The letters of John Hus/The Public Audience at Last; A Crafty Plan; Tumult and Adjournment; "Do not fear for me"

Later in the day, though probably still early in the morning, Hus was brought up for the long-expected public audience. A congregation of the Council had been summoned to meet in the refectory of the Franciscan convent. The intention was to satisfy Sigismund by a public condemnation, but in the absence of Hus himself. So the psalm customary for an inquiry into heresy (Psalm 1.) was read, and the thirty articles against him formally presented. An attempt was then made to deprive Hus of the grace of recantation, by the putting in of the letter which he had left at Prague (supra, p. 147). There only remained the formal reading of a sentence already determined. This crafty plan was frustrated. Before it could be carried through Mladenowic stirred up Chlum and Duba to hasten to Sigismund. The Emperor despatched Lewes, the Count Palatine, and the burgrave Frederick of Nuremberg, with orders that nothing should be done until Hus himself was present; while the friends of Hus, to prevent inaccurate or mutilated excerpts, put in genuine copies of his works, on the condition that they should be restored to them—a precaution that, as we learn from the following letter of Hus, was not needless. So Hus had at length his desire, and stood before his enemies. Very different was the reality to his dreams. Instead of an oration before a listening senate, he was met, when he attempted to explain, with angry shouts: ‘Have done with your sophistries!’ ‘Say yes or no!’ If he remained silent, they clamoured that he consented. As the tumult grew the trial was adjourned until the 7th, and Hus removed in the custody of the Bishop of Riga. ‘Do not fear for me,’ he said, as he grasped the hands of his friends. ‘We do not fear,’ they answered. ‘I know you do not,’ he added. As Mladenowic and Chlum watched him mount the steps of the tower adjoining the convent, they saw him ‘smile, as if in gladness after his mockery, and hold out a hand as if blessing the people.’ That same night, as if to reassure them of his constancy, Hus wrote to his friends in Constance. It is remarkable that Hus already clearly discerned the real issue on which he would be condemned (see infra, p. 208, n 1). Another letter was written the following day to his unfailing friend John of Chlum, as well as a third to Peter Mladenowic.