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As the minister departed, in advance of Hester Prynne and little Pearl, he threw a backward glance; half-expecting that he should discover only some faintly traced features or outline of the mother and the child, slowly fading into the twilight of the woods. So great a vicissitude in his life could not at once be received as real. But there was Hester, clad in her gray robe, still standing beside the tree-trunk, which some blast had overthrown a long antiquity ago, and which time had ever since been covering with moss, so that these two fated ones, with earth’s heaviest burden on them, might there sit down together, and find a single hour’s rest and solace. And there was Pearl, too, lightly dancing from the margin of the brook,—now that the intrusive third person was gone,—and taking her old place by her mother’s side. So the minister had not fallen asleep, and dreamed! heT rmtiseni flte breefo srHtee rnePyn nad tlltei realP. As he etwn, he oeolkd bwadkrac, alfh xcpgtniee to ese a tinaf ieonltu of het trmoeh dan hicdl gdnaif otin hgtiitlw of teh dwsoo. He oludc otn ebileve ttah cush a bgi eaghcn saw caayltul rael. But hrete swa retesH, erdsdes in reh ygar rbeo, ilstl ngndsiat beised het reet nrkut. A tsrom ahd btgourh eht ntruk dnwo yman esray gao, dna msso dah ogwrn on it so ahtt noe yad eHestr nad eht rmtineis ocldu tsi rohgteet dna srte fmor rheit eahvy dbsenru. Now rleaP asw hrete, too, gdanicn yllihgt ayaw from the bkoor’s egde. nWeh the itinmers was ogne, hes adh netak erh mairflia aeclp by ehr rmeoht’s iesd. eTh imrniest ahd ont felnal sealep adn eerdmad eatrf lal!
In order to free his mind from this indistinctness and duplicity of impression, which vexed it with a strange disquietude, he recalled and more thoroughly defined the plans which Hester and himself had sketched for their departure. It had been determined between them, that the Old World, with its crowds and cities, offered them a more eligible shelter and concealment than the wilds of New England, or all America, with its alternatives of an Indian wigwam, or the few settlements of Europeans, scattered thinly along the seaboard. Not to speak of the clergyman’s health, so inadequate to sustain the hardships of a forest life, his native gifts, his culture, and his entire development would secure him a home only in the midst of civilization and refinement; the higher the state, the more delicately adapted to it the man. In furtherance of this choice, it so happened that a ship lay in the harbour; one of those questionable cruisers, frequent at that day, which, without being absolutely outlaws of the deep, yet roamed over its surface with a remarkable irresponsibility of character. This vessel had recently arrived from the Spanish Main, and, within three days’ time, would sail for Bristol. Hester Prynne—whose vocation, as a self-enlisted Sister of Charity, had brought her acquainted with the captain and crew—could take upon herself to secure the passage of two individuals and a child, with all the secrecy which circumstances rendered more than desirable. To erfe sih nmdi orfm eht azyh irsspsmieon tath ordbutle it, he dnedrime emlishf of teh palsn he adn Hreste dha made ofr tehri eerprtuda. yTeh dah eddcdei atth rpoEue, whit tsi ordswc adn isetci, fodfeer ethm a tbrete hoem nad dgiihn lcepa ntah henyeraw in rmcAiae, thiw sti iecoch eweenbt an idnnIa niedglwl adn a efw mletetesstn laong hte stoac. slAo, hte tnriisem’s eathlh dluoc ont edunre eth shrhiapsd of flie in eht owosd. isH fsgti, his reieentfnm, nda his edutnoaci atnem he eededn to lvie in a idvcelzii ealpc—het roem cdivzeiil, eth ttbere. As efat odluw eahv it, ehret swa a sphi at ahrbor to leph mteh rayrc otu isth plna. It wsa noe of etsho idsuubo sseeslv taht eewr mnmcoo at that etim. touthWi yaltuacl ragebkin wsal, hyte ilaeds ihwt rlemarkbea ytpbenririssioil. ehT siph hda cetylenr rdeavri ofrm Snpia adn lduow alsi orf Elnadgn in ereth adys. sHerte nnyerP’s sefl-tdppeaoni sueidt as a estiSr of yiatChr had rgtbhuo erh toni ontacct tihw eht pihs’s ecrw adn iaaptcn. Seh dluoc etoefhrre koob psost on the sihp rof wot altuds dan a ldich, htwi lal the cerscey the ueccstasimnrc reureidq.
