The Harvard Classics Volume 38 - Scientific Papers (Physiology, Medicine, Surgery, Geology)
Author: Various
1  2  3  4  5  6  7  8  9  10  11     Next Part
Home - Random Browse

The Harvard Classics Volume 38 Scientific Papers (Physiology, Medicine, Surgery, Geology)















Hippocrates, the celebrated Greek physician, was a contemporary of the historian Herodotus. He was born in the island of Cos between 470 and 460 B. C., and belonged to the family that claimed descent from the mythical AEsculapius, son of Apollo. There was already a long medical tradition in Greece before his day, and this he is supposed to have inherited chiefly through his predecessor Herodicus; and he enlarged his education by extensive travel. He is said, though the evidence is unsatisfactory, to have taken part in the efforts to check the great plague which devastated Athens at the beginning of the Peloponnesian war. He died at Larissa between 380 and 360 B. C.

The works attributed to Hippocrates are the earliest extant Greek medical writings, but very many of them are certainly not his. Some five or six, however, are generally granted to be genuine, and among these is the famous "Oath." This interesting document shows that in his time physicians were already organized into a corporation or guild, with regulations for the training of disciples, and with an esprit de corps and a professional ideal which, with slight exceptions, can hardly yet be regarded as out of date.

One saying occurring in the words of Hippocrates has achieved universal currency, though few who quote it to-day are aware that it originally referred to the art of the physician. It is the first of his "Aphorisms": "Life is short, and the Art long; the occasion fleeting; experience fallacious, and judgment difficult. The physician must not only be prepared to do what is right himself, but also to make the patient, the attendants, and externals cooperate."


I swear by Apollo the physician and AEsculapius, and Health, and All-heal, and all the gods and goddesses, that, according to my ability and judgment, I will keep this Oath and this stipulation —to reckon him who taught me this Art equally dear to me as my parents, to share my substance with him, and relieve his necessities if required; to look upon his offspring in the same footing as my own brothers, and to teach them this art, if they shall wish to learn it, without fee or stipulation; and that by precept, lecture, and every other mode of instruction, I will impart a knowledge of the Art to my own sons, and those of my teachers, and to disciples bound by a stipulation and oath according to the law of medicine, but to none others. I will follow that system of regimen which, according to my ability and judgment, I consider for the benefit of my patients, and abstain from whatever is deleterious and mischievous. I will give no deadly medicine to any one if asked, nor suggest any such counsel; and in like manner I will not give to a woman a pessary to produce abortion. With purity and with holiness I will pass my life and practice my Art. I will not cut persons labouring under the stone, but will leave this to be done by men who are practitioners of this work. Into whatever houses I enter, I will go into them for the benefit of the sick, and will abstain from every voluntary act of mischief and corruption; and, further, from the seduction of females or males, of freemen and slaves. Whatever, in connection with my professional practice, or not in connection with it, I see or hear, in the life of men, which ought not to be spoken of abroad, I will not divulge, as reckoning that all such should be kept secret. While I continue to keep this Oath unviolated, may it be granted to me to enjoy life and the practice of the art, respected by all men, in all times. But should I trespass and violate this Oath, may the reverse be my lot.


Medicine is of all the arts the most noble; but, owing to the ignorance of those who practice it, and of those who, inconsiderately, form a judgment of them, it is at present far behind all the other arts. Their mistake appears to me to arise principally from this, that in the cities there is no punishment connected with the practice of medicine (and with it alone) except disgrace, and that does not hurt those who are familiar with it. Such persons are like the figures which are introduced in tragedies, for as they have the shape, and dress, and personal appearance of an actor, but are not actors, so also physicians are many in title but very few in reality.

2. Whoever is to acquire a competent knowledge of medicine, ought to be possessed of the following advantages: a natural disposition; instruction; a favorable position for the study; early tuition; love of labour; leisure. First of all, a natural talent is required; for, when Nature leads the way to what is most excellent, instruction in the art takes place, which the student must try to appropriate to himself by reflection, becoming an early pupil in a place well adapted for instruction. He must also bring to the task a love of labour and perseverance, so that the instruction taking root may bring forth proper and abundant fruits.

3. Instruction in medicine is like the culture of the productions of the earth. For our natural disposition, is, as it were, the soil; the tenets of our teacher are, as it were, the seed; instruction in youth is like the planting of the seed in the ground at the proper season; the place where the instruction is communicated is like the food imparted to vegetables by the atmosphere; diligent study is like the cultivation of the fields; and it is time which imparts strength to all things and brings them to maturity.

4. Having brought all these requisites to the study of medicine, and having acquired a true knowledge of it, we shall thus, in travelling through the cities, be esteemed physicians not only in name but in reality. But inexperience is a bad treasure, and a bad fund to those who possess it, whether in opinion or reality, being devoid of self-reliance and contentedness, and the nurse both of timidity and audacity. For timidity betrays a want of powers, and audacity a lack of skill. They are, indeed, two things, knowledge and opinion, of which the one makes its possessor really to know, the other to be ignorant.

5. Those things which are sacred, are to be imparted only to sacred persons; and it is not lawful to impart them to the profane until they have been initiated in the mysteries of the science.




Ambroise Pare was born in the village of Bourg-Hersent, near Laval, in Maine, France, about 1510. He was trained as a barber- surgeon at a time when a barber-surgeon was inferior to a surgeon and the professions of surgeon and physician were kept apart by the law of the Church that forbade a physician to shed blood. Under whom he served his apprenticeship is unknown, but by 1533 he was in Paris, where he received an appointment as house surgeon at the Hotel Dieu. After three or four years of valuable experience in this hospital, he set up in private practise in Paris, but for the next thirty years he was there only in the intervals of peace; the rest of the time he followed the army. He became a master barber-surgeon in 1541.

In Pare's time the armies of Europe were not regularly equipped with a medical service. The great nobles were accompanied by their private physicians; the common soldiers doctored themselves, or used the services of barber-surgeons and quacks who accompanied the army as adventurers. "When Pare joined the army" says Paget, "he went simply as a follower of Colonel Montejan, having neither rank, recognition, nor regular payment. His fees make up in romance for their irregularity: a cask of wine, fifty double ducats and a horse, a diamond, a collection of crowns and half-crowns from the ranks, other honorable presents and of great value'; from the King himself, three hundred crowns, and a promise he would never let him be in want; another diamond, this time from the finger of a duchess: and a soldier once offered a bag of gold to him."

When Pare was a man of seventy, the Dean of the Faculty of Medicine in Paris made an attack on him on account of his use of the ligature instead of cauterizing after amputation. In answer, Pare appealed to his successful experience, and narrated the "Journeys in Diverse Places" here printed. This entertaining volume gives a vivid picture, not merely of the condition of surgery in the sixteenth century, but of the military life of the time; and reveals incidentally a personality of remarkable vigor and charm. Pare's own achievements are recorded with modest satisfaction: "I dressed him, and God healed him," is the refrain. Pare died in Paris in December, 1590.


[Footnote: The present translation is taken from Mr. Stephen Paget's "Ambroise Pare and His Times" by arrangement with Messrs. G. P. Putnam's Sons.]



I will here shew my readers the towns and places where I found a way to learn the art of surgery: for the better instruction of the young surgeon.

And first, in the year 1536, the great King Francis sent a large army to Turin, to recover the towns and castles that had been taken by the Marquis du Guast, Lieutenant-General of the Emperor. M. the Constable, then Grand Master, was Lieutenant-General of the army, and M. de Montejan was Colonel-General of the infantry, whose surgeon I was at this time. A great part of the army being come to the Pass of Suze, we found the enemy occupying it; and they had made forts and trenches, so that we had to fight to dislodge them and drive them out. And there were many killed and wounded on both sides,—but the enemy were forced to give way and retreat into the castle, which was captured, part of it, by Captain Le Rat, who was posted on a little hill with some of his soldiers, whence they fired straight on the enemy. He received an arquebus-shot in his right ankle, and fell to the ground at once, and then said, "Now they have got the Rat." I dressed him, and God healed him.

We entered pell-mell into the city, and passed over the dead bodies, and some not yet dead, hearing them cry under our horses' feet; and they made my heart ache to hear them. And truly I repented I had left Paris to see such a pitiful spectacle. Being come into the city, I entered into a stable, thinking to lodge my own and my man's horse, and found four dead soldiers, and three propped against the wall, their features all changed, and they neither saw, heard, nor spake, and their clothes were still smouldering where the gunpowder had burned them. As I was looking at them with pity, there came an old soldier who asked me if there were any way to cure them; I said no. And then he went up to them and cut their throats, gently, and without ill will toward them. Seeing this great cruelty, I told him he was a villain: he answered he prayed God, when he should be in such a plight, he might find someone to do the same for him; that he should not linger in misery.

