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1984 by George Orwell
Chapter 1
It was the middle of the morning, and Winston had left the cubicle to go to the lavatory.
A solitary figure was coming towards him from the other end of the long, brightly-lit corridor.
It was the girl with dark hair. Four days had gone past since the evening when he had
run into her outside the junk-shop. As she came nearer he saw that her right arm was
in a sling, not noticeable at a distance because it was of the same colour as her overalls.
Probably she had crushed her hand while swinging round one of the big kaleidoscopes on which
the plots of novels were 'roughed in'. It was a common accident in the Fiction Department.
They were perhaps four metres apart when the girl stumbled and fell almost flat on her
face. A sharp cry of pain was wrung out of her. She must have fallen right on the injured
arm. Winston stopped short. The girl had risen to her knees. Her face had turned a milky
yellow colour against which her mouth stood out redder than ever. Her eyes were fixed
on his, with an appealing expression that looked more like fear than pain.
A curious emotion stirred in Winston's heart. In front of him was an enemy who was trying
to kill him: in front of him, also, was a human creature, in pain and perhaps with a
broken bone. Already he had instinctively started forward to help her. In the moment
when he had seen her fall on the bandaged arm, it had been as though he felt the pain
in his own body.
'You're hurt?' he said.
'It's nothing. My arm. It'll be all right in a second.'
She spoke as though her heart were fluttering. She had certainly turned very pale.
'You haven't broken anything?'
'No, I'm all right. It hurt for a moment, that's all.'
She held out her free hand to him, and he helped her up. She had regained some of her
colour, and appeared very much better.
'It's nothing,' she repeated shortly. 'I only gave my wrist a bit of a bang. Thanks, comrade!'
And with that she walked on in the direction in which she had been going, as briskly as
though it had really been nothing. The whole incident could not have taken as much as half
a minute. Not to let one's feelings appear in one's face was a habit that had acquired
the status of an instinct, and in any case they had been standing straight in front of
a telescreen when the thing happened. Nevertheless it had been very difficult not to betray a
momentary surprise, for in the two or three seconds while he was helping her up the girl
had slipped something into his hand. There was no question that she had done it intentionally.
It was something small and flat. As he passed through the lavatory door he transferred it
to his pocket and felt it with the tips of his fingers. It was a scrap of paper folded
into a square.
While he stood at the urinal he managed, with a little more fingering, to get it unfolded.
Obviously there must be a message of some kind written on it. For a moment he was tempted
to take it into one of the water-closets and read it at once. But that would be shocking
folly, as he well knew. There was no place where you could be more certain that the telescreens
were watched continuously.
He went back to his cubicle, sat down, threw the fragment of paper casually among the other
papers on the desk, put on his spectacles and hitched the speakwrite towards him. 'five
minutes,' he told himself, 'five minutes at the very least!' His heart bumped in his breast
with frightening loudness. Fortunately the piece of work he was engaged on was mere routine,
the rectification of a long list of figures, not needing close attention.
Whatever was written on the paper, it must have some kind of political meaning. So far
as he could see there were two possibilities. One, much the more likely, was that the girl
was an agent of the Thought Police, just as he had feared. He did not know why the Thought
Police should choose to deliver their messages in such a fashion, but perhaps they had their
reasons. The thing that was written on the paper might be a threat, a summons, an order
to commit suicide, a trap of some description. But there was another, wilder possibility
that kept raising its head, though he tried vainly to suppress it. This was, that the
message did not come from the Thought Police at all, but from some kind of underground
organization. Perhaps the Brotherhood existed after all! Perhaps the girl was part of it!
No doubt the idea was absurd, but it had sprung into his mind in the very instant of feeling
the scrap of paper in his hand. It was not till a couple of minutes later that the other,
more probable explanation had occurred to him. And even now, though his intellect told
him that the message probably meant death — still, that was not what he believed,
and the unreasonable hope persisted, and his heart banged, and it was with difficulty that
he kept his voice from trembling as he murmured his figures into the speakwrite.
He rolled up the completed bundle of work and slid it into the pneumatic tube. Eight
minutes had gone by. He re-adjusted his spectacles on his nose, sighed, and drew the next batch
of work towards him, with the scrap of paper on top of it. He flattened it out. On it was
written, in a large unformed handwriting:
I love you.
For several seconds he was too stunned even to throw the incriminating thing into the
memory hole. When he did so, although he knew very well the danger of showing too much interest,
he could not resist reading it once again, just to make sure that the words were really
For the rest of the morning it was very difficult to work. What was even worse than having to
focus his mind on a series of niggling jobs was the need to conceal his agitation from
the telescreen. He felt as though a fire were burning in his belly. Lunch in the hot, crowded,
noise-filled canteen was torment. He had hoped to be alone for a little while during the
lunch hour, but as bad luck would have it the imbecile Parsons flopped down beside him,
the tang of his sweat almost defeating the tinny smell of stew, and kept up a stream
of talk about the preparations for Hate Week. He was particularly enthusiastic about a papier-mache
model of Big Brother's head, two metres wide, which was being made for the occasion by his
daughter's troop of Spies. The irritating thing was that in the racket of voices Winston
could hardly hear what Parsons was saying, and was constantly having to ask for some
fatuous remark to be repeated. Just once he caught a glimpse of the girl, at a table with
two other girls at the far end of the room. She appeared not to have seen him, and he
did not look in that direction again.
The afternoon was more bearable. Immediately after lunch there arrived a delicate, difficult
piece of work which would take several hours and necessitated putting everything else aside.
It consisted in falsifying a series of production reports of two years ago, in such a way as
to cast discredit on a prominent member of the Inner Party, who was now under a cloud.
This was the kind of thing that Winston was good at, and for more than two hours he succeeded
in shutting the girl out of his mind altogether. Then the memory of her face came back, and
with it a raging, intolerable desire to be alone. Until he could be alone it was impossible
to think this new development out. Tonight was one of his nights at the Community Centre.
He wolfed another tasteless meal in the canteen, hurried off to the Centre, took part in the
solemn foolery of a 'discussion group', played two games of table tennis, swallowed several
glasses of gin, and sat for half an hour through a lecture entitled 'Ingsoc in relation to
chess'. His soul writhed with boredom, but for once he had had no impulse to shirk his
evening at the Centre. At the sight of the words I love you the desire to stay alive
had welled up in him, and the taking of minor risks suddenly seemed stupid. It was not till
twenty-three hours, when he was home and in bed — in the darkness, where you were safe
even from the telescreen so long as you kept silent — that he was able to think continuously.
It was a physical problem that had to be solved: how to get in touch with the girl and arrange
a meeting. He did not consider any longer the possibility that she might be laying some
kind of trap for him. He knew that it was not so, because of her unmistakable agitation
when she handed him the note. Obviously she had been frightened out of her wits, as well
she might be. Nor did the idea of refusing her advances even cross his mind. Only five
nights ago he had contemplated smashing her skull in with a cobblestone, but that was
of no importance. He thought of her naked, youthful body, as he had seen it in his dream.
