Part 2 Chapter 4

Winston looked round the shabby little room above Mr Charrington's shop. Beside the window the enormous bed was made up, with ragged blankets and a coverless bolster. The old-fashioned clock with the twelve-hour face was ticking away on the mantelpiece. In the corner, on the gateleg table, the glass paperweight which he had bought on his last visit gleamed softly out of the half-darkness.

In the fender was a battered tin oilstove, a saucepan, and two cups, provided by Mr Charrington. Winston lit the burner and set a pan of water to boil. He had brought an envelope full of Victory Coffee and some saccharine tablets. The clock's hands said seventeen-twenty: it was nineteen-twenty really. She was coming at nineteen-thirty.

Folly, folly, his heart kept saying: conscious, gratuitous, suicidal folly. Of all the crimes that a Party member could commit, this one was the least possible to conceal. Actually the idea had first floated into his head in the form of a vision, of the glass paperweight mirrored by the surface of the gateleg table. As he had foreseen, Mr Charrington had made no difficulty about letting the room. He was obviously glad of the few dollars that it would bring him. Nor did he seem shocked or become offensively knowing when it was made clear that Winston wanted the room for the purpose of a love-affair. Instead he looked into the middle distance and spoke in generalities, with so delicate an air as to give the impression that he had become partly invisible. Privacy, he said, was a very valuable thing. Everyone wanted a place where they could be alone occasionally. And when they had such a place, it was only common courtesy in anyone else who knew of it to keep his knowledge to himself. He even, seeming almost to fade out of existence as he did so, added that there were two entries to the house, one of them through the back yard, which gave on an alley.

Under the window somebody was singing. Winston peeped out, secure in the protection of the muslin curtain. The June sun was still high in the sky, and in the sun-filled court below, a monstrous woman, solid as a Norman pillar, with brawny red forearms and a sacking apron strapped about her middle, was stumping to and fro between a washtub and a clothes line, pegging out a series of square white things which Winston recognized as babies' diapers. Whenever her mouth was not corked with clothes pegs she was singing in a powerful contralto:

It was only an 'opeless fancy.

It passed like an Ipril dye,

But a look an' a word an' the dreams they stirred!

They 'ave stolen my 'eart awye!

The tune had been haunting London for weeks past. It was one of countless similar songs published for the benefit of the proles by a sub-section of the Music Department. The words of these songs were composed without any human intervention whatever on an instrument known as a versificator. But the woman sang so tunefully as to turn the dreadful rubbish into an almost pleasant sound. He could hear the woman singing and the scrape of her shoes on the flagstones, and the cries of the children in the street, and somewhere in the far distance a faint roar of traffic, and yet the room seemed curiously silent, thanks to the absence of a telescreen.

Folly, folly, folly! he thought again. It was inconceivable that they could frequent this place for more than a few weeks without being caught. But the temptation of having a hiding-place that was truly their own, indoors and near at hand, had been too much for both of them. For some time after their visit to the church belfry it had been impossible to arrange meetings. Working hours had been drastically increased in anticipation of Hate Week. It was more than a month distant, but the enormous, complex preparations that it entailed were throwing extra work on to everybody. Finally both of them managed to secure a free afternoon on the same day. They had agreed to go back to the clearing in the wood. On the evening beforehand they met briefly in the street. As usual, Winston hardly looked at Julia as they drifted towards one another in the crowd, but from the short glance he gave her it seemed to him that she was paler than usual.

'It's all off,' she murmured as soon as she judged it safe to speak. 'Tomorrow, I mean.'

'What?'

'Tomorrow afternoon. I can't come.'

'Why not?'

'Oh, the usual reason. It's started early this time.'