To come back to my story, the enemy were called on to surrender, which they did, and left the city with only their lives saved, and the white stick in their hands; and most of them went off to the Chateau de Villane, where about two hundred Spaniards were stationed. M. the Constable would not leave these behind him, wishing to clear the road for our own men. The castle is seated on a small hill; which gave great confidence to those within, that we could not bring our artillery to bear upon them. They were summoned to surrender, or they would be cut in pieces: they answered that they would not, saying they were as good and faithful servants of the Emperor, as M. the Constable could be of the King his master. Thereupon our men by night hoisted up two great cannons, with the help of the Swiss soldiers and the lansquenets; but as ill luck would have it, when the cannons were in position, a gunner stupidly set fire to a bag full of gunpowder, whereby he was burned, with ten or twelve soldiers; and the flame of the powder discovered our artillery, so that all night long those within the castle fired their arquebuses at the place where they had caught sight of the cannons, and many of our men were killed and wounded. Next day, early in the morning, the attack was begun, and we soon made a breach in their wall. Then they demanded a parley; but it was too late, for meanwhile our French infantry, seeing them taken by surprise, mounted the breach, and cut them all in pieces, save one very fair young girl of Piedmont, whom a great seigneur would have. ... The captain and the ensign were taken alive, but soon afterward hanged and strangled on the battlements of the gate of the city, to give example and fear to the Emperor's soldiers, not to be so rash and mad as to wish to hold such places against so great an army.

The soldiers within the castle, seeing our men come on them with great fury, did all they could to defend themselves, and killed and wounded many of our soldiers with pikes, arquebuses, and stones, whereby the surgeons had all their work cut out for them. Now I was at this time a fresh-water soldier; I had not yet seen wounds made by gunshot at the first dressing. It is true I had read in John de Vigo, first book, Of Wounds in General, eighth chapter, that wounds made by firearms partake of venenosity, by reason of the powder; and for their cure he bids you cauterise them with oil of elders scalding hot, mixed with a little treacle. And to make no mistake, before I would use the said oil, knowing this was to bring great pain to the patient, I asked first before I applied it, what the other surgeons did for the first dressing; which was to put the said oil, boiling well, into the wounds, with tents and setons; wherefore I took courage to do as they did. At last my oil ran short, and I was forced instead thereof to apply a digestive made of the yolks of eggs, oil of roses, and turpentine. In the night I could not sleep in quiet, fearing some default in not cauterising, that I should find the wounded to whom I had not used the said oil dead from the poison of their wounds; which made me rise very early to visit them, where beyond my expectation I found that those to whom I had applied my digestive medicament had but little pain, and their wounds without inflammation or swelling, having rested fairly well that night; the others, to whom the boiling oil was used, I found feverish, with great pain and swelling about the edges of their wounds. Then I resolved never more to burn thus cruelly poor men with gunshot wounds.

While I was at Turin, I found a surgeon famed above all others for his treatment of gunshot wounds; into whose favour I found means to insinuate myself, to have the recipe of his balm, as he called it, wherewith he dressed gunshot wounds. And he made me pay my court to him for two years, before I could possibly draw the recipe from him. In the end, thanks to my gifts and presents, he gave it to me; which was to boil, in oil of lilies, young whelps just born, and earth-worms prepared with Venetian turpentine. Then I was joyful, and my heart made glad, that I had understood his remedy, which was like that which I had obtained by chance.

See how I learned to treat gunshot wounds; not by books.

My Lord Marshal Montejan remained Lieutenant-General for the King in Piedmont, having ten or twelve thousand men in garrison in the different cities and castles, who were often fighting among themselves with swords and other weapons, even with arquebuses. And if there were four wounded, I always had three of them; and if there were question of cutting off an arm or a leg, or of trepanning, or of reducing a fracture or a dislocation, I accomplished it all. The Lord Marshal sent me now hire now there to dress the soldiers committed to me who were wounded in other cities beside Turin, so that I was always in the country, one way or the other.

M. the Marshal sent to Milan, to a physician of no less reputation than the late M. le Grand for his success in practice, to treat him for an hepatic flux, whereof in the end he died. This physician was some while at Turin to treat him, and was often called to visit the wounded, where always he found me; and I was used to consult with him, and with some other surgeons; and when we had resolved to do any serious work of surgery, it was Ambroise Pare that put his hand thereto, which I would do promptly and skilfully, and with great assurance, insomuch that the physician wondered at me, to be so ready in the operations of surgery, and I so young. One day, discoursing with the Lord Marshal, he said to him:

"Signor, tu hai un Chirurgico giovane di anni, ma egli e vecchio di sapere e di esperientia: Guardato bene, perche egli ti fara servicio et honore." That is to say, "Thou hast a surgeon young in age, but he is old in knowledge and experience: take good care, of him, for he will do thee service and honour." But the good man did not know I had lived three years at the Hotel Dieu in Paris, with the patients there.

In the end, M. the Marshal died of his hepatic flux. He being dead, the King sent M. the Marshal d'Annebaut to be in his place: who did me the honour to ask me to live with him, and he would treat me as well or better than M. the Marshal de Montejan. Which I would not do, for grief at the loss of my master, who loved me dearly; so I returned to Paris.


I went to the Camp of Marolle, with the late M. de Rohan, as surgeon of his company; where was the King himself. M. d'Estampes, Governor of Brittany, had told the King how the English had hoist sail to land in Low Brittany; and had prayed him to send, to help him, MM. de Rohan and de Laval, because they were the seigneurs of that country, and by their help the country people would beat back the enemy, and keep them from landing. Having heard this, the King sent these seigneurs to go in haste to the help of their country; and to each was given as much power as to the Governor, so that they were all three the King's Lieutenants. They willingly took this charge upon them, and went off posting with good speed, and took me with them as far as Landreneau. There we found every one in arms, the tocsin sounding on every side, for a good five or six leagues round the harbours, Brent, Couquet, Crozon, le Fou, Doulac, Laudanec; each well furnished with artillery, as cannons, demi-cannons, culverins, muskets, falcons, arquebuses; in brief, all who came together were well equipped with all sorts and kinds of artillery, and with many soldiers, both Breton and French, to hinder the English from landing as they had resolved at their parting from England.

The enemy's army came right under our cannons: and when we perceived them desiring to land, we saluted them with cannon- shot, and unmasked our forces and our artillery. They fled to sea again. I was right glad to see their ships set sail, which were in good number and good order, and seemed to be a forest moving upon the sea. I saw a thing also whereat I marvelled much, which was, that the balls of the great cannons made long rebounds, and grazed over the water as they do over the earth. Now to make the matter short, our English did us no harm, and returned safe and sound into England. And they leaving us in peace, we stayed in that country in garrison until we were assured that their army was dispersed.

Now our soldiers used often to exercise themselves with running at the ring, or with fencing, so that there was always some one in trouble, and I had always something to employ me. M. d'Estampes, to make pastime and pleasure for the Seigneurs de Rohan and de Laval, and other gentlemen, got a number of village girls to come to the sports, to sing songs in the tongue of Low Brittany: wherein their harmony was like the croaking of frogs when they are in love. Moreover, he made them dance the Brittany triori, without moving feet or hips: he made the gentlemen see and hear many good things.

At other tunes they made the wrestlers of the towns and Villages come, where there was a prize for the best: and the sport was not ended but that one or other had a leg or arm broken, or the shoulder or hip dislocated.

There was a little man of Low Brittany, of a square body and well set, who long held the credit of the field, and by his skill and strength threw five or six to the ground. There came against him a big man, one Dativo, a pedagogue, who was said to be one of the best wrestlers in all Brittany: he entered into the lists, having thrown off his long jacket, in hose and doublet: when he was near the little man, it looked as though the little man had been tied to his girdle. Nevertheless, when they gripped each other round the neck, they were a long time without doing anything, and we thought they would remain equal in force and skill: but the little man suddenly leaped beneath this big Dativo, and took him on his shoulder, and threw him to earth on his back all spread out like a frog; and all the company laughed at the skill and strength of the little fellow. The great Dativo was furious to have been thus thrown to earth by so small a man: he rose again in a rage, and would have his revenge. They took hold again round the neck, and were again a good while at their hold without falling to the ground: but at last the big man let himself fall upon the little, and in falling put his elbow upon the pit of his stomach, and burst his heart, and killed him stark dead. And knowing he had given him his death's blow, took again his long cassock, and went away with his tail between his legs, and eclipsed himself. Seeing the little man came not again to himself, either for wine, vinegar, or any other thing presented to him, I drew near to him and felt his pulse, which did not beat at all: then I said he was dead. Then the Bretons, who were assisting at the wrestling, said aloud in their jargon, "Andraze meuraquet enes rac un bloa so abeuduex henelep e barz an gouremon enel ma hoa engoustun." That is to say, "That is not in the sport." And someone said that this great Dativo was accustomed to do so, and but a year past he had done the same at a wrestling. I must needs open the body to know the cause of this sudden death. I found much blood in the thorax. ... I tried to find some internal opening whence it might have come, which I could not, for all the diligence that I could use. ... The poor little wrestler was buried. I took leave of MM. de Rohan, de Laval, and d'Estampes. M. de Rohan made me a present of fifty double ducats and a horse, M. de Laval gave me a nag for my man, and M. d'Estampes gave me a diamond worth thirty crowns: and I returned to my house in Paris.


Some while after, M. de Rohan took me with him posting to the camp at Perpignan. While we were there, the enemy sallied out, and surrounded three pieces of our artillery before they were beaten back to the gates of the city. Which was not done without many killed and wounded, among the others M. de Brissac, who was then grand master of the artillery, with an arquebus-shot in the shoulder. When he retired to his tent, all the wounded followed him, hoping to be dressed by the surgeons who were to dress him. Being come to his tent and laid on his bed, the bullet was searched for by three or four of the best surgeons in the army, who could not find it, but said it had entered into his body.

