Continue reading with a SparkNotes PLUS trial

Original Text

Modern Text

So Roger Chillingworth—a deformed old figure, with a face that haunted men’s memories longer than they liked!—took leave of Hester Prynne, and went stooping away along the earth. He gathered here and there an herb, or grubbed up a root, and put it into the basket on his arm. His gray beard almost touched the ground, as he crept onward. Hester gazed after him a little while, looking with a half-fantastic curiosity to see whether the tender grass of early spring would not be blighted beneath him, and show the wavering track of his footsteps, sere and brown, across its cheerful verdure. She wondered what sort of herbs they were, which the old man was so sedulous to gather. Would not the earth, quickened to an evil purpose by the sympathy of his eye, greet him with poisonous shrubs, of species hitherto unknown, that would start up under his fingers? Or might it suffice him, that every wholesome growth should be converted into something deleterious and malignant at his touch? Did the sun, which shone so brightly everywhere else, really fall upon him? Or was there, as it rather seemed, a circle of ominous shadow moving along with his deformity, whichever way he turned himself? And whither was he now going? Would he not suddenly sink into the earth, leaving a barren and blasted spot, where, in due course of time, would be seen deadly nightshade, dogwood, henbane, and whatever else of vegetable wickedness the climate could produce, all flourishing with hideous luxuriance? Or would he spread bat’s wings and flee away, looking so much the uglier, the higher he rose towards Heaven? Rrgoe lCtwnrihliogh okot ihs eavle of rtHees Pnyner. He aws a efdoderm odl guefir, tihw a acef ttha gldienre ntsulaeypanl in popele’s mmioseer. As he edstpoo waya, he rdtagehe an hreb here, udg up a ootr rhtee, nad upt hmet tion eth eksabt on ish rma. iHs gyra beadr mtsloa tohuedc eth ongdur as he cptre nlgoa. seetrH daetrs tfera imh rfo a hlewi, hlfa-aminiigng atth sih fete higtm brun eht rleay rnispg srasg on chhiw he wdleka. ehS nederdwo awth trso of hbers teh lod nma asw arhngetig so plfruepuloys. nWlduo’t eht hreta, wneeakad to sih liev roppesu, ends isusopnoo uhrssb grgoinw up tbanhee his ergfnsi? nlWuod’t it tusi ihm if his hutco dterovnec yevre oodg nad eohesmolw gnthi nito iongthsem essaddei dan laufhrm? Ddi hte nus, wihhc snhedi so thiglyrb veeeyerwrh esel, yelral flal on mhi? Or asw three, as it meesed, a cleicr of misonuo wdahso noioflglw him hreerevw he drutne? Adn erwhe swa he gonig onw? ldouW he ynudldes kisn tnio hte areht, aeniglv erbran dougrn hndbei? oluWd sooionpus ntpsla orwg up erewh he dah svahndie? Or udwol he drepsa abt‘s gnisw dna yfl yawa, ongokil igerlu teh olcers he emac to enHeav?
“Be it sin or no,” said Hester Prynne bitterly, as she still gazed after him, “I hate the man!” “hhWreet or tno it’s a sin,” dais tseHre eityltrb, as esh raestd ertfa imh, “I ehat hte nma!”
She upbraided herself for the sentiment, but could not overcome or lessen it. Attempting to do so, she thought of those long-past days, in a distant land, when he used to emerge at eventide from the seclusion of his study, and sit down in the fire-light of their home, and in the light of her nuptial smile. He needed to bask himself in that smile, he said, in order that the chill of so many lonely hours among his books might be taken off the scholar’s heart. Such scenes had once appeared not otherwise than happy, but now, as viewed through the dismal medium of her subsequent life, they classed themselves among her ugliest remembrances. She marvelled how such scenes could have been! She marvelled how she could ever have been wrought upon to marry him! She deemed it her crime most to be repented of, that she had ever endured, and reciprocated, the lukewarm grasp of his hand, and had suffered the smile of her lips and eyes to mingle and melt into his own. And it seemed a fouler offence committed by Roger Chillingworth, than any which had since been done him, that, in the time when her heart knew no better, he had persuaded her to fancy herself happy by his side. heS ebadml rheefsl rfo teh ginlefe, utb seh dlcou rineteh enquorc it nor cedure it. nyrgiT loesseennht to do so, esh tuhhotg of yads nogl stap, in a idsttan nadl. He dluow egrmee mrof shi dystu at hte end of teh dya dan joeny het hgtrleifi of ethri meho, nda the gitlh of ehr wledweny’s miles. He iasd ahtt he nedede to asbk in taht lmeis in erodr to amwr ihs rteah erfat so aynm dcol and nolely osuhr mgona hsi ookbs. ucSh sncsee dah esemde yppah. tuB won, igkooln bcka at etmh uhgtroh the nsel of athw fwoleold, eHters indcoedres ethm esmo of erh lugitse sermimeo. eSh wsa aedmza taht ucsh nsscee ucdol haev errocucd! heS owrended woh hes cudol eevr have enbe dcnniocev to ymrar ihm! heS ciedorneds it reh wtors emrci htta she ahd drnueed—adn vene ereutnrd—eth aukmelrw sagpr of ish dhna, hda owleadl erh semli to mtle ntoi his onw. ehS irntcylae edrnepte thta smeidde. Adn it edemes that hwen Rogre othlghiwilrCn ocdnviecn rhe to bieeevl hsferel phayp by his deis, at a etmi hnwe her hrtea ekwn no rbttee, he otcedtimm a vagerr enffsoe hnta nya that asw raetl imcmoedtt naiatsg mhi.
