The Project Gutenberg EBook of The Life of Joan of Arc, Vol. 1 and 2 (of 2), by
Anatole France

This eBook is for the use of anyone anywhere at no cost and with
almost no restrictions whatsoever.  You may copy it, give it away or
re-use it under the terms of the Project Gutenberg License included
with this eBook or online at

Title: The Life of Joan of Arc, Vol. 1 and 2 (of 2)

Author: Anatole France

Translator: Winifred Stephens

Release Date: October 17, 2006 [EBook #19488]
Last Updated: February 26, 2013

Language: English

Character set encoding: ISO-8859-1


Produced by Juliet Sutherland, Linda Cantoni, and the
Online Distributed Proofreading Team at
This updated HTML file provided by David Widger





coat of arms


Transcriber's Note: In the original text, the name "Trémouille" is sometimes rendered as "Trémoïlle." In this e-text, the variant has been preserved as it appears in the original.


Volume I

  Preface v
  Introduction vii
  List of Illustrations lxxvii
I. Childhood 1
II. Voices 29
First Visit to Vaucouleurs. Flight to Neufchâteau. Journey to Toul.
Second Visit to Vaucouleurs
IV. Journey to Nancy. Itinerary from Vaucouleurs to Sainte-Catherine-de-Fierbois 91
V. The Siege of Orléans from the 12th of October, 1428, to the 6th of March, 1429 106
VI. The Maid at Chinon—Prophecies 145
VII. The Maid at Poitiers 187
VIII. The Maid at Poitiers (continued) 204
IX. The Maid at Tours 217
X. The Siege of Orléans from the 7th of March to the 28th of April, 1429 230
XI. The Maid at Blois. Letter to the English. Departure for Orléans 243
XII. The Maid at Orléans 258
XIII. The Taking of Les Tourelles and the Deliverance of Orléans 296
XIV. The Maid at Tours and Selles-en-Berry. Treatises of Jacques Gélu and Jean Gerson 318
XV. Taking of Jargeau. The Meung Bridge. Beaugency 345
XVI. The Battle of Patay. Opinions of Italian and German Clerks. The Gien Army 368
XVII. The Auxerre Convention. Friar Richard. The Surrender of Troyes 403
XVIII. The Surrender of Châlons and of Reims. The Coronation 435
XIX. Rise of the Legend 461

Volume II

  List of Illustrations vii
I. The Royal Army from Soissons to Compiègne. Poem and Prophecy 1
II. The Maid's First Visit to Compiègne. The Three Popes. Saint-Denys. Truces 34
III. The Attack on Paris 54
The Taking Of Saint-Pierre-le-Moustier. Friar Richard's Spiritual Daughters.
The Siege of La Charité

V. Letter to the Citizens of Reims. Letter to the Hussites. Departure from Sully 103
VI. The Maid in the Trenches of Melun. Le Seigneur de l'Ours. The Child of Lagny 122
VII. Soissons and Compiègne. Capture of the Maid 138
VIII. The Maid at Beaulieu. The Shepherd of Gévaudan 156
IX. The Maid at Beaurevoir. Catherine de la Rochelle at Paris. Execution of La Pierronne 170
X. Beaurevoir. Arras. Rouen. The Trial for Lapse 188
XI. The Trial for Lapse (continued) 227
XII. The Trial for Lapse (continued) 264
XIII. The Abjuration. The First Sentence 299
XIV. The Trial for Relapse. Second Sentence. Death of the Maid 323
XV. After the Death of the Maid. The End of the Shepherd. La Dame des Armoises 343

After the Death of the Maid (continued). The Rouen Judges at the Council of Bâle
and the Pragmatic Sanction. The Rehabilitation Trial. The Maid of Sarmaize.
The Maid of Le Mans

I. Letter from Doctor G. Dumas 401
II. The Farrier of Salon 407
III. Martin de Gallardon 413
IV. Iconographical Note 420



Joan of Arc



[Pg v]



SCHOLARS have been good enough to notice this book; and the majority have treated it very kindly, doubtless because they have perceived that the author has observed all the established rules of historical research and accuracy. Their kindness has touched me. I am especially grateful to MM. Gabriel Monod, Solomon Reinach and Germain Lefèvre-Pontalis, who have discovered in this work certain errors, which will not be found in the present edition.

My English critics have a special claim to my gratitude. To the memory of Joan of Arc they consecrate a pious zeal which is almost an expiatory worship. Mr. Andrew Lang's praiseworthy scruples with regard to my references have caused me to correct some and to add several.

The hagiographers alone are openly hostile. They reproach me, not with my manner of explaining the facts, but with having explained them at all. And the more my explanations are clear, natural, rational and derived from the most authoritative sources, the more these explanations displease them. They would wish the history of Joan of Arc to remain mysterious and entirely supernatural. I have restored the Maid to life and to humanity. That is[Pg vi] my crime. And these zealous inquisitors, so intent on condemning my work, have failed to discover therein any grave fault, any flagrant inexactness. Their severity has had to content itself with a few inadvertences and with a few printer's errors. What flatterers could better have gratified "the proud weakness of my heart?"[1]

Paris, January, 1909.

[Pg vii]


MY first duty should be to make known the authorities for this history. But L'Averdy, Buchon, J. Quicherat, Vallet de Viriville, Siméon Luce, Boucher de Molandon, MM. Robillard de Beaurepaire, Lanéry d'Arc, Henri Jadart, Alexandre Sorel, Germain Lefèvre-Pontalis, L. Jarry, and many other scholars have published and expounded various documents for the life of Joan of Arc. I refer my readers to their works which in themselves constitute a voluminous literature,[2] and without entering on any new examination of these documents, I will merely indicate rapidly and generally the reasons for the use I have chosen to make of them. They are: first, the trial which resulted in her condemnation; second, the chronicles; third, the trial for her rehabilitation; fourth, letters, deeds, and other papers.

[Pg viii]

First, in the trial[3] which resulted in her condemnation the historian has a mine of rich treasure. Her cross-examination cannot be too minutely studied. It is based on information, not preserved elsewhere, gathered from Domremy and the various parts of France through which she passed. It is hardly necessary to say that all the judges of 1431 sought to discover in Jeanne was idolatry, heresy, sorcery and other crimes against the Church. Inclined as they were, however, to discern evil in every one of the acts and in each of the words of one whom they desired to ruin, so that they might dishonour her king, they examined all available information concerning her life. The high value to be set upon the Maid's replies is well known; they are heroically sincere, and for the most part perfectly lucid. Nevertheless they must not all be interpreted literally. Jeanne, who never regarded either the bishop or the promoter as her judge, was not so simple as to tell them the whole truth. It was very frank of her to warn them that they would not know all.[4] That her memory was curiously defective must also be admitted. I am aware that the clerk of the court was astonished that after a fortnight she should remember exactly the answers she had given in her cross-examination.[5] That may be possible, although she did not always say the same thing. It is none the less certain that after the lapse of a year she retained but an indistinct recollection of some of the important acts of her life. Finally, her constant hallucinations generally rendered her[Pg ix] incapable of distinguishing between the true and the false.

The record of the trial is followed by an examination of Jeanne's sayings in articulo mortis.[6] This examination is not signed by the clerks of the court. Hence from a legal point of view the record is out of order; nevertheless, regarded as a historical document, its authenticity cannot be doubted. In my opinion the actual occurrences cannot have widely differed from what is related in this unofficial report. It tells of Jeanne's second recantation, and of this recantation there can be no question, for Jeanne received the communion before her death. The veracity of this document was never assailed,[7] even by those who during the rehabilitation trial pointed out its irregularity.[8]

Secondly, the chroniclers of the period, both French and Burgundian, were paid chroniclers, one of whom was attached to every great baron. Tringant says that his master did not expend any money in order to obtain mention in the chronicles,[9] and that therefore he is omitted from them. The earliest chronicle in which the Maid occurs is that of Perceval de Cagny, who was in the service of the house of Alençon and Duke John's master of the house.[10] It was drawn up in the year 1436, that is, only six years after Jeanne's death. But it was not[Pg x] written by him. According to his own confession he had "not half the sense, memory, or ability necessary for putting this, or even a matter of less than half its importance, down in writing."[11] This chronicle is the work of a painstaking clerk. One is not surprised to find a chronicler in the pay of the house of Alençon representing the differences concerning the Maid, which arose between the Sire de la Trémouille and the Duke of Alençon, in a light most unfavourable to the King. But from a scribe, supposed to be writing at the dictation of a retainer of Duke John, one would have expected a less inaccurate and a less vague account of the feats of arms accomplished by the Maid in company with him whom she called her fair duke. Although this chronicle was written at a time when no one dreamed that the sentence of 1431 would ever be revoked, the Maid is regarded as employing supernatural means, and her acts are stripped of all verisimilitude by being recorded in the manner of a hagiography. Further, that portion of the chronicle attributed to Perceval de Cagny, which deals with the Maid, is brief, consisting of twenty-seven chapters of a few lines each. Quicherat is of opinion that it is the best chronicle of Jeanne d'Arc[12] existing, and the others may indeed be even more worthless.

Gilles le Bouvier,[13] king at arms of the province of Berry, who was forty-three in 1429, is somewhat more judicious than Perceval de Cagny; and, in spite of some confusion of dates, he is better in[Pg xi]formed of military proceedings. But his story is of too summary a nature to tell us much.

Jean Chartier,[14] precentor of Saint-Denys, held the office of chronicler of France in 1449. Two hundred years later he would have been described as historiographer royal. His office may be divined from the manner in which he relates Jeanne's death. After having said that she had been long imprisoned by the order of John of Luxembourg, he adds: "The said Luxembourg sold her to the English, who took her to Rouen, where she was harshly treated; in so much that after long delay, they had her publicly burnt in that town of Rouen, without a trial, of their own tyrannical will, which was cruelly done, seeing the life and the rule she lived, for every week she confessed and received the body of Our Lord, as beseemeth a good catholic."[15] When Jean Chartier says that the English burned her without trial, he means apparently that the Bailie of Rouen did not pronounce sentence. Concerning the ecclesiastical trial and the two accusations of lapse and relapse he says not a word; and it is the English whom he accuses of having burnt a good Catholic without a trial. This example proves how seriously the condemnation of 1431 embarrassed the government of[Pg xii] King Charles. But what can be thought of a historian who suppresses Jeanne's trial because he finds it inconvenient? Jean Chartier was extremely weak-minded and trivial; he seems to believe in the magic of Catherine's sword and in Jeanne's loss of power when she broke it;[16] he records the most puerile of fables. Nevertheless it is interesting to note that the official chronicler of the Kings of France, writing about 1450, ascribes to the Maid an important share in the delivery of Orléans, in the conquest of fortresses on the Loire and in the victory of Patay, that he relates how the King formed the army at Gien "by the counsel of the said maid,"[17] and that he expressly states that Jeanne caused[18] the coronation and consecration. Such was certainly the opinion which prevailed at the Court of Charles VII. All that we have to discover is whether that opinion was sincere and reasonable or whether the King of France may not have deemed it to his advantage to owe his kingdom to the Maid. She was held a heretic by the heads of the Church Universal, but in France her memory was honoured, rather, however, by the lower orders than by the princes of the blood and the leaders of the army. The services of the latter the King was not desirous to extol after the revolt of 1440. During this Praguerie,[19] the Duke of Bourbon, the Count of Vendôme, the Duke of Alençon, whom the Maid called her fair duke,[Pg xiii] and even the cautious Count Dunois had been seen joining hands with the plunderers and making war on the sovereign with an ardour they had never shown in fighting against the English.

"Le Journal du Siège"[20] was doubtless kept in 1428 and 1429; but the edition that has come down to us dates from 1467.[21] What relates to Jeanne before her coming to Orléans is interpolated; and the interpolator was so unskilful as to date Jeanne's arrival at Chinon in the month of February, while it took place on March 6, and to assign Thursday, March 10, as the date of the departure from Blois, which did not occur until the end of April. The diary from April 28 to May 7 is less inaccurate in its chronology, and the errors in dates which do occur may be attributed to the copyist. But the facts to which these dates are assigned, occasionally in disagreement with financial records and often tinged with the miraculous, testify to an advanced stage of Jeanne's legend. For example, one cannot possibly attribute to a witness of the siege the error made by the scribe concerning the fall of the Bridge of Les Tourelles.[22] What is said on page 97 of P. Charpentier's and C. Cuissart's edition concerning the relations of the inhabitants and the men-at-arms seems out of place, and may very likely have been inserted there to efface the memory of the grave dissensions which had occurred during the last week. From the 8th of May the diary ceases to be a diary; it becomes a series of extracts borrowed from Chartier,[Pg xiv] from Berry, and from the rehabilitation trial. The episode of the big fat Englishman slain by Messire Jean de Montesclère at the Siege of Jargeau is obviously taken from the evidence of Jean d'Aulon in 1446; and even this plagiarism is inaccurate, since Jean d'Aulon expressly says he was slain at the Battle of Les Augustins.[23]

The chronicle entitled La Chronique de la Pucelle,[24] as if it were the chief chronicle of the heroine, is taken from a history entitled Geste des nobles François, going back as far as Priam of Troy. But the extract was not made until the original had been changed and added to. This was done after 1467. Even if it were proved that La Chronique de la Pucelle is the work of Cousinot, shut up in Orléans during the siege, or even of two Cousinots, uncle and nephew according to some, father and son according to others, it would remain none the less true that this chronicle is largely copied from Jean Chartier, the Journal du Siège and the rehabilitation trial. Whoever the author may have been, this work reflects no great credit upon him: no very high praise can be given to a fabricator of tales, who, without appearing in the slightest degree aware of the fact, tells the same stories twice over, introducing each time different and contradictory circumstances. La Chronique de la Pucelle ends abruptly with the King's return to Berry after his defeat before Paris.

Le Mystère du siège[25] must be classed with the[Pg xv] chronicles. It is in fact a rhymed chronicle in dialogue, and it would be extremely interesting for its antiquity alone were it possible to do what some have attempted and to assign to it the date 1435. The editors, and following them several scholars, have believed it possible to identify this poem of 20,529 lines with a certain mistaire[26] played on the sixth anniversary of the delivery of the city. They have drawn their conclusions from the following circumstances: the Maréchal de Rais, who delighted to organise magnificent farces and mysteries, was in Duke Charles's city expending vast sums[27] there from September, 1434, till August, 1435; in 1439 the city purchased out of its municipal funds "a standard and a banner, which had belonged to Monseigneur de Reys and had been used by him to represent the manner of the storming of Les Tourelles and their capture from the English."[28] From such a statement it is impossible to prove that in 1435 or in 1439, on May 8, there was acted a play having the Siege for its subject and the Maid for its heroine. If, however, we take "the manner of the storming of Les Tourelles" to mean a mystery rather than a pageant or some other form of entertainment, and if we consider the certain mistaire of 1435 as indicating a representation of that siege which had been laid and raised by the English, we shall thus arrive at a mystery of the siege. But even then[Pg xvi] we must examine whether it be that mystery the text of which has come down to us.

Among the one hundred and forty speaking personages in this work is the Maréchal de Rais. Hence it has been concluded that the mystery was written and acted before the lawsuit ended by that sentence to which effect was given above the Nantes Bridge, on October 20, 1440. How, indeed, it has been asked, after so ignominious a death could the vampire of Machecoul have been represented to the people of Orléans as fighting for their deliverance? How could the Maid and Blue Beard be associated in a heroic action? It is hard to answer such a question, because we cannot possibly tell how much of that kind of thing could be tolerated by the barbarism of those rude old times. Perhaps our text itself, if properly examined, will be found to contain internal evidence as to whether it is of an earlier or later date than 1440.

The bastard of Orléans was created Count of Dunois on July 14, 1439.[29] The lines of the mystery, in which he is called by this title, cannot therefore be anterior to that date. They are numerous, and, by a singularity which has never been explained, are all in the first third of the book. When Dunois reappears later he is the Bastard again. From this fact the editors of 1862 concluded that five thousand lines were prefixed to the primitive text subsequently, although they in no way differ from the rest, either in language, style, or prosody. But may the rest of the poem be assigned to 1435 or 1439?

That is not my opinion. In the lines 12093 and 12094 the Maid tells Talbot he will die by the hand of the King's men. This prophecy must have been[Pg xvii] made after the event: it is an obvious allusion to the noble captain's end, and these lines must have been written after 1453.

Six years after the siege no clerk of Orléans would have thought of travestying Jeanne as a lady of noble birth.

In line 10199 and the following of the "Mistère du Siège" the Maid replies to the first President of the Parlement of Poitiers when he questions her concerning her family:

"As for my father's mansion, it is in the Bar country; and he is of gentle birth and rank right noble, a good Frenchman and a loyal."[30]

Before a clerk would write thus, Jeanne's family must have been long ennobled and the first generation must have died out, which happened in 1469; there must have come into existence that numerous family of the Du Lys, whose ridiculous pretensions had to be humoured. Not content with deriving their descent from their aunt, the Du Lys insisted on connecting the good peasant Jacquot d'Arc with the old nobility of Bar.

Notwithstanding that Jeanne's reference to "her father's mansion" conflicts with other scenes in the same mystery, this lengthy work would appear to be all of a piece.

It was apparently compiled during the reign of Louis XI, by a citizen of Orléans who was a fair master of his subject. It would be interesting to[Pg xviii] make a more detailed study of his authorities than has been done hitherto. This poet seems to have known a Journal du siège very different from the one we possess.

Was his mystery acted during the last thirty years of the century at the festival instituted to commemorate the taking of Les Tourelles? The subject, the style, and the spirit are all in harmony with such an occasion. But it is curious that a poem composed to celebrate the deliverance of Orléans on May 8 should assign that deliverance to May 9. And yet this is what the author of the mystery does when he puts the following lines into the mouth of the Maid:

"Remember how Orléans was delivered in the year one thousand four hundred and twenty-nine, and forget not also that of May it was the ninth day."[31]

Such are the chief chroniclers on the French side who have written of the Maid. Others who came later or who have only dealt with certain episodes in her life, need not be quoted here; their testimony will be best examined when we come to that of the facts in detail. Placing on one side any information to be obtained from La Chronique de l'établissement de la fête,[32] from La Relation[33] of the Clerk of La[Pg xix] Rochelle and other contemporary documents, we are now in a position to realise that if we depended on the French chroniclers for our knowledge of Jeanne d'Arc we should know just as much about her as we know of Sakya Muni.

We shall certainly not find her explained by the Burgundian chroniclers. They, however, furnish certain useful information. The earliest of these Burgundian chroniclers is a clerk of Picardy, the author of an anonymous chronicle, called La Chronique des Cordeliers,[34] because the only copy of it comes from a house of the Cordeliers at Paris. It is a history of the world from the creation to the year 1431. M. Pierre Champion[35] has proved that Monstrelet made use of it. This clerk of Picardy knew divers matters, and was acquainted with sundry state documents. But facts and dates he curiously confuses. His knowledge of the Maid's military career is derived from a French and a popular source. A certain credence has been attached to his story of the leap from Beaurevoir; but his account if accurate destroys the idea that Jeanne threw herself from the top of the keep in a fit of frenzy or despair.[36] And it does not agree with what Jeanne said herself.

Monstrelet,[37] "more drivelling at the mouth than[Pg xx] a mustard-pot,"[38] is a fountain of wisdom in comparison with Jean Chartier. When he makes use of La Chronique des Cordeliers he rearranges it and presents its facts in order. What he knew of Jeanne amounts to very little. He believed that she was an inn servant. He has but a word to say of her indecision at Montépilloy, but that word, to be found nowhere else, is extremely significant. He saw her in the camp at Compiègne; but unfortunately he either did not realise or did not wish to say what impression she made upon him.

Wavrin du Forestel,[39] who edited additions to Froissart, Monstrelet, and Mathieu d'Escouchy, was at Patay; he never saw Jeanne there. He knows her only by hearsay and that but vaguely. We do not therefore attach great importance to what he relates concerning Robert de Baudricourt, who, according to him, indoctrinated the Maid and taught her how to appear "inspired by Divine Providence."[40] On the other hand, he gives valuable information concerning the war immediately after the deliverance of Orléans.

Le Fèvre de Saint-Rémy, Counsellor to the Duke of Burgundy and King-at-arms of the Golden Fleece,[41] was possibly at Compiègne when Jeanne was taken; and he speaks of her as a brave girl.

[Pg xxi]

Georges Chastellain copies Le Fèvre de Saint Remy.[42]

The author of Le Journal ascribed to un Bourgeois de Paris,[43] whom we identify as a Cabochien clerk, had only heard Jeanne spoken of by the doctors and masters of the University of Paris. Moreover he was very ill-informed, which is regrettable. For the man stands alone in his day for energy of feeling and language, for passion of wrath and of pity, and for intense sympathy with the people.

I must mention a document which is neither French nor Burgundian, but Italian. I refer to the Chronique d'Antonio Morosini, published and annotated with admirable erudition by M. Germain Lefèvre-Pontalis. This chronicle, or to be more precise, the letters it contains, are very valuable to the historian, but not on account of the veracity of the deeds here attributed to the Maid, which on the contrary are all imaginary and fabulous. In the Chronique de Morosini,[44] every single fact concerning Jeanne is presented in a wrong character and in a false light. And yet Morosini's correspondents are men of business, thoughtful, subtle Venetians. These letters reveal how there were being circulated throughout Christendom a whole multitude of fictitious stories, imitated some from the Romances of Chivalry, others from the Golden Legend, con[Pg xxii]cerning that Demoiselle as she is called, at once famous and unknown.

Another document, the diary of a German merchant, one Eberhard de Windecke,[45] a conscientious and clever edition of which has also been published by M. Germain Lefèvre-Pontalis, presents the same phenomenon. Nothing here related of the Maid is even probable. As soon as she appears a whole cycle of popular stories grow up round her name. Eberhard obviously delights to relate them. Thus we learn from these good foreign merchants that at no period of her existence was Jeanne known otherwise than by fables, and that if she moved multitudes it was by the spreading abroad of countless legends which sprang up wherever she passed and made way before her. And indeed, there is much food for thought in that dazzling obscurity, which from the very first enwrapped the Maid, in those radiant clouds of myth, which, while concealing her, rendered her all the more imposing.

Thirdly, with its memoranda, its consultations, and its one hundred and forty depositions, furnished by one hundred and twenty-three deponents, the rehabilitation trial forms a very valuable collection of documents.[46] M. Lanéry d'Arc has done well to publish in their entirety the memoranda of the doctors as well as the treatise of the Archbishop of Embrun, the propositions of Master Heinrich von Gorcum and the Sibylla Francica.[47] From the trial[Pg xxiii] of 1431 we learn what theologians on the English side thought of the Maid. But were it not for the consultations of Théodore de Leliis and of Paul Pontanus and the opinions included in the later trial we should not know how she was regarded by the doctors of Italy and France. It is important to ascertain what were the views held by the whole Church concerning a damsel condemned during her lifetime, when the English were in power, and rehabilitated after her death when the French were victorious.

Doubtless many matters were elucidated by the one hundred and twenty-three witnesses heard at Domremy, at Vaucouleurs, at Toul, at Orléans, at Paris, at Rouen, at Lyon, witnesses drawn from all ranks of life—churchmen, princes, captains, burghers, peasants, artisans. But we are bound to admit that they come far short of satisfying our curiosity, and for several reasons. First, because they replied to a list of questions drawn up with the object of establishing a certain number of facts within the scope of ecclesiastical jurisdiction. The Holy Inquisitor who conducted the trial was curious, but his curiosity was not ours. This is the first reason for the insufficiency of the evidence from our point of view.[48]

But there are other reasons. Most of the witnesses appear excessively simple and lacking in discernment. In so large a number of men of all ages and of all ranks it is sad to find how few were equipped with lucid and judicial minds. It would seem as if the human intellect of those days was enwrapped in twilight and incapable of seeing anything distinctly. Thought as well as speech was curiously puerile. Only a slight acquaintance with this dark age is[Pg xxiv] enough to make one feel as if among children. Want and ignorance and wars interminable had impoverished the mind of man and starved his moral nature. The scanty, slashed, ridiculous garments of the nobles and the wealthy betray an absurd poverty of taste and weakness of intellect.[49] One of the most striking characteristics of these small minds is their triviality; they are incapable of attention; they retain nothing. No one who reads the writings of the period can fail to be struck by this almost universal weakness.

By no means all the evidence given in these one hundred and forty depositions can be treated seriously. The daughter of Jacques Boucher, steward to the Duke of Orléans, depones in the following terms: "At night I slept alone with Jeanne. Neither in her words or her acts did I ever observe anything wrong. She was perfectly simple, humble, and chaste."[50]

This young lady was nine years old when she perceived with a discernment somewhat precocious that her sleeping companion was simple, humble, and chaste.

That is unimportant. But to show how one may sometimes be deceived by the witnesses whom one would expect to be the most reliable, I will quote Brother Pasquerel.[51] Brother Pasquerel is Jeanne's chaplain. He may be expected to speak as one who has seen and as one who knows. Brother Pasquerel places the examination at Poitiers before the audience[Pg xxv] granted by the King to the Maid in the château of Chinon.[52]

Forgetting that the whole relieving army had been in Orléans since May 4, he supposes that, on the evening of Friday the 6th, it was still expected.[53] From such blunders we may judge of the muddled condition of this poor priest's brain. His most serious shortcoming, however, is the invention of miracles. He tries to make out that when the convoy of victuals reached Orléans, there occurred, by the Maid's special intervention, and in order to carry the barges up the river, a sudden flood of the Loire which no one but himself saw.[54]

The evidence of Dunois[55] is also somewhat deceptive. We know that Dunois was one of the most intelligent and prudent men of his day, and that he was considered a good speaker. In the defence of Orléans and in the coronation campaign he had displayed considerable ability. Either his evidence must have seriously suffered at the hands of the translator and the scribes, or he must have caused it to be given by his chaplain. He speaks of the "great number of the enemy" in terms more appropriate to a canon of a cathedral or a woollen draper than to a captain entrusted with the defence of a city and expected to know the actual force of[Pg xxvi] the besiegers. All his evidence dealing with the transport of victuals on April 28 is well-nigh unintelligible. And Dunois is unable to state that Troyes was the first stage in the army's march from Gien.[56] Relating a conversation he held with the Maid after the coronation, he makes her speak as if her brothers were awaiting her at Domremy, whereas they were with her in France.[57] Curiously blundering, he attempts to prove that Jeanne had visions by relating a story much more calculated to give the impression that the young peasant girl was an apt feigner and that at the request of the nobles she reproduced one of her ecstasies, like the Esther of the lamented Doctor Luys.[58]

In that portion of this work which deals with the rehabilitation trial I have given my opinion of the evidence of the clerks of the court, of the usher Massieu, of the Brothers Isambard de la Pierre and Martin Ladvenu.[59] All these burners of witches and avengers of God worked as heartily at Jeanne's rehabilitation as they had at her condemnation.

In many cases and often on events of importance, the evidence of witnesses is in direct conflict with the truth. A woollen draper of Orléans, one Jean Luillier, comes before the commissioners and as bold as brass maintains that the garrison could not hold out against so great a besieging force.[60] Now this statement is proved to be false by the most authentic documents, which show that the English round Orléans were very weak and that their resources were greatly reduced.[61]

[Pg xxvii]

When the evidence given at the second trial has obviously been dressed up to suit the occasion, or even when it is absolutely contrary to the truth, we must blame not only those who gave it, but those who received it. In its elicitation the latter were too artful. This evidence has about as much value as the evidence in a trial by the Inquisition. In certain matters it may represent the ideas of the judges as much as those of the witnesses.

What the judges in this instance were most desirous to establish was that Jeanne had not understood when she was spoken to of the Church and the Pope, that she had refused to obey the Church Militant because she believed the Church Militant to be Messire Cauchon and his assessors. In short, it was necessary to represent her as almost an imbecile. In ecclesiastical procedure this expedient was frequently adopted. And there was yet another reason, a very strong one, for passing her off as an innocent, a damsel devoid of intelligence. This second trial, like the first, had been instituted with a political motive; its object was to make known that Jeanne had come to the aid of the King of France not by devilish incitement, but by celestial inspiration. Consequently in order that divine wisdom might be made manifest in her she must be shown to have had no wisdom of her own. On this string the examiners were constantly harping. On every occasion they drew from the witnesses the statement that she was simple, very simple. Una simplex bergereta,[62] says one. Erat multum simplex et ignorans,[63] says another.

But since, despite her ignorance, this innocent damsel had been sent of God to deliver or to capture[Pg xxviii] towns and to lead men at arms, there must needs be innate in her a knowledge of the art of war, and in battle she must needs manifest the strength and the counsel she had received from above. Wherefore it was necessary to obtain evidence to establish that she was more skilled in warfare than any man.

Damoiselle Marguerite la Touroulde makes this affirmation.[64] The Duke of Alençon declares that the Maid was apt alike at wielding the lance, ranging an army, ordering a battle, preparing artillery, and that old captains marvelled at her skill in placing cannon.[65] The Duke quite understands that all these gifts were miraculous and that to God alone was the glory. For if the merit of the victories had been Jeanne's he would not have said so much about them.

And if God had chosen the Maid to perform so great a task, it must have been because in her he beheld the virtue which he preferred above all others in his virgins. Henceforth it sufficed not for her to have been chaste; her chastity must become miraculous, her chastity and her moderation in eating and drinking must be exalted into sanctity. Wherefore the witnesses are never tired of stating: Erat casta, erat castissima. Ille loquens non credit aliquam mulierem plus esse castam quam ista Puella erat. Erat sobria in potu et cibo. Erat sobria in cibo et potu.[66]

[Pg xxix]

The heavenly source of such purity must needs have been made manifest by Jeanne's possessing singular immunities. And on this point there is a mass of evidence. Rough men at arms, Jean de Novelompont, Bertrand de Poulengy, Jean d'Aulon; great nobles, the Count of Dunois and the Duke of Alençon, come forward and affirm on oath that in them Jeanne never provoked any carnal desires. Such a circumstance fills these old captains with astonishment; they boast of their past vigour and wonder that for once their youthful ardour should have been damped by a maid. It seems to them most unnatural and humanly impossible. Their description of the effect Jeanne produced upon them recalls Saint Martha's binding of the Tarascon beast. Dunois in his evidence is very much occupied with miracles. He points to this one as, to human reason, the most incomprehensible of all. If he neither desired nor solicited this damsel, of this unique fact he can find but one explanation, it is that Jeanne was holy, res divina. When Jean de Novelompont and Bertrand de Poulengy describe their sudden continence, they employ identical forms of speech, affected and involved. And then there comes a king's equerry, Gobert Thibaut, who declares that in the army there was much talk of this divine grace, vouchsafed to the Armagnacs[67] and denied to English and Burgundians, at least, so the behaviour of a certain knight of Picardy, and of one Jeannotin, a tailor of Rouen, would lead us to believe.[68]

Such evidence obviously answers to the ideas of the judges, and turns, so to speak, on theological rather than on natural facts.[Pg xxx]

In inquisitorial inquiries there abound such depositions as those of Jean de Novelompont and of Bertrand de Poulengy, containing passages drawn up in identical terms. But I must admit that in the rehabilitation trial they are rare, partly because the witnesses were heard at long intervals of time and in different countries, and partly because in the Maid's case no elaborate proceedings were necessary owing to her adversaries not being represented.

It is to be regretted that all the evidence given at this trial, with the exception of that of Jean d'Aulon, should have been translated into Latin. This process has obscured fine shades of thought and deprived the evidence of its original flavour.

Sometimes the clerk contents himself with saying that the depositions of a witness were like those of his predecessor. Thus on the raising of the siege of Orléans all the burgesses depone like the woollen draper, who himself was not thoroughly conversant with the circumstances in which his town had been delivered. Thus the Sire de Gaucourt, after a brief declaration, gives the same evidence as Dunois, although the Count had related matters so strikingly individual that it seems strange they should have been common to two witnesses.[69]

Certain evidence would appear to have been cut short. Brother Pasquerel's abruptly comes to an end at Paris. This circumstance, if we did not possess his signature at the conclusion of the Latin letter to the Hussites, would lead us to believe that the good Brother left the Maid immediately after the attack on La Porte Saint-Honoré. It surely cannot have chanced that in so long a series of questions and answers not one word was said of the departure from[Pg xxxi] Sully or of the campaign which began at Lagny and ended at Compiègne.[70]

We conclude, therefore, that in the study of this voluminous evidence we must exercise great judgment and that we must not expect it to enlighten us on all the circumstances of Jeanne's life.

Fourthly. On certain points of the Maid's history the only exact information is to be obtained from account-books, letters, deeds, and other authentic documents of the period. The records published by Siméon Luce and the lease of the Château de l'Île inform us of the circumstances among which Jeanne grew up.[71] Neither the two trials nor the chronicles had revealed the terrible conditions prevailing in the village of Domremy from 1412 to 1425.

The fortress accounts kept at Orléans[72] and the documents of the English administration[73] enable us[Pg xxxii] to estimate approximately the respective forces of defenders and besiegers of the city. On this point also they enable us to correct the statements of chroniclers and witnesses in the rehabilitation trial.

From the letters in the archives at Reims, copied by Rogier in the seventeenth century, we learn how Troyes, Châlons, and Reims surrendered to the King. From these letters also we see how very far from accurate is Jean Chartier's account of the capitulation of the city and how insufficient, especially considering the character of the witness, is the evidence of Dunois on this subject.[74]

Four or five records throw a faint light here and there on the obscurity which shrouds the unfortunate campaign on the Aisne and the Oise.

The registers of the chapter of Rouen, the wills of canons and sundry other documents, discovered by M. Robillard de Beaurepaire in the archives of Seine-Inférieure, serve to correct certain errors in the two trials.[75]

How many other detached papers, all valuable to the historian, might I not enumerate! Surely this is another reason for mistrusting records false or falsified, as, for example, the patent of nobility of Guy de Cailly.[76]

Rapid as this examination of authorities has been, I think nothing essential has been omitted. To[Pg xxxiii] sum up, even in her lifetime the Maid was scarce known save by fables. Her oldest chroniclers were devoid of any critical sense, for the early legends concerning her they relate as facts.

The Rouen trial, certain accounts, a few letters, sundry deeds, public and private, are the most trustworthy documents. The rehabilitation trial is also useful to the historian, provided always that we remember how and why that trial was conducted.

By means of such records we may attain to a pretty accurate knowledge of Jeanne d'Arc's life and character.

The salient fact which results from a study of all these authorities is that she was a saint. She was a saint with all the attributes of fifteenth-century sanctity. She had visions, and these visions were neither feigned nor counterfeited. She really believed that she heard the voices which spoke to her and came from no human lips. These voices generally addressed her clearly and in words she could understand. She heard them best in the woods and when the bells were ringing. She saw forms, she said, like myriads of tiny shapes, like sparks on a dazzling background. There is no doubt she had visions of another nature, since she tells us how she beheld Saint Michael in the guise of a prud'homme, that is as a good knight, and Saint Catherine and Saint Margaret, wearing crowns. She saw them saluting her; she kissed their feet and inhaled their sweet perfume.

What does this mean if not that she was subject to hallucinations of hearing, sight, touch, and smell? But the most strongly affected of her senses was her hearing. She says that her voices appear to her; she sometimes calls them her council. She hears[Pg xxxiv] them very plainly unless there is a noise around her. Generally she obeys them; but sometimes she resists. We may doubt whether her visions were really so distinct as she makes out. Because she either could not, or would not, she never gave her judges at Rouen any very clear or precise description of them. The angel she described most in detail was the one which brought the crown, and which she afterwards confessed to have seen only in imagination.

At what age did she become subject to these trances? We cannot say exactly. But it was probably towards the end of her childhood, notwithstanding that according to Jean d'Aulon, childhood was a state out of which she never completely developed.[77]

Although it is always hazardous to found a medical diagnosis on documents purely historical, several men of science have attempted to define the pathological conditions which rendered the young girl subject to false perceptions of sight and hearing.[78] Owing to the rapid strides made by psychiatry during recent years, I have consulted an eminent man of science, who is thoroughly conversant with the present stage attained by this branch of pathology, to which he has himself rendered important service. I asked Doctor Georges Dumas, Professor at the Sorbonne, whether sufficient material exists for science to make a retrospective diagnosis of Jeanne's case. He replied to my inquiry in a letter which appears as the first Appendix to this work.[79]

[Pg xxxv]

With such a subject I am not qualified to deal. But it does lie within my province to make an observation concerning the hallucinations of Jeanne d'Arc, which has been suggested to me by a study of the documents. This observation is of infinite significance. I shall be careful to restrict it to the limits prescribed by the object and the nature of this work.

Those visionaries, who believe they are entrusted with a divine mission, are distinguished by certain characteristics from other inspired persons. When mystics of this class are studied and compared with one another, resemblances are found to exist which may extend to very slight details: certain of their words and acts are identical. Indeed as we come to recognise how vigorous is the determinism controlling the actions of these visionaries, we are astonished to find the human machine, when impelled by the same mysterious agent, performing its functions with inevitable uniformity. To this group of the religious Jeanne belongs. In this connection it is interesting to compare her with Saint Catherine of Sienna,[80] Saint Colette of Corbie,[81] Yves Nicolazic, the peasant of Kernanna,[82] Suzette Labrousse, the inspired woman of the Revolution Church,[83] and[Pg xxxvi] with many other seers and seeresses of this order, who all bear a family likeness to one another.

Three visionaries especially are closely related to Jeanne. The earliest in date is a vavasour of Champagne, who had a mission to speak to King John; of this holy man I have written sufficiently in the present work. The second is a farrier of Salon, who had a mission to speak to Louis XIV; the third, a peasant of Gallardon, named Martin, who had a mission to speak to Louis XVIII. Articles on the farrier and the farmer, who both saw apparitions and showed signs to their respective kings, will be found in the appendices at the end of this work.[84] In spite of difference in sex, the points of similarity between Jeanne d'Arc and these three men are very close and very significant; they are inherent in the very nature of Jeanne and her fellow visionaries; and the variations, which at a first glance might seem to separate widely the latter from Jeanne, are æsthetic, social, historical, and consequently external and contingent. Between them and her there are of course striking contrasts in appearance and in fortune. They were entirely wanting in that charm which she never failed to exercise; and it is a fact that while they failed miserably she grew in strength and flowered in legend. But it is the duty of the scientific mind to recognise common characteristics, proving identity of origin alike in the noblest individual and in the most wretched abortion of the same species.

The free-thinkers of our day, imbued as they are,[Pg xxxvii] for the most part, with transcendentalism, refuse to recognise in Jeanne not merely that automatism which determines the acts of such a seeress, not only the influence of constant hallucination, but even the suggestions of the religious spirit. What she achieved through saintliness and devoutness, they make her out to have accomplished by intelligent enthusiasm. Such a disposition is manifest in the excellent and erudite Quicherat, who all unconsciously introduces into the piety of the Maid a great deal of eclectic philosophy. This point was not without its drawbacks. It led free-thinking historians to a ridiculous exaggeration of Jeanne's intellectual faculties, to the absurdity of attributing military talent to her and to the substitution of a kind of polytechnic phenomenon for the fifteenth century's artless marvel. The Catholic historians of the present day when they make a saint of the Maid are much nearer to nature and to truth. Unfortunately the Church's idea of saintliness has grown insipid since the Council of Trent, and orthodox historians are disinclined to study the variations of the Catholic Church down the ages. In their hands therefore she becomes sanctimonious and bigoted. So much so that in a search for the most curiously travestied of all the Jeannes d'Arc we should have been driven to choose between their miraculous protectress of Christian France, the patroness of officers, the inimitable model of the pupils of Saint-Cyr, and the romantic Druidess, the inspired woman-soldier of the national guard, the patriot gunneress of the Republicans, had there not arisen a Jesuit Father to create an ultramontane Jeanne d'Arc.[85]

[Pg xxxviii]

On the subject of Jeanne's sincerity I have raised no doubts. It is impossible to suspect her of lying; she firmly believed that she received her mission from her voices. But whether she were not unconsciously directed is more difficult to ascertain. What we know of her before her arrival at Chinon comes to very little. One is inclined to believe that she had been subject to certain influences; it is so with all visionaries: some unseen director leads them. Thus it must have been with Jeanne. At Vaucouleurs she was heard to say that the Dauphin held the kingdom in fief (en commende).[86] Such a term she had not learnt from the folk of her village. She uttered a prophecy which she had not invented and which had obviously been fabricated for her.

She must have associated with priests who were faithful to the cause of the Dauphin Charles, and who desired above all things the end of the war. Abbeys were being burned, churches pillaged, divine[Pg xxxix] service discontinued.[87] Those pious persons who sighed for peace, now that they saw the Treaty of Troyes failing to establish it, looked for the realisation of their hopes to the expulsion of the English. And the wonderful, the unique point about this young peasant girl—a point suggesting the ecclesiastic and the monk—is not that she felt herself called to ride forth and fight, but that in "her great pity" she announced the approaching end of the war, by the victory and coronation of the King, at a time when the nobles of the two countries, and the men-at-arms of the two parties, neither expected nor desired the war ever to come to an end.

The mission, with which she believed the angel had entrusted her and to which she consecrated her life, was doubtless extraordinary, marvellous; and yet it was not unprecedented: it was no more than saints, both men and women, had already endeavoured to accomplish in human affairs. Jeanne d'Arc arose in the decline of the great Catholic age, when sainthood, usually accompanied by all manner of oddities, manias, and illusions, still wielded sovereign power over the minds of men. And of what miracles was she not capable when acting according to the impulses of her own heart, and the grace of her own mind? From the thirteenth to the fifteenth centuries God's servants perform wondrous works. Saint Dominic, possessed by holy wrath, exterminates heresy with fire and sword; Saint Francis of Assisi for the nonce founds poverty as an institution of society; Saint Antony of Padua defends merchants and artisans against the avarice and cruelty of nobles and bishops; Saint Catherine brings the Pope back[Pg xl] to Rome. Was it impossible, therefore, for a saintly damsel, with God's aid, to re-establish within the hapless realm of France that royal power instituted by our Lord Himself and to bring to his coronation a new Joash snatched from death for the salvation of the holy people?

Thus did pious French folk, in the year 1428, regard the mission of the Maid. She represented herself as a devout damsel inspired by God. There was nothing incredible in that. When she announced that she had received revelations touching the war from my Lord Saint Michael, she inspired the men-at-arms of the Armagnac party and the burghers of the city of Orléans with a confidence as great as could have been communicated to the troops, marching along the Loire in the winter of 1871, by a republican engineer who had invented a smokeless powder or an improved form of cannon. What was expected from science in 1871 was expected from religion in 1428, so that the Bastard of Orléans would as naturally employ Jeanne as Gambetta would resort to the technical knowledge of M. de Freycinet.

What has not been sufficiently remarked upon is that the French party made a very adroit use of her. The clerks at Poitiers, while inquiring at great length into her religion and her morals, brought her into evidence. These Poitiers clerks were no monks ignorant of the world; they constituted the Parliament of the lawful King; they were the banished members of the University, men deeply involved in political affairs, compromised by revolutions, despoiled and ruined, and very impatient to regain possession of their property. They were directed by the cleverest man in the King's Coun[Pg xli]cil, the Duke Archbishop of Reims, the Chancellor of the kingdom. By the ceremoniousness and the deliberation of their inquiries, they drew upon Jeanne the curiosity, the interest, and the hopes of minds lost in amazement.[88]

The defences of the city of Orléans consisted in its walls, its trenches, its cannon, its men-at-arms, and its money. The English had failed both to surround it and to take it by assault. Convoys and companies passed between their bastions. Jeanne was introduced into the town with a strong relieving army. She brought flocks of oxen, sheep, and pigs. The townsfolk believed her to be an angel of the Lord. Meanwhile the men and the money of the besiegers were waxing scant. They had lost all their horses. Far from being in a position to attempt a new attack, they were not likely to be able to hold out long in their bastions. At the end of April there were four thousand English before Orléans and perhaps less, for, as it was said, soldiers were deserting every day; and companies of these deserters went plundering through the villages. At the same time the city was defended by six thousand men-at-arms and archers, and by more than three thousand men of the town bands. At Saint Loup, there were fifteen hundred French against four hundred English; at Les Tourelles, there were five thousand French against four or five hundred English. By their retreat from Orléans the Godons abandoned to their fate the small garrisons of Jargeau, Meung, and Beau[Pg xlii]gency.[89] The Battle of Patay gives us some idea of the condition of the English army. It was no battle but a massacre, and one which Jeanne only reached in time to mourn over the cruelty of the conquerors. And yet the King, in his letters to his good towns, attributed to her a share in the victory. Evidently the Royal Council made a point of glorifying its Holy Maid.

But at heart what did they really think, those who employed her, those Regnaults de Chartres, those Roberts le Maçon, those Gérards Machet? They were certainly in no position to discuss the origin of the illusions which enveloped her. And, albeit there were atheists even among churchmen, to the majority there would be nothing to cause astonishment in the appearance of Saint Michael, the Archangel. In those days nothing appeared more natural than a miracle. But a miracle vanishes when closely observed. And they had the damsel before their very eyes. They perceived that good and saintly as she was, she wielded no supernatural power.

While the men-at-arms and all the common folk welcomed her as the maid of God and an angel sent from heaven for the salvation of the realm, these good lords thought only of profiting from the sentiments of confidence which she inspired and in which they had little share. Finding her as ignorant as possible, and doubtless deeming her less intelligent than she really was, they intended to do as they liked with her. They must soon have discovered that it was not always easy. She was a saint, saints are intractable. What were the true relations between[Pg xliii] the Royal Council and the Maid? We do not know; and it is a mystery which will never be solved. The judges at Rouen thought they knew that she received letters from Saint Michael.[90] It is possible that her simplicity was sometimes taken advantage of. We have reason for believing that the march to Reims was not suggested to her in France; but there is no doubt that the Chancellor of the kingdom, Messire Regnault de Chartres, Archbishop of Reims, eagerly desired his restoration to the see of the Blessed Saint Remi and the enjoyment of his benefices.

The coronation campaign was really nothing but a series of negotiations, backed by an army. Its object was to show the good towns a king saintly and pacific. Had there been any idea of fighting, the campaign would have been directed against Paris or against Normandy.

At the inquiry of 1456, five or six witnesses, captains, magistrates, ecclesiastics, and an honest widow, gave evidence that Jeanne was well versed in the art of war. They agreed in saying that she rode a horse and wielded a lance better than any one. A master of requests stated that she amazed the army by the length of time she could remain in the saddle. Such qualities we are not entitled to deny her, neither can we dispute the diligence and the ardour which Dunois praised in her, on the occasion of a demonstration by night before Troyes.[91] As to the opinion that this damsel was clever in arraying and leading an army and especially skilled in the management of artillery, that is more difficult to credit and would require to be vouched for by some one more trustworthy than the poor Duke of Alençon, who was never considered a very rational person.[92] What we[Pg xliv] have said about the rehabilitation trial sufficiently explains this curious glorification of the Maid. It was understood that Jeanne's military inspiration came from God. Henceforth there was no danger of its being too much admired and it came to be praised somewhat at random.

After all the Duke of Alençon was quite moderate when he represented her as a distinguished artillery-woman. As early as 1429, a humanist on the side of Charles VII asserted in Ciceronian language that in military glory she equalled and surpassed Hector, Alexander, Hannibal and Cæsar: "Non Hectore reminiscat et gaudeat Troja, exultet Græcia Alexandro, Annibale Africa, Italia Cæsare et Romanis ducibus omnibus glorietur, Gallia etsi ex pristinis multos habeat, hac tamen una Puella contenta, audebit se gloriari et laude bellica caeteris nationibus se comparare, verum quoque, si expediet, se anteponere."[93]

For ever praying and for ever wrapped in ecstasy, Jeanne never observed the enemy; she did not know the roads; she paid no heed to the number of troops engaged; she did not take into account either the height of walls or the breadth of trenches. Even to-day officers are to be heard discussing the Maid's military tactics.[94] Those tactics were simple; they consisted in preventing men from blaspheming against God and consorting with light women. She believed that for their sins they would be destroyed,[Pg xlv] but that if they fought in a state of grace they would win the victory. Therein lay all her military science, save that she never feared danger.[95] She displayed a courage which was at once proud and gentle; she was more valiant, more constant, more noble than the men and in that worthy to lead them. And is it not admirable and rare to find such heroism united to such innocence?

Certain of the leaders indeed, and notably the princes of the blood royal, knew no more than she. The art of war in those days resolved itself into the art of riding. Any idea of marching along converging lines, of concentrated movements, of a campaign methodically planned, of a prolonged effort with a view to some great result was unknown. Military tactics were nothing more than a collection of peasants' stratagems and a few rules of chivalry. The freebooters, captains, and soldiers of fortune were all acquainted with the tricks of the trade, but they recognised neither friend nor foe; and their one desire was pillage. The nobles affected great concern for honour and praise; in reality they thought of nothing but gain. Alain Chartier said of them: "They cry 'to arms,' but they fight for money."[96]

Seeing that war was to last as long as life, it was waged with deliberation. Men-at-arms, horse-soldiers and foot, archers, cross-bowmen, Armagnacs as well as English and Burgundians, fought with no great ardour. Of course they were brave: but they were cautious too and were not ashamed to confess it. Jean Chartier, precentor of Saint-Denys, chronicler of the Kings of France, relating how on a day[Pg xlvi] the French met the English near Lagny, adds: "And there the battle was hard and fierce, for the French were barely more than the English."[97] These simple folk, seeing that one man is as good as another, admitted the risk of fighting one to one. Their minds had not fed on Plutarch as had those of the Revolution and the Empire. And for their encouragement they had neither the carmagnoles of Barrère, nor the songs of Marie-Joseph Chénier, nor the bulletins of la grande armée. Why did these captains, these men-at-arms go and fight in one place rather than in another seems to be a natural question.... Because they wanted goods.

This perpetual warfare was not sanguinary. During what was described as Jeanne d'Arc's mission, that is from Orléans to Compiègne, the French lost barely a few hundred men. The English suffered much more heavily, because they were the fugitives, and in a rout it was the custom for the conquerors to kill all those who were not worth holding to ransom. But battles were rare, and so consequently were defeats, and the number of the combatants was small. There were but a handful of English in France. And they may be said to have fought only for plunder. Those who suffered from the war were those who did not fight, burghers, priests, and peasants. The peasants endured terrible hardships, and it is quite conceivable that a peasant girl should have displayed a firmness in war, a persistence and an ardour unknown throughout the whole of chivalry.

It was not Jeanne who drove the English from France. If she contributed to the deliverance of Orléans, she retarded the ultimate salvation of France by causing the opportunity of conquering[Pg xlvii] Normandy to be lost through the coronation campaign. The misfortunes of the English after 1428 are easily explained. While in peaceful Guyenne they engaged in agriculture, in commerce, in navigation, and set the finances in good order, the country which they had rendered prosperous was strongly attached to them. On the banks of the Seine and the Loire it was very different; there they had never taken root; in numbers they were always too few, and they had never obtained any hold on the country. Shut up in fortresses and châteaux, they did not cultivate the country enough to conquer it, for one must work on the land if one would take possession of it. They left it waste and abandoned it to the soldiers of fortune by whom it was ravaged and exhausted. Their garrisons, absurdly small, were prisoners in the country they had conquered. The English had long teeth, but a pike cannot swallow an ox. That they were too few and that France was too big had been plainly seen after Crécy and after Poitiers. Then, after Verneuil, during the troubled reign of a child, weakened by civil discord, lacking men and money, and bound to keep in subjection the countries of Wales, Ireland, and Scotland, were they likely to succeed better? In 1428, they were but a handful in France, and to maintain themselves there they depended on the help of the Duke of Burgundy, who henceforth deserted them and wished them every possible harm.

They lacked means alike for the capture of new provinces and the pacification of those they had already conquered. The very character of the sovereignty their princes claimed, the nature of the rights they asserted, which were founded on institutions common to the two countries, rendered the[Pg xlviii] organisation of their conquest difficult without the consent and even, one may say, without the loyal concurrence and friendship of the conquered. The Treaty of Troyes did not subject France to England, it united one country to the other. Such a union occasioned much anxiety in London. The Commons did not conceal their fear that Old England might become a mere isolated province of the new kingdom.[98] France for her part did not concur in the union. It was too late. During all the time that they had been making war on these Coués[99] they had grown to hate them. And possibly there already existed an English character and a French character which were irreconcilable. Even in Paris, where the Armagnacs were as much feared as the Saracens, the Godons[100] met with very unwilling support. What surprises us is not that the English should have been driven from France, but that it should have happened so slowly. Does this amount to saying that the young saint had no part whatever in the work of deliverance? By no means. Hers was the nobler, the better part; the part of sacrifice; she set the example of the highest courage and displayed heroism in a form unexpected and charming. The King's cause, which was indeed the national cause, she served in two ways: by giving confidence to the men-at-arms of her party, who believed her to be a bringer of good fortune, and by striking fear into the English, who imagined her to be the devil.

[Pg xlix]

Our best historians cannot forgive the ministers and captains of 1428 for not having blindly obeyed the Maid. But that was not at all the advice given at the time by the Archbishop of Embrun to King Charles; he, on the contrary, recommended him not to abandon the means inspired by human reason.[101]

It has frequently been repeated that the lords and captains were jealous of her, especially old Gaucourt.[102] But such a statement shows an absolute ignorance of human nature. They were envious one of another; this and no other sentiment was the jealousy that made them tolerate the Maid's assuming the title of commander in war.[103]

Those secret intrigues on the part of the King and his captains, who are said to have plotted together the destruction of the saint, I admit having found it impossible to discover. To certain historians they appear very obvious: for my part, do what I may, I cannot discern them. The Chamberlain, the Sire de la Trémouille, had no pretensions to nobility of character; and the Chancellor Regnault de Chartres was hard-hearted, but what strikes me is that the Sire de la Trémouille refused to give up this valuable damsel to the Duke of Alençon when he asked for her, and that the Chancellor retained her in order to make use of her.[104] I am not of the opinion that Jeanne was a prisoner at Sully. I be[Pg l]lieve that when she went to join the Chancellor, who employed her until her capture by the Burgundians, she quitted the castle in estate, with trumpeters, and banners flying. After the girl saint he employed a boy saint, a shepherd who had stigmata; which proves that he did not regret having made use of a devout person to fight against the King's enemies and to recover his own archbishopric.

The excellent Quicherat and the magnanimous Henri Martin are very hard on the Government of 1428. According to them it was a treacherous Government. Yet the only reproach they bring against Charles VII and his councillors is that they did not understand the Maid as they themselves understood her. But such an understanding has required the lapse of four hundred years. To arrive at the illuminated ideas of a Quicherat and a Henri Martin concerning Jeanne d'Arc, three centuries of absolute monarchy, the Reformation, the Revolution, the wars of the Republic and of the Empire, and the sentimental Neo-Catholicism of '48, have all been necessary. Through all these brilliant prisms, through all these succeeding lights do romantic historians and broad-minded paleographers view the figure of Jeanne d'Arc; and we ask too much from the poor Dauphin Charles, from La Trémouille, from Regnault de Chartres, from the Lord of Trèves, from old Gaucourt, when we require them to have seen Jeanne as centuries have made and moulded her.[105]

This, however, remains: after having made so much use of her, the Royal Council did nothing to save her.[Pg li]

Must the disgrace of such neglect fall upon the whole Council and upon the Council alone? Who ought really to have interfered? And how? What ought King Charles to have done? Should he have offered to ransom the Maid? She would not have been surrendered to him at any price. As for capturing her by force, that is a mere child's dream. Had they entered Rouen, the French would not have found her there; Warwick would always have had time to put her in a place of safety, or to drown her in the river. Neither money nor arms would have availed to recapture her.

But this was no reason for standing with folded arms. Influence could have been brought to bear on those who were conducting the trial. Doubtless they were all on the side of the Godons; that old Cabochien of a Pierre Cauchon was very much committed to them; he detested the French; the clerks, who owed allegiance to Henry VI, were naturally inclined to please the Great Council of England which disposed of patronage; the doctors and masters of the University of France greatly hated and feared the Armagnacs. And yet the judges of the trial were not all infamous prevaricators; the chapter of Rouen lacked neither courage nor independence.[106] Among those members of the University who were so bitter against Jeanne, there were men highly esteemed for doctrine and character. They for the most part believed this trial to be a purely religious one. By dint of seeking for witches, they had come to find them everywhere. These females, as they called them, they were sending to the stake every[Pg lii] day, and receiving nothing but thanks for it. They believed as firmly as Jeanne in the possibility of the apparitions which she said had been vouchsafed to her, only they were persuaded either that she lied or that she saw devils. The Bishop, the Vice-Inquisitor and the assessors, to the number of forty and upwards, were unanimous in declaring her heretical and devilish. There were doubtless many who imagined that by passing sentence against her they were maintaining Catholic orthodoxy and unity of obedience against the abettors of schism and heresy; they wished to judge wisely. And even the boldest and the most unscrupulous, the Bishop and the Promoter, would not have dared too openly to infringe the rules of ecclesiastical justice in order to please the English. They were priests, and they preserved priestly pride and respect for formality. Here was their weak point; in this respect for formality they might have been struck. Had the other side instituted vigorous legal proceedings, theirs might possibly have been thwarted, arrested, and the fatal sentence prevented. If the metropolitan of the Bishop of Beauvais, the Archbishop of Reims, had intervened in the trial, if he had suspended his suffragan for abuse of authority, or some other reason, Pierre Cauchon would have been greatly embarrassed; if, as he decided to do later, King Charles VII had brought about the intervention of the mother and brothers of the Maid; if Jacques d'Arc and la Romée had protested in due form against an action so manifestly one-sided; if the register of Poitiers[107] had been[Pg liii] sent for inclusion among the documents of the trial; if the high prelates subject to King Charles VII had asked for a safe conduct in order to come and give evidence in Jeanne's favour at Rouen; finally, if the King, his Council, and the whole Church of France had demanded an appeal to the Pope, as they were legally entitled to do, then the trial might have had a different issue.

But they were afraid of the University of Paris. They feared lest Jeanne might be after all what so many learned doctors maintained her to be, a heretic, a miscreant seduced by the prince of darkness. Satan transforms himself into an angel of light, and it is difficult to distinguish the true prophets from the false. The hapless Maid was deserted by the very clergy whose croziers had so recently been carried before her; of all the Poitiers masters not one was found to testify in the château of Rouen to that innocence which they had officially recognised eighteen months before.

It would be very interesting to trace the reputation of the Maid down the ages. But to do so would require a whole book. I shall merely indicate the most striking revolutions of public opinion concerning her. The humanists of the Renaissance display no great interest in her: she was too Gothic for them. The Reformers, for whom she was tainted with idolatry, could not tolerate her picture.[108] It seems strange to us to-day, but it is none the less certain, and in conformity with all we know of French feeling for royalty, that whilst the monarchy endured it was the memory of Charles VII that kept alive the memory of Jeanne d'Arc and saved her[Pg liv] from oblivion.[109] Respect due to the Prince generally hindered his faithful subjects from too closely inquiring into the legends of Jeanne as well as into those of the Holy Ampulla, the cures for King's evil, the oriflamme and all other popular traditions relating to the antiquity and celebrity of the royal throne of France. In 1609, when in a college of Paris, the Maid was the subject of sundry literary themes in which she was unfavourably treated,[110] a certain lawyer, Jean Hordal, who boasted that he came of the same race as the heroine, complained of these academic disputes as being derogatory to royal majesty—"I am greatly astonished," he said, "that ... public declamations against the honour of France, of King Charles VII and his Council,[111] should be suffered in France." Had Jeanne not been so closely associated with royalty, her memory would have been very much neglected by the wits of the seventeenth century. In the minds of scholars, Catholics and Protestants alike, who considered the life of St. Margaret as mere superstition,[112] her[Pg lv] apparitions did her harm. In those days even the Sorbonagres themselves were expurgating the martyrology and the legends of saints. One of them, Edmond Richer, like Jeanne a native of Champagne, the censor of the university in 1600, and a zealous Gallican, wrote an apology for the Maid who had defended the Crown of Charles VII.[113] with her sword. Albeit a firm upholder of the liberties of the French Church, Edmond Richer was a good Catholic. He was pious and of sound doctrine; he firmly believed in angels, but he did not believe either in Saint Catherine or Saint Margaret, and their appearing to the Maid greatly embarrassed him. He solved the difficulty by supposing that the angels had represented themselves to the Maid as the two saints, whom in her ignorance she devoutly worshipped. The hypothesis seemed to him satisfactory, "all the more so," he said, "because the Spirit of God, which governs the Church, accommodates himself to our infirmity." Thirty or forty years later, another doctor of the Sorbonne, Jean de Launoy, who was always ferreting after saints, completed the discrediting of Saint Catherine's legend.[114] The voices of Domremy were falling into disrepute.

Take Chapelain, for example, whose poem was first published in 1656. Chapelain is unconsciously burlesque; he is a Scarron without knowing it. It[Pg lvi] is none the less interesting to learn from him that he merely treated his subject as an occasion for glorifying the Bastard of Orléans. He expressly says in his preface: "I did not so much regard her (the Maid) as the chief character of the poem, who, strictly speaking, is the Comte de Dunois." Chapelain was in the pay of the Duc de Longueville, a descendant of Dunois.[115] It is of Dunois that he sings; "the illustrious shepherdess" contributes the marvellous element to his poem, and, according to the good man's own expression, furnishes les machines nécessaires for an epic. Saint Catherine and Saint Margaret are too commonplace to be included among ces machines. Chapelain tells us that he took particular care so to arrange his poem that "everything which happens in it by divine favour might be believed to have taken place through human agency carried to the highest degree to which nature is capable of ascending." Herein we discern the dawn of the modern spirit.

Bossuet also is careful not to mention Saint Catherine and Saint Margaret. The four or five quarto pages which he devotes to Jeanne d'Arc in his "Abrégé de l'Histoire de France pour l'instruction du Dauphin"[116] are very interesting, not for his statement of facts, which is confused and inexact,[117] but for the care the author takes to represent the miraculous deeds attributed to Jeanne in an inciden[Pg lvii]tal and dubious manner. In Bossuet's opinion, as in Gerson's, these things are matters of edification, not of faith. Writing for the instruction of a prince, Bossuet was bound to abridge; but his abridgment goes too far when, representing Jeanne's condemnation to be the work of the Bishop of Beauvais, he omits to say that the Bishop of Beauvais pronounced this sentence with the unanimous concurrence of the University of Paris, and in conjunction with the Vice-Inquisitor.[118]

The eighteenth-century philosophers did not descend on France like a cloud of locusts; they were the result of two centuries of the critical spirit. If the story of Jeanne d'Arc contained too much monkish superstition for their taste, it was because they had learned their ecclesiastical history from the Baillets and the Tillemonts, who were pious indeed, but very critical of legends. Voltaire, writing of Jeanne, jeered at the rascally monks and their[Pg lviii] dupes. But if we quote the lines of La Pucelle, why not also the article[119] in the Dictionnaire Philosophique, which contains three pages of profounder truth and nobler thought than certain voluminous modern works in which Voltaire is insulted in clerical jargon?

It was precisely at the end of the eighteenth century that Jeanne began to be better known and more justly appreciated, first through a little book, which the Abbé Lenglet du Fresnoy derived almost wholly from the unpublished history of old Richer,[120] then by l'Averdy's erudite researches into the two trials.[121]

Nevertheless humanism, and after humanism the Reformation, and after the Reformation Cartesianism, and after Cartesianism experimental philosophy had banished the old credulity from thoughtful minds. When the Revolution came, the bloom had already long faded from the flower of Gothic legend.[Pg lix] It seemed as if the glory of Jeanne d'Arc, so intimately related to the traditions of the royal house of France, could not survive the monarchy, and as if the tempest which scattered the royal ashes of Saint Denys and the treasure of Reims, would also bear away the frail relics and the venerated images of the saint of the Valois. The new régime did indeed refuse to honour a memory so inseparable from royalty and from religion. The festival of Jeanne d'Arc at Orléans, shorn of ecclesiastical pomp in 1791, was discontinued in 1793. Later the Maid's history appeared somewhat too Gothic even to the emigrés; Chateaubriand did not dare to introduce her into his "Génie du Christianisme."[122]

But in the year XI the First Consul, who had just concluded the Concordat and was meditating the restoration of all the pageantry of the coronation, reinstituted the festival of the Maid with its incense and its crosses. Glorified of old in Charles VII's letters to his good towns, Jeanne was now exalted in Le Moniteur by Bonaparte.[123]

Only by constant transformation do the figures of poetry and history live in the minds of nations. Humanity cannot be interested in a personage of old time unless it clothe it in its own sentiments and in its own passions. After having been associated with the monarchy of divine right, the memory of[Pg lx] Jeanne d'Arc came to be connected with the national unity which that monarchy had rendered possible; in Imperial and Republican France she became the symbol of la patrie. Certainly the daughter of Isabelle Romée had no more idea of la patrie as it is conceived to-day than she had of the idea of landed property which lies at its base. She never imagined anything like what we call the nation. That is something quite modern; but she did conceive of the heritage of kings and of the domain of the House of France. And it was there, in that domain and in that heritage, that the French gathered together before forming themselves into la patrie.

Under influences which it is impossible for us exactly to discover, the idea came to her of re-establishing the Dauphin in his inheritance; and this idea appeared to her so grand and so beautiful that in the fulness of her very ingenuous pride, she believed it to have been suggested to her by angels and saints from Paradise. For this idea she gave her life. That is why she has survived the cause for which she suffered. The very highest enterprises perish in their defeat and even more surely in their victory. The devotion, which inspired them, remains as an immortal example. And if the illusion, under which her senses laboured, helped her to this act of self-consecration, was not that illusion the unconscious outcome of her own heart? Her foolishness was wiser than wisdom, for it was that foolishness of martyrdom, without which men have never yet founded anything great or useful. Cities, empires, republics rest on sacrifice. It is not without reason therefore, not without justice that, transformed by enthusiastic imagination, she became the symbol of la patrie in arms.[Pg lxi]

In 1817, Le Brun de Charmettes,[124] a royalist jealous of imperial glory, wrote the first patriotic history of Jeanne d'Arc. The history is an able work. It has been followed by many others, conceived in the same spirit, composed on the same plan, written in the same style. From 1841 to 1849, Jules Quicherat, by his publication of the two trials and the evidence, worthily opened an incomparable period of research and discovery. At the same time, Michelet in the fifth volume of his "Histoire de France," wrote pages of high colour and rapid movement, which will doubtless remain the highest expression of the romantic art as applied to the Maid.[125]

But of all the histories written between 1817 and 1870, or at least of all those with which I have made acquaintance, for I have not attempted to read them all, the most discerning in my opinion is the fourth book of Vallet de Viriville's "Histoire de Charles VII" in which his chief preoccupation is to place the Maid in that group of visionaries to which she really belongs.[126]

Wallon's book has been widely circulated if not widely read. A monotonous, conscientious work moderately enthusiastic, it owes its success to its unimpeachable exactitude.[127] If there must be an orthodox Jeanne d'Arc to suit fashionable persons, then for such a purpose, M. Marius Sepet's representation of the Maid would be equally exact and more graceful.[128]

[Pg lxii]

After the war of 1871, the twofold influence of the patriotic spirit, exalted by defeat, and the revival of Catholicism among the middle class gave a new impetus to admiration of the Maid. Arts and letters completed the transfiguration of Jeanne.

Catholics, like the learned Canon Dunand,[129] vie in zeal and enthusiasm with free-thinking idealists like M. Joseph Fabre.[130] By reproducing the two trials in a very artistic manner, in modern French and in a direct form of speech, M. Fabre has popularised the most ancient and the most touching impression of the Maid.[131]

From this period date almost innumerable works of erudition, among which must be noted those of Siméon Luce, which henceforth no one who would treat of Jeanne's early years can afford to neglect.[132]

We are equally indebted to M. Germain Lefèvre-Pontalis for his fine editions and his discerning studies so eruditely graceful and exact.

Throughout this period of romantic and Neo-Catholic enthusiasm the arts of painting and sculpture produced numerous representations of Jeanne, which had hitherto been very rare. Now everywhere were to be found Jeanne in armour and on horseback, Jeanne in prayer, Jeanne in captivity, Jeanne suffering martyrdom. Of all these images expressing in different manners and with varying merit the taste and the sentiment of the period, one[Pg lxiii] work only appears great and true, and of striking beauty: Rude's Jeanne d'Arc beholding a vision.[133]

The word patrie did not exist in the days of the Maid. People spoke of the kingdom of France.[134] No one, not even jurists, knew exactly what were its limits, which were constantly changing. The diversity of laws and customs was infinite, and quarrels between nobles were constantly arising. Nevertheless, men felt in their hearts that they loved their native land and hated the foreigner. If the Hundred Years' War did not create the sentiment of nationality in France, it fostered it. In his "Quadrilogue Invectif" Alain Chartier represents France, indicated by her robe sumptuously adorned with the emblems of the nobility, of the clergy and of the tiers état, but lamentably soiled and torn, adjuring the three orders not to permit her to perish. "After the bond of the Catholic faith," she says to them, "Nature has called you before all things to unite for the salvation of your native land, and for the defence of that lordship under which God has caused you to be born and to live."[135] And these are not the mere maxims of a humourist versed in the virtues of antiquity. On the hearts of humble Frenchmen it was laid to serve the country of their birth. "Must the King be driven from his kingdom, and must we become English?" cried a man-at-arms of Lorraine in 1428.[136] The subjects of the Lilies, as well as those of the Leopard, felt it incumbent upon[Pg lxiv] them to be loyal to their liege lord. But if any change for the worse occurred in the lordships to which they belonged, they were quite ready to make the best of it, because a lordship must increase or decrease, according to power and fortune, according to the good right or the good pleasure of the holder; it may be dismembered by marriages, or gifts, or inheritance, or alienated by various contracts. On the occasion of the Treaty of Bretigny, which seriously narrowed the dominions of King John, the folk of Paris strewed the streets with grass and flowers as a sign of rejoicing.[137] As a matter of fact, nobles changed their allegiance as often as it was necessary. Juvénal des Ursins relates in his Journal[138] how at the time of the English conquest of Normandy, a young widow was known to quit her domain with her three children in order to escape doing homage to the King from beyond the seas. But how many Norman nobles were like her in refusing to swear fealty to the former enemies of the kingdom? The example of fidelity to the king was not always set by those of his own family. The Duke of Bourbon, in the name of all the princes of the blood royal, prisoners with him in the hands of the English, proposed to Henry V that they should go and negotiate in France for the cession of Harfleur, promising that if the Royal Council met them with refusal they would acknowledge Henry V to be King of France.[139]

Every one thought first of himself. Whoever possessed land owed himself to his land; his neighbour was his enemy. The burgher thought only of[Pg lxv] his town. The peasant changed his master without knowing it. The three orders were not yet united closely enough to form, in the modern sense of the word, a state.

Little by little the royal power united the French. This union became stronger in proportion as royalty grew more powerful. In the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries, that desire to think and act in common, which creates great nations, became very strong among us—at least in those families which furnished officers to the Crown—and it even spread among the lower orders of society. Rabelais introduces François Villon and the King of England into a tale so inflamed with military bravado that it might have been told over the camp fire in an almost identical manner by one of Napoleon's grenadiers.[140] In his preface to the poem we have just quoted, Chapelain writes of the occasions when "la patrie who is our common mother, has need of all her children." Already the old poet expresses himself like the author of the Marseillaise.[141]

It cannot be denied that the feeling for la patrie did exist under the old régime. The impulse imparted to this sentiment by the Revolution was none the less immense. It added to it the idea of national unity and national territorial integrity. It extended to all the right of property hitherto reserved to a small number, and thus, so to speak, divided la patrie among the citizens. While rendering the peasant capable of possessing, the new régime imposed upon him the obligations of defending his actual or potential possessions. Recourse to arms is a necessity alike for whomsoever acquires or wishes[Pg lxvi] to acquire territory. Hardly had the Frenchman come to enjoy the rights of a man and of a citizen, hardly had he entered into possession or thought he might enter into possession of a home and lands of his own, when the armies of the Coalition arrived "to drive him back to ancient slavery." Then the patriot became a soldier. Twenty-three years of warfare, with the inevitable alternations of victories and defeats, built up our fathers in their love of la patrie and their hatred of the foreigner.

Since then, as the result of industrial progress, there have arisen in one country and another, rivalries which are every day growing more bitter. The present methods of production by multiplying antagonism among nations, have given rise to imperialism, to colonial expansion and to armed peace.

But how many contrary forces are at work in this formidable creation of a new order of things! In all countries the great development of trade and manufactures has given birth to a new class. This class, possessing nothing, having no hope of ever possessing anything, enjoying none of the good things of life, not even the light of day, does not share the fear which haunted the peasant and burgher of the Revolution, of being despoiled by an enemy coming from abroad; the members of this new class, having no wealth to defend, regard foreign nations with neither terror nor hatred. At the same time over all the markets of the world there have arisen financial powers, which, although they often affect respect for old traditions, are by their very functions essentially destructive of the national and patriotic spirit. The universal capitalist system has created in France, as everywhere else, the internationalism of the workers and the cosmopolitanism of the financiers.[Pg lxvii]

To-day, just as two thousand years ago, in order to discern the future, we must regard not the enterprises of the great but the confused movements of the working classes. The nations will not indefinitely endure this armed peace which weighs so heavily upon them. Every day we behold the organising of an universal community of workers.

I believe in the future union of nations, and I long for it with that ardent charity for the human race, which, formed in the Latin conscience in the days of Epictetus and Seneca, and through so many centuries extinguished by European barbarism, has been revived in the noblest breasts of modern times. And in vain will it be argued against me that these are the mere dream-illusions of desire: it is desire that creates life and the future is careful to realise the dreams of philosophers. Nevertheless, that we to-day are assured of a peace that nothing will disturb, none but a madman would maintain. On the contrary, the terrible industrial and commercial rivalries growing up around us indicate future conflicts, and there is nothing to assure us that France will not one day find herself involved in a great European or world conflagration. Her obligation to provide for her defence increases not a little those difficulties which arise from a social order profoundly agitated by competition in production and antagonism between classes.

An absolute empire obtains its defenders by inspiring fear; democracy only by bestowing benefits. Fear or interest lies at the root of all devotion. If the French proletariat is to defend the Republic heroically in the hour of peril, then it must either be happy or have the hope of becoming so. And what use is it to deceive ourselves? The lot of the[Pg lxviii] workman to-day is no better in France than in Germany, and not so good as in England or America.

On these important subjects I have not been able to forbear expressing the truth as it appears to me; there is a great satisfaction in saying what one believes useful and just.

It now only remains for me to submit to my readers a few reflections on the difficult art of writing history, and to explain certain peculiarities of form and language which will be found in this work.

To enter into the spirit of a period that has passed away, to make oneself the contemporary of men of former days, deliberate study and loving care are necessary. The difficulty lies not so much in what one must know as in what one must not know. If we would really live in the fifteenth century, how many things we must forget: knowledge, methods, all those acquisitions which make moderns of us. We must forget that the earth is round, and that the stars are suns, and not lamps suspended from a crystal vault; we must forget the cosmogony of Laplace, and believe in the science of Saint Thomas, of Dante, and of those cosmographers of the Middle Age who teach the Creation in seven days and the foundation of kingdoms by the sons of Priam, after the destruction of Great Troy. Such and such a historian or paleographer is powerless to make us understand the contemporaries of the Maid. It is not knowledge he lacks, but ignorance—ignorance of modern warfare, of modern politics, of modern religion.

But when we have forgotten, as far as possible, all that has happened since the youth of Charles VII,[Pg lxix] in order to think like a clerk in exile at Poitiers, or a burgher at Orléans serving on the ramparts of his city, we must recover all our intellectual resources in order to embrace the entirety of events, and discover that sequence between cause and effect which escape the clerk or the burgher. "I have contracted my horizon," says the Chatterton of Alfred de Vigny, when he explains how he is conscious of nothing that has happened since the days of the old Saxons. But Chatterton wrote poems, pseudo chronicles, and not history. The historian must alternately contract his horizon and widen it. If he undertake to tell an old story, he must needs successively—or sometimes at one and the same moment—assume the credulity of the folk he restores to life, and the discernment of the most accomplished critic. By a strange process, he must divide his personality. He must be at once the ancient man and the modern man; he must live on two different planes, like that curious character in a story by Mr. H.G. Wells, who lives and moves in a little English town, and all the time sees herself at the bottom of the ocean.

I have carefully visited cities and countries in which the events I propose to relate took place. I have seen the valley of the Meuse amidst the flowers and perfumes of spring, and I have seen it again beneath a mass of mist and cloud. I have travelled along the smiling banks of the Loire, so full of renown; through La Beauce, with its vast horizons bordered with snow-topped mountains; through l'Île-de-France, where the sky is serene; through La Champagne, with its stony hills covered with those low vines which, trampled upon by the coronation army, bloomed again into leaves and fruit, says the legend, and by St. Martin's Day yielded a late but[Pg lxx] rich vintage.[142] I have lingered in barren Picardy, along the Bay of the Somme so sad and bare beneath the flight of its birds of passage. I have wandered through the fat meadows of Normandy to Rouen with its steeples and towers, its ancient charnel houses, its damp streets, its last remaining timbered houses with high gables. I have imagined these rivers, these lands, these châteaux and these towns as they were five hundred years ago.

I have accustomed my gaze to the forms assumed by the beings and the objects of those days. I have examined all that remains of stone, of iron, or of wood worked by the hands of those old artisans, who were freer and consequently more ingenious than ours, and whose handicraft reveals a desire to animate and adorn everything. To the best of my ability I have studied figures carved and painted, not exactly in France—for there, in those days of misery and death, art was little practised—but in Flanders, in Burgundy, in Provence, where the workmanship is often in a style at once affected and naif, and frequently beautiful. As I gazed at the old miniatures, they seemed to live before me, and I saw the nobles in the absurd magnificence of their étoffes à tripes,[143] the dames and the damoiselles somewhat devilish with their horned caps and their pointed shoes; clerks seated at the desk, men-at-arms riding their chargers and merchants their mules, husbandmen performing from April till March all the tasks of the rural calendar; peasant women, whose broad coifs are still worn by nuns. I drew near to these folk, who were our fellows, and who yet differed[Pg lxxi] from us by a thousand shades of sentiment and of thought; I lived their lives; I read their hearts.

