A quiet exit
It’s funny how some sayings seem to transcend international borders. Stranger still when the same expression twists its content in a different country, yet retains its meaning.
One such expression used in Italy and France is ‘to slip away like the English’. In England and Germany, however, the saying works in reverse – ‘to take French leave’. Used when a member of a group, such as a guest at a party, or friend in a bar, leaves without saying farewell. It’s considered rude, especially if it’s the turn of the person who’s leaving to buy the drinks!
The saying most likely comes from a historical conflict, though quite which one is anyone’s guess. There are a number of battles where the English, French, Italians and Germans fought, and at one time or another, one side either quietly disappeared into the night or escaped capture undetected. The original event itself may have been forgotten, but the notion of a quick getaway lives on.