Chapter 1
THE SCARLET LETTER CHAPTER I. THE PRISON-DOOR A throng of bearded men, in sad- o!o"red garments and gre# stee$!e- ro%ned hats, intermi&ed %ith %omen, some %earing hoods, and others bareheaded, %as assemb!ed in front of a %ooden edifi e, the door of %hi h %as hea'i!# timbered %ith oa(, and st"dded %ith iron s$i(es. The fo"nders of a ne% o!on#, %hate'er )to$ia of h"man 'irt"e and ha$$iness the# might origina!!# $ro*e t, ha'e in'ariab!# re ognised it among their ear!iest $ra ti a! ne essities to a!!ot a $ortion of the 'irgin soi! as a emeter#, and another $ortion as the site of a $rison. In a ordan e %ith this r"!e it ma# safe!# be ass"med that the forefathers of +oston had b"i!t the first $rison-ho"se some%here in the ,i init# of Cornhi!!, a!most as seasonab!# as the# mar(ed o"t the first b"ria!-gro"nd, on Isaa -ohnson.s !ot, and ro"nd abo"t his gra'e, %hi h s"bse/"ent!# be ame the n" !e"s of a!! the ongregated se$"! hres in the o!d h"r h#ard of 0ing.s Cha$e!. Certain it is that, some fifteen or t%ent# #ears after the sett!ement of the to%n, the %ooden *ai! %as a!read# mar(ed %ith %eather-stains and other indi ations of age, %hi h ga'e a #et dar(er as$e t to its beet!ebro%ed and g!oom# front. The r"st on the $ondero"s iron-%or( of its oa(en door !oo(ed more anti/"e than an#thing e!se in the Ne% 1or!d. Li(e a!! that $ertains to rime, it seemed ne'er to ha'e (no%n a #o"thf"! era. +efore this "g!# edifi e, and bet%een it and the %hee!-tra ( of the street, %as a grass-$!ot, m" h o'ergro%n %ith b"rdo (, $ig-%eed, a$$!e-$ern, and s" h "nsight!# 'egetation, %hi h e'ident!# fo"nd something ongenia! in the soi! that had so ear!# borne the b!a ( f!o%er of i'i!ised so iet#, a $rison. +"t on one side of the $orta!, and rooted a!most at the thresho!d, %as a %i!d rose-h"sh, o'ered, in this month of -"ne, %ith its de!i ate gems, %hi h might be imagined to offer their fragran e and fragi!e bea"t# to the $risoner as he %ent in, and to the ondemned rimina! as he ame forth to his doom, in to(en that the dee$ heart of Nat"re o"!d $it# and be (ind to him. This rose-b"sh, b# a strange han e, has been (e$t a!i'e in histor#2 b"t %hether it had mere!# s"r'i'ed o"t of the stern o!d %i!derness, so !ong after the fa!! of the giganti $ines and oa(s that origina!!# o'ershado%ed it, or %hether, as there is far a"thorit# for be!ie'ing, it had s$r"ng "$ "nder the footste$s of the sainted Ann H"t hinson as she entered the $rison-door, %e sha!! not ta(e "$on "s to determine. 3inding it so dire t!# on

the thresho!d of o"r narrati'e, %hi h is no% abo"t to iss"e from that ina"s$i io"s $orta!, %e o"!d hard!# do other%ise than $!" ( one of its f!o%ers, and $resent it to the reader. It ma# ser'e, !et "s ho$e, to s#mbo!ise some s%eet mora! b!ossom that ma# be fo"nd a!ong the tra (, or re!ie'e the dar(ening !ose of a ta!e of h"man frai!t# and sorro%.

Chapter 2
CHAPTER II. THE 4AR0ET-PLACE The grass-$!ot before the *ai!, in Prison Lane, on a ertain s"mmer morning, not !ess than t%o ent"ries ago, %as o "$ied b# a $rett# !arge n"mber of the inhabitants of +oston, a!! %ith their e#es intent!# fastened on the iron- !am$ed oa(en door. Amongst an# other $o$"!ation, or at a !ater $eriod in the histor# of Ne% Eng!and, the grim rigidit# that $etrified the bearded $h#siognomies of these good $eo$!e %o"!d ha'e a"g"red some a%f"! b"siness in hand. It o"!d ha'e beto(ened nothing short of the anti i$ated e&e "tion of some rioted "!$rit, on %hom the senten e of a !ega! trib"na! had b"t onfirmed the 'erdi t of $"b!i sentiment. +"t, in that ear!# se'erit# of the P"ritan hara ter, an inferen e of this (ind o"!d not so ind"bitab!# be dra%n. It might be that a s!"ggish bond-ser'ant, or an "nd"tif"! hi!d, %hom his $arents had gi'en o'er to the i'i! a"thorit#, %as to be orre ted at the %hi$$ing-$ost. It might be that an Antinomian, a 5"a(er, or other heterodo& re!igionist, %as to be s o"rged o"t of the to%n, or an id!e or 'agrant Indian, %hom the %hite man.s fire%ater had made rioto"s abo"t the streets, %as to be dri'en %ith stri$es into the shado% of the forest. It might be, too, that a %it h, !i(e o!d 4istress Hibbins, the bitter-tem$ered %ido% of the magistrate, %as to die "$on the ga!!o%s. In either ase, there %as 'er# m" h the same so!emnit# of demeano"r on the $art of the s$e tators, as befitted a $eo$!e among %hom re!igion and !a% %ere a!most identi a!, and in %hose hara ter both %ere so thoro"gh!# interf"sed, that the mi!dest and se'erest a ts of $"b!i dis i$!ine %ere a!i(e made 'enerab!e and a%f"!. 4eagre, indeed, and o!d, %as the s#m$ath# that a transgressor might !oo( for, from s" h b#standers, at the s affo!d. On the other hand, a $ena!t# %hi h, in o"r da#s, %o"!d infer a degree of mo (ing infam# and ridi "!e, might then be in'ested %ith a!most as stern a dignit# as the $"nishment of death itse!f. It %as a ir "mstan e to he noted on the s"mmer morning %hen o"r stor# begins its o"rse, that the %omen, of %hom there %ere se'era! in the ro%d, a$$eared to ta(e a $e "!iar interest in %hate'er $ena! inf!i tion might be e&$e ted to ens"e. The age had not so m" h refinement, that an# sense of im$ro$riet# restrained the %earers of $etti oat and farthinga!e from ste$$ing forth into the $"b!i %a#s, and %edging their not "ns"bstantia! $ersons, if o asion %ere, into the throng nearest to the s affo!d at an e&e "tion. 4ora!!#, as %e!! as materia!!#, there %as a oarser fibre in those %i'es and maidens of o!d Eng!ish birth and breeding than in their fair des endants, se$arated from them b# a series of si& or se'en generations2 for, thro"gho"t that hain of an estr#, e'er# s" essi'e mother had transmitted to her hi!d a fainter b!oom, a more de!i ate and briefer bea"t#, and a s!ighter $h#si a! frame, if not hara ter of !ess for e and so!idit# than her o%n. The %omen %ho %ere no% standing abo"t the $rison-door stood %ithin !ess than ha!f a ent"r# of the

$eriod %hen the man-!i(e E!i6abeth had been the not a!together "ns"itab!e re$resentati'e of the se&. The# %ere her o"ntr#%omen7 and the beef and a!e of their nati'e !and, %ith a mora! diet not a %hit more refined, entered !arge!# into their om$osition. The bright morning s"n, therefore, shone on broad sho"!ders and %e!!-de'e!o$ed b"sts, and on ro"nd and r"dd# hee(s, that had ri$ened in the far-off is!and, and had hard!# #et gro%n $a!er or thinner in the atmos$here of Ne% Eng!and. There %as, moreo'er, a bo!dness and rot"ndit# of s$ee h among these matrons, as most of them seemed to be, that %o"!d start!e "s at the $resent da#, %hether in res$e t to its $"r$ort or its 'o!"me of tone. 89ood%i'es,8 said a hard-feat"red dame of fift#, 8I.!! te!! #e a $ie e of m# mind. It %o"!d be great!# for the $"b!i behoof if %e %omen, being of mat"re age and h"r h-members in good re$"te, sho"!d ha'e the hand!ing of s" h ma!efa tresses as this Hester Pr#nne. 1hat thin( #e, gossi$s: If the h"ss# stood "$ for *"dgment before "s fi'e, that are no% here in a (not together, %o"!d she ome off %ith s" h a senten e as the %orshi$f"! magistrates ha'e a%arded: 4arr#, I tro% not8 8Peo$!e sa#,8 said another, 8that the Re'erend 4aster Dimmesda!e, her god!# $astor, ta(es it 'er# grie'o"s!# to heart that s" h a s anda! sho"!d ha'e ome "$on his ongregation.8 8The magistrates are 9od-fearing gent!emen, b"t mer if"! o'erm" h--that is a tr"th,8 added a third a"t"mna! matron. 8At the 'er# !east, the# sho"!d ha'e $"t the brand of a hot iron on Hester Pr#nne.s forehead. 4adame Hester %o"!d ha'e %in ed at that, I %arrant me. +"t she--the na"ght# baggage -- !itt!e %i!! she are %hat the# $"t "$on the bodi e of her go%n 1h#, !oo( #o", she ma# o'er it %ith a broo h, or s" h !i(e. heathenish adornment, and so %a!( the streets as bra'e as e'er8 8Ah, b"t,8 inter$osed, more soft!#, a #o"ng %ife, ho!ding a hi!d b# the hand, 8!et her o'er the mar( as she %i!!, the $ang of it %i!! be a!%a#s in her heart. 8 81hat do %e ta!( of mar(s and brands, %hether on the bodi e of her go%n or the f!esh of her forehead:8 ried another fema!e, the "g!iest as %e!! as the most $iti!ess of these se!fonstit"ted *"dges. 8This %oman has bro"ght shame "$on "s a!!, and o"ght to die2 Is there not !a% for it: Tr"!# there is, both in the S ri$t"re and the stat"te-boo(. Then !et the magistrates, %ho ha'e made it of no effe t, than( themse!'es if their o%n %i'es and da"ghters go astra#8 84er # on "s, good%ife8 e& !aimed a man in the ro%d, 8is there no 'irt"e in %oman, sa'e %hat s$rings from a %ho!esome fear of the ga!!o%s: That is the hardest %ord #et H"sh no%, gossi$s for the !o ( is t"rning in the $rison-door, and here omes 4istress Pr#nne herse!f. 8 The door of the *ai! being f!"ng o$en from %ithin there a$$eared, in the first $!a e, !i(e a b!a ( shado% emerging into s"nshine, the grim and grist!# $resen e of the to%n-bead!e, %ith a s%ord b# his side, and his staff of offi e in his hand. This $ersonage $refig"red and re$resented in his as$e t the %ho!e disma! se'erit# of the P"ritani ode of !a%,

%hi h it %as his b"siness to administer in its fina! and !osest a$$!i ation to the offender. Stret hing forth the offi ia! staff in his !eft hand, he !aid his right "$on the sho"!der of a #o"ng %oman, %hom he th"s dre% for%ard, "nti!, on the thresho!d of the $rison-door, she re$e!!ed him, b# an a tion mar(ed %ith nat"ra! dignit# and for e of hara ter, and ste$$ed into the o$en air as if b# her o%n free %i!!. She bore in her arms a hi!d, a bab# of some three months o!d, %ho %in(ed and t"rned aside its !itt!e fa e from the too 'i'id !ight of da#2 be a"se its e&isten e, heretofore, had bro"ght it a /"aintan e on!# %ith the gre# t%i!ight of a d"ngeon, or other dar(some a$artment of the $rison. 1hen the #o"ng %oman--the mother of this hi!d--stood f"!!# re'ea!ed before the ro%d, it seemed to be her first im$"!se to !as$ the infant !ose!# to her bosom2 not so m" h b# an im$"!se of mother!# affe tion, as that she might thereb# on ea! a ertain to(en, %hi h %as %ro"ght or fastened into her dress. In a moment, ho%e'er, %ise!# *"dging that one to(en of her shame %o"!d b"t $oor!# ser'e to hide another, she too( the bab# on her arm, and %ith a b"rning b!"sh, and #et a ha"ght# smi!e, and a g!an e that %o"!d not be abashed, !oo(ed aro"nd at her to%ns$eo$!e and neighbo"rs. On the breast of her go%n, in fine red !oth, s"rro"nded %ith an e!aborate embroider# and fantasti f!o"rishes of go!d thread, a$$eared the !etter A. It %as so artisti a!!# done, and %ith so m" h ferti!it# and gorgeo"s !"&"rian e of fan #, that it had a!! the effe t of a !ast and fitting de oration to the a$$are! %hi h she %ore, and %hi h %as of a s$!endo"r in a ordan e %ith the taste of the age, b"t great!# be#ond %hat %as a!!o%ed b# the s"m$t"ar# reg"!ations of the o!on#. The #o"ng %oman %as ta!!, %ith a fig"re of $erfe t e!egan e on a !arge s a!e. She had dar( and ab"ndant hair, so g!oss# that it thre% off the s"nshine %ith a g!eam2 and a fa e %hi h, besides being bea"tif"! from reg"!arit# of feat"re and ri hness of om$!e&ion, had the im$ressi'eness be!onging to a mar(ed bro% and dee$ b!a ( e#es. She %as !ad#!i(e, too, after the manner of the feminine genti!it# of those da#s2 hara terised b# a ertain state and dignit#, rather than b# the de!i ate, e'anes ent, and indes ribab!e gra e %hi h is no% re ognised as its indi ation. And ne'er had Hester Pr#nne a$$eared more !ad#!i(e, in the anti/"e inter$retation of the term, than as she iss"ed from the $rison. Those %ho had before (no%n her, and had e&$e ted to beho!d her dimmed and obs "red b# a disastro"s !o"d, %ere astonished, and e'en start!ed, to $er ei'e ho% her bea"t# shone o"t, and made a ha!o of the misfort"ne and ignomin# in %hi h she %as en'e!o$ed. It ma# be tr"e that, to a sensiti'e obser'er, there %as some thing e&/"isite!# $ainf"! in it. Her attire, %hi h indeed, she had %ro"ght for the o asion in $rison, and had mode!!ed m" h after her o%n fan #, seemed to e&$ress the attit"de of her s$irit, the des$erate re (!essness of her mood, b# its %i!d and $i t"res/"e $e "!iarit#. +"t the $oint %hi h dre% a!! e#es, and, as it %ere, transfig"red the %earer--so that both men and %omen %ho had been fami!iar!# a /"ainted %ith Hester Pr#nne %ere no% im$ressed as if the# behe!d her for the first time--%as that SCARLET LETTER, so fantasti a!!# embroidered and i!!"minated "$on her bosom. It had the effe t of a s$e!!, ta(ing her o"t of the ordinar# re!ations %ith h"manit#, and en !osing her in a s$here b# herse!f. 8She hath good s(i!! at her need!e, that.s ertain,8 remar(ed one of her fema!e s$e tators2 8b"t did e'er a %oman, before this bra6en h"ss#, ontri'e s" h a %a# of sho%ing it: 1h#, gossi$s, %hat is it b"t to !a"gh in the fa es of o"r god!# magistrates, and ma(e a

$ride o"t of %hat the#, %orth# gent!emen, meant for a $"nishment:8 8It %ere %e!!,8 m"ttered the most iron-'isaged of the o!d dames, 8if %e stri$$ed 4adame Hester.s ri h go%n off her daint# sho"!ders2 and as for the red !etter %hi h she hath stit hed so "rio"s!#, I.!! besto% a rag of mine o%n rhe"mati f!anne! to ma(e a fitter one;8 8Oh, $ea e, neighbo"rs--$ea e;8 %his$ered their #o"ngest om$anion2 8do not !et her hear #o"; Not a stit h in that embroidered !etter b"t she has fe!t it in her heart. 8 The grim bead!e no% made a gest"re %ith his staff. 84a(e %a#, good $eo$!e--ma(e %a#, in the 0ing.s name;8 ried he. 8O$en a $assage2 and I $romise #e, 4istress Pr#nne sha!! be set %here man, %oman, and hi!d ma# ha'e a fair sight of her bra'e a$$are! from this time ti!! an ho"r $ast meridian. A b!essing on the righteo"s o!on# of the 4assa h"setts, %here ini/"it# is dragged o"t into the s"nshine; Come a!ong, 4adame Hester, and sho% #o"r s ar!et !etter in the mar(et-$!a e;8 A !ane %as forth%ith o$ened thro"gh the ro%d of s$e tators. Pre eded b# the bead!e, and attended b# an irreg"!ar $ro ession of stern-bro%ed men and "n(ind!# 'isaged %omen, Hester Pr#nne set forth to%ards the $!a e a$$ointed for her $"nishment. A ro%d of eager and "rio"s s hoo!bo#s, "nderstanding !itt!e of the matter in hand, e& e$t that it ga'e them a ha!f-ho!ida#, ran before her $rogress, t"rning their heads ontin"a!!# to stare into her fa e and at the %in(ing bab# in her arms, and at the ignominio"s !etter on her breast. It %as no great distan e, in those da#s, from the $rison door to the mar(et-$!a e. 4eas"red b# the $risoner.s e&$erien e, ho%e'er, it might be re (oned a *o"rne# of some !ength2 for ha"ght# as her demeano"r %as, she $er han e "nder%ent an agon# from e'er# footste$ of those that thronged to see her, as if her heart had been f!"ng into the street for them a!! to s$"rn and tram$!e "$on. In o"r nat"re, ho%e'er, there is a $ro'ision, a!i(e mar'e!!o"s and mer if"!, that the s"fferer sho"!d ne'er (no% the intensit# of %hat he end"res b# its $resent tort"re, b"t hief!# b# the $ang that ran(!es after it. 1ith a!most a serene de$ortment, therefore, Hester Pr#nne $assed thro"gh this $ortion of her ordea!, and ame to a sort of s affo!d, at the %estern e&tremit# of the mar(et-$!a e. It stood near!# beneath the ea'es of +oston.s ear!iest h"r h, and a$$eared to be a fi&t"re there. In fa t, this s affo!d onstit"ted a $ortion of a $ena! ma hine, %hi h no%, for t%o or three generations $ast, has been mere!# histori a! and traditionar# among "s, b"t %as he!d, in the o!d time, to be as effe t"a! an agent, in the $romotion of good iti6enshi$, as e'er %as the g"i!!otine among the terrorists of 3ran e. It %as, in short, the $!atform of the $i!!or#2 and abo'e it rose the frame%or( of that instr"ment of dis i$!ine, so fashioned as to onfine the h"man head in its tight gras$, and th"s ho!d it "$ to the $"b!i ga6e. The 'er# idea! of ignomin# %as embodied and made manifest in this ontri'an e of %ood and iron. There an be no o"trage, methin(s, against o"r ommon nat"re--%hate'er be the de!in/"en ies of the indi'id"a!--no o"trage more f!agrant than to forbid the "!$rit to hide his fa e for shame2 as it %as the essen e of this $"nishment to do. In Hester Pr#nne.s instan e, ho%e'er, as not "nfre/"ent!# in other ases, her senten e bore that she sho"!d stand a ertain time "$on the $!atform, b"t %itho"t "ndergoing that gri$e abo"t the ne (

and onfinement of the head, the $roneness to %hi h %as the most de'i!ish hara teristi of this "g!# engine. 0no%ing %e!! her $art, she as ended a f!ight of %ooden ste$s, and %as th"s dis$!a#ed to the s"rro"nding m"!tit"de, at abo"t the height of a man.s sho"!ders abo'e the street. Had there been a Pa$ist among the ro%d of P"ritans, he might ha'e seen in this bea"tif"! %oman, so $i t"res/"e in her attire and mien, and %ith the infant at her bosom, an ob*e t to remind him of the image of Di'ine 4aternit#, %hi h so man# i!!"strio"s $ainters ha'e 'ied %ith one another to re$resent2 something %hi h sho"!d remind him, indeed, b"t on!# b# ontrast, of that sa red image of sin!ess motherhood, %hose infant %as to redeem the %or!d. Here, there %as the taint of dee$est sin in the most sa red /"a!it# of h"man !ife, %or(ing s" h effe t, that the %or!d %as on!# the dar(er for this %oman.s bea"t#, and the more !ost for the infant that she had borne. The s ene %as not %itho"t a mi&t"re of a%e, s" h as m"st a!%a#s in'est the s$e ta !e of g"i!t and shame in a fe!!o%- reat"re, before so iet# sha!! ha'e gro%n orr"$t eno"gh to smi!e, instead of sh"ddering at it. The %itnesses of Hester Pr#nne.s disgra e had not #et $assed be#ond their sim$!i it#. The# %ere stern eno"gh to !oo( "$on her death, had that been the senten e, %itho"t a m"rm"r at its se'erit#, b"t had none of the heart!essness of another so ia! state, %hi h %o"!d find on!# a theme for *est in an e&hibition !i(e the $resent. E'en had there been a dis$osition to t"rn the matter into ridi "!e, it m"st ha'e been re$ressed and o'er$o%ered b# the so!emn $resen e of men no !ess dignified than the go'ernor, and se'era! of his o"nse!!ors, a *"dge, a genera!, and the ministers of the to%n, a!! of %hom sat or stood in a ba! on# of the meeting-ho"se, !oo(ing do%n "$on the $!atform. 1hen s" h $ersonages o"!d onstit"te a $art of the s$e ta !e, %itho"t ris(ing the ma*est#, or re'eren e of ran( and offi e, it %as safe!# to be inferred that the inf!i tion of a !ega! senten e %o"!d ha'e an earnest and effe t"a! meaning. A ording!#, the ro%d %as sombre and gra'e. The "nha$$# "!$rit s"stained herse!f as best a %oman might, "nder the hea'# %eight of a tho"sand "nre!enting e#es, a!! fastened "$on her, and on entrated at her bosom. It %as a!most into!erab!e to be borne. Of an im$"!si'e and $assionate nat"re, she had fortified herse!f to en o"nter the stings and 'enomo"s stabs of $"b!i ont"me!#, %rea(ing itse!f in e'er# 'ariet# of ins"!t2 b"t there %as a /"a!it# so m" h more terrib!e in the so!emn mood of the $o$"!ar mind, that she !onged rather to beho!d a!! those rigid o"ntenan es ontorted %ith s ornf"! merriment, and herse!f the ob*e t. Had a roar of !a"ghter b"rst from the m"!tit"de--ea h man, ea h %oman, ea h !itt!e shri!!-'oi ed hi!d, ontrib"ting their indi'id"a! $arts--Hester Pr#nne might ha'e re$aid them a!! %ith a bitter and disdainf"! smi!e. +"t, "nder the !eaden inf!i tion %hi h it %as her doom to end"re, she fe!t, at moments, as if she m"st needs shrie( o"t %ith the f"!! $o%er of her !"ngs, and ast herse!f from the s affo!d do%n "$on the gro"nd, or e!se go mad at on e. <et there %ere inter'a!s %hen the %ho!e s ene, in %hi h she %as the most ons$i "o"s ob*e t, seemed to 'anish from her e#es, or, at !east, g!immered indistin t!# before them, !i(e a mass of im$erfe t!# sha$ed and s$e tra! images. Her mind, and es$e ia!!# her memor#, %as $reternat"ra!!# a ti'e, and (e$t bringing "$ other s enes than this ro"gh!# he%n street of a !itt!e to%n, on the edge of the %estern %i!derness7 other fa es than %ere

!o%ering "$on her from beneath the brims of those stee$!e- ro%ned hats. Reminis en es, the most trif!ing and immateria!, $assages of infan # and s hoo!-da#s, s$orts, hi!dish /"arre!s, and the !itt!e domesti traits of her maiden #ears, ame s%arming ba ( "$on her, interming!ed %ith re o!!e tions of %hate'er %as gra'est in her s"bse/"ent !ife2 one $i t"re $re ise!# as 'i'id as another2 as if a!! %ere of simi!ar im$ortan e, or a!! a!i(e a $!a#. Possib!#, it %as an instin ti'e de'i e of her s$irit to re!ie'e itse!f b# the e&hibition of these $hantasmagori forms, from the r"e! %eight and hardness of the rea!it#. +e that as it might, the s affo!d of the $i!!or# %as a $oint of 'ie% that re'ea!ed to Hester Pr#nne the entire tra ( a!ong %hi h she had been treading, sin e her ha$$# infan #. Standing on that miserab!e eminen e, she sa% again her nati'e 'i!!age, in O!d Eng!and, and her $aterna! home7 a de a#ed ho"se of gre# stone, %ith a $o'ert#-stri (en as$e t, b"t retaining a ha!f ob!iterated shie!d of arms o'er the $orta!, in to(en of anti/"e genti!it#. She sa% her father.s fa e, %ith its bo!d bro%, and re'erend %hite beard that f!o%ed o'er the o!d-fashioned E!i6abethan r"ff2 her mother.s, too, %ith the !oo( of heedf"! and an&io"s !o'e %hi h it a!%a#s %ore in her remembran e, and %hi h, e'en sin e her death, had so often !aid the im$ediment of a gent!e remonstran e in her da"ghter.s $ath%a#. She sa% her o%n fa e, g!o%ing %ith gir!ish bea"t#, and i!!"minating a!! the interior of the d"s(# mirror in %hi h she had been %ont to ga6e at it. There she behe!d another o"ntenan e, of a man %e!! stri (en in #ears, a $a!e, thin, s ho!ar-!i(e 'isage, %ith e#es dim and b!eared b# the !am$-!ight that had ser'ed them to $ore o'er man# $ondero"s boo(s. <et those same b!eared o$ti s had a strange, $enetrating $o%er, %hen it %as their o%ner.s $"r$ose to read the h"man so"!. This fig"re of ti!e st"d# and the !oister, as Hester Pr#nne.s %oman!# fan # fai!ed not to re a!!, %as s!ight!# deformed, %ith the !eft sho"!der a trif!e higher than the right. Ne&t rose before her in memor#.s $i t"re-ga!!er#, the intri ate and narro% thoro"ghfares, the ta!!, gre# ho"ses, the h"ge athedra!s, and the $"b!i edifi es, an ient in date and /"aint in ar hite t"re, of a ontinenta! it#2 %here ne% !ife had a%aited her, sti!! in onne&ion %ith the missha$en s ho!ar7 a ne% !ife, b"t feeding itse!f on time-%orn materia!s, !i(e a t"ft of green moss on a r"mb!ing %a!!. Last!#, in !ie" of these shifting s enes, ame ba ( the r"de mar(et-$!a e of the P"ritan, sett!ement, %ith a!! the to%ns$eo$!e assemb!ed, and !e'e!!ing their stern regards at Hester Pr#nne--#es, at herse!f--%ho stood on the s affo!d of the $i!!or#, an infant on her arm, and the !etter A, in s ar!et, fantasti a!!# embroidered %ith go!d thread, "$on her bosom. Co"!d it be tr"e: She !"t hed the hi!d so fier e!# to her breast that it sent forth a r#2 she t"rned her e#es do%n%ard at the s ar!et !etter, and e'en to" hed it %ith her finger, to ass"re herse!f that the infant and the shame %ere rea!. <es these %ere her rea!ities--a!! e!se had 'anished;

Chapter 3
CHAPTER III. THE RECO9NITION 3rom this intense ons io"sness of being the ob*e t of se'ere and "ni'ersa! obser'ation,

the %earer of the s ar!et !etter %as at !ength re!ie'ed, b# dis erning, on the o"ts(irts of the ro%d, a fig"re %hi h irresistib!# too( $ossession of her tho"ghts. An Indian in his nati'e garb %as standing there2 b"t the red men %ere not so infre/"ent 'isitors of the Eng!ish sett!ements that one of them %o"!d ha'e attra ted an# noti e from Hester Pr#nne at s" h a time2 m" h !ess %o"!d he ha'e e& !"ded a!! other ob*e ts and ideas from her mind. +# the Indian.s side, and e'ident!# s"staining a om$anionshi$ %ith him, stood a %hite man, !ad in a strange disarra# of i'i!i6ed and sa'age ost"me. He %as sma!! in stat"re, %ith a f"rro%ed 'isage, %hi h as #et o"!d hard!# be termed aged. There %as a remar(ab!e inte!!igen e in his feat"res, as of a $erson %ho had so "!ti'ated his menta! $art that it o"!d not fai! to mo"!d the $h#si a! to itse!f and be ome manifest b# "nmista(ab!e to(ens. A!tho"gh, b# a seeming!# are!ess arrangement of his heterogeneo"s garb, he had endea'o"red to on ea! or abate the $e "!iarit#, it %as s"ffi ient!# e'ident to Hester Pr#nne that one of this man.s sho"!ders rose higher than the other. Again, at the first instant of $er ei'ing that thin 'isage, and the s!ight deformit# of the fig"re, she $ressed her infant to her bosom %ith so on'"!si'e a for e that the $oor babe "ttered another r# of $ain. +"t the mother did not seem to hear it, At his arri'a! in the mar(et-$!a e, and some time before she sa% him, the stranger had bent his e#es on Hester Pr#nne. It %as are!ess!# at first, !i(e a man hief!# a "stomed to !oo( in%ard, and to %hom e&terna! matters are of !itt!e 'a!"e and im$ort, "n!ess the# bear re!ation to something %ithin his mind. ,er# soon, ho%e'er, his !oo( be ame (een and $enetrati'e. A %rithing horror t%isted itse!f a ross his feat"res, !i(e a sna(e g!iding s%ift!# o'er them, and ma(ing one !itt!e $a"se, %ith a!! its %reathed inter'o!"tions in o$en sight. His fa e dar(ened %ith some $o%erf"! emotion, %hi h, ne'erthe!ess, he so instantaneo"s!# ontro!!ed b# an effort of his %i!!, that, sa'e at a sing!e moment, its e&$ression might ha'e $assed for a!mness. After a brief s$a e, the on'"!sion gre% a!most im$er e$tib!e, and fina!!# s"bsided into the de$ths of his nat"re. 1hen he fo"nd the e#es of Hester Pr#nne fastened on his o%n, and sa% that she a$$eared to re ogni6e him, he s!o%!# and a!m!# raised his finger, made a gest"re %ith it in the air, and !aid it on his !i$s. Then to" hing the sho"!der of a to%nsman %ho stood near to him, he addressed him in a forma! and o"rteo"s manner7 8I $ra# #o", good Sir,8 said he, 8%ho is this %oman: --and %herefore is she here set "$ to $"b!i shame:8 8<o" m"st needs be a stranger in this region, friend,8 ans%ered the to%nsman, !oo(ing "rio"s!# at the /"estioner and his sa'age om$anion, 8e!se #o" %o"!d s"re!# ha'e heard of 4istress Hester Pr#nne and her e'i! doings. She hath raised a great s anda!, I $romise #o", in god!# 4aster Dimmesda!e.s h"r h. 8 8<o" sa# tr"!#,8 re$!ied the other2 8I am a stranger, and ha'e been a %anderer, sore!# against m# %i!!. I ha'e met %ith grie'o"s misha$s b# sea and !and, and ha'e been !ong he!d in bonds among the heathen-fo!( to the so"th%ard2 and am no% bro"ght hither b#

this Indian to be redeemed o"t of m# a$ti'it#. 1i!! it $!ease #o", therefore, to te!! me of Hester Pr#nne.s--ha'e I her name right!#: --of this %oman.s offen es, and %hat has bro"ght her to #onder s affo!d:8 8Tr"!#, friend2 and methin(s it m"st g!adden #o"r heart, after #o"r tro"b!es and so*o"rn in the %i!derness,8 said the to%nsman, 8to find #o"rse!f at !ength in a !and %here ini/"it# is sear hed o"t and $"nished in the sight of r"!ers and $eo$!e, as here in o"r god!# Ne% Eng!and. <onder %oman, Sir, #o" m"st (no%, %as the %ife of a ertain !earned man, Eng!ish b# birth, b"t %ho had !ong ago d%e!t in Amsterdam, %hen e some good time agone he %as minded to ross o'er and ast in his !ot %ith "s of the 4assa h"setts. To this $"r$ose he sent his %ife before him, remaining himse!f to !oo( after some ne essar# affairs. 4arr#, good Sir, in some t%o #ears, or !ess, that the %oman has been a d%e!!er here in +oston, no tidings ha'e ome of this !earned gent!eman, 4aster Pr#nne2 and his #o"ng %ife, !oo( #o", being !eft to her o%n misg"idan e--8 8Ah;--aha;--I on ei'e #o",8 said the stranger %ith a bitter smi!e. 8So !earned a man as #o" s$ea( of sho"!d ha'e !earned this too in his boo(s. And %ho, b# #o"r fa'o"r, Sir, ma# be the father of #onder babe--it is some three or fo"r months o!d, I sho"!d *"dge-%hi h 4istress Pr#nne is ho!ding in her arms:8 8Of a tr"th, friend, that matter remaineth a ridd!e2 and the Danie! %ho sha!! e&$o"nd it is #et a-%anting,8 ans%ered the to%nsman. 84adame Hester abso!"te!# ref"seth to s$ea(, and the magistrates ha'e !aid their heads together in 'ain. Perad'ent"re the g"i!t# one stands !oo(ing on at this sad s$e ta !e, "n(no%n of man, and forgetting that 9od sees him.8 8The !earned man,8 obser'ed the stranger %ith another smi!e, 8sho"!d ome himse!f to !oo( into the m#ster#.8 8It beho'es him %e!! if he be sti!! in !ife,8 res$onded the to%nsman. 8No%, good Sir, o"r 4assa h"setts magistra #, bethin(ing themse!'es that this %oman is #o"thf"! and fair, and do"bt!ess %as strong!# tem$ted to her fa!!, and that, moreo'er, as is most !i(e!#, her h"sband ma# be at the bottom of the sea, the# ha'e not been bo!d to $"t in for e the e&tremit# of o"r righteo"s !a% against her. The $ena!t# thereof is death. +"t in their great mer # and tenderness of heart the# ha'e doomed 4istress Pr#nne to stand on!# a s$a e of three ho"rs on the $!atform of the $i!!or#, and then and thereafter, for the remainder of her nat"ra! !ife to %ear a mar( of shame "$on her bosom.8 8A %ise senten e,8 remar(ed the stranger, gra'e!#, bo%ing his head. 8Th"s she %i!! be a !i'ing sermon against sin, "nti! the ignominio"s !etter be engra'ed "$on her tombstone. It ir(s me, ne'erthe!ess, that the $artner of her ini/"it# sho"!d not at !east, stand on the s affo!d b# her side. +"t he %i!! be (no%n--he %i!! be (no%n;--he %i!! be (no%n;8 He bo%ed o"rteo"s!# to the omm"ni ati'e to%nsman, and %his$ering a fe% %ords to his Indian attendant, the# both made their %a# thro"gh the ro%d.

1hi!e this $assed, Hester Pr#nne had been standing on her $edesta!, sti!! %ith a fi&ed ga6e to%ards the stranger--so fi&ed a ga6e that, at moments of intense absor$tion, a!! other ob*e ts in the 'isib!e %or!d seemed to 'anish, !ea'ing on!# him and her. S" h an inter'ie%, $erha$s, %o"!d ha'e been more terrib!e than e'en to meet him as she no% did, %ith the hot mid-da# s"n b"rning do%n "$on her fa e, and !ighting "$ its shame2 %ith the s ar!et to(en of infam# on her breast2 %ith the sin-born infant in her arms2 %ith a %ho!e $eo$!e, dra%n forth as to a festi'a!, staring at the feat"res that sho"!d ha'e been seen on!# in the /"iet g!eam of the fireside, in the ha$$# shado% of a home, or beneath a matron!# 'ei! at h"r h. Dreadf"! as it %as, she %as ons io"s of a she!ter in the $resen e of these tho"sand %itnesses. It %as better to stand th"s, %ith so man# bet%i&t him and her, than to greet him fa e to fa e--the# t%o a!one. She f!ed for ref"ge, as it %ere, to the $"b!i e&$os"re, and dreaded the moment %hen its $rote tion sho"!d be %ithdra%n from her. In'o!'ed in these tho"ghts, she s ar e!# heard a 'oi e behind her "nti! it had re$eated her name more than on e, in a !o"d and so!emn tone, a"dib!e to the %ho!e m"!tit"de. 8Hear(en "nto me, Hester Pr#nne;8 said the 'oi e. It has a!read# been noti ed that dire t!# o'er the $!atform on %hi h Hester Pr#nne stood %as a (ind of ba! on#, or o$en ga!!er#, a$$ended to the meeting-ho"se. It %as the $!a e %hen e $ro !amations %ere %ont to be made, amidst an assemb!age of the magistra #, %ith a!! the eremonia! that attended s" h $"b!i obser'an es in those da#s. Here, to %itness the s ene %hi h %e are des ribing, sat 9o'ernor +e!!ingham himse!f %ith fo"r sergeants abo"t his hair, bearing ha!berds, as a g"ard of hono"r. He %ore a dar( feather in his hat, a border of embroider# on his !oa(, and a b!a ( 'e!'et t"ni beneath--a gent!eman ad'an ed in #ears, %ith a hard e&$erien e %ritten in his %rin(!es. He %as not i!!-fitted to be the head and re$resentati'e of a omm"nit# %hi h o%ed its origin and $rogress, and its $resent state of de'e!o$ment, not to the im$"!ses of #o"th, b"t to the stern and tem$ered energies of manhood and the sombre saga it# of age2 a om$!ishing so m" h, $re ise!# be a"se it imagined and ho$ed so !itt!e. The other eminent hara ters b# %hom the hief r"!er %as s"rro"nded %ere disting"ished b# a dignit# of mien, be!onging to a $eriod %hen the forms of a"thorit# %ere fe!t to $ossess the sa redness of Di'ine instit"tions. The# %ere, do"bt!ess, good men, *"st and sage. +"t, o"t of the %ho!e h"man fami!#, it %o"!d not ha'e been eas# to se!e t the same n"mber of %ise and 'irt"o"s $ersons, %ho sho"!d he !ess a$ab!e of sitting in *"dgment on an erring %oman.s heart, and disentang!ing its mesh of good and e'i!, than the sages of rigid as$e t to%ards %hom Hester Pr#nne no% t"rned her fa e. She seemed ons io"s, indeed, that %hate'er s#m$ath# she might e&$e t !a# in the !arger and %armer heart of the m"!tit"de2 for, as she !ifted her e#es to%ards the ba! on#, the "nha$$# %oman gre% $a!e, and tremb!ed. The 'oi e %hi h had a!!ed her attention %as that of the re'erend and famo"s -ohn 1i!son, the e!dest !erg#man of +oston, a great s ho!ar, !i(e most of his ontem$oraries in the $rofession, and %itha! a man of (ind and genia! s$irit. This !ast attrib"te, ho%e'er, had been !ess aref"!!# de'e!o$ed than his inte!!e t"a! gifts, and %as, in tr"th, rather a matter of shame than se!f- ongrat"!ation %ith him. There he stood, %ith a border of gri66!ed !o (s beneath his s("!!- a$, %hi!e his gre# e#es, a "stomed to the shaded !ight of his st"d#, %ere %in(ing, !i(e those of Hester.s infant, in the "nad"!terated s"nshine. He

!oo(ed !i(e the dar(!# engra'ed $ortraits %hi h %e see $refi&ed to o!d 'o!"mes of sermons, and had no more right than one of those $ortraits %o"!d ha'e to ste$ forth, as he no% did, and medd!e %ith a /"estion of h"man g"i!t, $assion, and ang"ish. 8Hester Pr#nne,8 said the !erg#man, 8I ha'e stri'en %ith m# #o"ng brother here, "nder %hose $rea hing of the 1ord #o" ha'e been $ri'i!eged to sit8--here 4r. 1i!son !aid his hand on the sho"!der of a $a!e #o"ng man beside him--8I ha'e so"ght, I sa#, to $ers"ade this god!# #o"th, that he sho"!d dea! %ith #o", here in the fa e of Hea'en, and before these %ise and "$right r"!ers, and in hearing of a!! the $eo$!e, as to" hing the 'i!eness and b!a (ness of #o"r sin. 0no%ing #o"r nat"ra! tem$er better than I, he o"!d the better *"dge %hat arg"ments to "se, %hether of tenderness or terror, s" h as might $re'ai! o'er #o"r hardness and obstina #, insom" h that #o" sho"!d no !onger hide the name of him %ho tem$ted #o" to this grie'o"s fa!!. +"t he o$$oses to me--%ith a #o"ng man.s o'ersoftness, a!beit %ise be#ond his #ears--that it %ere %ronging the 'er# nat"re of %oman to for e her to !a# o$en her heart.s se rets in s" h broad da#!ight, and in $resen e of so great a m"!tit"de. Tr"!#, as I so"ght to on'in e him, the shame !a# in the ommission of the sin, and not in the sho%ing of it forth. 1hat sa# #o" to it, on e again, brother Dimmesda!e: 4"st it be tho", or I, that sha!! dea! %ith this $oor sinner.s so"!:8 There %as a m"rm"r among the dignified and re'erend o "$ants of the ba! on#2 and 9o'ernor +e!!ingham ga'e e&$ression to its $"r$ort, s$ea(ing in an a"thoritati'e 'oi e, a!tho"gh tem$ered %ith res$e t to%ards the #o"thf"! !erg#man %hom he addressed7 89ood 4aster Dimmesda!e,8 said he, 8the res$onsibi!it# of this %oman.s so"! !ies great!# %ith #o". It beho'es #o"2 therefore, to e&hort her to re$entan e and to onfession, as a $roof and onse/"en e thereof. 8 The dire tness of this a$$ea! dre% the e#es of the %ho!e ro%d "$on the Re'erend 4r. Dimmesda!e--#o"ng !erg#man, %ho had ome from one of the great Eng!ish "ni'ersities, bringing a!! the !earning of the age into o"r %i!d forest !and. His e!o/"en e and re!igio"s fer'o"r had a!read# gi'en the earnest of high eminen e in his $rofession. He %as a $erson of 'er# stri(ing as$e t, %ith a %hite, !oft#, and im$ending bro%2 !arge, bro%n, me!an ho!# e#es, and a mo"th %hi h, "n!ess %hen he for ib!# om$ressed it, %as a$t to be trem"!o"s, e&$ressing both ner'o"s sensibi!it# and a 'ast $o%er of se!f restraint. Not%ithstanding his high nati'e gifts and s ho!ar-!i(e attainments, there %as an air abo"t this #o"ng minister--an a$$rehensi'e, a start!ed, a ha!f-frightened !oo(--as of a being %ho fe!t himse!f /"ite astra#, and at a !oss in the $ath%a# of h"man e&isten e, and o"!d on!# be at ease in some se !"sion of his o%n. Therefore, so far as his d"ties %o"!d $ermit, he trod in the shado%# b#-$aths, and th"s (e$t himse!f sim$!e and hi!d!i(e, oming forth, %hen o asion %as, %ith a freshness, and fragran e, and de%# $"rit# of tho"ght, %hi h, as man# $eo$!e said, affe ted them !i(e ti!e s$ee h of an ange!. S" h %as the #o"ng man %hom the Re'erend 4r. 1i!son and the 9o'ernor had introd" ed so o$en!# to the $"b!i noti e, bidding him s$ea(, in the hearing of a!! men, to that m#ster# of a %oman.s so"!, so sa red e'en in its $o!!"tion. The tr#ing nat"re of his $osition dro'e the b!ood from his hee(, and made his !i$s trem"!o"s.

8S$ea( to the %oman, m# brother,8 said 4r. 1i!son. 8It is of moment to her so"!, and, therefore, as the %orshi$f"! 9o'ernor sa#s, momento"s to thine o%n, i!! %hose harge hers is. E&hort her to onfess the tr"th;8 The Re'erend 4r. Dimmesda!e bent his head, si!ent $ra#er, as it seemed, and then ame for%ard. 8Hester Pr#nne,8 said he, !eaning o'er the ba! on# and !oo(ing do%n steadfast!# into her e#es, 8tho" hearest %hat this good man sa#s, and seest the a o"ntabi!it# "nder %hi h I !abo"r. If tho" fee!est it to be for th# so"!.s $ea e, and that th# earth!# $"nishment %i!! thereb# be made more effe t"a! to sa!'ation, I harge thee to s$ea( o"t the name of th# fe!!o%-sinner and fe!!o%-s"fferer; +e not si!ent from an# mista(en $it# and tenderness for him2 for, be!ie'e me, Hester, tho"gh he %ere to ste$ do%n from a high $!a e, and stand there beside thee, on th# $edesta! of shame, #et better %ere it so than to hide a g"i!t# heart thro"gh !ife. 1hat an th# si!en e do for him, e& e$t it tem$t him--#ea, om$e! him, as it %ere--to add h#$o ris# to sin: Hea'en hath granted thee an o$en ignomin#, that thereb# tho" ma#est %or( o"t an o$en tri"m$h o'er the e'i! %ithin thee and the sorro% %itho"t. Ta(e heed ho% tho" deniest to him--%ho, $er han e, hath not the o"rage to gras$ it for himse!f--the bitter, b"t %ho!esome, "$ that is no% $resented to th# !i$s;8 The #o"ng $astor.s 'oi e %as trem"!o"s!# s%eet, ri h, dee$, and bro(en. The fee!ing that it so e'ident!# manifested, rather than the dire t $"r$ort of the %ords, a"sed it to 'ibrate %ithin a!! hearts, and bro"ght the !isteners into one a ord of s#m$ath#. E'en the $oor bab# at Hester.s bosom %as affe ted b# the same inf!"en e, for it dire ted its hitherto 'a ant ga6e to%ards 4r. Dimmesda!e, and he!d "$ its !itt!e arms %ith a ha!f-$!eased, ha!f-$!ainti'e m"rm"r. So $o%erf"! seemed the minister.s a$$ea! that the $eo$!e o"!d not be!ie'e b"t that Hester Pr#nne %o"!d s$ea( o"t the g"i!t# name, or e!se that the g"i!t# one himse!f in %hate'er high or !o%!# $!a e he stood, %o"!d be dra%n forth b# an in%ard and ine'itab!e ne essit#, and om$e!!ed to as end the s affo!d. Hester shoo( her head. 81oman, transgress not be#ond the !imits of Hea'en.s mer #;8 ried the Re'erend 4r. 1i!son, more harsh!# than before. 8That !itt!e babe hath been gifted %ith a 'oi e, to se ond and onfirm the o"nse! %hi h tho" hast heard. S$ea( o"t the name; That, and th# re$entan e, ma# a'ai! to ta(e the s ar!et !etter off th# breast.8 8Ne'er,8 re$!ied Hester Pr#nne, !oo(ing, not at 4r. 1i!son, b"t into the dee$ and tro"b!ed e#es of the #o"nger !erg#man. 8It is too dee$!# branded. <e annot ta(e it off. And %o"!d that I might end"re his agon# as %e!! as mine;8 8S$ea(, %oman;8 said another 'oi e, o!d!# and stern!#, $ro eeding from the ro%d abo"t the s affo!d, 8S$ea(2 and gi'e #o"r hi!d a father;8

8I %i!! not s$ea(;8 ans%ered Hester, t"rning $a!e as death, b"t res$onding to this 'oi e, %hi h she too s"re!# re ognised. 8And m# hi!d m"st see( a hea'en!# father2 she sha!! ne'er (no% an earth!# one;8 8She %i!! not s$ea(;8 m"rm"red 4r. Dimmesda!e, %ho, !eaning o'er the ba! on#, %ith his hand "$on his heart, had a%aited the res"!t of his a$$ea!. He no% dre% ba ( %ith a !ong res$iration. 81ondro"s strength arid generosit# of a %oman.s heart; She %i!! not s$ea(;8 Dis erning the im$ra ti ab!e state of the $oor "!$rit.s mind, the e!der !erg#man, %ho had aref"!!# $re$ared himse!f for the o asion, addressed to the m"!tit"de a dis o"rse on sin, in a!! its bran hes, b"t %ith ontin"a! referen e to the ignominio"s !etter. So for ib!# did he d%e!! "$on this s#mbo!, for the ho"r or more d"ring %hi h is $eriods %ere ro!!ing o'er the $eo$!e.s heads, that it ass"med ne% terrors in their imagination, and seemed to deri'e its s ar!et h"e from the f!ames of the inferna! $it. Hester Pr#nne, mean%hi!e, (e$t her $!a e "$on the $edesta! of shame, %ith g!a6ed e#es, and an air of %ear# indifferen e. She had borne that morning a!! that nat"re o"!d end"re2 and as her tem$erament %as not of the order that es a$es from too intense s"ffering b# a s%oon, her s$irit o"!d on!# she!ter itse!f beneath a ston# r"st of insensibi!it#, %hi!e the fa "!ties of anima! !ife remained entire. In this state, the 'oi e of the $rea her th"ndered remorse!ess!#, b"t "na'ai!ing!#, "$on her ears. The infant, d"ring the !atter $ortion of her ordea!, $ier ed the air %ith its %ai!ings and s reams2 she stro'e to h"sh it me hani a!!#, b"t seemed s ar e!# to s#m$athise %ith its tro"b!e. 1ith the same hard demeano"r, she %as !ed ba ( to $rison, and 'anished from the $"b!i ga6e %ithin its iron- !am$ed $orta!. It %as %his$ered b# those %ho $eered after her that the s ar!et !etter thre% a !"rid g!eam a!ong the dar( $assage-%a# of the interior.

Chapter 4
CHAPTER I,. THE INTER,IE1 After her ret"rn to the $rison, Hester Pr#nne %as fo"nd to be in a state of ner'o"s e& itement, that demanded onstant %at hf"!ness, !est she sho"!d $er$etrate 'io!en e on herse!f, or do some ha!f-fren6ied mis hief to the $oor babe. As night a$$roa hed, it $ro'ing im$ossib!e to /"e!! her ins"bordination b# reb"(e or threats of $"nishment, 4aster +ra (ett, the *ai!er, tho"ght fit to introd" e a $h#si ian. He des ribed him as a man of s(i!! in a!! Christian modes of $h#si a! s ien e, and !i(e%ise fami!iar %ith %hate'er the sa'age $eo$!e o"!d tea h in res$e t to medi ina! herbs and roots that gre% in the forest. To sa# the tr"th, there %as m" h need of $rofessiona! assistan e, not mere!# for Hester herse!f, b"t sti!! more "rgent!# for the hi!d--%ho, dra%ing its s"stenan e from the materna! bosom, seemed to ha'e dran( in %ith it a!! the t"rmoi!, the ang"ish and des$air, %hi h $er'aded the mother.s s#stem. It no% %rithed in on'"!sions of $ain, and %as a for ib!e t#$e, in its !itt!e frame, of the mora! agon# %hi h Hester Pr#nne had borne thro"gho"t the da#. C!ose!# fo!!o%ing the *ai!er into the disma! a$artment, a$$eared that indi'id"a!, of

sing"!ar as$e t %hose $resen e in the ro%d had been of s" h dee$ interest to the %earer of the s ar!et !etter. He %as !odged in the $rison, not as s"s$e ted of an# offen e, b"t as the most on'enient and s"itab!e mode of dis$osing of him, "nti! the magistrates sho"!d ha'e onferred %ith the Indian sagamores res$e ting his ransom. His name %as anno"n ed as Roger Chi!!ing%orth. The *ai!er, after "shering him into the room, remained a moment, mar'e!!ing at the om$arati'e /"iet that fo!!o%ed his entran e2 for Hester Pr#nne had immediate!# be ome as sti!! as death, a!tho"gh the hi!d ontin"ed to moan. 8Prithee, friend, !ea'e me a!one %ith m# $atient,8 said the $ra titioner. 8Tr"st me, good *ai!er, #o" sha!! brief!# ha'e $ea e in #o"r ho"se2 and, I $romise #o", 4istress Pr#nne sha!! hereafter be more amenab!e to *"st a"thorit# than #o" ma# ha'e fo"nd her heretofore.8 8Na#, if #o"r %orshi$ an a om$!ish that,8 ans%ered 4aster +ra (ett, 8I sha!! o%n #o" for a man of s(i!!, indeed; ,eri!#, the %oman hath been !i(e a $ossessed one2 and there !a (s !itt!e that I sho"!d ta(e in hand, to dri'e Satan o"t of her %ith stri$es.8 The stranger had entered the room %ith the hara teristi /"iet"de of the $rofession to %hi h he anno"n ed himse!f as be!onging. Nor did his demeano"r hange %hen the %ithdra%a! of the $rison (ee$er !eft him fa e to fa e %ith the %oman, %hose absorbed noti e of him, in the ro%d, had intimated so !ose a re!ation bet%een himse!f and her. His first are %as gi'en to the hi!d, %hose ries, indeed, as she !a# %rithing on the tr"nd!e-bed, made it of $erem$tor# ne essit# to $ost$one a!! other b"siness to the tas( of soothing her. He e&amined the infant aref"!!#, and then $ro eeded to "n !as$ a !eathern ase, %hi h he too( from beneath his dress. It a$$eared to ontain medi a! $re$arations, one of %hi h he ming!ed %ith a "$ of %ater. 84# o!d st"dies in a! hem#,8 obser'ed he, 8and m# so*o"rn, for abo'e a #ear $ast, among a $eo$!e %e!! 'ersed in the (ind!# $ro$erties of sim$!es, ha'e made a better $h#si ian of me than man# that !aim the medi a! degree. Here, %oman; The hi!d is #o"rs--she is none of mine--neither %i!! she re ognise m# 'oi e or as$e t as a father.s. Administer this dra"ght, therefore, %ith thine o%n hand.8 Hester re$e!!ed the offered medi ine, at the same time ga6ing %ith strong!# mar(ed a$$rehension into his fa e. 81o"!dst tho" a'enge th#se!f on the inno ent babe:8 %his$ered she. 83oo!ish %oman;8 res$onded the $h#si ian, ha!f o!d!#, ha!f soothing!#. 81hat sho"!d ai! me to harm this misbegotten and miserab!e babe: The medi ine is $otent for good, and %ere it m# hi!d--#ea, mine o%n, as %e!! as thine; I o"!d do no better for it.8 As she sti!! hesitated, being, in fa t, in no reasonab!e state of mind, he too( the infant in his arms, and himse!f administered the dra"ght. It soon $ro'ed its effi a #, and redeemed the !ee h.s $!edge. The moans of the !itt!e $atient s"bsided2 its on'"!si'e tossings grad"a!!# eased2 and in a fe% moments, as is the "stom of #o"ng hi!dren after re!ief

from $ain, it san( into a $rofo"nd and de%# s!"mber. The $h#si ian, as he had a fair right to be termed, ne&t besto%ed his attention on the mother. 1ith a!m and intent s r"tin#, he fe!t her $"!se, !oo(ed into her e#es--a ga6e that made her heart shrin( and sh"dder, be a"se so fami!iar, and #et so strange and o!d--and, fina!!#, satisfied %ith his in'estigation, $ro eeded to ming!e another dra"ght. 8I (no% not Lethe nor Ne$enthe,8 remar(ed he2 8b"t I ha'e !earned man# ne% se rets in the %i!derness, and here is one of them--a re i$e that an Indian ta"ght me, in re/"ita! of some !essons of m# o%n, that %ere as o!d as Para e!s"s. Drin( it; It ma# be !ess soothing than a sin!ess ons ien e. That I annot gi'e thee. +"t it %i!! a!m the s%e!! and hea'ing of th# $assion, !i(e oi! thro%n on the %a'es of a tem$est"o"s sea.8 He $resented the "$ to Hester, %ho re ei'ed it %ith a s!o%, earnest !oo( into his fa e2 not $re ise!# a !oo( of fear, #et f"!! of do"bt and /"estioning as to %hat his $"r$oses might be. She !oo(ed a!so at her s!"mbering hi!d. 8I ha'e tho"ght of death,8 said she--8ha'e %ished for it--%o"!d e'en ha'e $ra#ed for it, %ere it fit that s" h as I sho"!d $ra# for an#thing. <et, if death be in this "$, I bid thee thin( again, ere tho" beho!dest me /"aff it. See; it is e'en no% at m# !i$s.8 8Drin(, then,8 re$!ied he, sti!! %ith the same o!d om$os"re. 8Dost tho" (no% me so !itt!e, Hester Pr#nne: Are m# $"r$oses %ont to be so sha!!o%: E'en if I imagine a s heme of 'engean e, %hat o"!d I do better for m# ob*e t than to !et thee !i'e--than to gi'e thee medi ines against a!! harm and $eri! of !ife--so that this b"rning shame ma# sti!! b!a6e "$on th# bosom:8 As he s$o(e, he !aid his !ong fore-finger on the s ar!et !etter, %hi h forth%ith seemed to s or h into Hester.s breast, as if it ad been red hot. He noti ed her in'o!"ntar# gest"re, and smi!ed. 8Li'e, therefore, and bear abo"t th# doom %ith thee, in the e#es of men and %omen--in the e#es of him %hom tho" didst a!! th# h"sband--in the e#es of #onder hi!d; And, that tho" ma#est !i'e, ta(e off this dra"ght.8 1itho"t f"rther e&$ost"!ation or de!a#, Hester Pr#nne drained the "$, and, at the motion of the man of s(i!!, seated herse!f on the bed, %here the hi!d %as s!ee$ing2 %hi!e he dre% the on!# hair %hi h the room afforded, and too( his o%n seat beside her. She o"!d not b"t tremb!e at these $re$arations2 for she fe!t that--ha'ing no% done a!! that h"manit#, or $rin i$!e, or, if so it %ere, a refined r"e!t#, im$e!!ed him to do for the re!ief of $h#si a! s"ffering--he %as ne&t to treat %ith her as the man %hom she had most dee$!# and irre$arab!# in*"red. 8Hester,8 said he, 8I as( not %herefore, nor ho% tho" hast fa!!en into the $it, or sa#, rather, tho" hast as ended to the $edesta! of infam# on %hi h I fo"nd thee. The reason is not far to see(. It %as m# fo!!#, and th# %ea(ness. I--a man of tho"ght--the boo(-%orm of great !ibraries--a man a!read# in de a#, ha'ing gi'en m# best #ears to feed the h"ngr# dream of (no%!edge--%hat had I to do %ith #o"th and bea"t# !i(e thine o%n: 4issha$en from m# birth-ho"r, ho% o"!d I de!"de m#se!f %ith the idea that inte!!e t"a! gifts might 'ei! $h#si a! deformit# in a #o"ng gir!.s fantas#: 4en a!! me %ise. If sages %ere e'er %ise in their o%n behoof, I might ha'e foreseen a!! this. I might ha'e (no%n that, as I

ame o"t of the 'ast and disma! forest, and entered this sett!ement of Christian men, the 'er# first ob*e t to meet m# e#es %o"!d be th#se!f, Hester Pr#nne, standing "$, a stat"e of ignomin#, before the $eo$!e. Na#, from the moment %hen %e ame do%n the o!d h"r hste$s together, a married $air, I might ha'e behe!d the ba!e-fire of that s ar!et !etter b!a6ing at the end of o"r $ath;8 8Tho" (no%est,8 said Hester--for, de$ressed as she %as, she o"!d not end"re this !ast /"iet stab at the to(en of her shame--8tho" (no%est that I %as fran( %ith thee. I fe!t no !o'e, nor feigned an#.8 8Tr"e,8 re$!ied he. 8It %as m# fo!!#; I ha'e said it. +"t, "$ to that e$o h of m# !ife, I had !i'ed in 'ain. The %or!d had been so heer!ess; 4# heart %as a habitation !arge eno"gh for man# g"ests, b"t !one!# and hi!!, and %itho"t a ho"seho!d fire. I !onged to (ind!e one; It seemed not so %i!d a dream--o!d as I %as, and sombre as I %as, and missha$en as I %as--that the sim$!e b!iss, %hi h is s attered far and %ide, for a!! man(ind to gather "$, might #et be mine. And so, Hester, I dre% thee into m# heart, into its innermost hamber, and so"ght to %arm thee b# the %armth %hi h th# $resen e made there;8 8I ha'e great!# %ronged thee,8 m"rm"red Hester. 81e ha'e %ronged ea h other,8 ans%ered he. 84ine %as the first %rong, %hen I betra#ed th# b"dding #o"th into a fa!se and "nnat"ra! re!ation %ith m# de a#. Therefore, as a man %ho has not tho"ght and $hi!oso$hised in 'ain, I see( no 'engean e, $!ot no e'i! against thee. +et%een thee and me, the s a!e hangs fair!# ba!an ed. +"t, Hester, the man !i'es %ho has %ronged "s both; 1ho is he:8 8As( me not:8 re$!ied Hester Pr#nne, !oo(ing firm!# into his fa e. 8That tho" sha!t ne'er (no%;8 8Ne'er, sa#est tho":8 re*oined he, %ith a smi!e of dar( and se!f-re!#ing inte!!igen e. 8Ne'er (no% him; +e!ie'e me, Hester, there are fe% things %hether in the o"t%ard %or!d, or, to a ertain de$th, in the in'isib!e s$here of tho"ght--fe% things hidden from the man %ho de'otes himse!f earnest!# and "nreser'ed!# to the so!"tion of a m#ster#. Tho" ma#est o'er "$ th# se ret from the $r#ing m"!tit"de. Tho" ma#est on ea! it, too, from the ministers and magistrates, e'en as tho" didst this da#, %hen the# so"ght to %ren h the name o"t of th# heart, and gi'e thee a $artner on th# $edesta!. +"t, as for me, I ome to the in/"est %ith other senses than the# $ossess. I sha!! see( this man, as I ha'e so"ght tr"th in boo(s7 as I ha'e so"ght go!d in a! hem#. There is a s#m$ath# that %i!! ma(e me ons io"s of him. I sha!! see him tremb!e. I sha!! fee! m#se!f sh"dder, s"dden!# and "na%ares. Sooner or !ater, he m"st needs be mine.8 The e#es of the %rin(!ed s ho!ar g!o%ed so intense!# "$on her, that Hester Pr#nne !as$ed her hand o'er her heart, dreading !est he sho"!d read the se ret there at on e. 8Tho" %i!t not re'ea! his name: Not the !ess he is mine,8 res"med he, %ith a !oo( of onfiden e, as if destin# %ere at one %ith him. 8He bears no !etter of infam# %ro"ght into

his garment, as tho" dost, b"t I sha!! read it on his heart . <et fear not for him; Thin( not that I sha!! interfere %ith Hea'en.s o%n method of retrib"tion, or, to m# o%n !oss, betra# him to the gri$e of h"man !a%. Neither do tho" imagine that I sha!! ontri'e a"ght against his !ife2 no, nor against his fame, if as I *"dge, he be a man of fair re$"te. Let him !i'e; Let him hide himse!f in o"t%ard hono"r, if he ma#; Not the !ess he sha!! be mine;8 8Th# a ts are !i(e mer #,8 said Hester, be%i!dered and a$$a!!ed2 8b"t th# %ords inter$ret thee as a terror;8 8One thing, tho" that %ast m# %ife, I %o"!d en*oin "$on thee,8 ontin"ed the s ho!ar. 8Tho" hast (e$t the se ret of th# $aramo"r. 0ee$, !i(e%ise, mine; There are none in this !and that (no% me. +reathe not to an# h"man so"! that tho" didst e'er a!! me h"sband; Here, on this %i!d o"ts(irt of the earth, I sha!! $it h m# tent2 for, e!se%here a %anderer, and iso!ated from h"man interests, I find here a %oman, a man, a hi!d, amongst %hom and m#se!f there e&ist the !osest !igaments. No matter %hether of !o'e or hate7 no matter %hether of right or %rong; Tho" and thine, Hester Pr#nne, be!ong to me. 4# home is %here tho" art and %here he is. +"t betra# me not;8 81herefore dost tho" desire it:8 in/"ired Hester, shrin(ing, she hard!# (ne% %h#, from this se ret bond. 81h# not anno"n e th#se!f o$en!#, and ast me off at on e:8 8It ma# be,8 he re$!ied, 8be a"se I %i!! not en o"nter the dishono"r that besmir hes the h"sband of a faith!ess %oman. It ma# be for other reasons. Eno"gh, it is m# $"r$ose to !i'e and die "n(no%n. Let, therefore, th# h"sband be to the %or!d as one a!read# dead, and of %hom no tidings sha!! e'er ome. Re ognise me not, b# %ord, b# sign, b# !oo(; +reathe not the se ret, abo'e a!!, to the man tho" %ottest of. Sho"!dst tho" fai! me in this, be%are; His fame, his $osition, his !ife %i!! be in m# hands. +e%are;8 8I %i!! (ee$ th# se ret, as I ha'e his,8 said Hester. 8S%ear it;8 re*oined he. And she too( the oath. 8And no%, 4istress Pr#nne,8 said o!d Roger Chi!!ing%orth, as he %as hereafter to be named, 8I !ea'e thee a!one7 a!one %ith th# infant and the s ar!et !etter; Ho% is it, Hester: Doth th# senten e bind thee to %ear the to(en in th# s!ee$: Art tho" not afraid of nightmares and hideo"s dreams:8 81h# dost tho" smi!e so at me:8 in/"ired Hester, tro"b!ed at the e&$ression of his e#es. 8Art tho" !i(e the +!a ( 4an that ha"nts the forest ro"nd abo"t "s: Hast tho" enti ed me into a bond that %i!! $ro'e the r"in of m# so"!:8 8Not th# so"!,8 he ans%ered, %ith another smi!e. 8No, not thine;8

