Pierre," she said to Morice, "where shall I be to-night?"
The man had condemned her as a relapsed heretic, a daughter of
perdition. He had just suggested to her that her angels must have been
devils. Nevertheless perhaps his face was not unkindly, he had not
meant all the harm he did. He ought to have answered, "In Hell, with
the spirits you have trusted"; that would have been the only logical
response. What he did say was very different. "Have you not good faith
in the Lord?" said the judge who had doomed her. Amazing and notable
speech! They had sentenced her to be burned for blasphemy as an envoy
of the devil; they believed in fact that she was the child of God, and
going straight in that flame to the skies. Jeanne, with the sound,
clear head and the "sane mind" to which all of them testified, did she
perceive, even at that dreadful moment, the inconceivable
contradiction? "Ah," she said, "yes, God helping me, I shall be in

There is one point in the equivocal report which commends itself to
the mind, which several of these men unite in, but which was carefully
not repeated at the Rehabilitation: and this was that Jeanne allowed
"as if it had been a thing of small importance," that her story of the
angel bearing the crown at Chinon was a romance which she neither
expected nor intended to be believed. For this we have to thank
L'Oyseleur and the rest of the reverend ghouls assembled on that
dreadful morning in the prison.

Jeanne was then dressed, for her last appearance in this world, in the
long white garment of penitence, the robe of sacrifice: and the mitre
was placed on her head which was worn by the victims of the Holy
Office. She was led for the last time down the echoing stair to the
crowded courtyard where her "chariot" awaited her. It was her
confessor's part to remain by her side, and Frère Isambard and
Massieu, the officer, both her friends, were also with her. It is said
that L'Oyseleur rushed forward at this moment, either to accompany her
also, or, as many say, to fling himself at her feet and implore her
pardon. He was hustled aside by the crowd and would have been killed
by the English, it is said, but for Warwick. The bystanders would seem
to have been seized with a sudden disgust for all the priests about,
thinking them Jeanne's friends, the historians insinuate--more likely
in scorn and horror of their treachery. And then the melancholy
procession set forth.

The streets were overflowing as was natural, crowded in every part:
eight hundred English soldiers surrounded and followed the cortège, as
the car rumbled along over the rough stones. Not yet had the Maid
attained to the calm of consent. She looked wildly about her at all
the high houses and windows crowded with gazers, and at the throngs
that gaped and gazed upon her on every side. In the midst of the
consolations of the confessor who poured pious words in her ears,
other words, the plaints of a wondering despair fell from her lips,
"Rouen! Rouen!" she said; "am I to die here?" It seemed incredible to
her, impossible. She looked about still for some sign of disturbance,
some rising among the crowd, some cry of "France! France!" or glitter
of mail. Nothing: but the crowds ever gazing, murmuring at her, the
soldiers roughly clearing the way, the rude chariot rumbling on.
"Rouen, Rouen! I fear that you shall yet suffer because of this," she
murmured in her distraction, amid her moanings and tears.

At last the procession came to the Old Market, an open space
encumbered with three erections--one reaching up so high that the
shadow of it seemed to touch the sky, the horrid stake with wood piled
up in an enormous mass, made so high, it is said, in order that the
executioner himself might not reach it to give a merciful blow, to
secure unconsciousness before the flames could touch the trembling
form. Two platforms were raised opposite, one furnished with chairs
and benches for Winchester and his court, another for the judges, with
the civil officers of Rouen who ought to have pronounced sentence in
their turn. Without this form the execution was illegal: what did it
matter? No sentence at all was read to her, not even the
ecclesiastical one which was illegal also. She was probably placed
first on the same platform with her judges, where there was a pulpit
from which she was to be /preschée/ for the last time. Of all Jeanne's
sufferings this could scarcely be the least, that she was always
/preschée/, lectured, addressed, sermonised through every painful step
of her career.

