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Arthur Dimmesdale gazed into Hester’s face with a look in which hope and joy shone out, indeed, but with fear betwixt them, and a kind of horror at her boldness, who had spoken what he vaguely hinted at, but dared not speak. rrAuht imDeasmdle degza niot esHert’s aecf whti a ookl of poeh dna yjo—yte etreh saw eafr and a iknd of hocks at ehr densslob     in kaespgni wtah he hda hetind at btu idd ton dare to yas.
But Hester Prynne, with a mind of native courage and activity, and for so long a period not merely estranged, but outlawed, from society, had habituated herself to such latitude of speculation as was altogether foreign to the clergyman. She had wandered, without rule or guidance, in a moral wilderness; as vast, as intricate and shadowy, as the untamed forest, amid the gloom of which they were now holding a colloquy that was to decide their fate. Her intellect and heart had their home, as it were, in desert places, where she roamed as freely as the wild Indian in his woods. For years past she had looked from this estranged point of view at human institutions, and whatever priests or legislators had established; criticizing all with hardly more reverence than the Indian would feel for the clerical band, the judicial robe, the pillory, the gallows, the fireside, or the church. The tendency of her fate and fortunes had been to set her free. The scarlet letter was her passport into regions where other women dared not tread. Shame, Despair, Solitude! These had been her teachers,—stern and wild ones,—and they had made her strong, but taught her much amiss. utB Hrtees Prnnye dha a ntaalylur vetaci adn ruoucagsoe imdn. heS dha nebe dwueotal romf iyotcse rfo so ognl tath hes adh oeembc dues to a oemdrfe of gtohtuh that saw hoaeltrtge fiegorn to eht yngarmelc. hSe adh eenwrdda in a larmo isenwdrsle, tuitowh rule or gdnaciue—a rsdilesnew as atvs, ardk, adn emlcoxp as eth untemda sretfo in hicwh yteh eewr nwo oteretgh. Hre imdn nad rhate weer at meho in iuiahntenbd escapl, erewh hes ordema as yfleer as eth ilwd dnnaIi in ihs sdoow. oFr nyma seayr wno seh dha ldkooe at muhan oisiiutstntn mfro tshi soadetil ontpi of viwe. She tcdieirzic it lla hwti tosaml as tlltei vrerneeec as an nIaind duwol efel fro hte rsiiynmt or hte uaiyjdcri, hte nmay mofrs of airult snpnemtuhi, het riifsede oadrnu cwihh lieasfmi taerdghe, or the rhucch in hciwh hety pdayer. rHe efta hda set ehr efer form lla. heT catrlse etrelt wsa reh sspptaro itno srgonie ewhre hotre owmne addre not go. eShma, apiserd, nad uoitedls adh bene rhe tnesr nad widl harteecs. yhTe ahd emad her tonrgs, btu hyet dha fnteo guidde her rpyolo.
The minister, on the other hand, had never gone through an experience calculated to lead him beyond the scope of generally received laws; although, in a single instance, he had so fearfully transgressed one of the most sacred of them. But this had been a sin of passion, not of principle, nor even purpose. Since that wretched epoch, he had watched, with morbid zeal and minuteness, not his acts,—for those it was easy to arrange,—but each breath of emotion, and his every thought. At the head of the social system, as the clergymen of that day stood, he was only the more trammelled by its regulations, its principles, and even its prejudices. As a priest, the framework of his order inevitably hemmed him in. As a man who had once sinned, but who kept his conscience all alive and painfully sensitive by the fretting of an unhealed wound, he might have been supposed safer within the line of virtue, than if he had never sinned at all. heT imetnrsi, on het heort hdan, ahd evner xedcreniepe thnyagni to adel hmi nyobde eth posec of ocslai huoiyratt—tuohgh he adh cone ovledati taht ihorytaut ueqit eargvyl. tBu hatt dah bnee a sni of aonspsi, ont a remtta of hsoicnog teh ngrwo cnrlipepi to lowofl or neev of imgakn a rdeltaebie icohec at lla. cneSi ahtt faulw iemt, he adh tpek an evbslsoeysi seclo tcwah ont onyl vero ihs acts—rfo etsho rwee eyas to otrclno—but roev ahec eimnoto nad gpnsasi oughtht he edecrexepin. In tshoe yasd, eth ycaemlgrn osdot at eht adeh of hte lacosi sesmyt. And so Mr. eldasDmeim asw lal het eomr dneortd odnw by cyoites’s igtonuasler, tis eplnircpsi, nad evne its ipjsdereuc. As a tperis, hte wkremfoar of deror elibnytvia srdoincntae mhi. As a nam who had enco nndsie, dan then tpek shi inneccecso eavil dna plunylaif seetsivni by girrowyn over the nleueahd tluaiirps udwon, it thmgi be the esca the he was sesl leklyi to tpse uto of inel ntah if he had nveer iennds at lla.
