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Chapter 16

AFTER THE DEATH OF THE MAID (continued)

THE ROUEN JUDGES AT THE COUNCIL OF BÂLE AND THE PRAGMATIC SANCTION--THE REHABILITATION TRIAL--THE MAID OF SARMAIZE--THE MAID OF LE MANS


From year to year the Council of Bâle drew out its deliberations in a series of sessions well nigh as lengthy as the tail of the dragon in the Apocalypse. Its manner of reforming at once the Church, its members, and its head struck terror into the hearts of the sovereign Pontiff and the Sacred College. Sorrowfully did Æneus Sylvius exclaim, "There is assembled at Bâle, not the Church of God indeed, but the synagogue of Satan."[2684] But though uttered by a Roman cardinal, even such an expression can hardly be termed violent when applied to the synod which established free elections to bishoprics, suppressed the right of bestowing the pallium, of exacting annates and payments to the papal chancery, and which was endeavouring to restore the papacy to evangelical poverty. The King of France and the Emperor, on the other hand, looked favourably on the Council when it essayed to bridle the ambition and greed of the Bishop of Rome.

[Footnote 2684: De Beaucourt, Histoire de Charles VII, vol. iii, p. 335.]

Now among the Fathers who displayed the greatest zeal in the reformation of the Church were the masters and doctors of the University of Paris, those who had sat in judgment on Jeanne the Maid, and notably Maître Nicolas Loiseleur and Maître Thomas de Courcelles. Charles VII convoked an assembly of the clergy of the realm in order to examine the canons of Bâle. The assembly met in the Sainte-Chapelle at Bourges, on the 1st of May, 1438. Master Thomas de Courcelles, appointed delegate by the Council, there conferred with the Lord Bishop of Castres. Now in 1438 the Bishop of Castres was that elegant humanist, that zealous counsellor of the crown, who, in style truly Ciceronian, complained in his letters that so closely was he bound to his glebe, the court, that no time remained to him to visit his spouse.[2685] He was none other than that Gérard Machet, the King's confessor, who had, in 1429, along with the clerks at Poitiers, pleaded the authority of prophecy in favour of the Maid, in whom he found nought but sincerity and goodness.[2686] Maître Thomas de Courcelles at Rouen had urged the Maid's being tortured and delivered to the secular arm.[2687] At the Bourges assembly the two churchmen agreed touching the supremacy of General Councils, the freedom of episcopal elections, the suppression of annates and the rights of the Gallican Church. At that moment it was not likely that either one or the other remembered the poor Maid. From the deliberations of this assembly, in which Maître Thomas played an important part, there issued the solemn edict promulgated by the King on the 7th of July, 1438; the Pragmatic Sanction. By this edict the canons of Bâle became the constitution of the Church of France.[2688]

[Footnote 2685: Le P. Ayroles, La Pucelle devant l'église de son temps, p. 10.]

[Footnote 2686: Trial, vol. iii, p. 565.]

[Footnote 2687: Ibid., vol. i, p. 403.]

[Footnote 2688: Ordonnances, vol. xiii, pp. 267, 291. Preuves des libertés de l'église gallicane, edited by Lenglet-Dufresnoy, second part, p. 6. De Beaucourt, Histoire de Charles VII, vol. iii, pp. 353, 361. N. Arlos, Histoire de la pragmatique sanction, etc.]

The Emperor also agreed to the reforms of Bâle. So audacious did the Fathers become that they summoned Pope Eugenius to appear before their tribunal. When he refused to obey their summons, they deposed him, declaring him to be disobedient, obstinate, rebellious, a breaker of rules, a perturber of ecclesiastical unity, a perjurer, a schismatic, a hardened heretic, a squanderer of the treasures of the Church, scandalous, simoniacal, pernicious and damnable.[2689] Such was the condemnation of the Holy Fathers pronounced among other doctors by Maître Jean Beaupère, Maître Thomas de Courcelles and Maître Nicolas Loiseleur, who had all three so sternly reproached Jeanne with having refused to submit to the Pope.[2690] Maître Nicolas had been extremely energetic throughout the Maid's trial, playing alternately the parts of the Lorraine prisoner and Saint Catherine; when she was led to the stake he had run after her like a madman.[2691] This same Maître Nicolas now displayed great activity in the Council wherein he attained to some eminence. He upheld the view that the General Council canonically convoked, was superior to the Pope and in a position to depose him. And albeit this canon was a mere master of arts, he made such an impression on the Fathers at Bâle that in 1439, they despatched him to act as juris-consult at the Diet of Mainz. Meanwhile his attitude was strongly displeasing to the chapter which had sent him as deputy to the Council. The canons of Rouen sided with the Sovereign Pontiff and against the Fathers, on this point joining issue with the University of Paris. They disowned their delegate and sent to recall him on the 28th of July, 1438.[2692]

[Footnote 2689: Hefelé, Histoire de l'Église gallicane, vol. xx, p. 357. De Beaucourt, Histoire de Charles VII, vol. iii, p. 363. De Beaurepaire, Les états de Normandie sous la domination anglaise, pp. 66, 67, 185, 188.]

[Footnote 2690: Du Boulay, Hist. Universitatis, vol. v, p. 431. De Beaurepaire, Notes sur les juges, p. 28.]

[Footnote 2691: Trial, vol. ii, pp. 10, 12, 332, 362; vol. iii, pp. 60, 133, 141, 145, 156, 162, 173, 181.]

[Footnote 2692: De Beaurepaire, Notes sur les juges et assesseurs du procès de condamnation, pp. 78, 82.]

Maître Thomas de Courcelles, one of those who had declared the Pope disobedient, obstinate, rebellious and the rest, was nominated one of the commissioners to preside over the election of a new pope, and, like Loiseleur, a delegate to the Diet of Mainz. But, unlike Loiseleur, he was not disowned by those who had appointed him, for he was the deputy of the University of Paris who recognised the Pope of the Council, Felix, to be the true Father of the Faithful.[2693] In the assembly of the French clergy held at Bourges in the August of 1440, Maître Thomas spoke in the name of the Fathers of Bâle. He discoursed for two hours to the complete satisfaction of the King.[2694] Charles VII, while remaining loyal to Pope Eugenius, maintained the Pragmatic Sanction. Maître Thomas de Courcelles was henceforth one of the pillars of the French Church.

[Footnote 2693: J. Quicherat, Aperçus nouveaux, p. 106.]

[Footnote 2694: De Beaucourt, Histoire de Charles VII, vol. iii, p. 372.]

Meanwhile the English government had declared for the Pope and against the Council.[2695] My Lord Pierre Cauchon, who had become Bishop of Lisieux, was Henry VI's ambassador at the Council. And at Bâle a somewhat unpleasant experience befell him. By reason of his translation to the see of Lisieux he owed Rome annates to the amount of 400 golden florins. In Germany he was informed by the Pope's Treasurer that by his failure to pay this sum, despite the long delays granted to him, he had incurred excommunication, and that being excommunicate, by presuming to celebrate divine service he had committed irregularity.[2696] Such accusations must have caused him considerable annoyance. But after all, such occurrences were frequent and of no great consequence. On churchmen these thunderbolts fell but lightly, doing them no great hurt.

[Footnote 2695: De Beaurepaire, Les états de Normandie sous la domination anglaise, pp. 66, 67, 185, 188. De Beaucourt, loc. cit. p. 362.]

[Footnote 2696: De Beaurepaire, loc. cit., p. 17. Notes sur les juges et assesseurs du procès de condamnation, p. 117. Recherches sur le procès, p. 124.]

From 1444, the realm of France, disembarrassed alike of adversaries and of defenders, was free to labour, to work at various trades, to engage in commerce and to grow rich. In the intervals between wars and during truces, King Charles's government, by the interchange of natural products and of merchandise, also, we may add, by the abolition of tolls and dues on the Rivers Seine, Oise, and Loire, effected the actual conquest of Normandy. Thus, when the time for nominal conquest came, the French had only to take possession of the province. So easy had this become, that in the rapid campaign of 1449,[2697] even the Constable was not beaten, neither was the Duke of Alençon. In his royal and peaceful manner Charles VII resumed possession of his town of Rouen, just as twenty years before he had taken Troyes and Reims, as the result of an understanding with the townsfolk and in return for an amnesty and the grant of rights and privileges to the burghers. He entered the city on Monday, the 10th of November, 1449.

[Footnote 2697: De Beaucourt, Histoire de Charles VII, vol. v, ch. i.]