At last he called for me, to see if I could be more skilful than they, because he had known me in Piedmont. Then I made him rise from his bed, and told him to put himself in the same posture that he had when he was wounded, which he did, taking a javelin in his hand just as he had held his pike to fight. I put my hand around the wound, and found the bullet. ... Having found it, I showed them the place where it was, and it was taken out by M. Nicole Lavernot, surgeon of M. the Dauphin, who was the King's Lieutenant in that army; all the same, the honour of finding it belonged to me.

I saw one very strange thing, which was this: a soldier in my presence gave one of his fellows a blow on the head with a halbard, penetrating to the left ventricle of the brain; yet the man did not fall to the ground. He that struck him said he heard that he had cheated at dice, and he had drawn a large sum of money from him, and was accustomed to cheat. They called me to dress him; which I did, as it were for the last time, knowing that he would die soon. When I had dressed him, he returned all alone to his quarters, which were at the least two hundred paces away. I bade one of his companions send for a priest to dispose the affairs of his soul; he got one for him, who stayed with him to his last breath. The next day, the patient sent for me by his girl, dressed in boy's apparel, to come and dress him; which I would not, fearing he would die under my hands; and to be rid of the matter I told her the dressing must not be removed before the third day. But in truth he was sure to die, though he were never touched again. The third day, he came staggering to find me in my tent, and the girl with him, and prayed me most affectionately to dress him, and showed me a purse wherein might be an hundred or sixscore pieces of gold, and said he would give me my heart's desire; nevertheless, for all that, I put off the removal of the dressing, fearing lest he should die then and there. Certain gentlemen desired me to go and dress him; which I did at their request; but in dressing him he died under my hands in a convulsion. The priest stayed with him till death, and seized his purse, for fear another man should take it, saying he would say masses for his poor soul. Also he took his clothes, and everything else.

I have told this case for the wonder of it, that the soldier, having received this great blow, did not fall down, and kept his reason to the end.

Not long afterward, the camp was broken up from diverse causes: one, because we were told that four companies of Spaniards were entered into Perpignan: the other, that the plague was spreading through the camp. Moreover, the country folk warned us there would soon be a great overflowing of the sea, which might drown us all. And the presage which they had, was a very great wind from sea, which rose so high that there remained not a single tent but was broken and thrown down, for all the care and diligence we could give; and the kitchens being all uncovered, the wind raised the dust and sand, which salted and powdered our meats in such fashion that we could not eat them; and we had to cook them in pots and other covered vessels. Nor was the camp so quickly moved but that many carts and carters, mules and mule drivers, were drowned in the sea, with great loss of baggage.

When the camp was moved I returned to Paris.


The King raised a great army to victual Landresy. Against him the Emperor had no fewer men, but many more, to wit, eighteen thousand Germans, ten thousand Spaniards, six thousand Walloons, ten thousand English, and from thirteen to fourteen thousand horse. I saw the two armies near each other, within cannon-shot; and we thought they could not withdraw without giving battle. There were some foolish gentlemen who must needs approach the enemy's camp; the enemy fired on them with light field pieces; some died then and there, others had their arms or legs carried away. The King having done what he wished, which was to victual Landresy, withdrew his army to Guise, which was the day after All Saints, 1544; and from there I returned to Paris.

A little while after, we went to Boulogne; where the English, seeing our army, left the forts which they were holding, Moulanabert, le petit Paradis, Monplaisir, the fort of Chastillon, le Portet, the fort of Dardelot. One day, as I was going through the camp to dress my wounded men, the enemy who were in the Tour d' Ordre fired a cannon against us, thinking to kill two men-at-arms who had stopped to talk together. It happened that the ball passed quite close to one of them, which threw him to the ground, and it was thought the ball had touched him, which it did not; but only the wind of the ball full against his corselet, with such force that all the outer part of his thigh became livid and black, and he could hardly stand. I dressed him, and made diverse scarifications to let out the bruised blood made by the wind of the ball; and by the rebounds that it made on the ground it killed four soldiers, who remained dead where they fell.

I was not far from this shot, so that I could just feel the moved air, without its doing me any harm save a fright, which made me duck my head low enough; but the ball was already far away. The soldiers laughed at me, to be afraid of a ball which had already passed. Mon petit maistre, I think if you had been there, I should not have been afraid all alone, and you would have had your share of it.

Monseigneur the Due de Guise, Francois de Lorraine, was wounded before Boulogne with a thrust of a lance, which entered above the right eye, toward the nose, and passed out on the other side between the ear and the back of the neck, with so great violence that the head of the lance, with a piece of the wood, was broken and remained fast; so that it could not be drawn but save with extreme force, with smith's pincers. Yet notwithstanding the great violence of the blow, which was not without fracture of bones, nerves, veins, and arteries, and other parts torn and broken, my lord, by the grace of God, was healed. He was used to go into battle always with his vizard raised: that is why the lance passed right out on the other side.


I went to Germany, in the year 1552, with M. de Rohan, captain of fifty men-at-arms, where I was surgeon of his company, as I have said before. On this expedition, M. the Constable was general of the army; M. de Chastillon, afterward the Admiral, was chief colonel of the infantry, with four regiments of lansquenets under Captains Recrod and Ringrave, two under each; and every regiment was of ten ensigns, and every ensign of five hundred men. And beside these were Captain Chartel, who led the troops that the Protestant princes had sent to the King (this infantry was very fine, and was accompanied by fifteen hundred men-at-arms, with a following of two archers apiece, which would make four thousand five hundred horse); and two thousand light horse, and as many mounted arquebusiers, of whom M. d'Aumalle was general; and a great number of the nobility, who were come there for their pleasure. Moreover, the King was accompanied by two hundred gentlemen of his household, under the command of the Seigneurs de Boisy and de Canappe, and by many other princes. For his following, to escort him, there were the French and Scotch and Swiss guards, amounting to six hundred foot soldiers; and the companies of MM. the Dauphin, de 'Guise, d'Aumalle, and Marshal Saint Andre, amounting to four hundred lances; which was a marvellous thing, to see such a multitude; and with this equipage the King entered into Toul and Metz.

I must not omit to say that the companies of MM. de Rohan, the Comte de Sancerre, and de Jarnac, which were each of them of fifty horse, went upon the wings of the camp. And God knows how scarce we were of victuals, and I protest before Him that at three diverse times I thought to die of hunger; and it was not for want of money, for I had enough of it; but we could not get victuals save by force, because the country people collected them all into the towns and castles.

One of the servants of the captain-ensign of the company of M. de Rohan went with others to enter a church where the peasants were retreated, thinking to get victuals by love or by forces; but he got the worst of it, as they all did, and came back with seven sword wounds on the head, the least of which penetrated to the inner table of the skull; and he had four other wounds upon the arms, and one on the right shoulder, which cut more than half of the bladebone. He was brought back to his master's lodging, who seeing him so mutilated, and not hoping he could be cured, made him a grave, and would have cast him therein, saying that else the peasants would massacre and kill him: I in pity told him the man might still be cured if he were well dressed. Diverse gentlemen of the company prayed he would take him along with the baggage, since I was willing to dress him; to which he agreed, and after I had got the man ready, he was put in a cart, on a bed well covered and well arranged, drawn by a horse. I did him the office of physician, apothecary, surgeon, and cook. I dressed him to the end of his case, and God healed him; insomuch that all the three companies marvelled at this cure; The men-at-arms of the company of M. de Rohan, the first muster that was made, gave me each a crown, and the archers half a crown,


On his return from the expedition against the German camp, King Henry besieged Danvilliers, and those within would not surrender. They got the worst of it, but our powder failed us; so they had a good shot at our men. There was a culverin-shot passed through the tent of H. de Rohan, which hit a gentleman leg who was of his household. I had to finish the cutting off of it, which I did without applying the hot irons.

The King sent for powder to Sedan, and when it came we began the attack mere vigorously than before, so that a breach was made. MM. de Guise and the Constable, being in the King's chamber, told him, and they agreed that next day they would assault the town, and were confident they would enter into it; and it must be kept secret, for fear the enemy should come to hear of it; and each promised not to speak of it to any man. Now there was a groom of the King's chamber, who being laid under the King's camp-bed to sleep, heard they were resolved to attack the town next day. So he told the secret to a certain captain, saying that they would make the attack next day for certain, and he had heard it from the King, and prayed the said captain to speak of it to no man, which he promised; but his promise did not hold, and forthwith he disclosed it to a captain, and this captain to a captain, and the captains to some of the soldiers, saying always, "Say nothing." And it was just so much hid, that next day early in the morning there was seen the greater part of the soldiers with their boots and breeches cut loose at the knee for the better mounting of the breach. The King was told of this rumour that ran through the camp, that the attack was to be made; whereat he was astonished, seeing there were but three in that advice, who had promised each other to tell it to no man. The King sent for M. de Guise, to know if he had spoken of this attack; he swore and affirmed to him he had not told it to anybody; and M. the Constable said the same, and told the King they must know for certain who had declared this secret counsel, seeing they were but three. Inquiry was made from captain to captain. In the end they found the truth; for one said, "It was such an one told me," and another said the same, till it came to the first of all, who declared he had heard it from the groom of the King's chamber, called Guyard, a native of Blois, son of a barber of the late King Francis. The King sent for him into his tent, in the presence of MM. de Guise and the Constable, to hear from him whence he had his knowledge, and who had told him the attack was to be made; and said if he did not speak the truth he would have him hanged. Then he declared he lay down under the King's bed thinking to sleep, and so having heard the plan he revealed it to a captain who was a friend of his, to the end he might prepare himself with his soldiers to be the first at the attack. Then the King knew the truth, and told him he should never serve him again, and that he deserved to be hanged, and forbade him ever to come again to the Court.

