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Title: Jeanne D'Arc: her life and death
Author: Oliphant, Mrs. (Margaret), 1828-1897
Language: English
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by Mrs. Oliphant

Author of "Makers of Florence," "Makers of Venice," etc.





     The original book for this text was published as a volume in a
     series "Heroes of the Nations," edited by Evelyn Abbot, M.H.,
     Fellow of Balliol College, Oxford, and published by G.P. Putnam's
     Sons _The Knickerbocker Press_ in 1896. The title material
     includes the note:























It is no small effort for the mind, even of the most well-informed, how
much more of those whose exact knowledge is not great (which is the
case with most readers, and alas! with most writers also), to transport
itself out of this nineteenth century which we know so thoroughly, and
which has trained us in all our present habits and modes of thought,
into the fifteenth, four hundred years back in time, and worlds apart
in every custom and action of life. What is there indeed the same in
the two ages? Nothing but the man and the woman, the living agents in
spheres so different; nothing but love and grief, the affections and
the sufferings by which humanity is ruled and of which it is capable.
Everything else is changed: the customs of life, and its methods, and
even its motives, the ruling principles of its continuance. Peace and
mutual consideration, the policy which even in its selfish developments
is so far good that it enables men to live together, making existence
possible,--scarcely existed in those days. The highest ideal was that of
war, war no doubt sometimes for good ends, to redress wrongs, to avenge
injuries, to make crooked things straight--but yet always war, implying
a state of affairs in which the last thing that men thought of was
the golden rule, and the highest attainment to be looked for was the
position of a protector, doer of justice, deliverer of the oppressed.
Our aim now that no one should be oppressed, that every man should
have justice as by the order of nature, was a thing unthought of. What
individual help did feebly for the sufferer then, the laws do for us
now, without fear or favour: which is a much greater thing to say
than that the organisation of modern life, the mechanical helps, the
comforts, the easements of the modern world, had no existence in those
days. We are often told that the poorest peasant in our own time has
aids to existence that had not been dreamt of for princes in the Middle
Ages. Thirty years ago the world was mostly of opinion that the balance
was entirely on our side, and that in everything we were so much better
off than our fathers, that comparison was impossible. Since then there
have been many revolutions of opinion, and we think it is now the
general conclusion of wise men, that one period has little to boast
itself of against another, that one form of civilisation replaces
another without improving upon it, at least to the extent which appears
on the surface. But yet the general prevalence of peace, interrupted
only by occasional wars, even when we recognise a certain large
and terrible utility in war itself, must always make a difference
incalculable between the condition of the nations now, and then.

It is difficult, indeed, to imagine any concatenation of affairs which
could reduce a country now to the condition in which France was in the
beginning of the fifteenth century. A strong and splendid kingdom, to
which in early ages one great man had given the force and supremacy of
a united nation, had fallen into a disintegration which seems almost
incredible when regarded in the light of that warm flame of nationality
which now illumines, almost above all others, the French nation. But
Frenchmen were not Frenchmen, they were Burgundians, Armagnacs, Bretons,
Provençaux five hundred years ago. The interests of one part of the
kingdom were not those of the other. Unity had no existence. Princes of
the same family were more furious enemies to each other, at the head of
their respective fiefs and provinces, than the traditional foes of their
race; and instead of meeting an invader with a united force of patriotic
resistance, one or more of these subordinate rulers was sure to side
with the invader and to execute greater atrocities against his own flesh
and blood than anything the alien could do.

When Charles VII. of France began, nominally, his reign, his uncles and
cousins, his nearest kinsmen, were as determinedly his opponents, as was
Henry V. of England, whose frank object was to take the crown from his
head. The country was torn in pieces with different causes and cries.
The English were but little farther off from the Parisian than was the
Burgundian, and the English king was only a trifle less French than
were the members of the royal family of France. These circumstances are
little taken into consideration in face of the general history, in which
a careless reader sees nothing but the two nations pitted against each
other as they might be now, the French united in one strong and distinct
nationality, the three kingdoms of Great Britain all welded into one.
In the beginning of the fifteenth century the Scots fought on the French
side, against their intimate enemy of England, and if there had been any
unity in Ireland, the Irish would have done the same. The advantages
and disadvantages of subdivision were in full play. The Scots fought
furiously against the English--and when the latter won, as was usually
the case, the Scots contingent, whatever bounty might be shown to the
French, was always exterminated. On the other side the Burgundians, the
Armagnacs, and Royalists met each other almost more fiercely than the
latter encountered the English. Each country was convulsed by struggles
of its own, and fiercely sought its kindred foes in the ranks of its
more honest and natural enemy.

When we add to these strange circumstances the facts that the French
King, Charles VI., was mad, and incapable of any real share either in
the internal government of his country or in resistance to its invader:
that his only son, the Dauphin, was no more than a foolish boy, led by
incompetent councillors, and even of doubtful legitimacy, regarded with
hesitation and uncertainty by many, everybody being willing to believe
the worst of his mother, especially after the treaty of Troyes in which
she virtually gave him up: that the King's brothers or cousins at the
head of their respective fiefs were all seeking their own advantage, and
that some of them, especially the Duke of Burgundy, had cruel wrongs
to avenge: it will be more easily understood that France had reached a
period of depression and apparent despair which no principle of national
elasticity or new spring of national impulse was present to amend. The
extraordinary aspect of whole districts in so strong and populous a
country, which disowned the native monarch, and of towns and castles
innumerable which were held by the native nobility in the name of
a foreign king, could scarcely have been possible under other
circumstances. Everything was out of joint. It is said to be
characteristic of the nation that it is unable to play publicly (as
we say) a losing game; but it is equally characteristic of the race
to forget its humiliations as if they had never been, and to come out
intact when the fortune of war changes, more French than ever, almost
unabashed and wholly uninjured, by the catastrophe which had seemed

If we had any right to theorise on such a subject--which is a thing the
French themselves above all other men love to do,--we should be disposed
to say, that wars and revolutions, legislation and politics, are things
which go on over the head of France, so to speak--boilings on the
surface, with which the great personality of the nation if such a word
may be used, has little to do, and cares but little for; while she
herself, the great race, neither giddy nor fickle, but unusually
obstinate, tenacious, and sober, narrow even in the unwavering pursuit
of a certain kind of well-being congenial to her--goes steadily on,
less susceptible to temporary humiliation than many peoples much less
excitable on the surface, and always coming back into sight when the
commotion is over, acquisitive, money-making, profit-loving, uninjured
in any essential particular by the most terrific of convulsions. This of
course is to be said more or less of every country, the strain of
common life being always, thank God, too strong for every temporary
commotion--but it is true in a special way of France:--witness the
extraordinary manner in which in our own time, and under our own eyes,
that wonderful country righted herself after the tremendous misfortunes
of the Franco-German war, in which for a moment not only her prestige,
her honour, but her money and credit seemed to be lost.

It seems rather a paradox to point attention to the extraordinary
tenacity of this basis of French character, the steady prudence and
solidity which in the end always triumph over the light heart and light
head, the excitability and often rash and dangerous _élan_, which are
popularly supposed to be the chief distinguishing features of France--at
the very moment of beginning such a fairy tale, such a wonderful
embodiment of the visionary and ideal, as is the story of Jeanne d'Arc.
To call it a fairy tale is, however, disrespectful: it is an angelic
revelation, a vision made into flesh and blood, the dream of a woman's
fancy, more ethereal, more impossible than that of any man--even a
poet:--for the man, even in his most uncontrolled imaginations, carries
with him a certain practical limitation of what can be--whereas
the woman at her highest is absolute, and disregards all bounds of
possibility. The Maid of Orleans, the Virgin of France, is the sole
being of her kind who has ever attained full expression in this world.
She can neither be classified, as her countrymen love to classify, nor
traced to any system of evolution as we all attempt to do nowadays. She
is the impossible verified and attained. She is the thing in every race,
in every form of humanity, which the dreaming girl, the visionary maid,
held in at every turn by innumerable restrictions, her feet bound, her
actions restrained, not only by outward force, but by the law of her
nature, more effectual still,--has desired to be. That voiceless poet,
to whom what can be is nothing, but only what should be if miracle could
be attained to fulfil her trance and rapture of desire--is held by no
conditions, modified by no circumstances; and miracle is all around her,
the most credible, the most real of powers, the very air she breathers.
Jeanne of France is the very flower of this passion of the imagination.
She is altogether impossible from beginning to end of her, inexplicable,
alone, with neither rival nor even second in the one sole ineffable
path: yet all true as one of the oaks in her wood, as one of the flowers
in her garden, simple, actual, made of the flesh and blood which are
common to us all.

And she is all the more real because it is France, impure, the country
of light loves and immodest passions, where all that is sensual comes to
the surface, and the courtesan is the queen of ignoble fancy, that has
brought forth this most perfect embodiment of purity among the nations.
This is of itself one of those miracles which captivate the mind and
charm the imagination, the living paradox in which the soul delights.
How did she come out of that stolid peasant race, out of that distracted
and ignoble age, out of riot and license and the fierce thirst for gain,
and failure of every noble faculty? Who can tell? By the grace of God,
by the inspiration of heaven, the only origins in which the student of
nature, which is over nature, can put any trust. No evolution, no system
of development, can explain Jeanne. There is but one of her and no more
in all the astonished world.

With the permission of the reader I will retain her natural and
beautiful name. To translate it into Joan seems quite unnecessary.
Though she is the finest emblem to the world in general of that noble,
fearless, and spotless Virginity which is one of the finest inspirations
of the mediæval mind, yet she is inherently French, though France
scarcely was in her time: and national, though as yet there were rather
the elements of a nation than any indivisible People in that great
country. Was not she herself one of the strongest and purest threads
of gold to draw that broken race together and bind it irrevocably,
beneficially, into one?

It is curious that it should have been from the farthest edge of French
territory that this national deliverer came. It is a commonplace that
a Borderer should be a more hot partisan of his own country against the
other from which but a line divides him in fact, and scarcely so much
in race--than the calmer inhabitant of the midland country who knows no
such press of constant antagonism; and Jeanne is another example of this
well known fact. It is even a question still languidly discussed whether
Jeanne and her family were actually on one side of the line or the
other. "Il faut opter," says M. Blaze de Bury, one of her latest
biographers, as if the peasant household of 1412 had inhabited an
Alsatian cottage in 1872. When the line is drawn so closely, it is
difficult to determine, but Jeanne herself does not ever seem to have
entertained a moment's doubt on the subject, and she after all is the
best authority. Perhaps Villon was thinking more of his rhyme than of
absolute fact when he spoke of "Jeanne la bonne Lorraine." She was born
on the 5th of January, 1412, in the village of Domremy, on the banks
of the Meuse, one of those little grey hamlets, with its little church
tower, and remains of a little chateau on the soft elevation of a mound
not sufficient for the name of hill--which are scattered everywhere
through those level countries, like places which have never been built,
which have grown out of the soil, of undecipherable antiquity--perhaps,
one feels, only a hundred, perhaps a thousand years old--yet always
inhabitable in all the ages, with the same names lingering about, the
same surroundings, the same mild rural occupations, simple plenty and
bare want mingling together with as little difference of level as exists
in the sweeping lines of the landscape round.

The life was calm in so humble a corner which offered nothing to
the invader or marauder of the time, but yet was so much within the
universal conditions of war that the next-door neighbour, so to speak,
the adjacent village of Maxey, held for the Burgundian and English
alliance, while little Domremy was for the King. And once at least when
Jeanne was a girl at home, the family were startled in their quiet by
the swoop of an armed party of Burgundians, and had to gather up
babies and what portable property they might have, and flee across the
frontier, where the good Lorrainers received and sheltered them, till
they could go back to their village, sacked and pillaged and devastated
in the meantime by the passing storm. Thus even in their humility and
inoffensiveness the Domremy villagers knew what war and its miseries
were, and the recollection would no doubt be vivid among the children,
of that half terrible, half exhilarating adventure, the fright and
excitement of personal participation in the troubles, of which, night
and day, from one quarter or another, they must have heard.

Domremy had originally belonged(1) to the Abbey of St. Remy at
Rheims--the ancient church of which, in its great antiquity, is still an
interest and a wonder even in comparison with the amazing splendour of
the cathedral of that place, so rich and ornate, which draws the eyes of
the visitor to itself, and its greater associations. It is possible that
this ancient connection with Rheims may have brought the great ceremony
for which it is ever memorable, the consecration of the kings of France,
more distinctly before the musing vision of the village girl; but I
doubt whether such chance associations are ever much to be relied upon.
The village was on the high-road to Germany; it must have been therefore
in the way of news, and of many rumours of what was going on in the
centres of national life, more than many towns of importance. Feudal
bands, a rustic Seigneur with his little troop, going out for their
forty days' service, or returning home after it, must have passed along
the banks of the lazy Meuse many days during the fighting season, and
indeed throughout the year, for garrison duty would be as necessary in
winter as in summer; or a wandering pair of friars who had seen strange
sights must have passed with their wallets from the neighbouring
convents, collecting the day's provision, and leaving news and
gossip behind, such as flowed to these monastic hostelries from all
quarters--tales of battles, and anecdotes of the Court, and dreadful
stories of English atrocities, to stir the village and rouse ever
generous sentiment and stirring of national indignation. They are said
by Michelet to have been no man's vassals, these outlying hamlets of
Champagne; the men were not called upon to follow their lord's banner
at a day's notice, as were the sons of other villages. There is no
appearance even of a lord at all upon this piece of Church land, which
was, we are told, directly held under the King, and would only therefore
be touched by a general levy _en masse_--not even perhaps by that,
so far off were they, and so near the frontier, where a reluctant
man-at-arms could without difficulty make his escape, as the unwilling
conscript sometimes does now.

There would seem to have been no one of more importance in Domremy than
Jacques d'Arc himself and his wife, respectable peasants, with a little
money, a considerable rural property in flocks and herds and pastures,
and a good reputation among their kind. He had three sons working with
their father in the peaceful routine of the fields; and two daughters,
of whom some authorities indicate Jeanne as the younger, and some as the
elder. The cottage interior, however, appears more clearly to us than
the outward aspect of the family life. The daughters were not, like the
children of poorer peasants, brought up to the rude outdoor labours
of the little farm. Painters have represented Jeanne as keeping her
father's sheep, and even the early witnesses say the same; but it is
contradicted by herself, who ought to know best--(except in taking her
turn to herd them into a place of safety on an alarm). If she followed
the flocks to the fields, it must have been, she says, in her childhood,
and she has no recollection of it. Hers was a more sheltered and safer
lot. The girls were brought up by their mother indoors in all the
labours of housewifery, but also in the delicate art of needlework,
so much more exquisite in those days than now. Perhaps Isabeau, the
mistress of the house, was of convent training, perhaps some ancient
privilege in respect to the manufacture of ornaments for the altar, and
church vestments, was still retained by the tenants of what had been
Church lands. At all events this, and other kindred works of the needle,
seems to have been the chief occupation to which Jeanne was brought up.

The education of this humble house seems to have come entirely from the
mother. It was natural that the children should not know A from B, as
Jeanne afterward said; but no one did, probably, in the village nor even
on much higher levels than that occupied by the family of Jacques d'Arc.
But the children at their mother's knee learned the Credo, they
learned the simple universal prayers which are common to the wisest and
simplest, which no great savant or poet could improve, and no child fail
to understand: "Our Father, which art in Heaven," and that "Hail, Mary,
full of grace," which the world in that day put next. These were the
alphabet of life to the little Champagnards in their rough woollen
frocks and clattering sabots; and when the house had been set in
order,--a house not without comfort, with its big wooden presses full of
linen, and the _pot au feu_ hung over the cheerful fire,--came the
real work, perhaps embroideries for the Church, perhaps only good stout
shirts made of flax spun by their own hands for the father and the boys,
and the fine distinctive coif of the village for the women. "Asked if
she had learned any art or trade, said: Yes, that her mother had taught
her to sew and spin, and so well, that she did not think any woman in
Rouen could teach her anything." When the lady in the ballad makes her
conditions with the peasant woman who is to bring up her boy, her "gay
goss hawk," and have him trained in the use of sword and lance, she
undertakes to teach the "turtle-doo," the woman child substituted for
him, "to lay gold with her hand." No doubt Isabeau's child learned
this difficult and dainty art, and how to do the beautiful and delicate
embroidery which fills the treasuries of the old churches.

And while they sat by the table in the window, with their shining silks
and gold thread, the mother made the quiet hours go by with tale and
legend--of the saints first of all--and stories from Scripture, quaintly
interpreted into the costume and manners of their own time, as one
may still hear them in the primitive corners of Italy: mingled with
incidents of the war, of the wounded man tended in the village, and the
victors all flushed with triumph, and the defeated with trailing arms
and bowed heads, riding for their lives: perhaps little epics and
tragedies of the young knight riding by to do his devoir with his
handful of followers all spruce and gay, and the battered and diminished
remnant that would come back. And then the Black Burgundians, the
horrible English ogres, whose names would make the children shudder! No
_God-den_(2) had got so far as Domremy; there was no personal knowledge
to soften the picture of the invader. He was unspeakable as the Turk to
the imagination of the French peasant, diabolical as every invader is.

This was the earliest training of the little maid before whom so strange
and so great a fortune lay. _Autre personne que sadite mère ne lui
apprint_--any lore whatsoever; and she so little--yet everything that
was wanted--her prayers, her belief, the happiness of serving God, and
also man; for when any one was sick in the village, either a little
child with the measles, or a wounded soldier from the wars, Isabeau's
modest child--no doubt the mother too--was always ready to help. It
must have been a family _de bien_, in the simple phrase of the country,
helpful, serviceable, with charity and aid for all. An honest labourer,
who came to speak for Jeanne at the second trial, held long after her
death, gave his incontestable evidence to this. "I was then a child," he
said, "and it was she who nursed me in my illness." They were all more
or less devout in those days, when faith was without question, and the
routine of church ceremonial was followed as a matter of course; but few
so much as Jeanne, whose chief pleasure it was to say her prayers in the
little dark church, where perhaps in the morning sunshine, as she made
her early devotions, there would blaze out upon her from a window, a
Holy Michael in shining armour, transfixing the dragon with his spear,
or a St. Margaret dominating the same emblem of evil with her cross in
her hand. So, at least, the historians conjecture, anxious to find out
some reason for her visions; and there is nothing in the suggestion
which is unpleasing. The little country church was in the gift of St.
Remy, and some benefactor of the rural curé might well have given
a painted window to make glad the hearts of the simple people. St.
Margaret was no warrior-saint, but she overcame the dragon with her
cross, and was thus a kind of sister spirit to the great archangel.

Sitting much of her time at or outside the cottage door with her
needlework, in itself an occupation so apt to encourage musing and
dreams, the bells were one of Jeanne's great pleasures. We know a
traveller, of the calmest English temperament and sobriety of Protestant
fancy, to whom the midday Angelus always brings, he says, a touching
reminder--which he never neglects wherever he may be--to uncover the
head and lift up the heart; how much more the devout peasant girl softly
startled in the midst of her dreaming by that call to prayer. She was so
fond of those bells that she bribed the careless bell-ringer with simple
presents to be more attentive to his duty. From the garden where she sat
with her work, the cloudy foliage of the _bois de chêne_, the oak
wood, where were legends of fairies and a magic well, to which her
imagination, better inspired, seems to have given no great heed, filled
up the prospect on one side. At a later period, her accusers attempted
to make out that she had been a devotee of these nameless woodland
spirits, but in vain. No doubt she was one of the procession on the holy
day once a year, when the curé of the parish went out through the wood
to the Fairies' Well to say his mass, and exorcise what evil enchantment
might be there. But Jeanne's imagination was not of the kind to require
such stimulus. The saints were enough for her; and indeed they supplied
to a great extent the fairy tales of the age, though it was not of love
and fame and living happy ever after, but of sacrifice and suffering and
valorous martyrdom that their glory was made up.

We hear of the woods, the fields, the cottages, the little church and
its bells, the garden where she sat and sewed, the mother's stories,
the morning mass, in this quiet preface of the little maiden's life; but
nothing of the highroad with its wayfarers, the convoys of provisions
for the war, the fighting men that were coming and going. Yet these,
too, must have filled a large part in the village life, and it
is evident that a strong impression of the pity of it all, of the
distraction of the country and all the cruelties and miseries of which
she could not but hear, must have early begun to work in Jeanne's being,
and that while she kept silence the fire burned in her heart. The love
of God, and that love of country which has nothing to say to political
patriotism but translates itself in an ardent longing and desire to do
"some excelling thing" for the benefit and glory of that country, and
to heal its wounds--were the two principles of her life. We have not the
slightest indication how much or how little of this latter sentiment was
shared by the simple community about her; unless from the fact that
the Domremy children fought with those of Maxey, their disaffected
neighbours, to the occasional effusion of blood. We do not know even
of any volunteer from the village, or enthusiasm for the King.(3) The
district was voiceless, the little clusters of cottages fully occupied
in getting their own bread, and probably like most other village
societies, disposed to treat any military impulse among their sons as
mere vagabondism and love of adventure and idleness.

Nothing, so far as anyone knows, came near the most unlikely volunteer
of all, to lead her thoughts to that art of war of which she knew
nothing, and of which her little experience could only have shown her
the horrors and miseries, the sufferings of wounded fugitives and the
ruin of sacked houses. Of all people in the world, the little daughter
of a peasant was the last who could have been expected to respond to the
appeal of the wretched country. She had three brothers who might have
served the King, and there was no doubt many a stout clodhopper
about, of that kind which in every country is the fittest material for
fighting, and "food for powder." But to none of these did the call come.
Every detail goes to increase the profound impression of peacefulness
which fills the atmosphere--the slow river floating by, the roofs
clustered together, the church bells tinkling their continual summons,
the girl with her work at the cottage door in the shadow of the apple
trees. To pack the little knapsack of a brother or a lover, and to
convoy him weeping a little way on his road to the army, coming back to
the silent church to pray there, with the soft natural tears which the
uses of common life must soon dry--that is all that imagination could
have demanded of Jeanne. She was even too young for any interposition
of the lover, too undeveloped, the French historians tell us with their
astonishing frankness, to the end of her short life, to have been moved
by any such thought. She might have poured forth a song, a prayer, a
rude but sweet lament for her country, out of the still bosom of that
rustic existence. Such things have been, the trouble of the age forcing
an utterance from the very depths of its inarticulate life. But it was
not for this that Jeanne d'Arc was born.

     (1) Mr. Andrew Lang informs me that the real proprietor was
     a certain "Dame d'Orgévillier." "On Jeanne's side of the
     burn," he adds, with a picturesque touch of realism, "the
     people were probably _free_ as attached to the Royal
     Châtellenie of Vancouleurs, as described below."

     (2) This was probably not the God-dam of later French, a
     reflection of the supposed prevalent English oath, but most
     likely merely the God-den or good-day, the common

     (3) Domremy was split, Mr. Lang says, by the burn, and
     Jeanne's side were probably King's men. We have it on her
     own word that there was but one Burgundian in the village,
     but that might mean on her side.


In the year 1424, the year in which, after the battle of Agincourt,
France was delivered over to Henry V., an extraordinary event occurred
in the life of this little French peasant. We have not the same horror
of that treaty, naturally, as have the French. Henry V. is a favourite
of our history, probably not so much for his own merit as because of
that master-magician, Shakespeare, who of his supreme good pleasure, in
the exercise of that voluntary preference, which even God himself seems
to show to some men, has made of that monarch one of the best beloved of
our hearts. Dear to us as he is, in Eastcheap as at Agincourt, and
more in the former than the latter, even our sense of the disgraceful
character of that bargain, _le traité infâme_ of Troyes, by which Queen
Isabeau betrayed her son, and gave her daughter and her country to the
invader, is softened a little by our high estimation of the hero. But
this is simple national prejudice; regarded from the French side, or
even by the impartial judgment of general humanity, it was an infamous
treaty, and one which might well make the blood boil in French veins.

We look at it at present, however, through the atmosphere of the
nineteenth century, when France is all French, and when the royal house
of England has no longer any French connection. If George III., much
more George II., on the basis of his kingdom of Hanover, had attempted
to make himself master of a large portion of Germany, the situation
would have been more like that of Henry V. in France than anything we
can think of now. It is true the kings of England were no longer dukes
of Normandy--but they had been so within the memory of man: and that
noble duchy was a hereditary appanage of the family of the Conqueror;
while to other portions of France they had the link of temporary
possession and inheritance through French wives and mothers; added to
which is the fact that Jean sans Peur of Burgundy, thirsting to avenge
his father's blood upon the Dauphin, would have been probably a more
dangerous usurper than Henry, and that the actual sovereign, the
unfortunate, mad Charles VI., was in no condition to maintain his own

There is little evidence, however, that this treaty, or anything so
distinct in detail, had made much impression on the outlying borders of
France. What was known there, was only that the English were victorious,
that the rightful King of France was still uncrowned and unacknowledged,
and that the country was oppressed and humiliated under the foot of the
invader. The fact that the new King was not yet the Lord's anointed, and
had never received the seal of God, as it were, to his commission, was
a fact which struck the imagination of the village as of much more
importance than many greater things--being at once more visible and
matter-of-fact, and of more mystical and spiritual efficacy than any
other circumstance in the dreadful tale.

Jeanne was in the garden as usual, seated, as we should say in Scotland,
at "her seam," not quite thirteen, a child in all the innocence of
infancy, yet full of dreams, confused no doubt and vague, with those
impulses and wonderings--impatient of trouble, yearning to give
help--which tremble on the chaos of a young soul like the first
lightening of dawn upon the earth. It was summer, and afternoon, the
time of dreams. It would be easy in the employment of legitimate fancy
to heighten the picturesqueness of that quiet scene--the little girl
with her favourite bells, the birds picking up the crumbs of brown
bread at her feet. She was thinking of nothing, most likely, in a vague
suspense of musing, the wonder of youth, the awakening of thought, as
yet come to little definite in her child's heart--looking up from her
work to note some passing change of the sky, a something in the air
which was new to her. All at once between her and the church there shone
a light on the right hand, unlike anything she had ever seen before; and
out of it came a voice equally unknown and wonderful. What did the voice
say? Only the simplest words, words fit for a child, no maxim or mandate
above her faculties--"_Jeanne, sois bonne et sage enfant; va souvent
à l'église._" Jeanne, be good! What more could an archangel, what
less could the peasant mother within doors, say? The little girl was
frightened, but soon composed herself. The voice could be nothing
but sacred and blessed which spoke thus. It would not appear that she
mentioned it to anyone. It is such a secret as a child, in that wavering
between the real and unreal, the world not realised of childhood, would
keep, in mingled shyness and awe, uncertain, rapt in the atmosphere of
vision, within her own heart.

It is curious how often this wonderful scene has been repeated in
France, never connected with so high a mission, but yet embracing the
same circumstances, the same situation, the same semi-angelic nature of
the woman-child. The little Bernadette of Lourdes is almost of our own
day; she, too is one who puts the scorner to silence. What her visions
and her voices were, who can say? The last historian of them is not
a man credulous of good or moved towards the ideal; yet he is silent,
except in a wondering impression of the sacred and the true, before the
little Bearnaise in her sabots; and, notwithstanding the many sordid
results that have followed and all that sad machinery of expected
miracle through which even, repulsive as it must always be, a something
breaks forth from time to time which no man can define and account
for except in ways more incredible than miracle--so is the rest of the
world. Why has this logical, sceptical, doubting country, so able to
quench with an epigram, or blow away with a breath of ridicule the
finest vision--become the special sphere and birthplace of these
spotless infant-saints? This is one of the wonders which nobody attempts
to account for. Yet Bernadette is as Jeanne, though there are more than
four hundred years between.

After what intervals the vision returned we are not told, nor in what
circumstances. It seems to have come chiefly out-of-doors, in the
silence and freedom of the fields or garden. Presently the heavenly
radiance shaped itself into some semblance of forms and figures, one
of which, clearer than the others, was like a man, but with wings and
a crown on his head and the air "_d'un vrai prud' homme_"; a noble
apparition before whom at first the little maid trembled, but whose
majestic, honest regard soon gave her confidence. He bade her once more
to be good, and that God would help her; then he told her the sad
story of her own suffering country, _la pitié qui estoit au royaume de
France_. Was it the pity of heaven that the archangel reported to the
little trembling girl, or only that which woke with the word in her own
childish soul? He has chosen the small things of this world to confound
the great. Jeanne's young heart was full of pity already, and of
yearning over the helpless mother-country which had no champion to stand
for her. "She had great doubts at first whether it was St. Michael, but
afterwards when he had instructed her and shown her many things, she
believed firmly that it was he."

It was this warrior-angel who opened the matter to her, and disclosed
her mission. "Jeanne," he said, "you must go to the help of the King of
France; and it is you who shall give him back his kingdom." Like a still
greater Maid, trembling, casting in her mind what this might mean, she
replied, confused, as if that simple detail were all: "Messire, I am
only a poor girl; I cannot ride or lead armed men." The vision took
no notice of this plea. He became minute in his directions, indicating
exactly what she was to do. "Go to Messire de Baudricourt, captain of
Vaucouleurs, and he will take you to the King. St. Catherine and
St. Margaret will come and help you." Jeanne was overwhelmed by this
exactness, by the sensation of receiving direct orders. She cried,
weeping and helpless, terrified to the bottom of her soul--What was she
that she should do this? a little girl, able to guide nothing but her
needle or her distaff, to lend her simple aid in nursing a sick child.
But behind all her fright and hesitation, her heart was filled with the
emotion thus suggested to her--the immeasurable _pitié que estoit au
royaume de France_. Her heart became heavy with this burden. By degrees
it came about that she could think of nothing else; and her little
life was confused by expectations and recollections of the celestial
visitant, who might arrive upon her at any moment, in the midst perhaps
of some innocent play, or when she sat sewing in the garden before her
father's humble door.

After a while the _vrai prud' homme_ came seldom; other figures more
like herself, soft forms of women, white and shining, with golden
circlets and ornaments, appeared to her in the great halo of the light;
they bowed their heads, naming themselves, as to a sister spirit,
Catherine, and the other Margaret. Their voices were sweet and soft
with a sound that made you weep. They were both martyrs, encouraging and
strengthening the little martyr that was to be. "A lady is there in the
heavens who loves thee": Virgil could not say more to rouse the flagging
strength of Dante. When these gentle figures disappeared, the little
maid wept in an anguish of tenderness, longing if only they would take
her with them. It is curious that though she describes in this vague
rapture the appearance of her visitors, it is always as "_mes voix_"
that she names them--the sight must always have been more imperfect than
the message. Their outlines and their lovely faces might shine uncertain
in the excess of light; but the words were always plain. The pity for
France that was in their hearts spread itself into the silent rural
atmosphere, touching every sensitive chord in the nature of little
Jeanne. It was as if her mother lay dying there before her eyes.

Curious to think how little anyone could have suspected such meetings as
these, in the cottage hard by, where the weary ploughmen from the fields
would come clamping in for their meal, and Dame Isabeau would call
to the child, even sharply perhaps now and then, to leave that
all-absorbing needlework and come in and help, as Martha called Mary
fourteen hundred years before; and where the priest, mumbling his mass
of a cold morning in the little church, would smile indulgent on the
faithful little worshipper when it was done, sure of seeing Jeanne there
whoever might be absent. She was a shy girl, blushing and drooping her
head when a stranger spoke to her, red and shame-faced when they laughed
at her in the village as a _dévote_ before her time; but with nothing
else to blush about in all her simple record.

Neither to her parents, nor to the curé when she made her confession,
does she seem to have communicated these strange experiences, though
they had lasted for some time before she felt impelled to act upon
them, and could keep silence no longer. She was but thirteen when the
revelations began and she was seventeen when at last she set forth to
fulfil her mission. She had no guidance from her voices, she herself
says, as to whether she should tell or not tell what had been
communicated to her; and no doubt was kept back by her shyness, and by
the dreamy confusion of childhood between the real and unreal. One
would have thought that a life in which these visions were of constant
recurrence would have been rapt altogether out of wholesome use and
wont, and all practical service. But this does not seem for a moment to
have been the case. Jeanne was no hysterical girl, living with her head
in a mist, abstracted from the world. She had all the enthusiasms even
of youthful friendship, other girls surrounding her with the intimacy of
the village, paying her visits, staying all night, sharing her room and
her bed. She was ready to be sent for by any poor woman that needed help
or nursing, she was always industrious at her needle; one would love
to know if perhaps in the _Trésor_ at Rheims there was some stole or
maniple with flowers on it, wrought by her hands. But the _Trésor_ at
Rheims is nowadays rather vulgar if truth must be told, and the bottles
and vases for the consecration of Charles X., that _pauvre sire_, are
more thought of than relics of an earlier age.

At length, however, one does not know how, the secret of her double life
came out. No doubt long brooding over these voices, long intercourse
with such celestial visitors, and the mission continually pressed upon
her--meaningless to the child at first, a thing only to shed terrified
tears over and wonder at--ripened her intelligence so that she came at
last to perceive that it was practicable, a thing to be done, a
charge to be obeyed. She had this before her, as a girl in ordinary
circumstances has the new developments of life to think of, and how
to be a wife and mother. And the news brought by every passer-by would
prove doubly interesting, doubly important to Jeanne, in her daily
growing comprehension of what she was called upon to do. As she felt the
current more and more catching her feet, sweeping her on, overcoming all
resistance in her own mind, she must have been more and more anxious to
know what was going on in the distracted world, more and more touched by
that great pity which had awakened her soul. And all these reports were
of a nature to increase that pity till it became overwhelming. The
tales she would hear of the English must have been tales of cruelty
and horror; not so many years ago what tales did not we hear of German
ferocity in the French villages, perhaps not true at all, yet making
their impression always; and it was more probable in that age that every
such story should be true. Then the compassion which no one can help
feeling for a young man deprived of his rights, his inheritance taken
from him, his very life in danger, threatened by the stranger and
usurper, was deepened in every particular by the fact that it was the
King, the very impersonation of France, appointed by God as the head of
the country, who was in danger. Everything that Jeanne heard would help
to swell the stream.

Thus she must have come step by step--this extraordinary, impossible
suggestion once sown in her dreaming soul--to perceive a kind of
miraculous reasonableness in it, to see its necessity, and how
everything pointed towards such a deliverance. It would have seemed
natural to believe that the prophecies of the countryside which promised
a virgin from an oak grove, a maiden from Lorraine, to deliver France,
might have affected her mind, did we not have it from her own voice
that she had never heard that prophecy(1); but the word of the blessed
Michael, so often repeated, was more than an old wife's tale; and the
child's alarm would seem to have died away as she came to her full
growth. And Jeanne was no ethereal spirit lost in visions, but a
robust and capable peasant girl, fearing little, and full of sense and
determination, as well as of an inspiration so far above the level of
the crowd. We hear with wonder afterwards that she had the making of a
great general in her untutored female soul,--which is perhaps the most
wonderful thing in her career,--and saw with the eye of an experienced
and able soldier, as even Dunois did not always see it, the fit order
of an attack, the best arrangement of the forces at her command. This I
honestly avow is to me the most incredible point in the story. I am not
disturbed by the apparition of the saints; there is in them an ineffable
appropriateness and fitness against which the imagination, at least,
has not a word to say. The wonder is not, to the natural mind, that such
interpositions of heaven come, but that they come so seldom. But that
Jacques d'Arc's daughter, the little girl over her sewing, whose only
fault was that she went to church too often, should have the genius of a
soldier, is too bewildering for words to say. A poet, yes, an inspiring
influence leading on to miraculous victory; but a general, skilful
with the rude artillery of the time, divining the better way in
strategy,--this is a wonder beyond the reach of our faculties; yet
according to Alençon, Dunois, and other military authorities, it was

We have little means of finding out how it was that Jeanne's long
musings came at last to a point at which they could be hidden no longer,
nor what it was which induced her at last to select the confidant she
did. No doubt she must have been considering and weighing the matter for
a long time before she fixed upon the man who was her relation, yet
did not belong to Domremy, and was safer than a townsman for the
extraordinary revelations she had to make. One of her neighbours, her
gossip, Gerard of Epinal, to whose child she was godmother, had perhaps
at one moment seemed to her a likely helper. But he belonged to the
opposite party. "If you were not a Burgundian," she said to him once,
"there is something I might tell you." The honest fellow took this to
mean that she had some thought of marriage, the most likely and natural
supposition. It was at this moment, when her heart was burning with
her great secret, the voices urging her on day by day, and her power of
self-constraint almost at an end, that Providence sent Durand Laxart,
her uncle by marriage, to Domremy on some family visit. She would seem
to have taken advantage of the opportunity with eagerness, asking him
privately to take her home with him, and to explain to her father and
mother that he wanted her to take care of his wife. No doubt the girl,
devoured with so many thoughts, would have the air of requiring "a
change" as we say, and that the mother would be very ready to accept for
her an invitation which might bring back the brightness to her child.
Laxart was a peasant like the rest, a _prud' homme_ well thought of
among his people. He lived in Burey le Petit, near to Vaucouleurs, the
chief place of the district, and Jeanne already knew that it was to the
captain of Vaucouleurs that she was to address herself. Thus she secured
her object in the simplest and most natural way.

Yet the reader cannot but hold his breath at the thought of what that
amazing revelation must have been to the homely, rustic soul, her
companion, communicated as they went along the common road in the common
daylight. "She said to the witness that she must go to France to the
Dauphin, to make him to be crowned King." It must have been as if a
thunderbolt had fallen at his feet when the girl whom he had known in
every development of her little life, thus suddenly disclosed to him her
secret purpose and determination. All her simple excellence the good
man knew, and that she was no fantastic chatterer, but truly _une bonne
douce fille_, bold in nothing but kindness, with nothing to blush for
but the fault of going too often to church. "Did you never hear that
France should be made desolate by a woman and restored by a maid?" she
said; and this would seem to have been an unanswerable argument. He had,
henceforth, nothing to do but to promote her purpose as best he could in
every way.

It would not seem at all unlikely to this good man that the Archangel
Michael, if Jeanne's revelation to him went so far, should have named
Robert de Baudricourt, the chief of the district, captain of the town
and its forces, the principal personage in all the neighbourhood, as
the person to whom Jeanne's purpose was to be revealed, but rather a
guarantee of St. Michael himself, familiar with good society; and the
Seigneur must have been more or less in good intelligence with his
people, not too alarming to be referred to, even on so insignificant
a subject as the vagaries of a country girl--though these by this
time must have begun to seem something more than vagaries to the
half-convinced peasant. And it was no doubt a great relief to his mind
thus to put the decision of the question into the hands of a man better
informed than himself. Laxart proceeded to Vaucouleurs upon his mission,
shyly yet with confidence. He would seem to have had a preliminary
interview with Baudricourt before introducing Jeanne. The stammering
countryman, the bluff, rustic noble and soldier, cheerfully
contemptuous, receiving, with a loud laugh into all the echoes, the
extraordinary demand that he should send a little girl from Domremy
to the King, to deliver France, come before us like a picture in the
countryman's simple words. Robert de Baudricourt would scarcely hear the
story out. "Box her ears," he said, "and send her home to her mother."
The little fool! What did she know of the English, those brutal,
downright fighters, against whom no _élan_ was sufficient, who stood
their ground and set up vulgar posts around their lines, instead
of trusting to the rush of sudden valour, and the tactics of the
tournament! She deliver France! On a much smaller argument and to put
down a less ambition, the half serious, half amused adviser has bidden
a young fanatic's ears to be boxed on many an unimportant occasion,
and has often been justified in so doing. There would be a half hour of
gaiety after poor Laxart, crestfallen, had got his dismissal. The
good man must have turned back to Jeanne, where she waited for him in
courtyard or antechamber, with a heavy heart. No boxing of ears was
possible to him. The mere thought of it was blasphemy. This was on
Ascension Day the 13 May, 1428.

Jeanne, however, was not discouraged by M. de Baudricourt's joke, and
her interview with him changed his views completely. She appears indeed
from the moment of setting out from her father's house to have taken a
new attitude. These great personages of the country before whom all the
peasants trembled, were nothing to this village maid, except, perhaps,
instruments in the hand of God to speed her on her way if they could see
their privileges--if not, to be swept out of it like straws by the wind.
It had no doubt been hard for her to leave her father's house; but after
that disruption what did anything matter? And she had gone through five
years of gradual training of which no one knew. The tears and terror,
the plea, "I am a poor girl; I cannot even ride," of her first childlike
alarm had given place to a profound acquaintance with the voices and
their meaning. They were now her familiar friends guiding her at every
step; and what was the commonplace burly Seigneur, with his roar of
laughter, to Jeanne? She went to her audience with none of the alarm
of the peasant. A certain young man of Baudricourt's suite, Bertrand de
Poulengy, another young D'Artagnan seeking his fortune, was present
in the hall and witnessed the scene. The joke would seem to have been
exhausted by the time Jeanne appeared, or her perfect gravity and
simplicity, and beautiful manners--so unlike her rustic dress and
village coif--imposed upon the Seigneur and his little court. This is
how the story is told, twenty-five years after, by the witness, then an
elderly knight, recalling the story of his youth.

"She said that she came to Robert on the part of her Lord, that he
should send to the Dauphin, and tell him to hold out, and have no fear,
for the Lord would send him succour before the middle of Lent. She also
said that France did not belong to the Dauphin but to her Lord; but her
Lord willed that the Dauphin should be its King, and hold it in command,
and that in spite of his enemies she herself would conduct him to be
consecrated. Robert then asked her who was this Lord? She answered, 'The
King of Heaven.' This being done (the witness adds) she returned to her
father's house with her uncle, Durand Laxart of Burey le Petit."

This brief and sudden preface to her career passed over and had no
immediate effect; indeed but for Bertrand we should have been unable
to separate it from the confused narrative to which all these witnesses
brought what recollection they had, often without sequence or order,
Durand himself taking no notice of any interval between this first
visit to Vaucouleurs and the final one.(2) The episode of Ascension Day
appears like the formal _sommation_ of French law, made as a matter of
form before the appellant takes action on his own responsibility; but
Baudricourt had probably more to do with it than appears to be at all
certain from the after evidence. One of the persons present, at all
events, young Poulengy above mentioned, bore it in mind and pondered it
in his heart.

Meantime, Jeanne returned home--the strangest home-going,--for by this
time her mission and her aspirations could no longer be hid, and rumour
must have carried the news almost as quickly as any modern telegraph,
to startle all the echoes of the village, heretofore unaware of any
difference between Jeanne and her companions save the greater goodness
to which everybody bears testimony. No doubt, it must have reached
Jacques d'Arc's cottage even before she came back with the kind Durand,
a changed creature, already the consecrated Maid of France, La Pucelle,
apart from all others. The French peasant is a hard man, more fierce in
his terror of the unconventional, of having his domestic affairs exposed
to the public eye, or his family disgraced by an exhibition of anything
unusual either in act or feeling, than almost any other class of beings.
And it is evident that he took his daughter's intention according to the
coarsest interpretation, as a wild desire for adventure and intention
of joining herself to the roving troopers, the soldiers always hated and
dreaded in rural life. He suddenly appears in the narrative in a fever
of apprehension, with no imaginative alarm or anxiety about his girl,
but the fiercest suspicion of her, and dread of disgrace to ensue. We do
not know what passed when she returned, further than that her father had
a dream, no doubt after the first astounding explanation of the purpose
that had so long been ripening in her mind. He dreamed that he saw her
surrounded by armed men, in the midst of the troopers, the most evident
and natural interpretation of her purpose, for who could divine that
she meant to be their leader and general, on a level not with the common
men-at-arms, but of princes and nobles? In the morning he told his dream
to his wife and also to his sons. "If I could think that the thing would
happen that I dreamed, I would wish that she should be drowned; and
if you would not do it, I should do it with my own hands." The reader
remembers with a shudder the Meuse flowing at the foot of the garden,
while the fierce peasant, mad with fear lest shame should be coming to
his family, clenched his strong fist and made this outcry of dismay.

No doubt his wife smoothed the matter over as well as she could, and,
whatever alarms were in her own mind, hastily thought of a feminine
expedient to mend matters, and persuaded the angry father that to
substitute other dreams for these would be an easier way. Isabeau most
probably knew the village lad who would fain have had her child, so good
a housewife, so industrious a workwoman, and always so friendly and so
helpful, for his wife. At all events there was such a one, too willing
to exert himself, not discouraged by any refusal, who could be egged
up to the very strong point of appearing before the bishop at Toul and
swearing that Jeanne had been promised to him from her childhood. So
timid a girl, they all thought, so devout a Catholic, would simply obey
the bishop's decision and would not be bold enough even to remonstrate,
though it is curious that with the spectacle of her grave determination
before them, and sorrowful sense of that necessity of her mission
which had steeled her to dispense with their consent, they should have
expected such an expedient to arrest her steps. The affair, we must
suppose, had gone through all the more usual stages of entreaty on the
lover's part, and persuasion on that of the parents, before such an
attempt was finally made. But the shy Jeanne had by this time attained
that courage of desperation which is not inconsistent with the most
gentle nature; and without saying anything to anyone, she too went to
Toul, appeared before the bishop, and easily freed herself from the
pretended engagement, though whether with any reference to her very
different destination we are not told.(3)

These proceedings, however, and the father's dreams and the
remonstrances of the mother, must have made troubled days in the
cottage, and scenes of wrath and contradiction, hard to bear. The winter
passed distracted by these contentions, and it is difficult to imagine
how Jeanne could have borne this had it not been that the period of her
outset had already been indicated, and that it was only in the middle of
Lent that her succour was to reach the King. The village, no doubt, was
almost as much distracted as her father's house to hear of these strange
discussions and of the incredible purpose of the _bonne douce fille_,
whose qualities everybody knew and about whom there was nothing
eccentric, nothing unnatural, but only simple goodness, to distinguish
her above her neighbours. In the meantime her voices called her
continually to her work. They set her free from the ordinary yoke of
obedience, always so strong in the mind of a French girl. The dreadful
step of abandoning her home, not to be thought of under any other
circumstances, was more and more urgently pressed upon her. Could it
indeed be saints and angels who ordained a step which was outside of all
the habits and first duties of nature? But we have no reason to believe
that this nineteenth-century doubt of her visitors, and of whether their
mandates were right, entered into the mind of a girl who was of her own
period and not of ours. She went on steadfastly, certain of her mission
now, and inaccessible either to remonstrance or appeal.

It was towards the beginning of Lent, as Poulengy tells us, that the
decision was made, and she left home finally, to go "to France" as is
always said. But it seems to have been in January that she set out once
more for Vaucouleurs, accompanied by her uncle, who took her to the
house of some humble folk they knew, a carter and his wife, where they
lodged. Jeanne wore her peasant dress of heavy red homespun, her rude
heavy shoes, her village coif. She never made any pretence of ladyhood
or superiority to her class, but was always equal to the finest society
in which she found herself, by dint of that simple good faith, sense,
and seriousness, without excitement or exaggeration, and radiant purity
and straightforwardness which were apparent to all seeing eyes. By
this time all the little world about knew something of her purpose and
followed her every step with wonder and quickly rising curiosity: and no
doubt the whole town was astir, women gazing at their doors, all on her
side from the first moment, the men half interested, half insolent, as
she went once more to the chateau to make her personal appeal. Simple as
she was, the _bonne douce fille_ was not intimidated by the guard at the
gates, the lounging soldiers, the no doubt impudent glances flung at
her by these rude companions. She was inaccessible to alarms of that
kind--which, perhaps, is one of the greatest safeguards against them
even in more ordinary cases. We find little record of her second
interview with Baudricourt. The _Journal du Siège d'Orleans_ and the
_Chronique de la Pucelle_ both mention it as if it had been one of
several, which may well have been the case, as she was for three weeks
in Vaucouleurs. It is almost impossible to arrange the incidents of this
interval between her arrival there and her final departure for Chinon on
the 23d February, during which time she made a pilgrimage to a shrine
of St. Nicolas and also a visit to the Duke of Lorraine. It is clear,
however, that she must have repeated her demand with such stress and
urgency that the Captain of Vaucouleurs was a much perplexed man. It was
a very natural idea then, and in accordance with every sentiment of
the time that he should suspect this wonderful girl, who would not be
daunted, of being a witch and capable of bringing an evil fate on all
who crossed her. All thought of boxing her ears must ere this have
departed from his mind. He hastened to consult the curé, which was
the most reasonable thing to do. The curé was as much puzzled as the
Captain. The Church, it must be said, if always ready to take advantage
afterwards of such revelations, has always been timid, even sceptical
about them at first. The wisdom of the rulers, secular and ecclesiastic,
suggested only one thing to do, which was to exorcise, and perhaps to
overawe and frighten, the young visionary. They paid a joint and solemn
visit to the carter's house, where no doubt their entrance together was
spied by many eager eyes; and there the priest solemnly taking out his
stole invested himself in his priestly robes and exorcised the evil
spirits, bidding them come out of the girl if they were her inspiration.
There seems a certain absurdity in this sudden assault upon the evil
one, taking him as it were by surprise: but it was not ridiculous to
any of the performers, though Jeanne no doubt looked on with serene and
smiling eyes. She remarked afterwards to her hostess, that the curé had
done wrong, as he had already heard her in confession.

Outside, the populace were in no uncertainty at all as to her mission.
A little mob hung about the door to see her come and go, chiefly to
church, with her good hostess in attendance, as was right and seemly,
and a crowd streaming after them who perhaps of their own accord might
have neglected mass, but who would not, if they could help it, lose a
look at the new wonder. One day a young gentleman of the neighbourhood
was passing by, and amused by the commotion, came through the crowd to
have a word with the peasant lass. "What are you doing here, _ma mie_?"
the young man said. "Is the King to be driven out of the kingdom, and
are we all to be made English?" There is a tone of banter in the speech,
but he had already heard of the Maid from his friend, Bertrand, and had
been affected by the other's enthusiasm. "Robert de Baudricourt will
have none of me or my words," she replied, "nevertheless before Mid-Lent
I must be with the King, if I should wear my feet up to my knees;
for nobody in the world, be it king, duke, or the King of Scotland's
daughter, can save the kingdom of France except me alone: though I would
rather spin beside my poor mother, and this is not my work: but I must
go and do it, because my Lord so wills it." "And who is your Seigneur?"
he asked. "God," said the girl. The young man was moved, he too, by that
wind which bloweth where it listeth. He stretched out his hands through
the gaping crowd and took hers, holding them between his own, to give
her his pledge: and so swore by his faith, her hands in his hands, that
he himself would conduct her to the King. "When will you go?" he said.
"Rather to-day than to-morrow," answered the messenger of God.

This was the second convert of La Pucelle. The peasant _bonhomme_ first,
the noble gentleman after him; not to say all the women wherever she
went, the gazing, weeping, admiring crowd which now followed her steps,
and watched every opening of the door which concealed her from their
eyes. The young gentleman was Jean de Novelonpont, "surnamed Jean de
Metz": and so moved was he by the fervour of the girl, and by her strong
sense of the necessity of immediate operations, that he proceeded at
once to make preparations for the journey. They would seem to have
discussed the dress she ought to wear, and Jeanne decided for many
obvious reasons to adopt the costume of a man--or rather boy. She must,
one would imagine have been tall, for no remark is ever made on this
subject, as if her dress had dwarfed her, which is generally the case
when a woman assumes the habit of a man: and probably with her peasant
birth and training, she was, though slim, strongly made and well knit,
besides being at the age when the difference between boy and girl is
sometimes but little noticeable.

In the meantime Baudricourt had not been idle. He must have been moved
by the sight of Jeanne, at least to perceive a certain gravity in the
business for which he was not prepared; and her composure under the
curé's exorcism would naturally deepen the effect which her own manners
and aspect had upon all who were free of prejudice. Another singular
event, too, added weight to her character and demand. One day after
her return from Lorraine, February 12th, 1429, she intimated to all her
surroundings and specially to Baudricourt, that the King had suffered a
defeat near Orleans, which made it still more necessary that she should
be at once conducted to him. It was found when there was time for the
news to come, that this defeat, the Battle of the Herrings, so-called,
had happened as she said, at the exact time; and such a strange fact
added much to the growing enthusiasm and excitement. Baudricourt is said
by Michelet to have sent off a secret express to the Court to ask what
he should do; but of this there seems to be no direct evidence, though
likelihood enough. The Court at Chinon contained a strong feminine
element, behind the scenes. And it might be found that there were uses
for the enthusiast, even if she did not turn out to be inspired. No
doubt there were many comings and goings at this period which can only
be traced confusedly through the depositions of Jeanne's companions
twenty-five years after. She had at least two interviews with
Baudricourt before the exorcism of the curé and his consequent change
of procedure towards her. Then, escorted by her uncle Laxart, and
apparently by Jean de Metz, she had made a pilgrimage to a shrine of St.
Nicolas, as already mentioned, on which occasion, being near Nancy, she
was sent for by the Duke of Lorraine, then lying ill at his castle
in that city, who had a fancy to consult the young prophetess,
sorceress--who could tell what she was?--on the subject apparently
of his illness. He was the son of Queen Yolande of Anjou, who was
mother-in-law to Charles VII., and it would no doubt be thought of some
importance to secure his good opinion. Jeanne gave the exalted
patient no light on the subject of his health, but only the (probably
unpleasing) advice to flee from the wrath of God and to be reconciled
with his wife, from whom he was separated. He too, however, was moved by
the sight of her and her straightforward, undeviating purpose. He gave
her four francs, Durand tells us,--not much of a present,--which she
gave to her uncle, and which helped to buy her outfit. Probably he made
a good report of her to his mother, for shortly after her return to
Vaucouleurs (I again follow Michelet who ought to be well informed)
a messenger from Chinon arrived to take her to the King.(4) In the
councils of that troubled Court, perhaps, the idea of a prodigy and
miraculous leader, though she was nothing but a peasant girl, would
be not without attraction, a thing to conjure withal, so far as the
multitude were concerned.

Anyhow from any point of view, in the hopeless condition of affairs, it
was expedient that nothing which gave promise of help, either real or
visionary, should lightly be rejected. There was much anxiety no
doubt in the careless Court still dancing and singing in the midst
of calamity, but the reception of the ambitious peasant would form an
exciting incident at least, if nothing more important and notable.

Thus the whole anxious world of France stirred round that youthful
figure in the little frontier town, repeating with many an alteration
and exaggeration the sayings of Jeanne, and those popular superstitions
about the Maid from Lorraine which might be so naturally applied to her.
It would seem, indeed, that she had herself attached some importance to
this prophecy, for both her uncle Laxart and her hostess at Vaucouleurs
report that she asked them if they had heard it: which question
"stupefied" the latter, whose mind evidently jumped at once to the
conviction that the prophecy was fulfilled. Not in Domremy itself,
however, were these things considered with the same awe-stricken and
admiring faith. Nothing had softened the mood of Jacques d'Arc. It was
a shame to the village _prud' homme_ to think of his daughter away from
all the protection of home, living among men, encountering the young
Seigneurs who cared for no maiden's reputation, hearing the soldiers'
rude talk, exposed to their insults, or worse still to their kindness.
Probably even now he thought of her as surrounded by troopers and
men-at-arms, instead of the princes and peers with whom henceforth
Jeanne's lot was to be cast; but in the former case there would
have perhaps been less to fear than in the latter. Anyhow, Jeanne's
communications with her family were more painful to her than had been
the jeers of Baudricourt or the exorcism of the curé. They sent her
angry orders to come back, threats of parental curses and abandonment.
We may hope that the mother, grieved and helpless, had little to do with
this persecution. The woman who had nourished her children upon saintly
legend and Scripture story could scarcely have been hard upon the child,
of whom she, better than any, knew the perfect purity and steadfast
resolution. One of the little household at least, revolted by the stern
father's fury, perhaps secretly encouraged by the mother, broke away and
joined his sister at a later period. But we hear, during her lifetime,
little or nothing of Pierre.

Much time, however, was passed in these preliminaries. The final
start was not made till the 23d February, 1429, when the permission
is supposed to have come by the hands of Colet de Vienne, the King's
messenger, who attended by a single archer, was to be her escort. It
is possible that he had no mission to this effect, but he certainly
did escort her to Chinon. The whole town gathered before the house of
Baudricourt to see her depart. Baudricourt, however, does not seem to
have provided any guard for her. Jean de Metz, who had so chivalrously
pledged himself to her service, with his friend De Poulengy,
equally ready for adventure, each with his servant, formed her sole
protectors.(5) Jean de Metz had already sent her the clothes of one of
his retainers, with the light breastplate and partial armour that suited
it; and the townspeople had subscribed to buy her a further outfit, and
a horse which seems to have cost sixteen francs--not so small a sum in
those days as now. Laxart declares himself to have been responsible for
this outlay, though the money was afterwards paid by Baudricourt, who
gave Jeanne a sword, which some of her historians consider a very poor
gift: none, however, of her equipments would seem to have been costly.
The little party set out thus, with a sanction of authority, from the
Captain's gate, the two gentlemen and the King's messenger at the head
of the party with their attendants, and the Maid in the midst. "Go: and
let what will happen," was the parting salutation of Baudricourt. The
gazers outside set up a cry when the decisive moment came, and someone,
struck with the feeble force which was all the safeguard she had for her
long journey through an agitated country--perhaps a woman in the sudden
passion of misgiving which often follows enthusiasm,--called out to
Jeanne with an astonished outcry to ask how she could dare to go by such
a dangerous road. "It was for that I was born," answered the fearless
Maid. The last thing she had done had been to write a letter to her
parents, asking their pardon if she obeyed a higher command than theirs,
and bidding them farewell.

The French historians, with that amazement which they always show when
they find a man behaving like a gentleman towards a woman confided to
his honour, all pause with deep-drawn breath to note that the awe of
Jeanne's absolute purity preserved her from any unseemly overture, or
even evil thought, on the part of her companions. We need not take
up even the shadow of so grave a censure upon Frenchmen in general,
although in the far distance of the fifteenth century. The two young
men, thus starting upon a dangerous adventure, pledged by their honour
to protect and convey her safely to the King's presence, were noble and
generous cavaliers, and we may well believe had no evil thoughts. They
were not, however, without an occasional chill of reflection when
once they had taken the irrevocable step of setting out upon this wild
errand. They travelled by night to escape the danger of meeting bands of
Burgundians or English on the way, and sometimes had to ford a river to
avoid the town, where they would have found a bridge. Sometimes, too,
they had many doubts, Bertrand says, perhaps as to their reception at
Chinon, perhaps even whether their mission might not expose them to the
ridicule of their kind, if not to unknown dangers of magic and contact
with the Evil One, should this wonderful girl turn out no inspired
virgin but a pretender or sorceress. Jean de Metz informs us that she
bade them not to fear, that she had been sent to do what she was now
doing; that her brothers in paradise would tell her how to act, and that
for the last four or five years her brothers in paradise and her God had
told her that she must go to the war to save the kingdom of France. This
phrase must have struck his ear, as he thus repeats it. Her brothers in
paradise! She had not apparently talked of them to anyone as yet, but
now no one could hinder her more, and she felt herself free to speak.
A great calm seems to have been in her soul. She had at last begun her
work. How it was all to end for her she neither foresaw nor asked;
she knew only what she had to do. When they ventured into a town she
insisted on stopping to hear mass, bidding them fear nothing. "God
clears the way for me," she said; "I was born for this," and so
proceeded safe, though threatened with many dangers. There is something
that breathes of supreme satisfaction and content in her repetition of
those words.

     (1) She was, however, acquainted with the simpler byword,
     that France should be destroyed by a woman and afterwards
     redeemed by a virgin, which she quoted to several persons on
     her first setting out.

     (2) I have to thank Mr. Andrew Lang for making the course of
     these events quite clear to myself.

     (3) Mr. Andrew Lang thinks that this appearance at Toul was
     made after she had finally left Domremy, and when she was
     already accompanied by the escort which was to attend her to

     (4) Mr. Andrew Lang will not hear of this. He thinks the man
     was a mere King's messenger with news, probably charged with
     the melancholy tidings of the loss at Rouvray (Battle of the
     Herrings): and that the fact he did accompany Jeanne and her
     little part was entirely accidental.

     (5) Her brother Pierre is said by some to have been of the
     party. _La Chronique de la Pucelle_ says two of her
     brothers. Mr. Andrew Lang, however, tells us that Pierre did
     not join his sister's party till much later--in the
     beginning of June: and this is the statement of Jean de
     Metz. But Quicherat is also of opinion that they both fought
     in the relief of Orleans.


