Joan of Arc - Maid of Heaven

JOAN OF ARC The Warrior Maid


Chapter 11
A Trying Time

A Prophet is not without honour, save in his own
country, and in his own house.

St. Matthew 13:57.

At the end of the week Lassois took Jeanne home. It was a return fraught with unpleasantness.

The girl’s visit to Sire Robert and her claim that she would lead the Dauphin to his anointing had been discussed and made a matter of sport by the soldiers of the garrison. From them it passed to the townspeople; from the townspeople to the country, and thence to Domremy. The whole valley buzzed with talk of it. Jacques heard the gossip in a passion of shame and anger. Therefore, when Lassois and his daughter entered the cottage he met them with scowling brow.

“What is this that I hear about your visiting Sire Robert de Baudricourt?” he demanded of Jeanne wrathfully. “Why did you go there? What business had you with him?”

Jeanne faced him bravely.

“I had to go,” she told him calmly. “It was commanded. Sire Robert has been appointed to give me men-at-arms to take me to the Dauphin that I may lead him to his anointing. I am to save France, father. It is so commanded by Messire, the King of Heaven.”

Her father’s jaw dropped. He stood staring at her for a long moment, then turned to his wife with a groan.

“She is out of her senses, Isabeau,” he cried. “Our daughter’s wits are wandering. This comes of so much church going and prayer. I will have no more of it.”

“Shame upon you, Jacques, for speaking against the church,” exclaimed Isabeau. “Say rather it hath come from the tales of bloodshed she hath heard. Too many have been told about the fireside. ’Tis talk, talk of the war all the time. I warned you of it.”

“Whatever be the cause I will have no more of it,” reiterated Jacques with vehemence. “Nay; nor will I have any more going to Vaucouleurs, nor talk of seeking the Dauphin. Do you hear, Jeanne?”

“Yes, father,” she answered quietly. “I grieve to go against your will, but I must do the work the Lord has appointed. Let me tell you––”

“Naught! You shall tell me naught,” cried Jacques almost beside himself with rage. “Go to your room, and stay there for the rest of the day. And hark ye all!” including his wife and sons in a wide sweeping gesture, “wherever Jeanne goes one of you must be with her. See to it. At any time she may go off with some roaming band of Free Lances. Rather than have that happen I would rather she were dead.” He turned upon Lassois fiercely as Jeanne, weeping bitterly at his harsh words, obediently withdrew into her own little room.

“And you, Lassois! why did you not keep her from going to Vaucouleurs? You knew that I would not like it. You knew also that it would cause talk. Why, why did you permit it?”

“Aye, I knew all that, Jacques,” responded Lassois, shifting uneasily from one foot to the other. “But Jeanne really believed that she had received a divine command to go to Sire Robert. So believing, she would have gone to him in spite of all that I could have done. Therefore, was it not better that I should take her?”

“Durand speaks truly, Jacques,” spoke Isabeau. “The child is clearly daft. I have heard that such are always set in their fancies. What is past, is past. She has been to Vaucouleurs; therefore, it can not be undone. What remains to be done is to guard against any future wanderings.” The mother was as greatly distressed as the father, but out of sympathy for his woe she forced herself to speak of the occurrence with calmness.

“True,” muttered Jacques. “True. No doubt you could not do other than you did, Durand; but I wonder that you did it.”

“Jeanne does not seem out of her senses to me,” observed Lassois. “There is a saying, as you well know, that a maid from the Bois Chesnu shall redeem France. It might be she as well as another. She is holy enough.”

“Pouf!” Jacques snapped his fingers derisively. “It is as Isabeau says: she has heard too much of the state of the realm, and of the wonderful Maid who is to restore it. The country is full of the talk. It could not mean her. She is but a peasant girl, and when hath a villein’s daughter ever ridden a horse, or couched a lance? Let her keep to her station. Don’t let such wild talk addle your wits, too, Durand. Now tell me everything that occurred at Vaucouleurs. The village rings with the affair. I want the whole truth.”

Lassois did as requested, and told all of the happening. Finding the girl’s parents so incredulous concerning her mission had somewhat shaken his belief in his niece, but the germ that remained caused him to soften the narrative a little. Jacques heard him through in silence. When Durand had finished the telling he bowed his head upon his arms as though the recital were beyond his strength to bear.

He was an upright man, just and honorable in his dealings with others. He stood well in the village, being esteemed next to the mayor himself. He was fond of his children, and had looked after their upbringing strictly. He wanted nothing out of the ordinary, nothing unusual, nothing but what was conventional and right to occur among them. He did not believe that his daughter had received a divine command. He did not know of her Heavenly visitants, nor would he have believed in them had he known. He thought that someway, somehow, she had become imbued with a wild fancy to be among men-at-arms; that, in consequence, she might become a worthless creature. The mere idea was agony. After a time he raised his head to ask brokenly,

“She told the Sire Captain that she would come again, Durand?”