The groom of the chamber went away with this to swallow, and slept that night with a surgeon-in-ordinary of the King, Master Louis of Saint Andre; and in the night he gave himself six stabs with a knife, and cut his throat Nor did the surgeon perceive it till the morning, when he found his bed all bloody, and the dead body by him. He marvelled at this sight on his awaking, and feared they would say he was the cause of the murder; but he was soon relieved, seeing the reason, which was despair at the loss of the good friendship of the King.

So Guyard was buried. And those of Danvilliers, when they saw the breach large enough for us to enter, and our soldiers ready to assault them, surrendered themselves to the mercy of the King. Their leaders were taken prisoners, and their Soldiers were sent away without arms.

The camp being dispersed, I returned to Paris with my gentleman whose leg I had cut off; I dressed him, and God healed him. I sent him to his house merry with a wooden leg; and he was content saying he had got off cheap, not to have been miserably burned to stop the blood, as you write in your book, won petit matetre,


Some time after. King Henry raised an army of thirty thousand men, to go and lay waste the country about Hesdin. The King of Navarre, who was then called M. de Vendosme, was chief of the army, and the King's Lieutenant. Being at St. Denis, in France, waiting while the companies passed by, he sent to Paris for me to speak with him. When I came he begged me (and his request was a command) to follow him on this journey; and I, wishing to make my excuses, saying my wife was sick in bed, he made answer there were physicians in Pairs to cure her, and he, too, had left his wife, who was of as good a house as mine, and he said he would use me well, and forthwith ordered I should be attached to his household. Seeing this great desire he had to take me with him, I dared not refuse him.

I went after him to Chateau le Comte, within three or four leagues of Hesdin. The Emperor's soldiers were in garrison there, with a number of peasants from the country road. M. de Vendosme called on them to surrender; they made answer that he should never take them, unless it were piecemeal; let him do his worst, and they would do their best to defend themselves. They trusted in their moats, which were full of water; but in two hours, with plenty of faggots and casks, we made a way for our infantry to pass over, when they had to advance to the assault; and the place was attacked with five cannons, and a breach was made large enough for our men to enter; where those within received the attack very valiantly, and killed and wounded a great number of our men with arquebuses, pikes, and stones. In the end, when they saw themselves overpowered, they set fire to their powder and ammunition, whereby many of our men were burned, and some of their own. And they were almost all put to the sword; but some of our soldiers had taken twenty or thirty, hoping to have ransom for them: and so soon as this was known, orders were given to proclaim by trumpet through the camp, that all soldiers who had Spaniards for prisoners must kill them, on pain of being themselves hanged and strangled: which was done in cold blood.

Thence we went and burned several villages; and the barns were all full of grain, to my very great regret. We came as far as Tournahan, where there was a large tower, whither the enemy withdrew, but we found the place empty: our men sacked it, and blew up the tower with a mine of gunpowder, which turned it upside down. After that, the camp was dispersed, and I returned to Paris. And the day after Chateau le Comte was taken, M. de Vendosme sent a gentleman under orders to the King, to report to him all that had happened, and among other things he told the King I had done very good work dressing the wounded, and had showed him eighteen bullets that I had taken out of their bodies, and there were many more that I had not been able to find or take out; and he spoke more good of me than there was by half. Then the King said he would take me into his service, and commanded M. de Goguier, his first physician, to write me down in the King's service as one of his surgeons-in-ordinary, and I was to meet him at Rheims within ten or twelve days: which I did. And the King did me the honour to command me to live near him, and he would be a good friend to me. Then I thanked him most humbly for the honour he was pleased to do me, in appointing me to serve him.


The Emperor having besieged Metz with more than an hundred and twenty thousand men, and in the hardest time of winter,—it is still fresh in the minds of all—and there were five or six thousand men in the town, and among them seven princes; MM. le Duc de Guise, the King's Lieutenant, d'Enghien, de Conde, de la Montpensier, de la Roche-sur-Yon, de Nemours, and many other gentlemen, with a number of veteran captains and officers: who often sallied out against the enemy (as I shall tell hereafter), not without heavy loss on both sides. Our wounded died almost all, and it was thought the drugs wherewith they were dressed had been poisoned. Wherefore M. de Guise, and MM. the princes, went so far as to beg the King that if it were possible I should be sent to them with a supply of drugs, and they believed their drugs were poisoned, seeing that few of their wounded escaped. My belief is that there was no poison; but the severe cutlass and arquebus wounds, and the extreme cold, were the cause why so many died. The King wrote to M. the Marshal de Saint Andre, who was his Lieutenant at Verdun, to find means to get me into Metz, whatever way was possible. MM. the Marshal de Saint Andre, and the Marshal de Vielleville, won over an Italian captain, who promised to get me into the place, which he did (and for this he had fifteen hundred crowns). The King having heard the promise that the Italian captain had made, sent for me, and commanded me to take of his apothecary, named Daigne, so many and such drugs as I should think necessary for the wounded within the town; which I did, as much as a post-horse could carry. The King gave me messages to M. de Guise, and to the princes and the captains that were in Metz.

When I came to Verdun, some days after, M. the Marshal de Saint Andre got horses for me and for my man, and for the Italian captain, who spoke excellent German, Spanish, and Walloon, beside his own mother-tongue. When we were within eight or ten leagues of Metz, we began to go by night only; and when we came near the enemy's camp I saw, more than a league and a half off, fires lighted all round the town, as if the whole earth were burning; and I believed we could never pass through these fires without being discovered, and therefore hanged and strangled, or cut in pieces, or made to pay a great ransom. To speak truth, I could well and gladly have wished myself back in Paris, for the great danger that I foresaw. God guided our business so well, that we entered into the town at midnight, thanks to a signal the captain had with another captain of the company of M. de Guise; to whom I went, and found him in bed, and he received me with high favour, being right glad at my coming.

I gave him my message as the King had commanded me, and told him I had a little letter for him, and the next day I would not fail to deliver it. Then he ordered me a good lodging, and that I should be well treated, and said I must not fail next morning to be upon the breach, where I should find all the princes and seigneurs, and many captains. Which I did, and they received me with great joy, and did me the honour to embrace me, and tell me I was welcome; adding they would no more be afraid of dying, if they should happen to be wounded.

M. le Prince de la Roche-sur-Yon was the first who entertained me, and inquired what they were saying at the Court concerning the town of Metz. I told him all that I chose to tell. Forthwith he begged me to go and see one of his gentlemen named M. de Magnane, now Chevalier of the Order of the King, and Lieutenant of His Majesty's Guards, who had his leg broken by a cannon-shot. I found him in bed, his leg bent and crooked, without any dressing on it, because a gentleman promised to cure him, having his name and his girdle, with certain words (and the poor patient was weeping and crying out with pain, not sleeping day or night for four days past). Then I laughed at such cheating and false promises; and I reduced and dressed his leg so skilfully that he was without pain, and slept all the night, and afterward, thanks be to God, he was healed, and is still living now, in the King's service. The Prince de la Roche-sur-Yon sent me a cask of wine, bigger than a pipe of Anjou, to my lodging, and told me when it was drunk, he would send me another; that was how he treated me, most generously.

After this, M, de Guise gave me a list of certain captains and seigneurs, and bade me tell them what the King had charged me to say; which I did, and this was to commend him to them, and give them his thanks for the duty they had done and were doing in holding his town of Metz, and that he would remember it. I was more than eight days acquitting myself of this charge, because they were many. First, to all the princes; then to others, as the Duke Horace, the Count de Martigues, and his brother M. de Bauge, the Seigneurs de Montmorency and d'Anville, now Marshal of France, M. de la Chapelle aux Ursins, Bonnivet, Carouge, now Governor of Rouen, the Vidasme de Chartres, the Count de Lude, M. de Biron, now Marshal of France, M. de Randan, la Rochefoucaut, Bordaille, d' Estres the younger, M. de Saint Jehan en pauphine, and many others whom it would take too long to name; and also to many captains, who had all done their duty well for the defence of their lives and of the town. Afterward I asked M. de Guise what it pleased him I should do with the drugs I had brought with me; he bade me distribute them to the surgeons and apothecaries, and principally to the poor wounded soldiers, who were in great numbers in the Hospital. Which I did, and can truly say I could not so much as go and see all the wounded, who kept sending for me to visit and dress them.

All the seigneurs within the town asked me to give special care, above all the rest; to M. de Pienne, who had been wounded, while on the breach, by a stone shot from a cannon, on the temple, with fracture and depression of the bone. They told me that so soon as he received the blow, he fell to the ground as dead, and cast forth blood by the mouth, nose, and ears, with great vomiting, and was fourteen days without being able to speak or reason; also he had tremors of a spasmodic nature, and all his face was swelled and livid, He was trepanned at the side of the temporal muscle, over the frontal bone. I dressed him, with other surgeons, and God healed him; and to-day he is still living, thank God.