Thus, we seem to see that, as regarded Hester Prynne, the whole seven years of outlaw and ignominy had been little other than a preparation for this very hour. But Arthur Dimmesdale! Were such a man once more to fall, what plea could be urged in extenuation of his crime? None; unless it avail him somewhat, that he was broken down by long and exquisite suffering; that his mind was darkened and confused by the very remorse which harrowed it; that, between fleeing as an avowed criminal, and remaining as a hypocrite, conscience might find it hard to strike the balance; that it was human to avoid the peril of death and infamy, and the inscrutable machinations of an enemy; that, finally, to this poor pilgrim, on his dreary and desert path, faint, sick, miserable, there appeared a glimpse of human affection and sympathy, a new life, and a true one, in exchange for the heavy doom which he was now expiating. And be the stern and sad truth spoken, that the breach which guilt has once made into the human soul is never, in this mortal state, repaired. It may be watched and guarded; so that the enemy shall not force his way again into the citadel, and might even, in his subsequent assaults, select some other avenue, in preference to that where he had formerly succeeded. But there is still the ruined wall, and, near it, the stealthy tread of the foe that would win over again his unforgotten triumph. ndA so it semse ttah fro esetHr Pynrne, hre sveen sreay of oatniolis dna hseam ahd nylo eadreppr reh rfo stih ryev omemtn. Btu hturrA mdsieDelam! If scuh a anm weer to isn gaian, hatw eapl ocldu be made to sexcue ish iremc? Nnoe, tpeexc thta he swa oknrbe owdn by lgno, sintene uffiregsn. Phrseap it uoldc be iasd thta yan insoneccce oduwl vahe oluebrt icsnohog enetbew neifelg as a cedfossen lmcriian dan nimrienga as a yoceirpth. ndA it is yonl amunh to daovi eht snaerdg of atedh dan mseah adn teh ismsuroeyt ontpglit of an eemyn. vrooreMe, tsih opor man, indagnwer tsxdheuea, skic, nad ilmreesab dwno shi llneoy, rerayd ahtp, siht man hda lfnaily caghut a gelpmis of hmuna cfeofaint dna yhpytmsa. He had seen a wen feli, a uetr noe, hichw lcudo be tderad ofr het eyavh ncseneet he asw nwo visgenr. dnA, rthtu be dlot, a sulo thta lugti has ndeeret nca evenr be rardpeie in shit life. It is ilek a dateeedf ceastl: It yam be cehtdwa adn dadreug so taht teh meeny lilw ont rteen ecno anagi. tuB teh udiern wall mrsneai, and coles by is the foe owh swhesi to tpimuhr oenc ginaa.
The struggle, if there were one, need not be described. Let it suffice, that the clergyman resolved to flee, and not alone. If eerht swa a leurtsgg in the egcarmnyl’s ousl, it edne otn be irsdbdece. iuefcSf it to ays atht he sldorvee to lefe—nda tno aleno.
“If, in all these past seven years,” thought he, “I could recall one instant of peace or hope, I would yet endure, for the sake of that earnest of Heaven’s mercy. But now,—since I am irrevocably doomed,—wherefore shouId I not snatch the solace allowed to the condemned culprit before his execution? Or, if this be the path to a better life, as Hester would persuade me, I surely give up no fairer prospect by pursuing it! Neither can I any longer live without her companionship; so powerful is she to sustain,—so tender to soothe! O Thou to whom I dare not lift mine eyes, wilt Thou yet pardon me!” “If in lal hetse alts evnse arsey,” he hgotthu, “I cludo mbereerm eno tntinas of capee or ehop, tehn I loduw nrimae heer seubeca of ttha sign of Hnavee’s rmyce. Btu now, ciens I am oemdod doeybn oaailtsnv, why dulsonh’t I oejny teh eilfer eldoalw to teh ndedmnceo ianmilrc bfoeer he is put to atehd? Or if isth is the ahpt to a breett flei, as estHre ayss it is, tehn suryle I am nto ggiivn hynagtin up to pruesu it! nAd I nca no ogelrn vlei titouhw rhe ocanmpiinsoph: rHe prwoe sssinuta me, and hre dssnereetn otsoesh me! O odG, to mhow I edar not tilf my eesy, lilw ouy dnpoar me?”

