I have mentioned elsewhere that I am big Dorothy L. Sayers fan. She was, in my view, a better theological thinker than CS Lewis or JRR Tolkien with whom she would often share a pint. I was first introduced to her work through her mysteries featuring Lord Peter Wimsey (the first one I read was The Unpleasantness at the Bellona Club).
While at the beach we stopped into a book store and I picked up the “last” Lord Peter Wimsey novel by Sayers, Thrones, Dominations (A Lord Peter Wimsey Mystery). The reason I say her “last” is because this was an unfinished novel that was completed in 1998 by Jill Paton Walsh. I have just started it, but so far I am very pleased. It does seem, as Ruth Rendell’s review in the London Sunday Times said, “It is impossible to tell where Dorothy L. Sayers ends and Jill Paton Walsh begins.” What I wanted to share today was just a short exchange between Lord Peter and his new wife Harriet Vane, the heroine of many of Sayers’ novels and a wonderfully complex and thoughtful character.
“Can you face the family?” asked Lord Peter Wimsey of his wife. He was looking at her down the length of the breakfast table, holding the gold-edged invitation in his hand.
“I can face anything,” said Harriet cheerfully. “Besides, it has to happen some time, doesn’t it?”
“There is an argument for getting on with it,” said his lordship. “While we can still sit together.”
“I thought husbands and wives were always placed apart,” said Harriet.
“No; for the first six months after marriage we are allowed to sit together.”
“Are we allowed to hold hands under the table?”
“Best not, I should think,” said Peter. “Unless about to go down with the ship. But we are allowed to talk to each other for the duration of one course of the dinner.”
“Is it stated which course?” asked Harriet.
“I don’t know that it is. Will you have me a hors d’oeuvres, soup, fish, entrée, pudding, cheese, or dessert?”
“As just dessert, my lord,” said Harriet, solemnly.
Brilliant. I just love her wit and humor. Subtle and amusing. I am so glad to have a new “Sayers” to read. I will let you know the final analysis. Oh, and please do let me know if there are others of you out there who enjoy such works, Sayers, Chesterton, etc. Good stuff, imho.