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)
CHAPTER 15

Cover for Andrew Lang's The Maid of France Cover Page for Andrew Lang's The Maid of France
THE RIDE TO REIMS

AFTER Patay, the Maid rode to Orleans in triumph. The people expected the Dauphin to make their town the base of the expedition to Reims; they decorated the streets, but he, always skulking, remained the guest of La Tremoi'lle at his house of Sully. On June 22 the Maid met her prince at Saint-Benoit-sur-Loire. There, says an eye-witness, the Dauphin abounded in her praises, deigned to express his regret for all her labours,--and actually asked her to take a holiday.

She, that had now not a year of freedom before her, as she knew, wept,--it is not strange,--and implored him to cease to doubt, he would gain his kingdom, and would soon be crowned. She had a boon to crave. For the sake of France, she begged her prince to forgive the Constable and accept the aid of himself and his men. The Constable now sent gentlemen to approach La Tremoi'lle, and even besought the favourite to let him serve the King: he would kiss the knees of La Tremoille for this grace : he sought it at a graceless face. The Dauphin bade the Constable begone; to the grief of the Maid and the captains. In the following winter La Trdmoille sent a man to assassinate the Constable, who detected and pardoned the sinner.

The official chronicler of the King says that La Tremoille caused other nobles of good will to be discarded; they had come from all quarters for the sake of the Maid, and the favourite went in personal fear. "But none at that hour dared to speak against La Tremoille, though all men saw clearly that the fault lay in him."

The Due de Bretagne now sent a herald and his confessor on a mission to Jeanne. She told the confessor that the Due should not make such long delays to help his feudal superior.

The Dauphin next rode to Gien on Loire, and held" long and weary councils." It is said that some leaders were for attacking Cosne and La Charite, thirty leagues from Orleans, on upper Loire, while the Maid was all for Reims.

It may have been at this time that a campaign in Normandy was proposed, as Dunois reports. It is difficult to see how success could have attended such an enterprise in a devastated and all but depopulated region, studded with strong places of strength, and Rouen could not be hopefully assailed while England held the seas. The march to Reims, on the other hand, was through a rich and peaceful country, and there were good Anglo-Burgundian towns to be reclaimed for the Dauphin.

One historian is intelligent enough to accuse Jeanne of "retarding the deliverance of her country, by causing the Norman campaign to be abandoned;" while he also assures us that "the apocalypses of Jeanne had nothing to do with influencing the determination of the nobles to ride to Reims!" The Archbishop of Reims, the same critic says, really caused by his advice the march to Reims, though we shall find him anxious to abandon the effort at the second check.

To these consistent and logical opinions we prefer the statement of Dunois, that the Maid won all to her determined course. The ideas of the Maid may be open to military objections, but she cannot, at one and the same time, have been greatly guilty of preventing the enterprise in Normandy, and also purely without influence in the affair.

To us it may well seem that the true policy was to attack Paris on the morrow of Pathay ; but we do not learn that this was ever proposed by any one. In Normandy, at this time, Richemont is said by his modern biographer to have been active and successful; and certainly, in mid-August, Bedford left Paris for Normandy, as if that province were being threatened.

The d'Alengon chronicler avers that Jeanne was deeply grieved by the delays at Gien (not more than ten days), and vexed by advisers who opposed the ride to Reims, insisting that there were many cities and places of strength on the way, English and Burgundian fortresses strong in walls and in supplies, between Gien and the city of St. Remy.

"I know all that, and make no account of it,"she said; and "in sheer vexation she left the town, and bivouacked in the fields two days before the departure of the King."

The Maid knew as well as any man the strength of the hostile cities on the road. She had passed through Auxerre on her way from Domremy, and the reputation of Troyes and of Reims was familiar to her. Her fame attracted hosts "who would not budge except for her." To say, as one of her critics does, that she did not know the way to Champagne from the way to Normandy is childish; she had ridden through Champagne, and knew her right hand from her left. The army of the Dauphin, collected near Gien, contained poor gentlemen, riding as archers, on ponies like the yellow steed of dArtagnan, and poorly paid at two or three francs. With these were Dunois, Guy de Laval, La Tremoille, de Rais, d'Albret, and dAlencon. Jeanne appears to have gone in advance from Gien on June 27, the Dauphin following on June 29.

