Harvey returned to the King’s chambers and explained to His Majesty the
need to draw blood, but not nearly the amount normally taken in a therapeutic
bloodletting. In fact, Shepherd had suggested that only the smallest amount of
blood would be needed; a small vial would do. Harvey found some acceptable
vials, washed them out, and found stoppers to contain the sample of blood to be
taken. Shepherd had suggested that they be carefully labeled, with each of our
samples of blood well marked on the vial. Harvey brought out a fresh lancet from
his bag in the palace dispensary. He always kept medical supplies available just
in case he would need to treat the King, or perhaps one of the courtiers from time
to time. Harvey made a small incision on the King’s fingertip, and proceeded to
repeat the procedure with each of us. Villiers then insisted that he too give a
sample of blood, and Harvey gladly obliged him.
We left the palace in the most expectant of moods. I was initially
disappointed that I was unable to really speak with the King of England, and that
our trip became no more than a medical visit. On the other hand, I could not
shake the idea that we were participating in the most extraordinary scientific
experiment that one could conceive of. While all of this was swirling in my head,
I did not notice that a man was fairly running out to catch up with us. As we
turned, we heard the puffing breath coming from an aging man anxious to catch
us before we left the palace. He was, I guessed, about sixty years old, in fair
shape for a man of his age. He had a ruddy complexion, sharpened by a graying
beard. He had a distinguished look, and it was clear that he was a man of some
prominence, based upon his clothing.
“Stop a moment, I beg you,” he stammered out. Clearly, he was now
quite short of breath, so we stopped to ask him of his need for us. “I have heard
that you are planning an experiment of some kind,” he gasped.
Harvey went over to him immediately. “Francis!” he shouted. “How did
you know that we were pursuing an experiment?”
“Villiers told me,” he replied, now starting to regain his breath and his
“Gentlemen,” Harvey said to Shepherd and me, “I would like you to
meet Sir Francis Bacon, the honorable Lord Chancellor of England!”
I had of course heard of Bacon, a brilliant scientist, artist, and writer. I
had not expected to meet him as he was running to catch me and my friends!
Shepherd as usual was gracious, but nonplussed at meeting him.
“Dr. Bacon,” he began, “I am quite honored to meet you. I have read
many of your works, and I am especially taken with The New Atlantis. We must
talk about that sometime.”
Bacon seemed appreciative, but was clearly more interested in
discussing our mission.
“Gentlemen,” he began, “your experiment with blood: I want to know
more about it.”
“Well, so do I!” I laughed. At that Shepherd laughed out loud.
“Come,” he said, “let us all see what is in the offing.”
We went to a carriage that Villiers had procured for us, and we
proceeded to Harvey’s office. Bacon was animated now as the discussion turned
to science. Clearly that was his love. He began to talk about the need for certain
controls in our model, even though he had no idea of what the experiment was.
Shepherd was nodding in agreement, and then he began to tell all of us what he
was looking for.
Shepherd began, “Gentlemen, I believe that we may discover some
important things about blood today. Dr. Harvey has put forth the beautiful theory
that blood circulates throughout the body, pumped by the heart, nourishing and
sustaining all vital organs – our very lives, indeed, in the process. I believe that
blood also carries vapors, airs, as you call them, to all of our organs as well. As
we inhale air, there is a reason why we are built to need it refreshed so many
times a minute. Did you ever consider this?”
I had to admit that something as elementary as breathing was something
that we all take for granted. Just as we must eat, we must breathe. It was obvious,
but, at the same time, inexplicable. Shepherd went on.
“Blood is the courier of all nourishment to all parts of the body. There
are chemical processes that none of us understand that must take place within
our body every moment. Could one ever doubt that we are fearfully and
Well, I wouldn’t doubt that, but I also did not understand these chemical
processes of which Shepherd spoke. Shepherd went on.
“There must be ‘couriers’ in the blood which transport vital elements to
the whole body. It only makes sense to me that, if we can get a close look at the
structure of the blood, we may be able to determine how this life force works. In
the book of Leviticus, it is written that the source of life is in the blood. I intend
to show that to be true.”
Francis Bacon was beside himself. His facile mind seemed stimulated
by such discussion. He said that he was anxious to be part of any research that
used the scientific method to which he was so dedicated.
