The Baldwin Library
JOAN OF ARC;
THE STORY OF A NOBLE LIFE.
Written for irIs.
Lo I where the holy banner waved aloft,
Thelambent lightning play. Trradiate round,
As with a blaze of glory, o'er the field
It stream'd miraculous splendour."-SoLcrEY.
Joan of Are,
A light of ancient France."-TEuhNsoa .
WILLIAM P. NIMMO.
JOAN OF ARC;
THE STORY OF A NOBLE LIFE.
CHAPTER I.-HER EARLY YEARS.
"The hand of God is strong upon my soul,
And I have wrestled vainly with the Lord,
And stubbornly, I fear me. I can save
This country, Sir I can deliver France !
Yea ... I must save the country!. ... God is in me;
I speak not, think not, feel not of myself.
He knew and sanctified me ere my birth;
He to the nations hath ordained me ;
And whither He shall send me, I must go;
And whatso He commands, that I must speak;
And whatso is His will, that I must do;
And I must put away all fear of man,
Lest He in wrath confound me."
SOUTHEY, Joan of Arc, B. i.
N order to understand the nature of
the work to which JOAN OF ARC
devoted herself in life and death, I
must tell you something about the condition
of France when she was born.
4 JOAN OF ARC.
This was early in the fifteenth century, and
France was then in a most pitiful condition.
She was torn to pieces by the struggles of
her own sons, and whilst these were fighting
with one another, she was wholly unable to
stop the conquering march of our English
Henry the Fifth,, who entered Paris, married
the French king's daughter, and was after-
wards crowned King of France. The capital
was occupied by English troops. The fairest
provinces were plundered by troops of armed
brigands, who burned houses and pillaged
granaries. There appeared on every hand
nothing but confusion, poverty, desolation,
solitariness, and fear. "The lean and bare
labourers in the country," says an old writer,
"terrified even thieves themselves, who had
nothing left them to spoil, but.the carcases
of these poor miserable creatures, wandering
up and down like ghosts drawn from their
graves. The smaller farms and hamlets were
fortified by these robbers-English, Burgun-
dians, Frenchmen-every one striving to do
his worst. All soldiers, with one consent,
plundered the farmer and the merchant.
Even the cattle grew so accustomed to the
HER EARLY YEARS. 5
alarm-bell, as the sign of an enemy's approach,
that when it rung they would run home of
their own accord, waiting for no guide."
And, moreover, as it has been pointed out,
even greater evils than these had poor France
to endure. She had lost all her principal
nobility ; her wealth was exhausted by long-
continued war; none of her officers were
equal in military capacit&to the well-tried
veterans of England; and her soldiers had
been so often defeated by the English, that
they could not be persuaded to meet them
in the open field. As a natural result, Eng-
land, under Henry v.,had made great progress
in subduing France; and when Henry v.
was succeeded by his unjust son, Henry VI.,
the latter's Regent, John Duke of Bedford,
was a bold and able general, who pursued
the same victorious career as the hero of
of Agincourt." All the north of France
was compelled to acknowledge the foreign
king, nearly all Guienne, and the provinces
belonging to the foreign king's ally, the
Duke of Burgundy. The rule of Charles
vi., the rightful sovereign of France, was
limited to the centre and part of the south of
6 JOAN OF ARC.
France, and instead of Paris, Bourges was
his capital, where he lived a life of indolent
ease, forgetful of the sufferings of his subjects.
To make the north of France everyway their
own, the English had but to capture Orleans,
and though the Earl of Salisbury marched
against it, the French king and his nobles
showed no intention of interfering. Yet if
Orleans had fallen, all France must have
yielded, more or less, to the English armies,
which would have proved a sore evil to both
countries, the independence both of France.
and England being necessary, as you will
learn when you grow older, to the prosperity
of Europe. Orleans did not fall to the Earl
of Salisbury, and France was not conquered
by England; but that these two misfortunes
did not occur, was by no means due to the
king or the nobles of France. The glory
and the honour belong to Joan of Arc.
JOAN OF ARC, JOANETTE, Or JEANNE, the
second daughter of Jacques d'Arc, a peasant,
and Isabella Rommer, his wife, both of
Domremy, a village of Vaucouleurs, on the
borders of Lorraine, was born on the night
of the Epiphany, 1412.
HER EARLY YEARS. 7
It was a pleasant country-side where
Joan was born, and she grew up in health
and beauty, purest among the pure, of a
fine person and a sweet countenance, and
gifted with an enthusiastic nature which
readily yielded to the influences of religion.
She was somewhat of a dreamer, too, and
loved to muse by herself, wandering across
the meadows, or over the green and silent
hills, or by the side of the musical brook
In solitude and peace
Her soul was nurst, amidst the loveliest scenes
Of unpolluted nature."
She was fond of story, tradition, and
legend, and listened with great interest to
any chronicle that told of the ancient glories
of France; and among much that she learned,
one thing was ever present to her memory, a
prediction that France,-bleeding, unhappy
France,-should be saved by a maid out of
Lorraine-a maid out of the dark deep forest
that was visible at the distance of three
miles or so from the door of her father's
By and by she began to brood upon this
strange prophecy, and upon the woes of her
8 JOAN OF ARC.
country, and so great was their influence on
her excitable temperament, that at times
she was completely carried out of herself,
and it seemed to her that she heard voices
from heaven addressing her. And true it is
that heaven does speak to the devout and
earnest and pure of heart, though not, in-
deed, exactly in the way in which the
French maiden thought it spoke to her.
One day in the meadow, by the river-side,
she was running races with her companions,
for she was fleet of foot, and robust of frame,
and speedily she outstripped them. She did
not seem to run, but to fly, so swift was her
progress over the bending grass.
"Jeanne, Jeanne," they cried, thou art
flying thou art flying !"
Jeanne paused, triumphant, and out of
breath. For a moment she turned towards
the village, she listened, and then she ex-
I hear my mother call me home !"
and away she sped towards her parents'
When she arrived there, her mother in-
quired why she had left her sheep.
HER EARLY YEARS. 9
Did you not call me ?" said Jeanne; I
heard a voice."
"It was not mine, child. Go back to the
And Jeanne returned, but it seemed to
her excited fancy that she still heard a
mysterious voice in the air.
Close by her mother's cottage was the
church, with its door open daily and all day
long. When Jeanne had completed her
household task, she would steal into the quiet
sanctuary to muse and pray. "Her books,"
says Miss Parr, "were the crucifix and
pictures there; her learning the legends of
the saints, the stories of the blessed martyrs,
bits of old history and fable told over one's
wheel or by the winter fire. Now and then
came to Domremy a mendicant friar,' travel-
stained and tired, seeking a night's rest and
a meal, recounting the bitter distresses he
had witnessed on his journeyings, opening
the Gospels, his one treasure, proclaiming
the good news of God, the great salvation,
1 A monk who went about teaching and preaching, and
lived upon the alms given to him by the devout and
10 JOAN OF ARC.
the love and helpfulness of Christ to help-
less men. In the pious households of the
village he was always welcome, and nowhere
more welcome than under the roof of Jacques
d'Arc. The missionary monk scattered the
good seed, and went on his way. In Jeanne's
heart it struck deep root. Gifted with a
rare intelligence, with an imagination pure,
pious, and elevated, she began early to live
a second life within her laborious actual life,
a life more real and absorbing, the life of
her soul, which by great powers and great
sufferings was to be annealed [that is,
strengthened] for a great destiny."
It is difficult to say how long it was before
Jeanne's dreamy meditations shaped them-
selves into the firm belief that she had been
chosen of God to become the saviour of
France. But she affords us in her own simple
narrative some clew to guide us to a decision.
"At the age of thirteen," she says, "a
voice from God came nigh to me to help
me in subduing myself, and that voice
approached about the hour of noon, in sum-
mer time, while I lingered in my father's
garden. And I had fasted the day before.
HER EARLY YEARS. 11
And I heard the voice on my right hand, in
the direction of the church; and when I
heard the voice I saw also a shining light.1
Afterwards St. Michael, and St. Margaret,
and St. Catherine appeared to me. They
were encircled by a halo of glory: I saw
that their brows were crowned with gems :
I heard their voices, but they were soft and
gentle. But I could not distinguish their
arms or limbs. I heard them oftener than I
saw them, and usually when the church-
bells chimed for prayer. And if I went
through the woods I heard them; I could
clearly distinguish their voices drawing
nearer and nearer to me. And when I
thought I heard the celestial voices, I knelt
down, and bowed my head to the very
She goes on to tell us that, above all the
voices, she heard one which said, "Jeanne,
be thou a good child, and frequent at church;
for the King of Heaven hath chosen thee to
restore France." Then she fell upon her
1 The young reader will remember that Jeanne's visions
were not real; that the voice, and the light, and the figures
of the saints were entirely the conception of a powerful
fancy, stimulated by fasting and lonely meditation.
12 JOAN OF ARC.
knees, awe-stricken, and she vowed a vow
of virginity, to be kept so long as it should
Nothing is more remarkable in Jeanne's
career than this entire faith in her divinely-
ordered mission. She clung to it to the very
last. And, indeed, without this faith she
could never have accomplished all she did
accomplish. So the poet makes her speak of
doubt as of something utterly incredible.
Doubt the Maid exclaimed,
It were as easy when I gaze around
On all this fair variety of things,
Green fields and tufted woods, and the blue depth
Of heaven, and yonder glorious sun, to doubt
Creating wisdom When in the evening gale
I breathe the mingled odours of the spring,
And hear the wild wood melody, and hear
The populous air vocal with insect life,
To doubt God's goodness There are feelings, Chief,
Which cannot lie; and I have oftentimes
Felt in the midnight silence of my soul
The call of God."
Oh! my young readers, have faith in God
and in yourselves,-in the work which God
calls you to do,-and, believe me, your lives
will ever be the purer and the happier !
For months Jeanne's excited imagination
continued to hear the voices, and the visions
HER EARLY YEARS. 13
of her solitude were constantly filled with
angelic presence. Just at this time an
armed force of English and Burgundians
arrived to besiege Vaucouleurs, which was
held for Charles vii. by Robert de Baudri-
court (1420). They one day entered Dom-
remy, and its inhabitants instantly took to
flight,-some to the forest, some to distant
towns for shelter. When the English and
Burgundians had failed to capture Vaucou-
leurs, and had marched elsewhere, the vil-
lagers returned to their homes, to find them
destroyed or plundered, and all their peace-
ful industry laid waste.
From that time Jeanne's purpose grew
stronger and yet stronger. She heard the
voice constantly exclaiming, "Why dost
thou delay? God has great pity on the
people of France. The time is come that
thou must go to their deliverance." She
shrunk at first from the task that seemed to
be imposed upon her, but was encouraged, as
she believed, by the voice of the Archangel
St. Michael, and by the promise of St.
Catherine and St. Margaret, her guardian
saints. She grew restless and disquieted.