It is hardly necessary to say that there exists no authentic representation of Jeanne. In the art of the fifteenth century all that relates to her amounts to very little: hardly anything remains—a small piece of bestion tapestry, a slight pen-and-ink figure on a register, a few illuminations in manuscripts of the reigns of Charles VII, Louis XI, and Charles VIII, that is all. I have found it necessary to contribute to this very meagre iconography of Jeanne d'Arc, not because I had anything to add to it, but in order to expunge the contributions of the forgers of that period. In Appendix IV, at the end of this work, will be found the short article in which I point out the forgeries which, for the most part, are already old, but had not been previously denounced. I have limited my researches to the fifteenth century, leaving to others the task of studying those pictures of the Renaissance in which the Maid appears decked out in the German fashion, with the plumed hat and slashed doubtlet of a Saxon ritter or a Swiss mercenary.[144] I cannot say who served as a prototype for these portraits, but they closely resemble the woman accompanying the mercenaries in La Danse des morts, which Nicholas Manuel painted at Berne, on the wall of the Dominican Monastery, between 1515 and 1521.[145] In le Grand[Pg lxxii] Siècle Jeanne d'Arc becomes Clorinda, Minerva, Bellona in ballet costume.[146]

To my mind a continuous story is more likely than any controversy or discussion to make my subject live, and bring home its verities to my readers. It is true that the documents relating to the Maid do not lend themselves very easily to this kind of treatment. As I have just shown, they may nearly all be regarded as doubtful from several points of view, and objections to them arise at every moment. Nevertheless, I think that by making a cautious and judicious use of these documents one may obtain material sufficient for a truthful history of considerable extent. Besides, I have always indicated the sources of my facts, so that every one may judge for himself of the trustworthiness of my authorities.

In the course of my story I have related many incidents which, without having a direct relation to Jeanne, reveal the spirit, the morals, and the beliefs of her time. These incidents are usually of a religious order. They must necessarily be so, for Jeanne's story—and I cannot repeat it too often—is the story of a saint, just like that of Colette of Corbie, or of Catherine of Sienna.

I have yielded frequently, perhaps too frequently, to the desire to make the reader live among the men and things of the fifteenth century. And in order not to distract him suddenly from them, I have avoided suggesting any comparison with other periods, although many such occurred to me.

My history is founded on the form and substance of ancient documents; but I have hardly ever introduced into it literal quotations; I believe that[Pg lxxiii] unless it possesses a certain unity of language a book is unreadable, and I want to be read.

It is neither affectation of style nor artistic taste that has led me to adhere as far as possible to the tone of the period and to prefer archaic forms of language whenever I thought they would be intelligible, it is because ideas are changed when words are changed and because one cannot substitute modern for ancient expressions without altering sentiments and characters.

I have endeavoured to make my style simple and familiar. History is too often written in a high-flown manner that renders it wearisome and false. Why should we imagine historical facts to be out of the ordinary run of things and on a scale different from every-day humanity?

The writer of a history such as this is terribly tempted to throw himself into the battle. There is hardly a modern account of these old contests, in which the author, be he ecclesiastic or professor, does not with pen behind ear, rush into the mêlée by the side of the Maid. Even at the risk of missing the revelation of some of the beauties of her nature, I deem it better to keep one's own personality out of the action.

I have written this history with a zeal ardent and tranquil; I have sought truth strenuously, I have met her fearlessly. Even when she assumed an unexpected aspect, I have not turned from her. I shall be reproached for audacity, until I am reproached for timidity.

I have pleasure in expressing my gratitude to my illustrious confrères, MM. Paul Meyer and Ernest Lavisse, who have given me valuable advice. I owe much to M. Petit Dutaillis for certain kindly observations which I have taken into consideration.[Pg lxxiv] I am also greatly indebted to M. Henri Jadart, Secretary of the Reims Academy; M. E. Langlois, Professor at the Faculté des Lettres of Lille; M. Camille Bloch, some time archivist of Loiret, M. Noël Charavay, autographic expert, and M. Raoul Bonnet.

M. Pierre Champion, who albeit still young is already known as the author of valuable historical works, has placed the result of his researches at my disposal with a disinterestedness I shall never be able adequately to acknowledge. He has also carefully read the whole of my work. M. Jean Brousson has given me the advantage of his perspicacity which far surpasses what one is entitled to expect from one's secretary.

In the century which I have endeavoured to represent in this work, there was a fiend, by name Titivillus. Every evening this fiend put into a sack all the letters omitted or altered by the copyists during the day. He carried them to hell, in order that, when Saint Michael weighed the souls of these negligent scribes, the share of each one might be put in the scale of his iniquities. Should he have survived the invention of printing, surely this most properly meticulous fiend must to-day be assuming the heavy task of collecting the misprints scattered throughout the books which aspire to exactitude; it would be very foolish of him to trouble about others. As occasion requires he will place those misprints to the account of reader or author. I am infinitely indebted to my publishers and friends MM. Calmann, Lévy and to their excellent collaborators for the care and experience they have employed in lightening the burden, which Titivillus will place on my back on the Day of Judgment.

Paris, February, 1908.

[Pg lxxv]


Vol. I

  Preface v
  Introduction vii
I. Childhood 1
II. Voices 29
First Visit to Vaucouleurs. Flight to Neufchâteau. Journey to Toul.
Second Visit to Vaucouleurs
IV. Journey to Nancy. Itinerary from Vaucouleurs to Sainte-Catherine-de-Fierbois 91
V. The Siege of Orléans from the 12th of October, 1428, to the 6th of March, 1429 106
VI. The Maid at Chinon—Prophecies 145
VII. The Maid at Poitiers 187
VIII. The Maid at Poitiers (continued) 204
IX. The Maid at Tours 217
X. The Siege of Orléans from the 7th of March to the 28th of April, 1429 230
XI. The Maid at Blois. Letter to the English. Departure for Orléans 243
XII. The Maid at Orléans 258
XIII. The Taking of Les Tourelles and the Deliverance of Orléans 296
XIV. The Maid at Tours and Selles-en-Berry. Treatises of Jacques Gélu and Jean Gerson 318
XV. Taking of Jargeau. The Meung Bridge. Beaugency 345
[Pg lxxvi]XVI. The Battle of Patay. Opinions of Italian and German Clerks. The Gien Army 368
XVII. The Auxerre Convention. Friar Richard. The Surrender of Troyes 403
XVIII. The Surrender of Châlons and of Reims. The Coronation 435
XIX. Rise of the Legend 461

List of Illustrations


Volume II


[Pg lxxvii]


Vol. I

Joan of Arc
From a painting by Deruet.
  To face page
House of Joan of Arc at Domremy in 1419 12
View of Orléans, 1428-1429 106
Plan of Orléans 258
Charles VII
From an old engraving.

[Pg i.1]




FROM Neufchâteau to Vaucouleurs the clear waters of the Meuse flow freely between banks covered with rows of poplar trees and low bushes of alder and willow. Now they wind in sudden bends, now in gradual curves, for ever breaking up into narrow streams, and then the threads of greenish waters gather together again, or here and there are suddenly lost to sight underground. In the summer the river is a lazy stream, barely bending in its course the reeds which grow upon its shallow bed; and from the bank one may watch its lapping waters kept back by clumps of rushes scarcely covering a little sand and moss. But in the season of heavy rains, swollen by sudden torrents, deeper and more rapid, as it rushes along, it leaves behind it on the banks a kind of dew, which rises in pools of clear water on a level with the grass of the valley.

This valley, two or three miles broad, stretches unbroken between low hills, softly undulating, crowned with oaks, maples, and birches. Although strewn with wild-flowers in the spring, it looks severe, grave, and sometimes even sad. The green grass imparts to it a monotony like that of stagnant water. Even on fine days one is conscious of a hard, cold climate.[Pg i.2] The sky seems more genial than the earth. It beams upon it with a tearful smile; it constitutes all the movement, the grace, the exquisite charm of this delicate tranquil landscape. Then when winter comes the sky merges with the earth in a kind of chaos. Fogs come down thick and clinging. The white light mists, which in summer veil the bottom of the valley, give place to thick clouds and dark moving mountains, but slowly scattered by a red, cold sun. Wanderers ranging the uplands in the early morning might dream with the mystics in their ecstasy that they are walking on clouds.

Thus, after having passed on the left the wooded plateau, from the height of which the château of Bourlémont dominates the valley of the Saonelle, and on the right Coussey with its old church, the winding river flows between le Bois Chesnu on the west and the hill of Julien on the east. Then on it goes, passing the adjacent villages of Domremy and Greux on the west bank and separating Greux from Maxey-sur-Meuse. Among other hamlets nestling in the hollows of the hills or rising on the high ground, it passes Burey-la-Côte, Maxey-sur-Vaise, and Burey-en-Vaux, and flows on to water the beautiful meadows of Vaucouleurs.[147]

In this little village of Domremy, situated at least seven and a half miles further down the river than Neufchâteau and twelve and a half above Vaucouleurs, there was born, about the year 1410 or 1412,[148][Pg i.3] a girl who was destined to live a remarkable life. She was born poor. Her father,[149] Jacques or Jacquot d'Arc, a native of the village of Ceffonds in Champagne,[150] was a small farmer and himself drove his horses at the plough.[151] His neighbours, men and women alike, held him to be a good Christian and an industrious workman.[152] His wife came from Vouthon, a village nearly four miles northwest of Domremy, beyond the woods of Greux. Her name being Isabelle or Zabillet, she received at some time, exactly when is uncertain, the surname of Romée.[153] That name was given to those who had been to Rome or on some other important pilgrimage;[154] and it is possible that Isabelle may have acquired her name of Romée by[Pg i.4] assuming the pilgrim's shell and staff.[155] One of her brothers was a parish priest, another a tiler; she had a nephew who was a carpenter.[156] She had already borne her husband three children: Jacques or Jacquemin, Catherine, and Jean.[157]

Jacques d'Arc's house was on the verge of the precincts of the parish church, dedicated to Saint Remi, the apostle of Gaul.[158] There was only the graveyard to cross when the child was carried to the font. It is said that in those days and in that country the form of exorcism pronounced by the priest during the baptismal ceremony was much longer for girls than for boys.[159] We do not know whether Messire Jean Minet,[160] the parish priest, pronounced it over the child in all its literal fulness, but we notice the custom as one of the numerous signs of the Church's invincible mistrust of woman.

According to the custom then prevailing the child[Pg i.5] had several godfathers and godmothers.[161] The men-gossips were Jean Morel, of Greux,[162] husbandman; Jean Barrey, of Neufchâteau; Jean Le Langart or Lingui, and Jean Rainguesson; the women, Jeannette, wife of Thévenin le Royer, called Roze, of Domremy; Béatrix, wife of Estellin,[163] husbandman in the same village; Edite, wife of Jean Barrey; Jeanne, wife of Aubrit, called Jannet and described as Maire Aubrit when he was appointed secretary to the lords of Bourlémont; Jeannette, wife of Thiesselin de Vittel, a scholar of Neufchâteau. She was the most learned of all, for she had heard stories read out of books. Among the godmothers there are mentioned also the wife of Nicolas d'Arc, Jacques' brother, and two obscure Christians, one called Agnes, the other Sibylle.[164] Here, as in every group of good Catholics, we have a number of Jeans, Jeannes, and Jeannettes. St. John the Baptist was a saint of high repute; his festival, kept on the 24th of June, was a red-letter day in the calendar, both civil and religious; it marked the customary date for leases, hirings, and contracts of all kinds. In the opinion of certain ecclesiastics, especially of the mendicant orders, St. John the Evangelist, whose head had rested on the Saviour's breast and who was to return to earth when the ages should have run their course, was the greatest saint in Paradise.[165] Wherefore, in honour of[Pg i.6] the Precursor of the Saviour or of his best beloved disciple, when babes were baptised the name Jean or Jeanne was frequently preferred to all others. To render these holy names more in keeping with the helplessness of childhood and the humble destiny awaiting most of us, they were given the diminutive forms of Jeannot and Jeannette. On the banks of the Meuse the peasants had a particular liking for these diminutives at once unpretentious and affectionate: Jacquot, Pierrollot, Zabillet, Mengette, Guillemette.[166] After the wife of the scholar, Thiesselin, the child was named Jeannette. That was the name by which she was known in the village. Later, in France, she was called Jeanne.[167]

She was brought up in her father's house, in Jacques' poor dwelling.[168] In the front there were two windows admitting but a scanty light. The stone roof forming one side of a gable on the garden side sloped almost to the ground. Close by the door, as was usual in that country, were the dung-heap, a pile of firewood, and the farm tools covered with rust and mud. But the humble enclosure, which served[Pg i.7] as orchard and kitchen-garden, in the spring bloomed in a wealth of pink and white flowers.[169]

These good Christians had one more child, the youngest, Pierre, who was called Pierrelot.[170]

Fed on light wine and brown bread, hardened by a hard life, Jeanne grew up in an unfruitful land, among people who were rough and sober. She lived in perfect liberty. Among hard-working peasants the children are left to themselves. Isabelle's daughter seems to have got on well with the village children.

A little neighbour, Hauviette, three or four years younger than she, was her daily companion. They liked to sleep together in the same bed.[171] Mengette, whose parents lived close by, used to come and spin at Jacques d'Arc's house. She helped Jeanne with her household duties.[172] Taking her distaff with her, Jeanne used often to go and pass the evening at Saint-Amance, at the house of a husbandman Jacquier, who had a young daughter.[173] Boys and girls grew up as a matter of course side by side. Being neighbours, Jeanne and Simonin Musnier's son were brought up together. When Musnier's son was still a child he fell ill, and Jeanne nursed him.[174]

In those days it was not unprecedented for village maidens to know their letters. A few years earlier Maître Jean Gerson had counselled his sisters, peasants of Champagne, to learn to read, and had promised, if they succeeded, to give them edifying[Pg i.8] books.[175] Albeit the niece of a parish priest, Jeanne did not learn her horn-book, thus resembling most of the village children, but not all, for at Maxey there was a school attended by boys from Domremy.[176]

From her mother she learnt the Paternoster, Ave Maria, and the credo.[177] She heard a few beautiful stories of the saints. That was her whole education. On holy days, in the nave of the church, beneath the pulpit, while the men stood round the wall, she, in the manner of the peasant women, squatted on her toes, listening to the priest's sermon.[178]

As soon as she was old enough she laboured in the fields, weeding, digging, and, like the Lorraine maidens of to-day, doing the work of a man.[179]

The river meadows were the chief source of wealth to the dwellers on the banks of the Meuse. When the hay harvest was over, according to his share of the arable land, each villager in Domremy had the right to turn so many head of cattle into the meadows of[Pg i.9] the village. Each family took its turn at watching the flocks and herds in the meadows. Jacques d'Arc, who had a little grazing land of his own, turned out his oxen and his horses with the others. When his turn came to watch them, he delegated the task to his daughter Jeanne, who went off into the meadow, distaff in hand.[180]

But she would rather do housework or sew or spin. She was pious. She swore neither by God nor his saints; and to assert the truth of anything she was content to say: "There's no mistake."[181] When the bells rang for the Angelus, she crossed herself and knelt.[182] On Saturday, the Holy Virgin's day, she climbed the hill overgrown with grass, vines, and fruit-trees, with the village of Greux nestling at its foot, and gained the wooded plateau, whence she could see on the east the green valley and the blue hills. On the brow of the hill, barely two and a half miles from the village, in a shaded dale full of murmuring sounds, from beneath beeches, ash-trees, and oaks gush forth the clear waters of the Saint-Thiébault spring, which cure fevers and heal wounds. Above the spring rises the chapel of Notre-Dame de Bermont. In fine weather it is pervaded by the scent of fields and woods, and winter wraps this high ground in a mantle of sadness and silence. In those days, clothed in a royal cloak and wearing a crown, with her divine child in her arms, Notre-Dame de Bermont received the prayers and the offerings of young men and maidens. She worked miracles. Jeanne used to visit her with her sister Catherine and the[Pg i.10] boys and girls of the neighbourhood, or quite alone. And as often as she could she lit a candle in honour of the heavenly lady.[183]

A mile and a quarter west of Domremy was a hill covered with a dense wood, which few dared enter for fear of boars and wolves. Wolves were the terror of the countryside. The village mayors gave rewards for every head of a wolf or wolf-cub brought them.[184] This wood, which Jeanne could see from her threshold, was the Bois Chesnu, the wood of oaks, or possibly the hoary [chenu] wood, the old forest.[185] We shall see later how this Bois Chesnu was the subject of a prophecy of Merlin the Magician.

At the foot of the hill, towards the village, was a spring[186] on the margin of which gooseberry bushes intertwined their branches of greyish green. It was called the Gooseberry Spring or the Blackthorn Spring.[187] If, as was thought by a graduate of the University of Paris,[188] Jeanne described it as La Fontaine-aux-Bonnes-Fées-Notre-Seigneur, it must have been because the village people called it by that name. By making use of such a term it would seem as if those rustic souls were trying to Christianise the nymphs of the woods and waters, in whom certain teachers discerned the demons which the heathen once worshipped as goddesses.[189] It was quite true.[Pg i.11] Goddesses as much feared and venerated as the Parcæ had come to be called Fates,[190] and to them had been attributed power over the destinies of men. But, fallen long since from their powerful and high estate, these village fairies had grown as simple as the people among whom they lived. They were invited to baptisms, and a place at table was laid for them in the room next the mother's. At these festivals they ate alone and came and went without any one's knowing; people avoided spying upon their movements for fear of displeasing them. It is the custom of divine personages to go and come in secret. They gave gifts to new-born infants. Some were very kind, but most of them, without being malicious, appeared irritable, capricious, jealous; and if they were offended even unintentionally, they cast evil spells. Sometimes they betrayed their feminine nature by unaccountable likes and dislikes. More than one found a lover in a knight or a churl; but generally such loves came to a bad end. And, when all is said, gentle or terrible, they remained the Fates, they were always the Destinies.[191]

Near by, on the border of the wood, was an ancient beech, overhanging the highroad to Neufchâteau and casting a grateful shade.[192] The beech was venerated almost as piously as had been those trees which were held sacred in the days before apostolic missionaries evangelised Gaul.[193] No hand dared[Pg i.12] touch its branches, which swept the ground. "Even the lilies are not more beautiful,"[194] said a rustic. Like the spring the tree had many names. It was called l'Arbre-des-Dames, l'Arbre-aux-Loges-les-Dames, l'Arbre-des-Fées, l'Arbre-Charmine-Fée-de-Bourlémont, le Beau-Mai.[195]

Every one at Domremy knew that fairies existed and that they had been seen under l'Arbre-aux-Loges-les-Dames. In the old days, when Berthe was spinning, a lord of Bourlémont, called Pierre Granier,[196] became a fairy's knight, and kept his tryst with her at eve under the beech-tree. A romance told of their loves. One of Jeanne's godmothers, who was a scholar at Neufchâteau, had heard this story, which closely resembled that tale of Melusina so well known in Lorraine.[197] But a doubt remained as to whether fairies still frequented the beech-tree. Some believed they did, others thought they did not. Béatrix, another of Jeanne's godmothers, used to say: "I have heard tell that fairies came to the tree in the old days. But for their sins they come there no longer."[198]

This simple-minded woman meant that the fairies were the enemies of God and that the priest had driven them away. Jean Morel, Jeanne's godfather, believed the same.[199]


House of Joan of Arc



[Pg i.13]

Indeed on Ascension Eve, on Rogation days and Ember days, crosses were carried through the fields and the priest went to l'Arbre-des-Fées and chanted the Gospel of St. John. He chanted it also at the Gooseberry Spring and at the other springs in the parish.[200] For the exorcising of evil spirits there was nothing like the Gospel of St. John.[201]

My Lord Aubert d'Ourches held that there had been no fairies at Domremy for twenty or thirty years.[202] On the other hand there were those in the village who believed that Christians still held converse with them and that Thursday was the trysting day.

Yet another of Jeanne's godmothers, the wife of the mayor Aubrit, had with her own eyes seen fairies under the tree. She had told her goddaughter. And Aubrit's wife was known to be no witch or soothsayer but a good woman and a circumspect.[203]

In all this Jeanne suspected witchcraft. For her own part she had never met the fairies under the tree. But she would not have said that she had not seen fairies elsewhere.[204] Fairies are not like angels; they do not always appear what they really are.[205]

Every year, on the fourth Sunday in Lent,—called by the Church "Lætare Sunday," because during the mass of the day was chanted the passage beginning Lætare Jerusalem,—the peasants of Bar held a rustic festival. This was their well-dressing when they went together to drink from some spring and to[Pg i.14] dance on the grass. The peasants of Greux kept their festival at the Chapel of Notre-Dame de Bermont; those of Domremy at the Gooseberry Spring and at l'Arbre-des-Fées.[206] They used to recall the days when the lord and lady of Bourlémont themselves led the young people of the village. But Jeanne was still a babe in arms when Pierre de Bourlémont, lord of Domremy and Greux, died childless, leaving his lands to his niece Jeanne de Joinville, who lived at Nancy, having married the chamberlain of the Duke of Lorraine.[207]

At the well-dressing the young men and maidens of Domremy went to the old beech-tree together. After they had hung it with garlands of flowers, they spread a cloth on the grass and supped off nuts, hard-boiled eggs, and little rolls of a curious form, which the housewives had kneaded on purpose.[208] Then they drank from the Gooseberry Spring, danced in a ring, and returned to their own homes at nightfall.

Jeanne, like all the other damsels of the countryside, took her part in the well-dressing. Although she came from the quarter of Domremy nearest Greux, she kept her feast, not at Notre-Dame de Bermont, but at the Gooseberry Spring and l'Arbre-des-Fées.[209]

In her early childhood she danced round the tree with her companions. She wove garlands for the image of Notre-Dame de Domremy, whose chapel[Pg i.15] crowned a neighbouring hill. The maidens were wont to hang garlands on the branches of l'Arbre-des-Fées. Jeanne, like the others, bewreathed the tree's branches; and, like the others, sometimes she left her wreaths behind and sometimes she carried them away. No one knew what became of them; and it seems their disappearance was such as to cause wise and learned persons to wonder. One thing, however, is sure: that the sick who drank from the spring were healed and straightway walked beneath the tree.[210]

To hail the coming of spring they made a figure of May, a mannikin of flowers and foliage.[211]

Close by l'Arbre-des-Dames, beneath a hazel-tree, there was a mandrake. He promised wealth to whomsoever should dare by night, and according to the prescribed rites, to tear him from the ground,[212] not fearing to hear him cry or to see blood flow from his little human body and his forked feet.

The tree, the spring, and the mandrake caused the inhabitants of Domremy to be suspected of holding converse with evil spirits. A learned doctor said plainly that the country was famous for the number of persons who practised witchcraft.[213]

When quite a little girl, Jeanne journeyed several times to Sermaize in Champagne, where dwelt certain of her kinsfolk. The village priest, Messire Henri de Vouthon, was her uncle on her mother's[Pg i.16] side. She had a cousin there, Perrinet de Vouthon, by calling a tiler, and his son Henri.[214]

Full thirty-seven and a half miles of forest and heath lie between Domremy and Sermaize. Jeanne, we may believe, travelled on horseback, riding behind her brother on the little mare which worked on the farm.[215]

At each visit the child spent several days at her cousin Perrinet's house.[216]

With regard to feudal overlordship the village of Domremy was divided into two distinct parts. The southern part, with the château on the Meuse and some thirty homesteads, belonged to the lords of Bourlémont and was in the domain of the castellany of Grondrecourt, held in fief from the crown of France. It was a part of Lorraine and of Bar. The northern half of the village, in which the monastery was situated, was subject to the provost of Montéclaire and Andelot and was in the bailiwick of Chaumont in Champagne.[217] It was sometimes called Domremy de Greux because it seemed to form a part of the village of Greux adjoining it on the highroad in the direction[Pg i.17] of Vaucouleurs.[218] The serfs of Bourlémont were separated from the king's men by a brook, close by towards the west, flowing from a threefold source and hence called, so it is said, the Brook of the Three Springs. Modestly the stream flowed beneath a flat stone in front of the church, and then rushed down a rapid incline into the Meuse, opposite Jacques d'Arc's house, which it passed on the left, leaving it in the land of Champagne and of France.[219] So far we may be fairly certain; but we must beware of knowing more than was known in that day. In 1429 King Charles' council was uncertain as to whether Jacques d'Arc was a freeman or a serf.[220] And Jacques d'Arc himself doubtless was no better informed. On both banks of the brook, the men of Lorraine and Champagne were alike peasants leading a life of toil and hardship. Although they were subject to different masters they formed none the less one community closely united, one single rural family. They shared interests, necessities, feelings—everything. Threatened by the same dangers, they had the same anxieties.

Lying at the extreme south of the castellany of Vaucouleurs, the village of Domremy was between Bar and Champagne on the east, and Lorraine on the west.[221] They were terrible neighbours,[Pg i.18] always warring against each other, those dukes of Lorraine and Bar, that Count of Vaudémont, that Damoiseau of Commercy, those Lord Bishops of Metz, Toul, and Verdun. But theirs were the quarrels of princes. The villagers observed them just as the frog in the old fable looked on at the bulls fighting in the meadow. Pale and trembling, poor Jacques saw himself trodden underfoot by these fierce warriors. At a time when the whole of Christendom was given up to pillage, the men-at-arms of the Lorraine Marches were renowned as the greatest plunderers in the world. Unfortunately for the labourers of the castellany of Vaucouleurs, close to this domain, towards the north, there lived Robert de Saarbruck, Damoiseau of Commercy, who, subsisting on plunder, was especially given to the Lorraine custom of marauding. He was of the same way of thinking as that English king who said that warfare without burnings was no good, any more than chitterlings without mustard.[222] One day, when he was besieging a little stronghold in which the peasants had taken refuge, the Damoiseau set fire to the crops of the neighbourhood and let them burn all night long, so that he might see more clearly how to place his men.[223]

In 1419 this baron was making war on the brothers Didier and Durand of Saint-Dié. It matters not for what reason. For this war as for every war the villagers had to pay. As the men-at-arms were fighting throughout the whole castellany of Vau[Pg i.19]couleurs, the inhabitants of Domremy began to devise means of safety, and in this wise. At Domremy there was a castle built in the meadow at the angle of an island formed by two arms of the river, one of which, the eastern arm, has long since been filled up.[224] Belonging to this castle was a chapel of Our Lady, a courtyard provided with means of defence, and a large garden surrounded by a moat wide and deep. This castle, once the dwelling of the Lords of Bourlémont, was commonly called the Fortress of the Island. The last of the lords having died without children, his property had been inherited by his niece Jeanne de Joinville. But soon after Jeanne d'Arc's birth she married a Lorraine baron, Henri d'Ogiviller, with whom she went to reside at the castle of Ogiviller and at the ducal court of Nancy. Since her departure the fortress of the island had remained uninhabited. The village folk decided to rent it and to put their tools and their cattle therein out of reach of the plunderers. The renting was put up to auction. A certain Jean Biget of Domremy and Jacques d'Arc, Jeanne's father, being the highest bidders, and having furnished sufficient security, a lease was drawn up between them and the representatives of Dame d'Ogiviller. The fortress, the garden, the courtyard, as well as the meadows belonging to the domain, were let to Jean Biget and Jacques d'Arc for a term of nine years beginning on St. John the Baptist's Day, 1419, and in consideration of a yearly rent of fourteen livres tournois[225] and three imaux of wheat.[226] Besides[Pg i.20] the two tenants in chief there were five sub-tenants, of whom the first mentioned was Jacquemin, the eldest of Jacques d'Arc's sons.[227]

The precaution proved to be useful. In that very year, 1419, Robert de Saarbruck and his company met the men of the brothers Didier and Durand at the village of Maxey, the thatched roofs of which were to be seen opposite Greux, on the other bank of the Meuse, along the foot of wooded hills. The two sides here engaged in a battle, in which the victorious Damoiseau took thirty-five prisoners, whom he afterwards liberated after having exacted a high ransom, as was his wont. Among these prisoners was the Squire Thiesselin de Vittel, whose wife had held Jacques d'Arc's second daughter over the baptismal font. From one of the hills of her village, Jeanne, who was then seven or a little older, could see the battle in which her godmother's husband was taken prisoner.[228]

Meanwhile matters grew worse and worse in the kingdom of France. This was well known at Domremy, situated as it was on the highroad, and hearing the news brought by wayfarers.[229] Thus it was that the villagers heard of the murder of Duke[Pg i.21] John of Burgundy on the Bridge at Montereau, when the Dauphin's Councillors made him pay the price of the blood he had shed in the Rue Barbette. These Councillors, however, struck a bad bargain; for the murder on the Bridge brought their young Prince very low. There followed the war between the Armagnacs and the Burgundians. From this war the English, the obstinate enemies of the kingdom, who for two hundred years had held Guyenne and carried on a prosperous trade there,[230] sucked no small advantage. But Guyenne was far away, and perhaps no one at Domremy knew that it had once been a part of the domain of the kings of France. On the other hand every one was aware that during the recent trouble the English had recrossed the sea and had been welcomed by my Lord Philip, son of the late Duke John. They occupied Normandy, Maine, Picardy, l'Île-de-France, and Paris the great city.[231] Now in France the English were bitterly hated and greatly feared on account of their reputation for cruelty. Not that they were really more wicked than other nations.[232] In Normandy, their king, Henry, had caused women and property to be respected in all places under his dominion. But war is in itself cruel, and whosoever wages war in a country is rightly hated by the people of that country. The English were accused of treachery, and not[Pg i.22] always wrongly accused, for good faith is rare among men. They were ridiculed in various ways. Playing upon their name in Latin and in French, they were called angels. Now if they were angels they were assuredly bad angels. They denied God, and their favorite oath Goddam[233] was so often on their lips that they were called Godons. They were devils. They were said to be coués, that is, to have tails behind.[234] There was mourning in many a French household when Queen Ysabeau delivered the kingdom of France to the coués,[235] making of the noble French lilies a litter for the leopard. Since then, only a few days apart, King Henry V of Lancaster and King Charles VI of Valois, the victorious king and the mad king, had departed to present themselves before God, the Judge of the good and the evil, the just and the unjust, the weak and the powerful. The castellany of Vaucouleurs was French.[236] Dwelling there were clerks and nobles who pitied that later Joash, torn from his enemies in childhood, an orphan spoiled of his heritage, in whom centred the hope of the kingdom. But how can we imagine that poor husbandmen had leisure to ponder on these[Pg i.23] things? How can we really believe that the peasants of Domremy were loyal to the Dauphin Charles, their lawful lord, while the Lorrainers of Maxey, following their Duke, were on the side of the Burgundians?

Only the river divided Maxey on the right bank from Domremy. The Domremy and Greux children went there to school. There were quarrels between them; the little Burgundians of Maxey fought pitched battles with the little Armagnacs of Domremy. More than once Joan, at the Bridge end in the evening, saw the lads of her village returning covered with blood.[237] It is quite possible that, passionate as she was, she may have gravely espoused these quarrels and conceived therefrom a bitter hatred of the Burgundians. Nevertheless, we must beware of finding an indication of public opinion in these boyish games played by the sons of villeins. For centuries the brats of these two parishes were to fight and to insult each other.[238] Insults and stones fly whenever and wherever children gather in bands, and those of one village meet those of another. The peasants of Domremy, Greux, and Maxey, we may be sure, vexed themselves little about the affairs of dukes and kings. They had learnt to be as much afraid of the captains of their own side as of the captains of the opposite party, and not to draw any distinction between the men-at-arms who were their friends and those who were their enemies.

In 1429 the English occupied the bailiwick of Chaumont and garrisoned several fortresses in[Pg i.24] Bassigny. Messire Robert, Lord of Baudricourt and Blaise, son of the late Messire Liébault de Baudricourt, was then captain of Vaucouleurs and bailie of Chaumont for the Dauphin Charles. He might be reckoned a great plunderer, even in Lorraine. In the spring of this year, 1420, the Duke of Burgundy having sent an embassy to the Lord Bishop of Verdun, as the ambassadors were returning they were taken prisoners by Sire Robert in league with the Damoiseau of Commercy. To avenge this offence the Duke of Burgundy declared war on the Captain of Vaucouleurs, and the castellany was ravaged by bands of English and Burgundians.[239]

In 1423 the Duke of Lorraine was waging war with a terrible man, one Étienne de Vignolles, a Gascon soldier of fortune already famous under the dreaded name of La Hire,[240] which he was to leave after his death to the knave of hearts in those packs of cards marked by the greasy fingers of many a mercenary. La Hire was nominally on the side of the Dauphin Charles, but in reality he only made war on his own account. At this time he was ravaging Bar west and south, burning churches and laying waste villages.

While he was occupying Sermaize, the church of which was fortified, Jean, Count of Salm, who was governing the Duchy of Bar for the Duke of Lorraine, laid siege to it with two hundred horse. Collot Turlaut, who two years before had married Mengette,[Pg i.25] daughter of Jean de Vouthon and Jeanne's cousin-german,[241] was killed there by a bomb fired from a Lorraine mortar.

Jacques d'Arc was then the elder (doyen) of the community. Many duties fell to the lot of the village elder, especially in troubled times. It was for him to summon the mayor and the aldermen to the council meetings, to cry the decrees, to command the watch day and night, to guard the prisoners. It was for him also to collect taxes, rents, and feudal dues, an ungrateful office in a ruined country.[242]

Under pretence of safeguarding and protecting them, Robert de Saarbruck, Damoiseau of Commercy, who for the moment was Armagnac, was plundering and ransoming the villages belonging to Bar, on the left bank of the Meuse.[243] On the 7th of October, 1423, Jacques d'Arc, as elder, signed below the mayor and sheriff the act by which the Squire extorted from these poor people the annual payment of two gros from each complete household and one from each widow's household, a tax which amounted to no less than two hundred and twenty golden crowns, which the elder was charged to collect before the winter feast of Saint-Martin.[244]

The following year was bad for the Dauphin Charles, for the French and Scottish horsemen of his party met with the worst possible treatment at Verneuil. This year the Damoiseau of Commercy turned Burgundian and was none the better or the[Pg i.26] worse for it.[245] Captain La Hire was still fighting in Bar, but now it was against the young son of Madame Yolande, the Dauphin Charles's brother-in-law, René d'Anjou, who had lately come of age and was now invested with the Duchy of Bar. At the point of the lance Captain La Hire was demanding certain sums of money that the Cardinal Duke of Bar owed him.[246]

At the same time Robert, Sire de Baudricourt, was fighting with Jean de Vergy, lord of Saint-Dizier, Seneschal of Burgundy.[247] It was a fine war. On both sides the combatants laid hands on bread, wine, money, silver-plate, clothes, cattle big and little, and what could not be carried off was burnt. Men, women, and children were put to ransom. In most of the villages of Bassigny agriculture was suspended, nearly all the mills were destroyed.[248]

Ten, twenty, thirty bands of Burgundians were ravaging the castellany of Vaucouleurs, laying it waste with fire and sword. The peasants hid their horses by day, and by night got up to take them to graze. At Domremy life was one perpetual alarm.[249] All day and all night there was a watchman stationed on the square tower of the monastery. Every villager, and, if the prevailing custom were observed, even the priest, took his turn as watchman, peering for the glint of lances through the dust and sunlight down the white ribbon of the road, searching the horrid depths of the wood, and by night trembling to see the[Pg i.27] villages on the horizon bursting into flame. At the approach of men-at-arms the watchman would ring a noisy peal of those bells, which in turn celebrated births, mourned for the dead, summoned the people to prayer, dispelled storms of thunder and lightning, and warned of danger. Half clothed the awakened villagers would rush to stable, to cattle-shed, and pell-mell drive their flocks and herds to the castle between the two arms of the River Meuse.[250]

One day in the summer of 1425, there fell upon the villages of Greux and Domremy a certain chief of these marauding bands, who was murdering and plundering throughout the land, by name Henri d'Orly, known as Henri de Savoie. This time the island fortress was of no use to the villagers. Lord Henri took all the cattle from the two villages and drove them fifteen or twenty leagues[251] away to his château of Doulevant. He had also captured much furniture and other property; and the quantity of it was so great that he could not store it all in one place; wherefore he had part of it carried to Dommartin-le-Franc, a neighbouring village, where there was a château with so large a court in front that the place was called Dommartin-la-Cour. The peasants cruelly despoiled were dying of hunger. Happily for them, at the news of this pillage, Dame d'Ogiviller sent to the Count of Vaudémont in his château of Joinville, complaining to him, as her kinsman, of the wrong done her, since she was lady of Greux and Domremy. The château of Doulevant was under the immediate suzerainty of the Count of Vaudémont. As soon as he received his kinswoman's message he[Pg i.28] sent a man-at-arms with seven or eight soldiers to recapture the cattle. This man-at-arms, by name Barthélemy de Clefmont, barely twenty years of age, was well skilled in deeds of war. He found the stolen beasts in the château of Dommartin-le-Franc, took them and drove them to Joinville. On the way he was pursued and attacked by Lord d'Orly's men and stood in great danger of death. But so valiantly did he defend himself that he arrived safe and sound at Joinville, bringing the cattle, which the Count of Vaudémont caused to be driven back to the pastures of Greux and Domremy.[252]

Unexpected good fortune! With tears the husbandman welcomed his restored flocks and herds. But was he not likely to lose them for ever on the morrow?

At that time Jeanne was thirteen or fourteen. War everywhere around her, even in the children's play; the husband of one of her godmothers taken and ransomed by men-at-arms; the husband of her cousin-german Mengette killed by a mortar;[253] her native land overrun by marauders, burnt, pillaged, laid waste, all the cattle carried off; nights of terror, dreams of horror,—such were the surroundings of her childhood.

[Pg i.29]



NOW, when she was about thirteen, it befell one summer day, at noon, that while she was in her father's garden she heard a voice that filled her with a great fear. It came from the right, from towards the church, and at the same time in the same direction there appeared a light. The voice said: "I come from God to help thee to live a good and holy life.[254] Be good, Jeannette, and God will aid thee."

It is well known that fasting conduces to the seeing of visions. Jeanne was accustomed to fast. Had she abstained from food that morning and if so when had she last partaken of it? We cannot say.[255]

On another day the voice spoke again and repeated, "Jeannette, be good."

The child did not know whence the voice came. But the third time, as she listened, she knew it was an angel's voice and she even recognised the angel to be St. Michael. She could not be mistaken, for she knew him well. He was the patron saint of the duchy of Bar.[256] She sometimes saw him on the pillar[Pg i.30] of church or chapel, in the guise of a handsome knight, with a crown on his helmet, wearing a coat of mail, bearing a shield, and transfixing the devil with his lance.[257] Sometimes he was represented holding the scales in which he weighed souls, for he was provost of heaven and warden of paradise;[258] at once the leader of the heavenly hosts and the angel of judgment.[259] He loved high lands.[260] That is why in Lorraine a chapel had been dedicated to him on Mount Sombar, north of the town of Toul. In very remote times he had appeared to the Bishop of Avranches and commanded him to build a church on Mount Tombe, in such a place as he should find a bull hidden by thieves; and the site of the building was to include the whole area overtrodden by the bull. The Abbey of Mont-Saint-Michel-au-Péril-de-la-Mer was erected in obedience to this command.[261]

About the time when the child was having these[Pg i.31] visions, the defenders of Mont-Saint-Michel discomfited the English who were attacking the fortress by land and sea. The French attributed this victory to the all-powerful intercession of the archangel.[262] And why should he not have favoured the French who worshipped him with peculiar devoutness? Since my Lord St. Denys had permitted his abbey to be taken by the English, my Lord St. Michael, who carefully guarded his, was in a fair way to become the true patron saint of the kingdom.[263] In the year 1419 the Dauphin Charles had had escutcheons painted, representing St. Michael fully armed, holding a naked sword and in the act of slaying a serpent.[264] The maid of Domremy, however, knew but little of the miracles worked by my Lord St. Michael in Normandy. She recognised the angel by his weapons, his courtesy, and the noble words that fell from his lips.[265]

One day he said to her: "Saint Catherine and Saint Margaret will come to thee. Act according to their advice; for they are appointed to guide thee and counsel thee in all thou hast to do, and thou mayest believe what they shall say unto thee." And these things came to pass as the Lord had ordained.[266]

This promise filled her with great joy, for she loved them both. Madame Sainte Marguerite was highly[Pg i.32] honoured in the kingdom of France, where she was a great benefactress. She helped women in labour,[267] and protected the peasant at work in the fields. She was the patron saint of flax-spinners, of procurers of wet-nurses, of vellum-dressers, and of bleachers of wool. Her precious relics in a reliquary, carried on a mule's back, were paraded by ecclesiastics through towns and villages. Plenteous alms[268] were showered upon the exhibitors in return for permission to touch the relics. Many times had Jeanne seen Madame Sainte Marguerite at church, painted life-size, a holy-water sprinkler in her hand, her foot on a dragon's head.[269] She was acquainted with her history as it was related in those days, somewhat on the lines of the following narrative.

The blessed Margaret was born at Antioch. Her father, Theodosius, was a priest of the Gentiles. She was put out to nurse and secretly baptised. One day when she was in her fifteenth year, as she was watching the flock belonging to her nurse, the governor Olibrius saw her, and, struck by her great beauty, conceived a great passion for her. Wherefore he said to his servants: "Go, bring me that girl, in order that if she be free I may marry her, or if she be a slave I may take her into my service."

And when she was brought he inquired of her[Pg i.33] her country, her name, and her religion. She replied that she was called Margaret and that she was a Christian.

And Olibrius said unto her: "How comes it that so noble and beautiful a girl as you can worship Jesus the Crucified?"

And because she replied that Jesus Christ was alive for ever, the governor in wrath had her thrown into prison.

The next day he summoned her to appear before him and said: "Unhappy girl, have pity on your own beauty and for your own sake worship our gods. If you persist in your blindness I will have your body rent in pieces."

And Margaret made answer: "Jesus suffered death for me, and I would fain die for him."

Then the governor commanded her to be hung from the wooden horse, to be beaten with rods, and her flesh to be torn with iron claws. And the blood flowed from the virgin's body as from a pure spring of fresh water.

Those who stood by wept, and the governor covered his face with his cloak that he might not see the blood. And he commanded to unloose her and take her back to prison.

There she was tempted by the Spirit, and she prayed the Lord to reveal to her the enemy whom she had to withstand. Thereupon a huge dragon, appearing before her, rushed forward to devour her, but she made the sign of the cross and he disappeared. Then, in order to seduce her, the devil assumed the form of a man. He came to her gently, took her hands in his and said: "Margaret, what you have done sufficeth." But she seized him by the hair, threw him to the ground, placed her right foot upon[Pg i.34] his head and cried: "Tremble, proud enemy, thou liest beneath a woman's foot."

The next day, in the presence of the assembled people, she was brought before the judge, who commanded her to sacrifice to idols. And when she refused he had her body burned with flaming pine-wood, but she seemed to suffer no pain. And fearing lest, amazed at this miracle, all the people should be converted, Olibrius commanded that the blessed Margaret should be beheaded. She spoke unto the executioner and said: "Brother, take your axe and strike me." With one blow he struck off her head. Her soul took flight to heaven in the form of a dove.[270]

This story had been told in songs and mysteries.[271] It was so well known that the name of the governor, jestingly vilified and fallen into ridicule, was in common parlance bestowed on braggarts and blusterers. A fool who posed as a wicked person was called an olibrius.[272]

Madame Sainte Catherine, whose coming the angel had announced to Jeanne at the same time as that of Madame Sainte Marguerite, was the protectress of young girls and especially of servants and spinsters.

Orators and philosophers too had chosen as their patron saint the virgin who had confounded the fifty doctors and triumphed over the magi of the east.[Pg i.35] In the Meuse valley rhymed prayers like the following were addressed to her:

Ave, très sainte Catherine,
Vierge pucelle nette et fine.[273]

This fine lady was no stranger to Jeanne; she had her church at Maxey, on the opposite bank of the river; and her name was borne by Isabelle Romée's eldest daughter.[274]

Jeanne certainly did not know the story of Saint Catherine as it was known to illustrious clerks; as, for example, about this time it was committed to writing by Messire Jean Miélot, the secretary of the Duke of Burgundy. Jean Miélot told how the virgin of Alexandria controverted the subtle arguments of Homer, the syllogisms of Aristotle, the very learned reasonings of the famous physicians Æsculapius and Galen, practised the seven liberal arts, and disputed according to the rules of dialectics.[275] Jacques d'Arc's daughter had heard nothing of all that; she knew Saint Catherine from stories out of some history written in the vulgar tongue, in verse or in prose, so many of which were in circulation at that time.[276]

Catherine, daughter of King Costus and Queen Sabinella, as she grew in years, became proficient in[Pg i.36] the arts, and a skilful embroiderer in silk. While her body was resplendent with beauty, her soul was clouded by the darkness of idolatry. Many barons of the empire sought her in marriage; she scorned them and said: "Find me a husband wise, handsome, noble, and rich." Now in her sleep she had a vision. Holding the Child Jesus in her arms, the Virgin Mary appeared unto her and said: "Catherine, will you take him for your husband? And you, my sweet son, will you have this virgin for your bride?"

The Child Jesus made answer: "Mother, I will not have her; bid her depart from you, for she is a worshipper of idols. But if she will be baptised I will consent to put the nuptial ring on her finger."

Desiring to marry the King of Heaven, Catherine went to ask for baptism at the hands of the hermit Ananias, who lived in Armenia on Mount Negra. A few days afterwards, when she was praying in her room, she saw Jesus Christ appear in the midst of a numerous choir of angels and of saints. He drew near unto her and placed his ring upon her finger. Then only did Catherine know that her bridal was a spiritual bridal.

In those days Maxentius was Emperor of the Romans. He commanded the people of Alexandria to offer great sacrifices to the idols. Catherine, as she was at prayer in her oratory, heard the chanting of the priests and the bellowing of the victims. Straightway she went to the public square, and beholding Maxentius at the gate of the temple, she said unto him: "How comes it that thou art so foolish as to command this people to offer incense to idols? Thou admirest this temple built by the hands of thy workmen. Thou admirest these ornaments which are but dust blown away by the wind. Thou shouldest rather admire[Pg i.37] the sky, and the earth, and the sea, and all that is therein. Thou shouldest rather admire the ornaments of the heavens: the sun, the moon, and the stars, and those circling planets, which from the beginning of the world move from the west and return to the east and never grow weary. And when thou hast observed all these things, ask and learn who is their Creator. It is our God, the Lord of Hosts, and the God of gods."

"Woman," replied the emperor, "leave us to finish our sacrifice; afterwards we will make answer unto thee."

And he commanded Catherine to be taken into the palace and strictly guarded, because he marvelled at the great wisdom and the wonderful beauty of this virgin. He summoned fifty doctors well versed in the knowledge of the Egyptians and the liberal arts; and, when they were gathered together, he said unto them: "A maiden of subtle mind maintains that our gods are but demons. I could have forced her to sacrifice or have made her pay the penalty of her disobedience; I judged it better that she should be confounded by the power of your reasoning. If you triumph over her, you will return to your homes laden with honours."

And the wise men made answer: "Let her be brought, that her rashness may be made manifest, that she may confess that never until now has she met men of wisdom."

And when she learned that she was to dispute with wise men, Catherine feared lest she should not worthily defend the gospel of Jesus Christ. But an angel appeared to her and said: "I am the Archangel Saint Michael, sent by God to make known unto thee that from this strife thou shalt come forth[Pg i.38] victorious and worthy of our Lord Jesus Christ, the hope and crown of those who strive for him."

And the virgin disputed with the doctors. When they maintained that it was impossible for God to become man, and be acquainted with grief, Catherine showed how the birth and passion of Jesus Christ had been announced by the Gentiles themselves, and prophesied by Plato and the Sibyl.

The doctors had nothing to oppose to arguments so convincing. Therefore the chief among them said to the emperor: "Thou knowest that up till now no one has disputed with us without being straightway confounded. But this maid, through whom the Spirit of God speaks, fills us with wonder, and we know nothing nor dare we say anything against Christ. And we boldly confess that if thou hast no stronger arguments to bring forth in favour of the gods, whom hitherto we have worshipped, we will all of us embrace the Christian religion."

On hearing these words, the tyrant was so transported with wrath that he had the fifty doctors burned in the middle of the town. But as a sign that they suffered for the truth, neither their garments nor the hairs of their heads were touched by the fire.

Afterwards Maxentius said unto Catherine: "O virgin, issue of a noble line, and worthy of the imperial purple, take counsel with thy youth, and sacrifice to our gods. If thou dost consent, thou shalt take rank in my palace after the empress, and thy image, placed in the middle of the town, shall be worshipped by all the people like that of a goddess."

But Catherine answered: "Speak not of such things. The very thought of them is sin. Jesus Christ hath chosen me for his bride. He is my love, my glory, and all my delight."[Pg i.39]

Finding it impossible to flatter her with soft words, the tyrant hoped to reduce her to obedience through fear; therefore he threatened her with death.

Catherine's courage did not waver. "Jesus Christ," she said, "offered himself to his Father as a sacrifice for me; it is my great joy to offer myself as an agreeable sacrifice to the glory of his name."

Straightway Maxentius commanded that she should be scourged with rods, and then cast into a dark dungeon and left there without food. Thereupon, at the call of urgent affairs, Maxentius set out for a distant province.

Now the empress, who was a heathen, had a vision, in which Saint Catherine appeared to her surrounded by a marvellous light. Angels clad in white were with her, and their faces could not be looked upon by reason of the brightness that proceeded from them. And Catherine told the empress to draw near. Taking a crown from the hand of one of the angels who attended her, she placed it upon the head of the empress, saying: "Behold a crown sent down to thee from heaven, in the name of Jesus Christ, my God, and my Lord."

The heart of the empress was troubled by this wonderful dream. Wherefore, attended by Porphyrius, a knight who was commander-in-chief of the army, in the early hours of night she repaired to the prison in which Catherine was confined. Here in her cell a dove brought her heavenly food, and angels dressed the virgin's wounds. The empress and Porphyrius found the dungeon bathed in a light so bright that it filled them with a great fear, and they fell prostrate on the ground. But there straightway[Pg i.40] filled the dungeon an odour marvellously sweet, which comforted them and gave them courage.

"Arise," said Catherine, "and be not afraid, for Jesus Christ calleth you."

They arose, and beheld Catherine in the midst of a choir of angels. The saint took from the hands of one among them a crown, very beautiful and shining like gold, and she put it upon the empress's head. This crown was the sign of martyrdom. For indeed the names of this queen and of the knight Porphyrius were already written in the book of eternal rewards.

On his return Maxentius commanded Catherine to be brought before him, and said unto her: "Choose between two things: to sacrifice and live, or to die in torment."

Catherine made answer: "It is my desire to offer to Jesus Christ my flesh and my blood. He is my lover, my shepherd, and my husband."

Then the provost of the city of Alexandria, whose name was Chursates, commanded to be made four wheels furnished with very sharp iron spikes, in order that upon these wheels the blessed Catherine should die a miserable and a cruel death. But an angel broke the machine, and with such violence that the parts of it flying asunder killed a great number of the Gentiles. And the empress, who beheld these things from the top of her tower, came down and reproached the emperor for his cruelty. Full of wrath, Maxentius commanded the empress to sacrifice; and when she refused, he commanded her breasts to be torn out and her head to be cut off. And while she was being taken to the torturer, Catherine exhorted her, saying: "Go, rejoice, queen beloved of God, for to-day thou shalt exchange for a[Pg i.41] perishable kingdom an everlasting empire, and a mortal husband for an immortal lover."

And the empress was taken to suffer death outside the walls. Porphyrius carried away the body and had it buried reverently as that of a servant of Jesus Christ. Wherefore Maxentius had Porphyrius put to death, and his body cast to the dogs. Then, summoning Catherine before him, he said unto her: "Since, by thy magic arts thou hast caused the empress to perish, now if thou repent thou shalt be first in my palace. To-day, therefore, sacrifice to the gods, or thy head shall be struck off."

She made answer: "Do as thou hast resolved that I may take my place in the band of maidens who are around the Lamb of God."

The emperor sentenced her to be beheaded. And when they had led her outside the city of Alexandria, to the place of death, she raised her eyes to heaven and said: "Jesus, hope and salvation of the faithful, glory and beauty of virgins, I pray thee to listen and to answer the prayer of whomsoever, in memory of my martyrdom, shall invoke me in death or in peril whatsoever."

And a voice from heaven made answer: "Come, my beloved bride; the gate of heaven is open to thee. And to those who shall invoke me through thy intercession, I promise help from on high." From the riven neck of the virgin flowed forth milk instead of blood.

Thus Madame Sainte Catherine passed from this world to celestial happiness, on the twenty-fifth day of the month of November, which was a Friday.[277]

[Pg i.42]

My Lord Saint Michael, the Archangel, did not forget his promise. The ladies Saint Catherine and Saint Margaret came as he had said. On their very first visit the young peasant maid vowed to them to preserve her virginity as long as it should please God.[278] If there were any meaning in such a promise, Jeanne, however old she may then have been, could not have been quite a child. And it seems probable that the angel and the saints appeared to her first when she was on the threshold of womanhood, that is, if she ever became a woman.[279]

The saints soon entered into familiar relations with her.[280] They came to the village every day, and often several times a day. When she saw them appear in a ray of light coming down from heaven, shining and clad like queens, with golden crowns on their heads, wearing rich and precious jewels, the village maiden crossed herself devoutly and curtsied low.[281] And because they were ladies of good breeding, they returned her salutation. Each one had her own particular manner of greeting, and it was by this manner that Jeanne distinguished one from the other, for the dazzling light of their countenances rendered it impossible for her to look them in the face. They graciously permitted their earth-born friend to touch their feet, to kiss the hems of their garments, and to inhale rapturously the sweet perfume they emitted.[282][Pg i.43] They addressed her courteously,[283] as it seemed to Jeanne. They called the lowly damsel daughter of God. They taught her to live well and go to church. Without always having anything very new to say to her, since they came so constantly, they spoke to her of things which filled her with joy, and, after they had disappeared, Jeanne ardently pressed her lips to the ground their feet had trodden.[284]

Oftentimes she received the heavenly ladies in her little garden, close to the precincts of the church. She used to meet them near the spring; often they even appeared to their little friend surrounded by heavenly companies. "For," Isabelle's daughter used to say, "angels are wont to come down to Christians without being seen, but I see them."[285] It was in the woods, amid the light rustling of the leaves, and especially when the bells rang for matins or compline, that she heard the sweet words most distinctly. And so she loved the sound of the bells, with which her Voices mingled. So, when at nine o'clock in the evening, Perrin le Drapier, sexton of the parish, forgot to ring for compline, she reproached him with his negligence, and scolded him for not doing his duty. She promised him cakes if in the future he would not forget to ring the bells.[286]

She told none of these things to her priest; for this, according to some good doctors, she must be censured, but, according to others equally excellent,[Pg i.44] she must be commended. For if on the one hand we are to consult our ecclesiastical superiors in matters of faith, on the other, where the gift of the Holy Ghost is poured out, there reigns perfect liberty.[287]

Since the two saints had been visiting Jeanne, my Lord Saint Michael had come less often; but he had not forsaken her. There came a time when he talked to her of love for the kingdom of France, of that love which she felt in her heart.[288]

And the holy visitants, whose voices grew stronger and more ardent as the maiden's soul grew holier and more heroic, revealed to her her mission. "Daughter of God," they said, "thou must leave thy village, and go to France."[289]

Had this idea of a holy militant mission, conceived by Jeanne through the intermediary of her Voices, come into her mind spontaneously without the intervention of any outside will, or had it been suggested to her by some one who was influencing her? It would be impossible to solve this problem were there not a slight indication to direct us. Jeanne at Domremy was acquainted with a prophecy foretelling that France would be ruined by a woman and[Pg i.45] saved by a maiden.[290] It made an extraordinary impression upon her; and later she came to speak in a manner which proved that she not only believed it, but was persuaded that she herself was the maiden designated by the prophecy.[291] Who taught her this? Some peasant? We have reason to believe that the peasants did not know it, and that it was current among ecclesiastics.[292] Besides, it is important to notice in this connection that Jeanne was acquainted with a particular form of this prophecy, obviously arranged for her benefit, since it specified that the Maiden Redemptress should come from the borders of Lorraine. This local addition is not the work of a cowherd; it suggests rather a mind apt to direct souls and to inspire deeds. It is no longer possible to doubt that the prophecy thus revised is the work of an ecclesiastic whose intentions may be easily divined. Henceforth one is conscious of an idea agitating and possessing the young seer of visions.

On the banks of the Meuse, among the humble folk of the countryside, some churchman, preoccupied with the lot of the poor people of France, directed Jeanne's visions to the welfare of the kingdom and to the conclusion of peace. He carried the ardour of his pious zeal so far as to collect prophecies concerning the salvation of the French crown, and to add to them with an eye to the accomplishment of his design. For such an ecclesiastic we must seek[Pg i.46] among the priests of Lorraine or Champagne upon whom the national misfortunes imposed cruel sufferings.[293] Merchants and artizans, crushed under the burden of taxes and subsidies, and ruined by changes in the coinage,[294] peasants, whose houses, barns, and mills had been destroyed, and whose fields had been laid waste, no longer contributed to the expenses of public worship.[295] Canons and ecclesiastics, deprived both of their feudal dues and of the contributions of the faithful, quitted the religious houses and set out to beg their bread from door to door, leaving behind in the monasteries only two or three old monks, and a few children. The fortified abbeys attracted captains and soldiers of both sides. They entrenched themselves within the walls; they plundered and burnt. When one of those holy houses succeeded in remaining standing, the wandering village folk made it their place of refuge, and it was impossible to prevent the refectories and dormitories from being invaded by women.[296] In the midst of this obscure throng of souls afflicted by the sufferings and the scandals of the Church may be divined the prophet and the director of the Maid.

We shall not be tempted to recognise him in Messire[Pg i.47] Guillaume Frontey, priest of Domremy. The successor of Messire Jean Minet, if we may judge from his conversation which has been preserved, was as simple as his flock.[297] Jeanne saw many priests and monks. She was in the habit of visiting her uncle, the priest of Sermaize, and of seeing in the Abbey of Cheminon,[298] her cousin, a young ecclesiastic in minor orders, who was soon to follow her into France. She was in touch with a number of priests who would be very quick to recognise her exceptional piety, and her gift of beholding things invisible to the majority of Christians. They engaged her in conversations, which, had they been preserved, would doubtless present to us one of the sources whence she derived inspiration for her marvellous vocation. One among them, whose name will never be known, raised up an angelic deliverer for the king and the kingdom of France.

Meanwhile Jeanne was living a life of illusion. Knowing nothing of the influences she was under, incapable of recognising in her Voices the echo of a human voice or the promptings of her own heart, she responded timidly to the saints when they bade her fare forth into France: "I am a poor girl, and know not how to ride a horse or how to make war."[299]

As soon as she began to receive these revelations she gave up her games and her excursions. Henceforth she seldom danced round the fairies' tree, and then only in play with the children.[300] It would seem that she also took a dislike to working in the fields,[Pg i.48] and especially to herding the flocks. From early childhood she had shown signs of piety. Now she gave herself up to extreme devoutness; she confessed frequently, and communicated with ecstatic fervour; she heard mass in her parish church every day. At all hours she was to be found in church, sometimes prostrate on the ground, sometimes with her hands clasped, and her face turned towards the image of Our Lord or of Our Lady. She did not always wait for Saturday to visit the chapel at Bermont. Sometimes, when her parents thought she was tending the herds, she was kneeling at the feet of the miracle-working Virgin. The village priest, Messire Guillaume Frontey, could do nothing but praise the most guileless of his parishioners.[301] One day he happened to say with a sigh: "If Jeannette had money she would give it to me for the saying of masses."[302]

As for the good man, Jacques d'Arc, it is possible that he may have occasionally complained of those pilgrimages, those meditations, and those other practices which ill accorded with the ordinary tenor of country life. Every one thought Jeanne odd and erratic. Mengette and her friends, when they found her so devout, said she was too pious.[303] They scolded her for not dancing with them. Among others, Isabellette, the young wife of Gérardin d'Epinal, the mother of little Nicholas, Jeanne's godson, roundly condemned a girl who cared so little for dancing.[304] Colin, son of Jean Colin, and[Pg i.49] all the village lads made fun of her piety. Her fits of religious ecstasy raised a smile. She was regarded as a little mad. She suffered from this persistent raillery.[305] But with her own eyes she beheld the dwellers in Paradise. And when they left her she would cry and wish that they had taken her with them.

"Daughter of God, thou must leave thy village and go forth into France."[306]

And the ladies Saint Catherine and Saint Margaret spoke again and said: "Take the standard sent down to thee by the King of Heaven, take it boldly and God will help thee." As she listened to these words of the ladies with the beautiful crowns, Jeanne was consumed with a desire for long expeditions on horseback, and for those battles in which angels hover over the heads of the warriors. But how was she to go to France? How was she to associate with men-at-arms? Ignorant and generously impulsive like herself, the Voices she heard merely revealed to her her own heart, and left her in sad agitation of mind: "I am a poor girl, knowing neither how to bestride a horse nor how to make war."[307]

Jeanne's native village was named after the blessed Remi;[308] the parish church bore the name of the great apostle of the Gauls, who, in baptising King Clovis, had anointed with holy oil the first Christian prince of the noble House of France, descended from the noble King Priam of Troy.

Thus runs the legend of Saint Remi as it was told by churchmen. In those days the pious[Pg i.50] hermit Montan, who lived in the country of Laon, beheld a choir of angels and an assembly of saints; and he heard a voice full and sweet saying: "The Lord hath looked down upon the earth. That he might hear the groans of them that are in fetters: that he might release the children of the slain: that they may declare the name of the Lord in Sion: and his praise in Jerusalem. When the people assemble together, and kings to serve the Lord.[309] And Cilinia shall bring forth a son for the saving of the people."

Now Cilinia was old, and her husband Emilius was blind. Yet Cilinia, having conceived, brought forth a son; and with the milk with which she nourished her babe she rubbed the eyes of the father, and straightway his eyes were opened, and he saw.

This child, whose birth had been foretold by angels, was called Remi, which, being interpreted, means oar; for by his teaching, as with a well-cut oar, he was to guide the Church of God, and especially the church of Reims, over the stormy sea of life, and by his merits and his prayers bring it into the heaven of eternal salvation.

In retirement and in the practice of holy and Christian observances, Cilinia's son passed his pious youth at Laon. Hardly had he entered his twenty-second year, when the episcopal seat of Reims fell vacant on the death of the blessed Bishop Bennade. An immense concourse of people nominated Remi the shepherd of the flock. He refused a burden which he said was too heavy for the weakness of his youth. But suddenly there fell upon his forehead a ray of celestial light, and a divine liquid was shed upon his hair, and scented it with a strange perfume. Wherefore, without further delay, the bishops of the[Pg i.51] province of Reims, with one consent, consecrated him their bishop. Established in the seat of Saint Sixtus, the blessed Remi revealed himself liberal in almsgiving, assiduous in vigilance, fervent in prayer, perfect in charity, marvellous in doctrine, and holy in all his conversation. Like a city built on the top of a mountain, he was admired of all men.

In those days, Clovis, King of France, was a heathen, with all his knights. But he had won a great victory over the Germans by invoking the name of Christ. Wherefore, at the entreaty of the saintly Queen Clotilde, his wife, he resolved to ask baptism at the hands of the blessed Bishop of Reims. When this pious desire had been made known to him, Saint Remi taught the King and his subjects that, renouncing Satan and his pomps and his works, they must believe in God and in Jesus Christ his Son. And as the solemn festival of Easter was approaching, he commanded them to fast according to the custom of the faithful. On the day of the Passion of Our Lord, the eve of the day on which Clovis was to be baptised, early in the morning the Bishop went to the King and Queen and led them to an oratory dedicated to the blessed Peter, Prince of the Apostles. Suddenly the chapel was filled with a light so brilliant that the sunshine became as shadow, and from the midst of this light there came a voice saying: "Peace be with you, it is I, fear not and abide in my love." After these words the light faded, but there remained in the chapel an odour of ineffable sweetness. Then, with his face shining like the countenance of Moses, and illuminated within by a divine brightness, the holy Bishop prophesied and said: "Clovis and Clotilde, your descendants shall[Pg i.52] set back the boundaries of the kingdom. They shall raise the church of Jesus Christ and triumph over foreign nations provided they fall not from virtue and depart not from the way of salvation, neither enter upon the sinful road leading to destruction and to those snares of deadly vices which overthrow empires and cause dominion to pass from one nation to another."

Meanwhile the way is being prepared from the King's palace to the baptistry; curtains and costly draperies are hung up: the houses on each side of the street are covered with hangings; the church is decorated, and the baptistry is strewn with balsam and all manner of sweet-smelling herbs. Overwhelmed with the Lord's favour the people seem already to taste the delights of Paradise. The procession sets out from the palace; the clergy lead with crosses and banners, singing hymns and sacred canticles; then comes the Bishop leading the King by the hand; and lastly the Queen follows with the people. By the way the King asked the Bishop if yonder was the kingdom of God he had promised him. "No," answered the blessed Remi, "but it is the beginning of the road that leads to it." When they had reached the baptistry, the priest who bore the holy chrism was hindered by the crowd from reaching the sacred font; so that, as God had ordained, there was no holy oil for the benediction at the font. Then the Pontiff raises his eyes to heaven, and prays in silence and in tears. Straightway there descends a dove white as snow, bearing in its beak an ampulla full of chrism sent from heaven. The heavenly oil emits a delicious perfume, which intoxicates the multitude with a delight such as they had never experienced before that hour. The holy[Pg i.53] Bishop takes the ampulla, sprinkles the baptismal water with chrism, and straightway the dove vanishes.

At the sight of so great a miracle of grace, the King, transported with joy, renounces Satan and his pomps and his works. He demands instant baptism, and bends over the fountain of life.[310]

Ever since then the kings of France have been anointed with the divine oil which the dove brought down from heaven. The holy ampulla containing it is kept in the church of Saint Remi at Reims. And by God's grace on the day of the King's anointing this ampulla is always found full.[311]

Such was the clerks' story; and doubtless the peasants of Domremy on a humbler note might have said as much or even more. We may believe that they used to sing the complaint of Saint Remi. Every year, when on the 1st of October the festival of the patron saint came round, the priest was wont to pronounce an eulogium on the saint.[312]

About this time a mystery was performed at Reims in which the miracles of the apostle of Gaul were fully represented.[313]

[Pg i.54]

And among them were some which would appeal strongly to rustic souls. In his mortal life my Lord Saint Remi had healed a blind man possessed of devils. A man bestowed his goods on the chapter of Reims for the salvation of his soul and died; ten years after his death Saint Remi restored him to life, and made him declare his gift. Being[Pg i.55] entertained by persons who had nothing to drink, the saint filled their cask with miraculous wine. He received from King Clovis the gift of a mill; but when the miller refused to yield it up to him, my Lord Saint Remi, by the power of God, threw down the mill, and cast it into the centre of the earth. One night when the Saint was alone in his chapel, while all his clerks were asleep, the glorious apostles Peter and Paul came down from Paradise to sing matins with him.

Who better than the folk of Domremy should know of the baptism of King Clovis of France, and of the descent of the Holy Ghost, at the singing of Veni Creator Spiritus, bearing in its beak the holy ampulla, full of chrism blessed by Our Lord?[314]

Who better than they should understand the words addressed to the very Christian King, by my Lord Saint Remi, not doubtless in the Church's Latin, but in the good tongue of the people and very much[Pg i.56] like the following: "Now, Sire, take knowledge and serve God faithfully and judge justly, that thy kingdom may prosper. For if justice depart from it then shall this kingdom be in danger of perdition."[315]

In short, in one way or another, whether through the clerks who directed her or through the peasants among whom she dwelt, Jeanne had knowledge of the good Archbishop Remi, who so dearly cherished the royal blood in the holy ampulla at Reims, and of the anointing of the very Christian kings.[316]

And the Angel appeared unto her and said: "Daughter of God, thou shalt lead the Dauphin to Reims that he may there receive worthily his anointing."[317]

The maid understood. The scales fell from her eyes; a bright light was shed abroad in her mind. Behold wherefore God had chosen her. Through her the Dauphin Charles was to be anointed at Reims. The white dove, which of old was sent to the blessed Remi, was to come down again at the Virgin's call. God, who loves the French, marks their king with a sign, and when there is no sign the royal power has departed. The anointing alone makes the king, and Messire Charles de Valois had not been anointed. Notwithstanding the father lies becrowned and be[Pg i.57]sceptred in the basilica of Saint-Denys in France, the son is but the dauphin and will not enter into his inheritance till the day when the oil of the inexhaustible ampulla shall flow over his forehead. And God has chosen her, a young, ignorant peasant maid, to lead him, through the ranks of his enemies, to Reims, where he shall receive the unction poured upon Saint Louis. Unfathomable ways of God! The humble maid, knowing not how to ride a horse, unskilled in the arts of war, is chosen to bring to Our Lord his temporal vicar of Christian France.

Henceforth Jeanne knew what great deeds she was to bring to pass. But as yet she discerned not the means by which she was to accomplish them.

"Thou must fare forth into France," Saint Catherine and Saint Margaret said to her.

"Daughter of God, thou shalt lead the Dauphin to Reims[318] that he may there receive worthily his anointing," the Archangel Michael said to her.

She must obey them—but how? If at that time there were not just at hand some devout adviser to direct her, one incident quite personal and unimportant, which then occurred in her father's house, may have sufficed to point out the way to the young saint.

Tenant-in-chief of the Castle on the island in 1419, and in 1423 elder of the community, Jacques d'Arc was one of the notables of Domremy. The village folk held him in high esteem and readily entrusted him with difficult tasks. Towards the end of March, 1427, they sent him to Vaucouleurs as their authorised proxy in a lawsuit they were conducting before Robert de Baudricourt. It was a question of the[Pg i.58] payment of damages required at once from the lord and the inhabitants of Greux and Domremy by a certain Guyot Poignant, of Montigny-le-Roi. These damages went back four years to when, as a return for his protection, the Damoiseau of Commercy had extorted from Greux and Domremy a sum amounting to two hundred and twenty golden crowns.

Guyot Poignant had become security for this sum which had not been paid by the time fixed. The Damoiseau seized Poignant's wood, hay, and horses to the value of one hundred and twenty golden crowns, which amount the said Poignant reclaimed from the nobles and villeins of Greux and Domremy. The suit was still pending in 1427, when the community nominated Jacques d'Arc its authorised proxy, and sent him to Vaucouleurs. The result of the dispute is not known; but it is sufficient to note that Jeanne's father saw Sire Robert and had speech with him.[319]

On his return home he must have more than once related these interviews, and told of the manners and words of so great a personage. And doubtless Jeanne heard many of these things. Assuredly she must have pricked up her ears at the name of Baudricourt. Then it was that her dazzling friend, the Archangel Knight, came once more to awaken the obscure thought slumbering within her: "Daughter of God," he said, "go thou to the Captain Robert de Baudricourt, in the town of Vaucouleurs, that he may grant unto thee men who shall take thee to the gentle Dauphin."[320]

Resolved to obey faithfully the behest of the Arch[Pg i.59]angel which accorded with her own desire, Jeanne foresaw that her mother, albeit pious, would grant her no aid in her design and that her father would strongly oppose it. Therefore she refrained from confiding it to them.[321]

She thought that Durand Lassois would be the man to give her the succour of which she had need. In consideration of his age she called him uncle,—he was her elder by sixteen years.

Their kinship was by marriage: Lassois had married one Jeanne, daughter of one Le Vauseul, husbandman, and of Aveline, sister of Isabelle de Vouthon, and consequently cousin-german of Isabelle's daughter.[322]

With his wife, his father-in-law, and his mother-in-law, Lassois dwelt at Burey-en-Vaulx, a hamlet of a few homesteads, lying on the left bank of the Meuse, in the green valley, five miles from Domremy, and less than two and a half miles from Vaucouleurs.[323]

Jeanne went to see him, told him of her design, and showed him that she must needs see Sire Robert de Baudricourt. That her kind kinsman might the more readily believe in her, she repeated to him the strange prophecy, of which we have already made mention: "Was it not known of old," she said, "that a woman should ruin the kingdom of France and that a woman should re-establish it?"[324]

This prognostication, it appears, caused Durand[Pg i.60] Lassois to reflect. Of the two facts foretold therein, the first, the evil one, had come to pass in the town of Troyes, when Madame Ysabeau had given the Kingdom of the Lilies and Madame Catherine of France to the King of England. It only remained to hope that the second, the good, would likewise come to pass. If in the heart of Durand Lassois there were any love for the Dauphin Charles, such must have been his desire; but on this point history is silent.

During this visit to her cousin, Jeanne met with others besides her kinsfolk, the Vouthons and their children. She visited a young nobleman, by name Geoffroy de Foug, who dwelt in the parish of Maxey-sur-Vayse, of which the hamlet of Burey formed part. She confided to him that she wanted to go to France. My Lord Geoffroy did not know much of Jeanne's parents; he was ignorant even of their names. But the damsel seemed to him good, simple, pious, and he encouraged her in her marvellous undertaking.[325] A week after her arrival at Burey she attained her object: Durand Lassois consented to take her to Vaucouleurs.[326]

Before starting she asked a favour from her aunt Aveline who was with child; she said to her: "If the babe you bear is a daughter, call her Catherine in memory of my dead sister."

Catherine, who had married Colin de Greux, had just died.[327]

[Pg i.61]



ROBERT de Baudricourt, who in those days commanded the town of Vaucouleurs for the Dauphin Charles, was the son of Liébault de Baudricourt deceased, once chamberlain of Robert, Duke of Bar, governor of Pont-à-Mousson, and of Marguerite d'Aunoy, Lady of Blaise in Bassigny. Fourteen or fifteen years earlier he had succeeded his two uncles, Guillaume, the Bastard of Poitiers, and Jean d'Aunoy as Bailie of Chaumont and Commander of Vaucouleurs. His first wife had been a rich widow; after her death he had married, in 1425, another widow, as rich as the first, Madame Alarde de Chambley. And it is a fact that the peasants of Uruffe and of Gibeaumex stole the cart carrying the cakes ordered for the wedding feast. Sire Robert was like all the warriors of his time and country; he was greedy and cunning; he had many friends among his enemies and many enemies among his friends; he fought now for his own side, now against it, but always for his own advantage. For the rest he was no worse than his fellows, and one of the least stupid.[328]

[Pg i.62]

Clad in a poor red gown,[329] but her heart bright with mystic love, Jeanne climbed the hill dominating the town and the valley. Without any difficulty she entered the castle, for its gates were opened as freely as if it had been a fair; and she was led into the hall where was Sire Robert among his men-at-arms. She heard the Voice saying to her: "That is he!"[330] And immediately she went straight to him, and spoke to him fearlessly, beginning, doubtless, by saying what she deemed to be most urgent: "I am come to you, sent by Messire," she said, "that you may send to the Dauphin and tell him to hold himself in readiness, but not to give battle to his enemies."[331]

Assuredly she must thus have spoken, prompted by a new revelation from her Voices. And it is important to notice that she repeated word for word what had been said seventy-five years earlier, not far from Vaucouleurs, by a peasant of Champagne who was a vavasour, that is, a freeman. This peasant's career had begun like Jeanne's, but had come to a much more abrupt conclusion. Jacques d'Arc's daughter had not been the first to say that revelations had been made to her concerning the war. Periods of great distress are the times when inspired persons most commonly appear. Thus it came to pass that in the[Pg i.63] days of the Plague and of the Black Prince the vavasour of Champagne heard a voice coming forth from a beam of light.

While he was at work in the fields the voice had said to him: "Go thou, and warn John, King of France, that he fight not against any of his enemies." It was a few days before the Battle of Poitiers.[332]

Then the counsel was wise; but in the month of May, 1428, it seemed less wise, and appeared to have little bearing on the state of affairs at that time. Since the disaster of Verneuil, the French had not felt equal to giving battle to their enemies; and they were not thinking of it. Towns were taken and lost, skirmishes were fought, sallies were attempted, but the enemy was not engaged in pitched battles. There was no need to restrain the Dauphin Charles, whom in those days nature and fortune rendered unadventurous.[333] About the time that Jeanne was uttering these words before Sire Robert, the English in France were preparing an expedition, and were hesitating, unable to decide whether to march on Angers or on Orléans.[334]

Jeanne gave utterance according to the promptings of her Archangel and her Saints, and touching warfare and the condition of the kingdom they knew neither more nor less than she. But it is not surprising that those who believe themselves sent by God should ask to be waited for. And again in the damsel's fear lest the French knights should once more[Pg i.64] give battle after their own guise there was much of the sound common sense of the people. They were only too well acquainted with knightly warfare.

Perfectly calm and self-possessed, Jeanne went on and uttered a prophecy concerning the Dauphin: "Before mid Lent my Lord will grant him aid." Then straightway she added: "But in very deed the realm belongs not to the Dauphin. Nathless it is Messire's will that the Dauphin should be king and receive the kingdom in trust—en commande.[335] Notwithstanding his enemies, the Dauphin shall be king; and it is I who shall lead him to his anointing."

Doubtless the title Messire, in the sense in which she employed it, sounded strange and obscure, since Sire Robert, failing to understand it, asked: "Who is Messire?"

"The King of Heaven," the damsel answered.

She had made use of another term, concerning which, as far as we know, Sire Robert made no remark; and yet it is suggestive.[336]

That word commande employed in matters connected with inheritance signified something given in trust.[337] If the King received the kingdom en commande he would merely hold it in trust. Thus the maid's utterance agreed with the views of the most pious concerning Our Lord's government of kingdoms. By herself she could not have happened on the word or the idea; she had obviously been instructed by one of those churchmen whose influence[Pg i.65] we have discerned already[338] in the Lorraine prophecy, but the trace of whom has completely vanished.

Touching things spiritual Jeanne held converse with several priests; among others with Messire Arnolin, of Gondrecourt-le-Château, and Messire Dominique Jacob, priest of Moutier-sur-Saulx, who was her confessor.[339] It is a pity we do not know what these ecclesiastics thought of the insatiable cruelty of the English, of the pride of my Lord Duke of Burgundy, of the misfortunes of the Dauphin, and whether they did not hope that one day Our Lord Jesus Christ at the prayer of the common folk would condescend to grant the kingdom en commande to Charles, son of Charles. It was possibly from one of these that Jeanne derived her theocratic ideas.[340]

While she was speaking to Sire Robert there was present, and not by chance merely, a certain knight of Lorraine, Bertrand de Poulengy, who possessed lands near Gondrecourt and held an office in the provostship of Vaucouleurs.[341] He was then about thirty-six years of age. He was a man who associated with churchmen; at least he was familiar with the manner of speech of devout persons.[342] Perhaps he now saw[Pg i.66] Jeanne for the first time; but he must certainly have heard of her; and he knew her to be good and pious. Twelve years before he had frequently visited Domremy; he knew the country well; he had sat beneath l'Arbre des Dames, and had been several times to the house of Jacques d'Arc and Romée, whom he held to be good honest farmer folk.[343]

It may be that Bertrand de Poulengy was struck by the damsel's speech and bearing; it is more likely that the knight was in touch with certain ecclesiastics unknown to us, who were instructing the peasant seeress with an eye to rendering her better able to serve the realm of France and the Church. However that may be, in Bertrand she had a friend who was to be her strong support in the future.

