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arms I will also arm myself, and let him take his station before the city; and if he can secure me, let him cause me to be burnt; and if I discomfit him, let him raise the siege and go back to his own country.” This singular challenge was not accepted by our English hero.
Notwithstanding the disdain with which the English affected to treat Jeanne d'Arc, it is certain that they already began to feel the fatal effects of her influence, as the ardour with which she inspired the French soldiery spread terror through the British ranks.
On the day when the convoy entered Orleans, Dunois, according to the deposition of Daulon, repaired to the residence of La Pucelle, and announced to her that Fastolf was conducting reinforcements to the English. Jeanne, rejoiced at the idea of having to combat that redoubted enemy, expressed herself in the following terms to the Bastard : “ Bastard, bastard, en nom de Dieu, je te commande que tantôt que tu sauras la venue dudit Fastolf, que tu me le fasses savoir ; car s'il passe sans que je le sache, je te promets que je te ferai ôter la tête. Bastard, bastard, in the name of God, I command thee, that as soon as thou shalt ascertain the coming of the said Fastolf, that thou lettest me know; for if he passes without my knowledge, I promise thee that thy head shall be stricken off.” It is obvious that this exclamation was the result of an enthusiastic feeling which prompted Jeanne to wish for an encounter with that hardy English chieftain. Dunois entertained a similar opinion, as appears from the moderation manifested in his reply, which was to the following effect: “ That she need have no doubt upon that head, as he would take care to give her the necessary information.”
Thus was the promise made by Jeanne d'Arc to succour Orleans accomplished. The unexpected success of an enterprise attended with so much difficulty, during which none of the impediments that were apprehended had presented themselves, forcibly operated upon the multitude; and in consequence, the most incredulous no longer entertained doubts as to the celestial mission of La Pucelle. The English, on the other hand, who were already apprized of the harangues and the conduct of Jeanne, felt a disquietude they were unable to conceal. When they beheld the maid come to defy them at the head of an inferior force, they were completely paralyzed with fear; and it is ascertained beyond a doubt that they regarded as a sorceress *
. The truth of this assertion may be inferred from the following letter, written by the duke of Bedford after the raising of the siege of Orleans and the battle of Patay. .“ All things here proved propitious for you (Henry VI.) until the period of the siege of Orleans, undertaken God only knows from what advia. About this period, after the mishap that occurred to my cousin of Salisbury, whom God absolve,
the very person who was looked upon by the French as a messenger from God: nor could it indeed be otherwise, when we consider the ideas then prevalent, and the superstition so universally predominating over the public mind.
Jeanne speedily commenced an attack upon the bastilles of the English. Military discipline in the fifteenth century differed widely from that of the present age. Commanders, in the times of wbich we are speaking, formed enterprises according to the events that transpired, and were led to decide from casual circumstances. Some of the military leaders at Orleans, without having either consulted Dunois or apprized La Pucelle, made a sortie from the city, and attacked the bastille of Saint Loup, which had been strongly.fortified and well garrisoned by lord Talbot. The assault, which had been undertaken at the spur of the moment, was in the first instance successful; but on a sudden the
another terrible blow hath been struck, by the hands of God, as I feel persuaded, upon your people assembled there. This reverse in a great measure resulted, as I have well ascertained, from the unfortunate belief and superstitious dread inspired in them by a woman, the true disciple of Satan, formed from the excrement of bell, called La Pucelle, who made use of enchantments and sorcery. These disasters and this defeat have not only caused a great part of your troops to perish, but have at the same time discouraged in the most astonishing manner those who still remain; and what is more, have led your enemies to assemble in far greater numbers. Rymer, vol. x. page 408.
tide of fortune changed, and victory abandoned the French standard. Jeanne d'Arc was at her hotel near Renard Gate; and to the present day the chamber is pointed out which she occupied in the residence of Jacques Boucher, treasurer of the duke of Orleans, now known by the name of La Maison de l'Annonciade.
Jeanne d'Arc had retired to rest, when suddenly awaking, she cried aloud for her arms, saying that the blood of Frenchmen was flowing, and complaining that she had not been earlier aroused from sleep. She instantly accoutred herself, mounted the horse of her page, which she found in the street, and ordered Louis de Contes to go for her banner, which she had forgotten; and so much was she pressed, that she desired he would hand it to her through the casement. Having procured her standard, she spurred her horse, and rode direct for the scene of danger, using such speed that Daulon and Louis de Contes could not overtake her until they arrived at Burgundy Gate.*
* Jeanne was lodged at the western gate of Brleans, whereas that of Burgundy is to the east; so that she traversed the whole city before her squires overtook her, such being the rapidity of her movements.
When La Pucelle gained Burgundy Gate, she met some men bearing the wounded into the city; upon which she exclaimed, “ I never behold the blood of Frenchmen flow, but my hair stands erect upon my head.”—Chaussard, vol. i. p. 24.
The presence of Jeanne gave confidence to the retreating French, whom she commanded to return to the assault; thus changing the posture of affairs by her presence of mind, celerity, and courage. Lord Talbot in vain gave orders that the English who garrisoned the other fortresses should repair to aid the bastille besieged. The - French, who had hitherto continued within the city, flew to the scene of action, and repelled those English who sought to assist the besieged; even lord Talbot did not dare advance to the spot whither the heroine directed her steps, * so that the boulevard was at length taken by main force, and all that refused to surrender were put to the sword.
On the fifth of May, being the festival of the Ascension, La Pucelle declared that nothing should be undertaken to disturb the solemnity of the day; and in the evening Jeanne once more had recourse
* Hume agrees in stating that Talbot, after having ordered the troops from the bastilles, did not dare appear in open country against so formidable an enemy.
+ Such was the piety of Jeanne d'Arc, that she gave orders that no injury should be done to the chaplains or ecclesiastics who should be found within the forts, as they were stationed there only for spiritual purposes. These prisoners, after being humanely treated in the city, were suffered to return to the English camp; a mode of conduct La Pucelle uniformly pursued during the various attacks that took place. ---Deposition of Louis de Contes, Lenglet, vol. i. 67.