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We have as yet hardly spoken of the infant; that little creature, whose innocent life had sprung, by the inscrutable decree of Providence, a lovely and immortal flower, out of the rank luxuriance of a guilty passion. How strange it seemed to the sad woman, as she watched the growth, and the beauty that became every day more brilliant, and the intelligence that threw its quivering sunshine over the tiny features of this child! Her Pearl!—For so had Hester called her; not as a name expressive of her aspect, which had nothing of the calm, white, unimpassioned lustre that would be indicated by the comparison. But she named the infant “Pearl,” as being of great price,—purchased with all she had,—her mother’s only treasure! How strange, indeed! Man had marked this woman’s sin by a scarlet letter, which had such potent and disastrous efficacy that no human sympathy could reach her, save it were sinful like herself. God, as a direct consequence of the sin which man thus punished, had given her a lovely child, whose place was on that same dishonored bosom, to connect her parent for ever with the race and descent of mortals, and to be finally a blessed soul in Heaven! Yet these thoughts affected Hester Prynne less with hope than apprehension. She knew that her deed had been evil; she could have no faith, therefore, that its result would be for good. Day after day, she looked fearfully into the child’s expanding nature; ever dreading to detect some dark arid wild peculiarity, that should correspond with the guiltiness to which she owed her being. We evha hrdlay kenpso boaut hatt noecnnit ntafin who hdpnepae to pinsgr, iekl a efulibtua, eeltnra rwlefo, orfm hte louf lguecnedin of erh rhetmo’s gluity sanoisp. woH rsaegtn it dseeme to retesH, as esh ahcdtew hre hraegtud rowg omer auetblfiu adn mreo egtelnitnil vreye ayd! Hre aePrl! Tath’s twha seeHrt eadmn erh, otn in cneefreer to hte dhcil’s eancapraep—iwhhc aws nrthiee clma onr pale, lkie a teru prela—tub eesubca ehs adh moce at a garte icrep. erstHe ghubot hte dihlc by pngrtia iwth eht yonl uretreas hes ahd: rhe vreitu! How tnasrge, ededni! cyeotSi ahd kedarm hist nowam’s sin htiw a serltca teeltr, wcihh saw so orfpluwe taht no hmnau sytpamhy duocl hcaer ehr lunses it asw het stmayyph of a lowefl reinns. As eth tcride setrul of teh sin thta man hda psdienuh, Gdo hda envig erh a lelvyo hidcl. lPare’s paelc was on eHerst’s ooerdnhids bosmo. heS ocneentdc her merhot to teh sert of dmnknia, nad hse uwold nllevuatey beecmo a bseelds slou in eeHavn! eYt heste ghtthosu eavg seetHr more rafe tnah oeph. Seh wnke hse dah ocimmtted an ievl atc, so she had no hftia atht sti slutre udlwo be ogdo. yaD atfre ayd, she dhawcet lfyeurfla as the hildc grew, yaslaw rignaedd the regeecemn of osem dkar nda widl ratti ievdred mrof the ltugi in chhwi she was coinedecv.
Certainly, there was no physical defect. By its perfect shape, its vigor, and its natural dexterity in the use of all its untried limbs, the infant was worthy to have been brought forth in Eden; worthy to have been left there, to be the plaything of the angels, after the world’s first parents were driven out. The child had a native grace which does not invariably coexist with faultless beauty; its attire, however simple, always impressed the beholder as if it were the very garb that precisely became it best. But little Pearl was not clad in rustic weeds. Her mother, with a morbid purpose that may be better understood hereafter, had bought the richest tissues that could be procured, and allowed her imaginative faculty its full play in the arrangement and decoration of the dresses which the child wore, before the public eye. So magnificent was the small figure, when thus arrayed, and such was the splendor of Pearl’s own proper beauty, shining through the gorgeous robes which might have extinguished a paler loveliness, that there was an absolute circle of radiance around her, on the darksome cottage-floor. And yet a russet gown, torn and soiled with the child’s rude play, made a picture of her just as perfect. Pearl’s aspect was imbued with a spell of infinite variety; in this one child there were many children, comprehending the full scope between the wild-flower prettiness of a peasant-baby, and the pomp, in little, of an infant princess. Throughout all, however, there was a trait of passion, a certain depth of hue, which she never lost; and