The mind of Jeanne, at the moment of starting for Reims to fulfil her mission, was certainly filled with even more than her usual certainty of divinely given success. "The Maid," she wrote to the people of Tournai, "lets you know that in eight days she has chased the English out of all their strong places on the Loire." She takes the credit to herself as the angel of the Archbishop of Embrun's treatise, the warrior angel of the Lord ; unless we sup- pose, with M. Salomon Reinach, that a clerk altered her words for the purpose of exalting her mission. Like the rest of the party, she believed that Fastolf had been captured at Pathay: probably a case of mistaken identity.

The town of Tournai adhered to the Dauphin in the midst of a country of Burgundian allegiance; and, accepting the invitation of the Maid, the people sent representatives to the Coronation. The Dauphin himself left Gien on June 29; by July 4 the army had passed the Burgundian city of Auxerre. In this town, on her way from Domremy, the Maid, in her black and grey page's suit, had heard Mass with Jean de Novelonpont and Bertrand de Poulengy. Now, within four months, she returned, the companion and counsellor of princes, at the head of an army which, in her presence, had never met with a single check. There is nothing more wonderful in the turnings of the flying wheel of fortune.

But at Auxerre there was a pause. The town was under Burgundian allegiance, and, if it admitted the Dauphin, had too good reason to fear the revenge of Burgundy. It was one thing for the Dauphin to win towns, another thing to keep and defend them when the tide of victory turned. His official historian writes, and the other chroniclers follow him, that Auxerre "yielded no full obedience. Some of the townsfolk came out, and it was said that they bribed La Tre^moi'lle to let them remain in a state of truce," of neutrality. The captains murmured against La Tremoille: Jeanne was eager to threaten the city with assault; but by a convention, the town sold food to the army, which was in great necessity. After three days the army moved on. La Tremoille was said to have secretly received a bribe of two thousand crowns to make this arrangement. From the Burgundian chronicler, Monstrelet, we learn that Auxerre promised to yield fully if Troyes, Chalons, and Reims did the same ; but this vow was not kept. The captains and the Maid must have seen the folly of accepting the Auxerre terms from the other cities, Troyes, Chalons, and Reims. To do so would have been to leave hostile fortresses in their rear. A mere military demonstration would have opened the gates of Auxerre, as it opened the gates of Troyes, but La Tr^moi'lle got his two thousand crowns.

On July 4 the army (absurdly estimated at 50,000 men by a news-writer) reached Saint-Phal, whence they negotiated with the town of Troyes, which was strong, well provisioned, populous, and occupied by a Burgundian garrison.

(Here we have the evidence of a pro-Burgundian writer of about 1620, Jean Rogier, who used, and copied, documents no longer extant in the originals. He deftly and patriotically sup- pressed the crucial facts.)

The Dauphin had already received citizens from Reims, who assured him that the city would open her gates; and the Duke of Burgundy informed the people of Reims that he knew the fact. The people of Troyes also knew, for they had taken a Cordelier, a De ggmg friar, who gave them the information. This man, Brother Richard, was a popular preacher, a meddlesome enthusiast de la pire espece. He had been, or pretended that he had been, in the Holy Land, where he found the Jews expecting the Advent of Antichrist, though how they came to believe in Antichrist is a difficult question. Him whom they called the Messiah, Brother Richard called Antichrist, that is the explanation. In Paris the man had preached " sensational " sermons in spring ; like Savonarola he induced the people to burn their "vanities "--cards, dice, lawn billiards, women's horned caps, and so forth. In May he was expelled from Paris, where he had collected enthusiastic mobs. That he perhaps preached patriotism has been asserted, but the people of Troyes took him for a sound Anglo-Burgundian. He proclaimed the dawn of the day of Judgment, and distributed leaden medals marked with the name of Jesus. Early in December 1428 he had recommended the people of Troyes and the neighbourhood to sow beans, "Sow beans, good people, sow plenty of beans ; for he who should come is coming, and the hour is short." Who was coming? Antichrist or the Dauphin? Beans from the time of Pythagoras have been mystical vegetables ; but the literal people, determined to "give him beans," whoever he might be, took Brother Richard at his word, and the country round Troyes had been fragrant with bean flowers. The Brother, like Bedford, at this time regarded Jeanne as "a limb of the Devil," perhaps a female Antichrist.

