the lakes falling away one below the other

Tea Addict

Senior Member
Republic of Korea Korean
Hello everyone. I would like to know what "the lakes falling away one below the other" means in the following sentences:

"It's papa's to leave as he likes. I think you and I could be very happy here."
It opened a prospect; the prospect one gained at the turn of the avenue, as I had first seen it with Sebastian, of the secluded valley, the lakes falling away one below the other, the old house in the foreground, the rest of the world abandoned and forgotten; a world of its own of peace and love and beauty; a soldier's dream in a foreign bivouac; such a prospect perhaps as a high pinnacle of the temple afforded after the hungry days in the desert and the jackal-haunted nights. Need I reproach myself if sometimes I was taken by the vision?

This is an excerpt from Brideshead Revisited by Evelyn Waugh. While Lord Marchmain was in grave illness, the narrator Charles saw the possibility that he might inherit the Brideshead Castle to him and Julia, his love as well as Lord Marchmain's daughter. Therefore, he started to desire the house like above.

This castle is on one slope of a valley, and the stream in the valley is dammed below to create three lakes. One is smaller; the other two are bigger.
In the underlined part, I could not guess whether "falling away" meant that the lakes were positioned on the slope and thus the ground was tilted, or they were different in sizes, or some other thing that I don't know.
I would very much appreciate your help.
Last edited:
  • witchqueen

    Senior Member
    English (US)
    If you stand at the top edge of the valley and look down the slope, the lakes that are farther away will look smaller and be lower because of the perspective. They look like they're tumbling down the valley, falling away from the onlooker.

    Tea Addict

    Senior Member
    Republic of Korea Korean
    Dear witchqueen,

    Thank you very much for the explanation.
    So it was as if they were falling away from the onlooker.
    I really appreciate your help. :)
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