The Emperor attacked the town with forty double cannons, and the powder was not spared day or night. So soon as M. de Guise saw the artillery set and pointed to make a breach, he had the nearest houses pulled down and made into ramparts, and the beams and joists were put end to end, and between them faggots, earth, beds, and wool-packs; then they put above them other beams and joists as before. And there was plenty of wood from the houses in the suburbs; which had been razed to the ground, for fear the enemy should get under cover of them, and make use of the wood; it did very well for repairing the breach. Everybody was hard at work carrying earth to repair it, day and night; MM. the princes, the seigneurs, and captains, lieutenants, ensigns, were all carrying the basket, to set an example to the soldiers and citizens to do the like, which they did; even the ladies and girls, and those who had not baskets, made use of cauldrons, panniers, sacks, sheets, and all such things to carry the earth; so that the enemy had no sooner broken down the wall than they found behind it a yet stronger rampart. The wall having fallen, our men cried out at those outside, "Fox, fox, fox," and they vented a thousand insults against one another. M. de Guise forbade any man on pain of death to speak with those outside, for fear there should be some traitor who would betray what was being done within the town. After this order, our men tied live cats to the ends of their pikes, and put them over the wall and cried with the cats, "Miaut, Miaut."

Truly the Imperials were much enraged, having been so long making a breach, at great loss, which was eighty paces wide, that fifty men of their front rank should enter in, only to find a rampart stronger than the wall. They threw themselves upon the poor cats, and shot them with arquebuses as men shoot at the popinjay.

Our men often ran out upon them, by order of M. de Guise; a few days ago, our men had all made haste to enrol themselves in sallying-parties, chiefly the young nobility, led by experienced captains; and indeed it was doing them a great favour to let them issue from the town and run upon the enemy. They went forth always an hundred or six score men, well armed with cutlasses, arquebuses, pistols, pikes, partisans, and halbards; and advanced as far as the trenches, to take the enemy unawares. Then an alarum would be sounded all through the enemy's camp, and their drums would beat plan, plan, ta ti ta, ta ta ti ta, tou touf touf. Likewise their trumpets and clarions rang and sounded, To saddle, to saddle, to saddle, to horse, to horse, to horse, to saddle, to horse, to horse. And all their soldiers cried, "Arm, arm arm! to arms, to arms, to arms! arm, to arms, arm, to arms, arm":—like the hue-and-cry after wolves; and all diverse tongues, according to their nations; and you saw them come out of their tents and little lodgings, as thick as little ants when you uncover the ant-hills, to bring help to their comrades, who were having their throats cut like sheep. Their cavalry also came from all sides at full gallop, patati, patata, patati, patata, pa, ta, ta, patata pata, ta, eager to be in the thick of the fighting, to give and take their share of the blows. And when our men saw themselves hard pressed, they would turn back into the town, fighting all the way; and those pursuing them were driven back with cannon-shots, and the cannons were loaded with flint-stones and with big pieces of iron, square or three-sided. And our men on the wall fired a volley, and rained bullets on them as thick as hail, to send them back to their beds; whereas many remained dead on the field: and our men also did not all come back with whole skins, and there were always some left behind (as it were a tax levied on us) who were joyful to die on the bed of honour. And if there was a horse wounded, it was skinned and eaten by the soldiers, instead of beef and bacon; and if a man was wounded, I must run and dress him. Some days afterward there were other sallies, which infuriated the enemy, that we would not let him sleep a little in safety.

M. de Guise played a trick upon them: he sent a peasant, who was none of the wisest, with two letters to the King, and gave him ten crowns, and promised the King would give him an hundred if he got the letters to him. In the one letter M. de Guise told the King that the enemy shewed no of retreating, and had put forth all their strength made a great breach, which he hoped to defend, even at the cost of his own life and of all who were in the town; and that the enemy had planted their artillery so well in a certain place (which he named) that it was with great difficulty he could keep them from entering the town, seeing it was the weakest place in the town; but soon he hoped to rebuild it well, so that they should not be able to enter. This letter was sewed in the lining of the man's doublet, and he was told to be very careful not to speak of it to any person. And the other letter was given to him, wherein M. de Guise told the King that he and all those besieged with him hoped to guard the town well; and other matters which I leave untold here. He sent out the man at night, and he was taken by the enemy's guard and brought to the Duke of Alva, that the Duke might hear what was doing in the town; and the peasant was asked if he had any letters. He said "Yes," and gave them the one; and they having seen it asked him if he had not another. He said "No." Then he was searched, and they found on him that which was sewed in his doubtlet; and the poor messenger was handed and strangled.

The letters were taken to the Emperor, who called his council, where it was resolved, since they had been unable to do anything at the first breach, the artillery should forthwith be set against the place which they thought weakest, where they put forth all their strength to make a fresh breach; and they sapped and mined the wall, and tried hard to make a way into the Hell Tower, but dared not assault it openly.

The Duke of Alva represented to the Emperor that every day their soldiers were dying, to the number of more than two hundred, and there was so little hope of entering the town, seeing the time of year and the great number of our soldiers who were in it. The Emperor asked what men they were who were dying, and whether they were gentlemen and men of mark; answer was made to him "They were all poor soldiers." Then said he, "It was no great loss if they died," comparing them to caterpillars, grasshoppers, and cockchafers, which eat up the buds and other good things of the earth; and if they were men of any worth they would not be in his camp at six livres the month, and therefore it was no great harm if they died. Moreover, he said he would never depart from the town till he had taken it by force or by famine, though he should lose all his army; because of the great number of princes who were shut up in it, with the greater part of the nobility of France, who he hoped would pay his expenses four times over; and he would go yet again to Paris, to see the Parisians, and to make himself King of all the kingdom of France.

M. de Guise, with the princes, captains, and soldiers, and in general all the citizens of the town, having heard the Emperor's resolve to exterminate us all, forbade the soldiers and citizens, and even the princes and seigneurs, to eat fresh fish or venison, or partridges, woodcocks, larks, francolines, plovers, or other game, for fear these had acquired any pestilential air which could bring infection among us. So they had to content themselves with the fare of the army; biscuit, beef, salt cow-beef, bacon, cervelas, and Mayence hams; also fish, as haddock, salmon, shad, tunny, whale, anchovy, sardines, herrings; also peas, beans, rice, garlic, onions, prunes, cheeses, butter, oil, and salt; pepper, ginger, nutmegs and other spices to put in our pies, mostly of horses, which without the spice had a very bad taste. Many citizens, having gardens in the town, had planted them with fine radishes, turnips, carrots, and leeks, which they kept flourishing and very dear, for the extreme necessity of the famine. Now all these stores were distributed by weight, measure, and justice, according to the quality of the persons, because we knew not how long the siege would last. For after we heard the Emperors words, how he would not depart from before Metz, till he had taken it by force or by famine, the victuals were cut down; and what they used to distribute to three soldiers was given to four; and it was forbidden to them to sell the remains which might be left after their meals; but they might give them to the rabble. And they always rose from table with an appetite, for fear they should be subject to take physick.

And before we surrendered to the mercy of the enemy, we had determined to eat the asses, mules, and horses, dogs, cats, and rats, even our boots and collars, and other skins that we could have softened and stewed. And, in a word, all the besieged were resolved to defend themselves valiantly with all instruments of war; to set the artillery at the entry of the breach, and load with balls, stones, cart-nails, bars and chains of iron; also all sorts and kinds of artificial fires, as barricadoes, grenades, stink-pots, torches, squibs, fire-traps, burning faggots; with boiling water, melted lead, and lime, to put out the enemy's eyes. Also, they were to make holes right through their houses, and put arquebusiers in them, to take the enemy in flank and hasten his going, or else give him stop then and there. Also they were to order the women to pull up the streets, and throw from their windows billets, tables, trestles, benches, and stools, to dash out the enemy's brains. Moreover, a little within the breach, there was a great stronghold full of carts and palisades, tuns and casks; and barricades of earth to serve as gabions, interlaid with falconets, falcons, field-pieces, crooked arquebuses, pistols, arquebuses, and wildfires, to break their legs and thighs, so that they would be taken from above and on the flank and from behind; and if they had carried this stronghold, there were others where the streets crossed, every hundred paces, which would have been as bad friends to them as the first, or worse, and would have made many widows and orphans. And if fortune had been so hard on us that they had stormed and broken up our strongholds, there would yet have been seven great companies, drawn up in square and in triangle, to fight them all at once, each led by one of the princes, for the better encouragement of our men to fight and die all together, even to the last breath of their souls. And all were resolved to bring their treasures, rings, and jewels, and their best and richest and most beautiful household stuffs, and burn them to ashes in the great square, lest the enemy should take them and make trophies of them. Also there were men charged to set fire to all the stores and burn them, and to stave in all the wine-casks; others to set fire to every single house, to burn the enemy and us together. The citizens thus were all of one mind, rather than see the bloody knife at their throats, and their wives and daughters ravished and taken by the cruel savage Spaniards.