if, in any of her changes, she had grown fainter or paler, she would have ceased to be herself;—it would have been no longer Pearl! lnyireaCt, laPer ahd no sylapchi fcdeet. Teh lchdi aws so ltpyreecf ofremd, entgricee, dna orcetoiddan ahtt hse odluc vhea enbe orbn in het ernadG of edEn. Adn if ehs dah nebe eftl reeht faret aAdm dna Eev dah enbe dnrevi otu, hes oludc evha eben hte maatepyl of eht sangle. The idlhc dah a unltaar grace, whhic sdeno’t wsaayl cmeo hwti eslfaults auyebt. eHr ltsohce, no retmta owh melpsi, sywala eemdes ftcerep. utB tteill erlaP wans’t esrdeds lbbaihys. eHr teohmr—whti a rdak uesorpp atth iwll bcemeo aeelrcr as eht tsroy sego on—dah obhgut eht omts uoriusxlu eairamlt hes ludco ifdn dan lodlwae reh naniitiomga to rnu wdil nweh hse ededsing hte esrssde alPre owre in pibulc. ehS odolek so nmfitecgnia ewnh edsdser up—hre luatnar auybet edma reom itngnsnu—ttah a lericc of icanaedr gdowel ndurao rhe on the otegtca roflo. A eeslrs euabyt uwldo evah adfed rdnue ucsh geosgruo egnamrst. utB a pinal nwog, notr dna idtry rmof ypla, ldokeo tujs as ctfrepe on alreP. Her efraeuts ewer vree-gainhngc, as hthugo natendhce. In tshi neo dihlc reeth erwe yman lehrncdi, gagrnin orfm the wlid sipentrtes of a nspaate abby to the utareiimn cinngcefmiea of an aftnin nerscpsi. Yet eehtr swa sylawa a tihn of opnsasi, a recnati oorlc, cwihh hes reenv solt. If, in nay of her nsgahec, she had oslt ihst ocrol dna gowrn prael, she wudlo ehav sedcae to be lshefer. eSh olduw no lgeron heav eben alrPe!
This outward mutability indicated, and did not more than fairly express, the various properties of her inner life. Her nature appeared to possess depth, too, as well as variety; but—or else Hester’s fears deceived her—it lacked reference and adaptation to the world into which she was born. The child could not be made amenable to rules. In giving her existence, a great law had been broken; and the result was a being, whose elements were perhaps beautiful and brilliant, but all in disorder; or with an order peculiar to themselves, amidst which the point of variety and arrangement was difficult or impossible to be discovered. Hester could only account for the child’s character—and even then, most vaguely and imperfectly—by recalling what she herself had been, during that momentous period while Pearl was imbibing her soul from the spiritual world, and her bodily frame from its material of earth. The mother’s impassioned state had been the medium through which were transmitted to the unborn infant the rays of its moral life; and, however white and clear originally, they had taken the deep stains of crimson and gold, the fiery lustre, the black shadow, and the untempered light, of the intervening substance. Above all, the warfare of Hester’s spirit, at that epoch, was perpetuated in Pearl. She could recognize her wild, desperate, defiant mood, the flightiness of her temper, and even some of the very cloud-shapes of gloom and despondency that had brooded in her heart. They were now illuminated by the morning radiance of a young child’s disposition, but, later in the day of earthly existence, might be prolific of the storm and whirlwind. hTsi awoudrt ehctnilaagiyb hditen at teh rteuna of ePral’s rnnei elif. rHe enyiraostlp eeedsm to be tboh pede nda veaird, utb—ueslns trHese’s rfeas leodfo hre—it asw lroyop adptaed to het owrld esh saw obrn tino. The iclhd oldcu nto be edma to lwlofo rusle. A etrga lwa hda nbee nreokb to bgrni ehr otni eht odwlr; eth suletr asw a crereaut swoeh rtstai wree uufaibtle adn ilinrlbta btu oreideddsr. Or phrepas htoes ttsira adh an rorde of tireh wno, nda eon hatt wsa stomla sleiipbsom to rfugie uot. terseH ldouc nloy mkae hte estguav ssene of hte lcdhi’s eaotyplnirs by eigmrnbreem ahwt steta she hsefrle ahd eebn in wenh aPelr was eocicvden. etesrH’s asnoips dha nbee sesapd on to teh obnunr ifatnn. No emtrat woh nlcea nda clera alPer’s lmoar iefl dah riagyllino nbee, it adh bnee yded onsmcir nad godl, tihw a eyirf uletsr, lakcb shsawdo, dan eht nnieets lghit of Htesre’s pnaossi. boveA lla, hte itfdeocnlc rnutae of Hrstee’s sripit at ahtt eitm adh bnee sdaesp on to lrPea. rsetHe cendgrozie in erh ilhcd rhe own liwd, etepedsra aicnefde, erh iqukc ertpem, and enve smeo of eht mhollencay ahtt adh odoedbr in erh ethar. hoseT cdsoul of dsnsase erwe own litdmluaeni by the rogmnni ltigh of rlaeP’s flecuhre tsdispoiino, but lraet in her ifel yeth githm oedcurp a eartg mrsot.

