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mentioned to the monarch by Jeanne d'Arc for the purpose of proving the reality of her mission. If La Pucelle is reproached for having afterwards stated to her almoner, that when she had replied to a variety of questions put to her by the king, she added, “ Je te dis de la part de Messire que tu es vrai héritier de France et fils de Roi; et il m'envoie à toi pour te conduire à Rheims, afin que tu y reçoives ton couronnement et ton sacre si tu le veux : I tell thee on the part of Messire (the Lord) that thou art the true heir of France and son of the king; and he hath sent me to conduct thee to Rheims, in order that thou mayest be crowned and anointed if such be thy will:" it may easily be conjectured why Charles VII. and Jeanne d'Arc attached so much importance to the concealment of the secret that existed between them. Had this fact been known, it would have confirmed the doubts entertained by the Burgundians and the English in regard to the legitimacy of the king's birth; a doubt
he should remember what he said to God, when at the same time he forgot that he was absent from his oratory at Loches. It might be imagined, that the monarch would have confided in other promises of La Pucelle after this; but he did not ; for Jeanne was sent to Poitiers, where the parliament was then sitting, in order to be examined; as if the interrogatories of judges and doctors of the university could tend to increase his confidence in a privileged person with whom Heaven had deigned to hold secret communication."
which they sedulously strove to promulgate, and which originated in the profligate course of life pursued by his mother queen Isabella, to which we have so frequently adverted in the course of our summary.
The king, having ended his discourse with Jeanne, advanced towards his courtiers, and stated, that the young girl had communicated to him certain secret affairs, which led him to place in her the greatest confidence.*
Charles VII. then deemed it expedient to com· mit Jeanne d'Arc to the care of Guillaume Bellier,
. * Notwithstanding the favourable opinion which Jeanne had gained in the mind of the king, a very opposite sentiment prevailed among the princes and captains of the court, who conceived themselves dishonoured in yielding obedience to a mere country girl, devoid of experience and of education. It was in consequence represented to Charles that he would be
come the sport of Europe and the ridicule of the English, for · relying upon the promises of a bewildered girl, as there did not exist a doubt but the French would be defeated by the enemy; that it was disgraceful in the extreme for a nation to be led by such a fanatic, and particularly the French people, who had never suffered a female to mount the throne; and that by permitting this girl to head the armies, the pretensions of Catherine of France, then queen of England, who aspired to the French crown, would be sanctioned. Such was the resolution of the council, which consisted of all the great and distinguished personages in the retinue of Charles VII.—Lenglet, vol. i. pages 31, 32.
superintendent of his household, and lieutenant governor of Chinon, whose wife was a woman of singular piety, and renowned for her praiseworthy actions. La Pucelle was permitted to present herself at court, and attend the celebration of mass in the Chapel Royal ; she also accompanied the king on his excursions of pleasure ; and the duke of Alençon, astonished to see the skill and graceful manner with which she conducted her palfrey, made her a present of a horse.* Every succeeding day increased the astonishment and admiration La Pucelle excited by her conduct, her conversation, and her
* No sooner had the duke d'Alençon learnt the arrival of Jeanne at Chinon, than he forthwith repaired to St. Florent, and on the following day saw her pass by : “ Une lance à la main, qu'elle portait et faisait mouvoir avec beaucoup de grace, et alors il lui fit don d'un beau chevul : Bearing a lance in her hand, which she carried and wielded with much grace, and then he made her a present of a fine horse.”
In addition to this, a contemporary historian, speaking of Jeanne's equestrian prowess, states : A principio ætatis suæ ... • pascendo pecora .... sapius cursum exercebat ; et modo huc atque illuc illi frequens cursus erat ; et aliquando currendo hastam ut fortis eques manu capiebat, et arborum Iruncos .... percutiebat, &c. — See Phillipe de Bergame in Hordal, page 40, who, according to Moreri, under the head Foresti, was born in 1434..
The duke of Alençon was not at Chinon when Jeanne was presented, for the first time, to the king. Upon his arrival some days after, on entering the royal chamber, Jeanne demanded who he was, to which the king replied : “ the duke of exemplary manners. Jamet de Tilloy and Villars had been despatched to the court by the count Dunois, who then acted as the intrepid defender of Orleans, for the purpose of verifying what was reported concerning this extraordinary female, and to ascertain if any reliance might be placed on the succours she had promised. These
Alençon.” “ You are right welcome," said La Pucelle : “ the more princes of the blood there are, the more will our affairs prosper." The following day Jeanne was present at the king's mass, and on perceiving the duke she made a lowly reverence. At the conclusion of the ceremony Charles summoned her to his apartment, from whence he dismissed all the courtiers except the duke of Alençon and La Trimouille. Upon this occasion Jeanne proposed several things to the king, and among others advised him to offer up his kingdom to God, who would restore it to him in the same state his predecessors had enjoyed it.—Lenglet, vol. i. pp. 43 and 44.
The beauty of Jeanne d'Arc, according to the deposition of the duke of Alençon, was of no ordinary kind; and accompanied by such extreme modesty, that her very look cooled any lascivious desires in the beholder. Jeanne, in order to avoid any surprise either during her journeys or when with the army, never slept without wearing a part of her martial attire, and care was taken to lodge her in the cities and towns with women of the most spotless reputation.—Lenglet, vol. i. p. 46.
M. Luchet, at page 11, speaking of the peculiar effect excited by the glance of Jeanne, says, “it is a singular proof of her beauty that she should cool desire in the beholder ; but,” adds he,“ whether handsome or ugly is nothing to the purpose, and her scrupulous attention to decency is still of less consequence.”
individuals returned to Orleans, and there gave an account of every thing they had witnessed at Chinon.*
Measures were now adopted in order to proceed in the examinations to which it was thought proper La Pucelle should be subjected; and, to give more celebrity to these sittings, it was determined they should be held at Poitiers,+ in presence of the king, the parliament, and an assembly of theologians. Jeanne d'Arc was interrogated, and answered with an
• On receiving this intelligence, Dunois, according to his deposition at the process of the revisal, made the 22d of February, 1426, caused the citizens of Orleans to be assembled, and related to them all that his emissaries had heard and seen. This recital elevated the public mind; every one made his own comment; and some individuals went so far as to assert that several ecclesiastics had beheld an angel behind Jeanne d'Arc, who conducted her steps. The first use which count Dunois made of the celebrity of La Pucelle showed his sound policy, and was a lively indication of the result of Jeanne's interference.
+ Jeanne was conducted to Poitiers, whither the king repaired for the express purpose of subjecting her to fresh interrogatories. During her residence in the above city she inhabited the house of the advocate-general, whose wife invited many young and elderly devout women to keep her company, and scrupulously examine whether or not she would belie any of her former assertions. Her conduct was uniformly found correct, and her conversation most exemplary, although she was allowed to speak and to act as she thought proper.—Lenglet, vol. i. page 47.