Combien de gens ont un habit de cent francs, un diamant à la pomme de leur canne, et dînent à vingt-cinq sous ! Il semble que nous n'achetions jamais assez chèrement les plaisirs de la vanité.

English Translation

How many men are there that wear a coat that cost a hundred francs, and carry a diamond in the head of their cane, and dine for twenty-five SOUS for all that! It seems as though we could never pay enough for the pleasures of vanity.

Seems to me like “SOUS” should be lower case and properly translated. Pennies or cents would suffice.

1 Like

In the French language, which evolved directly from common or vulgar Latin over the centuries, solidus [coin] changed to soldus, then solt, then sol and finally sou. No gold solidi were minted after the Carolingians adopted the silver standard; thenceforward the solidus or sol was a paper accounting unit equivalent to one-twentieth of a pound (librum or livre) of silver and divided into 12 denarii or deniers.[7] The monetary unit disappeared with decimalisation and introduction of the franc during the French Revolution (1st republic) in 1795, but the coin of 5 centimes, the twentieth part of the franc, inherited the name “sou” as a nickname: in the first half of the 20th century, a coin or an amount of 5 francs was still often referred to as cent sous.

Further reading


Neat, nickel would suffice then. If that’s too much an ask, surely lower case should be acceptable.

My preference would be to lowercase SOUS and perhaps add a footnote explaining that a sou was a 5 centime coin.

Fair, given the franc.


For context, that French text was written by Honoré de Balzac in 1831!

1 Like

Plus on en sait ! Mille mercis. :slightly_smiling_face: