JOAN SEES THE DAUPHIN
"Sweet she is in words and deeds,
Fair and white as the white rose."
 THESE simple lines were once written in an old Mystery
Play called The Siege of
Orleans, to describe the maid Jeanne d'Arc, or, as we
call her in our language, Joan
We know, too, that "her face was glad and smiling,"until her work was done and she
was thrown into prison. There, among the rough soldiers
who guarded her, the light
faded from her eyes, and deep lines of pain were
engraved on the face of the
Joan Darc was born in the little village of Domremy, on
January 6, 1412. Domremy is
in the valley of the river Meuse, on the outskirts of
France. The villages in this
district were loyal to the Dauphin Charles, for so they
called Charles VII., seeing
that he had not yet been crowned at Rheims, where the
holy oil was kept with which
it was "the custom to anoint the kings of France. They
hated the Burgundians too,
because they had joined the English, and were fighting
against their country and
Joan, the little maid, who lived in Domremy, was a
simple, joyous child, playing
merrily with the boys and girls of the village;
learning, as did her friends, to
spin, to sew, to cook, to hoe.
Near the village was a forest, and Joan, in spite of
her love of play, would
sometimes steal away from her companions, and sit
quietly under the shade of the
 trees, dreaming her childish dreams. The birds came and
perched on her head, on her
arms, or fed from her hands, so quiet she sat, so
At other times her little friends would be with her as
she went into the wood to
sing and eat cakes under a beech tree which was known
as the "Ladies' Tree" or the
"Fairies' Tree," and close to which was a beautiful
well of clear, cold water, out
of which the children would drink.
Before she was nine years old Joan became a simple
little shepherdess, guarding her
father's sheep on the common, which lay close to the
Sometimes the quiet life of the little maid was
disturbed. Roving bands of English
and Burgundians would come to the neighbourhood of
Then Joan's father, with five or six of his friends,
would hire a strong castle that
was uninhabited, and use it as a fortress for
themselves and their cattle.
To this refuge they would hasten at the approach of
their enemies, driving before
them their pigs, their sheep, their cows.
In the castle they were safe, but once at least, when
they ventured back to their
homes, the villagers found that their houses had been
plundered, their church burned
to the ground.
The lads of Domremy, too, would fight miniature battles
with the lads of the
Burgundian villages, and sometimes they would come home
bruised and bleeding from
Then Joan, seeing them wounded, would weep, and at the
same time set herself to wash
and bind up the bruises of her comrades.
Moreover, when, as would happen at times, fugitives
from the English sought shelter
at Domremy, Joan, the little maid, who was ever pitiful
to suffering, would give her
bed to a soldier and herself sleep in the barn.
From these passing guests Joan would hear of the
sorrows of Charles the Dauphin, of
the misery of the French people.
 Little by little a great pity for France welled
up in the heart of the child.
As she grew older Joan would often go to church while
her companions went to dance;
she was even to be found there when her parents thought
that she was in the fields
tending the sheep.
The altar of the church she would ofttimes deck with
the wild flowers she had
plucked in the wood, while the sound of the church
bells grew ever sweeter in her
Like many another child Joan loved the saints, of whom
she had heard from the
village pastor. St. Catherine and St. Margaret were
those she loved the best, along
with St. Michael, the patron or guardian of a castle in
Normandy which was called by
But from thinking of the saints, Joan's thoughts would
wander to the dauphin. She
would muse on his troubles, and on how the false queen,
his mother, had forsaken him
and joined his enemies, the Burgundians. And an old
saying she had often heard would
steal into her mind, "France, lost by a woman, shall be
saved by a woman."
Moreover, the woman who was to save France was to come,
so said the ancient
prophecy, from her own countryside.
"Ah, blessed maid," thought Joan, "who shall deliver
France from her enemies."
In 1425, when Joan was thirteen years old, a strange
As the maid walked at noontide in her father's garden,
under the glow of the summer
skies, suddenly a light, brighter than that of the sun,
shone upon her, and at the
same time she heard a voice saying, "Joan, the Lord God
hath chosen thee to save"France, to go to the aid of the King of France, and
thou shalt restore to him his
kingdom." At first Joan, seeing the light, hearing the
voice, was afraid. But her
 fear soon passed away, for "it was a worthy
voice" to which she listened.
When the voice spoke a second time Joan saw that there
were angels in the midst of
the dazzling light. The great St. Michael was looking
down upon the maid, and the
saints whom she loved, St. Catherine and St. Margaret,
were there, "crowned with
They also spoke to her, and their voices were ever kind
"When they departed from me," said Joan, "I wept, and
would fain have had them take
me with them." Again and again during the next five
years her "voices," as Joan
called them, spoke to her, and always they said, "Be a
good child and wise, and thou
shalt save France."
