Page:Personal Recollections of Joan of Arc.djvu/332

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278


There, you see, she had had a vision of this very scene the time she was in a trance in the pastures of Domremy and we asked her to name to boon she would demand of the King if he should ever chance to tell her she might claim one. But whether she had the vision or not, this act showed that after all the dizzy grandeurs that had come upon her, she was still the same simple, unselfish creature that she was that day.

Yes, Charles VII. remitted those taxes "forever." Often the gratitude of kings and nations fades and their promises are forgotten or deliberately violated; but you, who are children of France, should remember with pride that France has kept this one faithfully. Sixty-three years have gone by since that day. The taxes of the region wherein Domremy lies have been collected sixty-three times since then, and all the villages of that region have paid except that one—Domremy. The tax-gatherer never visits Domremy. Domremy has long ago forgotten what that dread sorrow-sowing apparition is like. Sixty-three tax-books have been filed meantime, and they lie yonder with the other public records, and any may see them that desire it. At the top of every page in the sixty-three books stands the name of a village, and below that name its weary burden of taxation is figured out and displayed; in the case of all save one. It is true, just as I tell you. In each of the sixty-three books there is a page headed "Domremi," but under that name not a figure appears. Where the figures should be, there are three words written; and the same words have been written every year for all these years; yes, it is a blank page, with always those grateful words lettered across the face of it—a touching memorial. Thus:


 
DOMREMI


RIEN—LA PUCELLE