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Title:      Saint Joan
            A Chronicle Play In Six Scenes And An Epilogue (1924)
Author:     George Bernard Shaw
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A Project Gutenberg of Australia eBook

Title:      Saint Joan
            A Chronicle Play In Six Scenes And An Epilogue (1924)
Author:     George Bernard Shaw



Joan the Original and Presumptuous
Joan and Socrates
Contrast with Napoleon
Was Joan Innocent or Guilty?
Joan's Good Looks
Joan's Social Position
Joan's Voices and Visions
The Evolutionary Appetite
The Mere Iconography does not Matter
The Modern Education which Joan Escaped
Failures of the Voices
Joan a Galtonic Visualizer
Joan's Manliness and Militarism
Was Joan Suicidal?
Joan Summed Up
Joan's Immaturity and Ignorance
The Maid in Literature
Protestant Misunderstandings of the Middle Ages
Comparative Fairness of Joan's Trial
Joan not Tried as a Political Offender
The Church Uncompromised by its Amends
Cruelty, Modern and Medieval
Catholic Anti-Clericalism
Catholicism not yet Catholic Enough
The Law of Change is the Law of God
Credulity, Modern and Medieval
Toleration, Modern and Medieval
Variability of Toleration
The Conflict between Genius and Discipline
Joan as Theocrat
Unbroken Success Essential in Theocracy
Modern Distortions of Joan's History
History always Out of Date
The Real Joan not Marvellous Enough for Us
The Stage Limits of Historical Representation
A Void in the Elizabethan Drama
Tragedy, not Melodrama
The Inevitable Flatteries of Tragedy
Some Well-meant Proposals for the Improvement of the Play
The Epilogue
To the Critics, lest they should feel Ignored




Joan of Arc, a village girl from the Vosges, was born about 1412;
burnt for heresy, witchcraft, and sorcery in 1431; rehabilitated
after a fashion in 1456; designated Venerable in 1904; declared
Blessed in 1908; and finally canonized in 1920.  She is the most
notable Warrior Saint in the Christian calendar, and the queerest
fish among the eccentric worthies of the Middle Ages.  Though a
professed and most pious Catholic, and the projector of a Crusade
against the Husites, she was in fact one of the first Protestant
martyrs.  She was also one of the first apostles of Nationalism,
and the first French practitioner of Napoleonic realism in warfare
as distinguished from the sporting ransom-gambling chivalry of her
time.  She was the pioneer of rational dressing for women, and,
like Queen Christina of Sweden two centuries later, to say nothing
of Catalina de Erauso and innumerable obscure heroines who have
disguised themselves as men to serve as soldiers and sailors, she
refused to accept the specific woman's lot, and dressed and fought
and lived as men did.

As she contrived to assert herself in all these ways with such
force that she was famous throughout western Europe before she was
out of her teens (indeed she never got out of them), it is hardly
surprising that she was judicially burnt, ostensibly for a number
of capital crimes which we no longer punish as such, but essentially
for what we call unwomanly and insufferable presumption.  At
eighteen Joan's pretensions were beyond those of the proudest Pope
or the haughtiest emperor.  She claimed to be the ambassador and
plenipotentiary of God, and to be, in effect, a member of the Church
Triumphant whilst still in the flesh on earth.  She patronized her
own king, and summoned the English king to repentance and obedience
to her commands.  She lectured, talked down, and overruled statesmen
and prelates.  She pooh-poohed the plans of generals, leading their
troops to victory on plans of her own.  She had an unbounded and
quite unconcealed contempt for official opinion, judgment, and
authority, and for War Office tactics and strategy.  Had she been a
sage and monarch in whom the most venerable hierarchy and the most
illustrious dynasty converged, her pretensions and proceedings would
have been as trying to the official mind as the pretensions of
Caesar were to Cassius.  As her actual condition was pure upstart,
there were only two opinions about her.  One was that she was
miraculous: the other that she was unbearable.


If Joan had been malicious, selfish, cowardly, or stupid, she would
have been one of the most odious persons known to history instead
of one of the most attractive.  If she had been old enough to know
the effect she was producing on the men whom she humiliated by
being right when they were wrong, and had learned to flatter and
manage them, she might have lived as long as Queen Elizabeth.  But
she was too young and rustical and inexperienced to have any such
arts.  When she was thwarted by men whom she thought fools, she
made no secret of her opinion of them or her impatience with their
folly; and she was naive enough to expect them to be obliged to her
for setting them right and keeping them out of mischief.  Now it is
always hard for superior wits to understand the fury roused by
their exposures of the stupidities of comparative dullards.  Even
Socrates, for all his age and experience, did not defend himself at
his trial like a man who understood the long accumulated fury that
had burst on him, and was clamoring for his death.  His accuser, if
born 2300 years later, might have been picked out of any first
class carriage on a suburban railway during the evening or morning
rush from or to the City; for he had really nothing to say except
that he and his like could not endure being shewn up as idiots
every time Socrates opened his mouth.  Socrates, unconscious of
this, was paralyzed by his sense that somehow he was missing the
point of the attack.  He petered out after he had established the
fact that he was an old soldier and a man of honorable life, and
that his accuser was a silly snob.  He had no suspicion of the
extent to which his mental superiority had roused fear and hatred
against him in the hearts of men towards whom he was conscious of
nothing but good will and good service.


If Socrates was as innocent as this at the age of seventy, it may
be imagined how innocent Joan was at the age of seventeen.  Now
Socrates was a man of argument, operating slowly and peacefully on
men's minds, whereas Joan was a woman of action, operating with
impetuous violence on their bodies.  That, no doubt, is why the
contemporaries of Socrates endured him so long, and why Joan was
destroyed before she was fully grown.  But both of them combined
terrifying ability with a frankness, personal modesty, and
benevolence which made the furious dislike to which they fell
victims absolutely unreasonable, and therefore inapprehensible by
themselves.  Napoleon, also possessed of terrifying ability, but
neither frank nor disinterested, had no illusions as to the nature
of his popularity.  When he was asked how the world would take his
death, he said it would give a gasp of relief.  But it is not so
easy for mental giants who neither hate nor intend to injure their
fellows to realize that nevertheless their fellows hate mental
giants and would like to destroy them, not only enviously because
the juxtaposition of a superior wounds their vanity, but quite
humbly and honestly because it frightens them.  Fear will drive men
to any extreme; and the fear inspired by a superior being is a
mystery which cannot be reasoned away.  Being immeasurable it is
unbearable when there is no presumption or guarantee of its
benevolence and moral responsibility: in other words, when it has
no official status.  The legal and conventional superiority of
Herod and Pilate, and of Annas and Caiaphas, inspires fear; but the
fear, being a reasonable fear of measurable and avoidable
consequences which seem salutary and protective, is bearable;
whilst the strange superiority of Christ and the fear it inspires
elicit a shriek of Crucify Him from all who cannot divine its
benevolence.  Socrates has to drink the hemlock, Christ to hang on
the cross, and Joan to burn at the stake, whilst Napoleon, though
he ends in St Helena, at least dies in his bed there; and many
terrifying but quite comprehensible official scoundrels die natural
deaths in all the glory of the kingdoms of this world, proving that
it is far more dangerous to be a saint than to be a conqueror.
Those who have been both, like Mahomet and Joan, have found that it
is the conqueror who must save the saint, and that defeat and
capture mean martyrdom.  Joan was burnt without a hand lifted on
her own side to save her.  The comrades she had led to victory and
the enemies she had disgraced and defeated, the French king she had
crowned and the English king whose crown she had kicked into the
Loire, were equally glad to be rid of her.


As this result could have been produced by a crapulous inferiority
as well as by a sublime superiority, the question which of the two
was operative in Joan's case has to be faced.  It was decided
against her by her contemporaries after a very careful and
conscientious trial; and the reversal of the verdict twenty-five
years later, in form a rehabilitation of Joan, was really only a
confirmation of the validity of the coronation of Charles VII.  It
is the more impressive reversal by a unanimous Posterity,
culminating in her canonization, that has quashed the original
proceedings, and put her judges on their trial, which, so far, has
been much more unfair than their trial of her.  Nevertheless the
rehabilitation of 1456, corrupt job as it was, really did produce
evidence enough to satisfy all reasonable critics that Joan was not
a common termagant, not a harlot, not a witch, not a blasphemer, no
more an idolater than the Pope himself, and not ill conducted in
any sense apart from her soldiering, her wearing of men's clothes,
and her audacity, but on the contrary good-humored, an intact
virgin, very pious, very temperate (we should call her meal of
bread soaked in the common wine which is the drinking water of
France ascetic), very kindly, and, though a brave and hardy
soldier, unable to endure loose language or licentious conduct.
She went to the stake without a stain on her character except the
overweening presumption, the superbity as they called it, that led
her thither.  It would therefore be waste of time now to prove that
the Joan of the first part of the Elizabethan chronicle play of
Henry VI (supposed to have been tinkered by Shakespear) grossly
libels her in its concluding scenes in deference to Jingo
patriotism.  The mud that was thrown at her has dropped off by this
time so completely that there is no need for any modern writer to
wash up after it.  What is far more difficult to get rid of is the
mud that is being thrown at her judges, and the whitewash which
disfigures her beyond recognition.  When Jingo scurrility had done
its worst to her, sectarian scurrility (in this case Protestant
scurrility) used her stake to beat the Roman Catholic Church and
the Inquisition.  The easiest way to make these institutions the
villains of a melodrama was to make The Maid its heroine.  That
melodrama may be dismissed as rubbish.  Joan got a far fairer trial
from the Church and the Inquisition than any prisoner of her type
and in her situation gets nowadays in any official secular court;
and the decision was strictly according to law.  And she was not a
melodramatic heroine: that is, a physically beautiful lovelorn
parasite on an equally beautiful hero, but a genius and a saint,
about as completely the opposite of a melodramatic heroine as it is
possible for a human being to be.

Let us be clear about the meaning of the terms.  A genius is a
person who, seeing farther and probing deeper than other people,
has a different set of ethical valuations from theirs, and has
energy enough to give effect to this extra vision and its
valuations in whatever manner best suits his or her specific
talents.  A saint is one who having practised heroic virtues, and
enjoyed revelations or powers of the order which The Church classes
technically as supernatural, is eligible for canonization.  If a
historian is an Anti-Feminist, and does not believe women to be
capable of genius in the traditional masculine departments, he will
never make anything of Joan, whose genius was turned to practical
account mainly in soldiering and politics.  If he is Rationalist
enough to deny that saints exist, and to hold that new ideas cannot
come otherwise than by conscious ratiocination, he will never catch
Joan's likeness.  Her ideal biographer must be free from nineteenth
century prejudices and biases; must understand the Middle Ages, the
Roman Catholic Church, and the Holy Roman Empire much more
intimately than our Whig historians have ever understood them; and
must be capable of throwing off sex partialities and their romance,
and regarding woman as the female of the human species, and not as
a different kind of animal with specific charms and specific


To put the last point roughly, any book about Joan which begins by
describing her as a beauty may be at once classed as a romance.
Not one of Joan's comrades, in village, court, or camp, even when
they were straining themselves to please the king by praising her,
ever claimed that she was pretty.  All the men who alluded to the
matter declared most emphatically that she was unattractive
sexually to a degree that seemed to them miraculous, considering
that she was in the bloom of youth, and neither ugly, awkward,
deformed, nor unpleasant in her person.  The evident truth is that
like most women of her hardy managing type she seemed neutral in
the conflict of sex because men were too much afraid of her to fall
in love with her.  She herself was not sexless: in spite of the
virginity she had vowed up to a point, and preserved to her death,
she never excluded the possibility of marriage for herself.  But
marriage, with its preliminary of the attraction, pursuit, and
capture of a husband, was not her business: she had something else
to do.  Byron's formula, 'Man's love is of man's life a thing
apart: 'tis woman's whole existence,' did not apply to her any more
than to George Washington or any other masculine worker on the
heroic scale.  Had she lived in our time, picture postcards might
have been sold of her as a general: they would not have been sold
of her as a sultana.  Nevertheless there is one reason for
crediting her with a very remarkable face.  A sculptor of her time
in Orleans made a statue of a helmeted young woman with a face that
is unique in art in point of being evidently not an ideal face but
a portrait, and yet so uncommon as to be unlike any real woman one
has ever seen.  It is surmised that Joan served unconsciously as
the sculptor's model.  There is no proof of this; but those
extraordinarily spaced eyes raise so powerfully the question 'If
this woman be not Joan, who is she?' that I dispense with further
evidence, and challenge those who disagree with me to prove a
negative.  It is a wonderful face, but quite neutral from the point
of view of the operatic beauty fancier.

Such a fancier may perhaps be finally chilled by the prosaic fact
that Joan was the defendant in a suit for breach of promise of
marriage, and that she conducted her own case and won it.


By class Joan was the daughter of a working farmer who was one of
the headmen of his village, and transacted its feudal business for
it with the neighbouring squires and their lawyers.  When the
castle in which the villagers were entitled to take refuge from
raids became derelict, he organized a combination of half a dozen
farmers to obtain possession of it so as to occupy it when there
was any danger of invasion.  As a child, Joan could please herself
at times with being the young lady of this castle.  Her mother and
brothers were able to follow and share her fortune at court without
making themselves notably ridiculous.  These facts leave us no
excuse for the popular romance that turns every heroine into either
a princess or a beggar-maid.  In the somewhat similar case of
Shakespear a whole inverted pyramid of wasted research has been
based on the assumption that he was an illiterate laborer, in the
face of the plainest evidence that his father was a man of
business, and at one time a very prosperous one, married to a woman
of some social pretensions.  There is the same tendency to drive
Joan into the position of a hired shepherd girl, though a hired
shepherd girl in Domremy would have deferred to her as the young
lady of the farm.

The difference between Joan's case and Shakespear's is that
Shakespear was not illiterate.  He had been to school, and knew as
much Latin and Greek as most university passmen retain: that is,
for practical purposes, none at all.  Joan was absolutely
illiterate.  'I do not know A from B' she said.  But many
princesses at that time and for long after might have said the
same.  Marie Antoinette, for instance, at Joan's age could not
spell her own name correctly.  But this does not mean that Joan was
an ignorant person, or that she suffered from the diffidence and
sense of social disadvantage now felt by people who cannot read or
write.  If she could not write letters, she could and did dictate
them and attach full and indeed excessive importance to them.  When
she was called a shepherd lass to her face she very warmly resented
it, and challenged any woman to compete with her in the household
arts of the mistresses of well furnished houses.  She understood
the political and military situation in France much better than
most of our newspaper fed university women-graduates understand the
corresponding situation of their own country today.  Her first
convert was the neighboring commandant at Vaucouleurs; and she
converted him by telling him about the defeat of the Dauphin's
troops at the Battle of Herrings so long before he had official
news of it that he concluded she must have had a divine revelation.
This knowledge of and interest in public affairs was nothing
extraordinary among farmers in a war-swept countryside.
Politicians came to the door too often sword in hand to be
disregarded: Joan's people could not afford to be ignorant of what
was going on in the feudal world.  They were not rich; and Joan
worked on the farm as her father did, driving the sheep to pasture
and so forth; but there is no evidence or suggestion of sordid
poverty, and no reason to believe that Joan had to work as a hired
servant works, or indeed to work at all when she preferred to go to
confession, or dawdle about waiting for visions and listening to
the church bells to hear voices in them.  In short, much more of a
young lady, and even of an intellectual, than most of the daughters
of our petty bourgeoisie.


Joan's voices and visions have played many tricks with her
reputation.  They have been held to prove that she was mad, that
she was a liar and impostor, that she was a sorceress (she was
burned for this), and finally that she was a saint.  They do not
prove any of these things; but the variety of the conclusions
reached shew how little our matter-of-fact historians know about
other people's minds, or even about their own.  There are people in
the world whose imagination is so vivid that when they have an idea
it comes to them as an audible voice, sometimes uttered by a visual
figure.  Criminal lunatic asylums are occupied largely by murderers
who have obeyed voices.  Thus a woman may hear voices telling her
that she must cut her husband's throat and strangle her child as
they lie asleep; and she may feel obliged to do what she is told.
By a medico-legal superstition it is held in our courts that
criminals whose temptations present themselves under these
illusions are not responsible for their actions, and must be
treated as insane.  But the seers of visions and the hearers of
revelations are not always criminals.  The inspirations and
intuitions and unconsciously reasoned conclusions of genius
sometimes assume similar illusions.  Socrates, Luther, Swedenborg,
Blake saw visions and heard voices just as Saint Francis and Saint
Joan did.  If Newton's imagination had been of the same vividly
dramatic kind he might have seen the ghost of Pythagoras walk into
the orchard and explain why the apples were falling.  Such an
illusion would have invalidated neither the theory of gravitation
nor Newton's general sanity.  What is more, the visionary method of
making the discovery would not be a whit more miraculous than the
normal method.  The test of sanity is not the normality of the
method but the reasonableness of the discovery.  If Newton had been
informed by Pythagoras that the moon was made of green cheese, then
Newton would have been locked up.  Gravitation, being a reasoned
hypothesis which fitted remarkably well into the Copernican version
of the observed physical facts of the universe, established
Newton's reputation for extraordinary intelligence, and would have
done so no matter how fantastically he had arrived at it.  Yet his
theory of gravitation is not so impressive a mental feat as his
astounding chronology, which establishes him as the king of mental
conjurors, but a Bedlamite king whose authority no one now accepts.
On the subject of the eleventh horn of the beast seen by the
prophet Daniel he was more fantastic than Joan, because his
imagination was not dramatic but mathematical and therefore
extraordinarily susceptible to numbers: indeed if all his works
were lost except his chronology we should say that he was as mad as
a hatter.  As it is, who dares diagnose Newton as a madman?

In the same way Joan must be judged a sane woman in spite of her
voices because they never gave her any advice that might not have
come to her from her mother wit exactly as gravitation came to
Newton.  We can all see now, especially since the late war threw so
many of our women into military life, that Joan's campaigning could
not have been carried on in petticoats.  This was not only because
she did a man's work, but because it was morally necessary that sex
should be left out of the question as between her and her comrades-
in-arms.  She gave this reason herself when she was pressed on the
subject; and the fact that this entirely reasonable necessity came
to her imagination first as an order from God delivered through the
mouth of Saint Catherine does not prove that she was mad.  The
soundness of the order proves that she was unusually sane; but its
form proves that her dramatic imagination played tricks with her
senses.  Her policy was also quite sound: nobody disputes that the
relief of Orleans, followed up by the coronation at Rheims of the
Dauphin as a counterblow to the suspicions then current of his
legitimacy and consequently of his title, were military and
political masterstrokes that saved France.  They might have been
planned by Napoleon or any other illusionproof genius.  They came
to Joan as an instruction from her Counsel, as she called her
visionary saints; but she was none the less an able leader of men
for imagining her ideas in this way.


What then is the modern view of Joan's voices and visions and
messages from God?  The nineteenth century said that they were
delusions, but that as she was a pretty girl, and had been
abominably ill-treated and finally done to death by a superstitious
rabble of medieval priests hounded on by a corrupt political
bishop, it must be assumed that she was the innocent dupe of these
delusions.  The twentieth century finds this explanation too
vapidly commonplace, and demands something more mystic.  I think
the twentieth century is right, because an explanation which
amounts to Joan being mentally defective instead of, as she
obviously was, mentally excessive, will not wash.  I cannot
believe, nor, if I could, could I expect all my readers to believe,
as Joan did, that three ocularly visible well dressed persons,
named respectively Saint Catherine, Saint Margaret, and Saint
Michael, came down from heaven and gave her certain instructions
with which they were charged by God for her.  Not that such a
belief would be more improbable or fantastic than some modern
beliefs which we all swallow; but there are fashions and family
habits in belief, and it happens that, my fashion being Victorian
and my family habit Protestant, I find myself unable to attach any
such objective validity to the form of Joan's visions.

But that there are forces at work which use individuals for
purposes far transcending the purpose of keeping these individuals
alive and prosperous and respectable and safe and happy in the
middle station in life, which is all any good bourgeois can
reasonably require, is established by the fact that men will, in
the pursuit of knowledge and of social readjustments for which they
will not be a penny the better, and are indeed often many pence the
worse, face poverty, infamy, exile, imprisonment, dreadful
hardship, and death.  Even the selfish pursuit of personal power
does not nerve men to the efforts and sacrifices which are eagerly
made in pursuit of extensions of our power over nature, though
these extensions may not touch the personal life of the seeker at
any point.  There is no more mystery about this appetite for
knowledge and power than about the appetite for food: both are
known as facts and as facts only, the difference between them being
that the appetite for food is necessary to the life of the hungry
man and is therefore a personal appetite, whereas the other is an
appetite for evolution, and therefore a superpersonal need.

The diverse manners in which our imaginations dramatize the
approach of the superpersonal forces is a problem for the
psychologist, not for the historian.  Only, the historian must
understand that visionaries are neither impostors nor lunatics.  It
is one thing to say that the figure Joan recognized as St Catherine
was not really St Catherine, but the dramatization by Joan's
imagination of that pressure upon her of the driving force that is
behind evolution which I have just called the evolutionary
appetite.  It is quite another to class her visions with the vision
of two moons seen by a drunken person, or with Brocken spectres,
echoes and the like.  Saint Catherine's instructions were far too
cogent for that; and the simplest French peasant who believes in
apparitions of celestial personages to favored mortals is nearer to
the scientific truth about Joan than the Rationalist and
Materialist historians and essayists who feel obliged to set down a
girl who saw saints and heard them talking to her as either crazy
or mendacious.  If Joan was mad, all Christendom was mad too; for
people who believe devoutly in the existence of celestial
personages are every whit as mad in that sense as the people who
think they see them.  Luther, when he threw his inkhorn at the
devil, was no more mad than any other Augustinian monk: he had a
more vivid imagination, and had perhaps eaten and slept less: that
was all.


All the popular religions in the world are made apprehensible by an
array of legendary personages, with an Almighty Father, and
sometimes a mother and divine child, as the central figures.  These
are presented to the mind's eye in childhood; and the result is a
hallucination which persists strongly throughout life when it has
been well impressed.  Thus all the thinking of the hallucinated
adult about the fountain of inspiration which is continually
flowing in the universe, or about the promptings of virtue and the
revulsions of shame: in short, about aspiration and conscience,
both of which forces are matters of fact more obvious than electro-
magnetism, is thinking in terms of the celestial vision.  And when
in the case of exceptionally imaginative persons, especially those
practising certain appropriate austerities, the hallucination
extends from the mind's eye to the body's, the visionary sees
Krishna or the Buddha or the Blessed Virgin or St Catherine as the
case may be.


It is important to everyone nowadays to understand this, because
modern science is making short work of the hallucinations without
regard to the vital importance of the things they symbolize.  If
Joan were reborn today she would be sent, first to a convent school
in which she would be mildly taught to connect inspiration and
conscience with St Catherine and St Michael exactly as she was in
the fifteenth century, and then finished up with a very energetic
training in the gospel of Saints Louis Pasteur and Paul Bert, who
would tell her (possibly in visions but more probably in pamphlets)
not to be a superstitious little fool, and to empty out St
Catherine and the rest of the Catholic hagiology as an obsolete
iconography of exploded myths.  It would be rubbed into her that
Galileo was a martyr, and his persecutors incorrigible ignoramuses,
and that St Teresa's hormones had gone astray and left her
incurably hyperpituitary or hyperadrenal or hysteroid or epileptoid
or anything but asteroid.  She would have been convinced by precept
and experiment that baptism and receiving the body of her Lord were
contemptible superstitions, and that vaccination and vivisection
were enlightened practices.  Behind her new Saints Louis and Paul
there would be not only Science purifying Religion and being
purified by it, but hypochondria, melancholia, cowardice,
stupidity, cruelty, muckraking curiosity, knowledge without wisdom,
and everything that the eternal soul in Nature loathes, instead of
the virtues of which St Catherine was the figure head.  As to the
new rites, which would be the saner Joan? the one who carried
little children to be baptized of water and the spirit, or the one
who sent the police to force their parents to have the most
villainous racial poison we know thrust into their veins? the one
who told them the story of the angel and Mary, or the one who
questioned them as to their experiences of the Edipus complex? the
one to whom the consecrated wafer was the very body of the virtue
that was her salvation, or the one who looked forward to a precise
and convenient regulation of her health and her desires by a nicely
calculated diet of thyroid extract, adrenalin, thymin, pituitrin,
and insulin, with pick-me-ups of hormone stimulants, the blood
being first carefully fortified with antibodies against all
possible infections by inoculations of infected bacteria and serum
from infected animals, and against old age by surgical extirpation
of the reproductive ducts or weekly doses of monkey gland?

It is true that behind all these quackeries there is a certain body
of genuine scientific physiology.  But was there any the less a
certain body of genuine psychology behind St Catherine and the Holy
Ghost?  And which is the healthier mind? the saintly mind or the
monkey gland mind?  Does not the present cry of Back to the Middle
Ages, which has been incubating ever since the pre-Raphaelite
movement began, mean that it is no longer our Academy pictures that
are intolerable, but our credulities that have not the excuse of
being superstitions, our cruelties that have not the excuse of
barbarism, our persecutions that have not the excuse of religious
faith, our shameless substitution of successful swindlers and
scoundrels and quacks for saints as objects of worship, and our
deafness and blindness to the calls and visions of the inexorable
power that made us, and will destroy us if we disregard it?  To
Joan and her contemporaries we should appear as a drove of Gadarene
swine, possessed by all the unclean spirits cast out by the faith
and civilization of the Middle Ages, running violently down a steep
place into a hell of high explosives.  For us to set up our
condition as a standard of sanity, and declare Joan mad because she
never condescended to it, is to prove that we are not only lost but
irredeemable.  Let us then once for all drop all nonsense about
Joan being cracked, and accept her as at least as sane as Florence
Nightingale, who also combined a very simple iconography of
religious belief with a mind so exceptionally powerful that it kept
her in continual trouble with the medical and military panjandrums
of her time.


That the voices and visions were illusory, and their wisdom all
Joan's own, is shewn by the occasions on which they failed her,
notably during her trial, when they assured her that she would be
rescued.  Here her hopes flattered her; but they were not
unreasonable: her military colleague La Hire was in command of a
considerable force not so very far off; and if the Armagnacs, as
her party was called, had really wanted to rescue her, and had put
anything like her own vigor into the enterprise, they could have
attempted it with very fair chances of success.  She did not
understand that they were glad to be rid of her, nor that the
rescue of a prisoner from the hands of the Church was a much more
serious business for a medieval captain, or even a medieval king,
than its mere physical difficulty as a military exploit suggested.
According to her lights her expectation of a rescue was reasonable;
therefore she heard Madame Saint Catherine assuring her it would
happen, that being her way of finding out and making up her own
mind.  When it became evident that she had miscalculated: when she
was led to the stake, and La Hire was not thundering at the gates
of Rouen nor charging Warwick's men at arms, she threw over Saint
Catherine at once, and recanted.  Nothing could be more sane or
practical.  It was not until she discovered that she had gained
nothing by her recantation but close imprisonment for life that she
withdrew it, and deliberately and explicitly chose burning instead:
a decision which shewed not only the extraordinary decision of her
character, but also a Rationalism carried to its ultimate human
test of suicide.  Yet even in this the illusion persisted; and she
announced her relapse as dictated to her by her voices.


The most sceptical scientific reader may therefore accept as a flat
fact, carrying no implication of unsoundness of mind, that Joan was
what Francis Galton and other modern investigators of human faculty
call a visualizer.  She saw imaginary saints just as some other
people see imaginary diagrams and landscapes with numbers dotted
about them, and are thereby able to perform feats of memory and
arithmetic impossible to non-visualizers.  Visualizers will
understand this at once.  Non-visualizers who have never read
Galton will be puzzled and incredulous.  But a very little inquiry
among their acquaintances will reveal to them that the mind's eye
is more or less a magic lantern, and that the street is full of
normally sane people who have hallucinations of all sorts which
they believe to be part of the normal permanent equipment of all
human beings.


Joan's other abnormality, too common among uncommon things to be
properly called a peculiarity, was her craze for soldiering and the
masculine life.  Her father tried to frighten her out of it by
threatening to drown her if she ran away with the soldiers, and
ordering her brothers to drown her if he were not on the spot.
This extravagance was clearly not serious: it must have been
addressed to a child young enough to imagine that he was in
earnest.  Joan must therefore as a child have wanted to run away
and be a soldier.  The awful prospect of being thrown into the
Meuse and drowned by a terrible father and her big brothers kept
her quiet until the father had lost his terrors and the brothers
yielded to her natural leadership; and by that time she had sense
enough to know that the masculine and military life was not a mere
matter of running away from home.  But the taste for it never left
her, and was fundamental in determining her career.

If anyone doubts this, let him ask himself why a maid charged with
a special mission from heaven to the Dauphin (this was how Joan saw
her very able plan for retrieving the desperate situation of the
uncrowned king) should not have simply gone to the court as a maid,
in woman's dress, and urged her counsel upon him in a woman's way,
as other women with similar missions had come to his mad father and
his wise grandfather.  Why did she insist on having a soldier's
dress and arms and sword and horse and equipment, and on treating
her escort of soldiers as comrades, sleeping side by side with them
on the floor at night as if there were no difference of sex between
them?  It may be answered that this was the safest way of
travelling through a country infested with hostile troops and bands
of marauding deserters from both sides.  Such an answer has no
weight because it applies to all the women who travelled in France
at that time, and who never dreamt of travelling otherwise than as
women.  But even if we accept it, how does it account for the fact
that when the danger was over, and she could present herself at
court in feminine attire with perfect safety and obviously with
greater propriety, she presented herself in her man's dress, and
instead of urging Charles, like Queen Victoria urging the War
Office to send Roberts to the Transvaal, to send D'Alencon, De
Rais, La Hire and the rest to the relief of Dunois at Orleans,
insisted that she must go herself and lead the assault in person?
Why did she give exhibitions of her dexterity in handling a lance,
and of her seat as a rider?  Why did she accept presents of armor
and chargers and masculine surcoats, and in every action repudiate
the conventional character of a woman?  The simple answer to all
these questions is that she was the sort of woman that wants to
lead a man's life.  They are to be found wherever there are armies
on foot or navies on the seas, serving in male disguise, eluding
detection for astonishingly long periods, and sometimes, no doubt,
escaping it entirely.  When they are in a position to defy public
opinion they throw off all concealment.  You have your Rosa Bonheur
painting in male blouse and trousers, and George Sand living a
man's life and almost compelling her Chopins and De Mussets to live
women's lives to amuse her.  Had Joan not been one of those
'unwomanly women', she might have been canonized much sooner.

But it is not necessary to wear trousers and smoke big cigars to
live a man's life any more than it is necessary to wear petticoats
to live a woman's.  There are plenty of gowned and bodiced women in
ordinary civil life who manage their own affairs and other
people's, including those of their menfolk, and are entirely
masculine in their tastes and pursuits.  There always were such
women, even in the Victorian days when women had fewer legal rights
than men, and our modern women magistrates, mayors, and members of
Parliament were unknown.  In reactionary Russia in our own century
a woman soldier organized an effective regiment of amazons, which
disappeared only because it was Aldershottian enough to be against
the Revolution.  The exemption of women from military service is
founded, not on any natural inaptitude that men do not share, but
on the fact that communities cannot reproduce themselves without
plenty of women.  Men are more largely dispensable, and are
sacrificed accordingly.


These two abnormalities were the only ones that were irresistibly
prepotent in Joan; and they brought her to the stake.  Neither of
them was peculiar to her.  There was nothing peculiar about her
except the vigor and scope of her mind and character, and the
intensity of her vital energy.  She was accused of a suicidal
tendency; and it is a fact that when she attempted to escape from
Beaurevoir Castle by jumping from a tower said to be sixty feet
high, she took a risk beyond reason, though she recovered from the
crash after a few days fasting.  Her death was deliberately chosen
as an alternative to life without liberty.  In battle she
challenged death as Wellington did at Waterloo, and as Nelson
habitually did when he walked his quarter deck during his battles
with all his decorations in full blaze.  As neither Nelson nor
Wellington nor any of those who have performed desperate feats, and
preferred death to captivity, has been accused of suicidal mania,
Joan need not be suspected of it.  In the Beaurevoir affair there
was more at stake than her freedom.  She was distracted by the news
that Compiegne was about to fall; and she was convinced that she
could save it if only she could get free.  Still, the leap was so
perilous that her conscience was not quite easy about it; and she
expressed this, as usual, by saying that Saint Catherine had
forbidden her to do it, but forgave her afterwards for her


We may accept and admire Joan, then, as a sane and shrewd country
girl of extraordinary strength of mind and hardihood of body.
Everything she did was thoroughly calculated; and though the
process was so rapid that she was hardly conscious of it, and
ascribed it all to her voices, she was a woman of policy and not of
blind impulse.  In war she was as much a realist as Napoleon: she
had his eye for artillery and his knowledge of what it could do.
She did not expect besieged cities to fall Jerichowise at the sound
of her trumpet, but, like Wellington, adapted her methods of attack
to the peculiarities of the defence; and she anticipated the
Napoleonic calculation that if you only hold on long enough the
other fellow will give in: for example, her final triumph at
Orleans was achieved after her commander Dunois had sounded the
retreat at the end of a day's fighting without a decision.  She was
never for a moment what so many romancers and playwrights have
pretended: a romantic young lady.  She was a thorough daughter of
the soil in her peasantlike matter-of-factness and doggedness, and
her acceptance of great lords and kings and prelates as such
without idolatry or snobbery, seeing at a glance how much they were
individually good for.  She had the respectable countrywoman's
sense of the value of public decency, and would not tolerate foul
language and neglect of religious observances, nor allow
disreputable women to hang about her soldiers.  She had one pious
ejaculation 'En nom De!' and one meaningless oath 'Par mon martin';
and this much swearing she allowed to the incorrigibly blasphemous
La Hire equally with herself.  The value of this prudery was so
great in restoring the self-respect of the badly demoralized army
that, like most of her policy, it justified itself as soundly
calculated.  She talked to and dealt with people of all classes,
from laborers to kings, without embarrassment or affectation, and
got them to do what she wanted when they were not afraid or
corrupt.  She could coax and she could hustle, her tongue having a
soft side and a sharp edge.  She was very capable: a born boss.