Chapter 5
CHAPTER ,. HESTER AT HER NEEDLE Hester Pr#nne.s term of onfinement %as no% at an end. Her $rison-door %as thro%n o$en, and she ame forth into the s"nshine, %hi h, fa!!ing on a!! a!i(e, seemed, to her si ( and morbid heart, as if meant for no other $"r$ose than to re'ea! the s ar!et !etter on her breast. Perha$s there %as a more rea! tort"re in her first "nattended footste$s from the thresho!d of the $rison than e'en in the $ro ession and s$e ta !e that ha'e been des ribed, %here she %as made the ommon infam#, at %hi h a!! man(ind %as s"mmoned to $oint its finger. Then, she %as s"$$orted b# an "nnat"ra! tension of the ner'es, and b# a!! the ombati'e energ# of her hara ter, %hi h enab!ed her to on'ert the s ene into a (ind of !"rid tri"m$h. It %as, moreo'er, a se$arate and ins"!ated e'ent, to o "r b"t on e in her !ifetime, and to meet %hi h, therefore, re (!ess of e onom#, she might a!! "$ the 'ita! strength that %o"!d ha'e s"ffi ed for man# /"iet #ears. The 'er# !a% that ondemned her--a giant of stem feat"red b"t %ith 'igo"r to s"$$ort, as %e!! as to annihi!ate, in his iron arm--had he!d her "$ thro"gh the terrib!e ordea! of her ignomin#. +"t no%, %ith this "nattended %a!( from her $rison door, began the dai!# "stom2 and she m"st either s"stain and arr# it for%ard b# the ordinar# reso"r es of her nat"re, or sin( beneath it. She o"!d no !onger borro% from the f"t"re to he!$ her thro"gh the $resent grief. Tomorro% %o"!d bring its o%n tria! %ith it2 so %o"!d the ne&t da#, and so %o"!d the ne&t7 ea h its o%n tria!, and #et the 'er# same that %as no% so "n"tterab!# grie'o"s to be borne. The da#s of the far-off f"t"re %o"!d toi! on%ard, sti!! %ith the same b"rden for her to ta(e "$, and bear a!ong %ith her, b"t ne'er to f!ing do%n2 for the a "m"!ating da#s and added #ears %o"!d $i!e "$ their miser# "$on the hea$ of shame. Thro"gho"t them a!!, gi'ing "$ her indi'id"a!it#, she %o"!d be ome the genera! s#mbo! at %hi h the $rea her and mora!ist might $oint, and in %hi h the# might 'i'if# and embod# their images of %oman.s frai!t# and sinf"! $assion. Th"s the #o"ng and $"re %o"!d be ta"ght to !oo( at her, %ith the s ar!et !etter f!aming on her breast--at her, the hi!d of hono"rab!e $arents--at her, the mother of a babe that %o"!d hereafter be a %oman--at her, %ho had on e been inno ent--as the fig"re, the bod#, the rea!it# of sin. And o'er her gra'e, the infam# that she m"st arr# thither %o"!d be her on!# mon"ment. It ma# seem mar'e!!o"s that, %ith the %or!d before her--(e$t b# no restri ti'e !a"se of her ondemnation %ithin the !imits of the P"ritan sett!ement, so remote and so obs "re-free to ret"rn to her birth-$!a e, or to an# other E"ro$ean !and, and there hide her hara ter and identit# "nder a ne% e&terior, as om$!ete!# as if emerging into another state of being--and ha'ing a!so the $asses of the dar(, ins r"tab!e forest o$en to her, %here the %i!dness of her nat"re might assimi!ate itse!f %ith a $eo$!e %hose "stoms and !ife %ere a!ien from the !a% that had ondemned her--it ma# seem mar'e!!o"s that this %oman sho"!d sti!! a!! that $!a e her home, %here, and %here on!#, she m"st needs be the t#$e of shame. +"t there is a fata!it#, a fee!ing so irresistib!e and ine'itab!e that it has the for e of doom, %hi h a!most in'ariab!# om$e!s h"man beings to !inger aro"nd and ha"nt, ghost-!i(e, the s$ot %here some great and mar(ed e'ent has gi'en the o!o"r to their !ifetime2 and, sti!! the more irresistib!#, the dar(er the tinge that saddens it. Her sin, her ignomin#, %ere the roots %hi h she had str" ( into the soi!. It %as as if a ne% birth,

%ith stronger assimi!ations than the first, had on'erted the forest-!and, sti!! so "n ongenia! to e'er# other $i!grim and %anderer, into Hester Pr#nne.s %i!d and drear#, b"t !ife-!ong home. A!! other s enes of earth--e'en that 'i!!age of r"ra! Eng!and, %here ha$$# infan # and stain!ess maidenhood seemed #et to be in her mother.s (ee$ing, !i(e garments $"t off !ong ago--%ere foreign to her, in om$arison. The hain that bo"nd her here %as of iron !in(s, and ga!!ing to her inmost so"!, b"t o"!d ne'er be bro(en. It might be, too--do"bt!ess it %as so, a!tho"gh she hid the se ret from herse!f, and gre% $a!e %hene'er it str"gg!ed o"t of her heart, !i(e a ser$ent from its ho!e--it might be that another fee!ing (e$t her %ithin the s ene and $ath%a# that had been so fata!. There d%e!t, there trode, the feet of one %ith %hom she deemed herse!f onne ted in a "nion that, "nre ognised on earth, %o"!d bring them together before the bar of fina! *"dgment, and ma(e that their marriage-a!tar, for a *oint f"t"rit# of end!ess retrib"tion. O'er and o'er again, the tem$ter of so"!s had thr"st this idea "$on Hester.s ontem$!ation, and !a"ghed at the $assionate an des$erate *o# %ith %hi h she sei6ed, and then stro'e to ast it from her. She bare!# !oo(ed the idea in the fa e, and hastened to bar it in its d"ngeon. 1hat she om$e!!ed herse!f to be!ie'e--%hat, fina!!#, she reasoned "$on as her moti'e for ontin"ing a resident of Ne% Eng!and--%as ha!f a tr"th, and ha!f a se!f-de!"sion. Here, she said to herse!f had been the s ene of her g"i!t, and here sho"!d be the s ene of her earth!# $"nishment2 and so, $er han e, the tort"re of her dai!# shame %o"!d at !ength $"rge her so"!, and %or( o"t another $"rit# than that %hi h she had !ost7 more saint-!i(e, be a"se the res"!t of mart#rdom. Hester Pr#nne, therefore, did not f!ee. On the o"ts(irts of the to%n, %ithin the 'erge of the $enins"!a, b"t not in !ose 'i init# to an# other habitation, there %as a sma!! that hed ottage. It had been b"i!t b# an ear!ier sett!er, and abandoned, be a"se the soi! abo"t it %as too steri!e for "!ti'ation, %hi!e its om$arati'e remoteness $"t it o"t of the s$here of that so ia! a ti'it# %hi h a!read# mar(ed the habits of the emigrants. It stood on the shore, !oo(ing a ross a basin of the sea at the forest- o'ered hi!!s, to%ards the %est. A !"m$ of s r"bb# trees, s" h as a!one gre% on the $enins"!a, did not so m" h on ea! the ottage from 'ie%, as seem to denote that here %as some ob*e t %hi h %o"!d fain ha'e been, or at !east o"ght to be, on ea!ed. In this !itt!e !onesome d%e!!ing, %ith some s!ender means that she $ossessed, and b# the !i en e of the magistrates, %ho sti!! (e$t an in/"isitoria! %at h o'er her, Hester estab!ished herse!f, %ith her infant hi!d. A m#sti shado% of s"s$i ion immediate!# atta hed itse!f to the s$ot. Chi!dren, too #o"ng to om$rehend %herefore this %oman sho"!d be sh"t o"t from the s$here of h"man harities, %o"!d ree$ nigh eno"gh to beho!d her $!#ing her need!e at the ottage%indo%, or standing in the door%a#, or !abo"ring in her !itt!e garden, or oming forth a!ong the $ath%a# that !ed to%n%ard, and, dis erning the s ar!et !etter on her breast, %o"!d s am$er off %ith a strange ontagio"s fear. Lone!# as %as Hester.s sit"ation, and %itho"t a friend on earth %ho dared to sho% himse!f, she, ho%e'er, in "rred no ris( of %ant. She $ossessed an art that s"ffi ed, e'en in a !and that afforded om$arati'e!# !itt!e s o$e for its e&er ise, to s"$$!# food for her thri'ing infant and herse!f. It %as the art, then, as no%, a!most the on!# one %ithin a %oman.s gras$--of need!e-%or(. She bore on her breast, in the "rio"s!# embroidered

!etter, a s$e imen of her de!i ate and imaginati'e s(i!!, of %hi h the dames of a o"rt might g!ad!# ha'e a'ai!ed themse!'es, to add the ri her and more s$irit"a! adornment of h"man ingen"it# to their fabri s of si!( and go!d. Here, indeed, in the sab!e sim$!i it# that genera!!# hara terised the P"ritani modes of dress, there might be an infre/"ent a!! for the finer $rod" tions of her handi%or(. <et the taste of the age, demanding %hate'er %as e!aborate in om$ositions of this (ind, did not fai! to e&tend its inf!"en e o'er o"r stern $rogenitors, %ho had ast behind them so man# fashions %hi h it might seem harder to dis$ense %ith. P"b!i eremonies, s" h as ordinations, the insta!!ation of magistrates, and a!! that o"!d gi'e ma*est# to the forms in %hi h a ne% go'ernment manifested itse!f to the $eo$!e, %ere, as a matter of $o!i #, mar(ed b# a state!# and %e!!- ond" ted eremonia!, and a sombre, b"t #et a st"died magnifi en e. Dee$ r"ffs, $ainf"!!# %ro"ght bands, and gorgeo"s!# embroidered g!o'es, %ere a!! deemed ne essar# to the offi ia! state of men ass"ming the reins of $o%er, and %ere readi!# a!!o%ed to indi'id"a!s dignified b# ran( or %ea!th, e'en %hi!e s"m$t"ar# !a%s forbade these and simi!ar e&tra'agan es to the $!ebeian order. In the arra# of f"nera!s, too--%hether for the a$$are! of the dead bod#, or to t#$if#, b# manifo!d emb!emati de'i es of sab!e !oth and sno%# !a%n, the sorro% of the s"r'i'ors--there %as a fre/"ent and hara teristi demand for s" h !abo"r as Hester Pr#nne o"!d s"$$!#. +ab#-!inen--for babies then %ore robes of state--afforded sti!! another $ossibi!it# of toi! and emo!"ment. +# degrees, not 'er# s!o%!#, her handi%or( be ame %hat %o"!d no% be termed the fashion. 1hether from ommiseration for a %oman of so miserab!e a destin#2 or from the morbid "riosit# that gi'es a fi titio"s 'a!"e e'en to ommon or %orth!ess things2 or b# %hate'er other intangib!e ir "mstan e %as then, as no%, s"ffi ient to besto%, on some $ersons, %hat others might see( in 'ain2 or be a"se Hester rea!!# fi!!ed a ga$ %hi h m"st other%ise ha'e remained 'a ant2 it is ertain that she had read# and fair!# e/"ited em$!o#ment for as man# ho"rs as she sa% fit to o "$# %ith her need!e. ,anit#, it ma# be, hose to mortif# itse!f, b# $"tting on, for eremonia!s of $om$ and state, the garments that had been %ro"ght b# her sinf"! hands. Her need!e-%or( %as seen on the r"ff of the 9o'ernor2 mi!itar# men %ore it on their s arfs, and the minister on his band2 it de (ed the bab#.s !itt!e a$2 it %as sh"t "$, to be mi!de%ed and mo"!der a%a#, in the offins of the dead. +"t it is not re orded that, in a sing!e instan e, her s(i!! %as a!!ed in to embroider the %hite 'ei! %hi h %as to o'er the $"re b!"shes of a bride. The e& e$tion indi ated the e'er re!ent!ess 'igo"r %ith %hi h so iet# fro%ned "$on her sin. Hester so"ght not to a /"ire an#thing be#ond a s"bsisten e, of the $!ainest and most as eti des ri$tion, for herse!f, and a sim$!e ab"ndan e for her hi!d. Her o%n dress %as of the oarsest materia!s and the most sombre h"e, %ith on!# that one ornament--the s ar!et !etter--%hi h it %as her doom to %ear. The hi!d.s attire, on the other hand, %as disting"ished b# a fan if"!, or, %e ma# rather sa#, a fantasti ingen"it#, %hi h ser'ed, indeed, to heighten the air# harm that ear!# began to de'e!o$ itse!f in the !itt!e gir!, b"t %hi h a$$eared to ha'e a!so a dee$er meaning. 1e ma# s$ea( f"rther of it hereafter. E& e$t for that sma!! e&$endit"re in the de oration of her infant, Hester besto%ed a!! her s"$erf!"o"s means in harit#, on %ret hes !ess miserab!e than herse!f, and %ho not

"nfre/"ent!# ins"!ted the hand that fed them. 4" h of the time, %hi h she might readi!# ha'e a$$!ied to the better efforts of her art, she em$!o#ed in ma(ing oarse garments for the $oor. It is $robab!e that there %as an idea of $enan e in this mode of o "$ation, and that she offered "$ a rea! sa rifi e of en*o#ment in de'oting so man# ho"rs to s" h r"de handi%or(. She had in her nat"re a ri h, 'o!"$t"o"s, Orienta! hara teristi --a taste for the gorgeo"s!# bea"tif"!, %hi h, sa'e in the e&/"isite $rod" tions of her need!e, fo"nd nothing e!se, in a!! the $ossibi!ities of her !ife, to e&er ise itse!f "$on. 1omen deri'e a $!eas"re, in om$rehensib!e to the other se&, from the de!i ate toi! of the need!e. To Hester Pr#nne it might ha'e been a mode of e&$ressing, and therefore soothing, the $assion of her !ife. Li(e a!! other *o#s, she re*e ted it as sin. This morbid medd!ing of ons ien e %ith an immateria! matter beto(ened, it is to be feared, no gen"ine and steadfast $eniten e, b"t something do"btf"!, something that might be dee$!# %rong beneath. In this matter, Hester Pr#nne ame to ha'e a $art to $erform in the %or!d. 1ith her nati'e energ# of hara ter and rare a$a it#, it o"!d not entire!# ast her off, a!tho"gh it had set a mar( "$on her, more into!erab!e to a %oman.s heart than that %hi h branded the bro% of Cain. In a!! her inter o"rse %ith so iet#, ho%e'er, there %as nothing that made her fee! as if she be!onged to it. E'er# gest"re, e'er# %ord, and e'en the si!en e of those %ith %hom she ame in onta t, im$!ied, and often e&$ressed, that she %as banished, and as m" h a!one as if she inhabited another s$here, or omm"ni ated %ith the ommon nat"re b# other organs and senses than the rest of h"man (ind. She stood a$art from mora! interests, #et !ose beside them, !i(e a ghost that re'isits the fami!iar fireside, and an no !onger ma(e itse!f seen or fe!t2 no more smi!e %ith the ho"seho!d *o#, nor mo"rn %ith the (indred sorro%2 or, sho"!d it s" eed in manifesting its forbidden s#m$ath#, a%a(ening on!# terror and horrib!e re$"gnan e. These emotions, in fa t, and its bitterest s orn besides, seemed to be the so!e $ortion that she retained in the "ni'ersa! heart. It %as not an age of de!i a #2 and her $osition, a!tho"gh she "nderstood it %e!!, and %as in !itt!e danger of forgetting it, %as often bro"ght before her 'i'id se!f-$er e$tion, !i(e a ne% ang"ish, b# the r"dest to" h "$on the tenderest s$ot. The $oor, as %e ha'e a!read# said, %hom she so"ght o"t to be the ob*e ts of her bo"nt#, often re'i!ed the hand that %as stret hed forth to s" o"r them. Dames of e!e'ated ran(, !i(e%ise, %hose doors she entered in the %a# of her o "$ation, %ere a "stomed to disti! dro$s of bitterness into her heart2 sometimes thro"gh that a! hem# of /"iet ma!i e, b# %hi h %omen an on o t a s"bt!e $oison from ordinar# trif!es2 and sometimes, a!so, b# a oarser e&$ression, that fe!! "$on the s"fferer.s defen e!ess breast !i(e a ro"gh b!o% "$on an "! erated %o"nd. Hester had s hoo!ed herse!f !ong and %e!!2 and she ne'er res$onded to these atta (s, sa'e b# a f!"sh of rimson that rose irre$ressib!# o'er her $a!e hee(, and again s"bsided into the de$ths of her bosom. She %as $atient--a mart#r, indeed b"t she forebore to $ra# for enemies, !est, in s$ite of her forgi'ing as$irations, the %ords of the b!essing sho"!d st"bborn!# t%ist themse!'es into a "rse. Contin"a!!#, and in a tho"sand other %a#s, did she fee! the inn"merab!e throbs of ang"ish that had been so "nning!# ontri'ed for her b# the "nd#ing, the e'er-a ti'e senten e of the P"ritan trib"na!. C!erg#men $a"sed in the streets, to address %ords of e&hortation, that bro"ght a ro%d, %ith its ming!ed grin and fro%n, aro"nd the $oor, sinf"! %oman. If

she entered a h"r h, tr"sting to share the Sabbath smi!e of the )ni'ersa! 3ather, it %as often her misha$ to find herse!f the te&t of the dis o"rse. She gre% to ha'e a dread of hi!dren2 for the# had imbibed from their $arents a 'ag"e idea of something horrib!e in this drear# %oman g!iding si!ent!# thro"gh the to%n, %ith ne'er an# om$anion b"t one on!# hi!d. Therefore, first a!!o%ing her to $ass, the# $"rs"ed her at a distan e %ith shri!! ries, and the "tteran es of a %ord that had no distin t $"r$ort to their o%n minds, b"t %as none the !ess terrib!e to her, as $ro eeding from !i$s that babb!ed it "n ons io"s!#. It seemed to arg"e so %ide a diff"sion of her shame, that a!! nat"re (ne% of it2 it o"!d ha'e a"sed her no dee$er $ang had the !ea'es of the trees %his$ered the dar( stor# among themse!'es--had the s"mmer bree6e m"rm"red abo"t it--had the %intr# b!ast shrie(ed it a!o"d; Another $e "!iar tort"re %as fe!t in the ga6e of a ne% e#e. 1hen strangers !oo(ed "rio"s!# at the s ar!et !etter and none e'er fai!ed to do so--the# branded it afresh in Hester.s so"!2 so that, oftentimes, she o"!d s ar e!# refrain, #et a!%a#s did refrain, from o'ering the s#mbo! %ith her hand. +"t then, again, an a "stomed e#e had !i(e%ise its o%n ang"ish to inf!i t. Its oo! stare of fami!iarit# %as into!erab!e. 3rom first to !ast, in short, Hester Pr#nne had a!%a#s this dreadf"! agon# in fee!ing a h"man e#e "$on the to(en2 the s$ot ne'er gre% a!!o"s2 it seemed, on the ontrar#, to gro% more sensiti'e %ith dai!# tort"re. +"t sometimes, on e in man# da#s, or $er han e in man# months, she fe!t an e#e--a h"man e#e--"$on the ignominio"s brand, that seemed to gi'e a momentar# re!ief, as if ha!f of her agon# %ere shared. The ne&t instant, ba ( it a!! r"shed again, %ith sti!! a dee$er throb of $ain2 for, in that brief inter'a!, she had sinned ane%. =Had Hester sinned a!one:> Her imagination %as some%hat affe ted, and, had she been of a softer mora! and inte!!e t"a! fibre %o"!d ha'e been sti!! more so, b# the strange and so!itar# ang"ish of her !ife. 1a!(ing to and fro, %ith those !one!# footste$s, in the !itt!e %or!d %ith %hi h she %as o"t%ard!# onne ted, it no% and then a$$eared to Hester--if a!together fan #, it %as ne'erthe!ess too $otent to be resisted--she fe!t or fan ied, then, that the s ar!et !etter had endo%ed her %ith a ne% sense. She sh"ddered to be!ie'e, #et o"!d not he!$ be!ie'ing, that it ga'e her a s#m$atheti (no%!edge of the hidden sin in other hearts. She %as terrorstri (en b# the re'e!ations that %ere th"s made. 1hat %ere the#: Co"!d the# be other than the insidio"s %his$ers of the bad ange!, %ho %o"!d fain ha'e $ers"aded the str"gg!ing %oman, as #et on!# ha!f his 'i tim, that the o"t%ard g"ise of $"rit# %as b"t a !ie, and that, if tr"th %ere e'er#%here to be sho%n, a s ar!et !etter %o"!d b!a6e forth on man# a bosom besides Hester Pr#nne.s: Or, m"st she re ei'e those intimations--so obs "re, #et so distin t--as tr"th: In a!! her miserab!e e&$erien e, there %as nothing e!se so a%f"! and so !oathsome as this sense. It $er$!e&ed, as %e!! as sho (ed her, b# the irre'erent ino$$ort"neness of the o asions that bro"ght it into 'i'id a tion. Sometimes the red infam# "$on her breast %o"!d gi'e a s#m$atheti throb, as she $assed near a 'enerab!e minister or magistrate, the mode! of $iet# and *"sti e, to %hom that age of anti/"e re'eren e !oo(ed "$, as to a morta! man in fe!!o%shi$ %ith ange!s. 81hat e'i! thing is at hand:8 %o"!d Hester sa# to herse!f. Lifting her re!" tant e#es, there %o"!d be nothing h"man %ithin the s o$e of 'ie%, sa'e the form of this earth!# saint; Again a

m#sti sisterhood %o"!d ont"ma io"s!# assert itse!f, as she met the san tified fro%n of some matron, %ho, a ording to the r"mo"r of a!! tong"es, had (e$t o!d sno% %ithin her bosom thro"gho"t !ife. That "ns"nned sno% in the matron.s bosom, and the b"rning shame on Hester Pr#nne.s--%hat had the t%o in ommon: Or, on e more, the e!e tri thri!! %o"!d gi'e her %arning--8+eho!d Hester, here is a om$anion;8 and, !oo(ing "$, she %o"!d dete t the e#es of a #o"ng maiden g!an ing at the s ar!et !etter, sh#!# and aside, and /"i (!# a'erted, %ith a faint, hi!! rimson in her hee(s as if her $"rit# %ere some%hat s"!!ied b# that momentar# g!an e. O 3iend, %hose ta!isman %as that fata! s#mbo!, %o"!dst tho" !ea'e nothing, %hether in #o"th or age, for this $oor sinner to re'ere:--s" h !oss of faith is e'er one of the saddest res"!ts of sin. +e it a e$ted as a $roof that a!! %as not orr"$t in this $oor 'i tim of her o%n frai!t#, and man.s hard !a%, that Hester Pr#nne #et str"gg!ed to be!ie'e that no fe!!o%-morta! %as g"i!t# !i(e herse!f. The '"!gar, %ho, in those drear# o!d times, %ere a!%a#s ontrib"ting a grotes/"e horror to %hat interested their imaginations, had a stor# abo"t the s ar!et !etter %hi h %e might readi!# %or( "$ into a terrifi !egend. The# a'erred that the s#mbo! %as not mere s ar!et !oth, tinged in an earth!# d#e-$ot, b"t %as red-hot %ith inferna! fire, and o"!d be seen g!o%ing a!! a!ight %hene'er Hester Pr#nne %a!(ed abroad in the night-time. And %e m"st needs sa# it seared Hester.s bosom so dee$!#, that $erha$s there %as more tr"th in the r"mo"r than o"r modern in red"!it# ma# be in !ined to admit.

Chapter 6
CHAPTER ,I. PEARL 1e ha'e as #et hard!# s$o(en of the infant that !itt!e reat"re, %hose inno ent !ife had s$r"ng, b# the ins r"tab!e de ree of Pro'iden e, a !o'e!# and immorta! f!o%er, o"t of the ran( !"&"rian e of a g"i!t# $assion. Ho% strange it seemed to the sad %oman, as she %at hed the gro%th, and the bea"t# that be ame e'er# da# more bri!!iant, and the inte!!igen e that thre% its /"i'ering s"nshine o'er the tin# feat"res of this hi!d; Her Pear!--for so had Hester a!!ed her2 not as a name e&$ressi'e of her as$e t, %hi h had nothing of the a!m, %hite, "nim$assioned !"stre that %o"!d be indi ated b# the om$arison. +"t she named the infant 8Pear!,8 as being of great $ri e--$"r hased %ith a!! she had--her mother.s on!# treas"re; Ho% strange, indeed; 4an had mar(ed this %oman.s sin b# a s ar!et !etter, %hi h had s" h $otent and disastro"s effi a # that no h"man s#m$ath# o"!d rea h her, sa'e it %ere sinf"! !i(e herse!f. 9od, as a dire t onse/"en e of the sin %hi h man th"s $"nished, had gi'en her a !o'e!# hi!d, %hose $!a e %as on that same dishono"red bosom, to onne t her $arent for e'er %ith the ra e and des ent of morta!s, and to be fina!!# a b!essed so"! in hea'en; <et these tho"ghts affe ted Hester Pr#nne !ess %ith ho$e than a$$rehension. She (ne% that her deed had been e'i!2 she o"!d ha'e no faith, therefore, that its res"!t %o"!d be good. Da# after da# she !oo(ed fearf"!!# into the hi!d.s e&$anding nat"re, e'er dreading to dete t some dar( and %i!d $e "!iarit# that sho"!d orres$ond %ith the g"i!tiness to %hi h she o%ed her being. Certain!# there %as no $h#si a! defe t. +# its $erfe t sha$e, its 'igo"r, and its nat"ra!

de&terit# in the "se of a!! its "ntried !imbs, the infant %as %orth# to ha'e been bro"ght forth in Eden7 %orth# to ha'e been !eft there to be the $!a#thing of the ange!s after the %or!d.s first $arents %ere dri'en o"t. The hi!d had a nati'e gra e %hi h does not in'ariab!# o-e&ist %ith fa"!t!ess bea"t#2 its attire, ho%e'er sim$!e, a!%a#s im$ressed the beho!der as if it %ere the 'er# garb that $re ise!# be ame it best. +"t !itt!e Pear! %as not !ad in r"sti %eeds. Her mother, %ith a morbid $"r$ose that ma# be better "nderstood hereafter, had bo"ght the ri hest tiss"es that o"!d be $ro "red, and a!!o%ed her imaginati'e fa "!t# its f"!! $!a# in the arrangement and de oration of the dresses %hi h the hi!d %ore before the $"b!i e#e. So magnifi ent %as the sma!! fig"re %hen th"s arra#ed, and s" h %as the s$!endo"r of Pear!.s o%n $ro$er bea"t#, shining thro"gh the gorgeo"s robes %hi h might ha'e e&ting"ished a $a!er !o'e!iness, that there %as an abso!"te ir !e of radian e aro"nd her on the dar(some ottage f!oor. And #et a r"sset go%n, torn and soi!ed %ith the hi!d.s r"de $!a#, made a $i t"re of her *"st as $erfe t. Pear!.s as$e t %as imb"ed %ith a s$e!! of infinite 'ariet#2 in this one hi!d there %ere man# hi!dren, om$rehending the f"!! s o$e bet%een the %i!d-f!o%er $rettiness of a $easant-bab#, and the $om$, in !itt!e, of an infant $rin ess. Thro"gho"t a!!, ho%e'er, there %as a trait of $assion, a ertain de$th of h"e, %hi h she ne'er !ost2 and if in an# of her hanges, she had gro%n fainter or $a!er, she %o"!d ha'e eased to be herse!f--it %o"!d ha'e been no !onger Pear!; This o"t%ard m"tabi!it# indi ated, and did not more than fair!# e&$ress, the 'ario"s $ro$erties of her inner !ife. Her nat"re a$$eared to $ossess de$th, too, as %e!! as 'ariet#2 b"t--or e!se Hester.s fears de ei'ed her--it !a (ed referen e and ada$tation to the %or!d into %hi h she %as born. The hi!d o"!d not be made amenab!e to r"!es. In gi'ing her e&isten e a great !a% had been bro(en2 and the res"!t %as a being %hose e!ements %ere $erha$s bea"tif"! and bri!!iant, b"t a!! in disorder, or %ith an order $e "!iar to themse!'es, amidst %hi h the $oint of 'ariet# and arrangement %as diffi "!t or im$ossib!e to be dis o'ered. Hester o"!d on!# a o"nt for the hi!d.s hara ter--and e'en then most 'ag"e!# and im$erfe t!#--b# re a!!ing %hat she herse!f had been d"ring that momento"s $eriod %hi!e Pear! %as imbibing her so"! from the s$irit"a! %or!d, and her bodi!# frame from its materia! of earth. The mother.s im$assioned state had been the medi"m thro"gh %hi h %ere transmitted to the "nborn infant the ra#s of its mora! !ife2 and, ho%e'er %hite and !ear origina!!#, the# had ta(en the dee$ stains of rimson and go!d, the fier# !"stre, the b!a ( shado%, and the "ntem$ered !ight of the inter'ening s"bstan e. Abo'e a!!, the %arfare of Hester.s s$irit at that e$o h %as $er$et"ated in Pear!. She o"!d re ogni6e her %i!d, des$erate, defiant mood, the f!ightiness of her tem$er, and e'en some of the 'er# !o"d-sha$es of g!oom and des$onden # that had brooded in her heart. The# %ere no% i!!"minated b# the morning radian e of a #o"ng hi!d.s dis$osition, b"t, !ater in the da# of earth!# e&isten e, might be $ro!ifi of the storm and %hir!%ind. The dis i$!ine of the fami!# in those da#s %as of a far more rigid (ind than no%. The fro%n, the harsh reb"(e, the fre/"ent a$$!i ation of the rod, en*oined b# S ri$t"ra! a"thorit#, %ere "sed, not mere!# in the %a# of $"nishment for a t"a! offen es, b"t as a %ho!esome regimen for the gro%th and $romotion of a!! hi!dish 'irt"es. Hester Pr#nne, ne'erthe!ess, the !o'ing mother of this one hi!d, ran !itt!e ris( of erring on the side of "nd"e se'erit#. 4indf"!, ho%e'er, of her o%n errors and misfort"nes, she ear!# so"ght to

im$ose a tender b"t stri t ontro! o'er the infant immorta!it# that %as ommitted to her harge. +"t the tas( %as be#ond her s(i!!. after testing both smi!es and fro%ns, and $ro'ing that neither mode of treatment $ossessed an# a! "!ab!e inf!"en e, Hester %as "!timate!# om$e!!ed to stand aside and $ermit the hi!d to be s%a#ed b# her o%n im$"!ses. Ph#si a! om$"!sion or restraint %as effe t"a!, of o"rse, %hi!e it !asted. As to an# other (ind of dis i$!ine, %hether addressed to her mind or heart, !itt!e Pear! might or might not be %ithin its rea h, in a ordan e %ith the a$ri e that r"!ed the moment. Her mother, %hi!e Pear! %as #et an infant, gre% a /"ainted %ith a ertain $e "!iar !oo(, that %arned her %hen it %o"!d be !abo"r thro%n a%a# to insist, $ers"ade or $!ead. It %as a !oo( so inte!!igent, #et ine&$!i ab!e, $er'erse, sometimes so ma!i io"s, b"t genera!!# a om$anied b# a %i!d f!o% of s$irits, that Hester o"!d not he!$ /"estioning at s" h moments %hether Pear! %as a h"man hi!d. She seemed rather an air# s$rite, %hi h, after $!a#ing its fantasti s$orts for a !itt!e %hi!e "$on the ottage f!oor, %o"!d f!it a%a# %ith a mo (ing smi!e. 1hene'er that !oo( a$$eared in her %i!d, bright, dee$!# b!a ( e#es, it in'ested her %ith a strange remoteness and intangibi!it#7 it %as as if she %ere ho'ering in the air, and might 'anish, !i(e a g!immering !ight that omes %e (no% not %hen e and goes %e (no% not %hither. +eho!ding it, Hester %as onstrained to r"sh to%ards the hi!d--to $"rs"e the !itt!e e!f in the f!ight %hi h she in'ariab!# began--to snat h her to her bosom %ith a !ose $ress"re and earnest (isses--not so m" h from o'erf!o%ing !o'e as to ass"re herse!f that Pear! %as f!esh and b!ood, and not "tter!# de!"si'e. +"t Pear!.s !a"gh, %hen she %as a"ght, tho"gh f"!! of merriment and m"si , made her mother more do"btf"! than before. Heart-smitten at this be%i!dering and baff!ing s$e!!, that so often ame bet%een herse!f and her so!e treas"re, %hom she had bo"ght so dear, and %ho %as a!! her %or!d, Hester sometimes b"rst into $assionate tears. Then, $erha$s--for there %as no foreseeing ho% it might affe t her--Pear! %o"!d fro%n, and !en h her !itt!e fist, and harden her sma!! feat"res into a stern, "ns#m$athising !oo( of dis ontent. Not se!dom she %o"!d !a"gh ane%, and !o"der than before, !i(e a thing in a$ab!e and "ninte!!igent of h"man sorro%. Or--b"t this more rare!# ha$$ened--she %o"!d be on'"!sed %ith rage of grief and sob o"t her !o'e for her mother in bro(en %ords, and seem intent on $ro'ing that she had a heart b# brea(ing it. <et Hester %as hard!# safe in onfiding herse!f to that g"st# tenderness7 it $assed as s"dden!# as it ame. +rooding o'er a!! these matters, the mother fe!t !i(e one %ho has e'o(ed a s$irit, b"t, b# some irreg"!arit# in the $ro ess of on*"ration, has fai!ed to %in the master-%ord that sho"!d ontro! this ne% and in om$rehensib!e inte!!igen e. Her on!# rea! omfort %as %hen the hi!d !a# in the $!a idit# of s!ee$. Then she %as s"re of her, and tasted ho"rs of /"iet, sad, de!i io"s ha$$iness2 "nti!--$erha$s %ith that $er'erse e&$ression g!immering from beneath her o$ening !ids--!itt!e Pear! a%o(e; Ho% soon--%ith %hat strange ra$idit#, indeed did Pear! arri'e at an age that %as a$ab!e of so ia! inter o"rse be#ond the mother.s e'er-read# smi!e and nonsense-%ords; And then %hat a ha$$iness %o"!d it ha'e been o"!d Hester Pr#nne ha'e heard her !ear, bird!i(e 'oi e ming!ing %ith the "$roar of other hi!dish 'oi es, and ha'e disting"ished and "nra'e!!ed her o%n dar!ing.s tones, amid a!! the entang!ed o"t r# of a gro"$ of s$orti'e hi!dren. +"t this o"!d ne'er be. Pear! %as a born o"t ast of the infanti!e %or!d. An im$

of e'i!, emb!em and $rod" t of sin, she had no right among hristened infants. Nothing %as more remar(ab!e than the instin t, as it seemed, %ith %hi h the hi!d om$rehended her !one!iness7 the destin# that had dra%n an in'io!ab!e ir !e ro"nd abo"t her7 the %ho!e $e "!iarit#, in short, of her $osition in res$e t to other hi!dren. Ne'er sin e her re!ease from $rison had Hester met the $"b!i ga6e %itho"t her. In a!! her %a!(s abo"t the to%n, Pear!, too, %as there7 first as the babe in arms, and after%ards as the !itt!e gir!, sma!! om$anion of her mother, ho!ding a forefinger %ith her %ho!e gras$, and tri$$ing a!ong at the rate of three or fo"r footste$s to one of Hester.s. She sa% the hi!dren of the sett!ement on the grass# margin of the street, or at the domesti thresho!ds, dis$orting themse!'es in s" h grim fashions as the P"ritani n"rt"re %o"!d $ermit; $!a#ing at going to h"r h, $er han e, or at s o"rging 5"a(ers, or ta(ing s a!$s in a sham fight %ith the Indians, or s aring one another %ith frea(s of imitati'e %it h raft. Pear! sa%, and ga6ed intent!#, b"t ne'er so"ght to ma(e a /"aintan e. If s$o(en to, she %o"!d not s$ea( again. If the hi!dren gathered abo"t her, as the# sometimes did, Pear! %o"!d gro% $ositi'e!# terrib!e in her $"n# %rath, snat hing "$ stones to f!ing at them, %ith shri!!, in oherent e& !amations, that made her mother tremb!e, be a"se the# had so m" h the so"nd of a %it h.s anathemas in some "n(no%n tong"e. The tr"th %as, that the !itt!e P"ritans, being of the most into!erant brood that e'er !i'ed, had got a 'ag"e idea of something o"t!andish, "nearth!#, or at 'arian e %ith ordinar# fashions, in the mother and hi!d, and therefore s orned them in their hearts, and not "nfre/"ent!# re'i!ed them %ith their tong"es. Pear! fe!t the sentiment, and re/"ited it %ith the bitterest hatred that an be s"$$osed to ran(!e in a hi!dish bosom. These o"tbrea(s of a fier e tem$er had a (ind of 'a!"e, and e'en omfort for the mother2 be a"se there %as at !east an inte!!igib!e earnestness in the mood, instead of the fitf"! a$ri e that so often th%arted her in the hi!d.s manifestations. It a$$a!!ed her, ne'erthe!ess, to dis ern here, again, a shado%# ref!e tion of the e'i! that had e&isted in herse!f. A!! this enmit# and $assion had Pear! inherited, b# ina!ienab!e right, o"t of Hester.s heart. 4other and da"ghter stood together in the same ir !e of se !"sion from h"man so iet#2 and in the nat"re of the hi!d seemed to be $er$et"ated those "n/"iet e!ements that had distra ted Hester Pr#nne before Pear!.s birth, b"t had sin e beg"n to be soothed a%a# b# the softening inf!"en es of maternit#. At home, %ithin and aro"nd her mother.s ottage, Pear! %anted not a %ide and 'ario"s ir !e of a /"aintan e. The s$e!! of !ife %ent forth from her e'er- reati'e s$irit, and omm"ni ated itse!f to a tho"sand ob*e ts, as a tor h (ind!es a f!ame %here'er it ma# be a$$!ied. The "n!i(e!iest materia!s--a sti (, a b"n h of rags, a f!o%er--%ere the $"$$ets of Pear!.s %it h raft, and, %itho"t "ndergoing an# o"t%ard hange, be ame s$irit"a!!# ada$ted to %hate'er drama o "$ied the stage of her inner %or!d. Her one bab#-'oi e ser'ed a m"!tit"de of imaginar# $ersonages, o!d and #o"ng, to ta!( %itha!. The $ine-trees, aged, b!a (, and so!emn, and f!inging groans and other me!an ho!# "tteran es on the bree6e, needed !itt!e transformation to fig"re as P"ritan e!ders the "g!iest %eeds of the garden %ere their hi!dren, %hom Pear! smote do%n and "$rooted most "nmer if"!!#. It %as %onderf"!, the 'ast 'ariet# of forms into %hi h she thre% her inte!!e t, %ith no ontin"it#, indeed, b"t darting "$ and dan ing, a!%a#s in a state of $reternat"ra! a ti'it#-soon sin(ing do%n, as if e&ha"sted b# so ra$id and fe'erish a tide of !ife--and s" eeded

b# other sha$es of a simi!ar %i!d energ#. It %as !i(e nothing so m" h as the $hantasmagori $!a# of the northern !ights. In the mere e&er ise of the fan #, ho%e'er, and the s$orti'eness of a gro%ing mind, there might be a !itt!e more than %as obser'ab!e in other hi!dren of bright fa "!ties2 e& e$t as Pear!, in the dearth of h"man $!a#mates, %as thro%n more "$on the 'isionar# throng %hi h she reated. The sing"!arit# !a# in the hosti!e fee!ings %ith %hi h the hi!d regarded a!! these offs$rings of her o%n heart and mind. She ne'er reated a friend, b"t seemed a!%a#s to be so%ing broad ast the dragon.s teeth, %hen e s$r"ng a har'est of armed enemies, against %hom she r"shed to batt!e. It %as ine&$ressib!# sad--then %hat de$th of sorro% to a mother, %ho fe!t in her o%n heart the a"se--to obser'e, in one so #o"ng, this onstant re ognition of an ad'erse %or!d, and so fier e a training of the energies that %ere to ma(e good her a"se in the ontest that m"st ens"e. 9a6ing at Pear!, Hester Pr#nne often dro$$ed her %or( "$on her (nees, and ried o"t %ith an agon# %hi h she %o"!d fain ha'e hidden, b"t %hi h made "tteran e for itse!f bet%i&t s$ee h and a groan--8O 3ather in Hea'en--if Tho" art sti!! m# 3ather--%hat is this being %hi h I ha'e bro"ght into the %or!d:8 And Pear!, o'erhearing the e*a "!ation, or a%are thro"gh some more s"bti!e hanne!, of those throbs of ang"ish, %o"!d t"rn her 'i'id and bea"tif"! !itt!e fa e "$on her mother, smi!e %ith s$rite-!i(e inte!!igen e, and res"me her $!a#. One $e "!iarit# of the hi!d.s de$ortment remains #et to be to!d. The 'er# first thing %hi h she had noti ed in her !ife, %as--%hat:--not the mother.s smi!e, res$onding to it, as other babies do, b# that faint, embr#o smi!e of the !itt!e mo"th, remembered so do"btf"!!# after%ards, and %ith s" h fond dis "ssion %hether it %ere indeed a smi!e. +# no means; +"t that first ob*e t of %hi h Pear! seemed to be ome a%are %as--sha!! %e sa# it:--the s ar!et !etter on Hester.s bosom; One da#, as her mother stoo$ed o'er the rad!e, the infant.s e#es had been a"ght b# the g!immering of the go!d embroider# abo"t the !etter2 and $"tting "$ her !itt!e hand she gras$ed at it, smi!ing, not do"btf"!!#, b"t %ith a de ided g!eam, that ga'e her fa e the !oo( of a m" h o!der hi!d. Then, gas$ing for breath, did Hester Pr#nne !"t h the fata! to(en, instin ti'e!# endea'o"ring to tear it a%a#, so infinite %as the tort"re inf!i ted b# the inte!!igent to" h of Pear!.s bab#-hand. Again, as if her mother.s agonised gest"re %ere meant on!# to ma(e s$ort for her, did !itt!e Pear! !oo( into her e#es, and smi!e. 3rom that e$o h, e& e$t %hen the hi!d %as as!ee$, Hester had ne'er fe!t a moment.s safet#7 not a moment.s a!m en*o#ment of her. 1ee(s, it is tr"e, %o"!d sometimes e!a$se, d"ring %hi h Pear!.s ga6e might ne'er on e be fi&ed "$on the s ar!et !etter2 b"t then, again, it %o"!d ome at "na%ares, !i(e the stro(e of s"dden death, and a!%a#s %ith that $e "!iar smi!e and odd e&$ression of the e#es. On e this frea(ish, e!'ish ast ame into the hi!d.s e#es %hi!e Hester %as !oo(ing at her o%n image in them, as mothers are fond of doing2 and s"dden!# for %omen in so!it"de, and %ith tro"b!ed hearts, are $estered %ith "na o"ntab!e de!"sions she fan ied that she behe!d, not her o%n miniat"re $ortrait, b"t another fa e in the sma!! b!a ( mirror of Pear!.s e#e. It %as a fa e, fiend-!i(e, f"!! of smi!ing ma!i e, #et bearing the semb!an e of feat"res that she had (no%n f"!! %e!!, tho"gh se!dom %ith a smi!e, and ne'er %ith ma!i e in them. It %as as if an e'i! s$irit $ossessed the hi!d, and had *"st then $ee$ed forth in

mo (er#. 4an# a time after%ards had Hester been tort"red, tho"gh !ess 'i'id!#, b# the same i!!"sion. In the afternoon of a ertain s"mmer.s da#, after Pear! gre% big eno"gh to r"n abo"t, she am"sed herse!f %ith gathering handf"!s of %i!d f!o%ers, and f!inging them, one b# one, at her mother.s bosom2 dan ing "$ and do%n !i(e a !itt!e e!f %hene'er she hit the s ar!et !etter. Hester.s first motion had been to o'er her bosom %ith her !as$ed hands. +"t %hether from $ride or resignation, or a fee!ing that her $enan e might best be %ro"ght o"t b# this "n"tterab!e $ain, she resisted the im$"!se, and sat ere t, $a!e as death, !oo(ing sad!# into !itt!e Pear!.s %i!d e#es. Sti!! ame the batter# of f!o%ers, a!most in'ariab!# hitting the mar(, and o'ering the mother.s breast %ith h"rts for %hi h she o"!d find no ba!m in this %or!d, nor (ne% ho% to see( it in another. At !ast, her shot being a!! e&$ended, the hi!d stood sti!! and ga6ed at Hester, %ith that !itt!e !a"ghing image of a fiend $ee$ing o"t--or, %hether it $ee$ed or no, her mother so imagined it--from the "nsear hab!e ab#ss of her b!a ( e#es. 8Chi!d, %hat art tho":8 ried the mother. 8Oh, I am #o"r !itt!e Pear!;8 ans%ered the hi!d. +"t %hi!e she said it, Pear! !a"ghed, and began to dan e "$ and do%n %ith the h"mo"rsome gesti "!ation of a !itt!e im$, %hose ne&t frea( might be to f!# "$ the himne#. 8Art tho" m# hi!d, in 'er# tr"th:8 as(ed Hester. Nor did she $"t the /"estion a!together id!#, b"t, for the moment, %ith a $ortion of gen"ine earnestness2 for, s" h %as Pear!.s %onderf"! inte!!igen e, that her mother ha!f do"bted %hether she %ere not a /"ainted %ith the se ret s$e!! of her e&isten e, and might not no% re'ea! herse!f. 8<es2 I am !itt!e Pear!;8 re$eated the hi!d, ontin"ing her anti s. 8Tho" art not m# hi!d; Tho" art no Pear! of mine;8 said the mother ha!f $!a#f"!!#2 for it %as often the ase that a s$orti'e im$"!se ame o'er her in the midst of her dee$est s"ffering. 8Te!! me, then, %hat tho" art, and %ho sent thee hither:8 8Te!! me, mother;8 said the hi!d, serio"s!#, oming "$ to Hester, and $ressing herse!f !ose to her (nees. 8Do tho" te!! me;8 8Th# Hea'en!# 3ather sent thee;8 ans%ered Hester Pr#nne. +"t she said it %ith a hesitation that did not es a$e the a "teness of the hi!d. 1hether mo'ed on!# b# her ordinar# frea(ishness, or be a"se an e'i! s$irit $rom$ted her, she $"t "$ her sma!! forefinger and to" hed the s ar!et !etter.

8He did not send me;8 ried she, $ositi'e!#. 8I ha'e no Hea'en!# 3ather;8 8H"sh, Pear!, h"sh; Tho" m"st not ta!( so;8 ans%ered the mother. s"$$ressing a groan. 8He sent "s a!! into the %or!d. He sent e'en me, th# mother. Then, m" h more thee; Or, if not, tho" strange and e!fish hi!d, %hen e didst tho" ome:8 8Te!! me; Te!! me;8 re$eated Pear!, no !onger serio"s!#, b"t !a"ghing and a$ering abo"t the f!oor. 8It is tho" that m"st te!! me;8 +"t Hester o"!d not reso!'e the /"er#, "sing herse!f in a disma! !ab#rinth of do"bt. She remembered--bet%i&t a smi!e and a sh"dder--the ta!( of the neighbo"ring to%ns$eo$!e, %ho, see(ing 'ain!# e!se%here for the hi!d.s $aternit#, and obser'ing some of her odd attrib"tes, had gi'en o"t that $oor !itt!e Pear! %as a demon offs$ring7 s" h as, e'er sin e o!d Catho!i times, had o asiona!!# been seen on earth, thro"gh the agen # of their mother.s sin, and to $romote some fo"! and %i (ed $"r$ose. L"ther, a ording to the s anda! of his mon(ish enemies, %as a brat of that he!!ish breed2 nor %as Pear! the on!# hi!d to %hom this ina"s$i io"s origin %as assigned among the Ne% Eng!and P"ritans.

Chapter 7
CHAPTER ,II. THE 9O,ERNOR.S HALL Hester Pr#nne %ent one da# to the mansion of 9o'ernor +e!!ingham, %ith a $air of g!o'es %hi h she had fringed and embroidered to his order, and %hi h %ere to be %orn on some great o asion of state2 for, tho"gh the han es of a $o$"!ar e!e tion had a"sed this former r"!er to des end a ste$ or t%o from the highest ran(, he sti!! he!d an hono"rab!e and inf!"entia! $!a e among the o!onia! magistra #. Another and far more im$ortant reason than the de!i'er# of a $air of embroidered g!o'es, im$e!!ed Hester, at this time, to see( an inter'ie% %ith a $ersonage of so m" h $o%er and a ti'it# in the affairs of the sett!ement. It had rea hed her ears that there %as a design on the $art of some of the !eading inhabitants, herishing the more rigid order of $rin i$!es in re!igion and go'ernment, to de$ri'e her of her hi!d. On the s"$$osition that Pear!, as a!read# hinted, %as of demon origin, these good $eo$!e not "nreasonab!# arg"ed that a Christian interest in the mother.s so"! re/"ired them to remo'e s" h a st"mb!ing-b!o ( from her $ath. If the hi!d, on the other hand, %ere rea!!# a$ab!e of mora! and re!igio"s gro%th, and $ossessed the e!ements of "!timate sa!'ation, then, s"re!#, it %o"!d en*o# a!! the fairer $ros$e t of these ad'antages b# being transferred to %iser and better g"ardianshi$ than Hester Pr#nne.s. Among those %ho $romoted the design, 9o'ernor +e!!ingham %as said to be one of the most b"s#. It ma# a$$ear sing"!ar, and, indeed, not a !itt!e !"di ro"s, that an affair of this (ind, %hi h in !ater da#s %o"!d ha'e been referred to no higher *"risdi tion than that of the se!e t men of the to%n, sho"!d then ha'e been a /"estion $"b!i !# dis "ssed, and on %hi h statesmen of eminen e too( sides. At that e$o h of $ristine sim$!i it#, ho%e'er, matters of e'en s!ighter $"b!i interest, and of far !ess intrinsi %eight than the %e!fare of Hester and her hi!d, %ere strange!# mi&ed "$

%ith the de!iberations of !egis!ators and a ts of state. The $eriod %as hard!#, if at a!!, ear!ier than that of o"r stor#, %hen a dis$"te on erning the right of $ro$ert# in a $ig not on!# a"sed a fier e and bitter ontest in the !egis!ati'e bod# of the o!on#, b"t res"!ted in an im$ortant modifi ation of the frame%or( itse!f of the !egis!at"re. 3"!! of on ern, therefore--b"t so ons io"s of her o%n right that it seemed s ar e!# an "ne/"a! mat h bet%een the $"b!i on the one side, and a !one!# %oman, ba (ed b# the s#m$athies of nat"re, on the other--Hester Pr#nne set forth from her so!itar# ottage. Litt!e Pear!, of o"rse, %as her om$anion. She %as no% of an age to r"n !ight!# a!ong b# her mother.s side, and, onstant!# in motion from morn ti!! s"nset, o"!d ha'e a om$!ished a m" h !onger *o"rne# than that before her. Often, ne'erthe!ess, more from a$ri e than ne essit#, she demanded to be ta(en "$ in arms2 b"t %as soon as im$erio"s to be !et do%n again, and fris(ed on%ard before Hester on the grass# $ath%a#, %ith man# a harm!ess tri$ and t"mb!e. 1e ha'e s$o(en of Pear!.s ri h and !"&"riant bea"t#--a bea"t# that shone %ith dee$ and 'i'id tints, a bright om$!e&ion, e#es $ossessing intensit# both of de$th and g!o%, and hair a!read# of a dee$, g!oss# bro%n, and %hi h, in after #ears, %o"!d be near!# a(in to b!a (. There %as fire in her and thro"gho"t her7 she seemed the "n$remeditated offshoot of a $assionate moment. Her mother, in ontri'ing the hi!d.s garb, had a!!o%ed the gorgeo"s tenden ies of her imagination their f"!! $!a#, arra#ing her in a rimson 'e!'et t"ni of a $e "!iar "t, ab"ndant!# embroidered in fantasies and f!o"rishes of go!d thread. So m" h strength of o!o"ring, %hi h m"st ha'e gi'en a %an and $a!!id as$e t to hee(s of a fainter b!oom, %as admirab!# ada$ted to Pear!.s bea"t#, and made her the 'er# brightest !itt!e *et of f!ame that e'er dan ed "$on the earth. +"t it %as a remar(ab!e attrib"te of this garb, and indeed, of the hi!d.s %ho!e a$$earan e, that it irresistib!# and ine'itab!# reminded the beho!der of the to(en %hi h Hester Pr#nne %as doomed to %ear "$on her bosom. It %as the s ar!et !etter in another form7 the s ar!et !etter endo%ed %ith !ife; The mother herse!f--as if the red ignomin# %ere so dee$!# s or hed into her brain that a!! her on e$tions ass"med its form--had aref"!!# %ro"ght o"t the simi!it"de, !a'ishing man# ho"rs of morbid ingen"it# to reate an ana!og# bet%een the ob*e t of her affe tion and the emb!em of her g"i!t and tort"re. +"t, in tr"th, Pear! %as the one as %e!! as the other2 and on!# in onse/"en e of that identit# had Hester ontri'ed so $erfe t!# to re$resent the s ar!et !etter in her a$$earan e. As the t%o %a#farers ame %ithin the $re in ts of the to%n, the hi!dren of the P"ritans !oo(ed "$ from their $!a#er %hat $assed for $!a# %ith those sombre !itt!e "r hins--and s$o(e gra'e!# one to another 8+eho!d, 'eri!#, there is the %oman of the s ar!et !etter7 and of a tr"th, moreo'er, there is the !i(eness of the s ar!et !etter r"nning a!ong b# her side; Come, therefore, and !et "s f!ing m"d at them;8 +"t Pear!, %ho %as a da"nt!ess hi!d, after fro%ning, stam$ing her foot, and sha(ing her !itt!e hand %ith a 'ariet# of threatening gest"res, s"dden!# made a r"sh at the (not of her enemies, and $"t them a!! to f!ight. She resemb!ed, in her fier e $"rs"it of them, an infant $esti!en e--the s ar!et fe'er, or some s" h ha!f-f!edged ange! of *"dgment--%hose

mission %as to $"nish the sins of the rising generation. She s reamed and sho"ted, too, %ith a terrifi 'o!"me of so"nd, %hi h, do"bt!ess, a"sed the hearts of the f"giti'es to /"a(e %ithin them. The 'i tor# a om$!ished, Pear! ret"rned /"iet!# to her mother, and !oo(ed "$, smi!ing, into her fa e. 1itho"t f"rther ad'ent"re, the# rea hed the d%e!!ing of 9o'ernor +e!!ingham. This %as a !arge %ooden ho"se, b"i!t in a fashion of %hi h there are s$e imens sti!! e&tant in the streets of o"r o!der to%ns no% moss--gro%n, r"mb!ing to de a#, and me!an ho!# at heart %ith the man# sorro%f"! or *o#f"! o "rren es, remembered or forgotten, that ha'e ha$$ened and $assed a%a# %ithin their d"s(# hambers. Then, ho%e'er, there %as the freshness of the $assing #ear on its e&terior, and the heerf"!ness, g!eaming forth from the s"nn# %indo%s, of a h"man habitation, into %hi h death had ne'er entered. It had, indeed, a 'er# heer# as$e t, the %a!!s being o'ers$read %ith a (ind of st" o, in %hi h fragments of bro(en g!ass %ere $!entif"!!# intermi&ed2 so that, %hen the s"nshine fe!! as!ant-%ise o'er the front of the edifi e, it g!ittered and s$ar(!ed as if diamonds had been f!"ng against it b# the do"b!e handf"!. The bri!!ian # might ha'e be fitted A!addin.s $a!a e rather than the mansion of a gra'e o!d P"ritan r"!er. It %as f"rther de orated %ith strange and seeming!# aba!isti fig"res and diagrams, s"itab!e to the /"aint taste of the age %hi h had been dra%n in the st" o, %hen ne%!# !aid on, and had no% gro%n hard and d"rab!e, for the admiration of after times. Pear!, !oo(ing at this bright %onder of a ho"se began to a$er and dan e, and im$erati'e!# re/"ired that the %ho!e breadth of s"nshine sho"!d be stri$$ed off its front, and gi'en her to $!a# %ith. 8No, m# !itt!e Pear!;8 said her mother2 8tho" m"st gather thine o%n s"nshine. I ha'e none to gi'e thee;8 The# a$$roa hed the door, %hi h %as of an ar hed form, and f!an(ed on ea h side b# a narro% to%er or $ro*e tion of the edifi e, in both of %hi h %ere !atti e-%indo%s, the %ooden sh"tters to !ose o'er them at need. Lifting the iron hammer that h"ng at the $orta!, Hester Pr#nne ga'e a s"mmons, %hi h %as ans%ered b# one of the 9o'ernor.s bond ser'ant--a free-born Eng!ishman, b"t no% a se'en #ears. s!a'e. D"ring that term he %as to be the $ro$ert# of his master, and as m" h a ommodit# of bargain and sa!e as an o&, or a *oint-stoo!. The serf %ore the "stomar# garb of ser'ing-men at that $eriod, and !ong before, in the o!d hereditar# ha!!s of Eng!and. 8Is the %orshi$f"! 9o'ernor +e!!ingham %ithin:8 In/"ired Hester. 8<ea, forsooth,8 re$!ied the bond-ser'ant, staring %ith %ide-o$en e#es at the s ar!et !etter, %hi h, being a ne%- omer in the o"ntr#, he had ne'er before seen. 8<ea, his hono"rab!e %orshi$ is %ithin. +"t he hath a god!# minister or t%o %ith him, and !i(e%ise a !ee h. <e ma# not see his %orshi$ no%.8 8Ne'erthe!ess, I %i!! enter,8 ans%ered Hester Pr#nne2 and the bond-ser'ant, $erha$s *"dging from the de ision of her air, and the g!ittering s#mbo! in her bosom, that she %as a great !ad# in the !and, offered no o$$osition.

