with his hands in his coat pockets, <into which it> was as much as he could do to get them

park sang joon

Senior Member
Korean
The narrator recalls his adolescence.
He is an apprentice for the lawyer Mr. Spenlow.
He and Mr. Spenlow's only daughter Dora fell in love with each other.
His grand aunt and her distant relative Mr. Dick came to London after her going bankrupt.
Now, He works as the secretary for Doctor Strong, who lives in Highgate now, in his spare time, who was the head master of the school the protagonist went to.
Dora's guardian Miss Murdstone discovered their secret love affair and disclosed it to Mr. Spenlow.
And Mr. Spenlow called the narrator into a coffee house, where Miss Murdstone was waiting for.

...............................
A silence succeeding, I was undecided whether to go or stay. At length I was moving quietly towards the door, with the intention of saying that perhaps I should consult his feelings best by withdrawing: when he said, with his hands in his coat pockets, into which it was as much as he could do to get them; and with what I should call, upon the whole, a decidedly pious air:
[David Copperfield by Charles Dickens]
I'd like to know if "into which it" means "to get his hands into his coat pockets."
Thank you in advance for your help.
 
  • Glasguensis

    Signal Modulation
    English - Scotland
    What you have written couldn't replace the text, but yes, that's the overall meaning. He had his hands in his coat pockets, and they barely fitted.
     
    he said, with his hands in his coat pockets, {into which it was as much as he could do to get them;} and with what I should call, upon the whole, a decidedly pious air:

    'which' refers to pockets. So the bracketed words could be replaced by,

    into those pockets, there was as much of his hands as he could put ['get'] into those pockets.

    ADDED: "get them," in the quotation, refers, I believe, to his hands.
     

    Barque

    Senior Member
    Tamil
    The word "it" here refers to the fact that he got them into his pockets with some effort. ...it was as much as he could do...

    It (WR dictionary) - to represent...a thought or idea...that...is about to be mentioned...

    with his hands in his coat pockets, into which it was as much as he could do to get them
    with his hands in his pockets, into which (his pockets), it (referring to the effort that's about to be mentioned later in the sentence) was as much as he could do (took quite some effort from him) to get them ("them" refers to his hands).
     

    followconscience

    New Member
    Hanoi-Vietnam
    The word "it" here refers to the fact that he got them into his pockets with some effort. ...it was as much as he could do...

    It (WR dictionary) - to represent...a thought or idea...that...is about to be mentioned...



    with his hands in his pockets, into which (his pockets), it (referring to the effort that's about to be mentioned later in the sentence) was as much as he could do (took quite some effort from him) to get them ("them" refers to his hands).
    Thank you Barque
     
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