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RED TRUE STORY BOOK
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'IN THE BORGHESE GARDENS PRACTISED THAT ROYAL GAME OF GOLF.'
TRUE STORY BOOK
WITH NUMEROUS ILLUSTRATIONS BY HENRY J. FORD
AND NEW YORK
All rights reserved
INTROD U ACTION
The Red True Story Book needs no long Introduction. The
Editor, in presenting The Blue True Story Book, apologised
for offering tales so much less thrilling and romantic than
the legends of the Fairies, but he added that even real facts
were, sometimes, curious and interesting. Next year he
promises something quite as true as History, and quite as
entertaining as Fairies!
For this book, Mr. Rider Haggard has kindly prepared a
narrative of Wilson's Last Fight,' by aid of conversations
with Mr. Burnham, the gallant American scout. But Mr.
Haggard found, while writing his chapter, that Mr. Burnham
had already told the story in an Interview' published by the
Westminster Gazette. The courtesy of the proprietor of that
journal, and of Mr. Burnham, has permitted Mr. Haggard
to incorporate the already printed narrative with his own
The Life and Death of Joan the Maid' is by the Editor,
who has used M. Quicherat's Proces (five volumes, published
for the Historical Society of France), with M. Quicherat's
other researches. He has also used M. Wallon's Biography,
the works of Father Ayroles, S.J., the Jeanne d'Arc 4
Domremy of M. Sim6on Luce, the works of M. Sepet, of
Michelet, of Henri Martin, and, generally, all printed docu-
ments to which he has had access. Of unprinted contem-
porary matter perhaps none is known to exist, except the
Venetian Correspondence, now being prepared for publication
by Father Ayroles.
How the Bass was held for King James' is by the Editor,
mainly from Blackadder's Life.
The Crowning of Ines de Castro' is by Mrs. Lang, from
Schafer. Orthon,' from Froissart, Gustavus Vasa," Monsieur
de Bayard's Duel' (Brant6me), are by the same lady; also
' Gaston de Foix,' from Froissart, and The White Man,' from
Mile. Aiss6's Letters.
Mrs. McCunn has told the story of the Prince's Scottish
Campaign, from the contemporary histories of the Rising of
1745, contemporary tracts, The Lyon in Mourning, Chambers,
Scott, Maxwell of Kirkconnel, and other sources.
The short Sagas are translated from the Icelandic by the
Rev. W. .. Green, translator of Egil Skalagrim's Saga.
Mr. S. R. Crockett, Author of The Baiders, told the tales
of The Bull of Earlstoun and Grisell Baillie.'
Miss May Kendall and Mrs. Bovill are responsible for the
seafarings and shipwrecks; the Australian adventures are by
Miss Minnie Wright compiled The Conquest of Peru,'
from Prescott's celebrated History.
Miss Agnes Repplier, that famed essayist of America,
wrote the tale of Molly Pitcher.
'The Adventures of General Marbot' are from the
translation of his Autobiography by Mr. Butler.
With this information the Editor leaves the book to
children, assuring. them that the stories are true, except
perhaps that queer tale of Orthon '; and some of the Sagas
also may have been a little altered from the real facts before
the Icelanders became familiar with writing.
Wilson's Last Fight 1
The Life and Death of Joan
Sthe Maid 19
How the Bass was held for
King James 92
The CrowningofInesde Castro 99
The Story of Orthon 105
How Gustavus Vasa won his
Monsieur de Bayard's Duel 122
Story of Gudbrand of the Dales 125
Sir Richard Grenville 132
The Story of Molly Pitcher 137
The Voyages, Dangerous Ad-
ventures, and lInminent
Escapes of Captain Richard
Marbot's March .150
Eylau. The Mare Lisette 162
How Marbot crossed the
Ihe piteous Death of Gaston,
Son of the Count of Foix 186
Rolf Stake .191
The Wreck of the Wager' 195
Peter Williamson .213
A Wonderful Voyage 226
The Pitcairn Islanders 238
A Relation of three years'
Suffering of Robert Everard
upon the Island of Assada,
near Madagascar, in a Voy-
age to India, in the year
The Fight at Svolder Island 252
The Death of Hacon the Good 261
Prince Charlie's War 265
The Burke and Wills Explor-
ing Expedition 324
The Story of Emund .346
The Man in White 354
The Adventures of the Bull
of Earlstoun' 358
The Story of Grisell Baillie's
Sheep's Head 366
The Conquest of Peru 371
LIST OF ILLUSTRATIONS
* In the Borghese gardens practised that royal game of
Just as his arm was poised I fired .To face p. 10
Joan in church .. ,, 24
Joan rides to Chinon .. ,, 38
Joan tells the King his secret ,, 42
The English Archers betrayed by the Stag : ,, 64
The Coronation of Charles VII ,, 68
' Instantly a gust of wind blew her off the rock into the
sea' .... ,, 92
SOne man stalked about the deck and flourished a
cutlass shouting that he was "king of the
The Indian threatens Peter Williamson ,, 214
' Another party of Indians arrived, bringing twenty scalps
and three prisoners' 218
The savages attack the boat .. ,, 230
' The madman dwelt alone' .242
King Olaf leaps overboard .. ,, 256
' In the Borghese gardens practised that royal game of
golf' ,, 266
'I will, though not another man ini the Highlands
should draw a sword' .. ,, 272
'He galloped up the streets of Edinburgh shouting,
Victory Victory! "' .,, 294
Manco Capac and Mama Ocllo Huaco, the Children of
the Sun, come from Lake Titicaca to govern and
civilize the tribes of Peru ,, 374
In one cave the soldiers found vases of pure gold, etc. ,, 412
LIST OF ILLUSTRATIONS
WOODCUTS IN TEXT
One of them lifted his assegai 17
The Fairy Tree' 20
Joan hears the Voice 28
Robert thinks Joan crazed 34
Sir, this is ill done of you' 37
In a better language than
yours,' said Joan 46
'Lead him to the Cross I'
cried she 50
Then spurred she her horse
S. and put out the flame' 53
Joan is wounded by the arrow 57
'Now arose a dispute among the
One Englishman at least died
Joan challenges the English
to sally forth 73
' Go she would not till she had
taken that town' .79
Joan Captured 83
Joan at Beaurevoir .. 85
' They burned Joan the Maid' 89
The Bass attacked by the
Ines pleads for her life .101
' I will send you a champion
whom you will fear more
than you fear me' 107
Orthon's last appearance 112
Gustavus leaves school for
'Lazy loon I Have you no
work to do? '. 119
'Surrender, Don Alonzo, or
you are a dead man!' 123
' In the following night Gud-
brand dreamed a dream 127
The destruction of the idol 130
"Still he cried to his men,
Fight on,fight on I "' 134
Molly takes her husband's
As we approached we saw the
pirate sinking 143
Falconer knocks down a bird 145
Falconer returns to his com-
'Then, drawing their swords,
they dashed at the rest 152
Marbot's fight with the
Carabineers in the alley 157
Lisette catches the thief in the
'I regarded myself as a horse-
man who is trying to win a
Lisette carries off the Russian
officer. .. 169
Guided by the transj)ort man -
he reached me and found me
'" I will go, sir," I cried 177
We had to saw the rope .182
The Count leaped up, a knife '
in his hand 188
Gaston in prison .189
But now here sits in the high
seat a thin stake' 192
He fleeth not the flame
Who leapeth o'er the same'. 193
The Captain shoots Mr. Cozens 202
Mr. Hamilton's fight with the
The Cacique fires of the gun. 208
Byron rides past the turnpikes 211
LIST OF ILLUSTRATIONS
The captain guarded by the
The Pitcairn islanders on
board the English frigate 239
Old John Adams teaches the
Death of the supercargo. 248
' None will now deny that
Long Snake" sails by' 255
Hacon casts his shield away 263
'Go, sir, to your general; tell
him what you have seen .' 276
Escape of the Duke of Perth 281
SIn many apanelledparlour 284
'Och no she be relieved' 287
Mrs. Murray of Broughton
distributes cockades to the
James More wounded at
Crossing Shap Fell 301
'Many had their broadswords
and dirks sharpened' 304
'The Prince caught him by
the hair' .307
The poor boy fell, mortally
The Rout of Moy 315
The end of Culloden 322
'The advance party of eight
started on October 29' 327
Golah is abandoned 332
' King, they are gone 337
Death of Burke 342
Bessd introduced to the Man
in White 355
' Saw reflected in the mirror
the white figure 356
'Sometimes he would find a
party searching for him
quite close at hand' 360
Alexander Gordon wood-
chopping in the disguise of
a labourer 362
Grisell brings the sheep's head
to her father in the vault 367
A Peruvian postman .381
Almagro wounded in the eye 387
Many of the Spaniards were
killed by the snakes and
Amazement of the Indians at
seeing a cavalier fall from
his horse 391
Pizarro sees llamas for the
first time .393
The cavalier displays his horse-
manship before Atahuallpa 401
The friar urges Pizarro to
attack the Peruvians 404
The Spaniards destroy the idol
at Pachacamac .407
WILSON'S LAST FIGHT
They were men whose fathers were men'
TO make it clear how Major Wilson and his companions came to
die on the banks of the Shangani on December 4, 1893, it will
be necessary, very briefly, to sketch the events which led to the war
between the English settlers in Mashonaland in South Africa and
the Matabele tribe, an offshoot of the Zulu race.
In October 1889, at the instance of Mr. Cecil Rhodes and
others interested, the Chartered Company of British South Africa
was incorporated, with the sanction of Her Majesty's Government.
In 1890 Mashonaland was occupied, a vast and fertile territory
nominally under the rule of Lobengula, king of the Matabele,
which had been ceded by him to the representatives of the Company
in return for certain valuable considerations. It is, however, an
easier task for savage kings to sign concessions than to ensure that
such concessions will be respected by their subjects, especially when
those subjects are warriors by nature, tradition, and practice, as in
the present case, and organised into regiments, kept from year to
year in perfect efficiency and readiness for attack. Whatever may
have been Lobengula's private wishes and opinions, it soon became
evident that the gathering of the white men upon their borders,
and in a country which they claimed by right of conquest if they
did not occupy it, was most distasteful to the more warlike sec-
tions of the Matabele.
Mashonaland takes its name from the Mashona tribes who in-
habit it, a peaceful and, speaking by comparison, an industrious
race, whom, ever since they first settled in the neighbourhood, it
had been the custom of the subjects of Lobengula and of his pre-
decessor, Mosilikatze, 'the lion,' to attack with every cruelty con-
ceivable, raiding their cattle, slaughtering their men, and sweeping
their maidens and young children into captivity. Terrified, half
WILSON'S LAST FIGRT
exterminated indeed, as they were by these constant and unprovoked
onslaughts, the Mashonas welcomed with delight the occupation
of their country by white men, and thankfully placed themselves
under the protection of the Chartered Company.
The Matabele regiments, however, took a different view of the
question, for now their favourite sport was gone: they could no
longer practise rapine and murder, at least in this direction, when-
ever the spirit moved them. Presently the force of habit overcame
their fear of the white men and their respect for treaties, and
towards the end of 1891 the chief Lomaghondi, who lived under
the protection of the Company, was killed by them. Thereon Dr.
Jameson, the Administrator of Mashonaland, remonstrated with
Lobengula, who expressed regret, saying that the incident had
happened by mistake.
This repudiation notwithstanding, an impi, or armed body of
savages, again crossed the border in 1892, and raided in the
Victoria district. Encouraged by the success of these proceedings,
in July 1893 Lobengula sent a picked company to harry in the
.neighbourhood of Victoria itself, writing to Dr. Jameson that he
made no excuse for so doing, claiming as he did the right to
raid when, where, and whom he chose. The 'indunas,' or
captains, in command of this force were instructed not to kill
white men, but to fall particularly upon those tribes who were in
their employ. On July 9, 1893, and the following days came
the climax, for then the impi began to slaughter every Mashona
whom they could find. Many of these unfortunates were butchered
in the presence of their masters, who were bidden to stand upon
one side as the time of the white men had not yet come.'
Seeing that it was necessary to take action, Dr. Jameson
summoned the head indunas of the impi, and ordered them to cross
the border within an hour or to suffer the consequences of their
disobedience. The majority obeyed, and those who defied him were
attacked by Captain Lendy and a small force while in the act
of raiding a kraal, some of them being killed and the rest driven
From this moment war became inevitable, for the question
lay between the breaking of the power of Lobengula and the
evacuation of Mashonaland. Into the details of that war it
is not proposed to enter; they are outside the scope of this
narrative. It is enough to say that it was one of the most
brilliant and successful ever carried out by Englishmen. The
WILSON'S LAST FIGHT
odds against the little force of a thousand or twelve hundred white
men who invaded Matabeleland were almost overwhelming, and
when it is remembered that the Imperial troops did not succeed
in their contest against Cetywayo, the Zulu king, until nearly as
many soldiers were massed in the country as there were able-bodied
Zulus left to oppose them, the brilliancy of the achievement of these
colonists led by a civilian, Dr. Jameson, can be estimated. The
Matabele were beaten in two pitched battles : that of the Shangani
on October 25, and that of the Imbembezi on November 1. They
fought bravely, even with desperation, but their valour was broken
by the skill and the cool courage of the white man. Those terrible
engines of war, the Maxim guns and the Hotchkiss shells, con-
tributed largely to our success on these occasions. The Matabele,
brave as they were, could not face the incessant fire of the Maxims,
and as to the Hotchkiss they developed a curious superstition. See-
ing that men fell dead in all directions after the explosion of a shell,
they came to believe that as it burst out of each missile numbers
of tiny and invisible imps ran forth carrying death and destruction
to the white men's foes, and thus it happened that to their minds
moral terrors were added to the physical dangers of warfare.
So strong was this belief among them, indeed, that whenever a
shell struck they would turn and fire at it in the hope that thus
they might destroy the live devils who dwelt within it.
After these battles Lobengula, having first set fire to it, fled from
his chief place, Buluwayo, which was occupied by the white men
within a month of the commencement of the campaign.
In reply to a letter sent to him by Dr. Jameson, demanding his
surrender and guaranteeing his safety, Lobengula wrote that he
'would come in.'
The promised period of two days' grace having gone by, however,
and there being no sign of his appearance, a force was despatched
from Buluwayo to follow and capture him. This force, which was
under the leadership of Major Patrick Wr. Forbes, consisted of ninety
men of the Salisbury Column, with Captains Heany and Spreckley
and a mule Maxim gun under Lieutenant Biscoe, R.N.; sixty men
of the Victoria Column commanded by Major Wilson, with a horse
Maxim under Captain Lendy; sixty men of the Tuli Column, and
ninety men of the Bechuanaland Border Police, commanded by
Captain Raaf, C.M.G., accompanied by two horse Maxims and a
mule seven-pounder, commanded by Captain Tancred.
The column, which started on or about November 14, took with
WILSON'S LAST FIGHT
it food for three days only, carried by natives, and a hundred rounds
of ammunition per man. After several days' journeying northward
the patrol reached the Bubye River, where dissensions arose between
Captain Raaf and Major Forbes, the former being of opinion, rightly
enough as the issue showed, that the mission was too dangerous to
be pursued by a small body of men without supplies of food, and
having no reserve of ammunition and no means of carrying the
wounded. The upshot was that Major Forbes decided to return,
but was prevented from doing so by a letter received from Dr.
Jameson, stating that he was sending forward a reinforcement of
dismounted men under Captain Napier, with food, ammunition,
and wagons, also sixteen mounted men under Captain Borrow.
The force then proceeded to a deserted Mission Station known as
Shiloh. On November 25 the column, three hundred strong and
carrying with it three-quarter rations for twelve days, took up the
King's wagon spoor about one mile from Shiloh, and followed it
through much discomfort, caused by the constant rain and the
lack of roads, till, on December 3, a point was reached on the
Shangani River, N.N.W. of Shiloh and distant from it about eighty
On November 29, however, Major Forbes, finding that he could
make small progress with the wagons, sent them away, and pro-
ceeded with the best mounted men and two Maxims only, so that
the actual force which reached the Shangani on the 3rd consisted
of about one hundred and sixty men and a couple of machine guns.
At this time the information in possession of the leaders of the
column was to the effect that the King was just in front of them
across the river, accompanied only by a few of his followers.
Under these circumstances Major Forbes instructed Major Wilson
and eighteen men to go forward and reconnoitre along Lobengula's
spoor; the understanding seeming to have been that the party was
to return by sundown, but that if it did not return it was, if neces-
sary, to be supported by the whole column. With this patrol went
Mr. Burnham, the American scout, one of the three surviving white
men who were eye-witnesses of that eventful night's work, which
ended so tragically at dawn.
What followed is best told as he narrated it by word of mouth
to the compiler of this true story, and to a reporter of the West-
minster Gazette,' the editor of which paper has courteously given
permission for the reproduction of the interview. Indeed, it would
be difficult to tell it so well in words other than Mr. Burnham's own.
WILSON'S LAST FIGHT 5
'In the afternoon of December 8,' sa3 s Mr. Burnham, I was
scouting ahead of the column with Colenbrander, when in a strip of
bush we lit on two Matabele boys driving some cattle, one of whom
we caught and brought in. He was a plucky boy, and when threatened
he just looked us sullenly in the face. He turned out to be a sort
of grandson or grand-nephew of Lobengula himself. He said the
King's camp was just ahead, and the King himself near, with very
few men, and these sick, and that he wanted to give himself up.