Jeanne and her little party were eleven days on the road, but do not
seem to have encountered any special peril. They lodged sometimes in the
security of a convent, sometimes in a village hostel, pursuing the long
and tedious way across the great levels of midland France, which has
so few features of beauty except in the picturesque towns with their
castles and churches, which the escort avoided. At length they paused
in the village of Fierbois not far from Chinon where the Court was, in
order to announce their arrival and ask for an audience, which was not
immediately accorded. Charles held his Court with incredible gaiety and
folly, in the midst of almost every disaster that could overtake a king,
in the castle of Chinon on the banks of the Vienne. The situation and
aspect of this noble building, now in ruins, is wonderfully like that
of Windsor Castle. The great walls, interrupted and strengthened by
huge towers, stretch along a low ridge of rocky hill, with the swift and
clear river, a little broader and swifter than the Thames, flowing at
its foot. The red and high-pitched roofs of the houses clustered between
the castle hill and the stream, give a point of resemblance the more.
The large and ample dwelling, defensible, but with no thought of any
need of defence, a midland castle surrounded by many a level league of
wealthy country, which no hostile force should ever have power to get
through, must have looked like the home of a well-established royalty.
There was no sound or sight of war within its splendid enclosure.
Noble lords and gentlemen crowded the corridors; trains of gay ladies,
attendant upon two queens, filled the castle with fine dresses and gay
voices. There had been but lately a dreadful and indeed shameful defeat,
inflicted by a mere English convoy of provisions upon a large force of
French and Scottish soldiers, the former led by such men as Dunois, La
Hire, Xaintrailles, etc., the latter by the Constable of Scotland, John
Stuart--which defeat might well have been enough to subdue every sound
of revelry: yet Charles's Court was ringing with music and pleasantry,
as if peace had reigned around.

It may be believed that there were many doubts and questions how to
receive this peasant from the fields, which prevented an immediate
reply to her demand for an audience. From the first, de la Tremoille,
Charles's Prime Minister and chief adviser, was strongly against any
encouragement of the visionary, or dealings with the supernatural; but
there would no doubt be others, hoping if not for a miraculous maid,
yet at least for a passing wonder, who might kindle enthusiasm in the
country and rouse the ignorant with hopes of a special blessing from
Heaven. The gayer and younger portion of the Court probably expected
a little amusement, above all, a new butt for their wit, or perhaps a
soothsayer to tell their fortunes and promise good things to come. They
had not very much to amuse them, though they made the best of it. The
joys of Paris were very far off; they were all but imprisoned in this
dull province of Touraine; nobody knew at what moment they might be
forced to leave even that refuge. For the moment here was a new event,
a little stir of interest, something to pass an hour. Jeanne had to wait
two days in Chinon before she was granted an audience, but considering
the carelessness of the Court and the absence of any patron that was but
a brief delay.

The chamber of audience is now in ruins. A wild rose with long, arching,
thorny branches and pale flowers, straggles over the greensward where
once the floor was trod by so many gay figures. From the broken wall you
look sheer down upon the shining river; one great chimney, which at
that season must have been still the most pleasant centre of the large,
draughty hall, shows at the end of the room, with a curious suggestion
of warmth and light which makes ruin more conspicuous. The room must
have been on the ground floor almost level with the soil towards the
interior of the castle, but raised to the height of the cliffs outside.
It was evening, an evening of March, and fifty torches lighted up the
ample room; many noble personages, almost as great as kings, and clothed
in the bewildering splendour of the time, and more than three hundred
cavaliers of the best names in France filled it to overflowing. The
peasant girl from Domremy in the hose and doublet of a servant, a
little travel-worn after her tedious journey, was led in by one of those
splendid seigneurs, dazzled with the grandeur she had never seen before,
looking about her in wonder to see which was the King--while Charles,
perhaps with boyish pleasure in the mystification, perhaps with a little
half-conviction stealing over him that there might be something more in
it, stood among the smiling crowd.

The young stranger looked round upon all those amused, light-minded,
sceptical faces, and without a moment's hesitation went forward and
knelt down before him. "Gentil Dauphin," she said, "God give you good
life." "But it is not I that am the King; there is the King," said
Charles. "Gentil Prince, it is you and no other," she said; then rising
from her knee: "Gentil Dauphin, I am Jeanne the Maid. I am sent to you
by the King of Heaven to tell you that you shall be consecrated and
crowned at Rheims, and shall be lieutenant of the King of Heaven, who
is King of France." The little masquerade had failed, the jest was over.
There would be little more laughing among the courtiers, when they saw
the face of Charles grow grave. He took the new-comer aside, perhaps to
that deep recess of the window where in the darkening night the glimmer
of the clear, flowing river, the great vault of sky would still be
visible dimly, outside the circle of the blazing interior with all its
smoky lights.

Charles VII. of France was, like many of his predecessors, a _pauvre
Sire_ enough. He had thought more of his amusements than of the troubles
of his country; but a wild and senseless gaiety will sometimes spring
from despair as well as from lightness of heart; and after all, the
dread responsibility, the sense that in all his helplessness and
inability to do anything he was still the man who ought to do all, would
seem to have moved him from time to time. A secret doubt in his heart,
divulged to no man, had added bitterness to the conviction of his own
weakness. Was he indeed the heir of France? Had he any right to that
sustaining confidence which would have borne up his heart in the midst
of every discouragement? His very mother had given him up and set him
aside. He was described as the so-called Dauphin in treaties signed by
Charles and Isabeau his parents. If anyone knew, she knew; and was it
possible that more powerful even than the English, more cruel than the
Burgundians, this stain of illegitimacy was upon him, making all effort
vain? There is no telling where the sensitive point is in any man's
heart, and little worthy as was this King, the story we are here told
has a thrill of truth in it. It is reported by a certain Sala, who
declares that he had it from the lips of Charles's favourite and close
follower, the Seigneur de Boisi, a courtier who, after the curious
custom of the time, shared even the bed of his master. This was confided
to Boisi by the King in the deepest confidence, in the silence of the
wakeful night:

"This was in the time of the good King Charles, when he knew not what
step to take, and did nothing but think how to redeem his life: for as
I have told you he was surrounded by enemies on all sides. The King in
this extreme thought, went in one morning to his oratory all alone; and
there he made a prayer to our Lord, in his heart, without pronouncing
any words, in which he asked of Him devoutly that if he were indeed the
true heir, descended from the royal House of France, and that justly the
kingdom was his, that He would be pleased to guard and defend him, or
at the worst to give him grace to escape into Spain or Scotland, whose
people, from all antiquity, were brothers-in-arms, friends and allies of
the kings of France, and that he might find a refuge there."

Perhaps there is some excuse for a young man's endeavour to forget
himself in folly or even in dissipation when his secret thoughts are so
despairing as these.

It was soon after this melancholy moment that the arrival of Jeanne
took place. The King led her aside, touched as all were, by her look of
perfect sincerity and good faith; but it is she herself, not Charles,
who repeats what she said to him. "I have to tell you," said the young
messenger of God, "on the part of my Lord (_Messire_) that you are the
true heir of France and the son of the King; He has sent me to
conduct you to Rheims that you may receive your consecration and
your crown,"--perhaps here, Jeanne caught some look which she did not
understand in his eyes, for she adds with, one cannot but think a touch
of sternness--"if you will."

Was it a direct message from God in answer to his prayer, uttered within
his own heart, without words, so that no one could have guessed that
secret? At least it would appear that Charles thought so: for how should
this peasant maid know the secret fear that had gnawed at his heart?
"When thou wast in the garden under the fig-tree I saw thee." Great
was the difference between the Israelite without guile and the troubled
young man, with whose fate the career of a great nation was entangled;
but it is not difficult to imagine what the effect must have been on
the mind of Charles when he was met by this strange, authoritative
statement, uttered like all that Jeanne said, _de la part de Dieu_.

The impression thus made, however, was on Charles alone, and he was
surrounded by councillors, so much the more pedantic and punctilious as
they were incapable, and placed amidst pressing necessities with which
in themselves they had no power to cope. It may easily be allowed, also,
that to risk any hopes still belonging to the hapless young King on the
word of a peasant girl was in itself, according to every law of reason,
madness and folly. She would seem to have had the women on her side
always and at every point. The Church did not stir, or else was hostile;
the commanders and military men about, regarded with scornful disgust
the idea that an enterprise which they considered hopeless should be
confided to an ignorant woman--all with perfect reason we are obliged to
allow. Probably it was to gain time--yet without losing the aid of such
a stimulus to the superstitious among the masses--and to retard any rash
undertaking--that it was proposed to subject Jeanne to an examination
of doctors and learned men touching her faith and the character of
her visions, which all this time had been of continual recurrence, yet
charged with no further revelation, no mystic creed, but only with the
one simple, constantly repeated command.

Accordingly, after some preliminary handling by half a dozen bishops,
Jeanne was taken to Poitiers--where the university and the local
parliament, all the learning, law, and ecclesiastical wisdom which were
on the side of the King, were assembled--to undergo this investigation.
It is curious that the entire history of this wildest and strangest of
all visionary occurrences is to be found in a series of processes at
law, each part recorded and certified under oath; but so it is. The
village maid was placed at the bar, before a number of acute legists,
ecclesiastics, and statesmen, to submit her to a not-too-benevolent
cross-examination. Several of these men were still alive at the time
of the Rehabilitation and gave their recollections of this examination,
though its formal records have not been preserved. A Dominican monk,
Aymer, one of an order she loved, addressed her gravely with the
severity with which that institution is always credited. "You say that
God will deliver France; if He has so determined, He has no need of
men-at-arms." "Ah!" cried the girl, with perhaps a note of irritation
in her voice, "the men must fight; it is God who gives the victory." To
another discomfited Brother, Jeanne, exasperated, answered with a little
roughness, showing that our Maid, though gentle as a child to all gentle
souls, was no piece of subdued perfection, but a woman of the fields,
and lately much in the company of rough-spoken men. He was of Limoges, a
certain Brother Seguin, "_bien aigre homme_," and disposed apparently
to weaken the trial by questions without importance: he asked her what
language her celestial visitors spoke? "Better than yours," answered the
peasant girl. He could not have been, as we say in Scotland, altogether
"an ill man," for he acknowledged that he spoke the patois of his
district, and therefore that the blow was fair. But perhaps for
the moment he was irritated too. He asked her, a question equally
unnecessary, "do you believe in God?" to which with more and more
impatience she made a similar answer: "Better than you do." There was
nothing to be made of one so well able to defend herself. "Words are
all very well," said the monk, "but God would not have us believe
you, unless you show us some sign." To this Jeanne made an answer more
dignified, though still showing signs of exasperation, "I have not come
to Poitiers to give signs," she said; "but take me to Orleans--I will
then show the signs I am sent to show. Give me as small a band as you
please, but let me go."

The situation of Orleans was at the time a desperate one. It was
besieged by a strong army of English, who had built a succession of
towers round the city, from which to assail it, after the manner of the
times. The town lies in the midst of the plain of the Loire, with not
so much as a hillock to offer any advantage to the besiegers. Therefore
these great works were necessary in face of a very strenuous resistance,
and the possibility of provisioning the besieged, which their river
secured. The English from their high towers kept up a disastrous
fire, which, though their artillery was of the rudest kind, did great
execution. The siege was conducted by eminent generals. The works
were of themselves great fortifications, the assailants numerous, and
strengthened by the prestige of almost unbroken success; there seemed
no human hope of the deliverance of the town unless by an overwhelming
army, which the King's party did not possess, or by some wonderful and
utterly unexpected event. Jeanne had always declared the destruction
of the English and the relief of Orleans to be the first step in her

Besides the formal and official examination of her faith and character,
held at Poitiers, private inquests of all kinds were made concerning
of the claims of the miraculous maid. She was visited by every curious
person, man or woman, in the neighbourhood, and plied with endless
questions, so that her simple personal story, and that of her
revelations--_mes voix_, as she called them--became familiarly known
from her own report, to the whole country round about. The women pressed
a question specially interesting--for no doubt, many a good mother half
convinced otherwise, shook her head at Jeanne's costume--Why she wore
the dress of a man? for which the Maid gave very good reasons: in the
first place because it was the only dress for fighting, which, though so
far from her desires or from the habits of her life, was henceforward to
be her work; and also because in her strange circumstances,
constrained as she was to live among men, she considered it safest
for herself--statements which evidently convinced the minds of the
questioners. It was, no doubt, good policy to make her thus widely and
generally known, and the result was a daily growing enthusiasm for her
and belief in her, in all classes. The result of the formal process was
that the doctors could find nothing against her, and they reluctantly
allowed that the King might lawfully take what advantage he could of her
offered services.

Jeanne was then brought back to Chinon, where she was lodged in one of
the great towers still standing, though no special room is pointed
out as hers. And there she was subjected to another process, more
penetrating still than the interrogations of the graver tribunals. The
Queens and their ladies and all the women of the Court took her in hand.
They inquired into her history in every subtle and intimate feminine
way, testing her innocence and purity; and once more she came out
triumphant. The final judgment was given as follows: "After hearing all
these reports, the King taking into consideration the great goodness
that was in the Maid, and that she declared herself to be sent by
God, it was by the said Seigneur and his council determined that from
henceforward he should make use of her for his wars, since it was for
this that she was sent."

It was now necessary to equip Jeanne for her service. She had a
_maison_, an _état majeur_, or staff, formed for her, the chief of
which, Jean d'Aulon, already distinguished and worthy of such a trust
never left her thenceforward until the end of her active career. Her
chaplain, Jean Pasquerel, also followed her fortunes faithfully. Charles
would have given her a sword to replace the probably indifferent weapon
given her by Baudricourt at Vaucouleurs; but Jeanne knew where to find
the sword destined for her. She gave orders that someone should be sent
to Fierbois, the village at which she had paused on her way to Chinon,
to fetch a sword which would be found there buried behind the high altar
of the church of St. Catherine. To make this as little miraculous as
possible, we are told by some historians that it was common for knights
to be buried with their arms, and that Jeanne, in her visit to this
church, where she heard three masses in succession to make up for the
absence of constant religious services on her journey--had probably
seen some tomb or other token that such an interment had taken place.
However, as we are compelled to receive the far greater miracle of
Jeanne herself and her work, without explanation, it is foolish to take
the trouble to attempt any explanation of so small a matter as this. The
sword in fact was found, by the clergy of the church, and was by them
cleaned and polished and put in a scabbard of crimson velvet, scattered
over with fleur-de-lys in gold, for her use. Her standard, which she
considered of the greatest importance was made apparently at Tours. It
was of white linen, fringed with silk and embroidered with a figure of
the Saviour holding a globe in His hands, while an angel knelt at either
side in adoration. Jhesus' Maria was inscribed at the foot. A repetition
of this banner, which must have been re-copied from age to age is to be
seen now at Tours. Having indicated the exact device to be emblazoned
upon the banner, as dictated to her by her saints,--Margaret and
Catherine--Jeanne announced her intention of carrying it herself, a
somewhat surprising office for one who was to act as a general. But it
was the command of her heavenly guides. "Take the standard on the part
of God, and carry it boldly," they had said. She had, besides, a
simple, half-childish intention of her own in this, which she explained
shame-faced--she had no wish to use her sword though she loved it, and
would kill no man. The banner was a more safe occupation, and saved her
from all possibility of blood-shedding; it must however, have required
the robust arm of a peasant to sustain the heavy weight.

It will show how long a time all these examinations and preparations had
taken when we read that Jeanne set out from Blois, where she had passed
some time in military preparations, only on the 27th day of April;
nearly two whole months had thus been taken up in testing her truth, and
arranging details, trifling and unnecessary in her eyes:--a period which
had been passed in great anxiety by the people of Orleans, with the huge
bastilles of the English--three of which were named Paris, Rouen, and
London--towering round them, their provisions often intercepted, all
the business of life come to a standstill, and the overwhelming
responsibility upon them of being almost the last barrier between the
invader and the final subjugation of France. It is strange to add that,
judging by ordinary rules, the garrison of Orleans ought to have been
quite sufficient in itself in numbers and science of war, to have beaten
and dispersed the English force which had thus succeeded in shutting
them in; there were many notable captains among them, with Dunois,
known as the Bastard of Orleans, one of the most celebrated and brave
of French generals, at their head. Dunois was in no way inferior to the
generals of the English army; he was popular, beloved by the people and
soldiers alike, and though illegitimate, of the House of Orleans, one of
the native seigneurs of the place. The wonder is how he and his officers
permitted the building of these towers, and the shutting in of the town
which they were quite strong enough to protect. But it was a losing game
which they were playing, a part which does not suit the genius of the
nation; and the superstition in favour of the English who had won so
many battles with all the disadvantages on their side,--cutting the
finest armies to pieces--was strong upon the imagination of the time. It
seemed a fate which no valour or skill upon the side of the French could
avert. Dunois, himself an unlikely person, one would have thought, to
yield the honour of the fight to a woman, seems to have perceived
that without a strong counter-motive, not within the range of ordinary
methods, the situation was beyond hope.

Accordingly, on the 27th or 28th of April, Jeanne set out at the head of
her little army, accompanied by a great number of generals and captains.
She had been equipped by the Queen of Sicily (with a touch of that keen
sense of decorative effect which belonged to the age) in white armour
inlaid with silver--all shining like her own St. Michael himself, a
radiance of whiteness and glory under the sun--armed _de toutes pièces
sauve la teste_, her uncovered head rising in full relief from the
dazzling breastplate and gorget. This is the description given of her by
an eye-witness a little later. The country is flat as the palm of one's
hand. The white armour must have flashed back the sun for miles and
miles of the level road, to the eyes which from the height of any
neighbouring tower watched the party setting out. It is all fertile now,
the richest plain, and even then, corn and wine must have been in full
bourgeon, the great fresh greenness of the big leaves coming out upon
such low stumps of vine as were left in the soil; but the devastated
country was in those days covered with a wild growth like the _macchia_
of Italian wilds, which half hid the movements of the expedition. They
went by the Loire to Tours, where Jeanne had been assigned a dwelling of
her own, with the estate of a general; and from thence to Blois, where
they had to wait for some days while the convoy of provisions, which
they were to convey to Orleans, was being prepared. And there Jeanne
fulfilled one of the preliminary duties of her mission. She had informed
her examiners at Poitiers that she had been commanded to write to the
English generals before attacking them, appealing to them _de la part de
Dieu_, to give up their conquests, and leave France to the French.
The letter which we quote would seem to have been dictated by her at
Poitiers, probably to the confessor who now formed part of her suite and
who attended her wherever she went:


King of England, and you Duke of Bedford calling yourself Regent of
France, you, William de la Poule, Comte de Sulford, John, Lord of
Talbot, and you Thomas, Lord of Scales, who call yourself lieutenants
of the said Bedford, listen to the King of Heaven: Give back to the Maid
who is here sent on the part of God the King of Heaven, the keys of all
the good towns which you have taken by violence in His France. She is
ready to make peace if you will hear reason and be just towards France
and pay for what you have taken. And you archers, brothers-in-arms,
gentles and others who are before the town of Orleans, go in peace on
the part of God; if you do not so you will soon have news of the Maid
who will see you shortly to your great damage. King of England, if you
do not this, I am captain in this war, and in whatsoever place in France
I find your people I will make them go away. I am sent here on the part
of God the King of Heaven to push you all forth of France. If you obey I
will be merciful. And be not strong in your own opinion, for you do not
hold the kingdom from God the Son of the Holy Mary, but it is held by
Charles the true heir, for God, the King of Heaven so wills, and it is
revealed by the Maid who shall enter Paris in good company. If you will
not believe this news on the part of God and the Maid, in whatever place
you may find yourselves we shall make our way there, and make so great
a commotion as has not been in France for a thousand years, if you will
not hear reason. And believe this, that the King of Heaven will send
more strength to the Maid than you can bring against her in all your
assaults, to her and to her good men-at-arms. You, Duke of Bedford, the
Maid prays and requires you to destroy no more. If you act according to
reason you may still come in her company where the French shall do the
greatest work that has ever been done for Christianity. Answer then if
you will still continue against the city of Orleans. If you do so
you will soon recall it to yourself by great misfortunes. Written the
Saturday of Holy Week (22 March, 1429).(1)

Jeanne had by this time made a wonderful moral revolution in her little
army; most likely she had not been in the least aware what an army was,
until this moment; but frank and fearless, she had penetrated into
every corner, and it was not in her to permit those abuses at which an
ordinary captain has to smile. The pernicious and shameful crowd of camp
followers fled before her like shadows before the day. She stopped the
big oaths and unthinking blasphemies which were so common, so that La
Hire, one of the chief captains, a rough and ready Gascon, was reduced
to swear by his _bâton_, no more sacred name being permitted to him.
Perhaps this was the origin of the harmless swearing which abounds in
France, meaning probably just as much and as little as bigger oaths in
careless mouths; but no doubt the soldiers' language was very unfit for
gentle ears. Jeanne moved among the wondering ranks, all radiant in her
silver armour and with her virginal undaunted countenance, exhorting all
those rude and noisy brothers to take thought of their duties here, and
of the other life that awaited them. She would stop the march of the
army that a conscience-stricken soldier might make his confession, and
desired the priests to hear it if necessary without ceremony, or church,
under the first tree. Her tender heart was such that she shrank from any
man's death, and her hair rose up on her head, as she said, at the sight
of French blood shed--although her mission was to shed it on all sides
for a great end. But the one thing she could not bear was that
either Frenchmen or Englishmen should die unconfessed, "unhouseled,
disappointed, unannealed." The army went along attended by songs of
choristers and masses of priests, the grave and solemn music of the
Church accompanied strangely by the fanfares and bugle notes. What a
strange procession to pass along the great Loire in its spring fulness,
the raised banners and crosses, and that dazzling white figure, all
effulgence, reflected in the wayward, quick flowing stream!

La Hire, who is like a figure out of Dumas, and indeed did service as
a model to that delightful romancer, had come from Orleans to escort
Jeanne upon her way, and Dunois met her as she approached the town.
There could not be found more unlikely companions than these two, to
conduct to a great battle the country maid who was to carry the honours
of the day from them both, and make men fight like heroes, who under
them did nothing but run away. The candour and true courage of such
leaders in circumstances so extraordinary, are beyond praise, for it was
an offence both to their pride and skill in their profession, had she
been anything less than the messenger of God which she claimed to
be; and these rude soldiers were not men to be easily moved by devout
imaginations. There would seem, however, even in the case of the greater
of the two, to have arisen a strange friendship and mutual understanding
between the famous man of war and the peasant girl. Jeanne, always
straightforward and simple, speaks to him, not with the downcast eyes of
her humility, but as an equal, as if the great Dunois had been a _prud'
homme_ of her own degree. There is no appearance indeed that the Maid
allowed herself to be overborne now by any shyness or undue humility.
She speaks loudly, so as to be heard by those fighting men, taking
something of their own brief and decisive tone, often even impatient, as
one who would not be put aside either by cunning or force.

Her meeting with Dunois makes this at once evident. She had been
deceived in the manner of her approach to Orleans, her companions, among
whom there were several field-marshals and distinguished leaders, taking
advantage of her ignorance of the place to lead her by the opposite bank
of the river instead of that on which the English towers were built,
which she desired to attack at once. This was the beginning of a long
series of deceits and hostile combinations, by which at every step
of her way she was met and retarded; but it turned, as these devices
generally did, to the discomfiture of the adverse captains. She crossed
the river at Chécy above Orleans, to meet Dunois who had come so far to
meet her. It will be seen by the conversation which she held with him
on his first appearance, how completely Jeanne had learnt to assert
herself, and how much she had overcome any fear of man. "Are you the
Bastard of Orleans?" she said. "I am; and glad of your coming," he
replied. "Is it you who have had me led to this side of the river and
not to the bank on which Talbot is and his English?" He answered that
he and the wisest of the leaders had thought it the best and safest
way. "The counsel of God, our Lord, is more sure and more powerful than
yours," she replied. The expedition, as a matter of fact, had to turn
back, and to lose precious time, there being, it is to be presumed,
no means of transporting so large a force across the river. The large
convoy of provisions which Jeanne brought was embarked in boats while
the majority of the army returned to Blois, in order to cross by the

Jeanne, however, having freely expressed her opinion, adapted herself to
the circumstances, though extremely averse to separate herself from her
soldiers, good men who had confessed and prepared their souls for every
emergency. She finally consented, however, to ride on with Dunois and La
Hire. The wind was against the convoy, so that the heavy boats, deeply
laden with beeves and corn, had a dangerous and slow voyage before them.
"Have patience," cried Jeanne; "by the help of God all will go well";
and immediately the wind changed, to the astonishment and joy of all,
and the boats arrived in safety "in spite of the English, who offered no
hindrance whatever," as she had predicted. The little party made their
way along the bank, and in the twilight of the April evening, about
eight o'clock, entered Orleans. The Deliverer, it need not be said, was
hailed with joy indescribable. She was on a white horse, and carried,
Dunois says, the banner in her hand, though it was carried before her
when she entered the town. The white figure in the midst of those darkly
gleaming mailed men, would in itself throw a certain glory through the
dimness of the night, as she passed the gates and came into view by the
blaze of all the torches, and the lights in the windows, over the dark
swarming crowds of the citizens. Her white banner waving, her white
armour shining, it was little wonder that the throng that filled the
streets received the Maid "as if they had seen God descending among
them." "And they had good reason," says the Chronicle, "for they had
suffered many disturbances, labours, and pains, and, what is worse,
great doubt whether they ever should be delivered. But now all were
comforted, as if the siege were over, by the divine strength that was in
this simple Maid whom they regarded most affectionately, men, women, and
little children. There was a marvellous press around her to touch her
or the horse on which she rode, so much so that one of the torchbearers
approached too near and set fire to her pennon; upon which she touched
her horse with her spurs, and turning him cleverly, extinguished the
flame, as if she had long followed the wars."

There could have been nothing she resembled so much as St. Michael, the
warrior-angel, who, as all the world knew, was her chief counsellor and
guide, and who, no doubt, blazed, a familiar figure, from some window in
the cathedral to which this his living picture rode without a pause, to
give thanks to God before she thought of refreshment or rest. She spoke
to the people who surrounded her on every side as she went on through
the tumultuous streets, bidding them be of good courage and that if they
had faith they should escape from all their troubles. And it was only
after she had said her prayers and rendered her thanksgiving, that
she returned to the house selected for her--the house of an important
personage, Jacques Boucher, treasurer to the Duke of Orleans, not like
the humble places where she had formerly lodged. The houses of that age
were beautiful, airy and light, with much graceful ornament and solid
comfort, the arched and vaulted Gothic beginning to give place to those
models of domestic architecture which followed the Renaissance, with
their ample windows and pleasant space and breadth. There the table was
spread with a joyous meal in honour of this wonderful guest, to which,
let us hope, Dunois and La Hire and the rest did full justice. But
Jeanne was indifferent to the feast. She mixed with water the wine
poured for her into a silver cup, and dipped her bread in it, five
or six small slices. The visionary peasant girl cared for none of the
dainty meats. And then she retired to the comfort of a peaceful chamber,
where the little daughter of the house shared her bed: strange return
to the days when Hauvette and Mengette in Domremy lay by her side and
talked as girls love to do, through half the silent night. Perhaps
little Charlotte, too, lay awake with awe to wonder at that other young
head on the pillow, a little while ago shut into the silver helmet, and
shining like the archangel's. The _état majeur_, the Chevalier d'Aulon,
Jean de Metz, and Bertrand de Poulengy, who had never left her, first
friends and most faithful, and her brother Pierre d'Arc, were lodged in
the same house. It was the last night of April, 1429.

     (1) The dates must of course be reckoned by the old style.--
     This letter was dispatched from Tours, during her pause


Next morning there was a council of war among the many leaders now
collected within the town. It was the eager desire of Jeanne that an
assault should be made at once, in all the enthusiasm of the moment,
upon the English towers, without waiting even for the arrival of the
little army which she had preceded. But the captains of the defence who
had borne the heat and burden of the day, and who might naturally
enough be irritated by the enthusiasm with which this stranger had been
received, were of a different opinion. I quote here a story, for which
I am told there is no foundation whatever, touching a personage who
probably never existed, so that the reader may take it as he pleases,
with indulgence for the writer's weakness, or indignation at her
credulity. It seems to me, however, to express very naturally a
sentiment which must have existed among the many captains who had been
fighting unsuccessfully for months in defence of the beleaguered city.
A certain Guillaume de Gamache felt himself insulted above all by the
suggestion. "What," he cried, "is the advice of this hussy from the
fields (_une péronnelle de bas lieu_) to be taken against that of a
knight and captain! I will fold up my banner and become again a simple
soldier. I would rather have a nobleman for my master than a woman whom
nobody knows."

Dunois, who was too wise to weaken the forces at his command by such a
quarrel, is said to have done his best to reconcile and soothe the angry
captain. This, however, if it was true, was only a mild instance of the
perpetual opposition which the Maid encountered from the very beginning
of her career and wherever she went. Notwithstanding her victories, she
remained through all her career a _péronnelle_ to these men of war (with
the noble exception, of course, of Alençon, Dunois, Xaintrailles, La
Hire, and others). They were sore and wounded by her appearance and her
claims. If they could cheat her, balk her designs, steal a march in any
way, they did so, from first to last, always excepting the few who were
faithful to her. Dunois could afford to be magnanimous, but the lesser
men were jealous, envious, embittered. A _péronnelle_, a woman nobody
knew! And they themselves were belted knights, experienced soldiers, of
the best blood of France. It was not unnatural; but this atmosphere
of hate, malice, and mortification forms the background of the picture
wherever the Maid moves in her whiteness, illuminating to us the whole
scene. The English hated her lustily as their enemy and a witch, casting
spells and enchantments so that the strength was sucked out of a man's
arm and the courage from his heart: but the Frenchmen, all but those
who were devoted to her, regarded her with an ungenerous opposition, the
hate of men shamed and mortified by every triumph she achieved.

Jeanne was angry, too, and disappointed, more than she had been by all
discouragements before. She had believed, perhaps, that once in the
field these oppositions would be over, and that her mission would be
rapidly accomplished. But she neither rebelled nor complained. What
she did was to occupy herself about what she felt to be her business,
without reference to any commander. She sent out two heralds,(1) who
were attached to her staff, and therefore at her personal disposal, to
summon once more Talbot and Glasdale (Classidas, as the French called
him) _de la part de Dieu_ to evacuate their towers and return home. It
would seem that in her miraculous soul she had a visionary hope that
this appeal might be successful. What so noble, what so Christian, as
that the one nation should give up, of free-will, its attempt upon the
freedom and rights of another, if once the duty were put simply before
it--and both together joining hands, march off, as she had already
suggested, to do the noblest deed that had ever yet been done for
Christianity? That same evening she rode forth with her little train;
and placing herself on the town end of the bridge (which had been broken
in the middle), as near as the breach would permit to the bastille, or
fort of the Tourelles, which was built across the further end of
the bridge, on the left side of the Loire--called out to the enemy,
summoning them once more to withdraw while there was time. She was
overwhelmed, as might have been expected, with a storm of abusive shouts
and evil words, Classidas and his captains hurrying to the walls to
carry on the fierce exchange of abuse. To be called dairy-maid and
_péronnelle_ was a light matter, but some of the terms used were so
cruel that, according to some accounts, she betrayed her womanhood by
tears, not prepared apparently for the use of such foul weapons against
her. The _Journal du Siège_ declares, however, that she was "aucunement
yrée" (angry), but answered that they lied, and rode back to the city.

The next Sunday, the 1st of May, Dunois, alarmed by the delay of his
main body, set out for Blois to meet them, and we are told that Jeanne
accompanied him to the special point of danger, where the English from
their fortifications might have stopped his progress, and took up a
position there, along with La Hire, between the expedition and the
enemy. But in the towers not a man budged, not a shot was fired. It was
again a miracle, and she had predicted it. The party of Dunois marched
on in safety, and Jeanne returned to Orleans, once more receiving on
the breeze some words of abuse from the defenders of those battlements,
which sent forth no more dangerous missile, and replying again with
her summons, "_Retournez de la par Dieu à Angleterre._" The townsfolk
watched her coming and going with an excitement impossible to describe;
they walked by the side of her charger to the cathedral, which was
the end of every progress; they talked to her, all speaking together,
pressing upon her--and she to them, bidding them to have no fear.
"Messire has sent me," she said again and again. She went out again,
Wednesday, 4th May, on the return of Dunois, to meet the army, with the
same result, that they entered quietly, the English not firing a shot.

On this same day, in the afternoon, after the early dinner, there
happened a wonderful scene. Jeanne, it appeared, had fallen asleep after
her meal, no doubt tired with the expedition of the morning, and her
chief attendant, D'Aulon, who had accompanied Dunois to fetch the troops
from Blois, being weary after his journey, had also stretched himself
on a couch to rest. They were all tired, the entry of the troops
having been early in the morning, a fact of which the angry captains of
Orleans, who had not shared in that expedition, took advantage to make
a secret sortie unknown to the new chiefs. All at once the Maid awoke in
agitation and alarm. Her "voices" had awakened her from her sleep. "My
council tell me to go against the English," she cried; "but if to assail
their towers or to meet Fastolfe I cannot tell." As she came to the full
command of her faculties her trouble grew. "The blood of our soldiers is
flowing," she said; "why did they not tell me? My arms, my arms!" Then
she rushed down stairs to find her page amusing himself in the tranquil
afternoon, and called to him for her horse. All was quiet, and no doubt
her attendants thought her mad: but D'Aulon, who knew better than to
contradict his mistress, armed her rapidly, and Luis, the page, brought
her horse to the door. By this time there began to rise a distant rumour
and outcry, at which they all pricked their ears. As Jeanne put her foot
in the stirrup she perceived that her standard was wanting, and called
to the page, Louis de Contes, above, to hand it to her out of the
window. Then with the heavy flag-staff in her hand she set spurs to her
horse, her attendants one by one clattering after her, and dashed onward
"so that the fire flashed from the pavement under the horse's feet."

Jeanne's presentiment was well-founded. There had been a private
expedition against the English fort of St. Loup carried out quietly to
steal a march upon her--Gamache, possibly, or other malcontents of his
temper, in the hope perhaps of making use of her prestige to gain a
victory without her presence. But it had happened with this sally as
with many others which had been made from Orleans; and when Jeanne
appeared outside the gate which she and the rest of the followers
after her had almost forced--coming down upon them at full gallop, her
standard streaming, her white armour in a blaze of reflection, she met
the fugitives flying back towards the shelter of the town. She does not
seem to have paused or to have deigned to address a word to them, though
the troop of soldiers and citizens who had snatched arms and flung
themselves after her, arrested and turned them back. Straight to the
foot of the tower she went, Dunois startled in his turn, thundering
after her. It is not for a woman to describe, any more than it was for a
woman to execute such a feat of war. It is said that she put herself at
the head of the citizens, Dunois at the head of the soldiers. One moment
of pity and horror and heart-sickness Jeanne had felt when she met
several wounded men who were being carried towards the town. She had
never seen French blood shed before, and the dreadful thought that
they might die unconfessed, overwhelmed her soul; but this was but an
incident of her breathless gallop to the encounter. To isolate the tower
which was attacked was the first necessity, and then the conflict was
furious--the English discouraged, but fighting desperately against
a mysterious force which overwhelmed them, at the same time that it
redoubled the ardour of every Frenchman. Lord Talbot sent forth parties
from the other forts to help their companions, but these were met in the
midst by the rest of the army arriving from Orleans, which stopped
their course. It was not till evening, "the hour of Vespers," that the
bastille was finally taken, with great slaughter, the Orleanists giving
little quarter. During these dreadful hours the Maid was everywhere
visible with her standard, the most marked figure, shouting to her men,
weeping for the others, not fighting herself so far as we hear, but
always in the front of the battle. When she went back to Orleans
triumphant, she led a band of prisoners with her, keeping a wary eye
upon them that they might not come to harm.

The next day, May 5th, was the Feast of the Ascension, and it was spent
by Jeanne in rest and in prayer. But the other leaders were not so
devout. They held a crowded and anxious council of war, taking care that
no news of it should reach the ears of the Maid. When, however, they had
decided upon the course to pursue they sent for her, and intimated to
her their decision to attack only the smaller forts, which she heard
with great impatience, not sitting down, but walking about the room in
disappointment and anger. It is difficult(2) for the present writer to
follow the plans of this council or to understand in what way Jeanne
felt herself contradicted and set aside. However it was, the fact seems
certain that their plan failed at first, the English having themselves
abandoned one of the smaller forts on the right side of the river and
concentrated their forces in the greater ones of Les Augustins and
Les Tourelles on the left bank. For all this, reference to the map is
necessary, which will make it quite clear. It was Classidas, as he
is called, Glasdale, the most furious enemy of France, and one of the
bravest of the English captains who held the former, and for a moment
succeeded in repulsing the attack. The fortune of war seemed about to
turn back to its former current, and the French fell back on the boats
which had brought them to the scene of action, carrying the Maid with
them in their retreat. But she perceived how critical the moment was,
and reining up her horse from the bank, down which she was being forced
by the crowd, turned back again, closely followed by La Hire, and at
once, no doubt, by the stouter hearts who only wanted a leader--and
charging the English, who had regained their courage as the white
armour of the witch disappeared, and were in full career after the
fugitives--drove them back to their fortifications, which they gained
with a rush, leaving the ground strewn with the wounded and dying.
Jeanne herself did not draw bridle till she had planted her standard on
the edge of the moat which surrounded the tower.

Michelet is very brief concerning this first victory, and claims only
that "the success was due in part to the Maid," although the crowd of
captains and men-at-arms where by themselves quite sufficient for the
work, had there been any heart in them. But this was true to fact in
almost every case: and it is clear that she was simply the heart, which
was the only thing wanted to those often beaten Frenchmen; where she
was, where they could hear her robust young voice echoing over all the
din, they were as men inspired; when the impetus of their flight carried
her also away, they became once more the defeated of so many battles.
The effect upon the English was equally strong; when the back of Jeanne
was turned, they were again the men of Agincourt; when she turned
upon them, her white breastplate blazing out like a star, the sunshine
striking dazzling rays from her helmet, they trembled before the
sorceress; an angel to her own side, she was the very spirit of magic
and witchcraft to her opponents. Classidas, or which captain soever
of the English side it might happen to be, blaspheming from the
battlements, hurled all the evil names of which a trooper was capable,
upon her, while she from below summoned them, in different tones of
appeal and menace, calling upon them to yield, to go home, to give up
the struggle. Her form, her voice are always evident in the midst of the
great stone bullets, the cloth-yard shafts that were flying--they were
so near, the one above, the other below, that they could hear each other

On the 7th of May the fort of Les Augustins on the left bank was taken.
It will be seen by reference to the map, that this bastille, an ancient
convent, stood at some distance from the river, in peaceful times a
little way beyond the bridge, and no doubt a favourite Sunday walk
from the city. The bridge was now closed up by the frowning bulk of the
Tourelles built upon it, with a smaller tower or "boulevard" on the
left bank communicating with it by a drawbridge. When Les Augustins was
taken, the victorious French turned their arms against this boulevard,
but as night had fallen by this time, they suspended the fighting,
having driven back the English, who had made a sally in help of Les
Augustins. Here in the dark, which suited their purpose, another council
was held. The captains decided that they would now pursue their victory
no further, the town being fully supplied with provisions and joyful
with success, but that they would await the arrival of reinforcements
before they proceeded further; probably their object was solely to get
rid of Jeanne, to conclude the struggle without her, and secure the
credit of it. The council was held in the camp within sight of the fort,
by the light of torches; after she had been persuaded to withdraw, on
account of a slight wound in her foot from a calthrop, it is said.
This message was sent after her into Orleans. She heard it with quiet
disdain. "You have held your council, and I have had mine," she said
calmly to the messengers; then turning to her chaplain, "Come to me
to-morrow at dawn," she said, "and do not leave me; I shall have much
to do. My blood will be shed. I shall be wounded(3) to-morrow," pointing
above her right breast. Up to this time no weapon had touched her; she
had stood fast among all the flying arrows, the fierce play of spear and
sword, and had taken no harm.

In the morning early, at sunrise, she dashed forth from the town again,
though the generals, her hosts, and all the authorities who were in the
plot endeavoured to detain her. "Stay with us, Jeanne," said the people
with whom she lodged--official people, much above the rank of the
Maid--"stay and help us to eat this fish fresh out of the river." "Keep
it for this evening," she said, "and I shall return by the bridge and
bring you some Goddens to have their share." She had already brought in
a party of the Goddens on the night before to protect them from the fury
of the crowd. The peculiarity of this promise lay in the fact that
the bridge was broken, and could not be passed, even without that
difficulty, without passing through the Tourelles and the boulevard
which blocked it at the other end. At the closed gates another great
official stood by, to prevent her passing, but he was soon swept away
by the flood of enthusiasts who followed the white horse and its white
rider. The crowd flung themselves into the boats to cross the river with
her, horse and man. Les Tourelles stood alone, black and frowning across
the shining river in its early touch of golden sunshine, on the
south side of the Loire, the lower tower of the boulevard on the bank
blackened with the fire of last night's attack, and the smoking ruins
of Les Augustins beyond. The French army, whom Orleans had been busy
all night feeding and encouraging, lay below, not yet apparently moving
either for action or retreat. Jeanne plunged among them like a ray of
light, D'Aulon carrying her banner; and passing through the ranks,
she took up her place on the border of the moat of the boulevard. Her
followers rushed after with that _élan_ of desperate and uncalculating
valour which was the great power of the French arms. In the midst of
the fray the girl's clear voice, _assez voix de femme_, kept shouting
encouragements, _de la part de Dieu_ always her war-cry. "_Bon cœur,
bonne espérance_," she cried--"the hour is at hand." But after hours of
desperate fighting the spirit of the assailants began to flag. Jeanne,
who apparently did not at any time take any active part in the struggle,
though she exposed herself to all its dangers, seized a ladder, placed
it against the wall, and was about to mount, when an arrow struck her
full in the breast. The Maid fell, the crowd closed round; for a moment
it seemed as if all were lost.

Here we have over again in the fable our friend Gamache. It is a pretty
story, and though we ask no one to take it for absolute fact, there is
no reason why some such incident might not have occurred. Gamache, the
angry captain who rather than follow a _péronnelle_ to the field was
prepared to fold his banner round its staff, and give up his rank, is
supposed to have been the nearest to her when she fell. It was he who
cleared the crowd from about her and raised her up. "Take my horse,"
he said, "brave creature. Bear no malice. I confess that I was in the
wrong." "It is I that should be wrong if I bore malice," cried Jeanne,
"for never was a knight so courteous" (_chevalier si bien apprins_).
She was surrounded immediately by her people, the chaplain whom she had
bidden to keep near her, her page, all her special attendants, who would
have conveyed her out of the fight had she consented. Jeanne had the
courage to pull the arrow out of the wound with her own hand,--"it stood
a hand breadth out" behind her shoulder--but then, being but a girl and
this her first experience of the sort, notwithstanding her armour and
her rank as General-in-Chief, she cried with the pain, this commander
of seventeen. Somebody then proposed to charm the wound with an
incantation, but the Maid indignant, cried out, "I would rather die."
Finally a compress soaked in oil was placed upon it, and Jeanne withdrew
a little with her chaplain, and made her confession to him, as one who
might be about to die.

But soon her mood changed. She saw the assailants waver and fall back;
the attack grew languid, and Dunois talked of sounding the retreat. Upon
this she got to her feet, and scrambled somehow on her horse. "Rest a
little," she implored the generals about her, "eat something, refresh
yourselves: and when you see my standard floating against the wall,
forward, the place is yours." They seem to have done as she suggested,
making a pause, while Jeanne withdrew a little into a vineyard close
by, where there must have been a tuft of trees, to afford her a little
shelter. There she said her prayers, and tasted that meat to eat that
men wot not of, which restores the devout soul. Turning back she took
her standard from her squire's hand, and planted it again on the edge of
the moat. "Let me know," she said, "when the pennon touches the wall."
The folds of white and gold with the benign countenance of the Saviour,
now visible, now lost in the changes of movement, floated over their
heads on the breeze of the May day. "Jeanne," said the squire, "it
touches!" "On!" cried the Maid, her voice ringing through the momentary
quiet. "On! All is yours!" The troops rose as one man; they flung
themselves against the wall, at the foot of which that white figure
stood, the staff of her banner in her hand, shouting, "All is yours."
Never had the French _élan_ been so wildly inspired, so irresistible;
they swarmed up the wall "as if it had been a stair." "Do they
think themselves immortal?" the panic-stricken English cried among
themselves--panic-stricken not by their old enemies, but by the white
figure at the foot of the wall. Was she a witch, as had been thought?
was not she indeed the messenger of God? The dazzling rays that shot
from her armour seemed like butterflies, like doves, like angels
floating about her head. They had thought her dead, yet here she stood
again without a sign of injury; or was it Michael himself, the great
archangel whom she resembled do much? Arrows flew round her on every
side but never touched her. She struck no blow, but the folds of her
standard blew against the wall, and her voice rose through all the
tumult. "On! Enter! _de la part de Dieu!_ for all is yours."

The Maid had other words to say, "_Renty, renty_, Classidas!" she cried,
"you called me vile names, but I have a great pity for your soul." He
on his side showered down blasphemies. He was at the last gasp; one
desperate last effort he made with a handful of men to escape from the
boulevard by the drawbridge to Les Tourelles, which crossed a narrow
strip of the river. But the bridge had been fired by a fire-ship from
Orleans and gave way under the rush of the heavily-armed men; and the
fierce Classidas and his companions were plunged into the river, where a
knight in armour, like a tower falling, went to the bottom in a moment.
Nearly thirty of them, it is said, plunged thus into the great Loire and
were seen no more.

It was the end of the struggle. The French flag swung forth on the
parapet, the French shout rose to heaven. Meanwhile a strange sight was
to be seen--the St. Michael in shining armour, who had led that assault,
shedding tears for the ferocious Classidas, who had cursed her with his
last breath. "_J'ai grande pitié de ton âme._" Had he but had time to
clear his soul and reconcile himself with God!

This was virtually the end of the siege of Orleans. The broken bridge on
the Loire had been rudely mended, with a great _gouttière_ and planks,
and the people of Orleans had poured out over it to take the Tourelles
in flank--the English being thus taken between Jeanne's army on the one
side and the citizens on the other. The whole south bank of the river
was cleared, not an Englishman left to threaten the richest part of
France, the land flowing with milk and honey. And though there
still remained several great generals on the other side with strong
fortifications to fall back upon, they seem to have been paralysed, and
did not strike a blow. Jeanne was not afraid of them, but her ardour
to continue the fight dropped all at once; enough had been done. She
awaited the conclusion with confidence. Needless to say that Orleans was
half mad with joy, every church sounding its bells, singing its song of
triumph and praise, the streets so crowded that it was with difficulty
that the Maid could make her progress through them, with throngs of
people pressing round to kiss her hand, if might be, her greaves, her
mailed shoes, her charger, the floating folds of her banner. She had
said she would be wounded and so she was, as might be seen, the envious
rent of the arrow showing through the white plates of metal on her
shoulder. She had said all should be theirs _de par Dieu:_ and all
was theirs, thanks to our Lord and also to St. Aignan and St. Euvert,
patrons of Orleans, and to St. Louis and St. Charlemagne in heaven who
had so great pity of the kingdom of France: and to the Maid on
earth, the Heaven-sent deliverer, the spotless virgin, the celestial
warrior--happy he who could reach to kiss it, the point of her mailed

Someone says that she rode through all this half-delirious joy like
a creature in a dream,--fatigue, pain, the happy languor of the end
attained, and also the profound pity that was the very inspiration of
her spirit, for all those souls of men gone to their account without
help of Church or comfort of priest--overwhelming her. But next day,
which was Sunday, she was up again and eagerly watching all that went
on. A strange sight was Orleans on that Sunday of May. On the south
side of the Loire, all those half-ruined bastilles smoking and silenced,
which once had threatened not the city only but all the south of France;
on the north the remaining bands of English drawn up in order of battle.
The excitement of the town and of the generals in it, was intense; worn
as they were with three days of continuous fighting, should they sally
forth again and meet that compact, silent, doubly defiant army, which
was more or less fresh and unexhausted? Jeanne's opinion was, No;
there had been enough of fighting, and it was Sunday, the holy day; but
apparently the French did go out though keeping at a distance, watching
the enemy. By orders of the Maid an altar was raised between the two
armies in full sight of both sides, and there mass was celebrated, under
the sunshine, by the side of the river which had swallowed Classidas
and all his men. French and English together devoutly turned towards and
responded to that Mass in the pause of bewildering uncertainty. "Which
way are their heads turned?" Jeanne asked when it was over. "They are
turned away from us, they are turned to Meung," was the reply. "Then let
them go, _de par Dieu_," the Maid replied.

The siege had lasted for seven months, but eight days of the Maid were
enough to bring it to an end. The people of Orleans still, every year,
on the 8th of May, make a procession round the town and give thanks to
God for its deliverance. Henceforth, the Maid was known no longer as
Jeanne d'Arc, the peasant of Domremy, but as _La Pucelle d'Orléans_, in
the same manner in which one might speak of the Prince of Waterloo, or
the Duc de Malakoff.

     (1) Their special mission seems to have been a demand for
     the return of a herald previously sent who had never come
     back. As Dunois accompanied the demand by a threat to kill
     the English prisoners in Orleans if the herald was not sent
     back, the request was at once accorded, with fierce
     defiances to the Maid, the dairy-maid as she is called,
     bidding her go back to her cows, and threatening to burn her
     if they caught her.

     (2) I avail myself here as elsewhere of Mr. Lang's lucid
     description. "It is really perfectly intelligible. The
     Council wanted a feint on the left bank, Jeanne an attack on
     the right. She knew their scheme, untold, but entered into
     it. There was, however, no feint. She deliberately forced
     the fighting. There was grand fighting, well worth telling,"
     adds my martial critic, who understands it so much better
     than I do, and who I am happy to think is himself telling
     the tale in another way.

     (3) She had made this prophecy a month before, and it was
     recorded three weeks before the event in the Town Book of
     Brabant.--A. L.


The rescue of Orleans and the defeat of the invincible English were news
to move France from one end to the other, and especially to raise the
spirits and restore the courage of that part of France which had
no sympathy with the invaders and to which the English yoke was
unaccustomed and disgraceful. The news flew up and down the Loire from
point to point, arousing every village, and breathing new heart and
encouragement everywhere; while in the meantime Jeanne, partially healed
of her wound (on May 9th she rode out in a _maillet_, a light coat of
chain-mail), after a few days' rest in the joyful city which she had
saved with all its treasures, set out on her return to Chinon. She found
the King at Loches, another of the strong places on the Loire where
there was room for a Court, and means of defence for a siege should such
be necessary, as is the case with so many of these wonderful castles
upon the great French river. Hot with eagerness to follow up her first
great success and accomplish her mission, Jeanne's object was to march
on at once with the young Prince, with or without his immense retinue,
to Rheims where he should be crowned and anointed King as she had
promised. Her instinctive sense of the necessities of the position, if
we use that language--more justly, her boundless faith in the orders
which she believed had been give her from Heaven, to accomplish this
great act without delay, urged her on. She was straitened, if we may
quote the most divine of words, till it should be accomplished.

But the Maid, flushed with victory, with the shouts of Orleans still
ringing in her ears, the applause of her fellow-soldiers, the sound of
the triumphant bells, was plunged all at once into the indolence,
the intrigues, the busy nothingness of the Court, in which whispering
favourites surrounded a foolish young prince, beguiling him into foolish
amusements, alarming him with coward fears. Wise men and buffoons alike
dragged him down into that paltry abyss, the one always counselling
caution, the other inventing amusements. "Let us eat and drink for
to-morrow we die." Was it worth while to lose everything that was
enjoyable in the present moment, to subject a young sovereign to toils
and excitement, and probable loss, for the uncertain advantage of a
vain ceremony, when he might be enjoying himself safely and at his ease,
throughout the summer months, on the cheerful banks of the Loire? On the
other hand, the Chancellor, the Chamberlains, the Church, all his graver
advisers (with the exception of Gerson, the great theologian to whom
has been ascribed the authorship of the _Imitation of Christ_, who is
reported to have said, "If France deserts her, and she fails, she is
none the less inspired") shook their hands and advised that the way
should be quite safe and free of danger before the King risked himself
upon it. It was thus that Jeanne was received when, newly alighted from
her charger, her shoulder still but half healed, her eyes scarcely clear
of the dust and smoke, she found herself once more in the ante-chamber,
wasting the days, waiting in vain behind closed doors, tormented by
the lutes and madrigals, the light women and lighter men, useless
and contemptible, of a foolish Court. The Maid, in all the energy
and impulse of a success which had proved all her claims, had also a
premonition that her own time was short, if not a direct intimation, as
some believe, to that effect: and mingled her remonstrances and appeals
with the cry of warning: "I shall only last a year: take the good of me
as long as it is possible."

No doubt she was a very great entertainment to the idle seigneurs and
ladies who would try to persuade her to tell them what was to happen to
them, she who had prophesied the death of Glasdale and her own wound and
so many other things. The Duke of Lorraine on her first setting out had
attempted to discover from Jeanne what course his illness would
take, and whether he should get better; and all the demoiselles and
demoiseaux, the flutterers of the ante-chamber, would be still more
likely to surround with their foolish questions the stout-hearted,
impatient girl who had acquired a little of the roughness of her soldier
comrades, and had never been slow at any time in answering a fool
according to his folly; for Jeanne was no meek or sentimental maiden,
but a robust and vigorous young woman, ready with a quick response, as
well as with a ready blow did any one touch her unadvisedly, or use any
inappropriate freedom. At last, one day while she waited vainly outside
the cabinet in which the King was retired with a few of his councillors,
Jeanne's patience failed her altogether. She knocked at the door, and
being admitted threw herself at the feet of the King. To Jeanne he
was no king till he had received the consecration necessary for every
sovereign of France. "Noble Dauphin," she cried, "why should you hold
such long and tedious councils? Rather come to Rheims and receive your
worthy crown."

The Bishop of Castres, Christopher de Harcourt, who was present, asked
her if she would not now in the presence of the King describe to them
the manner in which her council instructed her, when they talked with
her. Jeanne reddened and replied: "I understand that you would like to
know, and I would gladly satisfy you." "Jeanne," said the King in his
turn, "it would be very good if you could do what they ask, in the
presence of those here." She answered at once and with great feeling:
"When I am vexed to find myself disbelieved in the things I say from
God, I retire by myself and pray to God, complaining and asking of Him
why I am not listened to. And when I have prayed I hear a voice which
says, 'Daughter of God, go, go, go! I will help thee, go!' And when
I hear that voice I feel a great joy." Her face shone as she spoke,
"lifting her eyes to heaven," like the face of Moses while still it bore
the reflection of the glory of God, so that the men were dazzled who
sat, speechless, looking on.

The result was that Charles kindly promised to set out as soon as the
road between him and Rheims should be free of the English, especially
the towns on the Loire in which a great part of the army dispersed from
Orleans had taken refuge, with the addition of the auxiliary forces of
Sir John Fastolfe, a name so much feared by the French, but at which the
English reader can scarcely forbear a smile. That the young King did not
think of putting himself at the head of the troops or of taking part
in the campaign shows sufficiently that he was indeed a _pauvre sire_,
unworthy his gallant people. Jeanne, however, nothing better being
possible, seems to have accepted this mission with readiness, and
instantly began her preparations to carry it out. It is here that the
young Seigneur Guy de Laval comes in with his description of her already
quoted. He was no humble squire but a great personage to whom the King
was civil and pleased to show courtesy. The young man writes to _ses
mères_, that is, it seems, his mother and grandmother, to whom, in their
distant château, anxiously awaiting news of the two youths gone to the
wars, their faithful son makes his report of himself and his brother.
The King, he says, sent for the Maid, in order, Sir Guy believes, that
he might see her. And afterwards the young man went to Selles where she
was just setting out on the campaign.

From Selles, he writes on the 8th June, exactly a month after the
deliverance of Orleans:

"I went to her lodging to see her, and she sent for wine and told me
we should soon drink wine in Paris. It was a miraculous thing (_toute
divine_) to see her and hear her. She left Selles on Monday at the hour
of vespers for Romorantin, the Marshal de Boussac and a great many armed
men with her. I saw her mount her horse, all in white armour excepting
the head, a little axe in her hand. The great black charger was very
restive at her door and would not let her mount. 'Lead him,' she said,
'to the cross which is in front of the church,' and there she mounted,
the horse standing still as if he had been bound. Then turning towards
the church which was close by she said in a womanly voice (_assez voix
de femme_), 'You priests and people of the Church, make processions and
prayers to God for us'; then turning to the road, 'Forward,' she said.
Her unfolded standard was carried by a page; she had her little axe in
her hand, and by her side rode a brother who had joined her eight
days before. The Maid told me in her lodging that she had sent you,
grandmother, a small gold ring, which was indeed a very small affair,
and that she would fain have sent you something better, considering
your recommendation. To-day M. d'Alençon, the Bastard of Orleans, and
Gaucourt were to leave Selles, following the Maid. And men are arriving
from all parts every day, all with good hope in God who I believe will
help us. But money there is none at the Court, so that for the present I
have no hope of any help or assistance. Therefore I desire you, _Madame
ma mère_, who have my seal, spare not the land neither in sale nor
mortgage . . . . My much honoured ladies and mothers, I pray the blessed
Son of God that you have a good life and long; and both of us recommend
ourselves to our brother Louis. And we send our greetings to the reader
of this letter. Written from Selles, Wednesday, 8th June, 1429. This
afternoon are arrived M. de Vendôme, M. de Boussac, and others, and La
Hire has joined the army, and we shall soon be at work (_on besognera
bientôt_)--May God grant that it should be according to your desire."

It was with difficulty that the Duc d'Alençon had been got to start, his
wife consenting with great reluctance. He had been long a prisoner in
England, and had lately been ransomed for a great sum of money; "Was
not that a sufficient sacrifice?" the Duchess asked indignantly. To risk
once more a husband so costly was naturally a painful thing to do, and
why could not Jeanne be content and stay where she was? Jeanne comforted
the lady, perhaps with a little good-humoured contempt. "Fear nothing,
Madame," she said; "I will bring him back to you safe and sound."
Probably Alençon himself had no great desire to be second in command to
this country lass, even though she had delivered Orleans; and if he
set out at all he would have preferred to take another direction and to
protect his own property and province. The gathering of the army thus
becomes visible to us; parties are continually coming in; and no doubt,
as they marched along, many a little château--and they abound through
the country each with its attendant hamlet--gave forth its master or
heir, poor but noble, followed by as many men-at-arms, perhaps only two
or three, as the little property could raise, to swell the forces with
the best and surest of material, the trained gentlemen with hearts full
of chivalry and pride, but with the same hardy, self-denying habits as
the sturdy peasants who followed them, ready for any privation; with a
proud delight to hear that _on besognera bientôt_--with that St. Michael
at their head, and no longer any fear of the English in their hearts.

The first _besogne_ on which this army entered was the siege of Jargeau,
June 11th, into which town Suffolk had thrown himself and his troops
when the siege of Orleans was raised. The town was strong and so was the
garrison, experienced too in all the arts of war, and already aware of
the wild enthusiasm by which Jeanne was surrounded. She passed through
Orleans on the 10th of June, and had there been joined by various new
detachments. The number of her army was now raised, we are told, to
twelve hundred lances, which means, as each "lance" was a separate
party, about three thousand six hundred men, though the _Journal du
Siège_ gives a much larger number; at all events it was a small army
with which to decide a quarrel between the two greatest nations of
Christendom. Her associates in command were here once more seized by the
prevailing sin of hesitation, and many arguments were used to induce her
to postpone the assault. It would seem that this hesitation continued
until the very moment of attack, and was only put an end to when Jeanne
herself impatiently seized her banner from the hand of her squire, and
planting herself at the foot of the walls let loose the fervour of the
troops and cheered them on to the irresistible rush in which lay their
strength. For it was with the commanders, not with the followers, that
the weakness lay. The Maid herself was struck on the head by a stone
from the battlements which threw her down; but she sprang up again in a
moment unhurt. "_Sus! Sus!_ Our Lord has condemned the English--all is
yours!" she cried. She would seem to have stood there in her place
with her banner, a rallying-point and centre in the midst of all the
confusion of the fight, taking this for her part in it, and though she
is always in the thick of the combat, never, so far as we are told,
striking a blow, exposed to all the instruments of war, but injured
by none. The effect of her mere attitude, the steadiness of her stand,
under the terrible rain of stone bullets and dreadful arrows, must of
itself have been indescribable.

In the midst of the fiery struggle, there is almost a comic point in
her watch over Alençon, for whose safety she had pledged herself, now
dragging him from a dangerous spot with a cry of warning, now pushing
him forward with an encouraging word. On the first of these occasions
a gentleman of Anjou, M. de Lude, who took his place in the front was
killed, which seems hard upon the poor gentleman, who was probably quite
as well worth caring for as Alençon. "_Avant, gentil duc_," she cried at
another moment, "forward! Are you afraid? you know I promised your wife
to bring you safe home." Thus her voice keeps ringing through the din,
her white armour gleams. "_Sus! Sus!_" the bold cry is almost audible,
sibilant, whistling amid the whistling of the arrows.

