sent at once for a doctor and a bootmaker to examine my
left foot, which had been frozen. I had to consult the
doctor, so as to have a boot made. It was decided to have
one made lined with rabbit skin and to leave my foot a
prisoner in it, after having cut my boot open to dress
"Make the boot tonight," said I. "I will pay you 20 francs."
at eight o'clock, you shall have it." So then I kept my
next day the doctor and bootmaker came; the former cut
open my boot, and there was my foot, looking like a new-born
baby's - no nails, no skin, but in a perfect condition.
"Your foot is saved," said the doctor. He had the host
and his wife called up.
"Come," said he, "and see a chicken's foot. I must have
some linen to wrap it up."
gave me very willingly some fine, white linen. My foot
was put into my boot, and laced up. I asked the doctor
how much I owed him.
"I am paid," said he. "This service is free."
buts, if you please." I held out my hand to him. "I will
tell you," said he, "how to make it well. Your foot will
be very sensitive to heat and cold; do not expose it to
the air; let it remain a long time just as it is, but
when the season for strawberries comes, take and mash
up a plateful of them, at least two or three pounds, and
make a compress, and bind it to your foot. Continue to
do this during the strawberry season, and you will never
feel any pain."
you, doctor. And for you, Master Cobbler, here are 20
"Not so," said he. "My expenses only, if you please."
you two have conspired together."
said two of my comrades, "let us have a rum punch."
"No," said they, "time is precious, we must return. Farewell,
I followed the physician's directions, and have never
felt any inconvenience from my injury; but it cost me
12 francs' worth of strawberries.
went to the palace to take Count Monthyon's orders; there
I found Prince Eugene and Prince Bertbier. Count Monthyon
said to the minister of war, "I wish to have transport-officer
Contant for my aide-de-camp, and to have his place filled
by Lieutenant Coignet; he is a good business man. I need
him to rid the army of all the vehicles which are needless
and in the way."
minister immediately appointed me transport officer at
headquarters, December 28, 1812.
I was no longer afraid of being posted to the line. We
remained at Koenigsberg a few days to reunite all the
remnants of that grand army, now reduced to a small corps.
We started on the march to Berlin, which had to be promptly
evacuated so as to fall back upon Magdeburg.
From the Notebooks of Captain Coignet