Jeanne d’Arc
by Mrs. Oliphant

Presented by

Public Domain Books

St. Joan of Arc
In French Jeanne d’Arc;
Commonly known as la Pucelle (the Maid) by her contemporaries.

Chapter XIII - The Public Examination. February, 1431.

It was in the chapel of the Castle of Rouen, on the 21st of February, that the trial of Jeanne was begun. The judges present numbered about forty, and are carefully classed as doctors in theology, abbots, canons, doctors in canonical and civil law, with the Bishop of Beauvais at their head (the archepiscopal see of Rouen being vacant, as is added: but not that my lord of Beauvais hoped for that promotion). They were assembled there in all the solemnity of their priestly and professional robes, the reporters ready with their pens, the range of dark figures forming a semicircle round the presiding Bishop, when the officer of the court led in the prisoner, clothed in her worn and war-stained tunic, like a boy, with her hair cut close as for the helmet, and her slim figure, no doubt more slim than ever, after her long imprisonment. She had asked to be allowed to hear mass before coming to the bar, but this was refused. It was a privilege which she had never failed to avail herself of in her most triumphant days. Now the chapel–the sanctuary of God contained for her no sacred sacrifice, but only those dark benches of priests amid whom she found no responsive countenance, no look of kindness.

Jeanne was addressed sternly by Cauchon, in an exhortation which it is sad to think was not in Latin, as it appears in the Procès. She was then required to take the oath on the Scriptures to speak the truth, and to answer all questions addressed to her. Jeanne had already held that conversation with L’Oyseleur in the prison which Cauchon and Warwick had listened to in secret with greedy ears, but which Manchon, the honest reporter, had refused to take down. Perhaps, therefore, the Bishop knew that the slim creature before him, half boy half girl, was not likely to be overawed by his presence or questions; but it cannot have been but a wonder to the others, all gazing at her, the first men in Normandy, the most learned in Paris, to hear her voice, assez femme, young and clear, arising in the midst of them, “I know not what things I may be asked,” said Jeanne. “Perhaps you may ask me questions which I cannot answer.” The assembly was startled by this beginning.

“Will you swear to answer truly all that concerns the faith, and that you know?”

“I will swear,” said Jeanne, “about my father and mother and what I have done since coming to France; but concerning my revelations from God I will answer to no man, except only to Charles my King; I should not reveal them were you to cut off my head, unless by the secret counsel of my visions.”

The Bishop continued not without gentleness, enjoining her to swear at least that in everything that touched the faith she would speak truth; and Jeanne kneeling down crossed her hands upon the book of the Gospel, or Missal as it is called in the report, and took the required oath, always under the condition she stated, to answer truly on everything she knew concerning the faith, except in respect to her revelations.

The examination then began with the usual formalities. She was asked her name (which she said with touching simplicity was Jeannette at home but Jeanne in France), the names of her father and mother, godfather and godmothers, the priest who baptised her, the place where she was born, etc., her age, almost nineteen; her education, consisting of the Pater Noster, Ave Maria, and Credo, which her mother had taught her.

Here she was asked, a curious interruption to the formal interrogatory, to say the Pater Noster–the reason of which sudden demand was that witches and sorcerers were supposed to be unable to repeat that prayer. As unexpected as the question was Jeanne’s reply. She answered that if the Bishop would hear her in confession she would say it willingly. She had been refused all the exercises of piety, and she was speaking to a company of priests.

There is a great dignity of implied protest against this treatment in such an answer. The request was made a second time with a promise of selecting two worthy Frenchmen to hear her: but her reply was the same. She would say the prayer when she made her confession but not otherwise. She was ready it would seem in proud humility to confess to any or to all of her enemies, as one whose conscience was clear, and who had nothing to conceal.

She was then commanded not to attempt to escape from her prison, on pain of being condemned for heresy, but to this again she demurred at once. She would not accept the prohibition, but would escape if she could, so that no man could say that she had broken faith; although since her capture she had been bound in chains and her feet fastened with irons. To this, her examiner said that it was necessary so to secure her in order that she might not escape. “It is true and certain,” she replied, “whatever others may wish, that to every prisoner it is lawful to escape if he can.” It may be remarked, as she forcibly pointed out afterwards, that she had never given her faith, never surrendered, but had always retained her freedom of action.

The tribunal thereupon called in the captain in charge of Jeanne’s prison, a gentleman called John Gris in the record, probably John Grey, along with two soldiers, Bernoit and Talbot, and enjoined them to guard her securely and not to permit her to talk with any one without the permission of the court. This was all the business done on the first day of audience.

On the 22d of February at eight o’clock in the morning, the sitting was resumed. In the meantime, however, the chapel had been found too small and too near the outer world, the proceedings being much interrupted by shouts and noises from without, and probably incommoded within by the audience which had crowded it the first day. The judges accordingly assembled in the great hall of the castle; they were forty-nine in number on the second day, the number being chiefly swelled by canons of Rouen. After some preliminary business the accused was once more introduced, and desired again to take the oath. Jeanne replied that she had done so on the previous day and that this was enough; upon which there followed a short altercation, which, however, ended by her consent to swear again that she would answer truly in all things that concerned the faith. The questioner this day was Jean Beaupère (/Pulchri patris, as he is called in the Latin), a theologian, Master of Arts, Canon of Paris and of Besançon, “one of the greatest props of the University of Paris,” a man holding a number of important offices, and who afterwards appeared at the Council of Bâle as the deputy of Normandy. He began by another exhortation to speak the truth, to which Jeanne replied as before that what she did say she would say truly, but that she would not answer upon all subjects. “I have done nothing but by revelation,” she said.

These preliminaries on both sides having been gone through, the examination was resumed. Jeanne informed the court in answer to Beaupère’s question that she had been taught by her mother to sew and did not fear to compete with any woman in Rouen in these crafts; that she had once been absent from home when her family were driven out of their village by fear of the Burgundians, and that she had then lived for about fifteen days in the house of a woman called La Rousse, at Neufchâteau; that when she was at home she was occupied in the work of the house and did not go to the fields with the sheep and other animals; that she went to confession regularly to the Curé of her own village, or when he could not hear her, to some other priest, by permission of the Curé; also that two or three times she had made her confession to the mendicant friars–this being during her stay in Neufchâteau (where presumably she was not acquainted with the clergy); and that she received the sacrament always at Easter. Asked whether she had communicated at other feasts than Easter, she said briefly that this was enough. “Go on to the rest,” passez outre, she added, and the questioner seems to have been satisfied. Then came the really vital part of the matter. She proceeded–no direct question on the point being recorded, though no doubt it was made–to tell how when she was about thirteen she heard voices from God bidding her to be good and obedient. The first time she was much afraid. The voice came about the hour of noon, in summer, in her father’s garden. She was fasting but had not fasted the preceding day. The voice came from the right, towards the church; and came rarely without a great light. This light came always from the side whence the voice proceeded, and was a very bright radiance. When she came into France she still continued to hear the same voices.

She was then asked how she could see the light when it was at the side; to which foolish question Jeanne gave no reply, but “turned to other matters,” saying voluntarily with a soft implied reproof of the noise around her–that if she were in a wood, that is in a quiet place, she could hear the voices coming towards her. She added (going on, one could imagine, in a musing, forgetting the congregation of sinners about her) that it seemed to her a noble voice, and that she believed it came from God, and that when she had heard it three times she knew it was the voice of an angel; the voice always came quite clearly to her, and she understood it well.

