[Orleans had been under siege for seven months when Joan arrived outside the city with a relief army on April 29, 1428. The situation was serious, but not yet critical. Dunois, “Bastard of Orleans” (he was the illegitimate half-brother of the Duke of Orleans who had been taken prisoner by the English at Agincourt), who was in charge of defending the city, went out to meet her. Though Joan had yet to fight a battle, her reputation (and promise) had preceded her and she was already becoming an object of adulation. For this reason the party delayed until dusk “to avoid the tumult of the people.” The following passage from Frances Gies’ excellent book, Joan of Arc: The Legend and the Reality, 1981, describes Joan’s entry into Orleans.]
At last at eight o’clock an extraordinary real-life historical tableau was enacted as Joan rode through the Burgundy gate, fully armed, on a white horse, her standard carried before her, Dunois at her side, followed by “many other noble and valiant lords, squires, captains, and soldiers, some of the garrison, and citizens of Orleans.” The cavalcade was surrounded on all sides by a crowd of soldiers and citizens carrying torches, “as joyful as if they had seen God descending among them,” commented the Journal du Siège, or “as if she had been an angel of God,” said Jean Luillier, one of the citizens. The whole city had taken Joan to its heart in advance, and all “regarded her very affectionately, men, women, even little children.” Pressing close, they sought to touch her, or even her horse. A torch coming in contact with Joan’s standard set it ablaze. She spurred her horse, turned him, and deftly extinguished the fire, to the marvel of the crowds, “as if she had long fought in wars,” commented the Journal du Siège. Closely escorted, Joan rode all the way through the city to the Rue du Tabour, where she was to lodge, with her two brothers and her household, at the house of Jacques Boucher, treasurer of the duke of Orleans.
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