Suffolk, the English Bayard, the most chivalrous of knights, was at last
forced to yield. One story tells us that he would give up his sword only
to Jeanne herself,(1) but there is a more authentic description of his
selection of one youth among his assailants whom the quick perceptions
of the leader had singled out. "Are you noble?" Suffolk asks in
the brevity of such a crisis. "Yes; Guillame Regnault, gentleman of
Auvergne." "Are you a knight?" "Not yet." The victor put a knee to the
ground before his captive, the vanquished touched him lightly on the
shoulder with the sword which he then gave over to him. Suffolk was
always the finest gentleman, the most perfect gentle knight of his time.

"Now let us go and see the English of Meung," cried Jeanne, unwearying,
as soon as this victory was assured. That place fell easily; it
is called the bridge of Meung, in the Chronicle, without further
description, therefore presumably the fortress was not attacked--and
they proceeded onward to Beaugency. These towns still shine over the
plain, along the line of the Loire, visible as far as the eye will
carry over the long levels, the great stream linking one to another like
pearls on a thread. There is nothing in the landscape now to give even a
moment's shelter to the progress of a marching army which must have been
seen from afar, wherever it moved; or to veil the shining battlements,
and piled up citadels rising here and there, concentrated points and
centres of life. The great white Castle of Blois, the darker tower of
Beaugency, still stand where they stood when Jeanne and her men drew
near, as conspicuous in their elevation of walls and towers as if they
had been planted on a mountain top. On more than one occasion during
this wonderful progress from victory to victory, the triumphant leaders
returned for a day or two to Orleans to tell their good tidings, and to
celebrate their success.

And there is but one voice as to the military skill which she displayed
in these repeated operations. The reader sees her, with her banner,
posted in the middle of the fight, guiding her men with a sort of
infallible instinct which adds force to her absolute quick perception of
every difficulty and advantage, the unhesitating promptitude, attending
like so many servants upon the inspiration which is the soul of all.
These are things to which a writer ignorant of war is quite unable to
do justice. What was almost more wonderful still was the manner in which
the Maid held her place among the captains, most of whom would have
thwarted her if they could, with a consciousness of her own superior
place, in which there is never the slightest token of presumption or
self-esteem. She guarded and guided Alençon with a good-natured and
affectionate disdain; and when there was risk of a great quarrel and
a splitting of forces she held the balance like an old and experienced
guide of men.

This latter crisis occurred before Beaugency on the 15th of June, when
the Comte de Richemont, Constable of France, the brother of the Duc de
Bretagne, a great nobleman and famous leader, but in disgrace with the
King and exiled from the Court, suddenly appeared with a considerable
army to join himself to the royalist forces, probably with the hope of
securing the leading place. Richemont was no friend to Jeanne; though he
apparently asked her help and influence to reconcile him with the King.
He seems indeed to have thought it a disgrace to France that her troops
should be led, and victories gained by no properly appointed general,
but by a woman, probably a witch, a creature unworthy to stand before
armed men. It must not be forgotten that even now this was the general
opinion of her out of the range of her immediate influence. The English
held it like a religion. Bedford, in his description of the siege of
Orleans and its total failure, reports to England that the discomfiture
of the hitherto always triumphant army was "caused in great part by the
fatal faith and vain fear that the French had, of a disciple and servant
of the enemy of man, called the Maid, who uses many false enchantments,
and witchcraft, by which not only is the number of our soldiers
diminished but their courage marvellously beaten down, and the boldness
of our enemies increased." Richemont was a sworn enemy of all such.
"Never man hated more, all heresies, sorcerers, and sorceresses, than
he; for he burned more in France, in Poitou, and Bretagne, than any
other of his time." The French generals were divided as to the merits
of Richemont and the advantages to be derived from his support.
Alençon, the nominal commander, declared that he would leave the army
if Richemont were permitted to join it. The letters of the King were
equally hostile to him; but on the other hand there were some who held
that the accession of the Constable was of more importance than all
the Maids in France. It was a moment which demanded very wary guidance.
Jeanne, it would seem, did not regard his arrival with much pleasure;
probably even the increase of her forces did not please her as it would
have pleased most commanders, holding so strongly as she did, to the
miraculous character of her own mission and that it was not so much the
strength of her troops as the help of God that got her the victory. But
it was not her part to reject or alienate any champion of France. We
have an account of their meeting given by a retainer of Richemont,
which is picturesque enough. "The Maid alighted from her horse, and the
Constable also. 'Jeanne,' he said, 'they tell me that you are against
me. I know not if you are from God (_de la part de Dieu_) or not. If
you are from God I do not fear you; if you are of the devil, I fear you
still less.' 'Brave Constable,' said Jeanne, 'you have not come here by
any will of mine; but since you are here you are welcome.'"

Armed neutrality but suspicion on one side, dignified indifference but
acceptance on the other, could not be better shown.

These successes, however, had been attended by various _escarmouches_
going on behind. The English, who had been driven out of one town after
another, had now drawn together under the command of Talbot, and a party
of troops under Fastolfe, who came to relieve them, had turned back as
Jeanne proceeded, making various unsuccessful attempts to recover what
had been lost. Failing in all their efforts they returned across the
country to Genville, and were continuing their retreat to Paris when the
two enemies came within reach of each other. An encounter in open field
was a new experience of which Jeanne as yet had known nothing. She had
been successful in assault, in the operations of the siege, but to meet
the enemy hand to hand in battle was what she had never been required to
do; and every tradition, every experience, was in favour of the English.
From Agincourt to the Battle of the Herrings at Rouvray near Orleans,
which had taken place in the beginning of the year (a fight so named
because the field of battle had been covered with herrings, the
conquerors in this case being merely the convoy in charge of provisions
for the English, which Fastolfe commanded), such a thing had not been
known as that the French should hold their own, much less attain any
victory over the invaders. In these circumstances there was much talk of
falling back upon the camp near Beaugency and of retreating or avoiding
an engagement; anything rather than hazard one of those encounters which
had infallibly ended in disaster. But Jeanne was of the same mind as
always, to go forward and fear nothing. "Fall upon them! Go at them
boldly," she cried. "If they were in the clouds we should have them. The
gentle King will now gain the greatest victory he has ever had."

It is curious to hear that in that great plain of the Beauce, so flat,
so fertile, with nothing but vines and cornfields now against the
horizon, the two armies at last almost stumbled upon each other by
accident, in the midst of the brushwood by which the country was wildly
overgrown. The story is that a stag roused by the French scouts rushed
into the midst of the English, who were advantageously placed among
the brushwood to arrest the enemy on their march; the wild creature
terrified and flying before an army blundered into the midst of the
others, was fired at and thus betrayed the vicinity of the foe. The
English had no time to form or set up their usual defences. They were so
taken by surprise that the rush of the French came without warning, with
a suddenness which gave it double force. La Hire made the first attack
as leader of the van, and there was thus emulation between the two
parties, which should be first upon the enemy. When Alençon asked Jeanne
what was to be the issue of the fight, she said calmly, "Have you good
spurs?" "What! You mean we shall turn our backs on our enemies?" cried
her questioner. "Not so," she replied. "The English will not fight,
they will fly, and you will want good spurs to pursue them." Even this
somewhat fantastic prophecy put heart into the men, who up to this time
had been wont to fly and not to fight.

And this was what happened, strange as it may seem. Talbot himself was
with the English forces, and many a gallant captain beside: but the
men and their leaders were alike broken in spirit and filled with
superstitious terrors. Whether these were the forces of hell or those of
heaven that came against them no one could be sure; but it was a power
beyond that of earth. The dazzled eyes which seemed to see flights
of white butterflies fluttering about the standard of the Maid, could
scarcely belong to one who thought her a servant of the enemy of men.
But she was a pernicious witch to Talbot, and strangely enough to
Richemont also, who was on her own side. The English force was thrown
into confusion, partly, we may suppose, from the broken ground on which
they were discovered, the undergrowth of the wood which hid both armies
from each other. But soon that disorder turned into the wildest panic
and flight. It would almost seem as if between these two hereditary
opponents one must always be forced into this miserable part. Not all
the chivalry of France had been able to prevent it at the long string of
battles in which they were, before the revelation of the Maid; and not
the desperate and furious valour of Talbot could preserve his English
force from the infection now. Fastolfe, with the philosophy of an old
soldier, deciding that it was vain to risk his men when the field
was already lost, rode off with all his band. Talbot fought with
desperation, half mad with rage to be thus a second time overcome by so
unlikely an adversary, and finally was taken prisoner; while the whole
force behind him fled and were killed in their flight, the plain being
scattered with their dead bodies.

Jeanne herself made use of those spurs concerning which she had
enquired, and carried away by the passion of battle, followed in the
pursuit, we are told, until she met a Frenchman brutally ill-using
a prisoner whom he had taken, upon which the Maid, indignant, flung
herself from her horse, and, seating herself on the ground beside the
unfortunate Englishman, took his bleeding head upon her lap and, sending
for a priest, made his departure from life at least as easy as pity and
spiritual consolation could make it on such a disastrous field. In all
the records there is no mention of any actual fighting on her part.
She stands in the thick of the flying arrows with her banner, exposing
herself to every danger; in moments of alarm, when her forces seem
flagging, she seizes and places a ladder against the wall for an
assault, and climbs the first as some say; but we never see her strike
a blow. On the banks of the Loire the fate of the mail-clad Glasdale,
hopeless in the strong stream underneath the ruined bridge, brought
tears to her eyes, and now all the excitement of the pursuit vanished
in an instant from her mind, when she saw the English man-at-arms dying
without the succour of the Church. Pity was always in her heart; she was
ever on the side of the angels, though an angel of war and not of peace.

It is perhaps because the numbers engaged were so few that this flight
or "Chasse de Patay," has not taken a more important place in the
records of French historians. In general it is only by means of Fontenoy
that the _amour propre_ of the French nation defends itself against the
overwhelming list of battles in which the English have had the better of
it. But this was probably the most complete victory that has ever been
gained over the stubborn enemy whom French tactics are so seldom able to
touch; and the conquerors were purely French without any alloy of alien
arms, except a few Scots, to help them. The entire campaign on the Loire
was one of triumph for the French arms, and of disaster for the English.
They--it is perhaps a point of national pride to admit it frankly--were
as well beaten as heart of Frenchman could desire, beaten not only in
the result, but in the conduct of the campaign, in heart and in courage,
in skill and in genius. There is no reason in the world why it should
not be admitted. But it was not the French generals, not even Dunois,
who secured these victories. It was the young peasant woman, the
dauntless Maid, who underneath the white mantle of her inspiration,
miraculous indeed, but not so miraculous as this, had already developed
the genius of a soldier, and who in her simplicity, thinking nothing
but of her "voices" and the counsel they gave her, was already the best
general of them all.

When Talbot stood before the French generals, no less a person than
Alençon himself is reported to have made a remark to him, of that
ungenerous kind which we call in feminine language "spiteful," and which
is not foreign to the habit of that great nation. "You did not think
this morning what would have happened to you before sunset," said the
Duc d'Alençon to the prisoner. "It is the fortune of war," replied the
English chief.

Once more, however it is like a sudden fall from the open air and
sunshine when the victorious army and its chiefs turned back to the
Court where the King and his councillors sat idle, waiting for news
of what was being done for them. A battle-field is no fine sight; the
excitement of the conflict, the great end to be served by it, the sense
of God's special protection, even the tremendous uproar of the fight,
the intoxication of personal action, danger, and success have, we do not
doubt a rapture and passion in them for the moment, which carry the mind
away; but the bravest soldier holds his breath when he remembers the
after scene, the dead and dying, the horrible injuries inflicted, the
loss and misery. However, not even the miserable scene of the Chasse de
Patay is so painful as the reverse of the dismal picture, the halls of
the royal habitation where, while men died for him almost within hearing
of the fiddling and the dances, the young King trifled away his useless
days among his idle favourites, and the musicians played, the assemblies
were held, and all went on as in the Tuileries. We feel as if we had
fallen fathoms deep into the meannesses of mankind when we come back
from the bloodshed and the horror outside, to the King's presence
within. The troops which had gone out in uncertainty, on an enterprise
which might well have proved too great for them, had returned in full
flush of triumph, having at last fully broken the spell of the English
superiority--which was the greatest victory that could have been
achieved: besides gaining the substantial advantage of three important
towns brought back to the King's allegiance--only to find themselves as
little advanced as before, coming back to the self-same struggle with
indolent complaining, indifference, and ingratitude.

Jeanne had given the signs that had been demanded from her. She had
delivered Orleans, she cleared the King's road toward the north. She
had filled the French forces with an enthusiasm and transport of valour
which swept away all the traditions of ill fortune. From every point of
view the instant march upon Rheims and the accomplishment of the great
object of her mission had not only become practicable, but was the
wisest and most prudent thing to do.

But this was not the opinion of the Chancellor of France, the Archbishop
of Rheims, and La Tremouille, or of the indolent young King himself, who
was very willing to rejoice in the relief from all immediate danger, the
restoration of the surrounding country, and even the victory itself,
if only they would have left him in quiet where he was, sufficiently
comfortable, amused, and happy, without forcing necessary dangers.
Jeanne's successes and her unseasonable zeal and the commotion that she
and her train of captains made, pouring in, in all the excitement
of their triumph, into the midst of the madrigals--seem to have been
anything but welcome. Go to Rheims to be crowned? yes, some time when
it was convenient, when it was safe. But in the meantime what was more
important was to forbid Richemont, whom the Chancellor hated and the
King did not love, to come into the presence or to have any share either
in warfare or in pageant. This was not only in itself an extremely
foolish thing to do, which is always a recommendation, but it was at the
same time an excuse for wasting a little precious time. When this was
at last accomplished, and Richemont, though deeply wounded and offended,
proved himself so much a man of honour and a patriot, that though
dismissed by the King he still upheld, if languidly, his cause--there
was yet a great deal of resistance to be overcome. Paris though so far
off was thrown into great excitement and alarm by the flight at Patay,
and the whole city was in commotion fearing an immediate advance and
attack. But in Loches, or wherever Charles may have been, it was all
taken very easily. Fastolfe, the fugitive, had his Garter taken from
him as the greatest disgrace that could be inflicted, for his shameful
flight, about the time when Richemont, one of the victors, was being
sent off and disgraced on the other side for the crime of having helped
to inflict, without the consent of the King, the greatest blow which
had yet been given to the English domination! So the Court held on its
ridiculous and fatal course.

However the force of public feeling which must have been very frankly
expressed by many important voices was too much for Charles and he was
at length compelled to put himself in motion. The army had assembled at
Gien, where he joined it, and the great wave of enthusiasm awakened by
Jeanne, and on which he now moved forth as on the top of the wave,
was for the time triumphant. No one dared say now that the Maid was
a sorceress, or that it was by the aid of Beelzebub that she cast out
devils; but a hundred jealousies and hatreds worked against her behind
backs, among the courtiers, among the clergy, strange as that may sound,
in sight of the absolute devotion of her mind, and the saintly life
she led. So much was this the case still, notwithstanding the practical
proofs she had given of her claims, that even persons of kindred mind,
partially sharing her inspirations, such as the famous Brother Richard
of Troyes, looked upon her with suspicion and alarm--fearing a delusion
of Satan. It is more easy perhaps to understand why the archbishops and
bishops should have been inclined against her, since, though perfectly
orthodox and a good Catholic, Jeanne had been independent of all
priestly guidance and had sought no sanction from the Church to her
commission, which she believed to be given by Heaven. "Give God the
praise; but we know that this woman is a sinner." This was the best they
could find to say of her in the moment of her greatest victories; but
indeed it is no disparagement to Jeanne or to any saint that she should
share with her Master the opprobrium of such words as these.

At last however a reluctant start was made. Jeanne with her "people,"
her little staff, in which, now, were two of her brothers, a second
having joined her after Orleans, left Gien on the 28th of June; and the
next day the King very unwillingly set out. There is given a long list
of generals who surrounded and accompanied him, three or four princes of
the blood, the Bastard of Orleans, the Archbishop of Rheims, marshals,
admirals, and innumerable seigneurs, among whom was our young Guy de
Laval who wrote the letter to his "mothers" which we have already quoted
and whose faith in the Maid we thus know; and our ever faithful La Hire,
the big-voiced Gascon who had permission to swear by his _bâton_, the
d'Artagnan of this history. We reckon these names as those of friends:
Dunois the ever-brave, Alençon the _gentil Duc_ for whom Jeanne had
a special and protecting kindness, La Hire the rough captain of Free
Lances, and the graceful young seigneur, Sir Guy as we should have
called him had he been English, who was so ready to sell or mortgage his
land that he might convey his troop befittingly to the wars. This little
group brightens the march for us with their friendly faces. We know that
they have but one thought of the warrior maiden in whose genius they had
begun to have a wondering confidence as well as in her divine mission.
While they were there we feel that she had at least so many who
understood her, and who bore her the affection of brothers. We are told
that in the progress of the army Jeanne had no definite place. She rode
where she pleased, sometimes in the front, sometimes in the rear. One
imagines with pleasure that wherever her charger passed along the lines
it would be accompanied by one or other of those valiant and faithful

The first place at which a halt was made was Auxerre, a town occupied
chiefly by Burgundians, which closed its gates, but by means of bribes,
partly of provisions to be supplied, partly of gifts to La Tremouille,
secured itself from the attack which Jeanne longed to lead. Other
smaller strongholds on the road yielded without hesitation. At last they
came to Troyes, a large and strong place, well garrisoned and confident
in its strength, the town distinguished in the history of the time
by the treaty made there, by which the young King had been
disinherited--and by the marriage of Henry of England with the Princess
Catherine of France, in whose right he was to succeed to the throne.
It was an ill-omened place for a French king and the camp was torn with
dissensions. Should the army march by, taking no notice of it and so
get all the sooner to Rheims? or should they pause first, to try their
fortune against those solid walls? But indeed it was not the camp that
debated this question. The camp was of Jeanne's mind whichever side she
took, and her side was always that of the promptest action. The garrison
made a bold sortie, the very day of the arrival of Charles and his
forces, but had been beaten back: and the King encamped under the walls,
wavering and uncertain whether he might not still depart on the morrow,
but sending a repeated summons to surrender, to which no attention was

Once more there was a pause of indecision; the King was not bold enough
either to push on and leave the city, or to attack it. Again councils of
war succeeded each other day after day, discussing the matter over and
over, leaving the King each time more doubtful, more timid than before.
From these debates Jeanne was anxiously held back, while every silken
fool gave his opinion. At last, one of the councillors was stirred by
this strange anomaly. He declared among them all, that as it was by the
advice of the Maid that the expedition had been undertaken, without her
acquiescence it ought not to be abandoned. "When the King set out it was
not because of the great puissance of the army he then had with him, or
the great treasure he had to provide for them, nor yet because it seemed
to him a probable thing to be accomplished; but the said expedition
was undertaken solely at the suit of the said Jeanne, who urged him
constantly to go forward, to be crowned at Rheims, and that he should
find little resistance, for it was the pleasure and will of God. If
the said Jeanne is not to be allowed to give her advice now, it is my
opinion that we should turn back," said the Seigneur de Treves, who had
never been a partisan of or believer in Jeanne. We are told that at this
fortunate moment when one of her opponents had thus pronounced in her
favour, Jeanne, impatient and restless, knocked at the door of the
council chamber as she had done before in her rustic boldness; and then
there occurred a brief and characteristic dialogue.

"Jeanne," said the Archbishop of Rheims, taking the first word, probably
with the ready instinct of a conspirator to excuse himself from
having helped to shut her out, "the King and his council are in great
perplexity to know what they should do."

"Shall I be believed if I speak?" said the Maid.

"I cannot tell," replied the King, interposing; "though if you say
things that are reasonable and profitable, I shall certainly believe

"Shall I be believed?" she repeated.

"Yes," said the King, "according as you speak."

"Noble Dauphin," she exclaimed, "order your people to assault the city
of Troyes, to hold no more councils; for, by my God, in three days I
will introduce you into the town of Troyes, by love or by force, and
false Burgundy shall be dismayed."

"Jeanne," said the Chancellor, "if you could do that in six days, we
might well wait."

"You shall be master of the place," said the Maid, addressing herself
steadily to the King, "not in six days, but to-morrow."

And then there occurred once more the now habitual scene. It was no
longer the miracle it had been to see her dash forward to her post under
the walls with her standard which was the signal for battle, to which
the impatient troops responded, confident in her, as she in herself. But
for the first time we hear how the young general, learning her trade of
war day by day, made her preparations for the siege. She was a gunner
born, according to all we hear, and was quick to perceive the advantage
of her rude artillery though she had never seen one of these _bouches
de feu_ till she encountered them at Orleans. The whole army was set to
work during the night, knights and men-at-arms alike, to raise--with any
kind of handy material, palings faggots, tables, even doors and windows,
taken it must be feared from some neighbouring village or faubourg--a
mound on which to place the guns. The country as we have said is as
flat as the palm of one's hand. They worked all night under cover of
the darkness with incredible devotion, while the alarmed townsfolk not
knowing what was being done, but no doubt divining something from the
unusual commotion, betook themselves to the churches to pray, and began
to ponder whether after all it might not be better to join the King
whose armies were led by St. Michael himself in the person of his
representative, than to risk a siege. Once more the spell of the Maid
fell on the defenders of the place. It was witchcraft, it was some
vile art. They had no heart to man the battlements, to fight like their
brothers at Orleans and Jargeau in face of all the powers of the evil
one: the cry of "_Sus! Sus!_" was like the death-knell in their ears.

While the soldiers within the walls were thus trembling and drawing
back, the bishop and his clergy took the matter in hand; they sallied
forth, a long procession attended by half the city, to parley with the
King. It was in the earliest dawn, while yet the peaceful world was
scarcely awake; but the town had been in commotion all night, every
visionary person in it seeing visions and dreaming dreams, and a panic
of superstition and spiritual terror taking the strength out of every
arm. Jeanne was already at her post, a glimmering white figure in the
faint and visionary twilight of the morning, when the gates of the city
swung back before this tremulous procession. The King, however, received
the envoys graciously, and readily promised to guarantee all the rights
of Troyes, and to permit the garrison to depart in peace, if the town
was given up to him. We are not told whether the Maid acquiesced in this
arrangement, though it at once secured the fulfilment of her prophecy;
but in any case she would seem to have been suspicious of the good faith
of the departing garrison. Instead of retiring to her tent she took
her place at the gate, watchful, to see the enemy march forth. And
her suspicion was not without reason. The allied troops, English and
Burgundian, poured forth from the city gates, crestfallen, unwilling to
look the way of the white witch, who might for aught they knew lay them
under some dreadful spell, even in the moment of passing. But in the
midst of them came a darker band, the French prisoners whom they had
previously taken, who were as a sort of funded capital in their hands,
each man worth so much money as a ransom, It was for this that Jeanne
had prepared herself. "_En nom Dieu_," she cried, "they shall not
be carried away." The march was stopped, the alarm given, the King
unwillingly aroused once more from his slumbers. Charles must have been
disturbed at the most untimely hour by the ambassadors from the town,
and it mattered little to his supreme indolence and indifference what
might happen to his unfortunate lieges; but he was forced to bestir
himself, and even to give something from his impoverished exchequer
for the ransom of the prisoners, which must have been more disagreeable
still. The feelings of these men who would have been dragged away in
captivity under the eyes of their victorious countrymen, but for the
vigilance of the Maid, may easily be imagined.

Jeanne seems to have entered the town at once, to prepare for the
reception of the King, and to take instant possession of the place,
forestalling all further impediment. The people in the streets, however,
received her in a very different way from those of Orleans, with trouble
and alarm, staring at her as at a dangerous and malignant visitor. The
Brother Richard, before mentioned, the great preacher and reformer, was
the oracle of Troyes, and held the conscience of the city in his hands.
When he suddenly appeared to confront her, every eye was turned upon
them. But the friar himself was in no less doubt than his disciples; he
approached her dubiously, crossing himself, making the sacred sign in
the air, and sprinkling a shower of holy water before him to drive away
the demon, if demon there was. Jeanne was not unused to support the
rudest accost, and her frank voice, still _assez femme_, made itself
heard over every clamour. "Come on, I shall not fly away," she cried,
with, one hopes, a laugh of confident innocence and good-humour, in face
of those significant gestures and the terrified looks of all about her.
French art has been unkind to Jeanne, occupying itself very little about
her till recently; but her short career is full of pictures. Here the
simple page grows bright with the ancient houses and highly coloured
crowd: the frightened and eager faces at every window, the white warrior
in the midst, sending forth a thousand rays from the polished steel
and silver of breastplate and helmet: and the brown Franciscan monk
advancing amid a shower of water drops, a mysterious repetition of
signs. It gives us an extraordinary epitome of the history of France at
that period to turn from this scene to the wild enthusiasm of Orleans,
its crowd of people thronging about her, its shouts rending the air;
while Troyes was full of terror, doubt, and ill-will, though its nearest
neighbour, so to speak, the next town, and so short a distance away.

A little later in the same day, the next after the surrender, Jeanne,
riding with her standard by the side of the King, conducted him to the
cathedral where he confirmed his previous promises and received the
homage of the town. It was a beautiful sight, the chronicle tells us, to
see all these magnificent people, so well dressed and well mounted; "_il
feroit très beau voir._"

The fate of Troyes decided that of Chalons, the only other important
town on the way, the gates of which were thrown open as Charles and his
army, which grew and increased every day, proceeded on its road. Every
promise of the Maid had been so far accomplished, both in the greater
object and in the details: and now there was nothing between Charles the
disinherited and almost ruined Dauphin of three months ago, trying to
forget himself in the seclusion and the sports of Chinon--and the sacred
ceremonial which drew with it every tradition and every assurance of an
ancient and lawful throne.

Jeanne had her little adventure, personal to herself on the way. Though
there were neither posts nor telegraphs in those days, there has always
been a strange swift current in the air or soil which has conveyed news,
in a great national crisis, from one end of the country to the other. It
was not so great a distance to Domremy on the Meuse from Troyes on the
Loire, and it appears that a little group of peasants, bolder than the
rest, had come forth to hang about the road when the army passed and
see what was so fine a sight, and perhaps to catch a glimpse of their
_payse_, their little neighbour, the _commère_ who was godmother to
Gerard d'Epinal's child, the youthful gossip of his young wife--but who
was now, if all tales were true, a great person, and rode by the side
of the King. They went as far as Chalons to see if perhaps all this were
true and not a fable; and no doubt stood astonished to see her ride by,
to hear all the marvellous tales that were told of her, and to assure
themselves that it was truly Jeanne upon whom, more than upon the King,
every eye was bent. This small scene in the midst of so many great ones
would probably have been the most interesting of all had it been told
us at any length. The peasant travellers surrounded her with wistful
questions, with wonder and admiration. Was she never afraid among all
those risks of war, when the arrows hailed about her and the _bouches
de feu_, the mouths of fire, bellowed and flung forth great stones and
bullets upon her? "I fear nothing but treason," said the victorious
Maid. She knew, though her humble visitors did not, how that base thing
skulked at her heels, and infested every path. It must not be forgotten
that this wonderful and victorious campaign, with all its lists of towns
taken and armies discomfited, lasted six weeks only, almost every day of
which was distinguished by some victory.

     (1) The former story was written in 1429, by the Greffier of
     Rochelle. "I will yield me only to her, the most valiant
     woman in the world." The Greffier was writing at the moment,
     but not, of course, as an eyewitness.--A. L.


The road was now clear, and even the most timid of counsellors could not
longer hold back the most indolent of kings. Jeanne had kept her word
once more and fulfilled her own prophecy, and a force of enthusiasm
and certainty, not to be put down, pressed forward the unwilling Court
towards the great ceremonial of the coronation, to which all except
those most chiefly concerned attached so great an importance. Charles
would have hesitated still, and questioned the possibility of resistance
on the part of Rheims, if that city had not sent a deputation of
citizens with the keys of the town, to meet him. After this it was but
a triumphal march into the sacred place, where the great cathedral
dominated a swarming, busy, mediæval city. King and Archbishop had a
double triumph, for the priest like the monarch had been shut out from
his lawful throne, and it was only in the train of the Maid that this
great ecclesiastic was able to take possession of his dignities. The
King alighted with the Archbishop at the Archevêché which is close
to the cathedral, an immense, old palace in which the heads of the
expedition were lodged. There is a magnificent old hall still remaining
in which no doubt they all assembled, scarcely able to believe that
their object was accomplished and that the King of France was actually
in Rheims, and all the prophecies fulfilled. The Archbishop marched
into the city in the morning; Charles and his Court, and all his great
seigneurs, and the body of his army, in which there were many fighting
men half armed, and some in their rustic clothes as they had left their
fields to join the King in his march--poured in in the evening, after
the ecclesiastical procession, filling the town with commotion. Jeanne
rode beside the King, her banner in her hand. It was July, the vigil of
the Madeleine, and every church poured forth its crowd to witness the
entry, and the populace, half troubled, half glad, gazed its eyes out
upon the white warrior at the side of the King. Her father and uncle
were there to meet her at the old inn in the Place, which still proudly
preserves the record of the peasant guests: two astonished rustics,
no doubt, were thrust forth from some window to watch that incredible
sight--Jacques who would rather have drowned his daughter with his own
hands, than have seen her thus launched among men, gazing still
aghast at the resplendent figure of the chevalière at the head of the
procession. This was very different from what he had thought of when his
village respectability was tortured by the idea of his girl among the
troopers, yet probably the rigid peasant had never changed his mind.

We are told by M. Blaze de Bury of an ancient custom which we do not
find stated elsewhere. A platform was erected, he tells us, outside the
choir of the cathedral to which the King was led the evening before the
coronation, surrounded by his peers, who showed him to the assembled
people with a traditional proclamation: "Here is your King whom we,
peers of France, crown as King and sovereign lord. And if there is a
soul here which has any objection to make, let him speak and we will
answer him. And to-morrow he shall be consecrated by the grace of the
Holy Spirit if you have nothing to say against it." The people replied
by cries of "Noël, Noël!" It is not to be supposed that the veto of the
people of Rheims would have been effectual had they opposed: but
the scene is wonderfully picturesque. No doubt Jeanne too was there,
watching over her King, as she seems to have done, like a mother over
her child, at this crisis of his affairs.

That night there was little sleep in Rheims, for everything had to be
prepared in haste, the decorations of the cathedral, the provisions for
the ceremonial. Many of the necessary articles were at Saint Denis in
the hands of the English, and the treasury of the cathedral had to be
ransacked to find the fitting vessels. Fortunately it was rich, more
rich probably than it is now, when the commonplace silver of the
beginning of this century has replaced the ancient vials. Through the
short summer night everyone was at work in these preparations; and by
the dawn of day visitors began to flow into the city, great personages
and small, to attend the great ceremonial and to pay their homage. The
greatest of all was the Duke of Lorraine, he who had consulted Jeanne
about his health, husband of the heiress of that rich principality, and
son of Queen Yolande who was no doubt with the Court. All France seemed
to pour into the famous town, where so important an act was about to
be accomplished, with money and wine flowing on all hands, and the
enthusiasm growing along with the popular excitement and profit. Even
great London is stirred to its limits, many miles off from the centre
of proceedings, by such a great event; how much more the little mediæval
city, in which every one might hope to see something of the pageant,
as one shining group after another, with armour blazing in the sun, and
sleek horses caracoling, arrived at the great gates of the Archevêché:
and lesser parties scarcely less interesting poured in in need of
lodging, of equipment and provisions; while every housewife searched
her stores for a piece of brilliant stuff, of old silk or embroidery, to
make her house shine like the rest.

Early in the morning, a wonderful procession came out of the
Archbishop's house. Four splendid peers of France, in full armour
with their banners, rode through the streets to the old Abbey of Saint
Remy--the old church which Leo IX. consecrated, in the eleventh century,
on an equally splendid occasion, and which may still be seen to-day--to
fetch from its shrine, where it was strictly guarded by the monks,
the Sainte Ampoule, the holy and sacred vial in which the oil of
consecration had been sent to Clovis out of Heaven. These noble
messengers were the "hostages" of this sacred charge, engaging
themselves by an oath never to lose sight of it by night or day, till it
was restored to its appointed guardians. This vow having been made,
the Abbot of St. Remy, in his richest robes, appeared surrounded by his
monks, carrying the treasure in his hands; and under a splendid
canopy, blazing in the sunshine with cloth of gold, marched towards the
cathedral under the escort of the Knights Hostages, blazing also in the
flashes of their armour. This procession was met half-way, before the
Church of St. Denis, by another, that of the Archbishop and his train,
to whom the holy oil was solemnly confided, and carried by them to the
cathedral, already filled by a dazzled and dazzling crowd.

The Maid had her occupations this July morning like the rest. We hear
nothing of any interview with her father, or with Durand the good uncle
who had helped her in the beginning of her career; though it was Durand
who was sent for to the King and questioned as to Jeanne's life in her
childhood and early youth; which we may take as proof that Jacques d'Arc
still stood aloof, _dour_, as a Scotch peasant father might have been,
suspicious of his daughter's intimacy with all these fine people, and
in no way cured of his objections to the publicity which is little less
than shame to such rugged folk. And there were his two sons who would
take him about, and with whom probably in their easier commonplace
he was more at home than with Jeanne. What the Maid had to do on the
morning of the coronation day was something very different from any home
talk with her relations. She who felt herself commissioned not only to
lead the armies of France, but to deal with her princes and take part in
her councils, occupied the morning in dictating a letter to the Duke of
Burgundy. She had summoned the English by letter three times repeated,
to withdraw peaceably from the possessions which by God's will were
French. It was with still better reason that she summoned Philip of
Burgundy to renounce his feud with his cousin, and thus to heal the
breach which had torn France in two:


High and redoubtable Prince, Duke of Burgundy. Jeanne the Maid requires
on the part of the King of Heaven, my most just sovereign and Lord (_mon
droicturier souverain seigneur_), that the King of France and you make
peace between yourselves, firm, strong and that will endure. Pardon each
other of good heart, entirely, as loyal Christians ought to do, and if
you desire to fight let it be against the Saracens. Prince of Burgundy,
I pray, supplicate, and require, as humbly as may be, fight no longer
against the holy kingdom of France: withdraw, at once and speedily,
your people who are in any strongholds or fortresses of the said holy
kingdom; and on the part of the gentle King of France, he is ready to
make peace with you, having respect to his honour, and upon your life
that you never will gain a battle against loyal Frenchmen and that all
those who war against the said holy kingdom of France, war against
the King Jesus, King of Heaven and of all the world and my just and
sovereign Lord. And I pray and require with clasped hands that you
fight not, nor make any battle against us, neither your friends nor your
subjects; but believe always however great in number may be the men you
lead against us, that you will never win, and it would be great pity
for the great battle and the blood that would be shed of those who came
against us. Three weeks ago I sent you a letter by a herald that you
should be present at the consecration of the King, which to-day, Sunday,
the seventeenth of the present month of July, is done in the city of
Rheims: to which I have had no answer, nor even any news by the said
herald. To God I commend you, and may He be your guard if it pleases
Him, and I pray God to make good peace.

Written at the aforesaid Rheims, the seventeenth day of July, 1429.

When the letter was finished Jeanne put on her armour and prepared for
the great ceremony. We are not told what part she took in it, nor is any
more prominent position assigned to her than among the noble crowd
of peers and generals who surrounded the altar, where her place
would naturally be, upon the broad raised platform of the choir, so
excellently adapted for such ceremonies. Her banner we are told was
borne into the cathedral, in order, as she proudly explained afterwards,
that having been foremost in the danger it should share the honour.

But we have no right to suppose that the Maid took the position of the
chief actor in the pageant and stood alone by the side of Charles,
as the exigencies of the pictorial art have required her to do. When,
however, the ceremony was completed, and he had received on his knees
the anointing which separated him as king from every other class of men,
and while the lofty vaults echoed with the cries of Noël! Noël! by which
the people hailed the completed ceremony, Jeanne could contain herself
no longer. The object was attained for which she had laboured and
struggled, and overcome every opponent. She stepped forward out of
the brilliant crowd, and threw herself at the feet of the now crowned
monarch, embracing his knees. "Gentle King," she cried with tears, "now
is the pleasure of God fulfilled--whose will it was that I should raise
the siege of Orleans and lead you to this city of Rheims to receive
your consecration. Now has He shown that you are true King, and that the
kingdom of France truly belongs to you alone."

Those broken words, her tears, the cry of that profound satisfaction
which is almost anguish, the "Lord, now lettest thou thy servant depart
in peace," which is so suitable to the lips of the old, so poignant from
those of the young, pierced all hearts. It is added that she asked leave
to withdraw, her work being done, and that all who saw her were filled
with sympathy. It was no doubt the irresistible outburst of a heart too
full; and though that fulness was all joy and triumph, yet there was in
it a sense of completed work, a rending asunder and tearing away from
life, the end of a wonderful and triumphant tale.

There is a considerable controversy as to the precise meaning of that
outburst of emotion. Did the Maid mean that her work was over, and her
divine mission fulfilled? Was this all that she believed herself to be
appointed to do? or did she expect, as she sometimes said, to _bouter_
the English out of France altogether? In the one case she ought to
have relinquished her work, and in not doing so she acted without the
protection of God which had hitherto made her invulnerable. In the
other, her "voices," her inspiration, must have failed her, for her
course of triumph went no farther. It is impossible to decide between
these contending theories. She did speak in both senses, sometimes
declaring that she was to take Paris, sometimes, her intention to
_bouter_ the English out of the kingdom. At the same time she betrayed a
constant conviction that her office had limitations and must come to an
end. "I will last but a year," she said to the King and to Alençon. The
testimony of Dunois seems to be the best we can have on this point.
He says in his deposition, made many years after her death: "Although
Jeanne sometimes talked playfully to amuse people, of things concerning
the war which were not afterwards accomplished, yet when she spoke
seriously of the war, and of her own career and her vocation, she never
affirmed anything but that she was sent to raise the siege of Orleans
and to lead the King to Rheims to be crowned."

If this were so was she wrong in continuing her warfare, and did she
place herself in the position of one who goes on her own charges,
finding the mission from on high unnecessary? Or in the other case did
her inspiration fail her, or were the intrigues of Charles and his
Court sufficient to balk the designs of Heaven? We prefer to think
that Jeanne's commission concerned only those two things which she
accomplished so completely; but that in continuing the war, she acted
only as a well inspired and honourable young soldier might, though no
longer as the direct messenger of God. She had as much right to do so
as to return to her distaff or her needle in her native village; but
she became subject to all the ordinary laws of war by so doing, exposed
herself to be taken or overthrown like any man-at-arms, and accepted
that risk. What is certain is, that every intrigue sprang up again
afresh on the evening of that brilliant and triumphant ceremonial, and
that from the moment of the accomplishment of her great work the failure
of the Maid began.

These intrigues had been in her way since her very first beginning, as
has been seen. At Orleans, in the very field as well as in the council
chamber and the presence, everything was done to balk her, and to cross
her plans, but in vain; she triumphed over every contrivance against
her, and broke through the plots, and overcame the plotters. But after
Rheims the combination of dangers became ever greater and greater, and
we may say that no merely human general would have had a chance in face
of the many and bewildering influences of evil. Charles who was himself,
at least at this period of his career, sufficiently indolent and
unenterprising to have damped the energies of any commander, was, in
addition, surrounded by advisers who had always been impatient and
jealous of the interference of Jeanne, and would have cast her off as a
witch, or passed her by as an impostor, had that been possible, without
permitting her to strike a blow. They had now grudgingly made use of
her, or rather, for this is too much to say, had permitted her action
where they had no power to restrain it: but they were as little
friendly, as malignant in their treatment of the Maid as ever, and more
hopeful, now that so much had been done by her means, of being able to
shake her off and pursue their fate in their own way.

The position of Charles crowned King of France with all the traditional
pomp, master of the Orleannais, with fresh bands of supporters coming in
to swell his army day by day, and Paris itself almost within his reach,
was very different from that of the discredited Dauphin at Chinon, whom
half the world believed to have no right to the crown which his own
mother had signed away from him, and who wasted his idle days in folly
to the profit of the greedy councillors who schemed and trafficked
with his enemies, and to the destruction of all his hopes. The strange
apparition of virginal purity, energy, and faith which had taken up
and saved him against his will and all his efforts had not ceased for a
moment to be hateful to La Tremouille and his party; and Charles--though
he seems to have had a certain appreciation of the Maid, and even a
liking for her frank and fearless character, apart from any faith in
her mission--was far too ready to accept the facts of the moment, and
probably to believe that, after all, his own worth and favour with
Heaven had a great deal to do with this dazzling triumph and success:
certainly he was not the man to make any stand for his deliverer. But
that she was an auxiliary too important to be sent away was reluctantly
apparent to them all. To keep her as a sort of tame angel about the
Court in order to be produced when she was wanted, to put heart into
the soldiers and frighten the English as she certainly had the gift of
doing, no doubt appeared to all as a thing desirable enough. And they
dared not let her go "because of the people," nor, may we believe,
would Alençon, Dunois, La Hire, and the rest have tolerated thus the
abandonment of their comrade. To dismiss her even at her own word would
have been impossible, and it is hard to believe that Jeanne, after that
extraordinary brief career as a triumphant general and leader, could
have gone back to her father's cottage of the village, though she
thought she would fain have done so. If we are to believe that she felt
her mission to be fulfilled, she was yet mistress of her fate to serve
France and the King as seemed best.

And we have no evidence that her "voices" forsook her, or discouraged
her. They seem to have changed a little in their burden, they began to
mingle a sadder tone in their intimations. It began to be breathed into
her mind though not immediately, that something was to happen to her,
some disaster not explained, yet that God was to be with her. It
seems to me that all the circumstances are compatible with a change in
Jeanne's consciousness, from the moment of the coronation. It might
have been a grander thing had she retired there and then, her work being
accomplished as she declared it to be; but it would not have been human.
She was still a power, if no longer the direct messenger from Heaven;
a general, with much skill and natural aptitude if not the Sent of God;
and the ardour of a military career had got into her veins. No doubt
she was much more good for that, now, than for sitting by the side of
Isabeau d'Arc at Domremy, and working even into a piece of embroidery
for the altar, her remembrances and visions of camp and siege and the
intoxication of victory. She remained, conscious that she was no longer
exactly as of old, to fight not only against the English, but with
intimate enemies, far more bitter, whom now she knew, against the
ordinary fortune of war, and against that which is a thousand times
worse, the hatred and envy, the cruel carelessness, and the malignant
schemes of her own countrymen for whom she had fought.

This, so far as we can judge, appears to be the position of Jeanne in
the second portion of her career; perhaps only dimly apprehended and at
moments, by herself; not much thought of probably by those around her,
the wisest of whom had always been sceptical of her divine commission;
while the populace never saw any change in her, and believed that at one
time as well as at another the Maid was the Maid, and had victory at her
command. And no doubt that influence would have endured for some time at
least, and her dauntless rush against every obstacle would have carried
success with it, had she been able to carry out her plans, and fly
forth upon Paris as she had done upon Orleans, carrying on the campaign
swiftly, promptly, without pause or uncertainty. Bedford himself said
that Paris "would fall at a blow," if she came on. It had been hard
enough, however, to do that, as we have seen, when she was the only hope
of France and had the fire of the divine enthusiasm in her veins; but
it was still more hard now to mould a young King elated with triumph,
beginning to feel the crown safe upon his head, and to feel that if
there was still much to gain, there was now a great deal to be lost.
The position was complicated and made more difficult for Jeanne by every
advantage she had gained.

In the meantime the secret negotiations, which were always being carried
on under the surface, had come to this point, that Charles had made
a private treaty with Philip of Burgundy by which that prince pledged
himself to give up Paris into the King's hands within fifteen days.
This agreement furnished a sufficient pretext for the delay in marching
against Paris, delay which was Charles's invariable method, and which
but for Jeanne's hardihood and determination, had all but crushed the
expedition to Rheims itself. It was never with any will of his or of his
adviser, La Tremouille, that any stronghold was assailed. He would fain
have passed by Troyes, as the reader will remember, he would fain have
delayed going to Rheims; in each case he had been forced to move by the
impetuosity of the Maid. But a treaty which touched the honour of the
King was a different matter. Philip of Burgundy, with whom it was made,
seems to have held the key of the position. He was called to Paris by
Bedford on one side to defend the city against its lawful King; he had
pledged himself on the other to Charles to give it up. He had in his
hands, though it is uncertain whether he ever read it, that missive of
the sorceress, the letter of Jeanne which I have quoted, calling upon
him on the part of God to make peace. What was he to do? There were
reasons drawing him to both sides. He was the enemy of Charles on
account of the murder of his father, and therefore had every interest in
keeping Paris from him; he was angry with the English on account of the
marriage of the Duke of Gloucester with Jacqueline of Brabant, which
interfered with his own rights and safety in Flanders, and therefore
might have served himself by giving up the capital to the King. As for
the appeal of Jeanne, what was the letter of that mad creature to a
prince and statesman? The progress of affairs was arrested by this
double problem. Jeanne had been the prominent, the only important figure
in the history of France for some months past. Now that shining figure
was jostled aside, and the ordinary laws of life, with all the counter
changes of negotiation, the ineffectual comings and goings, the meaner
half-seen persons, the fierce contending personal interests--in which
there was no love of either God or man, or any elevated notion of
patriotism--came again into play.

Jeanne would seem to have already foreseen and felt this change even
before she left Rheims; there is a new tone of sadness in some of her
recorded words; or if not of sadness, at least of consciousness that an
end was approaching to all these triumphs and splendours. The following
tale is told in various different versions, as occurring with different
people; but the account I give is taken from the lips of Dunois himself,
a very competent witness. As the King, after his coronation, wended his
way through the country, receiving submission and joyous welcome from
every village and little town, it happened that while passing through
the town of La Ferté, Jeanne rode between the Archbishop of Rheims and
Dunois. The Archbishop had never been friendly to the Maid, and now it
was clear, watched her with that half satirical, half amused look of
the wise man, curious and cynical in presence of the incomprehensible,
observing her ways and very ready to catch her tripping and to entangle
her if possible in her own words. The people thronged the way, full of
enthusiasm, acclaiming the King and shouting their joyful exclamations
of "Noël!" though it does not appear that any part of their devotion was
addressed to Jeanne herself. "Oh, the good people," she cried with tears
in her eyes, "how joyful they are to see their noble King! And how happy
should I be to end my days and be buried here among them!" The
priest unmoved by such an exclamation from so young a mouth attempted
instantly, like the Jewish doctors with our Lord, to catch her in her
words and draw from her some expression that might be used against her.
"Jeanne," he said, "in what place do you expect to die?" It was a direct
challenge to the messenger of Heaven to take upon herself the gift
of prophecy. But Jeanne in her simplicity shattered the snare which
probably she did not even perceive: "When it pleases God," she said. "I
know neither the place nor the time."

It was enough, however, that she should think of death and of the
sweetness of it, after her work accomplished, in the very moment of
her height of triumph--to show something of a new leaven working in her
virgin soul.

One characteristic reward, however, Jeanne did receive. Her father and
uncle were lodged at the public cost as benefactors of the kingdom, as
may still be seen by the inscription on the old inn in the great Place
at Rheims; and when Jacques d'Arc left the city he carried with him a
patent--better than one of nobility which, however, came to the family
later--of exemption for the villages of Domremy and Greux of all
taxes and tributes; "an exemption maintained and confirmed up to the
Revolution, in favour of the said Maid, native of that parish, in which
are her relations." "In the register of the Exchequer," says M. Blaze de
Bury, "at the name of the parish of Greux and Domremy, the place for
the receipt is blank, with these words as explanation: _à cause de la
Pucelle_, on account of the Maid." There could not have been a more
delightful reward or one more after her own heart. It would be a
graceful act of the France of to-day, which has so warmly revived
the name and image of her maiden deliverer, to renew so touching a
distinction to her native place.

We are told that Jeanne parted with her father and uncle with tears,
longing that she might return with them and go back to her mother who
would rejoice to see her again. This was no doubt quite true, though
it might be equally true that she could not have gone back. Did not
the father return, a little sullen, grasping the present he had himself
received, not sure still that it was not disreputable to have a daughter
who wore coat armour and rode by the side of the King, a position
certainly not proper for maidens of humble birth? The dazzled peasants
turned their backs upon her while she was thus at the height of glory,
and never, so far as appears, saw her face again.


The epic so brief, so exciting, so full of wonder had now reached its
climax. Whatever we may think on the question as to whether Jeanne had
now reached the limit of her commission, it is at least evident that she
had reached the highest point of her triumph, and that her short day of
glory and success came to an end in the great act which she had always
spoken of as her chief object. She had crowned her King; she had
recovered for him one of the richest of his provinces, and established a
strong base for further action on his part. She had taught Frenchmen how
not to fly before the English, and she had filled those stout-hearted
English, who for a time had the Frenchmen in their powerful steel-clad
grip, with terror and panic, and taught them how to fly in their turn.
This was, from the first, what she had said she was appointed to do,
and not one of her promises had been broken. Her career had been a short
one, begun in April, ending in July, one brief continuous course of
glory. But this triumphant career had come to its conclusion. The
messenger of God had done her work; the servant must not desire to be
greater than his Lord. There have been heroes in this world whose career
has continued a glorious and a happy one to the end. Our hearts follow
them in their noble career, but when the strain and pain are over they
come into their kingdom and reap their reward the interest fails. We
are glad, very glad, that they should live happy ever after, but their
happiness does not attract us like their struggle.

It is different with those whose work and whose motives are not those of
this world. When they step out of the brilliant lights of triumph into
sorrow and suffering, all that is most human in us rises to follow the
bleeding feet, our hearts swell with indignation, with sorrow and love,
and that instinctive admiration for the noble and pure, which proves
that our birthright too is of Heaven, however we may tarnish or even
deny that highest pedigree. The chivalrous romance of that age would
have made of Jeanne d'Arc the heroine of human story. She would have had
a noble lover, say our young Guy de Laval, or some other generous and
brilliant Seigneur of France, and after her achievements she would have
laid by her sword, and clothed herself with the beautiful garments of
the age, and would have grown to be a noble lady in some half regal
chateau, to which her name would have given new lustre. The young reader
will probably long that it should be so; he will feel it an injustice, a
wrong to humanity that so generous a soul should have no reward; it will
seem to him almost a personal injury that there should not be a noble
chevalier at hand to snatch that devoted Maid out of the danger that
threatened her, out of the horrible fate that befell her; and we can
imagine a generous boy, and enthusiastic girl, ready to gnash their
teeth at the terrible and dishonouring thought that it was by English
hands that this noble creature was tied to the stake and perished in
the flames. For the last it becomes us(1) to repent, for it was to our
everlasting shame; but not more to us than to France who condemned her,
who lifted no finger to help her, who raised not even a cry, a protest,
against the cruelty and wrong. But for her fate in itself let us not
mourn over-much. Had the Maid become a great and honoured lady should
not we all have said as Satan says in the Book of Job: Did Jeanne serve
God for nought? We should say: See what she made by it. Honour and fame
and love and happiness. She did nobly, but nobly has she been rewarded.

But that is not God's way. The highest saint is born to martyrdom. To
serve God for nought is the greatest distinction which He reserves
for His chosen. And this was the fate to which the Maid of France was
consecrated from the moment she set out upon her mission. She had the
supreme glory of accomplishing that which she believed herself to be
sent to do, and which I also believe she was sent to do, miraculously,
by means undreamed of, and in which no one beforehand could have
believed. But when that was done a higher consecration awaited her. She
had to drink of the cup of which our Lord drank, and to be baptised with
the baptism with which He was baptised. It was involved in every step
of the progress that it should be so. And she was herself aware of it,
vaguely, at heart, as soon as the object of her mission was attained.
What else could have put the thought of dying into the mind of a girl of
eighteen in the midst of the adoring crowd, to whom to see her, to touch
her, was a benediction? When she went forth from those gates she was
going to her execution, though the end was not to be yet. There was
still a long struggle before her, lingering and slow, more bitter than
death, the preface of discouragement, of disappointment, of failure when
she had most hoped to succeed.

She was on the threshold of this second period when she rode out of
Rheims all brilliant in the summer weather, her banner faded now,
but glorious, her shining armour bearing signs of warfare, her end
achieved--yet all the while her heart troubled, uncertain, and full of
unrest. And it is impossible not to note that from this time her plans
were less defined than before. Up to the coronation she had known
exactly what she meant to do, and in spite of all obstructions had done
it, keeping her genial humour and her patience, steering her simple way
through all the intrigues of the Court, without bitterness and without
fear. But now a vague mist seems to fall about the path which was so
open and so clear. Paris! Yes, the best policy, the true generalship
would have been to march straight upon Paris, to lose no time, to leave
as little leisure as possible to the intriguers to resume their old
plots. So the generals thought as well as Jeanne: but the courtiers were
not of that mind. The weak and foolish notion of falling back upon what
they had gained, and of contenting themselves with that, was all they
thought of; and the un-French, unpatriotic temper of Paris which wanted
no native king, but was content with the foreigner, gave them a certain
excuse. We could not even imagine London as being ever, at any time,
contented with an alien rule. But Paris evidently was so, and was ready
to defend itself to the death against its lawful sovereign. Jeanne had
never before been brought face to face with such a complication. It had
been a straightforward struggle, each man for his own side, up to this
time. But now other things had to be taken into consideration. Here
was no faithful Orleans holding out eager arms to its deliverer, but a
crafty, self-seeking city, deaf to patriotism, indifferent to freedom,
calculating which was most to its profit--and deciding that the
stranger, with Philip of Burgundy at his back, was the safer guide. This
was enough of itself to make a simple mind pause in astonishment and

There is no evidence that the supernatural leaders who had shaped the
course of the Maid failed her now. She still heard her "voices." She
still held communion with the three saints who, she believed devoutly,
came out of Heaven to aid her. The whole question of this supernatural
guidance is one which is of course open to discussion. There are many
in these days who do not believe in it at all, who believe in the
exaltation of Jeanne's brain, in the excitement of her nerves, in some
strange complication of bodily conditions, which made her believe she
saw and heard what she did not really see or hear. For our part, we
confess frankly that these explanations are no explanation at all so far
as we are concerned; we are far more inclined to believe that the
Maid spoke truth, she who never told a lie, she who fulfilled all the
promises she made in the name of her guides, than that those people are
right who tell us on their own authority that such interpositions of
Heaven are impossible. Nobody in Jeanne's day doubted that Heaven did
interpose directly in human affairs. The only question was, Was it
Heaven in this instance? Was it not rather the evil one? Was it sorcery
and witchcraft, or was it the agency of God? The English believed firmly
that it was witchcraft; they could not imagine that it was God, the God
of battles, who had always been on their side, who now took the courage
out of their hearts and taught their feet to fly for the first time. It
was the devil, and the Maid herself was a wicked witch. Neither one side
nor the other believed that it was from Jeanne's excited nerves that
these great things came. There were plenty of women with excited nerves
in France, nerves much more excited than those of Jeanne, who was always
reasonable at the height of her inspiration; but to none of them did it
happen to mount the breach, to take the city, to drive the enemy--up to
that moment invincible,--flying from the field.

But it would seem as if these celestial visitants had no longer a clear
and definite message for the Maid. Their words, which she quotes, were
now promises of support, vague warnings of trouble to come. "Fear not,
for God will stand by you." She thought they meant that she would be
delivered in safety as she had been hitherto, her wounds healing, her
sacred person preserved from any profane touch. But yet such promises
have always something enigmatical in them, and it might be, as proved to
be the case, that they meant rather consolation and strength to endure
than deliverance. For the first time the Maid was often sad; she feared
nothing, but the shadow was heavy on her heart. Orleans and Rheims had
been clear as daylight, her "voices" had said to her "Do this" and she
had done it. Now there was no definite direction. She had to judge for
herself what was best, and to walk in darkness, hoping that what she did
was what she was meant to do, but with no longer any certainty. This of
itself was a great change, and one which no doubt she felt to her heart.
M. Fabre tells (alone among the biographers of Jeanne) that there were
symptoms of danger to her sound and steady mind, in her words and ways
during the moment of triumph. Her chaplain Pasquerel wrote a letter
in her name to the Hussites, against whom the Pope was then sending
crusades, in which "I, the Maid," threatened, if they were not
converted, to come against them and give them the alternative of death
or amendment. Quicherat says that to the Count d'Armagnac who had
written to her, whether in good faith or bad, to ask which of the three
then existent Popes was the real one, she is reported to have answered
that she would tell him as soon as the English left her free to do so.
But this is a perverted account of what she really did say, and M. Fabre
seems to be, like the rest of us, a little confused in his dates: and
the documents themselves on which he builds are not of unquestioned
authority. These, however, would be but small speck upon the sunshine
of her perfect humility and sobriety; if indeed they are to be depended
upon as authentic at all.

The day of Jeanne, her time of glory and success, was but a short
one--Orleans was delivered on the 8th of May, the coronation of Charles
took place on the 17th of July; before the earliest of these dates
she had spent nearly two months in an anxious yet hopeful struggle of
preparation, before she was permitted to enter upon her career. The time
of her discouragement was longer. It was ten months from the day when
she rode out of Rheims, the 25th of July, 1429, till the 23d of May,
1430, when she was taken. She had said after the deliverance of Orleans
that she had but a year in which to accomplish her work, and at a later
period, Easter, 1430, her "voices" told her that "before the St. Jean"
she would be in the power of her enemies. Both these statements came
true. She rose quickly but fell more slowly, struggling along upon the
downward course, unable to carry out what she would, hampered on every
hand, and not apparently followed with the same fervour as of old. It is
true that the principal cause of all seems to have been the schemes of
the Court and the indolence of Charles; but all these hindrances had
existed before, and the King and his treacherous advisers had been
unwillingly dragged every mile of the way, though every step made had
been to Charles's advantage. But now though the course is still one of
victory the Maid no longer seems to be either the chief cause or the
immediate leader. Perhaps this may be partly due to the fact that little
fighting was necessary, town after town yielding to the King, which
reduced the part of Jeanne to that of a spectator; but there is a
change of atmosphere and tone which seems to point to something more
fundamental than this. The historians are very unwilling to acknowledge,
except Michelet who does so without hesitation, that she had herself
fixed the term of her commission as ending at Rheims; it is certain
that she said many things which bear this meaning, and every fact of
her after career seems to us to prove it: but it is also true that her
conviction wavered, and other sayings indicate a different belief or
hope. She did no wrong in following the profession of arms in which she
had made so glorious a beginning; she had many gifts and aptitudes for
it of which she was not herself at first aware: but she was no longer
the Envoy of God. Enough had been done to arouse the old spirit of
France, to break the spell of the English supremacy; it was right and
fitting that France should do the rest for herself. Perhaps Jeanne was
not herself very clear on this point, and after her first statement of
it, became less assured. It is not necessary that the servant should
know the designs of the master. It did not after all affect her. Her
business was to serve God to the best of her power, not to take the
management out of His hands.

The army went forth joyously upon its way, directing itself towards
Paris. There was a pilgrimage to make, such as the Kings of France
were in the habit of making after their coronation; there were pleasant
incidents, the submission of a village, the faint resistance, instantly
overcome, of a small town, to make the early days pleasant. Laon and
Soissons both surrendered. Senlis and Beauvais received the King's
envoys with joy. The independent captains of the army made little
circles about, like parties of pleasure, bringing in another and another
little stronghold to the allegiance of the King. When he turned aside,
taking as he passed through, without as yet any serious deflection, the
road rather to the Loire than to Paris, success still attended him. At
Château-Thierry resistance was expected to give zest to the movement
of the forces, but that too yielded at once as the others had done.
The dates are very vague and it seems difficult to find any mode of
reconciling them. Almost all the historians while accusing the King of
foolish dilatoriness and confusion of plans give us a description of the
undefended state of Paris at the moment, which a sudden stroke on the
part of Charles might have carried with little difficulty, during the
absence of all the chiefs from the city and the great terror of the
inhabitants; but a comparison of dates shows that the Duke of Bedford
re-entered Paris with strong reinforcements on the very day on which
Charles left Rheims three days only after his coronation, so that he
scarcely seems so much to blame as appears. But the general delay,
inefficiency, and hesitation existing at headquarters, naturally lead to
mistakes of this kind.

