As we have seen in previous entries, Eugene’s dynamism and generous zeal had led him to periods of exhaustion and illness. His journal shows how ill-health had been a teacher regarding his way of doing things. Now at Barjols, it was not a question of his having let himself into a self-inflicted exhaustion, but having to accept the consequences of freezing weather and physical weakness.
It was a frustration that he tried to remedy by natural means. I quote some parts of his correspondence because they give an insight into medical remedies of the time.
In the meantime, the salep flows and the barley water and all the rest of it. Both my body and mind are sick of it.
Letter to Henri Tempier, 10 November 1818, O.W. VI n.32
Salep is a potion of roots of various plants, containing starch, gum and licorice. A couple of days later, he continued to report on the remedies he was using to get his voice back:
Also I am better; I gulp down goat’s milk, donkey’s milk and fresh eggs. That does me good.
Letter to Henri Tempier, 14-15 November 1818, O.W. VI n.34
A week later:
My voice has come back, and my chest doesn’t hurt any more. However, I am to content myself to giving instructions which I tailor to the actual strength of my lungs. I do hear confessions but it is clear that I am not at all tired out by them.
Letter to Fortuné de Mazenod, 22 November 1818, O.W. XIII n.20
“God grant me the serenity
to accept the things I cannot change;
courage to change the things I can;
and wisdom to know the difference.”