For the nonce, however, if our information be correct, he did nothing and spoke not a word. Perhaps he judged it best to wait until the commander of the town should be ready to grant a more favourable hearing to the saint's request. Sire Robert understood nothing of all this; one point only appeared plain to him, that Jeanne would make a fine camp-follower and that she would be a great favourite with the men-at-arms.[344]

In dismissing the villein who had brought her, he gave him a piece of advice quite in keeping with the wisdom of the time concerning the chastising of daughters: "Take her back to her father and box her ears well."

Sire Robert held such discipline to be excellent, for more than once he urged Uncle Lassois to take Jeanne home well whipped.[345]

[Pg i.67]

After a week's absence she returned to the village. Neither the Captain's contumely nor the garrison's insults had humiliated or discouraged her. Imagining that her Voices had foretold them,[346] she held them to be proofs of the truth of her mission. Like those who walk in their sleep she was calm in the face of obstacles and yet quietly persistent. In the house, in the garden, in the meadow, she continued to sleep that marvellous slumber, in which she dreamed of the Dauphin, of his knights, and of battles with angels hovering above.

She found it impossible to be silent; on all occasions her secret escaped from her. She was always prophesying, but she was never believed. On St. John the Baptist's Eve, about a month after her return, she said sententiously to Michel Lebuin, a husbandman of Burey, who was quite a boy: "Between Coussey and Vaucouleurs is a girl who in less than a year from now will cause the Dauphin to be anointed King of France."[347]

One day meeting Gérardin d'Epinal, the only man at Domremy not of the Dauphin's party, whose head according to her own confession she would willingly have cut off, although she was godmother to his son, she could not refrain from announcing even to him in veiled words her mystic dealing with God: "Gossip, if you were not a Burgundian there is something I would tell you."[348]

The good man thought it must be a question of an approaching betrothal and that Jacques d'Arc's daughter was about to marry one of the lads with whom she had broken bread under l'Arbre[Pg i.68] des Fées and drunk water from the Gooseberry Spring.

Alas! how greatly would Jacques d'Arc have desired the secret to be of that nature. This upright man was very strict; he was careful concerning his children's conduct; and Jeanne's behaviour caused him anxiety. He knew not that she heard Voices. He had no idea that all day Paradise came down into his garden, that from Heaven to his house a ladder was let down, on which there came and went without ceasing more angels than had ever trodden the ladder of the Patriarch Jacob; neither did he imagine that for Jeannette alone, without any one else perceiving it, a mystery was being played, a thousand times richer and finer than those which on feast days were acted on platforms, in towns like Toul and Nancy. He was miles away from suspecting such incredible marvels. But what he did see was that his daughter was losing her senses, that her mind was wandering, and that she was giving utterance to wild words. He perceived that she could think of nothing but cavalcades and battles. He must have known something of the escapade at Vaucouleurs. He was terribly afraid that one day the unhappy child would go off for good on her wanderings. This agonising anxiety haunted him even in his sleep. One night he dreamed that he saw her fleeing with men-at-arms; and this dream was so vivid that he remembered it when he awoke. For several days he said over and over again to his sons, Jean and Pierre: "If I really believed that what I dreamed of my daughter would ever come true, I would rather see her drowned by you; and if you would not do it I would drown her myself."[349]

Isabelle repeated these words to her daughter hop[Pg i.69]ing that they might alarm her and cause her to correct her ways. Devout as she was, Jeanne's mother shared her father's fears. The idea that their daughter was in danger of becoming a worthless creature was a cruel thought to these good people. In those troubled times there was a whole multitude of these wild women whom the men-at-arms carried with them on horseback. Each soldier had his own.

It is not uncommon for saints in their youth by the strangeness of their behaviour to give rise to such suspicions. And Jeanne displayed those signs of sainthood. She was the talk of the village. Folk pointed at her mockingly, saying: "There goes she who is to restore France and the royal house."[350]

The neighbours had no difficulty in finding a cause for the strangeness which possessed the damsel. They attributed it to some magic spell. She had been seen beneath the Beau Mai bewreathing it with garlands. The old beech was known to be haunted as well as the spring near by. It was well known, too, that the fairies cast spells. There were those who discovered that Jeanne had met a wicked fairy there. "Jeannette has met her fate beneath l'Arbre des Fées,"[351] they said. Would that none but peasants had believed that story!

On the 22nd of June, from the Duke of Bedford, Regent of France for Henry VI, Antoine de Vergy, Governor of Champagne, received a commission to furnish forth a thousand men-at-arms for the purpose of bringing the castellany of Vaucouleurs into subjection to the English. Three weeks later, commanded by the two Vergy, Antoine and Jean, the[Pg i.70] little company set forth. It consisted of four knights-banneret, fourteen knights-bachelor, and three hundred and sixty-three men-at-arms. Pierre de Trie, commander of Beauvais, Jean, Count of Neufchâtel and Fribourg, were ordered to join the main body.[352]

On the march, as was his custom, Antoine de Vergy laid waste all the villages of the castellany with fire and sword. Threatened once again with a disaster with which they were only too well acquainted, the folk of Domremy and Greux already beheld their cattle captured, their barns set on fire, their wives and daughters ravished. Having experienced before that the Castle on the Island was not secure enough, they determined to flee and seek refuge in their market town of Neufchâteau, only five miles away from Domremy. Thus they set out towards the middle of July. Abandoning their houses and fields and driving their cattle before them, they followed the road, through the fields of wheat and rye and up the vine-clad hills to the town, wherein they lodged as best they could.[353]

The d'Arc family was taken in by the wife of Jean Waldaires, who was called La Rousse. She kept an inn, where lodged soldiers, monks, merchants, and pilgrims. There were some who suspected her of harbouring bad women.[354] And there is reason to believe that certain of her women customers were of doubtful reputation. Albeit she herself was of good standing, that is to say, she was rich. She had money[Pg i.71] enough to lend sometimes to her fellow-citizens.[355] Although Neufchâteau belonged to the Duke of Lorraine, who was of the Burgundian party, it has been thought that the hostess of this inn inclined towards the Armagnacs; but it is vain to attempt to discover the sentiments of La Rousse concerning the troubles of the kingdom of France.[356]

At Neufchâteau as at Domremy Jeanne drove her father's beasts to the field and kept his flocks.[357] Handy and robust she used also to help La Rousse in her household duties.[358] This circumstance gave rise to the malicious report set on foot by the Burgundians that she had been serving maid in an inn frequented by drunkards and bad women.[359] The truth is that Jeanne, when she was not tending the cattle, and helping her hostess, passed all her time in church.[360]

There were two fine religious houses in the town, one belonging to the Grey Friars, the other to the Sisters of St. Claire, the sons and daughters of good St. Francis.[361] The monastery of the Grey Friars had been built two hundred years earlier by Mathieu II of Lorraine. The reigning duke had recently added richly to its endowments. Noble ladies, great lords, and among others a Bourlémont lord of Domremy and Greux lay there beneath brasses.[362]

In the flower of their history these mendicant monks of old had welcomed to their third order[Pg i.72] crowds of citizens and peasants as well as multitudes of princes and kings.[363] Now they languished corrupt and decadent among the French friars. Quarrels and schisms were frequent. Notwithstanding Colette of Corbie's attempted restoration of the rule, the old discipline was nowhere observed.[364] These mendicants distributed leaden medals, taught short prayers to serve as charms, and vowed special devotion to the holy name of Jesus.[365]

During the fortnight Jeanne spent in the town of Neufchâteau,[366] she frequented the church of the Grey Friars monastery, and two or three times confessed to brethren of the order.[367] It has been stated that she belonged to the third order of St. Francis, and the inference has been drawn that her affiliation dated from her stay at Neufchâteau.[368]

Such an inference is very doubtful; and in any case the affiliation cannot have been very ceremoni[Pg i.73]ous. It is difficult to see how in so short a time the friars could have instructed her in the practices of Franciscan piety. She was far too imbued with ecclesiastical notions concerning the spiritual and the temporal power, she was too full of mysteries and revelations to imbibe their spirit. Besides, her sojourn at Neufchâteau was troubled by anxiety and broken by absences.

In this town she received a summons to appear before the official of Toul, in whose jurisdiction she was, as a native of Domremy-de-Greux. A young bachelor of Domremy alleged that a promise of marriage had been given him by Jacques d'Arc's daughter. Jeanne denied it. He persisted in his statement, and summoned her to appear before the official.[369] To this ecclesiastical tribunal such cases belonged; it pronounced judgment on questions of nullity of marriage or validity of betrothal.

The curious part of Jeanne's case is that her parents were against her, and on the side of the young man. It was in defiance of their wishes that she defended the suit and appeared before the official. Later she declared that in this matter she had disobeyed them, and that it was the only time she had failed in the submission she owed her parents.[370]

The journey from Neufchâteau to Toul and back involved travelling more than twenty leagues on foot, over roads infested with bands of armed men, through a country desolated by fire and sword, from which the peasants of Domremy had recently fled in a panic. To such a journey, however, she made up her mind against the will of her parents.[Pg i.74]

Possibly she may have appeared before the judge at Toul, not once but two or three times. And there was a great chance of her having to journey day and night with her so-called betrothed, for he was passing over the same road at the same time. Her Voices bade her fear nothing. Before the judge she swore to speak the truth, and denied having made any promise of marriage.

She had done nothing wrong. But an evil interpretation was set upon conduct which proceeded alone from an innocence both singular and heroic. At Neufchâteau it was said that on those journeys she had consumed all her substance. But what was her substance? Alas! she had set out with nothing. She may have been driven to beg her bread from door to door. Saints receive alms as they give them: for the love of God. There was a story that her betrothed seeing her living during the trial in company with bad women, had abandoned his demand for justice, renouncing a bride of such bad repute.[371] Such calumnies were only too readily believed.

After a fortnight's sojourn at Neufchâteau, Jacques d'Arc and his family returned to Domremy. The orchard, the house, the monastery, the village, the fields,—in what a state of desolation did they behold them! The soldiers had plundered, ravaged, burnt everything. Unable to exact ransom from the villeins who had taken flight, the men-at-arms had destroyed all their goods. The monastery once as proud as a fortress, with its watchman's tower, was now nothing but a heap of blackened ruins. And[Pg i.75] now on holy days the folk of Domremy must needs go to hear mass in the church of Greux.[372]

So full of danger were the times that the villagers were ordered to keep in fortified houses and castles.[373]

Meanwhile the English were laying siege to the town of Orléans, which belonged to their prisoner Duke Charles. By so doing they acted badly, for, having possession of his body, they ought to have respected his property.[374] They built fortified towers round the city of Orléans, the very heart of France; and it was said that they had entrenched themselves there in great strength.[375] Now Saint Catherine and Saint Margaret loved the Land of the Lilies; they were the sworn friends and gentle cousins of the Dauphin Charles. They talked to the shepherd maid of the misfortunes of the kingdom and continued to say: "Leave thy village and go into France."[376]

Jeanne was all the more impatient to set forth because she had herself announced the time of her arrival in France, and that time was drawing near. She had told the Commander of Vaucouleurs that succour should come to the Dauphin before mid Lent. She did not want to make her Voices lie.[377]

Towards the middle of January occurred the opportunity she was looking for of returning to Burey. At this time Durand Lassois' wife, Jeanne[Pg i.76] le Vauseul, was brought to bed.[378] It was the custom in the country for the young kinswomen and friends of the mother to attend and wait upon her and her babe. A good and kindly custom, followed all the more readily because of the opportunity it gave of pleasant meetings and cheerful gossip.[379] Jeanne urged her uncle to ask her father that she might be sent to tend the sick woman, and Lassois consented: he was always ready to do what his niece asked him, and perhaps his complaisance was encouraged by pious persons of some importance.[380] But how this father, who shortly before had said that he would throw his daughter into the Meuse rather than that she should go off with men-at-arms, should have allowed her to go to the gates of the town, protected by a kinsman of whose weakness he was well aware, is hard to understand. However so he did.[381]

Leaving the home of her childhood, which she was never to see again, Jeanne, in company with Durand Lassois, passed down her native valley in its winter bareness. As she went by the house of the husbandman Gérard Guillemette of Greux, whose children and Jacques d'Arc's were great friends, she cried: "Good-bye! I am going to Vaucouleurs."[382]

A few paces further she saw her friend Mengette: "Good-bye, Mengette," she said. "God bless thee."[383]

And by the way, on the doorsteps of the houses, whenever she saw faces she knew, she bade them[Pg i.77] farewell.[384] But she avoided Hauviette with whom she had played and slept in childhood and whom she dearly loved. If she were to bid her good-bye she feared that her heart would fail her. It was not till later that Hauviette heard of her friend's departure and then she wept bitterly.[385]

On her second arrival at Vaucouleurs, Jeanne imagined that she was setting foot in a town belonging to the Dauphin, and, in the language of the day, entering the royal antechamber.[386] She was mistaken. Since the beginning of August, 1428, the Commander of Vaucouleurs had yielded the fortress to Antoine de Vergy, but had not yet surrendered it to him.

It was one of those promises to capitulate at the end of a given time. They were not uncommon in those days, and they ceased to be valid if the fortress were relieved before the day fixed for its surrender.[387]

Jeanne went to Sire Robert in his castle just as she had done nine months before; and this was the revelation she made to him: "My Lord Captain," she said, "know that God has again given me to wit, and commanded me many times to go to the gentle Dauphin, who must be and who is the true King of France, and that he shall grant me men-at-arms with whom I shall raise the siege of Orléans and take him to his anointing at Reims."[388]

[Pg i.78]

This time she announces that it is her mission to deliver Orléans. And the anointing is not to come to pass until this the first part of her task shall have been accomplished. We cannot fail to recognise the readiness and the tact with which the Voices altered their commands previously given, according to the necessities of the moment. Robert's manner towards Jeanne had completely changed. He said nothing about boxing her ears and sending her back to her parents. He no longer treated her roughly; and if he did not believe her announcement at least he listened to it readily.

In one of her conversations with him she spoke of strange matters: "Once I have accomplished the behest Messire has given me, I shall marry and I shall bear three sons, the eldest of whom shall be pope, the second emperor, and the third king."

Sire Robert answered gayly: "Since thy sons are to be such great personages, I should like to give thee one. Thereby should I myself have honour."

Jeanne replied: "Nay, gentle Robert, nay. It is not yet time. The Holy Ghost shall appoint the time."[389]

To judge from the few of her words handed down to us, in the early days of her mission the young prophetess spoke alternately two different languages. Her speech seemed to flow from two distinct sources. The one ingenuous, candid, naïve, concise, rustically simple, unconsciously arch, sometimes rough, alike[Pg i.79] chivalrous and holy, generally bearing on the inheritance and the anointing of the Dauphin and the confounding of the English. This was the language of her Voices, her own, her soul's language. The other, more subtle, flavoured with allegory and flowers of speech, critical with scholastic grace, bearing on the Church, suggesting the clerk and betraying some outside influence. The words she uttered to Sire Robert touching the children she should bear are of the second sort. They are an allegory. Her triple birth signifies that the peace of Christendom shall be born of her work, that after she shall have fulfilled her divine mission, the Pope, the Emperor, and the King—all three sons of God—shall cause concord and love to reign in the Church of Jesus Christ. The apologue is quite clear; and yet a certain amount of intelligence is necessary for its comprehension. The Captain failed to understand it; he interpreted it literally and answered accordingly, for he was a simple fellow and a merry.[390]

Jeanne lodged in the town with humble folk, Henri Leroyer and his wife Catherine, friends of her cousin Lassois. She used to occupy her time in spinning, being a good spinster; and the little she had she gave to the poor. With Catherine she went to the parish church.[391] In the morning, in her most devout moods, she would climb the hill, round the foot of which cluster the roofs of the town, and enter the chapel of Sainte Marie-de-Vaucouleurs. This collegiate church, built in the reign of Philippe VI, adjoined the château wherein dwelt the Commander of Vaucouleurs. The venerable stone nave rose up boldly towards the east, overlooking the vast extent[Pg i.80] of hills and meadows, and dominating the valley where Jeanne had been born and bred. She used to hear mass and remain long in prayer.[392]

Under the chapel, in the crypt, there was an image of the Virgin, ancient and deeply venerated, called Notre-Dame-de-la-Voûte.[393] It worked miracles, but especially on behalf of the poor and needy. Jeanne delighted to remain in this dark and lonely crypt, where the saints preferred to visit her.

One day a young clerk, barely more than a child, who waited in the chapel, saw the damsel motionless, with hands clasped, head thrown back, eyes full of tears raised to heaven; and as long as he lived the vision of that rapture remained imprinted on his mind.[394]

She confessed often, usually to Jean Fournier, priest of Vaucouleurs.[395]

Her hostess was touched by the goodness and gentleness of her manner of life; but she was profoundly agitated when one day the damsel said to her: "Dost thou not know it hath been prophesied that France ruined by a woman shall be saved by a maiden from the Lorraine Marches?"

Leroyer's wife knew as well as Durand Lassois that Madame Ysabeau, as full of wickedness as Herodias, had delivered up Madame Catherine of France and the Kingdom of the Lilies to the King of England. And henceforth she was almost persuaded to believe that Jeanne was the maid announced by the prophecy.[396]

[Pg i.81]

This pious damsel held converse with devout persons and also with men of noble rank. To all alike she said: "I must to the gentle Dauphin. It is the will of Messire, the King of Heaven, that I wend to the gentle Dauphin. I am sent by the King of Heaven. I must go even if I go on my knees."[397]

Revelations of this nature she made to Messire Aubert, Lord of Ourches. He was a good Frenchman and of the Armagnac party, since four years earlier he had made war against the English and Burgundians. She told him that she must go to the Dauphin, that she demanded to be taken to him, and that to him should redound profit and honour incomparable.

At length through her illuminations and her prophecies, her fame was spread abroad in the town; and her words were found to be good.[398]

In the garrison there was a man-at-arms of about twenty-eight years of age, Jean de Novelompont or Nouillompont, who was commonly called Jean de Metz. By rank a freeman, albeit not of noble estate, he had acquired or inherited the lordship of Nouillompont and Hovecourt, situate in that part of Barrois which was outside the Duke's domain; and he bore its name.[399] Formerly in the pay of Jean de Wals, Captain and Provost of Stenay, he was now, in 1428, in the service of the Commander of Vaucouleurs.

Of his morals and manner of life we know nothing,[Pg i.82] except that three years before he had sworn a vile oath and been condemned to pay a fine of two sols.[400] Apparently when he took the oath he was in great wrath.[401] He was more or less intimate with Bertrand de Poulengy, who had certainly spoken to him of Jeanne.

One day he met the damsel and said to her: "Well, ma mie, what are you doing here? Must the King be driven from his kingdom and we all turn English?"[402]

Such words from a young Lorraine warrior are worthy of notice. The Treaty of Troyes did not subject France to England; it united the two kingdoms. If war continued after as before, it was merely to decide between the two claimants, Charles de Valois and Henry of Lancaster. Whoever gained the victory, nothing would be changed in the laws and customs of France. Yet this poor freebooter of the German Marches imagined none the less that under an English king he would be an Englishman. Many French of all ranks believed the same and could not suffer the thought of being Anglicised; in their minds their own fates depended on the fate of the kingdom and of the Dauphin Charles.

Jeanne answered Jean de Metz: "I came hither to the King's territory to speak with Sire Robert, that he may take me or command me to be taken to the Dauphin; but he heeds neither me nor my words."

Then, with the fixed idea welling up in her heart that her mission must be begun before the middle of[Pg i.83] Lent: "Notwithstanding, ere mid Lent, I must be before the Dauphin, were I in going to wear my legs to the knees."[403]

A report ran through the towns and villages. It was said that the son of the King of France, the Dauphin Louis, who had just entered his fifth year, had been recently betrothed to the daughter of the King of Scotland, the three-year-old Madame Margaret, and the common people celebrated this royal union with such rejoicings as were possible in a desolated country.[404] Jeanne, when she heard these tidings, said to the man-at-arms: "I must go to the Dauphin, for no one in the world, no king or duke or daughter of the King of Scotland, can restore the realm of France."

Then straightway she added: "In me alone is help, albeit for my part, I would far rather be spinning by my poor mother's side, for this life is not to my liking. But I must go; and so I will, for it is Messire's command that I should go."

She said what she thought. But she did not know herself; she did not know that her Voices were the cries of her own heart, and that she longed to quit the distaff for the sword.

Jean de Metz asked, as Sire Robert had done: "Who is Messire?"

"He is God," she replied.

Then straightway, as if he believed in her, he said with a sudden impulse: "I promise you, and I give you my word of honour, that God helping me I will take you to the King."[Pg i.84]

He gave her his hand as a sign that he pledged his word and asked: "When will you set forth?"

"This hour," she answered, "is better than to-morrow; to-morrow is better than after to-morrow."

Jean de Metz himself, twenty-seven years later, reported this conversation.[405] If we are to believe him, he asked the damsel in conclusion whether she would travel in her woman's garb. It is easy to imagine what difficulties he would foresee in journeying with a peasant girl clad in a red frock over French roads infested with lecherous fellows, and that he would deem it wiser for her to disguise herself as a boy. She promptly divined his thought and replied: "I will willingly dress as a man."[406]

There is no reason why these things should not have occurred. Only if they did, then a Lorraine freebooter suggested to the saint that idea concerning her dress which later she will think to have received from God.[407]

Of his own accord, or rather, acting by the advice of some wise person, Sire Robert desired to know whether Jeanne was not being inspired by an evil spirit. For the devil is cunning and sometimes assumes the mark of innocence. And as Sire Robert was not learned in such matters, he determined to take counsel with his priest.

Now one day when Catherine and Jeanne were at home spinning, they beheld the Commander coming accompanied by the priest, Messire Jean Fournier. They asked the mistress of the house to withdraw; and when they were left alone with the damsel, Messire[Pg i.85] Jean Fournier put on his stole and pronounced some Latin words which amounted to saying: "If thou be evil, away with thee; if thou be good, draw nigh."[408]

It was the ordinary formula of exorcism or, to be more exact, of conjuration. In the opinion of Messire Jean Fournier these words, accompanied by a few drops of holy water, would drive away devils, if there should unhappily be any in the body of this village maiden.

Messire Jean Fournier was convinced that devils were possessed by an uncontrollable desire to enter the bodies of men, and especially of maidens, who sometimes swallowed them with their bread. They dwelt in the mouth under the tongue, in the nostrils, or penetrated down the throat into the stomach. In these various abodes their action was violent; and their presence was discerned by the contortions and howlings of the miserable victims who were possessed.

Pope St. Gregory, in his Dialogues, gives a striking example of the facility with which devils insinuate themselves into women. He tells how a nun, being in the garden, saw a lettuce which she thought looked tender. She plucked it, and, neglecting to bless it by making the sign of the cross, she ate of it and straightway fell possessed. A man of God having drawn near unto her, the demon began to cry out: "It is I! It is I who have done it! I was seated upon that lettuce. This woman came and she swallowed me." But the prayers of the man of God drove him out.[409]

The caution required in such a matter was therefore not exaggerated by Messire Jean Fournier.[Pg i.86] Possessed by the idea that the devil is subtle and woman corrupt, carefully and according to prescribed rules he proceeded to solve a difficult problem. It was generally no easy matter to recognise one possessed by the devil and to distinguish between a demoniac and a good Christian. Very great saints had not been spared the trial to which Jeanne was to be subjected.

Having recited the formula and sprinkled the holy water, Messire Jean Fournier expected, if the damsel were possessed, to see her struggle, writhe, and endeavour to take flight. In such a case he must needs have made use of more powerful formulæ, have sprinkled more holy water, and made more signs of the cross, and by such means have driven out the devils until they were seen to depart with a terrible noise and a noxious odour, in the shape of dragons, camels, or fish.[410]

There was nothing suspicious in Jeanne's attitude. No wild agitation, no frenzy. Merely anxious and intreating, she dragged herself on her knees towards the priest. She did not flee before God's holy name. Messire Jean Fournier concluded that no devil was within her.

Left alone in the house with Catherine, Jeanne, who now understood the meaning of the ceremony, showed strong resentment towards Messire Jean Fournier. She reproached him with having suspected her: "It was wrong of him," she said to her hostess, "for, having heard my confession, he ought to have known me."[411]

She would have thanked the priest of Vaucouleurs[Pg i.87] had she known how he was furthering the fulfilment of her mission by subjecting her to this ordeal. Convinced that this maiden was not inspired by the devil, Sire Robert must have been driven to conclude that she might be inspired by God; for apparently he was a man of simple reasoning. He wrote to the Dauphin Charles concerning the young saint; and doubtless he bore witness to the innocence and goodness he beheld in her.[412]

Although it looked as if the Captain would have to resign his command to my Lord de Vergy, Sire Robert did not intend to quit his country where he had dealings with all parties. Indeed he cared little enough about the Dauphin Charles, and it is difficult to see what personal interest he can have had in recommending him a prophetess. Without pretending to discover what was passing in his mind, one may believe that he wrote to the Dauphin on Jeanne's behalf at the request of some of those persons who thought well of her, probably of Bertrand de Poulengy and of Jean de Metz. These two men-at-arms, seeing that the Dauphin's cause was lost in the Lorraine Marches, had every reason for proceeding to the banks of the Loire, where they might still fight with the hope of advantage.

On the eve of setting out, they appeared disposed to take the seeress with them, and even to defray all her expenses, reckoning on repaying themselves from the royal coffers at Chinon, and deriving honour and advantage from so rare a marvel. But they waited to be assured of the Dauphin's consent.[413]

[Pg i.88]

Meanwhile Jeanne could not rest. She came and went from Vaucouleurs to Burey and from Burey to Vaucouleurs. She counted the days; time dragged for her as for a woman with child.[414]

At the end of January, feeling she could wait no longer, she resolved to go to the Dauphin Charles alone. She clad herself in garments belonging to Durand Lassois, and with this kind cousin set forth on the road to France.[415] A man of Vaucouleurs, one Jacques Alain, accompanied them.[416] Probably these two men expected that the damsel would herself realise the impossibility of such a journey and that they would not go very far. That is what happened. The three travellers had barely journeyed a league from Vaucouleurs, when, near the Chapel of Saint Nicholas, which rises in the valley of Septfonds, in the middle of the great wood of Saulcy, Jeanne changed her mind and said to her comrades that it was not right of her to set out thus. Then they all three returned to the town.[417]

At length a royal messenger brought King Charles's reply to the Commander of Vaucouleurs. The messenger was called Colet de Vienne.[418] His name indicates that he came from the province which the Dauphin had governed before the death of the late King, and which had remained unswervingly faithful to the unfortunate prince. The reply was[Pg i.89] that Sire Robert should send the young saint to Chinon.[419]

That which Jeanne had demanded and which it had seemed impossible to obtain was granted. She was to be taken to the King as she had desired and within the time fixed by herself. But this departure, for which she had so ardently longed, was delayed several days by a remarkable incident. The incident shows that the fame of the young prophetess had gone out through Lorraine; and it proves that in those days the great of the land had recourse to saints in their hour of need.

Jeanne was summoned to Nancy by my Lord the Duke of Lorraine. Furnished with a safe-conduct that the Duke had sent her, she set forth in rustic jerkin and hose on a nag given her by Durand Lassois and Jacques Alain. It had cost them twelve francs which Sire Robert repaid them later out of the royal revenue.[420] From Vaucouleurs to Nancy is twenty-four leagues. Jean de Metz accompanied her as far as Toul; Durand Lassois went with her the whole way.[421]

Before going to the Duke of Lorraine's palace, Jeanne ascended the valley of the Meurthe and went[Pg i.90] to worship at the shrine of the great Saint Nicholas, whose relics were preserved in the Benedictine chapel of Saint-Nicholas-du-Port. She did well; for Saint Nicholas was the patron saint of travellers.[422]

[Pg i.91]



BY giving his eldest daughter, Isabelle, the heiress of Lorraine, in marriage to René, the second son of Madame Yolande, Queen of Sicily and of Jerusalem, and Duchess of Anjou,[423] Duke Charles II of Lorraine, who was in alliance with the English, had recently done his cousin and friend, the Duke of Burgundy, a bad turn. René of Anjou, now in his twentieth year, was a man of culture as much in love with sound learning as with chivalry, and withal kind, affable, and gracious. When not engaged in some military expedition and in wielding the lance he delighted to illuminate manuscripts. He had a taste for flower-decked gardens and stories in tapestry; and like his fair cousin the Duke of Orléans he wrote poems in French.[424] Invested with the duchy of Bar by the Cardinal Duke[Pg i.92] of Bar, his great-uncle, he would inherit the duchy of Lorraine after the death of Duke Charles which could not be far off. This marriage was rightly regarded as a clever stroke on the part of Madame Yolande. But he who reigns must fight. The Duke of Burgundy, ill content to see a prince of the house of Anjou, the brother-in-law of Charles of Valois, established between Burgundy and Flanders, stirred up against René the Count of Vaudémont, who was a claimant of the inheritance of Lorraine. The Angevin policy rendered a reconciliation between the Duke of Burgundy and the King of France difficult. Thus was René of Anjou involved in the quarrels of his father-in-law of Lorraine. It befell that in this year, 1429, he was waging war against the citizens of Metz, the War of the Basketful of Apples.[425] It was so called because the cause of war was a basketful of apples which had been brought into the town of Metz without paying duty to the officers of the Duke of Lorraine.[426]

Meanwhile René's mother was sending convoys of victuals from Blois to the citizens of Orléans, besieged by the English.[427] Although she was not then on good terms with the counsellors of her son-in-law, King Charles, she was vigilant in opposing the enemies of the kingdom when they threatened her own duchy of Anjou. René, Duke of Bar, had therefore ties of kindred, friendship, and interest binding him at the same time to the English and Burgundian party as well as to the party of France. Such was the situation of most of the French nobles. René's communications with the[Pg i.93] Commander of Vaucouleurs were friendly and constant.[428] It is possible that Sire Robert may have told him that he had a damsel at Vaucouleurs who was prophesying concerning the realm of France. It is possible that the Duke of Bar, curious to see her, may have had her sent to Nancy, where he was to be towards the 20th of February. But it is much more likely that René of Anjou thought less about the Maid of Vaucouleurs, whom he had never seen, than about the little Moor and the jester who enlivened the ducal palace.[429] In this month of February, 1429, he was neither desirous nor able to concern himself greatly with the affairs of France; and although brother-in-law to King Charles, he was preparing not to succour the town of Orléans, but to besiege the town of Metz.[430]

Old and ill, Duke Charles dwelt in his palace with his paramour Alison du Mai, a bastard and a priest's daughter, who had driven out the lawful wife, Dame Marguerite of Bavaria. Dame Marguerite was pious and high-born, but old and ugly, while Madame Alison was pretty. She had borne Duke Charles several children.[431]

The following story appears the most authentic. There were certain worthy persons at Nancy who[Pg i.94] wanted Duke Charles to take back his good wife. To persuade him to do so they had recourse to the exhortations of a saint, who had revelations from Heaven, and who called herself the Daughter of God. By these persons the damsel of Domremy was represented to the enfeebled old Duke as being a saint who worked miracles of healing. By their advice he had her summoned in the hope that she possessed secrets which should alleviate his sufferings and keep him alive.

As soon as he saw her he asked whether she could not restore him to his former health and strength.

She replied that "of such things" she knew nothing. But she warned him that his ways were evil, and that he would not be cured until he had amended them. She enjoined upon him to send away Alison, his concubine, and to take back his good wife.[432]

No doubt she had been told to say something of this kind; but it also came from her own heart, for she loathed bad women.

Jeanne had come to the Duke because it was his due, because a little saint must not refuse when a great lord wishes to consult her, and because in short she had been brought to Nancy. But her mind was elsewhere; of nought could she think but of saving the realm of France.

Reflecting that Madame Yolande's son with a goodly company of men-at-arms would be of great aid to the Dauphin, she asked the Duke of Lorraine, as she took her leave, to send this young knight with her into France.

"Give me your son," she said, "with men-at-arms[Pg i.95] as my escort. In return I will pray to God for your restoration to health."

The Duke did not give her men-at-arms; neither did he give her the Duke of Bar, the heir of Lorraine, the ally of the English, who was nevertheless to join her soon beneath the standard of King Charles. But he gave her four francs and a black horse.[433]

Perhaps it was on her return from Nancy that she wrote to her parents asking their pardon for having left them. The fact that they received a letter and forgave is all that is known.[434] One cannot forbear surprise that Jacques d'Arc, all through the month that his daughter was at Vaucouleurs, should have remained quietly at home, when previously, after having merely dreamed of her being with men-at-arms, he had threatened that if his sons did not drown her he would with his own hands. For he must have been aware that at Vaucouleurs she was living with men-at-arms. Knowing her temperament, he had displayed great simplicity in letting her go. One cannot help supposing that those pious persons who believed in Jeanne's goodness, and desired her to be taken into France for the saving of the kingdom, must have undertaken to reassure her father and mother concerning their daughter's manner of life; perhaps they even gave the simple folk to understand that if Jeanne did go to the King her family would derive therefrom honour and advantage.

Before or after her journey to Nancy (which is not known), certain of the townsfolk of Vaucouleurs who believed in the young prophetess either had made, or purchased for her ready made, a suit of masculine[Pg i.96] clothing, a jerkin, cloth doublet, hose laced on to the coat, gaiters, spurs, a whole equipment of war. Sire Robert gave her a sword.[435]

She had her hair cut round like a boy.[436] Jean de Metz and Bertrand de Poulengy, with their servants Jean de Honecourt and Julien, were to accompany her as well as the King's messenger, Colet de Vienne, and the bowman Richard.[437] There was still some delay and councils were held, for the soldiers of Antoine de Lorraine, Lord of Joinville, infested the country. Throughout the land there was nothing but pillage, robbery, murder, cruel tyranny, the ravishing of women, the burning of churches and abbeys, and the perpetration of horrible crimes. Those were the hardest times ever known to man.[438] But the damsel was not afraid, and said: "In God's name! take me to the gentle Dauphin, and fear not any trouble or hindrance we may meet."[439]

At length, on a day in February, so it is said, the little company issued forth from Vaucouleurs by La Porte de France.[440]

[Pg i.97]

A few friends who had followed her so far watched her go. Among them were her hosts, Henri Leroyer and Catherine, and Messire Jean Colin, canon of Saint-Nicolas, near Vaucouleurs, to whom Jeanne had confessed several times.[441] They trembled for their saint as they thought of the perils of the way and the length of the journey.

"How can you," they asked her, "set forth on such a journey when there are men-at-arms on every hand?" But out of the serene peace of her heart she answered them:

"I do not fear men-at-arms; my way has been made plain before me. If there be men-at-arms my Lord God will make a way for me to go to my Lord Dauphin. For that am I come."[442]

Sire Robert was present at her departure. According to the customary formula he took an oath from each of the men-at-arms that they would surely and safely conduct her whom he confided to them. Then, being a man of little faith, he said to Jeanne in lieu of farewell: "Go! and come what may."[443] And the little company went off into the mist, which at that season envelops the meadows of the Meuse.

They were obliged to avoid frequented roads and[Pg i.98] to beware especially of passing by Joinville, Montiers-en-Saulx and Sailly, where there were soldiers of the hostile party. Sire Bertrand and Jean de Metz were accustomed to such stealthy expeditions; they knew the byways and were acquainted with useful precautions, such as binding up the horses' feet in linen so as to deaden the sound of hoofs on the ground.[444]

At nightfall, having escaped all danger, the company approached the right bank of the Marne and reached the Abbey of Saint-Urbain.[445] From time immemorial it had been a place of refuge, and in those days its abbot was Arnoult of Aulnoy, a kinsman of Robert of Baudricourt.[446] The gate of the plain edifice opened for the travellers who passed beneath the groined vaulting of its roof.[447] The abbey included a building set apart for strangers. There they found the resting-place of the first stage of their journey.

On the right of the outer door was the abbey church wherein were preserved the relics of Pope Saint Urbain. On the 24th of February, in the morning, Jeanne attended conventual mass there.[448] Then she and her companions took horse again. Crossing the Marne by the bridge opposite Saint-Urbain, they pressed on towards France.

They had still one hundred and twenty-five leagues to cover and three rivers to cross, in a country infested with brigands. Through fear of the enemy they journeyed by night.[449] When they lay down on[Pg i.99] the straw the damsel, keeping her hose laced to her coat, slept in her clothes, under a covering, between Jean de Metz and Bertrand de Poulengy in whom she felt confidence. They said afterwards that they never desired the damsel because of the holiness they beheld in her;[450] that may or may not be believed.

Jean de Metz was filled with no such ardent faith in the prophetess, since he inquired of her: "Will you really do what you say?"

To which she replied: "Have no fear. I do what I am commanded to do. My brethren in Paradise tell me what I have to do. It is now four or five years since my brethren in Paradise and Messire told me that I must go forth to war to deliver the realm of France."[451]

These rude comrades did not all preserve an attitude of religious respect in her presence. Certain mocked her and diverted themselves by talking before her as if they belonged to the English party. Sometimes, as a joke, they got up a false alarm and pretended to turn back. Their jests were wasted. She believed them, but she was not afraid, and would say gravely to those who thought to frighten her with the English: "Be sure not to flee. I tell you in God's name, they will not harm you."[452]

Ever at the approach of danger whether real or feigned, there came to her lips the words of encouragement: "Do not be afraid. You will see how graciously the fair Dauphin will look upon us when we come to Chinon."[453]

Her greatest grief was that she could not pray in[Pg i.100] church as often as she would like. Every day she repeated: "If we could, we should do well to hear mass."[454]

As they avoided high roads they were not often in the way of bridges; and they were frequently forced to ford rivers in flood. They crossed the Aube, near Bar-sur-Aube, the Seine near Bar-sur-Seine, the Yonne opposite Auxerre, where Jeanne heard mass in the church of Saint-Etienne; then they reached the town of Gien, on the right bank of the Loire.[455]

At length these Lorrainers beheld a French town loyal to the King of France. They had travelled seventy-five leagues through the enemy's country without being attacked or molested. Afterwards this was considered miraculous. But was it impossible for seven or eight Armagnac horsemen to traverse English and Burgundian lands without misadventure? The Commander of Vaucouleurs frequently sent letters to the Dauphin which reached him, and the Dauphin was in the habit of despatching messengers to the Commander; Colet de Vienne had just borne his message.[456]

In point of fact the followers of the Dauphin ran risks well nigh as great in the provinces under his sway as in lands subject to other masters.[457]

[Pg i.101]

Freebooters in the pay of King Charles, when they pillaged travellers and held them to ransom, did not stay to ask whether they were Armagnacs or Burgundians. Indeed, it was after their passage of the Loire that Bertrand de Poulengy and his companions found themselves exposed to the greatest danger.

Informed of their approach, certain men-at-arms of the French party went before and lay in ambush, waiting to surprise them. They intended to capture the damsel, cast her into a pit, and keep her there beneath a great stone, in the hope that the King who had sent for her would give a large sum for her rescue.[458] It was the custom for freebooters and mercenaries thus to cast travellers into pits delivering them on payment of ransom. Eighteen years before, at Corbeil, five men had been kept in a pit on bread and water by Burgundians. Three of them died, being unable to pay the ransom.[459] Such a fate very nearly befell Jeanne. But the wretches who were lying in wait for her, at the moment when they should have struck did nothing, wherefore is unknown, perhaps because they were afraid of not being the stronger.[460]

From Gien, the little company followed the northern boundary of the duchy of Berry, crossed into Blésois, possibly passed through Selles-sur-Cher and Saint-Aignan, then, having entered Touraine, reached[Pg i.102] the green slopes of Fierbois.[461] There one of the two heavenly ladies, who daily discoursed familiarly with the peasant girl, had her most famous sanctuary; there it was that Saint Catherine received multitudes of pilgrims and worked great miracles. According to popular belief the origin of her worship in this place was warlike and national and dated back to the beginning of French history. It was known that after his victory over the Saracens at Poitiers Charles Martel had placed his sword in the oratory of the Blessed Catherine.[462] But it must be admitted that since then the sanctuary had long suffered from desertion and neglect. Rather more than forty years before the coming of the damsel from Domremy, its walls in the depths of a wood were overrun by briers and brambles.

In those days it was not uncommon for saints of both sexes, if they had suffered from some unjust neglect, to come and complain to some pious person of the wrong being done them on earth. They appeared possibly to a monk, to a peasant or a citizen, denounced the impiety of the faithful in terms urgent and sometimes violent, and commanded him to reinstate their worship and restore their sanctuary. And this is what Madame Saint Catherine did. In the year 1375 she entrusted a knight of the neighbourhood of Fierbois, one Jean Godefroy, who was blind and paralysed, with the restoration of her oratory to its old[Pg i.103] brilliance and fame, promising to cure him if he would pray for nine days in the place where Charles Martel had put his sword. Jean Godefroy had himself carried to the deserted chapel, but beforehand his servants must perforce hew a way through the thicket with their axes. Madame Saint Catherine restored to Jean Godefroy the use of his eyes and his limbs, and it was by this benefit that she recalled to the people of Touraine the glory they had slighted. The oratory was repaired; the faithful again wended their way thither, and miracles abounded. At first the saint healed the sick; then, when the land was ravaged by war, it was her office more especially to deliver from the hands of the English such prisoners as had recourse to her. Sometimes she rendered captives invisible to their guards; sometimes she broke bonds, chains, and locks; to wit, those of a nobleman by name Cazin du Boys, who in 1418 was taken with the garrison of Beaumont-sur-Oise. Locked in an iron cage, bound with a strong rope on which slept a Burgundian, he thought on Madame Saint Catherine, and dedicated himself to this glorious virgin. Immediately the cage was opened. Sometimes she even constrained the English to unchain their prisoners themselves and set them free without ransom. That was a great miracle. One no less great was worked by her on Perrot Chapon, of Saint-Sauveur, near Luzarches. For a month Perrot had been in bonds in an English prison, when he dedicated himself to Saint Catherine and fell asleep. He awoke, still bound, in his own house.

Generally she helped those who helped themselves. Such was the case of Jean Ducoudray, citizen of Saumur, a prisoner in the castle of Bellême in 1429. He commended his soul devoutly to Saint Catherine,[Pg i.104] then leapt forth, throttled the guard, climbed the ramparts, dropped the height of two lances, and went out a free man into the country.[463]

Perhaps these miracles would have been less frequent had the English been in greater force in France; but their men were few: in Normandy they intrenched themselves in towns, abandoning the open country to soldiers of fortune who ranged the district and captured convoys, thus greatly promoting the intervention of Madame Saint Catherine.[464]

The prisoners, who had become her votaries and whom she had delivered, discharged their vows by making the pilgrimage to Fierbois. In her chapel there, they hung the cords and chains with which they had been bound, their armour, and sometimes, in special cases, the armour of the enemy.

This had been done nine months before Jeanne's coming to Fierbois by a certain knight, Jean du Chastel. He had escaped from the hands of a captain, who accused him of having committed treason thereby, alleging that du Chastel had given him his word of honour. Du Chastel on the other hand maintained that he had not sworn, and he challenged the captain to meet him in single combat. The issue of the combat proved right to be on the side of the French knight; for with the aid of Madame Saint Catherine he was victorious. In return he came to Fierbois to offer to his holy protectress the armour of the vanquished Englishman, in the presence of my[Pg i.105] Lord, the Bastard of Orléans, of Captain La Hire and several other nobles.[465]

Jeanne must have delighted to hear tell of such miracles, or others like them, and to see so many weapons hanging from the chapel walls. She must have been well pleased that the saint who visited her at all hours and gave her counsel should so manifestly appear the friend of poor soldiers and peasants cast into bonds, cages and pits, or hanged on trees by the Godons.

She prayed in the chapel and heard two masses.[466]

[Pg i.106]



SINCE the victory of Verneuil and the conquest of Maine, the English had advanced but little in France and their actual possessions there were becoming less and less secure.[467] If they spared the lands of the Duke of Orléans it was not on account of any scruple. Albeit on the banks of the Loire it was held dishonourable to seize the domains of a noble when he was a prisoner,[468] everything is fair in war. The Regent had not scrupled to seize the duchy of Alençon when its duke was a prisoner.[469] The truth is that by bribes and entreaties the good Duke Charles dissuaded the English from attacking his duchy. From 1424 until 1426 the citizens of Orléans purchased peace by money payments.[470] The[Pg i.107] Godons, not being in a position to take the field, were all the more ready to enter into such agreements. During the minority of their half English and half French King, the Duke of Gloucester, the brother and deputy of the Regent, and his uncle, the Bishop of Winchester, Chancellor of the Kingdom, were tearing out each other's hair, and their disputes were the occasion of bloodshed in the London streets.[471] Towards the end of the year 1425 the Regent returned to England, where he spent seventeen months reconciling uncle and nephew and restoring public peace. By dint of craft and vigour he succeeded so far as to render his fellow countrymen desirous and hopeful of completing the conquest of France. With that object, in 1428, the English Parliament voted subsidies.[472]


View of Orleans

VIEW OF ORLÉANS, 1428-1429


Now the most cunning, the most expert, the most fortunate in arms of all the English captains and princes was Thomas Montacute, Earl of Salisbury and of Perche.[473] He had long waged war in Normandy, in Champagne, and in Maine. At present he was gathering an army in England, intended for the banks of the Loire. He got as many bowmen as he wanted; but of horse and men-at-arms he was disappointed. Only those of low estate were willing to go and fight in a land ravaged by famine.[474] At length the[Pg i.108] noble earl, the fair cousin of King Henry, crossed the sea with four hundred and forty-nine men-at-arms and two thousand two hundred and fifty archers.[475] In France he found troops recruited by the Regent, four hundred horse of whom two hundred were Norman, with three bowmen to each horseman, according to the English custom.[476] He led his men to Paris where irrevocable resolutions were taken.[477] Hitherto the plan had been to attack Angers; at the last moment it was decided to lay siege to Orléans.[478]

Between la Beauce and la Sologne, at the entrance to the loyal provinces Touraine, Blésois, and Berry, the ducal city confronted the enemy, lying on a bend of the Loire, just as the arrow's point is lodged on the taut bow.[479] Bishopric, university, market of the country far and wide, on its belfries, towers, and steeples it raised proudly towards heaven the cross of Our Lord, the three cœurs de lis of the city and the three fleurs de lis of the dukes. Beneath the high slate roofs of its houses of stone or wood, built along winding streets or dark alleys, Orléans sheltered fifteen thousand souls. There were to be found officers of justice and of the treasury, goldsmiths, druggists, grocers, tanners, butchers, fishmongers, rich citizens as delicate as amber, who loved fine clothes, fine houses, music and dancing; priests, canons, wardens, and fellows of the university; book[Pg i.109]sellers, scriveners, illuminators, painters, scholars who were not all founts of learning, but who played prettily on the flute; monks of every habit, Black-friars, Grey-friars, Mathurins, Carmelites, Augustinians, and artisans and labourers to boot, smiths, coopers, carpenters, boatmen, fishermen.[480]

Of Roman origin, the form of the town was still the same as in the days of the Emperor Aurelian. The southern side along the Loire and the northern side extended to some three thousand feet. The eastern and western boundaries were only one hundred and fifty feet long. The city was surrounded by walls six feet thick and from eighteen to thirty-three feet high above the moat. These walls were flanked by thirty-four towers, pierced with five gates and two posterns.[481] The following is the description of the situation of these gates, posterns, and towers, with the names of those which became famous during the siege.

Passing from the south east to the south west angle of the wall, were: La Tour Neuve, round and huge, washed by the Loire; three other towers on the river bank; the postern Chesneau, the only one opening on to the water and defended by a portcullis; the[Pg i.110] tower of La Croiche-Meuffroy, so called from the crook or spur which protruded from the foot of the tower into the river; two other towers washed by the Loire; La Port du Pont, with drawbridge and flanked by two towers; La Tour de l'Abreuvoir; la Tour de Notre-Dame, deriving its name from a chapel built against the city walls; la Tour de la Barre-Flambert, the last on this side, at the south west angle of the ramparts and commanding the river. All along the Loire the walls had a stone parapet with machicolated battlements, whence pavingstones could be thrown, and whence, when attempts were made to scale the walls, the enemy's ladders could be hurled down. The distance between the towers was about a bow-shot.

On the western side were first three towers, then two gate towers called Regnard or Renard from the name of citizens to whom had once belonged the adjoining palace, where in 1428 dwelt Jacques Boucher, Treasurer of the Duke of Orléans. Then came another tower and lastly La Porte Bernier or Bannier, at the north west angle of the ramparts. On this side the walls had been constructed in the days of the cross-bow, which shot a greater distance than the bow. The towers here, therefore, were farther apart at the distance of a cross-bow shot one from the other, and the walls were lower than elsewhere. On the northern side, looking towards the forest, were ten towers at a bow-shot's interval. The second, that of Saint-Samson, was used as an arsenal. The sixth and seventh flanked the Paris Gate.

On the eastern side were likewise ten towers at the same distance one from the other as those on the north. The fifth and sixth were those of the Burgundian Gate, also called the Gate of Saint-Aignan,[Pg i.111] because it was close to the church of Saint-Aignan without the walls; the last was the great corner tower, called La Tour Neuve, which thus comes to have been twice counted.

The stone bridge lined with houses which led from the town to the left bank of the Loire was famous all over the world. It had nineteen arches of varying breadth. The first, on leaving the town by La Porte du Pont, was called l'Allouée or Pont Jacquemin-Rousselet; here was a drawbridge. The fifth arch abutted on an island which was long, narrow, and in the form of a boat, like all river islands. Above the bridge it was called Motte-Saint-Antoine, from a chapel built upon it dedicated to that saint; and below, Motte-des-Poissonniers, because in order to keep captured fish alive boats with holes in them were moored to it. In 1447, to provide against the occupation of this island by the enemy, the people of Orléans had constructed a tower, the tower or fortress of Saint-Antoine, beyond the sixth arch and occupying the whole breadth of the bridge. On the buttress between the eleventh and twelfth arch was a cross of gilded bronze, supported by a pedestal of stone. It was indeed what it was called, the Cross Beautiful,—La Belle-Croix. The buttresses of the eighteenth arch were extended, and on the abutment there rose a little castle formed of two towers joined by a vaulted porch. This little castle was called Les Tourelles. Between the nineteenth and the twentieth arch as in the first was a drawbridge. Outside it was Le Portereau; and thence ran the road to Toulouse, which beyond the Loiret on the heights of Olivet joined the road to Blois.[482]

[Pg i.112]

In those days the lazy waters of the Loire flowed midst osier-beds and birchen thickets, since removed for purposes of navigation. Two and a half miles east of Orléans, on the height of Chécy, l'Île aux Bourdons was separated from the Sologne bank by a thin arm of the river and by a narrow channel from l'Île Charlemagne and l'Île-aux-Bœufs, with their green grass and underwood facing Combleux on the La Beauce bank. A boat dropping down the river would next come to the two islands Saint-Loup, and, doubling La Tour Neuve, would glide between the two Martinet Islets on the right and l'Île-aux-Toiles on the left. Thence it would pass under the bridge which overspanned, as we have seen, an island called above bridge Motte-Saint-Antoine and below, Motte-des-Poissonniers. At length, below the ramparts, opposite Saint-Laurent-des-Orgerils, it would come to two islets Biche-d'Orge and another, the name of which is unknown, possibly it was nameless.[483]

The suburbs of Orléans were the finest in the kingdom. On the south the fishermen's suburb of Le Portereau, with its Augustinian church and monastery, extended along the river at the foot of the vineyards[Pg i.113] of Saint-Jean-le-Blanc, which produced the best wine in the country.[484] Above, on the gentle slopes ascending to the bleak plateau of Sologne, the Loiret, with its torrential springs, its limpid waters, its shady banks, the gardens and the brooks of Olivet, smiled beneath a mild and showery sky.

The faubourg of the Burgundian gate stretching eastwards was the best built and the most populous. There were the wonderful churches of Saint-Michel and of Saint-Aignan. The cloister of the latter was held to be marvellous.[485] Leaving this suburb and passing by the vineyards along the sandy branch of the Loire extending between the bank of the river and l'Île-aux-Bœufs about a quarter of a league further on, one comes to the steep slope of Saint-Loup; and, advancing still further towards the east, the belfries of Saint-Jean-de-Bray, Combleux and Chécy may be seen rising one beyond the other between the river and the Roman road from Autun to Paris. On the north of the city were fine monasteries and beautiful churches, the chapel of Saint-Ladre, in the cemetery; the Jacobins, the Cordeliers, the church of Saint-Pierre-Ensentelée. Directly north, the faubourg of La Porte Bernier lay along the Paris road, and close by there stretched the sombre city of the wolves, the deep forest of oaks, horn-beams, beeches, and willows, wherein[Pg i.114] were hidden, like wood-cutters and charcoal-burners, the villages of Fleury and Samoy.[486]

Towards the west the faubourg of La Porte Renard stretched out into the fields along the road to Châteaudun, and the hamlet of Saint-Laurent along the road to Blois.[487]

These faubourgs were so populous and so extensive that when, on the approach of the English, the people from the suburbs took refuge within the city the number of its inhabitants was doubled.[488]

The inhabitants of Orléans were resolved to fight, not for their honour indeed; in those days no honour redounded to a citizen from the defence of his own city; his only reward was the risk of terrible danger. When the town was captured the great and wealthy had but to pay ransom and the conqueror entertained them well; the lesser and poorer nobility ran greater risks. In this year, 1428, the knights, who defended Melun and surrendered after having eaten their horses and their dogs, were drowned in the Seine. "Nobility was worth nothing," ran a Burgundian song.[489]

But generally being of noble birth saved one's life. As for those burghers brave enough to defend themselves, they were likely to perish. There were no fixed rules with regard to them; sometimes several[Pg i.115] were hanged; sometimes only one, sometimes all. It was also lawful to cut off their heads or to throw them into the water, sewn in a sack. In that same year, 1428, Captains La Hire and Poton had failed in their assault on Le Mans and decamped just in time. The citizens who had aided them were beheaded in the square du Cloître-Saint-Julien, on the Olet stone, by order of William Pole, Earl of Suffolk, who had already arrived at Olivet, and of John Talbot, the most courteous of English knights, who was shortly to come there too.[490] Such an example was sufficient to warn the people of Orléans.

Notwithstanding that it was under the control of the Governor, the town administered its own affairs by means of twelve magistrates elected for two years by the citizens, subject to the governor's approbation.[491] These magistrates risked more than the other citizens. One of them, as he passed the monastery of Saint-Sulpice, where was the place of execution, might well reflect that before the year was out he might have justice executed on him there for having defended his lord's inheritance. Yet the twelve were resolved to defend this inheritance; and they acted for the common weal with promptness and with wisdom.

The people of Orléans were not taken by surprise. Their fathers had watched the English closely, and put their city in a state of defence. They themselves, in the year 1425, had so firmly expected a siege that they had collected arms in the Tower of Saint-[Pg i.116]Samson, while all, rich and poor alike, had been required to dig dykes and build ramparts.[492] War has always been costly. They devoted three quarters of the yearly revenue of the town to keeping up the ramparts and other preparations for war. Hearing of the approach of the Earl of Salisbury, with marvellous energy they prepared to receive him.

The walls, except those along the river, were devoid of breastwork; but in the shops were stakes and cross-beams intended for the manufacture of balustrades. These were put up on the fortifications to form parapets, with barbicans of a pent-house shape so as to provide with cover the defenders firing from the walls.[493] At the entrance to each suburb wooden barriers were erected, with a lodge for the porter whose duty it was to open and shut them. On the tops of the ramparts and in the towers were seventy-one pieces of artillery, including cannons and mortars, without counting culverins. The quarry of Montmaillard, three leagues from the town, produced stones which were made into cannon balls. At great expense there were brought into the city lead, powder, and sulphur which the women prepared for use in the cannons and culverins. Every day there were manufactured in thousands, arrows, darts, stacks of bolts,[494] armed with iron points and feathered with parchment, numbers of pavas, great shields made of pieces of wood mortised one into the other and covered with leather. Corn, wine, and cattle were purchased[Pg i.117] in great quantities both for the inhabitants and the men-at-arms, the King's men, and adventurers who were expected.[495]

By a jealously guarded privilege the inhabitants had the right of defending the ramparts. According to their trades they were divided into as many companies as there were towers. Thus defending themselves they had the right to refuse to admit any garrison within the walls. They held to this right because it delivered them from the pillage, the rapine, the burnings and constant molestations inflicted by the King's men. But now they were eager to renounce it; for they realised that alone with only the town bands and those from the neighbouring villages, mere peasants, they could not sustain the siege; to resist the enemy they must have horsemen, skilled in wielding the lance, and foot, skilled in the use of the cross-bow. While their Governor the Sire de Gaucourt and my Lord, the Bastard of Orléans, the King's Lieutenant General, went to Chinon and Poitiers to obtain supplies of men and money[496] from the King, the citizens in commissions of two and two went forth asking help of the towns, travelling as far as Bourbonnais and Languedoc.[497][Pg i.118] The magistrates appealed to those soldiers of fortune who held the neighbouring country for the King of France. By the mouths of the two heralds of the city, Orléans and Cœur-de-Lis, they proclaimed that within the city walls were gold and silver in abundance and such good provision of victuals and arms as would nourish and accoutre two thousand combatants for two years, and that every gentle, honest knight who would might share in the defence of the city and wage battle to the death.[498]

The inhabitants of Orléans feared God. In those days God was greatly to be feared; he was almost as terrible as in the days of the Philistines. The poor fisher folk were afraid of being repulsed if they addressed him in their affliction; they thought it better to take a roundabout road and to seek the intercession of Our Lady and the saints. God respected his Mother and sought to please her on every occasion. Likewise he deferred to the wishes of the Blessed, seated on his right hand and on his left in Paradise, and he inclined his ear to listen to the petitions they presented to him. Thus in cases of dire necessity it was customary to solicit the favour of the saints by presenting prayers and offerings. Then also did the citizens of Orléans remember Saint Euverte and Saint-Aignan, the patrons of their town. In very ancient days Saint Euverte had sat upon that episcopal seat, now, in 1428, occupied by a Scot. Messire Jean de Saint Michel, and Saint Euverte had shone with all the glory of apostolic virtue.[499] His[Pg i.119] successor, Saint-Aignan had prayed to God. He had regarded the city in a peril like unto that of which it was now in danger.

The following is his story as it was known to the people of Orléans. When still young, Saint-Aignan had withdrawn to a solitary place near Orléans. There Saint Euverte, at that time bishop of the city, discovered him. He ordained him priest, appointed him Abbot of Saint-Laurent-des-Orgerils, and elected him to succeed him in the government of the faithful. And when Saint Euverte had passed from this life to the other, the blessed Aignan, with the consent of the people of Orléans, was proclaimed bishop by the voice of a little child. For God, who is praised out of the mouths of babes, permitted one of them, borne in his swaddling clothes to the altar, to speak and say: "Aignan, Aignan is chosen of God to be bishop of this town." Now in the sixtieth year of his pontificate, the Huns invaded Gaul, led by their King Attila, who boasted that wherever he went the stars fell and the earth trembled beneath him, that he was the hammer of the world, stellas pre se cadere, terram tremere, se malleum esse universi orbis. Every town on his march had been destroyed by him, and now he was advancing against Orléans. Then the blessed Aignan went forth into the city of Arles, to the Patrician Aëtius, who commanded the Roman army, and implored his aid in so great a peril. Having obtained of the Patrician promise of succour, Aignan returned to his episcopal see, which he found surrounded by barbarian warriors. The Huns, having made breaches in the walls, were preparing an assault. The blessed saint went up on to the ramparts, knelt and prayed, and then, having prayed, spat upon the enemy. By God's will that drop of his[Pg i.120] saliva was followed by all the raindrops in the sky. A tempest arose: the rain fell in such torrents on the barbarians that their camp was flooded; their tents were overturned by the power of the winds, and many among them perished by lightning. The rain lasted for three days, after which time Attila assailed the ramparts with powerful engines of war. When they saw the walls fall down the inhabitants were terrified. All hope of resistance being at an end, the holy bishop, clad in his episcopal robes, went to the King of the Huns and adjured him to take pity on the people of Orléans, threatening him with the wrath of God if he dealt hardly with the conquered. These prayers and these threats did not soften Attila's heart. On his return to the faithful, the bishop warned them that henceforth nothing remained to them but trust in God; divine succour, however, would not fail them. And soon, according to the promise he had given them, God delivered the town by means of the Romans and the Franks, who defied the Huns in a great battle. Not long after the miraculous deliverance of his beloved city, Saint Aignan fell asleep in the Lord.[500]

Wherefore, in this great peril of the English, the citizens of Orléans resorted to Saint Euverte and Saint-Aignan for succour and relief. According to the marvels accomplished by Saint-Aignan in this mortal life they measured his power of working miracles now that he was in Paradise. These two confessors had each his church in the faubourg de Bourgogne, wherein their bodies were jealously guarded.[501] In those days the bones of martyrs and confessors were devoutly[Pg i.121] worshipped. It was said that sometimes they shed abroad a healing odour which represented the virtues proceeding from them. They were enclosed in gilded reliquaries adorned with precious stones, and no miracle was thought too great to be accomplished by these holy relics. On the 6th of August, 1428, the clergy of the city went to the church wherein was the reliquary of Saint Euverte and bore it round the walls, that they might be strengthened. And the holy reliquary made the round of the whole city, followed by all the people. On the 8th of September a tortis weighing one hundred and ten livres[502] was offered to Saint-Aignan. In time of need the favour of the saints was solicited by all kinds of gifts, garments, jewels, coins, houses, lands, woods, ponds; but natural wax was thought to be especially grateful to them. A tortis was a wheel of wax on which candles were placed and two escutcheons bearing the arms of the city.[503]

Thus did the people of Orléans strive to provision and protect their town.

Adventurers from all parts responded to the magistrates' appeal. The first to hasten to the city were: Messire Archambaud de Villars, Governor of Montargis; Guillaume de Chaumont, Lord of Guitry; Messire Pierre de la Chapelle, a baron of La Beauce; Raimond Arnaud de Corraze, knight of Béarn; Don Matthias of Aragon; Jean de Saintrailles and Poton de Saintrailles. The Abbot of Cerquenceaux, sometime student at the University of Orléans, arrived at[Pg i.122] the head of a band of followers.[504] Thus the number of friends who entered the city was well-nigh as great as that of the expected foe. The defenders were paid; they were furnished with bread, meat, fish, forage in plenty, and casks of wine were broached for them. In the beginning the inhabitants treated them like their own children. The citizens all contributed to the entertainment of the strangers, and gave them what they had. But this concord did not long endure. Whatever tradition alleges as to the friendly relations subsisting between the citizens and their military guests,[505] affairs in Orléans were in truth not different from what they were in other besieged towns; before long the inhabitants began to complain of the garrison.

On the 5th of September the Earl of Salisbury reached Janville, having taken with ease towns, fortified churches or castles to the number of forty. But that was not his greatest achievement; for, although he had left but few men in each place, he had by that means rid himself on the march of that portion of his army which had already shown itself ready to drop away.[506]

From Janville he sent two heralds to Orléans to summon the inhabitants to surrender. The magistrates lodged these heralds honourably in the faubourg Bannier, at the Hôtel de la Pomme and confided to them a present of wine for the Earl of Salisbury; they knew their duty to so great a prince. But[Pg i.123] they refused to open their gates to the English garrison, alleging, doubtless, as was the custom of citizens in those days, that they were not able to open them, having those within who were stronger than they.[507]

Now that the danger was drawing near, on the 6th of October, priests, burgesses, notables, merchants, mechanics, women and children walked in solemn procession with crosses and banners, singing psalms and invoking the heavenly guardians of the city.[508]

On Tuesday, the 12th of this month, at the news that the enemy was coming through Sologne, the magistrates sent soldiers to pull down the houses of Le Portereau, the suburb on the left bank, also the Augustinian church and monastery of that suburb, as well as all other buildings in which the enemy might lodge or entrench himself. But the soldiers were taken by surprise. That very day the English occupied Olivet and appeared in Le Portereau.[509] With them were the victors of Verneuil, the flower of English knighthood: Thomas, Lord of Scales and of Nucelles, Governor of Pontorson, whom the King of England called cousin; William Neville; Baron Falconbridge; William Gethyn, a Welsh knight, Bailie of Évreux; Lord Richard Gray, nephew of the Earl of Salisbury; Gilbert Halsall, Richard Panyngel, Thomas Guérard, knights, and many others of great renown.

Over the two hundred lances from Normandy there floated the standards of William Pole, Earl of[Pg i.124] Suffolk, and of John Pole, two brothers descended from a comrade-in-arms of Duke William; of Thomas Rampston, knight banneret, the Regent's chamberlain; of Richard Walter, squire, Governor of Conches, Bailie and Captain of Évreux; of William Mollins, knight; of William Glasdale, whom the French called Glacidas, squire, Bailie of Alençon, a man of humble birth.[510]

The archers were all on horseback. There were practically no foot-soldiers. In carts drawn by oxen were barrels of powder, cross-bows, arrows, cannon-balls, and guns of all kinds, muskets, fowling-pieces, and large cannon. The two English master-gunners, Philibert de Moslant and William Appleby, accompanied the troops. There were also two masters of mining with thirty-eight workmen. Of women there were not a few, some of them acting as spies.[511]

When the army arrived it was greatly diminished by desertions, having shed runaways at each victory. Some returned to England, others roamed through the realm of France robbing and plundering. That very 12th of October orders had been despatched from Rouen to the Bailies and Governors of Normandy to arrest those English who had departed from the company of my Lord, the Earl of Salisbury.[512]

The fort of Les Tourelles and its outworks barred the entrance to the bridge. The English established themselves in Le Portereau, placed their cannon and their mortars on the rising ground of Saint-Jean-le-[Pg i.125]Blanc,[513] and, on the following Sunday, they hurled down upon the city a shower of stone cannon-balls, which did great damage to the houses, but killed no one save a woman of Orléans, named Belles, who dwelt near the Chesneau postern on the river bank. Thus the siege, which was to be ended by a woman's victory, began with a woman's death.

That same week the English cannon destroyed twelve water mills near La Tour Neuve. Whereupon the people of Orléans constructed within the city eleven mills worked by horses,[514] in order that there might be no lack of flour. There were a few skirmishes at the bridge. Then on Thursday, the 21st of October, the English attempted to storm the outworks of Les Tourelles. The little band of adventurers in the service of the town and the city troops made a gallant defence. The women helped; throughout the four hours that the assault lasted long lines of gossips might be seen hurrying to the bridge, bearing their pots and pans filled with burning coals and boiling oil and fat, frantic with joy at the idea of scalding the Godons.[515] The attack was repulsed; but two days later the French perceived that the outworks were undermined; the English had dug subterranean passages, to the props of which they had afterwards set fire. The outworks having become untenable in the opinion of the soldiers, they were destroyed and abandoned. It was deemed impossible to defend Les Tourelles thus dismantled. Those[Pg i.126] towers which would once have arrested an army's progress for a whole month were now useless against cannon. In front of La Belle Croix the townsfolk erected a rampart of earth and wood. Beyond this outwork two arches of the bridge were cut and replaced by a movable platform. And when this was done, the fort of Les Tourelles was abandoned to the English with no great regret. The latter set up a rampart of earth and faggots on the bridge, breaking two of its arches, one in front, the other behind their earthwork.[516]

On the Sunday, towards evening, a few hours after the flag of St. George had been planted on the fort, the Earl of Salisbury, with William Glasdale and several captains, went up one of the towers to observe the lie of the city. Looking from a window he beheld the walls armed with cannon; the towers vanishing into pinnacles or with terraces on their flat roofs; the battlements dry and grey; the suburbs adorned for a few days longer with the fine stone-work of their churches and monasteries; the vineyards and the woods yellow with autumn tints; the Loire and its oval-shaped islands,—all slumbering in the evening calm. He was looking for the weak point in the ramparts, the place where he might make a breach and put up his scaling ladders. For his plan was to take Orléans by assault. William Glasdale said to him, "My Lord, look well at your city. You have a good bird's-eye view of it from here."

At this moment a cannon-ball breaks off a corner of the window recess, a stone from the wall strikes Salisbury, carrying away one eye and one side of his face. The shot had been fired from La Tour Notre-Dame. That at least was generally believed. It was never known who had fired it. A townsman,[Pg i.127] alarmed by the noise, hastened to the spot, saw a child coming out of the tower and the cannon deserted. It was thought that the hand of an innocent child had fired the bullet by the permission of the Mother of God, who had been irritated by the Earl of Salisbury's despoiling monks and pillaging the Church of Notre Dame de Cléry. It was said also that he was punished for having broken his oath, for he had promised the Duke of Orléans to respect his lands and his towns. Borne secretly to Meung-sur-Loire, he died there on Wednesday the 27th of October; and the English were very sorrowful.[517] Most of them felt that loss to be irreparable which had deprived them of a chief who was conducting the siege vigorously, and who in less than twelve days had captured Les Tourelles, the very corner-stone of the city's defence. But there were others who reflected that he must have been very simple to imagine that thick ramparts could be overthrown by stone balls, the force of which had already been spent in crossing the wide stretches of the river, and that he must have been mad to attempt to storm a city which could only be reduced by famine. Then they thought: "He is dead. God receive his soul! But he has brought us into a sorry plight."

Men told how Maître Jean de Builhons, a famous astrologer, had prophesied this death,[518] and how in the[Pg i.128] night before the fatal day, the Earl of Salisbury himself had dreamed that he was being clawed by a wolf. A Norman clerk composed two songs on this sad death, one against the English, the other for them. The first, which is the better, closes with a couplet, worthy in its profound wisdom of King Solomon himself:[519]

Certes le duc de Bedefort
Se sage est, il se tendra
Avec sa femme en ung fort,
Chaudement le mieulx[520] que il porra,
De bon ypocras finera,
Garde son corps, lesse la guerre:
Povre et riche porrist en terre.[521]

The day after the taking of Les Tourelles and when its loss had been remedied as best might be, the King's lieutenant-general entered the town. He was le Seigneur Jean, Count of Porcien and of Montaing, Grand Chamberlain of France, son of Duke Louis of Orléans, who had been assassinated in 1407 by order of Jean-Sans-Peur, and whose death had armed the Armagnacs against the Burgundians. Dame de Cany was his mother, but he ought to have been the son of the Duchess of Orléans since the Duke was his father. Not only was it no drawback to children to be born outside wedlock and of an adulterous union, but it was a great honor to be called the bastard of a prince. There have never been so many bastards as[Pg i.129] during these wars, and the saying ran: "Children are like corn: sow stolen wheat and it will sprout as well as any other."[522] The Bastard of Orléans was then twenty-six at the most. The year before, with a small company, he had hastened to revictual the inhabitants of Montargis, who were besieged by the Earl of Warwick. He had not only revictualled the town; but with the help of Captain La Hire had driven away the besiegers. This augured well for Orléans.[523] The Bastard was the cleverest baron of his day. He knew grammar and astrology, and spoke more correctly than any one.[524] In his affability and intelligence he resembled his father, but he was more cautious and more temperate. His amiability, his courtesy and his discretion caused it to be said that he was in favour with all the ladies, even with the Queen.[525] In everything he was apt, in war as well as in diplomacy, marvellously adroit, and a consummate dissembler.

My Lord the Bastard brought in his train several knights, captains, and squires of renown, that is to say, of high birth or of great valour: the Marshal de Boussac, Messire Jacques de Chabannes, Seneschal of Bourbonnais, the Lord of Chaumont, Messire Théaulde of Valpergue, a Lombard knight, Captain La Hire, wondrous in war and in pillage, who had lately done so well in the relief of Montargis, and Jean, Sire de Bueil, one of those youths who had come to the[Pg i.130] King on a lame horse and who had taken lessons from two wise women, Suffering and Poverty. These knights came with a company of eight hundred men, archers, arbalesters, and Italian foot, bearing broad shields like those of St. George in the churches of Venice and Florence. They represented all the nobles and free-lances who for the moment could be gathered together.[526]

After the death of its chief, Salisbury's army was paralysed by disunion and diminished by desertions. Winter was coming: the captains, seeing there was nothing to be done for the present, broke up their camp, and, with such men as remained to them, went off to shelter behind the walls of Meung and Jargeau.[527] On the evening of the 8th of November all that remained before the city was the garrison of Les Tourelles, consisting of five hundred Norman horse, commanded by William Molyns and William Glasdale. The French might besiege and take them: they would not budge. The Governor, the old Sire de Gaucourt, had just fallen on the pavement in La Rue des Hôtelleries and broken his arm; he couldn't move.[528] But what about the rest of the defenders?

The truth is, no one knew what to do. These warriors were doubtless acquainted with many measures for the succour of a besieged town, but they were all measures of surprise.[529] Their only devices were sallies, ambuscades, skirmishes, and other such valiant feats[Pg i.131] of arms. Should they fail in raising a siege by surprise, then they remained inactive,—at the end of their ideas and of their resources. Their most experienced captains were incapable of any common effort,—of any concerted action, of any enterprise in short, requiring a continuous mental effort and the subordination of all to one. Each was for his own hand and thought of nothing but booty. The defence of Orléans was altogether beyond their intelligence.

For twenty-one days Captain Glasdale remained entrenched, with his five hundred Norman horse, under the battered walls of Les Tourelles, between his earthworks on Le Portereau side, which couldn't have become very formidable as yet, and his barrier on the bridge, which being but wood, a spark could easily have set on fire.

Meanwhile the citizens were at work. After the departure of the English they performed a huge and arduous task. Concluding, and rightly, that the enemy would return not through La Sologne this time, but through La Beauce, they destroyed all their suburbs on the west, north, and east, as they had already destroyed or begun to destroy Le Portereau. They burned and pulled down twenty-two churches and monasteries, among others the church of Saint-Aignan and its monastery, so beautiful that it was a pity to see it spoiled, the church of Saint Euverte, the church of Saint-Laurent-des-Orgerils, not without promising the blessed patrons of the town that when they should have delivered the city from the English, the citizens would build them new and more beautiful churches.[530]

[Pg i.132]

On the 30th of November Captain Glasdale beheld Sir John Talbot approaching Les Tourelles. He brought three hundred men furnished with cannon, mortars, and other engines of war. Thenceforward the bombardment was resumed more violently than before: roofs were broken through, walls were battered, but there was more noise than work. In La Rue Aux-Petits-Souliers a cannon-ball fell on to a table, round which five persons were dining, and no one was hurt. It was thought to have been a miracle of Our Lord worked at the intercession of Saint Aignan, the patron saint of the city.[531] The people of Orléans had wherewith to answer the besiegers. For the seventy cannon and mortars, of which the city artillery consisted, there were twelve professional gunners with servants to wait on them. A very clever founder named Guillaume Duisy had cast a mortar which from its position at the crook or spur by the Chesneau postern, hurled stone bullets of one hundred and twenty livres on to Les Tourelles. Near this mortar were two cannon, one called Montargis because the town of Montargis had lent it, the other named Rifflart[532] after a very popular demon. A culverin firer, a Lorrainer living at Angers, had been sent by the King to Orléans, where he was paid twelve livres[533] a month. His name was Jean de Montesclère. He was held to be the best master of his trade. He had in his charge a huge[Pg i.133] culverin which inflicted great damage on the English.[534]

A jovial fellow was Maître Jean. When a cannon-ball happened to fall near him he would tumble to the ground and be carried into the town to the great joy of the English who believed him dead. But their joy was short-lived, for Maître Jean soon returned to his post and bombarded them as before.[535] These culverins were loaded with leaden bullets by means of an iron ramrod. They were tiny cannon or rather large guns on gun-carriages. They could be moved easily.[536] And so Maître Jean's culverin was brought wherever it was needed.

On the 25th of December a truce was proclaimed for the celebration of the Nativity of Our Lord. Of one faith and one religion, on feast days the hostility of the combatants ceased, and courtesy reconciled the knights of the two camps whenever the calendar reminded them that they were Christians. Noël is a gay feast. Captain Glasdale wanted to celebrate it with carol singing according to the English custom. He asked my Lord Jean, the Bastard of Orléans, and Marshal de Boussac to send him a band of musicians, which they graciously did. The Orléans players went forth to Les Tourelles with their clarions and their trumpets; and they played the English such carols as rejoiced their hearts. To the folk of Orléans, who came on to the bridge to listen to the music, it sounded[Pg i.134] very melodious; but no sooner had the truce expired than every man looked to himself. For from one bank to the other the cannon burst from their slumber, hurling balls of stone and copper with renewed vigour.[537]

That which the people of Orléans had foreseen happened on the 30th of December. On that day the English came in great force through La Beauce to Saint-Laurent-des-Orgerils.[538] All the French knights went out to meet them and performed great feats of arms; but the English occupied Saint-Laurent, and then the siege really began. They erected a bastion on the left bank of the Loire, west of Le Portereau, in a place called the Field of Saint-Privé. Another they erected in the little island to the right of Saint-Laurent-des-Orgerils.[539] On the right bank, at Saint-Laurent, they constructed an entrenched camp. At a bow-shot's distance on the road to Blois, in a place called la Croix-Boissée, they built another bastion. Two bow-shots away, towards the north on the road to Mans, at a spot called Les Douze-Pierres, they raised a fort which they called London.[540]

By these works half of Orléans was invested, which was as good as saying that it was not invested at all. People went in and out as they pleased. Small relieving companies despatched by the King arrived without let or hindrance. On the 5th of January, 1429, Admiral de Culant with five hundred men-at-[Pg i.135]arms crosses the Loire opposite Saint-Loup and enters the city by the Burgundian Gate. On the 8th of February there enters William Stuart, brother of the Constable of Scotland, at the head of a thousand combatants well accoutred, and accompanied by several knights and squires. On the morrow they are followed by three hundred and twenty soldiers. Victuals and ammunition are constantly arriving; on the 3rd of January, nine hundred and fifty-four pigs and four hundred sheep; on the 10th, powder and victuals; on the 12th, six hundred pigs; on the 24th, six hundred head of fat cattle and two hundred pigs; on the 31st, eight horses loaded with oil and fat.[541]

It became evident to Lord Scales, William Pole, and Sir John Talbot, who since Salisbury's[542] death had been conducting the siege, that months and months must elapse ere the investment could be completed and the city surrounded by a ring of forts connected by a moat. Meanwhile the miserable Godons, up to the ears in mud and snow, were freezing in their wretched hovels,—mere shelters of wood and earth. If things went on thus they were in danger of being worse off and more starved than the besieged. Therefore, following the example of the late Earl, from time to time they tried to bring matters to a crisis; without great hope of success they endeavoured to take the town by assault.[543]

On the side of the Renard Gate the wall was lower than elsewhere; and, as their strongest force lay in this direction, they preferred to attack this part of the[Pg i.136] ramparts. They stormed the Renard Gate, rushing against the barriers with loud cries of Saint George; but the king's men and the city bands drove them back to their bastions.[544] Each of these ill planned and useless assaults cost them many men. And they already lacked both soldiers and horses.

