Skip to main content

Full text of "Saint Joan of Arc"

See other formats

m m^c 

I'M /f'f.' 4?^ 




3 3333 08104 1820 

Saint Joan f 















THE $30,000 BEQUEST 







THE 1,000,000 BANK-NOTE 




he believed that she had daily 
speech with angels 

Saint Joan f 


oTWark Twain 

With Illustrations in Color by 

Decorations in Tint by 

Harper C& Brothers Publishers 
New York and London 

. . . 


Copyright, 1897, 1919, by Harper & Brothers 

Printed in the United States of America 

Published May, 1919 






She Believed That She Had 
Daily Speech with Angels Frontispiece 

The Triumphal Entry into 

Rheims Facing p. 6 

Guarded by Rough English 

Soldiers " 12 

A Lithe, Young, Slender 

Figure " 20 

. ' 

I ' 

* 4. I I 


The Official Record of the Trials 
and Rehabilitation of Joan of Arc is 
the most remarkable history that ex- 
ists in any language; yet there are few 
people in the world who can say they 
have read it: in England and America 
it has hardly been heard of. 

Three hundred years ago Shake- 
speare did not know the true story of 
Joan of Arc; in his day it was un- 
known even in France. For four hun- 
dred years it existed rather as a vague- 
ly denned romance than as definite 
and authentic history. The true story 
remained buried in the official archives 
of France from the Rehabilitation of 
1456 until Quicherat dug it out and 
gave it to the world two generations 
ago, in lucid and understandable mod- 
ern French. It is a deeply fascinating 
story. But only in the Official Trials 
and Rehabilitation can it be found in 
its entirety. M. T. 


To arrive at a just estimate of a renowned 
man's character one must judge it by the 
standards of his time, not ours. Judged by 
the standards of one century, the noblest char- 
acters of an earlier one lose much of their 
luster; judged by the standards of to-day, 
there is probably no illustrious man of four or 
five centuries ago whose character could meet 
the test at all points. But the character of 
Joan of Arc is unique. It can be measured by 
the standards of all times without misgiving or 
apprehension as to the result. Judged by any 
of them, judged by all of them, it is still flaw- 
less, it is still ideally perfect; it still occupies 
the loftiest place possible to human attainment, 
a loftier one than has been reached by any other 
mere mortal. 

When we reflect that her century was the 
brutalest, the wickedest, the rottenest in his- 

1 From Personal Recollections f Joan of Arc, by Mark Twain 


tory since the darkest ages, we are lost in won- 
der at the miracle of such a product from such 
a soil. The contrast between her and her cen- 
tury is the contrast between day and night. 
She was truthful when lying was the common 
speech of men; she was honest when honesty 
was become a lost virtue; she was a keeper of 
promises when the keeping of a promise was ex- 
pected of no one; she gave her great mind to great 
thoughts and great purposes when other great 
minds wasted themselves upon pretty fancies 
or upon poor ambitions; she was modest, and 
fine, and delicate when to be loud and coarse 
might be said to be universal; she was full of 
pity when a merciless cruelty was the rule; she 
was steadfast when stability was unknown, and 
honorable in an age which had forgotten what 
honor was; she was a rock of convictions in a 
time when men believed in nothing and scoffed 
at all things; she was unfailingly true in an 
age that was false to the core; she maintained 
her personal dignity unimpaired in an age of 
f awnings and servilities; she was of a daunt- 
less courage when hope and courage had perished 
in the hearts of her nation; she was spotlessly 
pure in mind and body when society in the 
highest places was foul in both she was all 



these things in an age when crime was the com- 
mon business of lords and princes, and when 
the highest personages in Christendom were 
able to astonish even that infamous era and 
make it stand aghast at the spectacle of their 
atrocious lives black with unimaginable treach- 
eries, butcheries, and bestialities. 

She was perhaps the only entirely unselfish 
person whose name has a place in profane 
history. No vestige or suggestion of self-seek- 
ing can be found in any word or deed of hers. 
When she had rescued her King from his vaga- 
bondage, and set his crown upon his head, she 
was offered rewards and honors, but she refused 
them all, and would take nothing. All she 
would take for herself if the King would grant 
it was leave to go back to her village home, 
and tend her sheep again, and feel her mother's 
arms about her, and be her housemaid and 
helper. The selfishness of this unspoiled gen- 
eral of victorious armies, companion of princes, 
and idol of an applauding and grateful nation, 
reached but that far and no farther. 

