Jeanne D'Arc: her life and death eBook

This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 335 pages of information about Jeanne D'Arc.

Also she said that she prayed always for the relief of Compiegne 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.

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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.

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