Glenny, Michael 1984. Introduction. In: We by Yevgeny Zamyatin. Harmondsworth: Penguin Books, 9-18.

Zamyatin not only spoke English fluently but was quite remarkably well read in English and American literature - to a degree which would put most English-speakers on either side of the Atlantic to shame. With equal skill Zamyatin translated such disparate writers as Richard Brinsley Sheridan, O. Henry and H. G. Wells, and wrote analyses of their work which deserve to be placed alongside English and American writing on these authors - not as curiosities bit as autonomous and original contributions to our ciritcal literature. He wrote, too, with knowledge and insight on a host of other British and American writers ffrom Bacon to Bernard Shaw; but by far the longest and in many ways the most interesting ofg Zamyatin's critical essays on English writers are his studies of H. G. Wells. Zamyatin's opinion of him, though tempered by a realistic sense of Well's weaknesses, was very high. He saw Wells as a Janus-writer standing at the treshold of our era, with one face looking back at his Victorian exemplars such as Dickens and Gissing while his other face gazed prophetically into the enigma of the twenthieth century. It was in Zamyatin's view the special genius of H. G. Wells to have created the literary genre most perfectly suited to a writer's need to comment on our exciting yet terrifying age. Analysing this Zamyatin wrote:
Well's novels of 'socio-fantasy' are not Utopias. One characteristic of Utopias is that their authors present us with the structure of what they regard as an ideal society, or to put it in mathematical language the Utopia is preceded by a plus sign. The other characteristic, which preceeds organically from its subject-matter, is that in form the Utopia is invariably static: the Utopia is always a description and always lacks any dynamic of plot. These peculiarities of the Utopia are practically never to be found in Well's novels of socio-fantasy. In the vast majority they are preceded not by a plus but by a minus sign; what is more the subject-matter is always dynamic, made up of clash and struggle, and the plot is complex and absorbing. Wells used this form almost exclusively in order to reveal the defects of the existing social structure and not in order to construct some paradise of the future... These books... are, in fact, social pamphlets disguised as sciesce-fiction novels. ...To his literary predecessors Wells is linked only by the subject-matter itself nor by his literary techniques... All this forces one to the conclusion that in his novels of socio-fantasy Wells created a new and entirely original species of literary form.
Commenting that Wells's creation will have a continuing influence on literature all over the world, Zamyatin turns to Russia: '...Having become the most fantastic country in all present-day Europe, post-revolutionary Russia will undoubtedly reflect this period of her history in a literature of fantasy. And a start has already been made in the shape of the present author's nover We. (Glenny 1984: 10-11)
Actually some quite valuable ideas here.
But whereas Wells, for all the ingenious and often genuinely prophetic trappings of his novels, was concerned in essence with a critique of his own time, Zamyatin vitally enlarged the scope of the anti-Utopian novel by using it as a vehicle for an indictment of the future. It is this aspect of We that gives it such significance as the forerunner of two of the most widely read classics of modern English literature: Aldous Huxley's Brave New World and George Orwell's 1984. Writing in 1930, Huxley undoubtedly owed Zamyatin the basic concept of a critique of the future based on an extrapolation of certain present trends; but aside from this obvious debt Huxley also shared to a great degree Zamyatin's concern about man's enslavement to the demands of a society whose rationale is that of technology - in Zamyatin's case his world of the future is an almost successful attempt to subordinate man to the laws of mathematics and engineering, while Huxley sees the chief danger to humanity in a surrender to the logic of the biological and genetic sciences. What is absent in Huxley, however, is a sense of the power of ideology: his Brave New World is a-political, whereas for Zamyatin, writing in a Petrograd redolent of ideology triumphant, ideology plus terror was the main threat. (Glenny 1984: 17)
If I were to write a dystopia it would most likely project a future in which man is subordinated to information technology (e.g. TACS).

Zamyatin, Yevgeny 1984. We. Translated by Bernard Guilbert Guerney; introduction by Michael Glenny. Harmondsworth: Penguin Books.

I, D-503, the builder of the Integral - I am but one of the mathematicians of The One State. My pen, accustomed to figures, has not the power to create the music of assonances and rhymes. Ishall merely attempt to record what I see, what I think - to be more exact, what we think (we precisely, and let this We serve as the title of the entries I am making). However, these things will be a derivative of our life, oth the mathematically perfect life of The One State, and if that be so, will not all this be a poem per se, whether I wlil it or not? It will be a poem - I believe it and know it. (Zamyatin 1984: 20)
Spring. From beyond the Green Wall, from the wild plains that lie out of light, the wind brings the honeyed yellow pollet of certain flowers. The lips become dry from this pollen; you run your tongue over them every minute or so and, in all probability, all the women you come across have sweet lips now (which must hold true of the men also, of course). This interferes with logical thinking, to some extent. (Zamyatin 1984: 21)
Why is this dance beautiful? The answer was: Because this was nonfree motion, because all of the profound meanings of the dance lay precisely in absolute, aesthetic submissiveness, in ideal nonfreedom. And if it be true that our ancestors abandoned themselves to dancing at the most inspired moments of their lives (religious mysteries, military parades), it signifies only one thing: the instinct of nonfreedom is organically inherent in man from the times of old, and we in our life of today are only consciously -
I will have to finish this thought later: the intercommunication board clicked at this point. I looked up - O-90, of course. In halp a minute she herself will be here; she is coming to fetch me for a walk. (Zamyatin 1984: 22)
"Intercommunication board" precedes the "telescreen". Nonfreedom may have inspired "freedom is slavery".
'Yes, it is wonderful. It's spring,' O-90 gave me a rosy smile. (Zamyatin 1984: 22)
All this without a smile - even with a certain deference, I would say (perhaps she was aware that I am the builder of the Integral). However, I don't know whether it was her eyes or her brows, but there was some sort of strange irritating X about her, and no matter how I tried I could not capture it, could not give it a numerical formulation. For some reason I became embarrassed and, somewhat haltingly, began giving a logical motivation for my loughter. It was perfectly clear that this contrast, this uncrossable abyss between the things of today and those of that time - (Zamyatin 1984: 24)
'You are sure?" she put in. I cought sight of eyebrown quirked up at an acute angle towards the temples, like the sharp horns of the upper halp of an X. For some reason I was again thrown off balance; I looked to the right, to the left and... (Zamyatin 1984: 24)
E-330, the one on my right, apparently intercepted my distracted glance and said, with a sigh, 'Yes, alas!' (Zamyatin 1984: 24)
She glanced at my hands, then at my face: 'Yes, there is an exceedingly curious accordance.' She was running her eyes over me, as if she were weighing me; I had another glimpse of the tiny horns at the tips of her eyebrows. (Zamyatin 1984: 25)
As she was leaving E-330 smiled at me slyly, in that same X-ish way, 'Look in at Auditorium 112, day after tomorrow.'
'If I get an assignment to the auditorium you have just mentioned -' said I, with a shrug.
'You will,' she said with an odd assurance which I could not understand. (Zamyatin 1984: 25)
And so I was glad to be left alone with dear O-, if only for a brief while. Arm in arm we passed four intersecting avenues. At the last corner she had to turn to the right and I to the left. (Zamyatin 1984: 26)
Each morning, with six-wheeled precision, at the very same minute and the very same secon we, in our millions, arise as one. At the very same hour we mono-millionedly begin work - and, when we finish it, we do so mono-millionedly. And, merging into but one body with multi-millioned hands, at the very second designated by The Tables of Hourly Commandments we bring our spoons up to our mouths; at the very same second, likewise, we set out for a walk, or go to an auditorium, or the Hall of Taylor Exercises, or retire to sleep. (Zamyatin 1984: 28-29)
With a heart pleasantly missing a beat or two I looked about me. I think I must have been on the look-out: perhaps I would catch a glimpse, about the blue unif-waves, of a bright, rosy crescent - the dear lips of O-90. There - I cought sight sight of somebody'n extraordinarily white and sharp teeth, so much like those of... no, they weren't. This evening, at 21.00, )s is coming to my place: my desire to see her here was perfectly natural. (Zamyatin 1984: 32)
And again I don't remember what was said next, very possibly because I - Well, yes: I'll come right out with it: because she - E-330 - had walked up to the Royal Grand. Probably I had simply overcome by her unexpected appearance on the platform. (Zamyatin 1984: 34)
The number seated on my left looked at me out of the corner of the eye - and sniggered. One detail has, for some reason, remained with especial distinctness in my memory: I saw a microscopic bubble of saliva pop up on his lips - and burst. That bubble sobered me. I was I once more. Like all the others what I heard now was only the incongruous, fussy chatter of strings under percussion. I was laughing. Everything had become light and simple. The talented phonolecturer had given us too lively a depiction of that wild epoch - and that was all. (Zamyatin 1984: 34)
All the numbers came out of the auditorium in their usual even ranks of four each. A familiar double-curved figure flittered by - I bowed to him with deferenc. (Zamyatin 1984: 35)
She listened in such a rosily enchanted way - and then suddenly a tear trickled of of her blue eyes, and another, and a third, plopping right on the open page (the seventh). The ink ran. Well, now I'll have to transcribe it. (Zamyatin 1984: 35)
It is not clear, then, that bliss and envy are but the numerator and denominator of a fraction called happiness? (Zamyatin 1984: 37)
I believe that you will realize that it is harder for me to write than it has been for any other author throughout the history of mankind: some authors wrote for their contemporaries, others for their descendants, but no one of them ever wrote for his ancestors - or for beings resembling his savage, remote ancestors. (Zamyatin 1984: 38)
The windshield was down, the wind bbuffeted us, making one's lips dry - willy-nilly one kept running the tongue over them constantly - and constantly kept thinking of lips. (Zamyatin 1984: 40)
Standing at the glass door was a crone, her face all wrinkled - but especially so her mouth, which consisted solely of pleats and folds; the lips had become withdrawn by now, the mouth seemed grown over, somehow, and it seemed altogether unbelievable that she would break into speech - but, just the same, that was just what she did.
