Golden country “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” 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? 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 the rented room
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, rain-watery 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. There was a small bookcase in the other corner, and Winston had already gravitated towards it.
It contained nothing but rubbish. The old man was standing in front of a picture in a rosewood frame which hung on the other side of the fireplace, opposite the bed. Winston came across to examine the picture. It was steel engraving of an oval building with rectangular windows, and small tower in front. It seemed vaguely familiar. Winston wondered vaguely to what century the church belonged. It was always difficult to determine the age of a London building…. 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. Winston lingered for some minutes more, talking to the old man, whose name was Charrington. All the while 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… et so far as he could remember he had never in real life heard church bells ringing. He got away from Mr Charrington and went down the stairs alone. 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. Yes, he thought, 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. 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.