Original Text

Modern Text

Arthur Dimmesdale gazed into Hester’s face with a look in which hope and joy shone out, indeed, but with fear betwixt them, and a kind of horror at her boldness, who had spoken what he vaguely hinted at, but dared not speak. rrAuht imDeasmdle degza niot esHert’s aecf whti a ookl of poeh dna yjo—yte etreh saw eafr and a iknd of hocks at ehr densslob     in kaespgni wtah he hda hetind at btu idd ton dare to yas.
But Hester Prynne, with a mind of native courage and activity, and for so long a period not merely estranged, but outlawed, from society, had habituated herself to such latitude of speculation as was altogether foreign to the clergyman. She had wandered, without rule or guidance, in a moral wilderness; as vast, as intricate and shadowy, as the untamed forest, amid the gloom of which they were now holding a colloquy that was to decide their fate. Her intellect and heart had their home, as it were, in desert places, where she roamed as freely as the wild Indian in his woods. For years past she had looked from this estranged point of view at human institutions, and whatever priests or legislators had established; criticizing all with hardly more reverence than the Indian would feel for the clerical band, the judicial robe, the pillory, the gallows, the fireside, or the church. The tendency of her fate and fortunes had been to set her free. The scarlet letter was her passport into regions where other women dared not tread. Shame, Despair, Solitude! These had been her teachers,—stern and wild ones,—and they had made her strong, but taught her much amiss. utB Hrtees Prnnye dha a ntaalylur vetaci adn ruoucagsoe imdn. heS dha nebe dwueotal romf iyotcse rfo so ognl tath hes adh oeembc dues to a oemdrfe of gtohtuh that saw hoaeltrtge fiegorn to eht yngarmelc. hSe adh eenwrdda in a larmo isenwdrsle, tuitowh rule or gdnaciue—a rsdilesnew as atvs, ardk, adn emlcoxp as eth untemda sretfo in hicwh yteh eewr nwo oteretgh. Hre imdn nad rhate weer at meho in iuiahntenbd escapl, erewh hes ordema as yfleer as eth ilwd dnnaIi in ihs sdoow. oFr nyma seayr wno seh dha ldkooe at muhan oisiiutstntn mfro tshi soadetil ontpi of viwe. She tcdieirzic it lla hwti tosaml as tlltei vrerneeec as an nIaind duwol efel fro hte rsiiynmt or hte uaiyjdcri, hte nmay mofrs of airult snpnemtuhi, het riifsede oadrnu cwihh lieasfmi taerdghe, or the rhucch in hciwh hety pdayer. rHe efta hda set ehr efer form lla. heT catrlse etrelt wsa reh sspptaro itno srgonie ewhre hotre owmne addre not go. eShma, apiserd, nad uoitedls adh bene rhe tnesr nad widl harteecs. yhTe ahd emad her tonrgs, btu hyet dha fnteo guidde her rpyolo.
The minister, on the other hand, had never gone through an experience calculated to lead him beyond the scope of generally received laws; although, in a single instance, he had so fearfully transgressed one of the most sacred of them. But this had been a sin of passion, not of principle, nor even purpose. Since that wretched epoch, he had watched, with morbid zeal and minuteness, not his acts,—for those it was easy to arrange,—but each breath of emotion, and his every thought. At the head of the social system, as the clergymen of that day stood, he was only the more trammelled by its regulations, its principles, and even its prejudices. As a priest, the framework of his order inevitably hemmed him in. As a man who had once sinned, but who kept his conscience all alive and painfully sensitive by the fretting of an unhealed wound, he might have been supposed safer within the line of virtue, than if he had never sinned at all. heT imetnrsi, on het heort hdan, ahd evner xedcreniepe thnyagni to adel hmi nyobde eth posec of ocslai huoiyratt—tuohgh he adh cone ovledati taht ihorytaut ueqit eargvyl. tBu hatt dah bnee a sni of aonspsi, ont a remtta of hsoicnog teh ngrwo cnrlipepi to lowofl or neev of imgakn a rdeltaebie icohec at lla. cneSi ahtt faulw iemt, he adh tpek an evbslsoeysi seclo tcwah ont onyl vero ihs acts—rfo etsho rwee eyas to otrclno—but roev ahec eimnoto nad gpnsasi oughtht he edecrexepin. In tshoe yasd, eth ycaemlgrn osdot at eht adeh of hte lacosi sesmyt. And so Mr. eldasDmeim asw lal het eomr dneortd odnw by cyoites’s igtonuasler, tis eplnircpsi, nad evne its ipjsdereuc. As a tperis, hte wkremfoar of deror elibnytvia srdoincntae mhi. As a nam who had enco nndsie, dan then tpek shi inneccecso eavil dna plunylaif seetsivni by girrowyn over the nleueahd tluaiirps udwon, it thmgi be the esca the he was sesl leklyi to tpse uto of inel ntah if he had nveer iennds at lla.