'Well, now, darlings - have you come for a look at my house?' - and her wrinkles beamed (i.e. they had had probably arranged themselves in raylike formation, which had, precisely, created the impression of beaming). (Zamyatin 1984: 40)
'It is clear -' I began, but immediately cought myself on that word clear and looked at E-330 furtively - had she noticed it or not? She was looking off somewhere in a downward direction; her eyes were lowered - like blinds. I recalled something: in the evening, about 22.30, as you walk along an avenue, you will see among the brightly illuminated, transparent cubicles some darkened ones, with their blinds lowered, and there, behind those blinds - What was going on there, behind her blinds? Why had she rung me up today, and what was back of all this? (Zamyatin 1984: 41)
Her utterances came from within me, somehow; she was uttering my thoughts. But, throughout, that irritating X was lurking in her smile. There, behind those blinds something was going on within her - I don't know what it was, but it was exasperating me; I wanted to contradict her, to yell at her (yes, yell, precisely), yet I was compelled to agree with her: it was impossible not to agree. (Zamyatin 1984: 42)
I went out, too ka seat. From a small bracket on the wass the snub-nosed, asymmetrical physiognomy of one of their ancient poets (Pushkin, I think it was) was smiling right in my face with a barely perceptible smile, and what was all this for - why was I there, and whence the preposterous state I was in? That irritating, repellent woman, the strange game going on... (Zamyatin 1984: 43)
'Yes, among us -' I began - and then, suddenly, she broke into laughter. There, I simply saw that laughter, saw it with my eyes; I saw the pealing, steeply climbing curve of that laughter, a curve as stubbornly springy as the lash of a whip. I was all aquiver, I remember. (Zamyatin 1984: 44)
Night. Green, orange, blue; the red royal instruments; a yellow - orange-yellow - dress. Then - a brass Buddha; suddenly he raised his brass eyelids - and, out of Buddha, sap began to flow. (Zamyatin 1984: 46)
We, however, know that having dreams is a serious psychic disturbance. And I know this: up to now my brain was a chronometrically tested, sparkling mechanism, without a single speck of dust, whereasnow... Yes, now that is precisely the trouble: I feel some foreign body or other there, in my brain, just as you feel some a very fine eyelash that has lodged in your eye. You feel entirely yourself, but as for that eye with the eyelash in it - that's something you can't forget, not even for a second. (Zamyatin 1984: 46)
From the head of my bed came the brisk, crystal-clear ringing of a small bell: 7.00, time to get up. To the right and left, through the walls of glass, I seem to be seeing myself, my room, my clothes, my movements - but repeated a thousand times over. This is invigorating: one sees oneself as an enormous, mighty whole. And such precise beauty: not one superfluous gesture, deviation, turn. (Zamyatin 1984: 46-47)
'Not at all, please - not at all,' I smiled to my neighbour, and bowed. S-4711: I saw the glitter of his number on his badge: it became understandable why, from the very first moment, I had associated him with the letter S: it had been a visual impression which had not registered on my consciousness. Just then his eyes sparked: two sharply pointed little gimlets, revolving rapidly, were boring in, deeper and deeper, and now, at any moment would bore their way to the very bottom, would see that which I dared not confess even to my own self - (Zamyatin 1984: 48)
'Yes, yes! To be sure, to be sure! Quite' - my smile was becoming broader and broader, more and more inane, that smile stripped me, made me foolish. The little gimlets had reached to the very bottow within me; then, revolving rapidly, had bored in reverse, back into his eyes; S- smiled ambiguously, nodded to me, slipped off towards the exit. (Zamyatin 1984: 48)
I was out by 16.10 - and, looking towards the corner, immediately caught sight of O-, all in a rosy rapture over our encounter. (Zamyatin 1984: 49)
'Out for a stroll?' O- seized my hhand. Her round blue eyes were wide open - blue windown giving access within - and I penetrated within without catching against anything, and found nothing therein - i.e. nothing extraneous, unneccessary.
'No, I'm not out for a stroll. I have to go-' I told her my destination. And, to my amazement, I saw the rosy circle of her mouth fold itself into a resy crescent with its horns pointing down - as if she had tasted something sour. This made me explode. (Zamyatin 1984: 49)
The blinds were not lowered. We diverted outserves by solving the problems in a nancient textbook of mathematics: this sort of thing soothes and clarifies one's mind very much. O-90 was sitting over her exercise book with her head inclined towards her left shoulder and was trying so hard that she had thrust her left cheek out with her tongue. This was so childlike, so charming. And everything within me was so fine, precise, simple... (Zamyatin 1984: 51)
Today, exactly at 16.10, I was standing before a glittering glass wall. Overhead was the golden, solar, pure glow of the letters on the sign of the Bureau of glass a long sequence of bluish unifs. Their faces had the warm glow of lampads of ancient church: they had come to perform a great deed - they had come to commit to the altar of The One State those they loved, their friends, themselves. As for me, I was drawn to them, to being with them. And I could not stir: my feet were fused deeply into the glass of the pavement; I stood there, dully staring, unable to move from the spot. (Zamyatin 1984: 52-53)
I was startled. Dark eyes, lacquered with laughter, were contemplating me; the lpis were thick, Negroid. It was R-13, the poet, an old friend of mine, and the roseate O- was with him. I faced them angrily. (Zamyatin 1984: 53)
'I have served knowledge and will continue to serve it,' I frowned. I am not fond of jokes and do not understand them - yet R-13 has the bad habit of joking. (Zamyatin 1984: 53)
O- looked at R-; then, clearly, roundly, she looked at me; her cheecks coloured, ever so fointly, taking on the tender, agitating hue of our coupons. (Zamyatin 1984: 54)
'We're at it from eight to eleven, every day -' R- tossed his head and scratched the nape of his neck - the nape of his neck looks like some kind of a small, square valise tied on behind (at this point I recalled an antique print, 'In the Carriage'). (Zamyatin 1984: 55)
'Questions, questions!' R-13 made a wry face. '>Well, if you must know, it was a death sentence. I was poetizing a death sentence. Passed on a certain idiot - one of us poets, no less. For two years he had sat alongside me; nothing wrong with him that you could see. And suddenly, out of a clear sky, 'I am a genius,' says he, 'and a genius is above the law.' My, and the things he popped out with! Well, what's the use of talking-' and he sighed with regret. The thick lips drooped; the lacquer had become eroded from his eyes. R-13 sprang up from his seat, turned about, began staring at some point through the wall. I was looking at the tightly locked little valise at the nape of his neck and pondering: What was he rummaging for now, in that little valise of his? (Zamyatin 1984: 55-56)
R- turned around to face me. Words spattered, lashed out of him as before, but it appeared to me that there was no longer any lacquer and gaiety in his eyes. (Zamyatin 1984: 56)
The Plaza of the Cube, Sixty-six gigantean concentric circles: the rostra, these. Any sixty-six tiers of faces serene as lamps, of eyes reflecting the radiance of the heavens - or, it may be, the radiance of The One State. Flowers crimson as blood: the lips of women. Lovely garlands of children's faces - in the front tiers, closest to the scene of action. Intensified, austere, Gothic silence. (Zamyatin 1984: 58)
And up there, on the Cube, near the Machine, was the figure, immobile, as if of metal, of Him whom we style The Benefactor. From below, where I sat, one could not make out His face: all one could see was that His face was confined within austere, majestic, rectangular lineaments. But then, His hands... As it occasionally happens in taking photographs, the hands, if they are too near to the camera, in the very foreground, will come out enormous; they rivet your attention, they overshadow all else. Those heavy hands of His, as yet resting quietly on His knees - it was clear that they were of stone, and that the knees could barely sustain their weight. (Zamyatin 1984: 59)
The pen scratched as she wrote; I saw myself - D-503 - on the page and, right alongside, an ink blot. I was just about to call her attentiot to this when she suddenly raised her head and let an inky bit of a smile sink into me: 'Why, here's a letter. Yes. You'll get it, my dear - yes, yes, you'll get it.'
I knew that the letter, which she had already read, had yet to go through the Bureau of Guardians (I consider it superfluous to explain this normal procedure) and that it would be in my hands not later than 12.00. But I was confused by that same bit of a smile, the drop of ink had muddied the transparent-solution mood I had been in. And that to such an extent that later, at the building site of the Integral, I could not concentrate - and at one point actually made an error in my calculations, a thing which had never yet happened to me. (Zamyatin 1984: 62)
20.45, at last. A white night. Everything is greenish-glassy. But this is some sort of different, fragile glass; not our sort, not the real glass - this is a thin glass shell, and under that shell everything is swirling, rushing, humming. And I would not be surprised if right now the cupolas of the auditoria were to rise in rounded, slowly moving billows of smoke, and if the elderly moon were to smile inkily - like that female number at her small desk this morning - and if all the blinds in all the houses were to be lowered simultaneously, and if behind those curtains - (Zamyatin 1984: 63)
She let her eyes drop to the letter again - and what was going on there, within her, behind the blinds lowered over her eyes? What would she say - what was I to do in a second or so? How was one to find this out, how calculate it, when all of her came from there, from the wild, ancient land of dreams?
I was watching her in silence. My ribs were rods of iron; I was cramped... When she speaks her face is like a rushing glittering wheel: there is no distinguishing the individual spokes. But right now the wheel was not in motion. And I perceived a strange combination: dark eyebrows, quirked high at the temples: an acute triangle of mockery; and two deep, small wrinkles from the nose to the corners of the mouth: another triangle, coming to an apex. And these two triangles somehow contradicted each other, placing upon the entire face that disagreeable, irritating cruciform X: it was a crossed-out face.
The wheel began to turn; the spokes blended together:
'There, you didn't go to the Bureau of Guardians after all, did you?'
'I was... I couldn't go - I was unwell.'
'Yes. Well, that's just what I thought: something must have kept you back - it doesn't matter just what [sharp teeth - smile]. But then, you are in my hands now. You remember: "Any number failing to make a report to the Bureou within forty-eight hours is considered -"'
My heart pounded so hard that the rods of iron buckled. Like a little boy - foolishly, like a little boy - I had fallen into a trap; foolishly, I wasn't saying anything. I felt myself all entangled - I couldn't stir hand or foot.
She stood up, stretched lazily. She pressed a button: with a slight rattle the blinds fell on all sides. I was cut off from the world - all alone with her. (Zamyatin 1984: 64)
The membrane was still vibrating. The sledge-hammer was pounding away there, within me, against the red-hot rods of iron. I distinctly heard every blow and... and what if she were hearing it too? However, she kept on sending op the smoke, glancinc at me calmly from time to time, and neglectingly flicked the ashes from the tube on to my pink coupon. (Zamyatin 1984: 65-66)
The dark eyebrows quirked high towards the temples: the acute triangle of mockery: '"The rapid destruction of a few is more rational than giving tot he many the opportunity of working their own ruin" - then there's the matter of degeneration, and so on. (Zamyatin 1984: 66)
She was laughing. But I could clearly see her sorrowful lower triangle: the two deep creases from the corners of the mouth to the nose. And somehow, because of these creases, it became clear to me: that double-curved, stoop-shouldered, wing-eared fellow had embraced here - the way she was now. He! (Zamyatin 1984: 66)
E- kept laughing in a very strange way and for a very long time. Then she looked at me - into me - intently: 'But the main thing is that I feel perfectly safe with you.' (Zamyatin 1984: 67)
She poured into her mouth the entire content of the tiny glass of green poison, stood up and, shimmering roseatedly through the thin saffon tissue, took a few steps, halting behind my chair. Suddenly her arm was about my neck, her lips plunged into my lips - no, somewhere still deeper, still more frighteningly... I swear that this was utterly unexpected by me and, perhaps, merely because - For I could not possibly - right now I comprehend it with the utmost clarity - I could not possibly have desired of my own will what happened next.
