Click here to Download Personal Recollections of Joan of Arc PDF Book by Mark Twain Volume 1 English having PDF Size 3.7 MB and No of Pages 122.
To arrive at a just estimate of a renowned man’s character one must judge it by the standards of his time, not ours. Judged by the standards of one century, the noblest characters of an earlier one lose much of their luster; judged by the standards of to-day, there is probably no illustrious man of four or five centuries ago whose character could meet the test at all points.
Personal Recollections of Joan of Arc PDF Book by Mark Twain Volume 1
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But the character of Joan of Arc is unique. It can be measured by the standards of all times without misgiving or apprehension as to the result. Judged by any of them, it is still flawless, it is still ideally perfect; it still occupies the loftiest place possible to human attainment, a loftier one than has been reached by any other mere mortal.
When we reflect that her century was the brutalest, the wickedest, the rottenest in history since the darkest ages, we are lost in wonder at the miracle of such a product from such a soil. The contrast between her and her century is the contrast between day and night. She was truthful when lying was the common speech of men.
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She was honest when honesty was become a lost virtue; she was a keeper of promises when the keeping of a promise was expected of no one; she gave her great mind to great thoughts and great purposes when other great minds wasted themselves upon pretty fancies or upon poor ambitions; she was modest, and fine, and delicate when to be loud and coarse might be said to be universal.
She was full of pity when a merciless cruelty was the rule; she was steadfast when stability was unknown, and honorable in an age which had forgotten what honor was; she was a rock of convictions in a time when men believed in nothing and scoffed at all things; she was unfailingly true to an age that was false to the core; she maintained her personal dignity unimpaired in an age of fawnings and servilities.
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She was of a dauntless courage when hope and courage had perished in the hearts of her nation; she was spotlessly pure in mind and body when society in the highest places was foul in both—she was all these things in an age when crime was the common business of lords and princes.
And when the highest personages in Christendom were able to astonish even that infamous era and make it stand aghast at the spectacle of their atrocious lives black with unimaginable treacheries, butcheries, and beastialities. She was perhaps the only entirely unselfish person whose name has a place in profane history.
No vestige or suggestion of self-seeking can be found in any word or deed of hers. When she had rescued her King from his vagabondage, and set his crown upon his head, she was offered rewards and honors, but she refused them all, and would take nothing. All she would take for herself—if the King would grant it—was leave to go back to her village home. Personal Recollections of Joan of Arc PDF Book
And tend her sheep again, and feel her mother’s arms about her, and be her housemaid and helper. The selfishness of this unspoiled general of victorious armies, companion of princes, and idol of an applauding and grateful nation, reached but that far and no farther. The work wrought by Joan of Arc may fairly be regarded as ranking any recorded in history.
When one considers the conditions under which it was undertaken, the obstacles in the way, and the means at her disposal. Caesar carried conquests far, but he did it with the trained and confident veterans of Rome, and was a trained soldier himself; and Napoleon swept away the disciplined armies of Europe, but he also was a trained soldier.
And he began his work with patriot battalions inflamed and inspired by the miracle-working new breath of Liberty breathed upon them by the Revolution—eager young apprentices to the splendid trade of war, not old and broken men-at-arms, despairing survivors of an age-long accumulation of monotonous defeats; but Joan of Arc. Personal Recollections of Joan of Arc PDF Book
A mere child in years, ignorant, unlettered, a poor village girl unknown and without influence, found a great nation lying in chains, helpless and hopeless under an alien domination, its treasury bankrupt, its soldiers disheartened and dispersed, all spirit torpid, all courage dead in the hearts of the people through long years of foreign and domestic outrage and oppression, their King cowed.
Resigned to its fate, and preparing to fly the country; and she laid her hand upon this nation, this corpse, and it rose and followed her. She led it from victory to victory, she turned back the tide of the Hundred Years’ War, she fatally crippled the English power, and died with the earned title of DELIVERER OF FRANCE, which she bears to this day.
And for all reward, the French King, whom she had crowned, stood supine and indifferent, while French priests took the noble child, the most innocent, the most lovely, the most adorable the ages have produced, and burned her alive at the stake. ALL CHILDREN have nicknames, and we had ours. Personal Recollections of Joan of Arc PDF Book
We got one apiece early, and they stuck to us; but Joan was richer in this matter, for, as time went on, she earned a second, and then a third, and so on, and we gave them to her. First and last she had as many as half a dozen. Several of these she never lost. Peasant-girls are bashful naturally; but she surpassed the rule so far, and colored so easily.
And was so easily embarrassed in the presence of strangers, that we nicknamed her the Bashful. We were all patriots, but she was called the Patriot, because our warmest feeling for our country was cold beside hers. Also she was called the Beautiful; and this was not merely because of the extraordinary beauty of her face and form, but because of the loveliness of her character.
These names she kept, and one other —the Brave. We grew along up, in that plodding and peaceful region, and got to be good-sized boys and girls— big enough, in fact, to begin to know as much about the wars raging perpetually to the west and north of us as our elders, and also to feel as stirred up over the occasional news from these red fields as they did. Personal Recollections of Joan of Arc PDF Book
I remember certain of these days very clearly. One Tuesday a crowd of us were romping and singing around the Fairy Tree, and hanging garlands on it in memory of our lost little fairy friends, when Little Mengette cried out: “Look! What is that?” When one exclaims like that in a way that shows astonishment and apprehension, he gets attention.
All the panting breasts and flushed faces flocked together, and all the eager eyes were turned in one direction—down the slope, toward the village. “It’s a black flag.” “A black flag! No—is it?” “You can see for yourself that it is nothing else.” “It is a black flag, sure! Now, has any ever seen the like of that before?” “What can it mean?”
