Passages and Quotations: Margery Allingham

“Theatrical people aren’t like ordinary people, sir,’ he burst out, blushing with shame at his own disloyalty. “I’m new to it and I notice it. They’re theatrical. Things mean more to them than they would to you or me–little things do. There’s not a nicer gentleman than Mr. Sutane anywhere; no one’s denying that. But he’s been in the theatre all his life and he hasn’t been about like an ordinary person. Suppose little things do happen now and again? Aren’t they always happening? Being in the theatre is like living in a tiny village where everybody’s looking at everyone else and wondering what they’re going to be up to next. It’s small, that’s what it is. And Miss Finbrough…” He broke off abruptly. Someone turned the door handle with a rattle and Jimmy Sutane came in.

He stood for a moment smiling at them and Campion was aware of that odd quality of overemphasis which there is about all very strong personalities seen close to for the first time. Confronted suddenly, at a distance of a couple of yards, Sutane presented a larger-than-life edition of his stage self. The lines of his famous smile were etched more deeply into his face than seemed possible in one so thin, and the heavy-lidded eyes beneath the great dome of a forehead were desperately weary rather than merely tired.

~ from Margery Allingham’s Dancers in Mourning, the 8th Albert Campion mystery.


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