Arrival at Chinon and the Trial at Poitiers
SIEUR DE GAUCOURT
(Raoul, not Jean, de Gaucourt, Grand Steward, born 1370. Fought, in 1394, under the banner of Jean de Nevers, afterwards Duke of Burgundy, for Sigmund, King of Hungary, against Bajazet; and was knighted on the field of Nicopolis, from which only himself, his leader, and twenty-two other French nobles escaped. He defended Harfleur against Henry V., in 1415, and was a prisoner for ten years, being one of those specially named by Henry in his dying commands to Bedford as prisoners “to be kept.” In 1425, he was ransomed for the sum of 20,000 gold crowns; in 1427, he aided Dunois at the victory of Montargis, and afterwards in the defense of Orleans.)
I was at the Castle of the town of Chinon when Jeanne arrived there, and I saw her when she presented herself before the King’s Majesty with great lowliness and simplicity ; a poor little shepherdess! I heard her say these words: “Most noble Lord Dauphin, I am come and am sent to you from God to give succor to the kingdom and to you. ”
After having seen and heard her, the King, so as to be better instructed about her, put her under the protection of Guillaume Bellier, his Major-Domo, my Lieutenant at Chinon, afterwards Bailly of Troyes, (Quicherat thinks there is an error of copy here; that Bellier could not have been Bailly of Troyes when that town was in the hands of the English, nor could he at any time have combined so high an office with the lieutenancy of Chinon.) whose wife was most devout and of the best reputation. Then he had her visited by the Clergy, by Doctors, and by Prelates, to know if he could lawfully put faith in her. Her deeds and words were examined during three weeks, not only at Chinon, but at Poitiers. The Examinations finished, the Clergy decided that there was nothing evil in her deeds nor in her words. After numerous interrogations, they ended by asking her what sign she could furnish, that her words might be believed? “The sign I have to show,” she replied, “is to raise the siege of Orleans!” Afterwards, she took leave of the King, and came to Blois, where she armed herself for the first time, to conduct a convoy of supplies to Orleans and to succor the inhabitants.
[On the subject of the sudden change of wind and of the way in which the convoy of supplies was brought into Orleans, the witness deposed as the Sieur de Dunois. He added only this: Jeanne had expressly predicted that, before long, the weather and the wind would change; and it happened as she had foretold. She had, in like manner, stated that the convoy would enter freely into the town.
The declaration of the witness agrees equally with that of the Sieur de Dunois as to the taking of the Bastille, the raising of the siege, and the expulsion of the English.
On all the other points the Senior de Gaucourt is also in perfect agreement, in matter and form, with the said Sieur de Dunois, as to all that concerns the setting free of Orleans, the taking of the camps and the towns on the borders of the Loire.
He agrees equally on all points with what concerns the journey of the King for the ceremony of his consecration at Reims.
Jeanne, he adds, was abstemious in food and drink; nothing came from her lips but excellent words, which could serve only for edification and good example. No one could be more chaste, . . . she had always at night a woman in her room. She confessed herself frequently, being often in prayer, hearing Mass every day, and constantly receiving the Sacrament of the Eucharist; she would not suffer any to use in her presence shameful or blasphemous words, and by her speech and actions she showed how much she held such things in horror.]