“Yes, Jacques. She believes that she has been commanded so to do. She told you that; and whatever Jeanne thinks is the will of God that she will do.”

“She deludes herself,” spoke the father shortly, detecting the hint of faith underlying Lassois’ tone. “Think you that the Governor would listen to her if she were to go to him again?”

Lassois reflected.

“No,” he said presently. “I think he will not pay any attention to her.”

Jacques brightened. “That is well,” he nodded. “She shall not go if I can prevent it. She shall be guarded well. I shall see to it.”

Thereafter a strict watch was kept upon Jeanne’s every movement. One of her brothers, or Jacques D’Arc himself, was always with her. Instead of the tenderness that her father had always shown toward her there was now harshness and severity. Her mother too, though far from being cruel, was querulous and often spoke sharply to her. Isabeau knew her child’s pure heart too well to believe that the girl was actuated by any but the highest motives. She did think, however, that the child’s wits wandered, though the maiden performed her customary duties with care and exactness, and was worried and distressed in consequence.

In the village Jeanne found herself avoided. With the exception of Mengette and Hauviette her friends shunned her. The little hamlet was in a ferment of tattle. Whenever she appeared in any of the narrow streets heads were bent together and fingers pointed mockingly. Often the whispers reached her.

“There goes she who is to save France.”

“Jeanne D’Arc says she is to lead the Dauphin to his anointing.”

It was a trying time. Jeanne often shed tears over the jeers and taunts, but she wept in secret. Outwardly serene she submitted meekly to the espionage of her own people, and to the gibes of her neighbors. Had it not been for the consolation received from “Her Voices,” life would have been unendurable.

“Be patient, Daughter of God,” they said. “It will not be long. All will be well. Thy time will come soon.”

“Your father grieves over you, Jeanne,” spoke Isabeau one day after Jacques, stung beyond endurance by some remark he had heard against his daughter, was taking her severely to task. “He is cut to the heart that you should have gone to Vaucouleurs, and by your talk of the Dauphin. You must not be angry with him.”

“I am not, mother,” said the maiden sadly. “I know that he does not understand. Nor do you; but you will––in time.” She loved her parents dearly, and excused their rigorousness because she knew that they did not believe in her inspiration. Often had she tried to explain matters, but they would not listen.

“We understand only too well, little one,” responded Isabeau. “Jacques fears that you are bent upon seeking Sire Robert again. I have told him that you will not.” She gave Jeanne a questioning glance as she finished speaking.

“I must, mother. It is commanded.”

“Jeanne, give o’er such talk,” exclaimed her mother sharply. “Where did you get such notions? The neighbors say that you got your affliction at l’Arbre-des-Fées. That you have been seen there alone, bewreathing the tree with garlands, and that while so doing you met a wicked fairy who was your fate. Is it true?”

“If there be fairies, mother, I have never seen them, and not in years have I carried wreaths to l’Arbre-des-Fées. I used to go there on Laetare Sunday with the boys and girls, but I go no longer. As to flowers, mother; I carry them only to the altar of Our Lady of Belmont, or offer them here to the Saints.”

“There is naught but good in that, so what makes the people talk so?” ejaculated the mother fretfully. “If you would but give up your talk of helping the Dauphin this tittle-tattle might be stopped. As it is, Jacques is distressed that you are so obdurate. He spoke to the Curé about exorcising you for the evil spirit.”

“Mother, did my father do that?” exclaimed the girl, the tears springing to her eyes.

“Oh, it is not to be.” The good dame herself had not approved this measure. She was in truth almost as much exercised over her husband as she was over her daughter. “Messire Guillaume Frontey would not hear of it, saying, that whatever might be the state of your wits your soul was as pure as a lily, because he confessed you almost daily. I advised Jacques––” Isabeau paused and subjected her daughter to a keen scrutiny, scarcely knowing how to proceed. She was in truth puzzled and a little awed by Jeanne’s new attitude and demeanor. Presently she continued abruptly:

“I was married when I was your age, Jeanne.”

“Were you, mother?” A slight smile stirred the corners of the girl’s mouth. She saw what was coming.

“Yes; and Mengette hath been betrothed since Eastertide. She is to be married after the harvest.”

“She told me, mother.”

“And of all of the girls of your age you and Hauviette alone remain unplighted. Hauviette hath the excuse of being a little young, but you––you are sixteen, and quite old enough for a home and a husband, Jeanne.”

“Mother!” There was such appeal in the maiden’s voice that Isabeau, deeming it caused by the suddenness of the announcement, turned quickly with outstretched hands. “You must not talk of marriage to me. I shall remain unwed until my task is finished. I have vowed it to ‘My Voices.’”

“Pouf, child! A home of your own, and a husband to look after will soon make you forget such notions, and so I told Jacques. Come now, be reasonable! I know some one who would gladly provide such a home. Let––”

“While France writhes in agony under the heel of the invader there shall be no marriage for me,” spoke Jeanne firmly, turning to leave the room.