Neither had they succeeded in alarming the people of Orléans by their double bombardment on the south and on the west. There was a joke in the town that a great cannon-ball had fallen near La Porte Bannière into the midst of a crowd of a hundred people without touching one, except a fellow who had his shoe taken off by it, but suffered no further hurt than having to put it on again.[545]

Meanwhile the French, English, and Burgundian knights took delight in performing valiant deeds of prowess. Whenever the whim took them, and under the slightest protest, they sallied forth into the country, but always with the object of capturing some booty, for they thought of little else. One day, for instance, towards the end of January, when it was bitterly cold, a little band of English marauders entered the vineyards of Saint-Ladre and Saint-Jean-de-la-Ruelle to gather sticks for firewood. The watchman no sooner announces them than behold all the banners flying to the wind. Marshal de Boussac, Messire Jacques de Chabannes, Seneschal of Bourbonnais, Messire Denis de Chaîlly, and many another baron, and with them captains and free-lances, make forth into the fields. Not one of them can have commanded as many as twenty men.[546]

The King's council was making every effort to[Pg i.137] succour Orléans. The King summoned the nobles of Auvergne. They had been true to the Lilies ever since the day when the Dauphin, Canon of Notre-Dame-d'Ancis, and barely more than a child, had travelled over wild peaks to subdue two or three rebellious barons.[547] At the royal call the nobles of Auvergne came forth from their mountains. Beneath the standard of the Count of Clermont, in the early days of February, they reached Blois, where they joined the Scottish force of John Stuart of Darnley, the Constable of Scotland, and a company from Bourbonnais, under the command of the barons La Tour-d'Auvergne and De Thouars.[548]

Just at this time tidings were received of a convoy of victuals and ammunition which Sir John Fastolf was bringing from Paris to the English at Orléans. With two hundred men-at-arms the Bastard started from Orléans to concert measures with the Count of Clermont. It was decided to attack the convoy. Commanded by the Count of Clermont and the Bastard the whole army from Blois marched towards Étampes with the object of encountering Sir John Fastolf.[549]

On the 11th of February there sallied forth from Orléans fifteen hundred fighting men commanded by Messire Guillaume d'Albret, Sir William Stuart, brother of the Constable of Scotland, the Marshal de Boussac, the Lord of Gravelle, the two Captains Saintrailles, Captain La Hire, the Lord of Verduzan, and[Pg i.138] sundry other knights and squires. They were summoned by the Bastard and ordered to join the Count of Clermont's army on the road to Étampes, at the village of Rouvray-Saint-Denis, near Angerville.[550]

The next day, Saturday, the eve of the first Sunday in Lent, when the Count of Clermont's army was still some distance away, they reached Rouvray. There, early in the morning, the Gascons of Poton and La Hire perceived the head of the convoy advancing into the plain, along the Étampes road.

There they were, a line of three hundred carts and wagons full of arms and victuals conducted by English soldiers and merchants and peasants from Normandy, Picardy, and Paris, fifteen hundred men at the most, all tranquil and unsuspecting. There naturally occurred to the Gascons the idea of falling upon these people and making short work with them at the moment when they least expected it.[551] In great haste they sent to the Count of Clermont for permission to attack. As handsome as Absalom and Paris of Troy, full of words and eaten up of vanity, the Count of Clermont, who was but a lad and none of the wisest, had that very day received his spurs and was at his first engagement.[552] He foolishly sent word to the Gascons not to attack before his arrival. The Gascons obeyed greatly disappointed; they saw what was being lost by waiting. And at length, perceiving that they have walked into the lion's mouth, the Eng[Pg i.139]lish leaders, Sir John Fastolf, Sir Richard Gethyn, Bailie of Évreux, Sir Simon Morhier, Provost of Paris, place themselves in good battle array. With their wagons they make a long narrow enclosure in the plain. There they entrench their horsemen, posting the archers in front, behind stakes planted in the ground with their points inclined towards the enemy.[553] Seeing these preparations, the Constable of Scotland loses patience and leads his four hundred horsemen in a rush upon the stakes, where the horses' legs are broken.[554] The English, discovering that it is only a small company they have to deal with, bring out their cavalry and charge with such force that they overthrow the French and slay three hundred. Meanwhile the men of Auvergne had reached Rouvray and were scouring the village, draining the cellars. The Bastard left them and came to the help of the Scots with four hundred fighting men. But he was wounded in the foot, and in great danger of being taken.[555]

There fell in this combat Lord William Stuart and his brother, the Lords of Verduzan, of Châteaubrun, of Rochechouart, Jean Chabot with many others of high nobility and great valour.[556] The English, not yet satiated with slaughter, scattered in pursuit of the fugitives. La Hire and Poton, beholding the enemy's standards dispersed over the plain, gathered together as many men as they could, between sixty and eighty, and threw themselves on a small part of the English[Pg i.140] force, which they overcame. If at this juncture the rest of the French had rallied they might have saved the honour and advantage of the day.[557] But the Count of Clermont, who had not attempted to come to the aid of the Bastard and the Constable of Scotland, displayed his unfailing cowardice to the end. Having seen them all slain, he returned with his army to Orléans, where he arrived well on into the night of the 12th of February.[558] There followed him with their troops in disorder, the Baron La Tour-d'Auvergne, the Viscount of Thouars, the Marshal de Boussac, the Lord of Gravelle and the Bastard, who with the greatest difficulty kept in the saddle. Jamet du Tillay, La Hire, and Poton came last, watching to see that the English did not complete their discomfiture by falling upon them from the forts.[559]

Because the Lenten fast was beginning, the victuals which Sir John Fastolf was bringing from Paris to the English round Orléans, consisted largely of red herrings, which had suffered during the battle from the casks containing them having been broken in. To honour the French for having discomfited so many natives of Dieppe the delighted English merrily named the combat the Battle of the Herrings.[560]

Albeit the Count of Clermont was the King's cousin, the people of Orléans received him but coldly. He was held to have acted shamefully and treacherously; and there were those who let him[Pg i.141] know what they thought. On the morrow he made off with his men of Auvergne and Bourbonnais amidst the rejoicings of the townsfolk who did not want to support those who would not fight.[561] At the same time there left the city Sire Louis de Culant, High Admiral of France and Captain La Hire, with two thousand men-at-arms. At their departure there arose from the citizens such howls of displeasure, that to appease them it was necessary to explain that the captains were going to fetch fresh supplies of men and victuals, which was the actual truth. My Lord Regnault de Chartres, the date of whose arrival at Orléans is uncertain, departed with them; but he could not be reproached for going, since as Chancellor of France his place was in the King's Council. But what must indeed have appeared strange was that my Lord Saint-Michel, the successor of Saint-Euverte and Saint-Aignan, should quit his episcopal see and desert his afflicted spouse.[562] When the rats go the vessel is on the point of sinking. Only the Lord Bastard and the Marshal de Boussac were left in the city. And even the Marshal was not to stay long. A month later he went, saying that the King had need of him and that he must go and take possession of broad lands fallen to him through his wife, by the death of his brother-in-law, the Lord of Châteaubrun, at the Battle of the Herrings.[563] The townsfolk deemed the reason a good one. He promised to return before long, and they were content. Now the Marshal de Boussac was one of the barons who had the welfare of the kingdom most at heart.[564][Pg i.142] But he who has lands must needs do his duty by them.

Believing that they were betrayed and abandoned, the citizens bethought them of securing their own safety. Since the King was not able to protect them, they resolved that in order to escape from the English, they would give themselves to one more powerful than he. Therefore, to Lord Philip, Duke of Burgundy, they despatched Captain Poton of Saintrailles, who was known to him because he had been his prisoner, and two magistrates of the city, Jean de Saint-Avy and Guion du Fossé. Their mission was to pray and entreat the Duke to look favourably on the town, and for the sake of his good kinsman, their Lord, Charles, Duke of Orléans, a prisoner in England, and thus prevented from defending his own domain, to induce the English to raise the siege until such time as the troubles of the realm should be set at rest.[565] Thus they were offering to place their town as a pledge in the hands of the Duke of Burgundy. Such an offer was in accordance with the secret desire of the Duke, who, having sent a few hundred Burgundian horse to the walls of Orléans, was helping the English, and did not intend to do it for nothing.[566]

Pending the uncertain and distant day when they might be thus protected, the people of Orléans continued to protect themselves as best they could. But they were anxious and not without reason. For although they might prevent the enemy from[Pg i.143] entering within the city, they could devise no means for speedily driving him away. In the early days of March they observed with concern that the English were digging a ditch to serve them as cover in passing from one bastion to another, from la Croix-Boissée to Saint-Ladre. This work they attempted to destroy. They vigorously attacked the Godons and took a few prisoners. With two shots from his culverin Maître Jean killed five persons, including Lord Gray, the nephew of the late Earl of Salisbury.[567] But they could not hinder the English from completing their work. The siege continued with terrible vigour. Agitated by doubts and fears, consumed with anxiety, without sleep, without rest, and succeeding in nothing, they began to despair. Suddenly a strange rumour arises, spreads, and gains credence.

It is told that there had lately passed through the town of Gien a maid (une pucelle), who proclaimed that she was on her way to Chinon to the gentle Dauphin, and said that she had been sent by God to raise the siege of Orléans and take the King to his anointing at Reims.[568]

In colloquial language, a maid (une pucelle) was a girl of humble birth, who earned her livelihood by manual work and was generally a servant. Thus the leaden pumps used in kitchens were usually called pucelles. The term was doubtless vulgar, but it had no evil meaning. In spite of Clopinel's naughty saying: "Je légue ma pucelle à mon curé," it was used to describe a respectable girl of good morals.[569]

[Pg i.144]

The tidings that a little saint of lowly origin, one of Our Lord's poor, was bringing divine help to Orléans made a great impression on minds excited by the fevers of the siege and rendered religious through fear. The Maid inspired them with a burning curiosity, which the Lord Bastard, like a wise man, deemed it prudent to encourage. He despatched to Chinon two knights charged to inquire concerning the damsel. One was Sire Archambaud of Villars, Governor of Montargis, whom the Bastard had already sent to the King during the siege; he was an aged knight, once the intimate friend of Duke Louis of Orléans, and one of the seven Frenchmen who fought against the seven Englishmen at Montendre,[570] in 1402: an Orléans citizen of the early days, notwithstanding his great age he had vigourously defended Les Tourelles on the 21st of October. The other, Messire Jamet du Tillay, a Breton squire, had recently won great honour by covering the retreat of Rouvray with his men. They set forth and the whole town anxiously awaited their return.[571]

[Pg i.145]



FROM the village of Sainte-Catherine-de-Fierbois, Jeanne dictated a letter to the King, for she did not know how to write. In this letter she asked permission to come to him, and told him that to bring him aid she had travelled over one hundred and fifty leagues, and that she knew of many things for his good. She was said to have added that were he hidden amidst many others she would recognise him;[572] but later, when she was questioned on this matter, she replied that she had no recollection of it.

Towards noon, when the letter had been sealed, Jeanne and her escort set out for Chinon.[573] She went to the King, just as in those days there went to him the sons of poor widows of Azincourt and Verneuil riding lame horses found in some meadow,—fifteen-year-old lads coming forth from their ruined towers to mend their own fortunes and those of France; just as Loyalty, Desire, and Famine went to him.[574] Charles VII was France, the image and symbol of France. Yet he was but a poor creature withal, the eleventh of the miserable children born to the mad[Pg i.146] Charles VI and his prolific Bavarian Queen.[575] He had grown up among disasters, and had survived his four elder brethren. But he himself was badly bred, knock-kneed, and bandy-legged;[576] a veritable king's son, if his looks only were considered, and yet it was impossible to swear to his descent.[577] Through his presence on the bridge at Montereau on that day, when, according to a wise man, it were better to have died than to have been there,[578] he had grown pale and trembling, looking dully at everything going to wrack and ruin around him. After their victory of Verneuil and their partial conquest of Maine, the English had left him four years' respite. But his friends, his defenders, his deliverers had alike been terrible. Pious and humble, well content with his plain wife, he led a sad, anxious life in his châteaux on the Loire. He was timid. And well might he be so, for no sooner did he show friendship towards or confidence in one of the nobility than that noble was killed. The Constable de Richemont and the Sire de la Trémouille had drowned the Lord de Giac after a mock trial.[579] The[Pg i.147] Marshal de Boussac, by order of the Constable, had slain Lecamus de Beaulieu with even less ceremony. Lecamus was riding his mule in a meadow on the bank of the Clain, when he was set upon, thrown down, his head split open, and his hand cut off. The favourite's mule was taken back to the King.[580] The Constable de Richemont had given Charles in his stead La Trémouille, a very barrel of a man, a toper, a kind of Gargantua who devoured the country. La Trémouille having driven away Richemont, the King kept La Trémouille until the Constable, of whom he was greatly in dread, should return. And indeed so meek and fearful a prince had reason to dread this Breton, always defeated, always furious, bitter, ferocious, whose awkwardness and violence created an impression of rude frankness.[581]

In 1428 Richemont wanted to resume his influence over the King. The Counts of Clermont and of Pardiac united to aid him. The King's mother-in-law, Yolande of Aragon, the kingdomless Queen of Sicily and Jerusalem, and the Duchess of Anjou, took the part of the discontented barons.[582] The Count of Clermont took prisoner the Chancellor of France, the first minister of the crown, and held him[Pg i.148] to ransom. The King had to pay for the restoration of his Chancellor.[583] In Poitou the Constable was warring against the King's men, while the provinces which remained loyal were being wasted by free lances in the King's pay, while the English were advancing towards the Loire.

In the midst of such miseries, King Charles, thin, dwarfed in mind and body, cowering, timorous, suspicious, cut a sorry figure. Yet he was as good as another; and perhaps at that time he was just the king that was needed. A Philippe of Valois or a Jean le Bon would have amused himself by losing his provinces at the point of the sword. Poor King Charles had neither their means nor their desire to perform deeds of prowess, or to press to the front of the battle by riding down the common herd. He had one good point: he did not love feats of prowess and it was impossible for him to be one of those chivalrous knights who make war for the love of it. His grandfather before him, who had been equally lacking in chivalrous graces, had greatly damaged the English. The grandson had not Charles V's wisdom, but he also was not free from guile and was inclined to believe that more may be gained by the signing of a treaty than at the point of the lance.[584]

Concerning his poverty ridiculous stories were in circulation. It was said that a shoemaker, to whom he could not pay ready money, had torn from his leg the new gaiter he had just put on, and gone off, leav[Pg i.149]ing the King with his old ones.[585] It was related how one day La Hire and Saintrailles, coming to see him, had found him dining with the Queen, with two chickens and a sheep's tail as their only entertainment.[586] But these were merely good stories. The King still possessed domains wide and rich; Auvergne, Lyonnais, Dauphiné, Touraine, Anjou, all the provinces south of the Loire, except Guyenne and Gascony.[587]

His great resource was to convoke the States General. The nobility gave nothing, alleging that it was beneath their dignity to pay money. When, notwithstanding their poverty, the clergy did contribute something, it was still, always the third estate that bore more than its share of the financial burden. That extraordinary tax, the taille,[588] became annual. The King summoned the Estates every year, sometimes twice a year. They met not without difficulty.[589] The[Pg i.150] roads were dangerous. At every corner travellers might be robbed or murdered. The officers, who journeyed from town to town collecting the taxes, had an armed escort for fear of the Scots and other men-at-arms in the King's service.[590]

In 1427 a free lance, Sabbat by name, in garrison at Langeais, was the terror of Touraine and Anjou. Thus the representatives of the towns were in no hurry to present themselves at the meeting of the Estates. It might have been different had they believed that their money would be employed for the good of the realm. But they knew that the King would first use it to make gifts to his barons. The deputies were invited to come and devise means for the repression of the pillage and plunder from which they were suffering;[591] and, when at the risk of their lives they did come to the royal presence, they were forced to consent to the taille in silence. The King's officers threatened to have them drowned if they opened their mouths. At the meeting of the Estates held at Mehun-sur-Yèvre in 1425 the men from the good towns said they would be glad to help the King, but first they desired that an end be put to pillage, and my Lord Bishop of Poitiers, Hugues de Comberel, said likewise. On hearing his words the Sire de Giac said to the King: "If my advice were taken, Comberel would be thrown into the river with the others of his opinion." Whereupon the men from the good towns[Pg i.151] voted two hundred and sixty thousand livres.[592] In September, 1427, assembled at Chinon, they granted five hundred thousand livres for the war.[593] By writs issued on the 8th of January, 1428, the King summoned the States General to meet six months hence, on the following 18th of July, at Tours.[594] On the 18th of July no one attended. On the 22nd of July came a new summons from the King, commanding the Estates to meet at Tours on the 10th of September.[595] But the meeting did not take place until October, at Chinon, just when the Earl of Salisbury was marching on the Loire. The States granted five hundred thousand livres.[596]

But the time could not be far off when the good people would be unable to pay any longer. In those days of war and pillage many a field was lying fallow, many a shop was closed, and few were the merchants ambling on their nags from town to town.[597]

The tax came in badly, and the King was actually suffering from want of money. To extricate himself[Pg i.152] from this embarrassment he employed three devices, of which the best was useless. First, as he owed every one money,—the Queen of Sicily,[598] La Trémouille,[599] his Chancellor,[600] his butcher,[601] the chapter of Bourges, which provided him with fresh fish,[602] his cooks,[603] his footmen,[604]—he made over the proceeds of the tax to his creditors.[605] Secondly, he alienated the royal domain: his towns and his lands belonged to every one save himself.[606] Thirdly, he coined false money. It was not with evil intent, but through necessity, and the practice was quite usual.[607]

The only title borne by La Trémouille was that of Conseiller-Chambellan, but he was also the Grand Usurer of the kingdom. His debtors were the King and a multitude of nobles high and low.[608] He was therefore a powerful personage. In those difficult[Pg i.153] days he rendered the crown services self-interested, but none the less valuable. From January to August, 1428, he advanced sums amounting to about twenty-seven thousand livres for which he received lands and castles as security.[609] Fortunately the Royal Council included a number of Jurists and Churchmen who were good business men. One of them, an Angevin, Robert Le Maçon, Lord of Trèves, of plebeian birth, had entered the Council during the Regency. He was the first among those of lowly origin who served Charles VII so ably that he came to be called The Well Served (Le Bien Servi).[610] Another, the Sire de Gaucourt, had aided his King in war.[611]

There is yet a third whom we must learn to know as well as possible. For he will play an important part in this story; and his part would appear greater still if it were laid bare in its entirety. This is Regnault de Chartres, whom we have already seen promoted to be minister of finance.[612] Son of Hector de Chartres, master of Woods and Waters in Normandy, he took orders, became archdeacon of Beauvais, then chamberlain of Pope John XXIII, and in[Pg i.154] 1414, at about thirty-four, was raised to the archiepiscopal see of Reims.[613] The following year three of his brothers fell on the gory field of Azincourt. In 1418 Hector de Chartres perished at Paris, assassinated by the Butchers.[614] Regnault himself, cast into prison by the Cabochiens, expected to be put to death. He vowed that if he escaped he would fast every Wednesday, and drink water for breakfast every Friday and Saturday, for the rest of his life.[615] One must not judge a man by an act prompted by fear. Nevertheless we may well hesitate to rank the author of this vow with those Epicureans who did not believe in God, of whom there were said to be many among the clerks. We may conclude rather that his intelligence submitted to the common beliefs.

A tragic fidelity, an inherited loyalty to the Armagnacs recommended my Lord Regnault to the Dauphin, who entrusted him with important missions to various parts of Christendom, Languedoc, Scotland, Brittany, and Burgundy.[616] The Archbishop of Reims acquitted himself with rare skill and indefatigable zeal. In December he prayed the Holy Father to dispense him from the fulfilment of the vow taken[Pg i.155] in the Butchers' prison,[617] on the grounds of his feeble health and his services rendered to the Dauphin, who required him to undertake frequent journeys and arduous embassies.

In 1425, when the King and the kingdom were governed by President Louvet,[618] a learned lawyer, who may well have been a rogue, my Lord Regnault was appointed Chancellor of France in the place of my Lord Martin Gouges of Charpaigne, Bishop of Clermont.[619] But shortly afterwards, when the Constable of France, Arthur of Brittany, had dismissed Louvet, Regnault sold his appointment to Martin Gouges for a pension of two thousand five hundred livres tournois.[620]

The Reverend Father in God, my Lord the Archbishop of Reims, was not as rich, far from it, as my Lord de la Trémouille; but he made the best of what he had. Like the Sire de la Trémouille he lent money to the King.[621] But in those days who did not lend the King money? Charles VII gave him the town and castle of Vierzon in payment of a debt of sixteen thousand livres tournois.[622] When La Trémouille had treated the Constable as the Constable[Pg i.156] had treated Louvet, Regnault de Chartres became Chancellor again. He entered into his office on the 8th of November, 1428. By this time the Council had sent men-at-arms and cannon to Orléans. No sooner was my Lord of Reims appointed than he threw himself into the city and spared no trouble.[623] He was keenly attached to the goods of this world and might pass for a miser.[624] But there can be no doubt of his devotion to the royal cause, nor of his hatred of those who fought under the Leopard and the Red Cross.[625]

After eleven days' journey, Jeanne reached Chinon on the 6th of March.[626] It was the fourth Sunday in Lent, that very Sunday on which the lads and lasses of Domremy went forth in bands, into the country still grey and leafless, to eat their nuts and hard-boiled eggs, with the rolls their mothers had kneaded. That was what they called their well-dressing. But Jeanne was not to recollect past well-dressings nor the home she had left without a word of farewell.[627] Ignoring those rustic, well-nigh pagan festivals which poor Christians introduced into the penance of the holy forty days, the Church had named this Sunday Lætare Sunday, from the first word in the introit for the day: Lætare, Jerusalem. On that Sunday the priest, ascending the altar steps, says low mass; and at high mass the choir sings the following words from Scripture: "Lætare, Jerusalem; et conventum facite,[Pg i.157] omnes qui diligitis eam ...: Rejoice ye with Jerusalem, and be glad with her, all ye that love her: rejoice for joy with her all ye that mourn for her: That ye may suck, and be satisfied with the breasts of her consolations; ..."[628] That day priests, monks, and clerks versed in holy Scripture, as in the churches with the people assembled they sang Lætare, Jerusalem, had present before their minds the virgin announced by prophecy, raised up for the deliverance of the kingdom, marked with a sign, who was then making her humble entrance into the town. Perhaps more than one applied what that passage of Scripture says of the Holy Nation to the realm of France, and in the coincidence of that liturgical text and the happy coming of the Maid found occasion for hope. Lætare, Jerusalem! Rejoice ye, O people, in your true King and your rightful sovereign. Et conventum facite: and come together. Unite all your strength against the enemy. Gaudete cum laetitia, qui in tristitia fuistis: after your long mourning, rejoice. The Lord sends you succour and consolation.

By the intercession of Saint Julien, and probably with the aid of Collet de Vienne, the King's messenger, Jeanne found a lodging in the town, near the castle, in an inn kept by a woman of good repute.[629] The spits were idle. And the guests, deep in the chimney-corner, were watching the grilling of Saint Herring, who was suffering worse torments than Saint Lawrence.[630] In those times no one in Christendom neglected the Church's injunctions concerning the fasts and abstinences of Holy Lent. Following the exam[Pg i.158]ple of Our Lord Jesus Christ who fasted forty days in the desert, the faithful observed the fast from Quadragesima Sunday until Easter Sunday, making forty days after abstracting the Sundays when the fast was broken but not the abstinence. Thus fasting and with her soul comforted, Jeanne listened to the soft whisper of her Voices.[631] The two days she spent in the inn were passed in retirement, on her knees.[632] The banks of the Vienne and the broad meadows, still in their black wintry garb, the hill-slopes over which light mists floated, did not tempt her. But when, on her way to church, climbing up a steep street, or merely grooming her horse in the inn yard, she raised her eyes to the north, there on a mountain close at hand, just about the distance that would be traversed by one of those stone cannon-balls which had been in use for the last fifty or sixty years, she saw the towers of the finest castle of the realm. Behind its proud walls there breathed that King to whom she had journeyed, impelled by a miraculous love.

There were three castles merging before her into one long mass of embattled walls, of keeps, towers, turrets, curtains, barbicans, ramparts, and watch-towers; three castles separated one from the other by dykes, barriers, posterns, and portcullis. On her left, towards sunset, crowded, one behind the other, the eight towers of Coudray, one of which had been built for a king of England, while the newest were more than two hundred years old. On the right could be[Pg i.159] plainly seen the middle castle, with its ancient walls and its towers crowned with machicolated battlements. There was the chamber of Saint Louis, the King's chamber, the apartment of him whom Jeanne called the Gentle Dauphin. And there also, close to the rush-strewn room, was the great hall in which she was to be received. Towards the town the site of the hall was indicated by an adjoining tower, square and very old. On the right extended a vast bailey or stronghold, intended as a lodging for the garrison, and a defence of the middle part of the castle. Near by a large chapel raised its roof, in the form of an inverted keel, above the ramparts. This chapel, built by Henry II of England, was under the patronage of Saint George, and from it the bailey received its name of Fort Saint George.[633] In those days every one knew the story of Saint George the valiant knight, who with his lance transfixed a dragon and delivered a King's daughter, and then suffered martyrdom confessing his faith. Like Saint Catherine he had been bound to a wheel with sharp spikes, and the wheel had been miraculously broken like that on which the executioners had bound the Virgin of Alexandria. And like her Saint George had suffered death by means of an axe, thus proving that he was a great saint.[634] In one thing, however, he was wrong; he was of the party of the Godons, who for more than three hundred years had kept his feast as that of all the English. They held him to be their patron saint and invoked him before all other saints. Thus his name was pronounced as constantly by the vilest Welsh archer as[Pg i.160] by a knight of the Garter. In truth no one knew what he thought and whether he did not condemn all these marauders who were fighting for a bad cause; but there was reason to fear that such great honours would affect him. The saints of Paradise are generally ready to take the side of those who invoke them most devoutly. And Saint George, after all, was just as English as Saint Michael was French. That glorious archangel had appeared as the most vigilant protector of the Lilies ever since my Lord Saint Denys, the patron saint of the kingdom, had permitted his abbey to be taken. And Jeanne knew it.

Meanwhile the despatches brought from the Commander of Vaucouleurs by Colet de Vienne were presented to the King.[635] These despatches instructed him concerning the deeds and sayings of the damsel. This was one of those countless matters to be examined by the Council, one which, it appears, the King must himself investigate, as pertaining to his royal office and as interesting him especially, since it might be a question of a damsel of remarkable piety, and he was himself the highest ecclesiastical personage in France.[636] His grandfather, wise prince that he was, would have been far from scorning the counsel of devout women in whom was the voice of God. About the year 1380 he had summoned to Paris Guillemette de la Rochelle, who led a solitary and contemplative life, and acquired such great power therefrom, so it was said, that during her transports she raised herself more than two feet from the ground. In many a church King Charles V had beautiful oratories built,[Pg i.161] where she might pray for him.[637] The grandson should do no less, for his need was still greater. There were still more recent examples in his family of dealings between kings and saints. His father, the poor King Charles VI, when he was passing through Tours, had caused Louis, Duke of Orléans, to present to him Dame Marie de Maillé. She had taken a vow of virginity and had transformed the spouse, who approached her like a devouring lion, into a timorous lamb. She revealed secrets to the King, and he was pleased with her, for three years later he wanted to see her again at Paris. This time they talked long together in private, and she revealed more secrets to the King, so that he sent her away with gifts.[638] This same Prince had granted an audience to a poor knight of Caux, one Robert le Mennot, to whom, when he was in danger of shipwreck near the coast of Syria, had been vouchsafed a vision. He proclaimed that God had sent him to restore peace.[639] Still more favourably had the King received a woman, Marie Robine, who was commonly called la Gasque of Avignon.[640] In 1429, there were those at court who remembered the prophetess sent to Charles VI to confirm him in his subjection to Pope Benedict XIII. This pope was held to be an antipope; nevertheless, La Gasque was regarded as a prophetess. Like Jeanne she had had many visions concerning the desolation of the realm of France; and she had seen weapons in the[Pg i.162] sky.[641] The kings of England were no less ready than the kings of France to heed the words of those saintly men and women, multitudes of whom were at that time uttering prophecies. Henry V consulted the hermit of Sainte-Claude, Jean de Gand, who foretold the King's approaching death; and on his death-bed he again had the stern prophet summoned.[642] It was the custom of saints to speak to kings and of kings to listen to them. How could a pious prince disdain so miraculous a source of counsel? Had he done so he would have incurred the censure of the wisest.

King Charles read the Commander of Vaucouleur's letters, and had the damsel's escort examined before him. Of her mission and her miracles they could say nothing. But they spoke of the good they had seen in her during the journey, and affirmed that there was no evil in her.[643]

Of a truth, God speaketh through the mouths of virgins. But in such matters it is necessary to act with extreme caution, to distinguish carefully between the true prophetesses and the false, not to take for messengers from heaven the heralds of the devil. The latter sometimes create illusions. Following the example of Simon the Magician, who worked wonders vying with the miracles of St. Peter, these creatures have recourse to diabolical arts for the seduction of men. Twelve years before, there had prophesied a[Pg i.163] woman, likewise from the Lorraine Marches, Catherine Suave, a native of Thons near Neufchâteau, who lived as a recluse at Port de Lates, yet most certainly did the Bishop of Maguelonne know her to be a liar and a sorceress, wherefore she was burned alive at Montpellier in 1417.[644] Multitudes of women, or rather of females, mulierculæ,[645] lived like this Catherine and ended like her.

Certain ecclesiastics briefly interrogated Jeanne and asked her wherefore she had come. At first she replied that she would say nothing save to the King. But when the clerks represented to her that they were questioning her in the King's name, she told them that the King of Heaven had bidden her do two things: one was to raise the siege of Orléans, the other to lead the King to Reims for his anointing and his coronation.[646] Just as at Vaucouleurs before Sire Robert, so before these Churchmen she repeated very much what the vavasour of Champagne had said formerly, when he had been sent to Jean le Bon, as she was now sent to the Dauphin Charles.

Having journeyed as far as the Plain of Beauce, where King John, impatient for battle, was encamped with his army, the vavasour of Champagne entered the camp and asked to see the wisest and best of the King's liegemen at court. The nobles, to whom this[Pg i.164] request was carried, began to laugh. But one among them, who had with his own eyes seen the vavasour, recognised at once that he was a good, simple man and without guile. He said to him: "If thou hast any advice to give, go to the King's chaplain." The vavasour therefore went to King John's chaplain and said to him: "Obtain for me an audience of the King; I have something to tell that I will say to no one but to him." "What is it?" asked the chaplain. "Tell me what is in your heart." But the good man would not reveal his secret. The chaplain went to King John and said to him: "Sire, there is a worthy man here who seems to me wise in his way. He desires to say to you something that he will tell to you alone." King John refused to see the good man. He summoned his confessor, and, accompanied by the chaplain, sent him to learn the vavasour's secret. The two priests went to the man and told him that the King had appointed them to hear him. At this announcement, despairing of ever seeing King John, and trusting to the Confessor and the chaplain not to reveal his secret to any but the King, he uttered these words: "While I was alone in the fields, a voice spake unto me three times, saying: 'Go unto King John of France and warn him that he fight not with any of his enemies.' Obedient to that voice am I come to bring the tidings to King John." Having heard the vavasour's secret the confessor and the chaplain took him to the King, who laughed at him. With his comrades-in-arms he advanced to Poitiers, where he met the Black Prince. He lost his whole army in battle, and, twice wounded in the face, was taken prisoner by the English.[647]

[Pg i.165]

The ecclesiastics, who had examined Jeanne, held various opinions concerning her. Some declared that her mission was a hoax, and that the King ought to beware of her.[648] Others on the contrary held that, since she said she was sent of God, and that she had something to tell the King, the King should at least hear her.

Two priests who were then with the King, Jean Girard, President of the Parlement of Grenoble, and Pierre l'Hermite, later subdean of Saint-Martin-de-Tours, judged the case difficult and interesting enough to be submitted to Messire Jacques Gélu, that Armagnac prelate who had long served the house of Orléans and the Dauphin of France both in council and in diplomacy. When he was nearly sixty, Gélu had withdrawn from the Council, and exchanged the archiepiscopal see of Tours for the bishopric of Embrun, which was less exalted and more retired. He was illustrious and venerable.[649] Jean Girard and Pierre l'Hermite informed him of the coming of the damsel in a letter, wherein they told him also that, having been questioned in turn by three professors of theology, she had been found devout, sober, temperate, and in the habit of participating once a week in the sacraments of confession and communion. Jean Girard thought she might have been sent by the God who raised up Judith and Deborah, and who spoke through the mouths of the Sibyls.[650]

[Pg i.166]

Charles was pious, and on his knees devoutly heard three masses a day. Regularly at the canonical hours he repeated the customary prayers in addition to prayers for the dead and other orisons. Daily he confessed, and communicated on every feast day.[651] But he believed in foretelling events by means of the stars, in which he did not differ from other princes of his time. Each one of them had an astrologer in his service.[652]

The late Duke of Burgundy had been constantly accompanied by a Jewish soothsayer, Maître Mousque. On that day, the end of which he was never to see, as he was going to the Bridge of Montereau, Maître Mousque counselled him not to advance any further, prophesying that he would not return. The Duke continued on his way and was killed.[653] The Dauphin Charles confided in Jean des Builhons, in Germain de Thibonville and in all others of the peaked cap.[654]

He always had two or three astrologers at court. These almanac makers drew up schemes of nativity, cast horoscopes and read in the sky the approach of wars and revolutions. One of them, Maître Rolland the Scrivener, a fellow of the University of Paris, was one night, at a certain hour, observing the heavens from his roof, when he saw the apex of Virgo in the ascendant, Venus, Mercury, and the[Pg i.167] sun half way up the sky.[655] This his colleague, Guillaume Barbin of Geneva, interpreted to mean that the English would be driven from France and the King restored by the hand of a mere maid.[656] If we may believe the Inquisitor Bréhal, some time before Jeanne's coming into France, a clever astronomer of Seville, Jean de Montalcin by name, had written to the King among other things the following words: "By a virgin's counsel thou shalt be victorious. Continue in triumph to the gates of Paris."[657]

At that very time the Dauphin Charles had with him at Chinon an old Norman astrologer, one Pierre, who may have been Pierre de Saint-Valerien, canon of Paris. The latter had recently returned from Scotland, whither, accompanied by certain nobles, he had gone to fetch the Lady Margaret, betrothed to the Dauphin Louis. Not long afterwards this Maître Pierre was, rightly or wrongly, believed to have read in the sky that the shepherdess from the Meuse valley was appointed to drive out the English.[658]

Jeanne had not long to wait in her inn. Two days after her arrival, what she had so ardently desired came to pass: she was taken to the King.[659] In the last century near the Grand-Carroy, opposite a wooden-fronted house, there was shown a well on the edge of which, according to tradition, Jeanne set foot when she alighted from her horse, before climbing the steep ascent leading to the Castle. Through[Pg i.168] La Vieille Porte,[660] she was already crossing the moat when the King was still hesitating as to whether he would receive her. Many of his familiar advisers, and those not the least important, counselled him to beware of a strange woman whose designs might be evil. There were others who put it before him that this shepherdess was introduced by letters from Robert de Baudricourt carried through hostile provinces; that in journeying to the King she had forded many rivers in a manner almost miraculous. On these considerations the King consented to receive her.[661]

The great hall was crowded. As at every audience given by the King the room was close with the breath of the assembled multitude. The vast chamber presented that aspect of a market-house or of a rout which was so familiar to courtiers. It was evening; fifty torches flamed beneath the painted beams of the roof.[662] Men of middle age in robes and furs, young, smooth-faced nobles, thin and narrow shouldered, of slender build, their lean legs in tight hose, their feet in long, pointed shoes; barons fully armed to the number of three hundred, according to Aulic custom, pushed, crowded and elbowed each other while the usher was here and there striking the courtiers on the head with his rod.[663]

[Pg i.169]

Besides the two ambassadors from Orléans, Messire Jamet du Tillay and the old baron Archambaud de Villars, governor of Montargis, there were present Simon Charles, Master of Requests, as well as certain great nobles, the Count of Clermont, the Sire de Gaucourt, and probably the Sire de La Trémouille and my Lord the Archbishop of Reims, Chancellor of the kingdom.[664] On hearing of Jeanne's approach, King Charles buried himself among his retainers, either because he was still mistrustful and hesitating, or because he had other persons to speak to, or for some other reason.[665] Jeanne was presented by the Count of Vendôme.[666] Robust, with a firm, short neck, her figure appeared full, although confined by her man's jerkin. She wore breeches like a man,[667] but still more surprising than her hose was her head-gear and the cut of her hair. Beneath a woollen hood, her dark hair hung cut round in soup-plate fashion like a page's.[668] Women of all ranks and all ages were careful to hide their hair so that not one lock of it should escape from beneath the coif, the veil, or the high head-dress which was then the mode. Jeanne's flowing locks looked strange to the folk of those days.[669] She went straight[Pg i.170] to the King, took off her cap, curtsied, and said: "God send you long life, gentle Dauphin."[670]

Afterwards there were those who marvelled that she should have recognised him in the midst of nobles more magnificently dressed than he. It is possible that on that day he may have been poorly attired. We know that it was his custom to have new sleeves put to his old doublets.[671] And in any case he did not show off his clothes. Very ugly, knock-kneed, with emaciated thighs, small, odd, blinking eyes, and a large bulbous nose, on his bony, bandy legs tottered and trembled this prince of twenty-six.[672]

That Jeanne should have seen his picture already and recognised him by it is hardly likely. Portraits of princes were rare in those days. Jeanne had never handled one of those precious books in which King Charles may have been painted in miniature as one of the Magi offering gifts to the Child Jesus.[673] It was not likely that she had ever seen one of those figures painted on wood in the semblance of her King, with hands clasped, beneath the curtains of his oratory.[674][Pg i.171] And if by chance some one had shown her one of these portraits her untrained eyes could have discerned but little therein. Neither need we inquire whether the people of Chinon had described to her the costume the King usually wore and the shape of his hat: for like every one else he kept his hat on indoors even at dinner. What is most probable is that those who were kindly disposed towards her pointed out the King. At any rate he was not difficult to distinguish, since those who saw her go up to him were in no wise astonished.

When she had made her rustic curtsey, the King asked her name and what she wanted. She replied: "Fair Dauphin, my name is Jeanne the Maid; and the King of Heaven speaks unto you by me and says that you shall be anointed and crowned at Reims, and be lieutenant of the King of Heaven, who is King of France." She asked to be set about her work, promising to raise the siege of Orléans.[675]

The King took her apart and questioned her for some time. By nature he was gentle, kind to the poor and lowly, but not devoid of mistrust and suspicion.

It is said that during this private conversation, addressing him with the familiarity of an angel, she made him this strange announcement: "My Lord bids me say unto thee that thou art indeed the heir of France and the son of a King; he has sent me to thee to lead thee to Reims to be crowned there and anointed if thou wilt."[676] Afterwards the Maid's[Pg i.172] chaplain reported these words, saying he had received them from the Maid herself. All that is certain is that the Armagnacs were not slow to turn them into a miracle in favour of the Line of the Lilies. It was asserted that these words spoken by God himself, by the mouth of an innocent girl, were a reply to the carking, secret anxiety of the King. Madame Ysabeau's son, it was said, distracted and saddened by the thought that perhaps the royal blood did not flow in his veins, was ready to renounce his kingdom and declare himself a usurper, unless by some heavenly light his doubts concerning his birth should be dispelled.[677] Men told how his face shone with joy[678] when it was revealed to him that he was the true heir of France.

Doubtless the Armagnac preachers were in the habit of speaking of Queen Ysabeau as "une grande gorre" and a Herodias of licentiousness; but one would like to know whence her son derived his curious misgiving. He had not manifested it on entering into his inheritance; and, had occasion required, the jurists of his party would have proved to him by reasons derived from laws and customs that he was by birth the true heir and the lawful successor of the late King; for filiation must be proved not by what is hidden, but by what is manifest, otherwise it would be impossible to assign the legal heir to a kingdom or to an acre of land. Nevertheless it must be borne in mind that the King was very unfortunate at this time. Now misfortune agitates the conscience and raises[Pg i.173] scruples; and he might well doubt the justice of his cause since God was forsaking him. But if he were indeed assailed by painful doubts, how can he have been relieved from them by the words of a damsel who, as far as he then knew, might be mad or sent to him by his enemies? It is hard to reconcile such credulity with what we know of his suspicious nature. The first thought that occurred to him must have been that ecclesiastics had instructed the damsel.

A few moments after he had dismissed her, he assembled the Sire de Gaucourt and certain other members of his Council and repeated to them what he had just heard: "She told me that God had sent her to aid me to recover my kingdom."[679] He did not add that she had revealed to him a secret known to himself alone.[680]

The King's Counsellors, knowing little of the damsel, decided that they must have her before them to examine her concerning her life and her belief.[681]

The Sire de Gaucourt took her from the inn and lodged her in a tower of that Castle of Coudray, which for the last three days she had seen dominating the town.[682] One of the three castles, Le Coudray was only separated from the middle château in which the King dwelt by a moat and fortifications.[683] The Sire de[Pg i.174] Gaucourt confided her to the care of the lieutenant of the Town of Chinon, Guillaume Bellier, the King's Major Domo.[684] He gave her for her servant one of his own pages, a child of fifteen, Immerguet, sometimes called Minguet, and sometimes Mugot. His real name was Louis de Coutes, and he came of an old warrior family which had been in the service of the house of Orléans for a century. His father, Jean, called Minguet, Lord of Fresnay-le-Gelmert, of la Gadelière and of Mitry, Chamberlain to the Duke of Orléans, had died in great poverty the year before. He had left a widow and five children, three boys and two girls, one of whom, Jeanne by name, had since 1421 been the wife of Messire Florentin d'Illiers, Governor of Châteaudun. Thus the little page, Louis de Coutes, and his mother, Catherine le Mercier, Dame de Noviant, who came of a noble Scottish family, were both in a state of penury, albeit the Duke of Orléans in acknowledgment of his Chamberlain's faithful services had from his purse granted aid to the Lady of Noviant.[685] Jeanne kept Minguet with her all day, but at night she slept with the women.

The wife of Guillaume Bellier, who was good and pious, at least so it was said, watched over her.[686] At Coudray the page saw her many a time on her knees. She prayed and often wept many tears.[687] For several days persons of high estate came to speak with her. They found her dressed as a boy.[688]

[Pg i.175]

Since she had been with the King, divers persons asked her whether there were not in her country a wood called "Le Bois-Chenu."[689] This question was put to her because a prophecy of Merlin concerning a maid who should come from "Le Bois-Chenu" was then in circulation. And folk were impressed by it; for in those days every one gave heed to prophecies and especially to those of Merlin the Magician.[690]

Begotten of a woman by the Devil, it was from him that Merlin derived his profound wisdom. To the science of numbers, which is the key to the future, he added a knowledge of physics, by means of which he worked his enchantments. Thus it was easy for him to transform rocks into giants. And yet he was conquered by a woman; the fairy Vivien enchanted the enchanter and kept him in a hawthorn bush under a spell. This is only one of many examples of the power of women.

Famous doctors and illustrious masters held that Merlin had laid bare many future events and prophesied many things which had not yet happened. To such as were amazed that the son of the Devil should have received the gift of prophecy they replied that the Holy Ghost is able to reveal his secrets to whomsoever he pleases, for had he not caused the Sibyls to speak, and opened the mouth of Balaam's ass?

Merlin had seen in a vision Sire Bertrand du Guesclin in the guise of a warrior bearing an eagle[Pg i.176] on his shield. This was remembered after the Constable had wrought his great deeds.[691]

In the prophecies of this Wise Man the English believed no less firmly than the French. When Arthur of Brittany, Count of Richemont, was taken prisoner, held to ransom, and brought before King Henry, the latter, when he perceived a boar on the arms of the Duke, broke forth into rejoicing; for he called to mind the words of Merlin who had said, "A Prince of Armorica, called Arthur, with a boar for his crest, shall conquer England, and when he shall have made an end of the English folk he shall re-people the land with a Breton race."[692]

Now during the Lent of 1429 there was circulated among the Armagnacs this prophecy, taken from a book of the prophecies of Merlin: "From the town of the Bois-Chenu there shall come forth a maid for the healing of the nation. When she hath stormed every citadel, with her breath she shall dry up all the[Pg i.177] springs. Bitter tears shall she shed and fill the Island with a terrible noise. Then shall she be slain by the stag with ten antlers, of which six branches shall bear crowns of gold, and the other six shall be changed into the horns of oxen; and with a horrible sound they shall shake the Isles of Britain. The forest of Denmark shall rise up and with a human voice say: 'Come, Cambria, and take Cornwall unto thyself.'"[693]

In these mysterious words Merlin dimly foretells that a virgin shall perform great and wonderful deeds before perishing by the hand of the enemy. On one point only is he clear, or so it seems; that is, when he says that this virgin shall come from the town of the Bois-Chenu.

If this prophecy had been traced back to its original source and read in the fourth book of the Historia Britonum, where it is to be found under the title of Guyntonia Vaticinium, it would have been seen to refer to the English city of Winchester, and it would have appeared that in the version then in circulation in France, the original meaning had been garbled, distorted, and completely metamorphosed. But no one thought of verifying the text. Books were rare and minds uncritical. This deliberately falsified prophecy was accepted as the pure word of Merlin and numerous copies of it were spread abroad.

Whence came these copies? Their origin doubtless will remain a mystery for ever; but one point is certain: they referred to La Romée's daughter, to the damsel who, from her father's house, could see the edge of "Le Bois-Chenu." Thus they came from close at hand and were of recent circulation.[694] If this amended[Pg i.178] prophecy of Merlin be not the one that reached Jeanne in her village, forecasting that a Maid should come from the Lorraine Marches for the saving of the kingdom, then it was closely related to it. The two prognostications have a family likeness.[695] They were uttered in the same spirit and with the same intention; and they indicate that the ecclesiastics of the Meuse valley and those of the Loire had agreed to draw attention to the inspired damsel of Domremy.

As Merlin had foretold the works of Jeanne, so Bede must also have predicted them, for Bede and Merlin were always together in matters of prophecy.

The Monk of Wearmouth, the Venerable Bede, who had been dead six centuries, had been a veritable mine of knowledge in his lifetime. He had written on theology and chronology; he had discoursed of night and day, of weeks and months, of the signs of the zodiac, of epacts, of the lunar cycle, and of the movable feasts of the Church. In his book De temporum ratione he had treated of the seventh and eighth ages of the world, which were to follow the age in which he lived. He had prophesied. During the siege of Orléans, churchmen were circulating these obscure lines attributed to him, and foretelling the coming of the Maid:

Bis sex cuculli, bis septem se sociabunt,[696]
Gallorum pulli Tauro nova bella parabunt
Ecce beant bella, tunc fert vexilla Puella.

The first of these lines is a chronogram, that is, it contains a date. To decipher it you take the numeral[Pg i.179] letters of the line and add them together; the total gives the date.

bIs seX CVCVLLI, bIs septeM se soCIabVnt.

1 + 10 + 100 + 5 + 100 + 5 + 50 + 50 + 1 + 1 + 1000 + 100 + 1 + 5 = 1429.

Had any one sought these lines in the works of the Venerable Bede they would not have found them, because they are not there; but no one thought of looking for them any more than they thought of looking for the Forêt Chenue in Merlin.[697] And it was understood that both Bede and Merlin had foretold the coming of the Maid. In those days prophecies, chronograms, and charms flew like pigeons from the banks of the Loire and spread abroad throughout the realm. Not later than the May or June of this year the pseudo Bede will reach Burgundy. Earlier still he will be heard of in Paris. The aged Christine de Pisan, living in retirement in a French abbey, before the last day of July, 1429, will write that Bede and Merlin had beheld the Maid in a vision.[698]

The clerks, who were busy forging prophecies for the Maid's benefit, did not stop at a pseudo Bede and a garbled Merlin. They were truly indefatigable, and by a stroke of good luck we possess a piece of their workmanship which has escaped the ravages of time. It is a short Latin poem written in the obscure prophetic style, of which the following is a translation through the old French.[Pg i.180]

"A virgin clothed in man's attire, with the body of a maid, at God's behest goes forth to raise the downcast King, who bears the lilies, and to drive out his accursed enemies, even those who now beleaguer the city of Orléans and strike terror into the hearts of its inhabitants. And if the people will take heart and go out to battle, the treacherous English shall be struck down by death, at the hand of the God of battles who fights for the Maid, and the French shall cause them to fall, and then shall there be an end of the war; and the old covenants and the old friendship shall return. Pity and righteousness shall be restored. There shall be a treaty of peace, and all men shall of their own accord return to the King, which King shall weigh justice and administer it unto all men and preserve his subjects in beautiful peace. Henceforth no English foe with the sign of the leopard shall dare to call himself King of France [added by the translator] and adopt the arms of France, which arms are borne by the holy Maid."[699]

These false prophecies give some idea of the means employed for the setting to work of the inspired damsel. Such methods may be somewhat too crafty for our liking. These clerks had but one object,—the peace of the realm and of the church. The miraculous deliverance of the people had to be prepared. We must not be too hasty to condemn those pious frauds without which the Maid could not have worked her miracles. Much art and some guile are necessary to contrive for innocence a hearing.

Meanwhile, on a steep rock, on the bank of the Durance, in the remote see of Saint-Marcellin, Jacques Gélu remained faithful to the King he had served and[Pg i.181] careful for the interests of the house of Orléans and of France. To the two churchmen, Jean Girard and Pierre l'Hermite, he replied that, for the sake of the orphan and the oppressed, God would doubtless manifest himself, and would frustrate the evil designs of the English; yet one should not easily and lightly believe the words of a peasant girl bred in solitude, for the female sex was frail and easily deceived, and France must not be made ridiculous in the eyes of the foreigner. "The French," he added, "are already famous for the ease with which they are duped." He ended by advising Pierre l'Hermite that it would be well for the King to fast and do penance so that Heaven might enlighten him and preserve him from error.[700]

But the mind of the oracle and ex-councillor could not rest. He wrote direct to King Charles and Queen Marie to warn them of the danger. To him it seemed that there could be no good in the damsel. He mistrusted her for three reasons: first, because she came from a country in the possession of the King's enemies, Burgundians and Lorrainers; secondly, she was a shepherdess and easily deceived; thirdly, she was a maid. He cited as an example Alexander of Macedon, whom a Queen endeavoured to poison. She had been fed on venom by the King's enemies and then sent to him in the hope that he would fall a victim to the wench's[701] wiles. But Aristotle dismissed the seductress and thus delivered his prince from death. The Archbishop of Embrun, as wise as Aristotle, warned the King against conversing with the damsel[Pg i.182] in private. He advised that she should be kept at a distance and examined, but not repulsed.

A prudent answer to those letters reassured Gélu. In a new epistle he testified to the King his satisfaction at hearing that the damsel was regarded with suspicion and left in uncertainty as to whether she would or would not be believed. Then, with a return to his former misgivings, he added: "It behoves not that she should have frequent access to the King until such time as certainty be established concerning her manner of life and her morals."[702]

King Charles did indeed keep Jeanne in uncertainty as to what was believed of her. But he did not suspect her of craftiness and he received her willingly. She talked to him with the simplest familiarity. She called him gentle Dauphin, and by that term she implied nobility and royal magnificence.[703] She also called him her oriflamme, because he was her oriflamme, or, as in modern language she would have expressed it, her standard.[704] The oriflamme was the royal banner. No one at Chinon had seen it, but marvellous things were told of it. The oriflamme was in the form of a gonfanon with two wings, made of a costly silk, fine and light, called sandal,[705] and it was edged with tassels of green silk. It had come down from heaven; it was the banner of Clovis and of Saint Charlemagne. When the King went to war it was carried before him. So great was its virtue that the enemy at its approach became pow[Pg i.183]erless and fled in terror. It was remembered how, when in 1304 Philippe le Bel defeated the Flemings, the knight who bore it was slain. The next day he was found dead, but still clasping the standard in his arms.[706] It had floated in front of King Charles VI before his misfortunes, and since then it had never been unfurled.

One day when the Maid and the King were talking together, the Duke of Alençon entered the hall. When he was a child, the English had taken him prisoner at Verneuil and kept him five years in the Crotoy Tower.[707] Only recently set at liberty, he had been shooting quails near Saint-Florent-lès-Saumur, when a messenger had brought the tidings that God had sent a damsel to the King to turn the English out of France.[708] This news interested him as much as any one because he had married the Duke of Orléans' daughter; and straightway he had come to Chinon to see for himself. In the days of his graceful youth the Duke of Alençon appeared to advantage, but he was never renowned for his wisdom. He was weak-minded, violent, vain, jealous, and extremely credulous. He believed that ladies find favour by means of a certain herb, the mountain-heath; and later he thought himself bewitched. He had a disagreeable, harsh voice; he knew it, and the knowledge annoyed him.[709] As soon as she saw him approaching, Jeanne asked who this noble was. When the King[Pg i.184] replied that it was his cousin Alençon, she curtsied to the Duke and said: "Be welcome. The more representatives of the blood royal are here the better."[710] In this she was completely mistaken. The Dauphin smiled bitterly at her words. Not much of the royal blood of France ran in the Duke's veins.

On the next day Jeanne went to the King's mass. When she approached her Dauphin she bowed before him. The King took her into a room and sent every one away except the Sire de la Trémouille and the Duke of Alençon.

Then Jeanne addressed to him several requests. More especially did she ask him to give his kingdom to the King of Heaven. "And afterwards," she added, "the King of Heaven will do for you what he has done for your predecessors and will restore you to the condition of your fathers."[711]

In discoursing thus of things spiritual, in giving utterance to those precepts of reformation and of a new life, she was repeating what the clerks had taught her. Nevertheless she was by no means imbued with this doctrine. It was too subtle for her, and it was shortly to fade from her mind and give place to an ardour less monastic but more chivalrous.

That same day she rode out with the King and threw a lance in the meadow with so fine a grace that the Duke of Alençon, marvelling, made her a present of a horse.[712]

A few days later this young noble took her to the Abbey of Saint-Florent-lès-Saumur,[713] the church of which was so greatly admired that it was called La Belle d'Anjou. Here in this abbey there dwelt at that[Pg i.185] time his mother and his wife. It is said that they were glad to see Jeanne. But they had no great faith in the issue of the war. The young Dame of Alençon said to her: "Jeannette, I am full of fear for my husband. He has just come out of prison, and we have had to give so much money for his ransom that gladly would I entreat him to stay at home." To which Jeanne replied: "Madame, have no fear. I will bring him back to you in safety, and either such as he is now or better."[714]

She called the Duke of Alençon her fair Duke,[715] and loved him for the sake of the Duke of Orléans, whose daughter he had married. She loved him also because he believed in her when all others doubted or denied, and because the English had done him wrong. She loved him too because she saw he had a good will to fight. It was told how when he was a captive in the hands of the English at Verneuil, and they proposed to give him back his liberty and his goods if he would join their party, he had rejected their offer.[716] He was young like her; she thought that he like her must be sincere and noble. And perhaps in those days he was, for doubtless he was not then seeking to discover powders with which to dry up the King.[717]

It was decided that Jeanne should be taken to Poitiers to be examined by the doctors there.[718] In this[Pg i.186] town the Parlement met. Here also were gathered together many famous clerks learned in theology, secular as well as regular,[719] and grave doctors and masters were summoned to join them. Jeanne set out under escort. At first she thought she was being taken to Orléans. Her faith was like that of the ignorant but believing folk, who, having taken the cross, went forth and thought every town they approached was Jerusalem. Half way she inquired of her guides where they were taking her. When she heard that it was to Poitiers: "In God's name!" she said, "much ado will be there, I know. But my Lord will help me. Now let us go on in God's strength!"[720]

[Pg i.187]



FOR fourteen years the town of Poitiers had been the capital of that part of France which belonged to the French. The Dauphin Charles had transferred his Parlement there, or rather had assembled there those few members who had escaped from the Parlement of Paris. The Parlement of Poitiers consisted of two chambers only. It would have judged as wisely as King Solomon had there been any questions on which to pronounce judgment, but no litigants presented themselves—they were afraid of being captured on the way by freebooters and captains in the King's pay; besides, in the disturbed state of the kingdom justice had little to do with the settlement of disputes. The councillors, who for the most part had lands near Paris, were hard put to it for food and clothing. They were rarely paid and there were no perquisites. In vain they had inscribed their registers with the formula: Non deliberetur donec solvantur species; no payments were forthcoming from the suitors.[721] The Attorney General, Messire Jean Jouvenel des Ursins, who owned rich lands and houses in Île-de-France, Brie, and Champagne, was filled with pity at the[Pg i.188] sight of that good and honourable lady his wife, his eleven children, and his three sons-in-law going barefoot and poorly clad through the streets of the town.[722] As for the doctors and professors who had followed the King's fortunes, in vain were they wells of knowledge and springs of clerkly learning, since, for lack of a University to teach in, they reaped no advantage from their eloquence and their erudition. The town of Poitiers, having become the first city in the realm, had a Parlement but no University, like a lady highly born but one-eyed withal, for the Parlement and the University are the two eyes of a great city. Thus in their doleful leisure they were consumed with a desire, if it were God's will, to restore the King's fortunes as well as their own. Meanwhile, shivering with cold and emaciated with hunger, they groaned and lamented. Like Israel in the desert they sighed for the day when the Lord, inclining his ear to their supplications, should say: "At even ye shall eat flesh, and in the morning ye shall be filled with bread: and ye shall know that I am the Lord your God." Vespere comedetis carnes et mane saturabimini panibus: scietisque quod ego sum Dominus deus vester. (Exodus xvi, 12.) It was from among these poor and faithful servants of a poverty-stricken King that were chosen for the most part the doctors and clerks charged with the examination of the Maid. They were: the Lord Bishop of Poitiers;[723] the Lord Bishop of Maguelonne;[724] Maître[Pg i.189] Jean Lombard, doctor in theology, sometime professor of theology at the University of Paris;[725] Maître Guillaume le Maire, bachelor of theology, canon of Poitiers;[726] Maître Gérard Machet, the King's Confessor;[727] Maître Jourdain Morin;[728] Maître Jean Érault, professor of theology;[729] Maître Mathieu Mesnage, bachelor of theology;[730] Maître Jacques Meledon;[731] Maître Jean Maçon, a very famous doctor of civil law and of canon law;[732] Brother Pierre de Versailles, a monk of Saint-Denys in France, of the order of Saint Benedict, professor of theology, Prior of the Priory of Saint-Pierre de Chaumont, Abbot of Talmont in the diocese of Laon, Ambassador of his most Christian Majesty the King of France;[733] Brother Pierre Turelure, of the Order of Saint Dominic, Inquisitor at Toulouse;[734] Maître Simon Bonnet;[735] Brother Guillaume Aimery, of the Order of Saint-Dominic, doctor and professor of theology;[736] Brother Seguin of Seguin of the Order of Saint Dominic, doctor and professor of theology;[737] Brother Pierre Seguin, Carmelite;[738] several of the King's[Pg i.190] Councillors, licentiates of civil as well as of canon law.

Here was a large assembly of doctors for the cross-examination of one shepherdess. But we must remember that in those days theology subtle and inflexible dominated all human knowledge and forced the secular arm to give effect to its judgment. Therefore, as soon as an ignorant girl caused it to be believed that she had seen God, the Virgin, the saints, and the angels, she must either pass from miracle to miracle, through an edifying death to beatification, or from heresy to heresy through an ecclesiastical prison, to be burnt as a witch. And, as the holy inquisitors were fully persuaded that the Devil easily entered into a woman, the unhappy creature was more likely to be burnt alive than to die in an odour of sanctity. But Jeanne before the doctors at Poitiers was an exception; she ran no risk of being suspected in matters of faith. Even Brother Pierre Turelure himself had no desire to find in her one of those heretics he zealously sought to discover at Toulouse. In her presence the illustrious masters drew in their theological claws. They were churchmen, but they were Armagnacs, for the most part business men, diplomatists, old councillors of the Dauphin.[739] As priests, doubtless they were possessed of a certain body of dogma and morality, and of a code of rules for judging matters of faith. But now it was a question not of curing the disease of heresy, but of driving out the English. Jeanne was in favour with my Lord the Duke of Alençon and with my Lord the Bastard; the inhabitants of Orléans were looking to her for their deliv[Pg i.191]erance. She promised to take the King to Reims; and it happened that the cleverest and the most powerful man in France, the Chancellor of the kingdom, my Lord Regnault de Chartres, was Archbishop and Count of Reims; and that had great weight.[740]

If it should be as she said, if God had verily sent her to the aid of the Lilies, to the mind of whomsoever possessed sense and learning it appeared marvellous but not incredible. No one denied that God could directly intervene in the affairs of kingdoms, for he himself had said: Per me reges regnant.

In this Church holy and indivisible, there were the doctors of Poitiers who deliberately pronounced God to be on the side of the Dauphin, while the University of Paris as deliberately pronounced God to be on the side of the Burgundians and the English. His messenger need not necessarily be an angel. He might employ a creature human or not human, like the raven that fed Elijah. And that a woman should engage in war accorded with what was written in books concerning Camilla, the Amazons, and Queen Penthesilea, and with what the Bible says of the strong women, Deborah, Jahel, Judith of Bethulia, raised up by God for the salvation of Israel. For it is written: "The mighty one did not fall by the young men, neither did the sons of Titans smite him, nor high giants set upon him; but Judith the daughter of Merari weakened him with the beauty of her countenance."[741]

Jeanne was taken to the mansion where dwelt Maître Jean Rabateau, not far from the law-courts, in the heart of the town.[742] Maître Jean Rabateau was[Pg i.192] Lay Attorney General; all criminal cases went to him, while civil cases went to the ecclesiastical Attorney General, Jean Jouvenel. Alike King's advocates, in the King's service, they both represented him in cases wherein he was concerned. The King was an unprofitable client. For representing him in criminal trials Maître Jean Rabateau received four hundred livres a year. He was forbidden to appear in any but crown cases; and no one suspected him of receiving many bribes. If in addition he held the office of Councillor to the Duke of Orléans he gained little by it. Like most Parlement officials he was for the moment very poor. A stranger in Poitiers, he had no house there, but lodged in a mansion, which, because it belonged to a family named Rosier, was called the Hôtel de la Rose. It was a large dwelling. Witnesses whom it was necessary to keep securely and deal with honourably were entertained there. Jeanne was taken there although the Parlement had nothing to do with her cross-examination.[743] Once again she was placed in charge of a man who served both the Duke of Orléans and the King of France.

Jean Rabateau's wife, in common with the wives of all lawyers, was a woman of good reputation.[744] While she was at La Rose, Jeanne would stay long on her knees every day after dinner. At night she[Pg i.193] would rise from her bed to pray, and pass long hours in the little oratory of the mansion. It was in this house that the doctors conducted her examination. When their coming was announced she was seized with cruel anxiety. The Blessed Saint Catherine was careful to reassure her.[745] She likewise had disputed with doctors and confounded them. True, those doctors were heathen, but they were learned and their minds were subtle; for in the life of the Saint it is written: "The Emperor summoned fifty doctors versed in the lore of the Egyptians and the liberal arts. And when she heard that she was to dispute with the wise men, Catherine feared lest she should not worthily defend the Gospel of Jesus Christ. But an angel appeared unto her and said: 'I am the Archangel Saint Michael, and I am come to tell thee that thou shalt come forth from the strife victorious and worthy of Our Lord Jesus Christ, the hope and crown of those who strive for him.' And the Virgin disputed with the doctors."[746]

The grave doctors and masters and the principal clerks of the Parlement of Poitiers, in companies of two and three, repaired to the house of Jean Rabateau, and each one of them in turn questioned Jeanne. The first to come were Jean Lombard, Guillaume le Maire, Guillaume Aimery, Pierre Turelure, and Jacques Meledon. Brother Jean Lombard asked: "Wherefore have you come? The King desires to know what led you to come to him."

Jeanne's reply greatly impressed these clerks: "As I kept my flocks a Voice appeared to me. The Voice said: 'God has great pity on the people of France. Jeanne, thou must go into France.' On[Pg i.194] hearing these words I began to weep. Then the Voice said unto me: 'Go to Vaucouleurs. There shalt thou find a captain, who will take thee safely into France, to the King. Fear not.' I did as I was bidden, and I came to the King without hindrance."[747]

Then the word fell to Brother Guillaume Aimery: "According to what you have said, the Voice told you that God will deliver the people of France from their distress; but if God will deliver them he has no need of men-at-arms."

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

Maître Guillaume declared himself satisfied.[748]

On the 22nd of March, Maître Pierre de Versailles and Maître Jean Érault went together to Jean Rabateau's lodging. The squire, Gobert Thibault, whom Jeanne had already seen at Chinon, came with them. He was a young man and very simple, one who believed without asking for a sign. As they came in Jeanne went to meet them, and, striking the squire on the shoulder, in a friendly manner, she said: "I wish I had many men as willing as you."[749]

With men-at-arms she felt at her ease. But the doctors she could not tolerate, and she suffered torture when they came to argue with her. Although these theologians showed her great consideration, their eternal questions wearied her; their slowness and heaviness exasperated her. She bore them a grudge for not believing in her straightway, without proof, and for asking her for a sign, which she could not give them, since neither Saint Michael nor Saint Catherine nor Saint Margaret appeared during the exam[Pg i.195]ination. In retirement, in the oratory, and in the lonely fields the heavenly visitants came to her in crowds; angels and saints, descending from heaven, flocked around her. But when the doctors came, immediately the Jacob's ladder was drawn up. Besides, the clerks were theologians, and she was a saint. Relations are always strained between the heads of the Church Militant and those devout women who communicate directly with the Church Triumphant. She realised that the revelations granted to her so abundantly inspired her most favourable judges with doubts, suspicion, and even mistrust. She dared not confide to them much of the mystery of her Voices, and when the Churchmen were not present she told Alençon, her fair Duke, that she knew more and could do more than she had ever told all those clerks.[750] It was not to them she had been sent; it was not for them that she had come. She felt awkward in their presence, and their manners were the occasion of that irritation which is discernible in more than one of her replies.[751] Sometimes when they questioned her she retreated to the end of her bench and sulked.

"We come to you from the King," said Maître Pierre de Versailles.

She replied with a bad grace: "I am quite aware that you are come to question me again. I don't know A from B."[752] But to the question: "Wherefore do you come?" she made answer eagerly: "I come from the King of Heaven to raise the siege of Orléans, and take the King to be crowned and anointed at Reims. Maître Jean Érault, have you ink and[Pg i.196] paper? Write what I shall tell you." And she dictated a brief manifesto to the English captains: "You, Suffort, Clasdas, and La Poule, in the name of the King of Heaven I call upon you to return to England."[753]

Maître Jean Érault, who wrote at her dictation, was, like most of the clerks, favourably disposed towards her. Further, he had his own ideas. He recollected that Marie of Avignon, surnamed La Gasque, had uttered true and memorable prophecies to King Charles VI. Now La Gasque had told the King that the realm was to suffer many sorrows; and she had seen weapons in the sky. Her story of her vision had concluded with these words: "While I was afeard, believing myself called upon to take these weapons, a voice comforted me, saying: 'They are not for thee, but for a Virgin, who shall come and with these weapons deliver the realm of France.'" Maître Jean Érault meditated on these marvellous revelations and came to believe that Jeanne was the Virgin announced by Marie of Avignon.[754]

Maître Gérard Machet, the King's Confessor, had found it written that a Maid should come to the help of the King of France. He remarked on it to Gobert Thibault, the Squire, who was no very great personage;[755] and he certainly spoke of it to several others.[Pg i.197] Gérard Machet, Doctor of Theology, sometime Vice Chancellor of the University, from which he was now excluded, was regarded as one of the lights of the Church. He loved the court,[756] although he would not admit it, and enjoyed the favour of the King, who had just rewarded his services by giving him money with which to purchase a mule.[757] All doubts concerning the disposition of these doctors are removed by the discovery that the King's Confessor himself put into circulation those prophecies which had been distorted in favour of the Maid from the Bois-Chenu.

The damsel was interrogated concerning her Voices, which she called her Council, and her saints, whom she imagined in the semblance of those sculptured or painted figures peopling the churches.[758] The doctors objected to her having cast off woman's clothing and had her hair cut round in the manner of a page. Now it is written: "The woman shall not wear that which pertaineth unto a man, neither shall a man put on a woman's garment: for all that do so are abomination unto the Lord thy God" (Deuteronomy xxii, 5). The Council of Gangres, held in the reign of the Emperor Valens, had anathematised women who dressed as men and cut short their hair.[759] Many saintly women, impelled by a strange inspiration of the Holy Ghost, had concealed their sex by[Pg i.198] masculine garb. At Saint-Jean-des-Bois, near Compiègne, was preserved the reliquary of Saint Euphrosyne of Alexandria, who lived for thirty-eight years in man's attire in the monastery of the Abbot Theodosius.[760] For these reasons, and because of these precedents, the doctors argued: since Jeanne had put on this clothing not to offend another's modesty but to preserve her own, we will put no evil interpretation on an act performed with good intent, and we will forbear to condemn a deed justified by purity of motive.

Certain of her questioners inquired why she called Charles Dauphin instead of giving him his title of King. This title had been his by right since the 30th of October, 1422; for on that day, the ninth since the death of the King his father, at Mehun-sur-Yèvre, in the chapel royal, he had put off his black gown and assumed the purple robe, while the heralds, raising aloft the banner of France, cried: "Long live the King!"

She answered: "I will not call him King until he shall have been anointed and crowned at Reims. To that city I intend to take him."[761]

Without this anointing there was no king of France for her. Of the miracles which had followed that anointing she had heard every year from the mouth of her priest as he recited the glorious deeds of the Blessed Saint Remi, the patron saint of her parish. This reply was such as to satisfy the interrogators because, both for things spiritual and temporal, it was important that the King should be anointed at[Pg i.199] Reims.[762] And Messire Regnault de Chartres must have ardently desired it.

Contradicted by the clerks, she opposed the Church's doctrine by the inspiration of her own heart, and said to them: "There is more in the Book of Our Lord than in all yours."[763]

This was a bold and biting reply, which would have been dangerous had the theologians been less favourably inclined to her. Otherwise they might have held it to be trespassing on the rights of the Church, who, as the guardian of the Holy Books, is their jealous interpreter, and does not suffer the authority of Scripture to be set up against the decisions of Councils.[764] What were those books, which without having read she judged to be contrary to those of Our Lord, wherein with mind and spirit she seemed to read plainly? They would seem to be the Sacred Canons and the Sacred Decretals. This child's utterance sapped the very foundations of the Church. Had the doctors of Poitiers been less zealously Armagnac they would henceforth have mistrusted Jeanne and suspected her of heresy. But they were loyal servants of the houses of Orléans and of France. Their cassocks were ragged and their larders empty;[765] their only hope was in God, and they feared lest in rejecting this damsel they might be denying the Holy Ghost. Besides, everything went to prove that these words of Jeanne were uttered without guile and in all ignorance and[Pg i.200] simplicity. No doubt that is why the doctors were not shocked by them.

Brother Seguin of Seguin in his turn questioned the damsel. He was from Limousin, and his speech betrayed his origin. He spoke with a drawl and used expressions unknown in Lorraine and Champagne. Perhaps he had that dull, heavy air, which rendered the folk of his province somewhat ridiculous in the eyes of dwellers on the Loire, the Seine, and the Meuse. To the question: "What language do your Voices speak?" Jeanne replied: "A better one than yours."[766]

Even saints may lose patience. If Brother Seguin did not know it before, he learnt it that day. And what business had he to doubt that Saint Catherine and Saint Margaret, who were on the side of the French, spoke French? Such a doubt Jeanne could not bear, and she gave her questioner to understand that when one comes from Limousin one does not inquire concerning the speech of heavenly ladies. Notwithstanding he pursued his interrogation: "Do you believe in God?" "Yes, more than you do," said the Maid, who, knowing nothing of the good Brother, was somewhat hasty in esteeming herself better grounded in the faith than he.

But she was vexed that there should be any question of her belief in God, who had sent her. Her reply, if favourably interpreted, would testify to the ardour of her faith. Did Brother Seguin so understand it? His contemporaries represented him as being of a somewhat bitter disposition. On the contrary, there is reason to believe that he was good-natured.[767]

[Pg i.201]

"But after all," he said, "it cannot be God's will that you should be believed unless some sign appear to make us believe in you. On your word alone we cannot counsel the King to run the risk of granting you men-at-arms."

"In God's name," she answered, "it was not to give a sign that I came to Poitiers. But take me to Orléans and I will show you the signs wherefore I am sent. Let me be given men, it matters not how many, and I will go to Orléans."

And she repeated what she was continually saying: "The English shall all be driven out and destroyed. The siege of Orléans shall be raised and the city delivered from its enemies, after I shall have summoned it to surrender in the name of the King of Heaven. The Dauphin shall be anointed at Reims, the town of Paris shall return to its allegiance to the King, and the Duke of Orléans shall come back from England."[768]

Long did the doctors and masters, following the example of Brother Seguin of Seguin, urge her to show a sign of her mission. They thought that if God had chosen her to deliver the French nation he[Pg i.202] would not fail to make his choice manifest by a sign, as he had done for Gideon, the son of Joash. When Israel was sore pressed by the Midianites, and when God's chosen people hid from their enemies in the caves of the mountains, the Angel of the Lord appeared to Gideon under an oak, and said unto him: "Surely I will be with thee and thou shalt smite the Midianites as one man." To which Gideon made answer: "If now I have found grace in thy sight, then shew me a sign that thou talkest with me." And Gideon made ready a kid and kneaded unleavened cakes; the flesh he put in a basket, and he put the broth in a pot and brought the pot and the basket beneath the oak. Then the Angel of God said unto him: "Take the flesh and the unleavened cakes, and lay them upon this rock, and pour out the broth." And he did so. Then the angel of the Lord put forth the end of the staff that was in his hand, and touched the flesh and the unleavened cakes; and there rose up fire out of the rock, and consumed the flesh and the unleavened cakes. When Gideon perceived that he had seen an angel of the Lord, he cried out: "Alas, O Lord God! for because I have seen an angel of the Lord face to face."[769] With three hundred men Gideon subdued the Midianites. This example the doctors had before their minds.[770]

But for the Maid the sign of victory was victory itself. She said without ceasing: "The sign that I will show you shall be Orléans relieved and the siege raised."[771]

Such persistency made an impression on most of her interrogators. They determined to make of it,[Pg i.203] not a stone of stumbling, but rather an example of zeal and a subject of edification. Since she promised them a sign it behoved them in all humility to ask God to send it, and, filled with a like hope, joining with the King and all the people, to pray to the God, who delivered Israel, to grant them the banner of victory. Thus were overcome the arguments of Brother Seguin and of those who, led away by the precepts of human wisdom, desired a sign before they believed.

After an examination which had lasted six weeks, the doctors declared themselves satisfied.[772]

There was one point it was necessary to ascertain; they must know whether Jeanne was, as she said, a virgin. Matrons had indeed already examined her on her arrival at Chinon. Then there was a doubt as to whether she were man or maid; and it was even feared that she might be an illusion in woman's semblance, produced by the art of demons, which scholars considered by no means impossible.[773] It was not long since the death of that canon who held that now and again knights are changed into bears and spirits travel a hundred leagues in one night, then suddenly become sows or wisps of straw.[774] Suitable measures had therefore been taken. But they must be carried out exactly, wisely, and cautiously, for the matter was of great importance.

[Pg i.204]



A BELIEF, common to learned and ignorant alike, ascribed special virtues to the state of virginity. Such ideas had been handed down from a remote antiquity; their origin was pre-Christian; they were an immemorial inheritance, one part of which came from the Gauls and Germans, the other from the Romans and Greeks. In the land of Gaul there still lingered a memory of the sacred beauty of the white priestesses of the forest; and sometimes in the Island of Sein, along the misty shores of the Ocean, there wandered the shades of those nine sisters at whose bidding, in days of yore, the tempest raged and was stilled.

According to these beliefs, which had dawned in the childhood of races, the gift of prophecy is bestowed on virgins alone. It is the heritage of a Cassandra or a Velleda. It was said that Sibyls had prophesied the coming of Jesus Christ. In the Church they were considered the first witnesses of Christ among the Gentiles, and they were venerated as the august sisters of the prophets of Israel. The Dies Iræ mentions one of them in the same breath with King David himself. By what pious frauds their fame for prophecy was established, we cannot tell any more than Jean Gerson or Gérard Machet. With the doctors of the fifteenth century we must[Pg i.205] look upon these virgins as speaking the word of truth to the nations, who venerated but did not understand them. Such was the ancient tradition of the Christian Church. The most ancient fathers of the Church, Justin, Origen, Clement of Alexandria, frequently made use of the Sibylline oracles; and the heathen were at a loss for a reply when Lactantius confronted them with these prophetesses of the nations. Trusting in the word of Varro, Saint Jerome firmly believed in their existence. Into The City of God Saint Augustine introduces the Erythrean Sibyl, who, he says, faithfully foretold the Life of the Saviour. As early as the thirteenth century, these virgins of old had their places in cathedrals by the side of patriarchs and prophets. But it was not until the fifteenth century that multitudes of them were represented; sculptured on church porches, carved on choir stalls, painted on chapel walls or glass windows. Each one has her distinctive attribute. The Persian holds the lantern and the Libyan the torch, which illuminated the darkness of the Gentiles. The Agrippine, the European, and Erythrean are armed with the sword; the Phrygian bears the Paschal cross; the Hellespontine presents a rose tree in flower; the others display the visible signs of the mystery they foretell: the Cumæan a manger; the Delphian, the Samian, the Tiburtine, the Cimmerian a crown of thorns, a sceptre of reeds, scourges, a cross.[775]

[Pg i.206]

The very economy of the Christian religion—the ordering of its mysteries, wherein humanity is represented as ruined by a woman and saved by a virgin, and all flesh is involved in Eve's curse—led to the triumph of virginity and the exaltation of a condition which, in the words of a Father of the Church, is in the flesh, yet not of the flesh.

