To sum up the matter, it grew to be a widely diffused opinion
that the Rev. Arthur Dimmesdale, like many other personages of
special sanctity, in all ages of the Christian world, was
haunted either by Satan himself or Satan's emissary, in the
guise of old Roger Chillingworth. This diabolical agent had the
Divine permission, for a season, to burrow into the clergyman's
intimacy, and plot against his soul. No sensible man, it was
confessed, could doubt on which side the victory would turn. The
people looked, with an unshaken hope, to see the minister come
forth out of the conflict transfigured with the glory which he
would unquestionably win. Meanwhile, nevertheless, it was sad to
think of the perchance mortal agony through which he must
struggle towards his triumph.
Alas! to judge from the gloom and terror in the depth of the
poor minister's eyes, the battle was a sore one, and the victory
anything but secure.