Monday, October 21, 2019

Quote of the Day (John Mortimer, on a Lawyer Steering Carefully Between Client and Wife)

“Fred has a far from villainous appearance. He is cheerful, a grandfather, and wears the sort of tweed jackets and cavalry twill trousers a bank manager might sport in the pub at weekends. None of the Timsons is first class at their jobs, but in his day Fred was a fair to average safe-blower. Despite his look of respectability, She Who Must Be Obeyed was eyeing one of our best customers with deep suspicion. When I invited Fred to stay for a bite of supper, she announced that she was off for a bridge evening at Lady Featherstone's, where, no doubt, she could keep going on the cheesy bits provided. 'I think it's a little much,' she said as I saw her out of the front door, 'having the criminal classes calling here at all hours!' And although I told her there was absolutely no violence in Fred's record and he was an old sweetie, she didn't seem in the least mollified.”—English novelist, screenwriter and barrister John Mortimer (1923-2009), “Rumpole and the Summer of Discontent,” in Rumpole a la Carte (1990)

(The image accompanying this post shows the great character actor Leo McKern in what may be his most famous role: defense barrister Horace Rumpole, in the long-running British TV series Rumpole of the Bailey. The particular short story I’ve highlighted did, in fact, become an episode of the show.)

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