"It is because of virginity," says Saint Gregory of Nyssa, "that God vouchsafes to dwell with men. It is virginity which gives men wings to soar towards heaven." Celibacy raises the Apostle John above the Prince of the Apostles himself. At the funeral of the Virgin Mary, Peter gave John a palm branch, saying: "It becometh one who is celibate to bear the Virgin's palm."[776]

Throughout western Christendom the Virgin Mary—the Virgin par excellence—had been the object of zealous devout worship[777] ever since the twelfth century. The great cathedrals of northern France, dedicated to Our Lady, celebrated the feast of their patron saint on the day of the Assumption. On the sculptured pillar of the central porch was the Virgin, with her divine Child and the Virgin's lily. Sometimes Eve figured beneath, in order to represent at once sin and its redemption: the second Eve redeeming the first, the Virgin exalted the woman humbled. Marvellous scenes are portrayed on the tympanums of porches. The Virgin is kneeling; at her side is a[Pg i.207] flowering lily in a vase. The Angel, book in hand, greets her with an AVE, thus transposing the name EVA, mutans Evæ nomen. Or again, with her feet resting on the crescent moon, she rises to the highest heaven: Exaltata est super choros angelorum. Further, from Jesus Christ she receives the precious crown: Posuit in capite ejus coronam de lapide pretioso. In gems of painted glass, church windows portrayed the figures of Mary's virginity; the stone which Daniel saw dug from the mountain by no human hand, Gideon's fleece, Moses' burning bush, and Aaron's budding rod.

In an inexhaustible flow of images, expressed in hymns, sequences, and litanies, she was the Mystic Rose, the Ivory Tower, the Ark of the Covenant, the Gate of Heaven, the Morning Star. She was the Well of Living Water, the Fountain of the Garden, the Walled Orchard, the Bright and Shining Stone, the Flower of Virtue, the Palm of Sweetness, the Myrtle of Temperance, the Sweet Ointment.

In the Golden Legend, images rich and charming clothed the idea that grace and power resided in virginity. The hagiographers burst forth in loving praise of the brides of Jesus Christ; of those especially who put on the white robe of virginity and the red roses of martyrdom. It was during the passion of virgins that miracles of the most abounding grace were worked. Angels bring down to Dorothea celestial roses, which she scatters over her executioners. Virgin martyrs exercise their power over beasts. The lions of the amphitheatre lick the feet of Saint Thecla. The wild beasts of the circus gather together, and with tails interlaced, prepare a throne for Saint Euphemia; in the pit, aspics form a pleasing necklace for Saint Christina. It is not the will of the divine Spouse for[Pg i.208] whom they endure anguish that they should suffer in their modesty. When the executioner tears off Saint Agnes's garments, her hair grows thicker and clothes her in a miraculous garment. When Saint Barbara is to be taken naked through the streets, an angel brings her a white tunic. These Agneses and these Dorotheas, these Catherines and these Margarets, this legion of innocent conquerors prepared men's minds to believe in the miracle of a virgin stronger than armed men. Had not Saint Geneviève turned away Attila and his barbarian warriors from Paris?

The fable of the Maid and the Unicorn, so widely known in those days, is a lively expression of this belief in a special virtue residing in the state of virginity.

The unicorn was half goat and half horse, of immaculate whiteness; it bore a marvellous sword upon its forehead. Hunters, when they saw it pass in the thicket, had never been able to reach it, so rapid was its course. But if a virgin in the forest called the unicorn, the creature obeyed, came and laid its head on her lap, and allowed such feeble hands to take and bind it. If however a damsel corrupt and no longer a maid approached it, the unicorn slew her immediately.[778]

It was even said that a virgin had the power to cure king's evil, by reciting, fasting and naked, certain magic words; but they were not words from the Gospel.[779]

[Pg i.209]

While mystics and visionaries were glorifying virginity, the Church, bent on governing the body as well as the soul, condemned opinions denying the lawfulness of marriage, which she had constituted a sacrament. Those who would anathematise all works of the flesh she held to be abominable and impious. A maid deserved praise for preserving her virginity, provided always that her motives were praiseworthy. Two hundred years before the reign of Charles VII, a young girl of Reims realised that a grave sin may be committed against the Church of God by refusing the solicitations of a clerk in a vineyard. Here is the damsel's story as related by the canon Gervais.

"On a day, Guillaume with the White Hands, Uncle of King Philippe of France, for his pleasure rode forth from his town. A clerk of his following, Gervais by name, who was in the heat of youth, saw a maiden walking alone in a vineyard. He went to her, greeted her and asked: 'What are you doing in such great haste?' And with fitting words he courteously solicited her.

"Without even looking at him, calmly and gravely she replied: 'God forbid, youth, that I should ever be yours or any man's, for if I were to lose my virginity and my body its purity, I should inevitably fall into eternal damnation.'

"Such words caused the clerk to suspect that the maiden belonged to the impious sect of the Cathari, whom the Church was in those days pursuing relentlessly and punishing severely. One of the errors of these heretics was indeed to condemn all carnal intercourse. Impatient to resolve his doubts, Gervais straightway provoked the damsel to a discussion on the Church's teaching in this matter. Mean[Pg i.210]while, the Archbishop, Guillaume with the White Hands, turned his steed, and, followed by his monks, came to the vineyard where the clerk and the maiden were disputing together. When he learnt the cause of their disagreement he ordered the maiden to be seized and brought into the town. There he exhorted her, and, in charity, endeavoured to convert her to the Catholic Faith.

"She would not submit, however. 'I am not well enough grounded in doctrine to defend myself,' she said to him. 'But in the town I have a mistress, who, with good reasons, will easily refute all your arguments. She it is who lodges in that house.'

"The Archbishop Guillaume straightway sent to inquire after this woman; and, having questioned her, perceived that what the maiden had said concerning her was true. The very next day he convoked an assembly of clerks and nobles to judge the two women. Both of them were condemned to be burnt. The mistress contrived to escape, but promises and persuasions having failed to turn the maiden from the pernicious error of her ways, she was delivered up to the executioner. She died without shedding a tear, without uttering a complaint."[780]

In the year 1416 there was a certain woman, a native of the Duchy of Bar, Catherine Sauve by name. She was then a solitary, living at Montpellier, on the road to Lattes. Having been publicly accused, she was examined by the Inquisitor's Vicar, Maître Raymond Cabasse, and found to be infected with the heresy of the Cathari. Among other errors she maintained that all carnal intercourse is sinful, even in wedlock. Wherefore she was delivered to the secular arm and[Pg i.211] burned at the stake on the 2nd of November in that year.[781]

It was then commonly believed that such maidens as gave themselves to the devil were straightway stripped of their virginity; and that thus he obtained power over these unhappy creatures.[782] Such ways accorded with what was known of his libidinous disposition. These pleasures were tempered to his woeful state. And thereby he gained a further advantage,—that of unarming his victim,—for virginity is as a coat of mail against which the darts of hell are but blades of straw. Hence it was all but certain that a soul vowed to the devil could not reside within a maid.[783] Wherefore, there was one infallible way of proving that the peasant girl from Vaucouleurs was not given up to magic or to sorcery, and had made no pact with the Evil One. Recourse was had to it.

Jeanne was seen, visited, privately inspected, and thoroughly examined by wise women, mulieres doctas; by knowing virgins, peritas virgines; by widows and wives, viduas et conjugates. First among these matrons were: the Queen of Sicily and of Jerusalem, Duchess of Anjou; Dame Jeanne de Preuilly, wife of the Sire de Gaucourt, Governor of Orléans, who was about fifty-seven years of age; and Dame Jeanne de Mortemer, wife of Messire Robert le Maçon, Lord of Trèves, a man full of years.[784] The last was only eighteen, and one would have expected her to be better acquainted with the Calendrier des Vieillards[Pg i.212] than with the formulary of matrons. It is strange with what assurance the good wives of those days undertook the solution of a problem which had appeared difficult to King Solomon in all his wisdom.

Jeanne of Domremy was found to be a maid pure and intact.[785]

While she herself was being subjected to the interrogatories of doctors and the examination of matrons, certain clerics who had been despatched to her native province were there prosecuting an inquiry concerning her birth, her life, and her morals.[786] The ecclesiastics had been chosen from those mendicant Friars[787] who could pass freely along the highways and byways of the enemy's country without exciting the suspicion of English and Burgundians. And, indeed, they were in no way molested. From Domremy and from Vaucouleurs they brought back sure testimony to the humility, the devotion, the honesty, and the simplicity of Jeanne. But, most important, they had found no difficulty in gleaning certain pious tales, such as commonly adorned the childhood of saints. To these monks we must attribute an important share in the development of those legends of Jeanne's early years, which were so soon to become popular. From this time, apparently, dates the story that when Jeanne was in her seventh year, wolves spared her sheep, and birds of the woods came at her call and ate crumbs from her lap.[788] Such saintly flowers sug[Pg i.213]gest a Franciscan origin; among them are the wolf of Gubbio and the birds preached to by Saint Francis. These mendicants may also have furnished examples of the Maid's prophetic gift. They may have spread abroad the story that, when she was at Vaucouleurs, on the day of the Battle of the Herrings, she knew of the great hurt inflicted on the French at Rouvray.[789] The success of such little stories was immediate and complete.

After this examination and inquiry, the doctors came to the following conclusions: "The King, beholding his own need and that of his realm, and considering the constant prayers to God of his poor subjects and all others who love peace and justice, ought not to repulse or reject the Maid who says that God has sent her to bring him succour, albeit these promises may be nothing[790] but the works of man; neither ought he lightly or hastily to believe in her. But, according to Holy Scripture he must try her in two ways: to wit, with human wisdom, by inquiring of her life, her morals, and her motive, as saith Saint Paul the Apostle: Probate spiritus, si ex Deo sunt; and by earnest prayer to ask for a sign of her work and her divine hope, by which to tell whether it is by God's will that she is come. Thus God commanded Ahaz that he should ask for a sign when God promised him victory, saying unto him: Pete signum a Domino; and Gideon did likewise when he asked for a sign and many others, etc. Since the coming of the said Maid, the King hath observed her in the two manners aforesaid: to wit, by trial of human wisdom and by prayer, asking God for a sign. As for the first, which is trial by human wisdom, he has tested the said Maid in her[Pg i.214] life, her origin, her morals, her intention; and has kept her near him for the space of six weeks to show her to all people, whether clerks, ecclesiastics, monks, men-at-arms, wives, widows or others. In public and in private she hath conversed with persons of all conditions. But there hath been found no evil in her, nothing but good, humility, virginity, devoutness, honesty, simplicity. Of her birth, as well as of her life, many marvellous things are related."

"As for the second ordeal, the King asked her for a sign, to which she replied that before Orléans she would give it, but neither earlier nor elsewhere, for thus it is ordained of God.

"Now, seeing that the King hath made trial of the aforesaid Maid as far as it was in his power to do, that he findeth no evil in her, and that her reply is that she will give a divine sign before Orléans; seeing her persistency, and the consistency of her words, and her urgent request that she be sent to Orléans to show there that the aid she brings is divine, the King should not hinder her from going to Orléans with men-at-arms, but should send her there in due state trusting in God. For to fear her or reject her when there is no appearance of evil in her would be to rebel against the Holy Ghost, and to render oneself unworthy of divine succour, as Gamaliel said of the Apostles in the Council of the Jews."[791]

In short, the doctors' conclusion was that as yet nothing divine appeared in the Maid's promises, but that she had been examined and been found humble, a virgin, devout, honest, simple, and wholly good; and that, since she had promised to give a sign from God before Orléans, she must be taken there, for fear that in her the gift of the Holy Ghost should be rejected.[Pg i.215]

Of these conclusions a great number of copies were made and sent to the towns of the realm as well as to the princes of Christendom. The Emperor Sigismond, for example, received a copy.[792]

If the doctors of Poitiers had intended this six weeks inquiry, culminating in a favourable and solemn conclusion, to bring about the glorification of the Maid and the heartening of the French people by the preparation and announcement of the marvel they had before them, then they succeeded perfectly.[793]

That prolonged investigation, that minute examination reassured those doubting minds among the French, who suspected a woman dressed as a man of being a devil; they flattered men's imaginations with the hope of a miracle; they appealed to all hearts to judge favourably of the damsel who came forth radiant from the fire of ordeal and appeared as if glorified with a celestial halo. Her vanquishing the doctors in argument made her seem like another Saint Catherine.[794] But that she should have met difficult questions with wise answers was not enough for a multitude eager for marvels. It was imagined that she had been subjected to a strange probation from which she had come forth by nothing short of a miracle. Thus a few weeks after the inquiry, the following wonderful story was related in Brittany and in Flanders: when at Poitiers she was preparing to receive the communion,[Pg i.216] the priest had one wafer that was consecrated and another that was not. He wanted to give her the unconsecrated wafer. She took it in her hand and told the priest that it was not the body of Christ her Redeemer, but that the body was in the wafer which the priest had covered with the corporal.[795] After that there could be no doubt that Jeanne was a great saint.

At the termination of the inquiries, a favourable opportunity for introducing the Maid into Orléans arrived in the beginning of April. For her arming and her accoutring she was sent first to Tours.[796]

Sixty-six years later, an inhabitant of Poitiers, almost a hundred years old, told a young fellow-citizen that he had seen the Maid set out for Orléans on horseback, in white armour.[797] He pointed to the very stone from which she had mounted her horse in the corner of the Rue Saint-Etienne. Now, when Jeanne was at Poitiers, she was not in armour. But the people of Poitou had named the stone "the Maid's mounting stone." With what a glad eager step the Saint must have leapt from that stone on to the horse which was to carry her away from those furred cats to the afflicted and oppressed whom she was longing to succour.[798]

[Pg i.217]



AT Tours the Maid lodged in the house of a dame commonly called Lapau.[799] She was Eléonore de Paul, a woman of Anjou, who had been lady-in-waiting to Queen Marie of Anjou. Married to Jean du Puy, Lord of La Roche-Saint-Quentin, Councillor of the Queen of Sicily, she had remained in the service of the Queen of France.[800]

The town of Tours belonged to the Queen of Sicily, who grew richer and richer as her son-in-law grew poorer and poorer. She aided him with money and with lands. In 1424, the duchy of Touraine with all its dependencies, except the castellany of Chinon, had come into her possession.[801] The burgesses and commonalty of Tours earnestly desired peace. Meanwhile they made every effort to escape from pillage at the hands of men-at-arms. Neither King Charles nor Queen Yolande was able to defend them, so they must needs defend themselves.[802] When the town watchmen announced the approach of one of those marauding chiefs who were ravaging[Pg i.218] Touraine and Anjou, the citizens shut their gates and saw to it that the culverins were in their places. Then there was a parley: the captain from the brink of the moat maintained that he was in the King's service and on his way to fight the English; he asked for a night's rest in the town for himself and his men. From the heights of the ramparts he was politely requested to pass on; and, in case he should be tempted to force an entry, a sum of money was offered him.[803] Thus the citizens fleeced themselves for fear of being robbed. In like manner, only a few days before Jeanne's coming, they had given the Scot, Kennedy, who was ravaging the district, two hundred livres to go on. When they had got rid of their defenders, their next care was to fortify themselves against the English. On the 29th of February of this same year, 1429, these citizens lent one hundred crowns to Captain La Hire, who was then doing his best for Orléans. And even on the approach of the English they consented to receive forty archers belonging to the company of the Sire de Bueil, only on condition that Bueil should lodge in the castle with twenty men, and that the others should be quartered in the inns, where they were to have nothing without paying for it. Thus it was or was not; and the Sire de Bueil went off to defend Orléans.[804]

In Jean du Puy's house, Jeanne was visited by an Augustinian monk, one Jean Pasquerel. He was returning from the town of Puy-en-Velay where he had met Isabelle Romée and certain of those who had conducted Jeanne to the King.[805]

[Pg i.219]

In this town, in the sanctuary of Anis, was preserved an image of the Mother of God, brought from Egypt by Saint Louis. It was of great antiquity and highly venerated, for the prophet Jeremiah had with his own hands carved it out of sycamore wood in the semblance of the virgin yet to be born, whom he had seen in a vision.[806] In holy week, pilgrims flocked from all parts of France and of Europe,—nobles, clerks, men-at-arms, citizens and peasants; and many, for penance or through poverty, came on foot, staff in hand, begging their bread from door to door. Merchants of all kinds betook themselves thither; and it was at once the most popular of pilgrimages and one of the richest fairs in the world. All round the town the stream of travellers overflowed from the road on to vineyards, meadows, and gardens. On the day of the Festival, in the year 1407, two hundred persons perished, crushed to death in the throng.[807]

In certain years the feast of the conception of Our Lord fell on the same day as that of his death; and thus there coincided the promise and the fulfilment of the promise of the greatest of mysteries. Then Holy Friday became still holier. It was called Great Friday, and on that day such as entered the sanctuary of Anis received plenary indulgence. On that day the crowd of pilgrims was greater than usual. Now, in the year 1429, Good Friday fell on the 25th of March, the day of the Annunciation.[808]

[Pg i.220]

There is, therefore, nothing extraordinary in Brother Pasquerel's meeting Jeanne's relatives at Puy during Holy Week. That a peasant woman should travel two hundred and fifty miles on foot, through a country infested with soldiers and other robbers, in a season of snows and mist, to obtain an indulgence, was an every-day matter if we remember the surname which had for long been hers.[809] This was not La Romée's first pilgrimage. As we do not know which members of the Maid's escort the good Brother met, we are at liberty to conjecture that Bertrand de Poulengy was among them. We know little about him, but his speech would suggest that he was a devout person.[810]

Jeanne's comrades, having made friends with Pasquerel, said to him: "You must go with us to Jeanne. We will not leave you until you have taken us to her." They travelled together. Brother Pasquerel went with them to Chinon, which Jeanne had left; then he went on to Tours, where his convent was.

The Augustinians, who claimed to have received their rule from St. Francis himself, wore the grey habit of the Franciscans. It was from their order[Pg i.221] that in the previous year the King had chosen a chaplain for his young son, the Dauphin Louis. Brother Pasquerel held the office of reader (lector) in his monastery.[811] He was in priest's orders. Quite young doubtless and of a wandering disposition, like many mendicant monks of those days, he had a taste for the miraculous, and was excessively credulous.

Jeanne's comrades said to her: "Jeanne, we have brought you this good father. You will like him well when you know him."

She replied: "The good father pleases me. I have already heard tell of him, and even to-morrow will I confess to him." The next day the good father heard her in confession, and chanted mass before her. He became her chaplain, and never left her.[812]

In the fifteenth century Tours was one of the chief manufacturing towns of the kingdom. The inhabitants excelled in all kinds of trades. They wove tissues of silk, of gold, and of silver. They manufactured coats of mail; and, while not competing with the armourers of Milan, of Nuremberg, and of Augsburg, they were skilled in the forging and hammering of steel.[813] Here it was that, by the King's command, the master armourer made Jeanne a suit of mail.[814] The suit he furnished was of wrought iron; and, according to the custom of that time, consisted of a helmet, a cuirass in four parts, with epaulets, armlets, elbow-pieces, fore-armlets, gaunt[Pg i.222]lets, cuisses, knee-pieces, greaves and shoes.[815] The maker had doubtless no thought of accentuating the feminine figure. But the armour of that period, full in the bust, slight in the waist, with broad skirts beneath the corselet, in its slender grace and curious slimness, always has the air of a woman's armour, and seems made for Queen Penthesilea or for the Roman Camilla. The Maid's armour was white and unadorned, if one may judge from its modest price of one hundred livres tournois. The two suits of mail, made at the same time by the same armourer for Jean de Metz and his comrade, were together worth one hundred and twenty-five livres tournois.[816] Possibly one of the skilful and renowned drapers of Tours took the Maid's measure for a houppelande or loose coat in silk or cloth of gold or silver, such as captains wore over the cuirass. To look well, the coat, which was open in front, must be cut in scallops that would float round the horseman as he rode. Jeanne loved fine clothes but still more fine horses.[817]

The King invited her to choose a horse from his stables. If we may believe a certain Latin poet, she[Pg i.223] selected an animal of illustrious origin, but very old. It was a war horse, which Pierre de Beauvau, Governor of Maine and Anjou, had given to one of the King's two brothers; who had both been dead, the one thirteen years, the other twelve.[818] This steed, or another, was brought to Lapau's house and the Duke of Alençon went to see it. The horse must likewise be accoutred, it must be furnished with a chanfrin to protect its head and one of those wooden saddles with broad pommels which seemed to encase the rider.[819] A shield was out of the question. Since chain-armour, which was not proof against blows, had been succeeded by that plate-armour, on which nothing could make an impression, they had ceased to be used save in pageants. As for the sword,—the noblest part of her accoutrement and the bright symbol of strength joined to loyalty,—Jeanne refused to take that from the royal armourer; she was resolved to receive it from the hand of Saint Catherine herself.

We know that on her coming into France she had stopped at Fierbois and heard three masses in Saint Catherine's chapel.[820] Therein the Virgin of Alexandria had many swords, without counting the one Charles Martel was said to have given her, and which it would not have been easy to find again. A good Touranian in Touraine, Saint Catherine was an Armagnac ever on the side of those who fought for the Dauphin Charles. When captains and soldiers of fortune stood in danger of death, or were prisoners in the hands of their enemies, she was the saint they most willingly invoked; for they knew she[Pg i.224] wished them well. She did not save them all, but she aided many. They came to render her thanks; and as a sign of gratitude they offered her their armour, so that her chapel looked like an armoury.[821] The walls bristled with swords; and, as gifts had been flowing in for half a century, ever since the days of King Charles V, the sacristans were probably in the habit of taking down the old weapons to make room for the new, hoarding the old steel in some store-house until an opportunity arrived for selling it.[822] Saint Catherine could not refuse a sword to the damsel, whom she loved so dearly that every day and every hour she came down from Paradise to see and talk with her on earth,—a maiden who in return had shown her devotion by travelling to Fierbois to do the Saint reverence. For we must not omit to state that Saint Catherine in company with Saint Margaret had never ceased to appear to Jeanne both at Chinon and at Tours. She was present at all those secret assemblies, which the Maid called sometimes her Council but oftener her Voices, doubtless because they appealed more to her ears and her mind than to her eyes, despite the burst of light which sometimes dazzled her, and notwithstanding the crowns she was able to discern on the heads of the saints. The Voices indicated one sword among the multitude of those in the Chapel at Fierbois. Messire Richard Kyrthrizian and Brother Gille Lecourt, both of them priests, were then custodians of the chapel. Such is the title they assumed when they signed the accounts of miracles worked by their saint. Jeanne[Pg i.225] in a letter caused them to be asked for the sword, which had been revealed to her. In the letter she said that it would be found underground, not very deep down, and behind the altar. At least these were all the directions she was able to give afterwards, and then she could not quite remember whether it was behind the altar or in front. Was she able to give the custodians of the chapel any signs by which to recognise the sword? She never explained this point, and her letter is lost.[823]

It is certain, however, that she believed the sword had been shown to her in a vision and in no other manner. An armourer of Touraine, whom she did not know (afterwards she maintained that she had never seen him), was appointed to carry the letter to Fierbois. The custodians of the chapel gave him a sword marked with five crosses, or with five little swords on the blade, not far from the hilt. In what part of the chapel had they found it? No one knows. A contemporary says it was in a coffer with some old iron. If it had been buried and hidden it was not very long before, because the rust could easily be removed by rubbing. The priests were careful to offer it to the Maid with great ceremony[824] before giving it to the armourer who had come for it. They enclosed it in a sheath of red velvet, embroidered with the royal flowers de luce. When Jeanne received it[Pg i.226] she recognised it to be the one revealed to her in a celestial vision and promised her by her Voices, and she failed not to let the little company of monks and soldiers who surrounded her know that it was so. This they took to be a good omen and a sign of victory.[825] To protect Saint Catherine's sword the priests of the town gave her a second sheath; this one was of black cloth. Jeanne had a third made of very tough leather.[826]

The story of the sword spread far and wide and was elaborated by many a curious fable. It was said to be the sword of the great Charles Martel, long buried and forgotten. Many believed it had belonged to Alexander and the knights of those ancient days. Every one thought well of it and esteemed it likely to bring good fortune. When the English and the Burgundians heard tell of the matter, there soon occurred to them the idea that the Maid had discovered what was hidden beneath the earth by taking counsel of demons; or they suspected her of having herself craftily hidden the sword in the place she had indicated in order to deceive princes, clergy, and people. They wondered anxiously whether those five crosses were not signs of the devil.[827] Thus there began to arise conflicting illusions, according to which Jeanne appeared either saint or sorceress.[828]

The King had given her no command. Acting according to the counsel of the doctors, he did not hinder her from going to Orléans with men-at-arms.[Pg i.227] He even had her taken there in state in order that she might give the promised sign. He granted her men to conduct her, not for her to conduct. How could she have conducted them since she did not know the way? Meanwhile she had a standard made according to the command of Saint Catherine and Saint Margaret, who had said: "Take the standard in the name of the King of Heaven!" It was of a coarse white cloth, or buckram, edged with silk fringe. At the bidding of her Voices, Jeanne caused a painter of the town to represent on it what she called "the World,"[829] that is, Our Lord seated upon his throne, blessing with his right hand, and in his left holding the globe of the world. On his right and on his left were angels, both painted as they were in churches, and presenting Our Lord with flowers de luce. Above or on one side were the names Jhesus—Maria, and the background was strewn with the royal lilies in gold.[830] She also had a coat-of-arms painted: on an azure shield a silver dove, holding in its beak a scroll on which was written: "De par le Roi du Ciel."[831] This coat-of-arms she had painted on the reverse of the standard bearing on the front the picture of Our Lord. A servant of the Duke of Alençon, Perceval de Cagny, says that she ordered to be made another and a smaller standard, a banner, on which was the picture of Our Lady receiving the angel's salutation. The Tours painter Jeanne employed came from Scotland and was called Hamish Power. He provided the material and executed the[Pg i.228] paintings of the two escutcheons, of the small one as well as of the large. For this he received from the keeper of the war treasury twenty-five livres tournois.[832] Hamish Power had a daughter, Héliote by name, who was about to be married and to whom Jeanne afterwards showed kindness.[833]

The standard was the signal for rallying. For long only kings, emperors, and leaders in war had had the right of raising it. The feudal suzerain had it carried before him; vassals ranged themselves beneath their lord's banners. But in 1429 banners had ceased to be used save in corporations, guilds, and parishes, borne only before the armies of peace. In war they were no longer needed. The meanest captain, the poorest knight had his own standard. When fifty French men-at-arms went forth from Orléans against a handful of English marauders, a crowd of banners like a swarm of butterflies waved over the fields. "To raise one's standard" came to be a figure of speech for "to be puffed up."[834] So indeed it was permissible for a freebooter to raise his standard when he commanded scarce a score of men-at-arms and half-naked bowmen. Even if Jeanne, as she may have done, held her standard to be a sign of sov[Pg i.229]ereign command, and if, having received it from the King of Heaven, she thought to raise it above all others, was there a soul in the realm to say her nay? What had become of all those feudal banners which for eighty years had been in the vanguard of defeat; sown over the fields of Crécy; collected beneath bushes and hedges by Welsh and Cornish swordsmen; lost in the vineyards of Maupertuis, trampled underfoot by English archers on the soft earth into which sank the corpses of Azincourt; gathered in handfuls under the walls of Verneuil by Bedford's marauders? It was because all these banners had miserably fallen, it was because at Rouvray a prince of the blood royal had shamefully trailed his nobles' banners in flight, that the peasant now raised her banner.

[Pg i.230]



SINCE the terrible and ridiculous discomfiture of the King's men in the Battle of the Herrings, the citizens of Orléans had lost all faith in their defenders.[835] Their minds agitated, suspicious and credulous were possessed by phantoms of fear and wrath. Suddenly and without reason they believe themselves betrayed. One day it is announced that a hole big enough for a man to pass through has been made in the town wall just where it skirts the outbuildings of the Aumône.[836] A crowd of people hasten to the spot; they see the hole and a piece of the wall which had been restored, with two loop-holes; they fail to understand, and think themselves sold and betrayed into the enemy's hands; they rave and break forth into howls, and seek the priest in charge of the hospital to tear him to pieces.[837] A few days after, on Holy Thursday, a similar rumour is spread abroad: traitors are about to deliver up the town into the hands of the English. The folk seize their weapons; soldiers, burgesses, villeins mount[Pg i.231] guard on the outworks, on the walls and in the streets. On the morrow, the day after that on which the panic had originated, fear still possesses them.[838]

In the beginning of March the besiegers saw approaching the Norman vassals, summoned by the Regent. But they were only six hundred and twenty-nine lances all told, and they were only bound to serve for twenty-six days. Under the leadership of Scales, Pole, and Talbot, the English continued the investment works as best they could.[839] On the 10th of March, two and a half miles east of the city, they occupied without opposition the steep slope of Saint-Loup and began to erect a bastion there, which should command the upper river and the two roads from Gien and Pithiviers, at the point where they meet near the Burgundian gate.[840] On the 20th of March they completed the bastion named London, on the road to Mans. Between the 9th and 15th of April two new bastions were erected towards the west, Rouen nine hundred feet east of London, Paris nine hundred feet from Rouen. About the 20th they fortified Saint-Jean-le-Blanc across the Loire and established a watch to guard the crossing of the river.[841] This was but little in comparison with what remained to be done, and they were short of men; for they had less than three thousand round the town. Wherefore they fell upon the peasants. Now that the season for tending the vines was drawing near, the country folk[Pg i.232] went forth into the fields thinking only of the land; but the English lay in wait for them, and when they had taken them prisoners, set them to work.[842]

In the opinion of those most skilled in the arts of war, these bastions were worthless. They were furnished with no stabling for horses. They could not be built near enough to render assistance to each other; the besieger was in danger of being himself besieged in them. In short, from these vexatious methods of warfare the English reaped nothing but disappointment and disgrace. The Sire de Bueil, one of the defenders, perceived this when he was reconnoitring.[843] In fact it was so easy to pass through the enemy's lines that merchants were willing to run the risk of taking cattle to the besieged. There entered into the town, on the 7th of March, six horses loaded with herrings; on the 15th, six horses with powder; on the 29th, cattle and victuals; on the 2nd of April, nine fat oxen and horses; on the 5th, one hundred and one pigs and six fat oxen; on the 9th, seventeen pigs, horses, sucking-pigs, and corn; on the 13th, coins with which to pay the garrison; on the 16th, cattle and victuals; on the 23rd, powder and victuals. And more than once the besieged had carried off, in the very faces of the English, victuals and ammunition destined for the besiegers and including casks of wine, game, horses, bows, forage, and even twenty-six head of large cattle.[844]

The siege was costing the English dear,—forty thousand livres tournois a month.[845] They were short of money; they were obliged to resort to the most irritat[Pg i.233]ing expedients. By a decree of the 3rd of March King Henry had recently ordered all his officers in Normandy to lend him one quarter of their pay.[846] In their huts of wood and earth, the men-at-arms, who had endured much from the cold, now began to suffer hunger.

The wasted fields of La Beauce, of l'Île-de-France, and of Normandy could furnish them with no great store of sheep or oxen. Their food was bad, their drink worse. The vintage of 1427 had been bad, that of the following year was poor and weak—more like sour grapes than wine.[847] Now an old English author has written of the soldiers of his country:

"They want their porridge and their fat bull-beeves:
Either they must be dieted like mules
And have their provender tied to their mouths
Or piteous they will look, like drowned mice."[848]

A sudden humiliation still further weakened the English. Captain Poton de Saintrailles and the two magistrates, Guyon du Fossé and Jean de Saint-Avy, who had gone on an embassy to the Duke of Burgundy, returned to Orléans on the 17th of April. The Duke had granted their request and consented to take the town under his protection. But the Regent, to whom the offer had been made, would not have it thus.

He replied that he would be very sorry if after he had beaten the bush another should go off with the nestlings.[849] Therefore the offer was rejected. Never[Pg i.234]theless the embassy had been by no means useless, and it was something to have raised a new cause of quarrel between the Duke and the Regent. The ambassadors returned accompanied by a Burgundian herald who blew his trumpet in the English camp, and, in the name of his master, commanded all combatants who owed allegiance to the Duke to raise the siege. Some hundreds of archers and men-at-arms, Burgundians, men of Picardy and of Champagne, departed forthwith.[850]

On the next day, at four o'clock in the morning, the citizens emboldened and deeming the opportunity a good one, attacked the camp of Saint-Laurent-des-Orgerils. They slew the watch and entered the camp, where they found piles of money, robes of martin, and a goodly store of weapons. Absorbed in pillage, they paid no heed to defending themselves and were surprised by the enemy, who in great force had hastened to the place. They fled pursued by the English who slew many. On that day the town resounded with the lamentations of women weeping for a father, a husband, a brother, kinsmen.[851]

Within those walls, in a space where there was room for not more than fifteen thousand inhabitants, forty thousand[852] were huddled together, one vast multitude agonised by all manner of suffering; de[Pg i.235]pressed by domestic sorrow; racked with anxiety; maddened by constant danger and perpetual panic. Although the wars of those days were not so sanguinary as they became later, the sallies of the inhabitants of Orléans were the occasion of constant and considerable loss of life. Since the middle of March the English bullets had fallen more into the centre of the town; and they were not always harmless. On the eve of Palm Sunday one stone, fired from a mortar, killed or wounded five persons; another, seven.[853] Many of the inhabitants, like the provost, Alain Du Bey, died of fatigue or of the infected air.[854]

In the Christendom of those days all men were taught to believe that earthquakes, wars, famine, pestilence are punishments for wrong-doing. Charles, the Fair Duke of Orléans, good Christian that he was, held that great sorrows had come upon France as chastisement for her sins, to wit: swelling pride, gluttony, sloth, covetousness, lust, and neglect of justice, which were rife in the realm; and in a ballad he discoursed of the evil and its remedy.[855] The people of Orléans firmly believed that this war was sent to them of God to punish sinners, who had worn out his patience. They were aware both of the cause of their sorrows and of the means of remedying them. Such was the teaching of the good friars preachers; and, as Duke Charles put it in his ballad, the remedy was to live well, to amend one's life, to have masses said and sung for the souls of those who had suffered death in the service of the realm, to renounce the sinful life, and to ask forgiveness of Our Lady and[Pg i.236] the saints.[856] This remedy had been adopted by the people of Orléans. They had had masses said in the Church of Sainte-Croix for the souls of nobles, captains, and men-at-arms killed in their service, and especially for those who had died a piteous death in the Battle of the Herrings. They had offered candles to Our Lady and to the patron saints of the town, and had carried the shrine of Saint-Aignan round the walls.[857]

Every time they felt themselves in great danger, they brought it forth from the Church of Sainte-Croix, carried it in grand procession round the town and over the ramparts,[858] then, having brought it back to the cathedral, they listened to a sermon preached in the porch by a good monk chosen by the magistrates.[859] They said prayers in public and resolved to amend their lives. Wherefore they believed that in Paradise Saint Euverte and Saint-Aignan, touched by their piety, must be interceding for them with Our Lord; and they thought they could hear the voices of the two pontiffs. Saint Euverte was saying, "All-powerful Father, I pray and entreat thee to save the city of Orléans. It is mine. I was its bishop. I am its patron saint. Deliver it not up to its enemies."

Then afterwards spoke Saint-Aignan: "Give peace to the people of Orléans. Father, thou who by the mouth of a child didst appoint me their shepherd, grant that they fall not into the hands of the enemy."

The inhabitants of Orléans expected that the Lord[Pg i.237] would not at once answer the prayers of the two confessors. Knowing the sternness of his judgments they feared lest he would reply: "For their sins are the French people justly chastised. They suffer because of their disobedience to Holy Church. From the least to the greatest in the realm each vies with the other in evil-doing. The husbandmen, citizens, lawyers and priests are hard and avaricious; the princes, dukes and noble lords are proud, vain, cursers, swearers, and traitors. The corruptness of their lives infects the air. It is just that they suffer chastisement."

That the Lord should speak thus must be expected, because he was angry and because the people of Orléans had greatly sinned. But now, behold, Our Lady, she who loves the King of the Lilies, prays for him and for the Duke of Orléans to the Son, whose pleasure it is to do her will in all things: "My Son, with all my heart I entreat thee to drive the English from the land of France; they have no right to it. If they take Orléans, then they will take the rest at their pleasure. Suffer it not, O my Son, I beseech thee." And Our Lord, at the prayer of his holy Mother, forgives the French and consents to save them.[860]

Thus in those days, according to their ideas of the spiritual world, did men represent even the councils of Paradise. There were folk not a few, and those not unlearned, who believed that as the result of these councils Our Lord had sent his Archangel to the shepherdess. And it might even be possible that he would save the kingdom by the hand of a woman. Is it not in the weak things of the world that he maketh his power manifest?

Did he not allow the child David to overthrow the[Pg i.238] giant Goliath, and did he not deliver into the hands of Judith the head of Holophernes? In Orléans itself was it not by the mouth of a babe that he had caused to be named that shepherd who was to deliver the besieged town from Attila?[861]

The Lord of Villars and Messire Jamet du Tillay, having returned from Chinon, reported that they had with their own eyes seen the Maid; and they told of the marvels of her coming. They related how she had travelled far, fording rivers, passing by many towns and villages held by the English, as well as through those French lands wherein were rife pillage and all manner of evils. Then they went on to tell how, when she was taken to the King, she had spoken fair words to him as she curtsied, saying: "Gentle Dauphin, God sends me to help and succour you. Give me soldiers, for by grace divine and by force of arms, I will raise the siege of Orléans and then lead you to your anointing at Reims, according as God hath commanded me, for it is his will that the English return to their country and leave in peace your kingdom which shall remain unto you. Or, if they do not quit the land, then will God cause them to perish." Further, they told how, interrogated by certain prelates, knights, squires, and doctors in law, her bearing had been found honest and her words wise. They extolled her piety, her candour, that simplicity which testified that God dwelt with her, and that skill in managing a horse and wielding weapons which caused all men to marvel.[862]

[Pg i.239]

At the end of March, tidings came, that, taken to Poitiers, she had there been examined by doctors and famous masters, and had replied to them with an assurance equal to that of Saint Catherine before the doctors at Alexandria. Because her words were good and her promises sure, it was said that the King, trusting in her, had caused her to be armed in order that she might go to Orléans, where she would soon appear, riding on a white horse, wearing at her side the sword of Saint Catherine and holding in her hand the standard she had received from the King of Heaven.[863]

To the ecclesiastics what was told of Jeanne seemed marvellous but not incredible, since parallel instances were to be found in sacred history, which was all the history they knew. To those who were lettered among them their erudition furnished fewer reasons for denial than for doubt or belief. Those who were simple frankly wondered at these things.

Certain of the captains, and certain even of the people, treated them with derision. But by so doing they ran the risk of ill usage. The inhabitants of the city believed in the Maid as firmly as in Our Lord. From her they expected help and deliverance. They summoned her in a kind of mystic ecstasy and religious frenzy. The fever of the siege had become the fever of the Maid.[864]

Nevertheless, the use made of her by the King's men proved that, following the counsel of the theologians, they were determined to adopt only such methods as were prompted by human prudence. She was to enter the town with a convoy of victuals, then being prepared at Blois by order of the King assisted[Pg i.240] by the Queen of Sicily.[865] In all the loyal provinces a new effort was being made for the relief and deliverance of the brave city. Gien, Bourges, Blois, Châteaudun, Tours sent men and victuals; Angers, Poitiers, La Rochelle, Albi, Moulins, Montpellier, Clermont sulphur, saltpetre, steel, and arms.[866] And if the citizens of Toulouse gave nothing it was because their city, as the notables consulted by the capitouls[867] ingenuously declared, had nothing to give—non habebat de quibus.[868]

The King's councillors, notably my Lord Regnault de Chartres, Chancellor of the Realm, were forming a new army. What they had failed to accomplish, by means of the men of Auvergne, they would now attempt with troops from Anjou and Le Mans. The Queen of Sicily, Duchess of Touraine and Anjou, willingly lent her aid. Were Orléans taken she would be in danger of losing lands by which she set great store. Therefore she spared neither men, money, nor victuals. After the middle of April, a citizen of Angers, one Jean Langlois, brought letters informing[Pg i.241] the magistrates of the imminent arrival of the corn she had contributed. The town gave Jean Langlois a present, and the magistrates entertained him at dinner at the Écu Saint-Georges. This corn was a part of that large convoy which the Maid was to accompany.[869]

Towards the end of the month, by order of my Lord the Bastard, the captains of the French garrisons of La Beauce and Gâtinais, betook themselves to the town to reinforce the army of Blois, the arrival of which was announced. On the 28th, there entered my Lord Florent d'Illiers,[870] Governor of Châteaudun, with four hundred fighting men.[871]

What was to become of Orléans? The siege, badly conducted, was causing the English the most grievous disappointments. Further, their captains perceived they would never succeed in taking the town by means of those bastions, between which anything, either men, victuals, or ammunition, could pass, and with an army miserably quartered in mud hovels, ravaged by disease, and reduced by desertions to three thousand, or at the most to three thousand two hundred men. They had lost nearly all their horses. Far from being able to continue the attack it was hard for them to maintain the defensive and to hold out in those miserable wooden towers, which, as Le Jouvencel said, were more profitable to the besieged than to the besiegers.[872]

[Pg i.242]

Their only hope, and that an uncertain and distant one, lay in the reinforcements, which the Regent was gathering with great difficulty.[873] Meanwhile, time seemed to drag in the besieged town. The warriors who defended it were brave, but they had come to the end of their resources and knew not what more to do. The citizens were good at keeping guard, but they would not face fire. They did not suspect the miserable condition to which the besiegers had been reduced. Hardship, anxiety, and an infected atmosphere depressed their spirits. Already they seemed to see Les Coués taking the town by storm, killing, pillaging, and ravaging. At every moment they believed themselves betrayed. They were not calm and self-possessed enough to recognise the enormous advantages of their situation. The town's means of communication, whereby it could be indefinitely reinforced and revictualled, were still open. Besides, a relieving army, well in advance of that of the English, was on the point of arriving. It was bringing a goodly drove of cattle, as well as men and ammunition enough to capture the English fortresses in a few days.

With this army the King was sending the Maid who had been promised.

[Pg i.243]



WITH an escort of soldiers of fortune the Maid reached Blois at the same time as my Lord Regnault de Chartres, Chancellor of France, and the Sire de Gaucourt, Governor of Orléans.[874] She was in the domain of the Prince, whom it was her great desire to deliver: the people of Blois owed allegiance to Duke Charles, a prisoner in the hands of the English. Merchants were bringing cows, rams, ewes, herds of swine, grain, powder and arms into the town.[875] The Admiral, De Culant, and the Lord Ambroise de Loré had come from Orléans to superintend the preparations. The Queen of Sicily herself had gone to Blois. Notwithstanding that at this time the King consulted her but seldom, he now sent to her the Duke of Alençon, commissioned to concert with her measures for the relief of the city of Orléans.[876] There came also the Sire de Rais, of the house of Laval and of the line of the Dukes of Brittany, a noble scarce twenty-four, generous and magnificent, bringing in his train, with a goodly company from Maine and Anjou, organs for his chapel, chor[Pg i.244]isters, and little singing-boys from the choir school.[877] The Marshal de Boussac, the Captains La Hire and Poton came from Orléans.[878] An army of seven thousand men assembled beneath the walls of the town.[879] All that was now waited for was the money necessary to pay the cost of the victuals and the hire of the soldiers. Captains and men-at-arms did not give their services on credit. As for the merchants, if they risked the loss of their victuals and their life, it was only for ready money.[880] No cash, no cattle—and the wagons stayed where they were.

In the month of March, Jeanne had dictated to one of the doctors at Poitiers a brief manifesto intended for the English.[881] She expanded it into a letter, which she showed to certain of her companions and afterwards sent by a Herald from Blois to the camp of Saint-Laurent-des-Orgerils. This letter was addressed to King Henry, to the Regent and to the three chiefs, who, since Salisbury's death, had been conducting the siege, Scales, Suffolk, and Talbot. The following is the text of it:[882]

[Pg i.245]

Jhesus Maria

King of England, and you, Duke of Bedford, who call yourself Regent of the realm of France,—you, Guillaume de la Poule, Earl of Sulford; Jehan, Sire de Talebot, and you Thomas, Sire d'Escales, who call yourselves Lieutenants of the said Duke of Bedfort, do right in the sight of the King of Heaven. Surrender to the Maid sent hither by God, the King of Heaven, the keys of all the good[883] towns in France that you have taken and ravaged.[884] She is come here in God's name to claim the Blood Royal.[885] She is ready to make peace if so be you will do her satisfaction by giving and paying back to France what you have taken from[Pg i.246] her.[886] And you, archers, comrades-in-arms, gentle and otherwise,[887] who are before the town of Orléans, go ye hence into your own land, in God's name. And if you will not, then hear the wondrous works[888] of the Maid who will shortly come upon you to your very great hurt. And you, King of England, if you do not thus, I am a Chieftain of war,—and in whatsoever place in France I meet with your men, I will force them to depart willy nilly; and if they will not, then I will have them all slain. I am sent hither by God, the King of Heaven, body for body, to drive them all out of the whole of France. And if they obey, then will I show them mercy. And think not in your heart that you will hold the kingdom of France [from] God,[Pg i.247] the King of Heaven, Son of the Blessed Mary, for it is King Charles, the true heir, who shall so hold it. God, the King of Heaven, so wills it, and he hath revealed it unto King Charles by the Maid. With a goodly company the King shall enter Paris. If ye will not believe these wondrous works wrought by God and the Maid, then, in whatsoever place ye shall be, there shall we fight. And if ye do me not right, there shall be so great a noise as hath not been in France for a thousand years. And know ye that the King of Heaven will send such great power to the Maid, to her and to her good soldiers, that ye will not be able to overcome her in any battle; and in the end the God of Heaven will reveal who has the better right. You, Duke of Bedfort, the Maid prays and beseeches you that you bring not destruction upon yourself. If you do her right, you may come in her company where the French will do the fairest deed ever done for Christendom. And if ye will have peace in the city of Orléans, then make ye answer; and, if not, then remember it will be to your great hurt and that shortly. Written this Tuesday of Holy Week.

Such is the letter. It was written in a new spirit; for it proclaimed the kingship of Jesus Christ and declared a holy war. It is hard to tell whether it proceeded from Jeanne's own inspiration or was dictated to her by the council of ecclesiastics. On first thoughts one might be inclined to attribute to the priests the idea of a summons, which is a literal application of the precepts of Deuteronomy:

"When thou comest nigh unto a city to fight against it, then proclaim peace unto it.

"And it shall be, if it make thee answer of peace, and open unto thee, then it shall be, that all the people[Pg i.248] that is found therein shall be tributaries unto thee, and they shall serve thee.

"And if it will make no peace with thee, but will make war against thee, then thou shalt besiege it:

"And when the Lord thy God hath delivered it into thine hands, thou shalt smite every male thereof with the edge of the sword:

"But the women, and the little ones, and the cattle, and all that is in the city, even all the spoil thereof, shalt thou take unto thyself." (Deuteronomy xx, 10-14.)

But at least it is certain that on this occasion the Maid is expressing her own sentiments. Afterwards we shall find her saying: "I asked for peace, and when I was refused I was ready to fight."[889] But, as she dictated the letter and was unable to read it, we may ask whether the clerks who held the pen did not add to it.

Two or three passages suggest the ecclesiastical touch. Afterwards the Maid did not remember having dictated "body for body," which is quite unimportant. But she declared that she had not said: "I am chief in war" and that she had dictated: "Surrender to the King" and not "Surrender to the Maid."[890] Possibly her memory failed her; it was not always faithful. Nevertheless she appeared very certain of what she said, and twice she repeated that "chief in war" and "surrender to the Maid" were not in the letter. It may have been that the monks who were with her used these expressions. To these wandering priests a dispute over fiefs mattered little, and it was not their first concern to bring King Charles into the possession of his inheritance. Doubtless they[Pg i.249] desired the good of the kingdom of France; but certainly they desired much more the good of Christendom; and we shall see that, if those mendicant monks, Brother Pasquerel and later Friar Richard, follow the Maid, it will be in the hope of employing her to the Church's advantage. Thus it would be but natural that they should declare her at the outset commander in war, and even invest her with a spiritual power superior to the temporal power of the King, and implied in the phrase: "Surrender to the Maid ... the keys of the good towns."

This very letter indicates one of those hopes which among others she inspired. They expected that after she had fulfilled her mission in France, she would take the cross and go forth to conquer Jerusalem, bringing all the armies of Christian Europe in her train.[891] At this very time a disciple of Bernardino of Siena, Friar Richard, a Franciscan lately come from Syria,[892] and who was shortly to meet the Maid, was preaching at Paris, announcing the approach of the end of the world, and exhorting the faithful to fight against Antichrist.[893] It must be remembered that the Turks, who had conquered the Christian knights at Nicopolis and at Semendria, were threatening Constantinople and spreading terror throughout Europe.[Pg i.250] Popes, emperors, kings felt the necessity of making one great effort against them.

In England it was said that between Saint-Denys and Saint-George there had been born to King Henry V and Madame Catherine of France a boy, half English and half French, who would go to Egypt and pluck the Grand Turk's beard.[894] On his death-bed the conqueror Henry V was listening to the priests repeating the penitential psalms. When he heard the verse: Benigne fac Domine in bona voluntate tua ut ædificentur muri Jerusalem, he murmured with his dying breath: "I have always intended to go to Syria and deliver the holy city out of the hand of the infidel."[895] These were his last words. Wise men counselled Christian princes to unite against the Crescent. In France, the Archbishop of Embrun, who had sat in the Dauphin's Council, cursed the insatiable cruelty of the English nation and those wars among Christians which were an occasion of rejoicing to the enemies of the Cross of Christ.[896]

To summon the English and French to take the cross together, was to proclaim that after ninety-one years of violence and crime the cycle of secular warfare had come to an end. It was to bid Christendom return to the days when Philippe de Valois and Edward Plantagenet promised the Pope to join together against the infidel.

But when the Maid invited the English to unite with the French in a holy and warlike enterprise, it[Pg i.251] is not difficult to imagine with what kind of a reception the Godons would greet such an angelic summons. And at the time of the siege of Orléans, the French on their side had good reasons for not taking the cross with the Coués.[897]

The learned did not greatly appreciate the style of this letter. The Bastard of Orléans thought the words very simple; and a few years later a good French jurist pronounced it coarse, heavy, and badly arranged.[898] We cannot aspire to judge better than the jurist and the Bastard, both men of erudition. Nevertheless, we wonder whether it were not that her manner of expression seemed bad to them, merely because it differed from the style of legal documents. True it is that the letter from Blois indicates the poverty of the French prose of that time when not enriched by an Alain Chartier; but it contains neither term nor expression which is not to be met with in the good authors of the day. The words may not be correctly ordered, but the style is none the less vivacious. There is nothing to suggest that the writer came from the banks of the Meuse; no trace is there of the speech of Lorraine or Champagne.[899] It is clerkly French.

[Pg i.252]

While Isabelle de Vouthon had gone on a pilgrimage to Puy, her two youngest children, Jean and Pierre, had set out for France to join their sister, with the intention of making their fortunes through her or the King. Likewise, Brother Nicolas of Vouthon, Jeanne's cousin german, a monk in priest's orders in the Abbey of Cheminon, joined the young saint.[900] To have thus attracted her kinsfolk before giving any sign of her power, Jeanne must have had witnesses on the banks of the Meuse; and certain venerable ecclesiastical personages, as well as noble lords of Lorraine, must have answered for her reputation in France. Such guarantors of the truth of her mission were doubtless those who had instructed her in and accredited her by prophecy. Perhaps Brother Nicolas of Vouthon was himself of the number.

In the army she was regarded as a holy maiden. Her company consisted of a chaplain, Brother Jean Pasquerel;[901] two pages, Louis de Coutes and Raymond;[902] her two brethren, Pierre and Jean; two heralds, Ambleville and Guyenne;[903] two squires, Jean de Metz and Bertrand de Poulengy.

Jean de Metz kept the purse which was filled by the crown.[904] She had also certain valets in her service. A squire, one Jean d'Aulon, whom the King gave her[Pg i.253] for a steward, joined her at Blois.[905] He was the poorest squire of the realm. He was entirely dependent on the Sire de La Trémouille, who lent him money; but he was well known for his honour and his wisdom.[906] Jeanne attributed the defeats of the French to their riding forth accompanied by bad women and to their taking God's holy name in vain. And this opinion, far from being held by her alone, prevailed among persons of learning and religion; according to whom the disaster of Nicopolis was occasioned by the presence of prostitutes in the army, and by the cruelty and dissoluteness of the knights.[907]

On several occasions, between 1420 and 1425, the Dauphin had forbidden cursing and denying and blaspheming the name of God, of the Virgin Mary and of the saints under penalty of a fine and of corporal punishment in certain cases. The decrees embodying this prohibition asserted that wars, pestilence, and famine were caused by blasphemy and that the blasphemers were in part responsible for the sufferings of the realm.[908] Wherefore the Maid went among the men-at-arms, exhorting them to turn[Pg i.254] away the women who followed the army, and to cease taking the Lord's name in vain. She besought them to confess their sins and receive divine grace into their souls, maintaining that their God would aid them and give them the victory if their souls were right.[909]

Jeanne took her standard to the Church of Saint-Sauveur and gave it to the priests to bless.[910] The little company formed at Tours was joined at Blois by ecclesiastics and monks, who, on the approach of the English, had fled in crowds from the neighbouring abbeys, and were now suffering from cold and hunger. It was generally thus. Monks were for ever flocking to the armies. Many churches and most abbeys had been reduced to ruin. Those of the mendicants, built outside the towns, had all perished,—plundered and burnt by the English or pulled down by the townsfolk; for, when threatened with siege, the inhabitants always dealt thus with the outlying portions of their town. The homeless monks found no welcome in the cities, which were sparing of their goods; they must needs take the field with the soldiers and follow the army. From such a course their rule suffered and piety gained nothing. Among mercenaries, sumpters and camp followers, these hungry nomad monks lived an edifying life. Those who accompanied the Maid were doubtless neither worse nor better than[Pg i.255] the rest, and as they were very hungry their first care was to eat.[911]

The men-at-arms were much too accustomed to seeing monks and nuns mingling side by side in the army to feel any surprise at the sight of the holy damsel in the midst of a band so disreputable. It is true that the damsel was said to work wonders. Many believed in them; others mocked and said aloud: "Behold the brave champion and captain who comes to deliver the realm of France."[912]

The Maid had a banner made for the monks to assemble beneath and summon the men-at-arms to prayer. This banner was white, and on it were represented Jesus on the Cross between Our Lady and Saint John.[913] The Duke of Alençon went back to the King to make known to him the needs of the company at Blois. The King sent the necessary funds; and at length they were ready to set out.[914] At the start there were two roads open, one leading to Orléans along the right bank of the Loire, the other along the left bank. At the end of twelve or fourteen miles the road along the right bank came out on the edge of the Plain of La Beauce, occupied by the English who had garrisons at Marchenoir, Beaugency, Meung, Mont[Pg i.256]pipeau, Saint-Sigismond, and Janville. In that direction lay the risk of meeting the army, which was coming to the aid of the English round Orléans. After the experience of the Battle of the Herrings such a meeting was to be feared. If the road along the left bank were taken, the march would lie through the district of La Sologne, which still belonged to King Charles; and if the river were left well on one side, the army would be out of sight of the English garrisons of Beaugency and of Meung. True, it would involve crossing the Loire, but by going up the river five miles east of the besieged city a crossing could conveniently be effected between Orléans and Jargeau. On due deliberation it was decided that they should go by the left bank through La Sologne. It was decided to take in the victuals in two separate lots for fear the unloading near the enemy's bastions should take too long.[915] On Wednesday, the 27th of April, they started.[916] The priests in procession, with a banner at their head, led the march, singing the Veni creator Spiritus.[917] The Maid rode with them in white armour, bearing her standard. The men-at-arms and the archers followed, escorting six hundred wagons of victuals and ammunition and four hundred head of cattle.[918] The long line of lances, wagons, and herds defiled over the Blois bridge into the vast plain beyond. The first day the army covered twenty miles of rutty road. Then[Pg i.257] at curfew, when the setting sun, reflected in the Loire, made the river look like a sheet of copper between lines of dark reeds, it halted,[919] and the priests sang Gabriel angelus.

That night they encamped in the fields. Jeanne, who had not been willing to take off her armour, awoke aching in every limb.[920] She heard mass and received communion from her chaplain, and exhorted the men-at-arms always to confess their sins.[921] Then the army resumed its march towards Orléans.

[Pg i.258]



ON the evening of Thursday, the 28th of April, Jeanne was able to discern from the heights of Olivet the belfries of the town, the towers of Saint-Paul and Saint-Pierre-Empont, whence the watchmen announced her approach. The army descended the slopes towards the Loire and stopped at the Bouchet wharf, while the carts and the cattle continued their way along the bank as far as l'Île-aux-Bourdons, opposite Chécy, two and a half miles further up the river.[922] There the unloading was to take place. At a signal from the watchmen my Lord the Bastard, accompanied by Thibaut de Termes and certain other captains, left the town by the Burgundian Gate, took a boat at Saint-Jean-de-Braye, and came down to hold counsel with the Lords de Rais and de Loré, who commanded the convoy.[923]


Map of Orleans

Siège de 1429



Meanwhile the Maid had only just perceived that she was on the Sologne bank,[924] and that she had been[Pg i.259] deceived concerning the line of march. Sorrow and wrath possessed her. She had been misled, that was certain. But had it been done on purpose? Had they really intended to deceive her? It is said that she had expressed a wish to go through La Beauce and not through La Sologne, and that she had received the answer: "Jeanne, be reassured; we will take you through La Beauce."[925] Is it possible? Why should the barons have thus trifled with the holy damsel, whom the King had confided to their care, and who already inspired most of them with respect? Certain of them, it is true, believing her not to be in earnest, would willingly have turned her to ridicule; but if one of them had played her the trick of representing La Beauce as La Sologne, how was it there was no one to undeceive her? How could Brother Pasquerel, her chaplain, her steward, and the honest squire d'Aulon, have become the accomplices of so clumsy a jest? It is all very mysterious, and, when one comes to think of it, what is most mysterious is that Jeanne should have expressly asked to go to Orléans through La Beauce. Since she was so ignorant of the way that when crossing the Blois bridge she never suspected that she was going into La Sologne, there is not much likelihood of her realising so exactly the lie of Orléans as to choose between entering it from the south or the west. A damsel knowing naught beyond the name of the gate through which she is to enter the city, and who is yet persuaded by malicious captains to take one road rather than another, sounds too much like a Mother Goose's tale.

Jeanne knew no more of Orléans than she did of[Pg i.260] Babylon. We may therefore conjecture that there was a misunderstanding. She had spoken neither of Sologne nor of Beauce. Her Voices had told her that the English would not budge. They had not shown her a picture of the town, they had not given her either maps or plans: soldiers did not use them. Doubtless Jeanne had said to the captains and priests what she was soon to repeat to the Bastard: "I must go to Talbot and the English." And the priests and soldiers had replied quite frankly: "Jeanne, we are going to Talbot and the English."[926] They had thought they were speaking the truth, since Talbot, who was conducting the siege, would be before them, so to speak, from whatever side they approached the town. But apparently they had not thoroughly understood what the Maid said, and the Maid had not understood what they had replied. For now she was angry and sad at finding herself separated from the town by the sands and waters of the river. What was there to vex her in this? Those who were with her then did not discover; and perhaps her reasons were misunderstood because they were spiritual and mystic. She certainly could not have judged that a military mistake had been made by the bringing of troops and victuals through La Sologne. As she did not know the roads, it was impossible for her to tell which was the best. She was ignorant alike of the enemy's position, of the outworks of the besiegers, and of the defences of the besieged. She had just learnt on what bank of the river the town was situated, yet she must have thought she had good ground for complaint; for she approached the Lord Bastard and inquired sharply: "Are you the Bastard of Orléans?"[Pg i.261] "I am he. I rejoice at your coming." "Was it through your counsel that I came hither on this side of the river, and that I did not go straight to where Talbot and the English are?" "It was I and those wiser than I who gave this counsel, believing we acted for the best and for the greatest safety." But Jeanne retorted: "In God's name! Messire's counsel is better and wiser than yours. You thought to deceive me, but you deceive yourselves. For I bring you surer aid than ever came yet to knight or city; it is the aid of the King of Heaven and comes from God himself, who not merely for my sake but at the prayer of Saint Louis and Saint Charlemagne has had pity upon the town of Orléans, and will not suffer the enemy to hold at once both the body and the city of the Duke."[927]

One may conclude that what really vexed her was that she had not been taken straight to Talbot and the English. She had just heard that Talbot with his camp was on the right bank. And when she spoke of Talbot and the English she meant only those English who were with Talbot. For, as she came down into the Loire valley, near the ford of Saint-Jean-le-Blanc, she must have seen the bastion of Les Augustins and Les Tourelles at the end of the bridge; and she must have known that there were also English on the left bank. But still, it is not clear why she should have desired to appear first before Talbot and his English, and why she was now so annoyed at being separated from him by the Loire. Did she think that the entrenched camp, Saint-Laurent-des-Orgerils, commanded by Scales, Suffolk, and Talbot would be attacked immediately? Such an idea would never of[Pg i.262] itself have occurred to her, since she did not know the place, and no soldier would ever have put such madness into her head as an attack on an entrenched camp by a convoy of cattle and wagons. Neither, as has so often been asserted, can she have thought of forcing a passage between the bastion Saint-Pouair and the outskirts of the wood, since of the bastions and of the forest she knew as little as of the rest. If such had been her intention she would have announced it plainly to the Bastard; for she knew how to make her meaning clear, and even educated persons considered that she spoke well. Then what was her idea? It is not impossible to discover it if one remembers what must have been in the saint's mind at that time, or if one merely recollects by what words and deeds Jeanne had announced and prepared her mission. She had said to the doctors of Poitiers: "The siege of Orléans shall be raised and the town delivered from the enemy after I have summoned it to surrender in God's name."[928] In the name of the King of Heaven she had called upon Scales, Suffolk, and Talbot to raise the siege. She had written that she was ready to make peace, and had bidden them return to England. Now she asked Talbot, Suffolk, and Scales for an answer. Since the English had not sent back her herald she herself came to their leaders as the herald of Messire. She came to require them to make peace, and if they would not make peace she was ready to fight. It was not until they had refused that she could be certain of conquering, not for any human reason, but because her Council had so promised her. Perhaps even she may have hoped that by appearing to the English captains, her standard in[Pg i.263] hand, accompanied by Saint Catherine and Saint Margaret and Saint Michael the Archangel, she would persuade them to leave France. She may have believed that Talbot, falling on his knees, would obey not her, but Him who sent her; that thus she would accomplish that for which she came, without shedding one drop of that French blood which was so dear to her; neither would the English whom she pitied lose their bodies or their souls. In any case God must be obeyed and charity shown: it was only at such a price that victory could be gained. A victory so spiritual, a conquest so angelic, she had come to win; but now it was snatched from her by the false wisdom of the leaders of her party. They were hindering her from fulfilling her mission,—perhaps from giving the promised sign,—and they were involving her with themselves in enterprises less certain of success and less noble in spirit. Hence her sorrow and her wrath.

Even after the discomfiture of her arrival, in order that she might please God, she did not consider herself freed from the obligation of offering peace to her enemies.[929] And since she could not go straight to Talbot's camp she wanted to appear before the fort of Saint-Jean-le-Blanc.[930]

There was no one left behind the palisades. But if she had gone and found any of the enemy there she would first have offered them peace. Of this her subsequent behaviour within the city walls is positive proof. Her mission was not to contribute to the defence of Orléans plans of campaign or stratagems of war; her share in the work of deliverance was[Pg i.264] higher and nobler. To suffering men, weak, unhappy, and selfish, she brought the invincible forces of love and faith, the virtue of sacrifice.

My Lord the Bastard who regarded Jeanne's mission as purely religious, and who would have been greatly astonished had any one told him that he ought to consult this peasant on military matters,[931] appeared as if he did not understand the reproaches she addressed to him. And he went away to see that operations were carried out according to the plans he had made.

Everything had been carefully concerted and prepared, but a slight obstacle occurred. The barges that the people of Orléans were to send for the victuals were not yet unmoored.[932] They were sailing vessels, and, as the wind was blowing from the east, they could not set out. No one knew how long they would be delayed, and time was precious. Jeanne said confidently to those who were growing anxious: "Wait a little, for in God's name everything shall enter the town."[933]

She was right. The wind changed: the sails were unfurled, and the barges were borne up the river by a favourable wind, so strong that one boat was able to tow two or three others.[934] Without hindrance they passed the Saint-Loup bastion. My Lord the Bastard sailed in one of these boats with Nicole de Giresme, Grand Prior of France of the order of Rhodes. And the flotilla came to the port of Chécy,[Pg i.265] where it remained at anchor all night.[935] It was decided that the relieving army should that night encamp at the port of Bouchet and guard the convoy by watching down the river, while one detachment was stationed near the Islands of Chécy to watch up the river in the direction of Jargeau. In company with certain captains, and with a body of men-at-arms and archers, the Maid followed the bank as far as l'Île-aux-Bourdons.[936]

The lords who had brought the convoy decided that they would set out immediately after the unloading. Having accomplished the first part of its task, the army would return to Blois to fetch the remaining victuals and ammunition, for everything had not been brought at once. Hearing that the soldiers, with whom she had come, were going away, Jeanne wished to go with them; and, after having so urgently asked to be taken to Orléans, now that she was before the gates of the city, her one idea was to go back.[937] Thus is the soul of the mystic blown hither and thither by the breath of the Spirit. Now as always Jeanne was guided by impulses purely spiritual. She would not be parted from these soldiers because she believed they had made their peace with God, and she feared that she might not find others as contrite. For her, victory or defeat depended absolutely on whether the combatants were in a state of grace or of sin. To lead them to confession was her only art of war; no[Pg i.266] other science did she know, whether for fighting behind ramparts or in the open field.[938]

"As for entering the town," she said, "it would hurt me to leave my men, and I ought not to do it. They have all confessed, and in their company I should not fear the uttermost power of the English."[939]

In reality, as one may well imagine, whether or no they had confessed, whether they were near or far from her, these mercenaries committed all the sins compatible with the simplicity of their minds. But the innocent damsel did not see them. Sensitive to things invisible, her eyes were closed to things material.

She was confirmed in her resolution to return to Blois by the captains who had brought her and who wanted to take her back, alleging the King's command. They wished to keep her because she brought good luck. My Lord the Bastard, however, saw serious obstacles and even dangers in the way of her return.[940] In the state in which he had left the people of Orléans, if their Maid were not straightway brought before them they would rise in fury and despair, with cries, threats, rioting, and violence; everything was to be feared, even massacres. He entreated the captains, in the King's interest, to agree to Jeanne's entering Orléans; and without great difficulty, he induced them to return to Blois without her. But Jeanne did not give in so quickly. He besought her to decide to cross the Loire. She refused and with such insistence that he must have realised how difficult it is to influence a saint. It was necessary for one of the lords who had brought her, the Sire de Rais[Pg i.267] or the Sire de Loré, to join his entreaties to those of the Bastard, and to say to her: "Assuredly you must go, for we promise to return to you shortly."[941]

At last, when she heard that Brother Pasquerel would go with them to Blois, accompanied by the priests and bearing her standard, believing that her men would have a good spiritual director, she consented to stay.[942] She crossed the Loire with her brothers, her little company, the Bastard, the Marshal de Boussac, the Captain La Hire, and reached Chécy, which was then quite a town, with two churches, an infirmary, and a lepers' hospital.[943] She was received by a rich burgess, one Guy de Cailly, in whose manor of Reuilly she passed the night.[944]

On the morning of the 29th the barges, which had been anchored at Chécy, crossed the Loire, and those who were with the convoy loaded them with victuals, ammunition, and cattle.[945] The river was high.[946] The barges were able to drift down the navigable channel near the left bank. The birches and osiers of l'Île-aux-Bœufs hid them from the English in the Saint-[Pg i.268]Loup bastion. Besides, at that moment, the enemy was occupied elsewhere. The town garrison was skirmishing with them in order to distract their attention. The fighting was somewhat hard. There were slain and wounded; prisoners were taken on both sides; and the English lost a banner.[947] Beneath the deserted[948] watch of Saint-Jean-le-Blanc the barges passed unprotected. Between l'Île-aux-Bœufs and the Islet of Les Martinets they turned starboard, to go down again, following the right bank, under l'Île-aux-Toiles, as far as La Tour Neuve, the base of which was washed by the Loire, at the south-eastern corner of the town. Then they took shelter in the moat near the Burgundian Gate.[949]

The whole day the manor of Reuilly was besieged by a procession of citizens, who could not forbear coming at the risk of their lives to see the promised Maid. It was six o'clock in the evening before she left Chécy. The captains wanted her to enter the town at nightfall for fear of disorders and lest the crush around her should be too great.[950] Doubtless they passed along the broad valleys leading from Semoy towards the south, on the borders of the parishes of Saint-Marc and Saint-Jean-de-Braye. On the way she said to those who rode with her: "Fear nothing. No harm shall happen to you."[951] And indeed the only danger was for pedestrians. Horsemen ran little risk of being pursued by the English, who were short of horses in their bastions.

[Pg i.269]

On that Friday, the 29th of April, in the darkness, she entered Orléans, by the Burgundian Gate. She was in full armour and rode a white horse.[952] A white horse was the steed of heralds and archangels.[953] The Bastard had placed her on his right. Before her was borne her standard, on which figured two angels, each holding a flower de luce, and her pennon, painted with the picture of the Annunciation. Then came the Marshal de Boussac, Guy de Cailly, Pierre and Jean d'Arc, Jean de Metz, and Bertrand de Poulengy, the Sire d'Aulon, and those lords, captains, men-of-war, and citizens who had come to meet her at Chécy.[954] Bearing torches and rejoicing as heartily as if they had seen God himself descending among them, the townfolk of Orléans pressed around her.[955] They had suffered great privations, they had feared that help would never come; but now they were heartened and felt as if the siege had been raised already by the divine virtue, which they had been told resided in this Maid. They looked at her with love and veneration; elbowing and pushing each other, men, women, and children rushed forward to touch her and her white horse, as folk touch the relics of saints. In the crush a torch set her pennon on fire. The Maid, beholding it, spurred on her horse and galloped to the flame, which she extinguished with a skill apparently mirac[Pg i.270]ulous; for everything in her was marvellous.[956] Men-at-arms and citizens, enraptured, accompanied her in crowds to the Church of Sainte-Croix, whither she went first to give thanks, then to the house of Jacques Boucher, where she was to lodge.[957]

Jacques or Jacquet Boucher, as he was called, had been the Duke of Orléans' treasurer for several years. He was a very rich man and had married the daughter of one of the most influential burgesses of the city.[958] Having stayed in the town throughout the siege, he contributed to the defence by gifts of wheat, oats, and wine, and by advancing funds for the purchase of ammunition and weapons. As the care of the ramparts fell to the burgesses, it was Jacques' duty to keep in repair and ready for defence the Renard Gate, where he dwelt, which was the most exposed to the English attack. His mansion, one of the finest and largest in the town, once inhabited by Regnart or Renard, the family which had given its name to the gate, was in the Rue des Talmeliers, quite near the fortifications. The captains held their councils of war there, when they did not meet at the house of Chancellor Guillaume Cousinot in the Rue de la Rose.[959] Jacques Boucher's dwelling was doubtless well furnished with silver plate and storied tapestry.[Pg i.271] It would appear that in one of the rooms there was a picture representing three women and bearing this inscription: Justice, Peace, Union.[960]

Into this house the Maid was received with her two brothers, the two comrades who had brought her to the King, and their valets. She had her armour taken off.[961] Jacques Boucher's wife and daughter passed the night with her. Jeanne shared the child's bed. She was nine years old and was called Charlotte after Duke Charles, who was her father's lord.[962] It was the custom in those days for the host to share his bed with his man guest and the hostess with her woman guest. This was the rule of courtesy; kings observed it as well as burgesses. Children were taught how to behave towards a sleeping companion, to keep to their own part of the bed, not to fidget, and to sleep with their mouths shut.[963]

Thus the Duke's treasurer took the Maid into his house and entertained her at the town's expense. Jeanne's horses were stabled by a burgess named Jean Pillas.

As for the D'Arc brothers, they did not stay with[Pg i.272] their sister, but lodged in the house of Thévenin Villedart. The town paid all their expenses; for example it furnished them with the shoes and gaiters they needed and gave them a few gold crowns. Three of the Maid's comrades, who were very destitute and came to see her at Orléans, received food.[964]

On the next day, the 30th of April, the town bands of Orléans were early afoot. From morn till eve everything in the town was topsy-turvy; the rebellion, which had been repressed so long, now broke forth. As early as February the citizens had begun to mistrust and hate the knights;[965] now at last they shook off their yoke and broke it.[966] Henceforth they would recognise no King's lieutenant, no governor, no lords, no generals; there was but one power and one defence: the Maid.[967] The Maid was the people's captain. This damsel, this shepherdess, this nun did the knights the greatest injury they ever experienced: she reduced them to nothing. On the morning of the 30th they must have been convinced that the popular revolution had taken place. The town bands were waiting for the Maid to put herself at their head, and with her to march immediately against the Godons. The captains endeavoured to make them understand that they must wait for the army from Blois and the company of Marshal de Boussac, who that night had set out to meet the army. The citizens in arms would listen to nothing, and with loud cries clamoured for the Maid. She did not appear. My Lord the Bastard, who was honey-tongued, had[Pg i.273] advised her to keep away.[968] This was the last advantage the leaders gained over her. And now as before, when she appeared to give way to them, she was merely doing as she liked. As for the citizens, with the Maid or without her, they were determined to fight. The Bastard could not hinder them. They sallied forth,[969] accompanied by the Gascons of Captain La Hire and the men of Messire Florent d'Illiers. They bravely attacked the bastion Saint-Pouair, which the English called Paris, and which was about eight hundred yards from the walls. They overcame the outposts and approached so close to the bastion that they were already clamouring for faggots and straw to be brought from the town to set fire to the palisades. But at the cry "Saint George!" the English gathered themselves together, and after a sore and sanguinary fight repulsed the attack of the citizens and free-lances.[970]

The Maid had known nothing of it. Sent from God, on her white horse, a messenger armed yet peaceful, she held it neither just nor pious to fight the English before they had refused her offers of peace. On that day as before her one wish was to go in true saintly wise straight to Talbot. She asked for tidings of her letter and learnt that the English captains had paid no heed to it, and had detained her herald, Guyenne.[971] This is what had happened:

That letter, which the Bastard deemed couched in[Pg i.274] vulgar phrase, produced a marvellous impression on the English. It filled them with fear and rage. They kept the herald who had brought it; and, although use and custom insisted on the person of such officers being respected, alleging that a sorceress's messenger must be a heretic, they put him in chains, and after some sort of a trial condemned him to be burnt as the accomplice of the seductress.[972]

They even put up the stake to which he was to be bound. And yet, before executing the sentence, they judged it well to consult the University of Paris, as in like manner the Bishop of Beauvais was to consult it eighteen months later.[973] Their evil disposition arose from fear. These unfortunates, who were treated as devils, were afraid of devils. They suspected the subtle French of being necromancers and sorcerers. They said that by repeating magic lines the Armagnacs had compassed the death of the great King, Henry V. Fearing lest their enemies should make use of sorcery and enchantment against them, in order to protect themselves from all evil influences, they wore bands of parchment inscribed with the formulæ of conjuration and called periapts.[974] The most efficacious of these amulets was the first chapter of the Gospel of St. John. At this time the stars were unfavourable to them, and astrologers were reading their approaching ruin in the sky. Their late King, Henry V, when he was studying at Oxford, had learnt there the rules of divination by the stars. For his own special use he kept in his coffers two astrolabes,[Pg i.275] one of silver and one of gold. When his queen, Catherine of France, was about to be confined, he himself cast the horoscope of the expected child. And further, as there was a prophecy in England[975] which said that Windsor would lose what Monmouth had gained, he determined that the Queen should not be confined at Windsor. But destiny cannot be thwarted. The royal child was born at Windsor. His father was in France when he heard the tidings. He held them to be of ill omen, and summoned Jean Halbourd of Troyes, minister general of the Trinitarians or Mathurins, "excellent in astrology," who, having drawn up the scheme of nativity, could only confirm the King in his doleful presentiments.[976] And now the time had come. Windsor reigned; all would be lost. Merlin had predicted that they would be driven out of France and by a Virgin utterly undone. When the Maid appeared they grew pale with fright, and fear fell upon captains and soldiers.[977] Those whom no man could make afraid, trembled before this girl whom they held to be a witch. They could not be expected to regard her as a saint sent of God. The best they could think of her was that she was a very learned sorceress.[978] To those she came to help she appeared a daughter of God, to those she came to destroy she appeared a horrid monster in woman's form. In this double aspect lay all her strength: angelic for the French, devilish for the English, to one and the other she appeared invincible and supernatural.

In the evening of the 30th she sent her herald,[Pg i.276] Ambleville, to the camp of Saint-Laurent-des-Orgerils to ask for Guyenne, who had borne the letter from Blois and had not returned. Ambleville was also instructed to tell Sir John Talbot, the Earl of Suffolk, and the Lord Scales that in God's name the Maid required them to depart from France and go to England; otherwise they would suffer hurt. The English sent back Ambleville with an evil message.

"The English," he said to the Maid, "are keeping my comrade to burn him."

She made answer: "In God's name they will do him no harm." And she commanded Ambleville to return.[979]

She was indignant, and, no doubt, greatly disappointed. In truth, she had never anticipated that Talbot and the leaders of the siege would give such a welcome to a letter inspired by Saint Catherine and Saint Margaret and Saint Michael; but so broad was her charity that she was still willing to offer peace to the English. In her innocence she may have believed that her proclamations in God's name were misunderstood after all. Besides, whatever happened, she was determined to go through with her duty to the end. At night she sallied forth from the Bridge Gate and went as far as the outwork of La Belle-Croix. It was not unusual for the two sides to address each other. La Belle-Croix was within ear-shot of Les Tourelles. The Maid mounted the rampart and cried to the English: "Surrender in God's name. I will grant you your lives only."

