a boy in boots,—top boots

Category: Class | Type: Discussion | Title: Great Expectations (in Context) | Author: Charles Dickens | Ch: Chapter XXVII

Servants were often called not by their actual name but by their function. A "boots" in an inn cleaned the travelers' boots and shoes during the night. The OED lists this use in "Dickens Sketches by Boz 1st Ser. II. 218: "'I'm the boots as b'longs to the house.""

Boots and a boy. Pip outfits him in top boots, which cover the calf and often at the top a band of contrasting-colored leather. Like the decorations to his chambers, "some quite unnecessary and inappropriate." Pip's ornamenting the boy with fancy boots seeks to neutralize his recollection of "the thick boots," "the heavy boots" he wore and that Estella ridiculed. 

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