against Mr Peggotty's return

Gabriel Aparta

Senior Member
Español - Venezuela
Hello everyone, please, from David Copperfield:

'But where are they all, I wonder!' said I.
'God knows,' said Steerforth. 'After strolling to the ferry looking for you, I strolled in here and found the place deserted. That set me thinking, and you found me thinking.'
The advent of Mrs. Gummidge with a basket, explained how the house had happened to be empty. She had hurried out to buy something that was needed, against Mr. Peggotty's return with the tide; and had left the door open in the meanwhile, lest Ham and little Em'ly, with whom it was an early night, should come home while she was gone.

I don't understand the grammar in that sentence in bold, what does it mean please?

  • velisarius

    Senior Member
    British English (Sussex)
    We might lay in provisions against a famine. It means "in the eventuality of" or, as here, "in preparation for".
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