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Chapter V


Chapter V



As winter drew on, Mollie became more and more troublesome. She was late
for work every morning and excused herself by saying that she had
overslept, and she complained of mysterious pains, although her appetite
was excellent. On every kind of pretext she would run away from work and
go to the drinking pool, where she would stand foolishly gazing at her own
reflection in the water. But there were also rumours of something more
serious. One day, as Mollie strolled blithely into the yard, flirting her
long tail and chewing at a stalk of hay, Clover took her aside.

"Mollie," she said, "I have something very serious to say to you. This
morning I saw you looking over the hedge that divides Animal Farm from
Foxwood. One of Mr. Pilkington's men was standing on the other side of the
hedge. And--I was a long way away, but I am almost certain I saw this--he
was talking to you and you were allowing him to stroke your nose. What
does that mean, Mollie?"

"He didn't! I wasn't! It isn't true!" cried Mollie, beginning to prance
about and paw the ground.

"Mollie! Look me in the face. Do you give me your word of honour that that
man was not stroking your nose?"

"It isn't true!" repeated Mollie, but she could not look Clover in the
face, and the next moment she took to her heels and galloped away into the
field.

A thought struck Clover. Without saying anything to the others, she went
to Mollie's stall and turned over the straw with her hoof. Hidden under
the straw was a little pile of lump sugar and several bunches of ribbon of
different colours.

Three days later Mollie disappeared. For some weeks nothing was known of
her whereabouts, then the pigeons reported that they had seen her on the
other side of Willingdon. She was between the shafts of a smart dogcart
painted red and black, which was standing outside a public-house. A fat
red-faced man in check breeches and gaiters, who looked like a publican,
was stroking her nose and feeding her with sugar. Her coat was newly
clipped and she wore a scarlet ribbon round her forelock. She appeared to
be enjoying herself, so the pigeons said. None of the animals ever
mentioned Mollie again.

In January there came bitterly hard weather. The earth was like iron, and
nothing could be done in the fields. Many meetings were held in the big
barn, and the pigs occupied themselves with planning out the work of the
coming season. It had come to be accepted that the pigs, who were
manifestly cleverer than the other animals, should decide all questions of
farm policy, though their decisions had to be ratified by a majority vote.
This arrangement would have worked well enough if it had not been for the
disputes between Snowball and Napoleon. These two disagreed at every point
where disagreement was possible. If one of them suggested sowing a bigger
acreage with barley, the other was certain to demand a bigger acreage of
oats, and if one of them said that such and such a field was just right
for cabbages, the other would declare that it was useless for anything
except roots. Each had his own following, and there were some violent
debates. At the Meetings Snowball often won over the majority by his
brilliant speeches, but Napoleon was better at canvassing support for
himself in between times. He was especially successful with the sheep. Of
late the sheep had taken to bleating "Four legs good, two legs bad" both
in and out of season, and they often interrupted the Meeting with this. It
was noticed that they were especially liable to break into "Four legs
good, two legs bad" at crucial moments in Snowball's speeches. Snowball
had made a close study of some back numbers of the 'Farmer and
Stockbreeder' which he had found in the farmhouse, and was full of plans
for innovations and improvements. He talked learnedly about field drains,
silage, and basic slag, and had worked out a complicated scheme for all
the animals to drop their dung directly in the fields, at a different spot
every day, to save the labour of cartage. Napoleon produced no schemes of
his own, but said quietly that Snowball's would come to nothing, and
seemed to be biding his time. But of all their controversies, none was so
bitter as the one that took place over the windmill.

In the long pasture, not far from the farm buildings, there was a small
knoll which was the highest point on the farm. After surveying the ground,
Snowball declared that this was just the place for a windmill, which could
be made to operate a dynamo and supply the farm with electrical power.
This would light the stalls and warm them in winter, and would also run a
circular saw, a chaff-cutter, a mangel-slicer, and an electric milking
machine. The animals had never heard of anything of this kind before
(for the farm was an old-fashioned one and had only the most primitive
machinery), and they listened in astonishment while Snowball conjured up
pictures of fantastic machines which would do their work for them while
they grazed at their ease in the fields or improved their minds with
reading and conversation.

Within a few weeks Snowball's plans for the windmill were fully worked
out. The mechanical details came mostly from three books which had
belonged to Mr. Jones--'One Thousand Useful Things to Do About the House',
'Every Man His Own Bricklayer', and 'Electricity for Beginners'. Snowball
used as his study a shed which had once been used for incubators and had a
smooth wooden floor, suitable for drawing on. He was closeted there for
hours at a time. With his books held open by a stone, and with a piece of
chalk gripped between the knuckles of his trotter, he would move rapidly
to and fro, drawing in line after line and uttering little whimpers of
excitement. Gradually the plans grew into a complicated mass of cranks and
cog-wheels, covering more than half the floor, which the other animals
found completely unintelligible but very impressive. All of them came to
look at Snowball's drawings at least once a day. Even the hens and ducks
came, and were at pains not to tread on the chalk marks. Only Napoleon
held aloof. He had declared himself against the windmill from the start.
One day, however, he arrived unexpectedly to examine the plans. He walked
heavily round the shed, looked closely at every detail of the plans and
snuffed at them once or twice, then stood for a little while contemplating
them out of the corner of his eye; then suddenly he lifted his leg,
urinated over the plans, and walked out without uttering a word.