14 JOAN OF ARC.
Her anxiety was noticed by her parents, and
communicated itself to them. One morning
her mother said to her, "Jeanne, thy father
dreamt last night that thou wert leaving us
to go away with the men-at-arms. I heard
him tell thy brothers, if he believed that
could happen to thee which he dreamed, he
would rather see thee drowned; nay, that
he would rather drown thee with his own
Jeanne had ever been an obedient child;
but now she felt that she could no longer
obey her parents, without neglecting the
great mission which, as she believed, God
had imposed upon her. How was she to
begin her mission seemed not the less a ques-
tion very difficult to answer. The voice
directed her to tell her wondrous tale to
Robert de Baudricourt, Governor of Vau-
couleurs; and she solicited her uncle, Dur-
ant Lavart, to conduct her to him. Durant
consented, and one day, about the beginning
of June, Jeanne repaired to Vaucouleurs, and
began her life's work by obtaining an inter-
view with the governor. Among others
present at it, were two gentlemen of the
HER EARLY YEARS. 15
neighbourhood, Bertrand de Poulangy and
Robert de Baudricourt, however, was
:simply a rough, gallant soldier, and he saw
in Jeanne only a tall and beautiful peasant
girl, possessed with some delusion about
voices and angels. He listened to her story
with marked incredulity, and dismissed her
with the jocular advice to her uncle, that
he should box her ears, and send her back
to her parents. Jeanne, somewhat dis-
heartened, returned to Domremy ; but her
confidence returning, and her anxiety in-
creasing as she heard of the rapid subjuga-
tion of her country, and that the English
had invested Orleans, she once more repaired
to Vaucouleurs, determined to gain a second
interview with the governor, and to secure
his leave and license to visit the royal Court
at Chinon. She tarried some time at Vau-
couleurs before she gained her object. And,
meantime, to those who sympathized with
her, or those who ridiculed her, she constantly
answered, "I must be with the Dauphin
by Mid-Lent; though I should travel upon
my knees I must absolutely go; the Lord
16 JOAN OF ARC.
wills it. It is on the part of the King of
Heaven that this work is confided to me.
Have you never heard how it has been
prophesied that France, lost by a woman,
should be restored by a maid of Lorraine ?"
This prediction was generally known, and
many minds were influenced in Jeanne's
favour by it. Nor could they be insensible
to the extraordinary enthusiasm which pos-
sessed her; and as she evidently believed in
her work, so they came in time to'believe in
her. Her fame was noised abroad; and it
was rumoured east and west, and north and
south, that at Vaucouleurs was a maiden
who had been specially called by God to
the deliverance of France. A knight of
Metz, Jean de Novelonpont, went to visit
her. He was so impressed by her evident
sincerity and heroic patriotism that he un-
dertook to conduct her to the Court at Chinon,
a distance of one hundred and fifty leagues.
In this duty he was quickly and gladly
joined by the Bertrand de Poulangy of whom
we have already spoken; and Jeanne having
assumed a page's dress, and mounted on a
gallant horse, went forth from Vaucouleurs.
HER EARLY YEARS. 17
At Toul, however, Jean de Metz was
compelled to leave her, and she continued
her adventurous journey under the charge
of her honest uncle, and of a messenger sent
by Robert de Baudricourt. At Nancy she
was received and kindly welcomed by the
Duke of Lorraine. She then -returned to
Vaucouleurs for letters of introduction from
the governor, and finally started on her
mission on the 24th of February.
On that morning, to adopt Miss Parr's
picturesque description, a company of towns-
folk and country-folk, who had assembled
before the governor's house, saw her come
forth transformed into a young soldier, look-
ing of the middle height of men, her luxuri-
ant hair cut round above her ears, straight
as a lance, alert, intrepid of air, of spirit, of
speech. She was at this time so spare of
flesh that the disguise was perfect. In the
street waited, ready armed and mounted for
a start, Jean de Metz and Robert de Pou-
langy, Count of Vienne, a king's messenger,
Richard, an expert archer, a servant of the
knight's, and a servant of the squire's, one
of whom held the horse Jeanne was to
18 JOAN OF ARC.
ride. Robert de Baudricourt, who had made
them all swear an oath to conduct her safely,
defending her life and honour with their
own until they brought her to the king,
came out with her, and set her in her saddle,
rallying her, meanwhile-rallying himself,
perhaps-that she had made him half be-
lieve in her, begging to know whether,
martial as she looked now, she ever meant
to come back in peace and marry like other
Nay, bonny Robert," she answered, "nay,
it is not yet time to speak of wedded life and
peaceful rest. But the Holy Spirit will pro-
The escort had now arranged themselves in
due martial order, and looking round at the
familiar faces from Domremy, which she had
known since she was a child, and at the
newer friends from Vaucouleurs who had so
graciously espoused her cause, and declared
their faith in her mission, Jeanne exclaimed,
"Adieu! I am going into France."
"Go," answered the governor; "and let
what will come of it come !" And so she
rode away the Maid from Lorraine, the des-
HER EARLY YEARS. 19
tined Deliverer of France; the knight, Jean
de Metz, on her one hand, the squire, Ber-
trand de Poulangy, on the other; and as she
rode, she fixed her eyes upon a golden ring,
the gift of her father and mother, which was
engraved with three crosses, and the words,
Lo these the walls of Chinon, this the abode
Of Charles our monarch. Here in revelry
He of his armies vanquish'd, his fair towns
Subdued, hears careless and prolongs the dance.
And little marvel I that to the cares
Of empire still he turns the unwilling ear,
For loss on loss, defeat upon defeat,
His strong holds taken, and his bravest Chiefs
Or slain or captured, and the hopes of youth
All blasted have subdued the royal mind
Undisciplined in Fortitude's stern school.
So may thy voice arouse his sleeping virtue !"
SOUTHEY, Joan of Arc, B. iii.
E journey from Vaucouleurs to
Chinon occupied eleven days, and
both Jeanne and her escort were
called upon to suffer many hardships. For
greater safety, they travelled chiefly during
the darkness, sleeping whenever and where-
ever they could--generally on the ground,
HER DIFFICULTIES. 21
Jeanne wrapped in a warm woollen coverlet,
but retaining her suit of armour. It was a
time of the year too when the rivers and
streams were dangerously swollen, but in
safety Jeanne crossed the Marne above Join-
ville, the Aube near Bar-sur-Aube, the Seine
near Bar-sur-Seine, and the Yonne at Aux-
erre, where she went to prayers in the
Meantime, Orleans was almost reduced to
the last extremity. It was sorely in want of
provisions; the French army which had
attempted to relieve it had been shamefully
beaten; the English encompassed it on every
side. But in this very hour of apparent
hopelessness, there came on the wings of the
wind "a promise and hope of miraculous
deliverance, to be wrought by means of a
Maid from Lorraine."
"She was coming by Gien-she was com-
ing by Saint Catherine des Fierbois-she
was coming by Chinon, where the king was
-'coming to ride over the backs of the
archers'-the Maid the prophet Merlin
prophesied of-the Maid who was to save
France, which that wicked queen, wicked
22 JOAN OF ARC.
woman, wicked mother, Isabeau, the she-
wolf of Bavaria, had robbed from her son,
and delivered into the power of the English
"Let her come! Their princes, their
high priests had abandoned them, their
mighty men-at-arms were nought Let her
come, the Maid from the forests of Lorraine !
let her come, in the name of God, and deliver
them if God would! The race was not
always to the swift, nor the battle to the
strong. Perchance it might please Him to
show forth His power over France by the
hand of this lowly maid, as he showed it of
old to Israel by the hand of His servant
David, the shepherd of Bethlehem, the
warrior king !"
On the 6th of March, Jeanne arrived at
the village of Fierbois, half-a-day's journey
from Chinon; and thence she sent to the
King the letter of introduction with which
she had been furnished by Robert de Baudri-
court. It was received with coldness and
ridicule, and, for very different reasons, the
King's favourite, Georges de la Tremouille,
and the Archbishop of Rheims, endeavoured
HER DIFFICULTIES. 23
to prevent her from obtaining access to the
King's presence. Their opposition proved
ineffectual however, for the curiosity of the
nation was aroused; it made itself felt in the
royal council; and it was finally determined
that the King should see her. In doing this,
perhaps, he was influenced by a message
from Dunois, the gallant defender of Orleans,
who advised that her enthusiasm should
be made use of; for, except in God, the city
had no hope.
On the third day after her arrival at
Chinon, she received a message that the
King would see her. She was conducted
into the royal presence by Louis de Bourbon,
Count of Vendome. "The King, to try
her," says an old writer, "had taken upon
him the habit of a countryman; but the
Maid, being brought into the chamber, went
directly to the King in this attire, and saluted
him with so modest a countenance as if she
had been bred up in Court all her life.
They telling her that she was mistaken, she
assured them it was the King, although she
had never seen him.1 She began to deliver
1 In this there is nothing wonderful. Jeanne must have
24 JOAN OF ARC.
unto him this new charge, which, she said,
she had received from the God of heaven;
so as she turned the eyes and minds of all
men upon her."
Charles asked her what was her name.
Jeanne the Maid," she replied.
What did she want of him ?
Let us give her answer in the words of
the poet :-
I come the appointed Minister of Heaven,
To wield a sword before whose fated edge,
Far, far from Orleans shall the English wolves
Speed their disastrous flight. Monarch of France!
Send thou the tidings over all the realm,
Great tidings of deliverance and of joy;
The Maid is come, the mission'd Maid, whose hand
Shall in the consecrated walls of Rheims
Crown thee, anointed King."
The courtiers were inclined to laugh at the
idea of a royal progress to Rheims, then the
very centre of the power of England and
Burgundy. But Charles drew the Maid
aside, and held secret converse with her.
She gratified the Dauphin's mind (for he was
heard frequent descriptions of the person and countenance
of the King, and would also, with her quick eye, detect
his naturally royal bearing.
HER DIFFICULTIES. 25
not yet king), by assuring him that he was
-what in his heart he had doubted-the
legitimate and rightful heir to the throne of
France; and he conceived a great confidence
Yet it was some time before he and his
counsellors could decide upon the employ-
ment of her services. Most of them seemed
to have believed that she was inspired, but
could not satisfy themselves whether the
inspiration came from good or evil spirits.
As if there would be thought of ill in that
pure heart, so wholly devoted to its God and
country! At length it was resolved that
she should be closely questioned by a com-
mission of ecclesiastics, and of professors
from the greatlaw-school of Poitiers. Strong
in her simplicity and innocence she stood
before these learned doctors, and related the
story of her life, and satisfied all their ques-
tions. Thus, one of them suggested that if
God were willing to deliver the people of
France out of their calamities, He would
deliver them without the assistance of men-
Jeanne's reply was admirable:
26 JOAN OF ARC.
"The men -at-arms," she said, "must fight,
and God would give the victory."
The commission wisely reported to the
King that he might lawfully avail himself
of the Maid's services, since they had dis-
covered in her nothing but what should be
in a good Christian and good Catholic.
