A Popular History of France From The Earliest Times
Francois Pierre Guillaume Guizot

Part 2 out of 6

excesses; but they confined themselves to joining him in deploring them.
He sent for the savages once more, and said to them, "You would do far
better to go and lay siege to Montlhery, to drive off the king's enemies,
who have come ravaging everything up to the St. Jacques gate, and
preventing the harvest from being got in." "Readily," they answered,
"only give us leaders." He gave them leaders, who led six thousand of
them to Montlhery. As soon as they were gone Duke John had Capeluche and
two of his chief accomplices brought to trial, and Capeluche was beheaded
in the market-place by his own apprentice. But the gentry sent to the
siege of Montlhery did not take the place; they accused their leaders of
having betrayed them, and returned to be a scourge to the neighborhood of
Paris, everywhere saying that the Duke of Burgundy was the most
irresolute man in the kingdom, and that if there were no nobles the war
would be ended in a couple of months. Duke John set about negotiating
with the _dauphin_ and getting him back to Paris. The _dauphin_ replied
that he was quite ready to obey and serve his mother as a good son
should, but that it would be more than he could stomach to go back to a
city where so many crimes and so much tyranny had but lately been
practised. Terms of reconciliation were drawn up and signed on the 16th
of September, 1418, at St. Maur, by the queen, the Duke of Burgundy, and
the pope's legates; but the _dauphin_ refused to ratify them. The
unpunished and long-continued massacres in Paris had redoubled his
distrust towards the Duke of Burgundy; he had, moreover, just assumed the
title of regent of the kingdom; and he had established at Poitiers a
parliament, of which Juvenal des Ursins was a member. He had promised
the young Count of Armagnac to exact justice for his father's cruel
death; and the old friends of the house of Orleans remained faithful to
their enmities. The Duke of Burgundy had at one time to fight, and at
another to negotiate with the _dauphin_ and the King of England, both at
once, and always without success. The _dauphin_ and his council, though
showing a little more discretion, were going on in the same alternative
and unsatisfactory condition. Clearly neither France and England nor the
factions in France had yet exhausted their passions or their powers; and
the day of summary vengeance was nearer than that of real reconciliation.

Nevertheless, complicated, disturbed and persistently resultless
situations always end by becoming irksome to those who are entangled in
them, and by inspiring a desire for extrication. The King of England, in
spite of his successes and his pride, determined upon sending the Earl of
Warwick to Provins, where the king and the Duke of Burgundy still were: a
truce was concluded between the English and the Burgundians, and it was
arranged that on the 30th of May, 1419, the two kings should meet between
Mantes and Melun, and hold a conference for the purpose of trying to
arrive at a peace. A few days before the time, Duke John set out from
Provins with the king, Queen Isabel, and Princess Catherine, and repaired
first of all to Pontoise, and then to the place fixed for the interview,
on the borders of the Seine, near Meulan, where two pavilions had been
prepared, one for the King of France and the other for the King of
England. Charles VI., being ill, remained at Pontoise. Queen Isabel,
Princess Catherine, and the Duke of Burgundy arrived at the appointed
spot. Henry V. was already there; he went to meet the queen, saluted
her, took her hand, and embraced her and Madame Catherine as well; Duke
John slightly bent his knee to the king, who raised him up and embraced
him likewise. This solemn interview was succeeded by several others to
which Princess Catherine did not come. The queen requested the King of
England to state exactly what he proposed; and he demanded the execution
of the treaty of Bretigny, the cession of Normandy, and the absolute
sovereignty, without any bond of vassalage, of whatever should be ceded
by the treaty. A short discussion ensued upon some secondary questions.
There appeared to be no distant probability of an understanding. The
English believed that they saw an inclination on the Duke of Burgundy's
part not to hasten to a conclusion, and to obtain better conditions from
King Henry by making him apprehensive of a reconciliation with the
_dauphin_. Henry proposed to him, for the purpose of ending everything,
a conference between themselves alone; and it took place on the 3d of
June. "Cousin," said the king to the duke, "we wish you to know that we
will have your king's daughter, and all that we have demanded with her;
else we will thrust him out of his kingdom, and you too." "Sir,"
answered the duke, "you speak according to your pleasure; but before
thrusting my lord and myself from the kingdom you will have what will
tire you, we make no doubt, and you will have enough to do to keep
yourself in your own island." Between two princes so proud there was
little probability of an understanding; and they parted with no other
result than mutual displeasure.

Some days before, on the 14th of May, 1419, a truce of three months had
been concluded between the _dauphin_ and the Duke of Burgundy, and was to
lead to a conference also between these two princes. It did not commence
before the 8th of July. During this interval, Duke John had submitted
for the mature deliberation of his council the question whether it were
better to grant the English demands, or become reconciled to the
_dauphin_. Amongst his official councillors opinions were divided; but,
in his privacy, the lady of Giac, "whom he loved and trusted mightily,"
and Philip Jossequin, who had at first been his chamber attendant, and
afterwards custodian of his jewels and of his privy seal, strongly urged
him to make peace with the _dauphin_; and the pope's fresh legate, the
Bishop of Laon, added his exhortations to these home influences. There
had been fitted up at a league's distance from Melun, on the embankment
of the ponds of Vert, a summer-house of branches and leaves, hung with
drapery and silken stuffs; and there the first interview between the two
princes took place. The _dauphin_ left in displeasure; he had found the
Duke of Burgundy haughty and headstrong. Already the old servants of the
late Duke of Orleans, impelled by their thirst for vengeance, were saying
out loud that the matter should be decided by arms, when the lady of Giac
went after the _dauphin_, who from infancy had also been very much
attached to her, and she, going backwards and forwards between the two
princes, was so affectionate and persuasive with both that she prevailed
upon them to meet again, and to sincerely wish for an understanding. The
next day but one they returned to the place of meeting, attended, each of
them, by a large body of men-at-arms. They advanced towards one another
with ten men only, and dismounted. The Duke of Burgundy went on bended
knee. The _dauphin_ took him by the hand, embraced him, and would have
raised him up. "No, my lord," said the duke; "I know how I ought to
address you." The _dauphin_ assured him that he forgave every offence,
if indeed he had received any, and added, "Cousin, if in the proposed
treaty between us there be aught which is not to your liking, we desire
that you amend it, and henceforth we will desire all you shall desire;
make no doubt of it." They conversed for some time with every appearance
of cordiality; and then the treaty was signed. It was really a treaty of
reconciliation, in which, without dwelling upon "the suspicions and
imaginings which have been engendered in the hearts of ourselves and many
of our officers, and have hindered us from acting with concord in the
great matters of my lord the king and his kingdom, and resisting the
damnable attempts of his and our old enemies," the two princes made
mutual promises, each in language suitable to their rank and connection,
"to love one another, support one another, and serve one another
mutually, as good and loyal relatives, and bade all their servants, if
they saw any hinderance thereto, to give them notice thereof, according
to their bounden duty." The treaty was signed by all the men of note
belonging to the houses of both princes; and the crowd which surrounded
them shouted "Noel!" and invoked curses on whosoever should be minded
henceforth to take up arms again in this damnable quarrel. When the
_dauphin_ went away, the duke insisted upon holding his stirrup, and they
parted with every demonstration of amity. The _dauphin_ returned to
Touraine, and the duke to Pontoise, to be near the king, who, by letters
of July 19, confirmed the treaty, enjoined general forgetfulness of the
past, and ordained that "all war should cease, save against the English."

There was universal and sincere joy. The peace fulfilled the
requirements at the same time of the public welfare and of national
feeling; it was the only means of re-establishing order at home, and
driving from the kingdom the foreigner who aspired to conquer it. Only
the friends of the Duke of Orleans, and of the Count of Armagnac, one
assassinated twelve years before, and the other massacred but lately,
remained sad and angry at not having yet been able to obtain either
justice or vengeance; but they maintained reserve and silence. They were
not long in once more finding for mistrust and murmuring grounds or
pretexts which a portion of the public showed a disposition to take up.
The Duke of Burgundy had made haste to publish his ratification of the
treaty of reconciliation; the _dauphin_ had let his wait. The Parisians
were astounded not to see either the _dauphin_ or the Duke of Burgundy
coming back within their walls, and at being, as it were, forgotten and
deserted amidst the universal making-up. They complained that no armed
force was being collected to oppose the English, and that there was an
appearance of flying before them, leaving open to them Paris, in which at
this time there was no captain of renown. They were still more troubled
when, on the 29th of July, they saw the arrival at the St. Denis gate of
a multitude of disconsolate fugitives, some wounded, and others dropping
from hunger, thirst, and fatigue. When they were asked who they were,
and what was the reason of their desperate condition, "We are from
Pontoise," they said; "the English took the town this morning; they
killed or wounded all before them; happy he whosoever could escape from
their hands; never were Saracens so cruel to Christians as yonder folk
are." It was a real fact. The King of England, disquieted at the
reconciliation between the Duke of Burgundy and the _dauphin_, and at the
ill success of his own proposals at the conference of the 30th of May
preceding, had vigorously resumed the war, in order to give both the
reunited French factions a taste of his resolution and power. He had
suddenly attacked and carried Pontoise, where the command was in the
hands of the lord of Isle-Adam, one of the most valiant Burgundian
officers. Isle-Adam, surprised and lacking sufficient force, had made a
feeble resistance. There was no sign of an active union on the part of
the two French factions for the purpose of giving the English battle.
Duke John, who had fallen back upon Troyes, sent order upon order for his
vassals from Burgundy, but they did not come up. Public alarm and
distrust were day by day becoming stronger. Duke John, it was said, was
still keeping up secret communications with the seditious in Paris and
with the King of England; why did he not act with more energy against
this latter, the common enemy? The two princes in their conference of
July 9, near Melun, had promised to meet again; a fresh interview
appeared necessary in order to give efficacy to their reconciliation.
Duke John was very pressing for the _dauphin_ to go to Troyes, where the
king and queen happened to be. The _dauphin_ on his side was earnestly
solicited by the most considerable burgesses of Paris to get this
interview over in order to insure the execution of the treaty of peace
which had been sworn to with the Duke of Burgundy. The _dauphin_ showed
a disposition to listen to these entreaties. He advanced as far as
Montereau in order to be ready to meet Duke John as soon as a place of
meeting should be fixed.

Duke John hesitated, from irresolution even more than from distrust. It
was a serious matter for him to commit himself more and more, by his own
proper motion, against the King of England and his old allies amongst the
populace of Paris. Why should he be required to go in person to seek the
_dauphin_? It was far simpler, he said, for Charles to come to the king
his father. Tanneguy Duchatel went to Troyes to tell the duke that the
_dauphin_ had come to meet him as far as Montereau, and, with the help of
the lady of Giae, persuaded on his side, to Bray-sur-Seine, two leagues
from Montereau. When the two princes had drawn thus near, their agents
proposed that the interview should take place on the very bridge of
Montereau, with the precautions and according to the forms decided on.
In the duke's household many of his most devoted servants were opposed
to this interview; the place, they said, had been chosen by and would be
under the ordering of the _dauphin_'s people, of the old servants of the
Duke of Orleans and the Count of Armagnac. At the same time four
successive messages came from Paris urging the duke to make the plunge;
and at last he took his resolution. "It is my duty," said he, "to risk
my person in order to get at so great a blessing as peace. Whatever
happens, my wish is peace. If they kill me, I shall die a martyr. Peace
being made, I will take the men of my lord the _dauphin_ to go and fight
the English. He has some good men of war and some sagacious captains.
Tanneguy and Barbazan are valiant knights. Then we shall see which is
the better man, Jack (Hannotin) of Flanders or Henry of Lancaster." He
set out for Bray on the 10th of September, 1419, and arrived about two
o'clock before Montereau. Tanneguy Duchatel came and met him there.
"Well," said the duke, "on your assurance we are come to see my lord the
_dauphin_, supposing that he is quite willing to keep the peace between
himself and us, as we also will keep it, all ready to serve him according
to his wishes." "My most dread lord," answered Tanneguy, "have ye no
fear; my lord is well pleased with you, and desires henceforth to govern
himself according to your counsels. You have about him good friends who
serve you well." It was agreed that the _dauphin_ and the duke should,
each from his own side, go upon the bridge of Montereau, each with ten
men-at-arms, of whom they should previously forward a list. The
_dauphin_'s people had caused to be constructed at the two ends of the
bridge strong barriers closed by a gate; about the centre of the bridge
was a sort of lodge made of planks, the entrance to which was, on either
side, through a pretty narrow passage; within the lodge there was no
barrier in the middle to separate the two parties. Whilst Duke John and
his confidants, in concert with the _dauphin_'s people, were regulating
these material arrangements, a chamber-attendant ran in quite scared,
shouting out, "My lord, look to yourself; without a doubt you will be
betrayed." The duke turned towards Tanneguy, and said, "We trust
ourselves to your word; in God's holy name, are you quite sure of what
you have told us? For you would do ill to betray us." "My most dread
lord," answered Tanneguy, "I would rather be dead than commit treason
against you or any other: have ye no fear; I certify you that my lord
meaneth you no evil." "Very well, we will go then, trusting in God and
you," re-joined the duke; and he set out walking to the bridge. On
arriving at the barrier on the castle side he found there to receive him
Sire de Beauveau and Tanneguy Duchatel. "Come to my lord," said they;
"he is awaiting you." "Gentlemen," said the duke, "you see how I come;"
and he showed them that he and his people had only their swords; then
clapping Tanneguy on the shoulder, he said, "Here is he in whom I trust,"
and advanced towards the _dauphin_, who remained standing, on the town
side, at the end of the lodge constructed in the middle of the bridge.
On arriving at the prince's presence Duke John took off his velvet cap
and bent his knee to the ground. "My lord," said he, "after God, my duty
is to obey and serve you; I offer to apply thereto and employ therein my
body, my friends, my allies, and well-wishers. Say I well?" he added,
fixing his eyes on the _dauphin_. "Fair cousin," answered the prince,
"you say so well that none could say better; rise and be covered."
Conversation thereupon ensued between the two princes. The _dauphin_
complained of the duke's delay in coming to see him: "For eighteen days,"
he said, "you have made us await your coming in this place of Montereau,
this place a prey to epidemic and mortality, at the risk of and probably
with an eye to our personal danger." The duke, surprised and troubled,
resumed his haughty and exacting tone: "We can neither do nor advise
aught," said he, "save in your father's presence; you must come thither."
"I shall go when I think proper," said Charles, "and not at your will and
pleasure; it is well known that whatever we do, we two together, the king
will be content therewith." Then he reproached the duke with his
inertness against the English, with the capture of Pontoise, and with his
alliances amongst the promoters of civil war. The conversation was
becoming more and more acrid and biting. "In so doing," added the
_dauphin_, "you were wanting to your duty." "My lord," replied the duke,
"I did only what it was my duty to do." "Yes, you were wanting,"
repeated Charles. "No," replied the duke. It was probably at these
words that, the lookers-on also waxing wroth, Tanneguy Duchatel told the
duke that the time had come for expiating the murder of the Duke of
Orleans, which none of them had forgotten, and raised his battle-axe to
strike the duke. Sire de Navailles, who happened to be at his master's
side, arrested the weapon; but, on the other hand, the Viscount of
Narbonne raised his over Navailles, saying, "Whoever stirs is a dead
man." At this moment, it is said, the mob which was thronging before the
barriers at the end of the bridge heard cries of "Alarm! slay, slay."
Tanneguy had struck and felled the duke; several others ran their swords
into him; and he expired. The _dauphin_ had withdrawn from the scene and
gone back into the town. After his departure his partisans forced the
barrier, charged the dumbfounded Burgundians, sent them flying along the
road to Bray, and returning on to the bridge would have cast the body of
Duke John, after stripping it, into the river; but the minister of
Montereau withstood them, and had it carried to a mill near the bridge.
"Next day he was put in a pauper's shell, with nothing on but his shirt
and drawers, and was subsequently interred at the church of Notre-Dame de
Montereau, without winding-sheet and without pall over his grave."

