Brave New World - Aldous Huxley
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A low grey building, of only 34 floors. Over the main entrance the words CENTRAL LONDON HATCHING AND CONDITIONING CENTRE, and below that the motto of the World State, COMMUNITY, IDENTITY, STABILITY
The enormous room on the ground floor faced towards the north. Cold in spite of the summer outside, in spite of the high temperature of the room itself, a thin, unfriendly light came in through the windows, falling on the glass and bright metal and coldly shining white surfaces of a laboratory. The feeling of winter was strong there. The clothes which the workers wore were white, and their hands were covered with pale rubber, the colour of a dead man's face. The light was frozen and dead. Only from the shining equipment on the long work tables did it borrow a certain rich life, lying along the polished surfaces like butter.
'And this,' said the Director, opening the door, 'is the Fertilizing Room.'
Bent over their instruments, three hundred Fertilizers were working away, as the Director of Hatching and Conditioning entered the room, deep in the silence of people completely occupied by their task, A group of newly arrived students, very young, pink and inexperienced, followed nervously, rather unhappily, at the Director's heels. Each of them carried a notebook, in which, whenever the great man spoke, he wrote desperately. The occasion was an unusual one. Opportunities of hearing from the DHC for Central London about the work of the Centre were rare, but he always insisted on personally conducting his new students round the various departments.
'Just to give you a general idea,' he would explain to them.
For of course some general idea they must have, if they were to do their work intelligently — though as little of one as possible, if they were to be good and happy members of society. For details, as everyone knows, lead to virtue and happiness; generalities, though necessary for some purposes, are dangerous. A peaceful and efficient society is based on practical workers, not on thinkers.
'Tomorrow,' he would add, with a mixture of friendliness and firmness in his manner, 'you will be settling down to serious work. You won't have time for generalities. Meanwhile...'
Meanwhile it was a privilege. Straight from the Director's mouth into the notebook. The boys wrote their notes as fast as they could.
Tall and rather thin but upright, the Director advanced into the room. He had a long chin and big teeth which were only just covered by his full, curved lips when he was not speaking. Old, young? Thirty? Fifty? It was hard to say, and anyhow, in this year of stability AF 632, nobody thought of asking such a question.
'I shall begin at the beginning,' said the DHC, and the more eager students wrote in their notebooks: Begin at the beginning. 'This is where the process starts.' And opening a door specially constructed to prevent heat from escaping he showed them shelf after shelf of numbered test tubes. 'The week's supply of eggs. These are kept at blood heat, while the male fertilizing agents,' and here he opened another door, 'have to be kept at thirty-five degrees instead of thirty-seven. Blood heat would destroy their fertilizing power.'
While the pencils raced over the pages of the notebooks, he gave them a brief description of the modern fertilizing process; spoke first, of course, of the operation necessary for its beginning — 'the operation accepted willingly for the good of Society, not to mention that those on whom it is performed are paid six months' extra salary'; described how the eggs after removal from the body were kept alive and developing; mentioned the liquid in which they were kept; and leading the students to the work tables, showed how this liquid was taken from the test tubes; how, drop by drop, it was carefully examined on specially warmed slides; how the eggs were examined to make sure they were normal and then counted; how they were afterwards transferred to a container which (and he now took them to watch the operation) was placed in a warm solution in which the male fertilizing agents swam freely, at least one hundred thousand of them in every thousandth of a litre of solution; how, after ten minutes, the container was lifted out of the solution; how the fertilized eggs went back on the shelves. There the Alphas and Betas remained until definitely bottled, but the Gammas, Deltas and Epsilons were brought out again, after only 36 hours, to be treated by Bokanovsky's Process.
'Bokanovsky's Process,' repeated the Director, and the students underlined the words in their little notebooks. 'One egg, one embryo, one adult — that is normal. But a bokanovskified egg will divide into many others — from eight to ninety-six — and every one will grow into a perfectly formed embryo, and every embryo into a full-sized adult. Producing ninety-six human beings instead of one. Progress.'
But one of the students was foolish enough to ask what advantage this method of producing human beings had over the natural way.
'My good boy!' The Director turned sharply and stared at him. 'Can't you see? Can't you see? Balanovsky's Process is one of the major instruments of social stability!'
Social stability. Standard men and women, all exactly the same. The staff for the whole of a small factory from one single bokanovskified egg.
'If we could Balanovskiy without limit, then for the first time in history, we should truly reach our aim of Community, Identity, Stability. But unfortunately,' the Director shook his head, 'there is a limit to how much we can bokanovskify.'
Ninety-six seemed to be the limit, seventy-two a good average.
Noticing a fair-haired and red-faced young man who happened to be passing, the Director called to him.
'Mr Foster. Come along with us and give these boys the benefit of your knowledge by explaining the processes the embryos go through.'
Mr Foster smiled. 'With pleasure.' They went.
The Bottling Room was a scene of ordered activity. Pieces cut from the pigs' stomachs came up from the Organ Store below in little lifts. The lift doors flew open. The assistant had only to reach out a hand, take a piece, place it in the bottle and smooth it down, and before the bottle had travelled out of reach along the endless belt another piece had come up from below ready to be fitted into yet another bottle, the next in that slow, never-ending procession on the belt.
The bottles advanced, and the next group of assistants made a small cut in each piece of stomach as it moved past them in its container, dropped into the cut an egg taken from one of the test tubes, smoothed the edges of the cut over it, poured in the salt solution in which it was to grow… and already the bottle had passed into the next room. Here the date of bottling and all necessary details about its contents were marked on it.
They passed through a room where details of all the bottles were stored on cards. These details were used by the officials who had to calculate the numbers in each group needed for Society at any time. From here they sent their figures to the Fertilizing Room, which must provide the embryos that they asked for.
Opening a door, Mr Foster now led the way down a stairway into a room below ground level, still very hot and with all daylight carefully shut out. The only light was artificial light, red and faint.
'Embryos are like photograph film,' said Mr Foster, smiling at his own joke. 'They can only stand red light.'
This was where the sex and social grade of each future human being was determined. He pointed out three long rows of shelves, one above the other. Along them the bottles moved very slowly during the treatment given to them before they came out into the daylight and the contents changed from the condition of embryos into that of living people. Two hundred and sixty-seven days was the time required for the whole process to be completed. On the two hundred and sixty-seventh morning, daylight and independent existence — so-called.
'But in that time we've managed to do a lot to them,' said Mr Foster with an air of satisfaction. 'Oh, a very great deal.'
