Chapter 44

           Mr.MorsemetMartinintheofficeoftheHotelMetropole. Whetherhehadhappenedtherejustcasually,intentonotheraffairs,orwhetherhehadcomethereforthedirectpurposeofinvitinghimtodinner,Martinnevercouldquitemakeuphismind,thoughheinclinedtowardthesecondhypothesis. Atanyrate,invitedtodinnerhewasbyMr.MorseRuth’sfather,whohadforbiddenhimthehouseandbrokenofftheengagement. 

           Martinwasnotangry. Hewasnotevenonhisdignity. HetoleratedMr.Morse,wonderingthewhilehowitfelttoeatsuchhumblepie. Hedidnotdeclinetheinvitation. Instead,heputitoffwithvaguenessandindefinitenessandinquiredafterthefamily,particularlyafterMrs.MorseandRuth. Hespokehernamewithouthesitancy,naturally,thoughsecretlysurprisedthathehadhadnoinwardquiver,noold,familiarincreaseofpulseandwarmsurgeofblood. 

           Hehadmanyinvitationstodinner,someofwhichheaccepted. Personsgotthemselvesintroducedtohiminordertoinvitehimtodinner. Andhewentonpuzzlingoverthelittlethingthatwasbecomingagreatthing. BernardHigginbothaminvitedhimtodinner. Hepuzzledtheharder. Herememberedthedaysofhisdesperatestarvationwhennooneinvitedhimtodinner. Thatwasthetimeheneededdinners,andwentweakandfaintforlackofthemandlostweightfromsheerfamine. Thatwastheparadoxofit. Whenhewanteddinners,noonegavethemtohim,andnowthathecouldbuyahundredthousanddinnersandwaslosinghisappetite,dinnerswerethrustuponhimrightandleft. 

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