The work wrought by Joan of Arc may fairly 
be regarded as ranking any recorded in history, 
when one considers the conditions under which 
it was undertaken, the obstacles in the way, 



and the means at her disposal. Caesar carried 
conquest far, but he did it with the trained and 
confident veterans of Rome, and was a trained 
soldier himself; and Napoleon swept away the 
disciplined armies of Europe, but he also was 
a trained soldier, and he began his work with 
patriot battalions inflamed and inspired by the 
miracle-working new breath of Liberty breathed 
upon them by the Revolution eager young 
apprentices to the splendid trade of war, not 
old and broken men-at-arms, despairing sur- 
vivors of an age-long accumulation of monoto- 
nous defeats; but Joan of Arc, a mere child in 
years, ignorant, unlettered, a poor village girl 
unknown and without influence, found a great 
nation lying in chains, helpless and hopeless 
under an alien domination, its treasury bank- 
rupt, its soldiers disheartened and dispersed, all 
spirit torpid, all courage dead in the hearts of 
the people through long years of foreign and 
domestic outrage and oppression, their King 
cowed, resigned to its fate, and preparing to 
fly the country; and she laid her hand upon 
this nation, this corpse, and it rose and followed 
her. She led it from victory to victory, she 
turned back the tide of the Hundred Years' 
War, she fatally crippled the English power, 



and died with the earned title of Deliverer of 
France, which she bears to this day. 

And for all reward, the French King, whom 
she had crowned, stood supine and indifferent, 
while French priests took the noble child, the 
most innocent, the most lovely, the most ador- 
able the ages have produced, and burned her 
alive at the stake. 

Saint Joan f 



HE evidence furnished at the 
Trials and Rehabilitation sets 
forth Joan of Arc's strange and 
beautiful history in clear and 
minute detail. Among all the 
multitude of biographies that 
freight the shelves of the 
world's libraries, this is the only one whose 
validity is confirmed to us by oath. It 
gives us a vivid picture of a career and a 
personality of so extraordinary a character that 
we are helped to accept them as actualities by 
the very fact that both are beyond the inven- 
tive reach of fiction. The public part of the 
career occupied only a mere breath of time it 
covered but two years ; but what a career it was ! 
The personality which made it possible is one to 
be reverently studied, loved, and marveled at, 
but not to be wholly understood and accounted 
for by even the most searching analysis. 









In Joan of Arc at the age of sixteen there 
was no promise of a romance. She lived in a 
dull little village on the frontiers of civiliza- 
tion; she had been nowhere and had seen 
nothing; she knew none but simple shepherd 
folk; she had never seen a person of note; she 
hardly knew what a soldier looked like; she 
had never ridden a horse, nor had a warlike 
weapon in her hand; she could neither read 
nor write; she could spin and sew; she knew 
her catechism and her prayers and the fabu- 
lous histories of the saints, and this was all 
her learning. That was Joan at sixteen. What 
did she know of law? of evidence? of courts? 
of the attorney's trade? of legal procedure? 
Nothing. Less than nothing. Thus exhaust- 
ively equipped with ignorance, she went be- 
fore the court at Toul to contest a false charge 
of breach of promise of marriage; she con- 
ducted her cause herself, without any one's 
help or advice or any one's friendly sympathy, 
and won it. She called no witnesses of her own, 
but vanquished the prosecution by using with 
deadly effectiveness its own testimony. The 
astonished judge threw the case out of court, 
and spoke of her as "this marvelous child." 
She went to the veteran Commandant of 


Vaucouleurs and demanded an escort of sol- 
diers, saying she must niarch to the help of 
the King of France, since she was commissioned 
of God to win back his lost kingdom for him 
and set the crown upon his head. The Com- 
mandant said, "What, you? you are only a 
child." And he advised that she be taken back 
to her village and have her ears boxed. But 
she said she must obey God, and would come 
again, and again, and yet again, and finally 
she would get the soldiers. She said truly. 
In time he yielded, after months of delay and 
refusal, and gave her the soldiers; and took 
off his sword and gave her that, and said, 
"Go and let come what may." She made 
her long and perilous journey through the en- 
emy's country, and spoke with the King, and 
convinced him. Then she was summoned be- 
fore the University of Poitiers to prove that 
she was commissioned of God and not of Satan, 
and daily during three weeks she sat before 
that learned congress unafraid, and capably 
answered their deep questions out of her igno- 
rant but able head and her simple and honest 
heart; and again she won her case, and with it 
the wondering admiration of all that august 


And now, aged seventeen, she was made 
Commander - in - Chief, with a prince of the 
royal house and the veteran generals of 
France for subordinates; and at the head of 
the first army she had ever seen, she marched 
to Orleans, carried the commanding fortress 
of the enemy by storm in three desperate 
assaults, and in ten days raised a siege which 
had defied the might of France for seven 

After a tedious and insane delay caused by 
the King's instability of character and the 
treacherous counsels of his ministers, she got 
permission to take the field again. She took 
Jargeau by storm; then Meung; she forced 
Beaugency to surrender; then in the open 
field she won the memorable victory of Patay 
against Talbot "the English Lion," and broke 
the back of the Hundred Years' War. It was 

campaign which cost but seven weeks of 

time; yet the political results would have been 
cheap if the time expended had been fifty 
years. Patay, that unsung and now long- 
forgotten battle, was the Moscow of the Eng- 
lish power in France; from the blow struck 
that day it was destined never to recover. It 
was the beginning of the end of an alien do- 


minion which had ridden France intermittently 
for three hundred years. 