Now we had certain prisoners, who had been made secretly to understand our last determination and desperation; these prisoners M. de Guise sent away on parole, who being come to their camp, lost no time in saying what we had told them; which restrained the great and vehement desire of the enemy, so that they were no longer eager to enter the town to cut our throats and enrich themselves with the spoils. The Emperor, having heard the decision of this great warrior, M. de Guise, put water in his wine, and restrained his fury; saying that he could not enter the town save with vast butchery and carnage, and shedding of much blood, both of those defending and of those attacking, and they would be all dead together, and in the end he would get nothing but ashes; and afterward men might say it was a like destruction to that of the town of Jerusalem, made of old time by Titus and Vespasian.

The Emperor thus having heard our last resolve, and seeing how little he had gained by his attack, sappings, and mines, and the great plague that was through all his camp, and the adverse time of the year, and the want of victuals and of money, and how his soldiers were disbanding themselves and going off in great companies, decided at last to raise the siege and go away, with the cavalry of his vanguard, and the greater part of the artillery and engines of war. The Marquis of Brandebourg was the last to budge from his place; he had with him some troops of Spaniards and Bohemians, and his German regiments, and there he stopped for a day and a half, to the great regret of M. de Guise, who brought four pieces of artillery out of the town, which he fired on him this side and that, to hurry him off: and off he went, sure enough, and all his men with him.

When he was a quarter of a league from Metz, he was seized with a panic lest our cavalry should fall upon his tail; so he set fire to his store of powder, and left behind him some pieces of artillery, and a quantity of baggage, which he could not take along with him, because their vanguard and their great cannons had broken and torn tip the roads. Our cavalry were longing with all their hearts to issue from the town and attack him behind; but M. de Guise never let them, saying on the contrary we had better make their way smooth for them, and build them gold and silver bridges to let them go; like the good pastor and shepherd, who will not lose one of his sheep.

That is how our dear and well-beloved Imperials went away from Metz, which was the day after Christmas Day, to the great content of those within the walls, and the praise of the princes, seigneurs, captains, and soldiers, who had endured the travail of this siege for more than two months. Nevertheless, they did not all go: there wanted more than twenty thousand of them, who were dead, from our artillery and the fighting, or from plague, cold, and starvation (and from spite and rage that they could not get into the town to cut our throats and plunder us): and many of their horses also died, the greater part whereof they had eaten instead of beef and bacon. We went where their camp had been, where we found many dead bodies not yet buried, and the earth all worked up, as one sees in the Cemetery of the Holy Innocents during some time of many deaths. In their tents, pavilions, and lodgings were many sick people. Also cannon-shot, weapons, carts, waggons, and other baggage, with a great quantity of soldier's bread, spoiled and rotted by the snows and rains (yet the soldiers had it but by weight and measure). Also they left a good store of wood, all that remained of the houses they had demolished and broken down in the villages for two or three leagues around; also many other pleasure-houses, that had belonged to our citizens, with gardens and fine orchards full of diverse fruit-trees. And without all this, they would have been benumbed and dead of the cold, and forced to raise the siege sooner than they did.

M. de Guise had their dead buried, and their sick people treated. Also the enemy left behind them in the Abbey of Saint Arnoul many of their wounded soldiers, whom they could not possibly take with them. M. de Guise sent them all victuals enough, and ordered me and the other surgeons to go dress and physick them, which we did with good will; and I think they would not have done the like for our men. For the Spaniard is very cruel, treacherous, and inhuman, and so far enemy of all nations: which is proved by Lopez the Spaniard, and Benzo of Milan, and others who have written the history of America and the West Indies: who have had to confess that the cruelty, avarice, blasphemies, and wickedness of the Spaniards have utterly estranged the poor Indians from the religion that these Spaniards professed. And all write that they are of less worth than the idolatrous Indians, for their cruel treatment of these Indians.

And some days later M. de Guise sent a trumpet to Thionville to the enemy, that they could send for their wounded in safety: which they did with carts and waggons, but not enough. M. de Guise gave them carts and carters, to help to take them to Thionville. Our carters, when they returned, told us the roads were all paved with dead bodies, and they never got half the men there, for they died in their carts: and the Spaniards seeing them at the point of death, before they had breathed their last, threw them out of the carts and buried them in the mud and mire, saying they had no orders to bring back dead men. Moreover, our carters said they had found on the roads many carts stuck in the mud, full of baggage, for which the enemy dared not send back, lest we who were within Metz should run out upon them.

I would return to the reason why so many of them died; which was mostly starvation, the plague, and cold. For the snow was more than two feet deep upon the ground, and they were lodged in pits below the ground, covered only with a little thatch. Nevertheless, each soldier had his camp-bed, and a coverlet all strewed with stars, glittering and shining brighter than fine gold, and every day they had white sheets, and lodged at the sign of the Moon, and enjoyed themselves if only they had been able, and paid their host so well over night that in the morning they went off quits, shaking their ears; and they had no need of a comb to get the down and feathers out of their beards and hair, and they always found a white table-cloth, and would have enjoyed good meals but for want of food. Also the greater part of them had neither boots, half-boots, slippers, hose, nor shoes: and most of them would rather have none than any, because they were always in the mire up to mid-leg. And because they went bare- foot, we called them the Emperor's Apostles.

After the camp was wholly dispersed, I distributed my patients into the hands of the surgeons of the town, to finish dressing them: then I took leave of M. de Guise, and returned to the King, who received me with great favour, and asked me how I had been able to make my way into Metz. I told him fully all that I had done. He gave me two hundred crowns, and an hundred which I had when I set out: and said he would never leave me poor. Then I thanked him very humbly for the good and the honour he was pleased to do me.


The Emperor Charles laid siege to the town of Therouenne; and M. le Due de Savoie was General of his whole army. It was taken by assault: and there was a great number of our men killed and taken prisoners.

The King, wishing to prevent the enemy from besieging the town and castle of Hesdin also, sent thither MM. le Duc de Bouillon, le Duc Horace, le Marquis de Villars, and a number of captains, and about eighteen hundred soldiers: and during the siege of Therouenne, these Seigneurs fortified the castle of Hesdin, so that it seemed to be impregnable. The King sent me to the Seigneurs, to help them with my art, if they should come to have need of it.

Soon after the capture of Therouenne, we were besieged in Hesdin. There was a clear stream of running water within shot of our cannon, and about it were fourscore or an hundred of the enemy's rabble, drawing water. I was on a rampart watching the enemy pitch their camp; and, seeing the crowd of idlers round the stream, I asked M. du Pont, commissary of the artillery, to send one cannon-shot among this canaille: he gave me a flat refusal, saying that all this sort of people was not worth the powder would be wasted on them. Again I begged him to level the cannon, telling him, "The more dead, the fewer enemies;" which he did for my sake: and the shot killed fifteen or sixteen, and wounded many. Our men made sorties against the enemy, wherein many were killed and wounded on both sides, with gunshot or with fighting hand to hand; and our men often sallied out before their trenches were made; so that I had my work cut out for me, and had no rest either day or night for dressing the wounded.

And here I would note that we had put many of them in a great tower, laying them on a little straw: and their pillows were stones, their coverlets were cloaks, those who had any. When the attack was made, so often as the enemy's cannons were fired, our wounded said they felt pain in their wounds, as if you had struck them with a stick: one was crying out on his head, the other on his arm, and so with the other parts of the body: and many had their wounds bleed again, even more profusely than at the time they were wounded, and then I had to run to staunch them. Mon petit maistre, if you had been there, you would have been much hindered with your hot irons; you would have wanted a lot of charcoal to heat them red, and sure you would have been killed like a calf for your cruelty. Many died of the diabolical storm of the echo of these engines of artillery, and the vehement agitation and severe shock of the air acting on their wounds; others because they got no rest for the shouting and crying that were made day and night, and for want of good food, and other things needful for their treatment. Mon petit maistre, if you had been there, no doubt you could have given them jelly, restoratives, gravies, pressed meats, broth, barley-water, almond-milk, blanc-mange, prunes, plums, and other food proper for the sick; but your diet would have been only on paper, and in fact they had nothing but beef of old shrunk cows, seized round Hesdin for our provision, salted and half-cooked, so that he who would eat it must drag at it with his teeth, as birds of prey tear their food. Nor must I forget the linen for dressing their wounds, which was only washed daily and dried at the fire, till it was as hard as parchment: I leave you to think how their wounds could do well. There were four big fat rascally women who had charge to whiten the linen, and were kept at it with the stick; and yet they had not water enough to do it, much less soap. That is how the poor patients died, for want of food and other necessary things.

One day the enemy feigned a general attack, to draw our soldiers into the breach, that they might see what we were like: every man ran thither. We had made a great store of artificial fires to defend the breach; a priest of M. le Duc de Bouillon took a grenade, thinking to throw it at the enemy, and lighted it before he ought: it burst, and set fire to all our store, which was in a house near the breach. This was a terrible disaster for us, because it burned many poor soldiers; it even caught the house, and we had all been burned, but for help given to put it out; there was only one well in the castle with any water in it, and this was almost dry, and we took beer to put it out instead of water; afterward we were in great want of water, and to drink what was left we must strain it through napkins.

