INTERROGATORY OF MAY 28TH
0N the morning after Holy Trinity, May 28th, the judges Cauchon and Lemaitre, with La Pierre, verified in the prison Joan's change of dress. The bishop called, not assessors who were acquainted with the whole story of the alleged abjuration, but new men, thoroughly acquired to the English side; and with these were taken the old henchmen of whom the Judge was sure. Manchon was so afraid to enter the castle, that he went under the safeguard of Warwick. The procedure which, ensued cannot be called a trial; and the official account of it is evidently false. According to this, Joan acknowledged she had re-assumed her former dress without compulsion, and for the reason that it was more suitable in the presence of man —that, in fact, she had just taken it. Nor had she ever understood any oath said to have been taken to the contrary. Moreover she is represented as saying, that she had acted thus, because they had broken their promise to her to hear Mass, to receive Communion, and be kept in a prison of the Church. Then she was made to say that she would submit to their decision if she be allowed these things, adding the condition of a female companion in the prison.
Manchon wrote this story; but his testimony is not the same at the trial of Rehabilitation. Then he testified that Joan gave, as the reason of her wearing the apparel of man, the sheer necessity of safeguarding her virtue, the violation of which had been attempted by the guards. Neither had she "just taken" her former dress; for she had assumed it on the preceding day. How shall we qualify the sentence that condemned her to die by fire for thus protecting her innocence?
In the Process, which we regard now with particular suspicion, Joan says the Saints reproached her with the great betrayal of her abjuration. Even such as it was according to the story, it may be admitted that Joan was not without fault. She had given occasion of scandal to many by even a seeming act of abjuration. She was warned beforehand by her Saints, she is made to say, of the fault she would commit. They told her to answer the preacher boldly, for he preached falsehoods. And this is a very doubtful statement, to say the least of it. "If I say that God did not send me, I shall be lost." Her Voices told her to confess her fault. "And the crown?" some one puts in idiotically. She said she never intended to deny her revelations. Whatever she said or did in the cemetery was through fear of death by fire. But she "revoked nothing that was true.
I have done nothing against God or the Faith, whatever they made me revoke. I did not understand what was in the paper of abjuration- At the moment of abjuring, I did not intend to renounce anything except in as far as it was displeasing to Our Lord. If the judges wish, I will take woman's dress; but for the rest I will do nothing."
This official account is incoherent, and evidently truncated and confused. At the close, the bishop said, "We left the said woman, determined to proceed against her in accordance with reason and law"; which says Father Ayroles, were never more basely trodden under foot. As the bishop went out, he is reported to have called aloud to an English group there present, "Farowelle, farowelle; it is done; have good cheer."