And when she pleaded, "I am a poor girl who cannot ride
or be a leader in war," the
heavenly voices answered ever, "Be a good girl, Joan,
and wise, and thou shalt save
At length, when she was seventeen years old, her voices
told the maid plainly that
the time was come that she should go to France.
It was hard for Joan to leave her father and mother,
and the quiet shepherd life to
which she was used. But at least she knew just what she
was to do, for her voices
spoke quite clearly. She was to dress as a boy and go
to deliver Orleans, which town
was in danger of being taken by the English. Then, when
the siege of Orleans was
raised, the maid was to lead the dauphin to Rheims,
that there he might be anointed
with holy oil, and be crowned King of France. To do
this great work, the voices told
Joan that she would have no longer than a year.
Until now Joan had spoken to no one of her voices. If
she was to leave her home,
however, it was necessary to tell her father
But he, when he had heard her tale, was both angry and
dismayed. He vowed that he
would rather drown his
 daughter in the Meuse than
see her leave her home and
journey through the country with rough soldiers as her
Nevertheless Joan, still hearing her voices bid her go
into France, left her home,
not daring to say good-bye even to her little friend
Hauvrette, lest she should
falter in her plan.
The maid went first to Robert de Baudricourt, captain
of the town of Vaucouleurs,
which was loyal to the dauphin she hoped that when the
captain heard her story he
would send her to Charles.
But when in July 1428 she reached Vaucouleurs, and told
Baudricourt that she had
come to succour France the rough captain laughed at her
words. A simple peasant girl
succour France ! It was a foolish thought
"I come on behalf of my Lord," cried the maid
fearlessly, "to bid you send word to
the dauphin to keep himself well in hand and not give
battle to his foes, for my
Lord will presently give him succour."
"Who is thy lord?" asked Baudricourt.
"The King of Heaven," answered Joan.
But again the rough captain laughed, and bade the maid
go home to watch her sheep.
So Joan went home, but in October she heard how Orleans
was not only besieged, but
in danger of falling into the hands of the English.
The maid waited until the new year dawned, then early
in January 1429 she went again
to Vaucouleurs to speak with Robert de Baudricourt.
"I must go to Orleans to raise the siege," she said. "I
will go, should I have to
wear off my legs to the knee." Yet still Baudricourt
would have nothing to do with
For three weeks Joan lodged in Vaucouleurs, in the
house of a wheelwright, spinning
with his wife, and often going to church to pray.
 Then one day a knight, named John of Metz, who
knew Joan's father and mother,
met the maid.
"What do you here, my dear?" he asked.
"I am come hither," answered Joan, "to speak to Robert
de Baudricourt that he may
take me, or be pleased to have me taken, to the
dauphin, but he pays no heed to me
or my words. Assuredly I had rather be spinning beside
my poor mother . . . but I
must go and do the work, because my Lord wills it."
"Who is your lord?" asked John of Metz, even as
Baudricourt had done.
"The Lord God," answered Joan.
"By my faith," said the knight, overcome by the maid's
quiet words and seizing her
hands—"by my faith I will take you to the king. God
helping. When will you set
"Rather now than to-morrow," said Joan quickly, "rather
to-morrow than later."
Not long after this Baudricourt also was won. For on
February 12, 1429, Joan went
again to the captain and said, "In God's name you are
too slow in sending me; for
this day, near Orleans, a great disaster has befallen
the gentle dauphin, and worse
he will have unless you send me to him."
Now a few days later Baudricourt heard that on the very
day that Joan spoke these
words the French had been defeated at the battle of the
Herrings. Then the rough
captain began to think that perhaps after all Joan Darc
was sent by God to succour
France. He was soon as eager as John of Metz to send
her to the king.
As her voices had bidden her, Joan now laid aside her
rough red peasant garments to
dress as a boy.
Two knights and the good folk of Vaucouleurs willingly
supplied the maid with all
she needed for the journey to the king-a grey tunic,
black hose, a horse. Then
cutting her long black hair short, Joan set out on
 1429, with an
escort for Chinon, where the Dauphin was holding his
Robert de Baudricourt, as he bade the maid farewell,
gave her a sword, saying, "Away
then, Joan, and come what may."
Rumours of the maid had, you remember, reached Orleans.
When it was known that Joan
was really on her way to Chinon, the garrison plucked
up courage. Strange as it may
seem, the French soldiers had already faith in the
maid, and believed that she would
raise the siege of Orleans.