“Nathless, whether you like it or not, you shall be married,” cried Isabeau, nettled by the girl’s words. “Your father has determined on it. Your plighted husband comes this evening to see you.”

Jeanne stood aghast. She had not dreamed that her parents would go so far. She stood for a moment without speaking, then she said quietly:

“My faith is plighted to none but my Lord. No man has it, nor shall have it until Messire’s mission is completed. ’Tis useless to speak of it.” Again she started to leave the room.

“Nathless, Colin de Greux will be here this evening,” exclaimed Isabeau thoroughly out of patience.

Colin? The merry nature that lay under Jeanne’s gravity surged upward, and a twinkle came into her eyes. All at once she laughed outright. Her mother glanced at her quickly, surprised and relieved.

“There! That’s better,” she said. “He will be here after supper, Jeanne.”

“It matters not, mother.”

Isabeau’s relief changed to perplexity at the words. There was something in the tone that did not satisfy her, but as it was nearer to an affirmative than she had hoped for she was fain to make the best of the matter; so made no further remark.

Colin de Greux came with the evening. He had grown tall with the years, and was not ill looking. He was still the same easy-going, lumbering, dull sort of fellow whose good opinion of himself rendered him impervious to rebuffs or coldness. He was not the youth that ordinarily Isabeau would have chosen for her child, but Jeanne had never encouraged attentions from the village lads, who now fought shy of her because of her extreme piety. Desperate diseases require desperate remedies. Jacques and Isabeau judged that marriage even with Colin was better than the fancies that filled their daughter’s mind. Beside, where another might be easily repulsed Colin could be induced to continue his wooing. Jeanne saw through this reasoning. She determined to make short shrift of Colin.

When the evening came, therefore, she took a hoe and went into the garden. Colin found her there industriously at work among the artichokes.

“How do you do, Jeanne?” he said sheepishly.

“Very well indeed, Colin.” Jeanne wielded the hoe vigorously, and gave no indication of quitting her seemingly absorbing task.

There came a silence. Had they been with the sheep on the uplands Colin would have been thoroughly at ease. As it was there was something about the maiden’s manner that disturbed his assurance. He had not been wont to feel so in her presence.

“It’s warm out here,” he ventured presently.

“Perchance you will find it cooler in the house,” intimated the girl sweetly.

“The family will be there,” he objected, looking suggestively at a bench under an apple tree. The youths and the maidens of Domremy always sat together when the suitor was approved by the parents. Jeanne’s cool, steadfast gaze disconcerted him.

“Why, yes, Colin, they will be there. You will find them all, I think. Jean and Pierre are with mother. Did you wish to see them?”

This roused Colin.

“No; I don’t wish to see them,” he said angrily. “I wish to talk to you, Jeanne D’Arc.”

“I am listening, Colin.” Jeanne quietly finished the hill which she was hoeing, then began on the next row, which was further removed from the youth, the tall heads of the artichokes nodding stiffly between them.

“But I can’t talk while you are hoeing,” he exclaimed. “And your father told me that I might talk to you.”

Jeanne laid down the hoe, and confronted him.

“Colin,” she said gravely, “mother told me that you would come, and why; but it is of no use. There are other girls in the village who would gladly marry you. I am resolved not to wed.”

“I don’t want any other girl for a wife but you, Jeanne. I have always liked you, and you know it. Besides, your father––”

“You cannot wed a girl against her will, Colin, and I shall not marry you. I am talking plainly, so that you will understand, and not waste your time.”

“But you shall,” muttered the boy wrathfully. “Your father tells me that you shall.”

Without a word Jeanne turned from him, and flitted swiftly into the church. It was her sanctuary, for Isabeau would not allow her devotions to be interrupted. Sulkily Colin re-entered the cottage.

Urged on by the girl’s parents, he was thereafter a frequent visitor, but his wooing did not speed. Somehow all his pretty speeches, all his self-assurance shriveled into nothingness when he was face to face with Jeanne. And serenely the maiden went her way, ignoring alike her father’s mandates, and her mother’s entreaties to marry the lad.

So sped the days.

RETURN TO TABLE OF CONTENTS                          CONTINUE to CHAPTER 12 Warrior Maid

Add Joan of Arc as Your Friend on Facebook at http://www.facebook.com/saintjoanofarc1
 
Joan of Arc MaidOfHeaven
BUY NOW!
Sitemap for MaidOfHeaven.com
Contact By Email
Maid of Heaven Foundation

Please Consider Shopping With One of Our Supporters!


Copyright ©2007-2017 Maid of Heaven Foundation All rights reserved. Disclaimer



Fundamental Christian Topsites Top Sites In Education JCSM's Top 1000 Christian Sites - Free Traffic Sharing Service!

CLICK HERE to GO TO the Maid of Heaven Foundation