Joan of Arc - Maid of Heaven

Joan of Arc Part 9

DE METZ AND POULENGY

Upon his own mind she had made little or no im- pression, but several other persons in the town, struck with her piety and perseverance, became converts to her words. One of these was a gentle- man named Jean de Novelompont, and sumamed De Metz, who afterwards deposed on oath to these transactions--"'Child,' said he, as he met her in the street, 'What are you doing here? Must we not submit to seeing the King expelled his kingdom, and to ourselves becoming English?' 'I am come here,' said the Maid, 'to ask of the Sire de Baudricourt to send me before the Dauphin: he has no care for me, or for words of mine ; and yet it is needful tat before Mid-Lent I should stand in the Dauphin's presence, should I even in reaching him wear through my feet, and have to crawl upon my knees. For no one upon this earth, neither King, nor Duke, nor daughter of King of Scots,* no one but myself is appointed to recover this realm of France. Yet I would more willingly remain to spin by the side of my poor mother, for war seems no work for me. But go I must, because the Lord my Master so wills it.' 'And who is the Lord your Master ? ' said Jean de Metz.' 'The King of Heaven,' she replied. De Metz declared that her tone of inspiration had convinced him ; he gave her his hand, and promised her that he would, on the faith of a gentleman, and under the conduct of God, lead her himself before the King. He asked her when she desired to begin her journey : 'To-day rather than to-morrow,' replied the heroine."2

* There was pending at that time a negotiation for a marriage between the Dauphin Louis, son of Charles VII., and the daughter of the King of Scots, who promised to send fresh succours.-- See a note to the 'Collection des Memoires,' vol viii. p. 249,
2 Depositions de Jean de Metz au Procfes de Revision.

Another gentleman, Bertrand de Poulengy, who has also left a deposition on oath to these facts, and who had been present at the first interview between Joan and Baudricourt, became convinced of her divine commission, and resolved to escort her in her journey. It does not clearly appear whether Baudricourt had received any answer from the Court of France; but a reluctant assent to the journey was extorted from him by the entreaties of De Metz and Poulengy, and by the rising force of popular opinion. The Duke of Lorraine himself had by this time heard of the fame of Joan ; and sent for her as. to one endowed with supernatural powers to cure him of a mortal disease. But Joan replied, with her usual simplicity of manner, that her mission was not to that Prince, nor for such an object, and the Duke dismissed her with a gift of four livres.

This gift was probably the more welcome, since Baudricourt, even while giving his consent to her journey, refused to incur any cost on behalf of it ; he presented to her nothing but a sword, and at parting said to her only these words : " Go then-- happen what may ! " Her uncle, assisted by another countryman, had borrowed money to buy a horse for her use, and the expenses of the journey were defrayed by Jean de Metz, for which, as appears by the Household Books, he was afterwards reimbursed by the King. Joan herself, by command of her "Voices," as she said, assumed male apparel, and never wore any other during the remainder of her expedition.

At the news that their daughter was already at Vaucouleurs and going forward to the wars, Jacques d' Arc and his wife hastened in the utmost consterna- tion from their village, but could not succeed in withholding her. " I saw them in the town," says Jean de Metz ; " they seemed hard-working, honest, God-fearing people." Joan herself declared in her examinations that they had been almost distracted with grief at her departure, but that she had since sent back letters to them, and that they had forgiven her. It would appear that none of her brothers was amongst her companions on this journey, although one of them, Pierre d'Arc, soon afterwards joined her in Touraine.*

*"It has been said that Pierre d'Arc, third brother of Joan, set out with her for France, and that opinion was founded on the fact, that Pierre, in a petition presented to the Duke of Orleans in 1444, represents himself to have 'left his own country to serve in the wars of the King and of Monsieur le Due in company with Jehanne la Pucelle, his sister.' But the equivocal construction of this sentence still leaves the point in doubt whether the young man set out at the same time with his sister, or rejoined her at a later period. The chronicles and the depositions make no mention of him either at her departure, during her journey, or upon her arrival at Chinon. Thus, then, there is every reason to believe that he was not with her on her journey."--('Suppl. aux Memoires,' Collection, vol. viii. p. 253.) This oonclusion is confirmed, and indeed placed beyond doubt by an original letter from the Sire de Laval, in May, 1429, which we shall hereafter have occasion to quote; it mentions Pierre d'Arc as having arrived to join his sister only eight days before.

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