Meanwhile the people of Reims and the people of Troyes, as bold as lions, assured each other that they would never admit the Dauphin, but 'cleave to the King" (Henry VI) and the Duke of Burgundy till their dying day, "inclusively."

These gallant resolutions boded ill for the Dauphin; he could not be provisioned at Troyes, he could not turn it; and he could not, being a hundred miles from his base, leave Troyes in his rear. He summoned the town on July 5. Jeanne dictated a letter to the people ; they must recognise their rightful Lord, who was moving on Paris by way ot Reims, with the aid of King Jesus. If they do not yield, the Dauphin will none the less enter their city. The Maid, poliporthos as Odysseus, had a way of fulfilling her prophecies.

On the same day the people of Troyes forwarded these letters to them of Reims. For their part they "have sworn on the precious Body of Jesus Christ to resist to the death." Bold burgesses! In the afternoon they wrote again. The Dauphin's army now lay round their walls : heralds had brought his letters, but all in Troyes--the Lords, the men-at-arms, the burgesses--had sworn not to admit the enemy, except by express command of the Duke of Burgundy, to whom their letters are to be forwarded. They then armed " and went to man the walls," resolute to keep their oath in defiance of death. Of the Maid they spoke with the utmost contempt, calling her a coquarde, which is certainly not intended as a compliment; and a mad woman, possessed of the Devil, whose letter, which they had burned, "is neither rhyme nor reason " [navoit ni ryme ny raison). They have caught a Cordelier (Brother Richard), who says that he has seen burgesses of Reims intriguing with the Dauphin.

Meanwhile the people of Chalons wrote to them of Reims, saying that they hear Brother Richard, previously reckoned un tres bon prudhomme, has turned his coat, and carried letters from Jeanne, but the brave people of Troyes are fighting furiously against the Dauphin! The Dauphin, in a letter of July 4, had promised the people of Troyes to be good Lord to them if they submitted, and he would send a herald, and receive the townsfolk, should they wish to send a deputation. (Dated from Brinon l'Archevesque.) On July 8 the burgesses of Reims sent a letter to the captain of their town, then at Chateau-Thierry. They mean to fight, unless he or his lieutenant recommends submission. The captain said he would return and lead them, if he had assurance of a sufficient force. He rode to Reims ; but, as he could only promise a Burgundian army of relief within six weeks, he and his men-at-arms were not admitted within the town. News of an army of 8000 English landed, and of the cutting of the Dauphin's lines of communication, was received at Reims with incredulity.

It was clear enough that, if Troyes held out, the Dauphin could not advance ; and if Troyes did not hold out, the Dauphin would meet no opposition at Reims. All hung on the conduct of the lion-hearted men of Troyes. But, to follow our pro-Burgundian author, the Dauphin had meanwhile (June 8) received the Bishop of Troyes, and promised an amnesty, and good government " like that of King Louis," if Troyes would submit. Hereon, moved by the mention of St. Louis, of the amnesty, relief from a garrison, and from all aids except the gabelle, the bold burgesses took the liberty of breaking their oaths sworn on the sacred body of the Lord, they submitted, and advised the people of Reims to submit.

But the brother of the captain of Reims wrote that the nobles and the garrison of Troyes remained resolute till Brother Richard, after meeting Jeanne, debauched the townsfolk. They would no longer hear of resistance; but the garrison, as at the capitulation of Beaugency, retired with horses, arms, and a silver mark by way of ransom for each of their prisoners. The squire who brought this letter from Troyes to Chatillon said that he had seen the Maid, " a stupider he never saw, she was nothing to Madame d'Or,"--an athletic lady of pleasure at the Burgundian Court. Opinions differ about Madame d'Or ! One historian says that she " was a female fool or jester, a dwarf no higher than a boot." For this he cites Simeon Luce, who, on the other hand, describes Madame d'Or as a gymnast of incomparable beauty, nimbleness, and athletic vigour, and he suspects that the golden abundance of her hair was the cause of the foundation of the Burgundian Order of the Golden Fleece. Une moult gracieuse folle is a contemporary description. M. Vallet de Viriville, however, represents her as one of the visionaries with whom he groups Jeanne d'Arc!