Then followed the great campaign of the 
Loire, the capture of Troyes by assault, and 
the triumphal march past surrendering towns 
and fortresses to Rheims, where Joan put the 
crown upon her King's head in the Cathedral, 
amid wild public rejoicings, and with her old 
peasant father there to see these things and 
believe his eyes if he could. She had restored 
the crown and the lost sovereignty; the King 
was grateful for once in his shabby, poor life, 
and asked her to name her reward and have it. 
She asked for nothing for herself, but begged 
that the taxes of her native village might be 
remitted forever. The prayer was granted, 
and the promise kept for three hundred and 
sixty years. Then it was broken, and remains 
broken to-day. France was very poor then, 
she is very rich now; but she has been collect- 
ing those taxes for more than a hundred years. 

Joan asked one other favor: that now that 
her mission was fulfilled she might be allowed 
to go back to her village and take up her 
humble life again with her mother and the 
friends of her childhood; for she had no pleasure 
in the cruelties of war, and the sight of blood 


and suffering wrung her heart. Sometimes in 
battle she did not draw her sword, lest in the 
splendid madness of the onset she might forget 
herself and take an enemy's life with it. In 
the Rouen Trials, one of her quaintest speeches 
coming from the gentle and girlish source it 
did was her naive remark that she had "never 
killed any one." Her prayer for leave to go 
back to the rest and peace of her village home 
was not granted. 

Then she wanted to march at once upon 
Paris, take it, and drive the English out of 
France. She was hampered in all ways that 
treachery and the King's vacillation could de- 
vise, but she forced her way to Paris at last, 
and fell badly wounded in a successful assault 
upon one of the gates. Of course her men lost 
heart at once she was the only heart they had. 
They fell back. She begged to be allowed to 
remain at the front, saying victory was sure. 
"I will take Paris now or die!" she said. But 
she was removed from the field by force; the 
King ordered a retreat, and actually disbanded 
his army. In accordance with a beautiful old 
military custom Joan devoted her silver armor 
and hung it up in the Cathedral of St. Denis. 
Its great days were over. 


vV* "* 

triumphal entry into Rheims 


Then, by command, she followed the King 
and his frivolous court and endured a gilded 
captivity for a time, as well as her free spirit 
could; and whenever inaction became unbear- 
able she gathered some men together and rode 
away and assaulted a stronghold and capt- 
ured it. 

At last in a sortie against the enemy, from 
Compiegne, on the 24th of May (when she was 
turned eighteen), she was herself captured, 
after a gallant fight. It was her last battle. 
She was to follow the drums no more. 

Thus ended the briefest epoch-making mili- 
tary career known to history. It lasted only a 
year and a month, but it found France an 
English province, and furnishes the reason that 
France is France to-day and not an English 
province still. Thirteen months! It was in- 
deed a short career; but in the centuries that 
have since elapsed five hundred millions of 
Frenchmen have lived and died blest by the 
benefactions it conferred; and so long as France 
shall endure the mighty debt must grow. And 
France is grateful; we often hear her say it. 
Also thrifty: she collects the Domremy taxes. 





OAN was fated to spend the 
rest of her life behind bolts 
and bars. She was a prisoner 
of war, not a criminal, there- 
fore hers was recognized as 
an honorable captivity. By 
the rules of war she must be 
held to ransom, and a fair price could not be 
refused if offered. John of Luxembourg paid 
her the just compliment of requiring a prince's 
ransom for her. In that day that phrase repre- 
sented a definite sum 61,125 francs. It was of 
course supposable that either the King or grateful 
France, or both, would fly with the money and set 
their fair young benefactor free. But this did 
not happen. In five and a half months neither 
King nor country stirred a hand nor offered a 
penny. Twice Joan tried to escape. Once by 
a trick she succeeded for a moment, and locked 
her jailer in behind her, but she was discovered 
and caught; in the other case she let herself 
down from a tower sixty feet high, but her rope 


was too short, and she got a fall that disabled 
her and she could not get away. 

