Jeanne D'Arc: her life and death eBook

This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 397 pages of information about Jeanne D'Arc.
judges assessors, and by other whose names he does not recollect, “that the said English were so afraid of her that they did not dare to begin the siege of Louviers until she was dead; and that it was necessary if one would please them, to hasten the trial as much as possible and to find the means of condemning her.”  Very likely this was quite true:  but it cannot at all be taken for proved by such evidence.  Another contemporary witness allows that though some of the English pushed on her trial for hate, some were well disposed to her; the manner of Jeanne’s imprisonment is the only thing which inclines the reader to believe every evil thing that is said against them.

Such were the circumstances in which Jeanne was brought to trail.  The population, moved to pity and to tears as any population would have been, before the end, would seem at the beginning to have been indifferent and not to have taken much interest one way or another:  the court, a hundred men and more with all their hangers-on, the cleverest men in France, one more distinguished and impeccable than the others:  the stern ring of the Englishmen outside keeping an eye upon the tedious suit and all its convolutions:  these all appear before us, surrounding as with bands of iron the young lonely victim in the donjon, who submitting to every indignity, and deprived of every aid, feeling that all her friends had abandoned her, yet stood steadfast and strong in her absolute simplicity and honesty.  It was but two years in that same spring weather since she had left Vaucouleurs to seek the fortune of France, to offer herself to the struggle which now was coming to an end.  Not a soul had Jeanne to comfort or stand by her.  She had her saints who—­one wonders if such a thought ever entered into her young visionary head—­had lured her to her doom, and who still comforted her with enigmatical words, promises which came true in so sadly different a sense from that in which they were understood.

     (1) We are glad to add that the learned Quicherat has doubts
     on the subject of the cage.


We have not, however, sufficiently described the horror of the prison, and the treatment to which Jeanne was exposed, though the picture is already dark enough.  It throws a horrible yet also a grotesque light upon the savage manners of the time to find that the chamber in which she was confined, had secret provision for an espionnage of the most base kind, openings made in the walls through which everything that took place in the room, every proceeding of the unfortunate prisoner, could be spied upon and every word heard.  The idea of such a secret watch has always been attractive to the vulgar mind, and no doubt it has been believed to exist many times when there was little or no justification for such an infernal thought.  From the “ear” of Dionysius, down to the Trou Judas, which

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Jeanne D'Arc: her life and death from Project Gutenberg. Public domain.
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