MR. FOSTER was left in the Decanting Room. The D.H.C. and his
students stepped into the nearest lift and were carried up to
the fifth floor.
INFANT NURSERIES. NEO-PAVLOVIAN CONDITIONING ROOMS, announced
the notice board.
The Director opened a door. They were in a large bare room, very
bright and sunny; for the whole of the southern wall was a single
window. Half a dozen nurses, trousered and jacketed in the regulation
white viscose-linen uniform, their hair aseptically hidden under
white caps, were engaged in setting out bowls of roses in a long
row across the floor. Big bowls, packed tight with blossom. Thousands
of petals, ripe-blown and silkily smooth, like the cheeks of innumerable
little cherubs, but of cherubs, in that bright light, not exclusively
pink and Aryan, but also luminously Chinese, also Mexican, also
apoplectic with too much blowing of celestial trumpets, also pale
as death, pale with the posthumous whiteness of marble.
The nurses stiffened to attention as the D.H.C. came in.
"Set out the books," he said curtly.
In silence the nurses obeyed his command. Between the rose bowls
the books were duly set outa row of nursery quartos opened invitingly
each at some gaily coloured image of beast or fish or bird.
"Now bring in the children."
They hurried out of the room and returned in a minute or two,
each pushing a kind of tall dumb-waiter laden, on all its four
wire-netted shelves, with eight-month-old babies, all exactly
alike (a Bokanovsky Group, it was evident) and all (since their
caste was Delta) dressed in khaki.
"Put them down on the floor."
The infants were unloaded.
"Now turn them so that they can see the flowers and books."
Turned, the babies at once fell silent, then began to crawl towards
those clusters of sleek colours, those shapes so gay and brilliant
on the white pages. As they approached, the sun came out of a
momentary eclipse behind a cloud. The roses flamed up as though
with a sudden passion from within; a new and profound sigruficance
seemed to suffuse the shining pages of the books. From the ranks
of the crawling babies came little squeals of excitement, gurgles
and twitterings of pleasure.
The Director rubbed his hands. "Excellent!" he said. "It might
almost have been done on purpose."
The swiftest crawlers were already at their goal. Small hands
reached out uncertainly, touched, grasped, unpetaling the transfigured
roses, crumpling the illuminated pages of the books. The Director
waited until all were happily busy. Then, "Watch carefully," he
said. And, lifting his hand, he gave the signal.
The Head Nurse, who was standing by a switchboard at the other
end of the room, pressed down a little lever.
There was a violent explosion. Shriller and ever shriller, a siren
shrieked. Alarm bells maddeningly sounded.
The children started, screamed; their faces were distorted with
"And now," the Director shouted (for the noise was deafening),
"now we proceed to rub in the lesson with a mild electric shock."
He waved his hand again, and the Head Nurse pressed a second lever.
The screaming of the babies suddenly changed its tone. There was
something desperate, almost insane, about the sharp spasmodic
yelps to which they now gave utterance. Their little bodies twitched
and stiffened; their limbs moved jerkily as if to the tug of unseen
"We can electrify that whole strip of floor," bawled the Director
in explanation. "But that's enough," he signalled to the nurse.
The explosions ceased, the bells stopped ringing, the shriek of
the siren died down from tone to tone into silence. The stiffly
twitching bodies relaxed, and what had become the sob and yelp
of infant maniacs broadened out once more into a normal howl of
"Offer them the flowers and the books again."
The nurses obeyed; but at the approach of the roses, at the mere
sight of those gaily-coloured images of pussy and cock-a-doodle-doo
and baa-baa black sheep, the infants shrank away in horror, the
volume of their howling suddenly increased.
"Observe," said the Director triumphantly, "observe."
Books and loud noises, fiowers and electric shocksalready in
the infant mind these couples were compromisingly linked; and
after two hundred repetitions of the same or a similar lesson
would be wedded indissolubly. What man has joined, nature is powerless
to put asunder.
"They'll grow up with what the psychologists used to call an 'instinctive'
hatred of books and flowers. Reflexes unalterably conditioned.
They'll be safe from books and botany all their lives." The Director
turned to his nurses. "Take them away again."
Still yelling, the khaki babies were loaded on to their dumb-waiters
and wheeled out, leaving behind them the smell of sour milk and
a most welcome silence.
One of the students held up his hand; and though he could see
quite well why you couldn't have lower-cast people wasting the
Community's time over books, and that there was always the risk
of their reading something which might undesirably decondition
one of their reflexes, yet
well, he couldn't understand about
the flowers. Why go to the trouble of making it psychologically
impossible for Deltas to like flowers?
Patiently the D.H.C. explained. If the children were made to scream
at the sight of a rose, that was on grounds of high economic policy.
Not so very long ago (a century or thereabouts), Gammas, Deltas,
even Epsilons, had been conditioned to like flowersflowers in
particular and wild nature in general. The idea was to make them
want to be going out into the country at every available opportunity,
and so compel them to consume transport.
"And didn't they consume transport?" asked the student.
"Quite a lot," the D.H.C. replied. "But nothing else."
Primroses and landscapes, he pointed out, have one grave defect:
they are gratuitous. A love of nature keeps no factories busy.
It was decided to abolish the love of nature, at any rate among
the lower classes; to abolish the love of nature, but not the tendency to consume transport. For of course it was essential
that they should keep on going to the country, even though they
hated it. The problem was to find an economically sounder reason
for consuming transport than a mere affection for primroses and
landscapes. It was duly found.
"We condition the masses to hate the country," concluded the Director.
"But simultaneously we condition them to love all country sports.
At the same time, we see to it that all country sports shall entail
the use of elaborate apparatus. So that they consume manufactured
articles as well as transport. Hence those electric shocks."
"I see," said the student, and was silent, lost in admiration.
There was a silence; then, clearing his throat, "Once upon a time,"
the Director began, "while our Ford was still on earth, there
was a little boy called Reuben Rabinovitch. Reuben was the child
of Polish-speaking parents."
The Director interrupted himself. "You know what Polish is, I
"A dead language."
"Like French and German," added another student, officiously showing
off his learning.
"And 'parent'?" questioned the D.H.C.
There was an uneasy silence. Several of the boys blushed. They
had not yet learned to draw the significant but often very fine
distinction between smut and pure science. One, at last, had the
courage to raise a hand.
"Human beings used to be
" he hesitated; the blood rushed to
his cheeks. "Well, they used to be viviparous."
"Quite right." The Director nodded approvingly.
"And when the babies were decanted
"'Born,'" came the correction.
"Well, then they were the parentsI mean, not the babies, of course;
the other ones." The poor boy was overwhelmed with confusion.
"In brief," the Director summed up, "the parents were the father
and the mother." The smut that was really science fell with a
crash into the boys' eye-avoiding silence. "Mother," he repeated
loudly rubbing in the science; and, leaning back in his chair,
"These," he said gravely, "are unpleasant facts; I know it. But
then most historical facts are unpleasant."
He returned to Little Reubento Little Reuben, in whose room,
one evening, by an oversight, his father and mother (crash, crash!)
happened to leave the radio turned on.
("For you must remember that in those days of gross viviparous
reproduction, children were always brought up by their parents
and not in State Conditioning Centres.")
While the child was asleep, a broadcast programme from London
suddenly started to come through; and the next morning, to the
astonishment of his crash and crash (the more daring of the boys
ventured to grin at one another), Little Reuben woke up repeating
word for word a long lecture by that curious old writer ("one
of the very few whose works have been permitted to come down to
us"), George Bernard Shaw, who was speaking, according to a well-authenticated
tradition, about his own genius. To Little Reuben's wink and snigger,
this lecture was, of course, perfectly incomprehensible and, imagining
that their child had suddenly gone mad, they sent for a doctor.
He, fortunately, understood English, recognized the discourse
as that which Shaw had broadcasted the previous evening, realized
the significance of what had happened, and sent a letter to the
medical press about it.
"The principle of sleep-teaching, or hypnopædia, had been discovered."
The D.H.C. made an impressive pause.
The principle had been discovered; but many, many years were to
elapse before that principle was usefully applied.
"The case of Little Reuben occurred only twenty-three years after
Our Ford's first T-Model was put on the market." (Here the Director
made a sign of the T on his stomach and all the students reverently
followed suit.) "And yet
Furiously the students scribbled. "Hypnopædia, first used officially in A.F. 214. Why not before?
Two reasons. (a)
"These early experimenters," the D.H.C. was saying, "were on the
wrong track. They thought that hypnopædia could be made an instrument
of intellectual education
(A small boy asleep on his right side, the right arm stuck out,
the right hand hanging limp over the edge of the bed. Through
a round grating in the side of a box a voice speaks softly.
"The Nile is the longest river in Africa and the second in length
of all the rivers of the globe. Although falling short of the
length of the Mississippi-Missouri, the Nile is at the head of
all rivers as regards the length of its basin, which extends through
35 degrees of latitude
At breakfast the next morning, "Tommy," some one says, "do you
know which is the longest river in Africa?" A shaking of the head.
"But don't you remember something that begins: The Nile is the
"The - Nile - is - the - longest - river - in - Africa - and -
the - second - in - length - of - all - the - rivers - of - the
" The words come rushing out. "Although - falling - short
"Well now, which is the longest river in Africa?"
The eyes are blank. "I don't know."
"But the Nile, Tommy."
"The - Nile - is - the - longest - river - in - Africa - and -
"Then which river is the longest, Tommy?"
Tommy burst into tears. "I don't know," he howls.)
That howl, the Director made it plain, discouraged the earliest
invesfigators. The experiments were abandoned. No further attempt
was made to teach children the length of the Nile in their sleep.
Quite rightly. You can't learn a science unless you know what
it's all about.
"Whereas, if they'd only started on moral education," said the Director, leading the way towards the door.
The students followed him, desperately scribbling as they walked
and all the way up in the lift. "Moral education, which ought
never, in any circumstances, to be rational."
"Silence, silence," whispered a loud speaker as they stepped out
at the fourteenth floor, and "Silence, silence," the trumpet mouths
indefatigably repeated at intervals down every corridor. The students
and even the Director himself rose automatically to the tips of
their toes. They were Alphas, of course, but even Alphas have
been well conditioned. "Silence, silence." All the air of the
fourteenth floor was sibilant with the categorical imperative.
Fifty yards of tiptoeing brought them to a door which the Director
cautiously opened. They stepped over the threshold into the twilight
of a shuttered dormitory. Eighty cots stood in a row against the
wall. There was a sound of light regular breathing and a continuous
murmur, as of very faint voices remotely whispering.
A nurse rose as they entered and came to attention before the
"What's the lesson this afternoon?" he asked.
"We had Elementary Sex for the first forty minutes," she answered.
"But now it's switched over to Elementary Class Consciousness."
The Director walked slowly down the long line of cots. Rosy and
relaxed with sleep, eighty little boys and girls lay seftly hreathing.
There was a whisper under every pillow. The D.H.C. halted and,
bending over one of the little beds, listened attentively.
"Elementary Class Consciousness, did you say? Let's have it repeated
a little louder by the trumpet."
At the end of the room a loud speaker projected from 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 wear khaki. Oh
no, I don't want to play with Delta children. And Epsilons are
still worse. They're too stupid to be able to read or write. Besides
they wear black, which is such a beastly 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 frightfully clever. I'm really awfuly 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 wear khaki. Oh no, I don't want to play with Delta children. And Epsilons are still worse.
They're too stupid to be able
The Director pushed back the switch. The voice was silent. Only
its thin ghost continued to mutter from beneath the eighty pillows.
"They'll have that repeated forty or fifty times more before they
wake; then again on Thursday, and again on Saturday. A hundred
and twenty times three times a week for thirty months. After which
they go on to a more advanced lesson."
Roses and electric shocks, the khaki of Deltas and a whiff of
asaftidawedded indissolubly before the child can speak. But
wordless conditioning is crude and wholesale; cannot bring home
the finer distinctions, cannot inculcate the more complex courses
of behaviour. For that there must be words, but words without
reason. In brief, hypnopædia.
"The greatest moralizing and socializing force of all time."
The students took it down in their little books. Straight from
the horse's mouth.
Once more the Director touched the switch.
so frightfully clever," the soft, insinuating, indefatigable
voice was saying, "I'm really awfully glad I'm a Beta, because
Not so much like drops of water, though water, it is true, can
wear holes in the hardest granite; rather, drops of liquid sealing-wax,
drops that adhere, incrust, incorporate themselves with what they
fall on, till finally the rock is all one scarlet blob.
"Till at last the child's mind is these suggestions, and the sum of the suggestions is the child's mind. And not the child's mind only. The adult's
mind tooall his life long. The mind that judges and desires and
decidesmade up of these suggestions. But all these suggestions
are our suggestions!" The Director almost shouted in his triumph. "Suggestions
from the State." He banged the nearest table. "It therefore follows
A noise made him turn round.
"Oh, Ford!" he said in another tone, "I've gone and woken the
OUTSIDE, in the garden, it was playtime. Naked in the warm June
sunshine, six or seven hundred little boys and girls were running
with shrill yells over the lawns, or playing ball games, or squatting
silently in twos and threes among the flowering shrubs. The roses
were in bloom, two nightingales soliloquized in the boskage, a
cuckoo was just going out of tune among the lime trees. The air
was drowsy with the murmur of bees and helicopters.
The Director and his students stood for a short time watching
a game of Centrifugal Bumble-puppy. Twenty children were grouped
in a circle round a chrome steel tower. A ball thrown up so as
to land on the platform at the top of the tower rolled down into
the interior, fell on a rapidly revolving disk, was hurled through
one or other of the numerous apertures pierced in the cylindrical
casing, and had to be caught.
"Strange," mused the Director, as they turned away, "strange to
think that even in Our Ford's day most games were played without
more apparatus than a ball or two and a few sticks and perhaps
a bit of netting. imagine the folly of allowing people to play
elaborate games which do nothing whatever to increase consumption.
It's madness. Nowadays the Controllers won't approve of any new
game unless it can be shown that it requires at least as much
apparatus as the most complicated of existing games." He interrupted
"That's a charming little group," he said, pointing.
In a little grassy bay between tall clumps of Mediterranean heather,
two children, a little boy of about seven and a little girl who
might have been a year older, were playing, very gravely and with
all the focussed attention of scientists intent on a labour of
discovery, a rudimentary sexual game.
"Charming, charming!" the D.H.C. repeated sentimentally.
"Charming," the boys politely agreed. But their smile was rather
patronizing. They had put aside similar childish amusements too
recently to be able to watch them now without a touch of contempt.
Charming? but it was just a pair of kids fooling about; that was
all. Just kids.
"I always think," the Director was continuing in the same rather
maudlin tone, when he was interrupted by a loud boo-hooing.
From a neighbouring shrubbery emerged a nurse, leading by the
hand a small boy, who howled as he went. An anxious-looking little
girl trotted at her heels.
"What's the matter?" asked the Director.
The nurse shrugged her shoulders. "Nothing much," she answered.
"It's just that this little boy seems rather reluctant to join
in the ordinary erotic play. I'd noticed it once or twice before.
And now again to-day. He started yelling just now
"Honestly," put in the anxious-looking little girl, "I didn't
mean to hurt him or anything. Honestly."
"Of course you didn't, dear," said the nurse reassuringly. "And
so," she went on, turning back to the Director, "I'm taking him
in to see the Assistant Superintendent of Psychology. Just to
see if anything's at all abnormal."
"Ouite right," said the Director. "Take him in. You stay here,
little girl," he added, as the nurse moved away with her still
howling charge. "What's your name?"
"And a very good name too," said the Director. "Run away now and
see if you can find some other little boy to play with."
The child scampered off into the bushes and was lost to sight.
"Exquisite little creature!" said the Director, looking after
her. Then, turning to his students, "What I'm going to tell you
now," he said, "may sound incredible. But then, when you're not
accustomed to history, most facts about the past do sound incredible."
He let out the amazing truth. For a very long period before the
time of Our Ford, and even for some generations afterwards, erotic
play between children had been regarded as abnormal (there was
a roar of laughter); and not only abnormal, actually immoral (no!):
and had therefore been rigorously suppressed.
A look of astonished incredulity appeared on the faces of his
listeners. Poor little kids not allowed to amuse themselves? They
could not believe it.
"Even adolescents," the D.H.C. was saying, "even adolescents like
"Barring a little surreptitious auto-erotism and homosexualityabsolutely
"In most cases, till they were over twenty years old."
"Twenty years old?" echoed the students in a chorus of loud disbelief.
"Twenty," the Director repeated. "I told you that you'd find it
"But what happened?" they asked. "What were the results?"
"The results were terrible." A deep resonant voice broke startlingly
into the dialogue.
They looked around. On the fringe of the little group stood a
strangera man of middle height, black-haired, with a hooked nose,
full red lips, eyes very piercing and dark. "Terrible," he repeated.
The D.H.C. had at that moment sat down on one of the steel and
rubber benches conveniently scattered through the gardens; but
at the sight of the stranger, he sprang to his feet and darted
forward, his hand outstretched, smiling with all his teeth, effusive.
"Controller! What an unexpected pleasure! Boys, what are you thinking
of? This is the Controller; this is his fordship, Mustapha Mond."
In the four thousand rooms of the Centre the four thousand electric
clocks simultaneously struck four. Discarnate voices called from
the trumpet mouths.
"Main Day-shift off duty. Second Day-shift take over. Main Day-shift
In the lift, on their way up to the changing rooms, Henry Foster
and the Assistant Director of Predestination rather pointedly
turned their backs on Bernard Marx from the Psychology Bureau:
averted themselves from that unsavoury reputation.
The faint hum and rattle of machinery still stirred the crimson
air in the Embryo Store. Shifts might come and go, one lupus-coloured
face give place to another; majestically and for ever the conveyors
crept forward with their load of future men and women.
Lenina Crowne walked briskly towards the door.
His fordship Mustapha Mond! The eyes of the saluting students
almost popped out of their heads. Mustapha Mond! The Resident
Controller for Western Europe! One of the Ten World Controllers.
One of the Ten
and he sat down on the bench with the D.H.C.,
he was going to stay, to stay, yes, and actually talk to them
straight from the horse's mouth. Straight from the mouth of
Two shrimp-brown children emerged from a neighbouring shrubbery,
stared at them for a moment with large, astonished eyes, then
returned to their amusements among the leaves.
"You all remember," said the Controller, in his strong deep voice,
"you all remember, I suppose, that beautiful and inspired saying
of Our Ford's: History is bunk. History," he repeated slowly,
He waved his hand; and it was as though, with an invisible feather
wisk, he had brushed away a little dust, and the dust was Harappa,
was Ur of the Chaldees; some spider-webs, and they were Thebes
and Babylon and Cnossos and Mycenae. Whisk. Whiskand where was
Odysseus, where was Job, where were Jupiter and Gotama and Jesus?
Whiskand those specks of antique dirt called Athens and Rome,
Jerusalem and the Middle Kingdomall were gone. Whiskthe place
where Italy had been was empty. Whisk, the cathedrals; whisk,
whisk, King Lear and the Thoughts of Pascal. Whisk, Passion; whisk,
Requiem; whisk, Symphony; whisk
"Going to the Feelies this evening, Henry?" enquired the Assistant
Predestinator. "I hear the new one at the Alhambra is first-rate.
There's a love scene on a bearskin rug; they say it's marvellous.
Every hair of the bear reproduced. The most amazing tactual effects."
"That's why you're taught no history," the Controller was saying.
"But now the time has come
The D.H.C. looked at him nervously. There were those strange rumours
of old forbidden books hidden in a safe in the Controller's study.
Bibles, poetryFord knew what.
Mustapha Mond intercepted his anxious glance and the corners of
his red lips twitched ironically.
"It's all right, Director," he said in a tone of faint derision,
"I won't corrupt them."
The D.H.C. was overwhelmed with confusion.
Those who feel themselves despised do well to look despising.
The smile on Bernard Marx's face was contemptuous. Every hair
on the bear indeed!
"I shall make a point of going," said Henry Foster.
Mustapha Mond leaned forward, shook a finger at them. "Just try
to realize it," he said, and his voice sent a strange thrill quivering
along their diaphragms. "Try to realize what it was like to have
a viviparous mother."
That smutty word again. But none of them dreamed, this time, of
"Try to imagine what 'living with one's family' meant."
They tried; but obviously without the smallest success.
"And do you know what a 'home' was?"
They shook their heads.
From her dim crimson cellar Lenina Crowne shot up seventeen stories,
turned to the right as she stepped out of the lift, walked down
a long corridor and, opening the door marked GIRLS' DRESSING-ROOM,
plunged into a deafening chaos of arms and bosoms and underclothing.
Torrents of hot water were splashing into or gurgling out of a
hundred baths. Rumbling and hissing, eighty vibro-vacuum massage
machines were simultaneously kneading and sucking the firm and
sunburnt flesh of eighty superb female specimens. Every one was
talking at the top of her voice. A Synthetic Music machine was
warbling out a super-cornet solo.
"Hullo, Fanny," said Lenina to the young woman who had the pegs
and locker next to hers.
Fanny worked in the Bottling Room, and her surname was also Crowne.
But as the two thousand million inhabitants of the plant had only
ten thousand names between them, the coincidence was not particularly
Lenina pulled at her zippers-downwards on the jacket, downwards
with a double-handed gesture at the two that held trousers, downwards
again to loosen her undergarment. Still wearing her shoes and
stockings, she walked off towards the bathrooms.
Home, homea few small rooms, stiflingly over-inhabited by a man,
by a periodically teeming woman, by a rabble of boys and girls
of all ages. No air, no space; an understerilized prison; darkness,
disease, and smells.
(The Controller's evocation was so vivid that one of the boys,
more sensitive than the rest, turned pale at the mere description
and was on the point of being sick.)
Lenina got out of the bath, toweled herself dry, took hold of
a long flexible tube plugged into the wall, presented the nozzle
to her breast, as though she meant to commit suicide, pressed
down the trigger. A blast of warmed air dusted her with the finest
talcum powder. Eight different scents and eau-de-Cologne were
laid on in little taps over the wash-basin. She turned on the
third from the left, dabbed herself with chypre and, carrying
her shoes and stockings in her hand, went out to see if one of
the vibro-vacuum machines were free.
And home was as squalid psychically as physically. Psychically,
it was a rabbit hole, a midden, hot with the frictions of tightly
packed life, reeking with emotion. What suffocating intimacies,
what dangerous, insane, obscene relationships between the members
of the family group! Maniacally, the mother brooded over her children
brooded over them like a cat over its kittens; but
a cat that could talk, a cat that could say, "My baby, my baby,"
over and over again. "My baby, and oh, oh, at my breast, the little
hands, the hunger, and that unspeakable agonizing pleasure! Till
at last my baby sleeps, my baby sleeps with a bubble of white
milk at the corner of his mouth. My little baby sleeps
"Yes," said Mustapha Mond, nodding his head, "you may well shudder."
"Who are you going out with to-night?" Lenina asked, returning
from the vibro-vac like a pearl illuminated from within, pinkly
Lenina raised her eyebrows in astonishment.
"I've been feeling rather out of sorts lately," Fanny explained.
"Dr. Wells advised me to have a Pregnancy Substitute."
"But, my dear, you're only nineteen. The first Pregnancy Substitute
isn't compulsory till twenty-one."
"I know, dear. But some people are better if they begin earlier.
Dr. Wells told me that brunettes with wide pelvises, like me,
ought to have their first Pregnancy Substitute at seventeen. So
I'm really two years late, not two years early." She opened the
door of her locker and pointed to the row of boxes and labelled
phials on the upper shelf.
"SYRUP OF CORPUS LUTEUM," Lenina read the names aloud. "OVARIN,
GUARANTEED FRESH: NOT TO BE USED AFTER AUGUST 1ST, A.F. 632. MAMMARY
GLAND EXTRACT: TO BE TAKEN THREE TIMES DAILY, BEFORE MEALS, WITH
A LITTLE WATER. PLACENTIN: 5cc TO BE INJECTED INTRAVENALLY EVERY
Ugh!" Lenina shuddered. "How I loathe intravenals,
"Yes. But when they do one good
" Fanny was a particularly sensible
Our Fordor Our Freud, as, for some inscrutable reason, he chose
to call himself whenever he spoke of psychological mattersOur
Freud had been the first to reveal the appalling dangers of family
life. The world was full of fatherswas therefore full of misery;
full of motherstherefore of every kind of perversion from sadism
to chastity; full of brothers, sisters, uncles, auntsfull of
madness and suicide.
"And yet, among the savages of Samoa, in certain islands off the
coast of New Guinea
The tropical sunshine lay like warm honey on the naked bodies
of children tumbling promiscuously among the hibiscus blossoms.
Home was in any one of twenty palm-thatched houses. In the Trobriands
conception was the work of ancestral ghosts; nobody had ever heard
of a father.
"Extremes," said the Controller, "meet. For the good reason that
they were made to meet."
"Dr. Wells says that a three months' Pregnancy Substitute now
will make all the difference to my health for the next three or
"Well, I hope he's right," said Lenina. "But, Fanny, do you really
mean to say that for the next three moaths you're not supposed
"Oh no, dear. Only for a week or two, that's all. I shall spend
the evening at the Club playing Musical Bridge. I suppose you're
"Again?" Fanny's kind, rather moon-like face took on an incongruous
expression of pained and disapproving astonishment. "Do you mean
to tell me you're still going out with Henry Foster?"
Mothers and fathers, brothers and sisters. But there were also
husbands, wives, lovers. There were also monogamy and romance.
"Though you probably don't know what those are," said Mustapha
They shook their heads.
Family, monogamy, romance. Everywhere exclusiveness, a narrow
channelling of impulse and energy.
"But every one belongs to every one else," he concluded, citing
the hypnopædic proverb.
The students nodded, emphatically agreeing with a statement which
upwards of sixty-two thousand repetitions in the dark had made
them accept, not merely as true, but as axiomatic, self-evident,
"But after all," Lenina was protesting, "it's only about four
months now since I've been having Henry."
"Only four months! I like that. And what's more," Fanny went on,
pointing an accusing finger, "there's been nobody else except
Henry all that time. Has there?"
Lenina blushed scarlet; but her eyes, the tone of her voice remained
defiant. "No, there hasn't been any one else," she answered almost
trucuently. "And I jolly well don't see why there should have
"Oh, she jolly well doesn't see why there should have been," Fanny
repeated, as though to an invisible listener behind Lenina's left
shoulder. Then, with a sudden change of tone, "But seriously,"
she said, "I really do think you ought to be careful. It's such
horribly bad form to go on and on like this with one man. At forty,
or thirty-five, it wouldrl't be so bad. But at your age, Lenina! No, it really won't do. And you know how strongly
the D.H.C. objects to anything intense or long-drawn. Four months
of Henry Foster, without having another manwhy, he'd be furious
if he knew
"Think of water under pressure in a pipe." They thought of it.
"I pierce it once," said the Controller. "What a jet!"
He pierced it twenty times. There were twenty piddling little
"My baby. My baby
"Mother!" The madness is infectious.
"My love, my one and only, precious, precious
Mother, monogamy, romance. High spurts the fountain; fierce and
foamy the wild jet. The urge has but a single outlet. My love,
my baby. No wonder these poor pre-moderns were mad and wicked
and miserable. Their world didn't allow them to take things easily,
didn't allow them to be sane, virtuous, happy. What with mothers
and lovers, what with the prohibitions they were not conditioned
to obey, what with the temptations and the lonely remorses, what
with all the diseases and the endless isolating pain, what with
the uncertainties and the povertythey were forced to feel strongly.
And feeling strongly (and strongly, what was more, in solitude,
in hopelessly individual isolation), how could they be stable?
"Of course there's no need to give him up. 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 gentlemanalways
correct. And then there's the Director to think of. You know what
Nodding, "He patted me on the behind this afternoon," said Lenina.
"There, you see!" Fanny was triumphant. "That shows what he stands for. The strictest conventionality."
"Stability," said the Controller, "stability. No civilization
without social stability. No social stability without individual
stability." His voice was a trumpet. Listening they felt larger,
The machine turns, turns and must keep on turningfor ever. It
is death if it stands still. A thousand millions scrabbled the
crust of the earth. The wheels began to turn. In a hundred and
fifty years there were two thousand millions. Stop all the wheels.
In a hundred and fifty weeks there are once more only a thousand
millions; a thousand thousand thousand men and women have starved
Wheels must turn steadily, but cannot turn untended. There must
be men to tend them, men as steady as the wheels upon their axles,
sane men, obedient men, stable in contentment.
Crying: My baby, my mother, my only, only love groaning: My sin,
my terrible God; screaming with pain,muttering with fever, bemoaning
old age and povertyhow can they tend the wheels? And if they
cannot tend the wheels
The corpses of a thousand thousand thousand
men and women would be hard to bury or burn.
"And after all," Fanny's tone was coaxing, "it's not as though
there were anything painful or disagreeable about having one or
two men besides Henry. And seeing that you ought to be a little more promiscuous
"Stability," insisted the Controller, "stability. The primal and
the ultimate need. Stability. Hence all this."
With a wave of his hand he indicated the gardens, the huge building
of the Conditioning Centre, the naked children furtive in the
undergrowth or running across the lawns.
Lenina shook her head. "Somehow," she mused, "I hadn't been feeling
very keen on promiscuity lately. There are times when one doesn't.
Haven't you found that too, Fanny?"
Fanny nodded her sympathy and understanding. "But one's got to
make the effort," she said, sententiously, "one's got to play
the game. After all, every one belongs to every one else."
"Yes, every one belongs to every one else," Lenina repeated slowly
and, sighing, was silent for a moment; then, taking Fanny's hand,
gave it a little squeeze. "You're quite right, Fanny. As usual.
I'll make the effort."
Impulse arrested spills over, and the flood is feeling, the flood
is passion, the flood is even madness: it depends on the force
of the current, the height and strength of the barrier. The unchecked
stream flows smoothly down its appointed channels into a calm
well-being. (The embryo is hungry; day in, day out, the blood-surrogate
pump unceasingly turns its eight hundred revolutions a minute.
The decanted infant howls; at once a nurse appears with a bottle
of external secretion. Feeling lurks in that interval of time
between desire and its consummation. Shorten that interval, break
down all those old unnecessary barriers.
"Fortunate boys!" said the Controller. "No pains have been spared
to make your lives emotionally easyto preserve you, so far as
that is possible, from having emotions at all."
"Ford's in his flivver," murmured the D.H.C. "All's well with
"Lenina Crowne?" said Henry Foster, echoing the Assistant Predestinator's
question as he zipped up his trousers. "Oh, she's a splendid girl.
Wonderfully pneumatic. I'm surprised you haven't had her."
"I can't think how it is I haven't," said the Assistant Predestinator.
"I certainly will. At the first opportunity."
From his place on the opposite side of the changing-room aisle,
Bernard Marx overheard what they were saying and turned pale.
"And to tell the truth," said Lenina, "I'm beginning to get just
a tiny bit bored with nothing but Henry every day." She pulled
on her left stocking. "Do you know Bernard Marx?" she asked in
a tone whose excessive casualness was evidently forced.
Fanny looked startled. "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 Obstacle Golf."
"They say, they say," mocked Lenina.
"And then he spends most of his time by himselfalone." There
was horror in Fanny's voice.
"Well, he won't be alone when he's with me. And anyhow, why are
people so beastly to him? I think he's rather sweet." She smiled
to herself; how absurdly shy he had been! Frightened almostas
though she were a World ControUer and he a Gamma-Minus machine
"Consider your own lives," said Mustapha Mond. "Has any of you
ever encountered an insurmountable obstacle?"
The question was answered by a negative silence.
"Has any of you been compelled to live through a long time-interval
between the consciousness of a desire and its fufilment?"
"Well," began one of the boys, and hesitated.
"Speak up," said the D.H.C. "Don't keep his fordship waiting."
"I once had to wait nearly four weeks before a girl I wanted woud
let me have her."
"And you felt a strong emotion in consequence?"
"Horrible; precisely," said the Controller. "Our ancestors were
so stupid and short-sighted that when the first reformers came
along and offered to deliver them from those horrible emotions,
they woudn't have anything to do with them."
"Talking about her as though she were a bit of meat." Bernard
ground his teeth. "Have her here, have her there." Like mutton.
Degrading her to so much mutton. She said she'd think it over,
she said she'd give me an answer this week. Oh, Ford, Ford, Ford."
He would have liked to go up to them and hit them in the facehard,
again and again.
"Yes, I really do advise you to try her," Henry Foster was saying.
"Take Ectogenesis. Pfitzner and Kawaguchi had got the whole technique
worked out. But would the Governments look at it? No. There was
something called Christianity. Women were forced to go on being
"He's so ugly!" said Fanny.
"But I rather like his looks."
"And then so small." Fanny made a grimace; smallness was so horribly and typically
"I think that's rather sweet," said Lenina. "One feels one would
like to pet him. You know. Like a cat."
Fanny was shocked. "They say somebody made a mistake when he was
still in the bottlethought he was a Gamma and put alcohol into
his blood-surrogate. That's why he's so stunted."
"What nonsense!" Lenina was indignant.
"Sleep teaching was actually prohibited in England. There was
something called liberalism. Parliament, if you know what that
was, passed a law against it. The records survive. Speeches about
liberty of the subject. Liberty to be inefficient and miserable.
Freedom to be a round peg in a square hole."
"But, my dear chap, you're welcome, I assure you. You're welcome."
Henry Foster patted the Assistant Predestinator on the shoulder.
"Every one belongs to every one else, after all."
One hundred repetitions three nights a week for four years, thought
Bernard Marx, who was a specialist on hypnopædia. Sixty-two thousand
four hundred repetitions make one truth. Idiots!
"Or the Caste System. Constantly proposed, constantly rejected.
There was something called democracy. As though men were more
than physico-chemically equal."
"Well, all I can say is that I'm going to accept his invitation."
Bernard hated them, hated them. But they were two, they were large,
they were strong.
"The Nine Years' War began in A.F. 141."
"Not even if it were true about the alcohol in his blood-surrogate."
"Phosgene, chloropicrin, ethyl iodoacetate, diphenylcyanarsine,
trichlormethyl, chloroformate, dichlorethyl sulphide. Not to mention
"Which I simply don't believe," Lenina concluded.
"The noise of fourteen thousand aeroplanes advancing in open order.
But in the Kurfurstendamm and the Eighth Arrondissement, the explosion
of the anthrax bombs is hardly louder than the popping of a paper
"Because I do want to see a Savage Reservation."
Ch3C6H2(NO2)3+Hg(CNO)2=well, what? An enormous hole in the ground, a pile of masonry,
some bits of flesh and mucus, a foot, with the boot still on it,
flying through the air and landing, flop, in the middle of the
geraniumsthe scarlet ones; such a splendid show that summer!
"You're hopeless, Lenina, I give you up."
"The Russian technique for infecting water supplies was particularly
Back turned to back, Fanny and Lenina continued their changing
"The Nine Years' War, the great Economic Collapse. There was a
choice between World Control and destruction. Between stability
"Fanny Crowne's a nice girl too," said the Assistant Predestmator.
In the nurseries, the Elementary Class Consciousness lesson was
over, the voices were adapting future demand to future industrial
supply. "I do love flying," they whispered, "I do love flying,
I do love having new clothes, I do love
"Liberalism, of course, was dead of anthrax, but all the same
you couldn't do things by force."
"Not nearly so pneumatic as Lenina. Oh, not nearly."
"But old clothes are beastly," continued the untiring whisper.
"We always throw away old clothes. Ending is better than mending,
ending is better thast mending, ending is better
"Government's an affair of sitting, not hitting. You rule with
the brains and the buttocks, never with the fists. For example,
there was the conscription of consumption."
"There, I'm ready," said Lenina, but Fanny remained speechless
and averted. "Let's make peace, Fanny darling."
"Every man, woman and child compelled to consume so much a year.
In the interests of industry. The sole result
"Ending is better than mending. The more stitches, the less riches;
the more stitches
"One of these days," said Fanny, with dismal emphasis, "you'll
get into trouble."
"Conscientious objection on an enormous scale. Anything not to
consume. Back to nature."
"I do love flying. I do love flying."
"Back to culture. Yes, actually to culture. You can't consume
much if you sit still and read books."
"Do I look all right?" Lenina asked. Her jacket was made of bottle
green acetate cloth with green viscose fur; at the cuffs and collar.
"Eight hundred Simple Lifers were mowed down by machine guns at
"Ending is better than mending, ending is better than mending."
Green corduroy shorts and white viscose-woollen stockings turned
down below the knee.
"Then came the famous British Museum Massacre. Two thousand culture
fans gassed with dichlorethyl sulphide."
A green-and-white jockey cap shaded Lenina's eyes; her shoes were
bright green and highly polished.
