Tuesday, 4 November 2014

1984 (in search of razor blades)

"And when memory failed and written records were falsified -- when that happened, the claim of the Party to have improved the conditions of human life had got to be accepted, because there did not exist, and never again could exist, any standard against which it could be tested.

At this moment his train of thought stopped abruptly. He halted and looked up.  He was in a narrow street with a few dark little shops interspersed among dwelling-houses. Immediately above his head there hung three discoloured metal balls which looked as if they had once been gilded. He seemed to know the place. Of course! He was standing outside the junk-shop where he had bought the diary.

A twinge of fear went through him. It had been a sufficiently rash act to buy the book in the beginning, and he had sworn never to come near the place again.  And yet the instant that he allowed his thoughts to wander, his feet had brought him back here of his own accord.  It was precisely against suicidal impulses of this kind that he had hoped to guard himself by opening the diary.  At the same time he noticed that although it was nearly twenty-one hours the shop was still open.  With the feeling that he would be less conspicuous inside than hanging about on the pavement, he stepped through the doorway.  If questioned, he could plausibly say that he was trying to buy razor blades.

'I recognised you on the pavement,' [the shopkeeper] said immediately.  'You're the gentleman that bought the young lady's keepsake album.  That was a beautiful bit of paper, that was.  Cream-laid, it used to be called.  There's been no paper like that made for -- oh, I dare say fifty years.'  "

Nineteen Eighty-Four  George  Orwell

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