Finally, Cauchon, Bishop of Beauvais, paid 
the money and bought Joan ostensibly for the 
Church, to be tried for wearing male attire 
and for other impieties, but really for the Eng- 
lish, the enemy into whose hands the poor girl 
was so piteously anxious not to fall. She was 
now shut up in the dungeons of the Castle of 
Rouen and kept in an iron cage, with her hands 
and feet and neck chained to a pillar; and from 
that time forth during all the months of her 
imprisonment, till the end, several rough Eng- 
lish soldiers stood guard over her night and 
day and not outside her room, but in it. It 
was a dreary and hideous captivity, but it did 
not conquer her: nothing could break that in- 
vincible spirit. From first to last she was a 
prisoner a year; and she spent the last three 
months of it on trial for her life before a formid- 
able array of ecclesiastical judges, and dis- 
puting the ground with them foot by foot and 
inch by inch with brilliant generalship and 
dauntless pluck. The spectacle of that solitary 
girl, forlorn and friendless, without advocate or 
adviser, and without the help and guidance of 
any copy of the charges brought against her 



or rescript of the complex and voluminous 
daily proceedings of the court to modify the 
crushing strain upon her astonishing memory, 
fighting that long battle, serene and undis- 
mayed against these colossal odds, stands alone 
in its pathos and its sublimity; it has nowhere 
its mate, either in the annals of fact or in the 
inventions of fiction. 

And how fine and great were the things she 
daily said, how fresh and crisp and she so 
worn in body, so starved, and tired, and har- 
ried! They run through the whole gamut of 
feeling and expression from scorn and defiance, 
uttered with soldierly fire and frankness, all 
down the scale to wounded dignity clothed in 
words of noble pathos; as, when her patience 
was exhausted by the pestering delvings and 
gropings and searchings of her persecutors to 
find out what kind of devil's witchcraft she 
had employed to rouse the war spirit in her 
timid soldiers, she burst out with, "What I 
said was, 'Ride these English down and 
I did it myself!" and as, when insultingly 
asked why it was that her standard had place 
at the crowning of the King in the Cathedral 
of Rheims rather than the standards of the 
other captains, she uttered that touching speech, 



"It had borne the burden, it had earned 
the honor" a phrase which fell from her lips 
without premeditation, yet whose moving beauty 
and simple grace it would bankrupt the arts of 
language to surpass. 

Although she was on trial for her life, she was 
the only witness called on either side; the only 
witness summoned to testify before a packed 
jury commissioned with a definite task: to find 
her guilty, whether she was guilty or not. She 
must be convicted out of her own mouth, 
there being no other way to accomplish it. 
Every advantage that learning has over igno- 
rance, age over youth, experience over inexperi- 
ence, chicane over artlessness, every trick and 
trap and gin devisable by malice and the cun- 
ning of sharp intellects practised in setting 
snares for the unwary all these were employed 
against her without shame; and when these arts 
were one by one defeated by the marvelous 
intuitions of her alert and penetrating mind, 
Bishop Cauchon stooped to a final baseness 
which it degrades human speech to describe: 
a priest who pretended to come from the region 
of her own home and to be a pitying friend and 
anxious to help her in her sore need was smug- 
gled into her cell, and he misused his sacred 



office to steal her confidence; she confided to 
him the things sealed from revealment by her 
Voices, and which her prosecutors had tried so 
long in vain to trick her into betraying. A 
concealed confederate set it all down and de- 
livered it to Cauchon, who used Joan's secrets, 
thus obtained, for her ruin. 

Throughout the Trails, whatever the fore- 
doomed witness said was twisted from its true 
meaning when possible, and made to tell against 
her ; and whenever an answer of hers was beyond 
the reach of twisting it was not allowed to go 
upon the record. It was upon one of these 
latter occasions that she uttered that pathetic 
reproach to Cauchon: ''Ah, you set down 
everything that is against me, but you will not 
set down what is for me." 

That this untrained young creature's genius 
for war was wonderful, and her generalship 
worthy to rank with the ripe products of a 
tried and trained military experience, we have 
the sworn testimony of two of her veteran 
subordinates one, the Due d'Alengon, the other 
the greatest of the French generals of the time, 
Dunois, Bastard of Orleans; that her genius 
was as great possibly even greater in the 
subtle warfare of the forum we have for witness 

Guarded by rough English soldiers 



the records of the Rouen Trials, that protracted 
exhibition of intellectual fence maintained with 
credit against the master-minds of France; that 
her moral greatness was peer to her intellect 
we call the Rouen Trials again to witness, 
with their testimony to a fortitude which pa- 
tiently and steadfastly endured during twelve 
weeks the wasting forces of captivity, chains, 
loneliness, sickness, darkness, hunger, thirst, 
cold, shame, insult, abuse, broken sleep, treach- 
ery, ingratitude, exhausting sieges of cross- 
examination, the threat of torture, with the 
rack before her and the executioner standing 
ready: yet never surrendering, never asking 
quarter, the frail wreck of her as unconquerable 
the last day as was her invincible spirit the first. 
Great as she was in so many ways, she was 
perhaps even greatest of all in the lofty things 
just named her patient endurance, her stead- 
fastness, her granite fortitude. We may not 
hope to easily find her mate and twin in these 
majestic qualities; where we lift our eyes high- 
est we find only a strange and curious contrast 
there in the captive eagle beating his broken 
wings on the Rock of St. Helena. 


