'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
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 hiding -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 installments'. 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
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 arrow slits and make sure that no one was
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
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
'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
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 rot?'
That was very true, he thought. There was a direct intimate connection
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
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
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.