So the mother and !itt!e Pear! %ere admitted into the ha!! of entran e. 1ith man# 'ariations, s"ggested b# the nat"re of his b"i!ding materia!s, di'ersit# of !imate, and a different mode of so ia! !ife, 9o'ernor +e!!ingham had $!anned his ne% habitation after the residen es of gent!emen of fair estate in his nati'e !and. Here, then, %as a %ide and reasonab!# !oft# ha!!, e&tending thro"gh the %ho!e de$th of the ho"se, and forming a medi"m of genera! omm"ni ation, more or !ess dire t!#, %ith a!! the other a$artments. At one e&tremit#, this s$a io"s room %as !ighted b# the %indo%s of the t%o to%ers, %hi h formed a sma!! re ess on either side of the $orta!. At the other end, tho"gh $art!# m"ff!ed b# a "rtain, it %as more $o%erf"!!# i!!"minated b# one of those embo%ed ha!! %indo%s %hi h %e read of in o!d boo(s, and %hi h %as $ro'ided %ith a dee$ and "shion seat. Here, on the "shion, !a# a fo!io tome, $robab!# of the Chroni !es of Eng!and, or other s" h s"bstantia! !iterat"re2 e'en as, in o"r o%n da#s, %e s atter gi!ded 'o!"mes on the entre tab!e, to be t"rned o'er b# the as"a! g"est. The f"rnit"re of the ha!! onsisted of some $ondero"s hairs, the ba (s of %hi h %ere e!aborate!# ar'ed %ith %reaths of oa(en f!o%ers2 and !i(e%ise a tab!e in the same taste, the %ho!e being of the E!i6abethan age, or $erha$s ear!ier, and heir!ooms, transferred hither from the 9o'ernor.s $aterna! home. On the tab!e--in to(en that the sentiment of o!d Eng!ish hos$ita!it# had not been !eft behind--stood a !arge $e%ter tan(ard, at the bottom of %hi h, had Hester or Pear! $ee$ed into it, the# might ha'e seen the froth# remnant of a re ent dra"ght of a!e. On the %a!! h"ng a ro% of $ortraits, re$resenting the forefathers of the +e!!ingham !ineage, some %ith armo"r on their breasts, and others %ith state!# r"ffs and robes of $ea e. A!! %ere hara terised b# the sternness and se'erit# %hi h o!d $ortraits so in'ariab!# $"t on, as if the# %ere the ghosts, rather than the $i t"res, of de$arted %orthies, and %ere ga6ing %ith harsh and into!erant riti ism at the $"rs"its and en*o#ments of !i'ing men. At abo"t the entre of the oa(en $ane!s that !ined the ha!! %as s"s$ended a s"it of mai!, not, !i(e the $i t"res, an an estra! re!i , b"t of the most modern date2 for it had been man"fa t"red b# a s(i!f"! armo"rer in London, the same #ear in %hi h 9o'ernor +e!!ingham ame o'er to Ne% Eng!and. There %as a stee! head-$ie e, a "irass, a gorget and grea'es, %ith a $air of ga"nt!ets and a s%ord hanging beneath2 a!!, and es$e ia!!# the he!met and breast$!ate, so high!# b"rnished as to g!o% %ith %hite radian e, and s atter an i!!"mination e'er#%here abo"t "$on the f!oor. This bright $ano$!# %as not meant for mere id!e sho%, b"t had been %orn b# the 9o'ernor on man# a so!emn m"ster and draining fie!d, and had g!ittered, moreo'er, at the head of a regiment in the Pe/"od %ar. 3or, tho"gh bred a !a%#er, and a "stomed to s$ea( of +a on, Co(e, No#e, and 3in h, as his $rofessiona! asso iates, the e&igenties of this ne% o"ntr# had transformed 9o'ernor +e!!ingham into a so!dier, as %e!! as a statesman and r"!er. Litt!e Pear!, %ho %as as great!# $!eased %ith the g!eaming armo"r as she had been %ith the g!ittering frontis$ie e of the ho"se, s$ent some time !oo(ing into the $o!ished mirror of the breast$!ate. 84other,8 ried she, 8I see #o" here. Loo(; !oo(;8

Hester !oo(ed b# %a# of h"mo"ring the hi!d2 and she sa% that, o%ing to the $e "!iar effe t of this on'e& mirror, the s ar!et !etter %as re$resented in e&aggerated and giganti $ro$ortions, so as to be great!# the most $rominent feat"re of her a$$earan e. In tr"th, she seemed abso!"te!# hidden behind it. Pear! $ointed "$%ards a!so, at a simi!ar $i t"re in the head-$ie e2 smi!ing at her mother, %ith the e!fish inte!!igen e that %as so fami!iar an e&$ression on her sma!! $h#siognom#. That !oo( of na"ght# merriment %as !i(e%ise ref!e ted in the mirror, %ith so m" h breadth and intensit# of effe t, that it made Hester Pr#nne fee! as if it o"!d not be the image of her o%n hi!d, b"t of an im$ %ho %as see(ing to mo"!d itse!f into Pear!.s sha$e. 8Come a!ong, Pear!,8 said she, dra%ing her a%a#, 8Come and !oo( into this fair garden. It ma# be %e sha!! see f!o%ers there2 more bea"tif"! ones than %e find in the %oods.8 Pear! a ording!# ran to the bo%-%indo%, at the f"rther end of the ha!!, and !oo(ed a!ong the 'ista of a garden %a!(, ar$eted %ith !ose!#-sha'en grass, and bordered %ith some r"de and immat"re attem$t at shr"bber#. +"t the $ro$rietor a$$eared a!read# to ha'e re!in/"ished as ho$e!ess, the effort to $er$et"ate on this side of the At!anti , in a hard soi!, and amid the !ose str"gg!e for s"bsisten e, the nati'e Eng!ish taste for ornamenta! gardening. Cabbages gre% in $!ain sight2 and a $"m$(in-'ine, rooted at some distan e, had r"n a ross the inter'ening s$a e, and de$osited one of its giganti $rod" ts dire t!# beneath the ha!! %indo%, as if to %arn the 9o'ernor that this great !"m$ of 'egetab!e go!d %as as ri h an ornament as Ne% Eng!and earth %o"!d offer him. There %ere a fe% rose-b"shes, ho%e'er, and a n"mber of a$$!e-trees, $robab!# the des endants of those $!anted b# the Re'erend 4r. +!a (stone, the first sett!er of the $enins"!a2 that ha!f m#tho!ogi a! $ersonage %ho rides thro"gh o"r ear!# anna!s, seated on the ba ( of a b"!!. Pear!, seeing the rose-b"shes, began to r# for a red rose, and %o"!d not be $a ified. 8H"sh, hi!d--h"sh;8 said her mother, earnest!#. 8Do not r#, dear !itt!e Pear!; I hear 'oi es in the garden. The 9o'ernor is oming, and gent!emen a!ong %ith him.8 In fa t, ado%n the 'ista of the garden a'en"e, a n"mber of $ersons %ere seen a$$roa hing to%ards the ho"se. Pear!, in "tter s orn of her mother.s attem$t to /"iet her, ga'e an e!drit h s ream, and then be ame si!ent, not from an# motion of obedien e, b"t be a"se the /"i ( and mobi!e "riosit# of her dis$osition %as e& ited b# the a$$earan e of those ne% $ersonages.

Chapter 8
CHAPTER ,III. THE EL3-CHILD AND THE 4INISTER 9o'ernor +e!!ingham, in a !oose go%n and eas# a$--s" h as e!der!# gent!emen !o'ed to end"e themse!'es %ith, in their domesti $ri'a #--%a!(ed foremost, and a$$eared to be sho%ing off his estate, and e&$atiating on his $ro*e ted im$ro'ements. The %ide

ir "mferen e of an e!aborate r"ff, beneath his gre# beard, in the anti/"ated fashion of 0ing -ames.s reign, a"sed his head to !oo( not a !itt!e !i(e that of -ohn the +a$tist in a harger. The im$ression made b# his as$e t, so rigid and se'ere, and frost-bitten %ith more than a"t"mna! age, %as hard!# in (ee$ing %ith the a$$!ian es of %or!d!# en*o#ment %here%ith he had e'ident!# done his "tmost to s"rro"nd himse!f. +"t it is an error to s"$$ose that o"r great forefathers--tho"gh a "stomed to s$ea( and thin( of h"man e&isten e as a state mere!# of tria! and %arfare, and tho"gh "nfeigned!# $re$ared to sa rifi e goods and !ife at the behest of d"t#--made it a matter of ons ien e to re*e t s" h means of omfort, or e'en !"&"r#, as !a# fair!# %ithin their gras$. This reed %as ne'er ta"ght, for instan e, b# the 'enerab!e $astor, -ohn 1i!son, %hose beard, %hite as a sno%-drift, %as seen o'er 9o'ernor +e!!ingham.s sho"!ders, %hi!e its %earer s"ggested that $ears and $ea hes might #et be nat"ra!ised in the Ne% Eng!and !imate, and that $"r$!e gra$es might $ossib!# be om$e!!ed to f!o"rish against the s"nn# garden-%a!!. The o!d !erg#man, n"rt"red at the ri h bosom of the Eng!ish Ch"r h, had a !ong estab!ished and !egitimate taste for a!! good and omfortab!e things, and ho%e'er stern he might sho% himse!f in the $"!$it, or in his $"b!i re$roof of s" h transgressions as that of Hester Pr#nne, sti!!, the genia! bene'o!en e of his $ri'ate !ife had %on him %armer affe tion than %as a orded to an# of his $rofessiona! ontem$oraries. +ehind the 9o'ernor and 4r. 1i!son ame t%o other g"ests--one, the Re'erend Arth"r Dimmesda!e, %hom the reader ma# remember as ha'ing ta(en a brief and re!" tant $art in the s ene of Hester Pr#nne.s disgra e2 and, in !ose om$anionshi$ %ith him, o!d Roger Chi!!ing%orth, a $erson of great s(i!! in $h#si , %ho for t%o or three #ears $ast had been sett!ed in the to%n. It %as "nderstood that this !earned man %as the $h#si ian as %e!! as friend of the #o"ng minister, %hose hea!th had se'ere!# s"ffered of !ate b# his too "nreser'ed se!f-sa rifi e to the !abo"rs and d"ties of the $astora! re!ation. The 9o'ernor, in ad'an e of his 'isitors, as ended one or t%o ste$s, and, thro%ing o$en the !ea'es of the great ha!! %indo%, fo"nd himse!f !ose to !itt!e Pear!. The shado% of the "rtain fe!! on Hester Pr#nne, and $artia!!# on ea!ed her. 81hat ha'e %e here:8 said 9o'ernor +e!!ingham, !oo(ing %ith s"r$rise at the s ar!et !itt!e fig"re before him. 8I $rofess, I ha'e ne'er seen the !i(e sin e m# da#s of 'anit#, in o!d 0ing -ames.s time, %hen I %as %ont to esteem it a high fa'o"r to be admitted to a o"rt mas(; There "sed to be a s%arm of these sma!! a$$aritions in ho!ida# time, and %e a!!ed them hi!dren of the Lord of 4isr"!e. +"t ho% gat s" h a g"est into m# ha!!:8 8A#, indeed;8 ried good o!d 4r. 1i!son. 81hat !itt!e bird of s ar!et $!"mage ma# this be: 4ethin(s I ha'e seen *"st s" h fig"res %hen the s"n has been shining thro"gh a ri h!# $ainted %indo%, and tra ing o"t the go!den and rimson images a ross the f!oor. +"t that %as in the o!d !and. Prithee, #o"ng one, %ho art tho", and %hat has ai!ed th# mother to bedi6en thee in this strange fashion: Art tho" a Christian hi!d--ha: Dost (no% th# ate hism: Or art tho" one of those na"ght# e!fs or fairies %hom %e tho"ght to ha'e !eft behind "s, %ith other re!i s of Pa$istr#, in merr# o!d Eng!and:8 8I am mother.s hi!d,8 ans%ered the s ar!et 'ision, 8and m# name is Pear!;8

8Pear!:--R"b#, rather--or Cora!;--or Red Rose, at the 'er# !east, *"dging from th# h"e;8 res$onded the o!d minister, $"tting forth his hand in a 'ain attem$t to $at !itt!e Pear! on the hee(. 8+"t %here is this mother of thine: Ah; I see,8 he added2 and, t"rning to 9o'ernor +e!!ingham, %his$ered, 8This is the se!fsame hi!d of %hom %e ha'e he!d s$ee h together2 and beho!d here the "nha$$# %oman, Hester Pr#nne, her mother;8 8Sa#est tho" so:8 ried the 9o'ernor. 8Na#, %e might ha'e *"dged that s" h a hi!d.s mother m"st needs be a s ar!et %oman, and a %orth# t#$e of her of +ab#!on; +"t she omes at a good time, and %e %i!! !oo( into this matter forth%ith.8 9o'ernor +e!!ingham ste$$ed thro"gh the %indo% into the ha!!, fo!!o%ed b# his three g"ests. 8Hester Pr#nne,8 said he, fi&ing his nat"ra!!# stern regard on the %earer of the s ar!et !etter, 8there hath been m" h /"estion on erning thee of !ate. The $oint hath been %eighti!# dis "ssed, %hether %e, that are of a"thorit# and inf!"en e, do %e!! dis harge o"r ons ien es b# tr"sting an immorta! so"!, s" h as there is in #onder hi!d, to the g"idan e of one %ho hath st"mb!ed and fa!!en amid the $itfa!!s of this %or!d. S$ea( tho", the hi!d.s o%n mother; 1ere it not, thin(est tho", for th# !itt!e one.s tem$ora! and eterna! %e!fare that she be ta(en o"t of th# harge, and !ad sober!#, and dis i$!ined stri t!#, and instr" ted in the tr"ths of hea'en and earth: 1hat anst tho" do for the hi!d in this (ind:8 8I an tea h m# !itt!e Pear! %hat I ha'e !earned from this;8 ans%ered Hester Pr#nne, !a#ing her finger on the red to(en. 81oman, it is th# badge of shame;8 re$!ied the stern magistrate. 8It is be a"se of the stain %hi h that !etter indi ates that %e %o"!d transfer th# hi!d to other hands.8 8Ne'erthe!ess,8 said the mother, a!m!#, tho"gh gro%ing more $a!e, 8this badge hath ta"ght me--it dai!# tea hes me--it is tea hing me at this moment--!essons %hereof m# hi!d ma# be the %iser and better, a!beit the# an $rofit nothing to m#se!f.8 81e %i!! *"dge %ari!#,8 said +e!!ingham, 8and !oo( %e!! %hat %e are abo"t to do. 9ood 4aster 1i!son, I $ra# #o", e&amine this Pear!--sin e that is her name--and see %hether she hath had s" h Christian n"rt"re as befits a hi!d of her age.8 The o!d minister seated himse!f in an arm- hair and made an effort to dra% Pear! bet%i&t his (nees. +"t the hi!d, "na "stomed to the to" h or fami!iarit# of an# b"t her mother, es a$ed thro"gh the o$en %indo%, and stood on the "$$er ste$, !oo(ing !i(e a %i!d tro$i a! bird of ri h $!"mage, read# to ta(e f!ight into the "$$er air. 4r. 1i!son, not a !itt!e astonished at this o"tbrea(--for he %as a grandfather!# sort of $ersonage, and "s"a!!# a 'ast fa'o"rite %ith hi!dren--essa#ed, ho%e'er, to $ro eed %ith the e&amination.

8Pear!,8 said he, %ith great so!emnit#, 8tho" m"st ta(e heed to instr" tion, that so, in d"e season, tho" ma#est %ear in th# bosom the $ear! of great $ri e. Canst tho" te!! me, m# hi!d, %ho made thee:8 No% Pear! (ne% %e!! eno"gh %ho made her, for Hester Pr#nne, the da"ghter of a $io"s home, 'er# soon after her ta!( %ith the hi!d abo"t her Hea'en!# 3ather, had beg"n to inform her of those tr"ths %hi h the h"man s$irit, at %hate'er stage of immat"rit#, imbibes %ith s" h eager interest. Pear!, therefore--so !arge %ere the attainments of her three #ears. !ifetime-- o"!d ha'e borne a fair e&amination in the Ne% Eng!and Primer, or the first o!"mn of the 1estminster Cate hisms, a!tho"gh "na /"ainted %ith the o"t%ard form of either of those e!ebrated %or(s. +"t that $er'ersit#, %hi h a!! hi!dren ha'e more or !ess of, and of %hi h !itt!e Pear! had a tenfo!d $ortion, no%, at the most ino$$ort"ne moment, too( thoro"gh $ossession of her, and !osed her !i$s, or im$e!!ed her to s$ea( %ords amiss. After $"tting her finger in her mo"th, %ith man# "ngra io"s ref"sa!s to ans%er good 4r. 1i!son.s /"estion, the hi!d fina!!# anno"n ed that she had not been made at a!!, b"t had been $!" (ed b# her mother off the b"sh of %i!d roses that gre% b# the $rison-door. This $hantas# %as $robab!# s"ggested b# the near $ro&imit# of the 9o'ernor.s red roses, as Pear! stood o"tside of the %indo%, together %ith her re o!!e tion of the $rison roseb"sh, %hi h she had $assed in oming hither. O!d Roger Chi!!ing%orth, %ith a smi!e on his fa e, %his$ered something in the #o"ng !erg#man.s ear. Hester Pr#nne !oo(ed at the man of s(i!!, and e'en then, %ith her fate hanging in the ba!an e, %as start!ed to $er ei'e %hat a hange had ome o'er his feat"res--ho% m" h "g!ier the# %ere, ho% his dar( om$!e&ion seemed to ha'e gro%n d"s(ier, and his fig"re more missha$en--sin e the da#s %hen she had fami!iar!# (no%n him. She met his e#es for an instant, b"t %as immediate!# onstrained to gi'e a!! her attention to the s ene no% going for%ard. 8This is a%f"!;8 ried the 9o'ernor, s!o%!# re o'ering from the astonishment into %hi h Pear!.s res$onse had thro%n him. 8Here is a hi!d of three #ears o!d, and she annot te!! %ho made her; 1itho"t /"estion, she is e/"a!!# in the dar( as to her so"!, its $resent de$ra'it#, and f"t"re destin#; 4ethin(s, gent!emen, %e need in/"ire no f"rther.8 Hester a"ght ho!d of Pear!, and dre% her for ib!# into her arms, onfronting the o!d P"ritan magistrate %ith a!most a fier e e&$ression. A!one in the %or!d, ast off b# it, and %ith this so!e treas"re to (ee$ her heart a!i'e, she fe!t that she $ossessed indefeasib!e rights against the %or!d, and %as read# to defend them to the death. 89od ga'e me the hi!d;8 ried she. 8He ga'e her in re/"ita! of a!! things e!se %hi h #e had ta(en from me. She is m# ha$$iness--she is m# tort"re, none the !ess; Pear! (ee$s me here in !ife; Pear! $"nishes me, too; See #e not, she is the s ar!et !etter, on!# a$ab!e of being !o'ed, and so endo%ed %ith a mi!!ionfo!d the $o%er of retrib"tion for m# sin: <e sha!! not ta(e her; I %i!! die first;8

84# $oor %oman,8 said the not "n(ind o!d minister, 8the hi!d sha!! be %e!! ared for--far better than tho" anst do for it.8 89od ga'e her into m# (ee$ing;8 re$eated Hester Pr#nne, raising her 'oi e a!most to a shrie(. 8I %i!! not gi'e her "$;8 And here b# a s"dden im$"!se, she t"rned to the #o"ng !erg#man, 4r. Dimmesda!e, at %hom, "$ to this moment, she had seemed hard!# so m" h as on e to dire t her e#es. 8S$ea( tho" for me;8 ried she. 8Tho" %ast m# $astor, and hadst harge of m# so"!, and (no%est me better than these men an. I %i!! not !ose the hi!d; S$ea( for me; Tho" (no%est--for tho" hast s#m$athies %hi h these men !a (-tho" (no%est %hat is in m# heart, and %hat are a mother.s rights, and ho% m" h the stronger the# are %hen that mother has b"t her hi!d and the s ar!et !etter; Loo( tho" to it; I %i!! not !ose the hi!d; Loo( to it;8 At this %i!d and sing"!ar a$$ea!, %hi h indi ated that Hester Pr#nne.s sit"ation had $ro'o(ed her to !itt!e !ess than madness, the #o"ng minister at on e ame for%ard, $a!e, and ho!ding his hand o'er his heart, as %as his "stom %hene'er his $e "!iar!# ner'o"s tem$erament %as thro%n into agitation. He !oo(ed no% more are%orn and ema iated than as %e des ribed him at the s ene of Hester.s $"b!i ignomin#2 and %hether it %ere his fai!ing hea!th, or %hate'er the a"se might be, his !arge dar( e#es had a %or!d of $ain in their tro"b!ed and me!an ho!# de$th. 8There is tr"th in %hat she sa#s,8 began the minister, %ith a 'oi e s%eet, trem"!o"s, b"t $o%erf"!, insom" h that the ha!! re-e hoed and the ho!!o% armo"r rang %ith it--8tr"th in %hat Hester sa#s, and in the fee!ing %hi h ins$ires her; 9od ga'e her the hi!d, and ga'e her, too, an instin ti'e (no%!edge of its nat"re and re/"irements--both seeming!# so $e "!iar--%hi h no other morta! being an $ossess. And, moreo'er, is there not a /"a!it# of a%f"! sa redness in the re!ation bet%een this mother and this hi!d:8 8A#--ho% is that, good 4aster Dimmesda!e:8 interr"$ted the 9o'ernor. 84a(e that $!ain, I $ra# #o";8 8It m"st be e'en so,8 res"med the minister. 83or, if %e deem it other%ise, do %e not hereb# sa# that the Hea'en!# 3ather, the reator of a!! f!esh, hath !ight!# re ognised a deed of sin, and made of no a o"nt the distin tion bet%een "nha!!o%ed !"st and ho!# !o'e: This hi!d of its father.s g"i!t and its mother.s shame has ome from the hand of 9od, to %or( in man# %a#s "$on her heart, %ho $!eads so earnest!# and %ith s" h bitterness of s$irit the right to (ee$ her. It %as meant for a b!essing--for the one b!essing of her !ife; It %as meant, do"bt!ess, the mother herse!f hath to!d "s, for a retrib"tion, too2 a tort"re to be fe!t at man# an "ntho"ght-of moment2 a $ang, a sting, an e'er-re "rring agon#, in the midst of a tro"b!ed *o#; Hath she not e&$ressed this tho"ght in the garb of the $oor hi!d, so for ib!# reminding "s of that red s#mbo! %hi h sears her bosom:8 81e!! said again;8 ried good 4r. 1i!son. 8I feared the %oman had no better tho"ght than to ma(e a mo"nteban( of her hi!d;8 8Oh, not so;--not so;8 ontin"ed 4r. Dimmesda!e. 8She re ognises, be!ie'e me, the

so!emn mira !e %hi h 9od hath %ro"ght in the e&isten e of that hi!d. And ma# she fee!, too--%hat, methin(s, is the 'er# tr"th--that this boon %as meant, abo'e a!! things e!se, to (ee$ the mother.s so"! a!i'e, and to $reser'e her from b!a (er de$ths of sin into %hi h Satan might e!se ha'e so"ght to $!"nge her; Therefore it is good for this $oor, sinf"! %oman, that she hath an infant immorta!it#, a being a$ab!e of eterna! *o# or sorro%, onfided to her are--to be trained "$ b# her to righteo"sness, to remind her, at e'er# moment, of her fa!!, b"t #et to tea h her, as if it %ere b# the Creator.s sa red $!edge, that, if she bring the hi!d to hea'en, the hi!d a!so %i!! bring its $arents thither; Herein is the sinf"! mother ha$$ier than the sinf"! father. 3or Hester Pr#nne.s sa(e, then, and no !ess for the $oor hi!d.s sa(e, !et "s !ea'e them as Pro'iden e hath seen fit to $!a e them;8 8<o" s$ea(, m# friend, %ith a strange earnestness,8 said o!d Roger Chi!!ing%orth, smi!ing at him. 8And there is a %eight# im$ort in %hat m# #o"ng brother hath s$o(en,8 added the Re'. 4r. 1i!son. 81hat sa# #o", %orshi$f"! 4aster +e!!ingham: Hath he not $!eaded %e!! for the $oor %oman:8 8Indeed hath he,8 ans%ered the magistrate2 8and hath add" ed s" h arg"ments, that %e %i!! e'en !ea'e the matter as it no% stands2 so !ong, at !east, as there sha!! be no f"rther s anda! in the %oman. Care m"st be had ne'erthe!ess, to $"t the hi!d to d"e and stated e&amination in the ate hism, at th# hands or 4aster Dimmesda!e.s. 4oreo'er, at a $ro$er season, the tithing-men m"st ta(e heed that she go both to s hoo! and to meeting.8 The #o"ng minister, on easing to s$ea( had %ithdra%n a fe% ste$s from the gro"$, and stood %ith his fa e $artia!!# on ea!ed in the hea'# fo!ds of the %indo%- "rtain2 %hi!e the shado% of his fig"re, %hi h the s"n!ight ast "$on the f!oor, %as trem"!o"s %ith the 'ehemen e of his a$$ea!. Pear!, that %i!d and f!ight# !itt!e e!f sto!e soft!# to%ards him, and ta(ing his hand in the gras$ of both her o%n, !aid her hee( against it2 a aress so tender, and %itha! so "nobtr"si'e, that her mother, %ho %as !oo(ing on, as(ed herse!f--8Is that m# Pear!:8 <et she (ne% that there %as !o'e in the hi!d.s heart, a!tho"gh it most!# re'ea!ed itse!f in $assion, and hard!# t%i e in her !ifetime had been softened b# s" h gent!eness as no%. The minister--for, sa'e the !ong-so"ght regards of %oman, nothing is s%eeter than these mar(s of hi!dish $referen e, a orded s$ontaneo"s!# b# a s$irit"a! instin t, and therefore seeming to im$!# in "s something tr"!# %orth# to be !o'ed--the minister !oo(ed ro"nd, !aid his hand on the hi!d.s head, hesitated an instant, and then (issed her bro%. Litt!e Pear!.s "n%onted mood of sentiment !asted no !onger2 she !a"ghed, and %ent a$ering do%n the ha!! so airi!#, that o!d 4r. 1i!son raised a /"estion %hether e'en her ti$toes to" hed the f!oor. 8The !itt!e baggage hath %it h raft in her, I $rofess,8 said he to 4r. Dimmesda!e. 8She needs no o!d %oman.s broomsti ( to f!# %itha!;8 8A strange hi!d;8 remar(ed o!d Roger Chi!!ing%orth. 8It is eas# to see the mother.s $art

in her. 1o"!d it be be#ond a $hi!oso$her.s resear h, thin( #e, gent!emen, to ana!#se that hi!d.s nat"re, and, from it ma(e a mo"!d, to gi'e a shre%d g"ess at the father:8 8Na#2 it %o"!d be sinf"!, in s" h a /"estion, to fo!!o% the !"e of $rofane $hi!oso$h#,8 said 4r. 1i!son. 8+etter to fast and $ra# "$on it2 and sti!! better, it ma# be, to !ea'e the m#ster# as %e find it, "n!ess Pro'iden e re'ea! it of its o%n a ord Thereb#, e'er# good Christian man hath a tit!e to sho% a father.s (indness to%ards the $oor, deserted babe.8 The affair being so satisfa tori!# on !"ded, Hester Pr#nne, %ith Pear!, de$arted from the ho"se. As the# des ended the ste$s, it is a'erred that the !atti e of a hamber-%indo% %as thro%n o$en, and forth into the s"nn# da# %as thr"st the fa e of 4istress Hibbins, 9o'ernor +e!!ingham.s bitter-tem$ered sister, and the same %ho, a fe% #ears !ater, %as e&e "ted as a %it h. 8Hist, hist;8 said she, %hi!e her i!!-omened $h#siognom# seemed to ast a shado% o'er the heerf"! ne%ness of the ho"se. 81i!t tho" go %ith "s to-night: There %i!! be a merr# om$an# in the forest2 and I %e!!-nigh $romised the +!a ( 4an that ome!# Hester Pr#nne sho"!d ma(e one.8 84a(e m# e& "se to him, so $!ease #o";8 ans%ered Hester, %ith a tri"m$hant smi!e. 8I m"st tarr# at home, and (ee$ %at h o'er m# !itt!e Pear!. Had the# ta(en her from me, I %o"!d %i!!ing!# ha'e gone %ith thee into the forest, and signed m# name in the +!a ( 4an.s boo( too, and that %ith mine o%n b!ood;8 81e sha!! ha'e thee there anon;8 said the %it h-!ad#, fro%ning, as she dre% ba ( her head. +"t here--if %e s"$$ose this inter'ie% bet%i&t 4istress Hibbins and Hester Pr#nne to be a"thenti , and not a $arab!e--%as a!read# an i!!"stration of the #o"ng minister.s arg"ment against s"ndering the re!ation of a fa!!en mother to the offs$ring of her frai!t#. E'en th"s ear!# had the hi!d sa'ed her from Satan.s snare.

Chapter 9
CHAPTER I?. THE LEECH )nder the a$$e!!ation of Roger Chi!!ing%orth, the reader %i!! remember, %as hidden another name, %hi h its former %earer had reso!'ed sho"!d ne'er more be s$o(en. It has been re!ated, ho%, in the ro%d that %itnessed Hester Pr#nne.s ignominio"s e&$os"re, stood a man, e!der!#, tra'e!-%orn, %ho, *"st emerging from the $eri!o"s %i!derness, behe!d the %oman, in %hom he ho$ed to find embodied the %armth and heerf"!ness of home, set "$ as a t#$e of sin before the $eo$!e. Her matron!# fame %as trodden "nder a!! men.s feet. Infam# %as babb!ing aro"nd her in the $"b!i mar(et-$!a e. 3or her (indred, sho"!d the tidings e'er rea h them, and for the om$anions of her "ns$otted !ife, there remained nothing b"t the ontagion of her dishono"r2 %hi h %o"!d not fai! to be

distrib"ted in stri t a ordan e arid $ro$ortion %ith the intima # and sa redness of their $re'io"s re!ationshi$. Then %h#--sin e the hoi e %as %ith himse!f--sho"!d the indi'id"a!, %hose onne&ion %ith the fa!!en %oman had been the most intimate and sa red of them a!!, ome for%ard to 'indi ate his !aim to an inheritan e so !itt!e desirab!e: He reso!'ed not to be $i!!oried beside her on her $edesta! of shame. )n(no%n to a!! b"t Hester Pr#nne, and $ossessing the !o ( and (e# of her si!en e, he hose to %ithdra% his name from the ro!! of man(ind, and, as regarded his former ties and interest, to 'anish o"t of !ife as om$!ete!# as if he indeed !a# at the bottom of the o ean, %hither r"mo"r had !ong ago onsigned him. This $"r$ose on e effe ted, ne% interests %o"!d immediate!# s$ring "$, and !i(e%ise a ne% $"r$ose2 dar(, it is tr"e, if not g"i!t#, b"t of for e eno"gh to engage the f"!! strength of his fa "!ties. In $"rs"an e of this reso!'e, he too( "$ his residen e in the P"ritan to%n as Roger Chi!!ing%orth, %itho"t other introd" tion than the !earning and inte!!igen e of %hi h he $ossessed more than a ommon meas"re. As his st"dies, at a $re'io"s $eriod of his !ife, had made him e&tensi'e!# a /"ainted %ith the medi a! s ien e of the da#, it %as as a $h#si ian that he $resented himse!f and as s" h %as ordia!!# re ei'ed. S(i!f"! men, of the medi a! and hir"rgi a! $rofession, %ere of rare o "rren e in the o!on#. The# se!dom, it %o"!d a$$ear, $artoo( of the re!igio"s 6ea! that bro"ght other emigrants a ross the At!anti . In their resear hes into the h"man frame, it ma# be that the higher and more s"bt!e fa "!ties of s" h men %ere materia!ised, and that the# !ost the s$irit"a! 'ie% of e&isten e amid the intri a ies of that %ondro"s me hanism, %hi h seemed to in'o!'e art eno"gh to om$rise a!! of !ife %ithin itse!f. At a!! e'ents, the hea!th of the good to%n of +oston, so far as medi ine had a"ght to do %ith it, had hitherto !ain in the g"ardianshi$ of an aged dea on and a$othe ar#, %hose $iet# and god!# de$ortment %ere stronger testimonia!s in his fa'o"r than an# that he o"!d ha'e $rod" ed in the sha$e of a di$!oma. The on!# s"rgeon %as one %ho ombined the o asiona! e&er ise of that nob!e art %ith the dai!# and habit"a! f!o"rish of a ra6or. To s" h a $rofessiona! bod# Roger Chi!!ing%orth %as a bri!!iant a /"isition. He soon manifested his fami!iarit# %ith the $ondero"s and im$osing ma hiner# of anti/"e $h#si 2 in %hi h e'er# remed# ontained a m"!tit"de of far-fet hed and heterogeneo"s ingredients, as e!aborate!# om$o"nded as if the $ro$osed res"!t had been the E!i&ir of Life. In his Indian a$ti'it#, moreo'er, he had gained m" h (no%!edge of the $ro$erties of nati'e herbs and roots2 nor did he on ea! from his $atients that these sim$!e medi ines, Nat"re.s boon to the "nt"tored sa'age, had /"ite as !arge a share of his o%n onfiden e as the E"ro$ean Pharma o$oeia, %hi h so man# !earned do tors had s$ent ent"ries in e!aborating. This !earned stranger %as e&em$!ar# as regarded at !east the o"t%ard forms of a re!igio"s !ife2 and ear!# after his arri'a!, had hosen for his s$irit"a! g"ide the Re'erend 4r. Dimmesda!e. The #o"ng di'ine, %hose s ho!ar-!i(e reno%n sti!! !i'ed in O&ford, %as onsidered b# his more fer'ent admirers as !itt!e !ess than a hea'en!# ordained a$ost!e, destined, sho"!d he !i'e and !abo"r for the ordinar# term of !ife, to do as great deeds, for the no% feeb!e Ne% Eng!and Ch"r h, as the ear!# 3athers had a hie'ed for the infan # of the Christian faith. Abo"t this $eriod, ho%e'er, the hea!th of 4r. Dimmesda!e had e'ident!# beg"n to fai!. +# those best a /"ainted %ith his habits, the $a!eness of the #o"ng minister.s hee( %as a o"nted for b# his too earnest de'otion to st"d#, his

s r"$"!o"s f"!fi!ment of $aro hia! d"t#, and more than a!!, to the fasts and 'igi!s of %hi h he made a fre/"ent $ra ti e, in order to (ee$ the grossness of this earth!# state from !ogging and obs "ring his s$irit"a! !am$. Some de !ared, that if 4r. Dimmesda!e %ere rea!!# going to die, it %as a"se eno"gh that the %or!d %as not %orth# to be an# !onger trodden b# his feet. He himse!f, on the other hand, %ith hara teristi h"mi!it#, a'o%ed his be!ief that if Pro'iden e sho"!d see fit to remo'e him, it %o"!d be be a"se of his o%n "n%orthiness to $erform its h"mb!est mission here on earth. 1ith a!! this differen e of o$inion as to the a"se of his de !ine, there o"!d be no /"estion of the fa t. His form gre% ema iated2 his 'oi e, tho"gh sti!! ri h and s%eet, had a ertain me!an ho!# $ro$he # of de a# in it2 he %as often obser'ed, on an# s!ight a!arm or other s"dden a ident, to $"t his hand o'er his heart %ith first a f!"sh and then a $a!eness, indi ati'e of $ain. S" h %as the #o"ng !erg#man.s ondition, and so imminent the $ros$e t that his da%ning !ight %o"!d be e&ting"ished, a!! "ntime!#, %hen Roger Chi!!ing%orth made his ad'ent to the to%n. His first entr# on the s ene, fe% $eo$!e o"!d te!! %hen e, dro$$ing do%n as it %ere o"t of the s(# or starting from the nether earth, had an as$e t of m#ster#, %hi h %as easi!# heightened to the mira "!o"s. He %as no% (no%n to be a man of s(i!!2 it %as obser'ed that he gathered herbs and the b!ossoms of %i!d-f!o%ers, and d"g "$ roots and $!" (ed off t%igs from the forest-trees !i(e one a /"ainted %ith hidden 'irt"es in %hat %as 'a!"e!ess to ommon e#es. He %as heard to s$ea( of Sir 0ene!m Digb# and other famo"s men--%hose s ientifi attainments %ere esteemed hard!# !ess than s"$ernat"ra!--as ha'ing been his orres$ondents or asso iates. 1h#, %ith s" h ran( in the !earned %or!d, had he ome hither: 1hat, o"!d he, %hose s$here %as in great ities, be see(ing in the %i!derness: In ans%er to this /"er#, a r"mo"r gained gro"nd--and ho%e'er abs"rd, %as entertained b# some 'er# sensib!e $eo$!e--that Hea'en had %ro"ght an abso!"te mira !e, b# trans$orting an eminent Do tor of Ph#si from a 9erman "ni'ersit# bodi!# thro"gh the air and setting him do%n at the door of 4r. Dimmesda!e.s st"d#; Indi'id"a!s of %iser faith, indeed, %ho (ne% that Hea'en $romotes its $"r$oses %itho"t aiming at the stage-effe t of %hat is a!!ed mira "!o"s inter$osition, %ere in !ined to see a $ro'identia! hand in Roger Chi!!ing%orth.s so o$$ort"ne arri'a!. This idea %as o"ntenan ed b# the strong interest %hi h the $h#si ian e'er manifested in the #o"ng !erg#man2 he atta hed himse!f to him as a $arishioner, and so"ght to %in a friend!# regard and onfiden e from his nat"ra!!# reser'ed sensibi!it#. He e&$ressed great a!arm at his $astor.s state of hea!th, b"t %as an&io"s to attem$t the "re, and, if ear!# "nderta(en, seemed not des$ondent of a fa'o"rab!e res"!t. The e!ders, the dea ons, the mother!# dames, and the #o"ng and fair maidens of 4r. Dimmesda!e.s f!o (, %ere a!i(e im$ort"nate that he sho"!d ma(e tria! of the $h#si ian.s fran(!# offered s(i!!. 4r. Dimmesda!e gent!# re$e!!ed their entreaties. 8I need no medi ine,8 said he. +"t ho% o"!d the #o"ng minister sa# so, %hen, %ith e'er# s" essi'e Sabbath, his hee( %as $a!er and thinner, and his 'oi e more trem"!o"s than before--%hen it had no% be ome a onstant habit, rather than a as"a! gest"re, to $ress his hand o'er his heart:

1as he %ear# of his !abo"rs: Did he %ish to die: These /"estions %ere so!emn!# $ro$o"nded to 4r. Dimmesda!e b# the e!der ministers of +oston, and the dea ons of his h"r h, %ho, to "se their o%n $hrase, 8dea!t %ith him,8 on the sin of re*e ting the aid %hi h Pro'iden e so manifest!# he!d o"t. He !istened in si!en e, and fina!!# $romised to onfer %ith the $h#si ian. 81ere it 9od.s %i!!,8 said the Re'erend 4r. Dimmesda!e, %hen, in f"!fi!ment of this $!edge, he re/"ested o!d Roger Chi!!ing%orth.s $rofessiona! ad'i e, 8I o"!d be %e!! ontent that m# !abo"rs, and m# sorro%s, and m# sins, and m# $ains, sho"!d short!# end %ith me, and %hat is earth!# of them be b"ried in m# gra'e, and the s$irit"a! go %ith me to m# eterna! state, rather than that #o" sho"!d $"t #o"r s(i!! to the $roof in m# beha!f.8 8Ah,8 re$!ied Roger Chi!!ing%orth, %ith that /"ietness, %hi h, %hether im$osed or nat"ra!, mar(ed a!! his de$ortment, 8it is th"s that a #o"ng !erg#man is a$t to s$ea(. <o"thf"! men, not ha'ing ta(en a dee$ root, gi'e "$ their ho!d of !ife so easi!#; And saint!# men, %ho %a!( %ith 9od on earth, %o"!d fain be a%a#, to %a!( %ith him on the go!den $a'ements of the Ne% -er"sa!em.8 8Na#,8 re*oined the #o"ng minister, $"tting his hand to his heart, %ith a f!"sh of $ain f!itting o'er his bro%, 8%ere I %orthier to %a!( there, I o"!d be better ontent to toi! here.8 89ood men e'er inter$ret themse!'es too mean!#,8 said the $h#si ian. In this manner, the m#sterio"s o!d Roger Chi!!ing%orth be ame the medi a! ad'iser of the Re'erend 4r. Dimmesda!e. As not on!# the disease interested the $h#si ian, b"t he %as strong!# mo'ed to !oo( into the hara ter and /"a!ities of the $atient, these t%o men, so different in age, ame grad"a!!# to s$end m" h time together. 3or the sa(e of the minister.s hea!th, and to enab!e the !ee h to gather $!ants %ith hea!ing ba!m in them, the# too( !ong %a!(s on the sea-shore, or in the forest2 ming!ing 'ario"s %a!(s %ith the s$!ash and m"rm"r of the %a'es, and the so!emn %ind-anthem among the tree-to$s. Often, !i(e%ise, one %as the g"est of the other in his $!a e of st"d# and retirement There %as a fas ination for the minister in the om$an# of the man of s ien e, in %hom he re ognised an inte!!e t"a! "!ti'ation of no moderate de$th or s o$e2 together %ith a range and freedom of ideas, that he %o"!d ha'e 'ain!# !oo(ed for among the members of his o%n $rofession. In tr"th, he %as start!ed, if not sho (ed, to find this attrib"te in the $h#si ian. 4r. Dimmesda!e %as a tr"e $riest, a tr"e re!igionist, %ith the re'erentia! sentiment !arge!# de'e!o$ed, and an order of mind that im$e!!ed itse!f $o%erf"!!# a!ong the tra ( of a reed, and %ore its $assage ontin"a!!# dee$er %ith the !a$se of time. In no state of so iet# %o"!d he ha'e been %hat is a!!ed a man of !ibera! 'ie%s2 it %o"!d a!%a#s be essentia! to his $ea e to fee! the $ress"re of a faith abo"t him, s"$$orting, %hi!e it onfined him %ithin its iron frame%or(. Not the !ess, ho%e'er, tho"gh %ith a trem"!o"s en*o#ment, did he fee! the o asiona! re!ief of !oo(ing at the "ni'erse thro"gh the medi"m of another (ind of inte!!e t than those %ith %hi h he habit"a!!# he!d on'erse. It %as as if a %indo% %ere thro%n o$en, admitting a freer atmos$here into the !ose and stif!ed st"d#, %here his !ife %as %asting itse!f a%a#, amid !am$-!ight, or obstr" ted da#-

beams, and the m"st# fragran e, be it sens"a! or mora!, that e&ha!es from boo(s. +"t the air %as too fresh and hi!! to be !ong breathed %ith omfort. So the minister, and the $h#si ian %ith him, %ithdre% again %ithin the !imits of %hat their Ch"r h defined as orthodo&. Th"s Roger Chi!!ing%orth s r"tinised his $atient aref"!!#, both as he sa% him in his ordinar# !ife, (ee$ing an a "stomed $ath%a# in the range of tho"ghts fami!iar to him, and as he a$$eared %hen thro%n amidst other mora! s ener#, the no'e!t# of %hi h might a!! o"t something ne% to the s"rfa e of his hara ter. He deemed it essentia!, it %o"!d seem, to (no% the man, before attem$ting to do him good. 1here'er there is a heart and an inte!!e t, the diseases of the $h#si a! frame are tinged %ith the $e "!iarities of these. In Arth"r Dimmesda!e, tho"ght and imagination %ere so a ti'e, and sensibi!it# so intense, that the bodi!# infirmit# %o"!d be !i(e!# to ha'e its gro"nd%or( there. So Roger Chi!!ing%orth--the man of s(i!!, the (ind and friend!# $h#si ian--stro'e to go dee$ into his $atient.s bosom, de!'ing among his $rin i$!es, $r#ing into his re o!!e tions, and $robing e'er#thing %ith a a"tio"s to" h, !i(e a treas"re-see(er in a dar( a'ern. 3e% se rets an es a$e an in'estigator, %ho has o$$ort"nit# and !i en e to "nderta(e s" h a /"est, and s(i!! to fo!!o% it "$. A man b"rdened %ith a se ret sho"!d es$e ia!!# a'oid the intima # of his $h#si ian. If the !atter $ossess nati'e saga it#, and a name!ess something more !et "s a!! it int"ition2 if he sho% no intr"si'e egotism, nor disagreeab!e $rominent hara teristi s of his o%n2 if he ha'e the $o%er, %hi h m"st be born %ith him, to bring his mind into s" h affinit# %ith his $atient.s, that this !ast sha!! "na%ares ha'e s$o(en %hat he imagines himse!f on!# to ha'e tho"ght if s" h re'e!ations be re ei'ed %itho"t t"m"!t, and a (no%!edged not so often b# an "ttered s#m$ath# as b# si!en e, an inarti "!ate breath, and here and there a %ord to indi ate that a!! is "nderstood2 if to these /"a!ifi ations of a onfidant be *oined the ad'antages afforded b# his re ognised hara ter as a $h#si ian2--then, at some ine'itab!e moment, %i!! the so"! of the s"fferer be disso!'ed, and f!o% forth in a dar( b"t trans$arent stream, bringing a!! its m#steries into the da#!ight. Roger Chi!!ing%orth $ossessed a!!, or most, of the attrib"tes abo'e en"merated. Ne'erthe!ess, time %ent on2 a (ind of intima #, as %e ha'e said, gre% "$ bet%een these t%o "!ti'ated minds, %hi h had as %ide a fie!d as the %ho!e s$here of h"man tho"ght and st"d# to meet "$on2 the# dis "ssed e'er# to$i of ethi s and re!igion, of $"b!i affairs, and $ri'ate hara ter2 the# ta!(ed m" h, on both sides, of matters that seemed $ersona! to themse!'es2 and #et no se ret, s" h as the $h#si ian fan ied m"st e&ist there, e'er sto!e o"t of the minister.s ons io"sness into his om$anion.s ear. The !atter had his s"s$i ions, indeed, that e'en the nat"re of 4r. Dimmesda!e.s bodi!# disease had ne'er fair!# been re'ea!ed to him. It %as a strange reser'e; After a time, at a hint from Roger Chi!!ing%orth, the friends of 4r. Dimmesda!e effe ted an arrangement b# %hi h the t%o %ere !odged in the same ho"se2 so that e'er# ebb and f!o% of the minister.s !ife-tide might $ass "nder the e#e of his an&io"s and atta hed $h#si ian. There %as m" h *o# thro"gho"t the to%n %hen this great!# desirab!e ob*e t %as attained. It %as he!d to be the best $ossib!e meas"re for the #o"ng !erg#man.s %e!fare2 "n!ess, indeed, as often "rged b# s" h as fe!t a"thorised to do so, he had se!e ted

some one of the man# b!ooming damse!s, s$irit"a!!# de'oted to him, to be ome his de'oted %ife. This !atter ste$, ho%e'er, there %as no $resent $ros$e t that Arth"r Dimmesda!e %o"!d be $re'ai!ed "$on to ta(e2 he re*e ted a!! s"ggestions of the (ind, as if $riest!# e!iba # %ere one of his arti !es of Ch"r h dis i$!ine. Doomed b# his o%n hoi e, therefore, as 4r. Dimmesda!e so e'ident!# %as, to eat his "nsa'o"r# morse! a!%a#s at another.s board, and end"re the !ife-!ong hi!! %hi h m"st be his !ot %ho see(s to %arm himse!f on!# at another.s fireside, it tr"!# seemed that this saga io"s, e&$erien ed, bene'o!ent o!d $h#si ian, %ith his on ord of $aterna! and re'erentia! !o'e for the #o"ng $astor, %as the 'er# man, of a!! man(ind, to be onstant!# %ithin rea h of his 'oi e. The ne% abode of the t%o friends %as %ith a $io"s %ido%, of good so ia! ran(, %ho d%e!t in a ho"se o'ering $rett# near!# the site on %hi h the 'enerab!e str" t"re of 0ing.s Cha$e! has sin e been b"i!t. It had the gra'e#ard, origina!!# Isaa -ohnson.s home-fie!d, on one side, and so %as %e!! ada$ted to a!! "$ serio"s ref!e tions, s"ited to their res$e ti'e em$!o#ments, in both minister and man of $h#si . The mother!# are of the good %ido% assigned to 4r. Dimmesda!e a front a$artment, %ith a s"nn# e&$os"re, and hea'# %indo%- "rtains, to reate a noontide shado% %hen desirab!e. The %a!!s %ere h"ng ro"nd %ith ta$estr#, said to be from the 9obe!in !ooms, and, at a!! e'ents, re$resenting the S ri$t"ra! stor# of Da'id and +athsheba, and Nathan the Pro$het, in o!o"rs sti!! "nfaded, b"t %hi h made the fair %oman of the s ene a!most as grim!# $i t"res/"e as the %oe-deno"n ing seer. Here the $a!e !erg#man $i!ed "$ his !ibrar#, ri h %ith $ar hment-bo"nd fo!ios of the 3athers, and the !ore of Rabbis, and mon(ish er"dition, of %hi h the Protestant di'ines, e'en %hi!e the# 'i!ified and de ried that !ass of %riters, %ere #et onstrained often to a'ai! themse!'es. On the other side of the ho"se, o!d Roger Chi!!ing%orth arranged his st"d# and !aborator#7 not s" h as a modern man of s ien e %o"!d re (on e'en to!erab!# om$!ete, b"t $ro'ided %ith a disti!!ing a$$arat"s and the means of om$o"nding dr"gs and hemi a!s, %hi h the $ra tised a! hemist (ne% %e!! ho% to t"rn to $"r$ose. 1ith s" h ommodio"sness of sit"ation, these t%o !earned $ersons sat themse!'es do%n, ea h in his o%n domain, #et fami!iar!# $assing from one a$artment to the other, and besto%ing a m"t"a! and not in "rio"s ins$e tion into one another.s b"siness. And the Re'erend Arth"r Dimmesda!e.s best dis erning friends, as %e ha'e intimated, 'er# reasonab!# imagined that the hand of Pro'iden e had done a!! this for the $"r$ose-beso"ght in so man# $"b!i and domesti and se ret $ra#ers--of restoring the #o"ng minister to hea!th. +"t, it m"st no% be said, another $ortion of the omm"nit# had !atter!# beg"n to ta(e its o%n 'ie% of the re!ation bet%i&t 4r. Dimmesda!e and the m#sterio"s o!d $h#si ian. 1hen an "ninstr" ted m"!tit"de attem$ts to see %ith its e#es, it is e& eeding!# a$t to be de ei'ed. 1hen, ho%e'er, it forms its *"dgment, as it "s"a!!# does, on the int"itions of its great and %arm heart, the on !"sions th"s attained are often so $rofo"nd and so "nerring as to $ossess the hara ter of tr"th s"$ernat"ra!!# re'ea!ed. The $eo$!e, in the ase of %hi h %e s$ea(, o"!d *"stif# its $re*"di e against Roger Chi!!ing%orth b# no fa t or arg"ment %orth# of serio"s ref"tation. There %as an aged handi raftsman, it is tr"e, %ho had been a iti6en of London at the $eriod of Sir Thomas O'erb"r#.s m"rder, no% some thirt# #ears agone2 he testified to ha'ing seen the

$h#si ian, "nder some other name, %hi h the narrator of the stor# had no% forgotten, in om$an# %ith Dr. 3orman, the famo"s o!d on*"rer, %ho %as im$!i ated in the affair of O'erb"r#. T%o or three indi'id"a!s hinted that the man of s(i!!, d"ring his Indian a$ti'it#, had en!arged his medi a! attainments b# *oining in the in antations of the sa'age $riests, %ho %ere "ni'ersa!!# a (no%!edged to be $o%erf"! en hanters, often $erforming seeming!# mira "!o"s "res b# their s(i!! in the b!a ( art. A !arge n"mber-and man# of these %ere $ersons of s" h sober sense and $ra ti a! obser'ation that their o$inions %o"!d ha'e been 'a!"ab!e in other matters--affirmed that Roger Chi!!ing%orth.s as$e t had "ndergone a remar(ab!e hange %hi!e he had d%e!t in to%n, and es$e ia!!# sin e his abode %ith 4r. Dimmesda!e. At first, his e&$ression had been a!m, meditati'e, s ho!ar-!i(e. No% there %as something "g!# and e'i! in his fa e, %hi h the# had not $re'io"s!# noti ed, and %hi h gre% sti!! the more ob'io"s to sight the oftener the# !oo(ed "$on him. A ording to the '"!gar idea, the fire in his !aborator# had been bro"ght from the !o%er regions, and %as fed %ith inferna! f"e!2 and so, as might be e&$e ted, his 'isage %as getting soot# %ith the smo(e. To s"m "$ the matter, it gre% to be a %ide!# diff"sed o$inion that the Re'. Arth"r Dimmesda!e, !i(e man# other $ersonages of s$e ia! san tit#, in a!! ages of the Christian %or!d, %as ha"nted either b# Satan himse!f or Satan.s emissar#, in the g"ise of o!d Roger Chi!!ing%orth. This diabo!i a! agent had the Di'ine $ermission, for a season, to b"rro% into the !erg#man.s intima #, and $!ot against his so"!. No sensib!e man, it %as onfessed, o"!d do"bt on %hi h side the 'i tor# %o"!d t"rn. The $eo$!e !oo(ed, %ith an "nsha(en ho$e, to see the minister ome forth o"t of the onf!i t transfig"red %ith the g!or# %hi h he %o"!d "n/"estionab!# %in. 4ean%hi!e, ne'erthe!ess, it %as sad to thin( of the $er han e morta! agon# thro"gh %hi h he m"st str"gg!e to%ards his tri"m$h. A!as; to *"dge from the g!oom and terror in the de$th of the $oor minister.s e#es, the batt!e %as a sore one, and the 'i tor# an#thing b"t se "re.