For a moment he was violently angry. During the month that he had known her the nature of his desire for her had changed. At the beginning there had been little true sensuality in it. Their first love-making had been simply an act of the will. But after the second time it was different. The smell of her hair, the taste of her mouth, the feeling of her skin seemed to have got inside him, or into the air all round him. She had become a physical necessity, something that he not only wanted but felt that he had a right to. When she said that she could not come, he had the feeling that she was cheating him. But just at this moment the crowd pressed them together and their hands accidentally met. She gave the tips of his fingers a quick squeeze that seemed to invite not desire but affection. It struck him that when one lived with a woman this particular disappointment must be a normal, recurring event; and a deep tenderness, such as he had not felt for her before, suddenly took hold of him. He wished that they were a married couple of ten years' standing. He wished that he were walking through the streets with her just as they were doing now but openly and without fear, talking of trivialities and buying odds and ends for the household. He wished above all that they had some place where they could be alone together without feeling the obligation to make love every time they met. It was not actually at that moment, but at some time on the following day, that the idea of renting Mr Charrington's room had occurred to him. When he suggested it to Julia she had agreed with unexpected readiness. Both of them knew that it was lunacy. It was as though they were intentionally stepping nearer to their graves. As he sat waiting on the edge of the bed he thought again of the cellars of the Ministry of Love. It was curious how that predestined horror moved in and out of one's consciousness. There it lay, fixed in future times, preceding death as surely as 99 precedes 100. One could not avoid it, but one could perhaps postpone it: and yet instead, every now and again, by a conscious, wilful act, one chose to shorten the interval before it happened.

At this moment there was a quick step on the stairs. Julia burst into the room. She was carrying a tool-bag of coarse brown canvas, such as he had sometimes seen her carrying to and fro at the Ministry. He started forward to take her in his arms, but she disengaged herself rather hurriedly, partly because she was still holding the tool-bag.

'Half a second,' she said. 'Just let me show you what I've brought. Did you bring some of that filthy Victory Coffee? I thought you would. You can chuck it away again, because we shan't be needing it. Look here.'

She fell on her knees, threw open the bag, and tumbled out some spanners and a screwdriver that filled the top part of it. Underneath were a number of neat paper packets. The first packet that she passed to Winston had a strange and yet vaguely familiar feeling. It was filled with some kind of heavy, sand-like stuff which yielded wherever you touched it.

'It isn't sugar?' he said.

'Real sugar. Not saccharine, sugar. And here's a loaf of bread proper white bread, not our bloody stuff -- and a little pot of jam. And here's a tin of milk -- but look! This is the one I'm really proud of. I had to wrap a bit of sacking round it, because -'

But she did not need to tell him why she had wrapped it up. The smell was already filling the room, a rich hot smell which seemed like an emanation from his early childhood, but which one did occasionally meet with even now, blowing down a passage-way before a door slammed, or diffusing itself mysteriously in a crowded street, sniffed for an instant and then lost again.

'It's coffee,' he murmured, 'real coffee.'

'It's Inner Party coffee. There's a whole kilo here,' she said.

'How did you manage to get hold of all these things?'

'It's all Inner Party stuff. There's nothing those swine don't have, nothing. But of course waiters and servants and people pinch things, and -- look, I got a little packet of tea as well.'

Winston had squatted down beside her. He tore open a corner of the packet.

'It's real tea. Not blackberry leaves.'

'There's been a lot of tea about lately. They've captured India, or something,' she said vaguely. 'But listen, dear. I want you to turn your back on me for three minutes. Go and sit on the other side of the bed. Don't go too near the window. And don't turn round till I tell you.'

Winston gazed abstractedly through the muslin curtain. Down in the yard the red-armed woman was still marching to and fro between the washtub and the line. She took two more pegs out of her mouth and sang with deep feeling:

They sye that time 'eals all things,

They sye you can always forget;

But the smiles an' the tears acrorss the years

They twist my 'eart-strings yet!

She knew the whole drivelling song by heart, it seemed. Her voice floated upward with the sweet summer air, very tuneful, charged with a sort of happy melancholy. One had the feeling that she would have been perfectly content, if the June evening had been endless and the supply of clothes inexhaustible, to remain there for a thousand years, pegging out diapers and singing rubbish. It struck him as a curious fact that he had never heard a member of the Party singing alone and spontaneously. It would even have seemed slightly unorthodox, a dangerous eccentricity, like talking to oneself. Perhaps it was only when people were somewhere near the starvation level that they had anything to sing about.

'You can turn round now,' said Julia.

He turned round, and for a second almost failed to recognize her. What he had actually expected was to see her naked. But she was not naked. The transformation that had happened was much more surprising than that. She had painted her face.