"In the end," said Mustapha Mond, "the Controllers realized that
force was no good. The slower but infinitely surer methods of
ectogenesis, neo-Pavlovian conditioning and hypnopædia
And round her waist she wore a silver-mounted green morocco-surrogate
cartridge belt, bulging (for Lenina was not a freemartin) with
the regulation supply of contraceptives.
"The discoveries of Pfitzner and Kawaguchi were at last made use
of. An intensive propaganda against viviparous reproduction
"Perfect!" cried Fanny enthusiastically. She could never resist
Lenina's charm for long. "And what a perfectly sweet Malthusian belt!"
"Accompanied by a campaign against the Past; by the closing of
museums, the blowing up of historical monuments (luckily most
of them had already been destroyed during the Nine Years' War);
by the suppression of all books published before A.F. 15O.''
"I simply must get one like it," said Fanny.
"There were some things called the pyramids, for example.
"My old black-patent bandolier
"And a man called Shakespeare. You've never heard of them of course."
"It's an absolute disgracethat bandolier of mine."
"Such are the advantages of a really scientific education."
"The more stitches the less riches; the more stitches the less
"The introduction of Our Ford's first T-Model
"I've had it nearly three months."
"Chosen as the opening date of the new era."
"Ending is better than mending; ending is better
"There was a thing, as I've said before, called Christianity."
"Ending is better than mending."
"The ethics and philosophy of under-consumption
"I love new clothes, I love new clothes, I love
"So essential when there was under-production; but in an age of
machines and the fixation of nitrogenpositively a crime against
"Henry Foster gave it me."
"All crosses had their tops cut and became T's. There was also
a thing called God."
"It's real morocco-surrogate."
"We have the World State now. And Ford's Day celebrations, and
Community Sings, and Solidarity Services."
"Ford, how I hate them!" Bernard Marx was thinking.
"There was a thing called Heaven; but all the same they used to
drink enormous quantities of alcohol."
"Like meat, like so much meat."
"There was a thing called the soul and a thing called immortality."
"Do ask Henry where he got it."
"But they used to take morphia and cocaine."
"And what makes it worse, she tlainks of herself as meat."
"Two thousand pharmacologists and bio-chemists were subsidized
in A.P. 178."
"He does look glum," said the Assistant Predestinator, pointing
at Bernard Marx.
"Six years later it was being produced commercially. The perfect
"Let's bait him."
"Euphoric, narcotic, pleasantly hallucinant."
"Glum, Marx, glum." The clap on the shoulder made him start, look
up. It was that brute Henry Foster. "What you need is a gramme
"All the advantages of Christianity and alcohol; none of their
"Ford, I should like to kill him!" But all he did was to say,
"No, thank you," and fend off the proffered tube of tablets.
"Take a holiday from reality whenever you like, and come back
without so much as a headache or a mythology."
"Take it," insisted Henry Foster, "take it."
"Stability was practically assured."
"One cubic centimetre cures ten gloomy sentiments," said the Assistant
Predestinator citing a piece of homely hypnopædic wisdom.
"It only remained to conquer old age."
"Damn you, damn you!" shouted Bernard Marx.
"Gonadal hormones, transfusion of young blood, magnesium salts
"And do remember that a gramme is better than a damn." They went
"All the physiological stigmata of old age have been abolished.
And along with them, of course
"Don't forget to ask him about that Malthusian belt," said Fanny.
"Along with them all the old man's mental peculiarities. Characters
remain constant throughout a whole lifetime."
two rounds of Obstacle Golf to get through before dark. I must
"Work, playat sixty our powers and tastes are what they were
at seventeen. Old men in the bad old days used to renounce, retire,
take to religion, spend their time reading, thinkingthinking!"
"Idiots, swine!" Bernard Marx was saying to himself, as he walked
down the corridor to the lift.
"Nowsuch is progressthe old men work, the old men copulate,
the old men have no time, no leisure from pleasure, not a moment
to sit down and thinkor if ever by some unlucky chance such a
crevice of time shoud yawn in the solid substance of their distractions,
there is always soma, delicious soma, half a gramme for a half-holiday, a gramme for a week-end, two
grammes for a trip to the gorgeous East, three for a dark eternity
on the moon; returning whence they find themselves on the other
side of the crevice, safe on the solid ground of daily labour
and distraction, scampering from feely to feely, from girl to
pneumatic girl, from Electromagnetic Golf course to
"Go away, little girl," shouted the D.H.C. angrily. "Go away,
little boy! Can't you see that his fordship's busy? Go and do
your erotic play somewhere else."
"Suffer little children," said the Controller.
Slowly, majestically, with a faint humming of machinery, the Conveyors
moved forward, thirty-three centimters an hour. In the red darkness
glinted innumerable rubies.
THE LIFT was crowded with men from the Alpha Changing Rooms, and
Lenina's entry wars greeted by many friendly nods and smiles.
She was a popular girl and, at one time or another, had spent
a night with almost all of them.
They were dear boys, she thought, as she returned their salutations.
Charming boys! Still, she did wish that George Edzel's ears weren't
quite so big (perhaps he'd been given just a spot too much parathyroid
at Metre 328?). And looking at Benito Hoover, she couldn't help
remembering that he was really too hairy when he took his clothes off.
Turning, with eyes a little saddened by the recollection, of Benito's
curly blackness, she saw in a corner the small thin body, the
melancholy face of Bernard Marx.
"Bernard!" she stepped up to him. "I was looking for you." Her
voice rang clear above the hum of the mounting lift. The others
looked round curiously. "I wanted to talk to you about our New
Mexico plan." Out of the tail of her eye she could see Benito
Hoover gaping with astonishment. The gape annoyed her. "Surprised
I shouldn't be begging to go with him again!" she said to herself. Then aloud, and more warmly than
ever, "I'd simply love to come with you for a week in July," she went on. (Anyhow, she
was publicly proving her unfaithfulness to Henry. Fanny ought
to be pleased, even though it was Bernard.) "That is," Lenina
gave him her most deliciously significant smile, "if you still
want to have me."
Bernard's pale face flushed. "What on earth for?" she wondered,
astonished, but at the same time touched by this strange tribute
to her power.
"Hadn't we better talk about it somewhere else?" he stammered,
looking horribly uncomfortable.
"As though I'd been saying something shocking," thought Lenina.
"He couldn't look more upset if I'd made a dirty jokeasked him
who his mother was, or something like that."
"I mean, with all these people about
" He was choked with confusion.
Lenina's laugh was frank and wholly unmalicious. "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
another tone. "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 came to a standstill.
"Roof!" called a creaking voice.
The liftman was a small simian creature, dressed in the black
tunic of an Epsilon-Minus Semi-Moron.
He flung open the gates. The warm glory of afternoon sunlight
made him start and blink his eyes. "Oh, roof!" he repeated in
a voice of rapture. He was as though suddenly and joyfully awakened
from a dark annihilating stupor. "Roof!"
He smiled up with a kind of doggily expectant adoration into the
faces of his passengers. Talking and laughing together, they stepped
out into the light. The liftman looked after them.
"Roof?" he said once more, questioningly.
Then a bell rang, and from the ceiling of the lift a loud speaker
began, very softly and yet very imperiously, to issue its commands.
"Go down," it said, "go down. Floor Eighteen. Go down, go down.
Floor Eighteen. Go down, go
The liftman slammed the gates, touched a button and instantly
dropped back into the droning twilight of the well, the twilight
of his own habitual stupor.
It was warm and bright on the roof. The summer afternoon was drowsy
with the hum of passing helicopters; and the deeper drone of the
rocket-planes hastening, invisible, through the bright sky five
or six miles overhead was like a caress on the soft air. Bernard
Marx drew a deep breath. He looked up into the sky and round the
blue horizon 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 rapturously.
"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 hangars. Bernard
stood watching the retreating twinkle of the white stockings,
the sunburnt knees vivaciously bending and unbending again, again,
and the softer rolling of those well-fitted corduroy shorts beneath
the bottle green jacket. His face wore an expression of pain.
"I should say she was pretty," said a loud and cheery voice just
Bernard started and looked around. The chubby red face of Benito
Hoover was beaming down at himbeaming with manifest cordiality.
Benito was notoriously good-natured. People said of him that he
could have got through life without ever touching soma. The malice and bad tempers from which other people had to take
holidays never afflicted him. Reality for Benito was always sunny.
"Pneumatic too. And how!" Then, in another tone: "But, I say,"
he went on, "you do look glum! What you need is a gramme of soma." Diving into his right-hand trouser-pocket, Benito produced
a phial. "One cubic centimetre cures ten gloomy
But, I say!"
Bernard had suddenly turned and rushed away.
Benito stared after him. "What can be the matter with the fellow?"
he wondered, and, shaking his head, decided that the story about
the alcohol having been put into the poor chap's blood-surrogate
must be true. "Touched his brain, I suppose."
He put away the soma bottle, and taking out a packet of sex-hormone chewing-gum, stuffed
a plug into his cheek and walked slowly away towards the hangars,
Henry Foster had had his machine wheeled out of its lock-up and,
when Lenina arrived, was already seated in the cockpit, waiting.
"Four minutes late," was all his comment, as she climbed in beside
him. He started the engines and threw the helicopter screws into
gear. The machine shot vertically into the air. Henry accelerated;
the humming of the propeller shrilled from hornet to wasp, from
wasp to mosquito; the speedometer showed that they were rising
at the best part of two kilometres a minute. London diminished
beneath them. The huge table-topped buildings were no more, in
a few seconds, than a bed of geometrical mushrooms sprouting from
the green of park and garden. In the midst of them, thin-stalked,
a taller, slenderer fungus, the Charing-T Tower lifted towards
the sky a disk of shining concrete.
Like the vague torsos of fabulous athletes, huge fleshy clouds
lolled on the blue air above their heads. Out of one of them suddenly
dropped a small scarlet insect, buzzing as it fell.
"There's the Red Rocket," said Henry, "just come in from New York."
Looking at his watch. "Seven minutes behind time," he added, and
shook his head. "These Atlantic servicesthey're really scandalously
He took his foot off the accelerator. The humming of the screws
overhead dropped an octave and a half, back through wasp and hornet
to bumble bee, to cockchafer, to stag-beetle. The upward rush
of the machine slackened off; a moment later they were hanging
motionless in the air. Henry pushed at a lever; there was a click.
Slowly at first, then faster and faster, till it was a circular
mist before their eyes, the propeller in front of them began to
revolve. The wind of a horizontal speed whistled ever more shrilly
in the stays. Henry kept his eye on the revolution-counter; when
the needle touched the twelve hundred mark, he threw the helicopter
screws out of gear. The machine had enough forward momentum to
be able to fly on its planes.
Lenina looked down through the window in the floor between her
feet. They were flying over the six kilometre zone of park-land
that separated Central London from its first ring of satellite
suburbs. The green was maggoty with fore-shortened life. Forests
of Centrifugal Bumble-puppy towers gleamed between the trees.
Near Shepherd's Bush two thousand Beta-Minus mixed doubles were
playing Riemann-surface tennis. A double row of Escalator Fives
Courts lined the main road from Notting Hill to Willesden. In
the Ealing stadium a Delta gymnastic display and community sing
was in progress.
"What a hideous colour khaki is," remarked Lenina, voicing the
hypnopædic prejudices of her caste.
The buildings of the Hounslow Feely Studio covered seven and a
half hectares. Near them a black and khaki army of labourers was
busy revitrifying the surface of the Great West Road. One of the
huge travelling crucibles was being tapped as they flew over.
The molten stone poured out in a stream of dazzling incandescence
across the road, the asbestos rollers came and went; at the tail
of an insulated watering cart the steam rose in white clouds.
At Brentford the Television Corporation's factory was like a small
"They must be changing the shift," said Lenina.
Like aphides and ants, the leaf-green Gamma girls, the black Semi-Morons
swarmed round the entrances, or stood in queues to take their
places in the monorail tram-cars. Mulberry-coloured Beta-Minuses
came and went among the crowd. The roof of the main building was
alive with the alighting and departure of helicopters.
"My word," said Lenina, "I'm glad I'm not a Gamma."
Ten minutes later they were at Stoke Poges and had started their
first round of Obstacle Golf.
WITH eyes for the most part downcast and, if ever they lighted
on a fellow creature, at once and furtively averted, Bernard hastened
across the roof. He was like a man pursued, but pursued by enemies
he does not wish to see, lest they should seem more hostile even
than he had supposed, and he himself be made to feel guiltier
and even more helplessly alone.
"That horrible Benito Hoover!" And yet the man had meant well
enough. Which only made it, in a way, much worse. Those who meant
well behaved in the same way as those who meant badly. Even Lenina
was making him suffer. He remembered those weeks of timid indecision,
during which he had looked and longed and despaired of ever having
the courage to ask her. Dared he face the risk of being humiliated
by a contemptuous refusal? But if she were to say yes, what rapture!
Well, now she had said it and he was still wretchedwretched that
she should have thought it such a perfect afternoon for Obstacle
Golf, that she should have trotted away to join Henry Foster,
that she should have found him funny for not wanting to talk of
their most private affairs in public. Wretched, in a word, because
she had behaved as any healthy and virtuous English girl ought
to behave and not in some other, abnormal, extraordinary way.
He opened the door of his lock-up and called to a lounging couple
of Delta-Minus attendants to come and push his machine out on
to the roof. The hangars were staffed by a single Bokanovsky Group,
and the men were twins, identically small, black and hideous.
Bernard gave his orders in the sharp, rather arrogant and even
offensive tone of one who does not feel himself too secure in
his superiority. To have dealings with members of the lower castes
was always, for Bernard, a most distressing experience. For whatever
the cause (and the current gossip about the alcohol in his blood-surrogate
may very likelyfor accidents will happenhave been true) Bernard's
physique as hardly better than that of the average Gamma. He stood
eight centimetres short of the standard Alpha height and was slender
in proportion. Contact with members of he lower castes always
reminded him painfully of this physical inadequacy. "I am I, and
wish I wasn't"; his self-consciousness was acute and stressing.
Each time he found himself looking on the level, instead of downward,
into a Delta's face, he felt humiliated. Would the creature treat
him with the respect due to his caste? The question haunted him.
Not without reason. For Gammas, Deltas and Epsilons had been to
some extent conditioned to associate corporeal mass with social
superiority. Indeed, a faint hypnopædic prejudice in favour of
size was universal. Hence the laughter of the women to whom he
made proposals, the practical joking of his equals among the men.
The mockery made him feel an outsider; and feeling an outsider
he behaved like one, which increased the prejudice against him
and intensified the contempt and hostility aroused by his physical
defects. Which in turn increased his sense of being alien and
alone. A chronic fear of being slighted made him avoid his equals,
made him stand, where his inferiors were concerned, self-consciously
on his dignity. How bitterly he envied men like Henry Foster and
Benito Hoover! Men who never had to shout at an Epsilon to get
an order obeyed; men who took their position for granted; men
who moved through the caste system as a fish through waterso
utterly at home as to be unaware either of themselves or of the
beneficent and comfortable element in which they had their being.
Slackly, it seemed to him, and with reluctance, the twin attendants
wheeled his plane out on the roof.
"Hurry up!" said Bernard irritably. One of them glanced at him.
Was that a kind of bestial derision that he detected in those
blank grey eyes? "Hurry up!" he shouted more loudly, and there
was an ugly rasp in his voice.
He climbed into the plane and, a minute later, was flying southwards,
towards the river.
The various Bureaux of Propaganda and the College of Emotional
Engineering were housed in a single sixty-story building in Fleet
Street. In the basement and on the low floors were the presses
and offices of the three great Lodon newspapersThe Hourly Radio, an upper-caste sheet, the pale green Gamma Gazette, and, on khaki paper and in words exclusively of one syllable,
The Delta Mirror. Then came the Bureaux of Propaganda by Television, by Feeling
Picture, and by Synthetic Voice and Music respectivelytwenty-two
floors of them. Above were the search laboratories and the padded
rooms in which Sound-Track Writers and Synthetic Composers did
the delicate work. The top eighteen floors were occupied 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
porter, "and tell him that Mr. Bernard Marx is waiting for him
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 hung up the receiver.
Then, turning to his secretary, "I'll leave you to put my things
away," he went on in the same official and impersonal tone; and,
ignoring her lustrous smile, got up and walked briskly to the
He was a powerfully built man, deep-chested, broad-shouldered,
massive, and yet quick in his movements, springy and agile. The
round strong pillar of his neck supported a beautifully shaped
head. His hair was dark and curly, his features strongly marked.
In a forcible emphatic way, he was handsome and looked, as his
secretety 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 the intervals of his educational
activities, a working Emotional Engineer. He wrote regularly for
The Hourly Radio, composed feely scenarios, and had the happiest knack for slogans
and hypnopædic rhymes.
"Able," was the verdict of his superiors. "Perhaps, (and they
would shake their heads, would significantly lower their voices)
"a little too able."
Yes, a little too able; they were right. A mental excess had produced
in Helmholtz Watson effects very similar to those which, in Bernard
Marx, were the result of a physical defect. Too little bone and
brawn had isolated Bernard from his fellow men, and the sense
of this apartness, being, by all the current standards, a mental
excess, became in its turn a cause of wider separation. That which
had made Helmholtz so uncomfortably aware of being himself and
and all alone was too much ability. What the two men shared was
the knowledge that they were individuals. But whereas the physically
defective Bernard had suffered all his life from the consciousness
of being separate, it was only quite recently that, grown aware
of his mental excess, Helmholtz Watson had also become aware of
his difference from the people who surrounded him. This Escalator-Squash
champion, this indefatigable lover (it was said that he had had
six hundred and forty different girls in under four years), this
admirable committee man and best mixer had realized quite suddenly
that sport, women, communal activities were only, so far as he
was concerned, second bests. Really, and at the bottom, he was
interested in something else. But in what? In what? That was the
problem which Bernard had come to discuss with himor rather,
since it was always Helmholtz who did all the talking, to listen
to his friend discussing, yet once more.
Three charming girls from the Bureau of Propaganda by Synthetic
Voice waylaid him as he stepped out of the lift.
"Oh, Helmholtz, darling, do come and have a picnic supper with us on Exmoor." They clung
round him imploringly.
He shook his head, he pushed his way through them. "No, no."
"We're not inviting any other man."
But Helmholtz remained unshaken even by this delightful promise.
"No," he repeated, "I'm busy." And he held resolutely on his course.
The girls trailed after him. It was not till he had actually climbed
into Bernard's plane and slammed the door that they gave up pursuit.
Not without reproaches.
"These women!" he said, as the machine rose into the air. "These
women!" And he shook his head, he frowned. "Too awful," Bernard
hypocritically agreed, wishing, as he spoke the words, that he
could have as many girls as Helmholtz did, and with as little
trouble. He was seized with a sudden urgent need to boast. "I'm
taking Lenina Crowne to New Mexico with me," he said in a tone
as casual as he could make it.
"Are you?" said Helmholtz, with a total absence of interest. Then
after a little pause, "This last week or two," he went on, "I've
been cutting all my committees and all my girls. You can't imagine
what a hullabaloo they've been making about it at the College.
Still, it's been worth it, I think. The effects
" He hesitated.
"Well, they're odd, they're very odd."
A physical shortcoming could produce a kind of mental excess.
The process, it seemed, was reversible. Mental excess could produce,
for its own purposes, the voluntary blindness and deafness of
deliberate solitude, the artificial impotence of asceticism.
The rest of the short flight was accomplished in silence. When
they had arrived and were comfortably stretched out on the pneumatic
sofas in Bernard's room, Helmholtz began again.
Speaking very slowly, "Did you ever feel," he asked, "as though
you had something inside you that was only waiting for you to
give it a chance to come out? Some sort of extra power that you
aren't usingyou know, like all the water that goes down the falls
instead of through the turbines?" He looked at Bernard questioningly.
"You mean all the emotions one might be feeling if things were
Helmholtz shook his head. "Not quite. I'm thinking of a queer
feeling I sometimes get, a feeling that I've got something important
to say and the power to say itonly 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 else to write about
" He was
silent; then, "You see," he went on at last, "I'm pretty good
at inventing phrasesyou know, the sort of words that suddenly
make you jump, almost as though you'd sat on a pin, they seem
so new and exciting even though they're about something hypnopædically
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." Helmholtz shrugged his shoulders. "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
intense, more violent. But what? What is there more important
to say? And how can one be violent about the sort of things one's
expected to write about? Words can be like X-rays, if you use
them properlythey'll go through anything. You read and you're
pierced. That's one of the things I try to teach my studentshow
to write piercingly. But what on earth's the good of being pierced
by an article about a Community Sing, or the latest improvement
in scent organs? Besides, can you make words really piercingyou
know, like the very hardest X-rayswhen you're writing about that
sort of thing? Can you say something about nothing? That's what
it finally boils down to. I try and I try
"Hush!" said Bernard suddenly, and lifted a warning finger; they
listened. "I believe there's somebody at the door," he whispered.
Helmholtz got up, tiptoed across the room, and with a sharp quick
movement flung the door wide open. There was, of course, nobody
"I'm sorry," said Bernard, feelling and looking uncomfortably
foolish. "I suppose I've got things on my nerves a bit. When people
are suspicious with you, you start being suspicious with them."
He passed his hand across his eyes, he sighed, his voice became
plaintive. He was justifying himself. "If you knew what I'd had
to put up with recently," he said almost tearfullyand the uprush
of his self-pity was like a fountain suddenly released. "If you
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.
BY EIGHT O'CLOCK the light was failing. The loud speaker in the
tower of the Stoke Poges Club House began, in a more than human
tenor, to announce the closing of the courses. Lenina and Henry
abandoned their game and walked back towards the Club. From the
grounds of the Internal and External Secretion Trust came the
lowing of those thousands of cattle which provided, with their
hormones and their milk, the raw materials for the great factory
at Farnham Royal.
An incessant buzzing of helicopters filled the twilight. Every
two and a half minutes a bell and the screech of whistles announced
the departure of one of the light monorail trains which carried
the lower caste golfers back from their separate course to the
Lenina and Henry climbed into their machine and started off. At
eight hundred feet Henry slowed down the helicopter screws, and
they hung for a minute or two poised above the fading landscape.
The forest of Burnham Beeches stretched like a great pool of darkness
towards the bright shore of the western sky. Crimson at the horizon,
the last of the sunset faded, through orange, upwards into yellow
and a pale watery green. Northwards, beyond and above the trees,
the Internal and External Secretions factory glared with a fierce
electric brilliance from every window of its twenty stories. Beneath
them lay the buildings of the Golf Clubthe huge Lower Caste barracks
and, on the other side of a dividing wall, the smaller houses
reserved for Alpha and Beta members. The approaches to the monorail
station were black with the ant-like pullulation of lower-caste
activity. From under the glass vault a lighted train shot out
into the open. Following its southeasterly course across the dark
plain their eyes were drawn to the majestic buildings of the Slough
Crematorium. For the safety of night-flying planes, its four tall
chimneys were flood-lighted and tipped with crimson danger signals.
It was a landmark.
"Why do the smoke-stacks have those things like balconies around
them?" enquired Lenina.
"Phosphorus recovery," explained Henry telegraphically. "On their
way up the chimney the gases go through four separate treatments.
P2O5 used to go right out of circulation every time they cremated
some one. Now they recover over ninety-eight per cent of it. More
than a kilo and a half per adult corpse. Which makes the best
part of four hundred tons of phosphorus every year from England
alone." Henry spoke with a happy pride, rejoicing whole-heartedly
in the achievement, as though it had been his own. "Fine to think
we can go on being socially useful even after we're dead. Making
Lenina, meanwhile, had turned her eyes away and was looking perpendicularly
downwards at the monorail station. "Fine," she agreed. "But queer
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 physico-chemically equal," said Henry sententiously.
"Besides, even Epsilons perform indispensable services."
"Even an Epsilon
" Lenina suddenly remembered an occasion when,
as a little girl at school, she had woken up in the middle of
the night and become aware, for the first time, of the whispering
that had haunted all her sleeps. 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, unforgotten, unforgettable after
so many night-long repetitions): "Every one works for every one
else. We can't do without any one. Even Epsilons are useful. We
couldn't do without Epsilons. Every one works for every one else.
We can't do without any one
" Lenina remembered her first shock
of fear and surprise; her speculations through half a wakeful
hour; and then, under the influence of those endless repetitions,
the gradual soothing of her mind, the soothing, the smoothing,
the stealthy creeping of sleep.
"I suppose Epsilons don't really mind being Epsilons," she said
"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 start with a different
"I'm glad I'm not an Epsilon," said Lenina, with conviction.
"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 his forward propeller into gear and headed the machine
towards London. Behind them, in the west, the crimson and orange
were almost faded; a dark bank of cloud had crept into the zenith.
As they flew over the crematorium, the plane shot upwards on the
column of hot air rising from the chimneys, only to fall as suddenly
when it passed into the descending chill beyond.
"What a marvellous switchback!" Lenina laughed delightedly.
But Henry's tone was almost, for a moment, melancholy. "Do you
know what that switchback was?" he said. "It was some human being
finally and definitely disappearing. Going up in a squirt of hot
gas. It would be curious to know who it wasa man or a woman,
an Alpha or an Epsilon.
" He sighed. Then, in a resolutely cheerful
voice, "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," echoed Lenina. They had heard the
words repeated a hundred and fifty times every night for twelve
Landing on the roof of Henry's forty-story apartment house in
Westminster, they went straight down to the dining-hall. There,
in a loud and cheerful company, they ate an excellent meal. Soma was served with the coffee. Lenina took two half-gramme tablets
and Henry three. At twenty past nine they walked across the street
to the newly opened Westminster Abbey Cabaret. It was a night
almost without clouds, moonless and starry; but of this on the
whole depressing fact Lenina and Henry were fortunately unaware.
The electric sky-signs effectively shut off the outer darkness.
"CALVIN STOPES AND HIS SIXTEEN SEXOPHONISTS." From the façade
of the new Abbey the giant letters invitingly glared. "LONDON'S
FINEST SCENT AND COLOUR ORGAN. ALL THE LATEST SYNTHETIC MUSIC."
They entered. The air seemed hot and somehow breathless with the
scent of ambergris and sandalwood. On the domed ceiling of the
hall, the colour organ had momentarily painted a tropical sunset.
The Sixteen Sexophonists were playing an old favourite: "There
ain't no Bottle in all the world like that dear little Bottle
of mine." Four hundred couples were five-stepping round the polished
floor. Lenina and Henry were soon the four hundred and first.
The saxophones wailed like melodious cats under the moon, moaned
in the alto and tenor registers as though the little death were
upon them. Rich with a wealth of harmonics, their tremulous chorus
mounted towards a climax, louder and ever louderuntil at last,
with a wave of his hand, the conductor let loose the final shattering
note of ether-music and blew the sixteen merely human blowers
clean out of existence. Thunder in A flat major. And then, in
all but silence, in all but darkness, there followed a gradual
deturgescence, a diminuendo sliding gradually, through quarter tones, down, down to a faintly
whispered dominant chord that lingered on (while the five-four
rhythms still pulsed below) charging the darkened seconds with
an intense expectancy. And at last expectancy was fulfilled. There
was a sudden explosive sunrise, and simultaneously, the Sixteen
burst into song:
"Bottle of mine, it's you I've always wanted!
Bottle of mine, why was I ever decanted?
Skies are blue inside of you,
The weather's always fine;
There ain't no Bottle in all the world
Like that dear little Bottle of mine."
Five-stepping with the other four hundred round and round Westminster
Abbey, Lenina and Henry were yet dancing in another worldthe
warm, the richly coloured, the infinitely friendly world of soma-holiday. How kind, how good-looking, how delightfully amusing
every one was! "Bottle of mine, it's you I've always wanted
But Lenina and Henry had what they wanted
They were inside,
here and now-safely inside with the fine weather, the perennially
blue sky. And when, exhausted, the Sixteen had laid by their saxophones
and the Synthetic Music apparatus was producing the very latest
in slow Malthusian Blues, they might have been twin embryos gently
rocking together on the waves of a bottled ocean of blood-surrogate.
"Good-night, dear friends. Good-night, dear friends." The loud
speakers veiled their commands in a genial and musical politeness.
"Good-night, dear friends
Obediently, with all the others, Lenina and Henry left the building.
The depressing stars had travelled quite some way across the heavens.
But though the separating screen of the sky-signs had now to a
great extent dissolved, the two young people still retained their
happy ignorance of the night.
Swallowing half an hour before closing time, that second dose
of soma had raised a quite impenetrable wall between the actual universe
and their minds. Bottled, they crossed the street; bottled, they
took the lift up to Henry's room on the twenty-eighth floor. And
yet, bottled as she was, and in spite of that second gramme of
soma, Lenina did not forget to take all the contraceptive precautions
prescribed by the regulations. Years of intensive hypnopædia and,
from twelve to seventeen, Malthusian drill three times a week
had made the taking of these precautions almost as automatic and
inevitable as blinking.
"Oh, and that reminds me," she said, as she came back from the
bathroom, "Fanny Crowne wants to know where you found that lovely
green morocco-surrogate cartridge belt you gave me."
ALTERNATE Thursdays were Bernard's Solidarity Service days. After
an early dinner at the Aphroditzeum (to which Helrnholtz had recently
been elected under Rule Two) he took leave of his friend and,
hailing 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 eastwards, and as it turned, there before Bernard's
eyes, gigantically beautiful, was the Singery. Flood-lighted,
its three hundred and twenty metres of white Carrara-surrogate
gleamed with a snowy incandescence over Ludgate Hill; at each
of the four corners of its helicopter platform an immense T shone
crimson against the night, and from the mouths of twenty-four
vast golden trumpets rumbled a solemn synthetic music.
"Damn, 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 cab, Big Henry sounded the hour. "Ford," sang out an immense
bass voice from all the golden trumpets. "Ford, Ford, Ford
Nine times. Bernard ran for the lift.
The great auditorium for Ford's Day celebrations and other massed
Community Sings was at the bottom of the building. Above it, a
hundred to each floor, were the seven thousand rooms used by Solidarity
Groups for their fortnight services. Bernard dropped down to floor
thirty-three, hurried along the corridor, stood hesitating for
a moment outside Room 3210, then, having wound himself up, opened
the door and walked in.
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 inconspicuously as he could and prepared
to frown at the yet later comers whenever they should arrive.
Turning towards him, "What were you playing this afternoon?" the
girl on his left enquired. "Obstacle, or Electro-magnetic?"
Bernard looked at her (Ford! it was Morgana Rothschild) and blushingly
had to admit that he had been playing neither. Morgana stared
at him with astonishment. There was an awkward silence.
Then pointedly she turned away and addressed herself to the more
sporting man on her left.
"A good beginning for a Solidarity Service," thought Bernard miserably,
and foresaw for himself yet another failure to achieve atonement.
If only he had given himself time to look around instead of scuttling
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 hersthat eyebrow, ratherfor they
met above the nose. Ford! And on his right was Clara Deterding.
True, Clara's eyebrows didn't meet. But she was really too pneumatic. Whereas Fifi and Joanna were absolutely right. Plump,
blonde, not too large
And it was that great lout, Tom Kawaguchi,
who now took the seat between them.
The last arrival 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 solidarity
circle perfect and without flaw. Man, woman, man, in a ring of
endless alternation round the table. Twelve of them ready to be
made one, waiting to come together, to be fused, to lose their
twelve separate identities in a larger being.
The President stood up, made the sign of the T and, switching
on the synthetic music, let loose the soft indefatigable beating
of drums and a choir of instrumentsnear-wind and super-stringthat
plangently repeated and repeated the brief and unescapably haunting
melody of the first Solidarity Hymn. Again, againand it was not
the ear that heard the pulsing rhythm, it was the midriff; the
wail and clang of those recurring harmonies haunted, not the mind,
but the yearning bowels of compassion.
The President made another sign of the T and sat down. The service
had begun. The dedicated soma tablets were placed in the centre of the table. The loving cup
of strawberry ice-cream soma was passed from hand to hand and, with the formula, "I drink
to my annihilation," twelve times quaffed. Then to the accompaniment
of the synthetic orchestra the First Solidarity Hymn was sung.
"Ford, we are twelve; oh, make us one,
Like drops within the Social River,
Oh, make us now together run
As swiftly as thy shining Flivver."
Twelve yearning stanzas. And then the loving cup was passed a
second time. "I drink to the Greater Being" was now the formula.
All drank. Tirelessly the music played. The drums beat. The crying
and clashing of the harmonies were an obsession in the melted
bowels. The Second Solidarity Hymn was sung.
"Come, Greater Being, Social Friend,
We long to die, for when we end,
Our larger life has but begun."
Again twelve stanzas. By this time the soma had begun to work. Eyes shone, cheeks were flushed, the inner
light of universal benevolence broke out on every face in happy,
friendly smiles. Even Bernard felt himself a little melted. When
Morgana Rothschild turned and beamed at him, he did his best to
beam back. But the eyebrow, that black two-in-onealas, it was
still there; he couldn't ignore it, couldn't, however hard he
tried. The melting hadn't gone far enough. Perhaps if he had been
sitting between Fifi and Joanna
For the third time the loving
cup went round; "I drink to the imminence of His Coming," said
Morgana Rothschild, whose turn it happened to be to initiate the
circular rite. Her tone was loud, exultant. She drank and passed
the cup to Bernard. "I drink to the imminence of His Coming,"
he repeated, with a sincere attempt to feel that the coming was
imminent; but the eyebrow continued to haunt him, and the Coming,
so far as he was concerned, was horribly remote. He drank and
handed the cup to Clara Deterding. "It'll be a failure again,"
he said to himself. "I know it will." But he went on doing his
best to beam.
The loving cup had made its circuit. Lifting his hand, the President
gave a signal; the chorus broke out into the third Solidarity
"Feel how the Greater Being comes!
Rejoice and, in rejoicings, die!
Melt in the music of the drums!
For I am you and you are I."
As verse succeeded verse the voices thrilled with an ever intenser
excitement. The sense of the Coming's imminence was like an electric
tension in the air. The President switched off the music and,
with the final note of the final stanza, there was absolute silencethe
silence of stretched expectancy, quivering and creeping with a
galvanic life. The President reached out his hand; and suddenly
a Voice, a deep strong Voice, more musical than any merely human
voice, richer, warmer, more vibrant with love and yearning and
compassion, a wonderful, mysterious, supernatural Voice spoke
from above their heads. Very slowly, "Oh, Ford, Ford, Ford," it
said diminishingly and on a descending scale. A sensation of warmth
radiated thrillingly out from the solar plexus to every extremity
of the bodies of those who listened; tears came into their eyes;
their hearts, their bowels seemed to move within them, as though
with an independent life. "Ford!" they were melting, "Ford!" dissolved,
dissolved. Then, in another tone, suddenly, startlingly. "Listen!"
trumpeted the voice. "Listen!" They listened. After a pause, sunk
to a whisper, but a whisper, somehow, more penetrating than the
loudest cry. "The feet of the Greater Being," it went on, and
repeated the words: "The feet of the Greater Being." The whisper
almost expired. "The feet of the Greater Being are on the stairs."
And once more there was silence; and the expectancy, momentarily
relaxed, was stretched again, tauter, tauter, almost to the tearing
point. The feet of the Greater Beingoh, they heard thern, they
heard them, coming softlydown the stairs, coming nearer and nearer
down the invisible stairs. The feet of the Greater Being. And
suddenly the tearing 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 simultaneously to their feet.
"Oh, oh, oh!" Joanna inarticulately testified.
"He's coming!" yelled Jim Bokanovsky.
The President leaned forward and, with a touch, released a delirium
of cymbals and blown brass, a fever of tom-tomming.
"Oh, he's coming!" screamed Clara Deterding. "Aie!" and it was
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. Nobodyin
spite of the music, in spite of the mounting excitement. But he
waved his arms, he shouted with the best of them; and when the
others began to jig and stamp and shuffle, he also jigged and
Round they went, a circular procession of dancers, each with hands
on the hips of the dancer preceding, round and round, shouting
in unison, stamping to the rhythm of the music with their feet,
beating it, beating it out with hands on the buttocks in front;
twelve pairs of hands beating as one; as one, twelve buttocks
slabbily resounding. Twelve as one, twelve as one. "I hear Him,
I hear Him coming." The music quickened; faster beat the feet,
faster, faster fell the rhythmic hands. And all at once a great
synthetic bass boomed out the words which announced the approaching
atonement and final consummation of solidarity, the coming of
the Twelve-in-One, the incarnation of the Greater Being. "Orgy-porgy,"
it sang, while the tom-toms continued to beat their feverish tattoo:
"Orgy-porgy, Ford and fun,
Kiss the girls and make them One.
Boys at 0ne with girls at peace;
Orgy-porgy gives release."