The great point was that Paris itself was by no means disposed to
receive the King. Strange as it seems to say so Paris was bitterly,
fiercely English at that extraordinary moment, a fact which ought to be
taken into account as the most important in the whole matter. There was
no answering enthusiasm in the capital of France to form an auxiliary
force behind its ramparts and encourage the besiegers outside. The
populace perhaps might be indifferent: at the best it had no feeling on
the subject; but there was no welcome awaiting the King. During the time
of Bedford's absence the city felt itself to have "no lord"--_ceux de
Paris avoit grand peur car nul seigneur n' y avoit_. It was believed
that Charles would put all the inhabitants to the sword, and their
desperation of feeling was rather that which leads to a wild and
hopeless defence than to submission. The Duke of Bedford, governing in
the name of the infant Henry VI. Of England, was their seigneur, instead
of their natural sovereign. It is a fact which to us seems scarcely
credible, but it was certainly true. There seems to have been no feeling
even, on the subject, no general shame as of a national betrayal;
nothing of the kind. Paris was English, holding by the English kings who
had never lost a certain hold on France, and thinking no shame of its
party. It was a hostile town, the chief of the English possessions.
In the _Journal du Bourgeois de Paris_--who was no _bourgeois_ but a
distinguished member of that university which held the Maid and all her
ways in horror--Jeanne the deliverer, the incarnation of patriotism
and of France is spoken of as "a creature in the form of a woman." How
extraordinary is this evidence of a state of affairs in which it is
almost impossible to believe! Paris is France nowadays to many people,
though no doubt this is but a superficial judgment; but in the
early part of the fifteenth century, she was frankly English, not
by compulsion even, but by habit and policy. Perhaps the delays, the
hesitation, the terrors of Charles and his counsellors are thus rendered
more excusable than by any other explanation.

In the meantime it is almost impossible to follow the wanderings of
this vacillating army without a map. If the reader should trace its
movements, he would see what a stumbling and devious course it took as
of a man blundering in the dark. From Rheims to Soissons the way was
clear; then there came a sudden move southward to Château-Thierry from
which indeed there was still a straight line to Paris but which still
more clearly indicated the highroad leading to the Orleannais, the
faithful districts of the Loire. This retrograde movement was not made
without a great outcry from the generals. Their opinion was that the
King ought to press on to conquer everything while the English forces
were still depressed and discouraged. In their mind this deflection
towards the south was an abandonment at once of honour and safety. An
unimportant check on the way, however, gave an argument to the leaders
of the army, and Charles permitted himself to be dragged back. They then
made their way by La Ferté-Milon, Crépy, and Daumartin, and on this
road the English troops which had been led out from Paris by Bedford to
intercept them came twice within fighting distance of the French army.
The English, as all the French historians are eager to inform us,
invariably entrenched themselves in their positions, surrounding their
lines with sharp-pointed posts by which the equally invariable rush of
the French could be broken. But the French on these occasions were too
wise to repeat the impetuous charge which had ruined them at Crécy and
Agincourt, and the consequence was that the two forces remained within
sight of each other, with a few skirmishes going on at the flanks, but
without any serious encounter.

It will be more satisfactory, however, to copy the following
_itineraire_ of Charles's movements from the Chronicle of Perceval
de Cagny who was a member of the household of the Duc d'Alençon, and
probably present, certainly at all events bound to have the best and
most correct information. He informs us that the King left Rheims on
Thursday the 21st of July, and dined, supped, and lay at the Abbey of
St. Nanuol that night, where were brought to him the keys of the city of
Laon. He then set out on _le voyage à venir devant Paris_.

"And on Saturday the 23d of the same month the King dined, supped and
lay at Soissons, and was there received the most honourably that the
churchmen, burghers and other people of the town were capable of: for
they had all great fear because of the destruction of the town which had
been taken by the Burgundians and made to rebel against the King.

"Friday the 29th day of July the King and his company were all day
before Château-Thierry in order of battle, hoping that the Duke of
Bedford would appear to fight. The place surrendered at the hour of
vespers, and the King lodged there till Monday the first of August. On
that day the King lay at Monmirail in Brie.

"Tuesday the 2d of August he passed the night in the town of Provins,
and had the best possible reception there, and remained till the Friday
following, the 5th August. Sunday the 7th the King lay at the town
of Coulommièrs in Brie. Wednesday the 10th he lay at La Ferté- Milon,
Thursday at Crespy in Valois--Friday at Laigny-le-Sec. The following
Saturday the 13th the King held the field near Dammartin-en-Gouelle, for
the whole day looking out for the English: but they came not.

"On Sunday the 14th August the Maid, the Duc d'Alençon, the Count de
Vendosme, the Marshals and other captains accompanied by six or seven
thousand combatants were at the hour of vespers lodged in the fields
near Montépilloy, nearly two leagues from the town of Senlis--The
Duke of Bedford and other English captains with between eight and ten
thousand English lying half a league from Senlis between our people and
the said city on a little stream, in a village called Notre Dame de la
Victoire. That evening our people skirmished with the English near to
their camp and in this skirmish were people taken on each side, and of
the English Captain d'Orbec and ten or twelve others, and people wounded
on both sides: when night fell each retired to their own quarters."

The same writer records an appeal in the true tone of chivalry addressed
to the English by Jeanne and Alençon desiring them to come out from
their entrenchments and fight: and promising to withdraw to a sufficient
distance to permit the enemy to place himself in the open field. The
French troops had first "put themselves in the best state of conscience
that could possibly be, hearing mass at an early hour and then to
horse." But the English would not come out. Jeanne, with her standard in
her hand rode up to the English entrenchments, and some one says (not de
Cagny) struck the posts with her banner, challenging the force within
to come out and fight; while they on their side waved at the French in
defiance, a standard copied from that of Jeanne, on which was depicted
a distaff and spindle. But neither host approached any nearer. Finally,
Charles made his way to Compiègne.

At Château-Thierry there was concluded an arrangement with Philip of
Burgundy for a truce of fifteen days, before the end of which time the
Duke undertook to deliver Paris peaceably to the French. That this was
simply to gain time and that no idea of giving up Paris had ever been
entertained is evident; perhaps Charles was not even deceived. He, no
more than Philip, had any desire to encounter the dangers of such a
siege. But he was able at least to silence the clamours of the army and
the representations of the persistent Maid by this truce. To wait for
fifteen days and receive the prize without a blow struck, would not that
be best? The counsellors of the King held thus a strong position, though
the delay made the hearts of the warriors sick.

The figure of Jeanne appears during these marchings and
counter-marchings like that of any other general, pursuing a skilful but
not unusual plan of campaign. That she did well and bravely there can be
no doubt, and there is a characteristic touch which we recognise, in the
fact that she and all of her company "put themselves in the best
state of conscience that could be," before they took to horse; but the
skirmishes and repulses are such as Alençon himself might have made.
"She made much diligence," the same chronicler tells us, "to reduce and
place many towns in the obedience of the King," but so did many others
with like success. We hear no more her vigorous knock at the door of the
council chamber if the discussion there was too long or the proceedings
too secret. Her appearances are those of a general among many other
generals, no longer with any special certainty in her movements as of a
person inspired. We are reminded of a story told of a previous period,
after the fight at Patay, when blazing forth in the indignation of her
youthful purity at the sight of one of the camp followers, a degraded
woman with some soldiers, she struck the wanton with the flat of
her sword, driving her forth from the camp, where was no longer that
chastened army of awed and reverent soldiers making their confession on
the eve of every battle, whom she had led to Orleans. The sword she used
on this occasion, was, it is said, the miraculous sword which had been
found under the high altar of St. Catharine at Fierbois; but at the
touch of the unclean the maiden brand broke in two. If this was an
allegory(2) to show that the work of that weapon was over, and the
common sword of the soldier enough for the warfare that remained, it
could not be more clearly realised than in the history of this campaign.
The only touch of our real Maid in her own distinct person comes to
us in a letter written in a field on that same wavering road to Paris,
dated as early as the 5th of August and addressed to the good people of
Rheims, some of whom had evidently written to her to ask what was the
meaning of the delay, and whether she had given up the cause of
the country. There is a terse determination in its brief, indignant
sentences which is a relief to the reader weary of the wavering and
purposeless campaign:

"Dear and good friends, good and loyal Frenchmen of the town of Rheims.
Jeanne, the Maid, sends you news of her. It is true that the King has
made a truce of fifteen days with the Duke of Burgundy, who promises
to render peaceably the city of Paris in that time. Do not, however, be
surprised if I enter there sooner, for I like not truces so made, and
know not whether I will keep them, but if I keep them, it will be only
because of the honour of the King."

While Jeanne and her army thus played with the unmoving English,
advancing and retiring, attempting every means of drawing them out, the
enemy took advantage of one of these seeming withdrawals to march out
of their camp suddenly and return to Paris, which all this time had
been lying comparatively defenceless, had the French made their attack
sooner. At the same time Charles moved on to Compiègne where he gave
himself up to fresh intrigues with Philip of Burgundy, this time for a
truce to last till Christmas. The Maid was grievously troubled by this
step, _moult marrie_, and by the new period of delay and negotiation on
which the Court had entered. Paris was not given up, nor was there any
appearance that it ever would be, and to all the generals as well as to
the Maid it was very evident that this was the next step to be taken.
Some of the leaders wearied with inaction had pushed on to Normandy
where four great fortresses--greatest of all the immense and mysterious
stronghold on the high cliffs of the Seine, that imposing Château
Gaillard which Richard Cœur-de-lion had built, the ruins of which, white
and mystic, still dominate, like some Titanic ghost, above the course of
the river--had yielded to them. So great was the danger of Normandy, the
most securely English of all French provinces, that Bedford had again
been drawn out of Paris to defend it. Here then was another opportunity
to seize the capital. But Charles could not be induced to move. He found
many ways of amusing himself at Compiègne, and the new treaty was being
hatched with Burgundy which gave an excuse for doing nothing. The pause
which wearied them all out, both captains and soldiers, at last became
more than flesh and blood could bear.

Jeanne once more was driven to take the initiative. Already on one
occasion she had forced the hand of the lingering Court, and resumed
the campaign of her own accord, an impatient movement which had been
perfectly successful. No doubt again the army itself was becoming
demoralised, and showing symptoms of falling to pieces. One day she sent
for Alençon in haste during the absence of the ambassadors at Arras.
"_Beau duc_," she cried, "prepare your troops and the other captains.
_En mon Dieu, par mon martin_,(3) I will see Paris nearer than I have
yet seen it." She had seen the towers from afar as she wandered over the
country in Charles's lingering train. Her sudden resolution struck like
fire upon the impatient band. They set out at once, Alençon and the Maid
at the head of their division of the army, and all rejoiced to get to
horse again, to push their way through every obstacle. They started on
the 23d August, nearly a month after the departure from Rheims, a month
entirely lost, though full of events, lost without remedy so far as
Paris was concerned. At Senlis they made a pause, perhaps to await the
King, who, it was hoped, would have been constrained to follow; then
carrying with them all the forces that could be spared from that town,
they spurred on to St. Denis where they arrived on the 27th: St. Denis,
the other sacred town of France, the place of the tomb, as Rheims was
the place of the crown.

The royalty of France was Jeanne's passion. I do not say the King, which
might be capable of malinterpretation, but the kings, the monarchy, the
anointed of the Lord, by whom France was represented, embodied and
made into a living thing. She had loved Rheims, its associations,
its triumphs, the rejoicing of its citizens. These had been the
accompaniments of her own highest victory. She came to St. Denis in a
different mood, her heart hot with disappointment and the thwarting of
all her plans. From whatever cause it might spring, it was clear that
she was no longer buoyed up by that certainty which only a little while
before had carried her through every danger and over every obstacle. But
to have reached St. Denis at least was something. It was a place doubly
sacred, consecrated to that royal House for which she would so willingly
have given her life. And at last she was within sight of Paris, the
greatest prize of all. Up to this time she had known in actual warfare
nothing but victory. If her heart for the first time wavered and feared,
there was still no certain reason that, _de par Dieu_, she might not win
the day again.

At St. Denis there was once more a cruel delay. Nearly a fortnight
passed and there was no news of the King. The Maid employed the time in
skirmishes and reconnoissances, but does not seem to have ventured on
an attack without the sanction of Charles, whom Alençon, finally, going
back on two several occasions, succeeded in setting in motion. Charles
had remained at Compiègne to carry out his treaty with Burgundy, and
the last thing he desired was this attack; but when he could resist
no longer he moved on reluctantly to St. Denis, where his arrival was
hailed with great delight. This was not until the 5th of September, and
the army, wrought up to a high pitch of excitement and expectation, was
eager for the fight. "There was no one of whatever condition, who did
not say, 'She will lead the King into Paris, if he will let her,'" says
the chronicler.

In the meantime the authorities in Paris were at work, strengthening its
fortifications, frightening the populace with threats of the vengeance
of Charles, persuading every citizen of the danger of submission.

The _Bourgeois_ tells us that letters came from "les Arminoz," that is,
the party of the King, sealed with the seal of the Duc d'Alençon, and
addressed to the heads of the city guilds and municipality inviting
their co-operation as Frenchmen. "But," adds the Parisian, "it was easy
to see through their meaning, and an answer was returned that they need
not throw away their paper as no attention was paid to it." There is
no sign at all that any national feeling existed to respond to such an
appeal. Paris--its courts of law, Parliaments (salaried by Bedford),
University, Church--every department, was English in the first place,
Burgundian in the second, dependent on English support and money. There
was no French party existing. The Maid was to them an evil sorceress, a
creature in the form of a woman, exercising the blackest arts. Perhaps
there was even a breath of consciousness in the air that Charles himself
had no desire for the fall of the city. He had left the Parisians
full time to make every preparation, he had held back as long as was
possible. His favour was all on the side of his enemies; for his own
forces and their leaders, and especially for the Maid, he had nothing
but discouragement, distrust, and auguries of evil.

Nevertheless, these oppositions came to an end, and Jeanne, though less
ready and eager for the assault, found herself under the walls of Paris
at last.

     (1) "The English, not US," says Mr. Andrew Lang: and it is
     pleasant to a Scot to know that this is true. England and
     Scotland were then twain, and the Scots fought in the ranks
     of our auld Ally. But for the present age the distinction
     lasts no longer, and to the writer of an English book on
     English soil it would be ungenerous to take the advantage.

     (2) It is taken as a miraculous sign by another chronicler,
     Jean Chartier, who tells us that when this fact came to the
     knowledge of the King the sword was given by him to the
     workmen to be re-founded--"but they could not do it, nor put
     the pieces together again: which is a great proof (_grant
     approbation_) that the sword came to her divinely. And it is
     notorious that since the breaking of that sword, the said
     Jeanne neither prospered in arms to the profit of the King
     nor otherwise as she had done before."

     (3) "It was her oath," adds the chronicler; no one is quite
     sure what it means, but Quicherat is of opinion that it was
     her _baton_, her stick or staff. Perceval de Cagny puts in
     this exclamation in almost all the speeches of the Maid. It
     must have struck him as a curious adjuration. Perhaps it
     explains why La Hire, unable to do without something to
     swear by, was permitted by Jeanne in their frank and
     humorous _camaraderie_ to swear by his stick, the same
     rustic oath.


It was on the 7th September that Jeanne and her immediate followers
reached the village of La Chapelle, where they encamped for the night.
The next day was the day of the Nativity of the Blessed Virgin, a great
festival of the Church. It could scarcely be a matter of choice on the
part of so devout a Catholic as Jeanne to take this day of all others,
when every church bell was tinkling forth a summons to the faithful, for
the day of assault. In all probability she was not now acting on her own
impulse but on that of the other generals and nobles. Had she refused,
might it not have been alleged against her that after all her impatience
it was she who was the cause of delay? The forces with Jeanne were not
very large, a great proportion of the army remaining with Charles no one
seems to know where, either at St. Denis or at some intermediate spot,
possibly to form a reserve force which could be brought up when wanted.
The best informed historian only knows that Charles was not with the
active force. But Alençon was at the head of the troops, along with
many other names well known to us, La Hire, and young Guy de Laval, and
Xantrailles, all mighty men of valour and the devoted friends of Jeanne.
There is a something, a mist, an incertitude in the beginning of the
assault which was unlike the previous achievements of Jeanne, a certain
want of precaution or knowledge of the difficulties which does not
reflect honour upon the generals with her. Absolutely new to warfare as
she was before Orleans she had ridden out at once on her arrival
there to inspect the fortifications of the besiegers. But probably the
continual skirmishing of which we are told made this impossible here,
so that, though the Maid studied the situation of the town in order to
choose the best point for attack, it was only when already engaged that
the army discovered a double ditch round the walls, the inner one of
which was full of water. By sheer impetuosity the French took the gate
of St. Honoré and its "boulevard" or tower, driving its defenders
back into the city: but their further progress was arrested by that
discovery. It was on this occasion that Jeanne is supposed to have
seized from a Burgundian in the mêlée, a sword, of which she boasted
afterwards that it was a good sword capable of good blows, though we
have no certain record that in all her battles she ever gave one blow,
or shed blood at all.

It would seem to have been only after the taking of this gate that the
discovery was made as to the two deep ditches, one dry, the other filled
with water. Jeanne, whose place had always been with her standard at
the immediate foot of the wall, from whence to direct and cheer on her
soldiers, pressed forward to this point of peril, descending into the
first fosse, and climbing up again on the second, the _dos d'ane_, which
separated them, where she stood in the midst of a rain of arrows, fully
exposed to all the enraged crowd of archers and gunners on the ramparts
above, testing with her lance the depth of the water. We seem in the
story to see her all alone or with her standard-bearer only by her
side making this investigation; but that of course is only a pictorial
suggestion, though it might for a moment be the fact. She remained
there, however, from two in the afternoon till night, when she was
forced away. The struggle must have raged around while she stood on the
dark edge of the ditch probing the muddy water to see where it could
best be crossed, shouting directions to her men in that voice _assez
femme_, which penetrated the noise of battle, and summoning the active
and desperate enemy overhead. "_Renty! Renty!_" she cried as she had
done at Orleans--"_surrender to the King of France!_"

We hear nothing now of the white armour; it must have been dimmed and
worn by much fighting, and the banner torn and glorious with the chances
of the war; but it still waved over her head, and she still stood fast,
on the ridge between the two ditches, shouting her summons, cheering
the men, a spot of light still, amid all the steely glimmering of the
mail-coats and the dark downpour of that iron rain. Half a hundred
war cries rending the air, shrieks from the walls of "Witch, Devil,
Ribaude," and names still more insulting to her purity, could not
silence that treble shout, the most wonderful, surely, that ever ran
through such an infernal clamour, so prodigious, the chronicler says,
that it was a marvel to hear it. _De par Dieu, Rendez vous, rendez vous,
au roy de France_. If as we believe she never struck a blow, the aspect
of that wonderful figure becomes more extraordinary still. While the
boldest of her companions struggled across to fling themselves and what
beams and ladders they could drag with them against the wall, she stood
without even such shelter as close proximity to it might have given,
cheering them on, exposed to every shot.

The fight was desperate, and though there was no marked success on
the part of the besiegers, yet there seems to have been nothing
to discourage them, as the fight raged on. Few were wounded,
notwithstanding the noise of the cannons and culverins, "by the grace
of God and the good luck of the Maid." But towards the evening Jeanne
herself suddenly swayed and fell, an arrow having pierced her thigh; she
seems, however, to have struggled to her feet again, undismayed, when a
still greater misfortune befell: her standard-bearer was hit, first in
the foot, and then, as he raised his visor to pull the arrow from the
wound, between his eyes, falling dead at her feet. What happened to
the banner, we are not told; Jeanne most likely herself caught it as it
fell. But at this stroke, more dreadful than her own wound, her strength
failed her, and she crept behind a bush or heap of stones, where she
lay, refusing to quit the place. Some say she managed to slide into the
dry ditch where there was a little shelter, but resisted all attempts
to carry her away, and some add that while she lay there she employed
herself in a vain attempt to throw faggots into the ditch to make it
passable. It is said that she kept calling out to them to persevere, to
go on and Paris would be won. She had promised, they say, to sleep that
night within the conquered city; but this promise comes to us with no
seal of authority. Jeanne knew that it had taken her eight days to free
Orleans, and she could scarcely have promised so sudden a success in
the more formidable achievement. But she was at least determined in her
conviction that perseverance only was needed. She must have lain for
hours on the slope of the outer moat, urging on the troops with such
force as her dauntless voice could give, repeating again and again
that the place could be taken if they but held on. But when night came
Alençon and some other of the captains overcame her resistance, and
there being clearly no further possibility for the moment, succeeded
in setting her upon her horse, and conveyed her back to the camp. While
they rode with her, supporting her on her charger, she did nothing but
repeat "_Quel dommage!_" Oh, what a misfortune, that the siege of Paris
should fail, all for want of constancy and courage. "If they had but
gone on till morning," she cried, "the inhabitants would have known."
It is evident from this that she must have expected a rising within, and
could not yet believe that no such thing was to be looked for. "_Par mon
martin_, the place would have been taken," she said in the hearing one
cannot but feel of the chronicler, who reports so often those homely

Thus Jeanne was led back after the first day's attack. Her wound was not
serious, and she had been repulsed during one of the day's fighting at
Orleans without losing courage. But something had changed her spirit as
well as the spirit of the army she led. There is a curious glimpse given
us into her camp at this point, which indeed comes to us through the
observation of an enemy, yet seems to have in it an unmistakable gleam
of truth. It comes from one of the parties which had been granted a
safe-conduct to carry away the dead of the English and Burgundian side.
They tell us, among other circumstances,--such as that the French burnt
their dead, a manifest falsehood, but admirably calculated to make them
a horror to their neighbours,--that many in the ranks cursed the Maid
who had promised that they should without any doubt sleep that night
in Paris and plunder the wealthy city. The men with their safe-conduct
creeping among the dead, to recover those bodies which had fallen on
their own side, and furtively to count the fallen on the other--who were
delighted to bring a report that the Maid was no longer the fountain
of strength and blessing, but secretly cursed by her own forces--are
sinister figures groping their way through the darkness of the September

Next morning, however, her wound being slight, Jeanne was up early and
in conference with Alençon, begging him to sound his trumpets and set
forth once more. "I shall not budge from here, till Paris is taken," she
said. No doubt her spirit was up, and a determination to recover lost
ground strong in her mind. While the commanders consulted together,
there came a band of joyful augury into the camp, the Seigneur of
Montmorency with sixty gentlemen, who had left the party of Burgundy
in order to take service under the banner of the Maid. No doubt this
important and welcome addition to their number exhilarated the entire
camp, in the commotion of the reveillé, while each man looked to his
weapons, wiping off from breastplate and helmet the heavy dew of the
September morning, greeting the new friends and brothers-in-arms who had
come in, and arranging, with a better knowledge of the ground than that
of yesterday, the mode of attack. Jeanne would not confess that she felt
her wound, in her eagerness to begin the assault a second time. And all
were in good spirits, the disappointment of the night having blown away,
and the determination to do or die being stronger than ever. Were the
men-at-arms perhaps less amenable? Were they whispering to each other
that Jeanne had promised them Paris yesterday, and for the first time
had not kept her word? It would almost require such a fact as this to
explain what follows. For as they began to set out, the whole field
in movement, there was suddenly seen approaching another party of
cavaliers--perhaps another reinforcement like that of Montmorency? This
new band, however, consisted but of two gentlemen and their immediate
attendants, the Duc de Bar and the Comte de Clermont,(1) always a bird
of evil omen, riding hot from St. Denis with orders from the King.
These orders were abrupt and peremptory--to turn back. Jeanne and her
companions were struck dumb for the moment. To turn back, and Paris
at their feet! There must have burst forth a storm of remonstrance
and appeal. We cannot tell how long the indignant parley lasted; the
historians do not enlarge upon the disastrous incident. But at last
the generals yielded to the orders of the King--Jeanne humiliated,
miserable, and almost in despair. We cannot but feel that on no former
occasion would she have given way so completely; she would have rushed
to the King's presence, overwhelmed him with impetuous prayers, extorted
somehow the permission to go on. But Charles was safe at seven miles'
distance, and his envoys were imperious and peremptory, like men able to
enforce obedience if it were not given. She obeyed at last, recovering
courage a little in the hope of being able to persuade Charles to change
his mind, and sanction another assault on Paris from the other side, by
means of a bridge over the Seine towards St. Denis, which Alençon had
constructed. Next morning it appears that without even asking that
permission a portion of the army set out very early for this bridge: but
the King had divined their project, and when they reached the river
side the first thing they saw was their bridge in ruins. It had been
treacherously destroyed in the night, not by their enemies, but by their

It is natural that the French historians should exhaust themselves in
explanation of this fatal change of policy. Quicherat, who was the
first to bring to light all the most important records of this period of
history, lays the entire blame upon La Tremoïlle, the chief adviser of
Charles. But that Charles himself was at heart equally guilty no one
can doubt. He was a man who proved himself in the end of his career to
possess both sense and energy, though tardily developed. It was to him
that Jeanne had given that private sign of the truth of her mission,
by which he was overawed and convinced in the first moment of their
intercourse. Within the few months which had elapsed since she appeared
at Chinon every thing that was wonderful had been done for him by her
means. He was then a fugitive pretender, not even very certain of his
own claim, driven into a corner of his lawful dominions, and fully
prepared to abandon even that small standing ground, to fly into Spain
or Scotland, and give up the attempt to hold his place as King of
France. Now he was the consecrated King, with the holy oil upon
his brows, and the crown of his ancestors on his head, accepted and
proclaimed, all France stirring to her old allegiance, new conquests
falling into his hands every day, and the richest portion of his kingdom
secure under his sway. To check thus peremptorily the career of the
deliverer who had done so much for him, degrading her from her place,
throwing more than doubt upon her inspiration, falsifying by force
the promises which she had made--promises which had never failed
before,--was a worse and deeper sin on the part of a young man, by right
of his kingly office the very head of knighthood and every chivalrous
undertaking, than it could be on the part of an old and subtle
diplomatist who had never believed in such wild measures, and all
through had clogged the steps and endeavoured to neutralise the mission
of the warrior Maid. It is very clear, however, that between them it was
the King and his chamberlain who made this assault upon Paris so evident
and complete a failure. One day's repulse was nothing in a siege. There
had been one great repulse and several lesser ones at Orleans. Jeanne,
even though weakened by her wound, had sprung up that morning full of
confidence and courage. In no way was the failure to be laid to her

But this could never, perhaps, have been explained to the whole body
of the army, who had believed her word without a doubt and taken her
success for granted. If they had been wavering before, which seems
possible--for they must have been, to a considerable extent, new levies,
the campaigners of the Loire having accomplished their period of feudal
service,--this sudden downfall must have strengthened every doubt and
damped every enthusiasm. The Maid of whom such wonderful tales had been
told, she who had been the angel of triumph, the irresistible, before
whom the English fled, and the very walls fell down--was she after
all only a sorceress, as the others called her, a creature whose
incantations had failed after the flash of momentary success? Such
impressions are too apt to come like clouds over every popular
enthusiasm, quenching the light and chilling the heart.

Jeanne was thus dragged back to St. Denis against her will and every
instinct of her being, and there ensued three days of passionate debate
and discussion. For a moment it appeared as if she would have thrown off
the bonds of loyal obedience and pursued her mission at all hazards. Her
"voices," if they had previously given her uncertain sound, promising
only the support and succour of God, but no success, now spoke more
plainly and urged the continuance of the siege; and the Maid was torn in
pieces between the requirements of her celestial guardians and the force
of authority around her. If she had broken out into open rebellion who
would have followed her? She had never yet done so; when the King was
against her she had pleaded or forced an agreement, and received or
snatched a consent from the malevolent chamberlain, as at Jargeau and
Troyes. Never yet had she set herself in public opposition to the will
of her sovereign. She had submitted to all kinds of tests and trials
rather than this. And to have lain half a day wounded outside Paris and
to stand there pleading her cause with her wound still unhealed were not
likely things to strengthen her powers of resistance. "The Voices
bade me remain at St. Denis," she said afterwards at her trial, "and I
desired to remain; but the seigneurs took me away in spite of myself. If
I had not been wounded I should never have left." Added to the force
of these circumstances, it was no doubt apparent to all that to resume
operations after that forced retreat, and the betrayal it gave of
divided counsels, would be less hopeful than ever. These arguments even
convinced the bold La Hire, who for his part, being no better than a
Free Lance, could move hither and thither as he would; and thus the
first defeat of the Maid, a disaster involving all the misfortunes that
followed in its train, was accomplished.

Jeanne's last act in St. Denis was one to which perhaps the modern
reader gives undue significance, but which certainly must have had a
certain melancholy meaning. Before she left, dragged almost a captive
in the train of the King, we are told that she laid on the altar of the
cathedral the armour she had worn on that evil day before Paris. It was
not an unusual act for a warrior to do this on his return from the wars.
And if she had been about to renounce her mission it would have been
easily comprehensible. But no such thought was in her mind. Was it a
movement of despair, was it with some womanish fancy that the arms in
which she had suffered defeat should not be borne again?--or was it done
in some gleam of higher revelation made to her that defeat, too, was a
part of victory, and that not without that bitterness of failure could
the fame of the soldier of Christ be perfected? I have remarked already
that we hear no more of the white armour, inlaid with silver and
dazzling like a mirror, in which she had begun her career; perhaps it
was the remains of that panoply of triumph which she laid out before the
altar of the patron saint of France, all dim now with hard work and
the shadow of defeat. It must have marked a renunciation of one kind
or another, the sacrifice of some hope. She was no longer Jeanne the
invincible, the triumphant, whose very look made the enemy tremble and
flee, and gave double force to every Frenchman's arm. Was she then and
there abdicating, becoming to her own consciousness Jeanne the champion
only, honest and true, but no longer the inspired Maid, the Envoy of
God? To these questions we can give no answer; but the act is pathetic,
and fills the mind with suggestions. She who had carried every force
triumphantly with her, and quenched every opposition, bitter and
determined though that had been, was now a thrall to be dragged
almost by force in an unworthy train. It is evident that she felt the
humiliation to the bottom of her heart. It is not for human nature to
have the triumph alone: the humiliation, the overthrow, the chill and
tragic shadow must follow. Jeanne had entered into that cloud when she
offered the armour, that had been like a star in front of the battle,
at the shrine of St. Denis.(2) Hers was now to be a sadder, a humbler,
perhaps a still nobler part.

It is enough to trace the further movements of the King to perceive
how at every step the iron must have entered deeper and deeper into the
heart of the Maid. He made his arrangements for the government of each
of the towns which had acknowledged him: Beauvais, Compiègne, Senlis,
and the rest. He appointed commissioners for the due regulation of the
truce with Philip of Burgundy. And then the retreating army took its
march southward towards the mild and wealthy country, all fertility and
quiet, where a recreant prince might feel himself safe and amuse himself
at his leisure--by Lagny, by Provins, by Bercy-sur Seine, where he had
been checked before in his retreat and almost forced to the march on
Paris--by Sens, and Montargis: until at last on the 29th of September,
no doubt diminished by the withdrawal of many a local troop and knight
whose service was over, the forces arrived at Gien, whence they had set
forth at the end of June for a series of victories. It is to be supposed
that the King was well enough satisfied with the conquests accomplished
in three months. And, indeed, in ordinary circumstances they would have
formed a triumphant list. Charles must have felt himself free to play
after the work which he had not done; and to leave his good fortune and
the able negotiators, who hoped to get Paris and other good things from
Philip of Burgundy without paying anything for them, to do the rest.

We can imagine nothing more dreadful for the Maid than the months that
followed. The Court was not ungrateful to her; she received the warmest
welcome from the Queen; she had a _maison_ arranged for her like the
household of a noble chief, with the addition of women and maidens of
rank to her existing staff, and everything which could serve to show
that she was one whom the King delighted to honour. And Charles would
have her apparelled gloriously like the king's daughter in the psalm.
"He gave her a mantle of cloth of gold, open at both sides, to wear over
her armour," and apparently did his best to make her, if not a noble
lady, yet into the semblance of a noble young chevalière, one the
glories of his Court, with all the distinction of her achievements and
all the complacences of a carpet knight. It was said afterwards, in the
absence of any graver possibility of accusation, that she liked her fine
clothes. The tears rise to the eyes at such a suggestion. She was so
natural that let us hope she did, the martyr Maid whose torture had
already begun. If that mantle of gold gave her a moment of pleasure, it
is something to be thankful for in the midst of the dismal shadows that
were already closing round her. They were ready to give her any shining
mantle, any beautiful dress, even a title and a noble name if she would;
but what the King and his counsellors were determined on, was, that she
should no more have the fame of individual triumph, or do anything save
under their orders.

Alençon, the gentle duke, with whom she had taken so much trouble, and
who had grown into a true and noble comrade, made one effort to free his
friend and leader. He planned an expedition into Normandy, where, with
the help of Jeanne, he hoped to inflict upon the English a loss so
tremendous, the destruction of their base of operations, that they would
be compelled to abandon the centre of France altogether, and leave the
way open to Paris and to the recovery of the entire kingdom; but the
King, or La Tremoïlle, as the historians prefer to say, would not
permit Jeanne to accompany him, and this hope came to nothing. Alençon
disbanded his troops, everything in the form of an army was broken
up--the short period of feudal service making this inevitable, unless
new levies were made--and no forces were left under arms except those
bands which formed the body-guard of the King. Nevertheless, there
was plenty of work to be done still, and the breaking up of the French
forces encouraged many a little garrison of English partisans, which
would have yielded naturally and easily to a strong national party.

In the midst of the winter, however, it seemed appropriate to the Court
to launch forth an expedition against some of the unsubdued towns,
perhaps on account of the mortal languishment of Jeanne herself, perhaps
for some other reason of its own. The first necessity was to collect the
necessary forces, and for this reason Jeanne came to Bourges, where she
was lodged in one of the great houses of the city, that of Raynard de
Bouligny, _conseiller de roi_, and his wife, Marguerite, one of the
Queen's ladies. She was there for three weeks collecting her men,
and the noble gentlewoman, who was her hostess, was afterwards in the
Rehabilitation trial, one of the witnesses to the purity of her life.

From this lady and others we have a clear enough view of what the Maid
was in this second chapter of her history. She spent her time in the
most intimate intercourse with Madam Marguerite, sharing even her room,
so that nothing could be more complete than the knowledge of her hostess
of every detail of her young guest's life. And wonderful as was the
difference between the peasant maiden of Domremy and the most famous
woman in France, the life of Jeanne, the Deliverer of her country, is as
the life of Jeanne, the cottage sempstress,--as simple, as devout, and
as pure. She loved to go to church for the early matins, but as it was
not fit that she should go out alone at that hour, she besought Madame
Marguerite to go with her. In the evening she went to the nearest
church, and there with all her old childish love for the church bells,
she had them rung for half an hour, calling together the poor, the
beggars who haunt every Catholic church, the poor friars and bedesmen,
the penniless and forlorn from all the neighbourhood. This custom would,
no doubt, soon become known, and not only her poor pensioners, but the
general crowd would gather to gaze at the Maid as well as to join in
her prayers. It was her great pleasure to sing a hymn to the Virgin,
probably one of the litanies which the unlearned worshipper loves,
with its choruses and constant repetitions, in company with all those
untutored voices, in the dimness of the church, while the twilight
sank into night, and the twinkling stars of candles on the altar made
a radiance in the middle of the gloom. When she had money to give she
divided it, according to the liberal custom of her time, among her poor
fellow-worshippers. These evening services were her recreation. The
days were full of business, of enrolling soldiers, and regulating the
"lances," groups of retainers, headed by their lord, who came to perform
their feudal service.

The ladies of the town who had the advantage of knowing Madame
Marguerite did not fail to avail themselves of this privilege, and
thronged to visit her wonderful guest. They brought her their sacred
medals and rosaries to bless, and asked her a hundred questions. Was
she afraid of being wounded; or was she assured that she would not
be wounded? "No more than others," she said; and she put away their
religious ornaments with a smile, bidding Madame Marguerite touch them,
or the visitors themselves, which would be just as good as if she did
it. She would seem to have been always smiling, friendly, checking with
a laugh the adulation of her visitors, many of whom wore medals with
her own effigy (if only one had been saved for us!) as there were many
banners made after the pattern of hers. But cheerful as she was, a
prevailing tone of sadness now appears to run through her life. On
several occasions she spoke to her confessor and chaplain, who attended
her everywhere, of her death. "If it should be my fate to die soon, tell
the King our master on my part to build chapels where prayer may be made
to the Most High for the salvation of the souls of those who shall die
in the wars for the defence of the kingdom." This was the one thing she
seemed anxious for, and it returned again and again to her mind. Her
thoughts indeed were heavy enough. Her larger enterprises had been
cruelly put a stop to: her companions-in-arms had been dispersed: she
had been separated from her lieutenant Alençon, and from all the friends
between whom and herself great mutual confidence had sprung up. Even the
commission which had at last been put in her hands was a trifling one
and led to nothing, bringing the King no nearer to any satisfactory end:
and the troops were under command of a new captain whom she scarcely
knew, d'Albert, who was the son-in-law of La Tremoïlle, and probably
little inclined to be a friend to Jeanne. In these circumstances there
was little of an exhilarating or promising kind.

Nevertheless as an episode, few things had happened to Jeanne more
memorable than the siege of St. Pierre-le-Moutier. The first assault
upon the town was unsuccessful; the retreat had sounded and the troops
were streaming back from the point of attack, when Jean d'Aulon, the
faithful friend and brave gentleman who was at the head of the Maid's
military household, being himself wounded in the heel and unable to
stand or walk, saw the Maid almost alone before the stronghold, four or
five men only with her. He dragged himself up as well as he could upon
his horse, and hastened towards her, calling out to her to ask what she
did there, and why she did not retire with the rest. She answered him,
taking off her helmet to speak, that she would leave only when the place
was taken--and went on shouting for faggots and beams to make a
bridge across the ditch. It is to be supposed that seeing she paid no
attention, nor budged a step from that dangerous point, this brave man,
wounded though he was, must have made an effort to rally the retiring
besiegers: but Jeanne seems to have taken no notice of her desertion
nor ever to have paused in her shout for planks and gabions. "All to the
bridge," she shouted, "_aux fagots et aux claies tout le monde!_ every
one to the bridge." "Jeanne, withdraw, withdraw! You are alone,"
some one said to her. Bareheaded, her countenance all aglow, the Maid
replied: "I have still with me fifty thousand of my men." Were those
the men whom the prophet's servant saw when his eyes were opened and he
beheld the innumerable company of angels that surrounded his master? But
Jeanne, rapt in the trance and ecstasy of battle, gave no explanation.
"To work, to work!" her clear voice went on, ringing over the startled
head of the good knight who knew war, but not any rapture like this.
History itself, awe-stricken, would almost have us believe that alone
with her own hand the Maid took the city, so entirely does every figure
disappear but that one, and the perplexed and terrified spectator vainly
urging her to give up so desperate an attempt. But no doubt the shouts
of a voice so strange to every such scene, the _vox infantile_, the
amazing and clear voice, silvery and womanly, _assez femme_, and the
efforts of d'Aulon to bring back the retreating troops were successful,
and Jeanne once more, triumphantly kept her word. The place was strongly
fortified, well provisioned, and full of people. Therefore the whole
narrative is little less than miraculous, though very little is said of
it. Had they but persevered, as she had said, a few hours longer before
Paris, who could tell that the same result might not have been obtained?

She was not successful, however, with La Charité, which after a siege of
a month's duration still held out, and had to be abandoned. These
long operations of regular warfare were not in Jeanne's way; and
her coadjutor in command, it must be remembered, was in this case
commissioned by her chief enemy. We are told that she was left without
supplies, and in the depths of winter, in cold and rain and snow, with
every movement hampered, and the ineffective government ever ready to
send orders of retreat, or to cause bewildering and confusing delays by
the want of every munition of war. Finally, at all events, the French
forces withdrew, and again an unsuccessful enterprise was added to
the record of the once victorious Maid. That she went on continually
promising victory as in her early times, is probably the mere rumour
spread by her detractors who were now so many, for there is no real
evidence that she did so. Everything rather points to discouragement,
uncertainty, and to a silent rage against the coercion which she could
not overcome.

     (1) Clermont it was who deserted the Scots at the Battle of
     the Herrings.

     (2) Jeanne's arms, offered at St. Denis, were afterwards
     taken by the English and sent to the King of England (all
     except the sword with its ornaments of gold) without giving
     anything to the church in return: "qui est pur sacrilege et
     manifeste," says Jean Chartier.


By this time France was once more all in flames: the English and
Burgundians had entered and then abandoned Paris--Duke Philip cynically
leaving that city, which he had promised to give up to Charles, to
its own protection, in order to look after his more pressing personal
concerns: while Bedford spread fire and flame about the adjacent
country, retaking with much slaughter many of the towns which had
opened their gates to the King. Thus while Charles gave no attention
to anything beyond the Loire, and kept his chief champion there, as it
were, on the leash, permitting no return to the most important field
of operations, almost all that had been gained was again lost upon the
banks of the Seine. This was the state of affairs when Jeanne returned
humbled and sad from the abandoned siege of La Charité. Her enemy's
counsels had triumphed all round and this was the result. Individual
fightings of no particular account and under no efficient organisation
were taking place day by day; here a town stood out heroically, there
another yielded to the foreign arms; the population were thrown back
into universal misery, the spring fields trampled under foot, the
villages burned, every evil of war in full operation, invasion
aggravated by faction, the English always aided by one side of France
against the other, and neither peace nor security anywhere.

This was the aspect of affairs on one side. On the other appeared a
still less satisfactory scene. Charles amusing himself, his counsellors,
La Tremoïlle, and the Archbishop of Rheims carrying on fictitious
negotiations with Burgundy and playing with the Maid who was in their
power, sending her out to make a show and cast a spell, then dragging
her back at the end of their shameful chain: while the Court, the King
and Queen, and all their flattering attendants gilded that chain and
tried to make her forget by fine clothes and caresses, at once her
mission and her despair. They were not ungrateful, no: let us do them
justice, for they might well have added this to the number of their
sins: mantles of cloth of gold, patents of nobility were at her command,
had these been what she wanted. The only personal wrong they did
to Jeanne was to set up against her a sort of opposition, another
enchantress and visionary who had "voices" and apparitions too, and who
was admitted to all the councils and gave her advice in contradiction
of the Maid, a certain Catherine de la Rochelle, who was ready to say
anything that was put into her mouth, but who had done nothing to prove
any mission for France or from God. We have little light however upon
the state of affairs in those castles, which one after another were the
abode of the Court during this disastrous winter. They were safe enough
on the other side of the Loire in the fat country where the vines still
flourished and the young corn grew. Now and then a band of armed men was
sent forth to succour a fighting town in the suffering and struggling
Île-de-France, always under the conflicting orders of those intrigants
and courtiers: but within the Court, all was gay; "never man," as rough
La Hire had said on an earlier occasion, "lost his kingdom more gaily
or with better grace" than did Charles. Where was La Hire? Where was
Dunois?--there is no appearance of these champions anywhere. Alençon had
returned to his province. Only La Tremoïlle and the Archbishop holding
all the strings in their hands, upsetting all military plans, disgusting
every chief, met and talked and carried on their busy intrigues, and
played their Sibyl--_Sibylle de carrefour_, says one of the historians
indignantly--against the Maid, who, all discouraged and downcast,
fretted by caresses, sick of inactivity, dragged out the uneasy days in
an uncongenial world; but Jeanne has left no record of the sensations
with which she saw these days pass, eating her heart out, gazing
over that rapid river, on the other side of which all the devils were
unchained and every result of her brief revolution was being lost.

At length however the impatience and despair were more than she could
bear; the Court was then at Sully and the spring had begun with its
longer days and more passable roads. Without a word to anyone the Maid
left the castle. The war had rolled towards these princely walls, as
near as Melun, which was threatened by the English. A little band of
intimate servants and associates, her two brothers, and a few faithful
followers, were with her. So far as we know she never saw Charles or his
courtiers again. They arrived at Melun in time to witness and to take
part in the repulse of the English, and it was here that a communication
was make to Jeanne by her saints of which afterwards there was frequent
mention. Little had been said of them during her dark time of inaction,
and their tone was no longer as of old. It was on the side of the moat
of Melun where probably she was superintending some necessary work
to strengthen the fortifications or to put them in better order for
defence, that this message reached her. The "Voices" which so often had
urged her to victory and engaged the faith of heaven for her success,
had now a word to say, secret and personal to herself. It was that she
should be taken prisoner; and the date was fixed, before the St. Jean.
It was the middle of April when this communication was made and the
Feast of St. Jean, as everybody knows, is in the end of June; two months
only to work in, to strike another blow for France. The "Voices" bade
her not to fear, that God would sustain her. But it would be impossible
not to be startled by such a sudden intimation in the midst of her
reviving plans. The Maid made one terrified prayer, that God would let
her die when she was taken, not subject her to long imprisonment; her
heart prophetically sprang to a sudden consciousness of the most likely,
most terrible end that lay before her, for she had been often enough
threatened with the stake and the fire to know what to expect. But
the saintly voices made no reply. They bade her be strong and of good
courage: is not that the all-sustaining, all-delusive message for every
martyr? It was the will of God, and His support and sustaining power,
which we often take to mean deliverance, but which is not always
so--were promised. She asked where this terrible thing was to happen,
but received no reply. Natural and simple as she was, she confessed
afterwards that had she known she was to be taken on any certain day,
she would not have gone out to meet the catastrophe unless she had
been forced by evident duty to do so. But this was not revealed to her.
"Before the St. Jean!" It must almost have seemed a guarantee that until
that time or near it she was safe. She would seem to have said nothing
immediately of this vision to sadden those about her.

In the meantime, however, there were other adventures in store for her.
From Melun to Lagny was no long journey, but it was through a country
full of enemies in which she must have been subject to attack at every
corner of every road or field. And she had not been long in the latter
place which is said to have had a garrison of Scots, when news came
of the passing of a band of Burgundians, a troop of raiders indeed,
ravaging the country, taking advantage of the war to rob and lay waste
churches, villages, and the growing fields wherever they passed. The
troops was led by Franquet d'Arras, a famous "_pillard_," robber of God
and man. Jeanne set out to encounter this bandit with a party of some
four hundred men, and various noble companions, among whom, however, we
find no name familiar in her previous career, a certain Hugh Kennedy, a
Scot, who is to be met with in various records of fighting, being one of
the most notable among them. Franquet's band fought vigorously but were
cut to pieces, and the leader was taken prisoner. When this man was
brought back to Lagny, a prisoner to be ransomed, and whom Jeanne
desired to exchange for one of her own side, the law laid claim to him
as a criminal. He was a prisoner of war: what was it the Maid's duty to
do? The question is hotly debated by the historians and it was brought
against her at her trial. He was a murderer, a robber, the scourge of
the country--especially to the poor whom Jeanne protected and cared for
everywhere, was he pitiless and cruel. She gave him up to justice, and
he was tried, condemned, and beheaded. If it was wrong from a military
point of view, it was her only error, and shows how little there was
with which to reproach her.

In Lagny other things passed of a more private nature. Every day and all
day long her "voices" repeated their message in her ears. "Before the
St. Jean." She repeated it to some of her closest comrades but left
herself no time to dwell upon it. Still worse than the giving up of
Franquet was the supposed resuscitation of a child, born dead, which
its parents implored her to pray for that it might live again to be
baptised. She explained the story to her judges afterwards. It was
the habit of the time, nay, we believe continues to this day in some
primitive places, to lay the dead infant on the altar in such a case, in
hope of a miracle. "It is true," said Jeanne, "that the maidens of the
town were all assembled in the church praying God to restore life that
it might be baptised. It is also true that I went and prayed with them.
The child opened its eyes, yawned three or four times, was christened
and died. This is all I know." The miracle is not one that will find
much credit nowadays. But the devout custom was at least simple and
intelligible enough, though it afforded an excellent occasion to
attribute witchcraft to the one among those maidens who was not of Lagny
but of God.

From Lagny Jeanne went on to various other places in danger, or which
wanted encouragement and help. She made two or three hurried visits to
Compiègne, which was threatened by both parties of the enemy; at one
time raising the siege of Choicy, near Compiègne, in company with the
Archbishop of Rheims, a strange brother in arms. On another of her
visits to Compiègne there is said to have occurred an incident which, if
true, reveals to us with very sad reality the trouble that overshadowed
the Maid. She had gone to early mass in the Church of St. Jacques, and
communicated, as was her custom. It must have been near Easter--perhaps
the occasion of the first communion of some of the children who are
so often referred to, among whom she loved to worship. She had retired
behind a pillar on which she leaned as she stood, and a number of
people, among whom were many children, drew near after the service to
gaze at her. Jeanne's heart was full, and she had no one near to whom
she could open it and relieve her soul. As she stood against the pillar
her trouble burst forth. "Dear friends and children," she said, "I have
to tell you that I have been sold and betrayed, and will soon be given
up to death. I beg of you to pray for me; for soon I shall no longer
have any power to serve the King and the kingdom." These words were told
to the writer who records them, in the year 1498, by two very old men
who had heard them, being children at the time. The scene was one to
dwell in a child's recollection, and, if true, it throws a melancholy
light upon the thoughts that filled the mind of Jeanne, though her
actions may have seemed as energetic and her impulses as strong as in
her best days.

At last the news came speeding through the country that Compiègne was
being invested on all sides. It had been the headquarters of Charles
and had received him with acclamations, and therefore the alarm of the
townsfolk for the retribution awaiting them, should they fall into the
hands of the enemy, was great; it was besides a very important position.
Jeanne was at Crespy en Valois when this news reached her. She set out
immediately (May 22, 1430) to carry aid to the garrison: "_F'irai voir
mes bons amis de Compiègne_," she said. The words are on the base of
her statue which now stands in the Place of that town. Something of
her early impetuosity was in this impulse, and no apparent dread of
any fatality. She rode all night at the head of her party, and arrived
before the dawn, a May morning, the 23d, still a month from the fatal
"St. Jean." Though the prophecy was always in her ears, she must have
felt that whole month still before her, with a sensation of almost
greater safety because the dangerous moment was fixed. The town received
her with joy, and no doubt the satisfaction and relief which hailed her
and her reinforcements gave additional fervour to the Maid, and drove
out of her mind for a moment the fatal knowledge which oppressed it.
There is some difficulty in understanding the events of this day, but
the lucid narrative of Quicherat, which we shall now quote, gives a
very vivid picture of it. Jeanne had timed her arrival so early in the
morning, probably with the intention of keeping the adversaries in their
camps unaware of so important an addition to the garrison, in order that
she might surprise them by the sortie she had determined upon; but no
doubt the news had leaked forth somehow, if through no other means, by
the sudden ringing of the bells and sounds of joy from the city. She
paid her usual visits to the churches, and noted and made all her
arrangements for the sortie with her usual care, occupying the long
summer day in these preparations. And it was not till five o'clock in
the evening that everything was complete, and she sallied forth. We hear
nothing of the state of the town, or of any suspicion existing at the
time as to the governor Flavy who was afterwards believed by some to be
the man who sold and betrayed her. It is a question debated warmly like
all these questions. He was a man of bad reputation, but there is no
evidence that he was a traitor. The incidents are all natural enough,
and seem to indicate clearly the mere fortune of war upon which no man
can calculate. We add from Quicherat the description of the field and
what took place there:

"Compiègne is situated on the left bank of the Oise. On the other side
extends a great meadow, nearly a mile broad, at the end of which the
rising ground of Picardy rises suddenly like a wall, shutting in the
horizon. The meadow is so low and so subject to floods that it is
crossed by an ancient foot of the low hills. Three village churches mark
the extent of the landscape visible from the walls of Compiègne;
Margny (sometimes spelt Marigny) at the end of the road; Clairoix three
quarters of a league higher up, at the confluence of the two rivers,
the Aronde and the Oise, close to the spot where another tributary, the
Aisne, also flows into the Oise; and Venette a mile and a half lower
down. The Burgundians had one camp at Margny, another at Clairoix; the
headquarters of the English were at Venette. As for the inhabitants
of Compiègne, their first defence facing the enemy was one of those
redoubts or towers which the chronicles of the fifteenth century called
a boulevard. It was placed at the end of the bridge and commanded the

"The plan of the Maid was to make a sortie towards the evening, to
attack Margny and afterwards Clairoix, and then at the opening of the
Aronde valley to meet the Duke of Burgundy and his forces who were
lodged there, and who would naturally come to the aid of his other
troops when attacked. She took no thought for the English, having
already carefully arranged with Flavy how they should be prevented from
cutting off her retreat. The governor provided against any chance of
this by arming the boulevard strongly with archers to drive off any
advancing force, and also by keeping ready on the Oise a number of
covered boats to receive the foot-soldiers in case of a retrograde

"The action began well: the garrison of Margny yielded in the twinkling
of an eye. That of Clairoix rushing to the support of their brothers in
arms was repulsed, then in its turn repulsed the French; and three times
this alternative of advance and retreat took place on the flat ground of
the meadow without serious injury to either party. This gave time to the
English to take part in the fray;(1) though thanks to the precautions of
Flavy all they could do was to swell the ranks of the Burgundians.
But unfortunately the rear of the Maid's army was struck with the
possibility that a diversion might be attempted from behind, and their
retreat cut off. A panic seized them; they broke their ranks, turned
back and fled, some to the boats, some to the barrier of the boulevard.
The English witnessing this flight rushed after them, secure now on the
side of Compiègne, where the archers no longer ventured to shoot
lest they should kill the fugitives instead of the enemies. They (the
English) thus got possession of the raised road, and pushed on so hotly
after the fugitives that their horses' heads touched the backs of the
crowd. It thus became necessary for the safety of the town to close the
gates until the barrier of the boulevard should be set up again."


These disastrous accidents had taken place while Jeanne, charging in
front with her companions and body-guard, remained quite unaware of any
misfortune. She would hear no call to retreat, even when her companions
were roused to the dangers of their position. "Forward, they are ours!"
was all her cry. As at St. Pierre-le-Moutier she was ready to defeat the
Burgundian army alone. At length the others perceiving something of
what had happened seized her bridle and forced her to retire. She was of
herself too remarkable a figure to be concealed amid the group of armed
men who rode with her, encircling her, defending the rear of the flying
party. Over her armour she wore a crimson tunic, or according to some
authorities a short cloak, of gorgeous material embroidered with gold,
and though by this time the twilight must have afforded a partial
shelter, yet the knowledge that she was there gave keenness to every
eye. Behind, the scattered Burgundians had rallied and begun to pursue,
while the armour and spears of the English glittered in front between
the little party and the barrier which was blocked by a terrified crowd
of fugitives. Even then a party of horsemen might have cut their way
through; but at the moment when Jeanne and her followers drew near, the
barrier was sharply closed and the wild, confused, and fighting crowd,
treading each other down, struggling for life, were forced back upon the
English lances. Thus the retreating band riding hard along the raised
road, in order and unbroken, found the path suddenly barred by the
forces of the enemy, the fugitives of their own army, and the closed
gates of the town.

An attempt was then made by the Maid and her companions to turn towards
the western gate where there still might have been a chance of safety;
but by this time the smaller figure among all those steel-clad men, and
the waving mantle, must have been distinguished through the dusk and the
dust. There was a wild rush of combat and confusion, and in a moment she
was surrounded, seized, her horse and her person, notwithstanding all
resistance. With cries of "Rendez vous," and many an evil name, fierce
faces and threatening weapons closed round her. One of her assailants--a
Burgundian knight, a Picard archer, the accounts differ--caught her
by her mantle and dragged her from her horse; no Englishman let us be
thankful, though no doubt all were equally eager and ready. Into the
midst of that shouting mass of men, in the blinding cloud of dust,
in the darkening of the night, the Maid of France disappeared for one
terrible moment, and was lost to view. And then, and not till then, came
a clamour of bells into the night, and all the steeples of Compiègne
trembled with the call to arms, a sally to save the deliverer. Was it
treachery? Was it only a perception, too late, of the danger? There are
not wanting voices to say that a prompt sally might have saved Jeanne,
and that it was quite within the power of the Governor and city had they
chosen. Who can answer so dreadful a suggestion? it is too much shame
to human nature to believe it. Perhaps within Compiègne as without, they
were too slow to perceive the supreme moment, too much overwhelmed to
snatch any chance of rescue till it was too late.

Happily we have no light upon the tumult around the prisoner, the ugly
triumph, the shouts and exultation of the captors who had seized the
sorceress at last; nor upon the thoughts of Jeanne, with her threatened
doom fulfilled and unknown horrors before her, upon which imagination
must have thrown the most dreadful light, however strongly her courage
was sustained by the promise of succour from on high. She had not been
sent upon this mission as of old. No heavenly voice had said to her
"Go and deliver Compiègne." She had undertaken that warfare on her own
charges with no promise to encourage her, only the certainty of being
overthrown "before the St. Jean." But the St. Jean was still far off, a
long month of summer days between her and that moment of fate! So far
as we can see Jeanne showed no unseemly weakness in this dark hour. One
account tells us that she held her sword high over her head declaring
that it was given by a higher than any who could claim its surrender
there. But she neither struggled nor wept. Not a word against her
constancy and courage could any one, then or after, find to say. The
Burgundian chronicler tells us one thing, the French another. "The Maid,
easily recognised by her costume of crimson and by the standard which
she carried in her hand, alone continued to defend herself," says one;
but that we are sure could not have been the case as long as d'Aulon,
who accompanied her, was still able to keep on his horse. "She yielded
and gave her parole to Lyonnel, bâtard de Wandomme," says another; but
Jeanne herself declares that she gave her faith to no one, reserving
to herself the right to escape if she could. In that dark evening
scene nothing is clear except the fact that the Maid was taken, to the
exultation and delight of her captors and to the terror and grief of the
unhappy town, vainly screaming with all its bells to arms,--and with its
sons and champions by hundreds dying under the English lances and in the
dark waves of the Oise.

The archer or whoever it was who secured this prize, took Jeanne back,
along the bloody road with its relics of the fight, to Margny, the
Burgundian camp, where the leaders crowded together to see so important
a prisoner. "Thither came soon after," says Monstrelet, "the Duke of
Burgundy from his camp of Coudon, and there assembled the English, the
said Duke and those of the other camps in great numbers, making, one
with the other, great cries and rejoicings on the taking of the Maid:
whom the said Duke went to see in the lodging where she was and spoke
some words to her which I cannot call to mind, though I was there
present; after which the said Duke and the others withdrew for the
night, leaving the Maid in the keeping of Messer John of Luxembourg"--to
whom she had been immediately sold by her first captor. The same night,
Philip, this noble Duke and Prince of France, wrote a letter to convey
the blessed information:

"The great news of this capture should be spread everywhere and brought
to the knowledge of all, that they may see the error of those who could
believe and lend themselves to the pretensions of such a woman. We write
this in the hope of giving you joy, comfort, and consolation, and that
you may thank God our Creator. Pray that it may be His holy will to be
more and more favourable to the enterprises of our royal master and to
the restoration of his sway over all his good and faithful subjects."

This royal master was Henry VI. of England, the baby king, doomed
already to expiate sins that were not his, by the saddest life and
reign. The French historians whimsically but perhaps not unnaturally,
have the air of putting down this baseness on Philip's part, and on that
of his contemporaries in general, to the score of the English, which is
hard measure, seeing that the treachery of a Frenchman could in no way
be attributed to the other nation of which he was the natural enemy, or
at least, antagonist. Very naturally the subsequent proceedings in all
their horror and cruelty are equally put down to the English account,
although Frenchmen took, exulted over as a prisoner, tried and condemned
as an enemy of God and the Church, the spotless creature who was France
incarnate, the very embodiment of her country in all that was purest and
noblest. We shall see with what spontaneous zeal all France, except her
own small party, set to work to accomplish this noble office.

Almost before one could draw breath the University of Paris claimed her
as a proper victim for the Inquisition. Compiègne made no sally for
her deliverance; Charles, no attempt to ransom her. From end to end of
France not a finger was lifted for her rescue; the women wept over her,
the poor people still crowded around the prisoner wherever seen, but the
France of every public document, of every practical power, the living
nation, when it did not utter cries of hatred, kept silence. We in
England have over and over again acknowledged with shame our guilty part
in her murder; but still to this day the Frenchman tries to shield
his under cover of the English influence and terror. He cannot deny La
Tremoïlle, nor Cauchon, nor the University, nor the learned doctors
who did the deed; individually he is ready to give them all up to the
everlasting fires which one cannot but hope are kept alive for some
people in spite of all modern benevolences; but he skilfully turns back
to the English as a moving cause of everything. Nothing can be more
untrue. The English were not better than the French, but they had the
excuse at least of being the enemy. France saved by a happy chance her
_blanches mains_ from the actual blood of the pure and spotless Maid;
but with exultation she prepared the victim for the stake, sent her
thither, played with her like a cat with a mouse and condemned her to
the fire. This is not to free us from our share: but it is the height of
hypocrisy to lay the blood of Jeanne, entirely to our door.

