Page:Personal Recollections of Joan of Arc.djvu/535

From Wikisource
Jump to navigation Jump to search
This page has been validated.


"The poor and the helpless had nothing but their prayers to give Joan of Arc; but these we may believe were not unavailing. There are few more pathetic events recorded in history than this weeping, helpless, praying crowd, holding their lighted candles and kneeling on the pavement beneath the prison walls of the old fortress."

And it was so all the way: thousands upon thousands massed upon their knees and stretching far down the distances, thick-sown with the faint yellow candle-flames, like a field starred with golden flowers.

But there were some that did not kneel; these were the English soldiers. They stood elbow to elbow, on each side of Joan's road, and walled it in all the way; and behind these living walls knelt the multitudes.

By and by a frantic man in priest's garb came wailing and lamenting, and tore through the crowd and the barriers of soldiers and flung himself on his knees by Joan's cart and put up his hands in supplication, crying out:

"O forgive, forgive!"

It was Loyseleur!

And Joan forgave him; forgave him out of a heart that knew nothing but forgiveness, nothing but compassion, nothing but pity for all that suffer, let their offence be what it might. And she had no word of reproach for this poor wretch who had wrought day and night with deceits and treacheries and hypocrisies to betray her to her death.

The soldiers would have killed him, but the Earl of Warwick saved his life. What became of him is not known. He hid himself from the world somewhere, to endure his remorse as he might.

In the square of the Old Market stood the two platforms and the stake that had stood before in the churchyard of St. Ouen. The platforms were occupied as before, the one by Joan and her judges, the other by great dignitaries, the principal being Cauchon and the English Cardinal—Winchester. The square was packed with people, the windows and roofs of the blocks of buildings surrounding it were black with them.