JOAN IN CAPTIVITY. FROM COMPIEGNE TO ROUEN
Joanpassed the first night of her captivity at Clairoix, in the midst of the Burgundians under John of Luxembourg, whose prisoner she was. Promptly she was led to the castle of Beaulieu in Picardy, some ten miles or so north of Compiegne. She was determined to escape if she could; she was never in any prison, she declared at Rouen, from which she would not have tried to get free if possible. She cleverly planned to lock her guard in the tower, and so recover her liberty. But the porter of the castle saw and prevented her. God, she said, did not wish her to escape, and her Voices told her she would not be delivered until she had seen the king of England. She was then transferred to the more secure prison of Beaurevoir. Joan spent about two weeks in Beaulieu, where her old equerry and now fellow captive, d'Aulon, was allowed to wait upon her. Speaking to her one day he said that Compiegne, which she loved, would now fall into the hands of the foe. "It will not be so," she answered. "No town of France given back, by the King of Heaven to the gentle King Charles will be lost, it only he take care to guard it."
It was a fair prophecy and with fuller fulfillment; for he took little care to guard Compiegne.
Gilles de Roye, an author of weight, and subject of Burgundy, says that Joan was brought to Noyon to be shown as a curiosity to the newly wedded duchess of Philip the Good. The duchess Isabel came here on June 6th; and Joan was probably on her way to Beaurevoir. This strong castle of the Luxembourgs was much farther north, or rather northeast, still in Picardy, on the frontiers of Vermandois and the Cambrai country. Still visible are the moats, though partly filled, the base of the towers, and an esplanade, now under cultivation. Benignant Providence had so disposed that Joan should spend four months here with kindly jailers. They were the aunt and wife of John of Luxembourg. The former, now advanced in years, was godmother of Charles VII, and had been remarkable for the piety of her life. The wife had been allied, by a former marriage, to the house of Bar; and her heart was with the cause of France. Several priests were attached to the chapel of the castle, the religious functions being frequent and solemn. Mass was chanted each day, and the office on feast-days. These were Joan's consolation. The ladies of the castle offered her female clothing; but Joan said she had not the permission of Our Lord to wear it, and that it was not yet time. "If I ought to take woman's dress."
she added, "I would have done so for these ladies sooner than for any others in France, except my queen." She had here an opportunity of proving to her friends that it was not yet prudent or timely to lay aside her warrior costume. Sire Aymond, Seigneur of Macy, a knight, testified at Joan's Rehabilitation, when he was about fifty-six years of age, that he had often seen Joan in prison and spoken to her. He was in the employ of John of Luxembourg. Here at Beaurevoir he attempted the indecent familiarities of a rough soldier—poor Joan, no wonder she shrank from their prison—but she repelled him instantly "with all her strength." He never lost the impression of her sacred modesty. To his mind she was a perfect Christian, and surely in paradise. He visited her afterwards at Rouen with Luxembourg, in the presence, or company, of the Earls of Stafford and Warwick. Luxembourg doesn't gain much credit from the interview. He said to Joan that he had come to ransom her if she would swear not to carry arms any more against the English and their French friends. But she told him plainly that he had neither the will nor the way to set her free. She knew, she declared, that the English would kill her in hope of possessing France after her,death. But France they will never possess, she continued, even if they had a hundred thousand more godons (g-d-s = God dams VF) than they have. Whereupon Stafford half-drew his dagger, as if to stabe her; but Warwick restrained him.
Joan living was much more profitable. De Macy tells things of great importance, especially how fictitious was Joan's alleged retraction.
Cauchon mentions his journey to Beaurevoir and Flanders while endeavoring to purchase Joan of Arc. His purpose was, we may suppose, to counteract the influence of the ladies of Luxembourg's family. The Duke of Burgundy was then apparently in Flanders. Cauchon had business with him.
Luxembourg's aunt was approaching death. On September 10th, she made him her heir; and on the 13th of November she breathed her last. It is probably this that caused the transfer of Joan, on September 29th, to Arras, which belonged to the Duke of Burgundy. She was aware of the intended change, as she was of her sale to the English; and in her terror of falling into English hands, she sprang from the lofty tower of the castle of Beaurevoir. She herself describes the incident. When she understood that she was about to be given up to the English, her terror was so great that she could scarcely control it. She was tormented, too, by fear of the fall of Compiegne; for she knew the temper of Burgundy and dreaded a massacre. Her Voices forbade her constantly to leap from the high tower; but she pleaded, and her prayer was touching. Would God let perish a people so loyal as those of Compiegne? St. Catherine promised they would be relieved.
