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Title: Joan of Arc
Author: Richards, Laura Elizabeth Howe
Language: English
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Copyright Status: Not copyrighted in the United States. If you live elsewhere check the laws of your country before downloading this ebook. See comments about copyright issues at end of book.

*** Start of this Doctrine Publishing Corporation Digital Book "Joan of Arc" ***

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Books By Laura E. Richards

Joan of Arc
A Daughter of Jehu
Abigail Adams and Her Times
Elizabeth Fry
Florence Nightingale
Mrs. Tree
Mrs. Tree's Will
Miss Jimmy
The Wooing of Calvin Parks
Journal and Letters of Samuel Gridley Howe
Two Noble Lives
Captain January
A Happy Little Time
When I Was Your Age
Five Minute Stories
In My Nursery
The Golden Windows
The Silver Crown
The Joyous Story of Toto
The Life of Julia Ward Howe

_With Maud Howe Elliott_, Etc., etc.

[Illustration: JOAN OF ARC]





[Illustration: Logo]





The extracts from "Joan of Arc," by Francis C. Lowell, are used by
permission of Houghton Mifflin Company.

Selections from "The Maid of France," by Andrew Lang, are used by
permission of Messrs. Longmans, Green & Co.

permission of Chas. Scribner's Sons.


CHAPTER                         PAGE


 III. DOMRÉMY                     32

  IV. GRAPES OF WRATH             46

   V. THE VOICES                  57

  VI. THE EMPTY THRONE            69


VIII. RECOGNITION                100

  IX. ORLEANS                    117

   X. THE RELIEF                 132

  XI. THE DELIVERANCE            142


XIII. RHEIMS                     181

 XIV. PARIS                      197

  XV. COMPIÈGNE                  214

 XVI. ROUEN                      239




  She came not into the Presence as a martyred saint might come,
    Crowned, white-robed and adoring, with very reverence dumb--
  She stood as a straight young soldier, confident, gallant, strong,
    Who asks a boon of his captain in the sudden hush of the drum.

  She said: "Now have I stayed too long in this my place of bliss,
  With these glad dead that, comforted, forget what sorrow is
  Upon that world whose stony stair they climbed to come to this.

  "But lo, a cry hath torn the peace wherein so long I stayed,
  Like a trumpet's call at Heaven's wall from a herald unafraid,--
  A million voices in one cry, '_Where is the Maid, the Maid?_'

  "I had forgot from too much joy that olden task of mine,
  But I have heard a certain word shatter the chant divine,
  Have watched a banner glow and grow before mine eyes for sign.

  "I would return to that my land flung in the teeth of war,
  I would cast down my robe and crown that pleasure me no more,
  And don the armor that I knew, the valiant sword I bore.

  "And angels militant shall fling the gates of Heaven wide,
  And souls new-dead whose lives were shed like leaves on war's red tide
  Shall cross their swords above our heads and cheer us as we ride.

  "For with me goes that soldier saint, Saint Michael of the sword,
  And I shall ride on his right side, a page beside his lord,
  And men shall follow like swift blades to reap a sure reward.

  "Grant that I answer this my call, yea, though the end may be
  The naked shame, the biting flame, the last, long agony;
  I would go singing down that road where fagots wait for me.

  "Mine be the fire about my feet, the smoke above my head;
  So might I glow, a torch to show the path my heroes tread;
  _My Captain! Oh, my Captain, let me go back!_" she said.

  --_Theodosia Garrison._

In the fourth year of the Great War (1918), the sufferings of France,
the immemorial battlefield of nations, were in all our hearts. We heard
from time to time that France was "bled white"; that she had been
injured past recovery; that she was dying. Students of History know
better than this. France does not die. She bleeds; yes! she has bled,
and stanched her wounds and gone gloriously on, and bled again, since
the days when Gaul and Iberian, Kymrian and Phoenician, Hun and Goth,
raged and fought to and fro over the patient fields of the "pleasant
land." Ask Caesar and Vercingetorix, Attila and Theodoric, Clovis and
Charles the Hammer, if France can die, and hear their shadowy laughter!
Wave after wave, sea upon sea, of blood and carnage, sweep over her; she
remains imperishable. The sun of her day of glory never sets.

Her darkest day, perhaps, was that against which her brightest flower
shines white. In telling, however briefly, the story of Joan the Maid,
it is necessary to call back that day, in some ways so like our own; to
see what was the soil from which that flower sprang in all its radiant

The Hundred Years' War prepared the soil; ploughed and harrowed, burned
and pulverized: that war which began in 1340 with Edward III. of
England's assuming the title of King of France and quartering the French
arms with those of England; which ended in 1453 with the departure of
the English from France, which they had meantime (in some part) ruled
and harried. Their departure was due chiefly to the genius of a peasant
girl of eighteen years.

France in the fifteenth century: what was it like?

King Charles VI. of France (to go back no further) whose reign Sully,
"our own good Maximilian," calls "the grave of good laws and good morals
in France," was not yet twelve years old when (in 1380) his father,
Charles V., died. His majority had been fixed at fourteen, and for two
years he was to remain under the guardianship of his four uncles, the
Dukes of Anjou, Berry, Burgundy and Bourbon. With the fourth, his
mother's brother, we have no concern, for he made little trouble; the
other three were instantly in dispute as to which should rule during the
two years.

The struggle was a brief one; Philip of Burgundy, surnamed the Bold, was
by far the ablest of the three. When the young king was crowned at
Rheims (October 4th, 1380), Philip, without a word to anyone, sat him
down at his nephew's side, thus asserting himself premier peer of
France, a place which was to be held by him and his house for many a
long day.

At seventeen, Charles was married (in the Cathedral of Amiens, the
second jewel of France, where that of Rheims was the first) to Isabel of
Bavaria, of infamous memory; and the first shadows began to darken
around him.

The war with England was going on in a desultory fashion. Forty years
had passed since Créçy. The Dukes of Lancaster and Gloucester, uncles
and regents of Richard II., the young English king, were not the men to
press matters, and Charles V. of France was wise enough to let well
alone. The young king, however, and his Uncle Philip of Burgundy,
thought it would be a fine thing to land in England with a powerful
army, and return the bitter compliments paid by Edward III. "Across the
Channel!" was the cry, and preparations were made on a grand scale. In
September, 1386, thirteen hundred and eighty-seven vessels, large and
small, were collected for the voyage; and Olivier de Clisson, Constable
of France, built a wooden town which was to be transported to England
and rebuilt after landing, "in such sort," says Froissart, "that the
lords might lodge therein and retire at night, so as to be in safety
from sudden awakenings, and sleep in security." Along the Flemish and
Dutch coasts, vessels were loaded by torchlight with "hay in casks,
biscuits in sacks, onions, peas, beans, barley, oats, candles, gaiters,
shoes, boots, spurs, iron, nails, culinary utensils, and all things that
can be used for the service of man."[1] The Flemings and Hollanders
demanded instant payment and good prices. "If you want us and our
service," they said, "pay us on the nail; otherwise we will be

The king was all impatience to embark, and hung about his ship all day.
"I am very eager to be off!" he would say. "I think I shall be a good
sailor, for the sea does me no harm." One would have thought he was
sailing round the world, instead of across the British Channel.
Unfortunately for the would-be navigator, the Duke of Berry, for whom he
was waiting, was not eager to be off: did not want to go at all, in
fact; answered Charles's urgent letters with advice "not to take any
trouble, but to amuse himself, for the matter would probably terminate
otherwise than was imagined."[3] In mid-October, when the autumn storms
were due, Uncle Berry appeared, and was met by reproaches. "But for you,
uncle," exclaimed Charles, "I should have been in England by this time.
If anyone goes," he added, "I will."

But no one went.

"'One day when it was calm,' says the monk of St. Denis, 'the king,
completely armed, went with his uncles aboard of the royal vessel; but
the wind did not permit them to get more than two miles out to sea, but
drove them back to the shore they had just left in spite of the sailors'
efforts. The king, who saw with deep displeasure his hopes thus
frustrated, had orders given to his troops to go back, and at his
departure, left, by the advice of his barons, some men-of-war to unload
the fleet, and place it in a place of safety as soon as possible. But
the enemy gave them no time to execute the order. As soon as the calm
allowed the English to set sail, they bore down on the French, burned or
took in tow to their own ports the most part of the fleet, carried off
the supplies, and found two thousands casks full of wine, which sufficed
a long while for the wants of England.'"[3]

Charles decided to let England alone for a while, and turned his
thoughts elsewhere. He would visit Paris; he would make a Royal Progress
through his dominions, would show himself king indeed, free from
avuncular trammels. So said, so done. Paris received him with open arms;
the king was good and gentle; people liked to see him passing along the
street. He abated certain taxes, restored certain liberties; hopes and
gratulations were in the air. He lodged in his palace at St. Paul, that
home of luxury and tragedy, with "its great ordered library, its carved
reading-desks, its carefully painted books, and the perfumed silence
that turns reading into a feast of all the senses,"[4] that palace "made
for a time in which arms had passed from a game to a kind of cruel
pageantry, and in which the search for beauty had ended in excess, and
had made the decoration of life no longer ancillary to the main purpose
of living, but an unconnected and insufficient end of itself."[4]

In this palace of his own building, Charles V. had died. Here his son
grew up, handsome, amiable, flighty; here he brought his bride in the
splendor of her then unsullied youth; here was born the prince for whom
the Maid of France was to recover a lost kingdom.

After frolicking awhile with his good people of Paris, Charles started
once more on his travels, and for six months wandered happily and
expensively through his kingdom.

"When the king stopped anywhere, there were wanted for his own table,
and for the maintenance of his following, six oxen, eighty sheep, thirty
calves, seven hundred chickens, two hundred pigeons, and many other
things besides. The expenses for the king were set down at two hundred
and thirty livres a day, without counting the presents which the large
towns felt bound to make him."[5]

Wherever he went, he heard tales of the bad government of his uncles;
listened, promised amendment; those uncles remaining the while at home
in much disquiet of mind. As the event turned out, their anxiety was
needless. Charles's tragic fate was even then closing about him, and the
power was soon to be in their hands again. In June, 1392, Olivier de
Clisson was waylaid after banqueting with the king at St. Paul, stabbed
by Peter de Craon, a cousin of the Duke of Brittany, and left for dead.
The news coming suddenly to the king threw him into great agitation; the
sight of his servant and friend, bathed in blood, added to his
discomposure. He vowed revenge and declared instant war on the Duke of
Brittany. In vain the other uncles sought to quiet his fury; his only
reply was to summon them and his troops to Le Mans, and start with them
on the fatal march to Brittany. It was in the great forest of Le Mans
that the curse of the Valois, long foreshadowed, if men had had eyes to
see, came upon the unhappy king. The heat was excessive; he was clad in
heavy, clinging velvets and satins. He was twice startled, first by the
appearance of a white-clad madman, who, springing out of the woods,
grasped his horse by the bridle, crying, "Go no further! Thou art
betrayed!" then by a sudden clash of steel, lance on helmet of a page
overcome by the heat. At this harsh sound, the king was seen to shudder
and crouch for an instant; then, drawing his sword and rising in his
stirrups, he set spurs to his horse, crying, "Forward upon these
traitors! They would deliver me up to the enemy!" He charged upon his
terrified followers, who scattered in all directions. Several were
wounded, and more than one actually killed by the king in his frenzy.
None dared approach him; he rode furiously hither and thither, shouting
and slashing, till when utterly exhausted, his chamberlain, William de
Martel, was able to come up behind and throw his arms round the panting
body. Charles was disarmed, lifted from his horse, laid on the ground.
His brother and uncles hastened to him, but he did not recognize them;
his eyes were set, and he spoke no word.

"'We must go back to Le Mans,' said the Dukes of Berry and Burgundy;
'here is an end of the trip to Brittany.'

"On the way they fell in with a wagon drawn by oxen: in this they laid
the King of France, having bound him for fear of a renewal of his
frenzy, and so took him back, motionless and speechless, to the

Thus began the agony which was to endure for thirty long years. There
were lucid intervals, in which the poor king would beg pardon of all he
might have injured in his frenzy: would ask to have his hunting-knife
taken away, and cry to those about him, "If any of you, by I know not
what witchcraft, be guilty of my sufferings, I adjure him in the name of
Jesus Christ, to torment me no more, and to put an end to me forthwith
without making me linger so."[7]

He did not know his false, beautiful wife, but was in terror of her.
"What woman is this?" he would say. "What does she want? Save me from

At first every care was given him; but in 1405, we find the poor soul
being "fed like a dog, and allowed to fall ravenously upon his food. For
five whole months he had not a change of clothes."[8] Finally someone
was roused to shame and remorse at the piteous sight; he was washed,
shaved, and decently clothed. It took twelve men to accomplish the task,
but directly it was done, the poor soul became quiet, and even
recognized some of those about him. Seeing Juvenal des Ursins, the
Provost of Paris, he said, "Juvenal, let us not waste our time!"--surely
one of the most piteous of recorded utterances.

The gleams of reason were few and feeble. In one of them, the king (in
1402) put the government of the realm into the hands of his brother,
Louis, Duke of Orleans: Burgundy took fire at once, and the fight was
on, a fight which only our own day can parallel.

We can but glance briefly at some of its principal features. In 1404
Philip the Bold of Burgundy (to whom we might apply Philip de Comines'
verdict on Louis XI: "in fine, for a prince, not so bad!") died, and his
son John the Fearless ruled in his stead. His reign began auspiciously.
He inclined to push the war with England; he went out of his way to
visit his cousin of Orleans. The two princes dined together with the
Duke of Berry; took the holy communion together, parted with mutual vows
of friendship. Paris was edified, and hoped for days of joyful peace. A
few nights after, as Orleans was returning from dining with Queen
Isabel, about eight in the evening, singing and playing with his glove,
he was set upon by a band of armed men, emissaries of Burgundy, and
literally hacked to pieces. Now all was confusion. The poor king was
told to be angry, and was furious: sentenced Burgundy to all manner of
penances, and banished him for twenty years. Unfortunately, Burgundy was
at the moment preparing to enter Paris as a conqueror. Learning this,
King, Queen, Dauphin and Court fled to Tours, and Burgundy found no one
in Paris to conquer. This was awkward; the king's suffering person was
still a necessary adjunct toward ruling the kingdom. Burgundy made
overtures; begged pardon; prayed "my lord of Orleans and my lords his
brothers to banish from their hearts all hatred and vengeance." The
king was bidden to forgive my lord of Burgundy, and obeyed. A treaty was
made; peace was declared; the king returned, and all Paris went out to
meet him, shouting, "_Noël_!"

This was in 1409; that same year, Charles of Orleans, son of the
murdered duke, lost his wife, Isabel of France, daughter of the king. A
year later he married Bonne d'Armagnac, daughter of Bernard of that
name, a Count of Southern France, bold, ambitious, unscrupulous. Count
Bernard instantly took command of the Orleanist party, in the name of
his son-in-law. He vowed revenge on Burgundy for the murder of Duke
Louis, and called upon all good and true men to join his standard;
thenceforward the party took his name, and Burgundian and Armagnac
arrayed themselves against each other.

Now indeed, the evil time came upon France. She was cut literally in
twain by the opposing factions. The hatred between them was not only
traditional, but racial. Burgundy gathered under his banner all the
northern people, those who spoke the _langue d'oil_; in the south, where
the _langue d'oc_ was spoken, Gascon and Provençal flocked to the
standard of Armagnac. Backward and forward over terrified France raged
the ferocious soldiery. Count Bernard was a brutal savage, but he was a
great captain. The Albrets and many another proud clan were ready to
fight under his banner; the cause did not specially matter, so long as
fighting and plunder were to be had. Among them, they formed the first
infantry of France. Wherever they marched, terror ran before them. They
summoned the peasantry to bind on the white cross of Armagnac; he who
refused lost arm, leg, or life itself, on the spot. This method of
recruiting proved eminently successful, and the Count soon had a goodly

John the Fearless of Burgundy ("who," says a French writer, "might
better have been called John the Pitiless, since the only fear he was
without was that of God") was hardly less ferocious than his enemy. In
one battle he slew some thousands of unarmed citizens: in another he
massacred twenty-five thousand Armagnacs at one stroke. One would really
think it had been the twentieth century instead of the fifteenth.

Burgundy, cunning as well as ferocious, won over to his side first
Queen Isabel, false as she was fair and frail; then the Kings of Sicily
and Spain. Still seeking popularity, he besieged Calais, but was driven
off by the English; finally he took possession of Paris and the king,
and ruled both for a time with success and satisfaction.

Both parties did homage to Henry IV. of England (1399-1413), who took
the provinces they offered and kept his own counsel.

By and by there was trouble in Paris; the Butchers, a devout body, who
carried axe or cleaver in one hand and rosary in the other, were
scandalized by the dissolute habits of Louis the Dauphin and his
followers; took it upon themselves to mend matters. They turned axe and
cleaver upon the young courtiers; slew, tortured, imprisoned, at their
will, with psalms and canticles on their lips. Moreover, encouraged by
Burgundy, their friend and patron, they preached daily to the Dauphin,
and a Carmelite monk of their following reproved him by the hour
together. Bored and enraged, young Louis wrote to the Armagnacs, begging
them to deliver him. They rushed with joyous ferocity to the rescue.
The Butchers were dispersed; Burgundy was forced to flee from Paris,
leaving the jealously guarded person of the king in the hands of the
enemy. The Orleanist princes entered Paris in triumph; everybody,
everything, from the Dauphin himself to the images of Virgin and saints,
was draped in the white scarf of the Armagnacs.

In 1414 a peace was patched up: it was agreed that neither the white
scarf nor Burgundy's cross should be worn. Nothing special was said
about the murdering, which seems to have gone on none the less, albeit
less openly.

In 1413 Henry (IV.) of Lancaster died, and Henry (V.) of Monmouth
reigned in his stead. The day of desultory warfare was over. Unhappy
France, bleeding at every pore from the blows of her own children, must
now face the might of England, led by one of the world's greatest
captains. Torn by factions, weakened by loss of blood, ridden first by
one furious free-booter and then another, what chance had she?
Trembling, her people asked the question: the answer was Agincourt.


[1] Guizot, "Popular History of France," III, p. 20.

[2] Guizot, "Popular History of France," III, p. 21.

[3] Guizot, "Popular History of France," III, p. 21.

[4] Belloc, "Paris," p. 248.

[5] Guizot, III, p. 22.

[6] Guizot, III, p. 27.

[7] Guizot, III, p. 28.

[8] Guizot, III, p. 29.



     "Fair stood the wind for France."--_Michael Drayton._

I yield to no one in my love and admiration for Henry V. in his nobler
aspects, but I am not writing his story now. He came to France, not as
the debonair and joyous prince of our affections, but as a conqueror;
came, he told the unhappy French, as the instrument of God, to punish
them for their sins. The phrase may have sounded less mocking then than
it does to-day. France knew all about the sins; she had suffered under
them, almost to death; it seemed hard that she must bear the punishment

Neither John of Burgundy nor Bernard of Armagnac was at Agincourt. They
hovered apart, two great eagles--or vultures, shall we say?--watching,
ready to pounce when their moment struck. The battle lost and won, both
chiefs made a dash for Paris and the king. Armagnac made the better
speed; Burgundy arrived to find his enemy, with six thousand fierce
Gascons, already in possession of the city, king and Dauphin both in his
hands, and the self-constituted Constable of France, in lieu of Charles
d'Albret, slain in the great battle.

Savage though he was, Armagnac was a Frenchman, and a great captain. For
some months he kept not only Burgundy but England at bay, holding the
royal city against all comers. He even made a dash on Harfleur (now,
1415, in the hands of the English) which might have been successful but
for the cowardice of some of his followers. He promptly hanged the
cowards, but the moment was lost. Returning to Paris, he found the
Burgundians making headway; banished, hanged, drowned, beheaded, right
and left, imposed tremendous taxes, and for a time fancied himself, and
seemed almost to be, virtual king of France.

It was only seeming; Burgundy's hour was at hand. Among those banished
by Armagnac was Queen Isabel, whom (after drowning one of her lovers in
a sack) he had sent off to prison in the castle of Tours. Down swept
John the Fearless, carried her off, proclaimed her Regent, and in her
name annulled the recent tax edicts. This was a mortal blow to Armagnac.
His Gascons held Paris for him, but without money he could not hold
them. Furious, he laid hands on whatever he could find; "borrowed"
church vessels of gold and silver and melted them down to pay his men.
All would not do. Paris now hated as much as it feared him and his
Gascons. A little while, and hate, aided by treachery, triumphed over
fear. One night the keys of the St. Germain gate were stolen from their
keeper--some say by his own son. Eight hundred Burgundians crept in,
headed by the Sire de l'Isle-Adam: crept, pounced, first on that Palace
where Tragedy and Madness kept watch and watch; then, the king once in
their hands, on the holders of the city. The Dauphin fled to the
Bastille. Armagnac and his chief followers were betrayed and imprisoned.
The banished Butchers returned, thirsting for blood. The hunt was up.

What followed was a foreshadowing of St. Bartholomew, of the Terror, of
the Commune. Paris went mad, mad as her king in the forest of Le Mans.
All day long frenzied bands, citizens and Burgundians together, roamed
the streets, seizing and slaying; all night the tocsin rang, rousing the
maddened people to still wilder delirium. On the night of June 12th,
1418, they broke open the prisons and murdered their inmates without
discrimination; Armagnacs, debtors, bishops, State and political
prisoners, even some of their own party; a slash across the throat was
the kindest death they met. Count Bernard of Armagnac was among the
first victims: for days his naked body hung on view in the Palace of
Justice, while in the streets the Paris children played with the
stripped corpses of his followers. Private grudge or public grievance
could be revenged by merely raising the cry of "Armagnac." A sword
swept, and the score was wiped out. Between midnight of Saturday the
twelfth and Monday the fourteenth of June (1418) sixteen hundred persons
were massacred in the prisons and streets of Paris.

So fell the Armagnacs: and in their fall dragged their opponents with

Paris streets were full of unburied corpses; Paris gutters ran blood;
Paris larders were bare of food. The surviving Armagnacs, assembled at
Melun, kept supplies from entering the city on one side, the English on
the other. Hunger and Plague, hand in hand, stalked through the dreadful
streets. Soon fifty thousand bodies were lying there, with no sword in
their vitals. Men said that those who had hand in the recent massacres
died first, with cries of despair on their lips. While the city crouched
terror-stricken, certain priests arose, proclaiming the need of still
more bloodshed; the sacrifice was not complete, they cried. Two prisons
still remained, the Grand Châtelet and the Bastille, crammed with
prisoners; among them might be, doubtless were, Armagnacs held for
ransom by the greedy Burgundians. To arms, once more!

Frenzied Paris responded, as--alas!--she has so often done. The public
executioner, mounted on a great white horse, led the shouting mob first
to one, then to the other great State Prison. Before the Bastille, John
of Burgundy met them, imploring them to spare the prisoners; humbling
himself even to take the hangman's bloody hand: in vain. All were slain,
and the Duke had only the poor satisfaction of killing the executioner
himself a few days later.

Bernard of Armagnac dead, Charles of Orleans safe, since Agincourt, in
an English prison (writing, for his consolation and our delight, the
rondels and triolets which will keep his name bright and fresh while
Poesy endures), John the Fearless was in very truth virtual king of
France. Being so, it behooved him to make some head against Henry of
England, who was now besieging Rouen. This was awkward for John, as he
had for some time been Henry's secret ally, but Rouen was in extremity,
Paris in danger; even his own faithful followers began to look askance
and to demand active measures against perfidious and all-conquering
Albion. John temporized by sending four thousand horsemen to Rouen,
weakening by just so much his hold on the capital. He dared not declare
himself openly on the side of England; dared only make a secret treaty
with Henry, recognizing his claim to the French crown.

Before setting out from England to besiege Rouen, Henry had paid
friendly visits to his prisoner-kinsmen, the Dukes of Orleans and
Bourbon, and succeeded in alarming both thoroughly. "Fair cousin," he
said to the latter, "I am returning to the war, and this time I shall
spare nothing: yes, this time France must pay the piper!" and again,
perhaps to Orleans this time, "Fair cousin, soon I am going to Paris. It
is a great pity, for they are a brave people; but, _voyez vous_, they
are so terribly divided that they can do nothing."

Ominous words for a young gentleman to hear who was just writing,
perhaps, that he would no longer be the servant of Melancholy.

     "Serviteur plus de vous, Merencolie,
     Je ne serez car trop fort y travaille!"

Rondel and triolet were laid aside, and the two princes wrote urgent
letters to their cousin Charles, imploring him to make peace on Henry's
own conditions: poor Charles, who did not know his own name or the names
of his children, who still whispered, "Who is that woman? Save me from

Meantime Henry sent his own messengers, in the shape of some eight
thousand famishing Irishmen, whom he carried across the Channel
and--_dumped_ seems the fitting word--in Normandy, bidding them forage
for themselves. Unarmed, but fearing nothing, and very hungry, the Irish
roamed the country mounted on ponies or cows, whichever was "handy by,"
seeking what they might devour. Monstrelêt describes them; may have seen
them with his own eyes. "One foot was shod, the other naked, and they
had no breeches. They stole little children from the cradle, and rode
off on cows, carrying the said children"; to hold them for ransom, be it

My little measure will not hold the siege of Rouen. It was one of the
terrible sieges of history, and those who love Henry of Monmouth must
read of it with heavy hearts. In January, 1419, when fifty thousand
people were dead of famine in and around the city, submission was made.
Henry entered the town, with no doubt in his own mind and little in
those of others, as to who was actually King of France.

He found the kingdom still rent in twain. The Dauphin Louis was dead,
and Charles, his younger brother, had succeeded to the title and to the
leadership of the Orleans party. The weak, irresolute, hot-headed boy of
sixteen was surrounded by reckless Gascons who lived by their swords
and wits, caring little what they did, so money might be got, yet who
were Frenchmen and had red blood in their veins. The peace now openly
concluded between Henry and Burgundy roused them to frenzy. English rule
was not to their mind. They beset the Dauphin with clamors for revenge
to which he lent only too willing an ear. The affair was arranged, and
as in the case of the murder of Orleans twelve years before, began with
a reconciliation. The Dauphin longed to see his dear cousin of Burgundy;
begged that they might meet; suggested the Bridge of Montereau as a
fitting place for the interview. With some misgivings, the Duke
consented, spite of the warnings of his friends. "Remember Louis of
Orleans!" they said. "Remember Bernard of Armagnac! Be sure that those
others remember them well!"

John the Fearless answered as became his reputation. It was his duty, he
said, to obtain peace, even at the risk of his own life. If they killed
him, he would die a martyr: if not, peace being secured, he would take
the Dauphin's men and go fight the English. Then they should see which
was the better man, Hannotin (Jack) of Flanders or Henry of England.

On the tenth of September (1419), he reached Montereau, and the long
crooked bridge spanning the broad Seine. Over the bridge the Orleanists
had built a roof, transforming it into a long gallery: in the centre, a
lodge of rough planks, a narrow door on either side. This was the place
of rendezvous, where the Dauphin awaited his visitor. The Burgundian
retainers disliked the look of it, and besought their master not to set
foot on the bridge. Let the Dauphin meet him on dry land, they said, not
on a crazy bridge over deep water. The Duke, partly of his own bold
will, partly through the wiles of a treacherous woman set on by his
enemies, laughed at their entreaties; entered the bridge as gayly as he
had entered that Paris street, hardly wider than this footway, where he
had looked on at the murder of Louis of Orleans, twelve years before.

"Here is the man I trust!" he said, and clapped the shoulder of Tanneguy
Duchâtel, who had come to lead him into the trap. Ten minutes later, and
he was lying as Orleans had lain, hacked in pieces, while the
Orleanists exulted over his body as he had done over that of their

I do not know that there is much to choose between these two murders, or
that we need greatly sorrow for either victim. Probably neither
gentleman would be at large, had he lived in our time.

And now Henry of Monmouth was king indeed. A few months, and the Treaty
of Troyes was signed, and Henry entered Paris in triumph, riding between
King Charles (who whispered and muttered and knew little about the
matter) and the new Duke of Burgundy, Philip the Good, son of the
murdered man. To that ill-omened Palace of St. Paul they rode, and there
lodged together for a while. Henry's banner bore the device of a fox's
brush, "in which," says Monstrelêt, the chronicler, "the wise noted many
things." Henry had long been a hunter of the fox; now he came to hunt
the French. Paris, still torn and bleeding from the wounds of opposing
factions, welcomed anything that looked like peace with power; justice
was not looked for in those days. Yet it was in the name of Justice
that the two kings, sitting side by side on the same throne, heard the
solemn appeal of Philip of Burgundy and his mother for judgment upon the
murderers of John the Fearless. They demanded that the _soi-disant_
Dauphin, Duchâtel and the other assassins of the Duke, in garb of
penance and torch in hand, should be dragged in tumbrils round the city,
in token of their shame and their repentance. The Estates of the Realm,
summoned in haste, and the University of Paris, supported the demand;
the two kings agreed to it. Nothing was needed save the culprits
themselves, but they were not forthcoming. Appear before King and
Parliament to receive his just doom? The Dauphin thanked them! If the
King of England could play the hunter, Charles of Valois could play the
fox; _et voilà tout_! "I appeal," said the Dauphin, "to the sharp end of
my sword!" Thereupon he was denounced as a treacherous assassin, to be
deprived of all rights to the Crown and of all property. The
confiscation extended to his followers, and to all the Armagnac party,
living or dead; and the good citizens of Paris, fleeced to the bare
skin, helped themselves as best they might from the possessions of the
outlawed Prince and his recreant nobles.

The Palace of St. Paul saw in those days the soldier-wooing of Henry V.
and his wedding to Catherine of Valois, the daughter of Charles VI.:
saw, two years later, the death of Charles himself, who faded out of
life some two months after his great conqueror; later still, in one of
its obscure chambers, neglected and despairing, the death of Isabel of
Bavaria. After that it saw little of note, for people avoided it; it was
an unlucky place, haunted forever by those twin shadows of Madness and
Terror. Gradually it crumbled, passed finally into the dimness of
forgotten things. To-day no stone of it stands upon another.



     "_Quand j'étais chez mon père, petite Jeanneton ..._"

"I thought this was a life of Joan of Arc!" some bewildered reader may
protest. "I don't want to read a History of France!"

