OF THE BABY NAME DOROTHY
Harriet Vane is a character in the mystery novels of British writer Dorothy L. Sayers, which feature her aristocratic detective, Lord Peter Wimsey. Harriet eventually weds the fine lord, but not after a rather long and torturous courtship. She finds him (rightfully so) to be rather snobbish and domineering, and resists him valiantly for a while. Harriet is an Oxford educated, independent young mystery writer herself, who meets Lord Peter when she is on trial for having poisoned her lover (no, not Lord Peter, not yet). Certainly she didn’t do it, and certainly Lord Peter proves her innocent. Somehow, Lord Peter finds her circumstances to be utterly charming and he immediately proposes. Thank goodness for the sensibility of the somewhat lower classes – she declines, at least at first. Naturally, fate throws them together in mysterious and murderous ways, and eventually Harriet accepts and becomes Lady Peter Wimsey, but only on the stipulation that they enter marriage as equals. Her altered state, both martially and monetarily, does not detract from her ongoing forays into the world of the genteel underground, however, and she and her lord partner on many more capers. Harriet also finds the time to have three sons, to soften up that stodgy lord a bit, and to live as if to the manor born. Our kind of gal.
Dorothy Gale is the plucky young girl who takes a tornado-induced dream trip from Kansas to the Land of Oz, along with her little dog, Toto. L. Frank Baum’s famous children’s series began with The Wonderful Wizard of Oz, published in 1900, which was further immortalized by the 1939 film, The Wizard of Oz. Dorothy is an orphan, being raised on a farm by her Uncle Henry and her loving but strict Auntie Em. The beauty offered by the make-believe Land of Oz is novel and entrancing, as are her new-found friends, all in search of something they feel they need. For the Scarecrow, it is a brain; for the Tin Man, a heart; for the Cowardly Lion, it is courage. And for Dorothy, of course, it is the ability to go back to Kansas again, because the lesson she learns is that “there’s no place like home”. All of the wishes of the participants are granted, and the moral is clear – all of these sought-after treasures are to be found in our own back yards. The story delighted children all over the world, and the film has been an icon since its release. For most of us, it is the lovely and vulnerable figure of Judy Garland that we see when we think of Dorothy, but the original illustrations of W. W. Denslow are utterly charming and worth a look. As for those iconic ruby slippers? They were silver shoes in the book. Either way, they did the job – Dorothy and Toto went home again.