Down and Out in Paris and London

by

George Orwell

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A former Russian soldier in his mid-thirties, Boris and Orwell became friends at a Paris hospital where Boris was being treated for arthritis. Once attractive and a model of masculine strength, Boris is now obese from being bedridden with arthritis. Since he is a natural soldier, his happiest days (those of combat) are behind him. Nonetheless, despite the pain he suffers, he is endlessly optimistic and is always coming up with schemes to better his and Orwell’s situation. The two men live together in destitution for a time, bickering over small matters, and then, thanks to Boris, they eventually find work at the Hotel X and later at the Auberge. After Orwell leaves Paris for London, he hears that Boris has finally achieved his dream of making 100 francs a day as a waiter and living with a woman “who never smells of garlic.”

Boris Quotes in Down and Out in Paris and London

The Down and Out in Paris and London quotes below are all either spoken by Boris or refer to Boris. For each quote, you can also see the other characters and themes related to it (each theme is indicated by its own dot and icon, like this one:
Poverty as Prison Theme Icon
). Note: all page numbers and citation info for the quotes below refer to the Mariner Books edition of Down and Out in Paris and London published in 1972.
Chapter 5 Quotes

Never worry, mon ami. Nothing is easier to get than money.

Related Characters: Boris (speaker), George Orwell
Page Number: 29
Explanation and Analysis:
Quotes explanation long mobile
Chapter 9 Quotes

Appearance—appearance is everything, mon ami. Give me a new suit and I will borrow a thousand francs by dinner-time.

Related Characters: Boris (speaker), George Orwell, The Patron
Related Symbols: Clothing
Page Number: 51
Explanation and Analysis:
Quotes explanation short mobile

It is fatal to look hungry. It makes people want to kick you.

Related Characters: Boris (speaker), George Orwell, The Patron
Page Number: 51
Explanation and Analysis:
Quotes explanation short mobile
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Boris Character Timeline in Down and Out in Paris and London