Patience, gentle one! the Maid and her France may not be separated.

Now, however, it is time to go back a little to the year 1412, and make
our way to the village of Domrémy on the banks of the Meuse, near the
border of Lorraine.

Domrémy is not an important place: it has to-day, as it had four hundred
years ago, about forty or fifty houses. It lies pleasantly enough by the
river side, amid green meadows; a straggling line of stone cottages,
with roofs of thatch or tile; behind it rise low hills, now bare, once
covered with forests of oak and beech. Its people are, as they have
always been, grave and God-fearing; there is a saying about them that
they "seldom die and never lie." They have always been farming people,
growing corn, planting vineyards, raising cattle. In old times, as
to-day, the cattle fed on the rich pastures of the river valley; the
village children tended them by day, and at nightfall drove them back to
the little stone-walled farms.

The houses were "small, of one or two or three rooms, and sometimes
there was a low garret overhead. The furniture was simple: a few stools
and benches, a table or a pair of trestles with a board to cover them, a
few pots and pans of copper, and some pewter dishes. The housewife had
in her chest two or three sheets for her feather-bed, two or three
kerchiefs, a cloak, a piece of cloth ready to be made into whatever
garment was most needed, and a few buttons and pins. Often there was a
sword in the corner, or a spear or an arblast, but the peasants were
peaceful, seldom waged war, and often were unable even to resist

The people of Domrémy were vassals of the lords of Bourlemont, whose
castle still overlooks the Meuse valley. The relationship was a
friendly one in the main. The dues were heavy, to be sure. "Twice a year
a tax must be paid on each animal drawing a cart; the lord's harvest
must be gathered, his hay cut and stored, firewood drawn to his house,
fowls and beef and bacon furnished to his table. Those who had no carts
must carry his letters."[10]

But this was the common lot of French peasants. In return, the lord of
Bourlemont recognized certain responsibilities for them in time of
trouble. His own castle was four miles distant, but in the village
itself he owned a little fortress called the Castle of the Island, which
the villagers guarded for him in time of peace and where they could take
refuge in time of danger. Sometimes even, the Seigneur seems to have had
pangs of conscience concerning his villagers, as when, in 1399, the then
lord provided in his will that "if the people of Domrémy can show that
they have been unjustly compelled to give him two dozen goslings,
restitution shall be made."[11]

In one of the stone cottages (standing still, though overmuch restored)
lived, early in the fifteenth century, Jacques d'Arc and Isabel his
wife. Jacques was a responsible man, liked and respected by his
neighbors. As dean of the village, he inspected weights and measures,
commanded the watch, collected the taxes. Dame Isabel had enough
learning to teach her five children their _Credo_, _Pater_ and _Ave_,
but probably little more; she spun and wove, and was doubtless a good
house-mother. With four of the children we have little concern; our
affair is with the fifth, a daughter born (probably) in January, 1412,
and named Jeanne or Jehane. All her names are beautiful: "Jeanne la
Pucelle," "the Maid of Orleans," "the Maid of France"; most familiar of
all to our Anglo-Saxon ears, "Joan of Arc."

Joan was three years old when Agincourt was lost and won. It was a far
cry from upper Normandy to the province of Bar where Domrémy lay; the
Meuse flowed tranquilly by, but no echoes of the English war reached it
at this time. Life went peacefully on; the children, as I have said,
drove the cattle to the river meadows, frolicked beside the clear
stream, gathering flowers, singing the immemorial songs of France; and
as evening closed, drove them home again to the farm: or they tended
their sheep on the Common, or followed their pigs through the oak forest
that stretched behind and above it. In the forest lurked romance and
adventure, possible danger. There were wolves there; no doubt about
that. There were also, most people thought, fairies, both good and bad.
Near the village itself stood the great beech tree known as "the Ladies'
Tree," or the "Fairies' Tree," with its fountain close by, the Fountain
of the Gooseberry Bushes, where people came to be healed of various
diseases. Another great tree was called "_Le Beau Mai_," and was even
more mystical. Who knows from what far Druid time came the custom of
dancing around its huge trunk and hanging garlands on its gnarled
boughs? They were pious garlands now, dedicated to Our Lady of Domrémy;
but it was whispered that the fairies still held their revels there. The
lord of Bourlemont and his lady sometimes joined the dancing; had not
his ancestor loved a fairy when time was, and been loved of her? They
never failed to join the rustic festival that was held under the Fairy
Tree on the "Sunday in Lent called _Laetere_, or _des Fontaines_." One
of Joan's godmothers said she had seen the fairies: Joan never did. She
hung garlands, with the other little girls; danced with them hand in
hand, singing. One would like to know the songs they sang. Was one of
them the quaint ditty whose opening lines head this chapter?

     "_Quand j'étais chez mon père, petite Jeanneton,
         La glin glon glon,
     M'envôit a la fontaine pour remplir mon cruchon!_"

Or was it the story of that _vigneron_ who had a daughter whom he would
give to neither poor nor rich, _lon la_, and whom he finally saw carried
off by a cavalier of Hungary,

     "_La prit et l'importa,
        Sur son cheval d'Hongrie, lon la!_"

A warning to selfish Papas. Or did there come to Domrémy, wandering down
the Meuse as the wind wanders, some of those wild, melancholy sea-songs
that the Corsairs and the fishermen sang, as they sharpened their
cutlasses or drew their nets in harbor?

     "_Il était trois mâtelots de Grois,
     Embarqués sur le Saint Francois,
       Tra la derida la la la!_"

Olivier Basselin, of Val-de-Vire, died when Joan was six years old, but
his songs are alive to-day: gay little songs, called from the place of
their origin "_Vaux-de-Vire_," whence the modern word _vaudeville_.
Perhaps Joan and her playmates sang his songs; I do not know.

In later, sadder years, Joan's enemies made, as we shall see, all that
could be made out of these simple woodland frolics. "_Le Beau Mai_,"
which in spring was "fair as lily flowers, the leaves and branches
sweeping the ground"[12] became a tree of doom, a gathering-place of
witches, of worse than witches. Joan herself, hanging her pretty
garlands to the Virgin, as sweet a child-figure as lives in history,
became a dark sorceress, ringed with flame, summoning to her aid the
fiends of the pit. We need not yet turn that page; we may see her as her
neighbors saw her, a grave, brown-eyed child, beloved by old and young:
industrious, as all her people were; guiding the plough, watching the
sheep or cattle, gathering flowers, acorns, fagots: or indoors,
spinning, sewing, learning all household work under her mother's
guidance. She loved to go to church, and hastened thither when the bell
rang for mass; preferring it to dance or play.

"There was not a better girl," the neighbors said, "in the two villages
(Domrémy and Greux). For the love of God she gave alms; and if she had
money would have given it to the _curé_ for masses to be said."

The village beadle being a trifle lax in his ways, she would bribe him
with little presents to ring the church bell punctually. The children
did not always understand her, would laugh sometimes when she left the
games and went to kneel in the little gray church; but the sick and the
poor understood her well enough. She loved nursing, and had a light hand
with the sick; they never forgot her care of them; it was her way, if
any poor homeless body came wandering by (there were many such in France
then, almost as many as to-day) to give up her bed to the vagrant and
sleep on the hearth all night.

Joan was eight years old when the Treaty of Troyes was signed, by which
France virtually passed into the hands of England. Not long after, the
miseries of war invaded the quiet valley of the Meuse; Burgundian and
Armagnac began to burn, harry and slay here as they had long been doing
elsewhere. The latter were headed by Stephen de Vignolles, better known
as La Hire, a man as brave as he was brutal, and with a spark of humor
which lights his name yet on the clouded page of the time. It is told
how one day, starting out to relieve Montargis, besieged by the English,
he met a priest on the way, and thinking it might be well to add
spiritual armor to "helm and hauberk's twisted mail," demanded
absolution. The priest demurred; confession must come first. "I have no
time for that!" said La Hire, "I'm in a hurry; I have done in the way of
sins all that men of war are in the habit of doing." "Whereupon," says
the chronicler, "the chaplain gave him absolution for what it was worth,
and the knight, putting his hands together, prayed thus, 'God, I pray
thee to do for La Hire this day as much as thou wouldest have La Hire
do for thee if he were God and thou La Hire!'"

Similar stories are told of many men in many lands; this may be as true
as the rest of them.

La Hire's valiant doings by the side of Joan and Dunois at Orleans and
elsewhere, are on the credit side of his book of life; but in the years
following 1420, he and his like wrought dreadful havoc in the valley of
the Meuse. They pretended to seek redress for hostile acts; in reality,
they wanted blood and plunder, and took both without stint. They drove
off the cattle and burned the crops; this was the least of it. "These
men," wrote Juvenal des Ursins, "under pretence of blackmail and so
forth, seized men, women, and little children, regardless of age and
sex; violated women and girls; killed husbands and fathers before their
wives and daughters; carried off nurses, and left their children to die
of hunger; seized priests and monks, put them to the torture, and beat
them until they were maimed or driven mad. Some they roasted, dashed out
the teeth of others, and others they beat with great clubs. God knows
what cruelty they wrought."

Jacques d'Arc and another man of means (as means went in Domrémy!)
hired the Castle of the Island from the lady of Bourlemont, at a
considerable rent, for the safekeeping of their families and their
flocks and herds in case of attack. A year or two later, the men of
Domrémy bound themselves to pay a hearth-tax to the lord of Commercy, a
highborn ruffian of the neighborhood, so long as he abstained from
burning and pillaging their homes. The bond declares itself to be given
"with good will, and without any force, constraint, or guile
whatsoever." No need for an Artemas Ward to add, "This is rote
sarkasticul!" The villagers knew well enough that if the blackmail were
not paid, houses, church and all would go up in smoke and flame.

Joan, as she herself says, "helped well to drive the cattle and sheep to
the Island," when news came of raiders prowling up or down the valley.
Burgundian or Armagnac, it mattered little which; neither boded any good
to the village. The Castle itself was uninhabited: its blank windows
looked down on a garden, with great poplar trees here and there, and
neglected flower-beds, once the delight of the Lady and her children.
Bees hummed in the lilies, birds flitted from branch to branch, caring
nothing for Burgundian or Armagnac; all was peace and tranquillity. Here
the dreamy child wandered, looking up at the silent walls, seeing in
thought, it may be, shadowy figures of knight and lady gazing down on
her, the child of France who was to be her country's saviour.

Doubtless she watched the boys playing at siege and battle in and around
the little fortress: for aught we know, she may have joined their play,
and so learned her first lessons in arms. In any case, tales of blood
and rapine must have been daily in her ears; emphasized about this time
by news of the death of a cousin, "struck by a ball or stone from a

Other tales were doubtless in her ears. Among the wanderers who sat by
the kindly fireside of Jacques d'Arc would be mendicant friars,
Franciscan or Cordelier, making their way from door to door, from
village to village, giving in return for food and shelter what they had
to give: a blessing for the hospitable house, a prayer for its inmates,
and news of the countryside. The last raid discussed, the next
prognosticated, the general state of country and world deplored, there
might be talk of things spiritual. The d'Arc family would naturally tell
of their patron St. Rémy, who, watching over the holy city of Rheims,
was so kind as to extend his protection over Domrémy. What a learned,
what a wonderful man! how bold in his admonition to King Clovis at the
latter's baptism! "Bow thy head meekly, O Sicambrian! adore what thou
hast burnt, and burn what thou hast adored!" Yes! yes! brave words!

Then the guest might ask, was not this the country of the Oak Wood, "_le
Bois Chesnu_?" Had they heard the prophecy that a Maid should be born in
the neighborhood, who should do great deeds? Yes, truly, there was such
a prophecy. It was made by Merlin the Wise. In Latin he made it; _Nemus
Canutum_, the place; surely an oak wood, on the borders of Lorraine.
That was long and long ago, and had been well-nigh forgotten; but a
generation ago only--surely they had heard this?--a holy woman, Marie of
Avignon, had made her way to his sacred Majesty, then suffering cruelly
under the dispensations of God and also under that wicked Queen Isabeau,
on whom might his sufferings be avenged, amen! made her way to him, and
told of a dream she had dreamed, a terrible dream, full of clashing of
swords. She saw shining armor, and cried out, alas! she could not use
it! but a voice said that it was for a Maid who should restore France.
Yes, indeed, that would be a fine thing, if our fair country, ruined by
a woman, should be restored by a woman from the marches of Lorraine.
_Pax vobiscum!_

These things, and others like them, no doubt Joan heard, sitting quietly
by with her sewing or knitting while the elders talked. These things by
and by were to be a sword in her hand, and--later still--a torch in the
hands of her enemies.


[9] Lowell. "Joan of Arc," p. 15.

[10] Lowell. "Joan of Arc," p. 18.

[11] Luce. "Jeanne d'Arc à Domrémy," p. 19.

[12] Gerardin.



     "In Rama was there a voice heard, lamentation, and weeping, and
     great mourning. Rachel weeping for her children, and would not be
     comforted, because they are not."--_Jeremiah._

When the conqueror of Agincourt lay dying at Meaux, word was brought to
him that his queen, Catherine of France, had borne him a son at Windsor
Castle. "Alas!" he said; "Henry of Monmouth has reigned a short time and
conquered much. Henry of Windsor will reign long and lose all." Few
prophecies, perhaps, have been so literally fulfilled.

At the accession of Henry VI., the "meek usurper,"[13] France was as
near her death-agony as she had ever been. Since the first invasion of
Henry V., war, famine and pestilence had never ceased their ravages.
Whole districts, once peopled, had become solitary wastes. The peasants,
tired of sowing that others might reap, threw down pick and hoe, left
wife and children, in a despair that was near to madness, and took to
the woods, there to worship Satan in very truth. God and his saints
having forsaken them, they would see what Satan and his demons could do
for them. Things could not be worse, and at least in this service they
would stand where their masters and tyrants stood. In Paris, things were
no better. In the year 1418 there died in the city of the plague alone,
80,000 persons. "They are buried in layers of thirty and forty corpses
together, packed as bacon is."[14]

Two years later, when the English entered Paris, it was hoped that they
would bring with them not only peace and order, but food. The hope was
vain. "All through Paris you could hear the pitiable lamentation of the
little children. One saw upon one dungheap twenty, thirty children
dying of hunger and cold. No heart was so hard but had great pity upon
hearing their piteous cry throughout the night, 'I die of

By day, when the dog-killer passed through the streets, he was followed
by a throng of famished people, who fell upon each stray dog as it was
killed, and devoured it, leaving the bare bones: by night the wolves,
also hungry, the country being stripped, made their way into the city,
where they found ample provender in the scarcely-covered corpses.

A kind of death-madness sprang up and seized upon the people; a hideous
carnival of corruption began. People danced, as in the fairy-tales,
whether they would or no, sick and well, young and old, and their
dancing-green was the graveyard. A grinning skeleton was enthroned as
King Death, and round him the frantic people danced hand in hand,
shouting and singing, over the graves that held their friends and
kinsfolk. Soon there was no more room in the burial places; but still
the people died. Charnel houses were built, where corpses were stored,
being taken up a short time after burial to make room for fresh ones.
The soil of the Cemetery of the Innocents was piled eight feet high
above the surrounding streets.

Such was life--and death--for the common people, whom no man regarded.
We have already seen how it was with the noble in war; in private life
they were no less fanatic. That strange and hideous phenomenon known as
the blood-madness of tyrants, broke out like some frightful growth upon
the unhappy country. The chronicles of the time read like records of
nightmare. Great princes, noble knights, robbed, tortured, slew their
wives, fathers, brothers, no man saying them nay. The Sieur de Giac gave
his wife poison, and made her gallop on horseback behind him till she
dropped dead from the saddle. Adolf de Gueldres, "under the excuse that
parricide was the rule in the family," dragged his father from his bed,
compelled him to walk naked five miles, and then threw him down into a
horrible dungeon to die.[16] The time was past when the "_prudhommes_,"
the honest men of a village, might come before their lord and rebuke
him with "Messire, such and such a thing is not the custom of the good
people of these parts!" In the fourteenth century, they were listened
to; in the fifteenth, they would probably have their throats cut and be
thrown on the dungheap.

     "Of the same lump (as it is said)
     For honor and dishonor made,
         Two sister vessels."

Say rather, of the same earth two flowers. From the same dreadful soil
of carnage that gave birth to the Lily of France springs up to enduring
infamy a supreme Flower of Evil, the figure of Gilles de Rais, Marshal
of France. His story reads like a fairy tale gone bad.

Born in 1404, grandnephew of Bertrand du Guesclin, neighbor and relative
of Olivier de Clisson; comrade-in-arms of Joan of Arc. Orphaned in his
boyhood, he was left to the over-tender mercies of an adoring
grandfather who refused him nothing. In after years, when horror closed
round his once-shining name and men shrank from him as from a leper, he
cried out in his agony: "Fathers and mothers who hear me, beware, I
implore you, of rearing your children in softness. For me, if I have
committed such and such crimes, the cause of it is that in my youth I
was always allowed to do as I pleased." ("_L'on m'a toujours laissé
aller au gré de ma volonté._")

From a child, he showed distinction in the arts of war; appeared for a
time clad in all the warlike virtues. Enormously rich, in his own right
as well as by marriage, he was eagerly welcomed to the standard of
Charles the Dauphin, who was correspondingly poor. We shall see him at
Orleans, riding beside the Maid, one of her devoted admirers; through
all the period of his youth, his public acts shone bright and gallant as
his own sword.

The second period of his life shows the artist, the seeker, the man of
boundless ambitions. He aspired to be "_litterateur savant et
artiste_."[17] He had a passion for the beautiful, a passion for
knowledge; for manuscripts, music, drama, science, especially that
so-called science of the occult. When he traveled, he carried with him
his valuable library, from which he would not be separated: carried
also his two splendid organs, his chapel, his military household. He
kept his own court of over two hundred mounted men, knights, squires,
pages, all magnificently equipped and maintained at his expense. At two
of his cities, Machecoul and Tiffanges, he maintained all the clergy of
a cathedral and a collegiate church: dean, archdeacon, etc., etc.,
twenty-five to thirty persons, who (like the library) accompanied him on
his travels, no less splendidly dressed than the knights and squires.

Many pages of a bulky memoir are devoted to the various ways in which
Gilles squandered his princely fortune. Our concern is with his efforts
to restore it, or rather to make another when it was gone.

In the course of his studies, he had not neglected the
then-still-popular one of alchemy, and to this he turned when no more
money was to be had. Gold, it appeared, could be made; if so, he was the
man to make it. Workshops were set up at Tiffanges, perhaps in that
gloomy donjon tower which alone remains to-day of all that Arabian
Nights castle of splendor and luxury. Alchemists were summoned and
wrought night and day, spurred on by promises and threats. Night and
day they wrought; but no gold appeared. Fearing for their lives, they
hinted at other and darker things that might be necessary; at other
agencies which might produce the desired result. If my lord would call
in, for example, those who dealt in magic----?

Frantic in his quest, Gilles stopped at nothing. Necromancers were sent
for, and came; they in turn summoned "spirits from the vasty deep" or
elsewhere, who obediently appeared. Trembling, yet exultant, Gilles de
Rais spoke to the demons, asking for knowledge, power and riches
("_science, puissance, et richesse_"), promising in return anything and
everything except his life and his soul. The demons, naturally enough,
made no reply to this one-sided offer. It is curious to read of the
midnight scenes in that summer of 1439 when Gilles and his
magician-friend Prelati, with their three attendants, tried to strike
this bargain with the infernal powers. Torches, incense, pentacles,
crucibles, etc., etc.; nothing was omitted. They adjured Satan, Belial,
and Beelzebub to appear and "speak up"; adjured them, singularly enough,
in the name of the Holy Trinity, of the Blessed Virgin and all the
saints. The demons remained mute; nor were they moved by sacrifices of
dove, pigeon or kid. Finally, a demon called "Barron" made response: it
appeared that what the fiends desired was human sacrifice: that without
it no favors might be expected of them.

About this time the western provinces of France became afflicted with a
terrible scourge. A monster, it was whispered, a murderous beast, _bête
d'extermination_, was hiding in the woods, none knew where. Children
began to disappear; youths and maidens too, all young and tender human
creatures. They vanished, leaving no trace behind. At first the bereaved
parents lamented as over some natural accident. The little one had
strayed from home, had fallen into the river, had lost its way in the
forest. The friends mourned with them, but were hardly surprised: it was
not too strange for those wild days. But the thing spread. In the next
village, two children had disappeared; in the next again, four. The
creature, whatever it was, grew bolder, more ravenous. Terror seized the
people; the whole countryside was in an agony of fear and suspense.
Rumor spread far and wide; the beast took shape as a human monster; the
_ogre_ was evolved, _Croquemitaine_, who devoured children as we eat
bread. A little while, and the monster was localized. It was within such
a circle that the children were vanishing; near Tiffanges, near
Machecoul, the two fairy castles of the great Seigneur Gilles de Rais.
Slowly but surely the net of suspicion was drawn, closer, closer yet.
The whispers spread, grew bolder, finally broke into open speech. "The
beast of extermination" was none other than the Marshal of France, the
companion of Dunois and La Hire, and of the Maid herself, the great lord
and mighty prince, Gilles de Rais. Search was made in the chambers of
Machecoul, in the gloomy vaults of Tiffanges. The bones of the murdered
children were found, here lying in heaps on the floor, there hidden in
the depths of well or oubliette. It is not a tale to dwell upon; it is
enough to know that in a few years over three hundred children and young
people had been foully and cruelly done to death.

In 1440 the matter reached the drowsy ear of Public Justice. Gilles was
formally arrested (making no resistance, secure in his own power), was
tried, tortured, and after making full confession and expressing
repentance for his crimes, was condemned to be burned; but, meeting more
tender executioners than did the Maid of France, was strangled instead,
and his body piously buried by "certain noble ladies."

Every French child of education knows something of the "_jeune et beau
Dunois_"; every French child, educated or not, knows the story of Joan
of Arc; Anglo-Saxon children may not invariably attain this knowledge,
but they all know Gilles de Rais, though they never heard his name. Soon
after his death, he passed into the realm of Legend, and under the title
of Bluebeard he lives, and will live as long as there are children.
Legend, that enchanting but inaccurate dame, gave him his seven wives;
he had but one, and she survived him. His own name soon passed out of
use. Even in the town of Nantes, where he met his death, the expiatory
monument raised by Marie de Rais on the place of her father's torture
was called "_le monument de Barbe-Bleue_."

So, strangely enough, it is the children who keep alive the memory of
their slayer.



     "Ye towers of Julius, London's lasting shame,
       With many a foul and midnight murder fed,
     Revere his Consort's faith, his Father's fame,
       And spare the meek usurper's holy head!"

     --_Gray_, the Bard.

[14] "Journal of a citizen of Paris."

[15] "Journal of a Citizen of Paris."

[16] Lt.-Col. A. C. P. Haggard, D. S. O. "The France of Joan of Arc."

[17] Gilles de Rais.



     Et eussiez-vous, Dangier, cent yeulx
     Assis et derrerière et devant,
     Ja n'yrez si près regardant
     Que vostre propos en soit mieulx.

     --_Charles d'Orléans._

In 1425, when Joan was in her fourteenth year, Domrémy had its first
taste of actual war. Henry of Orly, a robber captain of the
neighborhood, pounced upon the village with his band, so suddenly and
swiftly that the people could not reach their island refuge. The
robbers, more greedy than bloodthirsty, did not wait to slay, merely
stripped the houses of everything worth carrying off, and "lifted" the
cattle, as the Scots say, driving them some fifty miles to Orly's castle
of Doulevant. The distressed villagers appealed to the lady of
Bourlemont, who in turn called upon her kinsman Anthony of Vaudemont, a
powerful noble of Lorraine. Cousin Anthony promptly sent men to recover
the stolen cattle. Orly, resisting, was beaten off, and the beasts were
brought back in safety to Domrémy, where the happy villagers received
them with shouts of joy.

The English were not directly responsible for this raid. Orly was a
free-lance, robbing and harrying on his own account; Vaudemont was
Anglo-Burgundian at heart. None the less, people, here as everywhere,
were beginning to feel that war and trouble had come with the English,
and that there could be no lasting peace or quiet while they trod the
soil of France.

Not long after this raid, about noon of a summer day, Joan of Arc was in
her father's garden, which lay between the house and the little gray
church. We do not know just what the girl was doing, whether gathering
flowers for her pleasure, or herbs for household use, or simply dreaming
away a leisure hour, as girls love to do. Suddenly "on her left hand,
toward the church, she saw a great light, and had a vision of the
archangel Michael, surrounded by other angels."[18]

Thus, briefly and simply, the marvelous story begins. Indeed, the
beginning must needs be brief, since only Joan herself could tell of the
vision, and she was always reticent about it. She would not, press her
as they might, describe the appearance of the archangel. We must picture
him for ourselves, and this, thanks to Guido Reni, we may easily do. The
splendid young figure in the sky-blue corslet, his fair hair afloat
about his lightning countenance as he raises his sword above the
prostrate Dragon, is familiar to us all. We may, if you please, fancy
him similarly attired in the little garden at Domrémy, but the lightning
would be softened to a kindlier glow as he addressed the frightened

Michael, chief of the seven (some say eight) archangels, is mentioned
five times in the Scriptures, always as fighting: his festival
(September 29th) should be kept, one might think, with clash of swords
instead of chime of bells. We read that he was the special protector of
the Chosen People; that he was the messenger of peace and plenty, the
leader of the heavenly host in war, the representative of the Church
triumphant; that his name means "God's power," or "who is like God." As
late as 1607, the red-velvet-covered buckler said to have been carried
by him in his war with Lucifer was shown in a church in Normandy, till
its exhibition was forbidden by the Bishop of Avranches. On the
promontory of Malea is a chapel built to him; when the wind blows from
that quarter, the sailors call it the beating of St. Michael's wings,
and in sailing past they pray the saint to keep the great wings folded
till they have rounded the cape. Of St. Michael's Mount in Cornwall, it
is told that whatever woman sits in the rocky seat known as Michael's
Chair, will rule her husband ever after. For further light on St.
Michael, see _Paradise Lost_. It remained for a poet of our own day,
more lively than Miltonic, to fix him in our minds with a new epithet:

     "When Michael, the Irish archangel, stands,
         The angel with the sword."[19]

Little Joan, trembling among her rose-bushes, knew, we may imagine, none
of these things. She saw "Messire Saint Michel" as a heavenly prince
with his attending angels: "there was much light from every side," she
said, "as was fitting." He spoke to her; bade her be a good girl, and go
often to church. Then the vision faded.

Seven years later, answering her judges, she speaks thus of the matter:
"When I was thirteen years old (or about thirteen) I had a Voice from
God, to help me in my conduct. And the first time, I was in great fear."

We may well believe it. We can fancy the child, her eyes still dazzled
with the heavenly light, the heavenly voice still in her ears, stealing
back into the house, pale and trembling. She said no word to mother
Isabel or sister Catherine of what had come to her; for many a day the
matter was locked in her own faithful heart.

The vision came again. The archangel promised that St. Catherine and St.
Margaret should come to give her further help and comfort, and soon
after these heavenly visitants appeared. "Their heads were crowned with
fair crowns," says Joan, "richly and preciously. To speak of this I have
leave from the Lord.... Their voices were beautiful, gentle and sweet."

We are not told which of the six St. Catherines it was who came to
Joan; whether the Alexandrian maiden martyred in 307, she of the wheel
and the ring; or St. Catherine of Siena, who at Joan's birth had been
dead but thirty years, who had herself seen visions and heard voices,
and who by her own voice swayed kings and popes and won the hearts of
all men to her; or whether it was one of the lesser lights of that
starry name.

As to St. Margaret, there can be no doubt; she was the royal Atheling,
queen and saint of Scotland, one of the gracious and noble figures of
history. We may read to-day how, sailing across the narrow sea, bound on
a visit to her mother's father, the King of Hungary (through whom she
could claim kinship with St. Ursula and with St. Elizabeth of Hungary)
her vessel was storm-driven up the Firth of Forth, to find shelter in
the little bay still known as St. Margaret's Hope. (Close by was the
Queen's Ferry, known to readers of Scott and Stevenson; to-day the
monstrous Forth Bridge has buried both spots under tons of stone and
iron.) Visitors were rare on that coast in the time of Malcolm III.,
especially ladies "of incomparable beauty." Word was hastily sent to
the King hard by in his palace of Dunfermline, and he as hastily came
down to see for himself; saw, loved, wooed and won, all in short space.
History makes strange bedfellows; it is curious to think that Joan's
saintly visitor was so early Queen of Scotland only by grace of
Macbeth's dagger, which slew the gentle Duncan, her husband's father.

Joan knew St. Margaret well; there was a statue of her in the church of
Domrémy. The gracious ladies spoke kindly to her: permitted her to
embrace them; bade her, as St. Michael had bidden her, to be good, to
pray, to attend church punctually.

The visions became more or less regular, appearing twice or thrice a
week; Joan was obedient to them, did all they asked, partly no doubt
through awe and reverence, but also because she felt from the first that
a great thing had come to her. "The first time that I heard the Voice, I
vowed to keep my maidenhood so long as God pleased."

If a great thing had come to her, one was demanded of her in return. The
heavenly ladies, when they had told her their names, bade her "help the
king of France." This was a strange thing. She, a poor peasant maiden,
humble and obscure, with no knowledge save of household matters and of
tending sheep and cattle; what had she to do with kings? Joan might well
have asked herself this, but she did not ask the saints. She listened
reverently and waited for further light upon her path. The light came
very gradually; it was as if the ladies were gentling a wild bird,
coming a little and still a little nearer, till they could touch, could
caress it, could still the frightened panting of the tiny breast. Soon
the girl came to love them dearly, so that when they left her she wept
and longed to go with them. This went on for three years, Joan still
keeping the matter wholly to herself. She did her work punctually and
faithfully; drove the cattle, sewed, spun and wove. No one knew or
guessed that anything strange had come into her life. It was seen that
she grew graver, more inclined to religious exercises and to solitary
musing, less and less ready to join the village frolics; but this was
nothing specially remarkable in a pious French maiden of those days. It
was a more serious matter that she should refuse an offer of marriage,
a suitable offer from a responsible young man: her parents protested,
but in vain. It was as if the suitor did not exist for her. In after
years, when the folk of Domrémy were besieged with questions about
Joan's childhood and girlhood, they racked their brains for significant
memories, but found few or none. Thereupon my Lady Legend came kindly to
their aid, and in an astonishingly short space of time a host of
supernatural matters transpired. Some of the stories were very pretty;
as that of the race in the river-meadows, the prize a nosegay, won by
Joan, who ran so lightly that her feet seemed hardly to touch the
ground. "Joan," cried one of the girls, "I see you flying close to the
earth!" Presently, the race over, and Joan at the end of the meadow, "as
it were rapt and distraught," she saw a youth beside her who said,
"Joan, go home; your mother needs you!" Joan hastened home, only to be
reproved by Dame Isabel for leaving her sheep.

