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JOHN LORD DE JOINVILLE Memoirs of Louis IX, King of France


Sir John Froissart's Chronicles of England, France, Spain and the Ajoining Countries from the latter part of the reign of Edward II to the coronation of Henry IV in 12 volumes 

Chronicles of Enguerrand De Monstrelet (Sir John Froissart's Chronicles continuation) in 13 volumes 

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Memoirs of Louis IX, King of France
page 90

and thrown into the Nile, rose to the top of the water. It was said, this always happens when the gall is burst and rotten. These bodies floated down the river until they came to the small bridge that communicated with each part of our army ; and the arch was so low it almost touched the water, and prevented the bodies passing underneath. The river was covered with them from bank to bank, so that the water could not be seen a good stone's throw from the bridge upward. The king hired one hundred labourers, who were full eight days in separating the bodies of the Christians from the Saracens, which were easily distinguishable : the Saracen bodies they thrust under the bridge by main force, and floated them down to the sea ; but the Christians were buried in deep graves, one over the other. God knows how great was the stench, and what misery it was to see the bodies of such noble and worthy persons lying so exposed. I witnessed the chamberlain of the late count d'Artois seeking the body of his master, and many more hunting after the bodies of their friends ; but I never heard that any who were thus seeking their friends amidst such an infectious smell ever recovered their healths. You must know, that we ate no fish the whole Lent but eelpouts, which is a gluttonous fish, and feeds on dead bodies. From this cause, and from the bad air of the country, where it scarcely ever rains a drop, the whole army was infected by a shocking disorder, which dried up the flesh on our legs to the bone, and our skins became tanned as black as the ground, or like an old boot that has long lain behind a coffer. In addition to this miserable disorder, those affected by it had another sore complaint in the mouth, from eating such fish, that rotted the gums, and caused a most stinking breath. Very few escaped death that were thus attacked ; and the surest symptom of its being fatal was a bleeding at the nose, for when that took place none ever recovered. The better to cure us, the Turks, who knew our situation, fifteen days afterward attempted to starve us, by means I shall now tell you. These villanous Turks had drawn their galleys overland, and launched them again below our army, so that those who had gone to Damietta for provision never returned, to the great astonishment of us all. W e could not

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