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27 Apr

To test her, the king had disguised himself, but she at once saluted him without hesitation amidst a group of attendants.But by May, 1428, she no longer doubted that she was bidden to go to the help of the king, and the voices became insistent, urging her to present herself to Robert Baudricourt, who commanded for Charles VII in the neighbouring town of Vaucouleurs.This journey she eventually accomplished a month later, but Baudricourt, a rude and dissolute soldier, treated her and her mission with scant respect, saying to the cousin who accompanied her: "Take her home to her father and give her a good whipping." Meanwhile the military situation of King Charles and his supporters was growing more desperate.Orléans was invested (12 October, 1428), and by the close of the year complete defeat seemed imminent. It was in vain that she resisted, saying to them: "I am a poor girl; I do not know how to ride or fight." The voices only reiterated: "It is God who commands it." Yielding at last, she left Domremy in January, 1429, and again visited Vaucouleurs.Baudricourt was still skeptical, but, as she stayed on in the town, her persistence gradually made an impression on him.

It is regrettable in the extreme that the minutes of the proceedings, to which Joan frequently appealed later on at her trial, have altogether perished.

All that we know is that her ardent faith, simplicity, and honesty made a favourable impression.

All the witnesses in the process of rehabilitation spoke of her as a singularly pious child, grave beyond her years, who often knelt in the church absorbed in prayer, and loved the poor tenderly.

Great attempts were made at Joan's trial to connect her with some superstitious practices supposed to have been performed round a certain tree, popularly known as the "Fairy Tree" ( l'Arbre des Dames ), but the sincerity of her answers baffled her judges.

Finally she was suffered to seek the king at Chinon, and she made her way there with a slender escort of three men-at-arms, she being attired, at her own request, in male costume -- undoubtedly as a protection to her modesty in the rough life of the camp.

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