It does take one a bit short.

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New Member
"What has happened?" breathed the girl in a whisper, scarcely moving her lips. "I'm frightened, aren't you? I feel as if something awful was going to happen."

"It does take one a bit short, the President's way of doing things," agreed Rogers, "but it's safer like that."

"Those poor men——"

A dancer, turning and following on their heels, touched Rogers on the shoulder.

<from 'The Adventurous Exploit of Cave of Ali Baba' by Dorothy Sayers>

The above conversation is made between two gang members, a woman and a man, and the President means the chief of gangster.
(Two gangster members arrested by police were silenced by gangsters themselves and the above conversation is after hearing the news.)

What's the meaning of 'it does take one a bit short' ?
It seemingly means that the action by the President is too harsh, but I don't know the exact meaning of the sentence.

Thank you.
  • Loob

    Senior Member
    English UK
    To take someone short = to take someone by surprise.

    The idea is that the President's way of doing things can come as rather a shock.
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