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Jeanne D’arc: The Maid Of France
by [?]

And yet even as she prayed she knew that it was true,–that God had chosen her for a great work, that it was she, the peasant of Domremy, who alone could restore her country and her king to their former greatness–and that she would carry out the divine command.

For nearly four long years after Jeanne first saw her Vision, she remained at home, and was as lovable, helpful and more truly pious than ever. Often St. Margaret and St. Catherine appeared to her, and ever they commanded her to fulfil her great destiny as the Maid who was to save France, and ever her conviction that she was to carry out their commands grew within her, as she heard the voice more and more clearly, crying, “You must go, Jeanne the Maid; daughter of God, you must go!”

At that time the enemy was closing in on all the French strongholds; even the inhabitants of little Domremy, began to tremble at the repeated invasions of marauding soldiers, and the time had come to declare war against a foe which threatened to so completely wipe out France’s heritage of honour.

Jeanne had heard the Voice. She was now aflame with desire to obey its summons to duty, and to achieve this she knew that three things must be accomplished. First of all she must go to Robert de Baudricourt, a Captain of the King at Vaucouleurs, and ask him for an escort to take her to the Dauphin, then she must lead the Dauphin to his crowning at Rheims. A strange idea to be conceived by a young peasant girl, still in her early teens, and it is not to be wondered that in the fulfilment of such a destiny, Jeanne’s sincerity of purpose was both sneered at and discredited by unbelievers in her heavenly vision.

By the help of a cousin, Durand Laxart, she was able to obtain audience with Robert Baudricourt; in the presence of one of his knights, Bertrand de Poulengy, who was completely won by this girl, so tall and beautiful and stately in her youthful beauty, as, pale with emotion, she went swiftly up to Baudricourt, saying:

“I have come to you in behalf of my Lord, in order that you shall bid the Dauphin stand firm and not risk battle with his enemies, for my Lord himself shall give him succour before Mid-Lent,” and she added, “The Kingdom does not belong to the Dauphin, but to my Lord who wishes him to be made King. In spite of his enemies he must reign, and I shall lead him to his consecration.”

Strange words these, to fall from the lips of a young girl. For a moment Baudricourt sat staring at her, wide-eyed, then he asked:

“Who is your Lord?”

“He is the King of Heaven.”

This was too much for the rough, practical minded Captain. The walls of the castle rang with his shouts of laughter, and turning to Durand Laxart, who by this time was crimson with shame for his kinswoman, Baudricourt with a gesture of dismissal said, “The girl is foolish. Box her ears and take her home to her father,” and there was nothing left for Jeanne to do but to go back to Domremy until occasion should favour her destiny.

In July the valley was again menaced by the Burgundians, and the people of Domremy fled for a refuge to a neighbouring city, while in their own little town there was a veritable reign of terror, and news came that the English were also besieging the strong old town of Orleans, which had always been called the “key to the Loire.” If this city should fall, only by a miracle could France be saved, and Jeanne’s Voices became more and more insistent. She must go at once. She must raise the siege of Orleans, but how?

Again through the aid of Durand Laxart she obtained a second interview with the rough Captain of Vaucouleurs.