He had imagined her a fool like all the rest of them, her head stuffed with lies and hatred,
her belly full of ice. A kind of fever seized him at the thought that he might lose her,
the white youthful body might slip away from him! What he feared more than anything else
was that she would simply change her mind if he did not get in touch with her quickly.
But the physical difficulty of meeting was enormous. It was like trying to make a move
at chess when you were already mated. Whichever way you turned, the telescreen faced you.
Actually, all the possible ways of communicating with her had occurred to him within five minutes
of reading the note; but now, with time to think, he went over them one by one, as though
laying out a row of instruments on a table.
Obviously the kind of encounter that had happened this morning could not be repeated. If she
had worked in the Records Department it might have been comparatively simple, but he had
only a very dim idea whereabouts in the building the Fiction Departrnent lay, and he had no
pretext for going there. If he had known where she lived, and at what time she left work,
he could have contrived to meet her somewhere on her way home; but to try to follow her
home was not safe, because it would mean loitering about outside the Ministry, which was bound
to be noticed. As for sending a letter through the mails, it was out of the question. By
a routine that was not even secret, all letters were opened in transit. Actually, few people
ever wrote letters. For the messages that it was occasionally necessary to send, there
were printed postcards with long lists of phrases, and you struck out the ones that
were inapplicable. In any case he did not know the girl's name, let alone her address.
Finally he decided that the safest place was the canteen. If he could get her at a table
by herself, somewhere in the middle of the room, not too near the telescreens, and with
a sufficient buzz of conversation all round — if these conditions endured for, say,
thirty seconds, it might be possible to exchange a few words.
For a week after this, life was like a restless dream. On the next day she did not appear
in the canteen until he was leaving it, the whistle having already blown. Presumably she
had been changed on to a later shift. They passed each other without a glance. On the
day after that she was in the canteen at the usual time, but with three other girls and
immediately under a telescreen. Then for three dreadful days she did not appear at all. His
whole mind and body seemed to be afflicted with an unbearable sensitivity, a sort of
transparency, which made every movement, every sound, every contact, every word that he had
to speak or listen to, an agony. Even in sleep he could not altogether escape from her image.
He did not touch the diary during those days. If there was any relief, it was in his work,
in which he could sometimes forget himself for ten minutes at a stretch. He had absolutely
no clue as to what had happened to her. There was no enquiry he could make. She might have
been vaporized, she might have committed suicide, she might have been transferred to the other
end of Oceania: worst and likeliest of all, she might simply have changed her mind and
decided to avoid him.
The next day she reappeared. Her arm was out of the sling and she had a band of sticking-plaster
round her wrist. The relief of seeing her was so great that he could not resist staring
directly at her for several seconds. On the following day he very nearly succeeded in
speaking to her. When he came into the canteen she was sitting at a table well out from the
wall, and was quite alone. It was early, and the place was not very full. The queue edged
forward till Winston was almost at the counter, then was held up for two minutes because someone
in front was complaining that he had not received his tablet of saccharine. But the girl was
still alone when Winston secured his tray and began to make for her table. He walked
casually towards her, his eyes searching for a place at some table beyond her. She was
perhaps three metres away from him. Another two seconds would do it. Then a voice behind
him called, 'Smith!' He pretended not to hear. 'Smith!' repeated the voice, more loudly.
It was no use. He turned round. A blond-headed, silly-faced young man named Wilsher, whom
he barely knew, was inviting him with a smile to a vacant place at his table. It was not
safe to refuse. After having been recognized, he could not go and sit at a table with an
unattended girl. It was too noticeable. He sat down with a friendly smile. The silly
blond face beamed into his. Winston had a hallucination of himself smashing a pick-axe
right into the middle of it. The girl's table filled up a few minutes later.
But she must have seen him coming towards her, and perhaps she would take the hint.
Next day he took care to arrive early. Surely enough, she was at a table in about the same
place, and again alone. The person immediately ahead of him in the queue was a small, swiftly-moving,
beetle-like man with a flat face and tiny, suspicious eyes. As Winston turned away from
the counter with his tray, he saw that the little man was making straight for the girl's
table. His hopes sank again. There was a vacant place at a table further away, but something
in the little man's appearance suggested that he would be sufficiently attentive to his
own comfort to choose the emptiest table. With ice at his heart Winston followed. It
was no use unless he could get the girl alone. At this moment there was a tremendous crash.
The little man was sprawling on all fours, his tray had gone flying, two streams of soup
and coffee were flowing across the floor. He started to his feet with a malignant glance
at Winston, whom he evidently suspected of having tripped him up. But it was all right.
Five seconds later, with a thundering heart, Winston was sitting at the girl's table.
He did not look at her. He unpacked his tray and promptly began eating. It was all-important
to speak at once, before anyone else came, but now a terrible fear had taken possession
of him. A week had gone by since she had first approached him. She would have changed her
mind, she must have changed her mind! It was impossible that this affair should end successfully;
such things did not happen in real life. He might have flinched altogether from speaking
if at this moment he had not seen Ampleforth, the hairy-eared poet, wandering limply round
the room with a tray, looking for a place to sit down. In his vague way Ampleforth was
attached to Winston, and would certainly sit down at his table if he caught sight of him.
There was perhaps a minute in which to act. Both Winston and the girl were eating steadily.
The stuff they were eating was a thin stew, actually a soup, of haricot beans. In a low
murmur Winston began speaking. Neither of them looked up; steadily they spooned the
watery stuff into their mouths, and between spoonfuls exchanged the few necessary words
in low expressionless voices.
'What time do you leave work?'
'Where can we meet?'
'Victory Square, near the monument.'
'It's full of telescreens.'
'It doesn't matter if there's a crowd.'
'Any signal?'
'No. don't come up to me until you see me among a lot of people. And don't look at me.
Just keep somewhere near me.'
'What time?'
'Nineteen hours.'
'All right.'
Ampleforth failed to see Winston and sat down at another table. They did not speak again,
and, so far as it was possible for two people sitting on opposite sides of the same table,
they did not look at one another. The girl finished her lunch quickly and made off, while
Winston stayed to smoke a cigarette.
Winston was in Victory Square before the appointed time. He wandered round the base of the enormous
fluted column, at the top of which Big Brother's statue gazed southward towards the skies where
he had vanquished the Eurasian aeroplanes (the Eastasian aeroplanes, it had been, a
few years ago) in the Battle of Airstrip One. In the street in front of it there was a statue
of a man on horseback which was supposed to represent Oliver Cromwell. At five minutes
past the hour the girl had still not appeared. Again the terrible fear seized upon Winston.
She was not coming, she had changed her mind! He walked slowly up to the north side of the
square and got a sort of pale-coloured pleasure from identifying St. Martin's Church, whose
bells, when it had bells, had chimed 'You owe me three farthings.' Then he saw the girl
standing at the base of the monument, reading or pretending to read a poster which ran spirally
up the column. It was not safe to go near her until some more people had accumulated.
There were telescreens all round the pediment. But at this moment there was a din of shouting
and a zoom of heavy vehicles from somewhere to the left. Suddenly everyone seemed to be
running across the square. The girl nipped nimbly round the lions at the base of the
monument and joined in the rush. Winston followed. As he ran, he gathered from some shouted remarks
that a convoy of Eurasian prisoners was passing.