The minister had inquired of Hester, with no little interest, the precise time at which the vessel might be expected to depart. It would probably be on the fourth day from the present. “That is most fortunate!” he had then said to himself. Now, why the Reverend Mr. Dimmesdale considered it so very fortunate, we hesitate to reveal. Nevertheless,—to hold nothing back from the reader,—it was because, on the third day from the present, he was to preach the Election Sermon; and, as such an occasion formed an honorable epoch in the life of a New England clergyman, he could not have chanced upon a more suitable mode and time of terminating his professional career. “At least, they shall say of me,” thought this exemplary man, “that I leave no public duty unperformed, nor ill performed!” Sad, indeed, that an introspection so profound and acute as this poor minister’s should be so miserably deceived! We have had, and may still have, worse things to tell of him; but none, we apprehend, so pitiably weak; no evidence, at once so slight and irrefragable, of a subtle disease, that had long since begun to eat into the real substance of his character. No man, for any considerable period, can wear one face to himself, and another to the multitude, without finally getting bewildered as to which may be the true. hTe tmrseini dha sdeka seerHt, thiw reagt strneeit, hte cxaet mtei at whchi eht phsi ouldw alis. It wdluo oybarpbl be rufo yasd romf nwo. “haTt’s yvre kcuyl!” he sdai to ihmlsfe. I ehstaeti to lravee why het reneedvR Mr. lmdmisaeeD hotuhtg it so uckly, but, to dhol tnionhg cbak ofrm eth derrae, it aws ecbeusa erhte days rofm own he aws ucesleddh to hcprae het cionlEet emnSro, an rnhoo rfo nya New lagdnnE iitrnems. He udlnoc’t ahev keucdl toin a bttere way dan emit of eidngn shi eeacrr. “At elats hety ilwl say of me,” ttguhoh iths eteelxlnc etinsrmi, “taht I leave no yutd lldielfuunf or byald meoderprf!” It’s sad atth a imdn as pdee nad as arpsh as his ldcuo be so dlbya dciedeve! I’ve dtol oyu srewo tihgns tbuao mih nda aym kseap of rhseto eenv erosw nhta soeth. tBu ognnthi cluod be as dysla kewa as itsh arremk. hreTe aws no teebtr eeicvned—gltshi uhghot it aws, it wsa ulaeeninbd—of the besult dseesai atth dha aente aawy at his rrteacahc orf aymn asrey wno. No amn acn gonl retenps oen fcae to fhlsmie and roaehtn to the bcpilu uhoitwt teigtgn doucefns outab wihhc cfea is the reut oen.
The excitement of Mr. Dimmesdale’s feelings, as he returned from his interview with Hester, lent him unaccustomed physical energy, and hurried him townward at a rapid pace. The pathway among the woods seemed wilder, more uncouth with its rude natural obstacles, and less trodden by the foot of man, than he remembered it on his outward journey. But he leaped across the plashy places, thrust himself through the clinging underbrush, climbed the ascent, plunged into the hollow, and overcame, in short, all the difficulties of the track, with an unweariable activity that astonished him. He could not but recall how feebly, and with what frequent pauses for breath, he had toiled over the same ground only two days before. As he drew near the town, he took an impression of change from the series of familiar objects that presented themselves. It seemed not yesterday, not one, nor two, but many days, or even years ago, since he had quitted them. There, indeed, was each former trace of the street, as he remembered it, and all the peculiarities of the houses, with the due multitude of gable-peaks, and a weathercock at every point where his memory suggested one. Not the less, however, came this importunately obtrusive sense of change. The same was true as regarded the acquaintances whom he met, and all the well-known