The background to these curious sittings, afterwards revealed to us, casts a hazy side-light upon them. Probably the Bishop, never present, must have been made aware by his spies of an intention on the part of those most favourable to Jeanne to support an appeal to the Pope; and L’Oyseleur, the traitor, who was all this time admitted to her cell by permission of Cauchon, and really as his tool and agent, was actively employed in prejudicing her mind against them, counselling her not to trust to those clerks, not to yield to the Church. How he managed to explain his own appearance on the other side, his official connection with the trial, and constant presence as one of her judges, it is hard to imagine. Probably he gave her to believe that he had sought that position (having got himself liberated from the imprisonment which he had represented himself as sharing) for her sake, to be able to help her.
On the other hand her friends, whose hearts were touched by her candour and her sufferings, were not inactive. Jean de la Fontaine and the two monks—l’Advenu and Frere Isambard—also succeeded in gaining admission to her, and pressed upon her the advantage of appealing to the Church, to the Council of Bale about to assemble, or to the Pope himself, which would have again changed the venue, and transferred her into less prejudiced hands. It is very likely that Jeanne in her ignorance and innocence might have held by her reference to the supreme tribunal of God in any case; and it is highly unlikely that of the English authorities, intent on removing the only thing in France of which their forces were afraid, should have given her up into the hands of the Pope, or allowed her to be transferred to any place of defence beyond their reach; but at least it is a relief to the mind to find that all these men were not base, as appears on the face of things, but that pity and justice and human feeling sometimes existed under the priest’s gown and the monk’s cowl, if also treachery and falsehood of the blackest kind. The Bishop, who remained withdrawn, we know not why, from all these private sittings in the prison (probably busy with his ecclesiastical duties as Holy Week was approaching), heard with fury of this visit and advice, and threatened vengeance upon the meddlers, not without effect, for Jean de la Fontaine, we are told—who had been deep in his councils, and indeed his deputy, as chief examiner—disappeared from Rouen immediately after, and was heard of no more.
(1) Compiegne was a strong point. Had she proclaimed a promise from St. Catherine, of victory? Chastelain says so, long after date and with errors in fact. Two Anglo- Compiegnais were at her trial. The Rehabilitation does not go into this question.—(From Mr. Lang.)