"I do verily believe it," answered the clergyman.
"Nevertheless, I cannot answer for her. There was a look of pain
in her face which I would gladly have been spared the sight of.
But still, methinks, it must needs be better for the sufferer to
be free to show his pain, as this poor woman Hester is, than to
cover it up in his heart."
There was another pause, and the physician began anew to examine
and arrange the plants which he had gathered.
"You inquired of me, a little time agone," said he, at length,
"my judgment as touching your health."
"I did," answered the clergyman, "and would gladly learn it.
Speak frankly, I pray you, be it for life or death."
"Freely then, and plainly," said the physician, still busy with
his plants, but keeping a wary eye on Mr. Dimmesdale, "the
disorder is a strange one; not so much in itself nor as
outwardly manifested,--in so far, at least as the symptoms have
been laid open to my observation. Looking daily at you, my good
sir, and watching the tokens of your aspect now for months gone
by, I should deem you a man sore sick, it may be, yet not so
sick but that an instructed and watchful physician might well
hope to cure you. But I know not what to say, the disease is
what I seem to know, yet know it not."