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from Reviews (ADR)
concerning La Main droite du Sire de Giac: 1425-1426

     A short historical romance, set mostly in the exiled Court of Charles VII (1403-1461), the same period as Dumas' play, Charles VII chez ses grands vassaux, a low point in French history. England's Henry Vís "band of brothers" annihilated the French nobility at the Battle of Agincourt, and subsequently united the French and English crowns. The Valois pretender, Charles VII, wandered from the household of one baron to another, periodically harried by his opponents, until, with the aid of Joan of Arc (Jeanne d'Arc) he seized Orleans and eventually became undisputed ruler of France.
     F. W. Reed indicates that this story is sequel to an earlier story Le Sire de Giac, in which the Sire de Giac commits various crimes. The story was first published in the magazine Revue des Deux Mondes.
     The hero of this sketch is Arthur de Richemont (1393-1458), Duke of Brittany and Constable of France. Arthur is besieging the English in the Castle de Saint-James in Normandy, but his troops have gone unpaid, due to Charles VII failure to deliver promised funds. Arthur leads an assault on the Castle, which fails with great loss of life, and his entire Army deserts, leaving him alone on the field. Arthur repairs to Bourges, where Charles VII is holding court, and learns that his money has been squandered by the King's favorite, the Sire de Giac. Under his authority as Constable, Arthur orders the Sire arrested and condemned to death.
     The Sire recounts various hidden crimes to his confessor, and tells him that he has been able to escape justice on account of having traded his right hand to Satan. The confessor says that God can forgive all sins, except this, and that if the Sire comes before God with Satan's arm, he is surely damned. When the executioner arrives, axe in hand, the Sire makes a deal. The story closes with these words:
     "Now," said Giac to him, marching up and showing the Priest the bleeding stump of his arm, "you can give me absolution, I have no right hand."

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