She must have slipped into some shop in the proletarian quarters and bought herself a complete set of make-up materials. Her lips were deeply reddened, her cheeks rouged, her nose powdered; there was even a touch of something under the eyes to make them brighter. It was not very skilfully done, but Winston's standards in such matters were not high. He had never before seen or imagined a woman of the Party with cosmetics on her face. The improvement in her appearance was startling. With just a few dabs of colour in the right places she had become not only very much prettier, but, above all, far more feminine. Her short hair and boyish overalls merely added to the effect. As he took her in his arms a wave of synthetic violets flooded his nostrils. He remembered the half-darkness of a basement kitchen, and a woman's cavernous mouth. It was the very same scent that she had used; but at the moment it did not seem to matter.

'Scent too!' he said.

'Yes, dear, scent too. And do you know what I'm going to do next? I'm going to get hold of a real woman's frock from somewhere and wear it instead of these bloody trousers. I'll wear silk stockings and high-heeled shoes! In this room I'm going to be a woman, not a Party comrade.'

They flung their clothes off and climbed into the huge mahogany bed. It was the first time that he had stripped himself naked in her presence. Until now he had been too much ashamed of his pale and meagre body, with the varicose veins standing out on his calves and the discoloured patch over his ankle. There were no sheets, but the blanket they lay on was threadbare and smooth, and the size and springiness of the bed astonished both of them. 'It's sure to be full of bugs, but who cares?' said Julia. One never saw a double bed nowadays, except in the homes of the proles. Winston had occasionally slept in one in his boyhood: Julia had never been in one before, so far as she could remember.

Presently they fell asleep for a little while. When Winston woke up the hands of the clock had crept round to nearly nine. He did not stir, because Julia was sleeping with her head in the crook of his arm. Most of her make-up had transferred itself to his own face or the bolster, but a light stain of rouge still brought out the beauty of her cheekbone. A yellow ray from the sinking sun fell across the foot of the bed and lighted up the fireplace, where the water in the pan was boiling fast. Down in the yard the woman had stopped singing, but the faint shouts of children floated in from the street. He wondered vaguely whether in the abolished past it had been a normal experience to lie in bed like this, in the cool of a summer evening, a man and a woman with no clothes on, making love when they chose, talking of what they chose, not feeling any compulsion to get up, simply lying there and listening to peaceful sounds outside. Surely there could never have been a time when that seemed ordinary? Julia woke up, rubbed her eyes, and raised herself on her elbow to look at the oilstove.

'Half that water's boiled away,' she said. 'I'll get up and make some coffee in another moment. We've got an hour. What time do they cut the lights off at your flats?'

'Twenty-three thirty.'

'It's twenty-three at the hostel. But you have to get in earlier than that, because -- Hi! Get out, you filthy brute!'

She suddenly twisted herself over in the bed, seized a shoe from the floor, and sent it hurtling into the corner with a boyish jerk of her arm, exactly as he had seen her fling the dictionary at Goldstein, that morning during the Two Minutes Hate.

'What was it?' he said in surprise.

'A rat. I saw him stick his beastly nose out of the wainscoting. There's a hole down there. I gave him a good fright, anyway.'

'Rats!' murmured Winston. 'In this room!'

'They're all over the place,' said Julia indifferently as she lay down again. 'We've even got them in the kitchen at the hostel. Some parts of London are swarming with them. Did you know they attack children? Yes, they do. In some of these streets a woman daren't leave a baby alone for two minutes. It's the great huge brown ones that do it. And the nasty thing is that the brutes always-'

'Don't go on!' said Winston, with his eyes tightly shut.

'Dearest! You've gone quite pale. What's the matter? Do they make you feel sick?'

'Of all horrors in the world -- a rat!'

She pressed herself against him and wound her limbs round him, as though to reassure him with the warmth of her body. He did not reopen his eyes immediately. For several moments he had had the feeling of being back in a nightmare which had recurred from time to time throughout his life. It was always very much the same. He was standing in front of a wall of darkness, and on the other side of it there was something unendurable, something too dreadful to be faced. In the dream his deepest feeling was always one of self-deception, because he did in fact know what was behind the wall of darkness. With a deadly effort, like wrenching a piece out of his own brain, he could even have dragged the thing into the open. He always woke up without discovering what it was: but somehow it was connected with what Julia had been saying when he cut her short.

