Joan of Arc - Maid of Heaven

Joan of Arc Part 20


Thus far the success of the Maid had been gained by the terrors of her name alone ; but the moment of conflict was now close at hand. That same after- noon a part of the garrison and townspeople, fmslied with their returning good fortune, made a sally in another quarter against the English bastille of St. Loup. Joan, after bringing in the convoy, had retired home to rest ; and the chiefs, distrustful of her mission, and disliking her interposition, sent her no tidings of the fight. But she was simimoned by a friendly, or, as she believed, a celestial voice. We will give the story in the words of M. de Barante, as compiled from the depositions of D'Aulon, her esquire, and of Father Pasquerel, her chaplain :--

" The day had been a weary one ; Joan threw herself on her bed and tried to sleep, but she was disturbed in mind. All of a sadden she called out to the Sire d'Aulon, her esquire, * My council tells me to march against the English, but I do not know whether it should be against their bastilles or against this Fascot (Fastolf ). You must arm me.' The Sire d'Aulon began accordingly to put on her armour. During this time she heard a great noise in the street, the cry being that the enemy were at that very moment inflicting great hurt upon the French. "My God,' she exclaimed, * the blood of our people is flowing ! Why was not I wakened sooner ? Oh, that was ill done !--My arms ! my arms ! my horse ! '--Leaving behind her esquire, who had not yet clad himself in armour, she hastened down stairs : and she found her page loitering before the door. 'You wicked boy,' she cried, ' why did not you come to tell me that the blood of France is being shed ? Quick, quick ! My horse ! ' Her horse was brought ; she desired that her banner which she had left in the house might be reached out to her from the window, and without further delay she set forth, hastening towards the Porte Bourgogne, from whence the din of battle seemed to come. When she had nearly reached it she beheld, carried by her, one of the townsmen grievously wounded. 'Alas' said she, 'never have I seen the blood of French- men flow, without my hair standing on end I ' "

Thus darting full speed through the streets, until she reached the scene of action, Joan plunged head- long into the thickest of the fight. Far from being daunted by the danger when closely viewed, she seemed inspirited, nay, almost inspired, by its pre- sence, as one conscious of support firom on high. Waving her white banner aloft, and calling aloud to those around her, she urged her countrymen to courage like her own : she had found them beaten back and retreating ; she at once led them on to a second onset. For three hours the battle raged fiercely and doubtfully at the foot of St. Loup ; but Talbot, who was hastening to the rescue, was kept at bay by the Mareschal de Boussac and a body of troops, while those headed by Joan at length suc- ceeded in storming the bastille. Scarce any prison- ers were made: almost every Englishman found within the walls was put to the sword, notwith- standing the remonstrances of the Maid ; only some few, having found priests' garments within St Loup's church, put them on in this extremity, and these men her piety succeeded in preserving.


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