All this, however, must be taken with one heavy qualification.  She
was only a girl in her teens.  If we could think of her as a
managing woman of fifty we should seize her type at once; for we
have plenty of managing women among us of that age who illustrate
perfectly the sort of person she would have become had she lived.
But she, being only a lass when all is said, lacked their knowledge
of men's vanities and of the weight and proportion of social
forces.  She knew nothing of iron hands in velvet gloves: she just
used her fists.  She thought political changes much easier than
they are, and, like Mahomet in his innocence of any world but the
tribal world, wrote letters to kings calling on them to make
millennial rearrangements.  Consequently it was only in the
enterprises that were really simple and compassable by swift
physical force, like the coronation and the Orleans campaign, that
she was successful.

Her want of academic education disabled her when she had to deal
with such elaborately artificial structures as the great
ecclesiastical and social institutions of the Middle Ages.  She had
a horror of heretics without suspecting that she was herself a
heresiarch, one of the precursors of a schism that rent Europe in
two, and cost centuries of bloodshed that is not yet staunched.
She objected to foreigners on the sensible ground that they were
not in their proper place in France; but she had no notion of how
this brought her into conflict with Catholicism and Feudalism, both
essentially international.  She worked by commonsense; and where
scholarship was the only clue to institutions she was in the dark,
and broke her shins against them, all the more rudely because of
her enormous self-confidence, which made her the least cautious of
human beings in civil affairs.

This combination of inept youth and academic ignorance with great
natural capacity, push, courage, devotion, originality and oddity,
fully accounts for all the facts in Joan's career, and makes her a
credible historical and human phenomenon; but it clashes most
discordantly both with the idolatrous romance that has grown up
around her, and the belittling scepticism that reacts against that


English readers would probably like to know how these idolizations
and reactions have affected the books they are most familiar with
about Joan.  There is the first part of the Shakespearean, or
pseudo-Shakespearean trilogy of Henry VI, in which Joan is one of
the leading characters.  This portrait of Joan is not more
authentic than the descriptions in the London papers of George
Washington in 1780, of Napoleon in 1803, of the German Crown Prince
in 1915, or of Lenin in 1917.  It ends in mere scurrility.  The
impression left by it is that the playwright, having begun by an
attempt to make Joan a beautiful and romantic figure, was told by
his scandalized company that English patriotism would never stand a
sympathetic representation of a French conqueror of English troops,
and that unless he at once introduced all the old charges against
Joan of being a sorceress and harlot, and assumed her to be guilty
of all of them, his play could not be produced.  As likely as not,
this is what actually happened: indeed there is only one other
apparent way of accounting for the sympathetic representation of
Joan as a heroine culminating in her eloquent appeal to the Duke of
Burgundy, followed by the blackguardly scurrility of the concluding
scenes.  That other way is to assume that the original play was
wholly scurrilous, and that Shakespear touched up the earlier
scenes.  As the work belongs to a period at which he was only
beginning his practice as a tinker of old works, before his own
style was fully formed and hardened, it is impossible to verify
this guess.  His finger is not unmistakably evident in the play,
which is poor and base in its moral tone; but he may have tried to
redeem it from downright infamy by shedding a momentary glamor on
the figure of The Maid.

When we jump over two centuries to Schiller, we find Die Jungfrau
von Orleans drowned in a witch's caldron of raging romance.
Schiller's Joan has not a single point of contact with the real
Joan, nor indeed with any mortal woman that ever walked this earth.
There is really nothing to be said of his play but that it is not
about Joan at all, and can hardly be said to pretend to be; for he
makes her die on the battlefield, finding her burning unbearable.
Before Schiller came Voltaire, who burlesqued Homer in a mock epic
called La Pucelle.  It is the fashion to dismiss this with virtuous
indignation as an obscene libel; and I certainly cannot defend it
against the charge of extravagant indecorum.  But its purpose was
not to depict Joan, but to kill with ridicule everything that
Voltaire righteously hated in the institutions and fashions of his
own day.  He made Joan ridiculous, but not contemptible nor
(comparatively) unchaste; and as he also made Homer and St Peter
and St Denis and the brave Dunois ridiculous, and the other
heroines of the poem very unchaste indeed, he may be said to have
let Joan off very easily.  But indeed the personal adventures of
the characters are so outrageous, and so Homerically free from any
pretence at or even possibility of historical veracity, that those
who affect to take them seriously only make themselves Pecksniffian.
Samuel Butler believed The Iliad to be a burlesque of Greek Jingoism
and Greek religion, written by a hostage or a slave; and La Pucelle
makes Butler's theory almost convincing. Voltaire represents Agnes
Sorel, the Dauphin's mistress, whom Joan never met, as a woman with
a consuming passion for the chastest concubinal fidelity, whose fate
it was to be continually falling into the hands of licentious foes
and suffering the worst extremities of rapine.  The combats in which
Joan rides a flying donkey, or in which, taken unaware with no
clothes on, she defends Agnes with her sword, and inflicts
appropriate mutilations on her assailants, can be laughed at as they
are intended to be without scruple; for no sane person could mistake
them for sober history; and it may be that their ribald irreverence
is more wholesome than the beglamored sentimentality of Schiller.
Certainly Voltaire should not have asserted that Joan's father was a
priest; but when he was out to eraser l'infame (the French Church)
he stuck at nothing.

So far, the literary representations of The Maid were legendary.
But the publication by Quicherat in 1841 of the reports of her
trial and rehabilitation placed the subject on a new footing.
These entirely realistic documents created a living interest in
Joan which Voltaire's mock Homerics and Schiller's romantic
nonsense missed.  Typical products of that interest in America and
England are the histories of Joan by Mark Twain and Andrew Lang.
Mark Twain was converted to downright worship of Joan directly by
Quicherat.  Later on, another man of genius, Anatole France,
reacted against the Quicheratic wave of enthusiasm, and wrote a
Life of Joan in which he attributed Joan's ideas to clerical
prompting and her military success to an adroit use of her by
Dunois as a mascotte: in short, he denied that she had any serious
military or political ability.  At this Andrew saw red, and went
for Anatole's scalp in a rival Life of her which should be read as
a corrective to the other.  Lang had no difficulty in shewing that
Joan's ability was not an unnatural fiction to be explained away as
an illusion manufactured by priests and soldiers, but a
straightforward fact.

It has been lightly pleaded in explanation that Anatole France is a
Parisian of the art world, into whose scheme of things the able,
hardheaded, hardhanded female, though she dominates provincial
France and business Paris, does not enter; whereas Lang was a Scot,
and every Scot knows that the grey mare is as likely as not to be
the better horse.  But this explanation does not convince me.  I
cannot believe that Anatole France does not know what everybody
knows.  I wish everybody knew all that he knows.  One feels
antipathies at work in his book.  He is not anti-Joan; but he is
anti-clerical, anti-mystic, and fundamentally unable to believe
that there ever was any such person as the real Joan.

Mark Twain's Joan, skirted to the ground, and with as many
petticoats as Noah's wife in a toy ark, is an attempt to combine
Bayard with Esther Summerson from Bleak House into an unimpeachable
American school teacher in armor.  Like Esther Summerson she makes
her creator ridiculous, and yet, being the work of a man of genius,
remains a credible human goodygoody in spite of her creator's
infatuation.  It is the description rather than the valuation that
is wrong.  Andrew Lang and Mark Twain are equally determined to
make Joan a beautiful and most ladylike Victorian; but both of them
recognize and insist on her capacity for leadership, though the
Scots scholar is less romantic about it than the Mississippi pilot.
But then Lang was, by lifelong professional habit, a critic of
biographies rather than a biographer, whereas Mark Twain writes his
biography frankly in the form of a romance.


They had, however, one disability in common.  To understand Joan's
history it is not enough to understand her character: you must
understand her environment as well.  Joan in a nineteenth-twentieth
century environment is as incongruous a figure as she would appear
were she to walk down Piccadilly today in her fifteenth century
armor.  To see her in her proper perspective you must understand
Christendom and the Catholic Church, the Holy Roman Empire and the
Feudal System, as they existed and were understood in the Middle
Ages.  If you confuse the Middle Ages with the Dark Ages, and are
in the habit of ridiculing your aunt for wearing 'medieval
clothes', meaning those in vogue in the eighteen-nineties, and are
quite convinced that the world has progressed enormously, both
morally and mechanically, since Joan's time, then you will never
understand why Joan was burnt, much less feel that you might have
voted for burning her yourself if you had been a member of the
court that tried her; and until you feel that you know nothing
essential about her.

That the Mississippi pilot should have broken down on this
misunderstanding is natural enough.  Mark Twain, the Innocent
Abroad, who saw the lovely churches of the Middle Ages without a
throb of emotion, author of A Yankee at the Court of King Arthur,
in which the heroes and heroines of medieval chivalry are guys seen
through the eyes of a street arab, was clearly out of court from
the beginning.  Andrew Lang was better read; but, like Walter
Scott, he enjoyed medieval history as a string of Border romances
rather than as the record of a high European civilization based on
a catholic faith.  Both of them were baptized as Protestants, and
impressed by all their schooling and most of their reading with the
belief that Catholic bishops who burnt heretics were persecutors
capable of any villainy; that all heretics were Albigensians or
Husites or Jews or Protestants of the highest character; and that
the Inquisition was a Chamber of Horrors invented expressly and
exclusively for such burnings.  Accordingly we find them
representing Peter Cauchon, Bishop of Beauvais, the judge who sent
Joan to the stake, as an unconscionable scoundrel, and all the
questions put to her as 'traps' to ensnare and destroy her.  And
they assume unhesitatingly that the two or three score of canons
and doctors of law and divinity who sat with Cauchon as assessors,
were exact reproductions of him on slightly less elevated chairs
and with a different headdress.


The truth is that Cauchon was threatened and insulted by the
English for being too considerate to Joan.  A recent French writer
denies that Joan was burnt, and holds that Cauchon spirited her
away and burnt somebody or something else in her place, and that
the pretender who subsequently personated her at Orleans and
elsewhere was not a pretender but the real authentic Joan.  He is
able to cite Cauchon's pro-Joan partiality in support of his view.
As to the assessors, the objection to them is not that they were a
row of uniform rascals, but that they were political partisans of
Joan's enemies.  This is a valid objection to all such trials; but
in the absence of neutral tribunals they are unavoidable.  A trial
by Joan's French partisans would have been as unfair as the trial
by her French opponents; and an equally mixed tribunal would have
produced a deadlock.  Such recent trials as those of Edith Cavell
by a German tribunal and Roger Casement by an English one were open
to the same objection; but they went forward to the death
nevertheless, because neutral tribunals were not available.  Edith,
like Joan, was an arch heretic: in the middle of the war she
declared before the world that 'Patriotism is not enough.'  She
nursed enemies back to health, and assisted their prisoners to
escape, making it abundantly clear that she would help any fugitive
or distressed person without asking whose side he was on, and
acknowledging no distinction before Christ between Tommy and Jerry
and Pitou the poilu.  Well might Edith have wished that she could
bring the Middle Ages back, and have fifty civilians, learned in
the law or vowed to the service of God, to support two skilled
judges in trying her case according to the Catholic law of
Christendom, and to argue it out with her at sitting after sitting
for many weeks.  The modern military Inquisition was not so
squeamish.  It shot her out of hand; and her countrymen, seeing in
this a good opportunity for lecturing the enemy on his intolerance,
put up a statue to her, but took particular care not to inscribe on
the pedestal 'Patriotism is not enough', for which omission, and
the lie it implies, they will need Edith's intercession when they
are themselves brought to judgment, if any heavenly power thinks
such moral cowards capable of pleading to an intelligible

The point need be no further labored.  Joan was persecuted
essentially as she would be persecuted today.  The change from
burning to hanging or shooting may strike us as a change for the
better.  The change from careful trial under ordinary law to
recklessly summary military terrorism may strike us as a change for
the worse.  But as far as toleration is concerned the trial and
execution in Rouen in 1431 might have been an event of today; and
we may charge our consciences accordingly.  If Joan had to be dealt
with by us in London she would be treated with no more toleration
than Miss Sylvia Pankhurst, or the Peculiar People, or the parents
who keep their children from the elementary school, or any of the
others who cross the line we have to draw, rightly or wrongly,
between the tolerable and the intolerable.


Besides, Joan's trial was not, like Casement's, a national
political trial.  Ecclesiastical courts and the courts of the
Inquisition (Joan was tried by a combination of the two) were
Courts Christian: that is, international courts; and she was tried,
not as a traitress, but as a heretic, blasphemer, sorceress, and
idolater.  Her alleged offences were not political offences against
England, nor against the Burgundian faction in France, but against
God and against the common morality of Christendom.  And although
the idea we call Nationalism was so foreign to the medieval
conception of Christian society that it might almost have been
directly charged against Joan as an additional heresy, yet it was
not so charged; and it is unreasonable to suppose that the
political bias of a body of Frenchmen like the assessors would on
this point have run strongly in favor of the English foreigners
(even if they had been making themselves particularly agreeable in
France instead of just the contrary) against a Frenchwoman who had
vanquished them.

The tragic part of the trial was that Joan, like most prisoners
tried for anything but the simplest breaches of the ten
commandments, did not understand what they were accusing her of.
She was much more like Mark Twain than like Peter Cauchon.  Her
attachment to the Church was very different from the Bishop's, and
does not, in fact, bear close examination from his point of view.
She delighted in the solaces the Church offers to sensitive souls:
to her, confession and communion were luxuries beside which the
vulgar pleasures of the senses were trash.  Her prayers were
wonderful conversations with her three saints.  Her piety seemed
superhuman to the formally dutiful people whose religion was only a
task to them.  But when the Church was not offering her her
favorite luxuries, but calling on her to accept its interpretation
of God's will, and to sacrifice her own, she flatly refused, and
made it clear that her notion of a Catholic Church was one in which
the Pope was Pope Joan.  How could the Church tolerate that, when
it had just destroyed Hus, and had watched the career of Wycliffe
with a growing anger that would have brought him, too, to the
stake, had he not died a natural death before the wrath fell on him
in his grave?  Neither Hus nor Wycliffe was as bluntly defiant as
Joan: both were reformers of the Church like Luther; whilst Joan,
like Mrs Eddy, was quite prepared to supersede St Peter as the rock
on which the Church was built, and, like Mahomet, was always ready
with a private revelation from God to settle every question and fit
every occasion.

The enormity of Joan's pretension was proved by her own
unconsciousness of it, which we call her innocence, and her friends
called her simplicity.  Her solutions of the problems presented to
her seemed, and indeed mostly were, the plainest commonsense, and
their revelation to her by her Voices was to her a simple matter of
fact.  How could plain commonsense and simple fact seem to her to
be that hideous thing, heresy?  When rival prophetesses came into
the field, she was down on them at once for liars and humbugs; but
she never thought of them as heretics.  She was in a state of
invincible ignorance as to the Church's view; and the Church could
not tolerate her pretensions without either waiving its authority
or giving her a place beside the Trinity during her lifetime and in
her teens, which was unthinkable.  Thus an irresistible force met
an immovable obstacle, and developed the heat that consumed poor

Mark and Andrew would have shared her innocence and her fate had
they been dealt with by the Inquisition: that is why their accounts
of the trial are as absurd as hers might have been could she have
written one.  All that can be said for their assumption that
Cauchon was a vulgar villain, and that the questions put to Joan
were traps, is that it has the support of the inquiry which
rehabilitated her twenty-five years later.  But this rehabilitation
was as corrupt as the contrary proceeding applied to Cromwell by
our Restoration reactionaries.  Cauchon had been dug up, and his
body thrown into the common sewer.  Nothing was easier than to
accuse him of cozenage, and declare the whole trial void on that
account.  That was what everybody wanted, from Charles the
Victorious, whose credit was bound up with The Maid's, to the
patriotic Nationalist populace, who idolized Joan's memory.  The
English were gone; and a verdict in their favour would have been an
outrage on the throne and on the patriotism which Joan had set on

We have none of these overwhelming motives of political convenience
and popularity to bias us.  For us the first trial stands valid;
and the rehabilitation would be negligible but for the mass of
sincere testimony it produced as to Joan's engaging personal
character.  The question then arises: how did The Church get over
the verdict at the first trial when it canonized Joan five hundred
years later?


Easily enough.  In the Catholic Church, far more than in law, there
is no wrong without a remedy.  It does not defer to Joanesque
private judgment as such, the supremacy of private judgment for the
individual being the quintessence of Protestantism; nevertheless it
finds a place for private judgment in excelsis by admitting that
the highest wisdom may come as a divine revelation to an
individual.  On sufficient evidence it will declare that individual
a saint.  Thus, as revelation may come by way of an enlightenment
of the private judgment no less than by the words of a celestial
personage appearing in a vision, a saint may be defined as a person
of heroic virtue whose private judgment is privileged.  Many
innovating saints, notably Francis and Clare, have been in conflict
with the Church during their lives, and have thus raised the
question whether they were heretics or saints.  Francis might have
gone to the stake had he lived longer.  It is therefore by no means
impossible for a person to be excommunicated as a heretic, and on
further consideration canonized as a saint.  Excommunication by a
provincial ecclesiastical court is not one of the acts for which
the Church claims infallibility.  Perhaps I had better inform my
Protestant readers that the famous Dogma of Papal Infallibility is
by far the most modest pretension of the kind in existence.
Compared with our infallible democracies, our infallible medical
councils, our infallible astronomers, our infallible judges, and
our infallible parliaments, the Pope is on his knees in the dust
confessing his ignorance before the throne of God, asking only that
as to certain historical matters on which he has clearly more
sources of information open to him than anyone else his decision
shall be taken as final.  The Church may, and perhaps some day
will, canonize Galileo without compromising such infallibility as
it claims for the Pope, if not without compromising the
infallibility claimed for the Book of Joshua by simple souls whose
rational faith in more important things has become bound up with a
quite irrational faith in the chronicle of Joshua's campaigns as a
treatise on physics.  Therefore the Church will probably not
canonize Galileo yet awhile, though it might do worse.  But it has
been able to canonize Joan without any compromise at all.  She
never doubted that the sun went round the earth: she had seen it do
so too often.

Still, there was a great wrong done to Joan and to the conscience
of the world by her burning.  Tout comprendre, c'est tout
pardonner, which is the Devil's sentimentality, cannot excuse it.
When we have admitted that the tribunal was not only honest and
legal, but exceptionally merciful in respect of sparing Joan the
torture which was customary when she was obdurate as to taking the
oath, and that Cauchon was far more self-disciplined and
conscientious both as priest and lawyer than any English judge ever
dreams of being in a political case in which his party and class
prejudices are involved, the human fact remains that the burning of
Joan of Arc was a horror, and that a historian who would defend it
would defend anything.  The final criticism of its physical side is
implied in the refusal of the Marquesas islanders to be persuaded
that the English did not eat Joan.  Why, they ask, should anyone
take the trouble to roast a human being except with that object?
They cannot conceive its being a pleasure.  As we have no answer
for them that is not shameful to us, let us blush for our more
complicated and pretentious savagery before we proceed to unravel
the business further, and see what other lessons it contains for


First, let us get rid of the notion that the mere physical cruelty
of the burning has any special significance.  Joan was burnt just
as dozens of less interesting heretics were burnt in her time.
Christ, in being crucified, only shared the fate of thousands of
forgotten malefactors.  They have no pre-eminence in mere physical
pain: much more horrible executions than theirs are on record, to
say nothing of the agonies of so-called natural death at its worst.

Joan was burnt more than five hundred years ago.  More than three
hundred years later: that is, only about a hundred years before I
was born, a woman was burnt on Stephen's Green in my native city of
Dublin for coining, which was held to be treason.  In my preface to
the recent volume on English Prisons under Local Government, by
Sidney and Beatrice Webb, I have mentioned that when I was already
a grown man I saw Richard Wagner conduct two concerts, and that
when Richard Wagner was a young man he saw and avoided a crowd of
people hastening to see a soldier broken on the wheel by the more
cruel of the two ways of carrying out that hideous method of
execution.  Also that the penalty of hanging, drawing, and
quartering, unmentionable in its details, was abolished so recently
that there are men living who have been sentenced to it.  We are
still flogging criminals, and clamoring for more flogging.  Not
even the most sensationally frightful of these atrocities inflicted
on its victim the misery, degradation, and conscious waste and loss
of life suffered in our modern prisons, especially the model ones,
without, as far as I can see, rousing any more compunction than the
burning of heretics did in the Middle Ages.  We have not even the
excuse of getting some fun out of our prisons as the Middle Ages
did out of their stakes and wheels and gibbets.  Joan herself
judged this matter when she had to choose between imprisonment and
the stake, and chose the stake.  And thereby she deprived The
Church of the plea that it was guiltless of her death, which was
the work of the secular arm.  The Church should have confined
itself to excommunicating her.  There it was within its rights: she
had refused to accept its authority or comply with its conditions;
and it could say with truth 'You are not one of us: go forth and
find the religion that suits you, or found one for yourself.'  It
had no right to say 'You may return to us now that you have
recanted; but you shall stay in a dungeon all the rest of your
life.'  Unfortunately, The Church did not believe that there was
any genuine soul saving religion outside itself; and it was deeply
corrupted, as all the Churches were and still are, by primitive
Calibanism (in Browning's sense), or the propitiation of a dreaded
deity by suffering and sacrifice.  Its method was not cruelty for
cruelty's sake, but cruelty for the salvation of Joan's soul.
Joan, however, believed that the saving of her soul was her own
business, and not that of les gens d'eglise.  By using that term as
she did, mistrustfully and contemptuously, she announced herself
as, in germ, an anti-Clerical as thoroughgoing as Voltaire or
Anatole France.  Had she said in so many words 'To the dustbin with
the Church Militant and its blackcoated officials: I recognize only
the Church Triumphant in heaven,' she would hardly have put her
view more plainly.


I must not leave it to be inferred here that one cannot be an anti-
Clerical and a good Catholic too.  All the reforming Popes have
been vehement anti-Clericals, veritable scourges of the clergy.
All the great Orders arose from dissatisfaction with the priests:
that of the Franciscans with priestly snobbery, that of the
Dominicans with priestly laziness and Laodiceanism, that of the
Jesuits with priestly apathy and ignorance and indiscipline.  The
most bigoted Ulster Orangeman or Leicester Low Church bourgeois (as
described by Mr Henry Nevinson) is a mere Gallio compared to
Machiavelli, who, though no Protestant, was a fierce anti-Clerical.
Any Catholic may, and many Catholics do, denounce any priest or
body of priests, as lazy, drunken, idle, dissolute, and unworthy of
their great Church and their function as the pastors of their
flocks of human souls.  But to say that the souls of the people are
no business of the Churchmen is to go a step further, a step across
the Rubicon.  Joan virtually took that step.


And so, if we admit, as we must, that the burning of Joan was a
mistake, we must broaden Catholicism sufficiently to include her in
its charter.  Our Churches must admit that no official organization
of mortal men whose vocation does not carry with it extraordinary
mental powers (and this is all that any Church Militant can in the
face of fact and history pretend to be), can keep pace with the
private judgment of persons of genius except when, by a very rare
accident, the genius happens to be Pope, and not even then unless
he is an exceedingly overbearing Pope.  The Churches must learn
humility as well as teach it.  The Apostolic Succession cannot be
secured or confined by the laying on of hands: the tongues of fire
have descended on heathens and outcasts too often for that, leaving
anointed Churchmen to scandalize History as worldly rascals.  When
the Church Militant behaves as if it were already the Church
Triumphant, it makes these appalling blunders about Joan and Bruno
and Galileo and the rest which make it so difficult for a
Freethinker to join it; and a Church which has no place for
Freethinkers: nay, which does not inculcate and encourage
freethinking with a complete belief that thought, when really free,
must by its own law take the path that leads to The Church's bosom,
not only has no future in modern culture, but obviously has no
faith in the valid science of its own tenets, and is guilty of the
heresy that theology and science are two different and opposite
impulses, rivals for human allegiance.

I have before me the letter of a Catholic priest.  'In your play,'
he writes, 'I see the dramatic presentation of the conflict of the
Regal, sacerdotal, and Prophetical powers, in which Joan was
crushed.  To me it is not the victory of any one of them over the
others that will bring peace and the Reign of the Saints in the
Kingdom of God, but their fruitful interaction in a costly but
noble state of tension.'  The Pope himself could not put it better;
nor can I.  We must accept the tension, and maintain it nobly
without letting ourselves be tempted to relieve it by burning the
thread.  This is Joan's lesson to The Church; and its formulation
by the hand of a priest emboldens me to claim that her canonization
was a magnificently Catholic gesture as the canonization of a
Protestant saint by the Church of Rome.  But its special value and
virtue cannot be apparent until it is known and understood as such.
If any simple priest for whom this is too hard a saying tells me
that it was not so intended, I shall remind him that the Church is
in the hands of God, and not, as simple priests imagine, God in the
hands of the Church; so if he answers too confidently for God's
intentions he may be asked 'Hast thou entered into the springs of
the sea? or hast thou walked in the recesses of the deep?'  And
Joan's own answer is also the answer of old:  'Though He slay me,
yet will I trust in Him; but I will maintain my own ways before


When Joan maintained her own ways she claimed, like Job, that there
was not only God and the Church to be considered, but the Word made
Flesh: that is, the unaveraged individual, representing life
possibly at its highest actual human evolution and possibly at its
lowest, but never at its merely mathematical average.  Now there is
no deification of the democratic average in the theory of the
Church: it is an avowed hierarchy in which the members are sifted
until at the end of the process an individual stands supreme as the
Vicar of Christ.  But when the process is examined it appears that
its successive steps of selection and election are of the superior
by the inferior (the cardinal vice of democracy), with the result
that great popes are as rare and accidental as great kings, and
that it has sometimes been safer for an aspirant to the Chair and
the Keys to pass as a moribund dotard than as an energetic saint.
At best very few popes have been canonized, or could be without
letting down the standard of sanctity set by the self-elected

No other result could have been reasonably expected; for it is not
possible that an official organization of the spiritual needs of
millions of men and women, mostly poor and ignorant, should compete
successfully in the selection of its principals with the direct
choice of the Holy Ghost as it flashes with unerring aim upon the
individual.  Nor can any College of Cardinals pray effectively that
its choice may be inspired.  The conscious prayer of the inferior
may be that his choice may light on a greater than himself; but the
sub-conscious intention of his self-preserving individuality must
be to find a trustworthy servant of his own purposes.  The saints
and prophets, though they may be accidentally in this or that
official position or rank, are always really self-selected, like
Joan.  And since neither Church nor State, by the secular
necessities of its constitution, can guarantee even the recognition
of such self-chosen missions, there is nothing for us but to make
it a point of honor to privilege heresy to the last bearable degree
on the simple ground that all evolution in thought and conduct must
at first appear as heresy and misconduct.  In short, though all
society is founded on intolerance, all improvement is founded on
tolerance, or the recognition of the fact that the law of evolution
is Ibsen's law of change.  And as the law of God in any sense of
the word which can now command a faith proof against science is a
law of evolution, it follows that the law of God is a law of
change, and that when the Churches set themselves against change as
such, they are setting themselves against the law of God.


When Abernethy, the famous doctor, was asked why he indulged
himself with all the habits he warned his patients against as
unhealthy, he replied that his business was that of a direction
post, which points out the way to a place, but does not go thither
itself.  He might have added that neither does it compel the
traveller to go thither, nor prevent him from seeking some other
way.  Unfortunately our clerical direction posts always do coerce
the traveller when they have the political power to do so.  When
the Church was a temporal as well as a spiritual power, and for
long after to the full extent to which it could control or
influence the temporal power, it enforced conformity by
persecutions that were all the more ruthless because their
intention was so excellent.  Today, when the doctor has succeeded
to the priest, and can do practically what he likes with parliament
and the press through the blind faith in him which has succeeded to
the far more critical faith in the parson, legal compulsion to take
the doctor's prescription, however poisonous, is carried to an
extent that would have horrified the Inquisition and staggered
Archbishop Laud.  Our credulity is grosser than that of the Middle
Ages, because the priest had no such direct pecuniary interest in
our sins as the doctor has in our diseases: he did not starve when
all was well with his flock, nor prosper when they were perishing,
as our private commercial doctors must.  Also the medieval cleric
believed that something extremely unpleasant would happen to him
after death if he was unscrupulous, a belief now practically
extinct among persons receiving a dogmatically materialist
education.  Our professional corporations are Trade Unions without
souls to be damned; and they will soon drive us to remind them that
they have bodies to be kicked.  The Vatican was never soulless: at
worst it was a political conspiracy to make the Church supreme
temporally as well as spiritually.  Therefore the question raised
by Joan's burning is a burning question still, though the penalties
involved are not so sensational.  That is why I am probing it.  If
it were only an historical curiosity I would not waste my readers'
time and my own on it for five minutes.


The more closely we grapple with it the more difficult it becomes.
At first sight we are disposed to repeat that Joan should have been
excommunicated and then left to go her own way, though she would
have protested vehemently against so cruel a deprivation of her
spiritual food: for confession, absolution, and the body of her
Lord were first necessaries of life to her.  Such a spirit as
Joan's might have got over that difficulty as the Church of England
got over the Bulls of Pope Leo, by making a Church of her own, and
affirming it to be the temple of the true and original faith from
which her persecutors had strayed.  But as such a proceeding was,
in the eyes of both Church and State at that time, a spreading of
damnation and anarchy, its toleration involved a greater strain on
faith in freedom than political and ecclesiastical human nature
could bear.  It is easy to say that the Church should have waited
for the alleged evil results instead of assuming that they would
occur, and what they would be.  That sounds simple enough; but if a
modern Public Health Authority were to leave people entirely to
their own devices in the matter of sanitation, saying, 'We have
nothing to do with drainage or your views about drainage; but if
you catch smallpox or typhus we will prosecute you and have you
punished very severely like the authorities in Butler's Erewhon,'
it would either be removed to the County Asylum or reminded that
A's neglect of sanitation may kill the child of B two miles off, or
start an epidemic in which the most conscientious sanitarians may
perish.  We must face the fact that society is founded on
intolerance.  There are glaring cases of the abuse of intolerance;
but they are quite as characteristic of our own age as of the
Middle Ages.  The typical modern example and contrast is compulsory
inoculation replacing what was virtually compulsory baptism.  But
compulsion to inoculate is objected to as a crudely unscientific
and mischievous anti-sanitary quackery, not in the least because we
think it wrong to compel people to protect their children from
disease.  Its opponents would make it a crime, and will probably
succeed in doing so; and that will be just as intolerant as making
it compulsory.  Neither the Pasteurians nor their opponents the
Sanitarians would leave parents free to bring up their children
naked, though that course also has some plausible advocates.  We
may prate of toleration as we will; but society must always draw a
line somewhere between allowable conduct and insanity or crime, in
spite of the risk of mistaking sages for lunatics and saviors for
blasphemers.  We must persecute, even to the death; and all we can
do to mitigate the danger of persecution is, first, to be very
careful what we persecute, and second, to bear in mind that unless
there is a large liberty to shock conventional people, and a well
informed sense of the value of originality, individuality, and
eccentricity, the result will be apparent stagnation covering a
repression of evolutionary forces which will eventually explode
with extravagant and probably destructive violence.


The degree of tolerance attainable at any moment depends on the
strain under which society is maintaining its cohesion.  In war,
for instance, we suppress the gospels and put Quakers in prison,
muzzle the newspapers, and make it a serious offence to shew a
light at night.  Under the strain of invasion the French Government
in 1792 struck off 4,000 heads, mostly on grounds that would not in
time of settled peace have provoked any Government to chloroform a
dog; and in 1920 the British Government slaughtered and burnt in
Ireland to persecute the advocates of a constitutional change which
it had presently to effect itself.  Later on the Fascisti in Italy
did everything that the Black and Tans did in Ireland, with some
grotesquely ferocious variations, under the strain of an unskilled
attempt at industrial revolution by Socialists who understood
Socialism even less than Capitalists understand Capitalism.  In the
United States an incredibly savage persecution of Russians took
place during the scare spread by the Russian Bolshevik revolution
after 1917.  These instances could easily be multiplied; but they
are enough to shew that between a maximum of indulgent toleration
and a ruthlessly intolerant Terrorism there is a scale through
which toleration is continually rising or falling, and that there
was not the smallest ground for the self-complacent conviction of
the nineteenth century that it was more tolerant than the
fifteenth, or that such an event as the execution of Joan could not
possibly occur in what we call our own more enlightened times.
Thousands of women, each of them a thousand times less dangerous
and terrifying to our Governments than Joan was to the Government
of her day, have within the last ten years been slaughtered,
starved to death, burnt out of house and home, and what not that
Persecution and Terror could do to them, in the course of Crusades
far more tyrannically pretentious than the medieval Crusades which
proposed nothing more hyperbolical than the rescue of the Holy
Sepulchre from the Saracens.  The Inquisition, with its English
equivalent the Star Chamber, are gone in the sense that their names
are now disused; but can any of the modern substitutes for the
Inquisition, the Special Tribunals and Commissions, the punitive
expeditions, the suspensions of the Habeas Corpus Act, the
proclamations of martial law and of minor states of siege, and the
rest of them, claim that their victims have as fair a trial, as
well considered a body of law to govern their cases, or as
conscientious a judge to insist on strict legality of procedure as
Joan had from the Inquisition and from the spirit of the Middle
Ages even when her country was under the heaviest strain of civil
and foreign war?  From us she would have had no trial and no law
except a Defence of The Realm Act suspending all law; and for judge
she would have had, at best, a bothered major, and at worst a
promoted advocate in ermine and scarlet to whom the scruples of a
trained ecclesiastic like Cauchon would seem ridiculous and


Having thus brought the matter home to ourselves, we may now
consider the special feature of Joan's mental constitution which
made her so unmanageable.  What is to be done on the one hand with
rulers who will not give any reason for their orders, and on the
other with people who cannot understand the reasons when they are
given?  The government of the world, political, industrial, and
domestic, has to be carried on mostly by the giving and obeying of
orders under just these conditions.  'Don't argue: do as you are
told' has to be said not only to children and soldiers, but
practically to everybody.  Fortunately most people do not want to
argue: they are only too glad to be saved the trouble of thinking
for themselves.  And the ablest and most independent thinkers are
content to understand their own special department.  In other
departments they will unhesitatingly ask for and accept the
instructions of a policeman or the advice of a tailor without
demanding or desiring explanations.  Nevertheless, there must be
some ground for attaching authority to an order.  A child will obey
its parents, a soldier his officer, a philosopher a railway porter,
and a workman a foreman, all without question, because it is
generally accepted that those who give the orders understand what
they are about, and are duly authorized and even obliged to give
them, and because, in the practical emergencies of daily life,
there is no time for lessons and explanations, or for arguments as
to their validity.  Such obediences are as necessary to the
continuous operation of our social system as the revolutions of the
earth are to the succession of night and day.  But they are not so
spontaneous as they seem: they have to be very carefully arranged
and maintained.  A bishop will defer to and obey a king; but let a
curate venture to give him an order, however necessary and
sensible, and the bishop will forget his cloth and damn the
curate's impudence.  The more obedient a man is to accredited
authority the more jealous he is of allowing any unauthorized
person to order him about.