She was then asked what it said to her concerning the salvation of her soul.

She said that it taught her to rule her life well, to go often to church: and told her that it was necessary that she, Jeanne, should go to France. The said Jeanne added that she would not be questioned further concerning the voice, or the manner in which it was made known to her, but that two or three times in a week it had said to her that she must go to France; but that her father knew nothing of this. The voice said to her that she should go to France, until she could endure it no longer; it said to her that she should raise the siege, which was set against the city of Orleans. It said also that she must go to Robert of Baudricourt, in the city of Vaucouleurs, who was captain of that place, and that he would give her people to go with her; to which she had answered that she was a poor girl who knew not how to ride, nor how to conduct war. She then said that she went to her uncle and told him that she wished to go with him for a little while to his house, and that she lived there for eight days; she then told her uncle that she must go to Vaucouleurs, and the said uncle took her there. Also she went on to say that when she came to the said city of Vaucouleurs, she recognised Robert of Baudricourt; though she had never seen him before she knew him by the voice that said to her which was he. She then told this Robert that it was necessary that she should go to France, but twice over he refused and repulsed her; the third time, however, he received her, and gave her certain men to go with her; the voice had told her that this would be so.

She said also that the Duke of Lorraine sent for her to come to him, and that she went under a safe conduct granted by him, and told him that she must go to France. He asked her whether he should recover from his illness; but she told him that she knew nothing of that, and she talked very little to him of her journey. She told the Duke that he ought to send his son and his people with her to take her to France, and that she would pray God to restore his health; and then she was taken back to Vaucouleurs. She said also that when she left Vaucouleurs she wore the dress of a man, without any other arms than a sword which Robert de Baudricourt had given her; and that she had with her a chevalier, a squire, and four servants, and that they slept for the first night at St. Urbain, in the abbey there. She was then asked by whose advice she wore the dress of a man, but refused to answer. Finally she said that she charged no man with giving her this advice.

She went on to say that the said Robert de Baudricourt exacted an oath from those who went with her, that they would conduct her to the end of her journey well and safely; and that he said, as she left him, “Go, and let come what will.” She also said that she knew well that God loved the Duke of Orleans, concerning whom she had more revelations than about any other living man, except him whom she called her King. She added that it was necessary for her to wear male attire, and that whoever advised her to do so had given her wise counsel.

She then said that she sent a letter to the English before Orleans, in which she required them to go away, a copy of which letter had been read to her in Rouen; but there were two or three mistakes, especially in the words which called upon them to surrender to the Maid instead of to surrender to the King. (There is no indication why these two latter statements should have been introduced into the midst of her narrative of the journey; it may have been in reply to some other question interjected by another of her examiners: Passez outre, as she herself says. She immediately resumes the simple and straightforward tale.)

The said Jeanne went on to say that her further journey to him whom she called her King was without any impediment; and that when she arrived at the town of St. Catherine de Fierbois she sent news of her arrival to the town of Chasteau-Chinon where the said King was. She arrived there herself about noon and went to an inn[1]; and after dinner went to him whom she called her King, who was in the castle. She then said that when she entered the chamber where he was, she knew him among all others, by the revelation of her “voices.” She told her King that she wished to make war against the English.

She was then asked whether when she heard the “voices” in the presence of the King the light was also seen in that place. She answered as before: Passez outre: Transeatis ultra. “Go on,” as we might say, “to the other questions.”

She was asked if she had seen an angel hovering over her King. She answered: “Spare me; passez outre.” She added afterwards, however, that before he put his hand to the work, the King had many beautiful apparitions and revelations. She was asked what these were. She answered: “I will not tell you; it is not I who should answer; send to the King and he will tell you.”

She was then asked if her voices had promised her that when she came to the King he would receive her. She answered that those of her own party knew that she had been sent from God and that some had heard and recognised the voices. Further, she said that her King and various others had heard and seen[2] the voices coming to her–Charles of Bourbon (Comte de Clermont) and two or three others with him. She then said that there was no day in which she did not hear that voice; but that she asked nothing from it except the salvation of her soul. Besides this, Jeanne confessed that the voice said she should be led to the town of St. Denis in France, where she wished to remain–that is after the attack on Paris–but that against her will the lords forced her to leave it: if she had not been wounded she would not have gone: but she was wounded in the moats of Paris: however she was healed in five days. She then said that she had made an assault, called in French escarmouche (skirmish), upon the town of Paris. She was asked if it was on a holy day, and said that she believed it was on a festival. She was then asked if she thought it well done to fight on a holy day, and answered, “Passez outre.” Go on to the next question.”

This is a verbatim account of one day of the trial. Most of the translations which exist give questions as well as answers: but these are but occasionally given in the original document, and Jeanne’s narrative reads like a calm, continuous statement, only interrupted now and then by a question, usually a cunning attempt to startle her with a new subject, and to hurry some admission from her. The great dignity with which she makes her replies, the occasional flash of high spirit, the calm determination with which she refuses to be led into discussion of the subjects which she had from the first moment reserved, are very remarkable. We have seen her hitherto only in conflict, in the din of battle and the fatigue, yet exuberant energy, of rapid journeys. Her circumstances were now very different. She had been shut up in prison for months, for six weeks at least she had been in irons, and the air of heaven had not blown upon this daughter of the fields; her robust yet sensitive maidenhood had been exposed to a hundred offences, and to the constant society, infecting the very air about, of the rudest of men; yet so far is her spirit from being broken that she meets all those potent, grave, and reverend doctors and ecclesiastics, with the simplicity and freedom of a princess, answering frankly or holding her peace as seems good to her, afraid of nothing, keeping her self-possession, all her wits about her as we say, without panic and without presumption. The trial of Jeanne is indeed almost more miraculous than her fighting; a girl not yet nineteen, forsaken of all, without a friend! It is less wonderful that she should have developed the qualities of a general, of a gunner, every gift of war–than that in her humiliation and distress she should thus hold head against all the most subtle intellects in France, and bear, with but one moment of faltering, a continued cross- examination of three months, without losing her patience, her heart, or her courage.


The third day brought a still larger accession of judges, sixty-two of them taking their places on the benches round the Bishop in the great hall; and the day began with another and longer altercation between Cauchon and Jeanne on the subject of the oath again demanded of her. She maintained her resolution to say nothing of her voices. “We" according to the record “required of her that she should swear simply and absolutely without reservation.” She would seem to have replied with impatience, “Let me speak freely:” adding “By my faith you may ask me many questions which I will not answer”: then explaining, “Many things you may ask me, but I will tell you nothing truly that concerns my revelations; for you might compel me to say things which I have sworn not to say; and so I should perjure myself, which you ought not to wish.” This explains several statements which she made later in respect to her introduction to the King. She repeated emphatically: “I warn you well, you who call yourselves my judges, that you take a great responsibility upon you, and that you burden me too much.” She said also that it was enough to have already sworn twice. She was again asked to swear simply and absolutely, and answered, “It is enough to have sworn twice,” and that all the clerks in Rouen and Paris could not condemn her unless lawfully; also that of her coming she would speak the truth but not all the truth; and that the space of eight days would not be enough to tell all.