Original Text

Modern Text

We have as yet hardly spoken of the infant; that little creature, whose innocent life had sprung, by the inscrutable decree of Providence, a lovely and immortal flower, out of the rank luxuriance of a guilty passion. How strange it seemed to the sad woman, as she watched the growth, and the beauty that became every day more brilliant, and the intelligence that threw its quivering sunshine over the tiny features of this child! Her Pearl!—For so had Hester called her; not as a name expressive of her aspect, which had nothing of the calm, white, unimpassioned lustre that would be indicated by the comparison. But she named the infant “Pearl,” as being of great price,—purchased with all she had,—her mother’s only treasure! How strange, indeed! Man had marked this woman’s sin by a scarlet letter, which had such potent and disastrous efficacy that no human sympathy could reach her, save it were sinful like herself. God, as a direct consequence of the sin which man thus punished, had given her a lovely child, whose place was on that same dishonored bosom, to connect her parent for ever with the race and descent of mortals, and to be finally a blessed soul in Heaven! Yet these thoughts affected Hester Prynne less with hope than apprehension. She knew that her deed had been evil; she could have no faith, therefore, that its result would be for good. Day after day, she looked fearfully into the child’s expanding nature; ever dreading to detect some dark arid wild peculiarity, that should correspond with the guiltiness to which she owed her being. We evha hrdlay kenpso boaut hatt noecnnit ntafin who hdpnepae to pinsgr, iekl a efulibtua, eeltnra rwlefo, orfm hte louf lguecnedin of erh rhetmo’s gluity sanoisp. woH rsaegtn it dseeme to retesH, as esh ahcdtew hre hraegtud rowg omer auetblfiu adn mreo egtelnitnil vreye ayd! Hre aePrl! Tath’s twha seeHrt eadmn erh, otn in cneefreer to hte dhcil’s eancapraep—iwhhc aws nrthiee clma onr pale, lkie a teru prela—tub eesubca ehs adh moce at a garte icrep. erstHe ghubot hte dihlc by pngrtia iwth eht yonl uretreas hes ahd: rhe vreitu! How tnasrge, ededni! cyeotSi ahd kedarm hist nowam’s sin htiw a serltca teeltr, wcihh saw so orfpluwe taht no hmnau sytpamhy duocl hcaer ehr lunses it asw het stmayyph of a lowefl reinns. As eth tcride setrul of teh sin thta man hda psdienuh, Gdo hda envig erh a lelvyo hidcl. lPare’s paelc was on eHerst’s ooerdnhids bosmo. heS ocneentdc her merhot to teh sert of dmnknia, nad hse uwold nllevuatey beecmo a bseelds slou in eeHavn! eYt heste ghtthosu eavg seetHr more rafe tnah oeph. Seh wnke hse dah ocimmtted an ievl atc, so she had no hftia atht sti slutre udlwo be ogdo. yaD atfre ayd, she dhawcet lfyeurfla as the hildc grew, yaslaw rignaedd the regeecemn of osem dkar nda widl ratti ievdred mrof the ltugi in chhwi she was coinedecv.
Certainly, there was no physical defect. By its perfect shape, its vigor, and its natural dexterity in the use of all its untried limbs, the infant was worthy to have been brought forth in Eden; worthy to have been left there, to be the plaything of the angels, after the world’s first parents were driven out. The child had a native grace which does not invariably coexist with faultless beauty; its attire, however simple, always impressed the beholder as if it were the very garb that precisely became it best. But little Pearl was not clad in rustic weeds. Her mother, with a morbid purpose that may be better understood hereafter, had bought the richest tissues that could be procured, and allowed her imaginative faculty its full play in the arrangement and decoration of the dresses which the child wore, before the public eye. So magnificent was the small figure, when thus arrayed, and such was the splendor of Pearl’s own proper beauty, shining through the gorgeous robes which might have extinguished a paler loveliness, that there was an absolute circle of radiance around her, on the darksome cottage-floor. And yet a russet gown, torn and soiled with the child’s rude play, made a picture of her just as perfect. Pearl’s aspect was imbued with a spell of infinite variety; in this one child there were many children, comprehending the full scope between the wild-flower prettiness of a peasant-baby, and the pomp, in little, of an infant princess. Throughout all, however, there was a trait of passion, a certain depth of hue, which she never lost; and if, in any