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.
the town of La Ferte, Jeanne rode between the Archbishop of Rheims and Dunois.  The Archbishop had never been friendly to the Maid, and now it was clear, watched her with that half satirical, half amused look of the wise man, curious and cynical in presence of the incomprehensible, observing her ways and very ready to catch her tripping and to entangle her if possible in her own words.  The people thronged the way, full of enthusiasm, acclaiming the King and shouting their joyful exclamations of “Noel!” though it does not appear that any part of their devotion was addressed to Jeanne herself.  “Oh, the good people,” she cried with tears in her eyes, “how joyful they are to see their noble King!  And how happy should I be to end my days and be buried here among them!” The priest unmoved by such an exclamation from so young a mouth attempted instantly, like the Jewish doctors with our Lord, to catch her in her words and draw from her some expression that might be used against her.  “Jeanne,” he said, “in what place do you expect to die?” It was a direct challenge to the messenger of Heaven to take upon herself the gift of prophecy.  But Jeanne in her simplicity shattered the snare which probably she did not even perceive:  “When it pleases God,” she said.  “I know neither the place nor the time.”

It was enough, however, that she should think of death and of the sweetness of it, after her work accomplished, in the very moment of her height of triumph—­to show something of a new leaven working in her virgin soul.

One characteristic reward, however, Jeanne did receive.  Her father and uncle were lodged at the public cost as benefactors of the kingdom, as may still be seen by the inscription on the old inn in the great Place at Rheims; and when Jacques d’Arc left the city he carried with him a patent—­better than one of nobility which, however, came to the family later—­of exemption for the villages of Domremy and Greux of all taxes and tributes; “an exemption maintained and confirmed up to the Revolution, in favour of the said Maid, native of that parish, in which are her relations.”  “In the register of the Exchequer,” says M. Blaze de Bury, “at the name of the parish of Greux and Domremy, the place for the receipt is blank, with these words as explanation:  a cause de la Pucelle, on account of the Maid.”  There could not have been a more delightful reward or one more after her own heart.  It would be a graceful act of the France of to-day, which has so warmly revived the name and image of her maiden deliverer, to renew so touching a distinction to her native place.

We are told that Jeanne parted with her father and uncle with tears, longing that she might return with them and go back to her mother who would rejoice to see her again.  This was no doubt quite true, though it might be equally true that she could not have gone back.  Did not the father return, a little sullen, grasping the present he had himself received, not sure still that it was not disreputable to have a daughter who wore coat armour and rode by the side of the King, a position certainly not proper for maidens of humble birth?  The dazzled peasants turned their backs upon her while she was thus at the height of glory, and never, so far as appears, saw her face again.

Project Gutenberg
Jeanne D'Arc: her life and death from Project Gutenberg. Public domain.
Follow Us on Facebook