Chapter 8

           Fromsomewhereatthebottomofapassagethesmellofroastingcoffeerealcoffee,notVictoryCoffeecamefloatingoutintothestreet. Winstonpausedinvoluntarily. Forperhapstwosecondshewasbackinthehalf-forgottenworldofhischildhood. Thenadoorbanged,seemingtocutoffthesmellasabruptlyasthoughithadbeenasound. 

           Hehadwalkedseveralkilometresoverpavements,andhisvaricoseulcerwasthrobbing. ThiswasthesecondtimeinthreeweeksthathehadmissedaneveningattheCommunityCentre: arashact,sinceyoucouldbecertainthatthenumberofyourattendancesattheCentrewascarefullychecked. InprincipleaPartymemberhadnosparetime,andwasneveraloneexceptinbed. Itwasassumedthatwhenhewasnotworking,eating,orsleepinghewouldbetakingpartinsomekindofcommunalrecreation: todoanythingthatsuggestedatasteforsolitude,eventogoforawalkbyyourself,wasalwaysslightlydangerous. TherewasawordforitinNewspeak:OWNLIFE,itwascalled,meaningindividualismandeccentricity. ButthiseveningashecameoutoftheMinistrythebalminessoftheAprilairhadtemptedhim. Theskywasawarmerbluethanhehadseenitthatyear,andsuddenlythelong,noisyeveningattheCentre,theboring,exhaustinggames,thelectures,thecreakingcamaraderieoiledbygin,hadseemedintolerable. Onimpulsehehadturnedawayfromthebus-stopandwanderedoffintothelabyrinthofLondon, firstsouth,theneast,thennorthagain,losinghimselfamongunknownstreetsandhardlybotheringinwhichdirectionhewasgoing. 

           ‘Ifthereishope,’hehadwritteninthediary,‘itliesintheproles.’ Thewordskeptcomingbacktohim,statementofamysticaltruthandapalpableabsurdity. Hewassomewhereinthevague,brown-colouredslumstothenorthandeastofwhathadoncebeenSaintPancrasStation. 

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