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, closebitten 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 ...view middle of the document...
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 hideout.