Chapter 5

           Inthelow-ceilingedcanteen,deepunderground,thelunchqueuejerkedslowlyforward. Theroomwasalreadyveryfullanddeafeninglynoisy. Fromthegrilleatthecounterthesteamofstewcamepouringforth,withasourmetallicsmellwhichdidnotquiteovercomethefumesofVictoryGin. Onthefarsideoftheroomtherewasasmallbar,amereholeinthewall,wheregincouldbeboughtattencentsthelargenip. 

           ‘JustthemanIwaslookingfor,’saidavoiceatWinston’sback. 

           Heturnedround. ItwashisfriendSyme,whoworkedintheResearchDepartment. Perhaps‘friend’wasnotexactlytherightword. Youdidnothavefriendsnowadays,youhadcomrades: butthereweresomecomradeswhosesocietywaspleasanterthanthatofothers. Symewasaphilologist,aspecialistinNewspeak. Indeed,hewasoneoftheenormousteamofexpertsnowengagedincompilingtheEleventhEditionoftheNewspeakDictionary. Hewasatinycreature,smallerthanWinston,withdarkhairandlarge,protuberanteyes, atoncemournfulandderisive,whichseemedtosearchyourfacecloselywhilehewasspeakingtoyou. 

           ‘Iwantedtoaskyouwhetheryou’dgotanyrazorblades,’hesaid. 

           ‘Notone! saidWinstonwithasortofguiltyhaste. ‘I’vetriedallovertheplace. Theydon’texistanylonger.’ 

           Everyonekeptaskingyouforrazorblades. Actuallyhehadtwounusedoneswhichhewashoardingup. Therehadbeenafamineofthemformonthspast. AtanygivenmomenttherewassomenecessaryarticlewhichthePartyshopswereunabletosupply. Sometimesitwasbuttons,sometimesitwasdarningwool,sometimesitwasshoelaces; atpresentitwasrazorblades. 

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