Joan of Arc - Maid of Heaven

The Maid of France
Being The Story Of The Life And Death of Jeanne d'Arc (Joan of Arc)

Cover for Andrew Lang's The Maid of France Cover Page for Andrew Lang's The Maid of France

The soldiers, with shouts of joy, led the Maid to their quarters. The Duke of Burgundy, who had come up too late for the fighting, went to see her. " Some words he exchanged with her," says Monstrelet, who was present, " which I do not well remember." It is not likely that the Duke had the better in the exchange of words, and Monstrelet may have preferred to forget them.

Both the Duke and Jean de Luxembourg wrote joyous despatches containing the glad news. Luxembourg addressed his to his brother, Bishop of TheVouanne, and Chancellor of France under Henry vi. So great a prize as the Maid was not permitted to a mere archer ; the property in her lay between the Bastard de Wandonne and his superior, Jean de Luxembourg. He was in English pay, so the King of England had a claim on Jeanne, as he especially asserted a claim to Charles vn, if taken, and to other French princes. {See Note.)

Thus it was Jean de Luxembourg who finally got the money for which Jeanne was bought and sold ; and perhaps historical candour may admit that, as he was in English pay, by the rules of war he could not but give her up, just as the Scots had no choice but to hand Charles I over to the English. Neither they nor Jean were compelled to take the blood-money.

The capture rejoiced the hearts of the false French and of the Archbishop of Reims. The University of Paris, violently Burgundian, and the Vicar-General of the Inquisition, wrote (the Inquisitor on May 26) to the Duke of Burgundy, asking that

Jeanne might be handed over to Inquisitorial mercies and "the justice of the Church." The other letter is undated : the writers say that " they fear the malice of wicked persons, who, as is said, are taking great pains to release the said woman, in exquisite ways."

The English had, from the first, proclaimed their intention to burn Jeanne d'Arc alive, if they could catch her. They had even consulted the University of Paris, in May 1429, on the propriety of burning her herald. But the first persons to take practical steps towards burning the Maid were the French doctors and priests, lights of the Gallican Church. French priests and lawyers tried her, with infamous injustice ; the unnamed witnesses against her were French ; French priests and lawyers condemned her, and handed her over to a French executioner : and all these things t they did with zest, and would have done, had there been no English concerned ; had the quarrel been solely between Armagnacs and Franco - Burgundians. Moreover, the odious English tradition about the Maid was based on French authorities.

~We know nothing of any attempt by the Maid's party to release her, either by purchasing her from Jean de Luxembourg (who would probably, if he could, have sold her to the highest bidder), or by threatening reprisals on Anglo-Burgundian prisoners, or by the sword. The King and clergy of her party did not even appeal to the Pope. Jeanne, as far as our authorities enlighten us, was absolutely abandoned, except by the good people who, in extant collects, pray God to break her irons. The King was at Jargeau when a messenger from Compiegne, after the disaster, brought the request of the people that he would aid them. Probably they mentioned the capture of the Maid ; if so, the fact is not recorded. Charles answered that he would come swiftly in person to relieve the city ; of course he broke his Royal word.

The Archbishop of Reims betrays the tone of the French clergy and of the King's advisers. His letter to the people of Reims, great friends of the Maid, has only reached us in a summary made in the seventeenth century ; but that is enough to damn the Archbishop. He tells the news of the capture, and says that Jeanne " would not take advice, but did as she chose.'' To what advice he refers, we know not. Had he wanted the Maid to ac- company him, when they parted at Soissons on May 18? Did he ask her to aid the people of Reims, who, after all their anxiety, were in no danger of a siege ?

After his callous and ungrateful observation about the girl who had restored him to his see (even if she had perhaps prevented him from embezzling a crown), the Archbishop shows an extreme cynicism. God, he writes, has sent a new prophet, a shepherd boy, "who says neither more nor less than Jeanne la Pucelle. He is commanded by God to go to the King, and defeat the English and Burgundians." The young shepherd also criticises the Maid : " God has suffered Jeanne to be taken because of her pride and her rich raiment, and because she had acted after her own will, and not followed the commands laid on her by God."