"Did you not send for me?" asked the Maid. Assured of this, she turned
meekly back, when there passed before her eyes a shining cloud, and
from the cloud came a voice bidding her "change her course of life, and
do marvelous deeds, for the King of Heaven had chosen her to aid the
King of France. She must wear man's dress, take up arms, be a captain in
the war, and all would be ordered by her advice."

Some historians accept, others reject this story: "I tell the tale that
I heard told."

For several years--some say three, some five--the Maid kept these things
in her heart. But now the Voices (she always called them so) became more
explicit. She must "go into France."

(Here arise questions concerning the borders of Bar and Lorraine, which
concern us little to-day, albeit volumes have been written about them.
Domrémy was actually in France, but not in that part of it held by the
Orleanists; Burgundy lay between, and several broad provinces held by
the English: yet the people of Domrémy were French, every fibre of them,
and not a heart in the village but was with Charles of Valois in his
struggle to regain his father's crown.)

She must go to France, said the Voices, because of the "great pity"
that was there. She must save France, must save the king. Over and over
again, this was repeated, till the words might have been found written
on her heart, as "Calais" on Mary Tudor's.

It was the autumn of 1428, and "Orleans" was the word on all lips and in
all hearts of Frenchmen. The English were encamped around the city, had
invested it; the siege had begun. If Orleans fell, France fell with her.
Clearer and clearer came the Voices. Not only France, but Orleans, Joan
was bidden to save. This done, she must seek the Dauphin Charles, must
lead him to Rheims and there see him crowned king. What she must do
thereafter was not clear; the Voices rang confusedly. Something there
was about driving the English from France. But now, now, _now_, she must
be about the work in hand. She must go to Robert of Baudricourt at
Vaucouleurs, and ask him for an escort to the Dauphin.

"I am a poor girl!" cried the Maid. "I have never sat a horse; how
should I lead an army?"

Clearer and stronger day by day the Voices reiterated their command.
She must go, go, go to Vaucouleurs.

At last Joan could resist no longer. "The time went heavily with me, as
with a woman in travail." She resolved to go "into France," though, she
said, unless at God's bidding, she would rather be torn by wild horses
than leave Domrémy.

About this time Jacques d'Arc had a dream, wherein he saw his daughter
riding in company with armed men. He was both frightened and angry. "If
I knew of your sister's going," he said to his sons, Peter and John, "I
would bid you drown her; if you refused, I would drown her myself."

While Joan is standing on the threshold, looking out wide-eyed into that
new, strange world of war and bloodshed for which she must leave forever
the small safe ways of home, let us try to form some idea of what she
was going out for to see.


[18] Lowell. "Joan of Arc," p. 28. N. B.--Other authorities place the
light on her _right_ hand.

[19] W. B. Clarke. "The Fighting Race."



     Alez-vous en, alez, alez,
     Soussi, Soing, et Mérencolie,
     Me cuidez-vous toute ma vie
     Gouverner, comme fait avez.

     Je vous promet que non ferez;
     Raison aura sur vous maistrie:
     Alez-vous en, alez, alez,
     Soussi, Soing et Mérencolie.

     Se jamais plus vous retournez
     Avecques vostre compaignie.
     Je pri à Dieu qu'il vous maudie
     Et ce par qui vous revendrez:
     Alez-vous en, alez, alez.

     --_Charles d'Orléans._

At the funeral of Charles VI. of France (November 11th, 1422) John, Duke
of Bedford, was the solitary mourner. Alone he walked, the sword of
state borne before him as Regent of France; alone he knelt at the
requiem mass: an alien and a stranger. The people of Paris looked on in
silence; they had nothing to say. "They wept," we are told by a
contemporary, "and not without cause, for they knew not whether for a
long, long while they would have any king in France."

A few days before this, on October thirtieth, Charles the Dauphin had
assumed the title of king, and at a high mass in the cathedral of
Bourges had made his first royal communion. "The king of Bourges," those
of the Anglo-Burgundian party called him; none of them thought he would
ever be anything else. He was twenty years old at this time. We shall
make his personal acquaintance later; our business now is with the
country over which he assumed sovereignty.

Philip the Good, Duke of Burgundy, did not attend the funeral of his
late master; he had no idea of yielding precedence to John of Bedford.
He sent chamberlains and excuses; was England's faithful ally, he
protested, but was very busy at home.

The war meantime was going on as best it might. There were various
risings in Charles's favor: in Paris itself, in Troyes, in Rheims; all
put down with a strong hand. At Rheims, the superior of the Carmelite
friars was accused of favoring the banished prince; he did not deny it,
and declared stoutly, "Never was English king of France, and never shall
be!" In Paris, several citizens were beheaded, and one woman burned;
with little effect save on the sufferers themselves.

There was fighting in the field, too; here a skirmish, there an
ambuscade, here again something that might pass for a battle. At
Crevent-sur-Yonne, at Verneuil, the French (as we must now call
Charles's followers) were defeated; at La Gravelle they were victorious.
A pretty thing happened in connection with this last battle. In a castle
hard by the field lived Anne de Laval, granddaughter of Bertrand du
Guesclin. Hearing the clash of arms, seeing from her tower, it may be,
French and English set in battle array, the lady sent for her
twelve-year-old son, Andrew de Laval, and with trembling, yet eager
hands, buckled round him the sword of the great Breton captain.

"God make thee as valiant," she said, "as he whose sword this was!" and
sent him to the field. The boy did good service that day; was knighted
on the field of battle, and lived to carry out, as marshal of France,
the promise of his childhood.

Far north, perched like an eagle on a crag above the sea, stood _Mont
St. Michel au peril de la mer_, the virgin fortress-abbey; a sacred spot
even under the Druids; these many hundred years now one of the holy
places of France, under special patronage of St. Michael, the archangel
of Joan's vision. England greatly desired this coign of vantage; made
overtures thereanent to the abbot, Robert Jolivet, who listened and
finally promised to surrender the place to them. He went to Rouen to
conclude the bargain. No sooner was he safely out of the abbey than the
chapter of valiant monks elected one of their number, John Enault,
vicar-general, shut and barred the gate (there was but one), raised the
portcullis, and bade defiance to abbot and English. The latter found
that the friendly churchman had exaggerated his own powers, and theirs.
Surrounded by wide-spreading quicksands, its sheer walls buffeted day
and night by the Atlantic surges, Mont St. Michel could be taken only by
treachery, and the one traitor was now safely barred out. Aided by some
valiant Norman warriors who chanced to be in the abbey on pilgrimage or
other business, the monks of St. Michael, worthy of their warlike
patron, held their fortress for eight long years against all assaults,
preserving it inviolate for their rightful king.

Far to southward, La Rochelle, "proud city of the waters," made like
resistance to the invaders. The Rochellais knew the English of old. John
Lackland had landed there when he came in 1214 to try to recover certain
lands seized by Philip Augustus shortly before. It remained in English
hands till 1224, when it was captured by Louis VIII.; was restored by
treaty to the English in 1360; finally shook off the foreign yoke in Du
Guesclin's time. Now it was one of the great maritime cities of France,
its mariners sailing all seas, hardy and bold as Drake or Magellan.

On August 15th, 1427, an English fleet of one hundred and twenty sail
appeared off the port, bringing troops for an invasion. La Rochelle
promptly strengthened her defences, laid a heavy tax on herself to meet
expenses, and sent out a fleet of armed privateers to meet the invaders,
who, after some deliberation, withdrew without attempting to land.

Tired of this war of wasps--a sting, a flight, a sting again--John of
Bedford resolved to strike a decisive blow, one which should bring the
wasps' nest down once and for all. The blow fell upon Orleans.

Royal Orleans (several kings were consecrated in its cathedral and
lodged in its palaces) lies on the right bank of the Loire, one of the
sacred cities of France. It had been besieged before, in 451, by Attila,
the Hun of the period, who failed to gain entrance. Forty-odd years
later, Clovis got possession of the city, and held there the first
Council of France. Philip of Valois made it a separate duchy; Charles
VI. gave it to his brother Louis, and the House of Orleans came into

The city stretched along the river bank some nine hundred yards, and
back to a depth of six hundred yards; was protected by a wall from
twenty to thirty feet high, with parapet, machicolations, and
twenty-four towers; and on all sides--except that of the river--by a
ditch forty feet wide and twenty feet deep. The river was spanned by a
bridge three hundred and fifty yards long, the centre resting on an
island, its further end protected by a small fortress called _Les
Tourelles_, which in its turn was covered by a strong earthwork known as
the _boulevard_.

Now, in the autumn of 1428, all eyes were turned on the city, and on the
ring of "bastilles" (palisaded earthworks) surrounding it, commanding
every approach. In these bastilles and in the camps stretching beyond
them on every side, the English commanders were gathered: Salisbury,
Suffolk, Talbot, Scales, Fastolf. Inside the city walls were Dunois, La
Hire, Xaintrailles, La Fayette--beside these the citizens fought with
desperate courage. On both sides captains and soldiers girded themselves
for a struggle which all felt must be a decisive one. Assault on one
side, sortie on the other, began and continued briskly. Salisbury with
his curious copper cannon (throwing stone balls of one hundred and fifty
pounds' weight a distance of seven hundred yards) battered the walls and
rained shot into the city: the besieged replied with boiling oil, lime,
and the like, with which the women of Orleans kept them supplied. The
fight raged with greatest violence round the Tourelles, which English
and French were equally determined to take and to keep. After being
battered almost to pieces, it was finally captured by the besiegers, but
at terrible cost. On the eighth day of the siege (October) Salisbury,
standing by an embrasure in one of its towers, was struck on the head by
a stone ball from a French cannon, and died soon after. This was a heavy
loss to the English. On the other hand, Sir John Fastolf, convoying
provisions for the English, completely routed a party of French, who
sallied out to intercept him. Lent was near, and prudent Sir John had
procured a large supply of salt herrings; these, scattered over the
field in every direction, gave the skirmish its name, the Battle of the
Herrings. Most of the provender was brought safely into camp, rejoicing
greatly the hearts of the English. But the city managed to get victualed
too. One day six hundred pigs were driven in, spite of cannon and
mortar; another day two hundred, and forty beeves; but the day after
they lost five hundred head of cattle and "the famous light field-piece
of that master gunner, Jean the Lorrainer."[20] A merry wag, this John
of Lorraine: his jests flew as fast as his balls. Now and then he would
drop beside his gun, and be carried off apparently dead. Shouts of joy
would go up from the English: in the midst of which, John would "bob up
serenely" bowing and smiling, and would go to work again.

So, back and forth, the tide ebbed and flowed, while the winter dragged
on. A leisurely, almost a cheerful siege; Andrew Lang thinks the
fighting was "not much more serious than the combats with apples and
cheeses, in the pleasant land of Torelore, as described in the old
romance of _Aucassin and Nicolete_."[21] He quotes the Monk of
Dunfermline, "a mysterious Scots chronicler,"[21] as saying that the
English camp was like a great fair, with booths for the sale of all
sorts of commodities, and with sunk ways leading from one fort to

All this time, under cover of the desultory shooting, the English were
drawing the ring of fortifications closer and closer yet about the city.
In the gloomy days of February, the citizens began to lose heart. No
more provisions came in. Dunois, now their leader, a natural son of
Louis of Orleans, and the bravest heart in France save one, was
wounded. People began to leave the city, stealthily, under cover of
night. The bishop left; Clermont, who had lost the Battle of the
Herrings, stole away, taking two thousand men with him: the admiral and
chancellor of France "thought it would be a pity to have the great
officers of the crown taken by the English, and went too."[22]

Dunois sent La Hire to the Dauphin at Chinon, begging for men, money,
food. The receiver-general, he was told, had not four crowns in his
chest. Charles kept the messenger to dinner, and regaled him with a fowl
and a sheep's tail. La Hire returning empty-handed, Dunois in
desperation sent to Philip of Burgundy, begging him to take the city
under his protection. Philip of Burgundy, always distracted between his
hatred of the Dauphin and his fear of the growing power of the English,
sent a message asking the Duke of Bedford to raise the siege; but this
John of Bedford was in nowise minded to do.

"We are not here to champ the morsels for Burgundy to swallow!" said one
of his advisers.

"Nay! nay!" assented Duke John. "We will not beat the bushes for
another to take the birds!"

High words ensued, and Philip withdrew his men from the siege. John
cared little, had plenty without them. English and French, all thought
the city was doomed: through all France men sighed and wept over its
approaching fall; and across the Channel, in the White Tower, the
captive lord of Orleans wept with them, and tuned his harp to songs of

     L'un ou l'autre desconfira
     De mon cueur et Mérencolie;
     Auquel que fortune s'alye,
     L'autre "je me rens" lui dira.

     D'estre juge me suffira
     Pour mettre fin en leur folye;
     L'un ou l'autre desconfira
     De mon cueur et Mérencolie.

     Dieu scet comment mon cueur rira
     Se gaigne, menant chière lye;
     Contre ceste saison jolye,
     On verra comment en yra:
     L'un ou l'autre desconfira.

     --_Charles d'Orléans._

April was come, and the end seemed near, when whispers began to creep
about. A bird of the air carried the matter, a wind of the forest
breathed it. Help was coming. A marvel had come to light: a holy Maid
(or an accursed witch: it depended on which camp you were in!) had
arisen, had visited the Dauphin at Chinon: was coming to rescue Orleans
from its besiegers. Like wildfire the rumor spread. Brave Dunois
listened, and his heart beat faster, recalling the prophecy. "France
lost by a woman shall be saved by a woman!" Could it be? Was Heaven,
after all, on the side of France?

The English listened too; not the King, for he was, we will hope,
sleeping comfortably in his cradle at Windsor; but John of Bedford in
Paris (not in that haunted Palace of St. Paul, but in the more cheerful
one of Les Tourelles across the way); and before Orleans, his
lieutenants, Suffolk, Talbot, Scales, and the rest. These gentlemen were
amused. The Dauphin must be fallen low indeed to avail himself of such
aid. They made merry in the English camp, and laugh and jest went round
at the expense of their sorry adversary, clinging to the red petticoat
of a peasant girl (for so rumor described her) for succor and relief.

Suddenly, one April day, the laughter ceased. A letter was brought into
the camp: a message brief and sharp as a sword-thrust greeted the
astonished captains.

"_Jesu Maria_," thus it began:

"King of England, account to the King of Heaven for His blood royal.
Give up to the Maid the keys of all the good towns you have taken by
force. She is come from God to avenge the blood royal, and quite ready
to make peace, if you will render proper account. If you do not so, I am
a war-chief; in whatsoever place I shall fall in with your folk in
France, if they be not willing to obey, I shall make them get thence,
whether they will or not; and if they be willing to obey, I will receive
them to mercy.... The Maid cometh from the King of Heaven as His
representative, to thrust you out of France; she doth promise and
certify you that she will make therein such mighty _haha_ (great
tumult), that for a thousand years hitherto in France was never the
like.... Duke of Bedford, who call yourself regent of France, the Maid
doth pray you and request you not to bring destruction on yourself; if
you do not justice towards her, she will do the finest deed ever done in

"Writ on Tuesday in the great week" (Easter week, March, 1429).
Subscribed: _"Hearken to the news from God and the Maid."_[23]

The hour was come, and the Maid. Let us go back a little, and see the
manner of her coming.


[20] A. Lang, "Maid of France," p. 63.

[21] Andrew Lang. "Maid of France," p. 63.

[22] Michelet. "Histoire de France."

[23] Guizot. "History of France."



"Go to Vaucouleurs!" the Voices had said: "go to Robert of Baudricourt,
and bid him send thee to the Dauphin!" Again and yet again, "Go!"

Vaucouleurs, the "valley of color," is a little walled town on the
Meuse, some thirteen miles from Domrémy. Its narrow streets climb a
steep hill to the castle, perched on its rock like an eagle's nest. In
this castle, holding the town partly for the Dauphin, but chiefly for
himself, lived Robert of Baudricourt; a robber captain, neither more nor
less. A step beyond the highwayman, since he had married a rich and
noble widow, and had lived handsomely in (and on) Vaucouleurs for some
twelve years; but still little more civilized than the band of rude and
brutal soldiers under his command. It was from this man that the Maid
was bidden to seek aid in her mission.

She bethought her of a kinsman, Durand Laxart (or Lassois) living at
Little Burey, a village near Vaucouleurs; asked and obtained leave of
her parents to visit him. This was in May, 1428. She opened her mind to
her "uncle" (by courtesy: he was really only a cousin by marriage) and
impressed him so much that he consented to bring her before the lord of
the castle.

Baudricourt looked at the comely peasant maid in her red stuff dress,
probably with some interest at first; when she quietly informed him that
God had bidden her to save France, and had sent her to him for help in
the task, his interest changed to amused impatience. At first he
laughed; but when he was called upon in God's name to send a message to
the Dauphin his mood changed.

"Let him guard himself well," the message ran, "and not offer battle to
his foes, for the Lord will give him succor by mid-Lent."

Now Lent was to fall in March of the coming year.

"By God's will," the Maid added, "I myself will lead the Dauphin to be

This was too much for the lord of Vaucouleurs. Turning to Laxart, he
said, "Give the wench a sound whipping and send her home!" and so
dismissed the pair.

Joan made no resistance; went back to Domrémy and bided her time. We are
to suppose that through the summer of 1428 she plied her faithful tasks
at home, listening to her Voices, strengthening her purpose steadily in
the quiet of her resolute heart. In October came the news that Orleans
was besieged; and now once more the Voices grew urgent, imperative; yet
again she must go to Vaucouleurs, yet again demand help of Robert of
Baudricourt. This time the way was made easy for her. The wife of Durand
Laxart was about to have a child, and needed help. There were no trained
nurses then in the Meuse valley or anywhere else; it was the simple and
natural thing for Joan to offer her services, and for the kinsfolk to
accept them. January, 1489, found her domiciled in the Laxart household,
caring for the mother and the newborn child in her own careful,
competent way.

One day she told her kinsman that she must see My Lord of Baudricourt
once more, and besought him to bear her company. He demurred; they had
got little good of the first visit, he reminded her.

"Do you not know," asked the girl, "the saying that France is to be made
desolate by a woman and restored by a Maid?" and added that she must go
"into France" and lead the Dauphin to Rheims for his coronation. Laxart
had heard the prophecy; most people knew it, in the Meuse valley and
elsewhere. He yielded, and once more the peasant man and maid made their
way up the climbing street and appeared before the lord of the castle.
We do not know that the second interview prospered much better than the
first. Laxart says that Baudricourt bade him "more than once" to box the
girl's ears and send her home to her father; but this time Joan did not
go home. After spending several weeks with her cousin's family, she went
to stay with a family named Royer, where she helped in the housework,
and "won the heart of her hostess by her gentle ways, her skill in
sewing, and her earnest faith."[24]

This must have been a season of anguish for the Maid. France was dying:
they thought it then as they thought it in 1918: she alone could save
her country, and no man would give her aid, would even listen to her.
Perhaps at no time--save at the last--is the heroic quality of the Maid
more clearly shown than in the meagre record of these weeks of waiting.
How should she sit to spin, with saints and angels calling in her ear?
How should she ply her needle, when the sword was waiting for her hand?
But the needle flew swiftly, the spindle whirled diligently, and day and
night her prayers went up to God. People recalled afterward how often
they had seen her in the church of St. Mary on the hill above the town,
kneeling in rapt devotion, her face now bowed in her hands, now lifted
in passionate appeal. Courage, Joan! the time is near, and help is

It was in February, 1429, that the first gleam of encouragement came to
her. She met in the street a young man-at-arms named Jean de Metz, often
called, from the name of his estate, Jean de Novelonpont. He had heard
of her: probably by this time everyone in Vaucouleurs knew of her and
her mission. Seeing her in her red peasant-dress, he stopped and said,
"_Ma mie_, what are you doing here? Must the King be walked out of his
kingdom, and must we all be English?"

Joan looked at him with her clear dark eyes.

"I am come," she answered, "to a Royal town to ask Robert de Baudricourt
to lead me to the King. But Baudricourt cares nothing for me and for
what I say; none the less I must be with the King by mid-Lent, if I wear
my legs down to the knees. No man in the world--kings, nor dukes, nor
the daughter of the Scottish king--can recover the kingdom of France,
nor hath our king any succor save from myself, though I would liefer be
sewing beside my poor mother. For this deed is not convenient to my
station. Yet go I must; and this deed I must do, because my Lord so
wills it."

"And who is your Lord?" asked Jean de Metz: and the Maid replied,

"My Lord is God!"[25]

Our hearts thrill to-day as we read the words; think how they fell on
the ear of the young soldier there in the village street that winter
day! He needed no voice of saint or angel: this simple maiden's voice
was enough. He held out his hand.

"Then I, Jean, swear to you, Maid, my hand in your hands, that I, God
helping me, will lead you to the King, and I ask when you will go?"

"Better to-day than to-morrow: better to-morrow than later!"[26] was the

From that day forth, Jean de Metz was Joan's faithful friend and helper.

What did she mean about help from Scotland? Why, a year before the
Dauphin had sent Alain Chartier the poet to Scotland to beg help of the
ancient ally of France. Help was promised; six thousand men, to arrive
before Whitsuntide; to form moreover a body-guard for the little
Princess of Scotland, another Margaret, who was to marry little Louis,
son of the Dauphin. Joan had heard rumors of all this; but what was a
baby princess three hundred leagues away? She, the Maid, was on the

"Go boldly on!" said the Voices. "When you are with the King, he will
have a sure sign to persuade him to believe and trust you."

As it fell out, the little princess did not come till seven years
later: the six thousand men never came at all.

At last Joan had a friend who could give real help. A few days more and
she had two: Bertrand of Poulangy, another young soldier, heard and
believed her story, and took his stand beside her and Jean de Metz. The
three together renewed the attack on Robert de Baudricourt, this time
with more success. Apparently this was not so simple a case as had
appeared: whipping, ear-boxing, no longer seemed adequate. What to do?
Puzzled and annoyed, Baudricourt bethought him of the spiritual arm.
After all, what more simple than to find out whether this counsel was of
God or the devil? One evening, we are told, he entered the humble
dwelling of the Royers, accompanied by the parish priest. The latter,
assuming his stole, addressed the Maid in solemn tones.

"If thou be a thing of evil," he said, "begone from us! If a thing of
good, approach us!"

Joan had knelt when the good father put on his garb of office; now,
still on her knees, slowly and painfully (but with head held high, we
may fancy) she made her way forward to where the priest stood. She was
not pleased. It was ill-done of Father Fournier, she said afterward; had
he not heard her fully in confession? It may be--who knows?--that the
_curé_ took this way to convince the lord of Baudricourt of her truth
and virtue: be it as it may, Robert de Baudricourt no longer laughed at
the peasant girl in her red dress; but still he was not ready to help
her, and she could wait no longer. She resolved to walk to Chinon, where
the Dauphin was; she borrowed clothes from her cousin Laxart, now for
the first time assuming male attire; and so took her way to the shrine
of St. Nicholas, on the road to France.

Now it took a horseman eleven days to ride from Vaucouleurs to Chinon;
Joan soon realized that to make the journey on foot would be wasting
precious time; she returned to Vaucouleurs, saddened, but no whit
discouraged. About this time the Duke of Lorraine heard of the Maid who
saw visions and heard voices. Being old and infirm and more interested
in his own ailments than in those of the kingdom, he sent for Joan as
we send for a new doctor who has cured our neighbor; sent moreover a
letter of safe conduct, an important thing in those days. Here was
Opportunity knocking at the door! A horse was bought--it is not clear by
whom--and Joan and the faithful "uncle," accompanied by Jean de Metz,
rode off in high hopes to Nancy, seventy miles away. Alas! here again
disappointment awaited her. The Duke related his symptoms and asked for
advice; hinted that perhaps a little miracle, even, might be performed?
Such things had been done by holy maids before now! Joan told him
briefly that she knew nought of these matters. Let him lend her his
son-in-law, and men to lead her into France, and she would pray for his
health. The son-in-law was René of Anjou, later known as the patron of
minstrels and poets; an interesting if a somewhat fantastic figure. At
this time his duchy of Bar was being so harried by French and English
indiscriminately that he might well cry, "A plague of both your houses!"
Certainly he gave no help to Joan. The old Duke of Lorraine gave her a
black horse, some say, and a small sum of money; and so a second time,
she returned to Vaucouleurs.

But now the town itself was roused. Every one by this time knew the Maid
and had heard of her mission. Since that visit of the _curé_ they held
her in reverence; moreover, the news from Orleans grew worse and worse.
The fall of the city was looked for any day, and with it would fall the
kingdom. Since all else had failed, why not let the Maid prove her
Voices to be of God?

We know not what pressure, apart from Joan's own burning words (for she
never ceased her appeals), was brought to bear on Robert de Baudricourt.
At last, and most reluctantly, he yielded; gave consent that Joan should
seek the Dauphin at Chinon; gave her even, it would seem, a letter to
the prince, testifying some belief in her supernatural powers. The good
people of Vaucouleurs put together their pennies and bought a suit of
clothes for her; man's clothes, befitting one who was undertaking a
man's work. Thus equipped, on the twelfth of February, 1429, Joan of Arc
rode out of Vaucouleurs to save France. Beside her, on either side, rode
her two faithful squires, Jean de Metz and Bertrand de Poulangy, with
their servants; two more men, "Richard the Archer," and Colet de Vienne,
a king's messenger, joined the little band; in all six rode out of the
Gate of France. At the gate, Robert de Baudricourt, moved for once, we
may hope, out of his boisterous sardonic humor, gave the Maid a sword;
and as the adventurers passed on, he cried after them: "_Allez! et
vienne que pourra!_" ("Go! and come what come may!")

What awaited the Maid in "white Chinon by the blue Vienne?" Let us see!

Pantagruel suggests that the city of the Plantagenets was founded by
Cain, and named for him, but this theory is more literary than accurate.
A strong little city, Chinon, from the days when Fulk Nerra, the Black
Falcon, rode on his wild raids and built his crescent line of fortresses
from Anjou to Amboise, cutting the "monstrous cantle" of Touraine from
the domains of Blois. A fierce little city, looking down on furious
quarrels of Angevin princes, French and so-called English. Here died
Henry II. of England, men said of a broken heart, muttering, "Shame,
shame, on a conquered king!" Here came Richard Yea-and-Nay to look on
his father's body, which men said streamed blood as he approached it.
Here John Lackland lived for a while with his French wife, no more
beloved than he was elsewhere. Here, on Midsummer Eve, 1305, Philip
Augustus entered victorious, and soon after English rule in France came
to an end for the time. Here, in 1309, Jacques de Molay, Grand Master of
the Knights Templar, was tried by a council of cardinals, set on by
Charles of Valois, first of the name, who was in sore need of money and
coveted the rich possessions of the great order. Master and many knights
were burned (in Paris, not in the place of their trial) and the Order
was dissolved.

More important, it may be, in the long sequence of human events, than
any of these matters, here in 1483, was born _Maître_ François Rabelais,
whose statue still looks kindly down on the city of his love. "_Ville
insigne, ville noble, ville antique, voire première du monde_,"[27] he
calls it. He remains king of it, however many crowned or uncrowned
puppets may have flaunted it there by the blue Vienne.

In this year 1429, Charles the Dauphin was holding in Chinon his shadowy
court. This deplorable prince, a king of shreds and patches, if ever one
lived, was now twenty-seven years old, and had never done anything in
particular except to pursue pleasure and to escape danger. Accounts
differ as to his personal appearance. Monstrelêt, his contemporary,
calls him "a handsome prince, and handsome in speech with all persons,
and compassionate toward poor folk"; but is constrained to add "he did
not readily put on his harness, and he had no heart for war if he could
do without it." Another chronicler gives a less favorable account of his
appearance. "He was very ugly, with small gray wandering eyes; his nose
was thick and bulbous, his legs bony and bandy; his thighs emaciated,
with enormous knock-knees." Yet another dwells on his physical
advantages, and his kindness of manner, which won the favor of the
people. It does not greatly matter now what he looked like. When a flame
springs up and lights the sky, we do not scrutinize the match that
struck out the spark.

There he was at Chinon, surrounded by courtiers and favorites (chief
among them La Trémoïlle, "the evil genius of king and country") amusing
himself as best he might.

"Never a king lost his kingdom so gaily!" said La Hire. One of Joan's
biographers[28] says of him: "Weak in body and mind, idle, lazy,
luxurious, and cowardly, he was naturally the puppet of his worst
courtiers, and the despair of those who hoped for reform"; and he quotes
the burning words addressed by Juvenal des Ursins to his master, when
king of France: "How many times have poor human creatures come to you to
bewail the grievous extortion practiced upon them! Alas, well might they
cry, 'Why sleepest thou, O Lord!' But they could arouse neither you nor
those about you."

Charles was not always gay: he was subject to fits of deep depression,
when he despaired of crown and kingdom, questioning even his right to
either. Son of a mad father and a bad mother, was he indeed the rightful
heir? In these moods he would leave his parasite court and weep and
pray apart. A pitiable creature, altogether.

Word was brought to Charles on a day that a young maid was at the gate,
asking to see him; a maid in man's attire, riding astride a horse and
five men-at-arms with her. Here was a strange matter! Charles had heard
nothing of maids or missions. While he debated the matter with La
Trémoïlle (to whom, by the way, he had pledged Chinon for whatever it
would bring) and the rest, came a letter from the Maid herself, dictated
by her and sent on before, but delayed or neglected till now. She asked
permission to enter his town of Chinon, for she had ridden one hundred
and fifty leagues to tell him "things useful to him and known to
her."[29] She would recognize him, she said, among all others.

