Joan of Arc - Maid of Heaven

Joan of Arc Part 24


Sir William Gladsdale, still undaunted, resolved to withdraw from the outer bulwarks, and concentrate his force Against both attacks within the "Toumellcs," or towers themselves. He was then full in sight of Joan. "Surrender ! " she cried out to him ; "surrender to the King of Heaven ! Ah, Glacidas, your words have foully wronged me; but I have great pity on your soul, and on the souls of your men ! " Heedless of this summons, the English chief was pursuing his way along the drawbridge ; just then a cannon-ball from the French batteries alighting upon it broke it asunder, and Gladsdale with his best knights perished in the stream. The assailants now pressed into the bastille without further resistance of the garrison, three hundred were already slain, and nearly two hundred remained to be prisoners of war.

At the close of this well-fought day, the Maid, According to her prediction in the morning, came back to Orleans by the bridge. It need scarcely be told how triumphantly she was received : all night irejoicing peals rung from the church-bells ; the service of "Te Deum " was chanted in the cathedral; and the soldiers returning from the fight were detained at every step by the eager curiosity or the exulting acclamations of their brother-townsmen. Far different was the feeling in the English lines. That night the Earl of Suffolk summoned Fastolf, Talbot, and the other principal officers to council. By the reinforcements of the French, and by their own recent losses, they had now become inferior in numbers ; they could read dejection impressed on each pale countenance around them; they knew that no hope was left them of taking the city, and that by remaining before it they should only have to imdergo repeated, and probably, as late experience showed, disastrous attacks in their own bastilles. With heavy hearts they resolved to raise the siege. Thus, the next morning--Sunday the 8th of May--their great forts of London and Lawrence, and all their other lodgments and redoubts --the fruit of so many toilsome months--were beheld in flames ; while the English troops, drawn up in battle array, advanced towards the city walfes and braved the enemy to combat on an open field. Finding their challenge declined, they began their retreat towards Mehun-sur-Loire in good order, but, for want of transport, leaving behind their sick their wounded, and their baggage. The garrison and townspeople were eager to light or to follow them ; but Joan would not allow the day of rest to be thus profaned. " In the name of God," she cried, " let them depart ! and let us go and give thanks to God." So saying she led the way to High Mass.


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