Joan of Arc - Maid of Heaven

Joan of Arc Part 14

HER INTRODUCTION TO CHARLES

The hour came, and the poor peasant-girl of Domremy was ushered into the stately hall of Chinon, lighted up with fifty torches, and thronged with hundreds of knights and nobles. The King had resolved to try her ; and for that purpose he stood amongst the crowd in plain attire, while some ot his courtiers magnificently clad held the upper place. He had not reflected that, considering the enthusiasm of Joan for his cause, she had probably more than once seen a portrait or heard a descrip- tion of his features. Unabashed at the glare of the lights, or the gaze of the spectators, the Maid came forward with a firm step, singled out the King at the first glance, and bent her knee before him with the words--" God give you good life, gentle King." " I am not the King ; he is there," said Charles, pointing to one of his nobles. "In the name of Grod," she exclaimed, "it is no other but yourself. Most noble Lord Dauphin, I am Joan the Maid, sent on behalf of God to aid you and your kingdom ; and by his command I announce to you that you shall be crowned in the city of Eheims, and shall become his lieutenant in the realm of France." " Gentle Dauphin," she added shortly afterwards, "why will you not believe me? I tell you that God has pity upon you, upon your king- dom, and upon your people; for St. Louis and Charlemagne are on their knees before him, praying for you and for them." Charles then drew her aside, and, after some time passed in earnest conversation, declared to his courtiers that the Maid had spoken of secrets known only to himself and to God. Several of the ancient chronicles refer mysteriously to this secret between the Maid and the King, but Charles afterwards revealed it in confidence to the Sire de Boissy, one of his favourites.* Joan, it appears, had said to him these words ; " I tell you, on behalf of Messire, that you are the true and real heir of France." Now the King, when alone in his oratory a little time before, had offered up a prayer for Divine assistance on condition only of his being the rightful heir to the crown. Such a coincidence of ideas on so obvious a topic seems very far from supernatural or even surprising.

* De Boissy repeated the story to N. Sala., "pannetier du Dauphin," whose MS. account of it is preserved at Biblioteque royale, and quoted in the 'Supplement des M6moiiea,'--Collection, vol. viii.p.262.

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