He started at a thought that suddenly occurred to him.
"Hester," cried he, "here is a new horror! Roger Chillingworth knows your purpose to reveal his true character. Will he continue, then, to keep our secret? What will now be the course of his revenge
"There is a strange secrecy in his nature," replied Hester thoughtfully
; "and it has grown upon him by the hidden practices of his revenge. I deem
it not likely that he will betray
the secret. He will doubtless seek other means of satiating
his dark passion."
"And I!- how am I to live longer, breathing the same air with this deadly enemy?" exclaimed Arthur Dimmesdale, shrinking
within himself, and pressing his hand nervously
against his heart- a gesture that had grown involuntary
with him. "Think for me, Hester! Thou art strong. Resolve for me!"
"Thou must dwell
no longer with this man," said Hester, slowly and firmly. "Thy heart must be no longer under his evil eye!"
"It were far worse than death!" replied the minister. "But how to avoid it? What choice remains to me? Shall I lie down again on these withered
leaves, where I cast
myself when thou didst tell me what he was? Must I sink down there, and die at once?"
"Alas, what a ruin has befallen
thee!" said Hester, with the tears, gushing
into her eyes. "Wilt thou die for very weakness? There is no other cause!"
"The judgment of God is on me," answered the conscience-stricken
priest. "It is too mighty for me to struggle with!"