Nonfiction > Harvard Classics > Ambroise Paré > Journeys in Diverse Places
Ambroise Paré (1510–90).  Journeys in Diverse Places.
The Harvard Classics.  1909–14.
The Journey to Danvilliers. 1552
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 M. de Rohan, which hit a gentleman’s leg who was of his household. I had to finish the cutting off of it, which I did without applying the hot irons.  1
  The King sent for powder to Sedan, and when it came we began the attack more 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.  2
  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 André; 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.  3
  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.  4
  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, mon petit maistre.  5


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