Charles, a weak-willed, mistrustful, uncertain personality, had been discouraged from granting Joan an audience by his advisors. Perhaps due to their influence, he attempted to test her perceptive powers by choosing an imposter to sit on his throne. Entering the torch-lit “great hall” crowded with knights, noblemen, members of the clergy and ladies of the court, Joan, a country girl of seventeen was expected to lose her composure.
To the amazement of all who witnessed this event, she calmly searched for Charles who stood amidst the onlookers. Moving toward him, she knelt at his feet before addressing him. At first he denied being the dauphin, and pointed toward the man seated on the throne. Joan said to him,
By God gentle prince, it is you and none other. God give you life, gentle king. I bring you news from God, that our Lord will give you back your kingdom, bringing you to be crowned at Reims, and driving out your enemies. In this I am God’s messenger. Do you set me bravely to work, and I will raise the siege of Orleans. (Jeanne d’Arc)
Prior to her arrival, Robert de Boudricourt had sent a letter to Charles from Vaucouleurs that served as an endorsement of Joan. Her ability to recognize him as the dauphin provided Charles with yet another reason to grant her the benefit a private audience. As the crowd watched, they withdrew together, into a private chamber.
What took place during their time alone on this night of their first meeting would never become clearly known, but has been the source of great speculation and conjecture by historians who continue to develop and present their own theories. What is certain, according to witnesses, is that Charles appeared to be radiant when he emerged from that room. His demeanor had dramatically changed from doubt, to glowing certainty.
[i] Ibid. p.21
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Battle_of_the_Herrings Part of the Hundred Years’ War (And the Siege of Orléans)
Joan knew about the French army’s loss of the “Battle of the Herrings” before the news reached officials in Vaucouleurs, where Joan waited impatiently to be given permission to begin her mission (to ride to Chinon with armed escorts, meet with Charles the dauphin, and be granted the right to lead French troops, where she guaranteed the successful raising of the siege of Orleans.) No one could comprehend how Jehanne, La Pucelle gained access to this information. It had come to her through “revelation” (she had been told of it by her angelic counselors.)
“Morale within the city and among its leaders was at a low point, so much so that consideration was given to surrendering the city.
The Battle of the Herrings was the most significant military action during the siege of Orléans from its inception in October of 1428 until the appearance on the scene, in May of the following year, of Joan of Arc. Even so, it was, to all appearances, a rather minor engagement and, were it not for the context in which it occurred, would most likely have been relegated to the merest of footnotes in military history or even forgotten altogether.
But not only was it part of one of the most famous siege actions in history, the story also gained currency that it played a pivotal role in convincing Robert de Baudricourt in Vaucouleurs, to accede to Joan’s demand for support and safe conduct to Chinon. For it was on the very day (February 12, 1429) of the battle that Joan met with de Baudricourt for the final time. According to the story, recounted in several places (for example, in Sackville-West), Joan gave out the information that “the Dauphin’s arms had that day suffered a great reverse near Orléans”. When, several days later, news of the military setback near Rouvrey did in fact reach Vaucouleurs, de Baudricourt, according to the story, relented and agreed to sponsor her journey to the Dauphin in Chinon. Joan finally left Vaucouleurs for Chinon on the 23rd of February, 1429.”