These three weeks were squalid and uncomfortable, and evidently there was worse coming, for my rent would be due before long. Nevertheless, things were not a quarter as bad as I had expected. For, when you are approaching poverty, you make one discovery which outweighs some of the others. You discover boredom and mean complications and the beginnings of hunger, but you also discover the great redeeming feature of poverty: the fact that it annihilates the future. Within certain limits, it is actually true that the less money you have, the less you worry. When you have a hundred francs in the world you are liable to the most craven panics. When you have only three francs you are quite indifferent; for three francs will feed you till tomorrow, and you cannot think further than that. You are bored, but you are not afraid. You think vaguely, ‘I shall be starving in a day or two – shocking, isn’t it?’ And then the mind wanders to other topics. A bread and margarine diet does, to some extent, provide its own anodyne.
- Read the first chapter of Down and Out in Paris and London (courtesy of Penguin Books)
- Buy Down and Out in Paris and London (Penguin Books)
Published in 1933, Down and Out in Paris and London was Orwell’s first published full length work. It starts with an account of Orwell’s time in Paris, where he worked as a plongeur at Hotel X, before moving onto London. Orwell recounts his London tramping exploits with a cast of colourful characters (notably Bozo on the Embankment), a mix of accommodation and comments on everything from diet (mainly bread and margarine) to language.
More by Orwell related to Down and Out in Paris and London
- George Orwell to Steven Runciman (August 1920)
- A Day in the Life of a Tramp
- A dressed man and a naked man
- Hop-picking diary blog
- How the Poor Die
- The Spike