The French government felt itself strong enough even to attempt the reconquest of that essentially English province, Aquitaine. In 1451, my Lord the Bastard, now Count of Dunois, took possession of the fortress of Blaye. Bordeaux and Bayonne surrendered in the same year. In the following manner did the Lord Bishop of Le Mans celebrate these conquests, worthy of the majesty of the most Christian King.

"Maine, Normandy, Aquitaine, these goodly provinces have returned to their allegiance to the King. Almost without the shedding of French blood hath this been accomplished. It hath not been necessary to overthrow the ramparts of many strongly walled towns, or to demolish their fortifications or for the inhabitants to suffer either pillage or murder."[2698]

[Footnote 2698: Lanéry d'Arc, Mémoires et consultations en faveur de Jeanne d'Arc, p. 249.]

Indeed Normandy and Maine were quite content at being French once more. The town of Bordeaux was alone in regretting the English, whose departure spelt its ruin. It revolted in 1452; and then after considerable difficulty was reconquered once and for all.

King Charles, henceforth rich and victorious, now desired to efface the stain inflicted on his reputation by the sentence of 1431. He wanted to prove to the whole world that it was no witch who had conducted him to his coronation. He was now eager to appeal against the condemnation of the Maid. But this condemnation had been pronounced by the church, and the Pope alone could order it to be cancelled. The King hoped to bring the Pope to do this, although he knew it would not be easy. In the March of 1450, he proceeded to a preliminary inquiry;[2699] and matters remained in that position until the arrival in France of Cardinal d'Estouteville, the legate of the Holy See. Pope Nicolas had sent him to negotiate with the King of France a peace with England and a crusade against the Turks. Cardinal d'Estouteville, who belonged to a Norman family, was just the man to discover the weak points in Jeanne's trial. In order to curry favour with Charles, he, as legate, set on foot a new inquiry at Rouen, with the assistance of Jean Bréhal, of the order of preaching friars, the Inquisitor of the Faith in the kingdom of France. But the Pope did not approve of the legate's intervention;[2700] and for three years the revision was not proceeded with. Nicolas V would not allow it to be thought that the sacred tribunal of the most holy Inquisition was fallible and had even once pronounced an unjust sentence. And there existed at Rome a stronger reason for not interfering with the trial of 1431: the French demanded revision; the English were opposed to it; and the Pope did not wish to annoy the English, for they were then just as good and even better Catholics than the French.[2701]

[Footnote 2699: Trial, vol. ii, pp. 1, 22.]

[Footnote 2700: Gallia Christiana, vol. iii, col. 1129 and vol. xi, col. 90. De Beaucourt, Histoire de Charles VII, vol. v, p. 219. Le P. Ayroles, La Pucelle devant l'église de son temps, ch. vi.]

[Footnote 2701: De Beaurepaire, Les états de Normandie sous la domination anglaise, pp. 185, 188.]

In order to relieve the Pope from embarrassment and set him at his ease, the government of Charles VII invented an expedient: the King was not to appear in the suit; his place was to be taken by the family of the Maid. Jeanne's mother, Isabelle Romée de Vouthon, who lived in retirement at Orléans,[2702] and her two sons, Pierre and Jean du Lys, demanded the revision.[2703] By this legal artifice the case was converted from a political into a private suit. At this juncture Nicolas V died, on the 24th of March, 1455. His successor, Calixtus III, a Borgia, an old man of seventy-eight, by a rescript dated the 11th of June, 1455, authorised the institution of proceedings. To this end he appointed Jean Jouvenel des Ursins, Archbishop of Reims, Guillaume Chartier, Bishop of Paris, and Richard Olivier, Bishop of Coutances, who were to act conjointly with the Grand Inquisitor of France.[2704]

[Footnote 2702: Trial, vol. v, p. 276.]

[Footnote 2703: Ibid., vol. ii, pp. 108, 112.]

[Footnote 2704: Ibid., p. 95. Le P. Ayroles, La Pucelle devant l'église de son temps, p. 607. J. Belon and F. Balme, Jean Bréhal, grand inquisiteur de France et la réhabilitation de Jeanne d'Arc, Paris, 1893, in 4to.]

