Functions are objects

Building a command line data app

import numpy as np
import pandas as pd
import random

Add the missing function references to the function map

function_map = {
    'mean': mean,
    'std': std,
    'minimum': min,
    'maximum': max

data = load_data()

func_name = get_user_input()

# Call the chosen function and pass "data" as an argument

Reviewing your co-worker's code

def has_docstring(func):
  """Check to see if the function
  'func' has a docstring.
      func (callable): A function.
  return func.__doc__ is not None
# Call has_docstring() on the load_and_plot_data() function
ok = has_docstring(load_and_plot_data)

if not ok:
    print("load_and_plot_data() doesn`t have a docstring!")
    print("load_and_plot_data() looks ok")

Returning functions for a math game

def create_math_function(func_name):
    if func_name == 'add':
        def add(a, b):
            return a + b
        return add
    elif func_name == 'subtract':
        # Define the subtract() function
        def subtract(a, b):
            return a - b
        return subtract
        print("I don`t know that one")
add = create_math_function('add')
print('5 + 2 = {}'.format(add(5, 2)))

subtract = create_math_function('subtract')
print('5 - 2 = {}'.format(subtract(5, 2)))
5 + 2 = 7
5 - 2 = 3


Modifying variable outside local scope

call_count = 0

def my_function():
    # Use a keyword that lets us update call_count
    global call_count
    call_count += 1
    print("You've called my_function() {} times!".format(call_count))

for _ in range(20):
You've called my_function() 1 times!
You've called my_function() 2 times!
You've called my_function() 3 times!
You've called my_function() 4 times!
You've called my_function() 5 times!
You've called my_function() 6 times!
You've called my_function() 7 times!
You've called my_function() 8 times!
You've called my_function() 9 times!
You've called my_function() 10 times!
You've called my_function() 11 times!
You've called my_function() 12 times!
You've called my_function() 13 times!
You've called my_function() 14 times!
You've called my_function() 15 times!
You've called my_function() 16 times!
You've called my_function() 17 times!
You've called my_function() 18 times!
You've called my_function() 19 times!
You've called my_function() 20 times!
def read_files():
    file_contents = None
    def save_contents(filename):
        # Add a keyword that lets us modify file_contents
        nonlocal file_contents
        if file_contents is None:
            file_contents = []
        with open(filename) as fin:
    for filename in ['./dataset/1984.txt', './dataset/MobyDick.txt', './dataset/cab.txt']:
    return file_contents


Project Gutenberg Australia

Title: Nineteen eighty-four
Author: George Orwell (pseudonym of Eric Blair) (1903-1950)
* A Project Gutenberg of Australia eBook *
eBook No.:  0100021.txt
Language:   English
Date first posted: August 2001
Date most recently updated: November 2008

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Title:      Nineteen eighty-four
Author:     George Orwell (pseudonym of Eric Blair) (1903-1950)


Chapter 1

It was a bright cold day in April, and the clocks were striking thirteen.
Winston Smith, his chin nuzzled into his breast in an effort to escape the
vile wind, slipped quickly through the glass doors of Victory Mansions,
though not quickly enough to prevent a swirl of gritty dust from entering
along with him.

The hallway smelt of boiled cabbage and old rag mats. At one end of it a
coloured poster, too large for indoor display, had been tacked to the wall.
It depicted simply an enormous face, more than a metre wide: the face of a
man of about forty-five, with a heavy black moustache and ruggedly handsome
features. Winston made for the stairs. It was no use trying the lift. Even
at the best of times it was seldom working, and at present the electric
current was cut off during daylight hours. It was part of the economy drive
in preparation for Hate Week. The flat was seven flights up, and Winston,
who was thirty-nine and had a varicose ulcer above his right ankle, went
slowly, resting several times on the way. On each landing, opposite the
lift-shaft, the poster with the enormous face gazed from the wall. It was
one of those pictures which are so contrived that the eyes follow you about
when you move. BIG BROTHER IS WATCHING YOU, the caption beneath it ran.

Inside the flat a fruity voice was reading out a list of figures which had
something to do with the production of pig-iron. The voice came from an
oblong metal plaque like a dulled mirror which formed part of the surface
of the right-hand wall. Winston turned a switch and the voice sank
somewhat, though the words were still distinguishable. The instrument
(the telescreen, it was called) could be dimmed, but there was no way of
shutting it off completely. He moved over to the window: a smallish, frail
figure, the meagreness of his body merely emphasized by the blue overalls
which were the uniform of the party. His hair was very fair, his face
naturally sanguine, his skin roughened by coarse soap and blunt razor
blades and the cold of the winter that had just ended.

Outside, even through the shut window-pane, the world looked cold. Down in
the street little eddies of wind were whirling dust and torn paper into
spirals, and though the sun was shining and the sky a harsh blue, there
seemed to be no colour in anything, except the posters that were plastered
everywhere. The black-moustachio'd face gazed down from every commanding
corner. There was one on the house-front immediately opposite. BIG BROTHER
IS WATCHING YOU, the caption said, while the dark eyes looked deep into
Winston's own. Down at street level another poster, torn at one corner,
flapped fitfully in the wind, alternately covering and uncovering the
single word INGSOC. In the far distance a helicopter skimmed down between
the roofs, hovered for an instant like a bluebottle, and darted away again
with a curving flight. It was the police patrol, snooping into people's
windows. The patrols did not matter, however. Only the Thought Police

Behind Winston's back the voice from the telescreen was still babbling away
about pig-iron and the overfulfilment of the Ninth Three-Year Plan. The
telescreen received and transmitted simultaneously. Any sound that Winston
made, above the level of a very low whisper, would be picked up by it,
moreover, so long as he remained within the field of vision which the metal
plaque commanded, he could be seen as well as heard. There was of course
no way of knowing whether you were being watched at any given moment. How
often, or on what system, the Thought Police plugged in on any individual
wire was guesswork. It was even conceivable that they watched everybody all
the time. But at any rate they could plug in your wire whenever they wanted
to. You had to live--did live, from habit that became instinct--in the
assumption that every sound you made was overheard, and, except in
darkness, every movement scrutinized.

Winston kept his back turned to the telescreen. It was safer; though, as he
well knew, even a back can be revealing. A kilometre away the Ministry of
Truth, his place of work, towered vast and white above the grimy landscape.
This, he thought with a sort of vague distaste--this was London, chief
city of Airstrip One, itself the third most populous of the provinces of
Oceania. He tried to squeeze out some childhood memory that should tell him
whether London had always been quite like this. Were there always these
vistas of rotting nineteenth-century houses, their sides shored up with
baulks of timber, their windows patched with cardboard and their roofs
with corrugated iron, their crazy garden walls sagging in all directions?
And the bombed sites where the plaster dust swirled in the air and the
willow-herb straggled over the heaps of rubble; and the places where the
bombs had cleared a larger patch and there had sprung up sordid colonies
of wooden dwellings like chicken-houses? But it was no use, he could not
remember: nothing remained of his childhood except a series of bright-lit
tableaux occurring against no background and mostly unintelligible.

The Ministry of Truth--Minitrue, in Newspeak [Newspeak was the official
language of Oceania. For an account of its structure and etymology see
Appendix.]--was startlingly different from any other object in sight. It
was an enormous pyramidal structure of glittering white concrete, soaring
up, terrace after terrace, 300 metres into the air. From where Winston
stood it was just possible to read, picked out on its white face in
elegant lettering, the three slogans of the Party:


The Ministry of Truth contained, it was said, three thousand rooms above
ground level, and corresponding ramifications below. Scattered about London
there were just three other buildings of similar appearance and size. So
completely did they dwarf the surrounding architecture that from the roof
of Victory Mansions you could see all four of them simultaneously. They
were the homes of the four Ministries between which the entire apparatus
of government was divided. The Ministry of Truth, which concerned itself
with news, entertainment, education, and the fine arts. The Ministry of
Peace, which concerned itself with war. The Ministry of Love, which
maintained law and order. And the Ministry of Plenty, which was responsible
for 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, nor
within half a kilometre of it. It was a place impossible to enter except
on official business, and then only by penetrating through a maze of
barbed-wire entanglements, steel doors, and hidden machine-gun nests. Even
the streets leading up to its outer barriers were roamed by gorilla-faced
guards in black uniforms, armed with jointed truncheons.

Winston turned round abruptly. He had set his features into the
expression of quiet optimism which it was advisable to wear when facing
the telescreen. He crossed the room into the tiny kitchen. By leaving
the Ministry at this time of day he had sacrificed his lunch in the
canteen, and he was aware that there was no food in the kitchen except
a hunk of dark-coloured bread which had got to be saved for tomorrow's
breakfast. He took down from the shelf a bottle of colourless liquid
with a plain white label marked VICTORY GIN. It gave off a sickly, oily
smell, as of Chinese rice-spirit. Winston poured out nearly a teacupful,
nerved himself for a shock, and gulped it down like a dose of medicine.

Instantly his face turned scarlet and the water ran out of his eyes. The
stuff was like nitric acid, and moreover, in swallowing it one had the
sensation of being hit on the back of the head with a rubber club. The
next moment, however, the burning in his belly died down and the world
began to look more cheerful. He took a cigarette from a crumpled packet
marked VICTORY CIGARETTES and incautiously held it upright, whereupon 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
penholder, a bottle of ink, and a thick, quarto-sized blank book with a
red back and a marbled cover.

For some reason the telescreen in the living-room was in an unusual
position. Instead of being placed, as was normal, in the end wall, where
it could command the whole room, it was in the longer wall, opposite the
window. To one side of it there was a shallow alcove in which Winston
was now sitting, and which, when the flats were built, had probably been
intended to hold bookshelves. By sitting in the alcove, and keeping well
back, Winston was able to remain outside the range of the telescreen, so
far as sight went. He could be heard, of course, but so long as he stayed
in his present position he could not be seen. It was partly the unusual
geography of the room that had suggested to him the thing that he was now
about to do.

But it had also been suggested by the book that he had just taken out of
the drawer. It was a peculiarly beautiful book. Its smooth creamy paper,
a little yellowed by age, was of a kind that had not been manufactured for
at least forty years past. He could guess, however, that the book was much
older than that. He had seen it lying in the window of a frowsy little
junk-shop in a slummy quarter of the town (just what quarter he did not
now remember) and had been stricken immediately by an overwhelming desire
to possess it. Party members were supposed not to go into ordinary shops
('dealing on the free market', it was called), but the rule was not
strictly kept, because there were various things, such as shoelaces and
razor blades, which it was impossible to get hold of in any other way. He
had given a quick glance up and down the street and then had slipped inside
and bought the book for two dollars fifty. At the time he was not conscious
of wanting it for any particular purpose. He had carried it guiltily home
in his briefcase. Even with nothing written in it, it was a compromising

The thing that he was about to do was to open a diary. This was not illegal
(nothing was illegal, since there were no longer any laws), but if detected
it was reasonably certain that it would be punished by death, or at least
by twenty-five years in a forced-labour camp. Winston fitted a nib into
the penholder and sucked it to get the grease off. The pen was an archaic
instrument, seldom used even for signatures, and he had procured one,
furtively and with some difficulty, simply because of a feeling that the
beautiful creamy paper deserved to be written on with a real nib instead
of being scratched with an ink-pencil. Actually he was not used to writing
by hand. Apart from very short notes, it was usual to dictate everything
into the speak-write which was of course impossible for his present
purpose. He dipped the pen into the ink and then faltered for just a
second. A tremor had gone through his bowels. To mark the paper was the
decisive act. In small clumsy letters he wrote:

   April 4th, 1984.

He sat back. A sense of complete helplessness had descended upon him. To
begin with, he did not know with any certainty that this was 1984. It
must be round about that date, since he was fairly sure that his age was
thirty-nine, and he believed that he had been born in 1944 or 1945; but
it was never possible nowadays to pin down any date within a year or two.

For whom, it suddenly occurred to him to wonder, was he writing this diary?
For the future, for the unborn. His mind hovered for a moment round the
doubtful date on the page, and then fetched up with a bump against the
Newspeak word DOUBLETHINK. For the first time the magnitude of what he had
undertaken came home to him. How could you communicate with the future? It
was of its nature impossible. Either the future would resemble the present,
in which case it would not listen to him: or it would be different from it,
and his predicament would be meaningless.

For some time he sat gazing stupidly at the paper. The telescreen had
changed over to strident military music. It was curious that he seemed
not merely to have lost the power of expressing himself, but even to have
forgotten what it was that he had originally intended to say. For weeks
past he had been making ready for this moment, and it had never crossed
his mind that anything would be needed except courage. The actual writing
would be easy. All he had to do was to transfer to paper the interminable
restless monologue that had been running inside his head, literally for
years. At this moment, however, even the monologue had dried up. Moreover
his varicose ulcer had begun itching unbearably. He dared not scratch it,
because if he did so it always became inflamed. The seconds were ticking
by. He was conscious of nothing except the blankness of the page in front
of him, the itching of the skin above his ankle, the blaring of the music,
and a slight booziness caused by the gin.

Suddenly he began writing in sheer panic, only imperfectly aware of what
he was setting down. His small but childish handwriting straggled up and
down the page, shedding first its capital letters and finally even its
full stops:

   April 4th, 1984. Last night to the flicks. All war films. One very good
one of a ship full of refugees being bombed somewhere in the Mediterranean.
Audience much amused by shots of a great huge fat man trying to swim away
with a helicopter after him, first you saw him wallowing along in the
water like a porpoise, then you saw him through the helicopters gunsights,
then he was full of holes and the sea round him turned pink and he sank as
suddenly as though the holes had let in the water, audience shouting with
laughter when he sank. then you saw a lifeboat full of children with a
helicopter hovering over it. there was a middle-aged woman might have been
a jewess sitting up in the bow with a little boy about three years old in
her arms. little boy screaming with fright and hiding his head between her
breasts as if he was trying to burrow right into her and the woman putting
her arms round him and comforting him although she was blue with fright
herself, all the time covering him up as much as possible as if she thought
her arms could keep the bullets off him. then the helicopter planted a 20
kilo bomb in among them terrific flash and the boat went all to matchwood.
then there was a wonderful shot of a child's arm going up up up right up
into the air a helicopter with a camera in its nose must have followed it
up and there was a lot of applause from the party seats but a woman down in
the prole part of the house suddenly started kicking up a fuss and shouting
they didnt oughter of showed it not in front of kids they didnt it aint
right not in front of kids it aint until the police turned her turned her
out i dont suppose anything happened to her nobody cares what the proles
say typical prole reaction they never----

Winston stopped writing, partly because he was suffering from cramp. He did
not know what had made him pour out this stream of rubbish. But the curious
thing was that while he was doing so a totally different memory had
clarified itself in his mind, to the point where he almost felt equal to
writing it down. It was, he now realized, because of this other incident
that he had suddenly decided to come home and begin the diary today.

It had happened that morning at the Ministry, if anything so nebulous could
be said to happen.

It was nearly eleven hundred, and in the Records Department, where Winston
worked, they were dragging the chairs out of the cubicles and grouping them
in the centre of the hall opposite the big telescreen, in preparation for
the Two Minutes Hate. Winston was just taking his place in one of the
middle rows when two people whom he knew by sight, but had never spoken
to, came unexpectedly into the room. One of them was a girl whom he often
passed in the corridors. He did not know her name, but he knew that she
worked in the Fiction Department. Presumably--since he had sometimes seen
her with oily hands and carrying a spanner--she had some mechanical job
on one of the novel-writing machines. She was a bold-looking girl, of
about twenty-seven, with thick hair, a freckled face, and swift, athletic
movements. A narrow scarlet sash, emblem of the Junior Anti-Sex League, was
wound several times round the waist of her overalls, just tightly enough to
bring out the shapeliness of her hips. Winston had disliked her from the
very first moment of seeing her. He knew the reason. It was because of the
atmosphere of hockey-fields and cold baths and community hikes and general
clean-mindedness which she managed to carry about with her. He disliked
nearly all women, and especially the young and pretty ones. It was always
the women, and above all the young ones, who were the most bigoted
adherents of the Party, the swallowers of slogans, the amateur spies and
nosers-out of unorthodoxy. But this particular girl gave him the impression
of being more dangerous than most. Once when they passed in the corridor
she gave him a quick sidelong glance which seemed to pierce right into
him and for a moment had filled him with black terror. The idea had even
crossed his mind that she might be an agent of the Thought Police. That,
it was true, was very unlikely. Still, he continued to feel a peculiar
uneasiness, which had fear mixed up in it as well as hostility, whenever
she was anywhere near him.

The other person was a man named O'Brien, a member of the Inner Party and
holder of some post so important and remote that Winston had only a dim
idea of its nature. A momentary hush passed over the group of people
round the chairs as they saw the black overalls of an Inner Party member
approaching. O'Brien was a large, burly man with a thick neck and a coarse,
humorous, brutal face. In spite of his formidable appearance he had a
certain charm of manner. He had a trick of resettling his spectacles on
his nose which was curiously disarming--in some indefinable way, curiously
civilized. It was a gesture which, if anyone had still thought in such
terms, might have recalled an eighteenth-century nobleman offering his
snuffbox. Winston had seen O'Brien perhaps a dozen times in almost as many
years. He felt deeply drawn to him, and not solely because he was intrigued
by the contrast between O'Brien's urbane manner and his prize-fighter's
physique. Much more it was because of a secretly held belief--or perhaps
not even a belief, merely a hope--that O'Brien's political orthodoxy was
not perfect. Something in his face suggested it irresistibly. And again,
perhaps it was not even unorthodoxy that was written in his face, but
simply intelligence. But at any rate he had the appearance of being a
person that you could talk to if somehow you could cheat the telescreen and
get him alone. Winston had never made the smallest effort to verify this
guess: indeed, there was no way of doing so. At this moment O'Brien glanced
at his wrist-watch, saw that it was nearly eleven hundred, and evidently
decided to stay in the Records Department until the Two Minutes Hate was
over. He took a chair in the same row as Winston, a couple of places away.
A small, sandy-haired woman who worked in the next cubicle to Winston was
between them. The girl with dark hair was sitting immediately behind.

The next moment a hideous, grinding speech, as of some monstrous machine
running without oil, burst from the big telescreen at the end of the room.
It was a noise that set one's teeth on edge and bristled the hair at the
back of one's neck. The Hate had started.

As usual, the face of Emmanuel Goldstein, the Enemy of the People, had
flashed on to the screen. There were hisses here and there among the
audience. The little sandy-haired woman gave a squeak of mingled fear and
disgust. Goldstein was the renegade and backslider who once, long ago
(how long ago, nobody quite remembered), had been one of the leading
figures of the Party, almost on a level with Big Brother himself, and
then had engaged in counter-revolutionary activities, had been condemned
to death, and had mysteriously escaped and disappeared. The programmes
of the Two Minutes Hate varied from day to day, but there was none in
which Goldstein was not the principal figure. He was the primal traitor,
the earliest defiler of the Party's purity. All subsequent crimes against
the Party, all treacheries, acts of sabotage, heresies, deviations,
sprang directly out of his teaching. Somewhere or other he was still
alive and hatching his conspiracies: perhaps somewhere beyond the sea,
under the protection of his foreign paymasters, perhaps even--so it was
occasionally rumoured--in some hiding-place in Oceania itself.

Winston's diaphragm was constricted. He could never see the face of
Goldstein without a painful mixture of emotions. It was a lean Jewish face,
with a great fuzzy aureole of white hair and a small goatee beard--a
clever face, and yet somehow inherently despicable, with a kind of senile
silliness in the long thin nose, near the end of which a pair of spectacles
was perched. It resembled the face of a sheep, and the voice, too, had a
sheep-like quality. Goldstein was delivering his usual venomous attack
upon the doctrines of the Party--an attack so exaggerated and perverse that
a child should have been able to see through it, and yet just plausible
enough to fill one with an alarmed feeling that other people, less
level-headed than oneself, might be taken in by it. He was abusing Big
Brother, he was denouncing the dictatorship of the Party, he was demanding
the immediate conclusion of peace with Eurasia, he was advocating freedom
of speech, freedom of the Press, freedom of assembly, freedom of thought,
he was crying hysterically that the revolution had been betrayed--and all
this in rapid polysyllabic speech which was a sort of parody of the
habitual style of the orators of the Party, and even contained Newspeak
words: more Newspeak words, indeed, than any Party member would normally
use in real life. And all the while, lest one should be in any doubt as to
the reality which Goldstein's specious claptrap covered, behind his head on
the telescreen there marched the endless columns of the Eurasian army--row
after row of solid-looking men with expressionless Asiatic faces, who swam
up to the surface of the screen and vanished, to be replaced by others
exactly similar. The dull rhythmic tramp of the soldiers' boots formed the
background to Goldstein's bleating voice.

Before the Hate had proceeded for thirty seconds, uncontrollable
exclamations of rage were breaking out from half the people in the room.
The self-satisfied sheep-like face on the screen, and the terrifying power
of the Eurasian army behind it, were too much to be borne: besides,
the sight or even the thought of Goldstein produced fear and anger
automatically. He was an object of hatred more constant than either Eurasia
or Eastasia, since when Oceania was at war with one of these Powers it was
generally at peace with the other. But what was strange was that although
Goldstein was hated and despised by everybody, although every day and a
thousand times a day, on platforms, on the telescreen, in newspapers,
in books, his theories were refuted, smashed, ridiculed, held up to the
general gaze for the pitiful rubbish that they were--in spite of all this,
his influence never seemed to grow less. Always there were fresh dupes
waiting to be seduced by him. A day never passed when spies and saboteurs
acting under his directions were not unmasked by the Thought Police.
He was the commander of a vast shadowy army, an underground network of
conspirators dedicated to the overthrow of the State. The Brotherhood, its
name was supposed to be. There were also whispered stories of a terrible
book, a compendium of all the heresies, of which Goldstein was the author
and which circulated clandestinely here and there. It was a book without a
title. People referred to it, if at all, simply as THE BOOK. But one knew
of such things only through vague rumours. Neither the Brotherhood nor
THE BOOK was a subject that any ordinary Party member would mention if
there was a way of avoiding it.

In its second minute the Hate rose to a frenzy. People were leaping up and
down in their places and shouting at the tops of their voices in an effort
to drown the maddening bleating voice that came from the screen. The little
sandy-haired woman had turned bright pink, and her mouth was opening and
shutting like that of a landed fish. Even O'Brien's heavy face was flushed.
He was sitting very straight in his chair, his powerful chest swelling and
quivering as though he were standing up to the assault of a wave. The
dark-haired girl behind Winston had begun crying out 'Swine! Swine! Swine!'
and suddenly she picked up a heavy Newspeak dictionary and flung it at the
screen. It struck Goldstein's nose and bounced off; the voice continued
inexorably. In a lucid moment Winston found that he was shouting with the
others and kicking his heel violently against the rung of his chair. The
horrible thing about the Two Minutes Hate was not that one was obliged to
act a part, but, on the contrary, that it was impossible to avoid joining
in. Within thirty seconds any pretence was always unnecessary. A hideous
ecstasy of fear and vindictiveness, a desire to kill, to torture, to smash
faces in with a sledge-hammer, seemed to flow through the whole group of
people like an electric current, turning one even against one's will into
a grimacing, screaming lunatic. And yet the rage that one felt was an
abstract, undirected emotion which could be switched from one object to
another like the flame of a blowlamp. Thus, at one moment Winston's hatred
was not turned against Goldstein at all, but, on the contrary, against
Big Brother, the Party, and the Thought Police; and at such moments his
heart went out to the lonely, derided heretic on the screen, sole guardian
of truth and sanity in a world of lies. And yet the very next instant he
was at one with the people about him, and all that was said of Goldstein
seemed to him to be true. At those moments his secret loathing of Big
Brother changed into adoration, and Big Brother seemed to tower up, an
invincible, fearless protector, standing like a rock against the hordes
of Asia, and Goldstein, in spite of his isolation, his helplessness, and
the doubt that hung about his very existence, seemed like some sinister
enchanter, capable by the mere power of his voice of wrecking the structure
of civilization.

It was even possible, at moments, to switch one's hatred this way or that
by a voluntary act. Suddenly, by the sort of violent effort with which one
wrenches one's head away from the pillow in a nightmare, Winston succeeded
in transferring his hatred from the face on the screen to the dark-haired
girl behind him. Vivid, beautiful hallucinations flashed through his mind.
He would flog her to death with a rubber truncheon. He would tie her naked
to a stake and shoot her full of arrows like Saint Sebastian. He would
ravish her and cut her throat at the moment of climax. Better than before,
moreover, he realized WHY it was that he hated her. He hated her because
she was young and pretty and sexless, because he wanted to go to bed with
her and would never do so, because round her sweet supple waist, which
seemed to ask you to encircle it with your arm, there was only the odious
scarlet sash, aggressive symbol of chastity.

The Hate rose to its climax. The voice of Goldstein had become an actual
sheep's bleat, and for an instant the face changed into that of a sheep.
Then the sheep-face melted into the figure of a Eurasian soldier who seemed
to be advancing, huge and terrible, his sub-machine gun roaring, and
seeming to spring out of the surface of the screen, so that some of the
people in the front row actually flinched backwards in their seats. But
in the same moment, drawing a deep sigh of relief from everybody, the
hostile figure melted into the face of Big Brother, black-haired,
black-moustachio'd, full of power and mysterious calm, and so vast that
it almost filled up the screen. Nobody heard what Big Brother was saying.
It was merely a few words of encouragement, the sort of words that are
uttered in the din of battle, not distinguishable individually but
restoring confidence by the fact of being spoken. Then the face of Big
Brother faded away again, and instead the three slogans of the Party stood
out in bold capitals:


But the face of Big Brother seemed to persist for several seconds on the
screen, as though the impact that it had made on everyone's eyeballs was
too vivid to wear off immediately. The little sandy-haired woman had flung
herself forward over the back of the chair in front of her. With a
tremulous murmur that sounded like 'My Saviour!' she extended her arms
towards the screen. Then she buried her face in her hands. It was apparent
that she was uttering a prayer.

At this moment the entire group of people broke into a deep, slow,
rhythmical chant of 'B-B!...B-B!'--over and over again, very slowly, with a
long pause between the first 'B' and the second--a heavy, murmurous sound,
somehow curiously savage, in the background of which one seemed to hear the
stamp of naked feet and the throbbing of tom-toms. For perhaps as much as
thirty seconds they kept it up. It was a refrain that was often heard in
moments of overwhelming emotion. Partly it was a sort of hymn to the wisdom
and majesty of Big Brother, but still more it was an act of self-hypnosis,
a deliberate drowning of consciousness by means of rhythmic noise.
Winston's entrails seemed to grow cold. In the Two Minutes Hate he could
not help sharing in the general delirium, but this sub-human chanting of
'B-B!...B-B!' always filled him with horror. Of course he chanted with the
rest: it was impossible to do otherwise. To dissemble your feelings, to
control your face, to do what everyone else was doing, was an instinctive
reaction. But there was a space of a couple of seconds during which the
expression of his eyes might conceivably have betrayed him. And it was
exactly at this moment that the significant thing happened--if, indeed,
it did happen.

Momentarily he caught O'Brien's eye. O'Brien had stood up. He had taken
off his spectacles and was in the act of resettling them on his nose with
his characteristic gesture. But there was a fraction of a second when
their eyes met, and for as long as it took to happen Winston knew--yes, he
KNEW!--that O'Brien was thinking the same thing as himself. An unmistakable
message had passed. It was as though their two minds had opened and the
thoughts were flowing from one into the other through their eyes. 'I am
with you,' O'Brien seemed to be saying to him. 'I know precisely what you
are feeling. I know all about your contempt, your hatred, your disgust.
But don't worry, I am on your side!' And then the flash of intelligence
was gone, and O'Brien's face was as inscrutable as everybody else's.

That was all, and he was already uncertain whether it had happened. Such
incidents never had any sequel. All that they did was to keep alive in him
the belief, or hope, that others besides himself were the enemies of the
Party. Perhaps the rumours of vast underground conspiracies were true after
all--perhaps the Brotherhood really existed! It was impossible, in spite
of the endless arrests and confessions and executions, to be sure that the
Brotherhood was not simply a myth. Some days he believed in it, some days
not. There was no evidence, only fleeting glimpses that might mean anything
or nothing: snatches of overheard conversation, faint scribbles on lavatory
walls--once, even, when two strangers met, a small movement of the hand
which had looked as though it might be a signal of recognition. It was all
guesswork: very likely he had imagined everything. He had gone back to his
cubicle without looking at O'Brien again. The idea of following up their
momentary contact hardly crossed his mind. It would have been inconceivably
dangerous even if he had known how to set about doing it. For a second, two
seconds, they had exchanged an equivocal glance, and that was the end of
the story. But even that was a memorable event, in the locked loneliness in
which one had to live.

Winston roused himself and sat up straighter. He let out a belch. The gin
was rising from his stomach.

His eyes re-focused on the page. He discovered that while he sat helplessly
musing he had also been writing, as though by automatic action. And it was
no longer the same cramped, awkward handwriting as before. His pen had slid
voluptuously over the smooth paper, printing in large neat capitals--


over and over again, filling half a page.

He could not help feeling a twinge of panic. It was absurd, since the
writing of those particular words was not more dangerous than the initial
act of opening the diary, but for a moment he was tempted to tear out the
spoiled pages and abandon the enterprise altogether.

He did not do so, however, because he knew that it was useless. Whether he
wrote DOWN WITH BIG BROTHER, or whether he refrained from writing it, made
no difference. Whether he went on with the diary, or whether he did not go
on with it, made no difference. The Thought Police would get him just the
same. He had committed--would still have committed, even if he had never
set pen to paper--the essential crime that contained all others in itself.
Thoughtcrime, they called it. Thoughtcrime was not a thing that could be
concealed for ever. You might dodge successfully for a while, even for
years, but sooner or later they were bound to get you.

It was always at night--the arrests invariably happened at night. The
sudden jerk out of sleep, the rough hand shaking your shoulder, the lights
glaring in your eyes, the ring of hard faces round the bed. In the vast
majority of cases there was no trial, no report of the arrest. People
simply disappeared, always during the night. Your name was removed from the
registers, every record of everything you had ever done was wiped out, your
one-time existence was denied and then forgotten. You were abolished,
annihilated: VAPORIZED was the usual word.

For a moment he was seized by a kind of hysteria. He began writing in a
hurried untidy scrawl:

   theyll shoot me i don't care theyll shoot me in the back of the neck i
dont care down with big brother they always shoot you in the back of the
neck i dont care down with big brother----

He sat back in his chair, slightly ashamed of himself, and laid down
the pen. The next moment he started violently. There was a knocking at
the door.

Already! He sat as still as a mouse, in the futile hope that whoever it was
might go away after a single attempt. But no, the knocking was repeated.
The worst thing of all would be to delay. His heart was thumping like a
drum, but his face, from long habit, was probably expressionless. He got
up and moved heavily towards the door.

Chapter 2

As he put his hand to the door-knob Winston saw that he had left the
diary open on the table. DOWN WITH BIG BROTHER was written all over it,
in letters almost big enough to be legible across the room. It was an
inconceivably stupid thing to have done. But, he realized, even in his
panic he had not wanted to smudge the creamy paper by shutting the book
while the ink was wet.

He drew in his breath and opened the door. Instantly a warm wave of relief
flowed through him. A colourless, crushed-looking woman, with wispy hair
and a lined face, was standing outside.

'Oh, comrade,' she began in a dreary, whining sort of voice, 'I thought I
heard you come in. Do you think you could come across and have a look at
our kitchen sink? It's got blocked up and----'

It was Mrs Parsons, the wife of a neighbour on the same floor. ('Mrs' was
a word somewhat discountenanced by the Party--you were supposed to call
everyone 'comrade'--but with some women one used it instinctively.) She was
a woman of about thirty, but looking much older. One had the impression
that there was dust in the creases of her face. Winston followed her down
the passage. These amateur repair jobs were an almost daily irritation.
Victory Mansions were old flats, built in 1930 or thereabouts, and were
falling to pieces. The plaster flaked constantly from ceilings and walls,
the pipes burst in every hard frost, the roof leaked whenever there was
snow, the heating system was usually running at half steam when it was not
closed down altogether from motives of economy. Repairs, except what you
could do for yourself, had to be sanctioned by remote committees which
were liable to hold up even the mending of a window-pane for two years.

'Of course it's only because Tom isn't home,' said Mrs Parsons vaguely.

The Parsons' flat was bigger than Winston's, and dingy in a different
way. Everything had a battered, trampled-on look, as though the
place had just been visited by some large violent animal. Games
impedimenta--hockey-sticks, boxing-gloves, a burst football, a pair of
sweaty shorts turned inside out--lay all over the floor, and on the
table there was a litter of dirty dishes and dog-eared exercise-books.
On the walls were scarlet banners of the Youth League and the Spies, and
a full-sized poster of Big Brother. There was the usual boiled-cabbage
smell, common to the whole building, but it was shot through by a sharper
reek of sweat, which--one knew this at the first sniff, though it was
hard to say how--was the sweat of some person not present at the moment.
In another room someone with a comb and a piece of toilet paper was
trying to keep tune with the military music which was still issuing
from the telescreen.

'It's the children,' said Mrs Parsons, casting a half-apprehensive glance
at the door. 'They haven't been out today. And of course----'

She had a habit of breaking off her sentences in the middle. The kitchen
sink was full nearly to the brim with filthy greenish water which smelt
worse than ever of cabbage. Winston knelt down and examined the angle-joint
of the pipe. He hated using his hands, and he hated bending down, which was
always liable to start him coughing. Mrs Parsons looked on helplessly.

'Of course if Tom was home he'd put it right in a moment,' she said.
'He loves anything like that. He's ever so good with his hands, Tom is.'

Parsons was Winston's fellow-employee at the Ministry of Truth. He was
a fattish but active man of paralysing stupidity, a mass of imbecile
enthusiasms--one of those completely unquestioning, devoted drudges on
whom, more even than on the Thought Police, the stability of the Party
depended. At thirty-five he had just been unwillingly evicted from the
Youth League, and before graduating into the Youth League he had managed to
stay on in the Spies for a year beyond the statutory age. At the Ministry
he was employed in some subordinate post for which intelligence was not
required, but on the other hand he was a leading figure on the Sports
Committee and all the other committees engaged in organizing community
hikes, spontaneous demonstrations, savings campaigns, and voluntary
activities generally. He would inform you with quiet pride, between whiffs
of his pipe, that he had put in an appearance at the Community Centre every
evening for the past four years. An overpowering smell of sweat, a sort of
unconscious testimony to the strenuousness of his life, followed him about
wherever he went, and even remained behind him after he had gone.

'Have you got a spanner?' said Winston, fiddling with the nut on the

'A spanner,' said Mrs Parsons, immediately becoming invertebrate. 'I don't
know, I'm sure. Perhaps the children----'

There was a trampling of boots and another blast on the comb as the
children charged into the living-room. Mrs Parsons brought the spanner.
Winston let out the water and disgustedly removed the clot of human hair
that had blocked up the pipe. He cleaned his fingers as best he could in
the cold water from the tap and went back into the other room.

'Up with your hands!' yelled a savage voice.

A handsome, tough-looking boy of nine had popped up from behind the table
and was menacing him with a toy automatic pistol, while his small sister,
about two years younger, made the same gesture with a fragment of wood.
Both of them were dressed in the blue shorts, grey shirts, and red
neckerchiefs which were the uniform of the Spies. Winston raised his hands
above his head, but with an uneasy feeling, so vicious was the boy's
demeanour, that it was not altogether a game.

'You're a traitor!' yelled the boy. 'You're a thought-criminal! You're a
Eurasian spy! I'll shoot you, I'll vaporize you, I'll send you to the salt

Suddenly they were both leaping round him, shouting 'Traitor!' and
'Thought-criminal!' the little girl imitating her brother in every
movement. It was somehow slightly frightening, like the gambolling of
tiger cubs which will soon grow up into man-eaters. There was a sort of
calculating ferocity in the boy's eye, a quite evident desire to hit or
kick Winston and a consciousness of being very nearly big enough to do so.
It was a good job it was not a real pistol he was holding, Winston thought.

Mrs Parsons' eyes flitted nervously from Winston to the children, and back
again. In the better light of the living-room he noticed with interest
that there actually was dust in the creases of her face.

'They do 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?' roared the boy in his huge voice.

'Want to see the hanging! Want to see the hanging!' chanted the little
girl, still capering round.

Some Eurasian prisoners, guilty of war crimes, were to be hanged in the
Park that evening, Winston remembered. This happened about once a month,
and was a popular spectacle. Children always clamoured to be taken to see
it. He took his leave of Mrs Parsons and made for the door. But he had not
gone six steps down the passage when something hit the back of his neck an
agonizingly painful blow. It was as though a red-hot wire had been jabbed
into him. He spun round just in time to see Mrs Parsons dragging her son
back into the doorway while the boy pocketed a catapult.

'Goldstein!' bellowed the boy as the door closed on him. But what most
struck Winston was the look of helpless fright on the woman's greyish face.

Back in the flat he stepped quickly past the telescreen and sat down at the
table again, still rubbing his neck. The music from the telescreen had
stopped. Instead, a clipped military voice was reading out, with a sort of
brutal relish, a description of the armaments of the new Floating Fortress
which had just been anchored between Iceland and the Faroe Islands.

With those children, he thought, that wretched woman must lead a life of
terror. Another year, two years, and they would be watching her night
and day for symptoms of unorthodoxy. Nearly all children nowadays were
horrible. What was worst of all was that by means of such organizations as
the Spies they were systematically turned into ungovernable little savages,
and yet this produced in them no tendency whatever to rebel against the
discipline of the Party. On the contrary, they adored the Party and
everything connected with it. The songs, the processions, the banners, the
hiking, the drilling with dummy rifles, the yelling of slogans, the worship
of Big Brother--it was all a sort of glorious game to them. All their
ferocity was turned outwards, against the enemies of the State, against
foreigners, traitors, saboteurs, thought-criminals. It was almost normal
for people over thirty to be frightened of their own children. And with
good reason, for hardly a week passed in which 'The Times' did not carry
a paragraph describing how some eavesdropping little sneak--'child hero'
was the phrase generally used--had overheard some compromising remark
and denounced its parents to the Thought Police.

The sting of the catapult bullet had worn off. He picked up his pen
half-heartedly, wondering whether he could find something more to 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 pitch-dark room. And someone sitting to one side of
him had said as he passed: 'We shall meet in the place where there is no
darkness.' It was said very quietly, almost casually--a statement, not a
command. He had walked on without pausing. What was curious was that at the
time, in the dream, the words had not made much impression on him. It was
only later and by degrees that they had seemed to take on significance. He
could not now remember whether it was before or after having the dream that
he had seen O'Brien for the first time, nor could he remember when he had
first identified the voice as O'Brien's. But at any rate the identification
existed. It was O'Brien who had spoken to him out of the dark.

Winston had never been able to feel sure--even after this morning's flash
of the eyes it was still impossible to be sure whether O'Brien was a friend
or an enemy. Nor did it even seem to matter greatly. There was a link of
understanding between them, more important than affection or partisanship.
'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. A trumpet call, clear and beautiful,
floated into the stagnant air. The voice continued raspingly:

'Attention! Your attention, please! A newsflash has this moment arrived
from the Malabar front. Our forces in South India have won a glorious
victory. I am authorized to say that the action we are now reporting may
well bring the war within measurable distance of its end. Here is the

Bad news coming, thought Winston. And sure enough, following on a gory
description of the annihilation of a Eurasian army, with stupendous figures
of killed and prisoners, came the announcement that, as from next week,
the chocolate ration would be reduced from thirty grammes to twenty.

Winston belched again. The gin was wearing off, leaving a deflated feeling.
The telescreen--perhaps to celebrate the victory, perhaps to drown the
memory of the lost chocolate--crashed into 'Oceania, 'tis for thee'. You
were supposed to stand to attention. However, in his present position he
was invisible.

'Oceania, 'tis for thee' gave way to lighter music. Winston walked over to
the window, keeping his back to the telescreen. The day was still cold and
clear. Somewhere far away a rocket bomb exploded with a dull, reverberating
roar. About twenty or thirty of them a week were falling on London at

Down in the street the wind flapped the torn poster to and fro, and the
word INGSOC fitfully appeared and vanished. Ingsoc. The sacred principles
of Ingsoc. Newspeak, doublethink, the mutability of the past. He felt as
though he were wandering in the forests of the sea bottom, lost in a
monstrous world where he himself was the monster. He was alone. The past
was dead, the future was unimaginable. What certainty had he that a single
human creature now living was on his side? And what way of knowing that the
dominion of the Party would not endure FOR EVER? Like an answer, the three
slogans on the white face of the Ministry of Truth came back to him:


He took a twenty-five cent piece out of his pocket. There, too, in tiny
clear lettering, the same slogans were inscribed, and on the other face of
the coin the head of Big Brother. Even from the coin the eyes pursued you.
On coins, on stamps, on the covers of books, on banners, on posters, and on
the wrappings of a cigarette packet--everywhere. Always the eyes watching
you and the voice enveloping you. Asleep or awake, working or eating,
indoors or out of doors, in the bath or in bed--no escape. Nothing was your
own except the few cubic centimetres inside your skull.

The sun had shifted round, and the myriad windows of the Ministry of Truth,
with the light no longer shining on them, looked grim as the loopholes of a
fortress. His heart quailed before the enormous pyramidal shape. It was too
strong, it could not be stormed. A thousand rocket bombs would not batter
it down. He wondered again for whom he was writing the diary. For the
future, for the past--for an age that might be imaginary. And in front of
him there lay not death but annihilation. The diary would be reduced to
ashes and himself to vapour. Only the Thought Police would read what he had
written, before they wiped it out of existence and out of memory. How could
you make appeal to the future when not a trace of you, not even an
anonymous word scribbled on a piece of paper, could physically survive?

The telescreen struck fourteen. He must leave in ten minutes. He had to be
back at work by fourteen-thirty.

Curiously, the chiming of the hour seemed to have put new heart into him.
He was a lonely ghost uttering a truth that nobody would ever hear. But so
long as he uttered it, in some obscure way the continuity was not broken.
It was not by making yourself heard but by staying sane that you carried on
the human heritage. He went back to the table, dipped his pen, 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 truth
exists and what is done cannot be undone:
   From the age of uniformity, from the age of solitude, from the age of
Big Brother, from the age of doublethink--greetings!

He was already dead, he reflected. It seemed to him that it was only now,
when he had begun to be able to formulate his thoughts, that he had taken
the decisive step. The consequences of every act are included in the act
itself. He wrote:

   Thoughtcrime does not entail death: thoughtcrime IS death.

Now he had recognized himself as a dead man it became important to stay
alive as long as possible. Two fingers of his right hand were inkstained.
It was exactly the kind of detail that might betray you. Some nosing zealot
in the Ministry (a woman, probably: someone like the little sandy-haired
woman or the dark-haired girl from the Fiction Department) might start
wondering why he had been writing during the lunch interval, why he had
used an old-fashioned pen, WHAT he had been writing--and then drop a hint
in the appropriate quarter. He went to the bathroom and carefully scrubbed
the ink away with the gritty dark-brown soap which rasped your skin like
sandpaper and was therefore well adapted for this purpose.

He put the diary away in the drawer. It was quite useless to think of
hiding it, but he could at least make sure whether or not its existence had
been discovered. A hair laid across the page-ends was too obvious. With the
tip of his finger he picked up an identifiable grain of whitish dust and
deposited it on the corner of the cover, where it was bound to be shaken
off if the book was moved.

Chapter 3

Winston was dreaming of his mother.

He must, he thought, have been ten or eleven years old when his mother had
disappeared. She was a tall, statuesque, rather silent woman with slow
movements and magnificent fair hair. His father he remembered more vaguely
as dark and thin, dressed always in neat dark clothes (Winston remembered
especially the very thin soles of his father's shoes) and wearing
spectacles. The two of them must evidently have been swallowed up in one
of the first great purges of the fifties.

At this moment his mother was sitting in some place deep down beneath him,
with his young sister in her arms. He did not remember his sister at all,
except as a tiny, feeble baby, always silent, with large, watchful eyes.
Both of them were looking up at him. They were down in some subterranean
place--the bottom of a well, for instance, or a very deep grave--but it
was a place which, already far below him, was itself moving downwards.
They were in the saloon of a sinking ship, looking up at him through the
darkening water. There was still air in the saloon, they could still see
him and he them, but all the while they were sinking down, down into the
green waters which in another moment must hide them from sight for ever.
He was out in the light and air while they were being sucked down to death,
and they were down there because he was up here. He knew it and they knew
it, and he could see the knowledge in their faces. There was no reproach
either in their faces or in their hearts, only the knowledge that they
must die in order that he might remain alive, and that this was part of
the unavoidable order of things.

He could not remember what had happened, but he knew in his dream that in
some way the lives of his mother and his sister had been sacrificed to his
own. It was one of those dreams which, while retaining the characteristic
dream scenery, are a continuation of one's intellectual life, and in which
one becomes aware of facts and ideas which still seem new and valuable
after one is awake. The thing that now suddenly struck Winston was that his
mother's death, nearly thirty years ago, had been tragic and sorrowful in
a way that was no longer possible. Tragedy, he perceived, belonged to the
ancient time, to a time when there was still privacy, love, and friendship,
and when the members of a family stood by one another without needing to
know the reason. His mother's memory tore at his heart because she had died
loving him, when he was too young and selfish to love her in return, and
because somehow, he did not remember how, she had sacrificed herself to a
conception of loyalty that was private and unalterable. Such things, he
saw, could not happen today. Today there were fear, hatred, and pain, but
no dignity of emotion, no deep or complex sorrows. All this he seemed to
see in the large eyes of his mother and his sister, looking up at him
through the green water, hundreds of fathoms down and still sinking.

Suddenly he was standing on short springy turf, on a summer evening when
the slanting rays of the sun gilded the ground. The landscape that he was
looking at recurred so often in his dreams that he was never fully certain
whether or not he had seen it in the real world. In his waking thoughts he
called it the Golden Country. It was an old, rabbit-bitten pasture, with a
foot-track wandering across it and a molehill here and there. In the ragged
hedge on the opposite side of the field the boughs of the elm trees were
swaying very faintly in the breeze, their leaves just stirring in dense
masses like women's hair. Somewhere near at hand, though out of sight,
there was a clear, slow-moving stream where dace were swimming in the
pools under the willow trees.

The girl with dark hair was coming towards them across the field. With
what seemed a single movement she tore off her clothes and flung them
disdainfully aside. Her body was white and smooth, but it aroused no desire
in him, indeed he barely looked at it. What overwhelmed him in that instant
was admiration for the gesture with which she had thrown her clothes aside.
With its grace and carelessness it seemed to annihilate a whole culture,
a whole system of thought, as though Big Brother and the Party and the
Thought Police could all be swept into nothingness by a single splendid
movement of the arm. That too was a gesture belonging to the ancient time.
Winston woke up with the word 'Shakespeare' on his lips.

The telescreen was giving forth an ear-splitting whistle which continued on
the same note for thirty seconds. It was nought seven fifteen, getting-up
time for office workers. Winston wrenched his body out of bed--naked, for
a member of the Outer Party received only 3,000 clothing coupons annually,
and a suit of pyjamas was 600--and seized a dingy singlet and a pair of
shorts that were lying across a chair. The Physical Jerks would begin in
three minutes. The next moment he was doubled up by a violent coughing fit
which nearly always attacked him soon after waking up. It emptied his lungs
so completely that he could only begin breathing again by lying on his back
and taking a series of deep gasps. His veins had swelled with the effort of
the cough, and the varicose ulcer had started itching.

'Thirty to forty group!' yapped a piercing female voice. 'Thirty to forty
group! Take your places, please. Thirties to forties!'

Winston sprang to attention in front of the telescreen, upon which the
image of a youngish woman, scrawny but muscular, dressed in tunic and
gym-shoes, had already appeared.

'Arms bending and stretching!' she rapped out. 'Take your time by me. ONE,
two, three, four! ONE, two, three, four! Come on, comrades, put a bit of
life into it! ONE, two, three four! ONE two, three, four!...'

The pain of the coughing fit had not quite driven out of Winston's mind the
impression made by his dream, and the rhythmic movements of the exercise
restored it somewhat. As he mechanically shot his arms back and forth,
wearing on his face the look of grim enjoyment which was considered proper
during the Physical Jerks, he was struggling to think his way backward into
the dim period of his early childhood. It was extraordinarily difficult.
Beyond the late fifties everything faded. When there were no external
records that you could refer to, even the outline of your own life lost
its sharpness. You remembered huge events which had quite probably not
happened, you remembered the detail of incidents without being able to
recapture their atmosphere, and there were long blank periods to which you
could assign nothing. Everything had been different then. Even the names of
countries, and their shapes on the map, had been different. Airstrip One,
for instance, had not been so called in those days: it had been called
England or Britain, though London, he felt fairly certain, had always been
called London.

Winston could not definitely remember a time when his country had not been
at war, but it was evident that there had been a fairly long interval of
peace during his childhood, because one of his early memories was of an air
raid which appeared to take everyone by surprise. Perhaps it was the time
when the atomic bomb had fallen on Colchester. He did not remember the raid
itself, but he did remember his father's hand clutching his own as they
hurried down, down, down into some place deep in the earth, round and round
a spiral staircase which rang under his feet and which finally so wearied
his legs that he began whimpering and they had to stop and rest. His
mother, in her slow, dreamy way, was following a long way behind them. She
was carrying his baby sister--or perhaps it was only a bundle of blankets
that she was carrying: he was not certain whether his sister had been born
then. Finally they had emerged into a noisy, crowded place which he had
realized to be a Tube station.

There were people sitting all over the stone-flagged floor, and other
people, packed tightly together, were sitting on metal bunks, one above
the other. Winston and his mother and father found themselves a place on
the floor, and near them an old man and an old woman were sitting side by
side on a bunk. The old man had on a decent dark suit and a black cloth cap
pushed back from very white hair: his face was scarlet and his eyes were
blue and full of tears. He reeked of gin. It seemed to breathe out of his
skin in place of sweat, and one could have fancied that the tears welling
from his eyes were pure gin. But though slightly drunk he was also
suffering under some grief that was genuine and unbearable. In his childish
way Winston grasped that some terrible thing, something that was beyond
forgiveness and could never be remedied, had just happened. It also seemed
to him that he knew what it was. Someone whom the old man loved--a little
granddaughter, perhaps--had been killed. Every few minutes the old man kept

'We didn't ought to 'ave trusted 'em. I said so, Ma, didn't I? That's what
comes of trusting 'em. I said so all along. We didn't ought to 'ave trusted
the buggers.'

But which buggers they didn't ought to have trusted Winston could not now

Since about that time, war had been literally continuous, though strictly
speaking it had not always been the same war. For several months during his
childhood there had been confused street fighting in London itself, some
of which he remembered vividly. But to trace out the history of the whole
period, to say who was fighting whom at any given moment, would have been
utterly impossible, since no written record, and no spoken word, ever made
mention of any other alignment than the existing one. At this moment, for
example, in 1984 (if it was 1984), Oceania was at war with Eurasia and
in alliance with Eastasia. In no public or private utterance was it ever
admitted that the three powers had at any time been grouped along different
lines. Actually, as Winston well knew, it was only four years since Oceania
had been at war with Eastasia and in alliance with Eurasia. But that was
merely a piece of furtive knowledge which he happened to possess because
his memory was not satisfactorily under control. Officially the change of
partners had never happened. Oceania was at war with Eurasia: therefore
Oceania had always been at war with Eurasia. The enemy of the moment always
represented absolute evil, and it followed that any past or future
agreement with him was impossible.

The frightening thing, he reflected for the ten thousandth time as he
forced his shoulders painfully backward (with hands on hips, they were
gyrating their bodies from the waist, an exercise that was supposed to be
good for the back muscles)--the frightening thing was that it might all be
true. If the Party could thrust its hand into the past and say of this or
that event, IT NEVER HAPPENED--that, surely, was more terrifying than mere
torture and death?

The Party said that Oceania had never been in alliance with Eurasia. He,
Winston Smith, knew that Oceania had been in alliance with Eurasia as short
a time as four years ago. But where did that knowledge exist? Only in his
own consciousness, which in any case must soon be annihilated. And if all
others accepted the lie which the Party imposed--if all records told the
same tale--then the lie passed into history and became truth. 'Who controls
the past,' ran the Party slogan, 'controls the future: who controls the
present controls the past.' And yet the past, though of its nature
alterable, never had been altered. Whatever was true now was true from
everlasting to everlasting. It was quite simple. All that was needed was
an unending series of victories over your own memory. 'Reality control',
they called it: in Newspeak, 'doublethink'.

'Stand easy!' barked the instructress, a little more genially.

Winston sank his arms to his sides and slowly refilled his lungs with air.
His mind slid away into the labyrinthine world of doublethink. To know
and not to know, to be conscious of complete truthfulness while telling
carefully constructed lies, to hold simultaneously two opinions which
cancelled out, knowing them to be contradictory and believing in both of
them, to use logic against logic, to repudiate morality while laying claim
to it, to believe that democracy was impossible and that the Party was the
guardian of democracy, to forget whatever it was necessary to forget, then
to draw it back into memory again at the moment when it was needed, and
then promptly to forget it again: and above all, to apply the same process
to the process itself. That was the ultimate subtlety: consciously to
induce unconsciousness, and then, once again, to become unconscious of
the act of hypnosis you had just performed. Even to understand the word
'doublethink' involved the use of doublethink.

The instructress had called them to attention again. 'And now let's see
which of us can touch our toes!' she said enthusiastically. 'Right over
from the hips, please, comrades. ONE-two! ONE-two!...'

Winston loathed this exercise, which sent shooting pains all the way from
his heels to his buttocks and often ended by bringing on another coughing
fit. The half-pleasant quality went out of his meditations. The past, he
reflected, had not merely been altered, it had been actually destroyed. For
how could you establish even the most obvious fact when there existed no
record outside your own memory? He tried to remember in what year he had
first heard mention of Big Brother. He thought it must have been at some
time in the sixties, but it was impossible to be certain. In the Party
histories, of course, Big Brother figured as the leader and guardian of the
Revolution since its very earliest days. His exploits had been gradually
pushed backwards in time until already they extended into the fabulous
world of the forties and the thirties, when the capitalists in their
strange cylindrical hats still rode through the streets of London in great
gleaming motor-cars or horse carriages with glass sides. There was no
knowing how much of this legend was true and how much invented. Winston
could not even remember at what date the Party itself had come into
existence. He did not believe he had ever heard the word Ingsoc before
1960, but it was possible that in its Oldspeak form--'English Socialism',
that is to say--it had been current earlier. Everything melted into mist.
Sometimes, indeed, you could put your finger on a definite lie. It was not
true, for example, as was claimed in the Party history books, that the
Party had invented aeroplanes. He remembered aeroplanes since his earliest
childhood. But you could prove nothing. There was never any evidence. Just
once in his whole life he had held in his hands unmistakable documentary
proof of the falsification of an historical fact. And on that occasion----

'Smith!' screamed the shrewish voice from the telescreen. '6079 Smith W.!
Yes, YOU! Bend lower, please! You can do better than that. You're not
trying. Lower, please! THAT'S better, comrade. Now stand at ease, the
whole squad, and watch me.'

A sudden hot sweat had broken out all over Winston's body. His face
remained completely inscrutable. Never show dismay! Never show resentment!
A single flicker of the eyes could give you away. He stood watching while
the instructress raised her arms above her head and--one could not say
gracefully, but with remarkable neatness and efficiency--bent over and
tucked the first joint of her fingers under her toes.

'THERE, comrades! THAT'S how I want to see you doing it. Watch me again.
I'm thirty-nine and I've had four children. Now look.' She bent over again.
'You see MY knees aren't bent. You can all do it if you want to,' she added
as she straightened herself up. 'Anyone under forty-five is perfectly
capable of touching his toes. We don't all have the privilege of fighting
in the front line, but at least we can all keep fit. Remember our boys on
the Malabar front! And the sailors in the Floating Fortresses! Just think
what THEY have to put up with. Now try again. That's better, comrade,
that's MUCH better,' she added encouragingly as Winston, with a violent
lunge, succeeded in touching his toes with knees unbent, for the first
time in several years.

Chapter 4

With the deep, unconscious sigh which not even the nearness of the
telescreen could prevent him from uttering when his day's work started,
Winston pulled the speakwrite towards him, blew the dust from its
mouthpiece, and put on his spectacles. Then he unrolled and clipped
together four small cylinders of paper which had already flopped out of
the pneumatic tube on the right-hand side of his desk.

In the walls of the cubicle there were three orifices. To the right of the
speakwrite, a small pneumatic tube for written messages, to the left, a
larger one for newspapers; and in the side wall, within easy reach of
Winston's arm, a large oblong slit protected by a wire grating. This last
was for the disposal of waste paper. Similar slits existed in thousands or
tens of thousands throughout the building, not only in every room but at
short intervals in every corridor. For some reason they were nicknamed
memory holes. When one knew that any document was due for destruction, or
even when one saw a scrap of waste paper lying about, it was an automatic
action to lift the flap of the nearest memory hole and drop it in,
whereupon it would be whirled away on a current of warm air to the enormous
furnaces which were hidden somewhere in the recesses of the building.

Winston examined the four slips of paper which he had unrolled. Each
contained a message of only one or two lines, in the abbreviated
jargon--not actually Newspeak, but consisting
largely of Newspeak words--which was used in the Ministry for internal
purposes. They ran:

times 17.3.84 bb speech malreported africa rectify

times 19.12.83 forecasts 3 yp 4th quarter 83 misprints verify current issue

times 14.2.84 miniplenty malquoted chocolate rectify

times 3.12.83 reporting bb dayorder doubleplusungood refs unpersons rewrite
fullwise upsub antefiling

With a faint feeling of satisfaction Winston laid the fourth message aside.
It was an intricate and responsible job and had better be dealt with last.
The other three were routine matters, though the second one would probably
mean some tedious wading through lists of figures.

Winston dialled 'back numbers' on the telescreen and called for the
appropriate issues of 'The Times', which slid out of the pneumatic tube
after only a few minutes' delay. The messages he had received referred to
articles or news items which for one reason or another it was thought
necessary to alter, or, as the official phrase had it, to rectify. For
example, it appeared from 'The Times' of the seventeenth of March that Big
Brother, in his speech of the previous day, had predicted that the South
Indian front would remain quiet but that a Eurasian offensive would shortly
be launched in North Africa. As it happened, the Eurasian Higher Command
had launched its offensive in South India and left North Africa alone. It
was therefore necessary to rewrite a paragraph of Big Brother's speech, in
such a way as to make him predict the thing that had actually happened. Or
again, 'The Times' of the nineteenth of December had published the official
forecasts of the output of various classes of consumption goods in the
fourth quarter of 1983, which was also the sixth quarter of the Ninth
Three-Year Plan. Today's issue contained a statement of the actual output,
from which it appeared that the forecasts were in every instance grossly
wrong. Winston's job was to rectify the original figures by making them
agree with the later ones. As for the third message, it referred to a very
simple error which could be set right in a couple of minutes. As short
a time ago as February, the Ministry of Plenty had issued a promise
(a 'categorical pledge' were the official words) that there would be
no reduction of the chocolate ration during 1984. Actually, as Winston
was aware, the chocolate ration was to be reduced from thirty grammes
to twenty at the end of the present week. All that was needed was to
substitute for the original promise a warning that it would probably be
necessary to reduce the ration at some time in April.

As soon as Winston had dealt with each of the messages, he clipped his
speakwritten corrections to the appropriate copy of 'The Times' and pushed
them into the pneumatic tube. Then, with a movement which was as nearly as
possible unconscious, he crumpled up the original message and any notes
that he himself had made, and dropped them into the memory hole to be
devoured by the flames.

What happened in the unseen labyrinth to which the pneumatic tubes led, he
did not know in detail, but he did know in general terms. As soon as all
the corrections which happened to be necessary in any particular number
of 'The Times' had been assembled and collated, that number would be
reprinted, the original copy destroyed, and the corrected copy placed on
the files in its stead. This process of continuous alteration was applied
not only to newspapers, but to books, periodicals, pamphlets, posters,
leaflets, films, sound-tracks, cartoons, photographs--to every kind of
literature or documentation which might conceivably hold any political or
ideological significance. Day by day and almost minute by minute the past
was brought up to date. In this way every prediction made by the Party
could be shown by documentary evidence to have been correct, nor was any
item of news, or any expression of opinion, which conflicted with the
needs of the moment, ever allowed to remain on record. All history was
a palimpsest, scraped clean and reinscribed exactly as often as was
necessary. In no case would it have been possible, once the deed was done,
to prove that any falsification had taken place. The largest section of
the Records Department, far larger than the one on which Winston worked,
consisted simply of persons whose duty it was to track down and collect all
copies of books, newspapers, and other documents which had been superseded
and were due for destruction. A number of 'The Times' which might, because
of changes in political alignment, or mistaken prophecies uttered by Big
Brother, have been rewritten a dozen times still stood on the files bearing
its original date, and no other copy existed to contradict it. Books, also,
were recalled and rewritten again and again, and were invariably reissued
without any admission that any alteration had been made. Even the written
instructions which Winston received, and which he invariably got rid of
as soon as he had dealt with them, never stated or implied that an act of
forgery was to be committed: always the reference was to slips, errors,
misprints, or misquotations which it was necessary to put right in the
interests of accuracy.

But actually, he thought as he re-adjusted the Ministry of Plenty's
figures, it was not even forgery. It was merely the substitution of one
piece of nonsense for another. Most of the material that you were dealing
with had no connexion with anything in the real world, not even the kind of
connexion that is contained in a direct lie. Statistics were just as much
a fantasy in their original version as in their rectified version. A great
deal of the time you were expected to make them up out of your head. For
example, the Ministry of Plenty's forecast had estimated the output of
boots for the quarter at 145 million pairs. The actual output was given as
sixty-two millions. Winston, however, in rewriting the forecast, marked
the figure down to fifty-seven millions, so as to allow for the usual claim
that the quota had been overfulfilled. In any case, sixty-two millions was
no nearer the truth than fifty-seven millions, or than 145 millions. Very
likely no boots had been produced at all. Likelier still, nobody knew
how many had been produced, much less cared. All one knew was that every
quarter astronomical numbers of boots were produced on paper, while perhaps
half the population of Oceania went barefoot. And so it was with every
class of recorded fact, great or small. Everything faded away into a
shadow-world in which, finally, even the date of the year had become

Winston glanced across the hall. In the corresponding cubicle on the other
side a small, precise-looking, dark-chinned man named Tillotson was working
steadily away, with a folded newspaper on his knee and his mouth very close
to the mouthpiece of the speakwrite. He had the air of trying to keep what
he was saying a secret between himself and the telescreen. He looked up,
and his spectacles darted a hostile flash in Winston's direction.

Winston hardly knew Tillotson, and had no idea what work he was employed
on. People in the Records Department did not readily talk about their jobs.
In the long, windowless hall, with its double row of cubicles and its
endless rustle of papers and hum of voices murmuring into speakwrites,
there were quite a dozen people whom Winston did not even know by name,
though he daily saw them hurrying to and fro in the corridors or
gesticulating in the Two Minutes Hate. He knew that in the cubicle next
to him the little woman with sandy hair toiled day in day out, simply at
tracking down and deleting from the Press the names of people who had been
vaporized and were therefore considered never to have existed. There was a
certain fitness in this, since her own husband had been vaporized a couple
of years earlier. And a few cubicles away a mild, ineffectual, dreamy
creature named Ampleforth, with very hairy ears and a surprising talent
for juggling with rhymes and metres, was engaged in producing garbled
versions--definitive texts, they were called--of poems which had become
ideologically offensive, but which for one reason or another were to be
retained in the anthologies. And this hall, with its fifty workers or
thereabouts, was only one sub-section, a single cell, as it were, in the
huge complexity of the Records Department. Beyond, above, below, were other
swarms of workers engaged in an unimaginable multitude of jobs. There were
the huge printing-shops with their sub-editors, their typography experts,
and their elaborately equipped studios for the faking of photographs. There
was the tele-programmes section with its engineers, its producers, and its
teams of actors specially chosen for their skill in imitating voices. There
were the armies of reference clerks whose job was simply to draw up lists
of books and periodicals which were due for recall. There were the vast
repositories where the corrected documents were stored, and the hidden
furnaces where the original copies were destroyed. And somewhere or other,
quite anonymous, there were the directing brains who co-ordinated the whole
effort and laid down the lines of policy which made it necessary that this
fragment of the past should be preserved, that one falsified, and the other
rubbed out of existence.

And the Records Department, after all, was itself only a single branch of
the Ministry of Truth, whose primary job was not to reconstruct the past
but to supply the citizens of Oceania with newspapers, films, textbooks,
telescreen programmes, plays, novels--with every conceivable kind of
information, instruction, or entertainment, from a statue to a slogan,
from a lyric poem to a biological treatise, and from a child's
spelling-book to a Newspeak dictionary. And the Ministry had not only to
supply the multifarious needs of the party, but also to repeat the whole
operation at a lower level for the benefit of the proletariat. There
was a whole chain of separate departments dealing with proletarian
literature, music, drama, and entertainment generally. Here were produced
rubbishy newspapers containing almost nothing except sport, crime and
astrology, sensational five-cent novelettes, films oozing with sex, and
sentimental songs which were composed entirely by mechanical means on a
special kind of kaleidoscope known as a versificator. There was even
a whole sub-section--Pornosec, it was called in Newspeak--engaged in
producing the lowest kind of pornography, which was sent out in sealed
packets and which no Party member, other than those who worked on it,
was permitted to look at.

Three messages had slid out of the pneumatic tube while Winston was
working, but they were simple matters, and he had disposed of them before
the Two Minutes Hate interrupted him. When the Hate was over he returned
to his cubicle, took the Newspeak dictionary from the shelf, pushed the
speakwrite to one side, cleaned his spectacles, and settled down to his
main job of the morning.

Winston's greatest pleasure in life was in his work. Most of it was a
tedious routine, but included in it there were also jobs so difficult and
intricate that you could lose yourself in them as in the depths of a
mathematical problem--delicate pieces of forgery in which you had nothing
to guide you except your knowledge of the principles of Ingsoc and your
estimate of what the Party wanted you to say. Winston was good at this kind
of thing. On occasion he had even been entrusted with the rectification of
'The Times' leading articles, which were written entirely in Newspeak.
He unrolled the message that he had set aside earlier. It ran:

   times 3.12.83 reporting bb dayorder doubleplusungood refs unpersons
rewrite fullwise upsub antefiling

In Oldspeak (or standard English) this might be rendered:

The reporting of Big Brother's Order for the Day in 'The Times' of December
3rd 1983 is extremely unsatisfactory and makes references to non-existent
persons. Rewrite it in full and submit your draft to higher authority
before filing.

Winston read through the offending article. Big Brother's Order for the
Day, it seemed, had been chiefly devoted to praising the work of an
organization known as FFCC, which supplied cigarettes and other comforts
to the sailors in the Floating Fortresses. A certain Comrade Withers, a
prominent member of the Inner Party, had been singled out for special
mention and awarded a decoration, the Order of Conspicuous Merit, Second

Three months later FFCC had suddenly been dissolved with no reasons given.
One could assume that Withers and his associates were now in disgrace, but
there had been no report of the matter in the Press or on the telescreen.
That was to be expected, since it was unusual for political offenders to
be put on trial or even publicly denounced. The great purges involving
thousands of people, with public trials of traitors and thought-criminals
who made abject confession of their crimes and were afterwards executed,
were special show-pieces not occurring oftener than once in a couple of
years. More commonly, people who had incurred the displeasure of the
Party simply disappeared and were never heard of again. One never had the
smallest clue as to what had happened to them. In some cases they might
not even be dead. Perhaps thirty people personally known to Winston, not
counting his parents, had disappeared at one time or another.

Winston stroked his nose gently with a paper-clip. In the cubicle
across the way Comrade Tillotson was still crouching secretively over
his speakwrite. He raised his head for a moment: again the hostile
spectacle-flash. Winston wondered whether Comrade Tillotson was engaged
on the same job as himself. It was perfectly possible. So tricky a piece
of work would never be entrusted to a single person: on the other hand,
to turn it over to a committee would be to admit openly that an act of
fabrication was taking place. Very likely as many as a dozen people were
now working away on rival versions of what Big Brother had actually said.
And presently some master brain in the Inner Party would select this
version or that, would re-edit it and set in motion the complex processes
of cross-referencing that would be required, and then the chosen lie
would pass into the permanent records and become truth.

Winston did not know why Withers had been disgraced. Perhaps it was for
corruption or incompetence. Perhaps Big Brother was merely getting rid of
a too-popular subordinate. Perhaps Withers or someone close to him had
been suspected of heretical tendencies. Or perhaps--what was likeliest of
all--the thing had simply happened because purges and vaporizations were a
necessary part of the mechanics of government. The only real clue lay in
the words 'refs unpersons', which indicated that Withers was already dead.
You could not invariably assume this to be the case when people were
arrested. Sometimes they were released and allowed to remain at liberty
for as much as a year or two years before being executed. Very occasionally
some person whom you had believed dead long since would make a ghostly
reappearance at some public trial where he would implicate hundreds of
others by his testimony before vanishing, this time for ever. Withers,
however, was already an UNPERSON. He did not exist: he had never existed.
Winston decided that it would not be enough simply to reverse the tendency
of Big Brother's speech. It was better to make it deal with something
totally unconnected with its original subject.

He might turn the speech into the usual denunciation of traitors and
thought-criminals, but that was a little too obvious, while to invent a
victory at the front, or some triumph of over-production in the Ninth
Three-Year Plan, might complicate the records too much. What was needed
was a piece of pure fantasy. Suddenly there sprang into his mind, ready
made as it were, the image of a certain Comrade Ogilvy, who had recently
died in battle, in heroic circumstances. There were occasions when Big
Brother devoted his Order for the Day to commemorating some humble,
rank-and-file Party member whose life and death he held up as an example
worthy to be followed. Today he should commemorate Comrade Ogilvy. It was
true that there was no such person as Comrade Ogilvy, but a few lines of
print and a couple of faked photographs would soon bring him into

Winston thought for a moment, then pulled the speakwrite towards him and
began dictating in Big Brother's familiar style: a style at once military
and pedantic, and, because of a trick of asking questions and then
promptly answering them ('What lessons do we learn from this fact,
comrades? The lesson--which is also one of the fundamental principles
of Ingsoc--that,' etc., etc.), easy to imitate.

At the age of three Comrade Ogilvy had refused all toys except a drum, a
sub-machine gun, and a model helicopter. At six--a year early, by a special
relaxation of the rules--he had joined the Spies, at nine he had been a
troop leader. At eleven he had denounced his uncle to the Thought Police
after overhearing a conversation which appeared to him to have criminal
tendencies. At seventeen he had been a district organizer of the Junior
Anti-Sex League. At nineteen he had designed a hand-grenade which had
been adopted by the Ministry of Peace and which, at its first trial, had
killed thirty-one Eurasian prisoners in one burst. At twenty-three he had
perished in action. Pursued by enemy jet planes while flying over the
Indian Ocean with important despatches, he had weighted his body with his
machine gun and leapt out of the helicopter into deep water, despatches
and all--an end, said Big Brother, which it was impossible to contemplate
without feelings of envy. Big Brother added a few remarks on the purity
and single-mindedness of Comrade Ogilvy's life. He was a total abstainer
and a nonsmoker, had no recreations except a daily hour in the gymnasium,
and had taken a vow of celibacy, believing marriage and the care of a
family to be incompatible with a twenty-four-hour-a-day devotion to duty.
He had no subjects of conversation except the principles of Ingsoc, and
no aim in life except the defeat of the Eurasian enemy and the hunting-down
of spies, saboteurs, thought-criminals, and traitors generally.

Winston debated with himself whether to award Comrade Ogilvy the Order of
Conspicuous Merit: in the end he decided against it because of the
unnecessary cross-referencing that it would entail.

Once again he glanced at his rival in the opposite cubicle. Something
seemed to tell him with certainty that Tillotson was busy on the same job
as himself. There was no way of knowing whose job would finally be adopted,
but he felt a profound conviction that it would be his own. Comrade Ogilvy,
unimagined an hour ago, was now a fact. It struck him as curious that you
could create dead men but not living ones. Comrade Ogilvy, who had never
existed in the present, now existed in the past, and when once the act of
forgery was forgotten, he would exist just as authentically, and upon the
same evidence, as Charlemagne or Julius Caesar.

Chapter 5

In the low-ceilinged canteen, deep underground, the lunch queue jerked
slowly forward. The room was already very full and deafeningly noisy. From
the grille at the counter the steam of stew came pouring forth, with a sour
metallic smell which did not quite overcome the fumes of Victory Gin. On
the far side of the room there was a small bar, a mere hole in the wall,
where gin could be bought at ten cents the large nip.

'Just the man I was looking for,' said a voice at Winston's back.

He turned round. It was his friend Syme, who worked in the Research
Department. Perhaps 'friend' was not exactly the right word. You did not
have friends nowadays, you had comrades: but there were some comrades whose
society was pleasanter than that of others. Syme was a philologist, a
specialist in Newspeak. Indeed, he was one of the enormous team of experts
now engaged in compiling the Eleventh Edition of the Newspeak Dictionary.
He was a tiny creature, smaller than Winston, with dark hair and large,
protuberant eyes, at once mournful and derisive, which seemed to search
your face closely while he was speaking to you.

'I wanted to ask you whether you'd got any razor blades,' he said.

'Not one!' said Winston with a sort of guilty haste. 'I've tried all over
the place. They don't exist any longer.'

Everyone kept asking you for razor blades. Actually he had two unused ones
which he was hoarding up. There had been a famine of them for months past.
At any given moment there was some necessary article which the Party shops
were unable to supply. Sometimes it was buttons, sometimes it was darning
wool, sometimes it was shoelaces; at present it was razor blades. You could
only get hold of them, if at all, by scrounging more or less furtively on
the 'free' market.

'I've been using the same blade for six weeks,' he added untruthfully.

The queue gave another jerk forward. As they halted he turned and faced
Syme again. Each of them took a greasy metal tray from a pile at the end
of the counter.

'Did you go and see the prisoners hanged yesterday?' said Syme.

'I was working,' said Winston indifferently. 'I shall see it on the
flicks, I suppose.'

'A very inadequate substitute,' said Syme.

His mocking eyes roved over Winston's face. 'I know you,' the eyes seemed
to say, 'I see through you. I know very well why you didn't go to see
those prisoners hanged.' In an intellectual way, Syme was venomously
orthodox. He would talk with a disagreeable gloating satisfaction of
helicopter raids on enemy villages, and trials and confessions of
thought-criminals, the executions in the cellars of the Ministry of Love.
Talking to him was largely a matter of getting him away from such subjects
and entangling him, if possible, in the technicalities of Newspeak, on
which he was authoritative and interesting. Winston turned his head a
little aside to avoid the scrutiny of the large dark eyes.

'It was a good hanging,' said Syme reminiscently. 'I think it spoils it
when they tie their feet together. I like to see them kicking. And above
all, at the end, the tongue sticking right out, and blue--a quite bright
blue. That's the detail that appeals to me.'

'Nex', please!' yelled the white-aproned prole with the ladle.

Winston and Syme pushed their trays beneath the grille. On to each was
dumped swiftly the regulation lunch--a metal pannikin of pinkish-grey stew,
a hunk of bread, a cube of cheese, a mug of milkless Victory Coffee, and
one saccharine tablet.

'There's a table over there, under that telescreen,' said Syme. 'Let's pick
up a gin on the way.'

The gin was served out to them in handleless china mugs. They threaded
their way across the crowded room and unpacked their trays on to the
metal-topped table, on one corner of which someone had left a pool of stew,
a filthy liquid mess that had the appearance of vomit. Winston took up his
mug of gin, paused for an instant to collect his nerve, and gulped the
oily-tasting stuff down. When he had winked the tears out of his eyes he
suddenly discovered that he was hungry. He began swallowing spoonfuls of
the stew, which, in among its general sloppiness, had cubes of spongy
pinkish stuff which was probably a preparation of meat. Neither of them
spoke again till they had emptied their pannikins. From the table at
Winston's left, a little behind his back, someone was talking rapidly and
continuously, a harsh gabble almost like the quacking of a duck, which
pierced the general uproar of the room.

'How is the Dictionary getting on?' said Winston, raising his voice to
overcome the noise.

'Slowly,' said Syme. 'I'm on the adjectives. It's fascinating.'

He had brightened up immediately at the mention of Newspeak. He pushed his
pannikin aside, took up his hunk of bread in one delicate hand and his
cheese in the other, and leaned across the table so as to be able to speak
without shouting.

'The Eleventh Edition is the definitive edition,' he said. 'We're getting
the language into its final shape--the shape it's going to have when nobody
speaks anything else. When we've finished with it, people like you will
have to learn it all over again. You think, I dare say, that our chief job
is inventing new words. But not a bit of it! We're destroying words--scores
of them, hundreds of them, every day. We're cutting the language down to
the bone. The Eleventh Edition won't contain a single word that will become
obsolete before the year 2050.'

He bit hungrily into his bread and swallowed a couple of mouthfuls, then
continued speaking, with a sort of pedant's passion. His thin dark face
had become animated, his eyes had lost their mocking expression and grown
almost dreamy.

'It's a beautiful thing, the destruction of words. Of course the great
wastage is in the verbs and adjectives, but there are hundreds of nouns
that can be got rid of as well. It isn't only the synonyms; there are also
the antonyms. After all, what justification is there for a word which is
simply the opposite of some other word? A word contains its opposite in
itself. Take "good", for instance. If you have a word like "good", what
need is there for a word like "bad"? "Ungood" will do just as well--better,
because it's an exact opposite, which the other is not. Or again, if you
want a stronger version of "good", what sense is there in having a whole
string of vague useless words like "excellent" and "splendid" and all the
rest of them? "Plusgood" covers the meaning, or "doubleplusgood" if you
want something stronger still. Of course we use those forms already. but
in the final version of Newspeak there'll be nothing else. In the end the
whole notion of goodness and badness will be covered by only six words--in
reality, only one word. Don't you see the beauty of that, Winston? It was
B.B.'s idea originally, of course,' he added as an afterthought.

A sort of vapid eagerness flitted across Winston's face at the mention of
Big Brother. Nevertheless Syme immediately detected a certain lack of

'You haven't a real appreciation of Newspeak, Winston,' he said almost
sadly. 'Even when you write it you're still thinking in Oldspeak. I've read
some of those pieces that you write in "The Times" occasionally. They're
good enough, but they're translations. In your heart you'd prefer to stick
to Oldspeak, with all its vagueness and its useless shades of meaning.
You don't grasp the beauty of the destruction of words. Do you know that
Newspeak is the only language in the world whose vocabulary gets smaller
every year?'

Winston did know that, of course. He smiled, sympathetically he hoped, not
trusting himself to speak. Syme bit off another fragment of the
dark-coloured bread, chewed it briefly, and went on:

'Don't you see that the whole aim of Newspeak is to narrow the range of
thought? In the end we shall make thoughtcrime literally impossible,
because there will be no words in which to express it. Every concept that
can ever be needed, will be expressed by exactly one word, with its meaning
rigidly defined and all its subsidiary meanings rubbed out and forgotten.
Already, in the Eleventh Edition, we're not far from that point. But the
process will still be continuing long after you and I are dead. Every year
fewer and fewer words, and the range of consciousness always a little
smaller. Even now, of course, there's no reason or excuse for committing
thoughtcrime. It's merely a question of self-discipline, reality-control.
But in the end there won't be any need even for that. The Revolution will
be complete when the language is perfect. Newspeak is Ingsoc and Ingsoc
is Newspeak,' he added with a sort of mystical satisfaction. 'Has it ever
occurred to you, Winston, that by the year 2050, at the very latest, not a
single human being will be alive who could understand such a conversation
as we are having now?'

'Except----' began Winston doubtfully, and he stopped.

It had been on the tip of his tongue to say 'Except the proles,' but he
checked himself, not feeling fully certain that this remark was not in
some way unorthodox. Syme, however, had divined what he was about to say.

'The proles are not human beings,' he said carelessly. 'By 2050--earlier,
probably--all real knowledge of Oldspeak will have disappeared. The whole
literature of the past will have been destroyed. Chaucer, Shakespeare,
Milton, Byron--they'll exist only in Newspeak versions, not merely changed
into something different, but actually changed into something contradictory
of what they used to be. Even the literature of the Party will change.
Even the slogans will change. How could you have a slogan like "freedom is
slavery" when the concept of freedom has been abolished? The whole climate
of thought will be different. In fact there will be no thought, as we
understand it now. Orthodoxy means not thinking--not needing to think.
Orthodoxy is unconsciousness.'

One of these days, thought Winston with sudden deep conviction, Syme will
be vaporized. He is too intelligent. He sees too clearly and speaks too
plainly. The Party does not like such people. One day he will disappear.
It is written in his face.

Winston had finished his bread and cheese. He turned a little sideways
in his chair to drink his mug of coffee. At the table on his left the man
with the strident voice was still talking remorselessly away. A young
woman who was perhaps his secretary, and who was sitting with her back
to Winston, was listening to him and seemed to be eagerly agreeing with
everything that he said. From time to time Winston caught some such remark
as 'I think you're so right, I do so agree with you', uttered in a youthful
and rather silly feminine voice. But the other voice never stopped for an
instant, even when the girl was speaking. Winston knew the man by sight,
though he knew no more about him than that he held some important post
in the Fiction Department. He was a man of about thirty, with a muscular
throat and a large, mobile mouth. His head was thrown back a little, and
because of the angle at which he was sitting, his spectacles caught the
light and presented to Winston two blank discs instead of eyes. What was
slightly horrible, was that from the stream of sound that poured out of
his mouth it was almost impossible to distinguish a single word. Just
once Winston caught a phrase--'complete and final elimination of
Goldsteinism'--jerked out very rapidly and, as it seemed, all in one piece,
like a line of type cast solid. For the rest it was just a noise, a
quack-quack-quacking. And yet, though you could not actually hear what the
man was saying, you could not be in any doubt about its general nature.
He might be denouncing Goldstein and demanding sterner measures against
thought-criminals and saboteurs, he might be fulminating against the
atrocities of the Eurasian army, he might be praising Big Brother or the
heroes on the Malabar front--it made no difference. Whatever it was, you
could be certain that every word of it was pure orthodoxy, pure Ingsoc.
As he watched the eyeless face with the jaw moving rapidly up and down,
Winston had a curious feeling that this was not a real human being but
some kind of dummy. It was not the man's brain that was speaking, it was
his larynx. The stuff that was coming out of him consisted of words, but
it was not speech in the true sense: it was a noise uttered in
unconsciousness, like the quacking of a duck.

Syme had fallen silent for a moment, and with the handle of his spoon was
tracing patterns in the puddle of stew. The voice from the other table
quacked rapidly on, easily audible in spite of the surrounding din.

'There is a word in Newspeak,' said Syme, 'I don't know whether you know
it: DUCKSPEAK, to quack like a duck. It is one of those interesting words
that have two contradictory meanings. Applied to an opponent, it is abuse,
applied to someone you agree with, it is praise.'

Unquestionably Syme will be vaporized, Winston thought again. He thought
it with a kind of sadness, although well knowing that Syme despised him
and slightly disliked him, and was fully capable of denouncing him as a
thought-criminal if he saw any reason for doing so. There was something
subtly wrong with Syme. There was something that he lacked: discretion,
aloofness, a sort of saving stupidity. You could not say that he was
unorthodox. He believed in the principles of Ingsoc, he venerated Big
Brother, he rejoiced over victories, he hated heretics, not merely with
sincerity but with a sort of restless zeal, an up-to-dateness of
information, which the ordinary Party member did not approach. Yet a faint
air of disreputability always clung to him. He said things that would have
been better unsaid, he had read too many books, he frequented the Chestnut
Tree Cafe, haunt of painters and musicians. There was no law, not even an
unwritten law, against frequenting the Chestnut Tree Cafe, yet the place
was somehow ill-omened. The old, discredited leaders of the Party had been
used to gather there before they were finally purged. Goldstein himself,
it was said, had sometimes been seen there, years and decades ago. Syme's
fate was not difficult to foresee. And yet it was a fact that if Syme
grasped, even for three seconds, the nature of his, Winston's, secret
opinions, he would betray him instantly to the Thought Police. So would
anybody else, for that matter: but Syme more than most. Zeal was not
enough. Orthodoxy was unconsciousness.

Syme looked up. 'Here comes Parsons,' he said.

Something in the tone of his voice seemed to add, 'that bloody fool'.
Parsons, Winston's fellow-tenant at Victory Mansions, was in fact threading
his way across the room--a tubby, middle-sized man with fair hair and a
froglike face. At thirty-five he was already putting on rolls of fat at
neck and waistline, but his movements were brisk and boyish. His whole
appearance was that of a little boy grown large, so much so that although
he was wearing the regulation overalls, it was almost impossible not to
think of him as being dressed in the blue shorts, grey shirt, and red
neckerchief of the Spies. In visualizing him one saw always a picture of
dimpled knees and sleeves rolled back from pudgy forearms. Parsons did,
indeed, invariably revert to shorts when a community hike or any other
physical activity gave him an excuse for doing so. He greeted them both
with a cheery 'Hullo, hullo!' and sat down at the table, giving off an
intense smell of sweat. Beads of moisture stood out all over his pink face.
His powers of sweating were extraordinary. At the Community Centre you
could always tell when he had been playing table-tennis by the dampness of
the bat handle. Syme had produced a strip of paper on which there was a
long column of words, and was studying it with an ink-pencil between his

'Look at him working away in the lunch hour,' said Parsons, nudging
Winston. 'Keenness, eh? What's that you've got there, old boy? Something
a bit too brainy for me, I expect. Smith, old boy, I'll tell you why I'm
chasing you. It's that sub you forgot to give me.'

'Which sub is that?' said Winston, automatically feeling for money. About
a quarter of one's salary had to be earmarked for voluntary subscriptions,
which were so numerous that it was difficult to keep track of them.

'For Hate Week. You know--the house-by-house fund. I'm treasurer for our
block. We're making an all-out effort--going to put on a tremendous show.
I tell you, it won't be my fault if old Victory Mansions doesn't have the
biggest outfit of flags in the whole street. Two dollars you promised me.'

Winston found and handed over two creased and filthy notes, which Parsons
entered in a small notebook, in the neat handwriting of the illiterate.

'By the way, old boy,' he said. 'I hear that little beggar of mine let fly
at you with his catapult yesterday. I gave him a good dressing-down for it.
In fact I told him I'd take the catapult away if he does it again.'

'I think he was a little upset at not going to the execution,' said

'Ah, well--what I mean to say, shows the right spirit, doesn't it?
Mischievous little beggars they are, both of them, but talk about keenness!
All they think about is the Spies, and the war, of course. D'you know what
that little girl of mine did last Saturday, when her troop was on a hike
out Berkhamsted way? She got two other girls to go with her, slipped off
from the hike, and spent the whole afternoon following a strange man. They
kept on his tail for two hours, right through the woods, and then, when
they got into Amersham, handed him over to the patrols.'

'What did they do that for?' said Winston, somewhat taken aback. Parsons
went on triumphantly:

'My kid made sure he was some kind of enemy agent--might have been dropped
by parachute, for instance. But here's the point, old boy. What do you
think put her on to him in the first place? She spotted he was wearing a
funny kind of shoes--said she'd never seen anyone wearing shoes like that
before. So the chances were he was a foreigner. Pretty smart for a nipper
of seven, eh?'

'What happened to the man?' said Winston.

'Ah, that I couldn't say, of course. But I wouldn't be altogether surprised
if----' Parsons made the motion of aiming a rifle, and clicked his tongue
for the explosion.

'Good,' said Syme abstractedly, without looking up from his strip of paper.

'Of course we can't afford to take chances,' agreed Winston dutifully.

'What I mean to say, there is a war on,' said Parsons.

As though in confirmation of this, a trumpet call floated from the
telescreen just above their heads. However, it was not the proclamation of
a military victory this time, but merely an announcement from the Ministry
of Plenty.

'Comrades!' cried an eager youthful voice. 'Attention, comrades! We have
glorious news for you. We have won the battle for production! Returns now
completed of the output of all classes of consumption goods show that the
standard of living has risen by no less than 20 per cent over the past
year. All over Oceania this morning there were irrepressible spontaneous
demonstrations when workers marched out of factories and offices and
paraded through the streets with banners voicing their gratitude to Big
Brother for the new, happy life which his wise leadership has bestowed
upon us. Here are some of the completed figures. Foodstuffs----'

The phrase 'our new, happy life' recurred several times. It had been a
favourite of late with the Ministry of Plenty. Parsons, his attention
caught by the trumpet call, sat listening with a sort of gaping solemnity,
a sort of edified boredom. He could not follow the figures, but he was
aware that they were in some way a cause for satisfaction. He had lugged
out a huge and filthy pipe which was already half full of charred tobacco.
With the tobacco ration at 100 grammes a week it was seldom possible to
fill a pipe to the top. Winston was smoking a Victory Cigarette which he
held carefully horizontal. The new ration did not start till tomorrow and
he had only four cigarettes left. For the moment he had shut his ears to
the remoter noises and was listening to the stuff that streamed out of the
telescreen. It appeared that there had even been demonstrations to thank
Big Brother for raising the chocolate ration to twenty grammes a week. And
only yesterday, he reflected, it had been announced that the ration was
to be REDUCED to twenty grammes a week. Was it possible that they could
swallow that, after only twenty-four hours? Yes, they swallowed it. Parsons
swallowed it easily, with the stupidity of an animal. The eyeless creature
at the other table swallowed it fanatically, passionately, with a furious
desire to track down, denounce, and vaporize anyone who should suggest that
last week the ration had been thirty grammes. Syme, too--in some more
complex way, involving doublethink, Syme swallowed it. Was he, then, ALONE
in the possession of a memory?

The fabulous statistics continued to pour out of the telescreen. As
compared with last year there was more food, more clothes, more houses,
more furniture, more cooking-pots, more fuel, more ships, more helicopters,
more books, more babies--more of everything except disease, crime, and
insanity. Year by year and minute by minute, everybody and everything was
whizzing rapidly upwards. As Syme had done earlier Winston had taken up
his spoon and was dabbling in the pale-coloured gravy that dribbled across
the table, drawing a long streak of it out into a pattern. He meditated
resentfully on the physical texture of life. Had it always been like
this? Had food always tasted like this? He looked round the canteen.
A low-ceilinged, crowded room, its walls grimy from the contact of
innumerable bodies; battered metal tables and chairs, placed so close
together that you sat with elbows touching; bent spoons, dented trays,
coarse white mugs; all surfaces greasy, grime in every crack; and a
sourish, composite smell of bad gin and bad coffee and metallic stew and
dirty clothes. Always in your stomach and in your skin there was a sort
of protest, a feeling that you had been cheated of something that you had
a right to. It was true that he had no memories of anything greatly
different. In any time that he could accurately remember, there had never
been quite enough to eat, one had never had socks or underclothes that
were not full of holes, furniture had always been battered and rickety,
rooms underheated, tube trains crowded, houses falling to pieces,
bread dark-coloured, tea a rarity, coffee filthy-tasting, cigarettes
insufficient--nothing cheap and plentiful except synthetic gin. And though,
of course, it grew worse as one's body aged, was it not a sign that this
was NOT the natural order of things, if one's heart sickened at the
discomfort and dirt and scarcity, the interminable winters, the stickiness
of one's socks, the lifts that never worked, the cold water, the gritty
soap, the cigarettes that came to pieces, the food with its strange evil
tastes? Why should one feel it to be intolerable unless one had some kind
of ancestral memory that things had once been different?

He looked round the canteen again. Nearly everyone was ugly, and would
still have been ugly even if dressed otherwise than in the uniform blue
overalls. On the far side of the room, sitting at a table alone, a small,
curiously beetle-like man was drinking a cup of coffee, his little eyes
darting suspicious glances from side to side. How easy it was, thought
Winston, if you did not look about you, to believe that the physical type
set up by the Party as an ideal--tall muscular youths and deep-bosomed
maidens, blond-haired, vital, sunburnt, carefree--existed and even
predominated. Actually, so far as he could judge, the majority of people
in Airstrip One were small, dark, and ill-favoured. It was curious how that
beetle-like type proliferated in the Ministries: little dumpy men, growing
stout very early in life, with short legs, swift scuttling movements, and
fat inscrutable faces with very small eyes. It was the type that seemed to
flourish best under the dominion of the Party.

The announcement from the Ministry of Plenty ended on another trumpet call
and gave way to tinny music. Parsons, stirred to vague enthusiasm by the
bombardment of figures, took his pipe out of his mouth.

'The Ministry of Plenty's certainly done a good job this year,' he said
with a knowing shake of his head. 'By the way, Smith old boy, I suppose
you haven't got any razor blades you can let me have?'

'Not one,' said Winston. 'I've been using the same blade for six weeks

'Ah, well--just thought I'd ask you, old boy.'

'Sorry,' said Winston.

The quacking voice from the next table, temporarily silenced during the
Ministry's announcement, had started up again, as loud as ever. For some
reason Winston suddenly found himself thinking of Mrs Parsons, with her
wispy hair and the dust in the creases of her face. Within two years those
children would be denouncing her to the Thought Police. Mrs Parsons would
be vaporized. Syme would be vaporized. Winston would be vaporized. O'Brien
would be vaporized. Parsons, on the other hand, would never be vaporized.
The eyeless creature with the quacking voice would never be vaporized.
The little beetle-like men who scuttle so nimbly through the labyrinthine
corridors of Ministries they, too, would never be vaporized. And the girl
with dark hair, the girl from the Fiction Department--she would never be
vaporized either. It seemed to him that he knew instinctively who would
survive and who would perish: though just what it was that made for
survival, it was not easy to say.

At this moment he was dragged out of his reverie with a violent jerk. The
girl at the next table had turned partly round and was looking at him. It
was the girl with dark hair. She was looking at him in a sidelong way, but
with curious intensity. The instant she caught his eye she looked away

The sweat started out on Winston's backbone. A horrible pang of terror
went through him. It was gone almost at once, but it left a sort of nagging
uneasiness behind. Why was she watching him? Why did she keep following him
about? Unfortunately he could not remember whether she had already been at
the table when he arrived, or had come there afterwards. But yesterday, at
any rate, during the Two Minutes Hate, she had sat immediately behind him
when there was no apparent need to do so. Quite likely her real object had
been to listen to him and make sure whether he was shouting loudly enough.

His earlier thought returned to him: probably she was not actually a member
of the Thought Police, but then it was precisely the amateur spy who was
the greatest danger of all. He did not know how long she had been looking
at him, but perhaps for as much as five minutes, and it was possible
that his features had not been perfectly under control. It was terribly
dangerous to let your thoughts wander when you were in any public place
or within range of a telescreen. The smallest thing could give you away.
A nervous tic, an unconscious look of anxiety, a habit of muttering to
yourself--anything that carried with it the suggestion of abnormality, of
having something to hide. In any case, to wear an improper expression on
your face (to look incredulous when a victory was announced, for example)
was itself a punishable offence. There was even a word for it in Newspeak:
FACECRIME, it was called.

The girl had turned her back on him again. Perhaps after all she was not
really following him about, perhaps it was coincidence that she had sat so
close to him two days running. His cigarette had gone out, and he laid it
carefully on the edge of the table. He would finish smoking it after work,
if he could keep the tobacco in it. Quite likely the person at the next
table was a spy of the Thought Police, and quite likely he would be in the
cellars of the Ministry of Love within three days, but a cigarette end
must not be wasted. Syme had folded up his strip of paper and stowed it
away in his pocket. Parsons had begun talking again.

'Did I ever tell you, old boy,' he said, chuckling round the stem of his
pipe, 'about the time when those two nippers of mine set fire to the old
market-woman's skirt because they saw her wrapping up sausages in a poster
of B.B.? Sneaked up behind her and set fire to it with a box of matches.
Burned her quite badly, I believe. Little beggars, eh? But keen as mustard!
That's a first-rate training they give them in the Spies nowadays--better
than in my day, even. What d'you think's the latest thing they've served
them out with? Ear trumpets for listening through keyholes! My little
girl brought one home the other night--tried it out on our sitting-room
door, and reckoned she could hear twice as much as with her ear to the
hole. Of course it's only a toy, mind you. Still, gives 'em the right
idea, eh?'

At this moment the telescreen let out a piercing whistle. It was the
signal to return to work. All three men sprang to their feet to join in
the struggle round the lifts, and the remaining tobacco fell out of
Winston's cigarette.

Chapter 6

Winston was writing in his diary:

   It was three years ago. It was on a dark evening, in a narrow
side-street near one of the big railway stations. She was standing near a
doorway in the wall, under a street lamp that hardly gave any light. She
had a young face, painted very thick. It was really the paint that appealed
to me, the whiteness of it, like a mask, and the bright red lips. Party
women never paint their faces. There was nobody else in the street, and no
telescreens. She said two dollars. I----

For the moment it was too difficult to go on. He shut his eyes and pressed
his fingers against them, trying to squeeze out the vision that kept
recurring. He had an almost overwhelming temptation to shout a string of
filthy words at the top of his voice. Or to bang his head against the wall,
to kick over the table, and hurl the inkpot through the window--to do any
violent or noisy or painful thing that might black out the memory that was
tormenting him.

Your worst enemy, he reflected, was your own nervous system. At any moment
the tension inside you was liable to translate itself into some visible
symptom. He thought of a man whom he had passed in the street a few weeks
back; a quite ordinary-looking man, a Party member, aged thirty-five to
forty, tallish and thin, carrying a brief-case. They were a few metres
apart when the left side of the man's face was suddenly contorted by a sort
of spasm. It happened again just as they were passing one another: it was
only a twitch, a quiver, rapid as the clicking of a camera shutter, but
obviously habitual. He remembered thinking at the time: That poor devil is
done for. And what was frightening was that the action was quite possibly
unconscious. The most deadly danger of all was talking in your sleep. There
was no way of guarding against that, so far as he could see.

