The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 43, July 1939 - April, 1940 Page: 50
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Southwestern Historical Quarterly
him with an innocent cathartic." This, of course, was before he
had decided to operate.
In an unidentifiable fragment supplied by Ken McClure there
is a quotation descriptive of St. Denis' return from prison: "Here
they found Jalot awaiting his master. Jalot had lived all the time
from his trade as chirurgeon and had gained a great reputation
among the Spaniards for his cure of many diseases to which they
were subject." Penicault states that these diseases were quartan
malaria and dysentery.19 The account concludes by saying that,
although St. Denis lodged at the best inn of the place, he would
have fared badly had not Jalot himself prepared his food. Such a
service on the part of Jalot should not be interpreted as menial,
when it is recalled that this was well over 200 years ago, a time
when the barber-surgeon was in his hey-day. At this time in
Europe, the barbitonsores combined the functions of "a bath keeper
who in addition to bleeding, cupping and leeching, gave enemas,
picked lint and extracted teeth."20 All of which meant that the
barber-surgeon took rank alongside "bath keepers, sowgelders and
wayfaring mountebanks." He was "a sterile pedant and coxcomb,
red-heeled, long-robed, big-wigged, square-bonnetted, pompous &
disdainful in his manner, making a vain parade of his Latin, and,
instead of studying and caring for his patients, tried to overawe
them by long tirades of technical drivel."21
So if surgeon Jalot treated and shaved and served St. Denis, it
was for the same reason that his barber-surgeon treated and shaved
and served Frederick the Great. Jalot himself understood and must
have appreciated his position when he said, "I am Medar Jalot,
valet, surgeon and general assistant of M'sieur Louis. I accom-
panied him from Quebec to Paris, from Paris to Louisiana, from
Louisiana to this place, and from here God alone knows where."22
As Penicault records, when St. Denis wanted something done it
was Jalot's advice and service that he utilized. When St. Denis
had a hazardous undertaking to carry out with the Indians, "he
mounted his horse and, followed by Jalot, his valet, he set out
19Quoted by Charles B. Reed. "Sieur de St. Denis and Jallot, his Valet de
Chambre." Northwestern University Bulletin, Vol. XXXIV, March 19,
1934, p. 12.
2oGarrison, Fielding H. An Introduction to the History of Medicine,
Philadelphia, 1914, p. 115.
21Ibid. p. 223.
i2Cross, op. cit. p. 28.
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Texas State Historical Association. The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 43, July 1939 - April, 1940, periodical, 1940; Austin, Texas. (texashistory.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metapth101111/m1/58/: accessed November 23, 2017), University of North Texas Libraries, The Portal to Texas History, texashistory.unt.edu; crediting Texas State Historical Association.