The Question of Torture
Tt was the eve of the Ascension, the 9th of the sweet May month when Joan was made to contemplate the instruments of torture then in use. It was the anniversary of the beginning of her career at Vaucouleurs—her first meeting with Robert de Baudricourt. On this day began her first and greatest victory at Orleans, when she took the fort of St. Loup. It was the anniversary of her capture at Compiegne; and probably of her first vision at Domremy. Her old friends were present with Bishop Cauchon —Erard, Loyseleur, Hayton, and three or four others, with the apparitor in charge of the instruments of torture. This was Parmentier, who was not a priest. With him was his assistant. The scene was in the great tower. Parmentier and several others testified afterwards, that it was the common saying of the people of Rouen, that all the evil done to Joan came solely from English and Burgundian hatred of her.
In the tower, then, Joan was told, that she had concealed many things; let her consider the danger of torture. She answered, "If you dislocate my members, and make my soul leave my
body, I will tell you nothing. If I were to say anything else, I would tell you had it by torture." She had asked her Saints about submission to the church of the ecclesiastics who urged such submission. The Voices assured her that her Lord was the judge of all her mission; let her look to Him. She had asked her Voices if she will be burned. They answered, that she must leave the matter to her Lord—He will aid."
"Will you submit to the archbishop of Reims?" A strange question! Had they been in communication with him I He certainly was, with the Burgundians, and probably with the English. "Bring him here," said Joan; "he will not venture to deny what I have said." She would not disavow her career—Voila le noeud! This was the Gordian knot Cauchon was trying to get her to cut. At the end of the session, he thought that, for the moment, torture would be useless, and so put it off.
On May 12th the bishop asked the opinion of twelve assessors in his own house. Only three were for torture, Loyseleur, Coureelles and Morel; the idea, therefore, was given up.
Now were dispatched three Parisian doctors to the University, which approved of all that had been said and done. The distinguished seat of learning praised the manner of the trial, and writing to the king and Cauchon, urged the hastening of the sentence and its execution; delay
Would be dangerous; all western Christendom had become infected by this woman Joan.
Two of the messengers were remunerated with additional canonries in Rouen—Beaupere on September 30th, 1430, Midi on May 31st, 1431. This decision, or approval, of the University justified every excess, and it was unhesitatingly accepted at Rouen.
On the 23rd of May, Wednesday in Pentecost week, Cauchon and Lemaitre went to the room adjoining Joan's prison. Amongst the assessors was Louis of Luxembourg, bishop of Therouanne, brother of John de Luxembourg, who had sold Joan. Pierre Maurice read the indictment without stopping, so that Joan could speak only at the end. She merely repeated her determination not to disavow her revelations or her career. Thereupon, the judge announced that the sentence would be passed on the morrow. It was the twenty-fourth interrogatory.