"Then I need ask no further," said the clergyman, somewhat
hastily rising from his chair. "You deal not, I take it, in
medicine for the soul!"
"Thus, a sickness," continued Roger Chillingworth, going on, in
an unaltered tone, without heeding the interruption, but
standing up and confronting the emaciated and white-cheeked
minister, with his low, dark, and misshapen figure,--"a
sickness, a sore place, if we may so call it, in your spirit
hath immediately its appropriate manifestation in your bodily
frame. Would you, therefore, that your physician heal the bodily
evil? How may this be unless you first lay open to him the wound
or trouble in your soul?"
"No, not to thee! not to an earthly physician!" cried Mr.
Dimmesdale, passionately, and turning his eyes, full and bright,
and with a kind of fierceness, on old Roger Chillingworth. "Not
to thee! But, if it be the soul's disease, then do I commit
myself to the one Physician of the soul! He, if it stand with
His good pleasure, can cure, or he can kill. Let Him do with me
as, in His justice and wisdom, He shall see good. But who art
thou, that meddlest in this matter? that dares thrust himself
between the sufferer and his God?"
With a frantic gesture he rushed out of the room.