He represented that the King had been back to this place that very
day to get help because his wagons were stuck in a bog. The
column pushed on through the strip of bush, and there, near by,
was the King's camp-quite deserted. We searched the huts, and
in one lay a Maholi slave-boy, fast asleep. (The Maholis are the
slaves of the Matabele.) We pulled him out, and were questioning
him, when the other boy, the sulky Matabele, caught his eye, and
6 WILSON'S LAST FIGHT
gave him a ferocious look, shouting across to him to take care what
SThe slave-boy agreed with the others that the King had only
left this camp the day before; but as it was getting dark, Major
Forbes decided to reconnoitre before going on with the column. I
learnt of the decision to send forward Major Wilson and fifteen
men on the best horses when I got my orders to accompany them,
and, along with Bayne, to do their scouting. My horse was
exhausted with the work he had done already; I told Major Forbes,
and he at once gave me his. It was a young horse, rather skittish,
but strong and fairly fresh by comparison.
'Ingram, my fellow-scout, remained with the column, and so
got some hours' rest; thanks to which he was able not only to do
his part of tracking for the twenty men afterwards sent on to us
through the bush at night, but also, when he and I got through
after the smash, to do the long and dangerous ride down country
to Buluwayo with the despatches-a ride on which he was accom-
panied by Lynch.
So we set off along the wagon track, while the main body of
the column went into laager.
Close to the river the track turned and led down stream along
the west bank. Two miles down was a drift' (they call a fordable
dip a drift in South Africa), and here the track crossed the
Shangani. We splashed through, and the first thing we scouts
knew on the other side was that we were riding into the middle of
a lot of Matabele among some scherms, or temporary shelters.
There were men, and some women and children. The men were
armed. We put a bold face on it, and gave out the usual announce-
ment that we did not want to kill anybody, but must have the King.
The natives seemed surprised and undecided; presently, as Major
Wilson and the rest of the patrol joined us, one of them volunteered
to come along with us and guide us to the King. He was only just
ahead, the man said. How many men were with him ? we asked.
The man put up his little finger-dividing it up, so. Five fingers
mean an impi; part of the little finger, like that, should mean fifty
to one hundred men. Wilson said to me, Go'on ahead, taking
that man beside your saddle; cover him, fire if necessary, but don't
you let him slip."
'So we started off again at a trot, for the light was failing,
the man running beside my horse, and I keeping a sharp
eye on him. The track led through some thick bush. We
WILSON'S LAST FIGHT 7
passed several scherms. Five miles from the river we came to a
long narrow vlei [a vlei is a shallow valley, generally with water
in it], which lay across our path. It was now getting quite dark.
Coming out of the bush on the near edge of the vlei, before going
down into it, I saw fires lit, and scherms and figures showing dark
against the fires right along the opposite edge of the vlei. We
skirted the vlei to our left, got round the end of it, and at once
rode through a lot of scherms containing hundreds of people. As
we went, Captain Napier shouted the message about the King
wherever there was a big group of people. We passed scherm after
scherm, and still more Matabele, more fires, and on we rode.
Instead of the natives having been scattering from the King, they
had been gathering. But it was too late to turn. We were hard
upon our prize, and it was understood among the Wilson patrol
that they were going to bring the King in if man could do it. The
natives were astonished: they thought the whole column was on
them: men jumped up, and ran hither and thither, rifle in hand
We went on without stopping, and as we passed more and more
men came running after us. Some of them were crowding on the
rearmost men, so Wilson told off three fellows to "keep those
niggers back." They turned, and kept the people in check. At
last, nearly at the other end of the vlei, having passed five sets of
scherms, we came upon what seemed, to be the King's wagons,
standing in a kind of enclosure, with a saddled white horse tethered
by it. Just before this, in the crowd and hurry, my man slipped
away, and I had to report to Wilson that I had lost him. Of course
it would not have done to fire. One shot would have been the
match in the powder magazine. We had ridden into the middle of
the Matabele nation.
'At this enclosure we halted and sang out again, making a
special appeal to the King and those about him. No answer came.
All was silence. A few drops of rain fell. Then it lightened, and
by the flashes we could just see men getting ready to fire on us,
and Napier shouted to Wilson, "Major, they are about to attack."
I at the same time saw them closing in on us rapidly from the
right. The next thing to this fifth scherm was some thick bush;
the order was given to get into that, and in a moment we were out of
sight there. One minute after hearing us shout, the natives with
the wagons must have been unable to see a sign of us. Just then
it came on to rain heavily; the sky, already cloudy, got black as ink;
the night fell so dark that you could not see your hand before you.
WILSON'S LAST FIGHT
'We could not stay the night where we were, for we were so
close that they would hear our horses' bits. So it was decided to
work down into the vlei, creep along close to the other edge of it
to the end we first came round, farthest from the King's camp, and
there spend the night. This, like all the other moves, was taken after
consultation with the officers, several of whom were experienced
Kaffir campaigners. It was rough going; we were unable to see
our way, now splashing through the little dongas that ran down
into the belly of the vlei, now working round them, through bush
and soft bottoms. At the far end, in a clump of thick bush, we
dismounted, and Wilson sent off Captain Napier, with a man of his
called Robinson, and the Victoria scout, Bayne, to go back along
the wagon-track to the column, report how things stood, and bring
the column on, with the Maxims, as sharp as possible. Wilson
told Captain Napier to tell Forbes if the bush bothered the
Maxim carriages to abandon them and put the guns on horses,
but to bring the Maxims without fail. We all understood-and
we thought the message was this-that if we were caught there at
dawn without the Maxims we were done for. On the other hand
was the chance of capturing the King and ending the campaign at
The spot we had selected to stop in until the arrival of Forbes
was a clump of heavy bush not far from the King's spoor-and yet
so far from the Kaffir camps that they could not hear us if we kept
quiet. We dismounted, and on counting it was found that three
of the men were missing. They were Hofmeyer, Bradburn and
Colquhoun. Somewhere in winding through the bush from the
King's wagons to our present position these men were lost. Not a
difficult thing, for we only spoke in whispers, and, save for the
occasional click of a horse's hoof, we could pass within ten feet of
each other and not be aware of it.
Wilson came to me and said, Burnham, can you follow back
along the vlei where we've just come ? I doubted it very much
as it was black and raining; I had no coat, having been sent after
the patrol immediately I came in from firing the King's huts, and
although it was December, or midsummer south of the line, the
rain chilled my fingers. Wilson said, Come, I must have those
men back." I told him I should need some one to lead my horse
so as to feel the tracks made in the ground by our horses. He
replied, I will go with you. I want to see how you American
WILSON'S LAST FIGHT 9
'Wilson was no bad hand at tracking himself, and I was put on
my mettle at once. We began, and I was flurried at first, and
did not seem to get on to it somehow; but in a few minutes I
picked up the spoor and hung to it.
'So we started off together, Wilson and I, in the dark. It was
hard work, for one could see nothing; one had to feel for the
traces with one's fingers. Creeping along, at last we stood close
to the wagons, where the patrol had first retreated into the
If we only had the force here now," said Wilson, we would
'But there was still no sign of the three men, so there was
nothing for it but to shout. Retreating into the vlei in front of
the King's camp, we stood calling and cooeying for them, long and
low at first, then louder. Of course there was a great stir along
the lines of the native scherms, for they did not know what to make
of it. We heard afterwards that the natives were greatly alarmed
as the white men seemed to be everywhere at once, and the indunas
went about quieting the men, and saying Do you think the white
men are on you, children ? Don't you know a wolfs howl when
you hear it? "
After calling for a bit, we heard an answering call away down
the vlei, and the darkness favouring us, the lost men soon came up
and we arrived at the clump of bushes where the patrol was
stationed. We all lay down in the mud to rest, for we were tired
out. It had left off raining, but it was a miserable night, and the
hungry horses had been under saddle, some of them twenty hours,
and were quite done.
So we waited for the column.
'During the night we could hear natives moving across into the
bush which lay between us and the river. We heard the branches
as they pushed through. After a while Wilson asked me if I
could go a little way around our position and find out what the
Katlirs were doing. I always think he heard something, but he
did not say so. I slipped out and on our right heard the swirl of
boughs and the splash of feet. Circling round for a little time I
came on more Kaffirs. I got so close to them I could touch them
as they passed, but it was impossible to say how many there were,
it was so dark. This I reported to Wilson. Raising his head on his
hand he asked me a few questions, and made the remark that if the
column failed to come up before daylight, we are in a hard hole,"
WILSON'S LAST FIGHT
and told me to go out on the King's spoor and watch for Forbes, so
that by no possibility should he pass us in the darkness. It was
now, I should judge, 1 A.r. on the 4th of December.
I went, and for a long, long time I heard only the dropping
of the rain from the leaves and now and then a dog barking in the
scherms, but at last, just as it got grey in the east, I heard a noise,
and placing my ear close to the ground, made it out to be the tramp
of horses. I ran back to Wilson and said The column is here."
We all led our horses out to the King's spoor. I saw the form
of a man tracking. It was Ingram. I gave him a low whistle;
he came up, and behind him rode-not the column, not the Maxims,
but just twenty men under Captain Borrow. It was a terrible
moment-" If we were caught there at dawn "-and already it was
getting lighter every minute.
One of us asked Where is the column ? to which the reply
was, You see all there are of us." We answered, Then you are
only so many more men to die."
Wilson went aside with Borrow, and there was earnest talk
for a few moments. Presently all the officers' horses' heads were
together; and Captain Judd said in my hearing, Well, this is the
end." And Kurten said quite quietly, "We shall never get out of
Then Wilson put it to the officers whether we should try and
break through the impis which were now forming up between us
and the river, or whether we would go for the King and sell our
lives in trying to get hold of him. The final decision was for this
'So we set off and walked along the vlei back to the King's
wagons. It was quite light now and they saw us from the scherms
all the way, but they just looked at us and we at them, and so we
went along. We walked because the horses hadn't a canter in
them, and there was no hurry anyway.
'At the wagons we halted and shouted out again about not
wanting to kill anyone. There was a pause, and then came shouts
and a volley. Afterwards it was said that somebody answered, If
you don't want to kill, we do." My horse jumped away to the right
at the volley, and took me almost into the arms of some natives
who came running from that side. A big induna blazed at me,
missed me, and then fumbled at his belt for another cartridge. It
was not a proper bandolier he had on, and I saw him trying to
pluck out the cartridge instead of easing it up from below with his
'JUST 1S HIS ARM WAS POISED I FIRED'
WILSON'S LAST FIGHT 13
finger. As I got my horse steady and threw my rifle down to cover
him, he suddenly let the cartridge be and lifted an assegai. Waiting
to make sure of my aim, just as his arm was poised I fired and hit
him in the chest; he dropped. All happened in a moment. Then
we retreated. Seeing two horses down, Wilson shouted to some-
body to cut off the saddle pockets which carried extra ammunition.
Ingram picked up one of the dismounted men behind him, Captain
Fitzgerald the other. The most ammunition anyone had, by the
way, was a hundred and ten rounds. There was some very stiff
fighting for a few minutes, the natives having the best of the posi-
tion; indeed they might have wiped us out but for their stupid habit
of firing on the run, as they charged. Wilson ordered us to retire
down the vlei; some hundred yards further on we came to an ant-
heap and took our second position on that, and held it for some time.
Wilson jumped on the top of the ant-heap and shouted-" Every
man pick his nigger." There was no random firing, I would be
covering a man when he dropped to somebody's rifle, and I had to
Now we had the best of the position. The Matabele came on
furiously down the open. Soon we were firing at two hundred yards
and less; and the turned-up shields began to lie pretty thick over
the ground. It got too hot for them ; they broke and took cover in
the bush. We fired about twenty rounds per man at this ant-heap.
Then the position was flanked by heavy reinforcements from among
the timbers; several more horses were knocked out and we had to
quit. We retreated in close order into the bush on the opposite side
of the vlei-the other side from the scherms. We went slowly
on account of the disabled men and horses.
There was a lull, and Wilson rode up to me and asked if I thought
I could rush through to the main column. A scout on a good horse
might succeed, of course, where the patrol as a whole would not
stand a chance. It was a forlorn hope, but I thought it was only a
question of here or there, and I said I'd try, asking for a man to
be sent with me. A man called Gooding said he was willing to
'come, and I picked Ingram also because we had been through
many adventures together, and I thought we might as well see this
last one through together.
So we started, and we had not gone five hundred yards when we
came upon the horn of an impi closing in from the river. We saw
the leading men, and they saw us and fired. As they did so I
swerved my horse sharp to the left, and shouting to the others,
14 WILSON'S LAST FIGHT
"Now for it! we thrust the horses through the bush at their best
pace. A bullet whizzed past my eye, and leaves, cut by the firing,
pattered down on us; but as usual the natives fired too high.
'So we rode along, seeing men, and being fired at continually,
but outstripping the enemy. The peculiar chant of an advancing
impi, like a long, monotonous baying or growling, was loud in our
ears, together with the noise they make drumming on their hide
shields with the assegai-you must hear an army making those
sounds to realise them. As soon as we got where the bush was
thinner, we shook off the niggers who were pressing us, and, coming
to a bit of hard ground, we turned on our tracks and hid in some
thick bush. We did this more than once and stood quiet, listening
to the noise they made beating about for us on all sides. Of course
we knew that scores of them must have run gradually back upon
the river to cut us off, so we doubled and waited, getting so near
again to the patrol that once during the firing which we heard
thickening back there, the spent bullets pattered around us. Those
waiting moments were bad. We heard firing soon from the other
side of the river too, and didn't know but that the column was being
wiped out as well as the patrol.
'At last, after no end of doubling and hiding and riding in a triple
loop, and making use of every device known to a scout for destroy-
ing a spoor-it took us about three hours and-a half to cover as many
miles-we reached the river, and found it a yellow flood two hundred
yards broad. In the way African rivers have, the stream, four feet
across last night, had risen from the rain. We did not think our
horses could swim it, utterly tired as they now were; but we were
just playing the game through, so we decided to try. With their
heads and ours barely above the water, swimming and drifting, we
got across and crawled out on the other side. Then for the first time,'
I remember, the idea struck me that we might come through it after
all, and with that the desire of life came passionately back upon me.
We topped the bank, and there, five hundred yards in front to
the left, stood several hundred Matabele I They stared at us in utter
surprise, wondering, I suppose, if we were the advance guard of
some entirely new reinforcement. In desperation we walked our
horses quietly along in front of them, paying no attention to them.
We had gone some distance like this, and nobody followed behind,
till at last one man took a shot at us; and with that a lot more of
them began to blaze away. Almost at the same moment Ingrain
caught sight of horses only four or five hundred yards distant; so
WILSON'S LAST FIGHT 15
the column still existed-and there it was. We took the last gallop
out of our horses then, and-well, in a few minutes I was falling out
of the saddle, and saying to Forbes: "It's all over; we are the last
of that party Forbes only said, Well, tell nobody else till we
are through with our own fight," and next minute we were just
firing away along with the others, helping to beat off the attack on
Here Mr. Burnham's narrative ends.
What happened to Wilson and his gallant companions, and the
exact manner of their end after Burnham and his two comrades left
them, is known only through the reports of natives who took part
in the fight. This, however, is certain: since the immortal company
of Greeks died at Thermopyloe, few, if any, such stands have been
made in the face of inevitable death. They knew what the issue
must be ; for them there was no possibility of escape ; the sun shone
upon them for the last time, and for the last time the air of heaven
blew upon their brows. Around them, thousand upon thousand,
were massed their relentless foes, the bush echoed with war-
cries, and from behind every tree and stone a ceaseless fire was
poured upon their circle. But these four-and-thirty men never
wavered, never showed a sign of fear. Taking shelter behind the
boles of trees, or the bodies of their dead horses, they answered the
fire shot for shot, coolly, with perfect aim, without haste or hurry.
The bush around told this tale of them in after days, for the
bark of every tree was scored with bullets, showing that wherever
an enemy had exposed his head there a ball had been sent to seek
him. Also there was another testimony-that of the bones of the
dead Matabele, the majority of whom had clearly fallen shot
through the brain. The natives themselves state that for every
white man who died upon that day, there perished at least ten of
their own people, picked off, be it remembered, singly as they
chanced to expose themselves. Nor did the enemy waste life need-
lessly, for their general ordered up the King's elephant hunters,
trained shots, every one of them, to compete with the white man's fire.
For. two long hours or more that fight went on. Now and
again a man was killed, and now and again a man was wounded,
but the wounded still continued to load the rifles that they could not
fire, handing them to those of their companions who were as yet
unhurt. At some period during the fray, so say the Matabele, the
white.men began to 'sing.' What is meant by the singing we can
16 WILSON'S LAST FIGHT
never know, but probably they cheered aloud after repelling a rush
of the enemy. At length their fire grew faint and infrequent, till by
degrees it flickered away, for men were lacking to handle the rifles.
One was left, however, who stood alone and erect in the ring of the
dead, no longer attempting to defend himself, either because he was
weak with wounds, or because his ammunition was exhausted.
There he stood silent and solitary, presenting one of the most
pathetic yet splendid sights told of in the generation that he adorned.
There was no more firing now, but the natives stole out of their
cover and came up to the man quietly, peering at him half afraid.
Then one of them lifted his assegai and drove it through his breast.
Still he did not fall; so the soldier drew out the spear and, retreating
a few yards, he hurled it at him, transfixing him. Now, very slowly,
making no sound, the white man sank forward upon his face, and
so lay still.
There seems to be little doubt but that this man was none other
than Major Allan Wilson, the commander of the patrol. Native
reports of his stature and appearance suggest this, but there is a
stronger piece of evidence. The Matabele told Mr. Burnham who
repeated it to the present writer, that this man wore a hat of a
certain shape and size, fastened up at the side in a peculiar fashion;
a hat similar to that which Mr. Burnham wore himself. Now,
these hats were of American make, and Major Wilson was the only
man in that party who possessed one of them, for Mr. Burnham
himself had looped it up for him in the American style, if indeed
he had not presented it to him.
