The Dragon in Shallow Waters
89 pages

Vous pourrez modifier la taille du texte de cet ouvrage

Découvre YouScribe en t'inscrivant gratuitement

Je m'inscris

The Dragon in Shallow Waters , livre ebook


Découvre YouScribe en t'inscrivant gratuitement

Je m'inscris
Obtenez un accès à la bibliothèque pour le consulter en ligne
En savoir plus
89 pages

Vous pourrez modifier la taille du texte de cet ouvrage

Obtenez un accès à la bibliothèque pour le consulter en ligne
En savoir plus


The Dragon in Shallow Waters (1921) is a novel by Vita Sackville-West. While she is most widely recognized as the lover of English novelist Virginia Woolf, Sackville-West was a popular and gifted poet, playwright, and novelist in her own right. A prominent lesbian and bohemian figure, Sackville-West was also the daughter of an English Baron, granting her a unique and often divided perspective on life in the twentieth century. The Dragon in Shallow Waters, her second novel, is a tale of family, jealousy, and murder. “Outside the windows three chimneys reared their heads side by side, emitting three parallel streams of smoke, gigantic black plumes that floated horizontally away over the flooded country, and that at night were flecked with red sparks as they flowed out from the red glare at their base.” At the edge of the moors, a harsh and bleak environment, a flaming, smoking factory churns out perfumes and soaps for the people of England. Brothers Silas and Gregory Dene live together in a cottage not far from the hulking expanse of the factory, and like most of their neighbors depend on the site for their livelihoods. Consumed with jealousy, Silas—a blind man—has already murdered his wife, and as the story unfolds seems more than willing to kill again. With a beautifully designed cover and professionally typeset manuscript, this edition of Vita Sackville-West’s The Dragon in Shallow Waters is a classic of English literature reimagined for modern readers.



Publié par
Date de parution 28 septembre 2021
Nombre de lectures 0
EAN13 9781513212067
Langue English

Informations légales : prix de location à la page 0,0450€. Cette information est donnée uniquement à titre indicatif conformément à la législation en vigueur.


