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HER MORAL DISCIPLINE.
were silent at this important crisis. Falsehood was foreign to her nature. She taught nothing but what she herself believed, and all along had been most careful to keep up amongst her followers a feeling of confidence in the revelations of her voices. At this moment she dare not shake it; so, like her supernatural guides or imaginings, she too remained silent. Another circumstance somewhat affected even her firm spirit. The respect for religion and morals which Jeanne, by her example and enthusiasm, infused into the conduct of the troops, had produced the happiest effects. She had forbidden a profane word or oath being uttered, and would not suffer the presence of a harlot in the camp: the sight of one of these, she declared, was a horror to her. All went well for a time; but the indolent life the men had lately led began to show itself in their relaxation of discipline and morals, and they fell back into their old habits of licentiousness. Jeanne endeavoured in vain to remove the evil, and even preached to several of the unhappy women, in the hope to reform them. On some occasion, however, one of these so misbehaved herself, that Jeanne, always vehement when her passions were roused, struck her with the flat part of the blade of her sword. The blow must have been a smart one, as the blade broke at the hilt. The sword was the mysterious one, taken, as she declared, by the instruction of her voices, from the Chapel of St. Catherine at Fierbois. This accident, in an age when omens, signs, and symbols
caused terror to the superstitious, was seriously discouraging to the army. Even Charles was shocked by it, and he reproved Jeanne, telling her that she ought to have taken a good stick instead of her sword. He ordered his own armourers to repair it; but they declared they found it impossible to do so, or even to make one like it. Jeanne was much vexed by the accident, but obtained another weapon, and girded it on her side.1
The delays made by the King, and the loss of time in the fifteen days' fruitless truce, proved more hurtful to the cause of Charles than the breaking of the mysterious sword, or even the silence of Jeanne's voices. It had given time to the Burgundians to organize the defence of Paris, reinforce the garrison, plant coulevrines on the towers and ramparts, and make deeper the inner moat that ran close under the walls. The army of Charles consisted of twelve thousand men. These were to be led to the attack by Alençon, Dunois, the Count de Clermont, the Maid, the Sire de Retz, and the Sire de Gaucourt. The two last named had always hated, envied, and opposed Jeanne; and on this occasion, as seemed pretty evident in the sequel, they wished her to fail.
It was on the 8th of September 1429, a day held sacred in the Church of Rome as that of the birth of the Virgin Mary, that the Maid caused her standard to be borne before her; not, however, by D'Aulon. A captain, St. Vallier, commenced the assault by setting fire to the 1 Mémoires de la Pucelle, p. 191.
HER DANGER AT THE MOAT.
Boulevard and the gate of St. Honoré.
this, rushed with her people into the mêlée of the fight, and wrenched a sword from a man-at-arms who bore down upon her. The Boulevard was carried; and eager to follow up this success, the Maid passed beyond the dry outer moat, and sprang upon the mound which divided it from the flooded moat. She was near enough to the walls to make herself audible, and exclaimed to those on the ramparts, 'Yield, yield this city to the King of France!' She was answered with insult.
Not knowing the depth of the moat, she tried it with her lance, and found it much too deep to be crossed. With her accustomed promptitude, she ordered her men to bring fascines, anything they could find, to throw into the moat so as to render it passable, that with their scaling ladders they might mount the walls and take the city by storm. But means were wanting. De Retz had never warned Jeanne, though he knew it, of the increased depth of the moat, and her people were not provided with fascines. enough to carry out her purpose. But she would not retreat. In the midst of a shower of balls from coulevrines, arrows and flints from cross-bows, she stood unmoved. Percival de Cagni, who was with Alençon, and in after years wrote an account of the action, declared that no Frenchman who was near Jeanne on that day was killed; but he was mistaken. He added, 'It was the grace of God, and the hour of the Maid,' for he devoutly believed in her mission. Sunset drew on, but she still held her
The brave man who bore her
standard erect by her side, was struck by an arrow in the foot. He raised his vizor to enable him to draw it out; and whilst in the act of stooping to do so, another and more fatal shaft pierced him to the brain. dead on the spot, and the standard fell with him.
turned to look on the slain bearer of it, and said, 'I could have better spared my whole troop than thee, my faithful soldier.'
In another minute she was herself struck down by an arrow that wounded her in the thigh. She could not rise, but though smarting from the pain of her wound, outstretched on the very verge of the moat, and the aim of every dart, she declared that she would not be raised from the spot till the walls were scaled and Paris won! As she thus lay, with a spirit that defied physical suffering, she exhorted the men at any cost of labour or life to seek everywhere for hurdles, wood, anything to render the moat passable, and to storm the city. Gaucourt-the jealous, the mean Gaucourt, was near her; and for fear she should be obeyed, and by her command the troops succeed, he gave orders to sound a RETREAT. Jeanne, with an energy that bordered on distraction, implored him to remain; but he would not. The trumpets sounded, and Paris was left in the hands of English and Burgundians, and not till between the hours of ten and eleven o'clock that night was the heroic Maid raised from the ground, suffering (as she long after declared) torture from her wound. She was carried to La
A COUNCIL OF WAR.
Chapelle, a village between Paris and St. Denis. 'By my Martin,' was her exclamation as they placed her on her horse to lead her away,-'By my Martin, the city might have been won!'
She was right. If Gaucourt, De Retz, and others had not proved treacherous to the Maid, or had Charles been present to re-animate the men after Jeanne was rendered helpless, so strong a party was there favourable to the French King within the walls, that had the moat been passed and even the very semblance of an attack been sustained, the citizens would have taken heart and have opened their gates to him. Jeanne's wound was dressed, and under the direction of her faithful D'Aulon she was put to bed and carefully attended. But her spirits rose with the lark; she could not rest. She caused herself to be dressed, and knowing who were the true men, begged to be removed to the quarters of Alençon, as she must see him. Her interview was brief; she begged him without delay to order his trumpets to sound and resume the attack, declared her wound was better, that she would help, and added, 'I will not leave Paris till we are masters of the city!'
A council of war was immediately held between the chiefs. Whilst it was going on, a goodly company of about sixty gentlemen, with banners flying and trumpets sounding, were seen approaching in regular order. A herald stepped forward and announced their purpose. The Lord de Montmorenci, who hitherto had been attached to the