"Orgy-porgy," the dancers caught up the liturgical refrain, "Orgy-porgy,
Ford and fun, kiss the girls
" And as they sang, the lights began
slowly to fadeto fade and at the same time to grow warmer, richer,
redder, until at last they were dancing in the crimson twilight
of an Embryo Store. "Orgy-porgy
" In their blood-coloured and
foetal darkness the dancers continued for a while to circulate,
to beat and beat out the indefatigable rhythm. "Orgy-porgy
Then the circle wavered, broke, fell in partial disintegration
on the ring of couches which surroundedcircle enclosing circlethe
table and its planetary chairs. "Orgy-porgy
" Tenderly the deep
Voice crooned and cooed; in the red twilight it was as though
some enormous negro dove were hovering benevolently over the now
prone or supine dancers.
They were standing on the roof; Big Henry had just sung eleven.
The night was calm and warm.
"Wasn't it wonderful?" said Fifi Bradlaugh. "Wasn't it simply
wonderful?" She looked at Bernard with an expression of rapture,
but of rapture in which there was no trace of agitation or excitementfor
to be excited is still to be unsatisfied. Hers was the calm ecstasy
of achieved consummation, the peace, not of mere vacant satiety
and nothingness, but of balanced life, of energies at rest and
in equilibrium. A rich and living peace. For the Solidarity Service
had given as well as taken, drawn off only to replenish. She was
full, she was made perfect, she was still more than merely herself.
"Didn't you think it was wonderful?" she insisted, looking into
Bernard's face with those supernaturally shining eyes.
"Yes, I thought it was wonderful," he lied and looked away; the
sight of her transfigured face was at once an accusation and an
ironical reminder of his own separateness. He was as miserably
isolated now as he had been when the service beganmore isolated
by reason of his unreplenished emptiness, his dead satiety. Separate
and unatoned, while the others were being fused into the Greater
Being; alone even in Morgana's embracemuch more alone, indeed,
more hopelessly himself than he had ever been in his life before.
He had emerged from that crimson twilight into the common electric
glare with a self-consciousness intensified to the pitch of agony.
He was utterly miserable, 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 verdict on Bernard Marx. So odd, indeed, that in
the course of the succeeding weeks she had wondered more than
once whether she shouldn't change her mind about the New Mexico
holiday, and go instead to the North Pole with Benito Hoover.
The trouble was that she knew the North Pole, had been there with
George Edzel only last summer, and what was more, found it pretty
grim. Nothing to do, and the hotel too hopelessly old-fashionedno
television laid on in the bedrooms, no scent organ, only the most
putrid synthetic music, and not more than twenty-five Escalator-Squash
Courts for over two hundred guests. No, decidedly she couldn't
face the North Pole again. Added to which, she had only been to
America once before. And even then, how inadequately! A cheap
week-end in New Yorkhad it been with Jean-Jacques Habibullah
or Bokanovsky Jones? She couldn't remember. Anyhow, it was of
absolutely no importance. The prospect of flying West again, and
for a whole week, was very inviting. Moreover, for at least 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 entitled to a permit. For Lenina,
the opportunity was unique. And yet, so unique also was Bernard's
oddness that she had hesitated to take it, had actually thought
of risking the Pole again with funny old Benito. At least Benito
was normal. Whereas Bernard
"Alcohol in his blood-surrogate," was Fanny's explanation of every
eccentricity. But Henry, with whom, one evening when they were
in bed together, Lenina had rather anxiously discussed her new
lover, Henry had compared poor Bernard to a rhinoceros.
"You can't teach a rhinoceros tricks," he had explained in his
brief and vigorous style. "Some men are almost rhinoceroses; they
don't respond properly to conditioning. Poor Devils! Bernard's
one of them. Luckily for him, he's pretty good at his job. Otherwise
the Director would never have kept him. However," he added consolingly,
"I think he's pretty harmless."
Pretty harmless, perhaps; but also pretty disquieting. That mania,
to start with, for doing 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? Precious little. The first afternoon they went out together
was particularly fine. Lenina had suggested a swim at Toquay Country
Club followed by dinner at the Oxford Union. But Bernard thought
there would be too much of a crowd. Then what about a round of
Electro-magnetic Golf at St. Andrew's? But again, no: Bernard
considered that Electro-magnetic Golf was a waste of time.
"Then what's time for?" asked Lenina in some astonishment.
Apparently, for going walks in the Lake District; for that was
what he now proposed. Land on the top of Skiddaw and walk for
a couple of hours in the heather. "Alone with you, Lenina."
"But, Bernard, we shall be alone all night."
Bernard blushed and looked away. "I meant, alone for talking,"
"Talking? But what about?" Walking and talkingthat 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 Semi-Demi-Finals of the Women's Heavyweight
"In a crowd," he grumbled. "As usual." He remained obstinately
gloomy the whole afternoon; wouldn't talk to Lenina's friends
(of whom they met dozens in the ice-cream soma bar between the wrestling bouts); and in spite of his misery
absolutely refused to take the half-gramme raspberry sundae which
she pressed upon him. "I'd rather be myself," he said. "Myself
and nasty. Not somebody else, however jolly."
"A gramme in time saves nine," said Lenina, producing a bright
treasure of sleep-taught wisdom. Bernard pushed away the proffered
"Now don't lose your temper," she said. "Remember one cubic centimetre
cures ten gloomy sentiments."
"Oh, for Ford's sake, be quiet!" he shouted.
Lenina shrugged her shoulders. "A gramme is always better than
a damn," she concluded with dignity, and drank the sundae herself.
On their way back across the Channel, Bernard insisted on stopping
his propeller and hovering on his helicopter screws within a hundred
feet of the waves. The weather had taken a change for the worse;
a south-westerly wind had sprung up, the sky was cloudy.
"Look," he commanded.
"But it's horrible," said Lenina, shrtnking back from the window.
She was appalled by the rushing emptiness of the night, by the
black foam-flecked water heaving beneath them, by the pale face
of the moon, so haggard and distracted among the hastening clouds.
"Let's turn on the radio. Quick!" She reached for the dialling
knob on the dash-board and turned it at random.
skies are blue inside of you," sang sixteen tremoloing falsettos,
"the weather's always
Then a hiccough and silence. Bernard had switched of the current.
"I want to look at the sea in peace," he said. "One can't even
look with that beastly noise going on."
"But it's lovely. And I don't want to look."
"But I do," he insisted. "It makes me feel as though
" he hesitated,
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. Not just a cell in the social body. Doesn't
it make you feel like that, Lenina?"
But Lenina was crying. "It's horrible, it's horrible," she kept
repeating. "And how can you talk like that about not wanting to
be a part of the social body? After all, every one works for every
one else. We can't do without any one. Even Epsilons
"Yes, I know," said Bernard derisively. "'Even Epsilons are useful'!
So am I. And I damned well wish I weren't!"
Lenina was shocked by his blasphemy. "Bernard!" She protested
in a voice of amazed distress. "How can you?"
In a different key, "How can I?" he repeated meditatively. "No,
the real problem is: How is it that I can't, or ratherbecause,
after all, I know quite well why I can'twhat would it be like
if I could, if I were freenot enslaved by 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 besought; "I do so hate it
"Don't you like being with me?"
"But of course, Bernard. It's this horrible place."
"I thought we'd be more
more together herewith nothing but the sea and moon. More together than in
that crowd, or even in my rooms. Don't you understand that?"
"I don't understand anything," she said with decision, determined
to preserve her incomprehension intact. "Nothing. Least of all,"
she continued in another tone "why you don't take soma when you have these dreadful ideas of yours. You'd forget all
about them. And instead of feeling miserable, you'd be jolly.
So jolly," she repeated and smiled, for all the puzzled anxiety
in her eyes, with what was meant to be an inviting and voluptuous
He looked at her in silence, his face unresponsive and very gravelooked
at her intently. After a few seconds Lenina's eyes flinched away;
she uttered a nervous little laugh, tried to think of something
to say and couldn't. The silence prolonged itself.
When Bernard spoke at last, it was in a small tired voice. "All
right then," he said, "we'll go back." And stepping hard on the
accelerator, he sent the machine rocketing up into the sky. At
four thousand he started his propeller. 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 ventured to ask.
For answer, he lifted one hand from the controls and, slipping
his arm around her, began to fondle her breasts.
"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 at a gulp, turned on the radio and television and began to undress.
"Well," Lenina enquired, with significant archness when they met
next afternoon on the roof, "did you think it was fun yesterday?"
Bernard nodded. They climbed into the plane. A little jolt, and
they were off.
"Every one says I'm awfully pneumatic," said Lenina reflectively,
patting her own legs.
"Awfully." But there was an expression of pain in Bernard's eyes.
"Like meat," he was thinking.
She looked up with a certain anxiety. "But you don't think I'm
too plump, do you?"
He shook his head. Like so much meat.
"You think I'm all right." Another nod. "In every way?"
"Perfect," he said aloud. And inwardly. "She thinks of herself
that way. She doesn't mind being meat."
Lenina smiled triumphantly. But her satisfaction was premature.
"All the same," he went on, after a little pause, "I still rather
wish it had all ended differently."
"Differently?" Were there other endings?
"I didn't want it to end with our going to bed," he specified.
Lenina was astonished.
"Not at once, not the first day."
"But then what
He began to talk a lot of incomprehensible and dangerous nonsense.
Lenina did her best to stop the ears of her mind; but every now
and then a phrase would insist on becoming audible. "
the effect of arresting my impulses," she heard him say. The words
seemed to touch a spring in her mind.
"Never put off till to-morrow the fun you can have to-day," she
"Two hundred repetitions, twice a week from fourteen to sixteen
and a half," was all his comment. The mad bad talk rambled on.
"I want to know what passion is," she heard him saying. "I want
to feel something strongly."
"When the individual feels, the community reels," Lenina pronounced.
"Well, why shouldn't it reel a bit?"
But Bernard remained unabashed.
"Adults intellectually and during working hours," he went on.
"Infants where feeling and desire are concerned."
"Our Ford loved infants."
Ignoring the interruption. "It suddenly struck me the other day,"
continued Bernard, "that it might be possible to be an adult all
"I don't understand." Lenina's tone was firm.
"I know you don't. And that's why we went to bed together yesterdaylike
infantsinstead of being adults and waiting."
"But it was fun," Lenina insisted. "Wasn't it?"
"Oh, the greatest fun," he answered, but in a voice so mournful,
with an expression so profoundly miserable, that Lenina felt all
her triumph suddenly evaporate. Perhaps he had found her too plump,
"I told you so," was all that Fanny said, when Lenina came and
made her confidences. "It's the alcohol they put in his surrogate."
"All the same," Lenina insisted. "I do like him. He has such awfully
nice hands. And the way he moves his shouldersthat's very attractive."
She sighed. "But I wish he weren't so odd."
HALTING for a moment outside the door of the Director's room,
Bernard drew a deep breath and squared his shoulders, bracing
himself to meet the dislike and disapproval which he was certain
of finding within. He knocked and entered.
"A permit for you to initial, Director," he said as airily as
possible, and laid the paper on the writing-table.
The Director glanced at him sourly. But the stamp of the World
Controller's Office was at the head of the paper and the signature
of Mustapha Mond, bold and black, across the bottom. Everything
was perfectly in order. The director had no choice. He pencilled
his initialstwo small pale letters abject at the feet of Mustapha
Mondand was about to return the paper without a word of comment
or genial Ford-speed, when his eye was caught by something written
in the body of the permit.
"For the New Mexican Reservation?" he said, and his tone, the
face he lifted to Bernard, expressed a kind of agitated astonishment.
Surprised by his surprise, Bernard nodded. There was a silence.
The Director leaned back in his chair, frowning. "How long ago
was it?" he said, speaking more to himself than to Bernard. "Twenty
years, I suppose. Nearer twenty-five. I must have been your age
" He sighed and shook his head.
Bernard felt extremely uncomfortable. A man so conventional, so
scrupulously correct as the Directorand to commit so gross a
solecism! lt made him want to hide his face, to run out of the
room. Not that he himself saw anything intrinsically objectionable
in people talking about the remote past; that was one of those
hypnopædic prejudices he had (so he imagined) completely got rid
of. What made him feel shy was the knowledge that the Director
disapproveddisapproved and yet had been betrayed into doing the
forbidden thing. Under what inward compulsion? Through his discomfort
Bernard eagerly listened.
"I had the same idea as you," the Director was saying. "Wanted
to have a look at the savages. Got a permit for New Mexico and
went there for my summer holiday. With the girl I was having at
the moment. She was a Beta-Minus, and I think" (he shut his eyes),
"I think she had yellow hair. Anyhow she was pneumatic, particularly
pneumatic; I remember that. Well, we went there, and we looked
at the savages, and we rode about on horses and all that. And
thenit was almost the last day of my leavethen
well, she got
lost. We'd gone riding up one of those revolting mountains, and
it was horribly hot and oppressive, and after lunch we went to
sleep. Or at least I did. She must have gone for a walk, alone.
At any rate, when I woke up, she wasn't there. And the most frightful
thunderstorm I've ever seen was just bursting on us. And it poured
and roared and flashed; and the horses broke loose and ran away;
and I fell down, trying to catch them, and hurt my knee, so that
I could hardly walk. Still, I searched and I shouted and I searched.
But there was no sign of her. Then I thought she must have gone
back to the rest-house by herself. So I crawled down into the
valley by the way we had come. My knee was agonizingly painful,
and I'd lost my soma. It took me hours. I didn't get back to the rest-house till after
midnight. And she wasn't there; she wasn't there," the Director
repeated. There was a silence. "Well," he resumed at last, "the
next day there was a search. But we couldn't find her. She must
have fallen into a gully somewhere; or been eaten by a mountain
lion. Ford knows. Anyhow it was horrible. It upset me very much
at the time. More than it ought to have done, I dare say. Because,
after all, it's the sort of accident that might have happened
to any one; and, of course, the social body persists although
the component cells may change." But this sleep-taught consolation
did not seem to be very effective. Shaking his head, "I actually
dream about it sometimes," the Director went on in a low voice.
"Dream of being woken up by that peal of thunder and finding her
gone; dream of searching and searching for her under the trees."
He lapsed into the silence of reminiscence.
"You must have had a terrible shock," said Bernard, almost enviously.
At the sound of his voice the Director started into a guilty realization
of where he was; shot a glance at Bernard, and averting his eyes,
blushed darkly; looked at him again with sudden suspicion and,
angrily on his dignity, "Don't imagine," he said, "that I'd had
any indecorous relation with the girl. Nothing emotional, nothing
long-drawn. It was all perfectly healthy and normal." He handed
Bernard the permit. "I really don't know why I bored you with
this trivial anecdote." Furious with himself for having given
away a discreditable secret, he vented his rage on Bernard. The
look in his eyes was now frankly malignant. "And I should like
to take this opportunity, Mr. Marx," he went on, "of saying that
I'm not at all pleased with the reports I receive of your behaviour
outside working hours. You may say that this is not my business.
But it is. I have the good name of the Centre to think of. My
workers must be above suspicion, particularly those of the highest
castes. Alphas are so conditioned that they do not have to be infantile in their emotional behaviour. But that is all
the more reason for their making a special effort to conform.
lt is their duty to be infantile, even against their inclination.
And so, Mr. Marx, I give you fair warning." The Director's voice
vibrated with an indignation that had now become wholly righteous
and impersonalwas the expression of the disapproval of Society
itself. "If ever I hear again of any lapse from a proper standard
of infantile decorum, I shall ask for your transference to a Sub-Centrepreferably
to Iceland. Good morning." And swivelling round in his chair,
he picked up his pen and began to write.
"That'll teach him," he said to himself. But he was mistaken.
For Bernard left the room with a swagger, exulting, as he banged
the door behind him, in the thought that he stood alone, embattled
against the order of things; elated by the intoxicating consciousness
of his individual significance and importance. Even the thought
of persecution left him undismayed, was rather tonic than depressing.
He felt strong enough to meet and overcome amiction, strong enough
to face even Iceland. And this confidence was the greater for
his not for a moment really believing that he would be called
upon to face anything at all. People simply weren't transferred
for things like that. Iceland was just a threat. A most stimulating
and life-giving threat. Walking along the corridor, he actually
Heroic was the account he gave that evening of his interview with
the D.H.C. "Whereupon," it concluded, "I simply told him to go
to the Bottomless Past and marched out of the room. And that was
that." He looked at Helmholtz Watson expectantly, awaiting his
due reward of sympathy, encouragement, admiration. But no word
came. Helmholtz sat silent, staring at the floor.
He liked Bernard; he was grateful to him for being the only man
of his acquaintance with whom he could talk about the subjects
he felt to be important. Nevertheless, there were things in Bernard
which he hated. This boasting, for example. And the outbursts
of an abject self-pity with which it alternated. And his deplorable
habit of being bold after the event, and full, in absence, of
the most extraordinary presence of mind. He hated these thingsjust
because he liked Bernard. The seconds passed. Helmholtz continued
to stare at the floor. And suddenly Bernard blushed and turned
THE journey was quite uneventful. The Blue Pacific Rocket was
two and a half minutes early at New Orleans, lost four minutes
in a tornado over Texas, but flew into a favourable air current
at Longitude 95 West, and was able to land at Santa Fé less than
forty seconds behind schedule time.
"Forty seconds on a six and a half hour flight. Not so bad," Lenina
They slept that night at Santa Fé. The hotel was excellentincomparably
better, for example, than that horrible Aurora Bora Palace in
which Lenina had suffered so much the previous summer. Liquid
air, television, vibro-vacuum massage, radio, boiling caffeine
solution, hot contraceptives, and eight different kinds of scent
were laid on in every bedroom. The synthetic music plant was working
as they entered the hall and left nothing to be desired. A notice
in the lift announced that there were sixty Escalator-Squash-Racket
Courts in the hotel, and that Obstacle and Electro-magnetic Golf
could both be played in the park.
"But it sounds simply too lovely," cried Lenina. "I almost wish
we could stay here. Sixty Escalator-Squash Courts
"There won't be any in the Reservation," Bernard warned her. "And
no scent, no television, no hot water even. If you feel you can't
stand it, stay here till I come back."
Lenina was quite offended. "Of course I can stand it. I only said
it was lovely here because
well, because progress is lovely, isn't it?"
"Five hundred repetitions once a week from thirteen to seventeen,"
said Bernard wearily, as though to himself.
"What did you say?"
"I said that progress was lovely. That's why you mustn't come
to the Reservation unless you really want to."
"But I do want to."
"Very well, then," said Bernard; and it was almost a threat.
Their permit required the signature of the Warden of the Reservation,
at whose office next morning they duly presented themselves. An
Epsilon-Plus negro porter took in Bernard's card, and they were
admitted almost imrnediately.
The Warden was a blond and brachycephalic Alpha-Minus, short,
red, moon-faced, and broad-shouldered, with a loud booming voice,
very well adapted to the utterance of hypnopædic wisdom. He was
a mine of irrelevant information and unasked-for good advice.
Once started, he went on and onboomingly.
five hundred and sixty thousand square kilometres, divided
into four distinct Sub-Reservations, each surrounded by a high-tension
At this moment, and for no apparent reason, Bernard suddenly remembered
that he had left the Eau de Cologne tap in his bathroom wide open
supplied with current from the Grand Canyon hydro-electric
"Cost me a fortune by the time I get back." With his mind's eye,
Bernard saw the needle on the scent meter creeping round and round,
antlike, indefatigable. "Quickly telephone to Helmholtz Watson."
upwards of five thousand kilometres of fencing at sixty thousand
"You don't say so," said Lenina politely, not knowing in the least
what the Warden had said, but taking her cue from his dramatic
pause. When the Warden started booming, she had inconspicuously
swallowed half a gramme of soma, with the result that she could now sit, serenely not listening,
thinking of nothing at all, but with her large blue eyes fixed
on the Warden's face in an expression of rapt attention.
"To touch the fence is instant death," pronounced the Warden solemnly.
"There is no escape from a Savage Reservation."
The word "escape" was suggestive. "Perhaps," said Bernard, half
rising, "we ought to think of going." The little black needle
was scurrying, an insect, nibbling through time, eating into his
"No escape," repeated the Warden, waving him back into his chair;
and as the permit was not yet countersigned Bernard had no choice
but to obey. "Those who are born in the Reservationand remember,
my dear young lady," he added, leering obscenely at Lenina, and
speaking in an improper whisper, "remember that, in the Reservation,
children still are born, yes, actually born, revolting as that may seem
" (He hoped
that this reference to a shameful subject would make Lenina blush;
but she only smiled with simulated intelligence and said, "You
don't say so!" Disappointed, the Warden began again. ) "Those,
I repeat who are born in the Reservation are destined to die there."
Destined to die
A decilitre of Eau de Cologne every minute.
Six litres an hour. "Perhaps," Bernard tried again, "we ought
Leaning forward, the Warden tapped the table with his forefinger.
"You ask me how many people live in the Reservation. And I reply"triumphantly"I
reply that we do not know. We can only guess."
"You don't say so."
"My dear young lady, I do say so."
Six times twenty-fourno, it would be nearer six times thirty-six.
Bernard was pale and trembling with impatience. But inexorably
the booming continued.
about sixty thousand Indians and half-breeds
our inspectors occasionally visit
otherwise, no communication
whatever with the civilized world
still preserve their repulsive
habits and customs
marriage, if you know what that is, my dear
young lady; families
Christianity and totemism and ancestor worship
such as Zuñi and Spanish and Athapascan
pumas, porcupines and
other ferocious animals
"You don't say so?"
They got away at last. Bernard dashed to the telephone. Quick,
quick; but it took him nearly three minutes to get on to Helmholtz
Watson. "We might be among the savages already," he complained.
"Have a gramme," suggested Lenina.
He refused, preferring his anger. And at last, thank Ford, he
was through and, yes, it was Helmholtz; Helmholtz, to whom he
explained what had happened, and who promised to go round at once,
at once, and turn off the tap, yes, at once, but took this opportunity
to tell him what the D.H.C. had said, in public, yesterday evening
"What? He's looking out for some one to take my place?" Bernard's
voice was agonized. "So it's actually decided? Did he mention
Iceland? You say he did? Ford! Iceland
" He hung up the receiver
and turned back to Lenina. His face was pale, his expression utterly
"What's the matter?" she asked.
"The matter?" He dropped heavily into a chair. "I'm going to be
sent to Iceland."
Often in the past he had wondered what it would be like to be
subjected (soma-less and with nothing but his own inward resources to rely on)
to some great trial, some pain, some persecution; he had even
longed for affliction. As recently as a week ago, in the Director's
office, he had imagined himself courageously resisting, stoically
accepting suffering without a word. The Director's threats had
actually elated him, made him feel larger than life. But that,
as he now realized, was because he had not taken the threats quite
seriously, he had not believed that, when it came to the point,
the D.H.C. would ever do anything. Now that it looked as though
the threats were really to be fulfilled, Bernard was appalled.
Of that imagined stoicism, that theoretical courage, not a trace
He raged against himselfwhat a fool!against the Directorhow
unfair not to give him that other chance, that other chance which,
he now had no doubt at all, he had always intended to take. And
Lenina shook her head. "Was and will make me ill," she qUoted,
"I take a gramme and only am."
In the end she persuaded him to swallow four tablets of soma. Five minutes later roots and fruits were abolished; the flower
of the present rosily blossomed. A message from the porter announced
that, at the Warden's orders, a Reservation Guard had come round
with a plane and was waiting on the roof of the hotel. They went
up at once. An octoroon in Gamma-green uniform saluted and proceeded
to recite the morning's programme.
A bird's-eye view of ten or a dozen of the principal pueblos,
then a landing for lunch in the valley of Malpais. The rest-house
was comfortable there, and up at the pueblo the savages would
probably be celebrating their summer festival. It would be the
best place to spend the night.
They took their seats in the plane and set off. Ten minutes later
they were crossing the frontier that separated civilization from
savagery. Uphill and down, across the deserts of salt or sand,
through forests, into the violet depth of canyons, over crag and
peak and table-topped mesa, the fence marched on and on, irresistibly
the straight line, the geometrical symbol of triumphant human
purpose. And at its foot, here and there, a mosaic of white bones,
a still unrotted carcase dark on the tawny ground marked the place
where deer or steer, puma or porcupine or coyote, or the greedy
turkey buzzards drawn down by the whiff of carrion and fulminated
as though by a poetic justice, had come too close to the destroying
"They never learn," said the green-uniformed pilot, pointing down
at the skeletons on the ground below them. "And they never will
learn," he added and laughed, as though he had somehow scored
a personal triumph over the electrocuted animals.
Bernard also laughed; after two grammes of soma the joke seemed, for some reason, good. Laughed and then, almost
immediately, dropped off to sleep, and sleeping was carried over
Taos and Tesuque; over Nambe and Picuris and Pojoaque, over Sia
and Cochiti, over Laguna and Acoma and the Enchanted Mesa, over
Zuñi and Cibola and Ojo Caliente, and woke at last to find the
machine standing on the ground, Lenina carrying the suit-cases
into a small square house, and the Gamma-green octoroon talking
incomprehensibly with a young Indian.
"Malpais," explained the pilot, as Bernard stepped out. "This
is the rest-house. And there's a dance this afternoon at the pueblo.
He'll take you there." He pointed to the sullen young savage.
"Funny, I expect." He grinned. "Everything they do is funny."
And with that he climbed into the plane and started up the engines.
"Back to-morrow. And remember," he added reassuringly to Lenina,
"they're perfectly tame; savages won't do you any harm. They've
got enough experience of gas bombs to know that they mustn't play
any tricks." Still laughing, he threw the helicopter screws into
gear, accelerated, and was gone.
THE MESA was like a ship becalmed in a strait of lion-coloured
dust. The channel wound between precipitous banks, and slanting
from one wall to the other across the valley ran a streak of green-the
river and its fields. On the prow of that stone ship in the centre
of the strait, and seemingly a part of it, a shaped and geometrical
outcrop of the naked rock, stood the pueblo of Malpais. Block
above block, each story smaller than the one below, the tall houses
rose like stepped and amputated pyramids into the blue sky. At
their feet lay a straggle of low buildings, a criss-cross of walls;
and on three sides the precipices fell sheer into the plain. A
few columns of smoke mounted perpendicularly into the windless
air and were lost.
"Queer," said Lenina. "Very queer." It was her ordinary word of
condemnation. "I don't like it. And I don't like that man." She
pointed to the Indian guide who had been appointed to take them
up to the pueblo. Her feeling was evidently reciprocated; the
very back of the man, as he walked along before them, was hostile,
"Besides," she lowered her voice, "he smells."
Bernard did not attempt to deny it. They walked on.
Suddenly it was as though the whole air had come alive and were
pulsing, pulsing with the indefatigable movement of blood. Up
there, in Malpais, the drums were being beaten. Their feet fell
in with the rhythm of that mysterious heart; they quickened their
pace. Their path led them to the foot of the precipice. The sides
of the great mesa ship towered over them, three hundred feet to
"I wish we could have brought the plane," said Lenina, looking
up resentfully at the blank impending rock-face. "I hate walking.
And you feel so small when you're on the ground at the bottom
of a hill."
They walked along for some way in the shadow of the mesa, rounded
a projection, and there, in a water-worn ravine, was the way up
the companion ladder. They climbed. It was a very steep path that
zigzagged from side to side of the gully. Sometimes the pulsing
of the drums was all but inaudible, at others they seemed to be
beating only just round the corner.
When they were half-way up, an eagle flew past so close to them
that the wind of his wings blew chill on their faces. In a crevice
of the rock lay a pile of bones. It was all oppressively queer,
and the Indian smelt stronger and stronger. They emerged at last
from the ravine into the full sunlight. The top of the mesa was
a flat deck of stone.
"Like the Charing-T Tower," was Lenina's comment. But she was
not allowed to enjoy her discovery of this reassuring resemblance
for long. A padding of soft feet made them turn round. Naked from
throat to navel, their dark brown bodies painted with white lines
("like asphalt tennis courts," Lenina was later to explain), their
faces inhuman with daubings of scarlet, black and ochre, two Indians
came running along the path. Their black hair was braided with
fox fur and red flannel. Cloaks of turkey feathers fluttered from
their shoulders; huge feather diadems exploded gaudily round their
heads. With every step they took came the clink and rattle of
their silver bracelets, their heavy necklaces of bone and turquoise
beads. They came on without a word, running quietly in their deerskin
moccasins. One of them was holding a feather brush; the other
carried, in either hand, what looked at a distance like three
or four pieces of thick rope. One of the ropes writhed uneasily,
and suddenly Lenina saw that they were snakes.
The men came nearer and nearer; their dark eyes looked at her,
but without giving any sign of recognition, any smallest sign
that they had seen her or were aware of her existence. The writhing
snake hung limp again with the rest. The men passed.
"I don't like it," said Lenina. "I don't like it."
She liked even less what awaited her at the entrance to the pueblo,
where their guide had left them while he went inside for instructions.
The dirt, to start with, the piles of rubbish, the dust, the dogs,
the flies. Her face wrinkled up into a grimace of disgust. She
held her handkerchief to her nose.
"But how can they live like this?" she broke out in a voice of
indignant incredulity. (It wasn't possible.)
Bernard shrugged his shoulders philosophically. "Anyhow," he said,
"they've been doing it for the last five or six thousand years.
So I suppose they must be used to it by now."
"But cleanliness is next to fordliness," she insisted.
"Yes, and civilization is sterilization," Bernard went on, concluding
on a tone of irony the second hypnopædic lesson in elementary
hygiene. "But these people have never heard of Our Ford, and they
aren't civilized. So there's no point in
"Oh!" She gripped his arm. "Look."
An almost naked Indian was very slowly climbing down the ladder
from the first-floor terrace of a neighboring houserung after
rung, with the tremulous caution of extreme old age. His face
was profoundly wrinkled and black, like a mask of obsidian. The
toothless mouth had fallen in. At the corners of the lips, and
on each side of the chin, a few long bristles gleamed almost white
against the dark skin. The long unbraided hair hung down in grey
wisps round his face. His body was bent and emaciated to the bone,
almost fleshless. Very slowly he came down, pausing at each rung
before he ventured another step.
"What's the matter with him?" whispered Lenina. Her eyes were
wide with horror and amazement.
"He's old, that's all," Bernard answered as carelessly as he could.
He too was startled; but he made an effort to seem unmoved.
"Old?" she repeated. "But the Director's old; lots of people are
old; they're not like that."
"That's because we don't allow them to be like that. We preserve
them from diseases. We keep their internal secretions artificially
balanced at a youthful equilibrium. We don't permit their magnesium-calcium
ratio to fall below what it was at thirty. We give them transfusion
of young blood. We keep their metabolism permanently stimulated.
So, of course, they don't look like that. Partly," he added, "because
most of them die long before they reach this old creature's age.
Youth almost unimpaired till sixty, and then, crack! the end."
But Lenina was not listening. She was watching the old man. Slowly,
slowly he came down. His feet touched the ground. He turned. In
their deep-sunken orbits his eyes were still extraordinarily bright.
They looked at her for a long moment expressionlessly, without
surprise, as though she had not been there at all. Then slowly,
with bent back the old man hobbled past them and was gone.
"But it's terrible," Lenina whispered. "It's awful. We ought not
to have come here." She felt in her pocket for her somaonly to discover that, by some unprecedented oversight, she had
left the bottle down at the rest-house. Bernard's pockets were
Lenina was left to face the horrors of Malpais unaided. They came
crowding in on her thick and fast. The spectacle of two young
women giving breast to their babies made her blush and turn away
her face. She had never seen anything so indecent in her life.
And what made it worse was that, instead of tactfully ignoring
it, Bernard proceeded to make open comments on this revoltingly
viviparous scene. Ashamed, now that the effects of the soma had worn off, of the weakness he had displayed that morning in
the hotel, he went out of his way to show himself strong and unorthodox.
"What a wonderfully intimate relationship," he said, deliberately
outrageous. "And what an intensity of feeling it must generate!
I often think one may have missed something in not having had
a mother. And perhaps you've missed something in not being a mother,
Lenina. Imagine yourself sitting there with a little baby of your
"Bernard! How can you?" The passage of an old woman with ophthalmia
and a disease of the skin distracted her from her indignation.
"Let's go away," she begged. "I don't like it."
But at this moment their guide came back and, beckoning them to
follow, led the way down the narrow street between the houses.
They rounded a corner. A dead dog was lying on a rubbish heap;
a woman with a goitre was looking for lice in the hair of a small
girl. Their guide halted at the foot of a ladder, raised his hand
perpendicularly, then darted it horizontally forward. They did
what he mutely commandedclimbed the ladder and walked through
the doorway, to which it gave access, into a long narrow room,
rather dark and smelling of smoke and cooked grease and long-worn,
long-unwashed clothes. At the further end of the room was another
doorway, through which came a shaft of surdight and the noise,
very loud and close, of the drums.
They stepped across the threshold and found themselves on a wide
terrace. Below them, shut in by the tall houses, was the village
square, crowded with Indians. Bright blankets, and feathers in
black hair, and the glint of turquoise, and dark skins shining
with heat. Lenina put her handkerchief to her nose again. In the
open space at the centre of the square were two circular platforms
of masonry and trampled claythe roofs, it was evident, of underground
chambers; for in the centre of each platform was an open hatchway,
with a ladder emerging from the lower darkness. A sound of subterranean
flute playing came up and was almost lost in the steady remorseless
persistence of the drums.
Lenina liked the drums. Shutting her eyes she abandoned herself
to their soft repeated thunder, allowed it to invade her consciousness
more and more completely, till at last there was nothing left
in the world but that one deep pulse of sound. It reminded her
reassuringly of the synthetic noises made at Solidarity Services
and Ford's Day celebrations. "Orgy-porgy," she whispered to herself.
These drums beat out just the same rhythms.
There was a sudden startling burst of singinghundreds of male
voices crying out fiercely in harsh metallic unison. A few long
notes and silence, the thunderous silence of the drums; then shrill,
in a neighing treble, the women's answer. Then again the drums;
and once more the men's deep savage affirmation of their manhood.
Queeryes. The place was queer, so was the music, so were the
clothes and the goitres and the skin diseases and the old people.
But the performance itselfthere seemed to be nothing specially
queer about that.
"It reminds me of a lower-caste Community Sing," she told Bernard.
But a little later it was reminding her a good deal less of that
innocuous function. For suddenly there had swarmed up from those
round chambers unterground a ghastly troop of monsters. Hideously
masked or painted out of all semblance of humanity, they had tramped
out a strange limping dance round the square; round and again
round, singing as they went, round and roundeach time a little
faster; and the drums had changed and quickened their rhythm,
so that it became like the pulsing of fever in the ears; and the
crowd had begun to sing with the dancers, louder and louder; and
first one woman had shrieked, and then another and another, as
though they were being killed; and then suddenly the leader of
the dancers broke out of the line, ran to a big wooden chest which
was standing at one end of the square, raised the lid and pulled
out a pair of black snakes. A great yell went up from the crowd,
and all the other dancers ran towards him with out-stretched hands.
He tossed the snakes to the first-comers, then dipped back into
the chest for more. More and more, black snakes and brown and
mottled-he flung them out. And then the dance began again on a
different rhythm. Round and round they went with their snakes,
snakily, with a soft undulating movement at the knees and hips.
Round and round. Then the leader gave a signal, and one after
another, all the snakes were flung down in the middle of the square;
an old man came up from underground and sprinkled them with corn
meal, and from the other hatchway came a woman and sprinkled them
with water from a black jar. Then the old man lifted his hand
and, startingly, terrifyingly, there was absolute silence. The
drums stopped beating, life seemed to have come to an end. The
old man pointed towards the two hatchways that gave entrance to
the lower world. And slowly, raised by invisible hands from below,
there emerged from the one a painted image of an eagle, from the
other that of a man, naked, and nailed to a cross. They hung there,
seemingly self-sustained, as though watching. The old man clapped
his hands. Naked but for a white cotton breech-cloth, a boy of
about eighteen stepped out of the crowd and stood before him,
his hands crossed over his chest, his head bowed. The old man
made the sign of the cross over him and turned away. Slowly, the
boy began to walk round the writhing heap of snakes. He had completed
the first circuit and was half-way through the second when, from
among the dancers, a tall man wearing the mask of a coyote and
holding in his hand a whip of plaited leather, advanced towards
him. The boy moved on as though unaware of the other's existence.
The coyote-man raised his whip, there was a long moment af expectancy,
then a swift movement, the whistle of the lash and its loud flat-sounding
impact on the ftesh. The boy's body quivered; but he made no sound,
he walked on at the same slow, steady pace. The coyote struck
again, again; and at every blow at first a gasp, and then a deep
groan went up from the crowd. The boy walked. Twice, thrice, four
times round he went. The blood was streaming. Five times round,
six times round. Suddenly Lenina covered her face shish her hands
and began to sob. "Oh, stop them, stop them!" she implored. But
the whip fell and fell inexorably. Seven times round. Then all
at once the boy staggered and, still without a sound, pitched
forward on to his face. Bending over him, the old man touched
his back with a long white feather, held it up for a moment, crimson,
for the people to see then shook it thrice over the snakes. A
few drops fell, and suddenly the drums broke out again into a
panic of hurrying notes; there was a great shout. The dancers
rushed forward, picked up the snakes and ran out of the square.
