The Path to Rome By Hilaire Belloc


































































 -  The air was keen, and a
fresh day came radiant over the high eastern walls of the valley.

And what - Page 210
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The Air Was Keen, And A Fresh Day Came Radiant Over The High Eastern Walls Of The Valley.

And what of that?

Why, one might make many things of it. For instance, eight francs and ten centimes is a very good day's wages; it is a lot to spend in cab fares but little for a _coupe._ It is a heavy price for Burgundy but a song for Tokay. It is eighty miles third-class and more; it is thirty or less first-class; it is a flash in a train _de luxe,_ and a mere fleabite as a bribe to a journalist. It would be enormous to give it to an apostle begging at a church door, but nothing to spend on luncheon.

Properly spent I can imagine it saving five or six souls, but I cannot believe that so paltry a sum would damn half an one.

Then, again, it would be a nice thing to sing about. Thus, if one were a modern fool one might write a dirge with 'Huit francs et dix centimes' all chanted on one low sad note, and coming in between brackets for a 'motif, and with a lot about autumn and Death - which last, Death that is, people nowadays seem to regard as something odd, whereas it is well known to be the commonest thing in the world. Or one might make the words the Backbone of a triolet, only one would have to split them up to fit it into the metre; or one might make it the decisive line in a sonnet; or one might make a pretty little lyric of it, to the tune of 'Madame la Marquise' -

_'Huit francs et dix centimes, Tra la la, la la la.'_

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