Page:15 decisive battles of the world (New York).djvu/231

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AT ORLEANS. 225


had vied with each other in equipping her with war-horse, armor, and sword. On reaching Chinon, she was, after same delay, admitted into the presence of the dauphin. Charles designedly dressed himself far less richly than many of his courtiers were appareled, and mingled with them, when Joan was introduced, in order to see if the Holy Maid would address her exhortations to the wrong person. But she instantly singled him out, and kneeling before him, said, "Most noble dauphin, the King of Heaven announces to you by me that you shall be anointed and crowned king in the city of Rheims, and that you shall be his vicegerent in France." His features may probably have been seen by her previously in portraits, or have been described to her by others; but she herself believed that her Voices inspired her when she addressed the king;* and the report soon spread abroad that the Holy Maid had found the king by a miracle; and this, with many other similar rumors, augmented the renown and influence that she now rapidly acquired.

The state of public feeling in France was now favorable to an enthusiastic belief in a divine interposition in favor of the party that had hitherto been unsuccessful and oppressed. The humiliations which had befallen the French royal family and nobility were looked on as the just judgments of God upon them for their vice and impiety. The misfortunes that had come upon France as a nation were believed to have been drawn down by national sins. The English, who had been the instruments of Heaven's wrath against France, seemed now, by their pride and cruelty, to be fitting objects of it themselves. France in that age was a profoundly religious country. There was ignorance, there was superstition, there was bigotry; but there was Faith—a faith that itself worked true miracles, even while it believed in unreal ones. At this time, also, one of those devotional movements began among the clergy in France, which from time to time occur in national churches, without it being possible for the historian to assign any adequate human cause for their immediate date or extension. Numberless friars and priests traversed the rural districts and towns of France, preaching to the people that they must seek from Heaven a deliverance from the pillages of the soldiery and the insolence of the foreign oppressors.† The idea

  • "Proces de Jeanne d'Arc," vol. i., p. 56.

† See Sismondi, vol. xiii., p. 114; Michelet, vol. v., livre x.

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