Charles was puzzled: the courtiers shook their heads. Suppose this were
a witch! For the Dauphin to receive a witch would be at once dangerous
and discreditable. Let the young woman be examined, to find out whether,
if she were really inspired, her inspiration were of heaven or of hell.
Accordingly "certain clerks and priests, men expert in discerning good
spirits from bad,"[30] visited Joan in the humble inn where she waited,
and questioned her closely. She answered briefly; she could not speak
freely save to the Dauphin alone. She had been sent to relieve Orleans
and lead the prince to Rheims, there to be crowned king. This was all
she had to say: but her simple faith, her transparent purity, so
impressed the examiners, that they made a favorable report. There was no
harm in the Maid, and since she professed to be the bearer of a divine
message, it would be well for the Dauphin to receive her. Very
reluctantly, Charles consented, and finally, one evening, a message
summoned Joan to the castle.


[24] Lang. "Maid of France," p. 65.

[25] Trans. Andrew Lang.

[26] Trans. Andrew Lang.

[27] Famous city, noble city, ancient city, verily first of earth.

[28] Lowell. "Joan of Arc," p. 55.

[29] Lang. "Maid of France," p. 76.

[30] Lowell. "Joan of Arc," p. 57.



     Sera-elle point jamais trouvée
     Celle qui ayme Louyaulté?
     Eet qui a ferme voulenté
     Sans avoir legière pensée.

     Il convient qu'elle soi criée
     Pour en savoir la verité.
     Sera-elle point jamais trouvée
     Celle qui ayme Louyaulté?

     Je croy bien qu'elle est deffiée
     Des aliéz de Faulceté,
     Dont il y a si grant planté
     Que de paour elle s'est mussiée.
     Sera-elle point jamais trouvée?

     --_Charles d'Orleans._

It was morning of March 6th, 1429, when Joan rode out between her two
faithful squires to seek the Dauphin. Gladly she rode, her eyes fixed on
those white towers of Chinon where her mission was to be accepted, where
she was to consecrate herself anew to the redemption of France. She felt
no shadow of doubt; she never felt any, till her true work was done;
yet, the old chronicles say, danger threatened her here at the outset. A
band of outlaws, hearing of her approach, prepared an ambuscade,
thinking to take the Maid and hold her for ransom. There they crouched
in the woods hard by Chinon town, waiting; there they saw the little
cavalcade draw near; the dark slender girl in her man's dress, the
men-at-arms on either side; there they remained motionless, never
stirring hand or foot, till the riders passed out of sight. Is it a true
tale? If so, was it a miracle, as people thought then, the robbers held
with invisible bonds, unable to stir hand or foot? Or was it--still
greater marvel, perhaps--just the power of that uplifted look, the white
radiance of that face under the steel cap, which turned the men's hearts
from evil thoughts to good?

Another tale is vouched for by eyewitnesses: how as the Maid rode over
the bridge toward the city, a certain man-at-arms spoke to her in coarse
and insulting language.

"Alas!" said Joan; "thou blasphemest thy God, and art so near thy

He was drowned shortly after, whether by accident or by his own act,
seems uncertain.

So the Maid came to Chinon, and after some further delay, was admitted,
on the evening of March 29th, to the presence of the Dauphin.

Chinon Castle is in ruins to-day. Of the great hall on the first story
nothing remains save part of the wall and the great fireplace of carved
stone; yet even these are hardly needed to call up the scene that March
evening. We can see the fire crackling under the fine chimney-piece, the
dozens of torches flinging their fitful glare about the great hall where
some three hundred knights were gathered. They were standing in knots
here and there, whispering together, waiting, some hopefully, some
scornfully, for this importunate visitor, the peasant girl of Domrémy.
In one of these knots stood Charles of Valois, far less splendidly
dressed than some of his followers. He made no sign when Joan entered
the hall, led by the high steward, Louis of Bourbon, Count of Vendôme:
but his eyes, all eyes in that hall, were fixed curiously on the slender
figure clad in black and gray, which advanced modestly yet boldly.

Joan of Arc was now seventeen years old: tall and well made. Guy de
Laval wrote of her to his mother: "She seems a thing all divine, _de
son faict_, and to see her and hear her." Others call her "beautiful in
face and figure," her countenance glad and smiling.

     "Elle est plaisante en faite et dite,
     Belle et blanche comme la rose,"

says the old mystery play of the siege of Orleans.

Andrew Lang, the most sympathetic of her English biographers,[31] writes
thus of her appearance:

"Her hair was black, cut short like a soldier's; as to her eyes and
features, having no information, we may conceive of them as we please.
Probably she had grey eyes, and a clear pale colour under the tan of sun
and wind. She was so tall that she could wear a man's clothes, those,
for example, of Durand Lassois."

There is no authentic likeness of the Maid; she never sat for her
portrait; yet who is there that cannot picture to himself that slender
figure, in the black _pourpoint_, with the short gray cloak thrown back
over her shoulder, coming forward to meet and greet the Prince to whom
she was to give a kingdom, receiving in return a felon's grave?

Accounts vary as to the scene that followed. Some chroniclers say that
Joan asked that "she should not be deceived, but be shown plainly him to
whom she must speak"; others assert that Charles turned aside at her
approach, effacing himself, as it were, behind some of his followers.
However it was, Joan showed no hesitation, but went directly up to the
Prince and made obeisance humbly.

"Gentle Dauphin," she said, "I am called Joan the Maid. The King of
Heaven sendeth you word by me that you shall be anointed and crowned in
the city of Rheims, and shall be lieutenant of the King of Heaven, who
is King of France. It is God's pleasure that our enemies, the English,
should depart to their own country; if they depart not, evil will come
to them, and the kingdom is sure to continue yours."

Charles listened, impressed but not yet convinced. He talked with her a
little, and sent her back to her lodging (in a tower of the castle this
time, in charge of "one William Bellier, an officer of the castle, and
his wife, a matron of character and piety"[32]) without making any
definite answer. This was hard for the Maid to bear; she knew there was
no time to lose; yet she went patiently; she was used to waiting, used
to rebuffs. There in her tower lodging, many visitors came to her:
churchmen, with searching questions as to her orthodoxy; captains, no
less keen in inquiry as to her knowledge of arms: finally, "certain
noble dames," deputed by the Dauphin, to determine whether she were pure
virgin or no. Doubtless these many persons came in many moods; they all
left in one; the Maid was a good Maid, gentle and simple: there was no
harm in her. Again and again she sought audience of the Dauphin. She
could do nothing with a printed page, but the heart of a man, especially
of this man, was easy reading for her.

"Gentle Dauphin," she said to him one day, "why do you not believe me? I
say unto you that God hath compassion on you, your kingdom, and your
people; St. Louis and Charlemagne are kneeling before Him, making
prayer for you, and I will say unto you, so please you, a thing which
will give you to understand that you ought to believe me."[33]

One day, after mass, Charles led her into a chamber apart, where were
only La Trémoïlle and one other. He was in one of his dark moods, his
mind full of doubts and fears. Was he after all the rightful heir? In
his closet that morning, he had prayed that if the kingdom were justly
his, God might be pleased to defend it for him; if not, that he might
find refuge in Scotland or in Spain. Joan, we may fancy, read all this
in his face that day in the castle chamber. Taking him aside, she spoke
long and earnestly.

"What she said to him there is none who knows," wrote Alain Chartier the
poet soon after, "but it is quite certain that he was all radiant with
joy thereat as at a revelation from the Holy Spirit."

Well he might be! on the authority of her Voices, "on behalf of her
Lord," the Maid declared him "true heir of France, and son of the
king." From that moment we may perhaps date the belief of Charles in her

One other, I said, besides Charles and La Trémoïlle, was present at the
interview. This was the young Duke of Alençon, son-in-law of Charles of
Orleans. He was then twenty years of age, as gallant and careless a lad
as might be. At fifteen he had been taken prisoner in battle: was
ransomed two years later, spite of his refusal to acknowledge Henry VI.
King of France; had since then been living on his estate, amusing
himself and taking little thought of the distracted country. He was
shooting quails one day when word came of a mysterious Maid who had
appeared before the King, claiming to be sent by God to drive out the
English, and raise the siege of Orleans. Here, for once, was something
interesting in these tiresome squabbles of Burgundian and Armagnac;
something, it might be, more exciting than quail-shooting. He took horse
and rode to Chinon; sought his cousin Charles, and found him deep in
talk with the Maid herself.

"Who is this?" asked Joan.

"It is the Duke of Alençon," replied the Dauphin.

She turned to Alençon with her own simple grace.

"You are very welcome," she said. "The more princes of the blood that
are here together, the better."

Alençon, warm and chivalrous by nature, felt none of the doubts which
beset the Dauphin; he was charmed with the Maid, and she with him: it
was friendship at first sight, and "the gentle duke," as she called him,
became her sworn brother in arms.

Charles was now inclined to take Joan and her mission seriously, spite
of the indifference (later to develop into bitter hostility) of La
Trémoïlle. She had fired the despondent captains with hope of saving
Orleans; had won the hearts of the court ladies, had satisfied the
confessors of her orthodoxy; last and most important, she had performed
what seemed to him a miracle in reading his thoughts. But nothing must
be done hastily. In so important a matter, every authority must be
consulted; it must be established beyond peradventure that this Maid was
of God and not of Satan. Paris was inaccessible, held by John of
Bedford for his baby King: but at Poitiers was a University with many
wise and holy men; was also a court or parliament of sorts, where law
might be demonstrated if not enforced by learned lawyers and jurists. At
Poitiers, if anywhere in Charles's pasteboard realm, the question might
be decided: to Poitiers Joan should go.

Fifty miles: two days' ride, and Orleans in the death-struggle!

"To Poitiers?" cried the Maid. "In God's name I know I shall have
trouble enough; but let us be going!"

She had had already trouble enough, more than enough, with lawyers and
priests. She saw no sense in them. They droned on and on, splitting
hairs, piling question on argument, when all she asked was a small
company of men-at-arms; when her time was so short; when the Voices bade
her go, go, go to save the city!

Small wonder if she lost patience now and then in the days that followed
at Poitiers. They compassed her about on every side, Professors of
Theology and of Law.

"What brought you to the King?" asked one. She answered proudly, "A
Voice came to me while I was herding my flock, and told me that God had
great pity on the people of France, and that I must go into France."

"If God wishes to deliver France," said another, "He does not need

"In God's name," said the Maid, "the men-at-arms will fight, and God
will give the victory."

"What language does the Voice speak?"

This questioner, a Carmelite friar, spoke the dialect of Limoges, his
native province, and Joan answered briefly:

"A better one than yours!"

"Do you believe in God?" the friar persisted.

"More firmly than you do!"

Joan then foretold the future as she saw it. She would summon the
English and, they refusing to submit, would force them to raise the
siege of Orleans. After this the Dauphin would be crowned at Rheims;
Paris would rally to his standard; finally, the Duke of Orleans would
return from England. All these things happened, but only the first two
were seen by Joan's mortal eyes. Her time was short, indeed.

For six weeks now she had been examined, by priest and clerk, jurist and
soldier, noble ladies and village matrons: and like her great Exemplar,
no harm had been found in her. She had, it was true, given no "sign,"
but this she promised to do before Orleans, for so God commanded her. In
God's name, therefore, she was bidden to proceed on her mission; was
sent to Tours, thence to proceed, when suitably armed and equipped, to

It is pleasant to read of a little interlude during this time of
waiting: a visit made by Joan at St. Florent, the castle of the duke of
Alençon. The mother and wife of the duke received her with open arms,
and "God knows," says the family chronicler, "the cheer they made her
during the three or four days she spent in the place."

The young Duchess was Joan of Orleans, daughter of the captive
poet-duke: it was her own city that this wondrous Maid was come to save.
A girl herself, generous, ardent, small wonder that she opened her arms.
She confided to Joan her fears for her soldier-husband. He had been
taken once by the English, had been absent several years: it had been
bitter hard to raise the money for his ransom.

"Have no fear, my lady!" said the Maid. "I will bring him safe back to
you, as well as he now is, or even better."

One would fain linger a little over this visit. There were so few
pleasures for Joan, so little of all that girlhood commonly takes as its
bright, unquestionable right. I like to think of the two girls together:
the duchess probably in _huque_ and _hennin_ (whereof more anon), the
Maid in the page's dress which she wore when not in armor. She loved
bright colors and pretty things, as well as the other girl. She was only
seventeen, "fair and white as the white rose." God help thee, sweet

The days in Tours were brief and happy for Joan. She was accepted: she
had started on her way; she could well wait, watching and praying, while
her suit of white armor was made. Andrew Lang tells us that "the armour
included a helmet, which covered the head to its junction with the neck,
while a shallow cup of steel protected the chin, moving on the same
hinge as the _salade_--a screen of steel which in battle was drawn down
over the face to meet the chin-plate, and, when no danger was
apprehended, was turned back, leaving the face visible. A neck-piece or
gorget of five overlapping steel plates covered the chest as far as the
breastbone, where it ended in a point, above the steel corslet, which
itself apparently was clasped in front, down the centre, ending at the
waist. The hip joints were guarded by a band, consisting of three
overlapping plates of steel; below this, over each thigh, was a kind of
skirt of steel, open in the centre for freedom in riding. There were
strong thick shoulderplates; yet one of these was pierced through and
through by an arrow or crossbow bolt, at close quarters, when Jeanne was
mounting a scaling ladder in the attack on the English fort at the
bridge-head of Orleans. The steel sleeves had plates with covered hinges
to guard the elbows; there were steel gauntlets, thigh-pieces,
knee-joints, greaves, and steel shoes. The horse, a
heavy-weight-carrier, had his chamfron of steel, and the saddle rose
high at the pommel and behind the back. A _hucque_, or cloak of cloth of
gold, velvet, or other rich material, was worn over the armour. For six
days continuously Jeanne bore this weight of steel, it is said, probably
in the campaign of Jargeau and Pathay. Her exploits were wrought, and
she received her wounds, while she was leading assaults on fortified
places, standard in hand."

No sword was made for Joan at Tours; her sword was elsewhere. Hear her
tell about it!

"While I was at Tours or Chinon, I sent to seek for a sword in the
church of St. Catherine of Fierbois, behind the altar; and presently it
was found, all rusty."

Asked how she knew that the sword was there, she said: "It was a rusty
sword in the earth, with five crosses on it, and I knew of it through my
Voices. I had never seen the men who went to look for it. I wrote to the
churchmen of Fierbois, and asked them to let me have it, and they sent
it. It was not deep in the earth; it was behind the altar, as I think,
but I am not certain whether it was in front of the altar or behind it.
I think I wrote that it was behind it. When it was found, the clergy
rubbed it, and the rust readily fell off. The man who brought it was a
merchant of Tours who sold armour. The clergy of Fierbois gave me a
sheath; the people of Tours gave me two, one of red velvet, one of cloth
of gold, but I had a strong leather sheath made for it."[34]

A household (_état_) was provided for Joan by the Dauphin's command. She
was to have a confessor, an equerry, two pages: the faithful Jean de
Metz was her treasurer. Poulangy, the second (chronologically) of her
knights, was also of the company. She asked for a standard: St. Margaret
and St. Catherine, she told the Dauphin, had commanded her to take a
standard and bear it valiantly. The King of Heaven was to be painted on
it, said the crowned and gracious ladies. Furthermore, "the world was
painted on it" (which Andrew Lang takes to have been "the globe in the
hand of our Lord"), an angel on either side. The stuff was white linen
dotted with lilies: the motto _Jesus Maria_. In action, the Maid always
carried this standard, that she might "strike no man with the sword; she
never slew any man. The personal blazon of the Maid was a shield azure
with a white dove, bearing in its beak a scroll whereon was written,
_De par le Roy du ciel_."[35]

So, at long last, the word was "Forward!"

On March 6th, as we have seen, Joan of Arc left Vaucouleurs, a humble
figure in black and gray, between two faithful but obscure men-at-arms;
now, nine weeks later, she rides out in radiant armor, silver-white from
head to foot, in her hand the snowy standard with its sacred emblems, on
either side nobles and dignitaries of the Court of France. So she rides,
and the hearts of men follow her.


[31] N. B.--He was a Scot!

[32] Lowell. "Joan of Arc," p. 57.

[33] Guizot, III, 96.

[34] Lang. "Maid of France," p. 99.

[35] Lang. "Maid of France," p. 99.



We do not know the precise numbers of the army that Joan brought to the
relief of Orleans; it was probably under four thousand men. Of the army
already there, Dunois said that two hundred Englishmen could put to
flight eight hundred or a thousand French. The latter were utterly
discouraged and hardly attempted resistance. On the other hand the
English, sure of their victory, had grown careless and lazy. True, they
had pricked up their ears when word came of the Maid and her mission;
but weeks passed, and nothing happened. When they chased the French the
latter ran away as usual: they were somewhat bored, and thought it about
time to finish, and wind up the siege. Inside the walls, people awaited
the Maid as those who look for the morning.

She left Tours, as we have seen, and came to Blois, where she was joined
by La Hire, Gilles de Rais, and others. There was some delay here,
owing to lack of money for the expenses of the journey. Charles had
before this been obliged to pawn the "_fleurons_" of his crown and the
gold ornaments of his helmet to obtain ready money. By these means or
others he now raised the needed sum, and the army, with its "great
convoy of cattle and grain"[36] moved on once more. A company of priests
had joined them, and Joan insisted that every man-at-arms must make
confession before going into action. When they left Blois the clergy
went first, singing "Come, holy Spirit!" So, on April 28th, the Maid and
her army found themselves opposite Orleans, on the other side of the
river. Dunois, who had been watching from the battlements, took boat and
went across to greet the Maid; he found her in angry mood. She had
expected to find herself at the city gates, not with a broad and swift
stream flowing between. Moreover, she had been suffering much pain from
the weight of her armor, which she had worn all day. She greeted the
leader abruptly.

"Are you the Bastard of Orleans?"

"I am, and right glad of your coming."

"Was it you who gave counsel to come by this bank of the river, so that
I cannot go straight against Talbot and the English?"

"I, and others wiser than I, gave that counsel, and I think it the wiser
way and the safer."

"In God's name, the counsel of our Lord is wiser and safer than yours.
You think to deceive me, and you deceive yourself, for I bring you
better rescue than ever came to knight or city; the succor of the King
of Heaven."

Dunois himself says that as she spoke the words, "in a moment the wind,
which was contrary and strong, shifted and became favorable." This, to
the soldier's mind, was a manifest miracle. He begged Joan to cross with
him. She demurred, not wishing to leave her army, which must return to
Blois for another convoy. Without her they might go astray, might fall
into sin, possibly might not return. Dunois persisted, implored; the
city was awaiting her; the need was desperate. Let the captains go
without her! Joan yielded to his entreaties; the captains departed,
promising to return in good time; the Maid crossed the river with a
force of two hundred lances, the wind so favoring them that every third
vessel towed two others. Seeing this, all the bystanders were of Dunois'
mind; "A miracle of God!"

So, about eight o'clock on the evening of April 29th, Joan of Arc
entered Orleans.

The "_Journal du Siège d'Orléans_," kept by a citizen whose name is
lost, thus describes the entry. The Maid rode "in full armor, mounted on
a white horse, with her pennon carried before her, which was white,
also, and bore two angels, each holding a lily in his hand; on the
pennon was painted an Annunciation. At her left side rode the Bastard of
Orleans in armor, richly appointed, and behind her came many other noble
and valiant lords and squires, captains and soldiers, with the burghers
of Orleans who had gone out to escort her. At the gate there came to
meet her the rest of the soldiers, with the men and women of Orleans,
carrying many torches, and rejoicing as if they had seen God descend
among them; not without cause. For they had endured much weariness and
labor and pain, and, what is worse, great fear lest they should never
be succored, but should lose both life and goods. Now all felt greatly
comforted and, as it were, already unbesieged, through the divine virtue
of which they had heard in this simple maid; whom they regarded right
lovingly, both men and women, and likewise the little children. There
was a marvelous press to touch her, and to touch even the horse on which
she rode, while a torch-bearer came so near her pennon that it was set
afire. Thereupon she struck her horse with her spurs and put out the
fire, turning the horse gently toward the pennon, just as if she had
been long a warrior, which the soldiers thought a very wonderful thing,
and the burghers also. These accompanied her the whole length of the
city with right good cheer, and with great honor they all escorted her
to the house of James Boucher, treasurer of the Duke of Orleans, where
she was received with great joy."[37]

In this honored and patriarchal household, Joan, "venerated like an
angel sent from heaven," passed the week of the Deliverance. It was to
this friendly hearth that she went whenever a breathing-space allowed
her to return within the walls.

At these times, the press of people about the house would almost break
the doors in. The kindly household protected, cherished, revered their
gentle guest. When Jacques Boucher died, some thirteen years later, the
monument raised to his memory by his widow and children recorded, with
his name and rank, the fact that he had received into his house, as a
revered guest, "the Maid, by God's help the saviour of the city."

On the evening of her arrival she supped on a few slices of bread dipped
in wine and water. She begged that her host's daughter Charlotte, a
child of ten years, might share her couch. Every morning, crossing the
garden to the neighboring church, she assisted at mass, prayed for the
relief of the city, and received with tears the holy communion.

On Tuesday, May 3rd, a solemn procession, led by the Maid, went to the
cathedral to pray for the deliverance of the city. Here she was met by a
priest, "Dr. John of Mascon, a very wise man," who looked at her in pity
and in wonder.

"My child," he asked, "are you come hither to raise the siege?"

"In God's name, yes, my father!"

The good father shook his head sadly.

"My child, they are strong, and strongly fenced; it would be a mighty
feat of arms to dislodge them."

"To the power of God," replied Joan, "nothing is impossible!"

This was her word, on this and on all days.

"Throughout the city," says the old chronicle, "she rendered honour to
no one else!" The learned Doctor bowed his head, and from that moment
accepted her as a messenger of God.

The Maid's arrival was followed by a brief lull in hostilities. She
would not raise her sword till she had duly summoned the enemy, and
bidden him depart in peace. On April 2nd she despatched the letter
already quoted. The English replied promptly that if they caught the
so-called Maid, they would burn her for a witch. In the evening of the
same day, she went out on the bridge, and mounting on the barricades,
called to Glasdale and his garrison, bidding them obey God and
surrender, and promising to spare their lives if they would do so. They
replied with a torrent of abuse and ridicule. "Milkmaid" was the
gentlest term they had for her. They showed a bold front, Glasdale,
Talbot, de la Pole and the rest; but they were ill at ease. They knew
that their men were full of superstitious forebodings. They themselves
were strangely shaken at sight of the slender girlish figure in
snow-white armor, at sound of the clear ringing voice calling on them to
fear God and yield to his Emissary. They could and did answer defiantly,
but they attempted nothing more. On Monday, May 2d, Joan summoned them
again, and again their only answer was gibes and insults. She rode out,
a great multitude following her, to reconnoitre the enemy's position;
rode about and about the various bastilles, noting every angle, every
turret, every embrasure for cannon. The English watched her, but never
stirred. Talbot, the old lion, victor in a score of fights, must have
ground his teeth at the sight; but either he dared not trust his men, or
else knew them to be outnumbered. He lay still, while the gallant little
cavalcade, priests chanting in front, white-robed Maid in the midst,
lifting her snowy standard, delirious people thronging to touch her
stirrup, swept past their camp, and re-entered the city. A bitter hour
for John Talbot!

Joan was delaying her attack till the army should return from Blois with
the second convoy. On May 3d they appeared; at dawn on the fourth, Joan
rode out with five hundred men to meet them; by noon all were safe
within the walls, and the Maid sat down quietly to dinner with her
faithful squire d'Aulon. They were still sitting when Dunois came in
with news that Sir John Fastolf, the hero of the Battle of the Herrings,
was but a day's march distant with provisions and reinforcements for the

Joan received the tidings joyfully. "In God's name, Bastard," she said,
"I charge you to let me know as soon as you hear of his arrival. Should
he pass without my knowledge--I will have your head!"

"Have no fear of that!" said Dunois. "You shall have the news the
instant it comes."

Weary with her ride, and her heavy armor, the Maid lay down beside her
hostess to rest. D'Aulon curled up on a little couch in the corner of
the room; both slept as tired people do.

Suddenly the Maid sprang up, calling loudly to d'Aulon.

"In God's name," she cried, "I must go against the English. My Voices
call me; I know not whether it is against their forts, or Fastolf

Bewildered and full of sleep, d'Aulon and good Mme. Boucher helped her
into her armor; even as they did so, voices rose in the street, crying
that the English were attacking with great slaughter. She ran downstairs
and met her page, Louis de Coulet.

"Miserable boy," she cried; "the blood of France is shedding, and you do
not call me? My horse on the instant!"

The boy flew for the horse; the Maid mounted, calling for her banner,
which he handed to her from an upper window, and rode off at full speed,
squire and page following as best they might.

It was not Fastolf. Unknown to the Maid, certain of the French had
planned an attack on the fort of St. Loup, about a mile and a half from
the town. Either ignorant or careless of Dunois' promise to the Maid,
they rode merrily to the attack, and surrounded the fort with warlike
shouts. Out swarmed the English like angry bees; swords flashed; the
struggle was sharp but brief. The French, with no adequate leader, gave
back before the rush of the defenders; broke, turned, and were streaming
pell-mell back toward the city, when they saw the Maid galloping toward
them. Alone she rode; her snowy armor gleaming, her snowy standard
fluttering. In the gateway she paused a moment at sight of a wounded man
borne past by his comrades. She never could look on French blood without
a pang: "My hair rises for horror," she would say. But only a moment;
the next, she had met the retreating troops; rallied them, led them once
more to the assault. They followed her shouting, every man eager to ride
beside her, or at least within sight of her, within sound of her silver
voice. On to the fort once more! this time with God and the messenger of

The English saw and in their turn faltered; wavered; gave back before
the furious onset; broke and fled in disorder. The French pursued them
to the fort, which they captured and burned. The church of St. Loup
hard by had already been partly destroyed, but Joan forbade the
plundering of it, and spared the lives of certain English soldiers who
had thought to escape by arraying themselves in priestly vestments which
they had found in the church. "We must not rob the clergy," she said

The French losses in this affair were insignificant; the English force,
about one hundred and fifty men, were all either killed or captured. The
victorious Maid rode back to the city, to weep for those who had died
unshriven, and to confess her sins to Father Pasquerel, her director.

She told her followers that the siege would be raised in five days. The
next day, Thursday May 5th, was Ascension Day, and she would not fight.
Instead, she summoned the enemy once more. Crossing to the end of the
bridge, where a small fort had been erected, she called across the water
to the English in the Tourelles, bidding them depart in peace. It was
God's will, she said simply, that they should go. They replied with the
usual gibes and insults. On this, she dictated a formal summons, ending
with these words: "This is the third and last time that I write to you.
I would have sent my letter in more honorable fashion, but you keep my
herald, Guienne. Return him, and I will return the prisoners taken at
St. Loup."

The letter was bound round the shaft of an arrow, and shot from the
bridge into the English camp. An Englishman picked it up, crying, "News
from the harlot of the Armagnacs!"

Joan wept at these brutal words, and called on the King of Heaven to
comfort her; almost immediately thereupon she was of good cheer,
"because she had tidings from her Lord"; and without wasting time began
to make ready for the morrow.

Early Friday morning (May 6th) troops and citizens issued through the
Burgundy gate, crossed the river in boats, and advanced upon the
Tourelles. This little fort had been restored by the English, and was
now a strong place, with its pierced walls and its boulevard, and the
fortified convent of the Augustines hard by. As the French advanced, the
English sallied forth to meet them, in such numbers and with so bold a
front that the assailants wavered, and began to fall back toward the
island on which the central part of the bridge rested. This troop was
commanded by De Gaucourt, the governor of the city, an old man and
timid. Seeing his men and himself in danger, he would have withdrawn
with them, but at the moment a cry was heard: "The Maid! the Maid!" Joan
and La Hire had brought their horses over by boat, and now were
galloping to the rescue, after them soldiers and townspeople in a rush.
De Gaucourt would have held his soldiers back, but in vain.

"You are an evil man!" cried the Maid. "Will you nill you, the
men-at-arms will follow me to victory!"

On she swept, lance in rest, crying, "In God's name, forward! forward
boldly!" On swept La Hire and the rest, De Gaucourt and his men with
them, carried away body and soul of them by the impetuous rush. They
charged the English and drove them back to their intrenchments. Many of
the defenders were slain, many taken; the rest took refuge in the
boulevard, or outwork of the Tourelles.

Many of the victorious French remained on the spot, to guard against a
possible night assault. Mounting guard in the captured Augustine
convent, they supped on provisions brought to them in boats from the
city, and slept on their arms, tired but joyful men.

The Maid, however, had been wounded in the foot by a calthrop, and was
besides mortally weary. She went back to Orleans, to the kindly shelter
of the Boucher roof. It was Friday; she usually fasted on that day, but
this time she felt the absolute need of food. To-morrow was before her,
when she must have her full strength; she must eat, must rest; for this
reason she had come back, though her heart was full of anxiety, dreading
the night attack which her keen military sense told her the enemy might
and ought to make. But the enemy was tired, too, and discouraged to
boot: no attack came.

"Rouse ye at daybreak to-morrow!" she charged her followers. "You shall
do better still than to-day. Keep by my side, for I have much to do more
than ever I had, and blood will flow from my body, above my breast."

Then the good Maid said her prayers, and lay down quietly to rest, and
to such sleep as her wound and her anxious heart would allow.


[36] Lang.

[37] Trans. F. C. Lowell.



Anxious indeed was this night for the Maid. Her unerring instinct told
her that the English should make a counter attack, under cover of night,
on the weary French, sleeping on their arms under the open sky or in the
ruined Augustines, the broad stream flowing between them and safety.
This, all authorities agree, they ought to have done; exactly why they
did not do it, perhaps John Talbot alone knows. We know only that the
night passed quietly, and that at sunrise on May seventh Joan heard mass
and set forth on her high errand.

"There is much to do!" she said. "More than I ever had yet!"

Much indeed! The "boulevard" had high walls, and could be approached
only by scaling-ladders; round it was a deep ditch or fosse. Beyond
stood the Tourelles, still more strongly fortified. To take these two
strongholds in the face of Talbot and his bulldogs was a heavy task
indeed; but Joan was full of confidence and cheer. As she mounted her
horse, a man brought her "_une alose_" a sea-trout or shad, for her

"Keep it for supper!" said the Maid merrily to good Père Boucher, her
friendly host. "I will bring back a 'goddam' to eat it with me; and I
shall bring him back across the bridge!"

