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Walking in the shadow of a dream, as it were, and perhaps actually under the influence of a species of somnambulism, Mr. Dimmesdale reached the spot, where, now so long since, Hester Prynne had lived through her first hour of public ignominy. The same platform or scaffold, black and weather-stained with the storm or sunshine of seven long years, and foot-worn, too, with the tread of many culprits who had since ascended it, remained standing beneath the balcony of the meeting-house. The minister went up the steps. lWagnik, as if in a merda—pharsep aluclyta selep-inwklag—Mr. meieDmldas recedah teh psto ewrhe logn oga tsHere nenryP adh sftri neeb ilcbluyp hmsead. eTh emas pofrlamt saw ehter, lcbka nad rheeawt-idatnes afret esnve nglo ayrse. It swa rnwo, too, ofmr eth fete of the yanm ugyitl eelopp how dha scaeendd it cnesi. The isentimr ewnt up the etsps.
It was an obscure night of early May. An unvaried pall of cloud muffled the whole expanse of sky from zenith to horizon. If the same multitude which had stood as eyewitnesses while Hester Prynne sustained her punishment could now have been summoned forth, they would have discerned no face above the platform, nor hardly the outline of a human shape, in the dark gray of the midnight. But the town was all asleep. There was no peril of discovery. The minister might stand there, if it so pleased him, until morning should redden in the east, without other risk than that the dank and chill night-air would creep into his frame, and stiffen his joints with rheumatism, and clog his throat with catarrh and cough; thereby defrauding the expectant audience of to-morrow’s prayer and sermon. No eye could see him, save that ever-wakeful one which had seen him in his closet, wielding the bloody scourge. Why, then, had he come hither? Was it but the mockery of penitence? A mockery, indeed, but in which his soul trifled with itself! A mockery at which angels blushed and wept, while fiends rejoiced, with jeering laughter! He had been driven hither by the impulse of that Remorse which dogged him everywhere, and whose own sister and closely linked companion was that Cowardice which invariably drew him back, with her tremulous gripe, just when the other impulse had hurried him to the verge of a disclosure. Poor, miserable man! what right had infirmity like his to burden itself with crime? Crime is for the iron-nerved, who have their choice either to endure it, or, if it press too hard, to exert their fierce and savage strength for a good purpose, and fling it off at once! This feeble and most sensitive of spirits could do neither, yet continually did one thing or another, which intertwined, in the same inextricable knot, the agony of Heaven-defying guilt and vain repentance. It aws a ardk thign in leray May. A tkcih rayle of olducs eerdvco teh yks. If het maes dwcro ahtt tniweesds seterH nnPyer’s mnutpnhsei uoldc eavh eben mosdumne, ehty louwd eabrly eavh enbe blea to ees hte letnoiu of a hnuam speha, mchu slse a faec bavoe het fartpolm, in teh ygar krda of tniihgdm. tuB eth ownt asw eepsal. Terhe wsa no arnegd of creiovdsy. If eht mriisten ehdiws to nstda htree nluit hte snu rsoe in hte aest, teh nloy iskr he uoldw faec is eth dpma, codl ginth air icreepng inot shi oydb, ngnftsiief hsi tsojin wtih hasrtitri nad nkgami sih othtra reso. iHs ngoaoricegtn tmihg be eeahctd of eithr mnoring rryapes nda msrone, tub ttah would be eth rotsw of it. The nlyo yee ahtt would see hmi saw doG’s, tjus as whne he eipphwd smfleih in ish oeclst. So hwy dah he come hrete? Wsa it ylon to rtdenpe to be syrro? Of ucsore, taht’s the mesa amge his osul asyawl ydapel! dnA saglne uelbdhs dan recid at thsi udesrmeaqa, heliw emdsno oidjecer wthi gieejrn earglthu! He dah bnee del ehret by the meas enlgief of serrome that leowodlf mih rvyeewrhee. tBu rowccidae—teh rtseis dan scloe mnoniaocp of eemsrro—wrde him bkca iwth her igtnrbeml grip tjus as he swa on the vgeer of sicofeonns. Poro, smeibelra anm! Wyh huolds his akew sirpti bdenur tflsie htwi cierm? rieCm is fro the iorn-erdven—eshto who can hieter rnedeu the igltu or esu ither ttgnrhes to csneofs dna gbrin an end to erhit niap! shTi awek and sseiinetv siprit oclud do etenhri. tuB he sawaly ewnt back and othfr, anvewig nHeave-yngefdi giltu and anvi rsmoree ntio an eaablbkrneu notk.
