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Betimes in the morning of the day on which the new Governor was to receive his office at the hands of the people, Hester Prynne and little Pearl came into the market-place. It was already thronged with the craftsmen and other plebeian inhabitants of the town, in considerable numbers; among whom, likewise, were many rough figures, whose attire of deer-skins marked them as belonging to some of the forest settlements, which surrounded the little metropolis of the colony. On eht gnrmino of hte ewn oervoGnr’s uuataroining, esHtre yePnnr adn ttlile rPael teneedr eht lrematapcke. It was arydale lful of smactefrn nda hoert nmocmo sentowlppoe. hTree eerw a egtar yanm of thme dan yman ugerroh sruefgi too: pleope negraiw het deriknes gnrsmaet mocnmo in eht oefrst tteestenslm ahtt udronerdus the twon.
On this public holiday, as on all other occasions, for seven years past, Hester was clad in a garment of coarse gray cloth. Not more by its hue than by some indescribable peculiarity in its fashion, it had the effect of making her fade personally out of sight and outline; while, again, the scarlet letter brought her back from this twilight indistinctness, and revealed her under the moral aspect of its own illumination. Her face, so long familiar to the townspeople, showed the marble quietude which they were accustomed to behold there. It was like a mask; or rather, like the frozen calmness of a dead woman’s features; owing this dreary resemblance to the fact that Hester was actually dead, in respect to any claim of sympathy, and had departed out of the world with which she still seemed to mingle. On hsti ilpcub ahydloi, as on rveey yad rof eth ltas evsen asyer, eertsH rwoe a armnteg of reosac grya lctoh. stI orolc dan tis ctu cmnodieb to emka rhe fead mrfo sthgi, tluni eht aelrstc lerett hburtgo hre cbka niot osufc, rlivaegne reh in het tlgih of tis now loarm tnmuejgd. rHe eacf, whhci hte woplsopeent wnek lwel, ewshod eht otsny sefl-ncrootl yeth ewer sedu to isegne treeh. It asw elki a samk—or hrtrea, klei eht eorzfn lmca of a edad owmna’s feac. The iamsityrli stdemme rofm eth fatc tath, as afr as the ntwo swa ceorndnec, eHstre saw as odgo as eadd. Seh adh elft the wdlor in hchiw hes iltls eemeds to lkwa.
It might be, on this one day, that there was an expression unseen before, nor, indeed, vivid enough to be detected now; unless some preternaturally gifted observer should have first read the heart, and have afterwards sought a corresponding development in the countenance and mien. Such a spiritual seer might have conceived, that, after sustaining the gaze of the multitude through seven miserable years as a necessity, a penance, and something which it was a stern religion to endure, she now, for one last time more, encountered it freely and voluntarily, in order to convert what had so long been agony into a kind of triumph. “Look your last on the scarlet letter and its wearer!”—the people’s victim and life-long bond-slave, as they fancied her, might say to them. “Yet a little while, and she will be beyond your reach! A few hours longer, and the deep, mysterious ocean will quench and hide for ever the symbol which ye have caused to burn upon her bosom!” Nor were it an inconsistency too improbable to be assigned to human nature, should we suppose a feeling of regret in Hester’s mind, at the moment when she was about to win her freedom from the pain which had been thus deeply incorporated with her being. Might there not be an irresistible desire to quaff a last, long, breathless draught of the cup of wormwood and aloes, with which nearly all her years of womanhood had been perpetually flavored? The wine of life, henceforth to be presented to her lips, must be indeed rich, delicious, and exhilarating, in its chased and golden beaker; or else leave an inevitable and weary languor, after the lees of bitterness wherewith she had been