'I'm sorry,' he said, 'it's nothing. I don't like rats, that's all.'

'Don't worry, dear, we're not going to have the filthy brutes in here. I'll stuff the hole with a bit of sacking before we go. And next time we come here I'll bring some plaster and bung it up properly.'

Already the black instant of panic was half-forgotten. Feeling slightly ashamed of himself, he sat up against the bedhead. Julia got out of bed, pulled on her overalls, and made the coffee. The smell that rose from the saucepan was so powerful and exciting that they shut the window lest anybody outside should notice it and become inquisitive. What was even better than the taste of the coffee was the silky texture given to it by the sugar, a thing Winston had almost forgotten after years of saccharine. With one hand in her pocket and a piece of bread and jam in the other, Julia wandered about the room, glancing indifferently at the bookcase, pointing out the best way of repairing the gateleg table, plumping herself down in the ragged arm-chair to see if it was comfortable, and examining the absurd twelve-hour clock with a sort of tolerant amusement. She brought the glass paperweight over to the bed to have a look at it in a better light. He took it out of her hand, fascinated, as always, by the soft, rainwatery appearance of the glass.

'What is it, do you think?' said Julia.

'I don't think it's anything -- I mean, I don't think it was ever put to any use. That's what I like about it. It's a little chunk of history that they've forgotten to alter. It's a message from a hundred years ago, if one knew how to read it.'

'And that picture over there' -- she nodded at the engraving on the opposite wall -- 'would that be a hundred years old?'

'More. Two hundred, I dare say. One can't tell. It's impossible to discover the age of anything nowadays.'

She went over to look at it. 'Here's where that brute stuck his nose out,' she said, kicking the wainscoting immediately below the picture. 'What is this place? I've seen it before somewhere.'

'It's a church, or at least it used to be. St Clement Danes its name was.' The fragment of rhyme that Mr Charrington had taught him came back into his head, and he added half-nostalgically:

"Oranges and lemons, say the bells of St Clement's!"

To his astonishment she capped the line:

'You owe me three farthings, say the bells of St Martin's,

When will you pay me? say the bells of Old Bailey -- '

'I can't remember how it goes on after that. But anyway I remember it ends up, "Here comes a candle to light you to bed, here comes a chopper to chop off your head!"'

It was like the two halves of a countersign. But there must be another line after 'the bells of Old Bailey'. Perhaps it could be dug out of Mr Charrington's memory, if he were suitably prompted.

'Who taught you that?' he said.

'My grandfather. He used to say it to me when I was a little girl. He was vaporized when I was eight -- at any rate, he disappeared. I wonder what a lemon was,' she added inconsequently. 'I've seen oranges. They're a kind of round yellow fruit with a thick skin.'

'I can remember lemons,' said Winston. 'They were quite common in the fifties. They were so sour that it set your teeth on edge even to smell them.'

'I bet that picture's got bugs behind it,' said Julia. 'I'll take it down and give it a good clean some day. I suppose it's almost time we were leaving. I must start washing this paint off. What a bore! I'll get the lipstick off your face afterwards.'

Winston did not get up for a few minutes more. The room was darkening. He turned over towards the light and lay gazing into the glass paperweight. The inexhaustibly interesting thing was not the fragment of coral but the interior of the glass itself. There was such a depth of it, and yet it was almost as transparent as air. It was as though the surface of the glass had been the arch of the sky, enclosing a tiny world with its atmosphere complete. He had the feeling that he could get inside it, and that in fact he was inside it, along with the mahogany bed and the gateleg table, and the clock and the steel engraving and the paperweight itself. The paperweight was the room he was in, and the coral was Julia's life and his own, fixed in a sort of eternity at the heart of the crystal.