[Illustration: '"Into the River!"'----77]

The enmities of the Orleannese and the Armagnacs had obtained
satisfaction; but they were transferred to the hearts of the Burgundians.
After twelve years of public crime and misfortune the murder of Louis of
Orleans had been avenged; and should not that of John of Burgundy be, in
its turn? Wherever the direct power or the indirect influence of the
Duke of Burgundy was predominant, there was a burst of indignation and
vindictive passion. As soon as the Count of Charolais, Philip,
afterwards called the Good, heard at Ghent, where he happened at that
time to be, of his father's murder, he was proclaimed Duke of Burgundy.
"Michelle," said he to his wife, sister of the _dauphin_, Charles, "your
brother has murdered my father." The princess burst into tears; but the
new duke calmed her by saying that nothing could alter the love and
confidence he felt towards her. At Troyes Queen Isabel showed more anger
than any one else against her son, the _dauphin_; and she got a letter
written by King Charles VI. to the dowager Duchess of Burgundy, begging
her, her and her children, "to set in motion all their relatives,
friends, and vassals to avenge Duke John." At Paris, on the 12th of
September, the next day but one after the murder, the chancellor, the
parliament, the provost royal, the provost of tradesmen, and all the
councillors and officers of the king assembled, "together with great
number of nobles and burgesses and a great multitude of people," who all
swore "to oppose with their bodies and all their might the enterprise of
the criminal breakers of the peace, and to prosecute the cause of
vengeance and reparation against those who were guilty of the death and
homicide of the late Duke of Burgundy." Independently of party-passion,
such was, in Northern and Eastern France, the general and spontaneous
sentiment of the people. The _dauphin_ and his councillors, in order to
explain and justify their act, wrote in all directions to say that,
during the interview, Duke John had answered the _dauphin_ "with mad
words . . . He had felt for his sword in order to attack and outrage
our person, the which, as we have since found out, he aspired to place in
subjection . . . but, through his own madness, met death instead."
But these assertions found little credence, and one of the two knights
who were singled out by the _dauphin_ to accompany him on to the bridge
of Montereau, Sire de Barbazan, who had been a friend of the Duke of
Orleans and of the Count of Armagnac, said vehemently to the authors of
the plot, "You have destroyed our master's honor and heritage, and I
would rather have died than be present at this day's work, even though I
had not been there to no purpose." But it was not long before an event,
easy to foresee, counterbalanced this general impression and restored
credit and strength to the _dauphin_ and his party. Henry V., King of
England, as soon as he heard about the murder of Duke John, set himself
to work to derive from it all the advantages he anticipated. "A great
loss," said he, "is the Duke of Burgundy; he was a good and true knight
and an honorable prince; but through his death we are by God's help at
the summit of our wishes. We shall thus, in spite of all Frenchmen,
possess Dame Catherine, whom we have so much desired." As early as the
24th of September, 1419, Henry V. gave full powers to certain of his
people to treat "with the illustrious city of Paris and the other towns
in adherence to the said city." On the 17th of October was opened at
Arras a congress between the plenipotentiaries of England and those of
Burgundy. On the 20th of November a special truce was granted to the
Parisians, whilst Henry V., in concert with Duke Philip of Burgundy, was
prosecuting the war against the _dauphin_. On the 2d of December the
bases were laid of an agreement between the English and the Burgundians.
The preliminaries of the treaty, which was drawn up in accordance with
these bases, were signed on the 9th of April, 1420, by King Charles VI.,
and on the 20th communicated at Paris by the chancellor of France to the
parliament and to all the religious and civil, royal and municipal
authorities of the capital. After this communication, the chancellor and
the premier president of parliament went with these preliminaries to
Henry V. at Pontoise, where he set out with a division of his army for
Troyes, where the treaty, definitive and complete, was at last signed and
promulgated in the cathedral of Troyes, on the 21st of May, 1420.

Of the twenty-eight articles in this treaty, five contained its essential
points and fixed its character: 1st. The King of France, Charles VI.,
gave his daughter Catherine in marriage to Henry V., King of England.
2d. "Our son, King Henry, shall place no hinderance or trouble in the way
of our holding and possessing as long as we live, and as at the present
time, the crown, the kingly dignity of France, and all the revenues,
proceeds, and profits which are attached thereto for the maintenance of
our state and the charges of the kingdom. 3d. It is agreed that
immediately after our death, and from that time forward, the crown and
kingdom of France, with all their rights and appurtenances, shall belong
perpetually and shall be continued to our son King Henry and his heirs.
4th. Whereas we are, at most times, prevented from advising by ourselves
and from taking part in the disposal of the affairs of our kingdom, the
power and the practice of governing and ordering the commonweal shall
belong and shall be continued, during our life, to our son King Henry,
with the counsel of the nobles and sages of the kingdom who shall obey us
and shall desire the honor and advantage of the said kingdom. 5th. Our
son King Henry shall strive with all his might, and as soon as possible,
to bring back to their obedience to us, all and each of the towns,
cities, castles, places, districts, and persons in our kingdom that
belong to the party commonly called of the _dauphin_ or Armagnac."

This substitution, in the near future, of an English for the French
kingship; this relinquishment, in the present, of the government of
France to the hands of an English prince nominated to become before long
her king; this authority given to the English prince to prosecute in
France, against the _dauphin_ of France, a civil war; this complete
abdication of all the rights and duties of the kingship, of paternity
and of national independence; and, to sum up all in one word, this
anti-French state-stroke accomplished by a king of France, with the
co-operation of him who was the greatest amongst French lords, to the
advantage of a foreign sovereign--there was surely in this enough to
excite the most ardent and most legitimate national feelings. They did
not show themselves promptly or with a blaze. The fourteenth and
fifteenth centuries, after so many military and civil troubles, had
great weaknesses and deep-seated corruption in mind and character.
Nevertheless the revulsion against the treaty of Troyes was real and
serious, even in the very heart of the party attached to the Duke of
Burgundy. He was obliged to lay upon several of his servants formal
injunctions to swear to this peace, which seemed to them treason. He had
great difficulty in winning John of Luxembourg and his brother Louis,
Bishop of Therouenne, over to it. "It is your will," said they; "we will
take this oath; but if we do, we will keep it to the hour of death."
Many less powerful lords, who had lived a long while in the household of
Duke John the Fearless, quitted his son, and sorrowfully returned to
their own homes. They were treated as Armagnacs, but they persisted in
calling themselves good and loyal Frenchmen. In the duchy of Burgundy
the majority of the towns refused to take the oath to the King of
England. The most decisive and the most helpful proof of this awakening
of national feeling was the ease experienced by the _dauphin_, who was
one day to be Charles VII., in maintaining the war which, after the
treaty of Troyes, was, in his father's and his mother's name, made upon
him by the King of England and the Duke of Burgundy. This war lasted
more than three years. Several towns, amongst others, Melun, Crotoy,
Meaux, and St. Riquier, offered an obstinate resistance to the attacks of
the English and Burgundians. On the 23d of March, 1421, the _dauphin_'s
troops, commanded by Sire de la Fayette, gained a signal victory over
those of Henry V., whose brother, the Duke of Clarence, was killed in
action. It was in Perche, Anjou, Maine, on the banks of the Loire, and
in Southern France, that the _dauphin_ found most of his enterprising and
devoted partisans. The sojourn made by Henry V. at Paris, in December,
1420, with his wife, Queen Catherine, King Charles VI., Queen Isabel, and
the Duke of Burgundy, was not, in spite of galas and acclamations, a
substantial and durable success for him. His dignified but haughty
manners did not please the French; and he either could not or would not
render them more easy and amiable, even with men of note who were
necessary to him. Marshal Isle-Adam one day went to see him in camp on
war-business. The king considered that he did not present himself with
sufficient ceremony. "Isle-Adam," said he, "is that the robe of a
marshal of France?" "Sir, I had this whity-gray robe made to come hither
by water aboard of Seine-boats." "Ha!" said the king, "look you a prince
in the face when you speak to him?" "Sir, it is the custom in France,
that when one man speaks to another, of whatever rank and puissance that
other may be, he passes for a sorry fellow, and but little honorable, if
he dares not look him in the face." "It is not our fashion," said the
king; and the subject dropped there. A popular poet of the time, Alan
Chattier, constituted himself censor of the moral corruption and
interpreter of the patriotic paroxysms caused by the cold and harsh
supremacy of this unbending foreigner, who set himself up for king of
France, and had not one feeling in sympathy with the French. Alan
Chartier's _Quadriloge invectif_ is a lively and sometimes eloquent
allegory, in which France personified implores her three children, the
clergy, the chivalry, and the people, to forget their own quarrels and
unite to save their mother whilst saving themselves; and this political
pamphlet getting spread about amongst the provinces did good service to
the national cause against the foreign conqueror. An event more powerful
than any human eloquence occurred to give the _dauphin_ and his partisans
earlier hopes. Towards the end of August, 1422, Henry V. fell ill; and,
too stout-hearted to delude himself as to his condition, he thought no
longer of anything but preparing himself for death. He had himself
removed to Vincennes, called his councillors about him, and gave them his
last royal instructions. "I leave you the government of France," said he
to his brother, the Duke of Bedford, "unless our brother of Burgundy have
a mind to undertake it; for, above all things, I conjure you not to have
any dissension with him. If that should happen God preserve you from it!
--the affairs of this kingdom, which seem well advanced for us, would
become bad." As soon as he had done with politics he bade his doctors
tell him how long he had still to live. One of them knelt down before
his bed and said, "Sir, be thinking of your soul; it seemeth to us that,
saving the divine mercy, you have not more than two hours." The king
summoned his confessor with the priests, and asked to have recited to him
the penitential psalms. When they came to the twentieth versicle of the
_Miserere,--Ut oedificentur muri Hierusalem_ (that the walls of Jerusalem
may be built up),--He made them stop. "Ah!" said he, "if God had been
pleased to let me live out my time, I would, after putting an end to the
war in France, reducing the _dauphin_ to submission or driving him out of
the kingdom in which I would have established a sound peace, have gone to
conquer Jerusalem. The wars I have undertaken have had the approval of
all the proper men and of the most holy personages; I commenced them and
have prosecuted them without offence to God or peril to my soul." These
were his last words. The chanting of the psalms was resumed around him,
and he expired on the 31st of August, 1422, at the age of thirty-four. A
great soul and a great king; but a great example also of the boundless
errors which may be fallen into by the greatest men when they pursue with
arrogant confidence their own views, forgetting the laws of justice and
the rights of other men.

On the 22d of October, 1422, less than two months after the death of
Henry V., Charles VI., King of France, died at Paris in the forty-third
year of his reign. As soon as he had been buried at St. Denis, the Duke
of Bedford, regent of France according to the will of Henry V., caused a
herald to proclaim, "Long live Henry of Lancaster, King of England and of
France!" The people's voice made very different proclamation. It had
always been said that the public evils proceeded from the state of
illness into which the unhappy King Charles had fallen. The goodness he
had given glimpses of in his lucid intervals had made him an object of
tender pity. Some weeks yet before his death, when he had entered Paris
again, the inhabitants, in the midst of their sufferings and under the
harsh government of the English, had seen with joy their poor mad king
coming back amongst them, and had greeted him with thousand-fold shouts
of "Noel!" His body lay in state for three days, with the face
uncovered, in a hall of the hostel of St. Paul, and the multitude went
thither to pray for him, saying, "Ah! dear prince, never shall we have
any so good as thou Wert; never shall we see thee more. Accursed be thy
death! Since thou dost leave us, we shall never have aught but wars and
troubles. As for thee, thou goest to thy rest; as for us, we remain in
tribulation and sorrow. We seem made to fall into the same distress as
the children of Israel during the captivity in Babylon."