The tragedy seemed to be finished, but it was not so, for as the
natives stood and stared at the fallen white men, from among the
dead a man rose up, to all appearance unharmed, holding in each
hand a revolver, or a 'little Maxim' as they described it. Having
gained his feet he walked slowly and apparently aimlessly away
towards an ant-heap that stood at some distance. At the sight the
natives began to fire again, scores, and even hundreds, of shots being
aimed at him, but, as it chanced, none of them struck him. Seeing
that he remained untouched amidst this hail of lead, they cried out
that he was 'tagati,' or magic-guarded, but the indunas ordered
them to continue their fire. They did so, and a bullet passing through
his hips, the Englishman fell down paralysed. Then finding that he
could not turn they ran round him and stabbed him, and he died
firing with either hand back over his shoulders at the slaughterers
WILSON'S LAST FIGHT 17
So perished the last of the Wilson patrol. He seems to have
been Alexander Hay Robertson-at least Mr. Burnham believes
that it was he, and for this reason. Robertson, he says, was the only
man of the party who had grey hair, and at a little distance from
the other skeletons was found a skull to which grey hair still
It is the custom among savages of the Zulu and kindred races,
for reasons of superstition, to rip open and mutilate the bodies of
Oe of them lifted his assegai'
enemies killed in war, but on this occasion the Matabele general,
having surveyed the dead, issued an order: Let them be,' he said;
'they were men who died like men, men whose fathers were men.'
No finer epitaph could be composed in memory of Wilson and
his comrades. In truth the fame of this death of theirs has spread
far and wide throughout the native races of Southern Africa, and
Englishmen everywhere reap the benefit of its glory. They also
who lie low, they reap the benefit of it, for their story is immortal,
18 WILSON'S LAST FIGHT
and it will be told hundreds of years hence when it matters no more
to them whether they died by shot and steel on the banks of the Shan-
gani, or elsewhere in age and sickness. At least through the fatal
storm of war they have attained to peace and honour, and there
within the circle of the ruins of Zimbabwe they sleep their sleep,
envied of some and revered by all. Surely it is no small thing to
have attained to such a death, and England may be proud of her
sons who won it.
THE LIFE AND DEATH OF
JOAN THE MAID
THE FAIRIES' TREE
FOUR hundred and seventy years ago, the children of Domremy,
a little village near the Meuse, on the borders of France and
Lorraine, used to meet and dance and sing beneath a beautiful
beech-tree, 'lovely as a lily.' They called it The Fairy Tree,' or
' The Good Ladies' Lodge,' meaning the fairies by the words Good
Ladies.' Among these children was one named Jeanne (born 1412),
the daughter of an honest farmer, Jacques d'Arc. Jeanne sang
more than she danced, and though she carried garlands like the
other boys and girls, and hung them on the boughs of the Fairies'
Tree, she liked better to take the flowers into the parish church,
and lay them on the altars of St. Margaret and St. Catherine. It
was said among the villagers that Jeanne's godmother had once
seen the fairies dancing; but though some of the older people
believed in the Good Ladies, it does not seem that Jeanne and the
other children had faith in them or thought much about them.
They only went to the tree and to a neighboring fairy well to eat
cakes and.laugh and play. .Yet these fairies were destined to be
fatal to Jeanne d'Arc, JOAN THE MAIDEN, and her innocent childish
sports were to bring her to the stake and the death by fire. For
she was that famed Jeanne la Pucelle, the bravest, kindest, best,
and wisest of women, whose tale is the saddest, the most wonderful,
and the most glorious page in the history of the world. It is a
page which no good Englishman and no true Frenchman can read
without sorrow and bitter shame, for the English burned Joan
with the help of bad Frenchmen, and the French of her party did
not pay a sou, or write a line, or strike a stroke to save her. But
the Scottish, at least, have no share in the disgrace. The Scottish
archers fought on Joan's side; the only portrait of herself that Joan
20 LIFE AND DEATH OF JOAN THE MAID
ever saw belonged to a Scottish man-at-arms; their historians
praised her as she deserved; and a Scottish priest from Fife stood
by her to the end.1
To understand Joan's history it is necessary to say, first, how
we come to know so much about one who died so many years ago,
and, next, to learn how her country chanced to be so wretched
before Joan came to deliver it and to give her life for France.
The Fairy Tree'
We know so much about her, not from poets and writers of
books who lived in her day, but because she was tried by French
priests (1431), and all her answers on everything that she ever did
in all her life were written down in Latin. These answers fill most
of a large volume. Then, twenty years later (1550-1556), when the
This unnamed monk of Dunfermline describes Joan as 'a maid worthy to he re-
membered, who caused the recovery of the kingdom of France from the hands of the
tyrant Henry, King of England. This maid I saw and knew, and was with her in her
conquests and lieges, ever present with her in her life and at her end.' The monk pro-
posed to write Joan's history ; unhappily his manuscript ends in the middle of a sentence.
The French historians, as was natural, say next to nothing of their Scottish allies. See
Quicherat, Prochr, v. 33 ; and The Book of Pluscarden, edited by 3Mr. Felix Skene,
LIFE AND DEATH. OF JOAN THE MAID 21
English had been driven out of France, the French king collected
learned doctors, who examined witnesses from all parts of the
country, men and women who had known Joan as a child, and in
the wars, and in prison, and they heard her case again, and de-
stroyed the former unjust judgment. The answers of these wit-
nesses fill two volumes, and thus we have all the Maid's history,
written during her life, or not long after her death, and sworn to on
oath. We might expect that the evidence of her friends, after they
had time to understand her, and perhaps were tempted to overpraise
her, would show us a picture different from that given in the trial
by her mortal enemies. But though the earlier account, put forth
by her foes, reads like a description by the Scribes and Pharisees
of the trial of Our Lord, yet the character of Joan was so noble
that the versions by her friends and her enemies practically agree
in her honour. Her advocates cannot make us admire her more
than we must admire her in the answers which she gave to her
accusers. The records of these two trials, then, with letters and
poems and histories written at the time, or very little later, give
us all our information about Joan of Arc.
Next, as to the great pitifulness that was in France before
Joan of Arc came to deliver her country, the causes of the misery
are long to tell and not easy to remember. To put it shortly, in
Joan's childhood France was under a mad king, Charles VI., and
was torn to pieces by two factions, the party of Burgundy and the
party of Armagnac. The English took advantage of these disputes,
and overran the land. France was not so much one country,
divided by parties, as a loose knot of states, small and great, with
different interests, obeying greedy and selfish chiefs rather than the
king. Joan cared only for her country, not for a part of it. She
fought not for Orleans, or Anjou, or Britanny, or Lorraine, but for
France. In fact, she made France a nation again. Before she ap-
peared everywhere was murder, revenge, robbery, burning of towns,
slaughter of peaceful people, wretchedness, and despair. It was to
redeem France from this ruin that Joan came, just when, in 1429,
the English were besieging Orleans. Had they taken the strong
city of Orleans, they could have overrun all southern and central
France, and would have driven the natural king of France, Charles
the Dauphin, into exile. From this ruin Joan saved her country;
but if you wish to know more exactly how matters stood, and who
the people were with whom Joan had to do, you must read what
follows. If not, you can skip to Chapter III.
22 LIFE AND DEATH OF JOAN THE MAID
A PAGE OF HISTORY
AS you know, Edward III. had made an unjust claim to the
French crown, and, with the Black Prince, had supported it by
the victories of Crecy and Poictiers. But Edward died, and the Black
Prince died, and his son, Richard II., was the friend of France, and
married a French princess. Richard, too, was done to death, but
Henry IV., who succeeded him, had so much work on his hands in
England that he left France alone. Yet France was wretched, be-
cause when the wise Charles V. died in 1880, he left two children,
Charles the Dauphin, and his brother, Louis of Orleans. They were
only little boys, and the Dauphin became weak-minded; moreover,
they were both in the hands of their uncles. The best of these re-
lations, Philip, Duke of Burgundy, died in 1404. His son, John the
Fearless, Duke of Burgundy, was the enemy of his own cousin,
Louis of Orleans, brother of the Dauphin Charles, who was now
king, under the title of Charles VI. John the Fearless had Louis
of Orleans murdered, yet Paris, the capital of France, was on the
side of the murderer. He was opposed by the Count of Armagnac.
Now, the two parties of Armagnac and Burgundy divided France;
the Armagnacs professing to be on the side of Charles the
Dauphin. They robbed, burned, and murdered on all sides. Mean-
while, in England, Henry V. had succeeded to his father, and the
weakness of France gave him a chance to assert his unjust claim
to its throne. He defeated the French at Agincourt in 1415, he
carried the Duke of Orleans a prisoner to London, he took Rouen,
and overran Normandy. The French now attempted to make peace
among themselves. The Duke of Burgundy had the mad Charles VI.
in his power. The Dauphin was with the opposite faction of
Armagnac. But, if the Dauphin and the Duke of Burgundy be-
came friends, the Armagnacs would lose all their importance. The
power would be with the Duke of Burgundy. The Armagnacs,
therefore, treacherously murdered the duke, in the name of the
Dauphin, at a meeting on the Bridge of Montereau (1419). The
son of the duke, Philip the Good, now became Duke of Burgundy,
and was determined to revenge his murdered father. He therefore
made friends with Henry V. and the English. The English being
now so strong in the Burgundian alliance, their terms were ac-
cepted in the Peace of Troyes (1420). The Dauphin was to be shut
LIFE AND DEATH OF JOAN THE MAID
out from succeeding to the French crown, and was called a Pretender.
Henry V. married the Dauphin's sister Catherine, and when the
mad Charles VI. died, Henry and Catherine were to be King and
Queen of England and France. Meantime, Henry V. was to punish
the Dauphin and the Armagnacs. But Henry V. died first, and,
soon after, the mad Charles died. Who, then, was to be King of
France ? The Armagnacs held for the Dauphin, the rightful heir.
The English, of course, and the Burgundians, were for Henry VI.,
a baby of ten months old. He, like other princes, had uncles, one
of them, the Duke of Gloucester, managed affairs in England;
another, the Duke of Bedford, the Regent, was to keep down France.
The English possessed Paris and the North; the Dauphin retained
the Centre of France, and much of the South, holding his court at
Bourges. It is needless to say that the uncles of the baby Henry
VI., the Dukes of Gloucester and Bedford, were soon on bad terms,
and their disputes made matters easier for the Dauphin. He lost
two great battles, however, Crevant and Verneuil, where his Scottish
allies were cut to pieces. The hearts of good Frenchmen were with
him, but he was indolent, selfish, good-humoured, and governed by
a fat, foolish favourite, La Tremouille. The Duke of Bedford now
succeeded in patching up the quarrels among the English, and then
it was determined (but not by Bedford's advice) to cross the Loire,
to invade Southern France, to crush the Dauphin, and to conquer
the whole country. But, before he could do all this, Bedford had to
take the strong city of Orleans, on the Loire. And against the walls
of Orleans the tide of English victory was broken, for there the flag
of England went down before the peasant girl who had danced below
the Fairy Tree of Domremy, before Joan the Maiden.
THE CHILDHOOD OF JOAN THE MAIDEN
T HE English were besieging Orleans; Joan the Maid drove them
from its walls. How did it happen that a girl of seventeen,
who could neither read nor write, became the greatest general on
the side of France ? How did a woman defeat the hardy English
soldiers who were used to chase the French before them like sheep ?
We must say that France could only be saved by a miracle, and
by a miracle she was saved. This is a mystery; we cannot under-
stand it. Joan the Maiden was not as other men and women are.
24 LIFE AND DEATH OF JOAN THE MAID
But, as a little girl, she was a child among children, though better,
kinder, stronger than the rest, and, poor herself, she was always
good and helpful to those who were poorer still.
Joan's parents were not indigent; they had lands and cattle,
and a little money laid by in case of need. Her father was, at
one time, doyen, or head-man, of Domremy. Their house was hard
by the church, and was in the part of the hamlet where the people
were better off, and had more freedom and privileges than many
of their neighbours. They were devoted to the Royal House of
France, which protected them from the tyranny of lords and earls
further east. As they lived in a village under the patronage of St.
Remigius, they were much interested in Reims, his town, where
the kings of France were crowned, and were anointed with Holy
Oil, which was believed to have been brought in a sacred bottle by
In the Middle Ages, the king was not regarded as really king
till this holy oil had been poured on his head. Thus we shall see,
later, how anxious Joan was that Charles VII., then the Dauphin,
should be crowned and anointed in Reims, though it was still in
the possession of the English. It is also necessary to remember
that Joan had once an elder sister named Catherine, whom she loved
dearly. Catherine died, and perhaps affection for her made Joan more
fond of bringing flowers to the altar of her namesake, St. Catherine,
and of praying often to that saint.
Joan was brought up by her parents, as she told her judges, to
be industrious, to sew and spin. She did not fear to match herself
at spinning and sewing, she said, against any woman in Rouen.
When very young she sometimes went to the fields to watch the
cattle, like the goose-girl in the fairy tale. As she grew older, she
worked in the house, she did not any longer watch sheep and cattle.
But the times were dangerous, and, when there was an alarm of
soldiers or robbers in the neighbourhood, she sometimes helped to
drive the flock into a fortified island, or peninsula, for which her
father was responsible, in the river near her home. She learned her
creed, she said, from her mother. Twenty years after her death,
her neighbours, who remembered her, described her as she was when
a child. Jean Morin said that she was a good industrious girl, but
that she would often be praying in church when her father and
mother did not know it. Beatrix Estellin, an old widow of eighty,
said Joan was a good girl. When Domremy was burned, Joan
would go to church at Greux, and there was not a better girl in the
JOAN IN CHURCH
LIFE AND DEATH OF JOAN THE MAID 27
two towns.' A priest, who had known her, called her 'a good, sim-
ple, well-behaved girl.' Jean Waterin, when he was a boy, had seen
Joan in the fields, 'and when they were all playing together, she
would go apart, and pray to God, as he thought, and he and the
others used to laugh at her. She was good and simple, and often
in churches and holy places. And when she heard the church bell
ring, she would kneel down in the fields.' She used to bribe the
sexton to ring the bells (a duty which he rather neglected) with
presents of knitted wool.
All those who had seen Joan told the same tale: she was
always kind, simple, industrious, pious, and yet merry and fond of
playing with the others round the Fairy Tree. They say that the
singing birds came to her, and nestled in her breast.'
Thus, as far as anyone could tell, Joan was a child like other chil-
dren, but more serious and more religious. One of her friends, a girl
called Mengette, whose cottage was next to that of Joan's father,
said: 'Joan was so pious that we other children told her she was
In peaceful times Joan would have lived and married and died
and been forgotten. But the times were evil. The two parties of
Burgundy and Armagnac divided town from town and village
from village. It was as in the days of the Douglas Wars in Scot-
land, when the very children took sides for Queen Mary and King
James, and fought each other in the streets. Domremy was for the
Armagnacs-that is, against the English and for the Dauphin, the
son of the mad Charles VI. But at Maxey, on the Meuse, a village
near Domremy, the people were all for Burgundy and the English.
The boys of Domremy would go out and fight the Maxey boys
with fists and sticks and stones. Joan did not remember having
taken part in those battles, but she had often seen her brothers and
the Domremy boys come home all bruised and bleeding.
THE RAID OF DOMREMY
Once Joan saw more of war than these schoolboy bickers. It
was in 1425, when she was a girl of thirteen. There was a kind of
robber chief on the English side, a man named Henri d'Orly, from
Savoy, who dwelt in the castle of Doulevant. There he and his
i M. Quicherat thinks that this is a mere fairy tale, but the author has sometimes
seen wild birds (a lark, kingfisher, robin, and finch) come to men, who certainly had
none of the charm of Joan of Are. A thoughtful child, sitting alone, and very still,
might find birds alight on her in a friendly way, as has happened to the author. If she
fed them, so much the better.
28 LIFE AND DEATH OF JOAN THE MAID
band of armed men lived and drank and plundered far and near.
One day there galloped into Domremy a squadron of spearmen,
Joan hears the Voice
who rode through the fields driving together the cattle of the
villagers, among them the cows of Joan's father. The country
LIFE AND DEATH OF JOAN THE MAID 29
people could make no resistance; they were glad enough if their
houses were not burned. So off rode Henri d'Orly's men, driving
the cattle with their spear-points along the track to the castle of
Doulevant. But cows are not fast travellers, and when the robbers
had reached a little village called Dommartin le France they
rested, and went to the tavern to make merry. But by this time a
lady, Madame d'Og6villier, had sent in all haste to the Count de
Vaudemont to tell him how the villagers of Domremy had been
ruined. So he called his squire, Barthelemy de Clefmont, and
bade him summon his spears and mount and ride. It reminds us of
the old Scottish ballad, where Jamie Telfer of the Fair Dodhead
has seen all his cattle driven out of his stalls by the English;
and he runs to Branxholme and warns the water, and they with
Harden pursue the English, defeat them, and recover Telfer's kye,
with a great spoil out of England. Just so Barthelemy de
Clefmont, with seven or eight lances, galloped down the path to
Dommartin le France. There they found the cattle, and d'Orly's
men fled like cowards. So Barthelemy with his comrades was
returning very joyously, when Henri d'Orly rode up with a troop
of horse and followed hard after Barthelemy. He was wounded
by a lance, but he cut his way through d'Orly's men, and also
brought the cattle back safely-a very gallant deed of arms.
We may fancy the delight of the villagers when the kye cam'
hame.' It may have been now that an event happened, of which
Joan does not tell us herself, but which was reported by the king's
seneschal, in June 1429, when Joan had just begun her wonderful
career. The children of the village, says the seneschal, were
running races and leaping in wild joy about the fields; possibly
their gladness was caused by the unexpected rescue of their cattle.
Joan ran so much more fleetly than the rest, and leaped so far,
that the children believed she actuallyflew, and they told her so !
Tired and breathless, out of herself,' says the seneschal, she
paused, and in that moment she heard a Voice, but saw no man;
the Voice bade her go home, because her mother had need of her.
And when she came home the Voice said many things to her abcut
the great deeds which God bade her do for France. We shall
later hear Joan's own account of how her visions and Voices first
came to her.'