The boy knew what these divine commands were, and that was enough for the Archbishop. They actually took this boy to the army, where he rode sideways, and displayed stigmata after the manner of St. Francis. The English caught him in a battle where they also caught de Saintrailles, exhibited him in triumph when Henry VI entered Paris, and drowned him without trial. The Archbishop reveals amazing depths of French cynicism or superstition. It was easy for the boy to " say neither more nor less than the Maid"; to do more, or as much, was not found possible.

All clerics were not on the level of the mitred one of Reims. The Archbishop of Embrun wrote to his King words as bold and true as the Archbishop of Glasgow wrote to Mary Stuart after Darnley's murder. " For the recovery of this girl, and for the ransom of her life, I bid you spare neither means nor money, howsoever great the price, unless you would incur the indelible shame of most disgraceful ingratitude." The King preferred to keep the shame, and his money for his pleasures and for La Tremoille. He had less than princely gratitude ; and she, in sight of the stake, and amidst a throng of angry English soldiers and hateful French priests, proclaimed him "the noblest Christian in the world." His apologist suggests that Charles really could not help it, not being his own master, and that he was very sorry.

After keeping Jeanne for three or four days at Clairoix, Jean de Luxembourg sent her to the castle of Beaulieu in the Vermandois, a place of which the Bastard of Wandonne was then, or later, captain. She was treated as a prisoner of war ; dAulon attended her, and the dAlencon chronicler probably received the following anecdote from d'Aulon himself. One day he said to her, " That poor town of Compiegne, which you have loved so dearly, will now be placed in the hands of the enemies of France."

"It shall not be," answered Jeanne, " for no places which the King of Heaven has put in the hands of the gentle King Charles by my aid, shall be retaken by his enemies while he does his best to keep them." The words are in the very style of the Maid. The King showed no diligence in succouring Compiegne ; but the skill and tenacity of de Flavy, and the courageous endurance of the townsfolk, enabled the city to hold out till, on October 25-26, they were rescued by a combined movement of Venddme and Saint- railles, and a sortie of the citizens en masse. The enemy was forced to make a sudden and shameful retreat, losing all the Burgundian artillery, guns of position, and field-pieces ; and many adjacent strong places and towns. The Anglo-Burgundian plan of campaign was shattered.

Meanwhile the condition of Compiegne for five weary months preyed on the mind of Jeanne, who cherished the hope of escaping, and living or dying with the townsfolk. Her idea was to escape intra duas pecias nemoris, which appears to mean " between two groves " ; the French has entre deux pieces de boys> usually rendered " between two planks." To her judges she said, " I never was prisoner in any place but I would gladly have escaped." She was not under parole ; she had given her faith to no man. " I would have locked up my guardian in a certain tower, but the porter saw me and stopped me. As it seems to me it was not God's will that I should then escape. My Voices told me that needs must I see the King of England," a boy whom, as she observed, she did not wish to see.

Meanwhile, soon after July 14, Pierre Cauchon, Bishop of Beauvais, expelled from his see by the arms of France, presented himself at the camp of Jean de Luxembourg before Compiegne. He was a violent enemy of France ; he had a personal hatred of the Maid, and he was commissioned by BedforcTto extracT^her from the hands of Jean de Luxembourg. The Maid had ^een taken within the limits of Cauchon's see ; so he said, but the Chanoine Dunand avers that Compiegne was not in the see of Beauvais but of Soissons. Cauchon claimed to be her judge, but that he could not be without authority delegated from the Bishop of Soissons or of Toul. He had no such authority.' He maintained that Henry VI, as King of France, had a right to the person of any captured king, prince, or person of high rank, at a price of 10,000 francs. Jeanne was no princess, she was a peasant girl, but she was worth a Royal ransom to the English. Their hearts were set on release from the terror with which the girl had paralysed their men ; they desired the most cruel of revenges ; they were anxious, as were the French priests and doctors, their subjects, to involve the King of France in their victim's guilt as a heretic and a sorceress. To these infamies had fallen chivalry and faith ; knights were eager to burn the bravest of their enemies, a woman ; priests were determined to destroy the sweetest Christian alive.