Various other inquiries having been made,
the King issued the following proclamation,
which was enthusiastically received in every
part of France :-
"The King, seeing the necessity of his
kingdom, and considering the prayers of his
poor people, ought not to reject the Maid,
who says she is sent of God to succour him,
even though her promises be but human
works, neither ought he lightly to receive
her. But, following Holy Writ, he ought
to prove her in two ways,-by human pru-
dence, inquiring into her life, behaviour, and
intention; and by devout prayer, asking a
sign whether she be come by the will of
God or not, as Hezekiah, Gideon, and others
"The King, since the coming of the Maid,
has thus sought to prove her, keeping her
HER DIFFICULTIES. 27
near him for six weeks, and causing her
birth, her life, her conduct, and her inten-
tions to be inquired into by all manner of
people-scholars, churchmen, men of piety,
men of war, wives, widows, and others.
Publicly and privately she has conversed
with them, and none find in her any evil,
but only chastity, humility, devotion, sim-
plicity, and honour; and of her birth and
life many marvellous things are told for
As to the second means of proving her,
the King has received a sign of her, to which
she replies, that before the city of Orleans
she will show him a sign, and not elsewhere,
for so God has commanded her.
"Having regard to this, that no harm is
found in her, that she promises a sign be-
fore Orleans, considering her constancy and
perseverance in her purpose, and her urgent
plea that she may go to Orleans with men-
at-arms, the King ought not to hold her
back, but to let her be conducted thither
honourably, hoping in God. For to doubt
her, and set her aside without any appear-
ance of evil, would be to do despite to the
28 JOAN OF ARC.
Holy Spirit of Grace, and to render himself
unworthy of the succour of God."
Jeanne was now provided, by the royal
order, with all the pomp and circumstance
of a military commander. She was attired
in a suit of armour of spotless white. A
black charger of matchless beauty was set
apart for her use. In her right hand she
carried a lance, which she had learned to
wield with admirable skill; at her side hung
a small battle-axe, and the consecrated
sword which, as the Voices had revealed to
her, lay buried behind the altar in the church
of St. Catherine de Fierbois. She requested
that it might be sent for, and, in the place
she described, it was surely found. This
mysterious sword, whose blade was engraved
with five crosses, was placed by the priest in
a scabbard of crimson velvet. The citizens
of Tours provided a sword scabbard made
of cloth-of-gold, but Jeanne herself, knowing
what was best fitted for actual work, ordered
a scabbard of leather.
She wore no helmet on her brow, which
was simply crowned with a wreath of amber
hair, and thus the fire and lustre of her eyes
HER DIFFICULTIES. 29
were manifest to every beholder. A page
carried her banner, which had been woven
in obedience to the direction of the Heavenly
Voices. The white satin folds of white
satin were strewn with fleurs-de-lis, and
bore a representation of the Saviour in His
glory, and the words IHESUS MARIA. This
consecrated banner was dearer to the Maid
than sword, or axe, or spear, for, with a
true woman's feeling, she shrunk from the
use of a deadly weapon.
It is not to be wondered at that her ap-
pearance among the soldiers of France should
arouse in them a new spirit. Her chivalrous
bearing, her beautiful and animated counte-
nance, and the skill with which she managed
her steed, increased the emotion already
awakened by the reports of her divine mis-
sion. "A new spirit was breathed through
the once despondent ranks. The rigid dis-
cipline she enjoined added to the general
effect. She drove from the camp its usual
profligate followers." She insisted that both
officers and men should attend the public
services of the Church. At every halting-
place she caused an altar to be erected, and
30 JOAN OF ARC.
the sacrament administered. Oaths and
unclean language were severely punished.
All excess was forbidden. "The French army
felt the impulse of a pure and holy influence,
and marched forward under the very Shadow
of the Cross, saints as well as warriors, led,
as they believed, by no mere woman, by no
Virgin only, however gentle and fair, but by
an Angel from heaven, whose task it was to
deliver France from the oppression of her
It is thus that the conviction of the one
becomes the enthusiasm of the many, and
that a devout spirit of earnestness gains un-
controlled power over the minds of men.
"Lo where the holy banner waved aloft,
The lambent lightning play. Irradiate round,
As with a blaze of glory, o'er the field
It stream'd miraculous splendour. Then their hearts
Sunk, and the English trembled. ...
Swift they fled
From that portentous banner, and the sword
Of France; though Talbot with vain valiancy
Yet urged the war, and stemm'd alone the tide
Of battle. Even their leaders felt dismay;
Fastolffe fled first, and Salisbury in the rout
Mingled, and all impatient of defeat,
Borne backward Talbot turns. Then echoed loud
The cry of conquest, deeper grew the storm,
And darkness, hovering o'er on raven wing,
Brooded the field of death,"
SOUTHEY, Joan of Arc, B. vi.
HILE we have the Maid marching
towards Orleans, we must carry our
young readers thither to show them
the position of the English army, and the
condition of the city.
32 JOAN OF ARC.
The English forces, under the leadership
of the gallant and able Earl of Salisbury,
appeared before the walls of Orleans on the
12th of October 1428. This fair historic
city, as a modern writer tells us, clusters
upon the northern bank of the Loire, en-
circled by smiling plains and productive
vineyards. Its inhabitants, at the time we
speak of, were men of an heroic and patriotic
spirit, fully conscious of the responsibility
enjoined upon them, fully conscious that on
the fate of Orleans depended the fate of
France. Therefore they had made, and up
to the last continued to make, every prepara-
tion for a resolute defence. They cleared
away all the houses in its suburbs down
to the very margin of the river; they
levelled all the splendid chateaux or man-
sions which reared their turrets among the
surrounding groves; and they accumulated
ample supplies of food, arms, and ammuni-
tion. Then, when the English pushed for-
ward their attack, they hurled upon them
shot, and javelins, and arrows; fighting as
gallantly as it was possible for men to do.
Then the besiegers, protecting themselves
as they advanced by throwing up rude
banks of earth, continued to push nearer
and nearer to the city; and as they pushed
forward, they connected all their works, un-
til on the north the city was completely in-
On the south, Orleans was connected with
the north bank of the river by a strong forti-
fied bridge, defended by two towers, called
the Tourelles, which were built on the bridge
itself, just at the point where it rested on a
little island. In fact the solid masonry or
stonework of the bridge terminated at these
Tourelles, and a drawbridge extended from
thence to the southern shore. Meantime,
at the head of the bridge was a small fort of
the kind which the French call tete du point,
and this, in conjunction with the Tourelles,
created a really formidable outwork, capable
of holding a large garrison, and enabling
the Orleannais-the inhabitants of Orleans
-to go forth under its shelter and obtain
all kinds of supplies and reinforcements
from the southern provinces.
I think you will understand from this
description that the Tourelles were a very
34 JOAN OF ARC.
important point. You see, reader, that on
the north the city lies shut in by the English
entrenchments, and from that side could
obtain no food or stores. But this did not
seriously matter, so long as communication
with the outer country could be secured
through the Tourelles; and hence the English
commanders saw that the city would not
surrender until the Tourelles were captured.
Against the Tourelles therefore, the Earl
of Salisbury directed his most earnest efforts,
and after several severe repulses, he carried
it by assault on the 23d October. Strange
to say, his success, which seemed to pro-
mise complete victory to the English arms,
was destined to be the cause of their ulti-
mate disgrace and failure. On one occasion
the Earl had ascended one of the Tourelles,
and from the higher windows was surveying
the defensive works of the town, when he
was struck by a stone shot fired from an
enemy's cannon, and so severely wounded
that within eight days he died. A terrible
loss was this to our English army, for his
successor in the command had neither his
military genius, his experience, or his in-
fluence over his soldiery. Well may Shake-
Accursed tower, accursed fatal hand
That hath contrived this woful tragedy.
In thirteen battles Salisbury o'ercame;
Henry the Fifth he first trained to the wars;
Whilst any trump did sound, or drum struck up,
His sword did ne'er leave striking in the field."
The city was now completely swept by
the English foe, and all the exertions of the
famous Dunois, who guided the defence,
could do nothing but delay for awhile the
fatal hour of surrender. But it was evident
that famine and suffering would soon com-
pel even him to submit.
The English themselves were not wholly
exempt from the pangs of hunger, until
relieved by the victory which Sir John
Fastolfe gained over the enemy at Rouvrai,
near Orleans, towards the middle of March,
1429. In this brilliant action the superior
courage of the English seemed conclusively
proved by their defeat of 4000 French and
Scots with only 1600 fighting men. This
achievement cleared the surrounding coun-
try of the enemy's scattered forces, and
36 JOAN OF ABRC.
large convoys of food and ammunition
reached the Earl of Suffolk's camp in safety.'
Never, says a writer, never had the spirit of
the invaders risen so high, and never had
the fortunes of France fallen so low. The
inhabitants were on the brink of submission
to the English, when Jeanne of Arc made
her appearance upon the scene, and, as on
the mimic stage the waving wand of the
enchanter will suddenly transform the
devastation of winter into the bloom and
verdure and fresh young beauty of the
spring," so her presence awoke hope
where despondency had prevailed, and in-
sured victory where ruin had seemed in-
With a small French army, brought to-
gether from various points, Jeanne the Maid
set out for Orleans on the 25th of April.
She was accompanied by Dunois, who had
made his escape from the besieged city to
carry the sad tidings of its condition to
1 Owing to the circumstance that this convoy was largely
composed of salt fish for the Lenten repasts of the English
soldiers, the engagement referred to above was popularly
called the Battle of the Herrings,"
Charles at Chinon. On the 20th, they ap-
proached the town; where,
Embosomed in the depth
Of that old forest, which for many a league
Shadow'd the hills and vales of Orleannois,
They pitch their tents. The hum of occupation
Sounds ceaseless. Waving to the evening gale
The streamers flutter; and ascending slow
Beneath the foliage of the forest trees,
With many a light hue tinged, the curling smoke
Melts in the impurpled air."
Next day, or rather next night, in a great
storm of rain and thunder, the Maid, with
her knights and men-at-arms, her provisions
and artillery, entered the city,1 and on the
following morning she passed through all
its streets, clad in her brilliant armour, and
mounted on a snow-white steed. Each per-
son who gazed upon her felt himself the
better, and braver, and purer for the sight.
It was as if an angel had come down from
heaven, and inspired them with celestial
When it was known that the Maid-ap-
1 The English had been rendered over-confident of suc-
cess, or they might easily have checked her course, and in
so doing abruptly terminated her career.
38 JOAN OF ARC.
parently by a miracle-had broken through
their lines, the English were sorely amazed.
With all the credulity of the time, they be-
lieved the wonderful stories reported of her;
but instead of deeming her to be an angel
from above, they considered her the special
and favoured servant of the Evil One. They
were a superstitiously pious soldiery, says
Miss Parr; they were assured that they did
well in taking away the dominion of France
from her false and cruel princes; they had
been so long prosperous, that it was impos-
sible for them to conceive of God going
over to the other side. When, therefore,
terror fell upon them, with defeat, humilia-
tion, grievous destruction, they referred all
their calamities to Satanic agency; and as
the Satan of the middle ages was a very
real and practical power among men, they
gave way before him, supposing that he was
to reign for a season, and that their turn and
God's would come again by and by.
