FILLS DE 'DIEU
ONE cannot explain the "supernatural" in Jeanne's life by ill health or nervous troubles or spiritistic suggestions or the hallucinations resulting from sex disturbance (diagnoses dear to America), or any similar cause. None of these theories will fit Jeanne. She was health itself, perfectly attuned in every physical function, (The chronicles have it, on the witness of women who had been much about the Maid, that she was free from the recurring disability of her sex.) organization of utmost symmetry, Alpha and Omega, systole and diastole, no languor, no greensickness, no fidgets or St. Vitus quivers: a superb young animal controlled by a great spirit and the finest brain in France. God had reserved this mind to Himself, from the stupid so-called knowledge of men, the abracadabra, which stifles our natural powers, in order that He might write his will therein and confound the mighty of this world.
Perhaps I am the first to note this wondrous fact that Jeanne was divinely preserved from our ignorance, miscalled knowledge, in order that she might exhibit in herself the pure power of God.
Jeanne's endurance in the field was the astonishment of soldiers like La Hire and Xaintrailles.
Sparing and abstinent in diet, often fasting whole days, she could remain in the saddle long hours without ever dismounting, and sleep several successive nights in her armor. Her wounds healed overnight. She possessed the vigor of Diana and the recuperative powers of Antaeus.
There be certain uncandid persons who would belittle the natural intelligence of Jeanne, to the greater advantage of her supernatural aids. They affirm that she was of the most ordinary qualities, save when acting and speaking from celestial counsel. But this is refuted by the strongest and at the same time the most casual testimony. Nothing in the chronicle of the Maid delights us so much as the copious and. authenticated report of her bright sayings, redolent of her native French wit, and (though she was no chatterer) dropping from her in the most casual circumstances. Of a higher order were her replies or spontaneous utterances at the trial, pregnant, epigrammatical, searching as a sword, now and then visibly touched with divine inspiration. She appeared greater than her judges, this illiterate! Their scholasticism, their Latin jargon, all their panoply of false learning seemed mean and puerile, as it was, before her clear intelligence. She despised their books, as the world taught by her has long since despised them; and she sentenced to death that monstrous system founded upon sacerdotal pride, ignorance, and pretense, even while it condemned her.
La Pucelle's expression—the expression of one who had only been at school to the angels!—was equal
to that of any person, however able or learned, who figured in her story. It is quite proper to say that Jeanne, who could not read the French version of "Mother Goose," possessed an enviable literary style, recalling the pungency of Pascal; and as she beat the best generals of her time, so she beat the best writers. Indeed, I suspect Jeanne makes literature look very cheap, viewing her own achievement and such memorable words as the following:
My sweet God, if you love me, by thy holy Passion teach me how to answer these people of the Church.
My Voices speak a better language than yours.
I did not come to Poitiers to make signs. Lead me to Orleans and I will furnish the proof of my mission.
In the name of God, the soldiers will fight and heaven will give the victory.
The English in England, the French in France—behold the peace!
I shall go, though I should wear out my feet, even to the knees.
There is more in the book of God than in yours. (To her judges.)
At Orleans: "Enter boldly among the English," and she led the way herself.
Does God hate the English? "Of the love or hate God may have for the English I know nothing, but I know well that they will be driven out of France, except those who will perish here."
It had been at the struggle: only just that it should have place at the honor. (Reference to her Standard.)
We shall not find peace except at the point of the lance.
The time weighs upon me as upon a woman heavy with child.
The pity there was for the Kingdom of France.
I have never seen the blood of Frenchmen flow without my hair rising on end.
You have been at your council: I have been at mine! (To the plotters and obstructers at Orleans.)
The poor people came willingly to me, for I did them no harm but sought always to protect them.
Are you in a state of grace? (Question at the trial.) "If I am not, may God please to make me so; if I am, may God please to keep me so." (The speech of Jeanne, so idiomatic, terse, felicitous, loses not a little of its savor and value in English. Compare with the French in this celebrated instance: Si je n'y suis, Dieu veuille m'y mettre; si je suis, Dieu veuille m’y tenir!)
Was St. Michael naked? (Question at the trial.) Do you think then that God has not wherewith to clothe him?
I am come from God. I have nothing to do here. Send me back to God from whom I came! (At the trial.)