Three years later there was an alarm, and the Domremy people
fled to Neufchfteau, Joan going with her parents. Afterwards her
1 See M. Sim6on Luce, .feanne d'Arc it Domremy.
80 LIFE AND DEATH OF JOAN THE MAID
enemies tried to prove that she had been a servant at an inn in
NeufchAteau, had lived roughly with grooms and soldiers, and had
learned to ride. But this was absolutely untrue. An ordinary
child would have thought little of war and of the sorrows of her
country in the flowery fields of Domremy and Vaucouleurs; but
Joan always thought of the miseries of France la bele, fair France,
and prayed for her country and her king. A great road, on the
lines of an old Roman way, passed near Domremy, so Joan would
hear all the miserable news from travellers. Probably she showed
what was in her mind, for her father dreamed that she had gone
off with soldiers,' and this dream struck him so much, that he told
his sons that he, or they, must drown Joan if she so disgraced her-
self. For many girls of bad character, lazy and rude, followed the
soldiers, as they always have done, and always will. Joan's father
thought that his dream meant that Joan would be like these women.
It would be interesting to know whether he was in the habit of
dreaming true dreams. For Joan, his child, dreamed when wide
awake, dreamed dreams immortal, which brought her to her glory
and her doom.
THE CALLING OF JOAN THE MAID
When Joan was between twelve and thirteen, a wonderful thing
befell her. We have already heard one account of it, written when
Joan was in the first flower of her triumph, by the seneschal of the
King of France. A Voice spoke to her and prophesied of what she
was to do. But about all these marvellous things it is more safe to
attend to what Joan always said herself. She told the same story
both to friends and foes; to the learned men who, by her king's
desire, examined her at Poictiers, before she went to war (April 1429);
and to her deadly foes at Rouen. No man can read her answers
to them and doubt that she spoke what she believed. And she died
for this belief. Unluckily the book that was kept of what she said
at Poictiers is lost. Before her enemies at Rouen there were many
things which she did not think it right to say. On one point, after
for long refusing to speak, she told her foes a kind of parable, which
we must not take as part of her real story.
When Joan was between twelve and thirteen (1424), so she
swore, a Voice came to her from God for her guidance, but when
first it came, she was in great fear. And it came, that Voice, about
noonday, in the summer season, she being in her father's garden.
And Joan had not fasted the day before that, but was fasting when
LIFE AND DEATH OF JOAN THE MAID 31
the Voice came.1 And she heard the Voice on her right side,
towards the church, and rarely did she hear it but she also saw a
great light.' These are her very words. They asked her if she
heard these Voices there, in the hall of judgment, and she an-
swered, If I were in a wood, I should well hear these Voices
coming to me.' The Voices at first only told her 'to be a good
girl, and go to church.' She thought it was a holy Voice, and that
it came from God; and the third time she heard it she knew it was
the voice of an angel. The Voice told her of' the great pity there
was in France,' and that one day she must go into France and help
the country. She had visions with the Voices; visions first of
St. Michael, and then of St. Catherine and St. Margaret." She hated
telling her hypocritical judges anything about these heavenly
visions, but it seems that she really believed in their appearance,
believed that she had embraced the knees of St. Margaret and St.
Catherine, and she did reverence to them when they came to her.
' I saw them with my bodily eyes, as I see you,' she said to her
judges, and when they departed from me I wept, and well I wished
that they had taken me with them.'
What are we to think about these visions and these Voices which
were with Joan to her death ?
Some have thought that she was mad; others that she only told
the story to win a hearing and make herself important; or, again,
that a trick was played on her to win her aid. The last idea is im-
possible. The French Court did not want her. The second, as every-
one will admit who reads Joan's answers, and follows her step by
step from childhood to victory, to captivity, to death, is also impos-
sible. She was as truthful as she was brave and wise. But was she
partially insane ? It is certain that mad people do hear voices which
are not real, and believe that they come to them from without. But
these mad voices say mad things. Now, Joan's Voices never said
anything but what was wise beyond her own wisdom, and right and
true. She governed almost all her actions by their advice. When
she disobeyed her counsel,' as she called it, the result was evil,
and once, as we shall see, was ruinous. Again, Joan was not only
healthy, but wonderfully strong, ready, and nimble. In all her
Here we follow Father Ayroles's correction of Quicherat's reading of the manu-
SThe Voice and vision of St. Michael alarmed her at first. In 1425 the French
had defeated the English by sea, under Mount St. Michael, the only fortress in
Normandy which never yielded to England. Consequently St. Michael was in high esteem
as the patron of France, and, of all saints, he was most likely to be in Joan's mind. (See
Simeon Luce, Jeanne d'Are & Domremy.) On the other hand, Father Ayroles correctly
argues that Joan first heard the Voices the year before the victory near Mount St. Michael,
82 LIFE AND DEATH OF JOAN THE MAID
converse with princes and priests and warriors, she spoke and acted
like one born in their own rank. In mind, as in body, she was a
marvel, none such has ever been known. It is impossible, then, to
say that she was mad.
In the whole history of the world, as far as we know it, there is
only one example like that of Joan of Arc. Mad folk hear voices;
starved nuns, living always with their thoughts bent on heaven,
women of feeble body, accustomed to faints and to fits, have heard
voices and seen visions. Some of them have been very good
women; none have been strong, good riders, skilled in arms, able
to march all day long with little food, and to draw the arrow from
their own wound and mount horse and charge again, like Joan of
Arc. Only one gieat man, strong, brave, wise, and healthy, has
been attended by a Voice, which taught him what to do, or rather
what not to do. That man was Socrates, the most hardy soldier,
the most unwearied in the march, and the wisest man of Greece.
Socrates was put to death for this Voice of his, on the charge of
'bringing in new gods.' Joan of Are died for her Voices, because
her enemies argued that she was no saint, but a witch These two,
the old philosopher and the untaught peasant girl of nineteen,
stand alone in the endless generations of men, alone in goodness,
wisdom, courage, strength, combined with a mysterious and fatal
gift. More than this it is now forbidden to us to know. But, when
we remember that such a being as Joan of Are has only appeared
once since time began, and that once just when France seemed lost
beyond all hope, we need not wonder at those who say that France
was saved by no common good fortune and happy chance, but by
the will of Heaven.'
In one respect, Joan's conduct after these Voices and visions
began, was perhaps, as regarded herself, unfortunate. She did
not speak of them to her parents, nor tell about them to the
priest when she confessed. Her enemies were thus able to say,
later, that they could not have been holy visions or Voices, other-
wise she would not have concealed them from her father, her
mother, and the priest, to whom she was bound to tell everything,
and from whom she should have sought advice. Thus, long after-
wards, St. Theresa had visions, and, in obedience to her priest, she
at first distrusted these, as perhaps a delusion of evil, or a temptation
M. Quicherat distinguishes three strange kinds of power in Joan. These are the
power of seeing at a distance, the power of learning the secret thoughts of men, and the
power of foretelling future events. Of each class one example at least rests on evidence
so solid, that it cannot be rejected without rejecting the whole basis of the history.'. He
merely states facts, which he makes no attempt to explain. Aperlc. Nolenvit,.r, p. C1.
LIFE AND DEATH OF JOAN THE MAID 33
of spiritual pride. Joan, however, was afraid that her father would
interfere with her mission, and prevent her from going to the king.
She believed that she must not be disobedient to the heavenly
HOW JOAN THE MAID WENT TO VAUCOULEURS
It was in 1424 that the Voices first came to Joan the Maid.
The years went on, bringing more and more sorrow to France. In
1428 only a very few small towns in the east still held out for the
Dauphin, and these were surrounded on every side by enemies.
Meanwhile the Voices came more frequently, urging Joan to go
into France, and help her country. She asked how she, a girl, who
could not ride or use sword and lance, could be of any help ? Rather
would she stay at home and spin beside her dear mother. At the
same time she was encouraged by one of the vague old prophecies
which were as common in France as in Scotland. A legend ran
'that France was to be saved by a Maiden from the Oak Wood,'
and there was an Oak Wood, le bois chdnu, near Domremy. Some
such prophecy had an influence on Joan, and probably helped people
to believe in her. The Voices, moreover, instantly and often com-
manded her to go to Vaucouleurs, a neighboring town which was
loyal, and there meet Robert de Baudricourt, who was captain of
the French garrison. Now, Robert de Baudricourt was not what is
Called a romantic person. Though little over thirty, he had already
married, one after the other, two rich widows. He was a gallant
soldier, but a plain practical man, very careful of his own interest,
and cunning enough to hold his own among his many enemies,
English, Burgundian, and Lorrainers. It was to him that Joan
must go, a country girl to a great noble, and tell him that she, and
she alone, could save France! Joan knew what manner of man
Robert de Baudricourt was, for her father had been obliged to visit
him, and speak for the people of Domremy when theywere oppressed.
She could hardly hope that he would listen to her, and it was with
a heavy heart that she found a good reason for leaving home to
visit Vaucouleurs. Joan had a cousin, a niece of her mother's, who
was married to one Durand Lassois, at Burey en Vaux, a village
near Vaucouleurs. This cousin invited Joan to visit her for a
week. At the end of that time she spoke to her cousin's husband.
There was an old saying, as we saw, that France would be rescued
by a Maid, and she, as she told Lassois, was that Maid. Lassois
listened, and, whatever he may have thought of her chances, he
led her to Robert de Baudricourt.
84 LIFE AND DEATH OF JOAN THE MAID
Joan came, on May 13, 1428, in her simple red dress, and walked
straight up to the captain among his men. She knew him, she
said, by what her Voices had told her, but she may also have heard
him described by her father. She told him that the Dauphin must
keep quiet, and risk no battle, for before the middle of Lent next
Robert thinks Joan crazed
year (1429) God would send him succour. She added that the king-
dom belonged, not to the Dauphin, but to her Master, who willed
that the Dauphin should be crowned, and she herself would lead
him to Reims, to be anointed with the holy oil.
'And who is your Master ? said Robert.
'The King of Heaven 1'
LIFE AND DEATH OF JOAN THE MAID 85
Robert, very naturally, thought that Joan was crazed, and
shrugged his shoulders. He bluntly told Lassois to box her ears,
and take her back to her father. So she had to go home; but here
new troubles awaited her. The enemy came down on Domremy
and burned it; Joan and her family fled to Neufchateau, where they
stayed for a few days. It was perhaps about this time that a young
man declared that Joan had promised to marry him, and he actually
brought her before a court of justice, to make her fulfil her promise.
Joan was beautiful, well-shaped, dark-haired, and charming in
We have a letter which two young knights, Andr6 and Guy
de Laval, wrote to their mother in the following year. 'The Maid
was armed from neck to heel,' they say, 'but unhelmeted; she
carried a lance in her hand. Afterwards, when we lighted down
from our horses at Selles, I went to her lodging to see her, and she
called for wine for me, saying she would soon make me drink wine
in Paris' (then held by the English), and, indeed, she seems a thing
wholly divine, both to look on her and to hear her sweet voice.'
It is no wonder that the young man of Domremy wanted to
marry Joan; but she had given no promise, and he lost his foolish
law-suit. She and her parents soon went back to Domremy.1
HOW JOAN THE MAID WENT AGAIN TO VAUCOULEURS
In Domremy they found that the enemy had ruined everything.
Their cattle were safe, for they had been driven to Neufchateau,
but when Joan looked from her father's garden to the church, she
saw nothing but a heap of smoking ruins. She had to go to say
her prayers now at the church of Greux. These things only made
her feel more deeply the sorrows of her country. The time was
drawing near when she had prophesied that the Dauphin was to
receive help from heaven-namely, in the Lent of 1429. On that
year the season was held more than commonly sacred, for Good
Friday and the Annunciation fell on the same day. So, early in
January, 1429, Joan the Maid turned her back on Domremy, which
she was never to see again. Her cousin Lassois came and asked
leave for Joan to visit him again; she said good-bye to her father
and mother, and to her friend Mengette, but to her dearest friend
Hauvette she did not even say good-bye, for she could not bear it.
She went to her cousin's house at Burey, and there she stayed for
'The date of this affair and that of the flight to NeufchAteau are uncertain.
36 LIFE AND DEATH OF JOAN THE MAID
six weeks, hearing bad news of the siege of Orleans by the English.
Meanwhile, Robert de Baudricourt, in Vaucouleurs, was not easy
in his mind, for he was likely to lose the protection of Rend of
Anjou, the Duc de Bar, who was on the point of joining the
English. Thus Robert may have been more inclined to listen to
Joan than when he bade her cousin box her ears and take her
back to her father. A squire named Jean de Nouillompont met
Joan one day.
Well, my lass,' said he, is our king to be driven from France,
and are we all to become English ?'
I have come here,' said Joan, to bid Robert de Baudricourt
lead me to the king, but he will not listen to me. And yet to the
king I must go, even if I walk my legs down to the knees; for
none in all the world-king, nor duke, nor the King of Scotland's
daughter-can save France, but myself only. Certes, I would
rather stay and spin with my poor mother, for to fight is not my
calling; but I must go and I must fight, for so my Lord will have it.'
'And who is your Lord ? said Jean de Nouillompont.
'He is God,' said the Maiden.
'Then, so help me God, I shall take you to the king,' said Jean,
putting her hands in his. 'When do we start ?'
'To-day is better than to-morrow,' said the Maid.
Joan was now staying in Vaucouleurs with Catherine le Royer.
One day, as she and Catherine were sitting at their spinning-wheels,
who should come in but Robert de Baudricourt with the curd of
the town. Robert had fancied that perhaps Joan was a witch!
He told the priest to perform some rite of the Church over her, so
that if she were a witch she would be obliged to run away. But
when the words were spoken, Joan threw herself at the knees of
the priest, saying, Sir, thi' is ill done of you, for you have heard
my confession and know that I am not a witch.'
Robert was now half disposed to send her to the king and let
her take her chance. But days dragged on, and when Joan was
not working she would be on her knees in the crypt or underground
chapel of the Chapel Royal in Vaucouleurs. Twenty-seven years
later a chorister boy told how he often saw her praying there for
France. Now people began to hear of Joan, and the Duke of
Lorraine asked her to visit him at Nancy, where she bade him lead a
better life. He is said to have given her a horse and some money.
On February 12 the story goes that she went to Robert de Baudri-
LIFE AND DEATH OF JOAN THE MAID 37
'You delay too long,' she said. On this very day, at Orleans,
the gentle Dauphin has lost a battle.'
This was, in fact, the Battle of Herrings, so called because the
English defeated and cut off a French and Scottish force which
attacked them as they were bringing herrings into camp for
Sir, this is ill done of you '
provisions in Lent. If this tale is true, Joan cannot have known
of the battle by any common means; but though it is vouched for
by the king's secretary, Joan has told us nothing about it herself.,
SIt occurs in the Chronique de la Pucelle, by CousinQt de Montreuil, at that time tha
Ling's secretary, and elsewhere.
88 LIFE AND DEATH OF JOAN THE MAID
Now the people of Vaucouleurs bought clothes for Joan to wear
on her journey to the Dauphin. They were such clothes as men
wear-doublet, hose, surcoat, boots, and spurs-and Robert de
Baudricourt gave Joan a sword.
In the end this man's dress, which henceforth she always wore,
proved the ruin of Joan. Her enemies, the English and false
French, made it one of their chief charges against her that she
dressed, as they chose to say, immodestly. It is not very clear
how she came to wear men's garments. Jean de Nouillompont,
her first friend, asked her if she would go to the king (a ten days'
journey on horseback) dressed as she was, in her red frock. She
answered that she would gladly have a man's dress,' which he
says that he provided. Her reason was that she would have to be
living alone among men-at-arms, and she thought that it was more
modest to wear armour like the rest. Also her favourite saint, St.
Margaret, had done this once when in danger. St. Marina had
worn a monk's clothes when obliged to live in a monastery. The
same thing is told of St. Eugenia.' Besides, in all the romances
of chivalry, and the favourite poems of knights and ladies, we find
fair maidens fighting in-arms like men, or travelling dressed as
pages, and nobody ever thought the worse of them. Therefore
this foolish charge of the English against Joan the Maid was a
mere piece of cruel hypocrisy.
HOW JOAN THE MAID RODE TO CHINON
On February 23, 1429, the gate of the little castle of Vaucouleurs,
'the Gate of France,' which is still standing, was thrown open.
Seven travellers rode out, among them two squires, Jean de
Nouillompont and Bertrand de Poulengy, with their attendants,
and Joan the Maid. Go, and let what will come of it come !' said
Robert de Baudricourt. He did not expect much to come of it. It
was a long journey-they were eleven days on the road-and a
dangerous. But Joan laughed at danger. God will clear my path
to the king, for to this end I was born.' Often they rode by night,
stopping at monasteries when they could. Sometimes they slept
out under the sky. Though she was so young and so beautiful,
with the happiness of her long desire in her eyes, and the glory of
her future shining on her, these two young gentlemen never dreamed
of paying their court to her and making love, as in romances they
I Theod. de Leiis, Procs, ii. 42.
JOAN RIDES TO CHINON
LIFE AND DEATH OF JOAN THE MAID 41
do, for they regarded her as if she had been an angel.' They
were in awe of her,' they said, long afterwards, long after the angels
had taken Joan to be with their company in heaven. And all the
knights who had seen her said the same. Dunois and d'Aulon and
the beautiful Duc d'Alenqon, le beau Due' as Joan called him,
they all said that she was a thing enskied and sainted.' So on
they rode, six men and a maid, through a country full of English
and Burgundian soldiery. There were four rivers to cross, Marne,
Aube, Seine, and Yonne, and the rivers were 'great and mickle o'
spate,' running red with the rains from bank to bank, so that they
could not ford the streams, but must go by unfriendly towns, where
alone there were bridges. Joan would have liked to stay and go to
church in every town, but this might not be. However, she heard
mass thrice at the church of her favourite saint, Catherine de
Fierbois, between Loches and Chinon, in a friendly country. And
a strange thing happened later in that church.