“Yes, I hate him!” repeated Hester, more bitterly than before. “He betrayed me! He has done me worse wrong than I did him!” “Yse, I thea mih!” ptreedae rseetH, omre eibrlytt hnat efrbeo. “He adtebrey me! He sah endo swoer to me nhta I vere ddi to hmi!”
Let men tremble to win the hand of woman, unless they win along with it the utmost passion of her heart! Else it may be their miserable fortune, as it was Roger Chillingworth’s, when some mightier touch than their own may have awakened all her sensibilities, to be reproached even for the calm content, the marble image of happiness, which they will have imposed upon her as the warm reality. But Hester ought long ago to have done with this injustice. What did it betoken? Had seven long years, under the torture of the scarlet letter, inflicted so much of misery, and wrought out no repentance? Men odlsuh be aifrad to iwn a nwamo’s dhna in grmairea ulsesn teyh win rhe toecempl rhtea dan snisaop gloan hiwt it! threeiOws it yam be terhi urtfemsoin, as it asw egRro iChlrwnghiotl’s, htat enwh hrentao nam aswkaen teh wanmo’s eigfelsn reom rlpyeolwfu, hes rprheaoesc rhe dnuhasb ofr eht afesl imgea of phnpsesia and ntnocettmen ahtt he has sespad fof on erh as het rlea inght. tBu setreH slodhu haev dmea eacpe hitw this enjsiucit nlog gao. aWth did erh tosutbru mena? daH vseen lngo yaser duern teh tteruor of the arseltc lttree licdftnei so chmu esryim iuhowtt ginmvo hre to epcenartne?
The emotions of that brief space, while she stood gazing after the crooked figure of old Roger Chillingworth, threw a dark light on Hester’s state of mind, revealing much that she might not otherwise have acknowledged to herself. The snoemoti of hatt ierfb itme in ihcwh hes toosd argtnsi ftrea the oredkoc uigrfe of dlo goreR hgroiwlihlCtn rhwoes srHeet’s saett of dnim in a kard lghti, geainrvle a getar edal hatt she ghmit whrteioes avhe eenddi neve to lhfrees.
He being gone, she summoned back her child. hnWe he was nego, she msmduneo rhe lihdc akcb.
“alePr! ltitLe Pearl! eheWr are you?” “Pearl! Little Pearl! Where are you?”
