Joan of Arc - Maid of Heaven

Guy de Laval


Battle Shield of Guy de Laval who fought with Joan of Arc

Guy de Laval (January 28, 1406 - September 2, 1486) was a young knight who joined
Joan of Arc for the Loire Valley campaign and fought with her until the defeat at Paris. Guy was extremely impressed with Joan of Arc and wrote a highly complimentary letter to his mother and grandmother that constitutes a living portrait of Joan and probably echoes the sentiments of many of the young knights that followed Joan into battle.
Written June 8, 1429
     "My very honored ladies and mothers, since I wrote to you from St Catherine de Fierbois, Friday last, I arrived Saturday at Loches, and went to see my lord the Dauphin at the castle at the issue Vespers, in the collegial church; he being a very handsome and gracious lord, and very well formed and active and clever, of the age of about seven years, which me must be; and there saw my cousin, the lady de la Tremouille who made me very welcome; and is said, has no more than two months to carry her child."
      I went to her lodging to see her: and she sent for wine and told me we should soon drink wine in Paris. And there seemed something wholly divine in her manner, and to see her and hear her. She left Selles on Monday at the hour of vespers for Romorantin, the Marshal de Boussac and a great many armed men with her. I saw her mount her horse, all in white armour excepting the head, a little axe in her hand. The great black charger was very restive at her door and would not let her mount. 'Lead him,' she said, 'to the cross which is in front of the church,' and there she mounted, the horse standing still as if he had been bound. Then turning towards the church which was close by she said in a very womanly voice. 'You priests and people of the Church, make processions and prayers to God for us'; then turning to the road, 'Forward! Forward!' she said. Her unfolded standard was carried by a page; she had her little axe in her hand, and by her side rode a brother who had joined her eight days before.
      And arrived today this Monday at Selles my lord the Duke of Alencon, who has a great company, and I have today won from him a wager at tennis.
      And my brother Vendome has not yet come here. I have found here one of the gentlemen of my brother of Chavigny, for the reason that he had already heard that I had arrived at Saint Catherine; and has told me that he has written to the nobles of his lands, and himself expects to be here soon; and says that my sister is his dear love and is fatter than customary. And said that my lord the Constable [Richemont] is coming this way with six hundred men-at-arms and four hundred archers, and that Jean de la Roche is also coming, and that the King had never before so great a company as is expected here; nor ever men went with better will in time of need than they go now. And today should arrive my cousin de Rais and swell my company; and in any case what there are, are of the right sort and well equipped; and there is Seigneur Argenton, one of the principal governors, who received me gladly and made me welcome; but of money there is none at court, so that for the present I have hope from it of neither aid nor support. For which reason, you, madam, my mother, who have my seal, spare not my land, either by sale or by mortgage, or whatever seems best to do, for here our honor is to be saved, or by default lowered, being per-adventure on the way to perish; for if we do not do thus, because there is no money for payment, we shall be left quite alone. And thus far our case has been, and still is , in good honor; and our coming, to the King and to all his people, as well as to the other lords who come from all parts, has been very agreeable, and all make us more welcome than we are able to write you.
      The Maid told me in her lodging that she had sent you, grandmother, a small gold ring, which was indeed a very small affair, and that she would fain have sent you something better, considering your recommendation.
      Today my lord d'Alenšon, the Bastard of Orleans, and Gaucourt were to leave Selles, following the Maid. And have delivered I know not what letters to my cousin de La Tremouille and Seigneur de Treves, by occasion of which the King is moved to wish to retain me with him until the Maid has been before the English places about Orleans that are to be besieged; the artillery being already provided. And the maid has not fear that she will not soon be with the King, saying that when he sets out on his journey to Reims, that I shall go with her; but God does not wish that I should do this and not go now. My brother says, like my lord of Alencon, that he who would remain would be disgraced. And thinks that the King will leave here this Thursday to be nearer the army; and each day men come from all parts with good hope in God who I believe will help us.
      My very honored ladies and mothers, we commend ourselves, my brother and myself, to you the most humbly that we can, and send you some blanks signed by me hand, in order, if it seems good to you, at this date, to write anything of the contents herein, to my lord the Duke of Brittany that it may be written to him; for I never can write to him; and please also write to us immediately of your news; and you, Madame my mother, in what health you find yourself after the medicines you have taken, for I have concerning this a very great uneasiness. And with these present I send you draft of my will, in order that you, my mothers, may advise and write me by the next coming this way of what may seem to you proper to add thereto; and I think myself of adding something to it; but I have as yet had but little time.
      My much honored ladies and mothers, I pray the blessed Son of God that you have a good life and long; and both of us recommend ourselves to our brother Louis. And we send our greetings to the reader of this letter whom we salute, the Seigneur de Boschet, and our cousin his daughter, my cousin of La Chapelle and all your company. Written from Selles, Wednesday, 8th June, 1429. This Vespers are arrived my lord of Vend˘me, my lord de Boussac, and others; and La Hire has joined the army, and we shall soon be at work Please God that it be according to our desire.
      Your humble sons,
            Guy and Andre de Laval"
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