carrying a lantern: free modifier?

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Horrid Henry

I would like to ask a question which I think I have already asked but something must have gone wrong as I got no reply and can’t even find that thread now.
My question is, is it possible to say for sure what the phrase in bold refers to? Is it Jeannot or Martine who was carrying the lantern? From what I’ve read here: (Rule No. 8)
it seems to me that the sentence is badly written to start with. But I may be wrong.

CONTEXT: Jeannot, Martine and Gregory are forced to spend the winter in a sawmill, buried under “thirty feet of snow”
“… [Jeannot] carved the tunnel out big enough so that he could stand in it, passing the snow to Gregory, who brought it to the stove so they could melt it down, pouring it into barrels. … One of the days, Martine took some of the extra water, wet down a rag, and glazed down the walls of the tunnel between the cabin and the mill. It was pitch-black because of the snow above, but she pulled Jeannot in with her, carrying a lantern, just so that he could see the gleaming in the ice.”
Alexi Zentner, Touch

Best regards and thanks in advance
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  • lucas-sp

    Senior Member
    English - Californian
    I think Martine has to be carrying the lantern. The only way Jeannot could be carrying the lantern would be for the phrase to come immediately after "Jeannot" in the sentence.


    English - England
    Yes, it is not possible to say who was carrying the lantern with any certainty. (I have just seen lucas's post but I thought it was Jeannot.)
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    Senior Member
    English - Californian
    ... and that disagreement alone means that Henry's intuition that "the sentence is badly written to begin with" is probably right.

    The best way to write it, I think, would be: "... but, carrying a lantern, she..."
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