As they walked round, he described the various methods of treatment according to the sex an embryo was to possess and the place which it was to fill in the Community. He told the students how the babies emerged from these processes already graded as Alphas or Epsilons, as future factory workers or future… 'future World Controllers', he was going to say, but corrected himself and said 'future Directors of Production' instead.
The Director smiled.
Mr Foster now became very technical in his explanations. He described how the embryos were developed in a rich solution which took the place of blood. He showed how the supply of oxygen to each grade of embryo was controlled in order to produce the correct degree of development of brain or body at each stage in its growth. He paused by a shelf of embryos who were to work in hot countries or in factories such as steel works. They passed through a chamber in which the embryos were exposed first to heat and then to an extremely unpleasant degree of cold, time after time, so that when they were ready to leave the bottles and become babies they would love heat and fear cold. Later on their minds would be trained to think what their bodies already felt. 'Down here we condition them to need heat for their physical development,' ended Mr Foster. 'The nurses upstairs will teach them to enjoy it.'
'And that,' added the Director, 'that is the secret of happiness and virtue — liking what you've got to do. All our conditioning aims at that: making people like their unavoidable place in Society.'
In a space between two chambers a nurse was carrying out a very delicate operation with a needle on the contents of a passing bottle. The students and their guides stood watching her for a few moments in silence.
'Well, Lenina,' said Mr Foster, when at last she took the needle from the bottle and straightened herself up.
The girl turned towards them. In spite of the faint red light, one could see that she was very pretty.
'Henry!' She smiled at him, showing a row of shining white teeth.
'What are you giving them?' asked Mr Foster, making the tone of his voice very professional.
'Oh, the usual tropical fever and sleeping sickness.'
'Tropical workers start being treated at this point to resist tropical diseases,' Mr Foster explained to the students. Then, turning back to Lenina, 'Ten to five on the roof this afternoon,' he said to her, 'as usual.'
'Wonderful,' the Director smiled at Lenina, touching her bottom lightly with one hand.
He led the students to a shelf where rows of the next generations chemical workers were being trained to survive exposure to great quantities of lead and other dangerous substances. On another shelf the first of a group of 250 future rocket engineers had just reached a point on the moving belt at which a special machine began to spin their bottles at a regular speed. 'To improve their sense of balance,' Mr Foster explained. 'Doing repairs on the outside of a rocket in flight is not an easy job. We reduce the supply of artificial blood when they're the right way up, so that they're hungry, and double it when they're upside down. They learn to like being turned over and over like this. In fact, they're only truly happy when they're standing on their heads.'
'And now,' Mr Foster went on, 'I'd like to show you some very interesting conditioning for Alpha-Plus Intellectuals. We have a big group of them on Shelf 5, Middle Level.'
But the Director had looked at his watch. 'Ten to three,' he said. 'No time for the intellectual embryos, I'm afraid. We must go up to the Nurseries before the children have finished their afternoon sleep.'
Mr Foster left them at the door of the Unbottling Room, where the embryos were taken from their bottles to go through the all- important process of passing into the condition of babies, the first real stage on their way through life as human beings. The DHC and his students took the nearest lift and were carried up to the fifth floor.
INFANT NURSERIES. CONDITIONING ROOMS, said the sign.
The Director opened a door. They were in a large empty room, very bright and sunny. The whole of the southern wall was a single window. Half a dozen nurses, wearing the official uniform of white coat and trousers, with their hair hidden under white caps, were putting out big bowls of roses in a long row across the floor.
The nurses stood still as a mark of respect when the DHC came in.
'Put out the books,' he said.
In silence the nurses did as he had ordered. The books were put out between the rose bowls — a row of attractive children's books, each open at some brightly coloured picture of an animal or a fish or a bird.
'Now bring in the children.'
The nurses hurried out of the room and returned in a minute or two, each pushing a set of four shelves on wheels. Each shelf, protected with wire nets, was loaded with eight-month-old babies, all exactly alike (a Bokanovsky Group, it was evident) and all (since they were Deltas) dressed in light brown clothes.
'Put them down on the floor.'
The infants were unloaded.
'Now turn them round so that they can see the flowers and books.'
The babies were turned round. At once they began to move towards the books, attracted by the bright colours and pretty shapes. As they moved, the sun came out from behind a passing cloud. It shone on the roses and on the pictures, lighting them up and making them even more beautiful. The babies cried out loud with pleasure and excitement.
The Director rubbed his hands with satisfaction. 'Excellent,' he said. 'It might have been done on purpose.'
Some of the babies were already at their goal. Their little hands reached out uncertainly, touching the roses and the brightly coloured pages. The Director waited till they were all happily busy. 'Watch carefully,' he said. And lifting his hand, he gave the signal.
The Head Nurse, who was standing at the other end of the room, pressed a switch.
There was a violent explosion. Alarm bells sounded.
The children screamed. Their faces were ugly and twisted with fear.
'And now,' the Director shouted, making himself heard above the noise, 'now we will make the lesson clearer with a small electric shock.'
He waved his hand again and the Head Nurse pressed a second switch. The screams of the babies became desperate. Their little bodies stiffened. Their little arms and legs made sudden movements as if they were being pulled by hidden wires.
'We can send electric shocks all the way through that part of the floor,' shouted the Director in explanation. 'But that's enough,' he signalled to the nurse.
The explosions ceased, the bells were silent, the little arms and legs stopped moving and the screams grew less desperate.
'Offer them the flowers and books again.'
The nurses obeyed; but at the mere sight of the roses and of those pretty pictures of pet animals, the infants drew back in horror and began to cry louder than ever.
'Notice that,' said the Director with an air of great satisfaction, 'notice that.'
Books and loud noises, flowers and electric shocks; already in the minds of the babies these pairs of things were connected, and repeated lessons would make the connection permanent.
'They'll grow up with what at one time would have been called a «natural» hatred of books and flowers. They'll be safe from books and flowers all their lives.' The Director turned to his nurses. 'Take them away again.'
Still screaming, the babies in brown were loaded on to their shelves again and wheeled out, leaving behind them the smell of sour milk and a very welcome silence.
One of the students held up his hand to ask a question. He could see quite clearly why you couldn't have low-grade people wasting the Community's time over books, and that there was always the risk of their reading something that might upset their conditioning in some way, but he couldn't understand about the flowers. Why go to the trouble of making it impossible for Deltas to like flowers?
Patiently the DHC explained. If the children were made to scream at the sight of a rose, there were good economic reasons for this. Not so very long ago (about a century) Gammas, Deltas, even Epsilons had been conditioned to like flowers in particular and wild nature in general. The idea was to make them want to be out in the country at every opportunity and so force them to use transport.