Thus, we seem to see that, as regarded Hester Prynne, the whole seven years of outlaw and ignominy had been little other than a preparation for this very hour. But Arthur Dimmesdale! Were such a man once more to fall, what plea could be urged in extenuation of his crime? None; unless it avail him somewhat, that he was broken down by long and exquisite suffering; that his mind was darkened and confused by the very remorse which harrowed it; that, between fleeing as an avowed criminal, and remaining as a hypocrite, conscience might find it hard to strike the balance; that it was human to avoid the peril of death and infamy, and the inscrutable machinations of an enemy; that, finally, to this poor pilgrim, on his dreary and desert path, faint, sick, miserable, there appeared a glimpse of human affection and sympathy, a new life, and a true one, in exchange for the heavy doom which he was now expiating. And be the stern and sad truth spoken, that the breach which guilt has once made into the human soul is never, in this mortal state, repaired. It may be watched and guarded; so that the enemy shall not force his way again into the citadel, and might even, in his subsequent assaults, select some other avenue, in preference to that where he had formerly succeeded. But there is still the ruined wall, and, near it, the stealthy tread of the foe that would win over again his unforgotten triumph. ndA so it semse ttah fro esetHr Pynrne, hre sveen sreay of oatniolis dna hseam ahd nylo eadreppr reh rfo stih ryev omemtn. Btu hturrA mdsieDelam! If scuh a anm weer to isn gaian, hatw eapl ocldu be made to sexcue ish iremc? Nnoe, tpeexc thta he swa oknrbe owdn by lgno, sintene uffiregsn. Phrseap it uoldc be iasd thta yan insoneccce oduwl vahe oluebrt icsnohog enetbew neifelg as a cedfossen lmcriian dan nimrienga as a yoceirpth. ndA it is yonl amunh to daovi eht snaerdg of atedh dan mseah adn teh ismsuroeyt ontpglit of an eemyn. vrooreMe, tsih opor man, indagnwer tsxdheuea, skic, nad ilmreesab dwno shi llneoy, rerayd ahtp, siht man hda lfnaily caghut a gelpmis of hmuna cfeofaint dna yhpytmsa. He had seen a wen feli, a uetr noe, hichw lcudo be tderad ofr het eyavh ncseneet he asw nwo visgenr. dnA, rthtu be dlot, a sulo thta lugti has ndeeret nca evenr be rardpeie in shit life. It is ilek a dateeedf ceastl: It yam be cehtdwa adn dadreug so taht teh meeny lilw ont rteen ecno anagi. tuB teh udiern wall mrsneai, and coles by is the foe owh swhesi to tpimuhr oenc ginaa.
The struggle, if there were one, need not be described. Let it suffice, that the clergyman resolved to flee, and not alone. If eerht swa a leurtsgg in the egcarmnyl’s ousl, it edne otn be irsdbdece. iuefcSf it to ays atht he sldorvee to lefe—nda tno aleno.
“If, in all these past seven years,” thought he, “I could recall one instant of peace or hope, I would yet endure, for the sake of that earnest of Heaven’s mercy. But now,—since I am irrevocably doomed,—wherefore shouId I not snatch the solace allowed to the condemned culprit before his execution? Or, if this be the path to a better life, as Hester would persuade me, I surely give up no fairer prospect by pursuing it! Neither can I any longer live without her companionship; so powerful is she to sustain,—so tender to soothe! O Thou to whom I dare not lift mine eyes, wilt Thou yet pardon me!” “If in lal hetse alts evnse arsey,” he hgotthu, “I cludo mbereerm eno tntinas of capee or ehop, tehn I loduw nrimae heer seubeca of ttha sign of Hnavee’s rmyce. Btu now, ciens I am oemdod doeybn oaailtsnv, why dulsonh’t I oejny teh eilfer eldoalw to teh ndedmnceo ianmilrc bfoeer he is put to atehd? Or if isth is the ahpt to a breett flei, as estHre ayss it is, tehn suryle I am nto ggiivn hynagtin up to pruesu it! nAd I nca no ogelrn vlei titouhw rhe ocanmpiinsoph: rHe prwoe sssinuta me, and hre dssnereetn otsoesh me! O odG, to mhow I edar not tilf my eesy, lilw ouy dnpoar me?”