I do not in particular understand the use of the word "but" in the last sentence:
Almost every man wastes part of his life in attempts to display qualities which he does not possess, and to gain applauses which he cannot keep; so that scarcely can two persons meet, but one is offended or diverted by the ostentation of the other. - Samuel Johnson
What is the meaning of the word "but" in this context? Is Johnson stating that because people attempt to be what they cannot be, whenever they interact, one annoys another in the process of attempting to display these qualities?