So she rode out, with her captains about her on either side, Dunois, and
La Hire, De Gaucourt, Xaintrailles and the rest, a valiant company. One
chronicler says that the captains went unwillingly, thinking the odds
heavy against them. One would rather think that they shared their
girl-leader's confidence; surely Dunois and La Hire did. They crossed
the river in boats, and with them every man who could be spared from the
city, which must be guarded from a possible attack by Talbot. French
men-at-arms, Scottish and Italian mercenaries, citizens and apprentices,
flocked to the banner of the Maid, armed with guns, crossbows, clubs, or
whatever weapon came to hand; carrying great shields, too, and movable
sheds to shelter their advance.

Inside the forts, six hundred English yeomen awaited them with
confidence equal to their own. They were well armed; their great gun
_Passe Volant_ could throw an eighty-pound stone ball across the river
and into the city; moreover, they had possession, that necessary nine
points of the law, and English hearts for the tenth part; small wonder
they were confident.

It was still early morning when the French rushed to the assault,
planting their scaling ladders along the walls, wherever foothold could
be found; swarming up them like bees, shouting, cutting, slashing,
receiving cut and slash in return.

"Well the English fought," says the old chronicle, "for the French were
scaling at once in various places, in thick swarms, attacking on the
highest parts of their walls, with such hardihood and valor, that to see
them you would have thought they deemed themselves immortal. But the
English drove them back many times, and tumbled them from high to low;
fighting with bowshot and gunshot, with axes, lances, bills, and leaden
maces, and even with their fists, so that there was some loss in killed
and wounded."[38]

Smoke and flame, shouts and cries, hissing of bolts and whistling
bullets, with now and then the crash of the great stone balls; a wild
scene; and always in the front rank the Maid, her white banner floating
under the wall, her clear voice calling, directing, thrilling all who
heard it.

So through the morning the fight raged. About noon a bolt or arrow
struck her, the point passing through steel and flesh, and standing out
a handbreadth behind her shoulder.

"She shrank and wept," says Father Pasquerel; but she would not have a
charm sung over the wound to stay the bleeding. "I would rather die,"
she said, "than so sin against the will of God."[39]

She prayed, and feeling her strength returning, drew out the arrow with
her own hand.

Dunois thinks she paid no further attention to the wound, and went on
fighting till evening; but Father Pasquerel says she had it dressed
with olive oil, and paused long enough to confess to him.

The English, seeing the Maid wounded, took heart even as the French lost
it. The day was passing; "the place, to all men of the sword, seemed

"Doubt not!" cried the Maid; "the place is ours!"

But even Dunois held that "there was no hope of victory this day." He
gave orders to sound the recall and withdraw the troops across the
river. The day was lost?

Not so! "But then," he says, "the Maid came to me, and asked me to wait
yet a little while. Then she mounted her horse, and went alone into the
vineyard, some way from the throng of men, and in that vineyard she
abode in prayer for about a quarter of an hour. Then she came back, and
straightway took her standard into her hands and planted it on the edge
of the fosse."

Seeing her once more in her place, steel and iron having apparently no
power upon her, the English "shuddered, and fear fell upon them." They
too, remember, had had their prophecies. "A virgin would mount on the
backs of their archers!" A month, a week ago, they had still laughed at
this. Now the "mysterious consolation" which seemed to radiate from the
person of the Maid on all faithful Frenchmen, heartening and uplifting
them, became for her adversaries a mysterious terror, striking cold on
the stoutest heart.

The French had already sounded the retreat; the banner of the Maid,
borne all day long by her faithful standard-bearer, d'Aulon, had already
been handed by him to a comrade for the withdrawal; when at Joan's
earnest prayer the recall was countermanded.

D'Aulon said to his friend, a Basque whom he knew well, "If I dismount
and go forward to the foot of the wall, will you follow me?"

He sprang from his saddle, held up his shield against the shower of
arrows, and leaped into the ditch, supposing that the Basque was
following him. The Maid at this moment saw her standard in the hands of
the Basque, who also had gone down into the ditch. She seems not to have
recognized his purpose. She thought that her standard was lost, or was
being betrayed, and seized the end of the floating flag.

"Ha! my standard! my standard!" she cried, and she so shook the flag
that it waved wildly like a signal for instant onset. The men-at-arms
conceived it to be such a signal, and gathered for attack.

"Ha! Basque, is this what you promised me?" cried d'Aulon. Thereon the
Basque tore the flag from the hands of the Maid, ran through the ditch,
and stood beside d'Aulon, close to the enemy's wall. By this time the
whole company of those who loved her had rallied and were round her.

"Watch!" said Joan to a knight at her side, "Watch till the tail of my
standard touches the wall!"

A few moments passed.

"Joan, the flag touches the wall!"

"Then enter, all is yours!"[41]

Then, like a wave of the sea, the French flung themselves upon the
ladders; scaled the wall, mounted the crest, leaped or fell down on the
inside; cut, thrust, hacked, all with such irresistible fury that the
English, after valiant resistance, finally turned and fled to the
drawbridge that crossed to the Tourelles.

Ah! The bridge was in flames! Smoke rolled over it, tongues of flame
shot out red between the planks.

Seeing this, Joan's heart went out to the men who had wronged and
insulted her, yet had fought so valiantly.

"Glasdale!" she cried; "Glasdale! yield thee to the King of Heaven! Thou
calledst me harlot, but I have great pity on thy soul and the souls of
thy company!"

Glasdale, brave as he was brutal, made no answer, but turned to meet a
new peril, dire indeed. The people of the city had made a fireship and
loaded it with inflammable material, lighted the mass, and towed it all
flaming under the wooden drawbridge. The bridge flared to heaven, yet
with heroic courage Glasdale and a handful of his knights shepherded the
greater part of the defenders of the lost boulevard over the burning
bridge, back into the stone enclosure of the Tourelles, themselves
meantime holding the bridge with axe and sword.

The fugitives reached the fort only to find themselves assailed from a
new quarter. Those watching the fight saw with amazement and terror men
crossing from the city to the Tourelles, apparently through the air,
over a gap where two arches were broken. A miracle? No, only quickness
of wit and action. An old gutter had been found and laid across the gap,
and over this frail support walked the Prior of the Knights of Malta,
followed by his men-at-arms.

Finding all lost but honor, Glasdale and his faithful few turned and
leaped on the burning drawbridge, hoping to make good their retreat into
the fort. The charred beams broke under them, and borne down by their
heavy armor, the brave English sank beneath the tide, while on the bank
the "Witch of the Armagnacs" knelt weeping, and prayed for their souls.

Dunois, La Hire, and the rest were more concerned at losing so much good

For all was over; of all the valiant defenders of the two forts, not one
man escaped death or captivity.

The red flames lit up the ruined forts; in Orleans the joy bells rang
their wildest peal; and over the bridge, as she had promised, "crossing
on ill-laid planks and half-broken arches," the Maid of Orleans rode
back to the city she had saved.

Seventeen years old; a peasant maiden, who could not read or write; she
had fought and won one of the "fifteen decisive battles of the world."


[38] Quoted by A. Lang, p. 120.

[39] Guizot.

[40] Percival de Cagny.

[41] A. Lang, p. 122.



It was eight o'clock on the evening of the eighth of May when the people
of Orleans gathered in dense masses at the bridgehead and along the
riverside to greet their rescuer. Dusk had fallen; they pressed forward
with lanterns and torches held aloft, all striving for a sight of the

"By these flickering lights," says Jules Quicherat, "Joan seemed to them
beautiful as the angel conqueror of a demon."

Yet it was not the morning vision of snow and silver, fresh and dewy as
her own youth, that had ridden out at daybreak to battle. Weary now was
the white charger, drooping his gallant neck; weary was the Maid, faint
with the pain of her wound, her white armor dinted and stained. But the
people of Orleans saw nothing save their Angel of Deliverance. They
pressed round her, eager to touch her armor, her floating standard, the
horse which had borne her so bravely through the day. Weary and wounded
as she was, she smiled on one and all, and "in the sweetest feminine
voice, called them good Christians, and assured them that God would save

So she rode on to the Cathedral, where she returned thanks humbly and
devoutly to God who had given the victory; then, still surrounded by the
shouting, rejoicing throng, home to the house of Boucher, where they
left her.

"There was not a man who, going home after this evening, did not feel in
him the strength of ten Englishmen."[42]

She had fasted since dawn, but she was too tired to eat the _alose_, nor
did she bring the promised "goddam" to share it with her. The goddams
were all dead save a few, who were jealously guarded for ransom. She
supped on a few bits of bread dipped in weak wine and water, and a
surgeon came and dressed her wound.

All night, we are told, the joy bells rang through the rescued city,
while the good Maid slept with the peace of Heaven in her heart.

It was not a long sleep. At daybreak came tidings that the English had
issued from their tents and arrayed themselves in order of battle.

Instantly Joan arose and dressed, putting on a light coat of chain mail,
as her wounded shoulder could not bear the weight of the heavy plate
armor. She rode out with Dunois and the rest, and the French order of
battle was formed, fronting the English; so the two armies remained for
the space of an hour. The French, full of the strong wine of yesterday's
victory, were eager to attack; but Joan held them back. "If they attack
us," she said, "fight bravely and we shall conquer them; but do not
begin the battle!"

Then she did a strange thing. She sent for a priest, and bade him
celebrate mass in front of the army; and that done, to celebrate it yet
again. Both services "she and all the soldiers heard with great

"Now," said the Maid, "look well, and tell me; are their faces set
toward us?"

"No!" was the reply. "They have turned their backs on us, and their
faces are set toward Meung."

"In God's name, they are gone!" said Joan. "Let them go, and let us go
and praise God, and follow them no farther, since this is Sunday."

"Whereupon," says the chronicle, "the Maid with the other lords and
soldiers returned to Orleans with great joy, to the great triumph of all
the clergy and people, who with one accord returned to our Lord humble
thanks and praises well deserved for the victory he had given them over
the English, the ancient enemies of this realm."[43]

This service of thanksgiving ordered by Joan of Arc on the ninth of May,
1429, was the virtual foundation of the great festival which Orleans has
now celebrated with hardly a break for five hundred years.

After that first outbreak of thanksgiving, Dunois himself laid down the
rules for the annual keeping of the festival, which are given in the
"Chronicle of the establishment of the _fête_," written thirty years
after the siege.

"My lord the bishop of Orleans, and my lord Dunois (the Bastard),
brother of my lord the duke of Orleans, with the duke's advice, as well
as the burghers and inhabitants of the said Orleans, ordered that on
the eighth of May there should be a procession of people carrying
candles, which procession should march as far as the Augustines, and,
wherever the fight had raged, there a halt should be made and a suitable
service should be had in each place with prayer. We cannot give too much
praise to God and the Saints, since all that was done by God's grace,
and so, with great devotion, we ought to take part in the said
procession. Even the men of Bourges and of certain other cities
celebrate the day, because if Orleans had fallen into the hands of the
English, the rest of the kingdom would have taken great harm. Always
remembering, therefore, the great mercy which God has shown to the said
city of Orleans, we ought always to maintain and never to abandon this
holy procession, lest we fall into ingratitude, whereby much evil may
come upon us. Every one is obliged to join the said procession, carrying
a lighted candle in his hand. It passes round about the town in front of
the church of our Lady of Saint Paul, at which place they sing praises
to our Lady; and it goes thence to the cathedral, where the sermon is
preached, and thereafter a mass is sung. There are also vigils at Saint
Aignan, and, on the morrow, a mass for the dead. All men, therefore,
should be bidden to praise God and to thank Him; for at the present time
there are youths who can hardly believe that the thing came about in
this wise; you, however, should believe that this is a true thing, and
is verily the great grace of God."[44]

Walls and boulevard have long since been outgrown by the city of the
Loire: dynasties have risen and fallen, wars have swept and harried
France after their fashion. Still, in the early May time, when Nature is
fair and young and sweet as the Maid herself, Orleans rises up to do
reverence to her rescuer. The priests walk in holiday vestments, the
bells ring out, the censers swing, the people throng the streets and
fill the churches.

During her brief stay in Orleans after its deliverance, Joan bore
herself with her own quiet modesty. She loved solitude, and rather
shunned than sought company. She took no credit to herself; the glory
was God's and God's alone, she repeatedly told the people, who flocked
about her in adoration.

"Never were seen such deeds as you have wrought!" they told her. "No
book tells of such marvels!"

"My Lord," replied the Maid, "has a book in which no clerk ever read,
were he ever so clerkly."[45]

What next was for the Maid to do?

Orleans was delivered, but France was still under English rule. John of
Bedford, "brave soldier, prudent captain, skilful diplomatist, having
experience of camps and courts," was startled, but not discouraged by
the rescue of Orleans. He meant to rule France for his child-king, and
to rule it well; as a matter of fact, he did rule it for thirteen years,
striving always "in a degree superior to his century," to bring order
out of chaos, to convert the bloodstained wilderness of the conquered
country into a decent and well-ordered realm.

Nor was John Talbot himself one whit disheartened. He had lost some of
his best men on the bloody day of the Tourelles, but he had plenty
more. He had lost Orleans, but the river towns on either side of it were
still his, Meung, Beaugency, Jargeau; all strongly fortified, all
guarding river and high road so that no man might pass without their

He had retreated in excellent order from that field where his offered
battle had been--strangely, he may have thought--refused by the Maid and
her victorious army; he now established himself at Meung, with strong
outposts at Beaugency and Jargeau, and awaited the next move on the
enemy's part.

Bedford, meantime, assembled in all haste another army at Paris,
prepared to go to Talbot's assistance whenever need should arise.

Joan knew better than to follow the orderly retreat of the English. Her
own men, with all their superb courage, even with the flame of victory
in their hearts, had not the training necessary for a long campaign in
the open; neither was there money for it, nor provisions.

Besides, her Voices had but one message for her now; she was to go to
the Dauphin; he was to be crowned king, as soon as might be; then--to

Leaving Dunois in charge of Orleans, Joan, with several of her
followers, rode out once more, this time to Tours, whither Charles came
from Chinon to meet her.

It was a strange meeting. The conquering Maid, she beside whom, as she
and all her followers believed, the angels of God had fought for France,
rode forward, bareheaded, her glorious banner drooping in her hand, and
bent humbly to her saddle-bow in obeisance. Charles bade her sit
erect;[46] an eyewitness thinks that in his joy he fain would have
kissed her. He might better have alighted and held her stirrup, but this
would naturally not occur to him; certainly not to the Maid, who had but
one thought in her loyal heart.

"Gentle Dauphin," she said, "let us make haste and be gone to Rheims,
where you shall be crowned king!" Now, she pleaded, was the time, while
their enemies still "fled, so to speak, from themselves."[46]

She added some words which well had it been for Charles if he had
heeded. "I shall hardly last more than a year!" she said. "We must think
about working right well this year, for there is much to do."

From the beginning, she had known that her time was short. The how and
why were mercifully hidden from her, but she knew right well that
whatever she was to do must be done soon.

But Charles of Valois would not willingly do anything one year that
might be put off till the next. He hesitated; dawdled; consulted La
Trémoïlle, his favorite and master; consulted Jean Gerson, the _most
Christian doctor_, whom men called the wisest Frenchman of his age. The
latter gave full honor and credence to the Maid. "Even if (which God
forbid) she should be mistaken," he wrote, "in her hopes and ours, it
would not necessarily follow that what she does comes of the evil spirit
and not of God, but that rather our ingratitude was to blame. Let the
party which hath a just cause take care how by incredulity or injustice
it rendereth useless the divine succor so miraculously manifested, for
God, without any change of counsel, changeth the upshot according to

Thus Gerson, the learned and saintly. La Trémoïlle, the ignorant and
unscrupulous, was of another mind, and La Trémoïlle was master of the
Dauphin and of such part of France as the Dauphin ruled. This greedy
parasite had been willing that Orleans should be rescued; that alone
boded him no special danger. Any general awakening of the country,
however, any dawn of hope, freedom, tranquillity, for the unhappy
people, might be disastrous for him. While the strength of the realm was
expended on petty squabbles among Charles's various adherents, while the
splitting of hairs with Burgundy filled the time safely and agreeably,
La Trémoïlle could rob and squeeze the people at his pleasure. But now
affairs began to take on a new aspect. This Maid, having saved Orleans,
might well have busied herself with matters of personal glory and
profit. Instead of this, she talked of nothing but a united France, a
France at peace, with honor; of Charles a king indeed, with all good and
true men serving him honestly and joyfully. Moreover, his, La
Trémoïlle's, chief rival and former patron, Arthur of Brittany, Count of
Richemont, was an admirer of this troublesome young woman.

Altogether it seemed to La Trémoïlle that the Maid was not a person to
be encouraged. Fair and softly, though; no haste, no outward show of
enmity; judicious procrastination could do much.

Procrastination suited Charles admirably; he asked nothing better. He
dawdled two precious weeks away at Tours; then he went to Loches, and
dawdled there. (His son, Louis XI. did _not_ dawdle at Loches, though he
spent much time there, making cages for unruly cardinals, worshipping
our Lady of Embrun, hanging men like apples on his orchard trees, and
otherwise disporting himself in his own fashion! But that was thirty
years later.)

Poor Joan, bewildered at this strange way of following up a great
victory, followed Charles to Loches, and with Dunois at her side sought
the Dauphin in his apartments, where he was talking with his confessor
and two other members of his council, Robert le Maçon and Christopher of

Entering the room, with a modest but determined mien she knelt before
Charles and clasped his knees.

"Noble Dauphin," she said, "do not hold so many and such lengthy
councils, but come at once to Rheims and take the crown that is yours!"

Upon this, Harcourt asked her if this advice came from her "_conseil_,"
as she called her heavenly advisers. "Yes!" she replied. "They greatly
insist thereupon."

"Will you not tell us, in the presence of the king, what is the nature
and manner of this counsel that you receive?"

Joan blushed; it was great pain to her to unveil things so sacred; but
she answered bravely: "I understand well enough what it is you wish to
know, and I will tell you freely.

"When men do not believe in those things which come to me from God, it
grieves me sore. Then I go apart and pray, making my plaint to my Lord
for that they are so hard of belief: and after I have prayed I hear a
Voice saying to me, 'Child of God, go, go, go! I will be thy helper;
go![48] When I hear that Voice I am joyful, and wish it might always be
thus with me."

While she spoke, she raised her eyes to heaven, and seemed indeed in an
ecstasy of joy.

Charles listened, was impressed, and doubtless went to tell La
Trémoïlle about it.

But there were others, who cared nothing for La Trémoïlle and much for
the Maid.

The young Duke of Alençon was, we know, her sworn brother-in-arms. He
had no mind to let the glory of Orleans evaporate in trailing mists of
negotiation and dispute. He got together a little army, and demanded the
presence and help of the Maid in a campaign against the English. La
Trémoïlle could not well prevent this; he could only so manage that a
whole month was wasted before permission was given. This was a hard
month for the Maid. To her eyes it was clear as the sun in heaven that
"when once the Dauphin was crowned and consecrated, the power of his
adversaries would continually dwindle."

"All," says Dunois, "came to share her opinion!" By which he meant all
true and knightly persons like himself.

Finally the matter was decided. A rendezvous was appointed at Selles,
not far from Loches; thither, in the first days of June, the Maid
repaired, and there gathered about her all the chivalry of France,
eager to follow her to fresh conquests.

Alençon was in command; he was, we might say, the temporal chief; Joan
the spiritual one. Dunois was there; La Hire, Vendôme, and the rest;
among them Guy de Laval and his brother Andrew. A letter from the
former, written in his name and his brother's to his mother and
grandmother, has been preserved, and gives us so clear and life-like a
picture of the occasion and of Joan herself that I cannot resist giving
it in full. _Mutatis mutandis_, it is not so unlike certain letters that
come over the sea to-day.[49] Reading it, we can thrill with the two
women, one of whom, remember, the grandmother, was the widow of Bertrand
Du Guesclin.

     My Reverend Ladies and Mothers: After I wrote you on Friday last
     from St. Catherine of Fierbois, I reached Loches on Saturday, and
     went to see my lord Dauphin[50] in the castle, after vespers in the
     collegiate church. He is a very fair and gracious lord, very well
     made and active, and ought to be about seven years old. Sunday I
     came to St. Aignan, where the king was, and I sent for my lord of
     Treves to come to my quarters; and my uncle went up with him to the
     castle to tell the king I was come, and to find out when he would
     be pleased to have me wait on him. I got the answer that I should
     go as soon as I wished, and he greeted me kindly and said many
     pleasant things to me.

     On Monday I left the king to go to Selles, four leagues from St.
     Aignan, and the king sent for the Maid, who was then at Selles.
     Some people said that this was done for my sake, so that I could
     see her; at any rate she was very pleasant to my brother and me,
     being fully armed, except for her head, and holding her lance in
     her hand. Afterwards, when we had dismounted at Selles, I went to
     her quarters to see her, and she had wine brought, and told me she
     would soon serve it to me in Paris; and what she did seemed at
     times quite divine, both to look at her and to hear her. Monday at
     vespers she left Selles to go to Romorantin, three leagues in
     advance, the marshal of Boussac and a great many soldiers and
     common people being with her. I saw her get on horseback, armed all
     in white, except her head, with a little battle-axe in her hand,
     riding a great black courser, which was very restive at the door of
     her lodgings, and would not let her mount. So she said, "Lead him
     to the cross," which was in front of the church near by, in the
     road. There she mounted without his budging, just as if he had been
     tied, and then she turned toward the church door which was close
     by, and said, "You priests and churchmen, make a procession and
     pray to God." She then set out on the road, calling "Forward,
     forward," with her little battle-axe in her hand, and her waving
     banner carried by a pretty page.

     On Monday my lord duke of Alençon came to Selles with a great
     company, and to-day I won a match from him at tennis. I found here
     a gentleman sent from my brother Chauvigny, because he had heard
     that I had reached St. Catherine. The man said that he had summoned
     his vassals and expected soon to be here, and that he still loved
     my sister dearly, and that she was stouter than she used to be. It
     is said here that my lord constable is coming with six hundred men
     at arms and four hundred archers, and that the king never had so
     great a force as they hope to gather. But there is no money at
     court, or so little that for the present I can expect no help nor
     maintenance; so since you have my seal, my lady mother, do not
     hesitate to sell or mortgage my lands, or else make some other
     provision by which we may be saved; otherwise through our own fault
     we shall be dishonored, and perhaps come near perishing, since if
     we do not do something of the kind, as there is no pay, we shall be
     left quite alone. So far we have been, and we are still, much
     honored, and our coming has greatly pleased the king and all his
     people, and they make us better cheer than you could imagine.

     The Maid told me in her lodgings, when I went there to see her,
     that three days before my coming she had sent to you, my
     grandmother, a little gold ring, but she said that it was a very
     little thing and that she would willingly have sent you something
     better considering your rank.

     To-day my lord of Alençon, the Bastard of Orleans, and Gaucourt
     should leave this place of Selles, and go after the Maid, and you
     have sent I don't know what letters to my cousin La Trémoïlle and
     to my lord of Treves, so that the king wants to keep me with him
     until the Maid has been before the English places around Orleans to
     which they are going to lay siege, and the artillery is already
     prepared, and the Maid makes no doubt that she will soon be with
     the king, saying that when he starts to advance towards Rheims I
     shall go with him; but God forbid that I should do this, and not go
     with her at once; and my brother says so, too, and so does my lord
     of Alençon--such a good-for-nothing will a fellow be who stay
     behind. They think that the king will leave here to-day, to draw
     nearer to the army, and men are coming in from all directions every
     day. They hope that before ten days are out affairs will be nearly
     settled one way or the other, but all have so good hope in God that
     I believe He will help us.

     My very respected ladies and mothers, we send our remembrances, my
     brother and I, to you, as humbly as we can; and please also write
     us at once news of yourselves, and do you, my lady mother, tell me
     how you find yourself after the medicines you have taken, for I am
     much troubled about you.

     My very respected ladies and mothers, I pray the blessed son of God
     to give you a good life and a long one, and we both of us also send
     our remembrances to our brother Louis. Written at Selles this
     Wednesday the 8th of June.

     And this vespers there came here my lord of Vendôme, my lord of
     Boussac, and others, and La Hire is close to the army, and soon
     they will get to work. God grant that we get our wish.

     Your humble sons,
     GUY and ANDREW OF LAVAL.[51]

On June 9th, Alençon and the Maid entered Orleans with their army, about
two thousand strong. The people flocked about her with joyous greetings
and offers of provisions and munitions; they could not do enough to show
their enduring gratitude to the saviour of their beloved city. Beside
this, it must be confessed that they felt the proverbial "lively sense
of future favors." Jargeau, Meung, Beaugency, were still in English
hands; from these sentinel towns up and down the Loire the enemy kept
strict watch over Orleans, and there could be no freedom of coming or
going. These towns, it appeared, must be taken before the cry 'To
Paris!' could be raised in good earnest.

Very well! let them be taken, said the Maid; Jargeau first, then the
others. On June 11th[52] she and Alençon set forth, with about three
thousand troops and a large following of citizens and country people.
All were eager to follow her banner, to share in her labors and her

Before telling the story of the "Week of Victories," let us see what her
brothers-in-arms, the knightly captains of France, thought of the Maid
of Domrémy. They had fought at her side through an arduous campaign;
they were entering, with joyful ardor, on another. Andrew Lang has
carefully selected three passages from the mass of contemporaneous
evidence; the judgment of three notable military experts, De Termes,
Dunois, and Alençon. De Termes speaks first.

"At the assaults before Orleans, Jeanne showed valor and conduct which
no man could excel in war. All the captains were amazed by her courage
and energy, and her endurance.... In leading and arraying, and in
encouraging men, she bore herself like the most skilled captain in the
world, who all his life had been trained to war."

Then comes Alençon, her "gentle Duke," with: "She was most expert in
war, as much in carrying the lance as in mustering a force and ordering
the ranks, and in laying the guns. All marveled how cautiously and with
what foresight she went to work, as if she had been a captain with
twenty or thirty years of experience."

Finally Dunois says: "She displayed (at Troyes) marvelous energy, doing
more work than two or three of the most famous and practised men of the
sword could have done."

Lang, summing these things up, concludes that[53] "her skill is a
marvel, like that of the untutored Clive, but nobody knows the limits
of the resources of nature."

It is easier to begin upon quotations than to cease from them. I may
fitly close this chapter with a passage from Boucher de Molandon:

"All those to whom it has been given to kindle the nations, have cared
much less to be in advance of their time than to make use of the
exciting elements of the time itself. Such is Jeanne d'Arc, whose merit
and power alike it was not to innovate upon, but to draw from her epoch
the best that it contained. Skilful above all others in finding happy
expressions, the ringing note that roused to action, when she speaks of
the blood of France, it is because the word has a meaning for all; she
wakes a great echo. She sounds the ancient trumpet blast, and the
illustrious dead, from Clovis to Du Guesclin, stir in their tombs, and
cause the soil of France to tremble under their discouraged


[42] Quicherat.

[43] Translated by F. C. Lowell.

[44] Translated by F. C. Lowell.

[45] Pasquerel, translated by F. C. Lowell.

[46] Guizot.

[47] Guizot.

[48] _Fille Dé, va, va, va! je serai à ton aide; va!_

[49] 1918.

[50] Afterward Louis XI.

[51] Lowell, pp. 120-123.

[52] Lowell. Lang calls it June 9th.

[53] Lang, pp. 136 and 137.



On June 11th, as we have seen, Joan rode forth on her new errand. Beside
food and ammunition, grateful Orleans furnished artillery for the
expedition. Five sloops, manned by forty boatmen, brought heavy guns and
field pieces down the river, while "twenty-four horses were needed to
drag the chariot of the huge gun of position, resembling Mons Meg, now
in Edinburgh Castle."[54]

Ropes and scaling-ladders, too, were provided; these were easily
carried. Thus equipped, the troop marched bravely on, halting only when
a short march from the town of Jargeau. The town apparently awaited them
with little concern. Its walls were strong, its fosse deep and filled
with water. Inside was the Earl of Suffolk with six hundred men, an
ample number for defence. He was probably watching at this moment from
the church tower, but he made no sign.

A discussion rose among the leaders of the advancing troop. Should they
storm the fortress, or proceed by slower methods?

Joan was for the assault. "Success is certain," she said. "If I had not
assurance of this from God, I would rather herd sheep than put myself in
so great jeopardy."

She started on, and the others followed. Now a gate opened in the wall:
a band of English rode out, and attacking the French skirmishers, drove
them back. Thereupon the Maid seized the standard, rallied her men,
repulsed the sally, and took possession of the suburbs of the town. So
far, so good! Next morning the guns opened fire on both sides, and
banged away merrily for some time, one of those from Orleans, _La
Bergère_, demolishing one of the towers in the wall. Here seemed to be a
practicable breach ready for the storming. A council was hastily called.
The Maid, Alençon, Dunois, Xaintrailles--where was La Hire? Someone had
heard that La Hire was at the moment holding a parley with the English
commander. Sent for in haste (and in some heat, be it said; "I and the
other leaders were ill content with La Hire!" says Alençon), he appeared
with the tidings that Suffolk offered to surrender if no relief came
within fifteen days.

Joan had summoned the enemy the night before, and was quite clear in her
mind. If the English would depart in their tunics, without arms or
armor, they might do so; otherwise the town should be stormed. The other
leaders decided that the English might take their horses as well as
doublets. Sir John Fastolf was coming from Paris, and it would be well
to be off with the old foe before they were on with the new.

Suffolk, naturally enough, refused these terms. The French heralds
sounded the assault.

"Forward, gentle Duke!" cried the Maid. "To the assault!"

Alençon hesitated. Was the breach definitely practicable?

"Doubt not!" cried the Maid. "It is the hour that God has chosen. The
good Lord helps those who help themselves. Ah! gentle Duke," she added,
with the pretty touch of raillery that was all her own; "are you afraid?
Do you not know that I promised your wife to bring you back safe and
sound, better than when you left?"

She had her way; the ladders were placed, the French swarmed to the
assault, while on both sides the cannon thundered defiance. Watching
with Alençon near the breach, Joan suddenly cried, "Stand aside! that
gun--" and she pointed toward a certain cannon on the wall--"will slay
you!" The Duke stepped aside. A few minutes later the Sieur de Lude,
standing on the same spot, was killed by a shot from the gun she had

This time the Maid could not give warning; she was rushing into the
breach, the faithful Duke at her side. Seeing this, Suffolk called out,
begging to speak with Alençon; but it was too late. Alençon was already
following his leader up a scaling-ladder.

