1. Poverty frees them from ordinary standards of behaviour, just as money frees people from work. (p.3)

2. 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. (p.16)

3. (…) and introduced us to the woman who was to do the cooking, a Baltic Russian five feet tall and a yard across the hips. (p.88)

4. It was dawn, and the windows were dark except for the workmen’s cafés. The sky was like a vast flat wall of cobalt, with roofs and spires of black paper plasted upon it. Drowsy men were sweeping the pavements with ten-foot besoms, and ragged families picking over the dustbins. Workmen, and girls with a piece of chocolate in one hand and a croissant in the other, were pouring into the Metro stations. Trams, filled with more workmen, boomed gloomily past. (p.88)

5. There was – it is hard to express it – a sort of heavy contentment, the contentment a well-fed beast might feel, in a life which had become so simple. For nothing could be simpler than the life of a plongeur. He lives in a rhythm between work andsleep, without time to think, hardly conscious of the exterior world; his Paris has shrunk to the hotel, the Metro, a few bistros and his bed. If he goes afield, it is only a few streets away, on a trip with some servant-girl who sits on his knee swallowing oysters and beer. On his free day he lies in bed till noon, puts on a clean shirt, throws dice for drinks, and after lunch goes back to bed again. Nothing is quite real to him but the boulot, drinks and sleep; and of these sleep is the most important. (p.90)

6. The street was emptying, and in the distance one could hear the lonely milk train thundering down the Boulevard St Michel. The air blew cold on our foreheads, and the coarse African wine tasted good; we were still happy, but meditatively, with the shouting and hilarious mood finished. (p.95)

7. By half-past one the last drop of pleasure had evaporated, leaving nothing but headaches. (p.95)

8. We perceived that we were not splendid inhabitants of a splendid world, but a crew of underpaid workmen grown squalidly and dismally drunk. We went on swallowing the wine, but it was only from habit, and the stuff seemed suddenly nauseating. (p.95)

9. Smartness, as it is called, means, in effect, merely that the staff work more and the customers pay more; no one benefits except the proprietor, who will presently buy himself a striped villa at Deauville. Essentially, a ‘smart’ hotel is a place where a hundred people toil like devils in order that two hundred may pay through the nose for things they do not really want. (p.119)

10. There are, indeed, many things in England that make you glad to get home; bathrooms, armchairs, mint sauce, new potatoes properly cooked, brown bread, marmelade, beer made with veritable hops – they are all splendid, if you can pay for them. (p.127)

11. An hour later, in Lambeth, I saw a hang-dog man, obviously a tramp, coming towards me, and when I looked again it was myself, reflected in a shop window. (p.130)

12. Clothes are powerful things. Dressed in a tramp’s clothes it is very difficult, at any rate for the first day, not to feel that you are genuinely degraded. You might feel the same shame, irrational but very real, your first night in prison. (p.130)

13. His ignorance was limitless and appalling. (p.153)

14. ‘No, not necessarily. If you set yourself to it, you can live the same life, rich or poor. You can still keep on with your books and your ideas. You just got to say to yourself, “I’m a free man in here”‘ – he tapped his forehead – ‘and you’re all right.’ (p.167)

15. In practice nobody cares whether work is useful or useless, productive or parasitic; the sole thing demanded is that is shall be profitable. In all the modern talk about energy, efficiency, social service and the rest of it, what meaning is there except ‘Get money, get it legally, and get a lot of it’? Money has become the grand test of virtue. By this test beggars fail, and for this they are dispised. If one could earn even ten pounds a week at begging, it would become a respectable profession immediately. A beggar, looked at realistically, is simply a businessman, getting his living, like other business men, in the way that comes to hand. He has not, more than most modern people, sold his honour; he has merely made the mistake of choosing a trade at which it is impossible to grow rich. (p.175)


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