JOAN [to the Daup...
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- George Bernard Shaw
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Joan has come before the Dauphin (and future King) after much difficulty being granted access by
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JOAN [to the Dauphin] Who be old Gruff-and-Grum?
CHARLES. He is the Duke de la Trémouille.
JOAN. What be his job?
CHARLES. He pretends to command the army. And whenever I find a friend I can care for, he kills him.
JOAN. Why dost let him?
CHARLES [petulantly moving to the throne side of the room to escape from her magnetic field] How can I prevent him? He bullies me. They all bully me.
JOAN. Art afraid?
CHARLES. Yes: I am afraid. It's no use preaching to me about it. It's all very well for these big men with their armor that is too heavy for me, and their swords that I can hardly lift, and their muscle and their shouting and their bad tempers. They like fighting: most of them are making fools of themselves all the time they are not fighting; but I am quiet and sensible; and I dont want to kill people: I only want to be left alone to enjoy myself in my own way. I never asked to be a king: it was pushed on me. So if you are going to say 'Son of St Louis: gird on the sword of your ancestors, and lead us to victory' you may spare your breath to cool your porridge; for I cannot do it. I am not built that way; and there is an end of it.
JOAN [trenchant and masterful] Blethers! We are all like that to begin with. I shall put courage into thee.
CHARLES. But I dont want to have courage put into me. I want to sleep in a comfortable bed, and not live in continual terror of being killed or wounded. Put courage into the others, and let them have their bellyful of fighting; but let me alone.
JOAN. It's no use, Charlie: thou must face what God puts on thee. If thou fail to make thyself king, thoult be a beggar: what else art fit for? Come! Let me see thee sitting on the throne. I have looked forward to that.
CHARLES. What is the good of sitting on the throne when the other fellows give all the orders? However! [he sits enthroned, a piteous figure] here is the king for you! Look your fill at the poor devil.
JOAN. Thourt not king yet, lad: thourt but Dauphin. Be not led away by them around thee. Dressing up dont fill empty noddle. I know the people: the real people that make thy bread for thee; and I tell thee they count no man king of France until the holy oil has been poured on his hair, and himself consecrated and crowned in Rheims Cathedral. And thou needs new clothes, Charlie. Why does not Queen look after thee properly?
CHARLES. We're too poor. She wants all the money we can spare to put on her own back. Besides, I like to see her beautifully dressed; and I dont care what I wear myself: I should look ugly anyhow.
JOAN. There is some good in thee, Charlie; but it is not yet a king's good.
CHARLES. We shall see. I am not such a fool as I look. I have my eyes open; and I can tell you that one good treaty is worth ten good fights. These fighting fellows lose all on the treaties that they gain on the fights. If we can only have a treaty, the English are sure to have the worst of it, because they are better at fighting than at thinking.
JOAN. If the English win, it is they that will make the treaty: and then God help poor France! Thou must fight, Charlie, whether thou will or no. I will go first to hearten thee. We must take our courage in both hands: aye, and pray for it with both hands too.
CHARLES [descending from his throne and again crossing the room to escape from her dominating urgency] Oh do stop talking about God and praying. I cant bear people who are always praying. Isnt it bad enough to have to do it at the proper times?
JOAN [pitying him] Thou poor child, thou hast never prayed in thy life. I must teach thee from the beginning.
CHARLES. I am not a child: I am a grown man and a father; and I will not be taught any more.
JOAN. Aye, you have a little son. He that will be Louis the Eleventh when you die. Would you not fight for him?
CHARLES. No: a horrid boy. He hates me. He hates everybody, selfish little beast! I dont want to be bothered with children. I dont want to be a father; and I dont want to be a son: especially a son of St Louis. I dont want to be any of these fine things you all have your heads full of: I want to be just what I am. Why cant you mind your own business, and let me mind mine?
JOAN [again contemptuous] Minding your own business is like minding your own body: it's the shortest way to make yourself sick. What is my business? Helping mother at home. What is thine? Petting lapdogs and sucking sugar-sticks. I call that muck. I tell thee it is God's business we are here to do: not our own. I have a message to thee from God; and thou must listen to it, though thy heart break with the terror of it.
CHARLES. I dont want a message; but can you tell me any secrets? Can you do any cures? Can you turn lead into gold, or anything of that sort?
JOAN. I can turn thee into a king, in Rheims Cathedral; and that is a miracle that will take some doing, it seems.
CHARLES. If we go to Rheims, and have a coronation, Anne will want new dresses. We cant afford them. I am all right as I am.
JOAN. As you are! And what is that? Less than my father's poorest shepherd. Thourt not lawful owner of thy own land of France till thou be consecrated.
CHARLES. But I shall not be lawful owner of my own land anyhow. Will the consecration pay off my mortgages? I have pledged my last acre to the Archbishop and that fat bully. I owe money even to Bluebeard.
JOAN [earnestly] Charlie: I come from the land, and have gotten my strength working on the land; and I tell thee that the land is thine to rule righteously and keep God's peace in, and not to pledge at the pawnshop as a drunken woman pledges her children's clothes. And I come from God to tell thee to kneel in the cathedral and solemnly give thy kingdom to Him for ever and ever, and become the greatest king in the world as His steward and His bailiff, His soldier and His servant. The very clay of France will become holy: her soldiers will be the soldiers of God: the rebel dukes will be rebels against God: the English will fall on their knees and beg thee let them return to their lawful homes in peace. Wilt be a poor little Judas, and betray me and Him that sent me?
CHARLES [tempted at last] Oh, if I only dare!
JOAN. I shall dare, dare, and dare again, in God's name! Art for or against me?
CHARLES [excited] I'll risk it, I warn you I shant be able to keep it up; but I'll risk it. You shall see. [Running to the main door and shouting] Hallo! Come back, everybody. [To Joan, as he runs back to the arch opposite] Mind you stand by and dont let me be bullied. [Through the arch] Come along, will you: the whole Court.
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