With all this in mind, consider the career of Joan.  She was a
village girl, in authority over sheep and pigs, dogs and chickens,
and to some extent over her father's hired laborers when he hired
any, but over no one else on earth.  Outside the farm she had no
authority, no prestige, no claim to the smallest deference.  Yet
she ordered everybody about, from her uncle to the king, the
archbishop, and the military General Staff.  Her uncle obeyed her
like a sheep, and took her to the castle of the local commander,
who, on being ordered about, tried to assert himself, but soon
collapsed and obeyed.  And so on up to the king, as we have seen.
This would have been unbearably irritating even if her orders had
been offered as rational solutions of the desperate difficulties in
which her social superiors found themselves just then.  But they
were not so offered.  Nor were they offered as the expression of
Joan's arbitrary will.  It was never 'I say so', but always 'God
says so'.


Leaders who take that line have no trouble with some people, and no
end of trouble with others.  They need never fear a lukewarm
reception.  Either they are messengers of God, or they are
blasphemous impostors.  In the Middle Ages the general belief in
witchcraft greatly intensified this contrast, because when an
apparent miracle happened (as in the case of the wind changing at
Orleans) it proved the divine mission to the credulous, and proved
a contract with the devil to the sceptical.  All through, Joan had
to depend on those who accepted her as an incarnate angel against
those who added to an intense resentment of her presumption a
bigoted abhorrence of her as a witch.  To this abhorrence we must
add the extreme irritation of those who did not believe in the
voices, and regarded her as a liar and impostor.  It is hard to
conceive anything more infuriating to a statesman or a military
commander, or to a court favorite, than to be overruled at every
turn, or to be robbed of the ear of the reigning sovereign, by an
impudent young upstart practising on the credulity of the populace
and the vanity and silliness of an immature prince by exploiting a
few of those lucky coincidences which pass as miracles with
uncritical people.  Not only were the envy, snobbery, and
competitive ambition of the baser natures exacerbated by Joan's
success, but among the friendly ones that were clever enough to be
critical a quite reasonable scepticism and mistrust of her ability,
founded on a fair observation of her obvious ignorance and
temerity, were at work against her.  And as she met all
remonstrances and all criticisms, not with arguments or persuasion,
but with a flat appeal to the authority of God and a claim to be in
God's special confidence, she must have seemed, to all who were not
infatuated by her, so insufferable that nothing but an unbroken
chain of overwhelming success in the military and political field
could have saved her from the wrath that finally destroyed her.


To forge such a chain she needed to be the King, the Archbishop of
Rheims, the Bastard of Orleans, and herself into the bargain; and
that was impossible.  From the moment when she failed to stimulate
Charles to follow up his coronation with a swoop on Paris she was
lost.  The fact that she insisted on this whilst the king and the
rest timidly and foolishly thought they could square the Duke of
Burgundy, and effect a combination with him against the English,
made her a terrifying nuisance to them; and from that time onward
she could do nothing but prowl about the battlefields waiting for
some lucky chance to sweep the captains into a big move.  But it
was to the enemy that the chance came: she was taken prisoner by
the Burgundians fighting before Compiegne, and at once discovered
that she had not a friend in the political world.  Had she escaped
she would probably have fought on until the English were gone, and
then had to shake the dust of the court off her feet, and retire to
Domremy as Garibaldi had to retire to Caprera.


This, I think, is all that we can now pretend to say about the
prose of Joan's career.  The romance of her rise, the tragedy of
her execution, and the comedy of the attempts of posterity to make
amends for that execution, belong to my play and not to my preface,
which must be confined to a sober essay on the facts.  That such an
essay is badly needed can be ascertained by examining any of our
standard works of reference.  They give accurately enough the facts
about the visit to Vaucouleurs, the annunciation to Charles at
Chinon, the raising of the siege of Orleans and the subsequent
battles, the coronation at Rheims, the capture at Compiegne, and
the trial and execution at Rouen, with their dates and the names of
the people concerned; but they all break down on the melodramatic
legend of the wicked bishop and the entrapped maiden and the rest
of it.  It would be far less misleading if they were wrong as to
the facts, and right in their view of the facts.  As it is, they
illustrate the too little considered truth that the fashion in
which we think changes like the fashion of our clothes, and that it
is difficult, if not impossible, for most people to think otherwise
than in the fashion of their own period.


This, by the way, is why children are never taught contemporary
history.  Their history books deal with periods of which the
thinking has passed out of fashion, and the circumstances no longer
apply to active life.  For example, they are taught history about
Washington, and told lies about Lenin.  In Washington's time they
were told lies (the same lies) about Washington, and taught history
about Cromwell.  In the fifteenth and sixteenth centuries they were
told lies about Joan, and by this time might very well be told the
truth about her.  Unfortunately the lies did not cease when the
political circumstances became obsolete.  The Reformation, which
Joan had unconsciously anticipated, kept the questions which arose
in her case burning up to our own day (you can see plenty of the
burnt houses still in Ireland), with the result that Joan has
remained the subject of anti-Clerical lies, of specifically
Protestant lies, and of Roman Catholic evasions of her unconscious
Protestantism.  The truth sticks in our throats with all the sauces
it is served with: it will never go down until we take it without
any sauce at all.


But even in its simplicity, the faith demanded by Joan is one which
the anti-metaphysical temper of nineteenth century civilization,
which remains powerful in England and America, and is tyrannical in
France, contemptuously refuses her.  We do not, like her
contemporaries, rush to the opposite extreme in a recoil from her
as from a witch self-sold to the devil, because we do not believe
in the devil nor in the possibility of commercial contracts with
him.  Our credulity, though enormous, is not boundless; and our
stock of it is quite used up by our mediums, clairvoyants, hand
readers, slate writers, Christian Scientists, psycho-analysts,
electronic vibration diviners, therapeutists of all schools
registered and unregistered, astrologers, astronomers who tell us
that the sun is nearly a hundred million miles away and the
Betelgeuse is ten times as big as the whole universe, physicists
who balance Betelgeuse by describing the incredible smallness of
the atom, and a host of other marvel mongers whose credulity would
have dissolved the Middle Ages in a roar of sceptical merriment.
In the Middle Ages people believed that the earth was flat, for
which they had at least the evidence of their senses: we believe it
to be round, not because as many as one per cent of us could give
the physical reasons for so quaint a belief, but because modern
science has convinced us that nothing that is obvious is true, and
that everything that is magical, improbable, extraordinary,
gigantic, microscopic, heartless, or outrageous is scientific.

I must not, by the way, be taken as implying that the earth is
flat, or that all or any of our amazing credulities are delusions
or impostures.  I am only defending my own age against the charge
of being less imaginative than the Middle Ages.  I affirm that the
nineteenth century, and still more the twentieth, can knock the
fifteenth into a cocked hat in point of susceptibility to marvels
and saints and prophets and magicians and monsters and fairy tales
of all kinds.  The proportion of marvel to immediately credible
statement in the latest edition of the Encyclopaedia Britannica is
enormously greater than in the Bible.  The medieval doctors of
divinity who did not pretend to settle how many angels could dance
on the point of a needle cut a very poor figure as far as romantic
credulity is concerned beside the modern physicists who have
settled to the billionth of a millimetre every movement and
position in the dance of the electrons.  Not for worlds would I
question the precise accuracy of these calculations or the
existence of electrons (whatever they may be).  The fate of Joan is
a warning to me against such heresy.  But why the men who believe
in electrons should regard themselves as less credulous than the
men who believed in angels is not apparent to me.  If they refuse
to believe, with the Rouen assessors of 1431, that Joan was a
witch, it is not because that explanation is too marvellous, but
because it is not marvellous enough.


For the story of Joan I refer the reader to the play which follows.
It contains all that need be known about her; but as it is for
stage use I have had to condense into three and a half hours a
series of events which in their historical happening were spread
over four times as many months; for the theatre imposes unities of
time and place from which Nature in her boundless wastefulness is
free.  Therefore the reader must not suppose that Joan really put
Robert de Baudricourt in her pocket in fifteen minutes, nor that
her excommunication, recantation, relapse, and death at the stake
were a matter of half an hour or so.  Neither do I claim more for
my dramatizations of Joan's contemporaries than that some of them
are probably slightly more like the originals than those imaginary
portraits of all the Popes from Saint Peter onward through the Dark
Ages which are still gravely exhibited in the Uffizi in Florence
(or were when I was there last).  My Dunois would do equally well
for the Duc d'Alencon.  Both left descriptions of Joan so similar
that, as a man always describes himself unconsciously whenever he
describes anyone else, I have inferred that these goodnatured young
men were very like one another in mind; so I have lumped the twain
into a single figure, thereby saving the theatre manager a salary
and a suit of armor.  Dunois' face, still on record at Chateaudun,
is a suggestive help.  But I really know no more about these men
and their circle than Shakespear knew about Falconbridge and the
Duke of Austria, or about Macbeth and Macduff.  In view of things
they did in history, and have to do again in the play, I can only
invent appropriate characters for them in Shakespear's manner.


I have, however, one advantage over the Elizabethans.  I write in
full view of the Middle Ages, which may be said to have been
rediscovered in the middle of the nineteenth century after an
eclipse of about four hundred and fifty years.  The Renascence of
antique literature and art in the sixteenth century, and the lusty
growth of Capitalism, between them buried the Middle Ages; and
their resurrection is a second Renascence.  Now there is not a
breath of medieval atmosphere in Shakespear's histories.  His John
of Gaunt is like a study of the old age of Drake.  Although he was
a Catholic by family tradition, his figures are all intensely
Protestant, individualist, sceptical, self-centred in everything
but their love affairs, and completely personal and selfish even in
them.  His kings are not statesmen: his cardinals have no religion:
a novice can read his plays from one end to the other without
learning that the world is finally governed by forces expressing
themselves in religions and laws which make epochs rather than by
vulgarly ambitious individuals who make rows.  The divinity which
shapes our ends, rough hew them how we will, is mentioned
fatalistically only to be forgotten immediately like a passing
vague apprehension.  To Shakespear as to Mark Twain, Cauchon would
have been a tyrant and a bully instead of a Catholic, and the
Inquisitor Lemaitre would have been a Sadist instead of a lawyer.
Warwick would have had no more feudal quality than his successor
the King Maker has in the play of Henry VI.  We should have seen
them all completely satisfied that if they would only to their own
selves be true they could not then be false to any man (a precept
which represents the reaction against medievalism at its intensest)
as if they were beings in the air, without public responsibilities
of any kind.  All Shakespear's characters are so: that is why they
seem natural to our middle classes, who are comfortable and
irresponsible at other people's expense, and are neither ashamed of
that condition nor even conscious of it.  Nature abhors this vacuum
in Shakespear; and I have taken care to let the medieval atmosphere
blow through my play freely.  Those who see it performed will not
mistake the startling event it records for a mere personal
accident.  They will have before them not only the visible and
human puppets, but the Church, the Inquisition, the Feudal System,
with divine inspiration always beating against their too inelastic
limits: all more terrible in their dramatic force than any of the
little mortal figures clanking about in plate armor or moving
silently in the frocks and hoods of the order of St Dominic.


There are no villains in the piece.  Crime, like disease, is not
interesting: it is something to be done away with by general
consent, and that is all about it.  It is what men do at their
best, with good intentions, and what normal men and women find that
they must and will do in spite of their intentions, that really
concern us.  The rascally bishop and the cruel inquisitor of Mark
Twain and Andrew Lang are as dull as pickpockets; and they reduce
Joan to the level of the even less interesting person whose pocket
is picked.  I have represented both of them as capable and eloquent
exponents of The Church Militant and The Church Litigant, because
only by doing so can I maintain my drama on the level of high
tragedy and save it from becoming a mere police court sensation.
A villain in a play can never be anything more than a diabolus ex
machina, possibly a more exciting expedient than a deus ex machina,
but both equally mechanical, and therefore interesting only as
mechanism.  It is, I repeat, what normally innocent people do that
concerns us; and if Joan had not been burnt by normally innocent
people in the energy of their righteousness her death at their
hands would have no more significance than the Tokyo earthquake,
which burnt a great many maidens.  The tragedy of such murders is
that they are not committed by murderers.  They are judicial
murders, pious murders; and this contradiction at once brings an
element of comedy into the tragedy: the angels may weep at the
murder, but the gods laugh at the murderers.


Here then we have a reason why my drama of Saint Joan's career,
though it may give the essential truth of it, gives an inexact
picture of some accidental facts.  It goes almost without saying
that the old Jeanne d'Arc melodramas, reducing everything to a
conflict of villain and hero, or in Joan's case villain and
heroine, not only miss the point entirely, but falsify the
characters, making Cauchon a scoundrel, Joan a prima donna, and
Dunois a lover.  But the writer of high tragedy and comedy, aiming
at the innermost attainable truth, must needs flatter Cauchon
nearly as much as the melo-dramatist vilifies him.  Although there
is, as far as I have been able to discover, nothing against Cauchon
that convicts him of bad faith or exceptional severity in his
judicial relations with Joan, or of as much anti-prisoner, pro-
police, class and sectarian bias as we now take for granted in our
own courts, yet there is hardly more warrant for classing him as a
great Catholic churchman, completely proof against the passions
roused by the temporal situation.  Neither does the inquisitor
Lemaitre, in such scanty accounts of him as are now recoverable,
appear quite so able a master of his duties and of the case before
him as I have given him credit for being.  But it is the business
of the stage to make its figures more intelligible to themselves
than they would be in real life; for by no other means can they be
made intelligible to the audience.  And in this case Cauchon and
Lemaitre have to make intelligible not only themselves but the
Church and the Inquisition, just as Warwick has to make the feudal
system intelligible, the three between them having thus to make a
twentieth-century audience conscious of an epoch fundamentally
different from its own.  Obviously the real Cauchon, Lemaitre, and
Warwick could not have done this: they were part of the Middle Ages
themselves, and therefore as unconscious of its peculiarities as of
the atomic formula of the air they breathed.  But the play would be
unintelligible if I had not endowed them with enough of this
consciousness to enable them to explain their attitude to the
twentieth century.  All I claim is that by this inevitable
sacrifice of verisimilitude I have secured in the only possible way
sufficient veracity to justify me in claiming that as far as I can
gather from the available documentation, and from such powers of
divination as I possess, the things I represent these three
exponents of the drama as saying are the things they actually would
have said if they had known what they were really doing.  And
beyond this neither drama nor history can go in my hands.


I have to thank several critics on both sides of the Atlantic,
including some whose admiration for my play is most generously
enthusiastic, for their heartfelt instructions as to how it can be
improved.  They point out that by the excision of the epilogue and
all the references to such undramatic and tedious matters as the
Church, the feudal system, the Inquisition, the theory of heresy
and so forth, all of which, they point out, would be ruthlessly
blue pencilled by any experienced manager, the play could be
considerably shortened.  I think they are mistaken.  The
experienced knights of the blue pencil, having saved an hour and a
half by disembowelling the play, would at once proceed to waste two
hours in building elaborate scenery, having real water in the river
Loire and a real bridge across it, and staging an obviously sham
fight for possession of it, with the victorious French led by Joan
on a real horse.  The coronation would eclipse all previous
theatrical displays, shewing, first, the procession through the
streets of Rheims, and then the service in the cathedral, with
special music written for both.  Joan would be burnt on the stage,
as Mr Matheson Lang always is in The Wandering Jew, on the
principle that it does not matter in the least why a woman is burnt
provided she is burnt, and people can pay to see it done.  The
intervals between the acts whilst these splendors were being built
up and then demolished by the stage carpenters would seem eternal,
to the great profit of the refreshment bars.  And the weary and
demoralized audience would lose their last trains and curse me for
writing such inordinately long and intolerably dreary and
meaningless plays.  But the applause of the press would be
unanimous.  Nobody who knows the stage history of Shakespear will
doubt that this is what would happen if I knew my business so
little as to listen to these well intentioned but disastrous
counsellors: indeed it probably will happen when I am no longer in
control of the performing rights.  So perhaps it will be as well
for the public to see the play while I am still alive.


As to the epilogue, I could hardly be expected to stultify myself
by implying that Joan's history in the world ended unhappily with
her execution, instead of beginning there.  It was necessary by
hook or crook to shew the canonized Joan as well as the incinerated
one; for many a woman has got herself burnt by carelessly whisking
a muslin skirt into the drawing-room fireplace, but getting
canonized is a different matter, and a more important one.  So I am
afraid the epilogue must stand.


To a professional critic (I have been one myself) theatre-going is
the curse of Adam.  The play is the evil he is paid to endure in
the sweat of his brow; and the sooner it is over, the better.  This
would seem to place him in irreconcilable opposition to the paying
playgoer, from whose point of view the longer the play, the more
entertainment he gets for his money.  It does in fact so place him,
especially in the provinces, where the playgoer goes to the theatre
for the sake of the play solely, and insists so effectively on a
certain number of hours' entertainment that touring managers are
sometimes seriously embarrassed by the brevity of the London plays
they have to deal in.

For in London the critics are reinforced by a considerable body of
persons who go to the theatre as many others go to church, to
display their best clothes and compare them with other people's; to
be in the fashion, and have something to talk about at dinner
parties; to adore a pet performer; to pass the evening anywhere
rather than at home: in short, for any or every reason except
interest in dramatic art as such.  In fashionable centres the
number of irreligious people who go to church, of unmusical people
who go to concerts and operas, and of undramatic people who go to
the theatre, is so prodigious that sermons have been cut down to
ten minutes and plays to two hours; and, even at that, congregations
sit longing for the benediction and audiences for the final curtain,
so that they may get away to the lunch or supper they really crave
for, after arriving as late as (or later than) the hour of beginning
can possibly be made for them.

Thus from the stalls and in the Press an atmosphere of hypocrisy
spreads.  Nobody says straight out that genuine drama is a tedious
nuisance, and that to ask people to endure more than two hours of
it (with two long intervals of relief) is an intolerable
imposition.  Nobody says 'I hate classical tragedy and comedy as I
hate sermons and symphonies; but I like police news and divorce
news and any kind of dancing or decoration that has an aphrodisiac
effect on me or on my wife or husband.  And whatever superior
people may pretend, I cannot associate pleasure with any sort of
intellectual activity; and I don't believe anyone else can either.'
Such things are not said; yet nine-tenths of what is offered as
criticism of the drama in the metropolitan Press of Europe and
America is nothing but a muddled paraphrase of it.  If it does not
mean that, it means nothing.

I do not complain of this, though it complains very unreasonably of
me.  But I can take no more notice of it than Einstein of the
people who are incapable of mathematics.  I write in the classical
manner for those who pay for admission to a theatre because they
like classical comedy or tragedy for its own sake, and like it so
much when it is good of its kind and well done that they tear
themselves away from it with reluctance to catch the very latest
train or omnibus that will take them home.  Far from arriving late
from an eight or half-past eight o'clock dinner so as to escape at
least the first half-hour of the performance, they stand in queues
outside the theatre doors for hours beforehand in bitingly cold
weather to secure a seat.  In countries where a play lasts a week,
they bring baskets of provisions and sit it out.  These are the
patrons on whom I depend for my bread.  I do not give them
performances twelve hours long, because circumstances do not at
present make such entertainments feasible; though a performance
beginning after breakfast and ending at sunset is as possible
physically and artistically in Surrey or Middlesex as in Ober-
Ammergau; and an all-night sitting in a theatre would be at least
as enjoyable as an all-night sitting in the House of Commons, and
much more useful.  But in St Joan I have done my best by going to
the well-established classical limit of three and a half hours'
practically continuous playing, barring the one interval imposed by
considerations which have nothing to do with art.  I know that this
is hard on the pseudo-critics and on the fashionable people whose
playgoing is a hypocrisy.  I cannot help feeling some compassion
for them when they assure me that my play, though a great play,
must fail hopelessly, because it does not begin at a quarter to
nine and end at eleven.  The facts are overwhelmingly against them.
They forget that all men are not as they are.  Still, I am sorry
for them; and though I cannot for their sakes undo my work and help
the people who hate the theatre to drive out the people who love
it, yet I may point out to them that they have several remedies in
their own hands.  They can escape the first part of the play by
their usual practice of arriving late.  They can escape the
epilogue by not waiting for it.  And if the irreducible minimum
thus attained is still too painful, they can stay away altogether.
But I deprecate this extreme course, because it is good neither for
my pocket nor for their own souls.  Already a few of them, noticing
that what matters is not the absolute length of time occupied by a
play, but the speed with which that time passes, are discovering
that the theatre, though purgatorial in its Aristotelian moments,
is not necessarily always the dull place they have so often found
it.  What do its discomforts matter when the play makes us forget


May 1924



A fine spring morning on the river Meuse, between Lorraine and
Champagne, in the year 1429 A.D., in the castle of Vaucouleurs.

Captain Robert de Baudricourt, a military squire, handsome and
physically energetic, but with no will of his own, is disguising
that defect in his usual fashion by storming terribly at his
steward, a trodden worm, scanty of flesh, scanty of hair, who might
be any age from 18 to 55, being the sort of man whom age cannot
wither because he has never bloomed.

The two are in a sunny stone chamber on the first floor of the
castle.  At a plain strong oak table, seated in chair to match, the
captain presents his left profile.  The steward stands facing him
at the other side of the table, if so deprecatory a stance as his
can be called standing.  The mullioned thirteenth-century window is
open behind him.  Near it in the corner is a turret with a narrow
arched doorway leading to a winding stair which descends to the
courtyard.  There is a stout fourlegged stool under the table, and
a wooden chest under the window.

ROBERT.  No eggs!  No eggs!!  Thousand thunders, man, what do you
mean by no eggs?

STEWARD.  Sir: it is not my fault.  It is the act of God.

ROBERT.  Blasphemy.  You tell me there are no eggs; and you blame
your Maker for it.

STEWARD.  Sir: what can I do?  I cannot lay eggs.

ROBERT [sarcastic]  Ha!  You jest about it.

STEWARD.  No, sir, God knows.  We all have to go without eggs just
as you have, sir.  The hens will not lay.

ROBERT.  Indeed!  [Rising]  Now listen to me, you.

STEWARD [humbly]  Yes, sir.

ROBERT.  What am I?

STEWARD.  What are you, sir?

ROBERT [coming at him]  Yes: what am I?  Am I Robert, squire of
Baudricourt and captain of this castle of Vaucouleurs; or am I a

STEWARD.  Oh, sir, you know you are a greater man here than the
king himself.

ROBERT.  Precisely.  And now, do you know what you are?

STEWARD.  I am nobody, sir, except that I have the honor to be your

ROBERT [driving him to the wall, adjective by adjective]  You have
not only the honor of being my steward, but the privilege of being
the worst, most incompetent, drivelling snivelling jibbering
jabbering idiot of a steward in France.  [He strides back to the

STEWARD [cowering on the chest]  Yes, sir: to a great man like you
I must seem like that.

ROBERT [turning]  My fault, I suppose.  Eh?

STEWARD [coming to him deprecatingly]  Oh, sir: you always give my
most innocent words such a turn!

ROBERT.  I will give your neck a turn if you dare tell me when I
ask you how many eggs there are that you cannot lay any.

STEWARD [protesting]  Oh sir, oh sir--

ROBERT.  No: not oh sir, oh sir, but no sir, no sir.  My three
Barbary hens and the black are the best layers in Champagne.  And
you come and tell me that there are no eggs!  Who stole them?  Tell
me that, before I kick you out through the castle gate for a liar
and a seller of my goods to thieves.  The milk was short yesterday,
too: do not forget that.

STEWARD [desperate]  I know, sir.  I know only too well.  There is
no milk: there are no eggs: tomorrow there will be nothing.

ROBERT.  Nothing!  You will steal the lot: eh?

STEWARD.  No, sir: nobody will steal anything.  But there is a
spell on us: we are bewitched.

ROBERT.  That story is not good enough for me.  Robert de
Baudricourt burns witches and hangs thieves.  Go.  Bring me four
dozen eggs and two gallons of milk here in this room before noon,
or Heaven have mercy on your bones!  I will teach you to make a
fool of me.  [He resumes his seat with an air of finality].

STEWARD.  Sir: I tell you there are no eggs.  There will be none--
not if you were to kill me for it--as long as The Maid is at the

ROBERT.  The Maid!  What maid?  What are you talking about?

STEWARD.  The girl from Lorraine, sir.  From Domremy.

ROBERT [rising in fearful wrath]  Thirty thousand thunders!  Fifty
thousand devils!  Do you mean to say that that girl, who had the
impudence to ask to see me two days ago, and whom I told you to
send back to her father with my orders that he was to give her a
good hiding, is here still?

STEWARD.  I have told her to go, sir.  She wont.

ROBERT.  I did not tell you to tell her to go: I told you to throw
her out.  You have fifty men-at-arms and a dozen lumps of able-
bodied servants to carry out my orders.  Are they afraid of her?

STEWARD.  She is so positive, sir.

ROBERT [seizing him by the scruff of the neck]  Positive!  Now see
here.  I am going to throw you downstairs.

STEWARD.  No, sir.  Please.

ROBERT.  Well, stop me by being positive.  It's quite easy: any
slut of a girl can do it.

STEWARD [hanging limp in his hands]  Sir, sir: you cannot get rid
of her by throwing me out.  [Robert has to let him drop.  He squats
on his knees on the floor, contemplating his master resignedly].
You see, sir, you are much more positive than I am.  But so is she.

ROBERT.  I am stronger than you are, you fool.

STEWARD.  No, sir: it isnt that: it's your strong character, sir.
She is weaker than we are: she is only a slip of a girl; but we
cannot make her go.

ROBERT.  You parcel of curs: you are afraid of her.

STEWARD [rising cautiously]  No sir: we are afraid of you; but she
puts courage into us.  She really doesnt seem to be afraid of
anything.  Perhaps you could frighten her, sir.

ROBERT [grimly]  Perhaps.  Where is she now?

STEWARD.  Down in the courtyard, sir, talking to the soldiers as
usual.  She is always talking to the soldiers except when she is

ROBERT.  Praying!  Ha!  You believe she prays, you idiot.  I know
the sort of girl that is always talking to soldiers.  She shall
talk to me a bit.  [He goes to the window and shouts fiercely
through it]  Hallo, you there!

A GIRL'S VOICE [bright, strong, and rough]  Is it me, sir?

ROBERT.  Yes, you.

THE VOICE.  Be you captain?

ROBERT.  Yes, damn your impudence, I be captain.  Come up here.
[To the soldiers in the yard]  Shew her the way, you.  And shove
her along quick.  [He leaves the window, and returns to his place
at the table, where he sits magisterially].

STEWARD [whispering]  She wants to go and be a soldier herself.
She wants you to give her soldier's clothes.  Armor, sir!  And a
sword!  Actually!  [He steals behind Robert].

Joan appears in the turret doorway.  She is an ablebodied country
girl of 17 or 18, respectably dressed in red, with an uncommon
face; eyes very wide apart and bulging as they often do in very
imaginative people, a long well-shaped nose with wide nostrils, a
short upper lip, resolute but full-lipped mouth, and handsome
fighting chin.  She comes eagerly to the table, delighted at having
penetrated to Baudricourt's presence at last, and full of hope as
to the results.  His scowl does not check or frighten her in the
least.  Her voice is normally a hearty coaxing voice, very
confident, very appealing, very hard to resist.

JOAN [bobbing a curtsey]  Good morning, captain squire.  Captain:
you are to give me a horse and armor and some soldiers, and send me
to the Dauphin.  Those are your orders from my Lord.

ROBERT [outraged]  Orders from your lord!  And who the devil may
your lord be?  Go back to him, and tell him that I am neither duke
nor peer at his orders: I am squire of Baudricourt; and I take no
orders except from the king.

JOAN [reassuringly]  Yes, squire: that is all right.  My Lord is
the King of Heaven.

ROBERT.  Why, the girl's mad.  [To the steward]  Why didn't you
tell me so, you blockhead?

STEWARD.  Sir: do not anger her: give her what she wants.

JOAN [impatient, but friendly]  They all say I am mad until I talk
to them, squire.  But you see that it is the will of God that you
are to do what He has put into my mind.

ROBERT.  It is the will of God that I shall send you back to your
father with orders to put you under lock and key and thrash the
madness out of you.  What have you to say to that?

JOAN.  You think you will, squire; but you will find it all coming
quite different.  You said you would not see me; but here I am.

STEWARD [appealing]  Yes, sir.  You see, sir.

ROBERT.  Hold your tongue, you.

STEWARD [abjectly]  Yes, sir.

ROBERT [to Joan, with a sour loss of confidence]  So you are
presuming on my seeing you, are you?

JOAN [sweetly]  Yes, squire.

ROBERT [feeling that he has lost ground, brings down his two fists
squarely on the table, and inflates his chest imposingly to cure
the unwelcome and only too familiar sensation]  Now listen to me.
I am going to assert myself.

JOAN [busily]  Please do, squire.  The horse will cost sixteen
francs.  It is a good deal of money: but I can save it on the
armor.  I can find a soldier's armor that will fit me well enough:
I am very hardy; and I do not need beautiful armor made to my
measure like you wear.  I shall not want many soldiers: the Dauphin
will give me all I need to raise the siege of Orleans.

ROBERT [flabbergasted]  To raise the siege of Orleans!

JOAN [simply]  Yes, squire: that is what God is sending me to do.
Three men will be enough for you to send with me if they are good
men and gentle to me.  They have promised to come with me.  Polly
and Jack and--

ROBERT.  Polly!!  You impudent baggage, do you dare call squire
Bertrand de Poulengey Polly to my face?

JOAN.  His friends call him so, squire: I did not know he had any
other name.  Jack--

ROBERT.  That is Monsieur John of Metz, I suppose?

JOAN.  Yes, squire.  Jack will come willingly: he is a very kind
gentleman, and gives me money to give to the poor.  I think John
Godsave will come, and Dick the Archer, and their servants John of
Honecourt and Julian.  There will be no trouble for you, squire: I
have arranged it all: you have only to give the order.

ROBERT [contemplating her in a stupor of amazement]  Well, I am

JOAN [with unruffled sweetness]  No, squire: God is very merciful;
and the blessed saints Catherine and Margaret, who speak to me
every day [he gapes], will intercede for you.  You will go to
paradise; and your name will be remembered for ever as my first

ROBERT [to the steward, still much bothered, but changing his tone
as he pursues a new clue]  Is this true about Monsieur de

STEWARD [eagerly]  Yes, sir, and about Monsieur de Metz too.  They
both want to go with her.

ROBERT [thoughtful]  Mf!  [He goes to the window, and shouts into
the courtyard]  Hallo!  You there: send Monsieur de Poulengey to
me, will you?  [He turns to Joan]  Get out; and wait in the yard.

JOAN [smiling brightly at him]  Right, squire.  [She goes out].

ROBERT [to the steward]  Go with her, you, you dithering imbecile.
Stay within call; and keep your eye on her.  I shall have her up
here again.

STEWARD.  Do so in God's name, sir.  Think of those hens, the best
layers in Champagne; and--

ROBERT.  Think of my boot; and take your backside out of reach of

The steward retreats hastily and finds himself confronted in the
doorway by Bertrand de Poulengey, a lymphatic French gentleman-at-
arms, aged 36 or thereabout, employed in the department of the
provost-marshal, dreamily absent-minded, seldom speaking unless
spoken to, and then slow and obstinate in reply; altogether in
contrast to the self-assertive, loud-mouthed, superficially
energetic, fundamentally will-less Robert.  The steward makes way
for him, and vanishes.

Poulengey salutes, and stands awaiting orders.

ROBERT [genially]  It isnt service, Polly.  A friendly talk.  Sit
down.  [He hooks the stool from under the table with his instep].
Poulengey, relaxing, comes into the room: places the stool between
the table and the window: and sits down ruminatively.  Robert, half
sitting on the end of the table, begins the friendly talk.

ROBERT.  Now listen to me, Polly.  I must talk to you like a

Poulengey looks up at him gravely for a moment, but says nothing.

ROBERT.  It's about this girl you are interested in.  Now, I have
seen her.  I have talked to her.  First, she's mad.  That doesnt
matter.  Second, she's not a farm wench.  She's a bourgeoise.  That
matters a good deal.  I know her class exactly.  Her father came
here last year to represent his village in a lawsuit: he is one of
their notables.  A farmer.  Not a gentleman farmer: he makes money
by it, and lives by it.  Still, not a laborer.  Not a mechanic.  He
might have a cousin a lawyer, or in the Church.  People of this
sort may be of no account socially; but they can give a lot of
bother to the authorities.  That is to say, to me.  Now no doubt it
seems to you a very simple thing to take this girl away, humbugging
her into the belief that you are taking her to the Dauphin.  But if
you get her into trouble, you may get me into no end of a mess, as
I am her father's lord, and responsible for her protection.  So
friends or no friends, Polly, hands off her.

POULENGEY [with deliberate impressiveness]  I should as soon think
of the Blessed Virgin herself in that way, as of this girl.

ROBERT [coming off the table]  But she says you and Jack and Dick
have offered to go with her.  What for?  You are not going to tell
me that you take her crazy notion of going to the Dauphin
seriously, are you?

POULENGEY [slowly]  There is something about her.  They are pretty
foulmouthed and foulminded down there in the guardroom, some of
them.  But there hasn't been a word that has anything to do with
her being a woman.  They have stopped swearing before her.  There
is something.  Something.  It may be worth trying.

ROBERT.  Oh, come, Polly! pull yourself together.  Common-sense was
never your strong point; but this is a little too much.  [He
retreats disgustedly].