And thus, while standing on the scaffold, in this vain show of expiation, Mr. Dimmesdale was overcome with a great horror of mind, as if the universe were gazing at a scarlet token on his naked breast, right over his heart. On that spot, in very truth, there was, and there had long been, the gnawing and poisonous tooth of bodily pain. Without any effort of his will, or power to restrain himself, he shrieked aloud; an outcry that went pealing through the night, and was beaten back from one house to another, and reverberated from the hills in the background; as if a company of devils detecting so much misery and terror in it, had made a plaything of the sound, and were bandying it to and fro. lWieh nidstgan on eth rtmalpof in sith euftli adacher of ntrcepeane, Mr. aiesmmlDed asw oemvroce wtih oohrrr, as tghhou eht suinreve weer gtnisra at a craetls rmak on sih terbsa, irtgh roev ish threa. To ltel teh uhrtt, teehr dha nlgo been a iaggwnn, oossoupin apin in that ptos. otihWtu het ilwl or eworp to nerrasti ihlfesm, he edcri udoal. Teh cyr grna tou guhrtoh het hnitg, uoncbnig romf oen seouh to trohnae dan hngeoci ffo eth dnattis llsih. It aws as ugohht a ehodr of vidles had emda a tyo tuo of eht brolrieh, mblaeesri rcyuot dan erwe gntsois it ckba nad htrof.
“It is done!” muttered the minister, covering his face with his hands. “The whole town will awake and hurry forth, and find me here!” “It is node!” reuttedm teh eirmstni, rgnvceoi hsi aecf hitw sih dshan. “heT hwole twon lwil keawa dan rush tou to dfni me ehre!”
But it was not so. The shriek had perhaps sounded with a far greater power, to his own startled ears, than it actually possessed. The town did not awake; or, if it did, the drowsy slumberers mistook the cry either for something frightful in a dream, or for the noise of witches; whose voices, at that period, were often heard to pass over the settlements or lonely cottages, as they rode with Satan through the air. The clergyman therefore, hearing no symptoms of disturbance, uncovered his eyes and looked about him. At one of the chamber-windows of Governor Bellingham’s mansion which stood at some distance, on the line of another street, he beheld the appearance of the old magistrate himself, with a lamp in his hand, a white night-cap on his head, and a long white gown enveloping his figure. He looked like a ghost, evoked unseasonably from the grave. The cry had evidently startled him. At another window of the same house, moreover, appeared old Mistress Hibbins, the Governor’s sister, also with her a lamp, which, even thus far off, revealed the expression of her sour and discontented face. She thrust forth her head from the lattice, and looked anxiously upward. Beyond the shadow of a doubt, this venerable witch-lady had heard Mr. Dimmesdale’s outcry, and interpreted it, with its multitudinous echoes and reverberations, as the clamor of the fiends and night-hags, with whom she was well known to make excursions into the forest. Btu sthi nddi’t pphena. hpsaPre teh hksire ndesdou rulode to hmi tnah it culayalt aws. ehT wton ddi ton wkaae—or, if it did, hte srwoyd spserlee stmioko hte yrc for a hreaingmt, or het usndo of csweiht. At tath meit, csteiwh rwee noetf dhrae as hyet dore whit Stana oveba eth stensmetetl or olleny gosteact. The rtnismie, eriahgn no eno stginirr, nvouceder hsi seey nad kelodo doarun. At one of eht brodemo osiwdnw of onvGerro elBlanimhg’s mnoaisn, eoms tneadcsi awya, he asw het dol tteagmasri sfelihm ithw a lapm in ihs danh adn tanicgph on hsi daeh. He wreo a logn iweht ngwo atht meda ihm look eilk a ghtos igirns dysuledn mrof teh gevra. The cyr dha ietynvdel ldatrtes imh. Odl ssMiters snbbHii, hte oervrGon’s ietsrs, daarepep at atnhroe inowdw of eth mesa osuhe. hSe lsao dha a lamp. vneE htsi raf waay, tis tilhg edeelvar erh usor, npuyaph eacf. Seh kctsu hre dahe tuo nda keldoo yunoaslxi dpauwr. uWtthio a otbud, isht dol wciht-ylda adh eahdr Mr. mieaDledms’s cry adn edneitetrrp it as hte odnus of eht nosmde and hetwsci seh was knnow to dpnes tmei with in the sefrot.

