Joan of Arc - Maid of Heaven

Joan of Arc Part 34

HER CAPTURE

The very evening of her arrival she headed the garrison in a sally on the side of the bridge across the Oise. She found the Burgundians scattered and unprepared ; twice she drove them from their entrenchments, but, seeing their numbers increase every moment, she gave the signal to retreat, herself maintaining, the post of honour, the last of the rear-guard. Never had she shown greater intrepidity : but as she approached the town-gate she found it partly closed, so that but few could press in together; confusion spread amongst her friends, less eager to succour her than to save themselves, and she foimd herself surrounded by her enemies. Still she made those before her recoil, and might have effected her retreat, when an archer from Picardy, coming up from behind, seized her by her coat of crimson velvet, and drew her from her horse tx) the ground. She struggled to rise again, and reached the outer fosse : there, how- ever, she was overpowered, and compelled to sur- render to Lionel, a bastard of Vendone,* and a soldier in the company of John of Luxemburg. The battlements of Compiegne have long since mouldered away ; choked by the fallen fragments, the fosse is once more level with the plain ; even the old bridge has been replaced by another higher up the stream --yet, amidst all these manifold changes, the precise spot of the catastrophe--we gazed on it but a few weeks since--is still pointed out by popular tradition to the passing stranger.

* Not Vendome, as most writers have snpposed. The place meant is now called Wandomme, in the Departement da Pas de Calais.-- Quicherat, 'Proces de Jeanne d'Arc,' vol.i. p.13.

The news of Joan's captivity struck the English and their partisans with a joy proportioned to their former terrors. The service of "Tc Deum" was celebrated at Paris, by order of the Duke of Bed- ford, and in token of general thanksgiving. Mean- while the dejection of the French soldiery was not unmingled with whispered suspicions that their officers--and especially Guillaume de Fluvy--had knowingly and willingly exposed her to danger, from envy of her superior renown. For a long time there was no positive proof against Flavy : but at length he was murdered by his own wife, who, when put upon her trial, pladed and proved that he had resolved to betray Joan of Arc to the enemy ; and this defence, though wholly irrelevant to the question at issue, was in that barbarous age admitted by the judges.*

* Supplement aux MImoires (Collection, vol. viii. p. 287).

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