He drew his breath and went on writing:

   I went with her through the doorway and across a backyard into a
basement kitchen. There was a bed against the wall, and a lamp on the
table, turned down very low. She----

His teeth were set on edge. He would have liked to spit. Simultaneously
with the woman in the basement kitchen he thought of Katharine, his wife.
Winston was married--had been married, at any rate: probably he still was
married, so far as he knew his wife was not dead. He seemed to breathe
again the warm stuffy odour of the basement kitchen, an odour compounded
of bugs and dirty clothes and villainous cheap scent, but nevertheless
alluring, because no woman of the Party ever used scent, or could be
imagined as doing so. Only the proles used scent. In his mind the smell
of it was inextricably mixed up with fornication.

When he had gone with that woman it had been his first lapse in two years
or thereabouts. Consorting with prostitutes was forbidden, of course, but
it was one of those rules that you could occasionally nerve yourself to
break. It was dangerous, but it was not a life-and-death matter. To be
caught with a prostitute might mean five years in a forced-labour camp:
not more, if you had committed no other offence. And it was easy enough,
provided that you could avoid being caught in the act. The poorer quarters
swarmed with women who were ready to sell themselves. Some could even be
purchased for a bottle of gin, which the proles were not supposed to drink.
Tacitly the Party was even inclined to encourage prostitution, as an outlet
for instincts which could not be altogether suppressed. Mere debauchery
did not matter very much, so long as it was furtive and joyless and only
involved the women of a submerged and despised class. The unforgivable
crime was promiscuity between Party members. But--though this was one
of the crimes that the accused in the great purges invariably confessed
to--it was difficult to imagine any such thing actually happening.

The aim of the Party was not merely to prevent men and women from forming
loyalties which it might not be able to control. Its real, undeclared
purpose was to remove all pleasure from the sexual act. Not love so much
as eroticism was the enemy, inside marriage as well as outside it. All
marriages between Party members had to be approved by a committee
appointed for the purpose, and--though the principle was never clearly
stated--permission was always refused if the couple concerned gave
the impression of being physically attracted to one another. The only
recognized purpose of marriage was to beget children for the service of
the Party. Sexual intercourse was to be looked on as a slightly disgusting
minor operation, like having an enema. This again was never put into plain
words, but in an indirect way it was rubbed into every Party member from
childhood onwards. There were even organizations such as the Junior
Anti-Sex League, which advocated complete celibacy for both sexes. All
children were to be begotten by artificial insemination (ARTSEM, it was
called in Newspeak) and brought up in public institutions. This, Winston
was aware, was not meant altogether seriously, but somehow it fitted in
with the general ideology of the Party. The Party was trying to kill the
sex instinct, or, if it could not be killed, then to distort it and dirty
it. He did not know why this was so, but it seemed natural that it should
be so. And as far as the women were concerned, the Party's efforts were
largely successful.

He thought again of Katharine. It must be nine, ten--nearly eleven years
since they had parted. It was curious how seldom he thought of her. For
days at a time he was capable of forgetting that he had ever been married.
They had only been together for about fifteen months. The Party did not
permit divorce, but it rather encouraged separation in cases where there
were no children.

Katharine was a tall, fair-haired girl, very straight, with splendid
movements. She had a bold, aquiline face, a face that one might have called
noble until one discovered that there was as nearly as possible nothing
behind it. Very early in her married life he had decided--though perhaps
it was only that he knew her more intimately than he knew most people--that
she had without exception the most stupid, vulgar, empty mind that he had
ever encountered. She had not a thought in her head that was not a slogan,
and there was no imbecility, absolutely none that she was not capable of
swallowing if the Party handed it out to her. 'The human sound-track' he
nicknamed her in his own mind. Yet he could have endured living with her
if it had not been for just one thing--sex.

As soon as he touched her she seemed to wince and stiffen. To embrace her
was like embracing a jointed wooden image. And what was strange was that
even when she was clasping him against her he had the feeling that she
was simultaneously pushing him away with all her strength. The rigidity
of her muscles managed to convey that impression. She would lie there
with shut eyes, neither resisting nor co-operating but SUBMITTING. It was
extraordinarily embarrassing, and, after a while, horrible. But even then
he could have borne living with her if it had been agreed that they should
remain celibate. But curiously enough it was Katharine who refused this.
They must, she said, produce a child if they could. So the performance
continued to happen, once a week quite regularly, whenever it was not
impossible. She even used to remind him of it in the morning, as something
which had to be done that evening and which must not be forgotten. She had
two names for it. One was 'making a baby', and the other was 'our duty to
the Party' (yes, she had actually used that phrase). Quite soon he grew to
have a feeling of positive dread when the appointed day came round. But
luckily no child appeared, and in the end she agreed to give up trying,
and soon afterwards they parted.

Winston sighed inaudibly. He picked up his pen again and

   She threw herself down on the bed, and at once, without any kind of
preliminary in the most coarse, horrible way you can imagine, pulled up
her skirt. I----

He saw himself standing there in the dim lamplight, with the smell of bugs
and cheap scent in his nostrils, and in his heart a feeling of defeat and
resentment which even at that moment was mixed up with the thought of
Katharine's white body, frozen for ever by the hypnotic power of the Party.
Why did it always have to be like this? Why could he not have a woman of
his own instead of these filthy scuffles at intervals of years? But a real
love affair was an almost unthinkable event. The women of the Party were
all alike. Chastity was as deep ingrained in them as Party loyalty. By
careful early conditioning, by games and cold water, by the rubbish that
was dinned into them at school and in the Spies and the Youth League, by
lectures, parades, songs, slogans, and martial music, the natural feeling
had been driven out of them. His reason told him that there must be
exceptions, but his heart did not believe it. They were all impregnable,
as the Party intended that they should be. And what he wanted, more even
than to be loved, was to break down that wall of virtue, even if it were
only once in his whole life. The sexual act, successfully performed, was
rebellion. Desire was thoughtcrime. Even to have awakened Katharine, if he
could have achieved it, would have been like a seduction, although she was
his wife.

But the rest of the story had got to be written down. He wrote:

   I turned up the lamp. When I saw her in the light----

After the darkness the feeble light of the paraffin lamp had seemed very
bright. For the first time he could see the woman properly. He had taken a
step towards her and then halted, full of lust and terror. He was painfully
conscious of the risk he had taken in coming here. It was perfectly
possible that the patrols would catch him on the way out: for that matter
they might be waiting outside the door at this moment. If he went away
without even doing what he had come here to do----!

It had got to be written down, it had got to be confessed. What he had
suddenly seen in the lamplight was that the woman was OLD. The paint was
plastered so thick on her face that it looked as though it might crack
like a cardboard mask. There were streaks of white in her hair; but the
truly dreadful detail was that her mouth had fallen a little open,
revealing nothing except a cavernous blackness. She had no teeth at all.

He wrote hurriedly, in scrabbling handwriting:

   When I saw her in the light she was quite an old woman, fifty years old
at least. But I went ahead and did it just the same.

He pressed his fingers against his eyelids again. He had written it down
at last, but it made no difference. The therapy had not worked. The urge
to shout filthy words at the top of his voice was as strong as ever.

Chapter 7

'If there is hope,' wrote Winston, 'it lies in the proles.'

If there was hope, it MUST lie in the proles, because only there in those
swarming disregarded masses, 85 per cent of the population of Oceania,
could the force to destroy the Party ever be generated. The Party could
not be overthrown from within. Its enemies, if it had any enemies, had
no way of coming together or even of identifying one another. Even if
the legendary Brotherhood existed, as just possibly it might, it was
inconceivable that its members could ever assemble in larger numbers than
twos and threes. Rebellion meant a look in the eyes, an inflexion of the
voice, at the most, an occasional whispered word. But the proles, if only
they could somehow become conscious of their own strength. would have no
need to conspire. They needed only to rise up and shake themselves like
a horse shaking off flies. If they chose they could blow the Party to
pieces tomorrow morning. Surely sooner or later it must occur to them to
do it? And yet----!

He remembered how once he had been walking down a crowded street when a
tremendous shout of hundreds of voices women's voices--had burst from a
side-street a little way ahead. It was a great formidable cry of anger
and despair, a deep, loud 'Oh-o-o-o-oh!' that went humming on like the
reverberation of a bell. His heart had leapt. It's started! he had thought.
A riot! The proles are breaking loose at last! When he had reached the spot
it was to see a mob of two or three hundred women crowding round the stalls
of a street market, with faces as tragic as though they had been the doomed
passengers on a sinking ship. But at this moment the general despair broke
down into a multitude of individual quarrels. It appeared that one of the
stalls had been selling tin saucepans. They were wretched, flimsy things,
but cooking-pots of any kind were always difficult to get. Now the supply
had unexpectedly given out. The successful women, bumped and jostled by
the rest, were trying to make off with their saucepans while dozens of
others clamoured round the stall, accusing the stall-keeper of favouritism
and of having more saucepans somewhere in reserve. There was a fresh
outburst of yells. Two bloated women, one of them with her hair coming
down, had got hold of the same saucepan and were trying to tear it out of
one another's hands. For a moment they were both tugging, and then the
handle came off. Winston watched them disgustedly. And yet, just for a
moment, what almost frightening power had sounded in that cry from only
a few hundred throats! Why was it that they could never shout like that
about anything that mattered?

He wrote:

   Until they become conscious they will never rebel, and until after they
have rebelled they cannot become conscious.

That, he reflected, might almost have been a transcription from one of the
Party textbooks. The Party claimed, of course, to have liberated the proles
from bondage. Before the Revolution they had been hideously oppressed by
the capitalists, they had been starved and flogged, women had been forced
to work in the coal mines (women still did work in the coal mines, as a
matter of fact), children had been sold into the factories at the age
of six. But simultaneously, true to the Principles of doublethink, the
Party taught that the proles were natural inferiors who must be kept in
subjection, like animals, by the application of a few simple rules. In
reality very little was known about the proles. It was not necessary to
know much. So long as they continued to work and breed, their other
activities were without importance. Left to themselves, like cattle turned
loose upon the plains of Argentina, they had reverted to a style of life
that appeared to be natural to them, a sort of ancestral pattern. They were
born, they grew up in the gutters, they went to work at twelve, they passed
through a brief blossoming-period of beauty and sexual desire, they married
at twenty, they were middle-aged at thirty, they died, for the most part,
at sixty. Heavy physical work, the care of home and children, petty
quarrels with neighbours, films, football, beer, and above all, gambling,
filled up the horizon of their minds. To keep them in control was not
difficult. A few agents of the Thought Police moved always among them,
spreading false rumours and marking down and eliminating the few
individuals who were judged capable of becoming dangerous; but no attempt
was made to indoctrinate them with the ideology of the Party. It was not
desirable that the proles should have strong political feelings. All that
was required of them was a primitive patriotism which could be appealed to
whenever it was necessary to make them accept longer working-hours or
shorter rations. And even when they became discontented, as they sometimes
did, their discontent led nowhere, because being without general ideas,
they could only focus it on petty specific grievances. The larger evils
invariably escaped their notice. The great majority of proles did not even
have telescreens in their homes. Even the civil police interfered with them
very little. There was a vast amount of criminality in London, a whole
world-within-a-world of thieves, bandits, prostitutes, drug-peddlers, and
racketeers of every description; but since it all happened among the proles
themselves, it was of no importance. In all questions of morals they were
allowed to follow their ancestral code. The sexual puritanism of the
Party was not imposed upon them. Promiscuity went unpunished, divorce
was permitted. For that matter, even religious worship would have been
permitted if the proles had shown any sign of needing or wanting it.
They were beneath suspicion. As the Party slogan put it: 'Proles and
animals are free.'

Winston reached down and cautiously scratched his varicose ulcer. It
had begun itching again. The thing you invariably came back to was the
impossibility of knowing what life before the Revolution had really been
like. He took out of the drawer a copy of a children's history textbook
which he had borrowed from Mrs Parsons, and began copying a passage into
the diary:

   In the old days (it ran), before the glorious Revolution, London was
not the beautiful city that we know today. It was a dark, dirty, miserable
place where hardly anybody had enough to eat and where hundreds and
thousands of poor people had no boots on their feet and not even a roof to
sleep under. Children no older than you had to work twelve hours a day for
cruel masters who flogged them with whips if they worked too slowly and
fed them on nothing but stale breadcrusts and water. But in among all
this terrible poverty there were just a few great big beautiful houses
that were lived in by rich men who had as many as thirty servants to look
after them. These rich men were called capitalists. They were fat, ugly
men with wicked faces, like the one in the picture on the opposite page.
You can see that he is dressed in a long black coat which was called a
frock coat, and a queer, shiny hat shaped like a stovepipe, which was
called a top hat. This was the uniform of the capitalists, and no one else
was allowed to wear it. The capitalists owned everything in the world, and
everyone else was their slave. They owned all the land, all the houses,
all the factories, and all the money. If anyone disobeyed them they could
throw them into prison, or they could take his job away and starve him to
death. When any ordinary person spoke to a capitalist he had to cringe and
bow to him, and take off his cap and address him as 'Sir'. The chief of
all the capitalists was called the King, and----

But he knew the rest of the catalogue. There would be mention of the
bishops in their lawn sleeves, the judges in their ermine robes, the
pillory, the stocks, the treadmill, the cat-o'-nine tails, the Lord Mayor's
Banquet, and the practice of kissing the Pope's toe. There was also
something called the JUS PRIMAE NOCTIS, which would probably not be
mentioned in a textbook for children. It was the law by which every
capitalist had the right to sleep with any woman working in one of his

How could you tell how much of it was lies? It MIGHT be true that the
average human being was better off now than he had been before the
Revolution. The only evidence to the contrary was the mute protest in your
own bones, the instinctive feeling that the conditions you lived in were
intolerable and that at some other time they must have been different. It
struck him that the truly characteristic thing about modern life was not
its cruelty and insecurity, but simply its bareness, its dinginess, its
listlessness. Life, if you looked about you, bore no resemblance not only
to the lies that streamed out of the telescreens, but even to the ideals
that the Party was trying to achieve. Great areas of it, even for a Party
member, were neutral and non-political, a matter of slogging through dreary
jobs, fighting for a place on the Tube, darning a worn-out sock, cadging
a saccharine tablet, saving a cigarette end. The ideal set up by the
Party was something huge, terrible, and glittering--a world of steel
and concrete, of monstrous machines and terrifying weapons--a nation of
warriors and fanatics, marching forward in perfect unity, all thinking the
same thoughts and shouting the same slogans, perpetually working, fighting,
triumphing, persecuting--three hundred million people all with the same
face. The reality was decaying, dingy cities where underfed people shuffled
to and fro in leaky shoes, in patched-up nineteenth-century houses that
smelt always of cabbage and bad lavatories. He seemed to see a vision of
London, vast and ruinous, city of a million dustbins, and mixed up with it
was a picture of Mrs Parsons, a woman with lined face and wispy hair,
fiddling helplessly with a blocked waste-pipe.

He reached down and scratched his ankle again. Day and night the
telescreens bruised your ears with statistics proving that people today
had more food, more clothes, better houses, better recreations--that they
lived longer, worked shorter hours, were bigger, healthier, stronger,
happier, more intelligent, better educated, than the people of fifty years
ago. Not a word of it could ever be proved or disproved. The Party claimed,
for example, that today 40 per cent of adult proles were literate: before
the Revolution, it was said, the number had only been 15 per cent. The
Party claimed that the infant mortality rate was now only 160 per
thousand, whereas before the Revolution it had been 300--and so it went
on. It was like a single equation with two unknowns. It might very well be
that literally every word in the history books, even the things that one
accepted without question, was pure fantasy. For all he knew there might
never have been any such law as the JUS PRIMAE NOCTIS, or any such creature
as a capitalist, or any such garment as a top hat.

Everything faded into mist. The past was erased, the erasure was forgotten,
the lie became truth. Just once in his life he had possessed--AFTER the
event: that was what counted--concrete, unmistakable evidence of an act of
falsification. He had held it between his fingers for as long as thirty
seconds. In 1973, it must have been--at any rate, it was at about the time
when he and Katharine had parted. But the really relevant date was seven
or eight years earlier.

The story really began in the middle sixties, the period of the great
purges in which the original leaders of the Revolution were wiped out
once and for all. By 1970 none of them was left, except Big Brother
himself. All the rest had by that time been exposed as traitors and
counter-revolutionaries. Goldstein had fled and was hiding no one knew
where, and of the others, a few had simply disappeared, while the majority
had been executed after spectacular public trials at which they made
confession of their crimes. Among the last survivors were three men named
Jones, Aaronson, and Rutherford. It must have been in 1965 that these three
had been arrested. As often happened, they had vanished for a year or more,
so that one did not know whether they were alive or dead, and then had
suddenly been brought forth to incriminate themselves in the usual way.
They had confessed to intelligence with the enemy (at that date, too, the
enemy was Eurasia), embezzlement of public funds, the murder of various
trusted Party members, intrigues against the leadership of Big Brother
which had started long before the Revolution happened, and acts of sabotage
causing the death of hundreds of thousands of people. After confessing to
these things they had been pardoned, reinstated in the Party, and given
posts which were in fact sinecures but which sounded important. All three
had written long, abject articles in 'The Times', analysing the reasons
for their defection and promising to make amends.

Some time after their release Winston had actually seen all three of them
in the Chestnut Tree Cafe. He remembered the sort of terrified fascination
with which he had watched them out of the corner of his eye. They were men
far older than himself, relics of the ancient world, almost the last great
figures left over from the heroic days of the Party. The glamour of the
underground struggle and the civil war still faintly clung to them. He had
the feeling, though already at that time facts and dates were growing
blurry, that he had known their names years earlier than he had known that
of Big Brother. But also they were outlaws, enemies, untouchables, doomed
with absolute certainty to extinction within a year or two. No one who had
once fallen into the hands of the Thought Police ever escaped in the end.
They were corpses waiting to be sent back to the grave.

There was no one at any of the tables nearest to them. It was not wise
even to be seen in the neighbourhood of such people. They were sitting
in silence before glasses of the gin flavoured with cloves which was the
speciality of the cafe. Of the three, it was Rutherford whose appearance
had most impressed Winston. Rutherford had once been a famous caricaturist,
whose brutal cartoons had helped to inflame popular opinion before and
during the Revolution. Even now, at long intervals, his cartoons were
appearing in The Times. They were simply an imitation of his earlier
manner, and curiously lifeless and unconvincing. Always they were a
rehashing of the ancient themes--slum tenements, starving children, street
battles, capitalists in top hats--even on the barricades the capitalists
still seemed to cling to their top hats an endless, hopeless effort to
get back into the past. He was a monstrous man, with a mane of greasy
grey hair, his face pouched and seamed, with thick negroid lips. At one
time he must have been immensely strong; now his great body was sagging,
sloping, bulging, falling away in every direction. He seemed to be breaking
up before one's eyes, like a mountain crumbling.

It was the lonely hour of fifteen. Winston could not now remember how he
had come to be in the cafe at such a time. The place was almost empty. A
tinny music was trickling from the telescreens. The three men sat in their
corner almost motionless, never speaking. Uncommanded, the waiter brought
fresh glasses of gin. There was a chessboard on the table beside them, with
the pieces set out but no game started. And then, for perhaps half a minute
in all, something happened to the telescreens. The tune that they were
playing changed, and the tone of the music changed too. There came into
it--but it was something hard to describe. It was a peculiar, cracked,
braying, jeering note: in his mind Winston called it a yellow note. And
then a voice from the telescreen was singing:

  Under the spreading chestnut tree
  I sold you and you sold me:
  There lie they, and here lie we
  Under the spreading chestnut tree.

The three men never stirred. But when Winston glanced again at Rutherford's
ruinous face, he saw that his eyes were full of tears. And for the first
time he noticed, with a kind of inward shudder, and yet not knowing
AT WHAT he shuddered, that both Aaronson and Rutherford had broken noses.

A little later all three were re-arrested. It appeared that they had
engaged in fresh conspiracies from the very moment of their release. At
their second trial they confessed to all their old crimes over again, with
a whole string of new ones. They were executed, and their fate was recorded
in the Party histories, a warning to posterity. About five years after
this, in 1973, Winston was unrolling a wad of documents which had just
flopped out of the pneumatic tube on to his desk when he came on a fragment
of paper which had evidently been slipped in among the others and then
forgotten. The instant he had flattened it out he saw its significance.
It was a half-page torn out of 'The Times' of about ten years earlier--the
top half of the page, so that it included the date--and it contained a
photograph of the delegates at some Party function in New York. Prominent
in the middle of the group were Jones, Aaronson, and Rutherford. There was
no mistaking them, in any case their names were in the caption at the

The point was that at both trials all three men had confessed that on that
date they had been on Eurasian soil. They had flown from a secret airfield
in Canada to a rendezvous somewhere in Siberia, and had conferred with
members of the Eurasian General Staff, to whom they had betrayed important
military secrets. The date had stuck in Winston's memory because it chanced
to be midsummer day; but the whole story must be on record in countless
other places as well. There was only one possible conclusion: the
confessions were lies.

Of course, this was not in itself a discovery. Even at that time Winston
had not imagined that the people who were wiped out in the purges had
actually committed the crimes that they were accused of. But this was
concrete evidence; it was a fragment of the abolished past, like a fossil
bone which turns up in the wrong stratum and destroys a geological theory.
It was enough to blow the Party to atoms, if in some way it could have
been published to the world and its significance made known.

He had gone straight on working. As soon as he saw what the photograph
was, and what it meant, he had covered it up with another sheet of paper.
Luckily, when he unrolled it, it had been upside-down from the point of
view of the telescreen.

He took his scribbling pad on his knee and pushed back his chair so as
to get as far away from the telescreen as possible. To keep your face
expressionless was not difficult, and even your breathing could be
controlled, with an effort: but you could not control the beating of your
heart, and the telescreen was quite delicate enough to pick it up. He let
what he judged to be ten minutes go by, tormented all the while by the
fear that some accident--a sudden draught blowing across his desk, for
instance--would betray him. Then, without uncovering it again, he dropped
the photograph into the memory hole, along with some other waste papers.
Within another minute, perhaps, it would have crumbled into ashes.

That was ten--eleven years ago. Today, probably, he would have kept that
photograph. It was curious that the fact of having held it in his fingers
seemed to him to make a difference even now, when the photograph itself,
as well as the event it recorded, was only memory. Was the Party's hold
upon the past less strong, he wondered, because a piece of evidence which
existed no longer HAD ONCE existed?

But today, supposing that it could be somehow resurrected from its ashes,
the photograph might not even be evidence. Already, at the time when he
made his discovery, Oceania was no longer at war with Eurasia, and it must
have been to the agents of Eastasia that the three dead men had betrayed
their country. Since then there had been other changes--two, three,
he could not remember how many. Very likely the confessions had been
rewritten and rewritten until the original facts and dates no longer
had the smallest significance. The past not only changed, but changed
continuously. What most afflicted him with the sense of nightmare was that
he had never clearly understood why the huge imposture was undertaken.
The immediate advantages of falsifying the past were obvious, but the
ultimate motive was mysterious. He took up his pen again and wrote:

   I understand HOW: I do not understand WHY.

He wondered, as he had many times wondered before, whether he himself was
a lunatic. Perhaps a lunatic was simply a minority of one. At one time it
had been a sign of madness to believe that the earth goes round the sun;
today, to believe that the past is unalterable. He might be ALONE in
holding that belief, and if alone, then a lunatic. But the thought of being
a lunatic did not greatly trouble him: the horror was that he might also
be wrong.

He picked up the children's history book and looked at the portrait of
Big Brother which formed its frontispiece. The hypnotic eyes gazed into
his own. It was as though some huge force were pressing down upon
you--something that penetrated inside your skull, battering against your
brain, frightening you out of your beliefs, persuading you, almost, to
deny the evidence of your senses. In the end the Party would announce that
two and two made five, and you would have to believe it. It was inevitable
that they should make that claim sooner or later: the logic of their
position demanded it. Not merely the validity of experience, but the very
existence of external reality, was tacitly denied by their philosophy. The
heresy of heresies was common sense. And what was terrifying was not that
they would kill you for thinking otherwise, but that they might be right.
For, after all, how do we know that two and two make four? Or that the
force of gravity works? Or that the past is unchangeable? If both the past
and the external world exist only in the mind, and if the mind itself is
controllable what then?

But no! His courage seemed suddenly to stiffen of its own accord. The face
of O'Brien, not called up by any obvious association, had floated into his
mind. He knew, with more certainty than before, that O'Brien was on his
side. He was writing the diary for O'Brien--TO O'Brien: it was like an
interminable letter which no one would ever read, but which was addressed
to a particular person and took its colour from that fact.

The Party told you to reject the evidence of your eyes and ears. It was
their final, most essential command. His heart sank as he thought of
the enormous power arrayed against him, the ease with which any Party
intellectual would overthrow him in debate, the subtle arguments which he
would not be able to understand, much less answer. And yet he was in the
right! They were wrong and he was right. The obvious, the silly, and the
true had got to be defended. Truisms are true, hold on to that! The solid
world exists, its laws do not change. Stones are hard, water is wet,
objects unsupported fall towards the earth's centre. With the feeling that
he was speaking to O'Brien, and also that he was setting forth an important
axiom, he wrote:

   Freedom is the freedom to say that two plus two make four. If that is
granted, all else follows.

Chapter 8

From somewhere at the bottom of a passage the smell of roasting
coffee--real coffee, not Victory Coffee--came floating out into the street.
Winston paused involuntarily. For perhaps two seconds he was back in the
half-forgotten world of his childhood. Then a door banged, seeming to cut
off the smell as abruptly as though it had been a sound.

He had walked several kilometres over pavements, and his varicose ulcer
was throbbing. This was the second time in three weeks that he had missed
an evening at the Community Centre: a rash act, since you could be certain
that the number of your attendances at the Centre was carefully checked.
In principle a Party member had no spare time, and was never alone except
in bed. It was assumed that when he was not working, eating, or sleeping
he would be taking part in some kind of communal recreation: to do anything
that suggested a taste for solitude, even to go for a walk by yourself,
was always slightly dangerous. There was a word for it in Newspeak:
OWNLIFE, it was called, meaning individualism and eccentricity. But this
evening as he came out of the Ministry the balminess of the April air had
tempted him. The sky was a warmer blue than he had seen it that year, and
suddenly the long, noisy evening at the Centre, the boring, exhausting
games, the lectures, the creaking camaraderie oiled by gin, had seemed
intolerable. On impulse he had turned away from the bus-stop and wandered
off into the labyrinth of London, first south, then east, then north again,
losing himself among unknown streets and hardly bothering in which
direction he was going.

'If there is hope,' he had written in the diary, 'it lies in the proles.'
The words kept coming back to him, statement of a mystical truth and a
palpable absurdity. He was somewhere in the vague, brown-coloured slums
to the north and east of what had once been Saint Pancras Station. He was
walking up a cobbled street of little two-storey houses with battered
doorways which gave straight on the pavement and which were somehow
curiously suggestive of ratholes. There were puddles of filthy water here
and there among the cobbles. In and out of the dark doorways, and down
narrow alley-ways that branched off on either side, people swarmed in
astonishing numbers--girls in full bloom, with crudely lipsticked mouths,
and youths who chased the girls, and swollen waddling women who showed you
what the girls would be like in ten years' time, and old bent creatures
shuffling along on splayed feet, and ragged barefooted children who played
in the puddles and then scattered at angry yells from their mothers.
Perhaps a quarter of the windows in the street were broken and boarded up.
Most of the people paid no attention to Winston; a few eyed him with a
sort of guarded curiosity. Two monstrous women with brick-red forearms
folded across their aprons were talking outside a doorway. Winston caught
scraps of conversation as he approached.

'"Yes," I says to 'er, "that's all very well," I says. "But if you'd of
been in my place you'd of done the same as what I done. It's easy to
criticize," I says, "but you ain't got the same problems as what I got."'

'Ah,' said the other, 'that's jest it. That's jest where it is.'

The strident voices stopped abruptly. The women studied him in hostile
silence as he went past. But it was not hostility, exactly; merely a kind
of wariness, a momentary stiffening, as at the passing of some unfamiliar
animal. The blue overalls of the Party could not be a common sight in a
street like this. Indeed, it was unwise to be seen in such places, unless
you had definite business there. The patrols might stop you if you happened
to run into them. 'May I see your papers, comrade? What are you doing here?
What time did you leave work? Is this your usual way home?'--and so on and
so forth. Not that there was any rule against walking home by an unusual
route: but it was enough to draw attention to you if the Thought Police
heard about it.

Suddenly the whole street was in commotion. There were yells of warning
from all sides. People were shooting into the doorways like rabbits. A
young woman leapt out of a doorway a little ahead of Winston, grabbed up a
tiny child playing in a puddle, whipped her apron round it, and leapt back
again, all in one movement. At the same instant a man in a concertina-like
black suit, who had emerged from a side alley, ran towards Winston,
pointing excitedly to the sky.

'Steamer!' he yelled. 'Look out, guv'nor! Bang over'ead! Lay down quick!'

'Steamer' was a nickname which, for some reason, the proles applied to
rocket bombs. Winston promptly flung himself on his face. The proles were
nearly always right when they gave you a warning of this kind. They seemed
to possess some kind of instinct which told them several seconds in advance
when a rocket was coming, although the rockets supposedly travelled faster
than sound. Winston clasped his forearms above his head. There was a roar
that seemed to make the pavement heave; a shower of light objects pattered
on to his back. When he stood up he found that he was covered with
fragments of glass from the nearest window.

He walked on. The bomb had demolished a group of houses 200 metres up the
street. A black plume of smoke hung in the sky, and below it a cloud of
plaster dust in which a crowd was already forming around the ruins. There
was a little pile of plaster lying on the pavement ahead of him, and in
the middle of it he could see a bright red streak. When he got up to it he
saw that it was a human hand severed at the wrist. Apart from the bloody
stump, the hand was so completely whitened as to resemble a plaster cast.

He kicked the thing into the gutter, and then, to avoid the crowd, turned
down a side-street to the right. Within three or four minutes he was out
of the area which the bomb had affected, and the sordid swarming life of
the streets was going on as though nothing had happened. It was nearly
twenty hours, and the drinking-shops which the proles frequented ('pubs',
they called them) were choked with customers. From their grimy swing doors,
endlessly opening and shutting, there came forth a smell of urine, sawdust,
and sour beer. In an angle formed by a projecting house-front three men
were standing very close together, the middle one of them holding a
folded-up newspaper which the other two were studying over his shoulder.
Even before he was near enough to make out the expression on their faces,
Winston could see absorption in every line of their bodies. It was
obviously some serious piece of news that they were reading. He was a few
paces away from them when suddenly the group broke up and two of the men
were in violent altercation. For a moment they seemed almost on the point
of blows.

'Can't you bleeding well listen to what I say? I tell you no number ending
in seven ain't won for over fourteen months!'

'Yes, it 'as, then!'

'No, it 'as not! Back 'ome I got the 'ole lot of 'em for over two years
wrote down on a piece of paper. I takes 'em down reg'lar as the clock. An'
I tell you, no number ending in seven----'

'Yes, a seven 'AS won! I could pretty near tell you the bleeding number.
Four oh seven, it ended in. It were in February--second week in February.'

'February your grandmother! I got it all down in black and white. An' I
tell you, no number----'

'Oh, pack it in!' said the third man.

They were talking about the Lottery. Winston looked back when he had gone
thirty metres. They were still arguing, with vivid, passionate faces.
The Lottery, with its weekly pay-out of enormous prizes, was the one public
event to which the proles paid serious attention. It was probable that
there were some millions of proles for whom the Lottery was the principal
if not the only reason for remaining alive. It was their delight, their
folly, their anodyne, their intellectual stimulant. Where the Lottery was
concerned, even people who could barely read and write seemed capable of
intricate calculations and staggering feats of memory. There was a whole
tribe of men who made a living simply by selling systems, forecasts, and
lucky amulets. Winston had nothing to do with the running of the Lottery,
which was managed by the Ministry of Plenty, but he was aware (indeed
everyone in the party was aware) that the prizes were largely imaginary.
Only small sums were actually paid out, the winners of the big prizes being
non-existent persons. In the absence of any real intercommunication between
one part of Oceania and another, this was not difficult to arrange.

But if there was hope, it lay in the proles. You had to cling on to that.
When you put it in words it sounded reasonable: it was when you looked at
the human beings passing you on the pavement that it became an act of
faith. The street into which he had turned ran downhill. He had a feeling
that he had been in this neighbourhood before, and that there was a main
thoroughfare not far away. From somewhere ahead there came a din of
shouting voices. The street took a sharp turn and then ended in a flight
of steps which led down into a sunken alley where a few stall-keepers
were selling tired-looking vegetables. At this moment Winston remembered
where he was. The alley led out into the main street, and down the next
turning, not five minutes away, was the junk-shop where he had bought the
blank book which was now his diary. And in a small stationer's shop not
far away he had bought his penholder and his bottle of ink.

He paused for a moment at the top of the steps. On the opposite side of
the alley there was a dingy little pub whose windows appeared to be frosted
over but in reality were merely coated with dust. A very old man, bent but
active, with white moustaches that bristled forward like those of a prawn,
pushed open the swing door and went in. As Winston stood watching, it
occurred to him that the old man, who must be eighty at the least, had
already been middle-aged when the Revolution happened. He and a few others
like him were the last links that now existed with the vanished world of
capitalism. In the Party itself there were not many people left whose ideas
had been formed before the Revolution. The older generation had mostly
been wiped out in the great purges of the fifties and sixties, and the few
who survived had long ago been terrified into complete intellectual
surrender. If there was any one still alive who could give you a truthful
account of conditions in the early part of the century, it could only be a
prole. Suddenly the passage from the history book that he had copied into
his diary came back into Winston's mind, and a lunatic impulse took hold
of him. He would go into the pub, he would scrape acquaintance with that
old man and question him. He would say to him: 'Tell me about your life
when you were a boy. What was it like in those days? Were things better
than they are now, or were they worse?'

Hurriedly, lest he should have time to become frightened, he descended the
steps and crossed the narrow street. It was madness of course. As usual,
there was no definite rule against talking to proles and frequenting their
pubs, but it was far too unusual an action to pass unnoticed. If the
patrols appeared he might plead an attack of faintness, but it was not
likely that they would believe him. He pushed open the door, and a hideous
cheesy smell of sour beer hit him in the face. As he entered the din of
voices dropped to about half its volume. Behind his back he could feel
everyone eyeing his blue overalls. A game of darts which was going on at
the other end of the room interrupted itself for perhaps as much as thirty
seconds. The old man whom he had followed was standing at the bar, having
some kind of altercation with the barman, a large, stout, hook-nosed young
man with enormous forearms. A knot of others, standing round with glasses
in their hands, were watching the scene.

'I arst you civil enough, didn't I?' said the old man, straightening his
shoulders pugnaciously. 'You telling me you ain't got a pint mug in the
'ole bleeding boozer?'

'And what in hell's name IS a pint?' said the barman, leaning forward with
the tips of his fingers on the counter.

''Ark at 'im! Calls 'isself a barman and don't know what a pint is! Why,
a pint's the 'alf of a quart, and there's four quarts to the gallon.
'Ave to teach you the A, B, C next.'

'Never heard of 'em,' said the barman shortly. 'Litre and half
litre--that's all we serve. There's the glasses on the shelf in front
of you.'

'I likes a pint,' persisted the old man. 'You could 'a drawed me off a pint
easy enough. We didn't 'ave these bleeding litres when I was a young man.'

'When you were a young man we were all living in the treetops,' said the
barman, with a glance at the other customers.

There was a shout of laughter, and the uneasiness caused by Winston's entry
seemed to disappear. The old man's white-stubbled face had flushed pink. He
turned away, muttering to himself, and bumped into Winston. Winston caught
him gently by the arm.

'May I offer you a drink?' he said.

'You're a gent,' said the other, straightening his shoulders again. He
appeared not to have noticed Winston's blue overalls. 'Pint!' he added
aggressively to the barman. 'Pint of wallop.'

The barman swished two half-litres of dark-brown beer into thick glasses
which he had rinsed in a bucket under the counter. Beer was the only drink
you could get in prole pubs. The proles were supposed not to drink gin,
though in practice they could get hold of it easily enough. The game of
darts was in full swing again, and the knot of men at the bar had begun
talking about lottery tickets. Winston's presence was forgotten for a
moment. There was a deal table under the window where he and the old man
could talk without fear of being overheard. It was horribly dangerous, but
at any rate there was no telescreen in the room, a point he had made sure
of as soon as he came in.

''E could 'a drawed me off a pint,' grumbled the old man as he settled down
behind a glass. 'A 'alf litre ain't enough. It don't satisfy. And a 'ole
litre's too much. It starts my bladder running. Let alone the price.'

'You must have seen great changes since you were a young man,' said
Winston tentatively.

The old man's pale blue eyes moved from the darts board to the bar, and
from the bar to the door of the Gents, as though it were in the bar-room
that he expected the changes to have occurred.

'The beer was better,' he said finally. 'And cheaper! When I was a young
man, mild beer--wallop we used to call it--was fourpence a pint. That was
before the war, of course.'

'Which war was that?' said Winston.

'It's all wars,' said the old man vaguely. He took up his glass, and his
shoulders straightened again. ''Ere's wishing you the very best of 'ealth!'

In his lean throat the sharp-pointed Adam's apple made a surprisingly rapid
up-and-down movement, and the beer vanished. Winston went to the bar and
came back with two more half-litres. The old man appeared to have forgotten
his prejudice against drinking a full litre.

'You are very much older than I am,' said Winston. 'You must have been a
grown man before I was born. You can remember what it was like in the old
days, before the Revolution. People of my age don't really know anything
about those times. We can only read about them in books, and what it says
in the books may not be true. I should like your opinion on that. The
history books say that life before the Revolution was completely different
from what it is now. There was the most terrible oppression, injustice,
poverty worse than anything we can imagine. Here in London, the great mass
of the people never had enough to eat from birth to death. Half of them
hadn't even boots on their feet. They worked twelve hours a day, they left
school at nine, they slept ten in a room. And at the same time there were
a very few people, only a few thousands--the capitalists, they were
called--who were rich and powerful. They owned everything that there was
to own. They lived in great gorgeous houses with thirty servants, they
rode about in motor-cars and four-horse carriages, they drank champagne,
they wore top hats----'

The old man brightened suddenly.

'Top 'ats!' he said. 'Funny you should mention 'em. The same thing come
into my 'ead only yesterday, I dono why. I was jest thinking, I ain't seen
a top 'at in years. Gorn right out, they 'ave. The last time I wore one
was at my sister-in-law's funeral. And that was--well, I couldn't give you
the date, but it must'a been fifty years ago. Of course it was only 'ired
for the occasion, you understand.'

'It isn't very important about the top hats,' said Winston patiently.
'The point is, these capitalists--they and a few lawyers and priests and
so forth who lived on them--were the lords of the earth. Everything existed
for their benefit. You--the ordinary people, the workers--were their
slaves. They could do what they liked with you. They could ship you off to
Canada like cattle. They could sleep with your daughters if they chose.
They could order you to be flogged with something called a cat-o'-nine
tails. You had to take your cap off when you passed them. Every capitalist
went about with a gang of lackeys who----'

The old man brightened again.

'Lackeys!' he said. 'Now there's a word I ain't 'eard since ever so long.
Lackeys! That reg'lar takes me back, that does. I recollect--oh, donkey's
years ago--I used to sometimes go to 'Yde Park of a Sunday afternoon to
'ear the blokes making speeches. Salvation Army, Roman Catholics, Jews,
Indians--all sorts there was. And there was one bloke--well, I couldn't
give you 'is name, but a real powerful speaker 'e was. 'E didn't 'alf
give it 'em! "Lackeys!" 'e says, "lackeys of the bourgeoisie! Flunkies of
the ruling class!" Parasites--that was another of them. And 'yenas--'e
definitely called 'em 'yenas. Of course 'e was referring to the Labour
Party, you understand.'

Winston had the feeling that they were talking at cross-purposes.

'What I really wanted to know was this,' he said. 'Do you feel that you
have more freedom now than you had in those days? Are you treated more
like a human being? In the old days, the rich people, the people at the

'The 'Ouse of Lords,' put in the old man reminiscently.

'The House of Lords, if you like. What I am asking is, were these people
able to treat you as an inferior, simply because they were rich and you
were poor? Is it a fact, for instance, that you had to call them "Sir" and
take off your cap when you passed them?'

The old man appeared to think deeply. He drank off about a quarter of his
beer before answering.

'Yes,' he said. 'They liked you to touch your cap to 'em. It showed
respect, like. I didn't agree with it, myself, but I done it often enough.
Had to, as you might say.'

'And was it usual--I'm only quoting what I've read in history books--was
it usual for these people and their servants to push you off the pavement
into the gutter?'

'One of 'em pushed me once,' said the old man. 'I recollect it as if it
was yesterday. It was Boat Race night--terribly rowdy they used to get on
Boat Race night--and I bumps into a young bloke on Shaftesbury Avenue.
Quite a gent, 'e was--dress shirt, top 'at, black overcoat. 'E was kind
of zig-zagging across the pavement, and I bumps into 'im accidental-like.
'E says, "Why can't you look where you're going?" 'e says. I say, "Ju think
you've bought the bleeding pavement?" 'E says, "I'll twist your bloody 'ead
off if you get fresh with me." I says, "You're drunk. I'll give you in
charge in 'alf a minute," I says. An' if you'll believe me, 'e puts 'is
'and on my chest and gives me a shove as pretty near sent me under the
wheels of a bus. Well, I was young in them days, and I was going to 'ave
fetched 'im one, only----'

A sense of helplessness took hold of Winston. The old man's memory was
nothing but a rubbish-heap of details. One could question him all day
without getting any real information. The party histories might still be
true, after a fashion: they might even be completely true. He made a last

'Perhaps I have not made myself clear,' he said. 'What I'm trying to say
is this. You have been alive a very long time; you lived half your life
before the Revolution. In 1925, for instance, you were already grown up.
Would you say from what you can remember, that life in 1925 was better
than it is now, or worse? If you could choose, would you prefer to live
then or now?'

The old man looked meditatively at the darts board. He finished up his
beer, more slowly than before. When he spoke it was with a tolerant
philosophical air, as though the beer had mellowed him.

'I know what you expect me to say,' he said. 'You expect me to say as I'd
sooner be young again. Most people'd say they'd sooner be young, if you
arst 'em. You got your 'ealth and strength when you're young. When you
get to my time of life you ain't never well. I suffer something wicked
from my feet, and my bladder's jest terrible. Six and seven times a night
it 'as me out of bed. On the other 'and, there's great advantages in being
a old man. You ain't got the same worries. No truck with women, and that's
a great thing. I ain't 'ad a woman for near on thirty year, if you'd
credit it. Nor wanted to, what's more.'

Winston sat back against the window-sill. It was no use going on. He was
about to buy some more beer when the old man suddenly got up and shuffled
rapidly into the stinking urinal at the side of the room. The extra
half-litre was already working on him. Winston sat for a minute or two
gazing at his empty glass, and hardly noticed when his feet carried him out
into the street again. Within twenty years at the most, he reflected, the
huge and simple question, 'Was life better before the Revolution than it
is now?' would have ceased once and for all to be answerable. But in effect
it was unanswerable even now, since the few scattered survivors from the
ancient world were incapable of comparing one age with another. They
remembered a million useless things, a quarrel with a workmate, a hunt for
a lost bicycle pump, the expression on a long-dead sister's face, the
swirls of dust on a windy morning seventy years ago: but all the relevant
facts were outside the range of their vision. They were like the ant,
which can see small objects but not large ones. And when memory failed and
written records were falsified--when that happened, the claim of the Party
to have improved the conditions of human life had got to be accepted,
because there did not exist, and never again could exist, any standard
against which it could be tested.

At this moment his train of thought stopped abruptly. He halted and looked
up. He was in a narrow street, with a few dark little shops, interspersed
among dwelling-houses. Immediately above his head there hung three
discoloured metal balls which looked as if they had once been gilded. He
seemed to know the place. Of course! He was standing outside the junk-shop
where he had bought the diary.

A twinge of fear went through him. It had been a sufficiently rash act to
buy the book in the beginning, and he had sworn never to come near the
place again. And yet the instant that he allowed his thoughts to wander,
his feet had brought him back here of their own accord. It was precisely
against suicidal impulses of this kind that he had hoped to guard himself
by opening the diary. At the same time he noticed that although it was
nearly twenty-one hours the shop was still open. With the feeling that he
would be less conspicuous inside than hanging about on the pavement, he
stepped through the doorway. If questioned, he could plausibly say that
he was trying to buy razor blades.

The proprietor had just lighted a hanging oil lamp which gave off an
unclean but friendly smell. He was a man of perhaps sixty, frail and
bowed, with a long, benevolent nose, and mild eyes distorted by thick
spectacles. His hair was almost white, but his eyebrows were bushy and
still black. His spectacles, his gentle, fussy movements, and the fact
that he was wearing an aged jacket of black velvet, gave him a vague air
of intellectuality, as though he had been some kind of literary man, or
perhaps a musician. His voice was soft, as though faded, and his accent
less debased than that of the majority of proles.

'I recognized you on the pavement,' he said immediately. 'You're the
gentleman that bought the young lady's keepsake album. That was a beautiful
bit of paper, that was. Cream-laid, it used to be called. There's been no
paper like that made for--oh, I dare say fifty years.' He peered at Winston
over the top of his spectacles. 'Is there anything special I can do for
you? Or did you just want to look round?'

'I was passing,' said Winston vaguely. 'I just looked in. I don't want
anything in particular.'

'It's just as well,' said the other, 'because I don't suppose I could have
satisfied you.' He made an apologetic gesture with his softpalmed hand.
'You see how it is; an empty shop, you might say. Between you and me, the
antique trade's just about finished. No demand any longer, and no stock
either. Furniture, china, glass it's all been broken up by degrees. And
of course the metal stuff's mostly been melted down. I haven't seen a brass
candlestick in years.'

The tiny interior of the shop was in fact uncomfortably full, but there
was almost nothing in it of the slightest value. The floorspace was very
restricted, because all round the walls were stacked innumerable dusty
picture-frames. In the window there were trays of nuts and bolts, worn-out
chisels, penknives with broken blades, tarnished watches that did not even
pretend to be in going order, and other miscellaneous rubbish. Only on a
small table in the corner was there a litter of odds and ends--lacquered
snuffboxes, agate brooches, and the like--which looked as though they might
include something interesting. As Winston wandered towards the table his
eye was caught by a round, smooth thing that gleamed softly in the
lamplight, and he picked it up.

It was a heavy lump of glass, curved on one side, flat on the other, making
almost a hemisphere. There was a peculiar softness, as of rainwater, in
both the colour and the texture of the glass. At the heart of it, magnified
by the curved surface, there was a strange, pink, convoluted object that
recalled a rose or a sea anemone.

'What is it?' said Winston, fascinated.

'That's coral, that is,' said the old man. 'It must have come from the
Indian Ocean. They used to kind of embed it in the glass. That wasn't made
less than a hundred years ago. More, by the look of it.'

'It's a beautiful thing,' said Winston.

'It is a beautiful thing,' said the other appreciatively. 'But there's not
many that'd say so nowadays.' He coughed. 'Now, if it so happened that you
wanted to buy it, that'd cost you four dollars. I can remember when a thing
like that would have fetched eight pounds, and eight pounds was--well, I
can't work it out, but it was a lot of money. But who cares about genuine
antiques nowadays--even the few that's left?'

Winston immediately paid over the four dollars and slid the coveted thing
into his pocket. What appealed to him about it was not so much its beauty
as the air it seemed to possess of belonging to an age quite different
from the present one. The soft, rainwatery glass was not like any glass
that he had ever seen. The thing was doubly attractive because of its
apparent uselessness, though he could guess that it must once have been
intended as a paperweight. It was very heavy in his pocket, but fortunately
it did not make much of a bulge. It was a queer thing, even a compromising
thing, for a Party member to have in his possession. Anything old, and for
that matter anything beautiful, was always vaguely suspect. The old man had
grown noticeably more cheerful after receiving the four dollars. Winston
realized that he would have accepted three or even two.

'There's another room upstairs that you might care to take a look at,' he
said. 'There's not much in it. Just a few pieces. We'll do with a light if
we're going upstairs.'

He lit another lamp, and, with bowed back, led the way slowly up the
steep and worn stairs and along a tiny passage, into a room which did
not give on the street but looked out on a cobbled yard and a forest of
chimney-pots. Winston noticed that the furniture was still arranged as
though the room were meant to be lived in. There was a strip of carpet on
the floor, a picture or two on the walls, and a deep, slatternly arm-chair
drawn up to the fireplace. An old-fashioned glass clock with a twelve-hour
face was ticking away on the mantelpiece. Under the window, and occupying
nearly a quarter of the room, was an enormous bed with the mattress still
on it.

'We lived here till my wife died,' said the old man half apologetically.
'I'm selling the furniture off by little and little. Now that's a beautiful
mahogany bed, or at least it would be if you could get the bugs out of it.
But I dare say you'd find it a little bit cumbersome.'

He was holding the lamp high up, so as to illuminate the whole room, and
in the warm dim light the place looked curiously inviting. The thought
flitted through Winston's mind that it would probably be quite easy to
rent the room for a few dollars a week, if he dared to take the risk. It
was a wild, impossible notion, to be abandoned as soon as thought of; but
the room had awakened in him a sort of nostalgia, a sort of ancestral
memory. It seemed to him that he knew exactly what it felt like to sit in
a room like this, in an arm-chair beside an open fire with your feet in
the fender and a kettle on the hob; utterly alone, utterly secure, with
nobody watching you, no voice pursuing you, no sound except the singing
of the kettle and the friendly ticking of the clock.

'There's no telescreen!' he could not help murmuring.

'Ah,' said the old man, 'I never had one of those things. Too expensive.
And I never seemed to feel the need of it, somehow. Now that's a nice
gateleg table in the corner there. Though of course you'd have to put new
hinges on it if you wanted to use the flaps.'

There was a small bookcase in the other corner, and Winston had already
gravitated towards it. It contained nothing but rubbish. The hunting-down
and destruction of books had been done with the same thoroughness in the
prole quarters as everywhere else. It was very unlikely that there existed
anywhere in Oceania a copy of a book printed earlier than 1960. The old
man, still carrying the lamp, was standing in front of a picture in a
rosewood frame which hung on the other side of the fireplace, opposite
the bed.

'Now, if you happen to be interested in old prints at all----' he began

Winston came across to examine the picture. It was a steel engraving of an
oval building with rectangular windows, and a small tower in front. There
was a railing running round the building, and at the rear end there was
what appeared to be a statue. Winston gazed at it for some moments. It
seemed vaguely familiar, though he did not remember the statue.

'The frame's fixed to the wall,' said the old man, 'but I could unscrew it
for you, I dare say.'

'I know that building,' said Winston finally. 'It's a ruin now. It's in
the middle of the street outside the Palace of Justice.'

'That's right. Outside the Law Courts. It was bombed in--oh, many years
ago. It was a church at one time, St Clement Danes, its name was.' He
smiled apologetically, as though conscious of saying something slightly
ridiculous, and added: 'Oranges and lemons, say the bells of St Clement's!'

'What's that?' said Winston.

'Oh--"Oranges and lemons, say the bells of St Clement's." That was a rhyme
we had when I was a little boy. How it goes on I don't remember, but I do
know it ended up, "Here comes a candle to light you to bed, Here comes a
chopper to chop off your head." It was a kind of a dance. They held out
their arms for you to pass under, and when they came to "Here comes a
chopper to chop off your head" they brought their arms down and caught you.
It was just names of churches. All the London churches were in it--all the
principal ones, that is.'

Winston wondered vaguely to what century the church belonged. It was always
difficult to determine the age of a London building. Anything large and
impressive, if it was reasonably new in appearance, was automatically
claimed as having been built since the Revolution, while anything that was
obviously of earlier date was ascribed to some dim period called the Middle
Ages. The centuries of capitalism were held to have produced nothing of any
value. One could not learn history from architecture any more than one
could learn it from books. Statues, inscriptions, memorial stones, the
names of streets--anything that might throw light upon the past had been
systematically altered.

'I never knew it had been a church,' he said.

'There's a lot of them left, really,' said the old man, 'though they've
been put to other uses. Now, how did that rhyme go? Ah! I've got it!

  "Oranges and lemons, say the bells of St Clement's,
  You owe me three farthings, say the bells of St Martin's----"

there, now, that's as far as I can get. A farthing, that was a small copper
coin, looked something like a cent.'

'Where was St Martin's?' said Winston.

'St Martin's? That's still standing. It's in Victory Square, alongside the
picture gallery. A building with a kind of a triangular porch and pillars
in front, and a big flight of steps.'

Winston knew the place well. It was a museum used for propaganda displays
of various kinds--scale models of rocket bombs and Floating Fortresses,
waxwork tableaux illustrating enemy atrocities, and the like.

'St Martin's-in-the-Fields it used to be called,' supplemented the old man,
'though I don't recollect any fields anywhere in those parts.'

Winston did not buy the picture. It would have been an even more
incongruous possession than the glass paperweight, and impossible to carry
home, unless it were taken out of its frame. But he lingered for some
minutes more, talking to the old man, whose name, he discovered, was not
Weeks--as one might have gathered from the inscription over the
shop-front--but Charrington. Mr Charrington, it seemed, was a widower aged
sixty-three and had inhabited this shop for thirty years. Throughout that
time he had been intending to alter the name over the window, but had never
quite got to the point of doing it. All the while that they were talking
the half-remembered rhyme kept running through Winston's head. Oranges and
lemons say the bells of St Clement's, You owe me three farthings, say
the bells of St Martin's! It was curious, but when you said it to yourself
you had the illusion of actually hearing bells, the bells of a lost London
that still existed somewhere or other, disguised and forgotten. From one
ghostly steeple after another he seemed to hear them pealing forth. Yet so
far as he could remember he had never in real life heard church bells

He got away from Mr Charrington and went down the stairs alone, so as not
to let the old man see him reconnoitring the street before stepping out of
the door. He had already made up his mind that after a suitable
interval--a month, say--he would take the risk of visiting the shop again.
It was perhaps not more dangerous than shirking an evening at the Centre.
The serious piece of folly had been to come back here in the first place,
after buying the diary and without knowing whether the proprietor of the
shop could be trusted. However----!

Yes, he thought again, he would come back. He would buy further scraps of
beautiful rubbish. He would buy the engraving of St Clement Danes, take
it out of its frame, and carry it home concealed under the jacket of his
overalls. He would drag the rest of that poem out of Mr Charrington's
memory. Even the lunatic project of renting the room upstairs flashed
momentarily through his mind again. For perhaps five seconds exaltation
made him careless, and he stepped out on to the pavement without so much
as a preliminary glance through the window. He had even started humming
to an improvised tune

  Oranges and lemons, say the bells of St Clement's,
  You owe me three farthings, say the----

Suddenly his heart seemed to turn to ice and his bowels to water. A figure
in blue overalls was coming down the pavement, not ten metres away. It was
the girl from the Fiction Department, the girl with dark hair. The light
was failing, but there was no difficulty in recognizing her. She looked
him straight in the face, then walked quickly on as though she had not
seen him.

For a few seconds Winston was too paralysed to move. Then he turned to the
right and walked heavily away, not noticing for the moment that he was
going in the wrong direction. At any rate, one question was settled. There
was no doubting any longer that the girl was spying on him. She must have
followed him here, because it was not credible that by pure chance she
should have happened to be walking on the same evening up the same obscure
backstreet, kilometres distant from any quarter where Party members lived.
It was too great a coincidence. Whether she was really an agent of the
Thought Police, or simply an amateur spy actuated by officiousness, hardly
mattered. It was enough that she was watching him. Probably she had seen
him go into the pub as well.

It was an effort to walk. The lump of glass in his pocket banged against
his thigh at each step, and he was half minded to take it out and throw it
away. The worst thing was the pain in his belly. For a couple of minutes
he had the feeling that he would die if he did not reach a lavatory soon.
But there would be no public lavatories in a quarter like this. Then the
spasm passed, leaving a dull ache behind.

The street was a blind alley. Winston halted, stood for several seconds
wondering vaguely what to do, then turned round and began to retrace his
steps. As he turned it occurred to him that the girl had only passed him
three minutes ago and that by running he could probably catch up with her.
He could keep on her track till they were in some quiet place, and then
smash her skull in with a cobblestone. The piece of glass in his pocket
would be heavy enough for the job. But he abandoned the idea immediately,
because even the thought of making any physical effort was unbearable. He
could not run, he could not strike a blow. Besides, she was young and lusty
and would defend herself. He thought also of hurrying to the Community
Centre and staying there till the place closed, so as to establish a
partial alibi for the evening. But that too was impossible. A deadly
lassitude had taken hold of him. All he wanted was to get home quickly and
then sit down and be quiet.

It was after twenty-two hours when he got back to the flat. The lights
would be switched off at the main at twenty-three thirty. He went into the
kitchen and swallowed nearly a teacupful of Victory Gin. Then he went to
the table in the alcove, sat down, and took the diary out of the drawer.
But he did not open it at once. From the telescreen a brassy female voice
was squalling a patriotic song. He sat staring at the marbled cover of the
book, trying without success to shut the voice out of his consciousness.

It was at night that they came for you, always at night. The proper thing
was to kill yourself before they got you. Undoubtedly some people did so.
Many of the disappearances were actually suicides. But it needed desperate
courage to kill yourself in a world where firearms, or any quick and
certain poison, were completely unprocurable. He thought with a kind of
astonishment of the biological uselessness of pain and fear, the treachery
of the human body which always freezes into inertia at exactly the moment
when a special effort is needed. He might have silenced the dark-haired
girl if only he had acted quickly enough: but precisely because of the
extremity of his danger he had lost the power to act. It struck him that
in moments of crisis one is never fighting against an external enemy, but
always against one's own body. Even now, in spite of the gin, the dull
ache in his belly made consecutive thought impossible. And it is the same,
he perceived, in all seemingly heroic or tragic situations. On the
battlefield, in the torture chamber, on a sinking ship, the issues that
you are fighting for are always forgotten, because the body swells up until
it fills the universe, and even when you are not paralysed by fright or
screaming with pain, life is a moment-to-moment struggle against hunger or
cold or sleeplessness, against a sour stomach or an aching tooth.

He opened the diary. It was important to write something down. The woman
on the telescreen had started a new song. Her voice seemed to stick into
his brain like jagged splinters of glass. He tried to think of O'Brien,
for whom, or to whom, the diary was written, but instead he began thinking
of the things that would happen to him after the Thought Police took him
away. It would not matter if they killed you at once. To be killed was
what you expected. But before death (nobody spoke of such things, yet
everybody knew of them) there was the routine of confession that had to
be gone through: the grovelling on the floor and screaming for mercy, the
crack of broken bones, the smashed teeth and bloody clots of hair.

Why did you have to endure it, since the end was always the same? Why was
it not possible to cut a few days or weeks out of your life? Nobody ever
escaped detection, and nobody ever failed to confess. When once you had
succumbed to thoughtcrime it was certain that by a given date you would be
dead. Why then did that horror, which altered nothing, have to lie embedded
in future time?

He tried with a little more success than before to summon up the image of
O'Brien. 'We shall meet in the place where there is no darkness,' O'Brien
had said to him. He knew what it meant, or thought he knew. The place where
there is no darkness was the imagined future, which one would never see,
but which, by foreknowledge, one could mystically share in. But with the
voice from the telescreen nagging at his ears he could not follow the train
of thought further. He put a cigarette in his mouth. Half the tobacco
promptly fell out on to his tongue, a bitter dust which was difficult to
spit out again. The face of Big Brother swam into his mind, displacing that
of O'Brien. Just as he had done a few days earlier, he slid a coin out of
his pocket and looked at it. The face gazed up at him, heavy, calm,
protecting: but what kind of smile was hidden beneath the dark moustache?
Like a leaden knell the words came back at him:



Chapter 1

It was the middle of the morning, and Winston had left the cubicle to go
to the lavatory.

A solitary figure was coming towards him from the other end of the long,
brightly-lit corridor. It was the girl with dark hair. Four days had gone
past since the evening when he had run into her outside the junk-shop.
As she came nearer he saw that her right arm was in a sling, not noticeable
at a distance because it was of the same colour as her overalls. Probably
she had crushed her hand while swinging round one of the big kaleidoscopes
on which the plots of novels were 'roughed in'. It was a common accident
in the Fiction Department.

They were perhaps four metres apart when the girl stumbled and fell almost
flat on her face. A sharp cry of pain was wrung out of her. She must have
fallen right on the injured arm. Winston stopped short. The girl had risen
to her knees. Her face had turned a milky yellow colour against which her
mouth stood out redder than ever. Her eyes were fixed on his, with an
appealing expression that looked more like fear than pain.

A curious emotion stirred in Winston's heart. In front of him was an enemy
who was trying to kill him: in front of him, also, was a human creature,
in pain and perhaps with a broken bone. Already he had instinctively
started forward to help her. In the moment when he had seen her fall on
the bandaged arm, it had been as though he felt the pain in his own body.

'You're hurt?' he said.

'It's nothing. My arm. It'll be all right in a second.'

She spoke as though her heart were fluttering. She had certainly turned
very pale.

'You haven't broken anything?'

'No, I'm all right. It hurt for a moment, that's all.'

She held out her free hand to him, and he helped her up. She had regained
some of her colour, and appeared very much better.

'It's nothing,' she repeated shortly. 'I only gave my wrist a bit of a
bang. Thanks, comrade!'

And with that she walked on in the direction in which she had been going,
as briskly as though it had really been nothing. The whole incident could
not have taken as much as half a minute. Not to let one's feelings appear
in one's face was a habit that had acquired the status of an instinct,
and in any case they had been standing straight in front of a telescreen
when the thing happened. Nevertheless it had been very difficult not to
betray a momentary surprise, for in the two or three seconds while he was
helping her up the girl had slipped something into his hand. There was no
question that she had done it intentionally. It was something small and
flat. As he passed through the lavatory door he transferred it to his
pocket and felt it with the tips of his fingers. It was a scrap of paper
folded into a square.

While he stood at the urinal he managed, with a little more fingering, to
get it unfolded. Obviously there must be a message of some kind written on
it. For a moment he was tempted to take it into one of the water-closets
and read it at once. But that would be shocking folly, as he well knew.
There was no place where you could be more certain that the telescreens
were watched continuously.

He went back to his cubicle, sat down, threw the fragment of paper
casually among the other papers on the desk, put on his spectacles and
hitched the speakwrite towards him. 'Five minutes,' he told himself,
'five minutes at the very least!' His heart bumped in his breast with
frightening loudness. Fortunately the piece of work he was engaged on was
mere routine, the rectification of a long list of figures, not needing
close attention.

Whatever was written on the paper, it must have some kind of political
meaning. So far as he could see there were two possibilities. One, much
the more likely, was that the girl was an agent of the Thought Police,
just as he had feared. He did not know why the Thought Police should
choose to deliver their messages in such a fashion, but perhaps they had
their reasons. The thing that was written on the paper might be a threat, a
summons, an order to commit suicide, a trap of some description. But there
was another, wilder possibility that kept raising its head, though he
tried vainly to suppress it. This was, that the message did not come from
the Thought Police at all, but from some kind of underground organization.
Perhaps the Brotherhood existed after all! Perhaps the girl was part of it!
No doubt the idea was absurd, but it had sprung into his mind in the very
instant of feeling the scrap of paper in his hand. It was not till a couple
of minutes later that the other, more probable explanation had occurred to
him. And even now, though his intellect told him that the message probably
meant death--still, that was not what he believed, and the unreasonable
hope persisted, and his heart banged, and it was with difficulty that he
kept his voice from trembling as he murmured his figures into the

He rolled up the completed bundle of work and slid it into the pneumatic
tube. Eight minutes had gone by. He re-adjusted his spectacles on his nose,
sighed, and drew the next batch of work towards him, with the scrap of
paper on top of it. He flattened it out. On it was written, in a large
unformed handwriting:


For several seconds he was too stunned even to throw the incriminating
thing into the memory hole. When he did so, although he knew very well the
danger of showing too much interest, he could not resist reading it once
again, just to make sure that the words were really there.

For the rest of the morning it was very difficult to work. What was even
worse than having to focus his mind on a series of niggling jobs was the
need to conceal his agitation from the telescreen. He felt as though a
fire were burning in his belly. Lunch in the hot, crowded, noise-filled
canteen was torment. He had hoped to be alone for a little while during
the lunch hour, but as bad luck would have it the imbecile Parsons flopped
down beside him, the tang of his sweat almost defeating the tinny smell of
stew, and kept up a stream of talk about the preparations for Hate Week.
He was particularly enthusiastic about a papier-mache model of Big
Brother's head, two metres wide, which was being made for the occasion by
his daughter's troop of Spies. The irritating thing was that in the racket
of voices Winston could hardly hear what Parsons was saying, and was
constantly having to ask for some fatuous remark to be repeated. Just once
he caught a glimpse of the girl, at a table with two other girls at the
far end of the room. She appeared not to have seen him, and he did not
look in that direction again.

The afternoon was more bearable. Immediately after lunch there arrived a
delicate, difficult piece of work which would take several hours and
necessitated putting everything else aside. It consisted in falsifying a
series of production reports of two years ago, in such a way as to cast
discredit on a prominent member of the Inner Party, who was now under a
cloud. This was the kind of thing that Winston was good at, and for more
than two hours he succeeded in shutting the girl out of his mind
altogether. Then the memory of her face came back, and with it a raging,
intolerable desire to be alone. Until he could be alone it was impossible
to think this new development out. Tonight was one of his nights at the
Community Centre. He wolfed another tasteless meal in the canteen, hurried
off to the Centre, took part in the solemn foolery of a 'discussion group',
played two games of table tennis, swallowed several glasses of gin, and
sat for half an hour through a lecture entitled 'Ingsoc in relation to
chess'. His soul writhed with boredom, but for once he had had no impulse
to shirk his evening at the Centre. At the sight of the words I LOVE YOU
the desire to stay alive had welled up in him, and the taking of minor
risks suddenly seemed stupid. It was not till twenty-three hours, when he
was home and in bed--in the darkness, where you were safe even from the
telescreen so long as you kept silent--that he was able to think

It was a physical problem that had to be solved: how to get in touch with
the girl and arrange a meeting. He did not consider any longer the
possibility that she might be laying some kind of trap for him. He knew
that it was not so, because of her unmistakable agitation when she handed
him the note. Obviously she had been frightened out of her wits, as well
she might be. Nor did the idea of refusing her advances even cross his
mind. Only five nights ago he had contemplated smashing her skull in with
a cobblestone, but that was of no importance. He thought of her naked,
youthful body, as he had seen it in his dream. He had imagined her a fool
like all the rest of them, her head stuffed with lies and hatred, her
belly full of ice. A kind of fever seized him at the thought that he might
lose her, the white youthful body might slip away from him! What he feared
more than anything else was that she would simply change her mind if he
did not get in touch with her quickly. But the physical difficulty of
meeting was enormous. It was like trying to make a move at chess when you
were already mated. Whichever way you turned, the telescreen faced you.
Actually, all the possible ways of communicating with her had occurred to
him within five minutes of reading the note; but now, with time to think,
he went over them one by one, as though laying out a row of instruments
on a table.

Obviously the kind of encounter that had happened this morning could not
be repeated. If she had worked in the Records Department it might have
been comparatively simple, but he had only a very dim idea whereabouts in
the building the Fiction Department lay, and he had no pretext for going
there. If he had known where she lived, and at what time she left work,
he could have contrived to meet her somewhere on her way home; but to try
to follow her home was not safe, because it would mean loitering about
outside the Ministry, which was bound to be noticed. As for sending a
letter through the mails, it was out of the question. By a routine that
was not even secret, all letters were opened in transit. Actually, few
people ever wrote letters. For the messages that it was occasionally
necessary to send, there were printed postcards with long lists of phrases,
and you struck out the ones that were inapplicable. In any case he did not
know the girl's name, let alone her address. Finally he decided that the
safest place was the canteen. If he could get her at a table by herself,
somewhere in the middle of the room, not too near the telescreens, and
with a sufficient buzz of conversation all round--if these conditions
endured for, say, thirty seconds, it might be possible to exchange a few

For a week after this, life was like a restless dream. On the next day she
did not appear in the canteen until he was leaving it, the whistle having
already blown. Presumably she had been changed on to a later shift. They
passed each other without a glance. On the day after that she was in the
canteen at the usual time, but with three other girls and immediately
under a telescreen. Then for three dreadful days she did not appear at
all. His whole mind and body seemed to be afflicted with an unbearable
sensitivity, a sort of transparency, which made every movement, every
sound, every contact, every word that he had to speak or listen to, an
agony. Even in sleep he could not altogether escape from her image. He did
not touch the diary during those days. If there was any relief, it was in
his work, in which he could sometimes forget himself for ten minutes at a
stretch. He had absolutely no clue as to what had happened to her. There
was no enquiry he could make. She might have been vaporized, she might
have committed suicide, she might have been transferred to the other end
of Oceania: worst and likeliest of all, she might simply have changed her
mind and decided to avoid him.

The next day she reappeared. Her arm was out of the sling and she had a
band of sticking-plaster round her wrist. The relief of seeing her was
so great that he could not resist staring directly at her for several
seconds. On the following day he very nearly succeeded in speaking to her.
When he came into the canteen she was sitting at a table well out from the
wall, and was quite alone. It was early, and the place was not very full.
The queue edged forward till Winston was almost at the counter, then was
held up for two minutes because someone in front was complaining that he
had not received his tablet of saccharine. But the girl was still alone
when Winston secured his tray and began to make for her table. He walked
casually towards her, his eyes searching for a place at some table beyond
her. She was perhaps three metres away from him. Another two seconds would
do it. Then a voice behind him called, 'Smith!' He pretended not to hear.
'Smith!' repeated the voice, more loudly. It was no use. He turned round.
A blond-headed, silly-faced young man named Wilsher, whom he barely knew,
was inviting him with a smile to a vacant place at his table. It was not
safe to refuse. After having been recognized, he could not go and sit at
a table with an unattended girl. It was too noticeable. He sat down with
a friendly smile. The silly blond face beamed into his. Winston had a
hallucination of himself smashing a pick-axe right into the middle of it.
The girl's table filled up a few minutes later.

But she must have seen him coming towards her, and perhaps she would take
the hint. Next day he took care to arrive early. Surely enough, she was at
a table in about the same place, and again alone. The person immediately
ahead of him in the queue was a small, swiftly-moving, beetle-like man
with a flat face and tiny, suspicious eyes. As Winston turned away from
the counter with his tray, he saw that the little man was making straight
for the girl's table. His hopes sank again. There was a vacant place at a
table further away, but something in the little man's appearance suggested
that he would be sufficiently attentive to his own comfort to choose the
emptiest table. With ice at his heart Winston followed. It was no use
unless he could get the girl alone. At this moment there was a tremendous
crash. The little man was sprawling on all fours, his tray had gone flying,
two streams of soup and coffee were flowing across the floor. He started
to his feet with a malignant glance at Winston, whom he evidently
suspected of having tripped him up. But it was all right. Five seconds
later, with a thundering heart, Winston was sitting at the girl's table.

He did not look at her. He unpacked his tray and promptly began eating.
It was all-important to speak at once, before anyone else came, but now
a terrible fear had taken possession of him. A week had gone by since
she had first approached him. She would have changed her mind, she must
have changed her mind! It was impossible that this affair should end
successfully; such things did not happen in real life. He might have
flinched altogether from speaking if at this moment he had not seen
Ampleforth, the hairy-eared poet, wandering limply round the room with
a tray, looking for a place to sit down. In his vague way Ampleforth
was attached to Winston, and would certainly sit down at his table if
he caught sight of him. There was perhaps a minute in which to act. Both
Winston and the girl were eating steadily. The stuff they were eating was
a thin stew, actually a soup, of haricot beans. In a low murmur Winston
began speaking. Neither of them looked up; steadily they spooned the
watery stuff into their mouths, and between spoonfuls exchanged the few
necessary words in low expressionless voices.

'What time do you leave work?'


'Where can we meet?'

'Victory Square, near the monument.'

'It's full of telescreens.'

'It doesn't matter if there's a crowd.'

'Any signal?'

'No. Don't come up to me until you see me among a lot of people. And don't
look at me. Just keep somewhere near me.'

'What time?'

'Nineteen hours.'

'All right.'

Ampleforth failed to see Winston and sat down at another table. They did
not speak again, and, so far as it was possible for two people sitting on
opposite sides of the same table, they did not look at one another. The
girl finished her lunch quickly and made off, while Winston stayed to
smoke a cigarette.

Winston was in Victory Square before the appointed time. He wandered round
the base of the enormous fluted column, at the top of which Big Brother's
statue gazed southward towards the skies where he had vanquished the
Eurasian aeroplanes (the Eastasian aeroplanes, it had been, a few years
ago) in the Battle of Airstrip One. In the street in front of it there was
a statue of a man on horseback which was supposed to represent Oliver
Cromwell. At five minutes past the hour the girl had still not appeared.
Again the terrible fear seized upon Winston. She was not coming, she had
changed her mind! He walked slowly up to the north side of the square and
got a sort of pale-coloured pleasure from identifying St Martin's Church,
whose bells, when it had bells, had chimed 'You owe me three farthings.'
Then he saw the girl standing at the base of the monument, reading or
pretending to read a poster which ran spirally up the column. It was not
safe to go near her until some more people had accumulated. There were
telescreens all round the pediment. But at this moment there was a din of
shouting and a zoom of heavy vehicles from somewhere to the left. Suddenly
everyone seemed to be running across the square. The girl nipped nimbly
round the lions at the base of the monument and joined in the rush.
Winston followed. As he ran, he gathered from some shouted remarks that
a convoy of Eurasian prisoners was passing.

Already a dense mass of people was blocking the south side of the square.
Winston, at normal times the kind of person who gravitates to the outer
edge of any kind of scrimmage, shoved, butted, squirmed his way forward
into the heart of the crowd. Soon he was within arm's length of the girl,
but the way was blocked by an enormous prole and an almost equally enormous
woman, presumably his wife, who seemed to form an impenetrable wall of
flesh. Winston wriggled himself sideways, and with a violent lunge managed
to drive his shoulder between them. For a moment it felt as though his
entrails were being ground to pulp between the two muscular hips, then he
had broken through, sweating a little. He was next to the girl. They were
shoulder to shoulder, both staring fixedly in front of them.

A long line of trucks, with wooden-faced guards armed with sub-machine
guns standing upright in each corner, was passing slowly down the street.
In the trucks little yellow men in shabby greenish uniforms were squatting,
jammed close together. Their sad, Mongolian faces gazed out over the sides
of the trucks utterly incurious. Occasionally when a truck jolted there
was a clank-clank of metal: all the prisoners were wearing leg-irons.
Truck-load after truck-load of the sad faces passed. Winston knew they
were there but he saw them only intermittently. The girl's shoulder, and
her arm right down to the elbow, were pressed against his. Her cheek was
almost near enough for him to feel its warmth. She had immediately taken
charge of the situation, just as she had done in the canteen. She began
speaking in the same expressionless voice as before, with lips barely
moving, a mere murmur easily drowned by the din of voices and the rumbling
of the trucks.

'Can you hear me?'


'Can you get Sunday afternoon off?'


'Then listen carefully. You'll have to remember this. Go to Paddington

With a sort of military precision that astonished him, she outlined the
route that he was to follow. A half-hour railway journey; turn left outside
the station; two kilometres along the road; a gate with the top bar
missing; a path across a field; a grass-grown lane; a track between bushes;
a dead tree with moss on it. It was as though she had a map inside her
head. 'Can you remember all that?' she murmured finally.


'You turn left, then right, then left again. And the gate's got no top bar.'

'Yes. What time?'

'About fifteen. You may have to wait. I'll get there by another way. Are
you sure you remember everything?'


'Then get away from me as quick as you can.'

She need not have told him that. But for the moment they could not
extricate themselves from the crowd. The trucks were still filing past,
the people still insatiably gaping. At the start there had been a few boos
and hisses, but it came only from the Party members among the crowd, and
had soon stopped. The prevailing emotion was simply curiosity. Foreigners,
whether from Eurasia or from Eastasia, were a kind of strange animal. One
literally never saw them except in the guise of prisoners, and even as
prisoners one never got more than a momentary glimpse of them. Nor did
one know what became of them, apart from the few who were hanged as
war-criminals: the others simply vanished, presumably into forced-labour
camps. The round Mogol faces had given way to faces of a more European
type, dirty, bearded and exhausted. From over scrubby cheekbones eyes
looked into Winston's, sometimes with strange intensity, and flashed away
again. The convoy was drawing to an end. In the last truck he could see an
aged man, his face a mass of grizzled hair, standing upright with wrists
crossed in front of him, as though he were used to having them bound
together. It was almost time for Winston and the girl to part. But at the
last moment, while the crowd still hemmed them in, her hand felt for his
and gave it a fleeting squeeze.

It could not have been ten seconds, and yet it seemed a long time that
their hands were clasped together. He had time to learn every detail
of her hand. He explored the long fingers, the shapely nails, the
work-hardened palm with its row of callouses, the smooth flesh under the
wrist. Merely from feeling it he would have known it by sight. In the
same instant it occurred to him that he did not know what colour the
girl's eyes were. They were probably brown, but people with dark hair
sometimes had blue eyes. To turn his head and look at her would have
been inconceivable folly. With hands locked together, invisible among
the press of bodies, they stared steadily in front of them, and instead
of the eyes of the girl, the eyes of the aged prisoner gazed mournfully
at Winston out of nests of hair.

Chapter 2

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 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 black-market butter.

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 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?'

'Yes, easily.'

'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 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

'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 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

'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
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 look 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
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 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 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 understand

'Yes, perfectly.'

'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 itself?'

'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 act.

Chapter 3

'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 written communication.

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 instalments'. 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 plaster.

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 arrowslits and make sure that no one was coming.

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 enough.'

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 guess.'

'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 such hypocrites.'

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 simply 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 connexion
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 him intimately.

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 THIS?'

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.

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.'


'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

'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

  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

'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

'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.

Chapter 5

Syme had vanished. A morning came, and he was missing from work: a few
thoughtless people commented on his absence. On the next day nobody
mentioned him. On the third day Winston went into the vestibule of the
Records Department to look at the notice-board. One of the notices carried
a printed list of the members of the Chess Committee, of whom Syme had
been one. It looked almost exactly as it had looked before--nothing had
been crossed out--but it was one name shorter. It was enough. Syme had
ceased to exist: he had never existed.

The weather was baking hot. In the labyrinthine Ministry the windowless,
air-conditioned rooms kept their normal temperature, but outside the
pavements scorched one's feet and the stench of the Tubes at the rush hours
was a horror. The preparations for Hate Week were in full swing, and the
staffs of all the Ministries were working overtime. Processions, meetings,
military parades, lectures, waxworks, displays, film shows, telescreen
programmes all had to be organized; stands had to be erected, effigies
built, slogans coined, songs written, rumours circulated, photographs
faked. Julia's unit in the Fiction Department had been taken off the
production of novels and was rushing out a series of atrocity pamphlets.
Winston, in addition to his regular work, spent long periods every day in
going through back files of 'The Times' and altering and embellishing news
items which were to be quoted in speeches. Late at night, when crowds of
rowdy proles roamed the streets, the town had a curiously febrile air. The
rocket bombs crashed oftener than ever, and sometimes in the far distance
there were enormous explosions which no one could explain and about which
there were wild rumours.

The new tune which was to be the theme-song of Hate Week (the Hate Song,
it was called) had already been composed and was being endlessly plugged
on the telescreens. It had a savage, barking rhythm which could not exactly
be called music, but resembled the beating of a drum. Roared out by
hundreds of voices to the tramp of marching feet, it was terrifying. The
proles had taken a fancy to it, and in the midnight streets it competed
with the still-popular 'It was only a hopeless fancy'. The Parsons children
played it at all hours of the night and day, unbearably, on a comb and a
piece of toilet paper. Winston's evenings were fuller than ever. Squads of
volunteers, organized by Parsons, were preparing the street for Hate Week,
stitching banners, painting posters, erecting flagstaffs on the roofs, and
perilously slinging wires across the street for the reception of streamers.
Parsons boasted that Victory Mansions alone would display four hundred
metres of bunting. He was in his native element and as happy as a lark.
The heat and the manual work had even given him a pretext for reverting
to shorts and an open shirt in the evenings. He was everywhere at once,
pushing, pulling, sawing, hammering, improvising, jollying everyone along
with comradely exhortations and giving out from every fold of his body what
seemed an inexhaustible supply of acrid-smelling sweat.

A new poster had suddenly appeared all over London. It had no caption,
and represented simply the monstrous figure of a Eurasian soldier, three
or four metres high, striding forward with expressionless Mongolian face
and enormous boots, a submachine gun pointed from his hip. From whatever
angle you looked at the poster, the muzzle of the gun, magnified by the
foreshortening, seemed to be pointed straight at you. The thing had been
plastered on every blank space on every wall, even outnumbering the
portraits of Big Brother. The proles, normally apathetic about the war,
were being lashed into one of their periodical frenzies of patriotism.
As though to harmonize with the general mood, the rocket bombs had been
killing larger numbers of people than usual. One fell on a crowded film
theatre in Stepney, burying several hundred victims among the ruins. The
whole population of the neighbourhood turned out for a long, trailing
funeral which went on for hours and was in effect an indignation meeting.
Another bomb fell on a piece of waste ground which was used as a playground
and several dozen children were blown to pieces. There were further angry
demonstrations, Goldstein was burned in effigy, hundreds of copies of the
poster of the Eurasian soldier were torn down and added to the flames, and
a number of shops were looted in the turmoil; then a rumour flew round
that spies were directing the rocket bombs by means of wireless waves, and
an old couple who were suspected of being of foreign extraction had their
house set on fire and perished of suffocation.

In the room over Mr Charrington's shop, when they could get there, Julia
and Winston lay side by side on a stripped bed under the open window,
naked for the sake of coolness. The rat had never come back, but the bugs
had multiplied hideously in the heat. It did not seem to matter. Dirty or
clean, the room was paradise. As soon as they arrived they would sprinkle
everything with pepper bought on the black market, tear off their clothes,
and make love with sweating bodies, then fall asleep and wake to find that
the bugs had rallied and were massing for the counter-attack.

Four, five, six--seven times they met during the month of June. Winston
had dropped his habit of drinking gin at all hours. He seemed to have lost
the need for it. He had grown fatter, his varicose ulcer had subsided,
leaving only a brown stain on the skin above his ankle, his fits of
coughing in the early morning had stopped. The process of life had ceased
to be intolerable, he had no longer any impulse to make faces at the
telescreen or shout curses at the top of his voice. Now that they had a
secure hiding-place, almost a home, it did not even seem a hardship that
they could only meet infrequently and for a couple of hours at a time.
What mattered was that the room over the junk-shop should exist. To know
that it was there, inviolate, was almost the same as being in it. The room
was a world, a pocket of the past where extinct animals could walk.
Mr Charrington, thought Winston, was another extinct animal. He usually
stopped to talk with Mr Charrington for a few minutes on his way upstairs.
The old man seemed seldom or never to go out of doors, and on the other
hand to have almost no customers. He led a ghostlike existence between the
tiny, dark shop, and an even tinier back kitchen where he prepared his
meals and which contained, among other things, an unbelievably ancient
gramophone with an enormous horn. He seemed glad of the opportunity to
talk. Wandering about among his worthless stock, with his long nose and
thick spectacles and his bowed shoulders in the velvet jacket, he had
always vaguely the air of being a collector rather than a tradesman.
With a sort of faded enthusiasm he would finger this scrap of rubbish or
that--a china bottle-stopper, the painted lid of a broken snuffbox, a
pinchbeck locket containing a strand of some long-dead baby's hair--never
asking that Winston should buy it, merely that he should admire it. To
talk to him was like listening to the tinkling of a worn-out musical-box.
He had dragged out from the corners of his memory some more fragments of
forgotten rhymes. There was one about four and twenty blackbirds, and
another about a cow with a crumpled horn, and another about the death
of poor Cock Robin. 'It just occurred to me you might be interested,' he
would say with a deprecating little laugh whenever he produced a new
fragment. But he could never recall more than a few lines of any one

Both of them knew--in a way, it was never out of their minds that what
was now happening could not last long. There were times when the fact of
impending death seemed as palpable as the bed they lay on, and they would
cling together with a sort of despairing sensuality, like a damned soul
grasping at his last morsel of pleasure when the clock is within five
minutes of striking. But there were also times when they had the illusion
not only of safety but of permanence. So long as they were actually in
this room, they both felt, no harm could come to them. Getting there was
difficult and dangerous, but the room itself was sanctuary. It was as when
Winston had gazed into the heart of the paperweight, with the feeling that
it would be possible to get inside that glassy world, and that once inside
it time could be arrested. Often they gave themselves up to daydreams of
escape. Their luck would hold indefinitely, and they would carry on their
intrigue, just like this, for the remainder of their natural lives. Or
Katharine would die, and by subtle manoeuvrings Winston and Julia would
succeed in getting married. Or they would commit suicide together. Or
they would disappear, alter themselves out of recognition, learn to speak
with proletarian accents, get jobs in a factory and live out their lives
undetected in a back-street. It was all nonsense, as they both knew. In
reality there was no escape. Even the one plan that was practicable,
suicide, they had no intention of carrying out. To hang on from day to day
and from week to week, spinning out a present that had no future, seemed
an unconquerable instinct, just as one's lungs will always draw the next
breath so long as there is air available.

Sometimes, too, they talked of engaging in active rebellion against the
Party, but with no notion of how to take the first step. Even if the
fabulous Brotherhood was a reality, there still remained the difficulty
of finding one's way into it. He told her of the strange intimacy that
existed, or seemed to exist, between himself and O'Brien, and of the
impulse he sometimes felt, simply to walk into O'Brien's presence, announce
that he was the enemy of the Party, and demand his help. Curiously enough,
this did not strike her as an impossibly rash thing to do. She was used to
judging people by their faces, and it seemed natural to her that Winston
should believe O'Brien to be trustworthy on the strength of a single flash
of the eyes. Moreover she took it for granted that everyone, or nearly
everyone, secretly hated the Party and would break the rules if he thought
it safe to do so. But she refused to believe that widespread, organized
opposition existed or could exist. The tales about Goldstein and his
underground army, she said, were simply a lot of rubbish which the Party
had invented for its own purposes and which you had to pretend to believe
in. Times beyond number, at Party rallies and spontaneous demonstrations,
she had shouted at the top of her voice for the execution of people whose
names she had never heard and in whose supposed crimes she had not the
faintest belief. When public trials were happening she had taken her place
in the detachments from the Youth League who surrounded the courts from
morning to night, chanting at intervals 'Death to the traitors!' During
the Two Minutes Hate she always excelled all others in shouting insults
at Goldstein. Yet she had only the dimmest idea of who Goldstein was and
what doctrines he was supposed to represent. She had grown up since the
Revolution and was too young to remember the ideological battles of the
fifties and sixties. Such a thing as an independent political movement was
outside her imagination: and in any case the Party was invincible. It
would always exist, and it would always be the same. You could only rebel
against it by secret disobedience or, at most, by isolated acts of
violence such as killing somebody or blowing something up.

In some ways she was far more acute than Winston, and far less susceptible
to Party propaganda. Once when he happened in some connexion to mention
the war against Eurasia, she startled him by saying casually that in her
opinion the war was not happening. The rocket bombs which fell daily on
London were probably fired by the Government of Oceania itself, 'just to
keep people frightened'. This was an idea that had literally never occurred
to him. She also stirred a sort of envy in him by telling him that during
the Two Minutes Hate her great difficulty was to avoid bursting out
laughing. But she only questioned the teachings of the Party when they
in some way touched upon her own life. Often she was ready to accept
the official mythology, simply because the difference between truth and
falsehood did not seem important to her. She believed, for instance, having
learnt it at school, that the Party had invented aeroplanes. (In his own
schooldays, Winston remembered, in the late fifties, it was only the
helicopter that the Party claimed to have invented; a dozen years later,
when Julia was at school, it was already claiming the aeroplane; one
generation more, and it would be claiming the steam engine.) And when he
told her that aeroplanes had been in existence before he was born and long
before the Revolution, the fact struck her as totally uninteresting. After
all, what did it matter who had invented aeroplanes? It was rather more
of a shock to him when he discovered from some chance remark that she did
not remember that Oceania, four years ago, had been at war with Eastasia
and at peace with Eurasia. It was true that she regarded the whole war as
a sham: but apparently she had not even noticed that the name of the enemy
had changed. 'I thought we'd always been at war with Eurasia,' she said
vaguely. It frightened him a little. The invention of aeroplanes dated
from long before her birth, but the switchover in the war had happened
only four years ago, well after she was grown up. He argued with her about
it for perhaps a quarter of an hour. In the end he succeeded in forcing
her memory back until she did dimly recall that at one time Eastasia and
not Eurasia had been the enemy. But the issue still struck her as
unimportant. 'Who cares?' she said impatiently. 'It's always one bloody
war after another, and one knows the news is all lies anyway.'

Sometimes he talked to her of the Records Department and the impudent
forgeries that he committed there. Such things did not appear to horrify
her. She did not feel the abyss opening beneath her feet at the thought
of lies becoming truths. He told her the story of Jones, Aaronson, and
Rutherford and the momentous slip of paper which he had once held between
his fingers. It did not make much impression on her. At first, indeed, she
failed to grasp the point of the story.

'Were they friends of yours?' she said.

'No, I never knew them. They were Inner Party members. Besides, they were
far older men than I was. They belonged to the old days, before the
Revolution. I barely knew them by sight.'

'Then what was there to worry about? People are being killed off all the
time, aren't they?'

He tried to make her understand. 'This was an exceptional case. It wasn't
just a question of somebody being killed. Do you realize that the past,
starting from yesterday, has been actually abolished? If it survives
anywhere, it's in a few solid objects with no words attached to them, like
that lump of glass there. Already we know almost literally nothing about
the Revolution and the years before the Revolution. Every record has been
destroyed or falsified, every book has been rewritten, every picture has
been repainted, every statue and street and building has been renamed,
every date has been altered. And that process is continuing day by day and
minute by minute. History has stopped. Nothing exists except an endless
present in which the Party is always right. I know, of course, that the
past is falsified, but it would never be possible for me to prove it, even
when I did the falsification myself. After the thing is done, no evidence
ever remains. The only evidence is inside my own mind, and I don't know
with any certainty that any other human being shares my memories. Just in
that one instance, in my whole life, I did possess actual concrete evidence
after the event--years after it.'

'And what good was that?'

'It was no good, because I threw it away a few minutes later. But if the
same thing happened today, I should keep it.'

'Well, I wouldn't!' said Julia. 'I'm quite ready to take risks, but only
for something worth while, not for bits of old newspaper. What could you
have done with it even if you had kept it?'

'Not much, perhaps. But it was evidence. It might have planted a few doubts
here and there, supposing that I'd dared to show it to anybody. I don't
imagine that we can alter anything in our own lifetime. But one can imagine
little knots of resistance springing up here and there--small groups of
people banding themselves together, and gradually growing, and even leaving
a few records behind, so that the next generations can carry on where we
leave off.'

'I'm not interested in the next generation, dear. I'm interested in US.'

'You're only a rebel from the waist downwards,' he told her.

She thought this brilliantly witty and flung her arms round him in delight.

In the ramifications of party doctrine she had not the faintest interest.
Whenever he began to talk of the principles of Ingsoc, doublethink, the
mutability of the past, and the denial of objective reality, and to use
Newspeak words, she became bored and confused and said that she never paid
any attention to that kind of thing. One knew that it was all rubbish, so
why let oneself be worried by it? She knew when to cheer and when to boo,
and that was all one needed. If he persisted in talking of such subjects,
she had a disconcerting habit of falling asleep. She was one of those
people who can go to sleep at any hour and in any position. Talking to her,
he realized how easy it was to present an appearance of orthodoxy while
having no grasp whatever of what orthodoxy meant. In a way, the world-view
of the Party imposed itself most successfully on people incapable of
understanding it. They could be made to accept the most flagrant violations
of reality, because they never fully grasped the enormity of what was
demanded of them, and were not sufficiently interested in public events to
notice what was happening. By lack of understanding they remained sane.
They simply swallowed everything, and what they swallowed did them no harm,
because it left no residue behind, just as a grain of corn will pass
undigested through the body of a bird.

Chapter 6

It had happened at last. The expected message had come. All his life, it
seemed to him, he had been waiting for this to happen.

He was walking down the long corridor at the Ministry and he was almost
at the spot where Julia had slipped the note into his hand when he became
aware that someone larger than himself was walking just behind him. The
person, whoever it was, gave a small cough, evidently as a prelude to
speaking. Winston stopped abruptly and turned. It was O'Brien.

At last they were face to face, and it seemed that his only impulse was
to run away. His heart bounded violently. He would have been incapable of
speaking. O'Brien, however, had continued forward in the same movement,
laying a friendly hand for a moment on Winston's arm, so that the two of
them were walking side by side. He began speaking with the peculiar grave
courtesy that differentiated him from the majority of Inner Party members.

'I had been hoping for an opportunity of talking to you,' he said. 'I was
reading one of your Newspeak articles in 'The Times' the other day. You
take a scholarly interest in Newspeak, I believe?'

Winston had recovered part of his self-possession. 'Hardly scholarly,' he
said. 'I'm only an amateur. It's not my subject. I have never had anything
to do with the actual construction of the language.'

'But you write it very elegantly,' said O'Brien. 'That is not only my own
opinion. I was talking recently to a friend of yours who is certainly an
expert. His name has slipped my memory for the moment.'

Again Winston's heart stirred painfully. It was inconceivable that this
was anything other than a reference to Syme. But Syme was not only dead,
he was abolished, an unperson. Any identifiable reference to him would have
been mortally dangerous. O'Brien's remark must obviously have been intended
as a signal, a codeword. By sharing a small act of thoughtcrime he had
turned the two of them into accomplices. They had continued to stroll
slowly down the corridor, but now O'Brien halted. With the curious,
disarming friendliness that he always managed to put in to the gesture he
resettled his spectacles on his nose. Then he went on:

'What I had really intended to say was that in your article I noticed you
had used two words which have become obsolete. But they have only become
so very recently. Have you seen the tenth edition of the Newspeak

'No,' said Winston. 'I didn't think it had been issued yet. We are still
using the ninth in the Records Department.'

'The tenth edition is not due to appear for some months, I believe. But a
few advance copies have been circulated. I have one myself. It might
interest you to look at it, perhaps?'

'Very much so,' said Winston, immediately seeing where this tended.

'Some of the new developments are most ingenious. The reduction in the
number of verbs--that is the point that will appeal to you, I think. Let
me see, shall I send a messenger to you with the dictionary? But I am
afraid I invariably forget anything of that kind. Perhaps you could pick
it up at my flat at some time that suited you? Wait. Let me give you my

They were standing in front of a telescreen. Somewhat absent-mindedly
O'Brien felt two of his pockets and then produced a small leather-covered
notebook and a gold ink-pencil. Immediately beneath the telescreen, in
such a position that anyone who was watching at the other end of the
instrument could read what he was writing, he scribbled an address, tore
out the page and handed it to Winston.

'I am usually at home in the evenings,' he said. 'If not, my servant will
give you the dictionary.'

He was gone, leaving Winston holding the scrap of paper, which this time
there was no need to conceal. Nevertheless he carefully memorized what was
written on it, and some hours later dropped it into the memory hole along
with a mass of other papers.

They had been talking to one another for a couple of minutes at the most.
There was only one meaning that the episode could possibly have. It had
been contrived as a way of letting Winston know O'Brien's address. This
was necessary, because except by direct enquiry it was never possible to
discover where anyone lived. There were no directories of any kind. 'If
you ever want to see me, this is where I can be found,' was what O'Brien
had been saying to him. Perhaps there would even be a message concealed
somewhere in the dictionary. But at any rate, one thing was certain. The
conspiracy that he had dreamed of did exist, and he had reached the outer
edges of it.

He knew that sooner or later he would obey O'Brien's summons. Perhaps
tomorrow, perhaps after a long delay--he was not certain. What was
happening was only the working-out of a process that had started years
ago. The first step had been a secret, involuntary thought, the second
had been the opening of the diary. He had moved from thoughts to words,
and now from words to actions. The last step was something that would
happen in the Ministry of Love. He had accepted it. The end was contained
in the beginning. But it was frightening: or, more exactly, it was like
a foretaste of death, like being a little less alive. Even while he was
speaking to O'Brien, when the meaning of the words had sunk in, a chilly
shuddering feeling had taken possession of his body. He had the sensation
of stepping into the dampness of a grave, and it was not much better
because he had always known that the grave was there and waiting for him.

Chapter 7

Winston had woken up with his eyes full of tears. Julia rolled sleepily
against him, murmuring something that might have been 'What's the matter?'

'I dreamt--' he began, and stopped short. It was too complex to be put
into words. There was the dream itself, and there was a memory connected
with it that had swum into his mind in the few seconds after waking.

He lay back with his eyes shut, still sodden in the atmosphere of the
dream. It was a vast, luminous dream in which his whole life seemed to
stretch out before him like a landscape on a summer evening after rain.
It had all occurred inside the glass paperweight, but the surface of the
glass was the dome of the sky, and inside the dome everything was flooded
with clear soft light in which one could see into interminable distances.
The dream had also been comprehended by--indeed, in some sense it had
consisted in--a gesture of the arm made by his mother, and made again
thirty years later by the Jewish woman he had seen on the news film,
trying to shelter the small boy from the bullets, before the helicopter
blew them both to pieces.

'Do you know,' he said, 'that until this moment I believed I had murdered
my mother?'

