Andrew Lang.

The story of Joan of Arc, the maid of Orleans online

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The Dauphin is crowned in Rheims Cathedral. — Page 56


Joan of/\rc

The Maid of Orleans




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COPY B. "^

Copyright, 1906, by
McLouGHLiN Bros., New York.



I. The Childhood of Joan of Arc.

II. How THE Voices came to the Maid

III. How the Maid obeyed the Voices

IV. How Joan heard News Strangely
V. How THE Maid saw the Dauphin

VI. How the Maid rode to Orleans

VII. How THE Maid saved Orleans .

VIII. How THE Maid took the Town of Jargeau

IX. How Joan defeated the English in Fair
Field ......

X. How Joan led the Dauphin to be Crowned

XI. How the Maid was betrayed at Paris

XII. How the Maid took certain Towns .

XIII. How THE Voices prophesied Evil

XIV. How THE Maid was Taken
XV. The Captivity of the Maid

XVI. The Trial of the Maid . . . .

XVII. How the Priests betrayed the Maid

XVIII. The End of the Maid ....

XIX, The Second Trial of the Maid







Dear Angela,

May I dedicate this little book to you,
who are already a friend of the Maid ?

As you grow up you will meet certain wise
people who will tell you that there was never any
such person as Joan of Arc, or that, if she ever
lived, she was mad, or an impostor. If you ask
them how they know that, they will probably reply
that Science is the source of their information. You
can then answer that you prefer to begin with
History, and ask these wise people if they have
read even so much as Monsieur Quicherat's five
volumes containing the Trial of Joan, and the
evidence of her friends and enemies who knew her
in her lifetime ? As the books are in Latin and Old
French, the people who speak about Joan disre-
spectfully have not read them, and do not know
what they are are talking about.

*'They say: Whai say ihey P Let them say /^^

Affectionately yours,




JOAN OF ARC was perhaps the most wonder-
ful person who ever lived in the world. The
story of her life is so strange that we could
scarcely believe it to be true, if all that happened
to her had not been told by people in a court of
law, and written down by her deadly enemies,
while she was still alive. She was burned to death
when she was only nineteen : she was not seven-
teen when she first led the armies of France to
victory, and delivered her country from the

Joan was the daughter of a poor man, in a
little country village. She had never learned to
read, or write, or mount a horse. Yet she was
so wise that many learned men could not puzzle
her by questions : she was one of the best riders
in France; one of the most skilled in aiming
cannons, and so great a general that she defeated
the English again and again, and her army was
never beaten till her king deserted her. She
was so brave that severe wounds could not stop
her from leading on her soldiers, and so tender-


hearted that she would comfort the wounded
English on the field of battle, and protect them
from cruelty. She was so good that her enemies
could not find one true story to tell against her
in the least thing ; and she was so modest that
in the height of her glory she was wishing to be
at home in her father's cottage, sewing or spin-
ning beside her mother.

Joan, who was born at Domremy, in the east
of France, on January 6, 1412, lived in a very
unhappy time. For nearly a hundred years the
kings of England had been trying to make
themselves kings of France, just as they had
been trying to make themselves kings of Scot-
land. Perhaps they might have succeeded, if
they had confined themselves to one conquest at
a time. But they left Scotland alone while they
were attacking France, and then Scotland sent
armies to help the French, as at other times the
French sent armies to help Scotland.

Eight years before Joan was born a sad thing
happened to her country. Henry V. of England
had married the Princess Katherine of France,
and the French, or some of them, tired of being
beaten in war, consented to let the child of
Henry and the Princess Katherine be their King,
instead of the son of their old King. The old
King's son was called " the Dauphin "; that was
the title of the eldest son of the French kings.
This Dauphin was named Charles. His friends
went on fighting the English for his sake, but


he was not crowned King. The coronations of
French Kings were always done in the Cathedral
at Rheims, where they were anointed with sacred
oil. The oil was kept in a very old flask, which
was said to have been brought from heaven, to a
Saint, by an Angel. No eldest son of the King
was thought really King of France, after his
father's death, till he had been anointed with this
heavenly oil at Rheims by the Ai'chbishop. It
is important to remember this ; you will see the
reason afterwards. Now, Rheims was in the
power of the English, so the Dauphin, Charles,
could not go there and be made King in earnest.
The English said that he was not the son of his
father, the late King, which made him very un-
happy. We shall hear how Joan comforted him
and made him King for good and all. What
Scots and Frenchman could not do, she did.

