© Филимонова В. Б., адаптация, сокращение, словарь, 2020
© ООО «Издательство „Антология“», 2020
It was a bright cold day in April, and the clocks were striking thirteen. Winston Smith went quickly through the glass do ors of Victory Mansions, trying to escape the cold wind.
The hallway smelt of boiled cabbage and old rag mats. On the wall at one end of it, there was a large coloured poster. It was a picture of a huge face, more than a metre wide: the face of a strong handsome man of about forty-five, with a heavy black moustache. Winston went to the stairs. The lift was rarely working, and right now there was no electricity during the day. It was PART of the preparation for Hate Week. The flat was on the sixth floor, and Winston, who was thirty-nine and had problems with his right leg, went slowly, stopping several times on the way. On each floor, opposite the lift, there was the poster with the huge face on the wall. The man's eyes followed you when you moved. BIG BROTHER IS WATCHING YOU stood on the poster.
Inside the flat you could hear a deep and pleasant voice talking about the Ninth Three-Year Plan. It came from a piece of metal that looked like a mirror which was PART of the right-hand wall. Winston turned a switch and the voice got quieter, though you could still understand everything that it said. You could not turn off the instrument (the telescreen, it was called) completely. He moved over to the window. He looked very small in the blue uniform of the party. His hair was very fair, his skin was rough because of the soap and razor blades and the cold of the winter that had just ended.
Outside, even through the shut window, the world looked cold. The sun was shining and the sky was blue, but there seemed to be no colour in anything, except the posters that were everywhere. There was one on the house opposite Victory Mansions. BIG BROTHER IS WATCHING YOU, the poster said, and the dark eyes looked deep into Winston's own. Down at street level another poster with the single word INGSOC. Somewhere far away there was the police patrol, looking into people's windows. The patrols did not matter, however. Only the Thought Police mattered.
Behind Winston's back the voice from the telescreen was still talking about the Ninth Three-Year Plan. Winston knew that so long as he was within the field of vision of the telescreen, he could be seen as well as heard. You couldn't know when the Thought Police were watching you and when they were not. You could only guess. It was even possible that they watched everybody all the time. But at any rate they could watch you whenever they wanted to. You had to live – and lived – as if every sound you made was heard, and, except in darkness, every movement seen.
Winston stood with his back turned to the telescreen. It was safer. A kilometre away there was the Ministry of Truth, his place of work. He looked at the landscape. This was London, the main city of Airstrip One, in Oceania. He tried to remember whether London had always been in ruins quite like this. But it was no use, he could only remember some people standing there in silence against no background.
The Ministry of Truth – Minitrue, in Newspeak – was different from any other object in sight. It was a huge white building, 300 metres high. From where Winston stood he could read the three slogans of the Party:
WAR IS PEACE
FREEDOM IS SLAVERY
IGNORANCE IS STRENGTH
It was said that in the Ministry of Truth there were thousands of rooms above and below ground. In London there were just three other buildings of similar appearance and size. You could see all four of them at the same time from the roof of Victory Mansions. They were the homes of the four Ministries. The Ministry of Truth, which controlled news, entertainment, education, and the fine arts. The Ministry of Peace, which dealt with war. The Ministry of Love, which was responsible for law and order. And the Ministry of Plenty, which dealt with economic affairs. Their names, in Newspeak: Minitrue, Minipax, Miniluv, and Miniplenty.
The Ministry of Love was the really frightening one. There were no windows in it at all. Winston had never been inside the Ministry of Love or come close to it. You could only go inside on official business. It was like a maze with steel doors and hidden machine-guns. It was guarded by men in black uniforms armed with truncheons.
Winston turned round. He had the expression of quiet optimism on his face. He crossed the room into the small kitchen. By leaving the Ministry at this time of day he had missed his lunch in the canteen. There was no food in the kitchen except dark-coloured bread which he wanted to eat for tomorrow's breakfast. He took a bottle of colourless liquid with a white label that said VICTORY GIN. Winston drank it like medicine.
His face turned bright red and the water ran out of his eyes. When you drank the gin, it felt like you were hit on the back of the head. The next moment, however, the world began to look better. He took a cigarette from a packet that said VICTORY CIGARETTES and held it upright. The tobacco fell out on to the floor. With the next he was more successful. He went back to the living-room and sat down at a small table that stood to the left of the telescreen. From the table drawer he took out a pen, a bottle of ink, and a thick empty book.
For some reason the telescreen in the living-room was not in the end wall, but in the longer wall, opposite the window.
To one side of it there was an alcove in which Winston was now sitting. When he sat in the alcove and kept well back, Winston could not be seen. He could be heard, of course. He was about to do something because his room had this alcove.
