Page:Personal Recollections of Joan of Arc.djvu/63

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43


"You way well," said the maire. "He should be informed, and that at once. It is an outrage that such things would be permitted. Why, we are not safe in our beds, and he taking his ease yonder. It shall be made known, indeed it shall—all France shall hear of it!"

To hear them talk, one would have imagined that all the previous ten thousand sackings and burnings in France had been but fables, and this one the only fact. It is always the way; words will answer as long as it is only a person's neighbor who is in trouble, but when that person gets into trouble himself, it is time that the King rise up and do something.

The big event filled us young people with talk, too. We let it flow in a steady stream while we tended the flocks. We were beginning to feel pretty important now, for I was eighteen and the other youths were from one to four years older—young men, in fact. One day the Paladin was arrogantly criticizing the patriot generals of France and said—

"Look at Dunois, Bastard of Orleans—call him a general! Just put me in his place once—never mind what I would do, it is not for me to say, I have no stomach for talk, my way is to act and let others do the talking—but just put me in his place once, that's all! And look at Saintrailles—pooh! and that blustering La Hire, now what a general that is!"

It shocked everybody to hear these great names so flippantly handled, for to us these renowned soldiers were almost gods. In their far-off splendor they rose upon our imaginations dim and huge, shadowy and awful, and it was a fearful thing to hear them spoken of as if they were mere men, and their acts open to comment and criticism. The color rose in Joan's face, and she said—

"I know not how any can be so hardy as to use such words regarding these sublime men, who are the very pillars of the French State, supporting it with their strength and preserving it at daily cost of their blood. As for me, I could count myself honored past all deserving if I might be al-