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
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
'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?'
'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
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
The girl laughed delightedly, evidently taking this as a tribute
to the excellence of her disguise.
'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
dullbrown 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 meIted 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, close-bitten
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
'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 hide-out. It's
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
'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
'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
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