Lips unbearably sweet (I suppose this was the taste of the liqueur) - and then a swallow of searing poison was poured into me - and another - and still another... I took off from the earth and, as an independent planet, rushed down, down, following an uncharted orbit...
What followed I can describe only approximately, only by means of more or less close analogies.
The idea had never come into my head before - but then the thing is precisely thus: we who live on this earth are constantly walking over a burbling, blood-red sea of fire hidden there, deep within the maw of the earth. But w never thing of that. But now suppose that this thin shell under our feet were suddenly turned to glass, that we were suddenly to see -
I had turned to glass. I saw into myself, deep within me. There were two Is. One I was my former self, D-503, the number D-503, while the other... Up to now he had merely shoved his shaggy hands just a little out of the shell, but now all of him was crawling out; the shell was cracking , any minute now it would fly into smithereens and... and what then? (Zamyatin 1984: 67-68)
I am in front of a mirror. And for the first time in my life (yes, precisely so: for the first time in my life) I see myself clearly, distinctly, consciously; I see myself with amazement, as if it were somebody else's I. There he is, this I: black eyebrows, as straight as if they were drawn with a ruler and, between them, like a scar, a vertical wrinkle (I don't know if it was there before). Steely grey eyes, ringed with the shadow of asleepless night, while behind that steel... well, it turns out that I had never known what was there. And out of there (this there is at the same time both here and infinitely far off) - from there I am contemplating myself (or him) and know that that fellow with his eyebrows as straight as if drawn with a ruler has nothing to do with me, a stranger whom I have met for the first time in my life. But I, the real I, am not he. (Zamyatin 1984: 70)
Suddenly I saw all the lustre leaving R-'s eyes and his lips taking a leaden colour. (Zamyatin 1984: 71)
'It's an ancient legend, do you understand, about Paradise [the P was a fountain]. For that legend applies to us, to our present time. Yes - you just thing it over! Those who in Paradise were offered a choice: of happiness without freedom or freedom without happiness. They were not offered a third. They, the dunderheads, chose freedom - and what do you think happened? Naturally, for ages thereafter, they longed for shackles. For shackles, you understand - that's what Weltshmerz is all about. For ages! And it is only we who have again struck on a way of bringing happiness back. (Zamyatin 1984: 72)
R- apparently read all this on my face; he broke into laughter as he took me around the shoulders: 'Oh, you... Adam! By the way, about Eve -' He rummaged for something in his pocket, drew out a notebeek, turned its leaves: 'The day after tomorrow - no, two days from now - O-90 has a pink coupon for you. How about you? Just as before? Would you like her to -' (Zamyatin 1984: 73)
'But tell me, did you ever happen to try nicotine or alcohol?'
R pursed his lips, looking at me from under his brows. I could hear his thoughts, perfectly clearly: 'When it comes to friends, you're a friend, sure enough... But just the same -' And then he answered, 'Well, how should I put it? Properly speaking, no. But I did know a certain woman -'
'E-!' I shouted.
'What - you... you were with her too?' He swilled up with laughter, gulped, and was on the verge of exploding.
My mirror was hung in such a way that in order to look into it one had to lean over the table; from where I sat all I could see were my forehead and eyebrows. And then I - the real I, caught sight in the mirror of my eyebrows as a distorted, twitching line, and my real I heard a savage, disgusting shout, 'What's that too for? No - just what is that too for? No - I demand -'
Protruding Negroid lips. Eyes goggling. I (the real I) got a good grip on the collar of that other self of mine, wild, shaggy, breathing hard. (Zamyatin 1984: 73)
A smile flitted over the thick lips: 'Yes, yes, yes! I understand, I understand" I'm familiar with that sort of thing - theoretically, of course. Good-bye!' (Zamyatin 1984: 74)
Darling O- will come tomorrow; everything will be simple, regular and limited - like a circle. I'm not afraid of the word limitation: the work of the highest faculty man has, his reason, consists precisely of a ceaseless limitation of infinity, of fractioning infinity into suitable, easily digested portions - or differentials. That is precisely what the divine beauty of my element - mathematics - consists of. And yet an understanding of that same beauty is the very thing that that... female number doesn't have. However, that is just in passing - a chance association of ideas. (Zamyatin 1984: 75)
It is so gratifying to feel somebody's vigilant eye upon me, lovingly guarding one from the least mistake, from the least erring step. It may sound somewhat sentimental, but that same analogy again comes to my mind - that of the guardian angels, whom the ancients used to dream about. How many of the things which they merely dreamed about have materialized in our life! (Zamyatin 1984: 75-76)
All of life in all its complexity and beauty is minted for all time in the gold of words. (Zamyatin 1984: 78)
#concursivity - All knowledge of nonverbal behaviour and it's variety and significance is minted for all time in the gold of words.
...and the barely audible sussuration of the listening membranes under the streets. (Zamyatin 1984: 78)
Just like UA, all of the glass city is one big receptor - in this case for listening.
I awoke at dawn: a roseate, unmarred firmament met my eyes. Everything was fine, rounded out. O- was coming this evening. I was all well by now, beyond a doubt. I smiled, went back to sleep. (Zamyatin 1984: 79)
I was silently watching her lips. All women are lips - nothing but lips. The lips. The lips of one are rosy, resiliently round, a circle, a gentle enclosure against the whole world. And then these: but a second before they had not been here and then, in a moment - the knife, slashing, and the sweet blood still dripping. (Zamyatin 1984: 80)
I remember smiling in a muddled sort of way and saying, for no particular reason, 'Fog... lots of it -' (Zamyatin 1984: 80)
And a homunculus - the thinnest ever. As if he were a paper cut-out, and no matter which way he might turn it wouldn't matter one bit: he would still have only a profile, ground fine, his nose a glistening blade, his lips a pair of scissors.
I didn't catch what E- was saying to him; I watched her speaking and felt that I was smiling irrepressibly, beatifically. The blades of the lip-scissors gleamed and the physicist said, 'Right, right. I understand. The most dangerous disease. I know of nothing more dangerous -' At that he laughed, wrote something with his tissue-paper hand, turned the slip over to E-; wrote again, handed the other slip over to me. (Zamyatin 1984: 81-82)
The heavy, creaking, opaque door closed and at once, painfully, the heart opened wide - wider still - to its widest. Her lips were mine: I drank and drank, tore myself away from time to time, gazed wordlessly in the eyes opened wide for me, and again - (Zamyatin 1984: 82)
The ripening was completed. And inevitably, as with iron and magnet, with delectable submission to an infallible, immutable law, I infused myself in her. There was no pink coupon, there was no accounting, there was no One State, there was no me. (Zamyatin 1984: 82)
In an excrutiating mood I kept pacing and pacing the room: after all, how was I to behave with her, with O-? To my right I clearly felt my neighbour's eyes fixed upon me, I distinctly saw the wrinkles on his forehead -a succession of yellow, illegible lines - and for some reason it seemed that those lines had to do with me. (Zamyatin 1984: 84)
Someone had terms for people who think that the behoviour of others is directed at them.
O- was lying down. I was kissing her slowly. I kissed that naive, chubby little fold at her wrist; her blue eyes were closed; the rosy cresent was slowly blossoming, unfolding - and I kissed her all over. Suddenly I clearly felt to what extent everything had been devastated, how everything had been given over to others. I couldn't, I mustn't. I had to - and I mustn't.
My lips instantly grew chill. The rosy crescent began to quiver; it dimmed, shrivelled. O- threw a coverlet over herself, wrapped herself up in it - and buried her face in the pillow.
I was sitting on the floor near the bed (what a desperately chill floor that was!); I was sitting there in silence. The excruciating cold from below crept higher and higher. Probably the same taciturn cold reigns out there, in the blue, mute interplanetary spaces. (Zamyatin 1984: 85)
I had barely set foot on the building site of the Integral when the Second Builder came towards me. His face had its usual look: it was a round plate of white faience, and when he spoke he was offering something unbearably tasty on that plate. (Zamyatin 1984: 87)
'They'll get the why and whereof out of the dear fellow' - this with a smile, a tasty smile. (Zamyatin 1984: 87)
The very air is so faintly rose-tinted, and everything is saturated wit hthe gentle blood of the sun; everything is alive - the stones are alive and soft, iron is alive and warm, people are alive and every last one of them is smiling. (Zamyatin 1984: 89)
And then I was shoulder to shoulder with them, welded with them, caught up in a steel rhythm. Their motions were measured; their cheeks were round as a rubber ball, their foreheads mirror-smooth, unclouded by the insanity of thoughts. I was afloat on a mirrorous sea. I was in repose.
And suddenly one of them turned to me insouciantly, 'Well, now, it is over - better today?'
'Better? What do you mean?'
'Why, you weren't here yesterday. We thought you were down with something serious' - his forehead was glowing, his smile was childlike, innocent.
My blood rushed to my face. I could not lie to those eyes - I simply could not. I was silent, I was drowning -
A face of faience, glowing in its round whiteness, thrust itself through the hatchway above: 'I say, D-503! Do come here, please! We've got the consoles jammed in the frame, you understand, and the tension readings aren't right -'
Without waiting to hear more I dashed up the ladder towards him: I was ignominiously saving myself by flight. I hadn't the heart to raise my eyes; there were spots before them because of the glittering glass steps underfoot, and with evvery step I was becoming more and more despondent: there was no place here for me, a criminal, a man filled with toxins. (Zamyatin 1984: 90)
She flitted by, filling for a second the yellow, empty world. Arm in arm with her was that double-curved S, who reached only to her shoulder; there was also the tissue-paper doctor, and some fourth number - all I can remember of him was his fingers: they were fluttering out of the sleeve of his unif like clusters of rays - fingers unusually slender, white, long. E- raised her hand and waved to me, then leaned over the head of her short companion towards the number with the finger rays. I thought I caught the name Integral: all four looked over their shoulders at me, and then they were lost against the grey-blue sky, and again there was the yellow, calcined path. (Zamyatin 1984: 92)
S-! Why, all these days, do I hear behind me his flat-footed steps, that sound as if he wer splashing through puddles? Why, all these days, is he after me like a shadow? A grey-blue, two dimensional shadow - ahead of me, on either side of me, behind me; people walk through it, step on it, bit it is just as intalterably present, close by, bound to me by an invisible umbilical cord. Is she, E-, this umbilical cord, perhaps? I don't know. Or, perhaps, is it already known to them - the the Guardians - that I -
Suppose you were to be told that your shadow sees you - sees you all the time. Do you understand? And then, suddenly, you have a queer sensation: your arms aren't your own but some stranger's - they're in your way. And I catch myself swinging my arms in a ridiculous fashion, completely out of rhythm with my walk. Or, suddenly, I must look over my shoulder, yet it is utterly out of the question to do so: my neck is in an iron clamp. And I run, even faster, and I sense with my back that the shadow is also running faster after me, and there is no place - no place! - where one may espace it... (Zamyatin 1984: 93)
Why, at any moment now, there would bob up the acute mocking angle of eyebrows quirked up towards the temple, and the dark windows of her eyes and within them, would be a fireplace flaming, and certain shadows flitting. And I would make my way in there, deep within, and I would call her thou (thou, without fail): 'Surely, thou knowest I cannot do without thee. Why, then, dost thou treat me so?' But she would not say a word. (Zamyatin 1984: 93-94)
A slight rustle - and a double-curved shadow was before me. I felt, without looking, how quickly the two augers of grey steel bored into me. I summoned all my strenght to smile and said (I had to say something), 'I... I have to go to the Medical Bureou -'
'What's keeping pou back, then? Why are you standing here?'