Men, women, children, all the crowd ran after them. A minute later
the square was empty, only the boy remained, prone where he had
fallen, quite still. Three old women came out of one of the houses,
and with some difficulty lifted him and carried him in. The eagle
and the man on the cross kept guard for a little while over the
empty pueblo; then, as though they had seen enough, sank slowly
down through their hatchways, out of sight, into the nether world.
Lenina was still sobbing. "Too awful," she kept repeating, and
all Bernard's consolations were in vain. "Too awful! That blood!"
She shuddered. "Oh, I wish I had my soma."
There was the sound of feet in the inner room.
Lenina did not move, but sat with her face in her hands, unseeing,
apart. Only Bernard turned round.
The dress of the young man who now stepped out on to the terrace
was Indian; but his plaited hair was straw-coloured, his eyes
a pale blue, and his skin a white skin, bronzed.
"Hullo. Good-morrow," said the stranger, in faultless but peculiar
English. "You're civilized, aren't you? You come from the Other
Place, outside the Reservation?"
"Who on earth
?" Bernard began in astonishment.
The young man sighed and shook his head. "A most unhappy gentleman."
And, pointing to the bloodstains in the centre of the square,
"Do you see that damned spot?" he asked in a voice that trembled
"A gramme is better than a damn," said Lenina mechanically from
behind her hands. "I wish I had my soma!"
"I ought to have been there," the young man went on. "Why wouldn't
they let me be the sacrifice? I'd have gone round ten timestwelve,
fifteen. Palowhtiwa only got as far as seven. They could have
had twice as much blood from me. The multitudinous seas incarnadine."
He flung out his arms in a lavish gesture; then, despairingly,
let them fall again. "But they wouldn't let me. They disliked
me for my complexion. It's always been like that. Always." Tears
stood in the young man's eyes; he was ashamed and turned away.
Astonishment made Lenina forget the deprivation of soma. She uncovered her face and, for the first time, looked at the
stranger. "Do you mean to say that you wanted to be hit with that whip?"
Still averted from her, the young man made a sign of affirmation.
"For the sake of the puebloto make the rain come and the corn
grow. And to please Pookong and Jesus. And then to show that I
can bear pain without crying out. Yes," and his voice suddenly
took on a new resonance, he turned with a proud squaring of the
shoulders, a proud, defiant lifting of the chin "to show that
I'm a man
Oh!" He gave a gasp and was silent, gaping. He had
seen, for the first time in his life, the face of a girl whose
cheeks were not the colour of chocolate or dogskin, whose hair
was auburn and permanently waved, and whose expression (amazing
novelty!) was one of benevolent interest. Lenina was smiling at
him; such a nice-looking boy, she was thinking, and a really beautiful
body. The blood rushed up into the young man's face; he dropped
his eyes, raised them again for a moment only to find her still
smiling at him, and was so much overcome that he had to turn away
and pretend to be looking very hard at something on the other
side of the square.
Bernard's questions made a diversion. Who? How? When? From where?
Keeping his eyes fixed on Bernard's face (for so passionately
did he long to see Lenina smiling that he simply dared not look
at her), the young man tried to explain himself. Linda and heLinda
was his mother (the word made Lenina look uncomfortable)were
strangers in the Reservation. Linda had come from the Other Place
long ago, before he was born, with a man who was his father. (Bernard
pricked up his ears.) She had gone walking alone in those mountains
over there to the North, had fallen down a steep place and hurt
her head. ("Go on, go on," said Bernard excitedly.) Some hunters
from Malpais had found her and brought her to the pueblo. As for
the man who was his father, Linda had never seen him again. His
name was Tomakin. (Yes, "Thomas" was the D.H.C.'s first name.)
He must have flown away, back to the Other Place, away without
hera bad, unkind, unnatural man.
"And so I was born in Malpais," he concluded. "In Malpais." And
he shook his head.
The squalor of that little house on the outskirts of the pueblo!
A space of dust and rubbish separated it from the village. Two
famine-stricken dogs were nosing obscenely in the garbage at its
door. Inside, when they entered, the twilight stank and was loud
"Linda!" the young man called.
From the inner room a rather hoarse female voice said, "Coming."
They waited. In bowls on the floor were the remains of a meal,
perhaps of several meals.
The door opened. A very stout blonde squaw stepped across the
threshold and stood looking at the strangers staring incredulously,
her mouth open. Lenina noticed with disgust that two of the front
teeth were missing. And the colour of the ones that remained
She shuddered. It was worse than the old man. So fat. And all
the lines in her face, the flabbiness, the wrinkles. And the sagging
cheeks, with those purplish blotches. And the red veins on her
nose, the bloodshot eyes. And that neckthat neck; and the blanket
she wore over her headragged and filthy. And under the brown
sack-shaped tunic those enormous breasts, the bulge of the stomach,
the hips. Oh, much worse than the old man, much worse! And suddenly
the creature burst out in a torrent of speech, rushed at her with
outstretched arms andFord! Ford! it was too revolting, in another
moment she'd be sickpressed her against the bulge, the bosom,
and began to kiss her. Ford! to kiss, slobberingly, and smelt too horrible, obviously never had a
bath, and simply reeked of that beastly stuff that was put into
Delta and Epsilon bottles (no, it wasn't true about Bernard),
positively stank of alcohol. She broke away as quickly as she
A blubbered and distorted face confronted her; the creature was
"Oh, my dear, my dear." The torrent of words flowed sobbingly.
"If you knew how gladafter all these years! A civilized face.
Yes, and civilized clothes. Because I thought I should never see
a piece of real acetate silk again." She fingered the sleeve of
Lenina's shirt. The nails were black. "And those adorable viscose
velveteen shorts! Do you know, dear, I've still got my old clothes,
the ones I came in, put away in a box. I'll show them you afterwards.
Though, of course, the acetate has all gone into holes. But such
a lovely white bandolierthough I must say your green morocco
is even lovelier. Not that it did me much good, that bandolier." Her tears began to flow again. "I
suppose John told you. What I had to sufferand not a gramme of
soma to be had. Only a drink of mescal every now and then, when Popé used to bring it. Popé is a boy
I used to know. But it makes you feel so bad afterwards. the mescal does, and you're sick with the peyotl; besides it always made that awful feeling of being ashamed much
worse the next day. And I was so ashamed. Just think of it: me,
a Betahaving a baby: put yourself in my place." (The mere suggestion
made Lenina shudder.) "Though it wasn't my fault, I swear; because
I still don't know how it happened, seeing that I did all the
Malthusian Drillyou know, by numbers, One, two, three, four,
always, I swear it; but all the same it happened, and of course
there wasn't anything like an Abortion Centre here. Is it still
down in Chelsea, by the way?" she asked. Lenina nodded. "And still
floodlighted on Tuesdays and Fridays?" Lenina nodded again. "That
lovely pink glass tower!" Poor Linda lifted her face and with
closed eyes ecstatically contemplated the bright remembered image.
"And the river at night," she whispered. Great tears oozed slowly
out from behind her tight-shut eyelids. "And flying back in the
evening from Stoke Poges. And then a hot bath and vibro-vacuum
But there." She drew a deep breath, shook her head,
opened her eyes again, sniffed once or twice, then blew her nose
on her fingers and wiped them on the skirt of her tunic. "Oh,
I'm so sorry," she said in response to Lenina's involuntary grimace
of disgust. "I oughtn't to have done that. I'm sorry. But what
are you to do when there aren't any handkerchiefs? I remember
how it used to upset me, all that dirt, and nothing being aseptic.
I had an awful cut on my head when they first brought me here.
You can't imagine what they used to put on it. Filth, just filth.
'Civilization is Sterilization,' I used to say t them. And 'Streptocock-Gee
to Banbury-T, to see a fine bathroom and W.C.' as though they
were children. But of course they didn't understand. How should
they? And in the end I suppose I got used to it. And anyhow, how
can you keep things clean when there isn't hot water laid on? And
look at these clothes. This beastly wool isn't like acetate. It
lasts and lasts. And you're supposed to mend it if it gets torn.
But I'm a Beta; I worked in the Fertilizing Room; nobody ever
taught me to do anything like that. It wasn't my business. Besides,
it never used to be right to mend clothes. Throw them away when
they've got holes in them and buy new. 'The more stiches, the
less riches.' Isn't that right? Mending's anti-social. But it's
all different here. It's like living with lunatics. Everything
they do is mad." She looked round; saw John and Bernard had left
them and were walking up and down in the dust and garbage outside
the house; but, none the less confidentially lowering her voice,
and leaning, while Lenina stiffened and shrank, so close that
the blown reek of embryo-poison stirred the hair on her cheek.
"For instance," she hoarsely whispered, "take the way they have
one another here. Mad, I tell you, absolutely mad. Everybody belongs
to every one elsedon't they? don't they?" she insisted, tugging
at Lenina's sleeve. Lenina nodded her averted head, let out the
breath she had been holding and managed to draw another one, relatively
untainted. "Well, here," the other went on, "nobody's supposed
to belong to more than one person. And if you have people in the
ordinary way, the others think you're wicked and anti-social.
They hate and despise you. Once a lot of women came and made a
scene because their men came to see me. Well, why not? And then
they rushed at me
No, it was too awful. I can't tell you about
it." Linda covered her face with her hands and shuddered. "They're
so hateful, the women here. Mad, mad and cruel. And of course
they don't know anything about Malthusian Drill, or bottles, or
decanting, or anything of that sort. So they're having children
all the timelike dogs. It's too revolting. And to think that
Oh, Ford, Ford, Ford! And yet John was a great comfort to me. I don't know what I should have done without
him. Even though he did get so upset whenever a man
a tiny boy, even. Once (but that was when he was bigger) he tried
to kill poor Waihusiwaor was it Popé?just because I used to
have them sometimes. Because I never could make him understand
that that was what civilized people ought to do. Being mad's infectious
I believe. Anyhow, John seems to have caught it from the Indians.
Because, of course, he was with them a lot. Even though they always
were so beastly to him and wouldn't let him do all the things
the other boys did. Which was a good thing in a way, because it
made it easier for me to condition him a little. Though you've
no idea how difficult that is. There's so much one doesn't know;
it wasn't my business to know. I mean, when a child asks you how
a helicopter works or who made the worldwell, what are you to
answer if you're a Beta and have always worked in the Fertilizing
Room? What are you to answer?"
OUTSIDE, in the dust and among the garbage (there were four dogs
now), Bernard and John were walking slowly up and down.
"So hard for me to realize," Bernard was saying, "to reconstruct.
As though we were living on different planets, in different centuries.
A mother, and all this dirt, and gods, and old age, and disease
" He shook his head. "It's almost inconceivable. I shall never
understand, unless you explain."
"This." He indicated the pueblo. "That." And it was the little
house outside the village. "Everything. All your life."
"But what is there to say?"
"From the beginning. As far back as you can remember."
"As far back as I can remember." John frowned. There was a long
It was very hot. They had eaten a lot of tortillas and sweet corn.
Linda said, "Come and lie down, Baby." They lay down together
in the big bed. "Sing," and Linda sang. Sang "Streptocock-Gee
to Banbury-T" and "Bye Baby Banting, soon you'll need decanting."
Her voice got fainter and fainter
There was a loud noise, and he woke with a start. A man was saying
something to Linda, and Linda was laughing. She had pulled the
blanket up to her chin, but the man pulled it down again. His
hair was like two black ropes, and round his arm was a lovely
silver bracelet with blue stones in it. He liked the bracelet;
but all the same, he was frightened; he hid his face against Linda's
body. Linda put her hand on him and he felt safer. In those other
words he did not understand so well, she said to the man, "Not
with John here." The man looked at him, then again at Linda, and
said a few words in a soft voice. Linda said, "No." But the man
bent over the bed towards him and his face was huge, terrible;
the black ropes of hair touched the blanket. "No," Linda said
again, and he felt her hand squeezing him more tightly. "No, no!"
But the man took hold of one of his arms, and it hurt. He screamed.
The man put up his other hand and lifted him up. Linda was still
holding him, still saying, "No, no." The man said something short
and angry, and suddenly her hands were gone. "Linda, Linda." He
kicked and wriggled; but the man carried him across to the door,
opened it, put him down on the floor in the middle of the other
room, and went away, shutting the door behind hirn. He got up,
he ran to the door. Standing on tiptoe he could just reach the
big wooden latch. He lifted it and pushed; but the door wouldn't
open. "Linda," he shouted. She didn't answer.
He remembered a huge room, rather dark; and there were big wooden
things with strings fastened to them, and lots of women standing
round themmaking blankets, Linda said. Linda told him to sit
in the corner with the other children, while she went and helped
the women. He played with the little boys for a long time. Suddenly
people started talking very loud, and there were the women pushing
Linda away, and Linda was crying. She went to the door and he
ran after her. He asked her why they were angry. "Because I broke
something," she said. And then she got angry too. "How should
I know how to do their beastly weaving?" she said. "Beastly savages."
He asked her what savages were. When they got back to their house,
Popé was waiting at the door, and he came in with them. He had
a big gourd full of stuff that looked like water; only it wasn't
water, but something with a bad smell that burnt your mouth and
made you cough. Linda drank some and Popé drank some, and then
Linda laughed a lot and talked very loud; and then she and Popé
went into the other room. When Popé went away, he went into the
room. Linda was in bed and so fast asleep that he couldn't wake
Popé used to come often. He said the stuff in the gourd was called
mescal; but Linda said it ought to be called soma; only it made you feel ill afterwards. He hated Popé. He hated
them allall the men who came to see Linda. One afternoon, when
he had been playing with the other childrenit was cold, he remembered,
and there was snow on the mountainshe came back to the house
and heard angry voices in the bedroom. They were women's voices,
and they said words he didn't understand, but he knew they were
dreadful words. Then suddenly, crash! something was upset; he
heard people moving about quickly, and there was another crash
and then a noise like hitting a mule, only not so bony; then Linda
screamed. "Oh, don't, don't, don't!" she said. He ran in. There
were three women in dark blankets. Linda was on the bed. One of
the women was holding her wrists. Another was lying across her
legs, so that she couldn't kick. The third was hitting her with
a whip. Once, twice, three times; and each time Linda screamed.
Crying, he tugged at the fringe of the woman's blanket. "Please,
please." With her free hand she held him away. The whip came down
again, and again Linda screamed. He caught hold of the woman's
enormous brown hand between his own and bit it with all his might.
She cried out, wrenched her hand free, and gave him such a push
that he fell down. While he was lying on the ground she hit him
three times with the whip. It hurt more than anything he had ever
feltlike fire. The whip whistled again, fell. But this time it
was Linda who screamed.
"But why did they want to hurt you, Linda?'' he asked that night.
He was crying, because the red marks of the whip on his back still
hurt so terribly. But he was also crying because people were so
beastly and unfair, and because he was only a little boy and couldn't
do anything against them. Linda was crying too. She was grown
up, but she wasn't big enough to fight against three of them.
It wasn't fair for her either. "Why did they want to hurt you,
"I don't know. How should I know?" It was difficult to hear what
she said, because she was lying on her stomach and her face was
in the pillow. "They say those men are their men," she went on; and she did not seem to be talking to him
at all; she seemed to be talking with some one inside herself.
A long talk which she didn't understand; and in the end she started
crying louder than ever.
"Oh, don't cry, Linda. Don't cry."
He pressed himself against her. He put his arm round her neck.
Linda cried out. "Oh, be careful. My shoulder! Oh!" and she pushed
him away, hard. His head banged against the wall. "Little idiot!"
she shouted; and then, suddenly, she began to slap him. Slap,
"Linda," he cried out. "Oh, mother, don't!"
"I'm not your mother. I won't be your mother."
Oh!" She slapped him on the cheek.
"Turned into a savage," she shouted. "Having young ones like an
If it hadn't been for you, I might have gone to the Inspector,
I might have got away. But not with a baby. That would have been
He saw that she was going to hit him again, and lifted his arm
to guard his face. "Oh, don't, Linda, please don't."
"Little beast!" She pulled down his arm; his face was uncovered.
"Don't, Linda." He shut his eyes, expecting the blow.
But she didn't hit him. After a little time, he opened his eyes
again and saw that she was looking at him. He tried to smile at
her. Suddenly she put her arms round him and kissed him again
Sometimes, for several days, Linda didn't get up at all. She lay
in bed and was sad. Or else she drank the stuff that Popé brought
and laughed a great deal and went to sleep. Sometimes she was
sick. Often she forgot to wash him, and there was nothing to eat
except cold tortillas. He remembered the first time she found
those little animals in his hair, how she screamed and screamed.
The happiest times were when she told him ahout the Other Place.
"And you really can go flying, whenever you like?"
"Whenever you like." And she would tell him about the lovely music
that came out of a box, and all the nice games you could play,
and the delicious things to eat and drink, and the light that
came when you pressed a little thing in the wall, asd the pictures
that you could hear and feel and smell, as well as see, and another
box for making nice smells, and the pink and green and blue and
silver houses as high as mountains, and everybody happy and no
one ever sad or angry, and every one belonging to every one else,
and the boxes where you could see and hear what was happening
at the other side of the world, and babies in lovely clean bottleseverything
so clean, and no nasty smells, no dirt at alland people never
lonely, but living together and being so jolly and happy, like
the summer dances here in Malpais, but much happier, and the happiness
being there every day, every day.
He listened by the hour. And
sometimes, when he and the other children were tired with too
much playing, one of the old men of the pueblo would talk to them,
in those other words, of the great Transformer of the World, and
of the long fight between Right Hand and Left Hand, between Wet
and Dry; of Awonawilona, who made a great fog by thinking in the
night, and then made the whole world out of the fog; of Earth
Mother and Sky Father; of Ahaiyuta and Marsailema, the twins of
War and Chance; of Jesus and Pookong; of Mary and Etsanatlehi,
the woman who makes herself young again; of the Black Stone at
Laguna and the Great Eagle and Our Lady of Acoma. Strange stories,
all the more wonderful to him for being told in the other words
and so not fully understood. Lying in bed, he would think of Heaven
and London and Our Lady of Acoma and the rows and rows of babies
in clean bottles and Jesus flying up and Linda flying up and the
great Director of World Hatcheries and Awonawilona.
Lots of men came to see Linda. The boys began to point their fingers
at him. In the strange other words they said that Linda was bad;
they called her names he did not understand, but that he knew
were bad names. One day they sang a song about her, again and
again. He threw stones at them. They threw back; a sharp stone
cut his cheek. The blood woudn't stop; he was covered with blood.
Linda taught him to read. With a piece of charcoal she drew pictures
on the wallan animal sitting down, a baby inside a bottle; then
she wrote letters. THE CAT IS ON THE MAT. THE TOT IS IN THE POT.
He learned quickly and easily. When he knew how to read all the
words she wrote on the wall, Linda opened her big wooden box and
pulled out from under those funny little red trousers she never
wore a thin little book. He had often seen it before. "When you're
bigger," she had said, "you can read it." Well, now he was big
enough. He was proud. "I'm afraid you won't find it very exciting,"
she said. "But it's the only thing I have." She sighed. "If only
you could see the lovely reading machines we used to have in London!"
He began reading. The Chemical and Bacteriological Conditioning of the Embryo. Practical Instructions for Beta Embryo-Store Workers. It took him a quarter of an hour to read the title alone. He
threw the book on the floor. "Beastly, beastly book!" he said,
and began to cry.
The boys still sang their horrible song about Linda. Sometimes,
too, they laughed at him for being so ragged. When he tore his
clothes, Linda did not know how to mend them. In the Other Place,
she told him, people threw away clothes with holes in them and
got new ones. "Rags, rags!" the boys used to shout at him. "But
I can read," he said to himself, "and they can't. They don't even
know what reading is." It was fairly easy, if he thought hard
enough about the reading, to pretend that he didn't mind when
they made fun of him. He asked Linda to give him the book again.
The more the boys pointed and sang, the harder he read. Soon he
could read all the words quite well. Even the longest. But what
did they mean? He asked Linda; but even when she could answer
it didn't seem to make it very clear, And generally she couldn't
answer at all.
"What are chemicals?" he would ask.
"Oh, stuff like magnesium salts, and alcohol for keeping the Deltas
and Epsilons small and backward, and calcium carbonate for bones,
and all that sort of thing."
"But how do you make chemicals, Linda? Where do they come from?"
"Well, I don't know. You get them out of bottles. And when the
bottles are empty, you send up to the Chemical Store for more.
It's the Chemical Store people who make them, I suppose. Or else
they send to the factory for them. I don't know. I never did any
chemistry. My job was always with the embryos. It was the same
with everything else he asked about. Linda never seemed to know.
The old men of the pueblo had much more definite answers.
"The seed of men and all creatures, the seed of the sun and the
seed of earth and the seed of the skyAwonawilona made them all
out of the Fog of Increase. Now the world has four wombs; and
he laid the seeds in the lowest of the four wombs. And gradually
the seeds began to grow
One day (John calculated later that it must have been soon after
his twelfth birthday) he came home and found a book that he had
never seen before Iying on the floor in the bedroom. It was a
thick book and looked very old. The binding had been eaten by
mice; some of its pages were loose and crumpled. He picked it
up, looked at the title-page: the book was called The Complete Works of William Shakespeare.
Linda was lying on the bed, sipping that horrible stinking mescal out of a cup. "Popé brought it," she said. Her voice was thick
and hoarse like somebody else's voice. "It was lying in one of
the chests of the Antelope Kiva. It's supposed to have been there
for hundreds of years. I expect it's true, because I looked at
it, and it seemed to be full of nonsense. Uncivilized. Still,
it'll be good enough for you to practice your reading on." She
took a last sip, set the cup down on the floor beside the bed,
turned over on her side, hiccoughed once or twice and went to
He opened the book at random.
Nay, but to live
In the rank sweat of an enseamed bed,
Stew'd in corruption, honeying and making love
Over the nasty sty
The strange words rolled through his mind; rumbled, like talking
thunder; like the drums at the summer dances, if the drums could
have spoken; like the men singing the Corn Song, beautiful, beautiful,
so that you cried; like old Mitsima saying magic over his feathers
and his carved sticks and his bits of bone and stonekiathla tsilu
silokwe silokwe silokwe. Kiai silu silu, tsithlbut better than
Mitsima's magic, because it meant more, because it talked to him,
talked wonderfully and only half-understandably, a terrible beautiful
magic, about Linda; about Linda lying there snoring, with the
empty cup on the floor beside the bed; about Linda and Popé, Linda
He hated Popé more and more. A man can smile and smile and be
a villain. Remorseless, treacherous, lecherous, kindless villain.
What did the words exactly mean? He only half knew. But their
magic was strong and went on rumbling in his head, and somehow
it was as though he had never really hated Popé before; never
really hated him because he had never been able to say how much
he hated him. But now he had these words, these words like drums
and singing and magic. These words and the strange, strange story
out of which they were taken (he couldn't make head or tail of
it, but it was wonderful, wonderful all the same)they gave him
a reason for hating Popé; and they made his hatred more real;
they even made Popé himself more real.
One day, when he came in from playing, the door of the inner room
was open, and he saw them lying together on the bed, asleepwhite
Linda and Popé almost black beside her, with one arm under her
shoulders and the other dark hand on her breast, and one of the
plaits of his long hair lying across her throat, like a black
snake trying to strangle her. Popé's gourd and a cup were standing
on the floor near the bed. Linda was snoring.
His heart seemed to have disappeared and left a hole. He was empty.
Empty, and cold, and rather sick, and giddy. He leaned against
the wall to steady himself. Remorseless, treacherous, lecherous
Like drums, like the men singing for the corn, like magic, the
words repeated and repeated themselves in his head. From being
cold he was suddenly hot. His cheeks burnt with the rush of blood,
the room swam and darkened before his eyes. He ground his teeth.
"I'll kill him, I'll kill him, I'll kill him," he kept saying.
And suddenly there were more words.
When he is drunk asleep, or in his rage
Or in the incestuous pleasure of his bed
The magic was on his side, the magic explained and gave orders.
He stepped back in the outer room. "When he is drunk asleep
The knife for the meat was lying on the floor near the fireplace.
He picked it up and tiptoed to the door again. "When he is drunk
asleep, drunk asleep
" He ran across the room and stabbedoh,
the blood!stabbed again, as Popé heaved out of his sleep, lifted
his hand to stab once more, but found his wrist caught, held andoh,
oh!twisted. He couldn't move, he was trapped, and there were
Popé's small black eyes, very close, staring into his own. He
looked away. There were two cuts on Popé's left shoulder. "Oh,
look at the blood!" Linda was crying. "Look at the blood!" She
had never been able to bear the sight of blood. Popé lifted his
other handto strike him, he thought. He stiffened to receive
the blow. But the hand only took him under the chin and turned
his face, so that he had to look again into Popé's eyes. For a
long time, for hours and hours. And suddenlyhe couldn't help
ithe began to cry. Popé burst out laughing. "Go," he said, in
the other Indian words. "Go, my brave Ahaiyuta." He ran out into
the other room to hide his tears.
"You are fifteen," said old Mitsima, in the Indian words. "Now
I may teach you to work the clay."
Squatting by the river, they worked together.
"First of all," said Mitsima, taking a lump of the wetted clay
between his hands, "we make a little moon." The old man squeezed
the lump into a disk, then bent up the edges, the moon became
a shallow cup.
Slowly and unskilfully he imitated the old man's delicate gestures.
"A moon, a cup, and now a snake." Mitsima rolled out another piece
of clay into a long flexible cylinder, trooped it into a circle
and pressed it on to the rim of the cup. "Then another snake.
And another. And another." Round by round, Mitsima built up the
sides of the pot; it was narrow, it bulged, it narrowed again
towards the neck. Mitsima squeezed and patted, stroked and scraped;
and there at last it stood, in shape the familiar water pot of
Malpais, but creamy white instead of black, and still soft to
the touch. The crooked parody of Mitsima's, his own stood beside
it. Looking at the two pots, he had to laugh.
"But the next one will be better," he said, and began to moisten
another piece of clay.
To fashion, to give form, to feel his fingers gaining in skill
and powerthis gave him an extraordinary pleasure. "A, B, C, Vitamin
D," he sang to himself as he worked. "The fat's in the liver,
the cod's in the sea." And Mitsima also sanga song about killing
a bear. They worked all day, and all day he was filled with an
intense, absorbing happiness.
"Next winter," said old Mitsima, "I will teach you to make the
He stood for a long time outside the house, and at last the ceremonies
within were finished. The door opened; they came out. Kothlu came
first, his right hand out-stretched and tightly closed, as though
over some precious jewel. Her clenched hand similarly outstretched,
Kiakimé followed. They walked in silence, and in silence, behind
them, came the brothers and sisters and cousins and all the troop
of old people.
They walked out of the pueblo, across the mesa. At the edge of
the clid they halted, facing the early morning sun. Kothlu opened
his hand. A pinch of corn meal lay white on the palm; he breathed
on it, murmured a few words, then threw it, a handful of white
dust, towards the sun. Kiakimé did the same. Then Khakimé's father
stepped forward, and holding up a feathered prayer stick, made
a long prayer, then threw the stick after the corn meal.
"It is finished," said old Mitsima in a loud voice. "They are
"Well," said Linda, as they turned away, "all I can say is, it
does seem a lot of fuss to make about so little. In civilized
countries, when a boy wants to have a girl, he just
are you going, John?"
He paid no attention to her calling, but ran on, away, away, anywhere
to be by himself.
It is finished Old Mitsima's words repeated themselves in his
mind. Finished, finished
In silence and frum a long way off,
but violently, desperately, hopelessly, he had loved Kiakimé.
And now it was finished. He was sixteen.
At the full moon, in the Antelope Kiva, secrets would be told,
secrets would be done and borne. They woud go down, boys, into
the kiva and come out again, men. The boys were all afraid and
at the same time impatient. And at last it was the day. The sun
went down, the moon rose. He went with the others. Men were standing,
dark, at the entrance to the kiva; the ladder went down into the
red lighted depths. Already the leading boys had begun to climb
down. Suddenly, one of the men stepped forward, caught him by
the arm, and pulled him out of the ranks. He broke free and dodged
back into his place among the others. This time the man struck
him, pulled his hair. "Not for you, white-hair!" "Not for the
son of the she-dog," said one of the other men. The boys laughed.
"Go!" And as he still hovered on the fringes of the group, "Go!"
the men shouted again. One of them bent down, took a stone, threw
it. "Go, go, go!" There was a shower of stones. Bleeding, he ran
away into the darkness. From the red-lit kiva came the noise of
singing. The last of the boys had climbed down the ladder. He
was all alone.
All alone, outside the pueblo, on the bare plain of the mesa.
The rock was like bleached bones in the moonlight. Down in the
valley, the coyotes were howling at the moon. The bruises hurt
him, the cuts were still bleeding; but it was not for pain that
he sobbed; it was because he was all alone, because he had been
driven out, alone, into this skeleton world of rocks and moonlight.
At the edge of the precipice he sat down. The moon was behind
him; he looked down into the black shadow of the mesa, into the
black shadow of death. He had only to take one step, one little
He held out his right hand in the moonlight. From the
cut on his wrist the blood was still oozing. Every few seconds
a drop fell, dark, almost colourless in the dead light. Drop,
drop, drop. To-morrow and to-morrow and to-morrow
He had discovered Tirne and Death and God.
"Alone, always alone," the young man was saying.
The words awoke a plaintive echo in Bernard's mind. Alone, alone
"So am I," he said, on a gush of confidingness. "Terribly alone."
"Are you?" John looked surprised. "I thought that in the Other
I mean, Linda always said that nobody was ever alone there."
Bernard blushed uncomfortably. "You see," he said, mumbling and
with averted eyes, "I'm rather different from most people, I suppose.
If one happens to be decanted different
"Yes, that's just it." The young man nodded. "If one's different,
one's bound to be lonely. They're beastly to one. Do you know,
they shut me out of absolutely everything? When the other boys
were sent out to spend the night on the mountainsyou know, when
you have to dream which your sacred animal isthey wouldn't let
me go with the others; they wouldn't tell me any of the secrets.
I did it by myself, though," he added. "Didn't eat anything for
five days and then went out one night alone into those mountains
there." He pointed.
Patronizingly, Bernard smiled. "And did you dream of anything?"
The other nodded. "But I mustn't tell you what." He was silent
for a little; then, in a low voice, "Once," he went on, "I did
something that none of the others did: I stood against a rock
in the middle of the day, in summer, with my arms out, like Jesus
on the Cross."
"What on earth for?"
"I wanted to know what it was like being crucified. Hanging there
in the sun
" He hesitated. "Because I felt I ought to. If Jesus
could stand it. And then, if one has done something wrong
I was unhappy; that was another reason."
"It seems a funny way of curing your unhappiness," said Bernard.
But on second thoughts he decided that there was, after all, some
sense in it. Better than taking soma
"I fainted after a time," said the young man. "Fell down on my
face. Do you see the mark where I cut myself?" He lifted the thick
yellow hair from his forehead. The scar showed, pale and puckered,
on his right temple.
Bernard looked, and then quickly, with a little shudder, averted
his eyes. His conditioning had made him not so much pitiful as
profoundly squeamish. The mere suggestion of illness or wounds
was to him not only horrifying, but even repulsive and rather
disgusting. Like dirt, or deformity, or old age. Hastily he changed
"I wonder if you'd like to come back to London with us?" he asked,
making the first move in a campaign whose strategy he had been
secretly elaborating ever since, in the little house, he had reahzed
who the "father" of this young savage must be. "Would you like
The young man's face lit up. "Do you really mean it?"
"Of course; if I can get permission, that is."
" He hesitated doubtfully. That revolting creature! No,
it was impossible. Unless, unless
It suddenly occurred to Bernard
that her very revoltingness might prove an enormous asset. "But
of course!" he cried, making up for his first hesitations with
an excess of noisy cordiality.
The young man drew a deep breath. "To think it should be coming
truewhat I've dreamt of all my life. Do you remember what Miranda
But the young man had evidently not heard the question. "O wonder!"
he was saying; and his eyes shone, his face was brightly flushed.
"How many goodly creatures are there here! How beauteous mankind
is!" The flush suddenly deepened; he was thinking of Lenina, of
an angel in bottle-green viscose, lustrous with youth and skin
food, plump, benevolently smiling. His voice faltered. "O brave
new world," he began, then-suddenly interrupted himself; the blood
had left his cheeks; he was as pale as paper.
"Are you married to her?" he asked.
"Am I what?"
"Married. You knowfor ever. They say 'for ever' in the Indian
words; it can't be broken."
"Ford, no!" Bernard couldn't help laughing.
John also laughed, but for another reasonlaughed for pure joy.
"O brave new world," he repeated. "O brave new world that has
such people in it. Let's start at once."
"You have a most peculiar way of talking sometimes," said Bernard,
staring at the young man in perplexed astonishment. "And, anyhow,
hadn't you better wait till you actually see the new world?"
LENINA felt herself entitled, after this day of queerness and
horror, to a complete and absolute holiday. As soon as they got
back to the rest-house, she swallowed six half-gramme tablets
of soma, lay down on her bed, and within ten minutes had embarked for
lunar eternity. It would be eighteen hours at the least before
she was in time again.
Bernard meanwhile lay pensive and wide-eyed in the dark. It was
long after midnight before he fell asleep. Long after midnight;
but his insomnia had not been fruitless; he had a plan.
Punctually, on the following morning, at ten o'clock, the green-uniformed
octoroon stepped out of his helicopter. Hemard was waiting for
him among the agaves.
"Miss Crowne's gone on soma-holiday," he explained. "Can hardly be back before five. Which
leaves us seven hours."
He could fly to Santa Fé, do all the business he had to do, and
be in Malpais again long before she woke up.
"She'll be quite safe here by herself?"
"Safe as helicoplers," the octoroon assured him.
They climbed into the machine and started off at once. At ten
thirty-four they landed on the roof of the Santa Fé Post Offiee;
at ten thirty-seven Bernard had got through to the World Controller's
Office in Whitehall; at ten thirty-seven he was speaking to his
fordship's fourth personal secretary; at ten forty-four he was
repeating his story to the first secretary, and at ten forty-seven
and a half it was the deep, resonant voice of Mustapha Mond himself
that sounded in his ears.
"I ventured to think," stammered Bernard, "that your fordship
might find the matter of sufficient scientific interest
"Yes, I do find it of sufficient scientific interest," said the
deep voice. "Bring these two individuals back to London with you."
"Your fordship is aware that I shall need a special permit
"The necessary orders," said Mustapha Mond, "are being sent to
the Warden of the Reservation at this moment. You will proceed
at once to the Warden's Office. Good-morning, Mr. Marx."
There was silence. Bernard hung up the receiver and hurried up
to the roof.
"Warden's Office," he said to the Gamma-green octoroon.
At ten fifty-four Bernard was shaking hands with the Warden.
"Delighted, Mr. Marx, delighted." His boom was deferential. "We
have just received special orders
"I know," said Bernard, interrupting him. "I was talking to his
fordship on the phone a moment ago." His bored tone implied that
he was in the habit of talking to his fordship every day of the
week. He dropped into a chair. "If you'll kindly take all the
necessary steps as soon as possible. As soon as possible," he
emphatically repeated. He was thoroughly enjoying himself.
At eleven three he had all the necessary papers in his pocket.
"So long," he said patronizingly to the Warden, who had accompanied
him as far as the lift gates. "So long."
He walked across to the hotel, had a bath, a vibro-vac massage,
and an electrolytic shave, listened in to the morning's news,
looked in for half an hour on the televisor, ate a leisured luncheon,
and at half-past two flew back with the octoroon to Malpais.
The young man stood outside the rest-house.
"Bernard," he called. "Bernard!" There was no answer.
Noiseless on his deerksin moccasins, he ran up the steps and tried
the door. The door was locked.
They were gone! Gone! It was the most terrible thing that had
ever happened to him. She had asked him to come and see them,
asd now they were gone. He sat down on the steps and cried.
Half an hour later it occurred to him to look through the window.
The first thing he saw was a green suit-case, with the initials
L.C. painted on the lid. Joy flared up like fire within him. He
picked up a stone. The smashed glass tinkled on the floor. A moment
later he was inside the room. He opened the green suit-case; and
all at once he was breathing Lenina's perfume, filling his lungs
with her essential being. His heart beat wildly; for a moment
he was almost faint. Then, bending over the precious box, he touched,
he lifted into the light, he examined. The zippers on Lenina's
spare pair of viscose velveteen shorts were at first a puzzle,
then solved, a delight. Zip, and then zip; zip, and then zip;
he was enchanted. Her green slippers were the most beautiful things
he had ever seen. He unfolded a pair of zippicamiknicks, blushed,
put them hastily away again; but kissed a perfumed acetate handkerchief
and wound a scarf round his neck. Opening a box, he spilt a cloud
of scented powder. His hands were floury with the stuff. He wiped
them on his chest, on his shoulders, on his bare arms. Delicious
perfume! He shut his eyes; he rubbed his cheek against his own
powdered arm. Touch of smooth skin against his face, scent in
his nostrils of musky dusther real presence. "Lenina," he whispered.