From Fierbois Joan made some clerk write to the king that she
was coming to help him, and that she would know him among all
his men. Probably it was here that she wrote to beg her parents'
pardon, and they forgave her, she says. Meanwhile news reached
the people then besieged in Orleans that a marvellous Maiden was
riding to their rescue. On March 6 Joan arrived in Chinon, where
for two or three days the king's advisers would not let him see her.
At last they yielded, and she went straight up to him, and when he
denied that he was the king, she told him that she knew well who
'There is the king,' said Charles, pointing to a richly dressed noble.
'No, fair sire. You are he !'
Still, it was not easy to believe. Joan stayed at Chinon in the
house of a noble lady. The young Due d'Alencon was on her side
from the first, bewitched by her noble horsemanship, which she had
never learned. Great people came to see her, but, when she was
alone, she wept and prayed. The king sent messengers to inquire
about her at Domremy, but time was going on, and Orleans was
HOW JOAN THE MAID SHOWED A SIGN TO THE KING
Joan was weary of being asked questions. One day she went
to Charles and said, Gentle Dauphin, why do you delay to believe
me ? I tell you that God has taken pity on you and your people,
at the prayer of St. Louis and St. Charlemagne. And I will tell
42 LIFE AND DEATH OF JOAN THE MAID
you, by your leave, something which will show you that you should
Then she told him secretly something which, as he said, none
could know but God and himself. A few months later, in July,
a man about the court wrote a letter, in which he declares that
none knows what Joan told the king, but he was plainly as glad as
if something had been revealed to him by the Holy Spirit. We
have three witnesses of this, one of them is the famous Dunois, to
whom the king himself told what happened.
What did Joan say to the king, and what was the sign ? About
this her enemies later examined her ten times. She told them
from the very first that she would never let them know ; that, if
they made her speak, what she spoke would not be the truth. At
last she told them a kind of parable about an angel and a crown,
which neither was nor was meant to be taken as true. It was the
king's secret, and Joan kept it.
We learn the secret in this way. There was a man named
Pierre Sala in the service of Louis XI. and Charles VIII. of France.
In his youth, Pierre Sala used to hunt with M. de Boisy, who, in
his youth, had been gentleman of the bedchamber to Charles VII.,
Joan's king. To de Boisy Charles VII. told the secret, and de Boisy
told it to Pierre Sala. At this time of his misfortunes (1429), when
his treasurer had only four crowns in his coffers, Charles went into
his oratory to pray alone, and he made his prayer to God secretly,
not aloud, but in his mind.
Now, what Joan told the king was the secret prayer which he
had made in his own heart when alone. And, ten years later, when
Joan was long dead, an impostor went about saying that she was
the Maid, who had come to life again. She was brought to Charles,
who said, 'Maiden, my Maid, you are welcome back again if you
can tell me the secret that is between you and me.' But the false
Maid, falling on her knees, confessed all her treason.
This is the story of the sign given to the king, which is not the
least strange of the things done by Joan the Maid. But there is a
thing stranger yet, though not so rare.
The king to whom Joan brought this wonderful message, the
kingwhom she loved so loyally, and for whom she died, spoiled all
her plans. He, with his political advisers, prevented her from
driving the English quite out of France. These favourites, men
like the fat La Tremouille, found their profit in dawdling and
delaying, as politicians generally do. Thus, in our own time, they
JO4N TELLS THE KING HIS SECRET
LIFE AND DEATH OF JOAN THE MAID 45
hung off and on, till our soldiers were too late to rescue Gordon
from the Arabs. Thus, in Joan's time, she had literally to goad
them into action, to drag them on by constant prayers and tears.
They were lazy, comfortable, cowardly, disbelieving; in their hearts
they hated the Maid, who put them to so much trouble. As for
Charles, to whom the Maid was so loyal, had he been a man like
the Black Prince, or even like Prince Charlie, Joan would have
led him into Paris before summer was ended. I shall only last
one year and little more,' she often said to the king. The Duc
d'Alen9on heard her,' and much of that precious year was wasted.
Charles, to tell the truth, never really believed in her; he never
quite trusted her; he never led a charge by her side; and, in the
end, he shamefully deserted her, and left the Maid to her doom.
HOW JOAN THE MAID WAS EXAMINED AT POICTIERS
Weeks had passed, and Joan had never yet seen a blow struck
in war. She used to exercise herself in horsemanship, and
knightly sports of tilting, and it is wonderful that a peasant girl
became, at once, one of the best riders among the chivalry of
France. The young Due d'Alenqon, lately come from captivity in
England, saw how gallantly she rode, and gave her a horse. He
and his wife were her friends from the first, when the politicians
and advisers were against her. But, indeed, whatever the Maid
attempted, she did better than others, at once, without teaching or
practice. It was now determined that Joan should be taken to
Poictiers, and examinedbefore all the learned men, bishops, doctors,
and higher clergy who still were on the side of France. There was
good reason for this delay. It was plain to all, friends and foes,
that the wonderful Maid was not like other men and women, with
her Voices, her visions, her prophecies, and her powers. All agreed
that she had some strange help given to her; but who gave it ?
This aid must come, people thought then, either from heaven or
hell-either from God and his saints, or from the devil and his
angels. Now, if any doubt could be thrown on the source whence
Joan's aid came, the English might argue (as of course they did),
that she was a witch and a heretic. If she was a heretic and a
witch, then her king was involved in her wickedness, and so he
might be legally shut out from his kingdom. It was necessary,
therefore, that Joan should be examined by learned men. They
I Procs, iii. 99.
46 LIFE AND DEATH OF JOAN THE MAID
must find out whether she had always been good, and a true
believer, and whether her Voices always agreed in everything with
the teachings of the Church. Otherwise her angels must be devils
in disguise. For these reasons Joan was carried to Poictiers. During
three long weeks the learned men asked her questions, and, no
doubt, they wearied her terribly. But they said it was wonderful
how wisely this girl, who 'did not know A from B,' replied to their
puzzling inquiries. She told the story of her visions, of the command
In a better language than yours,' said Joan
laid upon her to rescue Orleans. Said Guillaume Aymeri, You
ask for men-at-arms, and you say that God will have the English to
leave France and go home. If that is true, no men-at-arms are
needed; God's pleasure can drive the English out of the land.'
'In God's name,' said the Maid, the men-at-arms will fight,
and God will give the victory.' Then came the learned Seguin;
' a right sour man was he,' said those who knew him.
Seguin was a Limousin, and the Limousins spoke in a queer
accent at which the other French were always laughing.
LIFE AND DEATH OF JOAN THE MAID 47
'In what language do your Voices speak ? asked he.
In a better language than yours,' said Joan, and the bishops
smiled at the country quip.
We may not believe in you,' said Seguin, unless you show us
'I did not come to Poictiers to work miracles,' said Joan; take
me to Orleans, and I shall show you the signs that I am sent to
do.' And show them she did.
Joan never pretended to work miracles. Though, in that age,
people easily believed in miracles, it is curious that none worth
mentioning were invented about Joan in her own time. She knew
things in some strange way sometimes, but the real miracle was
her extraordinary wisdom, genius, courage, and power of enduring
At last, after examining witnesses from Domremy, and the
Queen of Sicily and other great ladies to whom Joan was entrusted,
the clergy found nothing in her but 'goodness, humility, frank
maidenhood, piety, honesty, and simplicity.' As for her wearing a
man's dress, the Archbishop of Embrun said to the king, 'It is more
becoming to do these things in man's gear, since they have to be
done amongst men.'
The king therefore made up his mind at last. Jean and Pierre,
Joan's brothers, were to ride with her to Orleans; her old friends,
her first friends, Jean de Nouillompont and Bertrand de Poulengy,
had never left her. She was given a squire, Jean d'Aulon, a very
good man, and a page, Louis de Coutes, and a chaplain. The
king gave Joan armour and horses, and offered her a sword. But
her Voices told her that, behind the altar of St. Catherine de
Fierbois, where she heard mass on her way to Chinon, there was
an old sword, with five crosses on the blade, buried in the earth. That
sword she was to wear. A man whom Joan did not know, and had
never seen, was sent from Tours, and found the sword in the place
which she described. The sword was cleaned of rust, and the king
gave her two sheaths, one of velvet, one of cloth of gold, but Joan
had a leather sheath made for use in war. She also commanded a
banner to be made, with the Lilies of France on a white field. There
was also a picture of God, holding the round world, and two angels
at the sides, with the sacred words, JHESU MARIA. On another flag
was the Annunciation, the Virgin holding a lily, and the angel
coming to her. In battle, when she led a charge, Joan always
carried her standard, that she might not be able to use her sword.
48 LIFE AND DEATH OF JOAN THE MAID
She wished to kill nobody, and said 'she loved her banner forty
times more than her sword.' Joan afterwards broke St. Catherine's
sword, when slapping a girl (who richly deserved to be slapped)
with the flat of the blade. Her enemies, at her trial, wished to prove
that her flag was a kind of magical talisman, but Joan had no
belief in anything of that'kind. What she believed in was God,
her Voices, and her just cause. When once it was settled that she
was to lead an army to relieve Orleans, she showed her faith by
writing a letter addressed to the King of England; Bedford, the
Regent; and the English generals at Orleans. This letter was sent
from Blois, late in April. It began JHESU MARIA. Joan had no
ill-will against the English. She bade them leave France, 'and if
you are reasonable, you yet may ride in the Maid's company, where
the French will do the fairest feat of arms that ever yet was done
for Christentie.' Probably she had in her mind some Crusade.
But, before France and England can march together, 'do ye justice
to the King of Heaven and the Blood Royal of France. Yield to
the Maid the keys of all the good towns which ye have taken and
assailed in France.' If they did not yield to the Maid and the
king, she will come on them to their sorrow. 'Duke of Bedford, the
Maid prays and entreats you not to work your own destruction!'
We may imagine how the English laughed and swore when
they received this letter. They threw the heralds of the Maid inte
prison, and threatened to burn them as heretics. From the very
first, the English promised to burn Joan as a witch and a heretic.
This fate was always before her eyes. But she went where her
Voices called her.
HOW JOAN THE MAID RODE TO RELIEVE ORLEANS
At last the men-at-arms who were to accompany Joan were
ready. She rode at their head, as Andr6 de Laval and Guy de
Laval saw her, and described her in a letter to their mother. She
was armed in white armour, but unhelmeted, a little axe in her
hand, riding a great black charger, that reared at the door of her
lodging and would not let her mount.
'" Lead him to the Cross !" cried she, for a Cross stood on the
roadside, by the church. There he stood as if he had been stone,
and she mounted. Then she turned to the church, and said, in
her girlish voice, You priests and churchmen, make prayers and
processions to God." Then she cried, Forwards, Forwards and
on she rode, a pretty page carrying her banner, and with her little
7h. A -4 T-~ EV
L 50 ~n B-Pone ct S" Cdthrtne
part qo e fl Bour1ogvrq
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w-hen Jaca currived.
50 LIFE AND DEATH OF JOAN THE MAID
axe in her hand."' And so Joan went to war.' She led, she says,
ten or twelve thousand soldiers.2 Among the other generals were
Xaintrailles and La Hire. Joan made her soldiers confess them-
selves; as for La Hire, a brave rough soldier, she forbade him to
' Lead him to the Cross cried she
swear, as he used to do, but, for his weakness, she permitted him
to say, By my bdton I This army was to defend a great convoy of
This description is a few weeks Inter than the start from Blois.
SThis estimate was probably incorrect; 3,500 was more like the actual number.
LIFE AND DEATH OF JOAN THE MAID
provisions, of which the people of Orleans stood in sore need.
Since November they had been besieged, and now it was late April.
The people in Orleans were not yet starving, but food came in
slowly, and in small quantities. From the first the citizens had
behaved well; a Scottish priest describes their noble conduct.
They had burned all the outlying suburbs, beyond the wall, that
they might not give shelter to the English. They had plenty of
cannon, which carried large rough stone balls, and usually did little
harm. But a gun was fired, it is said by a small boy, which killed
Salisbury, the English general, as he looked out of an arrow-slit in
a fort that the English had taken.
The French general-in-chief was the famous Dunois, then called
the Bastard of Orleans. On the English side was the brave Talbot,
who fought under arms for sixty years, and died fighting when
he was over eighty. There were also Suffolk, Pole, and Glasdale,
whom the French called Classidas.' The English had not soldiers
enough to surround and take so large a town, of 30,000 people, in
ordinary war. But as Dunois said, 'two hundred English could
then beat a thousand French '-that is, as the French were before
the coming of the Maid.
The position of Orleans was this; it may be most easily under-
stood from the map.
Looking down the river Loire, Orleans lies on your right hand.
It had strong walls in an irregular square; it had towers on the
wall, and a bridge of many arches crossing to the left side of the
river.. At the further end of this bridge were a fort and rampart
called Les Tourelles, and this fort had already been taken by the
English, so that no French army could cross the bridge to help
Orleans. Indeed, the bridge was broken. The rampart and the
fort of Les Tourelles were guarded by another strong work, called
Les Augustins. All round the outside of the town, on the right
bank, the English had built strong redoubts, which they called
bastilles. 'Paris' was the bastille which blocked the road from
Paris, London' and Rouen' were bastilles on the western side,
but on the east, above the town, and on the Orleans bank of the
Loire, the English had only one bastille, St. Loup. Now, as Joan's
army mustered at Blois, south of Orleans, further down the river,
she might march on the left side of the river, cross it by boats
above Orleans, and enter the town where the English were weakest
and had only one fort, St. Loup. Or she might march up the right
bank, and attack the English where they were strongest, and had
62 LIFE AND DEATH OF JOAN THE MAID
many bastilles. The Voices bade the Maid act on the boldest plan,
and enter Orleans where the English were strongest, on the righl
bank of the river. The English would not move, said the Voices.
She was certain that they would not even sally out against her.
But Dunois in Orleans, and the generals with the Maid, thought
this plan very perilous, as, indeed, it was. They therefore deceived
her, caused her to think that Orleans was on the left bank of the Loire,
and led her thither. When she arrived, she saw that they had not
played her fair, that the river lay between her and the town, and
the strongest force of the enemy.
The most astonishing thing about Joan is that, though she had
never yet seen a sword-stroke dealt in anger, she understood
the great operations of war better than seasoned generals. It
was not only that she, like old Blfucher, always cried Forwards !
Audacity, to fight on every chance, carries men far in battle.
Prince Charlie, who was no great general, saw that, and while his
flag went forward he never lost a fight. But Joan 'was most ex-
pert in war,' said the Due d'Alencon, both with the lance and in
massing an army, and arraying battle, and in the management of
artillery. For all men marvelled how far-sighted and prudent she
was in war, as if she had been a captain of thirty years' standing,
and, above all, in the service of the artillery, for in that she was
right well skilled.'
This girl of seventeen saw that, if a large convoy of provisions
was to be thrown into a besieged town, the worst way was to try
to ferry the supplies across a river under the enemy's fire. But
Dunois and the other generals had brought her to this pass, and
the Maid was sore ill-pleased. Now we shall see what happened,
as it is reported in the very words of Dunois, the French general in
Orleans. Joan had been brought, as we said, to the wrong bank of
the Loire; it ran between her and the town where she would be.
The wind was blowing in her teeth; boats could not cross with the
troops and provisions. There she sat her horse and chafed till
Dunois came out and crossed the Loire to meet her. This is what
he says about Joan and her conduct.
HOW JOAN THE MAID ENTERED ORLEANS
They were on the wrong side of the Loire, opposite St. Loup,
where the English held a strong fort. I did not think, and the
Proes, iii. 100.
SP'rocs. iii, pp. 5, 6, 7. They were' near Saint Loup,' he says, 'on the right bank of
LIFE AND DEATH OF JOAN THE MAID 53
other generals did not think,' says Dunois, that the men-at-arms
with the Maid were a strong enough force to bring the provisions
into the town. Above, all, it was difficult to get boats and ferry
over the supplies, for both wind and stream were dead against us.
Then Joan spoke to me thus:
Then spurred she her horse and put out the flame'
Are you the Bastard of Orleans ? "
'" That am I, and glad of your coming."
'" Is it you who gave counsel that I should come hither by
that bank of the stream, and not go straight where Talbot and
the English are ? "
the Loire above Orleans.' But (p. 7) he savs that after their conversation he and Joan
crossed to the right from the left bank. At all events they were some six miles higher
up the river than Orleans.
54 LIFE AND DEATH OF JOAN THE MAID
'"I myself, and others wiser than I, gave that advice, and we
think it the better way and the surer."
'" In God's name, the counsel of our God is wiser and surer
than yours. You thought to deceive me, and you have deceived
yourselves, for I bring you a better rescue than ever shall come to
soldier or city-that is, the help of the King of Heaven. .. ."
Then instantly, and as it were in one moment, the wind changed
that had been dead against us, and had hindered the boats from
carrying the provisions into Orleans, and the sails filled.'
Dunois now wished Joan to cross by boat and enter the town,
- but her army could not cross, and she was loth to leave them, lest
they fell into sin, for she had made them all confess at Blois.
However, the army returned to Blois, to cross by the bridge there,
and come upon the Orleans bank, as Joan had intended from the
first. Then Joan crossed in the boat, holding in her hand the lily
standard. So she and La Hire and Dunois rode into Orleans, where
the people crowded round her, blessing her, and trying to kiss her
hand. Night had fallen, there were torches flaring in the wind,
and, as the people thronged about her, a torch set fire to the fringe
of her banner. 'Then spurred she her horse, and turned him
gracefully and put out the flame, as if she had long followed the
wars, which the men-at-arms beheld with wonder, and the folk of
Orleans.' So they led her with great joy to the Regnart Gate, and
the house of Jacques Boucher, treasurer of the Duke of Orleans,
and there was she gladly received, with her two brothers and her
gentlemen, her old friends, Nouillompont and Poulengy.