POULENGEY [unmoved]  What is the good of commonsense?  If we had
any commonsense we should join the Duke of Burgundy and the English
king.  They hold half the country, right down to the Loire.  They
have Paris.  They have this castle: you know very well that we had
to surrender it to the Duke of Bedford, and that you are only
holding it on parole.  The Dauphin is in Chinon, like a rat in a
corner, except that he wont fight.  We dont even know that he is
the Dauphin: his mother says he isnt; and she ought to know.  Think
of that! the queen denying the legitimacy of her own son!

ROBERT.  Well, she married her daughter to the English king.  Can
you blame the woman?

POULENGEY.  I blame nobody.  But thanks to her, the Dauphin is down
and out; and we may as well face it.  The English will take
Orleans: the Bastard will not be able to stop them.

ROBERT.  He beat the English the year before last at Montargis.
I was with him.

POULENGEY.  No matter: his men are cowed now; and he cant work
miracles.  And I tell you that nothing can save our side now but a

ROBERT.  Miracles are all right, Polly.  The only difficulty about
them is that they dont happen nowadays.

POULENGEY.  I used to think so.  I am not so sure now.  [Rising,
and moving ruminatively towards the window]  At all events this is
not a time to leave any stone unturned.  There is something about
the girl.

ROBERT.  Oh!  You think the girl can work miracles, do you?

POULENGEY.  I think the girl herself is a bit of a miracle.
Anyhow, she is the last card left in our hand.  Better play her
than throw up the game.  [He wanders to the turret].

ROBERT [wavering]  You really think that?

POULENGEY [turning]  Is there anything else left for us to think?

ROBERT [going to him]  Look here, Polly.  If you were in my place
would you let a girl like that do you out of sixteen francs for a

POULENGEY.  I will pay for the horse.

ROBERT.  You will!

POULENGEY.  Yes: I will back my opinion.

ROBERT.  You will really gamble on a forlorn hope to the tune of
sixteen francs?

POULENGEY.  It is not a gamble.

ROBERT.  What else is it?

POULENGEY.  It is a certainty.  Her words and her ardent faith in
God have put fire into me.

ROBERT [giving him up]  Whew!  You are as mad as she is.

POULENGEY [obstinately]  We want a few mad people now.  See where
the sane ones have landed us!

ROBERT [his irresoluteness now openly swamping his affected
decisiveness]  I shall feel like a precious fool.  Still, if you
feel sure--?

POULENGEY.  I feel sure enough to take her to Chinon--unless you
stop me.

ROBERT.  This is not fair.  You are putting the responsibility on

POULENGEY.  It is on you whichever way you decide.

ROBERT.  Yes: thats just it.  Which way am I to decide?  You dont
see how awkward this is for me.  [Snatching at a dilatory step with
an unconscious hope that Joan will make up his mind for him]  Do
you think I ought to have another talk to her?

POULENGEY [rising]  Yes.  [He goes to the window and calls]  Joan!

JOAN'S VOICE.  Will he let us go, Polly?

POULENGEY.  Come up.  Come in.  [Turning to Robert]  Shall I leave
you with her?

ROBERT.  No: stay here; and back me up.

Poulengey sits down on the chest.  Robert goes back to his
magisterial chair, but remains standing to inflate himself more
imposingly.  Joan comes in, full of good news.

JOAN.  Jack will go halves for the horse.

ROBERT.  Well!!  [He sits, deflated].

POULENGEY [gravely]  Sit down, Joan.

JOAN [checked a little, and looking to Robert]  May I?

ROBERT.  Do what you are told.

Joan curtsies and sits down on the stool between them.  Robert
outfaces his perplexity with his most peremptory air.

ROBERT.  What is your name?

JOAN [chattily]  They always call me Jenny in Lorraine.  Here in
France I am Joan.  The soldiers call me The Maid.

ROBERT.  What is your surname?

JOAN.  Surname?  What is that?  My father sometimes calls himself
d'Arc; but I know nothing about it.  You met my father.  He--

ROBERT.  Yes, yes; I remember.  You come from Domremy in Lorraine,
I think.

JOAN.  Yes; but what does it matter? we all speak French.

ROBERT.  Dont ask questions: answer them.  How old are you?

JOAN.  Seventeen: so they tell me.  It might be nineteen.  I dont

ROBERT.  What did you mean when you said that St Catherine and St
Margaret talked to you every day?

JOAN.  They do.

ROBERT.  What are they like?

JOAN [suddenly obstinate]  I will tell you nothing about that: they
have not given me leave.

ROBERT.  But you actually see them; and they talk to you just as I
am talking to you?

JOAN.  No: it is quite different.  I cannot tell you: you must not
talk to me about my voices.

ROBERT.  How do you mean? voices?

JOAN.  I hear voices telling me what to do.  They come from God.

ROBERT.  They come from your imagination.

JOAN.  Of course.  That is how the messages of God come to us.

POULENGEY.  Checkmate.

ROBERT.  No fear!  [To Joan]  So God says you are to raise the
siege of Orleans?

JOAN.  And to crown the Dauphin in Rheims Cathedral.

ROBERT [gasping]  Crown the D--!  Gosh!

JOAN.  And to make the English leave France.

ROBERT [sarcastic]  Anything else?

JOAN [charming]  Not just at present, thank you, squire.

ROBERT.  I suppose you think raising a siege is as easy as chasing
a cow out of a meadow.  You think soldiering is anybody's job?

JOAN.  I do not think it can be very difficult if God is on your
side, and you are willing to put your life in His hand.  But many
soldiers are very simple.

ROBERT [grimly]  Simple!  Did you ever see English soldiers

JOAN.  They are only men.  God made them just like us; but He gave
them their own country and their own language; and it is not His
will that they should come into our country and try to speak our

ROBERT.  Who has been putting such nonsense into your head?  Dont
you know that soldiers are subject to their feudal lord, and that
it is nothing to them or to you whether he is the duke of Burgundy
or the king of England or the king of France?  What has their
language to do with it?

JOAN.  I do not understand that a bit.  We are all subject to the
King of Heaven; and He gave us our countries and our languages, and
meant us to keep to them.  If it were not so it would be murder to
kill an Englishman in battle; and you, squire, would be in great
danger of hell fire.  You must not think about your duty to your
feudal lord, but about your duty to God.

POULENGEY.  It's no use, Robert: she can choke you like that every

ROBERT.  Can she, by Saint Denis!  We shall see.  [To Joan]  We are
not talking about God: we are talking about practical affairs.  I
ask you again, girl, have you ever seen English soldiers fighting?
Have you ever seen them plundering, burning, turning the
countryside into a desert?  Have you heard no tales of their Black
Prince who was blacker than the devil himself, or of the English
king's father?

JOAN.  You must not be afraid, Robert--

ROBERT.  Damn you, I am not afraid.  And who gave you leave to call
me Robert?

JOAN.  You were called so in church in the name of our Lord.  All
the other names are your father's or your brother's or anybody's.

ROBERT.  Tcha!

JOAN.  Listen to me, squire.  At Domremy we had to fly to the next
village to escape from the English soldiers.  Three of them were
left behind, wounded.  I came to know these three poor goddams
quite well.  They had not half my strength.

ROBERT.  Do you know why they are called goddams?

JOAN.  No.  Everyone calls them goddams.

ROBERT.  It is because they are always calling on their God to
condemn their souls to perdition.  That is what goddam means in
their language.  How do you like it?

JOAN.  God will be merciful to them; and they will act like His
good children when they go back to the country He made for them,
and made them for.  I have heard the tales of the Black Prince.
The moment he touched the soil of our country the devil entered
into him, and made him a black fiend.  But at home, in the place
made for him by God, he was good.  It is always so.  If I went into
England against the will of God to conquer England, and tried to
live there and speak its language, the devil would enter into me;
and when I was old I should shudder to remember the wickedness I

ROBERT.  Perhaps.  But the more devil you were the better you might
fight.  That is why the goddams will take Orleans.  And you cannot
stop them, nor ten thousand like you.

JOAN.  One thousand like me can stop them.  Ten like me can stop
them with God on our side.  [She rises impetuously, and goes at
him, unable to sit quiet any longer].  You do not understand,
squire.  Our soldiers are always beaten because they are fighting
only to save their skins; and the shortest way to save your skin is
to run away.  Our knights are thinking only of the money they will
make in ransoms: it is not kill or be killed with them, but pay or
be paid.  But I will teach them all to fight that the will of God
may be done in France; and then they will drive the poor goddams
before them like sheep.  You and Polly will live to see the day
when there will not be an English soldier on the soil of France;
and there will be but one king there: not the feudal English king,
but God's French one.

ROBERT [to Poulengey]  This may be all rot, Polly; but the troops
might swallow it, though nothing that we can say seems able to put
any fight into them.  Even the Dauphin might swallow it.  And if
she can put fight into him, she can put it into anybody.

POULENGEY.  I can see no harm in trying.  Can you?  And there is
something about the girl--

ROBERT [turning to Joan]  Now listen you to me; and [desperately]
dont cut in before I have time to think.

JOAN [plumping down on the stool again, like an obedient
schoolgirl]  Yes, squire.

ROBERT.  Your orders are, that you are to go to Chinon under the
escort of this gentleman and three of his friends.

JOAN [radiant, clasping her hands]  Oh, squire!  Your head is all
circled with light, like a saint's.

POULENGEY.  How is she to get into the royal presence?

ROBERT [who has looked up for his halo rather apprehensively]  I
dont know: how did she get into my presence?  If the Dauphin can
keep her out he is a better man than I take him for.  [Rising]  I
will send her to Chinon; and she can say I sent her.  Then let come
what may: I can do no more.

JOAN.  And the dress?  I may have a soldier's dress, maynt I,

ROBERT.  Have what you please.  I wash my hands of it.

JOAN [wildly excited by her success]  Come, Polly.  [She dashes

ROBERT [shaking Poulengey's hand]  Goodbye, old man, I am taking a
big chance.  Few other men would have done it.  But as you say,
there is something about her.

POULENGEY.  Yes: there is something about her.  Goodbye.  [He goes

Robert, still very doubtful whether he has not been made a fool of
by a crazy female, and a social inferior to boot, scratches his
head and slowly comes back from the door.

The steward runs in with a basket.

STEWARD.  Sir, sir--

ROBERT.  What now?

STEWARD.  The hens are laying like mad, sir.  Five dozen eggs!

ROBERT [stiffens convulsively: crosses himself: and forms with his
pale lips the words]  Christ in heaven!  [Aloud but breathless]
She did come from God.


Chinon, in Touraine.  An end of the throne room in the castle,
curtained off to make an antechamber.  The Archbishop of Rheims,
close on 50, a full-fed prelate with nothing of the ecclesiastic
about him except his imposing bearing, and the Lord Chamberlain,
Monseigneur de la Tremouille, a monstrous arrogant wineskin of a
man, are waiting for the Dauphin.  There is a door in the wall to
the right of the two men.  It is late in the afternoon on the 8th
of March, 1429.  The Archbishop stands with dignity whilst the
Chamberlain, on his left, fumes about in the worst of tempers.

LA TREMOUILLE.  What the devil does the Dauphin mean by keeping us
waiting like this?  I dont know how you have the patience to stand
there like a stone idol.

THE ARCHBISHOP.  You see, I am an archbishop; and an archbishop is a
sort of idol.  At any rate he has to learn to keep still and suffer
fools patiently.  Besides, my dear Lord Chamberlain, it is the
Dauphin's royal privilege to keep you waiting, is it not?

LA TREMOUILLE.  Dauphin be damned! saving your reverence.  Do you
know how much money he owes me?

THE ARCHBISHOP.  Much more than he owes me, I have no doubt, because
you are a much richer man.  But I take it he owes you all you could
afford to lend him.  That is what he owes me.

LA TREMOUILLE.  Twenty-seven thousand: that was his last haul.  A
cool twenty-seven thousand!

THE ARCHBISHOP.  What becomes of it all?  He never has a suit of
clothes that I would throw to a curate.

LA TREMOUILLE.  He dines on a chicken or a scrap of mutton.  He
borrows my last penny; and there is nothing to shew for it.  [A
page appears in the doorway].  At last!

THE PAGE.  No, my lord: it is not His Majesty.  Monsieur de Rais is

LA TREMOUILLE.  Young Bluebeard!  Why announce him?

THE PAGE.  Captain La Hire is with him.  Something has happened, I

Gilles de Rais, a young man of 25, very smart and self-possessed,
and sporting the extravagance of a little curled beard dyed blue at
a clean-shaven court, comes in.  He is determined to make himself
agreeable, but lacks natural joyousness, and is not really
pleasant.  In fact when he defies the Church some eleven years
later he is accused of trying to extract pleasure from horrible
cruelties, and hanged.  So far, however, there is no shadow of the
gallows on him.  He advances gaily to the Archbishop.  The page

BLUEBEARD.  Your faithful lamb, Archbishop.  Good day, my lord.  Do
you know what has happened to La Hire?

LA TREMOUILLE.  He has sworn himself into a fit, perhaps.

BLUEBEARD.  No: just the opposite.  Foul Mouthed Frank, the only
man in Touraine who could beat him at swearing, was told by a
soldier that he shouldnt use such language when he was at the point
of death.

THE ARCHBISHOP.  Nor at any other point.  But was Foul Mouthed
Frank on the point of death?

BLUEBEARD.  Yes: he has just fallen into a well and been drowned.
La Hire is frightened out of his wits.

Captain La Hire comes in: a war dog with no court manners and
pronounced camp ones.

BLUEBEARD.  I have just been telling the Chamberlain and the
Archbishop.  The Archbishop says you are a lost man.

LA HIRE [striding past Bluebeard, and planting himself between the
Archbishop and La Tremouille]  This is nothing to joke about.  It
is worse than we thought.  It was not a soldier, but an angel
dressed as a soldier.

THE CHAMBERLAIN } [exclaiming all together]  An angel!

LA HIRE.  Yes, an angel.  She has made her way from Champagne with
half a dozen men through the thick of everything: Burgundians,
Goddams, deserters, robbers, and Lord knows who; and they never met
a soul except the country folk.  I know one of them: de Poulengey.
He says she's an angel.  If ever I utter an oath again may my soul
be blasted to eternal damnation!

THE ARCHBISHOP.  A very pious beginning, Captain.

Bluebeard and La Tremouille laugh at him.  The page returns.

THE PAGE.  His Majesty.

They stand perfunctorily at court attention.  The Dauphin, aged 26,
really King Charles the Seventh since the death of his father, but
as yet uncrowned, comes in through the curtains with a paper in his
hands.  He is a poor creature physically; and the current fashion
of shaving closely, and hiding every scrap of hair under the
headcovering or headdress, both by women and men, makes the worst
of his appearance.  He has little narrow eyes, near together, a
long pendulous nose that droops over his thick short upper lip, and
the expression of a young dog accustomed to be kicked, yet
incorrigible and irrepressible.  But he is neither vulgar nor
stupid; and he has a cheeky humor which enables him to hold his own
in conversation.  Just at present he is excited, like a child with
a new toy.  He comes to the Archbishop's left hand.  Bluebeard and
La Hire retire towards the curtains.

CHARLES.  Oh, Archbishop, do you know what Robert de Baudricourt is
sending me from Vaucouleurs?

THE ARCHBISHOP [contemptuously]  I am not interested in the newest

CHARLES [indignantly]  It isnt a toy.  [Sulkily]  However, I can
get on very well without your interest.

THE ARCHBISHOP.  Your Highness is taking offence very unnecessarily.

CHARLES.  Thank you.  You are always ready with a lecture, arnt

LA TREMOUILLE [roughly]  Enough grumbling.  What have you got

CHARLES.  What is that to you?

LA TREMOUILLE.  It is my business to know what is passing between
you and the garrison at Vaucouleurs.  [He snatches the paper from
the Dauphin's hand, and begins reading it with some difficulty,
following the words with his finger and spelling them out syllable
by syllable].

CHARLES [mortified]  You all think you can treat me as you please
because I owe you money, and because I am no good at fighting.  But
I have the blood royal in my veins.

THE ARCHBISHOP.  Even that has been questioned, your Highness.  One
hardly recognizes in you the grandson of Charles the Wise.

CHARLES.  I want to hear no more of my grandfather.  He was so wise
that he used up the whole family stock of wisdom for five
generations, and left me the poor fool I am, bullied and insulted
by all of you.

THE ARCHBISHOP.  Control yourself, sir.  These outbursts of
petulance are not seemly.

CHARLES.  Another lecture!  Thank you.  What a pity it is that
though you are an archbishop saints and angels dont come to see

THE ARCHBISHOP.  What do you mean?

CHARLES.  Aha!  Ask that bully there [pointing to La Tremouille].

LA TREMOUILLE [furious]  Hold your tongue.  Do you hear?

CHARLES.  Oh, I hear.  You neednt shout.  The whole castle can
hear.  Why dont you go and shout at the English, and beat them for

LA TREMOUILLE [raising his fist]  You young--

CHARLES [running behind the Archbishop]  Dont you raise your hand
to me.  It's high treason.

LA HIRE.  Steady, Duke!  Steady!

THE ARCHBISHOP [resolutely]  Come, come! this will not do.  My Lord
Chamberlain: please! please! we must keep some sort of order.  [To
the Dauphin]  And you, sir: if you cannot rule your kingdom, at
least try to rule yourself.

CHARLES.  Another lecture!  Thank you.

LA TREMOUILLE [handing over the paper to the Archbishop]  Here:
read the accursed thing for me.  He has sent the blood boiling into
my head: I cant distinguish the letters.

CHARLES [coming back and peering round La Tremouille's left
shoulder]  I will read it for you if you like.  I can read, you

LA TREMOUILLE [with intense contempt, not at all stung by the
taunt]  Yes: reading is about all you are fit for.  Can you make it
out, Archbishop?

THE ARCHBISHOP.  I should have expected more common-sense from De
Baudricourt.  He is sending some cracked country lass here--

CHARLES [interrupting]  No: he is sending a saint: an angel.  And
she is coming to me: to me, the king, and not to you, Archbishop,
holy as you are.  She knows the blood royal if you dont.  [He
struts up to the curtains between Bluebeard and La Hire].

THE ARCHBISHOP.  You cannot be allowed to see this crazy wench.

CHARLES [turning]  But I am the king; and I will.

LA TREMOUILLE [brutally]  Then she cannot be allowed to see you.

CHARLES.  I tell you I will.  I am going to put my foot down--

BLUEBEARD [laughing at him]  Naughty!  What would your wise
grandfather say?

CHARLES.  That just shews your ignorance, Bluebeard.  My
grandfather had a saint who used to float in the air when she was
praying, and told him everything he wanted to know.  My poor father
had two saints, Marie de Maille and the Gasque of Avignon.  It is
in our family; and I dont care what you say: I will have my saint

THE ARCHBISHOP.  This creature is not a saint.  She is not even a
respectable woman.  She does not wear women's clothes.  She is
dressed like a soldier, and rides round the country with soldiers.
Do you suppose such a person can be admitted to your Highness's

LA HIRE.  Stop.  [Going to the Archbishop]  Did you say a girl in
armor, like a soldier?

THE ARCHBISHOP.  So De Baudricourt describes her.

LA HIRE.  But by all the devils in hell--Oh, God forgive me, what am
I saying?--by Our Lady and all the saints, this must be the angel
that struck Foul Mouthed Frank dead for swearing.

CHARLES [triumphant]  You see!  A miracle!

LA HIRE.  She may strike the lot of us dead if we cross her.  For
Heaven's sake, Archbishop, be careful what you are doing.

THE ARCHBISHOP [severely]  Rubbish!  Nobody has been struck dead.
A drunken blackguard who has been rebuked a hundred times for
swearing has fallen into a well, and been drowned.  A mere

LA HIRE.  I do not know what a coincidence is.  I do know that the
man is dead, and that she told him he was going to die.

THE ARCHBISHOP.  We are all going to die, Captain.

LA HIRE [crossing himself]  I hope not.  [He backs out of the

BLUEBEARD.  We can easily find out whether she is an angel or not.
Let us arrange when she comes that I shall be the Dauphin, and see
whether she will find me out.

CHARLES.  Yes: I agree to that.  If she cannot find the blood royal
I will have nothing to do with her.

THE ARCHBISHOP.  It is for the Church to make saints: let De
Baudricourt mind his own business, and not dare usurp the function
of his priest.  I say the girl shall not be admitted.

BLUEBEARD.  But, Archbishop--

THE ARCHBISHOP [sternly]  I speak in the Church's name.  [To the
Dauphin]  Do you dare say she shall?

CHARLES [intimidated but sulky]  Oh, if you make it an
excommunication matter, I have nothing more to say, of course.  But
you havnt read the end of the letter.  De Baudricourt says she will
raise the siege of Orleans, and beat the English for us.


CHARLES.  Well, will you save Orleans for us, with all your

LA TREMOUILLE [savagely]  Do not throw that in my face again: do
you hear?  I have done more fighting than you ever did or ever
will.  But I cannot be everywhere.

THE DAUPHIN.  Well, thats something.

BLUEBEARD [coming between the Archbishop and Charles]  You have
Jack Dunois at the head of your troops in Orleans: the brave
Dunois, the handsome Dunois, the wonderful invincible Dunois, the
darling of all the ladies, the beautiful bastard.  Is it likely
that the country lass can do what he cannot do?

CHARLES.  Why doesnt he raise the siege, then?

LA HIRE.  The wind is against him.

BLUEBEARD.  How can the wind hurt him at Orleans?  It is not in the

LA HIRE.  It is on the river Loire; and the English hold the
bridgehead.  He must ship his men across the river and upstream, if
he is to take them in the rear.  Well, he cannot, because there is
a devil of a wind blowing the other way.  He is tired of paying the
priests to pray for a west wind.  What he needs is a miracle.  You
tell me that what the girl did to Foul Mouthed Frank was no
miracle.  No matter: it finished Frank.  If she changes the wind
for Dunois, that may not be a miracle either; but it may finish the
English.  What harm is there in trying?

THE ARCHBISHOP [who has read the end of the letter and become more
thoughtful]  It is true that De Baudricourt seems extraordinarily

LA HIRE.  De Baudricourt is a blazing ass; but he is a soldier; and
if he thinks she can beat the English, all the rest of the army
will think so too.

LA TREMOUILLE [to the Archbishop, who is hesitating]  Oh, let them
have their way.  Dunois' men will give up the town in spite of him
if somebody does not put some fresh spunk into them.

THE ARCHBISHOP.  The Church must examine the girl before anything
decisive is done about her.  However, since his Highness desires
it, let her attend the Court.

LA HIRE.  I will find her and tell her.  [He goes out],

CHARLES.  Come with me, Bluebeard; and let us arrange so that she
will not know who I am.  You will pretend to be me.  [He goes out
through the curtains].

BLUEBEARD.  Pretend to be that thing!  Holy Michael!  [He follows
the Dauphin].

LA TREMOUILLE.  I wonder will she pick him out!

THE ARCHBISHOP.  Of course she will.

LA TREMOUILLE.  Why?  How is she to know?

THE ARCHBISHOP.  She will know what everybody in Chinon knows: that
the Dauphin is the meanest-looking and worst-dressed figure in the
Court, and that the man with the blue beard is Gilles de Rais.

LA TREMOUILLE.  I never thought of that.

THE ARCHBISHOP.  You are not so accustomed to miracles as I am.  It
is part of my profession.

LA TREMOUILLE [fueled and a little scandalized]  But that would not
be a miracle at all.

THE ARCHBISHOP [calmly]  Why not?

LA TREMOUILLE.  Well, come! what is a miracle?

THE ARCHBISHOP.  A miracle, my friend, is an event which creates
faith.  That is the purpose and nature of miracles.  They may seem
very wonderful to the people who witness them, and very simple to
those who perform them.  That does not matter: if they confirm or
create faith they are true miracles.

LA TREMOUILLE.  Even when they are frauds, do you mean?

THE ARCHBISHOP.  Frauds deceive.  An event which creates faith does
not deceive: therefore it is not a fraud, but a miracle.

LA TREMOUILLE [scratching his neck in his perplexity]  Well, I
suppose as you are an archbishop you must be right.  It seems a bit
fishy to me.  But I am no churchman, and dont understand these

THE ARCHBISHOP.  You are not a churchman; but you are a diplomatist
and a soldier.  Could you make our citizens pay war taxes, or our
soldiers sacrifice their lives, if they knew what is really
happening instead of what seems to them to be happening?

LA TREMOUILLE.  No, by Saint Denis: the fat would be in the fire
before sundown.

THE ARCHBISHOP.  Would it not be quite easy to tell them the truth?

LA TREMOUILLE.  Man alive, they wouldnt believe it.

THE ARCHBISHOP.  Just so.  Well, the Church has to rule men for the
good of their souls as you have to rule them for the good of their
bodies.  To do that, the Church must do as you do: nourish their
faith by poetry.

LA TREMOUILLE.  Poetry!  I should call it humbug.

THE ARCHBISHOP.  You would be wrong, my friend.  Parables are not
lies because they describe events that have never happened.
Miracles are not frauds because they are often--I do not say
always--very simple and innocent contrivances by which the priest
fortifies the faith of his flock.  When this girl picks out the
Dauphin among his courtiers, it will not be a miracle for me,
because I shall know how it has been done, and my faith will not be
increased.  But as for the others, if they feel the thrill of the
supernatural, and forget their sinful clay in a sudden sense of the
glory of God, it will be a miracle and a blessed one.  And you will
find that the girl herself will be more affected than anyone else.
She will forget how she really picked him out.  So, perhaps, will

LA TREMOUILLE.  Well, I wish I were clever enough to know how much
of you is God's archbishop and how much the most artful fox in
Touraine.  Come on, or we shall be late for the fun; and I want to
see it, miracle or no miracle.

THE ARCHBISHOP [detaining him a moment]  Do not think that I am a
lover of crooked ways.  There is a new spirit rising in men: we are
at the dawning of a wider epoch.  If I were a simple monk, and had
not to rule men, I should seek peace for my spirit with Aristotle
and Pythagoras rather than with the saints and their miracles.

LA TREMOUILLE.  And who the deuce was Pythagoras?

THE ARCHBISHOP.  A sage who held that the earth is round, and that
it moves round the sun.

LA TREMOUILLE.  What an utter fool!  Couldnt he use his eyes?

They go out together through the curtains, which are presently
withdrawn, revealing the full depth of the throne room with the
Court assembled.  On the right are two Chairs of State on a dais.
Bluebeard is standing theatrically on the dais, playing the king,
and, like the courtiers, enjoying the joke rather obviously.  There
is a curtained arch in the wall behind the dais; but the main door,
guarded by men-at-arms, is at the other side of the room; and a
clear path across is kept and lined by the courtiers.  Charles is
in this path in the middle of the room.  La Hire is on his right.
The Archbishop, on his left, has taken his place by the dais: La
Tremouille at the other side of it.  The Duchess de la Tremouille,
pretending to be the Queen, sits in the Consort's chair, with a
group of ladies in waiting close by, behind the Archbishop.

The chatter of the courtiers makes such a noise that nobody notices
the appearance of the page at the door.

THE PAGE.  The Duke of--  [Nobody listens].  The Duke of--  [The
chatter continues.  Indignant at his failure to command a hearing,
he snatches the halberd of the nearest man-at-arms, and thumps the
floor with it.  The chatter ceases; and everybody looks at him in
silence].  Attention!  [He restores the halberd to the man-at-
arms].  The Duke of Vendome presents Joan the Maid to his Majesty.

CHARLES [putting his finger on his lip]  Ssh!  [He hides behind the
nearest courtier, peering out to see what happens].

BLUEBEARD [majestically]  Let her approach the throne.

Joan, dressed as a soldier, with her hair bobbed and hanging
thickly round her face, is led in by a bashful and speechless
nobleman, from whom she detaches herself to stop and look around
eagerly for the Dauphin.

THE DUCHESS [to the nearest lady in waiting]  My dear!  Her hair!
All the ladies explode in uncontrollable laughter.

BLUEBEARD [trying not to laugh, and waving his hand in deprecation
of their merriment]  Ssh--ssh!  Ladies!  Ladies!!

JOAN [not at all embarrassed]  I wear it like this because I am a
soldier.  Where be Dauphin?

A titter runs through the Court as she walks to the dais.

BLUEBEARD [condescendingly]  You are in the presence of the

Joan looks at him sceptically for a moment, scanning him hard up
and down to make sure.  Dead silence, all watching her.  Fun dawns
in her face.

JOAN.  Coom, Bluebeard!  Thou canst not fool me.  Where be Dauphin?

A roar of laughter breaks out as Gilles, with a gesture of
surrender, joins in the laugh, and jumps down from the dais beside
La Tremouille.  Joan, also on the broad grin, turns back, searching
along the row of courtiers, and presently makes a dive, and drags
out Charles by the arm.

JOAN [releasing him and bobbing him a little curtsey]  Gentle
little Dauphin, I am sent to you to drive the English away from
Orleans and from France, and to crown you king in the cathedral at
Rheims, where all true kings of France are crowned.

CHARLES [triumphant, to the Court]  You see, all of you: she knew
the blood royal.  Who dare say now that I am not my father's son?
[To Joan]  But if you want me to be crowned at Rheims you must talk
to the Archbishop, not to me.  There he is [he is standing behind

JOAN [turning quickly, overwhelmed with emotion] Oh, my lord!  [She
falls on both knees before him, with bowed head, not daring to look
up]  My lord: I am only a poor country girl; and you are filled
with the blessedness and glory of God Himself; but you will touch
me with your hands, and give me your blessing, wont you?

BLUEBEARD [whispering to La Tremouille]  The old fox blushes.

LA TREMOUILLE.  Another miracle!

THE ARCHBISHOP [touched, putting his hand on her head]  Child: you
are in love with religion.

JOAN [startled: looking up at him]  Am I?  I never thought of that.
Is there any harm in it?

THE ARCHBISHOP.  There is no harm in it, my child.  But there is

JOAN [rising, with a sunflush of reckless happiness irradiating her
face]  There is always danger, except in heaven.  Oh, my lord, you
have given me such strength, such courage.  It must be a most
wonderful thing to be Archbishop.

The Court smiles broadly: even titters a little.

THE ARCHBISHOP [drawing himself up sensitively]  Gentlemen: your
levity is rebuked by this maid's faith.  I am, God help me, all
unworthy; but your mirth is a deadly sin.

Their faces fall.  Dead silence.

BLUEBEARD.  My lord: we were laughing at her, not at you.

THE ARCHBISHOP.  What?  Not at my unworthiness but at her faith!
Gilles de Rais: this maid prophesied that the blasphemer should be
drowned in his sin--

JOAN [distressed]  No!

THE ARCHBISHOP [silencing her by a gesture]  I prophesy now that
you will be hanged in yours if you do not learn when to laugh and
when to pray.

BLUEBEARD.  My lord: I stand rebuked.  I am sorry: I can say no
more.  But if you prophesy that I shall be hanged, I shall never be
able to resist temptation, because I shall always be telling myself
that I may as well be hanged for a sheep as a lamb.

The courtiers take heart at this.  There is more tittering.

JOAN [scandalized]  You are an idle fellow, Bluebeard; and you have
great impudence to answer the Archbishop.

LA HIRE [with a huge chuckle]  Well said, lass!  Well said!

JOAN [impatiently to the Archbishop]  Oh, my lord, will you send
all these silly folks away so that I may speak to the Dauphin

LA HIRE [goodhumoredly]  I can take a hint.  [He salutes; turns on
his heel; and goes out].

THE ARCHBISHOP.  Come, gentlemen.  The Maid comes with God's
blessing, and must be obeyed.

The courtiers withdraw, some through the arch, others at the
opposite side.  The Archbishop marches across to the door, followed
by the Duchess and La Tremouille.  As the Archbishop passes Joan,
she falls on her knees, and kisses the hem of his robe fervently.
He shakes his head in instinctive remonstrance; gathers the robe
from her; and goes out.  She is left kneeling directly in the
Duchess's way.

THE DUCHESS [coldly]  Will you allow me to pass, please?

JOAN [hastily rising, and standing back]  Beg pardon, maam, I am

The Duchess passes on.  Joan stares after her; then whispers to the

JOAN.  Be that Queen?

CHARLES.  No.  She thinks she is.

JOAN [again staring after the Duchess]  Oo-oo-ooh!  [Her awestruck
amazement at the figure cut by the magnificently dressed lady is
not wholly complimentary].

LA TREMOUILLE [very surly]  I'll trouble your Highness not to gibe
at my wife.  [He goes out.  The others have already gone].

JOAN [to the Dauphin]  Who be old Gruff-and-Grum?

CHARLES.  He is the Duke de la Tremouille.

JOAN.  What be his job?

CHARLES.  He pretends to command the army.  And whenever I find a
friend I can care for, he kills him.

JOAN.  Why dost let him?

CHARLES [petulantly moving to the throne side of the room to escape
from her magnetic field]  How can I prevent him?  He bullies me.
They all bully me.

JOAN.  Art afraid?

CHARLES.  Yes: I am afraid.  It's no use preaching to me about it.
It's all very well for these big men with their armor that is too
heavy for me, and their swords that I can hardly lift, and their
muscle and their shouting and their bad tempers.  They like
fighting: most of them are making fools of themselves all the time
they are not fighting; but I am quiet and sensible; and I dont want
to kill people: I only want to be left alone to enjoy myself in my
own way.  I never asked to be a king: it was pushed on me.  So if
you are going to say 'Son of St Louis: gird on the sword of your
ancestors, and lead us to victory' you may spare your breath to
cool your porridge; for I cannot do it.  I am not built that way;
and there is an end of it.

JOAN [trenchant and masterful]  Blethers!  We are all like that to
begin with.  I shall put courage into thee.

CHARLES.  But I dont want to have courage put into me.  I want to
sleep in a comfortable bed, and not live in continual terror of
being killed or wounded.  Put courage into the others, and let them
have their bellyful of fighting; but let me alone.

JOAN.  It's no use, Charlie: thou must face what God puts on thee.
If thou fail to make thyself king, thoult be a beggar: what else
art fit for?  Come!  Let me see thee sitting on the throne.  I have
looked forward to that.

CHARLES.  What is the good of sitting on the throne when the other
fellows give all the orders?  However! [he sits enthroned, a
piteous figure] here is the king for you!  Look your fill at the
poor devil.