'And didn't they use transport?' asked the student.
'Quite a lot,' the DHC replied. 'But nothing else.'
Flowers and scenery, he pointed out, have one great fault; they are free. A love of nature keeps no factories busy. It was decided to take away the love of nature, at any rate among the lower classes; to take away the love of nature, but not the need for transport. For of course it was necessary that they should keep on going to the country, even though they hated it. The problem was to make them use transport for a reason which was economically better than a mere affection for flowers and scenery. It was solved.
'We condition the lower classes to hate the country,' ended the Director. 'But at the same time we condition them to love all country sports. Then we make sure that country sports require expensive equipment. So they buy and use manufactured articles as well as transport. That is the reason for those electric shocks.'
'I see,' said the student, full of admiration.
'Once upon a time,' the Director began speaking again, 'once upon a time, while Our Ford was still on earth, there was a little boy called Reuben Rabinovitch. He was the child of Polish-speaking parents. You know what Polish is, I suppose?'
'A dead language, like French and German.'
There was an awkward silence. Several of the boys turned red in the face. They had not yet learned the difficult art of distinguishing between immorality and pure science. One, at last, had the courage to raise a hand.
'Human beings used...' he paused. The blood rushed to his cheeks. 'Well, they used to give birth to their own babies.'
'Quite right.' The Director nodded.
'And when the babies were unbottled '«Born»,' came the correction.
'Well, then they were the parents — I mean, not the babies, of course; the other ones.' The boy fell silent, covered with confusion.
'In short,' the Director said, 'the parents were the father and mother.' This was really strong language, even if it was science and not just dirty talk. The words fell with a crash into the awkward silence. 'Mother,' he repeated loudly, rubbing in the science. He leant back in his chair. 'These,' he said, 'are unpleasant facts; I know it. But then most historical facts arc unpleasant.'
He returned to Little Reuben. 'One night his father and mother (crash! crash!) forgot to turn off the radio in his room. (For you must remember that in those days children were brought up by their parents and not in State Conditioning Centres.) While he was asleep, a radio programme was broadcast from London. Next morning Little Reuben woke up and repeated word for word a long lecture by that strange old writer George Bernard Shaw. His (crash!) and (crash!) could not understand a word of it, of course. They thought their child had suddenly gone mad and sent for a doctor. He, fortunately, understood English, recognized the speech which he had also listened to on the previous evening, realized the importance of what had happened and sent a letter to a medical journal about it.
'The principle of sleep-teaching had been discovered,' said the Director. 'Now come with me.'
The students followed him to another lift, from which they stepped out at the fourteenth floor.
'Silence, silence,' whispered a loudspeaker. 'Silence, silence,' repeated other loudspeakers at intervals along the corridor. The students and even the Director himself, without thinking, obeyed the voices and walked on the tips of their toes. They were Alphas, of course, but even Alphas have been well conditioned. 'Silence, silence.' The air of the fourteenth floor was heavy with the whispered command.
The Director carefully opened a door. They entered a room where the light was very low. Eighty little beds stood in a row against the wall. All that could be heard was light regular breathing and a continuous hum like the sound of very faint voices speaking softly at a great distance.
A nurse stood up as they entered.
'What's the lesson this afternoon?' the Director asked quietly.
'We had Elementary Sex for the first 40 minutes,' she said, 'but now it's gone over to Elementary Class Consciousness.'
The Director walked slowly down the long line of beds. In each one lay a child asleep. Eighty little boys and girls with pink, healthy faces lay there softly breathing. There was a whisper under every bedcover.
'Elementary Class Consciousness, did you say? Let's have it
repeated a little louder by the loudspeaker.'
At the end of the room a loudspeaker hung on the wall. The Director walked up to it and pressed a switch.
'...all wear green,' said a soft but very distinct voice, beginning in the middle of a sentence, 'and Delta children all wear light brown. Oh no, I don't want to play with Delta children. And Epsilons are even worse. They're too stupid to be able to read or write. Besides, they wear black, which is such an ugly colour. I'm so glad I'm a Beta.'
There was a pause, then the voice began again.
'Alpha children wear grey. They work much harder than we do, because they're so clever. I'm really very glad I'm a Beta, because I don't work so hard. And then we are much better than the Gammas and Deltas. Gammas are stupid. They all wear green, and Delta children all wear light brown. Oh no, I don't want to play with Delta children. And Epsilons are even worse.'
The Director pushed back the switch. The voice sank to the faintest of whispers which could just be heard from beneath the 80 bedcovers.
'They'll have that repeated a hundred and twenty times three times a week for thirty months while they are sleeping, then they go on to a more advanced lesson. Sleep-teaching is the most powerful force of all time in social education. The child's mind becomes these suggestions and the total of these suggestions is the child's mind. And not only the child's mind. The adult's mind too, all his life long. The mind that thinks and desires and decides. But all these suggestions are our suggestions!' The Director almost shouted in his enthusiasm. 'Suggestions from the State.'
A noise made him turn round.
'Oh, Ford!' he said in another tone, 'I've woken the children.'
In the four thousand rooms of the Centre, the four thousand electric clocks struck four. From the loudspeakers came the order:
'Main Day-shift off duty. Second Day-shift on duty. Main Day-shift off...'
From her dark underground room Lenina Crowne shot up 17 floors, turned to the right as she stepped out of the lift, walked down a long passage and, opening the door marked GIRLS' DRESSING ROOM, went to a cupboard with her name on it in which her outdoor clothes were hanging. There she took off her working uniform and went along to the bathroom. Streams of hot water were running into or out of a hundred baths. The other girls who had come off duty were talking at the tops of their voices. A loudspeaker was playing a loud and cheerful military march.
After her bath, Lenina went back to her cupboard to change into her outdoor clothes.
'Hullo, Fanny,' she said to the young woman who had the cupboard next to hers.
Fanny worked in the Bottling Room, and her second name was also Crowne. But as the two thousand million people of the world had only ten thousand names between them, this was not surprising.
'Who are you going out with tonight?' asked Fanny.
'Again?' Disapproval showed on Fanny's face. 'Do you mean to tell me you're still going out with Henry Foster?'
'Well, after all,' Lenina protested, 'it's only about four months since I've been having Henry.'
'Only four months! What a thing to say! And what's more,' Fanny went on, pointing an accusing finger, 'there's been nobody else in all that time, has there?'
Lenina turned red, but she said loudly, 'I don't see why there should have been.'