Next day, without leave from Joan, La Hire led a sally against
the English, fought bravely, but failed, and Joan wished once more
to bid the English go in peace. The English, of course, did not obey
her summons, and it is said that they answered with wicked words
which made her weep. For she wept readily, and blushed when
she was moved. In her anger she went to a rampart, and, crying
aloud, bade the English begone; but they repeated their insults, and
threatened yet again to burn her. Next day (May 1), Dunois went
off to bring the troops from Blois, and Joan rode round and in-
spected the English position. They made no attempt to take her.
A superstitious fear of her witchcraft' had already fallen on them;
they had lost heart and soon lost all. On May 4 the army returned
from Blois. Joan rode out to meet them, priests marched in pro-
cession, singing hymns, but the English never stirred. They were
expecting fresh troops under Fastolf. 'If you do not let me know
LIFE AND DEATH OF JOAN THE MAID 66
when Fastolf comes,' cried the Maid merrily to Dunois, I will
have your head cut off.' But for some reason, probably because
they did not wish h3r to run risk, they did not tell Joan when the
next fight began. She had just lain down to sleep when sheleaped
up with a noise, wakening her- squire. My Voices tell me,' she
said, that I must go against the English, but whether to their
forts or against Fastolf I know not.'
There was a cry in the street; Joan armed herself; her page
Wretched boy I she said. French blood is flowing, and you
never told me !'
In a moment she was in the street, the page handed to her the
lily flag from the upper window. Followed by her squire, d'Aulon,
she galloped to the Burgundy Gate. They met wounded men.
' Never do I see French blood but my hair stands up on my head,'
said Joan. She rode out of the gate to the English fort of St. Loup,
which the Orleans men were attacking. Joan leaped into the
fosse, under fire, holding her banner, and cheering on her men.
St. Loup was taken by the French, in spite of a gallant defence,
and Joan wept for the dead English, fearing that they had died
unconfessed. Next day was Ascension Day. Joan, thinking 'the
better the day the better the deed,' was for fighting. There was
no battle, but she again summoned the English to withdraw, and
again was insulted, and wept.
The French generals now conceived a plan to make a feint, or
a sham attack, on the English forts where they were strongest, on
the Orleans side of the river. The English on the left side would
cross to help their countrymen, and then the French would take the
forts beyond the bridge. Thus they would have a free path across
the river, and would easily get supplies, and weary out the English.
They only told Joan of the first part of their plan, but she saw that
they were deceiving her. When the plan was explained she agreed
to it, her one wish was to strike swiftly and strongly. However,
they did not carry out the plan, they only assailed the forts on the
The French attacked the English fort of Les Augustins, beyond
the river, but suddenly they fled to their bridge of boats; while
the English sallied out, yelling their insults at Joan. She turned,
she gathered a few men, and charged. The English ran before her
like sheep; she planted her banner again in the ditch. The French
hurried back to her, a great Englishman, who guarded the breach,
56 LIFE AND DEATH OF JOAN THE MAID
was shot; two French knights leaped in, the others followed, and
the English took refuge in the redoubt of Les Tourelles, their strong
fort at the bridge-head.
The Maid returned to Orleans, and, though it was a Friday,
and she always fasted on Fridays, she was so weary that she ate
some supper. A bit of bread, her page reports, was all that she
usually ate. Now the generals sent to Joan and said that enough
had been done. They had food, and could wait for another army
from the king. You have been with your council,' she said, I have
been with mine. The wisdom of God is greater than yours. Rise
early to-morrow, do better than your best, keep close by me; for to-
morrow have I much to do, and more than ever yet I did, and
to-morrow shall my blood flow from a wound above my breast.'
Joan had always said at Chinon that she would be wounded at
Orleans. From a letter by a Flemish ambassador, written three
weeks before the event happened, we know that this is true.2
Next morning Joan's host had got a fine fish for breakfast.
'Keep it till evening, and I will bring you a God-damn' (an
Englishman) 'to eat his share,' said the Maid, and I will return
by the bridge;' which was broken.
The generals did not wish to attack the bridge-tower, but Joan
paid them no attention. They were glad enough to follow, lest she
took the fort without them.
About half-past six in the morning the fight began. The
French and Scottish leaped into the fosse, they set ladders against
the walls, they reached the battlements, and were struck down by
English swords and axes. Cannon-balls and great stones and arrows
rained on them. Fight on! cried the Maid; the place is ours.' At
one o'clock she set a ladder against the wall with her own hands,
but was deeply wounded by an arrow, which pierced clean
through between neck and shoulder. Joan wept, but seizing the
arrow with her own hands she dragged it out. The men-at-arms
wished to say magic spells over the wound to charm' it, but this
the Maid forbade as witchcraft. Yet,' says Dunois, she did not
withdraw from the battle, nor took any medicine for the wound;
and the onslaught lasted from morning till eight at night, so that
there was no hope of victory. Then I desired that the army should
go back to the town, but the Maid came to me and bade me wait a
little longer. Next she mounted her horse and rode into a vine-
SFollowing Pasquerel, her priest. Procks, iii. 109.
SQaicherat, Nouveaux Apergus, p. 76.
LIFE AND DEATH OF JOAN THE MAID 57
yard, and there prayed for the space of seven minutes or eight.
Then she returned, took her banner, and stood on the brink of the
Joan is wounded by the arrow
fosse. The English trembled when they saw her, but our men
returned to the charge and met with no resistance. The English
58 LIFE AND DEATH OF JOAN THE MAID
fled or were slain, and Glasdale, who had insulted the Maid, was
drowned' (by the burning of the drawbridge between the redoubt
and Les Tourelles. The Maid in vain besought him, with tears,
to surrender and be ransomed), 'and we returned gladly into
Orleans.' The people of Orleans had a great share in this victory.
Seeing the English hard pressed, they laid long beams across the
broken arches of the bridge, and charged by this perilous way.
The triumph was even more that of the citizens than of the army.
Homer tells us how Achilles, alone and unarmed, stood by the
fosse and shouted, and how all the Trojans fled. But here was a
greater marvel; and the sight of the wounded girl, bowed beneath
the weight of her banner, frighted stouter hearts than those of the
men of Troy.
Joan returned, as she had prophesied, by the bridge, but she did
not make her supper off the fish: she took a little bread dipped
in wine and water, her wound was dressed, and she slept. Next
day the English drew up their men in line of battle. The French
went out to meet them, and would have begun the attack. Joan
said that God would not have them fight.
If the English attack, we shall defeat them; we are to let them
go in peace if they will.'
Mass was then said before the French army.
When the rite was done, Joan asked: Do they face us, or have
they turned their backs ? '
It was the English backs that the French saw that day:
Talbot's men were in full retreat on Meun.
From that hour May 8 is kept a holiday at Orleans in honour of
Joan the Maiden. Never was there such a deliverance. In a
week the Maid had driven a strong army, full of courage and well
led, out of forts like Les Tourelles. The Duc d'Alengon visited it,
and said that with a few men-at-arms he would have felt certain
of holding it for a week against any strength however great. But
Joan not only gave the French her spirit: her extraordinary courage
in leading a new charge after so terrible a wound, 'six inches
deep,' says d'Alen;on, made the English think that they were
fighting a force not of this world. And that is exactly what they
HOW JOAN THE MAID TOOK JARGEAU FROM THE ENGLISH
The Maid had shown her sign, as she promised; she had
rescued Orleans. Her next desire was to lead Charles to Reims,
LIFE AND DEATH OF JOAN THE MAID
through a country occupied by the English, and to have him
anointed there with the holy oil. Till this was done she could only
regard him as Dauphin-king, indeed, by blood, but not by conse-
After all that Joan had accomplished, the king and his advisers
might have believed in her. She went to the castle of Loches, where
Charles was: he received her kindly, but still he did not seem
eager to go to Reims. It was a dangerous adventure, for which
he and his favourites like La Tremouille had no taste. It seems
that more learned men were asked to give their opinion. Was it
safe and wise to obey the Maid ? On May 14, only six days after
the relief of Orleans, the famous Gerson wrote down his ideas.
He believed in the Maid. The king had already trusted her
without fear of being laughed at; she and the generals did not
rely on the saints alone, but on courage, prudence, and skill.
Even if, by ill fortune, she were to fail on a later day, the fault
would not be hers, but would be God's punishment of French in-
gratitude. Let us not harm, by our unbelief or injustice, the help
which God has given us so wonderfully.' Unhappily the French,
or at least the Court, were unbelieving, ungrateful, unjust to Joan,
and so she came to die, leaving her work half done. The Arch-
bishop of Embrun said that Joan should always be consulted in
great matters, as her wisdom was of God. And as long as the
French took this advice they did well; when they distrusted and
neglected the Maid they failed, and were defeated and dishonoured.
Councils were now held at Tours, and time was wasted as usual.
As usual, Joan was impatient. With Dunois, who tells the story,
she went to see Charles at the castle of Loches. Some nobles and
clergy were with him; Joan entered, knelt, and embraced his
'Noble Dauphin,' she said, do not hold so many councils, and
such weary ones, but come to Reims and receive the crown.'
Harcourt asked her if her Voices, or counsel' (as she called it)
gave this advice.
She blushed and said: I know what you mean, and will tell
The king asked her if she wished to speak before so many people.
Yes, she would speak. When they doubted her she prayed,
'and then she heard a Voice saying to her:
'" Fille Dd, va, va, va,je serai A ton aide, va I" 1
Daughter of God, go on, and I will help thee.'
60 LIFE AND DEATH OF JOAN THE MAID
And when she heard this Voice she was right glad, and wished
that she could always be as she was then; and as she spoke,' says
Dunois, 'she rejoiced strangely, lifting her eyes to heaven.' And
still she repeated: I will last for only one year, or little, more;
use me while you may.'
Joan stirred the politicians at last. They would go to Reims,
but could they leave behind them English garrisons in Jargeau,
where Suffolk commanded, in Meun, where Talbot was, and in
other strong places ? Already, without Joan, the French had
attacked Jargeau, after the rescue of Orleans, and had failed.
Joan agreed to assail Jargeau. Her army was led by the 'fair
duke,' d'Alengon. He had but lately come from prison in England,
and his young wife was afraid to let him go to war. Madame,'
said Joan, I will bring him back safe, and even better than he is
now.' We shall see how she saved his life. It was now that Guy
and AndrB de Laval saw her, and wrote the description of her
black horse and white armour. They followed with her gladly,
believing that with her glory was to be won.
Let us tell what followed in the words of the Due d'Alengon.
'We were about six hundred lances, who wished to go against
the town of Jargeau, then held by the English. That night we
slept in a wood, and next day came Dunois and Florence d'Illiers
and some other captains. When we were all met we were about
twelve hundred lances; and now arose a dispute among the cap-
tains, some thinking that we should attack the city, others not so,
for they said that the English were very strong, and had many
men.' Seeing this difference, Jeanne bade us have no fear of any
numbers, nor doubt about attacking the English, because God was
guiding us. She herself would rather be herding sheep than fight-
ing, if she were not certain that God was with us. Thereon we rode
to Jargeau, meaning to occupy the outlying houses, and there pass
the night; but the English knew of our approach, and drove in our
skirmishers. Seeing this, Jeanne took her banner and went to the
front, bidding our men be in good heart. And they did so much
that they held the suburbs of Jargeau that night. Next
morning we got ready our artillery, and brought guns up against
the town. After some days a council was held, and I, with others,
wAs ill content with La Hire, who was said to have parleyed with
Lord Suffolk. La Hire was sent for, and came. Then it was
S:r Walter Scott reckons that there were five men to each 'lance'; perhaps four
mmn is more usually the right number.
LIFE AND DEATH OF JOAN THE MAID 61
decided to storm the town, and the heralds cried, "To the attack I"
and Jeanne said to me, Forward, gentle duke." I thought it
was too early, but she said, Doubt not; the hour is come when
God pleases. Ah, gentle duke, are you afraid ? Know you not
that I promised your wife to bring you back safe and sound? as
indeed she had said. As the onslaught was given, Jeanne bade
S: ~I;. ~q z
.' '-. --
' Now arose a dispute among the captains'
me leave the place where I stood, or yonder gun," pointing to
one on the walls, will slay you." Then I withdrew, and a little
later de Lude was slain in that very place. And I feared greatly,
considering the prophecy of the Maid. Then we both went to-
gether to the onslaught; and Suffolk cried for a parley, but no
man marked him, and we pressed on. Jeanne was climbing a
62 LIFE AND DEATH OF JOAN THE MAID
ladder, banner in hand, when her flag was struck by a stone, and
she also was struck on her head, but her light helmet saved her.
She leaped up again, crying, Friends, friends, on, on i Our Lord
has condemned the English. They are ours; be of good heart."
In that moment Jargeau was taken, and the English fled to the
bridges, we following, and more than eleven hundred of them were
One Englishman at least died well. He stood up on the
battlements, and dashed down the ladders till he was shot by a
famous marksman of Lorraine.
Suffolk and his brother were taken prisoners. According to
one account, written at the time, Suffolk surrendered to the Maid,
as' the most valiant woman in the world.' And thus the Maid
HOW THE MAID DEFEATED THE ENGLISH AT PATHAY, AND
OF THE STRANGE GUIDE
The French slew some of their prisoners at Jargeau. Once
Joan saw a man-at-arms strike down a prisoner. She leaped from
her horse, and laid the wounded Englishman's head on her breast,
consoling him, and bade a priest come and hear his confession.
Cruel and cowardly deeds are done in all wars, but when was there
ever such a general as the Maid, to comfort the dying ?
From Jargeau the Maid rode back to Orleans, where the people
could not look on her enough, and made great festival. Many men
came in to fight under her flag, among them Richemont, who had
been on bad terms with Charles, the uncrowned king. Then Joan
took the bridge-fort at Meun, which the English held; next she
drove the English at Beaugency into the citadel, and out of the town.
As to what happened next, we have the story of Wavrin, who
was fighting on the English side under Fastolf.1 The garrison
of the English in Beaugency, he says, did not know whether
to hold out or to yield. Talbot reported all this to Bedford, at
Paris, and large forces were sent to relieve Beaugency. Wavrin
rode with his captain, Fastolf, to Senville, where Talbot joined
them, and a council was held. Fastolf said that the English
had lost heart, and that Beaugency should be left to its fate, while
the rest held out in strong places and waited for reinforcements.
But Talbot cried that, if he had only his own people, he would fight
In Procs, iv, 414.
LIFE AND DEATH OF JOAN THE MAID 63
the French, with the help of God and St. George. Next morning
Fastolf repeated what he had said, and declared that they would
lose all King Henry had won. But Talbot was for fighting. So
One Englishman at least died well
64 LIFE AND DEATH OF JOAN THE MAID
they marched to a place between Meun and Beaugency, and drew
up in order of battle. The French saw them, and occupied a strong
position on a little hill. The English then got ready, and invited
the French to come down and fight on the plain. But Joan was
not so chivalrous as James IV. at Flodden.
Go you to bed to-night, for it is late; to-morrow, so please God
and Our Lady, we will see you at close quarters.'
The English then rode to Meun, and cannonaded the bridge-fort,
which was held by the French. They hoped to take the bridge,
cross it, march to Beaugency, and relieve the besieged there. But
that very night Beaugency surrendered to the Maid I She then
bade her army march on the English, who were retreating to Paris
as soon as they heard how Beaugency had yielded. But how was
the Maid to find the English ? Ride forward,' she cried, and you
shall have a sure guide.' They had a guide, and a strange one.
The English were marching towards Paris, near Pathay, when
their eclaireurs (who beat the country on all sides) came in with
the news that the French were following. But the French knew
not where the English were, because the deserted and desolate
country was overgrown with wood.
Talbot decided to do what the English did at Cre9y, where
they won so glorious a victory. He lined the hedges in a narrow
way with five hundred archers of his best, and he sent a galloper to
bring thither the rest of his army. On came the French, not seeing
the English in ambush. In a few minutes they would have been
shot down, and choked the pass with dying men and horses. But
now was the moment for the strange guide.
A stag was driven from cover by the French, and ran blindly
among the ambushed English bowmen. Not knowing that the
French were so near, and being archers from Robin Hood's country,
who loved a deer, they raised a shout, and probably many an arrow
flew at the stag. The French dclaireurs heard the cry, they saw
the English, and hurried back with the news.
Forward !' cried the Maid; if they were hung to the clouds
we have them. To-day the gentle king will gain such a victory as
never yet did he win.''
The French dashed into the pass before Talbot had secured it.
Fastolf galloped up, but the English thought that he was in flight;
the captain of the advanced guard turned his horse about and made
off. Talbot was taken, Fastolf fled, 'making more sorrow than ever
D'Alenqon, Procis, iii. 98.
THE ENGLISH ARCHERS BETRAYED BY THE STAG
I.... ',-Lt ~ .~-~("
LIFE AND DEATH OF JOAN THE MAID 67
yet did man.' The French won a great victory. They needed
their spurs, as the Maid had told them that they would, to follow
their flying foes. The English lost some 3,000 men. In the
evening Talbot, as a prisoner, was presented to the Duc d'Alencon.
'You did not expect this in the morning ? said the duke.
Fortune of war !' said Talbot.
So ended the day of Pathay, and the adventure of the Strange
HOW THE MAID HAD THE KING CROWNED AT REIMS
Here are the exploits which the Maid and the loyal French did in
one week. She took Jargeau on June 11; on June 15 she seized
the bridge of Meun; Beaugency yielded to her on June 17; on
June 18 she defeated the English army at Pathay. Now sieges were
long affairs in those days, as they are even to-day, when cannon are
so much more powerful than they were in Joan's time. Her success
seemed a miracle to the world.
