"Woman, I could well-nigh pity thee," said Roger Chillingworth,
unable to restrain a thrill of admiration too, for there was a
quality almost majestic in the despair which he expressed.
"Thou hadst great elements. Peradventure, hadst thou met earlier
with a better love than mine, this evil had not been. I pity
thee, for the good that has been wasted in thy nature."
"And I thee," answered Hester Prynne, "for the hatred that has
transformed a wise and just man to a fiend! Wilt thou yet purge
it out of thee, and be once more human? If not for his sake,
then doubly for thine own! Forgive, and leave his further
retribution to the Power that claims it! I said, but now, that
there could be no good event for him, or thee, or me, who are
here wandering together in this gloomy maze of evil, and
stumbling at every step over the guilt wherewith we have strewn
our path. It is not so! There might be good for thee, and thee
alone, since thou hast been deeply wronged and hast it at thy
will to pardon. Wilt thou give up that only privilege? Wilt thou
reject that priceless benefit?"