‘Ssh! ’ said Egbert quickly. The other man laughed again. 'What a rabbit you are! It’s a pity, because she’s quite a pretty girl. It seems a pity to waste her, but I agree with him that she’s better out of the way. I’ll make up the fire now I’m here. Local colour! And I won’t stop in case Daniels takes it into his pompous head to wonder what I’m doing.’

I know what is local color, but in the above sentence, it seems to have a different meaning or allusion.

2 Answers 2


Local colour is a cliché whose basic sense is

The customs, manner of speech, dress, or other typical features of a place or period that contribute to its particular character —Oxford Dictionaries Online

The phrase is occasionally employed ironically to mean what W.S. Gilbert called “corroborative detail, intended to give artistic verisimilitude to an otherwise bald and unconvincing narrative”. That is how Egbert uses it: his making up the fire provides an excuse for his presence and will dispel any suspicion Daniels may entertain about what he is up to.


"colour" in this use would be synonymous with "custom" or "tradition" or mean "typical."

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