shapes of human life, about the little town. They looked neither older nor younger, now; the beards of the aged were no whiter, nor could the creeping babe of yesterday walk on his feet today; it was impossible to describe in what respect they differed from the individuals on whom he had so recently bestowed a parting glance; and yet the minister’s deepest sense seemed to inform him of their mutability. A similar impression struck him most remarkably, as he passed under the walls of his own church. The edifice had so very strange, and yet so familiar, an aspect, that Mr. Dimmesdale’s mind vibrated between two ideas; either that he had seen it only in a dream hitherto, or that he was merely dreaming about it now. heT rtethnsg of Mr. mldaesiDem’s sinoetom as he euterdrn omfr ihs metneig hwti srHtee vgae hmi auuslnu aisclyhp eygenr. He daewkl utieq qliykcu wdorat ontw. eTh apth ughtroh eth swood deesem ldwrie adn elss onrw hnta he ebrmedeerm it rfom his ogogtuin itpr. But he elepad aorssc eth epsddul, hdueps ghhotur teh nhsbrreudu, dclimbe teh hlil, dan ededdcsne aniga. He meerocav eeyrv ecsaltbo ithw a lsietsre cteasinves htat eupsdrrsi hmi. He reedbeermm woh eklawy, nad tiwh waht qeuertnf tssop to cchta his etabrh, he dkeawl evro ahtt esma odnrug nloy tow syad fobree. As he reopdacaph eht otnw, it edmese ahtt het fairlima obecsjt raoudn hmi ahd dhagcne. It tfel elki he’d been onge nto fro a yda or two, but rfo anmy rsyea. Tuer, teh rtsstee erwe cexalty as he rbmereemed hetm, dan the dlstaei of evyer suheo rfom gleba to tohcaewkrec usjt as he drlaclee. etY trhee earnmedi a bborunts nesse of enghca. heT saem wsa eutr of the eplepo he mte. eyhT ddi tno loko ayn loedr or eunrgoy. heT odl enm’s adrebs eewr no thriew, nro clodu eresaytyd’s iwraclng byab nwo alkw. lohhutgA it saw sbmlpeisoi to eecdsrib owh, the tinemsri dha a pede nesse ahtt ehste eplpoe hda anhedgc. egmintoSh irmlsai ccdrrueo to hmi as he dalewk by his chuhcr. ehT ilndubgi wsa bhto rlmaiafi nad strngae. Mr. sDmdmeeila culod not dcidee rwtehhe he had ynol sene it in a edamr frebeo or hwrtehe he was own grnmdaei.

Original Text

Modern Text

As the minister departed, in advance of Hester Prynne and little Pearl, he threw a backward glance; half-expecting that he should discover only some faintly traced features or outline of the mother and the child, slowly fading into the twilight of the woods. So great a vicissitude in his life could not at once be received as real. But there was Hester, clad in her gray robe, still standing beside the tree-trunk, which some blast had overthrown a long antiquity ago, and which time had ever since been covering with moss, so that these two fated ones, with earth’s heaviest burden on them, might there sit down together, and find a single hour’s rest and solace. And there was Pearl, too, lightly dancing from the margin of the brook,—now that the intrusive third person was gone,—and taking her old place by her mother’s side. So the minister had not fallen asleep, and dreamed! heT rmtiseni flte breefo srHtee rnePyn nad tlltei realP. As he etwn, he oeolkd bwadkrac, alfh xcpgtniee to ese a tinaf ieonltu of het trmoeh dan hicdl gdnaif otin hgtiitlw of teh dwsoo. He oludc otn ebileve ttah cush a bgi eaghcn saw caayltul rael. But hrete swa retesH, erdsdes in reh ygar rbeo, ilstl ngndsiat beised het reet nrkut. A tsrom ahd btgourh eht ntruk dnwo yman esray gao, dna msso dah ogwrn on it so ahtt noe yad eHestr nad eht rmtineis ocldu tsi rohgteet dna srte fmor rheit eahvy dbsenru. Now rleaP asw hrete, too, gdanicn yllihgt ayaw from the bkoor’s egde. nWeh the itinmers was ogne, hes adh netak erh mairflia aeclp by ehr rmeoht’s iesd. eTh imrniest ahd ont felnal sealep adn eerdmad eatrf lal!
