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.
lodged.  The houses of that age were beautiful, airy and light, with much graceful ornament and solid comfort, the arched and vaulted Gothic beginning to give place to those models of domestic architecture which followed the Renaissance, with their ample windows and pleasant space and breadth.  There the table was spread with a joyous meal in honour of this wonderful guest, to which, let us hope, Dunois and La Hire and the rest did full justice.  But Jeanne was indifferent to the feast.  She mixed with water the wine poured for her into a silver cup, and dipped her bread in it, five or six small slices.  The visionary peasant girl cared for none of the dainty meats.  And then she retired to the comfort of a peaceful chamber, where the little daughter of the house shared her bed:  strange return to the days when Hauvette and Mengette in Domremy lay by her side and talked as girls love to do, through half the silent night.  Perhaps little Charlotte, too, lay awake with awe to wonder at that other young head on the pillow, a little while ago shut into the silver helmet, and shining like the archangel’s.  The etat majeur, the Chevalier d’Aulon, Jean de Metz, and Bertrand de Poulengy, who had never left her, first friends and most faithful, and her brother Pierre d’Arc, were lodged in the same house.  It was the last night of April, 1429.

     (1) The dates must of course be reckoned by the old style.—­
     This letter was dispatched from Tours, during her pause
     there.

CHAPTER IV —­ THE RELIEF OF ORLEANS.  MAY 1-8, 1429.

Next morning there was a council of war among the many leaders now collected within the town.  It was the eager desire of Jeanne that an assault should be made at once, in all the enthusiasm of the moment, upon the English towers, without waiting even for the arrival of the little army which she had preceded.  But the captains of the defence who had borne the heat and burden of the day, and who might naturally enough be irritated by the enthusiasm with which this stranger had been received, were of a different opinion.  I quote here a story, for which I am told there is no foundation whatever, touching a personage who probably never existed, so that the reader may take it as he pleases, with indulgence for the writer’s weakness, or indignation at her credulity.  It seems to me, however, to express very naturally a sentiment which must have existed among the many captains who had been fighting unsuccessfully for months in defence of the beleaguered city.  A certain Guillaume de Gamache felt himself insulted above all by the suggestion.  “What,” he cried, “is the advice of this hussy from the fields (une peronnelle de bas lieu) to be taken against that of a knight and captain!  I will fold up my banner and become again a simple soldier.  I would rather have a nobleman for my master than a woman whom nobody knows.”

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