No easy task, climbing a long ladder (for Jargeau walls were high), in
plate armor, carrying a heavy standard; but so the Maid went. Part way
up a stone struck her, tearing the standard and crushing in the light
helmet she wore. She fell, but was up again in an instant.

"On, friends, on! God has judged them. Be of good courage; within an
hour they are ours!"

It did not need an hour. In an instant, it seemed to Alençon, the city
was taken, its commander captured, its defenders fleeing in disorder.
Over a thousand men were slain in the pursuit; Joan and Alençon returned
in triumph to Orleans, and once more the town went mad over its glorious

She might well have rested after this, one would think, but no! Two days
later, she said to d'Alençon, "To-morrow, after dinner, I wish to pay a
visit to the English at Meung. Give orders to the company to march at
that hour!"[55]

They marched, came to Meung, took the bridge-head (a strong
fortification) by assault, and placed a garrison there, but made no
attempt to enter the city. This was a visit, not a capture. They slept
in the fields, and next morning were on the march again. Beaugency, the
next town, saw them coming, and the English garrison promptly evacuated
the town, retiring into the castle, but leaving various parties in
ambush here and there in sheds and outbuildings, to surprise the

The invaders refused to be surprised; planted their cannon, and began a
bombardment in regular form. But that evening a singular complication
arose. Word came to the two young commanders that Arthur of Richemont,
Constable of France, was close at hand, with a large body of troops. Now
Charles, or rather La Trémoïlle, was at daggers drawn with Richemont,
and Alençon had received a royal mandate forbidding him to have any
dealings with the Constable, who happened to be his own uncle. Here was
a quandary! Alençon was loyal to the core; how could he disobey his
sovereign? On the other hand he had no quarrel with his uncle, and the
latter's help would be invaluable. They slept on their doubts and fears,
an anxious and foreboding sleep. In the morning word came that the
English army was advancing under Talbot and Fastolf. This was the
precipitating drop in the cup of trembling. "To arms!" cried the
soldiers; and Alençon and the Maid mounted their horses and rode to
meet De Richemont.

The Constable also had received a royal mandate. He was forbidden to
advance, on pain of high displeasure; if he did so, he would be
attacked. Neither the Dauphin nor his followers would have anything to
do with him. Richemont, who knew that this message came in reality from
La Trémoïlle, about whom he cared nothing at all, continued to advance;
and on the 16th day of June came upon Alençon and the Maid riding to
meet him with Dunois, La Hire, and the rest.

"Joan," said the bluff Constable, "I was told that you meant to attack
me. I know not whether you come from God or not; if you are from God, I
fear you not at all, for God knows my good will; if you are from the
devil, I fear you still less."

"Ah, fair Constable," said the Maid. "You have not come for my sake, but
you are welcome!"

So all was well that ended well. The threatening breach was closed, and
over it the allied forces rode on to meet the English.

These too had had their troubles. Talbot and Fastolf had met at
Janville and held a council, but could not be of one mind. Fastolf, a
cautious man, was for delay. Their men, he said, were disheartened by
recent events; the French were in full flush of triumph with the send of
victory behind them; best for themselves to stand fast, and keep such
strongholds as were still theirs, leaving Beaugency to its fate.

This discreet plan little suited John Talbot. Give way, without battle,
to a girl? Not he! though he had only his proper escort and such as
elected to follow him, yet, he vowed, with the aid of God and St. George
he would fight the French.

The weaker man yielded, albeit protesting to the last moment; the old
lion marshaled his troops, and on June 18th at Patay, between Orleans
and Châteaudun, rode out to battle.

It was evening of the 17th when the French, arrayed in order of battle
on a little hill, "_une petite montagnette_," saw their enemy advancing
across a wide plain. Beholding them Joan the Maid cried to those beside
her, "They are ours! if they were hung from the clouds above me, we must
have them!"

On came the valiant English, and ranged themselves in battle array at
the foot of the little hill. Talbot knew well that the others had the
advantage of position. Behoved him to break the line which stood so firm
above him. He sent two heralds to say that "there were three knights who
would fight the French if they would come down."

The French replied, "The hour is late: go to your rest for this day.
To-morrow, if it be the good pleasure of God and Our Lady, we shall meet
at closer quarters!"

The English did not follow this advice, but fell back on Meung, and
spent the night in battering the bridge-head towers which the French had
taken and were holding. Next morning they would assault and re-take the
towers, then march to the relief of Beaugency.

Morning found them collecting doors and other things to shelter them
during the storming of the forts; when a pursuivant came in hot haste
from Beaugency, announcing that the French had taken town and fort and
were now on their way to find the English generals.

Hereupon the said English generals dropped the doors and other things,
departed from Meung, and took the road to Paris, marching in good order
across the wide wooded plain of the Beauce. Behind them, but well out of
sight, pricked the advancing French.

What followed reads more like a child's game than a life and death
struggle of brave men. The French were seeking the English, but had no
idea of their whereabouts. The Maid, being appealed to, said
confidently, "Ride boldly on! You will have good guidance."

To Alençon, who asked her privately what they should do, she replied,
"Have good spurs!"

"How? Are we then to turn our backs?"

"Not so! but there will be need to ride boldly; we shall give a good
account of the English, and shall need good spurs to follow them."

On the morning of June 18th Joan said, "To-day the gentle king shall
have the greatest victory he has yet had."

For some reason--probably because they wished to keep her in a place of
safety, fearing ambuscades in this unknown country--Joan did not lead
the advance this day. An enemy might lurk behind any clump of oak or
beech; they would not risk their precious Maid in so precarious an

This was not to the Maid's taste; she was very angry, we are told, for
she loved to lead the vanguard: however it chanced, La Hire was the
fortunate gallant who rode forward, with eighty men of his company,
"mounted on the flower of chargers," to find the English and report when
found. Briefly, a scouting party.

"So they rode on and they rode on," till at last they saw on their right
the spires of Lignerolles, on their left those of Patay, two little
cities of the plain, thick set in woods. This was all they saw, for the
English, though directly in front of them, were close hidden in thickets
and behind hedges.

Talbot himself led the van. Coming to a lane between two tall hedges he
dismounted, and, mindful it may be of the moment at Agincourt

     "When from the meadow by,
     Like a storm suddenly,
     The English archery
     Struck the French horses,"

selected five hundred skilled archers, and proceeded to instal them
behind the hedges, declaring that he would hold the pass till his main
and rear guard came up.

"But another thing befell him!" says the old chronicle.

On came La Hire and his eighty cavaliers, dashing across the open,
crashing through the woods, who so merry as they?

Now these woods held other living things beside English archers. At the
sound of crackling and rending branches, up sprang a noble stag,
startled from his noonday rest, and fled through the forest as if the
hounds were at his heels. So fleeing, the frightened creature rushed
full into the main body of the English, hurrying to join Talbot. An
Englishman is an Englishman, the world over. They did not know the
French were near, but I am not sure that it would have made any
difference if they had. Clear, loud, and triumphant, every man of them
raised the "view halloo," as good sportsmen should. La Hire heard, and
checked his horse instantly; sent back a message to Alençon and the
Maid, the one word "_Found!_" formed his eighty in order of battle, and
charged with such fury down Talbot's lane that the English archers were
cut to pieces before they could loose a shaft.

Fastolf now came rushing up to join Talbot, but finding himself too
late, drew rein, and suffered himself to be led--somewhat ignominiously,
it was thought--from the field; "making the greatest dole that ever man

Well might he lament. The battle of Patay was followed by a massacre of
the English, which the Maid was powerless to prevent. The French had
suffered too long; the iron had entered too deep into their souls. As
the world stood then, they would have been more or less than human to
have held their hand from the slaughter. It seemed probable that Joan
did not see all of the butchery, but she saw more than enough. "She was
most pitiful," says the page d'Aulon, "at the sight of so great a
slaughter. A Frenchman was leading some English prisoners; he struck one
of them on the head; the man fell senseless. Joan sprang from her saddle
and held the Englishman's head in her lap, comforting him; and he was

Talbot was taken by Xaintrailles, and led by him before Alençon, the
Maid and de Richemont.

"You did not look for this in the morning, Lord Talbot!" said Alençon,
who had been a prisoner in England.

"It is the fortune of war!" said the old lion; and no other word of his
is recorded.

The Week of Victories was over, and once more Joan returned to her
Orleans, to joy-bells and masses, adoring crowds and friendly
hearthstones. This time she found a present awaiting her at the house of
_Père_ Boucher, a present at once quaint and pathetic.

Fourteen years had passed since Agincourt was lost and won, and Charles
of Orleans was still a prisoner in England, still writing poetry like
his fellow-prisoner and poet, James I. of Scotland. He had heard of the
grievous peril of his city, and of its glorious rescue by the
wonder-working Maid. He would fain show his gratitude in some seemly and
appropriate way. Therefore, "considering the good and agreeable service
of the Pucelle against the English, ancient enemies of the King and
himself," he ordered the treasurer (of Orleans) to offer in his name to
the young heroine a suit--of armor?--By no means! a costume of state,
"_vêtement d'apparat_," such as gentlewomen wore. The colors of his
house were to be used; "a robe of fine scarlet cloth, with a tunic
(_huque_) of dark green stuff." "A tailor of renown" was charged with
the making of the costume; the items of expense have been preserved.

Two ells of scarlet cloth cost eight gold crowns; the lining, two crowns
more. One ell of green stuff, two crowns. For making a robe and _huque_,
with trimming of white satin, sendal, and other stuff, one crown. Total,
thirteen gold crowns, equal to about twenty dollars of our money. Not an
extravagant present, you say, in return for a royal city. But Joan had
looked for no reward, and Charles gave what he could. Be sure that the
Maid was well pleased with her costume of state; I cannot repeat too
often that she was seventeen, and fair as a white rose. She may even
have worn it--who knows? during those few days of rest, after Patay, at
Père Boucher's. She loved pretty clothes. One can fancy the astonishment
of Alençon, coming clanking in his armor to take counsel with his
fellow-commander, to find her blushing rose-like in scarlet and green.
It is a pretty picture. Those were the days of the hennin, but I cannot
think that the Maid ever, even for a moment, crowned her short dark
locks with that most hideous invention of fashion. We all know it in
pictures; the single or double-horned headdress (I know not which is
uglier!) often reaching monstrous proportions, with which the
fashionable women of that day were infatuated. The single hennin was
often two or three feet in height; the double one perhaps nearly as

In the first year of the siege of Orleans one Friar Thomas preached a
crusade against the extravagance of women's dress, and especially
against the hennin. "He was so vehement against them," says Monstrelêt,
"that no woman thus dressed dared to appear in his presence, for he was
accustomed when he saw any with such dresses, to excite the little boys
to torment and plague them. He ordered the boys to shout after them,
'_Au hennin! au hennin!_' even when the ladies were departed from him,
and from hearing his invectives; and the boys pursuing them endeavored
to pull down these monstrous head-dresses, so that the ladies were
forced to seek shelter in places of safety. These cries caused many
tumults between those who raised them and the servants of the ladies.
For a time the ladies were ashamed, and came to mass in close caps,
'such as those of nuns.' But this reform lasted not, for like as snails,
when anyone passes them, draw in their horns, and when all danger seems
over, put them forth again--so these ladies, shortly after the preacher
had quitted their country, forgetful of his doctrine and abuse, began to
resume their former colossal head-dresses, and wore them even higher
than before."

A terrible fellow, this Friar Thomas. Monstrelêt further tells us that
"at sermons he divided women from men by a cord, having observed some
sly doings between them while he was preaching."

Sometimes, after an eloquent sermon on the pains of hell and damnation,
he would summon his hearers to bring him all games and toys; all hennins
and other abominations of dress; and having a fire ready burning, would
throw these vanities in and make an end of them for that time.

Here is a long digression about hennins; as I say, I do not believe Joan
ever put one on her head; nor did Friar Thomas, so far as I know, ever
come to Orleans.


[54] Lang, p. 138.

[55] A. Lang, p. 141.

[56] Translated by Andrew Lang.



Things began to look worse and worse for La Trémoïlle. "By reason of
Joan the Maid," says the old chronicle, "so many folks came from all
parts unto the king for to serve him at their own charges, that La
Trémoïlle and others of the council were full wroth thereat, through
anxiety for their own persons."

That figure of a united France, which shone so bright and gracious
before the eyes of the Maid, was to La Trémoïlle and his minions a
spectre of doom. They put forth all their forces of inertia and
procrastination--mighty forces indeed when skilfully handled--and spun
their cobwebs of intrigue close and closer about the foolish Dauphin.

Rejoicing Orleans thought her prince would come to share her triumph,
and through her gates would ride forth to that coronation which was to
consummate and render stable the glorious victories of the past weeks.
They adorned their streets, hung out their richest tapestries for the
royal visitor; but Charles was visiting La Trémoïlle at the latter's
castle of Sully, and made no movement. Joan waited a day or two, and
then took horse and rode to Sully. She had no time to waste, however it
might be with others. Earnestly and reverently she besought Charles to
make no more delay, but ride with her at once to Rheims for his

Charles regretted the severity of the Maid's labors; was very pleased at
the victories; thought she ought to take a holiday; shortly, no one
knows why, left Sully and went to Châteauneuf, fifteen miles down the
river. Joan followed him, and again made her prayer. She wept as she
knelt before him. The cruel toil, the bloodshed and the glory--was all
to be for naught? The days were flying, every day bringing her nearer
the end. The Dauphin, moved by her tears, bade her dry her eyes, all
would be well.

But while Charles dawdled and La Trémoïlle shuffled his cards and spun
his webs, France was rising. The news of Orleans and Patay flew on the
wings of the wind, birds of the air carried it.

In La Rochelle the bells were rung; Te Deum was sung; bonfires blazed,
and every child was given a cake to run and shout "_Noël!_" before the
triumphal procession. The name of the Maid was on every lip, every heart
beat high for her. Knowing this, as she must have known it, small wonder
that she chafed and wept at the delay.

She rode to Gien, where long and weary councils were held, and ten more
precious days wasted. Here people came flocking from all parts of the
realm, to join her standard, for love of her and of France. The royal
treasury was empty; no matter for that! Gentlemen who were too poor to
equip themselves properly came armed with bows and arrows, with hunting
knives, with anything that could cut or pierce. One gallant soldier,
"Bueil, one of the French leaders," stole linen from the drying-lines of
a neighboring castle to make himself decent to appear at court.

"Each one of them," says the old chronicle, "had firm belief that
through Joan much good would come to the land of France, and so they
longed greatly to serve her, and learned of her deeds as if they were
God's own."

Miracle and portent sprang up to aid the cause. In Poitou knights in
blazing armor were seen riding down the sky, and it was clear that they
threatened ruin to the Duke of Brittany, who still favored the English.

The joints of the favorite were loosened, and his knees smote together;
yet at this time none dared speak openly against him, though all knew
that it was he who blocked the way. But for him, men said, the French
might now be strong enough to sweep the English finally and completely
from their soil.

John of Bedford, in Paris, trying his best to rule France, since that
was the task that had been set him, wrote to his young master in

"All things here prospered for you till the time of the siege of
Orleans, undertaken by whose advice God only knows. Since the death of
my cousin of Salisbury, whom God absolve, who fell by the hand of God,
as it seemeth, your people, who were assembled in great number at this
siege, have received a terrible check. This has been caused in part, as
we trow, by the confidence our enemies have in a disciple and limb of
the devil, called Pucelle, that used false enchantments and sorcery. The
which stroke and discomfiture has not only lessened the number of your
people here, but also sunk the courage of the remainder in a wonderful
manner, and encouraged your enemies to assemble themselves forthwith in
great numbers."[57]

The enemies of England were not all encouraged. There were others
besides La Trémoïlle at the councils of Gien who advised against the
ride to Rheims. The way was long, and thick set with strong places
garrisoned by English and Burgundians. There would be great danger for
the Dauphin and all concerned.

"I know all that, and care nothing for it!" cried the Maid; and in
desperation she rode out of the town and bivouacked in the open fields,
her faithful comrades about her.

Deep as was her distress, her determination never wavered. She wrote to
the people of Tournai, who had been faithful throughout to the Dauphin's
cause, "Loyal Frenchmen, I pray and require you to be ready to come to
the coronation of the gentle King Charles at Rheims, where we shall
shortly be, and to come and meet us so soon as ye shall learn of our

This was on June 25th; on the 29th, La Trémoïlle and the Dauphin yielded
reluctantly enough to the irresistible force of public enthusiasm. The
Maid had already started. The stage was set for the coronation; there
was really no help for it.

So off they set for Rheims, Dauphin, favorite, court and all, following
the Maid of Domrémy.

It was no holiday procession. As had been foreseen, there were
obstacles, and plenty of them. Auxerre would not open its gates; sent,
it was said, a bribe of two thousand crowns to save itself from assault;
but sent also food (at a price!) to the advancing army.

Troyes, a little farther on, had sworn allegiance to England and
Burgundy. Coronation at Rheims? The Trojans knew nothing about it. They
had a garrison, English and Burgundian, five or six thousand good stout
men; they snapped their fingers at Maid and Dauphin; would not hear of
admitting them. Had not Brother Richard, the Cordelier friar, warned
them against this Maid, saying that she was, or might be, a female
Antichrist? Had he not bidden them sow beans in vast quantities in case
of emergency?

Here were the beans, whole fields of them, in evidence! here was also
Brother Richard himself, breathing forth fire and fury. Presently the
holy brother, who seems to have been a second edition of Father Thomas,
preaching repentance and practicing the destruction of vanities, came
forth to exorcise the Maid; threw holy water at her, and made the sign
of the cross. Joan laughed her pleasant, merry laugh; bade him take
courage and come forward. She would not fly away, she assured him.
Whereupon, at nearer view of the supposed sorceress and limb of evil,
Brother Richard suffered a sudden change of heart; perceived that here
was a thing divine; plumped down on his knees to do homage: but the good
Maid knelt too, humbly, in token that she was "of like passions" with
himself. Soon the pair were good friends, and the friar hurried back to
the city and declared that the Maid was of God, and could if she wished
fly over the walls.

Troyes heard, but kept its gates shut. Anxious council was held in the
Dauphin's camp; La Trémoïlle advised retreat; had he not said all along,
etc., etc.

The archbishop of Rheims, chancellor of France and a tool of La
Trémoïlle, drew lurid pictures of the strength of Troyes and the
contumaciousness of its people. They never would yield; the supplies of
the army were running low. Best retire while they could do so with
safety. The councillors were called on in turn for their opinion; some
advised retreating, some passing by the obstinate town in hope of faring
better elsewhere; hardly one favored an attack on the city.

When the turn came of Robert de Maçon, sometime chancellor (of Charles
VI.), he said bluntly, "This march was begun not because we were rich in
money or strong in men, but because Joan the Maid said it was the will
of God. Let the Maid be summoned, and let the Council hear what she has
to say on the matter!"

Joan was sent for, and was told the sense of the meeting; the lions in
the path; the necessity of retreat.

To the Archbishop, who addressed her, she made no reply, but turned to
her prince.

"Do you believe all this, gentle Dauphin?" she asked.

Charles was not sure, perhaps, what La Trémoïlle would allow him to
believe. He made cautious answer; if the Maid had anything profitable
and reasonable to say, she would be trusted.

"Good Dauphin," said the Maid in her clear thrilling voice, "command
your people to advance to the siege, and waste no more time in councils;
in God's name, before three days pass I will bring you into Troyes, by
favor or force or valor, and false Burgundy shall be greatly amazed."

Even the Archbishop seems to have been impressed by these words.

"Joan," he said, "we could wait for six days were we sure of having the
town, but can we be sure?"

"Have no doubt of it!" replied the Maid. Thereupon she mounted her
horse and rode through the camp, banner in hand, exhorting, encouraging,
ordering preparations for the assault.

Following the example of the English at Meung, she collected doors,
tables, screens, to shelter the advance, bundles of fagots to fill in
the ditches.

"Immediately," says Dunois (_quorum pars magna_, we may well believe),
"she crossed the river with the royal army and pitched tents close by
the wall, laboring with a diligence that not two or three most
experienced and renowned captains could have shown."

All night she worked, never pausing for an hour. When morning broke, the
burgesses of Troyes, looking over their battlements, saw an army in
storming array; saw in the very front a slender figure in white armor,
waving on her men.

"To the assault!" cried the Maid; and made a sign to fill the ditch with
fagots. At the sight the hearts of the men of Troyes turned to water.
They sent their Bishop to make terms, and the city opened its gates to
the Dauphin and the Maid.

Four days later the Bishop of Chalôns appeared with the keys of his
city, which the little Army of Triumph entered July 14th. At Chalôns
Joan found several men of Domrémy, who had come from the village to see
the glory of their own Maid. To one of them, her godfather, she gave a
red cap--or some say a robe--that she had worn; she was full of kindly
and neighborly words; told one of them who had been Burgundian in his
sympathies that she feared nothing but treachery. About this time she
said to the king, in Alençon's hearing, "Make good use of my time! I
shall hardly last longer than a year."

Two days after this, halting at Sept-Saule, the Dauphin received a
deputation from Rheims. The holy city had been strongly Anglo-Burgundian
till now; had vowed unshakable loyalty to John of Bedford and Philip of
Burgundy. But this was while Troyes still held out; Troyes, which had
"sworn on the precious body of Jesus Christ to resist to the death."
Now, Troyes had submitted, and her people wrote to those of Rheims
begging them to do likewise, assuring them that the Dauphin was
everything that was lovely and of good report; moreover, "_une belle
personne!_" Their own Archbishop wrote too, charging them to make
submission to their lawful prince. What was a holy city to do?

"Bow thy head meekly, O Sicambrian! adore----" was St. Remy speaking
again in the person of this peasant maid? Must the city of Clovis bow
like him, taking on new vows and forswearing old?

There seemed no help for it. Accordingly the deputation was sent,
inviting Charles to enter his loyal city of Rheims; and people began to
make ready for the coronation.

Rheims; Durocortorum of the Romans; an important town in the days of
Caesar, faithful to him and to his followers, and receiving special
favors in recognition of its fidelity.

The Vandals captured it in 406, and slew St. Nicasus; later, Attila and
his Huns visited it with fire and sword. Later still, as we know, it saw
the baptism of Clovis, and became the Holy City of France, where all her
kings would fain be crowned. Did not men say that the phial of oil used
in that kingly baptism by St. Rémy, and still preserved in his abbey,
was brought to him by a white dove, straight from heaven? Accordingly
the kings were crowned there, from Philip Augustus in 1180 to Charles X.
in 1824.

Now, on the seventeenth day of July, 1429, Charles of Valois, seventh of
that name, was to receive his solemn sacring, and to become king of
France _de jure_, if not yet _de facto_. The ceremony began at nine in
the morning.

"A right fair thing it was," wrote Pierre de Beauvais to the queen, "to
see that fair mystery, for it was as solemn and as well adorned with all
things thereto pertaining, as if it had been ordered a year before."[58]

First, a company of knights and nobles in full armor, headed by the
Maréchal de Boursac, rode out to meet the Abbot of St. Rémy, who came
from his abbey bringing the holy phial (_ampoule_). Then they all rode
into the cathedral, and alighted at the choir-gate. There met them
Charles the Dauphin, and presently received his consecration at the
hands of the Archbishop, and was anointed and crowned king of France.
The people shouted "_Noël!_" and blessed God for the auspicious day.

"And the trumpets sounded so that you might think the roofs would be
rent. And always during that mystery the Maid stood next the King, her
standard in her hand. A right fair thing it was to see the goodly
manners of the King and the Maid."[59]

D'Albert carried the Sword of State; Alençon gave the accolade. Guy de
Laval was there, and La Trémoïlle, and many others whose names we know;
all in their brightest armor, we may be sure, with much clanking of
swords and waving of banners. We hardly see them; all our eyes are for
the Maid (she also in full armor, as becomes a good soldier), as she
kneels before the King she has made, embracing his knees and weeping for

"Gentle King," she says, "now is accomplished the Will of God, who
decreed that I should raise the siege of Orleans and bring you to this
city of Rheims to receive your solemn sacring, thereby showing that you
are the true king, and that France shall be yours."

The chronicle adds, "And right great pity came upon all who saw her, and
many wept."

If this might have been the end! if she might have turned now, in the
hour of her triumph, her task accomplished, and the bidding of her
Voices done--have turned away from the warfare and the pomp, the cabals
and the intrigues, and gone back to Domrémy, to tend her sheep and mind
her spinning-wheel, and dream over "the great days done!"

Tradition has long held that this was the wish of her heart, and that
after the coronation she begged Charles to let her depart in peace, now
that her mission was ended. This legend seems to have no foundation in
fact; it probably sprang from the universal feeling; "Might it have
been!" We shall see, however, that somewhat later she expressed to
others her desire to depart. The relief of Orleans and the coronation of
the king were all, says Dunois, that she actually claimed as her
mission; beyond this all was vague. Still, the Voices said that the
English must be driven from French soil, and Joan was the last one to
take her hand from the plough while work was still to do. Forward then,
in God's name, since thus it must be!

I have never seen Rheims Cathedral, and now I shall never see it with
my bodily eyes; yet to me, as to all of this day and generation, it is
intimately familiar in both its aspects. First we see it the crown and
glory of Gothic architecture, the "frozen music," the "rugged lacework"
whose praises men have sung for seven hundred years, yet whose beauty
has never been expressed in words.

Next we see it--every child knows how. Let us not dwell upon it. One
thought brightens against the dark background of ruin and desolation.
Through all the four-years' agony of Rheims, while this sacred Heart of
her was crashing and splintering under the deadly shell-fire; while the
splendors of its great rose-window were tinkling in rainbow showers down
on its uptorn pavements; while the very lead from its roofs was dripping
down in those curious lengths and festoons of clinging particles which
men now call "the tears of Rheims," one thing remained untouched. Before
the Cathedral (which with its ruined and dying body seemed to shelter
her), quiet through the thunders of the bombardment, marble on her
marble steed, still sat the Maid of France.


[57] "Pictorial History of England," Knight, p. 88.

[58] Trans. A. Lang.

[59] Trans. A. Lang.



Charles of Valois was king of France. The first of Joan's appointed
tasks was fulfilled, and with clear faith and resolve she turned to the
second. The English must be driven from the soil of France. To this end,
the word was "Paris!" and on Paris, might the Maid have her way, the
king's conquering army should march forthwith.

She and Alençon had thought to set out the day after the coronation; but
on the very day of the ceremony, July 17th, came to Rheims an embassy
from Philip Duke of Burgundy, asking for a truce.

Joan greatly desired peace with Burgundy, knowing that there could be no
lasting victory without it. She had written to the Duke a month before
this, but had received no reply; now, on July 17th, she wrote again in
her simple direct fashion.

"High and mighty prince, duke of Burgundy, I, Joan the Maid, in the
name of the King of Heaven, my rightful and sovereign Lord, bid you and
the king of France make a good, firm peace, which shall endure. Do each
of you pardon the other, heartily and wholly, as loyal Christians
should, and, if you like to fight, go against the Saracens. Prince of
Burgundy, I pray and beseech and beg you as humbly as I may, that you
war no more on the holy kingdom of France, but at once cause your people
who are in any places and fortresses of this holy kingdom to withdraw;
and as for the gentle king of France, he is ready to make peace with you
if you are willing, saving his honor; and I bid you know, in the name of
the King of Heaven, my rightful and sovereign Lord, for your well-being
and your honor and on your life, that you will never gain a battle
against loyal Frenchmen; and that all who war in the holy kingdom of
France war against King Jesus, King of Heaven and all the earth, my
rightful and sovereign Lord. With folded hands I pray and beg you to
fight no battle and wage no war against us, neither you, your soldiers,
nor your people, for whatever number of soldiers you bring against us,
know of a surety that they shall gain nothing, but it will be a great
pity to see the great battle and the blood which will flow from those
who come there against us. Three weeks ago I wrote and sent you good
letters by a herald, bidding you to the king's consecration, which takes
place to-day, Sunday, the seventeenth of this present month of July, in
the city of Rheims, but I have had no answer, and have heard no news of
the herald. To God I commend you, and may He keep you, if it please Him,
and I pray God to bring about a good peace."[60]

The very day after came the Burgundian envoys, with peace on their lips.
Joan could not know that a few days before, while she and Charles were
before Troyes, Philip of Burgundy had entered Paris in person, and
standing beside John of Bedford had proclaimed his wrongs, telling again
the oft-told tale of his father's murder, and calling on the people of
Paris to swear allegiance to himself and Bedford. Having done this, he
dispatched his embassy to beguile Charles into a truce, which should
give him and the English time to make further preparations.

Charles was always ready to be beguiled. For the moment, however, the
tide of triumph and devotion was too strong for him. He was carried
hither and thither by it; to the abbey of St. Macoul, where he "touched"
for the King's Evil; to Soissons, the keys of which had been sent him in
due submission. Everywhere he was received with joyful acclamations;
everywhere the Maid rode before him, in the knight's or page's dress
which she affected when not in armor, trunks and short coat of rich
materials, well furred. What had become of the scarlet and green Orleans
costume we do not know; in any case she could not have worn it on

The way lay clear before them to Paris, only sixty miles distant. One
might think that even Charles VII. might have heard the Brazen Head of
the fable speak loud and clear: "_Time is!_"

But Charles was listening to the men of Burgundy, and dawdling, which
after all was the occupation he loved best. He spent four or five
precious days at Soissons, then dawdled across the Marne to Château
Thierry, where six hundred years later Yankee boys were to defend
gloriously that soil of France which he betrayed and insulted. At
Château Thierry he at least did one thing. On the last day of July "in
favor and at the request of our beloved Joan the Maid, considering the
great, high, notable and profitable service which she has rendered and
doth daily render us in the recovery of our kingdom," the king declared
the villages of Domrémy and Greux free from taxes forever. Through
nearly three hundred years the tax-gatherer's book bore these words,
written against the names of these two villages: "_Nothing; for the
Maid_." In the reign of Louis XV. this freedom, with many others, came
to an end.

