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.

This was the aspect of affairs on one side.  On the other appeared a still less satisfactory scene.  Charles amusing himself, his counsellors, La Tremoille, and the Archbishop of Rheims carrying on fictitious negotiations with Burgundy and playing with the Maid who was in their power, sending her out to make a show and cast a spell, then dragging her back at the end of their shameful chain:  while the Court, the King and Queen, and all their flattering attendants gilded that chain and tried to make her forget by fine clothes and caresses, at once her mission and her despair.  They were not ungrateful, no:  let us do them justice, for they might well have added this to the number of their sins:  mantles of cloth of gold, patents of nobility were at her command, had these been what she wanted.  The only personal wrong they did to Jeanne was to set up against her a sort of opposition, another enchantress and visionary who had “voices” and apparitions too, and who was admitted to all the councils and gave her advice in contradiction of the Maid, a certain Catherine de la Rochelle, who was ready to say anything that was put into her mouth, but who had done nothing to prove any mission for France or from God.  We have little light however upon the state of affairs in those castles, which one after another were the abode of the Court during this disastrous winter.  They were safe enough on the other side of the Loire in the fat country where the vines still flourished and the young corn grew.  Now and then a band of armed men was sent forth to succour a fighting town in the suffering and struggling Ile-de-France, always under the conflicting orders of those intrigants and courtiers:  but within the Court, all was gay; “never man,” as rough La Hire had said on an earlier occasion, “lost his kingdom more gaily or with better grace” than did Charles.  Where was La Hire?  Where was Dunois?—­there is no appearance of these champions anywhere.  Alencon had returned to his province.  Only La Tremoille and the Archbishop holding all the strings in their hands, upsetting all military plans, disgusting every chief, met and talked and carried on their busy intrigues, and played their Sibyl—­Sibylle de carrefour, says one of the historians indignantly—­against the Maid, who, all discouraged and downcast, fretted by caresses, sick of inactivity, dragged out the uneasy days in an uncongenial world; but Jeanne has left no record of the sensations with which she saw these days pass, eating her heart out, gazing over that rapid river, on the other side of which all the devils were unchained and every result of her brief revolution was being lost.

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