[HE Trials ended with her con- 
demnation. But as she had 
conceded nothing, confessed 
nothing, this was victory for 
her, defeat for Cauchon. But 
his evil resources were not 
yet exhausted. She was per- 
suaded to agree to sign a paper of slight import, 
then by treachery a paper was substituted which 
contained a recantation and a detailed con- 
fession of everything which had been charged 
against her during the Trials and denied and 
repudiated by her persistently during the three 
months; and this false paper she ignorantly 
signed. This was a victory for Cauchon. He 
followed it eagerly and pitilessly up by at once 
setting a trap for her which she could not 
escape. When she realized this she gave up 
the long struggle, denounced the treason which 
had been practised against her, repudiated the 
false confession, reasserted the truth of the 
testimony which she had given in the Trials, 



and went to her martyrdom with the peace of 
God in her tired heart, and on her lips endear- 
ing words and loving prayers for the cur she 
had crowned and the nation of ingrates she had 

When the fires rose about her and she begged 
for a cross for her dying lips to kiss, it was not 
a friend but an enemy, not a Frenchman but 
an alien, not a comrade in arms but an English 
soldier, that answered that pathetic prayer. 
He broke a stick across his knee, bound the 
pieces together in the form of the symbol she 
so loved, and gave it her; and his gentle deed 
is not forgotten, nor will be. 


WENTY-FIVE years after- 
ward the Process of Reha- 
bilitation was instituted, there 
being a growing doubt as to 
the validity of a sovereignty 
that had been rescued and set 
upon its feet by a person who 
had been proved by the Church to be a witch 
and a familiar of evil spirits. Joan's old gen- 
erals, her secretary, several aged relations and 
other villagers of Domremy, surviving judges and 
secretaries of the Rouen and Poitiers Processes 
a cloud of witnesses, some of whom had been 
her enemies and persecutors came and made 
oath and testified; and what they said was 
written down. In that sworn testimony the 
moving and beautiful history of Joan of Arc 
is laid bare, from her childhood to her martyr- 
dom. From the verdict she rises stainlessly 
pure, in mind and heart, in speech and deed 
and spirit, and will so endure to the end of 



She is the Wonder of the Ages. And when 
we consider her origin, her early circumstances, 
her sex, and that she did all the things upon 
which her renown rests while she was still a 
young girl, we recognize that while our race 
continues she will be also the Riddle of the 
Ages. When we set about accounting for a 
Napoleon or a Shakespeare or a Raphael or a 
Wagner or an Edison or other extraordinary 
person, we understand that the measure of his 
talent will not explain the whole result, nor 
even the largest part of it; no, it is the atmos- 
phere in which the talent was cradled that ex- 
plains; it is the training which it received 
while it grew, the nurture it got from reading, 
study, example, the encouragement it gathered 
from self-recognition and recognition from the 
outside at each stage of its development: when 
we know all these details, then we know why 
the man was ready when his opportunity came. 
We should expect Edison's surroundings and 
atmosphere to have the largest share in dis- 
covering him to himself and to the world; and 
we should expect him to live and die undis- 
covered in a land where an inventor could find 
no comradeship, no sympathy, no ambition- 
rousing atmosphere of recognition and applause 



Dahomey, for instance. Dahomey could not 
find an Edison out; in Dahomey an Edison 
could not find himself out. Broadly speaking, 
genius is not born with sight, but blind; and 
it is not itself that opens its eyes, but the subtle 
influences of a myriad of stimulating exterior 

We all know this to be not a guess, but a 
mere commonplace fact, a truism. Lorraine 
was Joan of Arc's Dahomey. And there the 
Riddle confronts us. We can understand how 
she could be born with military genius, with 
leonine courage, with incomparable fortitude, 
with a mind which was in several particulars 
a prodigy a mind which included among its 
specialties the lawyer's gift of detecting traps 
laid by the adversary in cunning and treacher- 
ous arrangements of seemingly innocent words, 
the orator's gift of eloquence, the advocate's 
gift of presenting a case in clear and compact 
form, the judge's gift of sorting and weighing 
evidence, and finally, something recognizable 
as more than a mere trace of the statesman's 
gift of understanding a political situation and 
how to make profitable use of such opportuni- 
ties as it offers; we can comprehend how she 
could be born with these great qualities, but 