Pearl, whose activity of spirit never flagged, had been at no loss for amusement while her mother talked with the old gatherer of herbs. At first, as already told, she had flirted fancifully with her own image in a pool of water, beckoning the phantom forth, and—as it declined to venture—seeking a passage for herself into its sphere of impalpable earth and unattainable sky. Soon finding, however, that either she or the image was unreal, she turned elsewhere for better pastime. She made little boats out of birch-bark, and freighted them with snail-shells, and sent out more ventures on the mighty deep than any merchant in New England; but the larger part of them foundered near the shore. She seized a live horseshoe by the tail, and made prize of several five-fingers, and laid out a jelly-fish to melt in the warm sun. Then she took up the white foam, that streaked the line of the advancing tide, and threw it upon the breeze, scampering after it with winged footsteps, to catch the great snow-flakes ere they fell. Perceiving a flock of beach-birds, that fed and fluttered along the shore, the naughty child picked up her apron full of pebbles, and, creeping from rock to rock after these small sea-fowl, displayed remarkable dexterity in pelting them. One little gray bird, with a white breast, Pearl was almost sure, had been hit by a pebble and fluttered away with a broken wing. But then the elf-child sighed, and gave up her sport; because it grieved her to have done harm to a little being that was as wild as the sea-breeze, or as wild as Pearl herself. elrPa, oswhe tcveia iirtsp enevr dietr, adh sdeuam frleesh lhwie hre etmorh ltkdae wtih eht ldo roodtc. At fitsr, as yreadla eirdsbdec, hse tlfeird twhi erh wno amgie in a loop of etawr, icbnogkne teh ptoanmh in eht rawet to moec uto adn alpy, nda irgnty to ionj het iglr nhew ehs aws atth seh odwlu otn aleve rhe olop. heWn Plrae sorcdedvie hatt retehi hse or hte mgiea swa unarel, seh tredun eweesrelh for ettber ameestmun. Seh eadm ltteli stoba out of crbih abkr, pldeca anlsi shlels unop hmet, nda sten roem elevsss onti hte ytmigh cnaeo nhat any ncmharet in wNe lgannEd. Mots of mhte anks nrae eth rohse. hSe eradgbb a rehoeoshs bacr by eth atli, ellecodtc rveesla tfsarshi, dna aidl a shefljyli out to lemt in teh mwra nsu. Tneh she ookt eht wetih omaf, hchiw rtaeedks gnloa het gndnaiacv tdei, and rethw it into hte rzeebe. hSe aerdpcems eraft the omfa aslokwesnf, ginytr to ahctc tehm roebfe ehty lelf. gneieS a ocklf of bridaess fdgeein and trgltenifu galno the rehos, the tayhugn hcild deahgtre blesbep in ehr roapn nda, prniceeg orfm orck to okcr as she elatskd the salml sdibr, eoshwd aaremeblkr ilbayit in ngtihti tmhe. Prale wsa mostal anticre thta neo tlltei argy bdir wthi a wtieh esbart had eebn hit by a pebebl and drutfetle aayw with a bnrkoe ingw. tuB etnh the lkiflee idhcl aegv up erh mteaunems ebscuae it esaenddd ehr to ehva drhame a ltltei geinb ttha saw as idwl as the sea eebzre, as liwd as relaP esrlhfe.

Original Text

Modern Text

So Roger Chillingworth—a deformed old figure, with a face that haunted men’s memories longer than they liked!—took leave of Hester Prynne, and went stooping away along the earth. He gathered here and there an herb, or grubbed up a root, and put it into the basket on his arm. His gray beard almost touched the ground, as he crept onward. Hester gazed after him a little while, looking with a half-fantastic curiosity to see whether the tender grass of early spring would not be blighted beneath him, and show the wavering track of his footsteps, sere and brown, across its cheerful verdure. She wondered what sort of herbs they were, which the old man was so sedulous to gather. Would not the earth, quickened to an evil purpose by the sympathy of his eye, greet him with poisonous shrubs, of species hitherto unknown, that would start up under his fingers? Or might it suffice him, that every wholesome growth should be converted into something deleterious and malignant at his touch? Did the sun, which shone so brightly everywhere else, really fall upon him? Or was there, as it rather seemed, a circle of ominous shadow moving along with his deformity, whichever way he turned himself? And whither was he now going? Would he not suddenly sink into the earth, leaving a barren and blasted spot, where, in due course of time, would be seen deadly nightshade, dogwood, henbane, and whatever else of vegetable wickedness the climate could produce, all flourishing with hideous luxuriance? Or would he spread bat’s wings and flee away, looking so much the uglier, the higher he rose towards Heaven? Rrgoe lCtwnrihliogh okot ihs eavle of rtHees Pnyner. He aws a efdoderm odl guefir, tihw a acef ttha gldienre ntsulaeypanl in popele’s mmioseer. As he edstpoo waya, he rdtagehe an hreb here, udg up a ootr rhtee, nad upt hmet tion eth eksabt on ish rma. iHs gyra beadr mtsloa tohuedc eth ongdur as he cptre nlgoa. seetrH daetrs tfera imh rfo a hlewi, hlfa-aminiigng atth sih fete higtm brun eht rleay rnispg srasg on chhiw he wdleka. ehS nederdwo awth trso of hbers teh lod nma asw arhngetig so plfruepuloys. nWlduo’t eht hreta, wneeakad to sih liev roppesu, ends isusopnoo uhrssb grgoinw up tbanhee his ergfnsi? nlWuod’t it tusi ihm if his hutco dterovnec yevre oodg nad eohesmolw gnthi nito iongthsem essaddei dan laufhrm? Ddi hte nus, wihhc snhedi so thiglyrb veeeyerwrh esel, yelral flal on mhi? Or asw three, as it meesed, a cleicr of misonuo wdahso noioflglw him hreerevw he drutne? Adn erwhe swa he gonig onw? ldouW he ynudldes kisn tnio hte areht, aeniglv erbran dougrn hndbei? oluWd sooionpus ntpsla orwg up erewh he dah svahndie? Or udwol he drepsa abt‘s gnisw dna yfl yawa, ongokil igerlu teh olcers he emac to enHeav?
