Jeanne D'Arc: her life and death eBook

This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 397 pages of information about Jeanne D'Arc.
the ladies and their remonstrances with all the grace of a courtier.  Could she have done it she would rather have yielded the point to them, she said, than to any one else in France, except the Queen.  The women wherever she went were always faithful to this young creature, so pure-womanly in her young angel-hood and man-hood.  The poor followed to kiss her hands or her armour, the rich wooed her with tender flatteries and persuasions.  There is not record in all her career of any woman who was not her friend.

For the last dreary month of that winter she was sent to the fortress of Crotoy on the Somme, for what reason we are not told, probably to be more near the English into whose hands she was about to be given up:  again another shameful bargain in which the guilt lies with the Burgundians and not with the English.  If Charles I. was sold as we Scots all indignantly deny, the shame of the sale was on our nation, not on England, whom nobody has ever blamed for the transaction.  The sale of Jeanne was brutally frank.  It was indeed a ransom which was paid to Jean of Luxembourg with a share to the first captor, the archer who had secured her; but it was simple blood-money as everybody knew.  At Crotoy she had once more the solace of female society, again with much pressing upon her of their own heavy skirts and hanging sleeves.  A fellow-prisoner in the dungeon of Crotoy, a priest, said mass every day and gave her the holy communion.  And her mind seems to have been soothed and calmed.  Compiegne was relieved; the saints had kept their word:  she had that burden the less upon her soul:  and over the country there were against stirrings of French valour and success.  The day of the Maid was over, but it began to bear the fruit of a national quickening of vigour and life.

It was at Crotoy, in December, that she was transferred to English hands.  The eager offer of the University of Paris to see her speedy condemnation had not been accepted, and perhaps the Burgundians had been willing to wait, to see if any ransom was forthcoming from France.  Perhaps too, Paris, which sang the Te Deum when she was taken prisoner, began to be a little startled by its own enthusiasm and to ask itself the question what there was to be so thankful about?—­a result which has happened before in the history of that impulsive city:—­and Paris was too near the centre of France, where the balance seemed to be turning again in favour of the national party, to have its thoughts distracted by such a trial as was impending.  It seemed better to the English leaders to conduct their prisoner to a safer place, to the depths of Normandy where they were most strong.  They seem to have carried her away in the end of the year, travelling slowly along the coast, and reaching Rouen by way of Eu and Dieppe, as far away as possible from any risk of rescue.  She arrived in Rouen in the beginning of the year 1431, having thus been already for nearly eight months in close custody.  But there were no further ministrations of kind women for Jeanne.  She was now distinctly in the hands of her enemies, those who had no sympathy or natural softening of feeling towards her.

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Jeanne D'Arc: her life and death from Project Gutenberg. Public domain.
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