Cauchon represented the meanest of mercenary surrenders, the selling of the Maid to the English, as the first duty of chivalry. " The foremost oath of the Order of Chivalry is to guard and defend the honour of God." The honour of God ! He mentioned the report "on dzt" that the French were trying to release Jeanne by way of ransom. It is always " on dit!" There is no trace of any such attempt to outbid England. "The Church" demands the body of the Maid, and offers English gold. The impudence with which Cauchon covers the priests of his party under the name of the Church is not the least of his offences. The Church was assembling for the Council of Basel ; the Council, if any body of men, were the judges of the Maid. To the Council, finally, she appealed--but only the first words of her appeal are written in the French minute of her trial ; in the official Latin version they are suppressed. Such was the justice of Cauchon's " Church," Ecclesia Malignantium, the Assembly of the Malignants.

There is a story to the effect that the English nobles at Rouen desired to sew Jeanne up in a sack and drown her out of hand in the river. It had been a merciful death. But the Earl of Warwick pointed out to them the moral advantage of burning her as a heretic. The anecdote is of late origin ; it appears in a Latin epic on the Maid, printed in 1516.

It seems that the stay of Jeanne at Beaulieu was not for more than a fortnight. There was a report that she had escaped, founded, perhaps, on her attempt to escape. She was now removed to Beaurevoir Castle, forty miles north of Beaulieu, where she lay between the beginning of June and the end of September. Here she was in the friendly hands of ladies ; the aunt of Jean de Luxembourg, Jeanne, who was old and near her death ; Jeanne de Bethune, Vicomtesse de Meaux, his wife ; and her daughter by a former marriage, Jeanne de Bar.

The ladies were anxious that she should lay aside man's dress and provided her with stuff for gowns. She replied that she could not obey them without leave from God : "It was not yet time"; her dress was a symbol of her resolute adherence to her mission.

In a recapitulation of the evidence, not in the record itself, it is recorded that she said, " The Demoiselle de Luxembourg " (the oldest of the three ladies) " begged Jean de Luxembourg not to hand me over to the English." This is an example of the omissions in the reports of her answers ; the fact, so honourable to the Demoiselle and to womanhood, does not appear in the minute. " I would have changed my fashion of dress, if it had been within my duty, at the request of these two ladies, rather than for any soul in France, except my Queen."

One Haimond de Macy, a knight, saw the Maid at Beaurevoir, and attempted to take liberties with her, which she repulsed. Another captive, Mary Stuart, would probably have escaped by aid of Haimond de Macy. ' But Jeanne, says de Macy, " was of honest conversation in word and deed." She could not stoop to the use of feminine witcheries. De Macy's evidence closes thus : "I believe she is in Paradise."

Jeanne's mind was entirely engaged in pity for the folk of Compiegne, and anxiety about the siege, an operation as important as the siege of Orleans. She had heard that, if the town were stormed, all within it over seven years of age were to be massacred : her enemies had attributed similar designs to the French, if they captured Paris. After long argument with her Voices, which dissuaded her, she leaped from the tower, and by some miracle broke no bone of her body. She was found insensible.

"I would rather die than live after such a massacre of good people," she said to her judges, "And that was one of the reasons of my leap from the tower of Beanrevoir. The other reason was, that I was sold to the English; and I would rather die than be in the hands of my enemies of England." She had good reason for her choice.

"Did your Voices bid you leap?"

"Nay, St. Catherine almost daily forbade me, saying that God would help them of Compiegne. I answered that since God would aid them, I desired to be with them. St. Catherine answered : 'You must bear these things gladly, and delivered you will not be till you have seen the King of England.' ' Verily,' I answered, "I have no will to see him, and would rather die than be in English hands.'"

"Did you say to the Saints, ' Will God let these good folk of Compiegne perish in such evil fashion?'"

(Can any one have overheard her own voice parleying with her Saints?)

"No, I did not say 'in such evil fashion.' I said, 'What, will God leave these good people to die, who have been and who are so loyal to their Lord?' After I fell, I was two or three days without tasting food; and was so much injured that I could neither eat nor drink. Yet I was comforted by St. Catherine, who bade me confess, and pray God's pardon for having leaped. She told me, moreover, that they of Compiegne should have succour before Martinmas." (They had succour about a fortnight before Martinmas.) "Then I recovered, and began to eat, and soon was well."

"Did you expect to kill yourself when you leaped?" "No, I recommended myself to God, and hoped to escape and not to be given up to the English."