As late as 1620, or about that date, local patriotism inspired Rogier, the custodian of the town's manuscripts of Reims, to give this account of the surrender of Troyes. The Maid, we have seen, according to Rogier, played no part in the affair. The resolute townsfolk simply

"Vowing they would never consent, consented."

But why did they consent? We can trace, from other evidence, the real course of events, which was as follows: To La Tremoille and the distrustful and craven favourites of the King, the army seemed destined to make a speedy and ludicrous retreat ; it could never reach Reims, nor even venture beyond Troyes. The celebrity of its fortifications and the absolute lack of siege material in the Royal army protected Troyes from serious menace; while to capture Auxerre was merely to irritate the Duke of Burgundy, with whom the advisers of Charles persisted in trying to negotiate. Jeanne, on the contrary, with the certainty of instinct, insisted on an assault, while La Tremoi'lle, as we saw, is averred to have been bought over to prevent it.

Auxerre was left in the rear, and as for Troyes, on July 5 Jeanne, with the advanced guard, had appeared before that city. A few useless shots were fired from the walls, a few hundreds of the garrison sallied forth, and the usual escarmouche resulted. Then the army encamped about the town, living mainly on the beans sown to please Brother Richard, and almost without bread. The delay was likely to end in a retreat : it is not certain that the Dauphin arrived at the front before July 8. The army was without money and supplies, and was nearly a hundred miles from its base, at Gien. In Troyes, men were swearing awful oaths to die rather than surrender.

Probably on July 8 the Archbishop of Reims, in Council, advanced all these and other reasons for retiring : they seem good strategic reasons enough. The Dauphin bade the Archbishop take the opinions of the Council. Almost all decided that, as the King had failed to enter Auxerre, a place not nearly so strong as Troyes, retreat was the only policy. The Archbishop, when collecting the votes of the Council, arrived at de Treves, that is, Robert Macon, a veteran in politics who had once been Chancellor. He advised that the Maid should be consulted, especially as the Dauphin, without money, had undertaken by her advice an adven- ture that did not seem possible. Le Macon may have wished to see how the Maid would extricate herself from the quandary, probably he expected to have the laugh on his side. Jeanne was called in and made her usual salutation to her prince. The Archbishop addressed her, pointing out the many difficulties, and the necessity of retreat.

"Do you believe all this, gentle Dauphin?" she said, turning to Charles.

"If you have anything profitable and reasonable to say, you will be trusted."

"Gentle King of France, if you are ready to wait beside your town of Troyes, in two days it will be brought to your allegiance."

"Jeanne," said the Archbishop, "we could wait for six days, if we were certain to have the town; but is it certain?"

"Doubt it not!"said the Maid.

She mounted, she rode through the host, she organised supplies of faggots, doors, tables, and so forth, as the English had done at Meun, to serve as shelters in the attack, and to screen such guns as they had : heavy guns of position they must have lacked.

Dunois, who was present, says : "She showed wonderful energy, doing more than two or three of the most practised and famous captains could have done ; and she so worked all night that next day the Bishop and townsfolk, in fear and trembling, made their submission." The citizens " had lost hope, they sought refuge, and fled into the churches." What could the burgesses do? In the early morning they saw the preparations for storming ; they saw a slim figure in white armour with a patch upon the shoulder plate, where the arrow had found its way at Orleans. " Assault!" cried the girl's voice, and she made the sign of throwing faggots into the fosse. It was enough. The citizens sent the Bishop to profess their obedience, and make the best terms possible. The Bishop was on the side of the loyalists, and had a good deal of influence.