As Charles loitered about the neighborhood, as contemptible a figure as
History can show in all her ample page, the delighted people still
flocked from neighboring towns and villages to do homage to him and the
Maid. Joan loved these plain country folk with their joyous greetings.
"What good devout people these are!" she exclaimed one day, as she rode
between Dunois and the archbishop of Rheims. "Never have I seen any
people who so greatly rejoiced over the coming of a king so noble. When
I come to die, I would well that it might be in these parts."

"Joan," said the archbishop, "is it known to you when you will die, and
at what place?"

Dunois, who rode at her bridle rein, reports her answer.

"Where it shall please God! Of the hour and the place I know no more
than you. I have done that which my Lord commanded me, to deliver
Orleans and have the gentle king crowned. Would that it might please God
my Creator to suffer me to depart at this time and lay down my arms, and
go to serve my father and mother in keeping their sheep, with my sisters
and brothers, who would be right glad to see me."

_And all the people shall say Amen!_

Was the good Maid beginning to have glimpses of the clay feet of her
idol? If so, she gave no sign. Her loyalty never wavered for an instant,
but she was bewildered--how should she not have been?--at the result of
her shining deeds. She had laid a kingdom at Charles's feet; he let it
lie there, and drifted from place to place, dragging her with him. On
August 5th she wrote a pathetic letter to the people of Rheims, doing
her poor best to reassure them, who saw their new crowned king
apparently deserting them.

"Dear and good friends," she says, "good and loyal Frenchmen, the Maid
sends you her greetings"; and goes on to assure them that she will never
abandon them while she lives. "True it is that the King has made a
fifteen days' truce with the Duke of Burgundy, who is to give up to him
the town of Paris on the fifteenth day. Although the truce is made, I am
not content, and am not certain that I will keep it. If I do, it will be
merely for the sake of the King's honor, and in case they do not deceive
the blood royal, for, I will keep the King's army together and in
readiness, at the end of the fifteen days, if peace is not made."[61]

Finally she bade the people trust her, and be of good heart--striving,
poor soul, to lift their hearts, while her own was sinking daily--and to
warn her if traitors should be found among them.

John of Bedford, one may think, was no less puzzled than the Maid. He
too saw the kingdom at those loitering, shambling feet; but he was not
the man to wait the pleasure of the shambler. He sent to England for
five thousand stout men-at-arms, and established them in Paris. One
division of this army bore a standard, in the centre of which appeared a
distaff filled with cotton, with a half-filled spindle hanging to it.
The field was set with empty spindles, and inscribed with the legend:
"Now, fair one, come!"

At the same time Bedford sent a letter to Charles from Montereau,
beginning, "You formerly self-styled Dauphin, and now calling yourself
King," charging him with receiving help from an abandoned and dissolute
woman, wearing men's apparel, and an apostate and seditious Friar;
"both, according to Holy Scripture, things abominable to God." The duke
begged the king to have pity on the unhappy people of France, and to
meet him at some convenient place, where terms of peace might be
discussed. It should be a true peace, not like that once made by Charles
at this very Montereau, just before he treacherously slew the duke of
Burgundy. Finally, Bedford challenged Charles to single combat (for
which probably no man in France, unless it were La Trémoïlle, had less
stomach) and appealed to the Almighty, who then as now was claimed as
bosom friend by all would-be autocrats. Having dispatched this letter,
which he hoped would sting Charles into action of some sort, John of
Bedford went back to Paris, and set his army in battle array before the
closed gates of the city.

Ever since the relief of Orleans, the English had not ceased to assure
Joan as occasion served, that whenever and wherever they could lay hands
on her they would burn her. The Maid was only too eager to give them
their chance.

"I cry, 'Go against the English!'" she exclaimed.

At last, after endless "to-ing and fro-ing," Joan and Alençon took
matters into their own hands, and started for Paris, leaving the king to
follow as he might. On August 14th they encountered Bedford at
Montépilloy, strongly intrenched, in an excellent position. The French
advanced to within two bowshots, and boldly defied him to battle. But
Bedford had no idea of giving them battle; forbade any general
sortie--but, on the French knights' advancing to the very walls,
shouting defiance--allowed a little genteel skirmishing here and there.
The Maid herself, when she saw that the foe would not come out, "rode to
the front, standard in hand and smote the English palisade." Nothing
came of it, except a few more skirmishes. Next day the French retreated,
thinking to draw their enemy out in pursuit; whereupon the wily Bedford
turned about and went back to Paris, "having faced without disaster a
superior French force, having encouraged his own troops, and shaken the
popular faith in Joan."[62]

Finding the English gone, Joan, Alençon, and Charles went to Compiègne,
which had recently sent in its submission, as had Beauvais and Senlis.

Compiègne received its precious king with apparent enthusiasm. With
these three towns secure, Joan's spirit rose again for a moment. Now, at
last, the way lay open. Forward to Paris, while time still was!

Charles found Compiègne a pleasant place, and saw no hurry; was busy,
moreover, coquetting again with Burgundy.

"The Maid was in grief," says the chronicle, "for the King's long
tarrying at Compiègne; and it seemed he was content, as was his wont,
with such grace as God had granted him, and would seek no further

Once more the Maid set out with her faithful army, this time really for
Paris, halting not till she reached St. Denis. No sooner was her back
turned than Charles and La Trémoïlle concluded a general truce, to begin
at once, August 28th, and to last till Christmas. The English might
benefit by it whenever they wished; while it lasted, no more cities
might submit to Charles, however much they might wish to do so. The
Peace Party had triumphed for the moment.

Meanwhile the Maid was at the gates of Paris; with the king's
permission, let us remember!

He allowed her to attack the city, practically at the same moment when
he agreed to recognize Burgundy as holding it against her. Who shall
read this riddle? The "Campaign of Dupes," as it has been called, has
puzzled historians from that day to this. For us, it is perhaps enough
to remember the inheritance of this wretched mortal, child of a mad
father and a bad mother. He had already signed the pact with Burgundy
when Alençon, after repeated efforts, finally succeeded in dislodging
him from his perch at Senlis, and dragged him as far as St. Denis. Here
he would be safe, and his near presence would hearten the troops. So
thought Joan and Alençon, and so it proved for the moment. There was
great rejoicing. "She will put the king in Paris," people said, "if he
will let her!" and the men of Orleans and Patay rode about and about the
city, examining the fortifications, seeking the best place for an
assault, and sending inflammatory messages to their friends inside the
walls, those who had once thrilled to the cry of "Armagnac!" and who
were now ready to rally to the white standard of the Maid.

September 8th was the Festival of the birth of St. Mary the Virgin. As a
rule, Joan did not like to fight on holy days; but the captains were
eager to attack, her Voices did not forbid, her military instinct bade
her strike. At eight in the morning, she, with old de Gaucourt and
Gilles de Rais, advanced against the gate of St. Honoré, while Alençon
with the reserve forces remained on guard in case of a possible sortie.

There are many accounts of this attack. A curious one is that of the
_Bourgeois de Paris_, whose _Journal_ throws so vivid a light on these
wild times. The Bourgeois was an ardent Burgundian, and had no good to
say of anything connected with the Armagnacs or their successors.

"Les Armenalx," he still calls the royal army; and tells how it appeared
before Paris with "a creature in the form of a woman, whom they called
the Maid." "They came," he said, "about the hour of High Mass, between
eleven and twelve, their Pucelle with them, and great store of chariots,
carts, and horses, all loaded with huge fagots to fill the fosses of
Paris, and began to assault between the gate of St. Honoré and the gate
St. Denis, and the assault was very cruel; and in attacking they said
many ill words to those of Paris. And there was their Pucelle with her
standard on the edge of the fosse crying to those of Paris, 'Yield you
in the name of Jesus, to us, and that quickly, for if you do not yield
before night, we shall enter by force, will you nill you, and all shall
be put to death without mercy.'"

These last words do not ring true; we know that Joan was always for
sparing life when it was possible. Another Anglo-Burgundian, Clément de
Fauquembergen, describes how the people, at news of the attack, fled
from the churches, where they were at prayers, and hid in their cellars;
while the defenders of the city took their stations on the walls and
made valiant defence, giving the assailants back shot for shot, bolt for

The first ditch was deep but dry, the second filled with water. Those
watching from the walls saw a slender white-clad figure spring forward
from the French ranks, lance in hand; saw it climb slowly and carefully
down and up the steep sides of the dry ditch, and stand on the brink of
the moat.

"The Maid! the Witch of Armagnac!" the murmur ran like flame along the
walls, and archers and gunners sprang to their posts and took careful
aim at the shining figure.

Serene, unmoved, amid a storm of bullets and arrows, the Maid stood
beside the water, probing its black depth with her lance; calling on her
men to follow her. So she stands for all time, one of the imperishable

Another moment, and a bolt from an arblast struck her down. Still, as
she lay bleeding from a wound in the thigh, she ceased not to cheer the
French on to the assault. Let them only fill the ditch, she cried, and
all would be well; the city would be theirs.

It was not to be. The garrison, seeing her fall, redoubled their volleys
of iron and stone; the assailants were weary, twilight was gathering,
and no radiant armor shone through the dusk to light them on. Now it was
night, and all but the Maid knew that the end had come. She, lying
beside the ditch, refusing to be moved, still cried for the charge,
still gave assurance of victory. At last, long after nightfall, Alençon
and de Gaucourt, unable to prevail upon her otherwise, lifted her out of
the fosse, set her on a horse, and rode back to the line.

"_Par mon martin_," she still cried, "the place would have been taken!"

One at least of the Burgundian chroniclers is of her mind. "Had anyone
in the king's command," he says, "been as manly as Joan, Paris would
have been in danger of capture; but none of the others could agree upon
the matter."

Next morning, Friday the ninth, the Maid sent for Alençon and implored
him to sound the trumpets and lead the assault. She would never leave
the spot, she vowed, till the city was taken. Alençon was willing
enough, and some of the captains with him; others demurred. While they
debated the matter, came messengers from the king, with orders for them
to return at once to St. Denis. La Trémoïlle had won, and Paris was

Sick at heart, the wounded Maid, with faithful Alençon beside her, rode
back, to find Charles busy with plans for retreat. Even Joan must now,
one would think, have realized that all was over; yet the two comrades
made one last gallant effort. The south wall of Paris might be less
strong than that near the gate of St. Honoré. Alençon had already built
a bridge across the Seine near St. Denis; how if they crossed this
bridge with a chosen few and surprised the town?

Early next morning they rode forth on their perilous venture--to find
the bridge destroyed by order of the king.

Now indeed Joan tasted the bitterness of defeat. She spoke no word, but
her action spoke for her. She hung up her armor before the statue of the
Virgin Mother in the cathedral.

Her Voices bade her stay in St. Denis, but for once she must disobey
them, obedience not being in her power. Three days later Charles left
the place, dragging his followers with him. A hasty march back to the
Loire, and on September 21st the king dined at Gien, well out of the way
of English and Burgundians.

"And thus," says the chronicle, "were broken the will of the Maid and
the army of the king."


[60] Lowell, pp. 161 and 162.

[61] Translated by Andrew Lang.

[62] Lowell, pp. 168 and 169.



At Gien, the little old town where Charlemagne's castle frowned down
upon the peaceful Loire, was bitter wrangling in the days that followed.
La Trémoïlle had got his truce, and meant to enjoy it; Alençon's lance
was still in rest; he demanded another campaign, in Normandy this time,
and the Maid to lead it with him. Joan, with unerring glance, saw the
thing that should be done. Let her go to the Isle of France, and from
that spot of vantage cut off the supplies of Paris as they came down the
river, and so reduce the city! Both these requests were put by. La
Trémoïlle did not mean that Alençon and the Maid should ever fight side
by side again. He had his way; the fiery duke, deprived of his command,
left the court in anger, and retired to his estate. No sooner was he
gone, than Charles disbanded the army, and fell to his dawdling again.
Once more the Brazen Head had spoken: "_Time was!_"

Hither and yon he drifted, a dead leaf skipping before the wind; with
him, would she or no, went the Maid. Her bright arms were dimmed now by
defeat, but still she was valuable--and dangerous! Charles was not yet
ready to give her up; La Trémoïlle did not dare to let her go; she
drifted with the rest. At Selles the queen met her precious spouse, and
together they drifted to Bourges. Here Joan was lodged in the house of
Marguerite La Touroulde, a gentlewoman of the queen's train, and stayed
there some weeks, praying often in the churches, giving to the poor,
bearing herself, as ever, simply and modestly. Girls brought her their
rosaries, begging her to touch them. "Touch them yourselves!" she said
laughing. "They will get as much good from your touch as from mine."

She talked much with her kindly hostess, as they sat together in the
house, or went to and from mass and confession. Dame Margaret suggested
that probably Joan's courage in battle came from the knowledge that she
would not be killed.

"I have no such knowledge," said the Maid; "no more than anybody else."

This good woman testified later that Joan gave freely to the poor and
with a glad heart, saying, "I am sent for the comfort of the poor and
needy." Testified also that the Maid was "very simple and innocent,
knowing almost nothing except in affairs of war."[63]

Meantime, Charles and La Trémoïlle were holding councils, after their
manner. What to do, with affairs in general, with the Maid in
particular? They must not stir up Burgundy; it would be well to let the
English alone just now, while the truce held; yet here was this little
saintly firebrand, demanding persistently to be allowed to save the
kingdom! Who wanted to save the kingdom? Certainly not La Trémoïlle. At
last, after much cogitation, he hit on a project, at once safe and
promising. Here were two little river towns, La Charité and St. Pierre
le Moustier, conveniently near by, held for Burgundy by two soldiers of
fortune, Perrinet Grasset (who began life a mason), and Francis of
Surienne, a Spaniard, uncle of that Rodrigo Borgia who was later to
disedify Christendom as Pope Alexander VI. La Trémoïlle had a grudge
against Grasset; had been captured by him once upon a time, and made to
pay a large ransom, to his great inconvenience. Why not get up an
expedition against these two places, and send the Maid in charge? If she
succeeded, well; if not--still well enough! She would be discredited,
and little harm done. They did not actually need La Charité and St.
Pierre le Moustier, though they would be handy possessions against
possible breaking of the truce.

La Trémoïlle proposed, Charles and the Council assented. Joan, poor
child, welcomed any chance for action. Late in October she left Bourges,
and with her, as titular commander, Charles of Albret, brother-in-law
and follower of La Trémoïlle, yet withal a good soldier, who had fought
with her at Patay.

St. Pierre le Moustier stood high on its steep bluff over the river
Allier: a strong little town, well placed, well fortified, well
garrisoned. Albret and Joan invested it in regular form, and after a
week of bombardment, having made a practicable breach, orders were given
for an assault. The French advanced gallantly, but could make no head
against the fire of the defenders. They wavered, began to fall back. But
they had to reckon with the Maid, unwounded this time, and feeling her
power come upon her. Standing on the edge of the fosse, as she had stood
at Paris, she called upon her men to come forward to the assault. They
hesitated; for a few moments she stood there almost alone, with only two
or three lances about her, among them probably her two brothers, who
never deserted her.[64]

D'Aulon, her faithful squire, had been wounded, and stood at a little
distance, leaning on his crutches and looking on. Seeing, as he thought,
all lost for the time being, he managed to get on his horse, and riding
up to the Maid, asked why she stood there in peril of her life, instead
of retreating with the others.

Raising the visor of her helmet, Joan looked him full in the face. "I am
not alone!" she said quietly. "With me are fifty thousand of my own, and
I will not leave this spot till the town is taken."

A strange answer; d'Aulon was a literal-minded youth. He looked about
him, bewildered. "Whatever she might say," he says in telling the story,
"she had only four or five men with her, I know it for certain, and so
do several others who looked on; so I urged her to go back with the
rest. Then she bade me tell them to bring fagots and fascines to bridge
the moat, and she herself in a clear voice gave the same order."

Was it the sight of her? When they failed at Paris, was it because the
white-clad figure lay unseen in the fosse, though the brave piteous
voice still rang like a trumpet through that twilight of despair?
D'Aulon thought it a miracle, as would most people of his time. All in a
moment, it seemed, the thing was done; the moat bridged, the troops over
it, the town stormed and taken "with no great resistance."

Yet once more, Joan, before your year is over, before your bright day
darkens into night! St. John's Day is near.

At La Charité there were no shining deeds; no victory of any sort. For a
month the French army lay before the place, and once an assault was
attempted; but the weather was bad, the men weary, hungry, dispirited;
briefly, it was November instead of October. Charles, though he had
given Joan money for the poor of Bourges, had none for feeding and
clothing his army. The town must have yielded soon, men thought, since
no one came to succor it; but the French could neither besiege nor
assault on empty stomachs, and the siege was abandoned. Charles, as a
sugarplum to console the heartsick Maid, conferred a patent of nobility
on her and all her family; "that the memory of the divine glory and of
so many favors may endure and increase forever."

It was a pretty stone, to take the place of bread. A shining quartz
pebble, shall we say? Or that curious thing called iron pyrite, which
has been taken for gold before now, in a good light and by the right
kind of person. Joan paid little heed to it; would never change her
sacred devices, the Annunciation, the Crucifixion, the Creator on his
throne, for any other; but her brothers set up a shield, with two lilies
on it, and between these a sword supporting a crown. Yes, and they
called themselves "Du Lys" instead of "D'Arc." This was all they got; I
have not heard that the king so much as offered to pay for painting the
new shield. The city of Orleans took a different view of matters, and
endowed the mother of its own Maid with a pension which made her
comfortable for life.

We know little of this winter of sorrow, the last in which Joan of Arc
was to breathe free air. She spent part of it in Orleans, where the
faithful people made much of her as usual; part at Mehun on the Yevre,
where Charles kept his winter court. The truce with Burgundy had been
extended to Easter 1430. John of Bedford had been kindly invited to
share it, but declined, and kept up a lively guerilla warfare in
Normandy. There was more or less fighting around Paris, too; but with
that we have no special concern.

At Mehun there was nothing for Joan to do. She was no courtier; she was
not wanted at the Councils over which the fatuous King and his fat
favorite presided. Since Paris and La Charité, the crowd did not flock
so eagerly to see her. Indeed, people began to talk about other
wonderful women who appeared about this time. Catherine of La Rochelle,
for example, had been visited by a lady in white and gold, who bade her
ask the king for heralds and trumpeters and go about the country
raising money. She had, it appeared, the secret of finding hidden
treasure. How, people asked, if here were a new revelation? The Maid's
was an old story by this time. Moreover, there were rumors of other
Pucelles here and there; and at Monlieu, as was well known, lived a real
saint, St. Colette, who could make the sun rise three hours late, and
play--in a saintly way--the mischief with the laws of Nature generally.

Our Maid was at Monlieu that very November; she may have met St.
Colette, and talked with her of matters human and divine; who knows?

We do know that she met Catherine of La Rochelle, who came to Mehun that
autumn or winter; and that she advised the lady to go home, see to her
household (she was a married woman), and take care of her children.
Catherine in return advised Joan not to go to La Charité, "because it
was much too cold." Evidently, a lady who liked her little comforts.
Joan asked St. Catherine about her namesake, and was told that her story
was nonsense. Still, the two women had much talk together. The
Rochellaise had high ambitions, was not in the least minded to go home
to husband and children. She wanted to go in person to Philip of
Burgundy and make peace; she wanted to prophesy for the king; like Nick
Bottom, she would play the lion, too. Joan seems to have been patient
with her; sat up all one night in her company, to see the lady in white
and gold, who failed to appear. We need not concern ourselves further
with Catherine of La Rochelle, though Brother Richard, the Franciscan,
admired her greatly, and would fain have set her up on a pedestal beside
Joan. She faded away presently, and is visible to-day only by a little
reflected light from the flare of the Maid.

Winter came to an end at last, and with it the truce. Philip of Burgundy
resumed hostilities, and Joan burnished her white armor, and laid her
lance in rest with right good will. The end was near; all the more would
she fight the good fight, so long as she was permitted.

About this time the people of Rheims wrote to her in great alarm,
begging for help. Their captain had abandoned them, and gone no one knew
whither. They had discovered a conspiracy, headed by Pierre Cauchon,
Bishop of Beauvais and Joan's inveterate enemy, to deliver them up to
the English. The discovery was made in time, but who could tell what new
dangers might await them?

Joan wrote from Sully on March 16th, promising speedy help, and bidding
them be of good heart, and man their walls in case of attack.

"You should have other good news," she says, "whereat you would rejoice,
but I fear lest this fall into other hands."

A few days later she wrote again, assuring them that all Brittany was
French at heart, and that its duke would shortly send to the king three
thousand soldiers, paid two months in advance.

In late March or early April she took a new step. After months of
waiting, after vigils of anguished prayer such as we can only feebly
imagine, she decided to wait no longer for the king, but strike by
herself one more blow for the country. She looked for no help of man;
she had no encouragement from Heaven. Her Voices were not silent, but
they spoke vaguely, confusedly; prophesied ultimate deliverance of
France, but said nothing of her being the deliverer; seemed dimly to
hint at some forthcoming disaster.

Taking no leave of king or Council (although it seems probable that
Charles knew of and consented to her departure), receiving no direction
from saint or angel, she rode out from Sully with her "military
household," four or five lances, among them her brothers and the
ever-faithful D'Aulon. At Lagny she found a little band of men-at-arms
who were ready to fight for France; they joined forces, and rode on
toward Paris. There, the Maid always knew, lay the key of the situation;
there, at what Philip of Burgundy called "the heart of the mystical body
of the kingdom," the final blow must be struck.

The chronicles have little or nothing to say about this journey; we know
that about Easter, April 16th, she came to Melun, and that the city,
hearing of her approach, rose suddenly upon its Anglo-Burgundian
garrison, drove them out of town, and opened wide its gates to the Maid.
Here was good fortune indeed. Joan crossed the Seine, and entered the
town amid general rejoicings. However it might be in Royal Councils,
the heart of France still honored and loved its Pucelle.

After such deep and manifold humiliations, Joan might well have been
strengthened in spirit as she stood on the ramparts of Melun on a
certain day in Easter week. Among the many pictures of her, I like to
conjure up this one; to see her standing there, leaning on her lance
(she was on sentry duty), looking out toward that "Isle of France" on
whose edge she now stood; no "isle" in reality, but the quaintly-named
province whose heart was Paris. I can see her uplifted look, her
kindling eyes, can almost hear the deep-drawn breath of high resolve and

And then the blow fell.

She had always known that her time was short, that she had been given
little more than a year to fulfill her task; knew moreover, only too
bitterly well, how much of the short time had been frittered away in
spite of all her efforts; yet she had hoped against hope that she might
be permitted to finish her allotted task.

The Voices, I have said, had been confused of late; hinting at coming
danger, but specifying nothing. Now, as she stood on the rampart of
Melun that April day, they suddenly broke the silence, speaking loud and
clear. No one but herself may tell the story; hear her tell it to her
judges, a year later:

"As I was on the ramparts of Melun, St. Catherine and St. Margaret
warned me that I should be captured before Midsummer Day; that so it
must needs be; nor must I be afraid and astounded; but take all things
well, for God would help me. So they spoke, almost every day. And I
prayed that when I was taken I might die in that hour, without
wretchedness of long captivity; but the Voices said that so it must be.
Often I asked the hour, which they told me not; had I known the hour I
would not have gone into battle."[65]

These were the same Voices that had called the peasant girl from her
quiet home at Domrémy; the same that with trumpet note had sent her on
from victory to victory, through the burning days of Orleans and Patay;
now, as clear and loud, they pronounced her doom. She heard, and bowed
her head before the heavenly will in meek acceptance.

Is not this perhaps the most wonderful part of all the heroic story?
She never thought of escape; it never occurred to her to lay down the
sword. If it had been so willed, she would have held her hand for one
hour, would have kept her chamber at the moment of fate, if haply it
might pass and leave her free for further effort; since that was not to
be, forward in God's name! There were still some good hours left.

Only one step higher, good Maid! that final step in Rouen Old Market,
which shall take thee home to thy Father's house.

From Melun she rode to Lagny (whence the news of her presence spread to
Paris, causing great alarm), and in that neighborhood had several
skirmishes with the English, with little advantage to either side; and
so, by-and-by, in mid-May, she came to Compiègne.

I make no apology for dwelling a little on these French towns which
might--reverently be it said--be called the Stations of the Maid. Every
rod of French ground is now and for all time sacred to us and to all
lovers of Liberty.

Originally a hunting-lodge of the Frankish kings; the Romans called it
Compendium. Charles the Bald built two castles there, and a Benedictine
abbey whose inmates received (and kept down to the 18th century), "the
privilege of acting for three days as lords of Compiègne, with full
power to release prisoners, condemn the guilty, and even inflict
sentence of death."

The abbey church treasured the dust of three kings; possessed also a
famous organ, the oldest in France, given by Constantine Copronymus
(whoever he was!) to Pepin the Short. Louis the Debonair was deposed at
Compiègne. In its palace, Louis XV. received Marie Antoinette as his
daughter-in-law, Napoleon I. received Marie Louise as his Empress. In
the nineteenth century it was for many years the favorite resort of
Napoleon III. and his court during the hunting season.

The memory pictures of this latter time are brilliant enough. Lovely
Empresses, Eugenie with her matchless shoulders, Elizabeth, the "Violet
of Austria" with her glorious hair, sweep through the famous forest in
their long riding habits. Hunting horns sound the _morte_ and the
_hallali_; officers in scarlet and gold hold high counsel with others in
gold and green. All very gay, very bright; but these pictures shift and
change like a kaleidoscope. Presently they vanish. Half a century
passes, as a watch in the night. Compiègne looks from her girdling
towers and sees a gray tide rush forward, seething and boiling, almost
to her very walls; sees it met, stemmed, by a barrier of blue and brown,
slender, but immovable; hears the words which shall ring through all
centuries to come:

"_On ne passe pas!_"

Burgundy greatly desired Compiègne; would have had it before this, but
for the stout hearts of its citizens. It was in Compiègne that the truce
was signed, and Duke Philip asked explicitly that the city be given up
to him while the compact held. Charles and La Trémoïlle were willing;
anything to oblige! The citizens were bidden to open their gates to the
soldiers of Burgundy. Their first answer was to bar and double-bar the
said gates; their second, to send respectful messages to their king.
They were his true and loyal subjects; their bodies and their
possessions were his for all faithful service; but the duke of Burgundy
hated them because of their loyalty to the king's Majesty, and they
would in nowise let him in; would destroy themselves sooner.

The order was repeated; the gates remained closed. Philip of Burgundy
stormed; Charles was very sorry, but did not see what he could do about
it; offered Philip Pont St. Maxence instead. Philip took the gift, fully
intending to have Compiègne too; and bided his time. He was busy that
winter of 1429-30, marrying a new wife (his third, Isabella of
Portugal), and founding the order of the Golden Fleece; all this with
much pomp of tournament and procession. With spring came the end of the
truce, and the duke took the field at once with a large army. Now he
would have Compiègne, whether she would or no; would also overrun the
Isle de France, and relieve Paris, which still went in fear of its life
from the "Armagnacs," as Parisians still called the Royalist party.

Before the middle of May Philip was encamped before refractory
Compiègne, with only the Oise between. Matters now marched swiftly. The
Oise was deep, could not be forded; to take the city they must first
take Choisy-le-Bac, on the opposite side of the river, and come at
Compiègne from the rear. As it happened, the French about this time were
making a somewhat similar plan. They meant to take Pont l'Evêque, now in
English hands, with its strong defences and its bridge across the Oise.
This secured, they too would make a flank movement, circumvent the
enemy, and cut his line of communication across the river.

On May 13th the Maid entered Compiègne from the south, and was cordially
received. Here she met for the last time the Archbishop of Rheims, her
false friend, soon to become her declared enemy. On the 14th she
attacked Pont l'Evêque, but the place was too strong for her little
band. On the 16th, Choisy-le-Bac yielded to the Burgundians, and Joan
returned to Compiègne. No thoroughfare!

Her only way now, as Burgundy had foreseen, was by the bridge of
Soissons over the Aisne, thirty miles and more away. To Soissons, then,
in God's name! She set out without delay, the Archbishop riding with
her, and all her troop; reached Soissons--to find the gates shut. The
traitor who held the city for France, a Picard, by name Bournel, was
even then making his arrangements with Burgundy. He refused to open the
gates to his master's troops, and shortly after sold his city for four
thousand _salus d'or_. The bill of sale is extant, and should be curious

On meeting this check, the French army broke up into different parties.
Joan determined to return to Compiègne; was already on her way thither
when she heard that Burgundy and the Earl of Arundel were encamped
before it. Her company was only two hundred men, commanded by one
Baretta, a soldier of no wide renown. Alas! where was Dunois? Where La
Hire, Xaintrailles? Where her friend and brother-in-arms, the gentle
duke of Alençon? All gone! Some of them before Paris, keeping the
Bourgeois and his like in daily terror of their lives; some, it may be,
with their precious king, who about this time made the discovery (and
told the people of Rheims, as an astounding piece of news!) that
Burgundy did not really mean to make peace, and was definitely on the
side of their enemies.

At midnight of May 22nd, the Maid left Crépy with her band, and rode
rapidly through the forest. The soldiers themselves seem to have been
disheartened at the prospect before them. "We are but a handful!" they
told her. "How can we pass through the armies of England and Burgundy?"

"_Par mon martin!_" cried Joan; "we are enough. I am going to see my
good friends at Compiègne."

That was a wild ride through the midnight forest. Fancy, always at her
tricks, tempts me to make it even wilder; to tamper with the Shuttle,
and set the Loom astray. How if the centuries should in some way juggle
themselves together, and the Nineteenth come sweeping along with hound
and horn before the eyes of the Maid? What would she make, I wonder, of
those two lovely ladies, her of the shoulders and her of the silken
tresses? What in return would they make of the slim rider in battered
armor, urging her horse to the gallop? They would probably give orders
to have her arrested for disturbing the royal sport.

But how if, instead of these, it might have been given her, as part of
her reward from Heaven, to come upon that other band, in armor not
wholly unlike her own (seeing that our To-day must needs snatch from
Yesterday anything and everything that may still avail to help); that
band in brown and blue, who hold the line against the onrushing waves of
the Gray Tide? How then? She scans the Line; her keen eyes lighten, then
grow bewildered. France? Yes; but--England beside her? Friends then?
Allies? _À la bonne heure!_ The word?

"_On ne passe pas!_" and the Maid ranges herself beside those steadfast
figures immovable; and "They" do not pass.