“We the said Bishop” (continues the report) “then said to her that she should ask advice from those present whether she ought to swear or not. She replied again that of her coming she would speak truly and not otherwise, nor would it be fit that she should talk at large. We then told her that it would throw suspicion on what she said if she did not swear to speak the truth. She answered as before. We repeated that she must swear precisely and absolutely. She answered that she would say what she knew, but not all, and that she had come on the part of God, and appealed to God from whom she came. Again requested and admonished to swear on pain of every punishment that could be put on her, again answered ’/Passez outre.’ Finally she consented to swear that she would speak the truth in everything that concerned the trial.”

Her examination was then resumed by Beaupère as before, who elicited from her that she had fasted (he seems to have wished to make out that the fasting had something to do with her visions) since noon the day before (it was Lent); and also that she had heard her voices both on that day and the day before, three times on the previous day, the first time in the morning when she was asleep, and awakened by them. Did she kneel and thank them? She thanked them, sitting up in her bed (to which she was chained, as her questioner knew) and clasping her hands. She asked them what she was to do, and they told her to answer boldly.

It may be remarked here that more frequently as the examination goes on, part of Jeanne’s words are quoted in the first person, as if the reporters had been specially struck by them, while the bulk of her evidence goes on more calmly in the third person, the narrative form. After saying that she was bidden to answer boldly, she seems to have turned to the Bishop, and to have addressed him individually: “You say you are my judge; I warn you to take care what you are doing, for I am sent from God, and you are putting yourself in much peril” (/magno periculo: gallice, adds the reporter, en grant dangier).

She was then asked if her voices ever changed their meaning, and answered that she had never heard two speak contrary to each other; what they had said that day was that she should speak boldly. Asked, if the voice forbade her to reply to questions asked, she replied; “I will not answer you. I have revelations touching the King which I will not tell you.” Asked, if the voices forbade her to reveal these revelations, she answered, “I have not consulted them; give me fifteen days’ delay and I will answer you"; but being again exhorted to reply, said: “If the voice forbade me to speak, how many times should I tell you?” Again asked, if she were forbidden to speak, answered, “I believe I am not forbidden by men"–repeating that she would not reply, and knew not how far she should reply, for it had not been revealed to her; but that she believed firmly, as firmly as the Christian faith, and that God had redeemed us from the pains of hell, that this voice came from Him.

Questioned concerning the voice, what it appeared to be when it spoke, if that of an angel, or from God Himself; or if it was the voice of a saint or of saints (feminine), answered: “The voice comes from God; and I believe that I should not tell you all I know, for I should displease these voices if I answered you; and as for this question I pray you to leave me free.” Asked if she thought that to speak the truth would displease God, she answered, “What the voices say I am to tell to the King, not to you,” adding that during that night they had said much to her for the good of the King, and that if she could but let him know she would willingly drink no wine up to Easter (the reader will remember that her frugal fare consisted of bread dipped in the wine and water, which is justly called eau rougie in France). Asked, if she could not induce the voices to speak to her King directly, she answered that she knew not whether her voices would consent, unless it were the will of God, and God consented to it, adding, “They might well reveal it to the King; and with that I should be content.” Asked, if the voices could not communicate with the King as they did in her presence, she answered, that she did not know whether this was God’s will; and added, that unless it were the will of God she would not know how to act. Asked, if it was by the advice of her voices that she attempted to escape from her prison, she answered, “I have nothing to say to you on that point.” Asked, if she always saw a light when the voices were heard, she answered: “Yes: that with the sound of the voices light came.” Asked if she saw anything else coming with the voices, answered: “I do not tell you all. I am not allowed to do so, nor does my oath touch that; the voices are good and noble, but neither of that will I answer.” She was then asked to give in writing the points on which she would not reply. Then she was asked if her voices had eyes and ears, and answered, “You shall not have this either,” adding, that it was a saying among children that men were sometimes hanged for speaking the truth.

She was then asked if she knew herself to be in the grace of God. She replied: “If I am not so, may God put me in His grace; if I am, may God keep me in it. I should be the most miserable in the world if I were not in the grace of God.” She said besides, that if she were in a state of sin she did not believe her voices would come to her, and she wished that everyone could understand them as she did, adding, that she was about thirteen when they came to her first.

She was then asked, whether in her childhood she had played with the other children in the fields, and various other particulars about Domremy, whether there were any Burgundians there? to which Jeanne answered boldly that there was one, and that she wished his head might be cut off, adding piously, “that is, if it pleased God"[3]; she was also asked whether she had fought along with the other children against the children of the neighbouring Burgundian village of Maxy (Maxey sur Meuse): why she hated the Burgundians, and many questions of this kind, with a close examination about a certain tree near the village of Domremy, which some called the Tree of the good Ladies, and others, the Fairies’ Tree; and also about a well there, the Fairies’ Well, of which poor patients were said to drink and get well. Jeanne (no doubt relieved by the simple character of these questions) made answer freely and without hesitation, in no way denying that she had danced and sung with the other children, and made garlands for the image of the Blessed Marie of Domremy; but she did not remember whether she had ever done so after attaining years of discretion, and certainly she had never seen a fairy, nor worked any spell by their means. At the end, after having thus been put off her guard, she was suddenly asked about her dress (a capital point in the eyes of her judges): whether she wished to have a woman’s dress. Probably she was, as they hoped, tired, and expecting no such question, for she answered quickly yet with instant recovery: “Bring me one to go home in and I will accept it; otherwise no. I prefer this, since it pleases God that I should wear it.” The recollection of Domremy and of the pleasant fields, must have carried her back to the days when the little Jeanne was like the rest in her short, full petticoats of crimson stuff, free of any danger: what could be better to go home in? but she immediately remembered the obvious and excellent reasons she had for wearing another costume now. So ended the third day.

In the meantime there had been, we are told, various interruptions during the examination; perhaps it was then that Nicolas de Houppeville protested against Bishop Cauchon as a partisan and a Burgundian, and therefore incapable by law of judging a member of the opposite party: and had been rudely silenced, and afterwards punished, as we have already heard. Another kind of opposition less bold had begun to be remarked, which was that one of the persons present, by word and sign, whispering suggestions to her, or warning her with his eyes, was helping the unfortunate prisoner in her defence. Probably this did little good, “for she was often troubled and hurried in her answers,” we are told; but it was a sign of good-will, at least. When Frère Isambard, who was the person in question, speaks at a later period he tells us that “the questions put to Jeanne were too difficult, subtle, and dangerous, so that the great clerks and learned men who were present scarcely would have known how to answer them, and that many in the assembly murmured at them.” Perhaps the good Frère Isambard might have spared himself the trouble; for Jeanne, however she may have suffered, was probably more able to hold her own than many of those great clerks, and did so with unfailing courage and spirit. One of the other judges, Jean Fabry, a bishop, declared afterwards that “her answers were so good, that for three weeks he believed that they were inspired.” Manchon, the reporter, he who had refused to take down the private conversation of Jeanne in her prison with the vile traitor, L’Oyseleur, makes his voice heard also to the effect that “Monseigneur of Beauvais would have had everything written as pleased him, and when there was anything that displeased him he forbade the secretaries to report it as being of no importance for the trial.” On another day a humbler witness still, Massieu, one of the officers of the court, who had the charge of taking Jeanne daily from her prison to the hall, and back again, met in the courtyard an Englishman, who seems to have been a singing man or lay clerk “of the King’s chapel in England,” probably attached to Winchester’s ecclesiastical retinue. This man asked him: “What do you think of her answers? Will she be burned? What will happen?” “Up to this time," said Massieu, “I have heard nothing from her that was not honourable and good. She seems to me a good woman, but how it will all end God only knows!”

