March 29 1816: Weather Still Bad

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[March 29th 1816] —The weather was still bad; it was impossible to set foot out of doors. The rain and the damp invaded our pastebonrd apartments. Every one of us suffered in his health in consequence. The temperature here is certainly mild, but the climate is among the most unwholesome. It is a thing ascertained in the island, that few there attain the age of fifty; hardly any that of sixty. Add to this, exclusion from the rest of the world, physical privations, bad moral treatment, it will result, that prisons in Europe are far preferable to liberty in Saint-Helena.

About four o’clock several Captains from China were brought to me, who were to be presented to the Emperor. They had an opportunity of seeing the smallncss, the dampness, and bad state of my habitation. They enquired how the Emperor found himself in point of health. It declined visibly, I told them. Never do we hear a complaint from him: his great soul suffered nothing to overcome it, and even contributed to deceive him with respect to his own state; but we could see him decay very perceptibly. I led them shortly after to the Emperor, who was walking in the garden. He seemed to me at that moment more disordered than usual. He dismissed them in half an hour. He went in again, and took a bath.

Before and after dinner he seemed in low spirits and in pain. He began to read to us Les Femmes Savantes; but at the second act, he handed the book to the Grand Marshal, and dozed upon the sofa during the reading of the remainder.

— Emmanuel-Auguste-Dieudonné comte de Las Cases, in St Helena, writes for March 29 1816.

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