Already a dense mass of people was blocking the south side of the square. Winston, at
normal times the kind of person who gravitates to the outer edge of any kind of scrimmage,
shoved, butted, squirmed his way forward into the heart of the crowd. Soon he was within
arm's length of the girl, but the way was blocked by an enormous prole and an almost
equally enormous woman, presumably his wife, who seemed to form an impenetrable wall of
flesh. Winston wriggled himself sideways, and with a violent lunge managed to drive
his shoulder between them. For a moment it felt as though his entrails were being ground
to pulp between the two muscular hips, then he had broken through, sweating a little.
He was next to the girl. They were shoulder to shoulder, both staring fixedly in front
of them.
A long line of trucks, with wooden-faced guards armed with sub-machine guns standing upright
in each corner, was passing slowly down the street. In the trucks little yellow men in
shabby greenish uniforms were squatting, jammed close together. Their sad, Mongolian faces
gazed out over the sides of the trucks utterly incurious. Occasionally when a truck jolted
there was a clank-clank of metal: all the prisoners were wearing leg-irons. Truck-load
after truck-load of the sad faces passed. Winston knew they were there but he saw them
only intermittently. The girl's shoulder, and her arm right down to the elbow, were
pressed against his. Her cheek was almost near enough for him to feel its warmth. She
had immediately taken charge of the situation, just as she had done in the canteen. She began
speaking in the same expressionless voice as before, with lips barely moving, a mere
murmur easily drowned by the din of voices and the rumbling of the trucks.
'Can you hear me?'
'Can you get Sunday afternoon off?'
'Then listen carefully. You'll have to remember this. Go to Paddington Station—'
With a sort of military precision that astonished him, she outlined the route that he was to
follow. A half-hour railway journey; turn left outside the station; two kilometres along
the road: a gate with the top bar missing; a path across a field; a grass-grown lane;
a track between bushes; a dead tree with moss on it. It was as though she had a map inside
her head. 'Can you remember all that?' she murmured finally.
'You turn left, then right, then left again. And the gate's got no top bar.'
'Yes. What time?'
'About fifteen. You may have to wait. I'll get there by another way. Are you sure you
remember everything?'
'Then get away from me as quick as you can.'
She need not have told him that. But for the moment they could not extricate themselves
from the crowd. The trucks were still filing post, the people still insatiably gaping.
At the start there had been a few boos and hisses, but it came only from the Party members
among the crowd, and had soon stopped. The prevailing emotion was simply curiosity. Foreigners,
whether from Eurasia or from Eastasia, were a kind of strange animal. One literally never
saw them except in the guise of prisoners, and even as prisoners one never got more than
a momentary glimpse of them. Nor did one know what became of them, apart from the few who
were hanged as war-criminals: the others simply vanished, presumably into forced-labour camps.
The round Mogol faces had given way to faces of a more European type, dirty, bearded and
exhausted. From over scrubby cheekbones eyes looked into Winston's, sometimes with strange
intensity, and flashed away again. The convoy was drawing to an end. In the last truck he
could see an aged man, his face a mass of grizzled hair, standing upright with wrists
crossed in front of him, as though he were used to having them bound together. It was
almost time for Winston and the girl to part. But at the last moment, while the crowd still
hemmed them in, her hand felt for his and gave it a fleeting squeeze.
It could not have been ten seconds, and yet it seemed a long time that their hands were
clasped together. He had time to learn every detail of her hand. He explored the long fingers,
the shapely nails, the work-hardened palm with its row of callouses, the smooth flesh
under the wrist. Merely from feeling it he would have known it by sight. In the same
instant it occurred to him that he did not know what colour the girl's eyes were. They
were probably brown, but people with dark hair sometimes had blue eyes. To turn his
head and look at her would have been inconceivable folly. With hands locked together, invisible
among the press of bodies, they stared steadily in front of them, and instead of the eyes
of the girl, the eyes of the aged prisoner gazed mournfully at Winston out of nests of
Chapter : 2
Winston picked his way up the lane through dappled light and shade, stepping out into
pools of gold wherever the boughs parted. Under the trees to the left of him the ground
was misty with bluebells. The air seemed to kiss one's skin. It was the second of May.
From somewhere deeper in the heart of the wood came the droning of ring doves.
He was a bit early. There had been no difficulties about the journey, and the girl was so evidently
experienced that he was less frightened than he would normally have been. Presumably she
could be trusted to find a safe place. In general you could not assume that you were
much safer in the country than in London. There were no telescreens, of course, but
there was always the danger of concealed microphones by which your voice might be picked up and
recognized; besides, it was not easy to make a journey by yourself without attracting attention.
For distances of less than 100 kilometres it was not necessary to get your passport
endorsed, but sometimes there were patrols hanging about the railway stations, who examined
the papers of any Party member they found there and asked awkward questions. However,
no patrols had appeared, and on the walk from the station he had made sure by cautious backward
glances that he was not being followed. The train was full of proles, in holiday mood
because of the summery weather. The wooden-seated carriage in which he travelled was filled
to overflowing by a single enormous family, ranging from a toothless great-grandmother
to a month-old baby, going out to spend an afternoon with 'in-laws' in the country, and,
as they freely explained to Winston, to get hold of a little blackmarket butter.
The lane widened, and in a minute he came to the footpath she had told him of, a mere
cattle-track which plunged between the bushes. He had no watch, but it could not be fifteen
yet. The bluebells were so thick underfoot that it was impossible not to tread on them.
He knelt down and began picking some partly to pass the time away, but also from a vague
idea that he would like to have a bunch of flowers to offer to the girl when they met.
He had got together a big bunch and was smelling their faint sickly scent when a sound at his
back froze him, the unmistakable crackle of a foot on twigs. He went on picking bluebells.
It was the best thing to do. It might be the girl, or he might have been followed after
all. To look round was to show guilt. He picked another and another. A hand fell lightly on
his shoulder.
He looked up. It was the girl. She shook her head, evidently as a warning that he must
keep silent, then parted the bushes and quickly led the way along the narrow track into the
wood. Obviously she had been that way before, for she dodged the boggy bits as though by
habit. Winston followed, still clasping his bunch of flowers. His first feeling was relief,
but as he watched the strong slender body moving in front of him, with the scarlet sash
that was just tight enough to bring out the curve of her hips, the sense of his own inferiority
was heavy upon him. Even now it seemed quite likely that when she turned round and looked
at him she would draw back after all. The sweetness of the air and the greenness of
the leaves daunted him. Already on the walk from the station the May sunshine had made
him feel dirty and etiolated, a creature of indoors, with the sooty dust of London in
the pores of his skin. It occurred to him that till now she had probably never seen
him in broad daylight in the open. They came to the fallen tree that she had spoken of.
The girl hopped over and forced apart the bushes, in which there did not seem to be
an opening. When Winston followed her, he found that they were in a natural clearing,
a tiny grassy knoll surrounded by tall saplings that shut it in completely. The girl stopped
and turned.