'Oh, she doesn't see why there should have been,' Fanny repeated, as though to an unseen listener behind Lenina's left shoulder. Then, with a sudden change of tone, 'But seriously,' she said, 'I do think you ought to be careful. It's such bad behaviour to go on and on like this with one man. At forty, or thirty-five, it wouldn't be so bad. But at your age, Lenina! No, it really won't do. And you know how angry any affair makes the DHC if it goes on too long. Four months of Henry Foster, without having another man — well, he'd be very angry if he knew.
'Of course there's no need to give him up,' Fanny went on in a kinder voice. 'Have somebody else from time to time, that's all. He has other girls, doesn't he?'
Lenina admitted it.
'Of course he does. Trust Henry Foster to be the perfect gentleman — always correct. And then there's the Director to think of. You know how he insists on correct behaviour.'
Lenina nodded. 'He touched me on the bottom this afternoon.'
'There, you see!' said Fanny. 'That is an example of correct manners. A model of strictly conventional behaviour.'
'And to tell the truth,' said Lenina, 'I'm beginning to get just a bit tired of nothing but Henry every day.' She pulled on her underwear. 'Do you know Bernard Marx?' she asked, trying not to show too much interest by her tone of voice.
Fanny looked surprised and a little alarmed. 'Bernard Marx of the Psychology Department? You don't mean to say...?'
'Why not? Bernard's an Alpha-Plus. Besides, he asked me to go to one of the Savage Reservations with him. I've always wanted to see a Savage Reservation.'
'But his reputation?'
'What do I care about his reputation?'
'They say he doesn't like any of the State sports.'
'They say, they say,' laughed Lenina.
'And then he spends most of his time by himself — alone.' There was horror in Fanny's voice.
'Well, he won't be alone when he's with me. And anyhow, why do people behave so badly to him? I think he's rather sweet.' She smiled to herself; how shy he had been! Frightened almost — as though she had been a World Controller and he a Gamma-Minus machine minder.
'But he's so ugly,' said Fanny.
'But I rather like his looks.'
'And then he's so small.' Smallness was so horribly and so definitely low-grade.
'I think that's rather sweet,' said Lenina. 'One feels one would like to have him as a pet. You know. Like a cat.'
Fanny was shocked. 'They say somebody made a mistake when he was still in the bottle — thought he was a Gamma and began treatment to slow down development before the mistake was discovered. That's why he's so short.'
'What nonsense!' Lenina was very angry.
Back to back, Fanny and Lenina continued their changing in silence.
'There, I'm ready,' said Lenina after a while. Fanny remained silent, with her head turned away. 'Let's make peace, Fanny darling. Do I look all right?' Her jacket was made of bottle-green cloth with green artificial fur at the wrists and collar. A smart green and white cap shaded her eyes. She had on a pair of green shorts, with long white socks turned down below the knee. Her shoes were bright green and highly polished. Round her waist she wore a green belt of artificial leather, filled with the official supply of contraceptives.
'Perfect!' cried Fanny with a smile. She could never resist Lenina's friendliness for long. 'And what a perfectly sweet Malthusian belt. I simply must get one like it.'
And all this time, the shelves of bottles were moving forward with the faint humming of machinery, slowly, steadily, 33 centimetres an hour, in the faint light of countless red lamps.
The lift was crowded with men from the Alpha Changing Rooms, and Lenina was greeted with many nods and smiles as she stepped into it. She was a popular girl and, at one time or another, had spent a night with almost all of them.
In a corner she saw the small, thin body, and the sad face of Bernard Marx.
'Bernard!' She moved to his side. 'I was looking for you.' Her voice could be clearly heard above the sound of the rising lift. The others looked round. 'I'd simply love to come with you in July,' she went on. (There! She was making known publicly that she was going to stop being faithful to Henry. Fanny ought to be pleased, even though it was with Bernard.) 'That is,' said Lenina with her warmest smile, 'if you still want to have me.'
Bernard's pale face turned red. 'Why?' she wondered in surprise, but at the same time touched by this strange proof of her power.
'Hadn't we better talk about it somewhere else?' he said awkwardly, looking terribly uncomfortable.
'As though I had been saying something shocking,' thought Lenina. 'He couldn't look more upset if I'd made a dirty joke — asked him who his mother was or something like that.'
'I mean, with all these people about...' He was covered with confusion.
Lenina laughed out loud with honest amusement. 'How funny you are!' she said; and she quite genuinely did think him funny. 'You'll give me at least a week's warning, won't you?' she went on in a different voice. 'I suppose we take the Blue Pacific Rocket? Does it start from the Charing-T Tower? Or is it from Hampstead?'
Before Bernard could answer, the lift stopped.
'Roof!' called the Epsilon-Minus liftman in his ugly voice. He opened the gates.
It was warm and sunny on the roof. The summer afternoon was filled with the hum of passing helicopters, and the deeper note of the rocket-planes speeding out of sight through the bright sky 8 or 10 kilometres overhead. Bernard Marx drew a deep breath. He looked up into the sky and round about him and finally down into Lenina's face.
'Isn't it beautiful?' His voice trembled a little.
She smiled at him with an expression of the most sympathetic understanding. 'Simply perfect for Obstacle Golf,' she answered warmly. 'And now I must fly, Bernard. Henry gets cross if I keep him waiting. Let me know in good time about the date.' And waving her hand she ran away across the wide flat roof towards the helicopter parks. Bernard stood watching the flash of her white legs, the sunburnt knees bending and unbending, and the soft movement of those well-fitted shorts beneath the bottle-green jacket as she ran lightly over the roof. His face wore an expression of pain.
Henry had had his machine wheeled out of its lock-up and, when Lenina arrived, was already sitting in the pilot's seat, waiting.
'Four minutes late,' was all he said as she climbed in beside him. He started the engines and set the lifting blades in motion. The machine shot straight up into the air. Henry increased the speed and the sound of the blades grew higher and thinner; they were rising at almost 2 kilometres a minute. London grew smaller and smaller beneath them. The huge table-topped buildings became smaller and smaller. In the middle of them the tall finger of the Charing-T Tower lifted towards the sky the shining circle of its landing-platform.
Huge white clouds lay sleepily in the blue air above their heads. Out of one of them suddenly dropped a small bright-red insect.
'There's the Red Rocket,' said Henry, 'just come in from New York.' Looking at his watch, he added, 'Seven minutes behind time.' He shook his head. 'These Atlantic services — they're getting more and more irregular.'
He reduced the speed of the lifting blades and the helicopter stopped rising; he set the forward engine in motion and they moved ahead. When the machine had enough forward speed to fly on its planes, he shut off the power from the lifting blades.
