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The Scarlet Letter

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While Hester stood in that magic circle of ignominy, where the cunning cruelty of her sentence seemed to have fixed her for ever, the admirable preacher was looking down from the sacred pulpit upon an audience, whose very inmost spirits had yielded to his control. The sainted minister in the church! The woman of the scarlet letter in the market-place! What imagination would have been irreverent enough to surmise that the same scorching stigma was on them both? While Hester stood in that magic circle of shame, where the clever cruelty of her sentence seemed destined to last forever, the admired minister was looking down from the sacred pulpit at the audience, whose innermost spirit had submitted to his control. The sainted minister in church! The woman of the scarlet letter in the marketplace! Who would have imagined that the same burning mark was on them both?

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