JOAN.  Thourt not king yet, lad: thourt but Dauphin.  Be not led
away by them around thee.  Dressing up dont fill empty noddle.  I
know the people: the real people that make thy bread for thee; and
I tell thee they count no man king of France until the holy oil has
been poured on his hair, and himself consecrated and crowned in
Rheims Cathedral.  And thou needs new clothes, Charlie.  Why does
not Queen look after thee properly?

CHARLES.  We're too poor.  She wants all the money we can spare to
put on her own back.  Besides, I like to see her beautifully
dressed; and I dont care what I wear myself: I should look ugly

JOAN.  There is some good in thee, Charlie; but it is not yet a
king's good.

CHARLES.  We shall see.  I am not such a fool as I look.  I have my
eyes open; and I can tell you that one good treaty is worth ten
good fights.  These fighting fellows lose all on the treaties that
they gain on the fights.  If we can only have a treaty, the English
are sure to have the worst of it, because they are better at
fighting than at thinking.

JOAN.  If the English win, it is they that will make the treaty:
and then God help poor France!  Thou must fight, Charlie, whether
thou will or no.  I will go first to hearten thee.  We must take
our courage in both hands: aye, and pray for it with both hands

CHARLES [descending from his throne and again crossing the room to
escape from her dominating urgency]  Oh do stop talking about God
and praying.  I cant bear people who are always praying.  Isnt it
bad enough to have to do it at the proper times?

JOAN [pitying him]  Thou poor child, thou hast never prayed in thy
life.  I must teach thee from the beginning.

CHARLES.  I am not a child: I am a grown man and a father; and I
will not be taught any more.

JOAN.  Aye, you have a little son.  He that will be Louis the
Eleventh when you die.  Would you not fight for him?

CHARLES.  No: a horrid boy.  He hates me.  He hates everybody,
selfish little beast!  I dont want to be bothered with children.  I
dont want to be a father; and I dont want to be a son: especially a
son of St Louis.  I dont want to be any of these fine things you
all have your heads full of: I want to be just what I am.  Why cant
you mind your own business, and let me mind mine?

JOAN [again contemptuous]  Minding your own business is like
minding your own body: it's the shortest way to make yourself sick.
What is my business?  Helping mother at home.  What is thine?
Petting lapdogs and sucking sugar-sticks.  I call that muck.  I
tell thee it is God's business we are here to do: not our own.  I
have a message to thee from God; and thou must listen to it, though
thy heart break with the terror of it.

CHARLES.  I dont want a message; but can you tell me any secrets?
Can you do any cures?  Can you turn lead into gold, or anything of
that sort?

JOAN.  I can turn thee into a king, in Rheims Cathedral; and that
is a miracle that will take some doing, it seems.

CHARLES.  If we go to Rheims, and have a coronation, Anne will want
new dresses.  We cant afford them.  I am all right as I am.

JOAN.  As you are!  And what is that?  Less than my father's
poorest shepherd.  Thourt not lawful owner of thy own land of
France till thou be consecrated.

CHARLES.  But I shall not be lawful owner of my own land anyhow.
Will the consecration pay off my mortgages?  I have pledged my last
acre to the Archbishop and that fat bully.  I owe money even to

JOAN [earnestly]  Charlie: I come from the land, and have gotten my
strength working on the land; and I tell thee that the land is
thine to rule righteously and keep God's peace in, and not to
pledge at the pawnshop as a drunken woman pledges her children's
clothes.  And I come from God to tell thee to kneel in the
cathedral and solemnly give thy kingdom to Him for ever and ever,
and become the greatest king in the world as His steward and His
bailiff, His soldier and His servant.  The very clay of France will
become holy: her soldiers will be the soldiers of God: the rebel
dukes will be rebels against God: the English will fall on their
knees and beg thee let them return to their lawful homes in peace.
Wilt be a poor little Judas, and betray me and Him that sent me?

CHARLES [tempted at last]  Oh, if I only dare!

JOAN.  I shall dare, dare, and dare again, in God's name!  Art for
or against me?

CHARLES [excited]  I'll risk it, I warn you I shant be able to keep
it up; but I'll risk it.  You shall see.  [Running to the main door
and shouting]  Hallo!  Come back, everybody.  [To Joan, as he runs
back to the arch opposite]  Mind you stand by and dont let me be
bullied.  [Through the arch]  Come along, will you: the whole
Court.  [He sits down in the royal chair as they all hurry in to
their former places, chattering and wondering].  Now I'm in for it;
but no matter: here goes!  [To the page]  Call for silence, you
little beast, will you?

THE PAGE [snatching a halberd as before and thumping with it
repeatedly]  Silence for His Majesty the King.  The King speaks.
[Peremptorily]  Will you be silent there?  [Silence].

CHARLES [rising]  I have given the command of the army to The Maid.
The Maid is to do as she likes with it.  [He descends from the

General amazement.  La Hire, delighted, slaps his steel thigh-piece
with his gauntlet.

LA TREMOUILLE [turning threateningly towards Charles]  What is
this?  _I_ command the army.

Joan quickly puts her hand on Charles's shoulder as he
instinctively recoils.  Charles, with a grotesque effort
culminating in an extravagant gesture, snaps his fingers in the
Chamberlain's face.

JOAN.  Thourt answered, old Gruff-and-Grum.  [Suddenly flashing out
her sword as she divines that her moment has come]  Who is for God
and His Maid?  Who is for Orleans with me?

LA HIRE [carried away, drawing also]  For God and His Maid!  To

ALL THE KNIGHTS [following his lead with enthusiasm]  To Orleans!

Joan, radiant, falls on her knees in thanksgiving to God.  They all
kneel, except the Archbishop, who gives his benediction with a
sigh, and La Tremouille, who collapses, cursing.


Orleans, 29 April, 1429.  Dunois, aged 26, is pacing up and down a
patch of ground on the south bank of the silver Loire, commanding a
long view of the river in both directions.  He has had his lance
stuck up with a pennon, which streams in a strong east wind.  His
shield with its bend sinister lies beside it.  He has his
commander's baton in his hand.  He is well built, carrying his
armor easily.  His broad brow and pointed chin give him an
equilaterally triangular face, already marked by active service and
responsibility, with the expression of a good-natured and capable
man who has no affectations and no foolish illusions.  His page is
sitting on the ground, elbows on knees, cheeks on fists, idly
watching the water.  It is evening; and both man and boy are
affected by the loveliness of the Loire.

DUNOIS [halting for a moment to glance up at the streaming pennon
and shake his head wearily before he resumes his pacing]  West
wind, west wind, west wind.  Strumpet: steadfast when you should be
wanton, wanton when you should be steadfast.  West wind on the
silver Loire: what rhymes to Loire?  [He looks again at the pennon,
and shakes his fist at it]  Change, curse you, change, English
harlot of a wind, change.  West, west, I tell you.  [With a growl
he resumes his march in silence, but soon begins again]  West wind,
wanton wind, wilful wind, womanish wind, false wind from over the
water, will you never blow again?

THE PAGE [bounding to his feet]  See!  There!  There she goes!

DUNOIS [startled from his reverie: eagerly]  Where?  Who?  The

THE PAGE.  No: the kingfisher.  Like blue lightning.  She went into
that bush.

DUNOIS [furiously disappointed]  Is that all?  You infernal young
idiot: I have a mind to pitch you into the river.

THE PAGE [not afraid, knowing his man]  It looked frightfully
jolly, that flash of blue.  Look!  There goes the other!

DUNOIS [running eagerly to the river brim]  Where?  Where?

THE PAGE [pointing]  Passing the reeds.

DUNOIS [delighted]  I see.

They follow the flight till the bird takes cover.

THE PAGE.  You blew me up because you were not in time to see them

DUNOIS.  You knew I was expecting The Maid when you set up your
yelping.  I will give you something to yelp for next time.

THE PAGE.  Arnt they lovely?  I wish I could catch them.

DUNOIS.  Let me catch you trying to trap them, and I will put you
in the iron cage for a month to teach you what a cage feels like.
You are an abominable boy.  The page laughs, and squats down as

DUNOIS [pacing]  Blue bird, blue bird, since I am friend to thee,
change thou the wind for me.  No: it does not rhyme.  He who has
sinned for thee: thats better.  No sense in it, though.  [He finds
himself close to the page]  You abominable boy!  [He turns away
from him]  Mary in the blue snood, kingfisher color: will you
grudge me a west wind?

A SENTRY'S VOICE WESTWARD.  Halt!  Who goes there?

JOAN'S VOICE.  The Maid.

DUNOIS.  Let her pass.  Hither, Maid!  To me!

Joan, in splendid armor, rushes in in a blazing rage.  The wind
drops; and the pennon flaps idly down the lance; but Dunois is too
much occupied with Joan to notice it.

JOAN [bluntly]  Be you Bastard of Orleans?

DUNOIS [cool and stern, pointing to his shield]  You see the bend
sinister.  Are you Joan the Maid?

JOAN.  Sure.

DUNOIS.  Where are your troops?

JOAN.  Miles behind.  They have cheated me.  They have brought me
to the wrong side of the river.

DUNOIS.  I told them to.

JOAN.  Why did you?  The English are on the other side!

DUNOIS.  The English are on both sides.

JOAN.  But Orleans is on the other side.  We must fight the English
there.  How can we cross the river?

DUNOIS [grimly]  There is a bridge.

JOAN.  In God's name, then, let us cross the bridge, and fall on

DUNOIS.  It seems simple; but it cannot be done.

JOAN.  Who says so?

DUNOIS.  I say so; and older and wiser heads than mine are of the
same opinion.

JOAN [roundly]  Then your older and wiser heads are fatheads: they
have made a fool of you; and now they want to make a fool of me
too, bringing me to the wrong side of the river.  Do you not know
that I bring you better help than ever came to any general or any

DUNOIS [smiling patiently]  Your own?

JOAN.  No: the help and counsel of the King of Heaven.  Which is
the way to the bridge?

DUNOIS.  You are impatient, Maid.

JOAN.  Is this a time for patience?  Our enemy is at our gates; and
here we stand doing nothing.  Oh, why are you not fighting?  Listen
to me: I will deliver you from fear.  I--

DUNOIS [laughing heartily, and waving her off]  No, no, my girl: if
you delivered me from fear I should be a good knight for a story
book, but a very bad commander of the army.  Come! let me begin to
make a soldier of you.  [He takes her to the water's edge].  Do you
see those two forts at this end of the bridge? the big ones?

JOAN.  Yes.  Are they ours or the goddams'?

DUNOIS.  Be quiet, and listen to me.  If I were in either of those
forts with only ten men I could hold it against an army.  The
English have more than ten times ten goddams in those forts to hold
them against us.

JOAN.  They cannot hold them against God.  God did not give them
the land under those forts: they stole it from Him.  He gave it to
us.  I will take those forts.

DUNOIS.  Single-handed?

JOAN.  Our men will take them.  I will lead them.

DUNOIS.  Not a man will follow you.

JOAN.  I will not look back to see whether anyone is following me.

DUNOIS [recognizing her mettle, and clapping her heartily on the
shoulder]  Good.  You have the makings of a soldier in you.  You
are in love with war.

JOAN [startled]  Oh!  And the Archbishop said I was in love with

DUNOIS.  I, God forgive me, am a little in love with war myself,
the ugly devil!  I am like a man with two wives.  Do you want to be
like a woman with two husbands?

JOAN [matter-of-fact]  I will never take a husband.  A man in Toul
took an action against me for breach of promise; but I never
promised him.  I am a soldier: I do not want to be thought of as a
woman.  I will not dress as a woman.  I do not care for the things
women care for.  They dream of lovers, and of money.  I dream of
leading a charge, and of placing the big guns.  You soldiers do not
know how to use the big guns: you think you can win battles with a
great noise and smoke.

DUNOIS [with a shrug]  True.  Half the time the artillery is more
trouble than it is worth.

JOAN.  Aye, lad; but you cannot fight stone walls with horses: you
must have guns, and much bigger guns too.

DUNOIS [grinning at her familiarity, and echoing it]  Aye, lass;
but a good heart and a stout ladder will get over the stoniest

JOAN.  I will be first up the ladder when we reach the fort,
Bastard.  I dare you to follow me.

DUNOIS.  You must not dare a staff officer, Joan: only company
officers are allowed to indulge in displays of personal courage.
Besides, you must know that I welcome you as a saint, not as a
soldier.  I have daredevils enough at my call, if they could help

JOAN.  I am not a daredevil: I am a servant of God.  My sword is
sacred: I found it behind the altar in the church of St Catherine,
where God hid it for me; and I may not strike a blow with it.  My
heart is full of courage, not of anger.  I will lead; and your men
will follow: that is all I can do.  But I must do it: you shall not
stop me.

DUNOIS.  All in good time.  Our men cannot take those forts by a
sally across the bridge.  They must come by water, and take the
English in the rear on this side.

JOAN [her military sense asserting itself]  Then make rafts and put
big guns on them; and let your men cross to us.

DUNOIS.  The rafts are ready; and the men are embarked.  But they
must wait for God.

JOAN.  What do you mean?  God is waiting for them.

DUNOIS.  Let Him send us a wind then.  My boats are downstream:
they cannot come up against both wind and current.  We must wait
until God changes the wind.  Come: let me take you to the church.

JOAN.  No.  I love church; but the English will not yield to
prayers: they understand nothing but hard knocks and slashes.  I
will not go to church until we have beaten them.

DUNOIS.  You must: I have business for you there.

JOAN.  What business?

DUNOIS.  To pray for a west wind.  I have prayed; and I have given
two silver candlesticks; but my prayers are not answered.  Yours
may be: you are young and innocent.

JOAN.  Oh yes: you are right.  I will pray: I will tell St
Catherine: she will make God give me a west wind.  Quick: shew me
the way to the church.

THE PAGE [sneezes violently]  At-cha!!!

JOAN.  God bless you, child!  Coom, Bastard.

They go out.  The page rises to follow.  He picks up the shield,
and is taking the spear as well when he notices the pennon, which
is now streaming eastward.

THE PAGE [dropping the shield and calling excitedly after them]
Seigneur!  Seigneur!  Mademoiselle!

DUNOIS [running back]  What is it?  The kingfisher?  [He looks
eagerly for it up the river].

JOAN [joining them]  Oh, a kingfisher!  Where?

THE PAGE.  No: the wind, the wind, the wind [pointing to the
pennon]: that is what made me sneeze.

DUNOIS [looking at the pennon]  The wind has changed.  [He crosses
himself]  God has spoken.  [Kneeling and handing his baton to Joan]
You command the king's army.  I am your soldier.

THE PAGE [looking down the river]  The boats have put off.  They
are ripping upstream like anything.

DUNOIS [rising]  Now for the forts.  You dared me to follow.  Dare
you lead?

JOAN [bursting into tears and flinging her arms round Dunois,
kissing him on both cheeks]  Dunois, dear comrade in arms, help me.
My eyes are blinded with tears.  Set my foot on the ladder, and say
'Up, Joan.'

DUNOIS [dragging her out]  Never mind the tears: make for the flash
of the guns.

JOAN [in a blaze of courage]  Ah!

DUNOIS [dragging her along with him]  For God and Saint Dennis!

THE PAGE [shrilly]  The Maid!  The Maid!  God and The Maid!
Hurray-ay-ay!  [He snatches up the shield and lance, and capers out
after them, mad with excitement].


A tent in the English camp.  A bullnecked English chaplain of 50 is
sitting on a stool at a table, hard at work writing.  At the other
side of the table an imposing nobleman, aged 46, is seated in a
handsome chair turning over the leaves of an illuminated Book of
Hours.  The nobleman is enjoying himself: the chaplain is
struggling with suppressed wrath.  There is an unoccupied leather
stool on the nobleman's left.  The table is on his right.

THE NOBLEMAN.  Now this is what I call workmanship.  There is
nothing on earth more exquisite than a bonny book, with well-placed
columns of rich black writing in beautiful borders, and illuminated
pictures cunningly inset.  But nowadays, instead of looking at
books, people read them.  A book might as well be one of those
orders for bacon and bran that you are scribbling.

THE CHAPLAIN.  I must say, my lord, you take our situation very
coolly.  Very coolly indeed.

THE NOBLEMAN [supercilious]  What is the matter?

THE CHAPLAIN.  The matter, my lord, is that we English have been

THE NOBLEMAN.  That happens, you know.  It is only in history books
and ballads that the enemy is always defeated.

THE CHAPLAIN.  But we are being defeated over and over again.
First, Orleans--

THE NOBLEMAN [poohpoohing]  Oh, Orleans!

THE CHAPLAIN.  I know what you are going to say, my lord: that was a
clear case of witchcraft and sorcery.  But we are still being
defeated.  Jargeau, Meung, Beaugency, just like Orleans.  And now
we have been butchered at Patay, and Sir John Talbot taken
prisoner.  [He throws down his pen, almost in tears]  I feel it, my
lord: I feel it very deeply.  I cannot bear to see my countrymen
defeated by a parcel of foreigners.

THE NOBLEMAN.  Oh! you are an Englishman, are you?

THE CHAPLAIN.  Certainly not, my lord: I am a gentleman.  Still,
like your lordship, I was born in England; and it makes a

THE NOBLEMAN.  You are attached to the soil, eh?

THE CHAPLAIN.  It pleases your lordship to be satirical at my
expense: your greatness privileges you to be so with impunity.  But
your lordship knows very well that I am not attached to the soil in
a vulgar manner, like a serf.  Still, I have a feeling about it;
[with growing agitation] and I am not ashamed of it; and [rising
wildly] by God, if this goes on any longer I will fling my cassock
to the devil, and take arms myself, and strangle the accursed witch
with my own hands.

THE NOBLEMAN [laughing at him goodnaturedly]  So you shall,
chaplain: so you shall, if we can do nothing better.  But not yet,
not quite yet.

The Chaplain resumes his seat very sulkily.

THE NOBLEMAN [airily]  I should not care very much about the witch--
you see, I have made my pilgrimage to the Holy Land; and the
Heavenly Powers, for their own credit, can hardly allow me to be
worsted by a village sorceress--but the Bastard of Orleans is a
harder nut to crack; and as he has been to the Holy Land too,
honors are easy between us as far as that goes.

THE CHAPLAIN.  He is only a Frenchman, my lord.

THE NOBLEMAN.  A Frenchman!  Where did you pick up that expression?
Are these Burgundians and Bretons and Picards and Gascons beginning
to call themselves Frenchmen, just as our fellows are beginning to
call themselves Englishmen?  They actually talk of France and
England as their countries.  Theirs, if you please!  What is to
become of me and you if that way of thinking comes into fashion?

THE CHAPLAIN.  Why, my lord?  Can it hurt us?

THE NOBLEMAN.  Men cannot serve two masters.  If this cant of
serving their country once takes hold of them, goodbye to the
authority of their feudal lords, and goodbye to the authority of
the Church.  That is, goodbye to you and me.

THE CHAPLAIN.  I hope I am a faithful servant of the Church; and
there are only six cousins between me and the barony of Stogumber,
which was created by the Conqueror.  But is that any reason why I
should stand by and see Englishmen beaten by a French bastard and a
witch from Lousy Champagne?

THE NOBLEMAN.  Easy, man, easy: we shall burn the witch and beat the
bastard all in good time.  Indeed I am waiting at present for the
Bishop of Beauvais, to arrange the burning with him.  He has been
turned out of his diocese by her faction.

THE CHAPLAIN.  You have first to catch her, my lord.

THE NOBLEMAN.  Or buy her.  I will offer a king's ransom.

THE CHAPLAIN.  A king's ransom!  For that slut!

THE NOBLEMAN.  One has to leave a margin.  Some of Charles's people
will sell her to the Burgundians; the Burgundians will sell her to
us; and there will probably be three or four middlemen who will
expect their little commissions.

THE CHAPLAIN.  Monstrous.  It is all those scoundrels of Jews: they
get in every time money changes hands.  I would not leave a Jew
alive in Christendom if I had my way.

THE NOBLEMAN.  Why not?  The Jews generally give value.  They make
you pay; but they deliver the goods.  In my experience the men who
want something for nothing are invariably Christians.

A page appears.

THE PAGE.  The Right Reverend the Bishop of Beauvais: Monseigneur

Cauchon, aged about 60, comes in.  The page withdraws.  The two
Englishmen rise.

THE NOBLEMAN [with effusive courtesy]  My dear Bishop, how good of
you to come!  Allow me to introduce myself: Richard de Beauchamp,
Earl of Warwick, at your service.

CAUCHON.  Your lordship's fame is well known to me.

WARWICK.  This reverend cleric is Master John de Stogumber.

THE CHAPLAIN [glibly]  John Bowyer Spenser Neville de Stogumber, at
your service, my lord: Bachelor of Theology, and Keeper of the
Private Seal to His Eminence the Cardinal of Winchester.

WARWICK [to Cauchon]  You call him the Cardinal of England, I
believe.  Our king's uncle.

CAUCHON.  Messire John de Stogumber: I am always the very good
friend of His Eminence.  [He extends his hand to the chaplain who
kisses his ring].

WARWICK.  Do me the honor to be seated.  [He gives Cauchon his
chair, placing it at the head of the table].

Cauchon accepts the place of honor with a grave inclination.
Warwick fetches the leather stool carelessly, and sits in his
former place.  The chaplain goes back to his chair.

Though Warwick has taken second place in calculated deference to
the Bishop, he assumes the lead in opening the proceedings as a
matter of course.  He is still cordial and expansive; but there is
a new note in his voice which means that he is coming to business.

WARWICK.  Well, my Lord Bishop, you find us in one of our unlucky
moments.  Charles is to be crowned at Rheims, practically by the
young woman from Lorraine; and--I must not deceive you, nor flatter
your hopes-- we cannot prevent it.  I suppose it will make a great
difference to Charles's position.

CAUCHON.  Undoubtedly.  It is a masterstroke of The Maid's.

THE CHAPLAIN [again agitated]  We were not fairly beaten, my lord.
No Englishman is ever fairly beaten.

Cauchon raises his eyebrow slightly, then quickly composes his

WARWICK.  Our friend here takes the view that the young woman is a
sorceress.  It would, I presume, be the duty of your reverend
lordship to denounce her to the Inquisition, and have her burnt for
that offence.

CAUCHON.  If she were captured in my diocese: yes.

WARWICK [feeling that they are getting on capitally]  Just so.  Now
I suppose there can be no reasonable doubt that she is a sorceress.

THE CHAPLAIN.  Not the least.  An arrant witch.

WARWICK [gently reproving their interruption]  We are asking for
the Bishop's opinion, Messire John.

CAUCHON.  We shall have to consider not merely our own opinions
here, but the opinions--the prejudices, if you like--of a French

WARWICK [correcting]  A Catholic court, my lord.

CAUCHON.  Catholic courts are composed of mortal men, like other
courts, however sacred their function and inspiration may be.  And
if the men are Frenchmen, as the modern fashion calls them, I am
afraid the bare fact that an English army has been defeated by a
French one will not convince them that there is any sorcery in the

THE CHAPLAIN.  What!  Not when the famous Sir Talbot himself has
been defeated and actually taken prisoner by a drab from the
ditches of Lorraine!

CAUCHON.  Sir John Talbot, we all know, is a fierce and formidable
soldier, Messire; but I have yet to learn that he is an able
general.  And though it pleases you to say that he has been
defeated by this girl, some of us may be disposed to give a little
of the credit to Dunois.

THE CHAPLAIN [contemptuously]  The Bastard of Orleans!

CAUCHON.  Let me remind--

WARWICK [interposing]  I know what you are going to say, my lord.
Dunois defeated me at Montargis.

CAUCHON [bowing]  I take that as evidence that the Seigneur Dunois
is a very able commander indeed.

WARWICK.  Your lordship is the flower of courtesy.  I admit, on our
side, that Talbot is a mere fighting animal, and that it probably
served him right to be taken at Patay.

THE CHAPLAIN [chafing]  My lord: at Orleans this woman had her
throat pierced by an English arrow, and was seen to cry like a
child from the pain of it.  It was a death wound; yet she fought
all day; and when our men had repulsed all her attacks like true
Englishmen, she walked alone to the wall of our fort with a white
banner in her hand; and our men were paralyzed, and could neither
shoot nor strike whilst the French fell on them and drove them on
to the bridge, which immediately burst into flames and crumbled
under them, letting them down into the river, where they were
drowned in heaps.  Was this your bastard's generalship? or were
those flames the flames of hell, conjured up by witchcraft?

WARWICK.  You will forgive Messire John's vehemence, my lord; but
he has put our case.  Dunois is a great captain, we admit; but why
could he do nothing until the witch came?

CAUCHON.  I do not say that there were no supernatural powers on
her side.  But the names on that white banner were not the names of
Satan and Beelzebub, but the blessed names of our Lord and His holy
mother.  And your commander who was drowned--Clahz-da I think you
call him--

WARWICK.  Glasdale.  Sir William Glasdale.

CAUCHON.  Glass-dell, thank you.  He was no saint; and many of our
people think that he was drowned for his blasphemies against The

WARWICK [beginning to look very dubious]  Well, what are we to
infer from all this, my lord?  Has The Maid converted you?

CAUCHON.  If she had, my lord, I should have known better than to
have trusted myself here within your grasp.

WARWICK [blandly deprecating]  Oh! oh!  My lord!

CAUCHON.  If the devil is making use of this girl--and I believe he

WARWICK [reassured]  Ah!  You hear, Messire John?  I knew your
lordship would not fail us.  Pardon my interruption.  Proceed.

CAUCHON.  If it be so, the devil has longer views than you give him
credit for.

WARWICK.  Indeed?  In what way?  Listen to this, Messire John.

CAUCHON.  If the devil wanted to damn a country girl, do you think
so easy a task would cost him the winning of half a dozen battles?
No, my lord: any trumpery imp could do that much if the girl could
be damned at all.  The Prince of Darkness does not condescend to
such cheap drudgery.  When he strikes, he strikes at the Catholic
Church, whose realm is the whole spiritual world.  When he damns,
he damns the souls of the entire human race.  Against that dreadful
design The Church stands ever on guard.  And it is as one of the
instruments of that design that I see this girl.  She is inspired,
but diabolically inspired.

THE CHAPLAIN.  I told you she was a witch.

CAUCHON [fiercely]  She is not a witch.  She is a heretic.

THE CHAPLAIN.  What difference does that make?

CAUCHON.  You, a priest, ask me that!  You English are strangely
blunt in the mind.  All these things that you call witchcraft are
capable of a natural explanation.  The woman's miracles would not
impose on a rabbit: she does not claim them as miracles herself.
What do her victories prove but that she has a better head on her
shoulders than your swearing Glass-dells and mad bull Talbots, and
that the courage of faith, even though it be a false faith, will
always outstay the courage of wrath?

THE CHAPLAIN [hardly able to believe his ears]  Does your lordship
compare Sir John Talbot, three times Governor of Ireland, to a mad

WARWICK.  It would not be seemly for you to do so, Messire John, as
you are still six removes from a barony.  But as I am an earl, and
Talbot is only a knight, I may make bold to accept the comparison.
[To the Bishop]  My lord: I wipe the slate as far as the witchcraft
goes.  None the less, we must burn the woman.

CAUCHON.  I cannot burn her.  The Church cannot take life.  And my
first duty is to seek this girl's salvation.

WARWICK.  No doubt.  But you do burn people occasionally.

CAUCHON.  No.  When The Church cuts off an obstinate heretic as a
dead branch from the tree of life, the heretic is handed over to
the secular arm.  The Church has no part in what the secular arm
may see fit to do.

WARWICK.  Precisely.  And I shall be the secular arm in this case.
Well, my lord, hand over your dead branch; and I will see that the
fire is ready for it.  If you will answer for The Church's part, I
will answer for the secular part.

CAUCHON [with smouldering anger]  I can answer for nothing.  You
great lords are too prone to treat The Church as a mere political

WARWICK [smiling and propitiatory]  Not in England, I assure you.

CAUCHON.  In England more than anywhere else.  No, my lord: the
soul of this village girl is of equal value with yours or your
king's before the throne of God; and my first duty is to save it.
I will not suffer your lordship to smile at me as if I were
repeating a meaningless form of words, and it were well understood
between us that I should betray the girl to you.  I am no mere
political bishop: my faith is to me what your honor is to you; and
if there be a loophole through which this baptized child of God can
creep to her salvation, I shall guide her to it.

THE CHAPLAIN [rising in a fury]  You are a traitor.

CAUCHON [springing up]  You lie, priest.  [Trembling with rage]  If
you dare do what this woman has done--set your country above the
holy Catholic Church--you shall go to the fire with her.

THE CHAPLAIN.  My lord: I--I went too far.  I--[he sits down with a
submissive gesture].

WARWICK [who has risen apprehensively]  My lord: I apologize to you
for the word used by Messire John de Stogumber.  It does not mean
in England what it does in France.  In your language traitor means
betrayer: one who is perfidious, treacherous, unfaithful, disloyal.
In our country it means simply one who is not wholly devoted to our
English interests.

CAUCHON.  I am sorry: I did not understand.  [He subsides into his
chair with dignity].

WARWICK [resuming his seat, much relieved]  I must apologize on my
own account if I have seemed to take the burning of this poor girl
too lightly.  When one has seen whole countrysides burnt over and
over again as mere items in military routine, one has to grow a
very thick skin.  Otherwise one might go mad: at all events, I
should.  May I venture to assume that your lordship also, having to
see so many heretics burned from time to time, is compelled to
take--shall I say a professional view of what would otherwise be a
very horrible incident?

CAUCHON.  Yes: it is a painful duty: even, as you say, a horrible
one.  But in comparison with the horror of heresy it is less than
nothing.  I am not thinking of this girl's body, which will suffer
for a few moments only, and which must in any event die in some
more or less painful manner, but of her soul, which may suffer to
all eternity.

WARWICK.  Just so; and God grant that her soul may be saved!  But
the practical problem would seem to be how to save her soul without
saving her body.  For we must face it, my lord: if this cult of The
Maid goes on, our cause is lost.

THE CHAPLAIN [his voice broken like that of a man who has been
crying]  May I speak, my lord?

WARWICK.  Really, Messire John, I had rather you did not, unless
you can keep your temper.

THE CHAPLAIN.  It is only this.  I speak under correction; but The
Maid is full of deceit: she pretends to be devout.  Her prayers and
confessions are endless.  How can she be accused of heresy when she
neglects no observance of a faithful daughter of The Church?

CAUCHON [flaming up]  A faithful daughter of The Church!  The Pope
himself at his proudest dare not presume as this woman presumes.
She acts as if she herself were The Church.  She brings the message
of God to Charles; and The Church must stand aside.  She will crown
him in the cathedral of Rheims: she, not The Church!  She sends
letters to the king of England giving him God's command through her
to return to his island on pain of God's vengeance, which she will
execute.  Let me tell you that the writing of such letters was the
practice of the accursed Mahomet, the anti-Christ.  Has she ever in
all her utterances said one word of The Church?  Never.  It is
always God and herself.

WARWICK.  What can you expect?  A beggar on horseback!  Her head is

CAUCHON.  Who has turned it?  The devil.  And for a mighty purpose.
He is spreading this heresy everywhere.  The man Hus, burnt only
thirteen years ago at Constance, infected all Bohemia with it.  A
man named WcLeef, himself an anointed priest, spread the pestilence
in England; and to your shame you let him die in his bed.  We have
such people here in France too: I know the breed.  It is cancerous:
if it be not cut out, stamped out, burnt out, it will not stop
until it has brought the whole body of human society into sin and
corruption, into waste and ruin.  By it an Arab camel driver drove
Christ and His Church out of Jerusalem, and ravaged his way west
like a wild beast until at last there stood only the Pyrenees and
God's mercy between France and damnation.  Yet what did the camel
driver do at the beginning more than this shepherd girl is doing?
He had his voices from the angel Gabriel: she has her voices from
St Catherine and St Margaret and the Blessed Michael.  He declared
himself the messenger of God, and wrote in God's name to the kings
of the earth.  Her letters to them are going forth daily.  It is
not the Mother of God now to whom we must look for intercession,
but to Joan the Maid.  What will the world be like when The
Church's accumulated wisdom and knowledge and experience, its
councils of learned, venerable pious men, are thrust into the
kennel by every ignorant laborer or dairymaid whom the devil can
puff up with the monstrous self-conceit of being directly inspired
from heaven?  It will be a world of blood, of fury, of devastation,
of each man striving for his own hand: in the end a world wrecked
back into barbarism.  For now you have only Mahomet and his dupes,
and the Maid and her dupes; but what will it be when every girl
thinks herself a Joan and every man a Mahomet?  I shudder to the
very marrow of my bones when I think of it.  I have fought it all
my life; and I will fight it to the end.  Let all this woman's sins
be forgiven her except only this sin; for it is the sin against the
Holy Ghost; and if she does not recant in the dust before the
world, and submit herself to the last inch of her soul to her
Church, to the fire she shall go if she once falls into my hand.

WARWICK [unimpressed]  You feel strongly about it, naturally.

CAUCHON.  Do not you?

WARWICK.  I am a soldier, not a churchman.  As a pilgrim I saw
something of the Mahometans.  They were not so ill-bred as I had
been led to believe.  In some respects their conduct compared
favorably with ours.

CAUCHON [displeased]  I have noticed this before.  Men go to the
East to convert the infidels.  And the infidels pervert them.  The
Crusader comes back more than half a Saracen.  Not to mention that
all Englishmen are born heretics.

THE CHAPLAIN.  Englishmen heretics!!!  [Appealing to Warwick]  My
lord: must we endure this?  His lordship is beside himself.  How
can what an Englishman believes be heresy?  It is a contradiction
in terms.

CAUCHON.  I absolve you, Messire de Stogumber, on the ground of
invincible ignorance.  The thick air of your country does not breed

WARWICK.  You would not say so if you heard us quarrelling about
religion, my lord!  I am sorry you think I must be either a heretic
or a blockhead because, as a travelled man, I know that the
followers of Mahomet profess great respect for our Lord, and are
more ready to forgive St Peter for being a fisherman than your
lordship is to forgive Mahomet for being a camel driver.  But at
least we can proceed in this matter without bigotry.

CAUCHON.  When men call the zeal of the Christian Church bigotry I
know what to think.

WARWICK.  They are only east and west views of the same thing.

