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escorted La Pucelle from Vaucouleurs, made known to the public all the marvellous circumstances attending their journey through a territory occupied by the enemy. The bishop of Castres fomented the general enthusiasm which was thus created, by affirming that he believed Jeanne d'Arc was messenger from God, and that it was to her the prophecies alluded which were at that period current among the people. These prognostics, the origin of which was altogether unknown, went to state, that the kingdom of France, lost by a woman, (Isabella of Bavaria,) would be saved by a virgin of the marches (frontiers) of Lorraine.*
Before he placed implicit confidence in Jeanne, Charles deemed it expedient to subject her to a
She was supposed to be inspired, and such she might be by the intervention of Lucifer. According to the absurd prejudices of those times, the devil could not enter into any compact with a
* “ Qu'aussi, avant
que La Pucelle d'Orléans arriva à Chinon, où estoit le roy Charles VII., il luy avoit esté prédit, que luy et son royaume seroient fort affligés, mais que devers luy il viendroit une Pucelle qui le délivreroit.” — Gerson, Pasquier, Hordal, Dupleix.
“ Auxquelles révélations estoient jointes les prophéties des Anglois, qui disoient qu'ils avoient une certaine prophétie de Merlin, leur prophète, qui leur prédisoit qu'ils devoient estre destruits en France par une Pucelle.”—Hist. et Antiq. de la Ville d'Orléans, par François le Mair, 1648, fol. 187 et 188.
virgin; and, in consequence, Jeanne d'Arc was obliged to submit to an examination, at which the queen of Sicily, Jolande of Arragon, and the ladies de Gaucourt and de Treves, presided. She was, in consequence, pronounced pure;* and it is stated, on this occasion, to have been ascertained that Jeanne, who was then between seventeen and eighteen years of age, had not been subject to the monthly appearances incidental to her sex; which, it is further said, she never experienced : a peculiarity worthy of being remarked. According to the deposition of Jeanne Pasquerel, it appears that previous to this inquiry respecting her virginity, Jeanne had been subjected to an examination as to her sex.
During these transactions, the agents who had been forwarded to Domremy returned to Chinon, having brought the most favourable testimonies in regard to La Pucelle, who having thus surmounted every impediment, was at length permitted to proceed to the city of Orleans. The fame of her mission was now disseminated far and wide; the men at arms, who had previously felt discouraged, voluntarily flocked around La Pucelle ; and the oldest captains, nay, even princes, felt disposed to march under her ensign.
Charles despatched the duke of Alençon to Blois,
* See Notes to the Diary, pp. 156 and 159.
in order to prepare the convoy which was intended for the succour of Orleans; and he permitted Jeanne to proceed as far as Tours, there to remain until everything should be in readiness for the expedition. At this period a regular establishment was accorded to La Pucelle, consisting of a guard for her person, valets to attend her, and all the equipage suitable for a chief of war. Jean Daulon, who was afterwards seneschal of Beaucaire, uniformly served her in the capacity of esquire ; * and her pages were Louis de Contes and Raymond; besides whom she had two heralds at arms, the one named Guienne and the other Ambleville. Jeanne chose for almoner Jacques Pasquerel, of the order of brother hermits of Saint Augustin. According to the statement of Charles Dulys, a descendant of the family of Arc, in his collection of inscriptions published in honour of this famous woman, Jeanne d'Arc had also for chaplain brother Nicolas Romée, otherwise called Vauthon, a professed monk of the abbey of Cheminon, for whom she procured a dispensation and permission from the abbot, by command of the king, in order that he might follow her to the army. Charles VII., either at Chinon or at Tours, caused a complete suit of armour to be prepared, that was made to fit the body of Jeanne. The sword wherewith La Pucelle armed herself,
See Notes to the Diary, p. 160.
* this weapon
bore the impression of five crosses ; was found behind the grand altar of the church of Saint Catherine de Fierbois, where it was discovered from the instructions given by Jeanne herself. The ecclesiastics, whom she had requested to search for this weapon, furnished a scabbard covered with crimson velvet, and powdered with golden fleursde-lis; Jeanne, however, would only carry the sword in a plain leather scabbard. She likewise ordered a standard, and gave directions in what manner it should be decorated; of which the following is a description, as given by herself: - On a white ground, powdered with fleurs-de-lis, was re
• The king bad expressed his intention of presenting a sword to Jeanne, when she signified her wish to have the weapon that was concealed in the church of St. Catherine of Fierbois. She was very closely interrogated respecting this sword during her trial, and particularly concerning the crosses wherewith it was impressed, as if any sorcery could be connected with the marks in question. - Lenglet, vol. i. p. 51.
† For some curious information respecting this sword, see Notes to the Diary, pp. 171-173.
1 There is every reason to suppose that Jeanne d'Arc bore in mind the famous oriflamme, borne by the kings of France in battle, when she caused this flag to be prepared. This royal standard, which derived its name from the golden flames wherewith it was embellished, was, according to historians, sent from heaven to Clovis, or Charlemagne, and used by the French monarchs in their wars against the infidels. - Abbé le Gendre,
presented the Saviour of mankind, seated in his tribunal in the clouds of heaven, and supporting a globe in his hands. To the right and to the left were depicted two angels in the act of adoration. One of these held a fleur-de-lis in its hand, upon which God was apparently pronouncing a benediction; and on the side were inscribed these words: Jhesus Muria. The king having particularly questioned Jeanne d'Arc concerning this banner, she stated, although very reluctant to speak upon the subject, that “ Sainte Catherine et Sainte Marguérite lui avaient donné l'ordre de la prendre : Saint Catherine and Saint Marguerite had commanded her to bear it.” This ensign La Pucelle bore in her own hand as frequently as circumstances would admit; and on being asked the reason for so doing, she made answer: “ C'est qu'elle ne voulait pas se servir de son épée pour répandre le sang : It was that she would not carry her sword to shed blood.”
The duke d'Alençon used every effort to expedite the several preparations necessary for the convoy intended for Orleans. Nothing more was to be done in the first instance, for notwithstanding the reiterated promises of Jeanne d'Arc, little hope was entertained of any further success. The orders were at length completed; and were duly paid for, which was no very trifling difficulty to surmount in the critical position of the finances of Charles VII.