In the meantime the French were divided into
two parties. Some sided with the Dauphin,
Prince Charles; more, and especially all the
people of Burgundy, and the Duke of Burgundy,
a great and rich country, were on the side of the
English. So they fought very cruelly, for the
land was full of companies of ill-paid soldiers,
who plundered the poor, so that towns fell into
decay, many fields were empty of sheep and
cows, and the roads became covered with grass.
In the villages a boy used to watch all day, from
the spire of the church, to see whether any
soldiers were riding up. If they came, the cattle


were driven into the woods, and men, women,
and children ran to hide themselves, carrying
such things away as they could. The soldiers of
all sorts robbed equally, for they had often no
regular pay, and the Scots were not behindhand
in helping themselves wherever they went.
Even gentlemen and knights became chiefs of
troops of robbers, so that, whoever won in the
wars, the country people were always being

In the middle of these miseries Joan was bom,
in a village where almost everybody was on the
side of the Dauphin : the right side. In the
village nearest to hers, Maxey, the people took
the English side, and the boys of the two places
had pitched battles with sticks and stones. It is
true that they would have found some other reason
for fighting, even if the English had not been in
France. Joan used to see her brothers, Peter
and John, come home from these battles with
their noses bleeding, and with black eyes, but
she did not take part herself in these wars.

Her village was near a strong-walled town
called Vaucouleurs, which was on the side of the
Dauphin. When Joan was a little girl she did
not see very much of the cruelty of the soldiers ;
the village was only visited once or twice by
enemies. But she heard of what was going on
in the rest of France : ** there was great pity in
France," she said. She did, once or twice, see
some of the " pity." There was a man caUed


The oak called the Fairy Tree —Page 10


Henry d'Orly, living in a castle named Doulevant,
who, like many other gentlemen in these days,
was a captain of robbers.

One day several spearmen of his rode into
Domremy, Joan's village, and seized Joan's
father's cows, with all the other cows that they
could find, just as the Scotts, Elliots, and Arm-
strongs used to ride across the Border and drive
the cattle of the English farmers. But a lady
lived in a strong castle near Domremy, and when
she heard how the village people had been
plundered she sent the news to a gentleman in
the neighborhood, who gathered his spearmen
and rode after the robbers. The thieves, of
course, could not ride faster than the stolen
cows could trot ; they pricked the poor beasts
with their spears, and made them lumber along,
but a cow is slow at best. The pursuers
galloped and came on the cattle in a little town,
while the thieves were drinking in the wine
shops. When they heard the horses of the pur-
suers gallop down the street, they mounted their
horses and spurred for their lives ; but now
came their master, Henry d'Orly, with more
spearmen, who followed after the cattle and the
gentlemen who were driving them home. They
turned and charged Henry d'Orly, and cleared
the road, and the cows came home to Domremy,
all safe.

Another time all the people in Domremy had
to fly from home, and go to a town called Neui-


chateau, where they were safe behind strong
walls. They only stayed there for a few days,
but, later, the English said that Joan had been
a servant in an inn at this town, and had learned
to ride there, which was quite untrue.

There were beautiful woods near the village,
and in one oak wood an oak called the Fairy Tree.
There was a story that a beautiful fairy used to
meet her lover at that tree, just as, under the
Eildon Hill, the Queen of Fairyland met Thomas
the Rhymer. The children used to take cakes,
and make feasts, and hang garlands of flowers
on the boughs of that oak ; but Joan did not
care much about fairies, and preferred to lay her
wild flowers beneath the statues of Saints in the
village Church, especially St. Catherine and St.
Margaret. Of course, all this was long before
the Reformation, in which the Protestants broke
the images of Saints in the churches, and
smashed their pictures on the glass windows
with stones, and destroyed a beautiful statue of
Joan on the bridge of Orleans.