“Well, you may participate fully, Chancellor,” said Shepherd. “You may
give a sample of blood, then help us to examine our samples. My hypothesis is
that our blood will differ from that of the King. His deteriorating health may be
indicated by changes in his blood. That, at least, is the theory that I wish to test.”
Villiers had suggested that the King’s royal blood was obviously
different than that of commoners such as the small group being tested. But
Harvey and Shepherd had dismissed that comment out of hand without even
mentioning it to Villiers. People cannot hear truth until they are ready to hear it.
Bacon was delighted with such deeply intuitive thinking. “What will you
be looking for?” asked Bacon.
“If my theory is correct, there are small couriers of some type in the
blood itself. These couriers carry nutrients to all the organs in the body, and,
somehow, convey the very air that we breathe to these organs as well.”
Hearing this, Bacon, Harvey, and I were amazed at the ideas presented,
and we were ready to get on with the experiment.
We returned to Harvey’s office, and proceeded to unpack the small
samples of blood that had been drawn. He noted the names on the side of each
vial. He took out the sample of the King’s blood, and placed a drop on a small
plate of glass under the Jannsen scope. We all took turns looking at the sample,
noticing indeed that Shepherd had been correct. There were small disc shaped
“boats” coursing through the sample. There were other shaped items as well,
some of which looked similar, but without the little indentations of the more
numerous bodies that we saw.
We then took turns placing samples of our own blood under the
magnification scope, and found some minor differences in ours. However, we
all agreed that the King’s blood sample contained far fewer of one type of body
than ours. We concluded that this was indeed a bodily process that either
produced the sickness, or was the evidence of it.
Shepherd had an idea that perhaps the King’s diet was the culprit. He
had not had a good appetite, according to Villiers, and perhaps nutrition played
a part in forming these “blood bodies” that the King seemed to lack. The King’s
appetite had been diminished, according to Villiers, so perhaps he had not been
getting some vital nutrient.
“Give him some calves’ liver,” I suggested.
“Why do you suggest that?” asked Bacon. I was about to answer, trying
to sound like there was some good medical idea behind it, but then, perhaps
influenced by Shepherd, simply told the truth.
“I really do not know,” I said. “It just seems to me that about the
bloodiest thing I have eaten lately was calves’ liver. If he needs more blood that
would be a good way to get it in him!”
Bacon laughed, as did Harvey. Shepherd however pondered the idea,
and said that it just might help. We all agreed that, if he would eat anything, it
would be helpful. Eating calves’ liver probably could not hurt.
We went back to the palace the next day with our somewhat odd
prescription. Villiers listened, and then he told the cook to prepare a supper laden
with calves’ liver and fresh greens. We were invited to stay and eat, but we each
had other things to be about. We did not want to intrude on the King, who was
ailing and needed privacy and rest.
Harvey was eager to continue his studies on circulation work, and was
planning to write up his findings for the Royal Society. Shepherd was interested
in going back to the Franciscan hospital to work with the poor and dying. I was
ready to get back to Andrew Kensington to see where I would fit in his
moneymaking schemes. None of us was ready for, or aware of, the adventure
that awaited us.
It had been over four months now (it now being January, 1621) since we
parted company after leaving the palace and our little medical experiment with
King James was completed. Harvey stayed on at the palace for a while to see to
the treatment of the King. He wrote to me that the King slowly but steadily
improved after his diet began to include higher amounts of calves’ liver and
greens. He drew blood from the King several times to satisfy his curiosity about
the changes he anticipated in the amount of little bodies he saw in the sample.
He wrote that there appeared to be many more of the odd-shaped saucers he
identified in his own blood. He included this in his report to the Royal Society,
but that was overshadowed by the entire concept of blood flow throughout the
body. Harvey wrote that he had been in contact with Shepherd, who was staying
at the Franciscan hospital, and that he had shared the results with Shepherd.
It was at the hospital that Shepherd, who was caring for all the sick and
homeless, also was treating Jacob Carr. Carr was almost completely recovered
from the grievous stab wound he had sustained at the pub. Somehow, he had
managed to escape the fevers that so often accompanied such penetrating
wounds. I could not help thinking that Shepherd’s care was responsible for this.
