«Contents PART ONE 4 Chapter 1 5 Chapter 2 14 Chapter 3 19 Chapter 4 24 Chapter 5 30 Chapter 6 38 Chapter 7 41 Chapter 8 47 PART TWO 58 Chapter 1 59 ...»
‘I expect you were a beastly little swine in those days,’ she said indistinctly. ‘All children are swine.’ ‘Yes. But the real point of the story—-’ From her breathing it was evident that she was going off to sleep again. He would have liked to continue talking about his mother. He did not suppose, from what he could remember of her, that she had been an unusual woman, still less an intelligent one; and yet she had possessed a kind of nobility, a kind of purity, simply because the standards that she obeyed were private ones. Her feelings were her own, and could not be altered from outside. It would not have occurred to her that an action which is ineffectual thereby becomes meaningless. If you loved someone, you loved him, and when you had nothing else to give, you still gave him love. When the last of the chocolate was gone, his mother had clasped the child in her arms. It was no use, it changed nothing, it did not produce more chocolate, it did not avert the child’s death or her own; but it seemed natural to her to do it. The refugee woman in the boat had also covered the little boy with her arm, which was no more use against the bullets than a sheet of paper. The terrible thing that the Party had done was to persuade you that mere impulses, mere feelings, were of no account, while at the same time robbing you of all power over the material world.
What mattered were individual relationships, and a completely helpless gesture, an embrace, a tear, a word spoken to a dying man, could have value in itself. The proles, it suddenly occurred to him, had remained in this condition. They were not loyal to a party or a country or an idea, they were loyal to one another. For the first time in his life he did not despise the proles or think of them merely as an inert force which would one day spring to life and regenerate the world. The proles had stayed human. They had not become hardened inside. They had held on to the primitive emotions which he himself had to re-learn by conscious effort. And in thinking this he remembered, without apparent relevance, how a few weeks ago he had seen a severed hand lying on the pavement and had kicked it into the gutter as though it had been a cabbage-stalk.
‘The proles are human beings,’ he said aloud. ‘We are not human.’ ‘Why not?’ said Julia, who had woken up again.
He thought for a little while. ‘Has it ever occurred to you,’ he said, ‘that the best thing for us to do would be simply to walk out of here before it’s too late, and never see each other again?’ ‘Yes, dear, it has occurred to me, several times. But I’m not going to do it, all the same.’ ‘We’ve been lucky,’ he said ‘but it can’t last much longer. You’re young. You look normal and innocent. If you keep clear of people like me, you might stay alive for another fifty years.’ ‘No. I’ve thought it all out. What you do, I’m going to do. And don’t be too downhearted. I’m rather good at staying alive.’ ‘We may be together for another six months–a year–there’s no knowing. At the end we’re certain to be apart. Do you realize how utterly alone we shall be? When once they get hold of us there will be nothing, literally nothing, that either of us can do for the other. If I confess, they’ll shoot you, and if I refuse to confess, they’ll shoot you just the same. Nothing that I can do or say, or stop myself from saying, will put off your death for as much as five minutes. Neither of us will even know whether the other is alive or dead. We shall be utterly without power of any kind. The one thing that matters is that we shouldn’t betray one another, although even that can’t make the slightest difference.’ ‘If you mean confessing,’ she said, ‘we shall do that, right enough. Everybody always confesses. You can’t help it. They torture you.’ ‘I don’t mean confessing. Confession is not betrayal. What you say or do doesn’t matter: only feelings matter. If they could make me stop loving you–that would be the real betrayal.’ She thought it over. ‘They can’t do that,’ she said finally. ‘It’s the one thing they can’t do. They can make you say anything–ANYTHING–but they can’t make you believe it. They can’t get inside you.’ ‘No,’ he said a little more hopefully, ‘no; that’s quite true. They can’t get inside you. If you can FEEL that staying human is worth while, even when it can’t have any result whatever, you’ve beaten them.’ He thought of the telescreen with its never-sleeping ear. They could spy upon you night and day, but if you kept your head you could still outwit them. With all their cleverness they had never mastered the secret of finding out what another human being was thinking. Perhaps that was less true when you were actually in their hands. One did not know what happened inside the Ministry of Love, but it was possible to guess: tortures, drugs, delicate instruments that registered your nervous reactions, gradual wearing-down by sleeplessness and solitude and persistent questioning. Facts, at any rate, could not be kept hidden. They could be tracked down by enquiry, they could be squeezed out of you by torture. But if the object was not to stay alive but to stay human, what difference did it ultimately make? They could not alter your feelings: for that matter you could not alter them yourself, even if you wanted to. They could lay bare in the utmost detail everything that you had done or said or thought;
but the inner heart, whose workings were mysterious even to yourself, remained impregnable.