Chapter 10
CHAPTER ?. THE LEECH AND HIS PATIENT O!d Roger Chi!!ing%orth, thro"gho"t !ife, had been a!m in tem$erament, (ind!#, tho"gh not of %arm affe tions, b"t e'er, and in a!! his re!ations %ith the %or!d, a $"re and "$right man. He had beg"n an in'estigation, as he imagined, %ith the se'ere and e/"a! integrit# of a *"dge, desiro"s on!# of tr"th, e'en as if the /"estion in'o!'ed no more than the air-dra%n !ines and fig"res of a geometri a! $rob!em, instead of h"man $assions, and %rongs inf!i ted on himse!f. +"t, as he $ro eeded, a terrib!e fas ination, a (ind of fier e, tho"gh sti!! a!m, ne essit#, sei6ed the o!d man %ithin its gri$e, and ne'er set him free again "nti! he had done a!! its bidding. He no% d"g into the $oor !erg#man.s heart, !i(e a miner sear hing for go!d2 or, rather, !i(e a se&ton de!'ing into a gra'e, $ossib!# in /"est of a *e%e! that had been b"ried on the dead man.s bosom, b"t !i(e!# to find nothing sa'e morta!it# and orr"$tion. A!as, for his o%n so"!, if these %ere %hat he so"ght;

Sometimes a !ight g!immered o"t of the $h#si ian.s e#es, b"rning b!"e and omino"s, !i(e the ref!e tion of a f"rna e, or, !et "s sa#, !i(e one of those g!eams of ghast!# fire that darted from +"n#an.s a%f"! door%a# in the hi!!side, and /"i'ered on the $i!grim.s fa e. The soi! %here this dar( miner %as %or(ing had $er han e sho%n indi ations that en o"raged him. 8This man,8 said he, at one s" h moment, to himse!f, 8$"re as the# deem him--a!! s$irit"a! as he seems--hath inherited a strong anima! nat"re from his father or his mother. Let "s dig a !itt!e f"rther in the dire tion of this 'ein;8 Then after !ong sear h into the minister.s dim interior, and t"rning o'er man# $re io"s materia!s, in the sha$e of high as$irations for the %e!fare of his ra e, %arm !o'e of so"!s, $"re sentiments, nat"ra! $iet#, strengthened b# tho"ght and st"d#, and i!!"minated b# re'e!ation--a!! of %hi h in'a!"ab!e go!d %as $erha$s no better than r"bbish to the see(er--he %o"!d t"rn ba (, dis o"raged, and begin his /"est to%ards another $oint. He gro$ed a!ong as stea!thi!#, %ith as a"tio"s a tread, and as %ar# an o"t!oo(, as a thief entering a hamber %here a man !ies on!# ha!f as!ee$--or, it ma# be, broad a%a(e--%ith $"r$ose to stea! the 'er# treas"re %hi h this man g"ards as the a$$!e of his e#e. In s$ite of his $remeditated aref"!ness, the f!oor %o"!d no% and then rea(2 his garments %o"!d r"st!e2 the shado% of his $resen e, in a forbidden $ro&imit#, %o"!d be thro%n a ross his 'i tim. In other %ords, 4r. Dimmesda!e, %hose sensibi!it# of ner'e often $rod" ed the effe t of s$irit"a! int"ition, %o"!d be ome 'ag"e!# a%are that something inimi a! to his $ea e had thr"st itse!f into re!ation %ith him. +"t O!d Roger Chi!!ing%orth, too, had $er e$tions that %ere a!most int"iti'e2 and %hen the minister thre% his start!ed e#es to%ards him, there the $h#si ian sat2 his (ind, %at hf"!, s#m$athising, b"t ne'er intr"si'e friend. <et 4r. Dimmesda!e %o"!d $erha$s ha'e seen this indi'id"a!.s hara ter more $erfe t!#, if a ertain morbidness, to %hi h si ( hearts are !iab!e, had not rendered him s"s$i io"s of a!! man(ind. Tr"sting no man as his friend, he o"!d not re ogni6e his enem# %hen the !atter a t"a!!# a$$eared. He therefore sti!! (e$t "$ a fami!iar inter o"rse %ith him, dai!# re ei'ing he o!d $h#si ian in his st"d#, or 'isiting the !aborator#, and, for re reation.s sa(e, %at hing the $ro esses b# %hi h %eeds %ere on'erted into dr"gs of $oten #. One da#, !eaning his forehead on his hand, and his e!bo% on the si!! of the o$en %indo%, that !oo(ed to%ards the gra'e-#ard, he ta!(ed %ith Roger Chi!!ing%orth, %hi!e the o!d man %as e&amining a b"nd!e of "nsight!# $!ants. 81here,8 as(ed he, %ith a !oo( as(an e at them--for it %as the !erg#man.s $e "!iarit# that he se!dom, no%-a-da#s, !oo(ed straight forth at an# ob*e t, %hether h"man or inanimate, 8%here, m# (ind do tor, did #o" gather those herbs, %ith s" h a dar(, f!abb# !eaf:8 8E'en in the gra'e#ard here at hand,8 ans%ered the $h#si ian, ontin"ing his em$!o#ment. 8The# are ne% to me. I fo"nd them gro%ing on a gra'e, %hi h bore no

tombstone, no other memoria! of the dead man, sa'e these "g!# %eeds, that ha'e ta(en "$on themse!'es to (ee$ him in remembran e. The# gre% o"t of his heart, and t#$if#, it ma# be, some hideo"s se ret that %as b"ried %ith him, and %hi h he had done better to onfess d"ring his !ifetime.8 8Per han e,8 said 4r. Dimmesda!e, 8he earnest!# desired it, b"t o"!d not.8 8And %herefore:8 re*oined the $h#si ian. 81herefore not2 sin e a!! the $o%ers of nat"re a!! so earnest!# for the onfession of sin, that these b!a ( %eeds ha'e s$r"ng "$ o"t of a b"ried heart, to ma(e manifest, an o"ts$o(en rime:8 8That, good sir, is b"t a $hantas# of #o"rs,8 re$!ied the minister. 8There an be, if I forbode aright, no $o%er, short of the Di'ine mer #, to dis !ose, %hether b# "ttered %ords, or b# t#$e or emb!em, the se rets that ma# be b"ried in the h"man heart. The heart, ma(ing itse!f g"i!t# of s" h se rets, m"st $erfor e ho!d them, "nti! the da# %hen a!! hidden things sha!! be re'ea!ed. Nor ha'e I so read or inter$reted Ho!# 1rit, as to "nderstand that the dis !os"re of h"man tho"ghts and deeds, then to be made, is intended as a $art of the retrib"tion. That, s"re!#, %ere a sha!!o% 'ie% of it. No2 these re'e!ations, "n!ess I great!# err, are meant mere!# to $romote the inte!!e t"a! satisfa tion of a!! inte!!igent beings, %ho %i!! stand %aiting, on that da#, to see the dar( $rob!em of this !ife made $!ain. A (no%!edge of men.s hearts %i!! be needf"! to the om$!etest so!"tion of that $rob!em. And, I on ei'e moreo'er, that the hearts ho!ding s" h miserab!e se rets as #o" s$ea( of, %i!! #ie!d them "$, at that !ast da#, not %ith re!" tan e, b"t %ith a *o# "n"tterab!e.8 8Then %h# not re'ea! it here:8 as(ed Roger Chi!!ing%orth, g!an ing /"iet!# aside at the minister. 81h# sho"!d not the g"i!t# ones sooner a'ai! themse!'es of this "n"tterab!e so!a e:8 8The# most!# do,8 said the !erg#man, gri$ing hard at his breast, as if aff!i ted %ith an im$ort"nate throb of $ain. 84an#, man# a $oor so"! hath gi'en its onfiden e to me, not on!# on the death-bed, b"t %hi!e strong in !ife, and fair in re$"tation. And e'er, after s" h an o"t$o"ring, oh, %hat a re!ief ha'e I %itnessed in those sinf"! brethren; e'en as in one %ho at !ast dra%s free air, after a !ong stif!ing %ith his o%n $o!!"ted breath. Ho% an it be other%ise: 1h# sho"!d a %ret hed man--g"i!t#, %e %i!! sa#, of m"rder--$refer to (ee$ the dead or$se b"ried in his o%n heart, rather than f!ing it forth at on e, and !et the "ni'erse ta(e are of it;8 8<et some men b"r# their se rets th"s,8 obser'ed the a!m $h#si ian. 8Tr"e2 there are s" h men,8 ans%ered 4r. Dimmesda!e. 8+"t not to s"ggest more ob'io"s reasons, it ma# be that the# are (e$t si!ent b# the 'er# onstit"tion of their nat"re. Or-an %e not s"$$ose it:--g"i!t# as the# ma# be, retaining, ne'erthe!ess, a 6ea! for 9od.s g!or# and man.s %e!fare, the# shrin( from dis$!a#ing themse!'es b!a ( and fi!th# in the

'ie% of men2 be a"se, then efor%ard, no good an be a hie'ed b# them2 no e'i! of the $ast be redeemed b# better ser'i e. So, to their o%n "n"tterab!e torment, the# go abo"t among their fe!!o%- reat"res, !oo(ing $"re as ne%-fa!!en sno%, %hi!e their hearts are a!! s$e (!ed and s$otted %ith ini/"it# of %hi h the# annot rid themse!'es.8 8These men de ei'e themse!'es,8 said Roger Chi!!ing%orth, %ith some%hat more em$hasis than "s"a!, and ma(ing a s!ight gest"re %ith his forefinger. 8The# fear to ta(e "$ the shame that rightf"!!# be!ongs to them. Their !o'e for man, their 6ea! for 9od.s ser'i e--these ho!# im$"!ses ma# or ma# not oe&ist in their hearts %ith the e'i! inmates to %hi h their g"i!t has "nbarred the door, and %hi h m"st needs $ro$agate a he!!ish breed %ithin them. +"t, if the# see( to g!orif# 9od, !et them not !ift hea'en%ard their "n !ean hands; If the# %o"!d ser'e their fe!!o%men, !et them do it b# ma(ing manifest the $o%er and rea!it# of ons ien e, in onstraining them to $enitentia! se!f-abasement; 1o"!d tho" ha'e me to be!ie'e, O %ise and $io"s friend, that a fa!se sho% an be better-an be more for 9od.s g!or#, or man. %e!fare--than 9od.s o%n tr"th: Tr"st me, s" h men de ei'e themse!'es;8 8It ma# be so,8 said the #o"ng !erg#man, indifferent!#, as %ai'ing a dis "ssion that he onsidered irre!e'ant or "nseasonab!e. He had a read# fa "!t#, indeed, of es a$ing from an# to$i that agitated his too sensiti'e and ner'o"s tem$erament.--8+"t, no%, I %o"!d as( of m# %e!!-s(i!!ed $h#si ian, %hether, in good sooth, he deems me to ha'e $rofited b# his (ind!# are of this %ea( frame of mine:8 +efore Roger Chi!!ing%orth o"!d ans%er, the# heard the !ear, %i!d !a"ghter of a #o"ng hi!d.s 'oi e, $ro eeding from the ad*a ent b"ria!-gro"nd. Loo(ing instin ti'e!# from the o$en %indo%--for it %as s"mmer-time--the minister behe!d Hester Pr#nne and !itt!e Pear! $assing a!ong the foot$ath that tra'ersed the en !os"re. Pear! !oo(ed as bea"tif"! as the da#, b"t %as in one of those moods of $er'erse merriment %hi h, %hene'er the# o "rred, seemed to remo'e her entire!# o"t of the s$here of s#m$ath# or h"man onta t. She no% s(i$$ed irre'erent!# from one gra'e to another2 "nti! oming to the broad, f!at, armoria! tombstone of a de$arted %orth#--$erha$s of Isaa -ohnson himse!f--she began to dan e "$on it. In re$!# to her mother.s ommand and entreat# that she %o"!d beha'e more de oro"s!#, !itt!e Pear! $a"sed to gather the $ri (!# b"rrs from a ta!! b"rdo ( %hi h gre% beside the tomb. Ta(ing a handf"! of these, she arranged them a!ong the !ines of the s ar!et !etter that de orated the materna! bosom, to %hi h the b"rrs, as their nat"re %as, tena io"s!# adhered. Hester did not $!" ( them off. Roger Chi!!ing%orth had b# this time a$$roa hed the %indo% and smi!ed grim!# do%n. 8There is no !a%, nor re'eren e for a"thorit#, no regard for h"man ordinan es or o$inions, right or %rong, mi&ed "$ %ith that hi!d.s om$osition,8 remar(ed he, as m" h to himse!f as to his om$anion. 8I sa% her, the other da#, bes$atter the 9o'ernor himse!f %ith %ater at the att!e-tro"gh in S$ring Lane. 1hat, in hea'en.s name, is she: Is the im$ a!together e'i!: Hath she affe tions: Hath she an# dis o'erab!e $rin i$!e of being:8 8None, sa'e the freedom of a bro(en !a%,8 ans%ered 4r. Dimmesda!e, in a /"iet %a#, as

if he had been dis "ssing the $oint %ithin himse!f, 81hether a$ab!e of good, I (no% not.8 The hi!d $robab!# o'erheard their 'oi es, for, !oo(ing "$ to the %indo% %ith a bright, b"t na"ght# smi!e of mirth and inte!!igen e, she thre% one of the $ri (!# b"rrs at the Re'. 4r. Dimmesda!e. The sensiti'e !erg#man shran(, %ith ner'o"s dread, from the !ight missi!e. Dete ting his emotion, Pear! !a$$ed her !itt!e hands in the most e&tra'agant e sta #. Hester Pr#nne, !i(e%ise, had in'o!"ntari!# !oo(ed "$, and a!! these fo"r $ersons, o!d and #o"ng, regarded one another in si!en e, ti!! the hi!d !a"ghed a!o"d, and sho"ted--8Come a%a#, mother; Come a%a#, or #onder o!d b!a ( man %i!! at h #o"; He hath got ho!d of the minister a!read#. Come a%a#, mother or he %i!! at h #o"; +"t he annot at h !itt!e Pear!;8 So she dre% her mother a%a#, s(i$$ing, dan ing, and fris(ing fantasti a!!# among the hi!!o (s of the dead $eo$!e, !i(e a reat"re that had nothing in ommon %ith a b#gone and b"ried generation, nor o%ned herse!f a(in to it. It %as as if she had been made afresh o"t of ne% e!ements, and m"st $erfor e be $ermitted to !i'e her o%n !ife, and be a !a% "nto herse!f %itho"t her e entri ities being re (oned to her for a rime. 8There goes a %oman,8 res"med Roger Chi!!ing%orth, after a $a"se, 8%ho, be her demerits %hat the# ma#, hath none of that m#ster# of hidden sinf"!ness %hi h #o" deem so grie'o"s to be borne. Is Hester Pr#nne the !ess miserab!e, thin( #o", for that s ar!et !etter on her breast:8 8I do 'eri!# be!ie'e it,8 ans%ered the !erg#man. 8Ne'erthe!ess, I annot ans%er for her. There %as a !oo( of $ain in her fa e %hi h I %o"!d g!ad!# ha'e been s$ared the sight of. +"t sti!!, methin(s, it m"st needs be better for the s"fferer to be free to sho% his $ain, as this $oor %oman Hester is, than to o'er it "$ in his heart.8 There %as another $a"se, and the $h#si ian began ane% to e&amine and arrange the $!ants %hi h he had gathered. 8<o" in/"ired of me, a !itt!e time agone,8 said he, at !ength, 8m# *"dgment as to" hing #o"r hea!th.8 8I did,8 ans%ered the !erg#man, 8and %o"!d g!ad!# !earn it. S$ea( fran(!#, I $ra# #o", be it for !ife or death.8 83ree!# then, and $!ain!#,8 said the $h#si ian, sti!! b"s# %ith his $!ants, b"t (ee$ing a %ar# e#e on 4r. Dimmesda!e, 8the disorder is a strange one2 not so m" h in itse!f nor as o"t%ard!# manifested,--in so far, at !east as the s#m$toms ha'e been !aid o$en to m# obser'ation. Loo(ing dai!# at #o", m# good sir, and %at hing the to(ens of #o"r as$e t no% for months gone b#, I sho"!d deem #o" a man sore si (, it ma# be, #et not so si ( b"t that an instr" ted and %at hf"! $h#si ian might %e!! ho$e to "re #o". +"t I (no% not %hat to sa#, the disease is %hat I seem to (no%, #et (no% it not.8

8<o" s$ea( in ridd!es, !earned sir,8 said the $a!e minister, g!an ing aside o"t of the %indo%. 8Then, to s$ea( more $!ain!#,8 ontin"ed the $h#si ian, 8and I ra'e $ardon, sir, sho"!d it seem to re/"ire $ardon, for this needf"! $!ainness of m# s$ee h. Let me as( as #o"r friend, as one ha'ing harge, "nder Pro'iden e, of #o"r !ife and $h#si a! %e!! being, hath a!! the o$erations of this disorder been fair!# !aid o$en and re o"nted to me:8 8Ho% an #o" /"estion it:8 as(ed the minister. 8S"re!# it %ere hi!d.s $!a# to a!! in a $h#si ian and then hide the sore;8 8<o" %o"!d te!! me, then, that I (no% a!!:8 said Roger Chi!!ing%orth, de!iberate!#, and fi&ing an e#e, bright %ith intense and on entrated inte!!igen e, on the minister.s fa e. 8+e it so; +"t again; He to %hom on!# the o"t%ard and $h#si a! e'i! is !aid o$en, (no%eth, oftentimes, b"t ha!f the e'i! %hi h he is a!!ed "$on to "re. A bodi!# disease, %hi h %e !oo( "$on as %ho!e and entire %ithin itse!f, ma#, after a!!, be b"t a s#m$tom of some ai!ment in the s$irit"a! $art. <o"r $ardon on e again, good sir, if m# s$ee h gi'e the shado% of offen e. <o", sir, of a!! men %hom I ha'e (no%n, are he %hose bod# is the !osest on*oined, and imb"ed, and identified, so to s$ea(, %ith the s$irit %hereof it is the instr"ment.8 8Then I need as( no f"rther,8 said the !erg#man, some%hat hasti!# rising from his hair. 8<o" dea! not, I ta(e it, in medi ine for the so"!;8 8Th"s, a si (ness,8 ontin"ed Roger Chi!!ing%orth, going on, in an "na!tered tone, %itho"t heeding the interr"$tion, b"t standing "$ and onfronting the ema iated and %hite- hee(ed minister, %ith his !o%, dar(, and missha$en fig"re,--8a si (ness, a sore $!a e, if %e ma# so a!! it, in #o"r s$irit hath immediate!# its a$$ro$riate manifestation in #o"r bodi!# frame. 1o"!d #o", therefore, that #o"r $h#si ian hea! the bodi!# e'i!: Ho% ma# this be "n!ess #o" first !a# o$en to him the %o"nd or tro"b!e in #o"r so"!:8 8No, not to thee; not to an earth!# $h#si ian;8 ried 4r. Dimmesda!e, $assionate!#, and t"rning his e#es, f"!! and bright, and %ith a (ind of fier eness, on o!d Roger Chi!!ing%orth. 8Not to thee; +"t, if it be the so"!.s disease, then do I ommit m#se!f to the one Ph#si ian of the so"!; He, if it stand %ith His good $!eas"re, an "re, or he an (i!!. Let Him do %ith me as, in His *"sti e and %isdom, He sha!! see good. +"t %ho art tho", that medd!est in this matter: that dares thr"st himse!f bet%een the s"fferer and his 9od:8 1ith a franti gest"re he r"shed o"t of the room. 8It is as %e!! to ha'e made this ste$,8 said Roger Chi!!ing%orth to himse!f, !oo(ing after the minister, %ith a gra'e smi!e. 8There is nothing !ost. 1e sha!! be friends again anon. +"t see, no%, ho% $assion ta(es ho!d "$on this man, and h"rrieth him o"t of himse!f; As %ith one $assion so %ith another. He hath done a %i!d thing ere no%, this $io"s 4aster Dimmesda!e, in the hot $assion of his heart. 8

It $ro'ed not diffi "!t to re-estab!ish the intima # of the t%o om$anions, on the same footing and in the same degree as heretofore. The #o"ng !erg#man, after a fe% ho"rs of $ri'a #, %as sensib!e that the disorder of his ner'es had h"rried him into an "nseem!# o"tbrea( of tem$er, %hi h there had been nothing in the $h#si ian.s %ords to e& "se or $a!!iate. He mar'e!!ed, indeed, at the 'io!en e %ith %hi h he had thr"st ba ( the (ind o!d man, %hen mere!# $roffering the ad'i e %hi h it %as his d"t# to besto%, and %hi h the minister himse!f had e&$ress!# so"ght. 1ith these remorsef"! fee!ings, he !ost no time in ma(ing the am$!est a$o!ogies, and beso"ght his friend sti!! to ontin"e the are %hi h, if not s" essf"! in restoring him to hea!th, had, in a!! $robabi!it#, been the means of $ro!onging his feeb!e e&isten e to that ho"r. Roger Chi!!ing%orth readi!# assented, and %ent on %ith his medi a! s"$er'ision of the minister2 doing his best for him, in a!! good faith, b"t a!%a#s /"itting the $atient.s a$artment, at the !ose of the $rofessiona! inter'ie%, %ith a m#sterio"s and $"66!ed smi!e "$on his !i$s. This e&$ression %as in'isib!e in 4r. Dimmesda!e.s $resen e, b"t gre% strong!# e'ident as the $h#si ian rossed the thresho!d. 8A rare ase,8 he m"ttered. 8I m"st needs !oo( dee$er into it. A strange s#m$ath# bet%i&t so"! and bod#; 1ere it on!# for the art.s sa(e, I m"st sear h this matter to the bottom.8 It ame to $ass, not !ong after the s ene abo'e re orded, that the Re'erend 4r. Dimmesda!e, noon-da#, and entire!# "na%ares, fe!! into a dee$, dee$ s!"mber, sitting in his hair, %ith a !arge b!a (-!etter 'o!"me o$en before him on the tab!e. It m"st ha'e been a %or( of 'ast abi!it# in the somnifero"s s hoo! of !iterat"re. The $rofo"nd de$th of the minister.s re$ose %as the more remar(ab!e, inasm" h as he %as one of those $ersons %hose s!ee$ ordinari!# is as !ight as fitf"!, and as easi!# s ared a%a#, as a sma!! bird ho$$ing on a t%ig. To s" h an "n%onted remoteness, ho%e'er, had his s$irit no% %ithdra%n into itse!f that he stirred not in his hair %hen o!d Roger Chi!!ing%orth, %itho"t an# e&traordinar# $re a"tion, ame into the room. The $h#si ian ad'an ed dire t!# in front of his $atient, !aid his hand "$on his bosom, and thr"st aside the 'estment, that hitherto had a!%a#s o'ered it e'en from the $rofessiona! e#e. Then, indeed, 4r. Dimmesda!e sh"ddered, and s!ight!# stirred. After a brief $a"se, the $h#si ian t"rned a%a#. +"t %ith %hat a %i!d !oo( of %onder, *o#, and honor; 1ith %hat a ghast!# ra$t"re, as it %ere, too might# to be e&$ressed on!# b# the e#e and feat"res, and therefore b"rsting forth thro"gh the %ho!e "g!iness of his fig"re, and ma(ing itse!f e'en rioto"s!# manifest b# the e&tra'agant gest"res %ith %hi h he thre% "$ his arms to%ards the ei!ing, and stam$ed his foot "$on the f!oor; Had a man seen o!d Roger Chi!!ing%orth, at that moment of his e stas#, he %o"!d ha'e had no need to as( ho% Satan om$orts himse!f %hen a $re io"s h"man so"! is !ost to hea'en, and %on into his (ingdom. +"t %hat disting"ished the $h#si ian.s e stas# from Satan.s %as the trait of %onder in it;

Chapter 11
CHAPTER ?I. THE INTERIOR O3 A HEART After the in ident !ast des ribed, the inter o"rse bet%een the !erg#man and the $h#si ian, tho"gh e&terna!!# the same, %as rea!!# of another hara ter than it had $re'io"s!# been. The inte!!e t of Roger Chi!!ing%orth had no% a s"ffi ient!# $!ain $ath before it. It %as not, indeed, $re ise!# that %hi h he had !aid o"t for himse!f to tread. Ca!m, gent!e, $assion!ess, as he a$$eared, there %as #et, %e fear, a /"iet de$th of ma!i e, hitherto !atent, b"t a ti'e no%, in this "nfort"nate o!d man, %hi h !ed him to imagine a more intimate re'enge than an# morta! had e'er %rea(ed "$on an enem#. To ma(e himse!f the one tr"sted friend, to %hom sho"!d be onfided a!! the fear, the remorse, the agon#, the ineffe t"a! re$entan e, the ba (%ard r"sh of sinf"! tho"ghts, e&$e!!ed in 'ain; A!! that g"i!t# sorro%, hidden from the %or!d, %hose great heart %o"!d ha'e $itied and forgi'en, to be re'ea!ed to him, the Piti!ess--to him, the )nforgi'ing; A!! that dar( treas"re to be !a'ished on the 'er# man, to %hom nothing e!se o"!d so ade/"ate!# $a# the debt of 'engean e; The !erg#man.s sh# and sensiti'e reser'e had ba!(ed this s heme Roger Chi!!ing%orth, ho%e'er, %as in !ined to be hard!#, if at a!!, !ess satisfied %ith the as$e t of affairs, %hi h Pro'iden e--"sing the a'enger and his 'i tim for its o%n $"r$oses, and, $er han e, $ardoning, %here it seemed most to $"nish--had s"bstit"ted for his b!a ( de'i es A re'e!ation, he o"!d a!most sa#, had been granted to him. It mattered !itt!e for his ob*e t, %hether e!estia! or from %hat other region. +# its aid, in a!! the s"bse/"ent re!ations bet%i&t him and 4r. Dimmesda!e, not mere!# the e&terna! $resen e, b"t the 'er# inmost so"! of the !atter, seemed to be bro"ght o"t before his e#es, so that he o"!d see and om$rehend its e'er# mo'ement. He be ame, then eforth, not a s$e tator on!#, b"t a hief a tor in the $oor minister.s interior %or!d. He o"!d $!a# "$on him as he hose. 1o"!d he aro"se him %ith a throb of agon#: The 'i tim %as for e'er on the ra (2 it needed on!# to (no% the s$ring that ontro!!ed the engine7 and the $h#si ian (ne% it %e!!. 1o"!d he start!e him %ith s"dden fear: As at the %a'ing of a magi ian.s %and, "$ rose a gris!# rose a tho"sand $hantoms--in man# sha$es, of death, or more a%f"! shame, a!! f!o (ing ro"nd abo"t the !erg#man, and $ointing %ith their fingers at his breast; A!! this %as a om$!ished %ith a s"bt!et# so $erfe t, that the minister, tho"gh he had onstant!# a dim $er e$tion of some e'i! inf!"en e %at hing o'er him, o"!d ne'er gain a (no%!edge of its a t"a! nat"re. Tr"e, he !oo(ed do"btf"!!#, fearf"!!#--e'en, at times, %ith horror and the bitterness of hatred--at the deformed fig"re of the o!d $h#si ian. His gest"res, his gait, his gri66!ed beard, his s!ightest and most indifferent a ts, the 'er# fashion of his garments, %ere odio"s in the !erg#man.s sight2 a to(en im$!i it!# to be re!ied on of a dee$er anti$ath# in the breast of the !atter than he %as %i!!ing to a (no%!edge to himse!f. 3or, as it %as im$ossib!e to assign a reason for s" h distr"st and abhorren e, so 4r. Dimmesda!e, ons io"s that the $oison of one morbid s$ot %as infe ting his heart.s entire s"bstan e, attrib"ted a!! his $resentiments to no other a"se. He too( himse!f to tas( for his bad s#m$athies in referen e to Roger Chi!!ing%orth, disregarded the !esson that he sho"!d ha'e dra%n from them, and did his best to root them

o"t. )nab!e to a om$!ish this, he ne'erthe!ess, as a matter of $rin i$!e, ontin"ed his habits of so ia! fami!iarit# %ith the o!d man, and th"s ga'e him onstant o$$ort"nities for $erfe ting the $"r$ose to %hi h--$oor for!orn reat"re that he %as, and more %ret hed than his 'i tim--the a'enger had de'oted himse!f. 1hi!e th"s s"ffering "nder bodi!# disease, and gna%ed and tort"red b# some b!a ( tro"b!e of the so"!, and gi'en o'er to the ma hinations of his dead!iest enem#, the Re'erend 4r. Dimmesda!e had a hie'ed a bri!!iant $o$"!arit# in his sa red offi e. He %on it indeed, in great $art, b# his sorro%s. His inte!!e t"a! gifts, his mora! $er e$tions, his $o%er of e&$erien ing and omm"ni ating emotion, %ere (e$t in a state of $reternat"ra! a ti'it# b# the $ri ( and ang"ish of his dai!# !ife. His fame, tho"gh sti!! on its "$%ard s!o$e, a!read# o'ershado%ed the soberer re$"tations of his fe!!o%- !erg#men, eminent as se'era! of them %ere. There are s ho!ars among them, %ho had s$ent more #ears in a /"iring abstr"se !ore, onne ted %ith the di'ine $rofession, than 4r. Dimmesda!e had !i'ed2 and %ho might %e!!, therefore, be more $rofo"nd!# 'ersed in s" h so!id and 'a!"ab!e attainments than their #o"thf"! brother. There %ere men, too, of a st"rdier te&t"re of mind than his, and endo%ed %ith a far greater share of shre%d, hard iron, or granite "nderstanding2 %hi h, d"!# ming!ed %ith a fair $ro$ortion of do trina! ingredient, onstit"tes a high!# res$e tab!e, effi a io"s, and "namiab!e 'ariet# of the !eri a! s$e ies. There %ere others again, tr"e saint!# fathers, %hose fa "!ties had been e!aborated b# %ear# toi! among their boo(s, and b# $atient tho"ght, and etherea!ised, moreo'er, b# s$irit"a! omm"ni ations %ith the better %or!d, into %hi h their $"rit# of !ife had a!most introd" ed these ho!# $ersonages, %ith their garments of morta!it# sti!! !inging to them. A!! that the# !a (ed %as, the gift that des ended "$on the hosen dis i$!es at Pente ost, in tong"es of f!ame2 s#mbo!ising, it %o"!d seem, not the $o%er of s$ee h in foreign and "n(no%n !ang"ages, b"t that of addressing the %ho!e h"man brotherhood in the heart.s nati'e !ang"age. These fathers, other%ise so a$osto!i , !a (ed Hea'en.s !ast and rarest attestation of their offi e, the Tong"e of 3!ame. The# %o"!d ha'e 'ain!# so"ght--had the# e'er dreamed of see(ing--to e&$ress the highest tr"ths thro"gh the h"mb!est medi"m of fami!iar %ords and images. Their 'oi es ame do%n, afar and indistin t!#, from the "$$er heights %here the# habit"a!!# d%e!t. Not im$robab!#, it %as to this !atter !ass of ms that 4r. Dimmesda!e, b# man# of his traits of hara ter, nat"ra!!# be!onged. To the high mo"ntain $ea(s of faith and san tit# he %o"!d ha'e !imbed, had not the tenden # been th%arted b# the b"rden, %hate'er it might be, of rime or ang"ish, beneath %hi h it %as his doom to totter. It (e$t him do%n on a !e'e! %ith the !o%est2 him, the man of etherea! attrib"tes, %hose 'oi e the ange!s might e!se ha'e !istened to and ans%ered; +"t this 'er# b"rden it %as that ga'e him s#m$athies so intimate %ith the sinf"! brotherhood of man(ind2 so that his heart 'ibrated in "nison %ith theirs, and re ei'ed their $ain into itse!f and sent its o%n throb of $ain thro"gh a tho"sand other hearts, in g"shes of sad, $ers"asi'e e!o/"en e. Oftenest $ers"asi'e, b"t sometimes terrib!e; The $eo$!e (ne% not the $o%er that mo'ed them th"s. The# deemed the #o"ng !erg#man a mira !e of ho!iness. The# fan ied him the mo"th-$ie e of Hea'en.s messages of %isdom, and reb"(e, and !o'e. In their e#es, the 'er# gro"nd on %hi h he trod %as san tified. The 'irgins of his h"r h gre% $a!e aro"nd him, 'i tims of a $assion so imb"ed %ith re!igio"s sentiment, that the# imagined it to be

a!! re!igion, and bro"ght it o$en!#, in their %hite bosoms, as their most a e$tab!e sa rifi e before the a!tar. The aged members of his f!o (, beho!ding 4r. Dimmesda!e.s frame so feeb!e, %hi!e the# %ere themse!'es so r"gged in their infirmit#, be!ie'ed that he %o"!d go hea'en%ard before them, and en*oined it "$on their hi!dren that their o!d bones sho"!d be b"ried !ose to their #o"ng $astor.s ho!# gra'e. And a!! this time, $er han e, %hen $oor 4r. Dimmesda!e %as thin(ing of his gra'e, he /"estioned %ith himse!f %hether the grass %o"!d e'er gro% on it, be a"se an a "rsed thing m"st there be b"ried; It is in on ei'ab!e, the agon# %ith %hi h this $"b!i 'eneration tort"red him. It %as his gen"ine im$"!se to adore the tr"th, and to re (on a!! things shado%-!i(e, and "tter!# de'oid of %eight or 'a!"e, that had not its di'ine essen e as the !ife %ithin their !ife. Then %hat %as he:--a s"bstan e:--or the dimmest of a!! shado%s: He !onged to s$ea( o"t from his o%n $"!$it at the f"!! height of his 'oi e, and te!! the $eo$!e %hat he %as. 8I, %hom #o" beho!d in these b!a ( garments of the $riesthood--I, %ho as end the sa red des(, and t"rn m# $a!e fa e hea'en%ard, ta(ing "$on m#se!f to ho!d omm"nion in #o"r beha!f %ith the 4ost High Omnis ien e--I, in %hose dai!# !ife #o" dis ern the san tit# of Eno h--I, %hose footste$s, as #o" s"$$ose, !ea'e a g!eam a!ong m# earth!# tra (, %hereb# the Pi!grims that sha!! ome after me ma# be g"ided to the regions of the b!est-I, %ho ha'e !aid the hand of ba$tism "$on #o"r hi!dren--I, %ho ha'e breathed the $arting $ra#er o'er #o"r d#ing friends, to %hom the Amen so"nded faint!# from a %or!d %hi h the# had /"itted--I, #o"r $astor, %hom #o" so re'eren e and tr"st, am "tter!# a $o!!"tion and a !ie;8 4ore than on e, 4r. Dimmesda!e had gone into the $"!$it, %ith a $"r$ose ne'er to ome do%n its ste$s "nti! he sho"!d ha'e s$o(en %ords !i(e the abo'e. 4ore than on e he had !eared his throat, and dra%n in the !ong, dee$, and trem"!o"s breath, %hi h, %hen sent forth again, %o"!d ome b"rdened %ith the b!a ( se ret of his so"!. 4ore than on e--na#, more than a h"ndred times--he had a t"a!!# s$o(en; S$o(en; +"t ho%: He had to!d his hearers that he %as a!together 'i!e, a 'i!er om$anion of the 'i!est, the %orst of sinners, an abomination, a thing of "nimaginab!e ini/"it#, and that the on!# %onder %as that the# did not see his %ret hed bod# shri'e!!ed "$ before their e#es b# the b"rning %rath of the A!might#; Co"!d there be $!ainer s$ee h than this: 1o"!d not the $eo$!e start "$ in their seats, b# a sim"!taneo"s im$"!se, and tear him do%n o"t of the $"!$it %hi h he defi!ed: Not so, indeed; The# heard it a!!, and did b"t re'eren e him the more. The# !itt!e g"essed %hat dead!# $"r$ort !"r(ed in those se!f- ondemning %ords. 8The god!# #o"th;8 said the# among themse!'es. 8The saint on earth; A!as; if he dis ern s" h sinf"!ness in his o%n %hite so"!, %hat horrid s$e ta !e %o"!d he beho!d in thine or mine;8 The minister %e!! (ne%--s"bt!e, b"t remorsef"! h#$o rite that he %as;--the !ight in %hi h his 'ag"e onfession %o"!d be 'ie%ed. He had stri'en to $"t a heat "$on himse!f b# ma(ing the a'o%a! of a g"i!t# ons ien e, b"t had gained on!# one other sin, and a se!fa (no%!edged shame, %itho"t the momentar# re!ief of being se!f-de ei'ed. He had s$o(en the 'er# tr"th, and transformed it into the 'eriest fa!sehood. And #et, b# the onstit"tion of his nat"re, he !o'ed the tr"th, and !oathed the !ie, as fe% men e'er did. Therefore, abo'e a!! things e!se, he !oathed his miserab!e se!f;

His in%ard tro"b!e dro'e him to $ra ti es more in a ordan e %ith the o!d, orr"$ted faith of Rome than %ith the better !ight of the h"r h in %hi h he had been born and bred. In 4r. Dimmesda!e.s se ret !oset, "nder !o ( and (e#, there %as a b!ood# s o"rge. Oftentimes, this Protestant and P"ritan di'ine had $!ied it on his o%n sho"!ders, !a"ghing bitter!# at himse!f the %hi!e, and smiting so m" h the more $iti!ess!# be a"se of that bitter !a"gh. It %as his "stom, too, as it has been that of man# other $io"s P"ritans, to fast--not ho%e'er, !i(e them, in order to $"rif# the bod#, and render it the fitter medi"m of e!estia! i!!"mination--b"t rigoro"s!#, and "nti! his (nees tremb!ed beneath him, as an a t of $enan e. He (e$t 'igi!s, !i(e%ise, night after night, sometimes in "tter dar(ness, sometimes %ith a g!immering !am$, and sometimes, 'ie%ing his o%n fa e in a !oo(ingg!ass, b# the most $o%erf"! !ight %hi h he o"!d thro% "$on it. He th"s t#$ified the onstant intros$e tion %here%ith he tort"red, b"t o"!d not $"rif# himse!f. In these !engthened 'igi!s, his brain often ree!ed, and 'isions seemed to f!it before him2 $erha$s seen do"btf"!!#, and b# a faint !ight of their o%n, in the remote dimness of the hamber, or more 'i'id!# and !ose beside him, %ithin the !oo(ing-g!ass. No% it %as a herd of diabo!i sha$es, that grinned and mo (ed at the $a!e minister, and be (oned him a%a# %ith them2 no% a gro"$ of shining ange!s, %ho f!e% "$%ard hea'i!#, as sorro%-!aden, b"t gre% more etherea! as the# rose. No% ame the dead friends of his #o"th, and his %hitebearded father, %ith a saint-!i(e fro%n, and his mother t"rning her fa e a%a# as she $assed b# 9host of a mother--thinnest fantas# of a mother--methin(s she might #et ha'e thro%n a $it#ing g!an e to%ards her son; And no%, thro"gh the hamber %hi h these s$e tra! tho"ghts had made so ghast!#, g!ided Hester Pr#nne !eading a!ong !itt!e Pear!, in her s ar!et garb, and $ointing her forefinger, first at the s ar!et !etter on her bosom, and then at the !erg#man.s o%n breast. None of these 'isions e'er /"ite de!"ded him. At an# moment, b# an effort of his %i!!, he o"!d dis ern s"bstan es thro"gh their mist# !a ( of s"bstan e, and on'in e himse!f that the# %ere not so!id in their nat"re, !i(e #onder tab!e of ar'ed oa(, or that big, s/"are, !eather-bo"nd and bra6en- !as$ed 'o!"me of di'init#. +"t, for a!! that, the# %ere, in one sense, the tr"est and most s"bstantia! things %hi h the $oor minister no% dea!t %ith. It is the "ns$ea(ab!e miser# of a !ife so fa!se as his, that it stea!s the $ith and s"bstan e o"t of %hate'er rea!ities there are aro"nd "s, and %hi h %ere meant b# Hea'en to be the s$irit.s *o# and n"triment. To the "ntr"e man, the %ho!e "ni'erse is fa!se--it is im$a!$ab!e--it shrin(s to nothing %ithin his gras$. And he himse!f in so far as he sho%s himse!f in a fa!se !ight, be omes a shado%, or, indeed, eases to e&ist. The on!# tr"th that ontin"ed to gi'e 4r. Dimmesda!e a rea! e&isten e on this earth %as the ang"ish in his inmost so"!, and the "ndissemb!ed e&$ression of it in his as$e t. Had he on e fo"nd $o%er to smi!e, and %ear a fa e of gaiet#, there %o"!d ha'e been no s" h man; On one of those "g!# nights, %hi h %e ha'e faint!# hinted at, b"t forborne to $i t"re forth, the minister started from his hair. A ne% tho"ght had str" ( him. There might be a moment.s $ea e in it. Attiring himse!f %ith as m" h are as if it had been for $"b!i %orshi$, and $re ise!# in the same manner, he sto!e soft!# do%n the stair ase, "ndid the door, and iss"ed forth.

Chapter 12
CHAPTER ?II. THE 4INISTER.S ,I9IL 1a!(ing in the shado% of a dream, as it %ere, and $erha$s a t"a!!# "nder the inf!"en e of a s$e ies of somnamb"!ism, 4r. Dimmesda!e rea hed the s$ot %here, no% so !ong sin e, Hester Pr#nne had !i'ed thro"gh her first ho"rs of $"b!i ignomin#. The same $!atform or s affo!d, b!a ( and %eather-stained %ith the storm or s"nshine of se'en !ong #ears, and foot-%orn, too, %ith the tread of man# "!$rits %ho had sin e as ended it, remained standing beneath the ba! on# of the meeting-ho"se. The minister %ent "$ the ste$s. It %as an obs "re night in ear!# 4a#. An "n%earied $a!! of !o"d m"ff!ed the %ho!e e&$anse of s(# from 6enith to hori6on. If the same m"!tit"de %hi h had stood as e#e%itnesses %hi!e Hester Pr#nne s"stained her $"nishment o"!d no% ha'e been s"mmoned forth, the# %o"!d ha'e dis erned no fa e abo'e the $!atform nor hard!# the o"t!ine of a h"man sha$e, in the dar( gre# of the midnight. +"t the to%n %as a!! as!ee$. There %as no $eri! of dis o'er#. The minister might stand there, if it so $!eased him, "nti! morning sho"!d redden in the east, %itho"t other ris( than that the dan( and hi!! night air %o"!d ree$ into his frame, and stiffen his *oints %ith rhe"matism, and !og his throat %ith atarrh and o"gh2 thereb# defra"ding the e&$e tant a"dien e of to-morro%.s $ra#er and sermon. No e#e o"!d see him, sa'e that e'er-%a(ef"! one %hi h had seen him in his !oset, %ie!ding the b!ood# s o"rge. 1h#, then, had he ome hither: 1as it b"t the mo (er# of $eniten e: A mo (er#, indeed, b"t in %hi h his so"! trif!ed %ith itse!f; A mo (er# at %hi h ange!s b!"shed and %e$t, %hi!e fiends re*oi ed %ith *eering !a"ghter; He had been dri'en hither b# the im$"!se of that Remorse %hi h dogged him e'er#%here, and %hose o%n sister and !ose!# !in(ed om$anion %as that Co%ardi e %hi h in'ariab!# dre% him ba (, %ith her trem"!o"s gri$e, *"st %hen the other im$"!se had h"rried him to the 'erge of a dis !os"re. Poor, miserab!e man; %hat right had infirmit# !i(e his to b"rden itse!f %ith rime: Crime is for the iron-ner'ed, %ho ha'e their hoi e either to end"re it, or, if it $ress too hard, to e&ert their fier e and sa'age strength for a good $"r$ose, and f!ing it off at on e; This feeb!e and most sensiti'e of s$irits o"!d do neither, #et ontin"a!!# did one thing or another, %hi h intert%ined, in the same ine&tri ab!e (not, the agon# of hea'en-def#ing g"i!t and 'ain re$entan e. And th"s, %hi!e standing on the s affo!d, in this 'ain sho% of e&$iation, 4r. Dimmesda!e %as o'er ome %ith a great horror of mind, as if the "ni'erse %ere ga6ing at a s ar!et to(en on his na(ed breast, right o'er his heart. On that s$ot, in 'er# tr"th, there %as, and there had !ong been, the gna%ing and $oisono"s tooth of bodi!# $ain. 1itho"t an# effort of his %i!!, or $o%er to restrain himse!f, he shrie(ed a!o"d7 an o"t r# that %ent $ea!ing thro"gh the night, and %as beaten ba ( from one ho"se to another, and re'erberated from the hi!!s in the ba (gro"nd2 as if a om$an# of de'i!s, dete ting so m" h miser# and terror in it, had made a $!a#thing of the so"nd, and %ere band#ing it to and fro. 8It is done;8 m"ttered the minister, o'ering his fa e %ith his hands. 8The %ho!e to%n %i!! a%a(e and h"rr# forth, and find me here;8

+"t it %as not so. The shrie( had $erha$s so"nded %ith a far greater $o%er, to his o%n start!ed ears, than it a t"a!!# $ossessed. The to%n did not a%a(e2 or, if it did, the dro%s# s!"mberers mistoo( the r# either for something frightf"! in a dream, or for the noise of %it hes, %hose 'oi es, at that $eriod, %ere often heard to $ass o'er the sett!ements or !one!# ottages, as the# rode %ith Satan thro"gh the air. The !erg#man, therefore, hearing no s#m$toms of dist"rban e, "n o'ered his e#es and !oo(ed abo"t him. At one of the hamber-%indo%s of 9o'ernor +e!!ingham.s mansion, %hi h stood at some distan e, on the !ine of another street, he behe!d the a$$earan e of the o!d magistrate himse!f %ith a !am$ in his hand a %hite night- a$ on his head, and a !ong %hite go%n en'e!o$ing his fig"re. He !oo(ed !i(e a ghost e'o(ed "nseasonab!# from the gra'e. The r# had e'ident!# start!ed him. At another %indo% of the same ho"se, moreo'er a$$eared o!d 4istress Hibbins, the 9o'ernor.s sister, a!so %ith a !am$, %hi h e'en th"s far off re'ea!ed the e&$ression of her so"r and dis ontented fa e. She thr"st forth her head from the !atti e, and !oo(ed an&io"s!# "$%ard +e#ond the shado% of a do"bt, this 'enerab!e %it h-!ad# had heard 4r. Dimmesda!e.s o"t r#, and inter$reted it, %ith its m"!tit"dino"s e hoes and re'erberations, as the !amo"r of the fiends and night-hags, %ith %hom she %as %e!! (no%n to ma(e e& "rsions in the forest. Dete ting the g!eam of 9o'ernor +e!!ingham.s !am$, the o!d !ad# /"i (!# e&ting"ished her o%n, and 'anished. Possib!#, she %ent "$ among the !o"ds. The minister sa% nothing f"rther of her motions. The magistrate, after a %ar# obser'ation of the dar(ness-into %hi h, ne'erthe!ess, he o"!d see b"t !itt!e f"rther than he might into a mi!!-stone-retired from the %indo%. The minister gre% om$arati'e!# a!m. His e#es, ho%e'er, %ere soon greeted b# a !itt!e g!immering !ight, %hi h, at first a !ong %a# off %as a$$roa hing "$ the street. It thre% a g!eam of re ognition, on here a $ost, and there a garden fen e, and here a !atti ed %indo%-$ane, and there a $"m$, %ith its f"!! tro"gh of %ater, and here again an ar hed door of oa(, %ith an iron (no (er, and a ro"gh !og for the door-ste$. The Re'erend 4r. Dimmesda!e noted a!! these min"te $arti "!ars, e'en %hi!e firm!# on'in ed that the doom of his e&isten e %as stea!ing on%ard, in the footste$s %hi h he no% heard2 and that the g!eam of the !antern %o"!d fa!! "$on him in a fe% moments more, and re'ea! his !onghidden se ret. As the !ight dre% nearer, be behe!d, %ithin its i!!"minated ir !e, his brother !erg#man--or, to s$ea( more a "rate!#, his $rofessiona! father, as %e!! as high!# 'a!"ed friend--the Re'erend 4r. 1i!son, %ho, as 4r. Dimmesda!e no% on*e t"red, had been $ra#ing at the bedside of some d#ing man. And so he had. The good o!d minister ame fresh!# from the death- hamber of 9o'ernor 1inthro$, %ho had $assed from earth to hea'en %ithin that 'er# ho"r. And no% s"rro"nded, !i(e the saint-!i(e $ersonage of o!den times, %ith a radiant ha!o, that g!orified him amid this g!oom# night of sin--as if the de$arted 9o'ernor had !eft him an inheritan e of his g!or#, or as if he had a"ght "$on himse!f the distant shine of the e!estia! it#, %hi!e !oo(ing thither%ard to see the tri"m$hant $i!grim $ass %ithin its gates--no%, in short, good 3ather 1i!son %as mo'ing home%ard, aiding his footste$s %ith a !ighted !antern; The g!immer of this !"minar# s"ggested the abo'e on eits to 4r. Dimmesda!e, %ho smi!ed--na#, a!most !a"ghed at them--and then %ondered if he %as going mad.

As the Re'erend 4r. 1i!son $assed beside the s affo!d, !ose!# m"ff!ing his 9ene'a !oa( abo"t him %ith one arm, and ho!ding the !antern before his breast %ith the other, the minister o"!d hard!# restrain himse!f from s$ea(ing-8A good e'ening to #o", 'enerab!e 3ather 1i!son. Come "$ hither, I $ra# #o", and $ass a $!easant ho"r %ith me;8 9ood Hea'ens; Had 4r. Dimmesda!e a t"a!!# s$o(en: 3or one instant he be!ie'ed that these %ords had $assed his !i$s. +"t the# %ere "ttered on!# %ithin his imagination. The 'enerab!e 3ather 1i!son ontin"ed to ste$ s!o%!# on%ard, !oo(ing aref"!!# at the m"dd# $ath%a# before his feet, and ne'er on e t"rning his head to%ards the g"i!t# $!atform. 1hen the !ight of the g!immering !antern had faded /"ite a%a#, the minister dis o'ered, b# the faintness %hi h ame o'er him, that the !ast fe% moments had been a risis of terrib!e an&iet#, a!tho"gh his mind had made an in'o!"ntar# effort to re!ie'e itse!f b# a (ind of !"rid $!a#f"!ness. Short!# after%ards, the !i(e gris!# sense of the h"moro"s again sto!e in among the so!emn $hantoms of his tho"ght. He fe!t his !imbs gro%ing stiff %ith the "na "stomed hi!!iness of the night, and do"bted %hether he sho"!d be ab!e to des end the ste$s of the s affo!d. 4orning %o"!d brea( and find him there The neighbo"rhood %o"!d begin to ro"se itse!f. The ear!iest riser, oming forth in the dim t%i!ight, %o"!d $er ei'e a 'ag"e!#-defined fig"re a!oft on the $!a e of shame2 and ha!f- ra6ed bet%i&t a!arm and "riosit#, %o"!d go (no (ing from door to door, s"mmoning a!! the $eo$!e to beho!d the ghost--as he needs m"st thin( it--of some def"n t transgressor. A d"s(# t"m"!t %o"!d f!a$ its %ings from one ho"se to another. Then--the morning !ight sti!! %a&ing stronger--o!d $atriar hs %o"!d rise "$ in great haste, ea h in his f!anne! go%n, and matron!# dames, %itho"t $a"sing to $"t off their night-gear. The %ho!e tribe of de oro"s $ersonages, %ho had ne'er heretofore been seen %ith a sing!e hair of their heads a%r#, %o"!d start into $"b!i 'ie% %ith the disorder of a nightmare in their as$e ts. O!d 9o'ernor +e!!ingham %o"!d ome grim!# forth, %ith his 0ing -ames. r"ff fastened as(e%, and 4istress Hibbins, %ith some t%igs of the forest !inging to her s(irts, and !oo(ing so"rer than e'er, as ha'ing hard!# got a %in( of s!ee$ after her night ride2 and good 3ather 1i!son too, after s$ending ha!f the night at a death-bed, and !i(ing i!! to be dist"rbed, th"s ear!#, o"t of his dreams abo"t the g!orified saints. Hither, !i(e%ise, %o"!d ome the e!ders and dea ons of 4r. Dimmesda!e.s h"r h, and the #o"ng 'irgins %ho so ido!i6ed their minister, and had made a shrine for him in their %hite bosoms, %hi h no%, b#-the-b#e, in their h"rr# and onf"sion, the# %o"!d s ant!# ha'e gi'en themse!'es time to o'er %ith their (er hiefs. A!! $eo$!e, in a %ord, %o"!d ome st"mb!ing o'er their thresho!ds, and t"rning "$ their ama6ed and horror-stri (en 'isages aro"nd the s affo!d. 1hom %o"!d the# dis ern there, %ith the red eastern !ight "$on his bro%: 1hom, b"t the Re'erend Arth"r Dimmesda!e, ha!f-fro6en to death, o'er%he!med %ith shame, and standing %here Hester Pr#nne had stood; Carried a%a# b# the grotes/"e horror of this $i t"re, the minister, "na%ares, and to his o%n infinite a!arm, b"rst into a great $ea! of !a"ghter. It %as immediate!# res$onded to b# a !ight, air#, hi!dish !a"gh, in %hi h, %ith a thri!! of the heart--b"t he (ne% not %hether

of e&/"isite $ain, or $!eas"re as a "te--he re ognised the tones of !itt!e Pear!. 8Pear!; Litt!e Pear!;8 ried he, after a moment.s $a"se2 then, s"$$ressing his 'oi e--8Hester; Hester Pr#nne; Are #o" there:8 8<es2 it is Hester Pr#nne;8 she re$!ied, in a tone of s"r$rise2 and the minister heard her footste$s a$$roa hing from the side-%a!(, a!ong %hi h she had been $assing. 8It is I, and m# !itt!e Pear!.8 81hen e ome #o", Hester:8 as(ed the minister. 81hat sent #o" hither:8 8I ha'e been %at hing at a death-bed,8 ans%ered Hester Pr#nne 8at 9o'ernor 1inthro$.s death-bed, and ha'e ta(en his meas"re for a robe, and am no% going home%ard to m# d%e!!ing.8 8Come "$ hither, Hester, tho" and Litt!e Pear!,8 said the Re'erend 4r. Dimmesda!e. 8<e ha'e both been here before, b"t I %as not %ith #o". Come "$ hither on e again, and %e %i!! stand a!! three together.8 She si!ent!# as ended the ste$s, and stood on the $!atform, ho!ding !itt!e Pear! b# the hand. The minister fe!t for the hi!d.s other hand, and too( it. The moment that he did so, there ame %hat seemed a t"m"!t"o"s r"sh of ne% !ife, other !ife than his o%n $o"ring !i(e a torrent into his heart, and h"rr#ing thro"gh a!! his 'eins, as if the mother and the hi!d %ere omm"ni ating their 'ita! %armth to his ha!f-tor$id s#stem. The three formed an e!e tri hain. 84inister;8 %his$ered !itt!e Pear!. 81hat %o"!dst tho" sa#, hi!d:8 as(ed 4r. Dimmesda!e. 8@1i!t tho" stand here %ith mother and me, to-morro% noontide:8 in/"ired Pear!. 8Na#2 not so, m# !itt!e Pear!,8 ans%ered the minister2 for, %ith the ne% energ# of the moment, a!! the dread of $"b!i e&$os"re, that had so !ong been the ang"ish of his !ife, had ret"rned "$on him2 and he %as a!read# tremb!ing at the on*"n tion in %hi h--%ith a strange *o#, ne'erthe!ess--he no% fo"nd himse!f--8not so, m# hi!d. I sha!!, indeed, stand %ith th# mother and thee one other da#, b"t not to-morro%.8 Pear! !a"ghed, and attem$ted to $"!! a%a# her hand. +"t the minister he!d it fast. 8A moment !onger, m# hi!d;8 said he. 8+"t %i!t tho" $romise,8 as(ed Pear!, 8to ta(e m# hand, and mother.s hand, to-morro% noontide:8 8Not then, Pear!,8 said the minister2 8b"t another time.8

8And %hat other time:8 $ersisted the hi!d. 8At the great *"dgment da#,8 %his$ered the minister2 and, strange!# eno"gh, the sense that he %as a $rofessiona! tea her of the tr"th im$e!!ed him to ans%er the hi!d so. 8Then, and there, before the *"dgment-seat, th# mother, and tho", and I m"st stand together. +"t the da#!ight of this %or!d sha!! not see o"r meeting;.. Pear! !a"ghed again. +"t before 4r. Dimmesda!e had done s$ea(ing, a !ight g!eamed far and %ide o'er a!! the m"ff!ed s(#. It %as do"bt!ess a"sed b# one of those meteors, %hi h the night-%at her ma# so often obser'e b"rning o"t to %aste, in the 'a ant regions of the atmos$here. So $o%erf"! %as its radian e, that it thoro"gh!# i!!"minated the dense medi"m of !o"d bet%i&t the s(# and earth. The great 'a"!t brightened, !i(e the dome of an immense !am$. It sho%ed the fami!iar s ene of the street %ith the distin tness of mid-da#, b"t a!so %ith the a%f"!ness that is a!%a#s im$arted to fami!iar ob*e ts b# an "na "stomed !ight The %ooden ho"ses, %ith their *"tting store#s and /"aint gab!e-$ea(s2 the doorste$s and thresho!ds %ith the ear!# grass s$ringing "$ abo"t them2 the garden-$!ots, b!a ( %ith fresh!#-t"rned earth2 the %hee!-tra (, !itt!e %orn, and e'en in the mar(et-$!a e margined %ith green on either side--a!! %ere 'isib!e, b"t %ith a sing"!arit# of as$e t that seemed to gi'e another mora! inter$retation to the things of this %or!d than the# had e'er borne before. And there stood the minister, %ith his hand o'er his heart2 and Hester Pr#nne, %ith the embroidered !etter g!immering on her bosom2 and !itt!e Pear!, herse!f a s#mbo!, and the onne ting !in( bet%een those t%o. The# stood in the noon of that strange and so!emn s$!endo"r, as if it %ere the !ight that is to re'ea! a!! se rets, and the da#brea( that sha!! "nite a!! %ho be!ong to one another. There %as %it h raft in !itt!e Pear!.s e#es2 and her fa e, as she g!an ed "$%ard at the minister, %ore that na"ght# smi!e %hi h made its e&$ression fre/"ent!# so e!'ish. She %ithdre% her hand from 4r. Dimmesda!e.s, and $ointed a ross the street. +"t he !as$ed both his hands o'er his breast, and ast his e#es to%ards the 6enith. Nothing %as more ommon, in those da#s, than to inter$ret a!! meteori a$$earan es, and other nat"ra! $henomena that o "red %ith !ess reg"!arit# than the rise and set of s"n and moon, as so man# re'e!ations from a s"$ernat"ra! so"r e. Th"s, a b!a6ing s$ear, a s%ord of f!ame, a bo%, or a sheaf of arro%s seen in the midnight s(#, $refig"red Indian %arfare. Pesti!en e %as (no%n to ha'e been foreboded b# a sho%er of rimson !ight. 1e do"bt %hether an# mar(ed e'ent, for good or e'i!, e'er befe!! Ne% Eng!and, from its sett!ement do%n to re'o!"tionar# times, of %hi h the inhabitants had not been $re'io"s!# %arned b# some s$e ta !e of its nat"re. Not se!dom, it had been seen b# m"!tit"des. Oftener, ho%e'er, its redibi!it# rested on the faith of some !one!# e#e-%itness, %ho behe!d the %onder thro"gh the o!o"red, magnif#ing, and distorted medi"m of his imagination, and sha$ed it more distin t!# in his after-tho"ght. It %as, indeed, a ma*esti idea that the destin# of nations sho"!d be re'ea!ed, in these a%f"! hierog!#$hi s, on the o$e of hea'en. A s ro!! so %ide might not be deemed too e&$ensi'e for Pro'iden e to %rite a

$eo$!e.s doom "$on. The be!ief %as a fa'o"rite one %ith o"r forefathers, as beto(ening that their infant ommon%ea!th %as "nder a e!estia! g"ardianshi$ of $e "!iar intima # and stri tness. +"t %hat sha!! %e sa#, %hen an indi'id"a! dis o'ers a re'e!ation addressed to himse!f a!one, on the same 'ast sheet of re ord. In s" h a ase, it o"!d on!# be the s#m$tom of a high!# disordered menta! state, %hen a man, rendered morbid!# se!fontem$!ati'e b# !ong, intense, and se ret $ain, had e&tended his egotism o'er the %ho!e e&$anse of nat"re, "nti! the firmament itse!f sho"!d a$$ear no more than a fitting $age for his so"!.s histor# and fate. 1e im$"te it, therefore, so!e!# to the disease in his o%n e#e and heart that the minister, !oo(ing "$%ard to the 6enith, behe!d there the a$$earan e of an immense !etter--the !etter A--mar(ed o"t in !ines of d"!! red !ight. Not b"t the meteor ma# ha'e sho%n itse!f at that $oint, b"rning d"s(i!# thro"gh a 'ei! of !o"d, b"t %ith no s" h sha$e as his g"i!t# imagination ga'e it, or, at !east, %ith so !itt!e definiteness, that another.s g"i!t might ha'e seen another s#mbo! in it. There %as a sing"!ar ir "mstan e that hara terised 4r. Dimmesda!e.s $s# ho!ogi a! state at this moment. A!! the time that he ga6ed "$%ard to the 6enith, he %as, ne'erthe!ess, $erfe t!# a%are that !itt!e Pear! %as hinting her finger to%ards o!d Roger Chi!!ing%orth, %ho stood at no great distan e from the s affo!d. The minister a$$eared to see him, %ith the same g!an e that dis erned the mira "!o"s !etter. To his feat"re as to a!! other ob*e ts, the meteori !ight im$arted a ne% e&$ression2 or it might %e!! be that the $h#si ian %as not aref"! then, as at a!! other times, to hide the ma!e'o!en e %ith %hi h he !oo(ed "$on his 'i tim. Certain!#, if the meteor (ind!ed "$ the s(#, and dis !osed the earth, %ith an a%f"!ness that admonished Hester Pr#nne and the !erg#man of the da# of *"dgment, then might Roger Chi!!ing%orth ha'e $assed %ith them for the ar h-fiend, standing there %ith a smi!e and s o%!, to !aim his o%n. So 'i'id %as the e&$ression, or so intense the minister.s $er e$tion of it, that it seemed sti!! to remain $ainted on the dar(ness after the meteor had 'anished, %ith an effe t as if the street and a!! things e!se %ere at on e annihi!ated. 81ho is that man, Hester:8 gas$ed 4r. Dimmesda!e, o'er ome %ith terror. 8I shi'er at him; Dost tho" (no% the man: I hate him, Hester;8 She remembered her oath, and %as si!ent. 8I te!! thee, m# so"! shi'ers at him;8 m"ttered the minister again. 81ho is he: 1ho is he: Canst tho" do nothing for me: I ha'e a name!ess horror of the man;8 84inister,8 said !itt!e Pear!, 8I an te!! thee %ho he is;8 85"i (!#, then, hi!d;8 said the minister, bending his ear !ose to her !i$s. 85"i (!#, and as !o% as tho" anst %his$er.8 Pear! m"mb!ed something into his ear that so"nded, indeed, !i(e h"man !ang"age, b"t %as on!# s" h gibberish as hi!dren ma# be heard am"sing themse!'es %ith b# the ho"r

together. At a!! e'ents, if it in'o!'ed an# se ret information in regard to o!d Roger Chi!!ing%orth, it %as in a tong"e "n(no%n to the er"dite !erg#man, and did b"t in rease the be%i!derment of his mind. The e!'ish hi!d then !a"ghed a!o"d. 8Dost tho" mo ( me no%:8 said the minister. 8Tho" %ast not bo!d;--tho" %ast not tr"e;8 ans%ered the hi!d. 8Tho" %o"!dst not $romise to ta(e m# hand, and mother.s hand, to-morro% noon-tide;8 81orth# sir,8 ans%ered the $h#si ian, %ho had no% ad'an ed to the foot of the $!atform--8$io"s 4aster Dimmesda!e; an this be #o": 1e!!, %e!!, indeed; 1e men of st"d#, %hose heads are in o"r boo(s, ha'e need to be strait!# !oo(ed after; 1e dream in o"r %a(ing moments, and %a!( in o"r s!ee$. Come, good sir, and m# dear friend, I $ra# #o" !et me !ead #o" home;8 8Ho% (ne%est tho" that I %as here:8 as(ed the minister, fearf"!!#. 8,eri!#, and in good faith,8 ans%ered Roger Chi!!ing%orth, 8I (ne% nothing of the matter. I had s$ent the better $art of the night at the bedside of the %orshi$f"! 9o'ernor 1inthro$, doing %hat m# $oor s(i!! might to gi'e him ease. He, going home to a better %or!d, I, !i(e%ise, %as on m# %a# home%ard, %hen this !ight shone o"t. Come %ith me, I besee h #o", Re'erend sir, e!se #o" %i!! be $oor!# ab!e to do Sabbath d"t# to-morro%. Aha; see no% ho% the# tro"b!e the brain--these boo(s;--these boo(s; <o" sho"!d st"d# !ess, good sir, and ta(e a !itt!e $astime, or these night %himsies %i!! gro% "$on #o".8 8I %i!! go home %ith #o",8 said 4r. Dimmesda!e. 1ith a hi!! des$onden #, !i(e one a%a(ening, a!! ner'e!ess, from an "g!# dream, he #ie!ded himse!f to the $h#si ian, and %as !ed a%a#. The ne&t da#, ho%e'er, being the Sabbath, he $rea hed a dis o"rse %hi h %as he!d to be the ri hest and most $o%erf"!, and the most re$!ete %ith hea'en!# inf!"en es, that had e'er $ro eeded from his !i$s. So"!s, it is said, more so"!s than one, %ere bro"ght to the tr"th b# the effi a # of that sermon, and 'o%ed %ithin themse!'es to herish a ho!# gratit"de to%ards 4r. Dimmesda!e thro"gho"t the !ong hereafter. +"t as he ame do%n the $"!$it ste$s, the gre#-bearded se&ton met him, ho!ding "$ a b!a ( g!o'e, %hi h the minister re ognised as his o%n. 8It %as fo"nd,8 said the Se&ton, 8this morning on the s affo!d %here e'i!-doers are set "$ to $"b!i shame. Satan dro$$ed it there, I ta(e it, intending a s "rri!o"s *est against #o"r re'eren e. +"t, indeed, he %as b!ind and foo!ish, as he e'er and a!%a#s is. A $"re hand needs no g!o'e to o'er it;8 8Than( #o", m# good friend,8 said the minister, gra'e!#, b"t start!ed at heart2 for so onf"sed %as his remembran e, that he had a!most bro"ght himse!f to !oo( at the e'ents of the $ast night as 'isionar#.