'Why did you murder her?' said Julia, almost asleep.

'I didn't murder her. Not physically.'

In the dream he had remembered his last glimpse of his mother, and within
a few moments of waking the cluster of small events surrounding it had all
come back. It was a memory that he must have deliberately pushed out of
his consciousness over many years. He was not certain of the date, but he
could not have been less than ten years old, possibly twelve, when it had

His father had disappeared some time earlier, how much earlier he could
not remember. He remembered better the rackety, uneasy circumstances of
the time: the periodical panics about air-raids and the sheltering in Tube
stations, the piles of rubble everywhere, the unintelligible proclamations
posted at street corners, the gangs of youths in shirts all the same
colour, the enormous queues outside the bakeries, the intermittent
machine-gun fire in the distance--above all, the fact that there was
never enough to eat. He remembered long afternoons spent with other boys
in scrounging round dustbins and rubbish heaps, picking out the ribs of
cabbage leaves, potato peelings, sometimes even scraps of stale breadcrust
from which they carefully scraped away the cinders; and also in waiting
for the passing of trucks which travelled over a certain route and were
known to carry cattle feed, and which, when they jolted over the bad
patches in the road, sometimes spilt a few fragments of oil-cake.

When his father disappeared, his mother did not show any surprise or any
violent grief, but a sudden change came over her. She seemed to have
become completely spiritless. It was evident even to Winston that she was
waiting for something that she knew must happen. She did everything that
was needed--cooked, washed, mended, made the bed, swept the floor, dusted
the mantelpiece--always very slowly and with a curious lack of superfluous
motion, like an artist's lay-figure moving of its own accord. Her large
shapely body seemed to relapse naturally into stillness. For hours at a
time she would sit almost immobile on the bed, nursing his young sister,
a tiny, ailing, very silent child of two or three, with a face made simian
by thinness. Very occasionally she would take Winston in her arms and
press him against her for a long time without saying anything. He was
aware, in spite of his youthfulness and selfishness, that this was somehow
connected with the never-mentioned thing that was about to happen.

He remembered the room where they lived, a dark, close-smelling room that
seemed half filled by a bed with a white counterpane. There was a gas ring
in the fender, and a shelf where food was kept, and on the landing outside
there was a brown earthenware sink, common to several rooms. He remembered
his mother's statuesque body bending over the gas ring to stir at something
in a saucepan. Above all he remembered his continuous hunger, and the
fierce sordid battles at mealtimes. He would ask his mother naggingly,
over and over again, why there was not more food, he would shout and storm
at her (he even remembered the tones of his voice, which was beginning to
break prematurely and sometimes boomed in a peculiar way), or he would
attempt a snivelling note of pathos in his efforts to get more than his
share. His mother was quite ready to give him more than his share. She
took it for granted that he, 'the boy', should have the biggest portion;
but however much she gave him he invariably demanded more. At every meal
she would beseech him not to be selfish and to remember that his little
sister was sick and also needed food, but it was no use. He would cry out
with rage when she stopped ladling, he would try to wrench the saucepan
and spoon out of her hands, he would grab bits from his sister's plate.
He knew that he was starving the other two, but he could not help it; he
even felt that he had a right to do it. The clamorous hunger in his belly
seemed to justify him. Between meals, if his mother did not stand guard,
he was constantly pilfering at the wretched store of food on the shelf.

One day a chocolate ration was issued. There had been no such issue for
weeks or months past. He remembered quite clearly that precious little
morsel of chocolate. It was a two-ounce slab (they still talked about
ounces in those days) between the three of them. It was obvious that it
ought to be divided into three equal parts. Suddenly, as though he were
listening to somebody else, Winston heard himself demanding in a loud
booming voice that he should be given the whole piece. His mother told him
not to be greedy. There was a long, nagging argument that went round and
round, with shouts, whines, tears, remonstrances, bargainings. His tiny
sister, clinging to her mother with both hands, exactly like a baby monkey,
sat looking over her shoulder at him with large, mournful eyes. In the
end his mother broke off three-quarters of the chocolate and gave it to
Winston, giving the other quarter to his sister. The little girl took hold
of it and looked at it dully, perhaps not knowing what it was. Winston
stood watching her for a moment. Then with a sudden swift spring he had
snatched the piece of chocolate out of his sister's hand and was fleeing
for the door.

'Winston, Winston!' his mother called after him. 'Come back! Give your
sister back her chocolate!'

He stopped, but did not come back. His mother's anxious eyes were fixed on
his face. Even now he was thinking about the thing, he did not know what
it was that was on the point of happening. His sister, conscious of having
been robbed of something, had set up a feeble wail. His mother drew her
arm round the child and pressed its face against her breast. Something in
the gesture told him that his sister was dying. He turned and fled down
the stairs, with the chocolate growing sticky in his hand.

He never saw his mother again. After he had devoured the chocolate he felt
somewhat ashamed of himself and hung about in the streets for several
hours, until hunger drove him home. When he came back his mother had
disappeared. This was already becoming normal at that time. Nothing was
gone from the room except his mother and his sister. They had not taken
any clothes, not even his mother's overcoat. To this day he did not know
with any certainty that his mother was dead. It was perfectly possible
that she had merely been sent to a forced-labour camp. As for his sister,
she might have been removed, like Winston himself, to one of the colonies
for homeless children (Reclamation Centres, they were called) which had
grown up as a result of the civil war, or she might have been sent to the
labour camp along with his mother, or simply left somewhere or other
to die.

The dream was still vivid in his mind, especially the enveloping protecting
gesture of the arm in which its whole meaning seemed to be contained. His
mind went back to another dream of two months ago. Exactly as his mother
had sat on the dingy white-quilted bed, with the child clinging to her, so
she had sat in the sunken ship, far underneath him, and drowning deeper
every minute, but still looking up at him through the darkening water.

He told Julia the story of his mother's disappearance. Without opening her
eyes she rolled over and settled herself into a more comfortable position.

'I expect you were a beastly little swine in those days,' she said
indistinctly. 'All children are swine.'

'Yes. But the real point of the story----'

From her breathing it was evident that she was going off to sleep again.
He would have liked to continue talking about his mother. He did not
suppose, from what he could remember of her, that she had been an unusual
woman, still less an intelligent one; and yet she had possessed a kind of
nobility, a kind of purity, simply because the standards that she obeyed
were private ones. Her feelings were her own, and could not be altered
from outside. It would not have occurred to her that an action which is
ineffectual thereby becomes meaningless. If you loved someone, you loved
him, and when you had nothing else to give, you still gave him love. When
the last of the chocolate was gone, his mother had clasped the child in
her arms. It was no use, it changed nothing, it did not produce more
chocolate, it did not avert the child's death or her own; but it seemed
natural to her to do it. The refugee woman in the boat had also covered
the little boy with her arm, which was no more use against the bullets
than a sheet of paper. The terrible thing that the Party had done was to
persuade you that mere impulses, mere feelings, were of no account, while
at the same time robbing you of all power over the material world. When
once you were in the grip of the Party, what you felt or did not feel,
what you did or refrained from doing, made literally no difference.
Whatever happened you vanished, and neither you nor your actions were ever
heard of again. You were lifted clean out of the stream of history. And
yet to the people of only two generations ago this would not have seemed
all-important, because they were not attempting to alter history. They
were governed by private loyalties which they did not question. What
mattered were individual relationships, and a completely helpless gesture,
an embrace, a tear, a word spoken to a dying man, could have value in
itself. The proles, it suddenly occurred to him, had remained in this
condition. They were not loyal to a party or a country or an idea, they
were loyal to one another. For the first time in his life he did not
despise the proles or think of them merely as an inert force which would
one day spring to life and regenerate the world. The proles had stayed
human. They had not become hardened inside. They had held on to the
primitive emotions which he himself had to re-learn by conscious effort.
And in thinking this he remembered, without apparent relevance, how a few
weeks ago he had seen a severed hand lying on the pavement and had kicked
it into the gutter as though it had been a cabbage-stalk.

'The proles are human beings,' he said aloud. 'We are not human.'

'Why not?' said Julia, who had woken up again.

He thought for a little while. 'Has it ever occurred to you,' he said,
'that the best thing for us to do would be simply to walk out of here
before it's too late, and never see each other again?'

'Yes, dear, it has occurred to me, several times. But I'm not going to do
it, all the same.'

'We've been lucky,' he said 'but it can't last much longer. You're young.
You look normal and innocent. If you keep clear of people like me, you
might stay alive for another fifty years.'

'No. I've thought it all out. What you do, I'm going to do. And don't be
too downhearted. I'm rather good at staying alive.'

'We may be together for another six months--a year--there's no knowing.
At the end we're certain to be apart. Do you realize how utterly alone we
shall be? When once they get hold of us there will be nothing, literally
nothing, that either of us can do for the other. If I confess, they'll
shoot you, and if I refuse to confess, they'll shoot you just the same.
Nothing that I can do or say, or stop myself from saying, will put off
your death for as much as five minutes. Neither of us will even know
whether the other is alive or dead. We shall be utterly without power of
any kind. The one thing that matters is that we shouldn't betray one
another, although even that can't make the slightest difference.'

'If you mean confessing,' she said, 'we shall do that, right enough.
Everybody always confesses. You can't help it. They torture you.'

'I don't mean confessing. Confession is not betrayal. What you say or do
doesn't matter: only feelings matter. If they could make me stop loving
you--that would be the real betrayal.'

She thought it over. 'They can't do that,' she said finally. 'It's the one
thing they can't do. They can make you say anything--ANYTHING--but they
can't make you believe it. They can't get inside you.'

'No,' he said a little more hopefully, 'no; that's quite true. They can't
get inside you. If you can FEEL that staying human is worth while, even
when it can't have any result whatever, you've beaten them.'

He thought of the telescreen with its never-sleeping ear. They could spy
upon you night and day, but if you kept your head you could still outwit
them. With all their cleverness they had never mastered the secret of
finding out what another human being was thinking. Perhaps that was less
true when you were actually in their hands. One did not know what happened
inside the Ministry of Love, but it was possible to guess: tortures, drugs,
delicate instruments that registered your nervous reactions, gradual
wearing-down by sleeplessness and solitude and persistent questioning.
Facts, at any rate, could not be kept hidden. They could be tracked down
by enquiry, they could be squeezed out of you by torture. But if the object
was not to stay alive but to stay human, what difference did it ultimately
make? They could not alter your feelings: for that matter you could not
alter them yourself, even if you wanted to. They could lay bare in the
utmost detail everything that you had done or said or thought; but the
inner heart, whose workings were mysterious even to yourself, remained

Chapter 8

They had done it, they had done it at last!

The room they were standing in was long-shaped and softly lit. The
telescreen was dimmed to a low murmur; the richness of the dark-blue carpet
gave one the impression of treading on velvet. At the far end of the room
O'Brien was sitting at a table under a green-shaded lamp, with a mass of
papers on either side of him. He had not bothered to look up when the
servant showed Julia and Winston in.

Winston's heart was thumping so hard that he doubted whether he would be
able to speak. They had done it, they had done it at last, was all he
could think. It had been a rash act to come here at all, and sheer folly
to arrive together; though it was true that they had come by different
routes and only met on O'Brien's doorstep. But merely to walk into such a
place needed an effort of the nerve. It was only on very rare occasions
that one saw inside the dwelling-places of the Inner Party, or even
penetrated into the quarter of the town where they lived. The whole
atmosphere of the huge block of flats, the richness and spaciousness of
everything, the unfamiliar smells of good food and good tobacco, the
silent and incredibly rapid lifts sliding up and down, the white-jacketed
servants hurrying to and fro--everything was intimidating. Although he had
a good pretext for coming here, he was haunted at every step by the fear
that a black-uniformed guard would suddenly appear from round the corner,
demand his papers, and order him to get out. O'Brien's servant, however,
had admitted the two of them without demur. He was a small, dark-haired
man in a white jacket, with a diamond-shaped, completely expressionless
face which might have been that of a Chinese. The passage down which he
led them was softly carpeted, with cream-papered walls and white
wainscoting, all exquisitely clean. That too was intimidating. Winston
could not remember ever to have seen a passageway whose walls were not
grimy from the contact of human bodies.

O'Brien had a slip of paper between his fingers and seemed to be studying
it intently. His heavy face, bent down so that one could see the line of
the nose, looked both formidable and intelligent. For perhaps twenty
seconds he sat without stirring. Then he pulled the speakwrite towards
him and rapped out a message in the hybrid jargon of the Ministries:

'Items one comma five comma seven approved fullwise stop suggestion
contained item six doubleplus ridiculous verging crimethink cancel stop
unproceed constructionwise antegetting plusfull estimates machinery
overheads stop end message.'

He rose deliberately from his chair and came towards them across the
soundless carpet. A little of the official atmosphere seemed to have fallen
away from him with the Newspeak words, but his expression was grimmer than
usual, as though he were not pleased at being disturbed. The terror that
Winston already felt was suddenly shot through by a streak of ordinary
embarrassment. It seemed to him quite possible that he had simply made a
stupid mistake. For what evidence had he in reality that O'Brien was any
kind of political conspirator? Nothing but a flash of the eyes and a single
equivocal remark: beyond that, only his own secret imaginings, founded on
a dream. He could not even fall back on the pretence that he had come to
borrow the dictionary, because in that case Julia's presence was impossible
to explain. As O'Brien passed the telescreen a thought seemed to strike
him. He stopped, turned aside and pressed a switch on the wall. There was
a sharp snap. The voice had stopped.

Julia uttered a tiny sound, a sort of squeak of surprise. Even in the midst
of his panic, Winston was too much taken aback to be able to hold his

'You can turn it off!' he said.

'Yes,' said O'Brien, 'we can turn it off. We have that privilege.'

He was opposite them now. His solid form towered over the pair of them,
and the expression on his face was still indecipherable. He was waiting,
somewhat sternly, for Winston to speak, but about what? Even now it was
quite conceivable that he was simply a busy man wondering irritably why he
had been interrupted. Nobody spoke. After the stopping of the telescreen
the room seemed deadly silent. The seconds marched past, enormous. With
difficulty Winston continued to keep his eyes fixed on O'Brien's. Then
suddenly the grim face broke down into what might have been the beginnings
of a smile. With his characteristic gesture O'Brien resettled his
spectacles on his nose.

'Shall I say it, or will you?' he said.

'I will say it,' said Winston promptly. 'That thing is really turned off?'

'Yes, everything is turned off. We are alone.'

'We have come here because----'

He paused, realizing for the first time the vagueness of
his own motives. Since he did not in fact know what kind of
help he expected from O'Brien, it was not easy to say why he
had come here. He went on, conscious that what he was saying
must sound both feeble and pretentious:

'We believe that there is some kind of conspiracy, some kind of secret
organization working against the Party, and that you are involved in it.
We want to join it and work for it. We are enemies of the Party. We
disbelieve in the principles of Ingsoc. We are thought-criminals. We are
also adulterers. I tell you this because we want to put ourselves at your
mercy. If you want us to incriminate ourselves in any other way, we are

He stopped and glanced over his shoulder, with the feeling that the door
had opened. Sure enough, the little yellow-faced servant had come in
without knocking. Winston saw that he was carrying a tray with a decanter
and glasses.

'Martin is one of us,' said O'Brien impassively. 'Bring the drinks over
here, Martin. Put them on the round table. Have we enough chairs? Then
we may as well sit down and talk in comfort. Bring a chair for yourself,
Martin. This is business. You can stop being a servant for the next ten

The little man sat down, quite at his ease, and yet still with a
servant-like air, the air of a valet enjoying a privilege. Winston
regarded him out of the corner of his eye. It struck him that the man's
whole life was playing a part, and that he felt it to be dangerous to
drop his assumed personality even for a moment. O'Brien took the decanter
by the neck and filled up the glasses with a dark-red liquid. It aroused
in Winston dim memories of something seen long ago on a wall or a
hoarding--a vast bottle composed of electric lights which seemed to move
up and down and pour its contents into a glass. Seen from the top the
stuff looked almost black, but in the decanter it gleamed like a ruby.
It had a sour-sweet smell. He saw Julia pick up her glass and sniff at
it with frank curiosity.

'It is called wine,' said O'Brien with a faint smile. 'You will have read
about it in books, no doubt. Not much of it gets to the Outer Party, I am
afraid.' His face grew solemn again, and he raised his glass: 'I think it
is fitting that we should begin by drinking a health. To our Leader: To
Emmanuel Goldstein.'

Winston took up his glass with a certain eagerness. Wine was a thing he
had read and dreamed about. Like the glass paperweight or Mr Charrington's
half-remembered rhymes, it belonged to the vanished, romantic past, the
olden time as he liked to call it in his secret thoughts. For some reason
he had always thought of wine as having an intensely sweet taste, like
that of blackberry jam and an immediate intoxicating effect. Actually,
when he came to swallow it, the stuff was distinctly disappointing. The
truth was that after years of gin-drinking he could barely taste it. He
set down the empty glass.

'Then there is such a person as Goldstein?' he said.

'Yes, there is such a person, and he is alive. Where, I do not know.'

'And the conspiracy--the organization? Is it real? It is not simply an
invention of the Thought Police?'

'No, it is real. The Brotherhood, we call it. You will never learn much
more about the Brotherhood than that it exists and that you belong to it.
I will come back to that presently.' He looked at his wrist-watch. 'It is
unwise even for members of the Inner Party to turn off the telescreen for
more than half an hour. You ought not to have come here together, and
you will have to leave separately. You, comrade'--he bowed his head to
Julia--'will leave first. We have about twenty minutes at our disposal.
You will understand that I must start by asking you certain questions.
In general terms, what are you prepared to do?'

'Anything that we are capable of,' said Winston.

O'Brien had turned himself a little in his chair so that he was facing
Winston. He almost ignored Julia, seeming to take it for granted that
Winston could speak for her. For a moment the lids flitted down over his
eyes. He began asking his questions in a low, expressionless voice, as
though this were a routine, a sort of catechism, most of whose answers
were known to him already.

'You are prepared to give your lives?'


'You are prepared to commit murder?'


'To commit acts of sabotage which may cause the death of hundreds of
innocent people?'


'To betray your country to foreign powers?'


'You are prepared to cheat, to forge, to blackmail, to corrupt the minds
of children, to distribute habit-forming drugs, to encourage prostitution,
to disseminate venereal diseases--to do anything which is likely to cause
demoralization and weaken the power of the Party?'


'If, for example, it would somehow serve our interests to throw sulphuric
acid in a child's face--are you prepared to do that?'


'You are prepared to lose your identity and live out the rest of your life
as a waiter or a dock-worker?'


'You are prepared to commit suicide, if and when we order you to do so?'


'You are prepared, the two of you, to separate and never see one another

'No!' broke in Julia.

It appeared to Winston that a long time passed before he answered. For a
moment he seemed even to have been deprived of the power of speech. His
tongue worked soundlessly, forming the opening syllables first of one word,
then of the other, over and over again. Until he had said it, he did not
know which word he was going to say. 'No,' he said finally.

'You did well to tell me,' said O'Brien. 'It is necessary for us to know

He turned himself toward Julia and added in a voice with somewhat more
expression in it:

'Do you understand that even if he survives, it may be as a different
person? We may be obliged to give him a new identity. His face, his
movements, the shape of his hands, the colour of his hair--even his voice
would be different. And you yourself might have become a different person.
Our surgeons can alter people beyond recognition. Sometimes it is
necessary. Sometimes we even amputate a limb.'

Winston could not help snatching another sidelong glance at Martin's
Mongolian face. There were no scars that he could see. Julia had turned a
shade paler, so that her freckles were showing, but she faced O'Brien
boldly. She murmured something that seemed to be assent.

'Good. Then that is settled.'

There was a silver box of cigarettes on the table. With a rather
absent-minded air O'Brien pushed them towards the others, took one himself,
then stood up and began to pace slowly to and fro, as though he could think
better standing. They were very good cigarettes, very thick and
well-packed, with an unfamiliar silkiness in the paper. O'Brien looked at
his wrist-watch again.

'You had better go back to your Pantry, Martin,' he said. 'I shall switch
on in a quarter of an hour. Take a good look at these comrades' faces
before you go. You will be seeing them again. I may not.'

Exactly as they had done at the front door, the little man's dark eyes
flickered over their faces. There was not a trace of friendliness in his
manner. He was memorizing their appearance, but he felt no interest in
them, or appeared to feel none. It occurred to Winston that a synthetic
face was perhaps incapable of changing its expression. Without speaking
or giving any kind of salutation, Martin went out, closing the door
silently behind him. O'Brien was strolling up and down, one hand in the
pocket of his black overalls, the other holding his cigarette.

'You understand,' he said, 'that you will be fighting in the dark. You
will always be in the dark. You will receive orders and you will obey them,
without knowing why. Later I shall send you a book from which you will
learn the true nature of the society we live in, and the strategy by which
we shall destroy it. When you have read the book, you will be full members
of the Brotherhood. But between the general aims that we are fighting for
and the immediate tasks of the moment, you will never know anything. I
tell you that the Brotherhood exists, but I cannot tell you whether it
numbers a hundred members, or ten million. From your personal knowledge
you will never be able to say that it numbers even as many as a dozen. You
will have three or four contacts, who will be renewed from time to time as
they disappear. As this was your first contact, it will be preserved. When
you receive orders, they will come from me. If we find it necessary to
communicate with you, it will be through Martin. When you are finally
caught, you will confess. That is unavoidable. But you will have very
little to confess, other than your own actions. You will not be able to
betray more than a handful of unimportant people. Probably you will not
even betray me. By that time I may be dead, or I shall have become a
different person, with a different face.'

He continued to move to and fro over the soft carpet. In spite of the
bulkiness of his body there was a remarkable grace in his movements. It
came out even in the gesture with which he thrust a hand into his pocket,
or manipulated a cigarette. More even than of strength, he gave an
impression of confidence and of an understanding tinged by irony. However
much in earnest he might be, he had nothing of the single-mindedness that
belongs to a fanatic. When he spoke of murder, suicide, venereal disease,
amputated limbs, and altered faces, it was with a faint air of persiflage.
'This is unavoidable,' his voice seemed to say; 'this is what we have got
to do, unflinchingly. But this is not what we shall be doing when life is
worth living again.' A wave of admiration, almost of worship, flowed out
from Winston towards O'Brien. For the moment he had forgotten the shadowy
figure of Goldstein. When you looked at O'Brien's powerful shoulders and
his blunt-featured face, so ugly and yet so civilized, it was impossible
to believe that he could be defeated. There was no stratagem that he was
not equal to, no danger that he could not foresee. Even Julia seemed to
be impressed. She had let her cigarette go out and was listening intently.
O'Brien went on:

'You will have heard rumours of the existence of the Brotherhood. No doubt
you have formed your own picture of it. You have imagined, probably, a
huge underworld of conspirators, meeting secretly in cellars, scribbling
messages on walls, recognizing one another by codewords or by special
movements of the hand. Nothing of the kind exists. The members of the
Brotherhood have no way of recognizing one another, and it is impossible
for any one member to be aware of the identity of more than a few others.
Goldstein himself, if he fell into the hands of the Thought Police, could
not give them a complete list of members, or any information that would
lead them to a complete list. No such list exists. The Brotherhood cannot
be wiped out because it is not an organization in the ordinary sense.
Nothing holds it together except an idea which is indestructible. You
will never have anything to sustain you, except the idea. You will get no
comradeship and no encouragement. When finally you are caught, you will
get no help. We never help our members. At most, when it is absolutely
necessary that someone should be silenced, we are occasionally able to
smuggle a razor blade into a prisoner's cell. You will have to get used
to living without results and without hope. You will work for a while,
you will be caught, you will confess, and then you will die. Those are
the only results that you will ever see. There is no possibility that any
perceptible change will happen within our own lifetime. We are the dead.
Our only true life is in the future. We shall take part in it as handfuls
of dust and splinters of bone. But how far away that future may be, there
is no knowing. It might be a thousand years. At present nothing is possible
except to extend the area of sanity little by little. We cannot act
collectively. We can only spread our knowledge outwards from individual to
individual, generation after generation. In the face of the Thought Police
there is no other way.'

He halted and looked for the third time at his wrist-watch.

'It is almost time for you to leave, comrade,' he said to Julia. 'Wait.
The decanter is still half full.'

He filled the glasses and raised his own glass by the stem.

'What shall it be this time?' he said, still with the same faint
suggestion of irony. 'To the confusion of the Thought Police? To the
death of Big Brother? To humanity? To the future?'

'To the past,' said Winston.

'The past is more important,' agreed O'Brien gravely.

They emptied their glasses, and a moment later Julia stood up to go.
O'Brien took a small box from the top of a cabinet and handed her a flat
white tablet which he told her to place on her tongue. It was important,
he said, not to go out smelling of wine: the lift attendants were very
observant. As soon as the door had shut behind her he appeared to forget
her existence. He took another pace or two up and down, then stopped.

'There are details to be settled,' he said. 'I assume that you have a
hiding-place of some kind?'

Winston explained about the room over Mr Charrington's shop.

'That will do for the moment. Later we will arrange something else for you.
It is important to change one's hiding-place frequently. Meanwhile I shall
send you a copy of THE BOOK'--even O'Brien, Winston noticed, seemed to
pronounce the words as though they were in italics--'Goldstein's book, you
understand, as soon as possible. It may be some days before I can get hold
of one. There are not many in existence, as you can imagine. The Thought
Police hunt them down and destroy them almost as fast as we can produce
them. It makes very little difference. The book is indestructible. If
the last copy were gone, we could reproduce it almost word for word. Do
you carry a brief-case to work with you?' he added.

'As a rule, yes.'

'What is it like?'

'Black, very shabby. With two straps.'

'Black, two straps, very shabby--good. One day in the fairly near
future--I cannot give a date--one of the messages among your morning's
work will contain a misprinted word, and you will have to ask for a
repeat. On the following day you will go to work without your brief-case.
At some time during the day, in the street, a man will touch you on the
arm and say "I think you have dropped your brief-case." The one he gives
you will contain a copy of Goldstein's book. You will return it within
fourteen days.'

They were silent for a moment.

'There are a couple of minutes before you need go,' said O'Brien. 'We
shall meet again--if we do meet again----'

Winston looked up at him. 'In the place where there is no darkness?'
he said hesitantly.

O'Brien nodded without appearance of surprise. 'In the place where there
is no darkness,' he said, as though he had recognized the allusion. 'And
in the meantime, is there anything that you wish to say before you leave?
Any message? Any question?.'

Winston thought. There did not seem to be any further question that he
wanted to ask: still less did he feel any impulse to utter high-sounding
generalities. Instead of anything directly connected with O'Brien or the
Brotherhood, there came into his mind a sort of composite picture of the
dark bedroom where his mother had spent her last days, and the little room
over Mr Charrington's shop, and the glass paperweight, and the steel
engraving in its rosewood frame. Almost at random he said:

'Did you ever happen to hear an old rhyme that begins "Oranges and lemons,
say the bells of St Clement's"?'

Again O'Brien nodded. With a sort of grave courtesy he completed the

  'Oranges and lemons, say the bells of St Clement's,
  You owe me three farthings, say the bells of St Martin's,
  When will you pay me? say the bells of Old Bailey,
  When I grow rich, say the bells of Shoreditch.'

'You knew the last line!' said Winston.

'Yes, I knew the last line. And now, I am afraid, it is time for you to go.
But wait. You had better let me give you one of these tablets.'

As Winston stood up O'Brien held out a hand. His powerful grip crushed
the bones of Winston's palm. At the door Winston looked back, but O'Brien
seemed already to be in process of putting him out of mind. He was waiting
with his hand on the switch that controlled the telescreen. Beyond him
Winston could see the writing-table with its green-shaded lamp and the
speakwrite and the wire baskets deep-laden with papers. The incident was
closed. Within thirty seconds, it occurred to him, O'Brien would be back
at his interrupted and important work on behalf of the Party.

Chapter 9

Winston was gelatinous with fatigue. Gelatinous was the right word. It had
come into his head spontaneously. His body seemed to have not only the
weakness of a jelly, but its translucency. He felt that if he held up his
hand he would be able to see the light through it. All the blood and
lymph had been drained out of him by an enormous debauch of work, leaving
only a frail structure of nerves, bones, and skin. All sensations seemed
to be magnified. His overalls fretted his shoulders, the pavement tickled
his feet, even the opening and closing of a hand was an effort that made
his joints creak.

He had worked more than ninety hours in five days. So had everyone else in
the Ministry. Now it was all over, and he had literally nothing to do, no
Party work of any description, until tomorrow morning. He could spend six
hours in the hiding-place and another nine in his own bed. Slowly, in
mild afternoon sunshine, he walked up a dingy street in the direction
of Mr Charrington's shop, keeping one eye open for the patrols, but
irrationally convinced that this afternoon there was no danger of anyone
interfering with him. The heavy brief-case that he was carrying bumped
against his knee at each step, sending a tingling sensation up and down
the skin of his leg. Inside it was the book, which he had now had in his
possession for six days and had not yet opened, nor even looked at.

On the sixth day of Hate Week, after the processions, the speeches, the
shouting, the singing, the banners, the posters, the films, the waxworks,
the rolling of drums and squealing of trumpets, the tramp of marching feet,
the grinding of the caterpillars of tanks, the roar of massed planes,
the booming of guns--after six days of this, when the great orgasm was
quivering to its climax and the general hatred of Eurasia had boiled up
into such delirium that if the crowd could have got their hands on the
2,000 Eurasian war-criminals who were to be publicly hanged on the last
day of the proceedings, they would unquestionably have torn them to
pieces--at just this moment it had been announced that Oceania was not
after all at war with Eurasia. Oceania was at war with Eastasia. Eurasia
was an ally.

There was, of course, no admission that any change had taken place. Merely
it became known, with extreme suddenness and everywhere at once, that
Eastasia and not Eurasia was the enemy. Winston was taking part in a
demonstration in one of the central London squares at the moment when it
happened. It was night, and the white faces and the scarlet banners were
luridly floodlit. The square was packed with several thousand people,
including a block of about a thousand schoolchildren in the uniform of the
Spies. On a scarlet-draped platform an orator of the Inner Party, a small
lean man with disproportionately long arms and a large bald skull over
which a few lank locks straggled, was haranguing the crowd. A little
Rumpelstiltskin figure, contorted with hatred, he gripped the neck of the
microphone with one hand while the other, enormous at the end of a bony
arm, clawed the air menacingly above his head. His voice, made metallic by
the amplifiers, boomed forth an endless catalogue of atrocities, massacres,
deportations, lootings, rapings, torture of prisoners, bombing of
civilians, lying propaganda, unjust aggressions, broken treaties. It was
almost impossible to listen to him without being first convinced and then
maddened. At every few moments the fury of the crowd boiled over and the
voice of the speaker was drowned by a wild beast-like roaring that rose
uncontrollably from thousands of throats. The most savage yells of all
came from the schoolchildren. The speech had been proceeding for perhaps
twenty minutes when a messenger hurried on to the platform and a scrap of
paper was slipped into the speaker's hand. He unrolled and read it without
pausing in his speech. Nothing altered in his voice or manner, or in the
content of what he was saying, but suddenly the names were different.
Without words said, a wave of understanding rippled through the crowd.
Oceania was at war with Eastasia! The next moment there was a tremendous
commotion. The banners and posters with which the square was decorated
were all wrong! Quite half of them had the wrong faces on them. It was
sabotage! The agents of Goldstein had been at work! There was a riotous
interlude while posters were ripped from the walls, banners torn to shreds
and trampled underfoot. The Spies performed prodigies of activity in
clambering over the rooftops and cutting the streamers that fluttered from
the chimneys. But within two or three minutes it was all over. The orator,
still gripping the neck of the microphone, his shoulders hunched forward,
his free hand clawing at the air, had gone straight on with his speech.
One minute more, and the feral roars of rage were again bursting from the
crowd. The Hate continued exactly as before, except that the target had
been changed.

The thing that impressed Winston in looking back was that the speaker had
switched from one line to the other actually in midsentence, not only
without a pause, but without even breaking the syntax. But at the moment
he had other things to preoccupy him. It was during the moment of disorder
while the posters were being torn down that a man whose face he did not
see had tapped him on the shoulder and said, 'Excuse me, I think you've
dropped your brief-case.' He took the brief-case abstractedly, without
speaking. He knew that it would be days before he had an opportunity to
look inside it. The instant that the demonstration was over he went
straight to the Ministry of Truth, though the time was now nearly
twenty-three hours. The entire staff of the Ministry had done likewise.
The orders already issuing from the telescreen, recalling them to their
posts, were hardly necessary.

Oceania was at war with Eastasia: Oceania had always been at war with
Eastasia. A large part of the political literature of five years was now
completely obsolete. Reports and records of all kinds, newspapers, books,
pamphlets, films, sound-tracks, photographs--all had to be rectified at
lightning speed. Although no directive was ever issued, it was known that
the chiefs of the Department intended that within one week no reference
to the war with Eurasia, or the alliance with Eastasia, should remain in
existence anywhere. The work was overwhelming, all the more so because
the processes that it involved could not be called by their true
names. Everyone in the Records Department worked eighteen hours in the
twenty-four, with two three-hour snatches of sleep. Mattresses were brought
up from the cellars and pitched all over the corridors: meals consisted of
sandwiches and Victory Coffee wheeled round on trolleys by attendants from
the canteen. Each time that Winston broke off for one of his spells of
sleep he tried to leave his desk clear of work, and each time that he
crawled back sticky-eyed and aching, it was to find that another shower
of paper cylinders had covered the desk like a snowdrift, half-burying the
speakwrite and overflowing on to the floor, so that the first job was
always to stack them into a neat enough pile to give him room to work.
What was worst of all was that the work was by no means purely mechanical.
Often it was enough merely to substitute one name for another, but any
detailed report of events demanded care and imagination. Even the
geographical knowledge that one needed in transferring the war from one
part of the world to another was considerable.

By the third day his eyes ached unbearably and his spectacles needed wiping
every few minutes. It was like struggling with some crushing physical task,
something which one had the right to refuse and which one was nevertheless
neurotically anxious to accomplish. In so far as he had time to remember
it, he was not troubled by the fact that every word he murmured into the
speakwrite, every stroke of his ink-pencil, was a deliberate lie. He was
as anxious as anyone else in the Department that the forgery should be
perfect. On the morning of the sixth day the dribble of cylinders slowed
down. For as much as half an hour nothing came out of the tube; then one
more cylinder, then nothing. Everywhere at about the same time the work
was easing off. A deep and as it were secret sigh went through the
Department. A mighty deed, which could never be mentioned, had been
achieved. It was now impossible for any human being to prove by documentary
evidence that the war with Eurasia had ever happened. At twelve hundred it
was unexpectedly announced that all workers in the Ministry were free till
tomorrow morning. Winston, still carrying the brief-case containing the
book, which had remained between his feet while he worked and under his
body while he slept, went home, shaved himself, and almost fell asleep in
his bath, although the water was barely more than tepid.

With a sort of voluptuous creaking in his joints he climbed the stair above
Mr Charrington's shop. He was tired, but not sleepy any longer. He opened
the window, lit the dirty little oilstove and put on a pan of water for
coffee. Julia would arrive presently: meanwhile there was the book. He
sat down in the sluttish armchair and undid the straps of the brief-case.

A heavy black volume, amateurishly bound, with no name or title on the
cover. The print also looked slightly irregular. The pages were worn at
the edges, and fell apart, easily, as though the book had passed through
many hands. The inscription on the title-page ran:

  Emmanuel Goldstein

Winston began reading:

Chapter I
Ignorance is Strength

Throughout recorded time, and probably since the end of the Neolithic Age,
there have been three kinds of people in the world, the High, the Middle,
and the Low. They have been subdivided in many ways, they have borne
countless different names, and their relative numbers, as well as their
attitude towards one another, have varied from age to age: but the
essential structure of society has never altered. Even after enormous
upheavals and seemingly irrevocable changes, the same pattern has always
reasserted itself, just as a gyroscope will always return to equilibrium,
however far it is pushed one way or the other.

The aims of these groups are entirely irreconcilable...

Winston stopped reading, chiefly in order to appreciate the fact that he
was reading, in comfort and safety. He was alone: no telescreen, no ear at
the keyhole, no nervous impulse to glance over his shoulder or cover the
page with his hand. The sweet summer air played against his cheek. From
somewhere far away there floated the faint shouts of children: in the room
itself there was no sound except the insect voice of the clock. He settled
deeper into the arm-chair and put his feet up on the fender. It was bliss,
it was eternity. Suddenly, as one sometimes does with a book of which one
knows that one will ultimately read and re-read every word, he opened it
at a different place and found himself at Chapter III. He went on reading:

Chapter III
War is Peace

The splitting up of the world into three great super-states was an event
which could be and indeed was foreseen before the middle of the twentieth
century. With the absorption of Europe by Russia and of the British Empire
by the United States, two of the three existing powers, Eurasia and
Oceania, were already effectively in being. The third, Eastasia, only
emerged as a distinct unit after another decade of confused fighting. The
frontiers between the three super-states are in some places arbitrary, and
in others they fluctuate according to the fortunes of war, but in general
they follow geographical lines. Eurasia comprises the whole of the northern
part of the European and Asiatic land-mass, from Portugal to the Bering
Strait. Oceania comprises the Americas, the Atlantic islands including the
British Isles, Australasia, and the southern portion of Africa. Eastasia,
smaller than the others and with a less definite western frontier,
comprises China and the countries to the south of it, the Japanese islands
and a large but fluctuating portion of Manchuria, Mongolia, and Tibet.

In one combination or another, these three super-states are permanently at
war, and have been so for the past twenty-five years. War, however, is no
longer the desperate, annihilating struggle that it was in the early
decades of the twentieth century. It is a warfare of limited aims between
combatants who are unable to destroy one another, have no material cause
for fighting and are not divided by any genuine ideological difference.
This is not to say that either the conduct of war, or the prevailing
attitude towards it, has become less bloodthirsty or more chivalrous.
On the contrary, war hysteria is continuous and universal in all countries,
and such acts as raping, looting, the slaughter of children, the reduction
of whole populations to slavery, and reprisals against prisoners which
extend even to boiling and burying alive, are looked upon as normal,
and, when they are committed by one's own side and not by the enemy,
meritorious. But in a physical sense war involves very small numbers of
people, mostly highly-trained specialists, and causes comparatively few
casualties. The fighting, when there is any, takes place on the vague
frontiers whose whereabouts the average man can only guess at, or round
the Floating Fortresses which guard strategic spots on the sea lanes. In
the centres of civilization war means no more than a continuous shortage
of consumption goods, and the occasional crash of a rocket bomb which may
cause a few scores of deaths. War has in fact changed its character. More
exactly, the reasons for which war is waged have changed in their order of
importance. Motives which were already present to some small extent in the
great wars of the early twentieth century have now become dominant and
are consciously recognized and acted upon.

To understand the nature of the present war--for in spite of the regrouping
which occurs every few years, it is always the same war--one must realize
in the first place that it is impossible for it to be decisive. None of
the three super-states could be definitively conquered even by the other
two in combination. They are too evenly matched, and their natural defences
are too formidable. Eurasia is protected by its vast land spaces, Oceania
by the width of the Atlantic and the Pacific, Eastasia by the fecundity
and industriousness of its inhabitants. Secondly, there is no longer, in
a material sense, anything to fight about. With the establishment of
self-contained economies, in which production and consumption are geared
to one another, the scramble for markets which was a main cause of
previous wars has come to an end, while the competition for raw materials
is no longer a matter of life and death. In any case each of the three
super-states is so vast that it can obtain almost all the materials that
it needs within its own boundaries. In so far as the war has a direct
economic purpose, it is a war for labour power. Between the frontiers of
the super-states, and not permanently in the possession of any of them,
there lies a rough quadrilateral with its corners at Tangier, Brazzaville,
Darwin, and Hong Kong, containing within it about a fifth of the population
of the earth. It is for the possession of these thickly-populated regions,
and of the northern ice-cap, that the three powers are constantly
struggling. In practice no one power ever controls the whole of the
disputed area. Portions of it are constantly changing hands, and it is the
chance of seizing this or that fragment by a sudden stroke of treachery
that dictates the endless changes of alignment.

All of the disputed territories contain valuable minerals, and some of
them yield important vegetable products such as rubber which in colder
climates it is necessary to synthesize by comparatively expensive methods.
But above all they contain a bottomless reserve of cheap labour. Whichever
power controls equatorial Africa, or the countries of the Middle East, or
Southern India, or the Indonesian Archipelago, disposes also of the bodies
of scores or hundreds of millions of ill-paid and hard-working coolies.
The inhabitants of these areas, reduced more or less openly to the status
of slaves, pass continually from conqueror to conqueror, and are expended
like so much coal or oil in the race to turn out more armaments, to capture
more territory, to control more labour power, to turn out more armaments,
to capture more territory, and so on indefinitely. It should be noted that
the fighting never really moves beyond the edges of the disputed areas.
The frontiers of Eurasia flow back and forth between the basin of the Congo
and the northern shore of the Mediterranean; the islands of the Indian
Ocean and the Pacific are constantly being captured and recaptured by
Oceania or by Eastasia; in Mongolia the dividing line between Eurasia and
Eastasia is never stable; round the Pole all three powers lay claim to
enormous territories which in fact are largely uninhabited and unexplored:
but the balance of power always remains roughly even, and the territory
which forms the heartland of each super-state always remains inviolate.
Moreover, the labour of the exploited peoples round the Equator is not
really necessary to the world's economy. They add nothing to the wealth of
the world, since whatever they produce is used for purposes of war, and
the object of waging a war is always to be in a better position in which
to wage another war. By their labour the slave populations allow the tempo
of continuous warfare to be speeded up. But if they did not exist, the
structure of world society, and the process by which it maintains itself,
would not be essentially different.

The primary aim of modern warfare (in accordance with the principles of
DOUBLETHINK, this aim is simultaneously recognized and not recognized by
the directing brains of the Inner Party) is to use up the products of the
machine without raising the general standard of living. Ever since the end
of the nineteenth century, the problem of what to do with the surplus of
consumption goods has been latent in industrial society. At present, when
few human beings even have enough to eat, this problem is obviously not
urgent, and it might not have become so, even if no artificial processes
of destruction had been at work. The world of today is a bare, hungry,
dilapidated place compared with the world that existed before 1914, and
still more so if compared with the imaginary future to which the people of
that period looked forward. In the early twentieth century, the vision of
a future society unbelievably rich, leisured, orderly, and efficient--a
glittering antiseptic world of glass and steel and snow-white concrete--was
part of the consciousness of nearly every literate person. Science and
technology were developing at a prodigious speed, and it seemed natural to
assume that they would go on developing. This failed to happen, partly
because of the impoverishment caused by a long series of wars and
revolutions, partly because scientific and technical progress depended on
the empirical habit of thought, which could not survive in a strictly
regimented society. As a whole the world is more primitive today than it
was fifty years ago. Certain backward areas have advanced, and various
devices, always in some way connected with warfare and police espionage,
have been developed, but experiment and invention have largely stopped,
and the ravages of the atomic war of the nineteen-fifties have never been
fully repaired. Nevertheless the dangers inherent in the machine are still
there. From the moment when the machine first made its appearance it
was clear to all thinking people that the need for human drudgery, and
therefore to a great extent for human inequality, had disappeared. If the
machine were used deliberately for that end, hunger, overwork, dirt,
illiteracy, and disease could be eliminated within a few generations.
And in fact, without being used for any such purpose, but by a sort of
automatic process--by producing wealth which it was sometimes impossible
not to distribute--the machine did raise the living standards of the
average human being very greatly over a period of about fifty years at
the end of the nineteenth and the beginning of the twentieth centuries.

But it was also clear that an all-round increase in wealth threatened the
destruction--indeed, in some sense was the destruction--of a hierarchical
society. In a world in which everyone worked short hours, had enough to
eat, lived in a house with a bathroom and a refrigerator, and possessed
a motor-car or even an aeroplane, the most obvious and perhaps the most
important form of inequality would already have disappeared. If it once
became general, wealth would confer no distinction. It was possible, no
doubt, to imagine a society in which WEALTH, in the sense of personal
possessions and luxuries, should be evenly distributed, while POWER
remained in the hands of a small privileged caste. But in practice such
a society could not long remain stable. For if leisure and security were
enjoyed by all alike, the great mass of human beings who are normally
stupefied by poverty would become literate and would learn to think for
themselves; and when once they had done this, they would sooner or later
realize that the privileged minority had no function, and they would sweep
it away. In the long run, a hierarchical society was only possible on a
basis of poverty and ignorance. To return to the agricultural past, as
some thinkers about the beginning of the twentieth century dreamed of
doing, was not a practicable solution. It conflicted with the tendency
towards mechanization which had become quasi-instinctive throughout almost
the whole world, and moreover, any country which remained industrially
backward was helpless in a military sense and was bound to be dominated,
directly or indirectly, by its more advanced rivals.

Nor was it a satisfactory solution to keep the masses in poverty by
restricting the output of goods. This happened to a great extent during
the final phase of capitalism, roughly between 1920 and 1940. The economy
of many countries was allowed to stagnate, land went out of cultivation,
capital equipment was not added to, great blocks of the population were
prevented from working and kept half alive by State charity. But this,
too, entailed military weakness, and since the privations it inflicted
were obviously unnecessary, it made opposition inevitable. The problem was
how to keep the wheels of industry turning without increasing the real
wealth of the world. Goods must be produced, but they must not be
distributed. And in practice the only way of achieving this was by
continuous warfare.

The essential act of war is destruction, not necessarily of human lives,
but of the products of human labour. War is a way of shattering to pieces,
or pouring into the stratosphere, or sinking in the depths of the sea,
materials which might otherwise be used to make the masses too comfortable,
and hence, in the long run, too intelligent. Even when weapons of war are
not actually destroyed, their manufacture is still a convenient way of
expending labour power without producing anything that can be consumed.
A Floating Fortress, for example, has locked up in it the labour that
would build several hundred cargo-ships. Ultimately it is scrapped as
obsolete, never having brought any material benefit to anybody, and with
further enormous labours another Floating Fortress is built. In principle
the war effort is always so planned as to eat up any surplus that might
exist after meeting the bare needs of the population. In practice the needs
of the population are always underestimated, with the result that there is
a chronic shortage of half the necessities of life; but this is looked on
as an advantage. It is deliberate policy to keep even the favoured groups
somewhere near the brink of hardship, because a general state of scarcity
increases the importance of small privileges and thus magnifies the
distinction between one group and another. By the standards of the early
twentieth century, even a member of the Inner Party lives an austere,
laborious kind of life. Nevertheless, the few luxuries that he does enjoy
his large, well-appointed flat, the better texture of his clothes, the
better quality of his food and drink and tobacco, his two or three
servants, his private motor-car or helicopter--set him in a different world
from a member of the Outer Party, and the members of the Outer Party have
a similar advantage in comparison with the submerged masses whom we call
'the proles'. The social atmosphere is that of a besieged city, where the
possession of a lump of horseflesh makes the difference between wealth and
poverty. And at the same time the consciousness of being at war, and
therefore in danger, makes the handing-over of all power to a small caste
seem the natural, unavoidable condition of survival.

War, it will be seen, accomplishes the necessary destruction, but
accomplishes it in a psychologically acceptable way. In principle it would
be quite simple to waste the surplus labour of the world by building
temples and pyramids, by digging holes and filling them up again, or even
by producing vast quantities of goods and then setting fire to them. But
this would provide only the economic and not the emotional basis for a
hierarchical society. What is concerned here is not the morale of masses,
whose attitude is unimportant so long as they are kept steadily at work,
but the morale of the Party itself. Even the humblest Party member is
expected to be competent, industrious, and even intelligent within narrow
limits, but it is also necessary that he should be a credulous and ignorant
fanatic whose prevailing moods are fear, hatred, adulation, and orgiastic
triumph. In other words it is necessary that he should have the mentality
appropriate to a state of war. It does not matter whether the war is
actually happening, and, since no decisive victory is possible, it does
not matter whether the war is going well or badly. All that is needed is
that a state of war should exist. The splitting of the intelligence which
the Party requires of its members, and which is more easily achieved in an
atmosphere of war, is now almost universal, but the higher up the ranks
one goes, the more marked it becomes. It is precisely in the Inner Party
that war hysteria and hatred of the enemy are strongest. In his capacity
as an administrator, it is often necessary for a member of the Inner Party
to know that this or that item of war news is untruthful, and he may often
be aware that the entire war is spurious and is either not happening or
is being waged for purposes quite other than the declared ones: but such
knowledge is easily neutralized by the technique of DOUBLETHINK. Meanwhile
no Inner Party member wavers for an instant in his mystical belief that
the war is real, and that it is bound to end victoriously, with Oceania
the undisputed master of the entire world.

All members of the Inner Party believe in this coming conquest as an
article of faith. It is to be achieved either by gradually acquiring more
and more territory and so building up an overwhelming preponderance of
power, or by the discovery of some new and unanswerable weapon. The search
for new weapons continues unceasingly, and is one of the very few remaining
activities in which the inventive or speculative type of mind can find any
outlet. In Oceania at the present day, Science, in the old sense, has
almost ceased to exist. In Newspeak there is no word for 'Science'. The
empirical method of thought, on which all the scientific achievements of
the past were founded, is opposed to the most fundamental principles of
Ingsoc. And even technological progress only happens when its products can
in some way be used for the diminution of human liberty. In all the useful
arts the world is either standing still or going backwards. The fields are
cultivated with horse-ploughs while books are written by machinery. But
in matters of vital importance--meaning, in effect, war and police
espionage--the empirical approach is still encouraged, or at least
tolerated. The two aims of the Party are to conquer the whole surface of
the earth and to extinguish once and for all the possibility of independent
thought. There are therefore two great problems which the Party is
concerned to solve. One is how to discover, against his will, what another
human being is thinking, and the other is how to kill several hundred
million people in a few seconds without giving warning beforehand. In
so far as scientific research still continues, this is its subject matter.
The scientist of today is either a mixture of psychologist and inquisitor,
studying with real ordinary minuteness the meaning of facial expressions,
gestures, and tones of voice, and testing the truth-producing effects of
drugs, shock therapy, hypnosis, and physical torture; or he is chemist,
physicist, or biologist concerned only with such branches of his special
subject as are relevant to the taking of life. In the vast laboratories
of the Ministry of Peace, and in the experimental stations hidden in the
Brazilian forests, or in the Australian desert, or on lost islands of
the Antarctic, the teams of experts are indefatigably at work. Some are
concerned simply with planning the logistics of future wars; others devise
larger and larger rocket bombs, more and more powerful explosives, and more
and more impenetrable armour-plating; others search for new and deadlier
gases, or for soluble poisons capable of being produced in such quantities
as to destroy the vegetation of whole continents, or for breeds of disease
germs immunized against all possible antibodies; others strive to produce
a vehicle that shall bore its way under the soil like a submarine under
the water, or an aeroplane as independent of its base as a sailing-ship;
others explore even remoter possibilities such as focusing the sun's rays
through lenses suspended thousands of kilometres away in space, or
producing artificial earthquakes and tidal waves by tapping the heat at
the earth's centre.

But none of these projects ever comes anywhere near realization, and none
of the three super-states ever gains a significant lead on the others.
What is more remarkable is that all three powers already possess, in the
atomic bomb, a weapon far more powerful than any that their present
researches are likely to discover. Although the Party, according to its
habit, claims the invention for itself, atomic bombs first appeared as
early as the nineteen-forties, and were first used on a large scale about
ten years later. At that time some hundreds of bombs were dropped on
industrial centres, chiefly in European Russia, Western Europe, and
North America. The effect was to convince the ruling groups of all
countries that a few more atomic bombs would mean the end of organized
society, and hence of their own power. Thereafter, although no formal
agreement was ever made or hinted at, no more bombs were dropped. All three
powers merely continue to produce atomic bombs and store them up against
the decisive opportunity which they all believe will come sooner or later.
And meanwhile the art of war has remained almost stationary for thirty or
forty years. Helicopters are more used than they were formerly, bombing
planes have been largely superseded by self-propelled projectiles, and the
fragile movable battleship has given way to the almost unsinkable Floating
Fortress; but otherwise there has been little development. The tank, the
submarine, the torpedo, the machine gun, even the rifle and the hand
grenade are still in use. And in spite of the endless slaughters reported
in the Press and on the telescreens, the desperate battles of earlier wars,
in which hundreds of thousands or even millions of men were often killed
in a few weeks, have never been repeated.

None of the three super-states ever attempts any manoeuvre which involves
the risk of serious defeat. When any large operation is undertaken, it is
usually a surprise attack against an ally. The strategy that all three
powers are following, or pretend to themselves that they are following,
is the same. The plan is, by a combination of fighting, bargaining, and
well-timed strokes of treachery, to acquire a ring of bases completely
encircling one or other of the rival states, and then to sign a pact of
friendship with that rival and remain on peaceful terms for so many years
as to lull suspicion to sleep. During this time rockets loaded with atomic
bombs can be assembled at all the strategic spots; finally they will all
be fired simultaneously, with effects so devastating as to make retaliation
impossible. It will then be time to sign a pact of friendship with the
remaining world-power, in preparation for another attack. This scheme, it
is hardly necessary to say, is a mere daydream, impossible of realization.
Moreover, no fighting ever occurs except in the disputed areas round the
Equator and the Pole: no invasion of enemy territory is ever undertaken.
This explains the fact that in some places the frontiers between the
super-states are arbitrary. Eurasia, for example, could easily conquer the
British Isles, which are geographically part of Europe, or on the other
hand it would be possible for Oceania to push its frontiers to the Rhine
or even to the Vistula. But this would violate the principle, followed on
all sides though never formulated, of cultural integrity. If Oceania were
to conquer the areas that used once to be known as France and Germany, it
would be necessary either to exterminate the inhabitants, a task of great
physical difficulty, or to assimilate a population of about a hundred
million people, who, so far as technical development goes, are roughly on
the Oceanic level. The problem is the same for all three super-states.
It is absolutely necessary to their structure that there should be no
contact with foreigners, except, to a limited extent, with war prisoners
and coloured slaves. Even the official ally of the moment is always
regarded with the darkest suspicion. War prisoners apart, the average
citizen of Oceania never sets eyes on a citizen of either Eurasia or
Eastasia, and he is forbidden the knowledge of foreign languages. If he
were allowed contact with foreigners he would discover that they are
creatures similar to himself and that most of what he has been told about
them is lies. The sealed world in which he lives would be broken, and the
fear, hatred, and self-righteousness on which his morale depends might
evaporate. It is therefore realized on all sides that however often Persia,
or Egypt, or Java, or Ceylon may change hands, the main frontiers must
never be crossed by anything except bombs.

Under this lies a fact never mentioned aloud, but tacitly understood and
acted upon: namely, that the conditions of life in all three super-states
are very much the same. In Oceania the prevailing philosophy is called
Ingsoc, in Eurasia it is called Neo-Bolshevism, and in Eastasia it is
called by a Chinese name usually translated as Death-Worship, but perhaps
better rendered as Obliteration of the Self. The citizen of Oceania is not
allowed to know anything of the tenets of the other two philosophies, but
he is taught to execrate them as barbarous outrages upon morality and
common sense. Actually the three philosophies are barely distinguishable,
and the social systems which they support are not distinguishable at all.
Everywhere there is the same pyramidal structure, the same worship of
semi-divine leader, the same economy existing by and for continuous
warfare. It follows that the three super-states not only cannot conquer
one another, but would gain no advantage by doing so. On the contrary,
so long as they remain in conflict they prop one another up, like three
sheaves of corn. And, as usual, the ruling groups of all three powers are
simultaneously aware and unaware of what they are doing. Their lives are
dedicated to world conquest, but they also know that it is necessary that
the war should continue everlastingly and without victory. Meanwhile the
fact that there IS no danger of conquest makes possible the denial of
reality which is the special feature of Ingsoc and its rival systems of
thought. Here it is necessary to repeat what has been said earlier, that
by becoming continuous war has fundamentally changed its character.

In past ages, a war, almost by definition, was something that sooner or
later came to an end, usually in unmistakable victory or defeat. In the
past, also, war was one of the main instruments by which human societies
were kept in touch with physical reality. All rulers in all ages have tried
to impose a false view of the world upon their followers, but they could
not afford to encourage any illusion that tended to impair military
efficiency. So long as defeat meant the loss of independence, or some other
result generally held to be undesirable, the precautions against defeat
had to be serious. Physical facts could not be ignored. In philosophy, or
religion, or ethics, or politics, two and two might make five, but when
one was designing a gun or an aeroplane they had to make four. Inefficient
nations were always conquered sooner or later, and the struggle for
efficiency was inimical to illusions. Moreover, to be efficient it was
necessary to be able to learn from the past, which meant having a fairly
accurate idea of what had happened in the past. Newspapers and history
books were, of course, always coloured and biased, but falsification of
the kind that is practised today would have been impossible. War was a
sure safeguard of sanity, and so far as the ruling classes were concerned
it was probably the most important of all safeguards. While wars could be
won or lost, no ruling class could be completely irresponsible.

But when war becomes literally continuous, it also ceases to be dangerous.
When war is continuous there is no such thing as military necessity.
Technical progress can cease and the most palpable facts can be denied or
disregarded. As we have seen, researches that could be called scientific
are still carried out for the purposes of war, but they are essentially a
kind of daydreaming, and their failure to show results is not important.
Efficiency, even military efficiency, is no longer needed. Nothing is
efficient in Oceania except the Thought Police. Since each of the three
super-states is unconquerable, each is in effect a separate universe within
which almost any perversion of thought can be safely practised. Reality
only exerts its pressure through the needs of everyday life--the need to
eat and drink, to get shelter and clothing, to avoid swallowing poison or
stepping out of top-storey windows, and the like. Between life and death,
and between physical pleasure and physical pain, there is still a
distinction, but that is all. Cut off from contact with the outer world,
and with the past, the citizen of Oceania is like a man in interstellar
space, who has no way of knowing which direction is up and which is down.
The rulers of such a state are absolute, as the Pharaohs or the Caesars
could not be. They are obliged to prevent their followers from starving
to death in numbers large enough to be inconvenient, and they are obliged
to remain at the same low level of military technique as their rivals; but
once that minimum is achieved, they can twist reality into whatever shape
they choose.

The war, therefore, if we judge it by the standards of previous wars, is
merely an imposture. It is like the battles between certain ruminant
animals whose horns are set at such an angle that they are incapable of
hurting one another. But though it is unreal it is not meaningless. It
eats up the surplus of consumable goods, and it helps to preserve the
special mental atmosphere that a hierarchical society needs. War, it will
be seen, is now a purely internal affair. In the past, the ruling groups
of all countries, although they might recognize their common interest and
therefore limit the destructiveness of war, did fight against one another,
and the victor always plundered the vanquished. In our own day they are
not fighting against one another at all. The war is waged by each ruling
group against its own subjects, and the object of the war is not to make
or prevent conquests of territory, but to keep the structure of society
intact. The very word 'war', therefore, has become misleading. It would
probably be accurate to say that by becoming continuous war has ceased to
exist. The peculiar pressure that it exerted on human beings between the
Neolithic Age and the early twentieth century has disappeared and been
replaced by something quite different. The effect would be much the same
if the three super-states, instead of fighting one another, should agree
to live in perpetual peace, each inviolate within its own boundaries. For
in that case each would still be a self-contained universe, freed for ever
from the sobering influence of external danger. A peace that was truly
permanent would be the same as a permanent war. This--although the vast
majority of Party members understand it only in a shallower sense--is the
inner meaning of the Party slogan: WAR IS PEACE.

Winston stopped reading for a moment. Somewhere in remote distance a
rocket bomb thundered. The blissful feeling of being alone with the
forbidden book, in a room with no telescreen, had not worn off. Solitude
and safety were physical sensations, mixed up somehow with the tiredness
of his body, the softness of the chair, the touch of the faint breeze from
the window that played upon his cheek. The book fascinated him, or more
exactly it reassured him. In a sense it told him nothing that was new, but
that was part of the attraction. It said what he would have said, if it
had been possible for him to set his scattered thoughts in order. It was
the product of a mind similar to his own, but enormously more powerful,
more systematic, less fear-ridden. The best books, he perceived, are those
that tell you what you know already. He had just turned back to Chapter I
when he heard Julia's footstep on the stair and started out of his chair
to meet her. She dumped her brown tool-bag on the floor and flung herself
into his arms. It was more than a week since they had seen one another.

'I've got THE BOOK,' he said as they disentangled themselves.

'Oh, you've got it? Good,' she said without much interest, and almost
immediately knelt down beside the oil stove to make the coffee.

They did not return to the subject until they had been in bed for half an
hour. The evening was just cool enough to make it worth while to pull up
the counterpane. From below came the familiar sound of singing and the
scrape of boots on the flagstones. The brawny red-armed woman whom Winston
had seen there on his first visit was almost a fixture in the yard. There
seemed to be no hour of daylight when she was not marching to and fro
between the washtub and the line, alternately gagging herself with clothes
pegs and breaking forth into lusty song. Julia had settled down on her
side and seemed to be already on the point of falling asleep. He reached
out for the book, which was lying on the floor, and sat up against the

'We must read it,' he said. 'You too. All members of the Brotherhood have
to read it.'

'You read it,' she said with her eyes shut. 'Read it aloud. That's the
best way. Then you can explain it to me as you go.'

The clock's hands said six, meaning eighteen. They had three or four hours
ahead of them. He propped the book against his knees and began reading:

Chapter I
Ignorance is Strength

Throughout recorded time, and probably since the end of the Neolithic Age,
there have been three kinds of people in the world, the High, the Middle,
and the Low. They have been subdivided in many ways, they have borne
countless different names, and their relative numbers, as well as their
attitude towards one another, have varied from age to age: but the
essential structure of society has never altered. Even after enormous
upheavals and seemingly irrevocable changes, the same pattern has always
reasserted itself, just as a gyroscope will always return to equilibrium,
however far it is pushed one way or the other

'Julia, are you awake?' said Winston.

'Yes, my love, I'm listening. Go on. It's marvellous.'

He continued reading:

The aims of these three groups are entirely irreconcilable. The aim of
the High is to remain where they are. The aim of the Middle is to change
places with the High. The aim of the Low, when they have an aim--for it
is an abiding characteristic of the Low that they are too much crushed
by drudgery to be more than intermittently conscious of anything outside
their daily lives--is to abolish all distinctions and create a society in
which all men shall be equal. Thus throughout history a struggle which is
the same in its main outlines recurs over and over again. For long periods
the High seem to be securely in power, but sooner or later there always
comes a moment when they lose either their belief in themselves or their
capacity to govern efficiently, or both. They are then overthrown by the
Middle, who enlist the Low on their side by pretending to them that they
are fighting for liberty and justice. As soon as they have reached their
objective, the Middle thrust the Low back into their old position of
servitude, and themselves become the High. Presently a new Middle group
splits off from one of the other groups, or from both of them, and the
struggle begins over again. Of the three groups, only the Low are never
even temporarily successful in achieving their aims. It would be an
exaggeration to say that throughout history there has been no progress of
a material kind. Even today, in a period of decline, the average human
being is physically better off than he was a few centuries ago. But no
advance in wealth, no softening of manners, no reform or revolution has
ever brought human equality a millimetre nearer. From the point of view of
the Low, no historic change has ever meant much more than a change in the
name of their masters.

By the late nineteenth century the recurrence of this pattern had become
obvious to many observers. There then rose schools of thinkers who
interpreted history as a cyclical process and claimed to show that
inequality was the unalterable law of human life. This doctrine, of course,
had always had its adherents, but in the manner in which it was now put
forward there was a significant change. In the past the need for a
hierarchical form of society had been the doctrine specifically of the
High. It had been preached by kings and aristocrats and by the priests,
lawyers, and the like who were parasitical upon them, and it had generally
been softened by promises of compensation in an imaginary world beyond the
grave. The Middle, so long as it was struggling for power, had always made
use of such terms as freedom, justice, and fraternity. Now, however, the
concept of human brotherhood began to be assailed by people who were not
yet in positions of command, but merely hoped to be so before long. In the
past the Middle had made revolutions under the banner of equality, and
then had established a fresh tyranny as soon as the old one was overthrown.
The new Middle groups in effect proclaimed their tyranny beforehand.
Socialism, a theory which appeared in the early nineteenth century and was
the last link in a chain of thought stretching back to the slave rebellions
of antiquity, was still deeply infected by the Utopianism of past ages.
But in each variant of Socialism that appeared from about 1900 onwards the
aim of establishing liberty and equality was more and more openly
abandoned. The new movements which appeared in the middle years of the
century, Ingsoc in Oceania, Neo-Bolshevism in Eurasia, Death-Worship, as
it is commonly called, in Eastasia, had the conscious aim of perpetuating
UNfreedom and INequality. These new movements, of course, grew out of the
old ones and tended to keep their names and pay lip-service to their
ideology. But the purpose of all of them was to arrest progress and freeze
history at a chosen moment. The familiar pendulum swing was to happen once
more, and then stop. As usual, the High were to be turned out by the
Middle, who would then become the High; but this time, by conscious
strategy, the High would be able to maintain their position permanently.

The new doctrines arose partly because of the accumulation of historical
knowledge, and the growth of the historical sense, which had hardly existed
before the nineteenth century. The cyclical movement of history was now
intelligible, or appeared to be so; and if it was intelligible, then it
was alterable. But the principal, underlying cause was that, as early
as the beginning of the twentieth century, human equality had become
technically possible. It was still true that men were not equal in their
native talents and that functions had to be specialized in ways that
favoured some individuals against others; but there was no longer any real
need for class distinctions or for large differences of wealth. In earlier
ages, class distinctions had been not only inevitable but desirable.
Inequality was the price of civilization. With the development of machine
production, however, the case was altered. Even if it was still necessary
for human beings to do different kinds of work, it was no longer necessary
for them to live at different social or economic levels. Therefore, from
the point of view of the new groups who were on the point of seizing power,
human equality was no longer an ideal to be striven after, but a danger to
be averted. In more primitive ages, when a just and peaceful society was
in fact not possible, it had been fairly easy to believe it. The idea of
an earthly paradise in which men should live together in a state of
brotherhood, without laws and without brute labour, had haunted the human
imagination for thousands of years. And this vision had had a certain hold
even on the groups who actually profited by each historical change. The
heirs of the French, English, and American revolutions had partly believed
in their own phrases about the rights of man, freedom of speech, equality
before the law, and the like, and have even allowed their conduct to be
influenced by them to some extent. But by the fourth decade of the
twentieth century all the main currents of political thought were
authoritarian. The earthly paradise had been discredited at exactly the
moment when it became realizable. Every new political theory, by whatever
name it called itself, led back to hierarchy and regimentation. And in the
general hardening of outlook that set in round about 1930, practices which
had been long abandoned, in some cases for hundreds of years--imprisonment
without trial, the use of war prisoners as slaves, public executions,
torture to extract confessions, the use of hostages, and the deportation
of whole populations--not only became common again, but were tolerated
and even defended by people who considered themselves enlightened and

It was only after a decade of national wars, civil wars, revolutions, and
counter-revolutions in all parts of the world that Ingsoc and its rivals
emerged as fully worked-out political theories. But they had been
foreshadowed by the various systems, generally called totalitarian, which
had appeared earlier in the century, and the main outlines of the world
which would emerge from the prevailing chaos had long been obvious. What
kind of people would control this world had been equally obvious. The new
aristocracy was made up for the most part of bureaucrats, scientists,
technicians, trade-union organizers, publicity experts, sociologists,
teachers, journalists, and professional politicians. These people, whose
origins lay in the salaried middle class and the upper grades of the
working class, had been shaped and brought together by the barren world of
monopoly industry and centralized government. As compared with their
opposite numbers in past ages, they were less avaricious, less tempted by
luxury, hungrier for pure power, and, above all, more conscious of what
they were doing and more intent on crushing opposition. This last
difference was cardinal. By comparison with that existing today, all the
tyrannies of the past were half-hearted and inefficient. The ruling groups
were always infected to some extent by liberal ideas, and were content to
leave loose ends everywhere, to regard only the overt act and to be
uninterested in what their subjects were thinking. Even the Catholic Church
of the Middle Ages was tolerant by modern standards. Part of the reason
for this was that in the past no government had the power to keep its
citizens under constant surveillance. The invention of print, however,
made it easier to manipulate public opinion, and the film and the radio
carried the process further. With the development of television, and
the technical advance which made it possible to receive and transmit
simultaneously on the same instrument, private life came to an end. Every
citizen, or at least every citizen important enough to be worth watching,
could be kept for twenty-four hours a day under the eyes of the police
and in the sound of official propaganda, with all other channels of
communication closed. The possibility of enforcing not only complete
obedience to the will of the State, but complete uniformity of opinion
on all subjects, now existed for the first time.

After the revolutionary period of the fifties and sixties, society
regrouped itself, as always, into High, Middle, and Low. But the new High
group, unlike all its forerunners, did not act upon instinct but knew what
was needed to safeguard its position. It had long been realized that the
only secure basis for oligarchy is collectivism. Wealth and privilege
are most easily defended when they are possessed jointly. The so-called
'abolition of private property' which took place in the middle years of
the century meant, in effect, the concentration of property in far fewer
hands than before: but with this difference, that the new owners were a
group instead of a mass of individuals. Individually, no member of the
Party owns anything, except petty personal belongings. Collectively, the
Party owns everything in Oceania, because it controls everything, and
disposes of the products as it thinks fit. In the years following the
Revolution it was able to step into this commanding position almost
unopposed, because the whole process was represented as an act of
collectivization. It had always been assumed that if the capitalist class
were expropriated, Socialism must follow: and unquestionably the
capitalists had been expropriated. Factories, mines, land, houses,
transport--everything had been taken away from them: and since these
things were no longer private property, it followed that they must be
public property. Ingsoc, which grew out of the earlier Socialist movement
and inherited its phraseology, has in fact carried out the main item in
the Socialist programme; with the result, foreseen and intended beforehand,
that economic inequality has been made permanent.

But the problems of perpetuating a hierarchical society go deeper than
this. There are only four ways in which a ruling group can fall from power.
Either it is conquered from without, or it governs so inefficiently that
the masses are stirred to revolt, or it allows a strong and discontented
Middle group to come into being, or it loses its own self-confidence and
willingness to govern. These causes do not operate singly, and as a rule
all four of them are present in some degree. A ruling class which could
guard against all of them would remain in power permanently. Ultimately
the determining factor is the mental attitude of the ruling class itself.

After the middle of the present century, the first danger had in reality
disappeared. Each of the three powers which now divide the world is in
fact unconquerable, and could only become conquerable through slow
demographic changes which a government with wide powers can easily avert.
The second danger, also, is only a theoretical one. The masses never
revolt of their own accord, and they never revolt merely because they are
oppressed. Indeed, so long as they are not permitted to have standards of
comparison, they never even become aware that they are oppressed. The
recurrent economic crises of past times were totally unnecessary and are
not now permitted to happen, but other and equally large dislocations
can and do happen without having political results, because there is no
way in which discontent can become articulate. As for the problem of
over-production, which has been latent in our society since the development
of machine technique, it is solved by the device of continuous warfare
(see Chapter III), which is also useful in keying up public morale to the
necessary pitch. From the point of view of our present rulers, therefore,
the only genuine dangers are the splitting-off of a new group of able,
under-employed, power-hungry people, and the growth of liberalism and
scepticism in their own ranks. The problem, that is to say, is educational.
It is a problem of continuously moulding the consciousness both of the
directing group and of the larger executive group that lies immediately
below it. The consciousness of the masses needs only to be influenced in
a negative way.

Given this background, one could infer, if one did not know it already,
the general structure of Oceanic society. At the apex of the pyramid comes
Big Brother. Big Brother is infallible and all-powerful. Every success,
every achievement, every victory, every scientific discovery, all
knowledge, all wisdom, all happiness, all virtue, are held to issue
directly from his leadership and inspiration. Nobody has ever seen Big
Brother. He is a face on the hoardings, a voice on the telescreen. We
may be reasonably sure that he will never die, and there is already
considerable uncertainty as to when he was born. Big Brother is the guise
in which the Party chooses to exhibit itself to the world. His function is
to act as a focusing point for love, fear, and reverence, emotions which
are more easily felt towards an individual than towards an organization.
Below Big Brother comes the Inner Party. Its numbers limited to six
millions, or something less than 2 per cent of the population of Oceania.
Below the Inner Party comes the Outer Party, which, if the Inner Party is
described as the brain of the State, may be justly likened to the hands.
Below that come the dumb masses whom we habitually refer to as 'the
proles', numbering perhaps 85 per cent of the population. In the terms
of our earlier classification, the proles are the Low: for the slave
population of the equatorial lands who pass constantly from conqueror
to conqueror, are not a permanent or necessary part of the structure.

In principle, membership of these three groups is not hereditary. The
child of Inner Party parents is in theory not born into the Inner Party.
Admission to either branch of the Party is by examination, taken at the
age of sixteen. Nor is there any racial discrimination, or any marked
domination of one province by another. Jews, Negroes, South Americans of
pure Indian blood are to be found in the highest ranks of the Party, and
the administrators of any area are always drawn from the inhabitants of
that area. In no part of Oceania do the inhabitants have the feeling that
they are a colonial population ruled from a distant capital. Oceania has
no capital, and its titular head is a person whose whereabouts nobody
knows. Except that English is its chief LINGUA FRANCA and Newspeak its
official language, it is not centralized in any way. Its rulers are not
held together by blood-ties but by adherence to a common doctrine. It is
true that our society is stratified, and very rigidly stratified, on what
at first sight appear to be hereditary lines. There is far less to-and-fro
movement between the different groups than happened under capitalism or
even in the pre-industrial age. Between the two branches of the Party
there is a certain amount of interchange, but only so much as will ensure
that weaklings are excluded from the Inner Party and that ambitious
members of the Outer Party are made harmless by allowing them to rise.
Proletarians, in practice, are not allowed to graduate into the Party. The
most gifted among them, who might possibly become nuclei of discontent,
are simply marked down by the Thought Police and eliminated. But this
state of affairs is not necessarily permanent, nor is it a matter of
principle. The Party is not a class in the old sense of the word. It does
not aim at transmitting power to its own children, as such; and if there
were no other way of keeping the ablest people at the top, it would be
perfectly prepared to recruit an entire new generation from the ranks of
the proletariat. In the crucial years, the fact that the Party was not a
hereditary body did a great deal to neutralize opposition. The older kind
of Socialist, who had been trained to fight against something called
'class privilege' assumed that what is not hereditary cannot be permanent.
He did not see that the continuity of an oligarchy need not be physical,
nor did he pause to reflect that hereditary aristocracies have always been
shortlived, whereas adoptive organizations such as the Catholic Church
have sometimes lasted for hundreds or thousands of years. The essence of
oligarchical rule is not father-to-son inheritance, but the persistence of
a certain world-view and a certain way of life, imposed by the dead upon
the living. A ruling group is a ruling group so long as it can nominate
its successors. The Party is not concerned with perpetuating its blood but
with perpetuating itself. WHO wields power is not important, provided that
the hierarchical structure remains always the same.

All the beliefs, habits, tastes, emotions, mental attitudes that
characterize our time are really designed to sustain the mystique of
the Party and prevent the true nature of present-day society from being
perceived. Physical rebellion, or any preliminary move towards rebellion,
is at present not possible. From the proletarians nothing is to be feared.
Left to themselves, they will continue from generation to generation and
from century to century, working, breeding, and dying, not only without
any impulse to rebel, but without the power of grasping that the world
could be other than it is. They could only become dangerous if the advance
of industrial technique made it necessary to educate them more highly;
but, since military and commercial rivalry are no longer important, the
level of popular education is actually declining. What opinions the masses
hold, or do not hold, is looked on as a matter of indifference. They can
be granted intellectual liberty because they have no intellect. In a Party
member, on the other hand, not even the smallest deviation of opinion on
the most unimportant subject can be tolerated.

A Party member lives from birth to death under the eye of the Thought
Police. Even when he is alone he can never be sure that he is alone.
Wherever he may be, asleep or awake, working or resting, in his bath or in
bed, he can be inspected without warning and without knowing that he is
being inspected. Nothing that he does is indifferent. His friendships, his
relaxations, his behaviour towards his wife and children, the expression
of his face when he is alone, the words he mutters in sleep, even the
characteristic movements of his body, are all jealously scrutinized. Not
only any actual misdemeanour, but any eccentricity, however small, any
change of habits, any nervous mannerism that could possibly be the symptom
of an inner struggle, is certain to be detected. He has no freedom of
choice in any direction whatever. On the other hand his actions are not
regulated by law or by any clearly formulated code of behaviour. In Oceania
there is no law. Thoughts and actions which, when detected, mean certain
death are not formally forbidden, and the endless purges, arrests,
tortures, imprisonments, and vaporizations are not inflicted as punishment
for crimes which have actually been committed, but are merely the
wiping-out of persons who might perhaps commit a crime at some time in the
future. A Party member is required to have not only the right opinions,
but the right instincts. Many of the beliefs and attitudes demanded of him
are never plainly stated, and could not be stated without laying bare the
contradictions inherent in Ingsoc. If he is a person naturally orthodox
(in Newspeak a GOODTHINKER), he will in all circumstances know, without
taking thought, what is the true belief or the desirable emotion. But in
any case an elaborate mental training, undergone in childhood and grouping
itself round the Newspeak words CRIMESTOP, BLACKWHITE, and DOUBLETHINK,
makes him unwilling and unable to think too deeply on any subject whatever.

A Party member is expected to have no private emotions and no respites
from enthusiasm. He is supposed to live in a continuous frenzy of hatred
of foreign enemies and internal traitors, triumph over victories, and
self-abasement before the power and wisdom of the Party. The discontents
produced by his bare, unsatisfying life are deliberately turned outwards
and dissipated by such devices as the Two Minutes Hate, and the
speculations which might possibly induce a sceptical or rebellious attitude
are killed in advance by his early acquired inner discipline. The first
and simplest stage in the discipline, which can be taught even to young
children, is called, in Newspeak, CRIMESTOP. CRIMESTOP means the faculty
of stopping short, as though by instinct, at the threshold of any dangerous
thought. It includes the power of not grasping analogies, of failing to
perceive logical errors, of misunderstanding the simplest arguments if
they are inimical to Ingsoc, and of being bored or repelled by any train
of thought which is capable of leading in a heretical direction. CRIMESTOP,
in short, means protective stupidity. But stupidity is not enough. On the
contrary, orthodoxy in the full sense demands a control over one's own
mental processes as complete as that of a contortionist over his body.
Oceanic society rests ultimately on the belief that Big Brother is
omnipotent and that the Party is infallible. But since in reality Big
Brother is not omnipotent and the party is not infallible, there is need
for an unwearying, moment-to-moment flexibility in the treatment of facts.
The keyword here is BLACKWHITE. Like so many Newspeak words, this word has
two mutually contradictory meanings. Applied to an opponent, it means the
habit of impudently claiming that black is white, in contradiction of the
plain facts. Applied to a Party member, it means a loyal willingness to
say that black is white when Party discipline demands this. But it means
also the ability to BELIEVE that black is white, and more, to KNOW that
black is white, and to forget that one has ever believed the contrary.
This demands a continuous alteration of the past, made possible by the
system of thought which really embraces all the rest, and which is known
in Newspeak as DOUBLETHINK.

The alteration of the past is necessary for two reasons, one of which is
subsidiary and, so to speak, precautionary. The subsidiary reason is that
the Party member, like the proletarian, tolerates present-day conditions
partly because he has no standards of comparison. He must be cut off from
the past, just as he must be cut off from foreign countries, because it is
necessary for him to believe that he is better off than his ancestors and
that the average level of material comfort is constantly rising. But by
far the more important reason for the readjustment of the past is the
need to safeguard the infallibility of the Party. It is not merely that
speeches, statistics, and records of every kind must be constantly brought
up to date in order to show that the predictions of the Party were in
all cases right. It is also that no change in doctrine or in political
alignment can ever be admitted. For to change one's mind, or even one's
policy, is a confession of weakness. If, for example, Eurasia or Eastasia
(whichever it may be) is the enemy today, then that country must always
have been the enemy. And if the facts say otherwise then the facts must
be altered. Thus history is continuously rewritten. This day-to-day
falsification of the past, carried out by the Ministry of Truth, is as
necessary to the stability of the regime as the work of repression and
espionage carried out by the Ministry of Love.

The mutability of the past is the central tenet of Ingsoc. Past events,
it is argued, have no objective existence, but survive only in written
records and in human memories. The past is whatever the records and the
memories agree upon. And since the Party is in full control of all records
and in equally full control of the minds of its members, it follows that
the past is whatever the Party chooses to make it. It also follows that
though the past is alterable, it never has been altered in any specific
instance. For when it has been recreated in whatever shape is needed at
the moment, then this new version IS the past, and no different past can
ever have existed. This holds good even when, as often happens, the same
event has to be altered out of recognition several times in the course of
a year. At all times the Party is in possession of absolute truth, and
clearly the absolute can never have been different from what it is now.
It will be seen that the control of the past depends above all on the
training of memory. To make sure that all written records agree with
the orthodoxy of the moment is merely a mechanical act. But it is also
necessary to REMEMBER that events happened in the desired manner. And if
it is necessary to rearrange one's memories or to tamper with written
records, then it is necessary to FORGET that one has done so. The trick of
doing this can be learned like any other mental technique. It is learned
by the majority of Party members, and certainly by all who are intelligent
as well as orthodox. In Oldspeak it is called, quite frankly, 'reality
control'. In Newspeak it is called DOUBLETHINK, though DOUBLETHINK
comprises much else as well.

DOUBLETHINK means the power of holding two contradictory beliefs in one's
mind simultaneously, and accepting both of them. The Party intellectual
knows in which direction his memories must be altered; he therefore knows
that he is playing tricks with reality; but by the exercise of DOUBLETHINK
he also satisfies himself that reality is not violated. The process has to
be conscious, or it would not be carried out with sufficient precision,
but it also has to be unconscious, or it would bring with it a feeling of
falsity and hence of guilt. DOUBLETHINK lies at the very heart of Ingsoc,
since the essential act of the Party is to use conscious deception while
retaining the firmness of purpose that goes with complete honesty. To tell
deliberate lies while genuinely believing in them, to forget any fact that
has become inconvenient, and then, when it becomes necessary again, to
draw it back from oblivion for just so long as it is needed, to deny the
existence of objective reality and all the while to take account of the
reality which one denies--all this is indispensably necessary. Even in
using the word DOUBLETHINK it is necessary to exercise DOUBLETHINK. For
by using the word one admits that one is tampering with reality; by a
fresh act of DOUBLETHINK one erases this knowledge; and so on indefinitely,
with the lie always one leap ahead of the truth. Ultimately it is by means
of DOUBLETHINK that the Party has been able--and may, for all we know,
continue to be able for thousands of years--to arrest the course of

All past oligarchies have fallen from power either because they ossified
or because they grew soft. Either they became stupid and arrogant, failed
to adjust themselves to changing circumstances, and were overthrown; or
they became liberal and cowardly, made concessions when they should have
used force, and once again were overthrown. They fell, that is to say,
either through consciousness or through unconsciousness. It is the
achievement of the Party to have produced a system of thought in which
both conditions can exist simultaneously. And upon no other intellectual
basis could the dominion of the Party be made permanent. If one is to rule,
and to continue ruling, one must be able to dislocate the sense of reality.
For the secret of rulership is to combine a belief in one's own
infallibility with the Power to learn from past mistakes.

It need hardly be said that the subtlest practitioners of DOUBLETHINK are
those who invented DOUBLETHINK and know that it is a vast system of mental
cheating. In our society, those who have the best knowledge of what is
happening are also those who are furthest from seeing the world as it is.
In general, the greater the understanding, the greater the delusion; the
more intelligent, the less sane. One clear illustration of this is the
fact that war hysteria increases in intensity as one rises in the social
scale. Those whose attitude towards the war is most nearly rational are
the subject peoples of the disputed territories. To these people the war
is simply a continuous calamity which sweeps to and fro over their bodies
like a tidal wave. Which side is winning is a matter of complete
indifference to them. They are aware that a change of overlordship means
simply that they will be doing the same work as before for new masters who
treat them in the same manner as the old ones. The slightly more favoured
workers whom we call 'the proles' are only intermittently conscious of the
war. When it is necessary they can be prodded into frenzies of fear and
hatred, but when left to themselves they are capable of forgetting for
long periods that the war is happening. It is in the ranks of the Party,
and above all of the Inner Party, that the true war enthusiasm is found.
World-conquest is believed in most firmly by those who know it to be
impossible. This peculiar linking-together of opposites--knowledge with
ignorance, cynicism with fanaticism--is one of the chief distinguishing
marks of Oceanic society. The official ideology abounds with contradictions
even when there is no practical reason for them. Thus, the Party rejects
and vilifies every principle for which the Socialist movement originally
stood, and it chooses to do this in the name of Socialism. It preaches
a contempt for the working class unexampled for centuries past, and it
dresses its members in a uniform which was at one time peculiar to manual
workers and was adopted for that reason. It systematically undermines the
solidarity of the family, and it calls its leader by a name which is a
direct appeal to the sentiment of family loyalty. Even the names of the
four Ministries by which we are governed exhibit a sort of impudence in
their deliberate reversal of the facts. The Ministry of Peace concerns
itself with war, the Ministry of Truth with lies, the Ministry of Love
with torture and the Ministry of Plenty with starvation. These
contradictions are not accidental, nor do they result from ordinary
hypocrisy; they are deliberate exercises in DOUBLETHINK. For it is only
by reconciling contradictions that power can be retained indefinitely.
In no other way could the ancient cycle be broken. If human equality is
to be for ever averted--if the High, as we have called them, are to keep
their places permanently--then the prevailing mental condition must be
controlled insanity.

But there is one question which until this moment we have almost ignored.
It is; WHY should human equality be averted? Supposing that the mechanics
of the process have been rightly described, what is the motive for this
huge, accurately planned effort to freeze history at a particular moment
of time?

Here we reach the central secret. As we have seen. the mystique of the
Party, and above all of the Inner Party, depends upon DOUBLETHINK But
deeper than this lies the original motive, the never-questioned instinct
that first led to the seizure of power and brought DOUBLETHINK, the
Thought Police, continuous warfare, and all the other necessary
paraphernalia into existence afterwards. This motive really consists...

Winston became aware of silence, as one becomes aware of a new sound. It
seemed to him that Julia had been very still for some time past. She was
lying on her side, naked from the waist upwards, with her cheek pillowed
on her hand and one dark lock tumbling across her eyes. Her breast rose
and fell slowly and regularly.


No answer.

'Julia, are you awake?'

No answer. She was asleep. He shut the book, put it carefully on the floor,
lay down, and pulled the coverlet over both of them.

He had still, he reflected, not learned the ultimate secret. He understood
HOW; he did not understand WHY. Chapter I, like Chapter III, had not
actually told him anything that he did not know, it had merely systematized
the knowledge that he possessed already. But after reading it he knew
better than before that he was not mad. Being in a minority, even a
minority of one, did not make you mad. There was truth and there was
untruth, and if you clung to the truth even against the whole world, you
were not mad. A yellow beam from the sinking sun slanted in through the
window and fell across the pillow. He shut his eyes. The sun on his face
and the girl's smooth body touching his own gave him a strong, sleepy,
confident feeling. He was safe, everything was all right. He fell asleep
murmuring 'Sanity is not statistical,' with the feeling that this remark
contained in it a profound wisdom.


When he woke it was with the sensation of having slept for a long time,
but a glance at the old-fashioned clock told him that it was only
twenty-thirty. He lay dozing for a while; then the usual deep-lunged
singing struck up from the yard below:

  '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 drivelling song seemed to have kept its popularity. You still heard it
all over the place. It had outlived the Hate Song. Julia woke at the
sound, stretched herself luxuriously, and got out of bed.

'I'm hungry,' she said. 'Let's make some more coffee. Damn! The stove's
gone out and the water's cold.' She picked the stove up and shook it.
'There's no oil in it.'

'We can get some from old Charrington, I expect.'

'The funny thing is I made sure it was full. I'm going to put my clothes
on,' she added. 'It seems to have got colder.'

Winston also got up and dressed himself. The indefatigable voice sang on:

  '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!'

As he fastened the belt of his overalls he strolled across to the window.
The sun must have gone down behind the houses; it was not shining into the
yard any longer. The flagstones were wet as though they had just been
washed, and he had the feeling that the sky had been washed too, so fresh
and pale was the blue between the chimney-pots. Tirelessly the woman
marched to and fro, corking and uncorking herself, singing and falling
silent, and pegging out more diapers, and more and yet more. He wondered
whether she took in washing for a living or was merely the slave of twenty
or thirty grandchildren. Julia had come across to his side; together they
gazed down with a sort of fascination at the sturdy figure below. As he
looked at the woman in her characteristic attitude, her thick arms reaching
up for the line, her powerful mare-like buttocks protruded, it struck him
for the first time that she was beautiful. It had never before occurred to
him that the body of a woman of fifty, blown up to monstrous dimensions by
childbearing, then hardened, roughened by work till it was coarse in the
grain like an over-ripe turnip, could be beautiful. But it was so, and
after all, he thought, why not? The solid, contourless body, like a block
of granite, and the rasping red skin, bore the same relation to the body
of a girl as the rose-hip to the rose. Why should the fruit be held
inferior to the flower?

'She's beautiful,' he murmured.

'She's a metre across the hips, easily,' said Julia.

'That is her style of beauty,' said Winston.

He held Julia's supple waist easily encircled by his arm. From the hip to
the knee her flank was against his. Out of their bodies no child would
ever come. That was the one thing they could never do. Only by word of
mouth, from mind to mind, could they pass on the secret. The woman down
there had no mind, she had only strong arms, a warm heart, and a fertile
belly. He wondered how many children she had given birth to. It might
easily be fifteen. She had had her momentary flowering, a year, perhaps,
of wild-rose beauty and then she had suddenly swollen like a fertilized
fruit and grown hard and red and coarse, and then her life had been
laundering, scrubbing, darning, cooking, sweeping, polishing, mending,
scrubbing, laundering, first for children, then for grandchildren, over
thirty unbroken years. At the end of it she was still singing. The mystical
reverence that he felt for her was somehow mixed up with the aspect of
the pale, cloudless sky, stretching away behind the chimney-pots into
interminable distance. It was curious to think that the sky was the same
for everybody, in Eurasia or Eastasia as well as here. And the people
under the sky were also very much the same--everywhere, all over the world,
hundreds of thousands of millions of people just like this, people ignorant
of one another's existence, held apart by walls of hatred and lies, and
yet almost exactly the same--people who had never learned to think but who
were storing up in their hearts and bellies and muscles the power that
would one day overturn the world. If there was hope, it lay in the proles!
Without having read to the end of THE BOOK, he knew that that must be
Goldstein's final message. The future belonged to the proles. And could he
be sure that when their time came the world they constructed would not be
just as alien to him, Winston Smith, as the world of the Party? Yes,
because at the least it would be a world of sanity. Where there is
equality there can be sanity. Sooner or later it would happen, strength
would change into consciousness. The proles were immortal, you could not
doubt it when you looked at that valiant figure in the yard. In the end
their awakening would come. And until that happened, though it might be a
thousand years, they would stay alive against all the odds, like birds,
passing on from body to body the vitality which the Party did not share
and could not kill.

'Do you remember,' he said, 'the thrush that sang to us, that first day,
at the edge of the wood?'

'He wasn't singing to us,' said Julia. 'He was singing to please himself.
Not even that. He was just singing.'

The birds sang, the proles sang. the Party did not sing. All round the
world, in London and New York, in Africa and Brazil, and in the mysterious,
forbidden lands beyond the frontiers, in the streets of Paris and Berlin,
in the villages of the endless Russian plain, in the bazaars of China and
Japan--everywhere stood the same solid unconquerable figure, made monstrous
by work and childbearing, toiling from birth to death and still singing.
Out of those mighty loins a race of conscious beings must one day come.
You were the dead, theirs was the future. But you could share in that
future if you kept alive the mind as they kept alive the body, and passed
on the secret doctrine that two plus two make four.

'We are the dead,' he said.

'We are the dead,' echoed Julia dutifully.

'You are the dead,' said an iron voice behind them.

They sprang apart. Winston's entrails seemed to have turned into ice. He
could see the white all round the irises of Julia's eyes. Her face had
turned a milky yellow. The smear of rouge that was still on each cheekbone
stood out sharply, almost as though unconnected with the skin beneath.

'You are the dead,' repeated the iron voice.

'It was behind the picture,' breathed Julia.

'It was behind the picture,' said the voice. 'Remain exactly where you
are. Make no movement until you are ordered.'

It was starting, it was starting at last! They could do nothing except
stand gazing into one another's eyes. To run for life, to get out of the
house before it was too late--no such thought occurred to them. Unthinkable
to disobey the iron voice from the wall. There was a snap as though a catch
had been turned back, and a crash of breaking glass. The picture had fallen
to the floor uncovering the telescreen behind it.

'Now they can see us,' said Julia.

'Now we can see you,' said the voice. 'Stand out in the middle of the
room. Stand back to back. Clasp your hands behind your heads. Do not touch
one another.'

They were not touching, but it seemed to him that he could feel Julia's
body shaking. Or perhaps it was merely the shaking of his own. He could
just stop his teeth from chattering, but his knees were beyond his control.
There was a sound of trampling boots below, inside the house and outside.
The yard seemed to be full of men. Something was being dragged across the
stones. The woman's singing had stopped abruptly. There was a long, rolling
clang, as though the washtub had been flung across the yard, and then a
confusion of angry shouts which ended in a yell of pain.

'The house is surrounded,' said Winston.

'The house is surrounded,' said the voice.

He heard Julia snap her teeth together. 'I suppose we may as well say
good-bye,' she said.

'You may as well say good-bye,' said the voice. And then another quite
different voice, a thin, cultivated voice which Winston had the impression
of having heard before, struck in; 'And by the way, while we are on the
subject, "Here comes a candle to light you to bed, here comes a chopper to
chop off your head"!'

Something crashed on to the bed behind Winston's back. The head of a ladder
had been thrust through the window and had burst in the frame. Someone was
climbing through the window. There was a stampede of boots up the stairs.
The room was full of solid men in black uniforms, with iron-shod boots on
their feet and truncheons in their hands.

Winston was not trembling any longer. Even his eyes he barely moved. One
thing alone mattered; to keep still, to keep still and not give them an
excuse to hit you! A man with a smooth prize-fighter's jowl in which the
mouth was only a slit paused opposite him balancing his truncheon
meditatively between thumb and forefinger. Winston met his eyes. The
feeling of nakedness, with one's hands behind one's head and one's face
and body all exposed, was almost unbearable. The man protruded the tip
of a white tongue, licked the place where his lips should have been, and
then passed on. There was another crash. Someone had picked up the glass
paperweight from the table and smashed it to pieces on the hearth-stone.

The fragment of coral, a tiny crinkle of pink like a sugar rosebud from
a cake, rolled across the mat. How small, thought Winston, how small it
always was! There was a gasp and a thump behind him, and he received a
violent kick on the ankle which nearly flung him off his balance. One of
the men had smashed his fist into Julia's solar plexus, doubling her up
like a pocket ruler. She was thrashing about on the floor, fighting for
breath. Winston dared not turn his head even by a millimetre, but sometimes
her livid, gasping face came within the angle of his vision. Even in his
terror it was as though he could feel the pain in his own body, the deadly
pain which nevertheless was less urgent than the struggle to get back her
breath. He knew what it was like; the terrible, agonizing pain which was
there all the while but could not be suffered yet, because before all else
it was necessary to be able to breathe. Then two of the men hoisted her
up by knees and shoulders, and carried her out of the room like a sack.
Winston had a glimpse of her face, upside down, yellow and contorted, with
the eyes shut, and still with a smear of rouge on either cheek; and that
was the last he saw of her.

He stood dead still. No one had hit him yet. Thoughts which came of their
own accord but seemed totally uninteresting began to flit through his
mind. He wondered whether they had got Mr Charrington. He wondered what
they had done to the woman in the yard. He noticed that he badly wanted
to urinate, and felt a faint surprise, because he had done so only two or
three hours ago. He noticed that the clock on the mantelpiece said nine,
meaning twenty-one. But the light seemed too strong. Would not the light
be fading at twenty-one hours on an August evening? He wondered whether
after all he and Julia had mistaken the time--had slept the clock round
and thought it was twenty-thirty when really it was nought eight-thirty
on the following morning. But he did not pursue the thought further.
It was not interesting.

There was another, lighter step in the passage. Mr Charrington came into
the room. The demeanour of the black-uniformed men suddenly became more
subdued. Something had also changed in Mr Charrington's appearance. His
eye fell on the fragments of the glass paperweight.

'Pick up those pieces,' he said sharply.

A man stooped to obey. The cockney accent had disappeared; Winston suddenly
realized whose voice it was that he had heard a few moments ago on the
telescreen. Mr Charrington was still wearing his old velvet jacket, but
his hair, which had been almost white, had turned black. Also he was not
wearing his spectacles. He gave Winston a single sharp glance, as though
verifying his identity, and then paid no more attention to him. He was
still recognizable, but he was not the same person any longer. His body
had straightened, and seemed to have grown bigger. His face had undergone
only tiny changes that had nevertheless worked a complete transformation.
The black eyebrows were less bushy, the wrinkles were gone, the whole
lines of the face seemed to have altered; even the nose seemed shorter. It
was the alert, cold face of a man of about five-and-thirty. It occurred to
Winston that for the first time in his life he was looking, with knowledge,
at a member of the Thought Police.


Chapter 1

He did not know where he was. Presumably he was in the Ministry of Love,
but there was no way of making certain. He was in a high-ceilinged
windowless cell with walls of glittering white porcelain. Concealed lamps
flooded it with cold light, and there was a low, steady humming sound
which he supposed had something to do with the air supply. A bench, or
shelf, just wide enough to sit on ran round the wall, broken only by the
door and, at the end opposite the door, a lavatory pan with no wooden
seat. There were four telescreens, one in each wall.

