Chapter 5

           Symehadvanished. Amorningcame,andhewasmissingfromwork: afewthoughtlesspeoplecommentedonhisabsence. Onthenextdaynobodymentionedhim. OnthethirddayWinstonwentintothevestibuleoftheRecordsDepartmenttolookatthenotice-board. OneofthenoticescarriedaprintedlistofthemembersoftheChessCommittee,ofwhomSymehadbeenone. Itlookedalmostexactlyasithadlookedbeforenothinghadbeencrossedoutbutitwasonenameshorter. Itwasenough. Symehadceasedtoexist:hehadneverexisted. 

           Theweatherwasbakinghot. InthelabyrinthineMinistrythewindowless,air-conditionedroomskepttheirnormaltemperature,butoutsidethepavementsscorchedone’sfeetandthestenchoftheTubesattherushhourswasahorror. ThepreparationsforHateWeekwereinfullswing,andthestaffsofalltheMinistrieswereworkingovertime. Processions,meetings,militaryparades,lectures,waxworks,displays,filmshows,telescreenprogrammesallhadtobeorganized; standshadtobeerected,effigiesbuilt,sloganscoined,songswritten,rumourscirculated,photographsfaked. Julia’sunitintheFictionDepartmenthadbeentakenofftheproductionofnovelsandwasrushingoutaseriesofatrocitypamphlets. Winston,inadditiontohisregularwork,spentlongperiodseverydayingoingthroughbackfilesof‘TheTimes’andalteringandembellishingnewsitemswhichweretobequotedinspeeches. Lateatnight,whencrowdsofrowdyprolesroamedthestreets,thetownhadacuriouslyfebrileair. Therocketbombscrashedoftenerthanever,andsometimesinthefardistancetherewereenormousexplosionswhichnoonecouldexplainandaboutwhichtherewerewildrumours. 

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