'Here we are,' she said.
He was facing her at several paces" distance. As yet he did not dare move nearer to her.
'I didn't want to say anything in the lane,' she went on, 'in case there's a mike hidden
there. I don't suppose there is, but there could be. There's always the chance of one
of those swine recognizing your voice. We're all right here.'
He still had not the courage to approach her. 'We're all right here?' he repeated stupidly.
'Yes. Look at the trees.' They were small ashes, which at some time had been cut down
and had sprouted up again into a forest of poles, none of them thicker than one's wrist.
'There's nothing big enough to hide a mike in. Besides, I've been here before.'
They were only making conversation. He had managed to move closer to her now. She stood
before him very upright, with a smile on her face that looked faintly ironical, as though
she were wondering why he was so slow to act. The bluebells had cascaded on to the ground.
They seemed to have fallen of their own accord. He took her hand.
'Would you believe,' he said, 'that till this moment I didn't know what colour your eyes
were?' They were brown, he noted, a rather light shade of brown, with dark lashes. 'Now
that you've seen what I'm really like, can you still bear to look at me?'
'Yes, easily.'
'I'm thirty-nine years old. I've got a wife that I can't get rid of. I've got varicose
veins. I've got five false teeth.'
'I couldn't care less,' said the girl.
The next moment, it was hard to say by whose act, she was in his his arms. At the beginning
he had no feeling except sheer incredulity. The youthful body was strained against his
own, the mass of dark hair was against his face, and yes! actually she had turned her
face up and he was kissing the wide red mouth. She had clasped her arms about his neck, she
was calling him darling, precious one, loved one. He had pulled her down on to the ground,
she was utterly unresisting, he could do what he liked with her. But the truth was that
he had no physical sensation, except that of mere contact. All he felt was incredulity
and pride. He was glad that this was happening, but he had no physical desire. It was too
soon, her youth and prettiness had frightened him, he was too much used to living without
women — he did not know the reason. The girl picked herself up and pulled a bluebell
out of her hair. She sat against him, putting her arm round his waist.
'Never mind, dear. There's no hurry. We've got the whole afternoon. Isn't this a splendid
hide-out? I found it when I got lost once on a community hike. If anyone was coming
you could hear them a hundred metres away.'
'What is your name?' said Winston.
'Julia. I know yours. It's Winston — Winston Smith.'
'How did you find that out?'
'I expect I'm better at finding things out than you are, dear. Tell me, what did you
think of me before that day I gave you the note?'
He did not feel any temptation to tell lies to her. It was even a sort of love-offering
to start off by telling the worst.
'I hated the sight of you,' he said. 'I wanted to rape you and then murder you afterwards.
Two weeks ago I thought seriously of smashing your head in with a cobblestone. If you really
want to know, I imagined that you had something to do with the Thought Police.'
The girl laughed delightedly, evidently taking this as a tribute to the excellence of her
'Not the Thought Police! You didn't honestly think that?'
'Well, perhaps not exactly that. But from your general appearance — merely because
you're young and fresh and healthy, you understand — I thought that probably—'
'You thought I was a good Party member. Pure in word and deed. Banners, processions, slogans,
games, community hikes all that stuff. And you thought that if I had a quarter of a chance
I'd denounce you as a thought-criminal and get you killed off?'
'Yes, something of that kind. A great many young girls are like that, you know.'
'It's this bloody thing that does it,' she said, ripping off the scarlet sash of the
Junior Anti-Sex League and flinging it on to a bough. Then, as though touching her waist
had reminded her of something, she felt in the pocket of her overalls and produced a
small slab of chocolate. She broke it in half and gave one of the pieces to Winston. Even
before he had taken it he knew by the smell that it was very unusual chocolate. It was
dark and shiny, and was wrapped in silver paper. Chocolate normally was dull-brown crumbly
stuff that tasted, as nearly as one could describe it, like the smoke of a rubbish fire.
But at some time or another he had tasted chocolate like the piece she had given him.
The first whiff of its scent had stirred up some memory which he could not pin down, but
which was powerful and troubling.
'Where did you get this stuff?' he said.
'Black market,' she said indifferently. 'Actually I am that sort of girl, to look at. I'm good
at games. I was a troop-leader in the Spies. I do voluntary work three evenings a week
for the Junior Anti-Sex League. Hours and hours I've spent pasting their bloody rot
all over London. I always carry one end of a banner in the processions. I always Iook
cheerful and I never shirk anything. Always yell with the crowd, that's what I say. It's
the only way to be safe.'
The first fragment of chocolate had melted on Winston's tongue. The taste was delightful.
But there was still that memory moving round the edges of his consciousness, something
strongly felt but not reducible to definite shape, like an object seen out of the corner
of one's eye. He pushed it away from him, aware only that it was the memory of some
action which he would have liked to undo but could not.
'You are very young,' he said. 'You are ten or fifteen years younger than I am. What could
you see to attract you in a man like me?'
'It was something in your face. I thought I'd take a chance. I'm good at spotting people
who don't belong. As soon as I saw you I knew you were against them.'
Them, it appeared, meant the Party, and above all the Inner Party, about whom she talked
with an open jeering hatred which made Winston feel uneasy, although he knew that they were
safe here if they could be safe anywhere. A thing that astonished him about her was
the coarseness of her language. Party members were supposed not to swear, and Winston himself
very seldom did swear, aloud, at any rate. Julia, however, seemed unable to mention the
Party, and especially the Inner Party, without using the kind of words that you saw chalked
up in dripping alley-ways. He did not dislike it. It was merely one symptom of her revolt
against the Party and all its ways, and somehow it seemed natural and healthy, like the sneeze
of a horse that smells bad hay. They had left the clearing and were wandering again through
the chequered shade, with their arms round each other's waists whenever it was wide enough
to walk two abreast. He noticed how much softer her waist seemed to feel now that the sash
was gone. They did not speak above a whisper. Outside the clearing, Julia said, it was better
to go quietly. Presently they had reached the edge of the little wood. She stopped him.
'Don't go out into the open. There might be someone watching. We're all right if we keep
behind the boughs.'
They were standing in the shade of hazel bushes. The sunlight, filtering through innumerable
leaves, was still hot on their faces. Winston looked out into the field beyond, and underwent
a curious, slow shock of recognition. He knew it by sight. An old, closebitten pasture,
with a footpath wandering across it and a molehill here and there. In the ragged hedge
on the opposite side the boughs of the elm trees swayed just perceptibly in the breeze,
and their leaves stirred faintly in dense masses like women's hair. Surely somewhere
nearby, but out of sight, there must be a stream with green pools where dace were swimming?
'Isn't there a stream somewhere near here?' he whispered.
'That's right, there is a stream. It's at the edge of the next field, actually. There
are fish in it, great big ones. You can watch them lying in the pools under the willow trees,
waving their tails.'
'It's the Golden Country — almost,' he murmured.
'The Golden Country?'
'It's nothing, really. A landscape I've seen sometimes in a dream.'
'Look!' whispered Julia.