There was a dull aching in his belly. It had been there ever since they
had bundled him into the closed van and driven him away. But he was also
hungry, with a gnawing, unwholesome kind of hunger. It might be twenty-four
hours since he had eaten, it might be thirty-six. He still did not know,
probably never would know, whether it had been morning or evening when
they arrested him. Since he was arrested he had not been fed.

He sat as still as he could on the narrow bench, with his hands crossed
on his knee. He had already learned to sit still. If you made unexpected
movements they yelled at you from the telescreen. But the craving for food
was growing upon him. What he longed for above all was a piece of bread.
He had an idea that there were a few breadcrumbs in the pocket of his
overalls. It was even possible--he thought this because from time to time
something seemed to tickle his leg--that there might be a sizeable bit of
crust there. In the end the temptation to find out overcame his fear; he
slipped a hand into his pocket.

'Smith!' yelled a voice from the telescreen. '6079 Smith W.! Hands out of
pockets in the cells!'

He sat still again, his hands crossed on his knee. Before being brought
here he had been taken to another place which must have been an ordinary
prison or a temporary lock-up used by the patrols. He did not know how
long he had been there; some hours at any rate; with no clocks and no
daylight it was hard to gauge the time. It was a noisy, evil-smelling
place. They had put him into a cell similar to the one he was now in,
but filthily dirty and at all times crowded by ten or fifteen people. The
majority of them were common criminals, but there were a few political
prisoners among them. He had sat silent against the wall, jostled by dirty
bodies, too preoccupied by fear and the pain in his belly to take much
interest in his surroundings, but still noticing the astonishing difference
in demeanour between the Party prisoners and the others. The Party
prisoners were always silent and terrified, but the ordinary criminals
seemed to care nothing for anybody. They yelled insults at the guards,
fought back fiercely when their belongings were impounded, wrote obscene
words on the floor, ate smuggled food which they produced from mysterious
hiding-places in their clothes, and even shouted down the telescreen when
it tried to restore order. On the other hand some of them seemed to be on
good terms with the guards, called them by nicknames, and tried to wheedle
cigarettes through the spyhole in the door. The guards, too, treated the
common criminals with a certain forbearance, even when they had to handle
them roughly. There was much talk about the forced-labour camps to which
most of the prisoners expected to be sent. It was 'all right' in the
camps, he gathered, so long as you had good contacts and knew the ropes.
There was bribery, favouritism, and racketeering of every kind, there was
homosexuality and prostitution, there was even illicit alcohol distilled
from potatoes. The positions of trust were given only to the common
criminals, especially the gangsters and the murderers, who formed a sort
of aristocracy. All the dirty jobs were done by the politicals.

There was a constant come-and-go of prisoners of every description:
drug-peddlers, thieves, bandits, black-marketeers, drunks, prostitutes.
Some of the drunks were so violent that the other prisoners had to combine
to suppress them. An enormous wreck of a woman, aged about sixty, with
great tumbling breasts and thick coils of white hair which had come down
in her struggles, was carried in, kicking and shouting, by four guards,
who had hold of her one at each corner. They wrenched off the boots with
which she had been trying to kick them, and dumped her down across
Winston's lap, almost breaking his thigh-bones. The woman hoisted herself
upright and followed them out with a yell of 'F---- bastards!' Then,
noticing that she was sitting on something uneven, she slid off Winston's
knees on to the bench.

'Beg pardon, dearie,' she said. 'I wouldn't 'a sat on you, only the buggers
put me there. They dono 'ow to treat a lady, do they?' She paused, patted
her breast, and belched. 'Pardon,' she said, 'I ain't meself, quite.'

She leant forward and vomited copiously on the floor.

'Thass better,' she said, leaning back with closed eyes. 'Never keep it
down, thass what I say. Get it up while it's fresh on your stomach, like.'

She revived, turned to have another look at Winston and seemed immediately
to take a fancy to him. She put a vast arm round his shoulder and drew him
towards her, breathing beer and vomit into his face.

'Wass your name, dearie?' she said.

'Smith,' said Winston.

'Smith?' said the woman. 'Thass funny. My name's Smith too. Why,' she
added sentimentally, 'I might be your mother!'

She might, thought Winston, be his mother. She was about the right age and
physique, and it was probable that people changed somewhat after twenty
years in a forced-labour camp.

No one else had spoken to him. To a surprising extent the ordinary
criminals ignored the Party prisoners. 'The polITS,' they called them,
with a sort of uninterested contempt. The Party prisoners seemed terrified
of speaking to anybody, and above all of speaking to one another. Only
once, when two Party members, both women, were pressed close together on
the bench, he overheard amid the din of voices a few hurriedly-whispered
words; and in particular a reference to something called 'room one-oh-one',
which he did not understand.

It might be two or three hours ago that they had brought him here. The
dull pain in his belly never went away, but sometimes it grew better and
sometimes worse, and his thoughts expanded or contracted accordingly. When
it grew worse he thought only of the pain itself, and of his desire for
food. When it grew better, panic took hold of him. There were moments
when he foresaw the things that would happen to him with such actuality
that his heart galloped and his breath stopped. He felt the smash of
truncheons on his elbows and iron-shod boots on his shins; he saw himself
grovelling on the floor, screaming for mercy through broken teeth. He
hardly thought of Julia. He could not fix his mind on her. He loved her
and would not betray her; but that was only a fact, known as he knew the
rules of arithmetic. He felt no love for her, and he hardly even wondered
what was happening to her. He thought oftener of O'Brien, with a flickering
hope. O'Brien might know that he had been arrested. The Brotherhood, he
had said, never tried to save its members. But there was the razor blade;
they would send the razor blade if they could. There would be perhaps five
seconds before the guard could rush into the cell. The blade would bite
into him with a sort of burning coldness, and even the fingers that held
it would be cut to the bone. Everything came back to his sick body, which
shrank trembling from the smallest pain. He was not certain that he would
use the razor blade even if he got the chance. It was more natural to exist
from moment to moment, accepting another ten minutes' life even with the
certainty that there was torture at the end of it.

Sometimes he tried to calculate the number of porcelain bricks in the
walls of the cell. It should have been easy, but he always lost count at
some point or another. More often he wondered where he was, and what time
of day it was. At one moment he felt certain that it was broad daylight
outside, and at the next equally certain that it was pitch darkness. In
this place, he knew instinctively, the lights would never be turned out.
It was the place with no darkness: he saw now why O'Brien had seemed to
recognize the allusion. In the Ministry of Love there were no windows. His
cell might be at the heart of the building or against its outer wall; it
might be ten floors below ground, or thirty above it. He moved himself
mentally from place to place, and tried to determine by the feeling of his
body whether he was perched high in the air or buried deep underground.

There was a sound of marching boots outside. The steel door opened with
a clang. A young officer, a trim black-uniformed figure who seemed to
glitter all over with polished leather, and whose pale, straight-featured
face was like a wax mask, stepped smartly through the doorway. He motioned
to the guards outside to bring in the prisoner they were leading. The
poet Ampleforth shambled into the cell. The door clanged shut again.

Ampleforth made one or two uncertain movements from side to side, as
though having some idea that there was another door to go out of, and then
began to wander up and down the cell. He had not yet noticed Winston's
presence. His troubled eyes were gazing at the wall about a metre above
the level of Winston's head. He was shoeless; large, dirty toes were
sticking out of the holes in his socks. He was also several days away
from a shave. A scrubby beard covered his face to the cheekbones, giving
him an air of ruffianism that went oddly with his large weak frame and
nervous movements.

Winston roused himself a little from his lethargy. He must speak
to Ampleforth, and risk the yell from the telescreen. It was even
conceivable that Ampleforth was the bearer of the razor blade.

'Ampleforth,' he said.

There was no yell from the telescreen. Ampleforth paused, mildly startled.
His eyes focused themselves slowly on Winston.

'Ah, Smith!' he said. 'You too!'

'What are you in for?'

'To tell you the truth--' He sat down awkwardly on the bench opposite
Winston. 'There is only one offence, is there not?' he said.

'And have you committed it?'

'Apparently I have.'

He put a hand to his forehead and pressed his temples for a moment, as
though trying to remember something.

'These things happen,' he began vaguely. 'I have been able to recall one
instance--a possible instance. It was an indiscretion, undoubtedly. We
were producing a definitive edition of the poems of Kipling. I allowed the
word "God" to remain at the end of a line. I could not help it!' he added
almost indignantly, raising his face to look at Winston. 'It was impossible
to change the line. The rhyme was "rod". Do you realize that there are only
twelve rhymes to "rod" in the entire language? For days I had racked my
brains. There WAS no other rhyme.'

The expression on his face changed. The annoyance passed out of it and for
a moment he looked almost pleased. A sort of intellectual warmth, the joy
of the pedant who has found out some useless fact, shone through the dirt
and scrubby hair.

'Has it ever occurred to you,' he said, 'that the whole history of English
poetry has been determined by the fact that the English language lacks

No, that particular thought had never occurred to Winston. Nor, in the
circumstances, did it strike him as very important or interesting.

'Do you know what time of day it is?' he said.

Ampleforth looked startled again. 'I had hardly thought about it. They
arrested me--it could be two days ago--perhaps three.' His eyes flitted
round the walls, as though he half expected to find a window somewhere.
'There is no difference between night and day in this place. I do not see
how one can calculate the time.'

They talked desultorily for some minutes, then, without apparent reason,
a yell from the telescreen bade them be silent. Winston sat quietly, his
hands crossed. Ampleforth, too large to sit in comfort on the narrow
bench, fidgeted from side to side, clasping his lank hands first round one
knee, then round the other. The telescreen barked at him to keep still.
Time passed. Twenty minutes, an hour--it was difficult to judge. Once more
there was a sound of boots outside. Winston's entrails contracted. Soon,
very soon, perhaps in five minutes, perhaps now, the tramp of boots would
mean that his own turn had come.

The door opened. The cold-faced young officer stepped into the cell. With
a brief movement of the hand he indicated Ampleforth.

'Room 101,' he said.

Ampleforth marched clumsily out between the guards, his face vaguely
perturbed, but uncomprehending.

What seemed like a long time passed. The pain in Winston's belly had
revived. His mind sagged round and round on the same trick, like a ball
falling again and again into the same series of slots. He had only six
thoughts. The pain in his belly; a piece of bread; the blood and the
screaming; O'Brien; Julia; the razor blade. There was another spasm in his
entrails, the heavy boots were approaching. As the door opened, the wave
of air that it created brought in a powerful smell of cold sweat. Parsons
walked into the cell. He was wearing khaki shorts and a sports-shirt.

This time Winston was startled into self-forgetfulness.

'YOU here!' he said.

Parsons gave Winston a glance in which there was neither interest nor
surprise, but only misery. He began walking jerkily up and down, evidently
unable to keep still. Each time he straightened his pudgy knees it was
apparent that they were trembling. His eyes had a wide-open, staring look,
as though he could not prevent himself from gazing at something in the
middle distance.

'What are you in for?' said Winston.

'Thoughtcrime!' said Parsons, almost blubbering. The tone of his voice
implied at once a complete admission of his guilt and a sort of incredulous
horror that such a word could be applied to himself. He paused opposite
Winston and began eagerly appealing to him: 'You don't think they'll shoot
me, do you, old chap? They don't shoot you if you haven't actually done
anything--only thoughts, which you can't help? I know they give you a fair
hearing. Oh, I trust them for that! They'll know my record, won't they?
YOU know what kind of chap I was. Not a bad chap in my way. Not brainy, of
course, but keen. I tried to do my best for the Party, didn't I? I'll get
off with five years, don't you think? Or even ten years? A chap like me
could make himself pretty useful in a labour-camp. They wouldn't shoot me
for going off the rails just once?'

'Are you guilty?' said Winston.

'Of course I'm guilty!' cried Parsons with a servile glance at the
telescreen. 'You don't think the Party would arrest an innocent man,
do you?' His frog-like face grew calmer, and even took on a slightly
sanctimonious expression. 'Thoughtcrime is a dreadful thing, old man,'
he said sententiously. 'It's insidious. It can get hold of you without
your even knowing it. Do you know how it got hold of me? In my sleep! Yes,
that's a fact. There I was, working away, trying to do my bit--never knew
I had any bad stuff in my mind at all. And then I started talking in my
sleep. Do you know what they heard me saying?'

He sank his voice, like someone who is obliged for medical reasons to
utter an obscenity.

'"Down with Big Brother!" Yes, I said that! Said it over and over again,
it seems. Between you and me, old man, I'm glad they got me before it went
any further. Do you know what I'm going to say to them when I go up before
the tribunal? "Thank you," I'm going to say, "thank you for saving me
before it was too late."'

'Who denounced you?' said Winston.

'It was my little daughter,' said Parsons with a sort of doleful pride.
'She listened at the keyhole. Heard what I was saying, and nipped off to
the patrols the very next day. Pretty smart for a nipper of seven, eh?
I don't bear her any grudge for it. In fact I'm proud of her. It shows I
brought her up in the right spirit, anyway.'

He made a few more jerky movements up and down, several times, casting a
longing glance at the lavatory pan. Then he suddenly ripped down his

'Excuse me, old man,' he said. 'I can't help it. It's the waiting.'

He plumped his large posterior into the lavatory pan. Winston covered his
face with his hands.

'Smith!' yelled the voice from the telescreen. '6079 Smith W.! Uncover your
face. No faces covered in the cells.'

Winston uncovered his face. Parsons used the lavatory, loudly and
abundantly. It then turned out that the plug was defective and the cell
stank abominably for hours afterwards.

Parsons was removed. More prisoners came and went, mysteriously. One, a
woman, was consigned to 'Room 101', and, Winston noticed, seemed to shrivel
and turn a different colour when she heard the words. A time came when, if
it had been morning when he was brought here, it would be afternoon; or if
it had been afternoon, then it would be midnight. There were six prisoners
in the cell, men and women. All sat very still. Opposite Winston there sat
a man with a chinless, toothy face exactly like that of some large,
harmless rodent. His fat, mottled cheeks were so pouched at the bottom
that it was difficult not to believe that he had little stores of food
tucked away there. His pale-grey eyes flitted timorously from face to face
and turned quickly away again when he caught anyone's eye.

The door opened, and another prisoner was brought in whose appearance sent
a momentary chill through Winston. He was a commonplace, mean-looking man
who might have been an engineer or technician of some kind. But what was
startling was the emaciation of his face. It was like a skull. Because of
its thinness the mouth and eyes looked disproportionately large, and the
eyes seemed filled with a murderous, unappeasable hatred of somebody or

The man sat down on the bench at a little distance from Winston. Winston
did not look at him again, but the tormented, skull-like face was as
vivid in his mind as though it had been straight in front of his eyes.
Suddenly he realized what was the matter. The man was dying of starvation.
The same thought seemed to occur almost simultaneously to everyone in the
cell. There was a very faint stirring all the way round the bench. The
eyes of the chinless man kept flitting towards the skull-faced man, then
turning guiltily away, then being dragged back by an irresistible
attraction. Presently he began to fidget on his seat. At last he stood up,
waddled clumsily across the cell, dug down into the pocket of his overalls,
and, with an abashed air, held out a grimy piece of bread to the
skull-faced man.

There was a furious, deafening roar from the telescreen. The chinless man
jumped in his tracks. The skull-faced man had quickly thrust his hands
behind his back, as though demonstrating to all the world that he refused
the gift.

'Bumstead!' roared the voice. '2713 Bumstead J.! Let fall that piece of

The chinless man dropped the piece of bread on the floor.

'Remain standing where you are,' said the voice. 'Face the door. Make no

The chinless man obeyed. His large pouchy cheeks were quivering
uncontrollably. The door clanged open. As the young officer entered and
stepped aside, there emerged from behind him a short stumpy guard with
enormous arms and shoulders. He took his stand opposite the chinless man,
and then, at a signal from the officer, let free a frightful blow, with
all the weight of his body behind it, full in the chinless man's mouth.
The force of it seemed almost to knock him clear of the floor. His body
was flung across the cell and fetched up against the base of the lavatory
seat. For a moment he lay as though stunned, with dark blood oozing from
his mouth and nose. A very faint whimpering or squeaking, which seemed
unconscious, came out of him. Then he rolled over and raised himself
unsteadily on hands and knees. Amid a stream of blood and saliva, the two
halves of a dental plate fell out of his mouth.

The prisoners sat very still, their hands crossed on their knees. The
chinless man climbed back into his place. Down one side of his face the
flesh was darkening. His mouth had swollen into a shapeless cherry-coloured
mass with a black hole in the middle of it.

From time to time a little blood dripped on to the breast of his overalls.
His grey eyes still flitted from face to face, more guiltily than ever,
as though he were trying to discover how much the others despised him for
his humiliation.

The door opened. With a small gesture the officer indicated the
skull-faced man.

'Room 101,' he said.

There was a gasp and a flurry at Winston's side. The man had actually
flung himself on his knees on the floor, with his hand clasped together.

'Comrade! Officer!' he cried. 'You don't have to take me to that place!
Haven't I told you everything already? What else is it you want to know?
There's nothing I wouldn't confess, nothing! Just tell me what it is and
I'll confess straight off. Write it down and I'll sign it--anything!
Not room 101!'

'Room 101,' said the officer.

The man's face, already very pale, turned a colour Winston would not have
believed possible. It was definitely, unmistakably, a shade of green.

'Do anything to me!' he yelled. 'You've been starving me for weeks. Finish
it off and let me die. Shoot me. Hang me. Sentence me to twenty-five
years. Is there somebody else you want me to give away? Just say who it is
and I'll tell you anything you want. I don't care who it is or what you do
to them. I've got a wife and three children. The biggest of them isn't six
years old. You can take the whole lot of them and cut their throats in
front of my eyes, and I'll stand by and watch it. But not Room 101!'

'Room 101,' said the officer.

The man looked frantically round at the other prisoners, as though with
some idea that he could put another victim in his own place. His eyes
settled on the smashed face of the chinless man. He flung out a lean arm.

'That's the one you ought to be taking, not me!' he shouted. 'You didn't
hear what he was saying after they bashed his face. Give me a chance and
I'll tell you every word of it. HE'S the one that's against the Party, not
me.' The guards stepped forward. The man's voice rose to a shriek. 'You
didn't hear him!' he repeated. 'Something went wrong with the telescreen.
HE'S the one you want. Take him, not me!'

The two sturdy guards had stooped to take him by the arms. But just at
this moment he flung himself across the floor of the cell and grabbed one
of the iron legs that supported the bench. He had set up a wordless
howling, like an animal. The guards took hold of him to wrench him loose,
but he clung on with astonishing strength. For perhaps twenty seconds
they were hauling at him. The prisoners sat quiet, their hands crossed on
their knees, looking straight in front of them. The howling stopped; the
man had no breath left for anything except hanging on. Then there was a
different kind of cry. A kick from a guard's boot had broken the fingers
of one of his hands. They dragged him to his feet.

'Room 101,' said the officer.

The man was led out, walking unsteadily, with head sunken, nursing his
crushed hand, all the fight had gone out of him.

A long time passed. If it had been midnight when the skull-faced man was
taken away, it was morning: if morning, it was afternoon. Winston was
alone, and had been alone for hours. The pain of sitting on the narrow
bench was such that often he got up and walked about, unreproved by the
telescreen. The piece of bread still lay where the chinless man had
dropped it. At the beginning it needed a hard effort not to look at it,
but presently hunger gave way to thirst. His mouth was sticky and
evil-tasting. The humming sound and the unvarying white light induced a
sort of faintness, an empty feeling inside his head. He would get up
because the ache in his bones was no longer bearable, and then would sit
down again almost at once because he was too dizzy to make sure of
staying on his feet. Whenever his physical sensations were a little under
control the terror returned. Sometimes with a fading hope he thought of
O'Brien and the razor blade. It was thinkable that the razor blade might
arrive concealed in his food, if he were ever fed. More dimly he thought
of Julia. Somewhere or other she was suffering perhaps far worse than he.
She might be screaming with pain at this moment. He thought: 'If I could
save Julia by doubling my own pain, would I do it? Yes, I would.' But that
was merely an intellectual decision, taken because he knew that he ought
to take it. He did not feel it. In this place you could not feel anything,
except pain and foreknowledge of pain. Besides, was it possible, when you
were actually suffering it, to wish for any reason that your own pain
should increase? But that question was not answerable yet.

The boots were approaching again. The door opened. O'Brien came in.

Winston started to his feet. The shock of the sight had driven all
caution out of him. For the first time in many years he forgot the
presence of the telescreen.

'They've got you too!' he cried.

'They got me a long time ago,' said O'Brien with a mild, almost regretful
irony. He stepped aside. From behind him there emerged a broad-chested
guard with a long black truncheon in his hand.

'You know this, Winston,' said O'Brien. 'Don't deceive yourself. You did
know it--you have always known it.'

Yes, he saw now, he had always known it. But there was no time to think of
that. All he had eyes for was the truncheon in the guard's hand. It might
fall anywhere; on the crown, on the tip of the ear, on the upper arm, on
the elbow----

The elbow! He had slumped to his knees, almost paralysed, clasping the
stricken elbow with his other hand. Everything had exploded into yellow
light. Inconceivable, inconceivable that one blow could cause such pain!
The light cleared and he could see the other two looking down at him. The
guard was laughing at his contortions. One question at any rate was
answered. Never, for any reason on earth, could you wish for an increase
of pain. Of pain you could wish only one thing: that it should stop.
Nothing in the world was so bad as physical pain. In the face of pain
there are no heroes, no heroes, he thought over and over as he writhed
on the floor, clutching uselessly at his disabled left arm.

Chapter 2

He was lying on something that felt like a camp bed, except that it was
higher off the ground and that he was fixed down in some way so that he
could not move. Light that seemed stronger than usual was falling on his
face. O'Brien was standing at his side, looking down at him intently. At
the other side of him stood a man in a white coat, holding a hypodermic

Even after his eyes were open he took in his surroundings only gradually.
He had the impression of swimming up into this room from some quite
different world, a sort of underwater world far beneath it. How long he
had been down there he did not know. Since the moment when they arrested
him he had not seen darkness or daylight. Besides, his memories were not
continuous. There had been times when consciousness, even the sort of
consciousness that one has in sleep, had stopped dead and started again
after a blank interval. But whether the intervals were of days or weeks
or only seconds, there was no way of knowing.

With that first blow on the elbow the nightmare had started. Later he was
to realize that all that then happened was merely a preliminary, a routine
interrogation to which nearly all prisoners were subjected. There was a
long range of crimes--espionage, sabotage, and the like--to which everyone
had to confess as a matter of course. The confession was a formality,
though the torture was real. How many times he had been beaten, how long
the beatings had continued, he could not remember. Always there were five
or six men in black uniforms at him simultaneously. Sometimes it was
fists, sometimes it was truncheons, sometimes it was steel rods, sometimes
it was boots. There were times when he rolled about the floor, as shameless
as an animal, writhing his body this way and that in an endless, hopeless
effort to dodge the kicks, and simply inviting more and yet more kicks,
in his ribs, in his belly, on his elbows, on his shins, in his groin,
in his testicles, on the bone at the base of his spine. There were times
when it went on and on until the cruel, wicked, unforgivable thing seemed
to him not that the guards continued to beat him but that he could not
force himself into losing consciousness. There were times when his nerve
so forsook him that he began shouting for mercy even before the beating
began, when the mere sight of a fist drawn back for a blow was enough
to make him pour forth a confession of real and imaginary crimes. There
were other times when he started out with the resolve of confessing
nothing, when every word had to be forced out of him between gasps of
pain, and there were times when he feebly tried to compromise, when he
said to himself: 'I will confess, but not yet. I must hold out till the
pain becomes unbearable. Three more kicks, two more kicks, and then I will
tell them what they want.' Sometimes he was beaten till he could hardly
stand, then flung like a sack of potatoes on to the stone floor of a cell,
left to recuperate for a few hours, and then taken out and beaten again.
There were also longer periods of recovery. He remembered them dimly,
because they were spent chiefly in sleep or stupor. He remembered a cell
with a plank bed, a sort of shelf sticking out from the wall, and a tin
wash-basin, and meals of hot soup and bread and sometimes coffee. He
remembered a surly barber arriving to scrape his chin and crop his hair,
and businesslike, unsympathetic men in white coats feeling his pulse,
tapping his reflexes, turning up his eyelids, running harsh fingers over
him in search for broken bones, and shooting needles into his arm to make
him sleep.

The beatings grew less frequent, and became mainly a threat, a horror
to which he could be sent back at any moment when his answers were
unsatisfactory. His questioners now were not ruffians in black uniforms
but Party intellectuals, little rotund men with quick movements and
flashing spectacles, who worked on him in relays over periods which
lasted--he thought, he could not be sure--ten or twelve hours at a stretch.
These other questioners saw to it that he was in constant slight pain, but
it was not chiefly pain that they relied on. They slapped his face, wrung
his ears, pulled his hair, made him stand on one leg, refused him leave to
urinate, shone glaring lights in his face until his eyes ran with water;
but the aim of this was simply to humiliate him and destroy his power of
arguing and reasoning. Their real weapon was the merciless questioning
that went on and on, hour after hour, tripping him up, laying traps for
him, twisting everything that he said, convicting him at every step of
lies and self-contradiction until he began weeping as much from shame as
from nervous fatigue. Sometimes he would weep half a dozen times in a
single session. Most of the time they screamed abuse at him and threatened
at every hesitation to deliver him over to the guards again; but sometimes
they would suddenly change their tune, call him comrade, appeal to him in
the name of Ingsoc and Big Brother, and ask him sorrowfully whether even
now he had not enough loyalty to the Party left to make him wish to
undo the evil he had done. When his nerves were in rags after hours of
questioning, even this appeal could reduce him to snivelling tears. In the
end the nagging voices broke him down more completely than the boots and
fists of the guards. He became simply a mouth that uttered, a hand that
signed, whatever was demanded of him. His sole concern was to find out
what they wanted him to confess, and then confess it quickly, before the
bullying started anew. He confessed to the assassination of eminent Party
members, the distribution of seditious pamphlets, embezzlement of public
funds, sale of military secrets, sabotage of every kind. He confessed that
he had been a spy in the pay of the Eastasian government as far back as
1968. He confessed that he was a religious believer, an admirer of
capitalism, and a sexual pervert. He confessed that he had murdered his
wife, although he knew, and his questioners must have known, that his wife
was still alive. He confessed that for years he had been in personal touch
with Goldstein and had been a member of an underground organization which
had included almost every human being he had ever known. It was easier to
confess everything and implicate everybody. Besides, in a sense it was all
true. It was true that he had been the enemy of the Party, and in the eyes
of the Party there was no distinction between the thought and the deed.

There were also memories of another kind. They stood out in his mind
disconnectedly, like pictures with blackness all round them.

He was in a cell which might have been either dark or light, because he
could see nothing except a pair of eyes. Near at hand some kind of
instrument was ticking slowly and regularly. The eyes grew larger and more
luminous. Suddenly he floated out of his seat, dived into the eyes, and
was swallowed up.

He was strapped into a chair surrounded by dials, under dazzling lights.
A man in a white coat was reading the dials. There was a tramp of heavy
boots outside. The door clanged open. The waxed-faced officer marched in,
followed by two guards.

'Room 101,' said the officer.

The man in the white coat did not turn round. He did not look at Winston
either; he was looking only at the dials.

He was rolling down a mighty corridor, a kilometre wide, full of glorious,
golden light, roaring with laughter and shouting out confessions at the
top of his voice. He was confessing everything, even the things he had
succeeded in holding back under the torture. He was relating the entire
history of his life to an audience who knew it already. With him were the
guards, the other questioners, the men in white coats, O'Brien, Julia,
Mr Charrington, all rolling down the corridor together and shouting with
laughter. Some dreadful thing which had lain embedded in the future had
somehow been skipped over and had not happened. Everything was all right,
there was no more pain, the last detail of his life was laid bare,
understood, forgiven.

He was starting up from the plank bed in the half-certainty that he had
heard O'Brien's voice. All through his interrogation, although he had
never seen him, he had had the feeling that O'Brien was at his elbow, just
out of sight. It was O'Brien who was directing everything. It was he who
set the guards on to Winston and who prevented them from killing him. It
was he who decided when Winston should scream with pain, when he should
have a respite, when he should be fed, when he should sleep, when the
drugs should be pumped into his arm. It was he who asked the questions and
suggested the answers. He was the tormentor, he was the protector, he was
the inquisitor, he was the friend. And once--Winston could not remember
whether it was in drugged sleep, or in normal sleep, or even in a moment
of wakefulness--a voice murmured in his ear: 'Don't worry, Winston; you
are in my keeping. For seven years I have watched over you. Now the
turning-point has come. I shall save you, I shall make you perfect.' He
was not sure whether it was O'Brien's voice; but it was the same voice
that had said to him, 'We shall meet in the place where there is no
darkness,' in that other dream, seven years ago.

He did not remember any ending to his interrogation. There was a period of
blackness and then the cell, or room, in which he now was had gradually
materialized round him. He was almost flat on his back, and unable to move.
His body was held down at every essential point. Even the back of his head
was gripped in some manner. O'Brien was looking down at him gravely and
rather sadly. His face, seen from below, looked coarse and worn, with
pouches under the eyes and tired lines from nose to chin. He was older
than Winston had thought him; he was perhaps forty-eight or fifty. Under
his hand there was a dial with a lever on top and figures running round
the face.

'I told you,' said O'Brien, 'that if we met again it would be here.'

'Yes,' said Winston.

Without any warning except a slight movement of O'Brien's hand, a wave of
pain flooded his body. It was a frightening pain, because he could not see
what was happening, and he had the feeling that some mortal injury was
being done to him. He did not know whether the thing was really happening,
or whether the effect was electrically produced; but his body was being
wrenched out of shape, the joints were being slowly torn apart. Although
the pain had brought the sweat out on his forehead, the worst of all was
the fear that his backbone was about to snap. He set his teeth and
breathed hard through his nose, trying to keep silent as long as possible.

'You are afraid,' said O'Brien, watching his face, 'that in another moment
something is going to break. Your especial fear is that it will be your
backbone. You have a vivid mental picture of the vertebrae snapping apart
and the spinal fluid dripping out of them. That is what you are thinking,
is it not, Winston?'

Winston did not answer. O'Brien drew back the lever on the dial. The wave
of pain receded almost as quickly as it had come.

'That was forty,' said O'Brien. 'You can see that the numbers on this dial
run up to a hundred. Will you please remember, throughout our conversation,
that I have it in my power to inflict pain on you at any moment and to
whatever degree I choose? If you tell me any lies, or attempt to
prevaricate in any way, or even fall below your usual level of
intelligence, you will cry out with pain, instantly. Do you understand

'Yes,' said Winston.

O'Brien's manner became less severe. He resettled his spectacles
thoughtfully, and took a pace or two up and down. When he spoke his voice
was gentle and patient. He had the air of a doctor, a teacher, even a
priest, anxious to explain and persuade rather than to punish.

'I am taking trouble with you, Winston,' he said, 'because you are worth
trouble. You know perfectly well what is the matter with you. You have
known it for years, though you have fought against the knowledge. You are
mentally deranged. You suffer from a defective memory. You are unable to
remember real events and you persuade yourself that you remember other
events which never happened. Fortunately it is curable. You have never
cured yourself of it, because you did not choose to. There was a small
effort of the will that you were not ready to make. Even now, I am well
aware, you are clinging to your disease under the impression that it is
a virtue. Now we will take an example. At this moment, which power is
Oceania at war with?'

'When I was arrested, Oceania was at war with Eastasia.'

'With Eastasia. Good. And Oceania has always been at war with Eastasia,
has it not?'

Winston drew in his breath. He opened his mouth to speak and then did not
speak. He could not take his eyes away from the dial.

'The truth, please, Winston. YOUR truth. Tell me what you think you

'I remember that until only a week before I was arrested, we were not at
war with Eastasia at all. We were in alliance with them. The war was
against Eurasia. That had lasted for four years. Before that----'

O'Brien stopped him with a movement of the hand.

'Another example,' he said. 'Some years ago you had a very serious delusion
indeed. You believed that three men, three one-time Party members named
Jones, Aaronson, and Rutherford--men who were executed for treachery and
sabotage after making the fullest possible confession--were not guilty of
the crimes they were charged with. You believed that you had seen
unmistakable documentary evidence proving that their confessions were
false. There was a certain photograph about which you had a hallucination.
You believed that you had actually held it in your hands. It was a
photograph something like this.'

An oblong slip of newspaper had appeared between O'Brien's fingers. For
perhaps five seconds it was within the angle of Winston's vision. It was
a photograph, and there was no question of its identity. It was THE
photograph. It was another copy of the photograph of Jones, Aaronson, and
Rutherford at the party function in New York, which he had chanced upon
eleven years ago and promptly destroyed. For only an instant it was before
his eyes, then it was out of sight again. But he had seen it,
unquestionably he had seen it! He made a desperate, agonizing effort to
wrench the top half of his body free. It was impossible to move so much as
a centimetre in any direction. For the moment he had even forgotten the
dial. All he wanted was to hold the photograph in his fingers again, or at
least to see it.

'It exists!' he cried.

'No,' said O'Brien.

He stepped across the room. There was a memory hole in the opposite wall.
O'Brien lifted the grating. Unseen, the frail slip of paper was whirling
away on the current of warm air; it was vanishing in a flash of flame.
O'Brien turned away from the wall.

'Ashes,' he said. 'Not even identifiable ashes. Dust. It does not exist.
It never existed.'

'But it did exist! It does exist! It exists in memory. I remember it.
You remember it.'

'I do not remember it,' said O'Brien.

Winston's heart sank. That was doublethink. He had a feeling of deadly
helplessness. If he could have been certain that O'Brien was lying, it
would not have seemed to matter. But it was perfectly possible that O'Brien
had really forgotten the photograph. And if so, then already he would have
forgotten his denial of remembering it, and forgotten the act of
forgetting. How could one be sure that it was simple trickery? Perhaps
that lunatic dislocation in the mind could really happen: that was the
thought that defeated him.

O'Brien was looking down at him speculatively. More than ever he had the
air of a teacher taking pains with a wayward but promising child.

'There is a Party slogan dealing with the control of the past,' he said.
'Repeat it, if you please.'

'"Who controls the past controls the future: who controls the present
controls the past,"' repeated Winston obediently.

'"Who controls the present controls the past,"' said O'Brien, nodding his
head with slow approval. 'Is it your opinion, Winston, that the past has
real existence?'

Again the feeling of helplessness descended upon Winston. His eyes flitted
towards the dial. He not only did not know whether 'yes' or 'no' was the
answer that would save him from pain; he did not even know which answer he
believed to be the true one.

O'Brien smiled faintly. 'You are no metaphysician, Winston,' he said.
'Until this moment you had never considered what is meant by existence. I
will put it more precisely. Does the past exist concretely, in space? Is
there somewhere or other a place, a world of solid objects, where the past
is still happening?'


'Then where does the past exist, if at all?'

'In records. It is written down.'

'In records. And----?'

'In the mind. In human memories.'

'In memory. Very well, then. We, the Party, control all records, and we
control all memories. Then we control the past, do we not?'

'But how can you stop people remembering things?' cried Winston again
momentarily forgetting the dial. 'It is involuntary. It is outside oneself.
How can you control memory? You have not controlled mine!'

O'Brien's manner grew stern again. He laid his hand on the dial.

'On the contrary,' he said, 'YOU have not controlled it. That is what has
brought you here. You are here because you have failed in humility, in
self-discipline. You would not make the act of submission which is the
price of sanity. You preferred to be a lunatic, a minority of one. Only the
disciplined mind can see reality, Winston. You believe that reality is
something objective, external, existing in its own right. You also believe
that the nature of reality is self-evident. When you delude yourself into
thinking that you see something, you assume that everyone else sees the
same thing as you. But I tell you, Winston, that reality is not external.
Reality exists in the human mind, and nowhere else. Not in the individual
mind, which can make mistakes, and in any case soon perishes: only in the
mind of the Party, which is collective and immortal. Whatever the Party
holds to be the truth, is truth. It is impossible to see reality except by
looking through the eyes of the Party. That is the fact that you have got
to relearn, Winston. It needs an act of self-destruction, an effort of the
will. You must humble yourself before you can become sane.'

He paused for a few moments, as though to allow what he had been saying to
sink in.

'Do you remember,' he went on, 'writing in your diary, "Freedom is the
freedom to say that two plus two make four"?'

'Yes,' said Winston.

O'Brien held up his left hand, its back towards Winston, with the thumb
hidden and the four fingers extended.

'How many fingers am I holding up, Winston?'


'And if the party says that it is not four but five--then how many?'


The word ended in a gasp of pain. The needle of the dial had shot up to
fifty-five. The sweat had sprung out all over Winston's body. The air tore
into his lungs and issued again in deep groans which even by clenching his
teeth he could not stop. O'Brien watched him, the four fingers still
extended. He drew back the lever. This time the pain was only slightly

'How many fingers, Winston?'


The needle went up to sixty.

'How many fingers, Winston?'

'Four! Four! What else can I say? Four!'

The needle must have risen again, but he did not look at it. The heavy,
stern face and the four fingers filled his vision. The fingers stood up
before his eyes like pillars, enormous, blurry, and seeming to vibrate,
but unmistakably four.

'How many fingers, Winston?'

'Four! Stop it, stop it! How can you go on? Four! Four!'

'How many fingers, Winston?'

'Five! Five! Five!'

'No, Winston, that is no use. You are lying. You still think there are
four. How many fingers, please?'

'Four! five! Four! Anything you like. Only stop it, stop the pain!'

Abruptly he was sitting up with O'Brien's arm round his shoulders. He had
perhaps lost consciousness for a few seconds. The bonds that had held his
body down were loosened. He felt very cold, he was shaking uncontrollably,
his teeth were chattering, the tears were rolling down his cheeks. For a
moment he clung to O'Brien like a baby, curiously comforted by the heavy
arm round his shoulders. He had the feeling that O'Brien was his protector,
that the pain was something that came from outside, from some other source,
and that it was O'Brien who would save him from it.

'You are a slow learner, Winston,' said O'Brien gently.

'How can I help it?' he blubbered. 'How can I help seeing what is in front
of my eyes? Two and two are four.'

'Sometimes, Winston. Sometimes they are five. Sometimes they are three.
Sometimes they are all of them at once. You must try harder. It is not
easy to become sane.'

He laid Winston down on the bed. The grip of his limbs tightened again,
but the pain had ebbed away and the trembling had stopped, leaving him
merely weak and cold. O'Brien motioned with his head to the man in the
white coat, who had stood immobile throughout the proceedings. The man in
the white coat bent down and looked closely into Winston's eyes, felt his
pulse, laid an ear against his chest, tapped here and there, then he
nodded to O'Brien.

'Again,' said O'Brien.

The pain flowed into Winston's body. The needle must be at seventy,
seventy-five. He had shut his eyes this time. He knew that the fingers
were still there, and still four. All that mattered was somehow to stay
alive until the spasm was over. He had ceased to notice whether he was
crying out or not. The pain lessened again. He opened his eyes. O'Brien
had drawn back the lever.

'How many fingers, Winston?'

'Four. I suppose there are four. I would see five if I could. I am trying
to see five.'

'Which do you wish: to persuade me that you see five, or really to see

'Really to see them.'

'Again,' said O'Brien.

Perhaps the needle was eighty--ninety. Winston could not intermittently
remember why the pain was happening. Behind his screwed-up eyelids a
forest of fingers seemed to be moving in a sort of dance, weaving in and
out, disappearing behind one another and reappearing again. He was trying
to count them, he could not remember why. He knew only that it was
impossible to count them, and that this was somehow due to the mysterious
identity between five and four. The pain died down again. When he opened
his eyes it was to find that he was still seeing the same thing.
Innumerable fingers, like moving trees, were still streaming past in
either direction, crossing and recrossing. He shut his eyes again.

'How many fingers am I holding up, Winston?'

'I don't know. I don't know. You will kill me if you do that again. Four,
five, six--in all honesty I don't know.'

'Better,' said O'Brien.

A needle slid into Winston's arm. Almost in the same instant a blissful,
healing warmth spread all through his body. The pain was already
half-forgotten. He opened his eyes and looked up gratefully at O'Brien.
At sight of the heavy, lined face, so ugly and so intelligent, his heart
seemed to turn over. If he could have moved he would have stretched out
a hand and laid it on O'Brien's arm. He had never loved him so deeply as
at this moment, and not merely because he had stopped the pain. The old
feeling, that at bottom it did not matter whether O'Brien was a friend
or an enemy, had come back. O'Brien was a person who could be talked to.
Perhaps one did not want to be loved so much as to be understood. O'Brien
had tortured him to the edge of lunacy, and in a little while, it was
certain, he would send him to his death. It made no difference. In some
sense that went deeper than friendship, they were intimates: somewhere or
other, although the actual words might never be spoken, there was a place
where they could meet and talk. O'Brien was looking down at him with an
expression which suggested that the same thought might be in his own mind.
When he spoke it was in an easy, conversational tone.

'Do you know where you are, Winston?' he said.

'I don't know. I can guess. In the Ministry of Love.'

'Do you know how long you have been here?'

'I don't know. Days, weeks, months--I think it is months.'

'And why do you imagine that we bring people to this place?'

'To make them confess.'

'No, that is not the reason. Try again.'

'To punish them.'

'No!' exclaimed O'Brien. His voice had changed extraordinarily, and his
face had suddenly become both stern and animated. 'No! Not merely to
extract your confession, not to punish you. Shall I tell you why we have
brought you here? To cure you! To make you sane! Will you understand,
Winston, that no one whom we bring to this place ever leaves our hands
uncured? We are not interested in those stupid crimes that you have
committed. The Party is not interested in the overt act: the thought is
all we care about. We do not merely destroy our enemies, we change them.
Do you understand what I mean by that?'

He was bending over Winston. His face looked enormous because of its
nearness, and hideously ugly because it was seen from below. Moreover it
was filled with a sort of exaltation, a lunatic intensity. Again Winston's
heart shrank. If it had been possible he would have cowered deeper into
the bed. He felt certain that O'Brien was about to twist the dial out of
sheer wantonness. At this moment, however, O'Brien turned away. He took a
pace or two up and down. Then he continued less vehemently:

'The first thing for you to understand is that in this place there are no
martyrdoms. You have read of the religious persecutions of the past. In
the Middle Ages there was the Inquisition. It was a failure. It set out
to eradicate heresy, and ended by perpetuating it. For every heretic it
burned at the stake, thousands of others rose up. Why was that? Because
the Inquisition killed its enemies in the open, and killed them while
they were still unrepentant: in fact, it killed them because they were
unrepentant. Men were dying because they would not abandon their true
beliefs. Naturally all the glory belonged to the victim and all the shame
to the Inquisitor who burned him. Later, in the twentieth century, there
were the totalitarians, as they were called. There were the German Nazis
and the Russian Communists. The Russians persecuted heresy more cruelly
than the Inquisition had done. And they imagined that they had learned
from the mistakes of the past; they knew, at any rate, that one must not
make martyrs. Before they exposed their victims to public trial, they
deliberately set themselves to destroy their dignity. They wore them down
by torture and solitude until they were despicable, cringing wretches,
confessing whatever was put into their mouths, covering themselves with
abuse, accusing and sheltering behind one another, whimpering for mercy.
And yet after only a few years the same thing had happened over again.
The dead men had become martyrs and their degradation was forgotten. Once
again, why was it? In the first place, because the confessions that they
had made were obviously extorted and untrue. We do not make mistakes of
that kind. All the confessions that are uttered here are true. We make
them true. And above all we do not allow the dead to rise up against us.
You must stop imagining that posterity will vindicate you, Winston.
Posterity will never hear of you. You will be lifted clean out from the
stream of history. We shall turn you into gas and pour you into the
stratosphere. Nothing will remain of you, not a name in a register, not
a memory in a living brain. You will be annihilated in the past as well
as in the future. You will never have existed.'

Then why bother to torture me? thought Winston, with a momentary
bitterness. O'Brien checked his step as though Winston had uttered the
thought aloud. His large ugly face came nearer, with the eyes a little

'You are thinking,' he said, 'that since we intend to destroy you utterly,
so that nothing that you say or do can make the smallest difference--in
that case, why do we go to the trouble of interrogating you first? That is
what you were thinking, was it not?'

'Yes,' said Winston.

O'Brien smiled slightly. 'You are a flaw in the pattern, Winston. You are
a stain that must be wiped out. Did I not tell you just now that we are
different from the persecutors of the past? We are not content with
negative obedience, nor even with the most abject submission. When finally
you surrender to us, it must be of your own free will. We do not destroy
the heretic because he resists us: so long as he resists us we never
destroy him. We convert him, we capture his inner mind, we reshape him.
We burn all evil and all illusion out of him; we bring him over to our
side, not in appearance, but genuinely, heart and soul. We make him one of
ourselves before we kill him. It is intolerable to us that an erroneous
thought should exist anywhere in the world, however secret and powerless
it may be. Even in the instant of death we cannot permit any deviation. In
the old days the heretic walked to the stake still a heretic, proclaiming
his heresy, exulting in it. Even the victim of the Russian purges could
carry rebellion locked up in his skull as he walked down the passage
waiting for the bullet. But we make the brain perfect before we blow it
out. The command of the old despotisms was "Thou shalt not". The command
of the totalitarians was "Thou shalt". Our command is "THOU ART". No one
whom we bring to this place ever stands out against us. Everyone is washed
clean. Even those three miserable traitors in whose innocence you once
believed--Jones, Aaronson, and Rutherford--in the end we broke them down.
I took part in their interrogation myself. I saw them gradually worn down,
whimpering, grovelling, weeping--and in the end it was not with pain or
fear, only with penitence. By the time we had finished with them they were
only the shells of men. There was nothing left in them except sorrow for
what they had done, and love of Big Brother. It was touching to see
how they loved him. They begged to be shot quickly, so that they could die
while their minds were still clean.'

His voice had grown almost dreamy. The exaltation, the lunatic enthusiasm,
was still in his face. He is not pretending, thought Winston, he is not a
hypocrite, he believes every word he says. What most oppressed him was the
consciousness of his own intellectual inferiority. He watched the heavy
yet graceful form strolling to and fro, in and out of the range of his
vision. O'Brien was a being in all ways larger than himself. There was no
idea that he had ever had, or could have, that O'Brien had not long ago
known, examined, and rejected. His mind CONTAINED Winston's mind. But
in that case how could it be true that O'Brien was mad? It must be he,
Winston, who was mad. O'Brien halted and looked down at him. His voice had
grown stern again.

'Do not imagine that you will save yourself, Winston, however completely
you surrender to us. No one who has once gone astray is ever spared. And
even if we chose to let you live out the natural term of your life, still
you would never escape from us. What happens to you here is for ever.
Understand that in advance. We shall crush you down to the point from
which there is no coming back. Things will happen to you from which you
could not recover, if you lived a thousand years. Never again will you be
capable of ordinary human feeling. Everything will be dead inside you.
Never again will you be capable of love, or friendship, or joy of living,
or laughter, or curiosity, or courage, or integrity. You will be hollow.
We shall squeeze you empty, and then we shall fill you with ourselves.'

He paused and signed to the man in the white coat. Winston was aware of
some heavy piece of apparatus being pushed into place behind his head.
O'Brien had sat down beside the bed, so that his face was almost on a
level with Winston's.

'Three thousand,' he said, speaking over Winston's head to the man in the
white coat.

Two soft pads, which felt slightly moist, clamped themselves against
Winston's temples. He quailed. There was pain coming, a new kind of pain.
O'Brien laid a hand reassuringly, almost kindly, on his.

'This time it will not hurt,' he said. 'Keep your eyes fixed on mine.'

At this moment there was a devastating explosion, or what seemed like an
explosion, though it was not certain whether there was any noise. There
was undoubtedly a blinding flash of light. Winston was not hurt, only
prostrated. Although he had already been lying on his back when the thing
happened, he had a curious feeling that he had been knocked into that
position. A terrific painless blow had flattened him out. Also something
had happened inside his head. As his eyes regained their focus he
remembered who he was, and where he was, and recognized the face that was
gazing into his own; but somewhere or other there was a large patch of
emptiness, as though a piece had been taken out of his brain.

'It will not last,' said O'Brien. 'Look me in the eyes. What country is
Oceania at war with?'

Winston thought. He knew what was meant by Oceania and that he himself was
a citizen of Oceania. He also remembered Eurasia and Eastasia; but who was
at war with whom he did not know. In fact he had not been aware that there
was any war.

'I don't remember.'

'Oceania is at war with Eastasia. Do you remember that now?'


'Oceania has always been at war with Eastasia. Since the beginning of your
life, since the beginning of the Party, since the beginning of history,
the war has continued without a break, always the same war. Do you
remember that?'


'Eleven years ago you created a legend about three men who had been
condemned to death for treachery. You pretended that you had seen a piece
of paper which proved them innocent. No such piece of paper ever existed.
You invented it, and later you grew to believe in it. You remember now the
very moment at which you first invented it. Do you remember that?'


'Just now I held up the fingers of my hand to you. You saw five fingers.
Do you remember that?'


O'Brien held up the fingers of his left hand, with the thumb concealed.

'There are five fingers there. Do you see five fingers?'


And he did see them, for a fleeting instant, before the scenery of his
mind changed. He saw five fingers, and there was no deformity. Then
everything was normal again, and the old fear, the hatred, and the
bewilderment came crowding back again. But there had been a moment--he did
not know how long, thirty seconds, perhaps--of luminous certainty, when
each new suggestion of O'Brien's had filled up a patch of emptiness and
become absolute truth, and when two and two could have been three as
easily as five, if that were what was needed. It had faded but before
O'Brien had dropped his hand; but though he could not recapture it, he
could remember it, as one remembers a vivid experience at some period of
one's life when one was in effect a different person.

'You see now,' said O'Brien, 'that it is at any rate possible.'

'Yes,' said Winston.

O'Brien stood up with a satisfied air. Over to his left Winston saw the
man in the white coat break an ampoule and draw back the plunger of a
syringe. O'Brien turned to Winston with a smile. In almost the old manner
he resettled his spectacles on his nose.

'Do you remember writing in your diary,' he said, 'that it did not matter
whether I was a friend or an enemy, since I was at least a person who
understood you and could be talked to? You were right. I enjoy talking to
you. Your mind appeals to me. It resembles my own mind except that you
happen to be insane. Before we bring the session to an end you can ask me
a few questions, if you choose.'

'Any question I like?'

'Anything.' He saw that Winston's eyes were upon the dial. 'It is switched
off. What is your first question?'

'What have you done with Julia?' said Winston.

O'Brien smiled again. 'She betrayed you, Winston. Immediately--unreservedly.
I have seldom seen anyone come over to us so promptly. You would hardly
recognize her if you saw her. All her rebelliousness, her deceit, her
folly, her dirty-mindedness--everything has been burned out of her. It was
a perfect conversion, a textbook case.'

'You tortured her?'

O'Brien left this unanswered. 'Next question,' he said.

'Does Big Brother exist?'

'Of course he exists. The Party exists. Big Brother is the embodiment of
the Party.'

'Does he exist in the same way as I exist?'

'You do not exist,' said O'Brien.

Once again the sense of helplessness assailed him. He knew, or he could
imagine, the arguments which proved his own nonexistence; but they were
nonsense, they were only a play on words. Did not the statement, 'You do
not exist', contain a logical absurdity? But what use was it to say so?
His mind shrivelled as he thought of the unanswerable, mad arguments with
which O'Brien would demolish him.

'I think I exist,' he said wearily. 'I am conscious of my own identity.
I was born and I shall die. I have arms and legs. I occupy a particular
point in space. No other solid object can occupy the same point
simultaneously. In that sense, does Big Brother exist?'

'It is of no importance. He exists.'

'Will Big Brother ever die?'

'Of course not. How could he die? Next question.'

'Does the Brotherhood exist?'

'That, Winston, you will never know. If we choose to set you free when we
have finished with you, and if you live to be ninety years old, still you
will never learn whether the answer to that question is Yes or No. As long
as you live it will be an unsolved riddle in your mind.'

Winston lay silent. His breast rose and fell a little faster. He still had
not asked the question that had come into his mind the first. He had got
to ask it, and yet it was as though his tongue would not utter it. There
was a trace of amusement in O'Brien's face. Even his spectacles seemed to
wear an ironical gleam. He knows, thought Winston suddenly, he knows what
I am going to ask! At the thought the words burst out of him:

'What is in Room 101?'

The expression on O'Brien's face did not change. He answered drily:

'You know what is in Room 101, Winston. Everyone knows what is in
Room 101.'

He raised a finger to the man in the white coat. Evidently the session was
at an end. A needle jerked into Winston's arm. He sank almost instantly
into deep sleep.

Chapter 3

'There are three stages in your reintegration,' said O'Brien. 'There is
learning, there is understanding, and there is acceptance. It is time for
you to enter upon the second stage.'

As always, Winston was lying flat on his back. But of late his bonds were
looser. They still held him to the bed, but he could move his knees a
little and could turn his head from side to side and raise his arms from
the elbow. The dial, also, had grown to be less of a terror. He could
evade its pangs if he was quick-witted enough: it was chiefly when he
showed stupidity that O'Brien pulled the lever. Sometimes they got through
a whole session without use of the dial. He could not remember how many
sessions there had been. The whole process seemed to stretch out over a
long, indefinite time--weeks, possibly--and the intervals between the
sessions might sometimes have been days, sometimes only an hour or two.

'As you lie there,' said O'Brien, 'you have often wondered--you have even
asked me--why the Ministry of Love should expend so much time and trouble
on you. And when you were free you were puzzled by what was essentially
the same question. You could grasp the mechanics of the Society you lived
in, but not its underlying motives. Do you remember writing in your diary,
"I understand HOW: I do not understand WHY"? It was when you thought about
"why" that you doubted your own sanity. You have read THE BOOK,
Goldstein's book, or parts of it, at least. Did it tell you anything that
you did not know already?'

'You have read it?' said Winston.

'I wrote it. That is to say, I collaborated in writing it. No book is
produced individually, as you know.'

'Is it true, what it says?'

'As description, yes. The programme it sets forth is nonsense. The secret
accumulation of knowledge--a gradual spread of enlightenment--ultimately
a proletarian rebellion--the overthrow of the Party. You foresaw yourself
that that was what it would say. It is all nonsense. The proletarians will
never revolt, not in a thousand years or a million. They cannot. I do
not have to tell you the reason: you know it already. If you have ever
cherished any dreams of violent insurrection, you must abandon them. There
is no way in which the Party can be overthrown. The rule of the Party is
for ever. Make that the starting-point of your thoughts.'

He came closer to the bed. 'For ever!' he repeated. 'And now let us get
back to the question of "how" and "why". You understand well enough HOW
the Party maintains itself in power. Now tell me WHY we cling to power.
What is our motive? Why should we want power? Go on, speak,' he added as
Winston remained silent.

Nevertheless Winston did not speak for another moment or two. A feeling of
weariness had overwhelmed him. The faint, mad gleam of enthusiasm had come
back into O'Brien's face. He knew in advance what O'Brien would say. That
the Party did not seek power for its own ends, but only for the good of
the majority. That it sought power because men in the mass were frail,
cowardly creatures who could not endure liberty or face the truth, and
must be ruled over and systematically deceived by others who were stronger
than themselves. That the choice for mankind lay between freedom and
happiness, and that, for the great bulk of mankind, happiness was better.
That the party was the eternal guardian of the weak, a dedicated sect
doing evil that good might come, sacrificing its own happiness to that of
others. The terrible thing, thought Winston, the terrible thing was that
when O'Brien said this he would believe it. You could see it in his face.
O'Brien knew everything. A thousand times better than Winston he knew what
the world was really like, in what degradation the mass of human beings
lived and by what lies and barbarities the Party kept them there. He had
understood it all, weighed it all, and it made no difference: all was
justified by the ultimate purpose. What can you do, thought Winston,
against the lunatic who is more intelligent than yourself, who gives your
arguments a fair hearing and then simply persists in his lunacy?

'You are ruling over us for our own good,' he said feebly. 'You believe
that human beings are not fit to govern themselves, and therefore----'

He started and almost cried out. A pang of pain had shot through his body.
O'Brien had pushed the lever of the dial up to thirty-five.

'That was stupid, Winston, stupid!' he said. 'You should know better than
to say a thing like that.'

He pulled the lever back and continued:

'Now I will tell you the answer to my question. It is this. The Party
seeks power entirely for its own sake. We are not interested in the good
of others; we are interested solely in power. Not wealth or luxury or long
life or happiness: only power, pure power. What pure power means you will
understand presently. We are different from all the oligarchies of the
past, in that we know what we are doing. All the others, even those who
resembled ourselves, were cowards and hypocrites. The German Nazis and the
Russian Communists came very close to us in their methods, but they never
had the courage to recognize their own motives. They pretended, perhaps
they even believed, that they had seized power unwillingly and for a
limited time, and that just round the corner there lay a paradise where
human beings would be free and equal. We are not like that. We know that
no one ever seizes power with the intention of relinquishing it. Power is
not a means, it is an end. One does not establish a dictatorship in order
to safeguard a revolution; one makes the revolution in order to establish
the dictatorship. The object of persecution is persecution. The object of
torture is torture. The object of power is power. Now do you begin to
understand me?'

Winston was struck, as he had been struck before, by the tiredness of
O'Brien's face. It was strong and fleshy and brutal, it was full of
intelligence and a sort of controlled passion before which he felt himself
helpless; but it was tired. There were pouches under the eyes, the skin
sagged from the cheekbones. O'Brien leaned over him, deliberately bringing
the worn face nearer.

'You are thinking,' he said, 'that my face is old and tired. You are
thinking that I talk of power, and yet I am not even able to prevent the
decay of my own body. Can you not understand, Winston, that the individual
is only a cell? The weariness of the cell is the vigour of the organism.
Do you die when you cut your fingernails?'

He turned away from the bed and began strolling up and down again, one hand
in his pocket.

'We are the priests of power,' he said. 'God is power. But at present
power is only a word so far as you are concerned. It is time for you to
gather some idea of what power means. The first thing you must realize
is that power is collective. The individual only has power in so far as
he ceases to be an individual. You know the Party slogan: "Freedom is
Slavery". Has it ever occurred to you that it is reversible? Slavery is
freedom. Alone--free--the human being is always defeated. It must be so,
because every human being is doomed to die, which is the greatest of all
failures. But if he can make complete, utter submission, if he can escape
from his identity, if he can merge himself in the Party so that he IS the
Party, then he is all-powerful and immortal. The second thing for you to
realize is that power is power over human beings. Over the body--but, above
all, over the mind. Power over matter--external reality, as you would call
it--is not important. Already our control over matter is absolute.'

For a moment Winston ignored the dial. He made a violent effort to raise
himself into a sitting position, and merely succeeded in wrenching his
body painfully.

'But how can you control matter?' he burst out. 'You don't even control
the climate or the law of gravity. And there are disease, pain, death----'

O'Brien silenced him by a movement of his hand. 'We control matter because
we control the mind. Reality is inside the skull. You will learn by
degrees, Winston. There is nothing that we could not do. Invisibility,
levitation--anything. I could float off this floor like a soap bubble if
I wish to. I do not wish to, because the Party does not wish it. You must
get rid of those nineteenth-century ideas about the laws of Nature. We
make the laws of Nature.'

'But you do not! You are not even masters of this planet. What about
Eurasia and Eastasia? You have not conquered them yet.'

'Unimportant. We shall conquer them when it suits us. And if we did not,
what difference would it make? We can shut them out of existence. Oceania
is the world.'

'But the world itself is only a speck of dust. And man is tiny--helpless!
How long has he been in existence? For millions of years the earth was

'Nonsense. The earth is as old as we are, no older. How could it be older?
Nothing exists except through human consciousness.'

'But the rocks are full of the bones of extinct animals--mammoths and
mastodons and enormous reptiles which lived here long before man was ever
heard of.'

'Have you ever seen those bones, Winston? Of course not. Nineteenth-century
biologists invented them. Before man there was nothing. After man, if he
could come to an end, there would be nothing. Outside man there is

'But the whole universe is outside us. Look at the stars! Some of them are
a million light-years away. They are out of our reach for ever.'

'What are the stars?' said O'Brien indifferently. 'They are bits of fire
a few kilometres away. We could reach them if we wanted to. Or we could
blot them out. The earth is the centre of the universe. The sun and the
stars go round it.'

Winston made another convulsive movement. This time he did not say
anything. O'Brien continued as though answering a spoken objection:

'For certain purposes, of course, that is not true. When we navigate the
ocean, or when we predict an eclipse, we often find it convenient to
assume that the earth goes round the sun and that the stars are millions
upon millions of kilometres away. But what of it? Do you suppose it is
beyond us to produce a dual system of astronomy? The stars can be near
or distant, according as we need them. Do you suppose our mathematicians
are unequal to that? Have you forgotten doublethink?'

Winston shrank back upon the bed. Whatever he said, the swift answer
crushed him like a bludgeon. And yet he knew, he KNEW, that he was in the
right. The belief that nothing exists outside your own mind--surely there
must be some way of demonstrating that it was false? Had it not been
exposed long ago as a fallacy? There was even a name for it, which he
had forgotten. A faint smile twitched the corners of O'Brien's mouth as
he looked down at him.

'I told you, Winston,' he said, 'that metaphysics is not your strong
point. The word you are trying to think of is solipsism. But you are
mistaken. This is not solipsism. Collective solipsism, if you like. But
that is a different thing: in fact, the opposite thing. All this is a
digression,' he added in a different tone. 'The real power, the power we
have to fight for night and day, is not power over things, but over men.'
He paused, and for a moment assumed again his air of a schoolmaster
questioning a promising pupil: 'How does one man assert his power over
another, Winston?'

Winston thought. 'By making him suffer,' he said.

'Exactly. By making him suffer. Obedience is not enough. Unless he is
suffering, how can you be sure that he is obeying your will and not his
own? Power is in inflicting pain and humiliation. Power is in tearing
human minds to pieces and putting them together again in new shapes of
your own choosing. Do you begin to see, then, what kind of world we are
creating? It is the exact opposite of the stupid hedonistic Utopias that
the old reformers imagined. A world of fear and treachery and torment, a
world of trampling and being trampled upon, a world which will grow not
less but MORE merciless as it refines itself. Progress in our world will
be progress towards more pain. The old civilizations claimed that they
were founded on love or justice. Ours is founded upon hatred. In our world
there will be no emotions except fear, rage, triumph, and self-abasement.
Everything else we shall destroy--everything. Already we are breaking down
the habits of thought which have survived from before the Revolution. We
have cut the links between child and parent, and between man and man, and
between man and woman. No one dares trust a wife or a child or a friend
any longer. But in the future there will be no wives and no friends.
Children will be taken from their mothers at birth, as one takes eggs from
a hen. The sex instinct will be eradicated. Procreation will be an annual
formality like the renewal of a ration card. We shall abolish the orgasm.
Our neurologists are at work upon it now. There will be no loyalty, except
loyalty towards the Party. There will be no love, except the love of
Big Brother. There will be no laughter, except the laugh of triumph over
a defeated enemy. There will be no art, no literature, no science. When
we are omnipotent we shall have no more need of science. There will be
no distinction between beauty and ugliness. There will be no curiosity,
no enjoyment of the process of life. All competing pleasures will be
destroyed. But always--do not forget this, Winston--always there will be
the intoxication of power, constantly increasing and constantly growing
subtler. Always, at every moment, there will be the thrill of victory,
the sensation of trampling on an enemy who is helpless. If you want a
picture of the future, imagine a boot stamping on a human face--for ever.'

He paused as though he expected Winston to speak. Winston had tried to
shrink back into the surface of the bed again. He could not say anything.
His heart seemed to be frozen. O'Brien went on:

'And remember that it is for ever. The face will always be there to be
stamped upon. The heretic, the enemy of society, will always be there, so
that he can be defeated and humiliated over again. Everything that you
have undergone since you have been in our hands--all that will continue,
and worse. The espionage, the betrayals, the arrests, the tortures, the
executions, the disappearances will never cease. It will be a world of
terror as much as a world of triumph. The more the Party is powerful, the
less it will be tolerant: the weaker the opposition, the tighter the
despotism. Goldstein and his heresies will live for ever. Every day, at
every moment, they will be defeated, discredited, ridiculed, spat upon and
yet they will always survive. This drama that I have played out with you
during seven years will be played out over and over again generation after
generation, always in subtler forms. Always we shall have the heretic here
at our mercy, screaming with pain, broken up, contemptible--and in the end
utterly penitent, saved from himself, crawling to our feet of his own
accord. That is the world that we are preparing, Winston. A world of
victory after victory, triumph after triumph after triumph: an endless
pressing, pressing, pressing upon the nerve of power. You are beginning,
I can see, to realize what that world will be like. But in the end you
will do more than understand it. You will accept it, welcome it, become
part of it.'

Winston had recovered himself sufficiently to speak. 'You can't!' he said

'What do you mean by that remark, Winston?'

'You could not create such a world as you have just described. It is a
dream. It is impossible.'


'It is impossible to found a civilization on fear and hatred and cruelty.
It would never endure.'

'Why not?'

'It would have no vitality. It would disintegrate. It would commit

'Nonsense. You are under the impression that hatred is more exhausting
than love. Why should it be? And if it were, what difference would that
make? Suppose that we choose to wear ourselves out faster. Suppose that we
quicken the tempo of human life till men are senile at thirty. Still what
difference would it make? Can you not understand that the death of the
individual is not death? The party is immortal.'

As usual, the voice had battered Winston into helplessness. Moreover he
was in dread that if he persisted in his disagreement O'Brien would twist
the dial again. And yet he could not keep silent. Feebly, without
arguments, with nothing to support him except his inarticulate horror of
what O'Brien had said, he returned to the attack.

'I don't know--I don't care. Somehow you will fail. Something will defeat
you. Life will defeat you.'

'We control life, Winston, at all its levels. You are imagining that there
is something called human nature which will be outraged by what we do and
will turn against us. But we create human nature. Men are infinitely
malleable. Or perhaps you have returned to your old idea that the
proletarians or the slaves will arise and overthrow us. Put it out of your
mind. They are helpless, like the animals. Humanity is the Party. The
others are outside--irrelevant.'

'I don't care. In the end they will beat you. Sooner or later they will
see you for what you are, and then they will tear you to pieces.'

'Do you see any evidence that that is happening? Or any reason why it

'No. I believe it. I KNOW that you will fail. There is something in the
universe--I don't know, some spirit, some principle--that you will never

'Do you believe in God, Winston?'


'Then what is it, this principle that will defeat us?'

'I don't know. The spirit of Man.'

'And do you consider yourself a man?'


'If you are a man, Winston, you are the last man. Your kind is extinct; we
are the inheritors. Do you understand that you are ALONE? You are outside
history, you are non-existent.' His manner changed and he said more
harshly: 'And you consider yourself morally superior to us, with our lies
and our cruelty?'

'Yes, I consider myself superior.'

O'Brien did not speak. Two other voices were speaking. After a moment
Winston recognized one of them as his own. It was a sound-track of the
conversation he had had with O'Brien, on the night when he had enrolled
himself in the Brotherhood. He heard himself promising to lie, to steal,
to forge, to murder, to encourage drug-taking and prostitution, to
disseminate venereal diseases, to throw vitriol in a child's face. O'Brien
made a small impatient gesture, as though to say that the demonstration
was hardly worth making. Then he turned a switch and the voices stopped.

'Get up from that bed,' he said.

The bonds had loosened themselves. Winston lowered himself to the floor
and stood up unsteadily.

'You are the last man,' said O'Brien. 'You are the guardian of the human
spirit. You shall see yourself as you are. Take off your clothes.'

Winston undid the bit of string that held his overalls together. The zip
fastener had long since been wrenched out of them. He could not remember
whether at any time since his arrest he had taken off all his clothes at
one time. Beneath the overalls his body was looped with filthy yellowish
rags, just recognizable as the remnants of underclothes. As he slid
them to the ground he saw that there was a three-sided mirror at the far
end of the room. He approached it, then stopped short. An involuntary cry
had broken out of him.

'Go on,' said O'Brien. 'Stand between the wings of the mirror. You shall
see the side view as well.'

He had stopped because he was frightened. A bowed, grey-coloured,
skeleton-like thing was coming towards him. Its actual appearance was
frightening, and not merely the fact that he knew it to be himself. He
moved closer to the glass. The creature's face seemed to be protruded,
because of its bent carriage. A forlorn, jailbird's face with a nobby
forehead running back into a bald scalp, a crooked nose, and
battered-looking cheekbones above which his eyes were fierce and watchful.
The cheeks were seamed, the mouth had a drawn-in look. Certainly it was
his own face, but it seemed to him that it had changed more than he had
changed inside. The emotions it registered would be different from the
ones he felt. He had gone partially bald. For the first moment he had
thought that he had gone grey as well, but it was only the scalp that was
grey. Except for his hands and a circle of his face, his body was grey all
over with ancient, ingrained dirt. Here and there under the dirt there
were the red scars of wounds, and near the ankle the varicose ulcer was an
inflamed mass with flakes of skin peeling off it. But the truly frightening
thing was the emaciation of his body. The barrel of the ribs was as narrow
as that of a skeleton: the legs had shrunk so that the knees were thicker
than the thighs. He saw now what O'Brien had meant about seeing the side
view. The curvature of the spine was astonishing. The thin shoulders were
hunched forward so as to make a cavity of the chest, the scraggy neck
seemed to be bending double under the weight of the skull. At a guess he
would have said that it was the body of a man of sixty, suffering from
some malignant disease.

'You have thought sometimes,' said O'Brien, 'that my face--the face of a
member of the Inner Party--looks old and worn. What do you think of your
own face?'

He seized Winston's shoulder and spun him round so that he was facing him.

'Look at the condition you are in!' he said. 'Look at this filthy grime
all over your body. Look at the dirt between your toes. Look at that
disgusting running sore on your leg. Do you know that you stink like a
goat? Probably you have ceased to notice it. Look at your emaciation. Do
you see? I can make my thumb and forefinger meet round your bicep. I could
snap your neck like a carrot. Do you know that you have lost twenty-five
kilograms since you have been in our hands? Even your hair is coming out
in handfuls. Look!' He plucked at Winston's head and brought away a tuft
of hair. 'Open your mouth. Nine, ten, eleven teeth left. How many had you
when you came to us? And the few you have left are dropping out of your
head. Look here!'

He seized one of Winston's remaining front teeth between his powerful
thumb and forefinger. A twinge of pain shot through Winston's jaw. O'Brien
had wrenched the loose tooth out by the roots. He tossed it across the

'You are rotting away,' he said; 'you are falling to pieces. What are you?
A bag of filth. Now turn around and look into that mirror again. Do you
see that thing facing you? That is the last man. If you are human, that is
humanity. Now put your clothes on again.'

Winston began to dress himself with slow stiff movements. Until now he had
not seemed to notice how thin and weak he was. Only one thought stirred in
his mind: that he must have been in this place longer than he had imagined.
Then suddenly as he fixed the miserable rags round himself a feeling of
pity for his ruined body overcame him. Before he knew what he was doing
he had collapsed on to a small stool that stood beside the bed and burst
into tears. He was aware of his ugliness, his gracelessness, a bundle of
bones in filthy underclothes sitting weeping in the harsh white light: but
he could not stop himself. O'Brien laid a hand on his shoulder, almost

'It will not last for ever,' he said. 'You can escape from it whenever you
choose. Everything depends on yourself.'

'You did it!' sobbed Winston. 'You reduced me to this state.'

'No, Winston, you reduced yourself to it. This is what you accepted when
you set yourself up against the Party. It was all contained in that first
act. Nothing has happened that you did not foresee.'

He paused, and then went on:

'We have beaten you, Winston. We have broken you up. You have seen what
your body is like. Your mind is in the same state. I do not think there
can be much pride left in you. You have been kicked and flogged and
insulted, you have screamed with pain, you have rolled on the floor in
your own blood and vomit. You have whimpered for mercy, you have betrayed
everybody and everything. Can you think of a single degradation that has
not happened to you?'

Winston had stopped weeping, though the tears were still oozing out of his
eyes. He looked up at O'Brien.

'I have not betrayed Julia,' he said.

O'Brien looked down at him thoughtfully. 'No,' he said; 'no; that is
perfectly true. You have not betrayed Julia.'

The peculiar reverence for O'Brien, which nothing seemed able to destroy,
flooded Winston's heart again. How intelligent, he thought, how
intelligent! Never did O'Brien fail to understand what was said to him.
Anyone else on earth would have answered promptly that he HAD betrayed
Julia. For what was there that they had not screwed out of him under the
torture? He had told them everything he knew about her, her habits, her
character, her past life; he had confessed in the most trivial detail
everything that had happened at their meetings, all that he had said to
her and she to him, their black-market meals, their adulteries, their
vague plottings against the Party--everything. And yet, in the sense in
which he intended the word, he had not betrayed her. He had not stopped
loving her; his feelings towards her had remained the same. O'Brien had
seen what he meant without the need for explanation.

'Tell me,' he said, 'how soon will they shoot me?'

'It might be a long time,' said O'Brien. 'You are a difficult case. But
don't give up hope. Everyone is cured sooner or later. In the end we shall
shoot you.'

Chapter 4

He was much better. He was growing fatter and stronger every day, if it
was proper to speak of days.

The white light and the humming sound were the same as ever, but the cell
was a little more comfortable than the others he had been in. There was a
pillow and a mattress on the plank bed, and a stool to sit on. They had
given him a bath, and they allowed him to wash himself fairly frequently
in a tin basin. They even gave him warm water to wash with. They had given
him new underclothes and a clean suit of overalls. They had dressed his
varicose ulcer with soothing ointment. They had pulled out the remnants
of his teeth and given him a new set of dentures.

Weeks or months must have passed. It would have been possible now to keep
count of the passage of time, if he had felt any interest in doing so,
since he was being fed at what appeared to be regular intervals. He was
getting, he judged, three meals in the twenty-four hours; sometimes he
wondered dimly whether he was getting them by night or by day. The food
was surprisingly good, with meat at every third meal. Once there was even
a packet of cigarettes. He had no matches, but the never-speaking guard
who brought his food would give him a light. The first time he tried to
smoke it made him sick, but he persevered, and spun the packet out for
a long time, smoking half a cigarette after each meal.

They had given him a white slate with a stump of pencil tied to the
corner. At first he made no use of it. Even when he was awake he was
completely torpid. Often he would lie from one meal to the next almost
without stirring, sometimes asleep, sometimes waking into vague reveries
in which it was too much trouble to open his eyes. He had long grown
used to sleeping with a strong light on his face. It seemed to make no
difference, except that one's dreams were more coherent. He dreamed a
great deal all through this time, and they were always happy dreams. He
was in the Golden Country, or he was sitting among enormous glorious,
sunlit ruins, with his mother, with Julia, with O'Brien--not doing
anything, merely sitting in the sun, talking of peaceful things. Such
thoughts as he had when he was awake were mostly about his dreams. He
seemed to have lost the power of intellectual effort, now that the
stimulus of pain had been removed. He was not bored, he had no desire
for conversation or distraction. Merely to be alone, not to be beaten
or questioned, to have enough to eat, and to be clean all over, was
completely satisfying.

By degrees he came to spend less time in sleep, but he still felt no
impulse to get off the bed. All he cared for was to lie quiet and feel the
strength gathering in his body. He would finger himself here and there,
trying to make sure that it was not an illusion that his muscles were
growing rounder and his skin tauter. Finally it was established beyond a
doubt that he was growing fatter; his thighs were now definitely thicker
than his knees. After that, reluctantly at first, he began exercising
himself regularly. In a little while he could walk three kilometres,
measured by pacing the cell, and his bowed shoulders were growing
straighter. He attempted more elaborate exercises, and was astonished and
humiliated to find what things he could not do. He could not move out of a
walk, he could not hold his stool out at arm's length, he could not stand
on one leg without falling over. He squatted down on his heels, and found
that with agonizing pains in thigh and calf he could just lift himself to
a standing position. He lay flat on his belly and tried to lift his weight
by his hands. It was hopeless, he could not raise himself a centimetre.
But after a few more days--a few more mealtimes--even that feat was
accomplished. A time came when he could do it six times running. He began
to grow actually proud of his body, and to cherish an intermittent belief
that his face also was growing back to normal. Only when he chanced to put
his hand on his bald scalp did he remember the seamed, ruined face that
had looked back at him out of the mirror.

His mind grew more active. He sat down on the plank bed, his back against
the wall and the slate on his knees, and set to work deliberately at the
task of re-educating himself.

He had capitulated, that was agreed. In reality, as he saw now, he had
been ready to capitulate long before he had taken the decision. From the
moment when he was inside the Ministry of Love--and yes, even during those
minutes when he and Julia had stood helpless while the iron voice from the
telescreen told them what to do--he had grasped the frivolity, the
shallowness of his attempt to set himself up against the power of the
Party. He knew now that for seven years the Thought Police had watched him
like a beetle under a magnifying glass. There was no physical act, no word
spoken aloud, that they had not noticed, no train of thought that they had
not been able to infer. Even the speck of whitish dust on the cover of his
diary they had carefully replaced. They had played sound-tracks to him,
shown him photographs. Some of them were photographs of Julia and himself.
Yes, even... He could not fight against the Party any longer. Besides,
the Party was in the right. It must be so; how could the immortal,
collective brain be mistaken? By what external standard could you check
its judgements? Sanity was statistical. It was merely a question of
learning to think as they thought. Only----!

The pencil felt thick and awkward in his fingers. He began to write down
the thoughts that came into his head. He wrote first in large clumsy


Then almost without a pause he wrote beneath it:


But then there came a sort of check. His mind, as though shying away from
something, seemed unable to concentrate. He knew that he knew what came
next, but for the moment he could not recall it. When he did recall it,
it was only by consciously reasoning out what it must be: it did not come
of its own accord. He wrote:


He accepted everything. The past was alterable. The past never had been
altered. Oceania was at war with Eastasia. Oceania had always been at war
with Eastasia. Jones, Aaronson, and Rutherford were guilty of the crimes
they were charged with. He had never seen the photograph that disproved
their guilt. It had never existed, he had invented it. He remembered
remembering contrary things, but those were false memories, products of
self-deception. How easy it all was! Only surrender, and everything else
followed. It was like swimming against a current that swept you backwards
however hard you struggled, and then suddenly deciding to turn round and
go with the current instead of opposing it. Nothing had changed except
your own attitude: the predestined thing happened in any case. He hardly
knew why he had ever rebelled. Everything was easy, except----!

Anything could be true. The so-called laws of Nature were nonsense. The
law of gravity was nonsense. 'If I wished,' O'Brien had said, 'I could
float off this floor like a soap bubble.' Winston worked it out. 'If he
THINKS he floats off the floor, and if I simultaneously THINK I see him
do it, then the thing happens.' Suddenly, like a lump of submerged wreckage
breaking the surface of water, the thought burst into his mind: 'It doesn't
really happen. We imagine it. It is hallucination.' He pushed the thought
under instantly. The fallacy was obvious. It presupposed that somewhere
or other, outside oneself, there was a 'real' world where 'real' things
happened. But how could there be such a world? What knowledge have we of
anything, save through our own minds? All happenings are in the mind.
Whatever happens in all minds, truly happens.

He had no difficulty in disposing of the fallacy, and he was in no danger
of succumbing to it. He realized, nevertheless, that it ought never to
have occurred to him. The mind should develop a blind spot whenever a
dangerous thought presented itself. The process should be automatic,
instinctive. CRIMESTOP, they called it in Newspeak.

He set to work to exercise himself in crimestop. He presented himself with
propositions--'the Party says the earth is flat', 'the party says that
ice is heavier than water'--and trained himself in not seeing or not
understanding the arguments that contradicted them. It was not easy.
It needed great powers of reasoning and improvisation. The arithmetical
problems raised, for instance, by such a statement as 'two and two make
five' were beyond his intellectual grasp. It needed also a sort of
athleticism of mind, an ability at one moment to make the most delicate
use of logic and at the next to be unconscious of the crudest logical
errors. Stupidity was as necessary as intelligence, and as difficult to

All the while, with one part of his mind, he wondered how soon they would
shoot him. 'Everything depends on yourself,' O'Brien had said; but he knew
that there was no conscious act by which he could bring it nearer. It
might be ten minutes hence, or ten years. They might keep him for years in
solitary confinement, they might send him to a labour-camp, they might
release him for a while, as they sometimes did. It was perfectly possible
that before he was shot the whole drama of his arrest and interrogation
would be enacted all over again. The one certain thing was that death
never came at an expected moment. The tradition--the unspoken tradition:
somehow you knew it, though you never heard it said--was that they shot
you from behind; always in the back of the head, without warning, as you
walked down a corridor from cell to cell.

One day--but 'one day' was not the right expression; just as probably it
was in the middle of the night: once--he fell into a strange, blissful
reverie. He was walking down the corridor, waiting for the bullet. He knew
that it was coming in another moment. Everything was settled, smoothed
out, reconciled. There were no more doubts, no more arguments, no more
pain, no more fear. His body was healthy and strong. He walked easily,
with a joy of movement and with a feeling of walking in sunlight. He was
not any longer in the narrow white corridors in the Ministry of Love, he
was in the enormous sunlit passage, a kilometre wide, down which he had
seemed to walk in the delirium induced by drugs. He was in the Golden
Country, following the foot-track across the old rabbit-cropped pasture.
He could feel the short springy turf under his feet and the gentle sunshine
on his face. At the edge of the field were the elm trees, faintly stirring,
and somewhere beyond that was the stream where the dace lay in the green
pools under the willows.

Suddenly he started up with a shock of horror. The sweat broke out on his
backbone. He had heard himself cry aloud:

'Julia! Julia! Julia, my love! Julia!'

For a moment he had had an overwhelming hallucination of her presence. She
had seemed to be not merely with him, but inside him. It was as though she
had got into the texture of his skin. In that moment he had loved her far
more than he had ever done when they were together and free. Also he knew
that somewhere or other she was still alive and needed his help.

He lay back on the bed and tried to compose himself. What had he done? How
many years had he added to his servitude by that moment of weakness?

In another moment he would hear the tramp of boots outside. They could not
let such an outburst go unpunished. They would know now, if they had not
known before, that he was breaking the agreement he had made with them.
He obeyed the Party, but he still hated the Party. In the old days he had
hidden a heretical mind beneath an appearance of conformity. Now he had
retreated a step further: in the mind he had surrendered, but he had hoped
to keep the inner heart inviolate. He knew that he was in the wrong, but
he preferred to be in the wrong. They would understand that--O'Brien would
understand it. It was all confessed in that single foolish cry.

He would have to start all over again. It might take years. He ran a hand
over his face, trying to familiarize himself with the new shape. There
were deep furrows in the cheeks, the cheekbones felt sharp, the nose
flattened. Besides, since last seeing himself in the glass he had been
given a complete new set of teeth. It was not easy to preserve
inscrutability when you did not know what your face looked like. In any
case, mere control of the features was not enough. For the first time he
perceived that if you want to keep a secret you must also hide it from
yourself. You must know all the while that it is there, but until it is
needed you must never let it emerge into your consciousness in any shape
that could be given a name. From now onwards he must not only think right;
he must feel right, dream right. And all the while he must keep his hatred
locked up inside him like a ball of matter which was part of himself and
yet unconnected with the rest of him, a kind of cyst.

One day they would decide to shoot him. You could not tell when it would
happen, but a few seconds beforehand it should be possible to guess. It
was always from behind, walking down a corridor. Ten seconds would be
enough. In that time the world inside him could turn over. And then
suddenly, without a word uttered, without a check in his step, without the
changing of a line in his face--suddenly the camouflage would be down and
bang! would go the batteries of his hatred. Hatred would fill him like an
enormous roaring flame. And almost in the same instant bang! would go the
bullet, too late, or too early. They would have blown his brain to pieces
before they could reclaim it. The heretical thought would be unpunished,
unrepented, out of their reach for ever. They would have blown a hole in
their own perfection. To die hating them, that was freedom.

He shut his eyes. It was more difficult than accepting an intellectual
discipline. It was a question of degrading himself, mutilating himself. He
had got to plunge into the filthiest of filth. What was the most horrible,
sickening thing of all? He thought of Big Brother. The enormous face
(because of constantly seeing it on posters he always thought of it as
being a metre wide), with its heavy black moustache and the eyes that
followed you to and fro, seemed to float into his mind of its own accord.
What were his true feelings towards Big Brother?

There was a heavy tramp of boots in the passage. The steel door swung open
with a clang. O'Brien walked into the cell. Behind him were the waxen-faced
officer and the black-uniformed guards.

'Get up,' said O'Brien. 'Come here.'

Winston stood opposite him. O'Brien took Winston's shoulders between his
strong hands and looked at him closely.

'You have had thoughts of deceiving me,' he said. 'That was stupid.
Stand up straighter. Look me in the face.'

He paused, and went on in a gentler tone:

'You are improving. Intellectually there is very little wrong with you.
It is only emotionally that you have failed to make progress. Tell me,
Winston--and remember, no lies: you know that I am always able to detect
a lie--tell me, what are your true feelings towards Big Brother?'

'I hate him.'

'You hate him. Good. Then the time has come for you to take the last step.
You must love Big Brother. It is not enough to obey him: you must love

He released Winston with a little push towards the guards.

'Room 101,' he said.

Chapter 5

At each stage of his imprisonment he had known, or seemed to know,
whereabouts he was in the windowless building. Possibly there were slight
differences in the air pressure. The cells where the guards had beaten him
were below ground level. The room where he had been interrogated by
O'Brien was high up near the roof. This place was many metres underground,
as deep down as it was possible to go.

It was bigger than most of the cells he had been in. But he hardly noticed
his surroundings. All he noticed was that there were two small tables
straight in front of him, each covered with green baize. One was only a
metre or two from him, the other was further away, near the door. He was
strapped upright in a chair, so tightly that he could move nothing, not
even his head. A sort of pad gripped his head from behind, forcing him to
look straight in front of him.

For a moment he was alone, then the door opened and O'Brien came in.

'You asked me once,' said O'Brien, 'what was in Room 101. I told you that
you knew the answer already. Everyone knows it. The thing that is in
Room 101 is the worst thing in the world.'

The door opened again. A guard came in, carrying something made of wire,
a box or basket of some kind. He set it down on the further table. Because
of the position in which O'Brien was standing. Winston could not see what
the thing was.

'The worst thing in the world,' said O'Brien, 'varies from individual to
individual. It may be burial alive, or death by fire, or by drowning, or
by impalement, or fifty other deaths. There are cases where it is some
quite trivial thing, not even fatal.'

He had moved a little to one side, so that Winston had a better view of
the thing on the table. It was an oblong wire cage with a handle on top
for carrying it by. Fixed to the front of it was something that looked
like a fencing mask, with the concave side outwards. Although it was three
or four metres away from him, he could see that the cage was divided
lengthways into two compartments, and that there was some kind of creature
in each. They were rats.

'In your case,' said O'Brien, 'the worst thing in the world happens to be

A sort of premonitory tremor, a fear of he was not certain what, had
passed through Winston as soon as he caught his first glimpse of the cage.
But at this moment the meaning of the mask-like attachment in front of it
suddenly sank into him. His bowels seemed to turn to water.

'You can't do that!' he cried out in a high cracked voice. 'You couldn't,
you couldn't! It's impossible.'

'Do you remember,' said O'Brien, 'the moment of panic that used to occur
in your dreams? There was a wall of blackness in front of you, and a
roaring sound in your ears. There was something terrible on the other side
of the wall. You knew that you knew what it was, but you dared not drag it
into the open. It was the rats that were on the other side of the wall.'

'O'Brien!' said Winston, making an effort to control his voice. 'You know
this is not necessary. What is it that you want me to do?'

O'Brien made no direct answer. When he spoke it was in the schoolmasterish
manner that he sometimes affected. He looked thoughtfully into the
distance, as though he were addressing an audience somewhere behind
Winston's back.

'By itself,' he said, 'pain is not always enough. There are occasions when
a human being will stand out against pain, even to the point of death.
But for everyone there is something unendurable--something that cannot be
contemplated. Courage and cowardice are not involved. If you are falling
from a height it is not cowardly to clutch at a rope. If you have come up
from deep water it is not cowardly to fill your lungs with air. It is
merely an instinct which cannot be destroyed. It is the same with the
rats. For you, they are unendurable. They are a form of pressure that you
cannot withstand, even if you wished to. You will do what is required of

'But what is it, what is it? How can I do it if I don't know what it is?'

O'Brien picked up the cage and brought it across to the nearer table.
He set it down carefully on the baize cloth. Winston could hear the blood
singing in his ears. He had the feeling of sitting in utter loneliness.
He was in the middle of a great empty plain, a flat desert drenched with
sunlight, across which all sounds came to him out of immense distances.
Yet the cage with the rats was not two metres away from him. They were
enormous rats. They were at the age when a rat's muzzle grows blunt and
fierce and his fur brown instead of grey.

'The rat,' said O'Brien, still addressing his invisible audience,
'although a rodent, is carnivorous. You are aware of that. You will have
heard of the things that happen in the poor quarters of this town. In some
streets a woman dare not leave her baby alone in the house, even for five
minutes. The rats are certain to attack it. Within quite a small time they
will strip it to the bones. They also attack sick or dying people. They
show astonishing intelligence in knowing when a human being is helpless.'

There was an outburst of squeals from the cage. It seemed to reach Winston
from far away. The rats were fighting; they were trying to get at each
other through the partition. He heard also a deep groan of despair.
That, too, seemed to come from outside himself.

O'Brien picked up the cage, and, as he did so, pressed something in it.
There was a sharp click. Winston made a frantic effort to tear himself
loose from the chair. It was hopeless; every part of him, even his head,
was held immovably. O'Brien moved the cage nearer. It was less than a
metre from Winston's face.

'I have pressed the first lever,' said O'Brien. 'You understand the
construction of this cage. The mask will fit over your head, leaving no
exit. When I press this other lever, the door of the cage will slide up.
These starving brutes will shoot out of it like bullets. Have you ever
seen a rat leap through the air? They will leap on to your face and bore
straight into it. Sometimes they attack the eyes first. Sometimes they
burrow through the cheeks and devour the tongue.'

The cage was nearer; it was closing in. Winston heard a succession of
shrill cries which appeared to be occurring in the air above his head. But
he fought furiously against his panic. To think, to think, even with a
split second left--to think was the only hope. Suddenly the foul musty
odour of the brutes struck his nostrils. There was a violent convulsion of
nausea inside him, and he almost lost consciousness. Everything had gone
black. For an instant he was insane, a screaming animal. Yet he came out
of the blackness clutching an idea. There was one and only one way to save
himself. He must interpose another human being, the BODY of another human
being, between himself and the rats.

The circle of the mask was large enough now to shut out the vision of
anything else. The wire door was a couple of hand-spans from his face. The
rats knew what was coming now. One of them was leaping up and down, the
other, an old scaly grandfather of the sewers, stood up, with his pink
hands against the bars, and fiercely sniffed the air. Winston could see
the whiskers and the yellow teeth. Again the black panic took hold of him.
He was blind, helpless, mindless.

'It was a common punishment in Imperial China,' said O'Brien as
didactically as ever.

The mask was closing on his face. The wire brushed his cheek. And then--no,
it was not relief, only hope, a tiny fragment of hope. Too late, perhaps
too late. But he had suddenly understood that in the whole world there was
just ONE person to whom he could transfer his punishment--ONE body that he
could thrust between himself and the rats. And he was shouting frantically,
over and over.

'Do it to Julia! Do it to Julia! Not me! Julia! I don't care what you do
to her. Tear her face off, strip her to the bones. Not me! Julia! Not me!'

He was falling backwards, into enormous depths, away from the rats. He was
still strapped in the chair, but he had fallen through the floor, through
the walls of the building, through the earth, through the oceans, through
the atmosphere, into outer space, into the gulfs between the stars--always
away, away, away from the rats. He was light years distant, but O'Brien
was still standing at his side. There was still the cold touch of wire
against his cheek. But through the darkness that enveloped him he heard
another metallic click, and knew that the cage door had clicked shut and
not open.

Chapter 6

The Chestnut Tree was almost empty. A ray of sunlight slanting through a
window fell on dusty table-tops. It was the lonely hour of fifteen. A
tinny music trickled from the telescreens.

Winston sat in his usual corner, gazing into an empty glass. Now and again
he glanced up at a vast face which eyed him from the opposite wall.
BIG BROTHER IS WATCHING YOU, the caption said. Unbidden, a waiter came and
filled his glass up with Victory Gin, shaking into it a few drops from
another bottle with a quill through the cork. It was saccharine flavoured
with cloves, the speciality of the cafe.

Winston was listening to the telescreen. At present only music was coming
out of it, but there was a possibility that at any moment there might be
a special bulletin from the Ministry of Peace. The news from the African
front was disquieting in the extreme. On and off he had been worrying
about it all day. A Eurasian army (Oceania was at war with Eurasia:
Oceania had always been at war with Eurasia) was moving southward at
terrifying speed. The mid-day bulletin had not mentioned any definite
area, but it was probable that already the mouth of the Congo was a
battlefield. Brazzaville and Leopoldville were in danger. One did not have
to look at the map to see what it meant. It was not merely a question of
losing Central Africa: for the first time in the whole war, the territory
of Oceania itself was menaced.

A violent emotion, not fear exactly but a sort of undifferentiated
excitement, flared up in him, then faded again. He stopped thinking about
the war. In these days he could never fix his mind on any one subject for
more than a few moments at a time. He picked up his glass and drained it
at a gulp. As always, the gin made him shudder and even retch slightly.
The stuff was horrible. The cloves and saccharine, themselves disgusting
enough in their sickly way, could not disguise the flat oily smell; and
what was worst of all was that the smell of gin, which dwelt with him
night and day, was inextricably mixed up in his mind with the smell of

He never named them, even in his thoughts, and so far as it was possible
he never visualized them. They were something that he was half-aware of,
hovering close to his face, a smell that clung to his nostrils. As the gin
rose in him he belched through purple lips. He had grown fatter since they
released him, and had regained his old colour--indeed, more than regained
it. His features had thickened, the skin on nose and cheekbones was
coarsely red, even the bald scalp was too deep a pink. A waiter, again
unbidden, brought the chessboard and the current issue of 'The Times',
with the page turned down at the chess problem. Then, seeing that Winston's
glass was empty, he brought the gin bottle and filled it. There was no
need to give orders. They knew his habits. The chessboard was always
waiting for him, his corner table was always reserved; even when the place
was full he had it to himself, since nobody cared to be seen sitting too
close to him. He never even bothered to count his drinks. At irregular
intervals they presented him with a dirty slip of paper which they said
was the bill, but he had the impression that they always undercharged him.
It would have made no difference if it had been the other way about. He
had always plenty of money nowadays. He even had a job, a sinecure, more
highly-paid than his old job had been.

The music from the telescreen stopped and a voice took over. Winston raised
his head to listen. No bulletins from the front, however. It was merely a
brief announcement from the Ministry of Plenty. In the preceding quarter,
it appeared, the Tenth Three-Year Plan's quota for bootlaces had been
overfulfilled by 98 per cent.

He examined the chess problem and set out the pieces. It was a tricky
ending, involving a couple of knights. 'White to play and mate in two
moves.' Winston looked up at the portrait of Big Brother. White always
mates, he thought with a sort of cloudy mysticism. Always, without
exception, it is so arranged. In no chess problem since the beginning of
the world has black ever won. Did it not symbolize the eternal, unvarying
triumph of Good over Evil? The huge face gazed back at him, full of calm
power. White always mates.

The voice from the telescreen paused and added in a different and much
graver tone: 'You are warned to stand by for an important announcement at
fifteen-thirty. Fifteen-thirty! This is news of the highest importance.
Take care not to miss it. Fifteen-thirty!' The tinkling music struck up

Winston's heart stirred. That was the bulletin from the front; instinct
told him that it was bad news that was coming. All day, with little spurts
of excitement, the thought of a smashing defeat in Africa had been in and
out of his mind. He seemed actually to see the Eurasian army swarming
across the never-broken frontier and pouring down into the tip of Africa
like a column of ants. Why had it not been possible to outflank them in
some way? The outline of the West African coast stood out vividly in his
mind. He picked up the white knight and moved it across the board. THERE
was the proper spot. Even while he saw the black horde racing southward he
saw another force, mysteriously assembled, suddenly planted in their rear,
cutting their communications by land and sea. He felt that by willing it he
was bringing that other force into existence. But it was necessary to act
quickly. If they could get control of the whole of Africa, if they had
airfields and submarine bases at the Cape, it would cut Oceania in two. It
might mean anything: defeat, breakdown, the redivision of the world, the
destruction of the Party! He drew a deep breath. An extraordinary medley
of feeling--but it was not a medley, exactly; rather it was successive
layers of feeling, in which one could not say which layer was
undermost--struggled inside him.

The spasm passed. He put the white knight back in its place, but for the
moment he could not settle down to serious study of the chess problem.
His thoughts wandered again. Almost unconsciously he traced with his
finger in the dust on the table:


'They can't get inside you,' she had said. But they could get inside you.
'What happens to you here is FOR EVER,' O'Brien had said. That was a true
word. There were things, your own acts, from which you could never recover.
Something was killed in your breast: burnt out, cauterized out.

He had seen her; he had even spoken to her. There was no danger in it. He
knew as though instinctively that they now took almost no interest in his
doings. He could have arranged to meet her a second time if either of them
had wanted to. Actually it was by chance that they had met. It was in the
Park, on a vile, biting day in March, when the earth was like iron and
all the grass seemed dead and there was not a bud anywhere except a few
crocuses which had pushed themselves up to be dismembered by the wind. He
was hurrying along with frozen hands and watering eyes when he saw her not
ten metres away from him. It struck him at once that she had changed in
some ill-defined way. They almost passed one another without a sign, then
he turned and followed her, not very eagerly. He knew that there was no
danger, nobody would take any interest in him. She did not speak. She
walked obliquely away across the grass as though trying to get rid of him,
then seemed to resign herself to having him at her side. Presently they
were in among a clump of ragged leafless shrubs, useless either for
concealment or as protection from the wind. They halted. It was vilely
cold. The wind whistled through the twigs and fretted the occasional,
dirty-looking crocuses. He put his arm round her waist.

