The Path to Rome By Hilaire Belloc


When we had gone some way, clattering through the dust, and were well
on on the Commercy road, there was - Page 20
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When We Had Gone Some Way, Clattering Through The Dust, And Were Well On On The Commercy Road, There Was

A short halt, and during this halt there passed us the largest Tun or Barrel that ever went on wheels.

You talk of the Great Tun of Heidelburg, or of those monstrous Vats that stand in cool sheds in the Napa Valley, or of the vast barrels in the Catacombs of Rheims; but all these are built _in situ_ and meant to remain steady, and there is no limit to the size of a Barrel that has not to travel. The point about this enormous Receptacle of Bacchus and cavernous huge Prison of Laughter, was that it could move, though cumbrously, and it was drawn very slowly by stupid, patient oxen, who would not be hurried. On the top of it sat a strong peasant, with a face of determination, as though he were at war with his kind, and he kept on calling to his oxen, 'Han', and 'Hu', in the tones of a sullen challenge, as he went creaking past. Then the soldiers began calling out to him singly, 'Where are you off to, Father, with that battery?' and 'Why carry cold water to Commercy? They have only too much as it is;' and 'What have you got in the little barrelkin, the barrellet, the cantiniere's brandy-flask, the gourd, the firkin?' He stopped his oxen fiercely and turned round to us and said: 'I will tell you what I have here.

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