From the first it was agreed that certain of those concerned in the original trial were not now to be involved, "for they had been deceived." Notably it was admitted that the Daughter of Kings, the Mother of Learning, the University of Paris, had been led into error by a fraudulent indictment consisting of twelve articles. It was agreed that the whole responsibility should be thrown on to the Bishop of Beauvais and the Promoter, Guillaume d'Estivet, who were both deceased. The precaution was necessary. Had it not been taken, certain doctors very influential with the King and very dear to the Church of France would have been greatly embarrassed.

On the 7th of November, 1455, Isabelle Romée and her two sons, followed by a long procession of innumerable ecclesiasties, laymen, and worthy women, approached the church of Notre Dame in Paris to demand justice from the prelates and papal commissioners.[2705]

[Footnote 2705: Trial, vol. ii, pp. 82, 92.]

Informers and accusers in the trial of the late Jeanne were summoned to appear at Rouen on the 12th of December. Not one came.[2706] The heirs of the late Messire Pierre Cauchon declined all liability for the deeds of their deceased kinsman, and touching the civil responsibility, they pleaded the amnesty granted by the King on the reconquest of Normandy.[2707] As had been expected, the proceedings went forward without any obstacle or even any discussion.

[Footnote 2706: Ibid., pp. 92, 112.]

[Footnote 2707: Ibid., pp. 193, 196.]

Inquiries were instituted at Domremy, at Orléans, at Paris, at Rouen.[2708] The friends of Jeannette's childhood, Hauviette, Mengette, either married or grown old; Jeannette, the wife of Thévenin; Jeannette, the widow of Estellin; Jean Morel of Greux; Gérardin of Épinal, the Burgundian, and his wife Isabellette, who had been godmother to Jacques d'Arc's daughter; Perrin, the bell-ringer; Jeanne's uncle Lassois; the Leroyer couple and a score of peasants from Domremy all appeared. Bertrand de Poulengy, then sixty-three and gentleman of the horse to the King of France, was heard; likewise Jean de Novelompont, called Jean de Metz, who had been raised to noble rank and was now living at Vaucouleurs, where he held some military office. Gentlemen and ecclesiasties of Lorraine and Champagne were examined.[2709] Burgesses of Orléans were also called, and notably Jean Luillier, the draper, who in June, 1429, had furnished fine Brussels cloth of purple for Jeanne's gown and ten years later had been present at the banquet given by the magistrates of Orléans in honour of the Maid who, as it was believed, had escaped burning.[2710] Jean Luillier was the most intelligent of the witnesses; as for the others, of whom there were about two dozen townsmen and townswomen, of between fifty and sixty years of age, they did little but repeat his evidence.[2711] He spoke well; but the fear of the English dazzled him and he saw many more of them than there had ever been.

[Footnote 2708: Ibid., pp. 291, 463; vol. iii, pp. 1, 202.]

[Footnote 2709: Trial, vol. ii, pp. 378, 463.]

[Footnote 2710: Ibid., vol. v, pp. 112, 113, 331.]

[Footnote 2711: Ibid., vol. ii, pp. 23, 35.]

Touching the examination at Poitiers there were called an advocate, a squire, a man of business, François Garivel, who was fifteen at the time of Jeanne's interrogation.[2712] The only cleric summoned was Brother Seguin of Limousin.[2713] The clerics of Poitiers were first as disinclined to risk themselves in this matter as were those of Rouen; a burnt child dreads the fire. La Hire and Poton of Saintrailles were dead. The survivors of Orléans and of Patay were called; the Bastard Jean, now Count of Dunois and Longueville, who gave his evidence like a clerk;[2714] the old Sire de Gaucourt, who in his eighty-fifth year made some effort of memory, and for the rest gave the same evidence as the Count of Dunois;[2715] the Duke of Alençon, on the point of making an alliance with the English and of procuring a powder with which to dry up the King,[2716] but who was none the less talkative and vain-glorious;[2717] Jeanne's steward, Messire Jean d'Aulon, who had become a knight, a King's Counsellor and Seneschal of Beaucaire,[2718] and the little page Louis de Coutes, now a noble of forty-two.[2719] Brother Pasquerel too was called; even in his old-age he remained superficial and credulous.[2720] And there was heard also the widow of Maître René de Bouligny, Demoiselle Marguerite la Toroulde, who delicately and with a good grace related what she remembered.[2721]

[Footnote 2712: Ibid., pp. 1, 19.]

