Fine romance: o-la-la dance floor

From Have His CarcaseCh. XII: the dreaded, inescapable inferiority complex.

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.

Fine romance: trying and failing

"I have been afraid of this," said Wimsey.

"Then why did you come?"

"So that you might not have to send for me."

"Oh!"

There was a strained pause, while Wimsey painfully recalled the terms of the message that had originally reached him from Salcombe Hardy of the Morning Star—Hardy, a little drunk and wholly derisory, announcing over the telephone, "I say, Wimsey, that Vane woman of yours has got herself mixed up in another queer story." Then his own furious and terrified irruption into Fleet Street, and the violent bullying of a repentant and sentimental Hardy, till the Morning Star report was hammered into a form that set the tone for the comments of the press. Then the return home to find that the Wilvercombe police were already besieging him, in the politest and most restrained manner, for information as to Miss Harriet Vane's recent movements and behavior. And finally, the certainty that the best way out of a bad situation was to brazen it out—Harriet's words—even if it meant making a public exhibition of his feelings, and the annihilation of all the delicate structure of confidence which he had been so cautiously toiling to build up between this scathed and embittered woman and himself.

He said nothing, but watched the wreck of his fortune in Harriet's stormy eyes.

Harriet, meanwhile, having worked herself up into committing an act of what she obscurely felt to be injustice, was seized by an unreasonable hatred against the injured party. The fact that, until five minutes earlier, she had felt perfectly happy and at ease with this man, before she had placed both him and herself in an intolerable position, she felt somehow as one more added to the list of his offenses. She looked round for something really savage to do to him.

— Dorothy L. Sayers, Have His Carcase