Personal Recollections of Joan of Arc/Book II/Chapter 23

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Personal Recollections of Joan of Arc, 1896, Figure 17.jpg

EMBELLISHMENT SHOWING THE DOORWAY OF THE HOUSE IN WHICH JOAN WAS BORN

His eyes lit suddenly with an eloquent fire, and he rose and drew his sword and raised it aloft; then he brought it slowly down upon Joan's shoulder and said:

"Ah, thou art so simple, so true, so great, so noble—and by this accolade I join thee to the nobility of France, thy fitting place! And for thy sake I do hereby ennoble all thy family and all thy kin; and all their descendants born in wedlock, not only in the male but also in the female line. And more!—more! To distinguish thy house and honor it above all others, we add a privilege never accorded to any before in the history of these dominions: the females of thy line shall have and hold the right to ennoble their husbands when these shall be of inferior degree." [Astonishment and envy flared up in every countenance when the words were uttered which conferred this extraordinary grace. The King paused and looked around upon these signs with quite evident satisfaction.] "Rise, Joan of Arc, now and henceforth surnamed Du Lis, in grateful acknowledgment of the good blow which you have struck for the lilies of France; and they, and the royal crown, and your own victorious sword, fit and fair company for each other, shall be grouped in you escutcheon and be and remain the symbol of your high nobility forever."

As my Lady Du Lis rose, the gilded children of privilege pressed forward to welcome her to their sacred ranks and call her by her new name; but she was troubled, and said these honors were not meet for one of her lowly birth and station, and by their kind grace she would remain simple Joan of Arc, nothing more—and so be called.

Nothing more! As if there could be anything more, anything higher, anything greater. My Lady Du Lis—why, it was tinsel, petty, perishable. But, Joan of Arc! The mere sound of it sets one's pulses leaping.