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The Scarlet Letter

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“Then I need ask no further,” said the clergyman, somewhat hastily rising from his chair. “You deal not, I take it, in medicine for the soul!” “Then I will ask no more,” said the minister, rising somewhat abruptly from his chair. “You do not, I assume, deal in medicines for the soul!”
“Thus, a sickness,” continued Roger Chillingworth, going on, in an unaltered tone, without heeding the interruption,—but standing up, and confronting the emaciated and white-cheeked minister with his low, dark, and misshapen figure,—“a sickness, a sore place, if we may so call it, in your spirit, hath immediately its appropriate manifestation in your bodily frame. Would you, therefore, that your physician heal the bodily evil? How may this be, unless you first lay open to him the wound or trouble in your soul?” “A sickness,” continued Roger Chillingworth in the same tone, paying no mind to the interruption, but rather standing and confronting the thin, pale-faced minister with his small, dark and deformed figure, “a sickness—a sore spot, if we can call it that—in your spirit manifests itself in your body. Do you want your doctor to heal that bodily illness? How can he unless you first reveal the wound in your soul?”
“No!—not to thee!—not to an earthly physician!” cried Mr. Dimmesdale, passionately, and turning his eyes, full and bright, and with a kind of fierceness, on old Roger Chillingworth. “Not to thee! But, if it be the soul’s disease, then do I commit myself to the one Physician of the soul! He, if it stand with his good pleasure, can cure; or he can kill! Let him do with me as, in his justice and wisdom, he shall see good. But who art thou, that meddlest in this matter?—that dares thrust himself between the sufferer and his God?” “Not to you! Not to an earthly doctor!” cried Mr. Dimmesdale passionately, turning his eyes, fierce and bright, on old Roger Chillingworth. “Not to you! But if my soul is diseased, then I commit myself to the only doctor of the soul! He can cure or kill as He pleases. Let Him with do me as He, in His justice and wisdom, sees fit. Who are you to meddle in this? To thrust yourself between a sinner and his God?”
With a frantic gesture, he rushed out of the room. He rushed out of the room with a frantic gesture.
“It is as well, to have made this step,” said Roger Chillingworth to himself, looking after the minister with a grave smile. “There is nothing lost. We shall be friends again anon. But see, now, how passion takes hold upon this man, and hurrieth him out of himself! As with one passion, so with another! He hath done a wild thing ere now, this pious Master Dimmesdale, in the hot passion of his heart!” “It’s good to have made this step,” Roger Chillingworth said to himself, watching the minister go with a grave smile. “Nothing is lost. We’ll soon be friends again. But look how passion takes hold of this man and causes him to lose control of himself! Other passions could also make him lose control. The pious Master Dimmesdale has done something wild before this, in the hot passion of his heart.”
It proved not difficult to reëstablish the intimacy of the two companions, on the same footing and in the same degree as heretofore. The young clergyman, after a few hours of privacy, was sensible that the disorder of his nerves had hurried him into an unseemly outbreak of temper, which there had been nothing in the physician’s words to excuse or palliate. He marvelled, indeed, at the violence with which he had thrust back the kind old man, when merely proffering the advice which it was his duty to bestow, and which the minister himself had expressly sought. With these remorseful feelings, he lost no time in making the amplest apologies, and besought his friend still to continue the care, which, if not successful in restoring him to health, had, in all probability, been the means of prolonging his feeble existence to that hour. Roger Chillingworth readily assented, and went on with his medical supervision of the minister; doing his best for him, in all good faith, but always quitting the patient’s apartment, at the close of a professional interview, with a mysterious and puzzled smile upon his lips. This expression was invisible in Mr. Dimmesdale’s presence, but grew strongly evident as the physician crossed the threshold. It was not difficult for the two companions to reestablish their intimacy, just as it had been before. After a few hours alone, the young minister realized that his nerves had led him to an inappropriate outburst, uncalled for by anything the doctor had said or done. Indeed, the minister was amazed at the violent way he had repelled the kind old man, who was dutifully giving advice he had expressly asked for. With these feelings of regret, the minister quickly and profusely apologized. He asked his friend to continue the care which, though it had not restored his health, had probably prolonged his feeble existence. Roger Chillingworth readily agreed and continued his medical supervision. He did his best for his patient but always left the room at the end of their consultations with a mysterious and puzzled smile on his lips. He concealed the expression while in Mr. Dimmesdale’s presence, but it revealed itself fully as soon as the doctor left the room.
“A rare case!” he muttered. “I must needs look deeper into it. A strange sympathy betwixt soul and body! Were it only for the art’s sake, I must search this matter to the bottom!” “A unique case,” he muttered. “I need to look into it more deeply. There exists a strange bond between his soul and his body! I must get to the bottom of it, if only out of professional curiosity.”
It came to pass, not long after the scene above recorded, that the Reverend Mr. Dimmesdale, at noon-day, and entirely unawares, fell into a deep, deep slumber, sitting in his chair, with a large black-letter volume open before him on the table. It must have been a work of vast ability in the somniferous school of literature. The profound depth of the minister’s repose was the more remarkable; inasmuch as he was one of those persons whose sleep, ordinarily, is as light, as fitful, and as easily scared away, as a small bird hopping on a twig. To such an unwonted remoteness, however, had his spirit now withdrawn into itself, that he stirred not in his chair, when old Roger Chillingworth, without any extraordinary precaution, came into the room. The physician advanced directly in front of his patient, laid his hand upon his bosom, and thrust aside the vestment, that, hitherto, had always covered it even from the professional eye. Not long after the scene described above, the Reverend Mr. Dimmesdale fell into a deep midday sleep while sitting in his chair. A large old book was open on the table in front of him. It must have been one of the great works from the school of boring literature. The overwhelming depth of the minister’s sleep was even more remarkable because he was an incredibly light sleeper, as easily disturbed as a bird on a twig. But his soul had fallen into such an unusual slumber that he did not stir when old Roger Chillingworth, with no special care, came into the room. The doctor walked right up to his patient, laid his hand on his breast, and pushed aside the robe that had always hid his chest from the doctor’s eye.
Then, indeed, Mr. Dimmesdale shuddered, and slightly stirred. Mr. Dimmesdale shuddered and stirred slightly.
After a brief pause, the physician turned away. After a brief pause, the doctor turned away.
But with what a wild look of wonder, joy, and horror! With what a ghastly rapture, as it were, too mighty to be expressed only by the eye and features, and therefore bursting forth through the whole ugliness of his figure, and making itself even riotously manifest by the extravagant gestures with which he threw up his arms towards the ceiling, and stamped his foot upon the floor! Had a man seen old Roger Chillingworth, at that moment of his ecstasy, he would have had no need to ask how Satan comports himself, when a precious human soul is lost to Heaven, and won into his kingdom. But what a look of wonder, joy, and horror was on the doctor’s face! What terrible ecstasy, too intense to be expressed by only the eye and face, burst through the whole ugliness of his body! He threw his arms up to the ceiling and stamped his foot on the floor with emphatic gestures. If someone had seen old Roger Chillingworth at that instant of joy, they would have known what Satan looks like when a precious human soul is lost to Heaven and won for Hell instead.

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