8<es, it seems to be m# g!o'e, indeed;8 8And, sin e Satan sa% fit to stea! it, #o"r re'eren e m"st needs hand!e him %itho"t g!o'es hen efor%ard,8 remar(ed the o!d se&ton, grim!# smi!ing. 8+"t did #o"r re'eren e hear of the $ortent that %as seen !ast night: a great red !etter in the s(#--the !etter A, %hi h %e inter$ret to stand for Ange!. 3or, as o"r good 9o'ernor 1inthro$ %as made an ange! this $ast night, it %as do"bt!ess he!d fit that there sho"!d be some noti e thereof;8 8No,8 ans%ered the minister2 8I had not heard of it.8

Chapter 13
CHAPTER ?III. ANOTHER ,IE1 O3 HESTER In her !ate sing"!ar inter'ie% %ith 4r. Dimmesda!e, Hester Pr#nne %as sho (ed at the ondition to %hi h she fo"nd the !erg#man red" ed. His ner'e seemed abso!"te!# destro#ed. His mora! for e %as abased into more than hi!dish %ea(ness. It gro'e!!ed he!$!ess on the gro"nd, e'en %hi!e his inte!!e t"a! fa "!ties retained their $ristine strength, or had $erha$s a /"ired a morbid energ#, %hi h disease on!# o"!d ha'e gi'en them. 1ith her (no%!edge of a train of ir "mstan es hidden from a!! others, she o"!d readi!# infer that, besides the !egitimate a tion of his o%n ons ien e, a terrib!e ma hiner# had been bro"ght to bear, and %as sti!! o$erating, on 4r. Dimmesda!e.s %e!!being and re$ose. 0no%ing %hat this $oor fa!!en man had on e been, her %ho!e so"! %as mo'ed b# the sh"ddering terror %ith %hi h he had a$$ea!ed to her--the o"t ast %oman-for s"$$ort against his instin ti'e!# dis o'ered enem#. She de ided, moreo'er, that he had a right to her "tmost aid. Litt!e a "stomed, in her !ong se !"sion from so iet#, to meas"re her ideas of right and %rong b# an# standard e&terna! to herse!f, Hester sa%--or seemed to see--that there !a# a res$onsibi!it# "$on her in referen e to the !erg#man, %hi h she o%ned to no other, nor to the %ho!e %or!d besides. The !in(s that "nited her to the rest of h"man(ind--!in(s of f!o%ers, or si!(, or go!d, or %hate'er the materia!--had a!! been bro(en. Here %as the iron !in( of m"t"a! rime, %hi h neither he nor she o"!d brea(. Li(e a!! other ties, it bro"ght a!ong %ith it its ob!igations. Hester Pr#nne did not no% o "$# $re ise!# the same $osition in %hi h %e behe!d her d"ring the ear!ier $eriods of her ignomin#. <ears had ome and gone. Pear! %as no% se'en #ears o!d. Her mother, %ith the s ar!et !etter on her breast, g!ittering in its fantasti embroider#, had !ong been a fami!iar ob*e t to the to%ns$eo$!e. As is a$t to be the ase %hen a $erson stands o"t in an# $rominen e before the omm"nit#, and, at the same time, interferes neither %ith $"b!i nor indi'id"a! interests and on'enien e, a s$e ies of genera! regard had "!timate!# gro%n "$ in referen e to Hester Pr#nne. It is to the redit of h"man nat"re that, e& e$t %here its se!fishness is bro"ght into $!a#, it !o'es more readi!# than it hates. Hatred, b# a grad"a! and /"iet $ro ess, %i!! e'en be transformed to !o'e, "n!ess the hange be im$eded b# a ontin"a!!# ne% irritation of the origina! fee!ing of hosti!it#. In this matter of Hester Pr#nne there %as neither irritation nor ir(someness. She

ne'er batt!ed %ith the $"b!i , b"t s"bmitted "n om$!aining!# to its %orst "sage2 she made no !aim "$on it in re/"ita! for %hat she s"ffered2 she did not %eigh "$on its s#m$athies. Then, a!so, the b!ame!ess $"rit# of her !ife d"ring a!! these #ears in %hi h she had been set a$art to infam# %as re (oned !arge!# in her fa'o"r. 1ith nothing no% to !ose, in the sight of man(ind, and %ith no ho$e, and seeming!# no %ish, of gaining an#thing, it o"!d on!# be a gen"ine regard for 'irt"e that had bro"ght ba ( the $oor %anderer to its $aths. It %as $er ei'ed, too, that %hi!e Hester ne'er $"t for%ard e'en the h"mb!est tit!e to share in the %or!d.s $ri'i!eges--f"rther than to breathe the ommon air and earn dai!# bread for !itt!e Pear! and herse!f b# the faithf"! !abo"r of her hands--she %as /"i ( to a (no%!edge her sisterhood %ith the ra e of man %hene'er benefits %ere to be onferred. None so read# as she to gi'e of her !itt!e s"bstan e to e'er# demand of $o'ert#, e'en tho"gh the bitter-hearted $a"$er thre% ba ( a gibe in re/"ita! of the food bro"ght reg"!ar!# to his door, or the garments %ro"ght for him b# the fingers that o"!d ha'e embroidered a monar h.s robe. None so se!f-de'oted as Hester %hen $esti!en e sta!(ed thro"gh the to%n. In a!! seasons of a!amit#, indeed, %hether genera! or of indi'id"a!s, the o"t ast of so iet# at on e fo"nd her $!a e. She ame, not as a g"est, b"t as a rightf"! inmate, into the ho"seho!d that %as dar(ened b# tro"b!e, as if its g!oom# t%i!ight %ere a medi"m in %hi h she %as entit!ed to ho!d inter o"rse %ith her fe!!o%- reat"re There g!immered the embroidered !etter, %ith omfort in its "nearth!# ra#. E!se%here the to(en of sin, it %as the ta$er of the si ( hamber. It had e'en thro%n its g!eam, in the s"fferer.s bard e&tremit#, a ross the 'erge of time. It had sho%n him %here to set his foot, %hi!e the !ight of earth %as fast be oming dim, and ere the !ight of f"t"rit# o"!d rea h him. In s" h emergen ies Hester.s nat"re sho%ed itse!f %arm and ri h--a %e!!-s$ring of h"man tenderness, "nfai!ing to e'er# rea! demand, and ine&ha"stib!e b# the !argest. Her breast, %ith its badge of shame, %as b"t the softer $i!!o% for the head that needed one. She %as se!f-ordained a Sister of 4er #, or, %e ma# rather sa#, the %or!d.s hea'# hand had so ordained her, %hen neither the %or!d nor she !oo(ed for%ard to this res"!t. The !etter %as the s#mbo! of her a!!ing. S" h he!$f"!ness %as fo"nd in her--so m" h $o%er to do, and $o%er to s#m$athise--that man# $eo$!e ref"sed to inter$ret the s ar!et A b# its origina! signifi ation. The# said that it meant Abe!, so strong %as Hester Pr#nne, %ith a %oman.s strength. It %as on!# the dar(ened ho"se that o"!d ontain her. 1hen s"nshine ame again, she %as not there. Her shado% had faded a ross the thresho!d. The he!$f"! inmate had de$arted, %itho"t one ba (%ard g!an e to gather "$ the meed of gratit"de, if an# %ere in the hearts of those %hom she had ser'ed so 6ea!o"s!#. 4eeting them in the street, she ne'er raised her head to re ei'e their greeting. If the# %ere reso!"te to a ost her, she !aid her finger on the s ar!et !etter, and $assed on. This might be $ride, b"t %as so !i(e h"mi!it#, that it $rod" ed a!! the softening inf!"en e of the !atter /"a!it# on the $"b!i mind. The $"b!i is des$oti in its tem$er2 it is a$ab!e of den#ing ommon *"sti e %hen too stren"o"s!# demanded as a right2 b"t /"ite as fre/"ent!# it a%ards more than *"sti e, %hen the a$$ea! is made, as des$ots !o'e to ha'e it made, entire!# to its generosit#. Inter$reting Hester Pr#nne.s de$ortment as an a$$ea! of this nat"re, so iet# %as in !ined to sho% its former 'i tim a more benign o"ntenan e than she ared to be fa'o"red %ith, or, $er han e, than she deser'ed.

The r"!ers, and the %ise and !earned men of the omm"nit#, %ere !onger in a (no%!edging the inf!"en e of Hester.s good /"a!ities than the $eo$!e. The $re*"di es %hi h the# shared in ommon %ith the !atter %ere fortified in themse!'es b# an iron frame-%or( of reasoning, that made it a far to"gher !abo"r to e&$e! them. Da# b# da#, ne'erthe!ess, their so"r and rigid %rin(!es %ere re!a&ing into something %hi h, in the d"e o"rse of #ears, might gro% to be an e&$ression of a!most bene'o!en e. Th"s it %as %ith the men of ran(, on %hom their eminent $osition im$osed the g"ardianshi$ of the $"b!i mora!s. Indi'id"a!s in $ri'ate !ife, mean%hi!e, had /"ite forgi'en Hester Pr#nne for her frai!t#2 na#, more, the# had beg"n to !oo( "$on the s ar!et !etter as the to(en, not of that one sin for %hi h she had borne so !ong and drear# a $enan e, b"t of her man# good deeds sin e. 8Do #o" see that %oman %ith the embroidered badge:8 the# %o"!d sa# to strangers. 8It is o"r Hester--the to%n.s o%n Hester--%ho is so (ind to the $oor, so he!$f"! to the si (, so omfortab!e to the aff!i ted;8 Then, it is tr"e, the $ro$ensit# of h"man nat"re to te!! the 'er# %orst of itse!f, %hen embodied in the $erson of another, %o"!d onstrain them to %his$er the b!a ( s anda! of b#gone #ears. It %as none the !ess a fa t, ho%e'er, that in the e#es of the 'er# men %ho s$o(e th"s, the s ar!et !etter had the effe t of the ross on a n"n.s bosom. It im$arted to the %earer a (ind of sa redness, %hi h enab!ed her to %a!( se "re!# amid a!! $eri!. Had she fa!!en among thie'es, it %o"!d ha'e (e$t her safe. It %as re$orted, and be!ie'ed b# man#, that an Indian had dra%n his arro% against the badge, and that the missi!e str" ( it, and fe!! harm!ess to the gro"nd. The effe t of the s#mbo!--or rather, of the $osition in res$e t to so iet# that %as indi ated b# it--on the mind of Hester Pr#nne herse!f %as $o%erf"! and $e "!iar. A!! the !ight and gra ef"! fo!iage of her hara ter had been %ithered "$ b# this red-hot brand, and had !ong ago fa!!en a%a#, !ea'ing a bare and harsh o"t!ine, %hi h might ha'e been re$"!si'e had she $ossessed friends or om$anions to be re$e!!ed b# it. E'en the attra ti'eness of her $erson had "ndergone a simi!ar hange. It might be $art!# o%ing to the st"died a"sterit# of her dress, and $art!# to the !a ( of demonstration in her manners. It %as a sad transformation, too, that her ri h and !"&"riant hair had either been "t off, or %as so om$!ete!# hidden b# a a$, that not a shining !o ( of it e'er on e g"shed into the s"nshine. It %as d"e in $art to a!! these a"ses, b"t sti!! more to something e!se, that there seemed to be no !onger an#thing in Hester.s fa e for Lo'e to d%e!! "$on2 nothing in Hester.s form, tho"gh ma*esti and stat"e !i(e, that Passion %o"!d e'er dream of !as$ing in its embra e2 nothing in Hester.s bosom to ma(e it e'er again the $i!!o% of Affe tion. Some attrib"te had de$arted from her, the $ermanen e of %hi h had been essentia! to (ee$ her a %oman. S" h is fre/"ent!# the fate, and s" h the stern de'e!o$ment, of the feminine hara ter and $erson, %hen the %oman has en o"ntered, and !i'ed thro"gh, an e&$erien e of $e "!iar se'erit#. If she be a!! tenderness, she %i!! die. If she s"r'i'e, the tenderness %i!! either be r"shed o"t of her, or--and the o"t%ard semb!an e is the same-r"shed so dee$!# into her heart that it an ne'er sho% itse!f more. The !atter is $erha$s the tr"est theor#. She %ho has on e been a %oman, and eased to be so, might at an# moment be ome a %oman again, if there %ere on!# the magi to" h to effe t the transformation. 1e sha!! see %hether Hester Pr#nne %ere e'er after%ards so to" hed and so transfig"red.

4" h of the marb!e o!dness of Hester.s im$ression %as to be attrib"ted to the ir "mstan e that her !ife had t"rned, in a great meas"re, from $assion and fee!ing to tho"ght. Standing a!one in the %or!d--a!one, as to an# de$enden e on so iet#, and %ith !itt!e Pear! to be g"ided and $rote ted--a!one, and ho$e!ess of retrie'ing her $osition, e'en had she not s orned to onsider it desirab!e--she ast a%a# the fragment a bro(en hain. The %or!d.s !a% %as no !a% for her mind. It %as an age in %hi h the h"man inte!!e t, ne%!# eman i$ated, had ta(en a more a ti'e and a %ider range than for man# ent"ries before. 4en of the s%ord had o'erthro%n nob!es and (ings. 4en bo!der than these had o'erthro%n and rearranged--not a t"a!!#, b"t %ithin the s$here of theor#, %hi h %as their most rea! abode--the %ho!e s#stem of an ient $re*"di e, %here%ith %as !in(ed m" h of an ient $rin i$!e. Hester Pr#nne imbibed this s$irit. She ass"med a freedom of s$e "!ation, then ommon eno"gh on the other side of the At!anti , b"t %hi h o"r forefathers, had the# (no%n it, %o"!d ha'e he!d to be a dead!ier rime than that stigmatised b# the s ar!et !etter. In her !onesome ottage, b# the seashore, tho"ghts 'isited her s" h as dared to enter no other d%e!!ing in Ne% Eng!and2 shado%# g"ests, that %o"!d ha'e been as $eri!o"s as demons to their entertainer, o"!d the# ha'e been seen so m" h as (no (ing at her door. It is remar(ab!e that $ersons %ho s$e "!ate the most bo!d!# often onform %ith the most $erfe t /"iet"de to the e&terna! reg"!ations of so iet#. The tho"ght s"ffi es them, %itho"t in'esting itse!f in the f!esh and b!ood of a tion. So it seemed to be %ith Hester. <et, had !itt!e Pear! ne'er ome to her from the s$irit"a! %or!d, it might ha'e been far other%ise. Then she might ha'e ome do%n to "s in histor#, hand in hand %ith Ann H"t hinson, as the fo"ndress of a re!igio"s se t. She might, in one of her $hases, ha'e been a $ro$hetess. She might, and not im$robab!# %o"!d, ha'e s"ffered death from the stern trib"na!s of the $eriod, for attem$ting to "ndermine the fo"ndations of the P"ritan estab!ishment. +"t, in the ed" ation of her hi!d, the mother.s enth"siasm tho"ght had something to %rea( itse!f "$on. Pro'iden e, in the $erson of this !itt!e gir!, had assigned to Hester.s harge, the germ and b!ossom of %omanhood, to be herished and de'e!o$ed amid a host of diffi "!ties. E'er#thing %as against her. The %or!d %as hosti!e. The hi!d.s o%n nat"re had something %rong in it %hi h ontin"a!!# beto(ened that she had been born amiss--the eff!"en e of her mother.s !a%!ess $assion--and often im$e!!ed Hester to as(, in bitterness of heart, %hether it %ere for i!! or good that the $oor !itt!e reat"re had been born at a!!. Indeed, the same dar( /"estion often rose into her mind %ith referen e to the %ho!e ra e of %omanhood. 1as e&isten e %orth a e$ting e'en to the ha$$iest among them: As on erned her o%n indi'id"a! e&isten e, she had !ong ago de ided in the negati'e, and dismissed the $oint as sett!ed. A tenden # to s$e "!ation, tho"gh it ma# (ee$ %omen /"iet, as it does man, #et ma(es her sad. She dis erns, it ma# be, s" h a ho$e!ess tas( before her. As a first ste$, the %ho!e s#stem of so iet# is to be torn do%n and b"i!t "$ ane%. Then the 'er# nat"re of the o$$osite se&, or its !ong hereditar# habit, %hi h has be ome !i(e nat"re, is to be essentia!!# modified before %oman an be a!!o%ed to ass"me %hat seems a fair and s"itab!e $osition. 3ina!!#, a!! other diffi "!ties being ob'iated, %oman annot ta(e ad'antage of these $re!iminar# reforms "nti! she herse!f sha!! ha'e "ndergone a sti!! mightier hange, in %hi h, $erha$s, the etherea! essen e, %herein she has her tr"est !ife, %i!! be fo"nd to ha'e e'a$orated. A %oman ne'er o'er omes these

$rob!ems b# an# e&er ise of tho"ght. The# are not to be so!'ed, or on!# in one %a#. If her heart han e to ome "$$ermost, the# 'anish. Th"s Hester Pr#nne, %hose heart had !ost its reg"!ar and hea!th# throb, %andered %itho"t a !"e in the dar( !ab#rinth of mind2 no% t"rned aside b# an ins"rmo"ntab!e $re i$i e2 no% starting ba ( from a dee$ hasm. There %as %i!d and ghast!# s ener# a!! aro"nd her, and a home and omfort no%here. At times a fearf"! do"bt stro'e to $ossess her so"!, %hether it %ere not better to send Pear! at on e to Hea'en, and go herse!f to s" h f"t"rit# as Eterna! -"sti e sho"!d $ro'ide. The s ar!et !etter had not done its offi e. No%, ho%e'er, her inter'ie% %ith the Re'erend 4r. Dimmesda!e, on the night of his 'igi!, had gi'en her a ne% theme of ref!e tion, and he!d "$ to her an ob*e t that a$$eared %orth# of an# e&ertion and sa rifi e for its attainment. She had %itnessed the intense miser# beneath %hi h the minister str"gg!ed, or, to s$ea( more a "rate!#, had eased to str"gg!e. She sa% that he stood on the 'erge of !"na #, if he had not a!read# ste$$ed a ross it. It %as im$ossib!e to do"bt that, %hate'er $ainf"! effi a # there might be in the se ret sting of remorse, a dead!ier 'enom had been inf"sed into it b# the hand that $roffered re!ief. A se ret enem# had been ontin"a!!# b# his side, "nder the semb!an e of a friend and he!$er, and had a'ai!ed himse!f of the o$$ort"nities th"s afforded for tam$ering %ith the de!i ate s$rings of 4r. Dimmesda!e.s nat"re. Hester o"!d not b"t as( herse!f %hether there had not origina!!# been a defe t of tr"th, o"rage, and !o#a!t# on her o%n $art, in a!!o%ing the minister to be thro%n into $osition %here so m" h e'i! %as to be foreboded and nothing a"s$i io"s to be ho$ed. Her on!# *"stifi ation !a# in the fa t that she had been ab!e to dis ern no method of res "ing him from a b!a (er r"in than had o'er%he!med herse!f e& e$t b# a /"ies ing in Roger Chi!!ing%orth.s s heme of disg"ise. )nder that im$"!se she had made her hoi e, and had hosen, as it no% a$$eared, the more %ret hed a!ternati'e of the t%o. She determined to redeem her error so far as it might #et be $ossib!e. Strengthened b# #ears of hard and so!emn tria!, she fe!t herse!f no !onger so inade/"ate to o$e %ith Roger Chi!!ing%orth as on that night, abased b# sin and ha!f-maddened b# the ignomin# that %as sti!! ne%, %hen the# had ta!(ed together in the $rison- hamber. She had !imbed her %a# sin e then to a higher $oint. The o!d man, on the other hand, had bro"ght himse!f nearer to her !e'e!, or, $erha$s, be!o% it, b# the re'enge %hi h he had stoo$ed for. In fine, Hester Pr#nne reso!'ed to meet her former h"sband, and do %hat might be in her $o%er for the res "e of the 'i tim on %hom he had so e'ident!# set his gri$e. The o asion %as not !ong to see(. One afternoon, %a!(ing %ith Pear! in a retired $art of the $enins"!a, she behe!d the o!d $h#si ian %ith a bas(et on one arm and a staff in the other hand, stoo$ing a!ong the gro"nd in /"est of roots and herbs to on o t his medi ine %itha!.

Chapter 14
CHAPTER ?I,. HESTER AND THE PH<SICIAN Hester bade !itt!e Pear! r"n do%n to the margin of the %ater, and $!a# %ith the she!!s and

tang!ed sea-%eed, "nti! she sho"!d ha'e ta!(ed a%hi!e %ith #onder gatherer of herbs. So the hi!d f!e% a%a# !i(e a bird, and, ma(ing bare her sma!! %hite feet %ent $attering a!ong the moist margin of the sea. Here and there she ame to a f"!! sto$, ad $ee$ed "rio"s!# into a $oo!, !eft b# the retiring tide as a mirror for Pear! to see her fa e in. 3orth $ee$ed at her, o"t of the $oo!, %ith dar(, g!istening "r!s aro"nd her head, and an e!fsmi!e in her e#es, the image of a !itt!e maid %hom Pear!, ha'ing no other $!a#mate, in'ited to ta(e her hand and r"n a ra e %ith her. +"t the 'isionar# !itt!e maid on her $art, be (oned !i(e%ise, as if to sa#--8This is a better $!a e2 ome tho" into the $oo!.8 And Pear!, ste$$ing in mid-!eg dee$, behe!d her o%n %hite feet at the bottom2 %hi!e, o"t of a sti!! !o%er de$th, ame the g!eam of a (ind of fragmentar# smi!e, f!oating to and fro in the agitated %ater. 4ean%hi!e her mother had a osted the $h#si ian. 8I %o"!d s$ea( a %ord %ith #o",8 said she--8a %ord that on erns "s m" h.8 8Aha; and is it 4istress Hester that has a %ord for o!d Roger Chi!!ing%orth:8 ans%ered he, raising himse!f from his stoo$ing $ost"re. 81ith a!! m# heart; 1h#, mistress, I hear good tidings of #o" on a!! hands; No !onger ago than #ester-e'e, a magistrate, a %ise and god!# man, %as dis o"rsing of #o"r affairs, 4istress Hester, and %his$ered me that there had been /"estion on erning #o" in the o"n i!. It %as debated %hether or no, %ith safet# to the ommon%ea!, #onder s ar!et !etter might be ta(en off #o"r bosom. On m# !ife, Hester, I made m# intreat# to the %orshi$f"! magistrate that it might be done forth%ith.8 8It !ies not in the $!eas"re of the magistrates to ta(e off the badge,8 a!m!# re$!ied Hester. 81ere I %orth# to be /"it of it, it %o"!d fa!! a%a# of its o%n nat"re, or be transformed into something that sho"!d s$ea( a different $"r$ort.8 8Na#, then, %ear it, if it s"it #o" better,8 re*oined he, 8A %oman m"st needs fo!!o% her o%n fan # to" hing the adornment of her $erson. The !etter is gai!# embroidered, and sho%s right bra'e!# on #o"r bosom;8 A!! this %hi!e Hester had been !oo(ing steadi!# at the o!d man, and %as sho (ed, as %e!! as %onder-smitten, to dis ern %hat a hange had been %ro"ght "$on him %ithin the $ast se'en #ears. It %as not so m" h that he had gro%n o!der2 for tho"gh the tra es of ad'an ing !ife %ere 'isib!e he bore his age %e!!, and seemed to retain a %ir# 'igo"r and a!ertness. +"t the former as$e t of an inte!!e t"a! and st"dio"s man, a!m and /"iet, %hi h %as %hat she best remembered in him, had a!together 'anished, and been s" eeded b# a eager, sear hing, a!most fier e, #et aref"!!# g"arded !oo(. It seemed to be his %ish and $"r$ose to mas( this e&$ression %ith a smi!e, b"t the !atter $!a#ed him fa!se, and f!i (ered o'er his 'isage so derisi'e!# that the s$e tator o"!d see his b!a (ness a!! the better for it. E'er and anon, too, there ame a g!are of red !ight o"t of his e#es, as if the o!d man.s so"! %ere on fire and (e$t on smo"!dering d"s(i!# %ithin his breast, "nti! b# some as"a! $"ff of $assion it %as b!o%n into a momentar# f!ame. This he re$ressed as s$eedi!# as $ossib!e, and stro'e to !oo( as if nothing of the (ind had ha$$ened.

In a %ord, o!d Roger Chi!!ing%orth %as a stri(ing e'iden e of man.s fa "!t# of transforming himse!f into a de'i!, if he %i!! on!#, for a reasonab!e s$a e of time, "nderta(e a de'i!.s offi e. This "nha$$# $erson had effe ted s" h a transformation b# de'oting himse!f for se'en #ears to the onstant ana!#sis of a heart f"!! of tort"re, and deri'ing his en*o#ment then e, and adding f"e! to those fier# tort"res %hi h he ana!#sed and g!oated o'er. The s ar!et !etter b"rned on Hester Pr#nne.s bosom. Here %as another r"in, the res$onsibi!it# of %hi h ame $art!# home to her. 81hat see #o" in m# fa e,8 as(ed the $h#si ian, 8that #o" !oo( at it so earnest!#:8 8Something that %o"!d ma(e me %ee$, if there %ere an# tears bitter eno"gh for it,8 ans%ered she. 8+"t !et it $ass; It is of #onder miserab!e man that I %o"!d s$ea(.8 8And %hat of him:8 ried Roger Chi!!ing%orth, eager!#, as if he !o'ed the to$i , and %ere g!ad of an o$$ort"nit# to dis "ss it %ith the on!# $erson of %hom he o"!d ma(e a onfidant. 8Not to hide the tr"th, 4istress Hester, m# tho"ghts ha$$en *"st no% to be b"s# %ith the gent!eman. So s$ea( free!# and I %i!! ma(e ans%er.8 81hen %e !ast s$a(e together,8 said Hester, 8no% se'en #ears ago, it %as #o"r $!eas"re to e&tort a $romise of se re # as to" hing the former re!ation bet%i&t #o"rse!f and me. As the !ife and good fame of #onder man %ere in #o"r hands there seemed no hoi e to me, sa'e to be si!ent in a ordan e %ith #o"r behest. <et it %as not %itho"t hea'# misgi'ings that I th"s bo"nd m#se!f, for, ha'ing ast off a!! d"t# to%ards other h"man beings, there remained a d"t# to%ards him, and something %his$ered me that I %as betra#ing it in $!edging m#se!f to (ee$ #o"r o"nse!. Sin e that da# no man is so near to him as #o". <o" tread behind his e'er# footste$. <o" are beside him, s!ee$ing and %a(ing. <o" sear h his tho"ghts. <o" b"rro% and ran(!e in his heart; <o"r !"t h is on his !ife, and #o" a"se him to die dai!# a !i'ing death, and sti!! he (no%s #o" not. In $ermitting this I ha'e s"re!# a ted a fa!se $art b# the on!# man to %hom the $o%er %as !eft me to be tr"e;8 81hat hoi e had #o":8 as(ed Roger Chi!!ing%orth. 84# finger, $ointed at this man, %o"!d ha'e h"r!ed him from his $"!$it into a d"ngeon, then e, $erad'ent"re, to the ga!!o%s;8 8It had been better so;8 said Hester Pr#nne. 81hat e'i! ha'e I done the man:8 as(ed Roger Chi!!ing%orth again. 8I te!! thee, Hester Pr#nne, the ri hest fee that e'er $h#si ian earned from monar h o"!d not ha'e bo"ght s" h are as I ha'e %asted on this miserab!e $riest; +"t for m# aid his !ife %o"!d ha'e b"rned a%a# in torments %ithin the first t%o #ears after the $er$etration of his rime and thine. 3or, Hester, his s$irit !a (ed the strength that o"!d ha'e borne "$, as thine has, beneath a b"rden !i(e th# s ar!et !etter. Oh, I o"!d re'ea! a good!# se ret; +"t eno"gh. 1hat art an do, I ha'e e&ha"sted on him. That he no% breathes and ree$s abo"t on earth is o%ing a!! to me;8

8+etter he had died at on e;8 said Hester Pr#nne. 8<ea, %oman, tho" sa#est tr"!#;8 ried o!d Roger Chi!!ing%orth, !etting the !"rid fire of his heart b!a6e o"t before her e#es. 8+etter had he died at on e; Ne'er did morta! s"ffer %hat this man has s"ffered. And a!!, a!!, in the sight of his %orst enem#; He has been ons io"s of me. He has fe!t an inf!"en e d%e!!ing a!%a#s "$on him !i(e a "rse. He (ne%, b# some s$irit"a! sense--for the Creator ne'er made another being so sensiti'e as this--he (ne% that no friend!# hand %as $"!!ing at his heartstrings, and that an e#e %as !oo(ing "rio"s!# into him, %hi h so"ght on!# e'i!, and fo"nd it. +"t he (ne% not that the e#e and hand %ere mine; 1ith the s"$erstition ommon to his brotherhood, he fan ied himse!f gi'en o'er to a fiend, to be tort"red %ith frightf"! dreams and des$erate tho"ghts, the sting of remorse and des$air of $ardon, as a foretaste of %hat a%aits him be#ond the gra'e. +"t it %as the onstant shado% of m# $resen e, the !osest $ro$in/"it# of the man %hom he had most 'i!e!# %ronged, and %ho had gro%n to e&ist on!# b# this $er$et"a! $oison of the direst re'enge; <ea, indeed, he did not err, there %as a fiend at his e!bo%; A morta! man, %ith on e a h"man heart, has be ome a fiend for his es$e ia! torment.8 The "nfort"nate $h#si ian, %hi!e "ttering these %ords, !ifted his hands %ith a !oo( of horror, as if he had behe!d some frightf"! sha$e, %hi h he o"!d not re ognise, "s"r$ing the $!a e of his o%n image in a g!ass. It %as one of those moments--%hi h sometimes o "r on!# at the inter'a! of #ears--%hen a man.s mora! as$e t is faithf"!!# re'ea!ed to his mind.s e#e. Not im$robab!# he had ne'er before 'ie%ed himse!f as he did no%. 8Hast tho" not tort"red him eno"gh:8 said Hester, noti ing the o!d man.s !oo(. 8Has he not $aid thee a!!:8 8No, no; He has b"t in reased the debt;8 ans%ered the $h#si ian, and as he $ro eeded, his manner !ost its fier er hara teristi s, and s"bsided into g!oom. 8Dost tho" remember me, Hester, as I %as nine #ears agone: E'en then I %as in the a"t"mn of m# da#s, nor %as it the ear!# a"t"mn. +"t a!! m# !ife had been made "$ of earnest, st"dio"s, tho"ghtf"!, /"iet #ears, besto%ed faithf"!!# for the in rease of mine o%n (no%!edge, and faithf"!!#, too, tho"gh this !atter ob*e t %as b"t as"a! to the other--faithf"!!# for the ad'an ement of h"man %e!fare. No !ife had been more $ea ef"! and inno ent than mine2 fe% !i'es so ri h %ith benefits onferred. Dost tho" remember me: 1as I not, tho"gh #o" might deem me o!d, ne'erthe!ess a man tho"ghtf"! for others, ra'ing !itt!e for himse!f-(ind, tr"e, *"st and of onstant, if not %arm affe tions: 1as I not a!! this:8 8A!! this, and more,8 said Hester. 8And %hat am I no%:8 demanded he, !oo(ing into her fa e, and $ermitting the %ho!e e'i! %ithin him to be %ritten on his feat"res. 8I ha'e a!read# to!d thee %hat I am--a fiend; 1ho made me so:8 8It %as m#se!f,8 ried Hester, sh"ddering. 8It %as I, not !ess than he. 1h# hast tho" not a'enged th#se!f on me:8

8I ha'e !eft thee to the s ar!et !etter,8 re$!ied Roger Chi!!ing%orth. 8If that has not a'enged me, I an do no more;8 He !aid his finger on it %ith a smi!e. 8It has a'enged thee,8 ans%ered Hester Pr#nne. 8I *"dged no !ess,8 said the $h#si ian. 8And no% %hat %o"!dst tho" %ith me to" hing this man:8 8I m"st re'ea! the se ret,8 ans%ered Hester, firm!#. 8He m"st dis ern thee in th# tr"e hara ter. 1hat ma# be the res"!t I (no% not. +"t this !ong debt of onfiden e, d"e from me to him, %hose bane and r"in I ha'e been, sha!! at !ength be $aid. So far as on erns the o'erthro% or $reser'ation of his fair fame and his earth!# state, and $er han e his !ife, he is in m# hands. Nor do I--%hom the s ar!et !etter has dis i$!ined to tr"th, tho"gh it be the tr"th of red-hot iron entering into the so"!--nor do I $er ei'e s" h ad'antage in his !i'ing an# !onger a !ife of ghast!# em$tiness, that I sha!! stoo$ to im$!ore th# mer #. Do %ith him as tho" %i!t; There is no good for him, no good for me, no good for thee. There is no good for !itt!e Pear!. There is no $ath to g"ide "s o"t of this disma! ma6e.8 81oman, I o"!d %e!!-nigh $it# thee,8 said Roger Chi!!ing%orth, "nab!e to restrain a thri!! of admiration too, for there %as a /"a!it# a!most ma*esti in the des$air %hi h she e&$ressed. 8Tho" hadst great e!ements. Perad'ent"re, hadst tho" met ear!ier %ith a better !o'e than mine, this e'i! had not been. I $it# thee, for the good that has been %asted in th# nat"re.8 8And I thee,8 ans%ered Hester Pr#nne, 8for the hatred that has transformed a %ise and *"st man to a fiend; 1i!t tho" #et $"rge it o"t of thee, and be on e more h"man: If not for his sa(e, then do"b!# for thine o%n; 3orgi'e, and !ea'e his f"rther retrib"tion to the Po%er that !aims it; I said, b"t no%, that there o"!d be no good e'ent for him, or thee, or me, %ho are here %andering together in this g!oom# ma6e of e'i!, and st"mb!ing at e'er# ste$ o'er the g"i!t %here%ith %e ha'e stre%n o"r $ath. It is not so; There might be good for thee, and thee a!one, sin e tho" hast been dee$!# %ronged and hast it at th# %i!! to $ardon. 1i!t tho" gi'e "$ that on!# $ri'i!ege: 1i!t tho" re*e t that $ri e!ess benefit:8 8Pea e, Hester--$ea e;8 re$!ied the o!d man, %ith g!oom# sternness--8it is not granted me to $ardon. I ha'e no s" h $o%er as tho" te!!est me of. 4# o!d faith, !ong forgotten, omes ba ( to me, and e&$!ains a!! that %e do, and a!! %e s"ffer. +# th# first ste$ a%r#, tho" didst $!ant the germ of e'i!2 b"t sin e that moment it has a!! been a dar( ne essit#. <e that ha'e %ronged me are not sinf"!, sa'e in a (ind of t#$i a! i!!"sion2 neither am I fiend!i(e, %ho ha'e snat hed a fiend.s offi e from his hands. It is o"r fate. Let the b!a ( f!o%er b!ossom as it ma#; No%, go th# %a#s, and dea! as tho" %i!t %ith #onder man.8 He %a'ed his hand, and betoo( himse!f again to his em$!o#ment of gathering herbs.

Chapter 15
CHAPTER ?,. HESTER AND PEARL So Roger Chi!!ing%orth--a deformed o!d fig"re %ith a fa e that ha"nted men.s memories !onger than the# !i(ed--too( !ea'e of Hester Pr#nne, and %ent stoo$ing a%a# a!ong the earth. He gathered here and there a herb, or gr"bbed "$ a root and $"t it into the bas(et on his arm. His gra# beard a!most to" hed the gro"nd as he re$t on%ard. Hester ga6ed after him a !itt!e %hi!e, !oo(ing %ith a ha!f fantasti "riosit# to see %hether the tender grass of ear!# s$ring %o"!d not be b!ighted beneath him and sho% the %a'ering tra ( of his footste$s, sere and bro%n, a ross its heerf"! 'erd"re. She %ondered %hat sort of herbs the# %ere %hi h the o!d man %as so sed"!o"s to gather. 1o"!d not the earth, /"i (ened to an e'i! $"r$ose b# the s#m$ath# of his e#e, greet him %ith $oisono"s shr"bs of s$e ies hitherto "n(no%n, that %o"!d start "$ "nder his fingers: Or might it s"ffi e him that e'er# %ho!esome gro%th sho"!d be on'erted into something de!eterio"s and ma!ignant at his to" h: Did the s"n, %hi h shone so bright!# e'er#%here e!se, rea!!# fa!! "$on him: Or %as there, as it rather seemed, a ir !e of omino"s shado% mo'ing a!ong %ith his deformit# %hi he'er %a# he t"rned himse!f: And %hither %as he no% going: 1o"!d he not s"dden!# sin( into the earth, !ea'ing a barren and b!asted s$ot, %here, in d"e o"rse of time, %o"!d be seen dead!# nightshade, dog%ood, henbane, and %hate'er e!se of 'egetab!e %i (edness the !imate o"!d $rod" e, a!! f!o"rishing %ith hideo"s !"&"rian e: Or %o"!d he s$read bat.s %ings and f!ee a%a#, !oo(ing so m" h the "g!ier the higher he rose to%ards hea'en: 8+e it sin or no,8 said Hester Pr#nne, bitter!#, as sti!! she ga6ed after him, 8I hate the man;8 She "$braided herse!f for the sentiment, b"t o"!d not o'er ome or !essen it. Attem$ting to do so, she tho"ght of those !ong-$ast da#s in a distant !and, %hen he "sed to emerge at e'entide from the se !"sion of his st"d# and sit do%n in the fire!ight of their home, and in the !ight of her n"$tia! smi!e. He needed to bas( himse!f in that smi!e, he said, in order that the hi!! of so man# !one!# ho"rs among his boo(s might be ta(en off the s ho!ar.s heart. S" h s enes had on e a$$eared not other%ise than ha$$#, b"t no%, as 'ie%ed thro"gh the disma! medi"m of her s"bse/"ent !ife, the# !assed themse!'es among her "g!iest remembran es. She mar'e!!ed ho% s" h s enes o"!d ha'e been; She mar'e!!ed ho% she o"!d e'er ha'e been %ro"ght "$on to marr# him; She deemed in her rime most to be re$ented of, that she had e'er end"red and re i$ro ated the !"(e%arm gras$ of his hand, and had s"ffered the smi!e of her !i$s and e#es to ming!e and me!t into his o%n. And it seemed a fo"!er offen e ommitted b# Roger Chi!!ing%orth than an# %hi h had sin e been done him, that, in the time %hen her heart (ne% no better, he had $ers"aded her to fan # herse!f ha$$# b# his side. 8<es, I hate him;8 re$eated Hester more bitter!# than before. 8He betra#ed me; He has done me %orse %rong than I did him;8 Let men tremb!e to %in the hand of %oman, "n!ess the# %in a!ong %ith it the "tmost

$assion of her heart; E!se it ma# be their miserab!e fort"ne, as it %as Roger Chi!!ing%orth.s, %hen some mightier to" h than their o%n ma# ha'e a%a(ened a!! her sensibi!ities, to be re$roa hed e'en for the a!m ontent, the marb!e image of ha$$iness, %hi h the# %i!! ha'e im$osed "$on her as the %arm rea!it#. +"t Hester o"ght !ong ago to ha'e done %ith this in*"sti e. 1hat did it beto(en: Had se'en !ong #ears, "nder the tort"re of the s ar!et !etter, inf!i ted so m" h of miser# and %ro"ght o"t no re$entan e: The emotion of that brief s$a e, %hi!e she stood ga6ing after the roo(ed fig"re of o!d Roger Chi!!ing%orth, thre% a dar( !ight on Hester.s state of mind, re'ea!ing m" h that she might not other%ise ha'e a (no%!edged to herse!f. He being gone, she s"mmoned ba ( her hi!d. 8Pear!; Litt!e Pear!; 1here are #o":8 Pear!, %hose a ti'it# of s$irit ne'er f!agged, had been at no !oss for am"sement %hi!e her mother ta!(ed %ith the o!d gatherer of herbs. At first, as a!read# to!d, she had f!irted fan if"!!# %ith her o%n image in a $oo! of %ater, be (oning the $hantom forth, and--as it de !ined to 'ent"re--see(ing a $assage for herse!f into its s$here of im$a!$ab!e earth and "nattainab!e s(#. Soon finding, ho%e'er, that either she or the image %as "nrea!, she t"rned e!se%here for better $astime. She made !itt!e boats o"t of bir h-bar(, and freighted them %ith snai!she!!s, and sent o"t more 'ent"res on the might# dee$ than an# mer hant in Ne% Eng!and2 b"t the !arger $art of them fo"ndered near the shore. She sei6ed a !i'e horse-shoe b# the tai!, and made $ri6e of se'era! fi'e-fingers, and !aid o"t a *e!!#-fish to me!t in the %arm s"n. Then she too( "$ the %hite foam that strea(ed the !ine of the ad'an ing tide, and thre% it "$on the bree6e, s am$ering after it %ith %inged footste$s to at h the great sno%f!a(es ere the# fe!!. Per ei'ing a f!o ( of bea h-birds that fed and f!"ttered a!ong the shore, the na"ght# hi!d $i (ed "$ her a$ron f"!! of $ebb!es, and, ree$ing from ro ( to ro ( after these sma!! sea-fo%!, dis$!a#ed remar(ab!e de&terit# in $e!ting them. One !itt!e gra# bird, %ith a %hite breast, Pear! %as a!most s"re had been hit b# a $ebb!e, and f!"ttered a%a# %ith a bro(en %ing. +"t then the e!f- hi!d sighed, and ga'e "$ her s$ort, be a"se it grie'ed her to ha'e done harm to a !itt!e being that %as as %i!d as the sea-bree6e, or as %i!d as Pear! herse!f. Her fina! em$!o#ment %as to gather sea%eed of 'ario"s (inds, and ma(e herse!f a s arf or mant!e, and a head-dress, and th"s ass"me the as$e t of a !itt!e mermaid. She inherited her mother.s gift for de'ising dra$er# and ost"me. As the !ast to" h to her mermaid.s garb, Pear! too( some ee!-grass and imitated, as best she o"!d, on her o%n bosom the de oration %ith %hi h she %as so fami!iar on her mother.s. A !etter--the !etter A--b"t fresh!# green instead of s ar!et. The hi!d bent her hin "$on her breast, and ontem$!ated this de'i e %ith strange interest, e'en as if the one on!# thing for %hi h she had been sent into the %or!d %as to ma(e o"t its hidden im$ort. 8I %onder if mother %i!! as( me %hat it means:8 tho"ght Pear!. -"st then she heard her mother.s 'oi e, and, f!itting a!ong as !ight!# as one of the !itt!e

sea-birds, a$$eared before Hester Pr#nne dan ing, !a"ghing, and $ointing her finger to the ornament "$on her bosom. 84# !itt!e Pear!,8 said Hester, after a moment.s si!en e, 8the green !etter, and on th# hi!dish bosom, has no $"r$ort. +"t dost tho" (no%, m# hi!d, %hat this !etter means %hi h th# mother is doomed to %ear:8 8<es, mother,8 said the hi!d. 8It is the great !etter A. Tho" hast ta"ght me in the hornboo(. 8 Hester !oo(ed steadi!# into her !itt!e fa e2 b"t tho"gh there %as that sing"!ar e&$ression %hi h she had so often remar(ed in her b!a ( e#es, she o"!d not satisf# herse!f %hether Pear! rea!!# atta hed an# meaning to the s#mbo!. She fe!t a morbid desire to as ertain the $oint. 8Dost tho" (no%, hi!d, %herefore th# mother %ears this !etter:8 8Tr"!# do I;8 ans%ered Pear!, !oo(ing bright!# into her mother.s fa e. 8It is for the same reason that the minister (ee$s his hand o'er his heart;8 8And %hat reason is that:8 as(ed Hester, ha!f smi!ing at the abs"rd in ongr"it# of the hi!d.s obser'ation2 b"t on se ond tho"ghts t"rning $a!e. 81hat has the !etter to do %ith an# heart sa'e mine:8 8Na#, mother, I ha'e to!d a!! I (no%,8 said Pear!, more serio"s!# than she %as %ont to s$ea(. 8As( #onder o!d man %hom tho" hast been ta!(ing %ith,--it ma# be he an te!!. +"t in good earnest no%, mother dear, %hat does this s ar!et !etter mean:--and %h# dost tho" %ear it on th# bosom:--and %h# does the minister (ee$ his hand o'er his heart:8 She too( her mother.s hand in both her o%n, and ga6ed into her e#es %ith an earnestness that %as se!dom seen in her %i!d and a$ri io"s hara ter. The tho"ght o "rred to Hester, that the hi!d might rea!!# be see(ing to a$$roa h her %ith hi!d!i(e onfiden e, and doing %hat she o"!d, and as inte!!igent!# as she (ne% ho%, to estab!ish a meeting$oint of s#m$ath#. It sho%ed Pear! in an "n%onted as$e t. Heretofore, the mother, %hi!e !o'ing her hi!d %ith the intensit# of a so!e affe tion, had s hoo!ed herse!f to ho$e for !itt!e other ret"rn than the %a#%ardness of an A$ri! bree6e, %hi h s$ends its time in air# s$ort, and has its g"sts of ine&$!i ab!e $assion, and is $et"!ant in its best of moods, and hi!!s oftener than aresses #o", %hen #o" ta(e it to #o"r bosom2 in re/"ita! of %hi h misdemeano"rs it %i!! sometimes, of its o%n 'ag"e $"r$ose, (iss #o"r hee( %ith a (ind of do"btf"! tenderness, and $!a# gent!# %ith #o"r hair, and then be gone abo"t its other id!e b"siness, !ea'ing a dream# $!eas"re at #o"r heart. And this, moreo'er, %as a mother.s estimate of the hi!d.s dis$osition. An# other obser'er might ha'e seen fe% b"t "namiab!e traits, and ha'e gi'en them a far dar(er o!o"ring. +"t no% the idea ame strong!# into Hester.s mind, that Pear!, %ith her remar(ab!e $re o it# and a "teness, might a!read# ha'e a$$roa hed the age %hen she o"!d ha'e been made a friend, and

intr"sted %ith as m" h of her mother.s sorro%s as o"!d be im$arted, %itho"t irre'eren e either to the $arent or the hi!d. In the !itt!e haos of Pear!.s hara ter there might be seen emerging and o"!d ha'e been from the 'er# first--the steadfast $rin i$!es of an "nf!in hing o"rage--an "n ontro!!ab!e %i!!--st"rd# $ride, %hi h might be dis i$!ined into se!f-res$e t--and a bitter s orn of man# things %hi h, %hen e&amined, might be fo"nd to ha'e the taint of fa!sehood in them. She $ossessed affe tions, too, tho"gh hitherto a rid and disagreeab!e, as are the ri hest f!a'o"rs of "nri$e fr"it. 1ith a!! these ster!ing attrib"tes, tho"ght Hester, the e'i! %hi h she inherited from her mother m"st be great indeed, if a nob!e %oman do not gro% o"t of this e!fish hi!d. Pear!.s ine'itab!e tenden # to ho'er abo"t the enigma of the s ar!et !etter seemed an innate /"a!it# of her being. 3rom the ear!iest e$o h of her ons io"s !ife, she had entered "$on this as her a$$ointed mission. Hester had often fan ied that Pro'iden e had a design of *"sti e and retrib"tion, in endo%ing the hi!d %ith this mar(ed $ro$ensit#2 b"t ne'er, "nti! no%, had she betho"ght herse!f to as(, %hether, !in(ed %ith that design, there might not !i(e%ise be a $"r$ose of mer # and benefi en e. If !itt!e Pear! %ere entertained %ith faith and tr"st, as a s$irit messenger no !ess than an earth!# hi!d, might it not be her errand to soothe a%a# the sorro% that !a# o!d in her mother.s heart, and on'erted it into a tomb:--and to he!$ her to o'er ome the $assion, on e so %i!d, and e'en #et neither dead nor as!ee$, b"t on!# im$risoned %ithin the same tomb-!i(e heart: S" h %ere some of the tho"ghts that no% stirred in Hester.s mind, %ith as m" h 'i'a it# of im$ression as if the# had a t"a!!# been %his$ered into her ear. And there %as !itt!e Pear!, a!! this %hi!e, ho!ding her mother.s hand in both her o%n, and t"rning her fa e "$%ard, %hi!e she $"t these sear hing /"estions, on e and again, and sti!! a third time. 81hat does the !etter mean, mother: and %h# dost tho" %ear it: and %h# does the minister (ee$ his hand o'er his heart:8 81hat sha!! I sa#:8 tho"ght Hester to herse!f. 8No; if this be the $ri e of the hi!d.s s#m$ath#, I annot $a# it. 8 Then she s$o(e a!o"d-8Si!!# Pear!,8 said she, 8%hat /"estions are these: There are man# things in this %or!d that a hi!d m"st not as( abo"t. 1hat (no% I of the minister.s heart: And as for the s ar!et !etter, I %ear it for the sa(e of its go!d thread.8 In a!! the se'en b#gone #ears, Hester Pr#nne had ne'er before been fa!se to the s#mbo! on her bosom. It ma# be that it %as the ta!isman of a stern and se'ere, b"t #et a g"ardian s$irit, %ho no% forsoo( her2 as re ognising that, in s$ite of his stri t %at h o'er her heart, some ne% e'i! had re$t into it, or some o!d one had ne'er been e&$e!!ed. As for !itt!e Pear!, the earnestness soon $assed o"t of her fa e. +"t the hi!d did not see fit to !et the matter dro$. T%o or three times, as her mother and she %ent home%ard, and as often at s"$$er-time, and %hi!e Hester %as $"tting her to bed,

and on e after she seemed to be fair!# as!ee$, Pear! !oo(ed "$, %ith mis hief g!eaming in her b!a ( e#es. 84other,8 said she, 8%hat does the s ar!et !etter mean:8 And the ne&t morning, the first indi ation the hi!d ga'e of being a%a(e %as b# $o$$ing "$ her head from the $i!!o%, and ma(ing that other en/"ir#, %hi h she had so "na o"ntab!# onne ted %ith her in'estigations abo"t the s ar!et !etter-84other;--4other;--1h# does the minister (ee$ his hand o'er his heart:8 8Ho!d th# tong"e, na"ght# hi!d;8 ans%ered her mother, %ith an as$erit# that she had ne'er $ermitted to herse!f before. 8Do not tease me2 e!se I sha!! $"t thee into the dar( !oset;8