Now that the Maid had entered Orleans,
she lost no time in attempting its relief.
She despatched heralds to the English com-
mander, bidding them surrender to her, the
messenger of Heaven, the keys of the French
cities which they had unjustly seized, and
ordering them to retire from Orleans. The
English threatened to burn her heralds.
Then she mounted one of the ramparts of
the town, within hearing of the Tourelles,
and, with her own voice, repeated her mes-
sage. The English garrison at this im-
portant post was commanded by a rude but
able captain, Sir William Gladsdale, or, as
Jeanne called him, Glacidas. He was afraid
neither of men nor of witches, and he re-
plied to Jeanne with coarse mouth, bidding
her go home and milk her cows. Unfor-
tunately the common soldiers did not show
the incredulity of their commanders; and it
was evident that the warriors who had never
turned their backs to a foe, or quailed be-
fore the greatest odds, were now panic-
stricken by the appearance of a simple
woman-a young fair girl-because they
had invested her with supernatural powers.
A day or two afterwards, Dunois, to whom
and his fellow-knights the Maid wisely left
the direction of every military movement,
seized upon what seemed a favourable oc-
40 JOAN OF ARC.
casion to attack the English fort, and was
met with a gallant resistance. Jeanne
was resting at home, when suddenly, as she
afterwards declared, the Voices informed her
of what was going on, and, calling for her
lance, she hastily donned her suit of radiant
armour, mounted her horse, and proceeded
to join in the battle. In her haste she had
forgotten her banner. She rode back for it,
and to prevent her dismounting, it was
handed to her from the windows of her lodg-
ings. Then she galloped hastily to the gate
from which the French had issued to the
attack, meeting on her way with some of the
Orleannais returning wounded. "Ha!" she
cried, "I am aware no French blood flows
without my hair standing upon end !" As
soon as she came up with the main body of
the retreating troops, she rallied them with
words of hearty encouragement; waving her
banner, she placed herself at their head,
and assuring them of victory, led them back
to the assault.
The English fell into a panic at the sight
of the beautiful Maid, whom they supposed
to be a sorceress. Their tried courage sud-
denly gave way; St. Loup was carried by
storm, and its defenders put to the sword,
except some few whom Jeanne tenderly res-
cued. For though she knew blood must be
shed, she was averse to shedding it, and her
tears flowed freely when she saw around her
a heap of the dead and dying; many of
whom; she reflected, must have passed to
their last account without a sigh of repent-
ance or a prayer for forgiveness.
The next day, the Feast of the Ascension,
kept in the Romish as in the English Church
with due solemnity, was devoted to the ser-
vice of God. On the following, the besieged,
who were now equal or perhaps superior
in power to the besiegers, made a desperate
sally against the English forts on the south
of the river. The French crossed the Loire
in boats; mounted the walls in a phrenzy of
fierce enthusiasm, and after a fierce hand-to-
hand fight, captured the English bastiles,"
as they were then called, of the Augustine
and St. Jean de Blanc, leaving only the im-
portant fort of the Tourelles untaken. In
this encounter Jeanne was wounded in the
42 JOAN OF ARC.
The great military value of the Tourelles
was known both to French and English, for
it commanded the town and the channel of
communication with the country beyond.
The Duke of Bedford, then acting as Regent
of France for Henry vi., had despatched a
strong reinforcement to the English, to
strengthen them against the increased
numbers of the French; and the latter felt
that it was urgently necessary to attack the
Tourelles before this reinforcement arrived,
and while the presence of the Maid still
awakened in them the inspiration of en-
thusiasm. Dunois, their leader, was too
able a commander not to be aware of the
difficulty of the enterprise. He knew that
the ramparts and defensive works of the
Tourelles were of a formidable character,
and that they were garrisoned by 800 men,
the flower of the English army, under the
leadership of a veteran captain, Sir John
Early on the morning of the 7th of May,
the bells were rung, and mass in every
church was sung, by order of the Maid; and
the French soldiers having performed their
usual devotions, but with more than usual
fervour, were carried across the Loire in boats,
and led to the attack. Both sides displayed
an equal valour; but, for once, the French
fought with unflinching tenacity-a quality
in which they have generally shown them-
selves deficient. And why? Because the
presence and example of the Maid inspired
them. Waving her banner, she rode in
amongst their ranks, cheering them with
words of hope, and promises of triumph.
"She rallied the flying, she spurred the lag-
gard, was herself most conspicuous wherever
danger was most imminent. To and fro in
the storm of fire along the shore, where flash
answered to flash, and thunder to thunder,
where through the volleying clouds of smoke
whistled the shrill arrows sowing the bloody
plain with death, went she, calm, valiant,
beautiful, constant, strong, untiring."
Battle-axes were swung lustily, and swords
rung against crest and breast, when Jeanne,
seizing a ladder, was the first to gain the
rampart. Just as she was on the point of
mounting it, an arrow whistled through the
air, and wounded her smartly between the
44 JOAN O.F ARC.
neck and shoulder. But before the English
could leap from the battlement and make
her prisoner, she was borne away to the
rear. Laid upon the grass, and her cuirass
removed, with the agony of her wound she
began to weep; for, like a true woman, she
was prone to tears. But, raising herself as
if by some sudden inspiration from heaven,
she sat up, drew the arrow from the wound
with her own hands, and having dressed it
with a little oil, betook herself to prayer.
After a while she resumed her armour,
and returned to the fray, when the enthusi-
asm of the French had begun to wane, and
the courage of the English seemed so invin-
cible that Dunois and his captains debated
on the advisability of retreat.
The Maid's quick eye, however, had
noticed that the English were nearly spent
with the fatigue of their resistance against
so large a host. Their firing was losing its
skill and force : a man, she said, would have
thrown a ball with his hand, with as much
force as their guns; let the French eat, and
drink, and rest themselves; and then, return-
ing to the assault, they could not fail to be
So, when the soldiers had taken their re-
freshment, she addressed them with all her
fire and spirit. Return," she exclaimed, in
the name of God, return to the attack once
more The English are exhausted, and can
no longer defend themselves. Go in against
them boldly, and both the rampart and the
Tourelles shall be yours."
Seizing her banner, she rushed to the
brink of the fosse or moat, shouting aloud :
" Surrender, Gladsdale, surrender to the King
of Heaven! Foul wrong didst thou do me
with thy speech, but I take great pity on
thy soul and on the souls of thy men !" On-
ward went the holy banner towards the fort.
The English on the rampart, weary and ex-
hausted, were seized with a sudden fear.
They could not understand the courage of
this fair and lovely maiden, unless, indeed,
she were assisted by supernatural powers;
and if so, who would prevail against her?
Jeanne detected their dismay. "Go, 'chil-
dren, in God's name !" she cried, "and they
46 JOAN OF ARC.
are ours!" And the French swarmed over
the walls, and carried the ramparts.
Gladsdale, accompanied by some thirty
knights and men, fled to the Tourelles.
They crossed the drawbridge in safety, but
just as they reached the stone arch, it was
struck by a heavy cannon-shot, gave way
with a crash, and precipitated them all into
the Loire. The weight of their armour pre-
vented them from swimming, and they sunk
immediately. At their terrible fate Jeanne
uttered a sigh of pity, then gave way to her
womanly feelings, and burst into bitter tears.
But the battle was won. A few planks
were thrown across the broken arch, and the
French pressed across them to the assault of
the Tourelles. It was now six o'clock, and
the English acknowledged their defeat. Not
one Englishman was left on the south bank
of the Loire. Those who were not killed or
drowned were led prisoners into Orleans.
So terrible, so overwhelming was the reverse
of fortune !
It is strange that Suffolk and Talbot, who
had watched the whole day's battle from
some of their northern forts, had made no
attempt to relieve the Tourelles, or to attack
the almost unguarded city. Either they
were incompetent generals, though brave
men; or they were stunned and surprised
by this novel enthusiasm of the French; or
they found themselves helpless because their
men would not fight against witchcraft.
The capture of the Tourelles was un-
questionably a splendid achievement; and
well might a grateful people fill the air with
shouts of "Glory to God and the Maid !"
She had promised to return into Orleans
across the bridge. There were enough, and
to spare, of willing hands ready to repair its
breaches, that she might pass over it safely,
and fulfil her promise. And as she entered
the city, the bells rang out from every spire
and tower; the streets kindled into a blaze
of light; and the Orleannais rejoiced like
men who have been saved from a fiery fur-
nace. And, on the following morning, when
they assembled on their walls, and gathered
along the river-bank, they saw that the Eng-
lish had set on fire their forts, and were
retiring from Orleans, in admirable order,
but in sullen discontent. They drew up
48 JOAN OF ARC.
in full battle array, as if inviting the French
to try their fortune in the open field. But,
"In the name of God," said Jeanne, "let
them go, and let us return thanks to the
Lord! We will not pursue them, nor kill
them; for to-day is Sunday !"
After this prosaic description, it may
well be that our readers will find a pleasure
in perusing some of the animated passages
in which the poet Southey tells the story of
the deliverance of Orleans; and, first, for
the incident of Jeanne's wound :-
"Burning at the sight
With indignation, Glacidas' beheld
His troops fly scattered; fast on every side
The foe up-rushing eager to their spoil;
The holy standard waving ; and the Maid
Fierce in pursuit. Speed but this arrow, Heaven !'
The chief exclaim'd, and I shall fall content.'
So saying, lie his sharpest quarrel2 chose,
And fix'd the bow-string, and againstthe Maid
Levelling, let loose: her arm was raised on high
To smite a fugitive ; he glanced aside,
Shunning her deadly stroke, and thus received
The chieftain's arrow: through his ribs it passed,
And cleft that vessel whence the purer blood
Through many a branching channel o'er the frame
1 That is, Gladsdale. The details here introduced are, of
course, fictitious. I An arrow.
'Fool !' the exasperate Knight exclaimed,
SWould she had slain thee thou hast lived too long.'
Again he aim'd his arbalist: the string
Struck forceful: swift the erring arrow sped
Guiltless of blood, for lightly o'er the court
Bounded the warrior Virgin. Glacidas
Levell'd his bow again the fated shaft
Fled true, and difficultly through the mail
Pierced to her neck, and tinged its point with blood.
She bleeds she bleeds !' exulting cried the chief;
'The sorceress bleeds nor all her hellish arts
Can charm my arrows from their destined course.'
Ill-fated man in vain with eager hand
Placing thy feather'd quarrel in its groove,
Dream'st thou of Joan subdued She from her neck
Plucking the shaft unterrified, exclaimed,
This is a favour Frenchmen, let us on !
Escape they cannot from the hand of God "1
The retreat of the English is thus
"The English chiefs counselling
They met despondent. Suffolk, now their chief,
Since Salisbury fell, began.
