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JOAN LEADS THE DAUPHIN TO RHEIMS
 JOAN DARC had raised the siege of Orleans. Her next
task was to bring the dauphin to
Rheims to be crowned.
The maid wasted no time in setting out for Tours, where
Charles was spending his
days in idle pleasures. His favourites, of whom La
Trémouille was the chief, hated
Joan, and did all they could to thwart her influence
over the dauphin.
On May 13th, three days after she left Orleans, Joan
rode into Tours, her banner in
her hand, and met the dauphin, for whom she had already
done so much.
He, when he saw the maid, "took off his cap and held
out his hand to her, and, as it
seemed to many, he would fain have kissed her for the
joy he felt."
But when Joan begged Charles to go with her to Rheims,
he hesitated, saying it would
be dangerous to pass through the country, where the
English still held many towns.
La Trémouille, too, did all in his power to keep the
king at Tours.
A month passed, and still Joan had not persuaded the
king to start. As the precious
days of her single year passed away unused, the brave
heart of the maid grew sad.
For ever she remembered that her voices had said she
had but a year in which to
accomplish her tasks.
In June Joan made up her mind to wait no longer for the
dauphin. She herself, with
her brave captains and soldiers, would clear the way to
Jargeau, a town in which the English had sought refuge,
 was besieged and
taken, as well as other fortresses in the neighbourhood
held by the English. At
Patay, too. soon after, a battle was fought, when the
English were utterly beaten,
and their commander Talbot was taken prisoner.
After these victories the maid went once more to the
dauphin, bidding him come to
Rheims, for all the cities on the way were ready to
fling open their gates to the
true heir to the throne.
And at length Charles yielded, and set out with Joanand
her army for Rheims, which
they reached in safety on July 16, 1429.
On the following day Charles went in great pomp to the
cathedral, where he was
crowned King of France, after being anointed with the
holy oil by the archbishop.
During the ceremony Joan stood close to the dauphin,
holding the royal standard in
When all was over the maid turned to Dunois, who was at
her side, and said, "I have
accomplished that which my Lord commanded me, to raise
the siege of Orleans and have
the king crowned. I should like it well if it should
please Him to send me back to
my father and mother to keep their sheep and their
cattle, and to do that which was
But that, alas! was not to be.
Now that he was a king indeed, Charles wished to reward
the Maid of Orleans with
For herself, however, Joan would have nothing, but for
her village she was eager to
accept the king's bounty, begging him that, for her
sake, Domremy might pay no taxes
for three hundred years.
The king was pleased to agree to Joan's wish, and from
this time, until the reign of
Louis XV., the village, not only of Domremy, but also
of Greux, which was close to
it, paid no taxes "for the sake of the maid."
Until now, save that Charles had greatly tried her
 patience, all had gone well
with Joan, but from the time of the coronation a cloud
began to shadow her "glad and
She urged the king to march at once to Pans, but he,
influenced again by La
Trémouille, refused, and spent his days, as of old, in
idleness, or in trying to
make terms with the Duke of Burgundy.
Joan had no trust in the duke, and boldly said, "There
is no peace possible with him,
save at the point of the lance." This, however, Charles
did not believe.
Meanwhile, the Duke of Bedford was sending all his
soldiers to Paris, lest the king
should determine to advance on the city.
Then the maid left Charles, who was loitering now in
one town and then in another,
and before he had reached St. Denis she had already
attacked the walls of Paris, and
believed that the city could be taken by storm.
But in one of the assaults Joan was wounded, and
although she never flinched and
continued to fight in the trenches until midnight, a
knight then forced her to
Joan was indignant, but she still believed that on the
following day Paris would be
in her hands.
By her orders a bridge had been thrown across the
Seine, and across this bridge she
meant to lead her men to attack the city from another
But on the morrow Joan found that by the kings order
the bridge had been destroyed,
for he was still treating with the Duke of Burgundy,
and hoped that the city would
be given into his hands without the help of the maid.
Joan was heart-broken when she saw what Charles had
done. But no words can tell of
her despair when the king, listening to his favourite
and longing for peace, forbade
the maid to fight any more for six long months.
Poor Joan! slowly and sadly the year that had been hers
 As May 1430 drew near Joan's voices, which had
been silent for a time, spoke
to her again, but their words were solemn and sad.
Before midsummer she would be in
the hands of her enemies, so her voices told her.
was it if the brave heart of the maid quailed at the
thought. For well she knew that
if the English captured her, they would tie her to a
stake and burn her as a witch,
for such indeed they deemed her. It was thus that
witches were treated in the days
when Joan lived.
The truce was over by the month of May 1430, and Joan,
eager as ever, was in the
field once more.
Compiègne, a town that was faithful to Charles, was at
this time besieged by a large
army of English and Burgundians.
You may wonder that the Burgundians were there, for
Charles, as you know, had for
some time been making terms with their leader. But the
Duke of Burgundy had been
false to the King of France, as Joan, and every one
save Charles himself, had
foreseen that he would be.
The maid determined to go to the help of the besieged
city. One night, under cover
of the dark, she stole into Compiègne to the great joy
of the people, who were sure
she would raise the siege, as she had done that of
On May 23rd, at dawn, she led out her men, hoping to
surprise the enemy. Twice she
drove back the Burgundians, but the English came
hastening to the help of their
allies, and little by little Joan was forced to retreat
toward the city.
But before she could reach the drawbridge, the governor
of the town, seeing that the
enemy was rushing toward it, ordered the bridge to be
raised. And, alas, that it
must be told, the maid was left among her enemies.
On a grey horse, clad in a scarlet coat, Joan was seen
by all. The Burgundians,
shouting in triumph, surrounded the maid, and dragged
her from her horse.
 They asked her to surrender, but she refused,
thinking and hoping that they
would kill her on the spot.
But the Maid of Orleans was too great a prize to be
slain, and erelong the
Burgundians sold her to the English, her mortal
enemies. Charles VII., to his shame
be it told, made no effort to save the maid from her