A noise made him start, made him guiltily turn. He crammed up
his thieveries into the suit-case and shut the lid; then listened
again, looked. Not a sign of life, not a sound. And yet he had
certainly heard somethingsomething like a sigh, something like
the creak of a board. He tiptoed to the door and, cautiously opening
it, found himself looking on to a broad landing. On the opposite
side of the landing was another door, ajar. He stepped out, pushed,
There, on a low bed, the sheet flung back, dressed in a pair of
pink one-piece zippyjamas, lay Lenina, fast asleep and so beautiful
in the midst of her curls, so touchingly childish with her pink
toes and her grave sleeping face, so trustful in the helplessness
of her limp hands and melted limbs, that the tears came to his
With an infinity of quite unnecessary precautionsfor nothing
short of a pistol shot could have called Lenina back from her
soma-holiday before the appointed timehe entered the room, he knelt
on the floor beside the bed. He gazed, he clasped his hands, his
lips moved. "Her eyes," he murmured,
"Her eyes, her hair, her cheek, her gait, her voice;
Handlest in thy discourse O! that her hand,
In whose comparison all whites are ink
Writing their own reproach; to whose soft seizure
The cygnet's down is harsh
A fly buzzed round her; he waved it away. "Flies," he remembered,
"On the white wonder of dear Juliet's hand, may seize
And steal immortal blessing from her lips,
Who, even in pure and vestal modesty,
Still blush, as thinking their own kisses sin."
Very slowly, with the hesitating gesture of one who reaches forward
to stroke a shy and possibly rather dangerous bird, he put out
his hand. It hung there trembling, within an inch of those limp
fingers, on the verge of contact. Did he dare? Dare to profane
with his unworthiest hand that
No, he didn't. The bird was too
dangerous. His hand dropped back. How beautiful she was! How beautiful!
Then suddenly he found himself reflecting that he had only to
take hold of the zipper at her neck and give one long, strong
He shut his eyes, he shook his head with the gesture of
a dog shaking its ears as it emerges from the water. Detestable
thought! He was ashamed of himself. Pure and vestal modesty
There was a humming in the air. Another fly trying to steal immortal
blessings? A wasp? He looked, saw nothing. The humming grew louder
and louder, localized itself as being outside the shuttered windows.
The plane! In a panic, he scrambled to his feet and ran into the
other room, vaulted through the open window, and hurrying along
the path between the tall agaves was in time to receive Bernard
Marx as he climbed out of the helicopter.
THE HANDS of all the four thousand electric clocks in all the
Bloomsbury Centre's four thousand rooms marked twenty-seven minutes
past two. "This hive of industry," as the Director was fond of
calling it, was in the full buzz of work. Every one was busy,
everything in ordered motion. Under the microscopes, their long
tails furiously lashing, spermatozoa were burrowing head first
into eggs; and, fertilized, the eggs were expanding, dividing,
or if bokanovskified, budding and breaking up into whole populations
of separate embryos. From the Social Predestination Room the escalators
went rumbling down into the basement, and there, in the crimson
darkness, stewingly warm on their cushion of peritoneum and gorged
with blood-surrogate and hormones, the foetuses grew and grew
or, poisoned, languished into a stunted Epsilonhood. With a faint
hum and rattle the moving racks crawled imperceptibly through
the weeks and the recapitulated aeons to where, in the Decanting
Room, the newly-unbottled babes uttered their first yell of horror
The dynamos purred in the sub-basement, the lifts rushed up and
down. On all the eleven floors of Nurseries it was feeding time.
From eighteen hundred bottles eighteen hundred carefully labelled
infants were simultaneously sucking down their pint of pasteurized
Above them, in ten successive layers of dormitory, the little
boys and girls who were still young enough to need an afternoon
sleep were as busy as every one else, though they did not know
it, listening unconsciously to hypnopædic lessons in hygiene and
sociability, in class-consciousness and the toddler's love-life.
Above these again were the playrooms where, the weather having
turned to rain, nine hundred older children were amusing themselves
with bricks and clay modelling, hunt-the-zipper, and erotic play.
Buzz, buzz! the hive was humming, busily, joyfully. Blithe was
the singing of the young girls over their test-tubes, the Predestinators
whistled as they worked, and in the Decanting Room what glorious
jokes were cracked above the empty bottles! But the Director's
face, as he entered the Fertilizing Room with Henry Foster, was
grave, wooden with severity.
"A public example," he was saying. "In this room, because it contains
more high-caste workers than any other in the Centre. I have told
him to meet me here at half-past two."
"He does his work very well," put in Henry, with hypocritical
"I know. But that's all the more reason for severity. His intellectual
eminence carries with it corresponding moral responsibilities.
The greater a man's talents, the greater his power to lead astray.
It is better that one should suffer than that many should be corrupted.
Consider the matter dispassionately, Mr. Foster, and you will
see that no offence is so henious as unorthodoxy of behaviour.
Murder kills only the individualand, after all, what is an individual?"
With a sweeping gesture he indicated the rows of microscopes,
the test-tubes, the incubators. "We can make a new one with the
greatest easeas many as we like. Unorthodoxy threatens more than
the life of a mere individual; it strikes at Society itseff. Yes,
at Society itself," he repeated. "Ah, but here he comes."
Bernard had entered the room and was advancing between the rows
of fertilizers towards them. A veneer of jaunty self-confidence
thinly concealed his nervousness. The voice in which he said,
"Good-morning, Director," was absurdly too loud; that in which,
correcting his rnistake, he said, "You asked me to come and speak
to you here," ridiculously soft, a squeak.
"Yes, Mr. Marx," said the Director portentously. "I did ask you
to come to me here. You returned from your holiday last night,
"Yes," Bernard answered.
"Yes-s," repeated the Director, lingering, a serpent, on the "s."
Then, suddenly raising his voice, "Ladies and gentlemen," he trumpeted,
"ladies and gentlemen."
The singing of the girls over their test-tubes, the preoccupied
whistling of the Microscopists, suddenly ceased. There was a profound
silence; every one looked round.
"Ladies and gentlemen," the Director repeated once more, "excuse
me for thus interrupting your labours. A painful duty constrains
me. The security and stability of Society are in danger. Yes,
in danger, ladies and gentlemen. This man," he pointed accusingly
at Bernard, "this man who stands before you here, this Alpha-Plus
to whom so much has been given, and from whom, in consequence,
so much must be expected, this colleague of yoursor should I
anticipate and say this ex-colleague?has grossly betrayed the
trust imposed in him. By his heretical views on sport and soma, by the scandalous unorthodoxy of his sex-life, by his refusal
to obey the teachings of Our Ford and behave out of office hours,
'even as a little infant,'" (here the Director made the sign of
the T), "he has proved himself an enemy of Society, a subverter,
ladies and gentlemen, of all Order and Stability, a conspirator
against Civilization itself. For this reason I propose to dismiss
him, to dismiss him with ignominy from the post he has held in
this Centre; I propose forthwith to apply for his transference
to a Subcentre of the lowest order and, that his punishment may
serve the best interest of Society, as far as possible removed
from any important Centre of population. In Iceland he will have
small opportunity to lead others astray by his unfordly example."
The Director paused; then, folding his arms, he turned impressively
to Bernard. "Marx," he said, "can you show any reason why I should
not now execute the judgment passed upon you?"
"Yes, I can," Bernard answered in a very loud voice.
Somewhat taken aback, but still majestically, "Then show it,"
said the Director.
"Certainly. But it's in the passage. One moment." Bernard hurried
to the door and threw it open. "Come in," he commanded, and the
reason came in and showed itself.
There was a gasp, a murmur of astonishment and horror; a young
girl screamed; standing on a chair to get a better view some one
upset two test-tubes full of spermatozoa. Bloated, sagging, and
among those firm youthful bodies, those undistorted faces, a strange
and terrifying monster of middle-agedness, Linda advanced into
the room, coquettishly smiling her broken and discoloured smile,
and rolling as she walked, with what was meant to be a voluptuous
undulation, her enormous haunches. Bernard walked beside her.
"There he is," he said, pointing at the Director.
"Did you think I didn't recognize him?" Linda asked indignantly;
then, turning to the Director, "Of course I knew you; Tomakin,
I should have known you anywhere, among a thousand. But perhaps
you've forgotten me. Don't you remember? Don't you remember, Tomakin?
Your Linda." She stood looking at him, her head on one side, still
smiling, but with a smile that became progressively, in face of
the Director's expression of petrified disgust, less and less
self-confident, that wavered and finally went out. "Don't you
remember, Tomakin?" she repeated in a voice that trembled. Her
eyes were anxious, agonized. The blotched and sagging face twisted
grotesquely into the grimace of extreme grief. "Tomakin!" She
held out her arms. Some one began to titter.
"What's the meaning," began the Director, "of this monstrous
"Tomakin!" She ran forward, her blanket trailing behind her, threw
her arms round his neck, hid her face on his chest.
A howl of laughter went up irrepressibly.
this monstrous practical joke," the Director shouted.
Red in the face, he tried to disengage himself from her embrace.
Desperately she clung. "But I'm Linda, I'm Linda."'The laughter
drowned her voice. "You made me have a baby," she screamed above
the uproar. There was a sudden and appalling hush; eyes floated
uncomfortably, not knowing where to look. The Director went suddenly
pale, stopped struggling and stood, his hands on her wrists, staring
down at her, horrified. "Yes, a babyand I was its mother." She
flung the obscenity like a challenge into the outraged silence;
then, suddenly breaking away from him, ashamed, ashamed, covered
her face with her hands, sobbing. "It wasn't my fault, Tomakin.
Because I always did my drill, didn't I? Didn't I? Always
don't know how
If you knew how awful, Tomakin
But he was a
comfort to me, all the same." Turning towards the door, "John!"
she called. "John!"
He came in at once, paused for a moment just inside the door,
looked round, then soft on his moccasined feet strode quickly
across the room, fell on his knees in front of the Director, and
said in a clear voice: "My father!"
The word (for "father" was not so much obscene aswith its connotation
of something at one remove from the loathsomeness and moral obliquity
of child-bearingmerely gross, a scatological rather than a pornographic
impropriety); the comically smutty word relieved what had become
a quite intolerable tension. Laughter broke out, enormous, almost
hysterical, peal after peal, as though it would never stop. My
fatherand it was the Director! My father! Oh Ford, oh Ford! That was really too good. The whooping and
the roaring renewed themselves, faces seemed on the point of disintegration,
tears were streaming. Six more test-tubes of spermatozoa were
upset. My father!
Pale, wild-eyed, the Director glared about him in an agony of
My father! The laughter, which had shown signs of dying away, broke out
again more loudly than ever. He put his hands over his ears and
rushed out of the room.
AFTER the scene in the Fertilizing Room, all upper-caste London
was wild to see this delicious creature who had fallen on his
knees before the Director of Hatcheries and Conditioningor rather
the ex-Director, for the poor man had resigned immediately afterwards
and never set foot inside the Centre againhad flopped down and
called him (the joke was almost too good to be true!) "my father."
Linda, on the contrary, cut no ice; nobody had the smallest desire
to see Linda. To say one was a motherthat was past a joke: it
was an obscenity. Moreover, she wasn't a real savage, had been
hatched out of a bottle and conditioned like any one else: so
coudn't have really quaint ideas. Finallyand this was by far
the strongest reason for people's not wanting to see poor Lindathere
was her appearance. Fat; having lost her youth; with bad teeth,
and a blotched complexion, and that figure (Ford!)you simply
couldn't look at her without feeling sick, yes, positively sick.
So the best people were quite determined not to see Linda. And Linda, for her part, had no desire to see them.
The return to civilization was for her the return to soma, was the possibility of lying in bed and taking holiday after
holiday, without ever having to come back to a headache or a fit
of vomiting, without ever being made to feel as you always felt
after peyotl, as though you'd done something so shamefully anti-social that
you could never hold up your head again. Soma played none of these unpleasant tricks. The holiday it gave was
perfect and, if the morning after was disagreeable, it was so,
not intrinsically, but only by comparison with the joys of the
holiday. The remedy was to make the holiday continuous. Greedily
she clamoured for ever larger, ever more frequent doses. Dr. Shaw
at first demurred; then let her have what she wanted. She took
as much as twenty grammes a day.
"Which will finish her off in a month or two," the doctor confided
to Bernard. "One day the respiratory centre will be paralyzed.
No more breathing. Finished. And a good thing too. If we could
rejuvenate, of course it would be different. But we can't."
Surprisingly, as every one thought (for on soma-holiday Linda was most conveniently out of the way), John raised
"But aren't you shortening her life by giving her so much?"
"In one sense, yes," Dr. Shaw admitted. "But in another we're
actually lengthening it." The young man stared, uncomprehending.
"Soma may make you lose a few years in time," the doctor went on. "But
think of the enornous, immeasurable durations it can give you
out of time. Every soma-holiday is a bit of what our ancestors used to call eternity."
John began to understand. "Eternity was in our lips and eyes,"
"Of course," Dr. Shaw went on, "you can't allow people to go popping
off into eternity if they've got any serious work to do. But as
she hasn't got any serious work
"All the same," John persisted, "I don't believe it's right."
The doctor shrugged his shoulders. "Well, of course, if you prefer
to have her screaming mad all the time
In the end John was forced to give in. Linda got her soma. Thenceforward she remained in her little room on the thirty-seventh
floor of Bernard's apartment house, in bed, with the radio and
television always on, and the patchouli tap just dripping, and
the soma tablets within reach of her handthere she remained; and yet
wasn't there at all, was all the time away, infinitely far away,
on holiday; on holiday in some other world, where the music of
the radio was a labyrinth of sonorous colours, a sliding, palpitating
labyrinth, that led (by what beautifully inevitable windings)
to a bright centre of absolute conviction; where the dancing images
of the television box were the performers in some indescribably
delicious all-singing feely; where the dripping patchouli was
more than scentwas the sun, was a million saxophones, was Popé
making love, only much more so, incomparably more, and without
"No, we can't rejuvenate. But I'm very glad," Dr. Shaw had concluded,
"to have had this opportunity to see an example of senility in
a human being. Thank you so much for calling me in." He shook
Bernard warmly by the hand.
It was John, then, they were all after. And as it was only through
Bernard, his accredited guardian, that John could be seen, Bernard
now found himself, for the first time in his life, treated not
merely normally, but as a person of outstanding importance. There
was no more talk of the alcohol in his blood-surrogate, no gibes
at his personal appearance. Henry Foster went out of his way to
be friendly; Benito Hoover made him a present of six packets of
sex-hormone chewing-gum; the Assistant Predestinator came out
and cadged almost abjectly for an invitation to one of Bernard's
evening parties. As for the women, Bernard had only to hint at
the possibility of an invitation, and he could have whichever
of them he liked.
"Bernard's asked me to meet the Savage next Wednesday," Fanny
"I'm so glad," said Lenina. "And now you must admit that you were
wrong about Bernard. Don't you think he's really rather sweet?"
Fanny nodded. "And I must say," she said, "I was quite agreeably
The Chief Bottler, the Director of Predestination, three Deputy
Assistant Fertilizer-Generals, the Professor of Feelies in the
College of Emotional Engineering, the Dean of the Westminster
Community Singery, the Supervisor of Bokanovskificationthe list
of Bernard's notabilities was interminable.
"And I had six girls last week," he confided to Helmholtz Watson.
"One on Monday, two on Tuesday, two more on Friday, and one on
Saturday. And if I'd had the time or the inclination, there were
at least a dozen more who were only too anxious
Helmholtz listened to his boastings in a silence so gloomily disapproving
that Bernard was offended.
"You're envious," he said.
Helmholtz shook his head. "I'm rather sad, that's all," he answered.
Bernard went off in a huff. Never, he told himself, never would
he speak to Helmholtz again.
The days passed. Success went fizzily to Bernard's head, and in
the process completely reconciled him (as any good intoxicant
should do) to a world which, up till then, he had found very unsatisfactory.
In so far as it recognized him as important, the order of things
was good. But, reconciled by his success, he yet refused to forego
the privilege of criticizing this order. For the act of criticizing
heightened his sense of importance, made him feel larger. Moreover,
he did genuinely believe that there were things to criticize.
(At the same time, he genuinely liked being a success and having
all the girls he wanted.) Before those who now, for the sake of
the Savage, paid their court to him, Bernard would parade a carping
unorthodoxy. He was politely listened to. But behind his back
people shook their heads. "That young man will come to a bad end,"
they said, prophesying the more confidently in that they themselves
would in due course personally see to it that the end was bad.
"He won't find another Savage to help him out a second time,"
they said. Meanwhile, however, there was the first Savage; they
were polite. And because they were polite, Bernard felt positively
giganticgigantic and at the same time light with elation, lighter
"Lighter than air," said Bernard, pointing upwards.
Like a pearl in the sky, high, high above them, the Weather Department's
captive balloon shone rosily in the sunshine.
the said Savage," so ran Bernard's instructions, "to be shown
civilized life in all its aspects.
He was being shown a bird's-eye view of it at present, a bird's-eye
view from the platform of the Charing-T Tower. The Station Master
and the Resident Meteorologist were acting as guides. But it was
Bernard who did most of the talking. Intoxicated, he was behaving
as though, at the very least, he were a visiting World Controller.
Lighter than air.
The Bombay Green Rocket dropped out of the sky. The passengers
alighted. Eight identical Dravidian twins in khaki looked out
of the eight portholes of the cabinthe stewards.
"Twelve hundred and fifty kilometres an hour," said the Station
Master impressively. "What do you think of that, Mr. Savage?"
John thought it very nice. "Still," he said, "Ariel could put
a girdle round the earth in forty minutes."
"The Savage," wrote Bernard in his report to Mustapha Mond, "shows
surprisingly little astonishment at, or awe of, civilized inventions.
This is partly due, no doubt, to the fact that he has heard them
talked about by the woman Linda, his m."
(Mustapha Mond frowned. "Does the fool think I'm too squeamish
to see the word written out at full length?")
"Partly on his interest being focussed on what he calls 'the soul,'
which he persists in regarding as an entity independent of the
physical environment, whereas, as I tried to point out to him
The Controiler skipped the next sentences and was just about to
turn the page in search of something more interestingly concrete,
when his eye was caught by a series of quite extraordinary phrases.
though I must admit," he read, "that I agree with the Savage
in finding civilized infantility too easy or, as he puts it, not
expensive enough; and I would like to take this opportunity of
drawing your fordship's attention to
Mustapha Mond's anger gave place almost at once to mirth. The
idea of this creature solemnly lecturing himhim-about the social order was really too grotesque. The man must
have gone mad. "I ought to give him a lesson," he said to hiniself;
then threw back his head and haughed aloud. For the moment, at
any rate, the lesson would not be given.
It was a small factory of lighting-sets for helicopters, a branch
of the Electrical Equipment Corporation. They were met on the
roof itself (for that circular letter of recommendation from the
Controller was magical in its effects) by the Chief Technician
and the Human Element Manager. They walked downstairs into the
"Each process," explained the Human Element Manager, "is carried
out, so far as possible, by a single Bokanovsky Group."
And, in effect, eighty-three almost noseless black brachycephalic
Deltas were cold-pressing. The fifty-six four-spindle chucking
and turning machines were being manipulated by fifty-six aquiline
and ginger Gammas. One hundred and seven heat-conditioned Epsilon
Senegalese were working in the foundry. Thirty-three Delta females,
long-headed, sandy, with narrow pelvises, and all within 20 millimetres
of 1 metre 69 centimetres tall, were cutting screws. In the assembling
room, the dynamos were being put together by two sets of Gamma-Plus
dwarfs. The two low work-tables faced one another; between them
crawled the conveyor with its load of separate parts; forty-seven
blonde heads were confronted by forty-seven brown ones. Forty-seven
snubs by forty-seven hooks; forty-seven receding by forty-seven
prognathous chins. The completed mechanisms were inspected by
eighteen identical curly auburn girls in Gamma green, packed in
crates by thirty-four short-legged, left-handed male Delta-Minuses,
and loaded into the waiting trucks and lorries by sixty-three
blue-eyed, flaxen and freckled Epsilon Semi-Morons.
"O brave new world
" By some malice of his memory the Savage
found himself repeating Miranda's words. "O brave new world that
has such people in it."
"And I assure you," the Human Element Manager concluded, as they
left the factory, "we hardly ever have any trouble with our workers.
We always find
But the Savage had suddenly broken away from his companions and
was violently retching, behind a clump of laurels, as though the
solid earth had been a helicopter in an air pocket.
"The Savage," wrote Bernard, "refuses to take soma, and seems much distressed because of the woman Linda, his m,
remains permanently on holiday. It is worthy of note that, in
spite of his m's senility and the extreme repulsiveness of
her appearance, the Savage frequently goes to see her and appears
to be much attached to heran interesting example of the way in
which early conditioning can be made to modify and even run counter
to natural impulses (in this case, the impulse to recoil from
an unpleasant object)."
At Eton they alighted on the roof of Upper School. On the opposite
side of School Yard, the fifty-two stories of Lupton's Tower gleamed
white in the sunshine. College on their left and, on their right,
the School Community Singery reared their venerable piles of ferro-concrete
and vita-glass. In the centre of the quadrangle stood the quaint
old chrome-steel statue of Our Ford.
Dr. Gaffney, the Provost, and Miss Keate, the Head Mistress, received
them as they stepped out of the plane.
"Do you have many twins here?" the Savage asked rather apprehensively,
as they set out on their tour of inspection.
"Oh, no," the Provost answered. "Eton is reserved exclusively
for upper-caste boys and girls. One egg, one adult. It makes education
more difficult of course. But as they'll be called upon to take
responsibilities and deal with unexpected emergencies, it can't
be helped." He sighed.
Bernard, meanwhile, had taken a strong fancy to Miss Keate. "If
you're free any Monday, Wednesday, or Friday evening," he was
saying. Jerking his thumb towards the Savage, "He's curious, you
know," Bernard added. "Quaint."
Miss Keate smiled (and her smile was really charming, he thought);
said Thank you; would be delighted to come to one of his parties.
The Provost opened a door.
Five minutes in that Alpha Double Plus classroom left John a trifle
"What is elementary relativity?" he whispered to Bernard. Bernard tried
to explain, then thought better of it and suggested that they
should go to some other classroom.
From behind a door in the corridor leading to the Beta-Minus geography
room, a ringing soprano voice called, "One, two, three, four,"
and then, with a weary impatience, "As you were."
"Malthusian Drill," explained the Head Mistress. "Most of our
girls are freemartins, of course. I'm a freemartin myself." She
smiled at Bernard. "But we have about eight hundred unsterilized
ones who need constant drilling."
In the Beta-Minus geography room John learnt that "a savage reservation
is a place which, owing to unfavourable climatic or geological
conditions, or poverty of natural resources, has not been worth
the expense of civilizing." A click; the room was darkened; and
suddenly, on the screen above the Master's head, there were the
Penitentes of Acoma prostrating themselves before Our Lady, and wailing
as John had heard them wail, confessing their sins before Jesus
on the Cross, before the eagle image of Pookong. The young Etonians
fairly shouted with laughter. Still wailing, the Penitentes rose to their feet, stripped off their upper garments and, with
knotted whips, began to beat themselves, blow after blow. Redoubled,
the laughted drowned even the amplified record of their groans.
"But why do they laugh?" asked the Savage in a pained bewilderment.
"Why?" The Provost turned towards him a still broadly grinning
face. "Why? But because it's so extraordinarily funny."
In the cinematographic twilight, Bernard risked a gesture which,
in the past, even total darkness would hardly have emboldened
him to make. Strong in his new importance, he put his arm around
the Head Mistress's waist. It yielded, willowily. He was just
about to snatch a kiss or two and perhaps a gentle pinch, when
the shutters clicked open again.
"Perhaps we had better go on," said Miss Keate, and moved towards
"And this," said the Provost a moment later, "is Hypnopædic Control
Hundreds of synthetic music boxes, one for each dormitory, stood
ranged in shelves round three sides of the room; pigeon-holed
on the fourth were the paper sound-track rolls on which the various
hypnopædic lessons were printed.
"You slip the roll in here," explained Bernard, initerrupting
Dr. Gaffney, "press down this switch
"No, that one," corrected the Provost, annoyed.
"That one, then. The roll unwinds. The selenium cells transform
the light impulses into sound waves, and
"And there you are," Dr. Gaffney concluded.
"Do they read Shakespeare?" asked the Savage as they walked, on
their way to the Bio-chemical Laboratories, past the School Library.
"Certainly not," said the Head Mistress, blushing.
"Our library," said Dr. Gaffney, "contains only books of reference.
If our young people need distraction, they can get it at the feelies.
We don't encourage them to indulge in any solitary amusements."
Five bus-loads of boys and girls, singing or in a silent embracement,
rolled past them over the vitrified highway.
"Just returned," explained Dr. Gaffney, while Bernard, whispering,
made an appointment with the Head Mistress for that very evening,
"from the Slough Crematorium. Death conditioning begins at eighteen
months. Every tot spends two mornings a week in a Hospital for
the Dying. All the best toys are kept there, and they get chocolate
cream on death days. They learn to take dying as a matter of course."
"Like any other physiological process," put in the Head Mistress
Eight o'clock at the Savoy. It was all arranged.
On their way back to London they stopped at the Television Corporation's
factory at Brentford.
"Do you mind waiting here a moment while I go and telephone?"
The Savage waited and watched. The Main Day-Shift was just going
off duty. Crowds of lower-caste workers were queued up in front
of the monorail station-seven or eight hundred Gamma, Delta and
Epsilon men and women, with not more than a dozen faces and statures
between them. To each of them, with his or her ticket, the booking
clerk pushed over a little cardboard pillbox. The long caterpillar
of men and women moved slowly forward.
"What's in those" (remembering The Merchant of Venice) "those caskets?" the Savage enquired when Bernard had rejoined
"The day's soma ration," Bernard answered rather indistinctly; for he was masticating
a piece of Benito Hoover's chewing-gum. "They get it after their
work's over. Four half-gramme tablets. Six on Saturdays."
He took John's arm affectionately and they walked back towards
Lenina came singing into the Changing Room.
"You seem very pleased with yourself," said Fanny.
"I am pleased," she answered. Zip! "Bernard rang up half an hour ago."
Zip, zip! She stepped out of her shorts. "He has an unexpected
engagement." Zip! "Asked me if I'd take the Savage to the feelies
this evening. I must fly." She hurried away towards the bathroom.
"She's a lucky girl," Fanny said to herself as she watched Lenina
There was no envy in the comment; good-natured Fanny was merely
stating a faet. Lenina was lucky; lucky in having shared with
Bernard a generous portion of the Savage's immense celebrity,
lucky in reflecting from her insignificant person the moment's
supremely fashionable glory. Had not the Secretary of the Young
Women's Fordian Association asked her to give a lecture about
her experiences? Had she not been invited to the Annual Dinner
of the Aphroditeum Club? Had she not already appeared in the Feelytone
Newsvisibly, audibly and tactually appeared to countless millions
all over the planet?
Hardly less flattering had been the attentions paid her by conspicuous
individuals. The Resident World Controller's Second Secretary
had asked her to dinner and breakfast. She had spent one week-end
with the Ford Chief-Justice, and another with the Arch-Community-Songster
of Canterbury. The President of the Internal and External Secretions
Corporation was perpetually on the phone, and she had been to
Deauville with the Deputy-Governor of the Bank of Europe.
"It's wonderful, of course. And yet in a way," she had confessed
to Fanny, "I feel as though I were getting something on false
presences. Because, of course, the first thing they all want to
know is what it's like to make love to a Savage. And I have to
say I don't know." She shook her head. "Most of the men don't
believe me, of course. But it's true. I wish it weren't," she
added sadly and sighed. "He's terribly good-looking; don't you
"But doesn't he like you?" asked Fanny.
"Sometimes I think he does and sometimes I think he doesn't. He
always does his best to avoid me; goes out of the room when I
come in; won't touch me; won't even look at me. But sometimes
if I turn round suddenly, I catch him staring; and thenwell,
you know how men look when they like you."
Yes, Fanny knew.
"I can't make it out," said Lenina.
She couldn't make it out; and not only was bewildered; was also
"Because, you see, Fanny, I like him."
Liked him more and more. Well, now there'd be a real chance, she
thought, as she scented herself after her bath. Dab, dab, daba
real chance. Her high spirits overflowed in a song.
''Hug me till you drug me, honey;
Kiss me till I'm in a coma;
Hug me, honey, snuggly bunny;
Love's as good as soma."
The scent organ was playing a delightfully refreshing Herbal Capricciorippling
arpeggios of thyme and lavender, of rosemary, basil, myrtle, tarragon;
a series of daring modulations through the spice keys into ambergris;
and a slow return through sandalwood, camphor, cedar and newmown
hay (with occasional subtle touches of discorda whiff of kidney
pudding, the faintest suspicion of pig's dung) back to the simple
aromatics with which the piece began. The final blast of thyme
died away; there was a round of applause; the lights went up.
In the synthetic music machine the sound-track roll began to unwind.
It was a trio for hyper-violin, super-cello and oboe-surrogate
that now filled the air with its agreeable languor. Thirty or
forty barsand then, against this instrumental background, a much
more than human voice began to warble; now throaty, now from the
head, now hollow as a flute, now charged with yearning harmonics,
it effortlessly passed from Gaspard's Forster's low record on
the very frontiers of musical tone to a trilled bat-note high
above the highest C to which (in 1770, at the Ducal opera of Parma,
and to the astonishment of Mozart) Lucrezia Ajugari, alone of
all the singers in history, once piercingly gave utterance.
Sunk in their pneumatic stalls, Lenina and the Savage sniffed
and listened. It was now the turn also for eyes and skin.
The house lights went down; fiery letters stood out solid and
as though self-supported in the darkness. THREE WEEKS IN A HELICOPTER
. AN ALL-SUPER-SINGING, SYNTHETIC-TALK1NG, COLOURED, STEREOSCOPIC
FEELY. WITH SYNCHRONIZED SCENT-ORGAN ACCOMPANIMENT.
"Take hold of those metal knobs on the arms of your chair," whispered
Lenina. "Otherwise you won't get any of the feely effects."
The Savage did as he was told.
Those fiery letters, meanwhile, had disappeared; there were ten
seconds of complete darkness; then suddenly, dazzling and incomparably
more solid-looking than they would have seemed in actual flesh
and blood, far more real than reality, there stood the stereoscopic
images, locked in one another's arms, of a gigantic negro and
a golden-haired young brachycephalic Beta-Plus female.
The Savage started. That sensation on his lips! He liited a hand
to his mouth; the titillation ceased; let his hand fall back on
the metal knob; it began again. The scent organ, meanwhile, breathed
pure musk. Expiringly, a sound-track super-dove cooed "Oo-ooh";
and vibrating only thirty-two times a second, a deeper than African
bass made answer: "Aa-aah." "Ooh-ah! Ooh-ah!" the stereoscopic
lips came together again, and once more the facial erogenous zones
of the six thousand spectators in the Alhambra tingled with almost
intolerable galvanic pleasure. "Ooh
The plot of the film was extremely simple. A few minutes after
the first Oohs and Aahs (a duet having been sung and a little
love made on that famous bearskin, every hair of whichthe Assistant
Predestinator was perfectly rightcould be separately and distinctly
felt), the negro had a helicopter accident, fell on his head.
Thump! whata twinge through the forehead! A chorus of ow's and aie's went up from the audience.
The concussion knocked all the negro's conditionimg into a cocked
hat. He developed for the Beta blonde an exclusive and maniacal
passion. She protested. He persisted. There were struggles, pursuits,
an assault on a rival, finally a sensational kidnapping. The Beta
blond was ravished away into the sky and kept there, hovering,
for three weeks in a wildly anti-social tête-à-tête with the black madman. Finally, after a whole series of adventures
and much aerial acrobacy three handsome young Alphas succeeded
in rescuing her. The negro was packed off to an Adult Re-conditioning
Centre and the film ended happily and decorously, with the Beta
blonde becoming the mistress of all her three rescuers. They interrupted
themselves for a moment to sing a synthetic quartet, with full
super-orchestral accompaniment and gardenias on the scent organ.
Then the bearskin made a final appearance and, amid a blare of
saxophones, the last stereoscopic kiss faded into darkness, the
last electric titillation died on the lips like a dying moth that
quivers, quivers, ever more feebly, ever more faintly, and at
last is quiet, quite still.
But for Lenina the moth did not completely die. Even after the
lights had gone up, while they were shuffling slowly along with
the crowd towards the lifts, its ghost still fluttered against
her lips, still traced fine shuddering roads of anxiety and pleasure
across her skin. Her cheeks were flushed. She caught hold of the
Savage's arm and pressed it, limp, against her side. He looked
down at her for a moment, pale, pained, desiring, and ashamed
of his desire. He was not worthy, not
Their eyes for a moment
met. What treasures hers promised! A queen's ransom of temperament.
Hastily he looked away, disengaged his imprisoned arm. He was
obscurely terrified lest she should cease to be something he could
feel himself unworthy of.
"I don't think you ought to see things like that," he said, making
haste to transfer from Lenina herself to the surrounding circumstances
the blame for any past or possible future lapse from perfection.
"Things like what, John?"
"Like this horrible film."
"Horrible?" Lenina was genuinely astonished. "But I thought it
"It was base," he said indignantly, "it was ignoble."
She shook her head. "I don't know what you mean." Why was he so
queer? Why did he go out of his way to spoil things?
In the taxicopter he hardly even looked at her. Bound by strong
vows that had never been pronounced, obedient to laws that had
long since ceased to run, he sat averted and in silence. Sometimes,
as though a finger had plucked at some taut, almost breaking string,
his whole body would shake with a sudden nervous start.
The taxicopter landed on the roof of Lenina's apartment house.
"At last," she thought exultantly as she stepped out of the cab.
At lasteven though he had been so queer just now. Standing under a lamp, she peered into
her hand mirror. At last. Yes, her nose was a bit shiny. She shook
the loose powder from her puff. While he was paying off the taxithere
would just be time. She rubbed at the shininess, thinking: "He's
terribly good-looking. No need for him to be shy like Bernard.
Any other man would have done it long ago. Well, now
at last." That fragment of a face in the little round mirror suddenly
smiled at her.
"Good-night," said a strangled voice behind her. Lenina wheeled
round. He was standing in the doorway of the cab, his eyes fixed,
staring; had evidently been staring all this time while she was
powdering her nose, waitingbut what for? or hesitating, trying
to make up his mind, and all the time thinking, thinkingshe could
not imagine what extraordinary thoughts. "Good-night, Lenina,"
he repeated, and made a strange grimacing attempt to smile.
I thought you were
I mean, aren't you?
He shut the door and bent forward to say something to the driver.
The cab shot up into the air.
Looking down through the window in the fioor, the Savage could
see Lenina's upturned face, pale in the bluish light of the lamps.
The mouth was open, she was calling. Her foreshortened figure
rushed away from him; the diminishing square of the roof seemed
to be falling through the darkness.
Five minutes later he was back in his room. From its hiding-place
he took out his mouse-nibbled volume, turned with religious care
its stained and crumbled pages, and began to read Othello. Othello, he remembered, was like the hero of Three Weeks in a Helicoptera black man.
Drying her eyes, Lenina walked across the roof to the lift. On
her way down to the twenty-seventh floor she pulled out her soma bottle. One gramme, she decided, would not be enough; hers had
been more than a one-gramme affliction. But if she took two grammes,
she ran the risk of not waking up in time to-morrow morning. She
compromised and, into her cupped left palm, shook out three half-gramme
BERNARD had to shout through the locked door; the Savage would
"But everybody's there, waiting for you."
"Let them wait," came back the muffled voice through the door.
"But you know quite well, John" (how difficult it is to sound
persuasive at the top of one's voice!) "I asked them on purpose
to meet you."
"You ought to have asked me first whether I wanted to meet them."
"But you always came before, John."
"That's precisely why I don't want to come again."
"Just to please me," Bernard bellowingly wheedled. "Won't you
come to please me?"
"Do you seriously mean it?"
Despairingly, "But what shall I do?" Bernard wailed.
"Go to hell!" bawled the exasperated voice from within.
"But the Arch-Community-Songster of Canterbury is there to-night."
Bernard was almost in tears.
