The Beautiful Story of Joan of Arc  by Viola Ruth Lowe

The Siege of Paris

H ARDLY had the excitement of the King's coronation died away when Joan demanded that the march to Paris should begin, and ought not be put off even for a single day. But the king delayed from day to day hoping to make a treaty with the Burgundians.

Meanwhile, on August 17, the keys of the town of Compiegne were handed over to King Charles, and shortly after its surrender, many other towns in the district followed suit. This would have made a good location from which to begin the attack upon the English, but still the King would not give his consent. Joan decided to take matters into her own hands with the help of the Duke d'Alençon. And on August 23, in spite of the King and his councillors, these two, followed by their troops, set out in high spirits, with hope in their hearts and words of cheer on their lips, and soon they reached St. Denys, a little town where stood the cathedral that contained the tombs of all the bygone kings and queens of France. Here they impatiently waited until the King arrived two weeks later.

The attack upon Paris was made at two o'clock in the afternoon. Joan rode at the head of her troops holding her banner in her hand. She showed great bravery, but it was a hopeless task from the first. Without any support from the King, it was impossible to capture the city.


The Maid led her men on with words of new hope.

Still, however, the Maid remained, calling out words of encouragement to her men, and standing alone in the front with only her standard-bearer nearby. As dusk grew and shadows began to fall, an English archer aimed his bow at the Maid and his arrow pierced her leg. She fell wounded, and at the same moment her standard-bearer was struck and fell dead at her side. They carried her a little distance from the field, and from there she still shouted words of encouragement to her soldiers until nightfall.

They were near the walls of Paris the next morning when suddenly a band of horsemen appeared upon the horizon. They stopped the troops and delivered their message from the King. They said that the siege must be stopped at once. And to the sorrowful Joan they next turned and said, "The Maid must return to St. Denys immediately."

Before leaving St. Denys, Joan, her heart heavy with anguish, quietly entered the Cathedral, and with great simplicity laid her suit of white armor, now sadly bent and stained by warfare, and her sword which could serve her no longer, at the foot of the statue of the Virgin Mary.


On the altar, Joan laid her armor and her sword.