(1) The three camps
must have formed a sort of irregular
triangle. The English at Venette being only half a mile from
the gates of Compiegne.
CHAPTER X — THE CAPTIVE. MAY, 1430-JAN., 1431.
We have here to remark a complete suspension of all the ordinary laws at once of chivalry and of honest warfare. Jeanne had been captured as a general at the head of her forces. She was a prisoner of war. Such a prisoner ordinarily, even in the most cruel ages, is in no bodily danger. He is worth more alive than dead—a great ransom perhaps—perhaps the very end of the warfare, and the accomplishment of everything it was intended to gain: at least he is most valuable to exchange for other important prisoners on the opposite side. It was like taking away so much personal property to kill a prisoner, an outrage deeply resented by his captor and unjustified by any law. It was true that Jeanne herself had transgressed this universal custom but a little while before, by giving up Franquet d’Arras to his prosecutors. But Franquet was beyond the courtesies of war, a noted criminal, robber, and destroyer: yet she ought not perhaps to have departed from the military laws of right and wrong while everything in the country was under the hasty arbitration of war. No one, however, so far as we know, produces this matter of Franquet as a precedent in her own case. From the first moment of her seizure there was no question of the custom and privilege of warfare. She was taken as a wild animal might have been taken, the only doubt being how to make the most signal example of her. Vengeance in the gloomy form of the Inquisition claimed her the first day. No such word as ransom was breathed from her own side, none was demanded, none was offered. Her case is at once separated from every other.