Charles was quite undisturbed
Joan was taken to the Burgundian camp at Clairoix, her captors shouting, dancing, and embracing each other, more joyous over their capture, says the Burgundian chronicler, "than if they had taken five hundred men; for they neither feared nor dreaded any captain or commander so much as they had this Maid."
The Duke of Burgundy had his camp a distance away, but he presently arrived to make sure that their prisoner was in truth the dreaded Maid. Joan and the duke spoke together, but their words are lost.
The archer who had captured Joan was not permitted to hold her. She was too great a prize for that. His overlord, John of Luxemburg, promptly claimed her, and a day or two later took her for safety to his castle of Beaulieu, about twenty miles from Compiegne, to the northward. Her brothers may have gone with her; at all events d'Aulon did, and was allowed to serve as her attendant.
Meantime, the news of Joan's capture flew in every direction
throughout Europe. It reached the Archbishop of Reims, who justified it, charging Joan with being willful, unwilling to listen to advice, meaning his own advice, and that of La Tremoille. God had suffered the capture of the Maid, he said, because of her pride and the rich raiment she had worn, and because she had not followed God's commands but her own will. He forgot to mention that he and La Tremoille had been the means of preventing her, after the coronation, from marching at once upon Paris, as she had planned.
The news reached Paris, where, in celebration, Bedford ordered Te Deums sung in all the churches; and the University of Paris took immediate steps to get Joan into its hands for trial, delegating her deadliest enemy, Pierre Cauchon, Bishop of Beauvais, expelled from that city when it surrendered to Charles and the Maid, to bring the witch to justice.
It reached Charles, along with the news of Compiegne, and the King sent word that he would aid the city, which of course he never meant to do, for, as we know, he had already done his best to deliver it to Burgundy. Of Joan he said nothing whatever. If he expressed any word of regret there is no trace or memory of it today. When the great churchman, the Archbishop of Embrun, who a year before had called Joan "an angel of the armies of the Lord," wrote him: "For the recovery of this girl and for the ransom of her life I bid you spare neither means nor money, unless you would incur the indelible shame of disgraceful ingratitude," Charles was quite
undisturbed at the prospect of shame, and did nothing whatever. He was through with Joan. He had his crown and his cities on the Loire; he was no longer in personal danger. The Maid's eagerness always to be in action had annoyed him.
Knowing Charles, one is not much surprised at his indifference. Harder to understand is the attitude of Joan's old comrades, those who had fought by her side. One and all, they seemed to have accepted her capture as a part of the fortunes of war. We hear nothing of any sorrow, any plan for her rescue or ransom. A united effort might have accomplished one of these things. Joan was a prisoner of war; under the rules of that day she could possibly have been ransomed from John of Luxemburg, who was a free lance, poor and greedy, ready to sell the Maid like so much merchandise to the highest bidder. Orleans knew this, Tours knew it, and on the news of Joan's capture, both these cities formed processions in which barefooted priests marched through the streets, carrying images and praying for the Maid's deliverance, but they raised not a single sou with which to buy her life. Probably Bedford would have outbid any offer of theirs, but it would be comforting today to know that they made one.
Never a fringe of lances on the horizon
The castle of Beaulieu, where Joan was imprisoned, was a brick affair, brick being much used in Picardy to this day. It was a strong dwelling rather than a gloomy fortress, and Joan appears not to have been very closely confined. We really know little of her life there, beyond the fact that she once came near escaping, "between two pieces of wood," as she said, probably slats or temporary bars of some sort of pen, or across a window. She added that she would have shut her guards in the tower if it had not been for the porter, who saw and met her. We can only try to surmise what took place, and where d'Aulon was at the moment.
Joan could not know that she had been abandoned. She could not help believing that some of her former comrades would be lurking about, that once outside the walls she would fall into their hands. It would be hard for her to realize that no attempt was being made to save her, who less than a year before had been the idol of France. A rumor was afloat that Charles had sent word to Burgundy that if anything happened to the Maid he would take vengeance on such of the duke's people as fell into his hands. This rumor may have reached Joan and given her heart.
Nothing came of it. The Maid from her tower saw the level fields grow red with poppies, but never a gleam of armor,
never a fringe of lances on the horizon. June brought the anniversaries of Jargeau, of Beaugency and Patay. July brought the day of the coronation, when she had given the King his crown. That had been a year ago, too short a time in which to be forgotten. Surely she would be ransomed— the messengers with the news might come any time.
D'Aulon was gloomy as to the general outlook. Once he said to her:
"That poor city of Compiegne which you most loved will now again be placed in the hands of the enemies of France."
But she answered:
No, it will not; for the places that the King of Heaven has reduced, and restored to the hand and obedience of the noble King Charles by means of me, will never be retaken by his enemies, so long as he will use diligence to keep them."