The enemy, seeing the explosion and violence of the fires, which made a wonderful flame and thundering, thought we had lit them on purpose to defend the breach, and that we had many more of them. This made them change their minds, to have us some other way than by attack: they dug mines, and sapped the greater part of our walls, till they came near turning our castle altogether upside down; and when the sappers had finished their work, and their artillery was fired, all the castle shook under our feet like an earthquake, to our great astonishment. Moreover, they had levelled five pieces of artillery, which they had placed on a little hillock, so as to have us from behind when we were gone to defend the breach. M. le Duc Horace had a cannonshot on the elbow, which carried off his arm one way and his body the other, before he could say a single word; his death was a great disaster to us, for the high rank that he held in the town. Also M. de Martigues had a gunshot wound which pierced his lungs: I dressed him, as I shall tell hereafter.

Then we asked leave to speak with the enemy; and a trumpet was sent to the Prince of Piedmont, to know what terms he would give us. He answered that all the leaders, such as gentlemen, captains, lieutenants, and ensigns, would be taken prisoners for ransom, and the soldiers would leave the town without their arms; and if we refused this fair and honest offer, we might rest assured they would take us next day, by attack or otherwise.

A council was held, to which I was called, to know if I would sign the surrender of the town; with many captains, gentlemen, and others. I answered it was not possible to hold the town, and I would sign the surrender with my own blood, for the little hope I had we could resist the enemy's forces, and for the great longing I had to be out of this hell and utter torture; for I slept neither night nor day for the great number of the wounded, who were about two hundred. The dead were advanced in putrefaction, piled one upon the other like faggots, and not covered with earth, because we had none. And if I went into a soldier's lodging, there were soldiers waiting for me at the door when I came out, for me to dress others; it was who should have me, and they carried me like the body of a saint, with my feet off the ground, fighting for me. I could not satisfy this great number of wounded: nor had I got what I wanted for their treatment. For it is not enough that the surgeon do his duty toward his patients, but the patient also must do his; and the assistants, and external things, must work together for him: see Hippocrates, Aphorism the First.

Having heard that we were to surrender the place, I knew our business was not prospering; and for fear of being known, I gave a velvet coat, a satin doublet, and a cloak of fine cloth trimmed with velvet, to a soldier; who gave me a bad doublet all torn and ragged with wear, and a frayed leather collar, and a bad hat, and a short cloak; I dirtied the neck of my shirt with water mixed with a little soot, I rubbed my hose with a stone at the knees and over the heels, as though they had been long worn, I did the same to my shoes, till one would have taken me for a chimney- sweep rather than a King's surgeon. I went in this gear to M. de Martigues, and prayed him to arrange I should stop with him to dress him; which he granted very willingly, and was as glad I should be near him as I was myself.

Soon afterward, the commissioners who were to select the prisoners entered the castle, the seventeenth day of July, 1553. They took prisoners MM. le Due de Bouillon, le Marquis de Villars, de Roze, le Baron de Culan, M. du Pont, commissary of the artillery, and M. de Martigues; and me with him, because he asked them; and all the gentlemen who they knew could pay ransom, and most of the soldiers and the leaders of companies; so many and such prisoners as they wished. And then the Spanish soldiers entered by the breach, unresisted; our men thought they would keep their faith and agreement that all lives should be spared. They entered the town in a fury to kill, plunder, and ravage everything: they took a few men, hoping to have ransom for them. ... If they saw they could not get it, they cruelly put them to death in cold blood. ... And they killed them all with daggers, and cut their throats. Such was their great cruelty and treachery; let him trust them who will.

To return to my story: when I was taken from the castle into the town, with M. de Martigues, there was one of M. de Savoie's gentlemen, who asked me if M. de Martigues's wound could be cured. I told him no, that it was incurable: and off he went to tell M. le Due de Savoie. I bethought myself they would send physicians and surgeons to dress M. de Martigues; and I argued within myself if I ought to play the simpleton, and not let myself be known for a surgeon, lest they should keep me to dress their wounded, and in the end I should be found to be the King's surgeon, and they would make me pay a big ransom. On the other hand, I feared, if I did not show I was a surgeon and had dressed M. de Martigues skilfully, they would cut my throat. Forthwith I made up my mind to show them he would not die for want of having been well dressed and nursed.

Soon after, sure enough, there came many gentlemen, with the Emperor's physician, and his surgeon, and those belonging to M. de Savoie, and six other surgeons of his army, to see M. de Martigues's wound, and to know of me how I had dressed and treated it. The Emperor's physician bade me declare the essential nature of the wound, and what I had done for it. And all his assistants kept their ears wide open, to know if the wound were or were not mortal. I commenced my discourse to them, how M. Martigues, looking over the wall to mark those who were sapping it, was shot with an arquebus through the body, and I was called of a sudden to dress him. I found blood coming from his mouth and from his wounds. Moreover, he bad a great difficulty of breathing in and out, and air came whistling from the wounds, so that it would have put out a candle; and he said he had a very great stabbing pain where the bullet had entered. ... I withdrew some scales of bone, and put in each wound a tent with a large head, fastened with a thread, lest on inspiration it should be drawn into the cavity of the chest; which has happened with surgeons, to the detriment of the poor wounded; for being fallen in, you cannot get them out; and then they beget corruption, being foreign bodies. The tents were anointed with a preparation of yolk of egg, Venice turpentine, and a little oil of roses. ... I put over the wounds a great plaster of diachylum, wherewith I had mixed oil of roses, and vinegar, to avoid inflammation. Then I applied great compresses steeped in oxycrate, and bandaged him, not too tight, that he might breathe easily. Next, I drew five basons of blood from his right arm, considering his youth and his sanguine temperament. ... Fever took him, soon after he was wounded, with feebleness of the heart. ... His diet was barley- water, prunes with sugar, at other times broth: his drink was a ptisane. He could lie only on his back. ... What more shall I say? but that my Lord de Martigues never had an hour's rest after he was wounded. ... These things considered, Gentlemen, no other prognosis is possible, save that he will die in a few days, to my great grief.

Having finished my discourse, I dressed him as I was accustomed. When I displayed his wounds, the physicians and surgeons, and other assistants present, knew the truth of what I had said. The physicians, having felt his pulse and seen that the vital forces were depressed and spent, agreed with me that in a few days he would die. Then they all went to the Duc de Savoie, and told him M. de Martigues would die in a short time. He answered them, "Possibly, if he had been well dressed, he might have escaped death." Then they all with one voice said he had been very well dressed and cared for altogether, and it could not be better, and it was impossible to cure him, and his wound was of necessity mortal. Then M. de Savoie was very angry with them, and cried, and asked them again if for certain they all held his case hopeless: they answered, yes.

Then a Spanish impostor came forward, who promised on his life to cure him; and if he did not, they should cut him in an hundred pieces; but he would have no physicians, nor surgeons nor apothecaries with him: and M. le Duc de Savoie forthwith bade the physicians and surgeons not go near M. de Martigues; and sent a gentleman to bid me, under pain of death, not so much as to touch him. Which I promised, and was very glad, for now he would not die under my hands; and the impostor was told to dress him, and to have with him no other physicians or surgeons, but only himself. By and bye he came, and said to M. de Martigues, "Senor Cavallero, M. de Savoie has bid me come and dress your wound. I swear to God, before eight days I will set you on horseback, lance in hand, provided none touch you but I alone. You shall eat and drink whatever you like. I will be dieted instead of you; and you may trust me to perform what I promise. I have cured many who had worse wounds than yours." And the Seigneurs answered him, "God give you His grace for it."

He asked for a shirt of M. de Martigues, and tore it in little strips, which he laid cross-wise, muttering and murmuring certain words over the wounds: having done this much for him, he let him eat and drink all he would, saying he himself would be dieted in his stead; which he did, eating but six prunes and six morsels of bread for dinner, and drinking only beer. Nevertheless, two days later, M. de Martigues died: and my friend the Spaniard, seeing him at the point of death, eclipsed himself, and got away without good-bye to any man. And I believe if he had been caught he would have been hanged and strangled, for the false promise he made to M. le Due de Savoie and many other gentlemen. M. de Martigues died about ten o'clock in the morning; and after dinner M. de Savoie sent the physicians and surgeons, and his apothecary, with a store of drugs to embalm him. They came with many gentlemen and captains of his army.

The Emperor's surgeon came to me, and asked me in a very friendly way to make, the embalmment; which I refused, saying that I was not worthy to carry his instrument-box after him. He begged me again to do it to please him, and that he would be very glad of it...Seeing his kindness, and fearing to displease him, I then decided to show them the anatomist that I was, expounding to them many things, which would here be too long to recite... Our discourse finished, I embalmed the body; and it was placed in a coffin. Then the Emperor's surgeon drew me aside, and told me, if I would stop with him, he would treat me well, and give me a new suit of clothes, and set me on horseback. I gave him many thanks, and said I had no wish to serve any country but my own. Then he told me I was a fool, and if he were a prisoner as I was, he would serve a devil to get his freedom. In the end I told him flat I would not stop with him. The Emperor's physician then went back to M. de Savoie, and explained to him the causes of M. de Martigues' death, and that it was impossible for all the men in the world to have cured him; and assured him again I had done all that was to be done, and besought him to take me into his service; saying much more good of me than there was. He having been persuaded to do this, sent to me one of his stewards, M. du Bouchet, to tell me, if I would serve him, he would use me well; I sent back my very humble thanks, and that I had decided not to take service under any foreigner. When he heard my answer he was very angry, and said I ought to be sent to the galleys.