Chapter 16
CHAPTER ?,I. A 3OREST 1AL0 Hester Pr#nne remained onstant in her reso!'e to ma(e (no%n to 4r. Dimmesda!e, at %hate'er ris( of $resent $ain or "!terior onse/"en es, the tr"e hara ter of the man %ho had re$t into his intima #. 3or se'era! da#s, ho%e'er, she 'ain!# so"ght an o$$ort"nit# of addressing him in some of the meditati'e %a!(s %hi h she (ne% him to be in the habit of ta(ing a!ong the shores of the Penins"!a, or on the %ooded hi!!s of the neighbo"ring o"ntr#. There %o"!d ha'e been no s anda!, indeed, nor $eri! to the ho!# %hiteness of the !erg#man.s good fame, had she 'isited him in his o%n st"d#, %here man# a $enitent, ere no%, had onfessed sins of $erha$s as dee$ a d#e as the one beto(ened b# the s ar!et !etter. +"t, $art!# that she dreaded the se ret or "ndisg"ised interferen e of o!d Roger Chi!!ing%orth, and $art!# that her ons io"s heart im$arted s"s$i ion %here none o"!d ha'e been fe!t, and $art!# that both the minister and she %o"!d need the %ho!e %ide %or!d to breathe in, %hi!e the# ta!(ed together--for a!! these reasons Hester ne'er tho"ght of meeting him in an# narro%er $ri'a # than beneath the o$en s(#. At !ast, %hi!e attending a si ( hamber, %hither the Re'. 4r. Dimmesda!e had been s"mmoned to ma(e a $ra#er, she !earnt that he had gone, the da# before, to 'isit the A$ost!e E!iot, among his Indian on'erts. He %o"!d $robab!# ret"rn b# a ertain ho"r in the afternoon of the morro%. +etimes, therefore, the ne&t da#, Hester too( !itt!e Pear!-%ho %as ne essari!# the om$anion of a!! her mother.s e&$editions, ho%e'er in on'enient her $resen e--and set forth. The road, after the t%o %a#farers had rossed from the Penins"!a to the main!and, %as no other than a foot-$ath. It stragg!ed on%ard into the m#ster# of the $rime'a! forest. This hemmed it in so narro%!#, and stood so b!a ( and dense on either side, and dis !osed s" h im$erfe t g!im$ses of the s(# abo'e, that, to Hester.s mind, it imaged not amiss the mora! %i!derness in %hi h she had so !ong been %andering. The da# %as hi!! and

sombre. O'erhead %as a gra# e&$anse of !o"d, s!ight!# stirred, ho%e'er, b# a bree6e2 so that a g!eam of f!i (ering s"nshine might no% and then be seen at its so!itar# $!a# a!ong the $ath. This f!itting heerf"!ness %as a!%a#s at the f"rther e&tremit# of some !ong 'ista thro"gh the forest. The s$orti'e s"n!ight--feeb!# s$orti'e, at best, in the $redominant $ensi'eness of the da# and s ene--%ithdre% itse!f as the# ame nigh, and !eft the s$ots %here it had dan ed the drearier, be a"se the# had ho$ed to find them bright. 84other,8 said !itt!e Pear!, 8the s"nshine does not !o'e #o". It r"ns a%a# and hides itse!f, be a"se it is afraid of something on #o"r bosom. No%, see; There it is, $!a#ing a good %a# off. Stand #o" here, and !et me r"n and at h it. I am b"t a hi!d. It %i!! not f!ee from me--for I %ear nothing on m# bosom #et;8 8Nor e'er %i!!, m# hi!d, I ho$e,8 said Hester. 8And %h# not, mother:8 as(ed Pear!, sto$$ing short, *"st at the beginning of her ra e. 81i!! not it ome of its o%n a ord %hen I am a %oman gro%n:8 8R"n a%a#, hi!d,8 ans%ered her mother, 8and at h the s"nshine. It %i!! soon be gone 8 Pear! set forth at a great $a e, and as Hester smi!ed to $er ei'e, did a t"a!!# at h the s"nshine, and stood !a"ghing in the midst of it, a!! brightened b# its s$!endo"r, and s inti!!ating %ith the 'i'a it# e& ited b# ra$id motion. The !ight !ingered abo"t the !one!# hi!d, as if g!ad of s" h a $!a#mate, "nti! her mother had dra%n a!most nigh eno"gh to ste$ into the magi ir !e too. 8It %i!! go no%,8 said Pear!, sha(ing her head. 8See;8 ans%ered Hester, smi!ing2 8no% I an stret h o"t m# hand and gras$ some of it.8 As she attem$ted to do so, the s"nshine 'anished2 or, to *"dge from the bright e&$ression that %as dan ing on Pear!.s feat"res, her mother o"!d ha'e fan ied that the hi!d had absorbed it into herse!f, and %o"!d gi'e it forth again, %ith a g!eam abo"t her $ath, as the# sho"!d $!"nge into some g!oomier shade. There %as no other attrib"te that so m" h im$ressed her %ith a sense of ne% and "ntransmitted 'igo"r in Pear!.s nat"re, as this ne'er fai!ing 'i'a it# of s$irits7 she had not the disease of sadness, %hi h a!most a!! hi!dren, in these !atter da#s, inherit, %ith the s rof"!a, from the tro"b!es of their an estors. Perha$s this, too, %as a disease, and b"t the ref!e& of the %i!d energ# %ith %hi h Hester had fo"ght against her sorro%s before Pear!.s birth. It %as ertain!# a do"btf"! harm, im$arting a hard, meta!!i !"stre to the hi!d.s hara ter. She %anted-%hat some $eo$!e %ant thro"gho"t !ife--a grief that sho"!d dee$!# to" h her, and th"s h"manise and ma(e her a$ab!e of s#m$ath#. +"t there %as time eno"gh #et for !itt!e Pear!. 8Come, m# hi!d;8 said Hester, !oo(ing abo"t her from the s$ot %here Pear! had stood sti!! in the s"nshine--8%e %i!! sit do%n a !itt!e %a# %ithin the %ood, and rest o"rse!'es.8

8I am not a%ear#, mother,8 re$!ied the !itt!e gir!. 8+"t #o" ma# sit do%n, if #o" %i!! te!! me a stor# mean%hi!e.8 8A stor#, hi!d;8 said Hester. 8And abo"t %hat:8 8Oh, a stor# abo"t the +!a ( 4an,8 ans%ered Pear!, ta(ing ho!d of her mother.s go%n, and !oo(ing "$, ha!f earnest!#, ha!f mis hie'o"s!#, into her fa e. 8Ho% he ha"nts this forest, and arries a boo( %ith him a big, hea'# boo(, %ith iron !as$s2 and ho% this "g!# +!a ( 4an offers his boo( and an iron $en to e'er#bod# that meets him here among the trees2 and the# are to %rite their names %ith their o%n b!ood2 and then he sets his mar( on their bosoms. Didst tho" e'er meet the +!a ( 4an, mother:8 8And %ho to!d #o" this stor#, Pear!,8 as(ed her mother, re ognising a ommon s"$erstition of the $eriod. 8It %as the o!d dame in the himne# orner, at the ho"se %here #o" %at hed !ast night,8 said the hi!d. 8+"t she fan ied me as!ee$ %hi!e she %as ta!(ing of it. She said that a tho"sand and a tho"sand $eo$!e had met him here, and had %ritten in his boo(, and ha'e his mar( on them. And that "g!# tem$ered !ad#, o!d 4istress Hibbins, %as one. And, mother, the o!d dame said that this s ar!et !etter %as the +!a ( 4an.s mar( on thee, and that it g!o%s !i(e a red f!ame %hen tho" meetest him at midnight, here in the dar( %ood. Is it tr"e, mother: And dost tho" go to meet him in the nighttime:8 8Didst tho" e'er a%a(e and find th# mother gone:8 as(ed Hester. 8Not that I remember,8 said the hi!d. 8If tho" fearest to !ea'e me in o"r ottage, tho" mightest ta(e me a!ong %ith thee. I %o"!d 'er# g!ad!# go; +"t, mother, te!! me no%; Is there s" h a +!a ( 4an: And didst tho" e'er meet him: And is this his mar(:8 81i!t tho" !et me be at $ea e, if I on e te!! thee:8 as(ed her mother. 8<es, if tho" te!!est me a!!,8 ans%ered Pear!. 8On e in m# !ife I met the +!a ( 4an;8 said her mother. This s ar!et !etter is his mar(;8 Th"s on'ersing, the# entered s"ffi ient!# dee$ into the %ood to se "re themse!'es from the obser'ation of an# as"a! $assenger a!ong the forest tra (. Here the# sat do%n on a !"&"riant hea$ of moss2 %hi h at some e$o h of the $re eding ent"r#, had been a giganti $ine, %ith its roots and tr"n( in the dar(some shade, and its head a!oft in the "$$er atmos$here It %as a !itt!e de!! %here the# had seated themse!'es, %ith a !eaf-stre%n ban( rising gent!# on either side, and a broo( f!o%ing thro"gh the midst, o'er a bed of fa!!en and dro%ned !ea'es. The trees im$ending o'er it had f!"ng do%n great bran hes from time to time, %hi h ho(ed "$ the "rrent, and om$e!!ed it to form eddies and b!a ( de$ths at some $oints2 %hi!e, in its s%ifter and !i'e!ier $assages there a$$eared a hanne!-%a# of $ebb!es, and bro%n, s$ar(!ing sand. Letting the e#es fo!!o% a!ong the o"rse of the stream, the# o"!d at h the ref!e ted !ight from its %ater, at some short

distan e %ithin the forest, b"t soon !ost a!! tra es of it amid the be%i!derment of treetr"n(s and "nderb"sh, and here and there a h"ge ro ( o'ered o'er %ith gra# !i hens. A!! these giant trees and bo"!ders of granite seemed intent on ma(ing a m#ster# of the o"rse of this sma!! broo(2 fearing, $erha$s, that, %ith its ne'er- easing !o/"a it#, it sho"!d %his$er ta!es o"t of the heart of the o!d forest %hen e it f!o%ed, or mirror its re'e!ations on the smooth s"rfa e of a $oo!. Contin"a!!#, indeed, as it sto!e on%ard, the stream!et (e$t "$ a babb!e, (ind, /"iet, soothing, b"t me!an ho!#, !i(e the 'oi e of a #o"ng hi!d that %as s$ending its infan # %itho"t $!a#f"!ness, and (ne% not ho% to be merr# among sad a /"aintan e and e'ents of sombre h"e. 8Oh, broo(; Oh, foo!ish and tiresome !itt!e broo(;8 ried Pear!, after !istening a%hi!e to its ta!(, 81h# art tho" so sad: P!" ( "$ a s$irit, and do not be a!! the time sighing and m"rm"ring;8 +"t the broo(, in the o"rse of its !itt!e !ifetime among the forest trees, had gone thro"gh so so!emn an e&$erien e that it o"!d not he!$ ta!(ing abo"t it, and seemed to ha'e nothing e!se to sa#. Pear! resemb!ed the broo(, inasm" h as the "rrent of her !ife g"shed from a %e!!-s$ring as m#sterio"s, and had f!o%ed thro"gh s enes shado%ed as hea'i!# %ith g!oom. +"t, "n!i(e the !itt!e stream, she dan ed and s$ar(!ed, and $ratt!ed airi!# a!ong her o"rse. 81hat does this sad !itt!e broo( sa#, mother: in/"ired she. 8If tho" hadst a sorro% of thine o%n, the broo( might te!! thee of it,8 ans%ered her mother, 8e'en as it is te!!ing me of mine. +"t no%, Pear!, I hear a footste$ a!ong the $ath, and the noise of one $"tting aside the bran hes. I %o"!d ha'e thee beta(e th#se!f to $!a#, and !ea'e me to s$ea( %ith him that omes #onder.8 8Is it the +!a ( 4an:8 as(ed Pear!. 81i!t tho" go and $!a#, hi!d:8 re$eated her mother, 8+"t do not stra# far into the %ood. And ta(e heed that tho" ome at m# first a!!.8 8<es, mother,8 ans%ered Pear!, 8+"t if it be the +!a ( 4an, %i!t tho" not !et me sta# a moment, and !oo( at him, %ith his big boo( "nder his arm:8 89o, si!!# hi!d;8 said her mother im$atient!#. 8It is no +!a ( 4an; Tho" anst see him no%, thro"gh the trees. It is the minister;8 8And so it is;8 said the hi!d. 8And, mother, he has his hand o'er his heart; Is it be a"se, %hen the minister %rote his name in the boo(, the +!a ( 4an set his mar( in that $!a e: +"t %h# does he not %ear it o"tside his bosom, as tho" dost, mother:8 89o no%, hi!d, and tho" sha!t tease me as tho" %i!t another time,8 ried Hester Pr#nne. 8+"t do not stra# far. 0ee$ %here tho" anst hear the babb!e of the broo(.8

The hi!d %ent singing a%a#, fo!!o%ing "$ the "rrent of the broo(, and stri'ing to ming!e a more !ightsome aden e %ith its me!an ho!# 'oi e. +"t the !itt!e stream %o"!d not be omforted, and sti!! (e$t te!!ing its "ninte!!igib!e se ret of some 'er# mo"rnf"! m#ster# that had ha$$ened--or ma(ing a $ro$heti !amentation abo"t something that %as #et to ha$$en--%ithin the 'erge of the disma! forest. So Pear!, %ho had eno"gh of shado% in her o%n !itt!e !ife, hose to brea( off a!! a /"aintan e %ith this re$ining broo(. She set herse!f, therefore, to gathering 'io!ets and %ood-anemones, and some s ar!et o!"mbines that she fo"nd gro%ing in the re'i e of a high ro (. 1hen her e!f- hi!d had de$arted, Hester Pr#nne made a ste$ or t%o to%ards the tra ( that !ed thro"gh the forest, b"t sti!! remained "nder the dee$ shado% of the trees. She behe!d the minister ad'an ing a!ong the $ath entire!# a!one, and !eaning on a staff %hi h he had "t b# the %a#side. He !oo(ed haggard and feeb!e, and betra#ed a ner'e!ess des$onden # in his air, %hi h had ne'er so remar(ab!# hara terised him in his %a!(s abo"t the sett!ement, nor in an# other sit"ation %here he deemed himse!f !iab!e to noti e. Here it %as %of"!!# 'isib!e, in this intense se !"sion of the forest, %hi h of itse!f %o"!d ha'e been a hea'# tria! to the s$irits. There %as a !ist!essness in his gait, as if he sa% no reason for ta(ing one ste$ f"rther, nor fe!t an# desire to do so, b"t %o"!d ha'e been g!ad, o"!d he be g!ad of an#thing, to f!ing himse!f do%n at the root of the nearest tree, and !ie there $assi'e for e'ermore. The !ea'es might bestre% him, and the soi! grad"a!!# a "m"!ate and form a !itt!e hi!!o ( o'er his frame, no matter %hether there %ere !ife in it or no. Death %as too definite an ob*e t to be %ished for or a'oided. To Hester.s e#e, the Re'erend 4r. Dimmesda!e e&hibited no s#m$tom of $ositi'e and 'i'a io"s s"ffering, e& e$t that, as !itt!e Pear! had remar(ed, he (e$t his hand o'er his heart.

Chapter 17
CHAPTER ?,II. THE PASTOR AND HIS PARISHIONER S!o%!# as the minister %a!(ed, he had a!most gone b# before Hester Pr#nne o"!d gather 'oi e eno"gh to attra t his obser'ation. At !ength she s" eeded. 8Arth"r Dimmesda!e;8 she said, faint!# at first, then !o"der, b"t hoarse!#--8Arth"r Dimmesda!e;8 81ho s$ea(s:8 ans%ered the minister. 9athering himse!f /"i (!# "$, he stood more ere t, !i(e a man ta(en b# s"r$rise in a mood to %hi h he %as re!" tant to ha'e %itnesses. Thro%ing his e#es an&io"s!# in the dire tion of the 'oi e, he indistin t!# behe!d a form "nder the trees, !ad in garments so sombre, and so !itt!e re!ie'ed from the gra# t%i!ight into %hi h the !o"ded s(# and the hea'# fo!iage had dar(ened the noontide, that he (ne% not %hether it %ere a %oman or a shado%. It ma# be that his $ath%a# thro"gh !ife %as ha"nted th"s b# a s$e tre that had sto!en o"t from among his tho"ghts.

He made a ste$ nigher, and dis o'ered the s ar!et !etter. 8Hester; Hester Pr#nne;., said he2 8is it tho": Art tho" in !ife:8 8E'en so.8 she ans%ered. 8In s" h !ife as has been mine these se'en #ears $ast; And tho", Arth"r Dimmesda!e, dost tho" #et !i'e:8 It %as no %onder that the# th"s /"estioned one another.s a t"a! and bodi!# e&isten e, and e'en do"bted of their o%n. So strange!# did the# meet in the dim %ood that it %as !i(e the first en o"nter in the %or!d be#ond the gra'e of t%o s$irits %ho had been intimate!# onne ted in their former !ife, b"t no% stood o!d!# sh"ddering in m"t"a! dread, as not #et fami!iar %ith their state, nor %onted to the om$anionshi$ of disembodied beings. Ea h a ghost, and a%e-stri (en at the other ghost. The# %ere a%e-stri (en !i(e%ise at themse!'es, be a"se the risis f!"ng ba ( to them their ons io"sness, and re'ea!ed to ea h heart its histor# and e&$erien e, as !ife ne'er does, e& e$t at s" h breath!ess e$o hs. The so"! behe!d its feat"res in the mirror of the $assing moment. It %as %ith fear, and trem"!o"s!#, and, as it %ere, b# a s!o%, re!" tant ne essit#, that Arth"r Dimmesda!e $"t forth his hand, hi!! as death, and to" hed the hi!! hand of Hester Pr#nne. The gras$, o!d as it %as, too( a%a# %hat %as dreariest in the inter'ie%. The# no% fe!t themse!'es, at !east, inhabitants of the same s$here. 1itho"t a %ord more s$o(en--neither he nor she ass"ming the g"idan e, b"t %ith an "ne&$ressed onsent--the# g!ided ba ( into the shado% of the %oods %hen e Hester had emerged, and sat do%n on the hea$ of moss %here she and Pear! had before been sitting. 1hen the# fo"nd 'oi e to s$ea(, it %as at first on!# to "tter remar(s and in/"iries s" h as an# t%o a /"aintan es might ha'e made, abo"t the g!oom# s(#, the threatening storm, and, ne&t, the hea!th of ea h. Th"s the# %ent on%ard, not bo!d!#, b"t ste$ b# ste$, into the themes that %ere brooding dee$est in their hearts. So !ong estranged b# fate and ir "mstan es, the# needed something s!ight and as"a! to r"n before and thro% o$en the doors of inter o"rse, so that their rea! tho"ghts might be !ed a ross the thresho!d. After a%hi!e, the minister fi&ed his e#es on Hester Pr#nne.s. 8Hester,8 said he, 8hast tho" fo"nd $ea e:8 She smi!ed dreari!#, !oo(ing do%n "$on her bosom. 8Hast tho":8 she as(ed. 8None--nothing b"t des$air;8 he ans%ered. 81hat e!se o"!d I !oo( for, being %hat I am, and !eading s" h a !ife as mine: 1ere I an atheist--a man de'oid of ons ien e--a %ret h %ith oarse and br"ta! instin ts--I might ha'e fo"nd $ea e !ong ere no%. Na#, I ne'er sho"!d ha'e !ost it. +"t, as matters stand %ith m# so"!, %hate'er of good a$a it# there origina!!# %as in me, a!! of 9od.s gifts that %ere the hoi est ha'e be ome the ministers of s$irit"a! torment. Hester, I am most miserab!e;8

8The $eo$!e re'eren e thee,8 said Hester. 8And s"re!# tho" %or(est good among them; Doth this bring thee no omfort:8 84ore miser#, Hester;--On!# the more miser#;8 ans%ered the !erg#man %ith a bitter smi!e. 8As on erns the good %hi h I ma# a$$ear to do, I ha'e no faith in it. It m"st needs be a de!"sion. 1hat an a r"ined so"! !i(e mine effe t to%ards the redem$tion of other so"!s:--or a $o!!"ted so"! to%ards their $"rifi ation: And as for the $eo$!e.s re'eren e, %o"!d that it %ere t"rned to s orn and hatred; Canst tho" deem it, Hester, a onso!ation that I m"st stand "$ in m# $"!$it, and meet so man# e#es t"rned "$%ard to m# fa e, as if the !ight of hea'en %ere beaming from it;--m"st see m# f!o ( h"ngr# for the tr"th, and !istening to m# %ords as if a tong"e of Pente ost %ere s$ea(ing;--and then !oo( in%ard, and dis ern the b!a ( rea!it# of %hat the# ido!ise: I ha'e !a"ghed, in bitterness and agon# of heart, at the ontrast bet%een %hat I seem and %hat I am; And Satan !a"ghs at it;8 8<o" %rong #o"rse!f in this,8 said Hester gent!#. 8<o" ha'e dee$!# and sore!# re$ented. <o"r sin is !eft behind #o" in the da#s !ong $ast. <o"r $resent !ife is not !ess ho!#, in 'er# tr"th, than it seems in $eo$!e.s e#es. Is there no rea!it# in the $eniten e th"s sea!ed and %itnessed b# good %or(s: And %herefore sho"!d it not bring #o" $ea e:8 8No, Hester--no;8 re$!ied the !erg#man. 8There is no s"bstan e in itA It is o!d and dead, and an do nothing for me; Of $enan e, I ha'e had eno"gh; Of $eniten e, there has been none; E!se, I sho"!d !ong ago ha'e thro%n off these garments of mo ( ho!iness, and ha'e sho%n m#se!f to man(ind as the# %i!! see me at the *"dgment-seat. Ha$$# are #o", Hester, that %ear the s ar!et !etter o$en!# "$on #o"r bosom; 4ine b"rns in se ret; Tho" !itt!e (no%est %hat a re!ief it is, after the torment of a se'en #ears. heat, to !oo( into an e#e that re ognises me for %hat I am; Had I one friend--or %ere it m# %orst enem#;--to %hom, %hen si (ened %ith the $raises of a!! other men, I o"!d dai!# beta(e m#se!f, and (no%n as the 'i!est of a!! sinners, methin(s m# so"! might (ee$ itse!f a!i'e thereb#. E'en th"s m" h of tr"th %o"!d sa'e me; +"t no%, it is a!! fa!sehood;--a!! em$tiness;--a!! death;8 Hester Pr#nne !oo(ed into his fa e, b"t hesitated to s$ea(. <et, "ttering his !ongrestrained emotions so 'ehement!# as he did, his %ords here offered her the 'er# $oint of ir "mstan es in %hi h to inter$ose %hat she ame to sa#. She on/"ered her fears, and s$o(e7 8S" h a friend as tho" hast e'en no% %ished for,8 said she, 8%ith %hom to %ee$ o'er th# sin, tho" hast in me, the $artner of it;8 Again she hesitated, b"t bro"ght o"t the %ords %ith an effort 8Tho" hast !ong had s" h an enem#, and d%e!!est %ith him, "nder the same roof;8 The minister started to his feet, gas$ing for breath, and !"t hing at his heart, as if he %o"!d ha'e torn it o"t of his bosom.

8Ha; 1hat sa#est tho":8 ried he. 8An enem#; And "nder mine o%n roof; 1hat mean #o":8 Hester Pr#nne %as no% f"!!# sensib!e of the dee$ in*"r# for %hi h she %as res$onsib!e to this "nha$$# man, in $ermitting him to !ie for so man# #ears, or, indeed, for a sing!e moment, at the mer # of one %hose $"r$oses o"!d not be other than ma!e'o!ent. The 'er# ontig"it# of his enem#, beneath %hate'er mas( the !atter might on ea! himse!f, %as eno"gh to dist"rb the magneti s$here of a being so sensiti'e as Arth"r Dimmesda!e. There had been a $eriod %hen Hester %as !ess a!i'e to this onsideration2 or, $erha$s, in the misanthro$# of her o%n tro"b!e, she !eft the minister to bear %hat she might $i t"re to herse!f as a more to!erab!e doom. +"t of !ate, sin e the night of his 'igi!, a!! her s#m$athies to%ards him had been both softened and in'igorated. She no% read his heart more a "rate!#. She do"bted not that the ontin"a! $resen e of Roger Chi!!ing%orth--the se ret $oison of his ma!ignit#, infe ting a!! the air abo"t him--and his a"thorised interferen e, as a $h#si ian, %ith the minister.s $h#si a! and s$irit"a! infirmities--that these bad o$$ort"nities had been t"rned to a r"e! $"r$ose. +# means of them, the s"fferer.s ons ien e had been (e$t in an irritated state, the tenden # of %hi h %as, not to "re b# %ho!esome $ain, b"t to disorgani6e and orr"$t his s$irit"a! being. Its res"!t, on earth, o"!d hard!# fai! to be insanit#, and hereafter, that eterna! a!ienation from the 9ood and Tr"e, of %hi h madness is $erha$s the earth!# t#$e. S" h %as the r"in to %hi h she had bro"ght the man, on e--na#, %h# sho"!d %e not s$ea( it:--sti!! so $assionate!# !o'ed; Hester fe!t that the sa rifi e of the !erg#man.s good name, and death itse!f, as she had a!read# to!d Roger Chi!!ing%orth, %o"!d ha'e been infinite!# $referab!e to the a!ternati'e %hi h she had ta(en "$on herse!f to hoose. And no%, rather than ha'e had this grie'o"s %rong to onfess, she %o"!d g!ad!# ha'e !aid do%n on the forest !ea'es, and died there, at Arth"r Dimmesda!e.s feet. 8Oh, Arth"r;8 ried she, 8forgi'e me; In a!! things e!se, I ha'e stri'en to be tr"e; Tr"th %as the one 'irt"e %hi h I might ha'e he!d fast, and did ho!d fast, thro"gh a!! e&tremit#2 sa'e %hen th# good--th# !ife--th# fame--%ere $"t in /"estion; Then I onsented to a de e$tion. +"t a !ie is ne'er good, e'en tho"gh death threaten on the other side; Dost tho" not see %hat I %o"!d sa#: That o!d man;--the $h#si ian;--he %hom the# a!! Roger Chi!!ing%orth;--he %as m# h"sband;8 The minister !oo(ed at her for an instant, %ith a!! that 'io!en e of $assion, %hi h-intermi&ed in more sha$es than one %ith his higher, $"rer, softer /"a!ities--%as, in fa t, the $ortion of him %hi h the de'i! !aimed, and thro"gh %hi h he so"ght to %in the rest. Ne'er %as there a b!a (er or a fier er fro%n than Hester no% en o"ntered. 3or the brief s$a e that it !asted, it %as a dar( transfig"ration. +"t his hara ter had been so m" h enfeeb!ed b# s"ffering, that e'en its !o%er energies %ere in a$ab!e of more than a tem$orar# str"gg!e. He san( do%n on the gro"nd, and b"ried his fa e in his hands. 8I might ha'e (no%n it,8 m"rm"red he--8I did (no% it; 1as not the se ret to!d me, in the nat"ra! re oi! of m# heart at the first sight of him, and as often as I ha'e seen him sin e:

1h# did I not "nderstand: Oh, Hester Pr#nne, tho" !itt!e, !itt!e (no%est a!! the horror of this thing; And the shame;--the inde!i a #;--the horrib!e "g!iness of this e&$os"re of a si ( and g"i!t# heart to the 'er# e#e that %o"!d g!oat o'er it; 1oman, %oman, tho" art a o"ntab!e for this;--I annot forgi'e thee;8 8Tho" sha!t forgi'e me;8 ried Hester, f!inging herse!f on the fa!!en !ea'es beside him. 8Let 9od $"nish; Tho" sha!t forgi'e;8 1ith s"dden and des$erate tenderness she thre% her arms aro"nd him, and $ressed his head against her bosom, !itt!e aring tho"gh his hee( rested on the s ar!et !etter. He %o"!d ha'e re!eased himse!f, b"t stro'e in 'ain to do so. Hester %o"!d not set him free, !est he sho"!d !oo( her stern!# in the fa e. A!! the %or!d had fro%ned on her--for se'en !ong #ears had it fro%ned "$on this !one!# %oman--and sti!! she bore it a!!, nor e'er on e t"rned a%a# her firm, sad e#es. Hea'en, !i(e%ise, had fro%ned "$on her, and she had not died. +"t the fro%n of this $a!e, %ea(, sinf"!, and sorro%-stri (en man %as %hat Hester o"!d not bear, and !i'e; 81i!t tho" #et forgi'e me:8 she re$eated, o'er and o'er again. 81i!t tho" not fro%n: 1i!t tho" forgi'e:8 8I do forgi'e #o", Hester,8 re$!ied the minister at !ength, %ith a dee$ "tteran e, o"t of an ab#ss of sadness, b"t no anger. 8I free!# forgi'e #o" no%. 4a# 9od forgi'e "s both. 1e are not, Hester, the %orst sinners in the %or!d. There is one %orse than e'en the $o!!"ted $riest; That o!d man.s re'enge has been b!a (er than m# sin. He has 'io!ated, in o!d b!ood, the san tit# of a h"man heart. Tho" and I, Hester, ne'er did so;8 8Ne'er, ne'er;8 %his$ered she. 81hat %e did had a onse ration of its o%n. 1e fe!t it so; 1e said so to ea h other. Hast tho" forgotten it:8 8H"sh, Hester;8 said Arth"r Dimmesda!e, rising from the gro"nd. 8No2 I ha'e not forgotten;8 The# sat do%n again, side b# side, and hand !as$ed in hand, on the moss# tr"n( of the fa!!en tree. Life had ne'er bro"ght them a g!oomier ho"r2 it %as the $oint %hither their $ath%a# had so !ong been tending, and dar(ening e'er, as it sto!e a!ong--and #et it "n !osed a harm that made them !inger "$on it, and !aim another, and another, and, after a!!, another moment. The forest %as obs "re aro"nd them, and rea(ed %ith a b!ast that %as $assing thro"gh it. The bo"ghs %ere tossing hea'i!# abo'e their heads2 %hi!e one so!emn o!d tree groaned do!ef"!!# to another, as if te!!ing the sad stor# of the $air that sat beneath, or onstrained to forbode e'i! to ome. And #et the# !ingered. Ho% drear# !oo(ed the forest-tra ( that !ed ba (%ard to the sett!ement, %here Hester Pr#nne m"st ta(e "$ again the b"rden of her ignomin# and the minister the ho!!o% mo (er# of his good name; So the# !ingered an instant !onger. No go!den !ight had e'er been so $re io"s as the g!oom of this dar( forest. Here seen on!# b# his e#es, the s ar!et !etter need not b"rn into the bosom of the fa!!en %oman; Here seen

on!# b# her e#es, Arth"r Dimmesda!e, fa!se to 9od and man, might be, for one moment tr"e; He started at a tho"ght that s"dden!# o "rred to him. 8Hester;8 ried he, 8here is a ne% horror; Roger Chi!!ing%orth (no%s #o"r $"r$ose to re'ea! his tr"e hara ter. 1i!! he ontin"e, then, to (ee$ o"r se ret: 1hat %i!! no% be the o"rse of his re'enge:8 8There is a strange se re # in his nat"re,8 re$!ied Hester, tho"ghtf"!!#2 8and it has gro%n "$on him b# the hidden $ra ti es of his re'enge. I deem it not !i(e!# that he %i!! betra# the se ret. He %i!! do"bt!ess see( other means of satiating his dar( $assion.8 8And I; --ho% am I to !i'e !onger, breathing the same air %ith this dead!# enem#:8 e& !aimed Arth"r Dimmesda!e, shrin(ing %ithin himse!f, and $ressing his hand ner'o"s!# against his heart--a gest"re that had gro%n in'o!"ntar# %ith him. 8Thin( for me, Hester; Tho" art strong. Reso!'e for me;8 8Tho" m"st d%e!! no !onger %ith this man,8 said Hester, s!o%!# and firm!#. 8Th# heart m"st be no !onger "nder his e'i! e#e;8 8It %ere far %orse than death;8 re$!ied the minister. 8+"t ho% to a'oid it: 1hat hoi e remains to me: Sha!! I !ie do%n again on these %ithered !ea'es, %here I ast m#se!f %hen tho" didst te!! me %hat he %as: 4"st I sin( do%n there, and die at on e:8 8A!as; %hat a r"in has befa!!en thee;8 said Hester, %ith the tears g"shing into her e#es. 81i!t tho" die for 'er# %ea(ness: There is no other a"se;8 8The *"dgment of 9od is on me,8 ans%ered the ons ien e-stri (en $riest. 8It is too might# for me to str"gg!e %ith;8 8Hea'en %o"!d sho% mer #,8 re*oined Hester, 8hadst tho" b"t the strength to ta(e ad'antage of it. 8 8+e tho" strong for me;8 ans%ered he. 8Ad'ise me %hat to do.8 8Is the %or!d, then, so narro%:8 e& !aimed Hester Pr#nne, fi&ing her dee$ e#es on the minister.s, and instin ti'e!# e&er ising a magneti $o%er o'er a s$irit so shattered and s"bd"ed that it o"!d hard!# ho!d itse!f ere t. 8Doth the "ni'erse !ie %ithin the om$ass of #onder to%n, %hi h on!# a !itt!e time ago %as b"t a !eaf-stre%n desert, as !one!# as this aro"nd "s: 1hither !eads #onder forest-tra (: +a (%ard to the sett!ement, tho" sa#est; <es2 b"t, on%ard, too; Dee$er it goes, and dee$er into the %i!derness, !ess $!ain!# to be seen at e'er# ste$2 "nti! some fe% mi!es hen e the #e!!o% !ea'es %i!! sho% no 'estige of the %hite man.s tread. There tho" art free; So brief a *o"rne# %o"!d bring thee from a %or!d %here tho" hast been most %ret hed, to one %here tho" ma#est sti!! be ha$$#; Is there not shade eno"gh in a!! this bo"nd!ess forest to hide th# heart from the ga6e of

Roger Chi!!ing%orth:8 8<es, Hester2 b"t on!# "nder the fa!!en !ea'es;8 re$!ied the minister, %ith a sad smi!e. 8Then there is the broad $ath%a# of the sea;8 ontin"ed Hester. 8It bro"ght thee hither. If tho" so hoose, it %i!! bear thee ba ( again. In o"r nati'e !and, %hether in some remote r"ra! 'i!!age, or in 'ast London--or, s"re!#, in 9erman#, in 3ran e, in $!easant Ita!#--tho" %o"!dst be be#ond his $o%er and (no%!edge; And %hat hast tho" to do %ith a!! these iron men, and their o$inions: The# ha'e (e$t th# better $art in bondage too !ong a!read#;8 8It annot be;8 ans%ered the minister, !istening as if he %ere a!!ed "$on to rea!ise a dream. 8I am $o%er!ess to go. 1ret hed and sinf"! as I am, I ha'e had no other tho"ght than to drag on m# earth!# e&isten e in the s$here %here Pro'iden e hath $!a ed me. Lost as m# o%n so"! is, I %o"!d sti!! do %hat I ma# for other h"man so"!s; I dare not /"it m# $ost, tho"gh an "nfaithf"! sentine!, %hose s"re re%ard is death and dishono"r, %hen his drear# %at h sha!! ome to an end;8 8Tho" art r"shed "nder this se'en #ears. %eight of miser#,8 re$!ied Hester, fer'ent!# reso!'ed to b"o# him "$ %ith her o%n energ#. 8+"t tho" sha!t !ea'e it a!! behind thee; It sha!! not "mber th# ste$s, as tho" treadest a!ong the forest-$ath7 neither sha!t tho" freight the shi$ %ith it, if tho" $refer to ross the sea. Lea'e this %re ( and r"in here %here it hath ha$$ened. 4edd!e no more %ith it; +egin a!! ane%; Hast tho" e&ha"sted $ossibi!it# in the fai!"re of this one tria!: Not so; The f"t"re is #et f"!! of tria! and s" ess. There is ha$$iness to be en*o#ed; There is good to be done; E& hange this fa!se !ife of thine for a tr"e one. +e, if th# s$irit s"mmon thee to s" h a mission, the tea her and a$ost!e of the red men. Or, as is more th# nat"re, be a s ho!ar and a sage among the %isest and the most reno%ned of the "!ti'ated %or!d. Prea h; 1rite; A t; Do an#thing, sa'e to !ie do%n and die; 9i'e "$ this name of Arth"r Dimmesda!e, and ma(e th#se!f another, and a high one, s" h as tho" anst %ear %itho"t fear or shame. 1h# sho"!dst tho" tarr# so m" h as one other da# in the torments that ha'e so gna%ed into th# !ife: that ha'e made thee feeb!e to %i!! and to do: that %i!! !ea'e thee $o%er!ess e'en to re$ent: )$, and a%a#;8 8Oh, Hester;8 ried Arth"r Dimmesda!e, in %hose e#es a fitf"! !ight, (ind!ed b# her enth"siasm, f!ashed "$ and died a%a#, 8tho" te!!est of r"nning a ra e to a man %hose (nees are tottering beneath him; I m"st die here; There is not the strength or o"rage !eft me to 'ent"re into the %ide, strange, diffi "!t %or!d a!one;8 It %as the !ast e&$ression of the des$onden # of a bro(en s$irit. He !a (ed energ# to gras$ the better fort"ne that seemed %ithin his rea h. He re$eated the %ord--8A!one, Hester;8 8Tho" sha!! not go a!one;8 ans%ered she, in a dee$ %his$er. Then, a!! %as s$o(en;

Chapter 18
CHAPTER ?,III. A 3LOOD O3 S)NSHINE Arth"r Dimmesda!e ga6ed into Hester.s fa e %ith a !oo( in %hi h ho$e and *o# shone o"t, indeed, b"t %ith fear bet%i&t them, and a (ind of horror at her bo!dness, %ho had s$o(en %hat he 'ag"e!# hinted at, b"t dared not s$ea(. +"t Hester Pr#nne, %ith a mind of nati'e o"rage and a ti'it#, and for so !ong a $eriod not mere!# estranged, b"t o"t!a%ed from so iet#, had habit"ated herse!f to s" h !atit"de of s$e "!ation as %as a!together foreign to the !erg#man. She had %andered, %itho"t r"!e or g"idan e, in a mora! %i!derness, as 'ast, as intri ate, and shado%# as the "ntamed forest, amid the g!oom of %hi h the# %ere no% ho!ding a o!!o/"# that %as to de ide their fate. Her inte!!e t and heart had their home, as it %ere, in desert $!a es, %here she roamed as free!# as the %i!d Indian in his %oods. 3or #ears $ast she had !oo(ed from this estranged $oint of 'ie% at h"man instit"tions, and %hate'er $riests or !egis!ators had estab!ished2 riti ising a!! %ith hard!# more re'eren e than the Indian %o"!d fee! for the !eri a! band, the *"di ia! robe, the $i!!or#, the ga!!o%s, the fireside, or the h"r h. The tenden # of her fate and fort"nes had been to set her f!ee. The s ar!et !etter %as her $ass$ort into regions %here other %omen dared not tread. Shame, Des$air, So!it"de; These had been her tea hers--stern and %i!d ones--and the# had made her strong, b"t ta"ght her m" h amiss. The minister, on the other hand, had ne'er gone thro"gh an e&$erien e a! "!ated to !ead him be#ond the s o$e of genera!!# re ei'ed !a%s2 a!tho"gh, in a sing!e instan e, he had so fearf"!!# transgressed one of the most sa red of them. +"t this had been a sin of $assion, not of $rin i$!e, nor e'en $"r$ose. Sin e that %ret hed e$o h, he had %at hed %ith morbid 6ea! and min"teness, not his a ts--for those it %as eas# to arrange--b"t ea h breath of emotion, and his e'er# tho"ght. At the head of the so ia! s#stem, as the !erg#men of that da# stood, he %as on!# the more tramme!!ed b# its reg"!ations, its $rin i$!es, and e'en its $re*"di es. As a $riest, the frame%or( of his order ine'itab!# hemmed him in. As a man %ho had on e sinned, b"t %ho (e$t his ons ien e a!! a!i'e and $ainf"!!# sensiti'e b# the fretting of an "nhea!ed %o"nd, he might ha'e been s"$$osed safer %ithin the !ine of 'irt"e than if he had ne'er sinned at a!!. Th"s %e seem to see that, as regarded Hester Pr#nne, the %ho!e se'en #ears of o"t!a% and ignomin# had been !itt!e other than a $re$aration for this 'er# ho"r. +"t Arth"r Dimmesda!e; 1ere s" h a man on e more to fa!!, %hat $!ea o"!d be "rged in e&ten"ation of his rime: None2 "n!ess it a'ai! him some%hat that he %as bro(er, do%n b# !ong and e&/"isite s"ffering2 that his mind %as dar(ened and onf"sed b# the 'er# remorse %hi h harro%ed it2 that, bet%een f!eeing as an a'o%ed rimina!, and remaining as a h#$o rite, ons ien e might find it hard to stri(e the ba!an e2 that it %as h"man to a'oid the $eri! of death and infam#, and the ins r"tab!e ma hinations of an enem#2 that, fina!!#, to this $oor $i!grim, on his drear# and desert $ath, faint, si (, miserab!e, there a$$eared a g!im$se of h"man affe tion and s#m$ath#, a ne% !ife, and a tr"e one, in e& hange for the hea'# doom %hi h he %as no% e&$iating. And be the stern and sad tr"th

s$o(en, that the brea h %hi h g"i!t has on e made into the h"man so"! is ne'er, in this morta! state, re$aired. It ma# be %at hed and g"arded, so that the enem# sha!! not for e his %a# again into the itade!, and might e'en in his s"bse/"ent assa"!ts, se!e t some other a'en"e, in $referen e to that %here he had former!# s" eeded. +"t there is sti!! the r"ined %a!!, and near it the stea!th# tread of the foe that %o"!d %in o'er again his "nforgotten tri"m$h. The str"gg!e, if there %ere one, need not be des ribed. Let it s"ffi e that the !erg#man reso!'ed to f!ee, and not a!one. 8If in a!! these $ast se'en #ears,8 tho"ght he, 8I o"!d re a!! one instant of $ea e or ho$e, B %o"!d #et end"re, for the sa(e of that earnest of Hea'en.s mer #. +"t no%--sin e I am irre'o ab!# doomed--%herefore sho"!d I not snat h the so!a e a!!o%ed to the ondemned "!$rit before his e&e "tion: Or, if this be the $ath to a better !ife, as Hester %o"!d $ers"ade me, I s"re!# gi'e "$ no fairer $ros$e t b# $"rs"ing it; Neither an I an# !onger !i'e %itho"t her om$anionshi$2 so $o%erf"! is she to s"stain--so tender to soothe; O Tho" to %hom I dare not !ift mine e#es, %i!t Tho" #et $ardon me:8 8Tho" %i!t go;8 said Hester a!m!#, as he met her g!an e. The de ision on e made, a g!o% of strange en*o#ment thre% its f!i (ering brightness o'er the tro"b!e of his breast. It %as the e&hi!arating effe t--"$on a $risoner *"st es a$ed from the d"ngeon of his o%n heart--of breathing the %i!d, free atmos$here of an "nredeemed, "n hristianised, !a%!ess region His s$irit rose, as it %ere, %ith a bo"nd, and attained a nearer $ros$e t of the s(#, than thro"gho"t a!! the miser# %hi h had (e$t him gro'e!!ing on the earth. Of a dee$!# re!igio"s tem$erament, there %as ine'itab!# a tinge of the de'otiona! in his mood. 8Do I fee! *o# again:8 ried he, %ondering at himse!f. 84etho"ght the germ of it %as dead in me; Oh, Hester, tho" art m# better ange!; I seem to ha'e f!"ng m#se!f--si (, sinstained, and sorro%-b!a (ened--do%n "$on these forest !ea'es, and to ha'e risen "$ a!! made ane%, and %ith ne% $o%ers to g!orif# Him that hath been mer if"!; This is a!read# the better !ife; 1h# did %e not find it sooner:8 8Let "s not !oo( ba (,8 ans%ered Hester Pr#nne. 8The $ast is gone; 1herefore sho"!d %e !inger "$on it no%: See; 1ith this s#mbo! I "ndo it a!!, and ma(e it as if it had ne'er been;8 So s$ea(ing, she "ndid the !as$ that fastened the s ar!et !etter, and, ta(ing it from her bosom, thre% it to a distan e among the %ithered !ea'es. The m#sti to(en a!ighted on the hither 'erge of the stream. 1ith a hand.s-breadth f"rther f!ight, it %o"!d ha'e fa!!en into the %ater, and ha'e gi'e, the !itt!e broo( another %oe to arr# on%ard, besides the "ninte!!igib!e ta!e %hi h it sti!! (e$t m"rm"ring abo"t. +"t there !a# the embroidered !etter, g!ittering !i(e a !ost *e%e!, %hi h some i!!-fated %anderer might $i ( "$, and then eforth be ha"nted b# strange $hantoms of g"i!t, sin(ings of the heart, and "na o"ntab!e misfort"ne.

The stigma gone, Hester hea'ed a !ong, dee$ sigh, in %hi h the b"rden of shame and ang"ish de$arted from her s$irit. O e&/"isite re!ief; She had not (no%n the %eight "nti! she fe!t the freedom; +# another im$"!se, she too( off the forma! a$ that onfined her hair, and do%n it fe!! "$on her sho"!ders, dar( and ri h, %ith at on e a shado% and a !ight in its ab"ndan e, and im$arting the harm of softness to her feat"res. There $!a#ed aro"nd her mo"th, and beamed o"t of her e#es, a radiant and tender smi!e, that seemed g"shing from the 'er# heart of %omanhood. A rimson f!"sh %as g!o%ing on her hee(, that had been !ong so $a!e. Her se&, her #o"th, and the %ho!e ri hness of her bea"t#, ame ba ( from %hat men a!! the irre'o ab!e $ast, and !"stered themse!'es %ith her maiden ho$e, and a ha$$iness before "n(no%n, %ithin the magi ir !e of this ho"r. And, as if the g!oom of the earth and s(# had been b"t the eff!"en e of these t%o morta! hearts, it 'anished %ith their sorro%. A!! at on e, as %ith a s"dden smi!e of hea'en, forth b"rst the s"nshine, $o"ring a 'er# f!ood into the obs "re forest, g!addening ea h green !eaf, transm"ting the #e!!o% fa!!en ones to go!d, and g!eaming ado%n the gra# tr"n(s of the so!emn trees. The ob*e ts that had made a shado% hitherto, embodied the brightness no%. The o"rse of the !itt!e broo( might be tra ed b# its merr# g!eam afar into the %ood.s heart of m#ster#, %hi h had be ome a m#ster# of *o#. S" h %as the s#m$ath# of Nat"re--that %i!d, heathen Nat"re of the forest, ne'er s"b*"gated b# h"man !a%, nor i!!"mined b# higher tr"th--%ith the b!iss of these t%o s$irits; Lo'e, %hether ne%!#-born, or aro"sed from a death-!i(e s!"mber, m"st a!%a#s reate a s"nshine, fi!!ing the heart so f"!! of radian e, that it o'erf!o%s "$on the o"t%ard %or!d. Had the forest sti!! (e$t its g!oom, it %o"!d ha'e been bright in Hester.s e#es, and bright in Arth"r Dimmesda!e.s; Hester !oo(ed at him %ith a thri!! of another *o#. 8Tho" m"st (no% Pear!;8 said she. 8O"r !itt!e Pear!; Tho" hast seen her--#es, I (no% it;-b"t tho" %i!t see her no% %ith other e#es. She is a strange hi!d; I hard!# om$rehend her; +"t tho" %i!t !o'e her dear!#, as I do, and %i!t ad'ise me ho% to dea! %ith her;8 8Dost tho" thin( the hi!d %i!! be g!ad to (no% me:8 as(ed the minister, some%hat "neasi!#. 8I ha'e !ong shr"n( from hi!dren, be a"se the# often sho% a distr"st--a ba (%ardness to be fami!iar %ith me. I ha'e e'en been afraid of !itt!e Pear!;8 8Ah, that %as sad;8 ans%ered the mother. 8+"t she %i!! !o'e thee dear!#, and tho" her. She is not far off. I %i!! a!! her. Pear!; Pear!;8 8I see the hi!d,8 obser'ed the minister. 8<onder she is, standing in a strea( of s"nshine, a good %a# off, on the other side of the broo(. So tho" thin(est the hi!d %i!! !o'e me:8 Hester smi!ed, and again a!!ed to Pear!, %ho %as 'isib!e at some distan e, as the minister had des ribed her, !i(e a bright-a$$are!!ed 'ision in a s"nbeam, %hi h fe!! do%n "$on her thro"gh an ar h of bo"ghs. The ra# /"i'ered to and fro, ma(ing her fig"re dim or distin t--no% !i(e a rea! hi!d, no% !i(e a hi!d.s s$irit--as the s$!endo"r %ent and ame

again. She heard her mother.s 'oi e, and a$$roa hed s!o%!# thro"gh the forest. Pear! had not fo"nd the ho"r $ass %earisome!# %hi!e her mother sat ta!(ing %ith the !erg#man. The great b!a ( forest--stern as it sho%ed itse!f to those %ho bro"ght the g"i!t and tro"b!es of the %or!d into its bosom--be ame the $!a#mate of the !one!# infant, as %e!! as it (ne% ho%. Sombre as it %as, it $"t on the (indest of its moods to %e! ome her. It offered her the $artridge-berries, the gro%th of the $re eding a"t"mn, b"t ri$ening on!# in the s$ring, and no% red as dro$s of b!ood "$on the %ithered !ea'es. These Pear! gathered, and %as $!eased %ith their %i!d f!a'o"r. The sma!! deni6ens of the %i!derness hard!# too( $ains to mo'e o"t of her $ath. A $artridge, indeed, %ith a brood of ten behind her, ran for%ard threatening!#, b"t soon re$ented of her fier eness, and !" (ed to her #o"ng ones not to be afraid. A $igeon, a!one on a !o% bran h, a!!o%ed Pear! to ome beneath, and "ttered a so"nd as m" h of greeting as a!arm. A s/"irre!, from the !oft# de$ths of his domesti tree, hattered either in anger or merriment--for the s/"irre! is s" h a ho!eri and h"moro"s !itt!e $ersonage, that it is hard to disting"ish bet%een his moods--so he hattered at the hi!d, and f!"ng do%n a n"t "$on her bead. It %as a !ast #ear.s n"t, and a!read# gna%ed b# his shar$ tooth. A fo&, start!ed from his s!ee$ b# her !ight footste$ on the !ea'es, !oo(ed in/"isiti'e!# at Pear!, as do"bting %hether it %ere better to stea! off, or rene% his na$ on the same s$ot. A %o!f, it is said--b"t here the ta!e has s"re!# !a$sed into the im$robab!e-- ame "$ and sme!t of Pear!.s robe, and offered his sa'age head to be $atted b# her hand. The tr"th seems to be, ho%e'er, that the motherforest, and these %i!d things %hi h it no"rished, a!! re ognised a (indred %i!derness in the h"man hi!d. And she %as gent!er here than in the grass#-margined streets of the sett!ement, or in her mother.s ottage. The +o%ers a$$eared to (no% it, and one and another %his$ered as she $assed, 8Adorn th#se!f %ith me, tho" bea"tif"! hi!d, adorn th#se!f %ith me;8 --and, to $!ease them, Pear! gathered the 'io!ets, and anemones, and o!"mbines, and some t%igs of the freshest green, %hi h the o!d trees he!d do%n before her e#es. 1ith these she de orated her hair and her #o"ng %aist, and be ame a n#m$h hi!d, or an infant dr#ad, or %hate'er e!se %as in !osest s#m$ath# %ith the anti/"e %ood. In s" h g"ise had Pear! adorned herse!f, %hen she heard her mother.s 'oi e, and ame s!o%!# ba (. S!o%!#--for she sa% the !erg#man;

Chapter 19
CHAPTER ?I?. THE CHILD AT THE +ROO0SIDE 8Tho" %i!! !o'e her dear!#,8 re$eated Hester Pr#nne, as she and the minister sat %at hing !itt!e Pear!. 8Dost tho" not thin( her bea"tif"!: And see %ith %hat nat"ra! s(i!! she has made those sim$!e f!o%ers adorn her; Had she gathered $ear!s, and diamonds, and r"bies in the %ood, the# o"!d not ha'e be ome her better; She is a s$!endid hi!d; +"t I (no% %hose bro% she has;8

8Dost tho" (no%, Hester,8 said Arth"r Dimmesda!e, %ith an "n/"iet smi!e, 8that this dear hi!d, tri$$ing abo"t a!%a#s at th# side, hath a"sed me man# an a!arm: 4etho"ght--oh, Hester, %hat a tho"ght is that, and ho% terrib!e to dread it;--that m# o%n feat"res %ere $art!# re$eated in her fa e, and so stri(ing!# that the %or!d might see them; +"t she is most!# thine;8 8No, no; Not most!#;8 ans%ered the mother, %ith a tender smi!e. 8A !itt!e !onger, and tho" needest not to be afraid to tra e %hose hi!d she is. +"t ho% strange!# bea"tif"! she !oo(s %ith those %i!d f!o%ers in her hair; It is as if one of the fairies, %hom %e !eft in dear o!d Eng!and, had de (ed her o"t to meet "s.8 It %as %ith a fee!ing %hi h neither of them had e'er before e&$erien ed, that the# sat and %at hed Pear!.s s!o% ad'an e. In her %as 'isib!e the tie that "nited them. She had been offered to the %or!d, these se'en $ast #ears, as the !i'ing hierog!#$hi , in %hi h %as re'ea!ed the se ret the# so dar(!# so"ght to hide--a!! %ritten in this s#mbo!--a!! $!ain!# manifest--had there been a $ro$het or magi ian s(i!!ed to read the hara ter of f!ame; And Pear! %as the oneness of their being. +e the foregone e'i! %hat it might, ho% o"!d the# do"bt that their earth!# !i'es and f"t"re destinies %ere on*oined %hen the# behe!d at on e the materia! "nion, and the s$irit"a! idea, in %hom the# met, and %ere to d%e!! immorta!!# together2 tho"ghts !i(e these--and $erha$s other tho"ghts, %hi h the# did not a (no%!edge or define--thre% an a%e abo"t the hi!d as she ame on%ard. 8Let her see nothing strange--no $assion or eagerness--in th# %a# of a osting her,8 %his$ered Hester. 8O"r Pear! is a fitf"! and fantasti !itt!e e!f sometimes. Es$e ia!!# she is genera!!# into!erant of emotion, %hen she does not f"!!# om$rehend the %h# and %herefore. +"t the hi!d hath strong affe tions; She !o'es me, and %i!! !o'e thee;8 8Tho" anst not thin(,8 said the minister, g!an ing aside at Hester Pr#nne, 8ho% m# heart dreads this inter'ie%, and #earns for it; +"t, in tr"th, as I a!read# to!d thee, hi!dren are not readi!# %on to be fami!iar %ith me. The# %i!! not !imb m# (nee, nor $ratt!e in m# ear, nor ans%er to m# smi!e, b"t stand a$art, and e#e me strange!#. E'en !itt!e babes, %hen I ta(e them in m# arms, %ee$ bitter!#. <et Pear!, t%i e in her !itt!e !ifetime, hath been (ind to me; The first time--tho" (no%est it %e!!; The !ast %as %hen tho" !edst her %ith thee to the ho"se of #onder stern o!d 9o'ernor.8 8And tho" didst $!ead so bra'e!# in her beha!f and mine;8 ans%ered the mother. 8I remember it2 and so sha!! !itt!e Pear!. 3ear nothing. She ma# be strange and sh# at first, b"t %i!! soon !earn to !o'e thee;8 +# this time Pear! had rea hed the margin of the broo(, and stood on the f"rther side, ga6ing si!ent!# at Hester and the !erg#man, %ho sti!! sat together on the moss# tree-tr"n( %aiting to re ei'e her. -"st %here she had $a"sed, the broo( han ed to form a $oo! so smooth and /"iet that it ref!e ted a $erfe t image of her !itt!e fig"re, %ith a!! the bri!!iant $i t"res/"eness of her bea"t#, in its adornment of f!o%ers and %reathed fo!iage, b"t more refined and s$irit"a!i6ed than the rea!it#. This image, so near!# identi a! %ith the !i'ing Pear!, seemed to omm"ni ate some%hat of its o%n shado%# and intangib!e /"a!it# to

the hi!d herse!f. It %as strange, the %a# in %hi h Pear! stood, !oo(ing so steadfast!# at them thro"gh the dim medi"m of the forest g!oom, herse!f, mean%hi!e, a!! g!orified %ith a ra# of s"nshine, that %as attra ted thither%ard as b# a ertain s#m$ath#. In the broo( beneath stood another hi!d--another and the same--%ith !i(e%ise its ra# of go!den !ight. Hester fe!t herse!f, in some indistin t and tanta!i6ing manner, estranged from Pear!, as if the hi!d, in her !one!# ramb!e thro"gh the forest, had stra#ed o"t of the s$here in %hi h she and her mother d%e!t together, and %as no% 'ain!# see(ing to ret"rn to it. There %ere both tr"th and error in the im$ression2 the hi!d and mother %ere estranged, b"t thro"gh Hester.s fa"!t, not Pear!.s. Sin e the !atter ramb!ed from her side, another inmate had been admitted %ithin the ir !e of the mother.s fee!ings, and so modified the as$e t of them a!!, that Pear!, the ret"rning %anderer, o"!d not find her %onted $!a e, and hard!# (ne% %here she %as. 8I ha'e a strange fan #,8 obser'ed the sensiti'e minister, 8that this broo( is the bo"ndar# bet%een t%o %or!ds, and that tho" anst ne'er meet th# Pear! again. Or is she an e!fish s$irit, %ho, as the !egends of o"r hi!dhood ta"ght "s, is forbidden to ross a r"nning stream: Pra# hasten her, for this de!a# has a!read# im$arted a tremor to m# ner'es.8 8Come, dearest hi!d;8 said Hester en o"raging!#, and stret hing o"t both her arms. 8Ho% s!o% tho" art; 1hen hast tho" been so s!"ggish before no%: Here is a friend of mine, %ho m"st be th# friend a!so. Tho" %i!t ha'e t%i e as m" h !o'e hen efor%ard as th# mother a!one o"!d gi'e thee; Lea$ a ross the broo( and ome to "s. Tho" anst !ea$ !i(e a #o"ng deer;8 Pear!, %itho"t res$onding in an# manner to these hone#-s%eet e&$ressions, remained on the other side of the broo(. No% she fi&ed her bright %i!d e#es on her mother, no% on the minister, and no% in !"ded them both in the same g!an e, as if to dete t and e&$!ain to herse!f the re!ation %hi h the# bore to one another. 3or some "na o"ntab!e reason, as Arth"r Dimmesda!e fe!t the hi!d.s e#es "$on himse!f, his hand--%ith that gest"re so habit"a! as to ha'e be ome in'o!"ntar#--sto!e o'er his heart. At !ength, ass"ming a sing"!ar air of a"thorit#, Pear! stret hed o"t her hand, %ith the sma!! forefinger e&tended, and $ointing e'ident!# to%ards her mother.s breast. And beneath, in the mirror of the broo(, there %as the f!o%er-gird!ed and s"nn# image of !itt!e Pear!, $ointing her sma!! forefinger too. 8Tho" strange hi!d; %h# dost tho" not ome to me:8 e& !aimed Hester. Pear! sti!! $ointed %ith her forefinger, and a fro%n gathered on her bro%--the more im$ressi'e from the hi!dish, the a!most bab#-!i(e as$e t of the feat"res that on'e#ed it. As her mother sti!! (e$t be (oning to her, and arra#ing her fa e in a ho!ida# s"it of "na "stomed smi!es, the hi!d stam$ed her foot %ith a #et more im$erio"s !oo( and gest"re. In the broo(, again, %as the fantasti bea"t# of the image, %ith its ref!e ted fro%n, its $ointed finger, and im$erio"s gest"re, gi'ing em$hasis to the as$e t of !itt!e Pear!.

