Page:15 decisive battles of the world (New York).djvu/228

From Wikisource
Jump to navigation Jump to search
This page needs to be proofread.


In the village of Domremy, on the herders of Lorraine, there was a poor peasant of the name of Jacques d*Arc, respected in his station of life, and who had reared a family in virtuous habits and in the practice of the strictest devotion. His eldest daughter was named by her parents Jeannette, hut she was called Jeanne by the French, which was Latinized into Johanna, and Anglicized into Joan.*

At the time when Joan first attracted attention, she was about eighteen years of age. She was naturally of a susceptible disposition, which diligent attention to the legends of saints and tales of fairies, aided by the dreamy loneliness of her life while tending her father's flocks,† had made peculiarly prone to enthusiastic fervor. At the same time, she was eminent for piety and purity of soul, and for her compassionate gentleness to the sick and the distressed.

The district where she dwelt had escaped comparatively free from the ravages of war, but the approach of roving bands of

  • "Respondit quod in partibus suis vocabatur Johanneta, et postquam

venit in Franciam vocata est Johanna."—Proces de Jeanne d'Arc, i., p. 46.

† Southey, in one of the speeches which he puts in the mouth of Joan of Arc, has made her beautifully describe the effect on her mind of the scenery in which she dwelt.

"Here in solitude and peace My soul was nursed, amid the loveliest scenes Of unpolluted nature. Sweet it was, As the white mists of morning roll'd away, To see the mountain's wooded heights appear, Dark in the early dawn, and mark its slope With gorse-flowers glowing, as the rising sun On the golden ripeness pour'd a deepening light. Pleasant at noon beside the vocal brook To lay me down, and watch the floating clouds, And shape to Fancy's wild similitudes Their ever-varying forms; and oh! how sweet, To drive my flock at evening to the fold, And hasten to our little hut, and hear The voice of kindness bid me welcome home."

The only foundation for the story told by the Burgundian partisan Monstrelet, and adopted by Hume, of Joan having been brought up as a servant, is the circumstance of her having been once, with the rest of her family, obliged to take refuge in an auberge in Neufchateau for fifteen days, when a party of Burgundian cavalry made an incursion into Domremy. (See the "Quarterly Review," No. 138.)