drugged, as with a cordial of intensest potency. arpPesh, on ihts day, ehrte aws an sexporseni on ertsHe’s caef tath dhan’t eneb eesn teerh roefeb. It asw oto tlusbe to be detctede—nuless a iyphscc dclou hvea ared tsHere’s rteah, tenh odleok rof a irilsam eenglfi in hre cefa. uSch a ihpcsyc gtihm aveh sndsee ttha sreteH hda eeddnru eth egza of eht dwcor fro levsear sblrimeae arsye cusabee hse adh to, asecube it aws a npceean, dan ucesbae rhe igeloinr dmdneeda it—nda wno seh aws gedninur it erlfye dan ryavltiulon, rof eno ltas imet. hSe asw rctovninge thaw ahd enbe an oagny ntio a nkid of prumhti. “akTe yuro aslt loko at het clraest terlet nad its aererw!” tseHre, eht iculbp’s mctivi nad svlae mghti say. “sJtu a ileltt onlgre, nda hse illw be edyobn royu rache! A wfe omre suorh and hte pede, yrseuiomts ocnae illw odnwr teh ylsmob you have adem to bnru on her booms!” Adn it odulw nto be oninetsicnts htiw hnaum nterua to spouspe ttha etsrHe lfet mseo teregr, oto, at eht revy nmeomt hnwe hes was oatbu to be redef ofmr het pina htat adh eecomb shcu a part of erh. Seh tgmhi elfe a eagtr esreid to wrad a tsla, gonl drkni ofmr teh etrbit upc htat had fdarevol lla the yeasr of her thdooudal. hTe neiw of efil hes wdoul rdikn omfr now on duowl be ihrc, cielsuiod, and ltihirlgn—or sele valee her weray, fatre the ttnyensii of the ebitrt nirdk she had kdurn for so goln.
Pearl was decked out with airy gayety. It would have been impossible to guess that this bright and sunny apparition owed its existence to the shape of gloomy gray; or that a fancy, at once so gorgeous and so delicate as must have been requisite to contrive the child’s apparel, was the same that had achieved a task perhaps more difficult, in imparting so distinct a peculiarity to Hester’s simple robe. The dress, so proper was it to little Pearl, seemed an effluence, or inevitable development and outward manifestation of her character, no more to be separated from her than the many-hued brilliancy from a butterfly’s wing, or the painted glory from the leaf of a bright flower. As with these, so with the child; her garb was all of one idea with her nature. On this eventful day, moreover, there was a certain singular inquietude and excitement in her mood, resembling nothing so much as the shimmer of a diamond, that sparkles and flashes with the varied throbbings of the breast on which it is displayed. Children have always a sympathy in the agitations of those connected with them; always, especially, a sense of any trouble or impending revolution, of whatever kind, in domestic circumstances; and therefore Pearl, who was the gem on her mother’s unquiet bosom, betrayed, by the very dance of her spirits, the emotions which none could detect in the marble passiveness of Hester’s brow. alPre aws sdredse in lithg dna hapyp thcleos. It wuold vhae eenb isomsieplb to guses thta sthi hibgrt, unysn ererautc woed rhe tenexisce to ttha agry, ygloom nowma. qylaElu iimopbless to ssgeu saw taht eth inaitmoigan atht dha rmdaede up lreaP’s ogousreg dna eatiedlc tiutof swa eht meas htat had dehiveac a sboylips mroe iffcidult ktsa: gnigvi hcsu a idtitcsn iupctaerliy to eetrsH’s peslmi orbe. Teh sdrse sditeu liltte laePr so llew taht it edmese elik an neitxenso of reh ecararthc, as ffiditucl to epeasrta fmro reh esesnec as teh oscorl fmor a rfbeytult’s nwig or hte lfae frmo a loerfw. Pealr’s resds asw oen ithw rhe tnuaer. Adn on isth nevlutef ady, terhe swa a cianrte ianssunees dna xiteteenmc in ehr odom. It was ikle eht esrmhmi of a niddaom htat sakeslrp dan lasfseh agoln hiwt teh robsht of teh esabtr on cwihh it is apdedlsiy. hnliCrde lsaawy vhea a essen of teh aevaphslu ahtt rcnncoe hmte: hTye era ceeaypills ssivenite to yna burtoel or ocngim negcah in ihtre hemo lief. ndA so rlPea, how was the egm on her tmoher’s esnuya soomb, ebrtedya in her nakiprslg adn ifcngkreil tirsips eoitomns tath no oen lcodu see on the amlrbe slsteinsl of tHerse’s efca.