He was about to do it also because he had the book. It was a beautiful book. It was old and its paper was a little yellow. Such books had not been made for the last forty years at least. He could guess, however, that the book was much older than that. He had seen it in the window of a little shop in one of the quarters of the town and had wanted to buy it at once. Party members couldn't go into such shops, but they still did. There were things, such as razor blades, which you couldn't buy anywhere else. He had made sure no one had seen him and then had gone inside and bought the book for two dollars fifty. At the time he didn't know why he wanted it. Even if there was nothing written in it, he might get into trouble, because he had bought it.
He was about to open a diary. This was not against the laws (nothing was against the laws, because there were no longer any laws), but if anyone knew, Winston would be sentenced to death, or at least to twenty-five years in a forced-labour camp. He cleaned the pen. Pens were rarely used even for signatures, and it wasn't easy to get one, but Winston felt that he had to write on the beautiful paper with a real pen instead of an ink-pencil. Actually he was not used to writing by hand. He wrote only very short notes and dictated everything else into the speakwrite. It was of course impossible to use the speakwrite for a diary. He took the pen and then stopped for just a second. It wasn't an easy decision to start writing. In small letters he wrote:
April 4th, 1984.
He felt helpless. To begin with, he wasn't sure that this was 1984. It must be round about that date. He was quite sure that his age was thirty-nine, and he believed that he had been born in 1944 or 1945; but now you could never know any date for sure.
For whom was he writing this diary? For the future, he thought. How could you communicate with the future? It was impossible. If the future were like the present, it would not listen to him; if it were different from the present, then writing the diary would be meaningless.
For some time he sat looking stupidly at the paper. The telescreen was playing military music. Winston couldn't put thoughts into words; he had even forgotten what he had wanted to say. He had thought that he would only need to be brave to write. Writing would be easy. All he had to do was to write down the monologue that had been running inside his head for years. At this moment, however, even the monologue had stopped. His leg had begun hurting again. The seconds were flying by. The page in front of him was empty, his leg hurt, he heard the music from the telescreen, and felt a bit drunk on the gin.
He began writing so quickly that didn't quite realize what he was writing down. He wrote that he had watched a war film last night. It was about a ship that was bombed somewhere in the Mediterranean. On it, there was a woman with a boy who was very frightened. When the ship sank, the viewers laughed. From where the proles were sitting, a woman shouted that they shouldn't show such films in front of the children. The police turned her out, but Winston didn't think that anything had happened to her.
Winston stopped writing, partly because of his leg. He did not know why he had just written it. But while he was writing it he had remembered something totally different. He now realized, it was the reason why he had decided to come home and begin the diary today.
It had happened that morning at the Ministry.
It was nearly eleven hundred. In the Records Department, where Winston worked, they were getting ready for the Two Minutes Hate. Two people whom he knew by sight, but had never spoken to, came into the room. One of them was a girl of about twenty-seven with freckles and thick dark hair. He did not know her name, but he knew that she worked in the Fiction Department. She had an emblem of the Junior Anti-Sex League. Winston had disliked her from the very first moment of seeing her. He disliked nearly all women, and especially the young and pretty ones. But this girl seemed to him more dangerous than most. He had even thought that she might be one of the Thought Police. But it was very unlikely. Still, he continued to feel uneasy, when she was near him.
The other person was a man named O'Brien, an important member of the Inner Party. O'Brien was a large, strong man with a thick neck. People were afraid of him, but he was charming in his own way. Winston hadn't seen O'Brien very often. He felt there was a connection between them, because he believed – or hoped – that O'Brien wasn't very politically orthodox. There was something in his face that made you believe it. Or perhaps he was just intelligent. Winston believed that O'Brien was a person that you could talk to if you could meet him somewhere without the telescreen. Winston had never tried to check whether he was right: there was no way of doing so. At this moment O'Brien looked at his watch. He saw that it was nearly eleven hundred, and decided to stay in the Records Department for the Two Minutes Hate. He sat down a couple of places away from Winston. A small woman who worked in the next cubicle to Winston was between them. The girl with dark hair was sitting immediately behind.
The next moment the Hate had started.
As usual, the face of Emmanuel Goldstein, the Enemy of the People, had appeared on the screen. The programmes of the Two Minutes Hate were different from day to day, but Goldstein was always the main figure. He had been one of the leading figures of the Party long ago (how long ago, nobody remembered), almost on a level with Big Brother himself. He then had started counter-revolutionary activities, had been sentenced to death, and had escaped and disappeared. He was still alive and planning against the Party somewhere beyond the sea or even somewhere in Oceania itself.