This miracle, like all miracles, was wrought by faith. Joan
believed in herself, in her country, and in God. It was not by
visions and by knowing things strangely that she conquered, but by
courage, by strength (on one occasion she never put off her armour
for six days and six nights), and by inspiring the French with the
sight of her valour. Without her visions, indeed, she would never
have gone to war. She often said so. But, being at war, her word
was 'Help yourselves, and God will help you.' Who could be lazy
or a coward when a girl set such an example ?
The King of France and his favourites could be indolent and
cowards. Had Charles VII. been such a man as Charles Stuart
was in 1745, his foot would have been in the stirrup, and his lance in
rest. In three months the English would have been driven into
the sea. But the king loitered about the castles of the Loire with
his favourite, La Tremouille, and his adviser, the Archbishop of
Reims. They wasted the one year of Joan. There were jealousies
against the Constable de Richemont of Brittany who had come
with all his lances to follow the lily flag. If once Charles were king
indeed and the English driven out, La Tremouille would cease to
be powerful. This dastard sacrificed the Maid in the end, as he
was ready to sacrifice France to his own private advantage.
At last, with difficulty, Charles was brought to visit Reims, and
consent to be crowned like his ancestors. Seeing that he was never
likely to move, Joan left the town where he was and went off into
68 LIFE AND DEATH OF JOAN THE MAID
the country. This retreat brought Charles to his senses. The
towns which he passed by yielded to him; Joan went and summoned
each. Now she was with the king in the centre, now with the
rearguard, now with the van.' The town of Troyes, where there
was an English garrison, did not wish to yield. There was a council
in the king's army : they said they could not take the place.
In two days it shall be yours, by force or by good will,' said
Six days will do,' said the chancellor, 'if you are sure you
Joan made ready for an attack. She was calling Forward!'
when the town surrendered. Reims, after some doubts, yielded
also, on July 16, and all the people, with shouts of 'Noel!'
welcomed the king. On July 17 the king was crowned and
anointed with the Holy Oil by that very Archbishop of Reims
who always opposed Joan. The Twelve Peers of France were not
all present-some were on the English side-but Joan stood by
Charles, her banner in her hand. 'It bore the brunt, and deserved
to share the renown,' she said later to her accusers.
When the ceremony was ended, and the Dauphin Charles was
a crowned and anointed king, the Maid knelt weeping at his feet.
'Gentle king,' she said, 'now is accomplished the will of God,
who desired that you should come to Reims to be consecrated, and
to prove that you are the true king and the kingdom is yours.'
'Then all the knights wept for joy.
The king bade Joan choose her reward. Already horses, rich
armour, jewelled daggers, had been given to her. These, adding to
the beauty and glory of her aspect, had made men follow her more
gladly, and for that she valued them. She, too, made gifts to
noble ladies, and gave much to the poor. She only wanted money
to wage the war with, not for herself. Her family was made
noble; on their shield, between two liies, a sword upholds the
crown. Her father was at Reims, and saw her in her glory.
What reward, then, was Joan to choose ? She chose nothing for
herself, but that her native village of Domremy should be free
from taxes. This news her father carried home from the splendid
scene at Reims.
Would that we could leave the Maiden here, with Orleans
saved, and her king crowned Would that she, who wept when
her saints left her in her visions, and who longed to follow them,
could have been carried by them to their Paradise !
TIIL COfLONITION OF (CHA1BLES VII
LIFE AND DEATH OF JOAN THE MAID 71
But Joan had another task; she was to be foiled by the
cowardice of her king; she was to be captured, possibly by
treachery ; she was to be tried with the most cruel injustice; she
was to die by fire; and was, to set, through months of agony, such
an example of wisdom, courage, and loyal honour as never was
shown by man.
Did Joan look forward to her end, did she know that her days
were numbered ? On the journey to Reims she met some Dom-
remy people at Chalons, and told them that she feared nothing
but treachery.' Perhaps she already suspected the political enemies,
the Archbishop of Reims and La Tremouille, who were to spoil her
As they went from Reims after the coronation, Dunois and the
archbishop were riding by her rein. The people cheered and
'They are a good people,' said Joan. 'Never saw I any more
joyous at the coming of their king. Ah, would that I might be so
happy when I end my days as to be buried here!'
Said the archbishop:
Oh, Jeanne, in what place do you hope to die ?'
Then she said:
Where it pleases God; for I know not that hour, nor that
place, more than ye do. But would to God, my maker, that now
I might depart, and lay down my arms, and help my father and
mother, and keep their sheep with my brothers and my sister, who
would rejoice to see me 1
Some writers have reported Joan's words as if she meant that
she wished the king to let her go home and leave the wars. In
their opinion Joan was only acting under heavenly direction till
the consecration of Charles. Afterwards, like Hal of the Wynd,
she was fighting for her own hand,' they think, and therefore she
did not succeed. But from the first Joan threatened to drive the
English quite out of France, and she also hoped to bring the Due
d'Orl6ans home from captivity in England. If her Voices had told
.her not to go on after the coronation, she would probably have said
so at her trial, when she mentioned one or two acts of disobedience
to her Voices. Again, had she been anxious to go home, Charles VII.
and his advisers would have been only too glad to let her go.
They did not wish her to lead them into dangerous places, and
they hated obeying her commands.
SDunois. Proes, iii. 14.
72 LIFE AND DEATH OF JOAN THE MAID
Some French authors have, very naturally, wished to believe
that the Maid could make no error, and could not fail; they
therefore draw a line between what she did up to the day of
Reims, and what she did afterwards. They hold that she was
divinely led till the coronation, and not later. But it is difficult to
agree with them here. As we saw, Gerson told the French that
by injustice and ingratitude they might hinder the success of the
Maid. His advice was a prophecy.
HOW THE MAID RODE TO PARIS
W HAT was to be done after the crowning of the king ? Bed-
ford, the regent for the child Henry VI., expected to see
Joan under the walls of Paris. He was waiting for the troops
which the Cardinal of Winchester had collected in England as a
crusading army against the Hussite heretics, a kind of Protestants
who were giving trouble. Bedford induced Winchester to bring
his men to France, but they had not arrived. The Duke of Bur-
gundy, the head of the great French party which opposed Charles,
had been invited by the Maid to Reims. Again she wrote to him:
' Make a firm, good peace with the King of France,' she said;
'forgive each other with kind hearts'-for the Duke's father had
been murdered by the friends of Charles. I pray and implore
you, with joined hands, fight not against France. Great pity it
woull be of the great battle and bloodshed if your men come
The Duke of Burgundy, far from listening to Joan's prayer, left
Paris and went to raise men for the English. Meanwhile Charles
was going from town to town, and all received him gladly. But
Joan soon began to see that, instead of marching west from
Reims to Paris, the army was being led south-west towards the
Loire. There the king would be safe among his dear castles,
where he could live indoors, 'in wretched little rooms,' and
take his ease. Thus Bedford was able to throw 5,000 men of
Winchester's into Paris, and even dared to come out and hunt for
the French king. The French should have struck at Paris at once
as Joan desired. The delays were excused, because the .Duke of
Burgundy had promised to surrender Paris in a fortnight. But
LIFE AND DEATH OF JOAN THE MAID 73
this he did merely to gain time. Joan knew this, and said there
would be no peace but at the lance-point.
i---vE- --- "^ \
Jon change te English to sally forth
Joan challenges the English to sally forth
Here we get the best account of what happened from Perceval
de Cagny, a knight in the household of the Duc d'Alencon. He
74 LIFE AND DEATH OF JOAN THE MAID
wrote his book in 1436, only five years after Joan was burned, and
he spoke of what he knew well, as a follower of Joan's friend, 'the
fair duke.' The French and English armies kept watching each
other, and there were skirmishes near Senlis. On August 15 the
Maid and d'Alengon hoped for a battle. But the English had
fortified their position in the night with ditches, palisades, and a
laagerr' of wagons. Come out they would not, so Joan rode up
to their fortification, standard in hand, struck the palisade, and
challenged them to sally forth. She even offered to let them
march out and draw themselves up in line of battle. La Tremouille
thought this a fine opportunity of distinguishing himself. He rode
into the skirmish, his horse fell with him, but, by evil luck, he was
rescued. We do not hear that La Tremouille risked himself again.'
The Maid stayed on the field all night, and next day made a
retreat, hoping to draw the English out of their fort. But they
were too wary, and went back to Paris.
More towns came in to Charles. Beauvais yielded, and the
Bishop of Beauvais, Pierre Cauchon, had to fly to the English.
He revenged himself by managing Joan's trial and having her
burned. Compiagne, an important place north of Paris, yielded,
and was handed to Guillaume de Flavy as governor. In rescuing
this fatal place later, Joan was taken prisoner. Now the fortnight
was over, after which the Duke of Burgundy was to surrender Paris.
But he did nothing of the kind, and there were more long weary
councils,' and a truce was arranged with Burgundy till Christmas.
But the Maid was weary of words. She called the Due d'Alencon
and said: My fair duke, array your men, for, by my staff, I would
fain see Paris more closely than I have seen it yet.'
On August 23 the Maid and d'Alencon left the king at Com-
piggne and rode to St. Denis, where were the tombs of the kings
of France. And when the king heard that they were at St. Denis,
he came, very sore against his will, as far as Senlis, and it seems
that his advisers were contrary to the will of the Maid, of the Due
d'Alencon, and of their company.'
The great captains, Dunois, Xaintrailles, d'Alencon, %ere
soldiers, and the king's advisers and favourites were clergymen,
like the Archbishop of Reims, or indolent men of peace, like
La Tremouille. They declared, after the Maid was captured,
that she 'took too much on herself,' and they were glad of her fall.
Journal du Si6ge. Proces, iv. 195. As it stands, this authority is thirty years later
than tie events.
LIFE AND DEATH OF JOAN THE MAID 75
But she had shown that nobody but herself and her soldiers and
captains were of any use to France.
The king was afraid to go near Paris, but Bedford was afraid to
stay in the town. He went to Rouen, the strongest English hold
in Normandy, leaving the Burgundian army and 2,000 English in
Every day the Maid and d'Alencon rode from St. Denis and
insulted the gates of Paris, and observed the best places for an
attack in force. And still Charles dallied and delayed, still the
main army did not come up. Meanwhile Paris was strengthened
by the English and Burgundians. The people of the city were told
that Charles intended to plunder the place and utterly destroy it,
' which is difficult to believe,' says the Clerk of Parliament, who was
in the city at that time.' It was 'difficult to believe,' but the Paris
people believed it, and, far from rising for their king and country,
they were rather in arms against the Maid. They had no wish to
fall in a general massacre, as the English and Burgundians falsely
told them would be their fate.
Thus the delay of the king gave the English time to make Paris
almost impregnable, and to frighten the people, who, had Charles
marched straight from Reims, would have yielded as Reims did.
D'Alencon kept going to Senlis urging Charles to come up with
the main army. He went on September 1-the king promised to
start next day. D'Alencon returned to the Maid, the king still
loitered. At last d'Alencon brought him to St. Denis on September 7,
and there was a skirmish that day.
HOW THE MAID WAS WOUNDED IN ATTACKING PARIS, AND HOW THE
KING WOULD NOT LET THE ASSAULT BEGIN ACAIN
In all descriptions of battles different accounts are given, each
man telling what he himself saw, or what he remembers. As to
the assault on Paris on September 8, the Maid herself said a few
words at her trial. Her Voices had neither commanded her to
attack nor to abstain from attacking. Her opinion was that the
captains and leaders on her side only meant to skirmish in force,
and to do deeds of chivalry. But her own intention was to press
onwards, and, by her example, to make the army follow her. It
was thus that she took Les Tourelles at Orleans. This account
SThis man was Clement de Fauquemberque. When lie recorded the relief of
Orleans, he drew on the margin of his paper a little fancy sketch of Joan, with long hair,
a woman's dress, a sword, and a banner with the monogram of Jesus. This sketch
still exists. ('rocis, iv. 451.)
76 LIFE AND DEATH OF JOAN THE MAID
scarcely agrees with what we read in the book of Perceval de Cagny,
who was with his lord, the Due d'Alencon. He says that about
eight on the morning of September 8, the day of Our Lady, the
army set forth; some were to storm the town; another division was
to remain under cover and protect the former if a sally was made by
the English. The Maid, the Marshal de Rais, and De Gaucourt
led the attack on the Porte St. Honor6.1 Standard in hand, the Maid
leaped into the fosse near the pig market. 'The assault was long
and fierce, and it was marvel to hear the noise of cannons and
culverins from the walls, and to see the clouds of arrows. Few of
those in the fosse with the Maid were struck, though many others on
horse and foot were wounded with arrows and stone cannon-balls,
but by God's grace and the Maid's good fortune, there was none of
them but could return to camp unhelped. The assault lasted from
noon till dusk, say eight in the evening. After sunset the Maid was
struck by a crossbow bolt in the thigh; and, after she was hurt,
she cried but the louder that all should attack, and that the place
was taken. But as night had now fallen, and she was wounded,
and the men-at-arms were weary with the long attack, De Gaucourt
and others came and found her, and, against her will, brought her
forth from the fosse. And so ended that onslaught. But right sad
she was to leave, and said, By my baton, the place would have
been taken." They put her on horseback, and led her to her
quarters, and all the rest of the king's company who that day had
come from St. Denis.'
So Cagny tells the story. He was, we may believe, with
d'Alenqon and the party covering the attack. Jean Chartier, who
was living at the time, adds that the Maid did not know that the
inner moats were full of water. When she reached the water, she
had faggots and other things thrown in to fill up a passage. At
nightfall she would not retreat, and at last d'Alencon came and
forced her to return. The Clerk of Parliament, who, of course,
was within the walls, says that the attack lasted till ten or eleven
o'clock at night, and that, in Paris, there was a cry that all was lost.
Joan behaved as gallantly as she did at Les Tourelles. Though
wounded she was still pressing on, still encouraging her men, but
she was not followed. She was not only always eager to attack.
but she never lost heart, she never lost grip. An army of men as
brave as Joan would have been invincible.
This was not far from the present The tre Framncis. The statue of the M'ai'l, on
horseback, is near the place where she was wounded.
LIFE AND DEATH OF JOAN THE MAID 77
'Next day,' says Cagny, in spite of her wound, she was first in
the field. She went to d'Alencon and bade him sound the trumpets
for the charge. D'Alencon and the other captains were of the same
mind as the Maid, and Montmorency with sixty gentlemen and
many lances came in, though he had been on the English side
before. So they began to march on Paris, but the king sent
messengers, the Due de Bar, and the Comte de Clermont, and com-
pelled the Maid and the captains to return to St. Denis. Right
sorry were they, yet they must obey the king. They hoped to take
Paris from the other side, by a bridge which the Due d'Alencon
had made across the Seine. But the king knew the duke's and the
Maid's design, and caused the bridge to be broken down, and a
council was held, and the king desired to depart and go to the
Loire, to the great grief of the Maid. When she saw that they
would go, she dedicated her armour, and hung it up before the
statue of Our Lady at St. Denis, and so right sadly went away in
company with the king. And thus were broken the will of the M aid
and the army of the king.'
The politicians had triumphed. They had thwarted the Maid,
they had made her promise to take Paris of no avail. They had
destroyed the confidence of men in the banner that had -never gone
.back. Now they might take their ease, now they might loiter in
the gardens of the Loire. The Maid had failed, by their design,
and by their cowardice. The treachery that she, who feared
nothing else, had long dreaded, was accomplished now. The will
of the Maid and the army of the king were broken.:
HOW THE MAID AND HER FAIR DUKE WERE SEPARATED
FROM EACH OTHER
The king now went from one pleasant tower on the Loire to
another, taking the Maid with him. Meanwhile, the English took
and plundered some of the cities which had yielded to Charles, and
they carried off the Maid's armour from the chapel in Saint Denis,
where she had dedicatedit,' because Saint Denis! is the cry of France.'
Her Voices had bidden her stay at Saint Denis, but this she was not
permitted to do, and now she must hear daily how the loyal towns that
she had won were plundered by the English. The French garrisons
Paris, a; the Clerk of Parliament wrote in his note-book, could only be taken by
Ilockalie. It was a far larger city than Orleans, and we see b 1..... ri.. T,, ..: i., the
eight of courage and confidence, were delayed by Orleans. :.r r ,.i. .1. .1 now
the word 'impossible' Properly supported, she could probably have taken Paris by
assault; at the least she would not have left it while she lived.
78 LIFE AND DEATH OF JOAN THE MAID
alsobegan to rob, as they had done before she came. There wa' great
pity in France' again, and all her work seemed wasted. The Due
d'Alenqon went to his own place of Beaumont, but he returned,
and offered to lead an army against the English in Normandy, if
the Maid might march with him. Then he would have had
followers in plenty, for the people had not wholly lost faith. But
La Tremouille, and Gaucourt, and the Archbishop of Reims, who
managed the king and the war, would not consent, nor suffer the
Maid and the duke to be together, nor ever again might they
meet.' So says Cagny, and he adds that the Maid loved the fair
duke above other men, and did for him what she would do for no
other.' She had saved his life at Jargeau, but where was the
duke when Joan was a prisoner ? We do not know, but we may
believe that he, at least, would have helped her if he could. They
were separated by the jealousy of cowards, who feared that the
duke might win-too much renown and become too powerful.
HOW MARVELLOUSLY THE MAID TOOK SAINT-PIERRE-LE-MOUSTIER
Even the banks of Loire, where the king loved to be, were not
free from the English. They held La Charit6 and Saint-Pierre-le-
Moustier. Joan wanted to return to Paris, but the council sent her
to take La Charit4 and Saint-Pierre-le-Moustier. This town she
attacked first. Her squire, a gentleman named d'Aulon, was with
her, and described what he saw. When they had besieged the
place for some time, an assault was commanded, but, for the great
strength of the forts and the numbers of the enemy, the French
were forced to give way. At that hour, I who speak was wounded
by an arrow in the heel, and could not stand or walk without
crutches. But I saw the Maid holding her ground with a handful
of men, and, fearing ill might come of it, I mounted a horse and
rode to her, asking what she was doing there alone, and why she
did not retreat like the others. She took the salad from her head,
and answered that she was not alone, but had in her company fifty
thousand of her people; and that go she would not till she had
taken that town.
