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40. Chapter XL (continued)
We walked on in silence, and then came to a place where several streets met. I stopped at the curb.
"Which way do you go?" I enquired.
"Your way," he smiled.
"I'm going home."
"I'll come along with you and smoke a pipe."
"You might wait for an invitation," I retorted frigidly.
"I would if I thought there was any chance of getting one."
"Do you see that wall in front of you?" I said, pointing.
"In that case I should have thought you could see also that I don't want your company."
"I vaguely suspected it, I confess."
I could not help a chuckle. It is one of the defects of my character that I cannot altogether dislike anyone who makes me laugh. But I pulled myself together.
"I think you're detestable. You're the most loathsome beast that it's ever been my misfortune to meet. Why do you seek the society of someone who hates and despises you?"
"My dear fellow, what the hell do you suppose I care what you think of me?"
"Damn it all," I said, more violently because I had an inkling my motive was none too creditable, "I don't want to know you."
"Are you afraid I shall corrupt you?"
His tone made me feel not a little ridiculous. I knew that he was looking at me sideways, with a sardonic smile.
"I suppose you are hard up," I remarked insolently.
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