But the garrison and even the Captain, William Glasdale himself, hurled back at her coarse insults and horrible threats.[Pg i.277]

"Milk-maid! If ever we get you, you shall be burned alive."[980]

She answered that it was a lie. But they were in earnest and sincere. They firmly believed that this damsel was arming legions of devils against them.

On Sunday, the 1st of May, my Lord the Bastard went to meet the army from Blois.[981] He knew the country; and, being both energetic and cautious, he was desirous to superintend the entrance of this convoy as he had done that of the other. He set out with a small escort. He did not dare to take with him the Saint herself; but, in order, so to speak, to put himself under her protection and tactfully to flatter the piety and affections of the folk of Orléans, he took a member of her suite, her steward, Sire Jean d'Aulon.[982] Thus he grasped the first opportunity of showing his good will to the Maid, feeling that henceforth nothing could be done except with her or under her patronage.

The fervour of the citizens was not abated. That very day, in their passionate desire to see the Saint, they crowded round Jacques Boucher's house as turbulently as the pilgrims from Puy pressed into the sanctuary of La Vierge Noire. There was a danger of the doors being broken in. The cries of the townsfolk reached her. Then she appeared: good, wise, equal to her mission, one born for the salvation of the people. In the absence of captains and men-at-arms, this wild multitude only awaited a sign from her to throw itself in tumult on the bastions and perish there. Notwithstanding the visions of war that[Pg i.278] haunted her, that sign she did not give. Child as she was, and as ignorant of war as of life, there was that within her which turned away disaster. She led this crowd of men, not to the English bastions, but to the holy places of the city. Down the streets she rode, accompanied by many knights and squires; men and women pressed to see her and could not gaze upon her enough. They marvelled at the manner of her riding and of her behaviour, in every point like a man-at-arms; and they would have hailed her as a veritable Saint George had they not suspected Saint George of turning Englishman.[983]

That Sunday, for the second time, she went forth to offer peace to the enemies of the kingdom. She passed out by the Renard Gate and went along the Blois Road, through the suburbs that had been burnt down, towards the English bastion. Surrounded by a double moat, it was planted on a slope at the crossroads called La Croix Boissée or Buissée, because the townsfolk of Orléans had erected a cross there, which every Palm Sunday they dressed with a branch of box blessed by the priest. Doubtless she intended to reach this bastion, and perhaps to go on to the camp of Saint-Laurent-des-Orgerils situated between La Croix Boissée and the Loire, where, as she had said, were Talbot and the English. For she had not yet given up hope of gaining a hearing from the leaders of the siege. But at the foot of the hill, at a place called La Croix-Morin, she met some Godons who were keeping watch. And there, in tones grave, pious, and noble, she summoned them to retreat before the hosts of the Lord. "Surrender, and your lives shall be spared. In God's name go[Pg i.279] back to England. If ye will not I will make you suffer for it."[984]

These men-at-arms answered her with insults as those of Les Tourelles had done. One of them, the Bastard of Granville, cried out to her: "Would you have us surrender to a woman?"

The French, who were with her, they dubbed pimps and infidels, to shame them for being in the company of a bad woman and a witch.[985] But whether because they thought her magic rendered her invulnerable, or because they held it dishonourable to strike a messenger, now, as on other occasions, they forbore to fire on her.

That Sunday, Jacquet le Prestre, the town varlet, offered the Maid wine.[986] The magistrates and citizens could not have more highly honoured her whom they regarded as their captain. Thus they treated barons, kings and queens when they were entertained in the city. In those days wine was highly valued on account of its beneficent power. Jeanne, when she emphasised a wish, would say: "If I were never to drink wine between now and Easter!..."[987] But in reality she never drank wine except mixed with water, and she ate little.[988]

Throughout this time of waiting the Maid never rested for a moment. On Monday, May 2nd, she mounted her horse and rode out into the country to view the English bastions. The people followed her[Pg i.280] in crowds; they had no fear and were glad to be near her. And when she had seen all that she wanted, she returned to the city, to the cathedral church, where she heard vespers.[989]

On the morrow, the 3rd of May, the day of the Invention of the Holy Cross, which was the Cathedral Festival, she followed in the procession, with the magistrates and the townsfolk. It was then that Maître Jean de Mâcon, the precentor of the cathedral,[990] greeted her with these words: "My daughter, are you come to raise the siege?"

She replied: "Yea, in God's name."[991]

The people of Orléans all believed that the English round the city were as innumerable as the stars in the sky; the notary, Guillaume Girault, expected nothing short of a miracle.[992] Jean Luillier, woollen draper[993] by trade, thought it impossible for the citizens to hold out longer against an enemy so enormously their superior.[994] Messire Jean de Mâcon was likewise alarmed at the power and the numbers of the Godons.

"My daughter," he said to the Maid, "their force is great and they are strongly intrenched. It will be a difficult matter to turn them out."[995]

If notary Guillaume Girault, if draper Jean Luillier,[Pg i.281] if Messire Jean de Mâcon, instead of fostering these gloomy ideas, had counted the numbers of the besieged and the besieging, they would have found that the former were more numerous than the latter; and that the army of Scales, of Suffolk, of Talbot appeared mean and feeble when compared with the great besieging armies of the reign of King Henry V. Had they looked a little more closely they would have perceived that the bastions, with the formidable names of London and of Paris, were powerless to prevent either corn, cattle, pigs, or men-at-arms being brought into the city; and that these gigantic dolls were being mocked at by the dealers, who, with their beasts, passed by them daily. In short, they would have realised that the people of Orléans were for the moment better off than the English. But they had examined nothing for themselves. They were content to abide by public opinion which is seldom either just or correct. The Maid did not share Messire Jean de Mâcon's illusions. She knew no more of the English than he did; yet because she was a saint, she replied tranquilly: "With God all things are possible."[996] And Maître Jean de Mâcon thought it well that such should be her opinion.

What aggravated the trouble, the danger, and the panic of the situation, was that the citizens believed they were betrayed. They recollected the Count of Clermont at the Battle of the Herrings, and they suspected the King's men of deserting them once again. After having done so much and spent so much they saw themselves given up to the English. This idea made them mad.[997] There was a rumour that the Marshal de Boussac, who had started with my Lord[Pg i.282] the Bastard to meet the second convoy of supplies, and who was to return on Tuesday the 3rd, would not come back. It was said that the Chancellor of France wanted to disband the army. It was absurd. On the contrary, great efforts for the deliverance of the city were being made by the King's Council and that of the Queen of Sicily. But the people's brains had been turned by their long suffering and their terrible danger. A more reasonable fear was lest any mishap should occur on the road from Blois like that which had overtaken the force at Rouvray. The Maid's comrades were infected with the anxieties of the townsfolk; one of them betrayed his fears to her, but she was not affected by them. With the radiant tranquillity of the illuminated, she said:[998] "The Marshal will come. I am confident that no harm will happen to him."[999]

On that day there entered into the city the little garrisons of Gien, of Château-Regnard, and of Montargis.[1000] But the Blois army did not come. On the morrow, at daybreak, it was descried in the plain of La Beauce. And, indeed, the Sire de Rais and his company, escorted by the Marshal de Boussac and my Lord the Bastard, were skirting the Forest of Orléans.[1001] At these tidings the citizens must needs exclaim that the Maid had been right in wishing to march straight against Talbot since the captains now followed the[Pg i.283] very road she had indicated. But in reality it was not just as they thought. Only one part of the Blois army had risked forcing its way between the western bastions; the convoy, with its escort, like the first convoy, was coming through La Sologne and was to enter the town by water. Those arrangements for the entrance of supplies, which, in the first instance, had proved successful, were naturally now repeated.[1002]

Captain La Hire and certain other commanders, who had remained in the city with five hundred fighting men, went out to meet the Sire de Rais, the Marshal de Boussac and the Bastard. The Maid mounted her horse and went with them. They passed through the English lines; and, a little further on, having met the army, they returned to the town together. The priests, and among them Brother Pasquerel bearing the banner, were the first to pass beneath the Paris bastion, singing psalms.[1003]

Jeanne dined at Jacques Boucher's house with her steward, Jean d'Aulon. When the table was cleared, the Bastard, who had come to the treasurer's house, talked with her for a moment. He was gracious and polite, but spoke with restraint.

"I have heard on good authority," he remarked, "that Fastolf is soon to join the English who are conducting the siege. He brings them supplies and reinforcements and is already at Janville."

At these tidings Jeanne appeared very glad and[Pg i.284] said, laughing: "Bastard, Bastard, in God's name, I command thee to let me know as soon as thou shalt hear of Fastolf's arrival. For should he come without my knowledge, I warn thee thou shalt lose thy head."[1004]

Far from betraying any annoyance at so rude a jest, he replied that she need have no fear, he would let her know.[1005]

The approach of Sir John Fastolf had already been announced on the 26th of April. It was expressly in order to avoid him that the army had come through La Sologne. It is possible that on the 4th of May the tidings of his coming had no surer foundation. But the Bastard knew something else. The corn of the second convoy, like that of the first, was coming down the river. It had been resolved, in a council of war, that in the afternoon the captains should attack the Saint-Loup bastion, and divert the English as had been done on the 29th of April.[1006] The attack had already begun. But of this the Bastard breathed not a word to the Maid. He held her to be the one source of strength in the town. But he believed that in war her part was purely spiritual.[1007]

After he had withdrawn, Jeanne, worn out by her morning's expedition, lay down on her bed with her hostess for a short sleep. Sire Jean d'Aulon, who was very weary, stretched himself on a couch in the same room, thinking to take the rest he so greatly needed. But scarce had he fallen asleep when the[Pg i.285] Maid leapt from her bed and roused him with a great noise. He asked her what she wanted.

"In God's name," she answered in great agitation, "my Council have told me to go against the English; but I know not whether I am to go against their bastions or against Fastolf, who is bringing them supplies."[1008]

In her dreams she had been present at her Council, that is to say, she had beheld her saints. She had seen Saint Catherine and Saint Margaret. There had happened to her what always happens. The saints had told her no more than she herself knew. They had revealed to her nothing of what she needed to know. They had not informed her how, at that very moment, the French were attacking the Saint-Loup bastion and suffering great hurt. And the Blessed Ones had departed leaving her in error and in ignorance of what was going on, and in uncertainty as to what she was to do. The good Sire d'Aulon was not the one to relieve her from her embarrassment. He, too, was excluded from the Councils of War. Now he answered her nothing, and set to arming himself as quickly as possible. He had already begun when they heard a great noise and cries coming up from the street. From the passers-by, they gleaned that there was fighting near Saint-Loup and that the enemy was inflicting great hurt on the French. Without staying to inquire further, Jean d'Aulon went straightway to his squire to have his armour put on. Almost at the same time Jeanne went down and asked: "Where are my armourers? The blood of our folk is flowing."[1009]

In the street she found Brother Pasquerel, her chaplain, with other priests, and Mugot, her page, to[Pg i.286] whom she cried: "Ha! cruel boy, you did not tell me that the blood of France was being shed!... In God's name, our people are hard put to it."[1010]

She bade him bring her horse and leave the wife and daughter of her host to finish arming her. On his return the page found her fully accoutred. She sent him to fetch her standard from her room. He gave it her through the window. She took it and spurred on her horse into the high street, towards the Burgundian Gate, at such a pace that sparks flashed from the pavement.

"Hasten after her!" cried the treasurer's wife.[1011]

Sire d'Aulon had not seen her start. He imagined, why, it is impossible to say, that she had gone out on foot, and, having met a page on horseback in the street, had made him dismount and give her his horse.[1012] The Renard Gate and the Burgundian Gate were on opposite sides of the town. Jeanne, who for the last three days had been going up and down the streets of Orléans, took the most direct way. Jean d'Aulon and the page, who were hastily pursuing her, did not come up with her until she had reached the gate. There they met a wounded man being brought into the town. The Maid asked his bearers who the man was. He was a Frenchman, they replied. Then she said: "I have never seen the blood of a Frenchman flow without feeling my heart stand still."[1013]

The Maid and Sire d'Aulon, with a few fighting men of their company, pressed on through the fields to Saint-Loup. On the way they saw certain of their party. The good squire, unaccustomed to great[Pg i.287] battles, never remembered having seen so many fighting men at once.[1014]

For an hour the Sire de Rais' Bretons and the men from Le Mans had been skirmishing before the bastion. As the custom was those who had arrived last were keeping watch.[1015] But if these combatants, who had reached the town only that very morning, had attacked without taking time to breathe, they must have been hard pressed. They were doing what had been done on the 29th of April, and for the same reason:[1016] namely, occupying the English while the barges corn-laden were coming down the river to the moat. On the top of their high hill, in their strong fortress, the English had easily held out albeit they were but few; and the French King's men can hardly have been able to make head against them, since the Maid and Sire d'Aulon found them scattered through the fields. She gathered them together and led them back to the attack. They were her friends: they had journeyed together: they had sung psalms and hymns together: together they had heard mass in the fields. They knew that she brought good luck: they followed her. As she marched at their head her first idea was a religious one. The bastion was built upon the church and convent of the Ladies of Saint-Loup. With the sound of a trumpet she had it proclaimed that nothing should be taken from the church.[1017] She remembered how Salisbury had come to a bad end for having pillaged the Church of Notre Dame de[Pg i.288] Cléry; and she desired to keep her men from an evil death.[1018] This was the first time she had seen fighting; and no sooner had she entered into the battle than she became the leader because she was the best. She did better than others, not because she knew more; she knew less. But her heart was nobler. When every man thought of himself, she alone thought of others: when every man took heed to defend himself, she defended herself not at all, having previously offered up her life. And thus this child,—who feared suffering and death like every human being, who knew by her Voices and her presentiments that she would be wounded,—went straight on and stood beneath showers of arrows and cannon-balls on the edge of the moat, her standard in hand, rallying her men.[1019] Through her what had been merely a diversion became a serious attack. The bastion was stormed.

When he heard that the fort of Saint-Loup was being attacked, Sir John Talbot sallied forth from the camp of Saint-Laurent-des-Orgerils. In order to reach the threatened bastion he had some distance to go down his lines and along the border of the forest. He set out, and on his way was reinforced by the garrisons of the western bastions. The town watchmen observed his movements and sounded the alarm. Marshal Boussac passing through the Parisis Gate, went out to meet Talbot on the north, towards Fleury. The English captain was preparing to break through the French force when he saw a thick cloud[Pg i.289] of smoke rising over the fort Saint-Loup. He understood that the French had captured and set fire to it; and sadly he returned to the camp of Saint-Laurent-des-Orgerils.[1020]

The attack had lasted three hours. After the burning of the bastion the English climbed into the church belfry. The French had difficulty in dislodging them; but they ran no danger thereby. Of prisoners, they took two score, and the rest they slew. The Maid was very sorrowful when she saw so many of the enemy dead. She pitied these poor folk who had died unconfessed.[1021] Certain Godons, wearing the ecclesiastical habit and ornaments, came to meet her. She perceived that they were soldiers disguised in stoles and hoods taken from the sacristy of the Abbaye aux Dames. But she pretended to take them for what they represented themselves to be. She received them and had them conducted to her house without allowing any harm to come to them. With a charitable jest she said: "One should never question priests."[1022]

Before leaving the fort she confessed to Brother[Pg i.290] Pasquerel, her chaplain. And she charged him to make the following announcement to all the men-at-arms: "Confess your sins and thank God for the victory. If you do not, the Maid will never help you more and will not remain in your company."[1023]

The Saint-Loup bastion, attacked by fifteen hundred French, had been defended by only three hundred English. That they made no vigorous defence is indicated by the fact that only two or three Frenchmen were slain.[1024] It was not by any severe mental effort or profound calculation that the French King's men had gained this advantage. It had cost them little, and yet it was immense. It meant the cutting off of the besiegers' communications with Jargeau: it meant the opening of the upper Loire: it was the first step towards the raising of the siege. Better still, it afforded positive proof that these devils who had inspired such fear were miserable creatures, who[Pg i.291] might be entrapped like mice and smoked out like wasps in their nest. Such unhoped-for good fortune was due to the Maid. She had done everything, for without her nothing would have been done. She it was, who, in ignorance wiser than the knowledge of captains and free-lances, had converted an idle skirmish into a serious attack and had won the victory by inspiring confidence.

That very evening the magistrates sent workmen to Saint-Loup to demolish the captured fortifications.[1025]

When at night she returned to her lodging, Jeanne told her chaplain that on the morrow, which was the day of the Ascension of Our Lord, she would keep the Festival by not wearing armour and by abstaining from fighting. She commanded that no one should think of quitting the town, of attacking or making an assault, until he had first confessed. She added that the men-at-arms must pay heed that no dissolute women followed in their train for fear lest God should cause them to be defeated on account of their sins.[1026]

When need was the Maid herself saw that her orders concerning bad women and blasphemers were scrupulously obeyed. More than once she drove away the camp-followers. She rebuked men-at-arms who swore and blasphemed. One day, in the open street, a knight began to swear and take God's name in vain. Jeanne heard him. She seized him by the throat, exclaiming, "Ah, Sir! dare you take in vain the name of Our Lord and Master? In God's name you shall take back those words before I move from this place."

A citizen's wife, passing down the street at that[Pg i.292] moment, beheld this man, who seemed to her to be a great baron, humbly receiving the Saint's reproaches and testifying his repentance.[1027]

On the morrow, which was Ascension Day, the captains held a council-of-war in the house of Chancellor Cousinot in the Rue de la Rose.[1028] There were present, as well as the Chancellor, my Lord the Bastard, the Sire de Gaucourt, the Sire de Rais, the Sire de Graville, Captain La Hire, my Lord Ambroise de Loré and several others. It was decided that Les Tourelles, the chief stronghold of the besiegers, should be attacked on the morrow. Meanwhile, it would be necessary to hold in check the English of the camp of Saint-Laurent-des-Orgerils. On the previous day, when Talbot set out from Saint-Laurent, he had not been able to reach Saint-Loup in time because he had been obliged to make a long circuit, going round the town from west to east. But, although, on that previous day, the enemy had lost command of the Loire above the town, they still held the lower river. They could cross it between Saint-Laurent and Saint-Privé[1029] as rapidly as the French could cross it by the Île-aux-Toiles; and thus the English might gather in force at Le Portereau. This, the French must prevent and, if possible, draw off the garrisons from Les Augustins and Les Tourelles to Saint-Laurent-des-Orgerils. With this object it was decided that the people of[Pg i.293] Orléans with the folk from the communes, that is, from the villages, should make a feigned attack on the Saint-Laurent camp, with mantelets, faggots, and ladders. Meanwhile, the nobles would cross the Loire by l'Île-aux-Toiles, would land at Le Portereau under the watch of Saint-Jean-le-Blanc which had been abandoned by the English, and attack the bastion of Les Augustins; and when that was taken, the fort of Les Tourelles.[1030] Thus there would be one assault made by the citizens, another by the nobles; one real, the other feigned; both useful, but only one glorious and worthy of knights. When the plan was thus drawn up, certain captains were of opinion that it would be well to send for the Maid and tell her what had been decided.[1031] And, indeed, on the previous day, she had done so well that there was no longer need to hold her aloof. Others deemed that it would be imprudent to tell her what was contemplated concerning Les Tourelles. For it was important that the undertaking should be kept secret, and it was feared that the holy damsel might speak of it to her friends among the common people. Finally, it was agreed that she should know those decisions which affected the train-bands of Orléans, since, indeed, she was their captain, but that such matters as could not be safely communicated to the citizens should be concealed from her.

Jeanne was in another room of the house with the Chancellor's wife. Messire Ambroise de Loré went to fetch her; and, when she had come, the Chancellor told her that the camp of Saint-Laurent-des-Orgerils was to be attacked on the morrow. She divined that something was being kept back; for she possessed a[Pg i.294] certain acuteness. Besides, since they had hitherto concealed everything, it was natural she should suspect that something was still being kept from her. This mistrust annoyed her. Did they think her incapable of keeping a secret? She said bitterly: "Tell me what you have concluded and ordained. I could keep a much greater secret than that."[1032]

And refusing to sit down she walked to and fro in the room.

My Lord the Bastard deemed it well to avoid exasperating her by telling her the truth. He pacified her without incriminating anybody: "Jeanne, do not rage. It is impossible to tell you everything at once. What the Chancellor has said has been concluded and ordained. But if those on the other side [of the water, the English of La Sologne] should depart to come and succour the great bastion of Saint-Laurent and the English who are encamped near this part of the city, we have determined that some of us shall cross the river to do what we can against those on the other side [those of Les Augustins and Les Tourelles]. And it seems to us that such a decision is good and profitable."

The Maid replied that she was content, that such a decision seemed to her good, and that it should be carried out in the manner determined.[1033]

It will be seen that by this proceeding the secrecy of the deliberations had been violated, and that the nobles had not been able to do what they had determined or at least not in the way they had determined. On that Ascension Day the Maid for the last time sent a message of peace to the English, which she[Pg i.295] dictated to Brother Pasquerel in the following terms: Ye men of England, who have no right in the realm of France, the King of Heaven enjoins and commands you by me, Jeanne the Maid, to leave your forts and return to your country. If ye will not I will make so great a noise as shall remain for ever in the memory of man: This I write to you for the third and last time, and I will write to you no more.

Signed thus: Jhesus—Maria. Jeanne the Maid.

And below: I should have sent to you with more ceremony. But you keep my heralds. You kept my herald Guyenne. If you will send him back to me, I will send you some of your men taken at the bastion Saint-Loup; they are not all dead.[1034]

Jeanne went to La Belle Croix, took an arrow, and tied her letter to it with a string, then told an archer to shoot it to the English, crying: "Read! This is the message."

The English received the arrow, untied the letter, and having read it they cried: "This a message from the Armagnac strumpet."

When she heard them, tears came into Jeanne's eyes and she wept. But soon she beheld her saints, who spoke to her of Our Lord, and she was comforted. "I have had a message from my Lord," she said joyfully.[1035]

My Lord the Bastard himself demanded the Maid's herald, threatening that if he were not sent back he would keep the heralds whom the English had sent to treat for the exchange of prisoners. It is asserted that he even threatened to put those prisoners to death. But Ambleville did not return.[1036]

[Pg i.296]



ON the morrow, Friday the 6th of May, the Maid rose at daybreak. She confessed to her chaplain and heard mass sung before the priests and fighting men of her company.[1037] The zealous townsfolk were already up and armed. Whether or no she had told them, the citizens, who were strongly determined to cross the Loire and attack Les Tourelles themselves, were pressing in crowds to the Burgundian Gate. They found it shut. The Sire de Gaucourt was guarding it with men-at-arms. The nobles had taken this precaution in case the citizens should discover their enterprise and wish to take part in it. The gate was closed and well defended. Bent on fighting and themselves recovering their precious jewel, Les Tourelles, the citizens had recourse to her before whom gates opened and walls fell; they sent for the Saint. She came, frank and terrible. She went straight to the old Sire de Gaucourt, and, refusing to listen to him, said: "You are a wicked man to try to prevent these people from going out. But whether you will or no, they will go and will do as well as they did the other day."[1038]

[Pg i.297]

Excited by Jeanne's voice and encouraged by her presence, the citizens, crying slaughter, threw themselves on Gaucourt and his men-at-arms. When the old baron perceived that he could do nothing with them, and that it was impossible to bring them to his way of thinking, he himself joined them. He had the gates opened wide and cried out to the townsfolk: "Come, I will be your captain."

And with the Lord of Villars and Sire d'Aulon he went out at the head of the soldiers, who had been keeping the gate, and all the train-bands of the town. At the foot of La Tour-Neuve, at the eastern corner of the ramparts, there were boats at anchor. In them l'Île-aux-Toiles was reached, and thence on a bridge formed by two boats they crossed over the narrow arm of the river which separates l'Île-aux-Toiles from the Sologne bank.[1039] Those who arrived first entered the abandoned fort of Saint-Jean-le-Blanc, and, while waiting for the others, amused themselves by demolishing it.[1040] Then, when all had passed over, the townsfolk gayly marched against Les Augustins. The bastion was situated in front of Les Tourelles, on the ruins of the monastery; and the bastion would have to be taken before the fortifications at the end of the bridge could be attacked. But the enemy came out of their entrenchments and advanced within two bow-shots of the French, upon whom from their bows and cross-bows they let fly so thick a shower of arrows that the men of Orléans could not stand against them. They gave way and fled to the bridge of boats: then, afraid of being cast into the[Pg i.298] river, they crossed over to l'Île-aux-Toiles.[1041] The fighting men of the Sire de Gaucourt were more accustomed to war. With the Lord of Villars, Sire d'Aulon, and a valiant Spaniard, Don Alonzo de Partada, they took their stand on the slope of Saint-Jean-le-Blanc and resisted the enemy. Although very few in number, they were still holding out when, about three o'clock in the afternoon, Captain La Hire and the Maid crossed the river with the free-lances. Seeing the French hard put to it, and the English in battle array, they mounted their horses, which they had brought over with them, and holding their lances in rest spurred on against the enemy. The townsfolk, taking heart, followed them and drove back the English. But at the foot of the bastion they were again repulsed.[1042] In great agitation the Maid galloped from the bastion to the bank, and from the bank to the bastion, calling for the knights; but the knights did not come. Their plans had been upset, their order of battle reversed, and they needed time to collect themselves. At last she saw floating over the island the banners of my Lord the Bastard, the Marshal de Boussac, and the Lord de Rais. The artillery came too, and Master Jean de Montesclère with his culverin and his gunners, bringing all the engines needed for the assault. Four thousand men assembled round Les Augustins. But much time had been lost; they were only just beginning, and the sun was going down.[1043]

The Sire de Gaucourt's men were ranged behind, to[Pg i.299] cover the besiegers in case the English from the bridge end should come to the aid of their countrymen in Les Augustins. But a quarrel arose in de Gaucourt's company. Some, like Sire d'Aulon and Don Alonzo, judged it well to stay at their post. Others were ashamed to stand idle. Hence haughty words and bravado. Finally Don Alonzo and a man-at-arms, having challenged each other to see who would do the best, ran towards the bastion hand in hand. At one single volley Maître Jean's culverin overthrew the palisade. Straightway the two champions forced their way in.[1044]

"Enter boldly!" cried the Maid.[1045] And she planted her standard on the rampart. The Sire de Rais followed her closely.

The numbers of the French were increasing. They made a strong attack on the bastion and soon took it by storm. Then one by one they had to assault the buildings of the monastery in which the Godons were entrenched. In the end all the English were slain or taken, except a few, who took refuge in Les Tourelles. In the huts the French found many of their own men imprisoned. After bringing them out, they set fire to the fort, and thus made known to the English their new disaster.[1046] It is said to have been the Maid who ordered the fire in order to put a stop to the pillage in which her men were mercilessly engaging.[1047]

A great advantage had been won. But the French[Pg i.300] were slow to regain confidence. When, in the darkness by the light of the fire, they beheld for the first time close to them the bulwarks of Les Tourelles, the men-at-arms were afraid. Certain said: "It would take us more than a month to capture it."[1048]

The lords, captains, and men-at-arms went back to the town to pass a quiet night. The archers and most of the townsfolk stayed at Le Portereau. The Maid would have liked to stay too, so as to be sure of beginning again on the morrow.[1049] But, seeing that the captains were leaving their horses and their pages in the fields, she followed them to Orléans.[1050] Wounded in the foot by a caltrop,[1051] overcome with fatigue, she felt weak, and contrary to her custom she broke her fast, although the day was Friday.[1052] According to Brother Pasquerel, who in this matter is not very trustworthy, while she was finishing her supper in her lodging, there came to her a noble whose name is not mentioned and who addressed her thus: "The captains have met in council.[1053] They recognise how few we were in comparison with the English, and that it was by God's great favour that we won the victory. Now that the town is plentifully supplied we may well wait for help from the King. Wherefore, the council deems it inexpedient for the men-at-arms to make a sally to-morrow."

Jeanne replied: "You have been at your council;[Pg i.301] I have been at mine. Now believe me the counsel of Messire shall be followed and shall hold good, whereas your counsel shall come to nought." And turning to Brother Pasquerel who was with her, she said: "To-morrow rise even earlier than to-day, and do the best you can. Stay always at my side, for to-morrow I shall have much ado—more than I have ever had, and to-morrow blood shall flow from my body."[1054]

It was not true that the English outnumbered the French. On the contrary they were far less numerous. There were scarce more than three thousand men round Orléans. The succour from the King having arrived, the captains could not have said that they were waiting for it. True it is that they were hesitating to proceed forthwith to attack Les Tourelles on the morrow; but that was because they feared lest the English under Talbot should enter the deserted town during the assault, since the townsfolk, refusing to march against Saint-Laurent, had all gone to Le Portereau. The Maid's Council troubled about none of these difficulties. No fears beset Saint[Pg i.302] Catherine and Saint Margaret. To doubt is to fear; they never doubted. Whatever may be said to the contrary, of military tactics and strategy they knew nothing. They had not read the treatise of Vegetius, De re militari. Had they read it the town would have been lost. Jeanne's Vegetius was Saint Catherine.

During the night it was cried in the streets of the city that bread, wine, ammunition and all things necessary must be taken to those who had stayed behind at Le Portereau. There was a constant passing to and fro of boats across the river. Men, women and children were carrying supplies to the outposts.[1055]

On the morrow, Saturday the 7th of May, Jeanne heard Brother Pasquerel say mass and piously received the holy sacrament.[1056] Jacques Boucher's house was beset with magistrates and notable citizens. After a night of fatigue and anxiety, they had just heard tidings which exasperated them. They had heard tell that the captains wanted to defer the storming of Les Tourelles. With loud cries they appealed to the Maid to help the townsfolk, sold, abandoned, and betrayed.[1057] The truth was that my Lord the Bastard and the captains, having observed during the night a great movement among the English on the upper Loire, were confirmed in their fears that Talbot would attack the walls near the Renard Gate while the French were occupied on the left bank. At sunrise they had perceived that during the night the English had demolished their outwork Saint Privé, south of l'Île-Charlemagne.[1058] That also caused[Pg i.303] them to believe firmly that in the evening the English had concentrated in the Saint-Laurent camp and the bastion, London. The townsfolk had long been irritated by the delay of the King's men in raising the siege. And there is no doubt that the captains were not so eager to bring it to an end as they were.[1059] The captains lived by war, while the citizens died of it,—that made all the difference. The magistrates besought the Maid to complete without delay the deliverance she had already begun. They said to her: "We have taken counsel and we entreat you to accomplish the mission you have received from God and likewise from the King."

"In God's name, I will," she said. And straightway she mounted her horse, and uttering a very ancient phrase, she cried: "Let who loves me follow me!"[1060]

As she was leaving the treasurer's house a shad was brought her. She said to her host, smiling, "In God's name! we will have it for supper. I will bring you back a Godon who shall eat his share." She added: "This evening we shall return by the bridge."[1061] For the last ninety-nine days it had been impossible. But happily her words proved true.

The townsfolk had been too quick to take alarm. Notwithstanding their fear of Talbot and the English of the Saint-Laurent camp, the nobles crossed the Loire in the early morning, and at Le Portereau rejoined their horses and pages who had passed the[Pg i.304] night there with the archers and train-bands. They were all there, the Bastard, the Sire de Gaucourt, and the lords of Rais, Graville, Guitry, Coarraze, Villars, Illiers, Chailly, the Admiral de Culant, the captains La Hire, and Poton.[1062] The Maid was with them. The magistrates sent them great store of engines of war: hurdles, all kinds of arrows, hammers, axes, lead, powder, culverins, cannon, and ladders.[1063] The attack began early. What rendered it difficult was not the number of English entrenched in the bulwark and lodged in the towers: there were barely more than five hundred of them;[1064] true, they were commanded by Lord Moleyns, and under him by Lord Poynings and Captain Glasdale, who in France was called Glassidas, a man of humble birth, but the first among the English for courage.[1065] The assailants, citizens, men-at-arms and archers were ten times more numerous. That so many combatants had been assembled was greatly to the credit of the French nation; but so great an army of men could not be employed at once. Knights were not much use against earthworks; and the townsfolk although very zealous, were not very tenacious.[1066] Finally, the Bastard, who was prudent and thoughtful, was afraid of Talbot.[1067] Indeed if Talbot had known and if he[Pg i.305] had wanted he might have taken the town while the French were trying to take Les Tourelles. War is always a series of accidents, but on that day no attempt whatever was made to carry out any concerted movement. This vast army was not an irresistible force, since no one, not even the Bastard, knew how to bring it into action. In those days the issue of a battle was in the hands of a very few combatants. On the previous day everything had been decided by two or three men.

The French assembled before the entrenchments had the air of an immense crowd of idlers looking on while a few men-at-arms attempted an escalade. Notwithstanding the size of the army, for a long while the assault resolved itself into a series of single combats. Twenty times did the most zealous approach the rampart and twenty times they were forced to retreat.[1068] There were some wounded and some slain, but not many. The nobles, who had been making war all their lives, were cautious, while the soldiers of fortune were careful of their men. The townsfolk were novices in war.[1069] The Maid alone threw herself into it with heart and soul. She was continually saying: "Be of good cheer. Do not retreat. The fort will soon be yours."[1070]

At noon everyone went away to dinner. Then about one o'clock they set to work again.[1071] The Maid[Pg i.306] carried the first ladder. As she was putting it up against the rampart, she was struck on the shoulder over the right breast, by an arrow shot so straight that half a foot of the shaft pierced her flesh.[1072] She knew that she was to be wounded; she had foretold it to her King, adding that he must employ her all the same. She had announced it to the people of Orléans and spoken of it to her chaplain[1073] on the previous day; and certainly for the last five days she had been doing her best to make the prophecy come true.[1074] When the English saw that the arrow had pierced her flesh they were greatly encouraged: they believed that if blood were drawn from a witch all her power would vanish. It made the French very sad. They carried her apart. Brother Pasquerel and Mugot, the page, were with her. Being in pain, she was afraid and wept.[1075] As was usual when combatants were wounded in battle, a group of soldiers surrounded her; some wanted to charm her. It was a custom with men-at-arms to attempt to close wounds by muttering paternosters over them. Spells were cast by means of incantations and conjurations. Certain paternosters had the power of stopping hemorrhage. Papers covered with magic characters were also used. But it meant having recourse to the power of devils and committing mortal sin. Jeanne did not wish to be charmed.

"I would rather die," she said, "than do anything I knew to be sin or contrary to God's will."

Again she said: "I know that I am to die. But I[Pg i.307] do not know when or how, neither do I know the hour. If my wound may be healed without sin then am I willing to be made whole."[1076]

Her armour was taken off. The wound was anointed with olive oil and fat, and, when it was dressed, she confessed to Brother Pasquerel, weeping and groaning. Soon she beheld coming to her her heavenly counsellors, Saint Catherine and Saint Margaret. They wore crowns and emitted a sweet fragrance. She was comforted.[1077] She resumed her armour and returned to the attack.[1078]

The sun was going down; and since morning the French had been wearing themselves out in a vain attack upon the palisades of the bulwark. My Lord the Bastard, seeing his men tired and night coming on, and afraid doubtless of the English of the Saint-Laurent-des-Orgerils Camp, resolved to lead the army back to Orléans. He had the retreat sounded. The trumpet was already summoning the combatants to Le Portereau.[1079] The Maid came to him and asked him to wait a little.

"In God's name!" she said, "you will enter very soon. Be not afraid and the English shall have no more power over you."

According to some, she added: "Wherefore, rest a little; drink and eat."[1080]

While they were refreshing themselves, she asked for her horse and mounted it. Then, leaving her standard with a man of her company, she went alone[Pg i.308] up the hill into the vineyards, which it had been impossible to till this April, but where the tiny spring leaves were beginning to open. There, in the calm of evening, among the vine props tied together in sheaves and the lines of low vines drinking in the early warmth of the earth, she began to pray and listened for her heavenly voices.[1081] Too often tumult and noise prevented her from hearing what her angel and her saints had to say to her. She could only understand them well in solitude or when the bells were tinkling in the distance, and evening sounds soft and rhythmic were ascending from field and meadow.[1082]

During her absence Sire d'Aulon, who could not give up the idea of winning the day, devised one last expedient. He was the least of the nobles in the army; but in the battles of those days every man was a law unto himself. The Maid's standard was still waving in front of the bulwark. The man who bore it was dropping with fatigue and had passed it on to a soldier, surnamed the Basque, of the company of my Lord of Villars.[1083] It occurred to Sire d'Aulon, as he looked upon this standard blessed by priests and held to bring good luck, that if it were borne in front, the fighting men, who loved it dearly, would follow it and in order not to lose it would scale the bulwark. With this idea he went to the Basque and[Pg i.309] said: "If I were to enter there and go on foot up to the bulwark would you follow me?"

The Basque promised that he would. Straightway Sire d'Aulon went down into the ditch and protecting himself with his shield, which sheltered him from the stones fired from the cannon, advanced towards the rampart.[1084]

After a quarter of an hour, the Maid, having offered a short prayer, returned to the men-at-arms and said to them: "The English are exhausted. Bring up the ladders."[1085]

It was true. They had so little powder that their last volley fired in an insufficient charge carried no further than a stone thrown by hand.[1086] Nothing but fragments of weapons remained to them. She went towards the fort. But when she reached the ditch she suddenly beheld the standard so dear to her, a thousand times dearer than her sword, in the hands of a stranger. Thinking it was in danger, she hastened to rescue it and came up with the Basque just as he was going down into the ditch. There she seized her standard by the part known as its tail, that is the end of the flag, and pulled at it with all her might, crying:

"Ha! my standard, my standard!"

The Basque stood firm, not knowing who was pulling thus from above. And the Maid would not let it go. The nobles and captains saw the standard shake, took it for a sign and rallied. Meanwhile Sire d'Aulon had reached the rampart. He imagined that the Basque was following close behind. But, when he turned round he perceived that he had stopped on the other side of the ditch, and he cried[Pg i.310] out to him: "Eh! Basque, what did you promise me?"

At this cry the Basque pulled so hard that the Maid let go, and he bore the standard to the rampart.[1087]

Jeanne understood and was satisfied. To those near her she said: "Look and see when the flag of my standard touches the bulwark."

A knight replied: "Jeanne, the flag touches."

Then she cried: "All is yours. Enter."[1088]

Straightway nobles and citizens, men-at-arms, archers, townsfolk threw themselves wildly into the ditch and climbed up the palisades so quickly and in such numbers that they looked like a flock of birds descending on a hedge.[1089] And the French, who had now entered within the fortifications, saw retreating before them, but with their faces turned proudly towards the enemy, the Lords Moleyns and Poynings, Sir Thomas Giffart, Baillie of Mantes, and Captain Glasdale, who were covering the flight of their men to Les Tourelles.[1090] In his hand Glasdale was holding the standard of Chandos, which, after having waved over eighty years of victories, was now retreating before the standard of a child.[1091] For the Maid was there, standing upon the rampart. And the English, panic-stricken, wondered what kind of a witch this could be whose powers did not depart with the flowing of her blood, and who with charms healed her deep wounds. Meanwhile she was looking at them kindly and sadly and crying out, her voice broken with sobs:[Pg i.311]

"Glassidas! Glassidas! surrender, surrender to the King of Heaven. Thou hast called me strumpet; but I have great pity on thy soul and on the souls of thy men."[1092]

At the same time, from the walls of the town and the bulwark of La Belle Croix cannon balls rained down upon Les Tourelles.[1093] Montargis and Rifflart cast forth stones. Maître Guillaume Duisy's new cannon, from the Chesneau postern, hurled forth balls weighing one hundred and twenty pounds.[1094] Les Tourelles were attacked from the bridge side. Across the arch broken by the English a narrow footway was thrown, and Messire Nicole de Giresme, a knight in holy orders, was the first to pass over.[1095] Those who followed him set fire to the palisade which blocked the approach to the fort on that side. Thus the six hundred English, their strength and their weapons alike exhausted, found themselves assailed both in front and in the rear. In a crafty and terrible manner they were also attacked from beneath. The people of Orléans had loaded a great barge with pitch, tow, faggots, horse-bones, old shoes, resin, sulphur, ninety-eight pounds of olive oil and such other materials as might easily take fire and smoke. They had steered it under the wooden bridge, thrown by the enemy from Les Tourelles to the bulwark: they had anchored the barge there and set fire to its cargo. The fire from the barge had caught the bridge just when the English were retreating.[Pg i.312] Through smoke and flames the six hundred passed over the burning platform. At length it came to the turn of William Glasdale, Lord Poynings and Lord Moleyns, who with thirty or forty captains, were the last to leave the lost bulwark; but when they set foot on the bridge, its beams, reduced to charcoal, crumbled beneath them, and they all with the Chandos standard were engulfed in the Loire.[1096]

Jeanne moved to pity wept over the soul of Glassidas and over the souls of those drowned with him.[1097] The captains, who were with her, likewise grieved over the death of these valiant men, reflecting that they had done the French a great wrong by being drowned, for their ransom would have brought great riches.[1098]

Having escaped from the French on the bulwark, across the burning planks the six hundred were set upon by the French on the bridge. Four hundred were slain, the others taken. The day had cost the people of Orléans a hundred men.[1099]

When in the black darkness, along the fire-[Pg i.313]reddened banks of the Loire, the last cries of the vanquished had died away, the French captains, amazed at their victory, looked anxiously towards Saint-Laurent-des Orgerils, for they were still afraid lest Sir John Talbot should sally forth from his camp to avenge those whom he had failed to succour. Throughout that long attack, which had lasted from sunrise to sunset, Talbot, the Earl of Suffolk and the English of Saint-Laurent had not left their entrenchments. Even when Les Tourelles were taken the conquerors remained on the watch, still expecting Talbot.[1100] But this Talbot, with whose name French mothers frightened their children, did not budge. He had been greatly feared that day, and he himself had feared lest,[1101] if he withdrew any of his troops to succour Les Tourelles, the French would capture his camp and his forts on the west.

The army prepared to return to the town. In three hours, the bridge, three arches of which had been broken, was rendered passable. Some hours after darkness, the Maid entered the city by the bridge as she had foretold.[1102] In like manner all her prophecies were fulfilled when their fulfilment depended on her own courage and determination. The captains ac[Pg i.314]companied her, followed by all the men-at-arms, the archers, the citizens and the prisoners who were brought in two by two. The bells of the city were ringing; the clergy and people sang the Te Deum.[1103] After God and his Blessed Mother, they gave thanks in all humility to Saint Aignan and Saint Euverte, who had been bishops in their mortal lives and were now the heavenly patrons of the city. The townsfolk believed that both before and during the siege they had given the saints so much wax and had paraded their relics in so many processions that they had deserved their powerful intercession, and that thereby they had won the victory and been delivered out of the enemy's hand. There was no doubt about the intervention of the saints because at the time of assault on Les Tourelles two bishops bright and shining had been seen in the sky, hovering over the fort.[1104]

Jeanne was brought back to Jacques Boucher's house, where a surgeon again dressed the wound she had received above the breast. She took four or five slices of bread soaked in wine and water, but neither ate nor drank anything else.[1105]

On the morrow, Sunday, the 8th of May, being the Feast of the Appearance of St. Michael, it was announced in Orléans, in the morning, that the English issuing forth from those western bastions which were all that remained to them, were ranging themselves before the town moat in battle array and with standards flying. The folk of Orléans, both the men-at-arms and the train-bands, greatly desired to[Pg i.315] fall upon them. At daybreak Marshal de Boussac and a number of captains went out and took up their positions over against the enemy.[1106]

The Maid went out into the country with the priests. Being unable to put on her cuirass because of the wound on her shoulder, she merely wore one of those light coats-of-mail called jaserans.[1107]

The men-at-arms inquired of her: "To-day being the Sabbath, is it wrong to fight?"

She replied: "You must hear mass."[1108]

She did not think the enemy should be attacked.

"For the sake of the holy Sabbath do not give battle. Do not attack the English, but if the English attack you, defend yourselves stoutly and bravely, and be not afraid, for you will overcome them."[1109]

In the country, at the foot of a cross, where four roads met, one of those consecrated stones, square and flat, which priests carried with them on their journeys, was placed upon a table. Very solemnly did the officiating ecclesiastics sing hymns, responses and prayers; and at this altar the Maid with all the priests and all the men-at-arms heard mass.[1110]

After the Deo gratias she recommended them to observe the movements of the English. "Now look whether their faces or their backs be towards you."

She was told that they had turned their backs and were going away.[Pg i.316]

Three times she had told them: "Depart from Orléans and your lives shall be saved." Now she asked that they should be allowed to go without more being required of them.

"It is not well pleasing to my Lord that they should be engaged to-day," she said. "You will have them another time. Come, let us give thanks to God."[1111]

The Godons were going. During the night they had held a council of war and resolved to depart.[1112] In order to put a bold front on their retreat and to prevent its being cut off, they had faced the folk of Orléans for an hour, now they marched off in good order.[1113] Captain La Hire and Sire de Loré, curious as to which way they would take and desiring to see whether they would leave anything behind them, rode three or four miles in pursuit with a hundred or a hundred and twenty horse. The English were retreating towards Meung.[1114]

A crowd of citizens, villeins and villagers rushed into the abandoned forts. The Godons had left their sick and their prisoners there. The townsfolk discovered also ammunition and even victuals, which were doubtless not very abundant and not very excellent. "But," says a Burgundian, "they made good cheer out of them, for they cost them little."[1115] Weap[Pg i.317]ons, cannons and mortars were carried into the town. The forts were demolished so that they might henceforth be useless to the enemy.[1116]

On that day there were grand and solemn processions and a good friar[1117] preached. Clerks, nobles, captains, magistrates, men-at-arms and citizens devoutly went to church and the people cried: "Noël!"[1118]

Thus, on the 8th of May, in the morning, was the town of Orléans delivered, two hundred and nine days after the siege had been laid and nine days after the coming of the Maid.

[Pg i.318]



ON the morning of Sunday the 8th of May, the English departed, retreating towards Meung and Beaugency. In the afternoon of the same day, Messire Florent d'Illiers with his men-at-arms left the town and went straight to his captaincy of Châteaudun to defend it against the Godons who had a garrison at Marchenoir and were about to descend on Le Dunois. On the next day the other captains from La Beauce and Gâtinais returned to their towns and strongholds.[1119]

On the ninth of the same month, the combatants brought by the Sire de Rais, receiving neither pay nor entertainment, went off each man on his own account; and the Maid did not stay longer.[1120] After having taken part in the procession by which the townsfolk rendered thanks to God, she took her leave of those to whom she had come in the hour of distress and affliction and whom she now quitted in the hour of deliverance and rejoicing. They wept with joy and with gratitude and offered themselves to her for her to do[Pg i.319] with them and their goods whatever she would. And she thanked them kindly.[1121]

From Chinon the King caused to be sent to the inhabitants of the towns in his dominion and notably to those of La Rochelle and Narbonne, a letter written at three sittings, between the evening of the 9th of May and the morning of the 10th, as the tidings from Orléans were coming in. In this letter he announced the capture of the forts of Saint-Loup, Les Augustins and Les Tourelles and called upon the townsfolk to praise God and do honour to the great feats accomplished there, especially by the Maid, who "had always been present when these deeds were done."[1122] Thus did the royal power describe Jeanne's share in the victory. It was in no wise a captain's share; she held no command of any kind. But, sent by God, at least so it might be believed, her presence was a help and a consolation.

In company with a few nobles she went to Blois, stayed there two days,[1123] then went on to Tours, where the King was expected.[1124] When, on the Friday before Whitsunday, she entered the town, Charles, who had set out from Chinon, had not yet arrived. Banner in hand, she rode out to meet him and when she came[Pg i.320] to him, she took off her cap and bowed her head as far as she could over her horse. The King lifted his hood, bade her look up and kissed her. It is said that he felt glad to see her, but in reality we know not what he felt.[1125]

In this month of May, 1429, he received from Messire Jacques Gélu a treatise concerning the Maid, which he probably did not read, but which his confessor read for him. Messire Jacques Gélu, sometime Councillor to the Dauphin and now my Lord Archbishop of Embrun,[1126] had at first been afraid that the King's enemies had sent him this shepherdess to poison him, or that she was a witch possessed by demons. In the beginning he had advised her being carefully interrogated, not hastily repulsed, for appearances are deceptive and divine grace moves in a mysterious manner. Now, after having read the conclusions of the doctors of Poitiers, learnt the deliverance of Orléans, and heard the cry of the common folk, Messire Jacques Gélu no longer doubted the damsel's innocence and goodness. Seeing that the doctors were divided in their opinion of her, he drew up a brief treatise, which he sent to the King, with a very ample, a very humble, and a very worthy dedicatory epistle.

About that time, on the pavement of the cathedral of Reims a labyrinth had been traced with compass and with square.[1127] Pilgrims who were patient and[Pg i.321] painstaking followed all its winding ways. The Archbishop of Embrun's treatise is likewise a carefully planned scholastic labyrinth. Herein one advances only to retreat and retreats only to advance, but without entirely losing one's way provided one walks with sufficient patience and attention. Like all scholastics, Gélu begins by giving the reasons against his own opinion and it is not until he has followed his opponent at some length that he returns to his own argument. Into all the intricacies of his labyrinth it would take too long to follow him. But since those who were round the King consulted this theological treatise, since it was addressed to the King and since the King and his Council may have based on it their opinion of Jeanne and their conduct towards her, one is curious to know what, on so singular an occasion, they found taught and recommended therein.

Treating first of the Church's weal, Jacques Gélu holds that God raised up the Maid to confound the heretics, the number of whom, according to him, is by no means small. "To turn to confusion those who believe in God as if they believed not," he writes, "the Almighty, who hath on His vesture and on His thigh a name written, King of Kings and Lord of Lords, was pleased to succour the King of France by the hand of a child of low estate." The Archbishop of Embrun discerns five reasons why the divine succour was granted to the King; to wit: the justice of his cause, the striking merits of his predecessors, the prayers of devout souls and the sighs of the oppressed, the injustice of the enemies of the kingdom and the insatiable cruelty of the English nation.

That God should have chosen a maid to destroy armies in no way surprises him. "He created insects, such as flies and fleas, with which to humble man's[Pg i.322] pride." So persistently do these tiny creatures worry and weary us that they prevent our studying or acting. However strong his self-control, a man may not rest in a room infested with fleas. By the hand of a young peasant, born of poor and lowly parents, subject to menial labour, ignorant and simple beyond saying, it hath pleased Him to strike down the proud, to humble them and make His Majesty manifest unto them by the deliverance of the perishing.

That to a virgin the Most High should have revealed His designs concerning the Kingdom of the Lilies cannot astonish us; on virgins He readily bestows the gift of prophecy. To the sibyls it pleased Him to reveal mysteries hidden from all the Gentiles. On the authority of Nicanor, of Euripides, of Chrysippus, of Nennius, of Apollodorus, of Eratosthenes, of Heraclides Ponticus, of Marcus Varro and of Lactantius, Messire Jacques Gélu teaches that the sibyls were ten in number: the Persian, the Libyan, the Delphian, the Cimmerian, the Erythrean, the Samian, the Cumæan, the Hellespontine, the Phrygian and the Tiburtine. They prophesied to the Gentiles the glorious incarnation of Our Lord, the resurrection of the dead and the consummation of the ages. This example appears to him worthy of consideration.

As for Jeanne, she is in herself unknowable. Aristotle teaches: there is nothing in the intellect which hath not first been in the senses, and the senses cannot penetrate beyond experience. But what the mind cannot grasp directly it may come to comprehend by a roundabout way. When we consider her works, as far as in our human weakness we can know, we say the Maid is of God. Albeit she hath adopted the profession of arms, she never counsels cruelty; she is merciful to her enemies when they throw themselves[Pg i.323] upon her mercy and she offers peace. Finally the Archbishop of Embrun believes that this Maid is an angel sent by God, the Lord of Hosts, for the saving of the people; not that she has the nature, but that she does the work of an angel.

Concerning the conduct to be followed in circumstances so marvellous, the doctor is of opinion that in war the King should act according to human wisdom. It is written: "Thou shalt not tempt the Lord thy God." In vain would an active mind have been bestowed on man were he not to make use of it in his undertakings. Long deliberation must precede prompt execution. It is not by a woman's desires or supplications that God's help is obtained. A prosperous issue is the fruit of action and of counsel.

But the inspiration of God must not be rejected. Wherefore the will of the Maid must be accomplished, even should that will appear doubtful and mistaken. If the words of the Maid are found to be stable, then the King must follow her and confide to her as to God the conduct of the enterprise to which she is committed. Should any doubt occur to the King, let him incline rather towards divine than towards human wisdom, for as there is no comparing the finite with the infinite so there is no comparing the wisdom of man with the wisdom of God. Wherefore we must believe that He who sent us this child is able to impart unto her a counsel superior to man's counsel. Then from this Aristotelian reasoning the Archbishop of Embrun draws the following two-headed conclusion: "On the one hand we give it to be understood that the wisdom of this world must be consulted in the ordering of battle, the use of engines, ladders and all other implements of war, the building of bridges, the sufficient despatch of supplies, the raising of funds,[Pg i.324] and in all matters without which no enterprise can succeed save by miracle.

"But when on the other hand divine wisdom is seen to be acting in some peculiar way, then human reason must be humble and withdraw. Then it is, we observe, that the counsel of the Maid must be asked for, sought after and adopted before all else. He who gives life gives wherewithal to support life. On his workers he bestows the instruments for their work. Wherefore let us hope in the Lord. He makes the King's cause his own. Those who support it he will inspire with the wisdom necessary to make it triumphant. God leaves no work imperfect."

The Archbishop concludes his treatise by commending the Maid to the King because she inspires holy thoughts and makes manifest the works of piety. "This counsel do we give the King that every day he do such things as are well pleasing in the sight of the Lord and that he confer with the Maid concerning them. When he shall have received her advice let him practise it piously and devoutly; then shall not the Lord withdraw His hand from Him but continue His loving kindness unto him."[1128]

The great doctor Gerson, former Chancellor of the University, was then ending his days at Lyon in the monastery of Les Célestins, of which his brother was prior. His life had been full of work and weariness.[1129][Pg i.325] In 1408 he was priest of Saint-Jean-en-Grève in Paris. In that year he delivered in his parish church the funeral oration of the Duke of Orléans, assassinated by order of the Duke of Burgundy; and he roused the passions of the mob to such a fury that he ran great danger of losing his life. At the Council of Constance, possessed by a so-called "merciful cruelty"[1130] which goaded him to send a heretic to the stake, he urged the condemnation of John Huss, regardless of the safe-conduct which the latter had received from the Emperor; for in common with all the fathers there assembled he held that according to natural law both divine and human, no promise should be kept if it were prejudicial to the Catholic Faith. With a like ardour he prosecuted in the Council the condemnation of the thesis of Jean Petit concerning the lawfulness of tyrannicide. In things temporal as well as spiritual he advocated uniform obedience and the respect of established authority. In one of his sermons he likens the kingdom of France to the statue of Nebuchadnezzar, making the merchants and artisans the legs of the statue, "which are partly iron, partly clay, because of their labour and humility in serving and obeying...." Iron signifies labour, and clay humility. All the evil has arisen from the King and the great citizens being held in subjection by those of low estate.[1131]

Now, crushed by suffering and sorrow, he was teaching little children. "It is with them that reforms must begin," he said.[1132]

[Pg i.326]

The deliverance of the city of Orléans must have gladdened the heart of the old Orleanist partisan. The Dauphin's Councillors, eager to set the Maid to work, had told him of the deliberations at Poitiers, and asked him, as a good servant of the house of France, for his opinion concerning them. In reply he wrote a compendious treatise on the Maid.

In this work he is careful from the first to distinguish between matters of faith and matters of devotion. In questions of faith doubt is forbidden. With regard to questions of devotion the unbeliever, to use a colloquial expression, is not necessarily damned. Three conditions are necessary if a question is to be considered as one of devotion: first, it must be edifying; second, it must be probable and attested by popular report or the testimony of the faithful; third, it must touch on nothing contrary to faith. When these conditions are fulfilled, it is fitting neither persistently to condemn nor to approve, but rather to appeal to the church.

For example, the conception of the very holy Virgin, indulgences, relics, are matters of faith and not of devotion. A relic may be worshipped in one place or another, or in several places at once. Recently the Parlement of Paris disputed concerning the head of Saint Denys, worshipped at Saint-Denys in France and likewise in the cathedral at Paris. This is a matter of devotion.[1133]

Whence it may be concluded that it is lawful to consider the question of the Maid as a matter of devotion, especially when one reflects on her motives, which are the restitution of his kingdom to her King and the[Pg i.327] very righteous expulsion or destruction of her very stubborn enemies.

And if there be those who make various statements concerning her idle talk, her frivolity, her guile, now is the time to quote the saying of Cato: "Common report is not our judge." According to the words of the Apostle, it doth not become us to call in question the servant of God. Much better is it to abstain from judgment, as is permitted, or to submit doubtful points to ecclesiastical superiors. This is the principle followed in the canonisation of saints. The catalogue of the saints is not, strictly speaking, necessarily a matter of faith, but of pious devotion. Nevertheless, it is not to be highly censured by any manner of man.

To come to the present case, the following circumstances are to be noted: First, the royal council and the men-at-arms were induced to believe and to obey; and they faced the risk of being put to shame by defeat under the leadership of a girl. Second, the people rejoice, and their pious faith seems to tend to the glory of God and the confounding of his enemies. Third, the enemy, even his princes, are in hiding and stricken with many terrors. They give way to weakness like a woman with child; they are overthrown like the Egyptians in the song sung by Miriam, sister of Moses, to the sound of the timbrel in the midst of the women who went out with her with timbrels and with dances: "Sing ye to the Lord, for he hath triumphed gloriously; the horse and his rider hath he thrown into the sea."[1134] And let us likewise sing the song of Miriam with the devotion which becometh our case.

Fourth, and in conclusion, this point is worthy of consideration: The Maid and her men-at-arms[Pg i.328] despise not the wisdom of men; they tempt not God. Wherefore it is plain that the Maid goes no further than what she interprets to be the instruction or inspiration received from God.

Many of the incidents of her life from childhood up have been collected in abundance and might be set forth; but these we shall not relate.

Here may be cited the examples of Deborah and of Saint Catherine who miraculously converted fifty doctors or rhetoricians, of Judith and of Judas Maccabeus. As is usually the case, there were many circumstances in their lives which were purely natural.

A first miracle is not always followed by the other miracles which men expect. Even if the Maid should be disappointed in her expectation and in ours (which God forbid) we ought not to conclude therefrom, that the first manifestation of her miraculous power proceeded from an evil spirit and not from heavenly grace; we should believe rather that our hopes have been disappointed because of our ingratitude and our blasphemy, or by some just and impenetrable judgment of God. We beseech him to turn away his anger from us and vouchsafe unto us his favour.

Herein we perceive lessons, first for the King and the Blood Royal, secondly for the King's forces and the kingdom; thirdly for the clergy and people; fourthly for the Maid. Of all these lessons the object is the same, to wit: a good life, consecrated to God, just towards others, sober, virtuous and temperate. With regard to the Maid's peculiar lesson, it is that God's grace revealed in her be employed not in caring for trifles, not in worldly advantage, nor in party hatred, nor in violent sedition,[Pg i.329] nor in avenging deeds done, nor in foolish self-glorification, but in meekness, prayer, and thanksgiving. And let every one contribute a liberal supply of temporal goods so that peace be established and justice once more administered, and that delivered out of the hands of our enemies, God being favourable unto us, we may serve him in holiness and righteousness.

At the conclusion of his treatise, Gerson briefly examines one point of canon law which had been neglected by the doctors of Poitiers. He establishes that the Maid is not forbidden to dress as a man.

Firstly. The ancient law forbade a woman to dress as a man, and a man as a woman. This restriction, as far as strict legality is concerned, ceases to be enforced by the new law.

Secondly. In its moral bearing this law remains binding. But in such a case it is merely a matter of decency.

Thirdly. From a legal and moral standpoint this law does not refuse masculine and military attire to the Maid, whom the King of Heaven appoints His standard-bearer, in order that she may trample underfoot the enemies of justice. In the operations of divine power the end justifies the means.

Fourthly. Examples may be quoted from history alike sacred and profane, notably Camilla and the Amazons.

Jean Gerson completed this treatise on Whit-Sunday, a week after the deliverance of Orléans. It was his last work. He died in the July of that year, 1429, in the sixty-fifth year of his age.[1135]

[Pg i.330]

The treatise is the political testament of the great university doctor in exile. The Maid's victory gladdened the last days of his life. With his dying voice he sings the Song of Miriam. But with his rejoicings over this happy event are mingled the sad presentiments of keen-sighted old age. While in the Maid he beholds a subject for the rejoicing and edification of the people, he is afraid that the hopes she inspires may soon be disappointed. And he warns those who now exalt her in the hour of triumph not to forsake her in the day of disaster.

His dry close reasoning does not fundamentally differ from the ampler, more flowery argument of Jacques Gélu. One and the other contain the same reasons, the same proofs; and in their conclusions both doctors agree with the judges of Poitiers.

For the Poitiers doctors, for the Archbishop of Embrun, for the ex-chancellor of the University, for all the theologians of the Armagnac party the Maid's case is not a matter of faith. How could it be so before the Pope and the Council had pronounced judgment concerning it? Men are free to believe in her or not to believe in her. But it is a subject of edification; and it behoves men to meditate upon it, not in a spirit of prejudice, persisting in doubt, but with an open mind and according to the Christian faith. Following the counsel of Gerson, kindly souls will believe that the Maid comes from God, just as they believe that the head of Saint Denys may be venerated by the faithful either in the Cathedral Church of Paris or in the abbey-church of Saint Denys in France. They will think less of literal than of spiritual truths and they will not sin by inquiring too closely.

In short neither the treatise of Jacques Gélu nor that of Jean Gerson brought much light to the King[Pg i.331] and his Council. Both treatises abounded in exhortations, but they all amounted to saying: "Be good, pious and strong, let your thoughts be humble and prudent," Concerning the most important point, the use to be made of Jeanne in the conduct of war, the Archbishop of Embrun wisely recommended: "Do what the Maid commands and prudence directs; for the rest give yourselves to works of piety and prayers of devotion." Such counsel was somewhat embarrassing to a captain like the Sire de Gaucourt and even to a man of worth like my Lord of Trèves. It appears that the clerks left the King perfect liberty of judgment and of action, and that in the end they advised him not to believe in the Maid, but to let the people and the men-at-arms believe in her.

During the ten days he spent at Tours the King kept Jeanne with him. Meanwhile the Council were deliberating as to their line of action.[1136] The royal treasury was empty. Charles could raise enough money to make gifts to the gentlemen of his household, but he had great difficulty in defraying the expenses of war.[1137] Pay was owing to the people of Orléans. They had received little and spent much. Their resources were exhausted and they demanded payment. In May and in June the King distributed among the captains, who had defended the town, sums amounting to forty-one thousand six hundred and thirty-one livres.[1138] He had gained his victory[Pg i.332] cheaply. The total cost of the defence of Orléans was one hundred and ten thousand livres. The townsfolk did the rest; they gave even their little silver spoons.[1139]

It would doubtless have been expedient to attempt to destroy that formidable army of Sir John Fastolf which had lately terrified the good folk of Orléans. But no one knew where to find it. It had disappeared somewhere between Orléans and Paris. It would have been necessary to go forth to seek it; that was impossible, and no one thought of doing such a thing. So scientific a manœuvre was never dreamed of in the warfare of those days. An expedition to Normandy was suggested; and the idea was so natural that the King was already imagined to be at Rouen.[1140] Finally it was decided to attempt the capture of the châteaux the English held on the Loire, both below and above Orléans, Jargeau, Meung, Beaugency.[1141] A useful undertaking and one which presented no very great difficulties, unless it involved an encounter with Sir John Fastolf's army, and whether it would or no it was impossible to tell.

Without further delay my Lord the Bastard marched on Jargeau with a few knights and some of Poton's soldiers of fortune; but the Loire was high and its waters filled the trenches. Being unprovided with siege train, they retreated after having inflicted some hurt on the English and slain the commander of the town.[1142]

[Pg i.333]

By the reasons of the captains the Maid set little store. She listened to her Voices alone, and they spoke to her words which were infinitely simple. Her one idea was to accomplish her mission. Saint Catherine, Saint Margaret and Saint Michael the Archangel, had sent her into France not to calculate the resources of the royal treasury, not to decree aids and taxes, not to treat with men-at-arms, with merchants and the conductors of convoys, not to draw up plans of campaign and negotiate truces, but to lead the Dauphin to his anointing. Wherefore it was to Reims that she wished to take him, not that she knew how to go there, but she believed that God would guide her. Delay, tardiness, deliberation saddened and irritated her. When with the King she urged him gently.

Many times she said to him: "I shall live a year, barely longer. During that year let as much as possible be done."[1143]

Then she enumerated the four charges which she must accomplish during that time. After having delivered Orléans she must drive the Godons out of France, lead the King to be crowned and anointed at Reims and rescue the Duke of Orléans from the hands of the English.[1144] One day she grew impatient and went to the King when he was in one of those closets of carved wainscot constructed in the great castle halls for intimate or family gatherings. She knocked at the door and entered almost immediately. There she found the King conversing with Maître Gérard Machet, his confessor, my Lord the Bastard, the Sire de Trèves and a favourite noble of his household, by name Messire Christophe d'Harcourt. She knelt[Pg i.334] embracing the King's knees (for she was conversant with the rules of courtesy), and said to him: "Fair Dauphin, do not so long and so frequently deliberate in council, but come straightway to Reims, there to receive your rightful anointing."[1145]

The King looked graciously upon her but answered nothing. The Lord d'Harcourt, having heard that the Maid held converse with angels and saints, was curious to know whether the idea of taking the King to Reims had really been suggested to her by her heavenly visitants. Describing them by the word she herself used, he asked: "Is it your Council who speak to you of such things?"

She replied: "Yes, in this matter I am urged forward." Straightway my Lord d'Harcourt responded: "Will you not here in the King's presence tell us the manner of your Council when they speak to you?"

At this request Jeanne blushed.

Willing to spare her constraint and embarrassment, the King said kindly: "Jeanne, does it please you to answer this question before these persons here present?"

But Jeanne addressing my Lord d'Harcourt said: "I understand what you desire to know and I will tell you willingly."

And straightway she gave the King to understand what agony she endured at not being understood and she told of her inward consolation: "Whenever I am sad because what I say by command of Messire is not readily believed, I go apart and to Messire I make known my complaint, saying that those to whom I speak are not willing to believe me. And[Pg i.335] when I have finished my prayer, straightway I hear a voice saying unto me: 'Daughter of God, go, I will be thy help.' And this voice fills me with so great a joy, that in this condition I would forever stay."[1146]

While she was repeating the words spoken by the Voice, Jeanne raised her eyes to heaven. The nobles present were struck by the divine expression on the maiden's face. But those eyes bathed in tears, that air of rapture, which filled my Lord the Bastard with amazement, was not an ecstasy, it was the imitation of an ecstasy.[1147] The scene was at once simple and artificial. It reveals the kindness of the King, who was incapable of wounding the child in any way, and the light-heartedness with which the nobles of the court believed or pretended to believe in the most wonderful marvels. It proves likewise that henceforth the little Saint's dignifying the project of the coronation with the authority of a divine revelation was favourably regarded by the Royal Council.

The Maid accompanied the King to Loches and stayed with him until after the 23rd of May.[1148]

The people believed in her. As she passed through the streets of Loches they threw themselves before her horse; they kissed the Saint's hands and feet. Maître Pierre de Versailles, a monk of Saint-Denys in France, one of her interrogators at Poitiers, seeing her receive these marks of veneration, rebuked her on theological grounds: "You do wrong," he said, "to suffer such things to which you are not entitled. Take heed: you are leading men into idolatry."[Pg i.336]

Then Jeanne, reflecting on the pride which might creep into her heart, said: "In truth I could not keep from it, were not Messire watching over me."[1149]

She was displeased to see certain old wives coming to salute her; that was a kind of adoration which alarmed her. But poor folk who came to her she never repulsed. She would not hurt them, but aided them as far as she could.[1150]

With marvellous rapidity the fame of her holiness had been spread abroad throughout the whole of France. Many pious persons were wearing medals of lead or some other metal, stamped with her portrait, according to the customary mode of honouring the memory of saints.[1151] Paintings or sculptured figures of her were placed in chapels. At mass the priest recited as a collect "the Maid's prayer for the realm of France:"

"O God, author of peace, who without bow or arrow dost destroy those enemies who hope in themselves,[1152] we beseech thee O Lord, to protect us in our adversity; and, as Thou hast delivered Thy people by the hand of a woman, to stretch out to Charles our King, Thy conquering arm, that our enemies, who make their boast in multitudes and glory in bows and arrows, may be overcome by him at this present, and vouchsafe that at the end of his days he with his people may appear gloriously before[Pg i.337] Thee who art the way, the truth and the life. Through Our Lord Jesus Christ, etc."[1153]

In those days the saintly, both men and women, were consulted in all the difficulties of life. The more they were deemed simple and innocent the more counsel was asked of them. For if of themselves they knew nothing then all the surer was it that the voice of God was to be heard in their words. The Maid was believed to have no intelligence of her own, wherefore she was held capable of solving the most difficult questions with infallible wisdom. It was observed that knowing nought of the arts of war, she waged war better than captains, whence it was concluded that everything, which in her holy ignorance she undertook, she would worthily accomplish. Thus at Toulouse it occurred to a capitoul to consult her on a financial question. In that city the indignation of the townsfolk had been aroused because the guardians of the mint had been ordered to issue coins greatly inferior to those which had been previously in circulation. From April till June the capitouls had been endeavouring to get this order revoked. On the 2nd of June, the capitoul, Pierre Flamenc, proposed that the Maid should be written to concerning the evils resulting from the corruption of the coinage and that she should be asked to suggest a remedy. Pierre Flamenc made this proposal at the Capitole because he thought that a saint was a good counsellor in all matters, especially in anything which concerned the coinage, particularly when, like the Maid, she was the friend of the King.[1154]

[Pg i.338]

From Loches Jeanne sent a little gold ring to the Dame de Laval, who had doubtless asked for some object she had touched.[1155] Fifty-four years previously Jeanne Dame de Laval had married Sire Bertrand Du Guesclin whose memory the French venerated and who in the House of Orléans was known as the tenth of Les Preux. Dame Jeanne's renown, however, fell short of that of Tiphaine Raguenel, astrologer and fairy,[1156] who had been Sire Bertrand's first wife. Jeanne was a choleric person and a miser. Driven out of her domain of Laval by the English, she lived in retirement at Vitré with her daughter Anne. Thirteen years before, the latter had incurred her mother's displeasure by secretly marrying a landless younger son of a noble house. When Dame Jeanne discovered it she imprisoned her daughter in a dungeon and welcomed the younger son by shooting at him with a cross-bow. After which the two ladies dwelt together in peace.[1157]

From Loches the Maid went to Selles-en-Berry, a considerable town on the Cher. Here, shortly before had met the three estates of the kingdom; and here the troops were now gathering.[1158]

On Saturday, the 4th of June, she received a herald sent by the people of Orléans to bring her[Pg i.339] tidings of the English.[1159] As commander in war they recognised none but her.

Meanwhile, surrounded by monks, and side by side with men-at-arms, like a nun she lived apart, a saintly life. She ate and drank little.[1160] She communicated once a week and confessed frequently.[1161] During mass at the moment of elevation, at confession and when she received the body of Our Lord she used to weep many tears. Every evening, at the hour of vespers, she would retire into a church and have the bells rung for about half an hour to summon the mendicant friars who followed the army. Then she would begin to pray while the brethren sang an anthem in honour of the Virgin Mary.[1162]

While practising as far as she was able the austerities required by extreme piety, she appeared magnificently attired, like a lord, for indeed she held her lordship from God. She wore the dress of a knight, a small hat, doublet and hose to match, a fine cloak of silk and cloth of gold well lined and shoes laced on the outer side of the foot.[1163] Such attire in no wise scandalised even the most austere members of the Dauphin's party. They read in holy Scripture that Esther and Judith, inspired by the Lord, loaded themselves with ornaments; true it was for sexual reasons and in order for the salvation of Israel to attract Ahasuerus and Holophernes. Wherefore they[Pg i.340] held that when Jeanne decked herself with masculine adornments, in order to appear before the men-at-arms as an angel giving victory to the Christian King, far from yielding to the vanities of the world, she, like Esther and Judith, had nothing in her heart but the interest of the holy nation and the glory of God. The English and Burgundian clerks on the other hand converted into scandal what was a subject of edification, and maintained that she was a woman dissolute in dress and in manners.

For seven years now Saint Michael the Archangel and the Saints Catherine and Margaret, wearing rich and precious crowns, had been visiting and conversing with her. It was when the bells were ringing, at the hour of compline and of matins, that she could best hear their words.[1164] In those days bells of all kinds, large and small, metropolitan, parochial or conventual, sounded in peals, or, chiming harmoniously, in voices grave or gay, spoke to all men and of all things. Their song descended from the sky to mark the ecclesiastical and civic calendar. They called priests and people to church; they mourned for the dead and they praised God; they announced fairs and field work; they clashed portentous tidings through the sky, and in times of war they called to arms and sounded the alarm. Friendly to the husbandman they scattered the tempest, they warded off hail-storms and drove away pestilence. They put to flight those demons that, flying ceaselessly through the air, haunt the children of men; and to their blessed sound was attributed the power of calming violence.[1165] Saint Catharine, she[Pg i.341] who visited Jeanne every day, was the patron of bells and bell-ringers. Thus many bells bore her name. In the ringing of bells as in the rustling of leaves, Jeanne was wont to hear her Voices. She seldom heard them without seeing a light in the direction whence they came.[1166] Those Voices called her: "Jeanne, daughter of God!"[1167] Often the Archangel and the Saints appeared to her. When they came she did them reverence, bending her knee and bowing her head; she kissed their feet, knowing it to be a greater mark of respect than kissing the countenance. She was conscious of the fragrance and grateful warmth of their glorified bodies.[1168]

Saint Michael the Archangel did not come alone. There accompanied him angels so numerous and so tiny that they danced like sparks in the damsel's dazzled eyes. When the saints and the Archangel went away, she wept with grief because they had not taken her with them.[1169] In like manner an angel visited Judith in the camp of Holofernes.

One day Jeanne's equerry, Jean d'Aulon, asked her what her Council was, just as my Lord d'Harcourt had done. She replied that she had three councillors, one of whom was always with her. Another was constantly going and coming; the third was the one with whom the other two deliberated.

Sire d'Aulon, more curious than the King, besought and requested her to let him see this Council for once.[Pg i.342]

She replied: "Your virtues are not great enough and you are not worthy to behold it."[1170]

The good squire never asked again. If he had read the Bible he would have known that Elisha's servant did not see the angels beheld by the prophet (2 Kings VI, 16, 17).

And yet Jeanne imagined that her Council had appeared to the King and his court.

"My King," she said later, "my King and many besides saw and heard the Voices that came to me. The Count of Clermont and two or three others were with him."[1171]

She believed it was so. But in reality she never showed her Voices to anyone. Not even, despite what has been said to the contrary, to that Guy de Cailly who had been following her since Chécy.[1172]

With Brother Pasquerel Jeanne engaged in pious conversation. To him she often expressed the desire that the Church after her death should pray for her and for all the French slain in the war.

"If I were to depart from this world," she used to say to him, "I should like the King to build chantries, where prayers should be offered to Messire for the salvation of the souls of those who died in war or for the defence of the realm."[1173]

Such a wish was common to all devout souls. What Christian in those days did not hold the practice of saying masses for the dead to be good and salutary? Thus, in the matter of devotion, the Maid was in accord with Duke Charles of Orléans, who, in one of[Pg i.343] his complaints, recommends the saying and singing of masses for the souls of those who had suffered violent death in the service of the realm.[1174]

She said one day to the good brother: "There is succour that I am appointed to bring."

And Pasquerel, albeit he had studied the Bible, cried out in amazement: "Such a history as yours there hath never been before in the world. Nought like unto it can be read in any book."

Jeanne answered him even more boldly than the doctors at Poitiers: "Messire has a book in which no clerk, however perfect his learning, has ever read."[1175]

She had received her mission from God alone, and she read in a book sealed against all the doctors of the Church.

On the reverse of her standard, sprinkled by mendicants with holy water, she had had a dove painted, holding in its beak a scroll, whereon were written the words "in the name of the King of Heaven."[1176] These were the armorial bearings she had received from her Council. The emblem and the device seemed appropriate to her, since she proclaimed that God had sent her, and since at Orléans she had given the sign promised at Poitiers. The King, notwithstanding, changed this shield for arms representing a crown supported upon a sword between two flowers-de-luce and indicating clearly what was the aid that the Maid of God was bringing to the realm of France. It is said that she regretted having to abandon the arms communicated to her by divine revelation.[1177]

[Pg i.344]

She prophesied, and, as happens to all prophets, she did not always foretell what was to come to pass. It was the fate of the prophet Jonah himself. And doctors explain how the prophecies of true prophets cannot be all fulfilled.

She had said: "Before Saint John the Baptist's Day, in 1429, there shall not be one Englishman, howsoever strong and valiant, to be seen throughout France, either in battle or in the open field."[1178]

The nativity of Saint John the Baptist is celebrated on the 24th of June.

[Pg i.345]



ON Monday, the 6th of June, the King lodged at Saint-Aignan near Selles-en-Berry.[1179] Among the gentlemen of his company were two sons of that Dame de Laval who, in her widowhood, had made the mistake of loving a landless cadet. André, the younger, at the age of twenty, had just passed under the cloud of a disgrace common to nearly all nobles in those days; his grandmother's second husband, Sire Bertrand Du Guesclin, had experienced it several times. Taken prisoner in the château of Laval by Sir John Talbot, he had incurred a heavy debt in order to furnish the sixteen thousand golden crowns of his ransom.[1180]

Being in great need of money, the two young nobles offered their services to the King, who received them very well, gave them not a crown, but said he would show them the Maid. And as he was going with them from Saint-Aignan to Selles, he summoned the Saint,[1181] who straightway, armed at all points save her[Pg i.346] head, and lance in hand, rode out to meet the King. She greeted the two young nobles heartily and returned with them to Selles. The eldest, Lord Guy, she received in the house where she was lodging, opposite the church, and called for wine. Such was the custom among princes. Cups of wine were brought, into which the guests dipped slices of bread called sops.[1182] When offering him the wine cup, the Maid said to Lord Guy: "I will shortly give you to drink at Paris."

She told him that, three days before, she had sent a gold ring to Dame Jeanne de Laval.

