LETTER : Likely yarn

Sir: I fear that the origin of the expression "toe-rag" (Letters, 20 June) is altogether more literal - and horrible - than any previously described. I read the following passage from George Orwell's Down and Out in Paris and London only this morning:

Less than half the tramps actually bathed . . . but they all washed their faces and feet, and the horrid greasy little clouts known as toe-rags which they bind around their toes.

Their purpose, however, still remains unclear.

JONATHAN COPE

London SW16

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