These incidents in which Jeanne took part are those which the patriotic archivist of Reims omitted from his account of the surrender of men sworn on the sacrament to die rather than yield. What Jeanne did at Troyes she would have done at Auxerre. It was not difficult to terrify the bold burgesses, but the surprising fact is that a girl was left to suggest the enterprise. According to Dunois, the Council hesitated between attempting a siege and merely passing by towards Reims, a military blunder of the first rank. The girl knew more of human nature and of the elementary rules of war than all the famous captains. She had confidence, and she won the day. But for her, the Dauphin would have sneaked back to Gien, and would not have won scores of cities and castles, much lamented by Bedford. The Maid had saved the situation.

Jeanne had an ally in the popular preacher, Brother Richard. She herself says that the people of Troyes (who thought her an idiot, as they wrote to the people of Reims) really deemed her a fiend. They sent Brother Richard, whom she had never seen before, with holy water to exorcise her. When he came within the range of his clerical artillery, he threw the water at her and made the sign of the cross. She answered, laughing, "Take heart and come on! I will not fly away." She had faced holy water before, at Vaucouleurs. According to a report which reached La Rochelle, Brother Richard knelt before the Maid as if she were some holy thing. She herself then knelt, meaning that she claimed no more sanctity than his own. The Brother then went into the town and preached some enthusiastic nonsense. The Maid, he said, could lift all the army over the walls, apparently as the father of Alexandre Dumas threw an assaulting force, man by man, over a palisade. If all this is true, and if the people of Troyes were foolish enough to believe Brother Richard, he was a useful man in his station. Later he became troublesome, attempting to direct Jeanne, who never in her life allowed herself to be directed by any of his shaven sort, and who had directed him.

The King entered the town (July 9) in splendour. He forbade pillaging. The Maid held a child at the font in baptism, as she was frequently asked to do. The boys she named Charles, to the girls she gave her own name. If the march to Reims was a military error, she saved it from being a ludicrous fiasco. No historical verdict is so false as that which pronounces her to have been a dreamy visionary, "perpetually hallucinated," and seldom fully conscious of her surroundings. She displayed triumphant sense and resolution. Her feat of marching to Reims and taking the towns on the road was one which, in the following years, Burgundy advised the Duke of Bedford not to attempt to imitate, it was too difficult and perilous.

From Troyes the Archbishop of Reims wrote to the people of his town, bidding them to submit. The next important stage was Chalons. The Bishop submissively met the Dauphin, who entered the town on July 14. Here the Maid met a Domremy man, Jean Morel, to whom she gave a red robe which she herself was wearing. She also met Gerardin d'Epinal, whom, at Domremy, she had disliked for his Burgundian politics. "I would tell you something, compere, if you were not Burgundian," she had once said to him at home. She meant the fact of her mission, but he thought she alluded to her approaching marriage, perhaps with the ambitious young man who haled her before the official at Toul. At Chalons she said to d'Epinal that she " feared nothing but betrayal." We do not know whether she meant treachery in the field, or, as she had too good reason to fear, in diplomacy. She may already have known that the Dauphin's Council were about to entangle her in fraudulent negotiations for peace. The people of Chalons now wrote to their friends of Reims, saying that they had given up the keys of their town, and that the King was gentle, compassionate, and handsome, belle personne.

On July 16 the Dauphin halted at Sept-Saulx and received a deputation from Reims. They were full of loyalty, and he marched into their town. Throughout the night the priests and people were busily preparing for the coronation. The sainte ampoule with the holy oil of St. Remigius was polished and, we may presume, replenished. The cathedral treasury was ransacked for a crown : Charles was apt to pawn the fleurons of his crown, and for that or some other reason did not bring it with him to Reims.

A curious point arises here in connection with the crown. On the fifth of her examinations by her judges (March 1, 1431), a great effort was made to extract from her " the King's secret," the "sign given to the King," at Chinon, in March 1429. She refused to answer, saying, " Go and ask him." She was then asked, "Had her King a crown when he was at Reims?" The judges had heard some story about a crown, and they seem to have thought that it was connected with the King's secret.

