Kissing feet

A conversation between Harriet Vane and the Dean of Shrewsbury College:

"I wanted to find out whether Annie could really have seen what she said she saw. These people sometimes let their imagination run away with them. If you don't mind, I'm going to lock these doors and remove the keys. I'd rather like a second opinion."

"Aha!" said the Dean. "The exquisite gentleman who kissed my feet at St. Cross Road, crying,
Vera incessu patuit dean?"

[Recalling Aen. I.405: et vera incessu patuit dea. Ille ubi matrem.]

"That sounds characteristic. Well, Dean, you have got pretty feet. I've noticed them."

"They have been admired," said the Dean, complacently, "but seldom in so public a place after five minute's acquaintance. I said to his lordship, 'You are a foolish young man.' He said, 'A man, certain; and sometimes foolish enough to be young.' 'Well,' I said, 'please get up: you can't be young here.' So then he said, very nicely, 'I get your pardon for behaving like a montebank; I have no excuse to offer; so will you forgive me?' So I asked him to dinner."

- Dorothy L. Sayers, Gaudy Night, ch. 16.

Suffice it to say that I've had occasion and inclination, though never quite the nerve, to be such a foolish young man as Lord Peter Wimsey.

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