Page:Personal Recollections of Joan of Arc.djvu/172

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Chapter XI

Noël and I went back together—silent at first, and impressed. Finally Noël came up out of his thinkings and said—

"The first shall be last and the last first—there's authority for this surprise. But at the same time wasn't it a lofty hoist for our big bull!"

"It truly was; I am not over being stunned yet. It was the greatest place in her gift."

"Yes, it was. There are many generals, and she can create more; but there is only one Standard-Bearer."

"True. It is the most conspicuous place in the army, after her own."

"And the most coveted and honorable. Sons of two dukes tried to get it, as we know. And of all people in the world, this majestic windmill carries it off. Well, isn't it a gigantic promotion, when you come to look at it!"

"There's no doubt about it. It's a kind of copy of Joan's own in miniature."

"I don't know how to account for it—do you?"

"Yes—without any trouble at all—that is, I think I do."

Noël was surprised at that, and glanced up quickly, as if to see if I was in earnest. He said—

"I thought you couldn't be in earnest, but I see you are. If you can make me understand this puzzle, do it. Tell me what the explanation is."

"I believe I can. You have noticed that our chief knight says a good many wise things and has a thoughtful head on his shoulders. One day, riding along, we were talking about Joan's great talents, and he said, 'But, greatest of all her