Jeanne D'Arc: her life and death eBook

This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 335 pages of information about Jeanne D'Arc.
for her.  Jean de Metz, who had so chivalrously pledged himself to her service, with his friend De Poulengy, equally ready for adventure, each with his servant, formed her sole protectors.(5) Jean de Metz had already sent her the clothes of one of his retainers, with the light breastplate and partial armour that suited it; and the townspeople had subscribed to buy her a further outfit, and a horse which seems to have cost sixteen francs—­not so small a sum in those days as now.  Laxart declares himself to have been responsible for this outlay, though the money was afterwards paid by Baudricourt, who gave Jeanne a sword, which some of her historians consider a very poor gift:  none, however, of her equipments would seem to have been costly.  The little party set out thus, with a sanction of authority, from the Captain’s gate, the two gentlemen and the King’s messenger at the head of the party with their attendants, and the Maid in the midst.  “Go:  and let what will happen,” was the parting salutation of Baudricourt.  The gazers outside set up a cry when the decisive moment came, and someone, struck with the feeble force which was all the safeguard she had for her long journey through an agitated country—­perhaps a woman in the sudden passion of misgiving which often follows enthusiasm,—­called out to Jeanne with an astonished outcry to ask how she could dare to go by such a dangerous road.  “It was for that I was born,” answered the fearless Maid.  The last thing she had done had been to write a letter to her parents, asking their pardon if she obeyed a higher command than theirs, and bidding them farewell.

The French historians, with that amazement which they always show when they find a man behaving like a gentleman towards a woman confided to his honour, all pause with deep-drawn breath to note that the awe of Jeanne’s absolute purity preserved her from any unseemly overture, or even evil thought, on the part of her companions.  We need not take up even the shadow of so grave a censure upon Frenchmen in general, although in the far distance of the fifteenth century.  The two young men, thus starting upon a dangerous adventure, pledged by their honour to protect and convey her safely to the King’s presence, were noble and generous cavaliers, and we may well believe had no evil thoughts.  They were not, however, without an occasional chill of reflection when once they had taken the irrevocable step of setting out upon this wild errand.  They travelled by night to escape the danger of meeting bands of Burgundians or English on the way, and sometimes had to ford a river to avoid the town, where they would have found a bridge.  Sometimes, too, they had many doubts, Bertrand says, perhaps as to their reception at Chinon, perhaps even whether their mission might not expose them to the ridicule of their kind, if not to unknown dangers of magic and contact with the Evil One, should this wonderful girl turn out no inspired virgin but a pretender or

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