They flew over factory after factory. In one place an army of black and light brown workmen was laying a new surface on the Great West Road. At Brentford the Television Corporation's factory was like a small town.
'They must be changing the shift,' said Lenina. 'What a horrible colour light brown is,' she added, unconsciously repeating the sleep-taught lessons of her early years. Gamma girls and the undersized Epsilons crowded round the entrances, or stood in lines to take their places in the trains. Beta-Minuses came and went among the crowd. The roof of the main building was alive with helicopters arriving and departing.
'My word,' said Lenina, 'I'm glad I'm not a Gamma.'
Ten minutes later they had arrived at the golf course and had started their first round of Obstacle Golf.
With eyes lowered to avoid meeting the eyes of his fellow creatures, Bernard hurried across the roof. He felt worried and lonely. Even Lenina was making him suffer, although she meant well. He remembered those weeks during which he had looked and wished and almost given up hope of ever having the courage to ask her. Did he dare risk being shamed by a cruel refusal? But if she were to say yes, what joy! Well, now she had said it and he was still unhappy, unhappy that she should have thought it such a perfect afternoon for Obstacle Golf, that she should have hurried away to join Henry Foster, that she should have found him funny for not wanting to talk of their most private affairs in public. Unhappy, in a word, because she had behaved as any good, healthy English girl ought to behave and not in some other unusual, extraordinary way.
He opened the door of his lock-up and called to a couple of Delta-Minus attendants to come and push his machine out on to the roof. The helicopter park was staffed by a single Bokanovsky group, and the men were twins, small, black and very ugly. Bernard gave his orders in the sharp tone of one who does not feel certain of his authority. Bernard's height was 8 centimetres short of the standard Alpha height. Contact with members of the lower classes always reminded him painfully of this fault and made him speak to them more roughly than was natural to him.
He climbed into the plane and a minute later was flying south towards the river.
The various Departments of Propaganda and the College of Emotional Engineering were housed in a single sixty-floor building in Fleet Street. On the lower floors were the presses and offices of the three great London newspapers — The Hourly Radio, an upper-class sheet, the pale-green Gamma Gazette, and, on light brown paper and in very short words, The Delta Mirror. Then came the Departments of Propaganda by Television and by Artificial Voice and Music — 22 floors of them. Above were the research laboratories and the studio rooms in which the Sound Track Writers and Artificial Music Writers did their delicate work. The top 18 floors were occupied by the College of Emotional Engineering.
Bernard landed on the roof of Propaganda House and stepped out.
'Ring down to Mr Helmholtz Watson,' he ordered the Gamma-Plus attendant, 'and tell him that Mr Bernard Marx is waiting on the roof.'
He sat down and lit a cigarette.
Helmholtz Watson was writing when the message came down.
'Tell him I'm coming at once,' he said and replaced the receiver. Then, turning to his secretary, 'I'll leave you to put my things away,' he went on in the same official tone; and, taking no notice of her inviting smile, got up and walked quickly to the door.
He was a powerfully built man with a deep chest and broad shoulders, yet quick in his movements. In a masterful way he was attractive and looked, as his secretary was never tired of repeating, every centimetre an Alpha-Plus. By profession he was a lecturer at the College of Emotional Engineering (Department of Writing) and, in the intervals of his educational activities, a working Emotional Engineer. He wrote regularly for The Hourly Radio and had a great gift for writing mottos and easily remembered phrases.
'Able,' was the opinion of those above him. 'Perhaps' (and they would shake their heads and lower their voices) 'a little too able.'
Yes, a little too able. They were right. Too much intelligence had produced in Helmholtz Watson effects very like those which, in Bernard Marx, were the result of a body not sufficiently developed. Too little bone and muscle had set Bernard apart from his fellow men. That which had made Helmholtz feel so uncomfortably alone was too much ability. But although Bernard had suffered all his life from this feeling, it was only recently that Helmholtz had become aware of it. A first-class sportsman, an untiring lover, an excellent committee man and very popular socially, he had nevertheless realized quite suddenly that sport, women, professional and social activities were not, so far as he was concerned, the most important things in life. Really, deep down, he was interested in something else. But in what? That was the problem which Bernard had come to discuss with him — or rather, since it was always Helmholtz who did all the talking, to listen to his friend discussing, once again.
Three lovely girls from the Department of Propaganda by Artificial Voice took hold of his arm as he stepped out of the lift.
'Oh, Helmholtz darling, do come and have a day out with us on Exmoor.' They hung on to his arm in their efforts to persuade him.
He shook his head and pushed his way through them. 'No, no.'
'We're not inviting any other man.'
But Helmholtz was not moved even by this pleasant promise. 'No,' he repeated, 'I'm busy.' And he walked firmly on. The girls followed him. It was not until he had actually climbed into Bernard's plane and shut the door that they gave up following him. They were offended by his refusal.
'These women!' he said as the machine rose into the air. 'These women!' And he shook his head in his annoyance.
'Too awful.' Bernard pretended to agree, although he silently wished that he could have as many girls as Helmholtz did, and with as little trouble. He was seized with a sudden urgent need to talk about his own success. 'I'm taking Lenina Crowne to New Mexico with me,' he said, trying to keep the pride out of his voice.
'Are you?' said Helmholtz with no show of interest at all. The rest of the short flight passed in silence. When they had arrived and were comfortably seated in Bernards room, Helmholtz began to speak.
'Did you ever feel,' he asked slowly, 'as though you had something inside you that was only waiting for you to give it the chance to come out? Some sort of extra power that you could be using if you knew how?'
'You mean all the emotions one might be feeling if things were different?'
Helmholtz shook his head. 'Not quite. I'm thinking of a strange feeling I sometimes get, a feeling that I've got something important to say and the power to say it — only I don't know what it is, and I can't make any use of the power. If there was some different way of writing… Or else something different to write about. I'm pretty good at inventing phrases that seem new and exciting even if they're about something completely obvious. But that doesn't seem enough. It's not enough for the phrases to be good; what you make with them ought to be good too.'
'But your things are good, Helmholtz.'
'Oh, as far as they go. But they go such a little way. They aren't important enough, somehow. I feel I could do something much more important. Yes, and more forceful, more violent. But what? What is there more important to say? Words are the most powerful of weapons if you use them properly — they'll cut through anything. But what's the good of that if the things you write about have no power in them? Can you say something about nothing? That's my problem. I try and I try...'
'Quiet!' said Bernard suddenly, lifting a warning finger; they listened. 'I believe there's somebody at the door,' he whispered.
