Joan of Arc - Maid of Heaven

Joan of Arc Part 26

SIEGE OF JARGEAU

Notwithstanding the splendid success of the young ne before Orleans, the King did not as yet yield to her entreaties, nor undertake the expedition to Reims. It seemed necessary, in the first place, to reduce the other posts which the English still held upon the Loire. In this object the Maid took a conspicuous and intrepid share. Setting off from Selles, the chiefs first laid siege to Jargeau, into wich the Earl of Suffolk had retired with several hundred men. For some days the artillery played both sides; a breach was effected in the walls ; on the 12th of June the French trumpets led the signal to assault. Joan was as usual amongst the foremost, with her holy banner displayed. She had herself planted a ladder, and was , ascending the walls, when a huge stone, rolled down from the summit, struck her on the helmet, and hurled her headlong into the fosse. Immediately rising again, not imhurt but still undaunted she continued to animate her countrymen:--"Forward! forward ! my friends ! the Lord has delivered them into our hands!" The storm was renewed with fresh ardour and complete success; the town was taken, and nearly the whole garrison put to the sword ; many, notwithstanding Joan's humane endeavours, being slain in cold blood, whenever there was any dispute for ransom. The fate of the Earl of Suffolk is a striking incident and illustration of the age of chivalry. When closely pursued by one of the French officers, he turned round and asked him if he were of gentle birth ? "I am,", replied the officer, whose name was Guillaume Eegnault, an esquire of Auvergne. "And are you a knight ?" "I am not." "Then I will make you one," said Suffolk ; and having first struck Renault with his sword, and thus dubbed him as his superior, he next surrendered the same sword to him as his captive.

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