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.

La Hire, who is like a figure out of Dumas, and indeed did service as a model to that delightful romancer, had come from Orleans to escort Jeanne upon her way, and Dunois met her as she approached the town.  There could not be found more unlikely companions than these two, to conduct to a great battle the country maid who was to carry the honours of the day from them both, and make men fight like heroes, who under them did nothing but run away.  The candour and true courage of such leaders in circumstances so extraordinary, are beyond praise, for it was an offence both to their pride and skill in their profession, had she been anything less than the messenger of God which she claimed to be; and these rude soldiers were not men to be easily moved by devout imaginations.  There would seem, however, even in the case of the greater of the two, to have arisen a strange friendship and mutual understanding between the famous man of war and the peasant girl.  Jeanne, always straightforward and simple, speaks to him, not with the downcast eyes of her humility, but as an equal, as if the great Dunois had been a prud’ homme of her own degree.  There is no appearance indeed that the Maid allowed herself to be overborne now by any shyness or undue humility.  She speaks loudly, so as to be heard by those fighting men, taking something of their own brief and decisive tone, often even impatient, as one who would not be put aside either by cunning or force.

Her meeting with Dunois makes this at once evident.  She had been deceived in the manner of her approach to Orleans, her companions, among whom there were several field-marshals and distinguished leaders, taking advantage of her ignorance of the place to lead her by the opposite bank of the river instead of that on which the English towers were built, which she desired to attack at once.  This was the beginning of a long series of deceits and hostile combinations, by which at every step of her way she was met and retarded; but it turned, as these devices generally did, to the discomfiture of the adverse captains.  She crossed the river at Checy above Orleans, to meet Dunois who had come so far to meet her.  It will be seen by the conversation which she held with him on his first appearance, how completely Jeanne had learnt to assert herself, and how much she had overcome any fear of man.  “Are you the Bastard of Orleans?” she said.  “I am; and glad of your coming,” he replied.  “Is it you who have had me led to this side of the river and not to the bank on which Talbot is and his English?” He answered that he and the wisest of the leaders had thought it the best and safest way.  “The counsel of God, our Lord, is more sure and more powerful than yours,” she replied.  The expedition, as a matter of fact, had to turn back, and to lose precious time, there being, it is to be presumed, no means of transporting so large a force across the river.  The large convoy of provisions which Jeanne brought was embarked in boats while the majority of the army returned to Blois, in order to cross by the bridge.

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