Page:15 decisive battles of the world (New York).djvu/229

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AT ORLEANS. 223


Burgundian or English troops frequently spread terror through Domremy. Once the village had been plundered by some of these marauders, and Joan and their family had been driven from their home, and forced to seek refuge for a time at Neufchateau. The peasantry in Domremy were principally attached to the house of Orleans and the dauphin, and all the miseries which France endured were there imputed to the Burgundian faction and their allies, the English, who were seeking to enslave unhappy France.

Thus, from infancy to girlhood, Joan had heard continually of the woes of the war, and had herself witnessed some of the wretchedness that it caused. A feeling of intense patriotism grew in her with her growth. The deliverance of France from the English was the subject of her reveries by day and her dreams by night. Blended with these aspirations were recollections of the miraculous interpositions of Heaven in favor of the oppressed, which she had learned from the legends of her Church. Her faith was undoubting; her prayers were fervent. "She feared no danger, for she felt no sin," and at length she believed herself to have received the supernatural inspiration which she sought.

According to her own narrative, delivered by her to her merciless inquisitors in the time of her captivity and approaching death, she was about thirteen years old when her revelations commenced. Her own words describe them best.* "At the age of thirteen, a voice from God came to her to help her in ruling herself, and that voice came to her about the hour of noon, in summer time, while she was in her father's garden. And she had fasted the day before. And she heard the voice on her right, in the direction of the church; and when she heard the voice, she saw also a bright light." Afterward St. Michael, and St. Margaret, and St. Catharine appeared to her. They were always in a halo of glory; she could see that their heads were crowned with jewels; and she heard their voices, which were sweet and mild. She did not distinguish their arms or limbs. She heard them more frequently than she saw them; and the usual time when she heard them was when the church bells were sounding for prayer. And if she was in the woods when she heard them, she could plainly distinguish their voices drawing near to her. When

  • "Proces de Jeanne d'Arc," vol. i., p. 52.