The Maid's stay at Beaulieu came to an end. Some rumor for a plan for her rescue, or the eagerness of the Church to possess itself of her, caused her captor to remove her to the castle of Beaurevoir, some forty miles to the northeast, south of Cambrai. D'Aulon seems to have been left behind, for we do not hear of him again. He was the last link with her glorious year. She was alone now in the hands of her enemies.
Beaurevoir was the home castle of John of Luxemburg, and Joan was not without female companionship. Luxemburg's aunt, Jeanne, was there, a very old lady; also, his wife, and her daughter by a former marriage—all, as it happened, of
the same name. The four Jeannes, or Joans, got on very well. The ladies of Beaurevoir visited with the Maid of Domremy, and became fond of her. Being orthodox, they urged her to lay off man's dress.
"Joan," said the aged demoiselle of Luxemburg, "we will give you cloth for a woman's garment." The Maid shook her head sadly.
"I would do it for you sooner than for any in France," she said, "except only for my Queen. But first I must have permission from God."
A young Burgundian knight, Aimond de Macy, was at the castle, doubtless in charge of the guards, for he came to know and admire Joan, and gave some part of his time to her entertainment. But when he offered too gallant attention, he found her deeply offended. He told this himself, adding: "My belief is that Joan is in paradise."
The one desperate chance
The University of Paris, controlled by the Burgundian branch of the Church, and therefore by the English, from the start had been determined to have Joan, to try as a heretic and a witch. When the news came of her capture, the university wrote to the Duke of Burgundy, and to John of Luxemburg, humble, servile letters, naming Joan's offenses, offering
her captors glories in this world and the next if they would deliver their prisoner to them—that is, to Pierre Cauchon, Bishop of Beauvais—for trial. Burgundy paid no attention to these letters, while John of Luxemburg plainly let it be known that he would not deliver Joan on the promise of glory in the hereafter, but only for money, paid in hand.
Bedford, regent for the English King, was behind the university. He intended to possess himself of Joan, not as a prisoner of war, but of the Church. He meant to kill her. But it must be done in a way that would put a blemish on Charles's title to the crown. The Church would try her as a heretic, a blasphemer, and a witch. Such a trial meant conviction, and conviction meant the stake. That was Bedford's idea: to have Joan burned as a witch. Charles's crown, acquired through witchcraft, would thus become no crown at all. His title to it would be destroyed. Bedford's little nephew, Henry VI, duly crowned and anointed, would be king. Such was Bedford's idea; such his plan.
Pierre Cauchon, selected by the university to secure Joan and bring her to trial, was highly pleased with his assignment. Not only had the Maid been the cause of his exile from Beauvais, but it had been suggested that if he would bring about her conviction as a witch he would be made Archbishop of Rouen. To show his right to act as her judge, he promptly claimed that the Maid had been captured within the limits of his territory as Bishop of Beauvais; which was not true,
Margny being in the bishopric of Soissons. No matter; with the English and Burgundian armies behind him Cauchon could claim anything.
Cauchon was a churchman of high standing, but he knew a better way of getting Joan from John or Burgundy than by promising him treasures in heaven. The university had written again, more fulsomely, more abjectly than before, but with the same result. Cauchon took ten thousand francs, which Bedford had wrung from the people of Normandy in the form of a special tax, and visited John in person, first in his camp at Compiegne, then at Beaurevoir, where Joan was held. Ten thousand francs, in that day a very large sum, was the legal ransom of a prince or king. John was in no hurry to take it, perhaps hoping the other side would offer more. Lacking money, Charles might yield a good town, even a province. It was not easy to believe that the King of France would offer nothing for the Maid who had secured him his dominion and his crown.
Joan well knew what was going on. She knew when Cauchon came to Beaurevoir, and how John's aged aunt had pleaded with her nephew not to sell his prisoner to the English. She knew that in spite of this plea she had been sold. Further more, she and all there knew that to be sold to the English was to be delivered to the flames.
With all this, news came that Compiegne would fall, and that all in the town over the age of seven would be slain. Joan,
beside herself, desperately resolved on another attempt of escape.
There was but one possible way. In the thick wall of her tower was a narrow slit which, served as a window. It was not barred, and she could squeeze herself through it. She knew that the ground was far below; the fall would probably kill her but in her desperate state of mind she had little wish to live. "I preferred to die," are her words, "rather than live after the destruction of these worthy people."
Desperate indeed she must have been, when to risk death in that way was a deadly sin. She knew this, for daily she discussed the matter with her Voices. Saint Catherine told her that she should not jump; that God would aid her, also those at Compiegne. The Voice said that she would not be delivered until she had seen the King of England. But Joan answered:
"Truly, I have no wish to see him. I would rather die than be in English hands!"