"It was a small matter," she added graciously. "I should like to have sent her something of greater value, considering her reputation."[1183]

That same day, at the hour of vespers, she set out from Selles for Romorantin with a numerous company of men-at-arms and train-bands, commanded by Marshal de Boussac. She was surrounded by mendicant friars and one of her brothers went with her. She wore white armour and a hood. Her horse was brought to her at the door of her house. It was a great black charger which resolutely refused to let her mount him. She had him led to the Cross by the roadside, opposite the church, and there she leapt into the saddle. Whereupon Lord Guy marvelled; for he saw that the charger was as still as if he had been bound. She turned her horse's head towards the church porch, and in her clear woman's voice cried: "Ye priests and churchmen, walk in processions and pray to God."[Pg i.347]

Then, gaining the highroad: "Go forward, go forward," she said.

In her hand she carried a little axe. Her page bore her standard furled.[1184]

The meeting-place was Orléans. On Thursday, the 9th of June, in the evening, Jeanne passed over the bridge she had crossed on the 8th of May. Saturday, the 11th, the army set out for Jargeau.[1185] It consisted of horse brought by the Duke of Alençon, the Count of Vendôme, the Bastard, the Marshal de Boussac, Captain La Hire, Messire Florent d'Illiers, Messire Jamet du Tillay, Messire Thudal de Kermoisan of Brittany, as well as of contingents furnished by the communes, in all, perhaps eight thousand combatants, many of whom were armed with pikes, axes, cross-bows and leaden mallets.[1186] The young Duke of Alençon was placed in command. He was not remarkable for his intelligence.[1187] But he knew how to ride, and in those days that was the only knowledge indispensable to a general. Again the people of Orléans defrayed the cost of the expedition. For the payment of the fighting men they contributed three thousand livres, for their feeding, seven hogsheads of corn. At their own request, the King imposed on them a new taille of three thousand livres.[1188] At their own expense they despatched work[Pg i.348]men of all trades,—masons, carpenters, smiths. They lent their artillery. They sent culverins, cannons, La Bergère, and the large mortar to which four horses were harnessed, with the gunners Megret and Jean Boillève.[1189] They furnished ammunition, engines, arrows, ladders, pickaxes, spades, mattocks; and all were marked, for they were a methodical folk. Everything for the siege was sent to the Maid. For in this undertaking she was the one commander they recognised, not the Duke of Alençon, not even the Bastard their own lord's noble brother. For the inhabitants of Orléans, Jeanne was the leader of the siege; and to Jeanne, before the besieged town, they despatched two of their citizens,—Jean Leclerc and François Joachim.[1190] After the citizens of Orléans, the Sire de Rais contributed most to the expenses of the siege of Jargeau.[1191] This unfortunate noble spent thoughtlessly right and left, while rich burgesses made great profits by lending to him at a high rate of interest. The sorry state of his affairs was shortly to bring him to attempt their readjustment by vowing his soul to the devil.

The town of Jargeau, which was shortly to be taken after a severe siege, had surrendered to the English without resistance on the 5th of October in the previous year.[1192] The bridge leading to the town from the Beauce bank was furnished with two castlets.[1193] The town itself, surrounded by walls and towers, was not strongly fortified; but its means of defence had[Pg i.349] been improved by the English. Warned that the army of the French King was coming to besiege it, the Earl of Suffolk and his two brothers threw themselves into the town, with five hundred knights, squires, and other fighting men, as well as two hundred picked bowmen.[1194] The Duke of Alençon with six hundred horse was at the head of the force, and with him, the Maid. The first night they slept in the woods.[1195] On the morrow, at daybreak, my Lord the Bastard, my Lord Florent d'Illiers, and several other captains joined them. They were in a great hurry to reach Jargeau. Suddenly they hear that Sir John Fastolf is at hand, coming from Paris with two thousand combatants, bringing supplies and artillery to Jargeau.[1196]

This was the army which had been the cause of Jeanne's anxiety on the 4th of May, because her saints had not told her where Fastolf was. The captains held a council of war. Many thought the siege ought to be abandoned and that the army should go to meet Fastolf. Some actually went off at once. Jeanne exhorted the men-at-arms to continue their march on Jargeau. Where Sir John Fastolf's army was, she knew no more than the others; her reasons were not of this world.

"Be not afraid of any armed host whatsoever," she said, "and make no difficulty of attacking the English, for Messire leads you."[Pg i.350]

And again she said: "Were I not assured that Messire leads, I would rather be keeping sheep than running so great a danger."

She gained a better hearing from the Duke of Alençon than from any of the Orléans leaders.[1197] Those who had gone were recalled and the march on Jargeau was continued.[1198]

The suburbs of the town appeared undefended; but, when the French King's men approached, they found the English posted in front of the outbuildings, wherefore they were compelled to retreat. When the Maid beheld this, she seized her standard and threw herself upon the enemy, calling on the fighting men to take courage. That night, the French King's men were able to encamp in the suburbs.[1199] They kept no watch, and yet from the Duke of Alençon's own avowal they would have been in great danger if the English had made a sally.[1200] The Maid's judgment was even more fully justified than she expected. Everything in her army depended upon the grace of God.

The very next day, in the morning the besiegers brought their siege train and their mortars up to the walls. The Orléans cannon fired upon the town and did great damage. Three of La Bergère's volleys wrecked the greatest tower on the fortifications.[1201]

The train-bands reached Jargeau on Saturday, the 11th. Straightway, without staying to take counsel, they hastened to the trenches and began the assault. They were too zealous; consequently, they went badly[Pg i.351] to work, received no aid from the men-at-arms and were driven back in disorder.[1202]

On Saturday night, the Maid, who was accustomed to summon the enemy before fighting, approached the entrenchments, and cried out to the English: "Surrender the town to the King of Heaven and to King Charles, and depart, or it will be the worse for you."[1203]

To this summons the English paid no heed, albeit they had a great desire to come to some understanding. The Earl of Suffolk came to my Lord the Bastard, and told him that if he would refrain from the attack, the town should be surrendered to him. The English asked for a fortnight's respite, after which time, they would undertake to withdraw immediately, they and their horses, provided, doubtless, that by that time they had not been relieved.[1204] On both sides such conditional surrenders were common. The Sire de Baudricourt had signed one at Vaucouleurs just before Jeanne's arrival there.[1205] In this case it was mere trickery to ask the French to enter into such an agreement just when Sir John Fastolf was coming with artillery and supplies.[1206] It has been asserted that the Bastard was taken in this snare; but such a thing is incredible; he was far too wily for that. Nevertheless, on the morrow, which was Sunday and the 12th of the month, the Duke of Alençon and the nobles, who were holding a council concerning the measures for the capture of the town, were told that Captain La Hire was conferring with the Earl of Suffolk. They[Pg i.352] were highly displeased.[1207] Captain La Hire, who was not a general, could not treat in his own name, and had doubtless received powers from my Lord the Bastard. The latter commanded for the Duke, a prisoner in the hands of the English, while the Duke of Alençon commanded for the King; and hence the disagreement.

The Maid, who was always ready to show mercy to prisoners when they surrendered and at the same time always ready to fight, said: "If they will, let them in their jackets of mail depart from Jargeau with their lives! If they will not, the town shall be stormed."[1208]

The Duke of Alençon, without even inquiring the terms of the capitulation, had Captain La Hire recalled.

He came, and straightway the ladders were brought. The heralds sounded the trumpets and cried: "To the assault."

The Maid unfurled her standard, and fully armed, wearing on her head one of those light helmets known as chapelines,[1209] she went down into the trenches with the King's men and the train-bands, well within reach of arrows and cannon-balls. She kept by the Duke of Alençon's side, saying: "Forward! fair duke, to the assault."

The Duke, who was not so courageous as she, thought that she went rather hastily to work; and this he gave her to understand.

Then she encouraged him: "Fear not. God's time is the right time. When He wills it you must open the attack. Go forward, He will prepare the way."[Pg i.353]

And seeing him lack confidence, she reminded him of the promise she had recently made concerning him in the Abbey of Saint-Florent-lès-Saumur. "Oh! Fair Duke, can you be afraid? Do you not remember that I promised your wife to bring you back safe and sound?"[1210]

In the thick of the attack, she noticed on the wall one of those long thin mortars, which, from the manner of its charging, was called a breechloader. Seeing it hurl stones on the very spot where the King's fair cousin was standing, she realised the danger, but not for herself. "Move away," she said quickly. "That cannon will kill you."

The Duke had not moved more than a few yards, when a nobleman of Anjou, the Sire Du Lude, having taken the place he had quitted, was killed by a ball from that same cannon.[1211] The Duke of Alençon marvelled at her prophetic gift. Doubtless the Maid had been sent to save him, but she had not been sent to save the Sire Du Lude. The angels of the Lord are sent for the salvation of some, for the destruction of others. When the French King's men reached the wall, the Earl of Suffolk cried out for a parley with the Duke of Alençon. No heed was paid to him and the assault continued.[1212]

The attack had lasted four hours,[1213] when Jeanne, standard in hand, climbed up a ladder leaning against the rampart. A stone fired from a cannon struck her helmet and knocked it with its escutcheon, bearing her arms, off her head. They thought she was crushed,[Pg i.354] but she rose quickly and cried to the fighting men: "Up, friends, up! Messire has doomed the English. They are ours at this moment. Be of good cheer."[1214]

The wall was scaled and the French King's men penetrated into the town. The English fled into La Beauce and the French rushed in pursuit of them. Guillaume Regnault, a squire of Auvergne, came up with the Earl of Suffolk on the bridge and took him prisoner.

"Are you a gentleman?" asked Suffolk.


"Are you a knight?"


The Earl of Suffolk dubbed him a knight and surrendered to him.[1215]

Very soon the rumour ran that the Earl of Suffolk had surrendered on his knees to the Maid.[1216] It was even stated that he had asked to surrender to her as to the bravest lady in the world.[1217] But it is more likely that he would have surrendered to the lowest menial of the army rather than to a woman whom he held to be a witch possessed of the devil.

John Pole, Suffolk's brother, was likewise taken on the bridge. The Duke's third brother, Alexander Pole, was slain in the same place or drowned in the Loire.[1218]

[Pg i.355]

The garrison surrendered at discretion. Now, as always, no great harm was done during the battle, but afterwards the conquerors made up for it. Five hundred English were massacred; the nobles alone were held to ransom. And over them, the French fell to quarrelling. The French nobles kept them all for themselves; the train-bands claimed their share, and, not getting it, began to destroy everything. What the nobles could save was carried off during the night, by water, to Orléans. The town was completely sacked; the old church, which had served the Godons as a magazine, was pillaged.[1219]

Including killed and wounded, the French had not lost twenty men.[1220]

Without disarming, the Maid and the knights returned to Orléans. To celebrate the taking of Jargeau, the magistrates organised a public procession. An eloquent sermon was preached by a Jacobin monk, Brother Robert Baignart.[1221]

The inhabitants of Orléans presented the Duke of Alençon with six casks of wine, the Maid with four, the Count of Vendôme with two.[1222]

As an acknowledgment of the good and acceptable services rendered by the holy maiden, the councillors of the captive Duke Charles of Orléans, gave her a green cloak and a robe of crimson Flemish cloth or[Pg i.356] fine Brussels purple. Jean Luillier, who furnished the stuff, asked eight crowns for two ells of fine Brussels at four crowns the ell; two crowns for the lining of the robe; two crowns for an ell of yellowish green cloth, making in all twelve golden crowns.[1223] Jean Luillier was a young woollen draper who adored the Maid and regarded her as an angel of God. He had a good heart; but fear of the English dazzled him, and where they were concerned caused him to see double.[1224] One of his kinsfolk was a member of the council elected in 1429. He himself was to be appointed magistrate a little later.[1225]

Jean Bourgeois, tailor, asked one golden crown for the making of the robe and the cloak, as well as for furnishing white satin, taffeta, and other stuffs.[1226]

The town had previously given the Maid half an ell of cloth of two shades of green worth thirty-five sous of Paris to make "nettles" for her gown.[1227] Nettles were the Duke of Orléans' device, green or purple or crimson his colours.[1228] This green was no longer the bright colour of earlier days, it had gradually been growing darker as the fortunes of the house declined. It had first been a vivid green, then a brownish shade, and, finally, the tint of the faded leaf with a suggestion of black in it which signified sorrow and mourning. The Maid's colour was feuillemort. She, like the officers of the duchy and the men of the train-bands,[Pg i.357] wore the Orléans livery; and thus they made of her a kind of herald-at-arms or heraldic angel.

The cloak of yellowish green and the robe embroidered with nettles, she must have been glad to wear for love of Duke Charles, whom the English had treated with such sore despite. Having come to defend the heritage of the captive prince, she said that in Jesus' name, the good Duke of Orléans was on her mind and she was confident that she would deliver him.[1229] Her design was first to summon the English to give him up; then, if they refused, to cross the sea and with an army to seek him in England.[1230] In case such means failed her, she had thought of another course which she would adopt, with the permission of her saints. She would ask the King if he would let her take prisoners, believing that she could take enough to exchange for Duke Charles.[1231] Saint Catherine and Saint Margaret had promised her that thus his deliverance would take her less than three years and longer than one.[1232] Such were the pious dreams of a child lulled to sleep by the sound of her village bells! Deeming it just that she should labour and suffer to rescue her princes from trouble and weariness, she used to say, like a good servant: "I know that in matters of bodily ease God loves my King and the Duke of Orléans better than me; and I know it because it hath been revealed unto me."[1233]

Then, speaking of the captive duke she would say: "My Voices have revealed much to me concerning him. Duke Charles hath oftener been the subject of my revelations than any man living except my King."[1234]

[Pg i.358]

In reality, all that Saint Catherine and Saint Margaret had done was to tell her of the well-known misfortunes of the Prince. Valentine of Milan's son and Isabelle Romée's daughter were separated by a gulf broader and deeper than the ocean which stretched between them. They dwelt at the antipodes of the world of souls, and all the saints of Paradise would have been unable to explain one to the other.

All the same Duke Charles was a good prince and a debonair; he was kind and he was pitiful. More than any other he possessed the gift of pleasing. He charmed by his grace, albeit but ill-looking and of weak constitution.[1235] His temperament was so out of harmony with his position that he may be said to have endured his life rather than to have lived it. His father assassinated by night in the Rue Barbette in Paris by order of Duke John; his mother a perennial fount of tears, dying of anger and of grief in a Franciscan nunnery; the two S's, standing for Soupirs (sighs) and Souci (care), the emblems and devices of her mourning, revealing her ingenious mind fancifully elegant even in despair; the Armagnacs, the Burgundians, the Cabochiens, cutting each other's throats around him; these were the sights he had witnessed when little more than a child. Then he had been wounded and taken prisoner at the Battle of Azincourt.

Now, for fourteen years, dragged from castle to castle, from one end to the other of the island of fogs; imprisoned within thick walls, closely guarded, receiving two or three of his countrymen at long intervals, but never permitted to converse with one except before witnesses, he felt old before his time, blighted by misfortune. "Fruit fallen in its greenness, I was[Pg i.359] put to ripen on prison straw. I am winter fruit,"[1236] he said of himself. In his captivity, he suffered without hope, knowing that on his death-bed Henry V had recommended his brother not to give him up at any price.[1237]

Kind to others, kind to himself, he took refuge in his own thoughts, which were as bright and clear as his life was dark and sad. In the gloom of the stern castles of Windsor and of Bolingbroke, in the Tower of London, side by side with his gaolers, he lived and moved in the world of phantasy of the Romance of the Rose. Venus, Cupid, Hope, Fair-Welcome, Pleasure, Pity, Danger, Sadness, Care, Melancholy, Sweet-Looks were around the desk, on which, in the deep embrasure of a window, beneath the sun's rays, he wrote his ballads, as delicate and fresh as an illumination on the page of a manuscript. For him it was the world of allegory that really existed. He wandered in the forest of Long Expectation; he embarked on the vessel Good Tidings. He was a poet; Beauty was his lady; and courteously did he sing of her. From his verses one would say that he was but the Captive of Lord Love.[1238]

He was left in ignorance of the affairs of his duchy; and, if he ever concerned himself about it, it was when he collected the books of King Charles V which had been bought by the Duke of Bedford and resold to London merchants;[1239] or when he commanded that on[Pg i.360] the approach of the English to Blois, its fine tapestries and his father's library should be carried off to La Rochelle. After Beauty rich hangings and delicate miniatures were what he loved most in the world.[1240] The bright sunshine of France, the lovely month of May, dancing and ladies were what he longed for most. He was cured of prowess and of chivalry.

Some have wished to believe that from his duchy news reached him of the Maid's coming. They have gone so far as to imagine that a faithful servant kept him informed of the happy incidents of May and June, 1429;[1241] but nothing is less certain. On the contrary, the probability is that the English refused to let him receive any message, and that he was totally ignorant of all that was going on in the two kingdoms.[1242]

Possibly he did not care for news of the war as much as one might expect. He hoped nothing from men-at-arms; and it was not to his fair cousins of France and to feats of prowess and battles that he looked for deliverance. He knew too much about them. It was in peace that he put his trust, both for himself and for his people. Since the fathers were dead, he thought that the sons might forgive and forget. He placed his hope in his cousin of Burgundy; and he was right, for the fortunes of the English[Pg i.361] were in the hands of Duke Philip. Charles brought himself, or at any rate he was to bring himself later, to recognise the suzerainty of the King of England. It is less important to consider the weakness of men than the force of circumstances. And the prisoner could never do enough to obtain peace: "joy's greatest treasure."[1243]

No, despite her revelations, the picture Jeanne imagined of her fair Duke was not the true one. They were never to meet; but if they had met there would have been serious misunderstandings between them, and they would have remained incomprehensible one to the other. Jeanne's elemental, straight-forward way of thinking could never have accorded with the ideas of so great a noble and so courteous a poet. They could never have understood each other because she was simple, he subtle; because she was a prophetess while he was filled with courtly knowledge and lettered grace; because she believed, and he was as one not believing; because she was a daughter of the common folk and a saint ascribing all sovereignty to God, while for him law consisted in feudal uses and customs, alliances and treaties;[1244] because, in short, they held conflicting ideas concerning life and the world. The Maid's mission, her being sent by Messire to recover his duchy for him, would never have appealed to the good Duke; and Jeanne would never have understood his behaviour towards his English and Burgundian cousins. It was better they should never meet.

[Pg i.362]

The capture of Jargeau had given the French control of the upper Loire. In order to free the city of Orléans from all danger, it was necessary to make sure of the banks of the lower river. There the English still held Meung and Beaugency. On Tuesday, the 14th of June, at the hour of vespers, the army took the field.[1245]

They passed through La Sologne, and that same evening gained the Bridge of Meung, situated above the town and separated from its walls by a broad meadow. Like most bridges, it was defended by a castlet at each end; and the English had provided it with an earthen outwork, as they had done for Les Tourelles at Orléans.[1246] They defended it badly, however, and the French King's men forced their way in before nightfall. They left a garrison there, and went out to encamp in Beauce, almost under the walls. The young Duke of Alençon lodged in a church with a few men-at-arms; and, as was his wont, did not keep watch. He was surprised and ran great danger.[1247]

The town garrison, which was a small one, was commanded by Lord Scales, and "the Child of Warwick." The next day, early in the morning, the King's men, passing within a cannon shot of the town of Meung, marched straight on Beaugency, which they reached in the morning.[1248]

[Pg i.363]

The ancient little town, built on the side of a hill and girt around with vineyards, gardens, and cornfields, sloped before them towards the green valley of the Ru. Straight in front of them rose its square tower of somewhat proud aspect, although it had oftentimes been taken. The suburbs were not fortified; but the French, when they entered them, were riddled by a shower of arrows of every kind, fired by archers concealed in dwellings and outhouses. On both sides there were killed and wounded. Finally, the English retreated into the castle and the bridge bastions.[1249]

The Duke of Alençon stationed sentinels in front of the castle to watch the English. Just then, he saw coming towards him, two nobles of Brittany, the Lords of Rostrenen and of Kermoisan, who said to him: "The Constable asks the besiegers for entertainment."[1250]

Arthur of Brittany, Sire de Richemont, Constable of France, had spent the winter in Poitou waging war against the troops of the Sire de La Trémouille. Now in defiance of the King's prohibition the Constable came to join the King's men.[1251] He had crossed the Loire at Amboise and arrived before Beaugency with six hundred men-at-arms and four hundred archers.[1252] His coming caused the captains great embarrassment. Some esteemed him a man of strong will and great courage. But many were dependent upon the Sire[Pg i.364] de La Trémouille, as for example the poor squire, Jean d'Aulon. The Duke of Alençon wanted to retreat, alleging that the King had commanded him not to receive the Constable.

"If the Constable comes, I shall retire," he said to Jeanne.

To the Breton nobles he replied, that if the Constable came into the camp, the Maid, and the besiegers would fight against him.[1253]

So decided was he that he mounted his horse to ride straight up to the Bretons. The Maid, out of respect for him and for the King, was preparing to follow him. But many of the captains restrained the Duke of Alençon[1254] deeming that now was not the time to break a lance with the Constable of France.

On the morrow a loud alarm was sounded in the camp. The heralds were crying: "To arms!" The English were said to be approaching in great numbers. The young Duke still wanted to retreat in order to avoid receiving the Constable. This time Jeanne dissuaded him: "We must stand together," she said.[1255]

He listened to this counsel and went forth to meet the Constable, followed by the Maid, my Lord the Bastard, and the Lords of Laval. Near the leper's hospital at Beaugency they encountered a fine company. As they approached, a thick-lipped little man, dark and frowning, alighted from his horse.[1256] It was[Pg i.365] Arthur of Brittany. The Maid embraced his knees as she was accustomed to do when holding converse with the great ones of heaven and earth. Thus did every baron when he met one nobler than himself.[1257]

The Constable spoke to her as a good Catholic, a devout servant of God and the Church, saying: "Jeanne, I have heard that you wanted to fight against me. Whether you are sent by God I know not. If you are I do not fear you. For God knows that my heart is right. If you are sent by the devil I fear you still less."[1258]

He was entitled to speak thus, for he made a point of never acknowledging the devil's power over him. His love of God he showed by seeking out wizards and witches with a greater zeal than was displayed by bishops and inquisitors. In France, in Poitou, and in Brittany he had sent more to the stake than any other man living.[1259]

The Duke of Alençon dared not either dismiss him or grant him a lodging for the night. It was the custom for new comers to keep the watch. The Constable with his company kept watch that night in front of the castle.[1260]

Without more ado the young Duke of Alençon proceeded to the attack. Here, again, those who[Pg i.366] bore the brunt of the attack and provided for the siege were the citizens of Orléans. The magistrates of the town had sent by water from Meung to Beaugency the necessary siege train, ladders, pickaxes, mattocks, and those great pent-houses beneath which the besiegers protected themselves like tortoises under their shells. They had sent also cannons and mortars. The gay gunner, Master Jean de Montesclère, was there.[1261] All these supplies were addressed to the Maid. The magistrate, Jean Boillève, brought bread and wine in a barge.[1262] Throughout Friday, the 7th, mortars and cannon hurled stones on the besieged. At the same time from the valley and from the river the attack was being made from barges. On the 17th of June, at midnight, Sir Richard Gethyn, Bailie of Évreux, who commanded the garrison, offered to capitulate. It was agreed that the English should surrender the castle and bridge, and depart on the morrow, taking with them horses and harness with each man his property to the value of not more than one silver mark. Further, they were required to swear that they would not take up arms again before the expiration of ten days. On these terms, the next day, at sunrise, to the number of five hundred, they crossed the drawbridge and retreated on Meung, where the castle, but not the bridge, remained in the hands of the English.[1263] The Constable wisely sent a few men to reinforce the garrison on the Meung[Pg i.367] Bridge.[1264] Sir Richard Gethyn and Captain Matthew Gough were detained as hostages.[1265]

The Beaugency garrison had been in too great haste to surrender. Scarce had it gone when a man-at-arms of Captain La Hire's company came to the Duke of Alençon saying: "The English are marching upon us. We shall have them in front of us directly. They are over there, full one thousand fighting men."

Jeanne heard him speak but did not seize his meaning.

"What is that man-at-arms saying?" she asked.

And when she knew, turning to Arthur of Brittany, who was close by, she said: "Ah! Fair Constable, it was not my will that you should come, but since you are here, I bid you welcome."[1266]

The force the French had to face was Sir John Talbot and Sir John Fastolf with the whole English army.

[Pg i.368]



HAVING left Paris on the 9th of June, Sir John Fastolf was coming through La Beauce with five thousand fighting men. To the English at Jargeau he was bringing victuals and arrows in abundance. Learning by the way that the town had surrendered, he left his stores at Étampes and marched on to Janville, where Sir John Talbot joined him with forty lances and two hundred bowmen.[1267]

There they heard that the French had taken the Meung bridge and laid siege to Beaugency. Sir John Talbot wished to march to the relief of the inhabitants of Beaugency and deliver them with the aid of God and Saint George. Sir John Fastolf counselled abandoning Sir Richard Gethyn and his garrison to their fate; for the moment he deemed it wiser not to fight. Finding his own men fearful and the French full of courage, he thought the best thing the English could do would be to establish themselves in the towns, castles, and strongholds remaining to them, there to await the reinforcements promised by the Regent.[Pg i.369]

"In comparison with the French we are but a handfull," he said. "If luck should turn against us, then we should be in a fair way to lose all those conquests won by our late King Henry after strenuous effort and long delay."[1268]

His advice was disregarded and the army marched on Beaugency. The force was not far from the town on Friday, the 17th of June, just when the garrison was issuing forth with horses, armour, and baggage to the amount of one silver mark's worth for each man.[1269]

Informed of the army's approach the French King's men went forth to meet it. The scouts had not far to ride before they descried the standards and pennons of England waving over the plain, about two and a half miles from Patay. Then the French ascended a hill whence they could observe the enemy. Captain La Hire and the young Sire de Termes said to the Maid: "The English are coming. They are in battle array and ready to fight."

As was her wont, she made answer: "Strike boldly and they will flee."

And she added that the battle would not be long.[1270]

Believing that the French were offering them[Pg i.370] battle, the English took up their position. The archers planted their stakes in the ground, their points inclined towards the enemy. Thus they generally prepared to fight; they had not done otherwise at the Battle of the Herrings. The sun was already declining on the horizon.[1271]

The Duke of Alençon had by no means decided to descend into the plain. In presence of the Constable, my Lord the Bastard and the captains, he consulted the holy Maid, who gave him an enigmatical answer: "See to it that you have good spurs."

Taking her to mean the Count of Clermont's spurs, the spurs of Rouvray, the Duke of Alençon exclaimed: "What do you say? Shall we turn our backs on them?"

"Nay," she replied.

On all occasions her Voices counselled unwavering confidence. "Nay. In God's name, go down against them; for they shall flee and shall not stay and shall be utterly discomfited; and you shall lose scarce any men; wherefore you will need your spurs to pursue them."[1272]

According to the opinions of doctors and masters it was well to listen to the Maid, but at the same time to follow the course marked out by human wisdom.[Pg i.371]

The commanders of the army, either because they judged the occasion unfavourable or because, after so many defeats, they feared a pitched battle, did not come down from their hill. The two heralds sent by two English knights to offer single combat received the answer: "For to-day you may go to bed, because it grows late. But to-morrow, if it be God's will, we will come to closer quarters."[1273]

The English, assured that they would not be attacked, marched off to pass the night at Meung.[1274]

On the morrow, Saturday, the 18th, Saint Hubert's day, the French went forth against them. They were not there. The Godons had decamped early in the morning and gone off, with cannon, ammunition, and victuals, towards Janville,[1275] where they intended to entrench themselves.

Straightway King Charles's army of twelve thousand men[1276] set out in pursuit of them. Along the Paris road they went, over the plain of Beauce, wooded, full of game, covered with thickets and brushwood, wild, but finely to the taste of English and French riders, who praised it highly.[1277]

Gazing over the infinite plain, where the earth[Pg i.372] seems to recede before one's glance, the Maid beheld the sky in front of her, that cloudy sky of plains, suggesting marvellous adventures on the mountains of the air, and she cried: "In God's name, if they were hanging from the clouds we should have them."[1278]

Now, as on the previous evening, she prophesied: "To-day our fair King shall win a victory greater than has been his for a long time. My Council has told me that they are all ours."

She foretold that there would be few, or none of the French slain.[1279]

Captain Poton and Sire Arnault de Gugem went forth to reconnoitre. The most skilled men-of-war, and among them my Lord the Bastard and the Marshal de Boussac, mounted on the finest of war-steeds, formed the vanguard. Then under the leadership of Captain La Hire, who knew the country, came the horse of the Duke of Alençon, the Count of Vendôme, the Constable of France, with archers and cross-bowmen. Last of all came the rear-guard, commanded by the lords of Graville, Laval, Rais, and Saint-Gilles.[1280]

The Maid, ever zealous, desired to be in the vanguard; but she was kept back. She did not lead the men-at-arms, rather the men-at-arms led her. They regarded her, not as captain of war but as a bringer[Pg i.373] of good luck. Greatly saddened, she must needs take her place in the rear, in the company, doubtless, of the Sire de Rais, where she had originally been placed.[1281] The whole army pressed forward for fear the enemy should escape them.

After they had ridden twelve or thirteen miles in overpowering heat, and passed Saint-Sigismond on the left and got beyond Saint-Péravy, Captain Poton's sixty to eighty scouts reached a spot where the ground, which had been level hitherto, descends, and where the road leads down into a hollow called La Retrève. They could not actually see the hollow, but beyond it the ground rose gently; and, dimly visible, scarcely two and a half miles away was the belfry of Lignerolles on the wooded plain known as Climat-du-Camp. A league straight in front of them was the little town of Patay.[1282]

It is two o'clock in the afternoon. Poton's and Gugem's horse chance to raise a stag, which darts out of a thicket and plunges down into the hollow of La Retrève. Suddenly a clamour of voices ascends from the hollow. It proceeds from the English soldiers loudly disputing over the game which has fallen into their hands. Thus informed of the enemy's presence, the French scouts halt and straightway despatch certain of their company to go and tell the army that they have surprised the Godons and that it is time to set to work.[1283]

[Pg i.374]

Now this is what had been happening among the English. They were retreating in good order on Janville, their vanguard commanded by a knight bearing a white standard.[1284] Then came the artillery and the victuals in waggons driven by merchants; then the main body of the army, commanded by Sir John Talbot and Sir John Fastolf. The rear-guard, which was likely to bear the brunt of the attack, consisted only of Englishmen from England.[1285] It followed at some distance from the rest. Its scouts, having seen the French without being seen by them, informed Sir John Talbot, who was then between the hamlet of Saint-Péravy and the town of Patay. On this information he called a halt and commanded the vanguard with waggons and cannon to take up its position on the edge of the Lignerolles wood. The position was excellent: backed by the forest, the combatants were secure against being attacked in the rear,[1286] while in front they were able to entrench themselves behind their waggons. The main body did not advance so far. It halted some little distance from Lignerolles, in the hollow of La Retrève. On this spot the road was lined with quickset hedges. Sir John Talbot with five hundred picked bowmen stationed himself there to await the French who must perforce pass that way. His design was to defend the road until the rear-guard had had time to join the main body, and then, keeping close to the hedges, he would fall back upon the army.

The archers, as was their wont, were making ready to plant in the ground those pointed stakes, the spikes of which they turned against the chests of the enemy's horses, when the French, led by Poton's scouts, came[Pg i.375] down upon them like a whirlwind, overthrew them, and cut them to pieces.[1287]

At this moment, Sir John Fastolf, at the head of the main body, was preparing to join the vanguard. Feeling the French cavalry at his heels, he gave spur and at full gallop led his men on to Lignerolles. When those of the white standard saw him arriving thus in rout, they thought he had been defeated. They took fright, abandoned the edge of the wood, rushed into the thickets of Climat-du-Camp and in great disorder came out on the Paris road. With the main body of the army, Sir John Fastolf pushed on in the same direction. There was no battle. Marching over the bodies of Talbot's archers, the French threw themselves on the English, who were as dazed as a flock of sheep and fell before the foe without resistance. Thus the French slew two thousand of those common folk whom the Godons were accustomed to transport from their own land to be killed in France. When the main body of the French, commanded by La Hire, reached Lignerolles, they found only eight hundred foot whom they soon overthrew. Of the twelve to thirteen thousand French on the march, scarce fifteen hundred took part in the battle or rather in the massacre. Sir John Talbot, who had leapt on to his horse without staying to put on his spurs, was taken prisoner by the Captains La Hire and Poton.[1288] The Lords Scales, Hungerford and Falconbridge, Sir Thomas Guérard, Richard Spencer and Fitz Walter were taken and held to[Pg i.376] ransom. In all, there were between twelve and fifteen hundred prisoners.[1289]

Not more than two hundred men-at-arms pursued the fugitives to the gates of Janville. Except for the vanguard, which had been the first to take flight, the English army was entirely destroyed. On the French side, the Sire de Termes, who was present, states that there was only one killed; a man of his own company. Perceval de Boulainvilliers, Councillor and King's Chamberlain, says there were three.[1290]

The Maid arrived[1291] before the slaughter was ended.[1292] She saw a Frenchman, who was leading some prisoners, strike one of them such a blow on the head that he fell down as if dead. She dismounted and procured the Englishman a confessor. She held his head and comforted him as far as she could. Such was the part she played in the Battle of Patay.[1293] It was the part of a saintly maid.

[Pg i.377]

The French spent the night in the town. Sir John Talbot, having been brought before the Duke of Alençon and the Constable, was thus addressed by the young Duke: "This morning you little thought what would happen to you."

Talbot replied: "It is the chance of war."[1294]

A few breathless Godons succeeded in reaching Janville.[1295] But the townsfolk, with whom on their departure they had deposited their money and their goods, shut the gates in their faces and swore loyalty to King Charles.

The English commanders of the two small strongholds in La Beauce, Montpipeau and Saint Sigismond, set fire to them and fled.[1296]

From Patay the victorious army marched to Orléans. The inhabitants were expecting the King. They had hung up tapestries ready for his entrance.[1297] But the King and his Chamberlain, fearing and not without reason, some aggressive movement on the part of the Constable, held themselves secure in the Château of Sully.[1298] Thence they started for Châteauneuf on the 22nd of June. That same day the Maid joined the King at Saint-Benoit-sur-Loire. He received her with his usual kindness and said: "I pity you because of the suffering you endure." And he urged her to rest.

At these words she wept. It has been said that her[Pg i.378] tears flowed because of the indifference and incredulity towards her that the King's urbanity implied.[1299] But we must beware of attributing to the tears of the enraptured and the illuminated a cause intelligible to human reason. To her Charles appeared clothed in an ineffable splendour like that of the holiest of kings. How, since she had shown him her angels, invisible to ordinary folk, could she for one moment have thought that he lacked faith in her?

"Have no doubt," she said to him, confidently, "you shall receive the whole of your kingdom and shortly shall be crowned."[1300]

True, Charles seemed in no great haste to employ his knights in the recovery of his kingdom. But his Council just then had no idea of getting rid of the Maid. On the contrary, they were determined to use her cleverly, so as to put heart into the French, to terrify the English, and to convince the world that God, Saint Michael, and Saint Catherine, were on the side of the Armagnacs. In announcing the victory of Patay to the good towns, the royal councillors said not one word of the Constable, neither did they mention my Lord the Bastard.[1301] They described as leaders of the army, the Maid, with the two Princes of the Blood Royal, the Duke of Alençon, and the Duke of[Pg i.379] Vendôme. In such wise did they exalt her. And, indeed, she must have been worth as much and more than a great captain, since the Constable attempted to seize her. With this enterprise, he charged one of his men, Andrieu de Beaumont, who had formerly been employed to carry off the Sire de la Trémouille. But, as Andrieu de Beaumont had failed with the Chamberlain, so he failed with the Maid.[1302]

Probably she herself knew nothing of this plot. She besought the King to pardon the Constable,—a request which proves how great was her naïveté. By royal command Richemont received back his lordship of Parthenay.[1303]

Duke John of Brittany, who had married a sister of Charles of Valois, was not always pleased with his brother-in-law's counsellors. In 1420, considering him too Burgundian, they had devised for him a Bridge of Montereau.[1304] In reality, he was neither Armagnac nor Burgundian nor French nor English, but Breton. In 1423 he recognised the Treaty of Troyes; but two years later, when his brother, the Duke of Richemont, had gone over to the French King and received the Constable's sword from him, Duke John went to Charles of Valois, at Saumur, and did homage for his duchy.[1305] In short, he extricated[Pg i.380] himself cleverly from the most embarrassing situations and succeeded in remaining outside the quarrel of the two kings who were both eager to involve him in it. While France and England were cutting each other's throats, he was raising Brittany from its ruins.[1306]

The Maid filled him with curiosity and admiration. Shortly after the Battle of Patay, he sent to her, Hermine, his herald-at-arms, and Brother Yves Milbeau, his confessor, to congratulate her on her victory.[1307] The good Brother was told to question Jeanne.

He asked her whether it was God who had sent her to succour the King.

Jeanne replied that it was.

"If it be so," replied Brother Yves Milbeau, "my Lord the Duke of Brittany, our liege lord, is disposed to proffer his service to the King. He cannot come in person for he is sorely infirm. But he is to send his son with a large army."

The good Brother was speaking lightly and making a promise for his duke which would never be kept. The only truth in it was that many Breton nobles were coming in to take service with King Charles.

On hearing these words, the little Saint made a curious mistake. She thought that Brother Yves had meant that the Duke of Brittany was her liege lord as well as his, which would have been altogether senseless. Her loyalty revolted: "The Duke of Brittany is not my liege lord," she replied sharply. "The King is my liege lord."[Pg i.381]

As far as we can tell, the Duke of Brittany's caution had produced no favourable impression in France. He was censured for having set the King's war ban at nought and made a treaty with the English. Jeanne was of that opinion and to Brother Yves she said so plainly: "The Duke should not have tarried so long in sending his men to aid the King."[1308]

A few days later, the Sire de Rostrenen, who had accompanied the Constable to Beaugency and to Patay, came from Duke John to treat of the prospective marriage between his eldest son, François, and Bonne de Savoie, daughter of Duke Amédée. With him was Comment-Qu'il-Soit, herald of Richard of Brittany, Count of Étampes. The herald was commissioned to present the Maid with a dagger and horses.[1309]

At Rome, in 1428, there was a French clerk, a compiler of one of those histories of the world so common in those days and so much alike. His cosmography, like all of them, began with the creation and came down to the pontificate of Martin V who was then Pope. "Under this pontificate," wrote the author, "the realm of France, the flower and the lily of the world, opulent among the most opulent, before whom the whole universe bowed, was cast down by its invader, the tyrant Henry, who was not even the lawful lord of the realm of England." Then this churchman vows the Burgundians to eternal infamy and hurls upon them the most terrible maledictions. "May their eyes be torn out: may they perish by an evil death!" Such language indicates a good Arma[Pg i.382]gnac and possibly a clerk despoiled of his goods and driven into exile by the enemies of his country. When he learns the coming of the Maid and the deliverance of Orléans, transported with joy and wonder, he re-opens his history and consigns to its pages arguments in favour of the marvellous Maid, whose deeds appear to him more divine than human, but concerning whom he knows but little. He compares her to Deborah, Judith, Esther, and Penthesilea. "In the books of the Gentiles it is written," he says, "that Penthesilea, and a thousand virgins with her, came to the succour of King Priam and fought so valiantly that they tore the Myrmidons in pieces and slew more than two thousand Greeks." According to him, both in courage and feats of prowess, the Maid far surpasses Penthesilea. Her deeds promptly refute those who maintain that she is sent by the Devil.[1310]

In a moment the fame of the French King's prophetess had been spread abroad throughout Christendom. While in temporal affairs the people were rending each other, in spiritual matters obedience to one common head made Europe one spiritual republic with one language and one doctrine, governed by councils. The spirit of the Church was all-pervading. In Italy, in Germany, the talk was all of the Sibyl of France and her prowess which was so intimately associated with the Christian faith. In those days it was sometimes the custom of those who painted on the walls of monasteries to depict the Liberal Arts as three noble dames. Between her two sisters, Logic would be painted, seated on a lofty[Pg i.383] throne, wearing an antique turban, clothed in a sparkling robe, and bearing in one hand a scorpion, in the other a lizard, as a sign that her knowledge winds its way into the heart of the adversary's argument, and saves her from being herself entrapped. At her feet, looking up to her, would be Aristotle, disputing and reckoning up his arguments on his fingers.[1311] This austere lady formed all her disciples in the same mould. In those days nothing was more despicable than singularity. Originality of mind did not then exist. The clerks who treated of the Maid all followed the same method, advanced the same arguments, and based them on the same texts, sacred and profane. Conformity could go no further. Their minds were identical, but not their hearts; it is the mind that argues, but the heart that decides. These scholastics, dryer than their parchment, were men, notwithstanding; they were swayed by sentiment, by passion, by interests spiritual or temporal. While the Armagnac doctors were demonstrating that in the Maid's case reasons for belief were stronger than reasons for disbelief, the German or Italian masters, caring nought for the quarrel of the Dauphin of Viennois,[1312] remained in doubt, unmoved by either love or hatred.

There was a doctor of theology, one Heinrich von Gorcum, a professor at Cologne. As early as the month of June, 1429, he drew up a memorial concerning the Maid. In Germany, minds were divided as to whether the nature of the damsel were human[Pg i.384] or whether she were not rather a celestial being clothed in woman's form; as to whether her deeds proceeded from a human origin or had a supernatural source; and, if the latter, whether that source were good or bad. Meister Heinrich von Gorcum wrote his treatise to present arguments from Holy Scripture on both sides, and he abstained from drawing any conclusion.[1313]

In Italy, the same doubts and the same uncertainty prevailed concerning the deeds of the Maid. Those there were who maintained that they were mere inventions. At Milan, it was disputed whether any credence could be placed in tidings from France. To discover the truth about them, the notables of the city resolved to despatch a Franciscan friar, Brother Antonio de Rho, a good humanist and a zealous preacher of moral purity.

And Giovanni Corsini, Senator of the duchy of Arezzo, impelled by a like curiosity, consulted a learned clerk of Milan, one Cosmo Raimondi of Cremona. The following is the gist of the learned Ciceronian's reply:

"Most noble lord, they say that God's choice of a shepherdess for the restoration of a kingdom to a prince, is a new thing. And yet we know that the shepherd David was anointed king. It is told how the Maid, at the head of a small company, defied a great army. The victory may be explained by an advantageous position and an unexpected attack. But supposing we refrain from saying that the enemy was surprised and that his courage forsook him, matters which are none the less possible, supposing we admit that there was a miracle: what is there astonishing in that? Is it not still more wonderful that Samson[Pg i.385] should have slain so many Philistines with the jaw-bone of an ass?

"The Maid is said to possess the power of revealing the future. Remember the Sibyls, notably the Erythræan and the Cumæan. They were heathens. Why should not a like power be granted to a Christian? This woman is a shepherdess. Jacob, when he kept Laban's flocks, conversed familiarly with God. To such examples and to such reasons, which incline me to give credence to the rumour, I add another reason derived from physical science. In treatises on astrology I have often read that by the favourable influence of the stars, certain men of lowly birth have become the equals of the highest princes and been regarded as men divine charged with a celestial mission. Guido da Forli, a clever astronomer, quotes a great number of such instances. Wherefore I should not deem myself to be incurring any reproach if I believed that through the influence of the stars, the Maid has undertaken what is reported of her."

At the conclusion of his arguments the clerk of Cremona says that, while not absolutely rejecting the reports concerning her, he does not consider them to be sufficiently proved.[1314]

Jeanne maintained her resolution to go to Reims and take the King to his anointing.[1315] She did not stay to consider whether it would be better to wage war in Champagne than in Normandy. She did not know enough of the configuration of the country to decide such a question, and it is not likely that her saints and angels knew more of geography than she did. She was in haste to take the King to Reims for his anoint[Pg i.386]ing, because she believed it impossible for him to be king until he had been anointed.[1316] The idea of leading him to be anointed with the holy oil had come to her in her native village, long before the siege of Orléans.[1317] This inspiration was wholly of the spirit, and had nothing to do with the state of affairs created by the deliverance of Orléans and the victory of Patay.

The best course would have been to march straight on Paris after the 18th of June. The French were then only ninety miles from the great city, which at that juncture would not have thought of defending itself. Considering it as good as lost, the Regent shut himself up in the Fort of Vincennes.[1318] They had missed their opportunity. The French King's Councillors, Princes of the Blood, were deliberating, surprised by victory, not knowing what to do with it. Certain it is that not one of them thought of conquering, and that speedily, the whole inheritance of King Charles. The forces at their disposal, and the very conditions of the society in which they lived, rendered it impossible for them to conceive of such an undertaking. The lords of the Great Council were not like the poverty stricken monks, dreaming in their ruined cloisters[1319] of an age of peace and concord. The King's Councillors were no dreamers; they did not believe in the end of the war, neither did they desire it. But they intended to conduct it with the least possible risk and expenditure. There would always be folk enough to don the hauberk and go a-plundering[Pg i.387] they said to themselves; the taking and re-taking of towns must continue; sufficient unto the day is the evil thereof; to fight long one must fight gently; nine times out of ten more is gained by negotiations and treaties than by feats of prowess; truces must be concluded craftily and broken cautiously; some defeats must be expected, and some work must be left for the young. Such were the opinions of the good servants of King Charles.[1320]

Certain among them wished the war to be carried on in Normandy.[1321] The idea had occurred to them as early as the month of May, before the Loire campaign, and indeed there was much to be said for it. In Normandy they would cut the English tree at its root. It was quite possible that they might immediately recover a part of that province where the English had but few fighting men. In 1424 the Norman garrisons consisted of not more than four hundred lances and twelve hundred bowmen.[1322] Since then they had received but few reinforcements. The Regent was recruiting men everywhere and displaying marvellous activity, but he lacked money, and his soldiers were always deserting.[1323] In the conquered province, as soon as the Coués came out of their strongholds they found themselves in the enemy's territory. From the borders of Brittany, Maine, Perche as far as Pon[Pg i.388]thieu and Picardy, on the banks of the Mayenne, Orne, the Dive, the Touque, the Eure, the Seine, the partisans of the various factions held the country, watching the roads, robbing, ravaging, and murdering.[1324] Everywhere the French would have found these brave fellows ready to espouse their cause; the peasants and the village priests would likewise have wished them well. But the campaign would involve long sieges of towns, strongly defended, albeit held by but small garrisons. Now the men-at-arms dreaded the delays of sieges, and the royal treasury was not sufficient for such costly undertakings.[1325] Normandy was ruined, stripped of its crops, and robbed of its cattle. Were the captains and their men to go into this famine-stricken land? And why should the King reconquer so poor a province?

And these freebooters, who were willing to stretch out a hand to the French, were not very attractive. It was well known that brigands they were, and brigands would remain, and that Normandy once reconquered, they would have to be got rid of, to the last man, without honour and without profit. In which case would it not be better to leave them to be dealt with by the Godons?

Other nobles clamoured for an expedition into Champagne.[1326] And in spite of all that has been said to the contrary, the Maid's visions had no influence whatever on this determination. The King's Councillors led Jeanne and were far from being led by her.[Pg i.389] Once before they had diverted her from the road to Reims by providing her with work on the Loire. Once again they might divert her into Normandy, without her even perceiving it, so ignorant was she of the roads and of the lie of the land. If there were certain who recommended a campaign in Champagne, it was not on the faith of saints and angels, but for purely human reasons. Is it possible to discover these reasons? There were doubtless certain lords and captains who considered the interest of the King and the kingdom, but every one found it so difficult not to confound it with his own interest, that the best way to discover who was responsible for the march on Reims is to find out who was to profit by it. It was certainly not the Duke of Alençon, who would have greatly preferred to take advantage of the Maid's help for the conquest of his own duchy.[1327] Neither was it my Lord the Bastard, nor the Sire de Gaucourt, nor the King himself, for they must have desired the securing of Berry and the Orléanais by the capture of La Charité held by the terrible Perrinet Gressart.[1328] On the other hand we may conclude that the Queen of Sicily would not be unfavourable to the march of the King, her son-in-law, in a north easterly direction. This Spanish lady was possessed by the Angevin mania. Reassured for the moment concerning the fate of her duchy of Anjou, she was pursuing eagerly, and to the great hurt of the realm of France, the establishment of her son René in the duchy of Bar and in the inheritance of Lorraine. She cannot have been displeased, therefore, when she saw the King keeping her an open road between Gien and Troyes and Châlons. But since the Constable's exile she had[Pg i.390] lost all influence over her son-in-law, and it is difficult to discover who could have watched her interests in the Council of May, 1429.[1329] Besides, without seeking further, it is obvious that there was one person, who above all others must have desired the anointing of the King, and who more than any was in a position to make his opinion prevail. That person was the man on whom devolved the duty of holding in his consecrated hands the Sacred Ampulla, my Lord Regnault de Chartres, Archbishop Duke of Reims, Chancellor of the Kingdom.[1330]

He was a man of rare intelligence, skilled in business, a very clever diplomatist, greedy of wealth, caring less for empty honours than for solid advantage, avaricious, unscrupulous, one who at the age of about fifty had lost nothing of his consuming energy; he had recently displayed it by spending himself nobly in the defence of Orléans. Thus gifted, how could he fail to exercise a powerful control over the government?

Fifteen years had passed since his elevation to the archiepiscopal see of Reims; and of his enormous revenue he had not yet received one penny. Albeit the possessor of great wealth from other sources, he pleaded poverty. To the Pope he addressed heart-rending supplications.[1331] If the Maid had found favour in the eyes of the Poitiers doctors, Monseigneur Regnault had had something to do with it. Had it not been for him, the doctors at court would never have proposed her examination. And we shall not be mak[Pg i.391]ing too bold a hypothesis if we conclude, that when the march on Reims was decided in the royal council, it was because the Archbishop, on grounds suggested by human reason, approved of what the Maid proposed by divine inspiration.[1332]

While the coronation campaign was attended with grave drawbacks and met with serious obstacles, it nevertheless brought great gain and a certain subtle advantage to the royal cause. Unfortunately it left free from attack the rest of France occupied by the English, and it gave the latter time to recover themselves and procure aid from over sea. We shall shortly see what good use they made of their opportunities.[1333] As to the advantages of the expedition, they were many and various. First, Jeanne truly expressed the sentiments of the poor priests and the common folk when she said that the Dauphin would reap great profit from his anointing.[1334] From the oil of the holy Ampulla the King would derive a splendour, a majesty which would impress the whole of France, yea, even the whole of Christendom. In those days royalty was alike spiritual and temporal; and multitudes of men believed with Jeanne that kings only became kings by being anointed with the holy oil. Thus it would not be wrong to say that Charles of Valois would receive greater power from one drop of oil than from ten thousand lances. On a consideration like this the King's Councillors must needs set[Pg i.392] great store. They had also to take into account the time and the place. Might not the ceremony be performed in some other town than Reims? Might not the so-called "mystery" take place in that city which had been delivered by the intercession of its blessed patrons, Saint-Aignan and Saint Euverte? Two kings descended from Hugh Capet, Robert the Wise and Louis the Fat, had been crowned at Orléans.[1335] But the memory of their royal coronation was lost in the mists of antiquity, while folk still retained the memory of a long procession of most Christian kings anointed in the town where the holy oil had been brought down to Clovis by the celestial dove.[1336] Besides, the lord Archbishop and Duke of Reims would never have suffered the King to receive his anointing save at his hand and in his cathedral.

Therefore it was necessary to go to Reims. It was necessary also to anticipate the English who had resolved to conduct thither their infant King that he might receive consecration according to the ancient ceremonial.[1337] But if the French had invaded Normandy they would have closed the young Henry's road to Paris and to Reims, a road which was already[Pg i.393] insecure for him; and it would be childish to maintain that the coronation could not have been postponed for a few weeks. If the conquest of Norman lands and Norman towns was renounced therefore, it was not merely for the sake of capturing the holy Ampulla. The Lord Archbishop of Reims had other objects at heart. He believed, for example, that, by pressing in between the Duke of Burgundy and his English allies, an excellent impression would be produced on the mind of that Prince and the edifying object-lesson presented to his consideration of Charles, son of Charles, King of France, riding at the head of a powerful army.

To attain the city of the Blessed Saint Remi two hundred and fifty miles of hostile country must be traversed. But for some time the army would be in no danger of meeting the enemy on the road. The English and Burgundians were engaged in using every means both fair and foul for the raising of troops. For the moment the French need fear no foe. The rich country of Champagne, sparsely wooded, well cultivated, teemed with corn and wine, and abounded in fat cattle.[1338] Champagne had not been devastated like Normandy. There was a likelihood of obtaining food for the men-at-arms, especially if, as was hoped, the good towns supplied victuals. They were very wealthy; their barns overflowed with corn. While owing allegiance to King Henry, no bonds of affection united them to the English or to the Burgundians. They governed themselves. They were rich merchants, who only longed for peace and who did their best to bring it about. Just now they were beginning to suspect that the Armagnacs were growing the stronger party. These folk of Champagne had a[Pg i.394] clergy and a bourgeoisie who might be appealed to. It was not a question of storming their towns with artillery, mines, and trenches, but of getting round them with amnesties, concessions to the merchants and elaborate engagements to respect the privileges of the clergy. In this country there was no risk of rotting in hovels or burning in bastions. The townsfolk were expected to throw open their gates and partly from love, partly from fear, to give money to their lord the King.

The campaign was already arranged, and that very skilfully. Communications had been opened with Troyes and Châlons. By letters and messages from a few notables of Reims it was made known to King Charles that if he came they would open to him the gates of their town. He even received three or four citizens, who said to him, "Go forth in confidence to our city of Reims. It shall not be our fault if you do not enter therein."[1339]

Such assurances emboldened the Royal Council; and the march into Champagne was resolved upon.

The army assembled at Gien; it increased daily. The nobles of Brittany and Poitou came in in great numbers, most of them mounted on sorry steeds[1340] and commanding but small companies of men. The poorest equipped themselves as archers, and in default of better service were ready to act as bowmen. Villeins and tradesmen came likewise.[1341] From the Loire to the Seine and from the Seine to the Somme the only cultivated land was round châteaux and fortresses. Most of the fields lay fallow. In many places[Pg i.395] fairs and markets had been suspended. Labourers were everywhere out of work. War, after having ruined all trades, was now the only trade. Says Eustache Deschamps, "All men will become squires. Scarce any artisans are left."[1342] At the place of meeting there assembled thirty thousand men, of whom many were on foot and many came from the villages, giving their services in return for food. There were likewise monks, valets, women and other camp-followers. And all this multitude was an hungered. The King went to Gien and summoned the Queen who was at Bourges.[1343]

His idea was to take her to Reims and have her crowned with him, following the example of Queen Blanche of Castille, of Jeanne de Valois, and of Queen Jeanne, wife of King John. But queens had not usually been crowned at Reims; Queen Ysabeau, mother of the present King, had received the crown from the hands of the Archbishop of Rouen in the Sainte-Chapelle, in Paris.[1344] Before her time, the wives of the kings, following the example set by Berthe, wife of Pepin the Short, generally came to Saint-Denys to receive the crown of gold, of sapphire and of pearls given by Jeanne of Évreux to the monks of the Abbey.[1345] Sometimes the queens were crowned with[Pg i.396] their husbands, sometimes alone and in a different place; many had never been crowned at all.

That King Charles should have thought of taking Queen Marie on this expedition proves that he did not anticipate great fatigue or great danger. Nevertheless, at the last moment the plan was changed. The Queen, who had come to Gien, was sent back to Bourges. The King set out without her.[1346]

Quand le roy s'en vint en France,
Il feit oindre ses houssiaulx,
Et la royne lui demande:
Ou veult aller cest damoiseaulx?[1347]

In reality the Queen asked nothing. She was ill-favoured and weak of will.[1348] But the song says that the King on his departure had his old gaiters greased because he had no new ones. Those old jokes about the poverty of the King of Bourges still held good.[1349] The King had not grown rich. It was customary to pay the men-at-arms a part of their wages in advance. At Gien each fighting man received three francs. It did not seem much, but they hoped to gain more on the way.[1350]

On Friday, the 24th of June, the Maid set out from Orléans for Gien. On the morrow she dictated from Gien a letter to the inhabitants of Tournai, telling them how the English had been driven from all their[Pg i.397] strongholds on the Loire and discomfited in battle. In this letter she invited them to come to the anointing of King Charles at Reims and called upon them to continue loyal Frenchmen. Here is the letter:


Fair Frenchmen and loyal, of the town of Tournay, from this place the Maid maketh known unto you these tidings: that in eight days, by assault or otherwise, she hath driven the English from all the strongholds they held on the River Loire. Know ye that the Earl of Suffort, Lapoulle his brother, the Sire of Tallebord, the Sire of Scallez and my lords Jean Falscof and many knights and captains have been taken, and the brother of the Earl of Suffort and Glasdas slain. I beseech you to remain good and loyal Frenchmen; and I beseech and entreat you that ye make yourselves ready to come to the anointing of the fair King Charles at Rains, where we shall shortly be, and come ye to meet us when ye know that we draw nigh. To God I commend you. God keep you and give you his grace that ye may worthily maintain the good cause of the realm of France. Written at Gien the xxvth day of June.

Addressed "to the loyal Frenchmen of the town of Tournay."[1351]

An epistle in the same tenor must have been sent by the Maid's monkish scribes to all the towns which had remained true to King Charles, and the priests themselves must have drawn up the list of them.[1352][Pg i.398] They would certainly not have forgotten that town of the royal domain, which, situated in Flanders,[1353] in the heart of Burgundian territory, still remained loyal to its liege lord. The town of Tournai, ceded to Philip the Good by the English government, in 1423, had not recognised its new master. Jean de Thoisy, its bishop, resided at Duke Philip's court;[1354] but it remained the King's town,[1355] and the well-known attachment of its townsfolk to the Dauphin's fortunes was exemplary and famous.[1356] The Consuls of Albi, in a short note concerning the marvels of 1429, were careful to remark that this northern city, so remote that they did not exactly know where it was, still held out for France, though surrounded by France's enemies. "The truth is that the English occupy the whole land of Normandy, and of Picardy, except Tournay,"[1357] they wrote.

[Pg i.399]

Indeed the inhabitants of the bailiwick of Tournai, jealously guarding the liberties and privileges accorded to them by the King of France, would not have separated themselves from the Crown on any consideration. They protested their loyalty, and in honour of the King and in the hope of his recovering his kingdom they had grand processions; but their devotion stopped there; and, when their liege Lord, King Charles, urgently demanded the arrears of their contribution, of which he said he stood in great need, their magistrates deliberated and decided to ask leave to postpone payment again, and for as long as possible.[1358]

There is no doubt that the Maid herself dictated this letter. It will be noticed that therein she takes to herself the credit and the whole credit for the victory. Her candour obliged her to do so. In her opinion God had done everything, but he had done everything through her. "The Maid hath driven the English out of all their strongholds." She alone could reveal so naïve a faith in herself. Brother Pasquerel would not have written with such saintly simplicity.

It is remarkable that in this letter Sir John Fastolf should be reckoned among the prisoners. This mistake is not peculiar to Jeanne. The King announces to his good towns that three English captains have been taken, Talbot, the Lord of Scales and Fastolf. Perceval de Boulainvilliers, in his Latin epistle to the Duke of Milan, includes Fastolf, whom he calls Fastechat, among the thousand prisoners taken by the folk of Dauphiné. Finally, a missive despatched about the 25th of June, from one of the towns of the diocese of Luçon, shows great uncertainty concern[Pg i.400]ing the fate of Talbot, Fastolf and Scales, "who are said to be either prisoners or dead."[1359] Possibly the French had laid hands on some noble who resembled Fastolf in appearance or in name; or perhaps some man-at-arms in order to be held to ransom had given himself out to be Fastolf. The Maid's letter reached Tournai on the 7th of July. On the morrow the town council resolved to send an embassy to King Charles of France.[1360]

On the 27th of June, or about then, the Maid caused letters to be despatched to the Duke of Burgundy, inviting him to come to the King's coronation. She received no reply.[1361] Duke Philip was the last man in the world to correspond with the Maid. And that she should have written to him courteously was a sign of her goodness of heart. As a child in her village she had been the enemy of the Burgundians before being the enemy of the English, but none the less she desired the good of the kingdom and a reconciliation between Burgundians and French.

The Duke of Burgundy could not lightly pardon the ambush of Montereau; but at no time of his life had he vowed an irreconcilable hatred of the French. An understanding had become possible after the year 1425, when his brother-in-law, the Constable of France, had excluded Duke John's murderers from[Pg i.401] the Royal Council. As for the Dauphin Charles, he maintained that he had had nothing to do with the crime; but among the Burgundians he passed for an idiot.[1362] In the depths of his heart Duke Philip disliked the English. After King Henry V's death he had refused to act as their regent in France. Then there was the affair of the Countess Jacqueline which very nearly brought about an open rupture.[1363] For many years the House of Burgundy had been endeavouring to gain control over the Low Countries. At last Duke Philip attained his object by marrying his second cousin, John, Duke of Brabant to Jacqueline of Bavaria, Countess of Hainault, Holland and Zealand, and Lady of Friesland. Jacqueline, finding her husband intolerable, fled to England, and there, having had her marriage annulled by the Antipope, Benedict XIII, married the Duke of Gloucester, the Regent's brother.

Bedford, as prudent as Gloucester was headstrong, made every effort to retain the great Duke in the English alliance; but the secret hatred he felt for the Burgundians burst forth occasionally in sudden acts of rage. Whether he planned the assassination of the Duke and the Duke knew it, is uncertain. But at any rate it is alleged that one day the courteous Bedford forgot himself so far as to say that Duke Philip might well go to England and drink more beer than was good for him.[1364] The Regent had just tactlessly of[Pg i.402]fended him by refusing to let him take possession of the town of Orléans.[1365] Now Bedford was biting his fingers with rage. Regretting that he had refused the Duke the key to the Loire and the heart of France, he was at present eager to offer him the province of Champagne which the French were preparing to conquer: this was indeed just the time to present some rich gift to his powerful ally.[1366]

Meanwhile the great Duke could think of nothing but the Low Countries. Pope Martin had declared the marriage of the Countess Jacqueline and Gloucester to be invalid; and Gloucester was marrying another wife. Now the Gargantua of Dijon could once more lay hands on the broad lands of the fair Jacqueline. He remained the ally of the English, intending to make use of them but not to play into their hands, and prepared, should he find it to his advantage, to make war on the French before being reconciled to them; he saw no harm in that. After the Low Countries what he cared most about were ladies and beautiful paintings, like those of the brothers Van Eyck. He would not be likely therefore to pay much attention to a letter from the Maid of the Armagnacs.[1367]

[Pg i.403]



ON the 27th of June,[1368] the vanguard, commanded by Marshal de Boussac, the Sire de Rais, the Captains La Hire and Poton, set out from Gien in the direction of Montargis with the design of pressing on to Sens, which, so they had been wrongly informed, was deemed likely to open its gates to the Dauphin. But, at the news that the town had hoisted the flag of St. Andrew, as a sign of fidelity to the English and Burgundians, the army changed its route, so little did it desire to take towns by force. The march was now directed towards Auxerre, where a more favourable reception was expected.[1369] The Maid in her impatience had not waited for the King. She rode with the company which had started first. Had she been its leader she would not have turned from a town when its cannon were directed against her.

The King set forth two days later, with the Princes of the Blood, many knights, the main battle, as it was called, and the Sire de la Trémouille, who commanded the expedition.[1370] All these troops arrived[Pg i.404] before Auxerre on the 1st of July.[1371] There on the hill-slope, encircled with vineyards and cornfields, rose the ramparts, towers, roofs, and belfries of the blessed Bishop Germain's city. That town towards which in the summer sunshine, in the company of gallant knighthood, she was now riding, fully armed like a handsome Saint Maurice, Jeanne had seen only three months before, under a dark and cloudy sky; then, clad like a stable-boy, in the company of two or three poor soldiers of fortune, she was travelling over a bad road, on her way to the Dauphin Charles.[1372]

Since 1424 the County of Auxerre had belonged to the Duke of Burgundy, upon whom it had been bestowed by the Regent. The Duke governed it through a bailie and a captain.[1373]

The lord Bishop, Messire Jean de Corbie, formerly Bishop of Mende, was thought to be on the Dauphin's side.[1374] The Chapter of the Cathedral on the other hand held to Burgundy.[1375] Twelve jurors, elected by the burgesses and other townsfolk, administered the affairs of the city. One can easily imagine that fear must have been the dominant sentiment in their hearts when they saw the royal army approaching. Men-at-arms, no matter whether they wore the white cross or the red, inspired all town[Pg i.405] dwellers with a well-grounded terror. And, in order to turn from their gates these violent and murderous thieves, the townsfolk were capable of resorting to the strongest measures, even to that of putting their hands in their purses.

The royal heralds summoned the people of Auxerre to receive the King as their natural and lawful lord. Such a summons, backed by lances, placed them in a very embarrassing position. Alike by refusing and by consenting these good folk ran great risk. To transfer their allegiance was no light matter; their lives and their goods were involved. Foreseeing this danger, and conscious of their weakness, they had entered into a league with the cities of Champagne. The object of the league was to relieve its members from the burden of receiving men-at-arms and the peril of having two hostile masters. Certain of the townsfolk therefore presented themselves before King Charles and promised him such submission as should be accorded by the towns of Troyes, Châlons, and Reims.[1376]

This was not obedience, neither was it rebellion. Negotiations were begun; ambassadors went from the town to the camp and from the camp to the town. Finally the confederates, who were not lacking in intelligence, proposed an acceptable compromise,—one that princes were constantly concluding with each other, to wit, a truce.

They said to the King: "We entreat and request you to pass on, and we ask you to agree to refrain from fighting." And, in order to secure their request[Pg i.406] being granted, they gave two thousand crowns to the Sire de la Trémouille, who, it is said, kept them without a blush. Further, the townsfolk undertook to revictual the army in return for money down; and that was worth considering, for there was famine in the camp.[1377] This truce by no means pleased the men-at-arms, who thereby lost a fine opportunity for robbery and pillage. Murmurs arose; many lords and captains said that it would not be difficult to take the town, and that its capture should have been attempted. The Maid, who was always receiving promises of victory from her Voices, never ceased calling the soldiers to arms.[1378] Unaffected by any of these things, the King concluded the proposed truce; for he cared not by force of arms to obtain more than could be compassed by peaceful methods. Had he attacked the town he might have taken it and held it in his mercy; but it would have meant certain pillage, murder, burning, and ravishing. On his heels would have come the Burgundians, and there would have been plundering, burning, ravishing, massacring over again. How many examples had there not been already of unhappy towns captured and then lost almost immediately, devastated by the French, devastated by the English and the Burgundians, when each citizen kept in his coffer a red cap and a white cap, which he wore in turns! Was there to be no end to these massacres and abominations, resentment against which caused the Armagnacs to be cursed throughout[Pg i.407] l'Île de France, and which made it so hard for the lawful King to recover his town of Paris. The royal Council thought the time had come to put an end to these things. It was of opinion that Charles of Valois would the more easily reconquer his inheritance if, while manifesting his power, he showed himself lenient and exercised royal clemency, as in arms and yet pursuing peace, he continued his march to Reims.[1379]

After having spent three days under the walls of the town, the army being refreshed, crossed the Yonne and came to the town of Saint-Florentin, which straightway submitted to the King.[1380] On the 4th of July, they reached the village of Saint-Phal, four hours' journey from Troyes.[1381]

In this strong town there was a garrison of between five and six hundred men at the most.[1382] A bailie, Messire Jean de Dinteville, two captains, the Sires de Rochefort and de Plancy, commanded in the town for King Henry and for the Duke of Burgundy.[1383] Troyes was a manufacturing town; the source of its wealth was the cloth manufacture. True, this industry had[Pg i.408] long been declining through competition and the removal of markets; its ruin was being precipitated by the general poverty and the insecurity of the roads. Nevertheless the cloth workers' guild maintained its importance and sent a number of magistrates to the Council.[1384]

In 1420, these merchants had sworn to the treaty which promised the French crown to the House of Lancaster; they were then at the mercy of English and Burgundians. For the holding of those great fairs, to which they took their cloth, they must needs live at peace with their Burgundian neighbours, and if the Godons had closed the ports of the Seine against their bales, they would have died of hunger. Wherefore the notables of the town had turned English, which did not mean that they would always remain English. Within the last few weeks great changes had taken place in the kingdom; and the Gilles Laiguisés, the Hennequins, the Jouvenels did not pride themselves on remaining unchanged amidst vicissitudes of fortune which were transferring the power from one side to the other. The French victories gave them food for reflection. Along the banks of the streams, which wound through the city, there were weavers, dyers, curriers who were Burgundian at heart.[1385] As for the Churchmen, if they were thrilled by no love for the Armagnacs, they felt none the less that King Charles was sent to them by a special dispensation of divine providence.

The Bishop of Troyes was my lord Jean Laiguisé, son of Master Huet Laiguisé, one of the first to swear[Pg i.409] to the treaty of 1420.[1386] The Chapter had elected him without waiting for the permission of the Regent, who declared against the election, not that he disliked the new pontiff; Messire Jean Laiguisé had sucked hatred of the Armagnacs and respect for the Rose of Lancaster from his alma mater of Paris. But my Lord of Bedford could not forgive any slighting of his sovereign rights.

Shortly afterwards he incurred the censure of the whole Church of France and was judged by the bishops worse than the cruellest tyrants of Scripture—Pharaoh, Nebuchadnezzar, Artaxerxes[1387]—who, when they chastised Israel had spared the Levites. More wicked than they and more sacrilegious, my Lord of Bedford threatened the privileges of the Gallican Church, when, on behalf of the Holy See, he robbed the bishops of their patronage, levied a double tithe on the French clergy, and commanded churchmen to surrender to him the contributions they had been receiving for forty years. That he was acting with the Pope's consent made his conduct none the less execrable in the eyes of the French bishops. The episcopal lords resolved to appeal from a Pope ill informed to one with wider knowledge; for they held the authority of the Bishop of Rome to be insignificant in comparison with the authority of the Council. They groaned: the abomination of desolation was laying waste Christian Gaul. In order to pacify the Church of France thus roused against him, my lord[Pg i.410] of Bedford convoked at Paris the bishops of the ecclesiastical province of Sens, which included the dioceses of Paris, Troyes, Auxerre, Nevers, Meaux, Chartres, and Orléans.[1388]

Messire Jean Laiguisé attended this Convocation. The Synod was held at Paris, in the Priory of Saint-Eloi, under the presidency of the Archbishop, from the 1st of March till the 23rd of April, 1429.[1389] The assembled bishops represented to my Lord the Regent the sorry plight of the ecclesiastical lords: the peasants, pillaged by soldiers, no longer paid their dues; the lands of the Church were lying waste; divine service had ceased to be held because there was no money with which to support public worship. Unanimously they refused to pay the Pope and the Regent the double tithe; and they threatened to appeal from the Pope to the Council. As for despoiling the clergy of all the contributions they had received during the last forty years, that, they declared, would be impious; and with great charity they reminded my Lord of Bedford of the fate reserved by God's judgment for the impious even in this world. "The Prince," they said, "should beware of the miseries and sorrows already fallen upon a multitude of princes, who with such demands had oppressed the Church which God redeemed with his own precious blood: some had perished by the sword, some had been driven into exile, others had been despoiled of their illustrious sovereignties. Wherefore such as set themselves to enslave the Church, the Bride of[Pg i.411] God, may not hope to deserve the grace of his divine Majesty."[1390]

Jean Laiguisé's sentiments towards the English Regent were those of the Synod. It would be wrong, however, to conclude that the Bishop of Troyes desired the death of the sinner, or even that he was hostile to the English.[1391] The Church is usually capable of temporising with the powers of this world. Wide is her mercy, and great her longsuffering. She threatens oft before striking and receives the repentance of the sinner at the first sign of contrition. But we may believe that if Charles of Valois were to win the power and show the will to protect the Church of France, the Lord Bishop and the Chapter of Troyes would fear lest if they resisted him they might be resisting God himself, since all power comes from God who deposuit potentes.

King Charles had not ventured to enter Champagne without taking measures for his safety; he knew on what he could rely in the town of Troyes. He had received information and promises; he maintained secret relations with several burgesses of the city, and those none of the least.[1392] During the first fortnight of May, a royal notary, ten clerks and leading merchants, on their way to the king, were arrested just outside the walls, on the Paris road, by the Sire de Chateauvillain,[1393] a captain in the English service. This mission was probably fulfilled by others more fortunate. It is easy to divine what questions were discussed at these audiences. The merchants[Pg i.412] would ask whether Charles, if he became their Lord, would guarantee absolute freedom to their trade; the clerks would ask his promise to respect the goods of the Church. And the King doubtless was not sparing of his pledges.

The Maid, with one division of the army, halted before the stronghold of Saint-Phal, belonging to Philibert de Vaudrey, commander of the town of Tonnerre, in the service of the Duke of Burgundy.[1394] In that place of Saint-Phal, Jeanne beheld approaching her a Franciscan friar, who was crossing himself and sprinkling holy water, for he feared lest she were the devil, and dared not draw near without having first exorcised the evil spirit. It was Friar Richard who was coming from Troyes.[1395] It will be interesting to see who this monk was as far as we can tell.

The place of his birth is unknown.[1396] A disciple of Brother Vincent Ferrier and of Brother Bernardino of Sienna, like them, he taught the imminent coming of Antichrist and the salvation of the faithful by the adoration of the holy name of Jesus.[1397] After having[Pg i.413] been on a pilgrimage to Jerusalem, he returned to France, and preached at Troyes, during the Advent of 1428. Advent, sometimes called Saint Martin's Lent, begins on the Sunday which falls between the 27th of November and the 3rd of December. It lasts four weeks, which Christians spend in making themselves ready to celebrate the mystery of the Nativity.

"Sow, sow your seed, my good folk," he said. "Sow beans ready for the harvest, for He who is to come will come quickly."[1398]

By beans he meant the good works to be performed before Our Lord should come in the clouds to judge the quick and the dead. Now it was important to sow those good works quickly, for the harvest-tide was drawing nigh. The coming of Antichrist was but shortly to precede the end of the world and the consummation of the ages. In the month of April, 1429, Friar Richard went to Paris; the Synod of the Province of Sens was then holding its final session. It is possible that the good Friar was summoned to the great city by the Bishop of Troyes who was present at the Synod; but at any rate it would appear that it was not the rights of the Gallican Church the wandering monk went there to defend.[1399]

On the 16th of April, he preached his first sermon at Sainte-Geneviève; on the next and the following days, until Sunday, the 24th, he preached every morning, from five until ten or eleven o'clock, in the open air, on a platform, erected against the charnel-house of the Innocents, on the spot whereon was celebrated the dance of death. Around the platform, about nine feet high, there crowded five or six thousand[Pg i.414] persons, to whom he announced the speedy coming of Antichrist and the end of the world.[1400] "In Syria," he said, "I met bands of Jews; I asked them whither they were going, and they replied: 'We are wending in a multitude towards Babylon, for of a truth the Messiah is born among men, and he will restore unto us our inheritance, and he will bring us again to the land of promise.' Thus spake those Syrian Jews. Now Scripture teaches us that He, whom they call the Messiah, is in truth that Antichrist, of whom it is said he shall be born in Babylon, capital of the kingdom of Persia, he shall be brought up at Bethsaida and in his youth he shall dwell at Chorazin. Wherefore our Lord said: 'Woe unto thee, Chorazin! woe unto thee, Bethsaida.' The year 1430," added Friar Richard, "shall witness greater marvels than have ever been seen before.[1401] The time draweth nigh. He is born, the man of sin, the child of perdition, the wicked one, the beast vomited forth from the abyss, the abomination of desolation; he came out of the tribe of Dan, of whom it is written: 'Dan shall be a serpent by the way, an adder in the path.' Soon shall return to the earth the prophets Elijah and Enoch, Moses, Jeremiah and Saint John the Evangelist; and soon shall dawn that day of wrath which shall grind the age in a mill and beat it in a mortar, according to the testimony of David and the Sibyl."[1402] Then the good Brother concluded by calling upon them to repent, to do penance and to renounce empty riches. In short, in the opinion of the clerks, he was a man of worship and an orator. His sermons produced more devoutness among the people, it was[Pg i.415] thought, than those of all the sermonizers who for the last century had been preaching in the town. And it was time that he came, for in those days the folk of Paris were greatly addicted to games of chance; yea, even priests unblushingly indulged in them, and seven years before, a canon of Saint-Merry, a great lover of dice was known to have gamed in his own house.[1403] Despite war and famine, the women of Paris loaded themselves with ornaments. They troubled more about their beauty than about the salvation of their souls.

Friar Richard thundered most loudly against the draught boards of the men and the ornaments of the women. One day notably, when he was preaching at Boulogne-la-Petite, he cried down dice and hennins,[1404] and spoke with such power that the hearts of those who listened were changed. On returning to their homes, the citizens threw into the streets gaming-tables, draught-boards, cards, billiard cues and balls, dice and dice-boxes, and made great fires before their doors. More than one hundred of these fires continued burning in the streets for three or four hours. Women followed the good example set by the men that day, and the next they burnt in public their head-dresses, pads, ornaments, and the pieces of leather or whalebone on which they mounted the fronts of their hoods. Young misses threw off their horns[1405] and their tails,[1406] ashamed to clothe themselves in the devil's garb.[1407]

The good Brother likewise caused to be burnt the mandrake roots which many folk kept in their[Pg i.416] houses.[1408] Those roots are sometimes in the form of an ugly little man, of a curious and devilish aspect. On that account possibly, singular virtues are attributed to them. These mannikins were dressed in fine linen and silk and were kept in the belief that they would bring good luck and procure wealth. Witches made much of them; and those who believed that the Maid was a witch accused her of carrying a mandrake on her person. Friar Richard hated these magic roots all the more strongly because he believed in their power of attracting wealth, the root of all evil. Once again his word was obeyed; and many a Parisian threw away his mandrake in horror, albeit he had bought it dear from some old wife who knew more than was good for her.[1409] Friar Richard caused the Parisians to replace these evil treasures by objects of greater edification,—pewter medals, on which was stamped the name of Jesus, to the worship of whom he was especially devoted.[1410]

Having preached ten times in the town and once in the village of Boulogne, the good Brother announced his return to Burgundy and took his leave of the Parisians.

"I will pray for you," he said; "pray for me. Amen."