M. de Vaudeville, Governor of Graveline, and colonel of seventeen ensigns of infantry, asked him to send me to him, to dress an old ulcer on his leg, that he had had for six or seven years. M. de Savoie said he was willing, so far as I was concerned; and if I used the cautery to his leg, it would serve him right. M. de Vaudeville answered, if he saw me trying it, he would have my throat cut. Soon after, he sent for me four German halberdiers of his guard; and I was terrified, for I did not know where they were taking me: they spoke no more French than I German. When I was come to his lodging, he bade me welcome, and said, now I belonged to him; and so soon as I had healed him, he would let me go without ransom. I told him I had no means to pay any ransom. He called his physician and his surgeon-in-ordinary, to show me his leg; and when we had examined it, we withdrew into a room, where I began my discourse to them. ... Then the physician left me with the surgeon, and went back to M. de Vaudeville, and said he was sure I could cure him, and told him all I had decided to do; which pleased him vastly. He sent for me, and asked if I thought I could cure him; I said yes, if he were obedient to what was necessary. He promised to do only what I wished and ordered; and so soon as he was healed, he would let me go home without ransom. Then I asked him to make better terms with me, saying it was too long to wait for my liberty: in fifteen days I hoped his ulcer would be less than half its present size, and give no pain; then his own surgeon and physician could finish the cure. He granted this to me. Then I took a piece of paper to measure the size of the ulcer, and gave it to him, and kept another by me; I asked him to keep his promise, when I had done my work; he swore by the faith of a gentleman he would. Then I set myself to dress him properly, after the manner of Galen. ... He wished to know if it were true, what I said of Galen, and bade his physician look to it, for he would know it for himself; he had the book put on the table, and found that what I said was true; so the physician was ashamed, and I was glad. Within the fifteen days, it was almost all healed; and I began to feel happy about the compact made between us. He had me to eat and drink at his table, when there were no more great persons than he and I only. He gave me a big red scarf which I must wear; which made me feel something like a dog when they give him a clog, to stop him eating the grapes in the vineyards. His physician and surgeon took me through the camp to visit their wounded; and I took care to observe what our enemy was doing. I found they had no more great cannons, but only twenty-five or thirty field-pieces.

M. de Vaudeville held prisoner M. de Bauge, brother of M. de Martigues who died at Hesdin. M. de Bauge was prisoner at Chateau de La Motte au Bois, belonging to the Emperor; he had been captured at Therouenne by two Spanish soldiers; and M. de Vaudeville, when he saw him there, concluded he must be some gentleman of good family: he made him pull off his stockings, and seeing his clean legs and feet, and his fine white stockings, knew he was one to pay a good ransom. He told the soldiers he would give them thirty crowns down for their prisoner: they agreed gladly, for they had no place to keep him, nor food for him, nor did they know his value: so they gave their man into his hands, and he sent him off at once, guarded by four of his own soldiers, to Chateau de La Motte au Bois, with others of our gentlemen who were prisoners.

M. de Bauge would not tell who he was; and endured much hardship, living on bread and water, with a little straw for his bed. When Hesdin was taken, M. de Vaudeville sent the news of it to him and to the other prisoners, and the list of the killed, and among them M. de Martigues: and when M. de Bauge heard with his own ears his brother was dead, he fell to crying, weeping, and lamentation. His guards asked him why he was so miserable: he told them, for love of M. de Martigues, his brother. When he heard this, the captain of the castle sent straight to tell M. de Vaudeville he had a good prisoner: who was delighted at this, and sent me next day with four soldiers, and his own physician, to the castle, to say that if M. de Bauge would pay him fifteen thousand crowns ransom, he would send him home free: and he asked only the security of two Antwerp merchants that he should name. M. de Vaudeville persuaded me I should commend this offer to his prisoner: that is why he sent me to the castle. He told the captain to treat him well and put him in a room with hangings, and strengthen his guard: and from that time onward they made a great deal of him, at the expense of M. de Vaudeville.

M. de Bauge answered that he could not pay his ransom himself: it depended on M. d' Estampes his uncle, and Mlle. de Bressure his aunt: he had no means to pay such a ransom. I went back with my guards, and gave this answer to M. de Vaudeville; who said, "Possibly he will not get away so cheap": which was true, for they knew who he was. Then the Queen of Hungary and M. le Duc de Savoie sent word to M. de Vaudeville that this mouthful was too big for him, and he must send his prisoner to them (which he did), and he had other prisoners enough without him. The ransom paid was forty thousand crowns, without other expenses.

On my way back to M. de Vaudeville, I passed by Saint Omer, where I saw their great cannons, most of which were fouled and broken. Also I passed by Therouenne, where I saw not one stone left on another, save a vestige of the great church: for the Emperor ordered the country people for five or six leagues round to clear and take away the stones; so that now you may drive a cart over the town: and the same at Hesdin, and no trace of castle and fortress. Such is the evil that wars bring with them.

To return to my story; M. de Vaudeville soon got the better of his ulcer, and was nearly healed: so he let me go, and sent me by a trumpet, with passport, as far as Abbeville. I posted from here, and went to find my master, King Henry, at Aufimon, who received me gladly and with good favour. He sent MM. de Guise, the Constable, and d' Estres, to hear from me the capture of Hesdin; and I made them a true report, and assured them I had seen the great cannons they had taken to Saint Omer: and the King was glad, for he had feared the enemy would come further into France. He gave me two hundred crowns to take me home: and I was thankful to be free, out of this great torment and thunder of the diabolical artillery, and away from the soldiers, blasphemers and deniers of God. I must add that after Hesdin was taken, the King was told I was not killed but taken prisoner. He made M. Goguier, his chief physician, write to my wife that I was living, and she was not to be unhappy, and he would pay my ransom.


After the battle of Saint Quentin, the King sent me to La Fere en Tartenois, to M. le Marechal de Bourdillon, for a passport to M. le Duc de Savoie, that I might go and dress the Constable, who had been badly wounded in the back with a pistol-shot, whereof he was like to die, and remained prisoner in the enemy's hands. But never would M. le Duc de Savoie let me go to him, saying he would not die for want of a surgeon; that he much doubted I would go there only to dress him, and not rather to take some secret information to him; and that he knew I was privy to other things besides surgery, and remembered I had been his prisoner at Hesdin. M. le Marechal told the King of this refusal: who wrote to M. le Marechal, that if Mme. the Constable's Lady would send some quick-witted man of her household I would give him a letter, and had also something to say to him by word of mouth, entrusted to me by the King and by M. le Cardinal de Lorraine. Two days later there came one of the Constable's gentlemen of the bedchamber, with his shirts and other linen, to whom M. le Marechal gave a passport to go to the Constable. I was very glad, and gave him my letter, and instructed him what his master must do now he was prisoner.

I thought, having finished my mission, to return to the King; but M. le Marechal begged me to stop at La Fere with him, to dress a very great number of wounded who had retreated there after the battle, and he would write to the King to explain why I stopped; which I did. Their wounds were very putrid, and full of worms, with gangrene, and corruption; and I had to make free play with the knife to cut off what was corrupt, which was not done without amputation of arms and legs, and also sundry trepannings. They found no store of drugs at La Fere, because the surgeons of the camp had taken them all away; but I found the waggons of the artillery there, and these had not been touched. I asked M. le Marechal to let me have some of the drugs which were in them, which he did; and I was given the half only at one time, and five or six days later I had to take the rest; and yet it was not half enough to dress the great number of wounded. And to correct and stop the corruption, and kill the worms in their wounds, I washed them with Aegyptiacum dissolved in wine and eau-de-vie, and did all I could for them; but in spite of all my care many of them died.

There were at La Fere some gentlemen charged to find the dead body of M. de Bois-Dauphin the elder, who had been killed in the battle; they asked me to go with them to the camp, to pick him out, if we could, among the dead; but it was not possible to recognize him, the bodies being all far gone in corruption, and their faces changed. We saw more than half a league round us the earth all covered with the dead; and hardly stopped there, because of the stench of the dead men and their horses; and so many blue and green flies rose from them, bred of the moisture of the bodies and the heat of the sun, that when they were up in the air they hid the sun. It was wonderful to hear them buzzing; and where they settled, there they infected the air, and brought the plague with them. Mon petit maistre, I wish you had been there with me, to experience the smells, and make report thereof to them that were not there.

I was very weary of the place; I prayed M. le Marechal to let me leave it, and feared I should be ill there; for the wounded men stank past all bearing, and they died nearly all, in spite of everything we did. He got surgeons to finish the treatment of them, and sent me away with his good favour. He wrote to the King of the diligence I had shown toward the poor wounded. Then I returned to Paris, where I found many more gentlemen, who had been wounded and gone thither after the battle.


The King sent me to Dourlan, under conduct of Captain Gouast; with fifty men-at-arms, for fear I should be taken by the enemy; and seeing we were always in alarms on the way, I made my man let down, and made him the master; for I got on his horse, which carried my valise, and could go well if we had to make our escape, and I took his cloak and hat and gave him my mount, which was a good little mare; he being in front, you would have taken him for the master and me for the servant The garrison inside Dourlan, when they saw us, thought we were the enemy, and fired their cannon at us. Captain Gouast, my conductor, made signs to them with his hat that we were not the enemy; at last they ceased firing, and we entered Dourlan, to our great relief.

1  2  3  4  5  6  7  8  9  10  11     Next Part
Home - Random Browse