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

When they drew near Chinon, Jeanne’s men spoke to one another doubtfully of what kind of a reception they would have. Reaching Auxerre they rested for a while, then travelled on to Gien, and as they journeyed, a report went ahead of them, that a young peasant girl called “The Maid” was on her way, so she said, to raise the siege of Orleans and to lead the Dauphin to his crowning at Rheims. Even to Orleans the report spread, and the inhabitants of that besieged city, now despairing of deliverance, felt a thrill of hope on hearing the report.

Meanwhile Jeanne and her escort of six valiant men had halted near Chinon, while Jeanne wrote and despatched a letter to the Dauphin, in which she said that they had ridden one hundred and fifty leagues to bring him good news, and begged permission to enter his province. Then the next morning they rode into “the little town of great renown,” as Chinon was called, and Jeanne remained at the Inn until the Dauphin should decide to receive her.

Now Yolande, the King’s mother-in-law, was much interested in what she had heard of Jeanne, the Maid, and she so influenced the Dauphin, that De Metz and Poulengy were allowed to have audience with him, and told what a fine and noble character Jeanne was, and what a beautiful spirit animated her slender frame, and begged him to see and trust her, saying that she was surely sent to save France. Their plea made a great impression on the Dauphin, as was evident two hours later when he sent a number of clergymen to cross-question her on her so-called divine mission, and through all the tiresome examination Jeanne bore herself with proud dignity and answered so clearly and so well that they could only entertain a profound respect for the girl whom they had expected to scorn. The result of this examination was that by order of the King, Jeanne was moved from the Inn to a wing of the Castle, and there the girl-soldier was treated with every respect by the courtiers, who were all charmed by her frank simplicity and sweetness of manner. But the King had not yet consented to give her an audience, and two weary weeks dragged away in the most tedious of all things,–awaiting the Dauphin’s pleasure,–and Jeanne chafed at the delay.

At last one happy day she was led into the great vaulted audience chamber of the Castle, where torches flared, and the deep murmur of voices together with the sea of eager upturned faces, might have made a less self-contained person than the Maid confused and timid. But not so with Jeanne, for her thoughts were solely on that mission which she had travelled so far to accomplish. Her page’s suit was in sharp contrast to the brilliant court costumes worn by the ladies of the Court, but of that she was unconscious, and advanced calmly through the long line of torch bearers to within a few feet of the throne,–gave a bewildered glance at the figure seated before her, in the velvet robes of royalty–then turned away, and with a cry of joy threw herself at the feet of a very quietly dressed young man who stood among the ranks of courtiers, exclaiming, “God of his grace give you long life, O dear and gentle Dauphin.”

Quickly the courtier answered, “You mistake, my child. I am not the King. There he is,” pointing to the throne.

There was a stir and murmur in the crowd, but the Maid did not rise. She simply looked into his face again, saying:

“No, gracious liege, you are he, and no other,” adding with a simple earnestness, “I am Jeanne, the Maid, sent to you from God to give succour to the kingdom, and to you. The King of Heaven sends you word by me that you shall be anointed and crowned in the town of Rheims, and you shall be lieutenant of the King of Heaven, who is the King of France.”