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Ambroise Paré and his times, 1510-1590 online

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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 cofifin. 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
* A discourse on anatomy is here omitted.



86 Ambroise Pare



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 ex-
plained 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 try-
* Brave response. — A. P.



" Journeys in Diverse Places " 87

ing 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, Ave 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
* A long surgical discourse is here omitted.



88 Ambroise Pare

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 some-
thing like a dog when they give him a clog, to stop
him eating the grapes in the vineyards. His physi-
cian 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, bro-
ther of M. de Martigues who died at Hesdin. M.
de Baug6 was prisoner at Chateau de La Motte au
Bois, belonging to the Emperor ; he had been cap-
tured at Theroiienne by two Spanish soldiers ; and



"Journeys in Diverse Places" 89



M. de Vaudeville, when he saw him there, con-
cluded 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 en-
dured 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 physi-
cian, to the castle, to say that if M. de Baug6



90 Ambroise Pare



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 on-
ward 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 Mile, 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, forthey knew who he was. Then the
Queen of Hungary and M. le Due 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
Theroiienne, where I saw not one stone left on



"Journeys in Diverse Places" 91



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
tlie same at Hesdin, and no trace of castle and fort-
ress. 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 re-
ceived me gladly and with good favour. He sent MM.
de Guise, the Constable, and d' Estr^s, to hear from
me the capture of Hesdin ; and I made them a true
report, and assured them I had seen the great can-
nons 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.



92 Ambroise Pare



Battle of Saint Quentin. 1557.

After the battle of Saint Quentin, the King sent
me to La Fere en Tartenois, to M. le Mar6chal de
Bourdillon, for a passport to M. le Due 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 Due
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 Mar6chal told the King of this refusal : who
wrote to M. le Mar^chal, that if Mme. the Con-
stable'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 M'^ord 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 Mar6chal
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



"Journeys in Diverse Places" 93



to the King ; but M. le Mar^chal begged me to
stop at La F^re 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 ex-
plain 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 Mar^chal 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 V70unded.
And to correct and stop the corruption, and kill the
worms in their wounds, I washed them with ^gyp-
tiacum 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 F^re 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



94 Ambroise Pare



out, if we could, among the dead ; but it was not
possible to recognise 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 bear-
ing, 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.



"Journeys in Diverse Places" 95



The Journey to the Camp at Amiens. 1558.

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 get
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.

Five or six days before this, a sortie had been
made from Dourlan ; wherein many captains and
brave soldiers had been killed or wounded : and
among the wounded was Captain Saint Aubin, vail-
lant comme Vespe'e, a great friend of M. de Guise : for
whose sake chiefly the King had sent me there. Who,
being attacked with a quartan fever, yet left his bed
to command the greater part of his company. A
Spaniard, seeing him in command, perceived he was
a captain, and shot him through the neck with



96 Ambroise Pare



an arquebus. Captain Saint Aubin thought him-
self killed : and by this fright I protest to God he
lost his quartan fever, and was forever free of it.
I dressed him, with Antoine Portail, surgeon-in-
ordinary of the King ; and many other soldiers.
Some died, others got off with the loss of an arm
or a leg or an eye, and said they had got off cheap,
to be alive at all. Then, the enemy having broken
up their camp, I returned to Paris.

I say nothing here of mojt petit utaistre, who was
more comfortable in his house than I at the wars.

The Journey to Bourges. 1562.

The King with his camp was but a short time at
Bourges, till those within the walls should sur-
render ; and they came out with their goods saved.
I know nothing Avorth remembering, but that a boy
of the King's kitchen, having come near the walls of
the town before the agreement had been signed, cried
with a loud voice, " Huguenot, Huguenot, shoot
here, shoot here," having his arm thrown up and his
hand spread out ; a soldier shot his hand right
through with a bullet. When he was thus shot, he
came to find me to dress him. And the Constable
seeing the boy in tears, with his hand all bloody,
asked who had wounded him : then a gentleman
who had seen him shot said it served him right,



"Journeys in Diverse Places" 97



because he kept calling " Huguenot, hit here, aim
here." And then the Constable said, this Huguenot
was a good shot and a good fellow, for most likely
if he had chosen to fire at the boy's head, he would
have hit it even more easily than his hand. I
dressed the kitchen boy, who was very ill. He re-
covered, but with no power in his hand : and from
that time his comrades called him " Huguenot " :
he is still living now.