CAUCHON [bitterly ironical]  Only east and west!  Only!!

WARWICK.  Oh, my Lord Bishop, I am not gainsaying you.  You will
carry The Church with you, but you have to carry the nobles also.
To my mind there is a stronger case against The Maid than the one
you have so forcibly put.  Frankly, I am not afraid of this girl
becoming another Mahomet, and superseding The Church by a great
heresy.  I think you exaggerate that risk.  But have you noticed
that in these letters of hers, she proposes to all the kings of
Europe, as she has already pressed on Charles, a transaction which
would wreck the whole social structure of Christendom?

CAUCHON.  Wreck The Church.  I tell you so.

WARWICK [whose patience is wearing out]  My lord: pray get The
Church out of your head for a moment; and remember that there are
temporal institutions in the world as well as spiritual ones.  I
and my peers represent the feudal aristocracy as you represent The
Church.  We are the temporal power.  Well, do you not see how this
girl's idea strikes at us?

CAUCHON.  How does her idea strike you, except as it strikes at all
of us, through The Church?

WARWICK.  Her idea is that the kings should give their realms to
God, and then reign as God's bailiffs.

CAUCHON [not interested]  Quite sound theologically, my lord.  But
the king will hardly care, provided he reign.  It is an abstract
idea: a mere form of words.

WARWICK.  By no means.  It is a cunning device to supersede the
aristocracy, and make the king sole and absolute autocrat.  Instead
of the king being merely the first among his peers, he becomes
their master.  That we cannot suffer: we call no man master.
Nominally we hold our lands and dignities from the king, because
there must be a keystone to the arch of human society; but we hold
our lands in our own hands, and defend them with our own swords and
those of our own tenants.  Now by The Maid's doctrine the king will
take our lands--our lands!--and make them a present to God; and God
will then vest them wholly in the king.

CAUCHON.  Need you fear that?  You are the makers of kings after
all.  York or Lancaster in England, Lancaster or Valois in France:
they reign according to your pleasure.

WARWICK.  Yes; but only as long as the people follow their feudal
lords, and know the king only as a travelling show, owning nothing
but the highway that belongs to everybody.  If the people's
thoughts and hearts were turned to the king, and their lords became
only the king's servants in their eyes, the king could break us
across his knee one by one; and then what should we be but liveried
courtiers in his halls?

CAUCHON.  Still you need not fear, my lord.  Some men are born
kings; and some are born statesmen.  The two are seldom the same.
Where would the king find counsellors to plan and carry out such a
policy for him?

WARWICK [with a not too friendly smile]  Perhaps in the Church, my

Cauchon, with an equally sour smile, shrugs his shoulders, and does
not contradict him.

WARWICK.  Strike down the barons; and the cardinals will have it
all their own way.

CAUCHON [conciliatory, dropping his polemical tone]  My lord: we
shall not defeat The Maid if we strive against one another.  I know
well that there is a Will to Power in the world.  I know that while
it lasts there will be a struggle between the Emperor and the Pope,
between the dukes and the political cardinals, between the barons
and the kings.  The devil divides us and governs.  I see you are no
friend to The Church: you are an earl first and last, as I am a
churchman first and last.  But can we not sink our differences in
the face of a common enemy?  I see now that what is in your mind is
not that this girl has never once mentioned The Church, and thinks
only of God and herself, but that she has never once mentioned the
peerage, and thinks only of the king and herself.

WARWICK.  Quite so.  These two ideas of hers are the same idea at
bottom.  It goes deep, my lord.  It is the protest of the
individual soul against the interference of priest or peer between
the private man and his God.  I should call it Protestantism if I
had to find a name for it.

CAUCHON [looking hard at him]  You understand it wonderfully well,
my lord.  Scratch an Englishman, and find a Protestant.

WARWICK [playing the pink of courtesy]  I think you are not
entirely void of sympathy with The Maid's secular heresy, my lord.
I leave you to find a name for it.

CAUCHON.  You mistake me, my lord.  I have no sympathy with her
political presumptions.  But as a priest I have gained a knowledge
of the minds of the common people; and there you will find yet
another most dangerous idea.  I can express it only by such phrases
as France for the French, England for the English, Italy for the
Italians, Spain for the Spanish, and so forth.  It is sometimes so
narrow and bitter in country folk that it surprises me that this
country girl can rise above the idea of her village for its
villagers.  But she can.  She does.  When she threatens to drive
the English from the soil of France she is undoubtedly thinking of
the whole extent of country in which French is spoken.  To her the
French-speaking people are what the Holy Scriptures describe as a
nation.  Call this side of her heresy Nationalism if you will: I
can find you no better name for it.  I can only tell you that it is
essentially anti-Catholic and anti-Christian; for the Catholic
Church knows only one realm, and that is the realm of Christ's
kingdom.  Divide that kingdom into nations, and you dethrone
Christ.  Dethrone Christ, and who will stand between our throats
and the sword?  The world will perish in a welter of war.

WARWICK.  Well, if you will burn the Protestant, I will burn the
Nationalist, though perhaps I shall not carry Messire John with me
there.  England for the English will appeal to him.

THE CHAPLAIN.  Certainly England for the English goes without
saying: it is the simple law of nature.  But this woman denies to
England her legitimate conquests, given her by God because of her
peculiar fitness to rule over less civilized races for their own
good.  I do not understand what your lordships mean by Protestant
and Nationalist: you are too learned and subtle for a poor clerk
like myself.  But I know as a matter of plain commonsense that the
woman is a rebel; and that is enough for me.  She rebels against
Nature by wearing man's clothes, and fighting.  She rebels against
The Church by usurping the divine authority of the Pope.  She
rebels against God by her damnable league with Satan and his evil
spirits against our army.  And all these rebellions are only
excuses for her great rebellion against England.  That is not to be
endured.  Let her perish.  Let her burn.  Let her not infect the
whole flock.  It is expedient that one woman die for the people.

WARWICK [rising]  My lord: we seem to be agreed.

CAUCHON [rising also, but in protest]  I will not imperil my soul.
I will uphold the justice of the Church.  I will strive to the
utmost for this woman's salvation.

WARWICK.  I am sorry for the poor girl.  I hate these severities.
I will spare her if I can.

THE CHAPLAIN [implacably]  I would burn her with my own hands.

CAUCHON [blessing him]  Sancta simplicitas!


The ambulatory in the cathedral of Rheims, near the doors of the
vestry.  A pillar bears one of the stations of the cross.  The
organ is playing the people out of the nave after the coronation.
Joan is kneeling in prayer before the station.  She is beautifully
dressed, but still in male attire.  The organ ceases as Dunois,
also splendidly arrayed, comes into the ambulatory from the vestry.

DUNOIS.  Come, Joan! you have had enough praying.  After that fit
of crying you will catch a chill if you stay here any longer.  It
is all over: the cathedral is empty; and the streets are full.
They are calling for The Maid.  We have told them you are staying
here alone to pray; but they want to see you again.

JOAN.  No: let the king have all the glory.

DUNOIS.  He only spoils the show, poor devil.  No, Joan: you have
crowned him; and you must go through with it.  Joan shakes her head

DUNOIS [raising her]  Come come! it will be over in a couple of
hours.  It's better than the bridge at Orleans: eh?

JOAN.  Oh, dear Dunois, how I wish it were the bridge at Orleans
again!  We lived at that bridge.

DUNOIS.  Yes, faith, and died too: some of us.

JOAN.  Isnt it strange, Jack?  I am such a coward: I am frightened
beyond words before a battle; but it is so dull afterwards when
there is no danger: oh, so dull! dull! dull!

DUNOIS.  You must learn to be abstemious in war, just as you are in
your food and drink, my little saint.

JOAN.  Dear Jack: I think you like me as a soldier likes his

DUNOIS.  You need it, poor innocent child of God.  You have not
many friends at court.

JOAN.  Why do all these courtiers and knights and churchmen hate
me?  What have I done to them?  I have asked nothing for myself
except that my village shall not be taxed; for we cannot afford war
taxes.  I have brought them luck and victory: I have set them right
when they were doing all sorts of stupid things: I have crowned
Charles and made him a real king; and all the honors he is handing
out have gone to them.  Then why do they not love me?

DUNOIS [rallying her]  Sim-ple-ton!  Do you expect stupid people to
love you for shewing them up?  Do blundering old military dug-outs
love the successful young captains who supersede them?  Do
ambitious politicians love the climbers who take the front seats
from them?  Do archbishops enjoy being played off their own altars,
even by saints?  Why, I should be jealous of you myself if I were
ambitious enough.

JOAN.  You are the pick of the basket here, Jack: the only friend I
have among all these nobles.  I'll wager your mother was from the
country.  I will go back to the farm when I have taken Paris.

DUNOIS.  I am not so sure that they will let you take Paris.

JOAN [startled]  What!

DUNOIS.  I should have taken it myself before this if they had all
been sound about it.  Some of them would rather Paris took you, I
think.  So take care.

JOAN.  Jack: the world is too wicked for me.  If the goddams and
the Burgundians do not make an end of me, the French will.  Only
for my voices I should lose all heart.  That is why I had to steal
away to pray here alone after the coronation.  I'll tell you
something, Jack.  It is in the bells I hear my voices.  Not today,
when they all rang: that was nothing but jangling.  But here in
this corner, where the bells come down from heaven, and the echoes
linger, or in the fields, where they come from a distance through
the quiet of the countryside, my voices are in them.  [The
cathedral clock chimes the quarter]  Hark!  [She becomes rapt]  Do
you hear?  'Dear-child-of-God': just what you said.  At the half-
hour they will say 'Be-brave-go-on'.  At the three-quarters they
will say 'I-am-thy-Help'.  But it is at the hour, when the great
bell goes after 'God-will-save-France': it is then that St Margaret
and St Catherine and sometimes even the blessed Michael will say
things that I cannot tell beforehand.  Then, oh then--

DUNOIS [interrupting her kindly but, not sympathetically]  Then,
Joan, we shall hear whatever we fancy in the booming of the bell.
You make me uneasy when you talk about your voices: I should think
you were a bit cracked if I hadnt noticed that you give me very
sensible reasons for what you do, though I hear you telling others
you are only obeying Madame Saint Catherine.

JOAN [crossly]  Well, I have to find reasons for you, because you
do not believe in my voices.  But the voices come first; and I find
the reasons after: whatever you may choose to believe.

DUNOIS.  Are you angry, Joan?

JOAN.  Yes.  [Smiling]  No: not with you.  I wish you were one of
the village babies.


JOAN.  I could nurse you for awhile.

DUNOIS.  You are a bit of a woman after all.

JOAN.  No: not a bit: I am a soldier and nothing else.  Soldiers
always nurse children when they get a chance.

DUNOIS.  That is true.  [He laughs].

King Charles, with Bluebeard on his left and La Hire on his right,
comes from the vestry, where he has been disrobing.  Joan shrinks
away behind the pillar.  Dunois is left between Charles and La

DUNOIS.  Well, your Majesty is an anointed king at last.  How do
you like it?

CHARLES.  I would not go through it again to be emperor of the sun
and moon.  The weight of those robes!  I thought I should have
dropped when they loaded that crown on to me.  And the famous holy
oil they talked so much about was rancid: phew!  The Archbishop
must be nearly dead: his robes must have weighed a ton: they are
stripping him still in the vestry.

DUNOIS [drily]  Your majesty should wear armor oftener.  That would
accustom you to heavy dressing.

CHARLES.  Yes: the old jibe!  Well, I am not going to wear armor:
fighting is not my job.  Where is The Maid?

JOAN [coming forward between Charles and Bluebeard, and falling on
her knee]  Sire: I have made you king: my work is done.  I am going
back to my father's farm.

CHARLES [surprised, but relieved]  Oh, are you?  Well, that will be
very nice.

Joan rises, deeply discouraged.

CHARLES [continuing heedlessly]  A healthy life, you know.

DUNOIS.  But a dull one.

BLUEBEARD.  You will find the petticoats tripping you up after
leaving them off for so long.

LA HIRE.  You will miss the fighting.  It's a bad habit, but a
grand one, and the hardest of all to break yourself of.

CHARLES [anxiously]  Still, we dont want you to stay if you would
really rather go home.

JOAN [bitterly]  I know well that none of you will be sorry to see
me go.  [She turns her shoulder to Charles and walks past him to
the more congenial neighborhood of Dunois and La Hire].

LA HIRE.  Well, I shall be able to swear when I want to.  But I
shall miss you at times.

JOAN.  La Hire: in spite of all your sins and swears we shall meet
in heaven; for I love you as I love Pitou, my old sheep dog.  Pitou
could kill a wolf.  You will kill the English wolves until they go
back to their country and become good dogs of God, will you not?

LA HIRE.  You and I together: yes.

JOAN.  No: I shall last only a year from the beginning.


JOAN.  I know it somehow.

DUNOIS.  Nonsense!

JOAN.  Jack: do you think you will be able to drive them out?

DUNOIS [with quiet conviction]  Yes: I shall drive them out.  They
beat us because we thought battles were tournaments and ransom
markets.  We played the fool while the goddams took war seriously.
But I have learnt my lesson, and taken their measure.  They have no
roots here.  I have beaten them before; and I shall beat them

JOAN.  You will not be cruel to them, Jack?

DUNOIS.  The goddams will not yield to tender handling.  We did not
begin it.

JOAN [suddenly]  Jack: before I go home, let us take Paris.

CHARLES [terrified]  Oh no no.  We shall lose everything we have
gained.  Oh dont let us have any more fighting.  We can make a very
good treaty with the Duke of Burgundy.

JOAN.  Treaty!  [She stamps with impatience].

CHARLES.  Well, why not, now that I am crowned and anointed?  Oh,
that oil!

The Archbishop comes from the vestry, and joins the group between
Charles and Bluebeard.

CHARLES.  Archbishop: The Maid wants to start fighting again.

THE ARCHBISHOP.  Have we ceased fighting, then?  Are we at peace?

CHARLES.  No: I suppose not; but let us be content with what we
have done.  Let us make a treaty.  Our luck is too good to last;
and now is our chance to stop before it turns.

JOAN.  Luck!  God has fought for us; and you call it luck!  And you
would stop while there are still Englishmen on this holy earth of
dear France!

THE ARCHBISHOP [sternly]  Maid: the king addressed himself to me,
not to you.  You forget yourself.  You very often forget yourself.

JOAN [unabashed, and rather roughly]  Then speak, you; and tell him
that it is not God's will that he should take his hand from the

THE ARCHBISHOP.  If I am not so glib with the name of God as you
are, it is because I interpret His will with the authority of the
Church and of my sacred office.  When you first came you respected
it, and would not have dared to speak as you are now speaking.  You
came clothed with the virtue of humility; and because God blessed
your enterprises accordingly, you have stained yourself with the
sin of pride.  The old Greek tragedy is rising among us.  It is the
chastisement of hubris.

CHARLES.  Yes: she thinks she knows better than everyone else.

JOAN [distressed, but naively incapable of seeing the effect she is
producing]  But I do know better than any of you seem to.  And I am
not proud: I never speak unless I know I am right.

BLUEBEARD } [exclaiming {Ha ha!
CHARLES   }   together] {Just so.

THE ARCHBISHOP.  How do you know you are right?

JOAN.  I always know.  My voices--

CHARLES.  Oh, your voices, your voices.  Why dont the voices come
to me?  I am king, not you.

JOAN.  They do come to you; but you do not hear them.  You have not
sat in the field in the evening listening for them.  When the
angelus rings you cross yourself and have done with it; but if you
prayed from your heart, and listened to the thrilling of the bells
in the air after they stop ringing, you would hear the voices as
well as I do.  [Turning brusquely from him]  But what voices do you
need to tell you what the blacksmith can tell you: that you must
strike while the iron is hot?  I tell you we must make a dash at
Compiegne and relieve it as we relieved Orleans.  Then Paris will
open its gates; or if not, we will break through them.  What is
your crown worth without your capital?

LA HIRE.  That is what I say too.  We shall go through them like a
red hot shot through a pound of butter.  What do you say, Bastard?

DUNOIS.  If our cannon balls were all as hot as your head, and we
had enough of them, we should conquer the earth, no doubt.  Pluck
and impetuosity are good servants in war, but bad masters: they
have delivered us into the hands of the English every time we have
trusted to them.  We never know when we are beaten: that is our
great fault.

JOAN.  You never know when you are victorious: that is a worse
fault.  I shall have to make you carry looking-glasses in battle to
convince you that the English have not cut off all your noses.  You
would have been besieged in Orleans still, you and your councils of
war, if I had not made you attack.  You should always attack; and
if you only hold on long enough the enemy will stop first.  You
dont know how to begin a battle; and you dont know how to use your
cannons.  And I do.

She squats down on the flags with crossed ankles, pouting.

DUNOIS.  I know what you think of us, General Joan.

JOAN.  Never mind that, Jack.  Tell them what you think of me.

DUNOIS.  I think that God was on your side; for I have not
forgotten how the wind changed, and how our hearts changed when you
came; and by my faith I shall never deny that it was in your sign
that we conquered.  But I tell you as a soldier that God is no
man's daily drudge, and no maid's either.  If you are worthy of it
He will sometimes snatch you out of the jaws of death and set you
on your feet again; but that is all: once on your feet you must
fight with all your might and all your craft.  For He has to be
fair to your enemy too: dont forget that.  Well, He set us on our
feet through you at Orleans; and the glory of it has carried us
through a few good battles here to the coronation.  But if we
presume on it further, and trust to God to do the work we should do
ourselves, we shall be defeated; and serve us right!

JOAN.  But--

DUNOIS.  Sh! I have not finished.  Do not think, any of you, that
these victories of ours were won without generalship.  King
Charles: you have said no word in your proclamations of my part in
this campaign; and I make no complaint of that; for the people will
run after The Maid and her miracles and not after the Bastard's
hard work finding troops for her and feeding them.  But I know
exactly how much God did for us through The Maid, and how much He
left me to do by my own wits; and I tell you that your little hour
of miracles is over, and that from this time on he who plays the
war game best will win--if the luck is on his side.

JOAN.  Ah! if, if, if, if!  If ifs and ans were pots and pans
there'd be no need of tinkers.  [Rising impetuously]  I tell you,
Bastard, your art of war is no use, because your knights are no
good for real fighting.  War is only a game to them, like tennis
and all their other games: they make rules as to what is fair and
what is not fair, and heap armor on themselves and on their poor
horses to keep out the arrows; and when they fall they cant get up,
and have to wait for their squires to come and lift them to arrange
about the ransom with the man that has poked them off their horse.
Cant you see that all the like of that is gone by and done with?
What use is armor against gunpowder?  And if it was, do you think
men that are fighting for France and for God will stop to bargain
about ransoms, as half your knights live by doing?  No: they will
fight to win; and they will give up their lives out of their own
hand into the hand of God when they go into battle, as I do.
Common folks understand this.  They cannot afford armor and cannot
pay ransoms; but they followed me half naked into the moat and up
the ladder and over the wall.  With them it is my life or thine,
and God defend the right!  You may shake your head, Jack; and
Bluebeard may twirl his billygoat's beard and cock his nose at me;
but remember the day your knights and captains refused to follow me
to attack the English at Orleans!  You locked the gates to keep me
in; and it was the townsfolk and the common people that followed
me, and forced the gate, and shewed you the way to fight in

BLUEBEARD [offended]  Not content with being Pope Joan, you must be
Caesar and Alexander as well.

THE ARCHBISHOP.  Pride will have a fall, Joan.

JOAN.  Oh, never mind whether it is pride or not: is it true? is it

LA HIRE.  It is true.  Half of us are afraid of having our handsome
noses broken; and the other half are out for paying off their
mortgages.  Let her have her way, Dunois: she does not know
everything; but she has got hold of the right end of the stick.
Fighting is not what it was; and those who know least about it
often make the best job of it.

DUNOIS.  I know all that.  I do not fight in the old way: I have
learnt the lesson of Agincourt, of Poitiers and Crecy.  I know how
many lives any move of mine will cost; and if the move is worth the
cost I make it and pay the cost.  But Joan never counts the cost at
all: she goes ahead and trusts to God: she thinks she has God in
her pocket.  Up to now she has had the numbers on her side; and she
has won.  But I know Joan; and I see that some day she will go
ahead when she has only ten men to do the work of a hundred.  And
then she will find that God is on the side of the big battalions.
She will be taken by the enemy.  And the lucky man that makes the
capture will receive sixteen thousand pounds from the Earl of

JOAN [flattered]  Sixteen thousand pounds!  Eh, laddie, have they
offered that for me?  There cannot be so much money in the world.

DUNOIS.  There is, in England.  And now tell me, all of you, which
of you will lift a finger to save Joan once the English have got
her?  I speak first, for the army.  The day after she has been
dragged from her horse by a goddam or a Burgundian, and he is not
struck dead: the day after she is locked in a dungeon, and the bars
and bolts do not fly open at the touch of St Peter's angel: the day
when the enemy finds out that she is as vulnerable as I am and not
a bit more invincible, she will not be worth the life of a single
soldier to us; and I will not risk that life, much as I cherish her
as a companion-in-arms.

JOAN.  I dont blame you, Jack: you are right.  I am not worth one
soldier's life if God lets me be beaten; but France may think me
worth my ransom after what God has done for her through me.

CHARLES.  I tell you I have no money; and this coronation, which is
all your fault, has cost me the last farthing I can borrow.

JOAN.  The Church is richer than you.  I put my trust in the

THE ARCHBISHOP.  Woman: they will drag you through the streets, and
burn you as a witch.

JOAN [running to him]  Oh, my lord, do not say that.  It is
impossible.  I a witch!

THE ARCHBISHOP.  Peter Cauchon knows his business.  The University
of Paris has burnt a woman for saying that what you have done was
well done, and according to God.

JOAN [bewildered]  But why?  What sense is there in it?  What I
have done is according to God.  They could not burn a woman for
speaking the truth.


JOAN.  But you know that she was speaking the truth.  You would not
let them burn me.

THE ARCHBISHOP.  How could I prevent them?

JOAN.  You would speak in the name of the Church.  You are a great
prince of the Church.  I would go anywhere with your blessing to
protect me.

THE ARCHBISHOP.  I have no blessing for you while you are proud and

JOAN.  Oh, why will you go on saying things like that?  I am not
proud and disobedient.  I am a poor girl, and so ignorant that I do
not know A from B.  How could I be proud?  And how can you say that
I am disobedient when I always obey my voices, because they come
from God.

THE ARCHBISHOP.  The voice of God on earth is the voice of the
Church Militant; and all the voices that come to you are the echoes
of your own wilfulness.

JOAN.  It is not true.

THE ARCHBISHOP [flushing angrily]  You tell the Archbishop in his
cathedral that he lies; and yet you say you are not proud and

JOAN.  I never said you lied.  It was you that as good as said my
voices lied.  When have they ever lied?  If you will not believe in
them: even if they are only the echoes of my own commonsense, are
they not always right? and are not your earthly counsels always

THE ARCHBISHOP [indignantly]  It is waste of time admonishing you.

CHARLES.  It always comes back to the same thing.  She is right;
and everyone else is wrong.

THE ARCHBISHOP.  Take this as your last warning.  If you perish
through setting your private judgment above the instructions of
your spiritual directors, the Church disowns you, and leaves you to
whatever fate your presumption may bring upon you.  The Bastard has
told you that if you persist in setting up your military conceit
above the counsels of your commanders--

DUNOIS [interposing]  To put it quite exactly, if you attempt to
relieve the garrison in Compiegne without the same superiority in
numbers you had at Orleans--

THE ARCHBISHOP.  The army will disown you, and will not rescue you.
And His Majesty the King has told you that the throne has not the
means of ransoming you.

CHARLES.  Not a penny.

THE ARCHBISHOP.  You stand alone: absolutely alone, trusting to your
own conceit, your own ignorance, your own headstrong presumption,
your own impiety in hiding all these sins under the cloak of a
trust in God.  When you pass through these doors into the sunlight,
the crowd will cheer you.  They will bring you their little
children and their invalids to heal: they will kiss your hands and
feet, and do what they can, poor simple souls, to turn your head,
and madden you with the self-confidence that is leading you to your
destruction.  But you will be none the less alone: they cannot save
you.  We and we only can stand between you and the stake at which
our enemies have burnt that wretched woman in Paris.

JOAN [her eyes skyward]  I have better friends and better counsel
than yours.

THE ARCHBISHOP.  I see that I am speaking in vain to a hardened
heart.  You reject our protection, and are determined to turn us
all against you.  In future, then, fend for yourself; and if you
fail, God have mercy on your soul.

DUNOIS.  That is the truth, Joan.  Heed it.

JOAN.  Where would you all have been now if I had heeded that sort
of truth?  There is no help, no counsel, in any of you.  Yes: I am
alone on earth: I have always been alone.  My father told my
brothers to drown me if I would not stay to mind his sheep while
France was bleeding to death: France might perish if only our lambs
were safe.  I thought France would have friends at the court of the
king of France; and I find only wolves fighting for pieces of her
poor torn body.  I thought God would have friends everywhere,
because He is the friend of everyone; and in my innocence I
believed that you who now cast me out would be like strong towers
to keep harm from me.  But I am wiser now; and nobody is any the
worse for being wiser.  Do not think you can frighten me by telling
me that I am alone.  France is alone; and God is alone; and what is
my loneliness before the loneliness of my country and my God?  I
see now that the loneliness of God is His strength: what would He
be if He listened to your jealous little counsels?  Well, my
loneliness shall be my strength too; it is better to be alone with
God; His friendship will not fail me, nor His counsel, nor His
love.  In His strength I will dare, and dare, and dare, until I
die.  I will go out now to the common people, and let the love in
their eyes comfort me for the hate in yours.  You will all be glad
to see me burnt; but if I go through the fire I shall go through it
to their hearts for ever and ever.  And so, God be with me!

She goes from them.  They stare after her in glum silence for a
moment.  Then Gilles de Rais twirls his beard.

BLUEBEARD.  You know, the woman is quite impossible.  I dont
dislike her, really; but what are you to do with such a character?

DUNOIS.  As God is my judge, if she fell into the Loire I would
jump in in full armor to fish her out.  But if she plays the fool
at Compiegne, and gets caught, I must leave her to her doom.

LA HIRE.  Then you had better chain me up; for I could follow her to
hell when the spirit rises in her like that.

THE ARCHBISHOP.  She disturbs my judgment too: there is a dangerous
power in her outbursts.  But the pit is open at her feet; and for
good or evil we cannot turn her from it.

CHARLES.  If only she would keep quiet, or go home!  They follow
her dispiritedly.


Rouen, 30 May 1431.  A great stone hall in the castle, arranged for
a trial-at-law, but not a trial-by-jury, the court being the
Bishop's court with the Inquisition participating: hence there are
two raised chairs side by side for the Bishop and the Inquisitor as
judges.  Rows of chairs radiating from them at an obtuse angle are
for the canons, the doctors of law and theology, and the Dominican
monks, who act as assessors.  In the angle is a table for the
scribes, with stools.  There is also a heavy rough wooden stool for
the prisoner.  All these are at the inner end of the hall.  The
further end is open to the courtyard through a row of arches.  The
court is shielded from the weather by screens and curtains.

Looking down the great hall from the middle of the inner end, the
judicial chairs and scribes' table are to the right.  The
prisoner's stool is to the left.  There are arched doors right and
left.  It is a fine sunshiny May morning.

Warwick comes in through the arched doorway on the judges' side,
followed by his page.

THE PAGE [pertly]  I suppose your lordship is aware that we have no
business here.  This is an ecclesiastical court; and we are only
the secular arm.

WARWICK.  I am aware of that fact.  Will it please your impudence
to find the Bishop of Beauvais for me, and give him a hint that he
can have a word with me here before the trial, if he wishes?

THE PAGE [going]  Yes, my lord.

WARWICK.  And mind you behave yourself.  Do not address him as
Pious Peter.

THE PAGE.  No, my lord.  I shall be kind to him, because, when The
Maid is brought in, Pious Peter will have to pick a peck of pickled

Cauchon enters through the same door with a Dominican monk and a
canon, the latter carrying a brief.

THE PAGE.  The Right Reverend his lordship the Bishop of Beauvais.
And two other reverend gentlemen.

WARWICK.  Get out; and see that we are not interrupted.

THE PAGE.  Right, my lord [he vanishes airily].

CAUCHON.  I wish your lordship good-morrow.

WARWICK.  Good-morrow to your lordship.  Have I had the pleasure of
meeting your friends before?  I think not.

CAUCHON [introducing the monk, who is on his right]  This, my lord,
is Brother John Lemaitre, of the order of St Dominic.  He is acting
as deputy for the Chief Inquisitor into the evil of heresy in
France.  Brother John: the Earl of Warwick.

WARWICK.  Your Reverence is most welcome.  We have no Inquisitor in
England, unfortunately; though we miss him greatly, especially on
occasions like the present.

The Inquisitor smiles patiently, and bows.  He is a mild elderly
gentleman, but has evident reserves of authority and firmness.

CAUCHON [introducing the Canon, who is on his left]  This gentleman
is Canon John D'Estivet, of the Chapter of Bayeaux.  He is acting
as Promoter.

WARWICK.  Promoter?

CAUCHON.  Prosecutor, you would call him in civil law.

WARWICK.  Ah! prosecutor.  Quite, quite.  I am very glad to make
your acquaintance, Canon D'Estivet.

D'Estivet bows.  [He is on the young side of middle age, well
mannered, but vulpine beneath his veneer].

WARWICK.  May I ask what stage the proceedings have reached?  It is
now more than nine months since The Maid was captured at Compiegne
by the Burgundians.  It is fully four months since I bought her
from the Burgundians for a very handsome sum, solely that she might
be brought to justice.  It is very nearly three months since I
delivered her up to you, my Lord Bishop, as a person suspected of
heresy.  May I suggest that you are taking a rather unconscionable
time to make up your minds about a very plain case?  Is this trial
never going to end?

THE INQUISITOR [smiling]  It has not yet begun, my lord.

WARWICK.  Not yet begun!  Why, you have been at it eleven weeks!

CAUCHON.  We have not been idle, my lord.  We have held fifteen
examinations of The Maid: six public and nine private.

THE INQUISITOR [always patiently smiling]  You see, my lord, I have
been present at only two of these examinations.  They were
proceedings of the Bishop's court solely, and not of the Holy
Office.  I have only just decided to associate myself--that is, to
associate the Holy Inquisition--with the Bishop's court.  I did not
at first think that this was a case of heresy at all.  I regarded
it as a political case, and The Maid as a prisoner of war.  But
having now been present at two of the examinations, I must admit
that this seems to be one of the gravest cases of heresy within my
experience.  Therefore everything is now in order, and we proceed
to trial this morning.  [He moves towards the judicial chairs].

CAUCHON.  This moment, if your lordship's convenience allows.

WARWICK [graciously] Well, that is good news, gentlemen.  I will
not attempt to conceal from you that our patience was becoming

CAUCHON.  So I gathered from the threats of your soldiers to drown
those of our people who favor The Maid.

WARWICK.  Dear me!  At all events their intentions were friendly to
you, my lord.

CAUCHON [sternly]  I hope not.  I am determined that the woman
shall have a fair hearing.  The justice of the Church is not a
mockery, my lord.

THE INQUISITOR [returning]  Never has there been a fairer
examination within my experience, my lord.  The Maid needs no
lawyers to take her part: she will be tried by her most faithful
friends, all ardently desirous to save her soul from perdition.

D'ESTIVET.  Sir: I am the Promotor; and it has been my painful duty
to present the case against the girl; but believe me, I would throw
up my case today and hasten to her defence if I did not know that
men far my superiors in learning and piety, in eloquence and
persuasiveness, have been sent to reason with her, to explain to
her the danger she is running, and the ease with which she may
avoid it.  [Suddenly bursting into forensic eloquence, to the
disgust of Cauchon and the Inquisitor, who have listened to him so
far with patronizing approval]  Men have dared to say that we are
acting from hate; but God is our witness that they lie.  Have we
tortured her?  No.  Have we ceased to exhort her; to implore her to
have pity on herself; to come to the bosom of her Church as an
erring but beloved child?  Have we--

CAUCHON [interrupting drily]  Take care, Canon.  All that you say
is true; but if you make his lordship believe it I will not answer
for your life, and hardly for my own.

WARWICK [deprecating, but by no means denying]  Oh, my lord, you
are very hard on us poor English.  But we certainly do not share
your pious desire to save The Maid: in fact I tell you now plainly
that her death is a political necessity which I regret but cannot
help.  If the Church lets her go--

CAUCHON [with fierce and menacing pride]  If the Church lets her
go, woe to the man, were he the Emperor himself, who dares lay a
finger on her!  The Church is not subject to political necessity,
my lord.

THE INQUISITOR [interposing smoothly]  You need have no anxiety
about the result, my lord.  You have an invincible ally in the
matter: one who is far more determined than you that she shall

WARWICK.  And who is this very convenient partisan, may I ask?

THE INQUISITOR.  The Maid herself.  Unless you put a gag in her
mouth you cannot prevent her from convicting herself ten times over
every time she opens it.

D'ESTIVET.  That is perfectly true, my lord.  My hair bristles on
my head when I hear so young a creature utter such blasphemies.

WARWICK.  Well, by all means do your best for her if you are quite
sure it will be of no avail.  [Looking hard at Cauchon]  I should
be sorry to have to act without the blessing of the Church.

CAUCHON [with a mixture of cynical admiration and contempt]  And
yet they say Englishmen are hypocrites!  You play for your side, my
lord, even at the peril of your soul.  I cannot but admire such
devotion; but I dare not go so far myself.  I fear damnation.

WARWICK.  If we feared anything we could never govern England, my
lord.  Shall I send your people in to you?

CAUCHON.  Yes: it will be very good of your lordship to withdraw
and allow the court to assemble.

Warwick turns on his heel, and goes out through the courtyard.
Cauchon takes one of the judicial seats; and D'Estivet sits at the
scribes' table, studying his brief.

CAUCHON [casually, as he makes himself comfortable]  What
scoundrels these English nobles are!

THE INQUISITOR [taking the other judicial chair on Cauchon's left]
All secular power makes men scoundrels.  They are not trained for
the work; and they have not the Apostolic Succession.  Our own
nobles are just as bad.