These things were done more than a hundred
years after Joan was dead.

Though Joan could run faster than the other
girls and boys, and beat them when they ran
races, she liked to be quiet. Nobody could sew
and spin better than she did, and she was very
fond of praying alone in church. She would
even go away from the other children into lonely
places, and implore God to have pity on France,


Joan lays her wild flowers beneath the Statue
of St. Catherine. — Page 10


The services in churcli, the singing and music,
made her very happy, and when she heard the
" church bells across the fields, she would say her
prayer. She was very kind, and would give up
her bed to any poor traveller whom her father
took in for a night, and would sleep beside the
hearth. She took care of the sick, and, if ever
she had any money, she would spend it on
Masses to be said in honor of God, and for the
sake of men's souls.

So Joan lived till she was thirteen. She was
a strong, handsome girl, beautifully made, with
black hair. We do not know the color of her
eyes, probably brown or dark gray. A young
knight wrote to his mother, when he first saw
Joan, that she was " a creature all divine.'* Joan
never sat to a painter for her portrait, though
once she saw a kind of fancy picture of herself
in the hands of a Scottish archer.

Yoimg men do not say so much about a girl
who is not beautiful, and, indeed, armies do not
rush together to follow a maiden with no good
looks. But though Joan, when she came to
to command armies, liked to be well dressed, and
to have fine armor, that was partly because she
was a natural, healthy girl, and partly because
she was a kind of banner for men to follow into
fight, and banners ought to be splendid.

She took no thought of her own beauty, and
the yoimg knights and squires who fought, later,
under her flag, said that they looked on her as



a sacred thing, and never dreamed of making
love to her. She let it be known that she would
never marry any one, while the English were
still in France. She was not a nun, and had not
made a vow never to marry at all, but while her
country was in danger she never thought of
marriage ; she had other things to do.



When Joan was about thirteen a very wonderful
thing happened to her. One day she and
the other girls and boys were running a race
for a crown of flowers. Joan was easily the
winner, and, as she was running, a child who
was looking on cried, " Joan, I see you flying
along without touching the ground." After the
race Joan had a curious feeling as if she did not
know where she was, and then heard a young
man's voice near her, bidding her to go home,
for her mother needed her. She did not know
who spoke ; she thought it might be her brother,
or one of her neighbors, so she ran home. She
found that her mother had not sent for her, and
she was going back to her friends, when a
bright light like a shining cloud appeared to her,
and a Voice told her to go and save France from
the English. Till that hour she had been sorry
for the sorrows in France, but as she was only
a little girl, she had never thought that she
could lead an army against the English.

This is the first account that people heard of
the coming of the mysterious Voices to Jeanne .
it was written down about four years after the
Voices first came, and six weeks after Joan'a



first great defeat of the English (in May 1429).
Two years later, after Joan was a prisoner of the
English, the French priests and lawyers who
took the English side asked her thousands of
questions about everything that she had done in
her life, and the answers were written down in
a book, word for word. They asked her about
these wonderful Voices. There were things that
she refused to tell these priests and lawyers,
but she did say this :

"When I was about thirteen there came to
me a Voice from God, teaching me how I was to
behave and what I was to do. And the first
time that Voice came, I was afraid. I was
standing about the middle of the day, in summer,
in my father's garden. The Voice came from
the right hand, from where the church stands,
and when it came I usually saw a great light on
the side from which it spoke. The Voice told
me to be a good girl and go to church, and go
to save France. I said that I was only a poor
girl, who could not ride or lead the soldiers in
the wars," but the Voice kept on for years, tell-
ing her that she must go.

