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.

Dunois, who was too wise to weaken the forces at his command by such a quarrel, is said to have done his best to reconcile and soothe the angry captain.  This, however, if it was true, was only a mild instance of the perpetual opposition which the Maid encountered from the very beginning of her career and wherever she went.  Notwithstanding her victories, she remained through all her career a peronnelle to these men of war (with the noble exception, of course, of Alencon, Dunois, Xaintrailles, La Hire, and others).  They were sore and wounded by her appearance and her claims.  If they could cheat her, balk her designs, steal a march in any way, they did so, from first to last, always excepting the few who were faithful to her.  Dunois could afford to be magnanimous, but the lesser men were jealous, envious, embittered.  A peronnelle, a woman nobody knew!  And they themselves were belted knights, experienced soldiers, of the best blood of France.  It was not unnatural; but this atmosphere of hate, malice, and mortification forms the background of the picture wherever the Maid moves in her whiteness, illuminating to us the whole scene.  The English hated her lustily as their enemy and a witch, casting spells and enchantments so that the strength was sucked out of a man’s arm and the courage from his heart:  but the Frenchmen, all but those who were devoted to her, regarded her with an ungenerous opposition, the hate of men shamed and mortified by every triumph she achieved.

Jeanne was angry, too, and disappointed, more than she had been by all discouragements before.  She had believed, perhaps, that once in the field these oppositions would be over, and that her mission would be rapidly accomplished.  But she neither rebelled nor complained.  What she did was to occupy herself about what she felt to be her business, without reference to any commander.  She sent out two heralds,(1) who were attached to her staff, and therefore at her personal disposal, to summon once more Talbot and Glasdale (Classidas, as the French called him) de la part de Dieu to evacuate their towers and return home.  It would seem that in her miraculous soul she had a visionary hope that this appeal might be successful.  What so noble, what so Christian, as that the one nation should give up, of free-will, its attempt upon the freedom and rights of another, if once the duty were put simply before it—­and both together joining hands, march off, as she had already suggested, to do the noblest deed that had ever yet been done for Christianity?  That same evening she rode forth with her little train; and placing herself on the town end of the bridge (which had been broken in the middle), as near as the breach would permit to the bastille, or fort of the Tourelles, which was built across the further end of the bridge, on the left side of the Loire—­called out to the enemy, summoning them once more to withdraw while there was time.  She was overwhelmed, as

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