"I have thought of death," said she--"have wished for it--would
even have prayed for it, were it fit that such as I should pray
for anything. Yet, if death be in this cup, I bid thee think
again, ere thou beholdest me quaff it. See! it is even now at my
"Drink, then," replied he, still with the same cold composure.
"Dost thou know me so little, Hester Prynne? Are my purposes
wont to be so shallow? Even if I imagine a scheme of vengeance,
what could I do better for my object than to let thee live--than
to give thee medicines against all harm and peril of life--so
that this burning shame may still blaze upon thy bosom?" As he
spoke, he laid his long fore-finger on the scarlet letter, which
forthwith seemed to scorch into Hester's breast, as if it had
been red hot. He noticed her involuntary gesture, and smiled.
"Live, therefore, and bear about thy doom with thee, in the eyes
of men and women--in the eyes of him whom thou didst call thy
husband--in the eyes of yonder child! And, that thou mayest
live, take off this draught."