Page images

a bitter enemy to Jeanne, always giving his account of her with prejudice. It is not at all improbable that when the soldiers of his patron, the Duke of Burgundy, ravaged the village of Domremi, and put to flight the poor inhabitants, and Jeanne and her parents took shelter for fifteen days at a small inn in Neufchâteau, he might have heard of her being there in a kind of exile. And this circumstance might easily have been misrepresented when Jeanne became celebrated and the talk of every tongue.' Monstrelet gives a copy of the cruelly defamatory letter sent by Bedford to the Duke of Burgundy, with an account of Jeanne's burning at Rouen as a sorceress. Monstrelet's own remarks upon it are as heartless as those of the writer. ·

[ocr errors]

1 M. Petitot adds : Nevertheless, it seems certain that during her stay at Neufchâteau she did the duty of servant at the inn where she lodged. Considering the poverty of her parents, this was probably the mode in which she and her brothers repaid the hospitality which they received.' See Lord Mahon's 'Joan of Arc,' Quarterly Review,

[ocr errors][ocr errors][ocr errors][merged small][merged small]

Jeanne returns to Chinon-her Statement wherefore she wears Man's

Apparel - Charles causes Armour to be made for her-she demands the Sword from Fierbois-her Banner-her Fame far spreadEnglish intimidated, believing her to be a Witch-she heads a Body of Troops-summons the English to surrender-leaves Blois with Broussac and others-introduces Religious Reverence among her Men-conducts the Supplies-Dispute about the Road-Jeanne deceived—the Supplies placed in Boats on the Loire-taken into Orleans—a violent Storm-she enters Orleans at Night-welcomed -returns Thanks in the Cathedral—lodged at the House of Jean Boucheur_sends a Herald to summon the English to surrender

- he is detained-she threatens, he is restored—Jeanne's Reconnaissance of the Forts of the Enemy-Citizens attack St. LoupJeanne flies to the Rescue-Dunois assists her-victorious—her Pity for the Fallen-English defeated-Gladsdale killed-English raise the Siege--Orleans delivered the Seventh Day after the coming of the Maid.

S soon as the report was given by the learned

in favour of Jeanne, the Council returned to Chinon. On the morning following the close

of her examination, she rose eager for her mission; but she had still to wait. Before quitting Poitiers, many ladies gained access to her, and were so charmed with the simplicity and natural grace with which she spoke to them, that they could not restrain their tears on bidding her farewell. To many who asked her why she did not dress according to her sex, she replied, that as she must be armed to serve the gentle Dauphin, she wore the dress that was most convenient for it; and also, as she must serve among men, she deemed it best for her own protection to be attired as a man."

It was not till after a long debate that Charles and his Council determined to test the pretensions of Jeanne, by giving her command of a convoy, destined to carry into Orleans a quantity of provisions much needed by the hungry and beleaguered inhabitants. The young and gallant Duke Alençon was ordered to collect a body of men-at-arms for this expedition, and to bring them to Blois, where, when all should be ready, Jeanne was to meet him. In the interval, Charles caused a handsome suit of armour to be made for her, gave her horses, and lodged her in a noble mansion as chief of the enterprise.

On being offered a sword, she declined it, saying, 'No, not that;' the sword which her voices had directed her to wield would be found under ground (no doubt she meant in the crypt), at the back of the shrine of her favourite St. Catherine, at the Church of Fierbois, where she had knelt and prayed on her way to Chinon. The sword would be known by five crosses engraved on the blade near the hilt. It was found as she directed, and brought to her. She next ordered her banner to be made of white silk, embroidered with golden fleurs de lis, and

1 Mémoires de la Pucelle, p. 101.

[ocr errors]
[blocks in formation]

with a figure of Christ sitting on a throne, amid the clouds of heaven, and holding a globe in His hands. On either side an angel, in the act of adoration ; one of these held a fleur de lis which the Saviour seemed to be blessing. Above were the words which Jeanne had assumed for her motto, Jhesus Maria.' On the reverse was a figure of the Virgin. Charles appointed the Sire D'Aulon as her esquire, and Father Pasquerel as her chaplain and confessor. He gave her also two heralds and two pages,-one, a very pretty lad, named Louis. A baton, which she called her Martin, was given her with her armour, in virtue of her authority as a military commander.

But Jeanne's trials were yet to begin. That evil spirit Jealousy lurked in her path. She was hated by Trémoille, who, in his official capacity, delayed sending the funds to pay the arrears of the troops who were to form the army for the expedition. He even tried to obtain men from the King of Aragon, in the hope to dispense with Jeanne altogether. But it would not do; the clergy had pronounced in her favour. At length she arrived at Blois on the 25th April 1429, with Raoul de Gaucourt, who had left Orleans to the care of the brave Dunois, the Bastard of Orleans, promising a speedy return with succours.

The ordeal which Jeanne had undergone at Poitiers, her journey to Court, her interview with the King, the tilting at the Castle, etc., had all been talked of far and wide, and, before a blow was struck, greatly benefited the royal cause. The Orleanists already spoke of her raising the siege as certain. The French troops were elated ; and the English, who could not bring themselves to believe that anything Heaven sent would be for Charles, were fully convinced that a sorceress, armed by the powers of darkness, was coming for their destruction ; they were terror-stricken in their camp, before even the shadow of an enemy could be descried. What, then, was their dread, when there came a flag of truce borne by a herald, who, at the sound of trumpet, delivered this letter from Jane the Maid to the English commander, the Earl of Suffolk :



King of England, be just before the King of Heaven to the blood-royal of France ! Surrender to the Maidi the keys of all the good towns you have won by violence. She is sent on the part of God to compel you to yield to the blood-royal, and is ready to make peace, if will act justly, and restore that which is not yours. As for you archers, companions in arms, gentlemen, and nobles, who are now before the walls of Orleans, return

Jeanne afterwards declared that she ordered her scribe to say, *Surrender to the King,' not to the Maid ; the error was of his making

« PreviousContinue »