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Thread: dry wall

  1. #1
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    dry wall

    Right, can someone tell me what a dry wall means in the excerpt from Edith Wharton's novel Summer below? It can't be the same thing as a modern dry wall that people use indoors when building a house (the book is from 1917).

    She sat up, brushed the bits of grass from her hair, and looked down on
    the house where she held sway. It stood just below her, cheerless and
    untended, its faded red front divided from the road by a "yard" with
    a path bordered by gooseberry bushes, a stone well overgrown with
    traveller's joy, and a sickly Crimson Rambler tied to a fan-shaped
    support, which Mr. Royall had once brought up from Hepburn to please
    her. Behind the house a bit of uneven ground with clothes-lines strung
    across it stretched up to a dry wall, and beyond the wall a patch of
    corn and a few rows of potatoes strayed vaguely into the adjoining
    wilderness of rock and fern.

    Does it simply mean a wall that is dry? No, not very likely. Probably a wall that is built in some special way, right?

  2. #2
    Teia is offline Key Member
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    Re: dry wall

    Quote Originally Posted by Caorthine View Post
    Right, can someone tell me what a dry wall means in the excerpt from Edith Wharton's novel Summer below? It can't be the same thing as a modern dry wall that people use indoors when building a house (the book is from 1917).

    She sat up, brushed the bits of grass from her hair, and looked down on
    the house where she held sway. It stood just below her, cheerless and
    untended, its faded red front divided from the road by a "yard" with
    a path bordered by gooseberry bushes, a stone well overgrown with
    traveller's joy, and a sickly Crimson Rambler tied to a fan-shaped
    support, which Mr. Royall had once brought up from Hepburn to please
    her. Behind the house a bit of uneven ground with clothes-lines strung
    across it stretched up to a dry wall, and beyond the wall a patch of
    corn and a few rows of potatoes strayed vaguely into the adjoining
    wilderness of rock and fern.

    Does it simply mean a wall that is dry? No, not very likely. Probably a wall that is built in some special way, right?
    It might be a wall made with stones which fit together firmly without being stuck together with mortar

    Cambridge Dictionaries Online - Cambridge University Press

  3. #3
    BobK's Avatar
    BobK is offline Harmless drudge
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    Re: dry wall

    Quote Originally Posted by teia_petrescu View Post
    It might be a wall made with stones which fit together firmly without being stuck together with mortar

    Cambridge Dictionaries Online - Cambridge University Press
    I haven't yet read that dictionary entry, but I suspect this 'dry wall' is what is known in Br Eng. as a 'dry-stone wall' (which is usually used for a wall that doesn't use any mortar to stick the stones together - as Teia said - but uses natural angles between adjacent stones). The walls at Cuzco, for example, use carefully chiselled blocks: http://tbn0.google.com/images?q=tbn:...04%2520103.jpg,
    whereas English dry-stone walls are constructed skilfully but not with such intricate masonry: http://www.craftmasonry.co.uk/pastpr...odor_wall3.jpg

    b

  4. #4
    Anglika is offline No Longer With Us
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    Re: dry wall

    This seems to agree that it is a wall of stone built without mortar:
    dry wall. The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language: Fourth Edition. 2000.

  5. #5
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    Re: dry wall

    Quote Originally Posted by BobK View Post
    I haven't yet read that dictionary entry, but I suspect this 'dry wall' is what is known in Br Eng. as a 'dry-stone wall' (which is usually used for a wall that doesn't use any mortar to stick the stones together ... but uses natural angles between adjacent stones).

    b
    Yes, that makes sense. Thanks everyone ...

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