There was no telescreen, but there must be hidden microphones: besides,
they could be seen. It did not matter, nothing mattered. They could have
lain down on the ground and done THAT if they had wanted to. His flesh
froze with horror at the thought of it. She made no response whatever to
the clasp of his arm; she did not even try to disengage herself. He knew
now what had changed in her. Her face was sallower, and there was a long
scar, partly hidden by the hair, across her forehead and temple; but that
was not the change. It was that her waist had grown thicker, and, in a
surprising way, had stiffened. He remembered how once, after the explosion
of a rocket bomb, he had helped to drag a corpse out of some ruins, and
had been astonished not only by the incredible weight of the thing, but by
its rigidity and awkwardness to handle, which made it seem more like stone
than flesh. Her body felt like that. It occurred to him that the texture
of her skin would be quite different from what it had once been.

He did not attempt to kiss her, nor did they speak. As they walked back
across the grass, she looked directly at him for the first time. It
was only a momentary glance, full of contempt and dislike. He wondered
whether it was a dislike that came purely out of the past or whether it
was inspired also by his bloated face and the water that the wind kept
squeezing from his eyes. They sat down on two iron chairs, side by side
but not too close together. He saw that she was about to speak. She moved
her clumsy shoe a few centimetres and deliberately crushed a twig. Her
feet seemed to have grown broader, he noticed.

'I betrayed you,' she said baldly.

'I betrayed you,' he said.

She gave him another quick look of dislike.

'Sometimes,' she said, 'they threaten you with something something you
can't stand up to, can't even think about. And then you say, "Don't do it
to me, do it to somebody else, do it to so-and-so." And perhaps you might
pretend, afterwards, that it was only a trick and that you just said it to
make them stop and didn't really mean it. But that isn't true. At the time
when it happens you do mean it. You think there's no other way of saving
yourself, and you're quite ready to save yourself that way. You WANT it to
happen to the other person. You don't give a damn what they suffer. All
you care about is yourself.'

'All you care about is yourself,' he echoed.

'And after that, you don't feel the same towards the other person any

'No,' he said, 'you don't feel the same.'

There did not seem to be anything more to say. The wind plastered their
thin overalls against their bodies. Almost at once it became embarrassing
to sit there in silence: besides, it was too cold to keep still. She said
something about catching her Tube and stood up to go.

'We must meet again,' he said.

'Yes,' she said, 'we must meet again.'

He followed irresolutely for a little distance, half a pace behind her.
They did not speak again. She did not actually try to shake him off, but
walked at just such a speed as to prevent his keeping abreast of her.
He had made up his mind that he would accompany her as far as the Tube
station, but suddenly this process of trailing along in the cold seemed
pointless and unbearable. He was overwhelmed by a desire not so much to
get away from Julia as to get back to the Chestnut Tree Cafe, which had
never seemed so attractive as at this moment. He had a nostalgic vision
of his corner table, with the newspaper and the chessboard and the
ever-flowing gin. Above all, it would be warm in there. The next moment,
not altogether by accident, he allowed himself to become separated from
her by a small knot of people. He made a half-hearted attempt to catch up,
then slowed down, turned, and made off in the opposite direction. When he
had gone fifty metres he looked back. The street was not crowded, but
already he could not distinguish her. Any one of a dozen hurrying figures
might have been hers. Perhaps her thickened, stiffened body was no longer
recognizable from behind.

'At the time when it happens,' she had said, 'you do mean it.' He had
meant it. He had not merely said it, he had wished it. He had wished that
she and not he should be delivered over to the----

Something changed in the music that trickled from the telescreen. A
cracked and jeering note, a yellow note, came into it. And then--perhaps
it was not happening, perhaps it was only a memory taking on the semblance
of sound--a voice was singing:

  'Under the spreading chestnut tree
  I sold you and you sold me----'

The tears welled up in his eyes. A passing waiter noticed that his glass
was empty and came back with the gin bottle.

He took up his glass and sniffed at it. The stuff grew not less but more
horrible with every mouthful he drank. But it had become the element he
swam in. It was his life, his death, and his resurrection. It was gin that
sank him into stupor every night, and gin that revived him every morning.
When he woke, seldom before eleven hundred, with gummed-up eyelids and
fiery mouth and a back that seemed to be broken, it would have been
impossible even to rise from the horizontal if it had not been for the
bottle and teacup placed beside the bed overnight. Through the midday
hours he sat with glazed face, the bottle handy, listening to the
telescreen. From fifteen to closing-time he was a fixture in the Chestnut
Tree. No one cared what he did any longer, no whistle woke him, no
telescreen admonished him. Occasionally, perhaps twice a week, he went
to a dusty, forgotten-looking office in the Ministry of Truth and did
a little work, or what was called work. He had been appointed to a
sub-committee of a sub-committee which had sprouted from one of the
innumerable committees dealing with minor difficulties that arose in the
compilation of the Eleventh Edition of the Newspeak Dictionary. They were
engaged in producing something called an Interim Report, but what it was
that they were reporting on he had never definitely found out. It was
something to do with the question of whether commas should be placed
inside brackets, or outside. There were four others on the committee, all
of them persons similar to himself. There were days when they assembled
and then promptly dispersed again, frankly admitting to one another that
there was not really anything to be done. But there were other days when
they settled down to their work almost eagerly, making a tremendous show
of entering up their minutes and drafting long memoranda which were never
finished--when the argument as to what they were supposedly arguing about
grew extraordinarily involved and abstruse, with subtle haggling over
definitions, enormous digressions, quarrels--threats, even, to appeal to
higher authority. And then suddenly the life would go out of them and
they would sit round the table looking at one another with extinct eyes,
like ghosts fading at cock-crow.

The telescreen was silent for a moment. Winston raised his head again. The
bulletin! But no, they were merely changing the music. He had the map of
Africa behind his eyelids. The movement of the armies was a diagram: a
black arrow tearing vertically southward, and a white arrow horizontally
eastward, across the tail of the first. As though for reassurance he
looked up at the imperturbable face in the portrait. Was it conceivable
that the second arrow did not even exist?

His interest flagged again. He drank another mouthful of gin, picked up
the white knight and made a tentative move. Check. But it was evidently
not the right move, because----

Uncalled, a memory floated into his mind. He saw a candle-lit room with a
vast white-counterpaned bed, and himself, a boy of nine or ten, sitting on
the floor, shaking a dice-box, and laughing excitedly. His mother was
sitting opposite him and also laughing.

It must have been about a month before she disappeared. It was a moment of
reconciliation, when the nagging hunger in his belly was forgotten and his
earlier affection for her had temporarily revived. He remembered the day
well, a pelting, drenching day when the water streamed down the window-pane
and the light indoors was too dull to read by. The boredom of the two
children in the dark, cramped bedroom became unbearable. Winston whined
and grizzled, made futile demands for food, fretted about the room pulling
everything out of place and kicking the wainscoting until the neighbours
banged on the wall, while the younger child wailed intermittently. In the
end his mother said, 'Now be good, and I'll buy you a toy. A lovely
toy--you'll love it'; and then she had gone out in the rain, to a little
general shop which was still sporadically open nearby, and came back with
a cardboard box containing an outfit of Snakes and Ladders. He could still
remember the smell of the damp cardboard. It was a miserable outfit. The
board was cracked and the tiny wooden dice were so ill-cut that they
would hardly lie on their sides. Winston looked at the thing sulkily and
without interest. But then his mother lit a piece of candle and they sat
down on the floor to play. Soon he was wildly excited and shouting with
laughter as the tiddly-winks climbed hopefully up the ladders and then
came slithering down the snakes again, almost to the starting-point. They
played eight games, winning four each. His tiny sister, too young to
understand what the game was about, had sat propped up against a bolster,
laughing because the others were laughing. For a whole afternoon they had
all been happy together, as in his earlier childhood.

He pushed the picture out of his mind. It was a false memory. He was
troubled by false memories occasionally. They did not matter so long as
one knew them for what they were. Some things had happened, others had not
happened. He turned back to the chessboard and picked up the white knight
again. Almost in the same instant it dropped on to the board with a
clatter. He had started as though a pin had run into him.

A shrill trumpet-call had pierced the air. It was the bulletin! Victory!
It always meant victory when a trumpet-call preceded the news. A sort of
electric drill ran through the cafe. Even the waiters had started and
pricked up their ears.

The trumpet-call had let loose an enormous volume of noise. Already an
excited voice was gabbling from the telescreen, but even as it started
it was almost drowned by a roar of cheering from outside. The news had
run round the streets like magic. He could hear just enough of what was
issuing from the telescreen to realize that it had all happened, as he had
foreseen; a vast seaborne armada had secretly assembled a sudden blow in
the enemy's rear, the white arrow tearing across the tail of the black.
Fragments of triumphant phrases pushed themselves through the din: 'Vast
strategic manoeuvre--perfect co-ordination--utter rout--half a million
prisoners--complete demoralization--control of the whole of Africa--bring
the war within measurable distance of its end--victory--greatest victory
in human history--victory, victory, victory!'

Under the table Winston's feet made convulsive movements. He had not
stirred from his seat, but in his mind he was running, swiftly running,
he was with the crowds outside, cheering himself deaf. He looked up again
at the portrait of Big Brother. The colossus that bestrode the world!
The rock against which the hordes of Asia dashed themselves in vain! He
thought how ten minutes ago--yes, only ten minutes--there had still been
equivocation in his heart as he wondered whether the news from the front
would be of victory or defeat. Ah, it was more than a Eurasian army that
had perished! Much had changed in him since that first day in the Ministry
of Love, but the final, indispensable, healing change had never happened,
until this moment.

The voice from the telescreen was still pouring forth its tale of prisoners
and booty and slaughter, but the shouting outside had died down a little.
The waiters were turning back to their work. One of them approached with
the gin bottle. Winston, sitting in a blissful dream, paid no attention
as his glass was filled up. He was not running or cheering any longer. He
was back in the Ministry of Love, with everything forgiven, his soul white
as snow. He was in the public dock, confessing everything, implicating
everybody. He was walking down the white-tiled corridor, with the feeling
of walking in sunlight, and an armed guard at his back. The long-hoped-for
bullet was entering his brain.

He gazed up at the enormous face. Forty years it had taken him to learn
what kind of smile was hidden beneath the dark moustache. O cruel, needless
misunderstanding! O stubborn, self-willed exile from the loving breast!
Two gin-scented tears trickled down the sides of his nose. But it was all
right, everything was all right, the struggle was finished. He had won
the victory over himself. He loved Big Brother.



The Principles of Newspeak

Newspeak was the official language of Oceania and had been devised to meet
the ideological needs of Ingsoc, or English Socialism. In the year 1984
there was not as yet anyone who used Newspeak as his sole means of
communication, either in speech or writing. The leading articles in
'The Times' were written in it, but this was a TOUR DE FORCE which could
only be carried out by a specialist. It was expected that Newspeak would
have finally superseded Oldspeak (or Standard English, as we should
call it) by about the year 2050. Meanwhile it gained ground steadily, all
Party members tending to use Newspeak words and grammatical constructions
more and more in their everyday speech. The version in use in 1984, and
embodied in the Ninth and Tenth Editions of the Newspeak Dictionary, was
a provisional one, and contained many superfluous words and archaic
formations which were due to be suppressed later. It is with the final,
perfected version, as embodied in the Eleventh Edition of the Dictionary,
that we are concerned here.

The purpose of Newspeak was not only to provide a medium of expression
for the world-view and mental habits proper to the devotees of Ingsoc,
but to make all other modes of thought impossible. It was intended that
when Newspeak had been adopted once and for all and Oldspeak forgotten,
a heretical thought--that is, a thought diverging from the principles of
Ingsoc--should be literally unthinkable, at least so far as thought is
dependent on words. Its vocabulary was so constructed as to give exact and
often very subtle expression to every meaning that a Party member could
properly wish to express, while excluding all other meanings and also the
possibility of arriving at them by indirect methods. This was done partly
by the invention of new words, but chiefly by eliminating undesirable
words and by stripping such words as remained of unorthodox meanings, and
so far as possible of all secondary meanings whatever. To give a single
example. The word FREE still existed in Newspeak, but it could only be
used in such statements as 'This dog is free from lice' or 'This field is
free from weeds'. It could not be used in its old sense of 'politically
free' or 'intellectually free' since political and intellectual freedom no
longer existed even as concepts, and were therefore of necessity nameless.
Quite apart from the suppression of definitely heretical words, reduction
of vocabulary was regarded as an end in itself, and no word that could be
dispensed with was allowed to survive. Newspeak was designed not to extend
but to DIMINISH the range of thought, and this purpose was indirectly
assisted by cutting the choice of words down to a minimum.

Newspeak was founded on the English language as we now know it, though
many Newspeak sentences, even when not containing newly-created words,
would be barely intelligible to an English-speaker of our own day. Newspeak
words were divided into three distinct classes, known as the A vocabulary,
the B vocabulary (also called compound words), and the C vocabulary.
It will be simpler to discuss each class separately, but the grammatical
peculiarities of the language can be dealt with in the section devoted to
the A vocabulary, since the same rules held good for all three categories.

THE A VOCABULARY. The A vocabulary consisted of the words needed for the
business of everyday life--for such things as eating, drinking, working,
putting on one's clothes, going up and down stairs, riding in vehicles,
gardening, cooking, and the like. It was composed almost entirely of words
that we already possess words like HIT, RUN, DOG, TREE, SUGAR, HOUSE,
FIELD--but in comparison with the present-day English vocabulary their
number was extremely small, while their meanings were far more rigidly
defined. All ambiguities and shades of meaning had been purged out of
them. So far as it could be achieved, a Newspeak word of this class was
simply a staccato sound expressing ONE clearly understood concept. It
would have been quite impossible to use the A vocabulary for literary
purposes or for political or philosophical discussion. It was intended
only to express simple, purposive thoughts, usually involving concrete
objects or physical actions.

The grammar of Newspeak had two outstanding peculiarities. The first of
these was an almost complete interchangeability between different parts of
speech. Any word in the language (in principle this applied even to very
abstract words such as IF or WHEN) could be used either as verb, noun,
adjective, or adverb. Between the verb and the noun form, when they were
of the same root, there was never any variation, this rule of itself
involving the destruction of many archaic forms. The word THOUGHT, for
example, did not exist in Newspeak. Its place was taken by THINK, which
did duty for both noun and verb. No etymological principle was followed
here: in some cases it was the original noun that was chosen for retention,
in other cases the verb. Even where a noun and verb of kindred meaning
were not etymologically connected, one or other of them was frequently
suppressed. There was, for example, no such word as CUT, its meaning being
sufficiently covered by the noun-verb KNIFE. Adjectives were formed by
adding the suffix -FUL to the noun-verb, and adverbs by adding -WISE. Thus
for example, SPEEDFUL meant 'rapid' and SPEEDWISE meant 'quickly'. Certain
of our present-day adjectives, such as GOOD, STRONG, BIG, BLACK, SOFT,
were retained, but their total number was very small. There was little
need for them, since almost any adjectival meaning could be arrived at by
adding -FUL to a noun-verb. None of the now-existing adverbs was retained,
except for a very few already ending in -WISE: the -WISE termination was
invariable. The word WELL, for example, was replaced by GOODWISE.

In addition, any word--this again applied in principle to every word in
the language--could be negatived by adding the affix UN-, or could be
strengthened by the affix PLUS-, or, for still greater emphasis,
DOUBLEPLUS-. Thus, for example, UNCOLD meant 'warm', while PLUSCOLD and
DOUBLEPLUSCOLD meant, respectively, 'very cold' and 'superlatively cold'.
It was also possible, as in present-day English, to modify the meaning of
almost any word by prepositional affixes such as ANTE-, POST-, UP-, DOWN-,
etc. By such methods it was found possible to bring about an enormous
diminution of vocabulary. Given, for instance, the word GOOD, there was no
need for such a word as BAD, since the required meaning was equally
well--indeed, better--expressed by UNGOOD. All that was necessary, in any
case where two words formed a natural pair of opposites, was to decide
which of them to suppress. DARK, for example, could be replaced by UNLIGHT,
or LIGHT by UNDARK, according to preference.

The second distinguishing mark of Newspeak grammar was its regularity.
Subject to a few exceptions which are mentioned below all inflexions
followed the same rules. Thus, in all verbs the preterite and the past
participle were the same and ended in -ED. The preterite of STEAL was
STEALED, the preterite of THINK was THINKED, and so on throughout the
language, all such forms as SWAM, GAVE, BROUGHT, SPOKE, TAKEN, etc., being
abolished. All plurals were made by adding -S or -ES as the case might be.
The plurals OF MAN, OX, LIFE, were MANS, OXES, LIFES. Comparison of
adjectives was invariably made by adding -ER, -EST (GOOD, GOODER, GOODEST),
irregular forms and the MORE, MOST formation being suppressed.

The only classes of words that were still allowed to inflect irregularly
were the pronouns, the relatives, the demonstrative adjectives, and the
auxiliary verbs. All of these followed their ancient usage, except that
WHOM had been scrapped as unnecessary, and the SHALL, SHOULD tenses had
been dropped, all their uses being covered by WILL and WOULD. There were
also certain irregularities in word-formation arising out of the need for
rapid and easy speech. A word which was difficult to utter, or was liable
to be incorrectly heard, was held to be ipso facto a bad word; occasionally
therefore, for the sake of euphony, extra letters were inserted into a word
or an archaic formation was retained. But this need made itself felt
chiefly in connexion with the B vocabulary. WHY so great an importance was
attached to ease of pronunciation will be made clear later in this essay.

THE B VOCABULARY. The B vocabulary consisted of words which had been
deliberately constructed for political purposes: words, that is to say,
which not only had in every case a political implication, but were intended
to impose a desirable mental attitude upon the person using them. Without
a full understanding of the principles of Ingsoc it was difficult to use
these words correctly. In some cases they could be translated into
Oldspeak, or even into words taken from the A vocabulary, but this usually
demanded a long paraphrase and always involved the loss of certain
overtones. The B words were a sort of verbal shorthand, often packing
whole ranges of ideas into a few syllables, and at the same time more
accurate and forcible than ordinary language.

The B words were in all cases compound words. [Compound words such as
SPEAKWRITE, were of course to be found in the A vocabulary, but these were
merely convenient abbreviations and had no special ideological colour.]
They consisted of two or more words, or portions of words, welded together
in an easily pronounceable form. The resulting amalgam was always a
noun-verb, and inflected according to the ordinary rules. To take a single
example: the word GOODTHINK, meaning, very roughly, 'orthodoxy', or, if
one chose to regard it as a verb, 'to think in an orthodox manner'. This
inflected as follows: noun-verb, GOODTHINK; past tense and past participle,
GOODTHINKED; present participle, GOOD-THINKING; adjective, GOODTHINKFUL;
adverb, GOODTHINKWISE; verbal noun, GOODTHINKER.

The B words were not constructed on any etymological plan. The words of
which they were made up could be any parts of speech, and could be placed
in any order and mutilated in any way which made them easy to pronounce
while indicating their derivation. In the word CRIMETHINK (thoughtcrime),
for instance, the THINK came second, whereas in THINKPOL (Thought Police)
it came first, and in the latter word POLICE had lost its second syllable.
Because of the great difficulty in securing euphony, irregular formations
were commoner in the B vocabulary than in the A vocabulary. For example,
the adjective forms of MINITRUE, MINIPAX, and MINILUV were, respectively,
-PAXFUL, and -LOVEFUL were slightly awkward to pronounce. In principle,
however, all B words could inflect, and all inflected in exactly the
same way.

Some of the B words had highly subtilized meanings, barely intelligible to
anyone who had not mastered the language as a whole. Consider, for example,
such a typical sentence from a 'Times' leading article as OLDTHINKERS
UNBELLYFEEL INGSOC. The shortest rendering that one could make of this
in Oldspeak would be: 'Those whose ideas were formed before the Revolution
cannot have a full emotional understanding of the principles of English
Socialism.' But this is not an adequate translation. To begin with, in
order to grasp the full meaning of the Newspeak sentence quoted above,
one would have to have a clear idea of what is meant by INGSOC. And in
addition, only a person thoroughly grounded in Ingsoc could appreciate
the full force of the word BELLYFEEL, which implied a blind, enthusiastic
acceptance difficult to imagine today; or of the word OLDTHINK, which was
inextricably mixed up with the idea of wickedness and decadence. But the
special function of certain Newspeak words, of which OLDTHINK was one,
was not so much to express meanings as to destroy them. These words,
necessarily few in number, had had their meanings extended until they
contained within themselves whole batteries of words which, as they were
sufficiently covered by a single comprehensive term, could now be scrapped
and forgotten. The greatest difficulty facing the compilers of the Newspeak
Dictionary was not to invent new words, but, having invented them, to make
sure what they meant: to make sure, that is to say, what ranges of words
they cancelled by their existence.

As we have already seen in the case of the word FREE, words which had
once borne a heretical meaning were sometimes retained for the sake of
convenience, but only with the undesirable meanings purged out of them.
DEMOCRACY, SCIENCE, and RELIGION had simply ceased to exist. A few blanket
words covered them, and, in covering them, abolished them. All words
grouping themselves round the concepts of liberty and equality, for
instance, were contained in the single word CRIMETHINK, while all words
grouping themselves round the concepts of objectivity and rationalism
were contained in the single word OLDTHINK. Greater precision would have
been dangerous. What was required in a Party member was an outlook similar
to that of the ancient Hebrew who knew, without knowing much else, that
all nations other than his own worshipped 'false gods'. He did not need to
know that these gods were called Baal, Osiris, Moloch, Ashtaroth, and the
like: probably the less he knew about them the better for his orthodoxy.
He knew Jehovah and the commandments of Jehovah: he knew, therefore, that
all gods with other names or other attributes were false gods. In somewhat
the same way, the party member knew what constituted right conduct, and in
exceedingly vague, generalized terms he knew what kinds of departure from
it were possible. His sexual life, for example, was entirely regulated by
the two Newspeak words SEXCRIME (sexual immorality) and GOODSEX (chastity).
SEXCRIME covered all sexual misdeeds whatever. It covered fornication,
adultery, homosexuality, and other perversions, and, in addition, normal
intercourse practised for its own sake. There was no need to enumerate
them separately, since they were all equally culpable, and, in principle,
all punishable by death. In the C vocabulary, which consisted of scientific
and technical words, it might be necessary to give specialized names to
certain sexual aberrations, but the ordinary citizen had no need of them.
He knew what was meant by GOODSEX--that is to say, normal intercourse
between man and wife, for the sole purpose of begetting children, and
without physical pleasure on the part of the woman: all else was SEXCRIME.
In Newspeak it was seldom possible to follow a heretical thought further
than the perception that it WAS heretical: beyond that point the necessary
words were nonexistent.

No word in the B vocabulary was ideologically neutral. A great many were
euphemisms. Such words, for instance, as JOYCAMP (forced-labour camp) or
MINIPAX (Ministry of Peace, i.e. Ministry of War) meant almost the exact
opposite of what they appeared to mean. Some words, on the other hand,
displayed a frank and contemptuous understanding of the real nature of
Oceanic society. An example was PROLEFEED, meaning the rubbishy
entertainment and spurious news which the Party handed out to the masses.
Other words, again, were ambivalent, having the connotation 'good' when
applied to the Party and 'bad' when applied to its enemies. But in
addition there were great numbers of words which at first sight appeared
to be mere abbreviations and which derived their ideological colour not
from their meaning, but from their structure.

So far as it could be contrived, everything that had or might have
political significance of any kind was fitted into the B vocabulary. The
name of every organization, or body of people, or doctrine, or country, or
institution, or public building, was invariably cut down into the familiar
shape; that is, a single easily pronounced word with the smallest number
of syllables that would preserve the original derivation. In the Ministry
of Truth, for example, the Records Department, in which Winston Smith
worked, was called RECDEP, the Fiction Department was called FICDEP, the
Teleprogrammes Department was called TELEDEP, and so on. This was not
done solely with the object of saving time. Even in the early decades of
the twentieth century, telescoped words and phrases had been one of the
characteristic features of political language; and it had been noticed
that the tendency to use abbreviations of this kind was most marked in
totalitarian countries and totalitarian organizations. Examples were such
the practice had been adopted as it were instinctively, but in Newspeak
it was used with a conscious purpose. It was perceived that in thus
abbreviating a name one narrowed and subtly altered its meaning, by
cutting out most of the associations that would otherwise cling to it.
The words COMMUNIST INTERNATIONAL, for instance, call up a composite
picture of universal human brotherhood, red flags, barricades, Karl Marx,
and the Paris Commune. The word COMINTERN, on the other hand, suggests
merely a tightly-knit organization and a well-defined body of doctrine.
It refers to something almost as easily recognized, and as limited in
purpose, as a chair or a table. COMINTERN is a word that can be uttered
almost without taking thought, whereas COMMUNIST INTERNATIONAL is a phrase
over which one is obliged to linger at least momentarily. In the same way,
the associations called up by a word like MINITRUE are fewer and more
controllable than those called up by MINISTRY OF TRUTH. This accounted not
only for the habit of abbreviating whenever possible, but also for the
almost exaggerated care that was taken to make every word easily

In Newspeak, euphony outweighed every consideration other than exactitude
of meaning. Regularity of grammar was always sacrificed to it when it
seemed necessary. And rightly so, since what was required, above all for
political purposes, was short clipped words of unmistakable meaning which
could be uttered rapidly and which roused the minimum of echoes in the
speaker's mind. The words of the B vocabulary even gained in force from
the fact that nearly all of them were very much alike. Almost invariably
BELLYFEEL, THINKPOL, and countless others--were words of two or three
syllables, with the stress distributed equally between the first syllable
and the last. The use of them encouraged a gabbling style of speech, at
once staccato and monotonous. And this was exactly what was aimed at. The
intention was to make speech, and especially speech on any subject not
ideologically neutral, as nearly as possible independent of consciousness.
For the purposes of everyday life it was no doubt necessary, or sometimes
necessary, to reflect before speaking, but a Party member called upon to
make a political or ethical judgement should be able to spray forth the
correct opinions as automatically as a machine gun spraying forth bullets.
His training fitted him to do this, the language gave him an almost
foolproof instrument, and the texture of the words, with their harsh sound
and a certain wilful ugliness which was in accord with the spirit of
Ingsoc, assisted the process still further.

So did the fact of having very few words to choose from. Relative to our
own, the Newspeak vocabulary was tiny, and new ways of reducing it were
constantly being devised. Newspeak, indeed, differed from most all other
languages in that its vocabulary grew smaller instead of larger every
year. Each reduction was a gain, since the smaller the area of choice,
the smaller the temptation to take thought. Ultimately it was hoped to
make articulate speech issue from the larynx without involving the higher
brain centres at all. This aim was frankly admitted in the Newspeak word
DUCKSPEAK, meaning 'to quack like a duck'. Like various other words in
the B vocabulary, DUCKSPEAK was ambivalent in meaning. Provided that the
opinions which were quacked out were orthodox ones, it implied nothing but
praise, and when 'The Times' referred to one of the orators of the Party
as a DOUBLEPLUSGOOD DUCKSPEAKER it was paying a warm and valued compliment.

THE C VOCABULARY. The C vocabulary was supplementary to the others and
consisted entirely of scientific and technical terms. These resembled the
scientific terms in use today, and were constructed from the same roots,
but the usual care was taken to define them rigidly and strip them of
undesirable meanings. They followed the same grammatical rules as the
words in the other two vocabularies. Very few of the C words had any
currency either in everyday speech or in political speech. Any scientific
worker or technician could find all the words he needed in the list devoted
to his own speciality, but he seldom had more than a smattering of the
words occurring in the other lists. Only a very few words were common to
all lists, and there was no vocabulary expressing the function of Science
as a habit of mind, or a method of thought, irrespective of its particular
branches. There was, indeed, no word for 'Science', any meaning that it
could possibly bear being already sufficiently covered by the word INGSOC.

From the foregoing account it will be seen that in Newspeak the expression
of unorthodox opinions, above a very low level, was well-nigh impossible.
It was of course possible to utter heresies of a very crude kind, a
species of blasphemy. It would have been possible, for example, to say
BIG BROTHER IS UNGOOD. But this statement, which to an orthodox ear merely
conveyed a self-evident absurdity, could not have been sustained by
reasoned argument, because the necessary words were not available. Ideas
inimical to Ingsoc could only be entertained in a vague wordless form,
and could only be named in very broad terms which lumped together and
condemned whole groups of heresies without defining them in doing so.
One could, in fact, only use Newspeak for unorthodox purposes by
illegitimately translating some of the words back into Oldspeak. For
example, ALL MANS ARE EQUAL was a possible Newspeak sentence, but only
in the same sense in which ALL MEN ARE REDHAIRED is a possible Oldspeak
sentence. It did not contain a grammatical error, but it expressed
a palpable untruth--i.e. that all men are of equal size, weight, or
strength. The concept of political equality no longer existed, and this
secondary meaning had accordingly been purged out of the word EQUAL.
In 1984, when Oldspeak was still the normal means of communication,
the danger theoretically existed that in using Newspeak words one might
remember their original meanings. In practice it was not difficult for
any person well grounded in DOUBLETHINK to avoid doing this, but within
a couple of generations even the possibility of such a lapse would have
vanished. A person growing up with Newspeak as his sole language would no
more know that EQUAL had once had the secondary meaning of 'politically
equal', or that FREE had once meant 'intellectually free', than for
instance, a person who had never heard of chess would be aware of the
secondary meanings attaching to QUEEN and ROOK. There would be many
crimes and errors which it would be beyond his power to commit, simply
because they were nameless and therefore unimaginable. And it was to be
foreseen that with the passage of time the distinguishing characteristics
of Newspeak would become more and more pronounced--its words growing
fewer and fewer, their meanings more and more rigid, and the chance of
putting them to improper uses always diminishing.

When Oldspeak had been once and for all superseded, the last link with
the past would have been severed. History had already been rewritten,
but fragments of the literature of the past survived here and there,
imperfectly censored, and so long as one retained one's knowledge of
Oldspeak it was possible to read them. In the future such fragments, even
if they chanced to survive, would be unintelligible and untranslatable.
It was impossible to translate any passage of Oldspeak into Newspeak unless
it either referred to some technical process or some very simple everyday
action, or was already orthodox (GOODTHINKFUL would be the Newspeak
expression) in tendency. In practice this meant that no book written before
approximately 1960 could be translated as a whole. Pre-revolutionary
literature could only be subjected to ideological translation--that is,
alteration in sense as well as language. Take for example the well-known
passage from the Declaration of Independence:


It would have been quite impossible to render this into Newspeak while
keeping to the sense of the original. The nearest one could come to doing
so would be to swallow the whole passage up in the single word CRIMETHINK.
A full translation could only be an ideological translation, whereby
Jefferson's words would be changed into a panegyric on absolute government.

A good deal of the literature of the past was, indeed, already being
transformed in this way. Considerations of prestige made it desirable to
preserve the memory of certain historical figures, while at the same time
bringing their achievements into line with the philosophy of Ingsoc.
Various writers, such as Shakespeare, Milton, Swift, Byron, Dickens, and
some others were therefore in process of translation: when the task had
been completed, their original writings, with all else that survived of
the literature of the past, would be destroyed. These translations were
a slow and difficult business, and it was not expected that they would
be finished before the first or second decade of the twenty-first
century. There were also large quantities of merely utilitarian
literature--indispensable technical manuals, and the like--that had to
be treated in the same way. It was chiefly in order to allow time for
the preliminary work of translation that the final adoption of Newspeak
had been fixed for so late a date as 2050.


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Title:  Moby Dick; or The Whale

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In chapters 24, 89, and 90, we substituted a capital L for the symbol
for the British pound, a unit of currency.


by Herman Melville


(Supplied by a Late Consumptive Usher to a Grammar School)

The pale Usher--threadbare in coat, heart, body, and brain; I see him
now.  He was ever dusting his old lexicons and grammars, with a queer
handkerchief, mockingly embellished with all the gay flags of all the
known nations of the world.  He loved to dust his old grammars; it
somehow mildly reminded him of his mortality.

"While you take in hand to school others, and to teach them by what
name a whale-fish is to be called in our tongue leaving out, through
ignorance, the letter H, which almost alone maketh the signification
of the word, you deliver that which is not true." --HACKLUYT

"WHALE. ... Sw. and Dan. HVAL.  This animal is named from roundness
or rolling; for in Dan. HVALT is arched or vaulted." --WEBSTER'S

"WHALE. ... It is more immediately from the Dut. and Ger. WALLEN;
A.S. WALW-IAN, to roll, to wallow." --RICHARDSON'S DICTIONARY

KETOS,               GREEK.
CETUS,               LATIN.
WHOEL,               ANGLO-SAXON.
HVALT,               DANISH.
WAL,                 DUTCH.
HWAL,                SWEDISH.
WHALE,               ICELANDIC.
WHALE,               ENGLISH.
BALEINE,             FRENCH.
BALLENA,             SPANISH.

EXTRACTS (Supplied by a Sub-Sub-Librarian).

It will be seen that this mere painstaking burrower and grub-worm of
a poor devil of a Sub-Sub appears to have gone through the long
Vaticans and street-stalls of the earth, picking up whatever random
allusions to whales he could anyways find in any book whatsoever,
sacred or profane.  Therefore you must not, in every case at least,
take the higgledy-piggledy whale statements, however authentic, in
these extracts, for veritable gospel cetology.  Far from it.  As
touching the ancient authors generally, as well as the poets here
appearing, these extracts are solely valuable or entertaining, as
affording a glancing bird's eye view of what has been promiscuously
said, thought, fancied, and sung of Leviathan, by many nations and
generations, including our own.

So fare thee well, poor devil of a Sub-Sub, whose commentator I am.
Thou belongest to that hopeless, sallow tribe which no wine of this
world will ever warm; and for whom even Pale Sherry would be too
rosy-strong; but with whom one sometimes loves to sit, and feel
poor-devilish, too; and grow convivial upon tears; and say to them
bluntly, with full eyes and empty glasses, and in not altogether
unpleasant sadness--Give it up, Sub-Subs!  For by how much the more
pains ye take to please the world, by so much the more shall ye for
ever go thankless!  Would that I could clear out Hampton Court and
the Tuileries for ye!  But gulp down your tears and hie aloft to the
royal-mast with your hearts; for your friends who have gone before
are clearing out the seven-storied heavens, and making refugees of
long-pampered Gabriel, Michael, and Raphael, against your coming.
Here ye strike but splintered hearts together--there, ye shall strike
unsplinterable glasses!


"And God created great whales." --GENESIS.

"Leviathan maketh a path to shine after him; One would think the deep
to be hoary." --JOB.

"Now the Lord had prepared a great fish to swallow up Jonah."

"There go the ships; there is that Leviathan whom thou hast made to
play therein." --PSALMS.

"In that day, the Lord with his sore, and great, and strong sword,
shall punish Leviathan the piercing serpent, even Leviathan that
crooked serpent; and he shall slay the dragon that is in the sea."

"And what thing soever besides cometh within the chaos of this
monster's mouth, be it beast, boat, or stone, down it goes all
incontinently that foul great swallow of his, and perisheth in the
bottomless gulf of his paunch." --HOLLAND'S PLUTARCH'S MORALS.

"The Indian Sea breedeth the most and the biggest fishes that are:
among which the Whales and Whirlpooles called Balaene, take up as
much in length as four acres or arpens of land." --HOLLAND'S PLINY.

"Scarcely had we proceeded two days on the sea, when about sunrise a
great many Whales and other monsters of the sea, appeared.  Among the
former, one was of a most monstrous size. ...  This came towards us,
open-mouthed, raising the waves on all sides, and beating the sea
before him into a foam." --TOOKE'S LUCIAN.  "THE TRUE HISTORY."

"He visited this country also with a view of catching horse-whales,
which had bones of very great value for their teeth, of which he
brought some to the king. ...  The best whales were catched in his
own country, of which some were forty-eight, some fifty yards long.
He said that he was one of six who had killed sixty in two days."

"And whereas all the other things, whether beast or vessel, that
enter into the dreadful gulf of this monster's (whale's) mouth, are
immediately lost and swallowed up, the sea-gudgeon retires into it in
great security, and there sleeps." --MONTAIGNE.  --APOLOGY FOR

"Let us fly, let us fly!  Old Nick take me if is not Leviathan
described by the noble prophet Moses in the life of patient Job."

"This whale's liver was two cartloads." --STOWE'S ANNALS.

"The great Leviathan that maketh the seas to seethe like boiling

"Touching that monstrous bulk of the whale or ork we have received
nothing certain.  They grow exceeding fat, insomuch that an
incredible quantity of oil will be extracted out of one whale."

"The sovereignest thing on earth is parmacetti for an inward bruise."

"Very like a whale." --HAMLET.

"Which to secure, no skill of leach's art
Mote him availle, but to returne againe
To his wound's worker, that with lowly dart,
Dinting his breast, had bred his restless paine,
Like as the wounded whale to shore flies thro' the maine."

"Immense as whales, the motion of whose vast bodies can in a peaceful
calm trouble the ocean til it boil." --SIR WILLIAM DAVENANT.  PREFACE

"What spermacetti is, men might justly doubt, since the learned
Hosmannus in his work of thirty years, saith plainly, Nescio quid

"Like Spencer's Talus with his modern flail
He threatens ruin with his ponderous tail.
Their fixed jav'lins in his side he wears,
And on his back a grove of pikes appears." --WALLER'S BATTLE OF THE

"By art is created that great Leviathan, called a Commonwealth or
State--(in Latin, Civitas) which is but an artificial man." --OPENING

"Silly Mansoul swallowed it without chewing, as if it had been a
sprat in the mouth of a whale." --PILGRIM'S PROGRESS.

"That sea beast
Leviathan, which God of all his works
Created hugest that swim the ocean stream." --PARADISE LOST.

---"There Leviathan,
Hugest of living creatures, in the deep
Stretched like a promontory sleeps or swims,
And seems a moving land; and at his gills
Draws in, and at his breath spouts out a sea." --IBID.

"The mighty whales which swim in a sea of water, and have a sea of
oil swimming in them." --FULLLER'S PROFANE AND HOLY STATE.

"So close behind some promontory lie
The huge Leviathan to attend their prey,
And give no chance, but swallow in the fry,
Which through their gaping jaws mistake the way."

"While the whale is floating at the stern of the ship, they cut off
his head, and tow it with a boat as near the shore as it will come;
but it will be aground in twelve or thirteen feet water." --THOMAS

"In their way they saw many whales sporting in the ocean, and in
wantonness fuzzing up the water through their pipes and vents, which
nature has placed on their shoulders." --SIR T. HERBERT'S VOYAGES

"Here they saw such huge troops of whales, that they were forced to
proceed with a great deal of caution for fear they should run their

"We set sail from the Elbe, wind N.E. in the ship called The
Jonas-in-the-Whale. ...  Some say the whale can't open his mouth, but
that is a fable. ...  They frequently climb up the masts to see
whether they can see a whale, for the first discoverer has a ducat
for his pains. ...  I was told of a whale taken near Shetland, that
had above a barrel of herrings in his belly. ...  One of our
harpooneers told me that he caught once a whale in Spitzbergen that
was white all over." --A VOYAGE TO GREENLAND, A.D. 1671 HARRIS COLL.

"Several whales have come in upon this coast (Fife) Anno 1652, one
eighty feet in length of the whale-bone kind came in, which (as I was
informed), besides a vast quantity of oil, did afford 500 weight of
baleen.  The jaws of it stand for a gate in the garden of Pitferren."

"Myself have agreed to try whether I can master and kill this
Sperma-ceti whale, for I could never hear of any of that sort that
was killed by any man, such is his fierceness and swiftness."

"Whales in the sea God's voice obey." --N. E. PRIMER.

"We saw also abundance of large whales, there being more in those
southern seas, as I may say, by a hundred to one; than we have to the

"... and the breath of the whale is frequendy attended with such an
insupportable smell, as to bring on a disorder of the brain."

"To fifty chosen sylphs of special note,
We trust the important charge, the petticoat.
Oft have we known that seven-fold fence to fail,
Tho' stuffed with hoops and armed with ribs of whale." --RAPE

"If we compare land animals in respect to magnitude, with those that
take up their abode in the deep, we shall find they will appear
contemptible in the comparison.  The whale is doubtless the largest
animal in creation." --GOLDSMITH, NAT. HIST.

"If you should write a fable for little fishes, you would make them
speak like great wales." --GOLDSMITH TO JOHNSON.

"In the afternoon we saw what was supposed to be a rock, but it was
found to be a dead whale, which some Asiatics had killed, and were
then towing ashore.  They seemed to endeavor to conceal themselves
behind the whale, in order to avoid being seen by us." --COOK'S

"The larger whales, they seldom venture to attack.  They stand in so
great dread of some of them, that when out at sea they are afraid to
mention even their names, and carry dung, lime-stone, juniper-wood,
and some other articles of the same nature in their boats, in order
to terrify and prevent their too near approach." --UNO VON TROIL'S

"The Spermacetti Whale found by the Nantuckois, is an active, fierce
animal, and requires vast address and boldness in the fishermen."

"And pray, sir, what in the world is equal to it?" --EDMUND BURKE'S

"Spain--a great whale stranded on the shores of Europe." --EDMUND

"A tenth branch of the king's ordinary revenue, said to be grounded
on the consideration of his guarding and protecting the seas from
pirates and robbers, is the right to royal fish, which are whale and
sturgeon.  And these, when either thrown ashore or caught near the
coast, are the property of the king." --BLACKSTONE.

"Soon to the sport of death the crews repair:
Rodmond unerring o'er his head suspends
The barbed steel, and every turn attends."

"Bright shone the roofs, the domes, the spires,
And rockets blew self driven,
To hang their momentary fire
Around the vault of heaven.

"So fire with water to compare,
The ocean serves on high,
Up-spouted by a whale in air,
To express unwieldy joy." --COWPER, ON THE QUEEN'S

"Ten or fifteen gallons of blood are thrown out of the heart at a
stroke, with immense velocity." --JOHN HUNTER'S ACCOUNT OF THE

"The aorta of a whale is larger in the bore than the main pipe of the
water-works at London Bridge, and the water roaring in its passage
through that pipe is inferior in impetus and velocity to the blood
gushing from the whale's heart." --PALEY'S THEOLOGY.

"The whale is a mammiferous animal without hind feet." --BARON

"In 40 degrees south, we saw Spermacetti Whales, but did not take any
till the first of May, the sea being then covered with them."

"In the free element beneath me swam,
Floundered and dived, in play, in chace, in battle,
Fishes of every colour, form, and kind;
Which language cannot paint, and mariner
Had never seen; from dread Leviathan
To insect millions peopling every wave:
Gather'd in shoals immense, like floating islands,
Led by mysterious instincts through that waste
And trackless region, though on every side
Assaulted by voracious enemies,
Whales, sharks, and monsters, arm'd in front or jaw,
With swords, saws, spiral horns, or hooked fangs."

"Io!  Paean!  Io! sing.
To the finny people's king.
Not a mightier whale than this
In the vast Atlantic is;
Not a fatter fish than he,
Flounders round the Polar Sea." --CHARLES LAMB'S TRIUMPH OF THE

"In the year 1690 some persons were on a high hill observing the
whales spouting and sporting with each other, when one observed:
there--pointing to the sea--is a green pasture where our children's
grand-children will go for bread." --OBED MACY'S HISTORY OF

"I built a cottage for Susan and myself and made a gateway in the
form of a Gothic Arch, by setting up a whale's jaw bones."

"She came to bespeak a monument for her first love, who had been
killed by a whale in the Pacific ocean, no less than forty years
ago." --IBID.

"No, Sir, 'tis a Right Whale," answered Tom; "I saw his sprout; he
threw up a pair of as pretty rainbows as a Christian would wish to
look at.  He's a raal oil-butt, that fellow!" --COOPER'S PILOT.

"The papers were brought in, and we saw in the Berlin Gazette that
whales had been introduced on the stage there." --ECKERMANN'S

"My God!  Mr. Chace, what is the matter?"  I answered, "we have been

"A mariner sat in the shrouds one night,
The wind was piping free;
Now bright, now dimmed, was the moonlight pale,
And the phospher gleamed in the wake of the whale,
As it floundered in the sea." --ELIZABETH OAKES SMITH.

"The quantity of line withdrawn from the boats engaged in the capture
of this one whale, amounted altogether to 10,440 yards or nearly six
English miles. ...

"Sometimes the whale shakes its tremendous tail in the air, which,
cracking like a whip, resounds to the distance of three or four
miles." --SCORESBY.

"Mad with the agonies he endures from these fresh attacks, the
infuriated Sperm Whale rolls over and over; he rears his enormous
head, and with wide expanded jaws snaps at everything around him; he
rushes at the boats with his head; they are propelled before him with
vast swiftness, and sometimes utterly destroyed. ...  It is a matter
of great astonishment that the consideration of the habits of so
interesting, and, in a commercial point of view, so important an
animal (as the Sperm Whale) should have been so entirely neglected,
or should have excited so little curiosity among the numerous, and
many of them competent observers, that of late years, must have
possessed the most abundant and the most convenient opportunities of
witnessing their habitudes." --THOMAS BEALE'S HISTORY OF THE SPERM
WHALE, 1839.

"The Cachalot" (Sperm Whale) "is not only better armed than the True
Whale" (Greenland or Right Whale) "in possessing a formidable weapon
at either extremity of its body, but also more frequently displays a
disposition to employ these weapons offensively and in manner at once
so artful, bold, and mischievous, as to lead to its being regarded as
the most dangerous to attack of all the known species of the whale

October 13.  "There she blows," was sung out from the mast-head.
"Where away?" demanded the captain.
"Three points off the lee bow, sir."
"Raise up your wheel.  Steady!"  "Steady, sir."
"Mast-head ahoy!  Do you see that whale now?"
"Ay ay, sir!  A shoal of Sperm Whales!  There she blows!  There she
"Sing out! sing out every time!"
"Ay Ay, sir!  There she blows! there--there--THAR she
"How far off?"
"Two miles and a half."
"Thunder and lightning! so near!  Call all hands." --J. ROSS BROWNE'S

"The Whale-ship Globe, on board of which vessel occurred the horrid
transactions we are about to relate, belonged to the island of
A.D. 1828.

Being once pursued by a whale which he had wounded, he parried the
assault for some time with a lance; but the furious monster at length
rushed on the boat; himself and comrades only being preserved by
leaping into the water when they saw the onset was inevitable."

"Nantucket itself," said Mr. Webster, "is a very striking and
peculiar portion of the National interest.  There is a population of
eight or nine thousand persons living here in the sea, adding largely
every year to the National wealth by the boldest and most persevering

"The whale fell directly over him, and probably killed him in a

"If you make the least damn bit of noise," replied Samuel, "I will

"The voyages of the Dutch and English to the Northern Ocean, in
order, if possible, to discover a passage through it to India, though
they failed of their main object, laid-open the haunts of the whale."

"These things are reciprocal; the ball rebounds, only to bound
forward again; for now in laying open the haunts of the whale, the
whalemen seem to have indirectly hit upon new clews to that same
mystic North-West Passage." --FROM "SOMETHING" UNPUBLISHED.

"It is impossible to meet a whale-ship on the ocean without being
struck by her near appearance.  The vessel under short sail, with
look-outs at the mast-heads, eagerly scanning the wide expanse around
them, has a totally different air from those engaged in regular

"Pedestrians in the vicinity of London and elsewhere may recollect
having seen large curved bones set upright in the earth, either to
form arches over gateways, or entrances to alcoves, and they may
perhaps have been told that these were the ribs of whales." --TALES

"It was not till the boats returned from the pursuit of these whales,
that the whites saw their ship in bloody possession of the savages
enrolled among the crew." --NEWSPAPER ACCOUNT OF THE TAKING AND

"It is generally well known that out of the crews of Whaling vessels
(American) few ever return in the ships on board of which they
departed." --CRUISE IN A WHALE BOAT.

"Suddenly a mighty mass emerged from the water, and shot up
perpendicularly into the air.  It was the while." --MIRIAM COFFIN OR

"The Whale is harpooned to be sure; but bethink you, how you would
manage a powerful unbroken colt, with the mere appliance of a rope
tied to the root of his tail." --A CHAPTER ON WHALING IN RIBS AND

"On one occasion I saw two of these monsters (whales) probably male
and female, slowly swimming, one after the other, within less than a
stone's throw of the shore" (Terra Del Fuego), "over which the beech
tree extended its branches." --DARWIN'S VOYAGE OF A NATURALIST.

"'Stern all!' exclaimed the mate, as upon turning his head, he saw
the distended jaws of a large Sperm Whale close to the head of the
boat, threatening it with instant destruction;--'Stern all, for your

"So be cheery, my lads, let your hearts never fail,
While the bold harpooneer is striking the whale!" --NANTUCKET SONG.

"Oh, the rare old Whale, mid storm and gale
In his ocean home will be
A giant in might, where might is right,
And King of the boundless sea." --WHALE SONG.



Call me Ishmael.  Some years ago--never mind how long
precisely--having little or no money in my purse, and nothing
particular to interest me on shore, I thought I would sail about a
little and see the watery part of the world.  It is a way I have of
driving off the spleen and regulating the circulation.  Whenever I
find myself growing grim about the mouth; whenever it is a damp,
drizzly November in my soul; whenever I find myself involuntarily
pausing before coffin warehouses, and bringing up the rear of every
funeral I meet; and especially whenever my hypos get such an upper
hand of me, that it requires a strong moral principle to prevent me
from deliberately stepping into the street, and methodically knocking
people's hats off--then, I account it high time to get to sea as soon
as I can.  This is my substitute for pistol and ball.  With a
philosophical flourish Cato throws himself upon his sword; I quietly
take to the ship.  There is nothing surprising in this.  If they but
knew it, almost all men in their degree, some time or other, cherish
very nearly the same feelings towards the ocean with me.

There now is your insular city of the Manhattoes, belted round by
wharves as Indian isles by coral reefs--commerce surrounds it with
her surf.  Right and left, the streets take you waterward.  Its
extreme downtown is the battery, where that noble mole is washed by
waves, and cooled by breezes, which a few hours previous were out of
sight of land.  Look at the crowds of water-gazers there.

Circumambulate the city of a dreamy Sabbath afternoon.  Go from
Corlears Hook to Coenties Slip, and from thence, by Whitehall,
northward.  What do you see?--Posted like silent sentinels all around
the town, stand thousands upon thousands of mortal men fixed in ocean
reveries.  Some leaning against the spiles; some seated upon the
pier-heads; some looking over the bulwarks of ships from China; some
high aloft in the rigging, as if striving to get a still better
seaward peep.  But these are all landsmen; of week days pent up in
lath and plaster--tied to counters, nailed to benches, clinched to
desks.  How then is this?  Are the green fields gone?  What do they

But look! here come more crowds, pacing straight for the water, and
seemingly bound for a dive.  Strange!  Nothing will content them but
the extremest limit of the land; loitering under the shady lee of
yonder warehouses will not suffice.  No.  They must get just as nigh
the water as they possibly can without falling in.  And there they
stand--miles of them--leagues.  Inlanders all, they come from lanes
and alleys, streets and avenues--north, east, south, and west.  Yet
here they all unite.  Tell me, does the magnetic virtue of the
needles of the compasses of all those ships attract them thither?

Once more.  Say you are in the country; in some high land of lakes.
Take almost any path you please, and ten to one it carries you down
in a dale, and leaves you there by a pool in the stream.  There is
magic in it.  Let the most absent-minded of men be plunged in his
deepest reveries--stand that man on his legs, set his feet a-going,
and he will infallibly lead you to water, if water there be in all
that region.  Should you ever be athirst in the great American
desert, try this experiment, if your caravan happen to be supplied
with a metaphysical professor.  Yes, as every one knows, meditation
and water are wedded for ever.

But here is an artist.  He desires to paint you the dreamiest,
shadiest, quietest, most enchanting bit of romantic landscape in all
the valley of the Saco.  What is the chief element he employs?  There
stand his trees, each with a hollow trunk, as if a hermit and a
crucifix were within; and here sleeps his meadow, and there sleep his
cattle; and up from yonder cottage goes a sleepy smoke.  Deep into
distant woodlands winds a mazy way, reaching to overlapping spurs of
mountains bathed in their hill-side blue.  But though the picture
lies thus tranced, and though this pine-tree shakes down its sighs
like leaves upon this shepherd's head, yet all were vain, unless the
shepherd's eye were fixed upon the magic stream before him.  Go visit
the Prairies in June, when for scores on scores of miles you wade
knee-deep among Tiger-lilies--what is the one charm
wanting?--Water--there is not a drop of water there!  Were Niagara
but a cataract of sand, would you travel your thousand miles to see
it?  Why did the poor poet of Tennessee, upon suddenly receiving two
handfuls of silver, deliberate whether to buy him a coat, which he
sadly needed, or invest his money in a pedestrian trip to Rockaway
Beach?  Why is almost every robust healthy boy with a robust healthy
soul in him, at some time or other crazy to go to sea?  Why upon your
first voyage as a passenger, did you yourself feel such a mystical
vibration, when first told that you and your ship were now out of
sight of land?  Why did the old Persians hold the sea holy?  Why did
the Greeks give it a separate deity, and own brother of Jove?  Surely
all this is not without meaning.  And still deeper the meaning of
that story of Narcissus, who because he could not grasp the
tormenting, mild image he saw in the fountain, plunged into it and
was drowned.  But that same image, we ourselves see in all rivers and
oceans.  It is the image of the ungraspable phantom of life; and this
is the key to it all.

Now, when I say that I am in the habit of going to sea whenever I
begin to grow hazy about the eyes, and begin to be over conscious of
my lungs, I do not mean to have it inferred that I ever go to sea as
a passenger.  For to go as a passenger you must needs have a purse,
and a purse is but a rag unless you have something in it.  Besides,
passengers get sea-sick--grow quarrelsome--don't sleep of nights--do
not enjoy themselves much, as a general thing;--no, I never go as a
passenger; nor, though I am something of a salt, do I ever go to sea
as a Commodore, or a Captain, or a Cook.  I abandon the glory and
distinction of such offices to those who like them.  For my part, I
abominate all honourable respectable toils, trials, and tribulations
of every kind whatsoever.  It is quite as much as I can do to take
care of myself, without taking care of ships, barques, brigs,
schooners, and what not.  And as for going as cook,--though I confess
there is considerable glory in that, a cook being a sort of officer
on ship-board--yet, somehow, I never fancied broiling fowls;--though
once broiled, judiciously buttered, and judgmatically salted and
peppered, there is no one who will speak more respectfully, not to
say reverentially, of a broiled fowl than I will.  It is out of the
idolatrous dotings of the old Egyptians upon broiled ibis and roasted
river horse, that you see the mummies of those creatures in their
huge bake-houses the pyramids.

No, when I go to sea, I go as a simple sailor, right before the mast,
plumb down into the forecastle, aloft there to the royal mast-head.
True, they rather order me about some, and make me jump from spar to
spar, like a grasshopper in a May meadow.  And at first, this sort of
thing is unpleasant enough.  It touches one's sense of honour,
particularly if you come of an old established family in the land,
the Van Rensselaers, or Randolphs, or Hardicanutes.  And more than
all, if just previous to putting your hand into the tar-pot, you have
been lording it as a country schoolmaster, making the tallest boys
stand in awe of you.  The transition is a keen one, I assure you,
from a schoolmaster to a sailor, and requires a strong decoction of
Seneca and the Stoics to enable you to grin and bear it.  But even
this wears off in time.

What of it, if some old hunks of a sea-captain orders me to get a
broom and sweep down the decks?  What does that indignity amount to,
weighed, I mean, in the scales of the New Testament?  Do you think
the archangel Gabriel thinks anything the less of me, because I
promptly and respectfully obey that old hunks in that particular
instance?  Who ain't a slave?  Tell me that.  Well, then, however the
old sea-captains may order me about--however they may thump and punch
me about, I have the satisfaction of knowing that it is all right;
that everybody else is one way or other served in much the same
way--either in a physical or metaphysical point of view, that is; and
so the universal thump is passed round, and all hands should rub each
other's shoulder-blades, and be content.

Again, I always go to sea as a sailor, because they make a point of
paying me for my trouble, whereas they never pay passengers a single
penny that I ever heard of.  On the contrary, passengers themselves
must pay.  And there is all the difference in the world between
paying and being paid.  The act of paying is perhaps the most
uncomfortable infliction that the two orchard thieves entailed upon
us.  But BEING PAID,--what will compare with it?  The urbane activity
with which a man receives money is really marvellous, considering
that we so earnestly believe money to be the root of all earthly
ills, and that on no account can a monied man enter heaven.  Ah! how
cheerfully we consign ourselves to perdition!

Finally, I always go to sea as a sailor, because of the wholesome
exercise and pure air of the fore-castle deck.  For as in this world,
head winds are far more prevalent than winds from astern (that is, if
you never violate the Pythagorean maxim), so for the most part the
Commodore on the quarter-deck gets his atmosphere at second hand from
the sailors on the forecastle.  He thinks he breathes it first; but
not so.  In much the same way do the commonalty lead their leaders in
many other things, at the same time that the leaders little suspect
it.  But wherefore it was that after having repeatedly smelt the sea
as a merchant sailor, I should now take it into my head to go on a
whaling voyage; this the invisible police officer of the Fates, who
has the constant surveillance of me, and secretly dogs me, and
influences me in some unaccountable way--he can better answer than
any one else.  And, doubtless, my going on this whaling voyage,
formed part of the grand programme of Providence that was drawn up a
long time ago.  It came in as a sort of brief interlude and solo
between more extensive performances.  I take it that this part of the
bill must have run something like this:


Though I cannot tell why it was exactly that those stage managers,
the Fates, put me down for this shabby part of a whaling voyage, when
others were set down for magnificent parts in high tragedies, and
short and easy parts in genteel comedies, and jolly parts in
farces--though I cannot tell why this was exactly; yet, now that I
recall all the circumstances, I think I can see a little into the
springs and motives which being cunningly presented to me under
various disguises, induced me to set about performing the part I did,
besides cajoling me into the delusion that it was a choice resulting
from my own unbiased freewill and discriminating judgment.

Chief among these motives was the overwhelming idea of the great
whale himself.  Such a portentous and mysterious monster roused all
my curiosity.  Then the wild and distant seas where he rolled his
island bulk; the undeliverable, nameless perils of the whale; these,
with all the attending marvels of a thousand Patagonian sights and
sounds, helped to sway me to my wish.  With other men, perhaps, such
things would not have been inducements; but as for me, I am tormented
with an everlasting itch for things remote.  I love to sail forbidden
seas, and land on barbarous coasts.  Not ignoring what is good, I am
quick to perceive a horror, and could still be social with it--would
they let me--since it is but well to be on friendly terms with all
the inmates of the place one lodges in.

By reason of these things, then, the whaling voyage was welcome; the
great flood-gates of the wonder-world swung open, and in the wild
conceits that swayed me to my purpose, two and two there floated into
my inmost soul, endless processions of the whale, and, mid most of
them all, one grand hooded phantom, like a snow hill in the air.


The Carpet-Bag.

I stuffed a shirt or two into my old carpet-bag, tucked it under my
arm, and started for Cape Horn and the Pacific.  Quitting the good
city of old Manhatto, I duly arrived in New Bedford.  It was a
Saturday night in December.  Much was I disappointed upon learning
that the little packet for Nantucket had already sailed, and that no
way of reaching that place would offer, till the following Monday.

As most young candidates for the pains and penalties of whaling stop
at this same New Bedford, thence to embark on their voyage, it may as
well be related that I, for one, had no idea of so doing.  For my
mind was made up to sail in no other than a Nantucket craft, because
there was a fine, boisterous something about everything connected
with that famous old island, which amazingly pleased me.  Besides
though New Bedford has of late been gradually monopolising the
business of whaling, and though in this matter poor old Nantucket is
now much behind her, yet Nantucket was her great original--the Tyre
of this Carthage;--the place where the first dead American whale was
stranded.  Where else but from Nantucket did those aboriginal
whalemen, the Red-Men, first sally out in canoes to give chase to the
Leviathan?  And where but from Nantucket, too, did that first
adventurous little sloop put forth, partly laden with imported
cobblestones--so goes the story--to throw at the whales, in order to
discover when they were nigh enough to risk a harpoon from the

Now having a night, a day, and still another night following before
me in New Bedford, ere I could embark for my destined port, it
became a matter of concernment where I was to eat and sleep
meanwhile.  It was a very dubious-looking, nay, a very dark and
dismal night, bitingly cold and cheerless.  I knew no one in the
place.  With anxious grapnels I had sounded my pocket, and only
brought up a few pieces of silver,--So, wherever you go, Ishmael,
said I to myself, as I stood in the middle of a dreary street
shouldering my bag, and comparing the gloom towards the north with
the darkness towards the south--wherever in your wisdom you may
conclude to lodge for the night, my dear Ishmael, be sure to inquire
the price, and don't be too particular.

With halting steps I paced the streets, and passed the sign of "The
Crossed Harpoons"--but it looked too expensive and jolly there.
Further on, from the bright red windows of the "Sword-Fish Inn,"
there came such fervent rays, that it seemed to have melted the
packed snow and ice from before the house, for everywhere else the
congealed frost lay ten inches thick in a hard, asphaltic
pavement,--rather weary for me, when I struck my foot against the
flinty projections, because from hard, remorseless service the soles
of my boots were in a most miserable plight.  Too expensive and
jolly, again thought I, pausing one moment to watch the broad glare
in the street, and hear the sounds of the tinkling glasses within.
But go on, Ishmael, said I at last; don't you hear? get away from
before the door; your patched boots are stopping the way.  So on I
went.  I now by instinct followed the streets that took me waterward,
for there, doubtless, were the cheapest, if not the cheeriest inns.

Such dreary streets! blocks of blackness, not houses, on either
hand, and here and there a candle, like a candle moving about in a
tomb.  At this hour of the night, of the last day of the week, that
quarter of the town proved all but deserted.  But presently I came to
a smoky light proceeding from a low, wide building, the door of which
stood invitingly open.  It had a careless look, as if it were meant
for the uses of the public; so, entering, the first thing I did was
to stumble over an ash-box in the porch.  Ha! thought I, ha, as the
flying particles almost choked me, are these ashes from that
destroyed city, Gomorrah?  But "The Crossed Harpoons," and "The
Sword-Fish?"--this, then must needs be the sign of "The Trap."
However, I picked myself up and hearing a loud voice within, pushed
on and opened a second, interior door.

It seemed the great Black Parliament sitting in Tophet.  A hundred
black faces turned round in their rows to peer; and beyond, a black
Angel of Doom was beating a book in a pulpit.  It was a negro church;
and the preacher's text was about the blackness of darkness, and the
weeping and wailing and teeth-gnashing there.  Ha, Ishmael, muttered
I, backing out, Wretched entertainment at the sign of 'The Trap!'

Moving on, I at last came to a dim sort of light not far from the
docks, and heard a forlorn creaking in the air; and looking up, saw a
swinging sign over the door with a white painting upon it, faintly
representing a tall straight jet of misty spray, and these words
underneath--"The Spouter Inn:--Peter Coffin."

Coffin?--Spouter?--Rather ominous in that particular connexion,
thought I.  But it is a common name in Nantucket, they say, and I
suppose this Peter here is an emigrant from there.  As the light
looked so dim, and the place, for the time, looked quiet enough, and
the dilapidated little wooden house itself looked as if it might have
been carted here from the ruins of some burnt district, and as the
swinging sign had a poverty-stricken sort of creak to it, I thought
that here was the very spot for cheap lodgings, and the best of pea

It was a queer sort of place--a gable-ended old house, one side
palsied as it were, and leaning over sadly.  It stood on a sharp
bleak corner, where that tempestuous wind Euroclydon kept up a worse
howling than ever it did about poor Paul's tossed craft.  Euroclydon,
nevertheless, is a mighty pleasant zephyr to any one in-doors, with
his feet on the hob quietly toasting for bed.  "In judging of that
tempestuous wind called Euroclydon," says an old writer--of whose
works I possess the only copy extant--"it maketh a marvellous
difference, whether thou lookest out at it from a glass window where
the frost is all on the outside, or whether thou observest it from
that sashless window, where the frost is on both sides, and of which
the wight Death is the only glazier."  True enough, thought I, as
this passage occurred to my mind--old black-letter, thou reasonest
well.  Yes, these eyes are windows, and this body of mine is the
house.  What a pity they didn't stop up the chinks and the crannies
though, and thrust in a little lint here and there.  But it's too
late to make any improvements now.  The universe is finished; the
copestone is on, and the chips were carted off a million years ago.
Poor Lazarus there, chattering his teeth against the curbstone for
his pillow, and shaking off his tatters with his shiverings, he might
plug up both ears with rags, and put a corn-cob into his mouth, and
yet that would not keep out the tempestuous Euroclydon.  Euroclydon!
says old Dives, in his red silken wrapper--(he had a redder one
afterwards) pooh, pooh!  What a fine frosty night; how Orion
glitters; what northern lights!  Let them talk of their oriental
summer climes of everlasting conservatories; give me the privilege of
making my own summer with my own coals.

But what thinks Lazarus?  Can he warm his blue hands by holding them
up to the grand northern lights?  Would not Lazarus rather be in
Sumatra than here?  Would he not far rather lay him down lengthwise
along the line of the equator; yea, ye gods! go down to the fiery pit
itself, in order to keep out this frost?

Now, that Lazarus should lie stranded there on the curbstone before
the door of Dives, this is more wonderful than that an iceberg should
be moored to one of the Moluccas.  Yet Dives himself, he too lives
like a Czar in an ice palace made of frozen sighs, and being a
president of a temperance society, he only drinks the tepid tears of

But no more of this blubbering now, we are going a-whaling, and there
is plenty of that yet to come.  Let us scrape the ice from our
frosted feet, and see what sort of a place this "Spouter" may be.


The Spouter-Inn.

Entering that gable-ended Spouter-Inn, you found yourself in a wide,
low, straggling entry with old-fashioned wainscots, reminding one of
the bulwarks of some condemned old craft.  On one side hung a very
large oilpainting so thoroughly besmoked, and every way defaced,
that in the unequal crosslights by which you viewed it, it was only
by diligent study and a series of systematic visits to it, and
careful inquiry of the neighbors, that you could any way arrive at an
understanding of its purpose.  Such unaccountable masses of shades
and shadows, that at first you almost thought some ambitious young
artist, in the time of the New England hags, had endeavored to
delineate chaos bewitched.  But by dint of much and earnest
contemplation, and oft repeated ponderings, and especially by
throwing open the little window towards the back of the entry, you at
last come to the conclusion that such an idea, however wild, might
not be altogether unwarranted.

But what most puzzled and confounded you was a long, limber,
portentous, black mass of something hovering in the centre of the
picture over three blue, dim, perpendicular lines floating in a
nameless yeast.  A boggy, soggy, squitchy picture truly, enough to
drive a nervous man distracted.  Yet was there a sort of indefinite,
half-attained, unimaginable sublimity about it that fairly froze you
to it, till you involuntarily took an oath with yourself to find out
what that marvellous painting meant.  Ever and anon a bright, but,
alas, deceptive idea would dart you through.--It's the Black Sea in a
midnight gale.--It's the unnatural combat of the four primal
elements.--It's a blasted heath.--It's a Hyperborean winter
scene.--It's the breaking-up of the icebound stream of Time.  But at
last all these fancies yielded to that one portentous something in
the picture's midst.  THAT once found out, and all the rest were
plain.  But stop; does it not bear a faint resemblance to a gigantic
fish? even the great leviathan himself?

In fact, the artist's design seemed this: a final theory of my own,
partly based upon the aggregated opinions of many aged persons with
whom I conversed upon the subject.  The picture represents a
Cape-Horner in a great hurricane; the half-foundered ship weltering
there with its three dismantled masts alone visible; and an
exasperated whale, purposing to spring clean over the craft, is in
the enormous act of impaling himself upon the three mast-heads.

The opposite wall of this entry was hung all over with a heathenish
array of monstrous clubs and spears.  Some were thickly set with
glittering teeth resembling ivory saws; others were tufted with knots
of human hair; and one was sickle-shaped, with a vast handle sweeping
round like the segment made in the new-mown grass by a long-armed
mower.  You shuddered as you gazed, and wondered what monstrous
cannibal and savage could ever have gone a death-harvesting with such
a hacking, horrifying implement.  Mixed with these were rusty old
whaling lances and harpoons all broken and deformed.  Some were
storied weapons.  With this once long lance, now wildly elbowed,
fifty years ago did Nathan Swain kill fifteen whales between a
sunrise and a sunset.  And that harpoon--so like a corkscrew now--was
flung in Javan seas, and run away with by a whale, years afterwards
slain off the Cape of Blanco.  The original iron entered nigh the
tail, and, like a restless needle sojourning in the body of a man,
travelled full forty feet, and at last was found imbedded in the

Crossing this dusky entry, and on through yon low-arched way--cut
through what in old times must have been a great central chimney with
fireplaces all round--you enter the public room.  A still duskier
place is this, with such low ponderous beams above, and such old
wrinkled planks beneath, that you would almost fancy you trod some
old craft's cockpits, especially of such a howling night, when this
corner-anchored old ark rocked so furiously.  On one side stood a
long, low, shelf-like table covered with cracked glass cases, filled
with dusty rarities gathered from this wide world's remotest nooks.
Projecting from the further angle of the room stands a dark-looking
den--the bar--a rude attempt at a right whale's head.  Be that how it
may, there stands the vast arched bone of the whale's jaw, so wide, a
coach might almost drive beneath it.  Within are shabby shelves,
ranged round with old decanters, bottles, flasks; and in those jaws
of swift destruction, like another cursed Jonah (by which name indeed
they called him), bustles a little withered old man, who, for their
money, dearly sells the sailors deliriums and death.

Abominable are the tumblers into which he pours his poison.  Though
true cylinders without--within, the villanous green goggling glasses
deceitfully tapered downwards to a cheating bottom.  Parallel
meridians rudely pecked into the glass, surround these footpads'
goblets.  Fill to THIS mark, and your charge is but a penny; to THIS
a penny more; and so on to the full glass--the Cape Horn measure,
which you may gulp down for a shilling.

Upon entering the place I found a number of young seamen gathered
about a table, examining by a dim light divers specimens of
SKRIMSHANDER.  I sought the landlord, and telling him I desired to be
accommodated with a room, received for answer that his house was
full--not a bed unoccupied.  "But avast," he added, tapping his
forehead, "you haint no objections to sharing a harpooneer's blanket,
have ye?  I s'pose you are goin' a-whalin', so you'd better get used
to that sort of thing."

I told him that I never liked to sleep two in a bed; that if I should
ever do so, it would depend upon who the harpooneer might be, and
that if he (the landlord) really had no other place for me, and the
harpooneer was not decidedly objectionable, why rather than wander
further about a strange town on so bitter a night, I would put up
with the half of any decent man's blanket.

"I thought so.  All right; take a seat.  Supper?--you want supper?
Supper'll be ready directly."

I sat down on an old wooden settle, carved all over like a bench on
the Battery.  At one end a ruminating tar was still further adorning
it with his jack-knife, stooping over and diligently working away at
the space between his legs.  He was trying his hand at a ship under
full sail, but he didn't make much headway, I thought.

At last some four or five of us were summoned to our meal in an
adjoining room.  It was cold as Iceland--no fire at all--the landlord
said he couldn't afford it.  Nothing but two dismal tallow candles,
each in a winding sheet.  We were fain to button up our monkey
jackets, and hold to our lips cups of scalding tea with our half
frozen fingers.  But the fare was of the most substantial kind--not
only meat and potatoes, but dumplings; good heavens! dumplings for
supper!  One young fellow in a green box coat, addressed himself to
these dumplings in a most direful manner.

"My boy," said the landlord, "you'll have the nightmare to a dead

"Landlord," I whispered, "that aint the harpooneer is it?"

"Oh, no," said he, looking a sort of diabolically funny, "the
harpooneer is a dark complexioned chap.  He never eats dumplings, he
don't--he eats nothing but steaks, and he likes 'em rare."

"The devil he does," says I.  "Where is that harpooneer?  Is he

"He'll be here afore long," was the answer.

I could not help it, but I began to feel suspicious of this "dark
complexioned" harpooneer.  At any rate, I made up my mind that if it
so turned out that we should sleep together, he must undress and get
into bed before I did.

Supper over, the company went back to the bar-room, when, knowing not
what else to do with myself, I resolved to spend the rest of the
evening as a looker on.

Presently a rioting noise was heard without.  Starting up, the
landlord cried, "That's the Grampus's crew.  I seed her reported in
the offing this morning; a three years' voyage, and a full ship.
Hurrah, boys; now we'll have the latest news from the Feegees."

A tramping of sea boots was heard in the entry; the door was flung
open, and in rolled a wild set of mariners enough.  Enveloped in
their shaggy watch coats, and with their heads muffled in woollen
comforters, all bedarned and ragged, and their beards stiff with
icicles, they seemed an eruption of bears from Labrador.  They had
just landed from their boat, and this was the first house they
entered.  No wonder, then, that they made a straight wake for the
whale's mouth--the bar--when the wrinkled little old Jonah, there
officiating, soon poured them out brimmers all round.  One complained
of a bad cold in his head, upon which Jonah mixed him a pitch-like
potion of gin and molasses, which he swore was a sovereign cure for
all colds and catarrhs whatsoever, never mind of how long standing,
or whether caught off the coast of Labrador, or on the weather side
of an ice-island.

The liquor soon mounted into their heads, as it generally does even
with the arrantest topers newly landed from sea, and they began
capering about most obstreperously.

I observed, however, that one of them held somewhat aloof, and though
he seemed desirous not to spoil the hilarity of his shipmates by his
own sober face, yet upon the whole he refrained from making as much
noise as the rest.  This man interested me at once; and since the
sea-gods had ordained that he should soon become my shipmate (though
but a sleeping-partner one, so far as this narrative is concerned),
I will here venture upon a little description of him.  He stood full
six feet in height, with noble shoulders, and a chest like a
coffer-dam.  I have seldom seen such brawn in a man.  His face was
deeply brown and burnt, making his white teeth dazzling by the
contrast; while in the deep shadows of his eyes floated some
reminiscences that did not seem to give him much joy.  His voice at
once announced that he was a Southerner, and from his fine stature, I
thought he must be one of those tall mountaineers from the
Alleghanian Ridge in Virginia.  When the revelry of his companions
had mounted to its height, this man slipped away unobserved, and I
saw no more of him till he became my comrade on the sea.  In a few
minutes, however, he was missed by his shipmates, and being, it
seems, for some reason a huge favourite with them, they raised a cry
of "Bulkington!  Bulkington! where's Bulkington?" and darted out of
the house in pursuit of him.

It was now about nine o'clock, and the room seeming almost
supernaturally quiet after these orgies, I began to congratulate
myself upon a little plan that had occurred to me just previous to
the entrance of the seamen.

No man prefers to sleep two in a bed.  In fact, you would a good deal
rather not sleep with your own brother.  I don't know how it is, but
people like to be private when they are sleeping.  And when it comes
to sleeping with an unknown stranger, in a strange inn, in a strange
town, and that stranger a harpooneer, then your objections
indefinitely multiply.  Nor was there any earthly reason why I as a
sailor should sleep two in a bed, more than anybody else; for sailors
no more sleep two in a bed at sea, than bachelor Kings do ashore.  To
be sure they all sleep together in one apartment, but you have your
own hammock, and cover yourself with your own blanket, and sleep in
your own skin.

The more I pondered over this harpooneer, the more I abominated the
thought of sleeping with him.  It was fair to presume that being a
harpooneer, his linen or woollen, as the case might be, would not be
of the tidiest, certainly none of the finest.  I began to twitch all
over.  Besides, it was getting late, and my decent harpooneer ought
to be home and going bedwards.  Suppose now, he should tumble in upon
me at midnight--how could I tell from what vile hole he had been

"Landlord!  I've changed my mind about that harpooneer.--I shan't
sleep with him.  I'll try the bench here."

"Just as you please; I'm sorry I cant spare ye a tablecloth for a
mattress, and it's a plaguy rough board here"--feeling of the knots
and notches.  "But wait a bit, Skrimshander; I've got a carpenter's
plane there in the bar--wait, I say, and I'll make ye snug enough."
So saying he procured the plane; and with his old silk handkerchief
first dusting the bench, vigorously set to planing away at my bed,
the while grinning like an ape.  The shavings flew right and left;
till at last the plane-iron came bump against an indestructible knot.
The landlord was near spraining his wrist, and I told him for
heaven's sake to quit--the bed was soft enough to suit me, and I did
not know how all the planing in the world could make eider down of a
pine plank.  So gathering up the shavings with another grin, and
throwing them into the great stove in the middle of the room, he went
about his business, and left me in a brown study.

I now took the measure of the bench, and found that it was a foot too
short; but that could be mended with a chair.  But it was a foot too
narrow, and the other bench in the room was about four inches higher
than the planed one--so there was no yoking them.  I then placed the
first bench lengthwise along the only clear space against the wall,
leaving a little interval between, for my back to settle down in.
But I soon found that there came such a draught of cold air over me
from under the sill of the window, that this plan would never do at
all, especially as another current from the rickety door met the one
from the window, and both together formed a series of small
whirlwinds in the immediate vicinity of the spot where I had thought
to spend the night.

The devil fetch that harpooneer, thought I, but stop, couldn't I
steal a march on him--bolt his door inside, and jump into his bed,
not to be wakened by the most violent knockings?  It seemed no bad
idea; but upon second thoughts I dismissed it.  For who could tell
but what the next morning, so soon as I popped out of the room, the
harpooneer might be standing in the entry, all ready to knock me

Still, looking round me again, and seeing no possible chance of
spending a sufferable night unless in some other person's bed, I
began to think that after all I might be cherishing unwarrantable
prejudices against this unknown harpooneer.  Thinks I, I'll wait
awhile; he must be dropping in before long.  I'll have a good look at
him then, and perhaps we may become jolly good bedfellows after
all--there's no telling.

But though the other boarders kept coming in by ones, twos, and
threes, and going to bed, yet no sign of my harpooneer.

"Landlord! said I, "what sort of a chap is he--does he always keep
such late hours?"  It was now hard upon twelve o'clock.

The landlord chuckled again with his lean chuckle, and seemed to be
mightily tickled at something beyond my comprehension.  "No," he
answered, "generally he's an early bird--airley to bed and airley to
rise--yes, he's the bird what catches the worm.  But to-night he
went out a peddling, you see, and I don't see what on airth keeps him
so late, unless, may be, he can't sell his head."

"Can't sell his head?--What sort of a bamboozingly story is this you
are telling me?" getting into a towering rage.  "Do you pretend to
say, landlord, that this harpooneer is actually engaged this blessed
Saturday night, or rather Sunday morning, in peddling his head around
this town?"

"That's precisely it," said the landlord, "and I told him he couldn't
sell it here, the market's overstocked."

"With what?" shouted I.

"With heads to be sure; ain't there too many heads in the world?"

"I tell you what it is, landlord," said I quite calmly, "you'd better
stop spinning that yarn to me--I'm not green."

"May be not," taking out a stick and whittling a toothpick, "but I
rayther guess you'll be done BROWN if that ere harpooneer hears you a
slanderin' his head."

"I'll break it for him," said I, now flying into a passion again at
this unaccountable farrago of the landlord's.

"It's broke a'ready," said he.

"Broke," said I--"BROKE, do you mean?"

"Sartain, and that's the very reason he can't sell it, I guess."

"Landlord," said I, going up to him as cool as Mt. Hecla in a
snow-storm--"landlord, stop whittling.  You and I must understand one
another, and that too without delay.  I come to your house and want a
bed; you tell me you can only give me half a one; that the other half
belongs to a certain harpooneer.  And about this harpooneer, whom I
have not yet seen, you persist in telling me the most mystifying and
exasperating stories tending to beget in me an uncomfortable feeling
towards the man whom you design for my bedfellow--a sort of
connexion, landlord, which is an intimate and confidential one in the
highest degree.  I now demand of you to speak out and tell me who and
what this harpooneer is, and whether I shall be in all respects safe
to spend the night with him.  And in the first place, you will be so
good as to unsay that story about selling his head, which if true I
take to be good evidence that this harpooneer is stark mad, and I've
no idea of sleeping with a madman; and you, sir, YOU I mean,
landlord, YOU, sir, by trying to induce me to do so knowingly, would
thereby render yourself liable to a criminal prosecution."

"Wall," said the landlord, fetching a long breath, "that's a purty
long sarmon for a chap that rips a little now and then.  But be easy,
be easy, this here harpooneer I have been tellin' you of has just
arrived from the south seas, where he bought up a lot of 'balmed New
Zealand heads (great curios, you know), and he's sold all on 'em but
one, and that one he's trying to sell to-night, cause to-morrow's
Sunday, and it would not do to be sellin' human heads about the
streets when folks is goin' to churches.  He wanted to, last Sunday,
but I stopped him just as he was goin' out of the door with four
heads strung on a string, for all the airth like a string of inions."

This account cleared up the otherwise unaccountable mystery, and
showed that the landlord, after all, had had no idea of fooling
me--but at the same time what could I think of a harpooneer who
stayed out of a Saturday night clean into the holy Sabbath, engaged
in such a cannibal business as selling the heads of dead idolators?

"Depend upon it, landlord, that harpooneer is a dangerous man."

"He pays reg'lar," was the rejoinder.  "But come, it's getting
dreadful late, you had better be turning flukes--it's a nice bed;
Sal and me slept in that ere bed the night we were spliced.  There's
plenty of room for two to kick about in that bed; it's an almighty
big bed that.  Why, afore we give it up, Sal used to put our Sam and
little Johnny in the foot of it.  But I got a dreaming and sprawling
about one night, and somehow, Sam got pitched on the floor, and came
near breaking his arm.  Arter that, Sal said it wouldn't do.  Come
along here, I'll give ye a glim in a jiffy;" and so saying he lighted
a candle and held it towards me, offering to lead the way.  But I
stood irresolute; when looking at a clock in the corner, he exclaimed
"I vum it's Sunday--you won't see that harpooneer to-night; he's come
to anchor somewhere--come along then; DO come; WON'T ye come?"

I considered the matter a moment, and then up stairs we went, and I
was ushered into a small room, cold as a clam, and furnished, sure
enough, with a prodigious bed, almost big enough indeed for any four
harpooneers to sleep abreast.

"There," said the landlord, placing the candle on a crazy old sea
chest that did double duty as a wash-stand and centre table; "there,
make yourself comfortable now, and good night to ye."  I turned
round from eyeing the bed, but he had disappeared.

Folding back the counterpane, I stooped over the bed.  Though none of
the most elegant, it yet stood the scrutiny tolerably well.  I then
glanced round the room; and besides the bedstead and centre table,
could see no other furniture belonging to the place, but a rude
shelf, the four walls, and a papered fireboard representing a man
striking a whale.  Of things not properly belonging to the room,
there was a hammock lashed up, and thrown upon the floor in one
corner; also a large seaman's bag, containing the harpooneer's
wardrobe, no doubt in lieu of a land trunk.  Likewise, there was a
parcel of outlandish bone fish hooks on the shelf over the
fire-place, and a tall harpoon standing at the head of the bed.

But what is this on the chest?  I took it up, and held it close to
the light, and felt it, and smelt it, and tried every way possible to
arrive at some satisfactory conclusion concerning it.  I can compare
it to nothing but a large door mat, ornamented at the edges with
little tinkling tags something like the stained porcupine quills
round an Indian moccasin.  There was a hole or slit in the middle of
this mat, as you see the same in South American ponchos.  But could
it be possible that any sober harpooneer would get into a door mat,
and parade the streets of any Christian town in that sort of guise?
I put it on, to try it, and it weighed me down like a hamper, being
uncommonly shaggy and thick, and I thought a little damp, as though
this mysterious harpooneer had been wearing it of a rainy day.  I
went up in it to a bit of glass stuck against the wall, and I never
saw such a sight in my life.  I tore myself out of it in such a hurry
that I gave myself a kink in the neck.

I sat down on the side of the bed, and commenced thinking about this
head-peddling harpooneer, and his door mat.  After thinking some time
on the bed-side, I got up and took off my monkey jacket, and then
stood in the middle of the room thinking.  I then took off my coat,
and thought a little more in my shirt sleeves.  But beginning to feel
very cold now, half undressed as I was, and remembering what the
landlord said about the harpooneer's not coming home at all that
night, it being so very late, I made no more ado, but jumped out of
my pantaloons and boots, and then blowing out the light tumbled into
bed, and commended myself to the care of heaven.

Whether that mattress was stuffed with corn-cobs or broken crockery,
there is no telling, but I rolled about a good deal, and could not
sleep for a long time.  At last I slid off into a light doze, and had
pretty nearly made a good offing towards the land of Nod, when I
heard a heavy footfall in the passage, and saw a glimmer of light
come into the room from under the door.

Lord save me, thinks I, that must be the harpooneer, the infernal
head-peddler.  But I lay perfectly still, and resolved not to say a
word till spoken to.  Holding a light in one hand, and that identical
New Zealand head in the other, the stranger entered the room, and
without looking towards the bed, placed his candle a good way off
from me on the floor in one corner, and then began working away at
the knotted cords of the large bag I before spoke of as being in the
room.  I was all eagerness to see his face, but he kept it averted
for some time while employed in unlacing the bag's mouth.  This
accomplished, however, he turned round--when, good heavens! what a
sight!  Such a face!  It was of a dark, purplish, yellow colour, here
and there stuck over with large blackish looking squares.  Yes, it's
just as I thought, he's a terrible bedfellow; he's been in a fight,
got dreadfully cut, and here he is, just from the surgeon.  But at
that moment he chanced to turn his face so towards the light, that I
plainly saw they could not be sticking-plasters at all, those black
squares on his cheeks.  They were stains of some sort or other.  At
first I knew not what to make of this; but soon an inkling of the
truth occurred to me.  I remembered a story of a white man--a
whaleman too--who, falling among the cannibals, had been tattooed by
them.  I concluded that this harpooneer, in the course of his distant
voyages, must have met with a similar adventure.  And what is it,
thought I, after all!  It's only his outside; a man can be honest in
any sort of skin.  But then, what to make of his unearthly
complexion, that part of it, I mean, lying round about, and
completely independent of the squares of tattooing.  To be sure, it
might be nothing but a good coat of tropical tanning; but I never
heard of a hot sun's tanning a white man into a purplish yellow one.
However, I had never been in the South Seas; and perhaps the sun
there produced these extraordinary effects upon the skin.  Now, while
all these ideas were passing through me like lightning, this
harpooneer never noticed me at all.  But, after some difficulty
having opened his bag, he commenced fumbling in it, and presently
pulled out a sort of tomahawk, and a seal-skin wallet with the hair
on.  Placing these on the old chest in the middle of the room, he
then took the New Zealand head--a ghastly thing enough--and crammed
it down into the bag.  He now took off his hat--a new beaver
hat--when I came nigh singing out with fresh surprise.  There was no
hair on his head--none to speak of at least--nothing but a small
scalp-knot twisted up on his forehead.  His bald purplish head now
looked for all the world like a mildewed skull.  Had not the stranger
stood between me and the door, I would have bolted out of it quicker
than ever I bolted a dinner.

Even as it was, I thought something of slipping out of the window,
but it was the second floor back.  I am no coward, but what to make
of this head-peddling purple rascal altogether passed my
comprehension.  Ignorance is the parent of fear, and being completely
nonplussed and confounded about the stranger, I confess I was now as
much afraid of him as if it was the devil himself who had thus broken
into my room at the dead of night.  In fact, I was so afraid of him
that I was not game enough just then to address him, and demand a
satisfactory answer concerning what seemed inexplicable in him.

Meanwhile, he continued the business of undressing, and at last
showed his chest and arms.  As I live, these covered parts of him
were checkered with the same squares as his face; his back, too, was
all over the same dark squares; he seemed to have been in a Thirty
Years' War, and just escaped from it with a sticking-plaster shirt.
Still more, his very legs were marked, as if a parcel of dark green
frogs were running up the trunks of young palms.  It was now quite
plain that he must be some abominable savage or other shipped aboard
of a whaleman in the South Seas, and so landed in this Christian
country.  I quaked to think of it.  A peddler of heads too--perhaps
the heads of his own brothers.  He might take a fancy to
mine--heavens! look at that tomahawk!

But there was no time for shuddering, for now the savage went about
something that completely fascinated my attention, and convinced me
that he must indeed be a heathen.  Going to his heavy grego, or
wrapall, or dreadnaught, which he had previously hung on a chair, he
fumbled in the pockets, and produced at length a curious little
deformed image with a hunch on its back, and exactly the colour of a
three days' old Congo baby.  Remembering the embalmed head, at first
I almost thought that this black manikin was a real baby preserved
in some similar manner.  But seeing that it was not at all limber,
and that it glistened a good deal like polished ebony, I concluded
that it must be nothing but a wooden idol, which indeed it proved to
be.  For now the savage goes up to the empty fire-place, and removing
the papered fire-board, sets up this little hunch-backed image, like
a tenpin, between the andirons.  The chimney jambs and all the bricks
inside were very sooty, so that I thought this fire-place made a very
appropriate little shrine or chapel for his Congo idol.

I now screwed my eyes hard towards the half hidden image, feeling but
ill at ease meantime--to see what was next to follow.  First he takes
about a double handful of shavings out of his grego pocket, and
places them carefully before the idol; then laying a bit of ship
biscuit on top and applying the flame from the lamp, he kindled the
shavings into a sacrificial blaze.  Presently, after many hasty
snatches into the fire, and still hastier withdrawals of his fingers
(whereby he seemed to be scorching them badly), he at last succeeded
in drawing out the biscuit; then blowing off the heat and ashes a
little, he made a polite offer of it to the little negro.  But the
little devil did not seem to fancy such dry sort of fare at all; he
never moved his lips.  All these strange antics were accompanied by
still stranger guttural noises from the devotee, who seemed to be
praying in a sing-song or else singing some pagan psalmody or other,
during which his face twitched about in the most unnatural manner.
At last extinguishing the fire, he took the idol up very
unceremoniously, and bagged it again in his grego pocket as
carelessly as if he were a sportsman bagging a dead woodcock.

All these queer proceedings increased my uncomfortableness, and
seeing him now exhibiting strong symptoms of concluding his business
operations, and jumping into bed with me, I thought it was high time,
now or never, before the light was put out, to break the spell in
which I had so long been bound.

But the interval I spent in deliberating what to say, was a fatal
one.  Taking up his tomahawk from the table, he examined the head of
it for an instant, and then holding it to the light, with his mouth
at the handle, he puffed out great clouds of tobacco smoke.  The next
moment the light was extinguished, and this wild cannibal, tomahawk
between his teeth, sprang into bed with me.  I sang out, I could not
help it now; and giving a sudden grunt of astonishment he began
feeling me.

Stammering out something, I knew not what, I rolled away from him
against the wall, and then conjured him, whoever or whatever he might
be, to keep quiet, and let me get up and light the lamp again.  But
his guttural responses satisfied me at once that he but ill
comprehended my meaning.

"Who-e debel you?"--he at last said--"you no speak-e, dam-me, I
kill-e."  And so saying the lighted tomahawk began flourishing about
me in the dark.

"Landlord, for God's sake, Peter Coffin!" shouted I.  "Landlord!
Watch!  Coffin!  Angels! save me!"

"Speak-e! tell-ee me who-ee be, or dam-me, I kill-e!" again growled
the cannibal, while his horrid flourishings of the tomahawk scattered
the hot tobacco ashes about me till I thought my linen would get on
fire.  But thank heaven, at that moment the landlord came into the
room light in hand, and leaping from the bed I ran up to him.

"Don't be afraid now," said he, grinning again, "Queequeg here
wouldn't harm a hair of your head."

"Stop your grinning," shouted I, "and why didn't you tell me that
that infernal harpooneer was a cannibal?"

"I thought ye know'd it;--didn't I tell ye, he was a peddlin' heads
around town?--but turn flukes again and go to sleep.  Queequeg, look
here--you sabbee me, I sabbee--you this man sleepe you--you sabbee?"

"Me sabbee plenty"--grunted Queequeg, puffing away at his pipe and
sitting up in bed.

"You gettee in," he added, motioning to me with his tomahawk, and
throwing the clothes to one side.  He really did this in not only a
civil but a really kind and charitable way.  I stood looking at him a
moment.  For all his tattooings he was on the whole a clean, comely
looking cannibal.  What's all this fuss I have been making about,
thought I to myself--the man's a human being just as I am: he has
just as much reason to fear me, as I have to be afraid of him.
Better sleep with a sober cannibal than a drunken Christian.

"Landlord," said I, "tell him to stash his tomahawk there, or pipe,
or whatever you call it; tell him to stop smoking, in short, and I
will turn in with him.  But I don't fancy having a man smoking in bed
with me.  It's dangerous.  Besides, I ain't insured."

This being told to Queequeg, he at once complied, and again politely
motioned me to get into bed--rolling over to one side as much as to
say--I won't touch a leg of ye."

"Good night, landlord," said I, "you may go."

I turned in, and never slept better in my life.


The Counterpane.

Upon waking next morning about daylight, I found Queequeg's arm
thrown over me in the most loving and affectionate manner.  You had
almost thought I had been his wife.  The counterpane was of
patchwork, full of odd little parti-coloured squares and triangles;
and this arm of his tattooed all over with an interminable Cretan
labyrinth of a figure, no two parts of which were of one precise
shade--owing I suppose to his keeping his arm at sea unmethodically
in sun and shade, his shirt sleeves irregularly rolled up at various
times--this same arm of his, I say, looked for all the world like a
strip of that same patchwork quilt.  Indeed, partly lying on it as
the arm did when I first awoke, I could hardly tell it from the
quilt, they so blended their hues together; and it was only by the
sense of weight and pressure that I could tell that Queequeg was
hugging me.

My sensations were strange.  Let me try to explain them.  When I was
a child, I well remember a somewhat similar circumstance that befell
me; whether it was a reality or a dream, I never could entirely
settle.  The circumstance was this.  I had been cutting up some caper
or other--I think it was trying to crawl up the chimney, as I had
seen a little sweep do a few days previous; and my stepmother who,
somehow or other, was all the time whipping me, or sending me to bed
supperless,--my mother dragged me by the legs out of the chimney and
packed me off to bed, though it was only two o'clock in the afternoon
of the 21st June, the longest day in the year in our hemisphere.  I
felt dreadfully.  But there was no help for it, so up stairs I went
to my little room in the third floor, undressed myself as slowly as
possible so as to kill time, and with a bitter sigh got between the

I lay there dismally calculating that sixteen entire hours must
elapse before I could hope for a resurrection.  Sixteen hours in bed!
the small of my back ached to think of it.  And it was so light too;
the sun shining in at the window, and a great rattling of coaches in
the streets, and the sound of gay voices all over the house.  I felt
worse and worse--at last I got up, dressed, and softly going down in
my stockinged feet, sought out my stepmother, and suddenly threw
myself at her feet, beseeching her as a particular favour to give me a
good slippering for my misbehaviour; anything indeed but condemning
me to lie abed such an unendurable length of time.  But she was the
best and most conscientious of stepmothers, and back I had to go to
my room.  For several hours I lay there broad awake, feeling a great
deal worse than I have ever done since, even from the greatest
subsequent misfortunes.  At last I must have fallen into a troubled
nightmare of a doze; and slowly waking from it--half steeped in
dreams--I opened my eyes, and the before sun-lit room was now wrapped
in outer darkness.  Instantly I felt a shock running through all my
frame; nothing was to be seen, and nothing was to be heard; but a
supernatural hand seemed placed in mine.  My arm hung over the
counterpane, and the nameless, unimaginable, silent form or phantom,
to which the hand belonged, seemed closely seated by my bed-side.
For what seemed ages piled on ages, I lay there, frozen with the most
awful fears, not daring to drag away my hand; yet ever thinking that
if I could but stir it one single inch, the horrid spell would be
broken.  I knew not how this consciousness at last glided away from
me; but waking in the morning, I shudderingly remembered it all, and
for days and weeks and months afterwards I lost myself in confounding
attempts to explain the mystery.  Nay, to this very hour, I often
puzzle myself with it.

Now, take away the awful fear, and my sensations at feeling the
supernatural hand in mine were very similar, in their strangeness,
to those which I experienced on waking up and seeing Queequeg's pagan
arm thrown round me.  But at length all the past night's events
soberly recurred, one by one, in fixed reality, and then I lay only
alive to the comical predicament.  For though I tried to move his
arm--unlock his bridegroom clasp--yet, sleeping as he was, he still
hugged me tightly, as though naught but death should part us twain.
I now strove to rouse him--"Queequeg!"--but his only answer was a
snore.  I then rolled over, my neck feeling as if it were in a
horse-collar; and suddenly felt a slight scratch.  Throwing aside the
counterpane, there lay the tomahawk sleeping by the savage's side, as
if it were a hatchet-faced baby.  A pretty pickle, truly, thought I;
abed here in a strange house in the broad day, with a cannibal and a
tomahawk!  "Queequeg!--in the name of goodness, Queequeg, wake!"  At
length, by dint of much wriggling, and loud and incessant
expostulations upon the unbecomingness of his hugging a fellow male
in that matrimonial sort of style, I succeeded in extracting a grunt;
and presently, he drew back his arm, shook himself all over like a
Newfoundland dog just from the water, and sat up in bed, stiff as a
pike-staff, looking at me, and rubbing his eyes as if he did not
altogether remember how I came to be there, though a dim
consciousness of knowing something about me seemed slowly dawning
over him.  Meanwhile, I lay quietly eyeing him, having no serious
misgivings now, and bent upon narrowly observing so curious a
creature.  When, at last, his mind seemed made up touching the
character of his bedfellow, and he became, as it were, reconciled to
the fact; he jumped out upon the floor, and by certain signs and
sounds gave me to understand that, if it pleased me, he would dress
first and then leave me to dress afterwards, leaving the whole
apartment to myself.  Thinks I, Queequeg, under the circumstances,
this is a very civilized overture; but, the truth is, these savages
have an innate sense of delicacy, say what you will; it is marvellous
how essentially polite they are.  I pay this particular compliment to
Queequeg, because he treated me with so much civility and
consideration, while I was guilty of great rudeness; staring at him
from the bed, and watching all his toilette motions; for the time my
curiosity getting the better of my breeding.  Nevertheless, a man
like Queequeg you don't see every day, he and his ways were well
worth unusual regarding.