It now were vain
Lightly of this our more than mortal foe
To speak contemptuous. She hath vanquished us,
Aided by Hell's league powers, nor aught avails
Man unassisted againstt Infernal powers
To dare the conflict. Were it best remain
Waiting the doubtful aid of Burgundy,
Doubtful and still delay'd ? or from this place,
Scene of our shame, retreating as we may,
1 According to the historian Hall, these were actually
50 JOAN OF ARC.
Yet struggle to preserve the guarded towns
Of the Orleannois V'
He ceased, and with a sigh,
Struggling with pride that heaved his gloomy breast,
Talbot replied, Our council little boots ;
For by their numbers now made bold in fear
The soldiers will not fight, they will not heed
Our vain resolves, heart-wither'd by the spells
Of this accursed sorceress. Soon will come
The expected host from England; even now
Perchance the tall bark scuds across the deep
That bears my son: young Talbot comes, he comes
To find his sire disgraced But soon mine arm,
By vengeance nerved, and shame of such defeat,
Shall from the crest-fall'n courage of yon witch,
Regain its ancient glory. Near the coast
Best is it to retreat, and there expect
The coming succour.'
Thus the warrior spake.
Joy ran through all the troops, as though retreat
Were safety. Silently in ordered ranks
They issue forth, favour'd by the thick clouds
Which mantled o'er the moon. With throbbing hearts
Fearful they speeded on; some in sad thoughts
Of distant England, and now wise too late,
Cursing in bitterness the evil hour
That led them from her shores; some in faint hope
Thinking to see their native land again;
Talbot went musing on his former fame
Sullen and stern, and feeding on dark thoughts,
And meditating vengeance."
Thus on the 8th of May, the tenth day
after the Maid's arrival at Orleans, the siege
was raised, and the first step taken towards
the severance of France from England;
a blessed result for both nations, and for
civilisation at large.
It was the Maid's wish to celebrate so
glorious a success, due, as she believed, to
the direct interposition of Providence, by a
solemn religious ceremony in the Cathedral.
An immense crowd of knights, and men-at-
arms, and citizens assembled. High mass
was celebrated, a TeDeum sung, and a sermon
Afterwards, they all gathered in a solemn
procession, each one bearing a lighted taper,
and the monks and priests at their head.
They slowly moved around the delivered
city, and prayers were said and praises sung
in all the places where the English had
formerly established their works.
Antiphony.'-Our enemies are gathered
together, and boast themselves in their
strength. Lord, bring to nought their
strength, and scatter them; for there is
none other that fighteth for us, but only
Thou, 0 God.
1 Antiphony,-that is, alternate singing : first, one set
of voices, then another.
52 JOAN OF ARC.
"Abase their pride, and lower their pre-
"Drive them hither and thither, and
carry them utterly away.
Lord, hear our prayer.
"And let our cry come unto Thee.
Let us pray.
0 God, the Author of Peace, who with-
out bow and arrow can expel the enemies
of those who hope in Thee, come to our
help; be favourable to us in our adversity;
and inasmuch as Thou hast delivered Thy
people by the hand of a woman, so, for
Charles our king, lift up the arm of victory,
that the foe, who trust in the multitude of
their archers, and glorify themselves in their
spearmen, may presently be overcome; and
to Thee, who art the way, the truth, and
the life, all the people shall give praise, for
our Lord Jesus Christ's sake. Amen."
And to this day the anniversary of the
deliverance of Orleans is solemnly observed
by its citizens.
The morn was fair
When Rheims re-echoed to the busy hum
Of multitudes, for high solemnity
Assembled. To the holy fabric moves
The long procession, through the streets bestrewn
With flowers and laurel boughs .
"By the king
The delegated Damsel pass'd along
Clad in her battered arms. She bore on high
Her hallow'd banner to the sacred pile,
And fix'd it on the altar, whilst her hand
Pour'd on the monarch's head the mystic oil .
"The mission'd Maid
Then placed on Charles's brow the crown of France,
And back retiring, gazed upon the king
One moment, quickly scanning all the past,
Till in a tumult of wild wonderment
She wept aloud."--SOUTHEY, Joan of Arc B. x.
IIE glad tidings of the relief of
Orleans was conveyed to Charles
on the 10th of May, and he im-
mediately announced the all-important fact
54 JOAN OF ARC.
in a public proclamation. More than
ever," it said, "ought we to thank our
Creator, who, of His Divine clemency, has
not left us in forgetfulness; and we cannot
enough honour the virtuous and marvellous
deeds which are reported to us of the Maid,
who was always present in person at the
execution of these things."
Jeanne now quitted the delivered city,
and proceeded to Blois, and from thence to
Tours, being everywhere received with the
welcome due to conquerors and heroes. At
Tours she was duly honoured by the King;
but Charles was, unhappily, a man of fickle
disposition, and he soon turned aside to
listen to the sneers, and follow the advice,
of his unworthy favourites.
The English, meantime, were protesting
loudly that Jeanne was a witch, a sorceress,
prompted by evil spirits, under the rule of
the devil; and we doubt not that in their
shame at their defeat, and in their amaze-
ment at her courage, they did truly and
really believe in her supernatural powers.
Yet her only magic was that of enthusiasm,
and her only helping spirits were her own
innocence and constancy.
Jeanne's advice to the King was, that he
should instantly proceed to Rheims, and be
publicly crowned. She rightly judged that
by this act he would be declaring himself
lawful king of France, and that its effect
on the popular mind would be most bene-
ficial. But the royal councillors were both
less sagacious and less hurried; they advised
that the English should first be swept from
the valley of the Loire. But while they
hesitated, the army which had been got
together for the relief of Orleans rapidly
dissolved, and it was some weeks before
another could be assembled.
Charles retired to the castle of Loches,
whither he was accompanied by Jeanne d'Arc.
She soon grew weary of inaction, and again
besought the Dauphin to repair to Rheims,
declaring that, after his coronation, the
power of his enemies would go to decay, and
they would do little more injury to his
kingdom. Noble Dauphin," she said, do
not hold so many or such tedious councils,
56 JOAN OF ARC.
but come quickly to the city of Rheims
and receive your crown."
One of the officials present asked her, il
her counsel (as she sometimes called it) had
bidden her to act thus. She said that such
was the case, and that it continually urged
her to carry on the work that was given her
"Will you tell us here," he said, "here, in
the King's presence, in what manner your
counsel speaks when it talks with you ?"
Jeanne blushed, and answered him em-
phatically, In my own mind I conceive
what you wish to know, and I will tell
The King, courteously interrupting her,
said :-" Jeanne, are you willing to declare
it before these witnesses?"
She said that she would do so gladly, and
proceeded to tell them that when she was
unhappy, ready belief was not given to her
messages on the part of God. She went
aside, and lamented to Him that they to
whom she conveyed them were so unwill-
ing to put faith in them. And after she
had made her prayer, she always heard a
voice saying to her: "Go on, daughter of
God; I will be with thee to help thee; go
on, go on." She added that, when she heard
the voice, she was inexpressibly happy, and
would wish ever to continue in that state.
And in repeating the words of her counsel,
she lifted up her eyes to heaven with an
ecstasy which, it is said, none of the wit-
nesses ever forgot.
But Charles and his councillors, however
much impressed at the time, quickly got rid
of the impression, and Jeanne was compelled
to be content with the King's promise that,
when the country round about Orleans had
been swept of the English, he would proceed
to Rheims. An army was therefore assem-
bled under the command of the Duke of
Alenqon, with the view of expelling the
English from the fortified towns of Jergeau,
Meun, Beaugency, and Yenville. Orleans
was made their rendezvous, and from Or-
leans they set out, accompanied by the
Maid, twelve hundred lances strong, besides
common foot-soldiers, all filled with the
utmost confidence in the success of their
58 JOAN OF ARC.
The first town they besieged was Jergeau;
and the incidents of its siege are so graphi-
cally told by Miss Harriet Parr, that instead
of resorting to the crabbed style of the old
chronicles, we shall adopt the modern histo-
rian's more elegant language:-
The Maid summoned Suffolk and the
English garrison in her usual style: "Sur-
render the town to the King of Heaven and
King Charles, and go your way, or evil will
befall you." Suffolk desired to treat, and
asked for a truce of fifteen days. This the
French captains would not grant, but they
proposed to let him and his men march out
with arms and horses, if they would march
at once. Here, however, the Maid raised
her voice, saying: "They shall save their
lives only, and begone in their smocks, or I
will have them by assault." Suffolk de-
spised and refused her terms, and the bom-
bards, cannon, and culverins were brought
up under cover of night, and placed in posi-
tion against the ramparts.
The firing opened at dawn, and all that
day and the next night passed in attacks,
sallies, and repulses. The walls were then
much battered, and about nine o'clock on
Monday morning the trumpets sounded,
and the heralds cried, To the assault!"
Foremost came the Maid, sweeping gaily
down towards the fosse, with her standard
displayed, and calling to the Duke of
Alencon, "Forward, gentle Duke, to the
assault!" Alengon had not given the com-
mand, and, considering it premature, he
told her so. Jeanne answered him, un-
daunted: "Never doubt! The hour is
when it pleases God. We must work when
He wills. Work now, and He will work
Alenqon still demurred and hung back,
on which she said, laughing and mocking at
him: Ah, gentle Duke, art thou afraid ?
)ost thou not know that I have promised
thy wife to send thee back to her safe and
He advanced with her then, and the as-
sault began. The defence was courageous
and steady for nearly four hours ; the attack
was as fierce and persistent. Master Jean,
a gunner from Orleans, did his duty ably,
and "picked off" with his recovered culverin
60 JOAN OF ARC.
a tall Englishman, whom Alengon pointed
out as a very galling annoyance to the
assailants. The Maid had a far and clear
sight, and once she warned the Duke out
of danger, telling him that if he did not
change his position, there was a piece on the
walls would do him a damage. He moved
aside, and the next moment a gentleman of
Anjou, stepping into his place, was killed.
At the time and the point when the as-
sault was hottest, and the resistance most
desperate, the Maid descended into the
fosse, bearing her standard and encouraging
her men by word and art. She had set her
foot on a ladder to scale the rampart her-
self, when an English soldier cast down
upon her from above a large stone which
struck her standard, and rebounding on her
steel cap, flung her to the ground. The
stone itself was dashed to fragments; but
in an instant Jeanne was up again, crying:
"Friends, friends, cheer up cheer up!
Our Lord has condemned the English. This
day they are ours. Be of good heart!
Come on! come on!"
The men, invoked to fresh enthusiasm by
her invincible spirit, rushed forward impetu-
ously. Suffolk, from the ramparts, shouted
out for speech with the Duke of Alengon.
He was not heeded. The assault was furi-
ously pressed, and the English, unable any
longer to defend the wall, endeavoured to
escape over the bridge into the castle. But
the French followed hard after them. One
Guillaume Regnault laid his hand on the
Earl of Suffolk, summoning him to yield
himself a prisoner. Suffolk asked his
captor if he was a gentleman, and when
Regnault had satisfied him of that, he
asked if he was a knight. Regnault said he
had not yet attained that honour. "Then
I make you one," replied the Earl; and
before giving up his sword to the young
soldier, he dubbed him one of the brother-
hood of chivalry. With Suffolk was taken
his brother John. His brother Alexander
was slain, and in the pursuit through the
streets of the town there perished more
than five hundred men.