No doubt conversations of this kind were being carried on all over Rouen. Would she be burned? What would happen? Could any one stand and answer like that hour after hour and day by day, inspired only by the devil? There was no popular enthusiasm for her even now. How should there have been in that partisan province, more English than French? But a chill doubt began to steal into many minds whether she was so bad as had been thought, whether indeed she might not after all be something quite different from what she had been thought? Nature had begun to work in the agitated place, and even in that black-robed, eager assembly. If there was a vile L’Oyseleur trying to get her confidence in private, and so betray her, there was also a kind Frère Isambard, privately plucking at her sleeve, imploring her to be cautious, whispering an answer probably not half so wise as her own natural reply, yet warming her heart with the suggestion of a friend at hand.

On the fourth day, Jeanne was again required to swear, and replied as before, that so far as concerned the trial she would answer truly, but not all she knew. “You ought to be satisfied: I have sworn sufficiently,” she said; and with this her judges seem to have been content. Beaupère then resumed his questions, but first asked her, perhaps with a momentary gleam of compassion and a sudden consciousness of the pallor and weariness of the young prisoner, how she did. She answered, one can imagine with what tone of indignant disdain: “You see how I am: I am as well as I can be.” He then cross- examined her closely as to what voices she had heard since her last appearance in court, but drew from her only the same answer, “The voice tells me to answer boldly,” and that she would tell them as much as she was permitted by God to tell them, but concerning her revelations for the King of France she would say nothing except by permission of her voices.

She was then asked what kind of voices they were which she heard, were they voices of angels, or of saints (/sancti aut sanctæ, male or female saints) or from God Himself? She answered that the voices were those of St. Catherine and St. Margaret, whose heads were crowned with beautiful crowns, very rich and precious. “So much as this God allows me to say. If you doubt send to Poitiers, where I was questioned before.” (It may perhaps be permissible to suppose that the kind whisperer at her elbow might have suggested the repeated references to Poitiers that follow, but which are not to be found before: though it was most natural she should refer to this place where she was examined at the beginning of her mission.) Asked how she knew which of these two saints, she answered that she could quite distinguish one from the other by the manner of their salutation; that she had been led and guided by them for seven years, and that she knew them because they had named themselves to her. She was then asked how they were dressed? and answered: “I cannot tell you; I am not permitted to reveal this; if you do not believe me send to Poitiers.” She said also that at her coming into France she had revealed these things, but could not now. She was asked what was the age of her saints, but replied that she was not permitted to tell. Asked, if both saints spoke at once or one after the other, she replied: “I have not permission to tell you: but I always consult them both together.” Asked, which had appeared to her first, and answered: “I do not know which it was; I did know, but have forgotten. It is written in the register of Poitiers.”

“She then said she had much comfort from St. Michael. Again, asked, which had come first, she replied that it was St. Michael. Asked, if a long time had passed since she first heard the voice of St. Michael, answered: “I do not name to you the voice of St. Michael; but his conversation was of great comfort to me.” Asked, again, what voice came first to her when she was thirteen, answered, that it was St. Michael whom she saw before her eyes, and that he was not alone, but accompanied by many angels of Heaven. She said also that she would not have come into France but by the command of God. Asked, if she saw St. Michael and the angels really, with her ordinary senses, she answered: “I saw them with my bodily eyes as I see you, and when they left me I wept, desiring much that they would take me with them.” Asked, what was the form in which he appeared, she replied: “I cannot answer you; I am not permitted.” Asked, what St. Michael said to her the first time, she cried, “You shall have no answer to-day.” Then went on to say that her voices told her to reply boldly. Afterwards she said that she had told her King once all that had been revealed to her; said also that she was not permitted to say here what St. Michael had said; but that it would be better to send for a copy of the books which were at Poitiers than to question her on this subject. Asked, what sign she had that these were revelations of God, and that it was really St. Catherine and St. Margaret with whom she talked, she answered: “It is enough that I tell you they were St. Catherine and St. Margaret: believe me or not as you will.”

Asked how she distinguished the points on which she was allowed to speak from the others, she answered, that on some points she had asked permission to speak, and not on others, adding, that she would rather have been torn by wild horses than to have come to France, unless by the license of God. Asked how it was that she put on a man’s dress, she answered, that dress appeared to her a small matter, that she did not adopt that dress by the counsel of any man, and that she neither put on a dress nor did anything, but according as God, or the angels, commanded her to do so. Asked, if she knew whether such a command to assume the dress of a man was lawful, she answered: “All that I did, I did by the precepts of our Lord; and if I were bidden to wear another dress I would do so, because it was at the bidding of God.” Asked, if she had done it by the orders of Robert de Baudricourt, answered “No." Asked, if she thought that she had done well in assuming a man’s dress, answered, that as all she did was by the command of the Lord, she believed that she had done well, and expected a good guarantee and good succour. Asked, if in this particular case of assuming the dress of a man she thought she had done well, answered, that nothing in the world had made her do it, but the command of God.

She was then asked whether light always accompanied the voices when they came to her, she answered, with an evident reference to her first interview with Charles, that there were many lights on every side as was fit. “It is not only to you that light comes” (or you have not all the light to yourself,–a curious phrase). Asked, if there was an angel over the head of the King when she saw him for the first time, she answered: “By the Blessed Mary, if there were, I know not, I saw none.” Asked, if there was light, she answered: “There were about three hundred soldiers, and fifty of them held torches, without counting any spiritual light. And rarely do I have the revelations without light.” Asked, if her King had faith in what she said, she answered, that he had good signs, and also by his clergy. Asked, what revelations her King had, she answered: “You shall have nothing from me this year.” Then added that for three weeks she was cross-examined by the clergy, both in the town of Chinon and at Poitiers, and that her King had signs concerning her, before he believed in her. And the clergy of his party had found nothing in her, in respect to her faith, that was not good. Asked, whether she gone to the church of St. Catherine of Fierbois, answered: “yes,” and that she had there heard three masses in one day, and from thence went to Chinon; she added that she had sent a letter thence to the King, in which it was contained that she sent this to know if she might come to the town in which the King was; for that she had travelled a hundred and fifty leagues to come to him and to bring him help, for she knew much good concerning him. And she thought it was contained in this letter that she should recognise the King among all the rest.

She said besides, that she had a sword which was given to her at Vaucouleurs; she said also that, being in Tours or at Chinon, she sent for a sword which was in the church of St. Catherine of Fierbois behind the altar, and that when it was found it was rusty. Asked, how she knew about this sword, she answered, that it was rusty because of being in the ground, and there were five crosses on it, and that she knew this sword by her voices, and not by any man’s report. She wrote to the ecclesiastics of the place where it was and asked them for this sword, and they sent it to her. It was found not much below the ground behind the altar; she was not sure if it was before or behind the altar, but wrote that it was behind the altar. And when it was found the clergy cleaned it and rubbed off the rust, which came off easily; and it was an armourer of Tours who went to fetch it. The clergy made a scabbard for it before sending it to the said Jeanne, and they of Tours made another, so that it had two scabbards, one of crimson velvet and one of cloth of gold. And she herself procured another of strong leather. She said also that when she was captured she had not that sword. Said also that she continued to wear the said sword until she left St. Denis after the assault on Paris. Asked, what benediction she made, or if she made any on this sword, she answered, that she made no benediction, nor knew how to make one, but that she loved the sword because it had come to her from the Church of the blessed Catherine whom she loved much. Asked, if she had placed it on the altar at the village of Coulenges, Les Vineuses, or elsewhere, placing it there that it might bring good luck, she answered, that she knew nothing of this. Asked, if she did not pray that the sword might have good fortune: “It is good to know that I wish all my armour (/harnesseum meum; gallice, mon harnois) to be very fortunate." Asked, where she had left the sword, answered, that she had deposited a sword and armour at St. Denis, but it was not this sword. She added that she had it in Lagny: but that she afterwards wore the sword which had been taken from a Burgundian, which was a good sword for war and gave good strokes (/gallice, de bonnes bouffes and de bons torchons). Said also that to tell where she left it had nothing to do with the trial, and she would answer nothing.