we cannot comprehend how they became im- 
mediately usable and effective without the de- 
veloping forces of a sympathetic atmosphere 
and the training which comes of teaching, study, 
practice years of practice and the crowning 
and perfecting help of a thousand mistakes. 
We can understand how the possibilities of the 
future perfect peach are all lying hid in the 
humble bitter-almond, but we cannot conceive 
of the peach springing directly from the almond 
without the intervening long seasons of patient 
cultivation and development. Out of a cattle- 
pasturing peasant village lost in the remote- 
nesses of an unvisited wilderness and atrophied 
with ages of stupefaction and ignorance we 
cannot see a Joan of Arc issue equipped to 
the last detail for her amazing career and hope 
to be able to explain the riddle of it, labor at 
it as we may. 

It is beyond us. All the rules fail in this 
girl's case. In the world's history she stands 
alone quite alone. Others have been great in 
their first public exhibitions of generalship, 
valor, legal talent, diplomacy, fortitude; but 
always their previous years and associations 
had been in a larger or smaller degree a prepa- 
ration for these things. There have been no 



exceptions to the rule. But Joan was com- 
petent in- a law case at sixteen without ever 
having seen a law-book or a court-house before; 
she had no training in soldiership and no as- 
sociations with it, yet she was a competent 
general in her first campaign; she was brave 
in her first battle, yet her courage had had no 
education not even the education which 
boy's courage gets from never-ceasing reminders 
that it is not permissible in a boy to be a 
coward, but only in a girl; friendless, alone, 
ignorant, in the blossom of her youth, she sat 
week after week, a prisoner in chains, before 
her assemblage of judges, enemies hunting her 
to her death, the ablest minds in France, and 
answered them out of an untaught wisdom 
which overmatched their learning, baffled their 
tricks and treacheries with a native sagacity 
which compelled their wonder, and scored every 
day a victory against these incredible odds and 
camped unchallenged on the field. In the his- 
tory of the human intellect, untrained, inex- 
perienced, and using only its birthright equip- 
ment of untried capacities, there is nothing 
which approaches this. Joan of Arc stands 
alone, and must continue to stand alone, by 
reason of the unfellowed fact that in the things 

La Pvcelle 

A lithe, young, slender figure 



wherein she was great she was so without 
shade or suggestion of help from preparatory 
teaching, practice, environment, or experience. 
There is no one to compare her with, none to 
measure her by; for all others among the illus- 
trious grew toward their high place in an at- 
mosphere and surroundings which discovered 
their gift to them and nourished it and pro- 
moted it, intentionally or unconsciously. There 
have been other young generals, but they were 
not girls; young generals, but they had been 
soldiers before they were generals: she began 
as a general; she commanded the first army 
she ever saw; she led it from victory to victory, 
and never lost a battle with it; there have 
been young commanders-in-chief, but none so 
young as she: she is the only soldier in history 
who has held the supreme command of a na- 
tion's armies at the age of seventeen. 

Her history has still another feature which 
sets her apart and leaves her without fellow 
or competitor: there have been many unin- 
spired prophets, but she was the only one who 
ever ventured the daring detail of naming, 
along with a foretold event, the event's precise 
nature, the special time-limit within which it 
would occur, and the place and scored ful- 



filment. At Vaucouleurs she said she must 
go to the King and be made his general and 
break the English power, and crown her sov- 
ereign "at Rheims." It all happened. It was 
all to happen "next year" and it did. She 
foretold her first wound and its character and 
date a month in advance, and the prophecy 
was recorded in a public record-book three 
weeks in advance. She repeated it the morning 
of the date named, and it was fulfilled before 
night. At Tours she foretold the limit of her 
military career saying it would end in one 
year from the time of its utterance and she 
was right. She foretold her martyrdom using 
that word, and naming a time three months 
away and again she was right. At a time 
when France seemed hopelessly and perma- 
nently in the hands of the English she twice 
asserted in her prison before her judges that 
within seven years the English would meet 
with a mightier disaster than had been the 
fall of Orleans: it happened within five -=- the 
fall of Paris. Other prophecies of hers came 
true, both as to the event named and the time- 
limit prescribed. 