The timeline below shows where the character Boris appears in Down and Out in Paris and London. The colored dots and icons indicate which themes are associated with that appearance.
Chapter 4
Poverty as Prison Theme Icon
...paid, Orwell knows he must find stable work of some kind. He remembers his friend, Boris, a 35-year-old Russian and former soldier whom he met in a hospital ward when Boris... (full context)
Poverty as Prison Theme Icon
Poverty is Unnecessary Theme Icon
Before going in search of Boris, Orwell describes his friend’s two dominant traits: a love of war and militaristic things, and... (full context)
Chapter 5
Poverty as Prison Theme Icon
Poverty is Unnecessary Theme Icon
...a fit of optimism, he buys a pack of cigarettes. Then he goes to visit Boris, assuming he’ll find his friend doing well. Instead, he discovers that Boris is living in... (full context)
Poverty as Prison Theme Icon
Poverty is Unnecessary Theme Icon
Honesty Does Not Pay Theme Icon
...realizing his friend is practically starving, buys a loaf of bread and gives it to Boris, who, having eaten it all, tells Orwell he knows of a new Russian restaurant opening... (full context)
Poverty as Prison Theme Icon
Poverty is Unnecessary Theme Icon
Honesty Does Not Pay Theme Icon
Orwell suggests they go looking for work now, and Boris agrees. Boris manages to make himself look respectable through several ingenious efforts, including painting his... (full context)
Poverty as Prison Theme Icon
Poverty is Unnecessary Theme Icon
...manager will appear. When he doesn’t, they make their way to the new Russian restaurant Boris mentioned earlier, but it’s closed. Boris says they should consider turning to crime, but both... (full context)
Chapter 6
Poverty as Prison Theme Icon
Poverty is Unnecessary Theme Icon
Orwell and Boris try in vain to find work. Boris tries hard to hide his limp, but once... (full context)
Poverty as Prison Theme Icon
Boris receives a letter from Yvonne, one of his former mistresses, and hopes to find money... (full context)
Poverty as Prison Theme Icon
Distrust of the Other Theme Icon
Orwell and Boris live in squalor together, pooling their money to buy food, bickering over coffee, and commiserating... (full context)
Chapter 7
Poverty as Prison Theme Icon
Poverty is Unnecessary Theme Icon
Honesty Does Not Pay Theme Icon
Distrust of the Other Theme Icon
On the third day without food, Orwell goes to see Boris, hoping to share his two francs, but Boris is furious and desperate, too. Boris’ roommate... (full context)
Poverty as Prison Theme Icon
Poverty is Unnecessary Theme Icon
Honesty Does Not Pay Theme Icon
...when a picky pawnshop clerk refuses to purchase coats that aren’t wrapped up or boxed. Boris’s second plan is to stuff the overcoats in his suitcase and to distract the landlord... (full context)
Poverty as Prison Theme Icon
Poverty as Opportunity Theme Icon
Honesty Does Not Pay Theme Icon
...would never pay him such a generous amount on purpose. He goes home to tell Boris the good news and they gorge themselves. That night, after their feast, they go in... (full context)
Chapter 8
Poverty as Prison Theme Icon
Poverty is Unnecessary Theme Icon
Honesty Does Not Pay Theme Icon
Thanks to his Russian connections in Paris, Boris hears of another opportunity for him and Orwell to make money. Many Russians are living... (full context)
Poverty as Prison Theme Icon
Honesty Does Not Pay Theme Icon
Boris’s proposal is that they seek out a group of Bolshevik newspapermen who run a communist... (full context)
Honesty Does Not Pay Theme Icon
...publisher scolds Orwell for not bringing a load of washing with him as a cover. Boris, the publisher, and the journalist speak in Russian while Orwell imagines their discussion is like... (full context)
Poverty as Prison Theme Icon
Poverty as Opportunity Theme Icon
Honesty Does Not Pay Theme Icon
The mail, however, brings nothing, and when Orwell and Boris return to the secret society headquarters to investigate, the men are gone. Orwell then concludes... (full context)
Chapter 9
Poverty as Prison Theme Icon
Honesty Does Not Pay Theme Icon
Orwell and Boris get ready to pay a visit to the new Russian restaurant. Boris talks about the... (full context)
Poverty as Opportunity Theme Icon
Honesty Does Not Pay Theme Icon
...decorates the walls with erotic art. Orwell thinks the patron is dishonest and incapable, but Boris, as usual, is optimistic. He’s confident that once the restaurant opens in two weeks, he’ll... (full context)
Poverty as Prison Theme Icon
Honesty Does Not Pay Theme Icon
...in bed, depressed and hungry, convinced the Auberge de Jehan Cottard will never open. Then Boris shows up out of the blue with a loaf of bread and good news: he... (full context)
Chapter 10
Poverty is Unnecessary Theme Icon
Honesty Does Not Pay Theme Icon
When Boris hears of this, he is furious and tells Orwell to go back to Hotel X... (full context)
Chapter 11
Poverty as Prison Theme Icon
Poverty is Unnecessary Theme Icon
...is correct down to the last lump of sugar. He works in the basement with Boris, Mario, and Magyar. With fourteen years of experience as a water, Mario is a master... (full context)
Chapter 13
Poverty as Prison Theme Icon
Poverty is Unnecessary Theme Icon
...off his mustache. It seems an odd order until Orwell, having discussed the matter with Boris and gained more experience in restaurant work, finds out that a man’s facial hair is... (full context)
Chapter 15
Poverty as Prison Theme Icon
Poverty is Unnecessary Theme Icon
...days when he went without food. His story is remarkably like that of Orwell and Boris. Valenti can’t afford to buy a drink at the café where people engage waiters, so... (full context)
Chapter 16
Poverty as Prison Theme Icon
Poverty is Unnecessary Theme Icon
Honesty Does Not Pay Theme Icon
Orwell and Boris pay a visit to the Auberge de Jehan Cottard to see if it is close... (full context)
Chapter 19
Poverty as Prison Theme Icon
Poverty is Unnecessary Theme Icon
Honesty Does Not Pay Theme Icon
After Orwell has been working at Hotel X for a little over a month, Boris persuades him to give notice, for the Auberge de Jehan Cottard is finally set to... (full context)
Poverty as Prison Theme Icon
Poverty is Unnecessary Theme Icon
Honesty Does Not Pay Theme Icon
...Meanwhile, Orwell, who is broke again, is back to a diet of dry bread, and Boris borrows money from the patron and another Auberge waiter, spending the bulk on a “woman... (full context)
Poverty as Prison Theme Icon
Poverty is Unnecessary Theme Icon
Honesty Does Not Pay Theme Icon
...to finish the Auberge do shoddy work. On the night prior to opening, Orwell and Boris work hard to clean all the crockery and silverware, while Jules loafs and the cook... (full context)
Chapter 20
Poverty as Prison Theme Icon
Poverty is Unnecessary Theme Icon
Honesty Does Not Pay Theme Icon
...staff, too tired to feel any pity, mocks her, and everyone bickers throughout the day. Boris and Jules come to blows over Boris pocketing the bulk of the tips. (full context)
Chapter 21
Poverty as Prison Theme Icon
Poverty is Unnecessary Theme Icon
Honesty Does Not Pay Theme Icon
...so she is bound to trip on it. Conditions deteriorate even further. No one, including Boris and Orwell, is on speaking terms. Jules steals food in the name of principle. Rats... (full context)