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Out Of Sympathy
by [?]

“Sympathy with his kind and well-doing for its
welfare, direct or indirect, are the essential conditions of
the existence and development of the more complex
social organism; and no mortal can transcend these
conditions with any success.”–HENRY MAUDSLEY.

Our party was going from the Yosemite Valley to Lake Tenaiya–that beautiful bit of shining, liquid sapphire ringed by its mighty setting of granite peaks and domes–by the long and roundabout way of Cloud’s Rest. It would be an all-day trip, but we knew that at the end would be the cabin of Henry Moulton, a lone mountaineer, to receive us, with such comfort as it could give, and Henry Moulton himself to cook for us a supper of fresh fish and game. The thoughts of the whole party began to turn longingly in that direction as the afternoon of the late summer day waned, and in straggling, silent file we hurried our horses, with such speed as was possible, over the blind trail. The Artist, who was next in front of me, turned in his saddle and said:

“We ought to get a warm welcome at Moulton’s cabin. For this is the first party that has been up here for two months, and it’s not likely that he has seen another human being in all that time.”

“Does he live all alone, then?”

“Absolutely alone. He has a cabin on the banks of Lake Tenaiya–it is only about three or four miles farther, now–and whenever parties of tourists come up from the Valley to stay a day or two, he cooks for them and lets them sleep in his shanty if they wish. He is a very strange man, and I hope you will be able to draw him into conversation, for I ‘m sure you would find him an interesting character. His life story is the queerest thing I ‘ve run across on the Pacific Coast, and if you won’t give away to him that you know anything about it, I ‘ll tell it to you.”

At once I scented big game, for the Artist had spent many summers in that region and knew all that was strange or weird or startling in its history. Already he had told me many tales, and if this was to be the strangest of them all I wanted to hear it. So I urged my horse on and by dint of circling around trees and jumping over logs and occasionally falling into single file, we managed to keep within talking distance of each other while he told me this tale of the lone man at Lake Tenaiya:

“I knew Moulton years ago–thirty, yes, thirty-five of them–in Cambridge, where we were boys together. He went to Harvard and was graduated from both the academic and the law departments, and was looked upon as a promising young man. If any prophet had foretold to me, in those days, that Henry Moulton would become a hermit in the Sierras and do cooking for tourists, I would have told him he was the father of lies, and had better retreat to his natural home. Moulton married a handsome young woman of an influential family–his own people were poor–and all his friends were confident that a brilliant future awaited him.

“A few years after his marriage he came West, intending to settle in San Francisco and practise law. His wife stayed behind until he should get a start. The gold fever was n’t dead yet in those days, and Moulton had a bad attack of it. When I came to the Coast he was working in some played-out placer mines, and feeling perfectly sure that he was going to strike a fortune almost any day. When a man has once dug gold out of the ground with his own hands, he seems to be unfitted for doing anything else. It’s as bad as the gambler’s mania. Well, the fever got into Moulton’s blood, and he gave himself up to it, drifting about, prospecting, and sometimes striking a good thing, but often quite the contrary.