One day, leaning his forehead on his hand, and his elbow on the
sill of the open window, that looked towards the grave-yard, he
talked with Roger Chillingworth, while the old man was examining
a bundle of unsightly plants.
"Where," asked he, with a look askance at them--for it was the
clergyman's peculiarity that he seldom, now-a-days, looked
straight forth at any object, whether human or inanimate,
"where, my kind doctor, did you gather those herbs, with such a
dark, flabby leaf?"
"Even in the graveyard here at hand," answered the physician,
continuing his employment. "They are new to me. I found them
growing on a grave, which bore no tombstone, no other memorial
of the dead man, save these ugly weeds, that have taken upon
themselves to keep him in remembrance. They grew out of his
heart, and typify, it may be, some hideous secret that was
buried with him, and which he had done better to confess during
"Perchance," said Mr. Dimmesdale, "he earnestly desired it, but
"And wherefore?" rejoined the physician.