She was deeply religious, and believed that 
she had daily speech with angels; that she saw 



them face to face, and that they counseled 
her, comforted and heartened her, and brought 
commands to her direct from God. She had a 
childlike faith in the heavenly origin of her ap- 
paritions and her Voices, and not any threat 
of any form of death was able to frighten it 
out of her loyal heart. She was a beautiful 
and simple and lovable character. In the 
records of the Trials this comes out in clear 
and shining detail. She was gentle and win- 
ning and affectionate; she loved her home and 
friends and her village life; she was miserable 
in the presence of pain and suffering; she was 
full of compassion: on the field of her most 
splendid victory she forgot her triumph to 
hold in her lap the head of a dying enemy 
and comfort his passing spirit with pitying 
words; in an age when it was common to 
slaughter prisoners she stood dauntless between 
hers and harm, and saved them alive; she was 
forgiving, generous, unselfish, magnanimous; she 
was pure from all spot or stain of baseness. 
And always she was a girl; and dear and wor- 
shipful, as is meet for that estate: when she 
fell wounded, the first time, she was frightened, 
and cried when she saw her blood gushing 
from her breast ; but she was Joan of Arc ! and 



when presently she found that her generals 
were sounding the retreat, she staggered to 
her feet and led the assault again and took 
that place by storm. 

There is no blemish in that rounded and 
beautiful character. 

How strange it is! that almost invariably 
the artist remembers only one detail one minor 
and meaningless detail of the personality of 
Joan of Arc: to wit, that she was a peasant 
girl and forgets all the rest; and so he paints 
her as a strapping, middle-aged fishwoman, with 
costume to match, and in her face the spiritu- 
ality of a ham. He is slave to his one idea, and 
forgets to observe that the supremely great 
souls are never lodged in gross bodies. No 
brawn, no muscle, could endure the work that 
their bodies must do; they do their miracles 
by the spirit, which has fifty times the strength 
and staying power of brawn and muscle. The 
Napoleons are little, not big; and they work 
twenty hours in the twenty-four, and come up 
fresh, while the big soldiers with the little hearts 
faint around them with fatigue. We know 
what Joan of Arc was like, without asking 
merely by what she did. The artist should 
paint her spirit then he could not fail to 



paint her body aright. She would rise before 
us, then, a vision to win us, not repel: a lithe 
young slender figure, instinct with "the un- 
bought grace of youth," dear and bonny and 
lovable, the face beautiful, and transfigured 
with the light of that lustrous intellect and the 
fires of that unquenchable spirit. 

Taking into account, as I have suggested 
before, all the circumstances her origin, youth, 
sex, illiteracy, early environment, and the ob- 
structing conditions under which she exploited 
her high gifts and made her conquests in the 
field and before the courts that tried her for 
her life she is easily and by far the most ex- 
traordinary person the human race has ever 


OAN'S brother Jacques died 
in Domremy during the Great 
Trial at Rouen. This was 
I 'according to the prophecy 
which Joan made that day 
in the pastures the time that 

she said the rest of us would 

go to the great wars. 

When her poor old father heard of the martyr- 
dom it broke his heart and he died. 

The mother was granted a pension by the 
city of Orleans, and upon this she lived out her 
days, which were many. Twenty-four years 
after her illustrious child's death she traveled 
all the way to Paris in the wintertime and was 
present at the opening of the discussion in the 
Cathedral of Notre Dame which was the first 
step in the Rehabilitation. Paris was crowded 
with people, from all about France, who came 

1 From Personal Recollections of Joan of Arc, by Mark Twain. 



to get sight of the venerable dame, and it was 
a touching spectacle when she moved through 
these reverend wet-eyed multitudes on her way 
to the grand honors awaiting her at the cathe- 
dral. With her were Jean and Pierre, no 
longer the light-hearted youths who marched 
with us from Vaucouleurs, but war-worn veterans 
with hair beginning to show frost. 

After the martyrdom Noel and I went back 
to Domremy, but presently, when the Con- 
stable Richemont superseded La Tremouille as 
the King's chief adviser and began the com- 
pletion of Joan's great work, we put on our har- 
ness and returned to the field and fought for 
the King all through the wars and skirmishes 
until France was freed of the English. It was 
what Joan would have desired of us; and, 
dead or alive, her desire was law for us. All 
the survivors of the personal staff were faith- 
ful to her memory and fought for the King to 
the end. Mainly we were well scattered, but 
when Paris fell we happened to be together. 
It was a great day and a joyous; but it was a 
sad one at the same time, because Joan was not 
there to march into the captured capital with us. 

Noel and I remained always together, and I 
was by his side when death claimed him. It 



was in the last great battle of the war. In that 
battle fell also Joan's sturdy old enemy Talbot. 
He was eighty-five years old, and had spent his 
whole life in battle. A fine old lion he was, 
with his flowing white mane and his tameless 
spirit ; yes, and his indestructible energy as well ; 
for he fought as knightly and vigorous a fight 
that day as the best man there. 

La Hire survived the martyrdom thirteen 
years; and always fighting, of course, for that 
was all he enjoyed in life. I did not see him in 
all that time, for we were far apart, but one 
was always hearing of him. 