[Illustration: The Body of Charles VI. lying in State----84]

The people's instinct was at the same time right and wrong. France had
yet many evil days to go through and cruel trials to endure; she was,
however, to be saved at last; Charles VI. was to be followed by Charles
VII. and Joan of Arc.

OF ARC. 1422-1461.

[Illustration: PORTRAIT OF JOAN OF ARC----85]

Whilst Charles VI. was dying at Paris, his son Charles, the _dauphin_,
was on his way back from Saintonge to Berry, where he usually resided.
On the 24th of October, 1422, at Mehun-sur-Yevre, he heard of his
father's death. For six days longer, from the 24th to the 29th of
October, he took no style but that of regent, as if he were waiting to
see what was going to happen elsewhere in respect of the succession to
the throne. It was only when he knew that, on the 27th of October, the
parliament of Paris had, not without some little hesitation and
ambiguity, recognized "as King of England and of France, Henry VI., son
of Henry V. lately deceased," that the _dauphin_ Charles assumed on the
30th of October, in his castle of Mehun-sur-Yevre, the title of king, and
repaired to Bourges to inaugurate in the cathedral of that city his reign
as Charles VII.

[Illustration: The Shepherdess of Domremy----90]

He was twenty years old, and had as yet done nothing to gain for himself,
not to say anything of glory, the confidence and hopes of the people. He
passed for an indolent and frivolous prince, abandoned to his pleasures
only; one whose capacity there was nothing to foreshadow, and of whom
France, outside of his own court, scarcely ever thought at all. Some
days before his accession he had all but lost his life at Rochelle by the
sudden breaking down of the room in the episcopal palace where he was
staying; and so little did the country know of what happened to him that,
a short time after the accident, messengers sent by some of his partisans
had arrived at Bourges to inquire if the prince were still living. At a
time when not only the crown of the kingdom, but the existence and
independence of the nation, were at stake, Charles had not given any
signs of being strongly moved by patriotic feelings. "He was, in person,
a handsome prince, and handsome in speech with all persons, and
compassionate towards poor folks," says his contemporary Monstrelet; "but
he did not readily put on his harness, and he had no heart for war if he
could do without it." On ascending the throne, this young prince, so
little of the politician and so little of the knight, encountered at the
head of his enemies the most able amongst the politicians and warriors of
the day in the Duke of Bedford, whom his brother Henry V. had appointed
regent of France, and had charged to defend on behalf of his nephew,
Henry VI., a child in the cradle, the crown of France, already more than
half won. Never did struggle appear more unequal or native king more
inferior to foreign pretender.

Sagacious observers, however, would have easily discerned in the cause
which appeared the stronger and the better supported many seeds of
weakness and danger. When Philip the Good, Duke of Burgundy, heard at
Arras, that Charles VI. was dead, it occurred to him immediately that if
he attended the obsequies of the English King of France he would be
obliged, French prince as he was, and cousin-german of Charles VI., to
yield precedence to John, Duke of Bedford, regent of France, and uncle of
the new king, Henry VI. He resolved to hold aloof, and contented himself
with sending to Paris chamberlains to make his excuses and supply his
place with the regent. On the 11th of November, 1422, the Duke of
Bedford followed alone at the funeral of the late king of France, and
alone made offering at the mass. Alone he went, but with the sword of
state borne before him as regent. The people of Paris cast down their
eyes with restrained wrath. "They wept," says a contemporary, "and not
without cause, for they knew not whether for a long, long while they
would have any king in France." But they did not for long confine
themselves to tears. Two poets, partly in Latin and partly in French,
Robert Blondel, and Alan Chartier, whilst deploring the public woes,
excited the popular feeling. Conspiracies soon followed the songs. One
was set on foot at Paris to deliver the city to king Charles VII., but it
was stifled ruthlessly; several burgesses were beheaded, and one woman
was burned. In several great provincial cities, at Troyes and at Rheims,
the same ferment showed itself, and drew down the same severity. William
Prieuse, superior of the Carmelites, was accused of propagating
sentiments favorable to the _dauphin_, as the English called Charles VII.
Being brought, in spite of the privileges of his gown, before John
Cauchon, lieutenant of the captain of Rheims [related probably to Peter
Cauchon, Bishop of Beauvais, who nine years afterwards was to sentence
Joan of Arc to be burned], he stoutly replied, "Never was English king of
France, and never shall be." The country had no mind to believe in the
conquest it was undergoing; and the Duke of Burgundy, the most puissant
ally of the English, sulkily went on eluding the consequences of the
anti-national alliance he had accepted.

Such being the disposition of conquerors and conquered, the war, though
still carried on with great spirit, could not, and in fact did not, bring
about any decisive result from 1422 to 1429. Towns were alternately
taken, lost, and retaken, at one time by the French, at another by the
English or Burgundians; petty encounters and even important engagements
took place with vicissitudes of success and reverses on both sides. At
Crevant-sur-Yonne, on the 31st of July, 1423, and at Verneuil, in
Normandy, on the 17th of August, 1424, the French were beaten, and their
faithful allies, the Scots, suffered considerable loss. In the latter
affair, however, several Norman lords deserted the English flag, refusing
to fight against the King of France. On the 26th of September, 1423, at
La Gravelle, in Maine, the French were victorious, and Du Guesclin was
commemorated in their victory. Anne de Laval, granddaughter of the great
Breton warrior, and mistress of a castle hard by the scene of action,
sent thither her son, Andrew de Laval, a child twelve years of age, and,
as she buckled with her own hands the sword which his ancestor had worn,
she said to him, "God make thee as valiant as he whose sword this was!"
The boy received the order of knighthood on the field of battle, and
became afterwards a marshal of France. Little bands, made up of
volunteers, attempted enterprises which the chiefs of the regular armies
considered impossible. Stephen de Vignolles, celebrated under the name
of La Hire, resolved to succor the town of Montargis, besieged by the
English; and young Dunois, the bastard of Orleans, joined him. On
arriving, September 5, 1427, beneath the walls of the place, a priest was
encountered in their road. La Hire asked him for absolution. The priest
told him to confess. "I have no time for that," said La Hire; "I am 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 La Hire, putting his hands
together, said, "God, I pray Thee to do for La Hire this day as much as
Thou wouldst have La Hire do for Thee if he were God and Thou wert La
Hire." And Montargis was rid of its besiegers. The English determined
to become masters of Mont St. Michel au peril de la mer, that abbey built
on a rock facing the western coast of Normandy and surrounded every day
by the waves of ocean. The thirty-second abbot, Robert Jolivet, promised
to give the place up to them, and went to Rouen with that design; but one
of his monks, John Enault, being elected vicar-general by the chapter,
and supported by some valiant Norman warriors, offered an obstinate
resistance for eight years, baffled all the attacks of the English, and
retained the abbey in the possession of the King of France. The
inhabitants of La Rochelle rendered the same service to the king and to
France in a more important case. On the 15th of August, 1427, an English
fleet of a hundred and twenty sail, it is said, appeared off their city
with invading troops aboard. The Rochellese immediately levied upon
themselves an extraordinary tax, and put themselves in a state of
defence; troops raised in the neighborhood went and occupied the heights
bordering on the coast; and a bold Breton sailor, Bernard de Kercabin,
put to sea to meet the enemy, with ships armed as privateers. The
attempt of the English seemed to them to offer more danger than chance of
success; and they withdrew. Thus Charles VII. kept possession of the
only seaport remaining to the crown. Almost everywhere in the midst of a
war as indecisive as it was obstinate local patriotism and the spirit of
chivalry successfully disputed against foreign supremacy the scattered
fragments of the fatherland and the throne.

In order to put an end to this doubtful condition of events and of minds,
the Duke of Bedford determined to aim a grand blow at the national party
in France and at her king. After Paris and Rouen, Orleans was the most
important city in the kingdom; it was as supreme on the banks of the
Loire as Paris and Rouen were on those of the Seine. After having
obtained from England considerable re-enforcements commanded by leaders
of experience, the English commenced, in October, 1428, the siege of
Orleans. The approaches to the place were occupied in force, and
bastilles closely connected one with another were constructed around the
walls. As a set-off, the most valiant warriors of France, La Hire,
Dunois, Xaintrailles, and the Marshal La Fayette threw themselves into
Orleans, the garrison of which amounted to scarcely twelve hundred men.
Several towns, Bourges, Poitiers, and La Rochelle, sent thither money,
munitions, and militia; the states-general, assembled at Chinon, voted an
extraordinary aid; and Charles VII. called out the regulars and the
reserves. Assaults on the one side and sorties on the other were begun
with ardor. Besiegers and besieged quite felt that they were engaged in
a decisive struggle. The first encounter was unfortunate for the
Orleannese. In a fight called the Herring affair, they were unsuccessful
in an attempt to carry off a supply of victuals and salt fish which Sir
John Falstolf was bringing to the besiegers. Being a little discouraged,
they offered the Duke of Burgundy to place their city in his hands, that
it might not fall into those of the English; and Philip the Good accepted
the offer, but the Duke of Bedford made a formal objection: "He didn't
care," he said, "to beat the bushes for another to get the birds."
Philip in displeasure withdrew from the siege the small force of
Burgundians he had sent. The English remained alone before the place,
which was every day harder pressed and more strictly blockaded. The
besieged were far from foreseeing what succor was preparing for them.

This very year, on the 6th of January, 1428, at Domremy, a little village
in the valley of the Meuse, between Neufchateau and Vaucouleurs, on the
edge of the frontier from Champagne to Lorraine, the young daughter of
simple tillers of the soil, "of good life and repute, herself a good,
simple, gentle girl, no idler, occupied hitherto in sewing or spinning
with her mother, or driving afield her parent's sheep, and sometimes,
even, when her father's turn came round, keeping for him the whole flock
of the commune," was fulfilling her sixteenth year. It was Joan of Arc,
whom all her neighbors called Joannette. She was no recluse; she often
went with her companions to sing and eat cakes beside the fountain by the
gooseberry-bush, under an old beech, which was called the fairy-tree: but
dancing she did not like. She was constant at church, she delighted in
the sound of the bells, she went often to confession and communion, and
she blushed when her fair friends taxed her with being too religious. In
1421, when Joan was hardly nine, a band of Anglo-Burgundians penetrated
into her country, and transferred thither the ravages of war. The
village of Domremy and the little town of Vaucouleurs were French, and
faithful to the French king-ship; and Joan wept to see the lads of her
parish returning bruised and bleeding from encounters with the enemy.
Her relations and neighbors were one day obliged to take to flight, and
at their return they found their houses burned or devastated. Joan
wondered whether it could possibly be that God permitted such excesses
and disasters. In 1425, on a summer's day, at noon, she was in her
father's little garden. She heard a voice calling her, at her right
side, in the direction of the church, and a great brightness shone upon
her at the same time in the same spot. At first she was frightened, but
she recovered herself on finding that "it was a worthy voice;" and, at
the second call, she perceived that it was the voice of angels. "I saw
them with my bodily eyes," she said, six years later, to her judges at
Rouen, "as plainly as I see you; when they departed from me I wept, and
would fain have had them take me with them." The apparitions came again
and again, and exhorted her "to go to France for to deliver the kingdom."
She became dreamy, rapt in constant meditation. "I could endure no
longer," said she, at a later period, "and the time went heavily with me
as with a woman in travail." She ended by telling everything to her
father, who listened to her words anxiously at first, and afterwards
wrathfully. He himself one night dreamed that his daughter had followed
the king's men-at-arms to France, and from that moment he kept her under
strict superintendence. "If I knew of your sister's going," he said to
his sons, "I would bid you drown her; and, if you did not do it, I would
drown her myself." Joan submitted: there was no leaven of pride in her
sublimation, and she did not suppose that her intercourse with celestial
voices relieved her from the duty of obeying her parents. Attempts were
made to distract her mind. A young man who had courted her was induced
to say that he had a promise of marriage from her, and to claim the
fulfilment of it. Joan went before the ecclesiastical judge, made
affirmation that she had given no promise, and without difficulty gained
her cause. Everybody believed and respected her.