He commenced dressing at top by donning his beaver hat, a very tall
one, by the by, and then--still minus his trowsers--he hunted up his
boots.  What under the heavens he did it for, I cannot tell, but his
next movement was to crush himself--boots in hand, and hat on--under
the bed; when, from sundry violent gaspings and strainings, I
inferred he was hard at work booting himself; though by no law of
propriety that I ever heard of, is any man required to be private
when putting on his boots.  But Queequeg, do you see, was a creature
in the transition stage--neither caterpillar nor butterfly.  He was
just enough civilized to show off his outlandishness in the strangest
possible manners.  His education was not yet completed.  He was an
undergraduate.  If he had not been a small degree civilized, he very
probably would not have troubled himself with boots at all; but then,
if he had not been still a savage, he never would have dreamt of
getting under the bed to put them on.  At last, he emerged with his
hat very much dented and crushed down over his eyes, and began
creaking and limping about the room, as if, not being much accustomed
to boots, his pair of damp, wrinkled cowhide ones--probably not made
to order either--rather pinched and tormented him at the first go off
of a bitter cold morning.

Seeing, now, that there were no curtains to the window, and that the
street being very narrow, the house opposite commanded a plain view
into the room, and observing more and more the indecorous figure that
Queequeg made, staving about with little else but his hat and boots
on; I begged him as well as I could, to accelerate his toilet
somewhat, and particularly to get into his pantaloons as soon as
possible.  He complied, and then proceeded to wash himself.  At that
time in the morning any Christian would have washed his face; but
Queequeg, to my amazement, contented himself with restricting his
ablutions to his chest, arms, and hands.  He then donned his
waistcoat, and taking up a piece of hard soap on the wash-stand
centre table, dipped it into water and commenced lathering his face.
I was watching to see where he kept his razor, when lo and behold, he
takes the harpoon from the bed corner, slips out the long wooden
stock, unsheathes the head, whets it a little on his boot, and
striding up to the bit of mirror against the wall, begins a vigorous
scraping, or rather harpooning of his cheeks.  Thinks I, Queequeg,
this is using Rogers's best cutlery with a vengeance.  Afterwards I
wondered the less at this operation when I came to know of what fine
steel the head of a harpoon is made, and how exceedingly sharp the
long straight edges are always kept.

The rest of his toilet was soon achieved, and he proudly marched out
of the room, wrapped up in his great pilot monkey jacket, and
sporting his harpoon like a marshal's baton.



I quickly followed suit, and descending into the bar-room accosted
the grinning landlord very pleasantly.  I cherished no malice towards
him, though he had been skylarking with me not a little in the matter
of my bedfellow.

However, a good laugh is a mighty good thing, and rather too scarce a
good thing; the more's the pity.  So, if any one man, in his own
proper person, afford stuff for a good joke to anybody, let him not
be backward, but let him cheerfully allow himself to spend and be
spent in that way.  And the man that has anything bountifully
laughable about him, be sure there is more in that man than you
perhaps think for.

The bar-room was now full of the boarders who had been dropping in
the night previous, and whom I had not as yet had a good look at.
They were nearly all whalemen; chief mates, and second mates, and
third mates, and sea carpenters, and sea coopers, and sea
blacksmiths, and harpooneers, and ship keepers; a brown and brawny
company, with bosky beards; an unshorn, shaggy set, all wearing
monkey jackets for morning gowns.

You could pretty plainly tell how long each one had been ashore.
This young fellow's healthy cheek is like a sun-toasted pear in hue,
and would seem to smell almost as musky; he cannot have been three
days landed from his Indian voyage.  That man next him looks a few
shades lighter; you might say a touch of satin wood is in him.  In
the complexion of a third still lingers a tropic tawn, but slightly
bleached withal; HE doubtless has tarried whole weeks ashore.  But
who could show a cheek like Queequeg? which, barred with various
tints, seemed like the Andes' western slope, to show forth in one
array, contrasting climates, zone by zone.

"Grub, ho!" now cried the landlord, flinging open a door, and in we
went to breakfast.

They say that men who have seen the world, thereby become quite at
ease in manner, quite self-possessed in company.  Not always, though:
Ledyard, the great New England traveller, and Mungo Park, the Scotch
one; of all men, they possessed the least assurance in the parlor.
But perhaps the mere crossing of Siberia in a sledge drawn by dogs as
Ledyard did, or the taking a long solitary walk on an empty stomach,
in the negro heart of Africa, which was the sum of poor Mungo's
performances--this kind of travel, I say, may not be the very best
mode of attaining a high social polish.  Still, for the most part,
that sort of thing is to be had anywhere.

These reflections just here are occasioned by the circumstance that
after we were all seated at the table, and I was preparing to hear
some good stories about whaling; to my no small surprise, nearly
every man maintained a profound silence.  And not only that, but they
looked embarrassed.  Yes, here were a set of sea-dogs, many of whom
without the slightest bashfulness had boarded great whales on the
high seas--entire strangers to them--and duelled them dead without
winking; and yet, here they sat at a social breakfast table--all of
the same calling, all of kindred tastes--looking round as sheepishly
at each other as though they had never been out of sight of some
sheepfold among the Green Mountains.  A curious sight; these bashful
bears, these timid warrior whalemen!

But as for Queequeg--why, Queequeg sat there among them--at the head
of the table, too, it so chanced; as cool as an icicle.  To be sure I
cannot say much for his breeding.  His greatest admirer could not
have cordially justified his bringing his harpoon into breakfast with
him, and using it there without ceremony; reaching over the table
with it, to the imminent jeopardy of many heads, and grappling the
beefsteaks towards him.  But THAT was certainly very coolly done by
him, and every one knows that in most people's estimation, to do
anything coolly is to do it genteelly.

We will not speak of all Queequeg's peculiarities here; how he
eschewed coffee and hot rolls, and applied his undivided attention to
beefsteaks, done rare.  Enough, that when breakfast was over he
withdrew like the rest into the public room, lighted his
tomahawk-pipe, and was sitting there quietly digesting and smoking
with his inseparable hat on, when I sallied out for a stroll.


The Street.

If I had been astonished at first catching a glimpse of so outlandish
an individual as Queequeg circulating among the polite society of a
civilized town, that astonishment soon departed upon taking my first
daylight stroll through the streets of New Bedford.

In thoroughfares nigh the docks, any considerable seaport will
frequently offer to view the queerest looking nondescripts from
foreign parts.  Even in Broadway and Chestnut streets, Mediterranean
mariners will sometimes jostle the affrighted ladies.  Regent Street
is not unknown to Lascars and Malays; and at Bombay, in the Apollo
Green, live Yankees have often scared the natives.  But New Bedford
beats all Water Street and Wapping.  In these last-mentioned haunts
you see only sailors; but in New Bedford, actual cannibals stand
chatting at street corners; savages outright; many of whom yet carry
on their bones unholy flesh.  It makes a stranger stare.

But, besides the Feegeeans, Tongatobooarrs, Erromanggoans,
Pannangians, and Brighggians, and, besides the wild specimens of the
whaling-craft which unheeded reel about the streets, you will see
other sights still more curious, certainly more comical.  There
weekly arrive in this town scores of green Vermonters and New
Hampshire men, all athirst for gain and glory in the fishery.  They
are mostly young, of stalwart frames; fellows who have felled
forests, and now seek to drop the axe and snatch the whale-lance.
Many are as green as the Green Mountains whence they came.  In some
things you would think them but a few hours old.  Look there! that
chap strutting round the corner.  He wears a beaver hat and
swallow-tailed coat, girdled with a sailor-belt and sheath-knife.
Here comes another with a sou'-wester and a bombazine cloak.

No town-bred dandy will compare with a country-bred one--I mean a
downright bumpkin dandy--a fellow that, in the dog-days, will mow his
two acres in buckskin gloves for fear of tanning his hands.  Now when
a country dandy like this takes it into his head to make a
distinguished reputation, and joins the great whale-fishery, you
should see the comical things he does upon reaching the seaport.  In
bespeaking his sea-outfit, he orders bell-buttons to his waistcoats;
straps to his canvas trowsers.  Ah, poor Hay-Seed! how bitterly will
burst those straps in the first howling gale, when thou art driven,
straps, buttons, and all, down the throat of the tempest.

But think not that this famous town has only harpooneers, cannibals,
and bumpkins to show her visitors.  Not at all.  Still New Bedford is
a queer place.  Had it not been for us whalemen, that tract of land
would this day perhaps have been in as howling condition as the coast
of Labrador.  As it is, parts of her back country are enough to
frighten one, they look so bony.  The town itself is perhaps the
dearest place to live in, in all New England.  It is a land of oil,
true enough: but not like Canaan; a land, also, of corn and wine.
The streets do not run with milk; nor in the spring-time do they pave
them with fresh eggs.  Yet, in spite of this, nowhere in all America
will you find more patrician-like houses; parks and gardens more
opulent, than in New Bedford.  Whence came they? how planted upon
this once scraggy scoria of a country?

Go and gaze upon the iron emblematical harpoons round yonder lofty
mansion, and your question will be answered.  Yes; all these brave
houses and flowery gardens came from the Atlantic, Pacific, and
Indian oceans.  One and all, they were harpooned and dragged up
hither from the bottom of the sea.  Can Herr Alexander perform a feat
like that?

In New Bedford, fathers, they say, give whales for dowers to their
daughters, and portion off their nieces with a few porpoises a-piece.
You must go to New Bedford to see a brilliant wedding; for, they
say, they have reservoirs of oil in every house, and every night
recklessly burn their lengths in spermaceti candles.

In summer time, the town is sweet to see; full of fine maples--long
avenues of green and gold.  And in August, high in air, the beautiful
and bountiful horse-chestnuts, candelabra-wise, proffer the passer-by
their tapering upright cones of congregated blossoms.  So omnipotent
is art; which in many a district of New Bedford has superinduced
bright terraces of flowers upon the barren refuse rocks thrown aside
at creation's final day.

And the women of New Bedford, they bloom like their own red roses.
But roses only bloom in summer; whereas the fine carnation of their
cheeks is perennial as sunlight in the seventh heavens.  Elsewhere
match that bloom of theirs, ye cannot, save in Salem, where they tell
me the young girls breathe such musk, their sailor sweethearts smell
them miles off shore, as though they were drawing nigh the odorous
Moluccas instead of the Puritanic sands.


The Chapel.

In this same New Bedford there stands a Whaleman's Chapel, and few
are the moody fishermen, shortly bound for the Indian Ocean or
Pacific, who fail to make a Sunday visit to the spot.  I am sure that
I did not.

Returning from my first morning stroll, I again sallied out upon this
special errand.  The sky had changed from clear, sunny cold, to
driving sleet and mist.  Wrapping myself in my shaggy jacket of the
cloth called bearskin, I fought my way against the stubborn storm.
Entering, I found a small scattered congregation of sailors, and
sailors' wives and widows.  A muffled silence reigned, only broken at
times by the shrieks of the storm.  Each silent worshipper seemed
purposely sitting apart from the other, as if each silent grief were
insular and incommunicable.  The chaplain had not yet arrived; and
there these silent islands of men and women sat steadfastly eyeing
several marble tablets, with black borders, masoned into the wall on
either side the pulpit.  Three of them ran something like the
following, but I do not pretend to quote:--

Who, at the age of eighteen, was lost overboard,
Near the Isle of Desolation, off Patagonia,
November 1st, 1836.
Is erected to his Memory

Forming one of the boats' crews
Who were towed out of sight by a Whale,
On the Off-shore Ground in the
December 31st, 1839.
Is here placed by their surviving

The late
Who in the bows of his boat was killed by a
Sperm Whale on the coast of Japan,
AUGUST 3d, 1833.
Is erected to his Memory

Shaking off the sleet from my ice-glazed hat and jacket, I seated
myself near the door, and turning sideways was surprised to see
Queequeg near me.  Affected by the solemnity of the scene, there was
a wondering gaze of incredulous curiosity in his countenance.  This
savage was the only person present who seemed to notice my entrance;
because he was the only one who could not read, and, therefore, was
not reading those frigid inscriptions on the wall.  Whether any of
the relatives of the seamen whose names appeared there were now among
the congregation, I knew not; but so many are the unrecorded
accidents in the fishery, and so plainly did several women present
wear the countenance if not the trappings of some unceasing grief,
that I feel sure that here before me were assembled those, in whose
unhealing hearts the sight of those bleak tablets sympathetically
caused the old wounds to bleed afresh.

Oh! ye whose dead lie buried beneath the green grass; who standing
among flowers can say--here, HERE lies my beloved; ye know not the
desolation that broods in bosoms like these.  What bitter blanks in
those black-bordered marbles which cover no ashes!  What despair in
those immovable inscriptions!  What deadly voids and unbidden
infidelities in the lines that seem to gnaw upon all Faith, and
refuse resurrections to the beings who have placelessly perished
without a grave.  As well might those tablets stand in the cave of
Elephanta as here.

In what census of living creatures, the dead of mankind are included;
why it is that a universal proverb says of them, that they tell no
tales, though containing more secrets than the Goodwin Sands; how it
is that to his name who yesterday departed for the other world, we
prefix so significant and infidel a word, and yet do not thus entitle
him, if he but embarks for the remotest Indies of this living earth;
why the Life Insurance Companies pay death-forfeitures upon
immortals; in what eternal, unstirring paralysis, and deadly,
hopeless trance, yet lies antique Adam who died sixty round centuries
ago; how it is that we still refuse to be comforted for those who we
nevertheless maintain are dwelling in unspeakable bliss; why all the
living so strive to hush all the dead; wherefore but the rumor of a
knocking in a tomb will terrify a whole city.  All these things are
not without their meanings.

But Faith, like a jackal, feeds among the tombs, and even from these
dead doubts she gathers her most vital hope.

It needs scarcely to be told, with what feelings, on the eve of a
Nantucket voyage, I regarded those marble tablets, and by the murky
light of that darkened, doleful day read the fate of the whalemen who
had gone before me.  Yes, Ishmael, the same fate may be thine.  But
somehow I grew merry again.  Delightful inducements to embark, fine
chance for promotion, it seems--aye, a stove boat will make me an
immortal by brevet.  Yes, there is death in this business of
whaling--a speechlessly quick chaotic bundling of a man into
Eternity.  But what then?  Methinks we have hugely mistaken this
matter of Life and Death.  Methinks that what they call my shadow
here on earth is my true substance.  Methinks that in looking at
things spiritual, we are too much like oysters observing the sun
through the water, and thinking that thick water the thinnest of air.
Methinks my body is but the lees of my better being.  In fact take
my body who will, take it I say, it is not me.  And therefore three
cheers for Nantucket; and come a stove boat and stove body when they
will, for stave my soul, Jove himself cannot.


The Pulpit.

I had not been seated very long ere a man of a certain venerable
robustness entered; immediately as the storm-pelted door flew back
upon admitting him, a quick regardful eyeing of him by all the
congregation, sufficiently attested that this fine old man was the
chaplain.  Yes, it was the famous Father Mapple, so called by the
whalemen, among whom he was a very great favourite.  He had been a
sailor and a harpooneer in his youth, but for many years past had
dedicated his life to the ministry.  At the time I now write of,
Father Mapple was in the hardy winter of a healthy old age; that sort
of old age which seems merging into a second flowering youth, for
among all the fissures of his wrinkles, there shone certain mild
gleams of a newly developing bloom--the spring verdure peeping forth
even beneath February's snow.  No one having previously heard his
history, could for the first time behold Father Mapple without the
utmost interest, because there were certain engrafted clerical
peculiarities about him, imputable to that adventurous maritime life
he had led.  When he entered I observed that he carried no umbrella,
and certainly had not come in his carriage, for his tarpaulin hat ran
down with melting sleet, and his great pilot cloth jacket seemed
almost to drag him to the floor with the weight of the water it had
absorbed.  However, hat and coat and overshoes were one by one
removed, and hung up in a little space in an adjacent corner; when,
arrayed in a decent suit, he quietly approached the pulpit.

Like most old fashioned pulpits, it was a very lofty one, and since a
regular stairs to such a height would, by its long angle with the
floor, seriously contract the already small area of the chapel, the
architect, it seemed, had acted upon the hint of Father Mapple, and
finished the pulpit without a stairs, substituting a perpendicular
side ladder, like those used in mounting a ship from a boat at sea.
The wife of a whaling captain had provided the chapel with a handsome
pair of red worsted man-ropes for this ladder, which, being itself
nicely headed, and stained with a mahogany colour, the whole
contrivance, considering what manner of chapel it was, seemed by no
means in bad taste.  Halting for an instant at the foot of the
ladder, and with both hands grasping the ornamental knobs of the
man-ropes, Father Mapple cast a look upwards, and then with a truly
sailor-like but still reverential dexterity, hand over hand, mounted
the steps as if ascending the main-top of his vessel.

The perpendicular parts of this side ladder, as is usually the case
with swinging ones, were of cloth-covered rope, only the rounds were
of wood, so that at every step there was a joint.  At my first
glimpse of the pulpit, it had not escaped me that however convenient
for a ship, these joints in the present instance seemed unnecessary.
For I was not prepared to see Father Mapple after gaining the height,
slowly turn round, and stooping over the pulpit, deliberately drag up
the ladder step by step, till the whole was deposited within, leaving
him impregnable in his little Quebec.

I pondered some time without fully comprehending the reason for this.
Father Mapple enjoyed such a wide reputation for sincerity and
sanctity, that I could not suspect him of courting notoriety by any
mere tricks of the stage.  No, thought I, there must be some sober
reason for this thing; furthermore, it must symbolize something
unseen.  Can it be, then, that by that act of physical isolation, he
signifies his spiritual withdrawal for the time, from all outward
worldly ties and connexions?  Yes, for replenished with the meat and
wine of the word, to the faithful man of God, this pulpit, I see, is
a self-containing stronghold--a lofty Ehrenbreitstein, with a
perennial well of water within the walls.

But the side ladder was not the only strange feature of the place,
borrowed from the chaplain's former sea-farings.  Between the marble
cenotaphs on either hand of the pulpit, the wall which formed its
back was adorned with a large painting representing a gallant ship
beating against a terrible storm off a lee coast of black rocks and
snowy breakers.  But high above the flying scud and dark-rolling
clouds, there floated a little isle of sunlight, from which beamed
forth an angel's face; and this bright face shed a distinct spot of
radiance upon the ship's tossed deck, something like that silver
plate now inserted into the Victory's plank where Nelson fell.  "Ah,
noble ship," the angel seemed to say, "beat on, beat on, thou noble
ship, and bear a hardy helm; for lo! the sun is breaking through; the
clouds are rolling off--serenest azure is at hand."

Nor was the pulpit itself without a trace of the same sea-taste that
had achieved the ladder and the picture.  Its panelled front was in
the likeness of a ship's bluff bows, and the Holy Bible rested on a
projecting piece of scroll work, fashioned after a ship's
fiddle-headed beak.

What could be more full of meaning?--for the pulpit is ever this
earth's foremost part; all the rest comes in its rear; the pulpit
leads the world.  From thence it is the storm of God's quick wrath is
first descried, and the bow must bear the earliest brunt.  From
thence it is the God of breezes fair or foul is first invoked for
favourable winds.  Yes, the world's a ship on its passage out, and not
a voyage complete; and the pulpit is its prow.


The Sermon.

Father Mapple rose, and in a mild voice of unassuming authority
ordered the scattered people to condense.  "Starboard gangway,
there! side away to larboard--larboard gangway to starboard!
Midships! midships!"

There was a low rumbling of heavy sea-boots among the benches, and a
still slighter shuffling of women's shoes, and all was quiet again,
and every eye on the preacher.

He paused a little; then kneeling in the pulpit's bows, folded his
large brown hands across his chest, uplifted his closed eyes, and
offered a prayer so deeply devout that he seemed kneeling and praying
at the bottom of the sea.

This ended, in prolonged solemn tones, like the continual tolling of
a bell in a ship that is foundering at sea in a fog--in such tones he
commenced reading the following hymn; but changing his manner towards
the concluding stanzas, burst forth with a pealing exultation and

"The ribs and terrors in the whale,
Arched over me a dismal gloom,
While all God's sun-lit waves rolled by,
And lift me deepening down to doom.

"I saw the opening maw of hell,
With endless pains and sorrows there;
Which none but they that feel can tell--
Oh, I was plunging to despair.

"In black distress, I called my God,
When I could scarce believe him mine,
He bowed his ear to my complaints--
No more the whale did me confine.

"With speed he flew to my relief,
As on a radiant dolphin borne;
Awful, yet bright, as lightning shone
The face of my Deliverer God.

"My song for ever shall record
That terrible, that joyful hour;
I give the glory to my God,
His all the mercy and the power.

Nearly all joined in singing this hymn, which swelled high above the
howling of the storm.  A brief pause ensued; the preacher slowly
turned over the leaves of the Bible, and at last, folding his hand
down upon the proper page, said: "Beloved shipmates, clinch the last
verse of the first chapter of Jonah--'And God had prepared a great
fish to swallow up Jonah.'"

"Shipmates, this book, containing only four chapters--four yarns--is
one of the smallest strands in the mighty cable of the Scriptures.
Yet what depths of the soul does Jonah's deep sealine sound! what a
pregnant lesson to us is this prophet!  What a noble thing is that
canticle in the fish's belly!  How billow-like and boisterously
grand!  We feel the floods surging over us; we sound with him to the
kelpy bottom of the waters; sea-weed and all the slime of the sea is
about us!  But WHAT is this lesson that the book of Jonah teaches?
Shipmates, it is a two-stranded lesson; a lesson to us all as sinful
men, and a lesson to me as a pilot of the living God.  As sinful men,
it is a lesson to us all, because it is a story of the sin,
hard-heartedness, suddenly awakened fears, the swift punishment,
repentance, prayers, and finally the deliverance and joy of Jonah.
As with all sinners among men, the sin of this son of Amittai was in
his wilful disobedience of the command of God--never mind now what
that command was, or how conveyed--which he found a hard command.
But all the things that God would have us do are hard for us to
do--remember that--and hence, he oftener commands us than endeavors
to persuade.  And if we obey God, we must disobey ourselves; and it
is in this disobeying ourselves, wherein the hardness of obeying God

"With this sin of disobedience in him, Jonah still further flouts at
God, by seeking to flee from Him.  He thinks that a ship made by men
will carry him into countries where God does not reign, but only the
Captains of this earth.  He skulks about the wharves of Joppa, and
seeks a ship that's bound for Tarshish.  There lurks, perhaps, a
hitherto unheeded meaning here.  By all accounts Tarshish could have
been no other city than the modern Cadiz.  That's the opinion of
learned men.  And where is Cadiz, shipmates?  Cadiz is in Spain; as
far by water, from Joppa, as Jonah could possibly have sailed in
those ancient days, when the Atlantic was an almost unknown sea.
Because Joppa, the modern Jaffa, shipmates, is on the most easterly
coast of the Mediterranean, the Syrian; and Tarshish or Cadiz more
than two thousand miles to the westward from that, just outside the
Straits of Gibraltar.  See ye not then, shipmates, that Jonah sought
to flee world-wide from God?  Miserable man!  Oh! most contemptible
and worthy of all scorn; with slouched hat and guilty eye, skulking
from his God; prowling among the shipping like a vile burglar
hastening to cross the seas.  So disordered, self-condemning is his
look, that had there been policemen in those days, Jonah, on the mere
suspicion of something wrong, had been arrested ere he touched a
deck.  How plainly he's a fugitive! no baggage, not a hat-box,
valise, or carpet-bag,--no friends accompany him to the wharf with
their adieux.  At last, after much dodging search, he finds the
Tarshish ship receiving the last items of her cargo; and as he steps
on board to see its Captain in the cabin, all the sailors for the
moment desist from hoisting in the goods, to mark the stranger's evil
eye.  Jonah sees this; but in vain he tries to look all ease and
confidence; in vain essays his wretched smile.  Strong intuitions of
the man assure the mariners he can be no innocent.  In their gamesome
but still serious way, one whispers to the other--"Jack, he's robbed
a widow;" or, "Joe, do you mark him; he's a bigamist;" or, "Harry
lad, I guess he's the adulterer that broke jail in old Gomorrah, or
belike, one of the missing murderers from Sodom."  Another runs to
read the bill that's stuck against the spile upon the wharf to which
the ship is moored, offering five hundred gold coins for the
apprehension of a parricide, and containing a description of his
person.  He reads, and looks from Jonah to the bill; while all his
sympathetic shipmates now crowd round Jonah, prepared to lay their
hands upon him.  Frighted Jonah trembles, and summoning all his
boldness to his face, only looks so much the more a coward.  He will
not confess himself suspected; but that itself is strong suspicion.
So he makes the best of it; and when the sailors find him not to be
the man that is advertised, they let him pass, and he descends into
the cabin.

"'Who's there?' cries the Captain at his busy desk, hurriedly making
out his papers for the Customs--'Who's there?'  Oh! how that harmless
question mangles Jonah!  For the instant he almost turns to flee
again.  But he rallies.  'I seek a passage in this ship to Tarshish;
how soon sail ye, sir?'  Thus far the busy Captain had not looked up
to Jonah, though the man now stands before him; but no sooner does he
hear that hollow voice, than he darts a scrutinizing glance.  'We
sail with the next coming tide,' at last he slowly answered, still
intently eyeing him.  'No sooner, sir?'--'Soon enough for any honest
man that goes a passenger.'  Ha!  Jonah, that's another stab.  But he
swiftly calls away the Captain from that scent.  'I'll sail with
ye,'--he says,--'the passage money how much is that?--I'll pay now.'
For it is particularly written, shipmates, as if it were a thing not
to be overlooked in this history, 'that he paid the fare thereof' ere
the craft did sail.  And taken with the context, this is full of

"Now Jonah's Captain, shipmates, was one whose discernment detects
crime in any, but whose cupidity exposes it only in the penniless.
In this world, shipmates, sin that pays its way can travel freely,
and without a passport; whereas Virtue, if a pauper, is stopped at
all frontiers.  So Jonah's Captain prepares to test the length of
Jonah's purse, ere he judge him openly.  He charges him thrice the
usual sum; and it's assented to.  Then the Captain knows that Jonah
is a fugitive; but at the same time resolves to help a flight that
paves its rear with gold.  Yet when Jonah fairly takes out his purse,
prudent suspicions still molest the Captain.  He rings every coin to
find a counterfeit.  Not a forger, any way, he mutters; and Jonah is
put down for his passage.  'Point out my state-room, Sir,' says Jonah
now, 'I'm travel-weary; I need sleep.'  'Thou lookest like it,' says
the Captain, 'there's thy room.'  Jonah enters, and would lock the
door, but the lock contains no key.  Hearing him foolishly fumbling
there, the Captain laughs lowly to himself, and mutters something
about the doors of convicts' cells being never allowed to be locked
within.  All dressed and dusty as he is, Jonah throws himself into
his berth, and finds the little state-room ceiling almost resting on
his forehead.  The air is close, and Jonah gasps.  Then, in that
contracted hole, sunk, too, beneath the ship's water-line, Jonah
feels the heralding presentiment of that stifling hour, when the
whale shall hold him in the smallest of his bowels' wards.

"Screwed at its axis against the side, a swinging lamp slightly
oscillates in Jonah's room; and the ship, heeling over towards the
wharf with the weight of the last bales received, the lamp, flame and
all, though in slight motion, still maintains a permanent obliquity
with reference to the room; though, in truth, infallibly straight
itself, it but made obvious the false, lying levels among which it
hung.  The lamp alarms and frightens Jonah; as lying in his berth his
tormented eyes roll round the place, and this thus far successful
fugitive finds no refuge for his restless glance.  But that
contradiction in the lamp more and more appals him.  The floor, the
ceiling, and the side, are all awry.  'Oh! so my conscience hangs in
me!' he groans, 'straight upwards, so it burns; but the chambers of
my soul are all in crookedness!'

"Like one who after a night of drunken revelry hies to his bed, still
reeling, but with conscience yet pricking him, as the plungings of
the Roman race-horse but so much the more strike his steel tags into
him; as one who in that miserable plight still turns and turns in
giddy anguish, praying God for annihilation until the fit be passed;
and at last amid the whirl of woe he feels, a deep stupor steals over
him, as over the man who bleeds to death, for conscience is the
wound, and there's naught to staunch it; so, after sore wrestlings in
his berth, Jonah's prodigy of ponderous misery drags him drowning
down to sleep.

"And now the time of tide has come; the ship casts off her cables;
and from the deserted wharf the uncheered ship for Tarshish, all
careening, glides to sea.  That ship, my friends, was the first of
recorded smugglers! the contraband was Jonah.  But the sea rebels; he
will not bear the wicked burden.  A dreadful storm comes on, the
ship is like to break.  But now when the boatswain calls all hands to
lighten her; when boxes, bales, and jars are clattering overboard;
when the wind is shrieking, and the men are yelling, and every plank
thunders with trampling feet right over Jonah's head; in all this
raging tumult, Jonah sleeps his hideous sleep.  He sees no black sky
and raging sea, feels not the reeling timbers, and little hears he or
heeds he the far rush of the mighty whale, which even now with open
mouth is cleaving the seas after him.  Aye, shipmates, Jonah was gone
down into the sides of the ship--a berth in the cabin as I have taken
it, and was fast asleep.  But the frightened master comes to him, and
shrieks in his dead ear, 'What meanest thou, O, sleeper! arise!'
Startled from his lethargy by that direful cry, Jonah staggers to his
feet, and stumbling to the deck, grasps a shroud, to look out upon
the sea.  But at that moment he is sprung upon by a panther billow
leaping over the bulwarks.  Wave after wave thus leaps into the ship,
and finding no speedy vent runs roaring fore and aft, till the
mariners come nigh to drowning while yet afloat.  And ever, as the
white moon shows her affrighted face from the steep gullies in the
blackness overhead, aghast Jonah sees the rearing bowsprit pointing
high upward, but soon beat downward again towards the tormented deep.

"Terrors upon terrors run shouting through his soul.  In all his
cringing attitudes, the God-fugitive is now too plainly known.  The
sailors mark him; more and more certain grow their suspicions of him,
and at last, fully to test the truth, by referring the whole matter
to high Heaven, they fall to casting lots, to see for whose
cause this great tempest was upon them.  The lot is Jonah's; that
discovered, then how furiously they mob him with their questions.
'What is thine occupation?  Whence comest thou?  Thy country?  What
people?  But mark now, my shipmates, the behavior of poor Jonah.  The
eager mariners but ask him who he is, and where from; whereas, they
not only receive an answer to those questions, but likewise another
answer to a question not put by them, but the unsolicited answer is
forced from Jonah by the hard hand of God that is upon him.

"'I am a Hebrew,' he cries--and then--'I fear the Lord the God of
Heaven who hath made the sea and the dry land!'  Fear him, O Jonah?
Aye, well mightest thou fear the Lord God THEN!  Straightway, he now
goes on to make a full confession; whereupon the mariners became more
and more appalled, but still are pitiful.  For when Jonah, not yet
supplicating God for mercy, since he but too well knew the darkness
of his deserts,--when wretched Jonah cries out to them to take him
and cast him forth into the sea, for he knew that for HIS sake this
great tempest was upon them; they mercifully turn from him, and seek
by other means to save the ship.  But all in vain; the indignant gale
howls louder; then, with one hand raised invokingly to God, with the
other they not unreluctantly lay hold of Jonah.

"And now behold Jonah taken up as an anchor and dropped into the sea;
when instantly an oily calmness floats out from the east, and the sea
is still, as Jonah carries down the gale with him, leaving smooth
water behind.  He goes down in the whirling heart of such a
masterless commotion that he scarce heeds the moment when he drops
seething into the yawning jaws awaiting him; and the whale shoots-to
all his ivory teeth, like so many white bolts, upon his prison.  Then
Jonah prayed unto the Lord out of the fish's belly.  But observe his
prayer, and learn a weighty lesson.  For sinful as he is, Jonah does
not weep and wail for direct deliverance.  He feels that his dreadful
punishment is just.  He leaves all his deliverance to God, contenting
himself with this, that spite of all his pains and pangs, he will
still look towards His holy temple.  And here, shipmates, is true and
faithful repentance; not clamorous for pardon, but grateful for
punishment.  And how pleasing to God was this conduct in Jonah, is
shown in the eventual deliverance of him from the sea and the whale.
Shipmates, I do not place Jonah before you to be copied for his sin
but I do place him before you as a model for repentance.  Sin not;
but if you do, take heed to repent of it like Jonah."

While he was speaking these words, the howling of the shrieking,
slanting storm without seemed to add new power to the preacher, who,
when describing Jonah's sea-storm, seemed tossed by a storm himself.
His deep chest heaved as with a ground-swell; his tossed arms seemed
the warring elements at work; and the thunders that rolled away from
off his swarthy brow, and the light leaping from his eye, made all
his simple hearers look on him with a quick fear that was strange to

There now came a lull in his look, as he silently turned over the
leaves of the Book once more; and, at last, standing motionless, with
closed eyes, for the moment, seemed communing with God and himself.

But again he leaned over towards the people, and bowing his head
lowly, with an aspect of the deepest yet manliest humility, he spake
these words:

"Shipmates, God has laid but one hand upon you; both his hands press
upon me.  I have read ye by what murky light may be mine the lesson
that Jonah teaches to all sinners; and therefore to ye, and still
more to me, for I am a greater sinner than ye.  And now how gladly
would I come down from this mast-head and sit on the hatches there
where you sit, and listen as you listen, while some one of you reads
ME that other and more awful lesson which Jonah teaches to ME, as a
pilot of the living God.  How being an anointed pilot-prophet, or
speaker of true things, and bidden by the Lord to sound those
unwelcome truths in the ears of a wicked Nineveh, Jonah, appalled at
the hostility he should raise, fled from his mission, and sought to
escape his duty and his God by taking ship at Joppa.  But God is
everywhere; Tarshish he never reached.  As we have seen, God came
upon him in the whale, and swallowed him down to living gulfs of
doom, and with swift slantings tore him along 'into the midst of the
seas,' where the eddying depths sucked him ten thousand fathoms down,
and 'the weeds were wrapped about his head,' and all the watery world
of woe bowled over him.  Yet even then beyond the reach of any
plummet--'out of the belly of hell'--when the whale grounded upon the
ocean's utmost bones, even then, God heard the engulphed, repenting
prophet when he cried.  Then God spake unto the fish; and from the
shuddering cold and blackness of the sea, the whale came breeching up
towards the warm and pleasant sun, and all the delights of air and
earth; and 'vomited out Jonah upon the dry land;' when the word of
the Lord came a second time; and Jonah, bruised and beaten--his ears,
like two sea-shells, still multitudinously murmuring of the
ocean--Jonah did the Almighty's bidding.  And what was that,
shipmates?  To preach the Truth to the face of Falsehood!  That was

"This, shipmates, this is that other lesson; and woe to that pilot of
the living God who slights it.  Woe to him whom this world charms
from Gospel duty!  Woe to him who seeks to pour oil upon the waters
when God has brewed them into a gale!  Woe to him who seeks to please
rather than to appal!  Woe to him whose good name is more to him than
goodness!  Woe to him who, in this world, courts not dishonour!  Woe
to him who would not be true, even though to be false were salvation!
Yea, woe to him who, as the great Pilot Paul has it, while preaching
to others is himself a castaway!"

He dropped and fell away from himself for a moment; then lifting his
face to them again, showed a deep joy in his eyes, as he cried out
with a heavenly enthusiasm,--"But oh! shipmates! on the starboard
hand of every woe, there is a sure delight; and higher the top of
that delight, than the bottom of the woe is deep.  Is not the
main-truck higher than the kelson is low?  Delight is to him--a far,
far upward, and inward delight--who against the proud gods and
commodores of this earth, ever stands forth his own inexorable self.
Delight is to him whose strong arms yet support him, when the ship of
this base treacherous world has gone down beneath him.  Delight is to
him, who gives no quarter in the truth, and kills, burns, and
destroys all sin though he pluck it out from under the robes of
Senators and Judges.  Delight,--top-gallant delight is to him, who
acknowledges no law or lord, but the Lord his God, and is only a
patriot to heaven.  Delight is to him, whom all the waves of the
billows of the seas of the boisterous mob can never shake from this
sure Keel of the Ages.  And eternal delight and deliciousness will be
his, who coming to lay him down, can say with his final breath--O
Father!--chiefly known to me by Thy rod--mortal or immortal, here I
die.  I have striven to be Thine, more than to be this world's, or
mine own.  Yet this is nothing: I leave eternity to Thee; for what
is man that he should live out the lifetime of his God?"

He said no more, but slowly waving a benediction, covered his face
with his hands, and so remained kneeling, till all the people had
departed, and he was left alone in the place.


A Bosom Friend.

Returning to the Spouter-Inn from the Chapel, I found Queequeg there
quite alone; he having left the Chapel before the benediction some
time.  He was sitting on a bench before the fire, with his feet on
the stove hearth, and in one hand was holding close up to his face
that little negro idol of his; peering hard into its face, and with a
jack-knife gently whittling away at its nose, meanwhile humming to
himself in his heathenish way.

But being now interrupted, he put up the image; and pretty soon,
going to the table, took up a large book there, and placing it on his
lap began counting the pages with deliberate regularity; at every
fiftieth page--as I fancied--stopping a moment, looking vacantly
around him, and giving utterance to a long-drawn gurgling whistle of
astonishment.  He would then begin again at the next fifty; seeming
to commence at number one each time, as though he could not count
more than fifty, and it was only by such a large number of fifties
being found together, that his astonishment at the multitude of pages
was excited.

With much interest I sat watching him.  Savage though he was, and
hideously marred about the face--at least to my taste--his
countenance yet had a something in it which was by no means
disagreeable.  You cannot hide the soul.  Through all his unearthly
tattooings, I thought I saw the traces of a simple honest heart; and
in his large, deep eyes, fiery black and bold, there seemed tokens of
a spirit that would dare a thousand devils.  And besides all this,
there was a certain lofty bearing about the Pagan, which even his
uncouthness could not altogether maim.  He looked like a man who had
never cringed and never had had a creditor.  Whether it was, too,
that his head being shaved, his forehead was drawn out in freer and
brighter relief, and looked more expansive than it otherwise would,
this I will not venture to decide; but certain it was his head was
phrenologically an excellent one.  It may seem ridiculous, but it
reminded me of General Washington's head, as seen in the popular
busts of him.  It had the same long regularly graded retreating slope
from above the brows, which were likewise very projecting, like two
long promontories thickly wooded on top.  Queequeg was George
Washington cannibalistically developed.

Whilst I was thus closely scanning him, half-pretending meanwhile to
be looking out at the storm from the casement, he never heeded my
presence, never troubled himself with so much as a single glance; but
appeared wholly occupied with counting the pages of the marvellous
book.  Considering how sociably we had been sleeping together the
night previous, and especially considering the affectionate arm I had
found thrown over me upon waking in the morning, I thought this
indifference of his very strange.  But savages are strange beings; at
times you do not know exactly how to take them.  At first they are
overawing; their calm self-collectedness of simplicity seems a
Socratic wisdom.  I had noticed also that Queequeg never consorted at
all, or but very little, with the other seamen in the inn.  He made
no advances whatever; appeared to have no desire to enlarge the
circle of his acquaintances.  All this struck me as mighty singular;
yet, upon second thoughts, there was something almost sublime in it.
Here was a man some twenty thousand miles from home, by the way of
Cape Horn, that is--which was the only way he could get there--thrown
among people as strange to him as though he were in the planet
Jupiter; and yet he seemed entirely at his ease; preserving the
utmost serenity; content with his own companionship; always equal to
himself.  Surely this was a touch of fine philosophy; though no doubt
he had never heard there was such a thing as that.  But, perhaps, to
be true philosophers, we mortals should not be conscious of so living
or so striving.  So soon as I hear that such or such a man gives
himself out for a philosopher, I conclude that, like the dyspeptic
old woman, he must have "broken his digester."

As I sat there in that now lonely room; the fire burning low, in that
mild stage when, after its first intensity has warmed the air, it
then only glows to be looked at; the evening shades and phantoms
gathering round the casements, and peering in upon us silent,
solitary twain; the storm booming without in solemn swells; I began
to be sensible of strange feelings.  I felt a melting in me.  No more
my splintered heart and maddened hand were turned against the wolfish
world.  This soothing savage had redeemed it.  There he sat, his very
indifference speaking a nature in which there lurked no civilized
hypocrisies and bland deceits.  Wild he was; a very sight of sights
to see; yet I began to feel myself mysteriously drawn towards him.
And those same things that would have repelled most others, they were
the very magnets that thus drew me.  I'll try a pagan friend, thought
I, since Christian kindness has proved but hollow courtesy.  I drew
my bench near him, and made some friendly signs and hints, doing my
best to talk with him meanwhile.  At first he little noticed these
advances; but presently, upon my referring to his last night's
hospitalities, he made out to ask me whether we were again to be
bedfellows.  I told him yes; whereat I thought he looked pleased,
perhaps a little complimented.

We then turned over the book together, and I endeavored to explain to
him the purpose of the printing, and the meaning of the few pictures
that were in it.  Thus I soon engaged his interest; and from that we
went to jabbering the best we could about the various outer sights to
be seen in this famous town.  Soon I proposed a social smoke; and,
producing his pouch and tomahawk, he quietly offered me a puff.  And
then we sat exchanging puffs from that wild pipe of his, and keeping
it regularly passing between us.

If there yet lurked any ice of indifference towards me in the Pagan's
breast, this pleasant, genial smoke we had, soon thawed it out, and
left us cronies.  He seemed to take to me quite as naturally and
unbiddenly as I to him; and when our smoke was over, he pressed his
forehead against mine, clasped me round the waist, and said that
henceforth we were married; meaning, in his country's phrase, that we
were bosom friends; he would gladly die for me, if need should be.
In a countryman, this sudden flame of friendship would have seemed
far too premature, a thing to be much distrusted; but in this simple
savage those old rules would not apply.

After supper, and another social chat and smoke, we went to our room
together.  He made me a present of his embalmed head; took out his
enormous tobacco wallet, and groping under the tobacco, drew out some
thirty dollars in silver; then spreading them on the table, and
mechanically dividing them into two equal portions, pushed one of
them towards me, and said it was mine.  I was going to remonstrate;
but he silenced me by pouring them into my trowsers' pockets.  I let
them stay.  He then went about his evening prayers, took out his
idol, and removed the paper fireboard.  By certain signs and
symptoms, I thought he seemed anxious for me to join him; but well
knowing what was to follow, I deliberated a moment whether, in case
he invited me, I would comply or otherwise.

I was a good Christian; born and bred in the bosom of the infallible
Presbyterian Church.  How then could I unite with this wild idolator
in worshipping his piece of wood?  But what is worship? thought I.
Do you suppose now, Ishmael, that the magnanimous God of heaven and
earth--pagans and all included--can possibly be jealous of an
insignificant bit of black wood?  Impossible!  But what is
worship?--to do the will of God--THAT is worship.  And what is the
will of God?--to do to my fellow man what I would have my fellow man
to do to me--THAT is the will of God.  Now, Queequeg is my fellow
man.  And what do I wish that this Queequeg would do to me?  Why,
unite with me in my particular Presbyterian form of worship.
Consequently, I must then unite with him in his; ergo, I must turn
idolator.  So I kindled the shavings; helped prop up the innocent
little idol; offered him burnt biscuit with Queequeg; salamed before
him twice or thrice; kissed his nose; and that done, we undressed and
went to bed, at peace with our own consciences and all the world.
But we did not go to sleep without some little chat.

How it is I know not; but there is no place like a bed for
confidential disclosures between friends.  Man and wife, they say,
there open the very bottom of their souls to each other; and some old
couples often lie and chat over old times till nearly morning.  Thus,
then, in our hearts' honeymoon, lay I and Queequeg--a cosy, loving



We had lain thus in bed, chatting and napping at short intervals, and
Queequeg now and then affectionately throwing his brown tattooed legs
over mine, and then drawing them back; so entirely sociable and free
and easy were we; when, at last, by reason of our confabulations,
what little nappishness remained in us altogether departed, and we
felt like getting up again, though day-break was yet some way down
the future.

Yes, we became very wakeful; so much so that our recumbent position
began to grow wearisome, and by little and little we found ourselves
sitting up; the clothes well tucked around us, leaning against the
head-board with our four knees drawn up close together, and our two
noses bending over them, as if our kneepans were warming-pans.  We
felt very nice and snug, the more so since it was so chilly out of
doors; indeed out of bed-clothes too, seeing that there was no fire
in the room.  The more so, I say, because truly to enjoy bodily
warmth, some small part of you must be cold, for there is no quality
in this world that is not what it is merely by contrast.  Nothing
exists in itself.  If you flatter yourself that you are all over
comfortable, and have been so a long time, then you cannot be said to
be comfortable any more.  But if, like Queequeg and me in the bed,
the tip of your nose or the crown of your head be slightly chilled,
why then, indeed, in the general consciousness you feel most
delightfully and unmistakably warm.  For this reason a sleeping
apartment should never be furnished with a fire, which is one of the
luxurious discomforts of the rich.  For the height of this sort of
deliciousness is to have nothing but the blanket between you and
your snugness and the cold of the outer air.  Then there you lie like
the one warm spark in the heart of an arctic crystal.

We had been sitting in this crouching manner for some time, when all
at once I thought I would open my eyes; for when between sheets,
whether by day or by night, and whether asleep or awake, I have a way
of always keeping my eyes shut, in order the more to concentrate the
snugness of being in bed.  Because no man can ever feel his own
identity aright except his eyes be closed; as if darkness were
indeed the proper element of our essences, though light be more
congenial to our clayey part.  Upon opening my eyes then, and coming
out of my own pleasant and self-created darkness into the imposed and
coarse outer gloom of the unilluminated twelve-o'clock-at-night, I
experienced a disagreeable revulsion.  Nor did I at all object to the
hint from Queequeg that perhaps it were best to strike a light,
seeing that we were so wide awake; and besides he felt a strong
desire to have a few quiet puffs from his Tomahawk.  Be it said, that
though I had felt such a strong repugnance to his smoking in the bed
the night before, yet see how elastic our stiff prejudices grow when
love once comes to bend them.  For now I liked nothing better than
to have Queequeg smoking by me, even in bed, because he seemed to be
full of such serene household joy then.  I no more felt unduly
concerned for the landlord's policy of insurance.  I was only alive
to the condensed confidential comfortableness of sharing a pipe and a
blanket with a real friend.  With our shaggy jackets drawn about our
shoulders, we now passed the Tomahawk from one to the other, till
slowly there grew over us a blue hanging tester of smoke, illuminated
by the flame of the new-lit lamp.

Whether it was that this undulating tester rolled the savage away to
far distant scenes, I know not, but he now spoke of his native
island; and, eager to hear his history, I begged him to go on and
tell it.  He gladly complied.  Though at the time I but ill
comprehended not a few of his words, yet subsequent disclosures, when
I had become more familiar with his broken phraseology, now enable me
to present the whole story such as it may prove in the mere skeleton
I give.



Queequeg was a native of Rokovoko, an island far away to the West
and South.  It is not down in any map; true places never are.

When a new-hatched savage running wild about his native woodlands in
a grass clout, followed by the nibbling goats, as if he were a green
sapling; even then, in Queequeg's ambitious soul, lurked a strong
desire to see something more of Christendom than a specimen whaler or
two.  His father was a High Chief, a King; his uncle a High Priest;
and on the maternal side he boasted aunts who were the wives of
unconquerable warriors.  There was excellent blood in his
veins--royal stuff; though sadly vitiated, I fear, by the cannibal
propensity he nourished in his untutored youth.

A Sag Harbor ship visited his father's bay, and Queequeg sought a
passage to Christian lands.  But the ship, having her full complement
of seamen, spurned his suit; and not all the King his father's
influence could prevail.  But Queequeg vowed a vow.  Alone in his
canoe, he paddled off to a distant strait, which he knew the ship
must pass through when she quitted the island.  On one side was a
coral reef; on the other a low tongue of land, covered with mangrove
thickets that grew out into the water.  Hiding his canoe, still
afloat, among these thickets, with its prow seaward, he sat down in
the stern, paddle low in hand; and when the ship was gliding by, like
a flash he darted out; gained her side; with one backward dash of his
foot capsized and sank his canoe; climbed up the chains; and throwing
himself at full length upon the deck, grappled a ring-bolt there, and
swore not to let it go, though hacked in pieces.

In vain the captain threatened to throw him overboard; suspended a
cutlass over his naked wrists; Queequeg was the son of a King, and
Queequeg budged not.  Struck by his desperate dauntlessness, and his
wild desire to visit Christendom, the captain at last relented, and
told him he might make himself at home.  But this fine young
savage--this sea Prince of Wales, never saw the Captain's cabin.
They put him down among the sailors, and made a whaleman of him.  But
like Czar Peter content to toil in the shipyards of foreign cities,
Queequeg disdained no seeming ignominy, if thereby he might happily
gain the power of enlightening his untutored countrymen.  For at
bottom--so he told me--he was actuated by a profound desire to learn
among the Christians, the arts whereby to make his people still
happier than they were; and more than that, still better than they
were.  But, alas! the practices of whalemen soon convinced him that
even Christians could be both miserable and wicked; infinitely more
so, than all his father's heathens.  Arrived at last in old Sag
Harbor; and seeing what the sailors did there; and then going on to
Nantucket, and seeing how they spent their wages in that place also,
poor Queequeg gave it up for lost.  Thought he, it's a wicked world
in all meridians; I'll die a pagan.

And thus an old idolator at heart, he yet lived among these
Christians, wore their clothes, and tried to talk their gibberish.
Hence the queer ways about him, though now some time from home.

By hints, I asked him whether he did not propose going back, and
having a coronation; since he might now consider his father dead and
gone, he being very old and feeble at the last accounts.  He answered
no, not yet; and added that he was fearful Christianity, or rather
Christians, had unfitted him for ascending the pure and undefiled
throne of thirty pagan Kings before him.  But by and by, he said, he
would return,--as soon as he felt himself baptized again.  For the
nonce, however, he proposed to sail about, and sow his wild oats in
all four oceans.  They had made a harpooneer of him, and that barbed
iron was in lieu of a sceptre now.

I asked him what might be his immediate purpose, touching his future
movements.  He answered, to go to sea again, in his old vocation.
Upon this, I told him that whaling was my own design, and informed
him of my intention to sail out of Nantucket, as being the most
promising port for an adventurous whaleman to embark from.  He at
once resolved to accompany me to that island, ship aboard the same
vessel, get into the same watch, the same boat, the same mess with
me, in short to share my every hap; with both my hands in his, boldly
dip into the Potluck of both worlds.  To all this I joyously
assented; for besides the affection I now felt for Queequeg, he was
an experienced harpooneer, and as such, could not fail to be of great
usefulness to one, who, like me, was wholly ignorant of the mysteries
of whaling, though well acquainted with the sea, as known to merchant

His story being ended with his pipe's last dying puff, Queequeg
embraced me, pressed his forehead against mine, and blowing out the
light, we rolled over from each other, this way and that, and very
soon were sleeping.



Next morning, Monday, after disposing of the embalmed head to a
barber, for a block, I settled my own and comrade's bill; using,
however, my comrade's money.  The grinning landlord, as well as the
boarders, seemed amazingly tickled at the sudden friendship which had
sprung up between me and Queequeg--especially as Peter Coffin's cock
and bull stories about him had previously so much alarmed me
concerning the very person whom I now companied with.

We borrowed a wheelbarrow, and embarking our things, including my own
poor carpet-bag, and Queequeg's canvas sack and hammock, away we went
down to "the Moss," the little Nantucket packet schooner moored at
the wharf.  As we were going along the people stared; not at Queequeg
so much--for they were used to seeing cannibals like him in their
streets,--but at seeing him and me upon such confidential terms.  But
we heeded them not, going along wheeling the barrow by turns, and
Queequeg now and then stopping to adjust the sheath on his harpoon
barbs.  I asked him why he carried such a troublesome thing with him
ashore, and whether all whaling ships did not find their own
harpoons.  To this, in substance, he replied, that though what I
hinted was true enough, yet he had a particular affection for his own
harpoon, because it was of assured stuff, well tried in many a mortal
combat, and deeply intimate with the hearts of whales.  In short,
like many inland reapers and mowers, who go into the farmers' meadows
armed with their own scythes--though in no wise obliged to furnish
them--even so, Queequeg, for his own private reasons, preferred his
own harpoon.

Shifting the barrow from my hand to his, he told me a funny story
about the first wheelbarrow he had ever seen.  It was in Sag Harbor.
The owners of his ship, it seems, had lent him one, in which to carry
his heavy chest to his boarding house.  Not to seem ignorant about
the thing--though in truth he was entirely so, concerning the precise
way in which to manage the barrow--Queequeg puts his chest upon it;
lashes it fast; and then shoulders the barrow and marches up the
wharf.  "Why," said I, "Queequeg, you might have known better than
that, one would think.  Didn't the people laugh?"

Upon this, he told me another story.  The people of his island of
Rokovoko, it seems, at their wedding feasts express the fragrant
water of young cocoanuts into a large stained calabash like a
punchbowl; and this punchbowl always forms the great central ornament
on the braided mat where the feast is held.  Now a certain grand
merchant ship once touched at Rokovoko, and its commander--from all
accounts, a very stately punctilious gentleman, at least for a sea
captain--this commander was invited to the wedding feast of
Queequeg's sister, a pretty young princess just turned of ten.  Well;
when all the wedding guests were assembled at the bride's bamboo
cottage, this Captain marches in, and being assigned the post of
honour, placed himself over against the punchbowl, and between the
High Priest and his majesty the King, Queequeg's father.  Grace being
said,--for those people have their grace as well as we--though
Queequeg told me that unlike us, who at such times look downwards to
our platters, they, on the contrary, copying the ducks, glance
upwards to the great Giver of all feasts--Grace, I say, being said,
the High Priest opens the banquet by the immemorial ceremony of the
island; that is, dipping his consecrated and consecrating fingers
into the bowl before the blessed beverage circulates.  Seeing himself
placed next the Priest, and noting the ceremony, and thinking
himself--being Captain of a ship--as having plain precedence over a
mere island King, especially in the King's own house--the Captain
coolly proceeds to wash his hands in the punchbowl;--taking it I
suppose for a huge finger-glass.  "Now," said Queequeg, "what you
tink now?--Didn't our people laugh?"

At last, passage paid, and luggage safe, we stood on board the
schooner.  Hoisting sail, it glided down the Acushnet river.  On one
side, New Bedford rose in terraces of streets, their ice-covered
trees all glittering in the clear, cold air.  Huge hills and
mountains of casks on casks were piled upon her wharves, and side by
side the world-wandering whale ships lay silent and safely moored at
last; while from others came a sound of carpenters and coopers, with
blended noises of fires and forges to melt the pitch, all betokening
that new cruises were on the start; that one most perilous and long
voyage ended, only begins a second; and a second ended, only begins a
third, and so on, for ever and for aye.  Such is the endlessness,
yea, the intolerableness of all earthly effort.

Gaining the more open water, the bracing breeze waxed fresh; the
little Moss tossed the quick foam from her bows, as a young colt his
snortings.  How I snuffed that Tartar air!--how I spurned that
turnpike earth!--that common highway all over dented with the marks
of slavish heels and hoofs; and turned me to admire the magnanimity
of the sea which will permit no records.

At the same foam-fountain, Queequeg seemed to drink and reel with me.
His dusky nostrils swelled apart; he showed his filed and pointed
teeth.  On, on we flew; and our offing gained, the Moss did homage to
the blast; ducked and dived her bows as a slave before the Sultan.
Sideways leaning, we sideways darted; every ropeyarn tingling like a
wire; the two tall masts buckling like Indian canes in land
tornadoes.  So full of this reeling scene were we, as we stood by the
plunging bowsprit, that for some time we did not notice the jeering
glances of the passengers, a lubber-like assembly, who marvelled that
two fellow beings should be so companionable; as though a white man
were anything more dignified than a whitewashed negro.  But there
were some boobies and bumpkins there, who, by their intense
greenness, must have come from the heart and centre of all verdure.
Queequeg caught one of these young saplings mimicking him behind his
back.  I thought the bumpkin's hour of doom was come.  Dropping his
harpoon, the brawny savage caught him in his arms, and by an almost
miraculous dexterity and strength, sent him high up bodily into the
air; then slightly tapping his stern in mid-somerset, the fellow
landed with bursting lungs upon his feet, while Queequeg, turning his
back upon him, lighted his tomahawk pipe and passed it to me for a

"Capting!  Capting! yelled the bumpkin, running towards that officer;
"Capting, Capting, here's the devil."

"Hallo, YOU sir," cried the Captain, a gaunt rib of the sea, stalking
up to Queequeg, "what in thunder do you mean by that?  Don't you know
you might have killed that chap?"

"What him say?" said Queequeg, as he mildly turned to me.

"He say," said I, "that you came near kill-e that man there,"
pointing to the still shivering greenhorn.

"Kill-e," cried Queequeg, twisting his tattooed face into an
unearthly expression of disdain, "ah! him bevy small-e fish-e;
Queequeg no kill-e so small-e fish-e; Queequeg kill-e big whale!"

"Look you," roared the Captain, "I'll kill-e YOU, you cannibal, if
you try any more of your tricks aboard here; so mind your eye."

But it so happened just then, that it was high time for the Captain
to mind his own eye.  The prodigious strain upon the main-sail had
parted the weather-sheet, and the tremendous boom was now flying from
side to side, completely sweeping the entire after part of the deck.
The poor fellow whom Queequeg had handled so roughly, was swept
overboard; all hands were in a panic; and to attempt snatching at the
boom to stay it, seemed madness.  It flew from right to left, and
back again, almost in one ticking of a watch, and every instant
seemed on the point of snapping into splinters.  Nothing was done,
and nothing seemed capable of being done; those on deck rushed
towards the bows, and stood eyeing the boom as if it were the lower
jaw of an exasperated whale.  In the midst of this consternation,
Queequeg dropped deftly to his knees, and crawling under the path of
the boom, whipped hold of a rope, secured one end to the bulwarks,
and then flinging the other like a lasso, caught it round the boom as
it swept over his head, and at the next jerk, the spar was that way
trapped, and all was safe.  The schooner was run into the wind, and
while the hands were clearing away the stern boat, Queequeg, stripped
to the waist, darted from the side with a long living arc of a leap.
For three minutes or more he was seen swimming like a dog, throwing
his long arms straight out before him, and by turns revealing his
brawny shoulders through the freezing foam.  I looked at the grand
and glorious fellow, but saw no one to be saved.  The greenhorn had
gone down.  Shooting himself perpendicularly from the water,
Queequeg, now took an instant's glance around him, and seeming to see
just how matters were, dived down and disappeared.  A few minutes
more, and he rose again, one arm still striking out, and with the
other dragging a lifeless form.  The boat soon picked them up.  The
poor bumpkin was restored.  All hands voted Queequeg a noble trump;
the captain begged his pardon.  From that hour I clove to Queequeg
like a barnacle; yea, till poor Queequeg took his last long dive.

Was there ever such unconsciousness?  He did not seem to think that
he at all deserved a medal from the Humane and Magnanimous Societies.
He only asked for water--fresh water--something to wipe the brine
off; that done, he put on dry clothes, lighted his pipe, and leaning
against the bulwarks, and mildly eyeing those around him, seemed to
be saying to himself--"It's a mutual, joint-stock world, in all
meridians.  We cannibals must help these Christians."



Nothing more happened on the passage worthy the mentioning; so, after
a fine run, we safely arrived in Nantucket.

Nantucket!  Take out your map and look at it.  See what a real corner
of the world it occupies; how it stands there, away off shore, more
lonely than the Eddystone lighthouse.  Look at it--a mere hillock,
and elbow of sand; all beach, without a background.  There is more
sand there than you would use in twenty years as a substitute for
blotting paper.  Some gamesome wights will tell you that they have to
plant weeds there, they don't grow naturally; that they import Canada
thistles; that they have to send beyond seas for a spile to stop a
leak in an oil cask; that pieces of wood in Nantucket are carried
about like bits of the true cross in Rome; that people there plant
toadstools before their houses, to get under the shade in summer
time; that one blade of grass makes an oasis, three blades in a day's
walk a prairie; that they wear quicksand shoes, something like
Laplander snow-shoes; that they are so shut up, belted about, every
way inclosed, surrounded, and made an utter island of by the ocean,
that to their very chairs and tables small clams will sometimes be
found adhering, as to the backs of sea turtles.  But these
extravaganzas only show that Nantucket is no Illinois.

Look now at the wondrous traditional story of how this island was
settled by the red-men.  Thus goes the legend.  In olden times an
eagle swooped down upon the New England coast, and carried off an
infant Indian in his talons.  With loud lament the parents saw their
child borne out of sight over the wide waters.  They resolved to
follow in the same direction.  Setting out in their canoes, after a
perilous passage they discovered the island, and there they found an
empty ivory casket,--the poor little Indian's skeleton.

What wonder, then, that these Nantucketers, born on a beach, should
take to the sea for a livelihood!  They first caught crabs and
quohogs in the sand; grown bolder, they waded out with nets for
mackerel; more experienced, they pushed off in boats and captured
cod; and at last, launching a navy of great ships on the sea,
explored this watery world; put an incessant belt of
circumnavigations round it; peeped in at Behring's Straits; and in
all seasons and all oceans declared everlasting war with the
mightiest animated mass that has survived the flood; most monstrous
and most mountainous!  That Himmalehan, salt-sea Mastodon, clothed
with such portentousness of unconscious power, that his very panics
are more to be dreaded than his most fearless and malicious assaults!

And thus have these naked Nantucketers, these sea hermits, issuing
from their ant-hill in the sea, overrun and conquered the watery
world like so many Alexanders; parcelling out among them the
Atlantic, Pacific, and Indian oceans, as the three pirate powers did
Poland.  Let America add Mexico to Texas, and pile Cuba upon Canada;
let the English overswarm all India, and hang out their blazing
banner from the sun; two thirds of this terraqueous globe are the
Nantucketer's.  For the sea is his; he owns it, as Emperors own
empires; other seamen having but a right of way through it.  Merchant
ships are but extension bridges; armed ones but floating forts; even
pirates and privateers, though following the sea as highwaymen the
road, they but plunder other ships, other fragments of the land like
themselves, without seeking to draw their living from the bottomless
deep itself.  The Nantucketer, he alone resides and riots on the sea;
he alone, in Bible language, goes down to it in ships; to and fro
ploughing it as his own special plantation.  THERE is his home; THERE
lies his business, which a Noah's flood would not interrupt, though
it overwhelmed all the millions in China.  He lives on the sea, as
prairie cocks in the prairie; he hides among the waves, he climbs
them as chamois hunters climb the Alps.  For years he knows not the
land; so that when he comes to it at last, it smells like another
world, more strangely than the moon would to an Earthsman.  With the
landless gull, that at sunset folds her wings and is rocked to sleep
between billows; so at nightfall, the Nantucketer, out of sight of
land, furls his sails, and lays him to his rest, while under his very
pillow rush herds of walruses and whales.



It was quite late in the evening when the little Moss came snugly to
anchor, and Queequeg and I went ashore; so we could attend to no
business that day, at least none but a supper and a bed.  The
landlord of the Spouter-Inn had recommended us to his cousin Hosea
Hussey of the Try Pots, whom he asserted to be the proprietor of one
of the best kept hotels in all Nantucket, and moreover he had assured
us that Cousin Hosea, as he called him, was famous for his chowders.
In short, he plainly hinted that we could not possibly do better than
try pot-luck at the Try Pots.  But the directions he had given us
about keeping a yellow warehouse on our starboard hand till we opened
a white church to the larboard, and then keeping that on the larboard
hand till we made a corner three points to the starboard, and that
done, then ask the first man we met where the place was: these
crooked directions of his very much puzzled us at first, especially
as, at the outset, Queequeg insisted that the yellow warehouse--our
first point of departure--must be left on the larboard hand, whereas
I had understood Peter Coffin to say it was on the starboard.
However, by dint of beating about a little in the dark, and now and
then knocking up a peaceable inhabitant to inquire the way, we at
last came to something which there was no mistaking.

Two enormous wooden pots painted black, and suspended by asses' ears,
swung from the cross-trees of an old top-mast, planted in front of an
old doorway.  The horns of the cross-trees were sawed off on the
other side, so that this old top-mast looked not a little like a
gallows.  Perhaps I was over sensitive to such impressions at the
time, but I could not help staring at this gallows with a vague
misgiving.  A sort of crick was in my neck as I gazed up to the two
remaining horns; yes, TWO of them, one for Queequeg, and one for me.
It's ominous, thinks I.  A Coffin my Innkeeper upon landing in my
first whaling port; tombstones staring at me in the whalemen's
chapel; and here a gallows! and a pair of prodigious black pots too!
Are these last throwing out oblique hints touching Tophet?

I was called from these reflections by the sight of a freckled woman
with yellow hair and a yellow gown, standing in the porch of the inn,
under a dull red lamp swinging there, that looked much like an
injured eye, and carrying on a brisk scolding with a man in a purple
woollen shirt.

"Get along with ye," said she to the man, "or I'll be combing ye!"

"Come on, Queequeg," said I, "all right.  There's Mrs. Hussey."

And so it turned out; Mr. Hosea Hussey being from home, but leaving
Mrs. Hussey entirely competent to attend to all his affairs.  Upon
making known our desires for a supper and a bed, Mrs. Hussey,
postponing further scolding for the present, ushered us into a little
room, and seating us at a table spread with the relics of a recently
concluded repast, turned round to us and said--"Clam or Cod?"

"What's that about Cods, ma'am?" said I, with much politeness.

"Clam or Cod?" she repeated.

"A clam for supper? a cold clam; is THAT what you mean, Mrs. Hussey?"
says I, "but that's a rather cold and clammy reception in the winter
time, ain't it, Mrs. Hussey?"

But being in a great hurry to resume scolding the man in the purple
Shirt, who was waiting for it in the entry, and seeming to hear
nothing but the word "clam," Mrs. Hussey hurried towards an open door
leading to the kitchen, and bawling out "clam for two," disappeared.

"Queequeg," said I, "do you think that we can make out a supper for
us both on one clam?"

However, a warm savory steam from the kitchen served to belie the
apparently cheerless prospect before us.  But when that smoking
chowder came in, the mystery was delightfully explained.  Oh, sweet
friends! hearken to me.  It was made of small juicy clams, scarcely
bigger than hazel nuts, mixed with pounded ship biscuit, and salted
pork cut up into little flakes; the whole enriched with butter, and
plentifully seasoned with pepper and salt.  Our appetites being
sharpened by the frosty voyage, and in particular, Queequeg seeing
his favourite fishing food before him, and the chowder being
surpassingly excellent, we despatched it with great expedition: when
leaning back a moment and bethinking me of Mrs. Hussey's clam and cod
announcement, I thought I would try a little experiment.  Stepping to
the kitchen door, I uttered the word "cod" with great emphasis, and
resumed my seat.  In a few moments the savoury steam came forth
again, but with a different flavor, and in good time a fine
cod-chowder was placed before us.

We resumed business; and while plying our spoons in the bowl, thinks
I to myself, I wonder now if this here has any effect on the head?
What's that stultifying saying about chowder-headed people?  "But
look, Queequeg, ain't that a live eel in your bowl?  Where's your

Fishiest of all fishy places was the Try Pots, which well deserved
its name; for the pots there were always boiling chowders.  Chowder
for breakfast, and chowder for dinner, and chowder for supper, till
you began to look for fish-bones coming through your clothes.  The
area before the house was paved with clam-shells.  Mrs. Hussey wore a
polished necklace of codfish vertebra; and Hosea Hussey had his
account books bound in superior old shark-skin.  There was a fishy
flavor to the milk, too, which I could not at all account for, till
one morning happening to take a stroll along the beach among some
fishermen's boats, I saw Hosea's brindled cow feeding on fish
remnants, and marching along the sand with each foot in a cod's
decapitated head, looking very slip-shod, I assure ye.

Supper concluded, we received a lamp, and directions from Mrs. Hussey
concerning the nearest way to bed; but, as Queequeg was about to
precede me up the stairs, the lady reached forth her arm, and
demanded his harpoon; she allowed no harpoon in her chambers.  "Why
not? said I; "every true whaleman sleeps with his harpoon--but why
not?"  "Because it's dangerous," says she.  "Ever since young Stiggs
coming from that unfort'nt v'y'ge of his, when he was gone four years
and a half, with only three barrels of ILE, was found dead in my
first floor back, with his harpoon in his side; ever since then I
allow no boarders to take sich dangerous weepons in their rooms at
night.  So, Mr. Queequeg" (for she had learned his name), "I will
just take this here iron, and keep it for you till morning.  But the
chowder; clam or cod to-morrow for breakfast, men?"

"Both," says I; "and let's have a couple of smoked herring by way of


The Ship.

In bed we concocted our plans for the morrow.  But to my surprise and
no small concern, Queequeg now gave me to understand, that he had
been diligently consulting Yojo--the name of his black little
god--and Yojo had told him two or three times over, and strongly
insisted upon it everyway, that instead of our going together among
the whaling-fleet in harbor, and in concert selecting our craft;
instead of this, I say, Yojo earnestly enjoined that the selection of
the ship should rest wholly with me, inasmuch as Yojo purposed
befriending us; and, in order to do so, had already pitched upon a
vessel, which, if left to myself, I, Ishmael, should infallibly light
upon, for all the world as though it had turned out by chance; and in
that vessel I must immediately ship myself, for the present
irrespective of Queequeg.

I have forgotten to mention that, in many things, Queequeg placed
great confidence in the excellence of Yojo's judgment and surprising
forecast of things; and cherished Yojo with considerable esteem, as a
rather good sort of god, who perhaps meant well enough upon the
whole, but in all cases did not succeed in his benevolent designs.

Now, this plan of Queequeg's, or rather Yojo's, touching the
selection of our craft; I did not like that plan at all.  I had not a
little relied upon Queequeg's sagacity to point out the whaler best
fitted to carry us and our fortunes securely.  But as all my
remonstrances produced no effect upon Queequeg, I was obliged to
acquiesce; and accordingly prepared to set about this business with a
determined rushing sort of energy and vigor, that should quickly
settle that trifling little affair.  Next morning early, leaving
Queequeg shut up with Yojo in our little bedroom--for it seemed that
it was some sort of Lent or Ramadan, or day of fasting, humiliation,
and prayer with Queequeg and Yojo that day; HOW it was I never could
find out, for, though I applied myself to it several times, I never
could master his liturgies and XXXIX Articles--leaving Queequeg,
then, fasting on his tomahawk pipe, and Yojo warming himself at his
sacrificial fire of shavings, I sallied out among the shipping.
After much prolonged sauntering and many random inquiries, I learnt
that there were three ships up for three-years' voyages--The
Devil-dam, the Tit-bit, and the Pequod.  DEVIL-DAM, I do not know
the origin of; TIT-BIT is obvious; PEQUOD, you will no doubt
remember, was the name of a celebrated tribe of Massachusetts
Indians; now extinct as the ancient Medes.  I peered and pryed about
the Devil-dam; from her, hopped over to the Tit-bit; and finally,
going on board the Pequod, looked around her for a moment, and then
decided that this was the very ship for us.

You may have seen many a quaint craft in your day, for aught I
know;--square-toed luggers; mountainous Japanese junks; butter-box
galliots, and what not; but take my word for it, you never saw such a
rare old craft as this same rare old Pequod.  She was a ship of the
old school, rather small if anything; with an old-fashioned
claw-footed look about her.  Long seasoned and weather-stained in the
typhoons and calms of all four oceans, her old hull's complexion was
darkened like a French grenadier's, who has alike fought in Egypt and
Siberia.  Her venerable bows looked bearded.  Her masts--cut
somewhere on the coast of Japan, where her original ones were lost
overboard in a gale--her masts stood stiffly up like the spines of
the three old kings of Cologne.  Her ancient decks were worn and
wrinkled, like the pilgrim-worshipped flag-stone in Canterbury
Cathedral where Becket bled.  But to all these her old antiquities,
were added new and marvellous features, pertaining to the wild
business that for more than half a century she had followed.  Old
Captain Peleg, many years her chief-mate, before he commanded another
vessel of his own, and now a retired seaman, and one of the principal
owners of the Pequod,--this old Peleg, during the term of his
chief-mateship, had built upon her original grotesqueness, and inlaid
it, all over, with a quaintness both of material and device,
unmatched by anything except it be Thorkill-Hake's carved buckler or
bedstead.  She was apparelled like any barbaric Ethiopian emperor,
his neck heavy with pendants of polished ivory.  She was a thing of
trophies.  A cannibal of a craft, tricking herself forth in the
chased bones of her enemies.  All round, her unpanelled, open
bulwarks were garnished like one continuous jaw, with the long sharp
teeth of the sperm whale, inserted there for pins, to fasten her old
hempen thews and tendons to.  Those thews ran not through base blocks
of land wood, but deftly travelled over sheaves of sea-ivory.
Scorning a turnstile wheel at her reverend helm, she sported there a
tiller; and that tiller was in one mass, curiously carved from the
long narrow lower jaw of her hereditary foe.  The helmsman who
steered by that tiller in a tempest, felt like the Tartar, when he
holds back his fiery steed by clutching its jaw.  A noble craft, but
somehow a most melancholy!  All noble things are touched with that.

Now when I looked about the quarter-deck, for some one having
authority, in order to propose myself as a candidate for the voyage,
at first I saw nobody; but I could not well overlook a strange sort
of tent, or rather wigwam, pitched a little behind the main-mast.  It
seemed only a temporary erection used in port.  It was of a conical
shape, some ten feet high; consisting of the long, huge slabs of
limber black bone taken from the middle and highest part of the jaws
of the right-whale.  Planted with their broad ends on the deck, a
circle of these slabs laced together, mutually sloped towards each
other, and at the apex united in a tufted point, where the loose
hairy fibres waved to and fro like the top-knot on some old
Pottowottamie Sachem's head.  A triangular opening faced towards the
bows of the ship, so that the insider commanded a complete view

And half concealed in this queer tenement, I at length found one who
by his aspect seemed to have authority; and who, it being noon, and
the ship's work suspended, was now enjoying respite from the burden
of command.  He was seated on an old-fashioned oaken chair, wriggling
all over with curious carving; and the bottom of which was formed of
a stout interlacing of the same elastic stuff of which the wigwam was

There was nothing so very particular, perhaps, about the appearance
of the elderly man I saw; he was brown and brawny, like most old
seamen, and heavily rolled up in blue pilot-cloth, cut in the Quaker
style; only there was a fine and almost microscopic net-work of the
minutest wrinkles interlacing round his eyes, which must have arisen
from his continual sailings in many hard gales, and always looking to
windward;--for this causes the muscles about the eyes to become
pursed together.  Such eye-wrinkles are very effectual in a scowl.

"Is this the Captain of the Pequod?" said I, advancing to the door of
the tent.

"Supposing it be the captain of the Pequod, what dost thou want of
him?" he demanded.

"I was thinking of shipping."

"Thou wast, wast thou?  I see thou art no Nantucketer--ever been in
a stove boat?"

"No, Sir, I never have."

"Dost know nothing at all about whaling, I dare say--eh?

"Nothing, Sir; but I have no doubt I shall soon learn.  I've been
several voyages in the merchant service, and I think that--"

"Merchant service be damned.  Talk not that lingo to me.  Dost see
that leg?--I'll take that leg away from thy stern, if ever thou
talkest of the marchant service to me again.  Marchant service
indeed!  I suppose now ye feel considerable proud of having served in
those marchant ships.  But flukes! man, what makes thee want to go a
whaling, eh?--it looks a little suspicious, don't it, eh?--Hast not
been a pirate, hast thou?--Didst not rob thy last Captain, didst
thou?--Dost not think of murdering the officers when thou gettest to

I protested my innocence of these things.  I saw that under the mask
of these half humorous innuendoes, this old seaman, as an insulated
Quakerish Nantucketer, was full of his insular prejudices, and rather
distrustful of all aliens, unless they hailed from Cape Cod or the

"But what takes thee a-whaling?  I want to know that before I think
of shipping ye."

"Well, sir, I want to see what whaling is.  I want to see the world."

"Want to see what whaling is, eh?  Have ye clapped eye on Captain

"Who is Captain Ahab, sir?"

"Aye, aye, I thought so.  Captain Ahab is the Captain of this ship."

"I am mistaken then.  I thought I was speaking to the Captain

"Thou art speaking to Captain Peleg--that's who ye are speaking to,
young man.  It belongs to me and Captain Bildad to see the Pequod
fitted out for the voyage, and supplied with all her needs, including
crew.  We are part owners and agents.  But as I was going to say, if
thou wantest to know what whaling is, as thou tellest ye do, I can
put ye in a way of finding it out before ye bind yourself to it, past
backing out.  Clap eye on Captain Ahab, young man, and thou wilt find
that he has only one leg."

"What do you mean, sir?  Was the other one lost by a whale?"

"Lost by a whale!  Young man, come nearer to me: it was devoured,
chewed up, crunched by the monstrousest parmacetty that ever chipped
a boat!--ah, ah!"

I was a little alarmed by his energy, perhaps also a little touched
at the hearty grief in his concluding exclamation, but said as calmly
as I could, "What you say is no doubt true enough, sir; but how could
I know there was any peculiar ferocity in that particular whale,
though indeed I might have inferred as much from the simple fact of
the accident."

"Look ye now, young man, thy lungs are a sort of soft, d'ye see; thou
dost not talk shark a bit.  SURE, ye've been to sea before now; sure
of that?"

"Sir," said I, "I thought I told you that I had been four voyages in
the merchant--"

"Hard down out of that!  Mind what I said about the marchant
service--don't aggravate me--I won't have it.  But let us understand
each other.  I have given thee a hint about what whaling is; do ye
yet feel inclined for it?"

"I do, sir."

"Very good.  Now, art thou the man to pitch a harpoon down a live
whale's throat, and then jump after it?  Answer, quick!"

"I am, sir, if it should be positively indispensable to do so; not to
be got rid of, that is; which I don't take to be the fact."

"Good again.  Now then, thou not only wantest to go a-whaling, to
find out by experience what whaling is, but ye also want to go in
order to see the world?  Was not that what ye said?  I thought so.
Well then, just step forward there, and take a peep over the
weather-bow, and then back to me and tell me what ye see there."

For a moment I stood a little puzzled by this curious request, not
knowing exactly how to take it, whether humorously or in earnest.
But concentrating all his crow's feet into one scowl, Captain Peleg
started me on the errand.

Going forward and glancing over the weather bow, I perceived that the
ship swinging to her anchor with the flood-tide, was now obliquely
pointing towards the open ocean.  The prospect was unlimited, but
exceedingly monotonous and forbidding; not the slightest variety that
I could see.

"Well, what's the report?" said Peleg when I came back; "what did ye

"Not much," I replied--"nothing but water; considerable horizon
though, and there's a squall coming up, I think."

"Well, what does thou think then of seeing the world?  Do ye wish to
go round Cape Horn to see any more of it, eh?  Can't ye see the world
where you stand?"

I was a little staggered, but go a-whaling I must, and I would; and
the Pequod was as good a ship as any--I thought the best--and all
this I now repeated to Peleg.  Seeing me so determined, he expressed
his willingness to ship me.

"And thou mayest as well sign the papers right off," he added--"come
along with ye."  And so saying, he led the way below deck into the

Seated on the transom was what seemed to me a most uncommon and
surprising figure.  It turned out to be Captain Bildad, who along
with Captain Peleg was one of the largest owners of the vessel; the
other shares, as is sometimes the case in these ports, being held by
a crowd of old annuitants; widows, fatherless children, and chancery
wards; each owning about the value of a timber head, or a foot of
plank, or a nail or two in the ship.  People in Nantucket invest
their money in whaling vessels, the same way that you do yours in
approved state stocks bringing in good interest.

Now, Bildad, like Peleg, and indeed many other Nantucketers, was a
Quaker, the island having been originally settled by that sect; and
to this day its inhabitants in general retain in an uncommon measure
the peculiarities of the Quaker, only variously and anomalously
modified by things altogether alien and heterogeneous.  For some of
these same Quakers are the most sanguinary of all sailors and
whale-hunters.  They are fighting Quakers; they are Quakers with a

So that there are instances among them of men, who, named with
Scripture names--a singularly common fashion on the island--and in
childhood naturally imbibing the stately dramatic thee and thou of
the Quaker idiom; still, from the audacious, daring, and boundless
adventure of their subsequent lives, strangely blend with these
unoutgrown peculiarities, a thousand bold dashes of character, not
unworthy a Scandinavian sea-king, or a poetical Pagan Roman.  And
when these things unite in a man of greatly superior natural force,
with a globular brain and a ponderous heart; who has also by the
stillness and seclusion of many long night-watches in the remotest
waters, and beneath constellations never seen here at the north, been
led to think untraditionally and independently; receiving all
nature's sweet or savage impressions fresh from her own virgin
voluntary and confiding breast, and thereby chiefly, but with some
help from accidental advantages, to learn a bold and nervous lofty
language--that man makes one in a whole nation's census--a mighty
pageant creature, formed for noble tragedies.  Nor will it at all
detract from him, dramatically regarded, if either by birth or other
circumstances, he have what seems a half wilful overruling morbidness
at the bottom of his nature.  For all men tragically great are made
so through a certain morbidness.  Be sure of this, O young ambition,
all mortal greatness is but disease.  But, as yet we have not to do
with such an one, but with quite another; and still a man, who, if
indeed peculiar, it only results again from another phase of the
Quaker, modified by individual circumstances.

Like Captain Peleg, Captain Bildad was a well-to-do, retired
whaleman.  But unlike Captain Peleg--who cared not a rush for what
are called serious things, and indeed deemed those self-same serious
things the veriest of all trifles--Captain Bildad had not only been
originally educated according to the strictest sect of Nantucket
Quakerism, but all his subsequent ocean life, and the sight of many
unclad, lovely island creatures, round the Horn--all that had not
moved this native born Quaker one single jot, had not so much as
altered one angle of his vest.  Still, for all this immutableness,
was there some lack of common consistency about worthy Captain
Peleg.  Though refusing, from conscientious scruples, to bear arms
against land invaders, yet himself had illimitably invaded the
Atlantic and Pacific; and though a sworn foe to human bloodshed, yet
had he in his straight-bodied coat, spilled tuns upon tuns of
leviathan gore.  How now in the contemplative evening of his days,
the pious Bildad reconciled these things in the reminiscence, I do
not know; but it did not seem to concern him much, and very probably
he had long since come to the sage and sensible conclusion that a
man's religion is one thing, and this practical world quite another.
This world pays dividends.  Rising from a little cabin-boy in short
clothes of the drabbest drab, to a harpooneer in a broad shad-bellied
waistcoat; from that becoming boat-header, chief-mate, and captain,
and finally a ship owner; Bildad, as I hinted before, had concluded
his adventurous career by wholly retiring from active life at the
goodly age of sixty, and dedicating his remaining days to the quiet
receiving of his well-earned income.

Now, Bildad, I am sorry to say, had the reputation of being an
incorrigible old hunks, and in his sea-going days, a bitter, hard
task-master.  They told me in Nantucket, though it certainly seems a
curious story, that when he sailed the old Categut whaleman, his
crew, upon arriving home, were mostly all carried ashore to the
hospital, sore exhausted and worn out.  For a pious man, especially
for a Quaker, he was certainly rather hard-hearted, to say the
least.  He never used to swear, though, at his men, they said; but
somehow he got an inordinate quantity of cruel, unmitigated hard work
out of them.  When Bildad was a chief-mate, to have his drab-coloured
eye intently looking at you, made you feel completely nervous, till
you could clutch something--a hammer or a marling-spike, and go to
work like mad, at something or other, never mind what.  Indolence and
idleness perished before him.  His own person was the exact
embodiment of his utilitarian character.  On his long, gaunt body, he
carried no spare flesh, no superfluous beard, his chin having a soft,
economical nap to it, like the worn nap of his broad-brimmed hat.

Such, then, was the person that I saw seated on the transom when I
followed Captain Peleg down into the cabin.  The space between the
decks was small; and there, bolt-upright, sat old Bildad, who always
sat so, and never leaned, and this to save his coat tails.  His
broad-brim was placed beside him; his legs were stiffly crossed; his
drab vesture was buttoned up to his chin; and spectacles on nose, he
seemed absorbed in reading from a ponderous volume.

"Bildad," cried Captain Peleg, "at it again, Bildad, eh?  Ye have
been studying those Scriptures, now, for the last thirty years, to my
certain knowledge.  How far ye got, Bildad?"

As if long habituated to such profane talk from his old shipmate,
Bildad, without noticing his present irreverence, quietly looked up,
and seeing me, glanced again inquiringly towards Peleg.

"He says he's our man, Bildad," said Peleg, "he wants to ship."

"Dost thee?" said Bildad, in a hollow tone, and turning round to me.

"I dost," said I unconsciously, he was so intense a Quaker.

"What do ye think of him, Bildad?" said Peleg.

"He'll do," said Bildad, eyeing me, and then went on spelling away at
his book in a mumbling tone quite audible.

I thought him the queerest old Quaker I ever saw, especially as
Peleg, his friend and old shipmate, seemed such a blusterer.  But I
said nothing, only looking round me sharply.  Peleg now threw open a
chest, and drawing forth the ship's articles, placed pen and ink
before him, and seated himself at a little table.  I began to think
it was high time to settle with myself at what terms I would be
willing to engage for the voyage.  I was already aware that in the
whaling business they paid no wages; but all hands, including the
captain, received certain shares of the profits called lays, and that
these lays were proportioned to the degree of importance pertaining
to the respective duties of the ship's company.  I was also aware
that being a green hand at whaling, my own lay would not be very
large; but considering that I was used to the sea, could steer a
ship, splice a rope, and all that, I made no doubt that from all I
had heard I should be offered at least the 275th lay--that is, the
275th part of the clear net proceeds of the voyage, whatever that
might eventually amount to.  And though the 275th lay was what they
call a rather LONG LAY, yet it was better than nothing; and if we had
a lucky voyage, might pretty nearly pay for the clothing I would wear
out on it, not to speak of my three years' beef and board, for which
I would not have to pay one stiver.

It might be thought that this was a poor way to accumulate a princely
fortune--and so it was, a very poor way indeed.  But I am one of
those that never take on about princely fortunes, and am quite
content if the world is ready to board and lodge me, while I am
putting up at this grim sign of the Thunder Cloud.  Upon the whole, I
thought that the 275th lay would be about the fair thing, but would not
have been surprised had I been offered the 200th, considering I was
of a broad-shouldered make.

But one thing, nevertheless, that made me a little distrustful about
receiving a generous share of the profits was this: Ashore, I had
heard something of both Captain Peleg and his unaccountable old crony
Bildad; how that they being the principal proprietors of the Pequod,
therefore the other and more inconsiderable and scattered owners,
left nearly the whole management of the ship's affairs to these two.
And I did not know but what the stingy old Bildad might have a mighty
deal to say about shipping hands, especially as I now found him on
board the Pequod, quite at home there in the cabin, and reading his
Bible as if at his own fireside.  Now while Peleg was vainly trying
to mend a pen with his jack-knife, old Bildad, to my no small
surprise, considering that he was such an interested party in these
proceedings; Bildad never heeded us, but went on mumbling to himself
out of his book, "LAY not up for yourselves treasures upon earth,
where moth--"

"Well, Captain Bildad," interrupted Peleg, "what d'ye say, what lay
shall we give this young man?"

"Thou knowest best," was the sepulchral reply, "the seven hundred and
seventy-seventh wouldn't be too much, would it?--'where moth and rust
do corrupt, but LAY--'"

LAY, indeed, thought I, and such a lay! the seven hundred and
seventy-seventh!  Well, old Bildad, you are determined that I, for
one, shall not LAY up many LAYS here below, where moth and rust do
corrupt.  It was an exceedingly LONG LAY that, indeed; and though
from the magnitude of the figure it might at first deceive a
landsman, yet the slightest consideration will show that though seven
hundred and seventy-seven is a pretty large number, yet, when you
come to make a TEENTH of it, you will then see, I say, that the seven
hundred and seventy-seventh part of a farthing is a good deal less
than seven hundred and seventy-seven gold doubloons; and so I thought
at the time.

"Why, blast your eyes, Bildad," cried Peleg, "thou dost not want to
swindle this young man! he must have more than that."

"Seven hundred and seventy-seventh," again said Bildad, without
lifting his eyes; and then went on mumbling--"for where your treasure
is, there will your heart be also."

"I am going to put him down for the three hundredth," said Peleg, "do
ye hear that, Bildad!  The three hundredth lay, I say."

Bildad laid down his book, and turning solemnly towards him said,
"Captain Peleg, thou hast a generous heart; but thou must consider
the duty thou owest to the other owners of this ship--widows and
orphans, many of them--and that if we too abundantly reward the
labors of this young man, we may be taking the bread from those
widows and those orphans.  The seven hundred and seventy-seventh lay,
Captain Peleg."

"Thou Bildad!" roared Peleg, starting up and clattering about the
cabin.  "Blast ye, Captain Bildad, if I had followed thy advice in
these matters, I would afore now had a conscience to lug about that
would be heavy enough to founder the largest ship that ever sailed
round Cape Horn."

"Captain Peleg," said Bildad steadily, "thy conscience may be drawing
ten inches of water, or ten fathoms, I can't tell; but as thou art
still an impenitent man, Captain Peleg, I greatly fear lest thy
conscience be but a leaky one; and will in the end sink thee
foundering down to the fiery pit, Captain Peleg."

"Fiery pit! fiery pit! ye insult me, man; past all natural bearing,
ye insult me.  It's an all-fired outrage to tell any human creature
that he's bound to hell.  Flukes and flames!  Bildad, say that again
to me, and start my soul-bolts, but I'll--I'll--yes, I'll swallow a
live goat with all his hair and horns on.  Out of the cabin, ye
canting, drab-coloured son of a wooden gun--a straight wake with ye!"

As he thundered out this he made a rush at Bildad, but with a
marvellous oblique, sliding celerity, Bildad for that time eluded

Alarmed at this terrible outburst between the two principal and
responsible owners of the ship, and feeling half a mind to give up
all idea of sailing in a vessel so questionably owned and temporarily
commanded, I stepped aside from the door to give egress to Bildad,
who, I made no doubt, was all eagerness to vanish from before the
awakened wrath of Peleg.  But to my astonishment, he sat down again
on the transom very quietly, and seemed to have not the slightest
intention of withdrawing.  He seemed quite used to impenitent Peleg
and his ways.  As for Peleg, after letting off his rage as he had,
there seemed no more left in him, and he, too, sat down like a lamb,
though he twitched a little as if still nervously agitated.  "Whew!"
he whistled at last--"the squall's gone off to leeward, I think.
Bildad, thou used to be good at sharpening a lance, mend that pen,
will ye.  My jack-knife here needs the grindstone.  That's he; thank
ye, Bildad.  Now then, my young man, Ishmael's thy name, didn't ye
say?  Well then, down ye go here, Ishmael, for the three hundredth

"Captain Peleg," said I, "I have a friend with me who wants to ship
too--shall I bring him down to-morrow?"

"To be sure," said Peleg.  "Fetch him along, and we'll look at him."

"What lay does he want?" groaned Bildad, glancing up from the book
in which he had again been burying himself.

"Oh! never thee mind about that, Bildad," said Peleg.  "Has he ever
whaled it any?" turning to me.

"Killed more whales than I can count, Captain Peleg."

"Well, bring him along then."

And, after signing the papers, off I went; nothing doubting but that
I had done a good morning's work, and that the Pequod was the
identical ship that Yojo had provided to carry Queequeg and me round
the Cape.

But I had not proceeded far, when I began to bethink me that the
Captain with whom I was to sail yet remained unseen by me; though,
indeed, in many cases, a whale-ship will be completely fitted out,
and receive all her crew on board, ere the captain makes himself
visible by arriving to take command; for sometimes these voyages are
so prolonged, and the shore intervals at home so exceedingly brief,
that if the captain have a family, or any absorbing concernment of
that sort, he does not trouble himself much about his ship in port,
but leaves her to the owners till all is ready for sea.  However, it
is always as well to have a look at him before irrevocably committing
yourself into his hands.  Turning back I accosted Captain Peleg,
inquiring where Captain Ahab was to be found.

"And what dost thou want of Captain Ahab?  It's all right enough;
thou art shipped."

"Yes, but I should like to see him."

"But I don't think thou wilt be able to at present.  I don't know
exactly what's the matter with him; but he keeps close inside the
house; a sort of sick, and yet he don't look so.  In fact, he ain't
sick; but no, he isn't well either.  Any how, young man, he won't
always see me, so I don't suppose he will thee.  He's a queer man,
Captain Ahab--so some think--but a good one.  Oh, thou'lt like him
well enough; no fear, no fear.  He's a grand, ungodly, god-like man,
Captain Ahab; doesn't speak much; but, when he does speak, then you
may well listen.  Mark ye, be forewarned; Ahab's above the common;
Ahab's been in colleges, as well as 'mong the cannibals; been used to
deeper wonders than the waves; fixed his fiery lance in mightier,
stranger foes than whales.  His lance! aye, the keenest and the surest
that out of all our isle!  Oh! he ain't Captain Bildad; no, and he
ain't Captain Peleg; HE'S AHAB, boy; and Ahab of old, thou knowest,
was a crowned king!"

"And a very vile one.  When that wicked king was slain, the dogs, did
they not lick his blood?"

"Come hither to me--hither, hither," said Peleg, with a significance
in his eye that almost startled me.  "Look ye, lad; never say that on
board the Pequod.  Never say it anywhere.  Captain Ahab did not name
himself.  'Twas a foolish, ignorant whim of his crazy, widowed
mother, who died when he was only a twelvemonth old.  And yet the old
squaw Tistig, at Gayhead, said that the name would somehow prove
prophetic.  And, perhaps, other fools like her may tell thee the
same.  I wish to warn thee.  It's a lie.  I know Captain Ahab well;
I've sailed with him as mate years ago; I know what he is--a good
man--not a pious, good man, like Bildad, but a swearing good
man--something like me--only there's a good deal more of him.  Aye,
aye, I know that he was never very jolly; and I know that on the
passage home, he was a little out of his mind for a spell; but it was
the sharp shooting pains in his bleeding stump that brought that
about, as any one might see.  I know, too, that ever since he lost
his leg last voyage by that accursed whale, he's been a kind of
moody--desperate moody, and savage sometimes; but that will all pass
off.  And once for all, let me tell thee and assure thee, young man,
it's better to sail with a moody good captain than a laughing bad
one.  So good-bye to thee--and wrong not Captain Ahab, because he
happens to have a wicked name.  Besides, my boy, he has a wife--not
three voyages wedded--a sweet, resigned girl.  Think of that; by that
sweet girl that old man has a child: hold ye then there can be any
utter, hopeless harm in Ahab?  No, no, my lad; stricken, blasted, if
he be, Ahab has his humanities!"

As I walked away, I was full of thoughtfulness; what had been
incidentally revealed to me of Captain Ahab, filled me with a certain
wild vagueness of painfulness concerning him.  And somehow, at the
time, I felt a sympathy and a sorrow for him, but for I don't know
what, unless it was the cruel loss of his leg.  And yet I also felt a
strange awe of him; but that sort of awe, which I cannot at all
describe, was not exactly awe; I do not know what it was.  But I felt
it; and it did not disincline me towards him; though I felt
impatience at what seemed like mystery in him, so imperfectly as he
was known to me then.  However, my thoughts were at length carried in
other directions, so that for the present dark Ahab slipped my mind.


The Ramadan.

As Queequeg's Ramadan, or Fasting and Humiliation, was to continue
all day, I did not choose to disturb him till towards night-fall; for
I cherish the greatest respect towards everybody's religious
obligations, never mind how comical, and could not find it in my
heart to undervalue even a congregation of ants worshipping a
toad-stool; or those other creatures in certain parts of our earth,
who with a degree of footmanism quite unprecedented in other planets,
bow down before the torso of a deceased landed proprietor merely on
account of the inordinate possessions yet owned and rented in his

I say, we good Presbyterian Christians should be charitable in these
things, and not fancy ourselves so vastly superior to other mortals,
pagans and what not, because of their half-crazy conceits on these
subjects.  There was Queequeg, now, certainly entertaining the most
absurd notions about Yojo and his Ramadan;--but what of that?
Queequeg thought he knew what he was about, I suppose; he seemed to
be content; and there let him rest.  All our arguing with him would
not avail; let him be, I say: and Heaven have mercy on us
all--Presbyterians and Pagans alike--for we are all somehow
dreadfully cracked about the head, and sadly need mending.