The Bastard of Orleans and D'Alengon and 
D'Aulon lived to see France free, and to testify 
with Jean and Pierre d'Arc and Pasquerel and 
me at the Rehabilitation. But they are all at 
rest now, these many years. I alone am left of 
those who fought at the side of Joan of Arc in 
the great wars. She said I would live until 
these wars were forgotten a prophecy which 
failed. If I should live a thousand years it 
would still fail. For whatsoever had touch 
with Joan of Arc, that thing is immortal. 

Members of Joan's family married, and they 
have left descendants. Their descendants are 
of the nobility, but their family name and blood 



bring them honors which no other nobles re- 
ceive or may hope for. You have seen how 
everybody along the way uncovered when those 
children came yesterday to pay their duty to 
me. It was not because they are noble; it is 
because they are grandchildren of the brothers 
of Joan of Arc. 

Now as to the Rehabilitation. Joan crowned 
the King at Rheims. For reward he allowed 
her to be hunted to her death without making 
one effort to save her. During the next twenty- 
three years he remained indifferent to her mem- 
ory; indifferent to the fact that her good name 
was under a damning blot, put there by the 
priests because of the deeds which she had done 
in saving him and his scepter; indifferent to 
the fact that France was ashamed, and longed 
to have the Deliverer's fair fame restored. In- 
different all that time. Then he suddenly 
changed and was anxious to have justice for 
poor Joan himself. Why? Had he become 
grateful at last? Had remorse attacked his 
hard heart? No, he had a better reason a 
better one for his sort of man. This better 
reason was that, now that the English had been 
finally expelled from the country, they were 
beginning to call attention to the fact that this 



King had gotten his crown by the hands of a 
person proven by the priests to have been in 
league with Satan and burned for it by them 
as a sorceress therefore, of what value or au- 
thority was such a Kingship as that? Of no 
value at all; no nation could afford to allow 
such a king to remain on the throne. 

It was high time to stir now, and the King 
did it. That is how Charles VII. came to be 
smitten with anxiety to have justice done the 
memory of his benefactress. 

He appealed to the Pope, and the Pope ap- 
pointed a great commission of churchmen to 
examine into the facts of Joan's life and award 
judgment. The Commission sat at Paris, at 
Domremy, at Rouen, at Orleans, and at several 
other places, and continued its work during 
several months. It examined the records of 
Joan's trials, it examined the Bastard of Orleans, 
and the Duke d'Alengon, and D'Aulon, and 
Pasquerel, and Courcelles, and Isambard de la 
Pierre, and Manchon, and me, and many others 
whose names I have made familiar to you; also 
they examined more than a hundred witnesses 
whose names are less familiar to you friends 
of Joan in Domremy, Vaucouleurs, Orleans, 
and other places, and a number of judges and 



other people who had assisted at the Rouen trials, 
the abjuration, and the martyrdom. And out of 
this exhaustive examination Joan's character and 
history came spotless and perfect, and this verdict 
was placed upon record, to remain forever. 

I was present upon most of these occasions, 
and saw again many faces which I have not 
seen for a quarter of a century; among them 
some well -beloved faces those of our generals 
and that of Catherine Boucher (married, alas!), 
and also among them certain other faces that 
filled me with bitterness those of Beaupere 
and Courcelles and a number of their fellow- 
fiends. I saw Haumette and Little Mengette 
edging along toward fifty now, and mothers of 
many children. I saw Noel's father, and the 
parents of the Paladin and the Sunflower. 

It was beautiful to hear the Duke d'Alengon 
praise Joan's splendid capacities as a general, 
and to hear the Bastard indorse these praises 
with his eloquent tongue and then go on and 
tell how sweet and good Joan was, and how full 
of pluck, and fire, and impetuosity, and mischief, 
and mirthfulness, and tenderness, and com- 
passion, and everything that was pure and fine 
and noble and lovely. He made her live again 
before me, and wrung my heart. 



I have finished my story of Joan of Arc, that 
wonderful child, that sublime personality, that 
spirit which in one regard has had no peer and 
will have none this: its purity from all alloy 
of self-seeking, self-interest, personal ambition. 
In it no trace of these motives can be found, 
search as you may, and this cannot be said of 
any other person whose name appears in pro- 
fane history. . 

With Joan of Arc love of country was more 
than a sentiment it was a passion. She was 
the Genius of Patriotism she was Patriotism 
embodied, concreted, made flesh, and palpable 
to the touch and visible to the eye. 

Love, Mercy, Charity, Fortitude, War, Peace, 
Poetry, Music these may be symbolized as any 
shall prefer : by figures of either sex and of any 
age; but a slender girl in her first young bloom, 
with the martyr's crown upon her head, and in 
her hand the sword that severed her country's 
bonds shall not this, and no other, stand for 
Patriotism through all the ages until time shall