THE PASTOR AND HIS PARISHIONER
SLOWLY as the minister walked, he had almost gone by before Hester Prynne could gather voice enough to attract his observation. At length she succeeded.
" Arthur Dimmesdale ! " she said, faintly at first, then louder, but hoarsely—" Arthur Dimmesdale ! "
"Who speaks ? " answered the minister.
Gathering himself quickly up, he stood more erect, like a man taken by surprise in a mood to which he was reluctant to have witnesses. Throwing his eyes anxiously in the direction of the voice, he indistinctly beheld a form under the trees, clad in garments so sombre, and so little relieved from the gray twilight into which the clouded sky and the heavy foliage had darkened the noontide, that he knew not whether it were a woman or a shadow. It may be that his pathway through life was haunted thus by a spectre that had stolen out from among his thoughts.
He made a step nigher, and discovered the scarlet letter.
" Hester ! Hester Prynne ! " said he; "is it thou ? Art thou in life ? "
"Even so," she answered. " In such life as has
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Publication information: Book title: The Scarlet Letter. Contributors: Nathaniel Hawthorne - Author. Publisher: J. M. Dent & Sons. Place of publication: London. Publication year: 1913. Page number: 228.
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