Following on from our look at Louis giving Eleanor’s vase to Suger, I wanted to look at Eleanor’s reaction to this event. 1144
Alison: She feels quite tight across the heart area. This is an Eleanor who is quite worked up. Tight heart, tight cheeks, tight eyes. Emotional in an anxious way. I am getting the words ‘Please God, this has got to work.’ She is angry and not that bothered about the vase. This is about God. Her anger is connected to her relationship with God, so this is a direct communication with God. Suger is just a periphery. I think this is to do with wanting a boy child. It doesn’t seem fair. Why can’t she have what she wants? She will give anything, it doesn’t matter what, in order to have what she wants. So the actual item isn’t as relevant as what she wants. Suger to her is just someone who is doing what’s needed in the circumstances. Not quite a servant, but a functionary. It’s not up to him, it’s up to God. That’s how she sees it, although she wouldn’t say it outright. It wouldn’t be necessary. She can find Suger a bit annoying but he’s got a job to do. She’ll let him get on with his job, but this isn’t to do with him really. It’s to do with God. He’s just a functionary of God.
So this vase is to be given to God as a plea for her fertility? It’s more of a demand actually! She hardly even looks at the vase. It’s only in her side vision and the main part of her vision is to God. Why the vase and not a different gift? Well she could give anything. She doesn’t mind what it is, and it isn’t the only thing she’s given. She’s given loads of things. She’s given bags of gems. She’s given gold coverings to things. I am seeing one of those gold engraved domes that you put over tombs. She would rake around and give whatever it took.
Going off on a slight sidetrack: I wonder how Louis feels about Eleanor’s childlessness. He feels he must have done something wrong to displease God in such a way and he is starting to distrust Eleanor because just maybe she has done something wrong that he doesn’t know about, or there is something wrong in their relationship. His mind is working on those old fashioned things like consanguinity and something that’s displeasing to God about them being together. That’s one part of it. The other part is someone who is holding back sobs and just wants to cling on to Eleanor for comfort in their mutual sadness. She’s the one who comforts him. I can see his head on her chest and she is stroking his back and head.
This is interesting, as Ralph Turner speculates in his biography of Eleanor (page 68) that the vase was given not only to commemorate the dedication of St. Denis, but as a supplication in order that Eleanor and Louis might be fruitful.