Shuttle and Loom to their proper places once more; back to May 22nd,

Joan was right. Her little troop was enough, for no one molested them,
the enemy not having yet reached that neighborhood. They came to
Compiègne about sunrise of May 23rd, and once more were joyfully

How Joan spent that last fateful day we know not from any chronicle; we
may be sure that she prayed, and heard mass if mass were to hear; we may
hope she had some rest, for she needed it sorely. We may well believe,
too, that she listened for her Voices, hoping for counsel and--if it
might be--cheer; but the Voices were silent. She was alone now.
Nevertheless, she said afterward, had the heavenly counsellors bidden
her go out, saying plainly that she would be captured, she would still
have gone. In another mood, it is true, after imprisonment, and with
death close upon her, she thought that had she known the hour, she might
have kept her chamber during it; but the first is the true mood, for all
who know her.

At five in the afternoon she rode out to attack the nearest Burgundian
outpost, at the village of Margny, opposite the bridge-head on the
northern side of the river. Boldly she rode her gray charger, in full
armor, wearing a surcoat of scarlet and gold, followed by her four or
five hundred men-at-arms, horse and foot. The enemy, taken by surprise,
scattered in disorder. All might have gone well, had not John of
Luxembourg, commander of Flemings at Clairoix hard by, chosen this
moment to visit the Burgundian captain in charge of Margny. Seeing the
skirmish, and his brother officer in difficulties, he dashed to the
rescue, sending back meanwhile to his own camp for reinforcements.
Another moment and the tide had turned. The French were surrounded, set
upon, cut down, routed. The Maid tried desperately to rally them; cried
her brave battle cry, waved her shining standard. What mortal could do,
she did.

"Beyond the nature of woman," says Chastellain, the Burgundian
chronicler, "she did great feats, and took great pains to save her
company from loss, staying behind them like a captain, and like the
bravest of the troop."

Twice she charged the men of Luxembourg and drove them back. In vain!
the hour was come.

She was alone now, save for her brothers, d'Aulon, and the faithful few,
her bodyguard. These could not save her. Round her, like hounds about a
deer at bay, leaped and shouted the Burgundian soldiers, all eager for
the rich quarry. She was dragged from her horse, beaten to earth.
D'Aulon and the rest tried to help her up, but were overwhelmed by
numbers and made prisoners, every man of them.

"Yield thee, Pucelle!" cried a dozen voices, as a dozen brawny hands
clutched the slight form and held it fast, fast.

Joan raised herself, and looked round on her exulting foes, conquered
yet unafraid.

"I have pledged my faith to Another than you!" she said. "To Him I will
keep my oath."

So to the will of God she surrendered, who had never yielded to man, and
laid down at His feet her glorious sword.


[63] Lang, p. 190.

[64] They joined her probably at Orleans; little more is known about

[65] A. Lang, p. 203.



     "Bishop of Beauvais! because the guilt-burthened man is in dreams
     haunted by the most frightful of his crimes ... you also, entering
     your final dream, saw Domrémy.... My lord, have you no counsel?
     'Counsel I have none; in heaven above, or on earth beneath,
     counsellor there is none now that would take a brief from _me_; all
     are silent.'

     "Is it, indeed, come to this? Alas! the time is short, the tumult
     is wondrous, the crowd stretches away into infinity, but yet I will
     search in it for somebody to take your brief; I know of somebody
     that will be your counsel. Who is this that cometh from Domrémy?
     Who is she that cometh in bloody coronation robes from Rheims? Who
     is she that cometh with blackened flesh from walking the furnaces
     of Rouen? This is she, the shepherd girl, counsellor that had none
     for herself, whom I choose, Bishop, for yours. She it is, I engage,
     that shall take my lord's brief. She it is, Bishop, that would
     plead for you; yes, Bishop, SHE--when heaven and earth are silent."

     _--De Quincey._

We need not dwell upon the joy of English and Burgundians, or of their
French sympathizers: it was as rapturous as it was savage. John of
Luxembourg, a typical soldier of fortune, had but one idea, that of
turning his prisoner to good account. Who would pay most for her?

While the matter was pending, Joan was hurried from castle to castle,
from prison to prison. Clairoix, the headquarters of Luxembourg, was not
strong enough to hold her; she might escape, or there might be a rescue.
She was sent to Beaulieu, and thence to Beaurevoir, where she stayed
from June to September. Here she was in the kind hands of three ladies,
all bearing her own name; Jeanne of Luxembourg, aunt of her captor;
Jeanne of Bethune, Viscountess of Meaux, his wife, and her daughter
Jeanne of Bar. These good ladies befriended the captive Maid: gave her
the last womanly comfort and tendance she was to receive; begged her to
put on woman's dress, and brought stuff to make it. Joan was grateful,
but shook her head. She had no leave yet from God to do this: the time
was not come. She would have done it, she said later, had her duty
permitted, for these ladies rather than for any soul in France except
her queen.

Harmond de Macy, a knight who saw the Maid at Beaurevoir and who offered
her familiarities which she gravely repulsed, has left his impressions
of her on record.

"She was of honest conversation in word and deed," he says: and adds at
the end of his testimony, given after her death, "I believe she is in

Joan would give no parole. She steadfastly maintained her right to
escape if she might. Here at Beaurevoir she made her one attempt to do
so, moved thereto largely by anxiety for the people of Compiègne, now
besieged. She was told that if the town were taken all the people over
seven years of age would be put to death. This she could not bear. In
vain her Voices dissuaded her: in vain St. Catherine almost daily
forbade it. "I would rather die than live," said the Maid, "after such a
massacre of good people."

Evading her jailers one day, she leapt from the tower, a height of sixty
feet. Wonderful to relate, no bones were broken, but she was found
insensible, and taken back to prison. For several days she could neither
eat nor drink. Then, she told her judges later, St. Catherine comforted
her, bidding her make confession and ask God's forgiveness for the leap.
The saint told her that Compiègne would be relieved before Martinmas,
as in fact came to pass.

"Then," she says, "I revived, and took food, and soon was well."

She denied having expected death from the leap: she had hoped to escape,
partly to help Compiègne, partly because she was sold to the English.

"I would rather die," she said, "than fall into the hands of my English

She was to do both. English and French were of one mind. The former were
headed (in this matter) by the Earl of Warwick, the latter by Pierre
Cauchon, Bishop of Beauvais. This man had been disappointed, through
Joan's successes, in certain private ambitions. He pursued her from
first to last with incredible fury and persistence; it was through his
efforts that John of Luxembourg was enabled to sell her (despite the
earnest prayers of the aged Jeanne de Luxembourg) to England for ten
thousand livres; it was he who conducted her trial and brought her to
her death.

From Beaurevoir she was taken to Arras; thence, after one night at the
castle of Drugy, to Crotoy by the sea: and so, in November of 1430, she
came to Rouen.

They took her to the old castle built by Philip Augustus in 1205; used
in the days of the English occupation as a prison for "prisoners of war
and treasonable felons." Of this structure, with its six towers,
demi-tower and donjon, only one vestige remains, the "_Tour Jeanne
d'Arc_," a bulk of solid masonry one hundred feet high, forty feet in
diameter, with walls twelve feet thick. You may visit it to-day; may
stand in the dark cell, and see the iron cage in which, according to
some authorities, the Maid was at first confined. During most of the
time she was chained to a log of wood, her fetters loosened only when
she was taken into court. She was guarded day and night by English
men-at-arms, most of them common and brutal soldiers. She had no moment
of solitude, no shadow of privacy. Her days were anguish, her nights
terror; yet though her gaolers jeered, bullied, baited her with every
foul jest and bitter insult, she kept the virgin treasure of her soul
and of her body.

One day the Earls of Stafford and Warwick came to see her, and with them
John of Luxembourg who sold her, and Haimond de Macy. The latter tells
of the interview, saying that Luxembourg offered to ransom her if she
would swear never to bear arms again.

"In God's name, you mock me!" said the Maid. "I know well that you have
neither the will nor the power."

Luxembourg repeating his offer, she put him aside with: "I know these
English will put me to death, thinking to win the kingdom of France when
I am no more. But were they a hundred thousand more _Godons_ than they
are, they should not have the kingdom."

At this Stafford drew his dagger and would have stabbed her (she, poor
soul, asking no better!), but Warwick held his hand. This latter noble,
son-in-law of Warwick, the kingmaker, and called by some "the Father of
Courtesy," was eager for the burning of Joan; it was, in his opinion,
the only fitting end for her. No clean stab of an honorable dagger for
the witch of the Armagnacs!

So we come to the Trial, about which so many books have been written;
over which churchmen and statesmen, French and English, have wrangled
through nigh upon six hundred years. I shall dwell on it so much as
seems absolutely necessary, and no more.

On January 9th, 1431, Pierre Cauchon, Bishop of Beauvais, master of the
bloodhounds in this glorious hunt, summoned his council. There were two
judges, the bishop himself and Le Maître, Vice Inquisitor in the diocese
of Rouen. The latter, after the first month, sat unwillingly; his
conscience was not clear; he would fain be rid of the whole matter. The
orders of the Chief Inquisitor, however, were strict; he sat on, ill at
ease. The rest of the Council were clerks and "assessors"; all clerics
of name and fame, canons of Rouen, abbots, learned doctors. You may
easily learn their names, yet methinks they are best forgotten. Their
number varied from day to day; sometimes there were forty, again there
would be but six; most of them were French, but there were one or two
Englishmen among them.

On February 20th, Joan of Arc, known as the Maid, was summoned to appear
before this Council. She begged to be allowed to hear mass first, but
was refused. On the 21st, she was brought before her judges in the
chapel of the castle.

We may fancy the scene. Priests and prelates in goodly array of furred
robes, episcopal crosses, and the like, sitting in half-circle, with
bent brows and grim looks. Before their scandalized eyes, a slim girl in
page's dress of black, her dark hair cut short, her face worn with
watching and fasting, white with prison pallor.

She is accused of witchcraft, and dealings with familiar spirits; of
wearing man's clothes (see them on the wench this moment!); of attacking
Paris; of attempting suicide; of allowing ignorant people to worship her
as a saint or holy person; of stealing a bishop's horse; of pretending
to work miracles. One or two other charges were added in the course of
the trial to this heavy list.

To begin with, the prisoner was commanded to give a full account of
herself and her pretended mission. Joan was prepared for this. The
Voices were with her in prison throughout the trial, counseling,
warning, consoling. Sometimes she merely felt the blessed presences
about her; sometimes they spoke plainly, even dictating her answers;
always bidding her "answer boldly and God would help her."

Called upon to be sworn, she refused to take an unqualified oath. She
did not know on what subjects they might question her.

"You may ask me things which I will not tell you. As to revelations to
my King I will not speak though you should cut off my head."

She finally took a qualified oath, agreeing to speak plainly on such
subjects as her conscience allowed. She would not repeat the Lord's
Prayer (a favorite test of witchcraft; a witch, as everyone knew, could
only say it backward!), save in confession; she would in no wise swear
or promise to refrain from trying to escape; she had given no _parole_,
and it was the right of every prisoner. She answered readily enough the
questions concerning her birth, parentage, and so on.

She was interrupted every moment by some fresh question or rebuke. The
notary Manchon, who was reporting the meeting, refused to act if things
were not better ordered; he was an honest man, and reported Joan's words
correctly, which was not the case with some other clerks present.

On the second day she came fasting to her trial, for it was Lent. She
had eaten but once the day before. Massieu, the doorkeeper, seems to
have been, like the notary, a decent man, and was wont to let her stop
and pray on her way from cell to chapel, before the door of the chapel.
One Estivet, a prison spy (_mouton_), and tool of Cauchon's, rebuked him
fiercely for this leniency. "Rascal," he said, "how dare you let that
excommunicate wretch come so near the church? If you persist, you shall
be shut up yourself, in a tower where you shall not see sun or moon for
a month."

Massieu, according to his own account, paid no heed to this threat, but
continued to allow the Maid to kneel before the closed door of the holy

On the third day, after long and puerile questionings about the
supposititious fairies of her childhood and the Voices of her early
girlhood, she was asked suddenly, "Do you consider that you are in a
state of grace?"

Here was a good strong trap, well laid and baited. If she answered
"Yes," she was guilty of presumption in holy matters; if "No," her own
mouth spoke her condemnation. Quietly the Maid uttered what her
historian calls her inspired reply. "If I am not in grace, may God bring
me thither; if I am, God keep me there."[66]

Considering her steadfast and valiant bearing throughout these days of
trial, we may well believe that the God she adored gave her strength and
constancy. She had no earthly friend. The only person who visited her in
the guise of human kindness was a spy of the Inquisition, one Loiseleur,
a canon of Chartres and Rouen, and a close friend and ally of Cauchon.
This base wretch, set on by his chief and the Earl of Warwick, did visit
the Maid in her cell, in accordance with a mandate of the Inquisition
which reads: "Let no one approach the heretic, unless it be from time to
time two faithful and skilful persons, who shall act as if they had pity
on him, and shall warn him to save himself by confessing his errors,
promising him, if he does so, that he shall not be burned."

Loiseleur came in layman's dress, telling Joan that he was a man of
Lorraine, her friend and that of France. He was full of interest and
solicitude. The Voices gave no warning, and the lonely girl talked with
him far more freely than with her judges. He would gently lead the
subject to some point which was to be brought up the next day, and on
his report the Council would frame its questions. Manchon, the notary,
was asked to establish himself in a closet hard by, where he could hear
and take down the words of the prisoner; this, to his lasting honor, he
indignantly refused to do, saying he would report what was said in open
court and nothing else.

The days dragged on, and the weeks; weeks of prayer, of fasting, of
torment. On March 14th she was interrogated concerning her leap from the
tower of Beaurevoir. Was it true that after her fall she had blasphemed
God and her saints?

Not of her consciousness, she replied. "God and good confession" knew;
she had no knowledge of what she might have said in delirium. St.
Catherine had promised her help, how or when she knew not.

"Generally, the Voices say that I shall be delivered through great
victory; and furthermore they say, 'Take all things peacefully; heed
not thine affliction. Thence thou shalt come at last into the kingdom of

The judges took up this question delightedly; it was one after their own
hearts. Did she, they asked, feel assurance of salvation?

"As firmly as if I were in heaven already."

"Do you believe that, _after this revelation_, you could not sin

"I know not. I leave it to God."

"Your answer (about her assurance of salvation) is very weighty."

"I hold it for a very great treasure."

"What with your attack on Paris on a holy day, your behavior in the
matter of the Bishop's hackney, your leap at Beaurevoir, and your
consent to the death of Franquet, do you really believe that you have
wrought no mortal sin?"

"I do not believe that I am in mortal sin; and if I have been it is for
God to know it, and for confession to God and the priest."[67]

She begged to be allowed to go to church. If she might hear mass she
would wear woman's dress, changing it on her return for the page's dress
which was her protection against insult. If she must die, she asked for
a woman's shift, and a cap to cover her head; she would rather die than
depart from the work for which her Lord had sent her.

"But I do not believe," she added, "that my Lord will let me be brought
so low that I shall lack help of God and miracle."

"If you dress as you do by God's command," they asked her, "why do you
ask for a shift in the hour of death?"

"It suffices me that it should be long!" said the girl.

All this was but the preliminary inquiry. Now followed a week of
respite, while the evidence was sifted and arranged, and articles of
indictment drawn up. On March 27th Joan was summoned to hear her formal
accusation, conveyed in seventy articles. The Court was asked to declare
her "a sorceress, a divineress, a false prophet, one who invoked evil
spirits, a witch, a heretic, an apostate, a seditious blasphemer,
rejoicing in blood, indecent," and I know not what else beside. These
seventy articles were presently condensed into twelve. On April 6th the
learned doctors were called to deliberate on these twelve, which
constituted the real accusation, by which the captive must live or die.

They met in the private chapel of the Archbishop, which is still
standing, in the courtyard hard by the cathedral. The articles were duly
accepted, and the Maid was summoned to hear the result. But she lay ill
in her prison, worn out with fasting and misery. Cauchon himself came to
visit her, professing himself full of tender solicitude for her soul and
body. He bade her note how kind they were to her. They desired only her
welfare; the Holy Church was ever ready to receive its erring children,
etc., etc. With her unfailing courtesy Joan thanked him. She thought
herself in danger of death; she begged for confession and the sacrament,
and burial in holy ground.

"If you desire the Holy Sacrament," said Cauchon, "you must submit to
Holy Church."

The girl turned her head wearily on her pallet. "I can say no more than
I have said!" was her only word.

But the Bishop pressed on relentless. The more she feared for her life,
he told her, the more she would resolve to amend it, and submit to those
above her. Then she said:

"If my body dies in prison I expect from you burial in holy ground; if
you do not give it, I await upon my Lord." And as they still tormented

"Come what may, I will do or say no other thing. I have answered to
everything in my trial."

Five Doctors in turn beset her with offers of favors if she would yield,
with threats if she continued obdurate. In the latter case, they told
her, she must be treated as a Saracen. Finally, since they might in no
wise prevail over the dauntless soul, though the broken body lay
helpless before them, they departed, leaving her to the tenderer mercies
of the men-at-arms.

The Articles of Accusation had been sent to the University of Paris,
with a request for the opinion of that learned and pious body. While
waiting for the answer, the Bishop of Beauvais filled the time with
various ingenious devices, all planned to break the girl's spirit. On
May 2nd, being in some measure recovered from her illness, she was
brought out for a public meeting before sixty clerics, Cauchon at their
head. The Bishop addressed her in his customary strain, accusing,
exhorting, admonishing.

"Read your book!" (i.e., the document containing her formal accusation),
said Joan scornfully. "I will answer as I may. My appeal is to God, my
Creator, whom I love with my whole heart."

Wearily, wearily she listened to the many-times-told tale; briefly and
bravely she made reply.

"If I were now at the judgment seat, and if I saw the torch burning, and
the fagots laid, and the executioner ready to light the fire; if I were
in the fire, I would say what I have said, and no other word; would do
what I have done, and no other thing."

"_Superba responsio!_" writes Manchon the clerk opposite this entry.

Since naught else might prevail against the obstinacy of this creature,
how if they tried torture, or at the very least the threat of torture,
the actual sight of its instruments?

Two days later (May 4th), she was brought out again, this time into a
dismal vaulted chamber, the donjon of Rouen Castle. The usual place of
her torment was too small for the things she now saw displayed before
her; rack, screws, all the hideous paraphernalia of the Holy
Inquisition; beside these, two executioners, ready to perform their

Joan was bidden to look upon these things, and told that if she did not
avow the truth her body would be submitted to the torture. If we stood,
as one may still stand, in that vaulted chamber, would not the answer
ring out once more from those grim walls that received it?

"Truly, if you should destroy my limbs and cause my soul to leave my
body, I will tell you no other thing (than she has already told); and if
I should say anything (i.e., under torture), I would always tell you
afterward that you had made me say it by force."

She trod, indeed, the narrow edge of a knife-blade. Question upon
question was put; was answered briefly, clearly, and to the point. The
clerics hesitated. Perhaps the torture might not be necessary, since
there seemed a chance that even this might not prevail against this
girl's stubbornness. In any case it would be well to leave the fear of
it hanging over her for a time.

It was so left, for a week, while the doctors debated. One thought the
use of torture might "impair the stately beauty of the trial as hitherto
conducted." Another thought they had sufficient evidence without it.
Three were in favor of it: Morelli, Courcelles, Loiseleur. The
last-named was the Judas-spy who had visited her in prison; he thought
torture would be salutary for her soul. After all, this particular depth
of infamy was not sounded; the votes for mercy outnumbered those for
torture. The executioner and his henchmen departed, the former
testifying later that the Maid "showed great prudence in her replies, so
that those who heard were astonished; and their deponent retired with
his assistant without touching her."

Still another week of fetters and darkness, of foul air and fouler
speech; then came the reply from the University of Paris. They rejoiced
in the "elegance" with which the crime of this person had been
communicated to them. It was clear to their minds that her pretended
saints were in reality three well-known fiends, Satan, Belial, and
Behemoth. She was treacherous, cruel, bloodthirsty, a would-be suicide;
a liar, heretic, schismatic and idolater. Nevertheless, in the opinion
of the University, it might be well to give her one more "tender
admonition." It could do no harm; the English were safe to deal with her
in any case.

On May 23rd she received the admonition--it really seems to have been a
kindly one this time--from Pierre Maurice, who appealed to her sense of
honor and duty.

"What," he asked her, "would you think of a knight in your king's land
who refused to obey your king and his officers? Yet you, a daughter of
the Church, disobey the officers of Christ, the bishops of the Church.
Be not ashamed of obedience, have no false shame; you will have high
honor, which you think you will lose, if you act as I ask you to do.
_The honor of God_ and your own life in this world, and your salvation
in the next, are to be preferred before all things."[68]

Joan made no answer to this appeal, but it may have had its effect none
the less.

The next day, May 24th, she was placed in a tumbril and brought to the
market-place of St. Ouen, where a great crowd was assembled; priests,
nobles, soldiers, citizens, all agog to see and hear. Would she abjure,
or burn?

It was customary to preach a final sermon to a witch before burning her;
Erard, the preacher, addressed Joan this morning. In the course of his
speech he spoke of the king as a "heretic and schismatic."

"_Speak boldly!_" said the holy Voices in the ear of the Maid.

"By my faith," she cried, "full well dare I both say and swear that he
is the noblest Christian of all Christians, and the truest lover of the
faith and the Church."

Charles, were I set to devise for you a fitting doom, I would have you
loiter through some dim place of forgotten things--not forever, but as
near it as Divine Mercy would allow--seeing always before you the pale
Maid in her fetters, hearing always from her lips those words of undying
trust and love.

Enough; the matter was summed up. Here was the executioner, here his
cart, ready to carry her to the stake. Would Joan of Arc submit to Holy
Church, or would she burn, now, in an hour's time?

You are to remember that this child was not yet nineteen years of age;
that she had been in prison, enduring every torment except that of
actual bodily torture, for a year. To remember, too, that even our
Supreme Exemplar prayed once that the cup might pass from him.

"I submit!" said the Maid.

Instantly a paper was thrust into her hand, and she was bidden sign it.
Bystanders say there was a strange smile on her lips as she made her
mark, a circle, as we know she could not write her name. She was hustled
back to prison, leaving tumult and uproar behind her. The English were
furious. They had come to see a burning, and there was no burning.
Warwick made complaint to Cauchon; the King of England would be angry at
the escape of this witch.

"Be not disturbed, my Lord!" said the Bishop of Beauvais. "We shall soon
have her again."

Back to prison! not, as she had hoped and prayed, to a prison of the
Church, where men whose profession at least was holy would be about her;
where possibly she might even see and speak with a woman; where she
might hear mass, and make confession. No! back to the old foul, hideous
cell, to the brutal jeer and fleer of the English men-at-arms. Back,
under sentence of imprisonment for life.

Meekly the poor girl went; meekly she put off her page's costume, and
assumed, as she was bidden, a woman's dress.

On some aspects of the dark days that followed I cannot dwell; suffice
it to say that they were the bitterest of all the bitter year; suffice
it to say that when her judges came to her again they found her once
more in her page's dress, which she refused to give up again until the

This was not the only change they found, nor the greatest. Back in the
cell, the Voices had spoken loud and clear in rebuke and reproach. St.
Margaret, St. Catherine, both were there. Both told her of the great
pity of that betrayal to which she had consented, when she made that
abjuration and revocation to save her life; told her that by so doing
she had condemned herself.

"If I were to say" (it is herself speaking now) "that God did not send
me I would condemn myself, for true it is that God sent me. My Voices
have told me since that I greatly sinned in that deed, in confessing
that I had done ill. What I said, I said in fear of fire."[69]

And the clerk wrote against these words, on the margin of his notes,
"_Responsio Mortifera_."

The Maid now clearly and emphatically revoked her submission. What she
had said, she repeated, was said in dread of fire.

"Do you believe," asked Cauchon, "that your Voices are those of St.
Catherine and St. Margaret?"

"Yes!" replied the Maid. "Their voices and God's!"

These words were spoken on May 28th, to Cauchon, who had hastened to the
prison, hearing that Joan had resumed man's apparel. Angrily he asked
why she had done this. She answered that it was more convenient, among
men, to wear men's dress. She had not understood that she had sworn
never to wear it again; if she had broken a pledge in this, one had been
broken with her, the promise that she should be released from fetters,
and should receive the sacrament.

"I would rather die," she said, "than remain in irons. If you will
release me, and let me go to mass and lie in gentle prison, I will be
good, and do what the Church desires."

There was only one thing that the Church, as represented in the person
of Pierre Cauchon, desired, and that was the end of her. She had
"relapsed"; it was enough. He hurried joyfully away, passing in the
courtyard Warwick and his men, who were waiting for news.

"Farewell!" cried the Bishop of Beauvais. "Be of good cheer, for it is

He summoned his Council in haste; they were all of his mind. Holy Church
could have no further dealings with this impious and hardened prisoner.
She must be given over to the secular arm, "with the prayer that there
be no shedding of blood." Most sinister of all speakable words! At the
stake, no need of blood-shedding.

Early in the morning of May 29th Martin Ladvenu and Jean Toutmouillé
came to the prison. The latter told the Maid briefly that she was to be
burned. She wept, poor child, and cried out piteously.

"Alas!" she said. "Will they treat me so horribly and cruelly, that my
pure and uncorrupted body ("_corps net et entier, qui ne fut jamais
corrompu_") must to-day be burned to ashes?"

She would rather, she cried in her agony, be seven times beheaded than

"I appeal to God, the supreme Judge, against the wrongs that have been
done me."

At this moment Cauchon entered the prison. He must see with his own eyes
how his victim received her condemnation. She turned upon him, and
uttered the words which, wherever his name is spoken, whenever his image
is conjured up, are written in flame upon his forehead:

"_Bishop of Beauvais, it is through you I die. I summon you before your
God and mine!_"

Presently she composed herself; made confession to one of the monks, and
asked for the Sacrament. After some haggling among her persecutors the
elements were brought to her, albeit in slovenly fashion, bare of the
priestly pomp which was their due.

So we come to the 30th day of May, of the year 1431. At nine in the
morning Joan left her prison for the last time. She was in woman's
dress. Over her shoulders was the long black robe of the Inquisition,
on her head a paper cap or mitre, bearing the words: "Heretic, Relapsed,
Apostate, Idolater." As the cart in which she stood rumbled through the
streets, the Maid of France lifted up her voice and wept over the city
of her death.

"_Rouen, Rouen, mourrai-je içi? Seras-tu ma maison? Ah, Rouen, j'ai
grand peur que tu n'aies à souffrir de ma mort._"[70]

Hearing these words, the people around her, even the English soldiers,
wept for pity. It is recorded that as the tumbril jolted its way over
the stones, a man in priest's dress was seen pressing through the crowd,
trying desperately to force a way to the cart. It was Loiseleur, the
spy, come in an agony of repentance, to fling himself before the saint
he had helped to condemn and implore her pardon. The soldiers repulsed
him brutally; would have slain him but for Warwick's intervention. The
crowd closed over him.

There were three scaffolds in Rouen Old Market that morning of May. On
one of them the Maid was set to hear her last sermon preached by
Nicholas Midi, of Rouen and Paris; on another sat judges and spectators,
a goodly company; Cardinal Beaufort, Warwick, the "Father of Courtesy,"
Cauchon and all his priestly bloodhounds, who yet could not see blood

The third scaffold was a heap of plaster, piled high with fagots, from
which rose the stake. It bore the legend: "Jeanne, self-styled the Maid,
liar, mischief-maker, abuser of the people, diviner, superstitious,
blasphemer of God, presumptuous, false to the faith of Christ, boaster,
idolater, cruel, dissolute, an invoker of devils, apostate, schismatic,

Nicholas Midi was long in speaking, and the English waxed impatient.
Dinner time was near.

"How now, priest? Are you going to make us dine here?" some of them

Cauchon read the sentence.

"Then she invoked the blessed Trinity, the glorious Virgin Mary, and all
the blessed saints of Paradise. She begged right humbly also the
forgiveness of all sorts and conditions of men, both of her own party
and of her enemies; asking for their prayers, forgiving them the evil
that they had done her."[71]

The Bailiff of Rouen waved his hand, saying "Away with her."

Quietly, patiently, the Maid climbed the third scaffold. She was well
used to climbing; witness the walls of Les Tourelles, of Jargeau and
Compiègne. Beside her climbed her confessor, Martin Ladvenu, and some
say another Dominican, Isambart de la Pierre, who had been kind to her
throughout. She begged for a cross; an English soldier hastily bound two
sticks together cross-fashion and handed her the emblem. She kissed it
devoutly, and thrust it in her bosom. Then, at her urgent prayer, they
brought a crucifix from a church hard by; this she long embraced,
holding it while they chained her to the stake.

When the flames began to mount, she bade the friar leave her, but begged
him to hold aloft the crucifix, that her eyes might rest on it to the
last. This man testified that from the heart of the fire, she called
steadfastly on her Saints, Catherine, Margaret, Michael, as if they
were once more about her as in the garden of Domrémy.

"To the end she maintained that her Voices were from God, and all she
had done was by God's counsel; nor did she believe that her Voices had
deceived her."

At the last she gave one great cry: "Jesus!" and spoke no more.

Have you felt the touch of fire? Put your finger in the candle flame for
a moment! Then, for another moment--not more, since that way madness
lies--think of that white, tender body of the Maid of France flaming
like a torch to Heaven!

A torch indeed. Fiercely its blaze beats upon Rouen Old Market, throwing
a dreadful light on those watching faces. Pierre de Cauchon, Bishop of
Beauvais, on your face it glares most fiercely; on yours, Henry
Beaufort, Cardinal of Winchester; Earl of Warwick, on yours. I think you
will see that light while you live, however dark the night around you. I
know that by it alone we see your faces to-day.

A torch, indeed. Its flame brightens the sacred fields of France, now in
the hour of Victory, when light has triumphed over darkness, as it
brightened them in the hour of her agony, though God alone saw that
radiance. In the white fire of that torch were fused all incoherent
elements, all that turned the sword of brother against brother,
Frenchman against Frenchman. From that white fire sprang, into enduring
life and glory, France Imperishable.



[66] Translation, A. Lang.

[67] Trans., A. Lang.

[68] Trans., A. Lang.

[69] Trans., A. Lang.

[70] Rouen, Rouen, shall I die here? Shalt thou be my (last) home? Ah,
Rouen, I have great fear thou must suffer for my death.

[71] Trans., A. Lang.

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