"When you recovered speech did you curse God and the Saints, as our evidence shows?"

"I cannot remember that I ever did such a thing, there or anywhere ; and I did not tell it in confession, for I have no memory of any such thing. I leave it to God and no other, and to faithful confession."

The height of the tower of Beaurevoir must have been about sixty feet. There is a version of this incident, according to which Jeanne attempted to let herself down from the tower by some method, but the attachment broke. It is only certain that she knew her enterprise to be almost desperate, and that she disobeyed her Voices, repented, confessed, and was forgiven.

About this time two women visionaries, who had been in the Maid's company in November or December 1430, fell into the hands of the English. One of them recanted, the other, La Pierronne, was resolute in retaining her faith in the Maid and in her own visions of the Deity in medieval costume, a long white robe and a scarlet hucque. She was burned alive on September 3. It was the policy of the Inquisitor to class together Jeanne, Catherine of La Rochelle, and the two others as "four poor women all alike governed by Brother Richard." The same policy was that of Beaumarchais, and is adopted by a recent historian : Jeanne and the rest are " the Saints of the Dauphin Charles," le biguinage royal. It is edifying to find a modern votary of historical science in full agreement with the Church-- as represented by the Grand Inquisitor, who was the foe of his country and the willing tool of his country's enemies and oppressors.

From Beaurevoir, Jeanne made her only known appeal to members of her party. Two citizens of the loyal town of Tournai, men who had been at her King's coronation, happened to visit the castle, and by them she sent a letter to their city, praying for the gift of twenty or thirty gold crowns for her needs. It appears that the townsfolk of Tournai supplied her with the pieces of gold.

We may be sure that the kind ladies of Luxembourg did not allow Jeanne to want for anything while she was under their roof. But she now knew that she was sold, that she must leave them. The Bishop of Beauvais, Cauchon, had travelled to Beaurevoir, to Compiegne, to Flanders, to the Duke of Burgundy, in full cry for her blood. He was paid 765 livres tournois for his exertions, which were continued to the last day of September 1430.

The result of his negotiations was the removal of the Maid to Arras, in Burgundian territory. Here Jean de Pressy and others tried to induce her to wear female attire ; and here, in the hands of a Scottish archer, she saw a picture of herself, in full armour, kneeling and handing a letter to her King. She never saw another picture of herself, never caused any to be made ; but there was abundance of popular imagery, designed from memory or from imagination. Her accuser says that people " deemed her the greatest of the Saints after Our Lady, and placed images and representations of her in the churches," for which she was not responsible. She was asked whether she had got possession of files at Beaurevoir and Arras. " If they were found on me I have no need to answer." Possibly the Scottish archer managed to smuggle a file into her hands ; one would gladly think so.

England now had only to raise the blood-money for Jean de Luxembourg ; and as the country was weary of war imposts, Bedford got 120,000 livres from the Estates of Normandy, of which 10,000 were to be devoted to the purchase ofjehanne la Pucelle, said to be a witch, and certainly a military personage, leader of the hosts of the Dauphin." The English, like the French, thought Jeanne a war leader ; it has been left to modern writers to contradict them.

The tax had to be collected, which caused delay, but in November, Jean de Luxembourg, resisting the prayers of the lady, his aunt, had sold the girl, recognised as " a prisoner of war," to those who, as he knew, meant to burn her alive. To do so was, according to Cauchon, the foremost duty of a chivalrous gentleman. She passed a night at the castle of Drugy, and thence was taken to Crotoy, a castle by the sea.

We have already heard of Haimond de Macy, who persecuted Jeanne with his attentions at Beaurevoir. He says that at Crotoy she was a constant hearer of the Masses said by Nicolas de Queuville, Chancellor of the Church of Amiens, a loyal Frenchman and a prisoner, who heard Jeanne in confession, and said that she was a most devout and excellent Christian ; so much may the opinions of Churchmen differ! Cauchon would let her hear no Mass ; and it may be doubted if he allowed her confession, except on the last day of her earthly life.

The French Doctors of the English party were exasperated by the delays. The University of Paris, on November 21, accused Cauchon of want of zeal in the good cause ! Jeanne ought to be tried, they said, at Paris, " for the glory of God." Little Henry VI, a somewhat feeble-minded boy, was also appealed to by the Doctors of Paris. We see how eager and determined these Frenchmen were to destroy the Maid ; they spurred on the English.