Blazing with shame, feeling that I was absurdly, topsy-turvidly hanging with my feet up in the air, I made no answer.
'Follow me,' said S- grimly.
I started walking, swinging my unnecessary arms, which apparently belonged to someone else. I couldn't raise my eyes; all this while I was traversing a wild, topsy-turvy world: over there was some machines or other, with their bases up, and people with their feet stuck antipodally to the ceiling and, still lower, was the sky, shackled by the thick glass of the pavement. The most humiliating thing of all, I remember, was the fact that, as the last sight of my life, all this should be thus, inverted, not as it really was. But raise my eyes I could not.
We came to a halt. There were steps before me. Just a step - and I would see figures in white surgical gowns, the enormous mute Bell Glass...
Forcing myself, as if I were using some sort of inner wormgear, I at last tore my gaze away frome the glass underfoot: suddenly the golder letters of Medical Bureau spattered my face. (Zamyatin 1984: 94-95)
'Well, then, take a plane, a surface - there, this mirror will do. And you and I are on this surface - there, you see: we're squinting our eyes because of the reflected sunlight, and there's the blue electric spark in that tube, and just now the shadow of an aero has flitted by. Only on the surface - only for a second. But just imagine that through the application of some form of firue this impenetrable surface has suddenly softened, and nothing any longer glides over it - everything penetrates it, into that mirror-world which we eyed with such curiosity when we were children - children aren't at all as foolish as people think they are, I assure you. The plan has become a mass, a body, a world, and that which is within the mirror is within you: the sun, and the whirlwind from the propeller of the aero, and you rquivering lips - and the lips of someone else. And, you understand, a cold mirror reflects, rejects, whereas my suppositious mirror absorbs, and retains a trace through all time of all things that have affected it. You may have once seen a barely perceptible wrinkle on someone's face - and that wrinkle is within you for ever; you may have once caught the sound of a drop of water falling amid silence - and you are hearing that sound right now -' (Zamyatin 1984: 96)
I nodded absent-mindedly. He gave me a look, broke into sharp, lancet-ish laighter. That other medical number heard him, stomped over on his stubby iron-pillar legs, tossed my thin-as-thin doctor on the horns of his eyes, then tossed me. (Zamyatin 1984: 96-97)
He put on enormous Roentgen spectacles and for a long while walked around me and peered intently through my skull, right into my brain, jotting some notes into a book. (Zamyatin 1984: 97)
Again his eyes transpierced me, smiling the narrowest of smiles. And it seemed to me that I saw, perfectly clearly, a word, a letter, a name - the unique name - wrapped up in the fine tissue of this smile. Or was that only my fantasy again? (Zamyatin 1984: 97-98)
Turbidly, dully, the blunt muzzle of some beast showed through the glass; its yellow eyes persistently kept repeating the same unvarying though which was incomprehensible to me. For a long while we looked into each other's eyes, those shafts from the superficial world into that other world under the surface. And a thought began stirring within me: 'But what if that yellow-eyed creature, living its uncalculated life among its ridiculous, dirty deaps of leaves, is happier than we are?' I swung up my arm: the yellow eyes blinked, backed away, disappeared in the leafage. The pitiful creature! What an absurdity - its being happier than we! Yes, happier than I, perhaps - but then I am only an exception: I am ill. And, even I - (Zamyatin 1984: 100)
'You? Here?' - and his scissor-lips clicked shut. And I - it seemed as if I had never even known as much as a single human word; I stood there, saying nothing, and understood absolutely nothing of what he was saying to me. Probably that I would have to leave that place, because the next thing he did was to shove me quickly with his paper-flat abdomen to the end of this better-lighted stretch of the corridor - after which he nudged me in the back. (Zamyatin 1984: 103)
I don't remember at what point we turned off into the darkness - and then, in the darkness, silently, started mounting endless steps. I did not see it but I knew that she was walking the same way that I was: with eyes closed, like one blind, her head thrown back, biting her lips and listening to the music - the music of my barely perceptible tremor. (Zamyatin 1984: 104)
I was in my room. The morning was still green, congealed. A splinter of the sun rested on the mirror of the closet door. I was in my bed. So - a dream. But my heard was still beating riotously, fluttering, ketting; there was a nagging tingling at my finger and toe tips, at my knees. There was no doubt about these things. And right then I did not know which was dream and which reality; irrational quantities, were sending up shoots through all that was solid, habitual, tri-dimensional, and instead of firm, polished planes there was something gnarled, shaggy around me... (Zamyatin 1984: 106-107)
I sought for a way out of the logical wildwood and could not find it. This wildwood was much the same as the unknown and scary impenetrable forests beyond the Green Wall - and, at the same time, these forests were extraordinary, incomprehensible creature who spoke without words. (Zamyatin 1984: 107)
I felt myself all gummed over by her smile: it was intended as a plaster to be applied to all the wounds which would shortly be inflicted upon me by the letter shaking in my hand. (Zamyatin 1984: 110)
There, I can hear footsteps, and I can see - can feel - through the door that a plaster-smile has been slapped on my face; then she passes by and goes down another staircase. (Zamyatin 1984: 113)
D-503's response to a shadow that is following him is to slap a smile on his face.
I was confronted by a forehead that looked like a rakishly slanted and lowered cap brim, while the eyes... the eyes created a very odd impression: as though the fellow were speaking from under his eyebrows, as if speech were coming out of his eyes. (Zamyatin 1984: 113)
The letter is torn into scraps. I caught a second's glimpse of my distorted, broken eyebrows in the mirror. I picked up the coupon, to have it share the fate of her note - (Zamyatin 1984: 114)
She sat down behind me, just a little to my left. I looked at her over my shoulder; she submissively took her eyes away from the table with the baby on it, fixed them on me, within me, and, once more, she, I and the table on the platform constituted three points, and drawn through these points were three lines, the projection of certain events, inevitable but as yet unperceived. (Zamyatin 1984: 115)
'That means' - a smile concealed the almost imperceptible tremor of her lips, but I perceived it. 'Very well, then! I'm going right... right now.' (Zamyatin 1984: 116)
Her eyes were shut, as if she were staring directly at the sun. Her smile was moist, refulgent. (Zamyatin 1984: 117)
Something crackled. Most probably it was nothing more than O-, slightly shifting. She sat there, hands between her knees, without uttering a word. (Zamyatin 1984: 117)
The thing is very simple: in the first place, isolated by the blinds from all plastery, therapeutic smiles, I am able to write these very lines in peace. (Zamyatin 1984: 121)
...homo sapiens is man in the fullest sense of that phrase only when his grammar has absolutely no question marks but exclamation points, commas and full stops exclusively. (Zamyatin 1984: 121)
There, just what did she mean by that no use? And what odd behaviour, to consider me no more than somebody's shadow! But perhaps all of you are my shadows: was it not I who peopled with you these pages which only recently were quadrangular deserts of white? Come, if it were not for me, would you ever be seen by those whom I shall lead over the narrow paths of the lines I have written?
Naturally, I did not say all this to her; through my own experience I knew that the most excrutiating thing is to implant in an individual a doubt as to his or her being a reality - a threedimensional reality rather than some other sort. I merely remarked to her drily that her business was only to tend the entrance, and she let me into the courtyard. (Zamyatin 1984: 122)
I fell into pits, stumbled against stones; rusty paws kept clutching at my unif, acrid-salty drops of sweat crept down my forehead and into my eyes. (Zamyatin 1984: 123)
However, I realize that I could not write just then. All the time I was listening intently; all the time I was looking behind me, expecting something. Expecting what? I don't knew. (Zamyatin 1984: 124)
I am very fond of children, and I consider that cruelty constitutes the most arduous, the highest sort of love. You understand? (Zamyatin 1984: 124-125)
Something that the Underground Man would say.
She smiled; if spelled out, the text of that smile would have evidently approximation, 'Oh, what a stubborn little boy!' Then she sat down. Eyes lowered. Hands modestly adjusting a fold of her unif which had again fallen between her knees. (Zamyatin 1984: 125)
Picture yourself standing on the shore of the sea. The waves rise rhythmically and, at their highest, suddenly remain thus, congealed, comatose. It was just as ghastly and unnatural a phenomenon when our walk, ordained by The Tables of Hourly Commandments, was suddenly thrown into confusion and, disrupted, came to a halt. The last time anything like that had happened was 119 years afo when, as our chronicles proclaim, a meteorite plunged into the very midst of the walkers with great noise and much smoke. (Zamyatin 1984: 127)
But a certain movement of hers (as she twisted her hips to the left) - and it became clear to me that I knew (I knew) that body, as pliant as a whiplash; my eyes, my lips, my hands knew it - at that moment I was utterly certain of it. (Zamyatin 1984: 128)
There I was, at that point, walking in step with all of them, and yet, despite everything, apart from them all. I was still shaking from the perturbations I had gone through, like a trestle over which a railway train of the ancients had just rumbled. I was conscious of myself. But then, consciousness of self, awareness of individuality, pertains only to an eye with a speck of something in it, to an infected finger, to an aching tooht; when an eye, a finger, a tooth is sound each seems non-existent, as it were. Is it not clear that consciousness of self is only a disease? (Zamyatin 1984: 130)
U- took my pink stub - and through the glass of th ewall one could see, hanging over her head from an unprecedented branch, a light-blue, aromatic moon. I solemnly pointed my finger at it and said, 'The moon - you understand?'
U- glanced at me, then at the number on the stub - and I saw that familiar, charmingly chaste movement of hers: she was adjusting the folds of her unif between her angular knees. (Zamyatin 1984: 131)
'But what makes you think that folly isn't a good thing? If we had groomed and cultivated folly through the ages as we groomed and cultivated intelligence, it is possible that something exceedingly precious might have resulted from it.' (Zamyatin 1984: 132)
'Yes - I am completely yours!'
