Story of Joan of Arc - Andrew Lang

How the Maid Took Certain Towns

The wise King had arranged with the Duke of Burgundy that they two should be at peace till Easter, 1430; while he might fight the English as much as he liked, which was, not at all.

Now the English let the Duke of Burgundy be Governor of Paris. It was always Paris that the Maid wished to take for her King, as it was the greatest city and the capital of France. But the King said she must not attack Paris, for it was now under the Duke of Burgundy, not under the English. All this was mere pretence, to avoid fighting. Joan's aim was to turn the English and their child King, Henry VI., out of her country; and the English were not likely to go out till they were driven out.

The English still held towns on the river Loire, such as St. Pierre-le-Moustier and La Charité. Joan went to Bourges and gathered an army, with a gentleman named d'Elbret to help her, and besieged the town of St. Pierre-le-Moustier. When they had battered the walls for some time with their guns, and made a breach, the French tried to rush through it; but the English were too strong and too many, and drove them out. At this time Joan's Master of the Household, d'Aulon, who had been with her at Orleans, was wounded in the heel by an arrow, and he could not walk without crutches. He saw that while the rest of the French had retired out of shot from the breach, Joan was there almost alone, with a very small company. D'Aulon therefore got a horse, and rode to her to ask her to come out of danger. "What are you doing here alone?" he asked her. She took off her helmet and said, "I am not alone; here I have with me fifty thousand of my own" (by which she seems to have meant an invisible army of Angels); "and I will not leave this place till I take the town." D'Aulon told her that she had but four or five men with her, to which she only answered by bidding him make her army bring faggots of wood to fill up the ditch with, that they might cross to the town. Then she shouted in a loud voice—

"Bring up faggots, all of you!" and they obeyed, filled up the ditch, attacked the breach in the wall again, rushed through, beat the English, and took the town.

This was just like what Joan had done when her army was on the point of retreating from the attack on Les Tourelles, at Orleans. "One charge more" was what she called for, and her men were inspired with courage, while the English were terrified by their refusal to be beaten. This was the last time that Joan led the French to such a victory. She besieged another town, La Charité, which was held by Burgundians, but the King did not send food enough for her men, and she had to go away unsuccessful.

About this time she was troubled by a woman called Catherine of La Rochelle, a married woman, who declared that a lovely lady came to her at night, dressed all in cloth of gold, and told her where treasures of money were hidden, which were much needed for the wars. Joan said that she must see this wonderful lady before she could believe in her, and she sat up all night with Catherine; but the lady never came. Joan toad Catherine to go back to her husband and her children, and mind her own affairs. There were several people who went about saying that they had visions; but they were of no use, for, visions or none, they had not Joan's courage and wisdom. It is true that Catherine might have said to Joan, "You can't see my golden lady, but I can't see your Saints, nor hear your Voices." The difference was that Joan's Saints and Voices had enabled her to do a great many wonderful things, while Catherine's golden lady never led to the finding of treasures or anything else that was of any use.