The Maid answered, "As I believe, the King gladly received that crown which he found at Reims, but later a very rich crown was brought to him. And he did this" (he put up with the crown in the cathedral treasury of Reims) "so as to hasten his business, and at the request of the people of the town, who wished to avoid Ithe burden of providing for the army." Charles, in fact, was crowned on July 17, on the day after his arrival, and had to use the crown in the treasury. "And, if he had waited," said Jeanne, "he would have had a crown of a thousand-fold richer." This richer crown was brought to him too late for the ceremony (fuit ei apportata post ipsuni). The King, in fact, remained for several days at Reims, and the rich crown may have been brought to him there, or later. There is nothing symbolical or mystic in the Maid's replies as regards this piece of jewelry. Father Ayroles, however, supposed that she spoke allegorically about the increase of power which the King would have received after his consecration, if, in place of returning to the Loire, he had listened to the Maid,--and marched on Paris.

This is an impossible theory ; for, not to mention other objections, the King did get the rich crown, though not in time for the ceremony; while, of all things, the Maid wished him not to wait at Reims, but to march on the capital. M. Anatole France gives a different explanation." In one of her dreams Jeanne had seen herself giving a splendid crown to her King ; she expected to see this crown brought into the church by heavenly messengers."

For this M. France cites a passage which contains not a word about the matter. He later returns to the subject, and insists that Jeanne went about telling cock-and-bull stories of how she gave a crown to the King.

Still, the judges had heard something about a crown and a secret, whence came their interrogation. Now, in an Italian newsletter of mid-July 1429, a letter full of fabulous horrors and a massacre at Auxerre, there is a curious tale. The Maid demanded from the Bishop of Clermont, Chancellor in 1428, a crown, that of St. Louis, which, she declared, was in his possession. The Bishop said (like M. France) that "she had dreamed a false dream" (s'aveva mal insoniadd). Again the Maid asked for the crown,-- and a heavy shower of hail fell at Clermont A third time she wrote to the people of Clermont. A worse thing would befall them if the crown were not restored. She described the precise fashion and form of the crown ; and the Bishop, seeing that all was known, " ordered the crown to be sent to the King and the Maid." M. Lefevre-Pontalis, editor of these Italian news-letters, remarks that by "the Bishop of Clermont," ex-Chancellor, the actual Chancellor, the Archbishop of Reims, is meant. "Is the story," he asks, " the deformation of some unknown fact, neglected by contemporary witnesses, which instantly won its way into legend ? "

This appears, from the evidence of Jeanne just cited, to be the true explanation. There was a rich crown which was not present at the coronation, but was later brought to the King. She added that, without committing perjury, she could not say whether she had seen that crown or not.

It is a pleasing and romantic hypothesis that Jeanne, thanks to her Voices, detected the Archbishop of Reims in keeping back, to serve his private ends, a crown of which he had possession, and made him restore the jewel, though not in time for the coronation. He was thought avaricious, and is said to have shown that "good old gentlemanly vice" on this occasion.

Among the gifts bestowed by the King on the Chapter of Reims after his sacring, were a vase of silver and a purse containing thirteen newly struck golden medals. In 1664, La Colombiere writes that he has seen a golden medal struck after the coronation, in honour of Jeanne, with the device of the Maid, a hand holding a sword, and the inscription Consilio firmata Dei (strong in the counsel of God). The medal was possibly struck for the coronation, and examples may have been given to the Chapter of Reims. These gifts to the Chapter the Archbishop seized as his own perquisites, but restored them on September 5, when it was demonstrated by precedents that they were the property of the Chapter.

It does not follow that the Archbishop was also keeping back a rich Royal jewel, a crown, and was obliged to restore it after the ceremony. But there was a secret in the affair, though the secret seems to peep out in the Italian news-letter with mythical embroidery. If Jeanne knew, and revealed to the King, the secret of this Jackdaw of Reims, it is no marvel that the Archbishop later attacked her character.

The important fact, however, hitherto unnoticed, is, that Jeanne, seeing the minds of her judges running on a crown and a secret, at her trial {after the examination of March 1), veiled the actual King's secret in an allegory about a crown brought by an angel. We here find the origin of the allegory, it was suggested by the interrogatories ; and she succeeded in concealing the King's secret.