Helmholtz got up, moved silently across the room, and with a sharp quick movement threw the door wide open. There was, of course, nobody there.
'I'm sorry,' said Bernard, feeling and looking uncomfortably silly. 'I suppose I've let things worry me a bit. I think people are talking about me all the time.'
He passed his hand across his eyes and breathed deeply. 'You don't know the trouble I've had recently,' he said, almost tearfully. He was filled with a sudden wave of self-pity. 'You just don't know.'
Helmholtz Watson listened with a certain sense of discomfort. 'Poor little Bernard,' he said to himself. But at the same time he felt rather ashamed for his friend. He wished Bernard would show a little more pride.
The Social Sea
By eight o'clock the light was failing. The loudspeakers in the tower of the Obstacle Golf Club House began, in a more than human voice, to announce the closing of the courses. Lenina and Henry gave up their game and walked back towards the Club.
An endless humming of helicopters filled the darkening air. Every two and a half minutes a bell and the scream of whistles announced the departure of one of the light trains which carried the lower-class golfers back from their separate course to the city.
Lenina and Henry climbed into their machine and started off. At 240 metres feet Henry slowed down the lifting blades, and they hung for a moment or two above the landscape. The forest of Burnham Beeches stretched like a great pool of darkness towards the bright shore of the western sky. Deep red at the horizon, the last of the sunset was turning through orange into yellow and a pale watery green. To the north, beyond and above the trees, a factory for the manufacture of artificial baby food shone with a fierce electric brightness from every window of its 20 floors. Beneath them lay the buildings of the Golf Club — the huge lower-class building and, on the other side of a dividing wall, the smaller houses reserved for Alpha and Beta members. The paths leading to the railway station were black with the insect-like crowds of lower-class golfers. From under the glass roof a lighted train shot out into the open. Following it with their eyes across the dark plain, their attention was drawn to the buildings of the Slough Crematorium. For the safety of night-flying planes, its four tall chimneys were lit up and topped with bright red danger signals.
'Why do the chimneys have those platforms round them?' inquired Lenina.
'To recover phosphorus from the air,' explained Henry. 'On their way up the chimney the gases go through four separate treatments. The phosphorus used to be lost every time they burnt a dead body. Now they recover over ninety-eight per cent of it. More than a kilo and a half per adult body. Which makes nearly 600,000 kilos of phosphorus every year from England alone.' Henry spoke with a happy pride, as delighted at this fact as though he had been responsible for it. 'Fine to think that we can go on being socially useful even after we're dead. Making plants grow.'
Lenina, meanwhile, had turned her eyes away and was looking down beneath her at the railway station. 'Fine,' she agreed. 'But odd that Alphas and Betas won't make any more plants grow than those nasty little Gammas and Deltas and Epsilons down there.'
'All men are physically and chemically equal,' said Henry. 'Besides, even Epsilons perform valuable services.'
'Even an Epsilon...' Lenina suddenly remembered an occasion when, as a little girl at school, she had woken up in the night and noticed, for the first time, the whispering that went on all the time when she was asleep. She saw again the beam of moonlight, the row of small white beds; heard once more the soft, soft voice that said (the words were there, never to be forgotten after being repeated so many times all through the night): 'Everyone works for everyone else. We can't do without anyone. Even Epsilons are useful. We can't do without anyone,' Lenina remembered her first shock of fear and surprise, her doubts and questions as she lay awake for half an hour; and then, under the influence of those endless repetitions, the gradual calming of her mind, the peaceful sinking into sleep...
'I suppose Epsilons don't mind being Epsilons,' she said out loud.
'Of course they don't. How can they? They don't know what it's like being anything else. We'd mind, of course. But then we've been differently conditioned. Besides, we are hatched from different eggs.'
'I'm glad I'm not an Epsilon,' said Lenina sincerely.
'And if you were an Epsilon,' said Henry, 'your conditioning would have made you no less thankful that you weren't a Beta or an Alpha.'
He put the machine into forward motion and headed towards London. Behind them, in the west, the deep red and orange were almost gone. A dark bank of cloud had spread over the sky. As they flew over the Crematorium, the plane shot up on the column of hot air rising from the chimneys, only to fall as suddenly when it passed into the cold air beyond.
'What fun that was!' Lenina laughed.
But Henry's tone was, for a moment, almost sad. 'Do you know what caused all that fun? It was some human being finally and definitely disappearing. Going up in a cloud of hot gas. It would be interesting to know who it was: a man or a woman, an Alpha or an Epsilon...' Then, forcing himself to sound more cheerful, 'Anyhow,' he concluded, 'there's one thing we can be certain of; whoever he may have been, he was happy when he was alive. Everybody's happy now.'
'Yes, everybody's happy now,' repeated Lenina. They had heard the words over and over again, a 150 times a night for 12 years.
Every second Thursday Bernard had to attend a Unity Service. After an early dinner with Helmholtz he said goodbye to his friend and, getting into a taxi on the roof, told the man to fly to the Fordson Community Singery. The machine rose a couple of hundred metres, then headed east and, as it turned, there before Bernard's eyes, enormous and beautiful, was the Singery. Lit by powerful lamps, its 320 metres of white artificial stone shone snow-white over Ludgate Hill. At each of the four corners of its helicopter platform a huge T stood out blood-red against the night, and from the mouths of 24 vast golden loudspeakers came deep artificial music.
'Oh dear, I'm late,' Bernard said to himself as he first caught sight of Big Henry, the Singery clock. And sure enough, as he was paying off his taxi, Big Henry sounded out the hour. 'Ford,' sang out a vast, deep voice from all the golden loudspeakers. 'Ford, Ford, Ford...' Nine times. Bernard ran for the lift.
The great hall for Ford's Day ceremonies and other mass Community Sings was at the bottom of the building. Above it, a hundred to each floor, were the seven thousand rooms used by Unity Groups for their services every two weeks. Bernard dropped down to floor 33, hurried along the corridor, waited for a moment outside Room 3210, then, making up his mind, opened the door.
Thank Ford! He was not the last. Three chairs of the twelve arranged round the circular table were still unoccupied. He slipped into the nearest of them as silently as he could. Turning towards him, the girl on his left inquired, 'What were you playing this afternoon? Obstacle or Technic?'
Bernard looked at her (Ford! it was Morgana Rothschild) and had to admit, feeling very ashamed, that he had been playing neither. Morgana stared at him in surprise. There was an awkward silence.
Then she turned away and entered into conversation with the more sporting man on her left.
