Sunday 1 August 2010

This Doublespeak

London, 1984

“’It is a truth universally acknowledged.’”

“’It was the best of times, it was the worst of times.’”

Bolts drew back, the small door just past the delivery entrance at the back of Karl’s Bakery opened slightly. It paused as if the person opening it were a mouse wary of an owl it knew was out there, which wasn’t far from the truth. Then the door opened further and the dark figure slipped in, off the street.

“Oh it’s the worst of times all right.”

“Ain’t that the truth.”

A short huh of breath, a quirk of the lips. It was as close as they came to laughing these days.

“How goes it?”

“The pyres still burn. Until they are out, it goes nothing but badly.”

“Feeling bleak today are we? Spending too much time with Poe? Seriously though, do you think we should move the press?”

“You think Karl will give us away? ’But why will you say that I am mad?’”

“Touché. He is loyal to the cause, but the tell-tale rattle of the press that he hears whether we run it or not might drive him to reveal us.”

“The SS raided our old site in Baker Street, but I think that was a little weak on our part, we could have lost everything through a sentimental opportunity.”

“Do we not nurture sentimentality for the future’s profit?”

“Maybe, but it will be for naught if Jünger Adolph keeps pushing harder for the underground presses. Doesn’t he realise the Library is the thing?”

“Ah, the enfant terrible. If the SS get to us before the British Library... ’It made me bite my lips to think of the plans I had been building up those last years.’”

“Very good. We’ll continue with the print run of The Thirty Nine Steps, as planned, and with our errors the British Library are bound to contact us. We know they have an original copy.”

“ Yes. You know, one day these ‘works’ will only exist in our minds. And the final glorious pyres will be the flickering embers of our dying minds.”

“I don’t recognise that one... Ah, when the last memory fades, our world will be free. It will be a momentous and unmarked passing.”

“Nice, mine wasn’t from a book, like yours I think. Do you begin to see, then, what kind of world we are creating?”

(Author's Commentary)

For more of the British Library Underground: This Institution

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