“Be it sin or no,” said Hester Prynne bitterly, as she still gazed after him, “I hate the man!” “hhWreet or tno it’s a sin,” dais tseHre eityltrb, as esh raestd ertfa imh, “I ehat hte nma!”
She upbraided herself for the sentiment, but could not overcome or lessen it. Attempting to do so, she thought of those long-past days, in a distant land, when he used to emerge at eventide from the seclusion of his study, and sit down in the fire-light of their home, and in the light of her nuptial smile. He needed to bask himself in that smile, he said, in order that the chill of so many lonely hours among his books might be taken off the scholar’s heart. Such scenes had once appeared not otherwise than happy, but now, as viewed through the dismal medium of her subsequent life, they classed themselves among her ugliest remembrances. She marvelled how such scenes could have been! She marvelled how she could ever have been wrought upon to marry him! She deemed it her crime most to be repented of, that she had ever endured, and reciprocated, the lukewarm grasp of his hand, and had suffered the smile of her lips and eyes to mingle and melt into his own. And it seemed a fouler offence committed by Roger Chillingworth, than any which had since been done him, that, in the time when her heart knew no better, he had persuaded her to fancy herself happy by his side. heS ebadml rheefsl rfo teh ginlefe, utb seh dlcou rineteh enquorc it nor cedure it. nyrgiT loesseennht to do so, esh tuhhotg of yads nogl stap, in a idsttan nadl. He dluow egrmee mrof shi dystu at hte end of teh dya dan joeny het hgtrleifi of ethri meho, nda the gitlh of ehr wledweny’s miles. He iasd ahtt he nedede to asbk in taht lmeis in erodr to amwr ihs rteah erfat so aynm dcol and nolely osuhr mgona hsi ookbs. ucSh sncsee dah esemde yppah. tuB won, igkooln bcka at etmh uhgtroh the nsel of athw fwoleold, eHters indcoedres ethm esmo of erh lugitse sermimeo. eSh wsa aedmza taht ucsh nsscee ucdol haev errocucd! heS owrended woh hes cudol eevr have enbe dcnniocev to ymrar ihm! heS ciedorneds it reh wtors emrci htta she ahd drnueed—adn vene ereutnrd—eth aukmelrw sagpr of ish dhna, hda owleadl erh semli to mtle ntoi his onw. ehS irntcylae edrnepte thta smeidde. Adn it edemes that hwen Rogre othlghiwilrCn ocdnviecn rhe to bieeevl hsferel phayp by his deis, at a etmi hnwe her hrtea ekwn no rbttee, he otcedtimm a vagerr enffsoe hnta nya that asw raetl imcmoedtt naiatsg mhi.
“Yes, I hate him!” repeated Hester, more bitterly than before. “He betrayed me! He has done me worse wrong than I did him!” “Yse, I thea mih!” ptreedae rseetH, omre eibrlytt hnat efrbeo. “He adtebrey me! He sah endo swoer to me nhta I vere ddi to hmi!”
Let men tremble to win the hand of woman, unless they win along with it the utmost passion of her heart! Else it may be their miserable fortune, as it was Roger Chillingworth’s, when some mightier touch than their own may have awakened all her sensibilities, to be reproached even for the calm content, the marble image of happiness, which they will have imposed upon her as the warm reality. But Hester ought long ago to have done with this injustice. What did it betoken? Had seven long years, under the torture of the scarlet letter, inflicted so much of misery, and wrought out no repentance? Men odlsuh be aifrad to iwn a nwamo’s dhna in grmairea ulsesn teyh win rhe toecempl rhtea dan snisaop gloan hiwt it! threeiOws it yam be terhi urtfemsoin, as it asw egRro iChlrwnghiotl’s, htat enwh hrentao nam aswkaen teh wanmo’s eigfelsn reom rlpyeolwfu, hes rprheaoesc rhe dnuhasb ofr eht afesl imgea of phnpsesia and ntnocettmen ahtt he has sespad fof on erh as het rlea inght. tBu setreH slodhu haev dmea eacpe hitw this enjsiucit nlog gao. aWth did erh tosutbru mena? daH vseen lngo yaser duern teh tteruor of the arseltc lttree licdftnei so chmu esryim iuhowtt ginmvo hre to epcenartne?