[Illustration: Joan of Arc in her Father's Garden----91]

In a village hard by Domremy she had an uncle whose wife was near her
confinement; she got herself invited to go and nurse her aunt, and
thereupon she opened her heart to her uncle, repeating to him a popular
saying, which had spread indeed throughout the country: "Is it not said
that a woman shall ruin France, and a young maid restore it?" She
pressed him to take her to Vaucouleurs to Sire Robert de Baudricourt,
captain of the bailiwick, for she wished to go to the _dauphin_ and carry
assistance to him. Her uncle gave way, and on the 13th of May, 1428, he
did take her to Vaucouleurs. "I come on behalf of my Lord," said she to
Sire de Baudricourt, "to bid you send word to the _dauphin_ to keep
himself well in hand, and not give battle to his foes, for my Lord will
presently give him succor." "Who is thy lord?" asked Baudricourt. "The
King of Heaven," answered Joan. Baudricourt set her down for mad, and
urged her uncle to take her back to her parents "with a good slap o' the

In July, 1428, a fresh invasion of Burgundians occurred at Domremy, and
redoubled the popular excitement there. Shortly afterwards, the report
touching the siege of Orleans arrived there. Joan, more and more
passionately possessed with her idea, returned to Vaucouleurs. "I must
go," said she to Sire de Baudricourt, "for to raise the siege of Orleans.
I will go, should I have to wear off my legs to the knee." She had
returned to Vaucouleurs without taking leave of her parents. "Had I
possessed," said she, in 1431, to her judges at Rouen, "a hundred fathers
and a hundred mothers, and had I been a king's daughter, I should have
gone." Baudricourt, impressed without being convinced, did not oppose
her remaining at Vaucouleurs, and sent an account of this singular young
girl to Duke Charles of Lorraine, at Nancy, and perhaps even, according
to some chronicles, to the king's court. Joan lodged at Vaucouleurs in a
wheelwright's house, and passed three weeks there, spinning with her
hostess, and dividing her time between work and church. There was much
talk in Vaucouleurs of her, and her visions, and her purpose. John of
Metz [also called John of Novelompont], a knight serving with Sire de
Baudricourt, desired to see her, and went to the wheelwright's. "What do
you here, my dear?" said he; "must the king be driven from his kingdom,
and we become English?" "I am come hither," answered Joan, "to speak to
Robert de Baudricourt, that he may be pleased to take me or have me taken
to the king; but he pays no heed to me or my words. However, I must be
with the king before the middle of Lent, for none in the world, nor
kings, nor dukes, nor daughter of the Scottish king can recover the
kingdom of France; there is no help but in me. Assuredly I would far
rather be spinning beside my poor mother, for this other is not my
condition; but I must go and do the work because my Lord wills that I
should do it." "Who is your lord?" "The Lord God." "By my faith,"
said the knight, seizing Joan's hands, "I will take you to the king, God
helping. When will you set out?" "Rather now than to-morrow; rather
to-morrow than later." Vaucouleurs was full of the fame and the sayings
of Joan. Another knight, Bertrand de Poulengy, offered, as John of Metz
had, to be her escort, Duke Charles of Lorraine wished to see her, and
sent for her to Nancy. Old and ill as he was, he had deserted the
duchess his wife, a virtuous lady, and was leading anything but a regular
life. He asked Joan's advice about his health. "I have no power to cure
you," said Joan, "but go back to your wife and help me in that for which
God ordains me." The duke ordered her four golden crowns, and she
returned to Vaucouleurs, thinking of nothing but her departure. There
was no want of confidence and good will on the part of the inhabitants of
Vaucouleurs in forwarding her preparations. John of Metz, the knight
charged to accompany her, asked her if she intended to make the journey
in her poor red rustic petticoats. "I would like to don man's clothes,"
answered Joan. Subscriptions were made to give her a suitable costume.
She was supplied with a horse, a coat of mail, a lance, a sword, the
complete equipment, indeed, of a man-at-arms; and a king's messenger and
an archer formed her train. Baudricourt made them swear to escort her
safely, and on the 25th of February, 1429, he bade her farewell, and all
he said was, "Away then, Joan, and come what may."

Charles VII. was at that time residing at Chinon, in Touraine. In order
to get there Joan had nearly a hundred and fifty leagues to go, in a
country occupied here and there by English and Burgundians, and
everywhere a theatre of war. She took eleven days to do this journey,
often marching by night, never giving up man's dress, disquieted by no
difficulty and no danger, and testifying no desire for a halt save to
worship God. "Could we hear mass daily," said she to her comrades, "we
should do well." They only consented twice, first in the abbey of St.
Urban, and again in the principal church of Auxerre. As they were full
of respect, though at the same time also of doubt, towards Joan, she
never had to defend herself against their familiarities, but she had
constantly to dissipate their disquietude touching the reality or the
character of her mission. "Fear nothing," she said to them; "God shows
me the way I should go; for thereto was I born." On arriving at the
village of St. Catherine-de-Fierbois, near Chinon, she heard three masses
on the same day, and had a letter written thence to the king, to announce
her coming and to ask to see him; she had gone, she said, a hundred and
fifty leagues to come and tell him things which would be most useful to
him. Charles VII. and his councillors hesitated. The men of war did not
like to believe that a little peasant-girl of Lorraine was coming to
bring the king a more effectual support than their own. Nevertheless
some, and the most heroic amongst them,--Dunois, La Hire, and
Xaintrailles,--were moved by what was told of this young girl. The
letters of Sire de Baudricourt, though full of doubt, suffered a gleam of
something like a serious impression to peep out; and why should not the
king receive this young girl whom the captain of Vaucouleurs had thought
it a duty to send? It would soon be seen what she was and what she would
do. The politicians and courtiers, especially the most trusted of them,
George de la Tremoille, the king's favorite, shrugged their shoulders.
What could be expected from the dreams of a young peasant-girl of
nineteen? Influences of a more private character and more disposed
towards sympathy--Yolande of Arragon, for instance, Queen of Sicily and
mother-in-law of Charles VII., and perhaps, also, her daughter, the young
queen, Mary of Anjou, were urgent for the king to reply to Joan that she
might go to Chinon. She was authorized to do so, and, on the 6th of
March, 1429, she with her comrades arrived at the royal residence.

At the very first moment two incidents occurred to still further increase
the curiosity of which she was the object. Quite close to Chinon some
vagabonds, it is said, had prepared an ambuscade for the purpose of
despoiling her, her and her train. She passed close by them without the
least obstacle. The rumor went that at her approach they were struck
motionless, and had been unable to attempt their wicked purpose. Joan
was rather tall, well shaped, dark, with a look of composure, animation,
and gentleness. A man-at-arms, who met her on her way, thought her
pretty, and with an impious oath expressed a coarse sentiment. "Alas!"
said Joan, "thou blasphemest thy God, and yet thou art so near thy
death!" He drowned himself, it is said, soon after. Already popular
feeling was surrounding her marvellous mission with a halo of
instantaneous miracles.

[Illustration: CHINON CASTLE----95]

On her arrival at Chinon she at first lodged with an honest family near
the castle. For three days longer there was a deliberation in the
council as to whether the king ought to receive her. But there was bad
news from Orleans. There were no more troops to send thither, and there
was no money forthcoming: the king's treasurer, it was said, had but four
crowns in the chest. If Orleans were taken, the king would perhaps be
reduced to seeking a refuge in Spain or in Scotland. Joan promised to
set Orleans free. The Orleannese themselves were clamorous for her;
Dunois kept up their spirits with the expectation of this marvellous
assistance. It was decided that the king should receive her. She had
assigned to her for residence an apartment in the tower of the Coudray, a
block of quarters adjoining the royal mansion, and she was committed to
the charge of William Bellier, an officer of the king's household, whose
wife was a woman of great piety and excellent fame. On the 9th of March,
1429, Joan was at last introduced into the king's presence by the Count
of Vendome, high steward, in the great hall on the first story, a portion
of the wall and the fireplace being still visible in the present day. It
was evening, candle-light; and nearly three hundred knights were present.
Charles kept himself a little aloof, amidst a group of warriors and
courtiers more richly dressed than he. According to some chroniclers,
Joan had demanded that "she should not be deceived, and should have
pointed out to her him to whom she was to speak;" others affirm that she
went straight to the king, whom she had never seen, "accosting him humbly
and simply, like a poor little shepherdess," says an eye-witness, and,
according to another account, "making the usual bends and reverences as
if she had been brought up at court." Whatever may have been her outward
behavior, "Gentle _dauphin_," she said to the king (for she did not think
it right to call him king so long as he was not crowned), "my name is 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 no
evil will come to them, and the kingdom is sure to continue yours."
Charles was impressed without being convinced, as so many others had been
before, or were, as he was, on that very day. He saw Joan again several
times. She did not delude herself as to the doubts he still entertained.
"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." Charles gave her
audience on this occasion in the presence, according to some accounts, of
four witnesses, the most trusted of his intimates, who swore to reveal
nothing, and, according to others, completely alone. "What she said to
him there is none who knows," wrote Alan Chartier, a short time after [in
July, 1429], "but it is quite certain that he was all radiant with joy
thereat as at a revelation from the Holy Spirit." M. Wallop, after a
scrupulous sifting of evidence, has given the following exposition of
this mysterious interview. "Sire de Boisy," he says, "who was in his
youth one of the gentlemen of the bed-chamber on the most familiar terms
with Charles VII., told Peter Sala, giving the king himself as his
authority for the story, that one day, at the period of his greatest
adversity, the prince, vainly looking for a remedy against so many
troubles, entered in the morning, alone, into his oratory, and there,
without uttering a word aloud, made prayer to God from the depths of his
heart that if he were the true heir, issue of the house of France (and a
doubt was possible with such a queen as Isabel of Bavaria), and the
kingdom ought justly to be his, God would be pleased to keep and defend
it for him; if not, to give him grace to escape without death or
imprisonment, and find safety in Spain or in Scotland, where he intended
in the last resort to seek a refuge. This prayer, known to God alone,
the Maid recalled to the mind of Charles VII.; and thus is explained the
joy which, as the witnesses say, he testified, whilst none at that time
knew the cause. Joan by this revelation not only caused the king to
believe in her; she caused him to believe in himself and his right and
title: though she never spoke in that way as of her own motion to the
king, it was always a superior power speaking by her voice, 'I tell thee
on behalf of my Lord that thou art true heir of France, and son of the
king.'" (Jeanne d'Arc, by M. Wallon, t. i. p. 32.)

Whether Charles VII. were or were not convinced by this interview of
Joan's divine mission, he clearly saw that many of those about him had
little or no faith in it, and that other proofs were required to upset
their doubts. He resolved to go to Poitiers, where his council, the
parliament, and several learned members of the University of Paris were
in session, and have Joan put to the strictest examination. When she
learned her destination, she said, "In the name of God, I know that I
shall have tough work there, but my Lord will help me. Let us go, then,
for God's sake." On her arrival at Poitiers, on the 11th of March, 1429,
she was placed in one of the most respectable families in the town, that
of John Rabuteau, advocate-general in parliament. The Archbishop of
Rheims, Reginald de Chartres, Chancellor of France, five bishops, the
king's councillors, several learned doctors, and amongst others Father
Seguin, an austere and harsh Dominican, repaired thither to question her.
When she saw them come in, she went and sat down at the end of the bench,
and asked them what they wanted with her. For two hours they set
themselves to the task of showing her, "by fair and gentle arguments,"
that she was not entitled to belief. "Joan," said William Aimery,
professor of theology, "you ask for men-at-arms, and you say that it is
God's pleasure that the English should leave the kingdom of France, and
depart to their own land; if so, there is no need of men-at-arms, for
God's pleasure alone can discomfit them, and force them to return to
their homes." "In the name of God," answered Joan, "the men-at-arms will
do battle, and God will give them victory." Master William did not urge
his point. The Dominican, Seguin, "a very sour man," says the chronicle,
asked Joan what language the voices spoke to her. "Better than yours,"
answered Joan. The doctor spoke the Limousine dialect. "Do you believe
in God?" he asked, ill-humoredly. "More than you do," retorted Joan,
offended. "Well," rejoined the monk, "God forbids belief in you without
some sign tending thereto: I shall not give the king advice to trust
men-at-arms to you, and put them in peril on your simple word." "In the
name of God," said Joan, "I am not come to Poitiers to show signs; take
me to Orleans, and I will give you signs of what I am sent for. Let me
have ever so few men-at-arms given me, and I will go to Orleans;" then,
addressing another of the examiners, Master Peter of Versailles, who was
afterwards Bishop of Meaux, she said, "I know nor A nor B; but in our
Lord's book there is more than in your books; I come on behalf of the
King of Heaven to cause the siege of Orleans to be raised, and to take
the king to Rheims, that he may be crowned and anointed there." The
examination was prolonged for a fortnight, not without symptoms of
impatience on the part of Joan. At the end of it, she said to one of the
doctors, John Erault, "Have you paper and ink? Write what I shall say to
you." And she dictated a form of letter which became, some weeks later,
the manifesto addressed in a more developed shape by her from Orleans to
the English, calling upon them to raise the siege and put a stop to the
war. The chief of those piously and patriotically heroic phrases were as

"Jesu Maria,

"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 folks 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


At the end of their examination, the doctors decided in Joan's favor.
Two of them, the Bishop of Castres, Gerard Machet, the king's confessor,
and Master John Erault, recognized the divine nature of her mission. She
was, they said, the virgin foretold in the ancient prophecies, notably in
those of Merlin; and the most exacting amongst them approved of the
king's having neither accepted nor rejected, with levity, the promises
made by Joan; "after a grave inquiry there had been discovered in her,"
they said, "nought but goodness, humility, devotion, honesty, simplicity.
Before Orleans she professes to be going to show her sign; so she must be
taken to Orleans, for to give her up without any appearance on her part
of evil would be to fight against the Holy Spirit, and to become unworthy
of aid from God." After the doctors' examination came that of the women.
Three of the greatest ladies in France, Yolande of Arragon, Queen of
Sicily; the Countess of Gaucourt, wife of the Governor of Orleans; and
Joan de Mortemer, wife of Robert le Macon, Baron of Troves, were charged
to examine Joan as to her life as a woman. They found therein nothing
but truth, virtue, and modesty; "she spoke to them with such sweetness
and grace," says the chronicle, "that she drew tears from their eyes;"
and she excused herself to them for the dress she wore, and for which the
sternest doctors had not dreamed of reproaching her. "It is more
decent," said the Archbishop of Embrun, "to do such things in man's
dress, since they must be done along with men." The men of intelligence
at court bowed down before this village-saint, who was coming to bring to
the king in his peril assistance from God; the most valiant men of war
were moved by the confident outbursts of her patriotic courage; and the
people everywhere welcomed her with faith and enthusiasm. Joan had as
yet only just appeared, and already she was the heaven-sent interpretress
of the nation's feeling, the hope of the people of France.

