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 communication.
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 infallibIe 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 don't even like having married women there,' she added.
'Girls are always supposed to be so pure. Here's one who isn't,
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 couId. 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
He began telling her the story of his married life, but curiousIy
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 toId 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; peopIe 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 simpIy 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
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
'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
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.
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