[Illustration: TOUR DE LA PUCELLE—COMPIEGNE.]
The historian Monstrelet tells us he was present when Joan of Arc was brought into the Burgundian camp, at Margny, and before the Duke of Burgundy. But the old chronicler relates nothing with regard to that eventful meeting; only he is eloquent on the joy caused by the capture of the Maid of Orleans among the English and their allies; and he tells us that in their opinion Joan’s capture was equal by itself to that of five hundred ordinary prisoners, for they had feared her, he adds, more than all the other French leaders put together. Of the high opinion held by her enemies of the Maid’s influence, one could not ask for a more remarkable proof than this testimony, coming as it does from a partisan of her foes.
After three days passed at Margny, Joan of Arc was taken, for greater security, by Luxembourg to the castle of Beaulieu, in Picardy.
IMPRISONMENT AND TRIAL.
The news of Joan’s capture soon reached Paris, and within a few hours of that event becoming known, the Vicar-General of the Order of the Inquisition sent a letter to the Duke of Burgundy, accompanied by another from the University of Paris, praying that Joan of Arc might be delivered up to the keeping of Mother Church as a sorceress and idolatress. That terrible engine, the Inquisition, had, like some mighty reptile scenting its prey near, slowly unfolded its coils. Whether Bedford had or had not caused these letters to be sent the Duke is not known, but the Regent had both in the Church and the University of Paris the men he wanted—instruments by whom his vengeance could be worked on Joan of Arc; and he had the astuteness to see that in calling in the aid of the Church, and treating Joan of Arc as a heretic and witch, the rules of war could be laid aside. What no civilised body of men could do, namely, kill a prisoner of war, that thing could be done in the name and by the authority of the Church and its holy office; and in the Bishop of Beauvais, the inexorable Cauchon, Bedford had the tool necessary to his hand whereby this dastardly plot could be carried out.
The first move that Bedford now was obliged to take was to secure the victim; and in order to do so the Bishop of Beauvais was applied to. The name of Peter Cauchon, Bishop of Beauvais, will go down to the latest posterity with the execration of humanity, for the part he played in the tragedy of the worst of judicial murders of which any record exists. Let us give even the devil his due. According to Michelet the Bishop was ‘not a man without merit,’ although the historian does not say in what Cauchon’s merit consisted. Born at Rheims, he had been considered a learned priest when at the University of Paris; but he had the reputation of being a harsh and vindictive opponent to all who disagreed with his views, within or without the Church.