The Dragon in Shallow Waters
V. Sackville-West
The Dragon in Shallow Waters was first published in 1921.
This edition published by Mint Editions 2021.
ISBN 9781513212166 | E-ISBN 9781513212067
Published by Mint Editions®
Publishing Director: Jennifer Newens
Design & Production: Rachel Lopez Metzger
Project Manager: Micaela Clark
Typesetting: Westchester Publishing Services
A n immense gallery, five hundred feet long, occupied the upper floor of the main factory-building. Looking down the gallery, a perspective of iron girders spanned the roof, gaunt skeletons of architecture, uncompromising, inexorably utilitarian, inflexible, remorseless. A drone of machinery filled the air, neither very loud nor very near at hand, but softly and unremittingly continuous; the drone of clanking, of loosely-running wheels and leather belts, muffled by the intervening floor into a not unpleasant murmur. Outside the windows three chimneys reared their heads side by side, emitting three parallel streams of smoke, gigantic black plumes that floated horizontally away over the flooded country, and that at night were flecked with red sparks as they flowed out from the red glare at their base.
All these things, the chimneys and the girders, were crushingly larger than the men who laboured amongst them. The men seemed of pigmy size as they pushed their hand-trucks along the floor of the big gallery. They pushed them down the narrow passage-ways left between the vats. The gallery was full of vats, set in pairs down the whole length of the building; square vats twenty feet each way, as large and as deep as an ordinary room. Some of the vats were empty, temporarily not in use; some were only half full; but in most the hot, liquid soap boiled and bubbled right up to the rim.
The smell which filled the gallery was the smell of the soap, pungent and acrid on the surface, but fat and nauseating underneath, rasping the throat of the chance visitor before it penetrated deeper with its hot, furry smell that tickled and disgusted the sensitiveness at the back of his nose. The chance visitor rarely lingered long in the gallery. He would stand for a few moments watching the men that came and went in their splashed overalls, indifferent to his presence; then he would turn to go carefully down the steep iron stair into the pleasanter rooms where white powder was heaped on the floor in miniature mountains, and where lines of girls seated on high stools were occupied in tying ribbons with the twist of dexterity round the necks of scent bottles, and the room was filled with scent like a garden of orange-trees in blossom.
Up in the gallery, the soap in the vats moved uneasily with the motion of an evil quicksand. The soap was yellow, and its consistency one of slimy liquidity. If the vat were not sufficiently full, the quantity increased mysteriously from below, the level rising thanks to the unseen source of supply. It was not hard to believe that the recesses of the vat were inhabited by some foul and secret monster whose jaws emitted the viscid, yellow stream to conceal his abode. The soap moved restlessly, boiling and bursting into little craters, which subsided, leaving wrinkles and circles on the surface. Quiet for a moment, it heaved in another place; heaved slowly and deliberately, but did not break; heaved again; broke with a spout of steam and a sluggish splash as the walls of the crater fell in. It was never altogether still. It seemed alive, because it swelled and breathed and vomited, or at least it seemed as though some live creature dwelt within, occasioning by its movements the disturbances and eruptions of the slime.
In other vats a wrinkled brown skin had formed over the cooling soap, a skin puckered and broken up into valleys and chasms, plains and ridges, so that of all things it most resembled the physical map of a country. The parallel was exact as to colour, even to the greenish stretches at the bottom of the valleys. Mountain ridges three inches high, chasms three inches deep, plateaux six inches across, the landscape of some dead but perpetually changing world. For here the slime moved also, but with a difference; it did not seethe, it did not erupt; it rather subsided; was a dead, rather than a living thing. The monster that dwelt in those depths had died, and lay at the bottom, a heap of corruption the imagination would not willingly picture.
Other vats were empty, and if the hot boiling soap resembled a shifting quicksand, and the cooling soap the desolation of a dead world, the empty vats resembled the sea-bottom. The others, with their hint of greed and evil, might be more terrifying; these empty vats were infinitely more fantastic. Their sides were caked with the dry soap, brown-yellow, and their depths were surprisingly revealed; ending in a blunt point, like the point of a cone; they were sunk lower than the floor of the gallery into an unlighted chamber of corresponding size below. In these empty vats, various portions of apparatus were brought to light: immense chains, caked and corroded, hung like ship’s cables and were lost in the deposit at the bottom; vast strainers swung against the sides; ropes, stiffened hard as wood, spanned diagonally from side to side; and, emerging from the tapering depths, stumps of wreckage stood up, transformed from their original shape to stalagmites of dry frangible matter, that would chip away, crisp and powdery, betraying the nature of their kernel,—was it a shovel? was it an anchor? was it the decaying bones of the ancient monster?—and the low parapets of the vats were coated with the same brittle dryness that yellowed the walls of those grotesque and extraordinary pits.
T HE WORKERS WERE SUBORDINATE TO the factory; it was a giant, a monster, that they served. At night the red glow from the chimneys,—the glow from the fires that must never flag or die,—accentuated the disregard of man’s convenience. To keep alive that red breath of activity, men must forego their privilege of sleep.
The tragedy in the household of the Denes was not allowed to interrupt the general work of the factory, but the overseer, Mr. Calthorpe, offered Silas Dene a week, and Gregory Dene a day,—the day of the funeral,—as a concession to their mourning. He thought the offer sufficiently generous.
The brothers Dene, however, refused it.
They lived in a double-cottage; Gregory with his wife in one half; Silas and his wife, before her sudden death, in the other. Although situated in the village street, it was a lonely cottage, for “the black Denes” did not encourage neighbourly communion, nor did the neighbours trouble them with unwelcome advances. This was not surprising, for they were indeed a sinister race to whom affliction seemed naturally drawn. Nature cursed them from the hour of their birth with physical deficiencies and spiritual savagery; whether or no, as some said, the latter was only to be expected as the outcome of the former, the name of Dene remained the intimidation of the village.
Others again said that Nature was not so much to be held responsible as the Denes’ father, whom everybody had known as a rake, and who never ought to have married, much less begotten children.
Of the two brothers, Gregory had been deaf and dumb from birth, and Silas blind. Their physique, however, was full of splendour, and they were accounted two of the most valuable workers in the factory,—magnificent men, tall, muscular, and dark.
Calthorpe came to their cottage directly he was told of the accident. It was then evening, and the accident had occurred in the earlier part of the afternoon. Calthorpe knew no details beyond the bare fact that Silas Dene’s wife had been discovered, a mass of almost unidentifiable disfigurement, lying across the railway line after the passage of the little local train. He had been told this much by the men who had come running with the news to his office; they had come breathless, shocked, mystified; he had understood at once that they were mystified; they had made no comment, but Calthorpe had been quick to catch the hint of mystery; any concern of the Denes was always luscious with mystery.
He found Silas, the blind man, sitting in his kitchen, chewing an unlighted pipe. He appeared to be strangely indifferent. A little man named Hambley, Silas Dene’s only crony, sat in a dark corner, not speaking, but observing everything with bright furtive eyes, like the eyes of a weasel. He hugged himself in his corner; a sallow faced little man, with a red tip to his thin nose. Gregory Dene was in the kitchen too, and Gregory’s wife, with frightened eyes, was laying the table for supper; she moved quickly, placing cups and plates, and casting rapid glances at the two men.
“I’m terribly distressed, Silas,” Calthorpe began.
“What, you too, Mr. Calthorpe, come to condole?” cried the blind man, laughing loudly. “Well, it takes an accident to make me popular, it seems; I haven’t had so many callers in the last four years as in the last four hours. Sit down, Mr. Calthorpe; I ask ’em all to sit down. Nan, give a chair.”
Calthorpe sat down uneasily, beneath the silent scrutiny of Gregory and the quick glances of Gregory’s wife. The burning and sightless eyes of Silas were also bent upon him.
“I have only just heard the news,” he began again, “or I would have come sooner…”
“That’s all right. The neighbours ran to help, and to nose out what they could; the parson came too, he’s upstairs now. All very helpful,” said Silas, with another burst of laughter. “Gregory, my brother, too, though he isn’t much company, but we understand one another. Don’t we, Gregory? He can’t hear, but I always talk to him as though he could. I trust him with my secrets, Mr. Calthorpe. They say dead men tell no tales; I say deaf and dumb men tell no tales either. We understand one another, don’t we,

  • Univers Univers
  • Ebooks Ebooks
  • Livres audio Livres audio
  • Presse Presse
  • Podcasts Podcasts
  • BD BD
  • Documents Documents