The Path to Rome

Path to Rome by Hilaire Belloc
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He had been plagued with a painful left knee, which developed at Flavigny after only 20 miles, and lasted beyond Schangau in Switzerland. He had then been defeated by a blizzard from a direct crossing of the Alps by way of the Gries Pass 8, ft. Thus it will be possible, this year, to follow The Path to Rome day by day on the same day of the week reading an average nine pages a day and the experience can be enlivened by "visiting" all the places named on satellite maps.

Auden, E. Forster, Robert Graves and Virginia Woolf. The Day of Departure The Path to Rome itself does not make it clear what year it refers to, let alone the days of the week or dates only the month of June is mentioned. It was published in , but the biographies leave no doubt that it records the events of the year before.

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Dust Jacket Condition: Good. Wikipedia in English None. We begin to remember at last A the great scheme. We must wrestle with faith and reason as A the great schoolmen were tost. Places Europe , France , Italy , Switzerland.

The one indisputable date is that Belloc arrived in Rome on the 29th June which in was on a Saturday. Indeed, there is a certain mystery surrounding the actual day of departure. Belloc says that Corpus Christi was on his third full day.

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It is a moveable feast being the Thursday after Trinity Sunday and in it was on the 6th of June. But Robert Speaight, in The Life of Hilaire Belloc , states that on the evidence of letters written at the time Belloc had already been to Mass on the feast of Corpus Christi before he set out. So, according to Speaight, Belloc would have started on Thursday the 6th of June The Number of Days on the Road This conflict points to something seriously adrift. A close reading of the text working backwards from his arrival in Rome on Saturday the 29th of June , and constructing a daily diary by reference to maps, indicates twenty six days on the road in whole or in part.

The conclusion is that Belloc must have set out from Toul on the evening of Tuesday the 4th of June Whilst the same distance in two days less would have been a feat which it is suggested would have been beyond even Hilaire Belloc. That distance would take the average experienced walker at least two full days.

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On walking holidays rest days are considered essential and Belloc had none. Furthermore he included a lot of hill and mountain walking where the challenge is vertical rather than horizontal and he had problems with his bad knee, the weather and, at times, in finding his way. Again, Belloc originally had his passage home booked for the 1st of July and it would have been an impossible schedule to attempt to walk seven hundred and fifty miles over difficult country in twenty four days from the 6th of June.

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Speaight somehow manages to calculate the number of days from the 6th of June to the 29th of June to be twenty two. But the first and last days must both be counted and the number of days on the road on his account would have been twenty four.

Further, of course, the twenty six days on the road which can be identified in the book itself, if calculated from the 6th of June, would have taken Belloc well beyond the all-important 29th of June deadline for his destination in Rome for the Feast of Ss Peter and Paul, and if calculated from Monday 3 June would have got him there a day early none of which is borne out by the narrative. He is a policeman.

He says that the feast was on his third full day out, but in calculating and reaching the third day he discounts the day of his departure with the excuse that he set out in the evening. That took him to Friday the 7th of June when he went to Mass at Rupt after breaking his fast on bread, wine and coffee. However that was also the First Friday of the month which he fails to mention and a Day of Abstinence, a practice upon which Belloc is curiously silent throughout his book.

His own explanation looks like an elaborate cover-up for missing Mass on a Holyday of Obligation and thereafter on two of the Sundays on the road. Of course Belloc went to Mass on the way whenever he could - Como, Milano, Lucca and Siena were cathedral cities where morning Mass could be expected more or less every hour on the hour.

However it is doubtful whether Belloc would have qualified then or now as he had arrived at Thaon overnight, been told about the significance of the branches of bracken, had the time to familiarise himself with Mass times and could have arranged a morning call. But on his first day out in the first village he reached he found to his chagrin that Mass was already over.

When he got to Rome and presented himself at the church of Our Lady of the People, just within the Gates of the Piazza del Popolo, Mass was finishing and Belloc complained tongue in cheek that he had to wait a full twenty minutes for the next. In practice the only certain way of getting to Mass on a pilgrimage is to go with a group which includes a priest.

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Still it would have been embarrassing for the great Catholic writer who was not addressing a sympathetic Catholic audience to be seen to have fallen down on the basics of his religion. Hence the need for some subterfuge. Not at all! I trust I have made myself clear. Nor does he on this or on any of the Fridays that he was on the road mention the obligation to abstain from meat. Furthermore, on Friday the 14th of June he and his guide put bread and ham in their bags before setting off at 3 am for his attempt on the Gries Pass and on Friday the 21th of June he was buying sausage in Viterbo.

As for Abstinence, Belloc seemed to subsist on a staple diet of sausage, bacon and ham. Generally, Belloc was known to be careless of the truth. His history books were said to be full of schoolboy howlers and blunders which he repeated with mendacious glee in his literary feud with Dr G. Coulton, arguing that the truth of the broad picture was more important than the accuracy of fine detail. Speaight describes a scene at the Cambridge Union on the 15th of November when Mgr.

The Path To Rome

Then Dr. Coulton rose to accuse Belloc of the falsification of history, and the previously light-hearted debate descended into something of a pantomime before the astonished students as the distinguished guest speakers became more and more irate. According to Reginald Jebb The Path to Rome was turned down by twenty publishers and Speaight says that on its publication there were criticisms that it was "uneven" and "too long.

There are no chapters - yet the twenty six days on the road in a book of some two hundred and fifty pages would make a natural choice of a chapter a day, headed up with the start and finish points. But one well-loved, much-thumbed, heavily annotated, underlined, highlighted and eventually sellotape-bound personal copy of The Path to Rome has a number of unmarked passages.

The Path to Rome (eBook)

Much the same goes for the eight maps Belloc provides. Believe me, I write them down for my own gratification, not yours. Largely ignored by the mainstream media, the impressive flow of conversions to the Catholic Church which took place in the last two decades of the twentieth century has shown no sign of abating in this new millennium. The Path to Rome has helped a great many people towards the fullness of Catholic Faith, and this new edition continues the tradition.

It has been a wonderful read, and has made me appreciate even more the beauty of my Catholic faith. You must be logged in to post a review. The Path to Rome quantity. Category: Books. Description Reviews 0 Description First published ten years ago, The Path to Rome has since established itself as a classic of its kind.