Perhaps he had used another of his odd treatments on Carr, or perhaps Carr was
just cheating death once again as he was wont to do. Shepherd had also written
to me that Jacob was making some changes in his behavior, and that he had been
staying away from the old thieves and brigands that he had usually associated
“That alone should keep him healthier,” I wrote back to Shepherd.
I, on the other hand, was not faring as well. I had taken Kensington’s
offer to stay at his home. Edwin Carr had moved out, perhaps to appease
Kensington, or perhaps because Anne tired of his company. The Kensingtons
seemed to have mended their relationship at any rate, so my stay with them was
not unpleasant. Being in the company of these two, while somewhat exciting due
to their social contacts and entertaining, was also once again fueling my desire
for gin. Kensington had access to the delightful curse due to his Dutch trading
contacts. I began a regular routine of drinking “Dutch Courage” every night –
then every day and night. I feared that I might just end up as a patient of Shepherd
at the Franciscan hospital like one of the homeless derelicts who frequented the
place. Then again, maybe being in his care would have been just what I needed.
Drinking together with the Kensingtons, however, gave me plenty of
time to plan with Andrew about his business plans for trading routes. He had
been refining it since we first discussed it months ago. It was what he called a
“trading triangle.” The plan looked like this:
The first leg of the triangle now would be from London to a port in West
Africa, on which his ships would carry supplies for sale and trade, such as
copper, cloth, trinkets, slave beads, guns, and ammunition. When the ship
arrived, its cargo would be sold or bartered for slaves. Kensington suggested that
slaves could be tightly packed like any other cargo to maximize profits.
On the next leg, ships would make the second journey, the “middle
passage,” from Africa to the New World. Once the slave ship reached the New
World, enslaved survivors would be sold in the Caribbean or the Americas.
The ships would then be prepared for return voyage by being thoroughly
cleaned, drained, and loaded with export goods for the third leg to their home
port. From the West Indies the main export cargoes were sugar, rum, and
molasses; from Virginia, commodities would be tobacco and hemp. The ship
would then return to London to complete the triangle.
In my haze, this plan looked both profitable and somewhat unsettling. I
did not have the same compunctions that Shepherd had about slavery, but I was
not sure that I wanted to be an active part of it. On the other hand, it certainly
looked profitable, and I was not in a position, nor frame of mind, to turn down a
Kensington was busy getting investors lined up for his new venture, as
well as pursuing Edwin Carr to captain the first voyage. He had reconciled with
Carr, and indeed Carr seemed repentant for his behavior with Anne. Perhaps that
was because Anne tired of him, or because he saw how this caused so many
problems with his business relationship with Kensington.
He also was interested in securing a crew that could depart as early as
June, 1621. One of my jobs would be to examine crew and slaves as medical
officer. Kensington assured me that I would not need to spend the rest of my life
on ships. He said that he would pay me well, and that with money I saved on a
few voyages I could buy in as a partner in the venture, and I could then do as I
pleased in England, or wherever I decided to live. It was not my desire to get
right back on a ship after my experiences on the Intrepid. However, three, maybe
four voyages would be enough for me to get the money to invest in the operation,
and then I could live a gentry man’s life out in the country. I finally had what
looked like a plan for my life.
I was not looking forward to telling Shepherd of my plan, but I felt the
need to do so. He had become as good a friend as I had ever had. Certainly, we
had shared some experiences that draw men closer together than many men ever
I ventured to London to see Shepherd at the Franciscan hospital. Upon
greeting him, I was shocked to see that his hair and beard had grown longer. He
was starting to look like the people whom he served! He appeared somewhat
haggard, and thinner than I recalled. His dark brown eyes still had a depth and a
sparkle to them, but there was a sadness too, I was sure. As I approached him, I
saw Jacob Carr walking up to me as well. Carr smiled (another unusual mark),
and I managed a smile myself. Never trusting of Carr, I was wary of every
emotion he might display, figuring that my money purse might be missing if I
did not keep my hand on it.
“Dr. Greene,” he began, “I want to thank you for what you did that night
to save my sorry carcass from bleeding to death!”