The English, of course, were glad enough to serve the turn of these false Frenchmen. They brought her to Rouen in November, and incarcerated her in a tower of the ancient castle of Philip Augustus. She ought, if a prisoner of the Church, to have been in courteous prison, with women about her. She was placed "in a dark cell, fettered and in irons," say eye-witnesses. In her cell was a heavy iron cage ; one witness saw her in the den, ironed, but not in the cage or huche. Such was the courtesy of England that Edward I kept the Countess of Buchan in a similar cage, though not exposed, as legend has it, on the castle wall. In The Miracles of Madame Saint Catherine of Fiei'bois we often hear of these huches for the accommodation of prisoners. She was guarded by John Gray and William Talbot, with their merry men ; and this daily and nightly companionship with English archers was the most hellish part of the infamous cruelty of the English. Had she been in the hands not of the English, but of the Duke of Burgundy, the French priests of his party would certainly have burned her ; but we do not know that Philip of Burgundy would have sunk to the depths of shame that were reached by the Duke of Bedford and the Earl of Warwick.

The Maid often complained that her English companions used to bully and ill-treat her, says Colles, a notary employed at her trial. Haimond de Macy says that, in the company of Jean de Luxembourg, he visited her ; that Jean said he would ransom her if she would swear not to take arms again. " In God's name, you mock me ; I know that you have neither the will nor the power." Jean persisted ; she replied, " I know these English will do me to death, thinking, when I am dead, to win the kingdom of France. But if they were a hundred thousand Godons more than they are, they shall not have the kingdom."

Stafford drew his dagger to despatch her : she desired nothing more ; but the astute Warwick stayed his hand. When an earl thus forgot himself, we may imagine the ribaldry of her daily and nightly companions, " five English houcepailliers of the basest degree." People used to go to stare at her and banter her.

Perhaps the less we think of all this the better. But on one point we may well reflect. Jeanne endured the irons, the chains, the hideous company of the merry men, because she refused to be on parole not to attempt an escape. This is one more example of her matchless courage and resolution. For five months she bore things intolerable rather than give her faith to any man, rather than abandon the chance of resuming her task. Great in everything as she was, we here see her at her greatest.

Jeanne was consigned to Cauchon, as judge in her case, on January 3, 1431. " It is our intention to repossess ourselves of her, if she be not convicted of her many crimes of High Treason to God," Henry VI is made to say. If not convicted, she could still be drowned by the English, and on this understanding the Bishop of Beauvais conducted her trial ! She was now in the hands of the Church, but was still kept in the harshest military prison. As Richard Beauchamp, Earl of Warwick, was the chief gaoler of the Maid, it may be as well to remember who he was. Born in January 1 381- 1382, he had Richard II and Archbishop Scrope for his godfathers. He fought at Shrewsbury against Douglas and the Percys, and received the Order of the Garter. He made a pilgrimage to Jerusalem, and performed in Russian, Lithuanian, and Polish tournaments. He was a negotiator in the Treaty of Troyes ; later, " he aided much in subduing the Lollards," and assisted at the Council of Constance. By the Emperor Sigismund he was named " The Father of Courtesy." He fought at the siege of Rouen when it was taken by the English ; and on the death of Henry v, by advice of an English visionary, Dame Eleanor Raughton, of All Hallows, North Street, York, he was made Governor to Henry VI. His career is commemorated in fifty- three pencil drawings of a later generation, published by the Earl of Carysfort as "The Pageants of Richard Beauchamp, Earl of Warwick." The artist has not chosen to represent the glorious doings of his hero in the case of Jeanne d'Arc. The " King-maker," Earl of Warwick, was a son-in-law of this great Englishman.


Joan of Arc MaidOfHeaven
Sitemap for
Contact By Email
Maid of Heaven Foundation

Please Consider Shopping With One of Our Supporters!

Copyright ©2007- Maid of Heaven Foundation All rights reserved. Disclaimer

Fundamental Christian Topsites Top Sites In Education JCSM's Top 1000 Christian Sites - Free Traffic Sharing Service!

CLICK HERE to GO TO the Maid of Heaven Foundation