Such is Miss Parr's account of the siege
and capture of Jergeau. Our readers will
wonder, doubtless, how a woman so fair, so
62 JOAN OF ARC.
gentle, and so tender as the Maid could mingle
in these scenes of bloodshed. But we must
remember that when any one of us has a
particular work to do, we must do that
work, however hard and disagreeable it may
be to us. Jeanne's work was to deliver
France from our ancestors, who, brave and
chivalrous as they were, were also fond of
conquest and military glory, and had no
more right to conquer France than the
French would have had to conquer Eng-
land. Such a task could not be accom-
plished, alas 1 without much loss of life;
but it is noticeable that Jeanne never slew
or wounded any man with her own hand,
and more generally carried her banner than
either sword or spear.
The fate of Jergeau taught the garrisons
of Beaugency and Meun that submission was
the first policy ; and Talbot, who had now
succeeded to the English .command, and of
whom Shakespeare has made so heroic a
character, gathered into one body the re-
maining English troops, and retreated hastily
towards the Seine. As he retired he was
met by Sir John Fastolfe with a reinforce-
ment of 4000 men. At the same time, the
French chieftains received an almost equal
accession of force under Arthur de Riche-
mont, the Lord Constable of France. He
had long been on ill terms with the King;
or, rather, the King with him, and Jeanne,
whose loyalty was enthusiastic, proposed to
go forth, and give him battle. But such a
proposal naturally excited great dissatisfac-
tion, and Jeanne was at length brought to
understand that civil discord-that war
between two parties of the same country-
was by no means a successful means of ex-
pelling their common enemy. Union is
She therefore agreed to welcome the Con-
stable in his taking an oath of loyalty, and
to use her influence with the King to have
his faults forgiven.
The combined forces then pushed forward
with the view of overtaking the English
army in its retreat. On the 18th of June
they came up with it near the village of
Patay. But the English were Englishmen
no longer. They would fight the French, it
is true, but they could not fight that one
64 JOAN OF ARC.
modest woman, whom, in their ignorance,
they regarded as the creature of Satan.'
They scarcely kept their ranks a moment.
The battle was won before it was fought.
Even the gallant Fastolfe fled at the first
fire; in punishment for which act of cowar-
dice he was afterwards expelled from the
Order of the Garter. Talbot, indeed, dis-
dained to show his back to an enemy: he
dismounted, and fought on foot among the
foremost, but, being left almost alone, he
was speedily taken prisoner; while upwards
of 2000 men were killed in the pursuit.
1 The common belief that Jeanne was aided by spells and
witchcraft, and could command the services of fiends, is
perpetuated by Shakespeare in his Henry VI., Part I.
Act v. sc. 3, where the Maid, or La Pucelle, is represented
as summoning her spirits to help her :-
"The regent conquers, and the Frenchmen fly.
Now, help, ye charming spells, and periapts;
And ye choice spirits that admonish me,
And give me signs of future accidents I [Thunder.
You speedy helpers, that are substitutes
Under the lordly monarch of the north,
Appear, and aid me in this enterprise !
This speedy and quick appearance argues proof
Of your accustomed diligence to me.
Now, ye familiar spirits, that are cull'd
Out of the powerful regions under earth,
Help me this once, that France may get the field."
After this signal victory, Charles could
no longer refuse Jeanne's urgent request
that he would proceed to Rheims for his
coronation. Such an expedition, as Earl
Stanhope remarks, was still overcast by
doubts and perils. Rheims itself, and every
other city on the way, was in the hands of
enemies; and a superior force, either of
English from the left, or of Burgundians
from the right, might assail the advancing
These difficulties were increased by
Charles himself, who, at this time of his life,
shrank from any special exertion. Never-
theless the enthusiasm of his troops was so
great, and her influence so all-powerful, that
he could no longer refuse.
Assembling at Gien a force of from ten to
twelve thousand men, he marched from the
valley of the Loire, accompanied by Jeanne
herself, by his ablest councillors and bravest
captains. On appearing before Auxerre they
obtained a supply of provisions. Troyes
was defended by a garrison of 500 Burgun-
dian soldiers, and it held out for some days;
but the great renown of the Maid here too
66 JOAN OF ARC.
won a victory, and the citizens threw wide
their gates, and loyally acknowledged Charles
to be their king.
This new-born loyalty spread onwards to
Chalons and to Rheims. In each city the
inhabitants expelled the Burgundian garri-
sons, and proclaimed King Charles.
And then it came to pass that on the
early morning of Saturday, the 16th of July,
the great object of Jeanne's mission was ac-
complished, and, attended by princes, and
knights, and great lords, with an immense
crowd of citizens and peasants following and
surrounding him, Charles entered Rheims.
And among that crowd stood Jeanne's
father, who had come from Domremy, with
her brother Pierre, to rejoice in this wonder-
ful and unexpected triumph. The meeting
between them was very tender, and proved
that no series of successes, no blaze of re-
nown, could weaken the gentle Maid's do-
On the day following, Sunday the 17th,
the coronation of King Charles took place.
The ceremonial began at nine in the morn-
ing, and did not terminate until two in the
afternoon. Three hundred knights and
gentlemen were present at it, and every rite
was celebrated with the utmost splendour
and formality. Next the altar, bearing her
holy banner, stood the Maid, "to whom,
after God, were all thanks due for bringing
King Charles's sacred coronation to pass."
She was afterwards asked at her trial,
"Why was your banner thus honoured be-
yond all other banners ?" It had shared
the danger," she replied, and it had a right
to share the glory."
The functions of the spiritual peers were
performed by the Archbishop of Rheims,
the Bishops of ChAlons, Orleans, and Seiz,
and two others whose names are not re-
corded. The leading lay peers present were
the Dukes of Burgundy, Normandy, and
Aquitaine, and the Counts of Flanders,
Toulouse, and Champagne.
When all were assembled, the King was
led in, attired in his royal robes, the Sire
d'Albert carrying the sword before him,
and was conducted to his place in front of
the altar. Kneeling, he repeated after the
Archbishop the words of the oath usually
68 JOAN OF ARC.
taken by the kings of France at their coro-
nation, that he would keep and defend the
Church, do justice in mercy, maintain peace
among his Christian people, suppress all
heretics, and expel them from his dominions.
This being done,two of the bishops raised the
chair in which he was seated, to show him
to the people, as if to ask their consent,
while two others held the canopy over his
head. Then came a blare of trumpets, and
an immense shout of Noel! Noel !"-then
the usual acclamation in France at the ap-
pearance of the King. The Archbishop
proceeded with the service, and anointed him
with the sainte ampoule (a "holy vessel")
of oil, which, according to an old supersti-
tion, had been brought from heaven by a
dove for the coronation of King Clovis.
This part of the ceremony was supposed to
render the person of the sovereign sacred
and inviolable. The usual prayers, exhorta-
tions, and benedictions were pronounced;
and as the trumpets again sounded, and the
people again shouted Noel! Noel!" the
crown was placed upon the head of Charles
Thus had really come to pass the visions
which, a few short months before, had
flattered the imagination of the Maid of
Domremy, and excited the ridicule of war-
riors and priests, because they knew not
the wonderful power of enthusiasm and
faith. And thus did she fulfil her twofold
promise to the King-the deliverance of
Orleans, the capture of Rheims-within
three months from the day when she first
appeared in arms at Blois.
The holy rites being ended, the Maid
threw herself on her knees before the
newly-crowned monarch, her eyes stream-
ing with tears of joy and gratitude.
"Gentle King," she said, "now is ful-
filled the pleasure of God, whose will it was
that I should conduct you to Rheims to be
anointed, showing that you are the true
King, and he to whom the kingdom of
France should belong."
She now regarded her mission as accom-
plished; she felt that she could no longer
trust to any celestial counsel.
"I pray you, gentle King, that you
would allow me to return home to my
70 JOAN OF ARC.
father and mother, keep my flocks and
herds as before, and do all things as I was
wont to do."
She was insensible to the voice of ambi-
tion; indifferent to, or contemptucLs of, the
pleasures of a court. She had fulfilled her
duty nobly, loyally, flinching from neither
hardship nor danger; and now she longed
And with many tears implored !
'Tis the sound of home restored !
And as mounts the angel-show,
Gliding with them she would go,
But again to stoop below,
And, returned to grim Lorraine,
Be a shepherd child again "
The Maid's request for leave to forsake the
wars and retreat to her village home was by
no means favourably received. The King and
his captains, even whilst themselves distrust-
ing her heavenly mission or supernatural
powers, had seen, as Earl Stanhope remarks,
how the belief in them had wrought upon
the soldiery and the people. They foresaw
that in losing her they should lose their best
ally. They spared no exertions, no en-
treaties, to make her forego her thoughts of
home, and continue with the army. In this,
unhappily, they prevailed. We say "un-
happily," for really Jeanne had done her
work, had done what she was best fitted to
do; she had no military capacity, and all
her strength lay in her faith in her mission.
From this time forward, as Sismondi says,
it has been observed that Joan still displayed
the same courage in enduring pain; that she
appeared to feel the same confidence in the
good cause of France; but that she no
longer seemed to feel the same persuasion
that she was acting at the command and
under the direct inspiration of Heaven.
The good example set by Troyes and
Rheims was quickly followed by Laon,
Soissons, Compiegne, Beauvais, and other
places of importance. Thus the French
drew nearer and yet nearer to the walls of
Paris, while the English, although they had
recently received some reinforcements from
home, were not able to keep the field against
them. During this march, however, an evil
omen occurred: the Maid's valued sword
broke asunder; under what circumstances
we shall leave the historian Barante to tell:-
"Victory had made the French arrogant
72 JOAN OF ARC.
and thoughtless, so that they resigned them-
selves to every kind of licentiousness, and
nothing could restrain them. They would
not listen to the Maid when she reproved
them. Her wrath was so far kindled that
one day as she met some men-at-arms, who
were making merry with a bad woman, she
began to smite them with the flat of her
sword so hard, that the weapon broke.
This was the sword found in the church of
Fierbois, and which had just achieved such
noble deeds. The loss of it was a grief to
everybody, and even to the King. He said
to Jeanne, 'You should have taken a good
stout stick, and have struck the men with
it, instead of risking this sword, which, as
you say, came to you by help from Heaven."'
The King and his army continued their
advance towards Paris; and at length, from
the heights of St. Denis, the spires and
towers of that ancient capital, which for so
many centuries has played a prominent
part in European history, rose upon their
sight. The moment of his coming seemed
auspicious, the Duke of Bedford having
been summoned away to quiet some dis-
turbance in Normandy. An assault was
given accordingly in the month of Sep-
tember 1429, and on the same ground now
occupied by Rue TravasiBre. The Maid
had urged on the attack, and had predicted,
or promised, that on the ensuing night the
soldiers should sleep within the city walls.
But the King's military fervour had already
waned, and he would not be prevailed upon
to approach the scene of action nearer than
St. Denis. Some of his officers were dis-
spirited by his absence; others were merely
jealous of the glory Jeanne had acquired.
