Page:A History of the Inquisition of the Middle Ages-Volume I .pdf/433

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413
THE INTERROGATORY.

"I. 'You believe that I believe it, which is not what I ask, but whether you believe it.'

"A. 'If you wish to interpret all that I say otherwise than simply and plainly, then I don't know what to say. I am a simple and ignorant man. Pray don't catch me in my words.'

"I. 'If you are simple, answer simply, without evasions.'

"A. 'Willingly.'

"I. 'Will you then swear that you have never learned anything contrary to the faith which we hold to be true?'

"A. (Growing pale) 'If I ought to swear, I will willingly swear.'

"I. 'I don't ask whether you ought, but whether you will swear.'

"A. 'If you order me to swear, I will swear.'

"I. 'I don't force you to swear, because as you believe oaths to be unlawful, you will transfer the sin to me who forced you; but if you will swear, I will hear it.'

"A. 'Why should I swear if you do not order me to?'

"I. 'So that you may remove the suspicion of being a heretic.'

"A. 'Sir, I do not know how unless you teach me.'

"I. 'If I had to swear, I would raise my hand and spread my fingers and say, "So help me God, I have never learned heresy or believed what is contrary to the true faith."'

"Then trembling as if he cannot repeat the form, he will stumble along as though speaking for himself or for another, so that there is not an absolute form of oath and yet he may be thought to have sworn. If the words are there, they are so turned around that he does not swear yet appears to have sworn. Or he converts the oath into a form of prayer, as 'God help me that I am not a heretic or the like;' and when asked whether he had sworn, he will say: 'Did you not hear me swear?' And when further hard pressed he will appeal, saying 'Sir, if I have done amiss in aught, I will willingly bear the penance, only help me to avoid the infamy of which I am accused through malice and without fault of mine.' But a vigorous inquisitor must not allow himself to be worked upon in this way, but proceed firmly till he makes these people confess their error, or at least publicly abjure heresy, so that if they are subsequently found to have sworn falsely, he can, with-