Writing to Tempier from Billens and the farm that the Oblates now owned as a seminary, Eugene had some frustrated feelings about the Oblates’ lack of success with farming!
I don’t understand a thing of the mess they have got into over their cows: they sold the ones that were giving milk to buy some younger ones that give practically none. I haven’t yet plumbed the depths of this mystery but I suspect that Mille has been duped by the tenant-farmer who has only his own interest in view, and it doesn’t always coincide with ours.
Meanwhile, all the purchases of animals, which belong jointly to the landlord and tenant-farmer and which ought also to have been bought at joint expense, have come out of our bottomless pocket, thus adding to what the tenant farmer owes without in any way augmenting his capacity to pay it off.
However, there is no choice but to buy cows to eat up the hay, practically the only thing produced in these parts, but at the end I would like to see some butter and cheeses for sale and I am shown nothing but cow-pats. In short, I am very dissatisfied without knowing who precisely to blame for the situation.
Letter to Henri Tempier, 22 August 1831, EO VIII n 401