So it came to pass that her efforts were but
badly supported. However, she carried her
troops across the first ditch of the city; but
the second was broad, deep, and full of
water. While sounding it at various parts
with her lance, to discover where it might
be shallowest, she was sorely wounded by
an arrow from the walls. Her standard-
bearer was killed by her side. Even then,
however, her indomitable spirit would not
give the signal for retreat; and from the
ground, where she lay prone and helpless,
on the side of the first fosse, she continued
74 JOAN OF ARC.
to stimulate her soldiers, resisting all en-
treaties to retire until the evening, and then
only when the Duke of Orleans had con-
vinced her that the attack had irretrievably
This discomfiture had a great effect upon
the mind of the Maid. She regarded it in
the light of a warning from Heaven, and
dedicating her armour to God before the
tents of St. Denis, she resolved upon with-
drawing from the wars. But the captains
of the royal army, aware of the influence
she exercised upon the hearts of the
soldiery, besought her most earnestly not
to desert her sovereign's cause; and at
length she consented. Charles himself
made the repulse before Paris an excuse for
a retreat to Chinon, to abandon himself to
the idle pleasures that, at this time, had so
great an attraction for him.
It was an unwise step, and, as Sismondi
remarks, everywhere depressed and deadened
the enthusiasm of his people. "The un-
warlike citizens who, throughout the towns
of Champagne, Picardy, and the Isle of
France, were now rising or conspiring to
throw off the English yoke, well knew that
if they failed no mercy would be shown to
them, and that they would perish by the
hangman's hands; yet they boldly exposed
themselves in order to replace their King on
his throne; and this King, far from imitating
their generosity, could not even bring him-
self to bear the hardships of a camp or the
toils of business for more than two months
and a half; he would not any longer con-
sent to forego his festivals, his dances, or
his other less innocent delights."
Joan spent the winter chiefly at the
royal Court in Bourges, or at Meun-sur-
Tarn, in the neighbourhood of Bourges.
In December the King granted letters-
patent of nobility to her family and herself,
with the privilege of bearing the Lily of
France for their arms.
When spring returned, hostilities were
resumed; and after various successes, the
Maid and her captains resolved on at-
tempting the relief of Compiegne, which
was then besieged by the Duke of Burgundy.
The Maid was suffering greatly from de-
pression, from fear of treachery, and from an
76 JOAN OF ARC.
inward presentiment that she would fall
into the hands of her enemies before the
" Feast of St. John." But she did not flinch
from her work. With four or five hundred
companions, she made her way into Com-
pikgne, without their knowledge of her
entrance; and the same evening, reinforced
by the garrison, she determined on suddenly
assaulting the Burgundian forces (May
24th). She carried her standard, was
superbly mounted and equipped, and over
her armour wore a mantle of cloth-of-gold.
At the hour appointed for the sally, some
of the Burgundian leaders were closely sur-
veying the environs of the city, with the
view of detecting some weak point in the
ramparts for an assault. From a distance
they recognized the noble figure of the
Maid, sweeping down upon their camp,
with a following of about six hundred men.
Immediately they gave the alarm, and
brought up a powerful array of Burgundians,
who, as the battle went on, were speedily
joined by English auxiliaries.
The issue of the fight becoming obvious,
a soldier rushed to the Maid, exclaiming,
"Hasten to regain the city, or you and we
are all lost !"
Hold your peace!" cried Jeanne; think
of nothing but of falling on your foes; it
depends only on ourselves to discomfit
At length, she found herself compelled to
give the signal for retreat, herself maintain-
ing the post of honour, and following last
in the rear-guard. Never, it is said, had
she shown greater valour; but, on approach-
ing the town-gate, she found it partly
closed, so that few could pass in together;
her soldiers grew confused and dismayed;
were more solicitous about their own safety
than that of their leader; and her enemies
closed round her in a circle. At first she
made those before her recoil; and she
might, had she been loyally supported, have
effected her retreat, but an archer from
Picardy, coming up from behind, seized her
by her crimson velvet mantle, and drew
her from her horse to the ground. She
made a fierce effort to rescue herself, but
she was overpowered by numbers, and
compelled to surrender to Lewis, Count of
78 JOAN OF ARC.
Vend6me. Her standard-bearer and her
brother Pierre surrendered at the same
time, with those of her guard who still
The archer who had captured so rare a
prize bade her give him her faith.
I have sworn [not to escape], and given
my faith to another than you, and I shall
keep my oath," said Jeanne, and she was led
away to the quarters of Jean of Luxem-
A few minutes later, the Duke of Bur-
gundy arrived on the scene of battle, and
heard the glad tidings. From all sides
assembled the English and their allies, fill-
ing the air with their cries of triumph. To
have captured the Maid was more than to
have captured five hundred of the best fight-
ing men in France; for, says Monstrelet,
there was neither knight nor captain of war
in all King Charles's army whom, up to that
day, they had feared so much as they had
feared the Maid.
Such was the Duke's sense of the import-
ance of the capture, that he addressed the
1 Nephew of the Duke of Burgundy.
following letter concerning it to his sub-
"By the pleasure of our blessed Creator,
the thing has so happened, and such favour
has been done us, that she who is called the
Maid has been taken, and with her many
captains, knights, and squires. Of this cap-
ture we are sure there will be everywhere
great news, and the error and foolish belief of
those who were favourably inclined unto her,
will be made known. We write you these
tidings, hoping you will have great joy,
comfort, and consolation in them, and that
you will give thanks and praise to our Crea-
tor, who sees and knows all, and who, by
His blessed pleasure, deigns to guide most
of our enterprises to the good of our lord the
King, and the relief of his loyal and good
For me, I know
That I have faithfully obey'd my call,
Confiding not in mine own strength, but His
Who sent me forth to suffer and to do
His will; and in that faith I shall appear
Before the just tribunal of that God
Whom grateful love has taught me to adore I"
SOUTHEY, Joan of Arc, B. ix.
"A thorough and earnest persuasion that hers was the
rightful cause-that in all she had said she spoke the
truth-that in all she did she was doing her duty-a
courage that did not shrink before embattled armies,
or beleaguered walls, or judges thirsting for her blood
-a most resolute will on all points that were connected
with her mission-perfect meekness and humility on all
that were not-a clear, plain sense, that would con-
found the casuistry of sophists-a dutiful devotion on
all points to her country and her God. Such was the
character of Jeanne d'Arc."-EABL STANHOPE, Joan
HE captive heroine was transferred
successively to the prisons of
Beaurevoir, Arras, and Le Crotry.
Twice she attempted to break from her
THE END. 81
bonds. On the first occasion she had suc-
ceeded in forcing a passage through the
wall, but was arrested on her way, and after-
wards imprisoned in a still more secluded
dungeon. The second time she flung her-
self headlong from the summit of her prison
tower, but was taken up senseless on the
ground. She declared at her trial that her
"Voices" had dissuaded her from this at-
tempt, but had brought consolation to her
under its failure.
The English, however, showed a great
eagerness to get the prisoner into their own
hands; and, in the month of November
1430, purchased her from John of Luxem-
bourg for a sum of ten thousand livres. The
cruel treatment she received at the hands of
the English is well described by Barante:-
Jeanne was now removed to Rouen,
where there resided the young King, Henry
VI., and all the English leaders. She was
led into the great tower of the castle; an
iron cage was made for her, and her feet
were secured by a chain. The English
archers who guarded her treated her with
gross contumely, and more than once with
82 JOAN OF ARC.
the most shameful violence. Nor was it only
the common soldiers who thus behaved.
The Sire de Luxembourg, whose prisoner she
had been, happening to pass through Rouen,
went to see her in her prison, accompanied by
the Earls of Warwick and Stafford. 'Jeanne,'
said one of them in jest, 'I am come to put
you to ransom, but you will have to promise
never again to bear arms against us.' 'Oh !
mon Dieu, you were laughing at me,' said
she; 'you have neither the will nor the
power to ransom me. I know well that the
English will cause me to die, thinking that
after my death they will win back the king-
dom of France. But even were they a hun-
dred thousand Goddams' more than they are
they shall never have this kingdom.' In-
censed at these words, the Earl of Stafford
drew his dagger to strike her, but was pre-
vented by the Earl of Warwick."
Jeanne was doomed to death, and she
knew it. Nor, if she had been put to death
as a prisoner of war, who had tried to escape,
should we have had any ground to accuse
1 This was the nickname given to our English soldiers, in
allusion to their bad habit of swearing.
THE END. 83
her captors, judging them from the point of
view of the age in which they lived. The
French had been guilty of atrocities worse
than this. But the real disgrace of the
Maid's enemies is, that they not only sought
to pour out their vengeance upon her for
their successive defeats, but that they en-
deavoured to discredit and blacken her in
the opinion of her contemporaries, and the
eyes of posterity. They tried to brand her
as a disciple and limb of the fiend which
used false enchantments and sorcery," and
to damage the cause of Charles VII., by link-
ing it with a witch's name. With a degree
of injustice which even now-a-days makes
an Englishman bend his head in shame, they
abandoned their claim upon her as a prisoner
of war, to assert that she was their subject;
and they brought her before an ecclesias-
tical judgment-seat on the charge of-witch-
craft. On this tribunal, however, it is some
consolation to reflect that no Englishman
sat. The first judge was a Frenchman, the
Bishop of Beauvais; and the second, Jean Le-
maitre, Vicar-General of the Inquisition, was
also a Frenchman; and the office of prose-
84 JOAN OF ARC.
cutor devolved upon another Frenchman,
Estivet, a canon of Beauvais. The tribunal
thus formed held its sittings at Rouen, and
was assisted by the advice of nearly one hun-
dred doctors of theology.
"Unjustifiable," says Earl Stanhope, "as
this trial appears in its general scope and
design, it was further darkened in its pro-
gress by many acts of fraud and violence,
and an evident predetermination to con-
demn. A private investigation, similar to
those at Poitiers, and with the same result,
having been appointed, the Duke of Bedford
is said to have concealed himself in a neigh-
bouring apartment, and looked on through a
rent in the wall. A priest, named Nicolas
l'Oiseleur, was instructed to enter Joan's
prison, to represent himself as her country-
man from Lorraine, and as a sufferer in the
cause of King Charles; thus, it was hoped,
gaining upon her confidence, giving her false
counsels, and betraying her, under the seal
of confession, into some unguarded disclos-
ures. A burgher of Rouen was sent to
Domremy to gather some accounts of her
early life; but, as these proved uniformly
THE END. 85
favourable, they were suppressed at the
trial. In like manner, many answers tend-
ing to her vindication were garbled or
omitted in the written reports. She was
allowed neither counsel nor advisers. In
short, every artifice was used to entrap,
every threat to overawe, an untaught and
Jeanne was brought before her judges for
the first time on the 21st of February 1431.
