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.
been separated from her lieutenant Alencon, and from all the friends between whom and herself great mutual confidence had sprung up.  Even the commission which had at last been put in her hands was a trifling one and led to nothing, bringing the King no nearer to any satisfactory end:  and the troops were under command of a new captain whom she scarcely knew, d’Albert, who was the son-in-law of La Tremoille, and probably little inclined to be a friend to Jeanne.  In these circumstances there was little of an exhilarating or promising kind.

Nevertheless as an episode, few things had happened to Jeanne more memorable than the siege of St. Pierre-le-Moutier.  The first assault upon the town was unsuccessful; the retreat had sounded and the troops were streaming back from the point of attack, when Jean d’Aulon, the faithful friend and brave gentleman who was at the head of the Maid’s military household, being himself wounded in the heel and unable to stand or walk, saw the Maid almost alone before the stronghold, four or five men only with her.  He dragged himself up as well as he could upon his horse, and hastened towards her, calling out to her to ask what she did there, and why she did not retire with the rest.  She answered him, taking off her helmet to speak, that she would leave only when the place was taken—­and went on shouting for faggots and beams to make a bridge across the ditch.  It is to be supposed that seeing she paid no attention, nor budged a step from that dangerous point, this brave man, wounded though he was, must have made an effort to rally the retiring besiegers:  but Jeanne seems to have taken no notice of her desertion nor ever to have paused in her shout for planks and gabions.  “All to the bridge,” she shouted, “aux fagots et aux claies tout le monde! every one to the bridge.”  “Jeanne, withdraw, withdraw!  You are alone,” some one said to her.  Bareheaded, her countenance all aglow, the Maid replied:  “I have still with me fifty thousand of my men.”  Were those the men whom the prophet’s servant saw when his eyes were opened and he beheld the innumerable company of angels that surrounded his master?  But Jeanne, rapt in the trance and ecstasy of battle, gave no explanation.  “To work, to work!” her clear voice went on, ringing over the startled head of the good knight who knew war, but not any rapture like this.  History itself, awe-stricken, would almost have us believe that alone with her own hand the Maid took the city, so entirely does every figure disappear but that one, and the perplexed and terrified spectator vainly urging her to give up so desperate an attempt.  But no doubt the shouts of a voice so strange to every such scene, the vox infantile, the amazing and clear voice, silvery and womanly, assez femme, and the efforts of d’Aulon to bring back the retreating troops were successful, and Jeanne once more, triumphantly kept her word.  The place was strongly fortified, well provisioned, and full of people.  Therefore the whole narrative is little less than miraculous, though very little is said of it.  Had they but persevered, as she had said, a few hours longer before Paris, who could tell that the same result might not have been obtained?

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