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that some young woman was substituted for
her at the burning pyre of Rouen, and that she
continued a captive until the death of the
Duke of Bedford in fourteen hundred and
thirty-five, when she was released from
prison, and returned to pass many more
years in the world.

Assuming the genuineness of the evidence
thus adduced (but trustworthy critics have
rejected it), there is little to prove that this
Jeanne was not one of the many impostors
whom the circumstances of the time produced;
but one more successful than the rest. The
personations by Lambert Simnel, Perkin
Warbeck, and others in our time, are
instances of credulity and deceit working
together successfully. The state of France
was so unsettled, and the circumstances
of this case were so peculiar, that such
a fraud was easy. Many would be ready
to receive a clever impostor, without instituting
any very curious investigation;
and the brothers of Joan, if they were not
themselves deceived, might be disposed to
countenance a fraud which would increase
their influence. Then, the cowardly sacrifice
of the Maid would be a sufficiently delicate
subject with the king and courtiers for them
to wish to hush it up. Besides, the Amazonian
Joan was as much needed at the time of
her death as she was during her life. The
enemy had been but feebly, incoherently
repulsed. The forces she had set in motion
were at work; but they needed her strong
will to urge them on. Do we believe that,
having nearly burnt more than her fingers
over state affairs, she gave them up, and
ended her days as a comfortable housekeeper?



ANOTHER feverish night of lock-bumping,
roaring of small cataracts, and, this time, the
puffing of a wheezy engine pumping water
from a low reservoir into a high-level part
of the canal, and we arose from our hold very
early to be conscious of the absolute necessity
of providing our morning's breakfast. We
had coffee, and we had stale bread; while the
Stourport larder had also stale bread, many
pounds of the beef, and some of the inferior
tea, still on board. But we were getting
daintyhungering, not exactly after the
flesh-pots of that civilised Egypt we had left
behind us, but after rural luxuries, familiar to
us in the pages of those poetical rhapsodists
who are never tired of singing the praises
of the country. Where were the new-laid
eggs? where were the fowls that laid them?
where were the autumnal fruits? where was
the delicate bacon? the cottage-bread? the
cream as thick as paste? We were sensible
of feeling money in our pockets, and we
demanded to be fed; and we consulted
Captain Randle upon this important subject.
That experienced commander would not give
us a plain, direct answer, but encouraged us
with the hope of reaching a village bordering
upon a lock in about an hour, where he
thought, in all probability, we should get
what we required. He was only artfully
concealing his ignorance; for, familiar as he
was with the line of route, he knew less
than an infant about the commercial provision-
supplying capabilities of the towns and
stations on the canal, for the very sufficient
reason that he never had had occasion to
test them. His phantom promised village
seemed to recede as we advanced, until we
had almost given it up, when we came upon
it suddenly through a bridge, about half-past
six in the morning. A glance at the High
Street showed us in a moment what a stony-
hearted, fruitless place we had at last fallen
upon. It was nothing but a collection of
thatched barns, with closed yellow curtains,
and sleeping inmates; while the damp white
mist came steaming along from the small
silent church, making, at best, a cheerless
picture in the eyes of two hungry travellers.
The crowing of a distant cock only added
to the melancholy idea of hopeless solitude.
We turned with heavy hearts and
retraced our steps over the bridge to the
barge, to reproach Captain Randle with
his perfidy. On the towing-path, we came
full upon an old man carrying two large
pails of fresh milk, just drawn from a
group of cows now standing empty in the
neighbouring meadows. Our desire to purchase
some of this precious fluid was treated
with moody silence, not to say surly contempt;
and, when we offered a price gradually
rising until it reached the height of one
shilling a pint, with no visible effect upon the
holder, we felt very much inclined for a little
highway robbery. We were only saved from
this crime by the interference of our deceitful
captain, who told us the milk belonged to
the carrier's master in the town, and that it
was " as good as the place of the mon wur
worth, if he dared to sell a thimbleful."
The man might have told us this himself, if
he had not been a boor.

We went on to the lock, and found a cottage
where two loaves of bread, a blacking-
bottle, some hearthstone, and a few balls of
worsted were displayed in the window; and,
after knocking hopefully at the door, it was
slowly opened by a youth, who stood across
the step as if to impede our entrance, while a
middle-aged woman, most probably his mother,
sat upon her chair by a table in the room,
without taking the slightest notice of two such
wealthy and anxious customers. We found
that our canal journey had brought us to a
land where the ordinary relations of buyer and
seller were reversed; where it was looked
upon as a favour granted when an article was
sold; as an obligation incurred when an
article was allowed to be purchased. We
were kept at a respectful distance by the
owners of the cottage-shop on the canal

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