After Gortsby's experience with the young man who contends that he has rushed from a hotel that was not the one at which he had planned on staying in order to purchase a cake of soap, Gortsby recriminates with himself about not trusting people:
"Poor boy, he as nearly as possible broke down," said Gortsby to himself. "I don't wonder either; the relief from his quandary must have been acute. It's a lesson to me not to be too clever in judging by circumstances."
Imagine how Gortsby must feel when the old gentleman, whom he has assumed is an unwanted lodger in a home where he is virtually snubbed, returns and informs Gortsby that he is searching for his cake of soap. In an ironic twist, Gortsby learns yet a second lesson about judging by circumstances.
Because of his original bitterness and disillusionment regarding his failure in a "subtle ambition," then because of his misjudgment that his original cynical viewpoint was actually correct, Gortsby may have no inclination to talk with anyone for a while. At any rate, he may easily return to being cynical since, as it turned out, he was correct in being so with the young man. Thus, if a another "victim" were to appear [appear is in subjunctive mood], Gortsby may well be disinclined to listen or to speak with him/her. Furthermore, if the person wished to convince Gortsby of another misfortune, it would take much salesmanship to do so.