“I was only a small part of how you got saved that night, Jacob,” I said
“Well,” he said, “my life is different now than it was then, and I just
want to thank you for being a part of what happened.”
I was now getting very uneasy with the way that this conversation was
going. Jacob Carr was a brutish lout of a man, and this gentle talk was bound to
be a way to part me from my money, I was sure. Shepherd intervened.
“My good friend Dr. Greene, it is so good to see you! Tell me, what
brings you here?”
“Well,” I haltingly began, “I wanted to let you know that I have accepted
Andrew Kensington’s offer to be part of his new trading venture.”
“Tell me about it,” urged Shepherd.
I began to blanch a bit, fearful of being judged by a man whom I cared
for and trusted.
“I will be sailing on some routes on the Atlantic trading cargoes between
England, Africa, and the New World,” I said.
Immediately, Shepherd knew what I was up to. He simply looked at me
and said, “Luke,” the first time he had ever been so familiar with me, using my
given name, “I trust that you have given good consideration to this, and that it
will be good for you.” With that, he took me by the arm, and said, “Come, let
me show you around the place. You will be surprised with the changes we have
I was shocked at the response, then relieved that he did not look down
on me, or shame me for a decision that must have been odious to him. This man
amazed me every time I encountered him!
Shepherd and Carr showed me a group of young street children who
were bringing in some wood for the fire. They looked much cleaner than the
children I had seen there months before. They had on clothing that was in
reasonably good repair, and there was not a stench pouring forth from the place.
Rows of straw mats held men who appeared to be patients of the place, but they
actually looked presentable. There was a sense of peace and calm in this bastion
of pain and sorrow that defied my understanding.
“How did you make these changes?” I asked.
Shepherd and Carr seemed not to notice the question, and they busied
themselves with greeting the patients and encouraging the children who were
busy raking straw, preparing food, and tidying up after a night of lodging the
“Joseph,” I asked again, “how did you make these changes here?”
Shepherd turned and said, “I did nothing, really. I simply challenged
people to love one another. We also gave people the dignity of helping one
another, having a mission larger than themselves.”
“Yes,” I said, “that is a wonderful thing, but how did you get money to
buy food, clothing, bandages, and all the other supplies that you have here now?”
“Dr. Greene,” he said, reverting back to a more formal, almost pedantic
tone, “you must stop acting as if God cannot provide when we ask Him for help.”
“All right,” I said, “how did God provide this?”
Shepherd replied, “Jacob Carr has some resources, and he knows many
people here. His help was invaluable in getting this hospital what it needed.”
“You mean Jacob Carr helped to provide this hospital with his own
I was too shocked for words.
“Yes,” Shepherd replied, “he has been most generous.”
I knew that Carr had made a bit of a fortune with all of his dealings,
thieving, extortion, skimming, and conniving. The idea of him giving it away
was more than I could imagine. However, it was true. Jacob Carr had given of
his own money, ill-gotten though it was, to help these street urchins, paupers,
and lunatics who frequented this hospital.
After looking around the hospital, I went to Joseph Shepherd, and
wished him the best in his endeavors. I told him that I would return after my first
voyage to see how he was doing in his work. I was amazed at what they had
accomplished. The Franciscan friars were busy looking after their regular guests,
and things seemed to be very peaceful. However, not everyone was so happy
with the situation. As I walked through the streets, I noticed that the street
hawkers and professional thieves were not happy that their legion of willing,
hungry, and ragged children was not available to do their bidding and stealing.
As evening approached, I hailed a hansom cab to take me to the Olde
Cheshire Cheese pub. I had frequented this pub in earlier days, and I had decided
that I deserved a good night’s drinking. Indeed, I reasoned that nearly every
night, but tonight there was a mix of excitement, loneliness, and uncertainty that
lurked as my dark companion. Perhaps some beer and perchance a woman would
give me some cheer to expel the unknown that awaited me.
I arrived at the pub at around 7 p.m., and I was hungry and thirsty. I
quickly downed a pint of ale, followed by a delicious stew. I was surrounded by
rough men and easy women who were eyeing their marks for the evening. I was
bound not to be one of them, but I did want some company, and the women were
“Lonely, are ya?” asked a woman who had spied me from across the
“Is it that obvious?” I mused aloud.
