But it is in Orwell’s simple humanity that we get the clearest picture of him. He expects people to be as direct and as straight with him as he was with them. He responds stoically to the death of his first wife and to his own mortal illness: he was carried off by tuberculosis at the age of 46. Above all, this is a man with no side. Seldom can there have been a more down-to-earth Old Etonian, who wrote about working–class people not to manipulate them for political purposes, but because of a genuine concern for and fascination with them.