VAUCOULEURS AND JOINERY TO CHINON
JEAN DE NOVELEMPORT
Knight, called Jean de Metz.
When Jeannette was at Vaucouleurs, I saw her dressed in a red dress, poor and worn; she lived at the house of one named Henri Leroyer. ‘What are you doing here, my friend?” I said to her. ” Must the King be driven from the kingdom; and are we to be English?” ” I am come here,” she answered me, “to this royal town, (“Ad cameram regis.”) to speak to Robert de Baudricourt, to the end that he may conduct me or have me conducted to the King: but Robert cares neither for me nor for my words. Nevertheless, before the middle of Lent, I must be with the King – even if I have to wear down my feet to the knees! No one in the world – neither kings, nor dukes, nor the daughter of the King of Scotland, (Margaret, daughter of James I of Scotland, who was betrothed to Louis, afterwards Louis XI.) nor any others – can recover the kingdom of France; there is no succor to be expected save from me; but, nevertheless, I would rather spin with my poor mother – for this is not my proper estate: it is, however, necessary that I should go, and do this, because my Lord wills that I should do it.” And when I asked her who this Lord was, she told me it was God. Then I pledged my faith to her, touching her hand, and promised that, with God’s guidance, I would conduct her to the King. I asked her when she wished to start. “Sooner at once than tomorrow, and sooner tomorrow than later,” she said. I asked her if she could make this journey, dressed as she was. She replied that she would willingly take a man’s dress. Then I gave her the dress and equipment of one of my men. Afterwards, the inhabitants of Vaucouleurs had a man’s dress made for her, with all the necessary requisites; I also procured for her a horse at the price of about sixteen francs. Thus dressed and mounted, and furnished with a safe-conduct from the Sieur Charles, Duke de Lorraine, she went to visit the said Lord Duke. I accompanied her as far as Toul. On the return to Vaucouleurs, the first Sunday in Lent, (February 13th, 1428.) which is called ‘Dimanche des Bures ‘-and it will be, if I mistake not, twenty-seven years from that day to the coming Lent (1455.) I and Bertrand de Poulengey, with two of my men, Colet de Vienne, the King’s Messenger, and the Archer Richard, conducted the Maid to the King, who was then at Chinon. The journey was made at the expense of Bertrand de Poulengey and myself. We traveled for the most part at night, for fear of the Burgundians and the English, who were masters of the roads. We journeyed eleven days, always riding towards the said town of Chinon. On the way, I asked her many times if she would really do all she said. “Have no fear,” she answered us, “what I am commanded to do, I will do; my brothers in Paradise have told me how to act: it is four or five years since my brothers in Paradise and my Lord – that is, God – told me that I must go and fight in order to regain the kingdom of France. On the way, Bertrand and I slept every night by her – Jeanne being at my side, fully dressed. She inspired me with such respect that for nothing in the world would I have dared to molest her; also, never did I feel towards her – I say it on oath – any carnal desire. On the way she always wished to hear Mass. She said to us: “If we can, we shall do well to hear Mass.” But, for fear of being recognized, we were only able to hear it twice. I had absolute faith in her. Her words and her ardent faith in God inflamed me. I believe she was sent from God ; she never swore, she loved to attend Mass, she confessed often, and was zealous in giving alms. Many times was I obliged to hand out to her the money she gave for the love of God. While we were with her, we found her always good, simple, pious, an excellent Christian, well behaved, and God fearing When we arrived at Chinon, (March 6th, 1428.) we presented ourselves to the King’s Court and Council. I know she had there to submit to long inquiries.