"The Scarlet Letter"
by Nathaniel Hawthorne

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     The struggle, if there were one, need not be described. Let it suffice that the clergyman resolved to flee, and not alone.

     "If in all these past seven years," thought he, "I could recall one instant of peace or hope, I would yet endure, for the sake of that earnest of Heaven's mercy. But now--since I am irrevocably doomed--wherefore should I not snatch the solace allowed to the condemned culprit before his execution? Or, if this be the path to a better life, as Hester would persuade me, I surely give up no fairer prospect by pursuing it! Neither can I any longer live without her companionship; so powerful is she to sustain--so tender to soothe! O Thou to whom I dare not lift mine eyes, wilt Thou yet pardon me?"


     "Thou wilt go!" said Hester calmly, as he met her glance.

     The decision once made, a glow of strange enjoyment threw its flickering brightness over the trouble of his breast. It was the exhilarating effect--upon a prisoner just escaped from the dungeon of his own heart--of breathing the wild, free atmosphere of an unredeemed, unchristianised, lawless region. His spirit rose, as it were, with a bound, and attained a nearer prospect of the sky, than throughout all the misery which had kept him grovelling on the earth. Of a deeply religious temperament, there was inevitably a tinge of the devotional in his mood.

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