Whereupon all the folk, high and lowly, wept bitterly and copiously, as if each one were bearing to the grave his dearest friend. He wept with them and consented to delay his departure for a little.[1411]

[Pg i.417]

On Sunday, the 1st of May, he was to preach to the devout Parisians for the last time. Montmartre, the very spot where Saint Denis had suffered martyrdom, was the place chosen for the meeting of the faithful. In those unhappy days the hill was well-nigh uninhabited. But on the evening before that day more than six thousand people flocked to the mount to be certain of having good places; and there they passed the night, some in deserted hovels, but the majority in the open, under the stars. When the morning came no Friar Richard appeared, and in vain they waited for him. Disappointed and sad, at length they learnt that the Friar had been forbidden to preach.[1412] He had said nothing in his sermons to offend the English. The Parisians who had heard him believed him to be a good friend to the Regent and to the Duke of Burgundy. Perhaps he had taken flight owing to a report that the theologians of the University intended to proceed against him. His views concerning the end of the world were indeed both singular and dangerous.[1413]

Friar Richard had gone off to Auxerre. Thence he went preaching through Burgundy and Champagne. If he was on the King's side he did not let it appear. For in the month of June the folk of Champagne, and the inhabitants of Châlons especially, deemed him a worthy man and attached to the Duke of Burgundy.[1414] And we have seen that on the 4th of[Pg i.418] July he suspected the Maid of being either the devil or possessed by a devil.[1415]

She understood. When she saw the good Brother crossing himself and sprinkling holy water she knew that he took her for something evil,—for a phantom fashioned by the spirit of wickedness, or at least for a witch.[1416] However, she was by no means offended as she had been by the suspicions of Messire Jean Fournier. The priest, to whom she had confessed, could not be forgiven for having doubted whether she were a good Christian.[1417] But Friar Richard did not know her, had never seen her. Besides, she was growing accustomed to such treatment. The Constable, Brother Yves Milbeau, and many others who came to her asked whether she were from God or the devil.[1418] It was without a trace of anger, although in a slightly ironical tone, that she said to the preacher: "Approach boldly, I shall not fly away."[1419]

Meanwhile Friar Richard, by the ordeal of holy water and by the sign of the cross, had proved that the damsel was not a devil and that there was no devil in her. And when she said she had come from God he believed her with all his heart and esteemed her an angel of the Lord.[1420]

He confided to her the reason for his coming.[1421] The inhabitants of Troyes doubted whether she were of God; to resolve their doubts he had come to Saint-Phal. Now he knew she was of God, and he was not[Pg i.419] amazed; for he knew that the year 1430 would witness greater marvels than had ever been seen before, and one day or other he was expecting to behold the Prophet Elias walking and conversing with men.[1422] From that moment he threw in his lot with the party of the Maid and the Dauphin. It was not the Maid's prophecies concerning the realm of France that attracted him to her. The world was too near its end for him to take any interest in the re-establishment of the madman's son in his inheritance. But he expected that once the kingdom of Jesus Christ had been established in the Land of the Lilies, Jeanne, the prophetess, and Charles, the temporal vicar of Jesus Christ, would lead the people of Christendom to deliver the Holy Sepulchre. That would be a meritorious work and one which must be accomplished before the consummation of the ages.

To the burgesses and inhabitants of the town of Troyes Jeanne dictated a letter. Herein, calling herself the servant of the King of Heaven and speaking in the name of God Himself, in terms gentle yet urgent, she called upon them to render obedience to King Charles of France, and warned them that whether they would or no she with the King would enter into all the towns of the holy kingdom and bring them peace. Here is the letter:[1423]


Good friends and beloved, an it please you, ye lords, burgesses and inhabitants of the town of Troies, Jehanne the Maid doth call upon and make known unto you on behalf of the King of Heaven, her sovereign and liege Lord, in whose service royal she is every day, that ye[Pg i.420] render true obedience and fealty to the Fair King of France. Whosoever may come against him, he shall shortly be in Reins and in Paris, and in his good towns of his holy kingdom, with the aid of King Jhesus. Ye loyal Frenchmen, come forth to King Charles and fail him not. And if ye come have no fear for your bodies nor for your goods. An if ye come not, I promise you and on your lives I maintain it, that with God's help we shall enter into all the towns of the holy kingdom and shall there establish peace, whosoever may oppose us. To God I commend you. God keep you if it be his will. Answer speedily. Before the city of Troyes, written at Saint-Fale, Tuesday the fourth day of July.[1424]

On the back:

"To the lords and burgesses of the city of Troyes."

The Maid gave this letter to Friar Richard, who undertook to carry it to the townsfolk.[1425]

From Saint-Phal the army advanced towards Troyes along the Roman road.[1426] When they heard of the army's approach, the Council of the town assembled on Tuesday, the 5th, early in the morning, and sent the people of Reims a missive of which the following is the purport:

"This day do we expect the enemies of King Henry and the Duke of Burgundy who come to besiege us. In view of the design of these our foes and having considered the just cause we support and the aid of our princes promised unto us, we have resolved in council, no matter what may be the strength of our enemies, to continue in our obedience waxing ever greater to King Henry and[Pg i.421] to the Duke of Burgundy, even until death. And this have we sworn on the precious body of Our Lord Jesus Christ. Wherefore we pray the citizens of Reims to take thought for us as brethren and loyal friends, and to send to my Lord the Regent and the Duke of Burgundy to beseech and entreat them to take pity on their poor subjects and come to their succour."[1427]

On that same day, in the morning, from his lodging at Brinion-l'Archevêque, King Charles despatched his heralds bearing closed letters, signed by his hand, sealed with his seal, addressed to the members of the Council of the town of Troyes. Therein he made known unto them that by the advice of his Council, he had undertaken to go to Reims, there to receive his anointing, that his intention was to enter the city of Troyes on the morrow, wherefore he summoned and commanded them to render the obedience they owed him and prepare to receive him. He wisely made a point of reassuring them as to his intentions, which were not to avenge the past. Such was not his will, he said, but let them comport themselves towards their sovereign as they ought, and he would forget all and maintain them in his favour.[1428]

The Council refused to admit King Charles' heralds within the town; but they received his letters, read them, deliberated over them, and made known to the heralds the result of their deliberations which was the following:

"The lords, knights and squires who are in the town, on behalf of King Henry and the Duke of[Pg i.422] Burgundy, have sworn with us, inhabitants of the city, that we will not receive into the town any who are stronger than we, without the express command of the Duke of Burgundy. Having regard to their oath, those who are in the town would not dare to admit King Charles."

And the councillors added for their excuse:

"Whatever we the citizens may wish we must consider the men of war in the city who are stronger than we."[1429]

The councillors had King Charles' letter posted up and below it their reply.

In council they read the letter the Maid had dictated at Saint-Phal and entrusted to Friar Richard. The monk had not prepared them to give it a favourable reception, for they laughed at it heartily. "There is no rhyme or reason in it," they said. "'Tis but a jest."[1430] They threw it in the fire without sending a reply. Jeanne was a braggart,[1431] they said. And they added: "We certify her to be mad and possessed of the devil."[1432]

That same day, at nine o'clock in the morning, the army began to march by the walls and take up its position round the town.[1433]

Those who encamped to the south west could thence[Pg i.423] admire the long walls, the strong gates, the high towers and the belfry of the city rising in the midst of a vast plain. On their right they would see above the roofs the church of Saint-Pierre, the huge structure of which was devoid of tower and steeple.[1434] It was there that eight years before had been celebrated the betrothal of King Henry V of England to the Lady Catherine of France. For in that town of Troyes, Queen Ysabeau and Duke Jean had made King Charles VI, bereft of sense and memory, sign away the Kingdom of the Lilies to the King of England and put his name to the ruin of Charles of Valois. At her daughter's betrothal, Madame Ysabeau was present wearing a robe of blue silk damask and a coat of black velvet lined with the skins of fifteen hundred minevers.[1435] After the ceremony she caused to be brought for her entertainment her singing birds, goldfinches, chaffinches, siskins and linnets.[1436]

When the French arrived, most of the townsfolk were on the ramparts looking more curious than hostile and apparently fearing nothing. They desired above all things to see the King.[1437]

The town was strongly defended. The Duke of[Pg i.424] Burgundy had long been keeping up the fortifications. In 1417 and 1419 the people of Troyes, like those of Orléans in 1428, had pulled down their suburbs and destroyed all the houses outside the town for two or three hundred paces from the ramparts. The arsenal was well furnished; the stores overflowed with victuals; but the Anglo-Burgundian garrison amounted only to between five and six hundred men.[1438]

On that day also, at five o'clock in the afternoon, the Councillors of the town of Troyes sent to inform the people of Reims of the arrival of the Armagnacs, and despatched to them copies of the letter from Charles of Valois, of their reply to it and of the Maid's letter, which they cannot therefore have burned immediately. They likewise communicated to them their resolution to resist to the death in case they should receive succour. In like manner they wrote to the people of Châlons to tell them of the Dauphin's coming; and to them they made known that the letter of Jeanne the Maid had been brought to Troyes by Friar Richard the preacher.[1439]

These writings amounted to saying: like all citizens in such circumstances, we are in danger of being hanged either by the Burgundians or by the Armagnacs, which would be very grievous. To avoid this calamity as far as in us lies, we give King Charles of Valois to understand that we do not open our gates to him because the garrison prevents us and that we are[Pg i.425] the weaker, which is true. And we make known to our Lords, the Regent and the Duke of Burgundy, that the garrison being too weak to defend us, which is true, we ask for succour, which is loyal; and we trust that the succour will not be sent, for if it were we should have to endure a siege, and risk being taken by assault which for us merchants would be grievous. But, having asked for succour and not receiving it, we may then surrender without reproach. The important point is to cause the garrison, fortunately a small one, to make off. Five hundred men are too few for defence, but too many for surrender. As for enjoining the citizens of Reims to demand succour for themselves and for us, that is merely to prove our good-will to the Duke of Burgundy; and we risk nothing by it, for we know that our trusty comrades of Reims will take care that when they ask for succour they do not receive it, and that they will await a favourable opportunity for opening their gates to King Charles, who comes with a strong army. And now to conclude, we will resist to the death if we are succoured, which God forbid!

Such were the crafty thoughts of those dwellers in Champagne. The citizens fired a few stone bullets on to the French. The garrison skirmished awhile and returned into the town.[1440]

Meanwhile King Charles' army was stricken with famine.[1441] The Archbishop of Embrun's counsel to provide the army with victuals by means of human wisdom was easier to give than to follow. There were between six and seven thousand men in camp[Pg i.426] who had not broken bread for a week. The men-at-arms were reduced to feeding on pounded ears of corn still green and on the new beans they found in abundance. Then they called to mind how during Saint Martin's Lent Friar Richard had said to the folk of Troyes: "Sow beans broadcast: He who is to come shall come shortly." What the good brother had said of the spiritual seed-time was interpreted literally: by a curious misunderstanding, what had been uttered concerning the coming of the Messiah was applied to the coming of King Charles. Friar Richard was held to be the prophet of the Armagnacs and the men-at-arms really believed that this evangelical preacher had caused the beans they gathered to grow; thus had he provided for their nourishment by his excellence, his wisdom and his penetration into the counsels of God, who gave manna unto the people of Israel in the desert.[1442]

The King, who had been lodging at Brinion since the 4th of July, arrived before Troyes in the afternoon of Friday the 8th.[1443] That very day he held council of war with the commanders and princes of the blood to decide whether they should remain before the town until by dint of promises[1444] or threats they obtained its submission, or whether they should pass on, leaving it to itself, as they had done at Auxerre.[1445]

[Pg i.427]

The discussion had lasted long when the Maid arrived and prophesied:

"Fair Dauphin," said she, "command your men to attack the town of Troyes and delay no further in councils too prolonged, for, in God's name, before three days, I will cause you to enter the town, which shall be yours by love or by force and courage. And false Burgundy shall look right foolish."[1446]

Wherefore had they contrary to their custom summoned her to the Council? It was merely a question of firing a few cannon balls and pretending to scale the walls, in short, of making a false attack. Such a feigned assault was due to the people of Troyes, who could not decently surrender save to some display of force; and besides the lower orders must be frightened, for they remained at heart Burgundian. Probably my Lord of Trèves[1447] or another judged that the little Saint by appearing beneath the ramparts of Troyes would strike a religious terror into the weavers of the city.

They had only to leave her to go her own way. The Council over, she mounted her horse, and lance in hand hurried to the moat, followed by a crowd of knights, squires, and craftsmen.[1448] The point of attack was to be the north west wall, between the Madeleine and the Comporté Gates.[1449] Jeanne, who firmly be[Pg i.428]lieved that the town would be taken by her, spent the night inciting her people to bring faggots and put the artillery in position. "To the assault," she cried, and signed to them to throw hurdles into the trenches.[1450]

This threat had the desired effect. The lower orders, imagining the town already taken, and expecting the French to come to pillage, massacre and ravish, as was the custom, took refuge in the churches. As for the clerics and notables, this was just what they wanted.[1451]

Being assured by Charles of Valois that they might come to him in safety, the Lord Bishop Jean Laiguisé, my Lord Guillaume Andouillette, Master of the Hospital, the Dean of the Chapter, the clergy and the notables went to the King.[1452]

Jean Laiguisé was the spokesman. He came to do homage to the King and to offer excuse for the townsfolk.

It is not their fault, he said, if the King enter not according to his good pleasure. The Bailie and those of the garrison, some three or four hundred, guard the gates, and forbid their being opened. Let it please the King to have patience until I have spoken to those of the town. I trust that as soon as I have spoken to them, they will open the gates and render the King such obedience as he shall be pleased withal.[1453]

In replying to the Bishop, the King set forth the[Pg i.429] reasons for the expedition and the rights he held over the town of Troyes.

Without exception, he said, I will forgive all the deeds of past times, and, according to the example of Saint Louis,[1454] I will maintain the people of Troyes in peace and liberty.

Jean Laiguisé demanded that such revenues and patronage as had been bestowed on churchmen by the late King, Charles VI, should be retained by them, and that those who had received the same from King Henry of England should be given charters by King Charles authorizing them to keep their benefices, even in cases where the King had bestowed them on others.

The King consented and the Lord Bishop beheld in him a new Cyrus. This conference he reported to the Council of the Town. Thereupon it deliberated and resolved to render allegiance to the King, in consideration of his legal right and provided he would grant an amnesty for all offences, would leave no garrison in the city and would abolish all aids, save the gabelle.[1455] Whereupon the Council sent letters to the citizens of Reims making known to them this resolution and exhorting them to take a similar one:

[Pg i.430]

"Thus," they said, "we shall have the same lord over us. You will keep your lives and your goods, as we have done. For otherwise we should all be lost. We do not regret our submission. Our only grief is that we delayed so long. You will be right glad to follow our example; for King Charles is a prince of greater discretion, understanding and valour than any who for many a long year have arisen in the noble house of France."[1456]

Friar Richard went to find the Maid. As soon as he saw her, and when he was still afar off, he knelt before her. When she saw him, she likewise knelt before him, and they bowed low to each other. When he returned to the town, the good Friar preached to the folks at length and exhorted them to obey King Charles. "God is preparing his way," he said. "To accompany him and to lead him to his anointing God hath sent him a holy Maid, who, as I firmly believe, is as able to penetrate the mysteries of God as any saint in Paradise, save Saint John the Evangelist."[1457] The good Brother found himself obliged to recognise as superior to Jeanne at least one saint,—one who was the first of saints, the apostle who had lain with his head on Jesus' breast, the prophet who was ere long to return to earth, when the ages should have been consummated.

"If she wished," continued Friar Richard, "she could bring in all the King's men-at-arms, over the walls or in any other manner that pleased her. And many other things can she do."

The townsfolk had great faith and confidence in this good Brother who spoke so eloquently. What he[Pg i.431] said of the Maid appeared to them admirable, and won their obedience to a king so powerfully accompanied. With one voice they all cried aloud, "Long live King Charles of France!"[1458]

But now it was necessary to treat with the Bailie. He was not unapproachable, seeing that he had suffered this going and coming from the town to the camp and the camp to the town; and with him must be devised some honest means of getting rid of the garrison. With this object the commonalty, preceded by the Lord Bishop, went in great numbers to the Bailie and the Captains, and called upon them to provide for the safety of the town.[1459] This demand they were incapable of granting, for to safeguard a city against its will and to drive out thirty thousand French was beyond their power.

As the townsfolk had anticipated, the Bailie was greatly embarrassed. Beholding his perplexity, the Councillors of the town said to him, "If you will not keep the treaty you have made for the public weal, then will we bring the King's men into the city, whether you will or no."

The Bailie and the Captains refused to betray their English and Burgundian masters, but they consented to go. That was all that was required of them.[1460]

The town opened its gates to Charles. On Sunday, the 10th of July, very early in the morning, the[Pg i.432] Maid entered first into Troyes and with her the common folk whom she so dearly loved. Friar Richard accompanied her. She posted archers along the streets which the procession was to follow, so that the King of France should pass through the town between a double row of those foot soldiers of his army who had so nobly aided him.[1461]

While Charles of Valois was entering by one gate, the Burgundian garrison was going out by the other.[1462] As had been agreed, the men of King Henry and Duke Philip bore away their arms and other possessions. Now, in their possessions they included such French prisoners as they were holding to ransom. And, according to the use and custom of war, it would seem that they were not altogether wrong; but pitiful it was to see King Charles's men led away captive just as their lord was arriving. The Maid heard of it, and her kind heart was touched. She hurried to the gate of the town, where with arms and baggage the fighting men were assembled. She found there the lords of Rochefort and Philibert de Moslant. She challenged them and called to them to leave the Dauphin's men. But the Captains thought otherwise.

"Thus to proceed against the treaty is fraudulent and wicked," they said to her.

Meanwhile the prisoners on their knees were entreating the Saint to keep them.

"In God's name," she cried, "they shall not go."[1463]

During this altercation there was standing apart a certain Burgundian squire, and through his mind were passing concerning the Maid of the Armagnacs cer[Pg i.433]tain reflections to which he was to give utterance later. "By my faith," he was thinking, "it is the simplest creature that ever I saw. There is neither rhyme nor reason in her, no more than in the greatest stupid. To so valiant a woman as Madame d'Or, I will not compare her, and the Burgundians do but jest when they appear afraid of her."[1464]

To taste the full flavour of this joke it must be explained that Madame d'Or, about as high as one's boot, held the office of fool to my Lord Philip.[1465]

The Maid failed to come to an understanding with the Lords de Rochefort and de Moslant concerning the prisoners. They had right on their side. She had only the promptings of her kind heart. This discussion afforded great entertainment to the men-at-arms of both parties. When King Charles was informed of it, he smiled and said that to settle the dispute he would pay the prisoners' ransom, which was fixed at one silver mark per head. On receiving this sum the Burgundians extolled the generosity of the King of France.[1466]

On that same Sunday, about nine o'clock in the morning, King Charles entered the city. He had put on his festive robes, gleaming with velvet, with gold, and with precious stones. The Duke of Alençon and the Maid, holding her banner in her hand, rode at his side. He was followed by all the knighthood. The townsfolk lit bonfires and danced in[Pg i.434] rings. The little children cried, "Noël!" Friar Richard preached.[1467]

The Maid prayed in the churches. In one church she held a babe over the baptismal font. Like a princess or a holy woman, she was frequently asked to be godmother to children she did not know and was never to see again. She generally named the children Charles in honour of the King, and to the girls she gave her own name of Jeanne. Sometimes she called the children by names chosen by their mothers.[1468]

On the morrow, the 11th of July, the army, which had remained outside the walls, under the command of Messire Ambroise de Loré, passed through the town. The entrance of men-at-arms was a scourge, of which the citizens were as much afraid as of the Black Death.[1469] King Charles, being careful to spare the citizens, took measures to control this scourge. By his command the heralds cried that under pain of hanging no soldier must enter the houses or take anything against the will of the townsfolk.[1470]

[Pg i.435]



LEAVING Troyes, the royal army entered into the poorer part of Champagne, crossed the Aube near Arcis, and took up its quarters at Lettrée, twelve and a half miles from Châlons. From Lettrée the King sent his herald Montjoie to the people of Châlons to ask them to receive him and render him obedience.[1471]

The towns of Champagne were as closely related as the fingers of one hand. When the Dauphin was at Brinion-l'Archevêque, the people of Châlons had heard of it from their friends of Troyes. The latter had even told them that Friar Richard, the preacher, had brought them a letter from Jeanne the Maid. Whereupon the folk of Châlons wrote to those of Reims:

"We are amazed at Friar Richard. We esteemed him a man right worthy. But he has turned sorcerer. We announce unto you that the citizens of Troyes are making war against the Dauphin's men. We are resolved to resist the enemy with all our strength."[1472]

[Pg i.436]

They thought not one word of what they wrote, and they knew that the citizens of Reims would believe none of it. But it was important to display great loyalty to the Duke of Burgundy before receiving another master.

The Count Bishop of Châlons came out to Lettrée to meet the King and gave up to him the keys of the town. He was Jean de Montbéliard-Saarbrück, one of the Sires of Commercy.[1473]

On the 14th of July the King and his army entered the town of Châlons.[1474] There the Maid found four or five peasants from her village come to see her, and with them Jean Morel, who was her kinsman. By calling a husbandman, and about forty-three years of age, he had fled with the d'Arc family to Neufchâteau on the passing of the men-at-arms. Jeanne gave him a red gown which she had worn.[1475] At Châlons also she met another husbandman, younger than Morel by about ten years, Gérardin from Épinal, whom she called her compeer,[1476] just as she called Gérardin's wife Isabellette her commère[1477] because she had held their[Pg i.437] son Nicolas over the baptismal font and because a godmother is a mother in the spirit. At home in the village Jeanne mistrusted Gérardin because he was a Burgundian. At Châlons she showed more confidence in him and talked to him of the progress of the army, saying that she feared nothing except treason.[1478] Already she had dark forebodings; doubtless she felt that henceforth the frankness of her soul and the simplicity of her mind would be hardly assailed by the wickedness of men and the confusing forces of circumstance. Already the words of Saint Michael, Saint Catherine and Saint Margaret had lost some of their primitive clearness, for they had come to treat of those French and Burgundian state secrets which were not heavenly matters.

The people of Châlons, following the example of their friends of Troyes, wrote to the inhabitants of Reims that they had received the King of France and that they counselled them to do likewise. In this letter they said they had found King Charles kind, gracious, pitiful, and merciful; and of a truth the King was dealing leniently with the towns of Champagne. The people of Châlons added that he had a great mind and a fine bearing.[1479] That was saying much.

The citizens of Reims acted with extreme caution. On the arrival of the King of France in the neighbourhood of the town, while they sent informing him that their gates should be opened to him, to their[Pg i.438] Lord Philip and likewise to the Burgundians and English captains, they sent word of the progress of the royal army as far as they knew it, and called upon them to oppose the enemy's march.[1480] But they were in no hurry to obtain succour, reckoning that, should they receive none, they could surrender to King Charles without incurring any censure from the Burgundians, and that thus they would have nothing to fear from either party. For the moment they preserved their loyalty to the two sides, which was wise in circumstances so difficult and so dangerous. While observing the craft with which these towns of Champagne practised the art of changing masters, it is well to remember that their lives and possessions depended on their knowledge of that art.

As early as the 1st of July Captain Philibert de Moslant wrote to them from Nogent-sur-Seine, where he was with his Burgundian company, that if they needed him he would come to their help like a good Christian.[1481] They feigned not to understand. After all, the Lord Philibert was not their captain. What he proposed to do was, as he said, only out of Christian charity. The notables of Reims, who did not wish for deliverance, had to beware, above all, of their natural deliverer, the Sire de Chastillon, Grand Steward of France, the commander of the town.[1482] And they must needs request help in such a manner as not to obtain their request, for fear of being like the Israelites, of whom it is written: Et tribuit eis petitionem eorum.

[Pg i.439]

When the royal army was yet before the walls of Troyes, a herald appeared at the gates of Reims, bearing a letter given by the King, at Brinion-l'Archevêque, on Monday, the 4th of July. This letter was delivered to the Council. "You may have heard tidings," said the King to his good people of Reims, "of the success and victory it hath pleased God to vouchsafe unto us over our ancient enemies, the English, before the town of Orléans and since then at Jargeau, Beaugency, and Meung-sur-Loire, in each of which places our enemies have received grievous hurt; all their leaders and others to the number of four thousand have been slain or taken prisoners. Such things having happened, more by divine grace than human skill, we, according to the advice of our Princes of the Blood and the members of our Great Council, are coming to the town of Reims to receive our anointing and coronation. Wherefore we summon you, on the loyalty and obedience you owe us, to dispose yourselves to receive us in the accustomed manner as you have done for our predecessors."[1483]

And King Charles, adopting towards the citizens of Reims that same wise benignity he had shown to the citizens of Troyes, promised them full pardon and oblivion.

"Be not deterred," he said, "by matters that are past and the fear that we may remember them. Be assured that if now ye act towards us as ye ought, ye shall be dealt with as becometh good and loyal subjects."

He even asked them to send notables to treat with him. "If, in order to be better informed concerning our intentions, certain citizens of Reims would come to us with the herald, whom we send, we should be well[Pg i.440] pleased. They may come in safety and in such numbers as shall seem good to them."[1484]

On the delivery of this letter the Council was convoked, but it so befell that there were not enough aldermen to deliberate; hence the Council was relieved from a serious embarrassment. Whereupon the common folk were assembled in the various quarters of the city, and from the citizens thus consulted was obtained the following crafty declaration: "It is our intention to live and die with the Council and the Notables. According to their advice we shall act in concord and in peace, without murmuring or making answer, unless it be by the counsel and decree of the Commander of Reims and his Lieutenant."[1485]

The Sire de Chastillon, Commander of the town, was then at Château-Thierry with his lieutenants, Jean Cauchon and Thomas de Bazoches, both of them knights. The citizens of Reims deemed it wise that he should see King Charles's letter. Their Bailie, Guillaume Hodierne, went to the Lord Captain and showed it to him. Most faithfully did the Bailie express the sentiments of the people of Reims: he asked the Sire de Chastillon to come to their deliverance, but he asked in such a manner that he did not come. That was the all-important point; for by not appealing to him they laid themselves open to a charge of treason, while if he did come they risked having to endure a siege grievous and dangerous.

With this object the Bailie declared that the citizens of Reims, desirous to communicate with their captains, were willing to receive him if he were ac[Pg i.441]companied by no more than fifty horse. Herein they displayed their good will, being entitled to refuse to receive a garrison within their walls; this privilege notwithstanding, they consented to admit fifty horse, which meant about two hundred fighting men. As the citizens had foreseen, the Sire de Chastillon judged such a number insufficient for his safety. He demanded as the conditions of his coming, that the town should be victualled and put in a state of defence, that he should enter it with three or four hundred combatants, that the defence of the city as well as of the castle should be entrusted to him, and that there should be delivered up to him five or six notables as hostages. On these conditions he declared himself ready to live and die for them.[1486]

He marched with his company to within a short distance of the town, and then made known to the townsfolk that he had come to succour them.[1487]

The English were indeed recruiting troops wherever they could and pressing all manner of folk into their service. They were said to be arming even priests; and the Regent was certainly pressing into his service the crusaders disembarked in France, whom the Cardinal of Winchester was intending to lead against the Hussites.[1488] As we may imagine, King Henry's Council did not fail to inform the in[Pg i.442]habitants of Reims of the armaments which were being assembled. On the 3rd of July they were told that the troops were crossing the sea, and on the 10th Colard de Mailly, Bailie of Vermandois, announced that they had landed. But these tidings failed to inspire the folk of Champagne with any great confidence in the power of the English. While the Sire de Chastillon was promising that in forty days they should have a fine large army from beyond the seas, King Charles with thirty thousand combatants was but a few miles from their gates. The Sire de Chastillon perceived, what he had previously suspected, that he was tricked. The citizens of Reims refused to admit him. Nothing remained for him but to turn round and join the English.[1489]

On the 12th of July, from my Lord Regnault de Chartres, Archbishop and Duke of Reims, the townsfolk received a letter requesting them to make ready for the King's coming.[1490]

The Council of the city having assembled on that day, the clerk proceeded to draw up an official report of its deliberations:

"... After having represented to my Lord of Chastillon that he is the Commander and that the lords and the mass of the people who...."[1491]

He wrote no more. Finding it difficult to protest their loyalty to the English while making ready King Charles's coronation, and considering it imprudent to recognize a new prince without being forced to it, the citizens abruptly renounced the silver of speech and took refuge in the gold of silence.

On Saturday, the 16th, King Charles took up his[Pg i.443] quarters in the Castle of Sept-Saulx, ten miles from the city where he was to be crowned. This fortress had been erected two hundred years before by the warlike predecessors of my Lord Regnault. Its proud keep commanded the crossing of the Vesle.[1492] There the King received the citizens of Reims, who came in great numbers to do him homage.[1493] Then, with the Maid and his whole army, he resumed his march. Having traversed the last stage of the highroad which wound along the bank of the Vesle, he entered the great city of Champagne at nightfall. The southern gate, called Dieulimire, lowered its drawbridge and raised its two portcullises to let him pass.[1494]

According to tradition the coronation should take place on a Sunday. This rule was found mentioned in a ceremonial which was believed to have served for the coronation of Louis VIII and was considered authoritative.[1495] The citizens of Reims worked all night in order that everything might be ready on the[Pg i.444] morrow.[1496] They were urged on by their sudden affection for the King of France and likewise by their fear lest he and his army[1497] should spend many days in their city. Their horror of receiving and maintaining men-at-arms within their gates they shared with the citizens of all towns, who in their panic were incapable of distinguishing Armagnac soldiers from English and Burgundians. Wherefore in all things were they diligent, but with the firm intention of paying as little as possible. Seeing that to them the coronation brought neither profit nor honour, the aldermen were accustomed to throw the burden of it on the Archbishop, who, they said, as peer of France,[1498] would receive the emoluments.


Charles VII

From an old engraving


The royal ornaments, which, after the coronation of the late King, had been deposited in the sacristy of Saint-Denys, were in the hands of the English. The crown of Charlemagne, brilliant with rubies, sapphires and emeralds, adorned with four flowers-de-luce, which the Kings of France received on their coronation, the English wished to place on the head of their King Henry. This child King they were preparing to gird with the sword of Charlemagne, the illustrious Joyeuse, which in its sheath of violet velvet slept in the keeping of the Burgundian Abbot of Saint-Denys. In English hands likewise were the sceptre surmounted by a golden Charlemagne in imperial robes, the rod of justice terminated by a hand[Pg i.445] in horn of unicorn, the golden clasp of Saint Louis' mantle, and the golden spurs and the Pontifical, containing within its enamelled binding of silver-gilt the ceremonial of the coronation.[1499] The French must needs make shift with a crown kept in the sacristy of the cathedral.[1500] The other signs of royalty handed down from Clovis, from Saint Charlemagne and Saint Louis must be represented as well as could be. After all, it was not unfitting that this coronation, won by a single expedition, should be expressive of the labour and suffering it had cost. It was well that the ceremony should suggest something of the heroic poverty of the men-at-arms and the common folk who had brought the Dauphin thither.

Kings were anointed with oil, because oil signifies renown, glory, and wisdom. In the morning the Sires de Rais, de Boussac, de Graville and de Culant were deputed by the King to go and fetch the Holy Ampulla.[1501]

It was a crystal flask which the Grand Prior of Saint-Remi kept in the tomb of the Apostle, behind the high altar of the Abbey Church. This flask contained the sacred chrism with which the Blessed Remi had anointed King Clovis. It was enclosed in a reliquary in the form of a dove, because the Holy[Pg i.446] Ghost in the semblance of a dove had been seen descending with the oil for the anointing of the first Christian King.[1502] Of a truth in ancient books it was written that an angel had come down from heaven with the miraculous ampulla,[1503] but men were not disturbed by such inconsistencies, and among Christian folk no one doubted that the sacred chrism was possessed of miraculous power. For example, it was known that with use the oil became no less, that the flask remained always full, as a premonition and a pledge that the kingdom of France would endure for ever. According to the observation of witnesses, at the time of the coronation of the late King Charles, the oil had not diminished after the anointing.[1504]

At nine o'clock in the morning Charles of Valois entered the church with a numerous retinue. The king-at-arms of France called by name the twelve peers of the realm to come before the high altar. Of the six lay peers not one replied. In their places came the Duke of Alençon, the Counts of Clermont and of Vendôme, the Sires de Laval, de La Trémouille, and de Maillé.

Of the six ecclesiastical peers, three replied to the summons of the king-at-arms,—the Archbishop Duke[Pg i.447] of Reims, the Bishop Count of Châlons, the Bishop Duke of Laon. For the missing bishops of Langres and Noyon were substituted those of Seez and Orléans. In the absence of Arthur of Brittany, Constable of France, the sword was held by Charles, Sire d'Albret.[1505]

In front of the altar was Charles of Valois, wearing robes open on the chest and shoulders. He swore, first, to maintain the peace and privileges of the Church; second, to preserve his people from exactions and not to burden them too heavily; third, to govern with justice and mercy.[1506]

From his cousin d'Alençon he received the arms of a knight.[1507] Then the Archbishop anointed him with the holy oil, with which the Holy Ghost makes strong priests, kings, prophets and martyrs. So this new Samuel consecrated the new Saul, making manifest that all power is of God, and that, according to the example set by David, kings are pontiffs, the ministers and the witnesses of the Lord. This pouring out of the oil, with which the Kings of Israel were anointed, had rendered the kings of most Christian France burning and shining lights since the time of Charlemagne, yea, even since the days of Clovis; for though it was baptism and confirmation rather than anointing that Clovis received at the hands of the Blessed Saint Remi, yet he was anointed Christian and King by the blessed bishop, and at[Pg i.448] the same time and with that same holy oil which God himself had sent to this prince and to his successors.[1508]

And Charles received the anointing, the sign of power and victory, for it is written in the Book of Samuel:[1509] "And Samuel took a vial of oil and poured it upon his head and kissed him, and said, 'Is it not because the Lord hath anointed thee to be captain over his inheritance and to deliver his people from their enemies round about. Ecce unxit te Dominus super hereditatem suam in principem, et liberabis populum suum de manibus inimicorum ejus, qui in circuitu ejus sunt.'" (Reg. 1. x. 1. 6.)

During the mystery, as it was called in the old parlance,[1510] the Maid stayed by the King's side. Her white banner, before which the ancient standard of Chandos had retreated, she held for a moment unfurled. Then others in their turn held her standard, her page Louis de Coutes, who never left her, and Friar Richard the preacher, who had followed her to Châlons and to Reims.[1511] In one of her dreams she had lately given a crown to the King; she was looking for this crown to be brought into the church by heavenly messengers.[1512] Did not saints commonly receive crowns from angels' hands? To Saint Cecilia an angel offered a crown with garlands of roses and[Pg i.449] lilies. To Catherine, the Virgin, an angel gave an imperishable crown, which she placed upon the head of the Empress of Rome. But the crown curiously rich and magnificent that Jeanne looked for came not.[1513]

From the altar the Archbishop took the crown of no great value provided by the chapter, and with both hands raised it over the King's head. The twelve peers, in a circle round the prince, stretched forth their arms to hold it. The trumpets blew and the folk cried: "Noël."[1514]

Thus was anointed and crowned Charles of France issue of the royal line of Priam, great Troy's noble King.

Two hours after noon the mystery came to an end.[1515] We are told that then the Maid knelt low before the King, and, weeping said:

"Fair King, now is God's pleasure accomplished. It was His will that I should raise the siege of Orléans and bring you to this city of Reims to receive your holy anointing, making manifest that you are the true King and he to whom the realm of France should belong."[1516]

The King made the customary gifts. To the Chapter he presented hangings of green satin as well as ornaments of red velvet and white damask. Moreover, he placed upon the altar a silver vase with thirteen golden crowns. Regardless of the claims asserted by the canons, the Lord Archbishop took[Pg i.450] possession of it, but it profited him little, for he had to give it up.[1517] After the ceremony King Charles put the crown on his head and over his shoulders the royal mantle, blue as the sky, flowered with lilies of gold; and on his charger he passed down the streets of Reims city. The people in great joy cried, "Noël!" as they had cried when my Lord the Duke of Burgundy entered. On that day the Sire de Rais was made marshal of France and the Sire de la Trémouille count. The eldest of Madame de Laval's two sons, he to whom the Maid had offered wine at Selles-en-Berry, was likewise made count. Captain La Hire received the county of Longueville with such parts of Normandy as he could conquer.[1518]

King Charles dined in the archiepiscopal palace in the ancient hall of Tau, and was served by the Duke of Alençon and the Count of Clermont.[1519] As was customary, the royal table extended into the street, and there was feasting throughout the town. It was a day of free drinking and fraternity. In the houses, at the doors, by the wayside, folk made good cheer, and the kitchens were busy; there were that day consumed oxen in dozens, sheep in hundreds, chicken and rabbits in thousands. Folk stuffed themselves with spices, and (for it was a thirsty day) they quaffed full many a beaker of wine of Burgundy, and especially of that wine of delicate flavour that comes from Beaune. At every coronation the ancient stag, made[Pg i.451] of bronze and hollow, which stood in the courtyard of the archiepiscopal palace was carried into the Rue du Parvis; it was filled with wine and the people drank from it as from a fountain. Finally the burgesses and all the inhabitants of Blessed Saint Remi's city, rich and poor alike, stuffed and satiated with good wine, having howled "Noël!" till they were hoarse, fell asleep over the wine-casks and the victuals, the remains of which were to be a cause of bitter dispute between the grim aldermen and the King's men on the morrow.[1520]

Jacques d'Arc had come to see the coronation for which his daughter had so zealously laboured. He lodged at the Sign of L'Ane Rayé in the Rue du Parvis in a hostelry kept by Alix, widow of Raulin Morieau. As well as his daughter, he saw once more his son Pierre.[1521] The cousin, whom Jeanne called uncle and who had accompanied her to Vaucouleurs to Sire Robert, had likewise come hither to the coronation. He spoke to the King and told him all he knew of his cousin.[1522] At Reims also Jeanne found her young fellow-countryman, Husson Le Maistre, coppersmith of the village of Varville, about seven miles from Domremy. She did not know him; but he had heard tell of her, and he was very familiar with Jacques and Pierre d'Arc.[1523]

Jacques d'Arc was one of the notables and per[Pg i.452]haps the best business man of his village.[1524] It was not merely to see his daughter riding through the streets in man's attire that he had come to Reims. He had come doubtless for himself and on behalf of his village to ask the King for an exemption from taxation. This request, presented to the King by the Maid, was granted. On the 31st of the month the King decreed that the inhabitants of Greux and of Domremy should be free from all tailles, aids, subsidies, and subventions.[1525] Out of the public funds the magistrates of the town paid Jacques d'Arc's expenses, and when he was about to depart they gave him a horse to take him home.[1526]

During the five or six days she spent at Reims the Maid appeared frequently before the townsfolk. The poor and humble came to her; good wives took her by the hand and touched their rings with hers.[1527] On her finger she wore a little ring made of a kind of brass, sometimes called electrum.[1528] Electrum was said to be the gold of the poor. In place of a stone the ring had a collet inscribed with the words "Jhesus Maria" with three crosses. Oftentimes she reverently fixed her gaze upon it, for once she had had it touched[Pg i.453] by Saint Catherine.[1529] And that the Saint should have actually touched it was not incredible, seeing that some years before, in 1413, Sister Colette, who was vowed to virginal chastity, had received from the Virgin apostle a rich golden ring, as a sign of her spiritual marriage with the King of Kings. Sister Colette permitted the nuns and monks of her order to touch this ring, and she confided it to the messengers she sent to distant lands to preserve them from perils by the way.[1530] The Maid ascribed great powers to her ring, albeit she never used it to heal the sick.[1531]

She was expected to render those trifling services which it was usual to ask from holy folk and sometimes from magicians. Before the coronation ceremony the nobles and knights had been given gloves, according to the custom. One of them lost his; he asked the Maid to find them, or others asked her for him. She did not promise to do it; notwithstanding the matter became known, and various interpretations were placed upon it.[1532]

After the King's coronation, jostled by the crowd in the Rue du Parvis, one can imagine some thoughtful clerk raising his eyes to the glorious façade of the Cathedral, that Bible in stone, already appearing ancient to men, who, knowing naught of the chronicles, measured time by the span of human existence. Such a clerk would have certainly beheld on the left[Pg i.454] of the pointed arch above the rose window the colossal image of Goliath rising proudly in his coat of mail, and that same figure repeated on the right of the arch in the attitude of a man tottering and ready to fall.[1533] Then this clerk must have remembered what is written in the first book of Kings:[1534]

"And there went out a man base-born from the camp of the Philistines, named Goliath, of Geth, whose height was six cubits and a span. And he had a helmet of brass upon his head and he was clothed with a coat of mail with scales; and the weight of his coat of mail was five thousand sicles of brass. And standing he cried out to the bands of Israel and said to them: I bring reproach unto the armies of Israel. Choose out a man of you, and let him come down and fight hand to hand.

"Now David had gone to feed his Father's sheep at Bethlehem. But he arose in the morning and gave the charge of the flock to the keeper. And he came to the place of Magala and to the army which was going out to fight. And, seeing Goliath, he asked: 'Who is this uncircumcised Philistine that he should defy the armies of the living God?'

"And the words which David spoke, were rehearsed before Saul; and he sent for him. David said to Saul, 'Let not any man's heart be dismayed in him; I, thy servant, will go and fight against this Philistine.' And Saul said to David 'Thou art not able to withstand this Philistine nor to fight against[Pg i.455] him; for thou art but a boy, but he is a warrior from his youth.' And David made answer, 'I will go against him and I will take away the reproach from Israel.' Then Saul said to David, 'Go and the Lord be with thee.'

"And David took his staff which he had always in his hands, and chose him five smooth stones out of the brook, and he took a sling in his hand; and went forth against the Philistine.

"And when the Philistine looked and beheld David, he despised him. For he was a young man, and ruddy, and of a comely countenance. And the Philistine said to David: 'Am I a dog, that thou comest to me with a staff?' Then said David to the Philistine: 'Thou comest to me with a sword, and with a spear and with a shield: but I come to thee in the name of the Lord of Hosts, the God of the armies of Israel, which thou hast defied. This day will the Lord deliver thee into mine hand that all the earth may know that the Lord saveth not with sword and spear: for it is his battle, and he will deliver you into our hands.'

"And when the Philistine arose and was coming and drew nigh to meet David, David made haste and ran to the fight to meet the Philistine. And he put his hand into his scrip and took a stone, and cast it with the sling and fetching it about struck the Philistine in the forehead, and the stone was fixed in his forehead and he fell on his face upon the earth."[1535]

Then the clerk, meditating on these words of the Book, would reflect how God, the Unchanging, who saved Israel and struck down Goliath by the sling of a shepherd lad, had raised up the daughter of a[Pg i.456] husbandman for the deliverance of the most Christian realm and the reproach of the Leopard.[1536]

From Gien, about June the 27th, the Maid had had a letter written to the Duke of Burgundy, calling upon him to come to the King's anointing. Having received no reply, on the day of the coronation she dictated a second letter to the Duke. Here it is:

Jhesus Maria

"High and greatly to be feared Prince, Duke of Burgundy, Jehanne the Maid, in the name of the King of Heaven, her rightful and liege lord, requires you and the King of France to make a good peace which shall long endure. Forgive one another heartily and entirely as becometh good Christians; an if it please you to make war, go ye against the Saracens. Prince of Burgundy, I pray you, I entreat you, I beseech you as humbly as lieth in my power, that ye make war no more against the holy realm of France, and that forthwith and speedily ye withdraw those your men who are in any strongholds and fortresses of the said holy kingdom; and in the name of the fair King of France, he is ready to make peace with you, saving his honour if that be necessary. And in the name of the King of Heaven, my Sovereign liege Lord, for your good, your honour and your life, I make known unto you, that ye will never win in battle against the loyal French and that all they who wage war against the holy realm of France, will be warring against King Jhesus, King of Heaven and of the world, my lawful liege lord. And with clasped hands I beseech and entreat you that ye make no battle nor wage war against us, neither you, nor your people, nor your subjects; and be assured that whatever number of folk ye bring against us, they will gain[Pg i.457] nothing, and it will be sore pity for the great battle and the blood that shall be shed of those that come against us. And three weeks past, I did write and send you letters by a herald, that ye should come to the anointing of the King, which to-day, Sunday, the 17th day of this present month, is made in the city of Reims: to which letter I have had no answer, neither news of the said herald. To God I commend you; may he keep you, if it be his will; and I pray God to establish good peace. Written from the said place of Reims, on the said seventeenth of July."

Addressed: "to the Duke of Burgundy."[1537]

Had Saint Catherine of Sienna been at Reims she would not have written otherwise. Albeit the Maid liked not the Burgundians, in her own way she realized forcibly how desirable was peace with the Duke of Burgundy. With clasped hands she entreats him to cease making war against France. "An it please you to make war then go ye against the Saracens." Already she had counselled the English to join the French and go on a crusade. The destruction of the infidel was then the dream of gentle peace-loving souls; and many pious folk believed that the son of the knight, who had been vanquished at Nicopolis, would make the Turks pay dearly for their former victory.[1538]

In this letter, the Maid, in the name of the King of Heaven, tells Duke Philip that if he fight against the King, he will be conquered. Her voices had foretold[Pg i.458] to her the victory of France over Burgundy; they had not revealed to her that at the very moment when she was dictating her letter the ambassadors of Duke Philip were at Reims; that was so, notwithstanding.[1539]

Esteeming King Charles, master of Champagne, to be a prince worthy of consideration, Duke Philip sent to Reims, David de Brimeu, Bailie of Artois, at the head of an embassy, to greet him and open negotiations for peace.[1540] The Burgundians received a hearty welcome from the Chancellor and the Council. It was hoped that peace would be concluded before their departure. The Angevin lords announced it to their queens, Yolande and Marie.[1541] By so doing they showed how little they knew the consummate old fox of Dijon. The French were not strong enough yet, neither were the English weak enough. It was agreed that in August an embassy should be sent to the Duke of Burgundy in the town of Arras. After four days negotiation, a truce for fifteen days was signed and the embassy left Reims.[1542] At the same time, the Duke at Paris solemnly renewed his complaint against Charles of Valois, his father's assassin, and undertook to bring an army to the help of the English.[1543]

[Pg i.459]

Leaving Antoine de Hellande, nephew of the Duke-Archbishop[1544] to command Reims, the King of France departed from the city on the 20th of July and went to Saint-Marcoul-de-Corbeny, where on the day after their coronation, the Kings were accustomed to touch for the evil.[1545]

Saint Marcoul cured the evil.[1546] He was of royal race, but his power, manifested long after his death, came to him especially from his name, and it was believed that Saint Marcoul was able to cure those afflicted with marks on the neck, as Saint Clare was to give sight to the blind, and Saint Fort to give strength to children. The King of France shared with him the power of healing scrofula; and as the power came to him from the holy oil brought down from heaven by a dove, it was thought that this virtue would be more effectual at the time of the anointing, all the more because by lewdness, disobedience to the Christian Church, and other irregularities, he stood in danger of losing it. That is what had happened to King Philippe I.[1547] The Kings of England touched for the[Pg i.460] evil; notably King Edward III worked wondrous cures on scrofulous folk who were covered with scars. For these reasons scrofula was called Saint Marcoul's evil or King's evil. Virgins as well as kings could cure this royal malady.

King Charles worshipped and presented offerings at the shrine of Saint Marcoul, and there touched for the evil. At Corbeny he received the submission of the town of Laon. Then, on the morrow, the 22nd, he went off to a little stronghold in the valley of the Aisne, called Vailly, which belonged to the Archbishop Duke of Reims. At Vailly he received the submission of the town of Soissons.[1548] In the words of an Armagnac prophet of the time: "the keys of the war gates knew the hands that had forged them."[1549]

[Pg i.461]



IT is always difficult to ascertain what happens in war. In those days it was quite impossible to form any clear idea of how things came about. At Orléans, doubtless, there were certain who were keen enough to perceive that the numerous and ingenious engines of war, gathered together by the magistrates, had been of great service; but folk generally prefer to ascribe results to miraculous causes, and the merit of their deliverance the people of Orléans attributed first to their Blessed Patrons, Saint Aignan and Saint Euverte, and after them to Jeanne, the Divine Maid, believing that there was no easier, simpler, or more natural explanation of the deeds they had witnessed.[1550]

Guillaume Girault, former magistrate of the town and notary at the Châtelet, wrote and signed, with his own hand, a brief account of the deliverance of the city. Herein he states that on Wednesday, Ascension Eve, the bastion of Saint-Loup was stormed and taken as if by miracle, "there being present, and aiding in the fight, Jeanne the Maid, sent of God;" and that, on the following Saturday, the siege laid by the English to Les Tourelles at the end of the bridge was[Pg i.462] raised by the most obvious miracle since the Passion. And Guillaume Girault testifies that the Maid led the enterprise.[1551] When eye-witnesses, participators in the deeds themselves, had no clear idea of events, what could those more remote from the scene of action think of them?

The tidings of the French victories flew with astonishing rapidity.[1552] The brevity of authentic accounts was amply supplemented by the eloquence of loquacious clerks and the popular imagination. The Loire campaign and the coronation expedition were scarcely known at first save by fabulous reports, and the people only thought of them as supernatural events.

In the letters sent by royal secretaries to the towns of the realm and the princes of Christendom, the name of Jeanne the Maid was associated with all the deeds of prowess. Jeanne herself, by her monastic scribe, made known to all the great deeds which, it was her firm belief, she had accomplished.[1553]

It was believed that everything had been done through her, that the King had consulted her in all things, when in truth the King's counsellors and the Captains rarely asked her advice, listened to it but seldom, and brought her forth only at convenient seasons. Everything was attributed to her alone. Her personality, associated with deeds attested and seemingly marvellous, became buried in a vast cycle of astonishing fables and disappeared in a forest of heroic stories.[1554]

[Pg i.463]

Contrite souls there were in those days, who, ascribing all the woes of the kingdom to the sins of the people, looked for salvation to humility, repentance, and penance.[1555] They expected the end of iniquity and the kingdom of God on earth. Jeanne, at least in the beginning, was one of those pious folk. Sometimes, speaking as a mystic reformer, she would say that Jesus is King of the holy realm of France, that King Charles is his lieutenant, and does but hold the kingdom "in fief."[1556] She uttered words which would create the impression that her mission was all charity, peace, and love,—these, for example, "I am sent to comfort the poor and needy."[1557] Such gentle penitents as dreamed of a world pure, faithful, and good, made of Jeanne their saint and their prophetess. They ascribed to her edifying words she had never uttered.

"When the Maid came to the King," they said, "she caused him to make three promises: the first was to resign his kingdom, to renounce it and give it back to God, from whom he held it; the second, to pardon all such as had turned against him and afflicted him; the third, to humiliate himself so far as to receive into favour all such as should come to him, poor and rich, friend and foe."[1558]

Or again, in apologues, simple and charming, like the following, they represented her accomplishing her mission:

"One day, the Maid asked the King to bestow a present upon her; and when he consented, she claimed as a gift the realm of France. Though astonished, the King did not withdraw his promise.[Pg i.464] Having received her present, the Maid required a deed of gift to be solemnly drawn up by four of the King's notaries and read aloud. While the King listened to the reading, she pointed him out to those that stood by, saying: 'Behold the poorest knight in the kingdom.' Then, after a short time, disposing of the realm of France, she gave it back to God. Thereafter, acting in God's name, she invested King Charles with it and commanded that this solemn act of transmission should be recorded in writing."[1559]

It was believed that Jeanne had prophesied that on Saint John the Baptist's Day, 1429, not an Englishman should be left in France.[1560] These simple folk expected their saint's promises to be fulfilled on the day she had fixed. They maintained that on the 23rd of June she had entered the city of Rouen, and that on the morrow, Saint John the Baptist's day, the inhabitants of Paris had of their own accord, opened their gates to the King of France. In the month of July these stories were being told in Avignon.[1561] Reformers, numerous it would seem in France and throughout Christendom, believed that the Maid would organise the English and French on monastic lines and make of them one nation of pious beggars, one brotherhood of penitents. According to them, the following were the intentions of the two parties and the clauses of the treaty:

"King Charles of Valois bestows universal pardon and is willing to forget all wrongs. The English and[Pg i.465] French, having turned to contrition and repentance, are endeavouring to conclude a good and binding peace. The Maid herself has imposed conditions upon them. Conforming to her will, the English and French for one year or for two will wear a grey habit, with a little cross sewn upon it; on every Friday they will live on bread and water; they will dwell in unity with their wives and will seek no other women. They promise God not to make war except for the defense of their country."[1562]

During the coronation campaign, nothing being known of the agreement between the King's men and the people of Auxerre, towards the end of July, it was related that the town having been taken by storm, four thousand five hundred citizens had been killed and likewise fifteen hundred men-at-arms, knights as well as squires belonging to the parties of Burgundy and Savoy. Among the nobles slain were mentioned Humbert Maréchal, Lord of Varambon, and a very famous warrior, le Viau de Bar. Stories were told of treasons and massacres, horrible adventures in which the Maid was associated with that knave of hearts who was already famous. She was said to have had twelve traitors beheaded.[1563] Such tales were real romances of chivalry. Here is one of them:

About two thousand English surrounded the King's camp, watching to see if they could do him some hurt. Then the Maid called Captain La Hire and said to him: "Thou hast in thy time done great prowess, but to-day God prepares for thee a deed greater than any thou hast yet performed. Take thy men and go to such and such a wood two[Pg i.466] leagues herefrom, and there shalt thou find two thousand English, all lance in hand; them shalt thou take and slay."

La Hire went forth to the English and all were taken and slain as the Maid had said.[1564]

Such were the fairy-stories told of Jeanne to the joy of simple primitive folk, who delighted in the idea of a maid slayer of giants and remover of mountains.

There was a rumour that after the sack of Auxerre, the Duke of Burgundy had been defeated and taken in a great battle, that the Regent was dead and that the Armagnacs had entered Paris.[1565] Prodigies were said to have attended the capitulation of Troyes. On the coming of the French, it was told how the townsfolk beheld from their ramparts a vast multitude of men-at-arms, some five or six thousand, each man holding a white pennon in his hand. On the departure of the French, they beheld them again, ranged but a bow-shot behind King Charles. These knights with white pennons vanished when the King had gone; for they were as miraculous as those white-scarfed knights, whom the Bretons had seen riding in the sky but shortly before.[1566]

All that the people of Orléans beheld when their siege was suddenly raised, all that Armagnac mendicants and the Dauphin's clerks related was greedily received, accredited, and amplified. Three months after her coming to Chinon, Jeanne had her legend, which grew and increased and extended into Italy, Flanders, and Germany.[1567] In the summer of 1429,[Pg i.467] this legend was already formed. All the scattered parts of what may be described as the gospel of her childhood existed.

At the age of seven Jeanne kept sheep; the wolves did not molest her flock; the birds of the field, when she called them, came and ate bread from her lap. The wicked had no power over her. No one beneath her roof need fear man's fraud or ill-will.[1568]

When it is a Latin poet who is writing, the miracles attending Jeanne's birth assume a Roman majesty and are clothed with the august dignity of ancient myths. Thus it is curious to find a humanist of 1429 summoning the Italian muse to the cradle of Zabillet Romée's daughter.

"The thunder rolled, the ocean shuddered, the earth shook, the heavens were on fire, the universe rejoiced visibly; a strange transport mingled with fear moved the enraptured nations. They sing sweet verses and dance in harmonious motion at the sign of the salvation prepared for the French people by this celestial birth."[1569]

Moreover an attempt was made to represent the wonders that had heralded the nativity of Jesus as having been repeated on the birth of Jeanne. It was imagined that she was born on the night of the Epiphany. The shepherds of her village, moved by an indescribable joy, the cause of which was unknown to them, hastened through the darkness towards the[Pg i.468] marvellous mystery. The cocks, heralds of this new joy, sing at an unusual season and, flapping their wings, seem to prophesy for two hours. Thus the child in her cradle had her adoration of the shepherds.[1570]

Of her coming into France there was much to tell. It was related that in the Château of Chinon she had recognised the King, whom she had never seen before, and had gone straight to him, although he was but poorly clad and surrounded by his baronage.[1571] It was said that she had given the King a sign, that she had revealed a secret to him; and that on the revelation of the secret, known to him alone, he had been illuminated with a heavenly joy. Concerning this interview at Chinon, while those present had little to say, the stories of many who were not there were interminable.[1572]

On the 7th of May, at four o'clock in the afternoon, a white dove alighted on the Maid's standard; and on the same day, during the assault, two white birds were seen to be flying over her head.[1573] Saints were commonly visited by doves. One day when Saint[Pg i.469] Catherine of Sienna was kneeling in the fuller's house, a dove as white as snow perched on the child's head.[1574]

A tale then in circulation is interesting as showing the idea which prevailed concerning the relations of the King and the Maid; it serves, likewise, as an example of the perversions to which the story of an actual fact is subject as it passes from mouth to mouth. Here is the tale as it was gathered by a German merchant.

On a day, in a certain town, the Maid, hearing that the English were near, went into the field; and straightway all the men-at-arms, who were in the town, leapt to their steeds and followed her. Meanwhile, the King, who was at dinner, learning that all were going forth in company with the Maid, had the gates of the town closed.

The Maid was told, and she replied without concern: "Before the hour of nones, the King will have so great need of me, that he will follow me immediately, spurless, and barely staying to throw on his cloak."

And thus it came to pass. For the men-at-arms shut up in the town besought the King to open the gates forthwith or they would break them down. The gates were opened and all the fighting men hastened to the Maid, heedless of the King, who threw on his cloak and followed them.

On that day a great number of the English were slain.[1575]

Such is the story which gives a very inaccurate representation of what happened at Orléans on the 6th of May. The citizens hastened in crowds to the Bur[Pg i.470]gundian Gate, resolved to cross the Loire and attack Les Tourelles. Finding the gate closed, they threw themselves furiously on the Sire de Gaucourt who was keeping it. The aged baron had the gate opened wide and said to them, "Come, I will be your captain."[1576] In the story the citizens have become men-at-arms, and it is not the Sire de Gaucourt but the King who maliciously closes the gates. But the King gained nothing by it; and it is astonishing to find that so early there had grown up in the minds of the people the idea that, far from aiding the Maid to drive out the English, the King had put obstacles in her way and was always the last to follow her.

Seen through this chaos of stories more indistinct than the clouds in a stormy sky, Jeanne appeared a wondrous marvel. She prophesied and many of her prophecies had already been fulfilled. She had foretold the deliverance of Orléans and Orléans had been delivered. She had prophesied that she would be wounded, and an arrow had pierced her above the right breast. She had prophesied that she would take the King to Reims, and the King had been crowned in that city. Other prophecies had she uttered touching the realm of France, to wit, the deliverance of the Duke of Orléans, the entering into Paris, the driving of the English from the holy kingdom, and their fulfilment was expected.[1577]

[Pg i.471]

Every day she prophesied and notably concerning divers persons who had failed in respect towards her and had come to a bad end.[1578]

At Chinon, when she was being taken to the King, a man-at-arms who was riding near the château, thinking he recognised her, asked, "Is not that the Maid? By God, an I had my way she should not be a maid long."

Then Jeanne prophesied and said "Ha, thou takest God's name in vain, and thou art so near thy death!"

Less than an hour later the man fell into the water and was drowned.[1579]

Straightway this miracle was related in Latin verse. In the poem which records this miraculous history of Jeanne up to the deliverance of Orléans, the lewd blasphemer, who like all blasphemers, came to a bad end, is noble and by name Furtivolus.[1580]

... generoso sanguine natus,
Nomine Furtivolus, veneris moderator iniquus.

Captain Glasdale called Jeanne strumpet and blasphemed his Maker. Jeanne prophesied that he would die without shedding blood; and Glasdale was drowned in the Loire.[1581]

Many of these tales were obvious imitations of incidents in the lives of the saints, which were widely read in those days. A woman, who was a heretic, pulled the cassock of Saint Ambrose, whereupon the[Pg i.472] blessed bishop said to her, "Take heed lest one day thou be chastised of God." On the morrow the woman died, and the Blessed Ambrose conducted her to the grave.[1582]

A nun, who was then alive and who was to die in an odour of sanctity, Sister Colette of Corbie, had met her Furtivolus and had punished him, but less severely. On a day when she was praying in a church of Corbie, a stranger drew near and spoke to her libidinous words: "May it please God," she said, "to bring home to you the hideousness of the words you have just uttered." The stranger in shame went to the door. But an invisible hand arrested him on the threshold. Then he realised the gravity of his sin; he asked pardon of the saint and was free to leave the church.[1583]

After the royal army had departed from Gien, the Maid was said to have prophesied that a great battle would be fought between Auxerre and Reims.[1584] When such predictions were not fulfilled they were forgotten. Besides, it was admitted that true prophets might sometimes utter false prophecies. A subtle theologian distinguished between prophecies of predestination which are always fulfilled and those of condemnation, which being conditioned, may not be fulfilled and that without reflecting untruthfulness on the lips that uttered them.[1585] Folk wondered that a[Pg i.473] peasant child should be able to forecast the future, and with the Apostle they cried, "I praise thee, O Father, because thou hast hidden those things from the wise and prudent and revealed them unto babes."

The Maid's prophecies were speedily spread abroad throughout the whole of Christendom.[1586] A clerk of Spiers wrote a treatise on her, entitled Sibylla Francica, divided into two parts. The first part was drawn up not later than July, 1429. The second is dated the 17th of September, the same year. This clerk believes that the Maid practised the art of divination by means of astrology. He had heard a French monk of the order of the Premonstratensians[1587] say that Jeanne delighted to study the heavens by night. He observes that all her prophecies concerned the kingdom of France; and he gives the following as having been uttered by the Maid: "After having ruled for twenty years, the Dauphin will sleep with his fathers. After him, his eldest son, now a child of six, will reign more gloriously, more honourably, more powerfully than any King of France since Charlemagne."[1588]

The Maid possessed the gift of beholding events which were taking place far away.

At Vaucouleurs, on the very day of the Battle of the Herrings, she knew the Dauphin's army had suffered grievous hurt.[1589]

[Pg i.474]

On a day when she was dining, seated near the King, she began to laugh quietly. The King, perceiving, asked her: "My beloved, wherefore laugh ye so merrily?"

She made answer that she would tell him when the repast was over. And, when the ewer was brought her, "Sire," she said, "this day have been drowned in the sea five hundred English, who were crossing to your land to do you hurt. Therefore did I laugh. In three days you will know that it is true."

And so it was.[1590]

Another time, when she was in a town some miles distant from the château where the King was, as she prayed before going to sleep, it was revealed to her that certain of the King's enemies wished to poison him at dinner. Straightway she called her brothers and sent them to the King to advise him to take no food until she came.

When she appeared before him, he was at table surrounded by eleven persons.

"Sire," she said, "have the dishes brought."

She gave them to the dogs, who ate from them and died forthwith.

Then, pointing to a knight, who was near the King and to two other guests: "Those persons," she said, "wished to poison you."

The knight straightway confessed that it was true; and he was dealt with according to his deserts.[1591]

It was borne in upon her that a certain priest kept a concubine;[1592] and one day, meeting in the camp a woman dressed as a man, it was revealed to her that the woman was pregnant and that having already had one child she had made away with it.[1593]

[Pg i.475]

She was likewise said to possess the power of discovering things hidden. She herself had claimed this power when she was at Tours. It had been revealed to her that a sword was buried in the ground in the chapel of Saint Catherine of Fierbois, and that was the sword she wore. Some deemed it to be the sword with which Charles Martel had defeated the Saracens. Others suspected it of being the sword of Alexander the Great.[1594]

In like manner it was said that before the coronation Jeanne had known of a precious crown, hidden from all eyes. And here is the story told concerning it:

A bishop kept the crown of Saint Louis. No one knew which bishop it was, but it was known that the Maid had sent him a messenger, bearing a letter in which she asked him to give up the crown. The bishop replied that the Maid was dreaming. A second time she demanded the sacred treasure, and the bishop made the same reply. Then she wrote to the citizens of the episcopal city, saying that if the crown were not given up to the King, the Lord would punish the town, and straightway there fell so heavy a storm of hail that all men marvelled. Wizards commonly caused hail storms. But this time the hail was a plague sent by the God who afflicted Egypt with ten plagues. After which the Maid despatched to the citizens a third letter in which she described the form and fashion of the crown the bishop was hiding, and warned them that if it were not given up even[Pg i.476] worse things would happen to them. The bishop, who believed that the wondrous circlet of gold was known to him alone, marvelled that the form and fashion thereof should be described in this letter. He repented of his wickedness, wept many tears, and commanded the crown to be sent to the King and the Maid.[1595]

It is not difficult to discern the origin of this story. The crown of Charlemagne, which the kings of France wore at the coronation ceremony, was at Saint-Denys in France, in the hands of the English. Jeanne boasted of having given the Dauphin at Chinon a precious crown, brought by angels. She said that this crown had been sent to Reims for the coronation, but that it did not arrive in time.[1596] As for the hiding of the crown by the bishop, that idea arose probably from the well-known cupidity of my Lord Regnault de Chartres, Archbishop of Reims, who had appropriated the silver vase intended for the chapter and placed by the King upon the high altar after the ceremony.[1597]

There was likewise talk of gloves lost at Reims and of a cup that Jeanne had found.[1598]

Maiden, at once a warrior and a lover of peace, béguine, prophetess, sorceress, angel of the Lord, ogress, every man beholds her according to his own fashion, creates her according to his own image. Pious souls clothe her with an invincible charm and the divine gift of charity; simple souls make her[Pg i.477] simple too; men gross and violent figure her a giantess, burlesque and terrible. Shall we ever discern the true features of her countenance? Behold her, from the first and perhaps for ever enclosed in a flowering thicket of legends!


Volume II




[1] "De mon cœur l'orgueilleuse faiblesse," Racine, Iphigénie en Aulide, Act i, sc. i.—(W.S.)

[2] Le P. Lelong, Bibliothèque historique de la France, Paris, 1768 (5 vols. folio), II, n. 17172-17242. Potthast, Bibliotheca medii ævi, Berlin, 1895, 8vo, vol. i, pp. 643 seq. U. Chevalier, Répertoire des sources historiques du Moyen Âge, Paris, 8vo, 1877, pp. 1247-1255; Jeanne d'Arc, bibliographie, Montbéliard, 1878 [selections]; Supplément au Répertoire, Paris, 1883, pp. 2684-2686, 8vo. Lanéry d'Arc, Le livre d'or de Jeanne d'Arc, bibliographie raisonnée et analytique des ouvrages relatifs à Jeanne d'Arc, Paris, 1894, large 8vo, and supplement. A. Molinier, Les sources de l'histoire de France des origines aux guerres d'Italie, IV: Les Valois, 1328-1461, Paris, 1904, pp. 310-348.

[3] Jules Quicherat, Procès de condamnation et de réhabilitation de Jeanne d'Arc, Paris, 8vo, 1841, vol. i. (Called hereafter Trial.—W.S.)

[4] Trial, vol. i, p. 93, passim.

[5] Ibid., vol. iii, pp. 89, 142, 161, 176, 178, 201.

[6] Trial, vol. i, pp. 478 et seq.

[7] Cf. J. Quicherat, Aperçus nouveaux sur l'histoire de Jeanne d'Arc, Paris, 1880, pp. 138-144.

[8] Evidence of G. Manchon, Trial, vol. ii, p. 14.

[9] Ne donnoit point d'argent pour soy faire mettre ès croniques.—Jean de Bueil, Le Jouvencel, ed. C. Fabre and L. Lecestre, Paris, 1887, 8vo, vol. ii, p. 283.

[10] Perceval de Cagny, Chroniques, published by H. Moranvillé, Paris, 1902, 8vo.

[11] Le sens, mémoire, ne l'abillité de savoir faire metre par escript ce, ne autre chose mendre de plus de la moitié, Perceval de Cagny, p. 31.

[12] Trial, vol. iv, p. 1.

[13] Ibid., pp. 40-50. D. Godefroy, Histoire de Charles VII, Paris, 1661, fol. pp. 369-474.

[14] Jean Chartier, Chronique de Charles VII, roi de France, ed. Vallet de Viriville, Paris, 1858, 3 vols., 18mo. (Bibliothèque Elzévirienne).

[15] Lequel Luxembourg la vendit aux Angloix, qui la menèrent à Rouen, où elle fut durement traictée; et tellement que, après grant dillacion de temps, sans procez, maiz de leur voulenté indeue, la firent ardoir en icelle ville de Rouen publiquement ... qui fut bien inhumainement fait, veu la vie et gouvernement dont elle vivoit, car elle se confessoit et recepvoit par chacune sepmaine le corps de Nostre Seigneur, comme bonne catholique.—Jean Chartier, Chronique de Charles VII, roi de France, vol. i, p. 122.

[16] Jean Chartier, Chronique de Charles VII, roi de France, vol. i, p. 122.

[17] Par l'admonestement de ladite Pucelle, Jean Chartier, vol. i, p. 87.

[18] Fut cause, ibid., vol. i, p. 97.

[19] This revolt of the French nobles was so named because various risings of a similar nature had taken place in the city of Prague.—W.S.

[20] Journal du siège d'Orléans (1428-1429), ed. P. Charpentier and C. Cuissart, Orléans, 1896, 8vo.

[21] The oldest copy extant is dated 1472 (MS. fr. 14665).

[22] Journal du siège d'Orléans (1428-1429), p. 87. Trial, vol. iv, p. 162, note.

[23] Journal du siège, p. 97. Trial, vol. iii, p. 215.

[24] Chronique de la Pucelle, or Chronique de Cousinot, ed. Vallet de Viriville, Paris, 1859, 16mo. (Bibliothèque Gauloise).

[25] Mystère du Siège d'Orléans, first published by MM. F. Guessard and E. de Certain, Paris, 1862, 4to, according to the only manuscript, which is preserved in the Vatican Library.—Cf. Étude sur le mystère du siège d'Orléans, by H. Tivier, Paris, 1868, 8vo.

[26] Trial, vol. v, p. 309.

[27] The Abbé E. Bossard and de Maulde, Gilles de Rais, Maréchal de France, dit Barbe-Bleue (1404-1440), 2nd edition, Paris, 1886, 8vo, pp. 94-113.

[28] Un estandart et bannière qui furent à Monseigneur de Reys pour faire la manière de l'assault comment les Tourelles furent prinses sur les Anglois Mistère du siège, p. viii.

[29] Mistère du siège, preface, p. x.


Quant est de l'ostel de mon père,
Il est en pays de Barois;
Gentilhomme et de noble afaire
Honneste et loyal François.
Mistère du siège, pp. 397-398.


... Ayez en souvenance....
Comment Orléans eult délivrance....
L'an mil iiijc xxix;
Faites en mémoire tous dis;
Des jours de may ce fut le neuf.
Mistère du siège, lines 14375-14381, p. 559.

[32] Trial, vol. v, pp. 285 et seq.

[33] Relation inédite sur Jeanne d'Arc, extraite du livre noir de l'hôtel de ville de La Rochelle, ed. J. Quicherat, Orléans, 1879, 8vo, and La Revue Historique, vol. iv, 1877, pp. 329-344.

[34] Bibl. Nat. fr. 23018: J. Quicherat, Supplément aux témoignages contemporains sur Jeanne d'Arc, in Revue Historique, vol. xix, May-June, 1882, pp. 72-83.

[35] Pierre Champion, Guillaume de Flavy, Paris, 1906, in 8vo, pp. xi, xii.

[36] Chronique d'Antonio Morosini, introduction and commentary by Germain Lefèvre-Pontalis, text established by Léon Dorez, vol. iii, 1901, p. 302, and vol. iv, supplement xxi.

[37] Enguerrand de Monstrelet, Chronique, ed. Doüet-d'Arcq, Paris, 1857-1861, 6 vols. in 8vo.

[38] Rabelais, Urquhart's Trans., ii-49, in Bohn's edition, 1849 (W.S.). Plus baveux que ung pot de moutarde.—Rabelais, Pantagruel, bk. iii, chap. xxiv.

[39] Jehan de Wavrin, Anchiennes croniques d'Engleterre, ed. Mademoiselle Dupont, Paris, 1858-1863, 3 vols., 8vo.

[40] Wavrin's additions to Monstrelet in Trial, vol. iv, p. 407.

[41] Chronique de Jean le Fèvre, seigneur de Saint-Rémy, ed. François Morand, Paris, 1876-1881, 2 vols. in 8vo.

[42] Chroniques des ducs de Bourgogne, Paris, 1827, 2 vols. in 8vo; vols. xlii and xliii of the Collection des Chroniques françaises, by Buchon. Œuvres de Georges Chastellain, ed. Kervyn de Lettenhove, Brussels, 1863, 8 vols. in 8vo.

[43] Journal d'un bourgeois de Paris (1405-1449), ed. A. Tuetey, Paris, 1881, in 8vo.

[44] Chronique d'Antonio Morosini, ed. Léon Dorez and Germain Lefèvre-Pontalis, Paris, 1900-1902, 4 vols. in 8vo.

[45] G. Lefèvre-Pontalis, Les sources allemandes de l'histoire de Jeanne d'Arc, Eberhard Windecke, Paris, 1903, in 8vo.

[46] Trial, vols. ii to iii, 1844-1845 (vols. v and vi, 1846-1847, contain the evidence).

[47] Lanéry d'Arc, Mémoires et consultations en faveur de Jeanne d'Arc, 1889, in 8vo. Trial, vol. iii, pp. 411-468.

[48] Trial, vol. ii, pp. 378-463.

[49] J. Quicherat, Histoire du costume, Paris, 1875, large 8vo, passim. G. Demay, Le costume au moyen âge d'après les sceaux, Paris, 1880, p. 121, figs. 76 and 77.

[50] Trial, vol. iii, p. 34.

[51] Ibid., p. 100.

[52] We must notice, however, that Brother Pasquerel, who was not present either at Chinon or at Poitiers, is careful to say that he knows nothing of Jeanne's sojourn in these two towns save what she herself has told him. Now we are surprised to find that she herself placed the examination at Poitiers before the audience at Chinon, since she says in her trial that at Chinon, when she gave her King a sign, the clerks ceased to contend with her.—Trial, vol. i, p. 145.

[53] Expectando succursum regis, Trial, vol. iii, p. 109.

[54] Trial, vol. iii, p. 105.

[55] Ibid., pp. 2 et seq.

[56] Trial, vol. iii, p. 13.

[57] Ibid., p. 15.

[58] Ibid., p. 12.

[59] Ibid., vol. ii, pp. 15, 161, 329; vol. iii, pp. 41 and passim.

[60] Ibid., vol. iii, p. 23.

[61] L. Jarry, Le compte de l'armée anglaise au siège d'Orléans (1428-1429), Orléans, 1892, in 8vo.

[62] Trial, vol. iii, p. 20.

[63] Ibid., p. 87.

[64] Trial, vol. iii, p. 85.

[65] Ibid., p. 100. On the other hand see the evidence of Dunois (vol. iii, p. 16), "licet dicta Johanna aliquotiens jocose loqueretur de facto armorum, pro animando armatos ... tamen quando loquebatur seriose de guerra ... nunquam affirmative asserebat nisi quod erat missa ad levandum obsidionem Aurelianensem."

[66] Trial, vol. ii, pp. 438, 457; vol. iii, pp. 100, 219.

[67] Trial, vol. ii, p. 438; vol. iii, pp. 15, 76, 100, 219, and 457.

[68] Trial, vol. iii, pp. 89 and 121.

[69] Trial, vol. iii, pp. 2 and 35.

[70] Trial, vol. iii, pp. 100 et seq.

[71] Siméon Luce, Jeanne d'Arc à Domremy, recherches critiques sur les origines de la mission de la Pucelle, Paris, 1886, in 8vo; La France pendant la guerre de cent ans: épisodes historiques et vie privée aux xive et xve siècles, Paris, 1890, in 12mo.

[72] D. Lottin, Recherches sur la ville d'Orléans, Orléans, 7 vols. in 8vo; Boucher de Molandon, Les comptes de ville d'Orléans des xive et xve siècles, 1880, in 8vo; Jules Loiseleur, Compte des dépenses faites par Charles VII pour secourir Orléans pendant le siège de 1428, Orléans, 1868, in 8vo; Louis Jarry, Le compte de l'armée anglaise au siège d'Orléans, Orléans, 1892, in 8vo; Couret, Un fragment inédit des anciens registres de la prévôté d'Orléans, relatif au règlement des frais du siège de 1428-1429, Orléans, 1697, in 8vo (extract from the Mémoires de l'Académie de Sainte Croix).

[73] Rymer, Fœdera, conventiones...., ed. tercia, Hagae Comitis, 1739-1745, 10 vols. in folio; Delpit, Collection de documents français qui se trouvent en Angleterre, Paris, 1847, in 4to; J. Stevenson, Letters and Papers illustrative of the Wars of the English in France during the reign of Henry VI, 1861-1864, 3 parts, in 2 vols. in 8vo; Charles Gross, The Sources and Literature of English History, 1900, in 8vo.

[74] Varin, Archives législatives de la ville de Reims, 2nd part; Statuts, vol. i, p. 596; Trial, vol. iv, pp. 284 et seq.

[75] E. Robillard de Beaurepaire, Recherches sur le procès de condamnation de Jeanne d'Arc, Rouen, 1869, in 8vo [Précis des travaux de l'Académie de Rouen, 1867-1868, pp. 321-448]; Notes sur les juges et les assesseurs du procès de condamnation de Jeanne d'Arc, Rouen, 1890, in 8vo [Précis des travaux de l'Académie de Rouen, 1888-1889, pp. 375-504].

[76] Trial, vol. v, pp. 342 et seq.

[77] Trial, vol. iii, p. 19.

[78] Brière de Boismont, De l'hallucination historique, ou étude médico-psychique sur les voix et les révélations de Jeanne d'Arc, 1861, in 8vo. Le Vicomte de Mouchy, Jeanne d'Arc, étude historique et psychologique, Montpellier, 1868, in 8vo, 67 pp.

[79] Vol. ii, Appendix i.

[80] Acta Sanctorum, 1675, April, iii, 851.

[81] Ibid., March 1, 1532.

[82] Le Père Hugues de Saint-François, Les grandeurs de Sainte Anne, Rennes, 1657, in 8vo; L'abbé Max Nicol, Sainte-Anne-d'Auray, Paris, Brussels, s.d., in 8vo, pp. 37 et seq. M. le Docteur G. de Closmadeuc has kindly lent me his valuable work, as yet unpublished, on Yves Nicolazic, which is characterised by the same exactness of information and of criticism as are to be found in his studies of local history.

[83] Recueil des ouvrages de la célèbre Mademoiselle Labrousse, du Bourg de Vauxains, en Périgord, canton de Ribeirac de la Dordogne, actuellement prisonnière au château Saint-Ange, à Rome, Bordeaux, 1797, in 8vo; E. Lairtullier, Les femmes célèbres de 1789