"'Oranges and lemons', say the bells of St Clement's
'You owe me three farthings', say the bells of St Martin's"
DIANA SAINT MARTIN'S BELLE
"'Where was St Martin's?' said Winston.
'St Martin's? That's still standing.
It's in Victory Square, alongside the picture gallery'."
To Orwell Today,
re: THE SPIRIT OF PRINCESS DIANA
This is a picture of the princess taken by my sister in law at Diana's office at St. Martin's In the Fields Church. She said Diana was the most unpretentious person you can imagine. I keep this picture on my desk and say this is Cousin Diana.
-Geralynn M. Morgan
It's another Saint George Orwell coincidence, or make that GODcident, that you have a photo of Princess Diana at St Martin's church. You may not have read "1984", in which case you wouldn't know that St Martin's church plays a very symbolic role in "1984".
Winston, the main character of "1984", is really Orwell in disguise (everything he writes is autobiographical) and "the diary" he is writing "to the future" is really the book "1984" and we, its present-day readers, are the future he was writing to. Winston/Orwell was writing his diary/book as a warning of what life in Airstrip One/England is like under the rule of Big Brother/United Nations, meaning All Nations United.
One of the main components of "1984" is how "Big Brother" controls the present and the future by controlling the past. And the way Big Brother controls the past is by falsifying history and destroying architecture, or using it for purposes other than it was intended, so that once the people who lived in the time before Big Brother are dead, there will be no human memory of the past either. There was a continuous process of "falsification of the past" (throwing everything down the "memory hole") carried out by the "Ministry of Truth" (which dealt in lies), which was "1984's" version of BBC/CNN/ABC/NBC/CBS/FOX/CBC, Hollywood and book and magazine publishing all owned by "the brotherhood" of CEOs who run Big Brother.
But Winston, unlike most people in Oceania, has memories of life before Big Brother which he refuses to forget and tries hard to remember. Also, Winston has instinctual longings and spiritual connections to the past, even for things that he has no actual memory of.
For example, Winston loves many of the old things in Mr Charrington's junk-shop - the glass paperweight and the creamy-papered book he uses for his diary - even though he had never experienced them before, being only eight years old when Big Brother came to power in England, and more specifically in London where Winston was living and still lives. London's name is still London. It hasn't been changed as have the names of all countries and continents.
When Winston goes to the room upstairs from Mr Charrington's shop and sees the old-fashioned clock, the double bed, gateleg table, comfortable arm-chair, bookcase and framed pictures by the fireplace he feels an ancestral bonding to a life among things like this. Orwell, in his personal life, loved those same simple things, home and hearth, and all things English. Orwell also, in real life, loved poetry, silly songs and nursery rhymes and wrote often in his magazine columns about the importance of England remaining England through its folklore. Interspersed throughout all of Orwell's books and novels are references to English culture that anyone who knows England would recognize.
In "1984" Orwell faintly disguises real people, places, things and historical events that strike a chord of recognition in his readers, and this is part of what makes his novels, and most importantly "1984", so powerful. Reading Orwell's description of a life in London that no longer exists in Winston's time hits at the heart and soul:
Below are the excerpts from "1984" where the nursery rhyme about St. Martin's church is mentioned:
Part One, Section 8:
"...He was holdlng the lamp high up, so as to illuminate the whole room, and in the warm dim light the place looked curiously inviting. The thought flitted through Winston's mind that it would probably be quite easy to rent the room for a few dollars a week, if he dared to take the risk. It was a wild, impossible notion, to be abandoned as soon as thought of; but the room had awakened in him a sort of nostalgia, a sort of ancestral memory. It seemed to him that he knew exactly what it felt like to sit in a room like this, in an arm-chair beside an open fire with your feet in the fender and a kettle on the hob; utterly alone, utterly secure, with nobody watching you, no voice pursuing you, no sound except the singing of the kettle and the friendly ticking of the clock.
"'There's no telescreen!' he could not help murmuring.
"'Ah,' said the old man, 'I never had one of those things. Too expensive. And I never seemed to feel the need of it, somehow. Now that's a nice gateleg table in the corner there. Though of course you'd have to put new hinges on it if you wanted to use the flaps.'
