Interested in Language
Can anybody tell me in what sense the word perturbations is used in the text below? (was the "lower atmosphere" crowded with other flying vessels or what? ...)
"The northern aspect of the Himalayas was in deep shadow: on the Indian slope the sun had just prevailed. The forests had been destroyed during the literature epoch for the purpose of making newspaper-pulp, but the snows were awakening to their morning glory, and clouds still hung on the breasts of Kinchinjunga. In the plain were seen the ruins of cities, with diminished rivers creeping by their walls, and by the sides of these were sometimes the signs of vomitories, marking the cities of to day. Over the whole prospect air-ships rushed, crossing the inter-crossing with incredible aplomb , and rising nonchalantly when they desired to escape the perturbations of the lower atmosphere and to traverse the Roof of the World."
E.M.Foster, The Machine Stops, 1909
Yes, it would seem that the lower atmosphere is riddled with many other air-ships busily crossing back and forth, so it's a bit crowded and chaotic. When the pilots want to relax and slow down, they float up to a higher altitude where things are more calm.
Last edited by Rover_KE; 19-May-2015 at 21:56. Reason: Fixing typos.