The ceremony of the coronation began at nine o'clock of the morning of July 17. It is described in a letter of that day, sent by Pierre de Beauvais and two other gentlemen to the Queen and the Queen of Sicily. " A right fair thing it was to see that fair mystery, for it was as solemn and as well adorned with all things thereto pertaining, as if it had been ordered a year before," First, all in armour, and with banners displayed, the Marechal de Boussac, with de Rais, Gravile, and the Admiral, and a great company, rode to meet the Abbot, who brought the sainte ampoule. They rode into the minster, and alighted at the entrance to the choir. The Archbishop of Reims administered the Coronation oath, he crowned and anointed the King; while all the people cried Noel I "and the trumpets sounded so that you might think the roofs would be rent. And always during that mystery the Maid stood next the King, her standard in her hand. A right fair thing it was to see the goodly manners of the King and the Maid." D'Albret held the Sword of State; d'Alencon dubbed the King a Knight: Guy de Laval was created a Count. When the Dauphin had been crowned and consecrated, the Maid kneeling, embraced his knees, weeping for joy, and saying these words, "Gentle King, now is accomplished the Will of God, who decreed that I should raise the siege of Orleans and bring you to this city of Reims to receive your solemn sacring, thereby showing that you are the true King, and that France should be yours."

"And right great pity came upon all those who saw her, and many wept."

Nunc dimittis! Great pity came upon all who saw her, and heard her simple words. She had, in less than three months, fulfilled the dream of her sacred childhood ; she had accomplished the tasks which, Dunois says, were all that she seriously professed to be in her mission. Nunc dimittis!

The shadow had already begun to go back on the dial. She was no more to be accepted and trusted: the politicians took the game in hand, and slow was the deliverance of France that the deliverer foretold and foresaw, but never saw.

Thwarted as she was by the King and Council, she could not take Paris. But how can we sufficiently admire the acuteness of historical critics who maintain that Jeanne was a mere visionary, one of a feeble folk ; that she accomplished nothing which was and of Orleans had seemed, to disinterested observers, desperate. Could they have read Bedford's despatches to his Government they would have known that it was not so. But, in the eyes of Dunois himself, England must win by mere prestige. The line of the Loire must be broken, Orleans must fall, the Dauphin must be driven from town to town. The Maid came, and in less than three months it was Bedford who thought the cause of England all but desperate. The Maid came and won the race to Reims, where the English desired to crown their child King. The prestige of Charles was so enhanced that, despite his delays, the faineant recovered towns around Paris, and so nearly choked the life-breath of the capital. These towns were not lost again ; the blows dealt by the impulse of the Maid, according to Bedford's own evidence, given four years later, were paralysing, and were practically fatal. Jeanne dealt these blows by dint of that unparalleled force of will, that tenacity of purpose, which could not exist in the puzzled "ductible" girl, ondoyante et dive? se, easily led, easily "directed," easily distracted, who does duty for Jeanne d'Arc in the fancy of some modern historians.

A curious little domestic incident occurred at Reims. The father of the Maid, Jacques d'Arc, came hither to see his daughter in her glory, and received a considerable present in money from the King. Jacques appears to have thought that he could get more enjoyment for his money in Reims, a town famous for its wines, than at home in Domremy. So he stayed on till September 18, taking his ease at his inn, Vane Ray. The good town then paid his bill to Alice Moreau, a widow who kept the hostelry in front of the Cathedral, and a horse was provided for his journey back to Domremy.

One cannot but suspect that there were convivial elements in the character of this austere sire.

Note
The Italian news-writer represents the Bishop of Clermont (meaning the Archbishop of Reims) as keeping back the crown of St. Louis. The only crown of St. Louis known to me is now in the possession of the Royal family of Saxony: it was given by the Saint to the Dominicans of Liege. There are eight heavy fleurons of gold, with an angel in silver between each of them. It contained a piece of the true Cross, and is richly studded with rubies, sapphires, emeralds, and Graeco-Roman gems. Is it conceivable that the Dominicans of Liege sent this crown to be used at the coronation, but that it came too late? There is a copy of it in the Victoria and Albert Museum.

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