Such were the circumstances in which Jeanne was brought to trail. The population, moved to pity and to tears as any population would have been, before the end, would seem at the beginning to have been indifferent and not to have taken much interest one way or another: the court, a hundred men and more with all their hangers-on, the cleverest men in France, one more distinguished and impeccable than the others: the stern ring of the Englishmen outside keeping an eye upon the tedious suit and all its convolutions: these all appear before us, surrounding as with bands of iron the young lonely victim in the donjon, who submitting to every indignity, and deprived of every aid, feeling that all her friends had abandoned her, yet stood steadfast and strong in her absolute simplicity and honesty. It was but two years in that same spring weather since she had left Vaucouleurs to seek the fortune of France, to offer herself to the struggle which now was coming to an end. Not a soul had Jeanne to comfort or stand by her. She had her saints who—one wonders if such a thought ever entered into her young visionary head—had lured her to her doom, and who still comforted her with enigmatical words, promises which came true in so sadly different a sense from that in which they were understood.
(1) We are glad to add
that the learned Quicherat has doubts
on the subject of the cage.
CHAPTER XII — BEFORE THE TRIAL. LENT, 1431.
We have not, however, sufficiently described the horror of the prison, and the treatment to which Jeanne was exposed, though the picture is already dark enough. It throws a horrible yet also a grotesque light upon the savage manners of the time to find that the chamber in which she was confined, had secret provision for an espionnage of the most base kind, openings made in the walls through which everything that took place in the room, every proceeding of the unfortunate prisoner, could be spied upon and every word heard. The idea of such a secret watch has always been attractive to the vulgar mind, and no doubt it has been believed to exist many times when there was little or no justification for such an infernal thought. From the “ear” of Dionysius, down to the Trou Judas, which