Chapter 8 They had done it, they had done it at last!
The room they were standing in was long-shaped and softly lit. The telescreen was dimmed to a low murmur; the richness of the dark-blue carpet gave one the impression of treading on velvet. At the far end of the room O’Brien was sitting at a table under a green-shaded lamp, with a mass of papers on either side of him. He had not bothered to look up when the servant showed Julia and Winston in.
Winston’s heart was thumping so hard that he doubted whether he would be able to speak. They had done it, they had done it at last, was all he could think. It had been a rash act to come here at all, and sheer folly to arrive together; though it was true that they had come by different routes and only met on O’Brien’s doorstep. But merely to walk into such a place needed an effort of the nerve. It was only on very rare occasions that one saw inside the dwelling-places of the Inner Party, or even penetrated into the quarter of the town where they lived. The whole atmosphere of the huge block of flats, the richness and spaciousness of everything, the unfamiliar smells of good food and good tobacco, the silent and incredibly rapid lifts sliding up and down, the white-jacketed servants hurrying to and fro–everything was intimidating. Although he had a good pretext for coming here, he was haunted at every step by the fear that a black-uniformed guard would suddenly appear from round the corner, demand his papers, and order him to get out. O’Brien’s servant, however, had admitted the two of them without demur. He was a small, dark-haired man in a white jacket, with a diamond-shaped, completely expressionless face which might have been that of a Chinese. The passage down which he led them was softly carpeted, with cream-papered walls and white wainscoting, all exquisitely clean.
That too was intimidating. Winston could not remember ever to have seen a passageway whose walls were not grimy from the contact of human bodies.
O’Brien had a slip of paper between his fingers and seemed to be studying it intently. His heavy face, bent down so that one could see the line of the nose, looked both formidable and intelligent.
For perhaps twenty seconds he sat without stirring. Then he pulled the speakwrite towards him and
rapped out a message in the hybrid jargon of the Ministries:
‘Items one comma five comma seven approved fullwise stop suggestion contained item six doubleplus ridiculous verging crimethink cancel stop unproceed constructionwise antegetting plusfull estimates machinery overheads stop end message.’ He rose deliberately from his chair and came towards them across the soundless carpet. A little of the official atmosphere seemed to have fallen away from him with the Newspeak words, but his expression was grimmer than usual, as though he were not pleased at being disturbed. The terror that Winston already felt was suddenly shot through by a streak of ordinary embarrassment. It seemed to him quite possible that he had simply made a stupid mistake. For what evidence had he in reality that O’Brien was any kind of political conspirator? Nothing but a flash of the eyes and a single equivocal remark: beyond that, only his own secret imaginings, founded on a dream. He could not even fall back on the pretence that he had come to borrow the dictionary, because in that case Julia’s presence was impossible to explain. As O’Brien passed the telescreen a thought seemed to strike him. He stopped, turned aside and pressed a switch on the wall. There was a sharp snap. The voice had stopped.
Julia uttered a tiny sound, a sort of squeak of surprise. Even in the midst of his panic, Winston was too much taken aback to be able to hold his tongue.
‘You can turn it off!’ he said.
‘Yes,’ said O’Brien, ‘we can turn it off. We have that privilege.’ He was opposite them now. His solid form towered over the pair of them, and the expression on his face was still indecipherable. He was waiting, somewhat sternly, for Winston to speak, but about what? Even now it was quite conceivable that he was simply a busy man wondering irritably why he had been interrupted. Nobody spoke. After the stopping of the telescreen the room seemed deadly silent. The seconds marched past, enormous. With difficulty Winston continued to keep his eyes fixed on O’Brien’s. Then suddenly the grim face broke down into what might have been the beginnings of a smile. With his characteristic gesture O’Brien resettled his spectacles on his nose.
‘Shall I say it, or will you?’ he said.
‘I will say it,’ said Winston promptly. ‘That thing is really turned off?’ ‘Yes, everything is turned off. We are alone.’ ‘We have come here because—-’ He paused, realizing for the first time the vagueness of his own motives. Since he did not in fact know what kind of help he expected from O’Brien, it was not easy to say why he had come here. He
went on, conscious that what he was saying must sound both feeble and pretentious:
‘We believe that there is some kind of conspiracy, some kind of secret organization working against the Party, and that you are involved in it. We want to join it and work for it. We are enemies of the Party. We disbelieve in the principles of Ingsoc. We are thought-criminals. We are also adulterers. I tell you this because we want to put ourselves at your mercy. If you want us to incriminate ourselves in any other way, we are ready.’ He stopped and glanced over his shoulder, with the feeling that the door had opened. Sure enough, the little yellow-faced servant had come in without knocking. Winston saw that he was carrying a tray with a decanter and glasses.