8Hasten, Pear!, or I sha!! be angr# %ith thee;8 ried Hester Pr#nne, %ho, ho%e'er, in"red to s" h beha'io"r on the e!f- hi!d.s $art at other seasons, %as nat"ra!!# an&io"s for a more seem!# de$ortment no%. 8Lea$ a ross the broo(, na"ght# hi!d, and r"n hither; E!se I m"st ome to thee;8 +"t Pear!, not a %hit start!ed at her mother.s threats an# more than mo!!ified b# her entreaties, no% s"dden!# b"rst into a fit of $assion, gesti "!ating 'io!ent!#, and thro%ing her sma!! fig"re into the most e&tra'agant ontortions She a om$anied this %i!d o"tbrea( %ith $ier ing shrie(s, %hi h the %oods re'erberated on a!! sides, so that, a!one as she %as in her hi!dish and "nreasonab!e %rath, it seemed as if a hidden m"!tit"de %ere !ending her their s#m$ath# and en o"ragement. Seen in the broo( on e more %as the shado%# %rath of Pear!.s image, ro%ned and gird!ed %ith f!o%ers, b"t stam$ing its foot, %i!d!# gesti "!ating, and, in the midst of a!!, sti!! $ointing its sma!! forefinger at Hester.s bosom. 8I see %hat ai!s the hi!d,8 %his$ered Hester to the !erg#man, and t"rning $a!e in s$ite of a strong effort to on ea! her tro"b!e and anno#an e, 8Chi!dren %i!! not abide an#, the s!ightest, hange in the a "stomed as$e t of things that are dai!# before their e#es. Pear! misses something that she has a!%a#s seen me %ear;8 8I $ra# #o",8 ans%ered the minister, 8if tho" hast an# means of $a if#ing the hi!d, do it forth%ith; Sa'e it %ere the an(ered %rath of an o!d %it h !i(e 4istress Hibbins,8 added he, attem$ting to smi!e, 8I (no% nothing that I %o"!d not sooner en o"nter than this $assion in a hi!d. In Pear!.s #o"ng bea"t#, as in the %rin(!ed %it h, it has a $reternat"ra! effe t. Pa if# her if tho" !o'est me;8 Hester t"rned again to%ards Pear! %ith a rimson b!"sh "$on her hee(, a ons io"s g!an e aside !erg#man, and then a hea'# sigh, %hi!e, e'en before she had time to s$ea(, the b!"sh #ie!ded to a dead!# $a!!or. 8Pear!,8 said she sad!#, 8!oo( do%n at th# feet; There;--before thee;--on the hither side of the broo(;8 The hi!d t"rned her e#es to the $oint indi ated, and there !a# the s ar!et !etter so !ose "$on the margin of the stream that the go!d embroider# %as ref!e ted in it. 8+ring it hither;8 said Hester. 8Come tho" and ta(e it "$;8 ans%ered Pear!. 81as e'er s" h a hi!d;8 obser'ed Hester aside to the minister. 8Oh, I ha'e m" h to te!! thee abo"t her; +"t, in 'er# tr"th, she is right as regards this hatef"! to(en. I m"st bear its tort"re #et a !itt!e !onger--on!# a fe% da#s !onger--"nti! %e sha!! ha'e !eft this region, and !oo( ba ( hither as to a !and %hi h %e ha'e dreamed of. The forest annot hide it; The mid-o ean sha!! ta(e it from m# hand, and s%a!!o% it "$ for e'er;8

1ith these %ords she ad'an ed to the margin of the broo(, too( "$ the s ar!et !etter, and fastened it again into her bosom. Ho$ef"!!#, b"t a moment ago, as Hester had s$o(en of dro%ning it in the dee$ sea, there %as a sense of ine'itab!e doom "$on her as she th"s re ei'ed ba ( this dead!# s#mbo! from the hand of fate. She had f!"ng it into infinite s$a e; she had dra%n an ho"r.s free breath; and here again %as the s ar!et miser# g!ittering on the o!d s$ot; So it e'er is, %hether th"s t#$ified or no, that an e'i! deed in'ests itse!f %ith the hara ter of doom. Hester ne&t gathered "$ the hea'# tresses of her hair and onfined them beneath her a$. As if there %ere a %ithering s$e!! in the sad !etter, her bea"t#, the %armth and ri hness of her %omanhood, de$arted !i(e fading s"nshine, and a gra# shado% seemed to fa!! a ross her. 1hen the drear# hange %as %ro"ght, she e&tended her hand to Pear!. 8Dost tho" (no% th# mother no%, hi!d:8, as(ed she, re$roa hf"!!#, b"t %ith a s"bd"ed tone. 81i!t tho" ome a ross the broo(, and o%n th# mother, no% that she has her shame "$on her--no% that she is sad:8 8<es2 no% I %i!!;8 ans%ered the hi!d, bo"nding a ross the broo(, and !as$ing Hester in her arms 8No% tho" art m# mother indeed; and I am th# !itt!e Pear!;8 In a mood of tenderness that %as not "s"a! %ith her, she dre% do%n her mother.s head, and (issed her bro% and both her hee(s. +"t then--b# a (ind of ne essit# that a!%a#s im$e!!ed this hi!d to a!!o# %hate'er omfort she might han e to gi'e %ith a throb of ang"ish--Pear! $"t "$ her mo"th and (issed the s ar!et !etter, too 8That %as not (ind;8 said Hester. 81hen tho" hast sho%n me a !itt!e !o'e, tho" mo (est me;8 81h# doth the minister sit #onder:8 as(ed Pear!. 8He %aits to %e! ome thee,8 re$!ied her mother. 8Come tho", and entreat his b!essing; He !o'es thee, m# !itt!e Pear!, and !o'es th# mother, too. 1i!t tho" not !o'e him: Come he !ongs to greet thee;8 8Doth he !o'e "s:8 said Pear!, !oo(ing "$ %ith a "te inte!!igen e into her mother.s fa e. 81i!! he go ba ( %ith "s, hand in hand, %e three together, into the to%n:8 8Not no%, m# hi!d,8 ans%ered Hester. 8+"t in da#s to ome he %i!! %a!( hand in hand %ith "s. 1e %i!! ha'e a home and fireside of o"r o%n2 and tho" sha!t sit "$on his (nee2 and he %i!! tea h thee man# things, and !o'e thee dear!#. Tho" %i!t !o'e him--%i!t tho" not:8 8And %i!! he a!%a#s (ee$ his hand o'er his heart:8 in/"ired Pear!. 83oo!ish hi!d, %hat a /"estion is that;8 e& !aimed her mother. 8Come, and as( his b!essing;8

+"t, %hether inf!"en ed b# the *ea!o"s# that seems instin ti'e %ith e'er# $etted hi!d to%ards a dangero"s ri'a!, or from %hate'er a$ri e of her frea(ish nat"re, Pear! %o"!d sho% no fa'o"r to the !erg#man. It %as on!# b# an e&ertion of for e that her mother bro"ght her "$ to him, hanging ba (, and manifesting her re!" tan e b# odd grima es2 of %hi h, e'er sin e her bab#hood, she had $ossessed a sing"!ar 'ariet#, and o"!d transform her mobi!e $h#siognom# into a series of different as$e ts, %ith a ne% mis hief in them, ea h and a!!. The minister--$ainf"!!# embarrassed, b"t ho$ing that a (iss might $ro'e a ta!isman to admit him into the hi!d.s (ind!ier regards--bent for%ard, and im$ressed one on her bro%. Here"$on, Pear! bro(e a%a# from her mother, and, r"nning to the broo(, stoo$ed o'er it, and bathed her forehead, "nti! the "n%e! ome (iss %as /"ite %ashed off and diff"sed thro"gh a !ong !a$se of the g!iding %ater. She then remained a$art, si!ent!# %at hing Hester and the !erg#man2 %hi!e the# ta!(ed together and made s" h arrangements as %ere s"ggested b# their ne% $osition and the $"r$oses soon to be f"!fi!!ed. And no% this fatef"! inter'ie% had ome to a !ose. The de!! %as to be !eft in so!it"de among its dar(, o!d trees, %hi h, %ith their m"!tit"dino"s tong"es, %o"!d %his$er !ong of %hat had $assed there, and no morta! be the %iser. And the me!an ho!# broo( %o"!d add this other ta!e to the m#ster# %ith %hi h its !itt!e heart %as a!read# o'erb"rdened, and %hereof it sti!! (e$t "$ a m"rm"ring babb!e, %ith not a %hit more heerf"!ness of tone than for ages heretofore.

Chapter 20
CHAPTER ??. THE 4INISTER IN A 4ACE As the minister de$arted, in ad'an e of Hester Pr#nne and !itt!e Pear!, he thre% a ba (%ard g!an e, ha!f e&$e ting that he sho"!d dis o'er on!# some faint!# tra ed feat"res or o"t!ine of the mother and the hi!d, s!o%!# fading into the t%i!ight of the %oods. So great a 'i issit"de in his !ife o"!d not at on e be re ei'ed as rea!. +"t there %as Hester, !ad in her gra# robe, sti!! standing beside the tree-tr"n(, %hi h some b!ast had o'erthro%n a !ong anti/"it# ago, and %hi h time had e'er sin e been o'ering %ith moss, so that these t%o fated ones, %ith earth.s hea'iest b"rden on them, might there sit do%n together, and find a sing!e ho"r.s rest and so!a e. And there %as Pear!, too, !ight!# dan ing from the margin of the broo(--no% that the intr"si'e third $erson %as gone--and ta(ing her o!d $!a e b# her mother.s side. So the minister had not fa!!en as!ee$ and dreamed; In order to free his mind from this indistin tness and d"$!i it# of im$ression, %hi h 'e&ed it %ith a strange dis/"iet"de, he re a!!ed and more thoro"gh!# defined the $!ans %hi h Hester and himse!f had s(et hed for their de$art"re. It had been determined bet%een them that the O!d 1or!d, %ith its ro%ds and ities, offered them a more e!igib!e she!ter and on ea!ment than the %i!ds of Ne% Eng!and or a!! Ameri a, %ith its a!ternati'es of an Indian %ig%am, or the fe% sett!ements of E"ro$eans s attered thin!#

a!ong the sea-board. Not to s$ea( of the !erg#man.s hea!th, so inade/"ate to s"stain the hardshi$s of a forest !ife, his nati'e gifts, his "!t"re, and his entire de'e!o$ment %o"!d se "re him a home on!# in the midst of i'i!i6ation and refinement2 the higher the state the more de!i ate!# ada$ted to it the man. In f"theran e of this hoi e, it so ha$$ened that a shi$ !a# in the harbo"r2 one of those "n/"estionab!e r"isers, fre/"ent at that da#, %hi h, %itho"t being abso!"te!# o"t!a%s of the dee$, #et roamed o'er its s"rfa e %ith a remar(ab!e irres$onsibi!it# of hara ter. This 'esse! had re ent!# arri'ed from the S$anish 4ain, and %ithin three da#s. time %o"!d sai! for +risto!. Hester Pr#nne--%hose 'o ation, as a se!f-en!isted Sister of Charit#, had bro"ght her a /"ainted %ith the a$tain and re%-- o"!d ta(e "$on herse!f to se "re the $assage of t%o indi'id"a!s and a hi!d %ith a!! the se re # %hi h ir "mstan es rendered more than desirab!e. The minister had in/"ired of Hester, %ith no !itt!e interest, the $re ise time at %hi h the 'esse! might be e&$e ted to de$art. It %o"!d $robab!# be on the fo"rth da# from the $resent. 8This is most fort"nate;8 he had then said to himse!f. No%, %h# the Re'erend 4r. Dimmesda!e onsidered it so 'er# fort"nate %e hesitate to re'ea!. Ne'erthe!ess--to ho!d nothing ba ( from the reader--it %as be a"se, on the third da# from the $resent, he %as to $rea h the E!e tion Sermon2 and, as s" h an o asion formed an hono"rab!e e$o h in the !ife of a Ne% Eng!and C!erg#man, he o"!d not ha'e han ed "$on a more s"itab!e mode and time of terminating his $rofessiona! areer. 8At !east, the# sha!! sa# of me,8 tho"ght this e&em$!ar# man, 8that I !ea'e no $"b!i d"t# "n$erformed or i!!-$erformed;8 Sad, indeed, that an intros$e tion so $rofo"nd and a "te as this $oor minister.s sho"!d be so miserab!# de ei'ed; 1e ha'e had, and ma# sti!! ha'e, %orse things to te!! of him2 b"t none, %e a$$rehend, so $itiab!# %ea(2 no e'iden e, at on e so s!ight and irrefragab!e, of a s"bt!e disease that had !ong sin e beg"n to eat into the rea! s"bstan e of his hara ter. No man, for an# onsiderab!e $eriod, an %ear one fa e to himse!f and another to the m"!tit"de, %itho"t fina!!# getting be%i!dered as to %hi h ma# be the tr"e. The e& itement of 4r. Dimmesda!e.s fee!ings as he ret"rned from his inter'ie% %ith Hester, !ent him "na "stomed $h#si a! energ#, and h"rried him to%n%ard at a ra$id $a e. The $ath%a# among the %oods seemed %i!der, more "n o"th %ith its r"de nat"ra! obsta !es, and !ess trodden b# the foot of man, than he remembered it on his o"t%ard *o"rne#. +"t he !ea$ed a ross the $!ash# $!a es, thr"st himse!f thro"gh the !inging "nderb"sh, !imbed the as ent, $!"nged into the ho!!o%, and o'er ame, in short, a!! the diffi "!ties of the tra (, %ith an "n%eariab!e a ti'it# that astonished him. He o"!d not b"t re a!! ho% feeb!#, and %ith %hat fre/"ent $a"ses for breath he had toi!ed o'er the same gro"nd, on!# t%o da#s before. As he dre% near the to%n, he too( an im$ression of hange from the series of fami!iar ob*e ts that $resented themse!'es. It seemed not #esterda#, not one, not t%o, b"t man# da#s, or e'en #ears ago, sin e he had /"itted them. There, indeed, %as ea h former tra e of the street, as he remembered it, and a!! the $e "!iarities of the ho"ses, %ith the d"e m"!tit"de of gab!e-$ea(s, and a %eather- o ( at e'er# $oint %here his memor# s"ggested one. Not the !ess, ho%e'er, ame this im$ort"nate!# obtr"si'e sense of hange. The same %as tr"e as regarded the a /"aintan es %hom he met, and a!! the %e!!-(no%n sha$es of h"man !ife, abo"t the !itt!e to%n. The# !oo(ed neither o!der nor #o"nger no%2 the beards of the aged %ere no %hiter, nor o"!d the ree$ing babe of #esterda# %a!( on his feet to-da#2 it %as im$ossib!e to

des ribe in %hat res$e t the# differed from the indi'id"a!s on %hom he had so re ent!# besto%ed a $arting g!an e2 and #et the minister.s dee$est sense seemed to inform him of their m"tabi!it#. A simi!ar im$ression str" ( him most remar(ab!# a he $assed "nder the %a!!s of his o%n h"r h. The edifi e had so 'er# strange, and #et so fami!iar an as$e t, that 4r. Dimmesda!e.s mind 'ibrated bet%een t%o ideas2 either that he had seen it on!# in a dream hitherto, or that he %as mere!# dreaming abo"t it no%. This $henomenon, in the 'ario"s sha$es %hi h it ass"med, indi ated no e&terna! hange, b"t so s"dden and im$ortant a hange in the s$e tator of the fami!iar s ene, that the inter'ening s$a e of a sing!e da# had o$erated on his ons io"sness !i(e the !a$se of #ears. The minister.s o%n %i!!, and Hester.s %i!!, and the fate that gre% bet%een them, had %ro"ght this transformation. It %as the same to%n as heretofore, b"t the same minister ret"rned not from the forest. He might ha'e said to the friends %ho greeted him--8I am not the man for %hom #o" ta(e me; I !eft him #onder in the forest, %ithdra%n into a se ret de!!, b# a moss# tree tr"n(, and near a me!an ho!# broo(; 9o, see( #o"r minister, and see if his ema iated fig"re, his thin hee(, his %hite, hea'#, $ain-%rin(!ed bro%, be not f!"ng do%n there, !i(e a ast-off garment;8 His friends, no do"bt, %o"!d sti!! ha'e insisted %ith him--8Tho" art th#se!f the man;8 b"t the error %o"!d ha'e been their o%n, not his. +efore 4r. Dimmesda!e rea hed home, his inner man ga'e him other e'iden es of a re'o!"tion in the s$here of tho"ght and fee!ing. In tr"th, nothing short of a tota! hange of d#nast# and mora! ode, in that interior (ingdom, %as ade/"ate to a o"nt for the im$"!ses no% omm"ni ated to the "nfort"nate and start!ed minister. At e'er# ste$ he %as in ited to do some strange, %i!d, %i (ed thing or other, %ith a sense that it %o"!d be at on e in'o!"ntar# and intentiona!, in s$ite of himse!f, #et gro%ing o"t of a $rofo"nder se!f than that %hi h o$$osed the im$"!se. 3or instan e, he met one of his o%n dea ons. The good o!d man addressed him %ith the $aterna! affe tion and $atriar ha! $ri'i!ege %hi h his 'enerab!e age, his "$right and ho!# hara ter, and his station in the h"r h, entit!ed him to "se and, on*oined %ith this, the dee$, a!most %orshi$$ing res$e t, %hi h the minister.s $rofessiona! and $ri'ate !aims a!i(e demanded. Ne'er %as there a more bea"tif"! e&am$!e of ho% the ma*est# of age and %isdom ma# om$ort %ith the obeisan e and res$e t en*oined "$on it, as from a !o%er so ia! ran(, and inferior order of endo%ment, to%ards a higher. No%, d"ring a on'ersation of some t%o or three moments bet%een the Re'erend 4r. Dimmesda!e and this e& e!!ent and hoar#-bearded dea on, it %as on!# b# the most aref"! se!f- ontro! that the former o"!d refrain from "ttering ertain b!as$hemo"s s"ggestions that rose into his mind, res$e ting the omm"nions"$$er. He abso!"te!# tremb!ed and t"rned $a!e as ashes, !est his tong"e sho"!d %ag itse!f in "tteran e of these horrib!e matters, and $!ead his o%n onsent for so doing, %itho"t his ha'ing fair!# gi'en it. And, e'en %ith this terror in his heart, he o"!d hard!# a'oid !a"ghing, to imagine ho% the san tified o!d $atriar ha! dea on %o"!d ha'e been $etrified b# his minister.s im$iet#. Again, another in ident of the same nat"re. H"rr#ing a!ong the street, the Re'erend 4r. Dimmesda!e en o"ntered the e!dest fema!e member of his h"r h, a most $io"s and e&em$!ar# o!d dame, $oor, %ido%ed, !one!#, and %ith a heart as f"!! of reminis en es abo"t her dead h"sband and hi!dren, and her dead friends of !ong ago, as a b"ria!-gro"nd

is f"!! of storied gra'estones. <et a!! this, %hi h %o"!d e!se ha'e been s" h hea'# sorro%, %as made a!most a so!emn *o# to her de'o"t o!d so"!, b# re!igio"s onso!ations and the tr"ths of S ri$t"re, %here%ith she had fed herse!f ontin"a!!# for more than thirt# #ears. And sin e 4r. Dimmesda!e had ta(en her in harge, the good grandam.s hief earth!# omfort--%hi h, "n!ess it had been !i(e%ise a hea'en!# omfort, o"!d ha'e been none at a!!--%as to meet her $astor, %hether as"a!!#, or of set $"r$ose, and be refreshed %ith a %ord of %arm, fragrant, hea'en-breathing 9os$e! tr"th, from his be!o'ed !i$s, into her d"!!ed, b"t ra$t"ro"s!# attenti'e ear. +"t, on this o asion, "$ to the moment of $"tting his !i$s to the o!d %oman.s ear, 4r. Dimmesda!e, as the great enem# of so"!s %o"!d ha'e it, o"!d re a!! no te&t of S ri$t"re, nor a"ght e!se, e& e$t a brief, $ith#, and, as it then a$$eared to him, "nans%erab!e arg"ment against the immorta!it# of the h"man so"!. The insti!ment thereof into her mind %o"!d $robab!# ha'e a"sed this aged sister to dro$ do%n dead, at on e, as b# the effe t of an intense!# $oisono"s inf"sion. 1hat he rea!!# did %his$er, the minister o"!d ne'er after%ards re o!!e t. There %as, $erha$s, a fort"nate disorder in his "tteran e, %hi h fai!ed to im$art an# distin t idea to the good %ido%s om$rehension, or %hi h Pro'iden e inter$reted after a method of its o%n. Ass"red!#, as the minister !oo(ed ba (, he behe!d an e&$ression of di'ine gratit"de and e stas# that seemed !i(e the shine of the e!estia! it# on her fa e, so %rin(!ed and ash# $a!e. Again, a third instan e. After $arting from the o!d h"r h member, he met the #o"ngest sister of them a!!. It %as a maiden ne%!#-%on--and %on b# the Re'erend 4r. Dimmesda!e.s o%n sermon, on the Sabbath after his 'igi!--to barter the transitor# $!eas"res of the %or!d for the hea'en!# ho$e that %as to ass"me brighter s"bstan e as !ife gre% dar( aro"nd her, and %hi h %o"!d gi!d the "tter g!oom %ith fina! g!or#. She %as fair and $"re as a !i!# that had b!oomed in Paradise. The minister (ne% %e!! that he %as himse!f enshrined %ithin the stain!ess san tit# of her heart, %hi h h"ng its sno%# "rtains abo"t his image, im$arting to re!igion the %armth of !o'e, and to !o'e a re!igio"s $"rit#. Satan, that afternoon, had s"re!# !ed the $oor #o"ng gir! a%a# from her mother.s side, and thro%n her into the $ath%a# of this sore!# tem$ted, or--sha!! %e not rather sa#:--this !ost and des$erate man. As she dre% nigh, the ar h-fiend %his$ered him to ondense into sma!! om$ass, and dro$ into her tender bosom a germ of e'i! that %o"!d be s"re to b!ossom dar(!# soon, and bear b!a ( fr"it betimes. S" h %as his sense of $o%er o'er this 'irgin so"!, tr"sting him as she did, that the minister fe!t $otent to b!ight a!! the fie!d of inno en e %ith b"t one %i (ed !oo(, and de'e!o$ a!! its o$$osite %ith b"t a %ord. So-%ith a mightier str"gg!e than he had #et s"stained--he he!d his 9ene'a !oa( before his fa e, and h"rried on%ard, ma(ing no sign of re ognition, and !ea'ing the #o"ng sister to digest his r"deness as she might. She ransa (ed her ons ien e--%hi h %as f"!! of harm!ess !itt!e matters, !i(e her $o (et or her %or(-bag--and too( herse!f to tas(, $oor thing; for a tho"sand imaginar# fa"!ts, and %ent abo"t her ho"seho!d d"ties %ith s%o!!en e#e!ids the ne&t morning. +efore the minister had time to e!ebrate his 'i tor# o'er this !ast tem$tation, he %as ons io"s of another im$"!se, more !"di ro"s, and a!most as horrib!e. It %as--%e b!"sh to te!! it--it %as to sto$ short in the road, and tea h some 'er# %i (ed %ords to a (not of !itt!e P"ritan hi!dren %ho %ere $!a#ing there, and had b"t *"st beg"n to ta!(. Den#ing

himse!f this frea(, as "n%orth# of his !oth, he met a dr"n(en seaman, one of the shi$.s re% from the S$anish 4ain. And here, sin e he had so 'a!iant!# forborne a!! other %i (edness, $oor 4r. Dimmesda!e !onged at !east to sha(e hands %ith the tarr# b!a (g"ard, and re reate himse!f %ith a fe% im$ro$er *ests, s" h as disso!"te sai!ors so abo"nd %ith, and a 'o!!e# of good, ro"nd, so!id, satisfa tor#, and hea'en-def#ing oaths; It %as not so m" h a better $rin i$!e, as $art!# his nat"ra! good taste, and sti!! more his b" (ramed habit of !eri a! de or"m, that arried him safe!# thro"gh the !atter risis. 81hat is it that ha"nts and tem$ts me th"s:8 ried the minister to himse!f, at !ength, $a"sing in the street, and stri(ing his hand against his forehead. 8Am I mad: or am I gi'en o'er "tter!# to the fiend: Did I ma(e a ontra t %ith him in the forest, and sign it %ith m# b!ood: And does he no% s"mmon me to its f"!fi!ment, b# s"ggesting the $erforman e of e'er# %i (edness %hi h his most fo"! imagination an on ei'e:8 At the moment %hen the Re'erend 4r. Dimmesda!e th"s omm"ned %ith himse!f, and str" ( his forehead %ith his hand, o!d 4istress Hibbins, the re$"ted %it h-!ad#, is said to ha'e been $assing b#. She made a 'er# grand a$$earan e, ha'ing on a high head-dress, a ri h go%n of 'e!'et, and a r"ff done "$ %ith the famo"s #e!!o% star h, of %hi h Anne T"rner, her es$e ia! friend, had ta"ght her the se ret, before this !ast good !ad# had been hanged for Sir Thomas O'erb"r#.s m"rder. 1hether the %it h had read the minister.s tho"ghts or no, she ame to a f"!! sto$, !oo(ed shre%d!# into his fa e, smi!ed rafti!#, and--tho"gh !itt!e gi'en to on'erse %ith !erg#men--began a on'ersation. 8So, re'erend sir, #o" ha'e made a 'isit into the forest,8 obser'ed the %it h-!ad#, nodding her high head-dress at him. 8The ne&t time I $ra# #o" to a!!o% me on!# a fair %arning, and I sha!! be $ro"d to bear #o" om$an#. 1itho"t ta(ing o'erm" h "$on m#se!f m# good %ord %i!! go far to%ards gaining an# strange gent!eman a fair re e$tion from #onder $otentate #o" %ot of.8 8I $rofess, madam,8 ans%ered the !erg#man, %ith a gra'e obeisan e, s" h as the !ad#.s ran( demanded, and his o%n good breeding made im$erati'e--8I $rofess, on m# ons ien e and hara ter, that I am "tter!# be%i!dered as to" hing the $"r$ort of #o"r %ords; I %ent not into the forest to see( a $otentate, neither do I, at an# f"t"re time, design a 'isit thither, %ith a 'ie% to gaining the fa'o"r of s" h $ersonage. 4# one s"ffi ient ob*e t %as to greet that $io"s friend of mine, the A$ost!e E!iot, and re*oi e %ith him o'er the man# $re io"s so"!s he hath %on from heathendom;8 8Ha, ha, ha;8 a (!ed the o!d %it h-!ad#, sti!! nodding her high head-dress at the minister. 81e!!, %e!!; %e m"st needs ta!( th"s in the da#time; <o" arr# it off !i(e an o!d hand; +"t at midnight, and in the forest, %e sha!! ha'e other ta!( together;8 She $assed on %ith her aged state!iness, b"t often t"rning ba ( her head and smi!ing at him, !i(e one %i!!ing to re ognise a se ret intima # of onne&ion.

8Ha'e I then so!d m#se!f,8 tho"ght the minister, 8to the fiend %hom, if men sa# tr"e, this #e!!o%-star hed and 'e!'eted o!d hag has hosen for her $rin e and master:8 The %ret hed minister; He had made a bargain 'er# !i(e it; Tem$ted b# a dream of ha$$iness, he had #ie!ded himse!f %ith de!iberate hoi e, as he had ne'er done before, to %hat he (ne% %as dead!# sin. And the infe tio"s $oison of that sin had been th"s ra$id!# diff"sed thro"gho"t his mora! s#stem. It bad st"$efied a!! b!essed im$"!ses, and a%a(ened into 'i'id !ife the %ho!e brotherhood of bad ones. S orn, bitterness, "n$ro'o(ed ma!ignit#, grat"ito"s desire of i!!, ridi "!e of %hate'er %as good and ho!#, a!! a%o(e to tem$t, e'en %hi!e the# frightened him. And his en o"nter %ith o!d 4istress Hibbins, if it %ere a rea! in ident, did b"t sho% its s#m$ath# and fe!!o%shi$ %ith %i (ed morta!s, and the %or!d of $er'erted s$irits. He had b# this time rea hed his d%e!!ing on the edge of the b"ria! gro"nd, and, hastening "$ the stairs, too( ref"ge in his st"d#. The minister %as g!ad to ha'e rea hed this she!ter, %itho"t first betra#ing himse!f to the %or!d b# an# of those strange and %i (ed e entri ities to %hi h he had been ontin"a!!# im$e!!ed %hi!e $assing thro"gh the streets. He entered the a "stomed room, and !oo(ed aro"nd him on its boo(s, its %indo%s, its fire$!a e, and the ta$estried omfort of the %a!!s, %ith the same $er e$tion of strangeness that had ha"nted him thro"gho"t his %a!( from the forest de!! into the to%n and thither%ard. Here he had st"died and %ritten2 here gone thro"gh fast and 'igi!, and ome forth ha!f a!i'e2 here stri'en to $ra#2 here borne a h"ndred tho"sand agonies; There %as the +ib!e, in its ri h o!d Hebre%, %ith 4oses and the Pro$hets s$ea(ing to him, and 9od.s 'oi e thro"gh a!!. There on the tab!e, %ith the in(# $en beside it, %as an "nfinished sermon, %ith a senten e bro(en in the midst, %here his tho"ghts had eased to g"sh o"t "$on the $age t%o da#s before. He (ne% that it %as himse!f, the thin and %hite- hee(ed minister, %ho had done and s"ffered these things, and %ritten th"s far into the E!e tion Sermon; +"t he seemed to stand a$art, and e#e this former se!f %ith s ornf"! $it#ing, b"t ha!f-en'io"s "riosit#. That se!f %as gone. Another man had ret"rned o"t of the forest--a %iser one--%ith a (no%!edge of hidden m#steries %hi h the sim$!i it# of the former ne'er o"!d ha'e rea hed. A bitter (ind of (no%!edge that; 1hi!e o "$ied %ith these ref!e tions, a (no ( ame at the door of the st"d#, and the minister said, 8Come in;8--not %ho!!# de'oid of an idea that he might beho!d an e'i! s$irit. And so he did; It %as o!d Roger Chi!!ing%orth that entered. The minister stood %hite and s$ee h!ess, %ith one hand on the Hebre% S ri$t"res, and the other s$read "$on his breast. 81e! ome home, re'erend sir,8 said the $h#si ian 8And ho% fo"nd #o" that god!# man, the A$ost!e E!iot: +"t methin(s, dear sir, #o" !oo( $a!e, as if the tra'e! thro"gh the %i!derness had been too sore for #o". 1i!! not m# aid be re/"isite to $"t #o" in heart and strength to $rea h #o"r E!e tion Sermon:8 8Na#, I thin( not so,8 re*oined the Re'erend 4r. Dimmesda!e. 84# *o"rne#, and the sight

of the ho!# A$ost!e #onder, and the free air %hi h I ha'e breathed ha'e done me good, after so !ong onfinement in m# st"d#. I thin( to need no more of #o"r dr"gs, m# (ind $h#si ian, good tho"gh the# be, and administered b# a friend!# hand.8 A!! this time Roger Chi!!ing%orth %as !oo(ing at the minister %ith the gra'e and intent regard of a $h#si ian to%ards his $atient. +"t, in s$ite of this o"t%ard sho%, the !atter %as a!most on'in ed of the o!d man.s (no%!edge, or, at !east, his onfident s"s$i ion, %ith res$e t to his o%n inter'ie% %ith Hester Pr#nne. The $h#si ian (ne% then that in the minister.s regard he %as no !onger a tr"sted friend, b"t his bitterest enem#. So m" h being (no%n, it %o"!d a$$ear nat"ra! that a $art of it sho"!d he e&$ressed. It is sing"!ar, ho%e'er, ho% !ong a time often $asses before %ords embod# things2 and %ith %hat se "rit# t%o $ersons, %ho hoose to a'oid a ertain s"b*e t, ma# a$$roa h its 'er# 'erge, and retire %itho"t dist"rbing it. Th"s the minister fe!t no a$$rehension that Roger Chi!!ing%orth %o"!d to" h, in e&$ress %ords, "$on the rea! $osition %hi h the# s"stained to%ards one another. <et did the $h#si ian, in his dar( %a#, ree$ frightf"!!# near the se ret. 81ere it not better,8 said he, 8that #o" "se m# $oor s(i!! tonight: ,eri!#, dear sir, %e m"st ta(e $ains to ma(e #o" strong and 'igoro"s for this o asion of the E!e tion dis o"rse. The $eo$!e !oo( for great things from #o", a$$rehending that another #ear ma# ome abo"t and find their $astor gone.8 8<es, to another %or!d,8 re$!ied the minister %ith $io"s resignation. 8Hea'en grant it be a better one2 for, in good sooth, I hard!# thin( to tarr# %ith m# f!o ( thro"gh the f!itting seasons of another #ear; +"t to" hing #o"r medi ine, (ind sir, in m# $resent frame of bod# I need it not.8 8I *o# to hear it,8 ans%ered the $h#si ian. 8It ma# be that m# remedies, so !ong administered in 'ain, begin no% to ta(e d"e effe t. Ha$$# man %ere I, and %e!! deser'ing of Ne% Eng!and.s gratit"de, o"!d I a hie'e this "re;8 8I than( #o" from m# heart, most %at hf"! friend,8 said the Re'erend 4r. Dimmesda!e %ith a so!emn smi!e. 8I than( #o", and an b"t re/"ite #o"r good deeds %ith m# $ra#ers.8 8A good man.s $ra#ers are go!den re om$ense;8 re*oined o!d Roger Chi!!ing%orth, as he too( his !ea'e. 8<ea, the# are the "rrent go!d oin of the Ne% -er"sa!em, %ith the 0ing.s o%n mint mar( on them;8 Left a!one, the minister s"mmoned a ser'ant of the ho"se, and re/"ested food, %hi h, being set before him, he ate %ith ra'eno"s a$$etite. Then f!inging the a!read# %ritten $ages of the E!e tion Sermon into the fire, he forth%ith began another, %hi h he %rote %ith s" h an im$"!si'e f!o% of tho"ght and emotion, that he fan ied himse!f ins$ired2 and on!# %ondered that Hea'en sho"!d see fit to transmit the grand and so!emn m"si of its ora !es thro"gh so fo"! an organ $i$e as he. Ho%e'er, !ea'ing that m#ster# to so!'e itse!f, or go "nso!'ed for e'er, he dro'e his tas( on%ard %ith earnest haste and e stas#.

Th"s the night f!ed a%a#, as if it %ere a %inged steed, and he areering on it2 morning ame, and $ee$ed, b!"shing, thro"gh the "rtains2 and at !ast s"nrise thre% a go!den beam into the st"d#, and !aid it right a ross the minister.s beda66!ed e#es. There he %as, %ith the $en sti!! bet%een his fingers, and a 'ast, immeas"rab!e tra t of %ritten s$a e behind him;

Chapter 21
CHAPTER ??I. THE NE1 EN9LAND HOLIDA< +etimes in the morning of the da# on %hi h the ne% 9o'ernor %as to re ei'e his offi e at the hands of the $eo$!e, Hester Pr#nne and !itt!e Pear! ame into the mar(et-$!a e. It %as a!read# thronged %ith the raftsmen and other $!ebeian inhabitants of the to%n, in onsiderab!e n"mbers, among %hom, !i(e%ise, %ere man# ro"gh fig"res, %hose attire of deer-s(ins mar(ed them as be!onging to some of the forest sett!ements, %hi h s"rro"nded the !itt!e metro$o!is of the o!on#. On this $"b!i ho!ida#, as on a!! other o asions for se'en #ears $ast, Hester %as !ad in a garment of oarse gra# !oth. Not more b# its h"e than b# some indes ribab!e $e "!iarit# in its fashion, it had the effe t of ma(ing her fade $ersona!!# o"t of sight and o"t!ine2 %hi!e again the s ar!et !etter bro"ght her ba ( from this t%i!ight indistin tness, and re'ea!ed her "nder the mora! as$e t of its o%n i!!"mination. Her fa e, so !ong fami!iar to the to%ns$eo$!e, sho%ed the marb!e /"iet"de %hi h the# %ere a "stomed to beho!d there. It %as !i(e a mas(2 or, rather !i(e the fro6en a!mness of a dead %oman.s feat"res2 o%ing this drear# resemb!an e to the fa t that Hester %as a t"a!!# dead, in res$e t to an# !aim of s#m$ath#, and had de$arted o"t of the %or!d %ith %hi h she sti!! seemed to ming!e. It might be, on this one da#, that there %as an e&$ression "nseen before, nor, indeed, 'i'id eno"gh to be dete ted no%2 "n!ess some $reternat"ra!!# gifted obser'er sho"!d ha'e first read the heart, and ha'e after%ards so"ght a orres$onding de'e!o$ment in the o"ntenan e and mien. S" h a s$irit"a! sneer might ha'e on ei'ed, that, after s"staining the ga6e of the m"!tit"de thro"gh se'era! miserab!e #ears as a ne essit#, a $enan e, and something %hi h it %as a stern re!igion to end"re, she no%, for one !ast time more, en o"ntered it free!# and 'o!"ntari!#, in order to on'ert %hat had so !ong been agon# into a (ind of tri"m$h. 8Loo( #o"r !ast on the s ar!et !etter and its %earer;8--the $eo$!e.s 'i tim and !ife!ong bond-s!a'e, as the# fan ied her, might sa# to them. 8<et a !itt!e %hi!e, and she %i!! be be#ond #o"r rea h; A fe% ho"rs !onger and the dee$, m#sterio"s o ean %i!! /"en h and hide for e'er the s#mbo! %hi h #e ha'e a"sed to b"rn on her bosom;8 Nor %ere it an in onsisten # too im$robab!e to be assigned to h"man nat"re, sho"!d %e s"$$ose a fee!ing of regret in Hester.s mind, at the moment %hen she %as abo"t to %in her freedom from the $ain %hi h had been th"s dee$!# in or$orated %ith her being. 4ight there not be an irresistib!e desire to /"aff a !ast, !ong, breath!ess dra"ght of the "$ of %orm%ood and a!oes, %ith %hi h near!# a!! her #ears of %omanhood had been $er$et"a!!# f!a'o"red. The %ine of !ife, hen eforth to be $resented to her !i$s, m"st be

indeed ri h, de!i io"s, and e&hi!arating, in its hased and go!den bea(er, or e!se !ea'e an ine'itab!e and %ear# !ang"or, after the !ees of bitterness %here%ith she had been dr"gged, as %ith a ordia! of intensest $oten #. Pear! %as de (ed o"t %ith air# gaiet#. It %o"!d ha'e been im$ossib!e to g"ess that this bright and s"nn# a$$arition o%ed its e&isten e to the sha$e of g!oom# gra#2 or that a fan #, at on e so gorgeo"s and so de!i ate as m"st ha'e been re/"isite to ontri'e the hi!d.s a$$are!, %as the same that had a hie'ed a tas( $erha$s more diffi "!t, in im$arting so distin t a $e "!iarit# to Hester.s sim$!e robe. The dress, so $ro$er %as it to !itt!e Pear!, seemed an eff!"en e, or ine'itab!e de'e!o$ment and o"t%ard manifestation of her hara ter, no more to be se$arated from her than the man#-h"ed bri!!ian # from a b"tterf!#.s %ing, or the $ainted g!or# from the !eaf of a bright f!o%er. As %ith these, so %ith the hi!d2 her garb %as a!! of one idea %ith her nat"re. On this e'entf"! da#, moreo'er, there %as a ertain sing"!ar in/"iet"de and e& itement in her mood, resemb!ing nothing so m" h as the shimmer of a diamond, that s$ar(!es and f!ashes %ith the 'aried throbbings of the breast on %hi h it is dis$!a#ed. Chi!dren ha'e a!%a#s a s#m$ath# in the agitations of those onne ted %ith them7 a!%a#s, es$e ia!!#, a sense of an# tro"b!e or im$ending re'o!"tion, of %hate'er (ind, in domesti ir "mstan es2 and therefore Pear!, %ho %as the gem on her mother.s "n/"iet bosom, betra#ed, b# the 'er# dan e of her s$irits, the emotions %hi h none o"!d dete t in the marb!e $assi'eness of Hester.s bro%. This effer'es en e made her f!it %ith a bird-!i(e mo'ement, rather than %a!( b# her mother.s side. She bro(e ontin"a!!# into sho"ts of a %i!d, inarti "!ate, and sometimes $ier ing m"si . 1hen the# rea hed the mar(et-$!a e, she be ame sti!! more rest!ess, on $er ei'ing the stir and b"st!e that en!i'ened the s$ot2 for it %as "s"a!!# more !i(e the broad and !onesome green before a 'i!!age meeting-ho"se, than the entre of a to%n.s b"siness 81h#, %hat is this, mother:8 ried she. 81herefore ha'e a!! the $eo$!e !eft their %or( toda#: Is it a $!a#-da# for the %ho!e %or!d: See, there is the b!a (smith; He has %ashed his soot# fa e, and $"t on his Sabbath-da# !othes, and !oo(s as if he %o"!d g!ad!# be merr#, if an# (ind bod# %o"!d on!# tea h him ho%; And there is 4aster +ra (ett, the o!d *ai!er, nodding and smi!ing at me. 1h# does he do so, mother:8 8He remembers thee a !itt!e babe, m# hi!d,8 ans%ered Hester. 8He sho"!d not nod and smi!e at me, for a!! that--the b!a (, grim, "g!#-e#ed o!d man;8 said Pear!. 8He ma# nod at thee, if he %i!!2 for tho" art !ad in gra#, and %earest the s ar!et !etter. +"t see, mother, ho% man# fa es of strange $eo$!e, and Indians among them, and sai!ors; 1hat ha'e the# a!! ome to do, here in the mar(et-$!a e:8 8The# %ait to see the $ro ession $ass,8 said Hester. 83or the 9o'ernor and the

magistrates are to go b#, and the ministers, and a!! the great $eo$!e and good $eo$!e, %ith the m"si and the so!diers mar hing before them.8 8And %i!! the minister be there:8 as(ed Pear!. 8And %i!! he ho!d o"t both his hands to me, as %hen tho" ! me to him from the broo(-side:8 8He %i!! be there, hi!d,8 ans%ered her mother, 8b"t he %i!! not greet thee to-da#, nor m"st tho" greet him. 8 81hat a strange, sad man is he;8 said the hi!d, as if s$ea(ing $art!# to herse!f. 8In the dar( nighttime he a!!s "s to him, and ho!ds th# hand and mine, as %hen %e stood %ith him on the s affo!d #onder; And in the dee$ forest, %here on!# the o!d trees an hear, and the stri$ of s(# see it, he ta!(s %ith thee, sitting on a hea$ of moss; And he (isses m# forehead, too, so that the !itt!e broo( %o"!d hard!# %ash it off; +"t, here, in the s"nn# da#, and among a!! the $eo$!e, he (no%s "s not2 nor m"st %e (no% him; A strange, sad man is he, %ith his hand a!%a#s o'er his heart;8 8+e /"iet, Pear!--tho" "nderstandest not these things,8 said her mother. 8Thin( not no% of the minister, b"t !oo( abo"t thee, and see ho% heer# is e'er#bod#.s fa e to-da#. The hi!dren ha'e ome from their s hoo!s, and the gro%n $eo$!e from their %or(sho$s and their fie!ds, on $"r$ose to be ha$$#, for, to-da#, a ne% man is beginning to r"!e o'er them2 and so--as has been the "stom of man(ind e'er sin e a nation %as first gathered-the# ma(e merr# and re*oi e7 as if a good and go!den #ear %ere at !ength to $ass o'er the $oor o!d %or!d;8 It %as as Hester said, in regard to the "n%onted *o!!it# that brightened the fa es of the $eo$!e. Into this festa! season of the #ear--as it a!read# %as, and ontin"ed to be d"ring the greater $art of t%o ent"ries--the P"ritans om$ressed %hate'er mirth and $"b!i *o# the# deemed a!!o%ab!e to h"man infirmit#2 thereb# so far dis$e!!ing the "stomar# !o"d, that, for the s$a e of a sing!e ho!ida#, the# a$$eared s ar e!# more gra'e than most other omm"nities at a $eriod of genera! aff!i tion. +"t %e $erha$s e&aggerate the gra# or sab!e tinge, %hi h "ndo"bted!# hara teri6ed the mood and manners of the age. The $ersons no% in the mar(et-$!a e of +oston had not been born to an inheritan e of P"ritani g!oom. The# %ere nati'e Eng!ishmen, %hose fathers had !i'ed in the s"nn# ri hness of the E!i6abethan e$o h2 a time %hen the !ife of Eng!and, 'ie%ed as one great mass, %o"!d a$$ear to ha'e been as state!#, magnifi ent, and *o#o"s, as the %or!d has e'er %itnessed. Had the# fo!!o%ed their hereditar# taste, the Ne% Eng!and sett!ers %o"!d ha'e i!!"strated a!! e'ents of $"b!i im$ortan e b# bonfires, ban/"ets, $ageantries, and $ro essions. Nor %o"!d it ha'e been im$ra ti ab!e, in the obser'an e of ma*esti eremonies, to ombine mirthf"! re reation %ith so!emnit#, and gi'e, as it %ere, a grotes/"e and bri!!iant embroider# to the great robe of state, %hi h a nation, at s" h festi'a!s, $"ts on. There %as some shado% of an attem$t of this (ind in the mode of e!ebrating the da# on %hi h the $o!iti a! #ear of the o!on# ommen ed. The dim ref!e tion of a remembered s$!endo"r, a o!o"r!ess and manifo!d di!"ted re$etition of %hat the# had behe!d in $ro"d o!d London--%e %i!! not sa# at a ro#a! oronation, b"t at a

Lord 4a#or.s sho%--might be tra ed in the "stoms %hi h o"r forefathers instit"ted, %ith referen e to the ann"a! insta!!ation of magistrates. The fathers and fo"nders of the ommon%ea!th--the statesman, the $riest, and the so!dier--seemed it a d"t# then to ass"me the o"t%ard state and ma*est#, %hi h, in a ordan e %ith anti/"e st#!e, %as !oo(ed "$on as the $ro$er garb of $"b!i and so ia! eminen e. A!! ame forth to mo'e in $ro ession before the $eo$!e.s e#e, and th"s im$art a needed dignit# to the sim$!e frame%or( of a go'ernment so ne%!# onstr" ted. Then, too, the $eo$!e %ere o"ntenan ed, if not en o"raged, in re!a&ing the se'ere and !ose a$$!i ation to their 'ario"s modes of r"gged ind"str#, %hi h at a!! other times, seemed of the same $ie e and materia! %ith their re!igion. Here, it is tr"e, %ere none of the a$$!ian es %hi h $o$"!ar merriment %o"!d so readi!# ha'e fo"nd in the Eng!and of E!i6abeth.s time, or that of -ames--no r"de sho%s of a theatri a! (ind2 no minstre!, %ith his har$ and !egendar# ba!!ad, nor g!eeman %ith an a$e dan ing to his m"si 2 no *"gg!er, %ith his tri (s of mimi %it h raft2 no 4err# Andre%, to stir "$ the m"!tit"de %ith *ests, $erha$s a h"ndred #ears o!d, b"t sti!! effe ti'e, b# their a$$ea!s to the 'er# broadest so"r es of mirthf"! s#m$ath#. A!! s" h $rofessors of the se'era! bran hes of *o "!arit# %o"!d ha'e been stern!# re$ressed, not on!# b# the rigid dis i$!ine of !a%, b"t b# the genera! sentiment %hi h gi'e !a% its 'ita!it#. Not the !ess, ho%e'er, the great, honest fa e of the $eo$!e smi!ed--grim!#, $erha$s, b"t %ide!# too. Nor %ere s$orts %anting, s" h as the o!onists had %itnessed, and shared in, !ong ago, at the o"ntr# fairs and on the 'i!!age-greens of Eng!and2 and %hi h it %as tho"ght %e!! to (ee$ a!i'e on this ne% soi!, for the sa(e of the o"rage and man!iness that %ere essentia! in them. 1rest!ing mat hes, in the different fashions of Corn%a!! and De'onshire, %ere seen here and there abo"t the mar(et-$!a e2 in one orner, there %as a friend!# bo"t at /"arterstaff2 and--%hat attra ted most interest of a!!--on the $!atform of the $i!!or#, a!read# so noted in o"r $ages, t%o masters of defen e %ere ommen ing an e&hibition %ith the b" (!er and broads%ord. +"t, m" h to the disa$$ointment of the ro%d, this !atter b"siness %as bro(en off b# the inter$osition of the to%n bead!e, %ho had no idea of $ermitting the ma*est# of the !a% to be 'io!ated b# s" h an ab"se of one of its onse rated $!a es. It ma# not be too m" h to affirm, on the %ho!e, =the $eo$!e being then in the first stages of *o#!ess de$ortment, and the offs$ring of sires %ho had (no%n ho% to be merr#, in their da#>, that the# %o"!d om$are fa'o"rab!#, in $oint of ho!ida# (ee$ing, %ith their des endants, e'en at so !ong an inter'a! as o"rse!'es. Their immediate $osterit#, the generation ne&t to the ear!# emigrants, %ore the b!a (est shade of P"ritanism, and so dar(ened the nationa! 'isage %ith it, that a!! the s"bse/"ent #ears ha'e not s"ffi ed to !ear it "$. 1e ha'e #et to !earn again the forgotten art of gaiet#. The $i t"re of h"man !ife in the mar(et-$!a e, tho"gh its genera! tint %as the sad gra#, bro%n, or b!a ( of the Eng!ish emigrants, %as #et en!i'ened b# some di'ersit# of h"e. A $art# of Indians--in their sa'age finer# of "rio"s!# embroidered deers(in robes, %am$"m-be!ts, red and #e!!o% o hre, and feathers, and armed %ith the bo% and arro% and stone-headed s$ear--stood a$art %ith o"ntenan es of inf!e&ib!e gra'it#, be#ond %hat e'en the P"ritan as$e t o"!d attain. Nor, %i!d as %ere these $ainted barbarians, %ere the# the %i!dest feat"re of the s ene. This distin tion o"!d more *"st!# be !aimed b#

some mariners--a $art of the re% of the 'esse! from the S$anish 4ain--%ho had ome ashore to see the h"mo"rs of E!e tion Da#. The# %ere ro"gh-!oo(ing des$eradoes, %ith s"n-b!a (ened fa es, and an immensit# of beard2 their %ide short tro"sers %ere onfined abo"t the %aist b# be!ts, often !as$ed %ith a ro"gh $!ate of go!d, and s"staining a!%a#s a !ong (nife, and in some instan es, a s%ord. 3rom beneath their broad-brimmed hats of $a!m-!eaf, g!eamed e#es %hi h, e'en in good-nat"re and merriment, had a (ind of anima! fero it#. The# transgressed %itho"t fear or s r"$!e, the r"!es of beha'io"r that %ere binding on a!! others7 smo(ing toba o "nder the bead!e.s 'er# nose, a!tho"gh ea h %hiff %o"!d ha'e ost a to%nsman a shi!!ing2 and /"affing at their $!eas"re, dra"ghts of %ine or a/"a-'itae from $o (et f!as(s, %hi h the# free!# tendered to the ga$ing ro%d aro"nd them. It remar(ab!# hara terised the in om$!ete mora!it# of the age, rigid as %e a!! it, that a !i en e %as a!!o%ed the seafaring !ass, not mere!# for their frea(s on shore, b"t for far more des$erate deeds on their $ro$er e!ement. The sai!or of that da# %o"!d go near to be arraigned as a $irate in o"r o%n. There o"!d be !itt!e do"bt, for instan e, that this 'er# shi$.s re%, tho"gh no "nfa'o"rab!e s$e imens of the na"ti a! brotherhood, had been g"i!t#, as %e sho"!d $hrase it, of de$redations on the S$anish ommer e, s" h as %o"!d ha'e $eri!!ed a!! their ne (s in a modern o"rt of *"sti e. +"t the sea in those o!d times hea'ed, s%e!!ed, and foamed 'er# m" h at its o%n %i!!, or s"b*e t on!# to the tem$est"o"s %ind, %ith hard!# an# attem$ts at reg"!ation b# h"man !a%. The b" aneer on the %a'e might re!in/"ish his a!!ing and be ome at on e if he hose, a man of $robit# and $iet# on !and2 nor, e'en in the f"!! areer of his re (!ess !ife, %as he regarded as a $ersonage %ith %hom it %as disre$"tab!e to traffi or as"a!!# asso iate. Th"s the P"ritan e!ders in their b!a ( !oa(s, star hed bands, and stee$!ero%ned hats, smi!ed not "nbenignant!# at the !amo"r and r"de de$ortment of these *o!!# seafaring men2 and it e& ited neither s"r$rise nor animad'ersion %hen so re$"tab!e a iti6en as o!d Roger Chi!!ing%orth, the $h#si ian, %as seen to enter the mar(et-$!a e in !ose and fami!iar ta!( %ith the ommander of the /"estionab!e 'esse!. The !atter %as b# far the most sho%# and ga!!ant fig"re, so far as a$$are! %ent, an#%here to be seen among the m"!tit"de. He %ore a $rof"sion of ribbons on his garment, and go!d !a e on his hat, %hi h %as a!so en ir !ed b# a go!d hain, and s"rmo"nted %ith a feather. There %as a s%ord at his side and a s%ord- "t on his forehead, %hi h, b# the arrangement of his hair, he seemed an&io"s rather to dis$!a# than hide. A !andsman o"!d hard!# ha'e %orn this garb and sho%n this fa e, and %orn and sho%n them both %ith s" h a ga!!iard air, %itho"t "ndergoing stern /"estion before a magistrate, and $robab!# in "rring a fine or im$risonment, or $erha$s an e&hibition in the sto (s. As regarded the shi$master, ho%e'er, a!! %as !oo(ed "$on as $ertaining to the hara ter, as to a fish his g!istening s a!es. After $arting from the $h#si ian, the ommander of the +risto! shi$ stro!!ed id!# thro"gh the mar(et-$!a e2 "nti! ha$$ening to a$$roa h the s$ot %here Hester Pr#nne %as standing, he a$$eared to re ognise, and did not hesitate to address her. As %as "s"a!!# the ase %here'er Hester stood, a sma!! 'a ant area--a sort of magi ir !e--had formed itse!f abo"t her, into %hi h, tho"gh the $eo$!e %ere e!bo%ing one another at a !itt!e distan e, none 'ent"red or fe!t dis$osed to intr"de. It %as a for ib!e t#$e of the mora! so!it"de in

%hi h the s ar!et !etter en'e!o$ed its fated %earer2 $art!# b# her o%n reser'e, and $art!# b# the instin ti'e, tho"gh no !onger so "n(ind!#, %ithdra%a! of her fe!!o%- reat"res. No%, if ne'er before, it ans%ered a good $"r$ose b# enab!ing Hester and the seaman to s$ea( together %itho"t ris( of being o'erheard2 and so hanged %as Hester Pr#nne.s re$"te before the $"b!i , that the matron in to%n, most eminent for rigid mora!it#, o"!d not ha'e he!d s" h inter o"rse %ith !ess res"!t of s anda! than herse!f. 8So, mistress,8 said the mariner, 8I m"st bid the ste%ard ma(e read# one more berth than #o" bargained for; No fear of s "r'# or shi$ fe'er this 'o#age. 1hat %ith the shi$.s s"rgeon and this other do tor, o"r on!# danger %i!! be from dr"g or $i!!2 more b# to(en, as there is a !ot of a$othe ar#.s st"ff aboard, %hi h I traded for %ith a S$anish 'esse!.8 81hat mean #o":8 in/"ired Hester, start!ed more than she $ermitted to a$$ear. 8Ha'e #o" another $assenger:8 81h#, (no% #o" not,8 ried the shi$master, 8that this $h#si ian here--Chi!!ing%orth he a!!s himse!f--is minded to tr# m# abin-fare %ith #o": A#, a#, #o" m"st ha'e (no%n it2 for he te!!s me he is of #o"r $art#, and a !ose friend to the gent!eman #o" s$o(e of--he that is in $eri! from these so"r o!d P"ritan r"!ers.8 8The# (no% ea h other %e!!, indeed,8 re$!ied Hester, %ith a mien of a!mness, tho"gh in the "tmost onsternation. 8The# ha'e !ong d%e!t together.8 Nothing f"rther $assed bet%een the mariner and Hester Pr#nne. +"t at that instant she behe!d o!d Roger Chi!!ing%orth himse!f, standing in the remotest omer of the mar(et$!a e and smi!ing on her2 a smi!e %hi h--a ross the %ide and b"st!ing s/"are, and thro"gh a!! the ta!( and !a"ghter, and 'ario"s tho"ghts, moods, and interests of the ro%d-- on'e#ed se ret and fearf"! meaning.

