standing aside from the amplitude of hospitality

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Senior Member
While Father Brown and his friend Flambeau, in the short story, The Sign of the Broken Sword, are walking in a forest in a dark cold night, they finds an inn, which the narrator describes in the following sentence:

It stood sideways in the road, as if standing aside in the amplitude of hospitality.

Every word on its own is clear in the second part of the sentence, but I can't understand what he means by it.
  • winterlite

    English - USA
    To be honest, this sentence doesn't make much sense. If it's "sideways in the road," how can it be "standing aside"? The phrase "amplitude of hospitality" seems to be saying that the inn is broadcasting the strong degree to which it is hospitable. But what does the position of an inn have to due with the degree, or magnitude, of its hospitality? I have no idea. I would take this sentence to mean the inn appears strongly hospitable and inviting (in the sense that it invites you to enter). This is possibly (I'm not sure) because it interrupts the path of the road, forcing you to move towards it--in contrast to an inn on the side of the road, which is optional.

    Edit - Actually, I looked up the context, and the next sentence is "Its three doors stood open with invitation," so I think "amplitude of hospitality" does mean "it appeared inviting and hospitable." But it's a very pretentious sentence that's trying to play with the meaning of "amplitude" in a way that doesn't really work. And why would an inn keep its doors open on a cold night? This story is not the best writing, in my opinion.


    Senior Member
    English - South-East England
    I agree, it's puzzling how to envisage that, or what exactly amplitude is. Yes, ample, wide, big, that's good if you're being hospitable, presumably, but it doesn't suggest what to make of it.
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