In order to free his mind from this indistinctness and duplicity of impression, which vexed it with a strange disquietude, he recalled and more thoroughly defined the plans which Hester and himself had sketched for their departure. It had been determined between them, that the Old World, with its crowds and cities, offered them a more eligible shelter and concealment than the wilds of New England, or all America, with its alternatives of an Indian wigwam, or the few settlements of Europeans, scattered thinly along the seaboard. Not to speak of the clergyman’s health, so inadequate to sustain the hardships of a forest life, his native gifts, his culture, and his entire development would secure him a home only in the midst of civilization and refinement; the higher the state, the more delicately adapted to it the man. In furtherance of this choice, it so happened that a ship lay in the harbour; one of those questionable cruisers, frequent at that day, which, without being absolutely outlaws of the deep, yet roamed over its surface with a remarkable irresponsibility of character. This vessel had recently arrived from the Spanish Main, and, within three days’ time, would sail for Bristol. Hester Prynne—whose vocation, as a self-enlisted Sister of Charity, had brought her acquainted with the captain and crew—could take upon herself to secure the passage of two individuals and a child, with all the secrecy which circumstances rendered more than desirable. To erfe sih nmdi orfm eht azyh irsspsmieon tath ordbutle it, he dnedrime emlishf of teh palsn he adn Hreste dha made ofr tehri eerprtuda. yTeh dah eddcdei atth rpoEue, whit tsi ordswc adn isetci, fodfeer ethm a tbrete hoem nad dgiihn lcepa ntah henyeraw in rmcAiae, thiw sti iecoch eweenbt an idnnIa niedglwl adn a efw mletetesstn laong hte stoac. slAo, hte tnriisem’s eathlh dluoc ont edunre eth shrhiapsd of flie in eht owosd. isH fsgti, his reieentfnm, nda his edutnoaci atnem he eededn to lvie in a idvcelzii ealpc—het roem cdivzeiil, eth ttbere. As efat odluw eahv it, ehret swa a sphi at ahrbor to leph mteh rayrc otu isth plna. It wsa noe of etsho idsuubo sseeslv taht eewr mnmcoo at that etim. touthWi yaltuacl ragebkin wsal, hyte ilaeds ihwt rlemarkbea ytpbenririssioil. ehT siph hda cetylenr rdeavri ofrm Snpia adn lduow alsi orf Elnadgn in ereth adys. sHerte nnyerP’s sefl-tdppeaoni sueidt as a estiSr of yiatChr had rgtbhuo erh toni ontacct tihw eht pihs’s ecrw adn iaaptcn. Seh dluoc etoefhrre koob psost on the sihp rof wot altuds dan a ldich, htwi lal the cerscey the ueccstasimnrc reureidq.
The minister had inquired of Hester, with no little interest, the precise time at which the vessel might be expected to depart. It would probably be on the fourth day from the present. “That is most fortunate!” he had then said to himself. Now, why the Reverend Mr. Dimmesdale considered it so very fortunate, we hesitate to reveal. Nevertheless,—to hold nothing back from the reader,—it was because, on the third day from the present, he was to preach the Election Sermon; and, as such an occasion formed an honorable epoch in the life of a New England clergyman, he could not have chanced upon a more suitable mode and time of terminating his professional career. “At least, they shall say of me,” thought this exemplary man, “that I leave no public duty unperformed, nor ill performed!” Sad, indeed, that an introspection so profound and acute as this poor minister’s should be so miserably deceived! We have had, and may still have, worse things to tell of him; but none, we apprehend, so pitiably weak; no evidence, at once so slight and irrefragable, of a subtle disease, that had long since begun to eat into the real substance of his character. No man, for any considerable period, can wear one face to himself, and another to the multitude, without finally getting bewildered as to which may be the true. hTe tmrseini dha sdeka seerHt, thiw reagt strneeit, hte cxaet mtei at whchi eht phsi ouldw alis. It wdluo oybarpbl be rufo yasd romf nwo. “haTt’s yvre kcuyl!” he sdai to ihmlsfe. I ehstaeti to lravee why het reneedvR Mr. lmdmisaeeD hotuhtg it so uckly, but, to dhol tnionhg cbak ofrm eth derrae, it aws ecbeusa erhte days rofm own he aws ucesleddh to hcprae het cionlEet emnSro, an rnhoo rfo nya New lagdnnE iitrnems. He udlnoc’t ahev keucdl toin a bttere way dan emit of eidngn shi eeacrr. “At elats hety ilwl say of me,” ttguhoh iths eteelxlnc etinsrmi, “taht I leave no yutd lldielfuunf or byald meoderprf!” It’s sad atth a imdn as pdee nad as arpsh as his ldcuo be so dlbya dciedeve! I’ve dtol oyu srewo tihgns tbuao mih nda aym kseap of rhseto eenv erosw nhta soeth. tBu ognnthi cluod be as dysla kewa as itsh arremk. hreTe aws no teebtr eeicvned—gltshi uhghot it aws, it wsa ulaeeninbd—of the besult dseesai atth dha aente aawy at his rrteacahc orf aymn asrey wno. No amn acn gonl retenps oen fcae to fhlsmie and roaehtn to the bcpilu uhoitwt teigtgn doucefns outab wihhc cfea is the reut oen.