"There was a small bookcase in the other corner, and Winston had already gravitated towards it. It contained nothing but rubbish. The hunting-down and destruction of books had been done with the same thoroughness in the prole quarters as everywhere else. It was very unlikely that there existed anywhere in Oceania a copy of a book printed earlier than 1960. The old man, still carrying the lamp, was standing in front of a picture in a rosewood frame which hung on the other side of the fireplace, opposite the bed.
"'Now, if you happen to be interested in old prints at all —' he began delicately.
"Winston came across to examine the picture. It was a steel engraving of an oval building with rectangular windows, and a small tower in front. There was a railing running round the building, and at the rear end there was what appeared to be a statue. Winston gazed at it for some moments. It seemed vaguely familiar, though he did not remember the statue.
"'The frame's fixed to the wall,' said the old man, 'but I could unscrew it for you, I dare say.'
"'I know that building,' said Winston finally. 'It's a ruin now. It's in the middle of the street outside the Palace of Justice.'
"'That's right. Outside the Law Courts. It was bombed in — oh, many years ago. It was a church at one time, St Clement Danes, its name was.' He smiled apologetically, as though conscious of saying something slightly ridiculous, and added:
'"Oranges and lemons", say the bells of St Clement's!’
"'What's that?' said Winston.
"'Oh — "Oranges and lemons", say the bells of St Clement's" - That was a rhyme we had when I was a little boy. How it goes on I don't remember, but I do know it ended up,
"Here comes a candle to light you to bed,
Here comes a chopper to chop off your head."'
It was a kind of a dance. They held out their arms for you to pass under, and when they came to "Here comes a chopper to chop off your head" they brought their arms down and caught you. It was just names of churches. All the London churches were in it — all the principal ones, that is.'
"Winston wondered vaguely to what century the church belonged. It was always difficult to determine the age of a London building. Anything large and impressive, if it was reasonably new in appearance, was automatically claimed as having been built since the Revolution, while anything that was obviously of earlier date was ascribed to some dim period called the Middle Ages. The centuries of capitalism were held to have produced nothing of any value. One could not learn history from architecture any more than one could learn it from books. Statues, inscriptions, memorial stones, the names of streets—anything that might throw light upon the past had been systematically altered.
"'I never knew it had been a church,' he said.
"'There's a lot of them left, really,' said the old man, 'though they've been put to other uses. Now, how did that rhyme go? Ah! I've got it!
'"Oranges and lemons", say the bells of St Clement's,
"You owe me three farthings", say the bells of St Martin's —'
"there, now, that's as far as I can get. A farthing, that was a small copper coin, looked something like a cent.'
"'Where was St Martin's?' said Winston.
"'St Martin's? That's still standing. It's in Victory Square, alongside the picture gallery. A building with a kind of a triangular porch and pillars in front, and a big flight of steps.'
"Winston knew the place well. It was a museum used for propaganda displays of various kinds — scale models of rocket bombs and Floating Fortresses, waxwork tableaux illustrating enemy atrocities, and the like.
"'St Martin's-in-the-Fields it used to be called,' supplemented the old man, 'though I don't recollect any fields anywhere in those parts.'
"Winston did not buy the picture. It would have been an even more incongruous possession than the glass paperweight, and impossible to carry home, unless it were taken out of its frame. But he lingered for some minutes more, talking to the old man, whose name, he discovered, was not Weeks — as one might have gathered from the inscription over the shopfront — but Charrington. Mr Charrington, it seemed, was a widower aged sixty-three and had inhabited this shop for thirty years. Throughout that time he had been intending to alter the name over the window, but had never quite got to the point of doing it. All the while that they were talking the half-remembered rhyme kept running through Winston's head. Oranges and lemons say the bells of St Clement's, You owe me three farthings, say the bells of St Martin's! It was curious, but when you said it to yourself you had the illusion of actually hearing bells, the bells of a lost London that still existed somewhere or other, disguised and forgotten. From one ghostly steeple after another he seemed to hear them pealing forth. Yet so far as he could remember he had never in real life heard church bells ringing.
"He got away from Mr Charrington and went down the stairs alone, so as not to let the old man see him reconnoitring the street before stepping out of the door. He had already made up his mind that after a suitable interval — a month, say — he would take the risk of visiting the shop again. It was perhaps not more dangerous than shirking an evening at the Centre. The serious piece of folly had been to come back here in the first place, after buying the diary and without knowing whether the proprietor of the shop could be trusted. However —!