"Ai yaa tákwa!" It was only in Zuñi that the Savage could adequately express
what he felt about the Arch-Community-Songster. "Háni!" he added as an after-thought; and then (with what derisive ferocity!):
"Sons éso tse-ná." And he spat on the ground, as Popé might have done.
In the end Bernard had to slink back, diminished, to his rooms
and inform the impatient assembly that the Savage would not be
appearing that evening. The news was received with indignation.
The men were furious at having been tricked into behaving politely
to this insignificant fellow with the unsavoury reputation and
the heretical opinions. The higher their position in the hierarchy,
the deeper their resentment.
"To play such a joke on me," the Arch-Songster kept repeating,
As for the women, they indignantly felt that they had been had
on false pretenceshad by a wretched little man who had had alcohol
poured into his bottle by mistakeby a creature with a Gamma-Minus
physique. It was an outrage, and they said so, more and more loudly.
The Head Mistress of Eton was particularly scathing.
Lenina alone said nothing. Pale, her blue eyes clouded with an
unwonted melancholy, she sat in a corner, cut off from those who
surrounded her by an emotion which they did not share. She had
come to the party filled with a strange feeling of anxious exultation.
"In a few minutes," she had said to herself, as she entered the
room, "I shall be seeing him, talking to him, telling him" (for
she had come with her mind made up) "that I like himmore than
anybody I've ever known. And then perhaps he'll say
What would he say? The blood had rushed to her cheeks.
"Why was he so strange the other night, after the feelies? So
queer. And yet I'm absolutely sure he really does rather like
me. I'm sure
It was at this moment that Bernard had made his announcement;
the Savage wasn't coming to the party.
Lenina suddenly felt all the sensations normally experienced at
the beginning of a Violent Passion Surrogate treatmenta sense
of dreadful emptiness, a breathless apprehension, a nausea. Her
heart seemed to stop beating.
"Perhaps it's because he doesn't like me," she said to herself.
And at once this possibility became an established certainty:
John had refused to come because he didn't like her. He didn't
"It really is a bit too thick," the Head Mistress of Eton was saying to the Director
of Crematoria and Phosphorus Reclamation. "When I think that I
"Yes," came the voice of Fanny Crowne, "it's absolutely true about
the alcohol. Some one I know knew some one who was working in
the Embryo Store at the time. She said to my friend, and my friend
said to me
"Too bad, too bad," said Henry Foster, sympathizing with the Arch-Community-Songster.
"It may interest you to know that our ex-Director was on the point
of transferring him to Iceland."
Pierced by every word that was spoken, the tight balloon of Bernard's
happy self-confidence was leaking from a thousand wounds. Pale,
distraught, abject and agitated, he moved among his guests, stammering
incoherent apologies, assuring them that next time the Savage
would certainly be there, begging them to sit down and take a
carotene sandwich, a slice of vitamin A pâté, a glass of champagne-surrogate. They duly ate, but ignored him;
drank and were either rude to his face or talked to one another
about him, loudly and offensively, as though he had not been there.
"And now, my friends," said the Arch-Community-Songster of Canterbury,
in that beautiful ringing voice with which he led the proceedings
at Ford's Day Celebrations, "Now, my friends, I think perhaps
the time has come
" He rose, put down his glass, brushed from
his purple viscose waistcoat the crumbs of a considerable collation,
and walked towards the door.
Bernard darted forward to intercept him.
"Must you really, Arch-Songster?
It's very early still. I'd
hoped you would
Yes, what hadn't he hoped, when Lenina confidentially told him
that the Arch-Community-Songster would accept an invitation if
it were sent. "He's really rather sweet, you know." And she had
shown Bernard the little golden zipper-fastening in the form of
a T which the Arch-Songster had given her as a memento of the
week-end she had spent at Lambeth. To meet the Arch-Community-Songster of Canterbury and Mr. Savage. Bernard had proclaimed his triumph on every invitation card.
But the Savage had chosen this evening of all evenings to lock
himself up in his room, to shout "Háni!" and even (it was lucky that Bernard didn't understand Zuñi) "Sons éso tse-ná!" What should have been the crowning moment of Bernard's whole
career had turned out to be the moment of his greatest humiliation.
"I'd so much hoped
" he stammeringly repeated, looking up at
the great dignitary with pleading and distracted eyes.
"My young friend," said the Arch-Community-Songster in a tone
of loud and solemn severity; there was a general silence. "Let
me give you a word of advice." He wagged his finger at Bernard.
"Before it's too late. A word of good advice." (His voice became
sepulchral.) "Mend your ways, my young friend, mend your ways."
He made the sign of the T over him and turned away. "Lenina, my
dear," he called in another tone. "Come with me."
Obediently, but unsmiling and (wholly insensible of the honour
done to her) without elation, Lenina walked after him, out of
the room. The other guests followed at a respectful interval.
The last of them slammed the door. Bernard was all alone.
Punctured, utterly deflated, he dropped into a chair and, covering
his face with his hands, began to weep. A few minutes later, however,
he thought better of it and took four tablets of soma.
Upstairs in his room the Savage was reading Romeo and Juliet.
Lenina and the Arch-Community-Songster stepped out on to the roof
of Lambeth Palace. "Hurry up, my young friendI mean, Lenina,"
called the Arch-Songster impatiently from the lift gates. Lenina,
who had lingered for a moment to look at the moon, dropped her
eyes and came hurrying across the roof to rejoin hirn.
"A New Theory of Biology" was the title of the paper which Mustapha
Mond had just finished reading. He sat for some time, meditatively
frowning, then picked up his pen and wrote across the title-page:
"The author's mathematical treatment of the conception of purpose
is novel and highly ingenious, but heretical and, so far as the
present social order is concerned, dangerous and potentially subversive.
Not to be published." He underlined the words. "The author will be kept under supervision.
His transference to the Marine Biological Station of St. Helena
may become necessary." A pity, he thought, as he signed his name.
It was a masterly piece of work. But once you began admitting
explanations in terms of purposewell, you didn't know what the
result might be. It was the sort of idea that might easily decondition
the more unsettled minds among the higher castesmake them lose
their faith in happiness as the Sovereign Good and take to believing,
instead, that the goal was somewhere beyond, somewhere outside
the present human sphere, that the purpose of life was not the
maintenance of well-being, but some intensification and refining
of consciousness, some enlargement of knowledge. Which was, the
Controller reflected, quite possibly true. But not, in the present
circumstance, admissible. He picked up his pen again, and under
the words "Not to be published" drew a second line, thicker and blacker than the first; then
sighed, "What fun it would be," he thought, "if one didn't have
to think about happiness!"
With closed eyes, his face shining with rapture, John was softly
declaiming to vacancy:
"Oh! she doth teach the torches to burn bright.
It seems she hangs upon the cheek of night,
Like a rich jewel in an Ethiop's ear;
Beauty too rich for use, for earth too dear
The golden T lay shining on Lenina's bosom. Sportively, the Arch-Community-Songster
caught hold of it, sportively he puled, pulled. "I think," said
Lenina suddenly, breaking a long silence, "I'd better take a couple
of grammes of soma."
Bernard, by this time, was fast asleep and smiling at the private
paradise of his dreams. Smiling, smiling. But inexorably, every
thirty seconds, the minute hand of the electric clock above his
bed jumped forward with an almost imperceptible click. Click,
click, click, click
And it was morning. Bernard was back among
the miseries of space and time. It was in the lowest spirits that
he taxied across to his work at the Conditioning Centre. The intoxication
of success had evaporated; he was soberly his old self; and by
contrast with the temporary balloon of these last weeks, the old
self seemed unprecedentedly heavier than the surrounding atmosphere.
To this deflated Bernard the Savage showed himself unexpectedly
"You're more like what you were at Malpais," he said, when Bernard
had told him his plaintive story. "Do you remember when we first
talked together? Outside the little house. You're like what you
"Because I'm unhappy again; that's why."
"Well, I'd rather be unhappy than have the sort of false, lying
happiness you were having here."
"I like that," said Bernard bitterly. "When it's you who were
the cause of it all. Refusing to come to my party and so turning
them all against me!" He knew that what he was saying was absurd
in its injustice; he admitted inwardly, and at last even aloud,
the truth of all that the Savage now said about the worthlessness
of friends who could be turned upon so slight a provocation into
persecuting enemies. But in spite of this knowledge and these
admissions, in spite of the fact that his friend's support and
sympathy were now his only comfort, Bernard continued perversely
to nourish, along with his quite genuine affection, a secret grievance
against the Savage, to mediate a campaign of small revenges to
be wreaked upon him. Nourishing a grievance against the Arch-Community-Songster
was useless; there was no possibility of being revenged on the
Chief Bottler or the Assistant Predestinator. As a victim, the
Savage possessed, for Bernard, this enormous superiority over
the others: that he was accessible. One of the principal functions
of a friend is to suffer (in a milder and symbolic form) the punishments
that we should like, but are unable, to inflict upon our enemies.
Bernard's other victim-friend was Helmholtz. When, discomfited,
he came and asked once more for the friendship which, in his prosperity,
he had not thought it worth his while to preserve. Helmholtz gave
it; and gave it without a reproach, without a comment, as though
he had forgotten that there had ever been a quarrel. Touched,
Bernard felt himself at the same time humiliated by this magnanimitya
magnanimity the more extraordinary and therefore the more humiliating
in that it owed nothing to soma and everything to Helmholtz's character. It was the Helmholtz
of daily life who forgot and forgave, not the Helmholtz of a half-gramme
holiday. Bernard was duly grateful (it was an enormous comfort
to have his friend again) and also duly reseritful (it would be
pleasure to take some revenge on Helmholtz for his generosity).
At their first meeing after the estrangement, Bernard poured out
the tale of his miseries and accepted consolation. It was not
till some days later that he learned, to his surprise and with
a twinge of shame, that he was not the only one who had been in
trouble. Helmholtz had also come into conflict with Authority.
"It was over some rhymes," he explained. "I was giving my usual
course of Advanced Emotional Engineering for Third Year Students.
Twelve lectures, of which the seventh is about rhymes. 'On the
Use of Rhymes in Moral Propaganda and Advertisement,' to be precise.
I always illustrate my lecture with a lot of technical examples.
This time I thought I'd give them one I'd just written myself.
Pure madness, of course; but I couldn't resist it." He laughed.
"I was curious to see what their reactions would be. Besides,"
he added more gravely, "I wanted to do a bit of propaganda; I
was trying to engineer them into feeling as I'd felt when I wrote
the rhymes. Ford!" He laughed again. "What an outcry there was!
The Principal had me up and threatened to hand me the immediate
sack. l'm a marked man."
"But what were your rhymes?" Bernard asked.
"They were about being alone."
Bernard's eyebrows went up.
"I'll recite them to you, if you like." And Helmholtz began:
Sticks, but a broken drum,
Midnight in the City,
Flutes in a vacuum,
Shut lips, sleeping faces,
Every stopped machine,
The dumb and littered places
Where crowds have been:
All silences rejoice,
Weep (loudly or low),
Speakbut with the voice
Of whom, I do not know.
Absence, say, of Susan's,
Absenee of Egeria's
Arms and respective bosoms,
Lips and, ah, posteriors,
Slowly form a presence;
Whose? and, I ask, of what
So absurd an essence,
That something, which is not,
Nevertheless should populate
Empty night more solidly
Than that with which we copulate,
Why should it seem so squalidly?
Well, I gave them that as an example, and they reported me to
"I'm not surprised," said Bernard. "It's flatly against all their
sleep-teaching. Remember, they've had at least a quarter of a
million warnings against solitude."
"I know. But I thought I'd like to see what the effect would be."
"Well, you've seen now."
Helmholtz only laughed. "I feel," he said, after a silence, as
though I were just beginning to have something to write about.
As though I were beginning to be able to use that power I feel
I've got inside methat extra, latent power. Something seems to
be coming to me." In spite of all his troubles, he seemed, Bernard
thought, profoundly happy.
Helmholtz and the Savage took to one another at once. So cordially
indeed that Bernard felt a sharp pang of jealousy. In all these
weeks he had never come to so close an intimacy with the Savage
as Helmholtz immediately achieved. Watching them, listening to
their talk, he found himself sometimes resentfully wishing that
he had never brought them together. He was ashamed of his jealousy
and alternately made efforts of will and took soma to keep himself from feeling it. But the efforts were not very
successful; and between the soma-holidays there were, of necessity, intervals. The odius sentiment
kept on returning.
At his third meeting with the Savage, Helmholtz recited his rhymes
"What do you think of them?" he asked when he had done.
The Savage shook his head. "Listen to this," was his answer; and
unlocking the drawer in which he kept his mouse-eaten book, he
opened and read:
"Let the bird of loudest lay
On the sole Arabian tree,
Herald sad and trumpet be
Helmholtz listened with a growing excitement. At "sole Arabian
tree" he started; at "thou shrieking harbinger" he smiled with
sudden pleasure; at "every fowl of tyrant wing" the blood rushed
up into his cheeks; but at "defunctive music" he turned pale and
trembled with an unprecedented emotion. The Savage read on:
"Property was thus appall'd,
That the self was not the same;
Single nature's double name
Neither two nor one was call'd
Reason in itself confounded
Saw division grow together
"Orgy-porgy!" said Bernard, interrupting the reading with a loud,
unpleasant laugh. "It's just a Solidarity Service hymn." He was
revenging himself on his two friends for liking one another more
than they liked him.
In the course of their next two or three meetings he frequently
repeated this little act of vengeance. It was simple and, since
both Helmholtz and the Savage were dreadfully pained by the shattering
and defilement of a favourite poetic crystal, extremely effective.
In the end, Helmholtz threatened to kick him out of the room if
he dared to interrupt again. And yet, strangely enough, the next
interruption, the most disgraceful of all, came from Helmholtz
The Savage was reading Romeo and Juliet aloudreading (for all the time he was seeing himself as Romeo
and Lenina as Juliet) with an intense and quivering passion. Helmholtz
had listened to the scene of the lovers' first meeting with a
puzzled interest. The scene in the orchard had delighted him with
its poetry; but the sentiments expressed had made him smile. Getting
into such a state about having a girlit seemed rather ridiculous.
But, taken detail by verbal detail, what a superb piece of emotional
engineering! "That old fellow," he said, "he makes our best propaganda
technicians look absolutely silly." The Savage smiled triumphantly
and resumed his reading. All went tolerably well until, in the
last scene of the third act, Capulet and Lady Capulet began to
bully Juliet to marry Paris. Helmholtz had been restless throughout
the entire scene; but when, pathetically mimed by the Savage,
Juliet cried out:
"Is there no pity sitting in the clouds,
That sees into the bottom of my grief?
O sweet my mother, cast me not away:
Delay this marriage for a month, a week;
Or, if you do not, make the bridal bed
In that dim monument where Tybalt lies
when Juliet said this, Helmholtz broke out in an explosion of
The mother and father (grotesque obscenity) forcing the daughter
to have some one she didn't want! And the idiotic girl not saying
that she was having some one else whom (for the moment, at any
rate) she preferred! In its smutty absurdity the situation was
irresistibly comical. He had managed, with a heroic effort, to
hold down the mounting pressure of his hilarity; but "sweet mother"
(in the Savage's tremulous tone of anguish) and the reference
to Tybalt lying dead, but evidently uncremated and wasting his
phosphorus on a dim monument, were too much for him. He laughed
and laughed till the tears streamed down his facequenchlessly
laughed while, pale with a sense of outrage, the Savage looked
at him over the top of his book and then, as the laughter still
continued, closed it indignantly, got up and, with the gesture
of one who removes his pearl from before swine, locked it away
in its drawer.
"And yet," said Helmholtz when, having recovered breath enough
to apologize, he had mollified the Savage into listening to his
explanations, "I know quite well that one needs ridiculous, mad
situations like that; one can't write really well about anything
else. Why was that old fellow such a marvellous propaganda technician?
Because he had so many insane, excruciating things to get excited
about. You've got to be hurt and upset; otherwise you can't think
of the really good, penetrating, X-rayish phrases. But fathers
and mothers!" He shook his head. "You can't expect me to keep
a straight face about fathers and mothers. And who's going to
get excited about a boy having a girl or not having her?" (The
Savage winced; but Helmholtz, who was staring pensively at the
floor, saw nothing.) "No." he concluded, with a sigh, "it won't
do. We need some other kind of madness and violence. But what?
What? Where can one find it?" He was silent; then, shaking his
head, "I don't know," he said at last, "I don't know."
HENRY FOSTER loomed up through the twilight of the Embryo Store.
"Like to come to a feely this evening?"
Lenina shook her head without speaking.
"Going out with some one else?" It interested him to know which
of his friends was being had by which other. "Is it Benito?" he
She shook her head again.
Henry detected the weariness in those purple eyes, the pallor
beneath that glaze of lupus, the sadness at the corners of the
unsmiling crimson mouth. "You're not feeling ill, are you?" he
asked, a trifle anxiously, afraid that she might be suffering
from one of the few remaining infectious diseases.
Yet once more Lenina shook her head.
"Anyhow, you ought to go and see the doctor," said Henry. "A doctor
a day keeps the jim-jams away," he added heartily, driving home
his hypnopædic adage with a clap on the shoulder. "Perhaps you
need a Pregnancy Substitute," he suggested. "Or else an extra-strong
V.P.S. treatment. Sometimes, you know, the standard passion surrogate
"Oh, for Ford's sake," said Lenina, breaking her stubborn silence,
"shut up!" And she turned back to her neglected embryos.
A V.P.S. treatment indeed! She would have laughed, if she hadn't
been on the point of crying. As though she hadn't got enough V.
P. of her own! She sighed profoundly as she refilled her syringe.
"John," she murmured to herself, "John
" Then "My Ford," she
wondered, "have I given this one its sleeping sickness injection,
or haven't I?" She simply couldn't remember. In the end, she decided
not to run the risk of letting it have a second dose, and moved
down the line to the next bottle.
Twenty-two years, eight months, and four days from that moment,
a promising young Alpha-Minus administrator at Mwanza-Mwanza was
to die of trypanosomiasisthe first case for over half a century.
Sighing, Lenina went on with her work.
An hour later, in the Changing Room, Fanny was energetically protesting.
"But it's absurd to let yourself get into a state like this. Simply
absurd," she repeated. "And what about? A manone man."
"But he's the one I want."
"As though there weren't millions of other men in the world."
"But I don't want them."
"How can you know till you've tried?"
"I have tried."
"But how many?" asked Fanny, shrugging her shoulders contemptuously.
"Dozens. But," shaking her head, "it wasn't any good," she added.
"Well, you must persevere," said Fanny sententiously. But it was
obvious that her confidence in her own prescriptions had been
shaken. "Nothing can be achieved without perseverance."
"Don't think of him."
"I can't help it."
"Take soma, then."
"Well, go on."
"But in the intervals I still like him. I shall always like him."
"Well, if that's the case," said Fanny, with decision, "why don't
you just go and take him. Whether he wants it or no."
"But if you knew how terribly queer he was!"
"All the more reason for taking a firm line."
"It's all very well to say that."
"Don't stand any nonsense. Act." Fanny's voice was a trumpet;
she might have been a Y.W.F.A. lecturer giving an evening talk
to adolescent Beta-Minuses. "Yes, actat once. Do it now."
"I'd be scared," said Lenina
"Well, you've only got to take half a gramme of soma first. And now I'm going to have my bath." She marched off, trailing
The bell rang, and the Savage, who was impatiently hoping that
Helmholtz would come that afternoon (for having at last made up
his mind to talk to Helmholtz about Lenina, he could not bear
to postpone his confidences a moment longer), jumped up and ran
to the door.
"I had a premonition it was you, Helmholtz," he shouted as he
On the threshold, in a white acetate-satin sailor suit,and with
a round white cap rakishly tilted over her left ear, stood Lenina.
"Oh!" said the Savage, as though some one had struck him a heavy
Half a gramme had been enough to make Lenina forget her fears
and her embarrassments. "Hullo, John," she said, smiling, and
walked past him into the room. Automatically he closed the door
and followed her. Lenina sat down. There was a long silence.
"You don't seem very glad to see me, John," she said at last.
"Not glad?" The Savage looked at her reproachfully; then suddenly
fell on his knees before her and, taking Lenina's hand, reverently
kissed it. "Not glad? Oh, if you only knew," he whispered and,
venturing to raise his eyes to her face, "Admired Lenina," he
went on, "indeed the top of admiration, worth what's dearest in
the world." She smiled at him with a luscious tenderness. "Oh,
you so perfect" (she was leaning towards him with parted lips),
"so perfect and so peerless are created" (nearer and nearer) "of
every creature's best." Still nearer. The Savage suddenly scrambled
to his feet. "That's why," he said speaking with averted face,
"I wanted to do something first
I mean, to show I was worthy of you. Not that
I could ever really be that. But at any rate to show I wasn't
absolutely un-worthy. I wanted to do something."
"Why should you think it necessary
" Lenina began, but left the
sentence unfinished. There was a note of irritation in her voice.
When one has leant forward, nearer and nearer, with parted lipsonly
to find oneself, quite suddenly, as a clumsy oaf scrambles to
his feet, leaning towards nothing at allwell, there is a reason,
even with half a gramme of soma circulating in one's blood-stream, a genuine reason for annoyance.
"At Malpais," the Savage was incoherently mumbling, "you had to
bring her the skin of a mountain lionI mean, when you wanted
to marry some one. Or else a wolf."
"There aren't any lions in England," Lenina almost snapped.
"And even if there were," the Savage added, with sudden contemptuous
resentment, "people would kill them out of helicopters, I suppose,
with poison gas or something. I wouldn't do that, Lenina." He squared his shoulders, he ventured to look at her
and was met with a stare of annoyed incomprehension. Confused,
"I'll do anything," he went on, more and more incoherently. "Anything
you tell me. There be some sports are painfulyou know. But their
labour delight in them sets off. That's what I feel. I mean I'd
sweep the floor if you wanted."
"But we've got vacuum cleaners here," said Lenina in bewilderment.
"It isn't necessary."
"No, of course it isn't necessary. But some kinds of baseness are nobly undergone. I'd like to
undergo something nobly. Don't you see?"
"But if there are vacuum cleaners
"That's not the point."
"And Epsilon Semi-Morons to work them," she went on, "well, really,
"Why? But for you, for you. Just to show that I
"And what on earth vacuum cleaners have got to do with lions
"To show how much
"Or lions with being glad to see me
" She was getting more and more exasperated.
"How much I love you, Lenina," he brought out almost desperately.
An emblem of the inner tide of startled elation, the blood rushed
up into Lenina's cheeks. "Do you mean it, John?"
"But I hadn't meant to say so," cried the Savage, clasping his
hands in a kind of agony. "Not until
Listen, Lenina; in Malpais
people get married."
"Get what?" The irritation had begun to creep back into her voice.
What was he talking about now?
"For always. They make a promise to live together for always."
"What a horrible idea!" Lenina was genuinely shocked.
"Outliving beauty's outward with a mind that cloth renew swifter
than blood decays."
"It's like that in Shakespeare too. 'If thou cost break her virgin
knot before all sanctimonious ceremonies may with full and holy
"For Ford's sake, John, talk sense. I can't understand a word
you say. First it's vacuum cleaners; then it's knots. You're driving
me crazy." She jumped up and, as though afraid that he might run
away from her physically, as well as with his mind, caught him
by the wrist. "Answer me this question: do you really like me,
or don't you?"
There was a moment's silence; then, in a very low voice, "I love
you more than anything in the world," he said.
"Then why on earth didn't you say so?" she cried, and so intense
was her exasperation that she drove her sharp nails into the skin
of his wrist. "Instead of drivelling away about knots and vacuum
cleaners and lions, and making me miserable for weeks and weeks."
She released his hand and flung it angrily away from her.
"If I didn't like you so much," she said, "I'd be furious with
And suddenly her arms were round his neck; he felt her lips soft
against his own. So deliciously soft, so warm and electric that
inevitably he found himself thinking of the embraces in Three Weeks in a Helicopter. Ooh! ooh! the stereoscopic blonde and anh! the more than real
black-amoor. Horror, horror, horror
he fired to disengage himself;
but Lenina tightened her embrace.
"Why didn't you say so?" she whispered, drawing back her face
to look at him. Her eyes were tenderly reproachful.
"The murkiest den, the most opportune place" (the voice of conscience
thundered poetically), "the strongest suggestion our worser genius
can, shall never melt mine honour into lust. Never, never!" he
"You silly boy!" she was saying. "I wanted you so much. And if
you wanted me too, why didn't you?
" he began protesting; and as she immediately untwined
her arms, as she stepped away from him, he thought, for a moment,
that she had taken his unspoken hint. But when she unbuckled her
white patent cartridge belt and hung it carefully over the back
of a chair, he began to suspect that he had been mistaken.
"Lenina!" he repeated apprehensively.
She put her hand to her neck and gave a long vertical pull; her
white sailor's blouse was ripped to the hem; suspicion condensed
into a too, too solid certainty. "Lenina, what are you doing?"
Zip, zip! Her answer was wordless. She stepped out of her bell-bottomed
trousers. Her zippicamiknicks were a pale shell pink. The Arch-Community-Songster's
golden T dangled at her breast.
"For those milk paps that through the window bars bore at men's
eyes...." The singing, thundering, magical words made her seem
doubly dangerous, doubly alluring. Soft, soft, but how piercing!
boring and drilling into reason, tunnelling through resolution.
"The strongest oaths are straw to the fire i' the blood. Be more
abstemious, or else
Zip! The rounded pinkness fell apart like a neatly divided apple.
A wriggle of the arms, a lifting first of the right foot, then
the left: the zippicamiknicks were lying lifeless and as though
deflated on the floor.
Still wearing her shoes and socks, and her rakishly tilted round
white cap, she advanced towards him. "Darling. Darling! If only
you'd said so before!" She held out her arms.
But instead of also saying "Darling!" and holding out his arms,
the Savage retreated in terror, flapping his hands at her as though
he were trying to scare away some intruding and dangerous animal.
Four backwards steps, and he was brought to bay against the wall.
"Sweet!" said Lenina and, laying her hands on his shoulders, pressed
herself against him. "Put your arms round me," she commanded.
"Hug me till you drug me, honey." She too had poetry at her command,
knew words that sang and were spells and beat drums. "Kiss me";
she closed her eyes, she let her voice sink to a sleepy murmur,
"Kiss me till I'm in a coma. Hug me, honey, snuggly
The Savage caught her by the wrists, tore her hands from his shoulders,
thrust her roughly away at arm's length.
"Ow, you're hurting me, you're
oh!" She was suddenly silent.
Terror had made her forget the pain. Opening her eyes, she had
seen his faceno, not his face, a ferocious stranger's, pale, distorted, twitching with
some insane, inexplicable fury. Aghast, "But what is it, John?"
she whispered. He did not answer, but only stared into her face
with those mad eyes. The hands that held her wrists were trembling.
He breathed deeply and irregularly. Faint almost to imperceptibility,
but appalling, she suddenly heard the gneding of his teeth. "What
is it?" she almost screamed.
And as though awakened by her cry he caught her by the shoulders
and shook her. "Whore!" he shouted "Whore! Impudent strumpet!"
"Oh, don't, do-on't," she protested in a voice made grotesquely
tremulous by his shaking.
"A gra-amme is be-etter
" she began.
The Savage pushed her away with such force that she staggered
and fell. "Go," he shouted, standing over her menacingly, "get
out of my sight or I'll kill you." He clenched his fists.
Lenina raised her arm to cover her face. "No, please don't, John
"Hurry up. Quick!"
One arm still raised, and following his every movement with a
terrified eye, she scrambled to her feet and still crouching,
still covering her head, made a dash for the bathroom.
The noise of that prodigious slap by which her departure was accelerated
was like a pistol shot.
"Ow!" Lenina bounded forward.
Safely locked into the bathroom, she had leisure to take stock
of her injuries. Standing with her back to the mirror, she twisted
her head. Looking over her left shoulder she could see the imprint
of an open hand standing out distinct and crimson on the pearly
flesh. Gingerly she rubbed the wounded spot.
Outside, in the other room, the Savage was striding up and down,
marching, marching to the drums and music of magical words. "The
wren goes to't and the small gilded fly does lecher in my sight."
Maddeningly they rumbled in his ears. "The fitchew nor the soiled
horse goes to't with a more riotous appetite. Down from the waist
they are Centaurs, though women all above. But to the girdle do
the gods inherit. Beneath is all the fiend's. There's hell, there's
darkness, there is the sulphurous pit, burning scalding, stench,
consumption; fie, fie, fie, pain, pain! Give me an ounce of civet,
good apothecary, to sweeten my imagination."
"John!" ventured a small ingratiating voice from the bathroom.
"O thou weed, who are so lovely fair and smell'st so sweet that
the sense aches at thee. Was this most goodly book made to write
'whore' upon? Heaven stops the nose at it
But her perfume still hung about him, his jacket was white with
the powder that had scented her velvety body. "Impudent strumpet,
impudent strumpet, impudent strumpet." The inexorable rhythm beat
itself out. "Impudent
"John, do you think I might have my clothes?"
He picked up the bell-bottomed trousers, the blouse, the zippicamiknicks.
"Open!" he ordered, kicking the door.
"No, I won't." The voice was frightened and defiant.
"Well, how do you expect me to give them to you?"
"Push them through the ventilator over the door."
He did what she suggested and returned to his uneasy pacing of
the room. "Impudent strumpet, impudent strumpet. The devil Luxury
with his fat rump and potato finger
He would not answer. "Fat rump and potato finger."
"What is it?" he asked gruffly.
"I wonder if you'd mind giving me my Malthusian belt."
Lenina sat, listening to the footsteps in the other room, wondering,
as she listened, how long he was likely to go tramping up and
down like that; whether she would have to wait until he left the
flat; or if it would be safe, after allowing his madness a reasonable
time to subside, to open the bathroom door and make a dash for
She was interrupted in the midst of these uneasy speculations
by the sound of the telephone bell ringing in the other room.
Abruptly the tramping ceased. She heard the voice of the Savage
parleying with silence.
. . . . .
. . . . .
"If I do not usurp myself, I am."
. . . . .
"Yes, didn't you hear me say so? Mr. Savage speaking."
. . . . .
"What? Who's ill? Of course it interests me."
. . . . .
"But is it serious? Is she really bad? I'll go at once
. . . . .
"Not in her rooms any more? Where has she been taken?"
. . . . .
"Oh, my God! What's the address?"
. . . . .
"Three Park Laneis that it? Three? Thanks."
Lenina heard the click of the replaced receiver, then hurrying
steps. A door slammed. There was silence. Was he really gone?
With an infinity of precautions she opened the door a quarter
of an inch; peeped through the crack; was encouraged by the view
of emptiness; opened a little further, and put her whole head
out; finally tiptoed into the room; stood for a few seconds with
strongly beating heart, listening, listening; then darted to the
front door, opened, slipped through, slammed, ran. It was not
till she was in the lift and actually dropping down the well that
she began to feel herself secure.
THE Park Lane Hospital for the Dying was a sixty-story tower of
primrose tiles. As the Savage stepped out of his taxicopter a
convoy of gaily-coloured aerial hearses rose whirring from the
roof and darted away across the Park, westwards, bound for the
Slough Crematorium. At the lift gates the presiding porter gave
him the information he required, and he dropped down to Ward 81
(a Galloping Senility ward, the porter explained) on the seventeenth
It was a large room bright with sunshine and yellow paint, and
containing twenty beds, all occupied. Linda was dying in companyin
company and with all the modern conveniences. The air was continuously
alive with gay synthetic melodies. At the foot of every bed, confronting
its moribund occupant, was a television box. Television was left
on, a running tap, from morning till night. Every quarter of an
hour the prevailing perfume of the room was automatically changed.
"We try," explained the nurse, who had taken charge of the Savage
at the door, "we try to create a thoroughly pleasant atmosphere
heresomething between a first-class hotel and a feely-palace,
if you take my meaning."
"Where is she?" asked the Savage, ignoring these polite explanations.
The nurse was offended. "You are in a hurry," she said.
"Is there any hope?" he asked.
"You mean, of her not dying?" (He nodded.) "No, of course there
isn't. When somebody's sent here, there's no
" Startled by the
expression of distress on his pale face, she suddenly broke off.
"Why, whatever is the matter?" she asked. She was not accustomed
to this kind of thing in visitors. (Not that there were many visitors
anyhow: or any reason why there should be many visitors.) "You're
not feeling ill, are you?"
He shook his head. "She's my mother," he said in a scarcely audible
The nurse glanced at him with startled, horrified eyes; then quickly
looked away. From throat to temple she was all one hot blush.
"Take me to her," said the Savage, making an effort to speak in
an ordinary tone.
Still blushing, she led the way down the ward. Faces still fresh
and unwithered (for senility galloped so hard that it had no time
to age the cheeksonly the heart and brain) turned as they passed.
Their progress was followed by the blank, incurious eyes of second
infancy. The Savage shuddered as he looked.
Linda was lying in the last of the long row of beds, next to the
wall. Propped up on pillows, she was watching the Semi-finals
of the South American Riemann-Surface Tennis Championship, which
were being played in silent and diminished reproduction on the
screen of the television box at the foot of the bed. Hither and
thither across their square of illuminted glass the little figures
noiselessly darted, like fish in an aquariumthe silent but agitated
inhabitants of another world.
Linda looked on, vaguely and uncomprehendingly smiling. Her pale,
bloated face wore an expression of imbecile happiness. Every now
and then her eyelids closed, and for a few seconds she seemed
to be dozing. Then with a little start she would wake up againwake
up to the aquarium antics of the Tennis Champions, to the Super-Vox-Wurlitzeriana
rendering of "Hug me till you drug me, honey," to the warm draught
of verbena that came blowing through the ventilator above her
headwould wake to these things, or rather to a dream of which
these things, transformed and embellished by the soma in her blood, were the marvellous constituents, and smile once
more her broken and discoloured smile of infantile contentment.
"Well, I must go," said the nurse. "I've got my batch of children
coming. Besides, there's Number 3." She pointed up the ward. "Might
go off any minute now. Well, make yourself comfortable." She walked
The Savage sat down beside the bed.
"Linda," he whispered, taking her hand.
At the sound of her name, she turned. Her vague eyes brightened
with recognition. She squeezed his hand, she smiled, her lips
moved; then quite suddenly her head fell forward. She was asleep.
He sat watching herseeking through the tired flesh, seeking and
finding that young, bright face which had stooped over his childhood
in Malpais, remembering (and he closed his eyes) her voice, her
movements, all the events of their life together. "Streptocock-Gee
to Banbury T
" How beautiful her singing had been! And those
childish rhymes, how magically strange and mysterious!
A, B, C, vitamin D:
The fat's in the liver, the cod's in the sea.
He felt the hot tears welling up behind his eyelids as he recalled
the words and Linda's voice as she repeated them. And then the
reading lessons: The tot is in the pot, the cat is on the mat;
and the Elementary Instructions for Beta Workers in the Embryo
Store. And long evenings by the fire or, in summertime, on the
roof of the little house, when she told him those stories about
the Other Place, outside the Reservation: that beautiful, beautiful
Other Place, whose memory, as of a heaven, a paradise of goodness
and loveliness, he still kept whole and intact, undefiled by contact
with the reality of this real London, these actual civilized men
A sudden noise of shrill voices made him open his eyes and, after
hastily brushing away the tears, look round. What seemed an interminable
stream of identical eight-year-old male twins was pouring into
the room. Twin after twin, twin after twin, they camea nightmare.
Their faces, their repeated facefor there was only one between
the lot of thempuggishly stared, all nostrils and pale goggling
eyes. Their uniform was khaki. All their mouths hung open. Squealing
and chattering they entered. In a moment, it seemed, the ward
was maggoty with them. They swarmed between the beds, clambered
over, crawled under, peeped into the television boxes, made faces
at the patients.
Linda astonished and rather alarmed them. A group stood clustered
at the foot of her bed, staring with the frightened and stupid
curiosity of animals suddenly confronted by the unknown.
"Oh, look, look!" They spoke in low, scared voices. "Whatever
is the matter with her? Why is she so fat?"
They had never seen a face like hers beforehad never seen a face
that was not youthful and taut-skinned, a body that had ceased
to be slim and upright. All these moribund sexagenarians had the
appearance of childish girls. At forty-four, Linda seemed, by
contrast, a monster of flaccid and distorted senility.
"Isn't she awful?" came the whispered comments. "Look at her teeth!"
Suddenly from under the bed a pug-faced twin popped up between
John's chair and the wall, and began peering into Linda's sleeping
" he began; but the sentence ended prematurely in a squeal.
The Savage had seized him by the collar, lifted him clear over
the chair and, with a smart box on the ears, sent him howling
His yells brought the Head Nurse hurrying to the rescue.
"What have you been doing to him?" she demanded fiercely. "I won't
have you striking the children."
"Well then, keep them away from this bed." The Savage's voice
was trembling with indigation. "What are these filthy little brats
doing here at all? It's disgraceful!"
