Page:Personal Recollections of Joan of Arc.djvu/415

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349


ing execrations. Manchon and several of the judges who had been members of our court were among the witnesses who appeared before that Tribunal of Rehabilitation. Recalling these miserable proceedings which I have been telling you about, Manchon testified thus:—here you have it, all in fair print in the official history:

When Joan spoke of her apparitions she was interrupted at almost every word. They wearied her with long and multiplied interrogatories upon all sorts of things. Almost every day the interrogatories of the morning lasted three or four hours; then from these morning interrogatories they extracted the particularly difficult and subtle points, and these served as material for the afternoon interrogatories, which lasted two or three hours. Moment by moment they skipped from one subject to another; yet in spite of this she always responded with an astonishing wisdom and memory. She often corrected the judges, saying, "But I have already answered that once before—ask the recorder," referring them to me.

And here is the testimony of one of Joan's judges. Re-member, these witnesses are not talking about two or three days, they are talking about a tedious long procession of days:

They asked her profound questions, but she extricated herself quite well. Sometimes the questioners changed suddenly and passed on to another subject to see if she would not contradict herself. They burdened her with long interrogatories of two or three hours, from which the judges themselves went forth fatigued. From the snares with which she was beset the expertest man in the world could not have extricated himself but with difficulty. She gave her responses with great prudence; indeed to such a degree that during three weeks I believed she was inspired.

Ah, had she a mind such as I have described? You see what these priests say under oath—picked men, men chosen for their places in that terrible court on account of their learning, their experience, their keen and practised intellects, and their strong bias against the prisoner. They make that poor country-girl out the match, and more than the match, of the sixty-two trained adepts. Isn't it so? They from the University of Paris, she from the sheepfold and the cow-stable! Ah, yes, she was great, she was wonderful. It took six thousand years to produce her; her like will not be seen in the earth again in fifty thousand. Such is my opinion.