Joan of Arc - Maid of Heaven

Joan of Arc Part 28

SURRENDER OF TROYES

The victory at Patay gave fresh weight to Joan's entreaties that the King would set forth to be crowned at Eheims. Such an expedition was still overcast by doubts and perils. Eheims itself, and every other city on the way, was in the hands of enemies; and a superior force, either of English from the left, or of Burgundians from the right, might assail the advancing army. To add to these difficulties, Charles himself, at that period of his life, was far from disposed to personal exertion; nevertheless, he could not withstand the solicitations of the " inspired" Maid, and the wish of the vic- torious troops. Collecting ten or twelve thousand men at Gien, he marched from the valley of the Loire, accompanied by Joan herself, by his bravest captains, and by his wisest coimsellors. They first appeared before the city of Auxerre, which shut its gates, but consented, on a payment of money, to furnish a supply of provisions. Their next point was Troyes ; but here they found the city held by five or six himdred Burgundian soldiers, and refusing all terms of treaty. Nothing remained but a siege, and for this the King wanted both time and means. He had with him neither mining tools nor artillery, nor stores of provisions, and the soldiers subsisted only by plucking the ears of corn and the half- ripened beans from the fields. Several days had passed, and no progress been made. At length a council was held, when the Chancellor and nearly all the other chief men pressed for a retreat to the Loire. While they were still deliberating, a knock was heard at the door, and the Maid of Orleans came in; she first asked the King whether she should be believed in what she was about to say. He coldly answered that she should, provided she said things that were reasonable and profitable. "The city is yours," she then exclaimed, " if you will but remain before it two days longer !" So confident seemed her present prediction--such good results had followed the past,--that the council agreed to make a further trial, and postpone their intended retreat. Without delay, and eager to make good her words, Joan sprang on horseback, and directed all the men-at-arms she met--gentle Or simple alike--to exert themselves in heaping together faggots and other wood-work, and pre- paring what in the military language of that day is called taudis et approches. The townsmen of Troyes, assembling on their ramparts, gazed on her while thus employed, and bethought them of her mighty deeds at Orleans, already magnified into the miraculous by popular report. The more cre- dulous of these gazers even declared that they could see a swarm of white butterflies hovering above her standard. The more loyal began to recollect that they were Frenchmen, not Burgundians--that Charles was their true liege lord--that they should be rebels to resist him. Under the influence of these various feelings, which the garrison could not venture to resist, they sent out to offer some terms of capitulation ; the King, as may be supposed, made no objection to any ; and next day he was joyfully received within the gates.

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