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The hunchback stood with his bag open on the bottom step; he sniffled his nose, and his mouth quivered. Perhaps he began to feel his dismal predicament. Maybe he realized what a miserable thing it was to be a stranger in the town with a suitcase full of junk, and claiming kin with Miss Amelia. At any rate he sat down on the steps and suddenly began to cry.

......

At any rate she left the porch, and Stumpy MacPhail and the twins went on off home.

......

What does at any rate here mean? slow or fast or whatsoever?

(I 've looked it up in a Cambridge dictionary, but no explanation seems fit)

Thanks in advance!

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Comments  
It's idiomatic - it means "Whatever the situation." The word "Anyway," is used the same way. It's just a a little transition phrase.
I think I get it now.

Thank you very much, GG!
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Pour two so we can each have one!
Also:

Anyhow, she ...
The following are all approximately equivalent, shown in order of increasing formality (IMO)

anyhow, anyway, at any rate, (but) whatever the case, be that as it may

CJ
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That's from "The Ballad of the Sad Cafe," isn't it? (We used to make jokes about "the salad of the bad cafe.")
CalifJimThe following are all approximately equivalent, shown in order of increasing formality (IMO)

anyhow, anyway, at any rate, (but) whatever the case, be that as it may

I badly need know such information. Thank you CJ!

So I presume they are all contemporary (modern) usage.

Maple
Khoff That's from "The Ballad of the Sad Cafe," isn't it?
Yes, it is.

Khoff (We used to make jokes about "the salad of the bad cafe.")
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