But the hand which I now saw, clearly enough, in the yellow light of a mid-London morning, lying half shut on the bedclothes, was lean, corded, knuckly, of a dusky pallor and thickly shaded with a swart growth of hair.

This is from the classic novel Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde. I wonder what was lying half shut on the bedclothes. Was it a hand or speaker itself?

  • 'Lying half closed' would be the idiomatic expression. 'Closure' is different from 'shutting'. We talk about an 'open palm' but a 'closed hand'. Different concepts.
    – Nigel J
    Jul 1 '20 at 12:13
  • The subject is "the hand which I now saw".
    – BillJ
    Jul 1 '20 at 13:04

It was the hand.

There is technically some ambiguity, but we do not talk of people lying half shut, or for that matter parts of the day - a mid-London morning might just as well have been modified by lying half shut.

  • I'd go for "the hand which I now saw".
    – BillJ
    Jul 1 '20 at 13:06

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