The Path to Rome By Hilaire Belloc


































































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And why (you will say) is all this put by itself in what Anglo-Saxons
call a Foreword, but gentlemen - Page 3
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And Why (You Will Say) Is All This Put By Itself In What Anglo-Saxons Call A Foreword, But Gentlemen A Preface?

Why, it is because I have noticed that no book can appear without some such thing tied on before

It; and as it is folly to neglect the fashion, be certain that I read some eight or nine thousand of them to be sure of how they were written and to be safe from generalizing on too frail a basis.

And having read them and discovered first, that it was the custom of my contemporaries to belaud themselves in this prolegomenaical ritual (some saying in a few words that they supplied a want, others boasting in a hundred that they were too grand to do any such thing, but most of them baritoning their apologies and chanting their excuses till one knew that their pride was toppling over) - since, I say, it seemed a necessity to extol one's work, I wrote simply on the lintel of my diary, _Praise of this Book,_ so as to end the matter at a blow. But whether there will be praise or blame I really cannot tell, for I am riding my pen on the snaffle, and it has a mouth of iron.

Now there is another thing book writers do in their Prefaces, which is to introduce a mass of nincompoops of whom no one ever heard, and to say 'my thanks are due to such and such' all in a litany, as though any one cared a farthing for the rats!

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