Chapter 22
CHAPTER ??II. THE PROCESSION +efore Hester Pr#nne o"!d a!! together her tho"ghts, and onsider %hat %as $ra ti ab!e to be done in this ne% and start!ing as$e t of affairs, the so"nd of mi!itar# m"si %as heard a$$roa hing a!ong a ontig"o"s street. It denoted the ad'an e of the $ro ession of magistrates and iti6ens on its %a# to%ards the meeting-ho"se7 %here, in om$!ian e %ith a "stom th"s ear!# estab!ished, and e'er sin e obser'ed, the Re'erend 4r. Dimmesda!e %as to de!i'er an E!e tion Sermon. Soon the head of the $ro ession sho%ed itse!f, %ith a s!o% and state!# mar h, t"rning a orner, and ma(ing its %a# a ross the mar(et-$!a e. 3irst ame the m"si . It om$rised a 'ariet# of instr"ments, $erha$s im$erfe t!# ada$ted to one another, and $!a#ed %ith no great s(i!!2 b"t #et attaining the great ob*e t for %hi h the harmon# of dr"m and !arion

addresses itse!f to the m"!tit"de--that of im$arting a higher and more heroi air to the s ene of !ife that $asses before the e#e. Litt!e Pear! at first !a$$ed her hands, b"t then !ost for an instant the rest!ess agitation that had (e$t her in a ontin"a! effer'es en e thro"gho"t the morning2 she ga6ed si!ent!#, and seemed to be borne "$%ard !i(e a f!oating sea-bird on the !ong hea'es and s%e!!s of so"nd. +"t she %as bro"ght ba ( to her former mood b# the shimmer of the s"nshine on the %ea$ons and bright armo"r of the mi!itar# om$an#, %hi h fo!!o%ed after the m"si , and formed the honorar# es ort of the $ro ession. This bod# of so!dier#--%hi h sti!! s"stains a or$orate e&isten e, and mar hes do%n from $ast ages %ith an an ient and hono"rab!e fame--%as om$osed of no mer enar# materia!s. Its ran(s %ere fi!!ed %ith gent!emen %ho fe!t the stirrings of martia! im$"!se, and so"ght to estab!ish a (ind of Co!!ege of Arms, %here, as in an asso iation of 0nights Tem$!ars, the# might !earn the s ien e, and, so far as $ea ef"! e&er ise %o"!d tea h them, the $ra ti es of %ar. The high estimation then $!a ed "$on the mi!itar# hara ter might be seen in the !oft# $ort of ea h indi'id"a! member of the om$an#. Some of them, indeed, b# their ser'i es in the Lo% Co"ntries and on other fie!ds of E"ro$ean %arfare, had fair!# %on their tit!e to ass"me the name and $om$ of so!diershi$. The entire arra#, moreo'er, !ad in b"rnished stee!, and %ith $!"mage nodding o'er their bright morions, had a bri!!ian # of effe t %hi h no modern dis$!a# an as$ire to e/"a!. And #et the men of i'i! eminen e, %ho ame immediate!# behind the mi!itar# es ort, %ere better %orth a tho"ghtf"! obser'er.s e#e. E'en in o"t%ard demeano"r the# sho%ed a stam$ of ma*est# that made the %arrior.s ha"ght# stride !oo( '"!gar, if not abs"rd. It %as an age %hen %hat %e a!! ta!ent had far !ess onsideration than no%, b"t the massi'e materia!s %hi h $rod" e stabi!it# and dignit# of hara ter a great dea! more. The $eo$!e $ossessed b# hereditar# right the /"a!it# of re'eren e, %hi h, in their des endants, if it s"r'i'e at a!!, e&ists in sma!!er $ro$ortion, and %ith a 'ast!# diminished for e in the se!e tion and estimate of $"b!i men. The hange ma# be for good or i!!, and is $art!#, $erha$s, for both. In that o!d da# the Eng!ish sett!er on these r"de shores--ha'ing !eft (ing, nob!es, and a!! degrees of a%f"! ran( behind, %hi!e sti!! the fa "!t# and ne essit# of re'eren e %as strong in him--besto%ed it on the %hite hair and 'enerab!e bro% of age-on !ong-tried integrit#--on so!id %isdom and sad- o!o"red e&$erien e--on endo%ments of that gra'e and %eight# order %hi h ga'e the idea of $ermanen e, and omes "nder the genera! definition of res$e tabi!it#. These $rimiti'e statesmen, therefore--+radstreet, Endi ott, D"d!e#, +e!!ingham, and their om$eers--%ho %ere e!e'ated to $o%er b# the ear!# hoi e of the $eo$!e, seem to ha'e been not often bri!!iant, b"t disting"ished b# a $ondero"s sobriet#, rather than a ti'it# of inte!!e t. The# had fortit"de and se!f-re!ian e, and in time of diffi "!t# or $eri! stood "$ for the %e!fare of the state !i(e a !ine of !iffs against a tem$est"o"s tide. The traits of hara ter here indi ated %ere %e!! re$resented in the s/"are ast of o"ntenan e and !arge $h#si a! de'e!o$ment of the ne% o!onia! magistrates. So far as a demeano"r of nat"ra! a"thorit# %as on erned, the mother o"ntr# need not ha'e been ashamed to see these foremost men of an a t"a! demo ra # ado$ted into the Ho"se of Peers, or ma(e the Pri'# Co"n i! of the So'ereign. Ne&t in order to the magistrates ame the #o"ng and eminent!# disting"ished di'ine, from %hose !i$s the re!igio"s dis o"rse of the anni'ersar# %as e&$e ted. His %as the $rofession at that era in %hi h inte!!e t"a! abi!it# dis$!a#ed itse!f far more than in

$o!iti a! !ife2 for--!ea'ing a higher moti'e o"t of the /"estion it offered ind" ements $o%erf"! eno"gh in the a!most %orshi$$ing res$e t of the omm"nit#, to %in the most as$iring ambition into its ser'i e. E'en $o!iti a! $o%er--as in the ase of In rease 4ather--%as %ithin the gras$ of a s" essf"! $riest. It %as the obser'ation of those %ho behe!d him no%, that ne'er, sin e 4r. Dimmesda!e first set his foot on the Ne% Eng!and shore, had he e&hibited s" h energ# as %as seen in the gait and air %ith %hi h he (e$t his $a e in the $ro ession. There %as no feeb!eness of ste$ as at other times2 his frame %as not bent, nor did his hand rest omino"s!# "$on his heart. <et, if the !erg#man %ere right!# 'ie%ed, his strength seemed not of the bod#. It might be s$irit"a! and im$arted to him b# ange!i a! ministrations. It might be the e&hi!aration of that $otent ordia! %hi h is disti!!ed on!# in the f"rna e-g!o% of earnest and !ong- ontin"ed tho"ght. Or $er han e his sensiti'e tem$erament %as in'igorated b# the !o"d and $ier ing m"si that s%e!!ed hea'en-%ard, and "$!ifted him on its as ending %a'e. Ne'erthe!ess, so abstra ted %as his !oo(, it might be /"estioned %hether 4r. Dimmesda!e e'er heard the m"si . There %as his bod#, mo'ing on%ard, and %ith an "na "stomed for e. +"t %here %as his mind: 3ar and dee$ in its o%n region, b"s#ing itse!f, %ith $reternat"ra! a ti'it#, to marsha! a $ro ession of state!# tho"ghts that %ere soon to iss"e then e2 and so he sa% nothing, heard nothing, (ne% nothing of %hat %as aro"nd him2 b"t the s$irit"a! e!ement too( "$ the feeb!e frame and arried it a!ong, "n ons io"s of the b"rden, and on'erting it to s$irit !i(e itse!f. 4en of "n ommon inte!!e t, %ho ha'e gro%n morbid, $ossess this o asiona! $o%er of might# effort, into %hi h the# thro% the !ife of man# da#s and then are !ife!ess for as man# more. Hester Pr#nne, ga6ing steadfast!# at the !erg#man, fe!t a drear# inf!"en e ome o'er her, b"t %herefore or %hen e she (ne% not, "n!ess that he seemed so remote from her o%n s$here, and "tter!# be#ond her rea h. One g!an e of re ognition she had imagined m"st needs $ass bet%een them. She tho"ght of the dim forest, %ith its !itt!e de!! of so!it"de, and !o'e, and ang"ish, and the moss# tree-tr"n(, %here, sitting hand-in-hand, the# had ming!ed their sad and $assionate ta!( %ith the me!an ho!# m"rm"r of the broo(. Ho% dee$!# had the# (no%n ea h other then; And %as this the man: She hard!# (ne% him no%; He, mo'ing $ro"d!# $ast, en'e!o$ed as it %ere, in the ri h m"si , %ith the $ro ession of ma*esti and 'enerab!e fathers2 he, so "nattainab!e in his %or!d!# $osition, and sti!! more so in that far 'ista of his "ns#m$athi6ing tho"ghts, thro"gh %hi h she no% behe!d him; Her s$irit san( %ith the idea that a!! m"st ha'e been a de!"sion, and that, 'i'id!# as she had dreamed it, there o"!d be no rea! bond bet%i&t the !erg#man and herse!f. And th"s m" h of %oman %as there in Hester, that she o"!d s ar e!# forgi'e him--!east of a!! no%, %hen the hea'# footste$ of their a$$roa hing 3ate might be heard, nearer, nearer, nearer;--for being ab!e so om$!ete!# to %ithdra% himse!f from their m"t"a! %or!d--%hi!e she gro$ed dar(!#, and stret hed forth her o!d hands, and fo"nd him not. Pear! either sa% and res$onded to her mother.s fee!ings, or herse!f fe!t the remoteness and intangibi!it# that had fa!!en aro"nd the minister. 1hi!e the $ro ession $assed, the hi!d %as "neas#, f!"ttering "$ and do%n, !i(e a bird on the $oint of ta(ing f!ight. 1hen the %ho!e had gone b#, she !oo(ed "$ into Hester.s fa e--

84other,8 said she, 8%as that the same minister that (issed me b# the broo(:8 8Ho!d th# $ea e, dear !itt!e Pear!;8 %his$ered her mother. 81e m"st not a!%a#s ta!( in the mar(et$!a e of %hat ha$$ens to "s in the forest.8 8I o"!d not be s"re that it %as he--so strange he !oo(ed,8 ontin"ed the hi!d. 8E!se I %o"!d ha'e r"n to him, and bid him (iss me no%, before a!! the $eo$!e, e'en as he did #onder among the dar( o!d trees. 1hat %o"!d the minister ha'e said, mother: 1o"!d he ha'e !a$$ed his hand o'er his heart, and s o%!ed on me, and bid me begone:8 81hat sho"!d he sa#, Pear!,8 ans%ered Hester, 8sa'e that it %as no time to (iss, and that (isses are not to be gi'en in the mar(et-$!a e: 1e!! for thee, foo!ish hi!d, that tho" didst not s$ea( to him;8 Another shade of the same sentiment, in referen e to 4r. Dimmesda!e, %as e&$ressed b# a $erson %hose e entri ities--insanit#, as %e sho"!d term it--!ed her to do %hat fe% of the to%ns$eo$!e %o"!d ha'e 'ent"red on--to begin a on'ersation %ith the %earer of the s ar!et !etter in $"b!i . It %as 4istress Hibbins, %ho, arra#ed in great magnifi en e, %ith a tri$!e r"ff, a broidered stoma her, a go%n of ri h 'e!'et, and a go!d-headed ane, had ome forth to see the $ro ession. As this an ient !ad# had the reno%n =%hi h s"bse/"ent!# ost her no !ess a $ri e than her !ife> of being a $rin i$a! a tor in a!! the %or(s of ne roman # that %ere ontin"a!!# going for%ard, the ro%d ga'e %a# before her, and seemed to fear the to" h of her garment, as if it arried the $!ag"e among its gorgeo"s fo!ds. Seen in on*"n tion %ith Hester Pr#nne--(ind!# as so man# no% fe!t to%ards the !atter--the dread ins$ired b# 4istress Hibbins had do"b!ed, and a"sed a genera! mo'ement from that $art of the mar(et-$!a e in %hi h the t%o %omen stood. 8No%, %hat morta! imagination o"!d on ei'e it:8 %his$ered the o!d !ad# onfidentia!!# to Hester. 8<onder di'ine man; That saint on earth, as the $eo$!e "$ho!d him to be, and as--I m"st needs sa#--he rea!!# !oo(s; 1ho, no%, that sa% him $ass in the $ro ession, %o"!d thin( ho% !itt!e %hi!e it is sin e he %ent forth o"t of his st"d#-- he%ing a Hebre% te&t of S ri$t"re in his mo"th, I %arrant--to ta(e an airing in the forest; Aha; %e (no% %hat that means, Hester Pr#nne; +"t tr"!#, forsooth, I find it hard to be!ie'e him the same man. 4an# a h"r h member sa% I, %a!(ing behind the m"si , that has dan ed in the same meas"re %ith me, %hen Somebod# %as fidd!er, and, it might be, an Indian $o%%o% or a La$!and %i6ard hanging hands %ith "s; That is b"t a trif!e, %hen a %oman (no%s the %or!d. +"t this minister. Co"!dst tho" s"re!# te!!, Hester, %hether he %as the same man that en o"ntered thee on the forest $ath:8 84adam, I (no% not of %hat #o" s$ea(,8 ans%ered Hester Pr#nne, fee!ing 4istress Hibbins to be of infirm mind2 #et strange!# start!ed and a%e-stri (en b# the onfiden e %ith %hi h she affirmed a $ersona! onne&ion bet%een so man# $ersons =herse!f among them> and the E'i! One. 8It is not for me to ta!( !ight!# of a !earned and $io"s minister of the 1ord, !i(e the Re'erend 4r. Dimmesda!e.8

83ie, %oman--fie;8 ried the o!d !ad#, sha(ing her finger at Hester. 8Dost tho" thin( I ha'e been to the forest so man# times, and ha'e #et no s(i!! to *"dge %ho e!se has been there: <ea, tho"gh no !eaf of the %i!d gar!ands %hi h the# %ore %hi!e the# dan ed be !eft in their hair; I (no% thee, Hester, for I beho!d the to(en. 1e ma# a!! see it in the s"nshine; and it g!o%s !i(e a red f!ame in the dar(. Tho" %earest it o$en!#, so there need be no /"estion abo"t that. +"t this minister; Let me te!! thee in thine ear; 1hen the +!a ( 4an sees one of his o%n ser'ants, signed and sea!ed, so sh# of o%ning to the bond as is the Re'erend 4r. Dimmesda!e, he hath a %a# of ordering matters so that the mar( sha!! be dis !osed, in o$en da#!ight, to the e#es of a!! the %or!d; 1hat is that the minister see(s to hide, %ith his hand a!%a#s o'er his heart: Ha, Hester Pr#nne:8 81hat is it, good 4istress Hibbins:8 eager!# as(ed !itt!e Pear!. 8Hast tho" seen it:8 8No matter, dar!ing;8 res$onded 4istress Hibbins, ma(ing Pear! a $rofo"nd re'eren e. 8Tho" th#se!f %i!t see it, one time or another. The# sa#, hi!d, tho" art of the !ineage of the Prin e of Air; 1i!t tho" ride %ith me some fine night to see th# father: Then tho" sha!t (no% %herefore the minister (ee$s his hand o'er his heart;8 La"ghing so shri!!# that a!! the mar(et-$!a e o"!d hear her, the %eird o!d gent!e%oman too( her de$art"re. +# this time the $re!iminar# $ra#er had been offered in the meeting-ho"se, and the a ents of the Re'erend 4r. Dimmesda!e %ere heard ommen ing his dis o"rse. An irresistib!e fee!ing (e$t Hester near the s$ot. As the sa red edifi e %as too m" h thronged to admit another a"ditor, she too( "$ her $osition !ose beside the s affo!d of the $i!!or#. It %as in s"ffi ient $ro&imit# to bring the %ho!e sermon to her ears, in the sha$e of an indistin t b"t 'aried m"rm"r and f!o% of the minister.s 'er# $e "!iar 'oi e. This 'o a! organ %as in itse!f a ri h endo%ment, insom" h that a !istener, om$rehending nothing of the !ang"age in %hi h the $rea her s$o(e, might sti!! ha'e been s%a#ed to and fro b# the mere tone and aden e. Li(e a!! other m"si , it breathed $assion and $athos, and emotions high or tender, in a tong"e nati'e to the h"man heart, %here'er ed" ated. 4"ff!ed as the so"nd %as b# its $assage thro"gh the h"r h %a!!s, Hester Pr#nne !istened %ith s" h intenseness, and s#m$athi6ed so intimate!#, that the sermon had thro"gho"t a meaning for her, entire!# a$art from its indisting"ishab!e %ords. These, $erha$s, if more distin t!# heard, might ha'e been on!# a grosser medi"m, and ha'e !ogged the s$irit"a! sense. No% she a"ght the !o% "ndertone, as of the %ind sin(ing do%n to re$ose itse!f2 then as ended %ith it, as it rose thro"gh $rogressi'e gradations of s%eetness and $o%er, "nti! its 'o!"me seemed to en'e!o$ her %ith an atmos$here of a%e and so!emn grande"r. And #et, ma*esti as the 'oi e sometimes be ame, there %as for e'er in it an essentia! hara ter of $!ainti'eness. A !o"d or !o% e&$ression of ang"ish--the %his$er, or the shrie(, as it might be on ei'ed, of s"ffering h"manit#, that to" hed a sensibi!it# in e'er# bosom; At times this dee$ strain of $athos %as a!! that o"!d be heard, and s ar e!# heard sighing amid a deso!ate si!en e. +"t e'en %hen the minister.s 'oi e gre% high and ommanding--%hen it g"shed irre$ressib!# "$%ard--%hen it ass"med its "tmost breadth and $o%er, so o'erfi!!ing the h"r h as to b"rst its %a# thro"gh the so!id %a!!s, and

diff"se itse!f in the o$en air--sti!!, if the a"ditor !istened intent!#, and for the $"r$ose, he o"!d dete t the same r# of $ain. 1hat %as it: The om$!aint of a h"man heart, sorro%!aden, $er han e g"i!t#, te!!ing its se ret, %hether of g"i!t or sorro%, to the great heart of man(ind2 besee hing its s#m$ath# or forgi'eness,--at e'er# moment,--in ea h a ent,-and ne'er in 'ain; It %as this $rofo"nd and ontin"a! "ndertone that ga'e the !erg#man his most a$$ro$riate $o%er. D"ring a!! this time, Hester stood, stat"e-!i(e, at the foot of the s affo!d. If the minister.s 'oi e had not (e$t her there, there %o"!d, ne'erthe!ess, ha'e been an ine'itab!e magnetism in that s$ot, %hen e she dated the first ho"r of her !ife of ignomin#. There %as a sense %ithin her--too i!!-defined to be made a tho"ght, b"t %eighing hea'i!# on her mind--that her %ho!e orb of !ife, both before and after, %as onne ted %ith this s$ot, as %ith the one $oint that ga'e it "nit#. Litt!e Pear!, mean%hi!e, had /"itted her mother.s side, and %as $!a#ing at her o%n %i!! abo"t the mar(et-$!a e. She made the sombre ro%d heerf"! b# her errati and g!istening ra#, e'en as a bird of bright $!"mage i!!"minates a %ho!e tree of d"s(# fo!iage b# darting to and fro, ha!f seen and ha!f on ea!ed amid the t%i!ight of the !"stering !ea'es. She had an "nd"!ating, b"t oftentimes a shar$ and irreg"!ar mo'ement. It indi ated the rest!ess 'i'a it# of her s$irit, %hi h to-da# %as do"b!# indefatigab!e in its ti$-toe dan e, be a"se it %as $!a#ed "$on and 'ibrated %ith her mother.s dis/"iet"de. 1hene'er Pear! sa% an#thing to e& ite her e'er a ti'e and %andering "riosit#, she f!e% thither%ard, and, as %e might sa#, sei6ed "$on that man or thing as her o%n $ro$ert#, so far as she desired it, b"t %itho"t #ie!ding the min"test degree of ontro! o'er her motions in re/"ita!. The P"ritans !oo(ed on, and, if the# smi!ed, %ere none the !ess in !ined to $rono"n e the hi!d a demon offs$ring, from the indes ribab!e harm of bea"t# and e entri it# that shone thro"gh her !itt!e fig"re, and s$ar(!ed %ith its a ti'it#. She ran and !oo(ed the %i!d Indian in the fa e, and he gre% ons io"s of a nat"re %i!der than his o%n. Then e, %ith nati'e a"da it#, b"t sti!! %ith a reser'e as hara teristi , she f!e% into the midst of a gro"$ of mariners, the s%arth#- hee(ed %i!d men of the o ean, as the Indians %ere of the !and2 and the# ga6ed %ondering!# and admiring!# at Pear!, as if a f!a(e of the sea-foam had ta(en the sha$e of a !itt!e maid, and %ere gifted %ith a so"! of the sea-fire, that f!ashes beneath the $ro% in the night-time. One of these seafaring men the shi$master, indeed, %ho had s$o(en to Hester Pr#nne %as so smitten %ith Pear!.s as$e t, that he attem$ted to !a# hands "$on her, %ith $"r$ose to snat h a (iss. 3inding it as im$ossib!e to to" h her as to at h a h"mming-bird in the air, he too( from his hat the go!d hain that %as t%isted abo"t it, and thre% it to the hi!d. Pear! immediate!# t%ined it aro"nd her ne ( and %aist %ith s" h ha$$# s(i!!, that, on e seen there, it be ame a $art of her, and it %as diffi "!t to imagine her %itho"t it. 8Th# mother is #onder %oman %ith the s ar!et !etter,8 said the seaman, 81i!t tho" arr# her a message from me:8 8If the message $!eases me, I %i!!,8 ans%ered Pear!.

8Then te!! her,8 re*oined he, 8that I s$a(e again %ith the b!a (-a-'isaged, h"m$ sho"!dered o!d do tor, and he engages to bring his friend, the gent!eman she %ots of, aboard %ith him. So !et th# mother ta(e no tho"ght, sa'e for herse!f and thee. 1i!t tho" te!! her this, tho" %it h-bab#:8 84istress Hibbins sa#s m# father is the Prin e of the Air;8 ried Pear!, %ith a na"ght# smi!e. 8If tho" a!!est me that i!!-name, I sha!! te!! him of thee, and he %i!! hase th# shi$ %ith a tem$est;8 P"rs"ing a 6ig6ag o"rse a ross the mar(et$!a e, the hi!d ret"rned to her mother, and omm"ni ated %hat the mariner had said. Hester.s strong, a!m steadfast!#-end"ring s$irit a!most san(, at !ast, on beho!ding this dar( and grim o"ntenan e of an ine'itab!e doom, %hi h at the moment %hen a $assage seemed to o$en for the minister and herse!f o"t of their !ab#rinth of miser#--sho%ed itse!f %ith an "nre!enting smi!e, right in the midst of their $ath. 1ith her mind harassed b# the terrib!e $er$!e&it# in %hi h the shi$master.s inte!!igen e in'o!'ed her, she %as a!so s"b*e ted to another tria!. There %ere man# $eo$!e $resent from the o"ntr# ro"nd abo"t, %ho had often heard of the s ar!et !etter, and to %hom it had been made terrifi b# a h"ndred fa!se or e&aggerated r"mo"rs, b"t %ho had ne'er behe!d it %ith their o%n bodi!# e#es. These, after e&ha"sting other modes of am"sement, no% thronged abo"t Hester Pr#nne %ith r"de and boorish intr"si'eness. )ns r"$"!o"s as it %as, ho%e'er, it o"!d not bring them nearer than a ir "it of se'era! #ards. At that distan e the# a ording!# stood, fi&ed there b# the entrif"ga! for e of the re$"gnan e %hi h the m#sti s#mbo! ins$ired. The %ho!e gang of sai!ors, !i(e%ise, obser'ing the $ress of s$e tators, and !earning the $"r$ort of the s ar!et !etter, ame and thr"st their s"nb"rnt and des$erado-!oo(ing fa es into the ring. E'en the Indians %ere affe ted b# a sort of o!d shado% of the %hite man.s "riosit# and, g!iding thro"gh the ro%d, fastened their sna(e-!i(e b!a ( e#es on Hester.s bosom, on ei'ing, $erha$s, that the %earer of this bri!!iant!# embroidered badge m"st needs be a $ersonage of high dignit# among her $eo$!e. Last!#, the inhabitants of the to%n =their o%n interest in this %orn-o"t s"b*e t !ang"id!# re'i'ing itse!f, b# s#m$ath# %ith %hat the# sa% others fee!> !o"nged id!# to the same /"arter, and tormented Hester Pr#nne, $erha$s more than a!! the rest, %ith their oo!, %e!!-a /"ainted ga6e at her fami!iar shame. Hester sa% and re ogni6ed the se!fsame fa es of that gro"$ of matrons, %ho had a%aited her forth oming from the $rison-door se'en #ears ago2 a!! sa'e one, the #o"ngest and on!# om$assionate among them, %hose b"ria!-robe she had sin e made. At the fina! ho"r, %hen she %as so soon to f!ing aside the b"rning !etter, it had strange!# be ome the entre of more remar( and e& itement, and %as th"s made to sear her breast more $ainf"!!#, than at an# time sin e the first da# she $"t it on. 1hi!e Hester stood in that magi ir !e of ignomin#, %here the "nning r"e!t# of her senten e seemed to ha'e fi&ed her for e'er, the admirab!e $rea her %as !oo(ing do%n from the sa red $"!$it "$on an a"dien e %hose 'er# inmost s$irits had #ie!ded to his ontro!. The sainted minister in the h"r h; The %oman of the s ar!et !etter in the

mar(et$!a e; 1hat imagination %o"!d ha'e been irre'erent eno"gh to s"rmise that the same s or hing stigma %as on them both;

Chapter 23
CHAPTER ??III. THE RE,ELATION O3 THE SCARLET LETTER The e!o/"ent 'oi e, on %hi h the so"!s of the !istening a"dien e had been borne a!oft as on the s%e!!ing %a'es of the sea, at !ength ame to a $a"se. There %as a momentar# si!en e, $rofo"nd as %hat sho"!d fo!!o% the "tteran e of ora !es. Then ens"ed a m"rm"r and ha!f-h"shed t"m"!t, as if the a"ditors, re!eased from the high s$e!! that had trans$orted them into the region of another.s mind, %ere ret"rning into themse!'es, %ith a!! their a%e and %onder sti!! hea'# on them. In a moment more the ro%d began to g"sh forth from the doors of the h"r h. No% that there %as an end, the# needed more breath, more fit to s"$$ort the gross and earth!# !ife into %hi h the# re!a$sed, than that atmos$here %hi h the $rea her had on'erted into %ords of f!ame, and had b"rdened %ith the ri h fragran e of his tho"ght. In the o$en air their ra$t"re bro(e into s$ee h. The street and the mar(et-$!a e abso!"te!# babb!ed, from side to side, %ith a$$!a"ses of the minister. His hearers o"!d not rest "nti! the# had to!d one another of %hat ea h (ne% better than he o"!d te!! or hear. A ording to their "nited testimon#, ne'er had man s$o(en in so %ise, so high, and so ho!# a s$irit, as he that s$a(e this da#2 nor had ins$iration e'er breathed thro"gh morta! !i$s more e'ident!# than it did thro"gh his. Its inf!"en e o"!d be seen, as it %ere, des ending "$on him, and $ossessing him, and ontin"a!!# !ifting him o"t of the %ritten dis o"rse that !a# before him, and fi!!ing him %ith ideas that m"st ha'e been as mar'e!!o"s to himse!f as to his a"dien e. His s"b*e t, it a$$eared, had been the re!ation bet%een the Deit# and the omm"nities of man(ind, %ith a s$e ia! referen e to the Ne% Eng!and %hi h the# %ere here $!anting in the %i!derness. And, as he dre% to%ards the !ose, a s$irit as of $ro$he # had ome "$on him, onstraining him to its $"r$ose as mighti!# as the o!d $ro$hets of Israe! %ere onstrained, on!# %ith this differen e, that, %hereas the -e%ish seers had deno"n ed *"dgments and r"in on their o"ntr#, it %as his mission to forete!! a high and g!orio"s destin# for the ne%!# gathered $eo$!e of the Lord. +"t, thro"gho"t it a!!, and thro"gh the %ho!e dis o"rse, there had been a ertain dee$, sad "ndertone of $athos, %hi h o"!d not be inter$reted other%ise than as the nat"ra! regret of one soon to $ass a%a#. <es2 their minister %hom the# so !o'ed--and %ho so !o'ed them a!!, that he o"!d not de$art hea'en%ard %itho"t a sigh--had the foreboding of "ntime!# death "$on him, and %o"!d soon !ea'e them in their tears. This idea of his transitor# sta# on earth ga'e the !ast em$hasis to the effe t %hi h the $rea her had $rod" ed2 it %as if an ange!, in his $assage to the s(ies, had sha(en his bright %ings o'er

the $eo$!e for an instant--at on e a shado% and a s$!endo"r--and had shed do%n a sho%er of go!den tr"ths "$on them. Th"s, there had ome to the Re'erend 4r. Dimmesda!e--as to most men, in their 'ario"s s$heres, tho"gh se!dom re ognised "nti! the# see it far behind them--an e$o h of !ife more bri!!iant and f"!! of tri"m$h than an# $re'io"s one, or than an# %hi h o"!d hereafter be. He stood, at this moment, on the 'er# $ro"dest eminen e of s"$eriorit#, to %hi h the gifts or inte!!e t, ri h !ore, $re'ai!ing e!o/"en e, and a re$"tation of %hitest san tit#, o"!d e&a!t a !erg#man in Ne% Eng!and.s ear!iest da#s, %hen the $rofessiona! hara ter %as of itse!f a !oft# $edesta!. S" h %as the $osition %hi h the minister o "$ied, as he bo%ed his head for%ard on the "shions of the $"!$it at the !ose of his E!e tion Sermon. 4ean%hi!e Hester Pr#nne %as standing beside the s affo!d of the $i!!or#, %ith the s ar!et !etter sti!! b"rning on her breast; No% %as heard again the !amo"r of the m"si , and the meas"red tram$ of the mi!itar# es ort iss"ing from the h"r h door. The $ro ession %as to be marsha!!ed then e to the to%n ha!!, %here a so!emn ban/"et %o"!d om$!ete the eremonies of the da#. On e more, therefore, the train of 'enerab!e and ma*esti fathers %ere seen mo'ing thro"gh a broad $ath%a# of the $eo$!e, %ho dre% ba ( re'erent!#, on either side, as the 9o'ernor and magistrates, the o!d and %ise men, the ho!# ministers, and a!! that %ere eminent and reno%ned, ad'an ed into the midst of them. 1hen the# %ere fair!# in the mar(et$!a e, their $resen e %as greeted b# a sho"t. This--tho"gh do"bt!ess it might a /"ire additiona! for e and 'o!"me from the hi!d-!i(e !o#a!t# %hi h the age a%arded to its r"!ers--%as fe!t to be an irre$ressib!e o"tb"rst of enth"siasm (ind!ed in the a"ditors b# that high strain of e!o/"en e %hi h %as #et re'erberating in their ears. Ea h fe!t the im$"!se in himse!f, and in the same breath, a"ght it from his neighbo"r. 1ithin the h"r h, it had hard!# been (e$t do%n2 beneath the s(# it $ea!ed "$%ard to the 6enith. There %ere h"man beings eno"gh, and eno"gh of high!# %ro"ght and s#m$honio"s fee!ing to $rod" e that more im$ressi'e so"nd than the organ tones of the b!ast, or the th"nder, or the roar of the sea2 e'en that might# s%e!! of man# 'oi es, b!ended into one great 'oi e b# the "ni'ersa! im$"!se %hi h ma(es !i(e%ise one 'ast heart o"t of the man#. Ne'er, from the soi! of Ne% Eng!and had gone "$ s" h a sho"t; Ne'er, on Ne% Eng!and soi! had stood the man so hono"red b# his morta! brethren as the $rea her; Ho% fared it %ith him, then: 1ere there not the bri!!iant $arti !es of a ha!o in the air abo"t his head: So etherea!ised b# s$irit as he %as, and so a$otheosised b# %orshi$$ing admirers, did his footste$s, in the $ro ession, rea!!# tread "$on the d"st of earth: As the ran(s of mi!itar# men and i'i! fathers mo'ed on%ard, a!! e#es %ere t"rned to%ards the $oint %here the minister %as seen to a$$roa h among them. The sho"t died into a m"rm"r, as one $ortion of the ro%d after another obtained a g!im$se of him. Ho% feeb!e and $a!e he !oo(ed, amid a!! his tri"m$h; The energ#--or sa#, rather, the ins$iration %hi h had he!d him "$, "nti! he sho"!d ha'e de!i'ered the sa red message that had bro"ght its o%n strength a!ong %ith it from hea'en--%as %ithdra%n, no% that it had so faithf"!!# $erformed its offi e. The g!o%, %hi h the# had *"st before behe!d b"rning on

his hee(, %as e&ting"ished, !i(e a f!ame that sin(s do%n ho$e!ess!# among the !ate de a#ing embers. It seemed hard!# the fa e of a man a!i'e, %ith s" h a death-!i(e h"e7 it %as hard!# a man %ith !ife in him, that tottered on his $ath so ner'o"s!#, #et tottered, and did not fa!!; One of his !eri a! brethren--it %as the 'enerab!e -ohn 1i!son--obser'ing the state in %hi h 4r. Dimmesda!e %as !eft b# the retiring %a'e of inte!!e t and sensibi!it#, ste$$ed for%ard hasti!# to offer his s"$$ort. The minister trem"!o"s!#, b"t de ided!#, re$e!!ed the o!d man.s arm. He sti!! %a!(ed on%ard, if that mo'ement o"!d be so des ribed, %hi h rather resemb!ed the %a'ering effort of an infant, %ith its mother.s arms in 'ie%, o"tstret hed to tem$t him for%ard. And no%, a!most im$er e$tib!e as %ere the !atter ste$s of his $rogress, he had ome o$$osite the %e!!-remembered and %eather-dar(ened s affo!d, %here, !ong sin e, %ith a!! that drear# !a$se of time bet%een, Hester Pr#nne had en o"ntered the %or!d.s ignominio"s stare. There stood Hester, ho!ding !itt!e Pear! b# the hand; And there %as the s ar!et !etter on her breast; The minister here made a $a"se2 a!tho"gh the m"si sti!! $!a#ed the state!# and re*oi ing mar h to %hi h the $ro ession mo'ed. It s"mmoned him on%ard--in%ard to the festi'a!;--b"t here he made a $a"se. +e!!ingham, for the !ast fe% moments, had (e$t an an&io"s e#e "$on him. He no% !eft his o%n $!a e in the $ro ession, and ad'an ed to gi'e assistan e *"dging, from 4r. Dimmesda!e.s as$e t that he m"st other%ise ine'itab!# fa!!. +"t there %as something in the !atter.s e&$ression that %arned ba ( the magistrate, a!tho"gh a man not readi!# obe#ing the 'ag"e intimations that $ass from one s$irit to another. The ro%d, mean%hi!e, !oo(ed on %ith a%e and %onder. This earth!# faintness, %as, in their 'ie%, on!# another $hase of the minister.s e!estia! strength2 nor %o"!d it ha'e seemed a mira !e too high to be %ro"ght for one so ho!#, had he as ended before their e#es, %a&ing dimmer and brighter, and fading at !ast into the !ight of hea'en; He t"rned to%ards the s affo!d, and stret hed forth his arms. 8Hester,8 said he, 8 ome hither; Come, m# !itt!e Pear!;8 It %as a ghast!# !oo( %ith %hi h he regarded them2 b"t there %as something at on e tender and strange!# tri"m$hant in it. The hi!d, %ith the bird-!i(e motion, %hi h %as one of her hara teristi s, f!e% to him, and !as$ed her arms abo"t his (nees. Hester Pr#nne-s!o%!#, as if im$e!!ed b# ine'itab!e fate, and against her strongest %i!!--!i(e%ise dre% near, b"t $a"sed before she rea hed him. At this instant o!d Roger Chi!!ing%orth thr"st himse!f thro"gh the ro%d--or, $erha$s, so dar(, dist"rbed, and e'i! %as his !oo(, he rose "$ o"t of some nether region--to snat h ba ( his 'i tim from %hat he so"ght to do; +e that as it might, the o!d man r"shed for%ard, and a"ght the minister b# the arm. 84adman, ho!d; %hat is #o"r $"r$ose:8 %his$ered he. 81a'e ba ( that %oman; Cast off this hi!d A!! sha!! be %e!!; Do not b!a (en #o"r fame, and $erish in dishono"r; I an #et sa'e #o"; 1o"!d #o" bring infam# on #o"r sa red $rofession:8 8Ha, tem$ter; 4ethin(s tho" art too !ate;8 ans%ered the minister, en o"ntering his e#e,

fearf"!!#, b"t firm!#. 8Th# $o%er is not %hat it %as; 1ith 9od.s he!$, I sha!! es a$e thee no%;8 He again e&tended his hand to the %oman of the s ar!et !etter. 8Hester Pr#nne,8 ried he, %ith a $ier ing earnestness, 8in the name of Him, so terrib!e and so mer if"!, %ho gi'es me gra e, at this !ast moment, to do %hat--for m# o%n hea'# sin and miserab!e agon#--I %ithhe!d m#se!f from doing se'en #ears ago, ome hither no%, and t%ine th# strength abo"t me; Th# strength, Hester2 b"t !et it be g"ided b# the %i!! %hi h 9od hath granted me; This %ret hed and %ronged o!d man is o$$osing it %ith a!! his might;--%ith a!! his o%n might, and the fiend.s; Come, Hester-- ome; S"$$ort me "$ #onder s affo!d.8 The ro%d %as in a t"m"!t. The men of ran( and dignit#, %ho stood more immediate!# aro"nd the !erg#man, %ere so ta(en b# s"r$rise, and so $er$!e&ed as to the $"r$ort of %hat the# sa%--"nab!e to re ei'e the e&$!anation %hi h most readi!# $resented itse!f, or to imagine an# other--that the# remained si!ent and ina ti'e s$e tators of the *"dgement %hi h Pro'iden e seemed abo"t to %or(. The# behe!d the minister, !eaning on Hester.s sho"!der, and s"$$orted b# her arm aro"nd him, a$$roa h the s affo!d, and as end its ste$s2 %hi!e sti!! the !itt!e hand of the sin-born hi!d %as !as$ed in his. O!d Roger Chi!!ing%orth fo!!o%ed, as one intimate!# onne ted %ith the drama of g"i!t and sorro% in %hi h the# had a!! been a tors, and %e!! entit!ed, therefore to be $resent at its !osing s ene. 8Hadst tho" so"ght the %ho!e earth o'er,8 said he !oo(ing dar(!# at the !erg#man, 8there %as no one $!a e so se ret--no high $!a e nor !o%!# $!a e, %here tho" o"!dst ha'e es a$ed me--sa'e on this 'er# s affo!d;8 8Than(s be to Him %ho hath !ed me hither;8 ans%ered the minister. <et he tremb!ed, and t"rned to Hester, %ith an e&$ression of do"bt and an&iet# in his e#es, not the !ess e'ident!# betra#ed, that there %as a feeb!e smi!e "$on his !i$s. 8Is not this better,8 m"rm"red he, 8than %hat %e dreamed of in the forest:8 8I (no% not; I (no% not;8 she h"rried!# re$!ied 8+etter: <ea2 so %e ma# both die, and !itt!e Pear! die %ith "s;8 83or thee and Pear!, be it as 9od sha!! order,8 said the minister2 8and 9od is mer if"!; Let me no% do the %i!! %hi h He hath made $!ain before m# sight. 3or, Hester, I am a d#ing man. So !et me ma(e haste to ta(e m# shame "$on me;8 Part!# s"$$orted b# Hester Pr#nne, and ho!ding one hand of !itt!e Pear!.s, the Re'erend 4r. Dimmesda!e t"rned to the dignified and 'enerab!e r"!ers2 to the ho!# ministers, %ho %ere his brethren2 to the $eo$!e, %hose great heart %as thoro"gh!# a$$a!!ed #et o'erf!o%ing %ith tearf"! s#m$ath#, as (no%ing that some dee$ !ife-matter--%hi h, if f"!!

of sin, %as f"!! of ang"ish and re$entan e !i(e%ise--%as no% to be !aid o$en to them. The s"n, b"t !itt!e $ast its meridian, shone do%n "$on the !erg#man, and ga'e a distin tness to his fig"re, as he stood o"t from a!! the earth, to $"t in his $!ea of g"i!t# at the bar of Eterna! -"sti e. 8Peo$!e of Ne% Eng!and;8 ried he, %ith a 'oi e that rose o'er them, high, so!emn, and ma*esti --#et had a!%a#s a tremor thro"gh it, and sometimes a shrie(, str"gg!ing "$ o"t of a fathom!ess de$th of remorse and %oe--8#e, that ha'e !o'ed me;--#e, that ha'e deemed me ho!#;--beho!d me here, the one sinner of the %or!d; At !ast--at !ast;--I stand "$on the s$ot %here, se'en #ears sin e, I sho"!d ha'e stood, here, %ith this %oman, %hose arm, more than the !itt!e strength %here%ith I ha'e re$t hither%ard, s"stains me at this dreadf"! moment, from gro'e!!ing do%n "$on m# fa e; Lo, the s ar!et !etter %hi h Hester %ears; <e ha'e a!! sh"ddered at it; 1here'er her %a!( hath been--%here'er, so miserab!# b"rdened, she ma# ha'e ho$ed to find re$ose--it hath ast a !"rid g!eam of a%e and horrib!e re$"gnan e ro"nd abo"t her. +"t there stood one in the midst of #o", at %hose brand of sin and infam# #e ha'e not sh"ddered;8 It seemed, at this $oint, as if the minister m"st !ea'e the remainder of his se ret "ndis !osed. +"t he fo"ght ba ( the bodi!# %ea(ness--and, sti!! more, the faintness of heart--that %as stri'ing for the master# %ith him. He thre% off a!! assistan e, and ste$$ed $assionate!# for%ard a $a e before the %oman and the hi!dren. 8It %as on him;8 he ontin"ed, %ith a (ind of fier eness2 so determined %as he to s$ea( o"t ti!e %ho!e. 89od.s e#e behe!d it; The ange!s %ere for e'er $ointing at it; =The De'i! (ne% it %e!!, and fretted it ontin"a!!# %ith the to" h of his b"rning finger;> +"t he hid it "nning!# from men, and %a!(ed among #o" %ith the mien of a s$irit, mo"rnf"!, be a"se so $"re in a sinf"! %or!d; --and sad, be a"se he missed his hea'en!# (indred; No%, at the death-ho"r, he stands "$ before #o"; He bids #o" !oo( again at Hester.s s ar!et !etter; He te!!s #o", that, %ith a!! its m#sterio"s horror, it is b"t the shado% of %hat he bears on his o%n breast, and that e'en this, his o%n red stigma, is no more than the t#$e of %hat has seared his inmost heart; Stand an# here that /"estion 9od.s *"dgment on a sinner; +eho!d; +eho!d, a dreadf"! %itness of it;8 1ith a on'"!si'e motion, he tore a%a# the ministeria! band from before his breast. It %as re'ea!ed; +"t it %ere irre'erent to des ribe that re'e!ation. 3or an instant, the ga6e of the horror-stri (en m"!tit"de %as on entrated on the ghast!# mira !e2 %hi!e the minister stood, %ith a f!"sh of tri"m$h in his fa e, as one %ho, in the risis of a "test $ain, had %on a 'i tor#. Then, do%n he san( "$on the s affo!d; Hester $art!# raised him, and s"$$orted his head against her bosom. O!d Roger Chi!!ing%orth (ne!t do%n beside him, %ith a b!an(, d"!! o"ntenan e, o"t of %hi h the !ife seemed to ha'e de$arted, 8Tho" hast es a$ed me;8 he re$eated more than on e. 8Tho" hast es a$ed me;8 84a# 9od forgi'e thee;8 said the minister. 8Tho", too, hast dee$!# sinned;8 He %ithdre% his d#ing e#es from the o!d man, and fi&ed them on the %oman and the

hi!d. 84# !itt!e Pear!,8 said he, feeb!# and there %as a s%eet and gent!e smi!e o'er his fa e, as of a s$irit sin(ing into dee$ re$ose2 na#, no% that the b"rden %as remo'ed, it seemed a!most as if he %o"!d be s$orti'e %ith the hi!d--8dear !itt!e Pear!, %i!t tho" (iss me no%: Tho" %o"!dst not, #onder, in the forest; +"t no% tho" %i!t:8 Pear! (issed his !i$s. A s$e!! %as bro(en. The great s ene of grief, in %hi h the %i!d infant bore a $art had de'e!o$ed a!! her s#m$athies2 and as her tears fe!! "$on her father.s hee(, the# %ere the $!edge that she %o"!d gro% "$ amid h"man *o# and sorro%, nor fore'er do batt!e %ith the %or!d, b"t be a %oman in it. To%ards her mother, too, Pear!.s errand as a messenger of ang"ish %as f"!fi!!ed. 8Hester,8 said the !erg#man, 8fare%e!!;8 8Sha!! %e not meet again:8 %his$ered she, bending her fa e do%n !ose to his. 8Sha!! %e not s$end o"r immorta! !ife together: S"re!#, s"re!#, %e ha'e ransomed one another, %ith a!! this %oe; Tho" !oo(est far into eternit#, %ith those bright d#ing e#es; Then te!! me %hat tho" seest;8 8H"sh, Hester--h"sh;8 said he, %ith trem"!o"s so!emnit#. 8The !a% %e bro(e I--the sin here a%f"!!# re'ea!ed;--!et these a!one be in th# tho"ghts; I fear; I fear; It ma# be, that, %hen %e forgot o"r 9od--%hen %e 'io!ated o"r re'eren e ea h for the other.s so"!--it %as then eforth 'ain to ho$e that %e o"!d meet hereafter, in an e'er!asting and $"re re"nion. 9od (no%s2 and He is mer if"!; He hath $ro'ed his mer #, most of a!!, in m# aff!i tions. +# gi'ing me this b"rning tort"re to bear "$on m# breast; +# sending #onder dar( and terrib!e o!d man, to (ee$ the tort"re a!%a#s at red-heat; +# bringing me hither, to die this death of tri"m$hant ignomin# before the $eo$!e; Had either of these agonies been %anting, I had been !ost for e'er; Praised be His name; His %i!! be done; 3are%e!!;8 That fina! %ord ame forth %ith the minister.s e&$iring breath. The m"!tit"de, si!ent ti!! then, bro(e o"t in a strange, dee$ 'oi e of a%e and %onder, %hi h o"!d not as #et find "tteran e, sa'e in this m"rm"r that ro!!ed so hea'i!# after the de$arted s$irit.

Chapter 24
CHAPTER ??I,. CONCL)SION After man# da#s, %hen time s"ffi ed for the $eo$!e to arrange their tho"ghts in referen e to the foregoing s ene, there %as more than one a o"nt of %hat had been %itnessed on the s affo!d. 4ost of the s$e tators testified to ha'ing seen, on the breast of the "nha$$# minister, a SCARLET LETTER--the 'er# semb!an e of that %orn b# Hester Pr#nne--im$rinted in

the f!esh. As regarded its origin there %ere 'ario"s e&$!anations, a!! of %hi h m"st ne essari!# ha'e been on*e t"ra!. Some affirmed that the Re'erend 4r. Dimmesda!e, on the 'er# da# %hen Hester Pr#nne first %ore her ignominio"s badge, had beg"n a o"rse of $enan e--%hi h he after%ards, in so man# f"ti!e methods, fo!!o%ed o"t--b# inf!i ting a hideo"s tort"re on himse!f. Others ontended that the stigma had not been $rod" ed "nti! a !ong time s"bse/"ent, %hen o!d Roger Chi!!ing%orth, being a $otent ne roman er, had a"sed it to a$$ear, thro"gh the agen # of magi and $oisono"s dr"gs. Others, again and those best ab!e to a$$re iate the minister.s $e "!iar sensibi!it#, and the %onderf"! o$eration of his s$irit "$on the bod#--%his$ered their be!ief, that the a%f"! s#mbo! %as the effe t of the e'er-a ti'e tooth of remorse, gna%ing from the inmost heart o"t%ard!#, and at !ast manifesting Hea'en.s dreadf"! *"dgment b# the 'isib!e $resen e of the !etter. The reader ma# hoose among these theories. 1e ha'e thro%n a!! the !ight %e o"!d a /"ire "$on the $ortent, and %o"!d g!ad!#, no% that it has done its offi e, erase its dee$ $rint o"t of o"r o%n brain, %here !ong meditation has fi&ed it in 'er# "ndesirab!e distin tness. It is sing"!ar, ne'erthe!ess, that ertain $ersons, %ho %ere s$e tators of the %ho!e s ene, and $rofessed ne'er on e to ha'e remo'ed their e#es from the Re'erend 4r. Dimmesda!e, denied that there %as an# mar( %hate'er on his breast, more than on a ne%born infant.s. Neither, b# their re$ort, had his d#ing %ords a (no%!edged, nor e'en remote!# im$!ied, an#--the s!ightest-- onne&ion on his $art, %ith the g"i!t for %hi h Hester Pr#nne had so !ong %orn the s ar!et !etter. A ording to these high!#-res$e tab!e %itnesses, the minister, ons io"s that he %as d#ing-- ons io"s, a!so, that the re'eren e of the m"!tit"de $!a ed him a!read# among saints and ange!s--had desired, b# #ie!ding "$ his breath in the arms of that fa!!en %oman, to e&$ress to the %or!d ho% "tter!# n"gator# is the hoi est of man.s o%n righteo"sness. After e&ha"sting !ife in his efforts for man(ind.s s$irit"a! good, he had made the manner of his death a $arab!e, in order to im$ress on his admirers the might# and mo"rnf"! !esson, that, in the 'ie% of Infinite P"rit#, %e are sinners a!! a!i(e. It %as to tea h them, that the ho!iest amongst "s has b"t attained so far abo'e his fe!!o%s as to dis ern more !ear!# the 4er # %hi h !oo(s do%n, and re$"diate more "tter!# the $hantom of h"man merit, %hi h %o"!d !oo( as$iring!# "$%ard. 1itho"t dis$"ting a tr"th so momento"s, %e m"st be a!!o%ed to onsider this 'ersion of 4r. Dimmesda!e.s stor# as on!# an instan e of that st"bborn fide!it# %ith %hi h a man.s friends--and es$e ia!!# a !erg#man.s--%i!! sometimes "$ho!d his hara ter, %hen $roofs, !ear as the mid-da# s"nshine on the s ar!et !etter, estab!ish him a fa!se and sin-stained reat"re of the d"st. The a"thorit# %hi h %e ha'e hief!# fo!!o%ed--a man"s ri$t of o!d date, dra%n "$ from the 'erba! testimon# of indi'id"a!s, some of %hom had (no%n Hester Pr#nne, %hi!e others had heard the ta!e from ontem$orar# %itnesses f"!!# onfirms the 'ie% ta(en in the foregoing $ages. Among man# mora!s %hi h $ress "$on "s from the $oor minister.s miserab!e e&$erien e, %e $"t on!# this into a senten e7--8+e tr"e; +e tr"e; +e tr"e; Sho% free!# to the %or!d, if not #o"r %orst, #et some trait %hereb# the %orst ma# be inferred;8 Nothing %as more remar(ab!e than the hange %hi h too( $!a e, a!most immediate!# after 4r. Dimmesda!e.s death, in the a$$earan e and demeano"r of the o!d man (no%n as

Roger Chi!!ing%orth. A!! his strength and energ#--a!! his 'ita! and inte!!e t"a! for e-seemed at on e to desert him, insom" h that he $ositi'e!# %ithered "$, shri'e!!ed a%a# and a!most 'anished from morta! sight, !i(e an "$rooted %eed that !ies %i!ting in the s"n. This "nha$$# man had made the 'er# $rin i$!e of his !ife to onsist in the $"rs"it and s#stemati e&er ise re'enge2 and %hen, b# its om$!etest tri"m$h ons"mmation that e'i! $rin i$!e %as !eft %ith no f"rther materia! to s"$$ort it--%hen, in short, there %as no more De'i!.s %or( on earth for him to do, it on!# remained for the "nh"manised morta! to beta(e himse!f %hither his master %o"!d find him tas(s eno"gh, and $a# him his %ages d"!#. +"t, to a!! these shado%# beings, so !ong o"r near a /"aintan es--as %e!! Roger Chi!!ing%orth as his om$anions %e %o"!d fain be mer if"!. It is a "rio"s s"b*e t of obser'ation and in/"ir#, %hether hatred and !o'e be not the same thing at bottom. Ea h, in its "tmost de'e!o$ment, s"$$oses a high degree of intima # and heart-(no%!edge2 ea h renders one indi'id"a! de$endent for the food of his affe tions and s$irit"a! fife "$on another7 ea h !ea'es the $assionate !o'er, or the no !ess $assionate hater, for!orn and deso!ate b# the %ithdra%a! of his s"b*e t. Phi!oso$hi a!!# onsidered, therefore, the t%o $assions seem essentia!!# the same, e& e$t that one ha$$ens to be seen in a e!estia! radian e, and the other in a d"s(# and !"rid g!o%. In the s$irit"a! %or!d, the o!d $h#si ian and the minister--m"t"a! 'i tims as the# ha'e been--ma#, "na%ares, ha'e fo"nd their earth!# sto ( of hatred and anti$ath# transm"ted into go!den !o'e. Lea'ing this dis "ssion a$art, %e ha'e a matter of b"siness to omm"ni ate to the reader. At o!d Roger Chi!!ing%orth.s de ease, =%hi h too( $!a e %ithin the #ear>, and b# his !ast %i!! and testament, of %hi h 9o'ernor +e!!ingham and the Re'erend 4r. 1i!son %ere e&e "tors, he be/"eathed a 'er# onsiderab!e amo"nt of $ro$ert#, both here and in Eng!and to !itt!e Pear!, the da"ghter of Hester Pr#nne. So Pear!--the e!f hi!d--the demon offs$ring, as some $eo$!e "$ to that e$o h $ersisted in onsidering her--be ame the ri hest heiress of her da# in the Ne% 1or!d. Not im$robab!# this ir "mstan e %ro"ght a 'er# materia! hange in the $"b!i estimation2 and had the mother and hi!d remained here, !itt!e Pear! at a marriageab!e $eriod of !ife might ha'e ming!ed her %i!d b!ood %ith the !ineage of the de'o"test P"ritan among them a!!. +"t, in no !ong time after the $h#si ian.s death, the %earer of the s ar!et !etter disa$$eared, and Pear! a!ong %ith her. 3or man# #ears, tho"gh a 'ag"e re$ort %o"!d no% and then find its %a# a ross the sea--!i(e a sha$e!ess $ie e of drift%ood tossed ashore %ith the initia!s of a name "$on it--#et no tidings of them "n/"estionab!# a"thenti %ere re ei'ed. The stor# of the s ar!et !etter gre% into a !egend. Its s$e!!, ho%e'er, %as sti!! $otent, and (e$t the s affo!d a%f"! %here the $oor minister had died, and !i(e%ise the ottage b# the seashore %here Hester Pr#nne had d%e!t. Near this !atter s$ot, one afternoon some hi!dren %ere at $!a#, %hen the# behe!d a ta!! %oman in a gra# robe a$$roa h the ottage-door. In a!! those #ears it had ne'er on e been o$ened2 b"t either she "n!o (ed it or the de a#ing %ood and iron #ie!ded to her hand, or she g!ided shado%-!i(e thro"gh these im$ediments--and, at a!! e'ents, %ent in. On the thresho!d she $a"sed--t"rned $art!# ro"nd--for $er han e the idea of entering a!one and a!! so hanged, the home of so intense a former !ife, %as more drear# and deso!ate than e'en she o"!d bear. +"t her hesitation %as on!# for an instant, tho"gh !ong

eno"gh to dis$!a# a s ar!et !etter on her breast. And Hester Pr#nne had ret"rned, and ta(en "$ her !ong-forsa(en shame; +"t %here %as !itt!e Pear!: If sti!! a!i'e she m"st no% ha'e been in the f!"sh and b!oom of ear!# %omanhood. None (ne%--nor e'er !earned %ith the f"!ness of $erfe t ertaint#--%hether the e!f- hi!d had gone th"s "ntime!# to a maiden gra'e2 or %hether her %i!d, ri h nat"re had been softened and s"bd"ed and made a$ab!e of a %oman.s gent!e ha$$iness. +"t thro"gh the remainder of Hester.s !ife there %ere indi ations that the re !"se of the s ar!et !etter %as the ob*e t of !o'e and interest %ith some inhabitant of another !and. Letters ame, %ith armoria! sea!s "$on them, tho"gh of bearings "n(no%n to Eng!ish hera!dr#. In the ottage there %ere arti !es of omfort and !"&"r# s" h as Hester ne'er ared to "se, b"t %hi h on!# %ea!th o"!d ha'e $"r hased and affe tion ha'e imagined for her. There %ere trif!es too, !itt!e ornaments, bea"tif"! to(ens of a ontin"a! remembran e, that m"st ha'e been %ro"ght b# de!i ate fingers at the im$"!se of a fond heart. And on e Hester %as seen embroidering a bab#-garment %ith s" h a !a'ish ri hness of go!den fan # as %o"!d ha'e raised a $"b!i t"m"!t had an# infant th"s a$$are!!ed, been sho%n to o"r sober-h"ed omm"nit#. In fine, the gossi$s of that da# be!ie'ed--and 4r. S"r'e#or P"e, %ho made in'estigations a ent"r# !ater, be!ie'ed--and one of his re ent s" essors in offi e, moreo'er, faithf"!!# be!ie'es--that Pear! %as not on!# a!i'e, b"t married, and ha$$#, and mindf"! of her mother2 and that she %o"!d most *o#f"!!# ha'e entertained that sad and !one!# mother at her fireside. +"t there %as a more rea! !ife for Hester Pr#nne, here, in Ne% Eng!and, that in that "n(no%n region %here Pear! had fo"nd a home. Here had been her sin2 here, her sorro%2 and here %as #et to be her $eniten e. She had ret"rned, therefore, and res"med of her o%n free %i!!, for not the sternest magistrate of that iron $eriod %o"!d ha'e im$osed it-res"med the s#mbo! of %hi h %e ha'e re!ated so dar( a ta!e. Ne'er after%ards did it /"it her bosom. +"t, in the !a$se of the toi!some, tho"ghtf"!, and se!f-de'oted #ears that made "$ Hester.s !ife, the s ar!et !etter eased to be a stigma %hi h attra ted the %or!d.s s orn and bitterness, and be ame a t#$e of something to be sorro%ed o'er, and !oo(ed "$on %ith a%e, #et %ith re'eren e too. And, as Hester Pr#nne had no se!fish ends, nor !i'ed in an# meas"re for her o%n $rofit and en*o#ment, $eo$!e bro"ght a!! their sorro%s and $er$!e&ities, and beso"ght her o"nse!, as one %ho had herse!f gone thro"gh a might# tro"b!e. 1omen, more es$e ia!!#--in the ontin"a!!# re "rring tria!s of %o"nded, %asted, %ronged, mis$!a ed, or erring and sinf"! $assion--or %ith the drear# b"rden of a heart "n#ie!ded, be a"se "n'a!"ed and "nso"ght ame to Hester.s ottage, demanding %h# the# %ere so %ret hed, and %hat the remed#; Hester omforted and o"nse!!ed them, as best she might. She ass"red them, too, of her firm be!ief that, at some brighter $eriod, %hen the %or!d sho"!d ha'e gro%n ri$e for it, in Hea'en.s o%n time, a ne% tr"th %o"!d be re'ea!ed, in order to estab!ish the %ho!e re!ation bet%een man and %oman on a s"rer gro"nd of m"t"a! ha$$iness. Ear!ier in !ife, Hester had 'ain!# imagined that she herse!f might be the destined $ro$hetess, b"t had !ong sin e re ognised the im$ossibi!it# that an# mission of di'ine and m#sterio"s tr"th sho"!d be onfided to a %oman stained %ith sin, bo%ed do%n %ith shame, or e'en b"rdened %ith a !ife-!ong sorro%. The ange! and

a$ost!e of the oming re'e!ation m"st be a %oman, indeed, b"t !oft#, $"re, and bea"tif"!, and %ise2 moreo'er, not thro"gh d"s(# grief, b"t the etherea! medi"m of *o#2 and sho%ing ho% sa red !o'e sho"!d ma(e "s ha$$#, b# the tr"est test of a !ife s" essf"! to s" h an end. So said Hester Pr#nne, and g!an ed her sad e#es do%n%ard at the s ar!et !etter. And, after man#, man# #ears, a ne% gra'e %as de!'ed, near an o!d and s"n(en one, in that b"ria!gro"nd beside %hi h 0ing.s Cha$e! has sin e been b"i!t. It %as near that o!d and s"n(en gra'e, #et %ith a s$a e bet%een, as if the d"st of the t%o s!ee$ers had no right to ming!e. <et one tomb-stone ser'ed for both. A!! aro"nd, there %ere mon"ments ar'ed %ith armoria! bearings2 and on this sim$!e s!ab of s!ate--as the "rio"s in'estigator ma# sti!! dis ern, and $er$!e& himse!f %ith the $"r$ort--there a$$eared the semb!an e of an engra'ed es "t heon. It bore a de'i e, a hera!d.s %ording of %hi h ma# ser'e for a motto and brief des ri$tion of o"r no% on !"ded !egend2 so sombre is it, and re!ie'ed on!# b# one e'er-g!o%ing $oint of !ight g!oomier than the shado%7 -8ON A 3IELD, SA+LE, THE LETTER A, 9)LES8

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