At this wild and singular appeal, which indicated that Hester
Prynne's situation had provoked her to little less than madness,
the young minister at once came forward, pale, and holding his
hand over his heart, as was his custom whenever his peculiarly
nervous temperament was thrown into agitation. He looked now
more careworn and emaciated than as we described him at the
scene of Hester's public ignominy; and whether it were his
failing health, or whatever the cause might be, his large dark
eyes had a world of pain in their troubled and melancholy depth.
"There is truth in what she says," began the minister, with a
voice sweet, tremulous, but powerful, insomuch that the hall
re-echoed and the hollow armour rang with it--"truth in what
Hester says, and in the feeling which inspires her! God gave her
the child, and gave her, too, an instinctive knowledge of its
nature and requirements--both seemingly so peculiar--which no
other mortal being can possess. And, moreover, is there not a
quality of awful sacredness in the relation between this mother
and this child?"
"Ay--how is that, good Master Dimmesdale?" interrupted the
Governor. "Make that plain, I pray you!"