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.
everywhere; while in the meantime Jeanne, partially healed of her wound (on May 9th she rode out in a maillet, a light coat of chain-mail), after a few days’ rest in the joyful city which she had saved with all its treasures, set out on her return to Chinon.  She found the King at Loches, another of the strong places on the Loire where there was room for a Court, and means of defence for a siege should such be necessary, as is the case with so many of these wonderful castles upon the great French river.  Hot with eagerness to follow up her first great success and accomplish her mission, Jeanne’s object was to march on at once with the young Prince, with or without his immense retinue, to Rheims where he should be crowned and anointed King as she had promised.  Her instinctive sense of the necessities of the position, if we use that language—­more justly, her boundless faith in the orders which she believed had been give her from Heaven, to accomplish this great act without delay, urged her on.  She was straitened, if we may quote the most divine of words, till it should be accomplished.

But the Maid, flushed with victory, with the shouts of Orleans still ringing in her ears, the applause of her fellow-soldiers, the sound of the triumphant bells, was plunged all at once into the indolence, the intrigues, the busy nothingness of the Court, in which whispering favourites surrounded a foolish young prince, beguiling him into foolish amusements, alarming him with coward fears.  Wise men and buffoons alike dragged him down into that paltry abyss, the one always counselling caution, the other inventing amusements.  “Let us eat and drink for to-morrow we die.”  Was it worth while to lose everything that was enjoyable in the present moment, to subject a young sovereign to toils and excitement, and probable loss, for the uncertain advantage of a vain ceremony, when he might be enjoying himself safely and at his ease, throughout the summer months, on the cheerful banks of the Loire?  On the other hand, the Chancellor, the Chamberlains, the Church, all his graver advisers (with the exception of Gerson, the great theologian to whom has been ascribed the authorship of the Imitation of Christ, who is reported to have said, “If France deserts her, and she fails, she is none the less inspired”) shook their hands and advised that the way should be quite safe and free of danger before the King risked himself upon it.  It was thus that Jeanne was received when, newly alighted from her charger, her shoulder still but half healed, her eyes scarcely clear of the dust and smoke, she found herself once more in the ante-chamber, wasting the days, waiting in vain behind closed doors, tormented by the lutes and madrigals, the light women and lighter men, useless and contemptible, of a foolish Court.  The Maid, in all the energy and impulse of a success which had proved all her claims, had also a premonition that her own time was short, if not a direct intimation, as some believe, to that effect:  and mingled her remonstrances and appeals with the cry of warning:  “I shall only last a year:  take the good of me as long as it is possible.”

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