"Yes, he thought again, he would come back. He would buy further scraps of beautiful rubbish. He would buy the engraving of St Clement Danes, take it out of its frame, and carry it home concealed under the jacket of his overalls. He would drag the rest of that poem out of Mr Charrington’s memory. Even the lunatic project of renting the room upstairs flashed momentarily through his mind again. For perhaps five seconds exaltation made him careless, and he stepped out on to the pavement without so much as a preliminary glance through the window. He had even started humming to an improvised tune —
"'Oranges and lemons', say the bells of St Clement's,
'You owe me three farthings', say the ——"
Part Two, Section 4:
"....He sat up against the bedhead. Julia got out of bed, pulled on her overalls, and made the coffee. The smell that rose from the saucepan was so powerful and exciting that they shut the window lest anybody outside should notice it and become inquisitive. What was even better than the taste of the coffee was the silky texture given to it by the sugar, a thing Winston had almost forgotten after years of saccharine. With one hand in her pocket and a piece of bread and jam in the other, Julia wandered about the room, glancing indifferently at the bookcase, pointing out the best way of repairing the gateleg table, plumping herself down in the ragged arm-chair to see if it was comfortable, and examining the absurd twelve-hour clock with a sort of tolerant amusement. She brought the glass paperweight over to the bed to have a look at it in a better light. He took it out of her hand, fascinated, as always, by the soft, rainwatery appearance of the glass.
"'What is it, do you think?' said Julia.
"'I don't think it's anything — I mean, I don't think it was ever put to any use. That's what I like about it. It's a little chunk of history that they've forgotten to alter. It's a message from a hundred years ago, if one knew how to read it.'
"'And that picture over there' — she nodded at the engraving on the opposite wall — 'would that be a hundred years old?'
"'More. Two hundred, I dare say. One can't tell. It's impossible to discover the age of anything nowadays.'
"She went over to look at it. 'Here's where that brute stuck his nose out,' she said, kicking the wainscoting immediately below the picture. 'What is this place? I've seen it before somewhere.'
"'It's a church, or at least it used to be. St Clement Danes its name was.' The fragment of rhyme that Mr Charrington had taught him came back into his head, and he added half-nostalgically: '"Oranges and lemons", say the bells of St Clement's!'
"To his astonishment she capped the line:
"'You owe me three farthings, say the bells of St Martin's,
When will you pay me? say the bells of Old Bailey —'
"'I can't remember how it goes on after that. But anyway I remember it ends up:
"Here comes a candle to light you to bed,
here comes a chopper to chop off your head!"
"It was like the two halves of a countersign. But there must be another line after 'the bells of Old Bailey'. Perhaps it could be dug out of Mr Charrington's memory, if he were suitably prompted.
"'Who taught you that?' he said.
"'My grandfather. He used to say it to me when I was a little girl. He was vaporized when I was eight — at any rate, he disappeared. I wonder what a lemon was,' she added inconsequently. 'I've seen oranges. They're a kind of round yellow fruit with a thick skin.'
"'I can remember lemons,' said Winston. 'They were quite common in the fifties. They were so sour that it set your teeth on edge even to smell them.'
"'I bet that picture's got bugs behind it,' said Julia. 'I'll take it down and give it a good clean some day. I suppose it's almost time we were leaving. I must start washing this paint off. What a bore! I'll get the lipstick off your face afterwards.'....
Part Two, Section 5:
"...Four, five, six—seven times they met during the month of June....Now that they had a secure hiding-place, almost a home, it did not even seem a hardship that they could only meet infrequently and for a couple of hours at a time. What mattered was that the room over the junk-shop should exist. To know that it was there, inviolate, was almost the same as being in it. The room was a world, a pocket of the past where extinct animals could walk. Mr Charrington, thought Winston, was another extinct animal. He usually stopped to talk with Mr Charrington for a few minutes on his way upstairs....He had dragged out from the corners of his memory some more fragments of forgotten rhymes. There was one about four and twenty blackbirds, and another about a cow with a crumpled horn, and another about the death of poor Cock Robin. 'It just occurred to me you might be interested,' he would say with a deprecating little laugh whenever he produced a new fragment. But he could never recall more than a few lines of any one rhyme...."
Part Two, Section 8:
"...'There are a couple of minutes before you need go,' said O’Brien. 'We shall meet again — if we do meet again ——'
"Winston looked up at him. 'In the place where there is no darkness?' he said hesitantly.