She smiled and said, “I’m Margaret, and I can make sure that you don’t
spend the night alone.”
“Margaret,” I said, “I would like someone to talk to, but I do not need
for them to spend the night.”
“We’ll see,” she said, and she proceeded to sit next to me. She was an
attractive woman, probably around my age, and free of the pocked face that one
was accustomed to oftentimes. She had red hair flowing in curls down her back.
Her gown showed a rather small bosom, but it was low enough to show that she
was interested in displaying what she had. Her manner was straightforward but
not harsh. She seemed to be a veteran of making men feel wanted and
comfortable, and so she began with me.
“What brings you here?” she asked.
“I simply want to have a good time tonight,” I said.
“I can show you that!” she said.
“Margaret,” I said, “If I wanted to take you to bed, you would follow me
right now, wouldn’t you?”
“Maybe I would,” she said.
“I will buy you drinks, and we can talk, and maybe at the end of the
night we can decide that,” I countered.
“Fair enough,” she said. Under her breath I thought I heard her say with
some disgust, “I get a talker!”
It’s not that I did not want to lay with her – I had done that before with
other women. I was just feeling a need to talk with someone, even if they did not
care so much about me or what I needed to say.
“Honey, if you just want to talk, I can listen to you. I’m just not used to
a man who would rather talk to me than have me spend the night. If you don’t
think I’m pretty enough…”
“Wait,” I interrupted her. “I didn’t say you weren’t pretty. Besides,
you’re just trying to work me here, aren’t you?”
She smiled at my candor, and said, “You might just be fun to talk to.”
I told her about my experiences of the past year – about the Intrepid,
Shepherd’s amazing medical techniques, Harvey’s ideas about the blood,
meeting King James and treating his illness (something I should not have done,
and would not have were I completely sober), and, finally, about my new
adventure with Kensington that was about to unfold. She was increasingly
fascinated by the stories, and before I knew it midnight was approaching. I was
starting to get tired, and I was ending my story when I mentioned Jacob Carr.
She stopped me when I mentioned his name.
“Jacob Carr?” she said.
“Yes, Jacob Carr. Do you know him?”
“Honey, I’ve known him dozens of times,” she said. “Roughest, vilest
man I’ve ever met!”
“Yes,” I said, “up until a few hours ago I would have said the same thing.
What I saw of him today was a different man.”
“I don’t believe it!” Margaret said emphatically.
“You don’t have to if you don’t want to, but if you want to see it, come
with me tomorrow, and you can meet both Joseph Shepherd as well as Carr,” I
“I just think I will,” Margaret said. “Come on, spend the night with me
and we can go in the morning,” she offered.
“I hope you take no offense, but I will get a room by myself tonight, and
I will meet you here tomorrow morning at nine o’clock. Prepare to be surprised!”
Margaret decided to accompany me to the hospital mission to see Joseph
and Jacob Carr. I was beginning to like Margaret’s simple, earthy ways, and she
was certainly not unattractive. Her profession notwithstanding, she was an
interesting woman, and certainly brighter than she let on. Women of her standing
were never encouraged to express any deep thoughts – maybe that would break
the mood, who knows. At any rate, I was interested in getting to know her a little
better and to perhaps help let her innate savvy and intelligence grow. Meeting
Joseph Shepherd indeed had that effect on people.
As we approached the hospital, Jacob Carr spotted Margaret, and
immediately moved toward her. He broke into a smile and moved to embrace
her. Margaret was a bit taken aback, but she was very good at making men feel
welcome, especially old, loyal customers, whether or not she really felt anything
at all, or even if she were repulsed by them. She laughed and exchanged the
embrace of Jacob. Somehow I sensed that this was not a lustful gesture, for there
was a warmth and innocence to it that made it seem simply like a kind and
welcoming gesture. Margaret seemed to feel this as well, and she smiled at Jacob
as he took her by the hand to introduce her to his new friend Joseph Shepherd.
Shepherd smiled at her as Carr introduced her as “an old friend.” I felt
the need to explain why I brought her to the hospital, but Carr was already on
“Dr. Greene helped to save my life, Margaret, and so indeed has
Joseph,” he said. “I suspect that Dr. Greene has been shocked by the changes in
my life, and he wants to let you see who is responsible for that.”
