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As he gazed at his recumbent fellow exiles, the loneliness begotten of his pariah trade, his habits of life, his very vices, for the first time seriously oppressed him.
After having been exiled from Poker Flat along with the harlots and the sluice robber, Mr. Oakhurst feels the consequences of his lonely profession, and they weigh heavily upon him as he finds himself in the isolated area with others who are morally undesirable.
Although he momentarily "forgot his annoyance" at having to be associated with such dissolute people, he looks at the "gloomy walls" that surround him and the others. With the premonition of a gambler, Oakhurst senses that where the others have insisted upon stopping is not a good position, as making camp is not advisable when they yet have a measurable distance to travel, and it is late in the season and colder temperatures certainly are atop the mountain.
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