huddled aimlessly


Senior Member
The snow was still coming down, but lighter. Tomorrow would be a better day. He turned in at the motel office and stopped short, to avoid walking straight into a very pregnant woman. She was with a guy, huddled aimlessly, and she had been crying.
Source: No Middle Name by Lee Child
Context: Christmas Eve. It is snowing in a small town near an interstate highway.

I gloss the bolded hulled is the past participle of the verb to huddle = curl one's body into a small space, the way you would huddle in your coat collar.

Does huddled refer to the woman or to the guy?

Thank you.
  • lingobingo

    Senior Member
    English - England
    It almost certainly refers to her. But the way the sentence is written doesn't actually make it clear whether it's her or him or both of them.


    Senior Member
    Inglés británico
    It refers to both of them - they are huddled together. Probably the man has his arms around the woman, and she is pressed against him.

    Cross-posted. Interesting that lingobingo sees it differently.


    Senior Member
    English - England
    Interesting that lingobingo sees it differently.
    I take your point that it's reasonable to assume they're "huddled together". But I thought the two instances of "she" in the sentence, with the huddling going on in between, suggested it was all about her.
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