Saturday 23 May 2009

a quiet test

Fill in the gaps with the correct phrase from below and ONLY THEN click on the “gap” box to check your answer.

a quiet corner
come/go quietly

have a quiet word with somebody

keep somebody quiet

keep something quiet

He must have been an Irishman or a Scotsman, for he was wearing a kilt of some dark tartan.
His auburn hair was long and wild, tangled like the roots of a tree or family histories. He kept a skean dhu or dagger in his socks. There were pistols by his side and a rapier hanging from a low-slung scabbard.
He was frightening to behold. As he strode down the high street of Narbonne-sur-la-Plage, even the wind seemed to whip up before him, scurrying away into alleys and doorways. The very sky turned dark and menacing. The sea lashed the beach with white-streaked fury.
The foreigner stopped in front of Madame Po's Charcuterie. He opened the door and went in.
A middle-aged woman with a generous figure and rouged cheeks leaned upon the counter.
'Do I have the pleasure of addressing Madame Po?' inquired the Scotsman, for he was indeed a Scotsman judging from his accent.
'You have, but it's no pleasure - just ask my husband,' she replied. 'And you are?'
'I'm Jake McTag, Madame Po.'
'Enchante, I'm sure,' said Madame Po drily.
McTeegan nodded slightly in assent. He waited in silence, his hair seemingly still moving in its own wind.
Eventually, Madame Po could stand his tacit presence no longer. 'Can I help you?' she asked.
'Yes,' replied McTag. 'I'm an Agent of the Fisc. I've been sent to with you.'
'Fisc? What is the Fisc?'
'The Royal Treasury, Madame Po.'
'Ha!' she shrugged. 'I know no such thing! This is France - we have no royalty.'
'And of France at that,' remarked McTag looking admiringly out the window at the deserted beach. 'It's taken a long time to find you: 411 years 2 months, and 3 weeks, give or take a few days.'
'Are you mad?' demanded Madame Po. '400 years? Whoever heard of such a thing!'
'Very few,' said McTag. 'You are the last of them at any rate. Now are you going to or not?'
'Go quietly where?' shrieked Madame Po. 'You are mad monsieur!'
'Madame Po, your forebears borrowed a significant amount of money from the Royal Coffers in 1598 and they never paid it back. The debt is due and I cannot rest until it is paid either in money or blood.'
'My forebears? In 1598? Well, they for sure!' wailed Madame Po. Perhaps realising all of a sudden that sarcasm and flat denial would have no effect on this strange man, she decided to try and distract him with some of her products. 'Would you like some pâté? Terrine? Roulade, perhaps? My husband makes it himself.'
The Agent of the Fisc smiled. 'Madame Po, you cannot with mere meat. Time itself could not stop me. The decay hard-wired into each cell of my DNA was barely even an obstacle to my devotion to the job. The passing of every person I ever loved into dotage and dust did not make pause a jot. Nothing, not even salami, can stop me.'
Madame Po smiled now. 'You have not tasted our salami!'

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Collocation of the Week by Dr Myers is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 3.0 Unported License.