Humphrey didn't like the situation one bit. It didn't go along with how things were supposed to work. Everything in the world organized to a degree of amazing precision. From the sun rising in the east and setting in the west to the categorical imperative to the difference between the active and passive voices in the present indicative mood. Port?, portor, petitis, petimin?. But this, this, did not compute. It did not add up, it did not work. And that was what he didn't approve of.
Emotions only existed to do his mind's bidding. If he wanted to feel sad he would tell himself to do so, happy, joyful, angry, sardonic and the like. All were arranged into boxes in his mind so he could open them when the situation called for it and promptly put them away afterwards. It saved him from those nasty emotional entanglements and dilemmas. Emotional entanglements and dilemmas were for lay people, not Cabinet Secretaries.
And yet a part of him wondered, perhaps there was something to be said for forming emotional attachments without weighing the pros and cons. Perhaps there was something to be said for this whirlwind approach. People seemed to be rather fond of it, if his wife's yellow backed novels were anything to judge by. But, he reminded himself, the common people were hardly fully functioning and practical. Though thoughts of perhaps taking Bernard out to dinner, maybe a show, lingered. Wouldn't hurt, would it?
No. This wouldn't do. Even entertaining the idea was ludicrous. And the idea itself? Wasn't so much an idea as a feeling, and he really hated when those got in the way of rational thought. Bernard would be a perfect civil service agent, one of the best, if only he controlled his feelings more. But then, that was why he liked him, wasn't it? Not that he liked him. Liked him. A friend, or well, an associate he could share a civil word with. He certainly didn't like him. Not like that. He was married after all. A bit silly to be going after chaps when one has a wife. Wasn't it? And he did care for his wife, Humphrey reasoned. He felt the appropriate sort of attachment one should feel towards a person one cohabitates with on a regular basis with no prolonged dues of absence. But nothing more, really. Not that anything more was expected of course.
But he didn't want to pull her into his lap like he did Bernard. He didn't want to kiss her in the same way, wrap arms around her waist or push her over his desk– well, this was getting lewd. Yet he found he couldn't stop, didn't want to stop. They were pleasing, the thoughts, the feelings, they were addicting almost. And yet, and yet he shouldn't be thinking these things at all, or entertaining them in the slightest. So, he decided, he wouldn't. He would rid himself of such desires, would rid himself of the emotions that conflicted with rational thought whenever the other man was around. He would work harder than before, distract himself with needless applications, reviews, queries, forms – anything to keep his mind focused and reasonable. And if it came down to it, he would remove himself somewhere. York, Leeds, Northern Ireland, Brussels even. Anything. Because this was not how things were supposed to work, this was not how the world was supposed to turn. Sir Arnold was wrong, he was not the least bit sound.