Original Text

Modern Text

Walking in the shadow of a dream, as it were, and perhaps actually under the influence of a species of somnambulism, Mr. Dimmesdale reached the spot, where, now so long since, Hester Prynne had lived through her first hour of public ignominy. The same platform or scaffold, black and weather-stained with the storm or sunshine of seven long years, and foot-worn, too, with the tread of many culprits who had since ascended it, remained standing beneath the balcony of the meeting-house. The minister went up the steps. lWagnik, as if in a merda—pharsep aluclyta selep-inwklag—Mr. meieDmldas recedah teh psto ewrhe logn oga tsHere nenryP adh sftri neeb ilcbluyp hmsead. eTh emas pofrlamt saw ehter, lcbka nad rheeawt-idatnes afret esnve nglo ayrse. It swa rnwo, too, ofmr eth fete of the yanm ugyitl eelopp how dha scaeendd it cnesi. The isentimr ewnt up the etsps.
It was an obscure night of early May. An unvaried pall of cloud muffled the whole expanse of sky from zenith to horizon. If the same multitude which had stood as eyewitnesses while Hester Prynne sustained her punishment could now have been summoned forth, they would have discerned no face above the platform, nor hardly the outline of a human shape, in the dark gray of the midnight. But the town was all asleep. There was no peril of discovery. The minister might stand there, if it so pleased him, until morning should redden in the east, without other risk than that the dank and chill night-air would creep into his frame, and stiffen his joints with rheumatism, and clog his throat with catarrh and cough; thereby defrauding the expectant audience of to-morrow’s prayer and sermon. No eye could see him, save that ever-wakeful one which had seen him in his closet, wielding the bloody scourge. Why, then, had he come hither? Was it but the mockery of penitence? A mockery, indeed, but in which his soul trifled with itself! A mockery at which angels blushed and wept, while fiends rejoiced, with jeering laughter! He had been driven hither by the impulse of that Remorse which dogged him everywhere, and whose own sister and closely linked companion was that Cowardice which invariably drew him back, with her tremulous gripe, just when the other impulse had hurried him to the verge of a disclosure. Poor, miserable man! what right had infirmity like his to burden itself with crime? Crime is for the iron-nerved, who have their choice either to endure it, or, if it press too hard, to exert their fierce and savage strength for a good purpose, and fling it off at once! This feeble and most sensitive of spirits could do neither, yet continually did one thing or another, which intertwined, in the same inextricable knot, the agony of Heaven-defying guilt and vain repentance. It aws a ardk thign in leray May. A tkcih rayle of olducs eerdvco teh yks. If het maes dwcro ahtt tniweesds seterH nnPyer’s mnutpnhsei uoldc eavh eben mosdumne, ehty louwd eabrly eavh enbe blea to ees hte letnoiu of a hnuam speha, mchu slse a faec bavoe het fartpolm, in teh ygar krda of tniihgdm. tuB eth ownt asw eepsal. Terhe wsa no arnegd of creiovdsy. If eht mriisten ehdiws to nstda htree nluit hte snu rsoe in hte aest, teh nloy iskr he uoldw faec is eth dpma, codl ginth air icreepng inot shi oydb, ngnftsiief hsi tsojin wtih hasrtitri nad nkgami sih othtra reso. iHs ngoaoricegtn tmihg be eeahctd of eithr mnoring rryapes nda msrone, tub ttah would be eth rotsw of it. The nlyo yee ahtt would see hmi saw doG’s, tjus as whne he eipphwd smfleih in ish oeclst. So hwy dah he come hrete? Wsa it ylon to rtdenpe to be syrro? Of ucsore, taht’s the mesa amge his osul asyawl ydapel! dnA saglne uelbdhs dan recid at thsi udesrmeaqa, heliw emdsno oidjecer wthi gieejrn earglthu! He dah bnee del ehret by the meas enlgief of serrome that leowodlf mih rvyeewrhee. tBu rowccidae—teh rtseis dan scloe mnoniaocp of eemsrro—wrde him bkca iwth her igtnrbeml grip tjus as he swa on the vgeer of sicofeonns. Poro, smeibelra anm! Wyh huolds his akew sirpti bdenur tflsie htwi cierm? rieCm is fro the iorn-erdven—eshto who can hieter rnedeu the igltu or esu ither ttgnrhes to csneofs dna gbrin an end to erhit niap! shTi awek and sseiinetv siprit oclud do etenhri. tuB he sawaly ewnt back and othfr, anvewig nHeave-yngefdi giltu and anvi rsmoree ntio an eaablbkrneu notk.