She said also that her brothers had everything that belonged to her, her horses, swords, and everything, and that she believed they were worth in all about 12,000 francs. She was also asked whether when she was at Orleans she had a standard, and what colour it was; answered, that she had a standard, the field of which was sown with lilies, and on it was a figure of the world with angels on each side. It was white, and made of a stuff called boucassin, upon which was written the name Jhesus Maria, so that all might see, and it was fringed with silk. Asked, if the name Jhesus Maria was written above or below or at the side, she answered, “At the side.” Asked, if she loved her sword or standard best, she answered, that she loved her standard best. Asked, why she had that picture on the standard, she answered: “I have sufficiently told you that I did nothing but by the command of God.” She added that she herself carried her standard when in battle that she might not hurt anyone, and said that she had never killed any man.

Asked, how many men her King gave her when she began her work, answered, from ten to twelve[4] thousand men, and that she attacked first the bastile of St. Loup at Orleans, and afterwards that of the bridge. Asked, from which bastile it was that her men were driven back, she answered, that she did not remember; adding, that she had been sure that she could raise the siege at Orleans, for it had been so revealed to her; and that she told this to her King before it occurred. Asked, whether, when she made assault, she told her men that all the arrows, stones, cannon-balls, etc., would be intercepted by her, she answered no–that more than a hundred were wounded: that what she had said to her people was that they should have no doubts, for they should certainly raise the siege of Orleans. She said also that in attacking the bastile of the bridge she herself was wounded by an arrow in the neck, and was much comforted by St. Catherine, and was healed in fifteen days; but that she never gave up riding and working all that time. Asked, if she knew that she would be wounded, she answered, that she knew it well and had told her King, but that, notwithstanding, she went about her business. It was revealed to her by the voices of her two saints, the blessed Catherine and the blessed Margaret. She said besides, that she was the first to place a scaling ladder on the bastile of the bridge, and as she raised it she was struck in the neck.

She was then asked why she did not treat with the Captain of Jargeau; she answered that the lords of her party had replied to the English, who had asked for a truce of fifteen days, that they could not have it, but that they might retire, they and their horses at once; she had said for her part that if they retired in their doublets and tunics their lives should be spared, otherwise the city would be taken by storm. Asked, if she had consulted with her counsel, that is with her voices, whether the truce should be granted or not, she answered, that she did not remember.

It will be remarked, as the slow examination goes on day after day, that Jeanne, becoming at moments impatient, sometimes gives a rough answer, and at other times plays a little with her questioner as if in contempt. “By the Blessed Mary, I know not!” is evidently an outburst of impatience at the exhausting, exasperating folly of some of these questions, and this will be further visible in future sittings. It seems very likely that the reference to Poitiers, which was an excellent suggestion, commending itself to her invariable good sense, came from the kind priest who tried to serve her as he best could; but there are other answers a little incoherent, which look as if Frère Isambard, if it were he, had confused her in her own response without conveying anything better to her mind, especially on the occasions when she refuses to reply, and then does so, abandoning her ground at once. Her patience and steadiness are quite extraordinary however even in the less self-collected moments. Thus end the proceedings of the fourth day.


The fifth day began with the usual dispute about the oath, Jeanne still retaining her reservation with the greatest firmness. She seems, however, at the end, to have repeated her oath to answer everything that had to do with the trial–"And as much as I say I will say as if I were before the Pope of Rome.” These words must have given the Magister Beaupère an admirable occasion for introducing one of the things charged against her for which there was actual proof–her letter to the Comte d’Armagnac in respect to the Pope. He seized upon it evidently with eagerness, and asked her which she held to be the true Pope. To this she answered quietly, “Are there two?"–the most confusing reply.[5]

She was asked if she had received letters from the Comte d’Armagnac, asking to know which of the three existing Popes he ought to obey; she answered that she had his letter, and had replied to it, saying among other things that when she was in Paris and at rest she would answer him; and added that she was on the point of mounting her horse when she gave that reply. The copy of the letter and the reply being read to her she was asked if that was what she had said; to which she replied that she had answered his letter in part, not in full. Asked, if she knew the counsels of the King of Kings so as to be able to say which the count should obey, she answered, that she knew nothing. Asked, if she was in doubt as to which the count ought to obey, she replied that she knew not which to bid him obey; but that she, the said Jeanne, held and believed that we ought to obey our Pope who was in Rome; that as for what he asked, that she should tell him which God desired him to obey, she had said she knew nothing; but she sent much to him which was not put in writing. And as for herself she believed in the Lord Pope of Rome. Asked, whether in respect to the three pontiffs she had received counsel, she answered, that she had neither written nor made to be written anything about the three pontiffs. And this she swore on her oath. Asked, if she were in the habit of putting on her letters the name Jhesus Maria with a cross, answered, that she did so sometimes but not always, and that sometimes she put a cross to shew that these letters were not to be taken seriously (as likely to fall into the enemy’s hands).

Some questions were then put to her about her letters to the Duke of Bedford and to the English King, and copies were read to her to which she objected on some small points, but mistakenly it would seem, as that she had summoned them to surrender to the King, while the scribe had put “surrender to the Maid.” She said, however, that they were her letters, and that she held by them. She added that before seven years the English would lose more than they had lost at Orleans,[6] and that their cause would be lost in France; she said also that the said English should have greater disasters than they had yet had in France, and that God would give greater victories to France. Asked, how she knew this, she replied: “I know it by the revelations made to me, and that it will happen in seven years, and I might well be angry that it is deferred so long.” Asked, when this would happen, she said that she knew neither the day nor the hour.

She was tormented a little further as to the dates, whether this would happen before the St. Jean, or before the St. Martin in winter, but made no answer except that before the St. Martin in winter they should see many things, and it might be that the English should fail; as a matter of fact Paris opened its gates to Charles VII. within the seven years specified, so that Jeanne’s prophecy may be held to have been fulfilled.

We then come once more to a long and profitless interrogatory upon her saints, in which the crowd of judges forgot their dignity and overwhelmed her with a flood of often very foolish, and sometimes worse than foolish questions.