The moan was still unsilenced on her lips, and her distracted soul
scarcely yet freed from the sick thought of a possible deliverance,
when the everlasting strain of admonishment, and re-enumeration of her
errors, again penetrated the hum of the crowd. The preacher was
Nicolas Midi, one of the eloquent members of that dark fraternity; and
his text was in St. Paul's words: "If any of the members suffer, all
the other members suffer with it." Jeanne was a rotten branch which
had to be cut off from the Church for the good of her own soul, and
that the Church might not suffer by her sin; a heretic, a blasphemer,
an impostor, giving forth false fables at one time, and making a false
penitence the next. It is very unlikely that she heard anything of
that flood of invective. At the end of the sermon the preacher bade
her "Go in peace." Even then, however, the fountain of abuse did not
cease. The Bishop himself rose, and once more by way of exhorting her
to a final repentance, heaped ill names upon her helpless head. The
narrative shows that the prisoner, now arrived at the last point in
her career, paid no attention to the tirade levelled at her from the
president's place. "She knelt down on the platform showing great signs
and appearance of contrition, so that all those who looked upon her
wept. She called on her knees upon the blessed Trinity, the blessed
glorious Virgin Mary, and all the blessed saints of Paradise." She
called specially--was it with still a return towards the hoped for
miracle? was it with the instinctive cry towards an old and faithful
friend?--"St. Michael, St. Michael, St. Michael, help!" There would
seem to have been a moment in which the hush and silence of a great
crowd surrounded this wonderful stage, where was that white figure on
her knees, praying, speaking--sometimes to God, sometimes to the
saintly unseen companions of her life, sometimes in broken phrases to
those about her. She asked the priests, thronging all round, those who
had churches, to say a mass for her soul. She asked all whom she might
have offended to forgive her. Through her tears and prayers broke
again and again the sorrowful cry of "Rouen, Rouen! Is it here truly
that I must die?" No reason is given for the special pang that seems
to echo in this cry. Jeanne had once planned a campaign in Normandy
with Alençon. Had there been perhaps some special hope which made this
conclusion all the more bitter, of setting up in the Norman capital
her standard and that of her King?

There have been martyrs more exalted above the circumstances of their
fate than Jeanne. She was no abstract heroine. She felt every pang to
the depth of her natural, spontaneous being, and the humiliation and
the deep distress of having been abandoned in the sight of men,
perhaps the profoundest pang of which nature is capable. "He trusted
in God that he would deliver him: let him deliver him if he will have
him." That which her Lord had borne, the little sister had now to
bear. She called upon the saints, but they did not answer. She was
shamed in the sight of men. But as she knelt there weeping, the
Bishop's evil voice scarcely silenced, the soldiers waiting impatient
--the entire crowd, touched to its heart with one impulse, broke into
a burst of weeping and lamentation, "/à chaudes larmes/" according to
the graphic French expression. They wept hot tears as in the keen
personal pang of sorrow and fellow-feeling and impotence to help.
Winchester--withdrawn high on his platform, ostentatiously separated
from any share in it, a spectator merely--wept; and the judges wept.
The Bishop of Boulogne was overwhelmed with emotion, iron tears flowed
down the accursed Cauchon's cheeks. The very world stood still to see
that white form of purity, and valour, and faith, the Maid, not
shouting triumphant on the height of victory, but kneeling, weeping,
on the verge of torture. Human nature could not bear this long. A
hoarse cry burst forth: "Will you keep us here all day; must we dine
here?" a voice perhaps of unendurable pain that simulated cruelty. And
then the executioner stepped in and seized the victim.

It has been said that her stake was set so high, that there might be
no chance of a merciful blow, or of strangulation to spare the victim
the atrocities of the fire; perhaps, let us hope, it was rather that
the ascending smoke might suffocate her before the flame could reach
her: the fifteenth century would naturally accept the most cruel
explanation. There was a writing set over the little platform which
gave footing to the attendants below the stake, upon which were
written the following words:


This was how her countrymen in the name of law and justice and
religion branded the Maid of France--one half of her countrymen: the
other half, silent, speaking no word, looking on.

Before she began to ascend the stake, Jeanne, rising from her knees,
asked for a cross. No place so fit for that emblem ever was: but no
cross was to be found. One of the English soldiers who kept the way
seized a stick from some one by, broke it across his knee in unequal
parts, and bound them hurriedly together; so, in the legend and in all
the pictures, when Mary of Nazareth was led to her espousals, one of
her disappointed suitors broke his wand. The cross was rough with its
broken edges which Jeanne accepted from her enemy, and carried,
pressing it against her bosom. One would rather have that rude cross
to preserve as a sacred thing, than the highest effort of art in gold
and silver. This was her ornament and consolation as she trod the few
remaining steps and mounted the pile of the faggots to her place high
over all that sea of heads. When she was bound securely to her stake,
she asked again for a cross, a cross blessed and sacred from a church,
to be held before her as long as her eyes could see. Frère Isambard
and Massieu, following her closely still, sent to the nearest church,
and procured probably some cross which was used for processional
purposes on a long staff which could be held up before her. The friar
stood upon the faggots holding it up, and calling out broken words of
encouragement so long that Jeanne bade him withdraw, lest the fire
should catch his robes. And so at last, as the flames began to rise,
she was left alone, the good brother always at the foot of the pile,
painfully holding up with uplifted arms the cross that she might still
see it, the soldiers crowding, lit up with the red glow of the fire,
the horrified, trembling crowd like an agitated sea around. The wild
flames rose and fell in sinister gleams and flashes, the smoke blew
upwards, by times enveloping that white Maid standing out alone
against a sky still blue and sweet with May--Pandemonium underneath,
but Heaven above. Then suddenly there came a great cry from among the
black fumes that began to reach the clouds: "My voices were of God!
They have not deceived me!" She had seen and recognised it at last.
Here it was, the miracle: the great victory that had been promised--
though not with clang of swords and triumph of rescuing knights, and
"St. Denis for France!"--but by the sole hand of God, a victory and
triumph for all time, for her country a crown of glory and ineffable

