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heir of conquests and territorial acquisitions of which the responsibility rested with his grandíather, the inestimable advantages with himself, he restored to his rivals and his adversaries every fief and province which, upon the strictest scrutiny by the most impartial umpires, appeared to have been added to the royal domain by unjust, or even by questionable means.
What, then, was the basis of this sacred harmony in the character of Louis? I answer, or rather every page of his history answers, that it flowed from his constant devotion to that holy canon, and to that divine model, in which every utterance and every action are harmonious. His eye was continually turned to that eternal fountain of light with all the docility of childhood. He had early attained to that maturity of moral stature in which the abdication of self-will to the supreme will becomes at once a habit and a delight. In the service of his Creator he found and enjoyed a perfect freedom. It was a service often rendered in pain, in toil, in sickness, and in danger, but ever rendered with a heart full of cheerfulness and confidence and hope.
SIR JAMES STEPHEN, Lectures on the History of France. JOAN OF ARC, THE MAID OF ORLEANS.
What is to be thought of her ? What is to be thought of the poor shepherd-girl from the hills and forests of Lorraine, that — like the Hebrew shepherd-boy from the hills and forests of Judea
- rose suddenly out of the quiet, out of the safety, out of the religious inspiration, rooted in deep pastoral solicitudes, to a station in the van of armies, and to the more perilous station at the right hand of kings? The Hebrew boy inaugurated his patriotic mission by an act, by a victorious act, such as no man could deny. But so did the girl of Lorraine, if we read her story as it was read by those who saw her nearest. Adverse armies bore witness to the boy as no pretender; but so did they to the gentle girl. Judged by the voices of all who saw them from a station of good-will, both were found true and loyal to any promises involved in their first acts. Enemies it was that made the difference between their subsequent fortunes. The boy rose -to a splendor and a noonday prosperity, both personal and public, that rang through the records of his people, and became a by-word amongst his posterity for a thousand years, until the sceptre was departing from Judah. The poor, forsaken girl, on the contrary, drank not herself from that cup of rest which she had secured for France. She never sang together with them the songs that rose in her native Domrémy, as echoes to the departing steps of invaders. She mingled not in the festal dances at Vaucouleurs which celebrated in rapture the redemption of France. No! for her voice was then silent. No! for her feet were dust. Pure, innocent, noble-hearted girl! whom, from earliest youth, ever I believed in as full of truth and selfsacrifice, this was amongst the strongest pledges for thy side, that never once—no, not for a moment of weakness-didst thou revel in the vision of coronets and honors from men. Coronets for thee ! Oh, no! Honors, if they come when all is over, are for those that share thy blood. Daughter of Domrémy, when the gratitude of thy king shall awaken, thou wilt be sleeping the sleep of the dead. Call her, king of France, but she will not hear thee! Cite her by thy apparitors to come and receive a robe of honor, but she will be found en contumace. When the thunders of universal France, as even yet may happen, shall proclaim the grandeur of the poor shepherd-girl that gave up all for her country—thy ear, young shepherd-girl, will have been deaf for five centuries. To suffer and to do, that was thy portion in this life; to do—never for thyself, always for others; to suffer-never in the persons of generous champions, always in thy own; that was thy destiny; and not for a moment was it hidden from thyself. “Life,” thou saidst, “is short, and the sleep which is in the grave is long. Let me use that life, so transitory, for the glory of those heavenly dreams destined to comfort the sleep which is so long.” This poor creature pure from every suspicion of even a visionary self-interest, even as she was pure in senses more obviousnever once did this holy child, as regarded herself, relax from her belief in the darkness that was travelling to meet her. She might not prefigure the very manner of her death; she saw not in vision, perhaps, the aërial altitude of the fiery scaffold, the spectators without end on every road pouring into Rouen as to a coronation, the surging smoke, the volleying flames, the hostile faces all around, the pitying eye that lurked but here and there, until nature and imperishable truth broke loose from artificial restraints; these might not be apparent through the mists of the hurrying future. But the voice that called her to death, that she heard forever.
Great was the throne of France, even in those days, and great was he that sat upon it; but well Joanna knew that not the throne, nor he that sat upon it, was for her; but, on the contrary, that she was for them; not she by then, but they by her, should rise from the dust. Gorgeous were the lilies of France, and for centuries had the privilege to spread their beauty over land and sea, until, in another century, the wrath of God and man combined to wither them; but well Joanna knew, early at Domrémy she had read that bitter truth, that the lilies of France would decorate no garland for her. Flower nor bud, bell nor blossom, would ever bloom for her.
On the Wednesday after Trinity Sunday, in 1431, being then about nineteen years of age, the Maid of Arc underwent her martyrdom. She was conducted before midday, guarded by eight hundred spearmen, to a platform of prodigious height, constructed of wooden billets, supported by hollow spaces in every direction, for the creation of aircurrents. “The pile struck terror,” says M. Michelet, “by its height.”.... There would be a certainty of calumny rising against her-some people would impute to her a willingness to recant. No innocence could escape that. Now, had she really testified this willingness on the scaffold it would