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Jeanne d'Arc set out from Tours and arrived at Blois, followed by her whole retinue, having compelled her chaplain to promise that he would never quit her from that period. She had received from the king the authority attached to a general of the army; and he also especially commanded that nothing should be undertaken without her having been previously consulted.
The marsbals de Raïs and Saint Severe, to whose care the escort of the expedition had been confided, soon arrived in safety at Blois. La Pucelle continued in that city for two or three days ; during which period she for the first time arrayed herself in armour. Being desirous that a certain number of priests should attend the convoy, she issued orders to her almoner to have a banner prepared, as a particular rallying point for those ecclesiastics; which standard was to bear a representation of Christ upon the cross. These commands were punctually executed.
Assembled under this pacific banner, the priests chanted anthems and sacred hymns ; while Jeanne d'Arc, prostrate in the midst of them, mingled with their solemn strains the most fervent prayers to Heaven. No warrior was permitted to have any rank in this saintly corps, if he had not on that very day presented himself before the tribunal of penitence. Jeanne strenuously exhorted the soldiers to render themselves worthy of constituting a part of this holy battalion. Every disposition thus made was conformable to
the spirit of that era, and could not fail to produce a very lively sensation among the troops; which soon became apparent, as the religious enthusiasm of La Pucelle infused into the soldiery a firm belief that it was impossible they could fail of the victory.
Florent d'Illiers, a very brave captain who commanded at Châteaudun, joined the forces with a certain number of intrepid warriors; who, accompanied by La Hire, made an attempt to enter Orleans with four hundred combatants, and succeeded in this enterprise on Thursday the 28th April, 1429.
At this juncture, as we have before stated, the inhabitants of Orleans were reduced to such cruel extremity that their only hope was in obtaining assistance from Heaven: the arrival, therefore, of Jeanne d'Arc, announced as the envoy of God, was. ardently looked for. La Pucelle used every effort to set forward from Blois with the expedition, and it was from that city she in the first instance summoned the English to abandon the siege of Orleans, eharging one of her heralds at arms to convey the following letter to the chiefs of the enemy's forces :
Jhesus MARIA. X "Roy d'Angleterre, et vous, Duc de Bedford, qui vous dictes Regent le royaume de France; vous
* A translation of this letter will be found at pages 46 to 48 of the Diary.
Guillaume de la Poule (Pole) conte de Sulford (Suffolk,) Jehan, sire de Talebot (Talbot,) et vous, Thomas, sire de Scales, qui vous dictes lieutenant dudit duc de Bedford, faictes raison au Roy du ciel; rendez à La Pucelle * qui est cy envoyée de par Dieu le Roy du ciel, les clefs de toutes les bonnes villes que vous avez prises et violées en France. Elle est cy venue de par
pour reclamer le sanc royal. Elle est toute preste de faire paix, si vous luy voulez faire raison, par ainsi que France vous mectrez jus, et paierez ce que vous l'avez tenu. Et entre vous, archiers, compaignons de guerre; gentilz et autres, qui estes devant la ville d'Orleans, alez vous en vostre païs de par Dieu ; et se ainsi ne le faictes, attendez les nouvelles de La Pucelle, qui vous ira veoir briefvement à vos bien grans dommaiges. Roy d'Angleterre, se ainsi ne le faictes, je suis chief de guerre,t et en quelque lieu que je attaindrai voz gens en France, je les en feray tous occire. Je suis cy envoyée de par Dieu, le Roy du ciel, pour vous bouter hors de toute France. Et si veullent obéir,
* Jeanne in the course of her interrogatories maintained, that the words in her letter were," rendez au Roi,” and that the English had falsified this sentence for the purpose of impeaching her. See the Interrogatory of the 22d of February, 1431.
† During the trial of Jeanne d'Arc, she affirmed that the words “ Je suis chef de guerre" had been added to the original as dictated by herself.-Interrogatory of 22d February, 1431.
je les prendray à mercy. Et n'ayez pas en vostre opinion, quar vous ne tendrez (tiendrez) point le royaume de Dieu, le Roy du ciel, filz de Saincte Marie: ains le tendra le Roy Charles, vray héritier ; car Dieu, le Roy du ciel, le veult, et lui est revelé par La Pucelle : lequel entrera à Paris à bonne compaignie. Se ne le voulez croire les nouvelles de par Dieu et La Pucelle, en quelque lieu que vous trouverons, nous ferrons dedens, et y ferons un si grant hahay que encore a il mil ans que en France ne fu si grant, si vous ne faictes raison. Et croiez fermement que le Roy du ciel envoiera plus de force à La Pucelle, que vous ne lui sariez mener de tous assaulz, à elle et à ses bonnes gens d'armes ; et aux horions verra on qui ara meilleur droit de Dieu du ciel. Vous, duc de Bedford, La Pucelle vous prie et vous requiert, que vous ne vous faictes mie destruire. Se vous lui faictes raison, encore pourrez vous venir en sa compaignie, l'où que les Franchois feront le plus bel fait que oncques
fu fait pour la Xhrestpiente (Chrétienneté.) Et faictes response se vous voulez faire paix, en la cité d'Orleans. Et se ainsi ne le faictes, de vos bien grans dommages vous souviegne briefvement. Escrit ce Samedi, sepmaine sainte.” (26 Mars, 1428, Old Style.)*
That is to say, beginning the year at Easter, or 1429, calculating from the first of January.--This letter, which is written in a very plain style, occasioned numerous interro
Every thing being in readiness for the departure of the expedition, Jeanne d'Arc, accompanied by marshals Saint Severe, admiral de Culan, the lord de Gaucourt, La Hire, and many other captains of less celebrity, quitted Blois, and directed her march for Orleans, about the close of April, 1429. La Pucelle on this occasion caused the priests to assemble under the banner she had destined for their use, directing them to proceed at the head of the forces, which amounted to about six thousand men. * This small army was well
gatories during the process of condemnation, and the judges were desirous of construing into a crime the insertion of a cross before and after the words Jesus Maria. — Lenglet, vol. i. p. 56.
* To the present period we have witnessed nothing but promises made by Jeanne d'Arc; we shall now proceed to make known the effects produced. She strenuously urged the French to expedite the convoy, previously to quitting Blois, obliging them also to confess and receive the sacrament, and then gave them assurances of celestial aid. It might be looked upon as a kind of prodigy to behold a girl of seventeen or eighteen years of age, without education, performing the functions of missionary and general at the same time; and what is still more extraordinary, that the generals and officers should have been obedient to her cominand as if she had been their superior.—Depositions of Simon de Beaucrair and the Count Dunois, of 22d February, 1456. Vide Lenglet, vol. i. p. 57.
In front of the army were assembled the priests of the city,