Winston couldn't breathe. Goldstein had white hair and a small beard. He wore glasses on his long thin nose. His Jewish face was clever, and yet stupid at the same time. He looked and sounded like a sheep. Goldstein was speaking against the doctrines of the Party and Big Brother. Somehow you couldn't take his words serious – if you were intelligent. He was demanding peace with Eurasia, freedom of speech, freedom of the Press, freedom of thought. He was crying that the revolution had been betrayed. His speech was a parody of the style of the Party. There were even Newspeak words: more Newspeak words than any Party member would normally use in real life. Behind his head on the telescreen there marched the Eurasian army.
People hated Goldstein more than either Eurasia or Eastasia, because when Oceania was at war with one of these Powers it was at peace with the other. But it was strange that he still had many followers. A day never passed when the Thought Police didn't catch spies acting under his directions. He was the leader of the Brotherhood. He also wrote a book. It didn't have a title, but everyone knew it existed. Party members didn't talk about either the book or the Brotherhood.
In the second minute of the Hate people were jumping up and down in their places and shouting loudly. Winston was shouting with the others and kicking his chair. The horrible thing about the Two Minutes Hate was that you joined in even if you didn't want to. At one moment Winston hated Big Brother, the Party, and the Thought Police. And yet the very next moment he was shouting with the people about him, and hated Goldstein.
It was even possible, at moments, to control one's hatred. Winston no longer hated the face on the screen, he now hated the dark-haired girl behind him. Better than before he realized why he hated her. He hated her because she was young and pretty, because he wanted to go to bed with her and would never do so, because she had the symbol of the Junior AntiSex League around her waist.
The Hate was almost over. For a moment the face of Goldstein changed into that of a sheep. Then it turned into the figure of a Eurasian soldier who was about to jump out of the screen and shoot everyone in the room to death. But in the same moment, the soldier turned into the face of Big Brother, full of power and calm. Nobody heard what Big Brother was saying. Then the face of Big Brother disappeared again. On the screen, there were the three slogans of the Party:
WAR IS PEACE
FREEDOM IS SLAVERY
IGNORANCE IS STRENGTH
You somehow felt like the face of Big Brother was still on the screen. The little woman who has been sitting next to Winston said something that sounded like «My Saviour!» and buried her face in her hands. She was saying a prayer.
At this moment everyone started shouting «B – B!.. B – B!.». – over and over again, very slowly, with a long pause between the first «B» and the second. They kept it up for as much as thirty seconds. Winston's body seemed to grow cold. He had always been afraid of this «B – B!.. B – B!». Of course he shouted with the rest: it was impossible not to. It was natural to control your face, to do what everyone else was doing. But there was a couple of seconds during which you could see his thoughts in his eyes. And it was exactly at this moment that something important happened – if it happened.
He caught O'Brien's eye. O'Brien had stood up. Their eyes met, and Winston knew – yes, he knew! – that O'Brien was thinking the same thing as himself. «I am with you», O'Brien's eyes were saying to him. «I know what you are feeling. But don't worry, I am on your side!» And then the feeling was gone, and O'Brien's face was like everybody else's.
That was all, and Winston wasn't sure anymore whether it had happened. He had gone back to his cubicle without looking at O'Brien again. Winston didn't even think of talking to him. It would have been dangerous and he didn't know how. For a second, two seconds, they had looked at each other, and that was the end of the story. But even that was important for Winston. It gave him a feeling that there were other enemies of the Party.
Winston looked at the page. He discovered that while he had been thinking he had also been writing. And it was no longer the same handwriting as before. In large capitals he had written:
DOWN WITH BIG BROTHER
DOWN WITH BIG BROTHER
DOWN WITH BIG BROTHER
DOWN WITH BIG BROTHER
DOWN WITH BIG BROTHER
over and over again.
He was afraid. The writing of those words was not more dangerous than opening the diary, but for a moment he wanted to tear out the pages and never touch the diary again.
He did not do so, however, because he knew that it was useless. Whether he wrote DOWN WITH BIG BROTHER, or whether he didn't, made no difference. Whether he continued writing the diary, or whether he did not, made no difference. The Thought Police would arrest him just the same. He had committed a thoughtcrime. You could not hide it for ever. Sooner or later they would arrest you.
It was always at night – the arrests happened at night. The hand shaking your shoulder, the lights, the ring of faces round the bed. There was rarely a trial or a report of the arrest. People just disappeared, always during the night. Your name was removed from the registers, you were forgotten. You were vapourized, that was the usual word.