Thus Jeanne's inspiration proved itself over again in blood and tears;
it had been proved already on battle-field and city wall, with loud
trumpets of joy and victory. But the "voices" had spoken again, sounding
another strain; not always of glory--it is not the way of God; but of
prison, downfall, distress. "Be not astonished at it," they said to
her; "God will be with you." From day to day they had spoken in the same
strain, with no joyful commands to go forth and conquer, but the one
refrain: "Before the St. Jean." Perhaps there was a certain relief in
her mind at first when the blow fell and the prophecy was accomplished.
All she had to do now was to suffer, not to be surprised, to trust in
God that He would support her. To Jeanne, no doubt, in the confidence
and inexperience of her youth, that meant that God would deliver her.
And so He did; but not as she expected. The sunshine of her life was
over, and now the long shadow, the bitter storm was to come.

Nothing could be more remarkable than the response of France in general
to this extraordinary event. In Paris there were bonfires lighted to
show their joy, the _Te Deum_ was sung at Notre Dame. At the Court
Charles and his counsellors amused themselves with another prophet, a
shepherd from the hills who was to rival Jeanne's best achievements, but
never did so. Only the towns which she had delivered had still a tender
thought for Jeanne. At Tours the entire population appeared in
the streets with bare feet, singing the _Miserere_ in penance and
affliction. Orleans and Blois made public prayers for her safety.
Rheims, in which there was much independent interest in Jeanne and her
truth, had to be specially soothed by a letter from the Archbishop, in
which he made out with great cleverness that it was the fault of Jeanne
alone that she was taken. "She did nothing but by her own will, without
obeying the commandments of God," he says; "she would hear no counsel,
but followed her own pleasure,"; and it is in this letter that we hear
of the shepherd lad who was to replace Jeanne, and that it was his
opinion or revelation that God had suffered the Maid to be taken because
of her growing pride, because she loved fine clothes, and preferred her
own will to any guidance. We do not know whether this contented the
city of Rheims; similar reasoning however seems to have silenced France.
Nobody uttered a protest, nor struck a blow; the mournful procession of
Tours, where she had been first known in the outset of her career, the
prayers of Orleans which she had delivered, are the only exceptions we
know of. Otherwise there was lifted in France neither voice nor hand to
avert her doom.

     (1) The three camps must have formed a sort of irregular
     triangle. The English at Venette being only half a mile from
     the gates of Compiègne.


We have here to remark a complete suspension of all the ordinary laws
at once of chivalry and of honest warfare. Jeanne had been captured as
a general at the head of her forces. She was a prisoner of war. Such
a prisoner ordinarily, even in the most cruel ages, is in no
bodily danger. He is worth more alive than dead--a great ransom
perhaps--perhaps the very end of the warfare, and the accomplishment
of everything it was intended to gain: at least he is most valuable to
exchange for other important prisoners on the opposite side. It was like
taking away so much personal property to kill a prisoner, an outrage
deeply resented by his captor and unjustified by any law. It was true
that Jeanne herself had transgressed this universal custom but a little
while before, by giving up Franquet d'Arras to his prosecutors. But
Franquet was beyond the courtesies of war, a noted criminal, robber, and
destroyer: yet she ought not perhaps to have departed from the military
laws of right and wrong while everything in the country was under the
hasty arbitration of war. No one, however, so far as we know, produces
this matter of Franquet as a precedent in her own case. From the first
moment of her seizure there was no question of the custom and privilege
of warfare. She was taken as a wild animal might have been taken, the
only doubt being how to make the most signal example of her. Vengeance
in the gloomy form of the Inquisition claimed her the first day. No such
word as ransom was breathed from her own side, none was demanded, none
was offered. Her case is at once separated from every other.

Yet the reign of chivalry was at its height, and women were supposed to
be the objects of a kind of worship, every knight being sworn to succour
and help them in need and trouble. There was perhaps something of the
subtle jealousy of sex so constantly denied on the stronger side, but
yet always existing, in the abrogation of every law of chivalry as well
as of warfare, in respect to the Maid. That man is indeed of the highest
strain of generosity who can bear to be beaten by a woman. And all the
seething, agitated world of France had been beaten by this girl. The
English and Burgundians, in the ordinary sense of the word, had been
overcome in fair field, forced to fly before her; the French, her own
side, had experienced an even more penetrating downfall by having the
honours of victory taken from them, she alone winning the day where they
had all failed. This is bitterer, perhaps, than merely to be compelled
to raise a siege or to fail in a fight. The Frenchmen fought like lions,
but the praise was to Jeanne who never struck a blow. Such great hearts
as Dunois, such a courteous prince as Alençon, were too magnanimous to
feel, or at least to resent, the grievance; they seconded her and fought
under her with a nobility of mind and disinterestedness beyond praise;
but it was not to be supposed that the common mass of the French
captains were like these; she had wronged and shamed them by taking the
glory from them, as much as she had shamed the English by making those
universal victors fly before her. The burghers whom she had rescued, the
poor people who were her brethren and whom she sought everywhere, might
weep and cry out to Heaven, but they were powerless at such a moment.
And every law that might have helped her was pushed aside.

On the 25th the news was known in Paris, and immediately there appears
in the record a new adversary to Jeanne, the most bitter and implacable
of all; the next day, May 26, 1430, without the loss of an hour, a
letter was addressed to the Burgundian camp from the capital. Quicherat
speaks of it as a letter from the Inquisitor or vicar-general of the
Inquisition, written by the officials of the University; others tell us
that an independent letter was sent from the University to second that
of the Inquisitor. The University we may add was not a university
like one of ours, or like any existing at the present day. It was an
ecclesiastical corporation of the highest authority in every cause
connected with the Church, while gathering law, philosophy, and
literature under its wing. The first theologians, the most eminent
jurists were collected there, not by any means always in alliance with
the narrower tendencies and methods of the Inquisition. It is notable,
however, that this great institution lost no time in claiming the
prisoner, whose chief offence in its eyes was less her career as a
warrior than her position as a sorceress. The actual facts of her life
were of secondary importance to them. Orleans, Rheims, even her attack
upon Paris were nothing in comparison with the black art which they
believed to be her inspiration. The guidance of Heaven which was not the
guidance of the Church was to them a claim which meant only rebellion
of the direst kind. They had longed to seize her and strip her of her
presumptuous pretensions from the first moment of her appearance. They
could not allow a day of her overthrow to pass by without snatching at
this much-desired victim.

No one perhaps will ever be able to say what it is that makes a trial
for heresy and sorcery, especially in the days when fire and flame,
the rack and the stake, stood at the end, so exciting and horribly
attractive to the mind. Whether it is the revelations that are hoped
for, of these strange commerces between earth and the unknown, into
which we would all fain pry if we could, in pursuit of some better
understanding than has ever yet fallen to the lot of man; whether it is
the strange and dreadful pleasure of seeing a soul driven to extremity
and fighting for its life through all the subtleties of thought and
fierce attacks of interrogation--or the mere love of inflicting torture,
misery, and death, which the Church was prevented from doing in the
common way, it is impossible to tell; but there is no doubt that a
thrill like the wings of vultures crowding to the prey, a sense of
horrible claws and beaks and greedy eyes is in the air, whenever such a
tribunal is thought of. The thrill, the stir, the eagerness among those
black birds of doom is more evident than usual in the headlong haste of
that demand. _Sous l'influence de l'Angleterre_, say the historians; the
more shame for them if it was so; but they were clearly under influence
wider and more infallible, the influence of that instinct, whatever it
may be, which makes a trial for heresy ten thousand times more cruel,
less restrained by any humanities of nature, than any other kind of
trial which history records.

That is what the Inquisitor demanded after a long description of Jeanne,
"called the Maid," as having "dogmatised, sown, published, and caused
to be published, many and diverse errors from which have ensued great
scandals against the divine honour and our holy faith." "Using the
rights of our office and the authority committed to us by the Holy See
of Rome we instantly command, and enjoin you in the name of the Catholic
faith, and under penalty of the law: and all other Catholic persons of
whatsoever condition, pre-eminence, authority, or estate, to send or to
bring as prisoner before us with all speed and surety the said Jeanne,
vehemently suspected of various crimes springing from heresy, that
proceedings may be taken against her before us in the name of the Holy
Inquisition, and with the favour and aid of the doctors and masters of
the University of Paris, and other notable counsellors present there."

It was the English who put it into the heads of the Inquisitor and the
University to do this, all the anxious Frenchmen cry. We can only reply
again, the more shame for the French doctors and priests! But there
was very little time to bring that influence to bear; and there is an
eagerness and precipitation in the demand which is far more like the
headlong natural rush for a much desired prize than any course of action
suggested by a third party. Nor is there anything to lead us to believe
that the movement was not spontaneous. It is little likely, indeed, that
the Sorbonne nowadays would concern itself about any inspired maid,
any more than the enlightened Oxford would do so. But the ideas of the
fifteenth century were widely different, and witchcraft and heresy were
the most enthralling and exciting of subjects, as they are still to
whosoever believes in them, learned or unlearned, great or small.

It must be added that the entire mind of France, even of those who loved
Jeanne and believed in her, must have been shaken to its depths by this
catastrophe. We have no sympathy with those who compare the career of
any mortal martyr with the far more mysterious agony and passion of
our Lord. Yet we cannot but remember what a tremendous element the
disappointment of their hopes must have been in the misery of the first
disciples, the Apostles, the mother, all the spectators who had watched
with wonder and faith the mission of the Messiah. Had it failed? had all
the signs come to nothing, all those divine words and ways, to our minds
so much more wonderful than any miracles? Was there no meaning in
them? Were they mere unaccountable delusions, deceptions of the senses,
inspirations perhaps of mere genius--not from God at all except in a
secondary way? In the three terrible days that followed the Crucifixion
the burden of a world must have lain on the minds of those who had
seen every hope fail: no legions of angels appearing, no overwhelming
revelation from heaven, no change in a moment out of misery into the
universal kingship, the triumphant march. That was but the self-delusion
of the earth which continually travesties the schemes of Heaven; yet the
most terrible of all despairs is such a pause and horror of doubt lest
nothing should be true.

But in the case of this little Maiden, this handmaid of the Lord, the
deception might have been all natural and perhaps shared by herself.
Were her first triumphs accidents merely, were her "voices" delusions,
had she been given up by Heaven, of which she had called herself the
servant? It was a stupor which quenched every voice--a great silence
through the country, only broken by the penitential psalms at Tours.
The Compiègne people, writing to Charles two days after May 23d, do not
mention Jeanne at all. We need not immediately take into account the
baser souls always plentiful, the envious captains and the rest who
might be secretly rejoicing. The entire country, both friends and foes,
had come to a dreadful pause and did not know what to think. The last
circumstance of which we must remind the reader, and which was of the
greatest importance, is, that it was only a small part of France that
knew anything personally of Jeanne. From Tours it is a far cry to
Picardy. All her triumphs had taken place in the south. The captive of
Beaulieu and Beaurevoir spent the sad months of her captivity among a
population which could have heard of her only by flying rumours coming
from hostile quarters. From the midland of France to the sea, near
to which her prison was situated, is a long way, and those northern
districts were as unlike the Orleannais as if they had been in two
different countries. Rouen in Normandy no more resembled Rheims, than
Edinburgh resembled London: and in the fifteenth century that was saying
a great deal. Nothing can be more deceptive than to think of these
separate and often hostile duchies as if they bore any resemblance to
the France of to-day.

The captor of Jeanne was a vassal of Jean de Luxembourg and took her as
we have seen to the quarters of his master at Margny, into whose hands
she thenceforward passed. She was kept in the camp three or four days
and then transferred to the castle of Beaulieu, which belonged to him;
and afterwards to the more important stronghold of Beaurevoir, which
seems to have been his principal residence. We know very few details of
her captivity. According to one chronicler, d'Aulon, her faithful friend
and intendant, was with her at least in the former of those prisons,
where at first she would appear to have been hopeful and in good
spirits, if we may trust to the brief conversation between her and
d'Aulon, which is one of the few details which reach us of that period.
While he lamented over the probable fate of Compiègne she was confident.
"That poor town of Compiègne that you loved so much," he said, "by this
time it will be in the hands of the enemies of France." "No," said
the Maid, "the places which the king of Heaven brought back to the
allegiance of the gentle King Charles by me, will not be retaken by his
enemies." In this case at least the prophecy came true.

And perhaps there might have been at first a certain relief in Jeanne's
mind, such as often follows after a long threatened blow has fallen. She
had no longer the vague tortures of suspense, and probably believed that
she would be ransomed as was usual: and in this silence and seclusion
her "voices" which she had not obeyed as at first, but yet which had not
abandoned her, nor shown estrangement, were more near and audible than
amid the noise and tumult of war. They spoke to her often, sometimes
three times a day, as she afterwards said, in the unbroken quiet of
her prison. And though they no longer spoke of new enterprises and
victories, their words were full of consolation. But it was not long
that Jeanne's young and vigorous spirit could content itself with
inaction. She was no mystic; willingly giving herself over to dreams and
visions is more possible to the old than to the young. Her confidence
and hope for her good friends of Compiègne gave way before the continued
tale of their sufferings, and the inveterate siege which was driving
them to desperation. No doubt the worst news was told to Jeanne, and
twice over she made a desperate attempt to escape, in hope of being able
to succour them, but without any sanction, as she confesses, from her
spiritual instructors. At Beaulieu the attempt was simple enough: the
narrative seems to imply that the doorway, or some part of the wall of
her room, had been closed with laths or planks nailed across an opening:
and between these she succeeded in slipping, "as she was very slight,"
with the hope of locking the door to an adjoining guard-room upon the
men who had charge of her, and thus getting free. But alas! The porter
of the château, who had no business there, suddenly appeared in the
corridor, and she was discovered and taken back to her chamber. At
Beaurevoir, which was farther off, her attempt was a much more desperate
one, and indicates a despair and irritation of mind which had become
unbearable. At this place her own condition was much alleviated; the
castle was the residence of Jean de Luxembourg's wife and aunt, ladies
who visited Jeanne continually, and soon became interested and attached
to her; but as the master of the house was himself in the camp before
Compiègne, they had the advantage or disadvantage, as far as the
prisoner was concerned, of constant news, and Jeanne's trouble for her
friends grew daily.

She seems, indeed, after the assurance she had expressed at first,
to have fallen into great doubt and even carried on within herself a
despairing argument with her spiritual guides on this point, battling
with these saintly influences as in the depths of the troubled heart
many have done with the Creator Himself in similar circumstances. "How,"
she cried, "could God let them perish who had been so good and loyal to
their King?" St. Catherine replied gently that He would Himself care for
these _bons amis_, and even promised that "before the St. Martin"
relief would come. But Jeanne had probably by this time--in her great
disappointment and loneliness, and with the sense in her of so much
power to help were she only free--got beyond her own control. They bade
her to be patient. One of them, amid their exhortations to accept her
fate cheerfully, and not to be astonished at it, seems to have conveyed
to her mind the impression that she should not be delivered till she had
seen the King of England. "Truly I will not see him! I would rather die
than fall into the hands of the English," cried Jeanne in her petulance.
The King of England is spoken of always, it is curious to note, as if
he had been a great, severe ruler like his father, never as the child he
really was. But Jeanne in her helplessness and impotence was impatient
even with her saints. Day by day the news came in from Compiègne,
all that was favourable to the Burgundians received with joy and
thanksgiving by the ladies of Luxembourg, while the captive consumed her
heart with vain indignation. At last Jeanne would seem to have wrought
herself up to the most desperate of expedients. Whether her room was in
the donjon, or whether she was allowed sufficient freedom in the house
to mount to the battlements there, we are not informed--probably the
latter was the case: for it was from the top of the tower that the rash
girl at last flung herself down, carried away by what sudden frenzy
of alarm or sting of evil tidings can never be known. Probably she had
hoped that a miracle would be wrought on her behalf, and that faith
was all that was wanted, as on so many other occasions. Perhaps she had
heard of the negotiations to sell her to the English, which would give a
keener urgency to her determination to get free; all that appears in the
story, however, is her wild anxiety about Compiègne and her _bons amis_.
How she escaped destruction no one knows. She was rescued for a more
tremendous and harder fate.

The Maid was taken up as dead from the foot of the tower (the height is
estimated at sixty feet); but she was not dead, nor even seriously hurt.
Her frame, so slight that she had been able to slip between the bars put
up to secure her, had so little solidity that the shock would seem
to have been all that ailed her. She was stunned and unconscious and
remained so far some time; and for three days neither ate nor drank. But
though she was so humbled by the effects of the fall, "she was comforted
by St. Catherine, who bade her confess and implore the mercy of God" for
her rash disobedience--and repeated the promise that before Martinmas
Compiègne should be relieved. Jeanne did not perhaps in her rebellion
deserve this encouragement; but the heavenly ladies were kind and
pitiful and did not stand upon their dignity. The wonderful thing was
that Jeanne recovered perfectly from this tremendous leap.

The earthly ladies, though so completely on the other side, were
scarcely less kind to the Maid. They visited her daily, carried their
news to her, were very friendly and sweet: and no doubt other visitors
came to make the acquaintance of a prisoner so wonderful. There was one
point on which they were very urgent, and this was about her dress. It
shamed and troubled them to see her in the costume of a man. Jeanne had
her good reasons for that, which perhaps she did not care to tell
them, fearing to shock the ears of a demoiselle of Luxembourg with the
suggestion of dangers of which she knew nothing. No doubt it was true
that while doing the serious work of war, as she said afterwards, it was
best that she should be dressed as a man; but Jeanne had reason to know
besides, that it was safer, among the rough comrades and gaolers who now
surrounded her, to wear the tight-fitting and firmly fastened dress of
a soldier. She answered the ladies and their remonstrances with all
the grace of a courtier. Could she have done it she would rather have
yielded the point to them, she said, than to any one else in France,
except the Queen. The women wherever she went were always faithful
to this young creature, so pure-womanly in her young angel-hood and
man-hood. The poor followed to kiss her hands or her armour, the rich
wooed her with tender flatteries and persuasions. There is not record in
all her career of any woman who was not her friend.

For the last dreary month of that winter she was sent to the fortress
of Crotoy on the Somme, for what reason we are not told, probably to
be more near the English into whose hands she was about to be given
up: again another shameful bargain in which the guilt lies with the
Burgundians and not with the English. If Charles I. was sold as we Scots
all indignantly deny, the shame of the sale was on our nation, not on
England, whom nobody has ever blamed for the transaction. The sale of
Jeanne was brutally frank. It was indeed a ransom which was paid to
Jean of Luxembourg with a share to the first captor, the archer who had
secured her; but it was simple blood-money as everybody knew. At Crotoy
she had once more the solace of female society, again with much
pressing upon her of their own heavy skirts and hanging sleeves. A
fellow-prisoner in the dungeon of Crotoy, a priest, said mass every day
and gave her the holy communion. And her mind seems to have been soothed
and calmed. Compiègne was relieved; the saints had kept their word: she
had that burden the less upon her soul: and over the country there were
against stirrings of French valour and success. The day of the Maid was
over, but it began to bear the fruit of a national quickening of vigour
and life.

It was at Crotoy, in December, that she was transferred to English
hands. The eager offer of the University of Paris to see her speedy
condemnation had not been accepted, and perhaps the Burgundians had
been willing to wait, to see if any ransom was forthcoming from
France. Perhaps too, Paris, which sang the _Te Deum_ when she was taken
prisoner, began to be a little startled by its own enthusiasm and to ask
itself the question what there was to be so thankful about?--a result
which has happened before in the history of that impulsive city:--and
Paris was too near the centre of France, where the balance seemed to
be turning again in favour of the national party, to have its thoughts
distracted by such a trial as was impending. It seemed better to the
English leaders to conduct their prisoner to a safer place, to the
depths of Normandy where they were most strong. They seem to have
carried her away in the end of the year, travelling slowly along the
coast, and reaching Rouen by way of Eu and Dieppe, as far away as
possible from any risk of rescue. She arrived in Rouen in the beginning
of the year 1431, having thus been already for nearly eight months in
close custody. But there were no further ministrations of kind women for
Jeanne. She was now distinctly in the hands of her enemies, those who
had no sympathy or natural softening of feeling towards her.

The severities inflicted upon her in her new prison at Rouen were
terrible, almost incredible. We are told that she was kept in an iron
cage (like the Countess of Buchan in earlier days by Edward I.), bound
hands, and feet, and throat, to a pillar, and watched incessantly by
English soldiers--the latter being an abominable and hideous method
of torture which was never departed from during the rest of her life.
Afterwards, at the beginning of her trial she was relieved from the
cage, but never from the presence and scrutiny of this fierce and
hateful bodyguard. Such detestable cruelties were in the manner of
the time, which does not make us the less sicken at them with burning
indignation and the rage of shame. For this aggravation of her
sufferings England alone was responsible. The Burgundians at their worst
had not used her so. It is true that she was to them a piece of
valuable property worth so much good money; which is a powerful argument
everywhere. But to the English she meant no money: no one offered to
ransom Jeanne on the side of her own party, for whom she had done
so much. Even at Tours and Orleans, so far as appears, there was no
subscription--to speak in modern terms,--no cry among the burghers to
gather their crowns for her redemption--not a word, not an effort, only
a barefooted procession, a mass, a Miserere, which had no issue. France
stood silent to see what would come of it; and her scholars and divines
swarmed towards Rouen to make sure that nothing but harm should come
of it to the ignorant country lass, who had set up such pretences of
knowing better than others. The King congratulated himself that he
had another prophetess as good as she, and a Heaven-sent boy from the
mountains who would do as well and better than Jeanne. Where was Dunois?
Where was La Hire,(1) a soldier bound by no conventions, a captain whose
troop went like the wind where it listed, and whose valour was known?
Where was young Guy de Laval, so ready to sell his lands that his men
might be fit for service? All silent; no man drawing a sword or saying
a word. It is evident that in this frightful pause of fate, Jeanne had
become to France as to England, the Witch whom it was perhaps a danger
to have had anything to do with, whose spells had turned the world
upside down for a moment: but these spells had become ineffectual or
worn out as is the nature of sorcery. No explanation, not even the
well-worn and so often valid one of human baseness, could explain the
terrible situation, if not this.

     (1) La Hire was at Louvain, which we hear a little later the
     new English levies would not march to besiege till the Maid
     was dead, and where Dunois joined him in March of this fatal
     year. These two at Louvain within a few leagues of Rouen and
     not a sword drawn for Jeanne!--the wonder grows.


The name of Pierre Cauchon, Bishop of Beauvais, appears to us at this
long distance as arising out of the infernal mists, into which, when his
ministry of shame was accomplished, he disappeared again, bearing with
him nothing but hatred and ill fame. Yet in his own day and to his
contemporaries, he was not an inconsiderable man. He was of Rheims,
a great student, and excellent scholar, the friend of many good men,
highly esteemed among the ranks of the learned, a good man of business,
which is not always the attribute of a scholar, and at the same time a
Burgundian of pronounced sentiments, holding for his Duke, against the
King. When Beauvais was summoned by Charles, after his coronation, at
that moment of universal triumph when all seemed open for him to march
upon Paris if he would, the city had joyfully thrown open its doors to
the royal army, and in doing so had driven out its Bishop, who was hot
on the other side. He would not seem to have been wanted in Paris at
that moment. The "triste Bedford," as Michelet calls him, had no means
of employing an ambitious priest, no dirty work for the moment to give
him. It is natural to suppose that a man so admirably adapted for that
employment went in search of it to the ecclesiastical court, not
beloved of England, which the Cardinal Bishop of Winchester held there.
Winchester was the only one of the House of Lancaster who had money to
carry on the government either at home or abroad. The two priests,
as the historians are always pleased to insinuate in respect to
ecclesiastics, soon understood each other, and Winchester became aware
that he had in Cauchon a tool ready for any shameful enterprise. It is
not, however, necessary to assume so much as this, for we have not the
least reason to believe that either one or the other of them had the
slightest doubt on the subject of Jeanne, or as to her character. She
was a pernicious witch, filling a hitherto invincible army with that
savage fright which is but too well understood among men, and which
produces cruel outrages as well as cowardly panic. The air of this very
day, while I write, is ringing with the story of a woman burnt to death
by her own family under the influence of that same horrible panic and
terror. Cauchon was the countryman, almost the _pays_--an untranslatable
expression,--of Jeanne; but he did not believe in her any more than the
loftier ecclesiastics of France believed in Bernadette of Lourdes,
who was of the spiritual lineage of Jeanne, nor than we should believe
to-day in a similar pretender. It seems unnecessary then to think of
dark plots hatched between these two dark priests against the white,
angelic apparition of the Maid.

What services Cauchon had done to recommend him to the favour of
Winchester we are not told, but he was so much in favour that the
Cardinal had recommended him to the Pope for the vacant archbishopric
of Rouen a few months before there was any immediate question of Jeanne.
The appointment was opposed by the clergy of Rouen, and the Pope had not
come to any decision as yet on the subject. But no doubt the ambition of
Cauchon made him very eager, with such a tempting prize before him, to
recommend himself to his English patron by every means in his power. And
he it was who undertook the office of negotiating the ransom of Jeanne
from the hands of Jean de Luxembourg. We doubt whether after all it
would be just even to call this a nefarious bargain. To the careless
seigneur it would probably be very much a matter of course. The ransom
offered--six thousand francs--was as good as if she had been a prince.
The ladies at home might be indignant, but what was their foolish fancy
for a high-flown girl in comparison with these substantial crowns in his
pocket; and to be free from the responsibility of guarding her would be
an advantage too. And if her own party did not stir on her behalf, why
should he? A most pertinent question. Cauchon, on the other hand, could
assure all objectors that no summary vengeance was to be taken on
the Maid. She was to be judged by the Church, and by the best men the
University could provide, and if she were found innocent, no doubt would
go free.

They must have been sanguine indeed who hoped for a triumphant acquittal
of Jeanne; but still it may have been hoped that a trial by her
countrymen would in every case be better for her than to languish in
prison or to be seized perhaps by the English on some after occasion,
and to perish by their hands. Let us therefore be fair to Cauchon, if
possible, up to the beginning of the _Procès_. He was no Frenchman,
but a Burgundian; his allegiance was to his Duke, not to the King of
England; but his natural sovereign did so, and many, very many men of
note and importance were equally base, and did not esteem it base at
all. Had the inhabitants of Rheims, his native town, or of Rouen,
in which _his_ trial and downfall took place as well as Jeanne's,
pronounced for the King of Prussia in the last war, and proclaimed
themselves his subjects, the traitors would have been hung with infamy
from their own high towers, or driven into their river headlong. But
things were very different in the fifteenth century. There has never
been a moment in our history when either England or Scotland has
pronounced for a foreign sway. Scotland fought with desperation for
centuries against the mere name of suzerainty, though of a kindred race.
There have been terrible moments of forced subjugation at the point of
the sword; but never any such phenomena as appeared in France, so far
on in the world's history as was that brilliant and highly cultured
age. Such a state of affairs is to our minds impossible to understand
or almost to believe: but in the interests of justice it must be fully
acknowledged and understood.

Cauchon arises accordingly, not at first with any infamy, out of the
obscurity. He had been expelled and dethroned from his See, but this
only for political reasons. He was ecclesiastically Bishop of Beauvais
still; it was within his diocese that the Maid had taken prisoner, and
there also her last acts of magic, if magic there was, had taken place.
He had therefore a legal right to claim the jurisdiction, a right which
no one had any interest in taking from him. If Paris was disappointed
at not having so interesting a trial carried on before its courts, there
was compensation in the fact that many doctors of the University were
called to assist Cauchon in his examination of the Maid, and to bring
her, witch, sorceress, heretic, whatever she might be, to question.
These doctors were not undistinguished or unworthy men. A number of them
held high office in the Church; almost all were honourably connected
with the University, the source of learning in France. "With what art
were they chosen!" exclaims M. Blaze de Bury. "A number of theologians,
the élite of the time, had been named to represent France at the council
of Bâle; of these Cauchon chose the flower." This does not seem on the
face of it to be a fact against, but rather in favour of, the tribunal,
which the reader naturally supposes must have been the better, the more
just, for being chosen among the flower of learning in France. They were
not men who could be imagined to be the tools of any Bishop. Quicherat,
in his moderate and able remarks on this subject, selects for special
mention three men who took a very important part in it, Guillame Érard,
Nicole Midi, and Tomas de Courcelles. They were all men who held a high
place in the respect of their generation. Érard was a friend of Machet,
the confessor of Charles VII., who had been a member of the tribunal
at Poitiers which first pronounced upon the pretensions of Jeanne; yet
after the trial of the Maid Machet still describes him as a man of the
highest virtue and heavenly wisdom. Nicole Midi continued to hold an
honourable place in his University for many years, and was the man
chosen to congratulate Charles when Paris finally became again the
residence of the King. Courcelles was considered the first theologian of
the age. "He was an austere and eloquent young man," says Quicherat,
"of a lucid mind, though nourished on abstractions. He was the first of
theologians long before he had attained the age at which he could assume
the rank of doctor, and even before he had finished his studies he was
considered as the successor of Gerson. He was the light of the council
of Bâle. Eneas Piccolomini (Pope Pius II.) speaks with admiration of his
capacity and his modesty. In him we recognise the father of the freedom
of the Gallican Church. His disinterestedness is shown by the simple
position with which he contented himself. He died with no higher rank
than that of Dean of the Chapter of Paris."

Did this in Cæsar seem ambitious? Was this the man to be used for
their vile ends by a savage English party thirsting for the blood of an
innocent victim, and by the vile priest who was its tool? It does not
seem so to our eyes across the long level of the centuries which clear
away so many mists. And no more dreadful accusation can be brought
against France than the suggestion that men like these, her best and
most carefully trained, were willing to act as blood-hounds for
the advantage and the pay of the invader. But there are many French
historians to whom the mere fact of a black gown or at least an
ecclesiastical robe, confounds every testimony, and to whom even the
name of Frenchman does not make it appear possible that a priest should
retain a shred of honour or of honesty. We should have said by the light
of nature and probability that had every guarantee been required for the
impartiality and justice of such a tribunal, they could not have
been better secured than by the selection of such men to conduct its
proceedings. They made a great and terrible mistake, as the wisest
of men have made before now. They did much worse, they behaved to an
unfortunate girl who was in their power with indescribable ferocity and
cruelty; but we must hope that this was owing to the period at which
they lived rather than to themselves.

It is not perhaps indeed from the wise and learned, the Stoics and
Pundits of a University, that we should choose judges for the divine
simplicity of those babes and sucklings out of whose mouth praise is
perfected. At the same time to choose the best men is not generally the
way adopted to procure a base judgement. Cauchon might have been subject
to this blame had he filled the benches of his court with creatures of
his own, nameless priests and dialecticians, knowing nothing but
their own poor science of words. He did not do so. There were but two
Englishmen in the assembly, neither of them men of any importance or
influence although there must have been many English priests in the
country and in the train of Winchester. There were not even any special
partisans of Burgundy, though some of the assessors were Burgundian by
birth. We should have said, had we known no more than this, that every
precaution had been taken to give the Maid the fairest trial. But at the
same time a trial which is conducted under the name of the Inquisition
is always suspect. The mere fact of that terrible name seems to
establish a foregone conclusion; few are the prisoners at that bar who
have ever escaped. This fact is almost all that can be set against the
high character of the individuals who composed the tribunal. At all
events it is no argument against the English that they permitted the
best men in France to be chosen as Jeanne's judges. It is the most
bewildering and astonishing of historical facts that they were so, and
yet came to the conclusion they did, by the means they did, and that
without falling under the condemnation, or scorn, or horror of their

This then was the assembly which gathered in Rouen in the beginning of
1431. Quicherat will not venture to affirm even that intimidation was
directly employed to effect their decision. He says that the evidence
"tends to prove" that this was the case, but honestly allows that, "it
is well to remark that the witnesses contradict each other." "In all
that I have said," he adds, "my intention has been to prove that the
judges of the Maid had in no way the appearance of partisans hotly
pursuing a political vengeance; but that, on the contrary, their known
weight, the consideration which most of them enjoyed, and the nature
of the tribunal for which they were assembled, were all calculated to
produce generally an expectation full of confidence and respect."

Meanwhile there is not a word to be said for the treatment to which
Jeanne herself was subjected, she being, so far as is apparent, entirely
in English custody. She had been treated with tolerable gentleness it
would seem in the first part of her captivity while in the hands of Jean
de Luxembourg, the Count de Ligny. The fact that the ladies of the house
were for her friends must have assured this, and there is no complaint
made anywhere of cruelty or even unkindness. When she arrived in Rouen
she was confined in the middle chamber of the donjon, which was the best
we may suppose, neither a dungeon under the soil, nor a room under the
leads, but one to which there was access by a short flight of steps from
the courtyard, and which was fully lighted and not out of reach or sight
of life. But in this chamber was an iron cage,(1) within which she was
bound, feet, and waist and neck, from the time of her arrival until
the beginning of the trial, a period of about six weeks. Five English
soldiers of the lowest class watched her night and day, three in the
room itself, two at the door. It is enough to think for a moment of the
probable manners and morals of these troopers to imagine what torture
must have been inflicted by their presence upon a young woman who had
always been sensitive above all things to the laws of personal modesty
and reserve. Their course jests would no doubt be unintelligible to
her, which would be an alleviation; but their coarse laughter, their
revolting touch, their impure looks, would be an endless incessant
misery. We are told that she indignantly bestowed a hearty buffet on the
cheek of a tailor who approached her too closely when it was intended
to furnish her with female dress; but she was helpless to defend herself
when in her irons, and had to endure as she best could--the bars of
her cage let us hope, if cage there was, affording her some little
protection from the horror of the continual presence of these rude
attendants, with whom it was a shame to English gentlemen and knights to
surround a helpless woman.

When her trial began Jeanne was released from her cage, but was still
chained by one foot to a wooden beam during the day, and at night to the
posts of her bed. Sometimes her guards would wake her to tell her that
she had been condemned and was immediately to be led forth to execution;
but that was a small matter. Attempts were also made to inflict the
barest insult and outrage upon her, and on one occasion she is said to
have been saved only by the Earl of Warwick, who heard her cries and
went to her rescue. By night as by day she clung to her male garb,
tightly fastened by the innumerable "points" of which Shakespeare so
often speaks. Such were the horrible circumstances in which she awaited
her public appearance before her judges. She was brought before them
every day for months together, to be badgered by the keenest wits in
France, coming back and back with artful questions upon every detail
of every subject, to endeavour to shake her firmness or force her into
self-contradiction. Imagine a cross-examination going on for months,
like those--only more cruel than those--to which we sometimes see an
unfortunate witness exposed in our own courts of law. There is nothing
more usual than to see people break down entirely after a day or two
of such a tremendous ordeal, in which their hearts and lives are turned
inside out, their minds so bewildered that they know not what they are
saying, and everything they have done in their lives exhibited in the
worst, often in an entirely fictitious, light, to the curiosity and
amusement of the world.

But all our processes are mercy in comparison with those to which French
prisoners at the bar are still exposed. It is unnecessary to enter into
an account of these which are so well known; but they show that even
such a trial as that of Jeanne was by no means so contrary to common
usage, as it would be, and always would have been in England. In England
we warn the accused to utter no rash word which may be used against him;
in France the first principle is to draw from him every rash word that
he can be made to bring forth. This was the method employed with Jeanne.
Her judges were all Churchmen and dialecticians of the subtlest wit
and most dexterous faculties in France; they had all, or almost all, a
strong prepossession against her. Though we cannot believe that men of
such quality were suborned, there was, no doubt, enough of jealous and
indignant feeling among them to make the desire of convicting Jeanne
more powerful with them than the desire for pure justice. She was a true
Christian, but not perhaps the soundest of Church-women. Her visions had
not the sanction of any priest's approval, except indeed the official
but not warm affirmation of the Council at Poitiers. She had not
hastened to take the Church into her confidence nor to put herself under
its protection. Though her claims had been guaranteed by the company
of divines at Poitiers, she herself had always appealed to her private
instructions, through her saints, rather than to the guiding of any
priest. The chief ecclesiastical dignitary of her own party had just
held her up to the reprobation of the people for this cause: she was too
independent, so proud that she would take no advice but acted according
to her own will. The more accustomed a Churchman is to experience
the unbounded devotion and obedience of women, the more enraged he is
against those who judge for themselves or have other guides on whom
they rely. Jeanne was, beside all other sins alleged against her, a
presumptuous woman: and very few of these men had any desire to acquit
her. They were little accustomed to researches which were solely
intended to discover the truth: their principle rather was, as it has
been the principle of many, to obtain proofs that their own particular
way of thinking was the right one. It is not perhaps very good even for
a system of doctrine when this is the principle by which it is tested.
It is more fatal still, on this principle, to judge an individual for
death or for life. It will be abundantly proved, however, by all that is
to follow, that in face of this tribunal, learned, able, powerful, and
prejudiced, the peasant girl of nineteen stood like a rock, unmoved
by all their cleverness, undaunted by their severity, seldom or never
losing her head, or her temper, her modest steadfastness, or her high
spirit. If they hoped to have an easy bargain of her, never were men
more mistaken. Not knowing a from b, as she herself said, untrained,
unaided, she was more than a match for them all.

Round about this centre of eager intelligence, curiosity, and prejudice,
the cathedral and council chamber teeming with Churchmen, was a dark and
silent ring of laymen and soldiers. A number of the English leaders were
in Rouen, but they appear very little. Winchester, who had very
lately come from England with an army, which according to some of the
historians would not budge from Calais, where it had landed, "for fear
of the Maid"--was the chief person in the place, but did not make any
appearance at the trial, curiously enough; the Duke of Bedford we are
informed was visible on one shameful occasion, but no more. But Warwick,
who was the Governor of the town, appears frequently and various other
lords with him. We see them in the mirror held up to us by the French
historians, pressing round in an ever narrowing circle, closing up upon
the tribunal in the midst, pricking the priests with perpetual sword
points if they seem to loiter. They would have had everything pushed on,
no delay, no possibility of escape. It is very possible that this was
the case, for it is evident that the Witch was deeply obnoxious to the
English, and that they were eager to have her and her endless process
out of the way; but the evidence for their terror and fierce desire to
expedite matters is of the feeblest. A canon of Rouen declared at the
trial that he had heard it said by Maître Pierre Morice, and Nicolas
l'Oyseleur, judges assessors, and by other whose names he does not
recollect, "that the said English were so afraid of her that they did
not dare to begin the siege of Louviers until she was dead; and that it
was necessary if one would please them, to hasten the trial as much as
possible and to find the means of condemning her." Very likely this was
quite true: but it cannot at all be taken for proved by such evidence.
Another contemporary witness allows that though some of the English
pushed on her trial for hate, some were well disposed to her; the manner
of Jeanne's imprisonment is the only thing which inclines the reader to
believe every evil thing that is said against them.

Such were the circumstances in which Jeanne was brought to trail. The
population, moved to pity and to tears as any population would
have been, before the end, would seem at the beginning to have been
indifferent and not to have taken much interest one way or another: the
court, a hundred men and more with all their hangers-on, the cleverest
men in France, one more distinguished and impeccable than the others:
the stern ring of the Englishmen outside keeping an eye upon the tedious
suit and all its convolutions: these all appear before us, surrounding
as with bands of iron the young lonely victim in the donjon, who
submitting to every indignity, and deprived of every aid, feeling that
all her friends had abandoned her, yet stood steadfast and strong in
her absolute simplicity and honesty. It was but two years in that same
spring weather since she had left Vaucouleurs to seek the fortune of
France, to offer herself to the struggle which now was coming to an end.
Not a soul had Jeanne to comfort or stand by her. She had her saints
who--one wonders if such a thought ever entered into her young visionary
head--had lured her to her doom, and who still comforted her with
enigmatical words, promises which came true in so sadly different a
sense from that in which they were understood.

     (1) We are glad to add that the learned Quicherat has doubts
     on the subject of the cage.


We have not, however, sufficiently described the horror of the prison,
and the treatment to which Jeanne was exposed, though the picture is
already dark enough. It throws a horrible yet also a grotesque light
upon the savage manners of the time to find that the chamber in which
she was confined, had secret provision for an _espionnage_ of the most
base kind, openings made in the walls through which everything that took
place in the room, every proceeding of the unfortunate prisoner, could
be spied upon and every word heard. The idea of such a secret watch
has always been attractive to the vulgar mind, and no doubt it has been
believed to exist many times when there was little or no justification
for such an infernal thought. From the "ear" of Dionysius, down to the
_Trou Judas_, which early tourists on the Continent were taught to fear
in every chamber door, the idea has descended to our own times. It would
seem, however, to be beyond doubt that this odious means of acquiring
information was in full operation during the trial of Jeanne, and
various spies were permitted to peep at her, and to watch for any
unadvised word she might say in her most private moments. We are told
that the Duke of Bedford made use of the opportunity in a still more
revolting way, and was present, a secret spectator, at the fantastic
scene when Jeanne was visited by a committee of matrons who examined
her person to prove or to disprove one of the hateful insinuations which
were made about her. The imagination, however, refuses to conceive that
a man of serious age and of high functions should have degraded himself
to the level of a Peeping Tom in this way; all the French historians,
nevertheless, repeat the story though on the merest hearsay evidence.
And they also relate, with more apparent truth, how a double treachery
was committed upon the unfortunate prisoner by stationing two
secretaries at these openings, to take down her conversation with a spy
who had been sent to her in the guise of a countryman of her own; and
that not only Cauchon but Warwick also was present on this occasion,
listening, while their plot was carried out by the vile traitor inside.
The clerks, we are glad to say, are credited with a refusal to act: but
Warwick did not shrink from the ignominy. The Englishmen indeed shrank
from no ignominy; nor did the great French savants assembled under the
presidency of the Bishop. It is necessary to grant to begin with that
they were neither ignorant nor base men, yet from the beginning of the
trial almost every step taken by them appears base, as well as marked,
in the midst of all their subtlety and diabolical cunning, by the
profoundest ignorance of human nature. The spy of whom we have spoken,
L'Oyseleur (bird-snarer, a significant name), was sent, and consented to
be sent, to Jeanne in her prison, as a fellow prisoner, a _pays_,
like herself from Lorraine, to invite her confidence: but his long
conversations with the Maid, which were heard behind their backs by
the secretaries, elicited nothing from her that she did not say in the
public examination. She had no secret devices to betray to a traitor.
She would not seem, indeed, to have suspected the man at all, not
even when she saw him among her judges taking part against her. Jeanne
herself suspected no falsehood, but made her confession to him, when she
found that he was a priest, and trusted him fully. The bewildering
and confusing fact, turning all the contrivances of her judges into
foolishness, was, that she had nothing to confess that she was not ready
to tell in the eye of day.

The adoption of this abominable method of eliciting secrets from the
candid soul which had none, was justified, it appears, by the manner of
her trial, which was after the rules of the Inquisition--by which even
more than by those which regulate an ordinary French trial the guilt of
the accused is a foregone conclusion for which proof is sought, not a
fair investigation of facts for abstract purposes of justice. The first
thing to be determined by the tribunal was the counts of the indictment
against Jeanne; was she to be tried for magical arts, for sorcery and
witchcraft? It is very probable that the mission of L'Oyseleur was to
obtain evidence that would clear up this question by means of recalling
to her the stories of her childhood, of the enchanted tree, and the
Fairies' Well; from which sources, her accusers anxiously hoped to prove
that she derived her inspiration. But it is very clear that no such
evidence was forthcoming, and that it seemed to them hopeless to
attribute sorcery to her; therefore the accusation was changed to that
of heresy alone. The following mandate from the University authorising
her prosecution will show what the charge was; and the reader will note
that one of its darkest items is the costume, which for so many good
and sufficient reasons she wore. Here is the official description of the

"A woman, calling herself the Maid, leaving the dress and habit of her
sex against the divine law, a thing abominable to God, clothed and armed
in the habit and condition of a man, has done cruel deeds of homicide,
and as is said has made the simple people believe, in order to abuse
and lead them astray, that she was sent by God, and had knowledge of His
divine secrets; along with several other doctrines (_dogmatisations_),
very dangerous, prejudicial, and scandalous to our holy Catholic faith,
in pursuing which abuses, and exercising hostility against us and our
people, she has been taken in arms, before Compiègne, and brought as a
prisoner before us."

According to French law the indictment ought to have been founded upon a
preliminary examination into the previous life of the accused, which, as
it does not appear in the formal accusations, it was supposed had never
been made. Recent researches, however, have proved that it was made, but
was not of a nature to strengthen or justify any accusation. All that
the examiners could discover was that Jeanne d'Arc was a good and honest
maid who left a spotless reputation behind her in her native village,
and that not a suspicion of _dogmatisations_, nor worship of fairies,
nor any other unseemly thing was associated with her name. Other things
less favourable, we are told, were reported of her: the statement,
for instance, made in apparent good faith by Monstrelet the Burgundian
chronicler, that she had been for some time a servant in an _auberge_,
and there had learned to ride, and to consort with men--a statement
totally without foundation, which was scarcely referred to in the trial.

The skill of M. Quicherat discovered the substance of those inquiries
among the many secondary papers, but they were not made use of in the
formal proceedings. This also we are told, though contrary to the habit
of French law, was justified by the methods of the Inquisition, which
were followed throughout the trial. One breach of law and justice,
however, is permitted by no code. It is expressly forbidden by French,
and even by inquisitorial law, that a prisoner should be tried by
his enemies--that is by judges avowedly hostile to him: an initial
difficulty which it would have been impossible to get over and which
had therefore to be ignored. One brave and honest man, Nicolas de
Houppeville, had the courage to make this observation in one of the
earliest sittings of the assembly:

"Neither the Bishop of Beauvais" (he said) "nor the other members of the
tribunal ought to be judges in the matter; and it did not seem to him a
good mode of procedure that those who were of the opposite party to
the accused should be her judges--considering also that she had been
examined already by the clergy of Poitiers, and by the Archbishop of
Rheims, who was the metropolitan of the said Bishop of Beauvais."

Nicolas de Houppeville was a lawyer and had a right to be heard on such
a point; but the reply of the judges was to throw him into prison, not
without threats on the part of the civil authorities to carry the point
further by throwing him into the Seine. This was the method by which
every honest objection was silenced. That the examination at Poitiers,
where the judges, as has been seen, were by no means too favourable to
Jeanne, should never have been referred to by her present examiners,
though there was no doubt it ought to have been one of the most
important sources of the preliminary information--is also very
remarkable. It was suggested indeed to Jeanne at a late period of the
trial, that she might appeal to the Archbishop; but he was, as she well
knew, one of her most cruel enemies.

Still more important was the breach of all justice apparent in the fact
that she had no advocate, no counsel on her side, no one to speak to
her and conduct her defence. It was suggested to her near the end of the
proceedings that she might choose one of her judges to fill this office;
but even if the proposal had been a genuine one or at all likely to
be to her advantage, it was then too late to be of any use. These
particulars, we believe, were enough to invalidate any process in strict
law; but the name of law seems ridiculous altogether as applied to this
rambling and cruel cross-examination in which was neither sense nor
decorum. The reader will understand that there were no witnesses either
for or against her, the answers of the accused herself forming the
entire evidence.

One or two particulars may still be added to make the background at
least more clear. The prison of Jeanne, as we have seen, was not left
in the usual silence of such a place; the constant noise with which
the English troopers filled the air, jesting, gossiping, and
carrying on their noisy conversation, if nothing worse and more
offensive--sometimes, as Jeanne complains, preventing her from hearing
(her sole solace) the soft voices of her saintly visitors--was not her
only disturbance. Her solitude was broken by curious and inquisitive
visitors of various kinds. L'Oyseleur, the abominable detective, who
professed to be her countryman and who beguiled her into talk of her
childhood and native place, was the first of these; and it is possible
that at first his presence was a pleasure to her. One other visitor of
whom we hear accidentally, a citizen of Rouen, Pierre Casquel, seems to
have got in private interest and with a more or less good motive and no
evil meaning. He warned her to answer with prudence the questions put
to her, since it was a matter of life and death. She seemed to him to
be "very simple" and still to believe that she might be ransomed. Earl
Warwick, the commander of the town, appears on various occasions. He
probably had his headquarters in the Castle, and thus heard her cry for
help in her danger, executing, let us hope, summary vengeance on her
brutal assailant; but he also evidently took advantage of his power to
show his interesting prisoner to his friends on occasion. And it was he
who took her original captor, Jean de Luxembourg, now Comte de Ligny,
by whom she had been given up, to see her, along with an English lord,
sometimes named as Lord Sheffield. The Belgian who had put so many good
crowns in his pocket for her ransom, thought it good taste to enter with
a jesting suggestion that he had come to buy her back.

"Jeanne, I will have you ransomed if you will promise never to bear arms
against us again," he said. The Maid was not deceived by this mocking
suggestion. "It is well for you to jest," she said, "but I know you have
no such power. I know that the English will kill me, believing, after I
am dead, that they will be able to win all the kingdom of France: but
if there were a hundred thousand more Goddens than there are, they shall
never win the kingdom of France." The English lord drew his dagger to
strike the helpless girl, all the stories say, but was prevented by
Warwick. Warwick, however, we are told, though he had thus saved her
twice, "recovered his barbarous instincts" as soon as he got outside,
and indignantly lamented the possibility of Jeanne's escape from the

Such incidents as these alone lightened or darkened her weary days in
prison. A traitor or spy, a prophet of evil shaking his head over her
danger, a contemptuous party of jeering nobles; afterwards inquisitors,
for ever repeating in private their tedious questions: these all visited
her--but never a friend. Jeanne was not afraid of the English lord's
dagger, or of the watchful eye of Warwick over her. Even when spying
through a hole, if the English earl and knight, indeed permitted himself
that strange indulgence, his presence and inspection must have been
almost the only defence of the prisoner. Our historians all quote,
with an admiration almost as misplaced as their horror of Warwick's
"barbarous instincts," the _vrai galant homme_ of an Englishman who in
the midst of the trial cried out "_Brave femme_!" (it is difficult to
translate the words, for _brave_ means more than brave)--"why was she
not English?" However we are not concerned to defend the English share
of the crime. The worst feature of all is that she never seems to
have been visited by any one favourable and friendly to her, except
afterwards, the two or three pitying priests whose hearts were touched
by her great sufferings, though they remained among her judges, and gave
sentence against her. No woman seems ever to have entered that dreadful
prison except those "matrons" who came officially as has been already
said. The ladies de Ligny had cheered her in her first confinement,
the kind women of Abbeville had not been shut out even from the gloomy
fortress of Le Crotoy. But here no woman ever seems to have been
permitted to enter, a fact which must either be taken to prove the
hostility of the population, or the very vigorous regulations of the
prison. Perhaps the barbarous watch set upon her, the soldiers ever
present, may have been a reason for the absence of any female visitor.
At all events it is a very distinct fact that during the whole period
of her trial, five months of misery, except on the one occasion already
referred to, no woman came to console the unfortunate Maid. She had
never before during all her vicissitudes been without their constant

One woman, the only one we ever hear of who was not the partisan and
lover of the Maid, does, however, make herself faintly seen amid the
crowd. Catherine of La Rochelle--the woman who had laid claim to saintly
visitors and voices like those of Jeanne, and who had been for a time
received and fêted at the Court of Charles with vile satisfaction, as
making the loss of the Maid no such great thing--had by this time been
dropped as useless, on the appearance of the shepherd boy quoted by the
Archbishop of Rheims, and had fallen into the hands of the English: was
not she too a witch, and admirably qualified to give evidence as to the
other witch, for whose blood all around her were thirsting? Catherine
was ready to say anything that was evil of her sister sorceress. "Take
care of her," she said; "if you lose sight of her for one moment, the
devil will carry her away." Perhaps this was the cause of the guard
in Jeanne's room, the ceaseless scrutiny to which she was exposed. The
vulgar slanderer was allowed to escape after this valuable testimony.
She comes into history like a will-o'-the-wisp, one of the marsh lights
that mean nothing but putrescence and decay, and then flickers out again
with her false witness into the wastes of inanity. That she should have
been treated so leniently and Jeanne so cruelly! say the historians.
Reason good: she was nothing, came of nothing, and meant nothing. It
is profane to associate Jeanne's pure and beautiful name with that of
a mountebank. This is the only woman in all her generation, so far
as appears to us, who was not the partisan and devoted friend of the
spotless Maid.

The aspect of that old-world city of Rouen, still so old and picturesque
to the visitor of to-day, though all new since that time except the
churches, is curious and interesting to look back upon. It must have
hummed and rustled with life through every street; not only with the
English troops, and many a Burgundian man-at-arms, swaggering about,
swearing big oaths and filling the air with loud voices,--but with all
the polished bands of the doctors, men first in fame and learning of
the famous University, and beneficed priests of all classes, canons
and deans and bishops, with the countless array that followed them, the
cardinal's tonsured Court in addition, standing by and taking no share
in the business: but all French and English alike, occupied with one
subject, talking of the trial, of the new points brought out, of the
opinions of this doctor and that, of Maître Nicolas who had presumed on
his lawyership to correct the bishop, and had suffered for it: of the
bold canon who ventured to whisper a suggestion to the prisoner, and who
ever since had had the eye of the governor upon him: of Warwick, keeping
a rough shield of protection around the Maid but himself fiercely
impatient of the law's delay, anxious to burn the witch and be done with
her. And Jeanne herself, the one strange figure that nobody understood;
was she a witch? Was she an angelic messenger? Her answers so simple,
so bold, so full of the spirit and sentiment of truth, must have been
reported from one to another. This is what she said; does that look like
a deceiver? could the devils inspire that steadfastness, that constancy
and quiet? or was it not rather the angels, the saints as she said?
Never, we may be sure, had there been in Rouen a time of so much
interest, such a theme for conversations, such a subject for all
thoughts. The eager court sat with their tonsured heads together, keen
to seize every weak point. Did you observe how she hesitated on this?
Let us push that, we'll get an admission on that point to-morrow. It is
impossible to believe that in such an assembly every man was a partisan,
much less that each one of them was thinking of the fee of the English,
the daily allowance which it was the English habit to make. That were to
imagine a France, base indeed beyond the limits of human baseness. All
the Norman dignitaries of the Church, all the most learned doctors
of the University--no! that is too great a stretch of our faith. The
greater part no doubt believed as an indisputable fact, that Jeanne was
either a witch or an impostor, as we should all probably do now. And
the vertigo of Inquisition gained upon them; they became day by day more
exasperated with her seeming innocence, with what must have seemed to
them the cunning and cleverness, impossible to her age and sex, of
her replies. Who could have kept the girl so cool, so dauntless, so
embarrassing in her straight-forwardness and sincerity? The saints? the
saints were not dialecticians; far more likely the evil one himself, in
whom the Church has always such faith. "He hath a devil and by Beelzebub
casteth out devils." It was all like a play, only more exciting than
any play, and going on endlessly, the excitement always getting stronger
till it became the chief stimulus and occupation of life.


It was in the chapel of the Castle of Rouen, on the 21st of February,
that the trial of Jeanne was begun. The judges present numbered about
forty, and are carefully classed as doctors in theology, abbots, canons,
doctors in canonical and civil law, with the Bishop of Beauvais at their
head (the archepiscopal see of Rouen being vacant, as is added: but not
that my lord of Beauvais hoped for that promotion). They were assembled
there in all the solemnity of their priestly and professional robes,
the reporters ready with their pens, the range of dark figures forming a
semicircle round the presiding Bishop, when the officer of the court led
in the prisoner, clothed in her worn and war-stained tunic, like a boy,
with her hair cut close as for the helmet, and her slim figure, no doubt
more slim than ever, after her long imprisonment. She had asked to be
allowed to hear mass before coming to the bar, but this was refused. It
was a privilege which she had never failed to avail herself of in her
most triumphant days. Now the chapel--the sanctuary of God contained
for her no sacred sacrifice, but only those dark benches of priests amid
whom she found no responsive countenance, no look of kindness.

Jeanne was addressed sternly by Cauchon, in an exhortation which it is
sad to think was not in Latin, as it appears in the _Procès_. She was
then required to take the oath on the Scriptures to speak the truth, and
to answer all questions addressed to her. Jeanne had already held that
conversation with L'Oyseleur in the prison which Cauchon and Warwick had
listened to in secret with greedy ears, but which Manchon, the honest
reporter, had refused to take down. Perhaps, therefore, the Bishop knew
that the slim creature before him, half boy half girl, was not likely to
be overawed by his presence or questions; but it cannot have been but a
wonder to the others, all gazing at her, the first men in Normandy,
the most learned in Paris, to hear her voice, _assez femme_, young and
clear, arising in the midst of them, "I know not what things I may be
asked," said Jeanne. "Perhaps you may ask me questions which I cannot
answer." The assembly was startled by this beginning.

"Will you swear to answer truly all that concerns the faith, and that
you know?"

"I will swear," said Jeanne, "about my father and mother and what I have
done since coming to France; but concerning my revelations from God
I will answer to no man, except only to Charles my King; I should not
reveal them were you to cut off my head, unless by the secret counsel of
my visions."

The Bishop continued not without gentleness, enjoining her to swear at
least that in everything that touched the faith she would speak truth;
and Jeanne kneeling down crossed her hands upon the book of the Gospel,
or Missal as it is called in the report, and took the required oath,
always under the condition she stated, to answer truly on everything she
knew concerning the faith, except in respect to her revelations.

The examination then began with the usual formalities. She was asked her
name (which she said with touching simplicity was Jeannette at home but
Jeanne in France), the names of her father and mother, godfather and
godmothers, the priest who baptised her, the place where she was born,
etc., her age, almost nineteen; her education, consisting of the Pater
Noster, Ave Maria, and Credo, which her mother had taught her.

Here she was asked, a curious interruption to the formal interrogatory,
to say the Pater Noster--the reason of which sudden demand was that
witches and sorcerers were supposed to be unable to repeat that prayer.
As unexpected as the question was Jeanne's reply. She answered that if
the Bishop would hear her in confession she would say it willingly. She
had been refused all the exercises of piety, and she was speaking to a
company of priests.

There is a great dignity of implied protest against this treatment in
such an answer. The request was made a second time with a promise of
selecting two worthy Frenchmen to hear her: but her reply was the same.
She would say the prayer when she made her confession but not otherwise.
She was ready it would seem in proud humility to confess to any or
to all of her enemies, as one whose conscience was clear, and who had
nothing to conceal.

She was then commanded not to attempt to escape from her prison, on pain
of being condemned for heresy, but to this again she demurred at once.
She would not accept the prohibition, but would escape if she could,
so that no man could say that she had broken faith; although since her
capture she had been bound in chains and her feet fastened with irons.
To this, her examiner said that it was necessary so to secure her in
order that she might not escape. "It is true and certain," she replied,
"whatever others may wish, that to every prisoner it is lawful to escape
if he can." It may be remarked, as she forcibly pointed out afterwards,
that she had never given her faith, never surrendered, but had always
retained her freedom of action.

The tribunal thereupon called in the captain in charge of Jeanne's
prison, a gentleman called John Gris in the record, probably John Grey,
along with two soldiers, Bernoit and Talbot, and enjoined them to guard
her securely and not to permit her to talk with any one without the
permission of the court. This was all the business done on the first day
of audience.

On the 22d of February at eight o'clock in the morning, the sitting was
resumed. In the meantime, however, the chapel had been found too small
and too near the outer world, the proceedings being much interrupted by
shouts and noises from without, and probably incommoded within by the
audience which had crowded it the first day. The judges accordingly
assembled in the great hall of the castle; they were forty-nine in
number on the second day, the number being chiefly swelled by canons
of Rouen. After some preliminary business the accused was once more
introduced, and desired again to take the oath. Jeanne replied that she
had done so on the previous day and that this was enough; upon which
there followed a short altercation, which, however, ended by her consent
to swear again that she would answer truly in all things that concerned
the faith. The questioner this day was Jean Beaupère (_Pulchri patris_,
as he is called in the Latin), a theologian, Master of Arts, Canon of
Paris and of Besançon, "one of the greatest props of the University of
Paris," a man holding a number of important offices, and who afterwards
appeared at the Council of Bâle as the deputy of Normandy. He began
by another exhortation to speak the truth, to which Jeanne replied as
before that what she did say she would say truly, but that she would not
answer upon all subjects. "I have done nothing but by revelation," she

These preliminaries on both sides having been gone through, the
examination was resumed. Jeanne informed the court in answer to
Beaupère's question that she had been taught by her mother to sew and
did not fear to compete with any woman in Rouen in these crafts; that
she had once been absent from home when her family were driven out of
their village by fear of the Burgundians, and that she had then lived
for about fifteen days in the house of a woman called La Rousse, at
Neufchâteau; that when she was at home she was occupied in the work of
the house and did not go to the fields with the sheep and other animals;
that she went to confession regularly to the Curé of her own village, or
when he could not hear her, to some other priest, by permission of the
Curé; also that two or three times she had made her confession to the
mendicant friars--this being during her stay in Neufchâteau (where
presumably she was not acquainted with the clergy); and that she
received the sacrament always at Easter. Asked whether she had
communicated at other feasts than Easter, she said briefly that this
was enough. "Go on to the rest," _passez outre_, she added, and the
questioner seems to have been satisfied. Then came the really vital
part of the matter. She proceeded--no direct question on the point being
recorded, though no doubt it was made--to tell how when she was about
thirteen she heard voices from God bidding her to be good and obedient.
The first time she was much afraid. The voice came about the hour of
noon, in summer, in her father's garden. She was fasting but had not
fasted the preceding day. The voice came from the right, towards the
church; and came rarely without a great light. This light came always
from the side whence the voice proceeded, and was a very bright
radiance. When she came into France she still continued to hear the same

She was then asked how she could see the light when it was at the side;
to which foolish question Jeanne gave no reply, but "turned to other
matters," saying voluntarily with a soft implied reproof of the noise
around her--that if she were in a wood, that is in a quiet place, she
could hear the voices coming towards her. She added (going on, one could
imagine, in a musing, forgetting the congregation of sinners about her)
that it seemed to her a noble voice, and that she believed it came from
God, and that when she had heard it three times she knew it was the
voice of an angel; the voice always came quite clearly to her, and she
understood it well.

