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citizens. How many days she remained there before her capture we do not know. Her voices, she said, gave her now daily warning of what was about to happen, and a tradition respecting her at this period is too remarkable to be passed unnoticed.
Long after her death, in the year 1498, two old men of Compiègne the one being ninety-eight, and the other eighty-six years of age-said that they were in the Church of St. Jacques in the year 1430, when Jeanne, called the Maid, came there to attend the mass, confession, and the Eucharist. After the service she retired to one of the pillars, and spoke to several inhabitants of the town who remained in the church. Among them were more than a hundred children, desirous from curiosity to look at her. She seemed melancholy, and they heard her say, 'My children, and my dear friends, I tell you that I have been sold and betrayed; and I shall be put to death. If you are about to supplicate, pray to God for me, for I shall never more have the power to serve the King or the kingdom of France.'1
The governor proposed a sortie of the garrison, and Jeanne did her utmost to render it effective. More troops were wanted, and at considerable risk she left the town for Cressy, where she readily obtained a reinforcement of about four hundred men, and returned with them to
'From Le Merouer des Femmes Vertueuses, a book published in the time of Louis XII., and quoted by Henri Martin. Hollingshed, p. 104 ; Barante, vol. iii. p. 375.
ATTEMPTS THE RELIEF OF COMPIEGNE. 207
'her good friends in Compiègne.' She arrived at sunrise on the morning of the 23d of May. Everything was then finally arranged with the governor respecting the sortie; the intention being to surprise the enemy, who were believed to be unprepared for action. Jeanne's company of a few brave and devoted men, and a select number of the troops of the garrison, were to form the sallying party. Among them was one of the Maid's own brothers, now under the King's patent a nobleman, and a captain in her band. Her gallant esquire, John D'Aulon, bore her standard; and Pothon, an intrepid Burgundian knight, faithful to Charles and devoted to Jeanne, was with her. The sortie was made from the gate facing the bridge of the river Aisne. It commenced at five o'clock in the afternoon. The whole of the troops crossed to the opposite side unmolested. Most unexpectedly, they came upon the quarters of the Lord of Noyelles, at the moment when John de Luxembourg and several knights were reconnoitring the town. encounter fierce and determined instantly ensued. At the first the French, more in number than their opponents, had the best of it. John of Luxembourg fought bravely to maintain his ground, and the cry and rush of the contest soon brought a reinforcement of the English to his aid. Now the French were vastly outnumbered, and compelled at length to a hasty
The Maid never showed herself more heroic than in
those moments of imminent danger, and Pothon, the Burgundian, 'did prodigies of valour in her defence.'1 The details of the battle are long and complicated; we give but the leading events. Twice did Jeanne rally the troops, and induce them to return to the contest. The unflinching companions of her toil kept close around her, in the hope to save a life to each man dearer than his own; but when they saw how they were outnumbered, and that all chance of safety was over, they cried, 'Jeanne, Jeanne, lose not a moment; regain the town, or you and we are lost!'
Jeanne's forebodings were all forgotten in the enthusiasm of the strife; her spirit rose with the danger that surrounded her. 'Say not so,' she cried; 'it belongs but to you to discomfit the foe; think of nothing, but fall upon him.' They would not, even by her daring example, be persuaded to a fresh attack; they seized therefore Jeanne's horse by the bridle, and forced her to turn towards the town. Victory was no longer possible; the French were overwhelmed.
But seeing that defeat was inevitable, Jeanne made a rush to the rear in order to cover the retreat of the fugitives, or all to a man would have been cut off; but the soldiers thought only of themselves, pressed forward pell mell, crossed the bridge, got within the gates, and closed them.
The Maid was shut out!
Only the few, the very few of her devoted band were with her; she was surrounded, but defended herself bravely with the sword she had taken from a soldier at the battle near Lagni. The Burgundians knew her by her standard still borne by her side; knew her by the crimson and gold surcoat that she wore. They rushed forward in a body, every man anxious to seize her. The standard of her who had saved Orleans, which had led the King of France to his coronation at Rheims, and had been borne by her to the altar at the sacred rite of the anointing, that standard fell to the ground, as the last of her brave followers were either slain or forced from her side in the press of the contest.
Five or six of the enemy rushed upon the Maid, each exclaiming Yield to me-pledge your faith to me!'
'I have sworn,' she replied, and have given my faith to another than you, and I will keep my oath.' As she spoke, an archer of Picardy came behind, seized her by the surcoat, and dragged her off her horse. She fell to the ground. Exhausted by her almost superhuman efforts, she at last yielded to Lionel, the Vendôme. She was instantly taken to the quarter of John de Luxembourg. John D'Aulon was likewise a prisoner. The news of her capture flew through camp and field, and the enemy triumphed with unspeakable delight. Monstrelet says: "The English were rejoiced, and more pleased than if they had taken five hundred combatants, for they dreaded no other leader or captain so
much as they had hitherto feared the Maid. One would have thought that all France was won.'
The English rushed in a crowd to see her. The Duke of Burgundy also came to satisfy his curiosity, and spoke to her in a manner so agitated, that he seemed hardly to know what he said. Monstrelet came likewise to look
at her. He says, though he was present, he did not remember what passed. Possibly the secretary's memory was affected by having that night so much to do; for Burgundy caused letters to be written, and instantly despatched to Paris, to England, and all the principal towns under his rule, to announce the great news-the Maid was a captive! When the Regent Bedford received the account, he was seized with a fit of piety; and ordered the Te Deum of thankfulness to be sung with the greatest solemnity in all the churches of Paris and elsewhere.1
1 Monstrelet; Mémoires de la Pucelle; Barante; Henri Martin; Précis de L'Histoire; History of France; Dictionnaire Historique.