For a moment he was frightened to death. He began writing quickly: they'll shoot me I don't care they'll shoot me in the back of the neck I don't care down with big brother they always shoot you in the back of the neck I don't care down with big brother…
He sat back in his chair, slightly ashamed of himself, and laid down the pen. The next moment someone knocked at the door.
Already! He sat as still as a mouse and hoped that the person would just go away. But no, the knocking was repeated. He got up and moved towards the door.
As he was about to open the door Winston saw that he had left the diary open on the table. The letters DOWN WITH BIG BROTHER were big enough, and you could read the words across the room. It was a stupid thing. But, he realized, if he closed the book while the ink was wet, he would spoil the paper and he didn't want it.
He drew in his breath and opened the door. A small woman, with thin hair and wrinkles on her face, was standing outside. Winston was almost glad it was her.
«Oh, comrade», she began. Her sad high voice made you feel bored, «I thought I heard you come in. Do you think you could have a look at our kitchen sink? It's got blocked up and…»
It was Mrs. Parsons, the wife of a neighbor on the same floor. (You were supposed to call everyone «comrade» – but there were some women who you called «Mrs». without realizing it.) She was a woman of about thirty, but she looked much older. You could almost see dust on her face. Winston followed her to their flat. He had to do these small repair jobs almost daily. It annoyed him. Victory Mansions were old flats, built in the 1930s, and were falling to pieces. Unless you could manage yourself, you had to get permission for repairs. It could take up to two years to get it, even if it was just a window.
«Of course it's only because Tom isn't home», said Mrs. Parsons.
The Parsons' flat was bigger than Winston's, and also dark and dirty, but in a different way. It looked as if some large violent animal had just left it. All over the floor lay hockey-sticks, boxing-gloves, a burst football, a pair of shorts turned inside out. On the table there were dirty dishes and old exercise-books. On the walls were bright red banners of the Youth League and the Spies, and a full-sized poster of Big Brother. The flat smelt of boiled-cabbage just as the whole building, but there was also a smell of sweat. You could tell at once that it was the sweat of some person not present at the moment. In another room someone was trying to play the military music from the telescreen on a comb and a piece of toilet paper.
«It's the children», said Mrs. Parsons and looked at the door. «They haven't been outside today. And of course…»
She often didn't finishing her sentences. The kitchen sink was almost full with greenish water which smelt worse than ever of cabbage. Winston knelt down and examined the pipe. He hated using his hands. He also hated that he started coughing when he had to bend down. Mrs. Parsons stood next to him. She was helpless.
«Of course if Tom was home he'd repair in a moment», she said. «He loves anything like that. He's so good with his hands».
Parsons worked with Winston at the Ministry of Truth. He was rather fat but active and more than anything else he was stupid. The Party depended on him even more than on the Thought Police. He never questioned anything. At thirty- five he was forced to leave the Youth League. Before entering the Youth League he had managed to stay in the Spies for a year longer than anyone else. The work that he did at the Ministry didn't require much intelligence. He was a leading figure on the Sports Committee and all the other committees that organized different community activities. A strong smell of sweat followed him everywhere and even remained behind him after he had gone.
«Have you got a spanner?» said Winston.
«A spanner», said Mrs. Parsons. «I don't know, I'm sure. Perhaps the children…»
With a loud noise the children ran into the living-room. Mrs. Parsons brought the spanner. Winston let out the water and removed the human hair that had blocked up the pipe. He cleaned his fingers as best he could in the cold water and went back into the other room.
«Up with your hands!» shouted a voice.
A handsome boy of nine had appeared from behind the table. In his hands he was holding a toy pistol pointed at Winston. His small sister, about two years younger, did the same with a piece of wood. Both of them were wearing the blue shorts, grey shirts, and red neckerchiefs which were the uniform of the Spies. Winston raised his hands above his head. He had a strange feeling that it was not quite a game.
«You're a traitor!» yelled the boy. «You're a thoughtcriminal! You're a Eurasian spy! I'll shoot you, I'll vapourize you!»
They both started jumping round him, shouting «Traitor!» and «Thought-criminal!» It was a bit frightening. Winston saw that the boy wanted to hit or kick him and felt that he was very nearly big enough to do so. It was a good job it was not a real pistol, Winston thought.
Mrs. Parsons nervously looked from Winston to the children and back again. In the better light of the living-room he noticed that there actually was dust on her face.
«They get so noisy», she said. «They're disappointed because they couldn't go to see the hanging, that's what it is. I'm too busy to take them, and Tom won't be back from work in time».
«Why can't we go and see the hanging?» shouted the boy.
«Want to see the hanging! Want to see the hanging!» shouted the little girl.
