I enjoy Eugene’s exaggerations when he tries to emphasize his point. He had heard that one of his Oblates was ill, and his genuine concern was such that he “could hear the cough” 20 miles away! He demands immediate attention from Doctor d’Astros who looked after the Oblates
My dear friend, if it is true that Father Bernard is as ill as I am told he is, he must be freed immediately from all work, d’Astros must be consulted and his directions followed to the letter. If the doctor thinks a rest in the country can help his recovery and that the house of Saint-Just, in the Marseilles area and away from the sea, is suitable for the patient, send him to me without delay. There is no time for hesitation when one is faced with such symptoms: an excessive thinness on top of his cough – and such a cough! I can hear it from here. If the service of the Church must suffer in consequence it is a misfortune, but the greatest tragedy of all is to see a man wear himself out and fall victim to a fatal consumption. Spare no effort in this regard.
Letter to Hippolyte Courtès, 21 July 1831, EO VIII n 396
Tragically it turns out that the illness was more than a cough and Marius Bernard was eventually forced to leave the Oblates. Eugene noted: “Dispensed for reasons of over-excitability approaching madness. In this state he was putting the reputation and honour of the Congregation in jeopardy.”