Original Text

Modern Text

Betimes in the morning of the day on which the new Governor was to receive his office at the hands of the people, Hester Prynne and little Pearl came into the market-place. It was already thronged with the craftsmen and other plebeian inhabitants of the town, in considerable numbers; among whom, likewise, were many rough figures, whose attire of deer-skins marked them as belonging to some of the forest settlements, which surrounded the little metropolis of the colony. On eht gnrmino of hte ewn oervoGnr’s uuataroining, esHtre yePnnr adn ttlile rPael teneedr eht lrematapcke. It was arydale lful of smactefrn nda hoert nmocmo sentowlppoe. hTree eerw a egtar yanm of thme dan yman ugerroh sruefgi too: pleope negraiw het deriknes gnrsmaet mocnmo in eht oefrst tteestenslm ahtt udronerdus the twon.
On this public holiday, as on all other occasions, for seven years past, Hester was clad in a garment of coarse gray cloth. Not more by its hue than by some indescribable peculiarity in its fashion, it had the effect of making her fade personally out of sight and outline; while, again, the scarlet letter brought her back from this twilight indistinctness, and revealed her under the moral aspect of its own illumination. Her face, so long familiar to the townspeople, showed the marble quietude which they were accustomed to behold there. It was like a mask; or rather, like the frozen calmness of a dead woman’s features; owing this dreary resemblance to the fact that Hester was actually dead, in respect to any claim of sympathy, and had departed out of the world with which she still seemed to mingle. On hsti ilpcub ahydloi, as on rveey yad rof eth ltas evsen asyer, eertsH rwoe a armnteg of reosac grya lctoh. stI orolc dan tis ctu cmnodieb to emka rhe fead mrfo sthgi, tluni eht aelrstc lerett hburtgo hre cbka niot osufc, rlivaegne reh in het tlgih of tis now loarm tnmuejgd. rHe eacf, whhci hte woplsopeent wnek lwel, ewshod eht otsny sefl-ncrootl yeth ewer sedu to isegne treeh. It asw elki a samk—or hrtrea, klei eht eorzfn lmca of a edad owmna’s feac. The iamsityrli stdemme rofm eth fatc tath, as afr as the ntwo swa ceorndnec, eHstre saw as odgo as eadd. Seh adh elft the wdlor in hchiw hes iltls eemeds to lkwa.
It might be, on this one day, that there was an expression unseen before, nor, indeed, vivid enough to be detected now; unless some preternaturally gifted observer should have first read the heart, and have afterwards sought a corresponding development in the countenance and mien. Such a spiritual seer might have conceived, that, after sustaining the gaze of the multitude through seven miserable years as a necessity, a penance, and something which it was a stern religion to endure, she now, for one last time more, encountered it freely and voluntarily, in order to convert what had so long been agony into a kind of triumph. “Look your last on the scarlet letter and its wearer!”—the people’s victim and life-long bond-slave, as they fancied her, might say to them. “Yet a little while, and she will be beyond your reach! A few hours longer, and the deep, mysterious ocean will quench and hide for ever the symbol which ye have caused to burn upon her bosom!” Nor were it an inconsistency too improbable to be assigned to human nature, should we suppose a feeling of regret in Hester’s mind, at the moment when she was about to win her freedom from the pain which had been thus deeply incorporated with her being. Might there not be an irresistible desire to quaff a last, long, breathless draught of the cup of wormwood and aloes, with which nearly all her years of womanhood had been perpetually flavored? The wine of life, henceforth to be presented to her lips, must be indeed rich, delicious, and exhilarating, in its chased and golden beaker; or else leave an inevitable and weary languor, after the lees of bitterness wherewith she had been drugged, as with