Towards evening, when I felt assured that all his performances and
rituals must be over, I went up to his room and knocked at the door;
but no answer.  I tried to open it, but it was fastened inside.
"Queequeg," said I softly through the key-hole:--all silent.  "I say,
Queequeg! why don't you speak?  It's I--Ishmael."  But all remained
still as before.  I began to grow alarmed.  I had allowed him such
abundant time; I thought he might have had an apoplectic fit.  I
looked through the key-hole; but the door opening into an odd corner
of the room, the key-hole prospect was but a crooked and sinister
one.  I could only see part of the foot-board of the bed and a line
of the wall, but nothing more.  I was surprised to behold resting
against the wall the wooden shaft of Queequeg's harpoon, which the
landlady the evening previous had taken from him, before our mounting
to the chamber.  That's strange, thought I; but at any rate, since
the harpoon stands yonder, and he seldom or never goes abroad without
it, therefore he must be inside here, and no possible mistake.

"Queequeg!--Queequeg!"--all still.  Something must have happened.
Apoplexy!  I tried to burst open the door; but it stubbornly
resisted.  Running down stairs, I quickly stated my suspicions to the
first person I met--the chamber-maid.  "La! la!" she cried, "I
thought something must be the matter.  I went to make the bed after
breakfast, and the door was locked; and not a mouse to be heard; and
it's been just so silent ever since.  But I thought, may be, you had
both gone off and locked your baggage in for safe keeping.  La! la,
ma'am!--Mistress! murder!  Mrs. Hussey! apoplexy!"--and with these
cries, she ran towards the kitchen, I following.

Mrs. Hussey soon appeared, with a mustard-pot in one hand and a
vinegar-cruet in the other, having just broken away from the
occupation of attending to the castors, and scolding her little black
boy meantime.

"Wood-house!" cried I, "which way to it?  Run for God's sake, and
fetch something to pry open the door--the axe!--the axe! he's had a
stroke; depend upon it!"--and so saying I was unmethodically rushing
up stairs again empty-handed, when Mrs. Hussey interposed the
mustard-pot and vinegar-cruet, and the entire castor of her

"What's the matter with you, young man?"

"Get the axe!  For God's sake, run for the doctor, some one, while I
pry it open!"

"Look here," said the landlady, quickly putting down the
vinegar-cruet, so as to have one hand free; "look here; are you
talking about prying open any of my doors?"--and with that she seized
my arm.  "What's the matter with you?  What's the matter with you,

In as calm, but rapid a manner as possible, I gave her to understand
the whole case.  Unconsciously clapping the vinegar-cruet to one side
of her nose, she ruminated for an instant; then exclaimed--"No!  I
haven't seen it since I put it there."  Running to a little closet
under the landing of the stairs, she glanced in, and returning, told
me that Queequeg's harpoon was missing.  "He's killed himself," she
cried.  "It's unfort'nate Stiggs done over again there goes another
counterpane--God pity his poor mother!--it will be the ruin of my
house.  Has the poor lad a sister?  Where's that girl?--there, Betty,
go to Snarles the Painter, and tell him to paint me a sign, with--"no
suicides permitted here, and no smoking in the parlor;"--might as
well kill both birds at once.  Kill?  The Lord be merciful to his
ghost!  What's that noise there?  You, young man, avast there!"

And running up after me, she caught me as I was again trying to force
open the door.

"I don't allow it; I won't have my premises spoiled.  Go for the
locksmith, there's one about a mile from here.  But avast!" putting
her hand in her side-pocket, "here's a key that'll fit, I guess;
let's see."  And with that, she turned it in the lock; but, alas!
Queequeg's supplemental bolt remained unwithdrawn within.

"Have to burst it open," said I, and was running down the entry a
little, for a good start, when the landlady caught at me, again
vowing I should not break down her premises; but I tore from her, and
with a sudden bodily rush dashed myself full against the mark.

With a prodigious noise the door flew open, and the knob slamming
against the wall, sent the plaster to the ceiling; and there, good
heavens! there sat Queequeg, altogether cool and self-collected;
right in the middle of the room; squatting on his hams, and holding
Yojo on top of his head.  He looked neither one way nor the other
way, but sat like a carved image with scarce a sign of active life.

"Queequeg," said I, going up to him, "Queequeg, what's the matter
with you?"

"He hain't been a sittin' so all day, has he?" said the landlady.

But all we said, not a word could we drag out of him; I almost felt
like pushing him over, so as to change his position, for it was
almost intolerable, it seemed so painfully and unnaturally
constrained; especially, as in all probability he had been sitting so
for upwards of eight or ten hours, going too without his regular

"Mrs. Hussey," said I, "he's ALIVE at all events; so leave us, if you
please, and I will see to this strange affair myself."

Closing the door upon the landlady, I endeavored to prevail upon
Queequeg to take a chair; but in vain.  There he sat; and all he
could do--for all my polite arts and blandishments--he would not move
a peg, nor say a single word, nor even look at me, nor notice my
presence in the slightest way.

I wonder, thought I, if this can possibly be a part of his Ramadan;
do they fast on their hams that way in his native island.  It must be
so; yes, it's part of his creed, I suppose; well, then, let him
rest; he'll get up sooner or later, no doubt.  It can't last for
ever, thank God, and his Ramadan only comes once a year; and I don't
believe it's very punctual then.

I went down to supper.  After sitting a long time listening to the
long stories of some sailors who had just come from a plum-pudding
voyage, as they called it (that is, a short whaling-voyage in a
schooner or brig, confined to the north of the line, in the Atlantic
Ocean only); after listening to these plum-puddingers till nearly
eleven o'clock, I went up stairs to go to bed, feeling quite sure by
this time Queequeg must certainly have brought his Ramadan to a
termination.  But no; there he was just where I had left him; he had
not stirred an inch.  I began to grow vexed with him; it seemed so
downright senseless and insane to be sitting there all day and half
the night on his hams in a cold room, holding a piece of wood on his

"For heaven's sake, Queequeg, get up and shake yourself; get up and
have some supper.  You'll starve; you'll kill yourself, Queequeg."
But not a word did he reply.

Despairing of him, therefore, I determined to go to bed and to sleep;
and no doubt, before a great while, he would follow me.  But previous
to turning in, I took my heavy bearskin jacket, and threw it over
him, as it promised to be a very cold night; and he had nothing but
his ordinary round jacket on.  For some time, do all I would, I could
not get into the faintest doze.  I had blown out the candle; and the
mere thought of Queequeg--not four feet off--sitting there in that
uneasy position, stark alone in the cold and dark; this made me
really wretched.  Think of it; sleeping all night in the same room
with a wide awake pagan on his hams in this dreary, unaccountable

But somehow I dropped off at last, and knew nothing more till break
of day; when, looking over the bedside, there squatted Queequeg, as
if he had been screwed down to the floor.  But as soon as the first
glimpse of sun entered the window, up he got, with stiff and grating
joints, but with a cheerful look; limped towards me where I lay;
pressed his forehead again against mine; and said his Ramadan was

Now, as I before hinted, I have no objection to any person's
religion, be it what it may, so long as that person does not kill or
insult any other person, because that other person don't believe it
also.  But when a man's religion becomes really frantic; when it is a
positive torment to him; and, in fine, makes this earth of ours an
uncomfortable inn to lodge in; then I think it high time to take that
individual aside and argue the point with him.

And just so I now did with Queequeg.  "Queequeg," said I, "get into
bed now, and lie and listen to me."  I then went on, beginning with
the rise and progress of the primitive religions, and coming down to
the various religions of the present time, during which time I
labored to show Queequeg that all these Lents, Ramadans, and
prolonged ham-squattings in cold, cheerless rooms were stark
nonsense; bad for the health; useless for the soul; opposed, in
short, to the obvious laws of Hygiene and common sense.  I told him,
too, that he being in other things such an extremely sensible and
sagacious savage, it pained me, very badly pained me, to see him now
so deplorably foolish about this ridiculous Ramadan of his.  Besides,
argued I, fasting makes the body cave in; hence the spirit caves in;
and all thoughts born of a fast must necessarily be half-starved.
This is the reason why most dyspeptic religionists cherish such
melancholy notions about their hereafters.  In one word, Queequeg,
said I, rather digressively; hell is an idea first born on an
undigested apple-dumpling; and since then perpetuated through the
hereditary dyspepsias nurtured by Ramadans.

I then asked Queequeg whether he himself was ever troubled with
dyspepsia; expressing the idea very plainly, so that he could take it
in.  He said no; only upon one memorable occasion.  It was after a
great feast given by his father the king, on the gaining of a great
battle wherein fifty of the enemy had been killed by about two
o'clock in the afternoon, and all cooked and eaten that very evening.

"No more, Queequeg," said I, shuddering; "that will do;" for I knew
the inferences without his further hinting them.  I had seen a sailor
who had visited that very island, and he told me that it was the
custom, when a great battle had been gained there, to barbecue all
the slain in the yard or garden of the victor; and then, one by one,
they were placed in great wooden trenchers, and garnished round like
a pilau, with breadfruit and cocoanuts; and with some parsley in
their mouths, were sent round with the victor's compliments to all
his friends, just as though these presents were so many Christmas

After all, I do not think that my remarks about religion made much
impression upon Queequeg.  Because, in the first place, he somehow
seemed dull of hearing on that important subject, unless considered
from his own point of view; and, in the second place, he did not more
than one third understand me, couch my ideas simply as I would; and,
finally, he no doubt thought he knew a good deal more about the true
religion than I did.  He looked at me with a sort of condescending
concern and compassion, as though he thought it a great pity that
such a sensible young man should be so hopelessly lost to evangelical
pagan piety.

At last we rose and dressed; and Queequeg, taking a prodigiously
hearty breakfast of chowders of all sorts, so that the landlady
should not make much profit by reason of his Ramadan, we sallied out
to board the Pequod, sauntering along, and picking our teeth with
halibut bones.


His Mark.

As we were walking down the end of the wharf towards the ship,
Queequeg carrying his harpoon, Captain Peleg in his gruff voice
loudly hailed us from his wigwam, saying he had not suspected my
friend was a cannibal, and furthermore announcing that he let no
cannibals on board that craft, unless they previously produced their

"What do you mean by that, Captain Peleg?" said I, now jumping on the
bulwarks, and leaving my comrade standing on the wharf.

"I mean," he replied, "he must show his papers."

"Yes," said Captain Bildad in his hollow voice, sticking his head
from behind Peleg's, out of the wigwam.  "He must show that he's
converted.  Son of darkness," he added, turning to Queequeg, "art
thou at present in communion with any Christian church?"

"Why," said I, "he's a member of the first Congregational Church."
Here be it said, that many tattooed savages sailing in Nantucket
ships at last come to be converted into the churches.

"First Congregational Church," cried Bildad, "what! that worships in
Deacon Deuteronomy Coleman's meeting-house?" and so saying, taking
out his spectacles, he rubbed them with his great yellow bandana
handkerchief, and putting them on very carefully, came out of the
wigwam, and leaning stiffly over the bulwarks, took a good long look
at Queequeg.

"How long hath he been a member?" he then said, turning to me; "not
very long, I rather guess, young man."

"No," said Peleg, "and he hasn't been baptized right either, or it
would have washed some of that devil's blue off his face."

"Do tell, now," cried Bildad, "is this Philistine a regular member of
Deacon Deuteronomy's meeting?  I never saw him going there, and I
pass it every Lord's day."

"I don't know anything about Deacon Deuteronomy or his meeting," said
I; "all I know is, that Queequeg here is a born member of the First
Congregational Church.  He is a deacon himself, Queequeg is."

"Young man," said Bildad sternly, "thou art skylarking with
me--explain thyself, thou young Hittite.  What church dost thee mean?
answer me."

Finding myself thus hard pushed, I replied.  "I mean, sir, the same
ancient Catholic Church to which you and I, and Captain Peleg there,
and Queequeg here, and all of us, and every mother's son and soul of
us belong; the great and everlasting First Congregation of this whole
worshipping world; we all belong to that; only some of us cherish
some queer crotchets no ways touching the grand belief; in THAT we
all join hands."

"Splice, thou mean'st SPLICE hands," cried Peleg, drawing nearer.
"Young man, you'd better ship for a missionary, instead of a
fore-mast hand; I never heard a better sermon.  Deacon
Deuteronomy--why Father Mapple himself couldn't beat it, and he's
reckoned something.  Come aboard, come aboard; never mind about the
papers.  I say, tell Quohog there--what's that you call him? tell
Quohog to step along.  By the great anchor, what a harpoon he's got
there! looks like good stuff that; and he handles it about right.  I
say, Quohog, or whatever your name is, did you ever stand in the head
of a whale-boat? did you ever strike a fish?"

Without saying a word, Queequeg, in his wild sort of way, jumped upon
the bulwarks, from thence into the bows of one of the whale-boats
hanging to the side; and then bracing his left knee, and poising his
harpoon, cried out in some such way as this:--

"Cap'ain, you see him small drop tar on water dere?  You see him?
well, spose him one whale eye, well, den!" and taking sharp aim at
it, he darted the iron right over old Bildad's broad brim, clean
across the ship's decks, and struck the glistening tar spot out of

"Now," said Queequeg, quietly hauling in the line, "spos-ee him
whale-e eye; why, dad whale dead."

"Quick, Bildad," said Peleg, his partner, who, aghast at the close
vicinity of the flying harpoon, had retreated towards the cabin
gangway.  "Quick, I say, you Bildad, and get the ship's papers.  We
must have Hedgehog there, I mean Quohog, in one of our boats.  Look
ye, Quohog, we'll give ye the ninetieth lay, and that's more than
ever was given a harpooneer yet out of Nantucket."

So down we went into the cabin, and to my great joy Queequeg was soon
enrolled among the same ship's company to which I myself belonged.

When all preliminaries were over and Peleg had got everything ready
for signing, he turned to me and said, "I guess, Quohog there don't
know how to write, does he?  I say, Quohog, blast ye! dost thou sign
thy name or make thy mark?

But at this question, Queequeg, who had twice or thrice before taken
part in similar ceremonies, looked no ways abashed; but taking the
offered pen, copied upon the paper, in the proper place, an exact
counterpart of a queer round figure which was tattooed upon his arm;
so that through Captain Peleg's obstinate mistake touching his
appellative, it stood something like this:--

his X mark.

Meanwhile Captain Bildad sat earnestly and steadfastly eyeing
Queequeg, and at last rising solemnly and fumbling in the huge
pockets of his broad-skirted drab coat, took out a bundle of tracts,
and selecting one entitled "The Latter Day Coming; or No Time to
Lose," placed it in Queequeg's hands, and then grasping them and the
book with both his, looked earnestly into his eyes, and said, "Son of
darkness, I must do my duty by thee; I am part owner of this ship,
and feel concerned for the souls of all its crew; if thou still
clingest to thy Pagan ways, which I sadly fear, I beseech thee,
remain not for aye a Belial bondsman.  Spurn the idol Bell, and the
hideous dragon; turn from the wrath to come; mind thine eye, I say;
oh! goodness gracious! steer clear of the fiery pit!"

Something of the salt sea yet lingered in old Bildad's language,
heterogeneously mixed with Scriptural and domestic phrases.

"Avast there, avast there, Bildad, avast now spoiling our
harpooneer," Peleg.  "Pious harpooneers never make good voyagers--it
takes the shark out of 'em; no harpooneer is worth a straw who aint
pretty sharkish.  There was young Nat Swaine, once the bravest
boat-header out of all Nantucket and the Vineyard; he joined the
meeting, and never came to good.  He got so frightened about his
plaguy soul, that he shrinked and sheered away from whales, for fear
of after-claps, in case he got stove and went to Davy Jones."

"Peleg!  Peleg!" said Bildad, lifting his eyes and hands, "thou
thyself, as I myself, hast seen many a perilous time; thou knowest,
Peleg, what it is to have the fear of death; how, then, can'st thou
prate in this ungodly guise.  Thou beliest thine own heart, Peleg.
Tell me, when this same Pequod here had her three masts overboard in
that typhoon on Japan, that same voyage when thou went mate with
Captain Ahab, did'st thou not think of Death and the Judgment then?"

"Hear him, hear him now," cried Peleg, marching across the cabin, and
thrusting his hands far down into his pockets,--"hear him, all of ye.
Think of that!  When every moment we thought the ship would sink!
Death and the Judgment then?  What?  With all three masts making such
an everlasting thundering against the side; and every sea breaking
over us, fore and aft.  Think of Death and the Judgment then?  No!
no time to think about Death then.  Life was what Captain Ahab and I
was thinking of; and how to save all hands--how to rig
jury-masts--how to get into the nearest port; that was what I was
thinking of."

Bildad said no more, but buttoning up his coat, stalked on deck,
where we followed him.  There he stood, very quietly overlooking some
sailmakers who were mending a top-sail in the waist.  Now and then he
stooped to pick up a patch, or save an end of tarred twine, which
otherwise might have been wasted.


The Prophet.

"Shipmates, have ye shipped in that ship?"

Queequeg and I had just left the Pequod, and were sauntering away from
the water, for the moment each occupied with his own thoughts, when
the above words were put to us by a stranger, who, pausing before us,
levelled his massive forefinger at the vessel in question.  He was
but shabbily apparelled in faded jacket and patched trowsers; a rag
of a black handkerchief investing his neck.  A confluent small-pox
had in all directions flowed over his face, and left it like the
complicated ribbed bed of a torrent, when the rushing waters have
been dried up.

"Have ye shipped in her?" he repeated.

"You mean the ship Pequod, I suppose," said I, trying to gain a
little more time for an uninterrupted look at him.

"Aye, the Pequod--that ship there," he said, drawing back his whole
arm, and then rapidly shoving it straight out from him, with the
fixed bayonet of his pointed finger darted full at the object.

"Yes," said I, "we have just signed the articles."

"Anything down there about your souls?"

"About what?"

"Oh, perhaps you hav'n't got any," he said quickly.  "No matter
though, I know many chaps that hav'n't got any,--good luck to 'em;
and they are all the better off for it.  A soul's a sort of a fifth
wheel to a wagon."

"What are you jabbering about, shipmate?" said I.

"HE'S got enough, though, to make up for all deficiencies of that
sort in other chaps," abruptly said the stranger, placing a nervous
emphasis upon the word HE.

"Queequeg," said I, "let's go; this fellow has broken loose from
somewhere; he's talking about something and somebody we don't know."

"Stop!" cried the stranger.  "Ye said true--ye hav'n't seen Old
Thunder yet, have ye?"

"Who's Old Thunder?" said I, again riveted with the insane
earnestness of his manner.

"Captain Ahab."

"What! the captain of our ship, the Pequod?"

"Aye, among some of us old sailor chaps, he goes by that name.  Ye
hav'n't seen him yet, have ye?"

"No, we hav'n't.  He's sick they say, but is getting better, and will
be all right again before long."

"All right again before long!" laughed the stranger, with a solemnly
derisive sort of laugh.  "Look ye; when Captain Ahab is all right,
then this left arm of mine will be all right; not before."

"What do you know about him?"

"What did they TELL you about him?  Say that!"

"They didn't tell much of anything about him; only I've heard that
he's a good whale-hunter, and a good captain to his crew."

"That's true, that's true--yes, both true enough.  But you must jump
when he gives an order.  Step and growl; growl and go--that's the
word with Captain Ahab.  But nothing about that thing that happened
to him off Cape Horn, long ago, when he lay like dead for three days
and nights; nothing about that deadly skrimmage with the Spaniard
afore the altar in Santa?--heard nothing about that, eh?  Nothing
about the silver calabash he spat into?  And nothing about his losing
his leg last voyage, according to the prophecy.  Didn't ye hear a
word about them matters and something more, eh?  No, I don't think ye
did; how could ye?  Who knows it?  Not all Nantucket, I guess.  But
hows'ever, mayhap, ye've heard tell about the leg, and how he lost
it; aye, ye have heard of that, I dare say.  Oh yes, THAT every one
knows a'most--I mean they know he's only one leg; and that a
parmacetti took the other off."

"My friend," said I, "what all this gibberish of yours is about, I
don't know, and I don't much care; for it seems to me that you must
be a little damaged in the head.  But if you are speaking of Captain
Ahab, of that ship there, the Pequod, then let me tell you, that I
know all about the loss of his leg."

"ALL about it, eh--sure you do?--all?"

"Pretty sure."

With finger pointed and eye levelled at the Pequod, the beggar-like
stranger stood a moment, as if in a troubled reverie; then starting a
little, turned and said:--"Ye've shipped, have ye?  Names down on the
papers?  Well, well, what's signed, is signed; and what's to be, will
be; and then again, perhaps it won't be, after all.  Anyhow, it's
all fixed and arranged a'ready; and some sailors or other must go
with him, I suppose; as well these as any other men, God pity 'em!
Morning to ye, shipmates, morning; the ineffable heavens bless ye;
I'm sorry I stopped ye."

"Look here, friend," said I, "if you have anything important to tell
us, out with it; but if you are only trying to bamboozle us, you are
mistaken in your game; that's all I have to say."

"And it's said very well, and I like to hear a chap talk up that way;
you are just the man for him--the likes of ye.  Morning to ye,
shipmates, morning!  Oh! when ye get there, tell 'em I've concluded
not to make one of 'em."

"Ah, my dear fellow, you can't fool us that way--you can't fool us.
It is the easiest thing in the world for a man to look as if he had a
great secret in him."

"Morning to ye, shipmates, morning."

"Morning it is," said I.  "Come along, Queequeg, let's leave this
crazy man.  But stop, tell me your name, will you?"


Elijah! thought I, and we walked away, both commenting, after each
other's fashion, upon this ragged old sailor; and agreed that he was
nothing but a humbug, trying to be a bugbear.  But we had not gone
perhaps above a hundred yards, when chancing to turn a corner, and
looking back as I did so, who should be seen but Elijah following us,
though at a distance.  Somehow, the sight of him struck me so, that I
said nothing to Queequeg of his being behind, but passed on with my
comrade, anxious to see whether the stranger would turn the same
corner that we did.  He did; and then it seemed to me that he was
dogging us, but with what intent I could not for the life of me
imagine.  This circumstance, coupled with his ambiguous,
half-hinting, half-revealing, shrouded sort of talk, now begat in me
all kinds of vague wonderments and half-apprehensions, and all
connected with the Pequod; and Captain Ahab; and the leg he had lost;
and the Cape Horn fit; and the silver calabash; and what Captain
Peleg had said of him, when I left the ship the day previous; and the
prediction of the squaw Tistig; and the voyage we had bound ourselves
to sail; and a hundred other shadowy things.

I was resolved to satisfy myself whether this ragged Elijah was
really dogging us or not, and with that intent crossed the way with
Queequeg, and on that side of it retraced our steps.  But Elijah
passed on, without seeming to notice us.  This relieved me; and once
more, and finally as it seemed to me, I pronounced him in my heart, a


All Astir.

A day or two passed, and there was great activity aboard the Pequod.
Not only were the old sails being mended, but new sails were coming
on board, and bolts of canvas, and coils of rigging; in short,
everything betokened that the ship's preparations were hurrying to a
close.  Captain Peleg seldom or never went ashore, but sat in his
wigwam keeping a sharp look-out upon the hands: Bildad did all the
purchasing and providing at the stores; and the men employed in the
hold and on the rigging were working till long after night-fall.

On the day following Queequeg's signing the articles, word was given
at all the inns where the ship's company were stopping, that their
chests must be on board before night, for there was no telling how
soon the vessel might be sailing.  So Queequeg and I got down our
traps, resolving, however, to sleep ashore till the last.  But it
seems they always give very long notice in these cases, and the ship
did not sail for several days.  But no wonder; there was a good deal
to be done, and there is no telling how many things to be thought of,
before the Pequod was fully equipped.

Every one knows what a multitude of things--beds, sauce-pans, knives
and forks, shovels and tongs, napkins, nut-crackers, and what not,
are indispensable to the business of housekeeping.  Just so with
whaling, which necessitates a three-years' housekeeping upon the wide
ocean, far from all grocers, costermongers, doctors, bakers, and
bankers.  And though this also holds true of merchant vessels, yet
not by any means to the same extent as with whalemen.  For besides
the great length of the whaling voyage, the numerous articles
peculiar to the prosecution of the fishery, and the impossibility of
replacing them at the remote harbors usually frequented, it must be
remembered, that of all ships, whaling vessels are the most exposed
to accidents of all kinds, and especially to the destruction and loss
of the very things upon which the success of the voyage most depends.
Hence, the spare boats, spare spars, and spare lines and harpoons,
and spare everythings, almost, but a spare Captain and duplicate

At the period of our arrival at the Island, the heaviest storage of
the Pequod had been almost completed; comprising her beef, bread,
water, fuel, and iron hoops and staves.  But, as before hinted, for
some time there was a continual fetching and carrying on board of
divers odds and ends of things, both large and small.

Chief among those who did this fetching and carrying was Captain
Bildad's sister, a lean old lady of a most determined and
indefatigable spirit, but withal very kindhearted, who seemed
resolved that, if SHE could help it, nothing should be found wanting
in the Pequod, after once fairly getting to sea.  At one time she
would come on board with a jar of pickles for the steward's pantry;
another time with a bunch of quills for the chief mate's desk, where
he kept his log; a third time with a roll of flannel for the small of
some one's rheumatic back.  Never did any woman better deserve her
name, which was Charity--Aunt Charity, as everybody called her.  And
like a sister of charity did this charitable Aunt Charity bustle
about hither and thither, ready to turn her hand and heart to
anything that promised to yield safety, comfort, and consolation to
all on board a ship in which her beloved brother Bildad was
concerned, and in which she herself owned a score or two of
well-saved dollars.

But it was startling to see this excellent hearted Quakeress coming
on board, as she did the last day, with a long oil-ladle in one hand,
and a still longer whaling lance in the other.  Nor was Bildad himself
nor Captain Peleg at all backward.  As for Bildad, he carried about
with him a long list of the articles needed, and at every fresh
arrival, down went his mark opposite that article upon the paper.
Every once in a while Peleg came hobbling out of his whalebone den,
roaring at the men down the hatchways, roaring up to the riggers at
the mast-head, and then concluded by roaring back into his wigwam.

During these days of preparation, Queequeg and I often visited the
craft, and as often I asked about Captain Ahab, and how he was, and
when he was going to come on board his ship.  To these questions they
would answer, that he was getting better and better, and was expected
aboard every day; meantime, the two captains, Peleg and Bildad, could
attend to everything necessary to fit the vessel for the voyage.  If
I had been downright honest with myself, I would have seen very
plainly in my heart that I did but half fancy being committed this
way to so long a voyage, without once laying my eyes on the man who
was to be the absolute dictator of it, so soon as the ship sailed out
upon the open sea.  But when a man suspects any wrong, it sometimes
happens that if he be already involved in the matter, he insensibly
strives to cover up his suspicions even from himself.  And much this
way it was with me.  I said nothing, and tried to think nothing.

At last it was given out that some time next day the ship would
certainly sail.  So next morning, Queequeg and I took a very early


Going Aboard.

It was nearly six o'clock, but only grey imperfect misty dawn, when
we drew nigh the wharf.

"There are some sailors running ahead there, if I see right," said I
to Queequeg, "it can't be shadows; she's off by sunrise, I guess;
come on!"

"Avast!" cried a voice, whose owner at the same time coming close
behind us, laid a hand upon both our shoulders, and then insinuating
himself between us, stood stooping forward a little, in the uncertain
twilight, strangely peering from Queequeg to me.  It was Elijah.

"Going aboard?"

"Hands off, will you," said I.

"Lookee here," said Queequeg, shaking himself, "go 'way!"

"Ain't going aboard, then?"

"Yes, we are," said I, "but what business is that of yours?  Do you
know, Mr. Elijah, that I consider you a little impertinent?"

"No, no, no; I wasn't aware of that," said Elijah, slowly and
wonderingly looking from me to Queequeg, with the most unaccountable

"Elijah," said I, "you will oblige my friend and me by withdrawing.
We are going to the Indian and Pacific Oceans, and would prefer not
to be detained."

"Ye be, be ye?  Coming back afore breakfast?"

"He's cracked, Queequeg," said I, "come on."

"Holloa!" cried stationary Elijah, hailing us when we had removed a
few paces.

"Never mind him," said I, "Queequeg, come on."

But he stole up to us again, and suddenly clapping his hand on my
shoulder, said--"Did ye see anything looking like men going towards
that ship a while ago?"

Struck by this plain matter-of-fact question, I answered, saying,
"Yes, I thought I did see four or five men; but it was too dim to be

"Very dim, very dim," said Elijah.  "Morning to ye."

Once more we quitted him; but once more he came softly after us; and
touching my shoulder again, said, "See if you can find 'em now, will

"Find who?"

"Morning to ye! morning to ye!" he rejoined, again moving off.  "Oh!
I was going to warn ye against--but never mind, never mind--it's all
one, all in the family too;--sharp frost this morning, ain't it?
Good-bye to ye.  Shan't see ye again very soon, I guess; unless it's
before the Grand Jury."  And with these cracked words he finally
departed, leaving me, for the moment, in no small wonderment at his
frantic impudence.

At last, stepping on board the Pequod, we found everything in
profound quiet, not a soul moving.  The cabin entrance was locked
within; the hatches were all on, and lumbered with coils of rigging.
Going forward to the forecastle, we found the slide of the scuttle
open.  Seeing a light, we went down, and found only an old rigger
there, wrapped in a tattered pea-jacket.  He was thrown at whole
length upon two chests, his face downwards and inclosed in his folded
arms.  The profoundest slumber slept upon him.

"Those sailors we saw, Queequeg, where can they have gone to?" said
I, looking dubiously at the sleeper.  But it seemed that, when on the
wharf, Queequeg had not at all noticed what I now alluded to; hence I
would have thought myself to have been optically deceived in that
matter, were it not for Elijah's otherwise inexplicable question.
But I beat the thing down; and again marking the sleeper, jocularly
hinted to Queequeg that perhaps we had best sit up with the body;
telling him to establish himself accordingly.  He put his hand upon
the sleeper's rear, as though feeling if it was soft enough; and
then, without more ado, sat quietly down there.

"Gracious!  Queequeg, don't sit there," said I.

"Oh! perry dood seat," said Queequeg, "my country way; won't hurt
him face."

"Face!" said I, "call that his face? very benevolent countenance
then; but how hard he breathes, he's heaving himself; get off,
Queequeg, you are heavy, it's grinding the face of the poor.  Get
off, Queequeg!  Look, he'll twitch you off soon.  I wonder he don't

Queequeg removed himself to just beyond the head of the sleeper, and
lighted his tomahawk pipe.  I sat at the feet.  We kept the pipe
passing over the sleeper, from one to the other.  Meanwhile, upon
questioning him in his broken fashion, Queequeg gave me to understand
that, in his land, owing to the absence of settees and sofas of all
sorts, the king, chiefs, and great people generally, were in the
custom of fattening some of the lower orders for ottomans; and to
furnish a house comfortably in that respect, you had only to buy up
eight or ten lazy fellows, and lay them round in the piers and
alcoves.  Besides, it was very convenient on an excursion; much
better than those garden-chairs which are convertible into
walking-sticks; upon occasion, a chief calling his attendant, and
desiring him to make a settee of himself under a spreading tree,
perhaps in some damp marshy place.

While narrating these things, every time Queequeg received the
tomahawk from me, he flourished the hatchet-side of it over the
sleeper's head.

"What's that for, Queequeg?"

"Perry easy, kill-e; oh! perry easy!

He was going on with some wild reminiscences about his tomahawk-pipe,
which, it seemed, had in its two uses both brained his foes and
soothed his soul, when we were directly attracted to the sleeping
rigger.  The strong vapour now completely filling the contracted hole,
it began to tell upon him.  He breathed with a sort of muffledness;
then seemed troubled in the nose; then revolved over once or twice;
then sat up and rubbed his eyes.

"Holloa!" he breathed at last, "who be ye smokers?"

"Shipped men," answered I, "when does she sail?"

"Aye, aye, ye are going in her, be ye?  She sails to-day.  The
Captain came aboard last night."

"What Captain?--Ahab?"

"Who but him indeed?"

I was going to ask him some further questions concerning Ahab, when
we heard a noise on deck.

"Holloa!  Starbuck's astir," said the rigger.  "He's a lively chief
mate, that; good man, and a pious; but all alive now, I must turn
to."  And so saying he went on deck, and we followed.

It was now clear sunrise.  Soon the crew came on board in twos and
threes; the riggers bestirred themselves; the mates were actively
engaged; and several of the shore people were busy in bringing
various last things on board.  Meanwhile Captain Ahab remained
invisibly enshrined within his cabin.


Merry Christmas.

At length, towards noon, upon the final dismissal of the ship's
riggers, and after the Pequod had been hauled out from the wharf, and
after the ever-thoughtful Charity had come off in a whale-boat, with
her last gift--a night-cap for Stubb, the second mate, her
brother-in-law, and a spare Bible for the steward--after all this,
the two Captains, Peleg and Bildad, issued from the cabin, and
turning to the chief mate, Peleg said:

"Now, Mr. Starbuck, are you sure everything is right?  Captain Ahab
is all ready--just spoke to him--nothing more to be got from shore,
eh?  Well, call all hands, then.  Muster 'em aft here--blast 'em!"

"No need of profane words, however great the hurry, Peleg," said
Bildad, "but away with thee, friend Starbuck, and do our bidding."

How now!  Here upon the very point of starting for the voyage,
Captain Peleg and Captain Bildad were going it with a high hand on
the quarter-deck, just as if they were to be joint-commanders at sea,
as well as to all appearances in port.  And, as for Captain Ahab, no
sign of him was yet to be seen; only, they said he was in the cabin.
But then, the idea was, that his presence was by no means necessary
in getting the ship under weigh, and steering her well out to sea.
Indeed, as that was not at all his proper business, but the pilot's;
and as he was not yet completely recovered--so they said--therefore,
Captain Ahab stayed below.  And all this seemed natural enough;
especially as in the merchant service many captains never show
themselves on deck for a considerable time after heaving up the
anchor, but remain over the cabin table, having a farewell
merry-making with their shore friends, before they quit the ship for
good with the pilot.

But there was not much chance to think over the matter, for Captain
Peleg was now all alive.  He seemed to do most of the talking and
commanding, and not Bildad.

"Aft here, ye sons of bachelors," he cried, as the sailors lingered
at the main-mast.  "Mr. Starbuck, drive'em aft."

"Strike the tent there!"--was the next order.  As I hinted before,
this whalebone marquee was never pitched except in port; and on board
the Pequod, for thirty years, the order to strike the tent was well
known to be the next thing to heaving up the anchor.

"Man the capstan!  Blood and thunder!--jump!"--was the next command,
and the crew sprang for the handspikes.

Now in getting under weigh, the station generally occupied by the
pilot is the forward part of the ship.  And here Bildad, who, with
Peleg, be it known, in addition to his other officers, was one of the
licensed pilots of the port--he being suspected to have got himself
made a pilot in order to save the Nantucket pilot-fee to all the
ships he was concerned in, for he never piloted any other
craft--Bildad, I say, might now be seen actively engaged in looking
over the bows for the approaching anchor, and at intervals singing
what seemed a dismal stave of psalmody, to cheer the hands at the
windlass, who roared forth some sort of a chorus about the girls in
Booble Alley, with hearty good will.  Nevertheless, not three days
previous, Bildad had told them that no profane songs would be allowed
on board the Pequod, particularly in getting under weigh; and
Charity, his sister, had placed a small choice copy of Watts in each
seaman's berth.

Meantime, overseeing the other part of the ship, Captain Peleg ripped
and swore astern in the most frightful manner.  I almost thought he
would sink the ship before the anchor could be got up; involuntarily
I paused on my handspike, and told Queequeg to do the same, thinking
of the perils we both ran, in starting on the voyage with such a
devil for a pilot.  I was comforting myself, however, with the
thought that in pious Bildad might be found some salvation, spite of
his seven hundred and seventy-seventh lay; when I felt a sudden sharp
poke in my rear, and turning round, was horrified at the apparition
of Captain Peleg in the act of withdrawing his leg from my immediate
vicinity.  That was my first kick.

"Is that the way they heave in the marchant service?" he roared.
"Spring, thou sheep-head; spring, and break thy backbone!  Why don't
ye spring, I say, all of ye--spring!  Quohog! spring, thou chap with
the red whiskers; spring there, Scotch-cap; spring, thou green
pants.  Spring, I say, all of ye, and spring your eyes out!"  And so
saying, he moved along the windlass, here and there using his leg
very freely, while imperturbable Bildad kept leading off with his
psalmody.  Thinks I, Captain Peleg must have been drinking something

At last the anchor was up, the sails were set, and off we glided.  It
was a short, cold Christmas; and as the short northern day merged
into night, we found ourselves almost broad upon the wintry ocean,
whose freezing spray cased us in ice, as in polished armor.  The long
rows of teeth on the bulwarks glistened in the moonlight; and like
the white ivory tusks of some huge elephant, vast curving icicles
depended from the bows.

Lank Bildad, as pilot, headed the first watch, and ever and anon, as
the old craft deep dived into the green seas, and sent the shivering
frost all over her, and the winds howled, and the cordage rang, his
steady notes were heard,--

"Sweet fields beyond the swelling flood,
Stand dressed in living green.
So to the Jews old Canaan stood,
While Jordan rolled between."

Never did those sweet words sound more sweetly to me than then.  They
were full of hope and fruition.  Spite of this frigid winter night in
the boisterous Atlantic, spite of my wet feet and wetter jacket,
there was yet, it then seemed to me, many a pleasant haven in store;
and meads and glades so eternally vernal, that the grass shot up by
the spring, untrodden, unwilted, remains at midsummer.

At last we gained such an offing, that the two pilots were needed no
longer.  The stout sail-boat that had accompanied us began ranging

It was curious and not unpleasing, how Peleg and Bildad were affected
at this juncture, especially Captain Bildad.  For loath to depart,
yet; very loath to leave, for good, a ship bound on so long and
perilous a voyage--beyond both stormy Capes; a ship in which some
thousands of his hard earned dollars were invested; a ship, in which
an old shipmate sailed as captain; a man almost as old as he, once
more starting to encounter all the terrors of the pitiless jaw; loath
to say good-bye to a thing so every way brimful of every interest to
him,--poor old Bildad lingered long; paced the deck with anxious
strides; ran down into the cabin to speak another farewell word
there; again came on deck, and looked to windward; looked towards the
wide and endless waters, only bounded by the far-off unseen Eastern
Continents; looked towards the land; looked aloft; looked right and
left; looked everywhere and nowhere; and at last, mechanically
coiling a rope upon its pin, convulsively grasped stout Peleg by the
hand, and holding up a lantern, for a moment stood gazing heroically
in his face, as much as to say, "Nevertheless, friend Peleg, I can
stand it; yes, I can."

As for Peleg himself, he took it more like a philosopher; but for all
his philosophy, there was a tear twinkling in his eye, when the
lantern came too near.  And he, too, did not a little run from cabin
to deck--now a word below, and now a word with Starbuck, the chief

But, at last, he turned to his comrade, with a final sort of look
about him,--"Captain Bildad--come, old shipmate, we must go.  Back
the main-yard there!  Boat ahoy!  Stand by to come close alongside,
now!  Careful, careful!--come, Bildad, boy--say your last.  Luck to
ye, Starbuck--luck to ye, Mr. Stubb--luck to ye, Mr. Flask--good-bye
and good luck to ye all--and this day three years I'll have a hot
supper smoking for ye in old Nantucket.  Hurrah and away!"

"God bless ye, and have ye in His holy keeping, men," murmured old
Bildad, almost incoherently.  "I hope ye'll have fine weather now, so
that Captain Ahab may soon be moving among ye--a pleasant sun is all
he needs, and ye'll have plenty of them in the tropic voyage ye go.
Be careful in the hunt, ye mates.  Don't stave the boats needlessly,
ye harpooneers; good white cedar plank is raised full three per cent.
within the year.  Don't forget your prayers, either.  Mr. Starbuck,
mind that cooper don't waste the spare staves.  Oh! the sail-needles
are in the green locker!  Don't whale it too much a' Lord's days,
men; but don't miss a fair chance either, that's rejecting Heaven's
good gifts.  Have an eye to the molasses tierce, Mr. Stubb; it was a
little leaky, I thought.  If ye touch at the islands, Mr. Flask,
beware of fornication.  Good-bye, good-bye!  Don't keep that cheese
too long down in the hold, Mr. Starbuck; it'll spoil.  Be careful
with the butter--twenty cents the pound it was, and mind ye, if--"

"Come, come, Captain Bildad; stop palavering,--away!" and with that,
Peleg hurried him over the side, and both dropt into the boat.

Ship and boat diverged; the cold, damp night breeze blew between; a
screaming gull flew overhead; the two hulls wildly rolled; we gave
three heavy-hearted cheers, and blindly plunged like fate into the
lone Atlantic.


The Lee Shore.

Some chapters back, one Bulkington was spoken of, a tall, newlanded
mariner, encountered in New Bedford at the inn.

When on that shivering winter's night, the Pequod thrust her
vindictive bows into the cold malicious waves, who should I see
standing at her helm but Bulkington!  I looked with sympathetic awe
and fearfulness upon the man, who in mid-winter just landed from a
four years' dangerous voyage, could so unrestingly push off again for
still another tempestuous term.  The land seemed scorching to his
feet.  Wonderfullest things are ever the unmentionable; deep memories
yield no epitaphs; this six-inch chapter is the stoneless grave of
Bulkington.  Let me only say that it fared with him as with the
storm-tossed ship, that miserably drives along the leeward land.  The
port would fain give succor; the port is pitiful; in the port is
safety, comfort, hearthstone, supper, warm blankets, friends, all
that's kind to our mortalities.  But in that gale, the port, the
land, is that ship's direst jeopardy; she must fly all hospitality;
one touch of land, though it but graze the keel, would make her
shudder through and through.  With all her might she crowds all sail
off shore; in so doing, fights 'gainst the very winds that fain would
blow her homeward; seeks all the lashed sea's landlessness again; for
refuge's sake forlornly rushing into peril; her only friend her
bitterest foe!

Know ye now, Bulkington?  Glimpses do ye seem to see of that mortally
intolerable truth; that all deep, earnest thinking is but the
intrepid effort of the soul to keep the open independence of her sea;
while the wildest winds of heaven and earth conspire to cast her on
the treacherous, slavish shore?

But as in landlessness alone resides highest truth, shoreless,
indefinite as God--so, better is it to perish in that howling
infinite, than be ingloriously dashed upon the lee, even if that were
safety!  For worm-like, then, oh! who would craven crawl to land!
Terrors of the terrible! is all this agony so vain?  Take heart, take
heart, O Bulkington!  Bear thee grimly, demigod!  Up from the spray
of thy ocean-perishing--straight up, leaps thy apotheosis!


The Advocate.

As Queequeg and I are now fairly embarked in this business of
whaling; and as this business of whaling has somehow come to be
regarded among landsmen as a rather unpoetical and disreputable
pursuit; therefore, I am all anxiety to convince ye, ye landsmen, of
the injustice hereby done to us hunters of whales.

In the first place, it may be deemed almost superfluous to establish
the fact, that among people at large, the business of whaling is not
accounted on a level with what are called the liberal professions.
If a stranger were introduced into any miscellaneous metropolitan
society, it would but slightly advance the general opinion of his
merits, were he presented to the company as a harpooneer, say; and if
in emulation of the naval officers he should append the initials
S.W.F. (Sperm Whale Fishery) to his visiting card, such a procedure
would be deemed pre-eminently presuming and ridiculous.

Doubtless one leading reason why the world declines honouring us
whalemen, is this: they think that, at best, our vocation amounts to
a butchering sort of business; and that when actively engaged
therein, we are surrounded by all manner of defilements.  Butchers we
are, that is true.  But butchers, also, and butchers of the bloodiest
badge have been all Martial Commanders whom the world invariably
delights to honour.  And as for the matter of the alleged
uncleanliness of our business, ye shall soon be initiated into
certain facts hitherto pretty generally unknown, and which, upon the
whole, will triumphantly plant the sperm whale-ship at least among
the cleanliest things of this tidy earth.  But even granting the
charge in question to be true; what disordered slippery decks of a
whale-ship are comparable to the unspeakable carrion of those
battle-fields from which so many soldiers return to drink in all
ladies' plaudits?  And if the idea of peril so much enhances the
popular conceit of the soldier's profession; let me assure ye that
many a veteran who has freely marched up to a battery, would quickly
recoil at the apparition of the sperm whale's vast tail, fanning into
eddies the air over his head.  For what are the comprehensible
terrors of man compared with the interlinked terrors and wonders of

But, though the world scouts at us whale hunters, yet does it
unwittingly pay us the profoundest homage; yea, an all-abounding
adoration! for almost all the tapers, lamps, and candles that burn
round the globe, burn, as before so many shrines, to our glory!

But look at this matter in other lights; weigh it in all sorts of
scales; see what we whalemen are, and have been.

Why did the Dutch in De Witt's time have admirals of their whaling
fleets?  Why did Louis XVI. of France, at his own personal expense,
fit out whaling ships from Dunkirk, and politely invite to that town
some score or two of families from our own island of Nantucket?  Why
did Britain between the years 1750 and 1788 pay to her whalemen in
bounties upwards of L1,000,000?  And lastly, how comes it that we
whalemen of America now outnumber all the rest of the banded whalemen
in the world; sail a navy of upwards of seven hundred vessels; manned
by eighteen thousand men; yearly consuming 4,000,000 of dollars; the
ships worth, at the time of sailing, $20,000,000! and every year
importing into our harbors a well reaped harvest of $7,000,000.  How
comes all this, if there be not something puissant in whaling?

But this is not the half; look again.

I freely assert, that the cosmopolite philosopher cannot, for his
life, point out one single peaceful influence, which within the last
sixty years has operated more potentially upon the whole broad world,
taken in one aggregate, than the high and mighty business of whaling.
One way and another, it has begotten events so remarkable in
themselves, and so continuously momentous in their sequential issues,
that whaling may well be regarded as that Egyptian mother, who bore
offspring themselves pregnant from her womb.  It would be a hopeless,
endless task to catalogue all these things.  Let a handful suffice.
For many years past the whale-ship has been the pioneer in ferreting
out the remotest and least known parts of the earth.  She has
explored seas and archipelagoes which had no chart, where no Cook or
Vancouver had ever sailed.  If American and European men-of-war
now peacefully ride in once savage harbors, let them fire salutes to
the honour and glory of the whale-ship, which originally showed them
the way, and first interpreted between them and the savages.  They
may celebrate as they will the heroes of Exploring Expeditions, your
Cooks, your Krusensterns; but I say that scores of anonymous
Captains have sailed out of Nantucket, that were as great, and
greater than your Cook and your Krusenstern.  For in their
succourless empty-handedness, they, in the heathenish sharked waters,
and by the beaches of unrecorded, javelin islands, battled with
virgin wonders and terrors that Cook with all his marines and
muskets would not willingly have dared.  All that is made such a
flourish of in the old South Sea Voyages, those things were but the
life-time commonplaces of our heroic Nantucketers.  Often,
adventures which Vancouver dedicates three chapters to, these men
accounted unworthy of being set down in the ship's common log.  Ah,
the world!  Oh, the world!

Until the whale fishery rounded Cape Horn, no commerce but colonial,
scarcely any intercourse but colonial, was carried on between Europe
and the long line of the opulent Spanish provinces on the Pacific
coast.  It was the whaleman who first broke through the jealous
policy of the Spanish crown, touching those colonies; and, if space
permitted, it might be distinctly shown how from those whalemen at
last eventuated the liberation of Peru, Chili, and Bolivia from the
yoke of Old Spain, and the establishment of the eternal democracy in
those parts.

That great America on the other side of the sphere, Australia, was
given to the enlightened world by the whaleman.  After its first
blunder-born discovery by a Dutchman, all other ships long shunned
those shores as pestiferously barbarous; but the whale-ship touched
there.  The whale-ship is the true mother of that now mighty colony.
Moreover, in the infancy of the first Australian settlement, the
emigrants were several times saved from starvation by the benevolent
biscuit of the whale-ship luckily dropping an anchor in their waters.
The uncounted isles of all Polynesia confess the same truth, and do
commercial homage to the whale-ship, that cleared the way for the
missionary and the merchant, and in many cases carried the primitive
missionaries to their first destinations.  If that double-bolted
land, Japan, is ever to become hospitable, it is the whale-ship alone
to whom the credit will be due; for already she is on the threshold.

But if, in the face of all this, you still declare that whaling has
no aesthetically noble associations connected with it, then am I
ready to shiver fifty lances with you there, and unhorse you with a
split helmet every time.

The whale has no famous author, and whaling no famous chronicler, you
will say.

wrote the first account of our Leviathan?  Who but mighty Job!  And
who composed the first narrative of a whaling-voyage?  Who, but no
less a prince than Alfred the Great, who, with his own royal pen,
took down the words from Other, the Norwegian whale-hunter of those
times!  And who pronounced our glowing eulogy in Parliament?  Who,
but Edmund Burke!

True enough, but then whalemen themselves are poor devils; they have
no good blood in their veins.

NO GOOD BLOOD IN THEIR VEINS?  They have something better than royal
blood there.  The grandmother of Benjamin Franklin was Mary Morrel;
afterwards, by marriage, Mary Folger, one of the old settlers of
Nantucket, and the ancestress to a long line of Folgers and
harpooneers--all kith and kin to noble Benjamin--this day darting the
barbed iron from one side of the world to the other.

Good again; but then all confess that somehow whaling is not

WHALING NOT RESPECTABLE?  Whaling is imperial!  By old English
statutory law, the whale is declared "a royal fish."*

Oh, that's only nominal!  The whale himself has never figured in any
grand imposing way.

mighty triumphs given to a Roman general upon his entering the
world's capital, the bones of a whale, brought all the way from the
Syrian coast, were the most conspicuous object in the cymballed

*See subsequent chapters for something more on this head.

Grant it, since you cite it; but, say what you will, there is no real
dignity in whaling.

NO DIGNITY IN WHALING?  The dignity of our calling the very heavens
attest.  Cetus is a constellation in the South!  No more!  Drive
down your hat in presence of the Czar, and take it off to Queequeg!
No more!  I know a man that, in his lifetime, has taken three hundred
and fifty whales.  I account that man more honourable than that great
captain of antiquity who boasted of taking as many walled towns.

And, as for me, if, by any possibility, there be any as yet
undiscovered prime thing in me; if I shall ever deserve any real
repute in that small but high hushed world which I might not be
unreasonably ambitious of; if hereafter I shall do anything that, upon
the whole, a man might rather have done than to have left undone; if,
at my death, my executors, or more properly my creditors, find any
precious MSS. in my desk, then here I prospectively ascribe all the
honour and the glory to whaling; for a whale-ship was my Yale College
and my Harvard.



In behalf of the dignity of whaling, I would fain advance naught but
substantiated facts.  But after embattling his facts, an advocate who
should wholly suppress a not unreasonable surmise, which might tell
eloquently upon his cause--such an advocate, would he not be

It is well known that at the coronation of kings and queens, even
modern ones, a certain curious process of seasoning them for their
functions is gone through.  There is a saltcellar of state, so
called, and there may be a castor of state.  How they use the salt,
precisely--who knows?  Certain I am, however, that a king's head is
solemnly oiled at his coronation, even as a head of salad.  Can it
be, though, that they anoint it with a view of making its interior
run well, as they anoint machinery?  Much might be ruminated here,
concerning the essential dignity of this regal process, because in
common life we esteem but meanly and contemptibly a fellow who
anoints his hair, and palpably smells of that anointing.  In truth, a
mature man who uses hair-oil, unless medicinally, that man has
probably got a quoggy spot in him somewhere.  As a general rule, he
can't amount to much in his totality.

But the only thing to be considered here, is this--what kind of oil
is used at coronations?  Certainly it cannot be olive oil, nor
macassar oil, nor castor oil, nor bear's oil, nor train oil, nor
cod-liver oil.  What then can it possibly be, but sperm oil in
its unmanufactured, unpolluted state, the sweetest of all oils?

Think of that, ye loyal Britons! we whalemen supply your kings and
queens with coronation stuff!


Knights and Squires.

The chief mate of the Pequod was Starbuck, a native of Nantucket, and
a Quaker by descent.  He was a long, earnest man, and though born on
an icy coast, seemed well adapted to endure hot latitudes, his flesh
being hard as twice-baked biscuit.  Transported to the Indies, his
live blood would not spoil like bottled ale.  He must have been born
in some time of general drought and famine, or upon one of those fast
days for which his state is famous.  Only some thirty arid summers
had he seen; those summers had dried up all his physical
superfluousness.  But this, his thinness, so to speak, seemed no more
the token of wasting anxieties and cares, than it seemed the
indication of any bodily blight.  It was merely the condensation of
the man.  He was by no means ill-looking; quite the contrary.  His
pure tight skin was an excellent fit; and closely wrapped up in it,
and embalmed with inner health and strength, like a revivified
Egyptian, this Starbuck seemed prepared to endure for long ages to
come, and to endure always, as now; for be it Polar snow or torrid
sun, like a patent chronometer, his interior vitality was warranted
to do well in all climates.  Looking into his eyes, you seemed to
see there the yet lingering images of those thousand-fold perils he
had calmly confronted through life.  A staid, steadfast man, whose
life for the most part was a telling pantomime of action, and not a
tame chapter of sounds.  Yet, for all his hardy sobriety and
fortitude, there were certain qualities in him which at times
affected, and in some cases seemed well nigh to overbalance all the
rest.  Uncommonly conscientious for a seaman, and endued with a deep
natural reverence, the wild watery loneliness of his life did
therefore strongly incline him to superstition; but to that sort of
superstition, which in some organizations seems rather to spring,
somehow, from intelligence than from ignorance.  Outward portents and
inward presentiments were his.  And if at times these things bent the
welded iron of his soul, much more did his far-away domestic memories
of his young Cape wife and child, tend to bend him still more from
the original ruggedness of his nature, and open him still further to
those latent influences which, in some honest-hearted men, restrain
the gush of dare-devil daring, so often evinced by others in the more
perilous vicissitudes of the fishery.  "I will have no man in my
boat," said Starbuck, "who is not afraid of a whale."  By this, he
seemed to mean, not only that the most reliable and useful courage
was that which arises from the fair estimation of the encountered
peril, but that an utterly fearless man is a far more dangerous
comrade than a coward.

"Aye, aye," said Stubb, the second mate, "Starbuck, there, is as
careful a man as you'll find anywhere in this fishery."  But we shall
ere long see what that word "careful" precisely means when used by a
man like Stubb, or almost any other whale hunter.

Starbuck was no crusader after perils; in him courage was not a
sentiment; but a thing simply useful to him, and always at hand upon
all mortally practical occasions.  Besides, he thought, perhaps, that
in this business of whaling, courage was one of the great staple
outfits of the ship, like her beef and her bread, and not to be
foolishly wasted.  Wherefore he had no fancy for lowering for whales
after sun-down; nor for persisting in fighting a fish that too much
persisted in fighting him.  For, thought Starbuck, I am here in this
critical ocean to kill whales for my living, and not to be killed by
them for theirs; and that hundreds of men had been so killed Starbuck
well knew.  What doom was his own father's?  Where, in the bottomless
deeps, could he find the torn limbs of his brother?

With memories like these in him, and, moreover, given to a certain
superstitiousness, as has been said; the courage of this Starbuck
which could, nevertheless, still flourish, must indeed have been
extreme.  But it was not in reasonable nature that a man so
organized, and with such terrible experiences and remembrances as he
had; it was not in nature that these things should fail in latently
engendering an element in him, which, under suitable circumstances,
would break out from its confinement, and burn all his courage up.
And brave as he might be, it was that sort of bravery chiefly,
visible in some intrepid men, which, while generally abiding firm in
the conflict with seas, or winds, or whales, or any of the ordinary
irrational horrors of the world, yet cannot withstand those more
terrific, because more spiritual terrors, which sometimes menace you
from the concentrating brow of an enraged and mighty man.

But were the coming narrative to reveal in any instance, the complete
abasement of poor Starbuck's fortitude, scarce might I have the heart
to write it; for it is a thing most sorrowful, nay shocking, to
expose the fall of valour in the soul.  Men may seem detestable as
joint stock-companies and nations; knaves, fools, and murderers there
may be; men may have mean and meagre faces; but man, in the ideal,
is so noble and so sparkling, such a grand and glowing creature, that
over any ignominious blemish in him all his fellows should run to
throw their costliest robes.  That immaculate manliness we feel
within ourselves, so far within us, that it remains intact though all
the outer character seem gone; bleeds with keenest anguish at the
undraped spectacle of a valor-ruined man.  Nor can piety itself, at
such a shameful sight, completely stifle her upbraidings against the
permitting stars.  But this august dignity I treat of, is not the
dignity of kings and robes, but that abounding dignity which has no
robed investiture.  Thou shalt see it shining in the arm that wields
a pick or drives a spike; that democratic dignity which, on all
hands, radiates without end from God; Himself!  The great God
absolute!  The centre and circumference of all democracy!  His
omnipresence, our divine equality!

If, then, to meanest mariners, and renegades and castaways, I shall
hereafter ascribe high qualities, though dark; weave round them
tragic graces; if even the most mournful, perchance the most abased,
among them all, shall at times lift himself to the exalted mounts; if
I shall touch that workman's arm with some ethereal light; if I shall
spread a rainbow over his disastrous set of sun; then against all
mortal critics bear me out in it, thou Just Spirit of Equality,
which hast spread one royal mantle of humanity over all my kind!
Bear me out in it, thou great democratic God! who didst not refuse to
the swart convict, Bunyan, the pale, poetic pearl; Thou who didst
clothe with doubly hammered leaves of finest gold, the stumped and
paupered arm of old Cervantes; Thou who didst pick up Andrew Jackson
from the pebbles; who didst hurl him upon a war-horse; who didst
thunder him higher than a throne!  Thou who, in all Thy mighty,
earthly marchings, ever cullest Thy selectest champions from the
kingly commons; bear me out in it, O God!


Knights and Squires.

Stubb was the second mate.  He was a native of Cape Cod; and hence,
according to local usage, was called a Cape-Cod-man.  A
happy-go-lucky; neither craven nor valiant; taking perils as they
came with an indifferent air; and while engaged in the most imminent
crisis of the chase, toiling away, calm and collected as a journeyman
joiner engaged for the year.  Good-humored, easy, and careless, he
presided over his whale-boat as if the most deadly encounter were but
a dinner, and his crew all invited guests.  He was as particular
about the comfortable arrangement of his part of the boat, as an
old stage-driver is about the snugness of his box.  When close to the
whale, in the very death-lock of the fight, he handled his unpitying
lance coolly and off-handedly, as a whistling tinker his hammer.  He
would hum over his old rigadig tunes while flank and flank with the
most exasperated monster.  Long usage had, for this Stubb, converted
the jaws of death into an easy chair.  What he thought of death
itself, there is no telling.  Whether he ever thought of it at all,
might be a question; but, if he ever did chance to cast his mind that
way after a comfortable dinner, no doubt, like a good sailor, he took
it to be a sort of call of the watch to tumble aloft, and bestir
themselves there, about something which he would find out when he
obeyed the order, and not sooner.

What, perhaps, with other things, made Stubb such an easy-going,
unfearing man, so cheerily trudging off with the burden of life in a
world full of grave pedlars, all bowed to the ground with their
packs; what helped to bring about that almost impious good-humor of
his; that thing must have been his pipe.  For, like his nose, his
short, black little pipe was one of the regular features of his face.
You would almost as soon have expected him to turn out of his bunk
without his nose as without his pipe.  He kept a whole row of pipes
there ready loaded, stuck in a rack, within easy reach of his hand;
and, whenever he turned in, he smoked them all out in succession,
lighting one from the other to the end of the chapter; then loading
them again to be in readiness anew.  For, when Stubb dressed, instead
of first putting his legs into his trowsers, he put his pipe into his

I say this continual smoking must have been one cause, at least, of
his peculiar disposition; for every one knows that this earthly air,
whether ashore or afloat, is terribly infected with the nameless
miseries of the numberless mortals who have died exhaling it; and as
in time of the cholera, some people go about with a camphorated
handkerchief to their mouths; so, likewise, against all mortal
tribulations, Stubb's tobacco smoke might have operated as a sort of
disinfecting agent.

The third mate was Flask, a native of Tisbury, in Martha's Vineyard.
A short, stout, ruddy young fellow, very pugnacious concerning
whales, who somehow seemed to think that the great leviathans had
personally and hereditarily affronted him; and therefore it was a
sort of point of honour with him, to destroy them whenever
encountered.  So utterly lost was he to all sense of reverence for
the many marvels of their majestic bulk and mystic ways; and so dead
to anything like an apprehension of any possible danger from
encountering them; that in his poor opinion, the wondrous whale was
but a species of magnified mouse, or at least water-rat, requiring
only a little circumvention and some small application of time and
trouble in order to kill and boil.  This ignorant, unconscious
fearlessness of his made him a little waggish in the matter of
whales; he followed these fish for the fun of it; and a three years'
voyage round Cape Horn was only a jolly joke that lasted that length
of time.  As a carpenter's nails are divided into wrought nails and
cut nails; so mankind may be similarly divided.  Little Flask was one
of the wrought ones; made to clinch tight and last long.  They called
him King-Post on board of the Pequod; because, in form, he could be
well likened to the short, square timber known by that name in Arctic
whalers; and which by the means of many radiating side timbers
inserted into it, serves to brace the ship against the icy
concussions of those battering seas.

Now these three mates--Starbuck, Stubb, and Flask, were momentous
men.  They it was who by universal prescription commanded three of the
Pequod's boats as headsmen.  In that grand order of battle in which
Captain Ahab would probably marshal his forces to descend on the
whales, these three headsmen were as captains of companies.  Or,
being armed with their long keen whaling spears, they were as a
picked trio of lancers; even as the harpooneers were flingers of

And since in this famous fishery, each mate or headsman, like a
Gothic Knight of old, is always accompanied by his boat-steerer or
harpooneer, who in certain conjunctures provides him with a fresh
lance, when the former one has been badly twisted, or elbowed in the
assault; and moreover, as there generally subsists between the two, a
close intimacy and friendliness; it is therefore but meet, that in
this place we set down who the Pequod's harpooneers were, and to what
headsman each of them belonged.

First of all was Queequeg, whom Starbuck, the chief mate, had
selected for his squire.  But Queequeg is already known.

Next was Tashtego, an unmixed Indian from Gay Head, the most westerly
promontory of Martha's Vineyard, where there still exists the last
remnant of a village of red men, which has long supplied the
neighboring island of Nantucket with many of her most daring
harpooneers.  In the fishery, they usually go by the generic name of
Gay-Headers.  Tashtego's long, lean, sable hair, his high cheek
bones, and black rounding eyes--for an Indian, Oriental in their
largeness, but Antarctic in their glittering expression--all this
sufficiently proclaimed him an inheritor of the unvitiated blood of
those proud warrior hunters, who, in quest of the great New England
moose, had scoured, bow in hand, the aboriginal forests of the main.
But no longer snuffing in the trail of the wild beasts of the
woodland, Tashtego now hunted in the wake of the great whales of the
sea; the unerring harpoon of the son fitly replacing the infallible
arrow of the sires.  To look at the tawny brawn of his lithe snaky
limbs, you would almost have credited the superstitions of some of
the earlier Puritans, and half-believed this wild Indian to be a son
of the Prince of the Powers of the Air.  Tashtego was Stubb the
second mate's squire.

Third among the harpooneers was Daggoo, a gigantic, coal-black
negro-savage, with a lion-like tread--an Ahasuerus to behold.
Suspended from his ears were two golden hoops, so large that the
sailors called them ring-bolts, and would talk of securing the
top-sail halyards to them.  In his youth Daggoo had voluntarily
shipped on board of a whaler, lying in a lonely bay on his native
coast.  And never having been anywhere in the world but in Africa,
Nantucket, and the pagan harbors most frequented by whalemen; and
having now led for many years the bold life of the fishery in the
ships of owners uncommonly heedful of what manner of men they
shipped; Daggoo retained all his barbaric virtues, and erect as a
giraffe, moved about the decks in all the pomp of six feet five in
his socks.  There was a corporeal humility in looking up at him; and
a white man standing before him seemed a white flag come to beg truce
of a fortress.  Curious to tell, this imperial negro, Ahasuerus
Daggoo, was the Squire of little Flask, who looked like a chess-man
beside him.  As for the residue of the Pequod's company, be it said,
that at the present day not one in two of the many thousand men
before the mast employed in the American whale fishery, are Americans
born, though pretty nearly all the officers are.  Herein it is the
same with the American whale fishery as with the American army and
military and merchant navies, and the engineering forces employed in
the construction of the American Canals and Railroads.  The same, I
say, because in all these cases the native American liberally
provides the brains, the rest of the world as generously supplying
the muscles.  No small number of these whaling seamen belong to the
Azores, where the outward bound Nantucket whalers frequently touch to
augment their crews from the hardy peasants of those rocky shores.
In like manner, the Greenland whalers sailing out of Hull or London,
put in at the Shetland Islands, to receive the full complement of
their crew.  Upon the passage homewards, they drop them there again.
How it is, there is no telling, but Islanders seem to make the best
whalemen.  They were nearly all Islanders in the Pequod, ISOLATOES
too, I call such, not acknowledging the common continent of men, but
each ISOLATO living on a separate continent of his own.  Yet now,
federated along one keel, what a set these Isolatoes were!  An
Anacharsis Clootz deputation from all the isles of the sea, and all
the ends of the earth, accompanying Old Ahab in the Pequod to lay the
world's grievances before that bar from which not very many of them
ever come back.  Black Little Pip--he never did--oh, no! he went
before.  Poor Alabama boy!  On the grim Pequod's forecastle, ye shall
ere long see him, beating his tambourine; prelusive of the eternal
time, when sent for, to the great quarter-deck on high, he was bid
strike in with angels, and beat his tambourine in glory; called a
coward here, hailed a hero there!



For several days after leaving Nantucket, nothing above hatches was
seen of Captain Ahab.  The mates regularly relieved each other at the
watches, and for aught that could be seen to the contrary, they
seemed to be the only commanders of the ship; only they sometimes
issued from the cabin with orders so sudden and peremptory, that
after all it was plain they but commanded vicariously.  Yes, their
supreme lord and dictator was there, though hitherto unseen by any
eyes not permitted to penetrate into the now sacred retreat of the

Every time I ascended to the deck from my watches below, I instantly
gazed aft to mark if any strange face were visible; for my first
vague disquietude touching the unknown captain, now in the seclusion
of the sea, became almost a perturbation.  This was strangely
heightened at times by the ragged Elijah's diabolical incoherences
uninvitedly recurring to me, with a subtle energy I could not have
before conceived of.  But poorly could I withstand them, much as in
other moods I was almost ready to smile at the solemn whimsicalities
of that outlandish prophet of the wharves.  But whatever it was of
apprehensiveness or uneasiness--to call it so--which I felt, yet
whenever I came to look about me in the ship, it seemed against all
warrantry to cherish such emotions.  For though the harpooneers, with
the great body of the crew, were a far more barbaric, heathenish, and
motley set than any of the tame merchant-ship companies which my
previous experiences had made me acquainted with, still I ascribed
this--and rightly ascribed it--to the fierce uniqueness of the very
nature of that wild Scandinavian vocation in which I had so
abandonedly embarked.  But it was especially the aspect of the three
chief officers of the ship, the mates, which was most forcibly
calculated to allay these colourless misgivings, and induce confidence
and cheerfulness in every presentment of the voyage.  Three better,
more likely sea-officers and men, each in his own different way,
could not readily be found, and they were every one of them
Americans; a Nantucketer, a Vineyarder, a Cape man.  Now, it being
Christmas when the ship shot from out her harbor, for a space we had
biting Polar weather, though all the time running away from it to the
southward; and by every degree and minute of latitude which we
sailed, gradually leaving that merciless winter, and all its
intolerable weather behind us.  It was one of those less lowering,
but still grey and gloomy enough mornings of the transition, when
with a fair wind the ship was rushing through the water with a
vindictive sort of leaping and melancholy rapidity, that as I mounted
to the deck at the call of the forenoon watch, so soon as I levelled
my glance towards the taffrail, foreboding shivers ran over me.
Reality outran apprehension; Captain Ahab stood upon his

There seemed no sign of common bodily illness about him, nor of the
recovery from any.  He looked like a man cut away from the stake,
when the fire has overrunningly wasted all the limbs without
consuming them, or taking away one particle from their compacted aged
robustness.  His whole high, broad form, seemed made of solid bronze,
and shaped in an unalterable mould, like Cellini's cast Perseus.
Threading its way out from among his grey hairs, and continuing right
down one side of his tawny scorched face and neck, till it
disappeared in his clothing, you saw a slender rod-like mark, lividly
whitish.  It resembled that perpendicular seam sometimes made in the
straight, lofty trunk of a great tree, when the upper lightning
tearingly darts down it, and without wrenching a single twig, peels
and grooves out the bark from top to bottom, ere running off into the
soil, leaving the tree still greenly alive, but branded.  Whether
that mark was born with him, or whether it was the scar left by some
desperate wound, no one could certainly say.  By some tacit consent,
throughout the voyage little or no allusion was made to it,
especially by the mates.  But once Tashtego's senior, an old Gay-Head
Indian among the crew, superstitiously asserted that not till he was
full forty years old did Ahab become that way branded, and then it
came upon him, not in the fury of any mortal fray, but in an
elemental strife at sea.  Yet, this wild hint seemed inferentially
negatived, by what a grey Manxman insinuated, an old sepulchral man,
who, having never before sailed out of Nantucket, had never ere this
laid eye upon wild Ahab.  Nevertheless, the old sea-traditions, the
immemorial credulities, popularly invested this old Manxman with
preternatural powers of discernment.  So that no white sailor
seriously contradicted him when he said that if ever Captain Ahab
should be tranquilly laid out--which might hardly come to pass, so he
muttered--then, whoever should do that last office for the dead,
would find a birth-mark on him from crown to sole.

So powerfully did the whole grim aspect of Ahab affect me, and the
livid brand which streaked it, that for the first few moments I
hardly noted that not a little of this overbearing grimness was owing
to the barbaric white leg upon which he partly stood.  It had
previously come to me that this ivory leg had at sea been fashioned
from the polished bone of the sperm whale's jaw.  "Aye, he was
dismasted off Japan," said the old Gay-Head Indian once; "but like
his dismasted craft, he shipped another mast without coming home for
it.  He has a quiver of 'em."

I was struck with the singular posture he maintained.  Upon each side
of the Pequod's quarter deck, and pretty close to the mizzen shrouds,
there was an auger hole, bored about half an inch or so, into the
plank.  His bone leg steadied in that hole; one arm elevated, and
holding by a shroud; Captain Ahab stood erect, looking straight out
beyond the ship's ever-pitching prow.  There was an infinity of
firmest fortitude, a determinate, unsurrenderable wilfulness, in the
fixed and fearless, forward dedication of that glance.  Not a word he
spoke; nor did his officers say aught to him; though by all their
minutest gestures and expressions, they plainly showed the uneasy, if
not painful, consciousness of being under a troubled master-eye.  And
not only that, but moody stricken Ahab stood before them with a
crucifixion in his face; in all the nameless regal overbearing
dignity of some mighty woe.

Ere long, from his first visit in the air, he withdrew into his
cabin.  But after that morning, he was every day visible to the crew;
either standing in his pivot-hole, or seated upon an ivory stool he
had; or heavily walking the deck.  As the sky grew less gloomy;
indeed, began to grow a little genial, he became still less and less
a recluse; as if, when the ship had sailed from home, nothing but the
dead wintry bleakness of the sea had then kept him so secluded.  And,
by and by, it came to pass, that he was almost continually in the
air; but, as yet, for all that he said, or perceptibly did, on the at
last sunny deck, he seemed as unnecessary there as another mast.  But
the Pequod was only making a passage now; not regularly cruising;
nearly all whaling preparatives needing supervision the mates were
fully competent to, so that there was little or nothing, out of
himself, to employ or excite Ahab, now; and thus chase away, for that
one interval, the clouds that layer upon layer were piled upon his
brow, as ever all clouds choose the loftiest peaks to pile themselves

Nevertheless, ere long, the warm, warbling persuasiveness of the
pleasant, holiday weather we came to, seemed gradually to charm him
from his mood.  For, as when the red-cheeked, dancing girls, April
and May, trip home to the wintry, misanthropic woods; even the
barest, ruggedest, most thunder-cloven old oak will at least send
forth some few green sprouts, to welcome such glad-hearted visitants;
so Ahab did, in the end, a little respond to the playful allurings of
that girlish air.  More than once did he put forth the faint blossom
of a look, which, in any other man, would have soon flowered out in a


Enter Ahab; to Him, Stubb.

Some days elapsed, and ice and icebergs all astern, the Pequod now
went rolling through the bright Quito spring, which, at sea, almost
perpetually reigns on the threshold of the eternal August of the
Tropic.  The warmly cool, clear, ringing, perfumed, overflowing,
redundant days, were as crystal goblets of Persian sherbet, heaped
up--flaked up, with rose-water snow.  The starred and stately nights
seemed haughty dames in jewelled velvets, nursing at home in lonely
pride, the memory of their absent conquering Earls, the golden
helmeted suns!  For sleeping man, 'twas hard to choose between such
winsome days and such seducing nights.  But all the witcheries of
that unwaning weather did not merely lend new spells and potencies to
the outward world.  Inward they turned upon the soul, especially when
the still mild hours of eve came on; then, memory shot her crystals
as the clear ice most forms of noiseless twilights.  And all these
subtle agencies, more and more they wrought on Ahab's texture.

Old age is always wakeful; as if, the longer linked with life, the
less man has to do with aught that looks like death.  Among
sea-commanders, the old greybeards will oftenest leave their berths
to visit the night-cloaked deck.  It was so with Ahab; only that now,
of late, he seemed so much to live in the open air, that truly
speaking, his visits were more to the cabin, than from the cabin to
the planks.  "It feels like going down into one's tomb,"--he would
mutter to himself--"for an old captain like me to be descending this
narrow scuttle, to go to my grave-dug berth."

So, almost every twenty-four hours, when the watches of the night
were set, and the band on deck sentinelled the slumbers of the band
below; and when if a rope was to be hauled upon the forecastle, the
sailors flung it not rudely down, as by day, but with some
cautiousness dropt it to its place for fear of disturbing their
slumbering shipmates; when this sort of steady quietude would begin
to prevail, habitually, the silent steersman would watch the
cabin-scuttle; and ere long the old man would emerge, gripping at the
iron banister, to help his crippled way.  Some considering touch of
humanity was in him; for at times like these, he usually abstained
from patrolling the quarter-deck; because to his wearied mates,
seeking repose within six inches of his ivory heel, such would have
been the reverberating crack and din of that bony step, that their
dreams would have been on the crunching teeth of sharks.  But once,
the mood was on him too deep for common regardings; and as with
heavy, lumber-like pace he was measuring the ship from taffrail to
mainmast, Stubb, the old second mate, came up from below, with a
certain unassured, deprecating humorousness, hinted that if Captain
Ahab was pleased to walk the planks, then, no one could say nay; but
there might be some way of muffling the noise; hinting something
indistinctly and hesitatingly about a globe of tow, and the insertion
into it, of the ivory heel.  Ah!  Stubb, thou didst not know Ahab

"Am I a cannon-ball, Stubb," said Ahab, "that thou wouldst wad me
that fashion?  But go thy ways; I had forgot.  Below to thy nightly
grave; where such as ye sleep between shrouds, to use ye to the
filling one at last.--Down, dog, and kennel!"

Starting at the unforseen concluding exclamation of the so suddenly
scornful old man, Stubb was speechless a moment; then said excitedly,
"I am not used to be spoken to that way, sir; I do but less than half
like it, sir."

"Avast! gritted Ahab between his set teeth, and violently moving
away, as if to avoid some passionate temptation.

"No, sir; not yet," said Stubb, emboldened, "I will not tamely be
called a dog, sir."

"Then be called ten times a donkey, and a mule, and an ass, and
begone, or I'll clear the world of thee!"

As he said this, Ahab advanced upon him with such overbearing terrors
in his aspect, that Stubb involuntarily retreated.

"I was never served so before without giving a hard blow for it,"
muttered Stubb, as he found himself descending the cabin-scuttle.
"It's very queer.  Stop, Stubb; somehow, now, I don't well know
whether to go back and strike him, or--what's that?--down here on my
knees and pray for him?  Yes, that was the thought coming up in me;
but it would be the first time I ever DID pray.  It's queer; very
queer; and he's queer too; aye, take him fore and aft, he's about the
queerest old man Stubb ever sailed with.  How he flashed at me!--his
eyes like powder-pans! is he mad?  Anyway there's something on his
mind, as sure as there must be something on a deck when it cracks.
He aint in his bed now, either, more than three hours out of the
twenty-four; and he don't sleep then.  Didn't that Dough-Boy, the
steward, tell me that of a morning he always finds the old man's
hammock clothes all rumpled and tumbled, and the sheets down at the
foot, and the coverlid almost tied into knots, and the pillow a sort
of frightful hot, as though a baked brick had been on it?  A hot old
man!  I guess he's got what some folks ashore call a conscience; it's
a kind of Tic-Dolly-row they say--worse nor a toothache.  Well, well;
I don't know what it is, but the Lord keep me from catching it.  He's
full of riddles; I wonder what he goes into the after hold for, every
night, as Dough-Boy tells me he suspects; what's that for, I should
like to know?  Who's made appointments with him in the hold?  Ain't
that queer, now?  But there's no telling, it's the old game--Here
goes for a snooze.  Damn me, it's worth a fellow's while to be born
into the world, if only to fall right asleep.  And now that I think
of it, that's about the first thing babies do, and that's a sort of
queer, too.  Damn me, but all things are queer, come to think of 'em.
But that's against my principles.  Think not, is my eleventh
commandment; and sleep when you can, is my twelfth--So here goes
again.  But how's that? didn't he call me a dog? blazes! he called me
ten times a donkey, and piled a lot of jackasses on top of THAT!  He
might as well have kicked me, and done with it.  Maybe he DID kick
me, and I didn't observe it, I was so taken all aback with his brow,
somehow.  It flashed like a bleached bone.  What the devil's the
matter with me?  I don't stand right on my legs.  Coming afoul of
that old man has a sort of turned me wrong side out.  By the Lord, I
must have been dreaming, though--How? how? how?--but the only way's
to stash it; so here goes to hammock again; and in the morning, I'll
see how this plaguey juggling thinks over by daylight."


The Pipe.

When Stubb had departed, Ahab stood for a while leaning over the
bulwarks; and then, as had been usual with him of late, calling a
sailor of the watch, he sent him below for his ivory stool, and also
his pipe.  Lighting the pipe at the binnacle lamp and planting the
stool on the weather side of the deck, he sat and smoked.

In old Norse times, the thrones of the sea-loving Danish kings were
fabricated, saith tradition, of the tusks of the narwhale.  How could
one look at Ahab then, seated on that tripod of bones, without
bethinking him of the royalty it symbolized?  For a Khan of the
plank, and a king of the sea, and a great lord of Leviathans was

Some moments passed, during which the thick vapour came from his mouth
in quick and constant puffs, which blew back again into his face.
"How now," he soliloquized at last, withdrawing the tube, "this
smoking no longer soothes.  Oh, my pipe! hard must it go with me if
thy charm be gone!  Here have I been unconsciously toiling, not
pleasuring--aye, and ignorantly smoking to windward all the while; to
windward, and with such nervous whiffs, as if, like the dying whale,
my final jets were the strongest and fullest of trouble.  What
business have I with this pipe?  This thing that is meant for
sereneness, to send up mild white vapours among mild white hairs, not
among torn iron-grey locks like mine.  I'll smoke no more--"

He tossed the still lighted pipe into the sea.  The fire hissed in
the waves; the same instant the ship shot by the bubble the sinking
pipe made.  With slouched hat, Ahab lurchingly paced the planks.


Queen Mab.

Next morning Stubb accosted Flask.

"Such a queer dream, King-Post, I never had.  You know the old man's
ivory leg, well I dreamed he kicked me with it; and when I tried to
kick back, upon my soul, my little man, I kicked my leg right off!
And then, presto!  Ahab seemed a pyramid, and I, like a blazing fool,
kept kicking at it.  But what was still more curious, Flask--you know
how curious all dreams are--through all this rage that I was in, I
somehow seemed to be thinking to myself, that after all, it was not
much of an insult, that kick from Ahab.  'Why,' thinks I, 'what's the
row?  It's not a real leg, only a false leg.'  And there's a mighty
difference between a living thump and a dead thump.  That's what
makes a blow from the hand, Flask, fifty times more savage to bear
than a blow from a cane.  The living member--that makes the living
insult, my little man.  And thinks I to myself all the while, mind,
while I was stubbing my silly toes against that cursed pyramid--so
confoundedly contradictory was it all, all the while, I say, I was
thinking to myself, 'what's his leg now, but a cane--a whalebone
cane.  Yes,' thinks I, 'it was only a playful cudgelling--in fact,
only a whaleboning that he gave me--not a base kick.  Besides,'
thinks I, 'look at it once; why, the end of it--the foot part--what a
small sort of end it is; whereas, if a broad footed farmer kicked me,
THERE'S a devilish broad insult.  But this insult is whittled down to
a point only.'  But now comes the greatest joke of the dream, Flask.
While I was battering away at the pyramid, a sort of badger-haired
old merman, with a hump on his back, takes me by the shoulders, and
slews me round.  'What are you 'bout?' says he.  Slid! man, but I was
frightened.  Such a phiz!  But, somehow, next moment I was over the
fright.  'What am I about?' says I at last.  'And what business is
that of yours, I should like to know, Mr. Humpback?  Do YOU want a
kick?'  By the lord, Flask, I had no sooner said that, than he turned
round his stern to me, bent over, and dragging up a lot of seaweed he
had for a clout--what do you think, I saw?--why thunder alive, man,
his stern was stuck full of marlinspikes, with the points out.  Says
I, on second thoughts, 'I guess I won't kick you, old fellow.'  'Wise
Stubb,' said he, 'wise Stubb;' and kept muttering it all the time, a
sort of eating of his own gums like a chimney hag.  Seeing he wasn't
going to stop saying over his 'wise Stubb, wise Stubb,' I thought I
might as well fall to kicking the pyramid again.  But I had only just
lifted my foot for it, when he roared out, 'Stop that kicking!'
'Halloa,' says I, 'what's the matter now, old fellow?'  'Look ye
here,' says he; 'let's argue the insult.  Captain Ahab kicked ye,
didn't he?'  'Yes, he did,' says I--'right HERE it was.'  'Very
good,' says he--'he used his ivory leg, didn't he?'  'Yes, he did,'
says I.  'Well then,' says he, 'wise Stubb, what have you to complain
of?  Didn't he kick with right good will? it wasn't a common pitch
pine leg he kicked with, was it?  No, you were kicked by a great man,
and with a beautiful ivory leg, Stubb.  It's an honour; I consider it
an honour.  Listen, wise Stubb.  In old England the greatest lords
think it great glory to be slapped by a queen, and made
garter-knights of; but, be YOUR boast, Stubb, that ye were kicked by
old Ahab, and made a wise man of.  Remember what I say; BE kicked by
him; account his kicks honours; and on no account kick back; for you
can't help yourself, wise Stubb.  Don't you see that pyramid?'  With
that, he all of a sudden seemed somehow, in some queer fashion, to
swim off into the air.  I snored; rolled over; and there I was in my
hammock!  Now, what do you think of that dream, Flask?"

"I don't know; it seems a sort of foolish to me, tho.'"

"May be; may be.  But it's made a wise man of me, Flask.  D'ye see
Ahab standing there, sideways looking over the stern?  Well, the best
thing you can do, Flask, is to let the old man alone; never speak to
him, whatever he says.  Halloa!  What's that he shouts?  Hark!"

"Mast-head, there!  Look sharp, all of ye!  There are whales

If ye see a white one, split your lungs for him!

"What do you think of that now, Flask? ain't there a small drop of
something queer about that, eh?  A white whale--did ye mark that,
man?  Look ye--there's something special in the wind.  Stand by for
it, Flask.  Ahab has that that's bloody on his mind.  But, mum; he
comes this way."



Already we are boldly launched upon the deep; but soon we shall be
lost in its unshored, harbourless immensities.  Ere that come to pass;
ere the Pequod's weedy hull rolls side by side with the barnacled
hulls of the leviathan; at the outset it is but well to attend to a
matter almost indispensable to a thorough appreciative understanding
of the more special leviathanic revelations and allusions of all
sorts which are to follow.

It is some systematized exhibition of the whale in his broad genera,
that I would now fain put before you.  Yet is it no easy task.  The
classification of the constituents of a chaos, nothing less is here
essayed.  Listen to what the best and latest authorities have laid

"No branch of Zoology is so much involved as that which is entitled
Cetology," says Captain Scoresby, A.D. 1820.

"It is not my intention, were it in my power, to enter into the
inquiry as to the true method of dividing the cetacea into groups and
families....  Utter confusion exists among the historians of this
animal" (sperm whale), says Surgeon Beale, A.D. 1839.

"Unfitness to pursue our research in the unfathomable waters."
"Impenetrable veil covering our knowledge of the cetacea."  "A field
strewn with thorns."  "All these incomplete indications but serve to
torture us naturalists."

Thus speak of the whale, the great Cuvier, and John Hunter, and
Lesson, those lights of zoology and anatomy.  Nevertheless, though of
real knowledge there be little, yet of books there are a plenty; and
so in some small degree, with cetology, or the science of whales.
Many are the men, small and great, old and new, landsmen and seamen,
who have at large or in little, written of the whale.  Run over a
few:--The Authors of the Bible; Aristotle; Pliny; Aldrovandi; Sir
Thomas Browne; Gesner; Ray; Linnaeus; Rondeletius; Willoughby; Green;
Artedi; Sibbald; Brisson; Marten; Lacepede; Bonneterre; Desmarest;
Baron Cuvier; Frederick Cuvier; John Hunter; Owen; Scoresby; Beale;
Bennett; J.  Ross Browne; the Author of Miriam Coffin; Olmstead; and
the Rev.  T.  Cheever.  But to what ultimate generalizing purpose all
these have written, the above cited extracts will show.

Of the names in this list of whale authors, only those following Owen
ever saw living whales; and but one of them was a real professional
harpooneer and whaleman.  I mean Captain Scoresby.  On the separate
subject of the Greenland or right-whale, he is the best existing
authority.  But Scoresby knew nothing and says nothing of the great
sperm whale, compared with which the Greenland whale is almost
unworthy mentioning.  And here be it said, that the Greenland whale
is an usurper upon the throne of the seas.  He is not even by any
means the largest of the whales.  Yet, owing to the long priority of
his claims, and the profound ignorance which, till some seventy years
back, invested the then fabulous or utterly unknown sperm-whale, and
which ignorance to this present day still reigns in all but some few
scientific retreats and whale-ports; this usurpation has been every
way complete.  Reference to nearly all the leviathanic allusions in
the great poets of past days, will satisfy you that the Greenland
whale, without one rival, was to them the monarch of the seas.  But
the time has at last come for a new proclamation.  This is Charing
Cross; hear ye! good people all,--the Greenland whale is
deposed,--the great sperm whale now reigneth!

There are only two books in being which at all pretend to put the
living sperm whale before you, and at the same time, in the remotest
degree succeed in the attempt.  Those books are Beale's and
Bennett's; both in their time surgeons to English South-Sea
whale-ships, and both exact and reliable men.  The original matter
touching the sperm whale to be found in their volumes is necessarily
small; but so far as it goes, it is of excellent quality, though
mostly confined to scientific description.  As yet, however, the
sperm whale, scientific or poetic, lives not complete in any
literature.  Far above all other hunted whales, his is an unwritten

Now the various species of whales need some sort of popular
comprehensive classification, if only an easy outline one for the
present, hereafter to be filled in all its departments by subsequent
laborers.  As no better man advances to take this matter in hand, I
hereupon offer my own poor endeavors.  I promise nothing complete;
because any human thing supposed to be complete, must for that very
reason infallibly be faulty.  I shall not pretend to a minute
anatomical description of the various species, or--in this place at
least--to much of any description.  My object here is simply to
project the draught of a systematization of cetology.  I am the
architect, not the builder.

But it is a ponderous task; no ordinary letter-sorter in the
Post-Office is equal to it.  To grope down into the bottom of the sea
after them; to have one's hands among the unspeakable foundations,
ribs, and very pelvis of the world; this is a fearful thing.  What am
I that I should essay to hook the nose of this leviathan!  The awful
tauntings in Job might well appal me.  "Will he the (leviathan) make
a covenant with thee?  Behold the hope of him is vain!  But I have
swam through libraries and sailed through oceans; I have had to do
with whales with these visible hands; I am in earnest; and I will
try.  There are some preliminaries to settle.

First: The uncertain, unsettled condition of this science of Cetology
is in the very vestibule attested by the fact, that in some quarters
it still remains a moot point whether a whale be a fish.  In his
System of Nature, A.D. 1776, Linnaeus declares, "I hereby separate
the whales from the fish."  But of my own knowledge, I know that down
to the year 1850, sharks and shad, alewives and herring, against
Linnaeus's express edict, were still found dividing the possession of
the same seas with the Leviathan.

The grounds upon which Linnaeus would fain have banished the whales
from the waters, he states as follows: "On account of their warm
bilocular heart, their lungs, their movable eyelids, their hollow
ears, penem intrantem feminam mammis lactantem," and finally, "ex
lege naturae jure meritoque."  I submitted all this to my friends
Simeon Macey and Charley Coffin, of Nantucket, both messmates of mine
in a certain voyage, and they united in the opinion that the reasons
set forth were altogether insufficient.  Charley profanely hinted
they were humbug.

Be it known that, waiving all argument, I take the good old fashioned
ground that the whale is a fish, and call upon holy Jonah to back me.
This fundamental thing settled, the next point is, in what internal
respect does the whale differ from other fish.  Above, Linnaeus has
given you those items.  But in brief, they are these: lungs and warm
blood; whereas, all other fish are lungless and cold blooded.

Next: how shall we define the whale, by his obvious externals, so as
conspicuously to label him for all time to come?  To be short, then,
a whale is A SPOUTING FISH WITH A HORIZONTAL TAIL.  There you have
him.  However contracted, that definition is the result of expanded
meditation.  A walrus spouts much like a whale, but the walrus is not
a fish, because he is amphibious.  But the last term of the
definition is still more cogent, as coupled with the first.  Almost
any one must have noticed that all the fish familiar to landsmen have
not a flat, but a vertical, or up-and-down tail.  Whereas, among
spouting fish the tail, though it may be similarly shaped, invariably
assumes a horizontal position.

By the above definition of what a whale is, I do by no means exclude
from the leviathanic brotherhood any sea creature hitherto identified
with the whale by the best informed Nantucketers; nor, on the other
hand, link with it any fish hitherto authoritatively regarded as
alien.*  Hence, all the smaller, spouting, and horizontal tailed fish
must be included in this ground-plan of Cetology.  Now, then, come
the grand divisions of the entire whale host.

*I am aware that down to the present time, the fish styled Lamatins
and Dugongs (Pig-fish and Sow-fish of the Coffins of Nantucket) are
included by many naturalists among the whales.  But as these pig-fish
are a noisy, contemptible set, mostly lurking in the mouths of
rivers, and feeding on wet hay, and especially as they do not spout,
I deny their credentials as whales; and have presented them with
their passports to quit the Kingdom of Cetology.

First: According to magnitude I divide the whales into three primary
BOOKS (subdivisible into CHAPTERS), and these shall comprehend them
all, both small and large.


As the type of the FOLIO I present the SPERM WHALE; of the OCTAVO,

FOLIOS.  Among these I here include the following chapters:--I. The

BOOK I. (FOLIO), CHAPTER I. (SPERM WHALE).--This whale, among the
English of old vaguely known as the Trumpa whale, and the Physeter
whale, and the Anvil Headed whale, is the present Cachalot of the
French, and the Pottsfich of the Germans, and the Macrocephalus of
the Long Words.  He is, without doubt, the largest inhabitant of the
globe; the most formidable of all whales to encounter; the most
majestic in aspect; and lastly, by far the most valuable in commerce;
he being the only creature from which that valuable substance,
spermaceti, is obtained.  All his peculiarities will, in many other
places, be enlarged upon.  It is chiefly with his name that I now
have to do.  Philologically considered, it is absurd.  Some centuries
ago, when the Sperm whale was almost wholly unknown in his own
proper individuality, and when his oil was only accidentally obtained
from the stranded fish; in those days spermaceti, it would seem, was
popularly supposed to be derived from a creature identical with the
one then known in England as the Greenland or Right Whale.  It was
the idea also, that this same spermaceti was that quickening humor of
the Greenland Whale which the first syllable of the word literally
expresses.  In those times, also, spermaceti was exceedingly scarce,
not being used for light, but only as an ointment and medicament.  It
was only to be had from the druggists as you nowadays buy an ounce of
rhubarb.  When, as I opine, in the course of time, the true nature of
spermaceti became known, its original name was still retained by the
dealers; no doubt to enhance its value by a notion so strangely
significant of its scarcity.  And so the appellation must at last
have come to be bestowed upon the whale from which this spermaceti
was really derived.

BOOK I. (FOLIO), CHAPTER II. (RIGHT WHALE).--In one respect this is
the most venerable of the leviathans, being the one first regularly
hunted by man.  It yields the article commonly known as whalebone or
baleen; and the oil specially known as "whale oil," an inferior
article in commerce.  Among the fishermen, he is indiscriminately
designated by all the following titles: The Whale; the Greenland
Whale; the Black Whale; the Great Whale; the True Whale; the Right
Whale.  There is a deal of obscurity concerning the identity of the
species thus multitudinously baptised.  What then is the whale, which
I include in the second species of my Folios?  It is the Great
Mysticetus of the English naturalists; the Greenland Whale of the
English whalemen; the Baliene Ordinaire of the French whalemen; the
Growlands Walfish of the Swedes.  It is the whale which for more than
two centuries past has been hunted by the Dutch and English in the
Arctic seas; it is the whale which the American fishermen have long
pursued in the Indian ocean, on the Brazil Banks, on the Nor' West
Coast, and various other parts of the world, designated by them Right
Whale Cruising Grounds.

Some pretend to see a difference between the Greenland whale of the
English and the right whale of the Americans.  But they precisely
agree in all their grand features; nor has there yet been presented a
single determinate fact upon which to ground a radical distinction.
It is by endless subdivisions based upon the most inconclusive
differences, that some departments of natural history become so
repellingly intricate.  The right whale will be elsewhere treated of
at some length, with reference to elucidating the sperm whale.

BOOK I. (FOLIO), CHAPTER III. (FIN-BACK).--Under this head I reckon a
monster which, by the various names of Fin-Back, Tall-Spout, and
Long-John, has been seen almost in every sea and is commonly the
whale whose distant jet is so often descried by passengers crossing
the Atlantic, in the New York packet-tracks.  In the length he
attains, and in his baleen, the Fin-back resembles the right whale,
but is of a less portly girth, and a lighter colour, approaching to
olive.  His great lips present a cable-like aspect, formed by the
intertwisting, slanting folds of large wrinkles.  His grand
distinguishing feature, the fin, from which he derives his name, is
often a conspicuous object.  This fin is some three or four feet
long, growing vertically from the hinder part of the back, of an
angular shape, and with a very sharp pointed end.  Even if not the
slightest other part of the creature be visible, this isolated fin
will, at times, be seen plainly projecting from the surface.  When
the sea is moderately calm, and slightly marked with spherical
ripples, and this gnomon-like fin stands up and casts shadows upon
the wrinkled surface, it may well be supposed that the watery circle
surrounding it somewhat resembles a dial, with its style and wavy
hour-lines graved on it.  On that Ahaz-dial the shadow often goes
back.  The Fin-Back is not gregarious.  He seems a whale-hater, as
some men are man-haters.  Very shy; always going solitary;
unexpectedly rising to the surface in the remotest and most sullen
waters; his straight and single lofty jet rising like a tall
misanthropic spear upon a barren plain; gifted with such wondrous
power and velocity in swimming, as to defy all present pursuit from
man; this leviathan seems the banished and unconquerable Cain of his
race, bearing for his mark that style upon his back.  From having the
baleen in his mouth, the Fin-Back is sometimes included with the
right whale, among a theoretic species denominated WHALEBONE WHALES,
that is, whales with baleen.  Of these so called Whalebone whales,
there would seem to be several varieties, most of which, however, are
little known.  Broad-nosed whales and beaked whales; pike-headed
whales; bunched whales; under-jawed whales and rostrated whales, are
the fishermen's names for a few sorts.

In connection with this appellative of "Whalebone whales," it is of
great importance to mention, that however such a nomenclature may be
convenient in facilitating allusions to some kind of whales, yet it
is in vain to attempt a clear classification of the Leviathan,
founded upon either his baleen, or hump, or fin, or teeth;
notwithstanding that those marked parts or features very obviously
seem better adapted to afford the basis for a regular system of
Cetology than any other detached bodily distinctions, which the
whale, in his kinds, presents.  How then?  The baleen, hump,
back-fin, and teeth; these are things whose peculiarities are
indiscriminately dispersed among all sorts of whales, without any
regard to what may be the nature of their structure in other and
more essential particulars.  Thus, the sperm whale and the humpbacked
whale, each has a hump; but there the similitude ceases.  Then, this
same humpbacked whale and the Greenland whale, each of these has
baleen; but there again the similitude ceases.  And it is just the
same with the other parts above mentioned.  In various sorts of
whales, they form such irregular combinations; or, in the case of any
one of them detached, such an irregular isolation; as utterly to defy
all general methodization formed upon such a basis.  On this rock
every one of the whale-naturalists has split.

But it may possibly be conceived that, in the internal parts of the
whale, in his anatomy--there, at least, we shall be able to hit the
right classification.  Nay; what thing, for example, is there in the
Greenland whale's anatomy more striking than his baleen?  Yet we have
seen that by his baleen it is impossible correctly to classify the
Greenland whale.  And if you descend into the bowels of the various
leviathans, why there you will not find distinctions a fiftieth part
as available to the systematizer as those external ones already
enumerated.  What then remains? nothing but to take hold of the
whales bodily, in their entire liberal volume, and boldly sort them
that way.  And this is the Bibliographical system here adopted; and
it is the only one that can possibly succeed, for it alone is
practicable.  To proceed.