Thus died the Maid of France--with "Jesus, Jesus," on her lips--till
the merciful smoke breathing upwards choked that voice in her throat;
and one who was like unto the Son of God, who was with her in the
fire, wiped all memory of the bitter cross, wavering uplifted through
the air in the good monk's trembling hands--from eyes which opened
bright upon the light and peace of that Paradise of which she had so
long thought and dreamed.



The natural burst of remorse which follows such an event is well known
in history; and is as certainly to be expected as the details of the
great catastrophe itself. We feel almost as if, had there not been
fact and evidence for such a revulsion of feeling, it must have been
recorded all the same, being inevitable. The executioner, perhaps the
most innocent of all, sought out Frère Isambard, and confessed to him
in an anguish of remorse fearing never to be pardoned for what he had
done. An Englishman who had sworn to add a faggot to the flames in
which the witch should be burned, when he rushed forward to keep his
word was seized with sudden compunction--believed that he saw a white
dove flutter forth from amid the smoke over her head, and, almost
fainting at the sight, had to be led by his comrades to the nearest
tavern for refreshment, a life-like touch in which we recognise our
countryman; but he too found his way that afternoon to Frère Isambard
like the other. A horrible story is told by the /Bourgeois de Paris/,
whose contemporary journal is one of the authorities for this period,
that "the fire was drawn aside" in order that Jeanne's form, with all
its clothing burned away, should be visible by one last act of
shameless insult to the crowd. The fifteenth century believed, as we
have said, everything that is cruel and horrible, as indeed the vulgar
mind does at all ages; but such brutal imaginings have seldom any
truth to support them, and there is no such suggestion in the actual
record. Isambard and Massieu heard from one of the officials that when
every other part of her body was destroyed the heart was found intact,
but was, by the order of Winchester, flung into the Seine along with
all the ashes of that sacrifice. It was wise no doubt that no relics
should be kept.

Other details were murmured abroad amid the excited talk that followed
this dreadful scene. "When she was enveloped by the smoke, she cried
out for water, holy water, and called to St. Michæl; then hung her
head upon her breast and breathing forth the name of Jesus, gently
died." "Being in the flame her voice never ceased repeating in a loud
voice the holy name of Jesus, and invoking without cease the saints of
paradise, she gave up her spirit, bowing her head and saying the name
of Jesus in sign of the fervour of her faith." One of the Canons of
Rouen, standing sobbing in the crowd, said to another: "Would that my
soul were in the same place where the soul of that woman is at this
moment"; which indeed is not very different from the authorised saying
of Pierre Morice in the prison. Guillaume Manchon, the reporter, he
who wrote /superba responsio/ on his margin, and had written down
every word of her long examination--his occupation for three months,--
says that he "never wept so much for anything that happened to
himself, and that for a whole month he could not recover his calm."
This man adds a very characteristic touch, to wit, that "with part of
the pay which he had for the trial, he bought a missal, that he might
have a reason for praying for her." Jean Tressat, "secretary to the
King of England" (whatever that office may have been), went home from
the execution crying out, "We are all lost, for we have burned a
saint." A priest, afterwards bishop, Jean Fabry, "did not believe that
there was any man who could restrain his tears."

The modern historians speak of the mockeries of the English, but none
are visible in the record. Indeed, the part of the English in it is
extraordinarily diminished on investigation; they are the supposed
inspirers of the whole proceedings; they are believed to be
continually pushing on the inquisitors; still more, they are supposed
to have bought all that large tribunal, the sixty or seventy judges,
among whom were the most learned and esteemed Doctors in France; but
of none of this is there any proof given. That they were anxious to
procure Jeanne's condemnation and death, is very certain. Not one
among them believed in her sacred mission, almost all considered her a
sorceress, the most dangerous of evil influences, a witch who had
brought shame and loss to England by her incantations and evil spells.
On that point there could be no doubt whatever. She alone had stopped
the progress of the invaders, and broken the charm of their invariable
success. But all that she had done had been in favour of Charles, who
made no attempt to serve or help her, and who had thwarted her plans,
and hindered her work so long as it was possible to do so, even when
she was performing miracles for his sake. And Alençon, Dunois, La
Hire, where were they and all the knights? Two of them at least were
at Louvins, within a day's march, but never made a step to rescue her.
We need not ask where were the statesmen and clergy on the French
side, for they were unfeignedly glad to have the burden of condemning
her taken from their hands. No one in her own country said a word or
struck a blow for Jeanne. As for the suborning of the University of
Paris /en masse/, and all its best members in particular, that is a
general baseness in which it is impossible to believe. There is no
appearance even of any particular pressure put upon the judges. Jean
de la Fontaine disappeared, we are told, and no one ever knew what
became of him: but it was from Cauchon he fled. And nothing seems to
have happened to the monks who attended the Maid to the scaffold, nor
to the others who sobbed about the pile. On the other side, the
Doctors who condemned her were in no way persecuted or troubled by the
French authorities when the King came to his own. There was at the
time a universal tacit consent in France to all that was done at Rouen
on the 31st of May, 1431.

