Joan of Arc - Maid of Heaven

Joan of Arc Part 27

BATTLE OF PATAY

The fate of Jargeau deterred the garrisons of Beaugency and Mehun firom resistance ; and Talbot, who had now succeeded to the chief command, gathering into one body the remaining English troops, began in all haste his retreat towards the Seine. In his way he was met by Fastolf with a reinforcement of four thousand men. The French chiefs at the same time received a like accession of force under the Lord Constable of France, Arthur de Richemont. He had become estranged from the King by the cabals of La Trimouille, the reigning minion at Court, and Charles had written to forbid his coming; nevertheless he still drew near; and Joan, in a spirit of headlong loyalty, proposed to go forth and give him battle. No one seemed to relish this proposal; on the contrary, it excited general complaints. Several others muttered that they were friends of the Constable and in case of need should prefer him to all the maids in the kingdom. At length Joan herself was made to compre- liend the importance of shunning civil discord, and combining against the common enemy ; she agreed to welcome the Constable on his taking an oath of loyalty, and to use her intercession with the King on his behalf. The combined forces then pushed forward, eager to overtake the English army in its retreat. On the 18th of June they came up with it near the village of Patay. So altered were the English within the last few weeks--so awestruck at the idea of supernatural power being wielded against them--that they scarcely stood firm a moment. The battle was decided almost as soon as begim. Even the brave Fastolf betook himself to flight at the first fire, in punishment for which the Order of the Grarter was afterwards taken from him. Talbot dis- dained to show his back to an enemy; he dismounted to fight on foot amongst the foremost, but, being left almost alone, he was speedily made prisoner, together with Lord Scales ; while upwards of two thousand men were killed in the pursuit.

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