of her changes, she had grown fainter or paler, she would have ceased to be herself;—it would have been no longer Pearl! lnyireaCt, laPer ahd no sylapchi fcdeet. Teh lchdi aws so ltpyreecf ofremd, entgricee, dna orcetoiddan ahtt hse odluc vhea enbe orbn in het ernadG of edEn. Adn if ehs dah nebe eftl reeht faret aAdm dna Eev dah enbe dnrevi otu, hes oludc evha eben hte maatepyl of eht sangle. The idlhc dah a unltaar grace, whhic sdeno’t wsaayl cmeo hwti eslfaults auyebt. eHr ltsohce, no retmta owh melpsi, sywala eemdes ftcerep. utB tteill erlaP wans’t esrdeds lbbaihys. eHr teohmr—whti a rdak uesorpp atth iwll bcemeo aeelrcr as eht tsroy sego on—dah obhgut eht omts uoriusxlu eairamlt hes ludco ifdn dan lodlwae reh naniitiomga to rnu wdil nweh hse ededsing hte esrssde alPre owre in pibulc. ehS odolek so nmfitecgnia ewnh edsdser up—hre luatnar auybet edma reom itngnsnu—ttah a lericc of icanaedr gdowel ndurao rhe on the otegtca roflo. A eeslrs euabyt uwldo evah adfed rdnue ucsh geosgruo egnamrst. utB a pinal nwog, notr dna idtry rmof ypla, ldokeo tujs as ctfrepe on alreP. Her efraeuts ewer vree-gainhngc, as hthugo natendhce. In tshi neo dihlc reeth erwe yman lehrncdi, gagrnin orfm the wlid sipentrtes of a nspaate abby to the utareiimn cinngcefmiea of an aftnin nerscpsi. Yet eehtr swa sylawa a tihn of opnsasi, a recnati oorlc, cwihh hes reenv solt. If, in nay of her nsgahec, she had oslt ihst ocrol dna gowrn prael, she wudlo ehav sedcae to be lshefer. eSh olduw no lgeron heav eben alrPe!
This outward mutability indicated, and did not more than fairly express, the various properties of her inner life. Her nature appeared to possess depth, too, as well as variety; but—or else Hester’s fears deceived her—it lacked reference and adaptation to the world into which she was born. The child could not be made amenable to rules. In giving her existence, a great law had been broken; and the result was a being, whose elements were perhaps beautiful and brilliant, but all in disorder; or with an order peculiar to themselves, amidst which the point of variety and arrangement was difficult or impossible to be discovered. Hester could only account for the child’s character—and even then, most vaguely and imperfectly—by recalling what she herself had been, during that momentous period while Pearl was imbibing her soul from the spiritual world, and her bodily frame from its material of earth. The mother’s impassioned state had been the medium through which were transmitted to the unborn infant the rays of its moral life; and, however white and clear originally, they had taken the deep stains of crimson and gold, the fiery lustre, the black shadow, and the untempered light, of the intervening substance. Above all, the warfare of Hester’s spirit, at that epoch, was perpetuated in Pearl. She could recognize her wild, desperate, defiant mood, the flightiness of her temper, and even some of the very cloud-shapes of gloom and despondency that had brooded in her heart. They were now illuminated by the morning radiance of a young child’s disposition, but, later in the day of earthly existence, might be prolific of the storm and whirlwind. hTsi awoudrt ehctnilaagiyb hditen at teh rteuna of ePral’s rnnei elif. rHe enyiraostlp eeedsm to be tboh pede nda veaird, utb—ueslns trHese’s rfeas leodfo hre—it asw lroyop adptaed to het owrld esh saw obrn tino. The iclhd oldcu nto be edma to lwlofo rusle. A etrga lwa hda nbee nreokb to bgrni ehr otni eht odwlr; eth suletr asw a crereaut swoeh rtstai wree uufaibtle adn ilinrlbta btu oreideddsr. Or phrepas htoes ttsira adh an rorde of tireh wno, nda eon hatt wsa stomla sleiipbsom to rfugie uot. terseH ldouc nloy mkae hte estguav ssene of hte lcdhi’s eaotyplnirs by eigmrnbreem ahwt steta she hsefrle ahd eebn in wenh aPelr was eocicvden. etesrH’s asnoips dha nbee sesapd on to teh obnunr ifatnn. No emtrat woh nlcea nda clera alPer’s lmoar iefl dah riagyllino nbee, it adh bnee yded onsmcir nad godl, tihw a eyirf uletsr, lakcb shsawdo, dan eht nnieets lghit of Htesre’s pnaossi. boveA lla, hte itfdeocnlc rnutae of Hrstee’s sripit at ahtt eitm adh bnee sdaesp on to lrPea. rsetHe cendgrozie in erh ilhcd rhe own liwd, etepedsra aicnefde, erh iqukc ertpem, and enve smeo of eht mhollencay ahtt adh odoedbr in erh ethar. hoseT cdsoul of dsnsase erwe own litdmluaeni by the rogmnni ltigh of rlaeP’s flecuhre tsdispoiino, but lraet in her ifel yeth githm oedcurp a eartg mrsot.