Would you tell me whether I am right about my interpretation of the expressions in bold in the following sentences?
The Doctor on his… mare was making good work of it across the plains. (H. Kingsley, “The Recollection of Geoffrey Hamlyn”)
make good work of = cope well with
But he couldn't make it work.
make something work = compel something to work
“The thing wants tackling,” he grumbled “the Chairman’s not the man for the job!” Shades of old uncle Jolyon. He would have made short work of this! It wanted a masterful hand. (J. Galsworthy, “The White Monkey”)
A car, however old and rickety, would make short work of those miles. (A. Christie, “They come to Baghdad”)
make short work of something = do something with dispatch/ in a jiffy; fix someone, settle someone’s hash
He had his own house. That was not only one of the perquisites of his office, but it was a necessity, since if he had lodged in the prison camp the convicts would have made short work of him. (W. S. Maugham, “Complete Short Stories”)
make short work of = kill, bump off someone, make away with someone
Thanks for your efforts.
Yes, you are right, but the final expression is the same of the others, not distinct.
"the convicts would have made short work of him" means they would have killed him as you have said, but in particular they would have been able to do it quickly and easily as in your previous example.