The Ladies of Beauvais

Charles the Bold, Duke of Burgundy, laid siege to
the City of Beauvais in the year 1472. After investing it closely for

twenty-one days, his troops made a general assault, and were on the point

of carrying the place, when a band of women, headed by a lady of the name

of Jeanne Hachette, rushing to the walls, opposed such a resistance, with

showers of stones, and other missiles, that the tide of fortune was

instantaneously turned. A Burgundian officer, who attempted to plant the

duke's standard on the walls, was fiercely attacked by Jeanne Hachette,

who, snatching the standard from his hands, threw him headlong over the

wall. The assailants, in short, were completely repulsed; nor was the

distaff, once thrown aside, resumed, till the ladies of Beauvais had forced

the Duke of Burgundy to retire in shame from their walls. In memory of this

gallant achievement, the Municipality of Beauvais ordered a general

procession of the inhabitants to take place every year, on the 10th of

July, the day on which the siege was raised, in which the ladies were to

have the privilege of preceding the men. As long as Jeanne Hachette lived,

she marched in this annual procession, at the head of the women, bearing

the standard which she had captured from the Burgundian officer; and at

her death this standard was deposited in the church of the Dominicans, and

a portrait of the heroine placed in the Town-Hall of Beauvais.

Charles XII. was dictating a letter to his secretary during the siege of

Stralsund, when a bomb fell through the roof into the next room of the

house where they were sitting. The terrified secretary let the pen drop

from his hand. "What is the matter?" said Charles, calmly. The secretary

replied, "Ah, sire, the bomb!" "But what has the bomb to do," said Charles,

"with what I am dictating to you?--go on."

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