温斯顿看一看却林顿先生的店铺楼上的那简陋的小屋。

窗户旁边的那张大床已经用粗毛毯铺好,枕头上没有盖的。

壁炉架上那口标着十二个小时的老式座钟在滴答地走着。角落里,在那折叠桌子上,上次买的玻璃镇纸在半暗半明中发出柔和的光芒。

壁炉围栏里放着一只破旧的铁皮煤油炉,一只锅子,两只杯子,这都是却林顿先生准备的。温斯顿点了火,放一锅水在上面烧开。他带来了一只信封,里面装了胜利牌咖啡和一些糖精片。钟上的指针是七点二十分;应该说是十九点二十分。她说好十九点三十分来。

蠢事啊,蠢事!他的心里不断地这么说:自觉的、无缘无故的、自招灭亡的蠢事!党员可能犯的罪中,数这罪是最不容易隐藏的。实际上,这一念头当初浮现在他的脑海里是由于折叠桌光滑的桌面所反映的玻璃镇纸在他的心目中所造成的形象。不出所料,却林顿先生毫不留难地出租了这间屋子。他显然很高兴能到手几块钱。当他知道温斯顿要这间屋子是为了幽会,他也不觉得吃惊或者反感。相反,他装做视而不见,说话泛泛而谈,神情非常微妙,使人觉得他好象有一半已经隐了身一样。他还说,清静独处是非常难得的事情。人人都想要找个地方可以偶而图个清静。他们只要能够找到这样一个地方,别人知道了也最好不要声张,这是起码的礼貌。他甚至还说,这所房子有两个入口,一个经过后院,通向一条小巷。这么说时他好象几乎已经销声匿迹了一样。

窗户底下有人在唱歌。温斯顿躲在薄纱窗帘后面偷偷看出去。六月的太阳还很高,在下面充满阳光的院子里有一个又肥又大的女人,象诺曼圆柱一样壮实,胳膊通红,腰部系着一条粗布围裙,迈着笨重的脚步在洗衣桶和晾衣绳之间来回走着,晾出一批方形的白布,原来是婴儿的尿布。她的嘴里不咬着晾衣服的夹子时,就用很大嗓门的女低音歌唱:

“这只不过是没有希望的单恋,消失起来快得象四月里的一天,可是一句话,一个眼色却教我胡思乱想,失魂落魄!”

这只歌子在伦敦已经流行了好几个星期了。这是音乐司下面的一个科为无产者出版的许多这种类似歌曲中的一首。

这种歌曲的歌词是由一种名叫写诗器的装置编写出来的,不需要一点点人力。但是那女人唱得那么动听,使得这些胡说八道的废话听起来几乎非常悦耳。他可以听到那个女人一边唱着题,一边鞋子在石板上磨来擦去,街头孩子们的叫喊,远远什么地方隐隐约约的市声,但是屋子里仍异样地静寂,那是由于没有电幕。

蠢事,蠢事,蠢事!他又想了起来。不可想象他们能够几个星期来此幽会一次而不被发觉。但是要想在室内而且在近在咫尺的地方,有一个自己的秘密的地方,这个诱惑对他们两人来说都是太大了。在他们去了教堂钟楼那次以后,在很长的一段时间里都没有办法安排一个相会的地方。为了迎接仇恨周,工作时间大大延长了。到仇恨周还有一个月,但是繁杂的准备工作使大家都要加班加点。最后他们两人终于弄到在同一个下午休息。他们原来商量好再到树林中那块空地去。在那天的前一个晚上,他们在街头见了一面。当他们两人混在人群中相遇时,温斯顿象平时一样很少看裘莉亚,但匆匆一瞥,使他觉得她的脸色似乎比平时苍白。

“吹了,”她看到情况比较安全时马上低声说。“我是说明天的事。”

“什么?”

“明天下午。我不能来。”

“为什么不能来?”

“又是那个。这次开始得早。”

他猛一下感到很生气。在认识她一个月之内,他对她的欲望的性质已经有了变化。开始时很少真实的感情。他们第一次的作爱只不过是意志行为。但第二次以后情况就不同了。她头发的气味、嘴唇的味道、皮肤的感觉都似乎钻到了他的体内,弥漫到周围的空气中。她成了一种生理上的必需,成了一种他不仅需要而且感到有权享有的东西。她一说她不能来,他就觉得她在欺骗他。正当这个时候,人群把他们一挤,他们的手无意中碰了一下。她把他的手指尖很快捏了一把,引起的似乎不是欲望,而是情爱。他想到,你如果同一个女人生活在一起,这种失望大概是不断发生的正常的事,因此突然对她感到了一种深厚的柔情,这是他从来没有感到过的。他真希望他们是一对结婚已有十年历史的夫妇。