Charles no longer hesitated. Joan was treated, according to her own
expression in her letter to the English, "as a war-chief;" there were
assigned to her a squire, a page, two heralds, a chaplain, Brother
Pasquerel, of the order of the hermit-brotherhood of St. Augustin,
varlets, and serving-folks. A complete suit of armor was made to fit
her. Her two guides, John of Metz and Bertrand of Poulengy, had not
quitted her; and the king continued them in her train. Her sword he
wished to be supplied by himself; she asked for one marked with five
crosses; it would be found, she said, behind the altar in the chapel of
St. Catherine-de-Fierbois, where she had halted on her arrival at
Chinon; and there, indeed, it was found. She had a white banner made,
studded with lilies, bearing the representation of God seated upon the
clouds, and holding in His hand the globe of the world. Above were the
words "Jesu Maria," and below were two angels, on their knees in
adoration. Joan was fond of her sword, as she said two years afterwards
at her trial, but she was forty times more fond of her banner, which was,
in her eyes, the sign of her commission and the pledge of victory. On
the completion of the preparations she demanded the immediate departure
of the expedition. Orleans was crying for succor; Dunois was sending
messenger after messenger; and Joan was in a greater hurry than anybody

More than a month elapsed before her anxieties were satisfied. During
this interval we find Charles VII. and Joan of Arc at Chatelherault, at
Poitiers, at Tours, at Florent-les-Saumur, at Chinon, and at Blois, going
to and fro through all that country to push forward the expedition
resolved upon, and to remove the obstacles it encountered. Through a
haze of vague indications a glimpse is caught of the struggle which was
commencing between the partisans and the adversaries of Joan, and in
favor of or in opposition to the impulse she was communicating to the war
of nationality. Charles VII.'s mother-in-law, Yolande of Arragon, Queen
of Sicily, and the young Duke of Alencon, whose father had been killed at
the battle of Agincourt, were at the head of Joan's partisans. Yolande
gave money and took a great deal of trouble in order to promote the
expedition which was to go and succor Orleans. The Duke of Alencon,
hardly twenty years of age, was the only one amongst the princes of the
house of Valois who had given Joan a kind reception on her arrival, and
who, together with the brave La Hire, said that he would follow her
whithersoever she pleased to lead him. Joan, in her gratitude, called
him the handsome duke, and exhibited towards him amity and confidence.

But, side by side with these friends, she had an adversary in the king's
favorite, George de la Tremoille, an ambitious courtier, jealous of any
one who seemed within the range of the king's favor, and opposed to a
vigorous prosecution of the war, since it hampered him in the policy he
wished to keep up towards the Duke of Burgundy. To the ill will of La
Tremoille was added that of the majority of courtiers enlisted in the
following of the powerful favorite, and that of warriors irritated at the
importance acquired at their expense by a rustic and fantastic little
adventuress. Here was the source of the enmities and intrigues which
stood in the way of all Joan's demands, rendered her successes more
tardy, difficult, and incomplete, and were one day to cost her more
dearly still.

At the end of about five weeks the expedition was in readiness. It was a
heavy convoy of revictualment, protected by a body of ten or twelve
thousand men, commanded by Marshal de Boussac, and numbering amongst them
Xaintrailles and La Hire. The march began on the 27th of April, 1429.
Joan had caused the removal of all women of bad character, and had
recommended her comrades to confess. She took the communion in the open
air, before their eyes; and a company of priests, headed by her chaplain,
Pasquerel, led the way whilst chanting sacred hymns. Great was the
surprise amongst the men-at-arms, many had words of mockery on their
lips. It was the time when La Hire used to say, "If God were a soldier,
He would turn robber." Nevertheless, respect got the better of habit;
the most honorable were really touched; the coarsest considered
themselves bound to show restraint. On the 29th of April they arrived
before Orleans. But, in consequence of the road they had followed, the
Loire was between the army and the town; the expeditionary corps had to
be split in two; the troops were obliged to go and feel for the bridge of
Blois in order to 'cross the river; and Joan was vexed and surprised.
Dunois, arrived from Orleans in a little boat, urged her to enter the
town that same evening. "Are you the bastard of Orleans?" asked she,
when he accosted her. "Yes; and I am rejoiced at your coming." "Was it
you who gave counsel for making me come hither by this side of the river,
and not the direct way, over yonder where Talbot and the English were?"
"Yes; such was the opinion of the wisest captains." "In the name of God,
the counsel of my Lord is wiser than yours; you thought to deceive me,
and you have deceived yourselves, for I am bringing you the best succor
that ever had knight, or town, or city, and that is the good will of God,
and succor from the King of Heaven; not assuredly for love of me, it is
from God only that it proceeds." It was a great trial for Joan to
separate from her comrades, "so well prepared, penitent, and well
disposed; in their company," said she, "I should not fear the whole power
of the English." She was afraid that disorder might set in amongst the
troops, and that they might break up, instead of fulfilling her mission.
Dunois was urgent for her to go herself at once into Orleans, with such
portion of the convoy as boats might be able to transport thither without
delay. "Orleans," said he, "would count it for nought, if they received
the victuals without the Maid." Joan decided to go: the captains of her
division promised to rejoin her at Orleans; she left them her chaplain,
Pasquerel, the priests who accompanied him, and the banner around which
she was accustomed to muster them; and she herself, with Dunois, La Hire,
and two hundred men-at-arms, crossed the river at the same time with a
part of the supplies.

[Illustration: JOAN ENTERING ORLEANS----104]

The same day, at eight P. M., she entered the city, on horseback,
completely armed, preceded by her own banner, and having beside her
Dunois, and behind her the captains of the garrison and several of the
most distinguished burgesses of Orleans who had gone out to meet her.
The population, one and all, rushed thronging round her, carrying
torches, and greeting her arrival "with joy as great as if they had seen
God come down amongst them. They felt," says the Journal of the Siege,
"all of them recomforted and as it were disbesieged by the divine virtue
which they had been told existed in this simple maid." In their anxiety
to approach her, to touch her, one of their lighted torches set fire to
her banner. Joan disengaged herself with her horse as cleverly as it
could have been done by the most skilful horseman, and herself
extinguished the flame. The crowd attended her to the church whither she
desired to go first of all to render thanks to God, and then to the house
of John Boucher, the Duke of Orleans's treasurer, where she was received
together with her two brothers and the two gentlemen who had been her
guides from Vaucouleurs. The treasurer's wife was one of the most
virtuous city dames in Orleans, and from this night forth her daughter
Charlotte had Joan for her bedfellow. A splendid supper had been
prepared for her; but she would merely dip some slices of bread in wine
and water. Neither her enthusiasm nor her success, the two greatest
tempters to pride in mankind, made any change in her modesty and

The very day after her arrival she would have liked to go and attack the
English in their bastilles, within which they kept themselves shut up.
La Hire was pretty much of her opinion; but Dunois and the captains of
the garrison thought they ought to await the coming of the troops which
had gone to cross the Loire at Blois, and the supports which several
French garrisons in the neighborhood had received orders to forward to
Orleans. Joan insisted. Sire de Gamaches, one of the officers present,
could not contain himself. "Since ear is given," said he, "to the advice
of a wench of low degree rather than to that of a knight like me, I will
not bandy more words; when the time comes, it shall be my sword that
will speak; I shall fall, perhaps, but the king and my own honor demand
it; henceforth I give up my banner and am nothing more than a poor
esquire. I prefer to have for master a noble man rather than a girl who
has heretofore been, perhaps, I know not what." He furled his banner
and handed it to Dunois. Dunois, as sensible as he was brave, would not
give heed either to the choler of Gamaches or to the insistence of Joan;
and, thanks to his intervention, they were reconciled on being induced
to think better, respectively, of giving up the banner and ordering an
immediate attack. Dunois went to Blois to hurry the movements of the
division which had repaired thither; and his presence there was highly
necessary, since Joan's enemies, especially the chancellor Regnault,
were nearly carrying a decision that no such re-enforcement should be
sent to Orleans. Dunois frustrated this purpose, and led back to
Orleans, by way of Beauce, the troops concentrated at Blois. On the 4th
of May, as soon as it was known that he was coming, Joan, La Hire, and
the principal leaders of the city as well as of the garrison, went to
meet him, and re-entered Orleans with him and his troops, passing
between the bastilles of the English, who made not even an attempt to
oppose them. "That is the sorceress yonder," said some of the
besiegers; others asked if it were quite so clear that her power, did
not come to her from on high; and their commander, the Earl of Suffolk,
being himself, perhaps, uncertain, did not like to risk it: doubt
produced terror, and terror inactivity. The convoy from Blois entered
Orleans, preceded by Brother Pasquerel and the priests.

Joan, whilst she was awaiting it, sent the English captains a fresh
summons to withdraw conformably with the letter which she had already
addressed to them from Blois, and the principal clauses of which were
just now quoted here. They replied with coarse insults, calling her
strumpet and cow-girl, and threatening to burn her when they caught her.
She was very much moved by their insults, insomuch as to weep; but
calling God to witness her innocence, she found herself comforted, and
expressed it by saying, "I have had news from my Lord." The English had
detained the first herald she had sent them; and when she would have sent
them a second to demand his comrade back, he was afraid. "In the name of
God," said Joan, "they will do no harm nor to thee nor to him; thou shalt
tell Talbot to arm, and I too will arm; let him show himself in front of
the city; if he can take me, let him burn me; if I discomfit him, let him
raise the siege, and let the English get them gone to their own country."
The second herald appeared to be far from reassured; but Dunois charged
him to say that the English prisoners should answer for what was done to
the heralds from the Maid. The two heralds were sent back. Joan made up
her mind to iterate in person to the English the warnings she had given
them in her letter. She mounted upon one of the bastions of Orleans,
opposite the English bastille called Tournelles, and there, at the top of
her voice, she repeated her counsel to them to be gone; else, woe and
shame would come upon them. The commandant of the bastille, Sir William
Gladesdale [called by Joan and the French chroniclers _Glacidas_],
answered with the usual insults, telling her to go back and mind her
cows, and alluding to the French as miscreants. "You lie," cried Joan,
"and in spite of you soon shall ye depart hence; many of your people
shall be slain; but as for you, you shall not see it."

Dunois, the very day of his return to Orleans, after dinner, went to call
upon Joan, and told her that he had heard on his way that Sir John
Falstolf, the same who on the 12th of the previous February had beaten
the French in the Herring affair, was about to arrive with
re-enforcements and supplies for the besiegers. "Bastard, bastard," said
Joan, "in the name of God I command thee, as soon as thou shalt know of
this Pascot's coming, to have me warned of it, for, should he pass
without my knowing of it, I promise thee that I will have thy head cut
off." Dunois assured her that she should be warned. Joan was tired with
the day's excitement; she threw herself upon her bed to sleep, but
unsuccessfully; all at once she said to Sire Daulon, her esquire, "My
counsel doth tell me to go against the English; but I know not whether
against their bastilles or against this Fascot. I must arm." Her
esquire was beginning to arm her when she heard it shouted in the street
that the enemy were at that moment doing great damage to the French. "My
God," said she, "the blood of our people is running on the ground; why
was I not awakened sooner? Ah! it was ill done! . . . My arms! My
arms! my horse!" Leaving behind her esquire, who was not yet armed, she
went down. Her page was playing at the door: "Ah! naughty boy," said
she, "not to come and tell me that the blood of France was being shed!
Come! quick! my horse!" It was brought to her; she bade them hand down to
her by the window her banner, which she had left behind, and, without any
further waiting, she departed and went to the Burgundy gate, whence the
noise seemed to come. Seeing on her way one of the townsmen passing who
was being carried off wounded, she said, "Alas! I never see a Frenchman's
blood but my hair stands up on my head!" It was some of the Orleannese
themselves who, without consulting their chiefs, had made a sortie and
attacked the Bastille St. Loup, the strongest held by the English on this
side. The French had been repulsed, and were falling back in flight when
Joan came up, and soon after her Dunois and a throng of men-at-arms who
had been warned of the danger. The fugitives returned to the assault;
the battle was renewed with ardor; the bastille of St. Loup,
notwithstanding energetic resistance on the part of the English who
manned it, was taken; and all its defenders were put to the sword before
Talbot and the main body of the besiegers could come up to their
assistance. Joan showed sorrow that so many people should have died
unconfessed; and she herself was the means of saving some who had
disguised themselves as priests in gowns which they had taken from the
church of St. Loup. Great was the joy in Orleans, and the enthusiasm for
Joan was more lively than ever. "Her voices had warned her," they said,
"and apprised her that there was a battle; and then she had found by
herself alone and without any guide the way to the Burgundy gate."
Men-at-arms and burgesses all demanded that the attack upon the English
hastilles should be resumed; but the next day, the 5th of May, was
Ascension-day. Joan advocated lions repose on this holy festival, and
the general feeling was in accord with her own. She recommended her
comrades to fulfil their religious duties, and she herself received the
communion. The chiefs of the besieged resolved to begin on the morrow a
combined attack upon the English bastilles which surrounded the palace;
but Joan was not in their counsels. "Tell me what you have resolved,"
she said to them; "I can keep this and greater secrets." Dunois made her
acquainted with the plan adopted, of which she fully approved; and on the
morrow, the 6th of May, a fierce struggle began again all round Orleans.
For two days the bastilles erected by the besiegers against the place
were repeatedly attacked by the besieged. On the first day Joan was
slightly wounded in the foot. Some disagreement arose between her and
Sire de Gaucourt, governor of Orleans, as to continuing the struggle; and
John Boucher, her host, tried to keep her back the second day. "Stay and
dine with us," said he, "to eat that shad which has just been brought."
"Keep it for supper," said Joan; "I will come back this evening and bring
you some goddamns (Englishman) or other to eat his share;" and she
sallied forth, eager to return to the assault. On arriving at the
Burgundy gate she found it closed; the governor would not allow any
sortie thereby to attack on that side. "Ah! naughty man," said Joan,
"you are wrong; whether you will or no, our men-at-arms shall go and win
on this day as they have already won." The gate was forced; and
men-at-arms and burgesses rushed out from all quarters to attack the
bastille of Tournelles, the strongest of the English works. It was ten
o'clock in the morning; the passive and active powers of both parties
were concentrated on this point; and for a moment the French appeared
weary and downcast. Joan took a scaling-ladder, set it against the
rampart, and was the first to mount. There came an arrow and struck her
between neck and shoulder, and she fell. Sire de Gamaches, who had but
lately displayed so much temper towards her, found her where she lay.
"Take my horse," said he, "and bear no malice: I was wrong; I had formed
a false idea of you." "Yes," said Joan, "and bear no malice: I never saw
a more accomplished knight." She was taken away and had her armor
removed. The arrow, it is said, stood out almost half-a-foot behind.
There was an instant of faintness and tears; but she prayed and felt her
strength renewed, and pulled out the arrow with her own hand.