She was then asked what it said to her concerning the salvation of her

She said that it taught her to rule her life well, to go often to
church: and told her that it was necessary that she, Jeanne, should
go to France. The said Jeanne added that she would not be questioned
further concerning the voice, or the manner in which it was made known
to her, but that two or three times in a week it had said to her that
she must go to France; but that her father knew nothing of this. The
voice said to her that she should go to France, until she could endure
it no longer; it said to her that she should raise the siege, which was
set against the city of Orleans. It said also that she must go to Robert
of Baudricourt, in the city of Vaucouleurs, who was captain of that
place, and that he would give her people to go with her; to which she
had answered that she was a poor girl who knew not how to ride, nor how
to conduct war. She then said that she went to her uncle and told him
that she wished to go with him for a little while to his house, and that
she lived there for eight days; she then told her uncle that she must go
to Vaucouleurs, and the said uncle took her there. Also she went on to
say that when she came to the said city of Vaucouleurs, she recognised
Robert of Baudricourt; though she had never seen him before she knew him
by the voice that said to her which was he. She then told this Robert
that it was necessary that she should go to France, but twice over he
refused and repulsed her; the third time, however, he received her, and
gave her certain men to go with her; the voice had told her that this
would be so.

She said also that the Duke of Lorraine sent for her to come to him, and
that she went under a safe conduct granted by him, and told him that
she must go to France. He asked her whether he should recover from his
illness; but she told him that she knew nothing of that, and she talked
very little to him of her journey. She told the Duke that he ought to
send his son and his people with her to take her to France, and that
she would pray God to restore his health; and then she was taken back to
Vaucouleurs. She said also that when she left Vaucouleurs she wore the
dress of a man, without any other arms than a sword which Robert de
Baudricourt had given her; and that she had with her a chevalier, a
squire, and four servants, and that they slept for the first night at
St. Urbain, in the abbey there. She was then asked by whose advice she
wore the dress of a man, but refused to answer. Finally she said that
she charged no man with giving her this advice.

She went on to say that the said Robert de Baudricourt exacted an oath
from those who went with her, that they would conduct her to the end of
her journey well and safely; and that he said, as she left him, "Go, and
let come what will." She also said that she knew well that God loved the
Duke of Orleans, concerning whom she had more revelations than about any
other living man, except him whom she called her King. She added that it
was necessary for her to wear male attire, and that whoever advised her
to do so had given her wise counsel.

She then said that she sent a letter to the English before Orleans, in
which she required them to go away, a copy of which letter had been read
to her in Rouen; but there were two or three mistakes, especially in
the words which called upon them to surrender to the Maid instead of
to surrender to the King. (There is no indication why these two latter
statements should have been introduced into the midst of her narrative
of the journey; it may have been in reply to some other question
interjected by another of her examiners: _Passez outre_, as she herself
says. She immediately resumes the simple and straightforward tale.)

The said Jeanne went on to say that her further journey to him whom she
called her King was without any impediment; and that when she arrived
at the town of St. Catherine de Fierbois she sent news of her arrival to
the town of Chasteau-Chinon where the said King was. She arrived there
herself about noon and went to an inn(1); and after dinner went to him
whom she called her King, who was in the castle. She then said that when
she entered the chamber where he was, she knew him among all others,
by the revelation of her "voices." She told her King that she wished to
make war against the English.

She was then asked whether when she heard the "voices" in the presence
of the King the light was also seen in that place. She answered as
before: _Passez outre: Transeatis ultra_. "Go on," as we might say, "to
the other questions."

She was asked if she had seen an angel hovering over her King. She
answered: "Spare me; _passez outre_." She added afterwards, however,
that before he put his hand to the work, the King had many beautiful
apparitions and revelations. She was asked what these were. She
answered: "I will not tell you; it is not I who should answer; send to
the King and he will tell you."

She was then asked if her voices had promised her that when she came to
the King he would receive her. She answered that those of her own
party knew that she had been sent from God and that some had heard
and recognised the voices. Further, she said that her King and various
others had heard and seen(2) the voices coming to her--Charles of
Bourbon (Comte de Clermont) and two or three others with him. She then
said that there was no day in which she did not hear that voice; but
that she asked nothing from it except the salvation of her soul. Besides
this, Jeanne confessed that the voice said she should be led to the town
of St. Denis in France, where she wished to remain--that is after the
attack on Paris--but that against her will the lords forced her to leave
it: if she had not been wounded she would not have gone: but she was
wounded in the moats of Paris: however she was healed in five days. She
then said that she had made an assault, called in French _escarmouche_
(skirmish), upon the town of Paris. She was asked if it was on a holy
day, and said that she believed it was on a festival. She was then
asked if she thought it well done to fight on a holy day, and answered,
"_Passez outre_." Go on to the next question.

This is a verbatim account of one day of the trial. Most of the
translations which exist give questions as well as answers: but these
are but occasionally given in the original document, and Jeanne's
narrative reads like a calm, continuous statement, only interrupted now
and then by a question, usually a cunning attempt to startle her with
a new subject, and to hurry some admission from her. The great dignity
with which she makes her replies, the occasional flash of high spirit,
the calm determination with which she refuses to be led into discussion
of the subjects which she had from the first moment reserved, are very
remarkable. We have seen her hitherto only in conflict, in the din of
battle and the fatigue, yet exuberant energy, of rapid journeys. Her
circumstances were now very different. She had been shut up in prison
for months, for six weeks at least she had been in irons, and the air
of heaven had not blown upon this daughter of the fields; her robust yet
sensitive maidenhood had been exposed to a hundred offences, and to the
constant society, infecting the very air about, of the rudest of men;
yet so far is her spirit from being broken that she meets all those
potent, grave, and reverend doctors and ecclesiastics, with the
simplicity and freedom of a princess, answering frankly or holding
her peace as seems good to her, afraid of nothing, keeping her
self-possession, all her wits about her as we say, without panic
and without presumption. The trial of Jeanne is indeed almost more
miraculous than her fighting; a girl not yet nineteen, forsaken of all,
without a friend! It is less wonderful that she should have developed
the qualities of a general, of a gunner, every gift of war--than that in
her humiliation and distress she should thus hold head against all
the most subtle intellects in France, and bear, with but one moment of
faltering, a continued cross-examination of three months, without losing
her patience, her heart, or her courage.


The third day brought a still larger accession of judges, sixty-two of
them taking their places on the benches round the Bishop in the great
hall; and the day began with another and longer altercation between
Cauchon and Jeanne on the subject of the oath again demanded of her. She
maintained her resolution to say nothing of her voices. "We" according
to the record "required of her that she should swear simply and
absolutely without reservation." She would seem to have replied with
impatience, "Let me speak freely:" adding "By my faith you may ask me
many questions which I will not answer": then explaining, "Many things
you may ask me, but I will tell you nothing truly that concerns my
revelations; for you might compel me to say things which I have sworn
not to say; and so I should perjure myself, which you ought not to
wish." This explains several statements which she made later in respect
to her introduction to the King. She repeated emphatically: "I warn
you well, you who call yourselves my judges, that you take a great
responsibility upon you, and that you burden me too much." She said also
that it was enough to have already sworn twice. She was again asked to
swear simply and absolutely, and answered, "It is enough to have sworn
twice," and that all the clerks in Rouen and Paris could not condemn her
unless lawfully; also that of her coming she would speak the truth but
not all the truth; and that the space of eight days would not be enough
to tell all.

"We the said Bishop" (continues the report) "then said to her that she
should ask advice from those present whether she ought to swear or
not. She replied again that of her coming she would speak truly and not
otherwise, nor would it be fit that she should talk at large. We then
told her that it would throw suspicion on what she said if she did not
swear to speak the truth. She answered as before. We repeated that she
must swear precisely and absolutely. She answered that she would say
what she knew, but not all, and that she had come on the part of God,
and appealed to God from whom she came. Again requested and admonished
to swear on pain of every punishment that could be put on her, again
answered '_Passez outre_.' Finally she consented to swear that she would
speak the truth in everything that concerned the trial."

Her examination was then resumed by Beaupère as before, who elicited
from her that she had fasted (he seems to have wished to make out that
the fasting had something to do with her visions) since noon the day
before (it was Lent); and also that she had heard her voices both on
that day and the day before, three times on the previous day, the first
time in the morning when she was asleep, and awakened by them. Did she
kneel and thank them? She thanked them, sitting up in her bed (to which
she was chained, as her questioner knew) and clasping her hands. She
asked them what she was to do, and they told her to answer boldly.

It may be remarked here that more frequently as the examination goes
on, part of Jeanne's words are quoted in the first person, as if the
reporters had been specially struck by them, while the bulk of her
evidence goes on more calmly in the third person, the narrative form.
After saying that she was bidden to answer boldly, she seems to have
turned to the Bishop, and to have addressed him individually: "You say
you are my judge; I warn you to take care what you are doing, for I
am sent from God, and you are putting yourself in much peril" (_magno
periculo: gallice_, adds the reporter, _en grant dangier_).

She was then asked if her voices ever changed their meaning, and
answered that she had never heard two speak contrary to each other; what
they had said that day was that she should speak boldly. Asked, if the
voice forbade her to reply to questions asked, she replied; "I will not
answer you. I have revelations touching the King which I will not tell
you." Asked, if the voices forbade her to reveal these revelations, she
answered, "I have not consulted them; give me fifteen days' delay and I
will answer you"; but being again exhorted to reply, said: "If the voice
forbade me to speak, how many times should I tell you?" Again asked, if
she were forbidden to speak, answered, "I believe I am not forbidden
by men"--repeating that she would not reply, and knew not how far she
should reply, for it had not been revealed to her; but that she believed
firmly, as firmly as the Christian faith, and that God had redeemed us
from the pains of hell, that this voice came from Him.

Questioned concerning the voice, what it appeared to be when it spoke,
if that of an angel, or from God Himself; or if it was the voice of a
saint or of saints (feminine), answered: "The voice comes from God; and
I believe that I should not tell you all I know, for I should displease
these voices if I answered you; and as for this question I pray you
to leave me free." Asked if she thought that to speak the truth would
displease God, she answered, "What the voices say I am to tell to the
King, not to you," adding that during that night they had said much to
her for the good of the King, and that if she could but let him know
she would willingly drink no wine up to Easter (the reader will remember
that her frugal fare consisted of bread dipped in the wine and water,
which is justly called _eau rougie_ in France). Asked, if she could not
induce the voices to speak to her King directly, she answered that she
knew not whether her voices would consent, unless it were the will of
God, and God consented to it, adding, "They might well reveal it to the
King; and with that I should be content." Asked, if the voices could
not communicate with the King as they did in her presence, she answered,
that she did not know whether this was God's will; and added, that
unless it were the will of God she would not know how to act. Asked, if
it was by the advice of her voices that she attempted to escape from
her prison, she answered, "I have nothing to say to you on that point."
Asked, if she always saw a light when the voices were heard, she
answered: "Yes: that with the sound of the voices light came." Asked if
she saw anything else coming with the voices, answered: "I do not tell
you all. I am not allowed to do so, nor does my oath touch that; the
voices are good and noble, but neither of that will I answer." She was
then asked to give in writing the points on which she would not reply.
Then she was asked if her voices had eyes and ears, and answered, "You
shall not have this either," adding, that it was a saying among children
that men were sometimes hanged for speaking the truth.

She was then asked if she knew herself to be in the grace of God. She
replied: "If I am not so, may God put me in His grace; if I am, may God
keep me in it. I should be the most miserable in the world if I were not
in the grace of God." She said besides, that if she were in a state of
sin she did not believe her voices would come to her, and she wished
that everyone could understand them as she did, adding, that she was
about thirteen when they came to her first.

She was then asked, whether in her childhood she had played with the
other children in the fields, and various other particulars about
Domremy, whether there were any Burgundians there? to which Jeanne
answered boldly that there was one, and that she wished his head might
be cut off, adding piously, "that is, if it pleased God"(3); she was
also asked whether she had fought along with the other children against
the children of the neighbouring Burgundian village of Maxy (Maxey sur
Meuse): why she hated the Burgundians, and many questions of this
kind, with a close examination about a certain tree near the village of
Domremy, which some called the Tree of the good Ladies, and others, the
Fairies' Tree; and also about a well there, the Fairies' Well, of which
poor patients were said to drink and get well. Jeanne (no doubt relieved
by the simple character of these questions) made answer freely and
without hesitation, in no way denying that she had danced and sung with
the other children, and made garlands for the image of the Blessed Marie
of Domremy; but she did not remember whether she had ever done so after
attaining years of discretion, and certainly she had never seen a fairy,
nor worked any spell by their means. At the end, after having thus been
put off her guard, she was suddenly asked about her dress (a capital
point in the eyes of her judges): whether she wished to have a woman's
dress. Probably she was, as they hoped, tired, and expecting no such
question, for she answered quickly yet with instant recovery: "Bring
me one to go home in and I will accept it; otherwise no. I prefer this,
since it pleases God that I should wear it." The recollection of Domremy
and of the pleasant fields, must have carried her back to the days when
the little Jeanne was like the rest in her short, full petticoats of
crimson stuff, free of any danger: what could be better to go home in?
but she immediately remembered the obvious and excellent reasons she had
for wearing another costume now. So ended the third day.

In the meantime there had been, we are told, various interruptions
during the examination; perhaps it was then that Nicolas de Houppeville
protested against Bishop Cauchon as a partisan and a Burgundian, and
therefore incapable by law of judging a member of the opposite party:
and had been rudely silenced, and afterwards punished, as we have
already heard. Another kind of opposition less bold had begun to be
remarked, which was that one of the persons present, by word and sign,
whispering suggestions to her, or warning her with his eyes, was helping
the unfortunate prisoner in her defence. Probably this did little good,
"for she was often troubled and hurried in her answers," we are told;
but it was a sign of good-will, at least. When Frère Isambard, who was
the person in question, speaks at a later period he tells us that "the
questions put to Jeanne were too difficult, subtle, and dangerous, so
that the great clerks and learned men who were present scarcely would
have known how to answer them, and that many in the assembly murmured
at them." Perhaps the good Frère Isambard might have spared himself the
trouble; for Jeanne, however she may have suffered, was probably more
able to hold her own than many of those great clerks, and did so with
unfailing courage and spirit. One of the other judges, Jean Fabry, a
bishop, declared afterwards that "her answers were so good, that for
three weeks he believed that they were inspired." Manchon, the reporter,
he who had refused to take down the private conversation of Jeanne in
her prison with the vile traitor, L'Oyseleur, makes his voice heard also
to the effect that "Monseigneur of Beauvais would have had everything
written as pleased him, and when there was anything that displeased him
he forbade the secretaries to report it as being of no importance for
the trial." On another day a humbler witness still, Massieu, one of the
officers of the court, who had the charge of taking Jeanne daily
from her prison to the hall, and back again, met in the courtyard an
Englishman, who seems to have been a singing man or lay clerk "of
the King's chapel in England," probably attached to Winchester's
ecclesiastical retinue. This man asked him: "What do you think of her
answers? Will she be burned? What will happen?" "Up to this time," said
Massieu, "I have heard nothing from her that was not honourable and
good. She seems to me a good woman, but how it will all end God only

No doubt conversations of this kind were being carried on all over
Rouen. Would she be burned? What would happen? Could any one stand and
answer like that hour after hour and day by day, inspired only by the
devil? There was no popular enthusiasm for her even now. How should
there have been in that partisan province, more English than French? But
a chill doubt began to steal into many minds whether she was so bad as
had been thought, whether indeed she might not after all be something
quite different from what she had been thought? Nature had begun to work
in the agitated place, and even in that black-robed, eager assembly. If
there was a vile L'Oyseleur trying to get her confidence in private, and
so betray her, there was also a kind Frère Isambard, privately plucking
at her sleeve, imploring her to be cautious, whispering an answer
probably not half so wise as her own natural reply, yet warming her
heart with the suggestion of a friend at hand.

On the fourth day, Jeanne was again required to swear, and replied as
before, that so far as concerned the trial she would answer truly,
but not all she knew. "You ought to be satisfied: I have sworn
sufficiently," she said; and with this her judges seem to have been
content. Beaupère then resumed his questions, but first asked her,
perhaps with a momentary gleam of compassion and a sudden consciousness
of the pallor and weariness of the young prisoner, how she did. She
answered, one can imagine with what tone of indignant disdain: "You see
how I am: I am as well as I can be." He then cross-examined her closely
as to what voices she had heard since her last appearance in court,
but drew from her only the same answer, "The voice tells me to answer
boldly," and that she would tell them as much as she was permitted by
God to tell them, but concerning her revelations for the King of France
she would say nothing except by permission of her voices.

She was then asked what kind of voices they were which she heard, were
they voices of angels, or of saints (_sancti aut sanctæ_, male or female
saints) or from God Himself? She answered that the voices were those of
St. Catherine and St. Margaret, whose heads were crowned with beautiful
crowns, very rich and precious. "So much as this God allows me to say.
If you doubt send to Poitiers, where I was questioned before." (It may
perhaps be permissible to suppose that the kind whisperer at her elbow
might have suggested the repeated references to Poitiers that follow,
but which are not to be found before: though it was most natural she
should refer to this place where she was examined at the beginning of
her mission.) Asked how she knew which of these two saints, she answered
that she could quite distinguish one from the other by the manner of
their salutation; that she had been led and guided by them for seven
years, and that she knew them because they had named themselves to her.
She was then asked how they were dressed? and answered: "I cannot tell
you; I am not permitted to reveal this; if you do not believe me send to
Poitiers." She said also that at her coming into France she had revealed
these things, but could not now. She was asked what was the age of her
saints, but replied that she was not permitted to tell. Asked, if both
saints spoke at once or one after the other, she replied: "I have not
permission to tell you: but I always consult them both together." Asked,
which had appeared to her first, and answered: "I do not know which it
was; I did know, but have forgotten. It is written in the register of

"She then said she had much comfort from St. Michael. Again, asked,
which had come first, she replied that it was St. Michael. Asked, if
a long time had passed since she first heard the voice of St. Michael,
answered: "I do not name to you the voice of St. Michael; but his
conversation was of great comfort to me." Asked, again, what voice came
first to her when she was thirteen, answered, that it was St. Michael
whom she saw before her eyes, and that he was not alone, but accompanied
by many angels of Heaven. She said also that she would not have come
into France but by the command of God. Asked, if she saw St. Michael and
the angels really, with her ordinary senses, she answered: "I saw them
with my bodily eyes as I see you, and when they left me I wept, desiring
much that they would take me with them." Asked, what was the form
in which he appeared, she replied: "I cannot answer you; I am not
permitted." Asked, what St. Michael said to her the first time, she
cried, "You shall have no answer to-day." Then went on to say that her
voices told her to reply boldly. Afterwards she said that she had told
her King once all that had been revealed to her; said also that she was
not permitted to say here what St. Michael had said; but that it would
be better to send for a copy of the books which were at Poitiers than to
question her on this subject. Asked, what sign she had that these
were revelations of God, and that it was really St. Catherine and St.
Margaret with whom she talked, she answered: "It is enough that I tell
you they were St. Catherine and St. Margaret: believe me or not as you

Asked how she distinguished the points on which she was allowed to
speak from the others, she answered, that on some points she had asked
permission to speak, and not on others, adding, that she would rather
have been torn by wild horses than to have come to France, unless by
the license of God. Asked how it was that she put on a man's dress, she
answered, that dress appeared to her a small matter, that she did not
adopt that dress by the counsel of any man, and that she neither put on
a dress nor did anything, but according as God, or the angels, commanded
her to do so. Asked, if she knew whether such a command to assume the
dress of a man was lawful, she answered: "All that I did, I did by the
precepts of our Lord; and if I were bidden to wear another dress I would
do so, because it was at the bidding of God." Asked, if she had done
it by the orders of Robert de Baudricourt, answered "No." Asked, if she
thought that she had done well in assuming a man's dress, answered, that
as all she did was by the command of the Lord, she believed that she had
done well, and expected a good guarantee and good succour. Asked, if in
this particular case of assuming the dress of a man she thought she had
done well, answered, that nothing in the world had made her do it, but
the command of God.

She was then asked whether light always accompanied the voices when
they came to her, she answered, with an evident reference to her first
interview with Charles, that there were many lights on every side as was
fit. "It is not only to you that light comes" (or you have not all the
light to yourself,--a curious phrase). Asked, if there was an angel over
the head of the King when she saw him for the first time, she answered:
"By the Blessed Mary, if there were, I know not, I saw none." Asked, if
there was light, she answered: "There were about three hundred soldiers,
and fifty of them held torches, without counting any spiritual light.
And rarely do I have the revelations without light." Asked, if her King
had faith in what she said, she answered, that he had good signs, and
also by his clergy. Asked, what revelations her King had, she answered:
"You shall have nothing from me this year." Then added that for three
weeks she was cross-examined by the clergy, both in the town of Chinon
and at Poitiers, and that her King had signs concerning her, before he
believed in her. And the clergy of his party had found nothing in her,
in respect to her faith, that was not good. Asked, whether she gone to
the church of St. Catherine of Fierbois, answered: "yes," and that she
had there heard three masses in one day, and from thence went to Chinon;
she added that she had sent a letter thence to the King, in which it was
contained that she sent this to know if she might come to the town
in which the King was; for that she had travelled a hundred and fifty
leagues to come to him and to bring him help, for she knew much good
concerning him. And she thought it was contained in this letter that she
should recognise the King among all the rest.

She said besides, that she had a sword which was given to her at
Vaucouleurs; she said also that, being in Tours or at Chinon, she sent
for a sword which was in the church of St. Catherine of Fierbois behind
the altar, and that when it was found it was rusty. Asked, how she knew
about this sword, she answered, that it was rusty because of being in
the ground, and there were five crosses on it, and that she knew this
sword by her voices, and not by any man's report. She wrote to the
ecclesiastics of the place where it was and asked them for this sword,
and they sent it to her. It was found not much below the ground behind
the altar; she was not sure if it was before or behind the altar, but
wrote that it was behind the altar. And when it was found the clergy
cleaned it and rubbed off the rust, which came off easily; and it was an
armourer of Tours who went to fetch it. The clergy made a scabbard for
it before sending it to the said Jeanne, and they of Tours made another,
so that it had two scabbards, one of crimson velvet and one of cloth of
gold. And she herself procured another of strong leather. She said also
that when she was captured she had not that sword. Said also that she
continued to wear the said sword until she left St. Denis after the
assault on Paris. Asked, what benediction she made, or if she made any
on this sword, she answered, that she made no benediction, nor knew how
to make one, but that she loved the sword because it had come to her
from the Church of the blessed Catherine whom she loved much. Asked,
if she had placed it on the altar at the village of Coulenges, Les
Vineuses, or elsewhere, placing it there that it might bring good luck,
she answered, that she knew nothing of this. Asked, if she did not pray
that the sword might have good fortune: "It is good to know that I
wish all my armour (_harnesseum meum; gallice, mon harnois_) to be very
fortunate." Asked, where she had left the sword, answered, that she had
deposited a sword and armour at St. Denis, but it was not this sword.
She added that she had it in Lagny: but that she afterwards wore the
sword which had been taken from a Burgundian, which was a good sword
for war and gave good strokes (_gallice, de bonnes bouffes_ and _de bons
torchons_). Said also that to tell where she left it had nothing to do
with the trial, and she would answer nothing.

She said also that her brothers had everything that belonged to her, her
horses, swords, and everything, and that she believed they were worth
in all about 12,000 francs. She was also asked whether when she was at
Orleans she had a standard, and what colour it was; answered, that she
had a standard, the field of which was sown with lilies, and on it was a
figure of the world with angels on each side. It was white, and made
of a stuff called boucassin, upon which was written the name _Jhesus
Maria_, so that all might see, and it was fringed with silk. Asked, if
the name _Jhesus Maria_ was written above or below or at the side, she
answered, "At the side." Asked, if she loved her sword or standard best,
she answered, that she loved her standard best. Asked, why she had that
picture on the standard, she answered: "I have sufficiently told you
that I did nothing but by the command of God." She added that she
herself carried her standard when in battle that she might not hurt
anyone, and said that she had never killed any man.

Asked, how many men her King gave her when she began her work, answered,
from ten to twelve(4) thousand men, and that she attacked first the
bastile of St. Loup at Orleans, and afterwards that of the bridge.
Asked, from which bastile it was that her men were driven back, she
answered, that she did not remember; adding, that she had been sure that
she could raise the siege at Orleans, for it had been so revealed to
her; and that she told this to her King before it occurred. Asked,
whether, when she made assault, she told her men that all the arrows,
stones, cannon-balls, etc., would be intercepted by her, she answered
no--that more than a hundred were wounded: that what she had said to her
people was that they should have no doubts, for they should certainly
raise the siege of Orleans. She said also that in attacking the bastile
of the bridge she herself was wounded by an arrow in the neck, and was
much comforted by St. Catherine, and was healed in fifteen days; but
that she never gave up riding and working all that time. Asked, if she
knew that she would be wounded, she answered, that she knew it well
and had told her King, but that, notwithstanding, she went about her
business. It was revealed to her by the voices of her two saints, the
blessed Catherine and the blessed Margaret. She said besides, that she
was the first to place a scaling ladder on the bastile of the bridge,
and as she raised it she was struck in the neck.

She was then asked why she did not treat with the Captain of Jargeau;
she answered that the lords of her party had replied to the English, who
had asked for a truce of fifteen days, that they could not have it, but
that they might retire, they and their horses at once; she had said for
her part that if they retired in their doublets and tunics their lives
should be spared, otherwise the city would be taken by storm. Asked, if
she had consulted with her counsel, that is with her voices, whether the
truce should be granted or not, she answered, that she did not remember.

It will be remarked, as the slow examination goes on day after day, that
Jeanne, becoming at moments impatient, sometimes gives a rough answer,
and at other times plays a little with her questioner as if in
contempt. "By the Blessed Mary, I know not!" is evidently an outburst
of impatience at the exhausting, exasperating folly of some of these
questions, and this will be further visible in future sittings. It
seems very likely that the reference to Poitiers, which was an excellent
suggestion, commending itself to her invariable good sense, came from
the kind priest who tried to serve her as he best could; but there are
other answers a little incoherent, which look as if Frère Isambard,
if it were he, had confused her in her own response without conveying
anything better to her mind, especially on the occasions when she
refuses to reply, and then does so, abandoning her ground at once. Her
patience and steadiness are quite extraordinary however even in the less
self-collected moments. Thus end the proceedings of the fourth day.


The fifth day began with the usual dispute about the oath, Jeanne
still retaining her reservation with the greatest firmness. She seems,
however, at the end, to have repeated her oath to answer everything that
had to do with the trial--"And as much as I say I will say as if I
were before the Pope of Rome." These words must have given the Magister
Beaupère an admirable occasion for introducing one of the things charged
against her for which there was actual proof--her letter to the Comte
d'Armagnac in respect to the Pope. He seized upon it evidently with
eagerness, and asked her which she held to be the true Pope. To this she
answered quietly, "Are there two?"--the most confusing reply.(5)

She was asked if she had received letters from the Comte d'Armagnac,
asking to know which of the three existing Popes he ought to obey; she
answered that she had his letter, and had replied to it, saying among
other things that when she was in Paris and at rest she would answer
him; and added that she was on the point of mounting her horse when she
gave that reply. The copy of the letter and the reply being read to her
she was asked if that was what she had said; to which she replied that
she had answered his letter in part, not in full. Asked, if she knew the
counsels of the King of Kings so as to be able to say which the count
should obey, she answered, that she knew nothing. Asked, if she was in
doubt as to which the count ought to obey, she replied that she knew not
which to bid him obey; but that she, the said Jeanne, held and believed
that we ought to obey our Pope who was in Rome; that as for what he
asked, that she should tell him which God desired him to obey, she had
said she knew nothing; but she sent much to him which was not put in
writing. And as for herself she believed in the Lord Pope of Rome.
Asked, whether in respect to the three pontiffs she had received
counsel, she answered, that she had neither written nor made to be
written anything about the three pontiffs. And this she swore on her
oath. Asked, if she were in the habit of putting on her letters the name
_Jhesus Maria_ with a cross, answered, that she did so sometimes but not
always, and that sometimes she put a cross to shew that these letters
were not to be taken seriously (as likely to fall into the enemy's

Some questions were then put to her about her letters to the Duke of
Bedford and to the English King, and copies were read to her to which
she objected on some small points, but mistakenly it would seem, as that
she had summoned them to surrender to the King, while the scribe had put
"surrender to the Maid." She said, however, that they were her letters,
and that she held by them. She added that before seven years the English
would lose more than they had lost at Orleans,(6) and that their cause
would be lost in France; she said also that the said English should have
greater disasters than they had yet had in France, and that God would
give greater victories to France. Asked, how she knew this, she replied:
"I know it by the revelations made to me, and that it will happen in
seven years, and I might well be angry that it is deferred so long."
Asked, when this would happen, she said that she knew neither the day
nor the hour.

She was tormented a little further as to the dates, whether this would
happen before the St. Jean, or before the St. Martin in winter, but made
no answer except that before the St. Martin in winter they should see
many things, and it might be that the English should fail; as a matter
of fact Paris opened its gates to Charles VII. within the seven years
specified, so that Jeanne's prophecy may be held to have been fulfilled.

We then come once more to a long and profitless interrogatory upon
her saints, in which the crowd of judges forgot their dignity and
overwhelmed her with a flood of often very foolish, and sometimes worse
than foolish questions.

Asked, how she knew the future, she answered that she knew it by St.
Catherine and St. Margaret; asked, if St. Gabriel was with St. Michael
when he came to her, she answered, that she could not remember. Asked,
if she saw them always in the same dress, answered yes, and they were
crowned very richly. Of their other garments she could not speak; she
knew nothing of their tunics. Asked, how she knew whether they were men
or women, answered, that she knew well by their voices which revealed
them to her; and that she knew nothing save by revelation and the
precepts of God. Asked, what appearances she saw, she answered, that she
saw faces. Asked, if these saints had hair, she answered, "It is good to
know." Asked, if there was anything between their crowns and their hair,
answered, no. Asked, if their hair was long and hanging down, answered,
"I know nothing about it." She also said that their voices were
beautiful sweet, and humble, and that she understood them well. Asked,
how they could speak when they had no bodies, she answered, "I refer it
to God." She repeated that the voices were beautiful, humble, and sweet,
and that they could speak French. Asked, if St. Margaret did not speak
English, answered: "How could she speak English when she was not on the
English side?"

This would seem to infer that the St. Margaret referred to was not the
legendary St. Margaret of the dragon, but St. Margaret of Scotland, well
known in France from the long connection between those two countries,
and a popular mediæval saint. She would naturally have spoken English,
being a Saxon, but also quite naturally would have been against the
English, as a Scottish queen; but of these refinements it is very
unlikely that Jeanne knew anything, and her prompt and somewhat sharp
reply evidently cut the inquiry short. The next question was, did they
wear gold rings in their ears or elsewhere, these crowned saints; to
which she answered a little contemptuously, "I know nothing about it."
She was then asked if she herself had rings: on which "turning to us the
aforesaid Bishop, she said, 'You have one of mine; give it back to me.'
She then said that the Burgundians had her other ring, and asked of us
if we had the ring to shew it to her. Asked, who gave her this ring,
answered, her father or her mother, and that the name _Jhesus Maria_
was written upon it, but that she knew not who put it there, nor even
whether there was a stone in the ring; it was given to her in the
village of Domremy. She added that her brother gave her another ring
which we had, and said that she desired that it might be given to the

A sudden change was now made in the cross-examination according to the
methods of that operation, throwing her back without warning upon the
village superstitions of Domremy, the magic tree and fountain. Many of
the questions which follow are so trivial and are so evidently instinct
with evil meaning, that it seems a wrong to Beaupère to impute the whole
of the interrogatory to him; other questions were evidently interposed
by the excited assembly.

Asked, if St. Catherine and St. Margaret talked with her under the tree
of which mention had been made above, she answered, "I know nothing
about it." Asked, if the saints were seen at the fountain near the
tree, answered yes, that she had heard them there; but what her saints
promised to her, there or elsewhere, she answered, that nothing was
promised except by permission from God. Asked, what promises were made
to her, she answered, "This has nothing at all to do with your trial,"
but added, that among other things they said to her that her King
should be restored to his kingdom, and that his adversaries should
be destroyed. She said also that they promised to take her, the said
Jeanne, to Paradise, as she had asked them to do. Asked, if she had any
other promises, she said there was one promise that had nothing to do
with the trial, but that in three months she would tell them what that
other promise was. Asked, if the voices told her she would be set free
from her prison in three months, she answered: "This does not concern
your trial; nor do I know when I shall be set free." And she added that
those who wished to send her out of this world might well go before her.
Asked, if her council did not tell her when she should be set free from
her present prison, answered: "Ask me this in three months' time; I can
promise you as much as that"--but added: "You may ask those present, on
their oaths, if this has anything to do with the trial."

Startled by this suggestion, the judges seem to have held a hurried
consultation among themselves to see whether these matters did really
touch the trial; the result apparently decided them to return again to
the question of the local superstitions of Domremy, the only point on
which there seemed a chance of breaking down the extraordinarily just
and steadfast intelligence of the girl who stood before them. After this
pause she resumed, apparently not in answer to any question.

"I have well told you that there were things you should not know, and
some time I must needs be set free. But I must have permission if I
speak; therefore I will ask to have delay in this." Asked, if her voices
forbade her to speak the truth, she said: "Do you expect me to tell you
things that concern the King of France? There is a great deal here that
has nothing to do with the trial." She said also that she knew that her
King should enjoy the kingdom of France, as well as she knew that they
were there before her in judgment. She added that she would have been
dead but for the revelations which comforted her daily. She was then
asked what she had done with her mandragora (mandrake)? she answered
that she had no mandragora, nor had ever had. She had heard say that
near her village there was one, but had never seen it. She had heard say
that it was a dangerous thing, and that it was wicked to keep it; but
knew nothing of its use. Asked, in what place this mandrake was, and
what she had heard of it? she said that she had heard that it grew under
the tree of which mention has been made, but did not know the place; she
said also that she had heard that above the mandragora was a hazel tree.
Asked, what she heard was done with the mandragora, answered, that she
had heard that it brought money, but did not believe it; and added that
her voices had never told her anything about it.

Asked, what was the appearance of St. Michael when she saw him first,
she answered, that she saw no crown, and knew nothing of his dress.
Asked, if he was naked, she answered, "Do you think God has nothing to
clothe him with?" Asked, if he had hair, she answered, "Why should
it have been cut?" She said further that she had not seen the blessed
Michael since she left the castle of Crotoy, nor did she see him often.
At last she said that she knew not whether he had hair or not. Asked,
whether he carried scales, she answered, "I know nothing of it," but
added that she had much joy in seeing him, and she knew when she saw him
that she was not in a state of sin. She also said that St. Catherine and
St. Margaret often made her confess to them, and said that if she had
been in a state of sin it was without knowing it. She was then asked
whether, when she confessed, she believed herself to be in a state of
mortal sin; she answered, that she knew not whether she had been in that
state, but did not believe she had done the works of sin. "It would not
have pleased God," she said, "that I should have been so; nor would it
have pleased Him that I should have done the works of sin by which my
soul should have been burdened."

She was then asked what sign she gave to the King that she came to him
from God; she answered: "I have told you always that nothing should draw
this from me.(7) Ask me no more." Asked, if she had not sworn to reveal
what was asked of her touching the trial, answered, "I have told you
that I will tell you nothing that was for our King; and of this which
belongs to him I will not speak." Asked, if she knew the sign which she
gave to the King, she answered: "You shall know nothing from me." When
it was said to her that this did concern the trial, she answered, "Of
that which I have promised to keep secret I shall tell you nothing";
and further she said, "I promised in that place and I could not tell you
without perjuring myself." Asked, to whom she promised? answered, that
she had promised to Saints Catherine and Margaret, and this was shown to
the King. She also said she had promised it to these two saints, because
they had required it of her. And the same Jeanne had done this at their
request. "Too many people would have asked me concerning it, if I had
not promised to the aforesaid saints." She was then asked, when
she showed this sign to the King if there were others with him; she
answered, that to her there was no one near him, even though many people
might have been present. (As a matter of fact the sign was given to
Charles when he talked with the Maid apart in a recess, the great hall
being full of the Court and followers; so that this was strictly true.)
Asked further, if she saw a crown over the head of her King when
she showed him this sign, but replied: "I cannot answer you without
perjury." Asked further if her King had a crown when he was at Rheims,
answered, that in her opinion her King had a crown which he found at
Rheims, but a very fine one was afterwards brought for him. He did this
to hasten matters, at the desire of the city of Rheims; but if he had
been more certain, he could have had a crown a thousand times richer.
(All this is very obscure.)

Asked, if she had seen this crown, she answered: "I could not tell you
without perjury, but I heard that it was a very rich one." It was then
determined to conclude for this day.

On the sixth day there was again the same questions about the oath,
ending in the usual way. And the cross-examination was at once

She was asked if she would say whether St. Michael had wings, and what
bodies and members had St. Catherine and St. Margaret; and she answered,
"I have told you what I know, and will make no other reply"; she said,
moreover, that when she saw St. Michael and St. Catherine and St.
Margaret, she knew at once that they were saints of Paradise. Asked, if
she saw anything more than their faces, she answered: "I have told you
all I know of them: and I would rather have had my head taken off than
tell you all I know." She then said that in whatever concerned the trial
she would speak freely. Asked, if she believed that St. Michael and St.
Gabriel had natural heads, she answered: "I saw them with my eyes and
I believe that they are, as firmly as I believe that God is." Asked, if
she believed that God made them in the form in which she saw them, she
answered, "Yes." Asked, if she believed that God had created them in the
same form from the beginning, answered: "You shall have no more for the
present, except what I have already said."

This subject was then dropped, and the examiner made another leap
forward to a different part of her life. "Did you know by revelation
that you should break prison?" he said. To this Jeanne answered
indignantly: "This has nothing to do with your trial. Would you have me
speak against myself?"

Again questioned what her "voices" had said to her in respect to her
attempts at escape, she again answered: "This has nothing to do with the
trial; I go back to the trial. If all your questions were about that,
I should tell you all." She said besides, on her faith, that she knew
neither the day nor the hour when she should escape. She was then asked
what the voices said to her generally, and answered: "In truth, they
tell me I shall be freed, but neither the day nor the hour; and that I
ought to speak boldly, and with a glad countenance." She was then asked
whether, when first she saw her King, he asked her whether it was by
revelation that she had assumed the dress of a man? she replied: "I have
answered this. I cannot recollect whether he asked me. But it is written
in the book at Poitiers." Asked, whether the doctors who examined her
there, some for a month, some for three weeks, had asked her about her
change of dress; she answered: "I don't remember; but I know they asked
me when I assumed the dress of a man, and I told them it was in the town
of Vaucouleurs." Asked, whether these doctors had inquired whether it
was her voices which had made her take that dress, answered, "I don't
remember." Asked if her Queen wished her to change her dress when she
first saw her, answered, "I don't remember." Asked if her King, Queen,
and all of her party did not ask her to lay aside the dress of a man,
she answered, "This has nothing to do with the trial." Asked, if the
same was not requested of her in the castle of Beaurevoir, she answered:
"It is true. And I replied that I could not lay it aside without the
permission of God." She said further that the demoiselle of Luxembourg
(aunt of Jeanne's captor, and a very old woman) and the lady of
Beaurevoir offered her a woman's dress, or stuff to make one, and begged
her to wear it; but she replied that she had not yet the permission of
our Lord, and that it was not yet time. Asked, if M. Jean de Pressy and
others at Arras had offered her a woman's dress, she answered, "He and
others have often asked it of me." Asked, if she thought she would have
done wrong in putting on a woman's dress, she answered, that it was
better to obey her sovereign Lord, that is, God; she said also that if
she had done it, she would rather have done it at the request of these
two ladies than of any other in France, except her Queen. Asked, if,
when God revealed to her that she should change her dress, it was by the
voice of St. Michael, St. Catherine, or St. Margaret, she answered, "You
shall hear no more about it." Asked, when the King first employed her,
and her standard was made, whether the men-at-arms and others who took
part in the war did not have flags imitated from hers? she answered, "It
is well to know that the lords retained their own arms"; she also added
that her brothers-in-arms made such pennons as pleased them. Asked, how
these were made, if they were of linen or cloth, answered, that they
were of white satin, some of them with lilies; that she had but two or
three lances in her own company--but that in the rest of the army some
carried pennons like hers, but only to distinguish them from others.
Asked, if the banners were often renewed, answered: "I know not; when
the staff was broken it was renewed." Asked, if she had not said that
the pennons copied from hers were fortunate, answered, that she had
said, "Go in boldly among the English"; and that she had done the same
herself. Asked, if she said that they should have good luck if they bore
the banners well, answered, that she had told them what would happen,
and what should still happen. Asked, if she had caused holy water to
be sprinkled on the pennons when they were new, she answered, "That has
nothing to do with the trial"; but added that if she did so sprinkle
them she was not instructed to answer that question now. Asked, if
the others put _Jhesus Maria_ upon their pennons, she answered: "By
my faith, I know nothing about it." Asked, if she had ever carried or
caused to be carried in a procession round a church or altar the linen
of which the pennons were made, answered no, that she had never seen
anything of the kind done.

Asked, when she was before Jargeau, what it was that she wore behind
her helmet, and if she had not something round it, she answered: "By my
faith, there was nothing." Asked, if she knew a certain Brother Richard,
she answered: "I never saw him till I was before Troyes." Asked, what
cheer Brother Richard made to her, answered, that she thought the people
of Troyes had sent him to her, doubting whether she had come on the part
of God, and that as he approached her he made the sign of the cross, and
sprinkled holy water; she said to him: "Come on boldly; I shall not fly
away." Asked, if she had seen, or had caused to be made, any images or
pictures of herself, she answered, that at Arras she had seen a picture
in the hands of a Scot, where she was represented fully armed, kneeling
on one knee, and presenting a letter to the King; but that she had never
caused any image or picture of herself to be made. Asked concerning a
table in the house of her host, upon which were painted three women,
with _Justice, Peace, Union_ inscribed beneath, answered, that she knew
nothing of it. Asked, if she knew that those of her party caused masses
and prayers to be made in her honour, she answered, that she knew not;
and if they did so, it was not by any command of hers; but that if they
did so, her opinion was that they did no wrong. Asked, if those of her
party firmly believed that she was sent from God, she answered: "I know
not whether they believed it; but even if they did not believe it, I am
none the less sent on the part of God." Asked, whether she thought that
to believe that she was sent from god was a worthy faith, she answered,
that if they believed that she was sent from God they were not mistaken.
Asked, if she knew what her party meant by kissing her feet and hands
and her garments, answered, that many people did it, but that her hands
were kissed as little as she could help it. The poor people, however,
came to her of their own free will, because she never oppressed them,
but protected them as far as was in her power. Asked, what reverence
the people of Troyes made to her, she answered, "None at all," and added
that she believed Brother Richard came into Troyes with her army, but
that she had not seen him coming in. Asked, if he had not preached at
the gates when she came, answered, that she scarcely paused there at
all, and knew nothing of any sermon. Asked, how long she was at Rheims,
and answered, four or five days. Asked, whether she baptised (stood
godmother to) children there, she answered: To one at Troyes, but did
not remember any at Rheims or at Château-Thierry; but there were two at
St. Denis; and willingly she called the boys "Charles," in honour of her
King, and the girls "Jeanne," according to what their mothers wished.
Asked, if the good women of the town did not touch with their rings the
rings she wore, she answered, that many women touched her hands and her
rings; but she did not know why they did it. Asked, what she did with
the gloves in which her King was consecrated, she answered that "Gloves
were distributed to the knights and nobles that came there"; and there
was one who lost his; but she did not say that she would find it for
him. Also she said that her standard was in the church at Rheims, and
she believed near the altar, and she herself had carried it for a short
time, but did not know whether Brother Richard had held it.

She was then asked if she communicated and went to confession often
while moving about the country, and if she received the sacrament in her
male costume; to which she answered "yes, but without her arms"; she was
then questioned about a horse belonging to the Bishop of Senlis,
which had not suited her, a matter completely without importance. The
inference intended was that it was taken from him without being paid
for; but there was no evidence that the Maid knew anything about it. We
then come to the incident of Lagny.

She was asked how old the child was which she saw at Lagny, and
answered, three days; it had been brought to Lagny to the Church of
Nôtre Dame, and she was told that all the maids in Lagny were before our
Lady praying for it, and she also wished to go and pray God and our Lady
that its life might come back; and she went, and prayed with the rest.
And finally life appeared; it yawned three times, and was baptised and
buried in consecrated ground. It had given no sign of life for three
days and was black as her coat, but when it yawned its colour began to
come back. She was there with the other maids on her knees before our
Lady to make her prayer.

The reader must understand that this was no special appeal to Jeanne's
miraculous power, but a custom of that intense and tender charity
with which the Church of Rome corrects her dogmatism upon questions of
salvation. A child unbaptised could not be buried in consecrated ground,
and was subject to all the sorrows of the unredeemed; but who could
doubt that the priest would be easily persuaded by some wavering of the
tapers on the altar upon the little dead face, some flicker of his own
compassionate eyelids, that sufficient life had come back to permit the
holy rite to be administered? The whole little scene is affecting in the
extreme, the young creatures all kneeling, fervently appealing to
the Maiden-mother, the priest ready to take instant advantage of any
possible flicker, the Maid of France, no conspicuous figure, but weeping
and praying among the rest. There was no thought here of the raising
of the dead--the prayer was for breath enough only to allow of the holy
observance, the blessed water, the last possibility of human love and

Jeanne was then questioned concerning Catherine of La Rochelle, the
supposed prophetess, who had been played against her by La Tremouille
and his follows, and narrated how she had watched two nights to see
the mysterious lady clothed in cloth of gold who was said to appear to
Catherine, but had not seen her, and that she had advised the woman
to return to her husband and children. Catherine's mission was to go
through the "good towns" with heralds and trumpets to call upon those
who had money or treasure of any kind to give it to the King, and she
professed to have a supernatural knowledge where such money was hidden.
(No doubt La Tremouille must have thought that to get money, which was
so scarce, in such a simple way, was worth trying at least. But Jeanne's
opinion was that it was folly, and that there was nothing in it; an
opinion fully verified. Catherine's advice had been that Jeanne should
go to the Duke of Burgundy to make peace; but Jeanne had answered that
no peace could be made save at the end of the lance.)

She was then asked about the siege of La Charité; she answered, that she
had made an assault: but had not sprinkled holy water, or caused it
to be sprinkled. Asked, why she did not enter the city as she had the
command of God to do so, she replied: "Who told you that I was commanded
to enter?" Asked, if she had not had the advice of her voices, she
answered, that she had desired to go into France (meaning towards
Paris), but the generals had told her that it was better to go first
to La Charité. She was then asked if she had been long in the tower of
Beaurevoir; answered, that she was there about four months, and that
when she heard the English come she was angry and much troubled. Her
voices forbade her several times to attempt to escape; but at last,
in the doubt she had of the English she threw herself down, commending
herself to God and to our Lady, and was much hurt. But after she had
done this the voice of St. Catherine said to her not to be afraid, that
she should be healed, and that Compiègne would be relieved.

Also she said that she prayed always for the relief of Compiègne with
her council. Asked, what she said after she had thrown herself down,
she answered, that some said that she was dead; and as soon as the
Burgundians saw that she was not dead, they told her that she had thrown
herself down. Asked, if she had said that she would rather die than fall
into the hands of the English, she answered, that she would much rather
have rendered her soul to God than have fallen into the hands of the
English. Asked, if she was not in a great rage, and if she did not
blaspheme the name of God, she answered, that she never said evil of
any saint, and that it was not her custom to swear. Asked respecting
Soissons, when the captain had surrendered the town, whether she had
not cursed God, and said that if she had gotten hold of the captain, she
would have cut him into four pieces; she answered, that she never swore
by any saint, and that those who said so had not understood her.


At this point the public trial of Jeanne came to a sudden end. Either
the feeling produced in the town, and even among the judges, by her
undeviating, simple, and dignified testimony had begun to be more than
her persecutors had calculated upon; or else they hoped to make shorter
work with her when deprived of the free air of publicity, the sight no
doubt of some sympathetic faces, and the consciousness of being still
able to vindicate her cause and to maintain her faith before men. Two
or three fierce Inquisitors within her cell, and the Bishop, that man
without heart or pity at their head, might still tear admissions
from her weariness, which a certain sympathetic atmosphere in a large
auditory, swept by waves of natural feeling, would strengthen her to
keep back. The Bishop made a proclamation that in order not to vex and
tire his learned associates he would have the minutes of the previous
sittings reduced into form, and submitted to them for judgment, while
he himself carried on apart what further interrogatory was necessary.
We are told that he was warned by a counsellor of the town that secret
examinations without witnesses or advocate on the prisoner's side, were
illegal; but Monseigneur de Beauvais was well aware that anything would
be legal which effected his purpose, and that once Jeanne was disposed
of, the legality or illegality of the proceedings would be of small
importance. I have thought it right to give to the best of my power a
literal translation of these examinations, notwithstanding their great
length; as, except in one book, now out of print and very difficult to
procure, no such detailed translation,(8) so far as I am aware, exists;
and it seems to me that, even at the risk of fatiguing the reader
(always capable of skipping at his pleasure), it is better to unfold the
complete scene with all its tedium and badgering, which brings out by
every touch the extraordinary self-command, valour, and sense of
this wonderful Maid, the youngest, perhaps, and most ignorant of the
assembly, yet meeting all with a modest and unabashed countenance, true,
pure, and natural,--a far greater miracle in her simplicity and noble
steadfastness than even in the wonders she had done.

     (1) She was in reality detained two days, which fact, no
     doubt, she judged to be an unimportant detail.

     (2) Probably meaning, had been present when the voices came
     to her and had perceived her state of listening and

     (3) This was her special friend, Gerard of Epinal--her
     _compère_ and gossip; was it jesting beguiled by some
     childish recollection, or mock threat of youthful days that
     she said this?

     (4) An answer evidently given in the vagueness of imperfect
     knowledge, meaning a very great number.

     (5) Quicherat gives a note on this subject to point out that
     there was really was but one Pope at this moment, the
     question having been settled by the abdication of Clement
     VIII., Benedict XIV. being a mere impostor. We cannot
     believe, however, that this historical cutting of the knot
     could be known to Jeanne. She probably felt only, with her
     fine instinct, that there could be but one Pope, and that to
     be deceived on such a matter ought to have been a thing
     impossible to all those priests and learned men; as a matter
     of fact the three claimants, on account of whom the Comte
     d'Armagnac had appealed to her, were no longer existing at
     the time he wrote.

     (6) She meant Paris, which was lost by the English,
     according to her prophecy within the time named.

     (7) It should here be noted that Jeanne's sign to the King
     being, as he afterwards declared, the answer to his most
     private devotions and the final setting at rest of a doubt
     which might have injured him much had it been known that he
     entertained it--it would have been dishonourable on her part
     and a great wrong to him had she revealed it.

     (8) The translation of M. Fabre is now, I believe,
     reprinted, but it is not satisfactory.


It must not be forgotten, in the history of this strange trial, that the
prisoner was brought from the other side of France expressly that she
might be among a people who were not of her own party, and who had no
natural sympathies with her, but a hereditary connection with England,
which engaged all its partialities on that side. For this purpose it was
that the _venue_, the town expected the coming of the Witch, and all the
dark revelations that might be extracted from her, her spells, and the
details of that contract with the devil which was so entrancing to
the popular imagination, with excitement and eagerness. Such a _Cause
Célèbre_ had never taken place among them before; and everybody no doubt
looked forward to the pleasure of seeing it proved that it was not by
the will of Heaven, but by some monstrous combination of black arts,
that such an extraordinary result as the defeat of the invincible
English soldiers had been brought about. The litigious and logical
Normans no doubt looked forward to it as to the most interesting
entertainment, ending in the complete vindication of their own side and
the exposure of the nefarious arms used by their adversaries.

But when the proceedings had been opened, and in place of some
dark-browed and termagant sorceress, with the mark of every evil passion
in her face, there appeared before the spectators crowding into every
available corner, the slim, youthful figure--was it boy or girl?--the
serene and luminous countenance of the Maid, the flower of youth raising
its whiteness and innocence in the midst of all those black-robed,
subtle Doctors, it is impossible but that the very first glance must
have given a shock and thrill of amazement and doubt to what may be
called the lay spectators, those who had no especial bias more than
common report, and whose credit or interest were not involved in
bringing this unlikely criminal to condemnation. "A girl! Like our own
Jeanne at home," might many a father have said, dismayed and confounded.
She had, they all say, those eyes of innocence which it is so impossible
not to believe, and that virginal voice, _assez femme_, which a
sentimental Frenchman insists upon as belonging only to the spotless.
At all events she had the bearing of honesty, purity, and truth. She was
not afraid though all the powers of hell--or was it only of the
Church and the Law?--were arrayed against her: no guilty mystery to be
discovered, was in her countenance. But it must have been plain to the
keen and not too charitable Normans that such semblances are not always
to be trusted, and that the devil himself even, on occasion, can take
upon himself the appearance of an angel of light; so that after the
first shock of wonder they no doubt settled themselves to listen,
believing that soon they would have their imaginations fed with tales
of horror, and would discover the hoofs and the horns and unveil
with triumph the lurking demon. The French historians never take into
consideration the fact that it was the belief of Rouen and Normandy, as
well as of any similar town or province in England, that the child
Henry VI. was lawful king, and that whatever was on the other side was
a hateful adversary, to be brought to such disaster and shame as was
possible, without mercy and without delay.

But after a few days of the examination which we have just reported,
public opinion was greatly staggered, and knew not how to turn.
Gradually the conviction must have been forced upon every mind which had
any candour left, that Jeanne, at that dreadful bar, with the stake
in sight, and all the learning of Paris--the entire power of one great
national and half of another, all England and half France against--(many
more than half France, for the other part had abandoned her
cause),--showed nothing of the demon, but all--if not of the angel, yet
of the Maid, the emblem of perfection to that rude world, though
often so barbarously handled. It might almost be said of the age,
notwithstanding its immorality and rampant viciousness, that in its eyes
a true virgin could do no harm. And hers was one if ever such a thing
existed on earth. The talk in the streets began to take a very different
tone. Massieu the clerical sheriff's officer saw nothing in her answers
that was not good and right. Out of the midst of the crowd of listeners
would burst an occasional cry of "Well said!" An Englishman, even a
knight, overcome by his feelings, cried out: "Why was not she English,
this brave girl!" All these were ominous sounds. Still more ominous was
the utterance of Maître Jean Lohier, a lawyer of Rouen, who declared
loudly that the trial was not a legal trial for the reasons which

"In the first place because it was not in the form of an ordinary trial;
secondly, because it was not held in a public court, and those present
had not full and complete freedom to say what was their full and
unbiassed opinion; thirdly, because there was question of the honour of
the King of France of whose party Jeanne was, without calling him,
or any one for him; fourthly, because neither libel nor articles were
produced, and this woman who was only an uninstructed girl, had no
advocate to answer for her before so many Masters and Doctors, on such
grave matters, and especially those which touched upon the revelations
of which she spoke; therefore it seemed to him that the trial was worth
nothing. For these things Monseigneur de Beauvais was very indignant
against the said Maître Lohier, saying: 'Here is Lohier who is going to
make a fine fuss about our trial; he calumniates us all, and tells the
world it is of no good. If one were to go by him, one would have to
begin everything over again, and all that has been done would be of no
use.' Monseigneur de Beauvais said besides: 'It is easy to see on which
foot he halts (_de quel pied il cloche_). By St. John, we shall do
nothing of the kind; we shall go on with our trial as we have begun

A day or two later Manchon, the Clerk of the Court (he who refused to
take down Jeanne's conversation with her Judas), met this same lawyer
Lohier at church, and asked him, as no doubt every man asked every
other whom he met, how did he think the trial was going? to which Lohier
answered: "You see the manner in which they proceed; they will take her,
if they can, in her words--that is to say, the assertions in which she
says _I know for certain_, things that concern her apparitions. If she
would say, 'It seems to me' instead of 'I know for certain,' I do not
see how any man could condemn her. It appears that they proceed against
her rather from hate than from any other cause, and for this reason I
shall not remain here. I will have nothing to do with it." This I think
shows very clearly that Lohier, like the bulk of the population, by no
means thought at first that it was "from hate" that the trial proceeded,
but honestly believed that he had been called to try Jeanne as a
professor of the black arts; and that he had discovered from her own
testimony that she was not so, and that the motive of the trial was
entirely a different one from that of justice; one in fact with which an
honest man could have nothing to do.

It is very significant also that the number of judges present in
court on the sixth day, the last of the public examination, was only
thirty-eight, as against the sixty-two of the second day, which seems to
prove that a general disgust and alarm was growing in the minds of those
most closely concerned. Warwick and the soldiers, impatient of all
such business, striding in noisily from time to time to give a careless
glance at the proceedings, might not stay long enough to share the
impression--or might, who can say? Their business was to get this
pestilent woman, even if by chance she might be an innocent fanatic,
cleared off the face of the earth and out of their way.

After the sixth day, however, it would seem that the Bishop and his
tools had taken fright at the progress of public opinion. Before
dismissing the court on that occasion, Cauchon made an address to the
disturbed and anxious judges, informing them that he would not tire them
out with prolonged sittings, but that a few specially chosen assistants
would now examine into what further details were necessary. In the
meantime all would be put in writing; so that they might think it over
and deliberate within themselves, so as to be able each to make a
report either to himself, the Bishop, or to some one deputed by him.
The assessors, thus thrown out of work, were however forbidden to leave
Rouen without the Bishop's permission--probably because of the threat
of Lohier. Repeated meetings were held in Cauchon's house to arrange
the details of the proceedings to follow; and during this time it was
perhaps hoped that any excitement outside would quiet down. The Bishop
himself had in the meantime other work in hand. He had to receive
certain important visitors, one of them the man who held the appointment
of Chancellor of France on the English side, and who was well acquainted
with the mind of his masters. We have no information whatever whether
Cauchon ever himself wavered, or allowed the possibility of acquitting
Jeanne to enter his mind; but he must have seen that it was of the last
necessity to know what would satisfy the English chiefs. No doubt he was
confirmed and strengthened in the conviction that by hook or by crook
her condemnation must be accomplished, by the conversation of these
illustrious visitors. To save Jeanne was impossible he must have been
told. No English soldier would strike a blow while she lived. England
itself, the whole country, trembled at her name. Till she was got rid of
nothing could be done.

