Imágenes de páginas

to conciliate every heart, and impressed all those who surrounded her with respectful admiration.

De Metz and Poulengy proceeded by the most unfrequented routes, avoiding the public roads, and all towns of consequence. They passed near Auxerre, and soon arrived at Gien, the first city under the dominion of Charles VII. which they had as yet gained in the course of their march.

The news of the arrival of Jeanne d'Arc spread with rapidity even to the city of Orleans, for the succour of which place she was so speedily to march.

Some popular reports were spread in favour of Jeanne d'Arc even prior to her arrival at Chinon; which gained considerably upon the public mind from the following circumstance. One of the doctors named to examine La Pucelle, stated before witnesses, that a woman named Marie d'Avignon had previously presented herself to Charles VII., who pretended it had been revealed to her that the kingdom of France would still suffer great misery, (which was by no means surprising under existing circumstances,) and that it would be precipitated into a state of universal desolation. She then added, that in a vision, arms had been presented to her, at which she was greatly terrified, under the apprehension that they were intended for herself; but she was told to be under no apprehension, for that it was not her who was to use them, but a certain Maiden who would appear to rescue France from its enemies.

To this first tale may be subjoined what had been stated by Jeanne herself; that it was rumoured abroad, a girl would come from the wood of Chenu, which was situated near the dwelling of her parents, who was to rescue the country. It was

La Pucelle then passed the Loire, and proceeding on her road towards Chinon, arrived at the town of Fierbois, containing a church dedicated to Saint Catherine. Meeting with an edifice consecrated to one of her celestial protectors, did not fail to make a strong impression upon her mind. Being then only five or .six leagues from Chinon, she might consider herself as arrived at the end of her journey, and from thence she addressed a letter to the king, which was in substance as follows : That she was desirous of knowing whether or not she should enter the city wherein his majesty then sojourned ; that she had performed a tedious and a perilous journey of one hundred and fifty leagues for the express purpose of rendering him assistance; and that she was acquainted with many things that would be agreeable to him.

Jeanne d'Arc carried her devotion to such a length that she attended the celebration of three masses in one day, in the church of Saint Catherine de

in consequence of this popular tale, that one of the assessors at the process of revisal stated, that he had read it in the book of Merlin; and another witness pretended that the circumstance was mentioned to the lord Talbot, after he was captured at the battle of Patay. It is not surprising that circuinstances of this nature should have forcibly operated on the public mind; particularly as a prediction had long existed purporting that a girl from the marshes of Lorraine would prove the saviour of France. It may be conceived what an impression the arrival of La Pucelle in the neighbourhood of Chinon must bave created.


It is most probable that the king's answer to her letter was favourable ; for she very soon left Fierbois, and arrived at Chinon the same day, taking up her abode at an inn, kept by a female, near the castle of Chinon.

The arrival of Jeanne d'Arc was at a favourable juncture for giving publicity to the wonderful promises which she conveyed to the king. Orleans, the only remaining rampart of the monarchy, was reduced to the last extremity, and there appeared no possibility of yielding assistance to that determined and faithful city. Money and troops were both wanting-all was despair ; and the only assistance to be hoped for, was from Heaven.

Jeanne d'Arc was not admitted to Charles VII. without much precaution being observed ; since the court manifested great irresolution as to the steps that should be taken in regard to her, and many were of opinion that she ought to be dismissed without having an audience.t After deliberating

.Novelompont testifies how much he was edified by the piety and the charity of Jeanne d'Arc, who, notwithstanding all the difficulties incidental to the journey, uniformly sought every opportunity of attending mass, and never failed to distribute charity

+ Charles does not appear to have been biassed by the first impulses of his mind; but was, on the contrary, particularly reserved, having refused to see Jeanne until after he had consulted the council.

for two days, it was decided that Jeanne should be admitted ; but she underwent an examination before the commissioners previous to her interview with the king. In the first instance she refused to make any answers to interrogatories, merely stating that her desire was to communicate with the Dauphin.*

The maid, being lodged at the castle Ducoudray, was visited by such persons as the king deputed. The members of the council were divided in their opinions, some being adverse to, and others in favour of Jeanne's admittance to the king. The former, in particular, advised Charles not to pay attention to the plantasies of a bewildered girl, who was very probably suborned by the enemy; and that he should, above all, take heed not to be made the dupe of the English.

Jeanne was in the first instance examined by the bishop of Meaux and Jean Morin, to whom La Pucelle stated, as usual, that she came from Le Roi du ciel, that she had heard celestial voices which gave her advice, and that she was to be guided by those supernatural emissaries.

Charles, having compared the contents of Baudricourt's letter with the statements made by Jeanne at this preliminary examination, and being in particular struck with the account of her dangerous journey, so miraculously effected, was led to wish for an interview with the maid. These circumstances being equally made known to the council, the major part acquiesced, and her introduction to the royal presence was in consequence decided upon.--Chaussard, part first, pages 10, 11, & 12.

* It was particularly asked of Jeanne, why she did not apply the title of King, in lieu of Dauphin, to Charles VII.; to which she made answer, that he would not be king and the absolute possessor of his kingdom until he had been crowned at Rheims; after which event his affairs would continue to prosper, in


At length, being pressed to reply on the part of the monarch, she stated : “ Qu'elle avait deux choses à accomplir de la part du Roi des cieur; la première de faire lever le siége d'Orléans, et la deuxième de conduire le Roi à Rheims, et de l'y faire sacrer et couronner. That she had two things to accomplish on the part of the King of heaven; first, to cause the siege of Orleans to be raised ; and secondly, to conduct the king to Rheims, there to be anointed and crowned.”

Charles VII. feeling dissatisfied with the report made by the first commissioners appointed for that purpose,* ordered a second examination of Jeanne

proportion as those of the English declined.- Lenglet, vol. i.

page 41.

• The persons deputed to examine La Pucelle, were, Regnaut de Chartres, archbishop of Rheims, who had been three months nominated chancellor of France; Christophe de Harcourt, bishop of Castres, the king's confessor; Guillaume Charpentier, bishop of Poitiers ; Nicolas le Grand, bishop of Senlis; the bishop of Montpellier; Jean Jourdain, a doctor in theology of Paris, together with many other doctors. Jeanne d'Arc was interrogated in presence of Jean II. duke d'Alençon, a prince of the blood, who was bound upon bis faith and his religion.- Lenglet, vol. i.

page 33.

Luchet, at page 9, speaking of this examination, says, that the ambiguous answers of La Pucelle gave rise to fresh doubts; that a second commission was nominated; and the following five questions addressed to Jacques Gelu, archbishop of Tours, for the purpose of ascertaining his opinion upon each.

Ques. Does it appertain to the Supreme Being to concern him

« AnteriorContinuar »