The letters of John Hus/Jerome of Prague
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From the conclusion of the following letter to Chlum we see that Hus had heard before he left Gottlieben of the arrest and imprisonment of Jerome of Prague. On hearing at Prague of the rupture between John and the Council, Jerome had hastened to Constance, in spite of the wish of Hus to the contrary (p. 182). There, on April 4, he posted a notice on the gates affirming the orthodoxy of Hus. This done, he deemed it wiser to withdraw to Ueberlingen, whence he wrote to the Council asking for a safe-conduct. On April 7 he once more returned to Constance, and affixed another address to Sigismund and the Council on the doors of the Cathedral. He had come, he said, of his own free will to answer all accusations of heresy. But two days later he changed his mind, and slipped away from the city, in his haste leaving his sword behind him in his lodgings in the St. Paulgasse. He fled towards Bohemia, but at Hirsau was betrayed into an argument, in which he called the Council a synagogue of Satan. This led to his arrest (April 24). On the discovery from his papers of his identity he was forwarded to Constance loaded with chains. He arrived on May 23, and was taken at once to the Franciscan convent, ‘patiently carrying in his hand his iron fetters and long chain.’ There he was examined in a somewhat tumultuous congregation of the Council, and afterwards carried by night to a dungeon in the cemetery of St. Paul, and chained hand and foot ‘to a bench too high to sit on.’ For two days he was left to starve on a scanty supply of bread and water, until Peter Mladenowic found his prison and bribed the gaoler to give him better food. The darkness and foul surroundings soon brought on a sickness, from which with difficulty he recovered, only to find that in the interval his friend and leader, John Hus, had been burnt at the stake. The two men were destined never to meet.