Page images


Abbey of St. Remy, and touched many persons to cure them of the evil.

Greatly as Charles was honoured, yet even the glory that attended regality was dimmed before the presence of the Maid. The people followed her in crowds, and 'never wearied,' says the old chronicler, of gazing on her face.'1 But those of a higher rank were anxious to celebrate her prowess. Knights, and even nobles, threw aside the emblazonment on their pennons and banners, and had them decorated with the same device as that on the standard of the Maid. The Church honoured her by composing a Latin collect to be added to the daily service, returning thanks for France having been saved by a woman. Little statues were made, and called Jeanne, and were placed even in the churches. A medal, with a coarsely engraved head of the Maid, was struck in lead, and worn on the necks of women and of men, as they would wear a cross or the image of a saint.

The fame of the Maid spread into far countries; and the Duke of Milan sent a deputation to ask her to resolve the disputed question, which of the rival Popes might be the true one. Such was his opinion of her supernatural powers, that he took this extraordinary manner of showing it. Jeanne did not pretend to satisfy him, but civilly put aside the question.

1 Mémoire de la Pucelle,

* See a copy of it in Histoire de France, by H. Martin, vol. vi. p. 189.



It is not exactly known at what period Charles first decided to show his sense of the great services Jeanne had rendered, both to himself and to France, by ennobling her and her family. It seems probable that he should have done so whilst at Rheims, where she accomplished his coronation, which from the first she declared to be the great object of her mission. The patent, however, was not granted till the December following, when all the rights and privileges of nobility, of what kind soever, including even that of noble birth, together with the name Du Lis, and the lily of France for their arms, were given to Jeanne d'Arc, her father, brothers, and family, for ever. With her accustomed modesty, the Maid asked a boon, not for herself, but for her birthplace, that the village of Domremi, so dear to her heart, might be freed from the taxes; and though her heartless Sovereign, at no very distant period, suffered her to be burnt alive, without so much as offering a ransom to save her, he did not recall the bounty granted at her request. For nearly three hundred years there appeared in the books of the Collector of Taxes, opposite Domremi, only the expressive words, “ Nothing, for the Maid's sake.'

The great modern French historian, to whom we have so often referred, declares it to be an error into which many writers have fallen, that after the coronation Jeanne considered her work was done, and wished to retire to her village home. She did so, as we shall presently see, some time after, but not at that period. She felt, whilst at Rheims, the same devotion to the cause of


France that from the first had inspired her thoughts and actions, and believed that it came from above. Her devotion to Charles was the same; and she looked not only to restore to him Paris, then held by the English, but to complete for him and his people the deliverance of all France. And after all was done, according to the historian just named, she entertained some vague and unformed plan to unite the Christian Powers against the Turks, and so prevent what seemed imminent—the fall of Constantinople.

[ocr errors]

1 Henri Martin, vol. vi. p. 190.

[graphic][ocr errors][merged small]

Bedford alarmed by the Success of the Maid-endeavours to secure

to his Party Burgundy -- Negotiations commenced — Bishop of Rheims questions Jeanne about her Death - Bedford breaks up his Camp- the Maid prepares to attack Paris — prevented by the Council—Charles goes towards Compiègne-Town sends the Keys to him—Masters of Arts sent to Tournay—Burgundy proposes a General Peace-Hollowness of the Proposal—the Maid, Dunois, Alençon, and others, desirous to attack Paris-St. Denis sends the Keys to the Maid—La Hire takes Château GaillardBarbasan found a Prisoner-Jealousy of the Court-Jeanne, Alençon, and Dunois determine on bringing Paris to Submission-Charles leaves St. Senlis - the Maid's Moral Discipline - her Sword breaks—Delays—Attempt on Paris—Jeanne's brave Defiance of the Enemy - her Danger at the Moat — severely woundedGaucourt sounds a Retreat-De Montmorenci joins the French Cause-Jeanne and the Commanders determine on a Second Attempt—Charles compels them to abandon the Enterprise—his ignoble Retreat to the Loire.

HE battle of Patay, the flight of Fastolff and

his troops, the capture of Talbot, the coronation of the King at Rheims, -all these

marvellous successes, and the heroism of the Maid, reviving the spirit of the French, for a while paralyzed the Regent Bedford. The first intimation he gave of returning life was to strike a blow of vengeance on a

[ocr errors]

very insignificant object, —on Fastolff, for cowardice. He not only deprived him of his command, but took from him the Order of the Garter,—which, however, he restored when his anger was somewhat abated; for Bedford soon saw that senseless rage would never secure to the English their possessions in France, and the throne to the youthful Henry.

The exchequer was low, and the troops unpaid. Bedford was subtle as well as brave, and proud as Lucifer. Two persons equally hated by him had to be managed at this crisis. The one

was his brother-in-law, the Duke of Burgundy; the other his near relative, Cardinal Beaufort, Bishop of Winchester, and at this time master both of England and England's King. But Bedford had wondrous skill in the artifices of diplomacy. His first efforts were made to gain help from Beaufort, who proved manageable. The Cardinal, never scrupulous in policy, had just received an order from the Pope, Martin V., to levy a tenth in England, and raise a body of men for a crusade against the Hussite heretics in Germany. He obeyed so far as getting the money and the men; and no sooner had he done so, than he carried both over to Calais, and gave assistance to the Regent, leaving the heretics to the ban of the Pope.

At all times, and under all circumstances, there is a charm in success which carries with it the popular mind. So was it now with Charles. Crowned and anointed with the sacred oil at Rheims, thousands acknowledged

« PreviousContinue »