The cholera epidemic ended suddenly in Marseilles in April 1835 after having ravaged the city for 111 days. Three months later it broke out in the nearby harbor city of Toulon with multiple deaths each day. Two Oblates in Aix were preparing to go to Toulon to give spiritual assistance to the dying but were prevented from doing so on 16 July when the epidemic started in Aix en Provence.
Father Courtès wrote: “This day will always remain in the memory of the inhabitants; this morning at 4 the deadly cloud enveloped the city and by 10 am more than thirty victims were struck by cholera almost like a lightning strike. I was obliged to send two priests to the hospital to help the chaplain: all those with cholera were administered to, and half of them died. Father André returned home at 10 pm after hearing confessions for the whole day. The Major Seminary has been converted into a hospital.” (Quoted in Rey I p. 632)
Eugene was no longer in Marseilles, but at the Shrine of ND de l’Osier, and was informed of this by Father Tempier, to whom he responded:
My dear Father Tempier, your letters become more and more distressing. Today it’s the heartbreaking recital of the disasters caused by the cholera, and the possibility of the plague at Toulon, and the all too just fears that the proximity of the unfortunate infected city inspires in you. On this last count, I really need to have daily bulletins about the locality where you are living through a daily newspaper, like the “Gazette.” I hope you won’t have neglected to procure me this gloomy consolation … I am in such anguish to know that you are once again in the danger-zone…
Letter to Henri Tempier, 19 July 1835, EO VIII n 523