Wednesday, June 9, 2010
It was at around this time that Joan decided to stay a maid and not to marry despite the fact that her father had already arranged a marriage with a local village boy. Joan’s finance even brought her to court over the matter. Joan won her case and shortly after the incident set her mind to the task at hand – saving a leaderless France.
She first took a trip to Vaucouleurs to see Robert de Beaudricourt to convince him to take her to the Dauphin Charles VII. When Joan showed up in her patched red dress and thread-bare shoes claiming she was going to take Charles to Reims to be crowned, Beadricourt had a good laugh and then advised that her father give her a good beating. Joan returned home but was steadfast in her determination claiming that, “I must be with the king before mid-Lent, though I wear my legs to the knees on the road”. The following year she returned to see Beadricourt, but he still refused to take her to see the king.
By now, word of the Maid who would save France was starting to get around in Vaucouleurs. Joan then went to see Beaudricourt a third time and told him that it was imperative that they act quickly because the French army had been defeated at Rouvray that very day. This was news to Beaudricourt who had not heard of the loss yet. It was probably this prophecy that convinced him that Joan was not some crazy country bumpkin, but a true visionary. The only problem was determining whether her visions came from God or Satan. To make sure she was on the right side, he had her exorcized by the local priests. (this will come up later in her trial). Joan passed her exorcism exam with flying colors and was off to see Charles.
But before setting off for her journey, Joan needed the right makeover for a woman about to enter a medieval military mission. Normally, the only women who traveled with soldiers were prostitutes and Joan wasn’t about to be seen as some cheap camp follower. So she cut her hair off and traded in her peasant garb for a tunic and trousers. Her prosecutors would later make a huge ruckus over her pants but it was also simply more practical for a girl about to endure countless riding over rough terrain to wear pants. Joan may have also felt that it protected her virginity to be seen as a man and not a pubescent girl.
Stay tuned for part III when Joan meets Charles…