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.
BATTLE OF SAINT QUENTIN. 1557
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