A thrush had alighted on a bough not five metres away, almost at the level of their
faces. Perhaps it had not seen them. It was in the sun, they in the shade. It spread out
its wings, fitted them carefully into place again, ducked its head for a moment, as though
making a sort of obeisance to the sun, and then began to pour forth a torrent of song.
In the afternoon hush the volume of sound was startling. Winston and Julia clung together,
fascinated. The music went on and on, minute after minute, with astonishing variations,
never once repeating itself, almost as though the bird were deliberately showing off its
virtuosity. Sometimes it stopped for a few seconds, spread out and resettled its wings,
then swelled its speckled breast and again burst into song. Winston watched it with a
sort of vague reverence. For whom, for what, was that bird singing? No mate, no rival was
watching it. What made it sit at the edge of the lonely wood and pour its music into
nothingness? He wondered whether after all there was a microphone hidden somewhere near.
He and Julia had spoken only in low whispers, and it would not pick up what they had said,
but it would pick up the thrush. Perhaps at the other end of the instrument some small,
beetle-like man was listening intently — listening to that. But by degrees the flood of music
drove all speculations out of his mind. It was as though it were a kind of liquid stuff
that poured all over him and got mixed up with the sunlight that filtered through the
leaves. He stopped thinking and merely felt. The girl's waist in the bend of his arm was
soft and warm. He pulled her round so that they were breast to breast; her body seemed
to melt into his. Wherever his hands moved it was all as yielding as water. Their mouths
clung together; it was quite different from the hard kisses they had exchanged earlier.
When they moved their faces apart again both of them sighed deeply. The bird took fright
and fled with a clatter of wings.
Winston put his lips against her ear. 'Now,' he whispered.
'Not here,' she whispered back. 'Come back to the hideout. It's safer.'
Quickly, with an occasional crackle of twigs, they threaded their way back to the clearing.
When they were once inside the ring of saplings she turned and faced him. They were both breathing
fast. but the smile had reappeared round the corners of her mouth. She stood looking at
him for an instant, then felt at the zipper of her overalls. And, yes! it was almost as
in his dream. Almost as swiftly as he had imagined it, she had torn her clothes off,
and when she flung them aside it was with that same magnificent gesture by which a whole
civilization seemed to be annihilated. Her body gleamed white in the sun. But for a moment
he did not look at her body; his eyes were anchored by the freckled face with its faint,
bold smile. He knelt down before her and took her hands in his.
'Have you done this before?'
'Of course. Hundreds of times — well, scores of times anyway.'
'With Party members?'
'Yes, always with Party members.'
'With members of the Inner Party?'
'Not with those swine, no. But there's plenty that would if they got half a chance. They're
not so holy as they make out.'
His heart leapt. Scores of times she had done it: he wished it had been hundreds — thousands.
Anything that hinted at corruption always filled him with a wild hope. Who knew, perhaps
the Party was rotten under the surface, its cult of strenuousness and self-denial simply
a sham concealing iniquity. If he could have infected the whole lot of them with leprosy
or syphilis, how gladly he would have done so! Anything to rot, to weaken, to undermine!
He pulled her down so that they were kneeling face to face.
'Listen. The more men you've had, the more I love you. Do you understand that?'
'Yes, perfectly.'
'I hate purity, I hate goodness! I don't want any virtue to exist anywhere. I want everyone
to be corrupt to the bones.'
'Well then, I ought to suit you, dear. I'm corrupt to the bones.'
'You like doing this? I don't mean simply me: I mean the thing in itself?'
'I adore it.'
That was above all what he wanted to hear. Not merely the love of one person but the
animal instinct, the simple undifferentiated desire: that was the force that would tear
the Party to pieces. He pressed her down upon the grass, among the fallen bluebells. This
time there was no difficulty. Presently the rising and falling of their breasts slowed
to normal speed, and in a sort of pleasant helplessness they fell apart. The sun seemed
to have grown hotter. They were both sleepy. He reached out for the discarded overalls
and pulled them partly over her. Almost immediately they fell asleep and slept for about half
an hour.
Winston woke first. He sat up and watched the freckled face, still peacefully asleep,
pillowed on the palm of her hand. Except for her mouth, you could not call her beautiful.
There was a line or two round the eyes, if you looked closely. The short dark hair was
extraordinarily thick and soft. It occurred to him that he still did not know her surname
or where she lived.
The young, strong body, now helpless in sleep, awoke in him a pitying, protecting feeling.
But the mindless tenderness that he had felt under the hazel tree, while the thrush was
singing, had not quite come back. He pulled the overalls aside and studied her smooth
white flank. In the old days, he thought, a man looked at a girl's body and saw that
it was desirable, and that was the end of the story. But you could not have pure love
or pure lust nowadays. No emotion was pure, because everything was mixed up with fear
and hatred. Their embrace had been a battle, the climax a victory. It was a blow struck
against the Party. It was a political act.
Chapter : 3
'We can come here once again,' said Julia. 'It's generally safe to use any hide-out twice.
But not for another month or two, of course.'
As soon as she woke up her demeanour had changed. She became alert and business-like, put her
clothes on, knotted the scarlet sash about her waist, and began arranging the details
of the journey home. It seemed natural to leave this to her. She obviously had a practical
cunning which Winston lacked, and she seemed also to have an exhaustive knowledge of the
countryside round London, stored away from innumerable community hikes. The route she
gave him was quite different from the one by which he had come, and brought him out
at a different railway station. 'Never go home the same way as you went out,' she said,
as though enunciating an important general principle. She would leave first, and Winston
was to wait half an hour before following her.
She had named a place where they could meet after work, four evenings hence. It was a
street in one of the poorer quarters, where there was an open market which was generally
crowded and noisy. She would be hanging about among the stalls, pretending to be in search
of shoelaces or sewing-thread. If she judged that the coast was clear she would blow her
nose when he approached; otherwise he was to walk past her without recognition. But
with luck, in the middle of the crowd, it would be safe to talk for a quarter of an
hour and arrange another meeting.
'And now I must go,' she said as soon as he had mastered his instructions. 'I'm due back
at nineteen-thirty. I've got to put in two hours for the Junior Anti-Sex League, handing
out leaflets, or something. Isn't it bloody? Give me a brush-down, would you? Have I got
any twigs in my hair? Are you sure? Then good-bye, my love, good-bye!'
She flung herself into his arms, kissed him almost violently, and a moment later pushed
her way through the saplings and disappeared into the wood with very little noise. Even
now he had not found out her surname or her address. However, it made no difference, for
it was inconceivable that they could ever meet indoors or exchange any kind of written
As it happened, they never went back to the clearing in the wood. During the month of
May there was only one further occasion on which they actually succeeded in making love.
That was in another hidlng-place known to Julia, the belfry of a ruinous church in an
almost-deserted stretch of country where an atomic bomb had fallen thirty years earlier.
It was a good hiding-place when once you got there, but the getting there was very dangerous.