[Footnote 2713: Ibid., vol. iii, p. 202.]

[Footnote 2714: Ibid., pp. 2 et seq.]

[Footnote 2715: Ibid., p. 16.]

[Footnote 2716: De Beaucourt, Histoire de Charles VII, vol. vi, p. 43. P. Dupuy, Histoire des Templiers, 1658, in 4to. Cimber and Danjou, Archives curieuses de l'histoire de France, vol. i, pp. 137-157. (See also, Michelet, History of France, translated by G.H. Smith, vol. ii, p. 206.) Note--Alençon says to his English valet: "If I could have a powder that I wot of and put it in the vessel in which the King's sheets are washed, he should sleep sound enough [dormir tout sec]." Trial of Alençon (W.S.).]

[Footnote 2717: Trial, vol. iii, p. 90.]

[Footnote 2718: Ibid., p. 209.]

[Footnote 2719: Ibid., p. 65.]

[Footnote 2720: Ibid., p. 100.]

[Footnote 2721: Ibid., p. 85.]

Care was taken not to summon the Lord Archbishop of Rouen, Messire Raoul Roussel, as a witness of the actual incidents of the trial, albeit he had sat in judgment on the Maid, side by side with my Lord of Beauvais. As for the Vice Inquisitor of Religion, Brother Jean Lemaistre, he might have been dead, so completely was he ignored. Nevertheless, certain of the assessors were called: Jean Beaupère, canon of Paris, of Besançon and of Rouen; Jean de Mailly, Lord Bishop of Noyon; Jean Lefèvre, Bishop of Démétriade; divers canons of Rouen, sundry ecclesiastics who appeared some unctuous, others stern and frowning;[2722] and, finally, the most illustrious Thomas de Courcelles, who, after having been the most laborious and assiduous collaborator of the Bishop of Beauvais, recalled nothing when he came before the commissioners for the revision.[2723]

[Footnote 2722: Ibid., vol. ii, pp. 20, 21, 161; vol. iii, pp. 43, 53, passim.]

[Footnote 2723: Trial, vol. iii, pp. 44, 56. J. Quicherat, Aperçus nouveaux, p. 106.]

Among those who had been most zealous to procure Jeanne's condemnation were those who were now most eagerly labouring for her rehabilitation. The registrars of the Lord Bishop of Beauvais, the Boisguillaumes, the Manchons, the Taquels, all those ink-pots of the Church who had been used for her death sentence, worked wonders when that sentence had to be annulled; all the zeal they had displayed in the institution of the trial they now displayed in its revision; they were prepared to discover in it every possible flaw.[2724]

[Footnote 2724: Ibid., vol. ii, pp. 161; vol. iii, pp. 41, 42, 195.]

And in what a poor and paltry tone did these benign fabricators of legal artifices denounce the cruel iniquity which they had themselves perpetrated in due form! Among them was the Usher, Jean Massieu, a dissolute priest,[2725] of scandalous morals, but a kindly fellow for all that, albeit somewhat crafty and the inventor of a thousand ridiculous stories against Cauchon, as if the old Bishop were not black enough already.[2726] The revision commissioners produced a couple of sorry monks, Friar Martin Ladvenu and Friar Isambart de la Pierre, from the monastery of the preaching friars at Rouen. They wept in a heart-rending manner as they told of the pious end of that poor Maid, whom they had declared a heretic, then a relapsed heretic, and had finally burned alive. There was not one of the clerks charged with the examination of Jeanne but was touched to the heart at the memory of so saintly a damsel.[2727]

[Footnote 2725: De Beaurepaire, Notes sur les juges.]

[Footnote 2726: Trial, vol. ii, pp. 329 et seq.]

[Footnote 2727: Trial, vol. ii, pp. 363 et seq., 434 et seq.]

