act of springing from Ham to <nestle in> his embrace

park sang joon

Senior Member
The narrator recalls his adolescence.
He and his friend Steerforth just now made a surprise visit at his old nurse's elder brother Mr. Peggotty's

A murmur of voices had been audible on the outside, and, at the moment of our entrance, a clapping of hands, which latter noise, I was surprised to see, proceeded from the generally disconsolate Mrs. Gummidge. But Mrs. Gummidge was not the only person there who was unusually excited. Mr. Peggotty, his face lighted up with uncommon satisfaction, and laughing with all his might, held his rough arms wide open, as if for little Em'ly to run into them; Ham, with a mixed expression in his face of admiration, exultation, and a lumbering sort of bashfulness that sat upon him very well, held little Em'ly by the hand, as if he were presenting her to Mr. Peggotty; little Em'ly herself, blushing and shy, but delighted with Mr. Peggotty's delight, as her joyous eyes expressed, was stopped by our entrance (for she saw us first) in the very act of springing from Ham to nestle in Mr. Peggotty's embrace.
[David Copperfield by Charles Dickens]
Em'ly is in the action, not in a stationary state.
So I was wondering why it is "in," not "into."
Thank you in advance for your help.
  • velisarius

    Senior Member
    British English (Sussex)
    to nestle in Mr. Peggotty's embrace

    Like Glen, I see this "in" as location: you don't nestle into someone's embrace. Emily was about to go and nestle (with)in Mr Peggotty's embrace.


    Senior Member
    With respect, of course you can 'nestle into' someone's arms.

    Good Hope Road

    by Lisa Wingate - 2003 - ‎Fiction
    I smiled, watching the cat nestle into her arms. “Well, it's good you got him back.” “I hope my grandpa comes here, too.” “Me too.”



    by Cari Hunter - 2014 - ‎Fiction
    Alex patted the space on the bench between them, and Sarah shuffled closer to nestle into her embrace.

    Collins Dictionary dot com

    British English: nestle If you nestle or are nestled somewhere, you move into a comfortable position, usually by pressing against someone or against something soft.
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    Senior Member
    British English (Sussex)
    I gather they are both standing up, and in fact Emily was on the verge of darting over to Mr P, to be hugged by him.

    I just don't see it as a case of "nestling into" e.g. someone's lap. A cat could certainly nestle into your lap, and might make quite a big performance of it.:D

    Typo edited ("nesting")
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