他真希望他们两人象现在那样在街上走着,不过是公开的,不带恐惧,谈着琐碎的事儿,买着家用的杂物。他尤其希望他们能有一个地方可以单独在一起,而不必感到每次相会非作爱不可。他想到租却林顿先生的屋子的念头倒并不是在这个时候产生的,而是在第二天。他向裘莉亚提出后,她出乎意料地马上同意了。他们两人都明白,这样做是发疯。好象是两人都有意向坟墓跨近一步。他一边在床边坐着等待她,一边又想起了友爱部的地下室。命中注定的恐怖在你的意识中时现时隐,真是奇怪的事。在未来的某个时间里,这种恐怖必然会在死前发生,就象九十九必然是在一百之前一样。

你无法躲避,不过也许能够稍加推迟,但是你却经常有意识地、有意志地采取行动,缩短它未发生前的一段间隙时间。

就在这个当儿,楼梯上响起了一阵急促的脚步声。裘莉亚冲了进来。她提着一个棕色帆布工具包,这是他经常看到她在上下班时带着的。他走向前去搂她,但是她急忙挣脱开去,一半是因为她手中还提着工具包。

“等一会儿,”她说。“我给你看我带来了一些什么。你带了那恶心的胜利脾咖啡没有?我知道你会带来的。不过你可以把它扔掉了,我们不需要它。瞧这里。”

她跪了下来,打开工具包,掏出面上的一些扳子,旋凿。

下面是几个干净的纸包。她递给温斯顿的第一个纸包给他一种奇怪而有点熟悉的感觉。里面是种沉甸甸的细沙一样的东西,你一捏,它就陷了进去。

“不是糖吧?”他问。

“真正的糖。不是糖精,是糖。这里还有块面包——正规的白面包,不是我们吃的那种次货——还有一小罐果酱。这里是一罐牛奶——不过瞧!这才是我感到得意的东西。我得用粗布把它包上,因为——”但是她不用告诉他为什么要把它包起来。因为香味已弥漫全室,这股浓烈的香味好象是从他孩提时代发出的一样,不过即使到了现在有时也偶而闻到,在一扇门还没有关上的时候飘过过道,或者在一条拥挤的街道上神秘地飘来,你闻了一下就又闻不到了。

“这是咖啡,”他喃喃地说,“真正的咖啡。”

“这是核心党的咖啡。这里有整整一公斤,”她说。

“这些东西你怎么弄到的?”

“这都是核心党的东西。这些混蛋没有弄不到的东西,没有。但是当然,服务员、勤务员都能揩一些油——瞧,我还有一小包茶叶。”

温斯顿在她身旁蹲了下来。他把那个纸包撕开一角。

“这是真正的茶叶。不是黑莓叶。”

“最近茶叶不少。他们攻占了印度之类的地方,”她含含糊糊地说。“但是我告诉你,亲爱的。我要你转过背去,只要三分钟。走到床那边去坐着,别到窗口太近的地方。我说行了才转过来。”

温斯顿心不在焉地看着薄纱窗帘的外面。院子里那个胳膊通红的女人仍在洗衣桶和晾衣绳之间来回地忙碌着。她从嘴里又取出两只夹子,深情地唱着:

“他们说时间能治疗一切,他们说你总是能够忘掉一切;但是这些年来的笑容和泪痕仍使我心痛象刀割一样!”

看来这个女人把这支废话连篇的歌背得滚瓜烂熟。她的歌声随着夏天的甜美空气飘了上来,非常悦耳动听,充满了一种愉快的悲哀之感。你好象觉得,如果六月的傍晚无休无止,要洗的衣服没完没了,她就会十分满足地在那里呆上一千年,一边晾尿布,一边唱情歌。他想到他从来没有听到过一个党员独自地自发地在唱歌,真有点奇怪。这样做就会显得有些不正统,古怪得有些危险,就象一个人自言自语。也许只有当你吃不饱肚子的时候才会感到要唱歌。

