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 traveled 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 black market
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
'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?'
'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
'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 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,
'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
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 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 hide-out. 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
'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
'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
'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