She took my face - all of me - between her palms, raising my head:
'Well, now what about your "obligations of every honest number"? Eh?'
Sweet, sharp, white teeht; a smile. In the open calyx of the armchair she was like a bee: there was a sting in her - and honey.
Yes, obligations... In my mind I turned over the pages of my last entries: really, there was not the least idea in them to the effect that, properly speaking, I was obliged to -
I kept silent. I was rapturously (and, probably, inanely) smiling, gazing into her pupils, shifting from one to the other and seeing myself in each one; I, tiny, a millimetre high, was imprisoned in those tiny, iridescent dungeons. And after that, again the bee lips, the delectable pain of florescence. (Zamyatin 1984: 133)
E- raised her head and propped herself on her elbow. The two long sharp lines at the corners of her lips and the dark ongles of her raised eyebrows formed a cross.
'Perhaps, on that day -' she stopped, and her eyebrows turned still darker. She took my hand, squeezing it hard. 'Tell me: you won't forget me? You will always remember me?' (Zamyatin 1984: 133-134)
She said (already near the door), 'You'll see for yourself.'
I was alone. All that had remained behind her was a barely perceptible fragrence, something like the sweet, dry yellow pollen of certain flowers frowing on the other side of the Green Wall. (Zamyatin 1984: 135)
But as for us, we have nothing to conceal or to be ashamed of: we celebrate our elections openly, honestly, in the light of day. I can see how all give their votes for The Benefactor - all can see how I give my vote for The Benefactor - and how can things be otherwise, since all and I are the one We? (Zamyatin 1984: 139)
Raising myself a little I looked about me, and my gaze met lovingly alarmed eyes that were shifting from face to face. There, one number had raised his hand and, wagging his fingers barely perceptibly, was signalling to another, whereupon a finger wagged back in answer. And a third joined in... I grasped the situation: they were the Guardians. I also grasped that they were alarmed by something: the spider web was taut, it was vibrating. And within me, as if in a radio receiver tuned to the same wave-lungth, there was a responsive vibration. (Zamyatin 1984: 141)
I was transpierced, twisted into a knot by a lightning discharge of hich voltage. In our row, only 40$$$ from me, S- came to a stop, bent over. I saw E- and, alongside her, R-13 with his repellently Negroid lips, smirking.
My first thought was to rush over there and to shout to her, 'Why are you with him today? Why didn't you want me to be with you?' But an invisible, beneficient spider web had coconed me hand and foot, immovably; gritting my teeth I sat there as if I were of iron, without taking my eyes off the group. (Zamyatin 1984: 141-142)
Without raising my eyes I could constantly see those two - E- and R- - side by side, shoulder to shoulder, and a pair of shaggy hands, hands which were somebody else's, which I abominated, were trembling on my knees. (Zamyatin 1984: 142)
If I could have looked into His eyes, straightforwardly and devotedly as formerly: 'Here I am, all of me. All of me! Accept me!' But I dared not, then. It was with an effort, as if all my joints had rusted, that I raised my hand.
The rustling of millions of hands. Somebody's muffled 'Ah!' (Zamyatin 1984: 143)
It was but a hundreth part of a second, but a hair's-breath. I saw: thousands of hands beat, winglike, upward, against - then lowered. I saw: the pale face of E- with a cross marking it, her raised hand. Everfthing turned dark before my eyes.
Another hair's-breath; a pause; everything stilled; the pulse pounding. Then - as if at the signal of some insane conductor, simultaneously on all the rostra: crackling, screams, a whirlwind of unifs billowing in flight, figures of Guardians distractedly darting about, the heels of somebody's shoes in the air before my very eyes - close to those heels somebody's mouth stretched wide and straining in an inaudible scream. For some reason that has become engraved in my memory most sharply of all: thousands of inaudibly bellowing mouths, as if in a silent film thrown upon a monstrous screen. (Zamyatin 1984: 143)
This was no longer o a screen - this was within my own sely, within my vice-gripped heart, within my temples, which had begun to pound. R-13 suddenly leapt forth on a bench over my head, towards the left - all red, frenzied, his lips spattering. In his arms was E-, pale, her unif torn from shoulder to breast, blood staining the white cloth. She was holding fast to his neck and he, making enormous leaps from bench to bench, repulsive and agile as a gorilla, was carrying her off, higher and higher.
Just as if at a conflageration among the ancients, everything turned red - dark red - before me, and I had but one thought - to leap after them, to reach them. Right now I cannot explain to myself whence I found such strength, but I breached the crowd like a battering ram, stepping on somebody's shoulders, on benches - and then I was right near them, had seized R- by the back of his collar: 'Don't you dare! Don't you dare, I tell you! Right now' - fortunately, my voice could not be heard: all were absorbed in their own screaming, all were running.
'Who's that? What's going on? What -' R- turned around; his lips, spluttering, were quivering - he probably thought that he had been seized by one of the Guardians.
'What? I'll tell you what - I won't have any of this - I won't allow it! Put her down this minute!'
But he merely made an angry, plopping noise with his lips, tossed his head and ran on. And at that point I - I am unbelievably ashamed to write this down, yet it seems to me that I am nevertheless bound, absolutely bound to write it so that you, my unknown readers, might study the case history of my disease to the very end - at that point I swung back and struck him over the head. You understand? Is struck him! I remember that distinctly. And I also remember the sensation of a certain liberation, of bouyoncy in my whole body as a result of this blow.
E- quickly slipped out of his arms.
'Go away!' she shouted to R-, 'There, you can see for yourself that he... Go away, R- - go away!'
R-, baring teeth as dazzlingly white as a Negro's, spattered some word or other in my face, made a dive, disappeared somewhere below. As for me, I picked E- up in my arms, clasped her hard to my breast and bore her off. (Zamyatin 1984: 144)
'But tomorrow' - she was breathing avidly through clenched, gleaming sharp teeth - 'why, nobody knows what will happen tomorrow. Do you understand - I do not know, nobody knows - the thing is unknown! Do you understand that the known has come to an end? Henceforth the new, the improbably, the prodigious!'
There, below, people were churning, rushing, screaming. But all that was far off, and receding ever further, because she was gazing at me, she was slowly drawing me into herself through the narrow golden windows of her pupils. Thus for a long while, in silence. And for some reason the recollection came to me of how once I had been gazing through the Green Wall into certain incomprehensible yellow pupils, while birds were soaring above the Wall (or I may have seen those birds on another occasion). (Zamyatin 1984: 145)
Are you familiar with the strange state of waking in the night, opening your eyes to blackness, and suddenly feeling that you are lost? And quickly, as quickly as possible, you begin groping around you ,seeking something familiar and solid - a wall, a small lamp, a chair... That was precisely my sensation as I groped and searched through the Gazette of The One State quickly, as quickly as possible... (Zamyatin 1984: 147)
My step as I walked along the Prospect was particularly firm and resounding - and it seemed to me that all were walking along in much the same way as I was. But then I came to the crossing where I had to turn the corner, and I saw that everybody was going around the corner of the building somewhat oddly, sliding away from it, as if a pipe had burst in its wall and were spurting cold water, making the sidewalk impassable.
Five steps more, then ten - and I in my turn was doused with cold water that made me sway, knocking me off the kerb. Upon the wall, at a height of two meters or thereabouts, there was a square piece of paper, and staring from it were incomprehensible letters of a venomous green:
- while below it I saw a black bent in the form of an S and wing-ears transparently swaying from wrath or agitation. With his right arm raised and his left helplessly stretched back as if it were an aching, maimed wing, S- kept leaping upward to tear down the bit of paper - and couldn't manage it, missing it by the tiniest margin. (Zamyatin 1984: 148)
S- turned around, quickly; ever so quickly he sank the tiny drills in his eyes into me, to the very bottom, got something out of there. Then he cocked his left eyebrow, sort of winked with that brow in the direction of the wall where the MEPHI thing had been hanging. And the tail end of his smile flittered before me - to my astonishment it seemed to be actually a gay smile. But then, what is there to be astonished at? The physician will always prefer a rash and a fever of 40$$$ centigrade to the exhausting, slowly rising temperature of an incubational period: the high temperature at least made clear the nature of the disease. This MEPHI which has broken out of the walls is a rash. I understood his smile.* (Zamyatin 1984: 149)
*I must confess that I found the exact solution for that smile only after many days that were chock-full of the strangest and most unexpected events. (Zamyatin 1984: 149; footnote)
In the stillness the distinct humming of the wheels was like the pounding of enfevered blood. One of the numbers felt a touch on his shoulder - startled, he dropped a bundle of papers. And another number, to the left of me, was reading the selfsame line, the selfsame line in his newspaper - and the newspaper was barely perceptibly trembling. (Zamyatin 1984: 149)
I was questioning the second Builder. His face is of faience, decorated with little flowers of sweet blue and tender pink (his eyes, his lips), but that day they were faded, washed out, somehow. We were tallying aloud the cubes of frozen air when I broke off suddenly, in the middle of a word, and stood there with mouth gaping: there was a barely noticeable small white paper pasted on a blue block of frozen air which a crane had lifted hich, under the very cupola. And my whole body was shaken - by laughter, perhaps. Yes, it was laughter - I could hear myself laughing. (are you familiar with the sensation of hearing your own laughter?) (Zamyatin 1984: 150)
Water dripping on stone somewhere. No one had come. With rather rueful joy I felt I was saved. I slowly walked back along the corridor. The tremulous dotted line of small electric bulbs on the ceiling was becoming dimmer, ever dimmer. (Zamyatin 1984: 151)
The spears of her eyelashes moved aside, letting me enter, and... How can I convey what this ancient, preposterous, wonderful rite does to me, when her lips touch mine? Through what formula can I express this whirlwind which sweeps everything out of my soul except her? Yes, yes, out of my soul - laugh at me, if you like.
Slowly, with an effort, she raised her eyelids - and her words came with difficulty, slowly: 'No, that's enough... later... let's go now.' (Zamyatin 1984: 151)
'We have simply gone beyond the Green Wall -'
It was then I opened my eyes - and was face to face, in reality, with that very sort of thing which up to then none of those living had seen other than diminished a thousand times, weakened, smudged over by the turbid glass of the Wall.
The sun - it was no longer that sun of ours, proportionately distributed over the mirror-like surface of the pavements; this sun cunsisted of some sort of living splinters of incessantly bobbing spots which blinded one's eyes, made one's head go round. And the trees - like candles thrusting into the very sky, like spiders squatting flat against the earth on their grarled paws, like mute fountains jetting green... And all these things were going on all fours, stirrring, rustling; some sort of rough-skinned little ball darted out from underfoot. As for me, I stood there rooted to the ground; I could not make a step, because the surface underfoot was not a flat plane - not a flat plane, you understand, but something repulsively soft, yielding, alive, green, springy.
