Journeys in Diverse Places

Author: Ambroise Pare

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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.


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Chicago: Ambroise Pare, "The Journey to Perpignan. 1543," Journeys in Diverse Places, ed. Charles W. Eliot and trans. Stephen Paget in Journeys in Diverse Places (New York: P. F. Collier & Son Corporation, 1910), Original Sources, accessed January 26, 2023,

MLA: Pare, Ambroise. "The Journey to Perpignan. 1543." Journeys in Diverse Places, edited by Charles W. Eliot, and translated by Stephen Paget, in Journeys in Diverse Places, Vol. 38, New York, P. F. Collier & Son Corporation, 1910, Original Sources. 26 Jan. 2023.

Harvard: Pare, A, 'The Journey to Perpignan. 1543' in Journeys in Diverse Places, ed. and trans. . cited in 1910, Journeys in Diverse Places, P. F. Collier & Son Corporation, New York. Original Sources, retrieved 26 January 2023, from