Imágenes de páginas

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 phantasies 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 VIJ.; 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

[merged small][ocr errors]

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 cieux; 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 his 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.

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

d'Arc; and resolved upon sending into her native country to ascertain the life she had led, her character, and her morals. During this interval, a

self with the actions of a simple individual, or even with the concerns of a kingdom ?

Ans. Sometimes, and always for the good of the concern in question.

Ques. Is it not more fitting for God to employ his angels in accomplishing his will than to have recourse to man?

Ans. If God in ancient times thought fit to depute a crow, in order to give sustenance to Paul and Anthony the hermits, with much more semblance of reason might he resort to the agency of men.

Ques. Is it more fitting that the Almighty should employ a woman than a man?

Ans. The Virgin knew the mystery of the Incarnation, and the Sibyls taught men secrets which they acquired from the Divinity.

Ques. May it not be an artifice of the devil ?
Ans. That will be ascertained by the good that results.

Ques. In such case is it not necessary to employ prudence and wisdom?

Ans. That costs nothing.

M. Luchet then continues to state, “ that notwithstanding these answers of archbishop Gelu, and the revelations made to the king respecting the prayer addressed to the Divinity in his oratory at Loches, where he was not at the time she specified, Jeanne acquired no great reputation.

The kind of insensate rapture with which we frequently hail momentous occurrences failed to denote any grand success that might accrue to our heroine in future, as the only conclusion was, that Jeanne should undergo a second interrogatory:

[ocr errors]
[merged small][ocr errors][merged small]

lodging was assigned for her in the castle Ducou-
dray. Many noblemen went thither to see the
maid, who were astonished at her natural eloquence,
the tone of inspiration that reigned throughout her
discourse, and the extraordinary piety she mani-
fested. It appears that Jeanne spent nearly the
whole of the day in prayers, and was frequently
found upon her knees bathed in tears. After watch-
ing all her actions with scrupulous care, no symp-
toms of imposture were discoverable ; every thing
on her part announced a self-conviction of super-
natural agency, which she insensibly infused into
the minds of all those who approached her.

The king, still undecided, nevertheless wished to
see Jeanne before the return of the agents whom he
had forwarded to Domremy; but at the very time
when she approached his residence, being overcome
by fresh doubts, he was not prevailed upon to admit
her until the journey she had so recently performed
was represented to him as miraculous. This ex-
pedition, which, on account of the circuitous
routes that were traversed to avoid the enemy,
had extended to a hundred and fifty leagues, was
accomplished in eleven days. In the course of this
march it was found necessary to cross the rivers
Ornain, Marne, Aube, Armançon, Yonne, Loire,
Cher, Indre, and many other streams, rendered
dangerous on account of the inundations which
regularly occur at the season when this journey

[ocr errors]
[ocr errors]

was undertaken. The individuals who had served as an escort to Jeanne were astonished at finding no obstacle in traversing an enemy's country in the depth of winter, and along such difficult roads.

An audience with the king was at length accorded to Jeanne, on the third day after her arrival. Fifty torches illumined the apartments of the prince ; many lords more sumptuously dressed than the king were present, and upwards of three hundred knights had assembled in the audience chamber.

On the same day a singular event took place, as if for the express purpose of bringing the most incredulous minds to believe in the heavenly mission of Jeanne d'Arc. At the precise moment when she entered the royal residence, a man on horseback who had seen her pass, made inquiry of a bystander, whether that was not La Pucelle ? who being answered in the affirmative, exclaimed, blaspheming the name of the Lord, that if he had her in his possession she should not long continue a virgin. Jeanne, having overheard these words, turned her head and cried : Ha, en mon Dieu, tu le renies, et se es si près de ta mort : Ah! by my God, thou blasphemest him ; and yet thou art so nigh unto thy death!” About an hour after, this man fell into the water and was drowned.

As soon as the king understood that Jeanne was coming, he stepped aside, in order to ascertain whether she would not mistake some other person

« AnteriorContinuar »