[Illustration: Herself drew out the Arrow----109]

Some one proposed to her to charm the wound by means of cabalistic words;
but "I would rather die," she said, "than so sin against the will of God.
I know full well that I must die some day; but I know nor where nor when
nor how. If, without sin, my wound may be healed, I am right willing."
A dressing of oil and lard was applied to the wound; and she retired
apart into a vineyard, and was continually in prayer. Fatigue and
discouragement were overcoming the French; and the captains ordered the
retreat to be sounded. Joan begged Dunois to wait a while. "My God,"
said she, "we shall soon be inside. Give your people a little rest; eat
and drink." She resumed her arms and remounted her horse; her banner
floated in the air; the French took fresh courage; the English, who
thought Joan half dead, were seized with surprise and fear; and one of
their principal leaders, Sir William Gladesdale, made up his mind to
abandon the outwork which he had hitherto so well kept, and retire within
the bastille itself. Joan perceived his movement. "Yield thee," she
shouted to him from afar; "yield thee to the King of Heaven! Ah!
Glacidas, thou hast basely insulted me; but I have great pity on the
souls of thee and thine." The Englishman continued his retreat. Whilst
he was passing over the drawbridge which reached from the out-work to the
bastille, a shot from the side of Orleans broke down the bridge;
Gladesdale fell into the water and was drowned, together with many of his
comrades; the French got into the bastille without any fresh fighting;
and Joan re-entered Orleans amidst the joy and acclamations of the
people. The bells rang all through the night, and the Te Deum was
chanted. The day of combat was about to be succeeded by the day of

On the morrow, the 8th of May, 1429, at daybreak, the English leaders
drew up their troops close to the very moats of the city, and seemed to
offer battle to the French. Many of the Orleannese leaders would have
liked to accept this challenge; but Joan got up from her bed, where she
was resting because of her wound, put on a light suit of armor, and ran
to the city gates. "For the love and honor of holy Sunday," said she to
the assembled warriors, "do not be the first to attack, and make to them
no demand; it is God's good will and pleasure that they be allowed to get
them gone if they be minded to go away; if they attack you, defend
yourselves boldly; you will be the masters." She caused an altar to be
raised; thanksgivings were sung, and mass was celebrated. "See!" said
Joan; "are the English turning to you their faces, or verily their
backs?" They had commenced their retreat in good order, with standards
flying. "Let them go: my Lord willeth not that there be any fighting
to-day; you shall have them another time." The good words spoken by Joan
were not so preventive but that many men set off to pursue the English,
and cut off stragglers and baggage. Their bastilles were found to be
full of victual and munitions; and they had abandoned their sick and many
of their prisoners. The siege of Orleans was raised.

The day but one after this deliverance, Joan set out to go and rejoin the
king, and prosecute her work at his side. She fell in with him on the
13th of May, at Tours, moved forward to meet him, with her banner in her
hand and her head uncovered, and bending down over her charger's neck,
made him a deep obeisance. Charles took off his cap, held out his hand
to her, and, "as it seemed to many," says a contemporary chronicler, "he
would fain have kissed her, for the joy that he felt." But the king's
joy was not enough for Joan. She urged him to march with her against
enemies who were flying, so to speak, from themselves, and to start
without delay for Rheims, where he would be crowned. "I shall hardly
last more than a year," said she; "we must think about working right well
this year, for there is much to do." Hesitation was natural to Charles,
even in the hour of victory. His favorite, La Tremoille, and his
chancellor, the Archbishop of Rheims, opposed Joan's entreaties with all
the objections that could be devised under the inspiration of their ill
will: there were neither troops nor money in hand for so great a journey;
and council after council was held for the purpose of doing nothing.
Joan, in her impatience, went one day to Loches, without previous notice,
and tapped softly at the door of the king's privy chamber (chambre de re-
trait). He bade her enter. She fell upon her knees, saying, "Gentle
_dauphin_, hold not so many and such long councils, but rather come to
Rheims, and there assume your crown; I am much pricked to take you
thither." "Joan," said the Bishop of Castres, Christopher d'Harcourt,
the king's confessor, "cannot you tell the king what pricketh you?"
"Ah! I see," replied Joan, with some embarrassment: "well, I will tell
you. I had set me to prayer, according to my wont, and I was making
complaint for that you would not believe what I said; then the voice came
and said unto me, 'Go, go, my daughter; I will be a help to thee; go.'
When this voice comes to me, I feel marvellously rejoiced; I would that
it might endure forever." She was eager and overcome.

Joan and her voices were not alone in urging the king to shake off his
doubts and his indolence. In church, and court, and army, allies were
not wanting to the pious and valiant maid. In a written document dated
the 14th of May, six days after the siege of Orleans was raised, the most
Christian doctor of the age, as Gerson was called, sifted the question
whether it were possible, whether it were a duty, to believe in the Maid.
"Even if (which God forbid)," said he, "she should be mistaken in her
hope 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 deserts." Great lords and simple gentlemen, old
and young warriors, were eager to go and join Joan for the salvation of
the king and of France. The constable, De Richemont, banished from the
court through the jealous hatred of George la Tremoille, made a pressing
application there, followed by a body of men-at-arms; and, when the king
refused to see him, he resolved, though continuing in disgrace, to take
an active part in the war. The young Duke of Alencon, who had been a
prisoner with the English since the battle of Agincourt, hurried on the
payment of his ransom in order to accompany Joan as lieutenant-general of
the king in the little army which was forming. His wife, the duchess,
was in grief about it. "We have just spent great sums," said she, "in
buying him back from the English; if he would take my advice, he would
stay at home." "Madame," said Joan, "I will bring him back to you safe
and sound, nay, even in better contentment than at present; be not
afraid." And on this promise the duchess took heart. Du Guesciin's
widow, Joan de Laval, was still living; and she had two grandsons, Guy
and Andrew de Laval, who were amongst the most zealous of those taking
service in the army destined to march on Rheims. The king, to all
appearance, desired to keep them near his person. "God forbid that I
should do so," wrote Guy de Laval, on the 8th of June, 1429, to those
most dread dames, his grandmother and his mother; "my brother says, as
also my lord the Duke d'Alencon, that a good riddance of bad rubbish
would he be who should stay at home." And he describes his first
interview with the Maid as follows: "The king had sent for her to come
and meet him at Selles-en-Berry. Some say that it was for my sake, in
order that I might see her. She gave right good cheer (a kind reception)
to my brother and myself; and after we had dismounted at Selles I went to
see her in her quarters. She ordered wine, and told me that she would
soon have me drinking some at Paris. It seems a thing divine to look on
her and listen to her. I saw her mount on horseback, armed all in white
armor, save her head, and with a little axe in her hand, on a great black
charger, which, at the door of her quarters, was very restive, and would
not let her mount. Then said she, 'Lead him to the cross,' which was in
front of the neighboring church, on the road. There she mounted him
without his moving, and as if he were tied up; and turning towards the
door of the church, which was very nigh at hand, she said, in quite a
womanly voice, 'You, priests and church-men, make procession and prayers
to God.' Then she resumed her road, saying, 'Push forward, push
forward.' She told me that three days before my arrival she had sent
you, dear grand-mother, a little golden ring, but that it was a very
small matter, and she would have liked to send you something better,
having regard to your estimation."

It was amidst this burst of patriotism, and with all these valiant
comrades, that Joan recommenced the campaign on the 10th of June, 1429,
quite resolved to bring the king to Rheims. To complete the deliverance
of Orleans, an attack was begun upon the neighboring places, Jargeau,
Meung, and Beaugency. Before Jargeau, on the 12th of June, although it
was Sunday, Joan had the trumpets sounded for the assault. The Duke
d'Alencon thought it was too soon. "Ah!" said Joan, "be not doubtful; it
is the hour pleasing to God; work ye, and God will work." And she added,
familiarly, "Art thou afeard, gentle duke? Knowest thou not that I have
promised thy wife to take thee back safe and sound?" The assault began;
and Joan soon had occasion to keep her promise. The Duke d'Alencon was
watching the assault from an exposed spot, and Joan remarked a piece
pointed at this spot. "Get you hence," said she to the duke; "yonder is
a piece which will slay you." The Duke moved, and a moment afterwards
Sire de Lude was killed at the self-same place by a shot from the said
piece. Jargeau was taken. Before Beaugency a serious incident took
place. The constable, De Richemont, came up with a force of twelve
hundred men. When he was crossing to Loudun, Charles VII., swayed as
ever by the jealous La Tremoille, had word sent to him to withdraw, and
that if he advanced he would be attacked. "What I am doing in the
matter," said the constable, "is for the good of the king and the realm;
if anybody comes to attack me, we shall see." When he had joined the
army before Beaugency, the Duke d'Alencon was much troubled. The king's
orders were precise, and Joan herself hesitated. But news came that
Talbot and the English were approaching. "Now," said Joan, "we must
think no more of anything but helping one another." She rode forward to
meet the constable, and saluted him courteously. "Joan," said he, "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." He remained,
and Beaugency was taken. The English army came up. Sir John Falstolf
had joined Talbot. Some disquietude showed itself amongst the French, so
roughly handled for some time past in pitched battles. "Ah! fair
constable," said Joan to Richemont, "you are not come by my orders, but
you are right welcome." The Duke d'Alencon consulted Joan as to what was
to be done. "It will be well to have horses," was suggested by those
about her. She asked her neighbors, "Have you good spurs?" "Ha!" cried
they, "must we fly, then?"

"No, surely," replied Joan: "but there will be need to ride boldly; we
shall give a good account of the English, and our spurs will serve us
famously in pursuing them." The battle began on the 18th of June, at
Patay, between Orleans and Chateaudun. By Joan's advice, the French
attacked. "In the name of God," said she, "we must fight. Though the
English were suspended from the clouds, we should have them, for God hath
sent us to punish them. The gentle king shall have to-day the greatest
victory he has ever had; my counsel hath told me they are ours." The
English lost heart, in their turn; the battle was short, and the victory
brilliant; Lord Talbot and the most part of the English captains remained
prisoners. "Lord Talbot," said the Duke d'Alencon to him, "this is not
what you expected this morning." "It is the fortune of war," answered
Talbot, with the cool dignity of an old warrior. Joan's immediate return
to Orleans was a triumph; but even triumph has its embarrassments and
perils. She demanded the speedy march of the army upon Rheims, that the
king might be crowned there without delay; but objections were raised on
all sides, the objections of the timid and those of the jealous. "By
reason of Joan the Maid," says a contemporary chronicler, "so many folks
came from all parts unto the king for to serve him at their own expense,
that La Tremoille and others of the council were much wroth thereat,
through anxiety for their own persons." Joan, impatient and irritated at
so much hesitation and intrigue, took upon herself to act as if the
decision belonged to her. On the 25th of June she wrote to the
inhabitants of Tournai, "Loyal Frenchmen, I do pray and require you to be
all ready to come to the coronation of the gentle King Charles, at
Rheims, where we shall shortly be, and to come and meet us when ye shall
learn that we are approaching." Two days afterwards, on the 27th of
June, she left Gien, where the court was, and went to take up her
quarters in the open country with the troops. There was nothing for it
but to follow her. On the 29th of June, the king, the court (including
La Tremoille), and the army, about twelve thousand strong, set out on the
march for Rheims. Other obstacles were encountered on the road. In most
of the towns the inhabitants, even the royalists, feared to compromise
themselves by openly pronouncing against the English and the Duke of
Burgundy. Those of Auxerre demanded a truce, offering provisions, and
promising to do as those of Troyes, Chalons, and Rheims should do. At
Troyes the difficulty was greater still. There was in it a garrison of
five or six hundred English and Burgundians, who had the burgesses under
their thumbs. All attempts at accommodation failed. There was great
perplexity in the royal camp; there were neither provisions enough for a
long stay before Troyes, nor batteries and siege trains to carry it by
force. There was talk of turning back. One of the king's councillors,
Robert le Macon, proposed that Joan should be summoned to the council.
It was at her instance that the expedition had been undertaken; she had
great influence amongst the army and the populace; the idea ought not to
be given up without consulting her. Whilst he was speaking, Joan came
knocking at the door; she was told to come in; and the chancellor, the
Archbishop of Rheims, put the question to her. Joan, turning to the
king, asked him if he would believe her. "Speak," said the king; "if you
say what is reasonable and tends to profit, readily will you be
believed." "Gentle king of France," said Joan, "if you be willing to
abide here before your town of Troyes, it shall be at your disposal
within two days, by love or by force; make no doubt of it." "Joan,"
replied the chancellor, "whoever could be certain of having it within six
days might well wait for it; but say you true?" Joan repeated her
assertion; and it was decided to wait. Joan mounted her horse, and, with
her banner in her hand, she went through the camp, giving orders
everywhere to prepare for the assault. She had her own tent pitched
close to the ditch, "doing more," says a contemporary, "than two of the
ablest captains would have done." On the next day, July 10, all was
ready. Joan had the fascines thrown into the ditches, and was shouting
out, "Assault!" when the inhabitants of Troyes, burgesses and
men-at-arms, came demanding permission to capitulate. The conditions
were easy. The inhabitants obtained for themselves and their property
such guarantees as they desired; and the strangers were allowed to go out
with what belonged to them. On the morrow, July 11, the king entered
Troyes with all his captains, and at his side the Maid carrying her
banner. All the difficulties of the journey were surmounted. On the
15th of July the Bishop of Chalons brought the keys of his town to the
king, who took up his quarters there. Joan found there four or five of
her own villagers, who had hastened up to see the young girl of Domremy
in all her glory. She received them with a satisfaction in which
familiarity was blended with gravity. To one of them, her godfather, she
gave a red cap which she had worn; to another, who had been a Burgundian,
she said, "I fear but one thing--treachery." In the Duke d'Alencon's
presence she repeated to the king, "Make good use of my time, for I shall
hardly last longer than a year." On the 16th of July King Charles
entered Rheims, and the ceremony of his coronation was fixed for the

It was solemn and emotional, as are all old national traditions which
recur after a forced suspension. Joan rode between Dunois and the
Archbishop of Rheims, chancellor of France. The air resounded with the
Te Deum sung with all their hearts by clergy and crowd. "In God's name,"
said Joan to Dunois, "here is a good people and a devout when I die, I
should much like it to be in these parts." "Joan," inquired Dunois,
"know you when you will die, and in what place?" "I know not," said she,
"for I am at the will of God." Then she added, "I have accomplished that
which my Lord commanded me, to raise the siege of Orleans and have the
gentle king crowned. I would like it well if it should please him to
send me back to my father and mother, to keep their sheep and their
cattle, and do that which was my wont." "When the said lords," says the
chronicler, an eye-witness, "heard these words of Joan, who, with eyes
towards heaven, gave thanks to God, they the more believed that it was
somewhat sent from God, and not otherwise."