I could not have expressed that any better than Carr. He evidently had
been learning a great deal from Joseph, and his demeanor and insightfulness
were truly transformed.
Joseph certainly knew Margaret’s background, but he could not have
been more accepting of her, showing her around the surroundings, which by now
had improved immensely since I first saw the place. Margaret seemed drawn to
some of the children who looked up at her with eyes of pain, and many with eyes
bereft of any human emotion. As she walked further, I saw tears roll down her
own eyes, which she now averted from most of the people around her.
Joseph broke the growing silence. “We have much left to do here,” he
said. I was saddened to hear that, even though I knew that he seemed drawn to
this godforsaken place. I was not drawn to this place, and I knew that my time
with Shepherd was growing short. I did have compassion for these people, and I
was starting to see that it was not a waste of time to help these people, even
though many were going to die shortly. I was hoping to begin a new venture in
my life, and I really wanted to share it somehow with Shepherd. Yet, a plan that
involved the slave trade was clearly something he would never do. I was shocked
out of my little reverie by Shepherd’s next statement.
“My dear Luke, I think I have been called to leave this place.”
“But you just said that there is much left to do here!” I said.
“Yes, there is a great deal left to do here, but Jacob has indicated that he
is planning to join the Franciscans, and use the rest of his fortune to help this
hospital. He will take the vows of poverty, chastity, and obedience, and live the
life of a monk. Jacob Carr has found his life’s work here.”
I was stunned to the core. Jacob Carr was going to be a monk? Jacob
Carr was giving up all his wealth for these people? Jacob Carr was taking a vow
of chastity, poverty, and obedience? Shepherd saw my expression, and simply
said, “We should rejoice when someone finds the reason for their life. You know
the Scripture says that ‘with God, all things are possible.’ This simply is another
example of that truth.”
Hearing this made me think harder about my own life. My decision
about my next life adventure was simply that – what adventure could I take and
make a fortune at the same time. I thought that was what life was about. Seeing
that Jacob Carr would make such a drastic decision, based upon a call of God in
his life, somehow made me feel very small. Very small indeed!
Margaret too was stunned by this remark of Shepherd. Jacob Carr then
“Joseph is right in all that he said. I felt a strange sensation as I recovered
from my wound here at this hospital. I was cared for by people who probably
knew that I had been a thief, a murderer, a drunkard, and a womanizer of the
Margaret winced as he continued.
“Yet they cared for me, nursed me to health, and showed compassion to
others like me. My mother had taught Edwin and me that God loves people
through other people. I did not understand that until I received that kind of love,
at a time when I was close to death. It touched my soul in a way that I cannot
explain, other than that I knew that I must live differently from that time on. So
I have discussed this with Joseph, and I have decided to stay here as he moves
on with God’s call in his life.”
“Joseph,” I blurted, “what is that call for you? Where are you going?”
“I have been talking with Dr. Harvey quite a bit lately, and he has an
interest in returning to Italy to do more study on the blood circulation theory.
While we are both quite convinced of the rightness of this theory, we want to
discuss it with others. Harvey is concerned that this break with Galen’s teachings
will be met with resistance. He wants reassurance of its validity. Sir Francis
Bacon has been so encouraged that he may travel with us. Our little experiment
with King James’s blood so fascinated him that he would like more interactions
with us and the science community in Italy. However, Bacon told me that there
are charges against him of accepting bribes while in office as chancellor.
Nonetheless, he said that his friend Ben Jonson may be persuaded to travel with
“May I join you?” I asked. Surely I did not just say that, I thought. That
was not even my voice, was it? Nonetheless, I must have said it, because
Shepherd quickly replied.
“I have been counting on that,” he said, almost matter- of- factly.
Margaret looked downcast. She had actually connected at some depth
with men who accepted her not for her body but for her entire being. I wanted to
think that she may even have had some interest in me. I certainly wanted to know
her better, but I felt that strange sensation that Carr must have felt. I needed to
follow a different path in my life, and, somehow, life with Kensington and the
British East India Company was not that path. Margaret would be left behind,
but not forever. My new adventure was just beginning.