Joan also loved to mix in the crowd of poor citizens, and begged that the little children should be brought to her. Pasquerel, her confessor, was always told to remind Joan of Arc of the feast days on which children were allowed to receive the Communion, in order that she too might receive it with these innocents.
The army has probably ever been the home of high swearing: the expression in French of ‘ton de garnison’ is an amiable way of referring to that habit of speech; and we all know ancient warriors whose conversation is thickly larded with oaths and profanity. This habit Joan of Arc seems to have held in great abhorrence. We have seen how she got La Hire to swear only by his stick; to another officer of high rank, who had been making use of some strong oaths, she said: ’How can you thus blaspheme your Saviour and your God by so using His name?’ Let us hope her lesson bore fruit.
Throughout the land Joan of Arc was now regarded as the Saviour of France. Nor at this time did the King prove ungrateful. In those days nobility was highly regarded. It brought with it great prestige, and much benefit accrued to the holders of titles. Charles now raised the Maid of Orleans to the equal in rank of a Count, and bestowed upon her an establishment and household. The grateful burghers of Orleans, too, loaded her with gifts, all which honours Joan received with quiet modesty. For herself she never asked anything. After the coronation at Rheims, when the King begged her to make him a request, the only thing she asked was, that the taxes might be taken off her native village.
Her father, who came to see her at Rheims, had the satisfaction of carrying back this news to Domremy.
Although both King and nobles vied in paying honours to Joan of Arc, it was from the common people, from the heart of the nation, that she received what seems to have amounted to a feeling approaching adoration. Wherever she passed she was followed by crowds eager to kiss her feet and her hands, and who even threw themselves before her horse’s feet. Medals were struck and worn as charms, with her effigy or coat-of-arms struck on them. Her name was introduced into the prayers of the Church.
Joan, although touched by these marks of affection, never allowed the people, as far as in her power lay, to ascribe unearthly influence to her person. When in the course of her trial the accusation that the people had made her an object of adoration was brought as a proof of her heresy, she said: ’In truth I should not have been able to have prevented that from being so, had God not protected me Himself from such a danger.’
We must now glance at the movements of the English since the deliverance of Orleans and their defeat at Patay, and the French King’s coronation.