Historians, and even contemporaries, have given much discussion to the
question whether Joan of Arc, according to her first ideas, had really
limited her design to the raising of the siege of Orleans and the
coronation of Charles VII. at Rheims. She had said so herself several
times, just as she had to Dunois at Rheims on the 17th of July, 1429; but
she sometimes also spoke of more vast and varied projects, as, for
instance, driving the English completely out of France, and withdrawing
from his long captivity Charles, Duke of Orleans. He had been a prisoner
in London ever since the battle of Agincourt, and was popular in his day,
as he has continued to be in French history, on the double ground of
having been the father of Louis XII. and one of the most charming poets
in the ancient literature of France. The Duke d'Alencon, who was so high
in the regard of Joan, attributed to her more expressly this quadruple
design: "She said," according to him, "that she had four duties; to get
rid of the English, to have the king anointed and crowned, to deliver
Duke Charles of Orleans, and to raise the siege laid by the English to
Orleans." One is inclined to believe that Joan's language to Dunois at
Rheims in the hour of Charles VII.'s coronation more accurately expressed
her first idea; the two other notions occurred to her naturally in
proportion as her hopes as well as her power kept growing greater with
success. But however lofty and daring her soul may have been, she had a
simple and not at all a fantastic mind. She may have foreseen the
complete expulsion of the English, and may have desired the deliverance
of the Duke of Orleans, without having in the first instance premeditated
anything more than she said to Dunois during the king's coronation at
Rheims, which was looked upon by her as the triumph of the national

However that may be, when Orleans was relieved, and Charles VII.
crowned, the situation, posture, and part of Joan underwent a change.
She no longer manifested the same confidence in herself and her designs.
She no longer exercised over those in whose midst she lived the same
authority. She continued to carry on war, but at hap-hazard, sometimes
with and sometimes without success, just like La Hire and Dunois; never
discouraged, never satisfied, and never looking upon her-self as
triumphant. After the coronation, her advice was to march at once upon
Paris, in order to take up a fixed position in it, as being the political
centre of the realm of which Rheims was the religious. Nothing of the
sort was done. Charles and La Tremoille once more began their course of
hesitation, tergiversation, and changes of tactics and residence without
doing anything of a public and decisive character. They negotiated with
the Duke of Burgundy, in the hope of detaching him from the English
cause; and they even concluded with him a secret, local, and temporary
truce. From the 20th of July to the 23d of August Joan followed the king
whithersoever he went, to Chateau-Thierry, to Senlis, to Blois, to
Provins, and to Compigne, as devoted as ever, but without having her
former power. She was still active, but not from inspiration and to obey
her voices, simply to promote the royal policy. She wrote the Duke of
Burgundy a letter full of dignity and patriotism, which had no more
effect than the negotiations of La Tremoille. During this fruitless
labor amongst the French the Duke of Bedford sent for five thousand men
from England, who came and settled themselves at Paris. One division of
this army had a white standard, in the middle of which was depicted a
distaff full of cotton; a half-filled spindle was hanging to the distaff;
and the field, studded with empty spindles, bore this inscription: "Now,
fair one, come!" Insult to Joan was accompanied by redoubled war against
France. Joan, saddened and wearied by the position of things, attempted
to escape from it by a bold stroke. On the 23d of August, 1429, she set
out from Compiegne with the Duke d'Alencon and "a fair company of
men-at-arms;" and suddenly went and occupied St. Denis, with the view of
attacking Paris. Charles VII. felt himself obliged to quit Compiegne
likewise, "and went, greatly against the grain," says a contemporary
chronicler, "as far as into the town of Senlis." The attack on Paris
began vigorously. Joan, with the Duke d'Alencon, pitched her camp at La
Chapelle. Charles took up his abode in the abbey of St. Denis. The
municipal corporation of Paris received letters with the arms of the Duke
d'Alencon, which called upon them to recognize the king's authority, and
promised a general amnesty. The assault was delivered on the 8th of
September. Joan was severely wounded, but she insisted upon remaining
where she was. Night came, and the troops had not entered the breach
which had been opened in the morning. Joan was still calling out to
persevere. The Duke d'Alencon himself begged her, but in vain, to
retire. La Tremoille gave orders to retreat; and some knights came up,
set Joan on horse-back, and led her back, against her will, to La
Chapelle. "By my martin" (staff of command), said she, "the place would
have been taken." One hope still remained. In concert with the Duke
d'Alencon she had caused a flying bridge to be thrown across the Seine
opposite St. Denis. The next day but one she sent her vanguard in this
direction; she intended to return thereby to the siege; but, by the
king's order, the bridge had been cut adrift. St. Denis fell once more
into the hands of the English. Before leaving, Joan left there, on the
tomb of St. Denis, her complete suit of armor and a sword she had lately
obtained possession of at the St. Honore gate of Paris, as trophy of war.

From the 13th of September, 1429, to the 24th of May, 1430, she continued
to lead the same life of efforts ever equally valiant and equally
ineffectual. She failed in an attempt upon Laemir. Charite-sur-Loire,
undertaken, for all that appears, with the sole design of recovering an
important town in the possession of the enemy. The English evacuated
Paris, and left the keeping of it to the Duke of Burgundy, no doubt to
test his fidelity. On the 13th of Aprils 1430, at the expiration of the
truce he had concluded, Philip the Good resumed hostilities against
Charles VII. Joan of Arc once more plunged into them with her wonted
zeal. Ile-de-France and Picardy became the theatre of war. Compiegne
was regarded as the gate of the road between these two provinces; and the
Duke of Burgundy attached much importance to holding the key of it. The
authority of Charles VII. was recognized there; and a young knight of
Compiegne, William de Flavy, held the command there as lieutenant of La
Tremoille, who had got himself appointed captain of the town. La
Tremoille attempted to treat with the Duke of Burgundy for the cession of
Compiegne; but the inhabitants were strenuously opposed to it. "They
were," they said, "the king's most humble subjects, and they desired to
serve him with body and substance; but as for trusting themselves to the
lord Duke of Burgundy, they could not do it; they were resolved to suffer
destruction, themselves and their wives and children, rather than be
exposed to the tender mercies of the said duke." Meanwhile Joan of Arc,
after several warlike expeditions in the neighborhood, re-entered
Compiegne, and was received there with a popular expression of
satisfaction. "She was presented," says a local chronicler, with three
hogsheads of wine, a present which was large and exceeding costly, and
which showed the estimate formed of this maiden's worth." Joan
manifested the profound distrust with which she was inspired of the Duke
of Burgundy. There is no peace possible with him," she said, "save at
the point of the lance." She had quarters at the house of the king's
attorney, Le Boucher, and shared the bed of his wife, Mary. "She often
made the said Mary rise from her bed to go and warn the said attorney to
be on his guard against several acts of Burgundian treachery." At this
period, again, she said she was often warned by her voices of what must
happen to her; she expected to be taken prisoner before St. John's or
Midsummer-day (June 24); on what day and hour she did not know; she had
received no instructions as to sorties from the place; but she had
constantly been told that she would be taken, and she was distrustful of
the captains who were in command there. She was, nevertheless, not the
less bold and enterprising. On the 20th of May, 1430, the Duke of
Burgundy came and laid siege to Compiegne. Joan was away on an
expedition to Crepy in Valois, with a small band of three or four hundred
brave comrades. On the 24th of May, the eve of Ascension-day, she
learned that Compiegne was being besieged, and she resolved to re-enter
it. She was reminded that her force was a very weak one to cut its way
through the besiegers' camp. "By my martin," said she, "we are enough; I
will go see my friends in Compiegne." She arrived about daybreak without
hinderance, and penetrated into the town; and repaired immediately to the
parish church of St. Jacques to perform her devotions on the eve of so
great a festival. Many persons, attracted by her presence, and amongst
others "from a hundred to six-score children," thronged to the church.
After hearing mass, and herself taking the communion, Joan said to those
who surrounded her, "My children and dear friends, I notify you that I am
sold and betrayed, and that I shall shortly be delivered over to death; I
beseech you, pray God for me." When evening came, she was not the less
eager to take part in a sortie with her usual comrades and a troop of
about five hundred men. William de Flavy, commandant of the place, got
ready some boats on the Oise to assist the return of the troops. All the
town-gates were closed, save the bridge-gate. The sortie was
unsuccessful. Being severely repulsed and all but hemmed in, the
majority of the soldiers shouted to Joan, "Try to quickly regain the
town, or we are lost." "Silence," said Joan; "it only rests with you to
throw the enemy into confusion; think only of striking at them." Her
words and her bravery were in vain; the infantry flung themselves into
the boats, and regained the town, and Joan and her brave comrades covered
their retreat. The Burgundians were coming up in mass upon Compiegne,
and Flavy gave orders to pull up the draw-bridge and let down the
portcullis. Joan and some of her following lingered outside, still
fighting. She wore a rich surcoat and a red sash, and all the efforts of
the Burgundians were directed against her. Twenty men thronged round her
horse; and a Picard archer, "a tough fellow and mighty sour," seized her
by her dress, and flung her on the ground. All, at once, called on her
to surrender. "Yield you to me," said one of them; "pledge your faith to
me; I am a gentleman." It was an archer of the bastard of Wandonne, one
of the lieutenants of John of Luxembourg, Count of Ligny. "I have
pledged my faith to one other than you," said Joan, "and to Him I will
keep my oath." The archer took her and conducted her to Count John,
whose prisoner she became.

Was she betrayed and delivered up, as she had predicted? Did William de
Flavy purposely have the drawbridge raised and the portcullis lowered
before she could get back into Compiegne? He was suspected of it at the
time, and many historians have indorsed the suspicion. But there is
nothing to prove it. That La Tremoille, prime minister of Charles VII.,
and Reginald de Chartres, Archbishop of Rheims, had an antipathy to Joan
of Arc, and did all they could on every occasion to compromise her and
destroy her influence, and that they were glad to see her a prisoner, is
as certain as anything can be. On announcing her capture to the
inhabitants of Rheims, the arch-bishop said, "She would not listen to
counsel, and did everything according to her pleasure." But there is a
long distance between such expressions and a premeditated plot to deliver
to the enemy the young heroine who had just raised the siege of Orleans
and brought the king to be crowned at Rheims. History must not, without
proof, impute crimes so odious and so shameful to even the most depraved
of men.

However that may be, Joan remained for six months the prisoner of John of
Luxembourg, who, to make his possession of her secure, sent her, under
good escort, successively to his two castles of Beaulieu and Beaurevoir,
one in the Vermandois and the other in the Cambresis. Twice, in July and
in October, 1430, Joan attempted, unsuccessfully, to escape. The second
time she carried despair and hardihood so far as to throw herself down
from the platform of her prison. She was picked up cruelly bruised, but
without any fracture or wound of importance. Her fame, her youth, her
virtue, her courage, made her, even in her prison and in the very family
of her custodian, two warm and powerful friends. John of Luxembourg had
with him his wife, Joan of Bethune, and his aunt, Joan of Luxembourg,
godmother of Charles VII. They both of them took a tender interest in
the prisoner; and they often went to see her, and left nothing undone to
mitigate the annoyances of a prison. One thing only shocked them about
her--her man's clothes. "They offered her," as Joan herself said, when
questioned upon this subject at a later period during her trial, "a
woman's dress, or stuff to make it to her liking, and requested her to
wear it; but she answered that she had not leave from our Lord, and that
it was not yet time for it." John of Luxembourg's aunt was full of years
and reverenced as a saint. Hearing that the English were tempting her
nephew by the offer of a sum of money to give up his prisoner to them,
she conjured him in her will, dated September 10, 1430, not to sully by
such an act the honor of his name. But Count John was neither rich nor
scrupulous; and pretexts were not wanting to aid his cupidity and his
weakness. Joan had been taken at Compiegne on the 23d of May, in the
evening; and the news arrived in Paris on the 25th of May, in the
morning. On the morrow, the 26th, the registrar of the University, in
the name and under the seal of the inquisition of France, wrote a
citation to the Duke of Burgundy "to the end that the Maid should be
delivered up to appear before the said inquisitor, and to respond to the
good counsel, favor, and aid of the good doctors and masters of the
University of Paris." Peter Cauchon, Bishop of Beauvais, had been the
prime mover in this step. Some weeks later, on the 14th of July, seeing
that no reply arrived from the Duke of Burgundy, he caused a renewal of
the same demands to be made on the part of the University in more urgent
terms, and he added, in his own name, that Joan, having been taken at
Compiegne, in his own diocese, belonged to him as judge spiritual. He
further asserted that "according to the law, usage, and custom of France,
every prisoner of war, even were it king, _dauphin_, or other prince,
might be redeemed in the name of the King of England in consideration of
an indemnity of ten thousand livres granted to the capturer." Nothing
was more opposed to the common law of nations and to the feudal spirit,
often grasping, but noble at bottom. For four months still, John of
Luxembourg hesitated; but his aunt, Joan, died at Boulogne, on the 13th
of November, and Joan of Arc had no longer near him this powerful
intercessor. The King of England transmitted to the keeping of his
coffers at Rouen, in golden coin, English money, the sum of ten thousand
livres. John of Luxembourg yielded to the temptation. On the 21st of
November, 1430, Joan of Arc was handed over to the King of England, and
the same day the University of Paris, through its rector, Hebert,
besought that sovereign, as King of France, "to order that this woman be
brought to their city for to be shortly placed in the hands of the
justice of the Church, that is, of our honored lord, the Bishop and Count
of Beauvais, and also of the ordained inquisitor in France, in order that
her trial may be conducted officially and securely."