One reason for this was not far to seek. We have perhaps already
sufficiently dwelt upon it. It was that France was not France at that
dolorous moment. It was no unanimous nation repulsing an invader. It
was two at least, if not more countries, one of them frankly and
sympathetically attaching itself to the invader, almost as nearly
allied to him in blood, and more nearly by other bonds, than any tie
existing between France and Burgundy. This does not account for the
hostile indifference of southern France and of the French monarch to
Jeanne, who had delivered them; but it accounts for the hostility of
Paris and the adjacent provinces, and Normandy. She was as much
against them as against the English, and the national sentiment to
which she, a patriot before her age, appealed,--bidding not only the
English go home, or fight and be vanquished, which was their only
alternative--but the Burgundians to be converted and to live in peace
with their brothers,--did not exist. Neither to Burgundians, Picards,
or Normans was the daughter of far Champagne a fellow countrywoman.
There was neither sympathy nor kindness in their hearts on that score.
Some were humane and full of pity for a simple woman in such terrible
straits; but no more in Paris than in Rouen was the Maid of Orleans a
native champion persecuted by the English; she was to both an enemy, a
sorceress, putting their soldiers and themselves to shame.

I have no desire to lessen our[1] guilt, whatever cruelty may have
been practised by English hands against the Heavenly Maid. And much
was practised--the iron cage, the chains, the brutal guards, the final
stake, for which may God and also the world, forgive a crime fully and
often confessed. But it was by French wits and French ingenuity that
she was tortured for three months and betrayed to her death. A
prisoner of war, yet taken and tried as a criminal, the first step in
her downfall was a disgrace to two chivalrous nations; but the shame
is greater upon those who sold than upon those who bought; and
greatest of all upon those who did not move Heaven and earth, nay, did
not move a finger, to rescue. And indeed we have been the most
penitent of all concerned; we have shrived ourselves by open
confession and tears. We have quarrelled with our Shakespeare on
account of the Maid, and do not know how we could have forgiven him,
but for the notable and delightful discovery that it was not he after
all, but another and a lesser hand that endeavoured to befoul her
shining garments. France has never quarrelled with her Voltaire for a
much fouler and more intentional blasphemy.

The most significant and the most curious after-scene, a pendant to
the remorse and pity of so many of the humbler spectators, was the
assembly held on the Thursday after Jeanne's death, how and when we
are not told. It consisted of "nos judices antedicti," but neither is
the place of meeting named, nor the person who presided. Its sole
testimonial is that the manuscript is in the same hand which has
written the previous records: but whereas each page in that record was
signed at the bottom by responsible notaries, Manchon and his
colleagues, no name whatever certifies this. Seven men, Doctors and
persons of high importance, all judges on the trial, all concerned in
that last scene in the prison, stand up and give their report of what
happened there--part of which we have quoted--their object being to
establish that Jeanne at the last acknowledged herself to be deceived.
According to their own showing it was exactly such an acknowledgment
as our Lord might have been supposed to make in the moment of his
agony when the words of the psalm, "My God, my God, why hast thou
forsaken me?" burst from his lips. There seems no reason that we can
see, why this evidence should not be received as substantially true.
The inference that any real recantation on Jeanne's part was then
made, is untrue, and not even asserted. She was deceived in respect to
her deliverance, and felt it to the bottom of her heart. It was to her
the bitterness of death. But the flames of her burning showed her the
truth, and with her last breath she proclaimed her renewed conviction.
The scene at the stake would lose something of its greatness without
that momentary cloud which weighed down her troubled soul.

Twenty years after the martyrdom of Jeanne, long after he had,
according to her prophecy, regained Paris and all that had been lost,
it became a danger to the King of France that it should be possible to
imagine that his kingdom had been recovered for him by means of
sorcery; and accordingly a great new trial was appointed to revise the
decisions of the old. In the same palace of the Archbishop at Rouen,
which had witnessed so many scenes of the previous tragedy, the
depositions of witnesses collected with the minutest care, and which
it had taken a long time to gather from all quarters, were submitted
for judgment, and a full and complete reversal of the condemnation was
given. The /procès/ was a civil one, instituted (nominally) by the

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