For the rest they could meet only in the streets, in a different place every evening and never
for more than half an hour at a time. In the street it was usually possible to talk, after
a fashion. As they drifted down the crowded pavements, not quite abreast and never looking
at one another, they carried on a curious, intermittent conversation which flicked on
and off like the beams of a lighthouse, suddenly nipped into silence by the approach of a Party
uniform or the proximity of a telescreen, then taken up again minutes later in the middle
of a sentence, then abruptly cut short as they parted at the agreed spot, then continued
almost without introduction on the following day. Julia appeared to be quite used to this
kind of conversation, which she called 'talking by instalments'. She was also surprisingly
adept at speaking without moving her lips. Just once in almost a month of nightly meetings
they managed to exchange a kiss. They were passing in silence down a side-street (Julia
would never speak when they were away from the main streets) when there was a deafening
roar, the earth heaved, and the air darkened, and Winston found himself lying on his side,
bruised and terrified. A rocket bomb must have dropped quite near at hand. Suddenly
he became aware of Julia's face a few centimetres from his own, deathly white, as white as chalk.
Even her lips were white. She was dead! He clasped her against him and found that he
was kissing a live warm face. But there was some powdery stuff that got in the way of
his lips. Both of their faces were thickly coated with plaster.
There were evenings when they reached their rendezvous and then had to walk past one another
without a sign, because a patrol had just come round the corner or a helicopter was
hovering overhead. Even if it had been less dangerous, it would still have been difficult
to find time to meet. Winston's working week was sixty hours, Julia's was even longer,
and their free days varied according to the pressure of work and did not often coincide.
Julia, in any case, seldom had an evening completely free. She spent an astonishing
amount of time in attending lectures and demonstrations, distributing literature for the junior Anti-Sex
League, preparing banners for Hate Week, making collections for the savings campaign, and
such-like activities. It paid, she said, it was camouflage. If you kept the small rules,
you could break the big ones. She even induced Winston to mortgage yet another of his evenings
by enrolling himself for the part-time munition work which was done voluntarily by zealous
Party members. So, one evening every week, Winston spent four hours of paralysing boredom,
screwing together small bits of metal which were probably parts of bomb fuses, in a draughty,
ill-lit workshop where the knocking of hammers mingled drearily with the music of the telescreens.
When they met in the church tower the gaps in their fragmentary conversation were filled
up. It was a blazing afternoon. The air in the little square chamber above the bells
was hot and stagnant, and smelt overpoweringly of pigeon dung. They sat talking for hours
on the dusty, twig-littered floor, one or other of them getting up from time to time
to cast a glance through the arrowslits and make sure that no one was coming.
Julia was twenty-six years old. She lived in a hostel with thirty other girls ('Always
in the stink of women! How I hate women!' she said parenthetically), and she worked,
as he had guessed, on the novel-writing machines in the Fiction Department. She enjoyed her
work, which consisted chiefly in running and servicing a powerful but tricky electric motor.
She was 'not clever', but was fond of using her hands and felt at home with machinery.
She could describe the whole process of composing a novel, from the general directive issued
by the Planning Committee down to the final touching-up by the Rewrite Squad. But she
was not interested in the finished product. She 'didn't much care for reading,' she said.
Books were just a commodity that had to be produced, like jam or bootlaces.
She had no memories of anything before the early 'sixties and the only person she had
ever known who talked frequently of the days before the Revolution was a grandfather who
had disappeared when she was eight. At school she had been captain of the hockey team and
had won the gymnastics trophy two years running. She had been a troop-leader in the Spies and
a branch secretary in the Youth League before joining the Junior Anti-Sex League. She had
always borne an excellent character. She had even (an infallible mark of good reputation)
been picked out to work in Pornosec, the sub-section of the Fiction Department which turned out
cheap pornography for distribution among the proles. It was nicknamed Muck House by the
people who worked in it, she remarked. There she had remained for a year, helping to produce
booklets in sealed packets with titles like Spanking Stories or One Night in a Girls"
School, to be bought furtively by proletarian youths who were under the impression that
they were buying something illegal.
'What are these books like?' said Winston curiously.
'Oh, ghastly rubbish. They're boring, really. They only have six plots, but they swap them
round a bit. Of course I was only on the kaleidoscopes. I was never in the Rewrite Squad. I'm not
literary, dear — not even enough for that.'
He learned with astonishment that all the workers in Pornosec, except the heads of the
departments, were girls. The theory was that men, whose sex instincts were less controllable
than those of women, were in greater danger of being corrupted by the filth they handled.
'They don't even like having married women there,' she added. Girls are always supposed
to be so pure. Here's one who isn't, anyway.
She had had her first love-affair when she was sixteen, with a Party member of sixty
who later committed suicide to avoid arrest. 'And a good job too,' said Julia, 'otherwise
they'd have had my name out of him when he confessed.' Since then there had been various
others. Life as she saw it was quite simple. You wanted a good time; 'they', meaning the
Party, wanted to stop you having it; you broke the rules as best you could. She seemed to
think it just as natural that 'they' should want to rob you of your pleasures as that
you should want to avoid being caught. She hated the Party, and said so in the crudest
words, but she made no general criticism of it. Except where it touched upon her own life
she had no interest in Party doctrine. He noticed that she never used Newspeak words
except the ones that had passed into everyday use. She had never heard of the Brotherhood,
and refused to believe in its existence. Any kind of organized revolt against the Party,
which was bound to be a failure, struck her as stupid. The clever thing was to break the
rules and stay alive all the same. He wondered vaguely how many others like her there might
be in the younger generation people who had grown up in the world of the Revolution, knowing
nothing else, accepting the Party as something unalterable, like the sky, not rebelling against
its authority but simply evading it, as a rabbit dodges a dog.
They did not discuss the possibility of getting married. It was too remote to be worth thinking
about. No imaginable committee would ever sanction such a marriage even if Katharine,
Winston's wife, could somehow have been got rid of. It was hopeless even as a daydream.
'What was she like, your wife?' said Julia.
'She was — do you know the Newspeak word goodthinkful? Meaning naturally orthodox,
incapable of thinking a bad thought?'
'No, I didn't know the word, but I know the kind of person, right enough.'
He began telling her the story of his married life, but curiously enough she appeared to
know the essential parts of it already. She described to him, almost as though she had
seen or felt it, the stiffening of Katharine's body as soon as he touched her, the way in
which she still seemed to be pushing him from her with all her strength, even when her arms
were clasped tightly round him. With Julia he felt no difficulty in talking about such
things: Katharine, in any case, had long ceased to be a painful memory and became merely a
distasteful one.
'I could have stood it if it hadn't been for one thing,' he said. He told her about the
frigid little ceremony that Katharine had forced him to go through on the same night
every week. 'She hated it, but nothing would make her stop doing it. She used to call it
— but you'll never guess.'
'Our duty to the Party,' said Julia promptly.
'How did you know that?'
'I've been at school too, dear. Sex talks once a month for the over-sixteens. And in
the Youth Movement. They rub it into you for years. I dare say it works in a lot of cases.
But of course you can never tell; people are such hypocrites.'
She began to enlarge upon the subject. With Julia, everything came back to her own sexuality.