I was stunned by all this, I gulped (that is, perhaps, the most approximate word). I stood there, clutching a swaying branch with both hands.
'That's nothing - nothing at all! You feel that way only at first - this feeling will pass. A little more courage!' (Zamyatin 1984: 152)
Here D-503 comes into contact with living nature outside of the city walls.
He turned his shaggy eyebrows ternly upon me: 'Shhh! Not so loud,' and the eyebrows shaggily nodded in the direction of the central point, where the skull-yellow boulder was. (Zamyatin 1984: 154)
'No, brothers - not "down with it!" The Integral must be ours instead. On the day when it first casts off its moorings and sails into the sky we will be abroad. Because the Builder of the Integral is with us. He has abandoned walls; he has come here with me to be in your midst. All hail to the Builder!'
An instant - and I was somewhere up there; below me were heads, heads, heads, mouths distended in clamour, hands plashing upward and subsiding. All this was extraordinarily strange, inebriating; I felt myself superior to all, I was I, a world by itself, I had ceased to be an item, as I had always been, and had become an integer. An then, with my body rumpled, suffused with happiness, crumpled as if after the embraces of love, I was down to earth, near the very boulder. The sun, voices above, the smile of E-. A woman with golden hair (and all of her was satiny-golden; redolent of grasses) was holding a chalice, apparently of wood; her red lips drank off a little and she held out the vessel to me - and avidly, closing my eyes, I drank to drown the fire within me; I drank the sweet, prickly, cold sparkles. And then, my blood and all the universe raced a thousand times faster; the light earth flew like down. And all things were, to me, light, simple, clear. (Zamyatin 1984: 154-155)
E- was by my side; her smile was drawn in two shaded strokes - up, at angles, from the corners of her mouth. (Zamyatin 1984: 155)
A bird, in low, slow flight. I perceived it was alive, even as I was; it turned its head to the right, to the left, even as man does, and its black beady eyes held me fast as if with screws. (Zamyatin 1984: 156)
I squeezed E-'s hand with all my might. She looked at me over her shoulder: 'What is it?'
'He's here. It seems to me -'
'Whe's he?'
'S-. There, just now, in the crowd -'
Coal-black, slender eyebrows quirked up towards the temples: the acute triangle of her smile. It was not clear to me why she was smiling - how could she smile?
'You don't understand, E-; you don't understand what it means, if he, or any one of that lot, is here.'
'Funny fellow! Come, would it ever enter the head of anyone there, inside the Wall, that we are out here? Think back; take yourself for example - did you ever imagine that this was possible? They're hunting us there - let them hunt! You're raving.'
She smiled, lightly, gaily, and I smiled as well; the earth, inebriated, gay, light was floating along... (Zamyatin 1984: 156)
More and more new things are happening, there is something very like a cloudburst of events, and there isn't enough of me to catch all of it - I hold up the flaps of my unif, I hold out my cupped hands, but just the same bucketfuls splash past me and only droplets fall on these pages. (Zamyatin 1984: 157)
E- placed her hand on the back of my chair and smiled over her right shoulder at the other - with her teeth only. I wouldn't want to stand up against that smile. (Zamyatin 1984: 157-158)
An instant's glimpse in the mirror of the broken, jumpy line of my eyebrows; then I sprang up and, with difficulty restraining that other fellow within, whose hairy fists were shaking, with like difficulty getting each word out through clenched teeth and quite sibilantly, I shouted at her, at her very gills, 'Out - this very second! This very second - ' (Zamyatin 1984: 158)
'I can do what, at any moment I like?' - and then I understood what this what was; the blood surged to my ears, my cheeks, and I cried out, 'You mustn't speak of this - you must never speak to me of this! For surely you must understand that was the other I, my former self, but that now -' (Zamyatin 1984: 158)
E- was stroking my head. I could not see her face, but by her voice I could tell that just then she was looking at some point very far off; her eyes had grappled a cloud that was inaudibly, slowly floating to some destination utterly unknown. (Zamyatin 1984: 158-159)
'But this is madness,' I was saying. 'You - against The One State! That's just the same as putting your hand over the mouth of a gun and thinking that that should keep the shot back. This is utter madness!'
She, with a smile, '"We must all go mad - as speedily as possible." Somebody said that yesterday. You remember? Over there -'
Yes, I had made an entry of it. And, consequently, all that had really taken place. I was looking at her face in silence: that dark cross was especially in evidence on her face just then.
'E-, dearest, before it is too late ... If you want me to, I'll drop everything, I'll forget everything, and you and I will go there, beyond the Wall, to those... I don't know who they are -'
She shook her head. Through those dark windows, her eyes, I saw there, deep within her, an oven flaming, sparks, tongues of flame licking upward, mountains of piled dry, resinous firewood. And it was clear to me that it was too late, already my words would avail nothing. She stood up - she was about to leave. Perhaps the last days were already here - perhaps the last minutes. I seized her hand: 'No! Stay, if only a little - well, for the sake of... of -'
She was slowly raising my hand to the light - my hairy hand that I detested so. I wanted to snatch it away from her but she held it fast. (Zamyatin 1984: 159-160)
A pause - and how strange: that because of a pause, of a void, of nothing at all, the heart should race so. (Zamyatin 1984: 160)
I remember, distinctly, every movement of hers. I remember how she had picked up my glass triangle from the table and, all the while that I had been talking, had held its sharp edge against her cheek, until a white weal had appeared there; then, as she took the triangle away, I saw the weal filling with rosiness, disappearing. And, amazingly, I cannot recall her words - especially when she began - but only certain images, colours. (Zamyatin 1984: 160)
Comparable to Clarisse's flower trick, I think.
At that moment there was a tap at the door, a whisper of a tap, and that same flattened fellow with his forehead shoved down over his eyes, who had more than once brought me notes from E-, sprang into the room. He came towards us at a run, halted, wheezing like an air pump - and could not utter a word; he must have been running for all he was worth. (Zamyatin 1984: 161-162)
Shrunk into a tiny lump, cowering under the overhang of my own forehead, I saw (somehow stealthily, from under my evebrows) how they were going room to room, starting at the right end of the corridor and coming ever nearer. Some of the occupants were sitting as cataleptically as I; others (the lucky ones!) would spring up to meet the inspector and fling the doors open for them. If I could have done the same! (Zamyatin 1984: 163)
S- was in the lead, his eyes somberly, silently, quickly drilling wells in me, in my armchair, in the sheets twitching under my hand. Then, for a second, I caught sight of certain familiar, everyday faces in the doorway, and shortly one of these separated itself from the others: the palpitating rosily brown gills emerged. I recalled everything that had taken place in this room half an hour before, and it became clear to me that at any moment she would - All my being was pounding and pulsating in that (fortunately) opaque portion of my anatomy with which I had shielded my manuscript. (Zamyatin 1984: 163)
His butt was pounding and pulsating.
There, what hadn't I been thinking about her! What a wonderful, amazing woman... S- glided in my direction, bent over my shoulder towards the table. I placed my elbow in such a way as to screen what I had written, but he said sternly in a loud voice, 'I must ask you to show me at once what you have there!'
Blazing with shame I handed him the sheet. He read it through and I saw a smile slither out of his eyes, dart down his face and then squat, with its tiny tail barely twitching, somewhere in the vicinity of the right corner of his mouth: 'Somewhat ambiguous but, just the same - well, now, do go on; we're not going to bother you any further.'
He flapped off, as if he were whacking water with paddles, towards the door, and at his every step I felt my feet, hands, fingers gradually revert to me; my soul was once more distributing itself proportionately throughout my body; I was drawing breath again - (Zamyatin 1984: 174)
In this last bit reconsider the connection between the word "soul" and the other connection (besides "breath") it has with the body - blood.
When I was only a short distance away from the enormous, solid, rust-red pile of the House of Antiquity I caught the sounds of hard breathing, a patter of somebody's hurried footsteps behind me. I turned around and saw it was O-, trying to catch up with me. All of her was somehow peculiarly, resiliently rounded in a painstakingly finished fashion. Her arms, and the inverse chalices of her breasts, and all her body which I knew so well, were in the round, and making her unif taut: there, at any moment, the thin material would be rent and everything would be in the open, under the sun, in the light. (Zamyatin 1984: 165)
For a few seconds her eyes shed their blue light upon my face; then, 'I saw you that time - on the Day of Unanimity.'
'I saw you too -' and immediately the recollection came to me of how she had stood there hugging the wall in the narrow passage below and protecting her belly with her arms. I involuntarily glanced at the round belly bulging out her unif.
She must have noticed my glance, became spherically rosy - even her smile was rosy, 'I am so happy! I am filled - filled to the brim, you understand. And so I walk about and hear nothing of what's going on around me, but am all the time listening to what's going on inside me, within my own self -'
I kept silent. Some foreign substance was clinging to my face, bothering me, and I simply could not get rid of it. And suddenly, unexpectedly, the blue light beaming a still more intensive blue, she seized my hand - and I felt her lips upon it. This was my first such experience in all my life. It was some sort of an ancient caress which I had known nothing of up to then, and it shamed and pained me so much that I snatched my hand away - likely as not I may even have been rough about it. (Zamyatin 1984: 166)
She was extinguished; all her circumferences sagged, warped. As for me, I felt an unpleasant (even a sickly) contraction, linked with a feeling of pity, within my heart (the heart is nothing but an ideal pump: to speak of compression, contraction in connection with a pump's suction of a liquid is a technical absurdity; hence it is clear to what an extent all these loves, pities, etc., etc., which bring about such a contraction, are essentially absurd, unnatural, sickly). (Zamyatin 1984: 166)
In my mind's eye I saw E- and myself leading O- through those corridors; why, she was already there, outside the Wall, among those flowers, grasses, leaves. But she backed away from me; the tiny horns of her rosy mouth-crescent were quivering and twisting downward. 'It's that same woman,' said she. (Zamyatin 1984: 167)
And, throughout the conversation, we were under the smile, frozen in marble, of that snub-nosed ancient poet. (Zamyatin 1984: 168)
He means Puškin.
'Dear man, you're a mathematician' - her eyebrows were a mocking acute triangle. 'Even more - you're a philosopher, because of your mathematics. Well, then: name the ultimate number for me.'
'What do you mean? I... I don't understand - what ultimate number?'
'Why, the ultimate, the supreme, the greatest number of all.'
'Come, E-, that's preposterous. Since the number of numbers is infinite, what number would you want to be the ultimate one?'
