2017-04-07 22:22:55 UTC
[Martin Lynch-Gibbon visits his brother, who lives in their parental home.]
The great room, which was a Cotswold barn converted by my mother,
retained its high roof and rough-hewn wooden rafters from whose scored
crevices the warm oily air, gently circulating, seemed to sift down an
ancient dust. The long work table, with its scrubbed surface and neat
groups of meticulously cleaned tools, spanned the farther wall.
Iris Murdoch, A Severed Head
"the warm oily air . . . seemed to sift down an ancient dust"
Is "sift down" intransitive here? In that case, is the meaning:
"the warm oily air . . . seemed to sift down [as/like] an ancient dust"
"the warm oily air . . . seemed to sift down [being] an ancient dust"
I incline toward a transitive reading though, but I have a difficulty
with the air performing the "sift down" action.