As soon as this was touched upon in any way she was capable of great acuteness. Unlike
Winston, she had grasped the inner meaning of the Party's sexual puritanism. It was not
merely that the sex instinct created a world of its own which was outside the Party's control
and which therefore had to be destroyed if possible. What was more important was that
sexual privation induced hysteria, which was desirable because it could be transformed
into war-fever and leader-worship. The way she put it was:
'When you make love you're using up energy; and afterwards you feel happy and don't give
a damn for anything. They can't bear you to feel like that. They want you to be bursting
with energy all the time. All this marching up and down and cheering and waving flags
is simply sex gone sour. If you're happy inside yourself, why should you get excited about
Big Brother and the Three-Year Plans and the Two Minutes Hate and all the rest of their
bloody rot?'
That was very true, he thought. There was a direct intimate connexion between chastity
and political orthodoxy. For how could the fear, the hatred, and the lunatic credulity
which the Party needed in its members be kept at the right pitch, except by bottling down
some powerful instinct and using it as a driving force? The sex impulse was dangerous to the
Party, and the Party had turned it to account. They had played a similar trick with the instinct
of parenthood. The family could not actually be abolished, and, indeed, people were encouraged
to be fond of their children, in almost the old-fashioned way. The children, on the other
hand, were systematically turned against their parents and taught to spy on them and report
their deviations. The family had become in effect an extension of the Thought Police.
It was a device by means of which everyone could be surrounded night and day by informers
who knew him intimately.
Abruptly his mind went back to Katharine. Katharine would unquestionably have denounced
him to the Thought Police if she had not happened to be too stupid to detect the unorthodoxy
of his opinions. But what really recalled her to him at this moment was the stifling
heat of the afternoon, which had brought the sweat out on his forehead. He began telling
Julia of something that had happened, or rather had failed to happen, on another sweltering
summer afternoon, eleven years ago.
It was three or four months after they were married. They had lost their way on a community
hike somewhere in Kent. They had only lagged behind the others for a couple of minutes,
but they took a wrong turning, and presently found themselves pulled up short by the edge
of an old chalk quarry. It was a sheer drop of ten or twenty metres, with boulders at
the bottom. There was nobody of whom they could ask the way. As soon as she realized
that they were lost Katharine became very uneasy. To be away from the noisy mob of hikers
even for a moment gave her a feeling of wrong-doing. She wanted to hurry back by the way they had
come and start searching in the other direction. But at this moment Winston noticed some tufts
of loosestrife growing in the cracks of the cliff beneath them. One tuft was of two colours,
magenta and brick-red, apparently growing on the same root. He had never seen anything
of the kind before, and he called to Katharine to come and look at it.
'Look, Katharine! Look at those flowers. That clump down near the bottom. Do you see they're
two different colours?'
She had already turned to go, but she did rather fretfully come back for a moment. She
even leaned out over the cliff face to see where he was pointing. He was standing a little
behind her, and he put his hand on her waist to steady her. At this moment it suddenly
occurred to him how completely alone they were. There was not a human creature anywhere,
not a leaf stirring, not even a bird awake. In a place like this the danger that there
would be a hidden microphone was very small, and even if there was a microphone it would
only pick up sounds. It was the hottest sleepiest hour of the afternoon. The sun blazed down
upon them, the sweat tickled his face. And the thought struck him...
'Why didn't you give her a good shove?' said Julia. 'I would have.'
'Yes, dear, you would have. I would, if I'd been the same person then as I am now. Or
perhaps I would — I'm not certain.'
'Are you sorry you didn't?'
'Yes. On the whole I'm sorry I didn't.'
They were sitting side by side on the dusty floor. He pulled her closer against him. Her
head rested on his shoulder, the pleasant smell of her hair conquering the pigeon dung.
She was very young, he thought, she still expected something from life, she did not
understand that to push an inconvenient person over a cliff solves nothing.
'Actually it would have made no difference,' he said.
'Then why are you sorry you didn't do it?'
'Only because I prefer a positive to a negative. In this game that we're playing, we can't
win. Some kinds of failure are better than other kinds, that's all.'
He felt her shoulders give a wriggle of dissent. She always contradicted him when he said anything
of this kind. She would not accept it as a law of nature that the individual is always
defeated. In a way she realized that she herself was doomed, that sooner or later the Thought
Police would catch her and kill her, but with another part of her mind she believed that
it was somehow possible to construct a secret world in which you could live as you chose.
All you needed was luck and cunning and boldness. She did not understand that there was no such
thing as happiness, that the only victory lay in the far future, long after you were
dead, that from the moment of declaring war on the Party it was better to think of yourself
as a corpse.
'We are the dead,' he said.
'We're not dead yet,' said Julia prosaically.
'Not physically. Six months, a year — five years, conceivably. I am afraid of death.
You are young, so presumably you're more afraid of it than I am. Obviously we shall put it
off as long as we can. But it makes very little difference. So long as human beings stay human,
death and life are the same thing.'
'Oh, rubbish! Which would you sooner sleep with, me or a skeleton? don't you enjoy being
alive? don't you like feeling: This is me, this is my hand, this is my leg, I'm real,
I'm solid, I'm alive! don't you like this?'
She twisted herself round and pressed her bosom against him. He could feel her breasts,
ripe yet firm, through her overalls. Her body seemed to be pouring some of its youth and
vigour into his.
'Yes, I like that,' he said.
'Then stop talking about dying. And now listen, dear, we've got to fix up about the next time
we meet. We may as well go back to the place in the wood. We've given it a good long rest.
But you must get there by a different way this time. I've got it all planned out. You
take the train — but look, I'll draw it out for you.'
And in her practical way she scraped together a small square of dust, and with a twig from
a pigeon's nest began drawing a map on the floor.
Chapter : 4
Winston looked round the shabby little room above Mr. Charrington's shop. Beside the window
the enormous bed was made up, with ragged blankets and a coverless bolster. The old-fashioned
clock with the twelve-hour face was ticking away on the mantelpiece. In the corner, on
the gateleg table, the glass paperweight which he had bought on his last visit gleamed softly
out of the half-darkness.
In the fender was a battered tin oilstove, a saucepan, and two cups, provided by Mr.
Charrington. Winston lit the burner and set a pan of water to boil. He had brought an
envelope full of Victory Coffee and some saccharine tablets. The clock's hands said seventeen-twenty:
it was nineteen-twenty really. She was coming at nineteen-thirty.
Folly, folly, his heart kept saying: conscious, gratuitous, suicidal folly. Of all the crimes
that a Party member could commit, this one was the least possible to conceal. Actually
the idea had first floated into his head in the form of a vision, of the glass paperweight
mirrored by the surface of the gateleg table. As he had foreseen, Mr. Charrington had made
no difficulty about letting the room. He was obviously glad of the few dollars that it
would bring him. Nor did he seem shocked or become offensively knowing when it was made
clear that Winston wanted the room for the purpose of a love-affair. Instead he looked
into the middle distance and spoke in generalities, with so delicate an air as to give the impression
that he had become partly invisible. Privacy, he said, was a very valuable thing. Everyone
wanted a place where they could be alone occasionally. And when they had such a place, it was only
common courtesy in anyone else who knew of it to keep his knowledge to himself. He even,
seeming almost to fade out of existence as he did so, added that there were two entries
to the house, one of them through the back yard, which gave on an alley.
