« AnteriorContinuar »
After the French, uniformly headed by La Pucelle, had become masters of several fortresses, as will appear in the progress of the Diary, the English still kept possession of the bastille Saint Privé, and the boulevard of the Tournelles, on the left bank of the Loire. These Jeanne had equally proposed to besiege, when, having just terminated a very abstemious repast of which she uniformly partook, news was brought her respecting the
the King of heaven orders you, by me, Jeanne la Pucelle, to give up your forts, and to go back to your homes; if not, I will perform such an Ab, Ab, that it shall always be spoken of; it is for the third and last time that I write it. Signed Jesus Maria; Jeanne la Pucelle. : “I should have sent my letter in a more civil manner, but you retain Guienne, my herald; send him back to me, and I will restore you prisoners from your fort of Saint Loup."
The English, on receiving this paper attached to the end of an arrow, exclaimed : “ Here is something new from the w— of the besiegers !” which expression made Jeanne sigh and weep. -Chaussard, vol. i. p. 26.
M. Luchet, at page 16, says, “ The fourth day count Dunois attacked the English, La Pucelle being in his company, 'et moult encourageoit les assaillans—and much encouraged the assailants." “ The English then loaded her with such abuse that she shed tears,” says M. Lenglet. “ This excess of weakness and sensibility,” adds Luchet, “ strangely belies the character of a person gifted with inspiration.” The last history of France states that the French were conducted by her ; whereas the most ancient histories of the siege of Orleans affirm that she accompanied the Bastard Dunois.
council having resolved that nothing further should be undertaken until the arrival of fresh succours from the king. La Pucelle instantly replied to those who brought the ultimatum of this deliberation: “ Vous avez été en votre conseil, et j'ai été au mien, mais croyez que le conseil de mon Seigneur tiendra et s'accomplira, et que celui des hommes périra : You have held your council, and I have been to mine ; but believe me, the advice of my Lord shall hold and be accomplished, and that of men shall perish.” Jeanne had indeed other designs to execute, and she commanded her chaplain to call her very early the ensuing morning, and never to quit her: “ Car,” added she, “ j'aurai demain beaucoup à faire ; il sortira du sang de mon corps audessus du sein. Je serai blessée devant la bastille du bout du pont. I shall have much to do to-morrow; blood will issue from my body above my bosom. I shall be wounded in front of the bastille before the end of the bridge.”
Saturday the seventeenth of May, Jeanne being completely armed, in opposition to the orders passed in council, but seconded by the Orleanese, prepared to conduct the troops to attack the Tournelles. Just as she was quitting the mansion of her host, a man brought a shad which he had caught in the Loire. Having eaten nothing, Jeanne was entreated to stop, that the fish might be dressed, when she made answer : “ Gardez la jusqu'à ce soir, car je vous amenerai un godon, * (a nickname then given to the English), qui en mangera sa part ; je repasserai par-dessus le pont, après avoir pris les Tournelles : Keep it until night, for I shall bring with me a godon who will eat his part; I shall pass over the bridge after having taken the Tournelles.”
The attack of these fortresses was so long and vigorously repelled by the English, that their assailants, about one in the day, began to feel dispirited and fatigued. Jeanne, at this critical juncture, animated by her courage, threw herself into the fosse, seized a ladder, and raising it with vigour, placed it against the boulevard. At this juncture an arrow from the enemy entered her neck and shoulder, and she instantly fell. Being immediately surrounded by the English, she drove them back sword in hand, defending herself with as much skill as personal bravery. A French force at length came to the rescue of Jeanne, when it was found necessary to carry her away, almost dying, although she obstinately persisted in desiring to be left within the fosse. The wound proved very deep, the arrow having passed completely through, projecting out at the back of the neck.t
* Godon, godone, means a glutton, a man of coracious appetite.—Roquefort's Glossaire de la Langue Romaine.
+ Lenglet, vol. i. p. 70. says, “ She was there wounded in the throat by an arrow, the aperture being more than a finger She, in the first instance, testified symptoms of fear, and could not refrain from weeping ; but on a sudden her wonted courage returned, when she extracted the arrow with her own hand; after which the blood flowed very copiously, and the wound was dressed. This event struck consternation among the troops and their leaders, and she strove in vain to reanimate their drooping spirits. Count Dunois was desirous of withdrawing the forces and artillery within the city, and the trumpets by his order had already sounded the retreat. Jeanne d'Arc, sensibly touched at this conduct, went in person to the Bastard, exclaiming : “ En mon Dieu, vous entrerez bien brief dedans, n'ayez doute. Quand vous verrez flotter mon étendard vers lu bastille, reprenez vos armes, elle sera costre. By my God have no doubt, you will very speedily enter. When you perceive my banner floating towards the bastille, take up your arms again, it will then be yours.” Jeanne then gave the standard to one of her people, called for her horse, and, lightly vaulting into the saddle, retired to a neighbouring vineyard, where she continued a quarter of an hour in devout prayer. On returning to the
in width, and full half a foot in length. Some soldiers were desirous of charming the wound, when Jeanne exclaimed : 'God forbid; I would much rather die than do that which I conceive to be a sin.''
Tournelles, La Pucelle, seizing the banner and brandishing it aloft, exclaimed, “ Ah! to my standard, to my standard !” when she rushed precipitately to the brink of the fosse. The French, feeling invigorated by the conduct of Jeanne, returned to the assault, and began once more to scale the walls; the attack proved most determined, and the English opposed the impetuosity of their foes with equal valour.
Those warriors who had remained within Orleans for the purpose, of guarding the city, could not resist the impulse they felt of joining their companions in arms. Actuated by this sentiment, they flew for the purpose of placing the enemy between two fires, but they were stopped by an impediment which appeared at first to be unsurmountable. Several arches of the bridge had been broken down, and it was absolutely necessary to pass that structure to effect the end required. The Orleanese for this purpose dragged some joists to the spot, and by this means formed a kind of flying bridge from one ruined pier to the other. Upon these weak timbers, amidst a shower of bullets, javelins, and arrows, the determined warriors ventured; and, flourishing their swords, passed the river and rushed to the assault. In vain did the English oppose a courage, the result of despair, to the efforts of their daring assailants ;