Page:Personal Recollections of Joan of Arc.djvu/234

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192


"That I would!—and moreover that I will! You have my orders—here and now. We will move upon the forts of the south bank to-morrow at dawn."

"And carry them by storm?"

"Yes, carry them by storm!"

La Hire came clanking in, and heard the last remark. He cried out:

"By my baton, that is the music I love to hear! Yes, that is the right time and the beautiful words, my General—we will carry them by storm!"

He saluted in his large way and came up and shook Joan by the hand.

Some member of the council was heard to say—

"It follows, then, that we must begin with the bastille St. John, and that will give the English time to—"

Joan turned and said—

"Give yourselves no uneasiness about the bastille St. John. The English will know enough to retire from it and fall back on the bridge bastilles when they see us coming." She added, with a touch of sarcasm, "Even a war-council would know enough to do that itself."

Then she took her leave. La Hire made this general remark to the council:

"She is a child, and that is all ye seem to see. Keep to that superstition if you must, but you perceive that this child understands this complex game of war as well as any of you; and if you want my opinion without the trouble of asking for it, here you have it without ruffles or embroidery—by God, I think she can teach the best of you how to play it!"

Joan had spoken truly; the sagacious English saw that the policy of the French had undergone a revolution; that the policy of paltering and dawdling was ended; that in place of taking blows, blows were ready to be struck now; therefore they made ready for the new state of things by transferring heavy reinforcements to the bastilles of the south bank from those of the north.