"Disgraceful? But what do you mean? They're being death-conditioned.
And I tell you," she warned him truculently, "if I have any more
of your interference with their conditioning, I'll send for the
porters and have you thrown out."
The Savage rose to his feet and took a couple of steps towards
her. His movements and the expression on his face were so menacing
that the nurse fell back in terror. With a great effort he checked
himself and, without speaking, turned away and sat down again
by the bed.
Reassured, but with a dignity that was a trifle shrill and uncertain,
"I've warned you," said the nurse, "I've warned you," said the
nurse, "so mind." Still, she led the too inquisitive twins away
and made them join in the game of hunt-the-zipper, which had been
organized by one of her colleagues at the other end of the room.
"Run along now and have your cup of caffeine solution, dear,"
she said to the other nurse. The exercise of authority restored
her confidence, made her feel better. "Now children!" she called.
Linda had stirred uneasily, had opened her eyes for a moment,
looked vaguely around, and then once more dropped off to sleep.
Sitting beside her, the Savage tried hard to recapture his mood
of a few minutes before. "A, B, C, vitamin D," he repeated to
himself, as though the words were a spell that would restore the
dead past to life. But the spell was ineffective. Obstinately
the beautiful memories refused to rise; there was only a hateful
resurrection of jealousies and uglinesses and miseries. Popé with
the blood trickling down from his cut shoulder; and Linda hideously
asleep, and the flies buzzing round the spilt mescal on the floor
beside the bed; and the boys calling those names as she passed.
Ah, no, no! He shut his eyes, he shook his head in strenuous
denial of these memories. "A, B, C, vitamin D
" He tried to think
of those times when he sat on her knees and she put her arms about
him and sang, over and over again, rocking him, rocking him to
sleep. "A, B, C, vitamin D, vitamin D, vitamin D
The Super-Vox-Wurlitzeriana had risen to a sobbing crescendo;
and suddenly the verbena gave place, in the scent-circulating
system, to an intense patchouli. Linda stirred, woke up, stared
for a few seconds bewilderly at the Semi-finalists, then, lifting
her face, sniffed once or twice at the newly perfumed air and
suddenly smileda smile of childish ectasy.
"Popé!" she murmured, and closed her eyes. "Oh, I do so like it,
" She sighed and let herself sink back into the pillows.
"But, Linda!" The Savage spoke imploringly, "Don't you know me?"
He had tried so hard, had done his very best; why woudn't she
allow him to forget? He squeezed her limp hand almost with violence,
as though he would force her to come back from this dream of ignoble
pleasures, from these base and hateful memoriesback into the
present, back into reality: the appalling present, the awful realitybut
sublime, but significant, but desperately important precisely
because of the immience of that which made them so fearful. "Don't
you know me, Linda?"
He felt the faint answering pressure of her hand. The tears started
into his eyes. He bent over her and kissed her.
Her lips moved. "Popé!" she whispered again, and it was as though
he had had a pailful of ordure thrown in his face.
Anger suddenly boiled up in him. Balked for the second time, the
passion of his grief had found another outlet, was transformed
into a passion of agonized rage.
"But I'm John!" he shouted. "I'm John!" And in his furious misery
he actually caught her by the shouder and shook her.
Linda's eyes fluttered open; she saw him, knew him"John!"but
situated the real face, the real and violent hands, in an imaginary
worldamong the inward and private equivalents of patchouli and
the Super-Wurlitzer, among the transfigured memories and the strangely
transposed sensations that constituted the universe of her dream.
She knew him for John, her son, but fancied him an intruder into
that paradisal Malpais where she had been spending her soma-holiday with Popé. He was angry because she liked Popé, he was
shaking her because Popé was there in the bedas though there
were something wrong, as though all civilized people didn't do
the same. "Every one belongs to every
" Her voice suddenly died
into an almost inaudible breathless croaking. Her mouth fell open:
she made a desperate effort to fill her lungs with air. But it
was as though she had forgotten how to breathe. She tried to cry
outbut no sound came; only the terror of her staring eyes revealed
what she was suffering. Her hands went to her throat, then clawed
at the airthe air she coud no longer breathe, the air that, for
her, had ceased to exist.
The Savage was on his feet, bent over her. "What is it, Linda?
What is it?" His voice was imploring; it was as though he were
begging to be reassured.
The look she gave him was charged with an unspeakable terrorwith
terror and, it seemed to him, reproach.
She tried to raise herself in bed, but fell back on to the pillows.
Her face was horribly distorted, her lips blue.
The Savage turned and ran up the ward.
"Quick, quick!" he shouted. "Quick!"
Standing in the centre of a ring of zipper-hunting twins, the
Head Nurse looked round. The first moment's astonishment gave
place almost instantly to disapproval. "Don't shout! Think of
the little ones," she said, frowning. "You might decondition
But what are you doing?" He had broken through the ring. "Be careful!"
A child was yelling.
"Quick, quick!" He caught her by the sleeve, dragged her after
him. "Quick! Something's happened. I've killed her."
By the time they were back at the end of the ward Linda was dead.
The Savage stood for a moment in frozen silence, then fell on
his knees beside the bed and, covering his face with his hands,
The nurse stood irresolute, looking now at the kneeling figure
by the bed (the scandalous exhibition!) and now (poor children!)
at the twins who had stopped their hunting of the zipper and were
staring from the other end of the ward, staring with all their
eyes and nostrils at the shocking scene that was being enacted
round Bed 20. Should she speak to him? try to bring him back to
a sense of decency? remind him of where he was? of what fatal
mischief he might do to these poor innocents? Undoing all their
wholesome death-conditioning with this disgusting outcryas though
death were something terrible, as though any one mattered as much
as all that! It might give them the most disastrous ideas about
the subject, might upset them into reacting in the entirely wrong,
the utterly anti-social way.
She stepped forward, she touched him on the shoulder. "Can't you
behave?" she said in a low, angry voice. But, looking around,
she saw that half a dozen twins were already on their feet and
advancing down the ward. The circle was distintegrating. In another
No, the risk was too great; the whole Group might be
put back six or seven months in its conditioning. She hurried
back towards her menaced charges.
"Now, who wants a chocolate éclair?" she asked in a loud, cheerful
"Me!" yelled the entire Bokanovsky Group in chorus. Bed 20 was
"Oh, God, God, God
" the Savage kept repeating to himself. In
the chaos of grief and remorse that filled his mind it was the
one articulate word. "God!" he whispered it aloud. "God
"Whatever is he saying?" said a voice, very near, distinct and shrill through
the warblings of the Super-Wurlitzer.
The Savage violently started and, uncovering his face, looked
round. Five khaki twins, each with the stump of a long éclair
in his right hand, and their identical faces variously smeared
with liquid chocolate, were standing in a row, puggily goggling
They met his eyes and simultaneously grinned. One of them pointed
with his éclair butt.
"Is she dead?" he asked.
The Savage stared at them for a moment in silence. Then in silence
he rose to his feet, in silence slowly walked towards the door.
"Is she dead?" repeated the inquisitive twin trotting at his side.
The Savage looked down at him and still without speaking pushed
him away. The twin fell on the floor and at once began to howl.
The Savage did not even look round.
THE menial staff of the Park Lane Hospital for the Dying consisted
of one hundred and sixty-two Deltas divided into two Bokanovsky
Groups of eighty-four red headed female and seventy-eight dark
dolychocephalic male twins, respectively. At six, when their working
day was over, the two Groups assembled in the vestibule of the
Hospital and were served by the Deputy Sub-Bursar with their soma ration.
From the lift the Savage stepped out into the midst of them. But
his mind was elsewherewith death, with his grief, and his remorse;
mechanicaly, without consciousness of what he was doing, he began
to shoulder his way through the crowd.
"Who are you pushing? Where do you think you're going?"
High, low, from a multitude of separate throats, only two voices
squeaked or growled. Repeated indefinitely, as though by a train
of mirrors, two faces, one a hairless and freckled moon haloed
in orange, the other a thin, beaked bird-mask, stubbly with two
days' beard, turned angrily towards him. Their words and, in his
ribs, the sharp nudging of elbows, broke through his unawareness.
He woke once more to external reality, looked round him, knew
what he sawknew it, with a sinking sense of horror and disgust,
for the recurrent delirium of his days and nights, the nightmare
of swarming indistinguishable sameness. Twins, twins.
they had swarmed defilingly over the mystery of Linda's death.
Maggots again, but larger, full grown, they now crawled across
his grief and his repentance. He halted and, with bewildered and
horrified eyes, stared round him at the khaki mob, in the midst
of which, overtopping it by a full head, he stood. "How many goodly
creatures are there here!" The singing words mocked him derisively.
"How beauteous mankind is! O brave new world
"Soma distribution!" shouted a loud voice. "In good order, please.
Hurry up there."
A door had been opened, a table and chair carried into the vestibule.
The voice was that of a jaunty young Alpha, who had entered carrying
a black iron cash-box. A murmur of satisfaction went up from the
expectant twins. They forgot all about the Savage. Their attention
was now focused on the black cash-box, which the young man had
placed on the table, and was now in process of unlocking. The
lid was lifted.
"Oo-oh!" said all the hundred and sixty-two simultaneously, as
though they were looking at fireworks.
The young man took out a handful of tiny pill-boxes. "Now," he
said peremptorily, "step forward, please. One at a time, and no
One at a time, with no shoving, the twins stepped forward. First
two males, then a female, then another male, then three females,
The Savage stood looking on. "O brave new world, O brave new world
" In his mind the singing words seemed to change their tone.
They had mocked him through his misery and remorse, mocked him
with how hideous a note of cynical derision! Fiendishly laughing,
they had insisted on the low squalor, the nauseous ugliness of
the nightmare. Now, suddenly, they trumpeted a call to arms. "O
brave new world!" Miranda was proclaiming the possibility of loveliness,
the possibility of transforming even the nightmare into something
fine and noble. "O brave new world!" It was a challenge, a command.
"No shoving there now!" shouted the Deputy Sub-Bursar in a fury.
He slammed down he lid of his cash-box. "I shall stop the distribution
unless I have good behaviour."
The Deltas muttered, jostled one another a little, and then were
still. The threat had been effective. Deprivation of somaappalling thought!
"That's better," said the young man, and reopened his cash-box.
Linda had been a slave, Linda had died; others should live in
freedom, and the world be made beautiful. A reparation, a duty.
And suddenly it was luminously clear to the Savage what he must
do; it was as though a shutter had been opened, a curtain drawn
"Now," said the Deputy Sub-Bursar.
Another khaki female stepped forward.
"Stop!" called the Savage in a loud and ringing voice. "Stop!"
He pushed his way to the table; the Deltas stared at him with
"Ford!" said the Deputy Sub-Bursar, below his breath. "It's the
Savage." He felt scared.
"Listen, I beg of you," cried the Savage earnestly. "Lend me your
" He had never spoken in public before, and found it very
difficult to express what he wanted to say. "Don't take that horrible
stuff. It's poison, it's poison."
"I say, Mr. Savage," said the Deputy Sub-Bursar, smiling propitiatingly.
"Would you mind letting me
"Poison to soul as well as body."
"Yes, but let me get on with my distribution, won't you? There's
a good fellow." With the cautious tenderness of one who strokes
a notoriously vicious animal, he patted the Savage's arm. "Just
"Never!" cried the Savage.
"But look here, old man
"Throw it all away, that horrible poison."
The words "Throw it all away" pierced through the enfolding layers
of incomprehension to the quick of the Delta's consciousness.
An angry murmur went up from the crowd.
"I come to bring you freedom," said the Savage, turning back towards
the twins. "I come
The Deputy Sub-Bursar heard no more; he had slipped out of the
vestibule and was looking up a number in the telephone book.
"Not in his own rooms," Bernard summed up. "Not in mine, not in
yours. Not at the Aphroditaum; not at the Centre or the College.
Where can he have got to?"
Helmholtz shrugged his shoulders. They had come back from their
work expecting to find the Savage waiting for them at one or other
of the usual meeting-places, and there was no sign of the fellow.
Which was annoying, as they had meant to nip across to Biarritz
in Helmholtz's four-seater sporticopter. They'd be late for dinner
if he didn't come soon.
"We'll give him five more minutes," said Helmholtz. "If he doesn't
turn up by then, we'll
The ringing of the telephone bell interrupted him. He picked up
the receiver. "Hullo. Speaking." Then, after a long interval of
listening, "Ford in Flivver!" he swore. "I'll come at once."
"What is it?" Bernard asked.
"A fellow I know at the Park Lane Hospital," said Helmholtz. "The
Savage is there. Seems to have gone mad. Anyhow, it's urgent.
Will you come with me?"
Together they hurried along the corridor to the lifts.
"But do you like being slaves?" the Savage was saying as they
entered the Hospital. His face was flushed, his eyes bright with
ardour and indignation. "Do you like being babies? Yes, babies.
Mewling and puking," he added, exasperated by their bestial stupidity
into throwing insults at those he had come to save. The insults
bounced off their carapace of thick stupidity; they stared at
him with a blank expression of dull and sullen resentment in their
eyes. "Yes, puking!" he fairly shouted. Grief and remorse, compassion
and dutyall were forgotten now and, as it were, absorbed into
an intense overpowering hatred of these less than human monsters.
"Don't you want to be free and men? Don't you even understand
what manhood and freedom are?" Rage was making him fluent; the
words came easily, in a rush. "Don't you?" he repeated, but got
no answer to his question. "Very well then," he went on grimly.
"I'll teach you; I'll make you be free whether you want to or not." And pushing open a window
that looked on to the inner court of the Hospital, he began to
throw the little pill-boxes of soma tablets in handfuls out into the area.
For a moment the khaki mob was silent, petrified, at the spectacle
of this wanton sacrilege, with amazement and horror.
"He's mad," whispered Bernard, staring with wide open eyes. "They'll
kill him. They'll
" A great shout suddenly went up from the mob;
a wave of movement drove it menacingly towards the Savage. "Ford
help him!" said Bernard, and averted his eyes.
"Ford helps those who help themselves." And with a laugh, actually
a laugh of exultation, Helmholtz Watson pushed his way through
"Free, free!" the Savage shouted, and with one hand continued
to throw the soma into the area while, with the other, he punched the indistinguishable
faces of his assailants. "Free!" And suddenly there was Helmholtz
at his side"Good old Helmholtz!"also punching"Men at last!"and
in the interval also throwing the poison out by handfuls through
the open window. "Yes, men! men!" and there was no more poison
left. He picked up the cash-box and showed them its black emptiness.
Howling, the Deltas charged with a redoubled fury.
Hesitant on the fringes of the battle. "They're done for," said
Bernard and, urged by a sudden impulse, ran forward to help them;
then thought better of it and halted; then, ashamed, stepped forward
again; then again thought better of it, and was standing in an
agony of humiliated indecisionthinking that they might be killed if he didn't help them, and that he might be killed if he didwhen (Ford be praised!), goggle-eyed
and swine-snouted in their gas-masks, in ran the police.
Bernard dashed to meet them. He waved his arms; and it was action,
he was doing something. He shouted "Help!" several times, more
and more loudly so as to give himself the illusion of helping.
"Help! Help! HELP!"
The policemen pushed him out of the way and got on with their
work. Three men with spraying machines buckled to their shoulders
pumped thick clouds of soma vapour into the air. Two more were busy round the portable Synthetic
Music Box. Carrying water pistols charged with a powerful anæsthetic,
four others had pushed their way into the crowd and were methodically
laying out, squirt by squirt, the more ferocious of the fighters.
"Quick, quick!" yelled Bernard. "They'll be killed if you don't
Oh!" Annoyed by his chatter, one of the policemen
had given him a shot from his water pistol. Bernard stood for
a second or two wambling unsteadily on legs that seemed to have
lost their bones, their tendons, their muscles, to have become
mere sticks of jelly, and at last not even jelly-water: he tumbled
in a heap on the floor.
Suddenly, from out of the Synthetic Music Box a Voice began to
speak. The Voice of Reason, the Voice of Good Feeling. The sound-track
roll was unwinding itself in Synthetic Anti-Riot Speech Number
Two (Medium Strength). Straight from the depths of a non-existent
heart, "My friends, my friends!" said the Voice so pathetically,
with a note of such infinitely tender reproach that, behind their
gas masks, even the policemen's eyes were momentarily dimmed with
tears, "what is the meaning of this? Why aren't you all being
happy and good together? Happy and good," the Voice repeated.
"At peace, at peace." It trembled, sank into a whisper and momentarily
expired. "Oh, I do want you to be happy," it began, with a yearning
earnestness. "I do so want you to be good! Please, please be good
Two minutes later the Voice and the soma vapour had produced their effect. In tears, the Deltas were kissing
and hugging one anotherhalf a dozen twins at a time in a comprehensive
embrace. Even Helmholtz and the Savage were almost crying. A fresh
supply of pill-boxes was brought in from the Bursary; a new distribution
was hastily made and, to the sound of the Voice's ricuy affectionate,
baritone valedictions, the twins dispersed, blubbering as though
their hearts would break. "Good-bye, my dearest, dearest friends,
Ford keep you! Good-bye, my dearest, dearest friends, Ford keep
you. Good-bye my dearest, dearest
When the last of the Deltas had gone the policeman switched off
the current. The angelic Voice fell silent.
"Will you come quietly?" asked the Sergeant, "or must we anæsthetize?"
He pointed his water pistol menacingly.
"Oh, we'll come quietly," the Savage answered, dabbing alternately
a cut lip, a scratched neck, and a bitten left hand.
Still keeping his handkerchief to his bleeding nose Helmholtz
nodded in confirmation.
Awake and having recovered the use of his legs, Bernard had chosen
this moment to move as inconspicuously as he could towards the
"Hi, you there," called the Sergeant, and a swine-masked policeman
hurried across the room and laid a hand on the young man's shoulder.
Bernard turned with an expression of indignant innocence. Escaping?
He hadn't dreamed of such a thing. "Though what on earth you want
me for," he said to the Sergeant, "I really can't imagine."
"You're a friend of the prisoner's, aren't you?"
" said Bernard, and hesitated. No, he really couldn't deny
it. "Why shouldn't I be?" he asked.
"Come on then," said the Sergeant, and led the way towards the
door and the waiting police car.
THE ROOM into which the three were ushered was the Controller's
"His fordship will be down in a moment." The Gamma butler left
them to themselves.
Helmholtz laughed aloud.
"It's more like a caffeine-solution party than a trial," he said,
and let himself fall into the most luxurious of the pneumatic
arm-chairs. "Cheer up, Bernard," he added, catching sight of his
friend's green unhappy face. But Bernard would not be cheered;
without answering, without even looking at Helmholtz, he went
and sat down on the most uncomfortable chair in the room, carefully
chosen in the obscure hope of somehow deprecating the wrath of
the higher powers.
The Savage meanwhile wandered restlessly round the room, peering
with a vague superficial inquisitiveness at the books in the shelves,
at the sound-track rolls and reading machine bobbins in their
numbered pigeon-holes. On the table under the window lay a massive
volume bound in limp black leather-surrogate, and stamped with
large golden T's. He picked it up and opened it. MY LIFE AND WORK,
BY OUR FORD. The book had been published at Detroit by the Society
for the Propagation of Fordian Knowledge. Idly he turned the pages,
read a sentence here, a paragraph there, and had just come to
the conclusion that the book didn't interest him, when the door
opened, and the Resident World Controller for Western Europe walked
briskly into the room.
Mustapha Mond shook hands with all three of them; but it was to
the Savage that he addressed himself. "So you don't much like
civilization, Mr. Savage," he said.
The Savage looked at him. He had been prepared to lie, to bluster,
to remain sullenly unresponsive; but, reassured by the good-humoured
intelligence of the Controller's face, he decided to tell the
truth, straightforwardly. "No." He shook his head.
Bernard started and looked horrified. What would the Controller
think? To be labelled as the friend of a man who said that he
didn't like civilizationsaid it openly and, of all people, to
the Controllerit was terrible. "But, John," he began. A look
from Mustapha Mond reduced him to an abject silence.
"Of course," the Savage went on to admit, "there are some very
nice things. All that music in the air, for instance
"Sometimes a thousand twangling instruments will hum about my
ears and sometimes voices."
The Savage's face lit up with a sudden pleasure. "Have you read
it too?" he asked. "I thought nobody knew about that book here,
"Almost nobody. I'm one of the very few. It's prohibited, you
see. But as I make the laws here, I can also break them. With
impunity, Mr. Marx," he added, turning to Bernard. "Which I'm
afraid you can't do."
Bernard sank into a yet more hopeless misery.
"But why is it prohibited?" asked the Savage. In the excitement
of meeting a man who had read Shakespeare he had momentarily forgotten
The Controller shrugged his shoulders. "Because it's old; that's
the chief reason. We haven't any use for old things here."
"Even when they're beautiful?"
"Particularly when they're beautiful. Beauty's attractive, and
we don't want people to be attracted by old things. We want them
to like the new ones."
"But the new ones are so stupid and horrible. Those plays, where
there's nothing but helicopters flying about and you feel the people kissing." He made a grimace. "Goats and monkeys!"
Only in Othello's word could he find an adequate vehicle for his
contempt and hatred.
"Nice tame animals, anyhow," the Controller murmured parenthetically.
"Why don't you let them see Othello instead?"
"I've told you; it's old. Besides, they couldn't understand it."
Yes, that was true. He remembered how Helmholtz had laughed at
Romeo and Juliet. "Well then," he said, after a pause, "something new that's like
Othello, and that they could understand."
"That's what we've all been wanting to write," said Helmholtz,
breaking a long silence.
"And it's what you never will write," said the Controller. "Because,
if it were really like Othello nobody could understand it, however new it might be. And if were
new, it couldn't possibly be like Othello."
"Yes, why not?" Helmholtz repeated. He too was forgetting the
unpleasant realities of the situation. Green with anxiety and
apprehension, only Bernard remembered them; the others ignored
him. "Why not?"
"Because our world is not the same as Othello's world. You can't
make flivvers without steeland you can't make tragedies without
social instability. The world's stable now. People are happy;
they get what they want, and they never want what they can't get.
They're well off; they're safe; they're never ill; they're not
afraid of death; they're blissfully ignorant of passion and old
age; they're plagued with no mothers or fathers; they've got no
wives, or children, or lovers to feel strongly about; they're
so conditioned that they practically can't help behaving as they
ought to behave. And if anything should go wrong, there's soma. Which you go and chuck out of the window in the name of liberty,
Mr. Savage. Liberty!" He laughed. "Expecting Deltas to know what liberty is! And now
expecting them to understand Othello! My good boy!"
The Savage was silent for a little. "All the same," he insisted
obstinately, "Othello's good, Othello's better than those feelies."
"Of course it is," the Controller agreed. "But that's the price
we have to pay for stability. You've got to choose between happiness
and what people used to call high art. We've sacrificed the high
art. We have the feelies and the scent organ instead."
"But they don't mean anything."
"They mean themselves; they mean a lot of agreeable sensations
to the audience."
they're told by an idiot."
The Controller laughed. "You're not being very polite to your
friend, Mr. Watson. One of our most distinguished Emotional Engineers
"But he's right," said Helmholtz gloomily. "Because it is idiotic.
Writing when there's nothing to say
"Precisely. But that require the most enormous ingenuity. You're
making fiivvers out of the absolute minimum of steelworks of
art out of practically nothing but pure sensation."
The Savage shook his head. "It all seems to me quite horrible."
"Of course it does. Actual happiness always looks pretty squalid
in comparison with the over-compensations for misery. And, of
course, stability isn't nearly so spectacular as instability.
And being contented has none of the glamour of a good fight against
misfortune, none of the picturesqueness of a struggle with temptation,
or a fatal overthrow by passion or doubt. Happiness is never grand."
"I suppose not," said the Savage after a silence. "But need it
be quite so bad as those twins?" He passed his hand over his eyes
as though he were trying to wipe away the remembered image of
those long rows of identical midgets at the assembling tables,
those queued-up twin-herds at the entrance to the Brentford monorail
station, those human maggots swarming round Linda's bed of death,
the endlessly repeated face of his assailants. He looked at his
bandaged left hand and shuddered. "Horrible!"
"But how useful! I see you don't like our Bokanovsky Groups; but,
I assure you, they're the foundation on which everything else
is built. They're the gyroscope that stabilizes the rocket plane
of state on its unswerving course." The deep voice thrillingly
vibrated; the gesticulating hand implied all space and the onrush
of the irresistible machine. Mustapha Mond's oratory was almost
up to synthetic standards.
"I was wondering," said the Savage, "why you had them at allseeing
that you can get whatever you want out of those bottles. Why don't
you make everybody an Alpha Double Plus while you're about it?"
Mustapha Mond laughed. "Because we have no wish to have our throats
cut," he answered. "We believe in happiness and stability. A society
of Alphas couldn't fail to be unstable and miserable. Imagine
a factory staffed by Alphasthat is to say by separate and unrelated
individuals of good heredity and conditioned so as to be capable
(within limits) of making a free choice and assuming responsibilities.
Imagine it!" he repeated.
The Savage tried to imagine it, not very successfully.
"It's an absurdity. An Alpha-decanted, Alpha-conditioned man would
go mad if he had to do Epsilon Semi-Moron workgo mad, or start
smashing things up. Alphas can be completely socializedbut only
on condition that you make them do Alpha work. Only an Epsilon
can be expected to make Epsilon sacrifices, for the good reason
that for him they aren't sacrifices; they're the line of least
resistance. His conditioning has laid down rails along which he's
got to run. He can't help himself; he's foredoomed. Even after
decanting, he's still inside a bottlean invisible bottle of infantile
and embryonic fixations. Each one of us, of course," the Controller
meditatively continued, "goes through life inside a bottle. But
if we happen to be Alphas, our bottles are, relatively speaking,
enormous. We should suffer acutely if we were confined in a narrower
space. You cannot pour upper-caste champagne-surrogate into lower-caste
bottles. It's obvious theoretically. But it has also been proved
in actual practice. The result of the Cyprus experiment was convincing."
"What was that?" asked the Savage.
Mustapha Mond smiled. "Well, you can call it an experiment in
rebottling if you like. It began in A.F. 473. The Controllers
had the island of Cyprus cleared of all its existing inhabitants
and re-colonized with a specially prepared batch of twenty-two
thousand Alphas. All agricultural and industrial equipment was
handed over to them and they were left to manage their own affairs.
The result exactly fulfilled all the theoretical prediotions.
The land wasn't properly worked; there were strikes in all the
factories; the laws were set at naught, orders disobeyed; all
the people detailed for a spell of low-grade work were perpetually
intriguing for high-grade jobs, and all the people with high-grade
jobs were counter-intriguing at all costs to stay where they were.
Within six years they were having a first-class civil war. When
nineteen out of the twenty-two thousand had been killed, the survivors
unanimously petitioned the World Controllers to resume the government
of the island. Which they did. And that was the end of the only
society of Alphas that the world has ever seen."
The Savage sighed, profoundly.
"The optimum population," said Mustapha Mond, "is modelled on
the icebergeight-ninths below the water line, one-ninth above."
"And they're happy below the water line?"
"Happier than above it. Happier than your friend here, for example."
"In spite of that awful work?"
"Awful? They don't find it so. On the contrary, they like it. It's light,
it's childishly simple. No strain on the mind or the muscles.
Seven and a half hours of mild, unexhausting labour, and then
the soma ration and games and unrestricted copulation and the feelies.
What more can they ask for? True," he added, "they might ask for
shorter hours. And of course we could give them shorter hours.
Technically, it would be perfectly simple to reduce all lower-caste
working hours to three or four a day. But would they be any the
happier for that? No, they wouldn't. The experiment was tried,
more than a century and a half ago. The whole of Ireland was put
on to the four-hour day. What was the result? Unrest and a large
increase in the consumption of soma; that was all. Those three and a half hours of extra leisure
were so far from being a source of happiness, that people felt
constrained to take a holiday from them. The Inventions Office
is stuffed with plans for labour-saving processes. Thousands of
them." Mustapha Mond made a lavish gesture. "And why don't we
put them into execution? For the sake of the labourers; it would
be sheer cruelty to afflict them with excessive leisure. It's
the same with agriculture. We could synthesize every morsel of
food, if we wanted to. But we don't. We prefer to keep a third
of the population on the land. For their own sakesbecause it
takes longer to get food out of the land than out of a factory. Besides, we
have our stability to think of. We don't want to change. Every
change is a menace to stability. That's another reason why we're
so chary of applying new inventions. Every discovery in pure science
is potentially subversive; even science must sometimes be treated
as a possible enemy. Yes, even science."
Science? The Savage frowned. He knew the word. But what it exactly
signified he could not say. Shakespeare and the old men of the
pueblo had never mentioned science, and from Linda he had only
gathered the vaguest hints: science was something you made helicopters
with, some thing that caused you to laugh at the Corn Dances,
something that prevented you from being wrinkled and losing your
teeth. He made a desperate effort to take the Controller's meaning.
"Yes," Mustapha Mond was saying, "that's another item in the cost
of stability. It isn't only art that's incompatible with happiness;
it's also science. Science is dangerous; we have to keep it most
carefully chained and muzzled."
"What?" said Helmholtz, in astonishment. "But we're always saying
that science is everything. It's a hypnopædic platitude."
"Three times a week between thirteen and seventeen," put in Bemard.
"And all the science propaganda we do at the College
"Yes; but what sort of science?" asked Mustapha Mond sarcastically.
"You've had no scientific training, so you can't judge. I was
a pretty good physicist in my time. Too goodgood enough to realize
that all our science is just a cookery book, with an orthodox
theory of cooking that nobody's allowed to question, and a list
of recipes that mustn't be added to except by special permission
from the head cook. I'm the head cook now. But I was an inquisitive
young scullion once. I started doing a bit of cooking on my own.
Unorthodox cooking, illicit cooking. A bit of real science, in
fact." He was silent.
"What happened?" asked Helmholtz Watson.
The Controller sighed. "Very nearly what's going to happen to
you young men. I was on the point of being sent to an island."
The words galvanized Bernard into violent and unseemly activity.
"Send me to an island?" He jumped up, ran across the room, and stood gesticulating
in front of the Controller. "You can't send me. I haven't done anything. lt was the others. I swear it was the
others." He pointed accusingly to Helmholtz and the Savage. "Oh,
please don't send me to Iceland. I promise I'll do what I ought
to do. Give me another chance. Please give me another chance."
The tears began to flow. "I tell you, it's their fault," he sobbed.
"And not to Iceland. Oh please, your fordship, please
" And in
a paroxysm of abjection he threw himself on his knees before the
Controller. Mustapha Mond tried to make him get up; but Bernard
persisted in his grovelling; the stream of words poured out inexhaustibly.
In the end the Controller had to ring for his fourth secretary.
"Bring three men," he ordered, "and take Mr. Marx into a bedroom.
Give him a good soma vaporization and then put him to bed and leave him."
The fourth secretary went out and returned with three green-uniformed
twin footmen. Still shouting and sobbing. Bernard was carried
"One would think he was going to have his throat cut," said the
Controller, as the door closed. "Whereas, if he had the smallest
sense, he'd understand that his punishment is really a reward.
He's being sent to an island. That's to say, he's being sent to
a place where he'll meet the most interesting set of men and women
to be found anywhere in the world. All the people who, for one
reason or another, have got too self-consciously individual to
fit into community-life. All the people who aren't satisfied with
orthodoxy, who've got independent ideas of their own. Every one,
in a word, who's any one. I almost envy you, Mr. Watson."
Helmholtz laughed. "Then why aren't you on an island yourself?"
"Because, finally, I preferred this," the Controller answered.
"I was given the choice: to be sent to an island, where I could
have got on with my pure science, or to be taken on to the Controllers'
Council with the prospect of succeeding in due course to an actual
Controllership. I chose this and let the science go." After a
little silence, "Sometimes," he added, "I rather regret the science.
Happiness is a hard masterparticularly other people's happiness.
A much harder master, if one isn't conditioned to accept it unquestioningly,
than truth." He sighed, fell silent again, then continued in a
brisker tone, "Well, duty's duty. One can't consult one's own
preference. I'm interested in truth, I like science. But truth's
a menace, science is a public danger. As dangerous as it's been
beneficent. It has given us the stablest equilibrium in history.
China's was hopelessly insecure by comparison; even the primitive
matriarchies weren't steadier than we are. Thanks, l repeat, to
science. But we can't allow science to undo its own good work.
That's why we so carefully limit the scope of its researchesthat's
why I almost got sent to an island. We don't allow it to deal
with any but the most immediate problems of the moment. All other
enquiries are most sedulously discouraged. It's curious," he went
on after a little pause, "to read what people in the time of Our
Ford used to write about scientific progress. They seemed to have
imagined that it could be allowed to go on indefinitely, regardless
of everything else. Knowledge was the highest good, truth the
supreme value; all the rest was secondary and subordinate. True,
ideas were beginning to change even then. Our Ford himself did
a great deal to shift the emphasis from truth and beauty to comfort
and happiness. Mass production demanded the shift. Universal happiness
keeps the wheels steadily turning; truth and beauty can't. And,
of course, whenever the masses seized political power, then it
was happiness rather than truth and beauty that mattered. Still,
in spite of everytung, unrestricted scientific research was still
permitted. People still went on talking about truth and beauty
as though they were the sovereign goods. Right up to the time
of the Nine Years' War. That made them change their tune all right. What's the point of truth
or beauty or knowledge when the anthrax bombs are popping all
around you? That was when science first began to be controlledafter
the Nine Years' War. People were ready to have even their appetites
controlled then. Anything for a quiet life. We've gone on controlling
ever since. It hasn't been very good for truth, of course. But
it's been very good for happiness. One can't have something for
nothing. Happiness has got to be paid for. You're paying for it,
Mr. Watsonpaying because you happen to be too much interested
in beauty. I was too much interested in truth; I paid too."
"But you didn't go to an island," said the Savage, breaking a long silence.
The Controller smiled. "That's how I paid. By choosing to serve
happiness. Other people'snot mine. It's lucky," he added, after
a pause, "that there are such a lot of islands in the world. I
don't know what we should do without them. Put you all in the
lethal chamber, I suppose. By the way, Mr. Watson, would you like
a tropical climate? The Marquesas, for example; or Samoa? Or something
rather more bracing?"
Helmholtz rose from his pneumatic chair. "I should like a thoroughly
bad climate," he answered. "I believe one would write better if
the climate were bad. If there were a lot of wind and storms,
The Controller nodded his approbation. "I like your spirit, Mr.
Watson. I like it very much indeed. As much as I officially disapprove
of it." He smiled. "What about the Falkland Islands?"
"Yes, I think that will do," Helmholtz answered. "And now, if
you don't mind, I'll go and see how poor Bernard's getting on."
ART, SCIENCEyou seem to have paid a fairly high price for your
happiness," said the Savage, when they were alone. "Anything else?"
"Well, religion, of course," replied the Controller. "There used
to be something called Godbefore the Nine Years' War. But I was
forgetting; you know all about God, I suppose."
" The Savage hesitated. He would have liked to say something
about solitude, about night, about the mesa lying pale under the
moon, about the precipice, the plunge into shadowy darkness, about
death. He would have liked to speak; but there were no words.
Not even in Shakespeare.
The Controller, meanwhile, had crossed to the other side of the
room and was unlocking a large safe set into the wall between
the bookshelves. The heavy door swung open. Rummaging in the darkness
within, "It's a subject," he said, "that has always had a great
interest for me." He pulled out a thick black volume. "You've
never read this, for example."
The Savage took it. "The Holy Bible, containing the Old and New Testaments," he read aloud from the title-page.
"Nor this." It was a small book and had lost its cover.
"The Imitation of Christ."
"Nor this." He handed out another volume.
"The Varieties of Religious Experience. By William James."
"And I've got plenty more," Mustapha Mond continued, resuming
his seat. "A whole collection of pornographic old books. God in
the safe and Ford on the shelves." He pointed with a laugh to
his avowed libraryto the shelves of books, the rack full of reading-machine
bobbins and sound-track rolls.
"But if you know about God, why don't you tell them?" asked the
Savage indignantly. "Why don't you give them these books about
"For the same reason as we don't give them Othello: they're old; they're about God hundreds of years ago. Not about
"But God doesn't change."
"Men do, though."
"What difference does that make?"
"All the difference in the world," said Mustapha Mond. He got
up again and walked to the safe. "There was a man called Cardinal
Newman," he said. "A cardinal," he exclaimed parenthetically,
"was a kind of Arch-Community-Songster."
"'I Pandulph, of fair Milan, cardinal.' I've read about them in
"Of course you have. Well, as I was saying, there was a man called
Cardinal Newman. Ah, here's the book." He pulled it out. "And
while I'm about it I'll take this one too. It's by a man called
Maine de Biran. He was a philosopher, if you know what that was."