“Mean? It means something dreadful—what else?” “That is nothing to the point; anybody knows that without the telling. But what?—that is the question.” “It is a chance that he that bears it can answer as well as any that are here, if you contain yourself till he comes.” “He runs well. Who is it?” Personal Recollections of Joan of Arc PDF Book
Some named one, some another; but presently all saw that it was Etienne Roze, called the Sunflower, because he had yellow hair and a round pock-marked face. His ancestors had been Germans some centuries ago. He came straining up the slope, now and then projecting his flag-stick aloft and giving his black symbol of woe a wave in the air.
Whilst all eyes watched him, all tongues discussed him, and every heart beat faster and faster with impatience to know his news. At last he sprang among us, and struck his flag-stick into the ground, saying: “There! Stand there and represent France while I get my breath. She needs no other flag now.”
All the giddy chatter stopped. It was as if one had announced a death. In that chilly hush there was no sound audible but the panting of the breath-blown boy. When he was presently able to speak, he said: “Black news is come. A treaty has been made at Troyes between France and the English and Burgundians. Personal Recollections of Joan of Arc PDF Book Download
By it France is betrayed and delivered over, tied hand and foot, to the enemy. It is the work of the Duke of Burgundy and that she-devil, the Queen of France. It marries Henry of England to Catharine of France—” “Is not this a lie? Marries the daughter of France to the Butcher of Agincourt? It is not to be believed.
You have not heard aright.” “If you cannot believe that, Jacques d’Arc, then you have a difficult task indeed before you, for worse is to come. Any child that is born of that marriage—if even a girl—is to inherit the thrones of both England and France, and this double ownership is to remain with its posterity forever!”
“Now that is certainly a lie, for it runs counter to our Salic law, and so is not legal and cannot have effect,” said Edmond Aubrey, called the Paladin, because of the armies he was always going to eat up some day. He would have said more, but he was drowned out by the clamors of the others, who all burst into a fury over this feature of the treaty. Personal Recollections of Joan of Arc PDF Book Download
All talking at once and nobody hearing anybody, until presently Haumette persuaded them to be still, saying: “It is not fair to break him up so in his tale; pray let him go on. You find fault with his history because it seems to be lies. That were reason for satisfaction—that kind of lies—not discontent. Tell the rest, Etienne.”
“There is but this to tell: Our King, Charles VI., is to reign until he dies, then Henry V. of England is to be Regent of France until a child of his shall be old enough to—” “That man is to reign over us—the Butcher? It is lies! all lies!” cried the Paladin. “Besides, look you —what becomes of our Dauphin? What says the treaty about him?”
“Nothing. It takes away his throne and makes him an outcast.” Then everybody shouted at once and said the news was a lie; and all began to get cheerful again, saying, “Our King would have to sign the treaty to make it good; and that he would not do, seeing how it serves his own son.” Personal Recollections of Joan of Arc PDF Book Download
“If you command it—certainly. But she has two knights with her. They might force her to march, particularly if the weather should improve.” I was scared, and impatient to be getting out of this peril, and it distressed and worried me to have Joan apparently set herself to work to make delay and increase the danger—still, I thought she probably knew better than I what to do.
The officer said: “Well, in that case we are here to block the way.” “Yes, if they come this way. But if they should send out spies, and find out enough to make them want to try for the bridge through the woods? Is it best to allow the bridge to stand?” It made me shiver to hear her. The officer considered awhile, then said: “It might be well enough to send a force to destroy the bridge.
I was intending to occupy it with the whole command, but that is not necessary now.” Joan said, tranquilly: “With your permission, I will go and destroy it myself.” Ah, now I saw her idea, and was glad she had had the cleverness to invent it and the ability to keep her head cool and think of it in that tight place. Personal Recollections of Joan of Arc PDF Book Free
The officer replied: “You have it, Captain, and my thanks. With you to do it, it will be well done; I could send another in your place, but not a better.” They saluted, and we moved forward. I breathed freer. A dozen times I had imagined I heard the hoofbeats of the real Captain Raymond’s troop arriving behind us, and had been sitting on pins and needles all the while that that conversation was dragging along.
I breathed freer, but was still not comfortable, for Joan had given only the simple command, “Forward!” Consequently we moved in a walk. Moved in a dead walk past a dim and lengthening column of enemies at our side. The suspense was exhausting, yet it lasted but a short while, for when the enemy’s bugles sang the “Dismount!” Joan gave the word to trot, and that was a great relief to me.
She was always at herself, you see. Before the command to dismount had been given, somebody might have wanted the countersign somewhere along that line if we came flying by at speed, but now we seemed to be on our way to our allotted camping position, so we were allowed to pass unchallenged. The further we went the more formidable was the strength revealed by the hostile force. Personal Recollections of Joan of Arc PDF Book Free
Perhaps it was only a hundred or two, but to me it seemed a thousand. When we passed the last of these people I was thankful, and the deeper we plowed into the darkness beyond them the better I felt. I came nearer and nearer to feeling good, for an hour; then we found the bridge still standing, and I felt entirely good.
We crossed it and destroyed it, and then I felt— but I cannot describe what I felt. One has to feel it himself in order to know what it is like. We had expected to hear the rush of a pursuing force behind us, for we thought that the real Captain Raymond would arrive and suggest that perhaps the troop that had been mistaken for his belonged to the Virgin of Vaucouleurs.
But he must have been delayed seriously, for when we resumed our march beyond the river there were no sounds behind us except those which the storm was furnishing. I said that Joan had harvested a good many compliments intended for Captain Raymond, and that he would find nothing of a crop left but a dry stubble of reprimands when he got back, and a commander just in the humor to superintend the gathering of it in. Personal Recollections of Joan of Arc PDF Book Free