Huge piles of memoranda drawn up by doctors of high repute, canonists, theologians and jurists, both French and foreign, were furnished for the trial. Their chief object was to establish by scholastic reasoning that Jeanne had submitted her deeds and sayings to the judgment of the Church and of the Holy Father. These doctors proved that the judges of 1431 had been very subtle and Jeanne very simple. Doubtless, it was the best way to make out that she had submitted to the Church; but they over-reached themselves and made her too simple. According to them she was absolutely ignorant, almost an idiot, understanding nothing, imagining that the clerics who examined her in themselves alone constituted the Church Militant. This had been the impression of the doctors on the French side in 1429. La Pucelle, "une puce," said the Lord Archbishop of Embrun.[2728]

[Footnote 2728: Lanéry d'Arc, Mémoires et consultations en faveur de Jeanne d'Arc, p. 576.]

But there was another reason for making her appear as weak and imbecile as possible. Such a representation exalted the power of God, who through her had restored the King of France to his inheritance.

Declarations confirming this view of the Maid were obtained by the commissioners from most of the witnesses. She was simple, she was very simple, she was absolutely simple, they repeated one after the other. And they all in the same words added: "Yes, she was simple, save in deeds of war, wherein she was well skilled."[2729] Then the captains said how clever she was in placing cannon, albeit they knew well to the contrary. But how could she have failed to be well versed in deeds of war, since God himself led her against the English? And in this possession of the art of war by an unskilled girl lay the miracle.

[Footnote 2729: Trial, vol. iii, pp. 32, 87, 100, 116, 119, 120, 126, 128 et passim.]

The Grand Inquisitor of France, Jean Bréhal, in his reminiscence enumerates the reasons for believing that Jeanne came from God. One of the proofs which seems to have struck him most forcibly is that her coming is foretold in the prophecies of Merlin, the Magician.[2730]

[Footnote 2730: Lanéry d'Arc, Mémoires et consultations, p. 402.]

Believing that he could prove from one of Jeanne's answers that her first apparitions were in her thirteenth year, Brother Jean Bréhal argues that the fact is all the more credible seeing that this number 13, composed of 3, which indicates the Blessed Trinity, and of 10, which expresses the perfect observation of the Decalogue, is marvellously favourable to divine visitations.[2731]

[Footnote 2731: Trial, vol. iii, p. 398.]

On the 16th of June, 1455, the sentence of 1431 was declared unjust, unfounded, iniquitous. It was nullified and pronounced invalid.

Thus was honour restored to the messenger of the coronation, thus was her memory reconciled with the Church. But that abundant source whence on the appearance of this child there had flowed so many pious legends and heroic fables was henceforth dried up. The rehabilitation trial added little to the popular legend. It rendered it possible to connect with Jeanne's death the usual incidents narrated of the martyrdom of virgins, such as the dove taking flight from the stake, the name of Jesus written in letters of flame, the heart intact in the ashes.[2732] The miserable deaths of the wicked judges were insisted upon. True it is that Jean d'Estivet, the Promoter, was found dead in a dove-cot,[2733] that Nicolas Midi was attacked by leprosy, that Pierre Cauchon died when he was being shaved.[2734] But, among those who aided and accompanied the Maid, more than one came to a bad end. Sire Robert de Baudricourt, who had sent Jeanne to the King, died in prison, excommunicated for having laid waste the lands of the chapter of Toul.[2735] The Maréchal de Rais was sentenced to death.[2736] The Duke of Alençon, convicted of high treason, was pardoned only to fall under a new condemnation and to die in captivity.[2737]

[Footnote 2732: Trial, vol. iii, p. 355.]

[Footnote 2733: Ibid., p. 162.]

[Footnote 2734: Gallia Christiana, vol. xi, col. 793.]

[Footnote 2735: Histoire ecclésiastique et politique de la ville et du diocèse de Toul, 1707, p. 529.]

[Footnote 2736: Abbé Bossard, Gilles de Rais, pp. 333 et seq.]

[Footnote 2737: De Beaucourt, Histoire de Charles VII, vol. vi, p. 197.]

Two years after Charles VII had ordered the preliminary inquiry into the trial of 1431, a woman, following the example of la Dame des Armoises, passed herself off as the Maid Jeanne.

At this time there lived in the little town of Sarmaize, between the Marne and the Meuse, two cousins german of the Maid, Poiresson and Périnet, both sons of the late Jean de Vouthon, Isabelle Romée's brother, who in his lifetime had been a thatcher by trade. Now, on a day in 1452, it befell that the curé of Notre Dame de Sarmaize, Simon Fauchard, being in the market-house of the town, there came to him a woman dressed as a youth who asked him to play at tennis with her.