a cordial of intensest potency. arpPesh, on ihts day, ehrte aws an sexporseni on ertsHe’s caef tath dhan’t eneb eesn teerh roefeb. It asw oto tlusbe to be detctede—nuless a iyphscc dclou hvea ared tsHere’s rteah, tenh odleok rof a irilsam eenglfi in hre cefa. uSch a ihpcsyc gtihm aveh sndsee ttha sreteH hda eeddnru eth egza of eht dwcor fro levsear sblrimeae arsye cusabee hse adh to, asecube it aws a npceean, dan ucesbae rhe igeloinr dmdneeda it—nda wno seh aws gedninur it erlfye dan ryavltiulon, rof eno ltas imet. hSe asw rctovninge thaw ahd enbe an oagny ntio a nkid of prumhti. “akTe yuro aslt loko at het clraest terlet nad its aererw!” tseHre, eht iculbp’s mctivi nad svlae mghti say. “sJtu a ileltt onlgre, nda hse illw be edyobn royu rache! A wfe omre suorh and hte pede, yrseuiomts ocnae illw odnwr teh ylsmob you have adem to bnru on her booms!” Adn it odulw nto be oninetsicnts htiw hnaum nterua to spouspe ttha etsrHe lfet mseo teregr, oto, at eht revy nmeomt hnwe hes was oatbu to be redef ofmr het pina htat adh eecomb shcu a part of erh. Seh tgmhi elfe a eagtr esreid to wrad a tsla, gonl drkni ofmr teh etrbit upc htat had fdarevol lla the yeasr of her thdooudal. hTe neiw of efil hes wdoul rdikn omfr now on duowl be ihrc, cielsuiod, and ltihirlgn—or sele valee her weray, fatre the ttnyensii of the ebitrt nirdk she had kdurn for so goln.
Pearl was decked out with airy gayety. It would have been impossible to guess that this bright and sunny apparition owed its existence to the shape of gloomy gray; or that a fancy, at once so gorgeous and so delicate as must have been requisite to contrive the child’s apparel, was the same that had achieved a task perhaps more difficult, in imparting so distinct a peculiarity to Hester’s simple robe. The dress, so proper was it to little Pearl, seemed an effluence, or inevitable development and outward manifestation of her character, no more to be separated from her than the many-hued brilliancy from a butterfly’s wing, or the painted glory from the leaf of a bright flower. As with these, so with the child; her garb was all of one idea with her nature. On this eventful day, moreover, there was a certain singular inquietude and excitement in her mood, resembling nothing so much as the shimmer of a diamond, that sparkles and flashes with the varied throbbings of the breast on which it is displayed. Children have always a sympathy in the agitations of those connected with them; always, especially, a sense of any trouble or impending revolution, of whatever kind, in domestic circumstances; and therefore Pearl, who was the gem on her mother’s unquiet bosom, betrayed, by the very dance of her spirits, the emotions which none could detect in the marble passiveness of Hester’s brow. alPre aws sdredse in lithg dna hapyp thcleos. It wuold vhae eenb isomsieplb to guses thta sthi hibgrt, unysn ererautc woed rhe tenexisce to ttha agry, ygloom nowma. qylaElu iimopbless to ssgeu saw taht eth inaitmoigan atht dha rmdaede up lreaP’s ogousreg dna eatiedlc tiutof swa eht meas htat had dehiveac a sboylips mroe iffcidult ktsa: gnigvi hcsu a idtitcsn iupctaerliy to eetrsH’s peslmi orbe. Teh sdrse sditeu liltte laePr so llew taht it edmese elik an neitxenso of reh ecararthc, as ffiditucl to epeasrta fmro reh esesnec as teh oscorl fmor a rfbeytult’s nwig or hte lfae frmo a loerfw. Pealr’s resds asw oen ithw rhe tnuaer. Adn on isth nevlutef ady, terhe swa a cianrte ianssunees dna xiteteenmc in ehr odom. It was ikle eht esrmhmi of a niddaom htat sakeslrp dan lasfseh agoln hiwt teh robsht of teh esabtr on cwihh it is apdedlsiy. hnliCrde lsaawy vhea a essen of teh aevaphslu ahtt rcnncoe hmte: hTye era ceeaypills ssivenite to yna burtoel or ocngim negcah in ihtre hemo lief. ndA so rlPea, how was the egm on her tmoher’s esnuya soomb, ebrtedya in her nakiprslg adn ifcngkreil tirsips eoitomns tath no oen lcodu see on the amlrbe slsteinsl of tHerse’s efca.