Page:Personal Recollections of Joan of Arc.djvu/275

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I will speak of it, as knowing you will trust me, I not being given to beguiling you with lies.

Gautier de Brusac was spokesman for the timid ones; Joan's side was resolutely upheld by d'Alençon, the Bastard, La Hire, the Admiral of France, the Marshal de Boussac, and all the other really important chiefs.

De Brusac argued that the situation was very grave; that Jargeau, the first point of attack, was formidably strong; its imposing walls bristling with artillery; with seven thousand picked English veterans behind them, and at their head the great Earl of Suffolk and his two redoubtable brothers, the De la Poles. It seemed to him that the proposal of Joan of Arc to try to take such a place by storm was a most rash and over-daring idea, and she ought to be persuaded to relinquish it in favor of the soberer and safer procedure of investment by regular siege. It seemed to him that this fiery and furious new fashion of hurling masses of men against impregnable walls of stone, in defiance of the established laws and usages of war, was—

But he got no further. La Hire gave his plumed helm an impatient toss and burst out with—

"By God, she knows her trade, and none can teach it her!"

And before he could get out anything more, D'Alençon was on his feet, and the Bastard of Orleans, and a half a dozen others, all thundering at once, and pouring out their indignant displeasure upon any and all that might hold, secretly or publicly, distrust of the wisdom of the Commander-in-Chief. And when they had said their say, La Hire took a chance again, and said:

"There are some that never know how to change. Circumstances may change, but those people are never able to see that they have got to change too, to meet those circumstances. All that they know is the one beaten track that their fathers and grandfathers have followed and that they themselves have followed in their turn. If an earthquake come and rip the land to chaos, and that beaten track now lead over precipices and into morasses, those people can't learn that they