Asked, how she knew the future, she answered that she knew it by St. Catherine and St. Margaret; asked, if St. Gabriel was with St. Michael when he came to her, she answered, that she could not remember. Asked, if she saw them always in the same dress, answered yes, and they were crowned very richly. Of their other garments she could not speak; she knew nothing of their tunics. Asked, how she knew whether they were men or women, answered, that she knew well by their voices which revealed them to her; and that she knew nothing save by revelation and the precepts of God. Asked, what appearances she saw, she answered, that she saw faces. Asked, if these saints had hair, she answered, “It is good to know.” Asked, if there was anything between their crowns and their hair, answered, no. Asked, if their hair was long and hanging down, answered, “I know nothing about it.” She also said that their voices were beautiful sweet, and humble, and that she understood them well. Asked, how they could speak when they had no bodies, she answered, “I refer it to God.” She repeated that the voices were beautiful, humble, and sweet, and that they could speak French. Asked, if St. Margaret did not speak English, answered: “How could she speak English when she was not on the English side?”

This would seem to infer that the St. Margaret referred to was not the legendary St. Margaret of the dragon, but St. Margaret of Scotland, well known in France from the long connection between those two countries, and a popular mediæval saint. She would naturally have spoken English, being a Saxon, but also quite naturally would have been against the English, as a Scottish queen; but of these refinements it is very unlikely that Jeanne knew anything, and her prompt and somewhat sharp reply evidently cut the inquiry short. The next question was, did they wear gold rings in their ears or elsewhere, these crowned saints; to which she answered a little contemptuously, “I know nothing about it.” She was then asked if she herself had rings: on which “turning to us the aforesaid Bishop, she said, ’You have one of mine; give it back to me.’ She then said that the Burgundians had her other ring, and asked of us if we had the ring to shew it to her. Asked, who gave her this ring, answered, her father or her mother, and that the name Jhesus Maria was written upon it, but that she knew not who put it there, nor even whether there was a stone in the ring; it was given to her in the village of Domremy. She added that her brother gave her another ring which we had, and said that she desired that it might be given to the Church.”

A sudden change was now made in the cross-examination according to the methods of that operation, throwing her back without warning upon the village superstitions of Domremy, the magic tree and fountain. Many of the questions which follow are so trivial and are so evidently instinct with evil meaning, that it seems a wrong to Beaupère to impute the whole of the interrogatory to him; other questions were evidently interposed by the excited assembly.

Asked, if St. Catherine and St. Margaret talked with her under the tree of which mention had been made above, she answered, “I know nothing about it.” Asked, if the saints were seen at the fountain near the tree, answered yes, that she had heard them there; but what her saints promised to her, there or elsewhere, she answered, that nothing was promised except by permission from God. Asked, what promises were made to her, she answered, “This has nothing at all to do with your trial,” but added, that among other things they said to her that her King should be restored to his kingdom, and that his adversaries should be destroyed. She said also that they promised to take her, the said Jeanne, to Paradise, as she had asked them to do. Asked, if she had any other promises, she said there was one promise that had nothing to do with the trial, but that in three months she would tell them what that other promise was. Asked, if the voices told her she would be set free from her prison in three months, she answered: “This does not concern your trial; nor do I know when I shall be set free." And she added that those who wished to send her out of this world might well go before her. Asked, if her council did not tell her when she should be set free from her present prison, answered: “Ask me this in three months’ time; I can promise you as much as that"–but added: “You may ask those present, on their oaths, if this has anything to do with the trial.”

Startled by this suggestion, the judges seem to have held a hurried consultation among themselves to see whether these matters did really touch the trial; the result apparently decided them to return again to the question of the local superstitions of Domremy, the only point on which there seemed a chance of breaking down the extraordinarily just and steadfast intelligence of the girl who stood before them. After this pause she resumed, apparently not in answer to any question.

“I have well told you that there were things you should not know, and some time I must needs be set free. But I must have permission if I speak; therefore I will ask to have delay in this.” Asked, if her voices forbade her to speak the truth, she said: “Do you expect me to tell you things that concern the King of France? There is a great deal here that has nothing to do with the trial.” She said also that she knew that her King should enjoy the kingdom of France, as well as she knew that they were there before her in judgment. She added that she would have been dead but for the revelations which comforted her daily. She was then asked what she had done with her mandragora (mandrake)? she answered that she had no mandragora, nor had ever had. She had heard say that near her village there was one, but had never seen it. She had heard say that it was a dangerous thing, and that it was wicked to keep it; but knew nothing of its use. Asked, in what place this mandrake was, and what she had heard of it? she said that she had heard that it grew under the tree of which mention has been made, but did not know the place; she said also that she had heard that above the mandragora was a hazel tree. Asked, what she heard was done with the mandragora, answered, that she had heard that it brought money, but did not believe it; and added that her voices had never told her anything about it.

Asked, what was the appearance of St. Michael when she saw him first, she answered, that she saw no crown, and knew nothing of his dress. Asked, if he was naked, she answered, “Do you think God has nothing to clothe him with?” Asked, if he had hair, she answered, “Why should it have been cut?” She said further that she had not seen the blessed Michael since she left the castle of Crotoy, nor did she see him often. At last she said that she knew not whether he had hair or not. Asked, whether he carried scales, she answered, “I know nothing of it,” but added that she had much joy in seeing him, and she knew when she saw him that she was not in a state of sin. She also said that St. Catherine and St. Margaret often made her confess to them, and said that if she had been in a state of sin it was without knowing it. She was then asked whether, when she confessed, she believed herself to be in a state of mortal sin; she answered, that she knew not whether she had been in that state, but did not believe she had done the works of sin. “It would not have pleased God,” she said, “that I should have been so; nor would it have pleased Him that I should have done the works of sin by which my soul should have been burdened.”

She was then asked what sign she gave to the King that she came to him from God; she answered: “I have told you always that nothing should draw this from me.[7] Ask me no more.” Asked, if she had not sworn to reveal what was asked of her touching the trial, answered, “I have told you that I will tell you nothing that was for our King; and of this which belongs to him I will not speak.” Asked, if she knew the sign which she gave to the King, she answered: “You shall know nothing from me.” When it was said to her that this did concern the trial, she answered, “Of that which I have promised to keep secret I shall tell you nothing"; and further she said, “I promised in that place and I could not tell you without perjuring myself.” Asked, to whom she promised? answered, that she had promised to Saints Catherine and Margaret, and this was shown to the King. She also said she had promised it to these two saints, because they had required it of her. And the same Jeanne had done this at their request. “Too many people would have asked me concerning it, if I had not promised to the aforesaid saints.” She was then asked, when she showed this sign to the King if there were others with him; she answered, that to her there was no one near him, even though many people might have been present. (As a matter of fact the sign was given to Charles when he talked with the Maid apart in a recess, the great hall being full of the Court and followers; so that this was strictly true.) Asked further, if she saw a crown over the head of her King when she showed him this sign, but replied: “I cannot answer you without perjury." Asked further if her King had a crown when he was at Rheims, answered, that in her opinion her King had a crown which he found at Rheims, but a very fine one was afterwards brought for him. He did this to hasten matters, at the desire of the city of Rheims; but if he had been more certain, he could have had a crown a thousand times richer. (All this is very obscure.)

Asked, if she had seen this crown, she answered: “I could not tell you without perjury, but I heard that it was a very rich one.” It was then determined to conclude for this day.

On the sixth day there was again the same questions about the oath, ending in the usual way. And the cross-examination was at once continued.