It was not to Paris, but to Rouen, the real capital of the English in
France, that Joan was taken. She arrived there on the 23d of December,
1430. On the 3d of January, 1431, an order from Henry VI., King of
England, placed her in the hands of the Bishop of Beauvais, Peter
Cauchon. Some days afterwards, Count John of Luxembourg, accompanied by
his brother, the English chancellor, by his esquire, and by two English
lords, Richard Beauchamp, Earl of Warwick, and Humphrey, Earl of
Stafford, the King of England's constable in France, entered the prison.
Had John of Luxembourg come out of sheer curiosity, or to relieve himself
of certain scruples by offering Joan a chance for her life? "Joan," said
he, "I am come hither to put you to ransom, and to treat for the price of
your deliverance; only give us your promise here to no more bear arms
against us." "In God's name," answered Joan, "are you making a mock of
me, captain? Ransom me! You have neither the will nor the power; no,
you have neither." The count persisted. "I know well," said Joan, "that
these English will put me to death; but were they a hundred thousand more
Goddams than have already been in France, they shall never have the

At this patriotic burst on the heroine's part, the Earl of Stafford half
drew his dagger from the sheath as if to strike Joan, but the Earl of
Warwick held him back. The visitors went out from the prison and handed
over Joan to the judges.

The court of Rouen was promptly formed, but not without opposition and
difficulty. Though Joan had lost somewhat of her greatness and
importance by going beyond her main object, and by showing recklessness,
unattended by success, on small occasions, she still remained the true,
heroic representative of the feelings and wishes of the nation. When she
was removed from Beaurevoir to Rouen, all the places at which she stopped
were like so many luminous points for the illustration of her popularity.
At Arras, a Scot showed her a portrait of her which he wore, an outward
sign of the devoted worship of her lieges. At Amiens, the chancellor of
the cathedral gave her audience at confession and administered to her the
eucharist. At Abbeville, ladies of distinction went five leagues to pay
her a visit; they were glad to have had the happiness of seeing her so
firm and resigned to the will of Our Lord; they wished her all the favors
of heaven, and then wept affectionately on taking leave of her. Joan,
touched by their sympathy and open heartedness, said, "Ah! what a good
people is this! Would to God I might be so happy, when my days are
ended, as to be buried in these parts!"

When the Bishop of Beauvais, installed at Rouen, set about forming his
court of justice, the majority of the members he appointed amongst the
clergy or the University of Paris obeyed the summons without hesitation.
Some few would have refused; but their wishes were overruled. The Abbot
of Jumieges, Nicholas de Houppeville, maintained that the trial was not
legal. The Bishop of Beauvais, he said, belonged to the party which
declared itself hostile to the Maid; and, besides, he made himself judge
in a case already decided by his metropolitan, the Archbishop of Rheims,
of whom Beauvais was holden, and who had approved of Joan's conduct. The
bishop summoned before him the recalcitrant, who refused to appear,
saying that he was under no official jurisdiction but that of Rouen. He
was arrested and thrown into prison, by order of the bishop, whose
authority he denied. There was some talk of banishing him, and even of
throwing him into the river; but the influence of his brethren saved him.
The sub-inquisitor himself allowed the trial in which he was to be one of
the judges to begin without him; and he only put in an appearance at the
express order of the inquisitor-general, and on a confidential hint that
he would be in danger of his life if he persisted in his refusal. The
court being thus constituted, Joan, after it had been put in possession
of the evidence already collected, was cited, on the 20th of February,
1431, to appear on the morrow, the 21st, before her judges assembled in
the chapel of Rouen Castle.

The trial lasted from the 21st of February to the 30th of May, 1431. The
court held forty sittings, mostly in the chapel of the castle, some in
Joan's very prison. On her arrival there, she had been put in an iron
cage; afterwards she was kept no longer in the cage, but in a dark room
in a tower of the castle, wearing irons upon her feet, fastened by a
chain to a large piece of wood, and guarded night and day by four or five
"soldiers of low grade." She complained of being thus chained; but the
bishop told her that her former attempts at escape demanded this
precaution. "It is true," said Joan, as truthful as heroic, "I did wish
and I still wish to escape from prison, as is the right of every
prisoner." At her examination, the bishop required her to take an oath
to tell the truth about everything as to which she should be questioned."
"I know not what you mean to question me about; perchance you may ask me
things I would not tell you; touching my revelations, for instance, you
might ask me to tell something I have sworn not to tell; thus I should be
perjured, which you ought not to desire." The bishop insisted upon an
oath absolute and with-out condition. "You are too hard on me," said
Joan; I do not like to take an oath to tell the truth save as to matters
which concern the faith." The bishop called upon her to swear on pain of
being held guilty of the things imputed to her.

[Illustration: Joan examined in Prison----128]

"Go on to something else," said she. And this was the answer she made to
all questions which seemed to her to be a violation of her right to be
silent. Wearied and hurt at these imperious demands, she one day said,
"I come on God's business, and I have nought to do here; send me back to
God, from whom I come." "Are you sure you are in God's grace?" asked the
bishop. "If I be not," answered Joan, "please God to bring me to it; and
if I be, please God to keep me in it!" The bishop himself remained

There is no object in following through all its sittings and all its
twistings this odious and shameful trial, in which the judges' prejudiced
servility and scientific subtlety were employed for three months to wear
out the courage or overreach the understanding of a young girl of
nineteen, who refused at one time to lie, and at another to enter into
discussion with them, and made no defence beyond holding her tongue or
appealing to God who had spoken to her and dictated to her that which she
had done. In order to force her from her silence or bring her to submit
to the Church instead of appealing from it to God, it was proposed to
employ the last means of all, torture. On the 9th of May the bishop had
Joan brought into the great tower of Rouen Castle; the instruments of
torture were displayed before her eyes; and the executioners were ready
to fulfil their office, "for to bring her back," said the bishop, "into
the ways of truth, in order to insure the salvation of her soul and body,
so gravely endangered by erroneous inventions." "Verily," answered Joan,
"if you should have to tear me limb from limb, and separate soul from
body, I should not tell you aught else; and if I were to tell you aught
else, I should afterwards still tell you that you had made me tell it by
force." The idea of torture was given up. It was resolved to display
all the armory of science in order to subdue the mind of this young girl,
whose conscience was not to be subjugated. The chapter of Rouen declared
that in consequence of her public refusal to submit herself to the
decision of the Church as to her deeds and her statements, Joan deserved
to be declared a heretic. The University of Paris, to which had been
handed in the twelve heads of accusation resulting from Joan's statements
and examinations, replied that "if, having been charitably admonished,
she would not make reparation and return to union with the Catholic
faith, she must be left to the secular judges to undergo punishment for
her crime." Armed with these documents the Bishop of Beauvais had Joan
brought up, on the 23d of May, in a hall adjoining her prison, and, after
having addressed to her a long exhortation, "Joan," said he, "if in the
dominions of your king, when you were at large in them, a knight or any
other, born under his rule and allegiance to him, had risen up, saying,
'I will not obey the king or submit to his officers,' would you not have
said that he ought to be condemned? What then will you say of yourself,
you who were born in the faith of Christ and became by baptism a daughter
of the Church and spouse of Jesus Christ, if you obey not the officers of
Christ, that is, the prelates of the Church?" Joan listened modestly to
this admonition, and confined herself to answering, "As to my deeds and
sayings, what I said of them at the trial I do hold to and mean to abide
by." "Think you that you are not bound to submit your sayings and deeds
to the Church militant or to any other than God?" "The course that I
always mentioned and pursued at the trial I mean to maintain as to that.
If I were at the stake, and saw the torch lighted, and the executioner
ready to set fire to the fagots, even if I were in the midst of the
flames, I should not say aught else, and I should uphold that which I
said at the trial even unto death."

According to the laws, ideas, and practices of the time the legal
question was decided. Joan, declared heretic and rebellious by the
Church, was liable to have sentence pronounced against her; but she had
persisted in her statements, she had shown no submission. Although she
appeared to be quite forgotten, and was quite neglected by the king whose
coronation she had effected, by his councillors, and even by the brave
warriors at whose side she had fought, the public exhibited a lively
interest in her; accounts of the scenes which took place at her trial
were inquired after with curiosity. Amongst the very judges who
prosecuted her, many were troubled in spirit, and wished that Joan, by an
abjuration of her statements, would herself put them at ease and relieve
them from pronouncing against her the most severe penalty. What means
were employed to arrive at this end? Did she really, and with full
knowledge of what she was about, come round to the adjuration which there
was so much anxiety to obtain from her? It is difficult to solve this
historical problem with exactness and certainty. More than once, during
the examinations and the conversations which took place at that time
between Joan and her judges, she maintained her firm posture and her
first statements. One of those who were exhorting her to yield said to
her one day, "Thy king is a heretic and a schismatic." Joan could not
brook this insult to her king. "By my faith," said she, "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." "Make her hold her
tongue," said the usher to the preacher, who was disconcerted at having
provoked such language. Another day, when Joan was being urged to submit
to the Church, brother Isambard de la Pierre, a Dominican, who was
interested in her, spoke to her about the council, at the same time
explaining to her its province in the church. It was the very time when
that of Bale had been convoked. "Ah!" said Joan, "I would fain surrender
and submit myself to the council of Bale." The Bishop of Beauvais
trembled at the idea of this appeal. "Hold your tongue in the devil's
name!" said he to the monk. Another of the judges, William Erard, asked
Joan menacingly, "Will you abjure those reprobate words and deeds of
yours?" "I leave it to the universal Church whether I ought to abjure or
not." "That is not enough: you shall abjure at once or you shall burn."
Joan shuddered. "I would rather sign than burn," she said. There was
put before her a form of abjuration, whereby, disavowing her revelations
and visions from heaven, she confessed her errors in matters of faith,
and renounced them humbly. At the bottom of the document she made the
mark of a cross. Doubts have arisen as to the genuineness of this long
and diffuse deed in the form in which it has been published in the
trial-papers. Twenty-four years later, in 1455, during the trial
undertaken for the rehabilitation of Joan, several of those who had been
present at the trial at which she was condemned, amongst others the usher
Massieu and the registrar Taquel, declared that the form of abjuration
read out at that time to Joan and signed by her contained only seven or
eight lines of big writing; and according to another witness of the scene
it was an Englishman, John Calot, secretary of Henry VI., King of
England, who, as soon as Joan had yielded, drew from his sleeve a little
paper which he gave to her to sign, and, dissatisfied with the mark she
had made, held her hand and guided it so that she might put down her
name, every letter. However that may be, as soon as Joan's abjuration
had thus been obtained, the court issued on the 24th of May, 1431, a
definitive decree, whereby, after some long and severe strictures in the
preamble, it condemned Joan to perpetual imprisonment, "with the bread of
affliction and the water of affliction, in order that she might deplore
the errors and faults she had committed, and relapse into them no more

The Church might be satisfied; but the King of England, his councillors
and his officers, were not. It was Joan living, even though a prisoner,
that they feared. They were animated towards her by the two ruthless
passions of vengeance and fear. When it was known that she would escape
with her life, murmurs broke out amongst the crowd of enemies present at
the trial. Stones were thrown at the judges. One of the Cardinal of
Winchester's chaplains, who happened to be close to the Bishop of
Beauvais, called him traitor. "You lie," said the bishop. And the
bishop was right; the chaplain did lie; the bishop had no intention of
betraying his masters. The Earl of Warwick complained to him of the
inadequacy of the sentence. "Never you mind, my lord," said one of Peter
Cauchon's confidants; "we will have her up again." After the passing of
her sentence Joan had said to those about her, "Come, now, you churchmen
amongst you, lead me off to your own prisons, and let me be no more in
the hands of the English." "Lead her to where you took her," said the
bishop; and she was conducted to the castle prison. She had been told by
some of the judges who went to see her after her sentence, that she would
have to give up her man's dress and resume her woman's clothing, as the
Church ordained. She was rejoiced thereat; forthwith, accordingly,
resumed her woman's clothes, and had her hair properly cut, which up to
that time she used to wear clipped round like a man's. When she was
taken back to prison, the man's dress which she had worn was put in a
sack in the same room in which she was confined, and she remained in
custody at the said place in the hands of five Englishmen, of whom three
staid by night in the room and two outside at the door. "And he who


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