The whole farm was deeply divided on the subject of the windmill. Snowball
did not deny that to build it would be a difficult business. Stone would
have to be carried and built up into walls, then the sails would have to
be made and after that there would be need for dynamos and cables. (How
these were to be procured, Snowball did not say.) But he maintained that
it could all be done in a year. And thereafter, he declared, so much
labour would be saved that the animals would only need to work three days
a week. Napoleon, on the other hand, argued that the great need of the
moment was to increase food production, and that if they wasted time on
the windmill they would all starve to death. The animals formed themselves
into two factions under the slogan, "Vote for Snowball and the three-day
week" and "Vote for Napoleon and the full manger." Benjamin was the only
animal who did not side with either faction. He refused to believe either
that food would become more plentiful or that the windmill would save
work. Windmill or no windmill, he said, life would go on as it had always
gone on--that is, badly.

Apart from the disputes over the windmill, there was the question of the
defence of the farm. It was fully realised that though the human beings
had been defeated in the Battle of the Cowshed they might make another and
more determined attempt to recapture the farm and reinstate Mr. Jones.
They had all the more reason for doing so because the news of their defeat
had spread across the countryside and made the animals on the neighbouring
farms more restive than ever. As usual, Snowball and Napoleon were in
disagreement. According to Napoleon, what the animals must do was to
procure firearms and train themselves in the use of them. According to
Snowball, they must send out more and more pigeons and stir up rebellion
among the animals on the other farms. The one argued that if they could
not defend themselves they were bound to be conquered, the other argued
that if rebellions happened everywhere they would have no need to defend
themselves. The animals listened first to Napoleon, then to Snowball, and
could not make up their minds which was right; indeed, they always found
themselves in agreement with the one who was speaking at the moment.

At last the day came when Snowball's plans were completed. At the Meeting
on the following Sunday the question of whether or not to begin work on
the windmill was to be put to the vote. When the animals had assembled in
the big barn, Snowball stood up and, though occasionally interrupted by
bleating from the sheep, set forth his reasons for advocating the building
of the windmill. Then Napoleon stood up to reply. He said very quietly
that the windmill was nonsense and that he advised nobody to vote for it,
and promptly sat down again; he had spoken for barely thirty seconds, and
seemed almost indifferent as to the effect he produced. At this Snowball
sprang to his feet, and shouting down the sheep, who had begun bleating
again, broke into a passionate appeal in favour of the windmill. Until now
the animals had been about equally divided in their sympathies, but in a
moment Snowball's eloquence had carried them away. In glowing sentences he
painted a picture of Animal Farm as it might be when sordid labour was
lifted from the animals' backs. His imagination had now run far beyond
chaff-cutters and turnip-slicers. Electricity, he said, could operate
threshing machines, ploughs, harrows, rollers, and reapers and binders,
besides supplying every stall with its own electric light, hot and cold
water, and an electric heater. By the time he had finished speaking, there
was no doubt as to which way the vote would go. But just at this moment
Napoleon stood up and, casting a peculiar sidelong look at Snowball,
uttered a high-pitched whimper of a kind no one had ever heard him utter
before.

At this there was a terrible baying sound outside, and nine enormous dogs
wearing brass-studded collars came bounding into the barn. They dashed
straight for Snowball, who only sprang from his place just in time to
escape their snapping jaws. In a moment he was out of the door and they
were after him. Too amazed and frightened to speak, all the animals
crowded through the door to watch the chase. Snowball was racing across
the long pasture that led to the road. He was running as only a pig can
run, but the dogs were close on his heels. Suddenly he slipped and it
seemed certain that they had him. Then he was up again, running faster
than ever, then the dogs were gaining on him again. One of them all but
closed his jaws on Snowball's tail, but Snowball whisked it free just in
time. Then he put on an extra spurt and, with a few inches to spare,
slipped through a hole in the hedge and was seen no more.

Silent and terrified, the animals crept back into the barn. In a moment
the dogs came bounding back. At first no one had been able to imagine
where these creatures came from, but the problem was soon solved: they
were the puppies whom Napoleon had taken away from their mothers and
reared privately. Though not yet full-grown, they were huge dogs, and as
fierce-looking as wolves. They kept close to Napoleon. It was noticed that
they wagged their tails to him in the same way as the other dogs had been
used to do to Mr. Jones.