"A man who dreams of fewer things than there are in heaven and
earth," said the Savage promptly.
"Quite so. I'll read you one of the things he did dream of in a moment. Meanwhile, listen to what this old Arch-Community-Songster
said." He opened the book at the place marked by a slip of paper
and began to read. "'We are not our own any more than what we
possess is our own. We did not make ourselves, we cannot be supreme
over ourselves. We are not our own masters. We are God's property.
Is it not our happiness thus to view the matter? Is it any happiness
or any comfort, to consider that we are our own? It may be thought so by the young and prosperous. These
may think it a great thing to have everything, as they suppose,
their own wayto depend on no oneto have to think of nothing
out of sight, to be without the irksomeness of continual acknowledgment,
continual prayer, continual reference of what they do to the will
of another. But as time goes on, they, as all men, will find that
independence was not made for manthat it is an unnatural statewill
do for a while, but will not carry us on safely to the end
Mustapha Mond paused, put down the first book and, picking up
the other, turned over the pages. "Take this, for example," he
said, and in his deep voice once more began to read: "'A man grows
old; he feels in himself that radical sense of weakness, of listlessness,
of discomfort, which accompanies the advance of age; and, feeling
thus, imagines himself merely sick, lulling his fears with the
notion that this distressing condition is due to some particular
cause, from which, as from an illness, he hopes to recover. Vain
imaginings! That sickness is old age; and a horrible disease it
is. They say that it is the fear of death and of what comes after
death that makes men turn to religion as they advance in years.
But my own experience has given me the conviction that, quite
apart from any such terrors or imaginings, the religious sentiment
tends to develop as we grow older; to develop because, as the
passions grow calm, as the fancy and sensibilities are less excited
and less excitable, our reason becomes less troubled in its working,
less obscured by the images, desires and distractions, in which
it used to be absorbed; whereupon God emerges as from behind a
cloud; our soul feels, sees, turns towards the source of all light;
turns naturally and inevitably; for now that all that gave to
the world of sensations its life and charms has begun to leak
away from us, now that phenomenal existence is no more bolstered
up by impressions from within or from without, we feel the need
to lean on something that abides, something that will never play
us falsea reality, an absolute and everlasting truth. Yes, we
inevitably turn to God; for this religious sentiment is of its
nature so pure, so delightful to the soul that experiences it,
that it makes up to us for all our other losses.'" Mustapha Mond
shut the book and leaned back in his chair. "One of the numerous
things in heaven and earth that these philosophers didn't dream
about was this" (he waved his hand), "us, the modern world. 'You
can only be independent of God while you've got youth and prosperity;
independence won't take you safely to the end.' Well, we've now
got youth and prosperity right up to the end. What follows? Evidently,
that we can be independent of God. 'The religious sentiment will
compensate us for all our losses.' But there aren't any losses
for us to compensate; religious sentiment is superfluous. And
why should we go hunting for a substitute for youthful desires,
when youthful desires never fail? A substitute for distractions,
when we go on enjoying all the old fooleries to the very last?
What need have we of repose when our minds and bodies continue
to delight in activity? of consolation, when we have soma? of something immovable, when there is the social order?"
"Then you think there is no God?"
"No, I think there quite probably is one."
Mustapha Mond checked him. "But he manifests himself in different
ways to different men. In premodern times he manifested himself
as the being that's described in these books. Now
"How does he manifest himself now?" asked the Savage.
"Well, he manifests himself as an absence; as though he weren't
there at all."
"That's your fault."
"Call it the fault of civilization. God isn't compatible with
machinery and scientific medicine and universal happiness. You
must make your choice. Our civilization has chosen machinery and
medicine and happiness. That's why I have to keep these books
locked up in the safe. They're smut. People would be shocked it
The Savage interrupted him. "But isn't it natural to feel there's a God?"
"You might as well ask if it's natural to do up one's trousers
with zippers," said the Controller sarcastically. "You remind
me of another of those old fellows called Bradley. He defined
philosophy as the finding of bad reason for what one believes
by instinct. As if one believed anything by instinct! One believes
things because one has been conditioned to believe them. Finding
bad reasons for what one believes for other bad reasonsthat's
philosophy. People believe in God because they've been conditioned
"But all the same," insisted the Savage, "it is natural to believe
in God when you're alonequite alone, in the night, thinking about
"But people never are alone now," said Mustapha Mond. "We make
them hate solitude; and we arrange their lives so that it's almost
impossible for them ever to have it."
The Savage nodded gloomily. At Malpais he had suffered because
they had shut him out from the communal activities of the pueblo,
in civilized London he was suffering because he could never escape
from those communal activities, never be quietly alone.
"Do you remember that bit in King Lear?" said the Savage at last. "'The gods are just and of our pleasant
vices make instruments to plague us; the dark and vicious place
where thee he got cost him his eyes,' and Edmund answersyou remember,
he's wounded, he's dying'Thou hast spoken right; 'tis true. The
wheel has come full circle; I am here.' What about that now? Doesn't
there seem to be a God managing things, punishing, rewarding?"
"Well, does there?" questioned the Controller in his turn. "You
can indulge in any number of pleasant vices with a freemartin
and run no risks of having your eyes put out by your son's mistress.
'The wheel has come full circle; I am here.' But where would Edmund
be nowadays? Sitting in a pneumatic chair, with his arm round
a girl's waist, sucking away at his sex-hormone chewing-gum and
looking at the feelies. The gods are just. No doubt. But their
code of law is dictated, in the last resort, by the people who
organize society; Providence takes its cue from men."
"Are you sure?" asked the Savage. "Are you quite sure that the
Edmund in that pneumatic chair hasn't been just as heavily punished
as the Edmund who's wounded and bleeding to death? The gods are
just. Haven't they used his pleasant vices as an instrument to
"Degrade him from what position? As a happy, hard-working, goods-consuming
citizen he's perfect. Of course, if you choose some other standard
than ours, then perhaps you might say he was degraded. But you've
got to stick to one set of postulates. You can't play Electro-magnetic
Golf according to the rules of Centrifugal Bumble-puppy."
"But value dwells not in particular will," said the Savage. "It
holds his estimate and dignity as well wherein 'tis precious of
itself as in the prizer."
"Come, come," protested Mustapha Mond, "that's going rather far,
"If you allowed yourselves to think of God, you wouldn't allow
yourselves to be degraded by pleasant vices. You'd have a reason
for bearing things patiently, for doing things with courage. I've
seen it with the Indians."
"l'm sure you have," said Mustapha Mond. "But then we aren't Indians.
There isn't any need for a civilized man to bear anything that's
seriously unpleasant. And as for doing thingsFord forbid that
he should get the idea into his head. It would upset the whole
social order if men started doing things on their own."
"What about self-denial, then? If you had a God, you'd have a
reason for self-denial."
"But industrial civilization is only possible when there's no
self-denial. Self-indulgence up to the very limits imposed by
hygiene and economics. Otherwise the wheels stop turning."
"You'd have a reason for chastity!" said the Savage, blushing
a little as he spoke the words.
"But chastity means passion, chastity means neurasthenia. And
passion and neurasthenia mean instability. And instability means
the end of civilization. You can't have a lasting civilization
without plenty of pleasant vices."
"But God's the reason for everything noble and fine and heroic.
If you had a God
"My dear young friend," said Mustapha Mond, "civilization has
absolutely no need of nobility or heroism. These things are symptoms
of political inefficiency. In a properly organized society like
ours, nobody has any opportunities for being noble or heroic.
Conditions have got to be thoroughly unstable before the occasion
can arise. Where there are wars, where there are divided allegiances,
where there are temptations to be resisted, objects of love to
be fought for or defendedthere, obviously, nobility and heroism
have some sense. But there aren't any wars nowadays. The greatest
care is taken to prevent you from loving any one too much. There's
no such thing as a divided allegiance; you're so conditioned that
you can't help doing what you ought to do. And what you ought
to do is on the whole so pleasant, so many of the natural impulses
are allowed free play, that there really aren't any temptations
to resist. And if ever, by some unlucky chance, anything unpleasant
should somehow happen, why, there's always soma to give you a holiday from the facts. And there's always soma to calm your anger, to reconcile you to your enemies, to make
you patient and long-suffering. In the past you could only accomplish
these things by making a great effort and after years of hard
moral training. Now, you swallow two or three half-gramme tablets,
and there you are. Anybody can be virtuous now. You can carry
at least half your mortality about in a bottle. Christianity without
tearsthat's what soma is."
"But the tears are necessary. Don't you remember what Othello
said? 'If after every tempest came such calms, may the winds blow
till they have wakened death.' There's a story one of the old
Indians used to tell us, about the Girl of Mátaski. The young
men who wanted to marry her had to do a morning's hoeing in her
garden. It seemed easy; but there were flies and mosquitoes, magic
ones. Most of the young men simply couldn't stand the biting and
stinging. But the one that couldhe got the girl."
"Charming! But in civilized countries," said the Controller, "you
can have girls without hoeing for them, and there aren't any flies
or mosquitoes to sting you. We got rid of them all centuries ago."
The Savage nodded, frowning. "You got rid of them. Yes, that's
just like you. Getting rid of everytfung unpleasant instead of
learning to put up with it. Whether 'tis better in the mind to
suffer the slings and arrows of outrageous fortune, or to take
arms against a sea of troubles and by opposing end them
you don't do either. Neither suffer nor oppose. You just abolish
the slings and arrows. It's too easy."
He was suddenly silent, thinking of his mother. In her room on
the thirty-seventh floor, Linda had floated in a sea of singing
lights and perfumed caressesfloated away, out of space, out of
time, out of the prison of her memories, her habits, her aged
and bloated body. And Tomakin, ex-Director of Hatcheries and Conditioning,
Tomakin was still on holidayon holiday from humiliation and pain,
in a world where he could not hear those words, that derisive
laughter, could not see that hideous face, feel those moist and
flabby arms round his neck, in a beautiful world
"What you need," the Savage went on, "is something with tears for a change. Nothing costs enough here."
("Twelve and a half million dollars," Henry Foster had protested
when the Savage told him that. "Twelve and a half millionthat's
what the new Conditioning Centre cost. Not a cent less.")
"Exposing what is mortal and unsure to all that fortune, death
and danger dare, even for an eggshell. Isn't there something in
that?" he asked, looking up at Mustapha Mond. "Quite apart from
Godthough of course God would be a reason for it. Isn't there
something in living dangerously?"
"There's a great deal in it," the Controller replied. "Men and
women must have their adrenals stimulated from time to time."
"What?" questioned the Savage, uncomprehending.
"It's one of the conditions of perfect health. That's why we've
made the V.P.S. treatments compulsory."
"Violent Passion Surrogate. Regularly once a month. We flood the
whole system with adrenin. It's the complete physiological equivalent
of fear and rage. All the tonic effects of murdering Desdemona
and being murdered by Othello, without any of the inconveniences."
"But I like the inconveniences."
"We don't," said the Controller. "We prefer to do things comfortably."
"But I don't want comfort. I want God, I want poetry, I want real
danger, I want freedom, I want goodness. I want sin."
"In fact," said Mustapha Mond, "you're claiming the right to be
"All right then," said the Savage defiantly, "I'm claiming the
nght to be unhappy."
"Not to mention the right to grow old and ugly and impotent; the
right to have syphilis and cancer; the right to have too little
to eat; the right to be lousy; the right to live in constant apprehension
of what may happen to-morrow; the right to catch typhoid; the
right to be tortured by unspeakable pains of every kind." There
was a long silence.
"I claim them all," said the Savage at last.
Mustapha Mond shrugged his shoulders. "You're welcome," he said.
THE DOOR was ajar; they entered.
From the bathroom came an unpleasant and characteristic sound.
"Is there anything the matter?" Helmholtz called.
There was no answer. The unpleasant sound was repeated, twice;
there was silence. Then, with a click the bathroom door opened
and, very pale, the Savage emerged.
"I say," Helmholtz exclaimed solicitously, "you do look ill, John!"
"Did you eat something that didn't agree with you?" asked Bernard.
The Savage nodded. "I ate civilization."
"It poisoned me; I was defiled. And then," he added, in a lower
tone, "I ate my own wickedness."
"Yes, but what exactly?
I mean, just now you were
"Now I am purified," said the Savage. "I drank some mustard and
The others stared at him in astonishment. "Do you mean to say
that you were doing it on purpose?" asked Bernard.
"That's how the Indians always purify themselves." He sat down
and, sighing, passed his hand across his forehead. "I shall rest
for a few minutes," he said. "I'm rather tired."
"Well, I'm not surprised," said Helmholtz. After a silence, "We've
come to say good-bye," he went on in another tone. "We're off
"Yes, we're off to-morrow," said Bernard on whose face the Savage
remarked a new expression of determined resignation. "And by the
way, John," he continued, leaning forward in his chair and laying
a hand on the Savage's knee, "I want to say how sorry I am about
everything that happened yesterday." He blushed. "How ashamed,"
he went on, in spite of the unsteadiness of his voice, "how really
The Savage cut him short and, taking his hand, affectionately
"Helmholtz was wonderful to me," Bernard resumed, after a little
pause. "If it hadn't been for him, I should
"Now, now," Helmholtz protested.
There was a silence. In spite of their sadnessbecause of it,
even; for their sadness was the symptom of their love for one
anotherthe three young men were happy.
"I went to see the Controller this morning," said the Savage at
"To ask if I mightn't go to the islands with you."
"And what did he say?" asked Helmholtz eagerly.
The Savage shook his head. "He wouldn't let me."
"He said he wanted to go on with the experiment. But I'm damned,"
the Savage added, with sudden fury, "I'm damned if I'll go on
being experimented with. Not for all the Controllers in the world.
l shall go away to-morrow too."
"But where?" the others asked in unison.
The Savage shrugged his shoulders. "Anywhere. I don't care. So
long as I can be alone."
From Guildford the down-line followed the Wey valley to Godalming,
then, over Milford and Witley, proceeded to Haslemere and on through
Petersfield towards Portsmouth. Roughly parallel to it, the upline
passed over Worplesden, Tongham, Puttenham, Elstead and Grayshott.
Between the Hog's Back and Hindhead there were points where the
two lines were not more than six or seven kilometres apart. The
distance was too small for careless flyersparticularly at night
and when they had taken half a gramme too much. There had been
accidents. Serious ones. It had been decided to deflect the upline
a few kilometres to the west. Between Grayshott and Tongham four
abandoned air-lighthouses marked the course of the old Portsmouth-to-London
road. The skies above them were silent and deserted. It was over
Selborne, Bordon and Farnham that the helicopters now ceaselessly
hummed and roared.
The Savage had chosen as his hermitage the old light-house which
stood on the crest of the hill between Puttenham and Elstead.
The building was of ferro-concrete and in excellent conditionalmost
too comfortable the Savage had thought when he first explored
the place, almost too civilizedly luxurious. He pacified his conscience
by promising himself a compensatingly harder self-discipline,
purifications the more complete and thorough. His first night
in the hermitage was, deliberately, a sleepless one. He spent
the hours on his knees praying, now to that Heaven from which
the guilty Claudius had begged forgiveness, now in Zuñi to Awonawilona,
now to Jesus and Pookong, now to his own guardian animal, the
eagle. From time to time he stretched out his arms as though he
were on the Cross, and held them thus through long minutes of
an ache that gradually increased till it became a tremulous and
excruciating agony; held them, in voluntary crucifixion, while
he repeated, through clenched teeth (the sweat, meanwhile, pouring
down his face), "Oh, forgive me! Oh, make me pure! Oh, help me
to be good!" again and again, till he was on the point of fainting
from the pain.
When morning came, he felt he had earned the right to inhabit
the lighthouse; yet, even though there still was glass in most
of the windows, even though the view from the platform was so
fine. For the very reason why he had chosen the lighthouse had
become almost instantly a reason for going somewhere else. He
had decided to live there because the view was so beautiful, because,
from his vantage point, he seemed to be looking out on to the
incarnation of a divine being. But who was he to be pampered with
the daily and hourly sight of loveliness? Who was he to be living
in the visible presence of God? All he deserved to live in was
some filthy sty, some blind hole in the ground. Stiff and still
aching after his long night of pain, but for that very reason
inwardly reassured, he climbed up to the platform of his tower,
he looked out over the bright sunrise world which he had regained
the right to inhabit. On the north the view was bounded by the
long chalk ridge of the Hog's Back, from behind whose eastern
extremity rose the towers of the seven skyscrapers which constituted
Guildford. Seeing them, the Savage made a grimace; but he was
to become reconciled to them in course of time; for at night they
twinued gaily with geometrical constellations, or else, flood-lighted,
pointed their luminous fingers (with a gesture whose significance
nobody in England but the Savage now understood) solemnly towards
the plumbless mysteries of heaven.
In the valley which separated the Hog's Back from the sandy hill
on which the lighthouse stood, Puttenham was a modest little village
nine stories high, with silos, a poultry farm, and a small vitamin-D
factory. On the other side of the lighthouse, towards the South,
the ground fell away in long slopes of heather to a chain of ponds.
Beyond them, above the intervening woods, rose the fourteen-story
tower of Elstead. Dim in the hazy English air, Hindhead and Selborne
invited the eye into a blue romantic distance. But it was not
alone the distance that had attracted the Savage to his lighthouse;
the near was as seductive as the far. The woods, the open stretches
of heather and yellow gorse, the clumps of Scotch firs, the shining
ponds with their overhanging birch trees, their water lilies,
their beds of rushesthese were beautiful and, to an eye accustomed
to the aridities of the American desert, astonishing. And then
the solitude! Whole days passed during which he never saw a human
being. The lighthouse was only a quarter of an hour's flight from
the Charing-T Tower; but the hills of Malpais were hardly more
deserted than this Surrey heath. The crowds that daily left London,
left it only to play Electro-magnetic Golf or Tennis. Puttenham
possessed no links; the nearest Riemann-surfaces were at Guildford.
Flowers and a landscape were the only attractions here. And so,
as there was no good reason for coming, nobody came. During the
first days the Savage lived alone and undisturbed.
Of the money which, on his first arrival, John had received for
his personal expenses, most had been spent on his equipment. Before
leaving London he had bought four viscose-woollen blankets, rope
and string, nails, glue, a few tools, matches (though he intended
in due course to make a fire drill), some pots and pans, two dozen
packets of seeds, and ten kilogrammes of wheat flour. "No, not synthetic starch and cotton-waste flour-substitute," he had insisted.
"Even though it is more nourishing." But when it came to pan-glandular
biscuits and vitaminized beef-surrogate, he had not been able
to resist the shopman's persuasion. Looking at the tins now, he
bitterly reproached himself for his weakness. Loathesome civilized
stuff! He had made up his mind that he would never eat it, even
if he were starving. "That'll teach them," he thought vindictively.
It would also teach him.
He counted his money. The little that remained would be enough,
he hoped, to tide him over the winter. By next spring, his garden
would be producing enough to make him independent of the outside
world. Meanwhile, there would always be game. He had seen plenty
of rabbits, and there were waterfowl on the ponds. He set to work
at once to make a bow and arrows.
There were ash trees near the lighthouse and, for arrow shafts,
a whole copse full of beautifully straight hazel saplings. He
began by felling a young ash, cut out six feet of unbranched stem,
stripped off the bark and, paring by paring, shaved away the white
wood, as old Mitsima had taught him, until he had a stave of his
own height, stiff at the thickened centre, lively and quick at
the slender tips. The work gave him an intense pleasure. After
those weeks of idleness in London, with nothing to do, whenever
he wanted anything, but to press a switch or turn a handle, it
was pure delight to be doing something that demanded skill and
He had almost finished whittling the stave into shape, when he
realized with a start that he was singing-singing! It was as though, stumbling upon himself from the outside, he
had suddenly caught himself out, taken himself flagrantly at fault.
Guiltily he blushed. After all, it was not to sing and enjoy himself
that he had come here. It was to escape further contamination
by the filth of civilized life; it was to be purified and made
good; it was actively to make amends. He realized to his dismay
that, absorbed in the whittling of his bow, he had forgotten what
he had sworn to himself he would constantly rememberpoor Linda,
and his own murderous unkindness to her, and those loathsome twins,
swarming like lice across the mystery of her death, insulting,
with their presence, not merely his own grief and repentance,
but the very gods themselves. He had sworn to remember, he had
sworn unceasingly to make amends. And there was he, sitting happily
over his bow-stave, singing, actually singing.
He went indoors, opened the box of mustard, and put some water
to boil on the fire.
Half an hour later, three Delta-Minus landworkers from one of
the Puttenham Bokanovsky Groups happened to be driving to Elstead
and, at the top of the hill, were astonished to see a young man
standing 0utside the abandoned lighthouse stripped to the waist
and hitting himself with a whip of knotted cords. His back was
horizontally streaked with crimson, and from weal to weal ran
thin trickles of blood. The driver of the lorry pulled up at the
side of the road and, with his two companions, stared open-mouthed
at the extraordinary spectacle. One, two threethey counted the
strokes. After the eighth, the young man interrupted his self-punishment
to run to the wood's edge and there be violently sick. When he
had finished, he picked up the whip and began hitting himself
again. Nine, ten, eleven, twelve
"Ford!" whispered the driver. And his twins were of the same opinion.
"Fordey!" they said.
Three days later, like turkey buzzards setthug on a corpse, the
Dried and hardened over a slow fire of green wood, the bow was
ready. The Savage was busy on his arrows. Thirty hazel sticks
had been whittled and dried, tipped with sharp nails, carefully
nocked. He had made a raid one night on the Puttenham poultry
farm, and now had feathers enough to equip a whole armoury. It
was at work upon the feathering of his shafts that the first of
the reporters found him. Noiseless on his pneumatic shoes, the
man came up behind him.
"Good-morning, Mr. Savage," he said. "I am the representative
of The Hourly Radio."
Startled as though by the bite of a snake, the Savage sprang to
his feet, scattering arrows, feathers, glue-pot and brush in all
"I beg your pardon," said the reporter, with genuine compunction.
"I had no intention
" He touched his hatthe aluminum stove-pipe
hat in which he carried his wireless receiver and transmitter.
"Excuse my not taking it off," he said. "It's a bit heavy. Well,
as I was saying, I am the representative of The Hourly
"What do you want?" asked the Savage, scowling. The reporter returned
his most ingratiating smile.
"Well, of course, our readers would be profoundly interested
He put his head on one side, his smile became almost coquettish.
"Just a few words from you, Mr. Savage." And rapidly, with a series
of ritual gestures, he uncoiled two wires connected to the portable
battery buckled round his waist; plugged them simultaneously into
the sides of his aluminum hat; touched a spring on the crownand
antennæ shot up into the air; touched another spring on the peak
of the brimand, like a jack-in-the-box, out jumped a microphone
and hung there, quivering, six inches in front of his nose; pulled
down a pair of receivers over his ears; pressed a switch on the
left side of the hat-and from within came a faint waspy buzzing;
turned a knob on the rightand the buzzing was interrupted by
a stethoscopic wheeze and cackle, by hiccoughs and sudden squeaks.
"Hullo," he said to the microphone, "hullo, hullo
" A bell suddenly
rang inside his hat. "Is that you, Edzel? Primo Mellon speaking.
Yes, I've got hold of him. Mr. Savage will now take the microphone
and say a few words. Won't you, Mr. Savage?" He looked up at the
Savage with another of those winning smiles of his. "Just tell
our readers why you came here. What made you leave London (hold
on, Edzel!) so very suddenly. And, of course, that whip." (The
Savage started. How did they know about the whip?) "We're all
crazy to know about the whip. And then something about Civilization.
You know the sort of stuff. 'What I think of the Civilized Girl.'
Just a few words, a very few
The Savage obeyed with a disconcerting literalness. Five words
he uttered and no more-five words, the same as those he had said
to Bernard about the Arch-Community-Songster of Canterbury. "Háni! Sons éso tse-ná!" And seizing the reporter by the shoulder, he spun him round (the
young man revealed himself invitingly well-covered), aimed and,
with all the force and accuracy of a champion foot-and-mouth-baller,
delivered a most prodigious kick.
Eight minutes later, a new edition of The Hourly Radio was on sale in the streets of London. "HOURLY RADIO REPORTER
HAS COCCYX KICKED BY MYSTERY SAVAGE," ran the headlines on the
front page. "SENSATION IN SURREY."
"Sensation even in London," thought the reporter when, on his
return, he read the words. And a very painful sensation, what
was more. He sat down gingerly to his luncheon.
Undeterred by that cautionary bruise on their colleague's coccyx,
four other reporters, representing the New York Times, the Frankfurt Four-Dimensional Continuum, The Fordian Science Monitor, and The Delta Mirror, called that afternoon at the lighthouse and met with receptions
of progressively increasing violence.
From a safe distance and still rubbing his buttocks, "Benighted
fool!" shouted the man from The Fordian Science Monitor, "why don't you take soma?"
"Get away!" The Savage shook his fist.
The other retreated a few steps then turned round again. "Evil's
an unreality if you take a couple of grammes."
"Kohakwa iyathtokyai!" The tone was menacingly derisive.
"Pain's a delusion."
"Oh, is it?" said the Savage and, picking up a thick hazel switch,
The man from The Fordian Science Monitor made a dash for his helicopter.
After that the Savage was left for a time in peace. A few helicopters
came and hovered inquisitively round the tower. He shot an arrow
into the importunately nearest of them. It pierced the aluminum
floor of the cabin; there was a shrill yell, and the machine went
rocketing up into the air with all the acceleration that its super-charger
could give it. The others, in future, kept their distance respectfully.
Ignoring their tiresome humming (he likened himself in his imagination
to one of the suitors of the Maiden of Mátsaki, unmoved and persistent
among the winged vermin), the Savage dug at what was to be his
garden. After a time the vermin evidently became bored and flew
away; for hours at a stretch the sky above his head was empty
and, but for the larks, silent.
The weather was breathlessly hot, there was thunder in the air.
He had dug all the morning and was resting, stretched out along
the floor. And suddenly the thought of Lenina was a real presence,
naked and tangible, saying "Sweet!" and "Put your arms round me!"in
shoes and socks, perfumed. Impudent strumpet! But oh, oh, her
arms round his neck, the lifting of her breasts, her mouth! Eternity
was in our lips and eyes. Lenina
No, no, no, no! He sprang to
his feet and, half naked as he was, ran out of the house. At the
edge of the heath stood a clump of hoary juniper bushes. He flung
himself against them, he embraced, not the smooth body of his
desires, but an armful of green spikes. Sharp, with a thousand
points, they pricked him. He tried to think of poor Linda, breathless
and dumb, with her clutching hands and the unutterable terror
in her eyes. Poor Linda whom he had sworn to remember. But it
was still the presence of Lenina that haunted him. Lenina whom
he had promised to forget. Even through the stab and stmg of the
juniper needles, his wincing fiesh was aware of her, unescapably
real. "Sweet, sweet
And if you wanted me too, why didn't you
The whip was hanging on a nail by the door, ready to hand against
the arrival of reporters. In a frenzy the Savage ran back to the
house, seized it, whirled it. The knotted cords bit into his flesh.
"Strumpet! Strumpet!" he shouted at every blow as though it were
Lenina (and how frantically, without knowing it, he wished it
were), white, warm, scented, infamous Lenina that he was dogging
thus. "Strumpet!" And then, in a voice of despair, "Oh, Linda,
forgive me. Forgive me, God. I'm bad. I'm wicked. I'm
you strumpet, you strumpet!"
From his carefully constructed hide in the wood three hundred
metres away, Darwin Bonaparte, the Feely Corporation's most expert
big game photographer had watched the whole proceedings. Patience
and skill had been rewarded. He had spent three days sitting inside
the bole of an artificial oak tree, three nights crawling on his
belly through the heather, hiding microphones in gorse bushes,
burying wires in the soft grey sand. Seventy-two hours of profound
discomfort. But now me great moment had comethe greatest, Darwin
Bonaparte had time to reflect, as he moved among his instruments,
the greatest since his taking of the famous all-howling stereoscopic
feely of the gorillas' wedding. "Splendid," he said to himself,
as the Savage started his astonishing performance. "Splendid!"
He kept his telescopic cameras carefully aimedglued to their
moving objective; clapped on a higher power to get a close-up
of the frantic and distorted face (admirable!); switched over,
for half a minute, to slow motion (an exquisitely comical effect,
he promised himself); listened in, meanwhile, to the blows, the
groans, the wild and raving words that were being recorded on
the sound-track at the edge of his film, tried the effect of a
little amplification (yes, that was decidedly better); was delighted
to hear, in a momentary lull, the shrill singing of a lark; wished
the Savage would turn round so that he could get a good close-up
of the blood on his backand almost instantly (what astonishing
luck!) the accommodating fellow did turn round, and he was able
to take a perfect close-up.
"Well, that was grand!" he said to himself when it was all over.
"Really grand!" He mopped his face. When they had put in the feely
effects at the studio, it would be a wonderful film. Almost as
good, thought Darwin Bonaparte, as the Sperm Whale's Love-Lifeand that, by Ford, was saying a good deal!
Twelve days later The Savage of Surrey had been released and could
be seen, heard and felt in every first-class feely-palace in Western
The effect of Darwin Bonaparte's film was immediate and enormous.
On the afternoon which followed the evening of its release John's
rustic solitude was suddenly broken by the arrival overhead of
a great swarm of helicopters.
He was digging in his gardendigging, too, in his own mind, laboriously
turning up the substance of his thought. Deathand he drove in
his spade once, and again, and yet again. And all our yesterdays
have lighted fools the way to dusty death. A convincing thunder
rumbled through the words. He lifted another spadeful of earth.
Why had Linda died? Why had she been allowed to become gradually
less than human and at last
He shuddered. A good kissing carrion.
He planted his foot on his spade and stamped it fiercely into
the tough ground. As flies to wanton boys are we to the gods;
they kill us for their sport. Thunder again; words that proclaimed
themselves truetruer somehow than truth itself. And yet that
same Gloucester had called them ever-gentle gods. Besides, thy
best of rest is sleep and that thou oft provok'st; yet grossly
fear'st thy death which is no more. No more than sleep. Sleep.
Perchance to dream. His spade struck against a stone; he stooped
to pick it up. For in that sleep of death, what dreams?
A humming overhead had become a roar; and suddenly he was in shadow,
there was something between the sun and him. He looked up, startled,
from his digging, from his thoughts; looked up in a dazzled bewilderment,
his mind still wandering in that other world of truer-than-truth,
still focused on the immensities of death and deity; looked up
and saw, close above him, the swarm of hovering machines. Like
locusts they came, hung poised, descended all around him on the
heather. And from out of the bellies of these giant grasshoppers
stepped men in white viscose-flannels, women (for the weather
was hot) in acetate-shantung pyjamas or velveteen shorts and sleeveless,
half-unzippered singletsone couple from each. In a few minutes
there were dozens of them, standing in a wide circle round the
lighthouse, staring, laughing, clicking their cameras, throwing
(as to an ape) peanuts, packets of sex-hormone chewing-gum, pan-glanduar
petite beurres. And every momentfor across the Hog's Back the stream of traffic
now flowed unceasinglytheir numbers increased. As in a nightmare,
the dozens became scores, the scores hundreds.
The Savage had retreated towards cover, and now, in the posture
of an animal at bay, stood with his back to the wall of the lighthouse,
staring from face to face in speechless horror, like a man out
of his senses.
From this stupor he was aroused to a more immediate sense of reality
by the impact on his cheek of a well-aimed packet of chewing-gum.
A shock of startling painand he was broad awake, awake and fiercely
"Go away!" he shouted.
The ape had spoken; there was a burst of laughter and hand-clapping.
"Good old Savage! Hurrah, hurrah!" And through the babel he heard
cries of: "Whip, whip, the whip!"
Acting on the word's suggestion, he seized the bunch of knotted
cords from its nail behind the door and shook it at his tormentors.
There was a yell of ironical applause.
Menacingly he advanced towards them. A woman cried out in fear.
The line wavered at its most immediately threatened point, then
stiffened again, stood firm. The consciousness of being in overwhelming
force had given these sightseers a courage which the Savage had
not expected of them. Taken aback, he halted and looked round.
"Why don't you leave me alone?" There was an almost plaintive
note in his anger.
"Have a few magnesium-salted almonds!" said the man who, if the
Savage were to advance, would be the first to be attacked. He
held out a packet. "They're really very good, you know," he added,
with a rather nervous smile of propitation. "And the magnesium
salts will help to keep you young."
The Savage ignored his offer. "What do you want with me?" he asked,
turning from one grinning face to another. "What do you want with
"The whip," answered a hundred voices confusedly. "Do the whipping
stunt. Let's see the whipping stunt."
Then, in unison and on a slow, heavy rhythm, "We-want-the whip,"
shouted a group at the end of the line. "Wewantthe whip."
Others at once took up the cry, and the phrase was repeated, parrot-fashion,
again and again, with an ever-growing volume of sound, until,
by the seventh or eighth reiteration, no other word was being
spoken. "Wewantthe whip."
They were all crying together; and, intoxicated by the noise,
the unanimity, the sense of rhythmical atonement, they might,
it seemed, have gone on for hours-almost indefinitely. But at
about the twenty-fifth repetition the proceedings were startlingly
interrupted. Yet another helicopter had arrived from across the
Hog's Back, hung poised above the crowd, then dropped within a
few yards of where the Savage was standing, in the open space
between the line of sightseers and the lighthouse. The roar of
the air screws momentarily drowned the shouting; then, as the
machine touched the ground and the engines were turned off: "Wewantthe
whip; wewantthe whip," broke out again in the same loud, insistent
The door of the helicopter opened, and out stepped, first a fair
and ruddy-faced young man, then, in green velveteen shorts, white
shirt, and jockey cap, a young woman.
At the sight of the young woman, the Savage started, recoiled,
The young woman stood, smiling at himan uncertain, imploring,
almost abject smile. The seconds passed. Her lips moved, she was
saying something; but the sound of her voice was covered by the
loud reiterated refrain of the sightseers.
"Wewantthe whip! Wewantthe whip!"
The young woman pressed both hands to her left side, and on that
peach-bright, doll-beautiful face of hers appeared a strangely
incongrous expression of yearning distress. Her blue eyes seemed
to grow larger, brighter; and suddenly two tears rolled down her
cheeks. Inaudibly, she spoke again; then, with a quick, impassioned
gesture stretched out her arms towards the Savage, stepped forward.
"Wewantthe whip! Wewant
And all of a sudden they had what they wanted.
"Strumpet!" The Savage had rushed at her like a madman. "Fitchew!"
Like a madman, he was slashing at her with his whip of small cords.
Terrified, she had turned to flee, had tripped and fallen in the
heather. "Henry, Henry!" she shouted. But her ruddy-faced companion
had bolted out of harm's way behind the helicopter.
With a whoop of delighted excitement the line broke; there was
a convergent stampede towards that magnetic centre of attraction.
Pain was a fascinating horror.
"Fry, lechery, fry!" Frenzied, the Savage slashed again.
Hungrily they gathered round, pushing and scrambling like swine
about the trough.
"Oh, the flesh!" The Savage ground his teeth. This time it was
on his shoulders that the whip descended. "Kill it, kill it!"
Drawn by the fascination of the horror of pain and, from within,
impelled by that habit of cooperation, that desire for unanimity
and atonement, which their conditioning had so ineradicably implanted
in them, they began to mime the frenzy of his gestures, striking
at one another as the Savage struck at his own rebellious flesh,
or at that plump incarnation of turpitude writhing in the heather
at his feet.
"Kill it, kill it, kill it
" The Savage went on shouting.
Then suddenly somebody started singing "Orgy-porgy" and, in a
moment, they had all caught up the refrain and, singing, had begun
to dance. Orgy-porgy, round and round and round, beating one another
in six-eight time. Orgy-porgy
It was after midnight when the last of the helicopters took its
flight. Stupefied by soma, and exhausted by a long-drawn frenzy
of sensuality, the Savage lay sleeping in the heather. The sun
was already high when he awoke. He lay for a moment, blinking
in owlish incomprehension at the light; then suddenly rememberedeverything.
"Oh, my God, my God!" He covered his eyes with his hand.
That evening the swarm of helicopters that came buzzing across
the Hog's Back was a dark cloud ten kilometres long. The description
of last night's orgy of atonement had been in all the papers.
"Savage!" called the first arrivals, as they alighted from their
machine. "Mr. Savage!"
There was no answer.
The door of the lighthouse was ajar. They pushed it open and walked
into a shuttered twilight. Through an archway on the further side
of the room they could see the bottom of the staircase that led
up to the higher floors. Just under the crown of the arch dangled
a pair of feet.
Slowly, very slowly, like two unhurried compass needles, the feet
turned towards the right; north, north-east, east, south-east,
south, south-south-west; then paused, and, after a few seconds,
turned as unhurriedly back towards the left. South-south-west,
south, south-east, east.