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bore the impression of five crosses ; * this weapon 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.f 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, I 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 had 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.
I 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, page 74.
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 Maria. 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 répandrè le sang: Ít 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.
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 marshals 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, charging one of her heralds at arms to convey the following letter to the chiefs of the enemy's forces :
* Jhesus Maria. “ 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 Dieu 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," rendes 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.
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