Julia  uttered a tiny sound, a sort of squeak of surprise.
Even in the midst of his panic,  Winston  was  too  much  taken
aback to be able to hold his tongue.
     'You can turn it off!' he said.
     'Yes,'  said  O'Brien,  'we  can turn it off. We have that
     He was opposite them now. His solid form towered over  the
pair  of  them,  and  the  expression  on  his  face  was still
indecipherable. He was waiting, somewhat sternly,  for  Winston
to  speak,  but  about  what? Even now it was quite conceivabIe
that he was simply a busy man wondering irritably  why  he  had
been  interrupted.  Nobody  spoke.  After  the  stopping of the
telescreen the room seemed deadly silent. The  seconds  marched
past,  enormous.  With difficulty Winston continued to keep his
eyes fixed on O'Brien's. Then suddenly the grim face broke down
into what might have been the beginnings of a smile.  With  his
characteristic  gesture O'Brien resettled his spectacles on his
     'Shall I say it, or will you?' he said.
     'I will say it,' said Winston  promptly.  'That  thing  is
really turned off?'
     'Yes, everything is turned off. We are alone.'
     'We have come here because-'
     He  paused,  realizing for the first time the vagueness of
his own motives. Since he did not in fact  know  what  kind  of
help  he  expected  from O'Brien, it was not easy to say why he
had come here. He went on, conscious that what  he  was  saying
must sound both feeble and pretentious:
     'We  believe  that  there is some kind of conspiracy, some
kind of secret organization working against the Party, and that
you are involved in it. We want to join it and work for it.  We
are  enemies  of  the Party. We disbelieve in the principles of
Ingsoc. We are thought-criminals. We  are  also  adulterers.  I
tell  you  this because we want to put ourselves at your mercy.
If you want us to incriminate ourselves in any  other  way,  we
are ready.'
     He stopped and glanced over his shoulder, with the feeling
that the  door had opened. Sure enough, the little yellow-faced
servant had come in without knocking. Winston saw that  he  was
carrying a tray with a decanter and glasses.
     'Martin  is  one  of us,' said O'Brien impassively. 'Bring
the drinks over here, Martin. Put them on the round table. Have
we enough chairs? Then we may as well  sit  down  and  talk  in
comfort.  Bring a chair for yourself, Martin. This is business.
You can stop being a servant for the next ten minutes.'
     The little man sat down, quite at his ease, and yet  still
with  a  servant-like  air,  the  air  of  a  valet  enjoying a
privilege. Winston regarded him out of the corner of  his  eye.
It struck him that the man's whole life was playing a part, and
that he felt it to be dangerous to drop his assumed personality
even  for  a  moment. O'Brien took the decanter by the neck and
filled up the glasses with a dark- red liquid.  It  aroused  in
Winston  dim memories of something seen long ago on a wall or a
hoarding -- a vast bottle composed  of  electric  lights  which
seemed  to move up and down and pour its contents into a glass.
Seen from the top the stuff looked almost  black,  but  in  the
decanter  it gleamed like a ruby. It had a sour-sweet smell. He
saw Julia pick  up  her  glass  and  sniff  at  it  with  frank
     'It is called wine,' said O'Brien with a faint smile. 'You
will have read about it in books, no doubt. Not much of it gets
to the  Outer  Party, I am afraid.' His face grew solemn again,
and he raised his glass: 'I think it is fitting that we  should
begin  by  drinking  a  health.  To  our  Leader:  To  Emmanuel
     Winston took up his glass with a certain  eagerness.  Wine
was  a  thing  he  had  read  and dreamed about. Like the glass
paperweight or  Mr  Charrington's  half-remembered  rhymes,  it
belonged  to  the vanished, romantic past, the olden time as he
liked to call it in his secret thoughts. For some reason he had
always thought of wine as having an intensely sweet taste, like
that of blackberry jam and an  immediate  intoxicating  effect.
Actually,  when he came to swallow it, the stuff was distinctly
disappointing. The truth was that after years  of  gin-drinking
he could barely taste it. He set down the empty glass.
     'Then there is such a person as Goldstein?' he said.
     'Yes, there is such a person, and he is alive. Where, I do
not know.'
     'And the conspiracy -- the organization? Is it real? It is
not simply an invention of the Thought Police?'
     'No,  it  is  real.  The Brotherhood, we call it. You will
never learn much more about the Brotherhood than that it exists
and that you belong to it. I will come back to that presently.'
He looked at his wrist-watch. 'It is unwise even for members of
the Inner Party to turn off the telescreen for more  than  half
an hour. You ought not to have come here together, and you will
have to leave separately. You, comrade' -- he bowed his head to
Julia -- 'will leave first. We have about twenty minutes at our
disposal.  You  will understand that I must start by asking you
certain questions. In general terms, what are you  prepared  to
     'Anything that we are capable of,' said Winston.
     O'Brien  had  turned himself a little in his chair so that
he was facing Winston. He almost ignored Julia, seeming to take
it for granted that Winston could speak for her. For  a  moment
the  lids  flitted  down  over  his  eyes.  He began asking his
questions in a low, expressionless voice, as though this were a
routine, a sort of catechism, most of whose answers were  known
to him already.
     'You are prepared to give your lives?'
     'You are prepared to commit murder?'
     'To  commit  acts of sabotage which may cause the death of
hundreds of innocent people?'
     'To betray your country to foreign powers?'
     'You are prepared to cheat, to  forge,  to  blackmail,  to
corrupt  the  minds  of  children,  to distribute habit-forming
drugs,  to  encourage  prostitution,  to  disseminate  venereal
diseases   --   to   do  anything  which  is  likely  to  cause
demoralization and weaken the power of the Party?'
     'If, for example, it would somehow serve our interests  to
throw  sulphuric  acid in a child's face -- are you prepared to
do that?'
     'You are prepared to lose your identity and live  out  the
rest of your life as a waiter or a dock-worker?'
     'You  are prepared to commit suicide, if and when we order
you to do so?'
     'You are prepared, the two of you, to separate  and  never
see one another again?'
     'No!' broke in Julia.
     It  appeared  to Winston that a long time passed before he
answered. For a moment he seemed even to have been deprived  of
the power of speech. His tongue worked soundlessly, forming the
opening  syllables  first  of one word, then of the other, over
and over again. Until he had said it, he  did  not  know  which
word he was going to say. 'No,' he said finally.
     'You  did well to tell me,' said O'Brien. 'It is necessary
for us to know everything.'