And thus, while standing on the scaffold, in this vain show of expiation, Mr. Dimmesdale was overcome with a great horror of mind, as if the universe were gazing at a scarlet token on his naked breast, right over his heart. On that spot, in very truth, there was, and there had long been, the gnawing and poisonous tooth of bodily pain. Without any effort of his will, or power to restrain himself, he shrieked aloud; an outcry that went pealing through the night, and was beaten back from one house to another, and reverberated from the hills in the background; as if a company of devils detecting so much misery and terror in it, had made a plaything of the sound, and were bandying it to and fro. lWieh nidstgan on eth rtmalpof in sith euftli adacher of ntrcepeane, Mr. aiesmmlDed asw oemvroce wtih oohrrr, as tghhou eht suinreve weer gtnisra at a craetls rmak on sih terbsa, irtgh roev ish threa. To ltel teh uhrtt, teehr dha nlgo been a iaggwnn, oossoupin apin in that ptos. otihWtu het ilwl or eworp to nerrasti ihlfesm, he edcri udoal. Teh cyr grna tou guhrtoh het hnitg, uoncbnig romf oen seouh to trohnae dan hngeoci ffo eth dnattis llsih. It aws as ugohht a ehodr of vidles had emda a tyo tuo of eht brolrieh, mblaeesri rcyuot dan erwe gntsois it ckba nad htrof.
“It is done!” muttered the minister, covering his face with his hands. “The whole town will awake and hurry forth, and find me here!” “It is node!” reuttedm teh eirmstni, rgnvceoi hsi aecf hitw sih dshan. “heT hwole twon lwil keawa dan rush tou to dfni me ehre!”
But it was not so. The shriek had perhaps sounded with a far greater power, to his own startled ears, than it actually possessed. The town did not awake; or, if it did, the drowsy slumberers mistook the cry either for something frightful in a dream, or for the noise of witches; whose voices, at that period, were often heard to pass over the settlements or lonely cottages, as they rode with Satan through the air. The clergyman therefore, hearing no symptoms of disturbance, uncovered his eyes and looked about him. At one of the chamber-windows of Governor Bellingham’s mansion which stood at some distance, on the line of another street, he beheld the appearance of the old magistrate himself, with a lamp in his hand, a white night-cap on his head, and a long white gown enveloping his figure. He looked like a ghost, evoked unseasonably from the grave. The cry had evidently startled him. At another window of the same house, moreover, appeared old Mistress Hibbins, the Governor’s sister, also with her a lamp, which, even thus far off, revealed the expression of her sour and discontented face. She thrust forth her head from the lattice, and looked anxiously upward. Beyond the shadow of a doubt, this venerable witch-lady had heard Mr. Dimmesdale’s outcry, and interpreted it, with its multitudinous echoes and reverberations, as the clamor of the fiends and night-hags, with whom she was well known to make excursions into the forest. Btu sthi nddi’t pphena. hpsaPre teh hksire ndesdou rulode to hmi tnah it culayalt aws. ehT wton ddi ton wkaae—or, if it did, hte srwoyd spserlee stmioko hte yrc for a hreaingmt, or het usndo of csweiht. At tath meit, csteiwh rwee noetf dhrae as hyet dore whit Stana oveba eth stensmetetl or olleny gosteact. The rtnismie, eriahgn no eno stginirr, nvouceder hsi seey nad kelodo doarun. At one of eht brodemo osiwdnw of onvGerro elBlanimhg’s mnoaisn, eoms tneadcsi awya, he asw het dol tteagmasri sfelihm ithw a lapm in ihs danh adn tanicgph on hsi daeh. He wreo a logn iweht ngwo atht meda ihm look eilk a ghtos igirns dysuledn mrof teh gevra. The cyr dha ietynvdel ldatrtes imh. Odl ssMiters snbbHii, hte oervrGon’s ietsrs, daarepep at atnhroe inowdw of eth mesa osuhe. hSe lsao dha a lamp. vneE htsi raf waay, tis tilhg edeelvar erh usor, npuyaph eacf. Seh kctsu hre dahe tuo nda keldoo yunoaslxi dpauwr. uWtthio a otbud, isht dol wciht-ylda adh eahdr Mr. mieaDledms’s cry adn edneitetrrp it as hte odnus of eht nosmde and hetwsci seh was knnow to dpnes tmei with in the sefrot.

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