He consented, and when they had begun their game the woman said to him, "Say boldly that you have played tennis with the Maid." And at these words Simon Fauchard was right joyful.

The woman afterwards went to the house of Périnet, the carpenter, and said, "I am the Maid; I come to visit my Cousin Henri."

Périnet, Poiresson, and Henri de Vouthon made her good cheer and kept her in their house, where she ate and drank as she pleased.[2738]

[Footnote 2738: Inquiry of 1476, in G. de Braux and E. de Bouteiller, Nouvelles recherches, p. 10.]

Then, when she had had enough, she went away.

Whence came she? No one knows. Whither did she go? She may probably be recognised in an adventuress, who not long afterwards, with her hair cut short and a hood on her head, wearing doublet and hose, wandered through Anjou, calling herself Jeanne the Maid. While the doctors and masters, engaged in the revision of the trial, were gathering evidence of Jeanne's life and death from all parts of the kingdom, this false Jeanne was finding credence with many folk. But she became involved in difficulties with a certain Dame of Saumoussay,[2739] and was cast into the prison of Saumur, where she lay for three months. At the end of this time, having been banished from the dominions of the good King René, she married one Jean Douillet; and, by a document dated the 3rd day of February, 1456, she received permission to return to Saumur, on condition of living there respectably and ceasing to wear man's apparel.[2740]

[Footnote 2739: Or Chaumussay. Lecoy de la Marche, Une fausse Jeanne d'Arc, Paris, 1871, in 8vo, p. 19.]

[Footnote 2740: Lecoy de la Marche, Une fausse Jeanne d'Arc, in Revue des questions historiques, October, 1871, p. 576. Le roi René, Paris, 1875, vol. i, pp. 308-327; vol. ii, pp. 281-283.]

About this time there came to Laval in the diocese of Le Mans, a damsel between eighteen and twenty-two, who was a native of a neighbouring place called Chassé-les-Usson. Her father's name was Jean Féron and she was commonly called Jeanne la Férone.

She was inspired from heaven, and the names Jesus and Mary were for ever on her lips; yet the devil cruelly tormented her. The Dame de Laval, mother of the Lords André and Guy, being now very aged, marvelled at the piety and the sufferings of the holy damsel; and she sent her to Le Mans, to the Bishop.

Since 1449, the see of Le Mans had been held by Messire Martin Berruyer of Touraine. In his youth he had been professor of philosophy and rhetoric at the University of Paris. Later he had devoted himself to theology and had become one of the directors of the College of Navarre. Although he was infirm with age, his learning was such that he was consulted by the commissioners for the rehabilitation trial,[2741] whereupon he drew up a memorandum touching the Maid. Herein he believes her to have been verily sent of God because she was abject and very poor and appeared well nigh imbecile in everything that did not concern her mission. Messire Martin argues that it was by reason of the King's virtues that God had vouchsafed to him the help of the Maid.[2742] Such an idea found favour with the theologians of the French party.

[Footnote 2741: Trial, vol. iii, p. 314, note 1. Gallia Christiana, vol. ii, fol. 518. Du Boulay, Hist. Univ. Paris, vol. v, p. 905. Le P. Ayroles, La Pucelle devant l'église de son temps, pp. 403, 404.]

[Footnote 2742: Lanéry d'Arc, Mémoires et consultations, p. 247.]

The Lord Bishop, Martin Berruyer, heard Jeanne la Férone in confession, renewed her baptism, confirmed her in the faith and gave her the name of Marie, in gratitude for the abounding grace which the most Holy Virgin, Mother of God, had granted to his servant.

This maid was subject to the violent attacks of evil spirits. Many a time did my Lord of Mans behold her covered with bleeding wounds, struggling in the grasp of the enemy, and on several occasions he delivered her by means of exorcisms. Greatly was he edified by this holy damsel, who made known unto him marvellous secrets, who abounded in pious revelations and noble Christian utterances. Wherefore in praise of La Férone he wrote many letters[2743] to princes and communities of the realm.

[Footnote 2743: Du Clercq, Mémoires, ed. Reiffenberg, Brussels, 1823, vol. iii, pp. 98 et seq. Jean de Roye, Chronique scandaleuse, ed. Bernard de Mandrot, 1894, vol. i, pp. 13, 14. Chronique de Bourdigné, ed. Quatrebarbes, vol. ii, p. 212. Dom Piolin, Histoire de l'église du Mans, vol. v, p. 163.]

