"Do I feel joy again?" cried he, wondering at himself.
"Methought the germ of it was dead in me! Oh, Hester, thou art
my better angel! I seem to have flung myself--sick, sin-stained,
and sorrow-blackened--down upon these forest leaves, and to have
risen up all made anew, and with new powers to glorify Him that
hath been merciful! This is already the better life! Why did we
not find it sooner?"
"Let us not look back," answered Hester Prynne. "The past is
gone! Wherefore should we linger upon it now? See! With this
symbol I undo it all, and make it as if it had never been!"
So speaking, she undid the clasp that fastened the scarlet
letter, and, taking it from her bosom, threw it to a distance
among the withered leaves. The mystic token alighted on the
hither verge of the stream. With a hand's-breadth further
flight, it would have fallen into the water, and have given the
little brook another woe to carry onward, besides the
unintelligible tale which it still kept murmuring about. But
there lay the embroidered letter, glittering like a lost jewel,
which some ill-fated wanderer might pick up, and thenceforth be
haunted by strange phantoms of guilt, sinkings of the heart, and