‘Martin is one of us,’ said O’Brien impassively. ‘Bring the drinks over here, Martin. Put them on the round table. Have we enough chairs? Then we may as well sit down and talk in comfort. Bring a chair for yourself, Martin. This is business. You can stop being a servant for the next ten minutes.’ The little man sat down, quite at his ease, and yet still with a servant-like air, the air of a valet enjoying a privilege. Winston regarded him out of the corner of his eye. It struck him that the man’s whole life was playing a part, and that he felt it to be dangerous to drop his assumed personality even for a moment. O’Brien took the decanter by the neck and filled up the glasses with a dark-red liquid.
It aroused in Winston dim memories of something seen long ago on a wall or a hoarding–a vast bottle composed of electric lights which seemed to move up and down and pour its contents into a glass.
Seen from the top the stuff looked almost black, but in the decanter it gleamed like a ruby. It had a sour-sweet smell. He saw Julia pick up her glass and sniff at it with frank curiosity.
‘It is called wine,’ said O’Brien with a faint smile. ‘You will have read about it in books, no doubt.
Not much of it gets to the Outer Party, I am afraid.’ His face grew solemn again, and he raised his glass:
‘I think it is fitting that we should begin by drinking a health. To our Leader: To Emmanuel Goldstein.’ Winston took up his glass with a certain eagerness. Wine was a thing he had read and dreamed about. Like the glass paperweight or Mr Charrington’s half-remembered rhymes, it belonged to the vanished, romantic past, the olden time as he liked to call it in his secret thoughts. For some reason he had always thought of wine as having an intensely sweet taste, like that of blackberry jam and an immediate intoxicating effect. Actually, when he came to swallow it, the stuff was distinctly disappointing. The truth was that after years of gin-drinking he could barely taste it. He set down the empty glass.
‘Then there is such a person as Goldstein?’ he said.
‘Yes, there is such a person, and he is alive. Where, I do not know.’ ‘And the conspiracy–the organization? Is it real? It is not simply an invention of the Thought Police?’ ‘No, it is real. The Brotherhood, we call it. You will never learn much more about the Brotherhood than that it exists and that you belong to it. I will come back to that presently.’ He looked at his wristwatch. ‘It is unwise even for members of the Inner Party to turn off the telescreen for more than half an hour. You ought not to have come here together, and you will have to leave separately. You, comrade’–he bowed his head to Julia–‘will leave first. We have about twenty minutes at our disposal.
You will understand that I must start by asking you certain questions. In general terms, what are you prepared to do?’ ‘Anything that we are capable of,’ said Winston.
O’Brien had turned himself a little in his chair so that he was facing Winston. He almost ignored Julia, seeming to take it for granted that Winston could speak for her. For a moment the lids flitted down over his eyes. He began asking his questions in a low, expressionless voice, as though this were a routine, a sort of catechism, most of whose answers were known to him already.
‘You are prepared to give your lives?’ ‘Yes.’ ‘You are prepared to commit murder?’ ‘Yes.’ ‘To commit acts of sabotage which may cause the death of hundreds of innocent people?’ ‘Yes.’ ‘To betray your country to foreign powers?’ ‘Yes.’ ‘You are prepared to cheat, to forge, to blackmail, to corrupt the minds of children, to distribute habitforming drugs, to encourage prostitution, to disseminate venereal diseases–to do anything which is likely to cause demoralization and weaken the power of the Party?’ ‘Yes.’ ‘If, for example, it would somehow serve our interests to throw sulphuric acid in a child’s face–are you prepared to do that?’ ‘Yes.’ ‘You are prepared to lose your identity and live out the rest of your life as a waiter or a dock-worker?’ ‘Yes.’ ‘You are prepared to commit suicide, if and when we order you to do so?’ ‘Yes.’ ‘You are prepared, the two of you, to separate and never see one another again?’ ‘No!’ broke in Julia.
It appeared to Winston that a long time passed before he answered. For a moment he seemed even to have been deprived of the power of speech. His tongue worked soundlessly, forming the opening syllables first of one word, then of the other, over and over again. Until he had said it, he did not know which word he was going to say. ‘No,’ he said finally.
‘You did well to tell me,’ said O’Brien. ‘It is necessary for us to know everything.’