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.

The road was now clear, and even the most timid of counsellors could not longer hold back the most indolent of kings.  Jeanne had kept her word once more and fulfilled her own prophecy, and a force of enthusiasm and certainty, not to be put down, pressed forward the unwilling Court towards the great ceremonial of the coronation, to which all except those most chiefly concerned attached so great an importance.  Charles would have hesitated still, and questioned the possibility of resistance on the part of Rheims, if that city had not sent a deputation of citizens with the keys of the town, to meet him.  After this it was but a triumphal march into the sacred place, where the great cathedral dominated a swarming, busy, mediaeval city.  King and Archbishop had a double triumph, for the priest like the monarch had been shut out from his lawful throne, and it was only in the train of the Maid that this great ecclesiastic was able to take possession of his dignities.  The King alighted with the Archbishop at the Archeveche which is close to the cathedral, an immense, old palace in which the heads of the expedition were lodged.  There is a magnificent old hall still remaining in which no doubt they all assembled, scarcely able to believe that their object was accomplished and that the King of France was actually in Rheims, and all the prophecies fulfilled.  The Archbishop marched into the city in the morning; Charles and his Court, and all his great seigneurs, and the body of his army, in which there were many fighting men half armed, and some in their rustic clothes as they had left their fields to join the King in his march—­poured in in the evening, after the ecclesiastical procession, filling the town with commotion.  Jeanne rode beside the King, her banner in her hand.  It was July, the vigil of the Madeleine, and every church poured forth its crowd to witness the entry, and the populace, half troubled, half glad, gazed its eyes out upon the white warrior at the side of the King.  Her father and uncle were there to meet her at the old inn in the Place, which still proudly preserves the record of the peasant guests:  two astonished rustics, no doubt, were thrust forth from some window to watch that incredible sight—­Jacques who would rather have drowned his daughter with his own hands, than have seen her thus launched among men, gazing still aghast at the resplendent figure of the chevaliere at the head of the procession.  This was very different from what he had thought of when his village respectability was tortured by the idea of his girl among the troopers, yet probably the rigid peasant had never changed his mind.

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