The Journey To Rouen. 1562.

Now, as for the capture of Rouen, they killed
many of our men both before and at the attack:
and the very next day after we had entered the
town, I trepanned eight or nine of our men, who had
been wounded with stones as they were on the
breach. The air was so malignant, that many died,
even of quite small wounds, so that some thought
the bullets had been poisoned : and those within
the town said the like of us ; for though they had
within the town all that was needful, yet all the
same they died like those outside.

The King of Navarre was wounded, some days
before the attack, with a bullet in the shoulder.
I visited him, and helped to dress him, with one of
his own surgeons, Master Gilbert, one of the chief
men of Montpellier, and others. They could not



98 Ambroise Pare



find the bullet. I searched for it very accurately,
and found reason to believe it had entered at the
top of the arm, by the head of the bone, and had
passed into the hollow part of the bone, which was
why they could not find it ; and most of them said
it had entered his body and was lost in it. M. le
Prince de La Roche-sur-Yon, who dearly loved the
King of Navarre, drew me aside and asked if the
wound were mortal. I told him yes, because all
wounds of great joints, and especially contused
wounds, were mortal, according to all those who
have written about them. He asked the others
what they thought of it, and chiefly Master Gilbert,
who told him he had great hope his Lord the King
v/ould recover; which made the Prince very glad.
Four days later, the King, and the Queen-m.other,
and M. le Cardinal de Bourbon, his brother, and
M. le Prince de La Roche-sur-Yon, and M. de Guise,
and other great persons, after we had dressed the
King of Navarre, wished us to hold a consultation
in their presence, all the physicians and surgeons
together. Each of them, said what he thought, and
there was not one but had good hope, they said,
that he would recover. I persisted always in the
contrary. M. le Prince, who loved me, drew me
aside, and said I was alone against the opinion of
all the others, and prayed me not to be obstinate



"Journeys in Diverse Places" 99



against so many good men. I answered, When I shall
see good signs of recovery, I will change my mind.
Many consultations were held, and I never changed
what I said, and the prognosis I had made at the
first dressing, and said always the arm would fall
into a gangrene : which it did, for all the care they
could give to it ; and he rendered his spirit to God
the eighteenth day after his wound.

M. le Prince, having heard of it, sent to me his
surgeon, and his physician, one Lefevre, now
physician-in-ordinary to the King and the Queen-
mother, to say he wished to have the bullet, and
we were to look for it, to see where it was. Then
I was very glad, and assured them I should quickly
find it ; which I did in their presence, with many
other gentlemen : it was just in the very middle of
the bone. M. le Prince took and showed it to the
King and to the Queen, who all said that my
prognosis had come true. The body was laid to
rest at Chateau Gaillard : and I returned to Paris,
where I found many patients, who had been
wounded on the breach at Rouen, and chiefly Ital-
ians, who were very eager I should dress them :
which I did willingly. Many of them recovered :
the rest died. Mo)i petit inaist7'e, I think you were
called to dress some, for the great number there
was of them.



loo Ambroise Pare



The Battle of Dreux. 1562.

The day after the battle of Dreux, the King bade
me go and dress M. le Comte d'Eu, who had been
wounded in the right thigh, near the hip-Joint, witli
a pistol-shot : which had smashed and broken the
thigh-bone into many pieces : whereon many acci-
dents supervened, and at last death, to my great
grief. The day after I came, I would go to the
camp where the battle had been, to see the dead
bodies. I saw, for a long league round, the earth
all covered : they estimated it at twenty-five thou-
sand men or more ; and it was all done in less than
two hours. I wish, mon petit maistre, for the love I
bear you, you had been there, to tell it to your
scholars and your children.