But, whatever she said, I saw that she had with her but four
men or five, as others also saw, wherefore I bade her retreat. Then
she commanded me to have faggots brought, and planks to bridge
fosses. And, as she spoke to me, she cried in a loud voice, "All
of you, bring faggots to fill the fosse." And this was done, whereat
LIFE AND DEATH OF JOAN THE MAID
I greatly marvelled, and instantly that town was taken by assault
with no great resistance. And all that the Maid did seemed to me
rather deeds divine than natural, and it was impossible that so
young a maid should do such deeds without the will and guidance
of Our Lord.'
This was the last great feat of arms wrought by the Maid. As
at Les Tourelles she won by sheer dint of faith and courage, and so
might she have done at Paris, but for the king. At this town the
'Go she would not till she had taken that town'
soldiers wished to steal the sacred things in the church, and the
goods laid up there. But the Maid right manfully forbade and
hindered them, nor ever would she permit any to plunder.' So says
Reginald Thierry, who was with her at this siege. Once a Scottish
man-at-arms let her know that her dinner was made of a stolen
calf, and she was very angry, wishing to strike that Scot. He came
from a land where lifting cattle' was thought rather a creditable
80 LIFE AND DEA TH (F JOAN THE MAID
HOW THE MAID WAITED WEARILY AT COURT
From her latest siege the Maid rode to attack La Charit6. But,
though the towns helped her as well as they might with money and
food, her force was too small, and was too ill provided with every-
thing, for the king did not send supplies. She raised the siege and
departed in great displeasure. The king was not unkind, he en-
nobled her and her family, and permitted the dignity to descend
through daughters as well as sons; no one else was ever so
honoured. Her brothers called themselves Du Lys, from the lilies of
their crest, but Joan kept her name and her old banner. She was
trailed after the Court from place to place; for three weeks she stayed
with a lady who describes her as very devout and constantly in
church. People said to Joan that it was easy for her to be brave,
as she knew she would not be slain, but she answered that she had
no more assurance of safety than any one of them. Thinking her
already a saint, people brought her things to touch.
'Touch them yourselves,' she said; 'your touch is as good as
She wore a little cheap ring, which her father and mother had
given her, inscribed JHESU MARIA, and she believed that with this ring
she had touched the body of St. Catherine. But she was humble,
and thought herself no saint, though surely there never was a
better. She gave great alms, saying that she was sent to help the
poor and needy. Such was the Maid in peace.
HOW THE MAID MET AN IMPOSTOR
There was a certain woman named Catherine de la Rochelle,
who gave out that she had visions. A beautiful lady, dressed in
cloth of gold, came to her by night, and told her who had hidden
treasures. These she offered to discover that there might be money
for the wars, which Joan needed sorely. A certain preacher, named
Brother Richard, wished to make use of this pretender, but Joan
said that she must first herself see the fair lady in cloth of gold.
So she sat up with Catherine till midnight, and then fell asleep,
when the lady appeared, so Catherine said. Joan slept next day,
and watched all the following night. Of course the fair lady never
came. Joan bade Catherine go back to her family; she needed
money for the war, but not money got by false pretences. So she
told the king that the whole story was mere folly. This woman
afterwards lied against the Maid when she was a prisoner.
LIFE AND DEATH OF JOAN THE MAID
HOW THE MAID'S VOICES PROPHESIED OF HER TAKING
Winter melted into spring; the truce with Burgundy was
prolonged, but the Burgundians fought under English colours. The
king did nothing, but in Normandy La Hire rode in arms to the
gates of Rouen. Paris became doubtfully loyal to the English.
The Maid could be idle no longer. Without a word to the king
she rode to Lagny, for there they had fought bravely against the
English.' These men were Scots, under Sir Hugh Kennedy.
In mid-April she was at Melun. There 'she heard her Voices
almost every day, and many a time they told her that she would
presently be taken prisoner.' Her year was over, and as the
Voices prophesied her wound at Orleans, now they prophesied her
captivity. She prayed that she might die as soon as she was
taken, without the long sorrow of imprisonment. Then her Voices
told her to bear graciously whatever befell her, for so it must be.
But they told her not the hour of her captivity. 'If she had known
the hour she would not then have gone to war. And often she
prayed them to tell her of that hour, but they did not answer.'
These words are Joan's. She spoke them to her judges at
Among all her brave deeds this was the bravest. Whatever
the source of her Voices was, she believed in what they said. She
rode to fight with far worse than death under shield before her
eyes, knowing certainly that her English foes would take her, they
who had often threatened to burn her.
HOW THE MAID TOOK FRANQUET D'ARRAS
There was in these parts a robber chief on the Burgundian side
named Franquet d'Arras. The Maid had been sent, as she said, to
help the poor who were oppressed by these brigands. Hearing
that Franquet, with three or four hundred men-at-arms, was near
Lagny-sur-Marne, the Maid rode out to seek him with four hundred
French and Scots. The fight is described in one way by Monstrelet,
in another by Cagny and Joan herself. Monstrelet, being a Bur-
gundian writer, says that Franquet made a gallant resistance
till he was overwhelmed by numbers, as the Maid called out the
garrison of Lagny. Cagny says that Franquet's force was greater
than that of the Maid who took him. However this may be,
Franquet was a knight, and so should have been kept prisoner till
he paid his ransom. Monstrelet tells us that Joan had his head
82 LIFE AND DEATH OF JOAN THE MAID
cut off. She herself told her judges that Franquet confessed to
being a traitor, robber, and murderer; that the magistrates of
Senlis and Lagny claimed him as a criminal; that she tried to
exchange him for a prisoner of her own party, but that her man
died, that Franquet had a fair trial, and that then she allowed justice
to take its course. She was asked if she paid money to the captor
I am not treasurer of France, to pay such moneys,' she answered
Probably Franquet deserved to die, but a trial by his enemies
was not likely to be a fair trial.
At Lagny the Maid left a gentler memory. She was very fond
of children, and had a girl's love of babies. A boy of three days
old was dying or seemed dead, and the girls of Lagny carried it to
the statue of Our Lady in their church, and there prayed over
it. For three days, ever since its birth, the baby had lain in a
trance without sign of life, so that they dared not christen it. It
was black as my doublet,' said Joan at her trial, where she wore
mourning. Joan knelt with the other girls and prayed; colour
came back into the child's face, it gasped thrice, was baptised, then
died, and was buried in holy ground. So Joan said at her trial.
She claimed no share in this good fortune, and never pretended that
she worked miracles.
HOW THE MAID FOUGHT HER LAST FIGHT
The name of Joan was now such a terror to the English that
men deserted rather than face her in arms. At this time the truce
with Burgundy ended, and the duke openly set out to besiege the
strong town of Compiegne, held by de Flavy for France. Joan
hurried to Compiegne, whence she made two expeditions which
were defeated by treachery. Perhaps she thought of this, perhaps
of the future, when in the church of Compiegne she declared one
day to a crowd of children whom she loved that she knew she was
sold and betrayed. Old men who had heard her told this tale long
Burgundy had invested Compiegne, when Joan, with four
hundred men, rode into the town secretly at dawn. That day
Joan led a sally against the Burgundians. Her Voices told her
nothing, good or bad, she says. The Burgundians were encamped
at Margny and at Clairoix, theEnglish at Venette, villages on a plain
LIFE AND DEATH OF JOAN THE MAID 83
near the walls. Joan crossed the bridge on a grey charger, in a
surcoat of crimson silk, rode through the redoubt beyond the
bridge, and attacked the Burgundians. Flavy in the town was
to prevent the English from attacking her in the rear. He had
boats on the river to secure Joan's retreat if necessary.
Joan swept through Margny, driving the Burgundians before
her; the garrison of Clairoix came to their help; the battle was
doubtful. Meanwhile the English came up; they could not have
reached the Burgundians, to aid them, but some of the Maid's men,
84 LIFE AND DEATH OF JOAN THE MAID
seeing the English standards, fled. The English followed them
under the walls of Compiegne; the gate of the redoubt was closed
to prevent the English from entering with the runaways. Like
Hector under Troy, the Maid was shut out from the town which
she came to save.
Joan was with her own foremost line when the rear fled. They
told her of her danger, she heeded not. For the last time rang out
in that girlish voice: Allez avant Forward, they are ours '
Her men seized her bridle and turned her horse's head about.
The English held the entrance from the causeway; Joan and a few
men (her brother was one of them) were driven into a corner of
the outer wall. A rush was made at Joan. 'Yield! yield I give
your faith to me !' each man cried.
I have given my faith to Another,' she said, and I will keep
Her enemies confess that on this day Joan did great feats of
arms, covering the rear of her force when they had to fly.
Some French historians hold that the gates were closed by
treason that the Maid might be taken. We may hope that this
was not so; the commander of CompiAgne held his town success-
fully for the king, and was rescued by Joan's friend, the brave Pothon
HOW THE MAID LEAPED FROM THE TOWER OF BEAUREVOIR
The sad story that is still to tell shall be shortly told. There is
no word nor deed of the Maid's, in captivity as in victory, that is
not to her immortal honour. But the sight of the wickedness of
men, their cowardice, cruelty, greed, ingratitude, is not a thing to
The Maid, as a prisoner of the Bastard of Wandomme, himself
a man of Jean de Luxembourg, was led to Margny, where the
Burgundian and English captains rejoiced over her. They had
her at last, the girl who had driven them from fort and field.
Luxembourg claimed her and carried her to Beaulieu. Not a
French lance was laid in rest to rescue her; not a son did the
king send to ransom her. Where were Dunois and d'Alen;on,
Xaintrailles and La Hire ? The bold Buccleugh, who carried
Kinmont Willie out of Carlisle Castle, would not have left the
Maid unrescued at Beaulieu. What is there that a man does
not dare ?' he said to the angry Queen Elizabeth. But Dunois,
d'Alen(on, Xaintrailles, La Hire, dared all things. Something
LIFE AND DEATH OF JOAN THE MAID 85
which we do not know of must have held these heroes back, and,
being ignorant, it does not become us to blame them.
Joan was the very spirit of chivalry, but in that age of chivalry
she was shamefully deserted. As a prisoner of war she should
properly have been held to ransom. But, within two days of her
capture, the Vicar-General of the Inquisition in France claimed
her as a heretic and a witch. The English knights let the priests
and the University of Paris judge and burn the girl whom they
seldom dared to face in war. The English were glad enough to
use French priests and doctors who would sell themselves to the
task of condemning and burning their maiden enemy. She was
the enemy of the English, and they did actually believe in witch-
craft. The English were hideously cruel and superstitious: we
may leave the French to judge Jean de Luxembourg, who sold the
girl to England; Charles, who moved not a finger to help her;
Bishop Cauchon and the University of Paris, who judged her
lawlessly and condemned her to the stake; and the Archbishop
of Reims, who said that she had deserved her fall. There is dis-
honour in plenty; let these false Frenchmen of her time divide
their shares among themselves.
From Beaulieu, where she lay from May to August, Luxembourg
carried his precious prize to Beaurevoir, near Cambrai, further from
the French armies. He need not have been alarmed, not a French
sword was drawn to help the Maid. At Beaurevoir, Joan was
kindly treated by the ladies of the Castle. These ladies alone up-
held the honour of the great name of France. They knelt and
wept before Jean de Luxembourg, imploring him not to sell Joan
to Burgundy, who sold her again to England. May their names
ever be honoured! One of the gentlemen of the place, on the
other hand, was rude to Joan, as he confessed thirty years later.
Joan was now kept in a high tower at Beaurevoir, and was
allowed to walk on the leads. She knew she was sold to England,
she had heard that the people of Compiegne were to be massacred.
She would rather die than fall into English hands, 'rather give her
soul to God, than her body to the English.' But she hoped to
escape and relieve CompiAgne. She, therefore, prayed for counsel
to her Saints; might she leap from the top of the tower? Would
they not bear her up in their hands? St. Catherine bade her not
to leap; God would help her and the people of Compiegne.
Then, for the first time as far as we know, the Maid wilfully
disobeyed her Voices. She leaped from the tower. They
86 LIFE AND DEATH OF JOAN THE MAID
found her, not wounded, not a limb was broken, but stunned.
She knew not what had happened; they told her she had leaped
down. For three days she could not eat, yet was she comforted
by St. Catherine, who bade her confess and seek pardon of God,
/7 and toldher that, withoutfail,
Joan at Beaurevoir
burn girls of nineteen. If we were
on this point, no doubt we should be
they of Compi6gne should be
relieved before Martinmas.'
This prophecy was fulfilled.
Joan was more troubled
about Compi6gne, than about
her own coming doom. She
was already sold to the
English, like a sheep to the
slaughter; they bought their
French bishop Cauchon, he
summoned his shavelings,
the doctors of the University
and of the Inquisition.
The chivalry of England
locked up the Maid in an
iron cage at Rouen. The
rest was easy to men of
whom all, or almost all,
were the slaves of supersti-
tion, fear, and greed. They
were men like ourselves,
and no worse, if perhaps no
better, but their especial
sins and temptations were
those to which few of us are
inclined. We, like Charles,
are very capable of deserting,
or at least of delaying to
rescue, our bravest and best,
like Gordon in Khartoum.
But, as we are not afraid of
witches, we do not cage and
as ignorant as our ancestors
as cowardly and cruel.
LIFE AND DEATH OF JOAN THE MAID
HOW THE MAID WAS TRIED AND CONDEMNED, AND HOW
BRAVELY SHE DIED
ABOUT the trial and the death of the Maid, I have not the heart
to write a long story. Some points are to be remembered.
The person who conducted the trial, itself illegal, was her deadly
enemy, the false Frenchman, the Bishop of Beauvais, Cauchon,
whom she and her men had turned out of his bishoprick. It is
most unjust and unheard of, that any one should be tried by a judge
who is his private enemy. Next, Joan was kept in strong irons day
and night, and she, the most modest of maidens, was always guarded
by five brutal English soldiers of the lowest rank. Again, she was
not allowed to receive the Holy Communion as she desired with
tears. Thus weakened by long captivity and ill usage, she, an un-
taught girl, was questioned repeatedly for three months, by the
most cunning and learned doctors in law of the Paris University.
Often many spoke at once, to perplex her mind. But Joan always
showed a wisdom which confounded them, and which is at least as
extraordinary as her skill in war. She would never swear an oath
to answer all their questions. About herself, and all matters bearing
on her own conduct, she would answer. About the king and the
secrets of the king, she would not answer. If they forced her .to
reply about these things, she frankly said, she would not tell them
the truth. The whole object of the trial was to prove that she
dealt with powers of evil, and that her king had been crowned and
aided by the devil. Her examiners, therefore, attacked her day by
day, in public and in her dungeon, with questions about these
visions which she held sacred, and could only speak of with a blush
among her friends. Had she answered (as a lawyer said at the
time), 'it seemed to me I saw a saint,' no man could have con-
demned her. Probably she did not know this, for she was not
allowed to have an advocate of her own party, and she, a lonely
girl, was opposed to the keenest and most learned lawyers of
France. But she maintained that she certainly did see, hear, and
touch her Saints, and that they came to her by the will of God.
This was called blasphemy and witchcraft. And now came in the
fatal Fairies! She was accused of dealing with devils under the
Tree of Domremy.
88 LIFE AND DEATH OF JOAN THE MAID
Most was made of her refusal to wear woman's dress. For this
she seems to have had two reasons; first, that to give up her old
dress would have been to acknowledge that her mission was ended;
next, for reasons of modesty, she being alone in prison among ruffianly
men. She would wear woman's dress if they would let her take the
Holy Communion, but this they refused. To these points she was con-
stant, she would not deny her visions; she would not say one word
against her king, 'the noblest Christian in the world' she called
him, who had deserted her. She would not wear woman's dress in
prison. We must remember that, as she was being tried by
churchmen, she should have been, as she often prayed to be, in a
prison of the church, attended by women. They set a spy on her,
a caitiff priest named L'Oyseleur, who pretended to be her friend,
and who betrayed her. The English soldiers were allowed to bully,
threaten, and frighten away every one who gave her any advice. They
took her to the torture-chamber, and threatened her with torture,
but from this even these priests shrunk, except a few more cruel
and cowardly than the rest. Finally, they put her up in public, oppo-
site a pile of wood ready for burning, and then set a priest to preach
at her. All through her trial, her Voices bade her answer boldly,'
in three months she would give her last answer, in three months
'she would be free with great victory, and come into the Kingdom of
Paradise.' In three months from the first day of her trial she went
free through the gate of fire. Boldly she answered, and wisely. She
would submit the truth of her visions to the Church, that is, to God,
and the Pope. But she would not submit them to' the Church,' if that
meant the clergy round her. At last, in fear of the fire, and the stake
before her, and on promise of being taken to a kindlier prison among
women, and released from chains, she promised to abjure,' to re-
nounce her visions, and submit to the Church, that is to Cauchon, and
her other priestly enemies. Some little note on paper she now signed
with a cross, and repeated with a smile,' poor child, a short form
of words. By some trick this signature was changed for a long
document, in which she was made to confess all her visions false.
It is certain that she did not understand her words in this sense.
Cauchon had triumphed. The blame of heresy and witchcraft
was cast on Joan, and on her king as an accomplice. But the
English were not satisfied; they made an uproar, they threatened
Cauchon, for Joan's life was to be spared. She was to be in prison
all her days, on bread and water, but, while she lived, they dared
scarcely stir against the French. They were soon satisfied.