The Bishop's assessors hurry into the hall, headed by Chaplain de
Stogumber and Canon de Courcelles, a young priest of 30.  The
scribes sit at the table, leaving a chair vacant opposite
D'Estivet.  Some of the assessors take their seats: others stand
chatting, waiting for the proceedings to begin formally.  De
Stogumber, aggrieved and obstinate, will not take his seat: neither
will the Canon, who stands on his right.

CAUCHON.  Good morning, Master de Stogumber.  [To the Inquisitor]
Chaplain to the Cardinal of England.

THE CHAPLAIN [correcting him]  Of Winchester, my lord.  I have to
make a protest, my lord.

CAUCHON.  You make a great many.

THE CHAPLAIN.  I am not without support, my lord.  Here is Master de
Courcelles, Canon of Paris, who associates himself with me in my

CAUCHON.  Well, what is the matter?

THE CHAPLAIN [sulkily]  Speak you, Master de Courcelles, since I do
not seem to enjoy his lordship's confidence.  [He sits down in
dudgeon next to Cauchon, on his right].

COURCELLES.  My lord; we have been at great pains to draw up an
indictment of The Maid on sixty-four counts.  We are not told that
they have been reduced, without consulting us.

THE INQUISITOR.  Master de Courcelles: I am the culprit.  I am
overwhelmed with admiration for the zeal displayed in your sixty-
four counts; but in accusing a heretic, as in other things, enough
is enough.  Also you must remember that all the members of the
court are not so subtle and profound as you, and that some of your
very great learning might appear to them to be very great nonsense.
Therefore I have thought it well to have your sixty-four articles
cut down to twelve--

COURCELLES [thunderstruck]  Twelve!!!

THE INQUISITOR.  Twelve will, believe me, be quite enough for your

THE CHAPLAIN.  But some of the most important points have been
reduced almost to nothing.  For instance, The Maid has actually
declared that the blessed saints Margaret and Catherine, and the
holy Archangel Michael, spoke to her in French.  That is a vital

THE INQUISITOR.  You think, doubtless, that they should have spoken
in Latin?

CAUCHON.  No: he thinks they should have spoken in English.

THE CHAPLAIN.  Naturally, my lord.

THE INQUISITOR.  Well, as we are all here agreed, I think, that
these voices of The Maid are the voices of evil spirits tempting
her to her damnation, it would not be very courteous to you, Master
de Stogumber, or to the King of England, to assume that English is
the devil's native language.  So let it pass.  The matter is not
wholly omitted from the twelve articles.  Pray take your places,
gentlemen; and let us proceed to business.

All who have not taken their seats, do so.

THE CHAPLAIN.  Well, I protest.  That is all.

COURCELLES.  I think it hard that all our work should go for
nothing.  It is only another example of the diabolical influence
which this woman exercises over the court.  [He takes his chair,
which is on the Chaplain's right].

CAUCHON.  Do you suggest that I am under diabolical influence?

COURCELLES.  I suggest nothing, my lord.  But it seems to me that
there is a conspiracy here to hush up the fact that The Maid stole
the Bishop of Senlis's horse.

CAUCHON [keeping his temper with difficulty]  This is not a police
court.  Are we to waste our time on such rubbish?

COURCELLES [rising, shocked]  My lord: do you call the Bishop's
horse rubbish?

THE INQUISITOR [blandly]  Master de Courcelles: The Maid alleges
that she paid handsomely for the Bishop's horse, and that if he did
not get the money the fault was not hers.  As that may be true, the
point is one on which The Maid may well be acquitted.

COURCELLES.  Yes, if it were an ordinary horse.  But the Bishop's
horse! how can she be acquitted for that?  [He sits down again,
bewildered and discouraged].

THE INQUISITOR.  I submit to you, with great respect, that if we
persist in trying The Maid on trumpery issues on which we may have
to declare her innocent, she may escape us on the great main issue
of heresy, on which she seems so far to insist on her own guilt.  I
will ask you, therefore, to say nothing, when The Maid is brought
before us, of these stealings of horses, and dancings round fairy
trees with the village children, and prayings at haunted wells, and
a dozen other things which you were diligently inquiring into until
my arrival.  There is not a village girl in France against whom you
could not prove such things: they all dance round haunted trees,
and pray at magic wells.  Some of them would steal the Pope's horse
if they got the chance.  Heresy, gentlemen, heresy is the charge we
have to try.  The detection and suppression of heresy is my
peculiar business: I am here as an inquisitor, not as an ordinary
magistrate.  Stick to the heresy, gentlemen; and leave the other
matters alone.

CAUCHON.  I may say that we have sent to the girl's village to make
inquiries about her, and there is practically nothing serious
against her.

THE CHAPLAIN } [rising and         {Nothing serious, my lord--
COURCELLES   } clamoring together] {What!  The fairy tree not--

CAUCHON  [out of patience]  Be silent, gentlemen; or speak one at a

Courcelles collapses into his chair, intimidated.

THE CHAPLAIN [sulkily resuming his seat]  That is what The Maid
said to us last Friday.

CAUCHON.  I wish you had followed her counsel, sir.  When I say
nothing serious, I mean nothing that men of sufficiently large mind
to conduct an inquiry like this would consider serious.  I agree
with my colleague the Inquisitor that it is on the count of heresy
that we must proceed.

LADVENU [a young but ascetically fine-drawn Dominican who is
sitting next Courcelles, on his right]  But is there any great harm
in the girl's heresy?  Is it not merely her simplicity?  Many
saints have said as much as Joan.

THE INQUISITOR [dropping his blandness and speaking very gravely]
Brother Martin: if you had seen what I have seen of heresy, you
would not think it a light thing even in its most apparently
harmless and even lovable and pious origins.  Heresy begins with
people who are to all appearance better than their neighbors.  A
gentle and pious girl, or a young man who has obeyed the command of
our Lord by giving all his riches to the poor, and putting on the
garb of poverty, the life of austerity, and the rule of humility
and charity, may be the founder of a heresy that will wreck both
Church and Empire if not ruthlessly stamped out in time.  The
records of the Holy Inquisition are full of histories we dare not
give to the world, because they are beyond the belief of honest men
and innocent women; yet they all began with saintly simpletons.  I
have seen this again and again.  Mark what I say: the woman who
quarrels with her clothes, and puts on the dress of a man, is like
the man who throws off his fur gown and dresses like John the
Baptist: they are followed, as surely as the night follows the day,
by bands of wild women and men who refuse to wear any clothes at
all.  When maids will neither marry nor take regular vows, and men
reject marriage and exalt their lusts into divine inspirations,
then, as surely as the summer follows the spring, they begin with
polygamy, and end by incest.  Heresy at first seems innocent and
even laudable; but it ends in such a monstrous horror of unnatural
wickedness that the most tender-hearted among you, if you saw it at
work as I have seen it, would clamor against the mercy of the
Church in dealing with it.  For two hundred years the Holy Office
has striven with these diabolical madnesses; and it knows that they
begin always by vain and ignorant persons setting up their own
judgment against the Church, and taking it upon themselves to be
the interpreters of God's will.  You must not fall into the common
error of mistaking these simpletons for liars and hypocrites.  They
believe honestly and sincerely that their diabolical inspiration is
divine.  Therefore you must be on your guard against your natural
compassion.  You are all, I hope, merciful men: how else could you
have devoted your lives to the service of our gentle Savior?  You
are going to see before you a young girl, pious and chaste; for I
must tell you, gentlemen, that the things said of her by our
English friends are supported by no evidence, whilst there is
abundant testimony that her excesses have been excesses of religion
and charity and not of worldliness and wantonness.  This girl is
not one of those whose hard features are the sign of hard hearts,
and whose brazen looks and lewd demeanor condemn them before they
are accused.  The devilish pride that has led her into her present
peril has left no mark on her countenance.  Strange as it may seem
to you, it has even left no mark on her character outside those
special matters in which she is proud; so that you will see a
diabolical pride and a natural humility seated side by side in the
selfsame soul.  Therefore be on your guard.  God forbid that I
should tell you to harden your hearts; for her punishment if we
condemn her will be so cruel that we should forfeit our own hope of
divine mercy were there one grain of malice against her in our
hearts.  But if you hate cruelty--and if any man here does not hate
it I command him on his soul's salvation to quit this holy court--I
say, if you hate cruelty, remember that nothing is so cruel in its
consequences as the toleration of heresy.  Remember also that no
court of law can be so cruel as the common people are to those whom
they suspect of heresy.  The heretic in the hands of the Holy
Office is safe from violence, is assured of a fair trial, and
cannot suffer death, even when guilty, if repentance follows sin.
Innumerable lives of heretics have been saved because the Holy
Office has taken them out of the hands of the people, and because
the people have yielded them up, knowing that the Holy Office would
deal with them.  Before the Holy Inquisition existed, and even now
when its officers are not within reach, the unfortunate wretch
suspected of heresy, perhaps quite ignorantly and unjustly, is
stoned, torn in pieces, drowned, burned in his house with all his
innocent children, without a trial, unshriven, unburied save as a
dog is buried: all of them deeds hateful to God and most cruel to
man.  Gentlemen: I am compassionate by nature as well as by my
profession; and though the work I have to do may seem cruel to
those who do not know how much more cruel it would be to leave it
undone, I would go to the stake myself sooner than do it if I did
not know its righteousness, its necessity, its essential mercy.  I
ask you to address yourself to this trial in that conviction.
Anger is a bad counsellor: cast out anger.  Pity is sometimes
worse: cast out pity.  But do not cast out mercy.  Remember only
that justice comes first.  Have you anything to say, my lord,
before we proceed to trial?

CAUCHON.  You have spoken for me, and spoken better than I could.
I do not see how any sane man could disagree with a word that has
fallen from you.  But this I will add.  The crude heresies of which
you have told us are horrible; but their horror is like that of the
black death: they rage for a while and then die out, because sound
and sensible men will not under any incitement be reconciled to
nakedness and incest and polygamy and the like.  But we are
confronted today throughout Europe with a heresy that is spreading
among men not weak in mind nor diseased in brain: nay, the stronger
the mind, the more obstinate the heretic.  It is neither
discredited by fantastic extremes nor corrupted by the common lusts
of the flesh; but it, too, sets up the private judgment of the
single erring mortal against the considered wisdom and experience
of the Church.  The mighty structure of Catholic Christendom will
never be shaken by naked madmen or by the sins of Moab and Ammon.
But it may be betrayed from within, and brought to barbarous ruin
and desolation, by this arch heresy which the English Commander
calls Protestantism.

THE ASSESSORS [whispering]  Protestantism!  What was that?  What
does the Bishop mean?  Is it a new heresy?  The English Commander,
he said.  Did you ever hear of Protestantism? etc., etc.

CAUCHON [continuing]  And that reminds me.  What provision has the
Earl of Warwick made for the defence of the secular arm should The
Maid prove obdurate, and the people be moved to pity her?

THE CHAPLAIN.  Have no fear on that score, my lord.  The noble earl
has eight hundred men-at-arms at the gates.  She will not slip
through our English fingers even if the whole city be on her side.

CAUCHON [revolted]  Will you not add, God grant that she repent and
purge her sin?

THE CHAPLAIN.  That does not seem to me to be consistent; but of
course I agree with your lordship.

CAUCHON [giving him up with a shrug of contempt]  The court sits.

THE INQUISITOR.  Let the accused be brought in.

LADVENU [calling]  The accused.  Let her be brought in.

Joan, chained by the ankles, is brought in through the arched door
behind the prisoner's stool by a guard of English soldiers.  With
them is the Executioner and his assistants.  They lead her to the
prisoner's stool, and place themselves behind it after taking off
her chain.  She wears a page's black suit.  Her long imprisonment
and the strain of the examinations which have preceded the trial
have left their mark on her; but her vitality still holds; she
confronts the court unabashed, without a trace of the awe which
their formal solemnity seems to require for the complete success of
its impressiveness.

THE INQUISITOR [kindly]  Sit down, Joan.  [She sits on the
prisoner's stool].  You look very pale today.  Are you not well?

JOAN.  Thank you kindly: I am well enough.  But the Bishop sent me
some carp; and it made me ill.

CAUCHON.  I am sorry.  I told them to see that it was fresh.

JOAN.  You meant to be good to me, I know; but it is a fish that
does not agree with me.  The English thought you were trying to
poison me--

CAUCHON      } [together] {What!
THE CHAPLAIN }            {No, my lord.

JOAN [continuing]  They are determined that I shall be burnt as a
witch; and they sent their doctor to cure me; but he was forbidden
to bleed me because the silly people believe that a witch's
witchery leaves her if she is bled; so he only called me filthy
names.  Why do you leave me in the hands of the English?  I should
be in the hands of the Church.  And why must I be chained by the
feet to a log of wood?  Are you afraid I will fly away?

D'ESTIVET [harshly]  Woman: it is not for you to question the
court: it is for us to question you.

COURCELLES.  When you were left unchained, did you not try to
escape by jumping from a tower sixty feet high?  If you cannot fly
like a witch, how is it that you are still alive?

JOAN.  I suppose because the tower was not so high then.  It has
grown higher every day since you began asking me questions about

D'ESTIVET.  Why did you jump from the tower?

JOAN.  How do you know that I jumped?

D'ESTIVET.  You were found lying in the moat.  Why did you leave
the tower?

JOAN.  Why would anybody leave a prison if they could get out?

D'ESTIVET.  You tried to escape?

JOAN.  Of course I did; and not for the first time either.  If you
leave the door of the cage open the bird will fly out.

D'ESTIVET [rising]  That is a confession of heresy.  I call the
attention of the court to it.

JOAN.  Heresy, he calls it!  Am I a heretic because I try to escape
from prison?

D'ESTIVET.  Assuredly, if you are in the hands of the Church, and
you wilfully take yourself out of its hands, you are deserting the
Church; and that is heresy.

JOAN.  It is great nonsense.  Nobody could be such a fool as to
think that.

D'ESTIVET.  You hear, my lord, how I am reviled in the execution of
my duty by this woman.  [He sits down indignantly].

CAUCHON.  I have warned you before, Joan, that you are doing
yourself no good by these pert answers.

JOAN.  But you will not talk sense to me.  I am reasonable if you
will be reasonable.

THE INQUISITOR [interposing]  This is not yet in order.  You
forget, Master Promoter, that the proceedings have not been
formally opened.  The time for questions is after she has sworn on
the Gospels to tell us the whole truth.

JOAN.  You say this to me every time.  I have said again and again
that I will tell you all that concerns this trial.  But I cannot
tell you the whole truth: God does not allow the whole truth to be
told.  You do not understand it when I tell it.  It is an old
saying that he who tells too much truth is sure to be hanged.  I am
weary of this argument: we have been over it nine times already.  I
have sworn as much as I will swear; and I will swear no more.

COURCELLES.  My lord: she should be put to the torture.

THE INQUISITOR.  You hear, Joan?  That is what happens to the
obdurate.  Think before you answer.  Has she been shewn the

THE EXECUTIONER.  They are ready, my lord.  She has seen them.

JOAN.  If you tear me limb from limb until you separate my soul
from my body you will get nothing out of me beyond what I have told
you.  What more is there to tell that you could understand?
Besides, I cannot bear to be hurt; and if you hurt me I will say
anything you like to stop the pain.  But I will take it all back
afterwards; so what is the use of it?

LADVENU.  There is much in that.  We should proceed mercifully.

COURCELLES.  But the torture is customary.

THE INQUISITOR.  It must not be applied wantonly.  If the accused
will confess voluntarily, then its use cannot be justified.

COURCELLES.  But this is unusual and irregular.  She refuses to
take the oath.

LADVENU [disgusted]  Do you want to torture the girl for the mere
pleasure of it?

COURCELLES [bewildered]  But it is not a pleasure.  It is the law.
It is customary.  It is always done.

THE INQUISITOR.  That is not so, Master, except when the inquiries
are carried on by people who do not know their legal business.

COURCELLES.  But the woman is a heretic.  I assure you it is always

CAUCHON [decisively]  It will not be done today if it is not
necessary.  Let there be an end of this.  I will not have it said
that we proceeded on forced confessions.  We have sent our best
preachers and doctors to this woman to exhort and implore her to
save her soul and body from the fire: we shall not now send the
executioner to thrust her into it.

COURCELLES.  Your lordship is merciful, of course.  But it is a
great responsibility to depart from the usual practice.

JOAN.  Thou are a rare noodle, Master.  Do what was done last time
is thy rule, eh?

COURCELLES [rising]  Thou wanton: dost thou dare call me noodle?

THE INQUISITOR.  Patience, Master, patience: I fear you will soon be
only too terribly avenged.

COURCELLES [mutters]  Noodle indeed!  [He sits down, much

THE INQUISITOR.  Meanwhile, let us not be moved by the rough side of
a shepherd lass's tongue.

JOAN.  Nay: I am no shepherd lass, though I have helped with the
sheep like anyone else.  I will do a lady's work in the house--spin
or weave--against any woman in Rouen.

THE INQUISITOR.  This is not a time for vanity, Joan.  You stand in
great peril.

JOAN.  I know it: have I not been punished for my vanity?  If I had
not worn my cloth of gold surcoat in battle like a fool, that
Burgundian soldier would never have pulled me backwards off my
horse; and I should not have been here.

THE CHAPLAIN.  If you are so clever at woman's work why do you not
stay at home and do it?

JOAN.  There are plenty of other women to do it; but there is
nobody to do my work.

CAUCHON.  Come! we are wasting time on trifles.  Joan: I am going
to put a most solemn question to you.  Take care how you answer;
for your life and salvation are at stake on it.  Will you for all
you have said and done, be it good or bad, accept the judgment of
God's Church on earth?  More especially as to the acts and words
that are imputed to you in this trial by the Promoter here, will
you submit your case to the inspired interpretation of the Church

JOAN.  I am a faithful child of the Church.  I will obey the

CAUCHON [hopefully leaning forward]  You will?

JOAN.--provided it does not command anything impossible.

Cauchon sinks back in his chair with a heavy sigh.  The Inquisitor
purses his lips and frowns.  Ladvenu shakes his head pitifully.

D'ESTIVET.  She imputes to the Church the error and folly of
commanding the impossible.

JOAN.  If you command me to declare that all that I have done and
said, and all the visions and revelations I have had, were not from
God, then that is impossible: I will not declare it for anything in
the world.  What God made me do I will never go back on; and what
He has commanded or shall command I will not fail to do in spite of
any man alive.  That is what I mean by impossible.  And in case the
Church should bid me do anything contrary to the command I have
from God, I will not consent to it, no matter what it may be.

THE ASSESSORS [shocked and indignant]  Oh!  The Church contrary to
God!  What do you say now?  Flat heresy.  This is beyond
everything, etc., etc.

D'ESTIVET [throwing down his brief]  My lord: do you need anything
more than this?

CAUCHON.  Woman: you have said enough to burn ten heretics.  Will
you not be warned?  Will you not understand?

THE INQUISITOR.  If the Church Militant tells you that your
revelations and visions are sent by the devil to tempt you to your
damnation, will you not believe that the Church is wiser than you?

JOAN.  I believe that God is wiser than I; and it is His commands
that I will do.  All the things that you call my crimes have come
to me by the command of God.  I say that I have done them by the
order of God: it is impossible for me to say anything else.  If any
Churchman says the contrary I shall not mind him: I shall mind God
alone, whose command I always follow.

LADVENU [pleading with her urgently]  You do not know what you are
saying, child.  Do you want to kill yourself?  Listen.  Do you not
believe that you are subject to the Church of God on earth?

JOAN.  Yes.  When have I ever denied it?

LADVENU.  Good.  That means, does it not, that you are subject to
our Lord the Pope, to the cardinals, the archbishops, and the
bishops for whom his lordship stands here today?

JOAN.  God must be served first.

D'ESTIVET.  Then your voices command you not to submit yourself to
the Church Militant?

JOAN.  My voices do not tell me to disobey the Church; but God must
be served first.

CAUCHON.  And you, and not the Church, are to be the judge?

JOAN.  What other judgment can I judge by but my own?

THE ASSESSORS [scandalized]  Oh!  [They cannot find words].

CAUCHON.  Out of your own mouth you have condemned yourself.  We
have striven for your salvation to the verge of sinning ourselves:
we have opened the door to you again and again; and you have shut
it in our faces and in the face of God.  Dare you pretend, after
what you have said, that you are in a state of grace?

JOAN.  If I am not, may God bring me to it: if I am, may God keep
me in it!

LADVENU.  That is a very good reply, my lord.

COURCELLES.  Were you in a state of grace when you stole the
Bishop's horse?

CAUCHON [rising in a fury]  Oh, devil take the Bishop's horse and
you too!  We are here to try a case of heresy; and no sooner do we
come to the root of the matter than we are thrown back by idiots
who understand nothing but horses.  [Trembling with rage, he forces
himself to sit down].

THE INQUISITOR.  Gentlemen, gentlemen: in clinging to these small
issues you are The Maid's best advocates.  I am not surprised that
his lordship has lost patience with you.  What does the Promoter
say?  Does he press these trumpery matters?

D'ESTIVET.  I am bound by my office to press everything; but when
the woman confesses a heresy that must bring upon her the doom of
excommunication, of what consequence is it that she has been guilty
also of offences which expose her to minor penances?  I share the
impatience of his lordship as to these minor charges.  Only, with
great respect, I must emphasize the gravity of two very horrible
and blasphemous crimes which she does not deny.  First, she has
intercourse with evil spirits, and is therefore a sorceress.
Second, she wears men's clothes, which is indecent, unnatural, and
abominable; and in spite of our most earnest remonstrances and
entreaties, she will not change them even to receive the sacrament.

JOAN.  Is the blessed St Catherine an evil spirit?  Is St Margaret?
Is Michael the Archangel?

COURCELLES.  How do you know that the spirit which appears to you
is an archangel?  Does he not appear to you as a naked man?

JOAN.  Do you think God cannot afford clothes for him?

The assessors cannot kelp smiling, especially as the joke is
against Courcelles.

LADVENU.  Well answered, Joan.

THE INQUISITOR.  It is, in effect, well answered.  But no evil
spirit would be so simple as to appear to a young girl in a guise
that would scandalize her when he meant her to take him for a
messenger from the Most High.  Joan: the Church instructs you that
these apparitions are demons seeking your soul's perdition.  Do you
accept the instruction of the Church?

JOAN.  I accept the messenger of God.  How could any faithful
believer in the Church refuse him?

CAUCHON.  Wretched woman: again I ask you, do you know what you are

THE INQUISITOR.  You wrestle in vain with the devil for her soul, my
lord: she will not be saved.  Now as to this matter of the man's
dress.  For the last time, will you put off that impudent attire,
and dress as becomes your sex?

JOAN.  I will not.

D'ESTIVET [pouncing]  The sin of disobedience, my lord.

JOAN [distressed]  But my voices tell me I must dress as a soldier.

LADVENU.  Joan, Joan: does not that prove to you that the voices
are the voices of evil spirits?  Can you suggest to us one good
reason why an angel of God should give you such shameless advice?

JOAN.  Why, yes: what can be plainer commonsense?  I was a soldier
living among soldiers.  I am a prisoner guarded by soldiers.  If I
were to dress as a woman they would think of me as a woman; and
then what would become of me?  If I dress as a soldier they think
of me as a soldier, and I can live with them as I do at home with
my brothers.  That is why St Catherine tells me I must not dress as
a woman until she gives me leave.

COURCELLES.  When will she give you leave?

JOAN.  When you take me out of the hands of the English soldiers.
I have told you that I should be in the hands of the Church, and
not left night and day with four soldiers of the Earl of Warwick.
Do you want me to live with them in petticoats?

LADVENU.  My lord: what she says is, God knows, very wrong and
shocking; but there is a grain of worldly sense in it such as might
impose on a simple village maiden.

JOAN.  If we were as simple in the village as you are in your
courts and palaces, there would soon be no wheat to make bread for

CAUCHON.  That is the thanks you get for trying to save her,
Brother Martin.

LADVENU.  Joan: we are all trying to save you.  His lordship is
trying to save you.  The Inquisitor could not be more just to you
if you were his own daughter.  But you are blinded by a terrible
pride and self-sufficiency.

JOAN.  Why do you say that?  I have said nothing wrong.  I cannot

THE INQUISITOR.  The blessed St Athanasius has laid it down in his
creed that those who cannot understand are damned.  It is not
enough to be simple.  It is not enough even to be what simple
people call good.  The simplicity of a darkened mind is no better
than the simplicity of a beast.

JOAN.  There is great wisdom in the simplicity of a beast, let me
tell you; and sometimes great foolishness in the wisdom of

LADVENU.  We know that, Joan: we are not so foolish as you think
us.  Try to resist the temptation to make pert replies to us.  Do
you see that man who stands behind you [he indicates the

JOAN [turning and looking at the man]  Your torturer?  But the
Bishop said I was not to be tortured.

LADVENU.  You are not to be tortured because you have confessed
everything that is necessary to your condemnation.  That man is not
only the torturer: he is also the Executioner.  Executioner: let
The Maid hear your answers to my questions.  Are you prepared for
the burning of a heretic this day?


LADVENU.  Is the stake ready?

THE EXECUTIONER.  It is.  In the market-place.  The English have
built it too high for me to get near her and make the death easier.
It will be a cruel death.

JOAN [horrified]  But you are not going to burn me now?

THE INQUISITOR.  You realize it at last.

LADVENU.  There are eight hundred English soldiers waiting to take
you to the market-place the moment the sentence of excommunication
has passed the lips of your judges.  You are within a few short
moments of that doom.

JOAN [looking round desperately for rescue]  Oh God!

LADVENU.  Do not despair, Joan.  The Church is merciful.  You can
save yourself.

JOAN [hopefully]  Yes, my voices promised me I should not be burnt.
St Catherine bade me be bold.

CAUCHON.  Woman: are you quite mad?  Do you not yet see that your
voices have deceived you?

JOAN.  Oh no: that is impossible.

CAUCHON.  Impossible!  They have led you straight to your
excommunication, and to the stake which is there waiting for you.

LADVENU [pressing the point hard]  Have they kept a single promise
to you since you were taken at Compiegne?  The devil has betrayed
you.  The Church holds out its arms to you.

JOAN [despairing]  Oh, it is true: it is true: my voices have
deceived me.  I have been mocked by devils: my faith is broken.  I
have dared and dared; but only a fool will walk into a fire: God,
who gave me my commonsense, cannot will me to do that.

LADVENU.  Now God be praised that He has saved you at the eleventh
hour!  [He hurries to the vacant seat at the scribes' table, and
snatches a sheet of paper, on which he sets to work writing


JOAN.  What must I do?

CAUCHON.  You must sign a solemn recantation of your heresy.

JOAN.  Sign?  That means to write my name.  I cannot write.

CAUCHON.  You have signed many letters before.

JOAN.  Yes; but someone held my hand and guided the pen.  I can
make my mark.

THE CHAPLAIN [who has been listening with growing alarm and
indignation]  My lord: do you mean that you are going to allow this
woman to escape us?

THE INQUISITOR.  The law must take its course, Master de Stogumber.
And you know the law.

THE CHAPLAIN [rising, purple with fury]  I know that there is no
faith in a Frenchman.  [Tumult, which he shouts down].  I know what
my lord the Cardinal of Winchester will say when he hears of this.
I know what the Earl of Warwick will do when he learns that you
intend to betray him.  There are eight hundred men at the gate who
will see that this abominable witch is burnt in spite of your

THE ASSESSORS [meanwhile]  What is this?  What did he say?  He
accuses us of treachery!  This is past bearing.  No faith in a
Frenchman!  Did you hear that?  This is an intolerable fellow.  Who
is he?  Is this what English Churchmen are like?  He must be mad or
drunk, etc., etc.

THE INQUISITOR [rising]  Silence, pray!  Gentlemen: pray silence!
Master Chaplain: bethink you a moment of your holy office: of what
you are, and where you are.  I direct you to sit down.

THE CHAPLAIN [folding his arms doggedly, his face working
convulsively]  I will NOT sit down.

CAUCHON.  Master Inquisitor: this man has called me a traitor to my
face before now.

THE CHAPLAIN.  So you are a traitor.  You are all traitors.  You
have been doing nothing but begging this damnable witch on your
knees to recant all through this trial.

THE INQUISITOR [placidly resuming his seat]  If you will not sit,
you must stand: that is all.

THE CHAPLAIN.  I will NOT stand [he flings himself back into his

LADVENU [rising with the paper in his hand]  My lord: here is the
form of recantation for The Maid to sign.

CAUCHON.  Read it to her.

JOAN.  Do not trouble.  I will sign it.

THE INQUISITOR.  Woman: you must know what you are putting your hand
to.  Read it to her, Brother Martin.  And let all be silent.

LADVENU [reading quietly]  'I, Joan, commonly called The Maid, a
miserable sinner, do confess that I have most grievously sinned in
the following articles.  I have pretended to have revelations from
God and the angels and the blessed saints, and perversely rejected
the Church's warnings that these were temptations by demons.  I
have blasphemed abominably by wearing an immodest dress, contrary
to the Holy Scripture and the canons of the Church.  Also I have
clipped my hair in the style of a man, and, against all the duties
which have made my sex specially acceptable in heaven, have taken
up the sword, even to the shedding of human blood, inciting men to
slay each other, invoking evil spirits to delude them, and
stubbornly and most blasphemously imputing these sins to Almighty
God.  I confess to the sin of sedition, to the sin of idolatry, to
the sin of disobedience, to the sin of pride, and to the sin of
heresy.  All of which sins I now renounce and abjure and depart
from, humbly thanking you Doctors and Masters who have brought me
back to the truth and into the grace of our Lord.  And I will never
return to my errors, but will remain in communion with our Holy
Church and in obedience to our Holy Father the Pope of Rome.  All
this I swear by God Almighty and the Holy Gospels, in witness
whereto I sign my name to this recantation.'

THE INQUISITOR.  You understand this, Joan?

JOAN [listless]  It is plain enough, sir.

THE INQUISITOR.  And is it true?

JOAN.  It may be true.  If it were not true, the fire would not be
ready for me in the market-place.

LADVENU [taking up his pen and a book, and going to her quickly
lest she should compromise herself again]  Come, child: let me
guide your hand.  Take the pen.  [She does so; and they begin to
write, using the book as a desk]  J.E.H.A.N.E.  So.  Now make your
mark by yourself.

JOAN [makes her mark, and gives him back the pen, tormented by the
rebellion of her soul against her mind and body]  There!

LADVENU [replacing the pen on the table, and handing the
recantation to Cauchon with a reverence]  Praise be to God, my
brothers, the lamb has returned to the flock; and the shepherd
rejoices in her more than in ninety and nine just persons.  [He
returns to his seat].

THE INQUISITOR [taking the paper from Cauchon]  We declare thee by
this act set free from the danger of excommunication in which thou
stoodest.  [He throws the paper down to the table].

JOAN.  I thank you.

THE INQUISITOR.  But because thou has sinned most presumptuously
against God and the Holy Church, and that thou mayst repent thy
errors in solitary contemplation, and be shielded from all
temptation to return to them, we, for the good of thy soul, and for
a penance that may wipe out thy sins and bring thee finally
unspotted to the throne of grace, do condemn thee to eat the bread
of sorrow and drink the water of affliction to the end of thy
earthly days in perpetual imprisonment.

JOAN [rising in consternation and terrible anger]  Perpetual
imprisonment!  Am I not then to be set free?

LADVENU [mildly shocked]  Set free, child, after such wickedness as
yours!  What are you dreaming of?

JOAN.  Give me that writing.  [She rushes to the table; snatches up
the paper; and tears it into fragments]  Light your fire: do you
think I dread it as much as the life of a rat in a hole?  My voices
were right.

LADVENU.  Joan!  Joan!

JOAN.  Yes: they told me you were fools [the word gives great
offence], and that I was not to listen to your fine words nor trust
to your charity.  You promised me my life; but you lied [indignant
exclamations].  You think that life is nothing but not being stone
dead.  It is not the bread and water I fear: I can live on bread:
when have I asked for more?  It is no hardship to drink water if
the water be clean.  Bread has no sorrow for me, and water no
affliction.  But to shut me from the light of the sky and the sight
of the fields and flowers; to chain my feet so that I can never
again ride with the soldiers nor climb the hills; to make me
breathe foul damp darkness, and keep from me everything that brings
me back to the love of God when your wickedness and foolishness
tempt me to hate Him: all this is worse than the furnace in the
Bible that was heated seven times.  I could do without my warhorse;
I could drag about in a skirt; I could let the banners and the
trumpets and the knights and soldiers pass me and leave me behind
as they leave the other women, if only I could still hear the wind
in the trees, the larks in the sunshine, the young lambs crying
through the healthy frost, and the blessed blessed church bells
that send my angel voices floating to me on the wind.  But without
these things I cannot live; and by your wanting to take them away
from me, or from any human creature, I know that your counsel is of
the devil, and that mine is of God.

THE ASSESSORS [in great commotion]  Blasphemy! blasphemy!  She is
possessed.  She said our counsel was of the devil.  And hers of
God.  Monstrous!  The devil is in our midst, etc., etc.

D'ESTIVET [shouting above the din]  She is a relapsed heretic,
obstinate, incorrigible, and altogether unworthy of the mercy we
have shewn her.  I call for her excommunication.

THE CHAPLAIN [to the Executioner]  Light your fire, man.  To the
stake with her.

The Executioner and his assistants hurry out through the courtyard.

LADVENU.  You wicked girl: if your counsel were of God would He not
deliver you?

JOAN.  His ways are not your ways.  He wills that I go through the
fire to His bosom; for I am His child, and you are not fit that I
should live among you.  That is my last word to you.

The soldiers seize her.

CAUCHON [rising]  Not yet.

They wait.  There is a dead silence.  Cauchon turns to the
Inquisitor with an inquiring look.  The Inquisitor nods
affirmatively.  They rise solemnly, and intone the sentence

CAUCHON.  We decree that thou art a relapsed heretic.

THE INQUISITOR.  Cast out from the unity of the Church.

CAUCHON.  Sundered from her body.

THE INQUISITOR.  Infected with the leprosy of heresy.

CAUCHON.  A member of Satan.

THE INQUISITOR.  We declare that thou must be excommunicate.

CAUCHON.  And now we do cast thee out, segregate thee, and abandon
thee to the secular power.

THE INQUISITOR.  Admonishing the same secular power that it moderate
its judgment of thee in respect of death and division of the limbs.
[He resumes his seat].

