At last it was time to go, and we were let out into the yard. Provided that they steer clear of dangerous subjects suchas psychology, scientists are privileged persons. He is smartly enough dressed inasmuch as his clothes are clearly well cut, but he does not wear them well: there is little attention to detail such as shirt tails, buttons or flies. The sole thought in my mind was that if anything went wrong those two thousand Burmans would see me pursued, caught, trampled on and reduced to a grinning corpse like that Indian up the hill. Nothing pleased me quite so much as to buy a job lot of them for a shilling at a country auction.
The detail is uncannily precise. But when it is a question of North versus South, he is quite ready to generalize. Until comparatively recently the northern part of England was the backward and feudal part, and such industry as existed was concentrated in London and the South-East. But overall the scene is the same as it is now. He spoke of his own case—six months at the public charge for want of three pounds' worth of tools.
In mines where the 'travelling' is very bad all the miners carry sticks about two and a half feet long, hollowed out below the handle. Orwell's influence on contemporary culture, popular and political, continues decades after his death. The exhausted air is sucked out of one shaft by means of fans, and the fresh air enters the other of its own accord. Some of the men refused the bath, and washed only their 'toe-rags', the horrid, greasy little clouts which tramps bind round their feet. And even now, if coal could not be produced without pregnant women dragging it to and fro, I fancy we should let them do it rather than deprive ourselves of coal. One is the decayed person smelling of old breadcrusts who comes every day, sometimes several times a day, and tries to sell you worthless books.
He says things that are very opinionated and straight to the point of what he was trying to get at, but eloquently. I sent back for my small rifle and poured shot after shot into his heart and down his throat. None of these people, I suppose, works less than twelve hours a day, and every one of them looks on a cigarette as a more or less impossible luxury. I often wondered whether any of the others grasped that I had done it solely to avoid looking a fool. One day something happened which in a roundabout way was enlightening.
Nevertheless booksellers generally find that it pays them better to have a certain number of books stolen we used to lose about a dozen a month than to frighten customers away by demanding a deposit. Most of them are small big men are at a disadvantage in that job but nearly all of them have the most noble bodies; wide shoulders tapering to slender supple waists, and small pronounced buttocks and sinewy thighs, with not an ounce of waste flesh anywhere. However, the people seldom came to redeem their orders. Even in Nazi Germany, scientists, other than Jews, were relativelywell treated and the German scientific community, as a whole, offered noresistance to Hitler. William and, Fred, two young, ex-fishermen from Norfolk, sang a sad song about Unhappy Bella, who was betrayed and died in the snow.
Apparently the whole of that frightful torrent of trash the pages read every year would, I calculated, cover nearly three quarters of an acre was stored for ever in his memory. But I met with nothing of the kind, and least of all among the miners. Alreadythere are countless people who would think it scandalous to falsify a scientifictextbook, but would see nothing wrong in falsifying an historical fact. I was a poor shot with a rifle and the ground was soft mud into which one would sink at every step. Roughly speaking, what one might call the average novel — the ordinary, good-bad, Galsworthy-and-water stuff which is the norm of the English novel — seems to exist only for women. He kept repeating: 'You don't want to have any pity on these tramps—scum, they are. However, being a book seller might demand long hours of work from the owner.
I fired again into the same spot. First off this is a well-constructed commentary. Our shop had an exceptionally interesting stock, yet I doubt whether ten per cent of our customers knew a good book from a bad one. Stamp-collectors are a strange, silent, fish-like breed, of all ages, but only of the male sex; women, apparently, fail to see the peculiar charm of gumming bits of coloured paper into albums. You couldn't call your soul your own when he was about, and many a tramp had he kicked out in the middle of the night for giving a back answer. The sweet smell of decaying paper appeals to me no longer. The Northern business man, with his hateful 'get on or get out' philosophy, was the dominant figure of the nineteenth century, and as a sort of tyrannical corpse he rules us still.
When these readers were asked about their aversion to short stories, they would say that the stories had all different characters with different names. This man is an employee of the Municipality. He is the same colour as the earth, and a great deal less interesting to look at. This terrible word—in Spain at this moment you can be thrown into jail and kept there indefinitely, without trial, on the mere rumour that you are a Trotskyist—is only beginning to be bandied to and fro in England. Most modern short stories, English and American, are utterly lifeless and worthless, far more so than most novels. It is the easiest crime in the world to borrow a book at one shop for twopence, remove the label and sell it at another shop for a shilling. I took my rifle, an old.
I have noticed this again and again. The warders had formed in a rough circle round the gallows. A heretic -- political, moral, religious, or aesthetic -- was one whorefused to outrage his own conscience. Another thing that is very noticeable is the growing unpopularity of American books. And my whole life, every white man's life in the East, was one long struggle not to be laughed at. The sweet smell of decaying paper appeals to me no longer. For the moment the totalitarian state tolerates the scientist becauseit needs him.
So long as physical reality cannot altogether be ignored,so long as two and two have to make four when you are, for example, drawingthe blueprint of an aeroplane, the scientist has his function, and caneven be allowed a measure of liberty. Ducking the beams becomes more and more of an effort, and sometimes you forget to duck. It may seem that I am exaggerating, though no one who has been down an old-fashioned pit most of the pits in England are old-fashioned and actually gone as far as the coal face, is likely to say so. In February 1935 he was forced to seek other lodging and moved to 77 Parliament Hill. Along the south coast he had begged by day and slept in bathing-machines for weeks at a time. The real struggle is between revolution and counter-revolution; between the workers who are vainly trying to hold on to a little of what they won in 1936, and the Liberal-Communist bloc who are so successfully taking it away from them.