'A good beginning for a Unity Service,' thought Bernard unhappily. If only he had given himself time to look round instead of hurrying for the nearest chair! He could have sat between Fifi Bradlaugh and Joanna Diesel. Instead of which he had gone and blindly planted himself next to Morgana. Morgana! Ford! Those black eyebrows of hers — that eyebrow, rather — for they met above the nose. Ford! And on his right was Clara Deterding. True, Clara was not ugly. But she was really too fat. Whereas Fifi and Joanna were absolutely right. Light-haired, with good figures, not too large… And it was that unpleasant fellow Tom Kawaguchi who now took the seat between them.
The last to arrive was Sarojini Engels.
'You're late,' said the President of the Group severely. 'Don't let it happen again.'
Sarojini apologized and slid into her place between Jim Bokanovsky and Herbert Bakunin. The group was now complete, the unity circle perfect. Man, woman, man, woman, in an unbroken ring the whole way round the table. Twelve of them waiting to be made one, to come together, to melt into each other, ready to lose their twelve separate selves in a single being.
The President stood up, made the sign of the T, and, turning on the artificial music, released the soft, continuous beating of drums and the low sweet notes of instruments that repeated and repeated the brief, familiar tune of the First Song of Unity. Again, again — the tune reached inside them, affecting not the ear, not the mind, but the heart, the soul.
The President made the sign of the T and sat down. The service had begun. The holy soma tablets were placed in the centre of the dinner table. The loving cup of ice-cream soma was passed from hand to hand and, with the sentence 'I drink to my end', 12 times tasted. Then, accompanied by the artificial music, the First Song of Unity was sung.
Ford, we are twelve; oh, make us one,
Like drops within the Social Sea;
Oh, make us now together run
And in Unity forever be.
Twelve verses, full of the same deep feeling. And then the loving cup was passed a second time. All drank. Untiringly the music played. The drums beat. The Second Song of Unity was sung.
Come, Greater Being, Social Friend,
Help us with our Twelve-in-One!
We long to die, for when we end,
Our larger life has just begun.
Again 12 verses. By this time the soma had begun to work. Eyes and cheeks shone, happy, friendly smiles broke out on every face. Even Bernard felt a little happier. When Morgana Rothschild turned and smiled at him, he did his best to smile back. But the eyebrow, that black two-in-one, was still there; however hard Bernard tried, he couldn't feel attracted by Morgana.
The loving cup had passed right round the table. Lifting his hand, the President gave a signal. The group began the Third Song of Unity. As verse followed verse, their voices trembled with a growing excitement. The President reached out his hand; and suddenly a Voice, a deep strong Voice, more musical than any merely human voice, richer, warmer, full of love, spoke from above their heads. Very slowly, 'Oh, Ford, Ford, Ford,' it sang, on a lower and quieter note each time the name was repeated. A warm feeling spread through the bodies of those who listened. Tears came into their eyes.
Then, suddenly, the voice cried out loudly, 'Listen!' They listened. After a pause it went on, in a whisper which somehow was more effective than the loudest cry, 'The feet of the Greater Being.' Again it repeated the words: 'The feet of the Greater Being.' The whisper almost died. 'The feet of the Greater Being are on the stairs.' And once more there was silence. Among the group, the excitement grew until it was almost beyond control. The feet of the Greater Being — oh, they heard them, they heard them, coming softly down the stairs, coming nearer and nearer down the imaginary stairs. The feet of the Greater Being. And suddenly the breaking point was reached.
Her eyes staring, her lips parted, Morgana Rothschild sprang to her feet.
'I hear him,' she cried. 'I hear him.'
'He's coming,' shouted Sarojini Engels.
'Yes, he's coming, I hear him.' Fifi Bradlaugh and Tom Kawaguchi rose to their feet together.
'Oh, oh, oh,' cried Joanna.
'He's coming!' shouted Jim Bokanovsky.
The President leaned forward and, with a touch, let loose a fever of drum-beating.
'Oh, he's coming!' screamed Clara Deterding, as though she were having her throat cut.
Feeling that it was time for him to do something, Bernard also jumped up and shouted: 'I hear him; he's coming.' But it wasn't true. He heard nothing and, for him, nobody was coming. Nobody, in spite of the music, in spite of the ever-growing excitement. But he waved his arms, he shouted as loudly as any of them; and when the others began to stamp their feet and move forward, he also stamped and began to move.
Round they went, a circle of dancers, each with hands on the waist of the dancer in front, round and round, shouting all together, stamping in time to the music with their feet, beating it, beating it out on the bottoms in front; twelve pairs of hands beating as one. The sound of twelve bottoms hit at once. Twelve as one, twelve as one. 'I hear him, I hear him coming.' The music grew quicker; faster beat the feet, faster fell the hands on the bottoms in front. And all at once a great deep artificial voice sang out the words which announced the final act of unity, the coming of the Twelve-in-One, the return of the Greater Being. 'Orgy-porgy,' it sang, while the drums beat ever more wildly:
Orgy-porgy, Ford and fun,
Kiss the girls and make them one.
Boys at one with girls at peace
Orgy-porgy gives release.
'Orgy-porgy,' the dancers took up the holy words, 'Orgy- porgy, Ford and fun, kiss the girls… And as they sang, the lights began to go down slowly and at the same time to grow warmer, richer, redder, until at last they were dancing in the blood-red light of an Embryo Store. For a while the dancers continued to go round, stamping their feet and beating out the time of the song. 'Orgy-porgy...' Then the circle weakened, broke, fell on the ring of soft benches which surrounded the table and the 12 chairs in an outer ring. 'Orgy-porgy.'
Gently, softly the deep Voice sang on.
They were standing on the roof. Big Henry had just sung 11. The night was calm and warm.
'Wasn't it wonderful?' said Fifi Bradlaugh. 'Wasn't it simply wonderful?' She looked at Bernard with shining eyes, happy, completely satisfied, at peace with the whole world.
'Yes, I thought it was wonderful,' he lied and looked away. The sight of Fifi's happy face only made him feel his own separateness more keenly. He was as unhappily alone now as he had been when the service began; more alone because of his unsatisfied desire for something that he could not even describe to himself. Separate and unhappy, while the others were being united with the Greater Being; alone even in Morgana's arms — much more alone, more hopelessly himself than he had ever been in his life before. He had come out from that blood-red light into the common, cold light of the electric lamps with a feeling of hopelessness. He was terribly unhappy, and perhaps (her shining eyes accused him), perhaps it was his own fault. 'Quite wonderful,' he repeated; but the only thing he could think of was Morgana's eyebrow.