Later Joan explained that she had not wished to kill herself, her hope having been to save her body and go to the rescue of those in Compiegne. Her Voices several times forbade her to jump, but she could not control herself, and at last, commending herself to God and the Virgin, she pushed through the narrow opening and leaped, or fell.
Whether this happened by night or day, we do not know— probably by night. That she lay for some time unconscious-
for hours, maybe—is certain. Aroused by those who found her, she had no memory of what had occurred. At first they had thought her 'dead. When she stared at them dazed, they told her she had jumped. Soon she heard the Voice of Saint Catherine, bidding her to be of good cheer. The Voice said that she would be cured, and that those at Compiegne would have succor. For several days she could neither eat nor drink, but was comforted by Saint Catherine, who again assured her that Compiegne would be relieved before Saint Martin's winter day (November 11). Then presently she was able to eat, and was soon cured. Compiegne was in fact relieved, through the efforts of her two old comrades, Poton Saintrailles and the Count of Vendome, October 25.
As soon as Joan was able to travel, arrangements were made to deliver her to the English.
The people filled the streets to see her pass
It was about mid-November that the Maid, strongly guarded and in chains, set out on that dreary journey across Flanders which would have its end in Rouen. What was the manner of her parting from the ladies of Beaurevoir whose lord for a price was sending her to her doom! What could they say to and in chains, set out on that dreary journey across Flanders, which would have its end in Rouen. What was the manner of her parting from the ladies of Beaurevoir whose lord for a price was sending her to her doom!
By way of Cambrai, Arras, and St. Riquier, the Maid and her armored guards rode toward the sea. The people of the towns and villages filled the streets to see her pass, and many prayed openly, for they believed her sent from God. At Arras, where the cavalcade paused for a day or more, some friendly soul secretly gave her files with which to escape from prison. They were found and taken from her.
Beyond St. Riquier was the castle of Drugy, where in a little tower she passed the night. At Drugy churchmen and citizens from the town came to see her, showing much pity, for they regarded her "as persecuted, being very innocent." Another day and they had reached Le Crotoy, with its square, gloomy castle overlooking the sea. Cheerless it must have been, but better than riding in chains. Here for the present the journey ended.
Joan was supposedly being taken to Paris, for trial, and Le Crotoy was by no means on the way. One reason for
taking this route was that most of the towns between Beaurevoir and Paris were in French hands. Another reason was that neither Bedford nor Cauchon wished to try her in Paris, which was none too well content with English rule. Rouen, safely English, was the spot they had chosen. Le Crotoy, therefore, was not so far off the road, and being handy to England was a good, safe place to keep the prisoner while the Church was locating the trial. This took time; weeks dragged by—Joan meantime, in her gloomy tower, awaiting she knew not what. She was not entirely without company. That gallant knight Aimond de Macy had come with those who brought her from Beaurevoir. Also, there was a prisoner from Amiens, a chancellor of the Church, who often held services in the castle and heard Joan in confession. Once some ladies came from Abbeville, fifteen miles distant, to visit this "marvel of her sex," as they regarded her. They invoked blessings on her, and she kissed them at parting, commending them to God, asking them to pray for her. Weeping, they left her.
Cauchon finally got his permission to try Joan at Rouen and lost no time in bringing her there. Some time during the last half of December—it was near Christmas day—the Maid, chained and under heavy guard, was put into a barge and, accompanied by many armed boats, conveyed from Le Crotoy across the mouth of the Somme, there very wide. At St. Valery on the other side she was received by a large body of Burgundian
soldiers. That day they traveled twenty miles down the wintry coast, lodging at night in the castle of Eu. Next day they passed through Dieppe to the great castle of Arques-la. Battaille, where again she found shelter. One shudders to think of that bitter winter journey, racking days in chains with only dungeons at night; one pictures the open-mouthed, staring crowds of Eu, of Dieppe, the helpless sympathy in the poor villages as the troopers clanked through the streets, in their midst a girl not yet nineteen, the Maid of miracles, going to her doom.
One more day, this time through Norman hamlets, then
nightfall, and heights above a far-lying river, Joan and her nightfall, and heights above afar-lying river, Joan and her guards looking down through the dim light on a collection of towers and spires and huddled homes – Rouen. A little more and they have passed down the steep descent to the city, crossed a drawbridge, entered a castle yard and heard the great portcullis clang down behind them. Rough, brief formalities, after which the Maid of France is led to a dungeon in one of the castle towers and delivered to ribald, English guards. It is an even two years, perhaps to the very day, since with Durand Laxart she left Domremy directed by angel voices, to reclaim France.