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What ほと means in 彼はほとそんなことを呟いた?

The full sentence is あの夕景色の流れは、さては時の流れの象徴であったかと、彼はほとそんなことを呟いた。

from the book 雪国

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I believe that this is an old-fashioned way of saying "ふと".

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