'Well, and what revolution would you want to be the ultimate one? There is no ultimate revolution - revolutions are infinite in number. The ultimate revolution - that's for children. Infinity scares children, yot it is necessary for children to sleep soundly of nights -' (Zamyatin 1984: 169)
'Well, we know, for the time being, that there is no ultimate number. It may be that we will forget that. No, not maybe but surely, we will forget that when we will have grown old, as all things must, ineluctably. And then we too will drift downward, as autumnal leaves drift down from a tree, as on the day after toworrow you - no, no, dearest - not you! For you are with us - you are with us!' All ablaze, cyclonic, coruscant - never yet had I seen her like that - she embraced me with herself, with all of her. I vanished - At the last, looking steadfastly, firmly into my eyes, 'Remember, then: at noon.' (Zamyatin 1984: 170)
Did you ever see a wool-gathering, senselessly dreamy smile spread over the physiognomy of a pump cylinder while it was working? Did you ever hear any cranes tossing restlessly in bed and sighing of nights, during the hours appointed for rest?
And yet the Guardians have more and more often (well may you blush!) seen these smiles and heard these sighs among you. And (you may well hide your eyes!) the historians of The One State are tendering their resignation so that they may be spared having to chronicle sundry ignominious occurrences.
However, you are not to blame for these things - you are sick. And the name of your sickness is
Fantasy is a worm whose boring leaves black furrows on your brows. Fantasy is a fever which drives you on to further and further flight, even though this further point may begin where happiness ends. Fantasy is the last barricade on the road to happiness. (Zamyatin 1984: 173)
This was on the front page of the Gazette of The One State.
You, if you had read all this not in these notes of mine, which are so much like some whimsical novel of antiquity, but if instead had this newspaper sheet, still redolent of printer's ink, quivering in your hands as it is quivering in mine, if you knew, as I know, that all this is the most actual reality (if not today's then tomorrow's) - would not your sensations be the very same as mine? Would not your head be spinning, even as mine is spinning right now? Would not these same eerie, delectable needles of ice be darting your back and arms? Would you not feel that you were a Titan, an Atlas, and that if you were to stand up straight your head would inevitably bump against the glass of the ceiling. (Zamyatin 1984: 174)
The darling! Such a dear, dear darling. 'Without fail!' I felt I was smiling, and simply couldn't stop, and I would go forth like that, bearing this smile through the streets like a lantern, high above my head! (Zamyatin 1984: 174)
A cautious tap on my elbow, from behind, I turned, confronting the Second Builder's dish face. (Zamyatin 1984: 175)
What a peculiar, limited fellow. Can't see anything beyond that dish face of his. (Zamyatin 1984: 176)
I was in my room at 15:30. I entered - and saw U-. She was sittitng at my table - bony, erect, unyielding, her right cheek planted on her right hand. She must have been waiting a long time, because when she sprang up to greet me the impression of the four fingers and thumb remained for quite a while on her face. (Zamyatin 1984: 176)
I unhesitatingly held out my hand to her, forgiving her everything: she clutched both my hands hard, squeezing them with prickly fingers, while her cheeks, which dangled like antique ornaments, quivered from time to time... (Zamyatin 1984: 176)
She adjusted the grey-blue cloth between her knees; plastered me silently, quickly with a smile; went out. (Zamyatin 1984: 177)
I sank on the floor near her chair, embracing her legs, throwing my head back so as to look into her eyes, now into one, now into the other, and saw myself in each, held in wonderous captivity. (Zamyatin 1984: 177)
She broke into loud - much too loud - laughter. Quickly, within a second, she laughed until she reached some brink, took a step - and went over... A pause. She stood up. Placed her hands on my shoulder. Looked at me - long, deliberately. Then drew me to her - and there was nothing save her keen, searing lips. (Zamyatin 1984: 178)
The triangle was mercilessly acute, black against white: 'What? You don't want happiness?' (Zamyatin 1984: 178)
Do you believe that you will die? Yes: man is mortal; I am a man: ergo... No, that's not it - I know that you know all that. But what I am asking is this: have you ever had occasion to believe in this, to believe it indefinitely, believe it not with your mind but your body, to feel that the fingers holding this very page will one day be yellow, icy - (Zamyatin 1984: 180)
And it was strange that the flat, schematic face of the Second Builder should suddenly speak up: 'Well, now, how much motor fuel are we taking on? If we reckon on three hours - or on three hours and a half, let us say -'
Before me - in projection, as if on a draft - is my hand holding a computus, a logarithmic dial, the figure fifteen. 'Fifteen tons. No, you'd better take on... yes, take on a hundred tons' - this because I knew, after all, that on the morrow - And, from the side, I saw my hand with the logarithmic dial beginning to tremble, barely perceptibly. (Zamyatin 1984: 181)
As always, the numbers were walking in ranks, four to each. But the ranks were, somehow, unstable and (perhaps because of the wind) wavering, sagging. More and more, right along. There, these groups had collided with something at the corner, had rolled back, and then frozen into a solid, tight, quickly bretahing wad: all of them, instantaneously, acquired the elongated necks of geese. (Zamyatin 1984: 181)
Somebody's piercing scream: 'It's a dragnet! Run!'
Everything in a tidal surge. Near the wall of the building there was still a small, narrow living gateway - all stampeded towards it, their heads momentarily sharpening into wedges, their elbows, ribs, shoulders, hips becoming ocute. Trampling feet, fluttering hands, unifs - all these sprayed out like a fan and came showering down all around me, like water under high pressure escaping through a firehose. For a second a doubly-curved, S-shaped body, a pair of translucent wing-ears, impinged on my eyes - then their owner was no longer there, had vanished through the ground, and I was alone in the midst of instantaneous arms, legs; I was on the run -
A brief respite to catch my breath, at some entrance, with my back pressed hard against the door - and immediately a tiny human sliver was flattened against me, as if driven by the wind.
'I've been... I've been running after you all the time, I don't have any of this - you understand? I won't have it! I am ready to -'
rounded, diminutive hands on my sleeve, the eyes round, blue - it was she, O-. And then, somehow totally, she slid down the wall, slumped to the ground. She contracted into a small ball down there, on the cold steps, and I stood over her, stroking her head, her face... and found my hands were wet. It was as if I were very big, while she was utterly little - a little part of my own self. This was an altogether different emotion from that which I felt for E-, and at that moment I had a notion that there might have been something of that sort among the ancients in their attitude towards their private children. (Zamyatin 1984: 182-183)
Under her unif the sap-swollen body stirred anew, the belly grew just the least trifle rounder, a barely glimmering dawn, a morning glow, appeared on her face. I thrust the note into her chilled fingers, clasped he hand hard, my eyes drank for the last time from the blue of her eyes. (Zamyatin 1984: 185)
No time lost in getting at the Gazette. I read it with my eyes (the phrase is precise: my eyes just then were like pen, like a computus, objects which one holds, feels in one's hands; my eyes were extraneous, they were instruments). (Zamyatin 1984: 186)
Through the inertia of dayl habit I stretched out my hand (an instrument) towards the bookshelf to put today's Gazette together with the other issues in a binder ornamented with gilt. (Zamyatin 1984: 186)
When I came aboard the Integral all were already mustered, all were at their posts, all the cells of the glass behive were filled. Through the glass of the decks one could see the people below, tiny, like ants, standing by the telegraph instruments, dynamos, transformers, altimeters, ventilators, dial indicators, pumps, tubes. In the wardroom some numbers (probably assigned by the Scientific Bureau) were bent over tabulations and instruments, with the second Builder and his two assistants standing by. These three had their heads drawn in between their shoulders like turtles; their faces were grey, autumnal, anything but beaming.
'Well, how do you feel?' I asked.
'So-so. Kind of scary,' one of the trio smiled, greyishly, without beaming. 'We may not land no one knows where. And in general, everything is unknown -' (Zamyatin 1984: 188)
Grey faces, grey unifs flitted through that passage, and for a second one face stood out against the others: the hair was a cap pulled low over the forehead, the forehead an overhang above the eyes: it was that messenger of E-'s. I surmised that those of whom he was one were here, and that there was no place I could escape to from all this, and that only minutes - a few decades of minutes - remained. An infinitesimal, molecular tremor ran all through my body (nor did it cease to the very last) - just as if an enormous motor had been placed within me, but the construction of my body was too light, and consequently its walls, partitions, cables, rafters, lights, all were trembling. (Zamyatin 1984: 189-190)
Faces grey, not beaming. Blue, tensed veins of the water below. A laminated sky of crushing cast iron. And it was as hard for me to pick up the speaking tubes as if both hands and tube were of cast iron. 'Up - at forty-five degrees!' (Zamyatin 1984: 190)
The wardroom. Heads were bent over the instruments, the charts - heads circuited all over the grey bristles and heads that were yellow, bald, ripe. One quick look scraped them up and wadded them; then I was on my way back again, traversing the narrow passageway and going down the trap ladder into the engine room. There the tubes, incandescent from the blasts, were emitting head and rumbling; the sparking cranks were doing a drunken, desperate, squatting dance; the dial indicators were trembling with a barely perceptible tremor that did not cease for a second. And then I caught sight of him at last, standing near the tachometer with his forehead shoved down over a notebook.
'Listen' - I had to shout in his very ear on account of the rumbling - 'is she here? where is she?'