CAUCHON.  And if any true sign of penitence appear in thee, to
permit our Brother Martin to administer to thee the sacrament of

THE CHAPLAIN.  Into the fire with the witch [he rushes at her, and
helps the soldiers to push her out].

Joan is taken away through the courtyard.  The assessors rise in
disorder, and follow the soldiers, except Ladvenu, who has hidden
his face in his hands.

CAUCHON [rising again in the act of sitting down]  No, no: this is
irregular.  The representative of the secular arm should be here to
receive her from us.

THEINQUISITOR [also on his feet again]  That man is an incorrigible

CAUCHON.  Brother Martin: see that everything is done in order.

LADVENU.  My place is at her side, my Lord.  You must exercise your
own authority.  [He hurries out].

CAUCHON.  These English are impossible: they will thrust her
straight into the fire.  Look!

He points to the courtyard, in which the glow and flicker of fire
can now be seen reddening the May daylight.  Only the Bishop and
the Inquisitor are left in the court.

CAUCHON [turning to go]  We must stop that.

THE INQUISITOR [calmly]  Yes; but not too fast, my lord.

CAUCHON [halting]  But there is not a moment to lose.

THE INQUISITOR.  We have proceeded in perfect order.  If the English
choose to put themselves in the wrong, it is not our business to
put them in the right.  A flaw in the procedure may be useful later
on: one never knows.  And the sooner it is over, the better for
that poor girl.

CAUCHON [relaxing]  That is true.  But I suppose we must see this
dreadful thing through.

THE INQUISITOR.  One gets used to it.  Habit is everything.  I am
accustomed to the fire: it is soon over.  But it is a terrible
thing to see a young and innocent creature crushed between these
mighty forces, the Church and the Law.

CAUCHON.  You call her innocent!

THE INQUISITOR.  Oh, quite innocent.  What does she know of the
Church and the Law?  She did not understand a word we were saying.
It is the ignorant who suffer.  Come, or we shall be late for the

CAUCHON [going with him]  I shall not be sorry if we are: I am not
so accustomed as you.

They are going out when Warwick comes in, meeting them.

WARWICK.  Oh, I am intruding.  I thought it was all over.

[He makes a feint of retiring].

CAUCHON.  Do not go, my lord.  It is all over.

THE INQUISITOR.  The execution is not in our hands, my lord; but it
is desirable that we should witness the end.  So by your leave--[He
bows, and goes out through the courtyard].

CAUCHON.  There is some doubt whether your people have observed the
forms of law, my lord.

WARWICK.  I am told that there is some doubt whether your authority
runs in this city, my lord.  It is not in your diocese.  However,
if you will answer for that I will swear for the rest.

CAUCHON.  It is to God that we both must answer.  Good morning, my

WARWICK.  My lord: good morning.

They look at one another for a moment with unconcealed hostility.
Then Cauchon follows the Inquisitor out.  Warwick looks round.
Finding himself alone, he calls for attendance.

WARWICK.  Hallo: some attendance here!  [Silence].  Hallo, there!
[Silence].  Hallo!  Brian, you young blackguard, where are you?
[Silence].  Guard!  [Silence].  They have all gone to see the
burning: even that child.

The silence is broken by someone frantically howling and sobbing.

WARWICK.  What in the devil's name--?

The Chaplain staggers in from the courtyard like a demented
creature, his face streaming with tears, making the piteous sounds
that Warwick has heard.  He stumbles to the prisoner's stool, and
throws himself upon it with heartrending sobs.

WARWICK [going to him and patting him on the shoulder]  What is it,
Master John?  What is the matter?

THE CHAPLAIN [clutching at his hand]  My lord, my lord: for
Christ's sake pray for my wretched guilty soul.

WARWICK [soothing him]  Yes, yes: of course I will.  Calmly,

THE CHAPLAIN [blubbering miserably]  I am not a bad man, my lord.

WARWICK.  No, no: not at all.

THE CHAPLAIN.  I meant no harm.  I did not know what it would be

WARWICK [hardening]  Oh!  You saw it, then?

THE CHAPLAIN.  I did not know what I was doing.  I am a hotheaded
fool; and I shall be damned to all eternity for it.

WARWICK.  Nonsense!  Very distressing, no doubt; but it was not
your doing.

THE CHAPLAIN [lamentably]  I let them do it.  If I had known, I
would have torn her from their hands.  You don't know: you havnt
seen: it is so easy to talk when you dont know.  You madden
yourself with words: you damn yourself because it feels grand to
throw oil on the flaming hell of your own temper.  But when it is
brought home to you; when you see the thing you have done; when it
is blinding your eyes, stifling your nostrils, tearing your heart,
then--then--[Falling on his knees]  O God, take away this sight
from me!  O Christ, deliver me from this fire that is consuming me!
She cried to Thee in the midst of it:  Jesus!  Jesus!  Jesus!  She
is in Thy bosom; and I am in hell for evermore.

WARWICK [summarily hauling him to his feet]  Come come, man! you
must pull yourself together.  We shall have the whole town talking
of this.  [He throws him not too gently into a chair at the table]
If you have not the nerve to see these things, why do you not do as
I do, and stay away?

THE CHAPLAIN [bewildered and submissive]  She asked for a cross.  A
soldier gave her two sticks tied together.  Thank God he was an
Englishman!  I might have done it; but I did not: I am a coward, a
mad dog, a fool.  But he was an Englishman too.

WARWICK.  The fool! they will burn him too if the priests get hold
of him.

THE CHAPLAIN [shaken with a convulsion]  Some of the people laughed
at her.  They would have laughed at Christ.  They were French
people, my lord: I know they were French.

WARWICK.  Hush! someone is coming.  Control yourself.

Ladvenu comes back through the courtyard to Warwick's right hand,
carrying a bishop's cross which he has taken from a church.  He is
very grave and composed.

WARWICK.  I am informed that it is all over, Brother Martin.

LADVENU [enigmatically]  We do not know, my lord.  It may have only
just begun.

WARWICK.  What does that mean, exactly?

LADVENU.  I took this cross from the church for her that she might
see it to the last: she had only two sticks that she put into her
bosom.  When the fire crept round us, and she saw that if I held
the cross before her I should be burnt myself, she warned me to get
down and save myself.  My lord: a girl who could think of another's
danger in such a moment was not inspired by the devil.  When I had
to snatch the cross from her sight, she looked up to heaven.  And I
do not believe that the heavens were empty.  I firmly believe that
her Savior appeared to her then in His tenderest glory.  She called
to Him and died.  This is not the end for her, but the beginning.

WARWICK.  I am afraid it will have a bad effect on the people.

LADVENU.  It had, my lord, on some of them.  I heard laughter.
Forgive me for saying that I hope and believe it was English

THE CHAPLAIN [rising frantically]  No: it was not.  There was only
one Englishman there that disgraced his country; and that was the
mad dog, de Stogumber.  [He rushes wildly out, shrieking]  Let them
torture him.  Let them burn him.  I will go pray among her ashes.
I am no better than Judas: I will hang myself.

WARWICK.  Quick, Brother Martin: follow him: he will do himself
some mischief.  After him, quick.

Ladvenu hurries out, Warwick urging him.  The Executioner comes in
by the door behind the judges' chairs; and Warwick, returning,
finds himself face to face with him.

WARWICK.  Well, fellow: who are you?

THE EXECUTIONER [with dignity]  I am not addressed as fellow, my
lord.  I am the Master Executioner of Rouen: it is a highly skilled
mystery.  I am come to tell your lordship that your orders have
been obeyed.

WARWICK.  I crave your pardon, Master Executioner; and I will see
that you lose nothing by having no relics to sell.  I have your
word, have I, that nothing remains, not a bone, not a nail, not a

THE EXECUTIONER.  Her heart would not burn, my lord; but everything
that was left is at the bottom of the river.  You have heard the
last of her.

WARWICK [with a wry smile, thinking of what Ladvenu said]  The last
of her?  Hm!  I wonder!


A restless fitfully windy night in June 1456, full of summer
lightning after many days of heat.  King Charles the Seventh of
France, formerly Joan's Dauphin, now Charles the Victorious, aged
51, is in bed in one of his royal chateaux.  The bed, raised on a
dais of two steps, is towards the side of the room so as to avoid
blocking a tall lancet window in the middle.  Its canopy bears the
royal arms in embroidery.  Except for the canopy and the huge down
pillows there is nothing to distinguish it from a broad settee with
bed-clothes and a valance.  Thus its occupant is in full view from
the foot.

Charles is not asleep: he is reading in bed, or rather looking at
the pictures in Fouquet's Boccaccio with his knees doubled up to
make a reading-desk.  Beside the bed on his left is a little table
with a picture of the Virgin, lighted by candles of painted wax.
The walls are hung from ceiling to floor with painted curtains
which stir at times in the draughts.  At first glance the
prevailing yellow and red in these hanging pictures is somewhat
flamelike when the folds breathe in the wind.

The door is on Charles's left, but in front of him close to the
corner farthest from him.  A large watchman's rattle, handsomely
designed and gaily painted, is in the bed under his hand.

Charles turns a leaf.  A distant clock strikes the half-hour
softly.  Charles shuts the book with a clap; throws it aside;
snatches up the rattle; and whirls it energetically, making a
deafening clatter.  Ladvenu enters, 25 years older, strange and
stark in bearing, and still carrying the cross from Rouen.  Charles
evidently does not expect him; for he springs out of bed on the
farther side from the door.

CHARLES.  Who are you?  Where is my gentleman of the bedchamber?
What do you want?

LADVENU [solemnly]  I bring you glad tidings of great joy.
Rejoice, O king; for the taint is removed from your blood, and the
stain from your crown.  Justice, long delayed, is at last

CHARLES.  What are you talking about?  Who are you?

LADVENU.  I am brother Martin.

CHARLES.  And who, saving your reverence, may Brother Martin be?

LADVENU.  I held this cross when The Maid perished in the fire.
Twenty-five years have passed since then: nearly ten thousand days.
And on every one of those days I have prayed to God to justify His
daughter on earth as she is justified in heaven.

CHARLES [reassured, sitting down on the foot of the bed]  Oh, I
remember now.  I have heard of you.  You have a bee in your bonnet
about The Maid.  Have you been at the inquiry?

LADVENU.  I have given my testimony.

CHARLES.  Is it over?

LADVENU.  It is over.

CHARLES.  Satisfactorily?

LADVENU.  The ways of God are very strange.

CHARLES.  How so?

LADVENU.  At the trial which sent a saint to the stake as a heretic
and a sorceress, the truth was told; the law was upheld; mercy was
shewn beyond all custom; no wrong was done but the final and
dreadful wrong of the lying sentence and the pitiless fire.  At
this inquiry from which I have just come, there was shameless
perjury, courtly corruption, calumny of the dead who did their duty
according to their lights, cowardly evasion of the issue, testimony
made of idle tales that could not impose on a ploughboy.  Yet out
of this insult to justice, this defamation of the Church, this orgy
of lying and foolishness, the truth is set in the noonday sun on
the hilltop; the white robe of innocence is cleansed from the
smirch of the burning faggots; the holy life is sanctified; the
true heart that lived through the flame consecrated; a great lie is
silenced for ever; and a great wrong is set right before all men.

CHARLES.  My friend: provided they can no longer say that I was
crowned by a witch and a heretic, I shall not fuss about how the
trick has been done.  Joan would not have fussed about it if it
came all right in the end: she was not that sort: I knew her.  Is
her rehabilitation complete?  I made it pretty clear that there was
to be no nonsense about it.

LADVENU.  It is solemnly declared that her judges were full of
corruption, cozenage, fraud, and malice.  Four falsehoods.

CHARLES.  Never mind the falsehoods: her judges are dead.

LADVENU.  The sentence on her is broken, annulled, annihilated, set
aside as non-existent, without value or effect.

CHARLES.  Good.  Nobody can challenge my consecration now, can

LADVENU.  Not Charlemagne nor King David himself was more sacredly

CHARLES [rising]  Excellent.  Think of what that means to me!

LADVENU.  I think of what it means to her!

CHARLES.  You cannot.  None of us ever knew what anything meant to
her.  She was like nobody else; and she must take care of herself
wherever she is; for _I_ cannot take care of her; and neither can
you, whatever you may think: you are not big enough.  But I will
tell you this about her.  If you could bring her back to life, they
would burn her again within six months, for all their present
adoration of her.  And you would hold up the cross, too, just the
same.  So [crossing himself] let her rest; and let you and I mind
our own business, and not meddle with hers.

LADVENU.  God forbid that I should have no share in her, nor she in
me!  [He turns and strides out as he came, saying]  Henceforth my
path will not lie through palaces, nor my conversation be with

CHARLES [following him towards the door, and shouting after him]
Much good may it do you, holy man!  [He returns to the middle of
the chamber, where he halts, and says quizzically to himself]  That
was a funny chap.  How did he get in?  Where are my people?  [He
goes impatiently to the bed, and swings the rattle.  A rush of wind
through the open door sets the walls swaying agitatedly.  The
candles go out.  He calls in the darkness]  Hallo!  Someone come
and shut the windows: everything is being blown all over the place.
[A flash of summer lightning shews up the lancet window.  A figure
is seen in silhouette against it]  Who is there?  Who is that?
Help!  Murder!  [Thunder.  He jumps into bed, and hides under the

JOAN'S VOICE.  Easy, Charlie, easy.  What art making all that noise
for?  No one can hear thee.  Thourt asleep.  [She is dimly seen in
a pallid greenish light by the bedside].

CHARLES [peeping out]  Joan!  Are you a ghost, Joan?

JOAN.  Hardly even that, lad.  Can a poor burnt-up lass have a
ghost?  I am but a dream that thourt dreaming.  [The light
increases: they become plainly visible as he sits up]  Thou looks
older, lad.

CHARLES.  I am older.  Am I really asleep?

JOAN.  Fallen asleep over thy silly book.

CHARLES.  That's funny.

JOAN.  Not so funny as that I am dead, is it?

CHARLES.  Are you really dead?

JOAN.  As dead as anybody ever is, laddie.  I am out of the body.

CHARLES.  Just fancy!  Did it hurt much?

JOAN.  Did what hurt much?

CHARLES.  Being burnt.

JOAN.  Oh, that!  I cannot remember very well.  I think it did at
first; but then it all got mixed up; and I was not in my right mind
until I was free of the body.  But do not thou go handling fire and
thinking it will not hurt thee.  How hast been ever since?

CHARLES.  Oh, not so bad.  Do you know, I actually lead my army out
and win battles?  Down into the moat up to my waist in mud and
blood.  Up the ladders with the stones and hot pitch raining down.
Like you.

JOAN.  No!  Did I make a man of thee after all, Charlie?

CHARLES.  I am Charles the Victorious now.  I had to be brave
because you were.  Agnes put a little pluck into me too.

JOAN.  Agnes!  Who was Agnes?

CHARLES.  Agnes Sorel.  A woman I fell in love with.  I dream of
her often.  I never dreamed of you before.

JOAN.  Is she dead, like me?

CHARLES.  Yes.  But she was not like you.  She was very beautiful.

JOAN [laughing heartily]  Ha ha!  I was no beauty: I was always a
rough one: a regular soldier.  I might almost as well have been a
man.  Pity I wasnt: I should not have bothered you all so much
then.  But my head was in the skies; and the glory of God was upon
me; and, man or woman, I should have bothered you as long as your
noses were in the mud.  Now tell me what has happened since you
wise men knew no better than to make a heap of cinders of me?

CHARLES.  Your mother and brothers have sued the courts to have
your case tried over again.  And the courts have declared that your
judges were full of corruption and cozenage, fraud and malice.

JOAN.  Not they.  They were as honest a lot of poor fools as ever
burned their betters.

CHARLES.  The sentence on you is broken, annihilated, annulled:
null, non-existent, without value or effect.

JOAN.  I was burned, all the same.  Can they unburn me?

CHARLES.  If they could, they would think twice before they did it.
But they have decreed that a beautiful cross be placed where the
stake stood, for your perpetual memory and for your salvation.

JOAN.  It is the memory and the salvation that sanctify the cross,
not the cross that sanctifies the memory and the salvation.  [She
turns away, forgetting him]  I shall outlast that cross.  I shall
be remembered when men will have forgotten where Rouen stood.

CHARLES.  There you go with your self-conceit, the same as ever!  I
think you might say a word of thanks to me for having had justice
done at last.

CAUCHON [appearing at the window between them]  Liar!

CHARLES.  Thank you.

JOAN.  Why, if it isnt Peter Cauchon!  How are you, Peter?  What
luck have you had since you burned me?

CAUCHON.  None.  I arraign the justice of Man.  It is not the
justice of God.

JOAN.  Still dreaming of justice, Peter?  See what justice came to
with me!  But what has happened to thee?  Art dead or alive?

CAUCHON.  Dead.  Dishonoured.  They pursued me beyond the grave.
They excommunicated my dead body: they dug it up and flung it into
the common sewer.

JOAN.  Your dead body did not feel the spade and the sewer as my
live body felt the fire.

CAUCHON.  But this thing that they have done against me hurts
justice; destroys faith; saps the foundation of the Church.  The
solid earth sways like the treacherous sea beneath the feet of men
and spirits alike when the innocent are slain in the name of law,
and their wrongs are undone by slandering the pure of heart.

JOAN.  Well, well, Peter, I hope men will be the better for
remembering me; and they would not remember me so well if you had
not burned me.

CAUCHON.  They will be the worse for remembering me: they will see
in me evil triumphing over good, falsehood over truth, cruelty over
mercy, hell over heaven.  Their courage will rise as they think of
you, only to faint as they think of me.  Yet God is my witness I
was just: I was merciful: I was faithful to my light: I could do no
other than I did.

CHARLES [scrambling out of the sheets and enthroning himself on the
side of the bed]  Yes: it is always you good men that do the big
mischiefs.  Look at me!  I am not Charles the Good, nor Charles the
Wise, nor Charles the Bold.  Joan's worshippers may even call me
Charles the Coward because I did not pull her out of the fire.  But
I have done less harm than any of you.  You people with your heads
in the sky spend all your time trying to turn the world upside
down; but I take the world as it is, and say that top-side-up is
right-side-up; and I keep my nose pretty close to the ground.  And
I ask you, what king of France has done better, or been a better
fellow in his little way?

JOAN.  Art really king of France, Charlie?  Be the English gone?

DUNOIS [coming through the tapestry on Joan's left, the candles
relighting themselves at the same moment, and illuminating his
armor and surcoat cheerfully]  I have kept my word: the English are

JOAN.  Praised be God! now is fair France a province in heaven.
Tell me all about the fighting, Jack.  Was it thou that led them?
Wert thou God's captain to thy death?

DUNOIS.  I am not dead.  My body is very comfortably asleep in my
bed at Chateaudun; but my spirit is called here by yours.

JOAN.  And you fought them my way, Jack: eh?  Not the old way,
chaffering for ransoms; but The Maid's way: staking life against
death, with the heart high and humble and void of malice, and
nothing counting under God but France free and French.  Was it my
way, Jack?

DUNOIS.  Faith, it was any way that would win.  But the way that
won was always your way.  I give you best, lassie.  I wrote a fine
letter to set you right at the new trial.  Perhaps I should never
have let the priests burn you; but I was busy fighting; and it was
the Church's business, not mine.  There was no use in both of us
being burned, was there?

CAUCHON.  Ay! put the blame on the priests.  But I, who am beyond
praise and blame, tell you that the world is saved neither by its
priests nor its soldiers, but by God and His Saints.  The Church
Militant sent this woman to the fire; but even as she burned, the
flames whitened into the radiance of the Church Triumphant.

The clock strikes the third quarter.  A rough male voice is heard
trolling an improvised tune.

     Rum tum trumpledum,
     Bacon fat and rumpledum,
     Old Saint mumpledum,
     Pull his tail and stumpledum
     O my Ma--ry Ann!

A ruffianly English soldier comes through the curtains and marches
between Dunois and Joan.

DUNOIS.  What villainous troubador taught you that doggrel?

THE SOLDIER.  No troubadour.  We made it up ourselves as we marched.
We were not gentlefolks and troubadours.  Music straight out of the
heart of the people, as you might say.  Rum tum trumpledum, Bacon
fat and rumpledum, Old Saint mumpledum, Pull his tail and
stumpledum: that dont mean anything, you know; but it keeps you
marching.  Your servant, ladies and gentlemen.  Who asked for a

JOAN.  Be you a saint?

THE SOLDIER.  Yes, lady, straight from hell.

DUNOIS.  A saint, and from hell!

THE SOLDIER.  Yes, noble captain: I have a day off.  Every year, you
know.  Thats my allowance for my one good action.

CAUCHON.  Wretch!  In all the years of your life did you do only
one good action?

THE SOLDIER.  I never thought about it: it came natural like.  But
they scored it up for me.

CHARLES.  What was it?

THE SOLDIER.  Why, the silliest thing you ever heard of.  I--

JOAN [interrupting him by strolling across to the bed, where she
sits beside Charles]  He tied two sticks together, and gave them to
a poor lass that was going to be burned.

THE SOLDIER.  Right.  Who told you that?

JOAN.  Never mind.  Would you know her if you saw her again?

THE SOLDIER.  Not I.  There are so many girls! and they all expect
you to remember them as if there was only one in the world.  This
one must have been a prime sort; for I have a day off every year
for her; and so, until twelve o'clock punctually, I am a saint, at
your service, noble lords and lovely ladies.

CHARLES.  And after twelve?

THE SOLDIER.  After twelve, back to the only place fit for the likes
of me.

JOAN [rising]  Back there!  You! that gave the lass the cross!

THE SOLDIER [excusing his unsoldierly conduct]  Well, she asked for
it; and they were going to burn her.  She had as good a right to a
cross as they had; and they had dozens of them.  It was her
funeral, not theirs.  Where was the harm in it?

JOAN.  Man: I am not reproaching you.  But I cannot bear to think
of you in torment.

THE SOLDIER [cheerfully]  No great torment, lady.  You see I was
used to worse.

CHARLES.  What! worse than hell?

THE SOLDIER.  Fifteen years' service in the French wars.  Hell was a
treat after that.

Joan throws up her arms, and takes refuge from despair of humanity
before the picture of the Virgin.

THE SOLDIER [continuing]--Suits me somehow.  The day off was dull
at first, like a wet Sunday.  I dont mind it so much now.  They
tell me I can have as many as I like as soon as I want them.

CHARLES.  What is hell like?

THE SOLDIER.  You wont find it so bad, sir.  Jolly.  Like as if you
were always drunk without the trouble and expense of drinking.  Tip
top company too: emperors and popes and kings and all sorts.  They
chip me about giving that young judy the cross; but I dont care: I
stand up to them proper, and tell them that if she hadnt a better
right to it than they, she'd be where they are.  That dumbfounds
them, that does.  All they can do is gnash their teeth, hell
fashion; and I just laugh, and go off singing the old chanty: Rum
turn trample--Hullo!  Who's that knocking at the door?

They listen.  A long gentle knocking is heard.

CHARLES.  Come in.

The door opens; and an old priest, white-haired, bent, with a silly
but benevolent smile, comes in and trots over to Joan.

THE NEWCOMER.  Excuse me, gentle lords and ladies.  Do not let me
disturb you.  Only a poor old harmless English rector.  Formerly
chaplain to the cardinal: to my lord of Winchester.  John de
Stogumber, at your service.  [He looks at them inquiringly]  Did
you say anything?  I am a little deaf, unfortunately.  Also a
little--well, not always in my right mind, perhaps; but still, it
is a small village with a few simple people.  I suffice: I suffice:
they love me there; and I am able to do a little good.  I am well
connected, you see; and they indulge me.

JOAN.  Poor old John!  What brought thee to this state?

DE STOGUMBER.  I tell my folks they must be very careful.  I say to
them, 'If you only saw what you think about you would think quite
differently about it.  It would give you a great shock.  Oh, a
great shock.'  And they all say 'Yes, Parson: we all know you are a
kind man, and would not harm a fly.'  That is a great comfort to
me.  For I am not cruel by nature, you know.

THE SOLDIER.  Who said you were?

DE STOGUMBER.  Well, you see, I did a very cruel thing once because
I did not know what cruelty was like.  I had not seen it, you know.
That is the great thing: you must see it.  And then you are
redeemed and saved.

CAUCHON.  Were not the sufferings of our Lord Christ enough for

DE STOGUMBER.  No.  Oh no: not at all.  I had seen them in pictures,
and read of them in books, and been greatly moved by them, as I
thought.  But it was no use: it was not our Lord that redeemed me,
but a young woman whom I saw actually burned to death.  It was
dreadful: oh, most dreadful.  But it saved me.  I have been a
different man ever since, though a little astray in my wits

CAUCHON.  Must then a Christ perish in torment in every age to save
those that have no imagination?

JOAN.  Well, if I saved all those he would have been cruel to if he
had not been cruel to me, I was not burnt for nothing, was I?

DE STOGUMBER.  Oh no; it was not you.  My sight is bad: I cannot
distinguish your features: but you are not she: oh no: she was
burned to a cinder: dead and gone, dead and gone.

THE EXECUTIONER [stepping from behind the bed curtains on Charles's
right, the bed being between them]  She is more alive than you, old
man.  Her heart would not burn; and it would not drown.  I was a
master at my craft: better than the master of Paris, better than
the master of Toulouse; but I could not kill The Maid.  She is up
and alive everywhere.

THE EARL OF WARWICK [sallying from the bed curtains on the other
side, and coming to Joan's left hand]  Madam: my congratulations on
your rehabilitation.  I feel that I owe you an apology.

JOAN.  Oh, please dont mention it.

WARWICK [pleasantly]  The burning was purely political.  There was
no personal feeling against you, I assure you.

JOAN.  I bear no malice, my lord.

WARWICK.  Just so.  Very kind of you to meet me in that way: a
touch of true breeding.  But I must insist on apologizing very
amply.  The truth is, these political necessities sometimes turn
out to be political mistakes; and this one was a veritable howler;
for your spirit conquered us, madam, in spite of our faggots.
History will remember me for your sake, though the incidents of the
connection were perhaps a little unfortunate.

JOAN.  Ay, perhaps just a little, you funny man.

WARWICK.  Still, when they make you a saint, you will owe your halo
to me, just as this lucky monarch owes his crown to you.

JOAN [turning from him]  I shall owe nothing to any man: I owe
everything to the spirit of God that was within me.  But fancy me a
saint!  What would St Catherine and St Margaret say if the farm
girl was cocked up beside them!

A clerical-looking gentleman in black frockcoat and trousers, and
tall hat, in the fashion of the year 1920, suddenly appears before
them in the corner on their right.  They all stare at him.  Then
they burst into uncontrollable laughter.

THE GENTLEMAN.  Why this mirth, gentlemen?

WARWICK.  I congratulate you on having invented a most
extraordinarily comic dress.

THE GENTLEMAN.  I do not understand.  You are all in fancy dress: I
am properly dressed.

DUNOIS.  All dress is fancy dress, is it not, except our natural

THE GENTLEMAN.  Pardon me: I am here on serious business, and cannot
engage in frivolous discussions.  [He takes out a paper, and
assumes a dry official manner].  I am sent to announce to you that
Joan of Arc, formerly known as The Maid, having been the subject of
an inquiry instituted by the Bishop of Orleans--

JOAN [interrupting]  Ah!  They remember me still in Orleans.

THE GENTLEMAN [emphatically, to mark his indignation at the
interruption]--by the Bishop of Orleans into the claim of the said
Joan of Arc to be canonized as a saint--

JOAN [again interrupting]  But I never made any such claim.

THE GENTLEMAN [as before]--the Church has examined the claim
exhaustively in the usual course, and, having admitted the said
Joan successively to the ranks of Venerable and Blessed,--

JOAN [chuckling]  Me venerable!

THE GENTLEMAN.--has finally declared her to have been endowed with
heroic virtues and favored with private revelations, and calls the
said Venerable and Blessed Joan to the communion of the Church
Triumphant as Saint Joan.

JOAN [rapt]  Saint Joan!

THE GENTLEMAN.  On every thirtieth day of May, being the anniversary
of the death of the said most blessed daughter of God, there shall
in every Catholic church to the end of time be celebrated a special
office in commemoration of her; and it shall be lawful to dedicate
a special chapel to her, and to place her image on its altar in
every such church.  And it shall be lawful and laudable for the
faithful to kneel and address their prayers through her to the
Mercy Seat.

JOAN.  Oh no.  It is for the saint to kneel.  [She falls on her
knees, still rapt].

THE GENTLEMAN [putting up his paper, and retiring beside the
Executioner]  In Basilica Vaticana, the sixteenth day of May,
nineteen hundred and twenty.

DUNOIS [raising Joan]  Half an hour to burn you, dear Saint, and
four centuries to find out the truth about you!

DE STOGUMBER.  Sir: I was chaplain to the Cardinal of Winchester
once.  They always would call him the Cardinal of England.  It
would be a great comfort to me and to my master to see a fair
statue to The Maid in Winchester Cathedral.  Will they put one
there, do you think?

THE GENTLEMAN.  As the building is temporarily in the hands of the
Anglican heresy, I cannot answer for that.

A vision of the statue in Winchester Cathedral is seen through the

DE STOGUMBER.  Oh look! look! that is Winchester.

JOAN.  Is that meant to be me?  I was stiffer on my feet.

The vision fades.

THE GENTLEMAN.  I have been requested by the temporal authorities of
France to mention that the multiplication of public statues to The
Maid threatens to become an obstruction to traffic.  I do so as a
matter of courtesy to the said authorities, but must point out on
behalf of the Church that The Maid's horse is no greater
obstruction to traffic than any other horse.

JOAN.  Eh!  I am glad they have not forgotten my horse.

A vision of the statue before Rheims Cathedral appears.

JOAN.  Is that funny little thing me too?

CHARLES.  That is Rheims Cathedral where you had me crowned.  It
must be you.

JOAN.  Who has broken my sword?  My sword was never broken.  It is
the sword of France.

DUNOIS.  Never mind.  Swords can be mended.  Your soul is unbroken;
and you are the soul of France.

The vision fades.  The Archbishop and the Inquisitor are now seen
on the right and left of Cauchon.

JOAN.  My sword shall conquer yet: the sword that never struck a
blow.  Though men destroyed my body, yet in my soul I have seen

CAUCHON [kneeling to her]  The girls in the field praise thee; for
thou hast raised their eyes; and they see that there is nothing
between them and heaven.

DUNOIS.  [kneeling to her]  The dying soldiers praise thee, because
thou art a shield of glory between them and the judgment.

THE ARCHBISHOP [kneeling to her]  The princes of the Church praise
thee, because thou hast redeemed the faith their worldlinesses have
dragged through the mire.

WARWICK [kneeling to her]  The cunning counsellors praise thee,
because thou hast cut the knots in which they have tied their own

DE STOGUMBER [kneeling to her]  The foolish old men on their
deathbeds praise thee, because their sins against thee are turned
into blessings.

THE INQUISITOR [kneeling to her]  The judges in the blindness and
bondage of the law praise thee, because thou hast vindicated the
vision and the freedom of the living soul.

THE SOLDIER [kneeling to her]  The wicked out of hell praise thee,
because thou hast shewn them that the fire that is not quenched is
a holy fire.

THE EXECUTIONER [kneeling to her]  The tormentors and executioners
praise thee, because thou hast shewn that their hands are guiltless
of the death of the soul.

CHARLES [kneeling to her]  The unpretending praise thee, because
thou hast taken upon thyself the heroic burdens that are too heavy
for them.

JOAN.  Woe unto me when all men praise me!  I bid you remember that
I am a saint, and that saints can work miracles.  And now tell me:
shall I rise from the dead, and come back to you a living woman?

A sudden darkness blots out the walls of the room as they all
spring to their feet in consternation.  Only the figures and the
bed remain visible.

JOAN.  What!  Must I burn again?  Are none of you ready to receive

CAUCHON.  The heretic is always better dead.  And mortal eyes
cannot distinguish the saint from the heretic.  Spare them.  [He
goes out as he came].

DUNOIS.  Forgive us, Joan: we are not yet good enough for you.  I
shall go back to my bed.  [He also goes].

WARWICK.  We sincerely regret our little mistake; but political
necessities, though occasionally erroneous, are still imperative;
so if you will be good enough to excuse me--[He steals discreetly

THE ARCHBISHOP.  Your return would not make me the man you once
thought me.  The utmost I can say is that though I dare not bless
you, I hope I may one day enter into your blessedness.  Meanwhile,
however--[He goes].

THE INQUISITOR.  I who am of the dead, testified that day that you
were innocent.  But I do not see how The Inquisition could possibly
be dispensed with under existing circumstances.  Therefore--[He

DE STOGUMBER.  Oh, do not come back: you must not come back.  I must
die in peace.  Give us peace in our time, O Lord!  [He goes].

THE GENTLEMAN.  The possibility of your resurrection was not
contemplated in the recent proceedings for your canonization.  I
must return to Rome for fresh instructions.  [He bows formally, and

THE EXECUTIONER.  As a master in my profession I have to consider
its interests.  And, after all, my first duty is to my wife and
children.  I must have time to think over this.  [He goes].

CHARLES.  Poor old Joan!  They have all run away from you except
this blackguard who has to go back to hell at twelve o'clock.  And
what can I do but follow Jack Dunois' example, and go back to bed
too?  [He does so].

JOAN [sadly]  Goodnight, Charlie.

CHARLES [mumbling in his pillows]  Goo ni.  [He sleeps.  The
darkness envelops the bed].

JOAN [to the soldier] And you, my one faithful?  What comfort have
you for Saint Joan?

THE SOLDIER.  Well, what do they all amount to, these kings and
captains and bishops and lawyers and such like?  They just leave
you in the ditch to bleed to death; and the next thing is, you meet
them down there, for all the airs they give themselves.  What I say
is, you have as good a right to your notions as they have to
theirs, and perhaps better.  [Settling himself for a lecture on the
subject]  You see, it's like this.  If--[the first stroke of
midnight is heard softly from a distant bell].  Excuse me: a
pressing appointment--[He goes on tiptoe].

The last remaining rays of light gather into a white radiance
descending on Joan.  The hour continues to strike.

JOAN.  O God that madest this beautiful earth, when will it be
ready to receive Thy saints?  How long, O Lord, how long?


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