"What choice had you?" asked Roger Chillingworth. "My finger,
pointed at this man, would have hurled him from his pulpit into
a dungeon, thence, peradventure, to the gallows!"
"It had been better so!" said Hester Prynne.
"What evil have I done the man?" asked Roger Chillingworth
again. "I tell thee, Hester Prynne, the richest fee that ever
physician earned from monarch could not have bought such care as
I have wasted on this miserable priest! But for my aid his life
would have burned away in torments within the first two years
after the perpetration of his crime and thine. For, Hester, his
spirit lacked the strength that could have borne up, as thine
has, beneath a burden like thy scarlet letter. Oh, I could
reveal a goodly secret! But enough. What art can do, I have
exhausted on him. That he now breathes and creeps about on earth
is owing all to me!"
"Better he had died at once!" said Hester Prynne.