صور الصفحة
النشر الإلكتروني

even if she went the whole distance on her knees, she would go to King Charles, and Jean de Metz, a gentleman who was present, offering to conduct her, Baudricourt consented to assist her in proceeding. Her first care was to send a message to her parents to inform them of the undertaking she was about to attempt, and to entreat their forgiveness for forsaking them. Having received a kind answer from them, she made herself ready for her journey. She cut off her long hair and dressed herself in man's clothes, thinking such a garb safer as well as more convenient for travelling. Jean de Metz, and another gentleman named Bertrand de Pouligny, who was inclined to put faith in the truth of her tale, and had agreed to assist Metz in taking charge of her, defrayed all the expenses of her equipment and journey. Baudricourt gave her only a sword; but he obliged her con

ductors solemnly to swear that they would carry her in safety to the king. Her brother Peter, and two soldiers who were going to Chinon, joined the party.

The journey was long and tedious, but was at length safely accomplished; and on arriving at the town of Fierbois, not far from Chinon, she sent to request admission to'the king, announcing herself as one expressly commissioned by Heaven to raise the siege of Orleans, and conduct him to Rheims, there to be crowned and anointed with the holy oil kept there, and which was believed to have been brought from heaven by a dove, and was used only at the coronation of the French monarchs.



On the 24th of February, 1429, Joan of Arc was commanded to attend King Charles at Chinon. It is said, that in order to make trial of the truth of her asserted miraculous inspiration, he laid aside everything by which he might be distinguished from others, and mingled with the courtiers standing around; but she not only immediately singled him out from the crowd and paid him the honours due to him as king, but, as a further proof of her truth, told him in private a secret unknown to all the world besides himself. It has been doubted whether these circumstances are true; but it is certain that she convinced King

Charles, and almost all who were of his party, of the reality of her mission. She was questioned by several bishops as to her visions, and was examined by an assembly of all the chief men of King Charles's party, who met at Poictiers. They sent messengers to Domremy, to make inquiries concerning her former life, and, after much deliberation, they all determined that she had really had communication with messengers from heaven; that the king might safely trust her; and that, under her guidance, his affairs were

certain to prosper.

The spirits of King Charles's friends began to rise. Every honour was paid to the Maid, and she at once prepared to lead them on to victory. Servants and attendants were appointed to wait on her; besides menials, she had a squire, two pages, two heralds, and an almoner. She caused

a standard to be made, which she either carried herself, or caused to be carried near her when she went into battle. It was of white, fringed with silk; on it our Saviour was represented seated on a throne, holding a globe in his hands; two angels appeared in adoration, one holding a fleur-delis, the emblem of France, which Jesus seemed to bless. On the border the words Jesus Maria were displayed, and all the white surface was scattered over with golden fleurs-de-lis. A complete suit of armour was made for Joan, and she now wanted nothing but a sword. This she said would be found behind the altar of St. Catherine, in the church of Fierbois; and she particularly described it as being marked with five crosses on the blade—and she refused to carry any other. On sending to Fierbois the sword was found as she had said, and so ready were all now to believe

« السابقةمتابعة »