And of course no one doubted that by supernatural help miracles had been done by Joan, such as choosing out the King in a crowd when she had never seen him before, and her discovery of the sword buried under the altar. It would have been foolish to doubt these things, for we all know that the air is full of devils and angels that are visible to traffickers in magic on the one hand and to the stainlessly holy on the other; but what many and perhaps most did doubt was, that Joan's visions, Voices, and miracles came from God. It was hoped that in time they could be proven to have been of satanic origin. Therefore, as you see, the court's persistent fashion of coming back to that subject every little while and spooking around it and prying into it was not to pass the time--it had a strictly business end in view.

Chapter 9 Her Sure Deliverance Foretold

THE NEXT sitting opened on Thursday the first of March. Fifty-eight judges present--the others resting.

As usual, Joan was required to take an oath without reservations. She showed no temper this time. She considered herself well buttressed by the procs verbal compromise which Cauchon was so anxious to repudiate and creep out of; so she merely refused, distinctly and decidedly; and added, in a spirit of fairness and candor:

"But as to matters set down in the procs verbal, I will freely tell the whole truth--yes, as freely and fully as if I were before the Pope."

Here was a chance! We had two or three Popes, then; only one of them could be the true Pope, of course. Everybody judiciously shirked the question of which was the true Pope and refrained from naming him, it being clearly dangerous to go into particulars in this matter. Here was an opportunity to trick an unadvised girl into bringing herself into peril, and the unfair judge lost no time in taking advantage of it. He asked, in a plausibly indolent and absent way:

"Which one do you consider to be the true Pope?"

The house took an attitude of deep attention, and so waited to hear the answer and see the prey walk into the trap. But when the answer came it covered the judge with confusion, and you could see many people covertly chuckling. For Joan asked in a voice and manner which almost deceived even me, so innocent it seemed:

"Are there two?"

One of the ablest priests in that body and one of the best swearers there, spoke right out so that half the house heard him, and said:

"By God, it was a master stroke!"

As soon as the judge was better of his embarrassment he came back to the charge, but was prudent and passed by Joan's question:

"Is it true that you received a letter from the Count of Armagnac asking you which of the three Popes he ought to obey?"

"Yes, and answered it."

Copies of both letters were produced and read. Joan said that hers had not been quite strictly copied. She said she had received the Count's letter when she was just mounting her horse; and added:

"So, in dictating a word or two of reply I said I would try to answer him from Paris or somewhere where I could be at rest."

She was asked again which Pope she had considered the right one.

"I was not able to instruct the Count of Armagnac as to which one he ought to obey"; then she added, with a frank fearlessness which sounded fresh and wholesome in that den of trimmers and shufflers, "but as for me, I hold that we are bound to obey our Lord the Pope who is at Rome."

The matter was dropped. They they produced and read a copy of Joan's first effort at dictating--her proclamation summoning the English to retire from the siege of Orleans and vacate France--truly a great and fine production for an unpractised girl of seventeen.

"Do you acknowledge as your own the document which has just been read?"

"Yes, except that there are errors in it--words which make me give myself too much importance." I saw what was coming; I was troubled and ashamed. "For instance, I did not say 'Deliver up to the Maid' (rendez la Pucelle); I said 'Deliver up to the King' (rendez au Roi); and I did not call myself 'Commander-in-Chief' (chef de guerre).

Mark Twain
Classic Literature Library

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