BOOK I. (FOLIO) CHAPTER IV. (HUMP-BACK).--This whale is often seen on
the northern American coast.  He has been frequently captured there,
and towed into harbor.  He has a great pack on him like a peddler; or
you might call him the Elephant and Castle whale.  At any rate, the
popular name for him does not sufficiently distinguish him, since the
sperm whale also has a hump though a smaller one.  His oil is not
very valuable.  He has baleen.  He is the most gamesome and
light-hearted of all the whales, making more gay foam and white water
generally than any other of them.

BOOK I. (FOLIO), CHAPTER V. (RAZOR-BACK).--Of this whale little is
known but his name.  I have seen him at a distance off Cape Horn.  Of
a retiring nature, he eludes both hunters and philosophers.  Though
no coward, he has never yet shown any part of him but his back, which
rises in a long sharp ridge.  Let him go.  I know little more of him,
nor does anybody else.

gentleman, with a brimstone belly, doubtless got by scraping along
the Tartarian tiles in some of his profounder divings.  He is seldom
seen; at least I have never seen him except in the remoter southern
seas, and then always at too great a distance to study his
countenance.  He is never chased; he would run away with rope-walks
of line.  Prodigies are told of him.  Adieu, Sulphur Bottom!  I can
say nothing more that is true of ye, nor can the oldest Nantucketer.

Thus ends BOOK I. (FOLIO), and now begins BOOK II. (OCTAVO).

OCTAVOES.*--These embrace the whales of middling magnitude, among
which present may be numbered:--I., the GRAMPUS; II., the BLACK FISH;

*Why this book of whales is not denominated the Quarto is very plain.
Because, while the whales of this order, though smaller than those
of the former order, nevertheless retain a proportionate likeness to
them in figure, yet the bookbinder's Quarto volume in its dimensioned
form does not preserve the shape of the Folio volume, but the Octavo
volume does.

BOOK II. (OCTAVO), CHAPTER I. (GRAMPUS).--Though this fish, whose
loud sonorous breathing, or rather blowing, has furnished a proverb
to landsmen, is so well known a denizen of the deep, yet is he not
popularly classed among whales.  But possessing all the grand
distinctive features of the leviathan, most naturalists have
recognised him for one.  He is of moderate octavo size, varying from
fifteen to twenty-five feet in length, and of corresponding
dimensions round the waist.  He swims in herds; he is never regularly
hunted, though his oil is considerable in quantity, and pretty good
for light.  By some fishermen his approach is regarded as premonitory
of the advance of the great sperm whale.

BOOK II. (OCTAVO), CHAPTER II. (BLACK FISH).--I give the popular
fishermen's names for all these fish, for generally they are the
best.  Where any name happens to be vague or inexpressive, I shall
say so, and suggest another.  I do so now, touching the Black Fish,
so-called, because blackness is the rule among almost all whales.
So, call him the Hyena Whale, if you please.  His voracity is well
known, and from the circumstance that the inner angles of his lips
are curved upwards, he carries an everlasting Mephistophelean grin on
his face.  This whale averages some sixteen or eighteen feet in
length.  He is found in almost all latitudes.  He has a peculiar way
of showing his dorsal hooked fin in swimming, which looks something
like a Roman nose.  When not more profitably employed, the sperm
whale hunters sometimes capture the Hyena whale, to keep up the
supply of cheap oil for domestic employment--as some frugal
housekeepers, in the absence of company, and quite alone by
themselves, burn unsavory tallow instead of odorous wax.  Though
their blubber is very thin, some of these whales will yield you
upwards of thirty gallons of oil.

WHALE.--Another instance of a curiously named whale, so named I
suppose from his peculiar horn being originally mistaken for a peaked
nose.  The creature is some sixteen feet in length, while its horn
averages five feet, though some exceed ten, and even attain to
fifteen feet.  Strictly speaking, this horn is but a lengthened tusk,
growing out from the jaw in a line a little depressed from the
horizontal.  But it is only found on the sinister side, which has an
ill effect, giving its owner something analogous to the aspect of a
clumsy left-handed man.  What precise purpose this ivory horn or
lance answers, it would be hard to say.  It does not seem to be used
like the blade of the sword-fish and bill-fish; though some sailors
tell me that the Narwhale employs it for a rake in turning over the
bottom of the sea for food.  Charley Coffin said it was used for an
ice-piercer; for the Narwhale, rising to the surface of the Polar
Sea, and finding it sheeted with ice, thrusts his horn up, and so
breaks through.  But you cannot prove either of these surmises to be
correct.  My own opinion is, that however this one-sided horn may
really be used by the Narwhale--however that may be--it would
certainly be very convenient to him for a folder in reading
pamphlets.  The Narwhale I have heard called the Tusked whale, the
Horned whale, and the Unicorn whale.  He is certainly a curious
example of the Unicornism to be found in almost every kingdom of
animated nature.  From certain cloistered old authors I have gathered
that this same sea-unicorn's horn was in ancient days regarded as the
great antidote against poison, and as such, preparations of it
brought immense prices.  It was also distilled to a volatile salts
for fainting ladies, the same way that the horns of the male deer are
manufactured into hartshorn.  Originally it was in itself accounted
an object of great curiosity.  Black Letter tells me that Sir Martin
Frobisher on his return from that voyage, when Queen Bess did
gallantly wave her jewelled hand to him from a window of Greenwich
Palace, as his bold ship sailed down the Thames; "when Sir Martin
returned from that voyage," saith Black Letter, "on bended knees he
presented to her highness a prodigious long horn of the Narwhale,
which for a long period after hung in the castle at Windsor."  An
Irish author avers that the Earl of Leicester, on bended knees, did
likewise present to her highness another horn, pertaining to a land
beast of the unicorn nature.

The Narwhale has a very picturesque, leopard-like look, being of a
milk-white ground colour, dotted with round and oblong spots of black.
His oil is very superior, clear and fine; but there is little of it,
and he is seldom hunted.  He is mostly found in the circumpolar seas.

BOOK II. (OCTAVO), CHAPTER IV. (KILLER).--Of this whale little is
precisely known to the Nantucketer, and nothing at all to the
professed naturalist.  From what I have seen of him at a distance,
I should say that he was about the bigness of a grampus.  He is very
savage--a sort of Feegee fish.  He sometimes takes the great Folio
whales by the lip, and hangs there like a leech, till the mighty
brute is worried to death.  The Killer is never hunted.  I never
heard what sort of oil he has.  Exception might be taken to the name
bestowed upon this whale, on the ground of its indistinctness.  For
we are all killers, on land and on sea; Bonapartes and Sharks

BOOK II. (OCTAVO), CHAPTER V. (THRASHER).--This gentleman is famous
for his tail, which he uses for a ferule in thrashing his foes.  He
mounts the Folio whale's back, and as he swims, he works his passage
by flogging him; as some schoolmasters get along in the world by a
similar process.  Still less is known of the Thrasher than of the
Killer.  Both are outlaws, even in the lawless seas.

Thus ends BOOK II. (OCTAVO), and begins BOOK III. (DUODECIMO).

DUODECIMOES.--These include the smaller whales.  I. The Huzza
Porpoise.  II. The Algerine Porpoise.  III. The Mealy-mouthed

To those who have not chanced specially to study the subject, it may
possibly seem strange, that fishes not commonly exceeding four or
five feet should be marshalled among WHALES--a word, which, in the
popular sense, always conveys an idea of hugeness.  But the creatures
set down above as Duodecimoes are infallibly whales, by the terms of
my definition of what a whale is--i.e. a spouting fish, with a
horizontal tail.

common porpoise found almost all over the globe.  The name is of my
own bestowal; for there are more than one sort of porpoises, and
something must be done to distinguish them.  I call him thus, because
he always swims in hilarious shoals, which upon the broad sea keep
tossing themselves to heaven like caps in a Fourth-of-July crowd.
Their appearance is generally hailed with delight by the mariner.
Full of fine spirits, they invariably come from the breezy billows to
windward.  They are the lads that always live before the wind.  They
are accounted a lucky omen.  If you yourself can withstand three
cheers at beholding these vivacious fish, then heaven help ye; the
spirit of godly gamesomeness is not in ye.  A well-fed, plump Huzza
Porpoise will yield you one good gallon of good oil.  But the fine
and delicate fluid extracted from his jaws is exceedingly valuable.
It is in request among jewellers and watchmakers.  Sailors put it on
their hones.  Porpoise meat is good eating, you know.  It may never
have occurred to you that a porpoise spouts.  Indeed, his spout is so
small that it is not very readily discernible.  But the next time you
have a chance, watch him; and you will then see the great Sperm whale
himself in miniature.

Very savage.  He is only found, I think, in the Pacific.  He is
somewhat larger than the Huzza Porpoise, but much of the same general
make.  Provoke him, and he will buckle to a shark.  I have lowered
for him many times, but never yet saw him captured.

largest kind of Porpoise; and only found in the Pacific, so far as it
is known.  The only English name, by which he has hitherto been
designated, is that of the fishers--Right-Whale Porpoise, from the
circumstance that he is chiefly found in the vicinity of that Folio.
In shape, he differs in some degree from the Huzza Porpoise, being of
a less rotund and jolly girth; indeed, he is of quite a neat and
gentleman-like figure.  He has no fins on his back (most other
porpoises have), he has a lovely tail, and sentimental Indian eyes of
a hazel hue.  But his mealy-mouth spoils all.  Though his entire
back down to his side fins is of a deep sable, yet a boundary line,
distinct as the mark in a ship's hull, called the "bright waist,"
that line streaks him from stem to stern, with two separate colours,
black above and white below.  The white comprises part of his head,
and the whole of his mouth, which makes him look as if he had just
escaped from a felonious visit to a meal-bag.  A most mean and mealy
aspect!  His oil is much like that of the common porpoise.

Beyond the DUODECIMO, this system does not proceed, inasmuch as the
Porpoise is the smallest of the whales.  Above, you have all the
Leviathans of note.  But there are a rabble of uncertain, fugitive,
half-fabulous whales, which, as an American whaleman, I know by
reputation, but not personally.  I shall enumerate them by their
fore-castle appellations; for possibly such a list may be valuable to
future investigators, who may complete what I have here but begun.
If any of the following whales, shall hereafter be caught and marked,
then he can readily be incorporated into this System, according to
his Folio, Octavo, or Duodecimo magnitude:--The Bottle-Nose Whale;
the Junk Whale; the Pudding-Headed Whale; the Cape Whale; the Leading
Whale; the Cannon Whale; the Scragg Whale; the Coppered Whale; the
Elephant Whale; the Iceberg Whale; the Quog Whale; the Blue Whale; etc.
From Icelandic, Dutch, and old English authorities, there might
be quoted other lists of uncertain whales, blessed with all manner of
uncouth names.  But I omit them as altogether obsolete; and can
hardly help suspecting them for mere sounds, full of Leviathanism,
but signifying nothing.

Finally: It was stated at the outset, that this system would not be
here, and at once, perfected.  You cannot but plainly see that I have
kept my word.  But I now leave my cetological System standing thus
unfinished, even as the great Cathedral of Cologne was left, with the
crane still standing upon the top of the uncompleted tower.  For
small erections may be finished by their first architects; grand
ones, true ones, ever leave the copestone to posterity.  God keep me
from ever completing anything.  This whole book is but a
draught--nay, but the draught of a draught.  Oh, Time, Strength,
Cash, and Patience!


The Specksynder.

Concerning the officers of the whale-craft, this seems as good a
place as any to set down a little domestic peculiarity on ship-board,
arising from the existence of the harpooneer class of officers, a
class unknown of course in any other marine than the whale-fleet.

The large importance attached to the harpooneer's vocation is evinced
by the fact, that originally in the old Dutch Fishery, two centuries
and more ago, the command of a whale ship was not wholly lodged in
the person now called the captain, but was divided between him and an
officer called the Specksynder.  Literally this word means
Fat-Cutter; usage, however, in time made it equivalent to Chief
Harpooneer.  In those days, the captain's authority was restricted to
the navigation and general management of the vessel; while over the
whale-hunting department and all its concerns, the Specksynder or
Chief Harpooneer reigned supreme.  In the British Greenland Fishery,
under the corrupted title of Specksioneer, this old Dutch official is
still retained, but his former dignity is sadly abridged.  At present
he ranks simply as senior Harpooneer; and as such, is but one of the
captain's more inferior subalterns.  Nevertheless, as upon the good
conduct of the harpooneers the success of a whaling voyage largely
depends, and since in the American Fishery he is not only an
important officer in the boat, but under certain circumstances (night
watches on a whaling ground) the command of the ship's deck is also
his; therefore the grand political maxim of the sea demands, that he
should nominally live apart from the men before the mast, and be in
some way distinguished as their professional superior; though always,
by them, familiarly regarded as their social equal.

Now, the grand distinction drawn between officer and man at sea, is
this--the first lives aft, the last forward.  Hence, in whale-ships
and merchantmen alike, the mates have their quarters with the
captain; and so, too, in most of the American whalers the harpooneers
are lodged in the after part of the ship.  That is to say, they take
their meals in the captain's cabin, and sleep in a place indirectly
communicating with it.

Though the long period of a Southern whaling voyage (by far the
longest of all voyages now or ever made by man), the peculiar perils
of it, and the community of interest prevailing among a company, all
of whom, high or low, depend for their profits, not upon fixed wages,
but upon their common luck, together with their common vigilance,
intrepidity, and hard work; though all these things do in some cases
tend to beget a less rigorous discipline than in merchantmen
generally; yet, never mind how much like an old Mesopotamian family
these whalemen may, in some primitive instances, live together; for
all that, the punctilious externals, at least, of the quarter-deck
are seldom materially relaxed, and in no instance done away.  Indeed,
many are the Nantucket ships in which you will see the skipper
parading his quarter-deck with an elated grandeur not surpassed in
any military navy; nay, extorting almost as much outward homage as if
he wore the imperial purple, and not the shabbiest of pilot-cloth.

And though of all men the moody captain of the Pequod was the least
given to that sort of shallowest assumption; and though the only
homage he ever exacted, was implicit, instantaneous obedience; though
he required no man to remove the shoes from his feet ere stepping
upon the quarter-deck; and though there were times when, owing to
peculiar circumstances connected with events hereafter to be
detailed, he addressed them in unusual terms, whether of
condescension or IN TERROREM, or otherwise; yet even Captain Ahab was
by no means unobservant of the paramount forms and usages of the sea.

Nor, perhaps, will it fail to be eventually perceived, that behind
those forms and usages, as it were, he sometimes masked himself;
incidentally making use of them for other and more private ends than
they were legitimately intended to subserve.  That certain sultanism
of his brain, which had otherwise in a good degree remained
unmanifested; through those forms that same sultanism became
incarnate in an irresistible dictatorship.  For be a man's
intellectual superiority what it will, it can never assume the
practical, available supremacy over other men, without the aid of
some sort of external arts and entrenchments, always, in themselves,
more or less paltry and base.  This it is, that for ever keeps God's
true princes of the Empire from the world's hustings; and leaves the
highest honours that this air can give, to those men who become famous
more through their infinite inferiority to the choice hidden handful
of the Divine Inert, than through their undoubted superiority over
the dead level of the mass.  Such large virtue lurks in these small
things when extreme political superstitions invest them, that in some
royal instances even to idiot imbecility they have imparted potency.
But when, as in the case of Nicholas the Czar, the ringed crown of
geographical empire encircles an imperial brain; then, the plebeian
herds crouch abased before the tremendous centralization.  Nor, will
the tragic dramatist who would depict mortal indomitableness in its
fullest sweep and direct swing, ever forget a hint, incidentally so
important in his art, as the one now alluded to.

But Ahab, my Captain, still moves before me in all his Nantucket
grimness and shagginess; and in this episode touching Emperors and
Kings, I must not conceal that I have only to do with a poor old
whale-hunter like him; and, therefore, all outward majestical
trappings and housings are denied me.  Oh, Ahab! what shall be grand
in thee, it must needs be plucked at from the skies, and dived for in
the deep, and featured in the unbodied air!


The Cabin-Table.

It is noon; and Dough-Boy, the steward, thrusting his pale
loaf-of-bread face from the cabin-scuttle, announces dinner to his
lord and master; who, sitting in the lee quarter-boat, has just been
taking an observation of the sun; and is now mutely reckoning the
latitude on the smooth, medallion-shaped tablet, reserved for that
daily purpose on the upper part of his ivory leg.  From his complete
inattention to the tidings, you would think that moody Ahab had not
heard his menial.  But presently, catching hold of the mizen shrouds,
he swings himself to the deck, and in an even, unexhilarated voice,
saying, "Dinner, Mr. Starbuck," disappears into the cabin.

When the last echo of his sultan's step has died away, and Starbuck,
the first Emir, has every reason to suppose that he is seated, then
Starbuck rouses from his quietude, takes a few turns along the
planks, and, after a grave peep into the binnacle, says, with some
touch of pleasantness, "Dinner, Mr. Stubb," and descends the scuttle.
The second Emir lounges about the rigging awhile, and then slightly
shaking the main brace, to see whether it will be all right with
that important rope, he likewise takes up the old burden, and with a
rapid "Dinner, Mr. Flask," follows after his predecessors.

But the third Emir, now seeing himself all alone on the quarter-deck,
seems to feel relieved from some curious restraint; for, tipping all
sorts of knowing winks in all sorts of directions, and kicking off
his shoes, he strikes into a sharp but noiseless squall of a hornpipe
right over the Grand Turk's head; and then, by a dexterous sleight,
pitching his cap up into the mizentop for a shelf, he goes down
rollicking so far at least as he remains visible from the deck,
reversing all other processions, by bringing up the rear with music.
But ere stepping into the cabin doorway below, he pauses, ships a new
face altogether, and, then, independent, hilarious little Flask
enters King Ahab's presence, in the character of Abjectus, or the

It is not the least among the strange things bred by the intense
artificialness of sea-usages, that while in the open air of the deck
some officers will, upon provocation, bear themselves boldly and
defyingly enough towards their commander; yet, ten to one, let those
very officers the next moment go down to their customary dinner in
that same commander's cabin, and straightway their inoffensive, not
to say deprecatory and humble air towards him, as he sits at the head
of the table; this is marvellous, sometimes most comical.  Wherefore
this difference?  A problem?  Perhaps not.  To have been Belshazzar,
King of Babylon; and to have been Belshazzar, not haughtily but
courteously, therein certainly must have been some touch of mundane
grandeur.  But he who in the rightly regal and intelligent spirit
presides over his own private dinner-table of invited guests, that
man's unchallenged power and dominion of individual influence for the
time; that man's royalty of state transcends Belshazzar's, for
Belshazzar was not the greatest.  Who has but once dined his friends,
has tasted what it is to be Caesar.  It is a witchery of social
czarship which there is no withstanding.  Now, if to this
consideration you superadd the official supremacy of a ship-master,
then, by inference, you will derive the cause of that peculiarity of
sea-life just mentioned.

Over his ivory-inlaid table, Ahab presided like a mute, maned
sea-lion on the white coral beach, surrounded by his warlike but
still deferential cubs.  In his own proper turn, each officer waited
to be served.  They were as little children before Ahab; and yet, in
Ahab, there seemed not to lurk the smallest social arrogance.  With
one mind, their intent eyes all fastened upon the old man's knife, as
he carved the chief dish before him.  I do not suppose that for the
world they would have profaned that moment with the slightest
observation, even upon so neutral a topic as the weather.  No!  And
when reaching out his knife and fork, between which the slice of beef
was locked, Ahab thereby motioned Starbuck's plate towards him, the
mate received his meat as though receiving alms; and cut it tenderly;
and a little started if, perchance, the knife grazed against the
plate; and chewed it noiselessly; and swallowed it, not without
circumspection.  For, like the Coronation banquet at Frankfort, where
the German Emperor profoundly dines with the seven Imperial
Electors, so these cabin meals were somehow solemn meals, eaten in
awful silence; and yet at table old Ahab forbade not conversation;
only he himself was dumb.  What a relief it was to choking Stubb,
when a rat made a sudden racket in the hold below.  And poor little
Flask, he was the youngest son, and little boy of this weary family
party.  His were the shinbones of the saline beef; his would have
been the drumsticks.  For Flask to have presumed to help himself,
this must have seemed to him tantamount to larceny in the first
degree.  Had he helped himself at that table, doubtless, never more
would he have been able to hold his head up in this honest world;
nevertheless, strange to say, Ahab never forbade him.  And had Flask
helped himself, the chances were Ahab had never so much as noticed
it.  Least of all, did Flask presume to help himself to butter.
Whether he thought the owners of the ship denied it to him, on
account of its clotting his clear, sunny complexion; or whether he
deemed that, on so long a voyage in such marketless waters, butter
was at a premium, and therefore was not for him, a subaltern; however
it was, Flask, alas! was a butterless man!

Another thing.  Flask was the last person down at the dinner, and
Flask is the first man up.  Consider!  For hereby Flask's dinner was
badly jammed in point of time.  Starbuck and Stubb both had the start
of him; and yet they also have the privilege of lounging in the rear.
If Stubb even, who is but a peg higher than Flask, happens to have
but a small appetite, and soon shows symptoms of concluding his
repast, then Flask must bestir himself, he will not get more than
three mouthfuls that day; for it is against holy usage for Stubb to
precede Flask to the deck.  Therefore it was that Flask once admitted
in private, that ever since he had arisen to the dignity of an
officer, from that moment he had never known what it was to be
otherwise than hungry, more or less.  For what he ate did not so much
relieve his hunger, as keep it immortal in him.  Peace and
satisfaction, thought Flask, have for ever departed from my stomach.
I am an officer; but, how I wish I could fish a bit of old-fashioned
beef in the forecastle, as I used to when I was before the mast.
There's the fruits of promotion now; there's the vanity of glory:
there's the insanity of life!  Besides, if it were so that any mere
sailor of the Pequod had a grudge against Flask in Flask's official
capacity, all that sailor had to do, in order to obtain ample
vengeance, was to go aft at dinner-time, and get a peep at Flask
through the cabin sky-light, sitting silly and dumfoundered before
awful Ahab.

Now, Ahab and his three mates formed what may be called the first
table in the Pequod's cabin.  After their departure, taking place in
inverted order to their arrival, the canvas cloth was cleared, or
rather was restored to some hurried order by the pallid steward.  And
then the three harpooneers were bidden to the feast, they being its
residuary legatees.  They made a sort of temporary servants' hall of
the high and mighty cabin.

In strange contrast to the hardly tolerable constraint and nameless
invisible domineerings of the captain's table, was the entire
care-free license and ease, the almost frantic democracy of those
inferior fellows the harpooneers.  While their masters, the mates,
seemed afraid of the sound of the hinges of their own jaws, the
harpooneers chewed their food with such a relish that there was a
report to it.  They dined like lords; they filled their bellies like
Indian ships all day loading with spices.  Such portentous appetites
had Queequeg and Tashtego, that to fill out the vacancies made by the
previous repast, often the pale Dough-Boy was fain to bring on a
great baron of salt-junk, seemingly quarried out of the solid ox.
And if he were not lively about it, if he did not go with a nimble
hop-skip-and-jump, then Tashtego had an ungentlemanly way of
accelerating him by darting a fork at his back, harpoon-wise.  And
once Daggoo, seized with a sudden humor, assisted Dough-Boy's memory
by snatching him up bodily, and thrusting his head into a great empty
wooden trencher, while Tashtego, knife in hand, began laying out the
circle preliminary to scalping him.  He was naturally a very nervous,
shuddering sort of little fellow, this bread-faced steward; the
progeny of a bankrupt baker and a hospital nurse.  And what with the
standing spectacle of the black terrific Ahab, and the periodical
tumultuous visitations of these three savages, Dough-Boy's whole life
was one continual lip-quiver.  Commonly, after seeing the harpooneers
furnished with all things they demanded, he would escape from their
clutches into his little pantry adjoining, and fearfully peep out at
them through the blinds of its door, till all was over.

It was a sight to see Queequeg seated over against Tashtego, opposing
his filed teeth to the Indian's: crosswise to them, Daggoo seated on
the floor, for a bench would have brought his hearse-plumed head to
the low carlines; at every motion of his colossal limbs, making the
low cabin framework to shake, as when an African elephant goes
passenger in a ship.  But for all this, the great negro was
wonderfully abstemious, not to say dainty.  It seemed hardly possible
that by such comparatively small mouthfuls he could keep up the
vitality diffused through so broad, baronial, and superb a person.
But, doubtless, this noble savage fed strong and drank deep of the
abounding element of air; and through his dilated nostrils snuffed in
the sublime life of the worlds.  Not by beef or by bread, are giants
made or nourished.  But Queequeg, he had a mortal, barbaric smack of
the lip in eating--an ugly sound enough--so much so, that the
trembling Dough-Boy almost looked to see whether any marks of teeth
lurked in his own lean arms.  And when he would hear Tashtego singing
out for him to produce himself, that his bones might be picked, the
simple-witted steward all but shattered the crockery hanging round
him in the pantry, by his sudden fits of the palsy.  Nor did the
whetstone which the harpooneers carried in their pockets, for their
lances and other weapons; and with which whetstones, at dinner, they
would ostentatiously sharpen their knives; that grating sound did not
at all tend to tranquillize poor Dough-Boy.  How could he forget that
in his Island days, Queequeg, for one, must certainly have been
guilty of some murderous, convivial indiscretions.  Alas!  Dough-Boy!
hard fares the white waiter who waits upon cannibals.  Not a napkin
should he carry on his arm, but a buckler.  In good time, though, to
his great delight, the three salt-sea warriors would rise and depart;
to his credulous, fable-mongering ears, all their martial bones
jingling in them at every step, like Moorish scimetars in scabbards.

But, though these barbarians dined in the cabin, and nominally lived
there; still, being anything but sedentary in their habits, they were
scarcely ever in it except at mealtimes, and just before
sleeping-time, when they passed through it to their own peculiar

In this one matter, Ahab seemed no exception to most American whale
captains, who, as a set, rather incline to the opinion that by rights
the ship's cabin belongs to them; and that it is by courtesy alone
that anybody else is, at any time, permitted there.  So that, in real
truth, the mates and harpooneers of the Pequod might more properly be
said to have lived out of the cabin than in it.  For when they did
enter it, it was something as a street-door enters a house; turning
inwards for a moment, only to be turned out the next; and, as a
permanent thing, residing in the open air.  Nor did they lose much
hereby; in the cabin was no companionship; socially, Ahab was
inaccessible.  Though nominally included in the census of
Christendom, he was still an alien to it.  He lived in the world, as
the last of the Grisly Bears lived in settled Missouri.  And as when
Spring and Summer had departed, that wild Logan of the woods, burying
himself in the hollow of a tree, lived out the winter there, sucking
his own paws; so, in his inclement, howling old age, Ahab's soul,
shut up in the caved trunk of his body, there fed upon the sullen
paws of its gloom!


The Mast-Head.

It was during the more pleasant weather, that in due rotation with
the other seamen my first mast-head came round.

In most American whalemen the mast-heads are manned almost
simultaneously with the vessel's leaving her port; even though she
may have fifteen thousand miles, and more, to sail ere reaching her
proper cruising ground.  And if, after a three, four, or five years'
voyage she is drawing nigh home with anything empty in her--say, an
empty vial even--then, her mast-heads are kept manned to the last;
and not till her skysail-poles sail in among the spires of the port,
does she altogether relinquish the hope of capturing one whale more.

Now, as the business of standing mast-heads, ashore or afloat, is a
very ancient and interesting one, let us in some measure expatiate
here.  I take it, that the earliest standers of mast-heads were the
old Egyptians; because, in all my researches, I find none prior to
them.  For though their progenitors, the builders of Babel, must
doubtless, by their tower, have intended to rear the loftiest
mast-head in all Asia, or Africa either; yet (ere the final truck was
put to it) as that great stone mast of theirs may be said to have
gone by the board, in the dread gale of God's wrath; therefore, we
cannot give these Babel builders priority over the Egyptians.  And
that the Egyptians were a nation of mast-head standers, is an
assertion based upon the general belief among archaeologists, that
the first pyramids were founded for astronomical purposes: a theory
singularly supported by the peculiar stair-like formation of all four
sides of those edifices; whereby, with prodigious long upliftings of
their legs, those old astronomers were wont to mount to the apex, and
sing out for new stars; even as the look-outs of a modern ship sing
out for a sail, or a whale just bearing in sight.  In Saint Stylites,
the famous Christian hermit of old times, who built him a lofty stone
pillar in the desert and spent the whole latter portion of his life
on its summit, hoisting his food from the ground with a tackle; in
him we have a remarkable instance of a dauntless
stander-of-mast-heads; who was not to be driven from his place by
fogs or frosts, rain, hail, or sleet; but valiantly facing everything
out to the last, literally died at his post.  Of modern
standers-of-mast-heads we have but a lifeless set; mere stone, iron,
and bronze men; who, though well capable of facing out a stiff gale,
are still entirely incompetent to the business of singing out upon
discovering any strange sight.  There is Napoleon; who, upon the top
of the column of Vendome, stands with arms folded, some one hundred
and fifty feet in the air; careless, now, who rules the decks below;
whether Louis Philippe, Louis Blanc, or Louis the Devil.  Great
Washington, too, stands high aloft on his towering main-mast in
Baltimore, and like one of Hercules' pillars, his column marks that
point of human grandeur beyond which few mortals will go.  Admiral
Nelson, also, on a capstan of gun-metal, stands his mast-head in
Trafalgar Square; and ever when most obscured by that London smoke,
token is yet given that a hidden hero is there; for where there is
smoke, must be fire.  But neither great Washington, nor Napoleon, nor
Nelson, will answer a single hail from below, however madly invoked
to befriend by their counsels the distracted decks upon which they
gaze; however it may be surmised, that their spirits penetrate
through the thick haze of the future, and descry what shoals and what
rocks must be shunned.

It may seem unwarrantable to couple in any respect the mast-head
standers of the land with those of the sea; but that in truth it is
not so, is plainly evinced by an item for which Obed Macy, the sole
historian of Nantucket, stands accountable.  The worthy Obed tells
us, that in the early times of the whale fishery, ere ships were
regularly launched in pursuit of the game, the people of that island
erected lofty spars along the sea-coast, to which the look-outs
ascended by means of nailed cleats, something as fowls go upstairs in
a hen-house.  A few years ago this same plan was adopted by the Bay
whalemen of New Zealand, who, upon descrying the game, gave notice to
the ready-manned boats nigh the beach.  But this custom has now
become obsolete; turn we then to the one proper mast-head, that of a
whale-ship at sea.  The three mast-heads are kept manned from
sun-rise to sun-set; the seamen taking their regular turns (as at the
helm), and relieving each other every two hours.  In the serene
weather of the tropics it is exceedingly pleasant the mast-head; nay,
to a dreamy meditative man it is delightful.  There you stand, a
hundred feet above the silent decks, striding along the deep, as if
the masts were gigantic stilts, while beneath you and between your
legs, as it were, swim the hugest monsters of the sea, even as ships
once sailed between the boots of the famous Colossus at old Rhodes.
There you stand, lost in the infinite series of the sea, with nothing
ruffled but the waves.  The tranced ship indolently rolls; the drowsy
trade winds blow; everything resolves you into languor.  For the most
part, in this tropic whaling life, a sublime uneventfulness invests
you; you hear no news; read no gazettes; extras with startling
accounts of commonplaces never delude you into unnecessary
excitements; you hear of no domestic afflictions; bankrupt
securities; fall of stocks; are never troubled with the thought of
what you shall have for dinner--for all your meals for three years
and more are snugly stowed in casks, and your bill of fare is

In one of those southern whalesmen, on a long three or four years'
voyage, as often happens, the sum of the various hours you spend at
the mast-head would amount to several entire months.  And it is much
to be deplored that the place to which you devote so considerable a
portion of the whole term of your natural life, should be so sadly
destitute of anything approaching to a cosy inhabitiveness, or
adapted to breed a comfortable localness of feeling, such as pertains
to a bed, a hammock, a hearse, a sentry box, a pulpit, a coach, or
any other of those small and snug contrivances in which men
temporarily isolate themselves.  Your most usual point of perch is
the head of the t' gallant-mast, where you stand upon two thin
parallel sticks (almost peculiar to whalemen) called the t' gallant
cross-trees.  Here, tossed about by the sea, the beginner feels about
as cosy as he would standing on a bull's horns.  To be sure, in cold
weather you may carry your house aloft with you, in the shape of a
watch-coat; but properly speaking the thickest watch-coat is no more
of a house than the unclad body; for as the soul is glued inside of
its fleshy tabernacle, and cannot freely move about in it, nor even
move out of it, without running great risk of perishing (like an
ignorant pilgrim crossing the snowy Alps in winter); so a watch-coat
is not so much of a house as it is a mere envelope, or additional
skin encasing you.  You cannot put a shelf or chest of drawers in
your body, and no more can you make a convenient closet of your

Concerning all this, it is much to be deplored that the mast-heads of
a southern whale ship are unprovided with those enviable little tents
or pulpits, called CROW'S-NESTS, in which the look-outs of a
Greenland whaler are protected from the inclement weather of the
frozen seas.  In the fireside narrative of Captain Sleet, entitled
"A Voyage among the Icebergs, in quest of the Greenland Whale, and
incidentally for the re-discovery of the Lost Icelandic Colonies of
Old Greenland;" in this admirable volume, all standers of mast-heads
are furnished with a charmingly circumstantial account of the then
recently invented CROW'S-NEST of the Glacier, which was the name of
Captain Sleet's good craft.  He called it the SLEET'S CROW'S-NEST, in
honour of himself; he being the original inventor and patentee, and
free from all ridiculous false delicacy, and holding that if we call
our own children after our own names (we fathers being the original
inventors and patentees), so likewise should we denominate after
ourselves any other apparatus we may beget.  In shape, the Sleet's
crow's-nest is something like a large tierce or pipe; it is open
above, however, where it is furnished with a movable side-screen to
keep to windward of your head in a hard gale.  Being fixed on the
summit of the mast, you ascend into it through a little trap-hatch in
the bottom.  On the after side, or side next the stern of the ship,
is a comfortable seat, with a locker underneath for umbrellas,
comforters, and coats.  In front is a leather rack, in which to keep
your speaking trumpet, pipe, telescope, and other nautical
conveniences.  When Captain Sleet in person stood his mast-head in
this crow's-nest of his, he tells us that he always had a rifle with
him (also fixed in the rack), together with a powder flask and shot,
for the purpose of popping off the stray narwhales, or vagrant sea
unicorns infesting those waters; for you cannot successfully shoot at
them from the deck owing to the resistance of the water, but to shoot
down upon them is a very different thing.  Now, it was plainly a
labor of love for Captain Sleet to describe, as he does, all the
little detailed conveniences of his crow's-nest; but though he so
enlarges upon many of these, and though he treats us to a very
scientific account of his experiments in this crow's-nest, with a
small compass he kept there for the purpose of counteracting the
errors resulting from what is called the "local attraction" of all
binnacle magnets; an error ascribable to the horizontal vicinity of
the iron in the ship's planks, and in the Glacier's case, perhaps, to
there having been so many broken-down blacksmiths among her crew; I
say, that though the Captain is very discreet and scientific here,
yet, for all his learned "binnacle deviations," "azimuth compass
observations," and "approximate errors," he knows very well, Captain
Sleet, that he was not so much immersed in those profound magnetic
meditations, as to fail being attracted occasionally towards that
well replenished little case-bottle, so nicely tucked in on one side
of his crow's nest, within easy reach of his hand.  Though, upon the
whole, I greatly admire and even love the brave, the honest, and
learned Captain; yet I take it very ill of him that he should so
utterly ignore that case-bottle, seeing what a faithful friend and
comforter it must have been, while with mittened fingers and hooded
head he was studying the mathematics aloft there in that bird's nest
within three or four perches of the pole.

But if we Southern whale-fishers are not so snugly housed aloft as
Captain Sleet and his Greenlandmen were; yet that disadvantage is
greatly counter-balanced by the widely contrasting serenity of those
seductive seas in which we South fishers mostly float.  For one, I
used to lounge up the rigging very leisurely, resting in the top to
have a chat with Queequeg, or any one else off duty whom I might find
there; then ascending a little way further, and throwing a lazy leg
over the top-sail yard, take a preliminary view of the watery
pastures, and so at last mount to my ultimate destination.

Let me make a clean breast of it here, and frankly admit that I kept
but sorry guard.  With the problem of the universe revolving in me,
how could I--being left completely to myself at such a
thought-engendering altitude--how could I but lightly hold my
obligations to observe all whale-ships' standing orders, "Keep your
weather eye open, and sing out every time."

And let me in this place movingly admonish you, ye ship-owners of
Nantucket!  Beware of enlisting in your vigilant fisheries any lad
with lean brow and hollow eye; given to unseasonable meditativeness;
and who offers to ship with the Phaedon instead of Bowditch in his
head.  Beware of such an one, I say; your whales must be seen before
they can be killed; and this sunken-eyed young Platonist will tow you
ten wakes round the world, and never make you one pint of sperm the
richer.  Nor are these monitions at all unneeded.  For nowadays, the
whale-fishery furnishes an asylum for many romantic, melancholy, and
absent-minded young men, disgusted with the carking cares of earth,
and seeking sentiment in tar and blubber.  Childe Harold not
unfrequently perches himself upon the mast-head of some luckless
disappointed whale-ship, and in moody phrase ejaculates:--

"Roll on, thou deep and dark blue ocean, roll!  Ten thousand
blubber-hunters sweep over thee in vain."

Very often do the captains of such ships take those absent-minded
young philosophers to task, upbraiding them with not feeling
sufficient "interest" in the voyage; half-hinting that they are so
hopelessly lost to all honourable ambition, as that in their secret
souls they would rather not see whales than otherwise.  But all in
vain; those young Platonists have a notion that their vision is
imperfect; they are short-sighted; what use, then, to strain the
visual nerve?  They have left their opera-glasses at home.

"Why, thou monkey," said a harpooneer to one of these lads, "we've
been cruising now hard upon three years, and thou hast not raised a
whale yet.  Whales are scarce as hen's teeth whenever thou art up
here."  Perhaps they were; or perhaps there might have been shoals of
them in the far horizon; but lulled into such an opium-like
listlessness of vacant, unconscious reverie is this absent-minded
youth by the blending cadence of waves with thoughts, that at last he
loses his identity; takes the mystic ocean at his feet for the
visible image of that deep, blue, bottomless soul, pervading mankind
and nature; and every strange, half-seen, gliding, beautiful thing
that eludes him; every dimly-discovered, uprising fin of some
undiscernible form, seems to him the embodiment of those elusive
thoughts that only people the soul by continually flitting through
it.  In this enchanted mood, thy spirit ebbs away to whence it came;
becomes diffused through time and space; like Crammer's sprinkled
Pantheistic ashes, forming at last a part of every shore the round
globe over.

There is no life in thee, now, except that rocking life imparted by a
gently rolling ship; by her, borrowed from the sea; by the sea, from
the inscrutable tides of God.  But while this sleep, this dream is on
ye, move your foot or hand an inch; slip your hold at all; and your
identity comes back in horror.  Over Descartian vortices you hover.
And perhaps, at mid-day, in the fairest weather, with one
half-throttled shriek you drop through that transparent air into the
summer sea, no more to rise for ever.  Heed it well, ye Pantheists!


The Quarter-Deck.


It was not a great while after the affair of the pipe, that one
morning shortly after breakfast, Ahab, as was his wont, ascended the
cabin-gangway to the deck.  There most sea-captains usually walk at
that hour, as country gentlemen, after the same meal, take a few
turns in the garden.

Soon his steady, ivory stride was heard, as to and fro he paced his
old rounds, upon planks so familiar to his tread, that they were all
over dented, like geological stones, with the peculiar mark of his
walk.  Did you fixedly gaze, too, upon that ribbed and dented brow;
there also, you would see still stranger foot-prints--the foot-prints
of his one unsleeping, ever-pacing thought.

But on the occasion in question, those dents looked deeper, even as
his nervous step that morning left a deeper mark.  And, so full of
his thought was Ahab, that at every uniform turn that he made, now at
the main-mast and now at the binnacle, you could almost see that
thought turn in him as he turned, and pace in him as he paced; so
completely possessing him, indeed, that it all but seemed the inward
mould of every outer movement.

"D'ye mark him, Flask?" whispered Stubb; "the chick that's in him
pecks the shell.  'Twill soon be out."

The hours wore on;--Ahab now shut up within his cabin; anon, pacing
the deck, with the same intense bigotry of purpose in his aspect.

It drew near the close of day.  Suddenly he came to a halt by the
bulwarks, and inserting his bone leg into the auger-hole there, and
with one hand grasping a shroud, he ordered Starbuck to send
everybody aft.

"Sir!" said the mate, astonished at an order seldom or never given on
ship-board except in some extraordinary case.

"Send everybody aft," repeated Ahab.  "Mast-heads, there! come down!"

When the entire ship's company were assembled, and with curious and
not wholly unapprehensive faces, were eyeing him, for he looked not
unlike the weather horizon when a storm is coming up, Ahab, after
rapidly glancing over the bulwarks, and then darting his eyes among
the crew, started from his standpoint; and as though not a soul were
nigh him resumed his heavy turns upon the deck.  With bent head and
half-slouched hat he continued to pace, unmindful of the wondering
whispering among the men; till Stubb cautiously whispered to Flask,
that Ahab must have summoned them there for the purpose of witnessing
a pedestrian feat.  But this did not last long.  Vehemently pausing,
he cried:--

"What do ye do when ye see a whale, men?"

"Sing out for him!" was the impulsive rejoinder from a score of
clubbed voices.

"Good!" cried Ahab, with a wild approval in his tones; observing the
hearty animation into which his unexpected question had so
magnetically thrown them.

"And what do ye next, men?"

"Lower away, and after him!"

"And what tune is it ye pull to, men?"

"A dead whale or a stove boat!"

More and more strangely and fiercely glad and approving, grew the
countenance of the old man at every shout; while the mariners began
to gaze curiously at each other, as if marvelling how it was that
they themselves became so excited at such seemingly purposeless

But, they were all eagerness again, as Ahab, now half-revolving in
his pivot-hole, with one hand reaching high up a shroud, and tightly,
almost convulsively grasping it, addressed them thus:--

"All ye mast-headers have before now heard me give orders about a
white whale.  Look ye! d'ye see this Spanish ounce of gold?"--holding
up a broad bright coin to the sun--"it is a sixteen dollar piece,
men.  D'ye see it?  Mr. Starbuck, hand me yon top-maul."

While the mate was getting the hammer, Ahab, without speaking, was
slowly rubbing the gold piece against the skirts of his jacket, as if
to heighten its lustre, and without using any words was meanwhile
lowly humming to himself, producing a sound so strangely muffled and
inarticulate that it seemed the mechanical humming of the wheels of
his vitality in him.

Receiving the top-maul from Starbuck, he advanced towards the
main-mast with the hammer uplifted in one hand, exhibiting the gold
with the other, and with a high raised voice exclaiming: "Whosoever
of ye raises me a white-headed whale with a wrinkled brow and a
crooked jaw; whosoever of ye raises me that white-headed whale, with
three holes punctured in his starboard fluke--look ye, whosoever of
ye raises me that same white whale, he shall have this gold ounce, my

"Huzza! huzza!" cried the seamen, as with swinging tarpaulins they
hailed the act of nailing the gold to the mast.

"It's a white whale, I say," resumed Ahab, as he threw down the
topmaul: "a white whale.  Skin your eyes for him, men; look sharp for
white water; if ye see but a bubble, sing out."

All this while Tashtego, Daggoo, and Queequeg had looked on with even
more intense interest and surprise than the rest, and at the mention
of the wrinkled brow and crooked jaw they had started as if each was
separately touched by some specific recollection.

"Captain Ahab," said Tashtego, "that white whale must be the same
that some call Moby Dick."

"Moby Dick?" shouted Ahab.  "Do ye know the white whale then, Tash?"

"Does he fan-tail a little curious, sir, before he goes down?" said
the Gay-Header deliberately.

"And has he a curious spout, too," said Daggoo, "very bushy, even for
a parmacetty, and mighty quick, Captain Ahab?"

"And he have one, two, three--oh! good many iron in him hide, too,
Captain," cried Queequeg disjointedly, "all twiske-tee be-twisk, like
him--him--" faltering hard for a word, and screwing his hand round
and round as though uncorking a bottle--"like him--him--"

"Corkscrew!" cried Ahab, "aye, Queequeg, the harpoons lie all twisted
and wrenched in him; aye, Daggoo, his spout is a big one, like a
whole shock of wheat, and white as a pile of our Nantucket wool after
the great annual sheep-shearing; aye, Tashtego, and he fan-tails like
a split jib in a squall.  Death and devils! men, it is Moby Dick ye
have seen--Moby Dick--Moby Dick!"

"Captain Ahab," said Starbuck, who, with Stubb and Flask, had thus
far been eyeing his superior with increasing surprise, but at last
seemed struck with a thought which somewhat explained all the wonder.
"Captain Ahab, I have heard of Moby Dick--but it was not Moby Dick
that took off thy leg?"

"Who told thee that?" cried Ahab; then pausing, "Aye, Starbuck; aye,
my hearties all round; it was Moby Dick that dismasted me; Moby Dick
that brought me to this dead stump I stand on now.  Aye, aye," he
shouted with a terrific, loud, animal sob, like that of a
heart-stricken moose; "Aye, aye! it was that accursed white whale
that razeed me; made a poor pegging lubber of me for ever and a day!"
Then tossing both arms, with measureless imprecations he shouted
out: "Aye, aye! and I'll chase him round Good Hope, and round the
Horn, and round the Norway Maelstrom, and round perdition's flames
before I give him up.  And this is what ye have shipped for, men! to
chase that white whale on both sides of land, and over all sides of
earth, till he spouts black blood and rolls fin out.  What say ye,
men, will ye splice hands on it, now?  I think ye do look brave."

"Aye, aye!" shouted the harpooneers and seamen, running closer to the
excited old man: "A sharp eye for the white whale; a sharp lance for
Moby Dick!"

"God bless ye," he seemed to half sob and half shout.  "God bless ye,
men.  Steward! go draw the great measure of grog.  But what's this
long face about, Mr. Starbuck; wilt thou not chase the white whale?
art not game for Moby Dick?"

"I am game for his crooked jaw, and for the jaws of Death too,
Captain Ahab, if it fairly comes in the way of the business we
follow; but I came here to hunt whales, not my commander's vengeance.
How many barrels will thy vengeance yield thee even if thou gettest
it, Captain Ahab? it will not fetch thee much in our Nantucket

"Nantucket market!  Hoot!  But come closer, Starbuck; thou requirest
a little lower layer.  If money's to be the measurer, man, and the
accountants have computed their great counting-house the globe, by
girdling it with guineas, one to every three parts of an inch; then,
let me tell thee, that my vengeance will fetch a great premium HERE!"

"He smites his chest," whispered Stubb, "what's that for? methinks it
rings most vast, but hollow."

"Vengeance on a dumb brute!" cried Starbuck, "that simply smote thee
from blindest instinct!  Madness!  To be enraged with a dumb thing,
Captain Ahab, seems blasphemous."

"Hark ye yet again--the little lower layer.  All visible objects,
man, are but as pasteboard masks.  But in each event--in the living
act, the undoubted deed--there, some unknown but still reasoning
thing puts forth the mouldings of its features from behind the
unreasoning mask.  If man will strike, strike through the mask!  How
can the prisoner reach outside except by thrusting through the wall?
To me, the white whale is that wall, shoved near to me.  Sometimes I
think there's naught beyond.  But 'tis enough.  He tasks me; he heaps
me; I see in him outrageous strength, with an inscrutable malice
sinewing it.  That inscrutable thing is chiefly what I hate; and be
the white whale agent, or be the white whale principal, I will wreak
that hate upon him.  Talk not to me of blasphemy, man; I'd strike the
sun if it insulted me.  For could the sun do that, then could I do
the other; since there is ever a sort of fair play herein, jealousy
presiding over all creations.  But not my master, man, is even that
fair play.  Who's over me?  Truth hath no confines.  Take off thine
eye! more intolerable than fiends' glarings is a doltish stare!  So,
so; thou reddenest and palest; my heat has melted thee to anger-glow.
But look ye, Starbuck, what is said in heat, that thing unsays
itself.  There are men from whom warm words are small indignity.  I
meant not to incense thee.  Let it go.  Look! see yonder Turkish
cheeks of spotted tawn--living, breathing pictures painted by the
sun.  The Pagan leopards--the unrecking and unworshipping things,
that live; and seek, and give no reasons for the torrid life they
feel!  The crew, man, the crew!  Are they not one and all with Ahab,
in this matter of the whale?  See Stubb! he laughs!  See yonder
Chilian! he snorts to think of it.  Stand up amid the general
hurricane, thy one tost sapling cannot, Starbuck!  And what is it?
Reckon it.  'Tis but to help strike a fin; no wondrous feat for
Starbuck.  What is it more?  From this one poor hunt, then, the best
lance out of all Nantucket, surely he will not hang back, when every
foremast-hand has clutched a whetstone?  Ah! constrainings seize
thee; I see! the billow lifts thee!  Speak, but speak!--Aye, aye! thy
silence, then, THAT voices thee.  (ASIDE) Something shot from my
dilated nostrils, he has inhaled it in his lungs.  Starbuck now is
mine; cannot oppose me now, without rebellion."

"God keep me!--keep us all!" murmured Starbuck, lowly.

But in his joy at the enchanted, tacit acquiescence of the mate, Ahab
did not hear his foreboding invocation; nor yet the low laugh from
the hold; nor yet the presaging vibrations of the winds in the
cordage; nor yet the hollow flap of the sails against the masts, as
for a moment their hearts sank in.  For again Starbuck's downcast
eyes lighted up with the stubbornness of life; the subterranean laugh
died away; the winds blew on; the sails filled out; the ship heaved
and rolled as before.  Ah, ye admonitions and warnings! why stay ye
not when ye come?  But rather are ye predictions than warnings, ye
shadows!  Yet not so much predictions from without, as verifications
of the foregoing things within.  For with little external to
constrain us, the innermost necessities in our being, these still
drive us on.

"The measure! the measure!" cried Ahab.

Receiving the brimming pewter, and turning to the harpooneers, he
ordered them to produce their weapons.  Then ranging them before him
near the capstan, with their harpoons in their hands, while his three
mates stood at his side with their lances, and the rest of the ship's
company formed a circle round the group; he stood for an instant
searchingly eyeing every man of his crew.  But those wild eyes met
his, as the bloodshot eyes of the prairie wolves meet the eye of
their leader, ere he rushes on at their head in the trail of the
bison; but, alas! only to fall into the hidden snare of the Indian.

"Drink and pass!" he cried, handing the heavy charged flagon to the
nearest seaman.  "The crew alone now drink.  Round with it, round!
Short draughts--long swallows, men; 'tis hot as Satan's hoof.  So,
so; it goes round excellently.  It spiralizes in ye; forks out at the
serpent-snapping eye.  Well done; almost drained.  That way it went,
this way it comes.  Hand it me--here's a hollow!  Men, ye seem the
years; so brimming life is gulped and gone.  Steward, refill!

"Attend now, my braves.  I have mustered ye all round this capstan;
and ye mates, flank me with your lances; and ye harpooneers, stand
there with your irons; and ye, stout mariners, ring me in, that I may
in some sort revive a noble custom of my fisherman fathers before
me.  O men, you will yet see that--Ha! boy, come back? bad pennies
come not sooner.  Hand it me.  Why, now, this pewter had run brimming
again, were't not thou St. Vitus' imp--away, thou ague!

"Advance, ye mates!  Cross your lances full before me.  Well done!
Let me touch the axis."  So saying, with extended arm, he grasped the
three level, radiating lances at their crossed centre; while so
doing, suddenly and nervously twitched them; meanwhile, glancing
intently from Starbuck to Stubb; from Stubb to Flask.  It seemed as
though, by some nameless, interior volition, he would fain have
shocked into them the same fiery emotion accumulated within the
Leyden jar of his own magnetic life.  The three mates quailed before
his strong, sustained, and mystic aspect.  Stubb and Flask looked
sideways from him; the honest eye of Starbuck fell downright.

"In vain!" cried Ahab; "but, maybe, 'tis well.  For did ye three but
once take the full-forced shock, then mine own electric thing, THAT
had perhaps expired from out me.  Perchance, too, it would have
dropped ye dead.  Perchance ye need it not.  Down lances!  And now,
ye mates, I do appoint ye three cupbearers to my three pagan kinsmen
there--yon three most honourable gentlemen and noblemen, my valiant
harpooneers.  Disdain the task?  What, when the great Pope washes the
feet of beggars, using his tiara for ewer?  Oh, my sweet cardinals!
your own condescension, THAT shall bend ye to it.  I do not order ye;
ye will it.  Cut your seizings and draw the poles, ye harpooneers!"

Silently obeying the order, the three harpooneers now stood with the
detached iron part of their harpoons, some three feet long, held,
barbs up, before him.

"Stab me not with that keen steel!  Cant them; cant them over! know
ye not the goblet end?  Turn up the socket!  So, so; now, ye
cup-bearers, advance.  The irons! take them; hold them while I fill!"
Forthwith, slowly going from one officer to the other, he brimmed
the harpoon sockets with the fiery waters from the pewter.

"Now, three to three, ye stand.  Commend the murderous chalices!
Bestow them, ye who are now made parties to this indissoluble league.
Ha!  Starbuck! but the deed is done!  Yon ratifying sun now waits to
sit upon it.  Drink, ye harpooneers! drink and swear, ye men that man
the deathful whaleboat's bow--Death to Moby Dick!  God hunt us all,
if we do not hunt Moby Dick to his death!"  The long, barbed steel
goblets were lifted; and to cries and maledictions against the white
whale, the spirits were simultaneously quaffed down with a hiss.
Starbuck paled, and turned, and shivered.  Once more, and finally,
the replenished pewter went the rounds among the frantic crew; when,
waving his free hand to them, they all dispersed; and Ahab retired
within his cabin.




I leave a white and turbid wake; pale waters, paler cheeks, where'er
I sail.  The envious billows sidelong swell to whelm my track; let
them; but first I pass.

Yonder, by ever-brimming goblet's rim, the warm waves blush like
wine.  The gold brow plumbs the blue.  The diver sun--slow dived from
noon--goes down; my soul mounts up! she wearies with her endless
hill.  Is, then, the crown too heavy that I wear? this Iron Crown of
Lombardy.  Yet is it bright with many a gem; I the wearer, see not
its far flashings; but darkly feel that I wear that, that dazzlingly
confounds.  'Tis iron--that I know--not gold.  'Tis split, too--that
I feel; the jagged edge galls me so, my brain seems to beat against
the solid metal; aye, steel skull, mine; the sort that needs no
helmet in the most brain-battering fight!

Dry heat upon my brow?  Oh! time was, when as the sunrise nobly
spurred me, so the sunset soothed.  No more.  This lovely light, it
lights not me; all loveliness is anguish to me, since I can ne'er
enjoy.  Gifted with the high perception, I lack the low, enjoying
power; damned, most subtly and most malignantly! damned in the midst
of Paradise!  Good night--good night! (WAVING HIS HAND, HE MOVES FROM

'Twas not so hard a task.  I thought to find one stubborn, at the
least; but my one cogged circle fits into all their various wheels,
and they revolve.  Or, if you will, like so many ant-hills of powder,
they all stand before me; and I their match.  Oh, hard! that to fire
others, the match itself must needs be wasting!  What I've dared,
I've willed; and what I've willed, I'll do!  They think me
mad--Starbuck does; but I'm demoniac, I am madness maddened!  That
wild madness that's only calm to comprehend itself!  The prophecy was
that I should be dismembered; and--Aye!  I lost this leg.  I now
prophesy that I will dismember my dismemberer.  Now, then, be the
prophet and the fulfiller one.  That's more than ye, ye great gods,
ever were.  I laugh and hoot at ye, ye cricket-players, ye pugilists,
ye deaf Burkes and blinded Bendigoes!  I will not say as schoolboys
do to bullies--Take some one of your own size; don't pommel ME!  No,
ye've knocked me down, and I am up again; but YE have run and hidden.
Come forth from behind your cotton bags!  I have no long gun to
reach ye.  Come, Ahab's compliments to ye; come and see if ye can
swerve me.  Swerve me? ye cannot swerve me, else ye swerve
yourselves! man has ye there.  Swerve me?  The path to my fixed
purpose is laid with iron rails, whereon my soul is grooved to run.
Over unsounded gorges, through the rifled hearts of mountains, under
torrents' beds, unerringly I rush!  Naught's an obstacle, naught's an
angle to the iron way!




My soul is more than matched; she's overmanned; and by a madman!
Insufferable sting, that sanity should ground arms on such a field!
But he drilled deep down, and blasted all my reason out of me!  I
think I see his impious end; but feel that I must help him to it.
Will I, nill I, the ineffable thing has tied me to him; tows me with
a cable I have no knife to cut.  Horrible old man!  Who's over him,
he cries;--aye, he would be a democrat to all above; look, how he
lords it over all below!  Oh!  I plainly see my miserable office,--to
obey, rebelling; and worse yet, to hate with touch of pity!  For in
his eyes I read some lurid woe would shrivel me up, had I it.  Yet is
there hope.  Time and tide flow wide.  The hated whale has the round
watery world to swim in, as the small gold-fish has its glassy globe.
His heaven-insulting purpose, God may wedge aside.  I would up
heart, were it not like lead.  But my whole clock's run down; my
heart the all-controlling weight, I have no key to lift again.


Oh, God! to sail with such a heathen crew that have small touch of
human mothers in them!  Whelped somewhere by the sharkish sea.  The
white whale is their demigorgon.  Hark! the infernal orgies! that
revelry is forward! mark the unfaltering silence aft!  Methinks it
pictures life.  Foremost through the sparkling sea shoots on the gay,
embattled, bantering bow, but only to drag dark Ahab after it, where
he broods within his sternward cabin, builded over the dead water of
the wake, and further on, hunted by its wolfish gurglings.  The long
howl thrills me through!  Peace! ye revellers, and set the watch!
Oh, life!  'tis in an hour like this, with soul beat down and held to
knowledge,--as wild, untutored things are forced to feed--Oh, life!
'tis now that I do feel the latent horror in thee! but 'tis not me!
that horror's out of me! and with the soft feeling of the human in
me, yet will I try to fight ye, ye grim, phantom futures!  Stand by
me, hold me, bind me, O ye blessed influences!


First Night Watch.



Ha! ha! ha! ha! hem! clear my throat!--I've been thinking over it
ever since, and that ha, ha's the final consequence.  Why so?
Because a laugh's the wisest, easiest answer to all that's queer; and
come what will, one comfort's always left--that unfailing comfort is,
it's all predestinated.  I heard not all his talk with Starbuck; but
to my poor eye Starbuck then looked something as I the other evening
felt.  Be sure the old Mogul has fixed him, too.  I twigged it, knew
it; had had the gift, might readily have prophesied it--for when I
clapped my eye upon his skull I saw it.  Well, Stubb, WISE
Stubb--that's my title--well, Stubb, what of it, Stubb?  Here's a
carcase.  I know not all that may be coming, but be it what it will,
I'll go to it laughing.  Such a waggish leering as lurks in all your
horribles!  I feel funny.  Fa, la! lirra, skirra!  What's my juicy
little pear at home doing now?  Crying its eyes out?--Giving a party
to the last arrived harpooneers, I dare say, gay as a frigate's
pennant, and so am I--fa, la! lirra, skirra!  Oh--

We'll drink to-night with hearts as light,
To love, as gay and fleeting
As bubbles that swim, on the beaker's brim,
And break on the lips while meeting.

A brave stave that--who calls?  Mr. Starbuck?  Aye, aye, sir--(ASIDE)
he's my superior, he has his too, if I'm not mistaken.--Aye, aye,
sir, just through with this job--coming.


Midnight, Forecastle.



Farewell and adieu to you, Spanish ladies!
Farewell and adieu to you, ladies of Spain!
Our captain's commanded.--

Oh, boys, don't be sentimental; it's bad for the digestion!  Take a
tonic, follow me!

Our captain stood upon the deck,
A spy-glass in his hand,
A viewing of those gallant whales
That blew at every strand.
Oh, your tubs in your boats, my boys,
And by your braces stand,
And we'll have one of those fine whales,
Hand, boys, over hand!
So, be cheery, my lads! may your hearts never fail!
While the bold harpooner is striking the whale!

Eight bells there, forward!

Avast the chorus!  Eight bells there! d'ye hear, bell-boy?  Strike
the bell eight, thou Pip! thou blackling! and let me call the watch.
I've the sort of mouth for that--the hogshead mouth.  So, so,
(THRUSTS HIS HEAD DOWN THE SCUTTLE,) Star-bo-l-e-e-n-s, a-h-o-y!
Eight bells there below!  Tumble up!

Grand snoozing to-night, maty; fat night for that.  I mark this in
our old Mogul's wine; it's quite as deadening to some as filliping to
others.  We sing; they sleep--aye, lie down there, like ground-tier
butts.  At 'em again!  There, take this copper-pump, and hail 'em
through it.  Tell 'em to avast dreaming of their lasses.  Tell 'em
it's the resurrection; they must kiss their last, and come to
judgment.  That's the way--THAT'S it; thy throat ain't spoiled with
eating Amsterdam butter.

Hist, boys! let's have a jig or two before we ride to anchor in
Blanket Bay.  What say ye?  There comes the other watch.  Stand by
all legs!  Pip! little Pip! hurrah with your tambourine!

Don't know where it is.

Beat thy belly, then, and wag thy ears.  Jig it, men, I say; merry's
the word; hurrah!  Damn me, won't you dance?  Form, now, Indian-file,
and gallop into the double-shuffle?  Throw yourselves!  Legs! legs!

I don't like your floor, maty; it's too springy to my taste.  I'm
used to ice-floors.  I'm sorry to throw cold water on the subject;
but excuse me.

Me too; where's your girls?  Who but a fool would take his left hand
by his right, and say to himself, how d'ye do?  Partners!  I must
have partners!

Aye; girls and a green!--then I'll hop with ye; yea, turn

Well, well, ye sulkies, there's plenty more of us.  Hoe corn when you
may, say I.  All legs go to harvest soon.  Ah! here comes the music;
now for it!

Here you are, Pip; and there's the windlass-bitts; up you mount!
Now, boys!

Go it, Pip!  Bang it, bell-boy!  Rig it, dig it, stig it, quig it,
bell-boy!  Make fire-flies; break the jinglers!

Jinglers, you say?--there goes another, dropped off; I pound it so.

Rattle thy teeth, then, and pound away; make a pagoda of thyself.

Merry-mad!  Hold up thy hoop, Pip, till I jump through it!  Split
jibs! tear yourselves!

That's a white man; he calls that fun: humph!  I save my sweat.

I wonder whether those jolly lads bethink them of what they are
dancing over.  I'll dance over your grave, I will--that's the
bitterest threat of your night-women, that beat head-winds round
corners.  O Christ! to think of the green navies and the
green-skulled crews!  Well, well; belike the whole world's a ball, as
you scholars have it; and so 'tis right to make one ballroom of it.
Dance on, lads, you're young; I was once.

Spell oh!--whew! this is worse than pulling after whales in a
calm--give us a whiff, Tash.


By Brahma! boys, it'll be douse sail soon.  The sky-born, high-tide
Ganges turned to wind!  Thou showest thy black brow, Seeva!

It's the waves--the snow's caps turn to jig it now.  They'll shake
their tassels soon.  Now would all the waves were women, then I'd go
drown, and chassee with them evermore!  There's naught so sweet on
earth--heaven may not match it!--as those swift glances of warm, wild
bosoms in the dance, when the over-arboring arms hide such ripe,
bursting grapes.

Tell me not of it!  Hark ye, lad--fleet interlacings of the
limbs--lithe swayings--coyings--flutterings! lip! heart! hip! all
graze: unceasing touch and go! not taste, observe ye, else come
satiety.  Eh, Pagan? (NUDGING.)

Hail, holy nakedness of our dancing girls!--the Heeva-Heeva!  Ah! low
veiled, high palmed Tahiti!  I still rest me on thy mat, but the soft
soil has slid!  I saw thee woven in the wood, my mat! green the first
day I brought ye thence; now worn and wilted quite.  Ah me!--not thou
nor I can bear the change!  How then, if so be transplanted to yon
sky?  Hear I the roaring streams from Pirohitee's peak of spears,
when they leap down the crags and drown the villages?--The blast! the
blast!  Up, spine, and meet it! (LEAPS TO HIS FEET.)

How the sea rolls swashing 'gainst the side!  Stand by for reefing,
hearties! the winds are just crossing swords, pell-mell they'll go
lunging presently.

Crack, crack, old ship! so long as thou crackest, thou holdest!  Well
done!  The mate there holds ye to it stiffly.  He's no more afraid
than the isle fort at Cattegat, put there to fight the Baltic with
storm-lashed guns, on which the sea-salt cakes!

He has his orders, mind ye that.  I heard old Ahab tell him he must
always kill a squall, something as they burst a waterspout with a
pistol--fire your ship right into it!

Blood! but that old man's a grand old cove!  We are the lads to hunt
him up his whale!

Aye! aye!

How the three pines shake!  Pines are the hardest sort of tree to
live when shifted to any other soil, and here there's none but the
crew's cursed clay.  Steady, helmsman! steady.  This is the sort of
weather when brave hearts snap ashore, and keeled hulls split at sea.
Our captain has his birthmark; look yonder, boys, there's another in
the sky--lurid-like, ye see, all else pitch black.

What of that?  Who's afraid of black's afraid of me!  I'm quarried
out of it!

(ASIDE.) He wants to bully, ah!--the old grudge makes me touchy
(ADVANCING.) Aye, harpooneer, thy race is the undeniable dark side of
mankind--devilish dark at that.  No offence.


That Spaniard's mad or drunk.  But that can't be, or else in his one
case our old Mogul's fire-waters are somewhat long in working.

What's that I saw--lightning?  Yes.

No; Daggoo showing his teeth.

Swallow thine, mannikin!  White skin, white liver!

Knife thee heartily! big frame, small spirit!

A row! a row! a row!

A row a'low, and a row aloft--Gods and men--both brawlers!  Humph!

A row! arrah a row!  The Virgin be blessed, a row!  Plunge in with

Fair play!  Snatch the Spaniard's knife!  A ring, a ring!

Ready formed.  There! the ringed horizon.  In that ring Cain struck
Abel.  Sweet work, right work!  No?  Why then, God, mad'st thou the

Hands by the halyards! in top-gallant sails!  Stand by to reef

The squall! the squall! jump, my jollies! (THEY SCATTER.)

Jollies?  Lord help such jollies!  Crish, crash! there goes the
jib-stay!  Blang-whang!  God!  Duck lower, Pip, here comes the royal
yard!  It's worse than being in the whirled woods, the last day of
the year!  Who'd go climbing after chestnuts now?  But there they
go, all cursing, and here I don't.  Fine prospects to 'em; they're on
the road to heaven.  Hold on hard!  Jimmini, what a squall!  But
those chaps there are worse yet--they are your white squalls, they.
White squalls? white whale, shirr! shirr!  Here have I heard all
their chat just now, and the white whale--shirr! shirr!--but spoken
of once! and only this evening--it makes me jingle all over like my
tambourine--that anaconda of an old man swore 'em in to hunt him!
Oh, thou big white God aloft there somewhere in yon darkness, have
mercy on this small black boy down here; preserve him from all men
that have no bowels to feel fear!


Moby Dick.

I, Ishmael, was one of that crew; my shouts had gone up with the
rest; my oath had been welded with theirs; and stronger I shouted,
and more did I hammer and clinch my oath, because of the dread in my
soul.  A wild, mystical, sympathetical feeling was in me; Ahab's
quenchless feud seemed mine.  With greedy ears I learned the history
of that murderous monster against whom I and all the others had taken
our oaths of violence and revenge.

For some time past, though at intervals only, the unaccompanied,
secluded White Whale had haunted those uncivilized seas mostly
frequented by the Sperm Whale fishermen.  But not all of them knew of
his existence; only a few of them, comparatively, had knowingly seen
him; while the number who as yet had actually and knowingly given
battle to him, was small indeed.  For, owing to the large number of
whale-cruisers; the disorderly way they were sprinkled over the
entire watery circumference, many of them adventurously pushing their
quest along solitary latitudes, so as seldom or never for a whole
twelvemonth or more on a stretch, to encounter a single news-telling
sail of any sort; the inordinate length of each separate voyage; the
irregularity of the times of sailing from home; all these, with other
circumstances, direct and indirect, long obstructed the spread
through the whole world-wide whaling-fleet of the special
individualizing tidings concerning Moby Dick.  It was hardly to be
doubted, that several vessels reported to have encountered, at such
or such a time, or on such or such a meridian, a Sperm Whale of
uncommon magnitude and malignity, which whale, after doing great
mischief to his assailants, had completely escaped them; to some
minds it was not an unfair presumption, I say, that the whale in
question must have been no other than Moby Dick.  Yet as of late the
Sperm Whale fishery had been marked by various and not unfrequent
instances of great ferocity, cunning, and malice in the monster
attacked; therefore it was, that those who by accident ignorantly
gave battle to Moby Dick; such hunters, perhaps, for the most part,
were content to ascribe the peculiar terror he bred, more, as it
were, to the perils of the Sperm Whale fishery at large, than to the
individual cause.  In that way, mostly, the disastrous encounter
between Ahab and the whale had hitherto been popularly regarded.

And as for those who, previously hearing of the White Whale, by
chance caught sight of him; in the beginning of the thing they had
every one of them, almost, as boldly and fearlessly lowered for him,
as for any other whale of that species.  But at length, such
calamities did ensue in these assaults--not restricted to sprained
wrists and ankles, broken limbs, or devouring amputations--but fatal
to the last degree of fatality; those repeated disastrous repulses,
all accumulating and piling their terrors upon Moby Dick; those
things had gone far to shake the fortitude of many brave hunters, to
whom the story of the White Whale had eventually come.

Nor did wild rumors of all sorts fail to exaggerate, and still the
more horrify the true histories of these deadly encounters.  For not
only do fabulous rumors naturally grow out of the very body of all
surprising terrible events,--as the smitten tree gives birth to its
fungi; but, in maritime life, far more than in that of terra firma,
wild rumors abound, wherever there is any adequate reality for them
to cling to.  And as the sea surpasses the land in this matter, so
the whale fishery surpasses every other sort of maritime life, in the
wonderfulness and fearfulness of the rumors which sometimes circulate
there.  For not only are whalemen as a body unexempt from that
ignorance and superstitiousness hereditary to all sailors; but of all
sailors, they are by all odds the most directly brought into contact
with whatever is appallingly astonishing in the sea; face to face
they not only eye its greatest marvels, but, hand to jaw, give battle
to them.  Alone, in such remotest waters, that though you sailed a
thousand miles, and passed a thousand shores, you would not come to
any chiseled hearth-stone, or aught hospitable beneath that part of
the sun; in such latitudes and longitudes, pursuing too such a
calling as he does, the whaleman is wrapped by influences all tending
to make his fancy pregnant with many a mighty birth.

No wonder, then, that ever gathering volume from the mere transit
over the widest watery spaces, the outblown rumors of the White Whale
did in the end incorporate with themselves all manner of morbid
hints, and half-formed foetal suggestions of supernatural agencies,
which eventually invested Moby Dick with new terrors unborrowed from
anything that visibly appears.  So that in many cases such a panic
did he finally strike, that few who by those rumors, at least, had
heard of the White Whale, few of those hunters were willing to
encounter the perils of his jaw.

But there were still other and more vital practical influences at
work.  Not even at the present day has the original prestige of the
Sperm Whale, as fearfully distinguished from all other species of the
leviathan, died out of the minds of the whalemen as a body.  There
are those this day among them, who, though intelligent and courageous
enough in offering battle to the Greenland or Right whale, would
perhaps--either from professional inexperience, or incompetency, or
timidity, decline a contest with the Sperm Whale; at any rate, there
are plenty of whalemen, especially among those whaling nations not
sailing under the American flag, who have never hostilely encountered
the Sperm Whale, but whose sole knowledge of the leviathan is
restricted to the ignoble monster primitively pursued in the North;
seated on their hatches, these men will hearken with a childish
fireside interest and awe, to the wild, strange tales of Southern
whaling.  Nor is the pre-eminent tremendousness of the great Sperm
Whale anywhere more feelingly comprehended, than on board of those
prows which stem him.

And as if the now tested reality of his might had in former legendary
times thrown its shadow before it; we find some book
naturalists--Olassen and Povelson--declaring the Sperm Whale not only
to be a consternation to every other creature in the sea, but also to
be so incredibly ferocious as continually to be athirst for human
blood.  Nor even down to so late a time as Cuvier's, were these or
almost similar impressions effaced.  For in his Natural History, the
Baron himself affirms that at sight of the Sperm Whale, all fish
(sharks included) are "struck with the most lively terrors," and
"often in the precipitancy of their flight dash themselves against
the rocks with such violence as to cause instantaneous death."  And
however the general experiences in the fishery may amend such reports
as these; yet in their full terribleness, even to the bloodthirsty
item of Povelson, the superstitious belief in them is, in some
vicissitudes of their vocation, revived in the minds of the hunters.

So that overawed by the rumors and portents concerning him, not a few
of the fishermen recalled, in reference to Moby Dick, the earlier
days of the Sperm Whale fishery, when it was oftentimes hard to
induce long practised Right whalemen to embark in the perils of this
new and daring warfare; such men protesting that although other
leviathans might be hopefully pursued, yet to chase and point lance
at such an apparition as the Sperm Whale was not for mortal man.
That to attempt it, would be inevitably to be torn into a quick
eternity.  On this head, there are some remarkable documents that may
be consulted.

Nevertheless, some there were, who even in the face of these things
were ready to give chase to Moby Dick; and a still greater number
who, chancing only to hear of him distantly and vaguely, without the
specific details of any certain calamity, and without superstitious
accompaniments, were sufficiently hardy not to flee from the battle
if offered.

One of the wild suggestions referred to, as at last coming to be
linked with the White Whale in the minds of the superstitiously
inclined, was the unearthly conceit that Moby Dick was ubiquitous;
that he had actually been encountered in opposite latitudes at one
and the same instant of time.

Nor, credulous as such minds must have been, was this conceit
altogether without some faint show of superstitious probability.  For
as the secrets of the currents in the seas have never yet been
divulged, even to the most erudite research; so the hidden ways of
the Sperm Whale when beneath the surface remain, in great part,
unaccountable to his pursuers; and from time to time have originated
the most curious and contradictory speculations regarding them,
especially concerning the mystic modes whereby, after sounding to a
great depth, he transports himself with such vast swiftness to the
most widely distant points.

It is a thing well known to both American and English whale-ships,
and as well a thing placed upon authoritative record years ago by
Scoresby, that some whales have been captured far north in the
Pacific, in whose bodies have been found the barbs of harpoons darted
in the Greenland seas.  Nor is it to be gainsaid, that in some of
these instances it has been declared that the interval of time
between the two assaults could not have exceeded very many days.
Hence, by inference, it has been believed by some whalemen, that the
Nor' West Passage, so long a problem to man, was never a problem to
the whale.  So that here, in the real living experience of living
men, the prodigies related in old times of the inland Strello
mountain in Portugal (near whose top there was said to be a lake in
which the wrecks of ships floated up to the surface); and that still
more wonderful story of the Arethusa fountain near Syracuse (whose
waters were believed to have come from the Holy Land by an
underground passage); these fabulous narrations are almost fully
equalled by the realities of the whalemen.

Forced into familiarity, then, with such prodigies as these; and
knowing that after repeated, intrepid assaults, the White Whale had
escaped alive; it cannot be much matter of surprise that some
whalemen should go still further in their superstitions; declaring
Moby Dick not only ubiquitous, but immortal (for immortality is but
ubiquity in time); that though groves of spears should be planted in
his flanks, he would still swim away unharmed; or if indeed he should
ever be made to spout thick blood, such a sight would be but a
ghastly deception; for again in unensanguined billows hundreds of
leagues away, his unsullied jet would once more be seen.

But even stripped of these supernatural surmisings, there was enough
in the earthly make and incontestable character of the monster to
strike the imagination with unwonted power.  For, it was not so much
his uncommon bulk that so much distinguished him from other sperm
whales, but, as was elsewhere thrown out--a peculiar snow-white
wrinkled forehead, and a high, pyramidical white hump.  These were
his prominent features; the tokens whereby, even in the limitless,
uncharted seas, he revealed his identity, at a long distance, to
those who knew him.

The rest of his body was so streaked, and spotted, and marbled with
the same shrouded hue, that, in the end, he had gained his
distinctive appellation of the White Whale; a name, indeed, literally
justified by his vivid aspect, when seen gliding at high noon through
a dark blue sea, leaving a milky-way wake of creamy foam, all
spangled with golden gleamings.

Nor was it his unwonted magnitude, nor his remarkable hue, nor yet
his deformed lower jaw, that so much invested the whale with natural
terror, as that unexampled, intelligent malignity which, according to
specific accounts, he had over and over again evinced in his
assaults.  More than all, his treacherous retreats struck more of
dismay than perhaps aught else.  For, when swimming before his
exulting pursuers, with every apparent symptom of alarm, he had
several times been known to turn round suddenly, and, bearing down
upon them, either stave their boats to splinters, or drive them back
in consternation to their ship.

Already several fatalities had attended his chase.  But though
similar disasters, however little bruited ashore, were by no means
unusual in the fishery; yet, in most instances, such seemed the White
Whale's infernal aforethought of ferocity, that every dismembering or
death that he caused, was not wholly regarded as having been
inflicted by an unintelligent agent.

Judge, then, to what pitches of inflamed, distracted fury the minds
of his more desperate hunters were impelled, when amid the chips of
chewed boats, and the sinking limbs of torn comrades, they swam out
of the white curds of the whale's direful wrath into the serene,
exasperating sunlight, that smiled on, as if at a birth or a bridal.

His three boats stove around him, and oars and men both whirling in
the eddies; one captain, seizing the line-knife from his broken prow,
had dashed at the whale, as an Arkansas duellist at his foe, blindly
seeking with a six inch blade to reach the fathom-deep life of the
whale.  That captain was Ahab.  And then it was, that suddenly
sweeping his sickle-shaped lower jaw beneath him, Moby Dick had
reaped away Ahab's leg, as a mower a blade of grass in the field.  No
turbaned Turk, no hired Venetian or Malay, could have smote him with
more seeming malice.  Small reason was there to doubt, then, that
ever since that almost fatal encounter, Ahab had cherished a wild
vindictiveness against the whale, all the more fell for that in his
frantic morbidness he at last came to identify with him, not only all
his bodily woes, but all his intellectual and spiritual
exasperations.  The White Whale swam before him as the monomaniac
incarnation of all those malicious agencies which some deep men feel
eating in them, till they are left living on with half a heart and
half a lung.  That intangible malignity which has been from the
beginning; to whose dominion even the modern Christians ascribe
one-half of the worlds; which the ancient Ophites of the east
reverenced in their statue devil;--Ahab did not fall down and worship
it like them; but deliriously transferring its idea to the abhorred
white whale, he pitted himself, all mutilated, against it.  All that
most maddens and torments; all that stirs up the lees of things; all
truth with malice in it; all that cracks the sinews and cakes the
brain; all the subtle demonisms of life and thought; all evil, to
crazy Ahab, were visibly personified, and made practically assailable
in Moby Dick.  He piled upon the whale's white hump the sum of all
the general rage and hate felt by his whole race from Adam down; and
then, as if his chest had been a mortar, he burst his hot heart's
shell upon it.

It is not probable that this monomania in him took its instant rise
at the precise time of his bodily dismemberment.  Then, in darting at
the monster, knife in hand, he had but given loose to a sudden,
passionate, corporal animosity; and when he received the stroke that
tore him, he probably but felt the agonizing bodily laceration, but
nothing more.  Yet, when by this collision forced to turn towards
home, and for long months of days and weeks, Ahab and anguish lay
stretched together in one hammock, rounding in mid winter that
dreary, howling Patagonian Cape; then it was, that his torn body and
gashed soul bled into one another; and so interfusing, made him mad.
That it was only then, on the homeward voyage, after the encounter,
that the final monomania seized him, seems all but certain from the
fact that, at intervals during the passage, he was a raving lunatic;
and, though unlimbed of a leg, yet such vital strength yet lurked in
his Egyptian chest, and was moreover intensified by his delirium,
that his mates were forced to lace him fast, even there, as he
sailed, raving in his hammock.  In a strait-jacket, he swung to the
mad rockings of the gales.  And, when running into more sufferable
latitudes, the ship, with mild stun'sails spread, floated across the
tranquil tropics, and, to all appearances, the old man's delirium
seemed left behind him with the Cape Horn swells, and he came forth
from his dark den into the blessed light and air; even then, when he
bore that firm, collected front, however pale, and issued his calm
orders once again; and his mates thanked God the direful madness was
now gone; even then, Ahab, in his hidden self, raved on.  Human
madness is oftentimes a cunning and most feline thing.  When you
think it fled, it may have but become transfigured into some still
subtler form.  Ahab's full lunacy subsided not, but deepeningly
contracted; like the unabated Hudson, when that noble Northman flows
narrowly, but unfathomably through the Highland gorge.  But, as in
his narrow-flowing monomania, not one jot of Ahab's broad madness had
been left behind; so in that broad madness, not one jot of his great
natural intellect had perished.  That before living agent, now became
the living instrument.  If such a furious trope may stand, his
special lunacy stormed his general sanity, and carried it, and turned
all its concentred cannon upon its own mad mark; so that far from
having lost his strength, Ahab, to that one end, did now possess a
thousand fold more potency than ever he had sanely brought to bear
upon any one reasonable object.

This is much; yet Ahab's larger, darker, deeper part remains
unhinted.  But vain to popularize profundities, and all truth is
profound.  Winding far down from within the very heart of this spiked
Hotel de Cluny where we here stand--however grand and wonderful, now
quit it;--and take your way, ye nobler, sadder souls, to those vast
Roman halls of Thermes; where far beneath the fantastic towers of
man's upper earth, his root of grandeur, his whole awful essence sits
in bearded state; an antique buried beneath antiquities, and throned
on torsoes!  So with a broken throne, the great gods mock that
captive king; so like a Caryatid, he patient sits, upholding on his
frozen brow the piled entablatures of ages.  Wind ye down there, ye
prouder, sadder souls! question that proud, sad king!  A family
likeness! aye, he did beget ye, ye young exiled royalties; and from
your grim sire only will the old State-secret come.

Now, in his heart, Ahab had some glimpse of this, namely: all my
means are sane, my motive and my object mad.  Yet without power to
kill, or change, or shun the fact; he likewise knew that to mankind
he did long dissemble; in some sort, did still.  But that thing of
his dissembling was only subject to his perceptibility, not to his
will determinate.  Nevertheless, so well did he succeed in that
dissembling, that when with ivory leg he stepped ashore at last, no
Nantucketer thought him otherwise than but naturally grieved, and
that to the quick, with the terrible casualty which had overtaken

The report of his undeniable delirium at sea was likewise popularly
ascribed to a kindred cause.  And so too, all the added moodiness
which always afterwards, to the very day of sailing in the Pequod on
the present voyage, sat brooding on his brow.  Nor is it so very
unlikely, that far from distrusting his fitness for another whaling
voyage, on account of such dark symptoms, the calculating people of
that prudent isle were inclined to harbor the conceit, that for those
very reasons he was all the better qualified and set on edge, for a
pursuit so full of rage and wildness as the bloody hunt of whales.
Gnawed within and scorched without, with the infixed, unrelenting
fangs of some incurable idea; such an one, could he be found, would
seem the very man to dart his iron and lift his lance against the
most appalling of all brutes.  Or, if for any reason thought to be
corporeally incapacitated for that, yet such an one would seem
superlatively competent to cheer and howl on his underlings to the
attack.  But be all this as it may, certain it is, that with the mad
secret of his unabated rage bolted up and keyed in him, Ahab had
purposely sailed upon the present voyage with the one only and
all-engrossing object of hunting the White Whale.  Had any one of his
old acquaintances on shore but half dreamed of what was lurking in
him then, how soon would their aghast and righteous souls have
wrenched the ship from such a fiendish man!  They were bent on
profitable cruises, the profit to be counted down in dollars from the
mint.  He was intent on an audacious, immitigable, and supernatural

Here, then, was this grey-headed, ungodly old man, chasing with
curses a Job's whale round the world, at the head of a crew, too,
chiefly made up of mongrel renegades, and castaways, and
cannibals--morally enfeebled also, by the incompetence of mere
unaided virtue or right-mindedness in Starbuck, the invunerable
jollity of indifference and recklessness in Stubb, and the pervading
mediocrity in Flask.  Such a crew, so officered, seemed specially
picked and packed by some infernal fatality to help him to his
monomaniac revenge.  How it was that they so aboundingly responded to
the old man's ire--by what evil magic their souls were possessed,
that at times his hate seemed almost theirs; the White Whale as much
their insufferable foe as his; how all this came to be--what the
White Whale was to them, or how to their unconscious understandings,
also, in some dim, unsuspected way, he might have seemed the gliding
great demon of the seas of life,--all this to explain, would be to
dive deeper than Ishmael can go.  The subterranean miner that works
in us all, how can one tell whither leads his shaft by the ever
shifting, muffled sound of his pick?  Who does not feel the
irresistible arm drag?  What skiff in tow of a seventy-four can stand
still?  For one, I gave myself up to the abandonment of the time and
the place; but while yet all a-rush to encounter the whale, could see
naught in that brute but the deadliest ill.


The Whiteness of The Whale.

What the white whale was to Ahab, has been hinted; what, at times, he
was to me, as yet remains unsaid.

Aside from those more obvious considerations touching Moby Dick,
which could not but occasionally awaken in any man's soul some alarm,
there was another thought, or rather vague, nameless horror
concerning him, which at times by its intensity completely
overpowered all the rest; and yet so mystical and well nigh ineffable
was it, that I almost despair of putting it in a comprehensible form.
It was the whiteness of the whale that above all things appalled me.
But how can I hope to explain myself here; and yet, in some dim,
random way, explain myself I must, else all these chapters might be

Though in many natural objects, whiteness refiningly enhances beauty,
as if imparting some special virtue of its own, as in marbles,
japonicas, and pearls; and though various nations have in some way
recognised a certain royal preeminence in this hue; even the
barbaric, grand old kings of Pegu placing the title "Lord of the
White Elephants" above all their other magniloquent ascriptions of
dominion; and the modern kings of Siam unfurling the same snow-white
quadruped in the royal standard; and the Hanoverian flag bearing the
one figure of a snow-white charger; and the great Austrian Empire,
Caesarian, heir to overlording Rome, having for the imperial colour
the same imperial hue; and though this pre-eminence in it applies to
the human race itself, giving the white man ideal mastership over
every dusky tribe; and though, besides, all this, whiteness has been
even made significant of gladness, for among the Romans a white stone
marked a joyful day; and though in other mortal sympathies and
symbolizings, this same hue is made the emblem of many touching,
noble things--the innocence of brides, the benignity of age; though
among the Red Men of America the giving of the white belt of wampum
was the deepest pledge of honour; though in many climes, whiteness
typifies the majesty of Justice in the ermine of the Judge, and
contributes to the daily state of kings and queens drawn by
milk-white steeds; though even in the higher mysteries of the most
august religions it has been made the symbol of the divine
spotlessness and power; by the Persian fire worshippers, the white
forked flame being held the holiest on the altar; and in the Greek
mythologies, Great Jove himself being made incarnate in a snow-white
bull; and though to the noble Iroquois, the midwinter sacrifice of
the sacred White Dog was by far the holiest festival of their
theology, that spotless, faithful creature being held the purest
envoy they could send to the Great Spirit with the annual tidings of
their own fidelity; and though directly from the Latin word for
white, all Christian priests derive the name of one part of their
sacred vesture, the alb or tunic, worn beneath the cassock; and
though among the holy pomps of the Romish faith, white is specially
employed in the celebration of the Passion of our Lord; though in the
Vision of St. John, white robes are given to the redeemed, and the
four-and-twenty elders stand clothed in white before the great-white
throne, and the Holy One that sitteth there white like wool; yet for
all these accumulated associations, with whatever is sweet, and
honourable, and sublime, there yet lurks an elusive something in the
innermost idea of this hue, which strikes more of panic to the soul
than that redness which affrights in blood.

This elusive quality it is, which causes the thought of whiteness,
when divorced from more kindly associations, and coupled with any
object terrible in itself, to heighten that terror to the furthest
bounds.  Witness the white bear of the poles, and the white shark of
the tropics; what but their smooth, flaky whiteness makes them the
transcendent horrors they are?  That ghastly whiteness it is which
imparts such an abhorrent mildness, even more loathsome than
terrific, to the dumb gloating of their aspect.  So that not the
fierce-fanged tiger in his heraldic coat can so stagger courage as
the white-shrouded bear or shark.*

*With reference to the Polar bear, it may possibly be urged by him
who would fain go still deeper into this matter, that it is not the
whiteness, separately regarded, which heightens the intolerable
hideousness of that brute; for, analysed, that heightened
hideousness, it might be said, only rises from the circumstance, that
the irresponsible ferociousness of the creature stands invested in
the fleece of celestial innocence and love; and hence, by bringing
together two such opposite emotions in our minds, the Polar bear
frightens us with so unnatural a contrast.  But even assuming all
this to be true; yet, were it not for the whiteness, you would not
have that intensified terror.

As for the white shark, the white gliding ghostliness of repose in
that creature, when beheld in his ordinary moods, strangely tallies
with the same quality in the Polar quadruped.  This peculiarity is
most vividly hit by the French in the name they bestow upon that
fish.  The Romish mass for the dead begins with "Requiem eternam"
(eternal rest), whence REQUIEM denominating the mass itself, and any
other funeral music.  Now, in allusion to the white, silent stillness
of death in this shark, and the mild deadliness of his habits, the
French call him REQUIN.

Bethink thee of the albatross, whence come those clouds of spiritual
wonderment and pale dread, in which that white phantom sails in all
imaginations?  Not Coleridge first threw that spell; but God's great,
unflattering laureate, Nature.*

*I remember the first albatross I ever saw.  It was during a
prolonged gale, in waters hard upon the Antarctic seas.  From my
forenoon watch below, I ascended to the overclouded deck; and there,
dashed upon the main hatches, I saw a regal, feathery thing of
unspotted whiteness, and with a hooked, Roman bill sublime.  At
intervals, it arched forth its vast archangel wings, as if to embrace
some holy ark.  Wondrous flutterings and throbbings shook it.  Though
bodily unharmed, it uttered cries, as some king's ghost in
supernatural distress.  Through its inexpressible, strange eyes,
methought I peeped to secrets which took hold of God.  As Abraham
before the angels, I bowed myself; the white thing was so white, its
wings so wide, and in those for ever exiled waters, I had lost the
miserable warping memories of traditions and of towns.  Long I gazed
at that prodigy of plumage.  I cannot tell, can only hint, the things
that darted through me then.  But at last I awoke; and turning, asked
a sailor what bird was this.  A goney, he replied.  Goney! never had
heard that name before; is it conceivable that this glorious thing is
utterly unknown to men ashore! never!  But some time after, I learned
that goney was some seaman's name for albatross.  So that by no
possibility could Coleridge's wild Rhyme have had aught to do with
those mystical impressions which were mine, when I saw that bird upon
our deck.  For neither had I then read the Rhyme, nor knew the bird
to be an albatross.  Yet, in saying this, I do but indirectly burnish
a little brighter the noble merit of the poem and the poet.

I assert, then, that in the wondrous bodily whiteness of the bird
chiefly lurks the secret of the spell; a truth the more evinced in
this, that by a solecism of terms there are birds called grey
albatrosses; and these I have frequently seen, but never with such
emotions as when I beheld the Antarctic fowl.

But how had the mystic thing been caught?  Whisper it not, and I will
tell; with a treacherous hook and line, as the fowl floated on the
sea.  At last the Captain made a postman of it; tying a lettered,
leathern tally round its neck, with the ship's time and place; and
then letting it escape.  But I doubt not, that leathern tally, meant
for man, was taken off in Heaven, when the white fowl flew to join
the wing-folding, the invoking, and adoring cherubim!

Most famous in our Western annals and Indian traditions is that of
the White Steed of the Prairies; a magnificent milk-white charger,
large-eyed, small-headed, bluff-chested, and with the dignity of a
thousand monarchs in his lofty, overscorning carriage.  He was the
elected Xerxes of vast herds of wild horses, whose pastures in those
days were only fenced by the Rocky Mountains and the Alleghanies.  At
their flaming head he westward trooped it like that chosen star which
every evening leads on the hosts of light.  The flashing cascade of
his mane, the curving comet of his tail, invested him with housings
more resplendent than gold and silver-beaters could have furnished
him.  A most imperial and archangelical apparition of that unfallen,
western world, which to the eyes of the old trappers and hunters
revived the glories of those primeval times when Adam walked majestic
as a god, bluff-browed and fearless as this mighty steed.  Whether
marching amid his aides and marshals in the van of countless cohorts
that endlessly streamed it over the plains, like an Ohio; or whether
with his circumambient subjects browsing all around at the horizon,
the White Steed gallopingly reviewed them with warm nostrils
reddening through his cool milkiness; in whatever aspect he presented
himself, always to the bravest Indians he was the object of trembling
reverence and awe.  Nor can it be questioned from what stands on
legendary record of this noble horse, that it was his spiritual
whiteness chiefly, which so clothed him with divineness; and that
this divineness had that in it which, though commanding worship, at
the same time enforced a certain nameless terror.

But there are other instances where this whiteness loses all that
accessory and strange glory which invests it in the White Steed and

What is it that in the Albino man so peculiarly repels and often
shocks the eye, as that sometimes he is loathed by his own kith and
kin!  It is that whiteness which invests him, a thing expressed by
the name he bears.  The Albino is as well made as other men--has no
substantive deformity--and yet this mere aspect of all-pervading
whiteness makes him more strangely hideous than the ugliest abortion.
Why should this be so?

Nor, in quite other aspects, does Nature in her least palpable but
not the less malicious agencies, fail to enlist among her forces this
crowning attribute of the terrible.  From its snowy aspect, the
gauntleted ghost of the Southern Seas has been denominated the White
Squall.  Nor, in some historic instances, has the art of human malice
omitted so potent an auxiliary.  How wildly it heightens the effect
of that passage in Froissart, when, masked in the snowy symbol of
their faction, the desperate White Hoods of Ghent murder their
bailiff in the market-place!

Nor, in some things, does the common, hereditary experience of all
mankind fail to bear witness to the supernaturalism of this hue.  It
cannot well be doubted, that the one visible quality in the aspect of
the dead which most appals the gazer, is the marble pallor lingering
there; as if indeed that pallor were as much like the badge of
consternation in the other world, as of mortal trepidation here.  And
from that pallor of the dead, we borrow the expressive hue of the
shroud in which we wrap them.  Nor even in our superstitions do we
fail to throw the same snowy mantle round our phantoms; all ghosts
rising in a milk-white fog--Yea, while these terrors seize us, let us
add, that even the king of terrors, when personified by the
evangelist, rides on his pallid horse.

Therefore, in his other moods, symbolize whatever grand or gracious
thing he will by whiteness, no man can deny that in its profoundest
idealized significance it calls up a peculiar apparition to the soul.

But though without dissent this point be fixed, how is mortal man to
account for it?  To analyse it, would seem impossible.  Can we,
then, by the citation of some of those instances wherein this thing
of whiteness--though for the time either wholly or in great part
stripped of all direct associations calculated to impart to it aught
fearful, but nevertheless, is found to exert over us the same
sorcery, however modified;--can we thus hope to light upon some
chance clue to conduct us to the hidden cause we seek?

Let us try.  But in a matter like this, subtlety appeals to subtlety,
and without imagination no man can follow another into these halls.
And though, doubtless, some at least of the imaginative impressions
about to be presented may have been shared by most men, yet few
perhaps were entirely conscious of them at the time, and therefore
may not be able to recall them now.

Why to the man of untutored ideality, who happens to be but loosely
acquainted with the peculiar character of the day, does the bare
mention of Whitsuntide marshal in the fancy such long, dreary,
speechless processions of slow-pacing pilgrims, down-cast and hooded
with new-fallen snow?  Or, to the unread, unsophisticated Protestant
of the Middle American States, why does the passing mention of a
White Friar or a White Nun, evoke such an eyeless statue in the soul?

Or what is there apart from the traditions of dungeoned warriors and
kings (which will not wholly account for it) that makes the White
Tower of London tell so much more strongly on the imagination of an
untravelled American, than those other storied structures, its
neighbors--the Byward Tower, or even the Bloody?  And those sublimer
towers, the White Mountains of New Hampshire, whence, in peculiar
moods, comes that gigantic ghostliness over the soul at the bare
mention of that name, while the thought of Virginia's Blue Ridge is
full of a soft, dewy, distant dreaminess?  Or why, irrespective of
all latitudes and longitudes, does the name of the White Sea exert
such a spectralness over the fancy, while that of the Yellow Sea
lulls us with mortal thoughts of long lacquered mild afternoons on
the waves, followed by the gaudiest and yet sleepiest of sunsets?
Or, to choose a wholly unsubstantial instance, purely addressed to
the fancy, why, in reading the old fairy tales of Central Europe,
does "the tall pale man" of the Hartz forests, whose changeless
pallor unrustlingly glides through the green of the groves--why is
this phantom more terrible than all the whooping imps of the

Nor is it, altogether, the remembrance of her cathedral-toppling
earthquakes; nor the stampedoes of her frantic seas; nor the
tearlessness of arid skies that never rain; nor the sight of her
wide field of leaning spires, wrenched c