Napoleon, with the dogs following him, now mounted on to the raised
portion of the floor where Major had previously stood to deliver his
speech. He announced that from now on the Sunday-morning Meetings would
come to an end. They were unnecessary, he said, and wasted time. In future
all questions relating to the working of the farm would be settled by a
special committee of pigs, presided over by himself. These would meet in
private and afterwards communicate their decisions to the others. The
animals would still assemble on Sunday mornings to salute the flag, sing
'Beasts of England', and receive their orders for the week; but there would
be no more debates.

In spite of the shock that Snowball's expulsion had given them, the
animals were dismayed by this announcement. Several of them would have
protested if they could have found the right arguments. Even Boxer was
vaguely troubled. He set his ears back, shook his forelock several times,
and tried hard to marshal his thoughts; but in the end he could not think
of anything to say. Some of the pigs themselves, however, were more
articulate. Four young porkers in the front row uttered shrill squeals of
disapproval, and all four of them sprang to their feet and began speaking
at once. But suddenly the dogs sitting round Napoleon let out deep,
menacing growls, and the pigs fell silent and sat down again. Then the
sheep broke out into a tremendous bleating of "Four legs good, two legs
bad!" which went on for nearly a quarter of an hour and put an end to any
chance of discussion.

Afterwards Squealer was sent round the farm to explain the new arrangement
to the others.

"Comrades," he said, "I trust that every animal here appreciates the
sacrifice that Comrade Napoleon has made in taking this extra labour upon
himself. Do not imagine, comrades, that leadership is a pleasure! On the
contrary, it is a deep and heavy responsibility. No one believes more
firmly than Comrade Napoleon that all animals are equal. He would be only
too happy to let you make your decisions for yourselves. But sometimes you
might make the wrong decisions, comrades, and then where should we be?
Suppose you had decided to follow Snowball, with his moonshine of
windmills--Snowball, who, as we now know, was no better than a criminal?"

"He fought bravely at the Battle of the Cowshed," said somebody.

"Bravery is not enough," said Squealer. "Loyalty and obedience are more
important. And as to the Battle of the Cowshed, I believe the time will
come when we shall find that Snowball's part in it was much exaggerated.
Discipline, comrades, iron discipline! That is the watchword for today.
One false step, and our enemies would be upon us. Surely, comrades, you do
not want Jones back?"

Once again this argument was unanswerable. Certainly the animals did not
want Jones back; if the holding of debates on Sunday mornings was liable
to bring him back, then the debates must stop. Boxer, who had now had time
to think things over, voiced the general feeling by saying: "If Comrade
Napoleon says it, it must be right." And from then on he adopted the
maxim, "Napoleon is always right," in addition to his private motto of "I
will work harder."

By this time the weather had broken and the spring ploughing had begun.
The shed where Snowball had drawn his plans of the windmill had been shut
up and it was assumed that the plans had been rubbed off the floor. Every
Sunday morning at ten o'clock the animals assembled in the big barn to
receive their orders for the week. The skull of old Major, now clean of
flesh, had been disinterred from the orchard and set up on a stump at the
foot of the flagstaff, beside the gun. After the hoisting of the flag, the
animals were required to file past the skull in a reverent manner before
entering the barn. Nowadays they did not sit all together as they had done
in the past. Napoleon, with Squealer and another pig named Minimus, who
had a remarkable gift for composing songs and poems, sat on the front of
the raised platform, with the nine young dogs forming a semicircle round
them, and the other pigs sitting behind. The rest of the animals sat
facing them in the main body of the barn. Napoleon read out the orders for
the week in a gruff soldierly style, and after a single singing of 'Beasts
of England', all the animals dispersed.

On the third Sunday after Snowball's expulsion, the animals were somewhat
surprised to hear Napoleon announce that the windmill was to be built
after all. He did not give any reason for having changed his mind, but
merely warned the animals that this extra task would mean very hard work,
it might even be necessary to reduce their rations. The plans, however,
had all been prepared, down to the last detail. A special committee of
pigs had been at work upon them for the past three weeks. The building of
the windmill, with various other improvements, was expected to take two
years.

That evening Squealer explained privately to the other animals that
Napoleon had never in reality been opposed to the windmill. On the
contrary, it was he who had advocated it in the beginning, and the plan
which Snowball had drawn on the floor of the incubator shed had actually
been stolen from among Napoleon's papers. The windmill was, in fact,
Napoleon's own creation. Why, then, asked somebody, had he spoken so
strongly against it? Here Squealer looked very sly. That, he said, was
Comrade Napoleon's cunning. He had SEEMED to oppose the windmill, simply
as a manoeuvre to get rid of Snowball, who was a dangerous character and a
bad influence. Now that Snowball was out of the way, the plan could go
forward without his interference. This, said Squealer, was something
called tactics. He repeated a number of times, "Tactics, comrades,
tactics!" skipping round and whisking his tail with a merry laugh. The
animals were not certain what the word meant, but Squealer spoke so
persuasively, and the three dogs who happened to be with him growled so
threateningly, that they accepted his explanation without further
questions.



 

Chapter IV 

Chapter VI