Denis after the attack upon Paris."
This sword, so mysteriously discovered and so long and so constantly victorious, was suspected of being under the protection of enchantment.
"Was that sword blest? What blessing had been invoked upon it?"
"None. I loved it because it was found in the church of St. Catherine, for I loved that church very dearly."
She loved it because it had been built in honor of one of her angels.
"Didn't you lay it upon the altar, to the end that it might be lucky?" (The altar of St. Denis.) "No."
"Didn't you pray that it might be made lucky?"
"Truly it were no harm to wish that my harness might be fortunate."
"Then it was not that sword which you wore in the field of Compiägne? What sword did you wear there?"
"The sword of the Burgundian Franquet d'Arras, whom I took prisoner in the engagement at Lagny. I kept it because it was a good war-sword--good to lay on stout thumps and blows with."
She said that quite simply; and the contrast between her delicate little self and the grim soldier words which she dropped with such easy familiarity from her lips made many spectators smile.
"What is become of the other sword? Where is it now?"
"Is that in the procäs verbal?"
Beaupere did not answer.
"Which do you love best, your banner or your sword?"
Her eye lighted gladly at the mention of her banner, and she cried out:
"I love my banner best--oh, forty times more than the sword! Sometimes I carried it myself when I charged the enemy, to avoid killing any one." Then she added, načvely, and with again that curious contrast between her girlish little personality and her subject, "I have never killed anyone."
It made a great many smile; and no wonder, when you consider what a gentle and innocent little thing she looked. One could hardly believe she had ever even seen men slaughtered, she look so little fitted for such things.
"In the final assault at Orleans did you tell your soldiers that the arrows shot by the enemy and the stones discharged from their catapults would not strike any one but you?"
"No. And the proof its, that more than a hundred of my men were struck. I told them to have no doubts and no fears; that they would raise the siege. I was wounded in the neck by an arrow in the assault upon the bastille that commanded the bridge, but St. Catherine comforted me and I was cured in fifteen days without having to quit the saddle and leave my work."
"Did you know that you were going to be wounded?"
"Yes; and I had told it to the King beforehand. I had it from my Voices."
"When you took Jargeau, why did you not put its commandant to ransom?"
"I offered him leave to go out unhurt from the place, with all his garrison; and if he would not I would take it by storm."
"And you did, I believe."
"Had your Voices counseled you to take it by storm?"
"As to that, I do not remember."
Thus closed a weary long sitting, without result. Every device that could be contrived to trap Joan into wrong thinking, wrong doing, or disloyalty to the Church, or sinfulness as a little child at home or later, had been tried, and none of them had succeeded. She had come unscathed through the ordeal.
Was the court discouraged? No. Naturally it was very much surprised, very much astonished, to find its work baffling and difficult instead of simple and easy, but it had powerful allies in the shape of hunger, cold, fatigue, persecution, deception, and treachery; and opposed to this array nothing but a defenseless and ignorant girl who must some time or other surrender to bodily and mental exhaustion or get caught in one of the thousand traps set for her.
And had the court made no progress during these seemingly resultless sittings? Yes. It had been feeling its way, groping here, groping there, and had found one or two vague trails which might freshen by and by and lead to something. The male attire, for instance, and the visions and Voices. Of course no one doubted that she had seen supernatural beings and been spoken to and advised by them.