harriet and peter are love

…Harriet; I have nothing much in the way of religion, or even morality, but I do recognize a code of behavior of sorts. I do know that the worst sin–perhaps the only sin–passion can commit, is to be joyless. It must lie down with laughter or make its bed in hell–there is no middle way.
—  Lord Peter Wimsey, Dorothy L. Sayers, “Gaudy Night”

… . You are a writer—there is something you must tell the people, but it is difficult to express. You must find the words.

Tell them, this is a battle of a new kind, and it is they who have to fight it, and they must do it themselves and alone. They must not continually ask for leadership—they must lead themselves. This is a war against submission to leadership, and we might easily win it in the field and lose it in our country.

I have seen the eyes of the men who ask for leadership, and they are the eyes of slaves. The new kind of leaders are not like the old, and the common people are not protected from *them* as they were from *us*. In our time their ignorance was a protection, but now they have eaten knowledge and are left naked. I have no time to explain myself properly, but you will understand.

It’s not enough to rouse up the Government to do this and that. You must rouse the people. You must make them understand that their salvation is in themselves and in each separate man and women among them. If it’s only a local committee or amateur theatricals or the avoiding being run over in the black-out, the important thing is each man’s *personal responsibility*. They must not look to the State for guidance—they must learn to guide the State. Somehow you must contrive to tell them this. It is the only thing that matters.

I can’t very well tell you just how and why this conviction has been forced upon me, but I have never felt more certain of anything. To be certain of something is rather an achievement for me, isn’t it? Well, there it is—I am perfectly certain for once … .

—  From Lord Peter Wimsey, somewhere abroad, to Harriet, his wife, at Talboys. (Extract.) (The Wimsey Papers, Pt. XI, published in The Spectator on January 26, 1940)

Easy and Hard Challenge Day 13 - Love / Hate. Hard mode? (Basically “two or more figures, interacting” is automatically hard mode.)

Silence for a few moments. Harriet felt that Wimsey ought to be saying, “How well you dance.” Since he did not say it, she became convinced that she was dancing like a wax doll with sawdust legs. Wimsey had never danced with her, never held her in his arms before. It should have been an epoch-making moment for him. But his mind appeared to be concentrated upon the dull personality of an East Anglian farmer. She fell a victim to an inferiority complex, and tripped over her partner’s feet.

 "Sorry,“ said Wimsey, accepting responsibility like a gentleman.

"It’s my fault,” said Harriet. “I’m a rotten dancer. Don’t bother about me. Let’s stop. You haven’t got to be polite to me, you know.”

Worse and worse. She was being peevish and egotistical. Wimsey glanced down at her in surprise and then suddenly smiled.

“Darling, if you danced like an elderly elephant with arthritis, I would dance the sun and moon into the sea with you. I have waited a thousand years to see you dance in that frock.”

“Idiot” said Harriet.

- Have His Carcase, Dorothy Sayers

(Pose more than a little influenced by J. C. Leyendecker)