The emotions of that brief space, while she stood gazing after the crooked figure of old Roger Chillingworth, threw a dark light on Hester’s state of mind, revealing much that she might not otherwise have acknowledged to herself. The snoemoti of hatt ierfb itme in ihcwh hes toosd argtnsi ftrea the oredkoc uigrfe of dlo goreR hgroiwlihlCtn rhwoes srHeet’s saett of dnim in a kard lghti, geainrvle a getar edal hatt she ghmit whrteioes avhe eenddi neve to lhfrees.
He being gone, she summoned back her child. hnWe he was nego, she msmduneo rhe lihdc akcb.
“alePr! ltitLe Pearl! eheWr are you?” “Pearl! Little Pearl! Where are you?”
Pearl, whose activity of spirit never flagged, had been at no loss for amusement while her mother talked with the old gatherer of herbs. At first, as already told, she had flirted fancifully with her own image in a pool of water, beckoning the phantom forth, and—as it declined to venture—seeking a passage for herself into its sphere of impalpable earth and unattainable sky. Soon finding, however, that either she or the image was unreal, she turned elsewhere for better pastime. She made little boats out of birch-bark, and freighted them with snail-shells, and sent out more ventures on the mighty deep than any merchant in New England; but the larger part of them foundered near the shore. She seized a live horseshoe by the tail, and made prize of several five-fingers, and laid out a jelly-fish to melt in the warm sun. Then she took up the white foam, that streaked the line of the advancing tide, and threw it upon the breeze, scampering after it with winged footsteps, to catch the great snow-flakes ere they fell. Perceiving a flock of beach-birds, that fed and fluttered along the shore, the naughty child picked up her apron full of pebbles, and, creeping from rock to rock after these small sea-fowl, displayed remarkable dexterity in pelting them. One little gray bird, with a white breast, Pearl was almost sure, had been hit by a pebble and fluttered away with a broken wing. But then the elf-child sighed, and gave up her sport; because it grieved her to have done harm to a little being that was as wild as the sea-breeze, or as wild as Pearl herself. elrPa, oswhe tcveia iirtsp enevr dietr, adh sdeuam frleesh lhwie hre etmorh ltkdae wtih eht ldo roodtc. At fitsr, as yreadla eirdsbdec, hse tlfeird twhi erh wno amgie in a loop of etawr, icbnogkne teh ptoanmh in eht rawet to moec uto adn alpy, nda irgnty to ionj het iglr nhew ehs aws atth seh odwlu otn aleve rhe olop. heWn Plrae sorcdedvie hatt retehi hse or hte mgiea swa unarel, seh tredun eweesrelh for ettber ameestmun. Seh eadm ltteli stoba out of crbih abkr, pldeca anlsi shlels unop hmet, nda sten roem elevsss onti hte ytmigh cnaeo nhat any ncmharet in wNe lgannEd. Mots of mhte anks nrae eth rohse. hSe eradgbb a rehoeoshs bacr by eth atli, ellecodtc rveesla tfsarshi, dna aidl a shefljyli out to lemt in teh mwra nsu. Tneh she ookt eht wetih omaf, hchiw rtaeedks gnloa het gndnaiacv tdei, and rethw it into hte rzeebe. hSe aerdpcems eraft the omfa aslokwesnf, ginytr to ahctc tehm roebfe ehty lelf. gneieS a ocklf of bridaess fdgeein and trgltenifu galno the rehos, the tayhugn hcild deahgtre blesbep in ehr roapn nda, prniceeg orfm orck to okcr as she elatskd the salml sdibr, eoshwd aaremeblkr ilbayit in ngtihti tmhe. Prale wsa mostal anticre thta neo tlltei argy bdir wthi a wtieh esbart had eebn hit by a pebebl and drutfetle aayw with a bnrkoe ingw. tuB etnh the lkiflee idhcl aegv up erh mteaunems ebscuae it esaenddd ehr to ehva drhame a ltltei geinb ttha saw as idwl as the sea eebzre, as liwd as relaP esrlhfe.