In the Park, they were going to hang some Eurasian prisoners that evening, Winston remembered. This happened about once a month, and was very popular among children. He said goodbye to Mrs. Parsons and went to the door. But he had not gone six steps down the passage when something hit the back of his neck. He turned around and saw that Mrs. Parsons was pulling her son back into the flat while the boy put a catapult in his pocket.
«Goldstein!» shouted the boy as the door closed on him. Mrs. Parsons looked helpless and frightened.
Back in the flat he went quickly past the telescreen and sat down at the table again. His neck still hurt. The music from the telescreen had stopped. Instead, there now was a military voice.
That woman, he thought, must be really afraid. Another year, two years, and the children would be watching her night and day for unorthodoxy. Nearly all children were horrible these days. Because of such organizations as the Spies the parents couldn't bring them under control anymore, and yet the children never rebelled against the Party. They loved the Party and everything connected with it. The songs, the banners, the hiking, the toy pistols, the slogans, the Big Brother – it was all a sort of game to them. All their violence was turned against the enemies of the State, against foreigners, traitors, thought-criminals. It was almost normal for people over thirty to be afraid of their own children. Nearly every week you could read in the Times how some «child hero» had reported its parents to the Thought Police.
The back of his neck didn't hurt anymore. He picked up his pen without real interest and wondered what he could write in the diary. Suddenly he began thinking of O'Brien again.
Years ago – how long was it? Seven years it must be – he had dreamed that he was walking through a dark room. And someone had said as he passed: «We shall meet in the place where there is no darkness». It was a statement, not a command. He hadn't stopped. At the time, in the dream, the words had not made much impression on him. They became important later. He could not now remember whether it was before or after having the dream that he had seen O'Brien for the first time. He couldn't remember either when he had first recognized the voice as O'Brien's. It was O'Brien who had spoken to him in the dark room.
Winston had never known for sure whether O'Brien was a friend or an enemy. It didn't really matter. «We shall meet in the place where there is no darkness», he had said. Winston did not know what it meant, only that in some way or another it would come true.
The voice from the telescreen paused. After a clear and beautiful trumpet call it continued:
«Attention! Your attention, please! Our forces in South India have won a glorious victory. It may well soon bring the war to the end. Here is the news…»
Bad news coming, thought Winston. After that came the announcement that from next week they would get twenty grammes of chocolate instead of thirty.
The telescreen was now playing «Oceania, it is for you». You were supposed to stand to attention. However, no one could see him where he was now.
After «Oceania, it is for you» there was some lighter music. Winston walked over to the window with his back to the telescreen. The day was still cold and clear. Somewhere far away a bomb exploded. About twenty or thirty of them a week were falling on London now.
Down in the street there was a torn poster with the word INGSOC on it. Ingsoc. The sacred principles of Ingsoc.
Newspeak, doublethink, changing the past. He felt lonely. The past was dead, and one couldn't imagine the future.
How would he know whether anyone was on his side? What if the Party would be there for ever? The three slogans on the Ministry of Truth came back to him like an answer:
WAR IS PEACE
FREEDOM IS SLAVERY
IGNORANCE IS STRENGTH
He took a twenty-five cent piece out of his pocket. The same slogans were written on it, and on the other face of the coin the head of Big Brother. Even from the coin the eyes followed you. On coins, on stamps, on the covers of books, on banners, on posters, and on cigarette packets – everywhere. Always the eyes watching you and the voice everywhere around you. Nothing was your own except what was inside your head.
Now when it was dark the Ministry of Truth looked like a fortress. It was too strong, it could not be stormed. He wondered again for whom he was writing the diary. For the future, for the past – for an imaginary age. He would not just die, he would disappear. The diary would be burnt and he would be vapourized. Only the Thought Police would read what he had written. How could you make talk to the future when you couldn't stay alive?
The telescreen struck fourteen. He must leave in ten minutes. He had to be back at work by fourteen-thirty.
Curiously, he felt better now. Nobody would ever hear the truth that he was saying. It was important for him not to be heard, but to stay sane. He went back to the table and wrote:
To the future or to the past, to a time when thought is free, when men are different from one another and do not live alone – to a time when there is truth:
From the age of uniformity, from the age of loneliness, from the age of Big Brother, from the age of doublethink – hello!
He was already dead, he thought. He wrote:
Thoughtcrime does not involve death: thoughtcrime IS death.
Now he had recognized himself as a dead man and it became important to stay alive as long as possible. He had ink on two fingers of his right hand. It might betray him. He went to the bathroom and carefully washed the ink away with the dark-brown soap.
He put the diary away. He could not hide it, but he could at least make sure that it would not be discovered too quickly.