"How were you dressed?"
The court of Poitiers had distinctly decided and decreed that as God had appointed her to do a man's work, it was meet and no scandal to religion that she should dress as a man; but no matter, this court was ready to use any and all weapons against Joan, even broken and discredited ones, and much was going to be made of this one before this trial should end.
"I wore a man's dress, also a sword which Robert de Baudricourt gave me, but no other weapon."
"Who was it that advised you to wear the dress of a man?"
Joan was suspicious again. She would not answer.
The question was repeated.
She refused again.
"Answer. It is a command!"
"Passez outre," was all she said.
So Beaupere gave up the matter for the present.
"What did Baudricourt say to you when you left?"
"He made them that were to go with me promise to take charge of me, and to me he said, 'Go, and let happen what may!'" (Advienne que pourra!) After a good deal of questioning upon other matters she was asked again about her attire. She said it was necessary for her to dress as a man.
"Did your Voice advise it?"
Joan merely answered placidly:
"I believe my Voice gave me good advice."
It was all that could be got out of her, so the questions wandered to other matters, and finally to her first meeting with the King at Chinon. She said she chose out the King, who was unknown to her, by the revelation of her Voices. All that happened at that time was gone over. Finally:
"Do you still hear those Voices?"
"They come to me every day."
"What do you ask of them?"
"I have never asked of them any recompense but the salvation of my soul."
"Did the Voice always urge you to follow the army?"
He is creeping upon her again. She answered:
"It required me to remain behind at St. Denis. I would have obeyed if I had been free, but I was helpless by my wound, and the knights carried me away by force."
"When were you wounded?"
"I was wounded in the moat before Paris, in the assault."
The next question reveals what Beaupere had been leading up to:
"Was it a feast-day?"
You see? The suggestion that a voice coming from God would hardly advise or permit the violation, by war and bloodshed, of a sacred day.
Joan was troubled a moment, then she answered yes, it was a feast-day.
"Now, then, tell the this: did you hold it right to make the attack on such a day?"
This was a shot which might make the first breach in a wall which had suffered no damage thus far. There was immediate silence in the court and intense expectancy noticeable all about. But Joan disappointed the house. She merely made a slight little motion with her hand, as when one brushes away a fly, and said with reposeful indifference:
Smiles danced for a moment in some of the sternest faces there, and several men even laughed outright. The trap had been long and laboriously prepared; it fell, and was empty.
The court rose. It had sat for hours, and was cruelly fatigued. Most of the time had been taken up with apparently idle and purposeless inquiries about the Chinon events, the exiled Duke of Orleans, Joan's first proclamation, and so on, but all this seemingly random stuff had really been sown thick with hidden traps. But Joan had fortunately escaped them all, some by the protecting luck which attends upon ignorance and innocence, some by happy accident, the others by force of her best and surest helper, the clear vision and lightning intuitions of her extraordinary mind.
Now, then, this daily baiting and badgering of this friendless girl, a captive in chains, was to continue a long, long time--dignified sport, a kennel of mastiffs and bloodhounds harassing a kitten!--and I may as well tell you, upon sworn testimony, what it was like from the first day to the last. When poor Joan had been in her grave a quarter of a century, the Pope called together that great court which was to re-examine her history, and whose just verdict cleared her illustrious name from every spot and stain, and laid upon the verdict and conduct of our Rouen tribunal the blight of its everlasting execrations.