She was asked if she would say whether St. Michael had wings, and what bodies and members had St. Catherine and St. Margaret; and she answered, “I have told you what I know, and will make no other reply"; she said, moreover, that when she saw St. Michael and St. Catherine and St. Margaret, she knew at once that they were saints of Paradise. Asked, if she saw anything more than their faces, she answered: “I have told you all I know of them: and I would rather have had my head taken off than tell you all I know.” She then said that in whatever concerned the trial she would speak freely. Asked, if she believed that St. Michael and St. Gabriel had natural heads, she answered: “I saw them with my eyes and I believe that they are, as firmly as I believe that God is.” Asked, if she believed that God made them in the form in which she saw them, she answered, “Yes.” Asked, if she believed that God had created them in the same form from the beginning, answered: “You shall have no more for the present, except what I have already said.”

This subject was then dropped, and the examiner made another leap forward to a different part of her life. “Did you know by revelation that you should break prison?” he said. To this Jeanne answered indignantly: “This has nothing to do with your trial. Would you have me speak against myself?”

Again questioned what her “voices” had said to her in respect to her attempts at escape, she again answered: “This has nothing to do with the trial; I go back to the trial. If all your questions were about that, I should tell you all.” She said besides, on her faith, that she knew neither the day nor the hour when she should escape. She was then asked what the voices said to her generally, and answered: “In truth, they tell me I shall be freed, but neither the day nor the hour; and that I ought to speak boldly, and with a glad countenance.” She was then asked whether, when first she saw her King, he asked her whether it was by revelation that she had assumed the dress of a man? she replied: “I have answered this. I cannot recollect whether he asked me. But it is written in the book at Poitiers.” Asked, whether the doctors who examined her there, some for a month, some for three weeks, had asked her about her change of dress; she answered: “I don’t remember; but I know they asked me when I assumed the dress of a man, and I told them it was in the town of Vaucouleurs.” Asked, whether these doctors had inquired whether it was her voices which had made her take that dress, answered, “I don’t remember.” Asked if her Queen wished her to change her dress when she first saw her, answered, “I don’t remember.” Asked if her King, Queen, and all of her party did not ask her to lay aside the dress of a man, she answered, “This has nothing to do with the trial.” Asked, if the same was not requested of her in the castle of Beaurevoir, she answered: “It is true. And I replied that I could not lay it aside without the permission of God." She said further that the demoiselle of Luxembourg (aunt of Jeanne’s captor, and a very old woman) and the lady of Beaurevoir offered her a woman’s dress, or stuff to make one, and begged her to wear it; but she replied that she had not yet the permission of our Lord, and that it was not yet time. Asked, if M. Jean de Pressy and others at Arras had offered her a woman’s dress, she answered, “He and others have often asked it of me.” Asked, if she thought she would have done wrong in putting on a woman’s dress, she answered, that it was better to obey her sovereign Lord, that is, God; she said also that if she had done it, she would rather have done it at the request of these two ladies than of any other in France, except her Queen. Asked, if, when God revealed to her that she should change her dress, it was by the voice of St. Michael, St. Catherine, or St. Margaret, she answered, “You shall hear no more about it.” Asked, when the King first employed her, and her standard was made, whether the men-at-arms and others who took part in the war did not have flags imitated from hers? she answered, “It is well to know that the lords retained their own arms"; she also added that her brothers-in-arms made such pennons as pleased them. Asked, how these were made, if they were of linen or cloth, answered, that they were of white satin, some of them with lilies; that she had but two or three lances in her own company–but that in the rest of the army some carried pennons like hers, but only to distinguish them from others. Asked, if the banners were often renewed, answered: “I know not; when the staff was broken it was renewed.” Asked, if she had not said that the pennons copied from hers were fortunate, answered, that she had said, “Go in boldly among the English"; and that she had done the same herself. Asked, if she said that they should have good luck if they bore the banners well, answered, that she had told them what would happen, and what should still happen. Asked, if she had caused holy water to be sprinkled on the pennons when they were new, she answered, “That has nothing to do with the trial"; but added that if she did so sprinkle them she was not instructed to answer that question now. Asked, if the others put Jhesus Maria upon their pennons, she answered: “By my faith, I know nothing about it.” Asked, if she had ever carried or caused to be carried in a procession round a church or altar the linen of which the pennons were made, answered no, that she had never seen anything of the kind done.

Asked, when she was before Jargeau, what it was that she wore behind her helmet, and if she had not something round it, she answered: “By my faith, there was nothing.” Asked, if she knew a certain Brother Richard, she answered: “I never saw him till I was before Troyes." Asked, what cheer Brother Richard made to her, answered, that she thought the people of Troyes had sent him to her, doubting whether she had come on the part of God, and that as he approached her he made the sign of the cross, and sprinkled holy water; she said to him: “Come on boldly; I shall not fly away.” Asked, if she had seen, or had caused to be made, any images or pictures of herself, she answered, that at Arras she had seen a picture in the hands of a Scot, where she was represented fully armed, kneeling on one knee, and presenting a letter to the King; but that she had never caused any image or picture of herself to be made. Asked concerning a table in the house of her host, upon which were painted three women, with Justice, Peace, Union inscribed beneath, answered, that she knew nothing of it. Asked, if she knew that those of her party caused masses and prayers to be made in her honour, she answered, that she knew not; and if they did so, it was not by any command of hers; but that if they did so, her opinion was that they did no wrong. Asked, if those of her party firmly believed that she was sent from God, she answered: “I know not whether they believed it; but even if they did not believe it, I am none the less sent on the part of God.” Asked, whether she thought that to believe that she was sent from god was a worthy faith, she answered, that if they believed that she was sent from God they were not mistaken. Asked, if she knew what her party meant by kissing her feet and hands and her garments, answered, that many people did it, but that her hands were kissed as little as she could help it. The poor people, however, came to her of their own free will, because she never oppressed them, but protected them as far as was in her power. Asked, what reverence the people of Troyes made to her, she answered, “None at all,” and added that she believed Brother Richard came into Troyes with her army, but that she had not seen him coming in. Asked, if he had not preached at the gates when she came, answered, that she scarcely paused there at all, and knew nothing of any sermon. Asked, how long she was at Rheims, and answered, four or five days. Asked, whether she baptised (stood godmother to) children there, she answered: To one at Troyes, but did not remember any at Rheims or at Château-Thierry; but there were two at St. Denis; and willingly she called the boys “Charles,” in honour of her King, and the girls “Jeanne,” according to what their mothers wished. Asked, if the good women of the town did not touch with their rings the rings she wore, she answered, that many women touched her hands and her rings; but she did not know why they did it. Asked, what she did with the gloves in which her King was consecrated, she answered that “Gloves were distributed to the knights and nobles that came there"; and there was one who lost his; but she did not say that she would find it for him. Also she said that her standard was in the church at Rheims, and she believed near the altar, and she herself had carried it for a short time, but did not know whether Brother Richard had held it.

She was then asked if she communicated and went to confession often while moving about the country, and if she received the sacrament in her male costume; to which she answered “yes, but without her arms"; she was then questioned about a horse belonging to the Bishop of Senlis, which had not suited her, a matter completely without importance. The inference intended was that it was taken from him without being paid for; but there was no evidence that the Maid knew anything about it. We then come to the incident of Lagny.

She was asked how old the child was which she saw at Lagny, and answered, three days; it hed been brought to Lagny to the Church of Nôtre Dame, and she was told that all the maids in Lagny were before our Lady praying for it, and she also wished to go and pray God and our Lady that its life might come back; and she went, and prayed with the rest. And finally life appeared; it yawned three times, and was baptised and buried in consecrated ground. It had given no sign of life for three days and was black as her coat, but when it yawned its colour began to come back. She was there with the other maids on her knees before our Lady to make her prayer.