Odd, odd, odd, was Lenina's opinion of Bernard Marx. So odd, indeed, that during the next few weeks she wondered more than once whether she shouldn't change her mind about the New Mexico holiday and go instead to the North Pole with another man. The trouble was that she knew the North Pole. She had been there last summer and, what was more, had found it pretty uncomfortable. Nothing to do and the hotel was terribly old- fashioned with no television in any of the bedrooms. No, certainly she couldn't face the North Pole again. And she had only been to America once before, and even then, only for a cheap weekend in New York with a man whose name she had forgotten. The idea of flying west again, and for a whole week, was very inviting. Moreover, for three days of that week they would be in the Savage Reservation. Not more than half a dozen people in the whole Centre had ever been inside a Savage Reservation. As an Alpha-Plus psychologist, Bernard was one of the few men she knew who had official permission to go there. It was the chance of a lifetime for Lenina. And yet Bernard was so odd that she had worried about taking it.
She had discussed this anxiously one night with Henry when they were in bed together. 'Oh,' said Henry, 'poor Bernard's harmless. Some people never really learn through their conditioning what correct behaviour is. Bernard's one of them. Luckily for him, he's pretty good at his job. Otherwise the Director would never have kept him. But he's harmless, you can be sure.'
Harmless perhaps, but also pretty upsetting. That unhealthy determination, to start with, to do things in private. Which meant, in practice, not doing anything at all. For what was there that one could do in private? (Apart, of course, from going to bed: but one couldn't do that all the time.) Yes, what was there? The first afternoon they went out together was particularly fine. Lenina had suggested a swim at a very popular bathing beach followed by dinner at the newest restaurant, which everybody went to. But Bernard thought there would be too much of a crowd. Then what about a round of Obstacle Golf? But again, no. Bernard thought that Obstacle Golf was a waste of time.
'Then what's time for?' asked Lenina in some surprise.
'For going for walks in the country. Alone with you, Lenina.'
'But, Bernard, we shall be alone all night.'
Bernard went red in the face and looked away. 'I meant alone for talking,' he said.
'Talking? But about what?' Walking and talking; that seemed a very odd way of spending an afternoon.
In the end she persuaded him, much against his will, to fly over to Amsterdam to see the Final of the Women's World Football Cup.
'In a crowd,' he complained,' as usual.' Fie remained silent and unhappy the whole afternoon; wouldn't talk to Lenina's friends, of whom they met dozens in the ice-cream soma bar at half time; and in spite of his unhappiness absolutely refused the chocolate soma ice that she bought for him to cheer him up.
'I'd rather be myself,' he said. 'Myself and unhappy. Not somebody else, however cheerful.'
On their way back across the Channel, Bernard insisted on stopping the forward movement of his helicopter and letting it hang within a 30 metres of the waves. The weather had turned worse. A south-west wind had sprung up, the sky was cloudy.
'Look,' he commanded.
'But it's horrible,' said Lenina, turning her face from the window. She was frightened by the rushing emptiness of the night, by the black water rising and falling endlessly beneath them, by the pale face of the moon among the racing clouds. 'Let's turn on the radio. Quick!' She reached for the switch and turned it on.
'-skies are blue inside of you,' sang 16 voices, sweet as sugar, 'the weathers always-'
Then silence. Bernard had turned the radio off again.
'I want to look at the sea in peace,' he said. 'One can't even look with all that awful noise going on.'
'But it's lovely. And I don't want to look.'
'But I do,' he answered. 'It makes me feel as though...'
He stopped, searching for words with which to express himself, 'As though I were more me, if you see what I mean. More on my own, not so completely a part of something else. Doesn't it make you feel like that, Lenina?'
But Lenina was crying. 'It's horrible, horrible,' she kept repeating. 'After all, we're all part of something else. Everyone works for everyone else. We can't do without anyone. Even Epsilons…'
'Yes, I know,' said Bernard bitterly. 'Even Epsilons are useful! So am I. And I sometimes wish I weren't!'
Lenina was shocked by these words. 'Bernard!' she said, her eyes filled with tears. 'How can you think such things?'
'How can I?' he repeated, deep in thought. 'No. The real problem is: How is it that I can't, or rather — because I know quite well why I can't — what would it be like if I could, if I were free — not a slave to my conditioning?'
'But, Bernard, you're saying the most awful things.'
'Don't you wish you were free, Lenina?'
'I don't know what you mean. I am free. Free to have the most wonderful time. Everybody's happy nowadays.'
He laughed. 'Yes. «Everybody's happy nowadays.» We begin giving the children that at five. But wouldn't you like to be free to be happy in some other way, Lenina? In your own way, for example; not in everybody else's way.'
'I don't know what you mean,' she repeated. Then, turning to him, 'Oh, do let's go back, Bernard,' she begged. 'I do so hate it here.'
'Don't you like being with me?'
'Yes, of course, Bernard! But this place is horrible.'
'I thought we'd be more… more together here, with nothing but the sea and moon. More together than in a crowd, or even in my rooms. Don't you understand that?'
'I don't understand anything,' she said firmly,' least of all why you don't take soma when you have these terrible ideas. You'd forget all about them. And instead of feeling unhappy, you'd be cheerful.'
He looked at her in silence. 'All right then,' he said at last in a small, tired voice, 'we'll go back.' He made the machine rise sharply into the sky, then put it into forward movement. They flew in silence for a minute or two. Then, suddenly, Bernard began to laugh. Rather oddly, Lenina thought; but still, it was laughter.
'Feeling better?' she asked shyly.
For answer he lifted one hand from the controls and slipped his arm round her waist.
'Thank Ford,' she said to herself, 'he's all right again.'
Half an hour later they were back in his rooms. Bernard swallowed four tablets of soma, turned on the radio and television and began to undress.
'Well,' Lenina asked with a smile when they met next afternoon on the roof, 'did you think it was fun yesterday?' Bernard nodded but did not say anything. They climbed into the plane, and off they went.
'Everybody says I have a nice body,' said Lenina, stroking her own legs.
'Very nice.' But there was an expression of pain in Bernard's eyes. 'Like meat,' he was thinking.
'But you don't think I'm too fat, do you?' She looked up anxiously. He shook his head and thought again, 'Like so much meat.'
'You think I'm all right?' Another nod. 'In every way?'
'Perfect,' he said to her. And thought to himself, 'She thinks of herself that way. She doesn't mind being meat.'
Lenina smiled with satisfaction. But she was happy too soon. 'All the same,' he went on, after a little pause, 'I still rather wish it had ended differently.'
'Differently?' Were there other endings?
'I didn't want it to end with our going to bed,' he said.<d