There was of course great exaggeration in all this, for the English had
fought desperately enough in her presence except on the one occasion
of Patay, notwithstanding all the early prestige of Jeanne. But at all
events it was made perfectly clear that the foregoing conclusion must
be carried out, and that Jeanne must die: and, not only so, but she must
die with opprobrium and disgrace as a witch, which almost everybody out
of Rouen now believed her to be. The public examination which lasted six
days was concluded on the third of March, 1430. On the following days,
the fourth, fifth, sixth, seventh, eighth, and ninth of March, meetings
were held, as we have said, in the Bishop's house to consider what
it would be well to do next, at one of which a select company of
Inquisitors was chosen to carry on the examination in private. These
were Jean de la Fontaine, a lawyer learned in canon law; Jean Beaupère,
already her interrogator; Nicolas Midi, a Doctor in Theology; Pierre
Morice, Canon of Rouen and Ambassador from the English King to the
Council of Bâle; Thomas de Courcelles, the learned and excellent young
Doctor already described; Nicolas l'Oyseleur, the traitor, also already
sufficiently referred to; and Manchon, the honest Clerk of the court:
the names of Gerard Feuillet, also a distinguished man, and Jean
Fecardo, an advocate, are likewise also mentioned. They seem to have
served in their turn, three or four at a time. This private session
began on the 10th of March, a week after the conclusion of the public
trial, and was held in the prison chamber inhabited by the Maid.

We shall not attempt to follow literally those private examinations,
which would take a great deal more space than we have at our command,
and would be fatiguing to the reader from the constant and prolonged
repetitions; we shall therefore quote only such parts as are new or so
greatly enlarged from Jeanne's original statements as to seem so. At the
first day's examination in her prison she was questioned about Compiègne
and her various proceedings before reaching that place.(1) She was
asked, for one thing, if her voices had bidden her make the sally in
which she was taken; to which she answered that had she known the time
she was to be taken she would not have gone out, unless upon the express
command of the saints. She was then asked about her standard, her
arms, and her horses, and replied that she had no coat-of-arms, but her
brothers had, who also had all her money, from ten to twelve thousand
francs, which was "no great treasure to make war upon," besides five
chargers, and about seven other horses, all from the King. The examiners
then came to their principal object, and having lulled her mind with
these trifles, turned suddenly to a subject on which they still hoped
she might commit herself, the sign which had proved her good faith to
the King. It is scarcely possible to avoid the feeling, grave as all
the circumstances were, that a little _malice_, a glance of mischievous
pleasure, kindled in Jeanne's eye. She had refused to enter into further
explanations again and again. She had warned them that she would give
them no true light on the subjects that concerned the King. Now she
would seem to have had sudden recourse to the mystification that is dear
to youth, to have tossed her young head and said: "_Have then your own
way_"; and forthwith proceeded to romance, according to the indications
given her of what was wanted, without thought of preserving any
appearance of reality. Most probably indeed, her air and tone would make
it apparent to her persistent questioners how complete a fable, or at
least parable, it was.

Asked, what sign she gave to the King, she replied that it was a
beautiful and honourable sign, very creditable and very good, and rich
above all. Asked, if it still lasted; answered, "It would be good to
know; it will last a thousand years and more if well guarded," adding
that it was in the treasure of the King. Asked, if it was of gold or
silver or of precious stones, or in the form of a crown; answered: "I
will tell you nothing more; but no man could devise a thing so rich as
this sign; but the sign that is necessary for you is that God should
deliver me out of your hands, and that is what He will do." She also
said that when she had to go to the King it was said by her voices: "Go
boldly; and when you are before the King he will have a sign which will
make him receive and believe in you." Asked, what reverence she made
when the sign came to the King, and if it came from God; answered, that
she had thanked God for having delivered her from the priests of her own
party who had argued against her, and that she had knelt down several
times; she also said that an angel from God, and not from another,
brought the sign to the King; and she had thanked the Lord many times;
she added that the priests ceased to argue against when they had seen
that sign. Asked, if the clergy of her party (_de par delà_) saw the
above sign; answered yes, that her King if he were satisfied; and he
answered yes. And afterwards she went to a little chapel close by, and
heard them say that after she was gone more than three hundred people
saw the said sign. She said besides that for love of her, and that they
should give up questioning her, God permitted those of her party to see
the sign. Asked, if the King and she made reverence to the angel when
he brought the sign; answered yes, for herself, that she knelt down and
took off her hood.

What Jeanne meant by this strange romance can only, I think be explained
by this hypothesis. She was "dazed and bewildered," say some of the
historians, evidently not knowing how to interpret so strange
an interruption to her narrative; but there is no other sign of
bewilderment; her mind was always clear and her intelligence complete.
Granting that the whole story was boldly ironical, its object is very
apparent. Honour forbade her to betray the King's secret, and she had
expressly said she would not do so. But her story seems to say--_since
you will insist that there was a sign, though I have told you I could
give you no information, have it your own way; you shall have a sign and
one of the very best; it delivered me from the priests of my own party
(de par delà)_. Jeanne was no milk-sop; she was bold enough to send a
winged shaft to the confusion of the priests of the other side who had
tormented her in the same way. One can imagine a lurking smile at the
corner of her mouth. Let them take it since they would have it. And we
may well believe there was that in her eye, and in the details heaped up
so lightly to form the miraculous tale, which left little doubt in the
minds of the questioners, of the spirit in which she spoke: though to us
who only read the record the effect is of a more bewildering kind.

Two days after, on Monday, the 12th of March, the Inquisitors began by
several additional questions concerning the angel who brought the
sign to the King; was it the same whom she first saw, or another? She
answered that it was the same, and no other was wanted. Asked, if this
angel had not deceived her since she had been taken prisoner; answered,
SHOULD BE TAKEN. Asked, if the angel had not failed her; answered, "How
could he have failed me, when he comforts me every day?" This comfort
is what she understands to come through St. Catherine and St. Margaret.
Asked, whether she called them, or they came without being called, she
answered, that they often came without being called, and if they did
not come soon enough, she asked our Saviour to send them. Asked, if St.
Denis had ever appeared to her; answered, not that she knew. Asked,
if when she promised to our Lord to remain a virgin she spoke to Him;
answered, that it ought to be enough to speak to those who were sent by
Him that is to say, St. Catherine and St. Margaret. Asked, what induced
her to summon a man to Toul, in respect to marriage; answered, "I did
not summon him; it was he who summoned me"; and that on that occasion
she had sworn before the judge to speak the truth, which was that she
had not made him any promise. She also said that the first time she had
heard the voices she made a vow of virginity so long as it pleased God,
being then about the age of thirteen.

It was the object of the judges by these questions to prove that,
according to a fable which had obtained some credit, Jeanne during her
visit to La Rousse, the village inn-keeper at Neufchâteau, had acted as
servant in the house and tarnished her good fame--so that her betrothed
had refused to marry her: and that he had been brought before the
Bishop's court at Toul for his breach of promise, as we should say.
Exactly the reverse was the case, as the reader will remember.

Jeanne was further asked, if she had spoken of her visions to her
curé or to any ecclesiastic: and answered no, but only to Robert de
Baudricourt and to her King; but added that she was not bidden by her
voices to conceal them, but feared to reveal them lest the Burgundians
should hear of them and prevent her going. And especially she had much
doubt of her father, lest he should hinder her from going. Asked, if she
thought she did well to go away without the permission of her father
and mother, when it is certain we ought to honour our father and mother;
answered, that in every other thing she had fully obeyed him, except
in respect to her departure; but she had written to them, and they had
pardoned her. Asked, if when she left her father and mother she did not
think it was a sin; answered, that her voices were quite willing that
she should tell them, if it were not for the pain it would have
given them; but as for herself, she would not have told them for any
consideration; also that her voices left her to do as she pleased, to
tell or not.


Having gone so far the reverend fathers went to dinner, and Jeanne we
hope had her piece of bread and her _eau rougie_. In the afternoon these
indefatigable questioners returned, and the first few questions throw
a fuller light on the troubled cottage at Domremy, out of which this
wonderful maiden came like a being of another kind.

She was questioned as to the dreams of her father; and answered, that
while she was still at home her mother told her several times that her
father said he had dreamt that Jeanne his daughter had gone away with
the troopers, that her father and mother took great care of her and held
her in great subjection: and she obeyed them in every point except that
of her affair at Toul in respect to marriage. She also said that her
mother had told her what her father had said to her brothers: "If I
could think that the thing would happen of which I have dreamed, I wish
she might be drowned first; and if you would not do it, I would drown
her with my own hands"; and that he nearly lost his senses when she went
to Vaucouleurs.

How profound is this little village tragedy! The suspicious, stern, and
unhopeful peasant, never sure even that the most transparent and pure
may not be capable of infamy, distracted with that horror of personal
degradation which is involved in family disgrace, cruel in the intensity
of his pride and fear of shame! He has been revealed to us in many
lands, always one of the most impressive of human pictures, with
no trust of love in him but an overwhelming faith in every vicious
possibility. If there is no evidence to prove that, even at the moment
when Jeanne was supreme, when he was induced to go to Rheims to see the
coronation, Jacques d'Arc was still dark, unresponsive, never more sure
than any of the Inquisitors that his daughter was not a witch, or worse,
a shameless creature linked to the captains and the splendid personages
about her by very different ties from those which appeared--there is at
least not a word to prove that he had changed his mind. She does not add
anything to soften the description here given. The sudden appearance of
this dark remorseless figure, looking on from his village, who probably
in all Domremy--when Domremy got to hear the news--would be the only
person who would in his desperation almost applaud that stake and
devouring flame, is too startling for words.

The end of this day's examination was remarkable also for a sudden light
upon the method she had intended to adopt in respect to the Duke
of Orleans, then in prison in England, whom it was one of her most
cherished hopes to deliver.

Asked, how she meant to rescue the Duc d'Orléans: she answered, that by
that time she hoped to have taken English prisoners enough to exchange
for him: and if she had not taken enough she should have crossed the
sea, in power, to search for him in England. Asked, if St. Catherine
and St. Margaret had told her absolutely and without condition that she
should take enough prisoners to exchange for the Duc d'Orléans, who was
in England, or otherwise, that she should cross the sea to fetch him and
bring him back within three years; she answered yes: and that she had
told the King and had begged him to permit her to make prisoners. She
said further that if she had lasted three years without hindrance, she
should have delivered him. Otherwise she said she had not thought of so
long a time as three years, although it should have been more than one;
but she did not at present recollect exactly.

There is a curious story existing, though we do not remember whence
it comes and there is not a scrap of evidence for it, which suggests a
rumour that Jeanne was not the child of the d'Arc family at all, but
in fact an abandoned and illegitimate child of the Queen, Isabel of
Bavaria, and that her real father was the murdered Duc d'Orléans. This
suggestion might explain the ease with which she fell into the way of
Courts, a sort of air _à la Princesse_ which certainly was about her,
and her especial devotion to Orleans, both to the city and the duke. A
shadow of a supposed child of our own Queen Mary has also appeared
in history, quite without warrant or likelihood. It is a little
conventional and well worn even in the way of romance, yet there are
certain fanciful suggestions in the thought.

After the above, Jeanne was again questioned and at great length upon
the sign given to the King, upon the angel who brought it, the manner of
his coming and going, the persons who saw him, those who saw the crown
bestowed upon the King, and so on, in the most minute detail. That the
purpose of the sign was that "they should give up arguing and so let
her proceed on her mission," she repeated again and again; but here is a
curious additional note.

She was asked how the King and the people with him were convinced that
it was an angel; and answered, that the King knew it by the instruction
of the ecclesiastics who were there, and also by the sign of the crown.
Asked, how the ecclesiastics (_gens d'église_) knew it was an angel she
answered, "By their knowledge (science), and because they were priests."

Was this the keenest irony, or was it the wandering of a weary mind?
We cannot tell; but if the latter, it was the only occasion on which
Jeanne's mind wandered; and there was method and meaning in the strange

She was further questioned whether it was by the advice of her voices
that she attacked La Charité, and afterwards Paris, her two points of
failure; the purpose of her examiners clearly being to convince her that
those voices had deceived her. To both questions she answered no.
To Paris she went at the request of gentlemen who wished to make a
skirmish, or assault of arms (_vaillance d'armes_); but she intended to
go farther, and to pass the moats; that is, to force the fighting and
make the skirmish into a serious assault; the same was the case before
La Charité. She was asked whether she had no revelation concerning Pont
l'Evêque, and said that since it was revealed to her at Melun that she
should be taken, she had had more recourse to the will of the captains
than to her own; but she did not tell them that it was revealed to her
that she should be taken. Asked, if she thought it was well done
to attack Paris on the day of the Nativity of our Lady, which was a
festival of the Church; she answered, that it was always well to keep
the festivals of our Lady: and in her conscience it seemed to her that
it was and always would be a good thing to keep the feasts of our Lady,
from one end to the other.

In the afternoon the examiners returned to the attempt at escape or
suicide--they seemed to have preferred the latter explanation--made at
Beaurevoir; and as Jeanne expresses herself with more freedom as to her
personal motives in these prison examinations and opens her heart more
freely, there is much here which we give in full.

She was asked first what was the cause of her leap from the tower of
Beaurevoir. She answered that she had heard that all the people of
Compiègne, down to the age of seven, were to be put to the sword, and
that she would rather die than live after such a destruction of good
people; this was one of the reasons; the other was that she knew that
she was sold to the English and that she would rather die than fall into
the hands of the English, her enemies. Asked, if she made that leap
by the command of her voices; answered, that St. Catherine said to her
almost every day that she was not to leap, for that God would help her,
and also the people of Compiègne: and she, Jeanne, said to St. Catherine
that since God intended to help the people of Compiègne she would fain
be there. And St. Catherine said: "You must take it in good part, but
you will not be delivered till you have seen the King of the English."
And she, Jeanne, answered: "Truly I do not wish to see him. I would
rather die than fall into the hands of the English." Asked, if she had
said to St. Catherine and St. Margaret, "Will God leave the good people
of Compiègne to die so cruelly?" answered, that she did not say "so
cruelly," but said it in this way: "Will God leave these good people
of Compiègne to die, who have been and are so loyal to their lord?" She
added that after she fell there were two or three days that she would
not eat; and that she was so hurt by the leap that she could not eat;
but all the time she was comforted by St. Catherine, who told her to
confess and ask pardon of God for that act, and that without doubt the
people of Compiègne would have succour before Martinmas. And then she
took pains to recover and began to eat, and shortly was healed.

Asked, whether, when she threw herself down, she wished to kill herself,
she answered no; but that in throwing herself down she commended herself
to God, and hoped by means of that leap to escape and to avoid being
delivered to the English. Asked, if, when she recovered the power of
speech, she had denied and blasphemed God and the saints, as had been
reported; answered, that she remembered nothing of the kind, and that,
as far as she knew, she had never denied and blasphemed God and His
saints there nor anywhere else, and did not confess that she had done
so, having no recollection of it. Asked, if she would like to see the
information taken on the spot, answered: "I refer myself to God, and not
another, and to a good confession." Asked, if her voices ever desired
delay for their replies; answered, that St. Catherine always answered
her at once, but sometimes she, Jeanne, could not hear because of
the tumult round her (_turbacion des personnes_) and the noise of her
guards; but that when she asked anything of St. Catherine, sometimes
she, and sometimes St. Margaret asked of our Lord, and then by the
command of our Lord an answer was given to her. Asked, if, when they
came, there was always light accompanying them, and if she did not
see that light when she heard the voice in the castle without knowing
whether it was in her chamber or not: answered, that there was never
a day that they did not come into the castle, and that they never came
without light: and that time she heard the voice, but did not remember
whether she saw the light, or whether she saw St. Catherine. Also she
said she had asked from her voices three things: one, her release: the
other, that God would help the French, and keep the town faithful: and
the other the salvation of her soul. Afterwards she asked that she might
have a copy of these questions and her answers if she were to be taken
to Paris, that she may give them to the people in Paris, and say to
them, "This is how I was questioned in Rouen, and here are my replies,"
that she might not be exhausted by so many questions.

Asked, what she meant when she said that Monseigneur de Beauvais put
himself in danger by bringing her to trial, and why Monseigneur de
Beauvais more than others, she answered, that this was and is what she
said to Monseigneur de Beauvais: "You say that you are my judge. I know
not whether you are so; but take care that you judge well, or you will
put yourself in great danger. I warn you, so that if our Lord should
chastise you for it, I may have done my duty in warning you." Asked,
what was that danger? she answered, that St. Catherine had said that she
should have succour, but that she knew not whether this meant that
she would be delivered from prison, or that, when she was before the
tribunal, there might come trouble by which she should be delivered;
she thought, however, it would be the one or the other. And all the more
that her voices told her that she would be delivered by a great victory;
and afterwards they said to her: "Take everything cheerfully, do not
be disturbed by this martyrdom: thou shalt thence come at last to the
kingdom of Heaven." And this the voices said simply and absolutely--that
is to say, without fail; she explained that she called It martyrdom
because of all the pain and adversity that she had suffered in prison;
and she knew not whether she might have still more to suffer, but waited
upon our Lord. She was then asked whether, since her voices had said
that she should go to Paradise, she felt assured that she should be
saved and not damned in hell; she answered, that she believed firmly
what her voices said about her being saved, as firmly as if she were
so already. And when it was said to her that this answer was of great
weight, she answered that she herself held it as a great treasure.

We have said that Jeanne's answers to the Inquisitors in prison had a
more familiar form than in the public examination; which seem to
prove that they were not unkind to her, further, at least, than by the
persistence and tediousness of their questions. The Bishop for one thing
was seldom present; the sittings were frequently presided over by the
Deputy Inquisitor, who had made great efforts to be free of the business
altogether, and had but very recently been forced into it; so that we
may at least imagine, as he was so reluctant, that he did what he could
to soften the proceedings. Jean de la Fontaine, too, was a milder man
than her former questioners, and in so small an assembly she could not
be disturbed and interrupted by Frère Isambard's well-meant signs and
whispers. She speaks at length and with a self-disclosure which seems to
have little that was painful in it, like one matured into a kind of
age by long weariness and trouble, who regards the panorama of her life
passing before her with almost a pensive pleasure. And it is clear that
Jeanne's ear, still so young and keen, notwithstanding that attitude of
mind, was still intent upon sounds from without, and that Jeanne's
heart still expected a sudden assault, a great victory for France, which
should open her prison doors--or even a rising in the very judgment hall
to deliver her. How could they keep still outside, Dunois, Alençon,
La Hire, the mighty men of valour, while they knew that she was being
racked and tortured within? She who could not bear to be out of the
conflict to serve her friends at Compiègne, even when succour from on
high had been promised, how was it possible that these gallant knights
could live and let her die, their gentle comrade, their dauntless
leader? In those long hours, amid the noise of the guards within and the
garrison around, how she must have thought, over and over again, where
were they? when were they coming? how often imagined that a louder clang
of arms than usual, a rush of hasty feet, meant that they were here!

But honour and love kept Jeanne's lips closed. Not a word did she say
that could discredit King, or party, or friends; not a reproach to those
who had abandoned her. She still looked for the great victory in which
Monseigneur, if he did not take care, might run the risk of being
roughly handled, or of a sudden tumult in his own very court that would
pitch him form his guilty seat. It was but the fourteenth of March
still, and there were six weary weeks to come. She did not know the hour
or the day, but yet she believed that this great deliverance was on its

And there was a great deliverance to come: but not of this kind. The
voices of God--how can we deny it?--are often, though in a loftier
sense, like those fantastic voices that keep the word of promise to the
ear but break it to the heart. They promised her a great victory: and
she had it, and also the fullest deliverance: but only by the stake and
the fire, which were not less dreadful to Jeanne than to any other girl
of her age. They did not speak to deceive her, but she was deceived;
they kept their promise, but not as she understood it. "These all died
in faith, not having received the promises, but having seen them afar
off, and were persuaded of them, and embraced them." Jeanne too was
persuaded of them, but was not to receive them--except in the other way.

On the afternoon of the same day (it was still Lent, and Jeanne fasted,
whatever our priests may have done), she was again closely questioned
on the subject, this time, of Franquet d'Arras, who, as has been above
narrated, was taken by her in the course of some indiscriminate fighting
in the north. She was asked if it was not mortal sin to take a man as
prisoner of war and then give him up to be executed. There was evidently
no perception of similarities in the minds of the judges, for this was
precisely what had been done in the case of Jeanne herself; but even she
does not seem to have been struck by the fact. Their object, apparently,
was by proving that she was in a state of sin, to prove also that her
voices were of no authority, as being unable to discover so simple a
principle as this.

When they spoke to her of "one named Franquet d'Arras, who was executed
at Lagny," she answered that she consented to his death, as he deserved
it, for he had confessed to being a murderer, a thief, and a traitor.
She said that his trial lasted fifteen days, the Bailli de Senlis and
the law officers of Lagny being the judges; and she added that she had
wished to have Franquet, to exchange him for a man of Paris, Seigneur de
Lours (corrected, innkeeper at the sign of l'Ours); but when she heard
that this man was dead, and when the Bailli told her that she would
go very much against justice if she set Franquet free, she said to the
Bailli: "Since my man is dead whom I wished to deliver, do with this one
whatever justice demands." Asked, if she took the money or allowed it to
be taken by him who had taken Franquet, she answered, that she was not a
money changer or a treasurer of France, to deal with money.

She was then reminded that having assaulted Paris on a holy day, having
taken the horse of Monseigneur de Senlis, having thrown herself down
from the tower of Beaurevoir, having consented to the death of Franquet
d'Arras, and being still dressed in the costume of a man, did she not
think that she must be in a state of mortal sin? She answered to the
first question about Paris: "I do not think I was guilty of mortal sin,
and if I have sinned it is to God that I would make it known, and in
confession to God by the priest." To the second question, concerning the
horse of Senlis, she answered, that she believed firmly that there was
not mortal sin in this, seeing it was valued, and the Bishop had due
notice of it, and at all events it was sent back to the Seigneur de la
Trémouille to give it back to Monseigneur de Senlis. The said horse was
of no use to her; and, on the other hand, she did not wish to keep it
because she heard that the Bishop was displeased that his horse should
have been taken. And as for the tower of Beaurevoir: "I did it not to
destroy myself, but in the hope of saving myself and of going to the aid
of the good people who were in need." But after having done it, she had
confessed her sin, and asked pardon of our Lord, and had pardon of Him.
And she allowed that it was not right to have made that leap, but that
she did wrong.

The next day an important question was introduced, the only one as
yet which Jeanne does not seem to have been able to answer with
understanding. On points of fact or in respect to her visions she was
always quite clear, but questions concerning the Church were beyond
her knowledge. It is only indeed after some time has elapsed that we
perceive why such a question was introduced.

After admonitions made to her she was required, if she had done anything
contrary to the faith, to submit herself to the decision of the Church.
She replied, that her answers had all been heard and seen by clerks,
and that they could say whether there was anything in them against the
faith: and that if they would point out to her where any error was,
afterwards she would tell them what was said by her counsellors. At
all events if there was anything against the faith which our Lord had
commanded, she would not sustain it, and would be very sorry to go
against that. Here it was shown to her that there was a Church militant
and a Church triumphant, and she was asked if she knew the difference
between them. She was also required to put herself under the
jurisdiction of the Church, in respect to what she had done, whether it
was good or evil, but replied, "I will answer no more on this point for
the present."

Having thrown in this tentative question which she did not understand,
they returned to the question of her dress, which holds such an
important place in the entire interrogatory. If she were allowed to
hear mass as she wished, having been all this time deprived of religious
ordinances, did not she think it would be more honest and befitting that
she should go in the dress of a woman? To this she replied vaguely, that
she would much rather go to mass in the dress of a woman than to retain
her male costume and not to hear mass; and that if she were certified
that she should hear mass, she would be there in a woman's dress. "I
certify you that you shall hear mass," the examiner replied, "but you
must be dressed as a woman." "What would you say," she answered as with
a momentary doubt, "if I had sworn to my King never to change?" but
she added: "Anyhow I answer for it. Find me a dress, long, touching the
ground, without a train, and give it to me to go to mass; but I will
return to my present dress when I come back." She was then asked why
she would not have all the parts of a female dress to go to mass in; she
said, "I will take counsel upon that, and answer you," and begged again
for the honour of God and our Lady that she might be allowed to hear
mass in this good town. Afterwards she was again recommended to assume
the whole dress of a woman and gave a conditional assent: "Get me
a dress like that of a young _bourgeoise_, that is to say, a long
_houppelande_; I will wear that and a woman's hood to go to mass." After
having promised, however, she made an appeal to them to leave her free,
and to think no more of her garb, but to allow her to hear mass without
changing it. This would seem to have been refused, and all at once
without warning the jurisdiction of the Church was suddenly introduced

She was asked, whether in all she did and said she would submit herself
to the Church, and replied: "All my deeds and works are in the hands of
God, and I depend only on Him; and I certify that I desire to do nothing
and say nothing against the Christian faith; and if I have done or said
anything in the body that was against the Christian faith which our
Lord has established, I should not defend it but cast it forth from
me." Asked again, if she would not submit to the laws of the Church she
replied: "I can answer no more to-day on this point; but on Saturday
send the clerk to me, if you do not come, and I will answer by the grace
of God, and it can be put in writing."

A great many questions followed as to her visions, but chiefly what had
been asked before. One thing only we may note, since it was one of the
special sayings all her own, which fell from the lips of Jeanne, during
this private and almost sympathetic examination. After being questioned
closely as to how she knew her first visitor to be St. Michael, etc.,
she was asked, how she would have known had he been "l'Anemy" himself
(a Norman must surely have used this word), taking the form of an angel:
and finally, what doctrine he taught her?

She answered; above all things he said that she was to be a good child
and that God would help her: and among other things that she was to go
to the succour of the King of France. But the greater part of what the
angel taught her, she continued, was already in their book; and THE

The pity of it! That which has always gone most to the tender heart: a
country torn in pieces, brother fighting against brother, the invader
seated at the native hearth, and blood and fire making the smiling land
a desert: "_la pitie qui estoit au royaume de France_."

Did the Inquisitor break down here? Could no one go on? or was it mere
human incompetence to feel the divine touch? Some one broke into a
foolish question about the height of the angel, and the sitting was
hurriedly concluded. Monseigneur might well be on his mettle; that
very pity, was it not stealing into the souls of his private committee
deputed for so different a use?


Next day the questions about St. Michael's personal appearance were
resumed, as a little feint we can only suppose, for the great question
of the Church was again immediately introduced; but in the meantime
Jeanne had described her visitor in terms which it is pleasant to dwell
on. "He was in the form of a _très vrai prud' homme_." The term is
difficult to translate, as is the Galantuomo of Italy. The "King-Honest
Man," we used to say in English in the days of his late Majesty Victor
Emmanuel of Italy; but that is not all that is meant--_un vrai prud'
homme_, a man good, honest, brave, the best man, is more like it.
The girl's honest imagination thought of no paraphernalia of wings or
shining plumes. It was not the theatrical angel, not even the angel of
art whom she saw--whom it would have been so easy to invent, nay to take
quite truthfully from the first painted window, radiating colour and
brightness through the dim, low-roofed church. But even with such
material handy, Jeanne was not led into the conventional. She knew
nothing about wings or emblematic scales. He was in the form of a brave
and gentle man. She knew not anything greater, nor would she be seduced
into fable however sacred. Then once more the true assault began.

She was asked, if she would submit all her sayings and doings, good or
evil, to the judgment of our Holy Mother, the Church. She replied, that
as for the Church, she loved it and would sustain it with all her might
for our Christian faith; and that it was not she whom they ought to
disturb and hinder from going to church or from hearing mass. As to the
good things she had done, and that had happened, she must refer all to
the King of Heaven, who had sent her to Charles, King of France; and it
should be seen that the French would soon gain a great advantage which
God would send them, so great that all the kingdom of France would
be shaken. And this, she said, that when it came to pass, they might
remember that she had said it. She was again asked, if she would submit
to the jurisdiction of the Church, and answered, "I refer everything
to our Lord who sent me, to our Lady, and to the blessed Saints of
Paradise"; and added her opinion was that our Lord and the Church meant
the same thing, and that difficulties should not be made concerning
this, when there was no difficulty, and they were both one. She was then
told that there was the Church triumphant, in which are God, the saints,
the angels, and all saved souls. The Church militant is our Holy Father
the Pope, vicar of God on earth, the cardinals, the prelates of the
Church, and the clergy and all good Christians and Catholics, which
Church properly assembled cannot err, but is guided by the Holy Spirit.
And this being the case she was asked if she would refer her cause to
the Church militant thus explained to her. She replied that she had
come to the King of France on the part of God, on the part of the Virgin
Mary, the blessed Saints of Paradise, and the Church victorious in
Heaven, and at their commandment; and to that Church she submitted all
her good deeds, and all that she had done and might do. And if they
asked her whether she would submit to the Church militant, answered,
that she would now answer no more than this.

Here again the argument strayed back to the futile subject of dress,
always at hand to be taken up again, one would say, when the judges were
non-plussed. Her first reply on this subject is remarkable and shows
that dark and terrible forebodings were already beginning to mingle with
her hopes.

Asked, what she had to say about the woman's dress that had been offered
to her, to hear mass in: she answered, that she would not take it yet,
not until the Lord pleased; but that if it were necessary to lead her
out to be executed, and if she should then have to be undressed, she
required of the Lords of the Church that they would give her the grace
to have a long chemise, and a kerchief for her head; that she would
prefer to die rather than to alter what our Lord had directed her to do,
and that she firmly believed our Lord would not let her descend so low,
but that she should soon be helped by God and by a miracle. She was then
asked, if what she did in respect to the man's costume was by command of
God, why she asked for a woman's chemise in case of death? answered, _It
is enough that it should be long_.

The effect of these words in which so much was implied, must have made
a supreme sensation among the handful of men gathered round the helpless
girl in her prison, bringing the stake in all its horror before the
eyes of the judges as before her own. No other thing could have been
suggested by that piteous prayer. The stake, the scaffold, the fire--and
the shrinking figure all maidenly, helpless, exposed to every evil gaze,
must have showed themselves at least for a moment against that dark
background of prison wall. It was enough that it should be long--to hide
her as much as was possible from those dreadful staring eyes.

The interrogatory goes on wildly after this about the age and the dress
of the saints. But a tone of fate had come into it, and Jeanne herself,
it was evident, was very serious; her mind turned to more weighty
thoughts. Presently they asked if the saints hated the English, to which
she replied that they hated what God hated and loved what He loved. She
was then asked if God hated the English. She replied that of the love or
hate that God had for the English, or what God did for their souls,
she knew nothing; but she knew well that they should be driven out of
France, except those who died there; and that God would send victory
to the French against the English. Asked, if God was for the English so
long as they were prosperous in France: she answered, that she knew not
whether God hated the French, but believed He had allowed them to be
beaten because of their sins.

Jeanne was then brought to a test which, had she been a great statesman
or a learned doctor, would have been as dangerous, as the question
concerning John the Baptist was to the priests and scribes. "If we shall
say: From heaven, he will say, Why then believed ye him not? but if we
shall say of men we fear the people." And she was only a peasant girl
and the event of which they spoke had been before her little time.

Asked, if she thought and believed firmly that her King did well to kill
Monseigneur de Bourgogne, she answered that IT WAS A GREAT MISFORTUNE
FOR THE KINGDOM OF FRANCE: but that however it might be among
themselves, God had sent her to the succour of the King.

One or two other questions of some importance followed amid perpetual
changes of the subject: one of which called forth as follows her last
deliverance on the subject of the Pope.

Asked, if she had said to Monseigneur de Beauvais that she would answer
as exactly to him and to his clerks as she would have done before our
Holy Father the Pope, although at several points in the trial she would
have had to refuse to answer, if she did not answer more plainly than
before Monseigneur de Beauvais--she said that she had answered as
much as she knew, and that if anything came to her memory that she had
forgotten to say, she would say it willingly. Asked, if it seemed to her
that she would be bound to answer the plain truth to the Pope, the vicar
of God, in all he asked her touching the faith and her conscience, she
replied that she desired to be taken before him, and then she would
answer all that she ought to answer.

Here we seem to perceive dimly that there was beginning to be a second
party among those examiners, one of which was covertly but earnestly
attempting to lead Jeanne into an appeal to the Pope, which would have
conveyed her out of the hands of the English at least, and gained time,
probably deliverance for her, could Jeanne have been made to understand

This, however, was by no means the wish of Cauchon, whose spy and
whisperer, L'Oyseleur, was working against it in the background. Jeanne
evidently failed to take up what they meant. She did not understand the
distinction between the Church militant and the Church triumphant: that
God alone was her judge, and that no tribunal could decide upon the
questions which were between her Lord and herself, was too firmly fixed
in her mind: and again and again the men whose desire was to make her
adopt this expedient, were driven back into the ever repeated questions
about St. Catherine and St. Margaret.

One other of her distinctive sayings fell from her in the little
interval that remained, in a series of useless questions about her
standard. Was it true that this standard had been carried into the
Cathedral at Rheims when those of the other captains were left behind?
"It had been through the labour and the pain," she said, "there was good
reason that it should have the honour."

This last movement of a proud spirit, absolutely disinterested and
without thought of honour or advancement in the usual sense of the word,
gives a sort of trumpet note at the end of these wonderful wranglings
in prison, in which, however, there is a softening of tone visible
throughout, and evident effect of human nature bringing into immediate
contact divers human creatures day after day. Jeanne is often at her
best, and never so frequently as during these less formal sittings
utters those flying words, simple and noble and of absolute truth to
nature, which are noted everywhere, even in the most rambling records.


The private examination, concluding with that last answer about the
banner, came to an end on the 17th March, the day before Passion Sunday.
Several subsequent days were occupied with repeated consultations in
the Bishop's palace, and the reading over of the minutes of the
examinations, to the judges first and afterwards to Jeanne, who
acknowledged their correctness, with one or two small amendments. It is
only now that Cauchon reappears in his own person. On the morning of the
following Sunday, which was Palm Sunday, he and four other doctors with
him had a conversation with Jeanne in her prison, very early in the
morning, touching her repeated application to be allowed to hear
mass and to communicate. The Bishop offered her his ultimatum: if she
consented to resume her woman's dress, she might hear mass, but not
otherwise; to which Jeanne replied, sorrowfully, that she would have
done so before now if she could; but that it was not in her power to
do so. Thus after the long and bitter Lent her hopes of sharing in the
sacred feast were finally taken from her. It remains uncertain whether
she considered that her change of dress would be direct disobedience
to God, which her words seem often to imply; or whether it would mean
renunciation of her mission, which she still hoped against hope to be
able to resume; or if the fear of personal insult weighed most with
her. The latter reason had evidently something to do with it, but, as
evidently, not all.

The background to these curious sittings, afterwards revealed to us,
casts a hazy side-light upon them. Probably the Bishop, never present,
must have been made aware by his spies of an intention on the part of
those most favourable to Jeanne to support an appeal to the Pope; and
L'Oyseleur, the traitor, who was all this time admitted to her cell by
permission of Cauchon, and really as his tool and agent, was actively
employed in prejudicing her mind against them, counselling her not to
trust to those clerks, not to yield to the Church. How he managed to
explain his own appearance on the other side, his official connection
with the trial, and constant presence as one of her judges, it is hard
to imagine. Probably he gave her to believe that he had sought that
position (having got himself liberated from the imprisonment which he
had represented himself as sharing) for her sake, to be able to help

On the other hand her friends, whose hearts were touched by her candour
and her sufferings, were not inactive. Jean de la Fontaine and the two
monks--l'Advenu and Frère Isambard--also succeeded in gaining admission
to her, and pressed upon her the advantage of appealing to the Church,
to the Council of Bâle about to assemble, or to the Pope himself, which
would have again changed the _venue_, and transferred her into less
prejudiced hands. It is very likely that Jeanne in her ignorance and
innocence might have held by her reference to the supreme tribunal
of God in any case; and it is highly unlikely that of the English
authorities, intent on removing the only thing in France of which their
forces were afraid, should have given her up into the hands of the Pope,
or allowed her to be transferred to any place of defence beyond their
reach; but at least it is a relief to the mind to find that all these
men were not base, as appears on the face of things, but that pity and
justice and human feeling sometimes existed under the priest's gown and
the monk's cowl, if also treachery and falsehood of the blackest kind.
The Bishop, who remained withdrawn, we know not why, from all these
private sittings in the prison (probably busy with his ecclesiastical
duties as Holy Week was approaching), heard with fury of this visit and
advice, and threatened vengeance upon the meddlers, not without effect,
for Jean de la Fontaine, we are told--who had been deep in his councils,
and indeed his deputy, as chief examiner--disappeared from Rouen
immediately after, and was heard of no more.

     (1) Compiègne was a strong point. Had she proclaimed a
     promise from St. Catherine, of victory? Chastelain says so,
     long after date and with errors in fact. Two Anglo-
     Compiègnais were at her trial. The Rehabilitation does not
     go into this question.--(From Mr. Lang.)


Upon all these contentions followed the calm of Palm Sunday, a great
and touching festival, the first break upon the gloom of Lent, and a
forerunner of the blessedness of Easter. We have already told how--a
semblance of charity with which the reader might easily be deceived--the
Bishop and four of his assessors had gone to the prison to offer to the
Maid permission to receive the sacrament if she would do so in a woman's
dress: and how after pleading that she might be allowed that privilege
as she was, in her male costume, and with a pathetic statement that she
would have yielded if she could, but that it was impossible--she
finally refused; and was so left in her prison to pass that sacred day
unsuccoured and alone. The historian Michelet, in the wonderful sketch
in which he rises superior to himself, and which amidst all after
writings remains the most beautiful and touching memorial of Jeanne
d'Arc, has made this day a central point in his tale, using with the
skill of genius the service of the Church appropriate to the day, in
heart-rending contrast with those doors of the prison which did not
open, and the help of God which did not come to the young and solitary
captive. _Le beau jour fleuri_ passed over her in darkness and
desertion: her agony and passion lay before her like those of the
Divine Sufferer, to whom every day of the succeeding week is specially
consecrated. There is almost indeed a painful following of the Saviour's
steps in these dark days, the circumstances lending themselves in a
wonderful way to the comparison which French writers love to make, but
which many of us must always feel, however spotless the sufferer, to
have a certain irreverence in them. But if ever martyr were worthy of
being called a partaker of the sufferings of Christ it was surely this
girl, free, if ever human creature was, from self-seeking, or thought
of reward, or ambitious hope, in whose heart there had never been any
motive but the service of God and the deliverance of her country, who
had neither looked before nor after, nor put her own interests into
consideration in any way. Silently the feast passed with no holy
privileges of religion, no blessed token of the spring, no remembrance
of the waving palms and scattered blossoms over which her Lord rode into
Jerusalem to die. She had not that sweet fallacious triumph; but the
darker ordeal remained for her to follow.

On Tuesday the 27th of March, her troubles began again. Before Palm
Sunday, the report of the trial had been read to her. She had now to
hear the formal reading of the articles founded upon it, to give a final
response if she had any to give, or explanation, or addition, if she
thought proper. The sitting was held in the great hall of the Castle
of Rouen before a band of more than forty, all assembled for this final
test. The Bishop made a prefactory speech to the prisoner, pointing out
to her how benign and merciful were the judges now assembled, that they
had no wish to punish, but rather to instruct and lead her in the right
way; and requesting her at this late period in the proceedings to choose
one or more from among them to help her. To which Jeanne replied; "In
the first place concerning my good and our faith, I thank you and all
the company. As for the counsellor you offer me I thank you also, but I
have no need to depart from our Lord as my counsellor."

The articles, in which the former questions put to her and answered by
her, were now repeated in the form of accusations, were then read to her
one by one; her sorcery, sacrilege, etc., being taken as facts. To a
few she repeated, with various forcible and fine turns of phrase, her
previous answers, with here and there a new explanation; but to the
great majority she referred simply to her former replies, or denied
the charge, as follows: "The second article concerning sortilège,
superstitious acts and divination, she denied, and in respect to
adoration (i.e. allowing herself to be adored) said: If any kissed her
hands or her garments, it was not by her will, and that she kept herself
from it as much as she could; and the rest of the article she denies."
This is a specimen of the manner in which she responded, with a
clear-headed and undisturbed intelligence, point after point--_ipsa
Johanna negat_, is the usual refrain: or else she referred with dignity
to previous replies as her sole answer. But sometimes the girl was
moved to indignation, sometimes added a word in her own defence: "As for
fairies she knew not what they were, and as for her education she had
been well and duly instructed what to believe, as a good child should."
This was her answer to the article in which all the folk-lore of
Domremy, all the fairy tales, had been collected into a solemn statement
of heresy. The matter of dress was once more treated in endless detail,
with many interjected questions and reports of what she had already
said: and at the end, answering the statement that woman's dress was
most fit for woman's work, Jeanne added the quick _mot_: "As for the
usual work of women, there are enough of other women to do it." On
another occasion when the report ran that she claimed to have done all
things by the counsel of God, she interrupted and said "that it ought
to be, all that I have done well." To her former answer that she had
yielded to the desire of the French knights in attacking Paris, she
added the fine words, "It seemed to me that it was their duty to attack
their adversaries." In respect to her visions she added to her former
answer, "that she had not asked advice of bishop, curé, or any other
before believing her revelations, but had many times prayed God to
reveal them to others of her party." About calling her saints when she
required their aid she added, that she asked God and Our Lady to send
her council and comfort, and immediately her heavenly visitors came; and
that this was the prayer she made:

"Gentle God, in honour of Your(1) passion, I pray You, if You love me,
that You would reveal to me how I ought to answer these people of the
Church. I know well by what command it was that I took this dress, but
I know not in what manner I ought to give it up. For this may it please
You to teach me."

In respect to the reproach that she had been a general in the war (_chef
de guerre_), she explained that if she were, it was to drive out the
English, repelling the accusation that she had assumed this title in
pride; and to that which accused her of preferring to live among men,
she explained that when she was in a lodging she generally had a woman
with her; but that when engaged in war she lived in her clothes whenever
there was not a woman present. In respect to her hope of escaping
from prison, she was asked if her council had thrown any light on that
question, and replied, "I have yet to tell you." Manchon, the
clerk, makes a note upon his margin at these words, "Proudly
answered"--_superbe responsum_.

This re-examination lasted for two long days, the 27th and 28th of
March. On several points Jeanne requested that she might be allowed to
give an answer on Saturday, and accordingly, on Saturday, the last day
of March, Easter Eve, she was visited in prison by the Bishop and
seven or eight assessors. She was then asked if she would submit to
the judgment of the Church on earth all that she had done and said,
specially in things that concerned her trial. She answered that she
would submit to the judgment of the Church militant, provided that it
did not enforce anything that was impossible. She explained that
what she called impossible was to acknowledge that the visions and
revelations came otherwise than from God, or that what she had done was
not on the part of God: these she would never deny or revoke for any
power on earth: and that which our Lord had commanded or should command,
she would not give up for any living man, and this would be impossible
to her. And in case the Church should command her to do anything
contrary to the command given her by God she would not do it for any
reason whatsoever. Asked whether she would submit to the Church if the
Church militant pronounced that her revelations were delusions or from
the devil, or superstitious, or evil things, she answered that she would
refer everything to our Lord, whose command she always obeyed; and that
she knew well that everything had come to her by the commandment of God;
and that what she had affirmed during this trial to have been done by
the commandment of God it would be impossible for her to deny. And in
case the Church militant commanded her to go against God, she would
submit herself to no man in this world but to our Lord, whose good
commandment she had always obeyed. She was asked if she did not believe
that she was subject to the Church on earth, that is, to our Holy Father
the Pope, the Cardinals, Bishops, and other prelates of the Church.
She answered, "_Yes, our Lord being served first_." Asked if she had
directions from her voices not to submit to the Church militant which
is on earth, nor to its judgment, she replied that she does not answer
according to what comes into her head, but that when she replies it is
by commandment; and that she has never been told not to obey the Church,
our Lord being served first (_noster Sire premier servi_).

Other less formal particulars come to us long after, from various
witnesses at the _procès de rehabilitation_, in which a lively picture
is given of this scene. Frère Isambard had apparently managed, as was
his wont, to get close to the prisoner, and to whisper to her to appeal
to the Council of Bâle. "What is this Council of Bâle?" she asked in the
same tone. Isambard replied that it was the "congregation of the whole
Church, Catholic and Universal, and that there would be as many there on
her side as on that of the English." "Ah!" she cried, "since there will
be some of our party in that place, I will willingly yield and submit
to the Council of Bâle, to our Holy Father the Pope, and to the sacred
Council."(2) And immediately--continues the deposition--the Bishop of
Beauvais cried out, "Silence, in the devil's name!" and told the notary
to take no notice of what she said, that she would submit herself to the
Council of Bâle; whereupon a second cry burst from the bosom of Jeanne,
"You write what is against me, but you will not write what is for me."
"Because of these things, the English and their officers threatened
terribly the said Frère Isambard, warning him that if he did not hold
his peace he would be thrown in the Seine." No notice whatever is taken
of any such interruption in the formal record. It must have been before
this time that Jean de la Fontaine disappeared. He left Rouen secretly
and never returned, nor does he ever appear again. Frère Isambard is
said to have taken temporary refuge in his convent; they scattered,
_de par l'diable_, according to the Christian adjuration of Mgr. De
Beauvais; though l'Advenu would seem to have held his ground, and served
as Confessor to Jeanne in her agony, at which Frère Isambard was also
present. We are told that the Deputy Inquisitor Lemâitre, he who had
been got to lend the aid of his presence with such difficulty, fiercely
warned the authorities that he would have no harm done to those two
friars, from which we may infer that he too had leanings towards the
Maid; and these honest and loyal men, well deserving of their country
and of mankind, should not lose their record when the tragic story of so
much human treachery and baseness has to be told.


After this there came a long pause, full of much business to the judges,
councillors, and clerks who had to reduce the seventy articles to
twelve, in order to forward a summary of the case to the University of
Paris for their judgment. Jeanne in the meantime had been left, but not
neglected, in her prison. The great Feast of Easter had passed without
any sacred consolation of the Church; but Monseigneur de Beauvais,
in his kindness, sent her a carp to keep the feast withal, if not any
spiritual food. It was quite congenial to the spirit of the time to
imagine that the carp had been poisoned, and such a thought seems to
have crossed the mind of Jeanne, who was very ill after eating of it,
and like to die. But it was not thus, poisoned in prison, that it would
have suited any of her persecutors to let her die. As a matter of fact,
as soon as it was known that she was ill, the best doctors procurable
were sent to the prison with peremptory orders to prolong her life
and cure her at any cost. But for a little time we lose sight of
the sick-bed on which the unfortunate Maid lay fully dressed, never
relinquishing the garb which was her protection, with her feet chained
to her uneasy couch. Even at the moment when her life hung in the
balance we read of no indulgence granted in this respect, no unlocking
of the infamous chain, nor substitution of a gentler nurse for the
attendant _houspillers_, who were her guards night and day.

When the Bishop and his court had completed their business and sent off
to Paris the important document on which so much depended, they found
themselves at leisure to return to Jeanne, to inquire after her health
and to make her "a charitable admonition." It was on the 18th of April,
after the silence of more than a fortnight, that their visit was made
with this benevolent purpose. Seven of her judges attended the Bishop
into the sick-chamber. They had come, he assured her, charitably and
familiarly, to visit her in her sickness and to carry her comfort and
consolation. Most of these men were indeed familiar enough: she had seen
their faces already through many a dreadful day, though there were one
or two which were new and strange, come to stare at her in the depths
of her distress. Cauchon reminded her how much and how carefully she had
been questioned by the most wise and learned men; and that those there
present were ready to do anything for the salvation of her soul and
body in every possible way, by instructing or advising her. He added,
however, that if she still refused to accept advice, and to act
according to the counsel of the Church, she was in the greatest
danger--to which she replied:

"It seems to me, being so ill as I am, that I am in great danger of
death. And if it is thus that God pleases to decide for me, I ask of you
to be allowed to confess and receive my Saviour, and to be laid in holy

"If you desire to have the rites and sacraments of the Church," said
Cauchon, "you must do as good Catholics ought to do, submit to Holy
Church." She answered, "I can say no other thing to you." She was then
told that if she was in fear of death through sickness she ought all the
more to amend her life; but that she could not have the privileges
of the Church as a Catholic, if she did not submit to the Church. She
answered: "If my body dies in prison, I hope that you will bury me in
consecrated ground: yet if not, I still hope in our Lord."

She was then reminded that she had said in her trial--if anything had
been said or done by her against our Christian faith ordained by our
Lord, that she would not stand by it. She answered, "I refer to the
answer I made, and to our Lord."

It was then asked of her, since she believed herself to have had many
revelations from God by St. Michael, St. Catherine, and St. Margaret,
whether if there should appear some good creature (_sic_) who professed
to have had a revelation from God in respect to her, she would believe
that? She answered that there was no Christian in the world who could
come to her professing to have had a revelation, of whom she should not
know whether he spoke the truth or not: she would know it through St.
Catherine and St. Margaret.

Asked, if she could not imagine that God might reveal something to a
good creature who might be unknown to her, she answered: "Yes; but I
would not believe either man or woman without a sign."

Asked, if she believed that the Holy Scripture was revealed by God, she
answered, "You know that I do, and it is good to know."

The last answer she made in respect to submission to Holy Church was
this, "Whatever may happen to me I will neither do nor say anything
else, for I have answered before, during the trial."

She was then "exhorted powerfully by the venerable doctors present"
(four are mentioned by name) to submit to our Mother the Church, with
many authorities and examples drawn from the Holy Scriptures; and
finally, Magister Nicolas Midi made her an exhortation from Matthew
xviii.: "If your brother trespass against you," and what follows, "If
he will not hear the Church, let him be to you as a heathen man and
a publican." This was expounded to Jeanne in the French tongue and,
finally, she was told that if she would not obey and submit to the
Church she must be given up as if she was a Saracen. To which Jeanne
replied that she was a good Christian and well baptised, and that she
desired to die as a Christian. She was then asked whether, since she
begged leave of the Church to receive her Saviour, she would submit
to the Church if it were promised to her that she should receive. She
answered that she would say no more than she had said; that she loved
God, served Him, and was a good Christian, and would aid and uphold the
Holy Church with all her power. Asked if she wished that a beautiful
procession should be made for her to restore her to health, she answered
that she would be glad if the Church and the Catholics would pray for

For another fortnight Jeanne was sent back into the silence, and to her
own thoughts, which must have grown heavier and heavier as the weary
days went on, and no sound of approaching deliverance came, no rumour
of help at hand. All was quiet and safe at Rouen; amid the babble of the
courtyard which she might hear fitfully when her guardians were quieter
than usual, there was not one word which brought the hope of a French
army at hand, or of any movement to rescue her. All was silent in the
world around, not a breath of hope, not the whisper of a friend. It was
not till the 2d of May that the dreadful blank was again broken, and she
was called to the great hall of the castle for another interview with
her tormentors. When she was led into the hall it was full, as in the
first sitting, sixty-three judges in all being present. The interest
had flagged or the pity had grown as the trial dragged its slow length
along; but now, when every day the verdict was expected from Paris, the
interest had risen again. On her way from her prison to the hall, it was
necessary to pass the door of the castle chapel: and here once or twice
Massieu, the officer of the court, had permitted her to pause and kneel
down as she passed. This was all the celebration of the Paschal Feast
that was permitted to Jeanne. The compassionate official, however, was
discovered in this small service of charity, and sternly reprimanded
and threatened. Henceforward she had to pass without even a longing look
through the door at the altar on which was the holy sacrament.

She came in on the renewed sitting of the 2d May to find the assembled
priests settling themselves, after the address which had been made to
them, to hear another address which John de Chasteillon, Archdeacon, had
prepared for herself, in which he said much that was good both for body
and soul, to which she consented. He had a list of twelve articles in
his hands, and explained and expounded them to her, as they were the
occasion of the sitting. He then "admonished her in charity," explaining
that those who were faithful to Christ hold firmly and closely to the
Christian creed, and adjuring her to consent and to amend her ways. To
this Jeanne answered: "Read your book," meaning the schedule held by
Monseigneur the Archdeacon, "and then I will answer you. I refer myself
to God my master in all things; and I love Him with all my heart."

To read this book, however, was precisely what Monseigneur the
Archdeacon had no intention of doing. She was never allowed to hear the
twelve articles upon which the verdict against her was founded; but the
speaker gave her a long discourse by way of explanation, following more
or less the schedule which he held. This "monition general," however,
elicited no detailed reply from Jeanne, who answered briefly with some
impatience, "I refer myself to my judge, who is the King of Heaven
and earth." The "Lord Archdeacon" then proceeded to "monitions

It was then once more explained to her that this reference to God alone
was a refusal to submit to the Church militant, and she was instructed
in the authority of the Church, which it was the duty of every Christian
to believe--_unam sanctam Ecclesiam_ always guided by the Holy Spirit
and which could not err, to the judgment of which every question should
be referred. She answered: "I believe in the Church here below; but my
doings and sayings, as I have already said, I refer and submit to God. I
believe that the Church militant cannot err or fail; but as for my deeds
and words I put them all before God, who has made me do that which
I have done"; she also said that she submitted herself to God, her
Creator, who had made her do everything, and referred everything to Him,
and to Him alone.

She was then asked, if she would have no judge on earth and if our
Holy Father the Pope were not her judge; she answered: "I will tell you
nothing more. I have a good master, that is our Lord, on whom I depend
for everything, and not an any other."

She was then told that if she would not believe the Church and the
article _Ecclesiam sanctam Catholicam_, that she might be reckoned as
a heretic and punished by burning: to which she answered: "I can say
nothing else to you; and if I saw the fire before me, I should say only
that which I say, and could do nothing else." (Once more at this point
the clerk writes on his margin, "Proud reply"--_Superba responsio_--but
whether in admiration or in blame it would be hard to say.)

Asked, if the Council General, or the Holy Father, Cardinals, etc., were
there--whether she would submit to them. "You shall have no other answer
from me," she said.

Asked, if she would submit to our Holy Father the Pope: she answered,
"Take me to him and I will answer him," but would say no more.

Questioned in respect to her dress, she answered, that she would
willingly accept a long dress and a woman's hood to go to church to
receive her Saviour, provided that, as she had already said, she were
allowed to wear it on that occasion only, and then to take back that
which she at present wore. Further, when it was set before her that she
wore that dress without any need, being in prison, she answered, "When
I have done that for which I was sent by God, I will then take back a
woman's dress." Asked, if she thought she did well in being dressed like
a man, she answered, "I refer every thing to our Lord."

Again, after the exhortation made to her, namely, that in saying
that she did well and did not sin in wearing that dress, and in the
circumstances which concerned her assuming and wearing it, and in
saying that God and the saints made her do so--she blasphemed, and as
is contained in this schedule, erred and did evil: she answered that she
never blasphemed God or the saints.

She was then admonished to give up that dress, and no longer to think it
was right, and to return to the garb of a woman; but answered that she
would make no change in this respect.

Concerning her revelations: she replied in regard to them, that she
referred everything to her judge, that is God, and that her revelations
were from God, without any other medium.

Asked concerning the sign given to the King if she would refer to
the Archbishop of Rheims, the Sire de Boussac, Charles de Bourbon, La
Tremouille, and La Hire, to them or to any one of them, who, according
to what she formerly said, had seen the crown, and were present when the
angel brought it, and gave it to the Archbishop; or if she would refer
to any others of her party who might write under their seals that it was
so; she answered, "Send a messenger, and I will write to them about the
whole trial": but otherwise she was not disposed to refer to them.

In respect to her presumption in divining the future, etc., she
answered, "I refer everything to my judge who is God, and to what I have
already answered, which is written in the book."

Asked, if two or three or four knights of her party were to be
brought here under a safe conduct, whether she would refer to them her
apparitions and other things contained in this trial; answered, "Let
them come and then I will answer:" but otherwise she was not willing to
refer to anyone.

Asked whether, at the Church of Poitiers where she was examined, she had
submitted to the Church, she answered, "Do you hope to catch me in this
way, and by that draw advantage to yourselves?"

In conclusion, "afresh and abundantly," she was admonished to submit
herself to the Church, on pain of being abandoned by the Church; for if
the Church left her she would be in great danger of body and of soul;
and she might well put herself in peril of eternal fire for the soul, as
well as of temporal fire for the body, by the sentence of other judges.
"You will not do this which you say against me, without doing injury to
your own bodies and souls," she said.

Asked, whether she could give a reason why she would not submit to the
Church: but to this she would make no additional reply.

Again a week passed in busy talk and consultation without, in silence
and desertion within. On the 9th of May the prisoner was again led, this
time to the great tower, apparently the torture chamber of the castle,
where she found nine of her judges awaiting her, and was once more
adjured to speak the truth, with the threat of torture if she continued
to refuse. Never was her attitude more calm, more dignified and lofty in
its simplicity, than at this grim moment.

"Truly," she replied, "if you tear the limbs from my body, and my soul
out of it, I can say nothing other than what I have said; or if I said
anything different, I should afterwards say that you had compelled me to
do it by force." She added that on the day of the Holy Cross, the 3d of
May past, she had been comforted by St. Gabriel. She believed that it
was St. Gabriel: and she knew by her voices that it was St. Gabriel. She
had asked counsel of her voices whether she should submit to the Church,
because the priests pressed her so strongly to submit: but it had been
said to her that if she desired our Lord to help her she must depend
upon Him for everything. She added that she knew well that our Lord had
always been the master of all she did, and that the Enemy had nothing
to do with her deeds. Also she had asked her voices if she should be
burned, and the said voices had replied to her that she was to wait for
the Lord and He would help her.

Afterwards in respect to the crown which had been handed by the angel to
the Archbishop of Rheims, she was asked if she would refer to him. She
answered: "Bring him here, that I may hear what he says, and then I
shall answer you; he will not dare to say the contrary of that which I
have said to you."

The Archbishop of Rheims had been her constant enemy; all the hindrances
that had occurred in her active life, and the constant attempts made
to balk her even in her brief moment of triumph, came from him and his
associate La Trémouille. He was the last person in the world to whom
Jeanne naturally would have appealed. Perhaps that was the admirable
reason why he was suggested in this dreadful crisis of her fate.

A few days later, it was discussed among those dark inquisitors whether
the torture should be applied or not. Finally, among thirteen there were
but two (let not the voice of sacred vengeance be silent on their shame
though after four centuries and more), Thomas de Courcelles, first of
theologians, cleverest of ecclesiastical lawyers, mildest of men, and
Nicolas L'Oyseleur, the spy and traitor, who voted for the torture. One
man most reasonably asked why she should be put to torture when they
had ample material for judgment without it? One cannot but feel that
the proceedings on this occasion were either intended to beguile the
impatience of the English authorities, eager to be done with the whole
business, or to add a quite gratuitous pang to the sufferings of the
heroic girl. As the men were not devils, though probably possessed by
this time, the more cruel among them, by the horrible curiosity, innate
alas! in human nature, of seeing how far a suffering soul could go, it
is probable that the first motive was the true one. The English, Warwick
especially, whose every movement was restrained by this long-pending
affair, were exceedingly impatient, and tempted at times to take the
matter into their own hands, and spoil the perfectness of this well
constructed work of art, conducted according to all the rules, the
beautiful trial which was dear to the Bishop's heart--and destined to
be, though perhaps in a sense somewhat different to that which he hoped,
his chief title to fame.

Ten days after, the decision of the University of Paris arrived, and a
great assembly of counsellors, fifty-one in all, besides the permanent
presidents, collected together in the chapel of the Archbishop's
house, to hear that document read, along with many other documents, the
individual opinions of a host of doctors and eminent authorities.
After an explanation of the solemn care given by the University to the
consideration of every one of the twelve articles of the indictment,
that learned tribunal pronounced its verdict upon each. The length of
the proceedings makes it impossible to reproduce these. First as to the
early revelations given to Jeanne, described in the first and second
articles, they are denounced as "murderous, seductive, and pernicious
fictions," the apparitions those of "malignant spirits and devils,
Belial, Satan, and Behemoth." The third article, which concerned her
recognition of the saints, was described more mildly as containing
errors in faith; the fourth, as to her knowledge of future events, was
characterised as "superstitious and presumptuous divination." The fifth,
concerning her dress, declared her to be "blasphemous and contemptuous
of God in His Sacraments." The sixth, by which she was accused of loving
bloodshed, because she made war against those who did not obey the
summons in her letters bearing the name Jhesus Maria, was declared to
prove that she was cruel, "seeking the shedding of blood, seditious,
and a blasphemer of God." The tenor is the same to the end: Blasphemy,
superstition, pernicious doctrine, impiety, cruelty, presumption, lying;
a schismatic, a heretic, an apostate, an idolator, an invoker of demons.
These are the conclusions drawn by the most solemn and weighty tribunal
on matters of faith in France. The precautions taken to procure a
full and trustworthy judgment, the appeal to each section in turn, the
Faculty of Theology, the Faculty of Law, the "Nations," all separately
and than all together passing every item in review--are set forth at
full length. Every formality had been fulfilled, every rule followed,
every detail was in the fullest order, signed and sealed and attested by
solemn notaries, bristling with well-known names. A beautiful judgment,
equal to the trial, which was beautiful too--not a rule omitted except
those of justice, fairness, and truth! The doctors sat and listened with
every fine professional sense satisfied.