'She?' - this with a smile, from under the shadow of his overhanging forehead. 'Over there. In the radio communication room -' (Zamyatin 1984: 191)
'Write it down,' I told her loudly and still panting (from having run). 'Time, 11.30. Speed, 6,800 -'
She, from under her winged, helmet-like headset, softly, without taking her eyes off the paper: 'She came to me last evening, with a note from you. I know - I know everything; don't say a word. However, the child is yours, isn't it? And I got her away; but now she is there, beyond the wall. She will live.' (Zamyatin 1984: 192)
'But then, it wasn't I - it wasn't I! Why, I didn't discuss it with anybodp, I confined it only to those white, mute pages' - inwardly I was shouting this to her - inaudibly, desperately, deafeningly. She was seated across the table from me - and not even once did her eyes alight on me. Next to her was somebody's ripe-yellow bald head. I overheard E- saying, ,"Nobility of character"? But, my dearest professor, even a simple philosophical analysis of this phrase indicates that it is a prejudice, a survival of ancient feudal epochs. Whereas we -' (Zamyatin 1984: 194-195)
Ah, if I could but make my own way to the radio room - if I but could! Winged helmets, the ozone odour of blue lightnings... I remember I was telling her something, loudly; I remember, too, her saying, looking through me as if I were of glass and with her voice coming from somewhere far off: 'I am bosy - I am receiving a message from down there. You can dictate to her' - indicating another female number. (Zamyatin 1984: 195)
Suppose the black, specific letters on this page were suddenly to shift, each one going off lickety-spit this way or that, in its fright, and there wouldn't be a single recognizable word, just a lot of meaningless pi: igh for fright, ty-spi for lickety-plit. Well, that's just the way the crowd in the street was: out of alignment, barging straight ahead, backing off, criss-crossing, acting contrary. And then - nobody. Also, frozen for a second in headlong flight, there, up on a second floor, in a glass cage suspended in mid-air: a male number and a female number, in a kiss, standing; her whole body was bent backward, as if broken. This for the last time, for all time. (Zamyatin 1984: 198)
Next, an urchin; he was straining forward, all of him; there was a shadow under his nether lip. This nether lip was everted, like the cuff of a turned-up sleeve - for that matter, his whole face was everted; he was bawling and trying to get away from somebody as fast as his legs would carry him - I could hear the pounding of pursuing feet. (Zamyatin 1984: 198)
An empty train frozen on the rails. And, amid the silence, a voice. I could not see her but I knew that voice, resilient, flexible as a whiplash, lashing - I knew it; and somewhere over there was that acute triangle of eyebrows quirked up at the temples. 'Do let me through!' I shouted. (Zamyatin 1984: 198-199)
I went up to my room, put on the light. My temples, tightly bound by their hoop, were pounding; I paced the room, still encircled by that ring forged around me: the table, the white parcel on the table; the bed; the door; the table, the white parcel. The blinds of the room to the left were lowered. In the room to the right, a knobby bald head, and a forehead like an enormous yellow parabola, bent over a book. The furrows on the forehead were a series of yellow illegible lines of print. Now and then our eyes met - and I would then feel that those yellow lines had to do with me. (Zamyatin 1984: 200)
The piston rod was in front of me on the table. I sprang up, breathing still more loudly. She heard me, broke off in the middle of a word, and also got on her feet for some reason. I already saw the right spot on her head for the blow; there was a disgustingly sweet taste in my mouth. I reached for my handkerchief but it wasn't there - I spat on the floor. That fellow on the other side of the wall, to the right, with the yellow, staring lines that had to do with me - it was necessary that he should not see; the thing would be even more repulsive if he were to look on. I pressed the button (very well; I had no right whatsoever to do it, but did that at all matter at that juncture?); the blinds fell. She evidently understood, instinctively, made a dash towards the door. But I headed her off and, breathitng loudly, without taking my eyes for a second from that spot on her head - (Zamyatin 1984: 200)
U- was still lying on the bed, her eyes closed, gills widely distended in a smile. I scraped her garment up from the floor, tossed it at her, told her through clenched teeht, 'There! Make it quick - make it quick!'
She raised herself on her elbow; her breasts splashed over to one side; her eyes were round; all of her had turned to wax: 'What?' (Zamyatin 1984: 201-202)
Suddenly her nether lip turned inside out, like that urchin's, and tears spurted from and rolled down her cheeks. (Zamyatin 1984: 202)
It is odd: there seems to be a blank white page in my head. I don't remember how I made my way there, how I had to wait (I know I did wait); I don't remember a thing, not a single sound, not a single face, not a single gesture. As if all the wires connecting me with the universe had been cut. (Zamyatin 1984: 203)
To blood splashed up to my head, my cheeks, then - another blank page: there remains only the memory of the pulsing at my temples and the voice reverberating up there, above, but not a single word. (Zamyatin 1984: 203)
He "blanks" also when The Benefactor speaks to him.
At this point there is another blank white page. All I remember is feet. Not people but, precisely, feet. Hundreds of feet, discordantly trampling, falling on the pavement from somewhere above: a downpour of feet. And some sort of rollicking, provoking song, and a shout (probably meant for me), 'Hey! Hey! Come over here - join us!' (Zamyatin 1984: 206)
This morning, in the dining hall, my neighbour to the left whispered to me in a scared voice, 'There, do eat! People are looking at you!'
I smiled, exerting myself to the utmost. And I felt that smile as if it were a crack of some sort on my face: I was smiling, the edges of the crack were crawling further apart, and this was causing me more and more pain. (Zamyatin 1984: 207)
'Aha!' - in somebody's triumphant voice. I saw before me the nape of somebody's nack, and his finger aimed at the sky: I remember most distinctly the yellow-pink nail, and its white, like a crescent crawling out from under the horizon. And that finger was like a compass: hundreds of eyes, following it, were directed at the sky. (Zamyatin 1984: 208)
Compare this to the "pointed finger as index".
'Aha-a!' - the triumphant neck turned around. I saw the fellow whose forehead was an overhang. But all that remained in him now of his former characteristics existed in name only, so to speak; he had somehow clambered out clear from under his overhang of a forehead, and rays were sprouting like tufts of hair on his face about the eyes, the lips; he was smiling. 'You understand?' he shouted to me amid the whistling of the wind, the flapping of wings, the cawing. 'It's the Wall - you understand? They've blown up the Wall! You un-der-stand?' (Zamyatin 1984: 208)
I stumbled against the taut hawsers woven out of wind and kept on running to her. What for? I did not know. I stumbled on. Deserted streets; the city alien, barbarous; ceaseless, triumphant din of birds; Judgement Day. Through the glass of their walls I saw, in several buildings (this was deeply engraved on my memory), female and male numbers shamelessly copulating - without as much as lowering the blinds, without any pink coupons, in broad daylight. (Zamyatin 1984: 209)
On the floor, the pink coupons, like rose petals fallen ond trampled upon.
I bent down, picked up one, a second, a third: all boret he number D-503; I was on all of them; each bore a drop of myself, molten, brimming over. And this was all that remained. For some reason it seemed impermissible for them to be lying thus on the floor, and to have everybody trampling over them. I scooped up another handful, placed them on the table, smoothed them out painstakingly, looked at them - and broke into laughter. I hodn't known it before; now I know it, and you know it too: laughter comes in different colours. It is only a remote echo of an explosion within you; it may consist of festal rockets, red, blue, golden; it may consist of gobs of human flesh blown skyward.
I caught a glimpse among the coupons of a number utterly unfamiliar to me; the figures made no impression on my memory - only the consonant, indicating a male, did: it was F-. I swept all the coupons off the table on to the floor, stamped on them, on myself, with my heel - there, take that! and that! - and left the room. (Zamyatin 1984: 209-210)
The old man turned around, dismissed me with a gesture of angry despair, and hobbled on. (Zamyatin 1984: 210)
I sprang up. Sitting at the table, with her chin propped up on her hand, was E-, regarding me with a mocking smile. (Zamyatin 1984: 211)
But half-way through what I wanted to say I was brought up short by the pointed, fixed spears of her eyelashes: she had given me exactly the same look that last time, aboard the Integral. (Zamyatin 1984: 211)
She tossed her cigarette on the floor, leaned all the way back over the arm of her chair (the release button was in the wall, and was difficult to get at) and I remembber how the chair rocked and two of its legs came up from the floor. Then the blinds fell. (Zamyatin 1984: 212)
'They say you were at The Benefactor's yesterday. Is that true?'
'Yes, it is.'
And thereupon her eyes flew wide open - and I watched with gratification how quickly her face paled, became obliterated, vanished: only the eyes were there. (Zamyatin 1984: 212)
Little by little, as on a photographic plate in a developing solution, her face emerged: cheeks, white streak of teeth, lips. She got up, walked over to the mirror on the closet door. My mouth was again dry. I poured water for myself, but it was revolting to drink it; I put the glass on the table and asked, 'Was that just why you came here -because you had to find out?'
A mocking actue triangle of eyebrows quirked up towards the temples looked at me out of the mirror. She turned around to tell me something but in the end did not say a word.
There was no need. I knew.
Should I say farewell to her? I shuffled my feet (not really mine: they were some stranger's)... (Zamyatin 1984: 213)
I remember: I stumbled against something that was unbearably soft, yielding and yet, for all that, motionless. I bent over: it was a corpse. A male number. Sprawling on his back, his legs apart, like a woman's. His face... I recognized the thick Negroid lips, that seemed to be splattering laughter even then; I recognized his teeth. With his eyes puckered tight he was laughing in my face. (Zamyatin 1984: 215)
Fortunately, there were only twenty steps more, the gold-lettered sign, BUREAU OF GUARDIANS, was already in viem. I paused in the doorway, drowned a big a gulp as air as I could, and entered. Inside, in the corridor, holding sheets of paper and thick notebooks, the numbers were standing in an endless queue, the nose of the number almost up against the nape of the neck of the number in front. Every now and then they would move a step or two, at a snail's pace, and then stop again. (Zamyatin 1984: 215)
Suddenly someone seized my elbow from behind. I turned around: thanslucent winged ears. Not their usual rosy hue, however, but crimson; his Adam's apple bobbing so restlessly that it seemed likely to rip through its this dust-cover at any moment. (Zamyatin 1984: 216)
His mocking smile (he was silent) was becoming more and more twisted. And then, 'But, do you know, you intended to keep a thing or two back from me? There, you have enumerated all those whom you noticed on that occasion beyond the Wall, yot you have overlooked one. No, you say? But don't you remember catching a momentary, fleeting glimpse of... me? Yes, yes - me.' (Zamyatin 1984: 217)
Without tearing my eyes away from the mocking smile, which was constantly becoming more twisted, I propped my hands against the edge of the desk, slid away from it, chair and all, slowly, s-l-o-w-l-y, then abruptly grabbed all of me by the scruff of my neck and rushed out helter-skelter - past shouts, stair steps, mouths. (Zamyatin 1984: 218)
I smile; I cannot help but smile: they have extracted some sort of a sliver out of my head; my head is light, empty. To be more exact: it is not empty, but there is nothing extraneous in it, nothing that would interfere with smiling (smiling is the normal state for a normal human). (Zamyatin 1984: 220)
On the evening of the same day - seated with Him, The Benefactor, at the same table - I found myself for the first time in the famous Chamber of the Gas Bell Glass. That woman was brought in. She was to give her testimony in my presence. This woman remained contumaciously silent - and smiled. I noticed that her teeth were sharp and very white - and this created a beautiful effect.
Thes she was led in under the Gas Bell Glass. Her face became very white and, since her eyes were dark and large, this created and extremely beautiful effect. When they started pumping the air out of the Gas Bell Glass she threw her head back, half closing her eyes and compressing her lips: this reminded me of something. She kept looking at me as she gripped the arms of her seat - kept looking at me as she gripped the arms of her seat - kept looking until her eyes closed altogether. Thereupon she was dragged out, quickly brought back to consciousness with the aid of electrodes, and was again made to sit under the Gas Bell Glass. This was gone through three times - and she still had not uttered a word. Others, who had been brought in with this woman, proved more honest: many of them started talking after the first treatment. Tomorrow all of them will mount the steps leading to the Machine of The Benefactor. (Zamyatin 1984: 221)


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