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Would you be kind enough to give me your considered opinion concerning the interpretation of the expression in bold in the following sentence?
The mall was waylaid by seven robbers, and the guard shot three dead, and then got shot dead himself by the other four, "in consequence of the failure of his ammunition". (Ch. Dickens, “A Tale of Two Cities”)
failure = shortage, insufficiency, lack, want
I have a feeling (no more than that) that in the 19th century 'failure' could be used to mean 'running out' - either this, or as presumably the report came from the French authorities [not everyone may know - though vil almost certianly does - the 'two cities' of the title are London and Paris], they are trying to translate manquer - which is used in this sense in the song Il était un petit navire :
bAu bout de cinq ŕ six semaines
Les vivre vin- vin- vinrent ŕ manquer
Last edited by BobK; 28-Aug-2011 at 14:17. Reason: Fix typo
Thank you for your educational explanation masterly dressed with a spot of palatable French garnish.
In the majority of cases we took different views. The case in question is a pleasant exception.
We are the same mind, aren't we?
run out of
- To exhaust the supply of: ran out of fuel
failure of ammunition = running out of ammunition
Thank you for your gallantry.
Last edited by vil; 28-Aug-2011 at 15:29.