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The Scarlet Letter

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“All this, and more,” said Hester. “All of that, and more,” said Hester.
“And what am I now?” demanded he, looking into her face, and permitting the whole evil within him to be written on his features. “I have already told thee what I am! A fiend! Who made me so?” “And what am I now?” he demanded, looking into her face and allowing all the evil inside him to appear on his own. “I have already told you what I am! A demon! Who made me into this?”
“It was myself!” cried Hester, shuddering. “It was I, not less than he. Why hast thou not avenged thyself on me?” “It was me!” cried Hester, shuddering. “It was me as much as him. Why haven’t you taken your revenge on me?”
“I have left thee to the scarlet letter,” replied Roger Chillingworth. “If that have not avenged me, I can do no more!” “I have left you to the scarlet letter,” replied Roger Chillingworth. “If that has not avenged me, I cannot do anything else.”
He laid his finger on it, with a smile. He laid his finger on it, with a smile.
“It has avenged thee!” answered Hester Prynne. “It has avenged you!” Hester Prynne replied.
“I judged no less,” said the physician. “And now, what wouldst thou with me touching this man?” “I thought as much,” said the doctor. “And now, what would you say to me about this man?”
“I must reveal the secret,” answered Hester, firmly. “He must discern thee in thy true character. What may be the result, I know not. But this long debt of confidence, due from me to him, whose bane and ruin I have been, shall at length be paid. So far as concerns the overthrow or preservation of his fair fame and his earthly state, and perchance his life, he is in thy hands. Nor do I,—whom the scarlet letter has disciplined to truth, though it be the truth of red-hot iron, entering into the soul,—nor do I perceive such advantage in his living any longer a life of ghastly emptiness, that I shall stoop to implore thy mercy. Do with him as thou wilt! There is no good for him,—no good for me,—no good for thee! There is no good for little Pearl! There is no path to guide us out of this dismal maze!” “I must reveal the secret,” answered Hester, firmly. “He must see your true character. I don’t know what the result will be. But I have been the poison that has caused his ruin, and I will pay the debt that I have long owed him. His worldly reputation, his place in society, and perhaps his life are in your hands. I will not stoop to beg you for mercy: I do not see the advantage in his living a life of such awful emptiness. The scarlet letter has taught me the virtue of truth, even truth that burns the soul like a red-hot iron. Do what you will with him! There is no good in the world for him, no good for me, no good for you! There is no good for little Pearl! There is no path to guide us out of this grim maze!”
“Woman, I could wellnigh pity thee!” said Roger Chillingworth, unable to restrain a thrill of admiration too; for there was a quality almost majestic in the despair which she expressed. “Thou hadst great elements. Peradventure, hadst thou met earlier with a better love than mine, this evil had not been. I pity thee, for the good that has been wasted in thy nature!” “Woman, I could almost pity you!” said Roger Chillingworth, unable to restrain a spark of admiration. There was almost a majestic quality in the despair that she expressed. “You had great qualities. Perhaps, if you had earlier found a better love than mine, all of this evil would not have come about. I pity you, for the good in your nature that has been wasted!”
“And I thee,” answered Hester Prynne, “for the hatred that has transformed a wise and just man to a fiend! Wilt thou yet purge it out of thee, and be once more human? If not for his sake, then doubly for thine own! Forgive, and leave his further retribution to the Power that claims it! I said, but now, that there could be no good event for him, or thee, or me, who are here wandering together in this gloomy maze of evil, and stumbling, at every step, over the guilt wherewith we have strewn our path. It is not so! There might be good for thee, and thee alone, since thou hast been deeply wronged, and hast it at thy will to pardon. Wilt thou give up that only privilege? Wilt thou reject that priceless benefit?” “And I pity you,” answered Hester Prynne, “for the hatred that has transformed a wise and just man into a demon! Will you purge it out of yourself, and become human once again? If not for his sake, then for your own! Forgive, and leave his further punishment to the Judgment Day! I said, moments ago, that there could be no good for him, or you, or me, who are wandering together in this gloomy maze of evil, stumbling with each step over the guilt we have placed in our path. But that wasn’t true! There might be good for you—and only you. You have been deeply wronged and you have the power to pardon it. Will you give up that only power? Will you reject that priceless benefit?”
“Peace, Hester, peace!” replied the old man, with gloomy sternness. “It is not granted me to pardon. I have no such power as thou tellest me of. My old faith, long forgotten, comes back to me, and explains all that we do, and all we suffer. By thy first step awry, thou didst plant the germ of evil; but, since that moment, it has all been a dark necessity. Ye that have wronged me are not sinful, save in a kind of typical illusion; neither am I fiend-like, who have snatched a fiend’s office from his hands. It is our fate. Let the black flower blossom as it may! Now go thy ways, and deal as thou wilt with yonder man.” “Enough, Hester, enough!” replied the old man, with gloomy sternness. “It is not in my power to pardon. I do not have the power you speak of. My old faith, which I abandoned long ago, comes back to me. It explains all that we do and all we suffer. You planted the seed of evil when you stumbled. But since that moment, it has all been the hand of fate. You that have wronged me, but you’re no more sinful than most people. And though I have done the work of a demon, I am not a demon. It is our fate. Let that black flower blossom as it pleases! Now go on your way, and do what you will with that man.”
He waved his hand, and betook himself again to his employment of gathering herbs. He waved his hand and began to gather herbs once again.

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