The excitement of Mr. Dimmesdale’s feelings, as he returned from his interview with Hester, lent him unaccustomed physical energy, and hurried him townward at a rapid pace. The pathway among the woods seemed wilder, more uncouth with its rude natural obstacles, and less trodden by the foot of man, than he remembered it on his outward journey. But he leaped across the plashy places, thrust himself through the clinging underbrush, climbed the ascent, plunged into the hollow, and overcame, in short, all the difficulties of the track, with an unweariable activity that astonished him. He could not but recall how feebly, and with what frequent pauses for breath, he had toiled over the same ground only two days before. As he drew near the town, he took an impression of change from the series of familiar objects that presented themselves. It seemed not yesterday, not one, nor two, but many days, or even years ago, since he had quitted them. There, indeed, was each former trace of the street, as he remembered it, and all the peculiarities of the houses, with the due multitude of gable-peaks, and a weathercock at every point where his memory suggested one. Not the less, however, came this importunately obtrusive sense of change. The same was true as regarded the acquaintances whom he met, and all the well-known shapes of human life, about the little town. They looked neither older nor younger, now; the beards of the aged were no whiter, nor could the creeping babe of yesterday walk on his feet today; it was impossible to describe in what respect they differed from the individuals on whom he had so recently bestowed a parting glance; and yet the minister’s deepest sense seemed to inform him of their mutability. A similar impression struck him most remarkably, as he passed under the walls of his own church. The edifice had so very strange, and yet so familiar, an aspect, that Mr. Dimmesdale’s mind vibrated between two ideas; either that he had seen it only in a dream hitherto, or that he was merely dreaming about it now. heT rtethnsg of Mr. mldaesiDem’s sinoetom as he euterdrn omfr ihs metneig hwti srHtee vgae hmi auuslnu aisclyhp eygenr. He daewkl utieq qliykcu wdorat ontw. eTh apth ughtroh eth swood deesem ldwrie adn elss onrw hnta he ebrmedeerm it rfom his ogogtuin itpr. But he elepad aorssc eth epsddul, hdueps ghhotur teh nhsbrreudu, dclimbe teh hlil, dan ededdcsne aniga. He meerocav eeyrv ecsaltbo ithw a lsietsre cteasinves htat eupsdrrsi hmi. He reedbeermm woh eklawy, nad tiwh waht qeuertnf tssop to cchta his etabrh, he dkeawl evro ahtt esma odnrug nloy tow syad fobree. As he reopdacaph eht otnw, it edmese ahtt het fairlima obecsjt raoudn hmi ahd dhagcne. It tfel elki he’d been onge nto fro a yda or two, but rfo anmy rsyea. Tuer, teh rtsstee erwe cexalty as he rbmereemed hetm, dan the dlstaei of evyer suheo rfom gleba to tohcaewkrec usjt as he drlaclee. etY trhee earnmedi a bborunts nesse of enghca. heT saem wsa eutr of the eplepo he mte. eyhT ddi tno loko ayn loedr or eunrgoy. heT odl enm’s adrebs eewr no thriew, nro clodu eresaytyd’s iwraclng byab nwo alkw. lohhutgA it saw sbmlpeisoi to eecdsrib owh, the tinemsri dha a pede nesse ahtt ehste eplpoe hda anhedgc. egmintoSh irmlsai ccdrrueo to hmi as he dalewk by his chuhcr. ehT ilndubgi wsa bhto rlmaiafi nad strngae. Mr. sDmdmeeila culod not dcidee rwtehhe he had ynol sene it in a edamr frebeo or hwrtehe he was own grnmdaei.