Imágenes de páginas

agreed that the garrison should march from the place with arms and baggage.

Charles VII. soon arrived at Château Thierry ; and Jeanne d'Arc profited by the short space of time he continued there, to petition that the inhabitants of the villages of Greux and Domremy might be exempted from all taxes on land, and from aids, pecuniary supplies, and imposts of every description. Charles acceded to the request of La Pucelle by issuing an edict at Château Thierry, dated in the month of July, 1429. The inhabitants of the two villages before mentioned, having been subsequently molested in the enjoyment of the exemption thus accorded, were supported by a new royal ordinance of the 6th of February, 1459 ; and these privileges were duly confirmed by the successors of Charles VII. on their accession to the throne. Louis XIII. ratified them in 1610, and Louis XV. in 1730. In 1774, when the commune of Greux solicited the same exemptions from Louis XVI., the reply of that monarch was, that he would allow those privileges, but not accord his express approbation, because they appeared to hin contrary to that justice that was due to all his subjects, which prescribed that the burthen should be equal-a decision in every respect consonant with reason. Thus, until the period of the Revolution, all the registers of taxation as regarded the parishes of Greux and Domremy bore these simple words,

Néant à cause de la Pucelle-Extinct on account of La Pucelle.”

From Château Thierry the king went to Provins, and remained there three or four days. The terror inspired by the successes of the French army had not only spread in the environs of Paris, but even throughout the capital itself. The duke of Bedford, having just received reinforcements from England, returned with all speed to reanimate the affrighted population. The regent then proceeded to Corbeil, whither the wrecks of his army had repaired, and from thence marched upon Mehun, where he was joined by the troops from Normandy: he was thus at the head of ten thousand combatants—a force about equal to that of the royal army.

The duke manœuvred as if his intention was to cut off the retreat of the French army, and advanced as far as Montereau FautYonne. On gaining that city, he despatched his heralds at arms on the 7th of August, bearing a defiance to the king. Charles VII. accepted the challenge, and continued to advance upon Paris by the plains of Brie. This bold movement appears to have struck the British army with consternation; for the regent re-entered the capital without hazarding an engagement, although he had himself demanded it.

The French forces then returned to Château Thierry, where they crossed the Marne, advancing

by la Ferte Milon towards Crespy in Valois. On learning the arrival of the king, the inhabitants, flocking upon his route from all parts, welcomed him with the loudest acclamations. The population, in short, appeared in a body; and the country people especially gazed at La Pucelle, who, on witnessing these glowing effusions manifested by the crowd, addressed Count Dunois and the archbishop of Rheims, between whom she rode, in these words: Voici un bon peuple. Je n'en ai encore vu aucun autre qui se soit tant rejoui de la venue d'un si noble roi. Plút à Dieu que je fusse assez heureuse pour finir mes jours sur cette terre, et y être ensevelie! Here is a good people. I have not before seen any who has been so much rejoiced at the coming of so noble a king. Might it so please God that I was happy enough to end my days on this soil, and to be buried here!” The archbishop of Rheims then asked her in what spot she entertained a hope of dying ? Jeanne made answer:

Je ne suis sûre ni du temps ni du lieu. Plút à Dieu, mon Créateur, que je pusse maintenant partir, abandonnant les armes, et aller servir mon père et ma mère, en gardant leurs brebis avec ma sæur et mes freres, qui se rejouiraient beaucoup de me voir. I am neither sure as to the time nor the place. Would to God, my Creator, that I might now depart, quitting arms, and go and serve my father and my mother, tending their sheep with

my sister and my brothers, who would greatly rejoice to see me!" Words which plainly show that to continue with the army was contrary to her desire, the purpose of her mission being fully accomplished. It also appears likely that Jeanne d'Arc was aware that the courtiers did not sincerely love the king, and that she was herself the object of mean jealousies on the part of a great many leading officers of the army. From this discourse we may also infer that her brothers no longer accompanied her : it is indeed probable they left her at Rheims, and that it was from that eity Jean d'Arc departed to take possession of the post of provost of Vaucouleurs, to which he had been nominated by the king.

From Crespy in Valois, Charles and his forces continued to approach Paris, and encamped near Dammartin. The duke of Bedford again left the capital to march against the royal army, and halted at the village of Mittry, at a short distance from Dammartin ; occupying an advantageous situation, where he proceeded to fortify himself so

as to render the post impregnable. Charles, believing that it was now the enemy's fixed determination to give him battle, immediately advanced; but the duke of Bedford quietly awaited the arrival of the enemy in his entrenchments. Fatal experience had taught the French to repress their ardour; and the

English, perceiving that they could not entice their foes into the snare prepared to entrap them, retired upon Louvres, and from thence returned to Paris.

The king returned to Crespy, from which place he forwarded heralds at arms to summon Compiegne to surrender, and the inhabitants joyfully complied. Beauvais soon followed Compiegne, notwithstanding the strenuous efforts of Pierre Cauchon, bishop of the former place, who was devoted to the English cause; and the inhabitants, irritated with the conduct of this ecclesiastic, expelled him with contumely from their city. This outrageous treatment, no doubt, excited the implacable hatred which this worthless priest ultimately displayed against the unfortunate Jeanne d'Arc. The inhabitants of Paris, however, did not participate in the sentiments demonstrated by all these cities, which testified such eagerness to return to the obedience of their legitimate monarch.

Charles VII. left Crespy for Compiegne; when the regent, having learned this movement, proceeded by a forced march upon Senlis, in the hope of cutting off the king's communication with Normandy.

The French advanced towards Senlis, and encamped at the distance of three leagues from that city, at the village of Barron, adjoining to MontPiloer, from whence horsemen were despatched to reconnoitre, who soon came in view of the

« AnteriorContinuar »