Joan Inspires the Tawdry Kingby@twain

Joan Inspires the Tawdry King

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IN THE earliest dawn of morning, Talbot and his English forces evacuated their bastilles and marched away, not stopping to burn, destroy, or carry off anything, but leaving their fortresses just as they were, provisioned, armed, and equipped for a long siege. It was difficult for the people to believe that this great thing had really happened; that they were actually free once more, and might go and come through any gate they pleased, with none to molest or forbid; that the terrible Talbot, that scourge of the French, that man whose mere name had been able to annul the effectiveness of French armies, was gone, vanished, retreating—driven away by a girl. The city emptied itself. Out of every gate the crowds poured. They swarmed about the English bastilles like an invasion of ants, but noisier than those creatures, and carried off the artillery and stores, then turned all those dozen fortresses into monster bonfires, imitation volcanoes whose lofty columns of thick smoke seemed supporting the arch of the sky.
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