Under the window somebody was singing. Winston peeped out, secure in the protection of the
muslin curtain. The June sun was still high in the sky, and in the sun-filled court below,
a monstrous woman, solid as a Norman pillar, with brawny red forearms and a sacking apron
strapped about her middle, was stumping to and fro between a washtub and a clothes line,
pegging out a series of square white things which Winston recognized as babies" diapers.
Whenever her mouth was not corked with clothes pegs she was singing in a powerful contralto:
It was only an 'opeless fancy. It passed like an Ipril dye,
But a look an' a word an' the dreams they stirred
They 'ave stolen my 'eart awye!
The tune had been haunting London for weeks past. It was one of countless similar songs
published for the benefit of the proles by a sub-section of the Music Department. The
words of these songs were composed without any human intervention whatever on an instrument
known as a versificator. But the woman sang so tunefully as to turn the dreadful rubbish
into an almost pleasant sound. He could hear the woman singing and the scrape of her shoes
on the flagstones, and the cries of the children in the street, and somewhere in the far distance
a faint roar of traffic, and yet the room seemed curiously silent, thanks to the absence
of a telescreen.
Folly, folly, folly! he thought again. It was inconceivable that they could frequent
this place for more than a few weeks without being caught. But the temptation of having
a hiding-place that was truly their own, indoors and near at hand, had been too much for both
of them. For some time after their visit to the church belfry it had been impossible to
arrange meetings. Working hours had been drastically increased in anticipation of Hate Week. It
was more than a month distant, but the enormous, complex preparations that it entailed were
throwing extra work on to everybody. Finally both of them managed to secure a free afternoon
on the same day. They had agreed to go back to the clearing in the wood. On the evening
beforehand they met briefly in the street. As usual, Winston hardly looked at Julia as
they drifted towards one another in the crowd, but from the short glance he gave her it seemed
to him that she was paler than usual.
'It's all off,' she murmured as soon as she judged it safe to speak. 'Tomorrow, I mean.'
'Tomorrow afternoon. I can't come.'
'Why not?'
'Oh, the usual reason. It's started early this time.'
For a moment he was violently angry. During the month that he had known her the nature
of his desire for her had changed. At the beginning there had been little true sensuality
in it. Their first love-making had been simply an act of the will. But after the second time
it was different. The smell of her hair, the taste of her mouth, the feeling of her skin
seemed to have got inside him, or into the air all round him. She had become a physical
necessity, something that he not only wanted but felt that he had a right to. When she
said that she could not come, he had the feeling that she was cheating him. But just at this
moment the crowd pressed them together and their hands accidentally met. She gave the
tips of his fingers a quick squeeze that seemed to invite not desire but affection. It struck
him that when one lived with a woman this particular disappointment must be a normal,
recurring event; and a deep tenderness, such as he had not felt for her before, suddenly
took hold of him. He wished that they were a married couple of ten years" standing. He
wished that he were walking through the streets with her just as they were doing now but openly
and without fear, talking of trivialities and buying odds and ends for the household.
He wished above all that they had some place where they could be alone together without
feeling the obligation to make love every time they met. It was not actually at that
moment, but at some time on the following day, that the idea of renting Mr. Charrington's
room had occurred to him. When he suggested it to Julia she had agreed with unexpected
readiness. Both of them knew that it was lunacy. It was as though they were intentionally stepping
nearer to their graves. As he sat waiting on the edge of the bed he thought again of
the cellars of the Ministry of Love. It was curious how that predestined horror moved
in and out of one's consciousness. There it lay, fixed in future times, preceding death
as surely as 99 precedes 100. One could not avoid it, but one could perhaps postpone it:
and yet instead, every now and again, by a conscious, wilful act, one chose to shorten
the interval before it happened.
At this moment there was a quick step on the stairs. Julia burst into the room. She was
carrying a tool-bag of coarse brown canvas, such as he had sometimes seen her carrying
to and fro at the Ministry. He started forward to take her in his arms, but she disengaged
herself rather hurriedly, partly because she was still holding the tool-bag.
'Half a second,' she said. 'Just let me show you what I've brought. Did you bring some
of that filthy Victory Coffee? I thought you would. You can chuck it away again, because
we shan't be needing it. Look here.'
She fell on her knees, threw open the bag, and tumbled out some spanners and a screwdriver
that filled the top part of it. Underneath were a number of neat paper packets. The first
packet that she passed to Winston had a strange and yet vaguely familiar feeling. It was filled
with some kind of heavy, sand-like stuff which yielded wherever you touched it.
'It isn't sugar?' he said.
'Real sugar. Not saccharine, sugar. And here's a loaf of bread — proper white bread, not
our bloody stuff — and a little pot of jam. And here's a tin of milk — but look! This
is the one I'm really proud of. I had to wrap a bit of sacking round it, because—'
But she did not need to tell him why she had wrapped it up. The smell was already filling
the room, a rich hot smell which seemed like an emanation from his early childhood, but
which one did occasionally meet with even now, blowing down a passage-way before a door
slammed, or diffusing itself mysteriously in a crowded street, sniffed for an instant
and then lost again.
'It's coffee,' he murmured, 'real coffee.'
'It's Inner Party coffee. There's a whole kilo here,' she said.
'How did you manage to get hold of all these things?'
'It's all Inner Party stuff. There's nothing those swine don't have, nothing. But of course
waiters and servants and people pinch things, and — look, I got a little packet of tea
as well.'
Winston had squatted down beside her. He tore open a corner of the packet.
'It's real tea. Not blackberry leaves.'
'There's been a lot of tea about lately. They've captured India, or something,' she said vaguely.
'But listen, dear. I want you to turn your back on me for three minutes. Go and sit on
the other side of the bed. don't go too near the window. And don't turn round till I tell
Winston gazed abstractedly through the muslin curtain. Down in the yard the red-armed woman
was still marching to and fro between the washtub and the line. She took two more pegs
out of her mouth and sang with deep feeling:
They sye that time 'eals all things, They sye you can always forget;
But the smiles an' the tears acrorss the years They twist my 'eart-strings yet!
She knew the whole drivelling song by heart, it seemed. Her voice floated upward with the
sweet summer air, very tuneful, charged with a sort of happy melancholy. One had the feeling
that she would have been perfectly content, if the June evening had been endless and the
supply of clothes inexhaustible, to remain there for a thousand years, pegging out diapers
and singing rubbish. It struck him as a curious fact that he had never heard a member of the
Party singing alone and spontaneously. It would even have seemed slightly unorthodox,
a dangerous eccentricity, like talking to oneself. Perhaps it was only when people were
somewhere near the starvation level that they had anything to sing about.
'You can turn round now,' said Julia.
He turned round, and for a second almost failed to recognize her. What he had actually expected
was to see her naked. But she was not naked. The transformation that had happened was much
more surprising than that. She had painted her face.
She must have slipped into some shop in the proletarian quarters and bought herself a