"If so," Joan urged, "I would wish to be with them." She must be patient, answered St. Catherine; she herself will not- be set free until she sees the English king. "Truly," said Joan, "I do not wish to see him." At length; terror overcame her; and commending herself to God and the Blessed Mother, she let herself fall from the tower. Whatever means she employed, it broke, according to the story of a chronicler. She was preserved from death, by St. Catherine, she learned afterwards; no bone was broken; but she was found unconscious, and for two or three days could not eat or drink. St. Catherine came to console and strengthen her; told her to take courage; to confess her fault and it would be forgiven; and that Compiegne would be delivered from all danger before Martinmas. Then she began to eat, and was soon well. Although she preferred death, she said, to captivity in the hands of the English; yet she denied that she had any thought of despair or suicide. There was just the bold, brave hope that she could save herself and once more lead her host to victory.
The conduct of the siege of Compiegne had been given over to John of Luxembourg; for the Duke of Burgundy was gone to gather in the inheritance left by his deceased cousin, the Duke of Brabant. The Duke of Vendome made a solemn public vow to Our Lady in the cathedral of Senlis, and marched with de Boussac to the relief of the city. Luxembourg drew up his army to prevent their approach.
But from Compiegne sallied forth garrison and citizens on his rear, assisted by some of Vendome's troops, who had passed around the Burgandians. A fort was stormed, and the French Army entered the city. Then passing over the river in boats, they occupied the ground where Joan had been takers captive. The siege operations were broken up; the English withdrew, and John of Luxembourg followed. The city was free on the 25th of October, two weeks before St. Martin's Day, as St. Catherine had promised.
On the 29th of September, Joan was changed to Arras in Artois, northwest of Beaurevoir; and thus came directly under the control of the Duke of Burgundy. She remained probably a month. Here she was urged, out of friendly motives, by Sire de Pressy and, others, to assume female attire. At Arras a Scot brought to Joan his portrait of her—she said it resembled her—representing her in armor, presenting a book to the king as she knelt before him. The friendly stranger may have brought files, too, to enable her to cut her way to freedom. For when questioned at Rouen whether files had been given her at Arras, she asked, "Did they find any with me? I have no more to say." Perhaps she was weary of their foolish questions.
The money voted by Normandy, or by its authorities, as the price of Joan, was gathered
Slowly, coming in only at the end of October. Then Joan was handed over. She was sent westward a much longer stage, to the strong castle of Crotoy by the sea, at the mouth of the Somme. On the way she passed a night at the castle of Drugy, which belonged to the nearby abbey of St. Riquier. There the monks and the chief people of the place came to express their sympathy for Joan. From Abbeville, quite near, a city loyal at heart, the ladies came to see and honor the captive. She thanked them with much feeling, kissed them, and bade them adieu. At Crotoy, where she remained nearly two months, she found unexpected consolations. Here a priest was kept prisoner, because of his loyalty to France, as it appears, Dr. Nicolas de Quiefdeville, Chancellor of the cathedral of Amiens, "a very remarkable man," says de Macy. He said Mass every day, heard Joan's confession, and gave her Holy Communion. He spoke of her afterwards in the highest terms of praise. Joan seems to have been still at Crotoy on the 21st of November, from letters of the University of Paris to Cauchon and the English king, demanding that she be tried at Paris, and regretting that she had not fallen into the University's own hands. On leaving Crotoy about mid-December, Joan said she saw St. Michael, who did not afterwards appear to her up to the time of her trial. She was regretted at Crotoy, for she had imparted much consolation there. From the castle walls she passed the wide mouth of the Somme in a boat with guards; went through St. Valery
on the opposite side ; then along the coast by Eu to Dieppe. Thence she was taken directly south to Rouen. It had been a long, hard, circuitous journey from Compiegne to Rouen; but it was the last on earth. Her passion, long and bitter, was about to begin. During the five or six months she had yet to live all her terror would be more than justified—in the words of Mr. Lowell, "in constant physical distress, at nearly every moment of the day and night in danger of the foulest indignity and outrage, for weeks in daily danger of the rack, daily subjected to the keenest mental torture which experts could devise, with death at the end. During all this time, her every word and act were watched by the shrewdest of her enemies, eager to catch her in error by fair means or by foul, and more than once these enemies believed themselves successful. It is plain, at any rate, that Joan's successes from her capture to her death were not helped by generals or soldiers, by friends or enthusiastic crowds. As to the aid of man she stood alone."