The Queen of France, who was then very old and whose husband had long ago deserted her, heard tell of the Maid of Le Mans, and wrote to Messire Martin Berruyer, requesting him to make the damsel known unto her.

Thus there befel, what we have seen happening over and over again in this history, that when a devout person, leading a contemplative life uttered prophecies, those in places of authority grew curious concerning her and desired to submit her to the judgment of the Church that they might know whether the goodness that appeared in her were true or false. Certain officers of the King visited La Férone at Le Mans.

As revelations touching the realm of France had been vouchsafed to her, she spoke to them the following words:

"Commend me very humbly to the King and bid him recognise the grace which God granteth unto him, and lighten the burdens of his people."

In the December of 1460, she was summoned before the Royal Council, which was then sitting at Tours, while the King, who was sick of an ulcer in the leg, was residing in the Château of Les Montils.[2744] The Maid of Le Mans was examined in like manner as the Maid Jeanne had been, but the result was unfavourable; she was found wanting in everything. Brought before the ecclesiastical court she was convicted of imposture. It appeared that she was no maid, but was living in concubinage with a cleric, that certain persons in the service of my Lord of Le Mans instructed her in what she was to say, and that such was the origin of the revelations she made to the Reverend Father in God, Messire Martin Berruyer, under the seal of the confession. Convicted of being a hypocrite, an idolatress, an invoker of demons, a witch, a magician, lascivious, dissolute, an enchantress, a mine of falsehood, she was condemned to have a fool's cap put on her head and to be preached at in public, in the towns of Le Mans, Tours and Laval. On the 2nd of May, 1461, she was exhibited to the folk at Tours, wearing a paper cap and over her head a scroll on which her deeds were set forth in lines of Latin and of French. Maître Guillaume de Châteaufort, Grand Master of the Royal College of Navarre, preached to her. Then she was cast into close confinement in a prison, there to weep over her sins for the space of seven years, eating the bread of sorrow and drinking the water of affliction;[2745] at the end of which time she rented a house of ill fame.[2746]

[Footnote 2744: Chastellain, ed. Kervyn de Lettenhove, vol. iii, p. 444.]

[Footnote 2745: Jacques du Clercq, Mémoires, vol. iii, pp. 107 et seq.]

[Footnote 2746: Antoine du Faur, Livre des femmes célèbres, in Trial, vol. v, p. 336.]

On Wednesday, the 22nd of July, 1461, covered with ulcers internal and external, believing himself poisoned and perhaps not without reason, Charles VII died, in the fifty-ninth year of his age, in his Château of Mehun-sur-Yèvre.[2747]

[Footnote 2747: De Beaucourt, Histoire de Charles VII, vol. vi, pp. 442, 451. Chronique Martiniane, ed. P. Champion, p. 110.]

On Thursday, the 6th of August, his body was borne to the Church of Saint-Denys in France and placed in a chapel hung with velvet; the nave was draped with black satin, the vault was covered with blue cloth embroidered with flowers-de-luce.[2748] During the ceremony, which took place on the following day, a funeral oration was delivered on Charles VII. The preacher was no less a personage than the most highly renowned professor at the University of Paris, the doctor, who according to the Princes of the Roman Church was ever aimable and modest, he who had been the stoutest defender of the liberties of the Gallican Church, the ecclesiastic who, having declined a Cardinal's hat, bore to the threshold of an illustrious old age none other title than that of Dean of the Canons of Notre Dame de Paris, Maître Thomas de Courcelles.[2749] Thus it befell that the assessor of Rouen, who had been the most bitterly bent on procuring Jeanne's cruel condemnation, celebrated the memory of the victorious King whom the Maid had conducted to his solemn coronation.

[Footnote 2748: Mathieu d'Escouchy, vol. ii, p. 422. Jean Chartier, Chronique, vol. iii, pp. 114-121.]

[Footnote 2749: Gallia Christiana, vol. vii, col. 151 and 214. Hardouin, Acta Conciliorum, vol. ix, col. 1423. De Beaucourt, Histoire de Charles VII, vol. vi, p. 444.]


THE END.

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Anatole France