The children gazed at one another in ecstasy. Words of pent-up joy broke from their lips. Glowing and excited, they compared what they had seen and heard. Lucy alone had spoken to the Lady, Jacinta had heard all the conversation, but Francis had heard nothing. He had simply seen. Jacinta could not contain herself.
~"What a lovely lady! What a lovely lady!"
Presently Lucia began to wonder how their parents would take the news. The three decided that it would be better not to say anything for the time being.
But that very evening at suppertime Jacinta told all. She could not keep it in. She was bursting to share the delight with which she was filled by the vision of the lady who shone in her beauty as brightly as the sun. Though Francis was able to hold his tongue, the news was too wonderful for Jacinta's tiny heart to keep to herself. It was the Blessed Virgin herself whom they had seen, she had no doubt. How happy people would be to know! And to think that the lady would come again in a month's time.
Lucy's mother heard the story the next day. The village hummed for days with it, and mocking comments could be heard on all sides. The woman, so jealous of her reputation for honesty and trust, burned with indignation! To think that her daughter, in spite of her steady, quiet ways, was at heart an untruthful little braggart, ready to expose the family to such ridicule in order to win attention. Even the village padre was appealed to by the angry mother in an attempt to convince the wanton child how absurd and mischievous her story was. But, in the eyes of the child his own priestly eyes read sincerity . . . and, since he was at a loss to know what to make of it, he held himself aloof and counseled moderation . . . advice to which the woman paid little heed.
Francis and Jacinta were treated mildly by their parents but from then on Lucy had to endure from her mother hard words, and even blows. Her sufferings had begun in earnest. Often, she had to seek some secluded corner to sob and console herself with the thought of the heavenly visitor's promised return on the 13th of June.