"O'Brien nodded without appearance of surprise. 'In the place where there is no darkness,' he said, as though he had recognized the allusion. 'And in the meantime, is there anything that you wish to say before you leave? Any message? Any question?.'
"Winston thought. There did not seem to be any further question that he wanted to ask: still less did he feel any impulse to utter high-sounding generalities. Instead of anything directly connected with O'Brien or the Brotherhood, there came into his mind a sort of composite picture of the dark bedroom where his mother had spent her last days, and the little room over Mr Charrington's shop, and the glass paperweight, and the steel engraving in its rosewood frame. Almost at random he said:
"'Did you ever happen to hear an old rhyme that begins "Oranges and lemons", say the bells of St Clement's?'
Again O'Brien nodded. With a sort of grave courtesy he completed the stanza:
'"Oranges and lemons", say the bells of St Clement's,
"You owe me three farthings", say the bells of St Martin's,
"When will you pay me?" say the bells of Old Bailey
"When I grow rich", say the bells of Shoreditch.'
"'You knew the last line!' said Winston.
"'Yes, I knew the last line. And now, I am afraid, it is time for you to go. But wait. You had better let me give you one of these tablets....'"
~ end quoting from '1984' ~
You will probably cherish your photo of Princess Diana at her office in St Martin-in-the-Field church even more now that you know its symbolic relevance to England's history and Orwell's masterpiece, "1984".
I wish I had known, when I was VISITING PRINCESS'S PLACES in London, including Westminster Abbey where her funeral was held, how close I'd been to St Martin-in-the-Field church because I would have liked to have stood on the steps, in homage to Orwell, and recited the rhyme (all the words of which I found at a Nursey Rhymes website):
"Oranges and lemons" say the bells of St Clement's
"You owe me five farthings" say the bells of St Martin's
"When will you pay me?" say the bells of Old Bailey
"When I grow rich" say the bells of Shoreditch
"When will that be?" say the bells of Stepney
"I do not know" say the Great bells of Bow
Here comes a Candle to light you to bed
Here comes a Chopper to chop off your bead
Chip chop chip chop - the Last Man's Dead.
All the best,
PS - The "bells of Old Bailey" also have Princess Diana connections because that is where Paul Burrell's trial was held, under accusations he'd stolen keepsakes, until all charges were dropped after the Queen told the truth on his behalf
ORWELL'S 1984 LONDON LOCATIONS
26.Julia & Rebellion (...In a low murmur Winston began speaking. Neither of them looked up; steadily they spooned the watery stuff into their mouths, and between spoonfuls exchanged the few necessary words in low expressionless voices. 'What time do you leave work?' 'Eighteen-thirty.' 'Where can we meet?' 'Victory Square, near the monument. 'It's full of telescreens.' 'It doesn't matter if there's a crowd.' 'Any signal?' 'No. Don't come up to me until you see me among a lot of people. And don't look at me. Just keep somewhere near me.' 'What time?' 'Nineteen hours.' 'All right.' They did not speak again, and, so far as it was possible for two people sitting on opposite sides of the same table, they did not look at one another. The girl finished her lunch quickly and made off, while Winston stayed to smoke a cigarette.
Winston was in Victory Square before the appointed time. He wandered round the base of the enormous fluted column, at the top of which Big Brother's statue gazed southward towards the skies where he had vanquished the Eurasian aeroplanes (the Eastasian aeroplanes, it had been, a few years ago) in the Battle of Airstrip One. In the street in front of it there was a statue of a man on horseback which was supposed to represent Oliver Cromwell. At five minutes past the hour the girl had still not appeared.... He walked slowly up to the north side of the square and got a sort of pale-coloured pleasure from identifying St Martin's Church, whose bells, when it had bells, had chimed 'You owe me three farthings.'...
ORANGES AND LEMONS RHYME and LONDON BELLS RHYME and Oranges and Lemons-The Nursery Rhyme
THE SPIRIT OF PRINCESS DIANA
Jackie Jura's glass paperweight beside the manuscript of "1984"
SAINT GEORGE ORWELL DAY and WHY ORWELL WROTE "1984"
1.Winston's Diary and 15.Life In Oceania and 2.Big Brother and 17.Falsification of Past and 16.Ministry of Truth and 35.The Brotherhood and 29.Risking Renting Room and 31.Love Nest
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