The reader must understand that this was no special appeal to Jeanne’s miraculous power, but a custom of that intense and tender charity with which the Church of Rome corrects her dogmatism upon questions of salvation. A child unbaptised could not be buried in consecrated ground, and was subject to all the sorrows of the unredeemed; but who could doubt that the priest would be easily persuaded by some wavering of the tapers on the altar upon the little dead face, some flicker of his own compassionate eyelids, that sufficient life had come back to permit the holy rite to be administered? The whole little scene is affecting in the extreme, the young creatures all kneeling, fervently appealing to the Maiden-mother, the priest ready to take instant advantage of any possible flicker, the Maid of France, no conspicuous figure, but weeping and praying among the rest. There was no thought here of the raising of the dead–the prayer was for breath enough only to allow of the holy observance, the blessed water, the last possibility of human love and effort.

Jeanne was then questioned concerning Catherine of La Rochelle, the supposed prophetess, who had been played against her by La Tremouille and his follows, and narrated how she had watched two nights to see the mysterious lady clothed in cloth of gold who was said to appear to Catherine, but had not seen her, and that she had advised the woman to return to her husband and children. Catherine’s mission was to go through the “good towns” with heralds and trumpets to call upon those who had money or treasure of any kind to give it to the King, and she professed to have a supernatural knowledge where such money was hidden. [No doubt La Tremouille must have thought that to get money, which was so scarce, in such a simple way, was worth trying at least. But Jeanne’s opinion was that it was folly, and that there was nothing in it; an opinion fully verified. Catherine’s advice had been that Jeanne should go to the Duke of Burgundy to make peace; but Jeanne had answered that no peace could be made save at the end of the lance.]

She was then asked about the siege of La Charité; she answered, that she had made an assault: but had not sprinkled holy water, or caused it to be sprinkled. Asked, why she did not enter the city as she had the command of God to do so, she replied: “Who told you that I was commanded to enter?” Asked, if she had not had the advice of her voices, she answered, that she had desired to go into France (meaning towards Paris), but the generals had told her that it was better to go first to La Charité. She was then asked if she had been long in the tower of Beaurevoir; answered, that she was there about four months, and that when she heard the English come she was angry and much troubled. Her voices forbade her several times to attempt to escape; but at last, in the doubt she had of the English she threw herself down, commending herself to God and to our Lady, and was much hurt. But after she had done this the voice of St. Catherine said to her not to be afraid, that she should be healed, and that Compiègne would be relieved.

Also she said that she prayed always for the relief of Compiègne with her council. Asked, what she said after she had thrown herself down, she answered, that some said that she was dead; and as soon as the Burgundians saw that she was not dead, they told her that she had thrown herself down. Asked, if she had said that she would rather die than fall into the hands of the English, she answered, that she would much rather have rendered her soul to God than have fallen into the hands of the English. Asked, if she was not in a great rage, and if she did not blaspheme the name of God, she answered, that she never said evil of any saint, and that it was not her custom to swear. Asked respecting Soissons, when the captain had surrendered the town, whether she had not cursed God, and said that if she had gotten hold of the captain, she would have cut him into four pieces; she answered, that she never swore by any saint, and that those who said so had not understood her.


At this point the public trial of Jeanne came to a sudden end. Either the feeling produced in the town, and even among the judges, by her undeviating, simple, and dignified testimony had begun to be more than her persecutors had calculated upon; or else they hoped to make shorter work with her when deprived of the free air of publicity, the sight no doubt of some sympathetic faces, and the consciousness of being still able to vindicate her cause and to maintain her faith before men. Two or three fierce Inquisitors within her cell, and the Bishop, that man without heart or pity at their head, might still tear admissions from her weariness, which a certain sympathetic atmosphere in a large auditory, swept by waves of natural feeling, would strengthen her to keep back. The Bishop made a proclamation that in order not to vex and tire his learned associates he would have the minutes of the previous sittings reduced into form, and submitted to them for judgment, while he himself carried on apart what further interrogatory was necessary. We are told that he was warned by a counsellor of the town that secret examinations without witnesses or advocate on the prisoner’s side, were illegal; but Monseigneur de Beauvais was well aware that anything would be legal which effected his purpose, and that once Jeanne was disposed of, the legality or illegality of the proceedings would be of small importance. I have thought it right to give to the best of my power a literal translation of these examinations, notwithstanding their great length; as, except in one book, now out of print and very difficult to procure, no such detailed translation,[8] so far as I am aware, exists; and it seems to me that, even at the risk of fatiguing the reader (always capable of skipping at his pleasure), it is better to unfold the complete scene with all its tedium and badgering, which brings out by every touch the extraordinary self-command, valour, and sense of this wonderful Maid, the youngest, perhaps, and most ignorant of the assembly, yet meeting all with a modest and unabashed countenance, true, pure, and natural, –a far greater miracle in her simplicity and noble steadfastness than even in the wonders she had done.

[1] She was in reality detained two days, which fact, no doubt, she judged to be an unimportant detail.

[2] Probably meaning, had been present when the voices came to her and had perceived her state of listening and abstraction.

[3] This was her special friend, Gerard of Epinal–her compère and gossip; was it jesting beguiled by some childish recollection, or mock threat of youthful days that she said this?

[4] An answer evidently given in the vagueness of imperfect knowledge, meaning a very great number.

[5] Quicherat gives a note on this subject to point out that there was really was but one Pope at this moment, the question having been settled by the abdication of Clement VIII., Benedict XIV. being a mere impostor. We cannot believe, however, that this historical cutting of the knot could be known to Jeanne. She probably felt only, with her fine instinct, that there could be but one Pope, and that to be deceived on such a matter ought to have been a thing impossible to all those priests and learned men; as a matter of fact the three claimants, on account of whom the Comte d’Armagnac had appealed to her, were no longer existing at the time he wrote.

[6] She meant Paris, which was lost by the English, according to her prophecy within the time named.

[7] It should here be noted that Jeanne’s sign to the King being, as he afterwards declared, the answer to his most private devotions and the final setting at rest of a doubt which might have injured him much had it been known that he entertained it–it would have been dishonourable on her part and a great wrong to him had she revealed it.

[8] The translation of M. Fabre is now, I believe, reprinted, but it is not satisfactory.


Preface  •  Chapter I - France in the Fifteenth Century. 1412-1423.  •  Chapter II - Domremy and Vaucouleurs. 1424-1429.  •  Chapter III - Before the King. Feb.-April, 1429.  •  Chapter IV - The Relief of Orleans. May 1-8, 1429.  •  Chapter V - The Campaign of the Loire. June, July, 1429.  •  Chapter VI - The Coronation. July 17, 1429.  •  Chapter VII - The Second Period. 1429-1430.  •  Chapter VIII - Defeat and Discouragement. Autumn, 1429.  •  Chapter IX - Compiègne. 1430.  •  Chapter X - The Captive. May, 1430-Jan., 1431.  •  Chapter XI - The Judges. 1431.  •  Chapter XII - Before the Trial. Lent, 1431.  •  Chapter XIII - The Public Examination. February, 1431.  •  Chapter XIV - The Examination in Prison. Lent, 1431.  •  Chapter XV - Re-Examination. March-May, 1431.  •  Chapter XVI - The Abjuration. May 24, 1431.  •  Chapter XVIII - The Sacrifice. May 31, 1431.  •  Chapter XVIII - After.