The scene was the castle chapel at Rouen,
and she appeared in her usual military garb,
but loaded with chains. She was subjected
to no less than fifteen examinations; but
she failed not from first to last; was always
clear, prompt, and resolute; neither yielded
to menaces nor promises; and never once
was entrapped into an admission which fal-
sified the tenor of her whole life. But not
only did she display a wonderful resolution
and promptitude; she showed, too, an ex-
traordinarily clear and sagacious intellect,
which completely baffled the subtlety of her
inquisitorial tyrants. Thus, she was asked
whether she believed herself to be in the
grace of God ? Had she answered "Yes,"
86 JOAN OF ARC.
she would have been accused of ignorance
and presumption; had she answered No,"
she would have been declared guilty by her
own confession. "It is a difficult matter
to reply to such a question," said Jeanne.
"So difficult," interposed one of the hun-
dred assessors, moved to compassion, that
the prisoner is not bound in law to answer
it." "You had better be silent," shouted
the Bishop, and, turning to Jeanne, he re-
peated the question. "If I am not in the
grace of God," she answered, "I pray God
that it may be vouchsafed to me; if I am, I
pray God that I may be preserved in it."
It will be impossible for us, and not to
the edification of our readers, that we should
follow up, day after day, the prosecution of
the unhappy Maid. And yet some of the
incidents of the trial were so full of interest,
and many of them illuminate so clearly the
beautiful character of the victim, that we
cannot pass them over. The reader must
recollect that the great object of her judges
was to prove her guilty of witchcraft; and
this they attempted to do by connecting her
with a certain "Fairies' Tree in Domremy,
THE END. 87
and with the banner which she bore in
battle. As to the first, her answer was, that
she had often been round the tree in pro-
cession with other village maidens, but had
never beheld any of her visitations at that
spot. In reference to the banner, she ex-
plained, that she carried it in battle in pre-
ference to spear or sword; that she wished
not to kill any one with her own hand, and
that she never had.
Q. When you first took this banner, did
you ask whether it would make you victo-
rious in every battle ?"
A. The Voices told me to take it with-
out fear, and that God would assist me."
Q. "Which gave the -greater help-you
to the banner, or the banner to you?"
A. Whethervictory came from the banner
or from me, it belonged to our Lord alone."
Q. Was the hope of victory founded on
the banner or yourself ?"
A. It was founded on God, and on nought
Q. If another person had borne it, would
the same success have ensued ?"
A. I cannot tell: I refer myself to God."
88 JOAN OF ARC.
Q. "Why were you chosen sooner than
A. It was the pleasure of God that thus
a simple maid should put the foes of the
King to flight."
Q. "Were you not wont to say, to en-
courage the soldiers, that all the standards
made in resemblance of your own would be
A. "I used to say to them, 'Eush in
boldly among the English,' and then I used
to rush in myself."
Here is another passage well worth read-
Q. At what hour did you last eat and
A, Since yesterday afternoon, I have not
eaten or drunk anything."
Q. How long is it since you heard the
Voice that comes to you ?"
A. "I heard it yesterday, and I have
heard it again to-day."
Q. "At what hour did you hear it yes-
A. "I heard it three times; once in the
morning, once in the evening, and the third
THE END. 89
time when the Ave Maria was singing. I
hear it much oftener than I can tell you."
Q. What were you doing yesterday morn-
ing when the Voice came to you ?"
A. "I was sleeping, and it awoke me."
Q. "Did it wake you by touching your
A. No, it woke me without touching me."
Q. "Was the voice in your chamber ?"
A. "Not that I know of, but it was in the
Q. "Did you kneel then, and thank the
A. "I thanked it, sitting up in my bed,
and clasping my hands."
Q. "Why did it come?"
A. Because I had asked its help."
Q. And what did it bid you do ?"
A. "It bade me answer you boldly."
Q. "What did it say to you at the mo-
ment it woke you?"
A. I begged its counsel on what I ought
to answer, praying it to inquire of God.
And the Voice told me to answer you
boldly, and God would help me."
Jeanne then broke out into an indignant
90 JOAN OF ARC.
remonstrance with the Bishop, whom she
half declared was her enemy and not her
judge. Be mindful what you do," said she,
"for really I am sent on the part cf God, and
you are getting yourself in great danger."
"The King has commanded me to make
your trial, and I shall make it."
At the first sitting, the examination was
as follows :-
Q. "Will you in your visions see St.
Michael and the angels corporeally and
A. I saw them with my bodily eyes as
well as I see you. When they left me I
wept, and fain would I that they had borne
me away with them."
Q. "What did St. Michael say to you
the first time he appeared ?"
A. I have not permission yet to tell you.
I may by and bye. I told my King what
had been revealed to me, because it regarded
him. I wish you had a copy of that book
Q. Did God command you to dress as
A. My man's dress is a very trifling
THE END. 91
matter, the most trifling. I did not put it
on by the advice of any man in the world.
Whatever I have done of good, I have
done by command of God and the saints.
S. I would rather have been torn by
wild horses than have come into France
without the permission of God. .If He
ordered me to put on another habit, I should
put it on. .In all that I have done ac-
cording to His will, I believe that I have
done well, and, therefore, I look for His
good keeping and good help."
Her interrogators next proceeded to in-
quire why her great hopes for her country
had not been fulfilled, if she really were, as
she pretended, guided by divine inspira-
A. Before seven years are at end, the
English shall abandon a greater gage than
they abandoned before Orleans, and they
shall lose all in France. .. .Greater ruin
shall come upon them than ever they have
had yet, and it shall be by a victory that
God will give the French."
Q. "How do you know this ?"
A. "I know it by the revelation that has
92 JOAN OF A CU.
been made to me. Before seven years are
over, it shall come to pass; and very wroth
am I that it is so long delayed."
Q. On what day will it happen ?"
A. "I know neither the day nor the
Q. "In what year?"
A. "That I shall not tell you. Would it
might happen before Midsummer!"
Q. Did you not say to John Grey, your
guard, that it would happen before Martin-
mas ? "
A. "I said to him that many things
would be seen before Martinmas, and that
perhaps it would be the English who should
be cast down to the English ground."
Q. "Who has informed you that this
event is to take place?"
A. St. Catharine and St. Margaret."
A great many questions were now put to
her respecting the appearance of these
saints. She said:-
"I see them always in the same form.
. I see a face. I cannot tell you
whether anything in the shape of arms or
body is visible. They are crowned, but
THE END. 93
of their vestments I cannot speak. I
know them by the sound of their sweet and
holy voices. ... .They speak clearly, and in
beautiful language, and I understand them
Q. "Does St. Margaret speak English ?"
A. How should she speak English when
she is not of the English party ?"
Q. With respect to the crowned heads
which -you see, have they rings in their
A. I do not know."
Q. Have you not yourself some rings ?"
A. [To the Bishop.] "You have one
that is mine, and the Burgundians have
Q. "Who gave you the ring which the
A. "My father and mother at Domremy.
The words Jhesus Maria are written on it.
My brother gave me the other ring that you&
have, and I charge you to deliver it to the
Q. Did St. Katherine and St. Margaret
ever converse with you under the fairy
94 JOAN OF ARC.
A. "I know not."
Q. "Did they ever speak to you by the
fountain over that tree ?"
A. "Yes. I have heard them in that
place, but I do not know what they then
said to me." (And why ? Because her en-
thusiastic mind had not yet given reality to
its early visions.)
Q. "What have those saints promised
you, there or elsewhere ?"
A. That concerns not the present trial.
S. But, amongst other things, they tell
me that my King shall assuredly recover his
kingdom; and me they have promised to
guide to Paradise, as I have prayed of them.
They promise me nothing but by the per-
mission of God."
Q. "Has your counsel (the Voices) .pro-
mised that you shall be delivered out of
A. "Ask me three months hence, and I
will answer you."
Q. Have your Voices forbidden you to
speak the truth ?"
A. Would you have me tell what is
made known only to the King of France?
THE END. 95
I know many things that do not concern
this trial. .. I know that the King
shall recover all his territories in France;
this do I know as certainly as that you are
here. Oh, I should die but for the revela-
tion that consoles me every day !"
Who but must sympathize with this hap-
less victim, whose only crime was her
patriotism, whose only delusion one that
sprung from high motives, acting on an
excited fancy,-who but must sympathize
with her, as, day after day, she was thus
subjected to the cruel questioning of doctors
and bishops,-she, the gentle, the womanly,
the undefended,-standing before judges who
had already made up their minds to con-
demn her, and in a court crowded with
Our space will permit us to give but one
more specimen of the meaningless persecu-
tion to which she was exposed, and of the
calmness and composure with which she
Q. "Did you inquire of your Voices
whether, by virtue of your standard, you
would win all the battles you fought ?"
96 JOAN OF ARC.
A. "The Voices told me to take the
standard in the name of God, to carry it
bravely, and God would help me !"
Q. "Was your hope of victory founded
on your standard or yourself?"
A. "It was founded on God, and on none
Q. "Do you think that if you were
married, your Voices would still come to
A. "I know not; I leave all to God."
Q. Do you believe your King did well
to kill, or cause to be killed, the Lord Duke
of Burgundy ?"
A. "It was a great loss to his king-
dom; but whatever occurred between them,
God sent me to the help of the King of
Q. "Why did you like to look at your
ring on which Jhesus .laria was written,
when you set out on any expedition ?"
A. "For love and honour of my father
and mother, who gave it me; and because,
having it on my hand, I trusted St. Cath-
erine, who appears to me."
Q. "When you hung garlands on the tree
THE END. 99
first her firmness gave way? that she shed
tears of agony, and tore her hair, imploring
God to help her against her enemies ? But
she now recovered her usual calm and digni-
fied demeanour, and having made her last
confession to the priest, received the Holy
Sacrament from his hands.
She was then attired in the gloomy garb
prescribed for relapsed heretics ; and on her
head was set a kind of mitre, inscribed in
large letters with the words-" HERTIQUE,
RELAPSE, APOSTATE, IDOLATRE 1"
Her confessor and another priest mounted
the car which was to bear her to the place
of execution. As it was on the point of
moving, the monk L'Oiseleur, who had
acted as a spy upon her, and a witness
against her, heart-stricken with remorse,
forced his way through the escort of English
soldiers, and climbing up, flung himself at
the feet of the Maid, imploring her pardon.
Before she could grant it, the soldiers dragged
him away, and the Earl of Warwick advised
him, if he valued his life, to make haste out
It is said that ten thousand persons were
100 JOAN OF ARC.
present at her martyrdom, but afraid to
manifest their pity from fear of their English
masters. The ecclesiastical judges and civil
magistrates were in their places, together
with Cardinal Beaufort, of England, the
Bishop of Thourenne and Noyon, and most
of the doctors and lawyers who had assisted
at her trial.
After Jeanne had arrived at the place of
execution, and been conducted to the scaffold,
she was doomed to listen to a long sermon
from one of her persecutors, and then her
sentence was publicly read.
Jeanne now fell on her knees, weeping,
to offer up her last prayers to God. And
these were uttered so earnestly and tenderly,
and breathed so generous and charitable a
spirit, that the multitude, and many even of
her judges, were moved to tears.
She asked for a cross, and at the request
of an attendant priest, a crucifix was sent
for from St. Saviour's Church. Meantime,
an English soldier, more compassionate than
his fellows, broke his staff asunder, and
hastily fashioned with the fragments a rude
cross, which the Maid clasped joyfully to