No, I will give them to you honestly, detail by detail, just as Manchon and I set them down daily in the official record of the court, and just as one may read them in the printed histories.

There will be only this difference: that in talking familiarly with you shall use my right to comment upon the proceedings and explain them as I go along, so that you can understand them better; also, I shall throw in trifles which came under our eyes and have a certain interest for you and me, but were not important enough to go into the official record. [1] To take up my story now where I left off. We heard the clanking of Joan's chains down the corridors; she was approaching.

Presently she appeared; a thrill swept the house, and one heard deep breaths drawn. Two guardsmen followed her at a short distance to the rear. Her head was bowed a little, and she moved slowly, she being weak and her irons heavy. She had on men's attire--all black; a soft woolen stuff, intensely black, funereally black, not a speck of relieving color in it from ther throat to the floor. A wide collar of this same black stuff lay in radiating folds upon her shoulders and breast; the sleeves of her doublet were full, down to the elbows, and tight thence to her manacled wrists; below the doublet, tight black hose down to the chains on her ankles.

Half-way to her bench she stopped, just where a wide shaft of light fell slanting from a window, and slowly lifted her face. Another thrill!--it was totally colorless, white as snow; a face of gleaming snow set in vivid contrast upon that slender statue of somber unmitigated black. It was smooth and pure and girlish, beautiful beyond belief, infinitely sad and sweet. But, dear, dear!

when the challenge of those untamed eyes fell upon that judge, and the droop vanished from her form and it straightened up soldierly and noble, my heart leaped for joy; and I said, all is well, all is well--they have not broken her, they have not conquered her, she is Joan of Arc still! Yes, it was plain to me now that there was one spirit there which this dreaded judge could not quell nor make afraid.

She moved to her place and mounted the dais and seated herself upon her bench, gathering her chains into her lap and nestling her little white hands there. Then she waited in tranquil dignity, the only person there who seemed unmoved and unexcited. A bronzed and brawny English soldier, standing at martial ease in the front rank of the citizen spectators, did now most gallantly and respectfully put up his great hand and give her the military salute; and she, smiling friendly, put up hers and returned it; whereat there was a sympathetic little break of applause, which the judge sternly silence.

Now the memorable inquisition called in history the Great Trial began. Fifty experts against a novice, and no one to help the novice!

The judge summarized the circumstances of the case and the public reports and suspicions upon which it was based; then he required Joan to kneel and make oath that she would answer with exact truthfulness to all questions asked her.

Joan's mind was not asleep. It suspected that dangerous possibilities might lie hidden under this apparently fair and reasonable demand. She answered with the simplicity which so often spoiled the enemy's best-laid plans in the trial at Poitiers, and said:

"No; for I do not know what you are going to ask me; you might ask of me things which I would not tell you."

This incensed the Court, and brought out a brisk flurry of angry exclamations. Joan was not disturbed. Cauchon raised his voice and began to speak in the midst of this noise, but he was so angry that he could hardly get his words out. He said:

"With the divine assistance of our Lord we require you to expedite these proceedings for the welfare of your conscience. Swear, with your hands upon the Gospels, that you will answer true to the questions which shall be asked you!" and he brought down his fat hand with a crash upon his official table.

Joan said, with composure:

"As concerning my father and mother, and the faith, and what things I have done since my coming into France, I will gladly answer; but as regards the revelations which I have received from God, my Voices have forbidden me to confide them to any save my King--"

Here there was another angry outburst of threats and expletives, and much movement and confusion; so she had to stop, and wait for the noise to subside; then her waxen face flushed a little and she straightened up and fixed her eye on the judge, and finished her sentence in a voice that had the old ring to it:

--"and I will never reveal these things though you cut my head off!"

Well, maybe you know what a deliberative body of Frenchmen is like.

Personal Recollections of Joan of Arc Vol 2 Page 43

Mark Twain

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