"If the beforesaid woman, charitably exhorted and admonished by
competent judges, does not return spontaneously to the Catholic faith,
publicly abjure her errors, and give full satisfaction to her judges,
she is hereby given up to the secular judge to receive the reward of her

The attendant judges, each in his place, now added their adhesion.
Most of them simply stated their agreement with the judgment of the
University, or with that of the Bishop of Fecamp, which was a similar
tenor; a few wished that Jeanne should be again "charitably admonished";
many desired that on this selfsame day the final sentence should
be pronounced. One among them, a certain Raoul Sauvage (Radulphus
Silvestris), suggested that she should be brought before the people in
a public place, a suggestion afterwards carried out. Frère Isambard
desired that she should be charitably admonished again and have another
chance, and that her final fate should still be in the hands of "us her
judges." The conclusion was that one more "charitable admonition" should
be given to Jeanne, and that the law should then take its course.
The suggestion that she should make a public appearance had only one

This dark scene in the chapel is very notable, each man rising to
pronounce what was in reality a sentence of death,--fifty of them almost
unanimous, filled no doubt with a hundred different motives, to please
this man or that, to win favour, to get into the way of promotion,--but
all with a distinct consciousness of the great yet horrible spectacle,
the stake, the burning:--though perhaps here and there was one with a
hope that perpetual imprisonment, bread of sorrow and water of anguish,
might be substituted for that terrible death. Finally, it was decided
that--always on the side of mercy, as every act proved--the tribunal
should once more "charitably admonish" the prisoner for the salvation
of her soul and body, and that after all this "good deliberation and
wholesome counsel" the case should be concluded.

Again there follows a pause of four days. No doubt the Bishop and his
assessors had other things to do, their ecclesiastical functions,
their private business, which could not always be put aside because one
forsaken soul was held in suspense day after day. Finally on the 24th of
May, Jeanne again received in her prison a dignified company, some quite
new and strange to her (indeed the idea may cross the reader's mind
that it was perhaps to show off the interesting prisoner to two new
and powerful bishops, the first, Louis of Luxembourg, a relative of her
first captor, that this last examination was held), nine men in all,
crowding her chamber--_exponuntur Johannæ defectus sui_, says the
record--to expound to Jeanne her faults. It was Magister Peter Morice to
whom this office was confided. Once more the "schedule" was gone over,
and an address delivered laden with all the bad words of the University.
"Jeanne, dearest friend," said the orator at last, "it is now time, at
the end of the trial, to think well what words these are." She would
seem to have spoken during this address, at least once--to say that
she held to everything she had said during the trial. When Morice had
finished she was once more questioned personally.

She was asked if she still thought and believed that it was not her duty
to submit her deeds and words to the Church militant, or to any other
except God, upon which she replied, "What I have always said and held to
during the trial, I maintain to this moment"; and added that if she
were in judgment and saw the fire lighted, the faggots burning, and the
executioner ready to rake the fire, and she herself within the fire,
she could say nothing else, but would sustain what she had said in her
trial, to death.

Once more the scribe has written on his margin the words _Responsio
Johannæ superba_--the proud answer of Jeanne. Her raised head, her
expanded breast, something of a splendour of indignation about her,
must have moved the man, thus for the third time to send down to us his
distinctly human impression of the worn out prisoner before her judges.
"And immediately the promoter and she refusing to say more, the cause
was concluded," says the record, so formal, sustained within such
purely abstract limits, yet here and there with a sort of throb and
reverberation of the mortal encounter. From the lips of the Inquisitor
too all words seemed to have been taken. It is as when amid the excited
crowd in the Temple the officers of the Pharisees approaching to lay
hands on a greater than Jeanne, fell back, not knowing why, and could
not do their office. This man was silenced also. Two bishops were
present, and one a great man full of patronage; but not for the richest
living in Normandy could Peter Morice find any more to say.

These are in one sense the words of Jeanne; the last we have from her in
her prison, the last of her consistent and unbroken life. After, there
was a deeper horror to go through, a moment when all her forces failed.
Here on the verge of eternity she stands heroic and unyielding, brave,
calm, and steadfast as at the outset of her career, the Maid of France.
Were the fires lighted and the faggots burning, and she herself within
the fire, she had no other word to say.

     (1) It is correct in French to use the second person plural
     in addressing God, _thou_ being a more intimate and less
     respectful form of speech. Such a difference is difficult to
     remember, and troubles the ear. The French, even those who
     ought to know better, sometimes speak of it as a supreme
     profanity on the part of the profane English, that they
     address God as _thou_.

     (2) The French report goes on, "et requiert ----," but no
     more. It is not in the Latin. The scribe was stopped by the
     Bishop's profane outcry, and forbidden to register the fact
     she was about to make a direct appeal to the Pope.


On the 23d of May Jeanne was taken back to her prison attended by the
officer of the court, Massieu, her frame still thrilling, her heart
still high, with that great note of constancy yet defiance. She had been
no doubt strongly excited, the commotion within her growing with every
repetition of these scenes, each one of which promised to be the last.
And the fire and the stake and the executioner had come very near to
her; no doubt a whole murmuring world of rumour, of strange information
about herself, never long inaudible, never heard outside of the Castle
of Rouen, rose half-comprehended from the echoing courtyard outside and
the babble of her guards within. She would hear even as she was conveyed
along the echoing stone passages something here and there of the popular
expectation:--a burning! the wonderful unheard of sight, which by hook
or by crook everyone must see; and no doubt among the English talk she
might now be able to make out something concerning this long business
which had retarded all warlike proceedings but which would soon be over
now, and the witch burnt. There must have been some, even among those
rude companions, who would be sorry, who would feel that she was no
witch, yet be helpless to do anything for her, any more than Massieu
could, or Frère Isambard: and if it was all for the sake of certain
words to be said, was the wench mad? would it not be better to say
anything, to give up anything rather than be burned at the stake?
Jeanne, notwithstanding the wonderful courage of her last speech,
must have returned to her cell with small illusion possible to her
intelligent spirit. The stake had indeed come very near, the flames
already dazzled her eyes, she must have felt her slender form shrink
together at the thought. All that long night, through the early daylight
of the May morning did she lie and ponder, as for far less reasons
so many of us have pondered as we lay wakeful through those morning
watches. God's promises are great, but where is the fulfilment? We ask
for bread and he gives us, if not a stone, yet something which we cannot
realise to be bread till after many days. Jeanne's voices had never
paused in their pledge to her of succour. "Speak boldly, God will help
you--fear nothing"; there would be aid for her before three months,
and great victory. They went on saying so, though the stake was already
being raised. What did they mean? what did they mean? Could she still
trust them? or was it possible----?

Her heart was like to break. At their word she would have faced
the fire. She meant to do so now, notwithstanding the terrible, the
heartrending ache of hope that was still in her. But they did not give
her that heroic command. Still and always, they said God will help
you, our Lord will stand by you. What did that mean? It must mean
deliverance, deliverance! What else could it mean? If she held her head
high as she returned to the horrible monotony of that prison so often
left with hope, so often re-entered in sadness, it must soon have
dropped upon her tired bosom. Slowly the clouds had settled round her.
Over and over again had she affirmed them to be true--these voices that
had guided her steps and led her to victory. And they had promised her
the aid of God if she went forward boldly, and spoke and did not fear.
But now every way of salvation was closing; all around her were fierce
soldiers thirsting for her blood, smooth priests who admonished her in
charity, threatening her with eternal fire for the soul, temporal fire
for the body. She felt that fire, already blowing towards her as if on
the breath of the evening wind, and her girlish flesh shrank. Was that
what the voices had called deliverance? was that the grand victory, the
aid of the Lord?

It may well be imagined that Jeanne slept but little that night; she
had reached the lowest depths; her soul had begun to lose itself in
bitterness, in the horror of a doubt. The atmosphere of her prison
became intolerable, and the noise of her guards keeping up their rough
jests half through the night, their stamping and clamour, and the clang
of their arms when relieved. Early next morning a party of her usual
visitors came in upon her to give her fresh instruction and advice.
Something new was about to happen to-day. She was to be led forth, to
breathe the air of heaven, to confront the people, the raging sea of
men's faces, all the unknown world about her. The crowd had never been
unfriendly to Jeanne. It had closed about her, almost wherever she was
visible, with sweet applause and outcries of joy. Perhaps a little hope
stirred her heart in the thought of being surrounded once more by the
common folk, though probably it did not occur to her to think of these
Norman strangers as her own people. And a great day was before her, a
day in which something might still be done, in which deliverance might
yet come. L'Oyseleur, who was one of her visitors, adjured her now
to change her conduct, to accept whatever means of salvation might be
offered to her. There was no longer any mention of Pope or Council,
but only of the Church to which she ought to yield. How it was that he
preserved his influence over her, having been proved to be a member
of the tribunal that judged her, and not a fellow-prisoner, nor a
fellow-countryman, nor any of the things he had professed to be, no once
can tell us; but evidently he had managed to do so. Jeanne would seem to
have received him without signs of repulsion or displeasure. Indeed
she seems to have been ready to hear anyone, to believe in those who
professed to wish her well, even when she did not follow their counsel.

It would require, however, no great persuasion on L'Oyseleur's part to
convince her that this was a more than usually important day, and that
something decisive must be done, now or never. Why should she be
so determined to resist her only chance of safety? If she were but
delivered from the hands of the English, safe in the gentler keeping of
the Church, there would be time to think of everything, even to make her
peace with her voices who would surely understand if, for the saving of
her life, and out of terror for the dreadful fire, she abandoned
them for a moment. She had disobeyed them at Beaurevoir and they had
forgiven. One faltering word now, a mark of her hand upon a paper, and
she would be safe--even if still all they said was true; and if indeed
and in fact, after buoying her up from day to day, such a dreadful thing
might be as that they were not true----

The traitor was at her ear whispering; the cold chill of disappointment,
of disillusion, of sickening doubt was in her heart.

Then there came into the prison a better man than L'Oyseleur, Jean
Beaupère, her questioner in the public trial, the representative of all
these notabilities. What he said was spoken with authority and he came
in all seriousness, may not we believe in some kindness too? to warn
her. He came with permission of the Bishop, no stealthy visitor. "Jean
Beaupère entered alone into the prison of the said Jeanne by permission,
and advertised her that she would straightway be taken to the scaffold
to be addressed (_pour y être preschée_), and that if she was a good
Christian she would on that scaffold place all her acts and words under
the jurisdiction of our Holy Mother, the Church, and specially of the
ecclesiastical judges." "Accept the woman's dress and do all that you
are told," her other adviser had said. When the car that was to convey
her came to the prison doors, L'Oyseleur accompanied her, no doubt with
a show of supporting her to the end. What a change from the confined and
gloomy prison to the dazzling clearness of the May daylight, the air,
the murmuring streets, the throng that gazed and shouted and followed!
Life that had run so low in the prisoner's veins must have bounded up
within her in response to that sunshine and open sky, and movement and
sound of existence--summer weather too, and everything softened in the
medium of that soft breathing air, sound and sensation and hope. She
had been three months in her prison. As the charrette rumbled along
the roughly paved streets drawing all those crowds after it, a strange
object appeared to Jeanne's eyes in the midst of the market-place, a
lofty scaffold with a stake upon it, rising over the heads of the crowd,
the logs all arranged ready for the fire, a car waiting below with four
horses, to bring hither the victim. The place of sacrifice was ready,
everything arranged--for whom? for her? They drove her noisily past that
she might see the preparations. It was all ready; and where then was the
great victory, the deliverance in which she had believed?

In front of the beautiful gates of St. Ouen there was a different scene.
That stately church was surrounded then by a churchyard, a great open
space, which afforded room for a very large assembly. In this were
erected two platforms, one facing the other. On the first sat the court
of judges in number about forty, Cardinal Winchester having a place by
the side of Monseigneur de Beauvais, the president, with several other
bishops and dignified ecclesiastics. Opposite, on the other platform,
were a pulpit and a place for the accused, to which Jeanne was conducted
by Massieu, who never left her, and L'Oyseleur, who kept as near as he
could, the rest of the platform being immediately covered by lawyers,
doctors, all the camp followers, so to speak, of the black army, who
could find footing there. Jeanne was in her usual male dress, the
doublet and hose, with her short-clipped hair--no doubt looking like a
slim boy among all this dark crowd of men. The people swayed like a
sea all about and around--the throng which had gathered in her progress
through the streets pushing out the crowd already assembled with a
movement like the waves of the sea. Every step of the trial all
through had been attended by preaching, by discourses and reasoning and
admonishments, charitable and otherwise. Now she was to be "preached"
for the last time.

It was Doctor Guillaume Érard who ascended the pulpit, a great preacher,
one whom the "copious multitude" ran after and were eager to hear. He
himself had not been disposed to accept this office, but no doubt, set
up there on that height before the eyes of all the people, he thought of
his own reputation, and of the great audience, and Winchester the more
than king, the great English Prince, the wealthiest and most influential
of men. The preacher took his text from a verse in St. John's Gospel:
"A branch cannot bear fruit except it remain in the vine." The centre
circle containing the two platforms was surrounded by a close ring of
English soldiers, understanding none of it, and anxious only that the
witch should be condemned.

It was in this strange and crowded scene that the sermon which was long
and eloquent began. When it was half over, in one of his fine periods
admired by all the people, the preacher, after heaping every reproach
upon the head of Jeanne, suddenly turned to apostrophise the House of
France, and the head of that House, "Charles who calls himself King."
"He has," cried the preacher, stimulated no doubt by the eye of
Winchester upon him, "adhered, like a schismatic and heretical person as
he is, to the words and acts of a useless woman, disgraced and full of
dishonour; and not he only, but the clergy who are under his sway, and
the nobility. This guilt is thine, Jeanne, and to thee I say that thy
King is a schismatic and a heretic."

In the full flood of his oratory the preacher was arrested here by that
clear voice that had so often made itself heard through the tumult of
battle. Jeanne could bear much, but not this. She was used to abuse
in her own person, but all her spirit came back at this assault on her
King. And interruption to a sermon has always a dramatic and startling
effect, but when that voice arose now, when the startled speaker
stopped, and every dulled attention revived, it is easy to imagine what
a stir, what a wonderful, sudden sensation must have arisen in the midst
of the crowd. "By my faith, sire," cried Jeanne, "saving your respect,
I swear upon my life that my King is the most noble Christian of all
Christians, that he is not what you say."

The sermon, however, was resumed after this interruption. And finally
the preacher turned to Jeanne, who had subsided from that start of
animation, and was again the subdued and silent prisoner, her heart
overwhelmed with many heavy thoughts. "Here," said Èrard, "are my lords
the judges who have so often summoned and required of you to submit your
acts and words to our Holy Mother the Church; because in these acts and
words there are many things which it seemed to the clergy were not good
either to say or to sustain."

To which she replied (we quote again from the formal records), "I will
answer you." And as to her submission to the Church she said: "I have
told them on that point that all the works which I have done and said
may be sent to Rome, to our Holy Father the Pope, to whom, but to God
first, I refer in all. And as for my acts and words I have done all on
the part of God." She also said that no one was to blame for her acts
and words, neither her King nor any other; and if there were faults in
them, the blame was hers and no other's.

Asked, if she would renounce all that she had done wrong; answered, "I
refer everything to God and to our Holy Father the Pope."

It was then told her that this was not enough, and that our Holy Father
was too far off; also that the Ordinaries were judges each in his
diocese, and it was necessary that she should submit to our Mother the
Holy Church, and that she should confess that the clergy and officers
of the Church had a right to determine in her case. And of this she was
admonished three times.

After this the Bishop began to read the definitive sentence. When a
great part of it was read, Jeanne began to speak and said that she would
hold to all that the judges and the Church said, and obey in everything
their ordinance and will. And there in the presence of the above-named
and of the great multitude assembled she made her abjuration in the
manner that follows:

And she said several times that since the Church said her apparitions
and revelations should not be sustained or believed, she would not
sustain them; but in everything submit to the judges and to our Mother
the Holy Church.


In this strange, brief, subdued manner is the formal record made.
Manchon writes on his margin: _At the end of the sentence Jeanne,
fearing the fire, said she would obey the Church_. Even into the bare
legal document there comes a hush as of awe, the one voice responding in
the silence of the crowd, with a quiver in it; the very animation of
the previous outcry enhancing the effect of this low and faltering
submission, _timens igneum_--in fear of the fire.

The more familiar record, and the recollections long after of those
eye-witnesses, give us another version of the scene. Èrard, from his
pulpit, read the form of abjuration prepared. But Jeanne answered that
she did not know what abjuration meant, and the preacher called
upon Massieu to explain it to her. "And he" (we quote from his own
deposition), "after excusing himself, said that it meant this: that if
she opposed the said articles she would be burnt; but he advised her to
refer it to the Church universal whether she should abjure or not. Which
thing she did, saying to Èrard, 'I refer to the Church universal whether
I should abjure or not.' To which Èrard answered, 'You shall abjure at
once or you will be burnt.' Massieu gives further particulars in another
part of the Rehabilitation process. Èrard, he says, asked what he was
saying to the prisoner, and he answered that she would sign if the
schedule was read to her; but Jeanne said that she could not write, and
then added that she wished it to be decided by the Church, and ought
not to sign unless that was done: and also required that she should be
placed in the custody of the Church, and freed from the hands of the
English. The same Èrard answered that there had been ample delay, and
that if she did not sign at once she should be burned, and forbade
Massieu to say any more."

Meanwhile many cries and entreaties came, as far as they dared, from
the crowd. Some one, in the excitement of the moment, would seem to have
promised that she should be transferred to the custody of the Church.
"Jeanne, why will you die? Jeanne, will you not save yourself?" was
called to her by many a bystander. The girl stood fast, but her heart
failed her in this terrible climax of her suffering. Once she called out
over their heads, "All that I did was done for good, and it was well
to do it:"--her last cry. Then she would seem to have recovered in
some measure her composure. Probably her agitated brain was unable to
understand the formula of recantation which was read to her amid all
the increasing noises of the crowd, but she had a vague faith in the
condition she had herself stated, that the paper should be submitted
to the Church, and that she should at once be transferred to an
ecclesiastical prison. Other suggestions are made, namely, that it was a
very short document upon which she hastily in her despair made a cross,
and that it was a long one, consisting of several pages, which was shown
afterwards with _Jehanne_ scribbled underneath. "In fact," says Massieu,
"she abjured and made a cross with the pen which the witness handed to
her:" he, if any one must have known exactly what happened.

No doubt all this would be imperfectly heard on the other platform.
But the agitation must have been visible enough, the spectators closing
round the young figure in the midst, the pleadings, the appeals,
seconded by many a cry from the crowd. Such a small matter to risk her
young life for! "Sign, sign; why should you die!" Cauchon had gone on
reading the sentence, half through the struggle. He had two sentences
all ready, two courses of procedure, cut and dry: either to absolve
her--which meant condemning her to perpetual imprisonment on bread
and water: or to carry her off at once to the stake. The English were
impatient for the last. It is a horrible thing to acknowledge, but it is
evidently true. They had never wished to play with her as a cat with a
mouse, as her learned countrymen had done those three months past; they
had desired at once to get her out of their way. But the idea of her
perpetual imprisonment did not please them at all; the risk of such a
prisoner was more than they chose to encounter. Nevertheless there are
some things a churchman cannot do. When it was seen that Jeanne had
yielded, that she had put her mark to something on a paper flourished
forth in somebody's hand in the sunshine, the Bishop turned to the
Cardinal on his right hand, and asked what he was to do? There was but
one answer possible to Winchester, had he been English and Jeanne's
natural enemy ten times over. To admit her to penitence was the only
practicable way.

Here arises a great question, already referred to, as to what it was
that Jeanne signed. She could not write, she could only put her cross on
the document hurriedly read to her, amid the confusion and the murmurs
of the crowd. The _cédule_ to which she put her sign "contained eight
lines:" what she is reported to have signed is three pages long, and
full of detail. Massieu declares certainly that this (the abjuration
published) was not the one of which mention is made in the trial; "for
the one read by the deponent and signed by the said Jeanne was quite
different." This would seem to prove the fact that a much enlarged
version of an act of abjuration, in its original form strictly confined
to the necessary points and expressed in few words--was afterwards
published as that bearing the sign of the penitent. Her own admissions,
as will be seen, are of the scantiest, scarcely enough to tell as an
abjuration at all.

When the shouts of the people proved that this great step had been
taken, and Winchester had signified his conviction that the penitence
must be accepted, Cauchon replaced one sentence by another and
pronounced the prisoner's fate. "Seeing that thou hast returned to the
bosom of the Church by the grace of God, and hast revoked and denied all
thy errors, we, the Bishop aforesaid, commit thee to perpetual prison,
with the bread of sorrow and water of anguish, to purge thy soul by
solitary penitence." Whether the words reached her over all those
crowding heads, or whether they were reported to her, or what Jeanne
expected to follow standing there upon her platform, more shamed and
downcast than through all her trial, no one can tell. There seems even
to have been a moment of uncertainty among the officials. Some of them
congratulated Jeanne, L'Oyseleur for one pressing forward to say, "You
have done a good day's work, you have saved your soul." She herself,
excited and anxious, desired eagerly to know where she was not to go.
She would seem for the moment to have accepted the fact of her perpetual
imprisonment with complete faith and content. It meant to her instant
relief from her hideous prison-house, and she could not contain her
impatience and eagerness. "People of the Church--_gens de' Église_--lead
me to your prison; let me be no longer in the hands of the English," she
cried with feverish anxiety. To gain this point, to escape the irons
and the dreadful durance which she had suffered so long, was all her
thought. The men about her could not answer this appeal. Some of them
no doubt knew very well what the answer must be, and some must have
seen the angry looks and stern exclamation which Warwick addressed to
Cauchon, deceived like Jeanne by this unsatisfactory conclusion, and
the stir among the soldiers at sight of his displeasure. But perhaps
flurried by all that had happened, perhaps hoping to strengthen the
victim in her moment of hope, some of them hurried across to the Bishop
to ask where they were to take her. One of these was Pierre Miger, friar
of Longueville. Where was she to be taken? In Winchester's hearing,
perhaps in Warwick's, what a question to put! An English bishop, says
this witness turned to him angrily and said to Cauchon that this was a
"fauteur de ladite Jeanne," "_this fellow was also one of them_."
Miger excused himself in alarm as St. Peter did before him, and Cauchon
turning upon him commanded grimly that she should be taken back whence
she came. Thus ended the last hope of the Maid. Her abjuration, which by
no just title could be called an abjuration, had been in vain.

Jeanne was taken back, dismayed and miserable, to the prison which she
had perilled her soul to escape. It was very little she had done in
reality, and at that moment she could scarcely yet have realised what
she had done, except that it had failed. At the end of so long and
bitter a struggle she had thrown down her arms--but for what? to escape
those horrible gaolers and that accursed room with its ear of Dionysius,
its Judas hole in the wall. The bitterness of the going back was beyond
words. We hear of no word that she said when she realised the hideous
fact that nothing was changed for her; the bitter waters closed over her
head. Again the chains to be locked and double locked that bound her to
her dreadful bed, again the presence of those men who must have been
all the more odious to her from the momentary hope that she had got free
from them for ever.

The same afternoon the Vicar-Inquisitor, who had never been hard
upon her, accompanied by Nicole Midi, by the young seraphic doctor,
Courcelles, and L'Oyseleur, along with various other ecclesiastical
persons, visited her prison. The Inquisitor congratulated and almost
blessed her, sermonising as usual, but briefly and not ungently, though
with a word of warning that should she change her mind and return to her
evil ways there would be no further place for repentance. As a return
for the mercy and clemency of the Church, he required her immediately
to put on the female dress which his attendants had brought. There is
something almost ludicrous, could we forget the tragedy to follow, in
the bundle of humble clothing brought by such exalted personages, with
the solemnity which became a thing upon which hung the issues of life or
death. Jeanne replied with the humility of a broken spirit. "I take them
willingly," she said, "and in everything I will obey the Church." Then
silence closed upon her, the horrible silence of the prison, full of
hidden listeners and of watching eyes.

Meantime there was great discontent and strife of tongues outside. It
was said that many even of the doctors who condemned her would fain have
seen Jeanne removed to some less dangerous prison: but Monseigneur de
Beauvais had to hold head against the great English authorities who were
out of all patience, fearing that the witch might still slip through
their fingers and by her spells and incantations make the heart of the
troops melt once more within them. If the mind of the Church had been as
charitable as it professed to be, I doubt if all the power of Rome could
have got the Maid now out of the English grip. They were exasperated,
and felt that they too, as well as the prisoner, had been played with.
But the Bishop had good hope in his mind, still to be able to content
his patrons. Jeanne had abjured, it was true, but the more he inquired
into that act, the less secure he must have felt about it. And she might
relapse; and if she relapsed there would be no longer any place for
repentance. And it is evident that his confidence in the power of the
clothes was boundless. In any case a few days more would make all clear.

They did not have many days to wait. There are two, to all appearance,
well-authenticated stories of the cause of Jeanne's "relapse." One
account is given by Frère Isambard, whom she told in the presence of
several others, that she had been assaulted in her cell by a _Millourt
Anglois_, and barbarously used, and in self-defence had resumed again
the man's dress which had been left in her cell. The story of Massieu
is different: To him Jeanne explained that when she asked to be released
from her bed on the morning of Trinity Sunday, her guards took away her
female dress which she was wearing, and emptied the sack containing the
other upon her bed. She appealed to them, reminding them that these were
forbidden to her; but got no answer except a brutal order to get up. It
is very probable that both stories are true. Frère Isambard found her
weeping and agitated, and nothing is more probable than this was the
occasion on which Warwick heard her cries, and interfered to save her.
Massieu's version, of which he is certain, was communicated to him a
day or two after when they happened to be alone together. It was on the
Thursday before Trinity Sunday that she put on the female dress, but it
would seem that rumours on the subject of a relapse had begun to spread
even before the Sunday on which that event happened: and Beaupère
and Midi were sent by the Bishop to investigate. But they were very
ill-received in the Castle, sworn at by the guards, and forced to go
back without seeing Jeanne, there being as yet, it appeared, nothing
to see. On the morning of the Monday, however, the rumours arose with
greater force; and no doubt secret messages must have informed the
Bishop that the hoped-for relapse had taken place. He set out himself
accordingly, accompanied by the Vicar-Inquisitor and attended by eight
of the familiar names so often quoted, triumphant, important, no doubt
with much show of pompous solemnity, to find out for himself. The Castle
was all in excitement, report and gossip already busy with the new event
so trifling, so all-important. There was no idea now of turning back the
visitors. The prison doors were eagerly thrown open, and there indeed
once more, in her tunic and hose, was Jeanne, whom they had left four
days before painfully contemplating the garments they had given her, and
humbly promising obedience. The men burst in upon her with an outcry of
astonishment. What she had changed her dress again? "Yes," she replied,
"she had resumed the costume of a man." There was no triumph in what she
said, but rather a subdued tone of sadness, as of one who in the most
desperate strait has taken her resolution and must abide by it, whether
she likes it or not. She was asked why she had resumed that dress, and
who had made her do so. There was no question of anything else at first.
The tunic and _gippon_ were at once enough to decide her fate.

She answered that she had done it by her own will, no one influencing
her to do so; and that she preferred the dress of a man to that of a

She was reminded that she had promised and sworn not to resume the dress
of a man. She answered that she was not aware she had ever sworn or had
made any such oath.

She was asked why she had done it. She answered that it was more lawful
to wear a man's dress among men, than the dress of a woman; and also
that she had taken it back because the promise made to her had not been
kept, that she should hear the mass, and receive her Saviour, and be
delivered from her irons.

She was asked if she had not abjured that dress, and sworn not to resume
it. She answered that she would rather die than be left in irons; but if
they would allow her to go to mass and take her out of her irons and put
her in a gracious prison, and a woman with her, she would be good, and
do whatever the Church pleased.

She was then asked suddenly, as if there had been no condemnation of her
voices as lying fables, whether since Thursday she had heard them again.
To this she answered, recovering a little courage, "Yes."

She was asked what they said to her; she answered that they said God had
made known to her by St. Catherine and St. Margaret the great pity there
was of the treason to which she had consented by making abjuration and
revocation in order to save her life: and that she had earned damnation
for herself to save her life. Also that before Thursday her voices had
told her that she should do what she did that day, that on the scaffold
they had told her to answer the preachers boldly, and that this preacher
whom she called a false preacher had accused her of many things she
never did. She also added that if she said God had not sent her she
would damn herself, for true it was that God had sent her. Also that her
voices had told her since, that she had done a great sin in confessing
that she had sinned; but that for fear of the fire she had said that
which she had said.

She was asked (all over again) if she believed that these voices were
those of St. Catherine and St. Margaret. She answered, Yes, they were
so; and from God. And as for what had been said to her on the scaffold
that she had spoken lies and boasted concerning St. Catherine and St.
Margaret, she had not intended any such thing. Also she said that she
never intended to deny her apparitions, or to say that they were not
St. Catherine and St. Margaret. All that she had done was in fear of the
fire, and she had denied nothing but what was contrary to truth; and
she said that she would like better to make her penitence all at one
time--that is to say, in dying, than to endure a long penitence in
prison. Also that she had never done anything against God or the faith
whatever they might have made her say; and that for what was in the
schedule of the abjuration she did not know what it was. Also she said
that she never intended to revoke anything so long as it pleased our
Lord. At the end she said that if her judges would have her do so, she
might put on again her female dress; but for the rest she would do no

"What need we any further witness; for we ourselves have heard of his
own mouth." Jeanne's protracted, broken, yet continuous apology and
defence, overawed her judges; they do not seem to have interrupted it
with questions. It was enough and more than enough. She had relapsed;
the end of all things had come, the will of her enemies could now be
accomplished. No one could say she had not had full justice done her;
every formality had been fulfilled, every lingering formula carried out.
Now there was but one thing before her, whose sad young voice with many
pauses thus sighed forth its last utterance; and for her judges, one
last spectacle to prepare, and the work to complete which it had taken
them three long months to do.


It is not necessary to be a good man in order to divine what in certain
circumstances a good and pure spirit will do. The Bishop of Beauvais had
entertained no doubt as to what would happen. He knew exactly, with
a perspicuity creditable to his perceptions at least, that,
notwithstanding the effect which his theatrical _mise en scène_ had
produced upon the imagination of Jeanne, no power in heaven or earth
would induce that young soul to content itself with a lie. He knew it,
though lies were his daily bread; the children of this world are wiser
in their generation than the children of light. He had bidden his
English patrons to wait a little, and now his predictions were
triumphantly fulfilled. It is hard to believe of any man that on such
a certainty he could have calculated and laid his devilish plans; but
there would seem to have existed in the mediæval churchman a certain
horrible thirst for the blood of a relapsed heretic which was peculiar
to their age and profession, and which no better principle in their own
minds could subdue. It was their appetite, their delight of sensation,
in distinction from the other appetites perhaps scarcely less cruel
which other men indulged with no such horrified denunciation from the
rest of the world. Others, it is evident, shared with Cauchon that sharp
sensation of dreadful pleasure in finding her out; young Courcelles, so
modest and unassuming and so learned, among the rest; not L'Oyseleur, it
appears by the sequel. That Judas, like the greater traitor, was
struck to the heart; but the less bad man who had only persecuted, not
betrayed, stood high in superior virtue, and only rejoiced that at last
the victim was ready to drop into the flames which had been so carefully

The next morning, Tuesday after Trinity Sunday, the witnesses hurried
with their news to the quickly summoned assembly in the chapel of the
Archbishop's house; thirty-three of the judges, having been hastily
called together, were there to hear. Jeanne had relapsed; the sinner
escaped had been re-caught; and what was now to be done? One by one each
man rose again and gave his verdict. Once more Egidius, Abbot of Fécamp,
led the tide of opinion. There was but one thing to be done: to give
her up to the secular justice, "praying that she might be gently
dealt with." Man after man added his voice "to that of Abbot of Fécamp
aforesaid"--that she might be gently dealt with! Not one of them could
be under any doubt what gentle meaning would be in the execution;
but apparently the words were of some strange use in salving their

The decree was pronounced at once without further formalities. In point
of view of the law, there should have followed another trial, more
evidence, pleadings, and admonitions. We may be thankful to Monseigneur
de Beauvais that he now defied law, and no longer prolonged the useless
ceremonials of that mockery of justice. It is said that in coming out of
the prison, through the courtyard full of Englishmen, where Warwick
was in waiting to hear what news, the Bishop greeted them with all the
satisfaction of success, laughing and bidding them "Make good cheer, the
thing is done." In the same spirit of satisfaction was the rapid action
of the further proceedings. On Tuesday she was condemned, summoned on
Wednesday morning at eight 'clock to the Old Market of Rouen to hear
her sentence, and there, without even that formality, the penalty was at
once carried out. No time, certainly, was lost in this last stage.

All the interest of the heart-rending tragedy now turns to the prison
where Jeanne woke in the early morning without, as yet, any knowledge
of her fate. It must be remembered that the details of this wonderful
scene, which we have in abundance, are taken from reports made twenty
years after by eye-witnesses indeed, but men to whom by that time it had
become the only policy to represent Jeanne in the brightest colours,
and themselves as her sympathetic friends. There is no doubt that
so remarkable an occurrence as her martyrdom must have made a deep
impression on the minds of all those who were in any way actors in
or spectators of that wonderful scene. And every word of all these
different reports is on oath; but notwithstanding, a touch of
unconscious colour, a more favourable sentiment, influenced by the
feeling of later days, may well have crept in. With this warning we
may yet accept these depositions as trustworthy, all the more for the
atmosphere of truth, perfectly realistic, and in no way idealised,
which is in every description of the great catastrophe; in which Jeanne
figures as no supernatural heroine, but as a terrified, tormented, and
often trembling girl.

On the fatal morning very early, Brother Martin l'Advenu appeared in the
cell of the Maid. He had a mingled tale to tell--first "to announce
to her her approaching death, and to lead her to true contrition and
penitence; and also to hear her confession, which the said l'Advenu did
very carefully and charitably." Jeanne on her part received the news
with no conventional resignation or calm. Was it possible that she had
been deceived and really hoped for mercy? She began to weep and to cry
at the sudden stroke of fate. Notwithstanding the solemnity of her last
declaration, that she would rather bear her punishment all at once than
to endure the long punishment of her prison, her heart failed before
the imminent stake, the immediate martyrdom. She cried out to heaven and
earth: "My body, which has never been corrupted, must it be burned to
ashes to-day!" No one but Jeanne knew at what cost she had kept her
perfect purity; was it good for nothing but to be burned, that young
body not nineteen years old? "Ah," she said, "I would rather be beheaded
seven times than burned! I appeal to God against all these great wrongs
they do me." But after a while the passion wore itself out, the child's
outburst was stilled; calming herself, she knelt down and made her
confession to the compassionate friar, then asked for the sacrament, to
"receive her Saviour" as she had so often prayed and entreated before.
It would appear that this had not been within Friar Martin's commission.
He sent to ask the Bishop's leave, and it was granted "anything she
asked for"--as they give whatever he may wish to eat to a condemned
convict. But the Host was brought into the prison without ceremony,
without accompanying candles or vestment for the priest. There are
always some things which are insupportable to a man. Brother Martin
could bear the sight of the girl's anguish, but not to administer to
her a diminished rite. He sent again to demand what was needful, out of
respect for the Holy Sacrament and the present victim. And his request
had come, it would seem, to some canon or person in authority whose
heart had been touched by the wonderful Maid in her long martyrdom. This
nameless sympathiser did all that a man could do. He sent the Host with
a train of priests chanting litanies as they went through the streets,
with torches burning in the pure early daylight; some of these exhorted
the people who knelt as they passed, to pray for her. She must have
heard in her prison the sound of the bell, the chant of the clergy, the
pause of awe, and then the rising, irregular murmur of the voices, that
sound of prayer never to be mistaken. Pray for her! At last the city was
touched to its heart. There is no sign that it had been sympathetic to
Jeanne before; it was half English or more. But she was about to die:
she had stood bravely against the world and answered like a true
Maid; and they had now seen her led through their streets, a girl just
nineteen. The popular imagination at least was subjugated for the time.

Thus Jeanne for the first time, after all the feasts were over, received
at last "her Saviour" as she said, the consecration of that rite which
He himself had instituted before He died. But she was not permitted
to receive it in simplicity and silence as becomes the sacred
commemoration. All the time she was still _preschée_ and admonished
by the men about her. A few days after her death the Bishop and his
followers assembled, and set down in evidence their different parts in
that scene. How far it is to be relied upon, it is difficult to say.
The speakers did not testify under oath; there is no formal warrant
for their truth, and an anxious attempt to prove her change of mind
is evident throughout; still there seem elements of truth in it, and
a certain glimpse is afforded of Jeanne in the depths, when hope and
strength were gone. The general burden of their testimony is that she
sadly allowed herself to have been deceived, as to the liberation for
which all along she had hoped. Peter Morice, often already mentioned,
importuning her on the subject of the spirits, endeavouring to get from
her an admission that she had not seen them at all, and was herself
a deceiver: or if not that, at least that they were evil spirits, not
good,--drew from her the impatient exclamation: "Be they good spirits,
or be they evil, they appeared to me." Even in the act of giving her her
last communion, Brother Martin paused with the consecrated Host in his

"Do you believe," he said, "that this is the body of Christ?" Jeanne
answered: "Yes, and He alone can free me; I pray you to administer."
Then this brother said to Jeanne: "Do you believe as fully in your
voices?" Jeanne answered: "I believe in God alone and not in the voices,
which have deceived me." L'Advenu himself, however, does not give this
deposition, but another of the persons present, Le Camus, who did not
live to revise his testimony at the Rehabilitation.

The rite being over, the Bishop himself bustled in with an air of
satisfaction, rubbing his hands, one may suppose from his tone. "So,
Jeanne," he said, "you have always told us that your 'voices' said you
were to be delivered, and you see now they have deceived you. Tell us
the truth at last." Then Jeanne answered: "Truly I see that they have
deceived me." The report is Cauchon's, and therefore little to be
trusted; but the sad reply is at least not unlike the sentiment that,
even in records more trustworthy, seems to have breathed forth in her.
The other spectators all report another portion of this conversation.
"Bishop, it is by you I die," are the words with which the Maid is said
to have met him. "Oh Jeanne, have patience," he replied. "It is because
you did not keep your promise." "If you had kept yours, and sent me to
the prison of the Church, and put me in gentle hands, it would not
have happened," she replied. "I appeal from you to God." Several of the
attendants, also according to the Bishop's account, heard from her the
same sad words: "They have deceived me"; and there seems no reason why
we should not believe it. Her mind was weighed down under this dreadful
unaccountable fact. She was forsaken--as a greater sufferer was; and a
horror of darkness had closed around her. "Ah, Sieur Pierre," she said
to Morice, "where shall I be to-night?" The man had condemned her as a
relapsed heretic, a daughter of perdition. He had just suggested to her
that her angels must have been devils. Nevertheless perhaps his face
was not unkindly, he had not meant all the harm he did. He ought to have
answered, "In Hell, with the spirits you have trusted"; that would have
been the only logical response. What he did say was very different.
"Have you not good faith in the Lord?" said the judge who had doomed
her. Amazing and notable speech! They had sentenced her to be burned for
blasphemy as an envoy of the devil; they believed in fact that she was
the child of God, and going straight in that flame to the skies. Jeanne,
with the sound, clear head and the "sane mind" to which all of
them testified, did she perceive, even at that dreadful moment, the
inconceivable contradiction? "Ah," she said, "yes, God helping me, I
shall be in Paradise."

There is one point in the equivocal report which commends itself to the
mind, which several of these men unite in, but which was carefully not
repeated at the Rehabilitation: and this was that Jeanne allowed "as if
it had been a thing of small importance," that her story of the angel
bearing the crown at Chinon was a romance which she neither expected nor
intended to be believed. For this we have to thank L'Oyseleur and the
rest of the reverend ghouls assembled on that dreadful morning in the

Jeanne was then dressed, for her last appearance in this world, in the
long white garment of penitence, the robe of sacrifice: and the mitre
was placed on her head which was worn by the victims of the Holy Office.
She was led for the last time down the echoing stair to the crowded
courtyard where her "chariot" awaited her. It was her confessor's part
to remain by her side, and Frère Isambard and Massieu, the officer,
both her friends, were also with her. It is said that L'Oyseleur rushed
forward at this moment, either to accompany her also, or, as many say,
to fling himself at her feet and implore her pardon. He was hustled
aside by the crowd and would have been killed by the English, it is
said, but for Warwick. The bystanders would seem to have been seized
with a sudden disgust for all the priests about, thinking them Jeanne's
friends, the historians insinuate--more likely in scorn and horror of
their treachery. And then the melancholy procession set forth.

The streets were overflowing as was natural, crowded in every part:
eight hundred English soldiers surrounded and followed the cortège,
as the car rumbled along over the rough stones. Not yet had the Maid
attained to the calm of consent. She looked wildly about her at all the
high houses and windows crowded with gazers, and at the throngs that
gaped and gazed upon her on every side. In the midst of the consolations
of the confessor who poured pious words in her ears, other words, the
plaints of a wondering despair fell from her lips, "Rouen! Rouen!" she
said; "am I to die here?" It seemed incredible to her, impossible. She
looked about still for some sign of disturbance, some rising among the
crowd, some cry of "France! France!" or glitter of mail. Nothing: but
the crowds ever gazing, murmuring at her, the soldiers roughly clearing
the way, the rude chariot rumbling on. "Rouen, Rouen! I fear that you
shall yet suffer because of this," she murmured in her distraction, amid
her moanings and tears.

At last the procession came to the Old Market, an open space encumbered
with three erections--one reaching up so high that the shadow of it
seemed to touch the sky, the horrid stake with wood piled up in an
enormous mass, made so high, it is said, in order that the executioner
himself might not reach it to give a merciful blow, to secure
unconsciousness before the flames could touch the trembling form. Two
platforms were raised opposite, one furnished with chairs and benches
for Winchester and his court, another for the judges, with the civil
officers of Rouen who ought to have pronounced sentence in their turn.
Without this form the execution was illegal: what did it matter? No
sentence at all was read to her, not even the ecclesiastical one which
was illegal also. She was probably placed first on the same platform
with her judges, where there was a pulpit from which she was to be
_preschée_ for the last time. Of all Jeanne's sufferings this could
scarcely be the least, that she was always _preschée_, lectured,
addressed, sermonised through every painful step of her career.

The moan was still unsilenced on her lips, and her distracted soul
scarcely yet freed from the sick thought of a possible deliverance,
when the everlasting strain of admonishment, and re-enumeration of her
errors, again penetrated the hum of the crowd. The preacher was Nicolas
Midi, one of the eloquent members of that dark fraternity; and his text
was in St. Paul's words: "If any of the members suffer, all the other
members suffer with it." Jeanne was a rotten branch which had to be cut
off from the Church for the good of her own soul, and that the Church
might not suffer by her sin; a heretic, a blasphemer, an impostor,
giving forth false fables at one time, and making a false penitence
the next. It is very unlikely that she heard anything of that flood of
invective. At the end of the sermon the preacher bade her "Go in peace."
Even then, however, the fountain of abuse did not cease. The Bishop
himself rose, and once more by way of exhorting her to a final
repentance, heaped ill names upon her helpless head. The narrative shows
that the prisoner, now arrived at the last point in her career, paid no
attention to the tirade levelled at her from the president's place.
"She knelt down on the platform showing great signs and appearance of
contrition, so that all those who looked upon her wept. She called on
her knees upon the blessed Trinity, the blessed glorious Virgin Mary,
and all the blessed saints of Paradise." She called specially--was
it with still a return towards the hoped for miracle? was it with the
instinctive cry towards an old and faithful friend?--"St. Michael, St.
Michael, St. Michael, help!" There would seem to have been a moment in
which the hush and silence of a great crowd surrounded this
wonderful stage, where was that white figure on her knees, praying,
speaking--sometimes to God, sometimes to the saintly unseen companions
of her life, sometimes in broken phrases to those about her. She asked
the priests, thronging all round, those who had churches, to say a mass
for her soul. She asked all whom she might have offended to forgive her.
Through her tears and prayers broke again and again the sorrowful cry of
"Rouen, Rouen! Is it here truly that I must die?" No reason is given for
the special pang that seems to echo in this cry. Jeanne had once planned
a campaign in Normandy with Alençon. Had there been perhaps some special
hope which made this conclusion all the more bitter, of setting up in
the Norman capital her standard and that of her King?

There have been martyrs more exalted above the circumstances of their
fate than Jeanne. She was no abstract heroine. She felt every pang to
the depth of her natural, spontaneous being, and the humiliation and the
deep distress of having been abandoned in the sight of men, perhaps the
profoundest pang of which nature is capable. "He trusted in God that he
would deliver him: let him deliver him if he will have him." That which
her Lord had borne, the little sister had now to bear. She called upon
the saints, but they did not answer. She was shamed in the sight of
men. But as she knelt there weeping, the Bishop's evil voice scarcely
silenced, the soldiers waiting impatient--the entire crowd, touched
to its heart with one impulse, broke into a burst of weeping and
lamentation, "_à chaudes larmes_" according to the graphic French
expression. They wept hot tears as in the keen personal pang of sorrow
and fellow-feeling and impotence to help. Winchester--withdrawn high on
his platform, ostentatiously separated from any share in it, a
spectator merely--wept; and the judges wept. The Bishop of Boulogne was
overwhelmed with emotion, iron tears flowed down the accursed Cauchon's
cheeks. The very world stood still to see that white form of purity, and
valour, and faith, the Maid, not shouting triumphant on the height of
victory, but kneeling, weeping, on the verge of torture. Human nature
could not bear this long. A hoarse cry burst forth: "Will you keep us
here all day; must we dine here?" a voice perhaps of unendurable pain
that simulated cruelty. And then the executioner stepped in and seized
the victim.

It has been said that her stake was set so high, that there might be no
chance of a merciful blow, or of strangulation to spare the victim the
atrocities of the fire; perhaps, let us hope, it was rather that the
ascending smoke might suffocate her before the flame could reach her:
the fifteenth century would naturally accept the most cruel explanation.
There was a writing set over the little platform which gave footing to
the attendants below the stake, upon which were written the following


This was how her countrymen in the name of law and justice and religion
branded the Maid of France--one half of her countrymen: the other half,
silent, speaking no word, looking on.

Before she began to ascend the stake, Jeanne, rising from her knees,
asked for a cross. No place so fit for that emblem ever was: but no
cross was to be found. One of the English soldiers who kept the way
seized a stick from some one by, broke it across his knee in unequal
parts, and bound them hurriedly together; so, in the legend and in all
the pictures, when Mary of Nazareth was led to her espousals, one of her
disappointed suitors broke his wand. The cross was rough with its broken
edges which Jeanne accepted from her enemy, and carried, pressing it
against her bosom. One would rather have that rude cross to preserve as
a sacred thing, than the highest effort of art in gold and silver. This
was her ornament and consolation as she trod the few remaining steps and
mounted the pile of the faggots to her place high over all that sea of
heads. When she was bound securely to her stake, she asked again for a
cross, a cross blessed and sacred from a church, to be held before her
as long as her eyes could see. Frère Isambard and Massieu, following her
closely still, sent to the nearest church, and procured probably some
cross which was used for processional purposes on a long staff which
could be held up before her. The friar stood upon the faggots holding
it up, and calling out broken words of encouragement so long that Jeanne
bade him withdraw, lest the fire should catch his robes. And so at last,
as the flames began to rise, she was left alone, the good brother always
at the foot of the pile, painfully holding up with uplifted arms the
cross that she might still see it, the soldiers crowding, lit up
with the red glow of the fire, the horrified, trembling crowd like an
agitated sea around. The wild flames rose and fell in sinister gleams
and flashes, the smoke blew upwards, by times enveloping that white
Maid standing out alone against a sky still blue and sweet with
May--Pandemonium underneath, but Heaven above. Then suddenly there came
a great cry from among the black fumes that began to reach the clouds:
"My voices were of God! They have not deceived me!" She had seen and
recognised it at last. Here it was, the miracle: the great victory
that had been promised--though not with clang of swords and triumph of
rescuing knights, and "St. Denis for France!"--but by the sole hand
of God, a victory and triumph for all time, for her country a crown of
glory and ineffable shame.

Thus died the Maid of France--with "Jesus, Jesus," on her lips--till the
merciful smoke breathing upwards choked that voice in her throat; and
one who was like unto the Son of God, who was with her in the fire,
wiped all memory of the bitter cross, wavering uplifted through the air
in the good monk's trembling hands--from eyes which opened bright upon
the light and peace of that Paradise of which she had so long thought
and dreamed.


The natural burst of remorse which follows such an event is well known
in history; and is as certainly to be expected as the details of the
great catastrophe itself. We feel almost as if, had there not been fact
and evidence for such a revulsion of feeling, it must have been recorded
all the same, being inevitable. The executioner, perhaps the most
innocent of all, sought out Frère Isambard, and confessed to him in an
anguish of remorse fearing never to be pardoned for what he had done.
An Englishman who had sworn to add a faggot to the flames in which the
witch should be burned, when he rushed forward to keep his word was
seized with sudden compunction--believed that he saw a white dove
flutter forth from amid the smoke over her head, and, almost fainting
at the sight, had to be led by his comrades to the nearest tavern for
refreshment, a life-like touch in which we recognise our countryman; but
he too found his way that afternoon to Frère Isambard like the other. A
horrible story is told by the _Bourgeois de Paris_, whose contemporary
journal is one of the authorities for this period, that "the fire was
drawn aside" in order that Jeanne's form, with all its clothing burned
away, should be visible by one last act of shameless insult to the
crowd. The fifteenth century believed, as we have said, everything that
is cruel and horrible, as indeed the vulgar mind does at all ages; but
such brutal imaginings have seldom any truth to support them, and there
is no such suggestion in the actual record. Isambard and Massieu heard
from one of the officials that when every other part of her body
was destroyed the heart was found intact, but was, by the order of
Winchester, flung into the Seine along with all the ashes of that
sacrifice. It was wise no doubt that no relics should be kept.

Other details were murmured abroad amid the excited talk that followed
this dreadful scene. "When she was enveloped by the smoke, she cried out
for water, holy water, and called to St. Michæl; then hung her head upon
her breast and breathing forth the name of Jesus, gently died." "Being
in the flame her voice never ceased repeating in a loud voice the holy
name of Jesus, and invoking without cease the saints of paradise, she
gave up her spirit, bowing her head and saying the name of Jesus in
sign of the fervour of her faith." One of the Canons of Rouen, standing
sobbing in the crowd, said to another: "Would that my soul were in the
same place where the soul of that woman is at this moment"; which indeed
is not very different from the authorised saying of Pierre Morice in
the prison. Guillaume Manchon, the reporter, he who wrote _superba
responsio_ on his margin, and had written down every word of her long
examination--his occupation for three months,--says that he "never wept
so much for anything that happened to himself, and that for a
whole month he could not recover his calm." This man adds a very
characteristic touch, to wit, that "with part of the pay which he had
for the trial, he bought a missal, that he might have a reason for
praying for her." Jean Tressat, "secretary to the King of England"
(whatever that office may have been), went home from the execution
crying out, "We are all lost, for we have burned a saint." A priest,
afterwards bishop, Jean Fabry, "did not believe that there was any man
who could restrain his tears."

The modern historians speak of the mockeries of the English, but none
are visible in the record. Indeed, the part of the English in it is
extraordinarily diminished on investigation; they are the supposed
inspirers of the whole proceedings; they are believed to be continually
pushing on the inquisitors; still more, they are supposed to have bought
all that large tribunal, the sixty or seventy judges, among whom were
the most learned and esteemed Doctors in France; but of none of this
is there any proof given. That they were anxious to procure Jeanne's
condemnation and death, is very certain. Not one among them believed
in her sacred mission, almost all considered her a sorceress, the most
dangerous of evil influences, a witch who had brought shame and loss to
England by her incantations and evil spells. On that point there
could be no doubt whatever. She alone had stopped the progress of the
invaders, and broken the charm of their invariable success. But all that
she had done had been in favour of Charles, who made no attempt to serve
or help her, and who had thwarted her plans, and hindered her work so
long as it was possible to do so, even when she was performing miracles
for his sake. And Alençon, Dunois, La Hire, where were they and all the
knights? Two of them at least were at Louvins, within a day's march,
but never made a step to rescue her. We need not ask where were the
statesmen and clergy on the French side, for they were unfeignedly glad
to have the burden of condemning her taken from their hands. No one
in her own country said a word or struck a blow for Jeanne. As for
the suborning of the University of Paris _en masse_, and all its
best members in particular, that is a general baseness in which it is
impossible to believe. There is no appearance even of any particular
pressure put upon the judges. Jean de la Fontaine disappeared, we are
told, and no one ever knew what became of him: but it was from Cauchon
he fled. And nothing seems to have happened to the monks who attended
the Maid to the scaffold, nor to the others who sobbed about the
pile. On the other side, the Doctors who condemned her were in no way
persecuted or troubled by the French authorities when the King came to
his own. There was at the time a universal tacit consent in France to
all that was done at Rouen on the 31st of May, 1431.

One reason for this was not far to seek. We have perhaps already
sufficiently dwelt upon it. It was that France was not France at that
dolorous moment. It was no unanimous nation repulsing an invader. It
was two at least, if not more countries, one of them frankly and
sympathetically attaching itself to the invader, almost as nearly allied
to him in blood, and more nearly by other bonds, than any tie existing
between France and Burgundy. This does not account for the hostile
indifference of southern France and of the French monarch to Jeanne, who
had delivered them; but it accounts for the hostility of Paris and
the adjacent provinces, and Normandy. She was as much against them as
against the English, and the national sentiment to which she, a patriot
before her age, appealed,--bidding not only the English go home, or
fight and be vanquished, which was their only alternative--but
the Burgundians to be converted and to live in peace with their
brothers,--did not exist. Neither to Burgundians, Picards, or Normans
was the daughter of far Champagne a fellow countrywoman. There was
neither sympathy nor kindness in their hearts on that score. Some were
humane and full of pity for a simple woman in such terrible straits; but
no more in Paris than in Rouen was the Maid of Orleans a native champion
persecuted by the English; she was to both an enemy, a sorceress,
putting their soldiers and themselves to shame.

I have no desire to lessen our(1) guilt, whatever cruelty may have
been practised by English hands against the Heavenly Maid. And much
was practised--the iron cage, the chains, the brutal guards, the final
stake, for which may God and also the world, forgive a crime fully and
often confessed. But it was by French wits and French ingenuity that she
was tortured for three months and betrayed to her death. A prisoner of
war, yet taken and tried as a criminal, the first step in her downfall
was a disgrace to two chivalrous nations; but the shame is greater upon
those who sold than upon those who bought; and greatest of all upon
those who did not move Heaven and earth, nay, did not move a finger, to
rescue. And indeed we have been the most penitent of all concerned; we
have shrived ourselves by open confession and tears. We have quarrelled
with our Shakespeare on account of the Maid, and do not know how we
could have forgiven him, but for the notable and delightful discovery
that it was not he after all, but another and a lesser hand that
endeavoured to befoul her shining garments. France has never quarrelled
with her Voltaire for a much fouler and more intentional blasphemy.

The most significant and the most curious after-scene, a pendant to the
remorse and pity of so many of the humbler spectators, was the assembly
held on the Thursday after Jeanne's death, how and when we are not told.
It consisted of "nos judices antedicti," but neither is the place of
meeting named, nor the person who presided. Its sole testimonial is
that the manuscript is in the same hand which has written the previous
records: but whereas each page in that record was signed at the bottom
by responsible notaries, Manchon and his colleagues, no name whatever
certifies this. Seven men, Doctors and persons of high importance, all
judges on the trial, all concerned in that last scene in the prison,
stand up and give their report of what happened there--part of which
we have quoted--their object being to establish that Jeanne at the last
acknowledged herself to be deceived. According to their own showing it
was exactly such an acknowledgment as our Lord might have been supposed
to make in the moment of his agony when the words of the psalm, "My God,
my God, why hast thou forsaken me?" burst from his lips. There seems
no reason that we can see, why this evidence should not be received as
substantially true. The inference that any real recantation on Jeanne's
part was then made, is untrue, and not even asserted. She was deceived
in respect to her deliverance, and felt it to the bottom of her heart.
It was to her the bitterness of death. But the flames of her burning
showed her the truth, and with her last breath she proclaimed her
renewed conviction. The scene at the stake would lose something of its
greatness without that momentary cloud which weighed down her troubled

Twenty years after the martyrdom of Jeanne, long after he had, according
to her prophecy, regained Paris and all that had been lost, it became a
danger to the King of France that it should be possible to imagine
that his kingdom had been recovered for him by means of sorcery; and
accordingly a great new trial was appointed to revise the decisions
of the old. In the same palace of the Archbishop at Rouen, which had
witnessed so many scenes of the previous tragedy, the depositions of
witnesses collected with the minutest care, and which it had taken a
long time to gather from all quarters, were submitted for judgment, and
a full and complete reversal of the condemnation was given. The _procès_
was a civil one, instituted (nominally) by the mother and brothers of
Jeanne, one of the latter being now a knight, Pierre de Lys, a gentleman
of coat armour--against the heirs and representatives of Cauchon, Bishop
of Beauvais, and Lemaître, the Deputy Inquisitor--with other persons
chiefly concerned in the judgment. Some of these men were dead, some,
wisely, not to be found. The result was such a mass of testimony as put
every incident of the life of the Maid in the fullest light from her
childhood to her death, and in consequence secured a triumphant and full
acquittal of herself and her name from every reproach. This remarkable
and indeed unique occurrence does not seem, however, to have roused
any enthusiasm. Perhaps France felt herself too guilty: perhaps the
extraordinary calm of contemporary opinion which was still too near the
catastrophe to see it fully: perhaps that difficulty in the diffusion of
news which hindered the common knowledge of a trial--a thing too heavy
to be blown upon the winds,--while it promulgated the legend, a thing
so much more light to carry: may be the cause of this. But it is an
extraordinary fact that Jeanne's name remained in abeyance for many
ages, and that only in this century has it come to any sort of glory,
in the country of which Jeanne is the first and greatest of patriots
and champions, a country, too, to which national glory is more dear than
daily bread.

In the new and wonderful spring of life that succeeded the revolution
of 1830, the martyr of the fifteenth century came to light as by a
revelation. The episode of the Pucelle in Michelet's _History of France_
touched the heart of the world, and remains one of the finest efforts of
history and the most popular picture of the saint. And perhaps, though
so much less important in point of art, the maiden work of another
maiden of Orleans--the little statue of Jeanne, so pure, so simple, so
spiritual, made by the Princess Marie of that house, the daughter of the
race which the Maid held in visionary love, and which thus only has ever
attempted any return of that devotion--had its part in reawakening
her name and memory. It fell again, however, after the great work of
Quicherat had finally given to the country the means of fully
forming its opinion on the subject which Fabre's translation, though
unfortunately not literal and adorned with modern decorations, was
calculated to render popular. A great crop of statues and some pictures
not of any great artistic merit have since been dedicated to the memory
of the Maid: but yet the public enthusiasm has never risen above the
tide mark of literary applause.

There has been, however, a great movement of enthusiasm lately to gain
for Jeanne the honour of canonisation(2); but it seems to have failed,
or at least to have sunk again for the moment into silence. Perhaps
these honours are out of date in our time. One of the most recent
writers on the subject, M. Henri Blaze de Bury, suggests that one reason
which retards this final consecration is "England, certainly not a
negligible quantity to a Pope of our time." Let no such illusion move
any mind, French or ecclesiastical. Canonisation means to us, I presume,
and even to a great number of Catholics, simply the highest honour
that can be paid to a holy and spotless name. In that sense there is
no distinction of nation, and the English as warmly as the French, both
being guilty towards her, and before God on her account--would welcome
all honour that could be paid to one who, more truly than any princess
of the blood, is Jeanne of France, the Maid, alone in her lofty humility
and valour, and in everlasting fragrance of modesty and youth.

     (1) The writer must add that personally, as a Scot, she has
     no right to use this pronoun. Scotland is entirely guiltless
     of this crime. The Scots were fighting on the side of France
     through all these wars, a little perhaps for love of France,
     but much more out of natural hostility to the English. Yet
     at this time of day, except to state that fact, it is
     scarcely necessary to throw off the responsibility. The
     English side is now our side, though it was not so in the
     fifteenth century: and a writer of the English tongue must
     naturally desire that there should at least be fair play.

     (2) I am informed, however, that she is already "Venerable,"
     not a very appropriate title--the same, I presume, as
     Bienheureuse, which is prettier,--and may therefore be
     addressed by the faithful in prayer, though her rank is
     only, as it were, brevet rank, and her elevation incomplete.

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