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.
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 concluded.

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 Johannae 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 personally.

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 Johannae 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.

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