Between The Examinations and The Trial
AT the end of Joan's examination, the case for the prosecution was complete. She had been subjected to fifteen harassing interrogatories and now she fell so ill that two physicians, Typhaine and de la Chambre, were brought from Paris. The indictment gives a summary of four sessions held during Passion Week; but there are no minutes of them. Bishop Cauchon reunited his assessors to form a charge. Only six or seven séances were followed by all of these, except Midi, Touraine, and Feuillet. Extracts made from the evidence had been prepared, the judge announced; and would be distributed for consideration. What they were, and by whom, we know not.
On the 22nd of March, there were present, in the house of the bishop, twenty-two doctors and other graduates in theology, amongst them several religious—Carmelites, Dominicans, Franciscans, also Hayton; It was resolved to put the extracts in the forms of articles of indictment, for more mature deliberation. At the close, the bishop added, "With the help of God, we hope to proceed in such a manner that the case will be carried on to the glory of God and the exaltation of the Faith, without any defect in its procedure." Amen, Joan might have
responded. All this procedure, however, allowed Cauchon to prepare the accusation as he pleased.
On Saturday, 24th, there was a smaller number of assessors in the prison, with the two judges. The whole Process was read to Joan by Manchon, Estivet offering to prove if Joan should deny. She was put under oath, not to add anything but what was true to her former answers. Then she asked to have all read without interruption—she had had enough—and to consider as correct what she would not deny. She added a word or so, here and there; for instance, that she would go home if she got woman's dress; afterwards, she would see what was best.
On the 25th March, Palm Sunday, Cauchon and four others went to the prison. Joan begged for Mass, because of the solemn days of Holy Week, and to receive Communion. The old condition of dress came up, and Cauchon offered her peasant attire. She said she was not allowed to change her dress. The stupid judge who demanded it should have put her somewhere else than with unrestrained, immoral soldiers, who were her deadly foes. He insisted upon the change of dress; but Joan said she could not change it, even for the favor of Holy Communion. She wished to do the Easter duty, and in woman's dress if they wished;
but she would not definitely renounce her usual clothing—and this through sheer necessity of protecting herself from indecent violence, and in order not to disavow or renounce her mission at the bidding of the traitorous foes of her country, and finally because Our Lord forbade her to change.
This session is to be vehemently suspected. We have no minutes of it. The most was made against Joan of her alleged refusal to renounce male attire even for the sake of performing her Easter duty. Finally, the only witnesses in the case were foes.