She not only heard Voices, but she saw shin-
ing figures of the Saints in heaven. She never
would tell the lawyers much about how the
Saints appeared to her, but said, "I saw them
as clearly as I see you, and I used to cry when
they went away. And I wished that they would
take me with them where they went."


These Saints were St. Margaret, St. Catherine,
and the Archangel St. Michael. When Joan
spoke to her own friends about what she saw
and heard, they say that " she seemed marvel-
lously happy, lifting her eyes to heaven." This
is all that we know about these wonderful
things which kept Joan company from the time
when she was thirteen to the day of her death,
when she was nineteen, advising her about what
she was to do for the saving of France. If the
Voices had not spoken to her often, she would
never have gone to the wars, and for some years
she told nobody about the Voices, and stayed at
home in her village. Even when she went to the
wars, her friends could not persuade her to say
more than I have told you about these strange
things. She said that she had a "council"
which advised her in everything. If there was
much noise in a room where she might be, she
could not hear the Voices distinctly. Only one
person said that he saw angels* faces in her
company; none of her friends who knew her
best saw or heard anything extraordinary. She
very much disliked to speak about the Saints
and Voices.



Time went on, and tlie Dauphin, the rightful
Prince of France, was more and more unfortu-
nate. It is true that Henry V., the King of
England, died. He was a great soldier, and his
son was only a baby, but the war was carried on
by the brother of the late King, the Duke of
Bedford; by the Earl of Salisbury; by the
famous Talbot; by Sir John Fastolf, and many
other English generals. The Scots won a great
victory over the English at Bauge bridge, where
the Duke of Clarence, the brother of Henry V.,
was killed. But the French and Scots were
beaten at Verneuil, where most of the Scots fell
fighting bravely. However, a new army came
from Scotland, under Stewart of Darnley, and
still the war went on.

By that time the Dauphin only held France
south of the great river Loire. The strongest
place which was true to the Dauphin was the
town of Orleans. If the English could once take
that city, and fill it with provisions, and guns,
and other weapons, the French could not hope
to win it back again, and the English would
overrun the whole of the centre and south of



Joan hears the Voice. — Page 14


France, and drive the Dauphin out of his own
country. He was very poor and very unhappy.
He could scarcely pay his bootmaker, and as he
was not a good fighting man, he lived here and
there idly, at towns south of Orleans, such as
Blois and Poitiers, He used to wonder whether
he had not better give up the war, and go to
Spain or Scotland. Another thing made him
miserable. He did not know for certain whether
he had really the right to be a King or not, as
many people said that he was not truly the son
of the last King of France.

In his distress he prayed, privately and in
silence, that he might know whether or not he
was the rightful prince, and ought to be crowned
and anointed as King. But he told nobody
about this, and lived as he best could, wandering
from one town to another. Then he heard that
his great city of Orleans was being besieged by
the English, in the autumn of the year 1428.
Orleans lies on the right bank of the river Loire,
which here is deep, broad, and swift, with
several islands in the middle of the current.
The bridge was fortified, on the farther side, by
two strong towers, called Les Tourelles, but the
English took this fortification, and so the people
of Orleans could not cross the river by the
bridge, and they broke down an arch, that the
English might not cross to them.

One day the English general came to this fort,
at the time when the soldiers of both sides dined,


to look out of a narrow window, and watch what
was going on in the besieged town. Now it
happened that a cannon lay, ready loaded, in a
niche of the gate-tower of Orleans that looked
straight along the bridge to the Tourelles. The
English general, the Earl of Salisbury, was
peeping through the narrow window, thinking
himself quite safe, as the French soldiers in Or-
leans had gone to dinner. But a small French
boy went into the gate-tower of Orleans, and
seeing a cannon ready loaded, he thought it
would be amusing to set a light to the touch-hole.
So he got a linstock, as it was called, lighted it,
put it to the touch-hole, and fired off the cannon.
The bullet went straight into the narrow window
<Dut of which the English general was peeping,
and he fell back, mortally wounded.

