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HER EXAMINATION AT POITIERS.
examiners. The old chronicler, at this moment before us, gives a long list of the names of the great and learned. persons who were in array against her; but as we fancy they would little interest the reader, we pass them in silence. Jeanne, on her arrival at Poitiers, was lodged at the house of Master Jean Rabateau, whose wife, a worthy woman, took a great fancy to her. On the morning of the day appointed for her examination, her new friend bore her company to the place where the Sessions were held. Jeanne modestly seated herself at the end of a bench, but on the arrival of the Commissioners she rose and respectfully saluted them.
For two mortal hours did they overwhelm her with learning she could not possibly understand, and with a severity of handling that would have frightened any ordinary beings into losing whatever wit they might possess; but Jeanne was not to be so easily put down. Evidently desiring to denounce her as a sorceress before they found her to be such, these wiseacres commenced by a long and tedious discourse to show that she ought not to be credited in anything she had told to the King, and desired that now her whole story should be repeated without hesitation, omission, error, or disguise. Jeanne offered no objections; and all those particulars of her birth, life, and progress, with which the reader is already acquainted, she repeated before her judges without demur or variation. "What a noble spectacle !' wrote Alain Chartier, 'to
"Mémoires de la Pucelle.
see a woman disputing against men,-a woman ignorant of the dogmas they launched against her, with all the labyrinths of their dialectique.' But the maid met them with a firm spirit, and disconcerted their most sagacious arguments in a noble manner, by the simple good sense of her replies, and the fervid eloquence of her religious feelings.
'I am no scholar,' she said. “I know neither “A” nor "B;" but I am commanded, by voices that speak the will of God, to raise the siege of Orleans, and to conduct the gentle Dauphin to be crowned at Rheims.'
'In what language do your voices speak to you?' asked a Doctor from Limoges sarcastically, in a broad Limousin accent.
'In a better language than you speak to me,' was Jeanne's ready reply.
But if it be the will of God to deliver France,' said another theological Doctor, 'men-at-arms will not be wanted.'
• In the name of God, let the men-at-arms fight,' answered Jeanne; "and God will give them the victory.'
'Do you believe in God ?' was the foolish question that another Doctor put to her.
Ay, better than you do,' she replied, evidently displeased with the questioner.
‘But God will not allow us to believe what you state about yourself, unless you give us some sign that will compel our belief.'
RESULT OF HER EXAMINATION.
'I come not to Poitiers to give signs,' answered Jeanne with spirit. “Take me to Orleans, and I will show you signs for what purpose I am sent. Give me men-at-arms : I care not for the number, few or many. I will go, and in the name of God will raise the siege, and conduct the Dauphin to be anointed at Rheims. He shall be restored, and Paris shall be his after his coronation, and the Duke of Orleans shall be released from his captivity in England. There needs not so many words; this is not a time for talk, but for action.'
The learned Doctors were surprised and confounded. Jeanne had beaten them on their own ground, by her ready replies and her energetic speech; but they rallied for another attack, and cited passages from books and councils to explain their fears concerning her mission. She raised her eyes to heaven, and said with solemnity, “There is more in the book of God than in yours.'
On that day they came to no decision; but there was another examination, and that ended satisfactorily.
Many of the Commissioners had been impressed by the youthful innocence of Jeanne ; and they had been assured, by the inquiries made, that the purity of her morals was unquestionable. This satisfied them that she could not be a sorceress, as a belief existed, both with learned and unlearned, that the devil could make no compact with a maiden.
When Jeanne appeared again before them, their astonishment and admiration were no longer suppressed : they confessed themselves overcome ; all were moved, some even to tears, when the Bishop of Castres rose, and, in the name of the Assembly, pronounced that the maid was assuredly sent by God. Their official report to the King ran thus : That the maid, having been examined touching her life, morals, and her purposes, was found to be a humble, devout virgin, honest and simple; that to deny or hinder her intentions to serve her King, would be to show themselves unworthy of the assistance sent by God; that she ought to be conducted before Orleans, there to show the holy sign she had promised. The Archbishop of Rheims, who was present, agreed to this declaration.
Such was the opinion of the Commissioners; but it is obvious they avoided saying one word that could be considered as speaking a conviction of her supernatural mission.
A high-spirited, greatly-gifted young woman, likely to ini spire the army with confidence and renewed courage to
march to Orleans with a view to raise the siege, might assuredly be considered as sent by Providence, like all other merciful aids, without an especial divine mission.
Jeanne, worn and harassed by the anxious examinations she had undergone, retired to rest, under the care of her honest hostess; and whilst she sleeps as one so innocent and so noble deserves to sleep-sweetly, we will take the opportunity to say a few words on a point we have not hitherto noticed.
1 H. Martin, vol. vi. p. 157; Mémoires de la Pucelle, p. 98; Histoire de France; Moreri, Dictionnaire.
A DOUBTFUL TRADITION.
Jeanne has been represented by Hume, and many other English writers, as a bold girl, who had been ostler at an inn in Domremi, and there learnt to manage horses fearlessly by riding them to water. But there is great cause to doubt whether she was ever so employed. In the Mémoires de la Pucelle d'Orleans, to which we have constantly referred,-a work, as all critics have considered, written soon after Jeanne relieved Orleans, and known to be a contemporary authority,-mention is made of her watching sheep; horses are not named, except to say how well she rode when mounted. In the Mémoires de Richemont, by Guillaume Gruel, a contemporary chronicle also that speaks of Jeanne, no mention is made of her serving at an inn. In the very curious and original letter of the Lord de Laval (which we shall give in due place), addressed to his grandmother and mother after more than one interview with Jeanne, and giving a circumstantial account of her, nothing is said about her having served at an inn.
And in the Mémoires de Florent d'Illiers, a brave young knight who fought by her side, she is spoken of as a country girl who led a pastoral life.
Monstrelet is the only chronicler in which the writer of these pages has seen her mentioned as having served at an inn in her native village. He says that she had been ostler and chambermaid, and had shown much courage in riding the horses to water, and in other feats unusual with young girls.' But Monstrelet was a Burgundian, and
| Monstrelet, vol. vii. p. 21.