The Path to Rome By Hilaire Belloc

 -  A nasty life and usually a
short one.

To return to Flavigny. This way of stretching a village all along - Page 40
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A Nasty Life And Usually A Short One.

To return to Flavigny.

This way of stretching a village all along one street is Roman, and is the mark of civilization. When I was at college I was compelled to read a work by the crabbed Tacitus on the Germans, where, in the midst of a deal that is vague and fantastic nonsense and much that is wilful lying, comes this excellent truth, that barbarians build their houses separate, but civilized men together. So whenever you see a lot of red roofs nestling, as the phrase goes, in the woods of a hillside in south England, remember that all that is savagery; but when you see a hundred white-washed houses in a row along a dead straight road, lift up your hearts, for you are in civilization again.

But I continue to wander from Flavigny. The first thing I saw as I came into the street and noted how the level sun stood in a haze beyond, and how it shadowed and brought out the slight irregularities of the road, was a cart drawn by a galloping donkey, which came at and passed me with a prodigious clatter as I dragged myself forward. In the cart were two nuns, each with a scythe; they were going out mowing, and were up the first in the village, as Religious always are. Cheered by this happy omen, but not yet heartened, I next met a very old man leading out a horse, and asked him if there was anywhere where I could find coffee and bread at that hour; but he shook his head mournfully and wished me good-morning in a strong accent, for he was deaf and probably thought I was begging.

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