Nevertheless, these oppositions came to an end, and Jeanne, though less ready and eager for the assault, found herself under the walls of Paris at last.
(1) “The English, not US,” says Mr. Andrew Lang: and it is pleasant to a Scot to know that this is true. England and Scotland were then twain, and the Scots fought in the ranks of our auld Ally. But for the present age the distinction lasts no longer, and to the writer of an English book on English soil it would be ungenerous to take the advantage.
(2) It is taken as a miraculous sign by another chronicler, Jean Chartier, who tells us that when this fact came to the knowledge of the King the sword was given by him to the workmen to be re-founded—“but they could not do it, nor put the pieces together again: which is a great proof (grant approbation) that the sword came to her divinely. And it is notorious that since the breaking of that sword, the said Jeanne neither prospered in arms to the profit of the King nor otherwise as she had done before.”
(3) “It was her oath,” adds the chronicler; no one is quite sure what it means, but Quicherat is of opinion that it was her baton, her stick or staff. Perceval de Cagny puts in this exclamation in almost all the speeches of the Maid. It must have struck him as a curious adjuration. Perhaps it explains why La Hire, unable to do without something to swear by, was permitted by Jeanne in their frank and humorous camaraderie to swear by his stick, the same rustic oath.
CHAPTER VIII — DEFEAT AND DISCOURAGEMENT. AUTUMN, 1429.
It was on the 7th September that Jeanne and her immediate followers reached the village of La Chapelle, where they encamped for the night. The next day was the day of the Nativity of the Blessed Virgin, a great festival of the Church. It could scarcely be a matter of choice on the part of so devout a Catholic as Jeanne to take this day of all others, when every church bell was tinkling forth a summons to the faithful, for the day of assault. In all probability she was not now acting on her own impulse but on that of the other generals and nobles. Had she refused, might it not have been alleged against her that after all her impatience it was she who was the cause of delay? The forces with Jeanne were not very large, a great proportion of the army remaining with Charles