“你现在可以转过身来了,”裘莉亚说。

他转过身去,一时几乎认不出是她了。他原来以为会看到她脱光了衣服。但是她没有裸出身子来。她的变化比赤身裸体还使他惊奇。她的脸上除了胭脂,抹了粉。

她一定是到了无产者区小铺子里买了一套化妆用品。她的嘴唇涂得红红的,脸颊上抹了胭脂,鼻子上扑了粉,甚至眼皮下也除了什么东西使得眼睛显得更加明亮了。她的化妆并不熟练巧妙,但温斯顿在这方面的要求并不高。他以前从来没有见过或者想过一个党内的女人脸上涂脂抹粉。她的面容的美化十分惊人。这里抹些红,那里涂些白,她不仅好看多了,而且更加女性化了。她的短发和男孩子气的制服只增加了这种效果。他把她搂在怀里时,鼻孔里充满了一阵阵人造紫罗兰香气。他想起了在地下室厨房里的半明半暗中那个老掉牙的女人的嘴。她用的也是这种香水,但是现在这一点却似乎无关重要。

“还用了香水!”他说。

“是的,亲爱的,还用了香水。你知道下一步我要做什么吗?我要去弄一件真正的女人衣裙,不穿这捞什子的裤子了。

我要穿丝袜,高跟鞋!在这间屋子里我要做一个女人,不做党员同志。”

他们脱掉了衣服,爬到红木大床上。这是他第一次在她面前脱光了衣服。在此以前,他一直对自己苍白瘦削的身体感到自惭形秽,还有小腿上的突出的青筋,膝盖上变色的创疤。床上没有床单,但是他们身下的毛毯已没有毛,很光滑,他们两人都没有想到这床又大又有弹性。“一定尽是臭虫,但是谁在乎?”裘莉亚说。除了在无产者家中以外,你已很少看到双人大床了。温斯顿幼时曾经睡过双人大床,裘莉亚根据记忆所及,从来没有睡过。

接着他们就睡着了一会儿,温斯顿醒来时,时钟的指针已悄悄地移到快九点钟了。他没有动,因为裘莉亚的头枕在他的手臂上。她的胭脂和粉大部份已经擦到他的脸上或枕头上了,但淡淡的一层胭脂仍显出了她脸颊的美。夕阳的淡黄的光线映在床角上,照亮了壁炉,锅里的水开得正欢。下面院子里的那个女人已不在唱了,但自远方街头传来了孩子们的叫喊声。他隐隐约约地想到,在那被抹掉了的过去,在一个夏日的晚上,一男一女一丝不挂,躺在这样的一张床上,愿意作爱就作爱,愿意说什么就说什么,没有觉得非起来不可,就是那样躺在那里,静静地听着外面市廛的闹声,这样的事情是不是正常。肯定可以说,从来没有一个这种事情是正常的时候。裘莉亚醒了过来,揉一揉眼睛,撑着手肘抬起身子来看一眼煤油炉。

“水烧干了一半,”她说。“我马上起来做咖啡。我们还有一个小时。你家里什么时候断电熄灯?”

“二十三点三十分。”

“宿舍里是二十三点。不过你得早些进门,因为——嗨,去你的,你这个脏东西!”

她突然扭过身去到床下地板上拾起一只鞋子,象男孩子似的举起胳膊向屋子角落扔去,动作同他看到她在那天早上两分钟仇恨时间向果尔德施坦因扔字典完全一样。

“那是什么?”他吃惊地问。

“一只老鼠。我瞧见它从板壁下面钻出鼻子来。那边有个洞。我把它吓跑了。”

“老鼠!”温斯顿喃喃自语。“在这间屋子里!”

“到处都有老鼠,”裘莉亚又躺了下来,满不在乎地说。

“我们宿舍里甚至厨房里也有。伦敦有些地方尽是老鼠。你知道吗?它们还咬小孩。真的,它们咬小孩。在这种街道里,做妈妈的连两分钟也不敢离开孩子。那是那种褐色的大老鼠,可恶的是这种害人的东西——”“别说下去了!”温斯顿说,紧闭着双眼。

“亲爱的!你的脸色都发白了。怎么回事?你觉得不好过吗?”

“世界上所有可怕的东西中——最可怕的是老鼠!”