This was a piece of good fortune for the
French, but there were plenty of other English
generals to take the place of Salisbury. The
English built strong fortresses here and there,
outside the walls and gates of the town, to pre-
vent help and food and wine and powder from
being brought to the besieged French. But the
people of Orleans were brave, and were com-
manded by good officers, such as Dunois, young
Xaintrailles, La Hire, a rough, swearing knight,
and others who became true friends of Joan of
Arc, and food was brought in easily enough.

The English had won so many battles that
they despised the French, and so they did not


take pains, and, besides, they had not men
enough to surround Orleans and prevent cattle
being driven in from the country. The English
seem to have had no more than four thousand
soldiers. They were neither strong enough to take
the town by storm, nor many enough to surround
it and starve the French into showing the white
flag, and giving up the place.

In fact, the English had been beating the
French just because they believed they could
beat them, and thought that one Englishman
was as good as three Frenchmen at least. This
was nonsense, but, under Henry V., at Agincourt,
a few English had beaten a great French army,
because the French fought foolishly, trying to
gallop to the charge over wet, heavy ploughed
land, while the English archers shot them down
in hundreds. But the French, you will see, had
learned the English way of fighting on foot, and
could have held their own, if they had not lost



Joan, far away in Domremy, would hear of the
danger in which Orleans lay, now and then, and
her Voices kept insisting that she must go and
drive away the English. She used to cry, and
say that she would be quite useless, as she could
not ride or fight, and people would think her
mad, or bad, and laugh at her.

The Voices told her to go to the nearest strong-
walled French town, Vaucouleurs, and ask the
commander there, Robert de Baudricourt, to send
her to the Dauphin, who was then far away, at
Chinon, a castle on the Loire, south of Orleans.
When she saw the King, she was to tell him
that she had come to save France.

This seemed quite a mad proposal. Baudricourt
was a great, rough, sensible soldier, and how
could Joan go to him with a message of this
kind ? He would merely laugh at the simburned
girl in her short red kirtle — a girl who, probably,
had never spoken to a gentleman before.

Perhaps this was the hardest part of Joan's
duty, for she was modest, and she was very quick
to notice anything absurd and ridiculous. Now
nothing could seem more laughable than the



notion that a little country wench of sixteen
could teach the French to defeat the English.
But there was no help for it. The Voices, and
the shining cloud, and the faces of Saints and
angels came, several times every week, and a
Voice said, " Daughter of God, go on ! I will ba
with you."

Joan had an uncle who lived near Vaucouleurs,
and she went to stay with him. It seems that
she told him she must go to the Dauphin, and
the first thing needful was to get Robert de
Baudricourt to lend her a few men-at-arms, who
would protect her on her long journey to Chinon.
The imcle must have been very much astonished,
but it seems that he believed in her, for he took
her to Robert. Of course Robert laughed, and
told Joan's uncle to take her away, and box her
ears. But she came again, and then a priest
wanted to exorcise her, that it is to frighten the
devil out of her, with religious services and holy
water, as if she had been "possessed," like peo-
ple in the New Testament. But Joan was not
possessed, and the priest, after trying the holy
water, could only say so.

By this time the month of February 1429 had
come round. The besieged French in Orleans
had now a great misfortune. The season of Lent
was coming ; that is, a time when they were not
allowed to eat beef and mutton, but only fish,
and eggs, and vegetables. Now a great nimiber
of wagons loaded with herrings were being sent


to feed the English who were besieging Orleans.
The general of the French in Orleans knew that,
and he determined to send out soldiers to attack
the English who would be guarding the long line
of wagons full of herrings. They would wait for
the English on the road, cut them up, and carry
the fish into the town for their own use.

So a great many of the Scots and some French
slipped out of Orleans by night, and went to a
place called Rouvray, on the road by which the
herrings were to pass. Here they were to be
joined by another small French army, under a
general named Clermont. So they reached Rou-

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Online LibraryAndrew LangThe story of Joan of Arc, the maid of Orleans → online text (page 1 of 5)