Now while I was at Dreux, I visited and dressed
a great number of gentlemen, and poor soldiers, and
among the rest many of the Swiss captains. I
dressed fourteen all in one room, all wounded with
pistol-shots and other diabolical firearms, and not
one of the fourteen died. M. le Comte d'Eu being
dead, I made no long stay at Dreux. Surgeons
came from Paris, who fulfilled their duty to the
wounded, as Pigray, Cointeret, Hubert, and others ;
and I returned to Paris, where I found many
wounded gentlemen who had retreated thither after
the battle, to have their wounds dressed ; and I was
not there without seeing many of them.



"Journeys in Diverse Places" loi



The Journey to Havre de Grace. 1563.

And I will not omit to tell of the camp at Havre
de Grace. When our artillery came before the walls
of the town, the English within the walls killed some
of our men, and several pioneers who were making
gabions. And seeing they were so wounded that
there was no hope of curing them, their comrades
stripped them, and put them still living inside the
gabions, which served to fill them up. When the
English saw that they could not withstand our at-
tack, because they were hard hit by sickness, and
especially by the plague, they surrendered. The
King gave them ships to return to England, very
glad to be out of this plague-stricken place. The
greater part of them died, and they took the plague
to England, and they have not got rid of it since.
Captain Sarlabous, master of the camp, was left in
garrison, with six ensigns of infantry, who had no
fear of the plague ; and they were very glad to get
into the town, hoping to enjoy themselves there.
Mon petit maistre, if you had been there, you would
have done as they did.

The Journey to Bayonne. 1564.
I went with the King on that journey to Bay-
onne, when we were two years and more making
the tour of well-nigh all this kingdom. And in many
towns and villages I was called in consultation over



I02 Ambrolse Pare



sundry diseases, with the late M. Chapelain, chief
physician to the King, and M. Castellan, chief physi-
cian to the Queen-mother ; honourable men and
very learned in medicine and surgery. During this
journey, I always inquired of the surgeons if they
had noted anything rare in their practices, so that I
might learn something new. While I was at Bay-
onne, two things happened worthy of remark by
young surgeons. The first is, I dressed a Spanish
gentleman, who had a great and enormous swelling
of the throat. He had lately been touched by the
deceased King Charles for the king's evil. I opened
his swelling. ... I left him in the hands of a
surgeon of the town, to finish his cure. M. de Fon-
taine, Knight of the Order of the King, had a severe
continued pestilent fever, accompanied with many
inflammatory swellings in sundry parts of the body.
He had bleeding at the nose for two days, without
ceasing, nor could we staunch it : and after this
haemorrhage the fever ceased, with much sweating,
and by and bye the swellings suppurated, and he
was dressed by me, and healed by the grace of God.

Battle of Saint Denis. 1567.

As for the battle of Saint Denis, there were many
killed on both sides. Our wounded withdrew to
Paris to be dressed, with the prisoners they had







Ofiii Yiittcr qziiijkt. riidtoiilhv qcwimdt
Da voncrailorbcn nncuifcmiqf'jnindc







lar M. D. LXVII.



BATTLE OP SAINT DENIS, 1567.



"Journeys in Diverse Places" 103



taken, and I dressed many of them. The King
ordered me, at the request of Mme. the Constable's
Lady, to go to her house to dress the Constable ;
who had a pistol-shot in the middle of the spine of
his back, whereby at once he lost all feeling and
movement in his thighs and legs . . . because
the spinal cord, whence arise the nerves to give feel-
ing and movement to the parts below, was crushed,
broken, and torn by the force of the bullet. Also
he lost understanding and reason, and in a few days
he died. The surgeons of Paris were hard put to
it for many days to treat all the wounded. I think,
mon petit maistre, you saw some of them. I beseech
the great God of victories, that we be never more
employed in such misfortune and disaster.

Voyage of the Battle of Moncontour. 1569.

During the battle of Moncontour, King Charles
v/as at Piessis-les-Tours, where he heard the news of
the victory. A great number of gentlemen and
soldiers retreated into the town and suburbs of
Tours, wounded, to be dressed and treated ; and the
King and the Queen-mother bade me do my duty
by them, with other surgeons who were then on duty,


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