她挨着他,双臂双腿都勾住他,好象要用她的体热来抚慰他。他没有马上睁开眼睛。有好几分钟之久,他觉得好象又回到了他这一辈子中不断做过的恶梦之中,梦中的情况总是一样。他站在一道黑暗的墙前,墙的那一边是一种不可忍受的、可怕得使你不敢正视的东西。他在这种梦中总是深感到一种自欺欺人的感觉,因为事实上他知道黑暗的墙后是什么。他只要拼命努力一下,就可以把这东西拉到光天化日之下来,就象从自己的脑子里掏出一块东西来一样。他总是还没有弄清这东西到底是什么就醒来了,不过这东西有些同刚才他打断裘莉亚的时候她正在说的东西有关。

“对不起,”他说,“没有什么。我只是不喜欢老鼠而已。”

“别担心,亲爱的,咱们不让它们呆在这里。咱们等一会走以前,用破布把洞口塞上。下次来时,我带些石灰来,把洞好好地堵上。”

这时莫名的恐惧已经忘掉了一半。他感到有些难为情,靠着床头坐起来。裘莉亚下了床,穿好了衣服,做了咖啡。锅子里飘出来的香味浓郁而带刺激性,他们把窗户关上,深伯外面有人闻到,打听是谁在做咖啡。加了糖以后,咖啡有了一种光泽,味道更好了,这是温斯顿吃了多年糖精以后几乎忘记了的东西。裘莉亚一手插在口袋里,一手拿着一片抹了果酱的面包,在屋子里走来走去,随便看一眼书架,指出最好怎么修理折叠桌,一屁股坐在破沙发里,看看是不是舒服,有点好玩地仔细观察一下座钟的十二小时钟面。她把玻璃镇纸拿到床上来凑着光线看。他把它从她手中取过来,又给它的柔和的、雨水般的色泽吸引住了。

“你认为这是什么东西?”裘莉亚问。

“我认为这不是什么东西——我是说,我认为从来没有人把它派过用处。我就是喜欢这一点。这是他们忘掉篡改的一小块历史。这是从一百年以前传来的讯息,只是你不知道怎么辨认。”

“还有那边的画片——”她朝着对面墙上的蚀刻画点一点头。“那也有一百年的历史了吗?”

“还要更久。大概有两百年了。我说不好。如今什么东西你都无法知道有多久的历史了。”

她走过去瞧。“那只老鼠就是在这里伸出鼻子来的,”她踢一踢画下的板壁说。“这是什么地方?我以前在什么地方见过它。”

“这是一个教堂,至少以前是个教堂。名字叫做圣克里门特的丹麦人。”却林顿先生教他的那只歌有几句又浮现在他的脑际,他有点留恋地唱道:“圣克利门特教堂的钟声说,橘子和柠檬。”

使他感到惊奇的是,她把这句歌词唱完了:

“圣马丁教堂的钟声说,你欠我三个铜板,老巴莱教堂的钟声说,你什么时候归还?——

“这下面怎么唱,我已忘了。不过反正我记得最后一句是,“这里是一支蜡烛照你上床,这里是一把斧子砍你脑袋!”

这好象是一个分成两半的暗号。不过在“老巴莱教堂的钟声”下面一定还有一句。也许恰当地提示一下,可以从却林顿先生的记忆中挖掘出来。

“是谁教给你的?”他问。

“我爷爷。我很小的时候他常常教我唱。我八岁那年,他气死了——反正,他不见了。我不如道柠檬是什么,”她随便又说一句。“我见过橘子。那是一种皮很厚的圆形黄色的水果。”

“我还记得柠檬,”温斯顿说。“在五十年代很普通。很酸,闻一下也教你的牙齿发软。”

“那幅画片后面一定有个老鼠窝,”裘莉亚说。“哪一天我把它取下来好好打扫一下。咱们现在该走了。我得把粉擦掉。真讨厌!等会我再擦掉你脸上的唇膏。”

温斯顿在床上又懒了一会儿。屋子里慢慢地黑了下来。

他转身对着光线,懒洋洋地看着玻璃镇纸。使人感到无限兴趣的不是那块珊瑚,而是玻璃内部本身。这么深,可是又象是空气一般透明。玻璃的弧形表面仿佛就是苍穹,下面包藏着一个小小的世界,连大气层都一并齐全。他感到他可以进入这个世界中去,事实上他已经在里面了,还有那红木大床、折叠桌、座钟、铜板蚀刻画,还有那镇纸本身。那镇纸就是他所在的那间屋子,珊瑚是裘莉亚和他自己的生命,有点永恒地嵌在这个水晶球的中心。

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