"Thou art crushed under this seven years' weight of misery," replied Hester, fervently
resolved to buoy
him up with her own energy. "But thou shalt leave it all behind thee! It shall not cumber
thy steps, as thou treadest along the forest-path; neither shalt thou freight
the ship with it, if thou prefer to cross the sea. Leave this wreck
and ruin here where it hath happened. Meddle no more with it! Begin all anew! Hast thou exhausted possibility in the failure of this one trial? Not so! The future is yet full of trial and success. There is happiness to be enjoyed! There is good to be done! Exchange this false life of thine for a true one. Be, if thy spirit summon thee to such a mission, the teacher and apostle
of the red men. Or- as is more thy nature- be a scholar and a sage among the wisest and the most renowned of the cultivated world. Preach
! Write! Act! Do anything, save to lie down and die! Give up this name of Arthur Dimmesdale, and make thyself another, and a high one, such as thou canst wear without fear or shame. Why wouldst thou tarry
so much as one other day in the torments that have so gnawed
into thy life!- that have made thee feeble
to will and to do!- that will leave thee powerless even to repent
! Up, and away!"
"O Hester!" cried Arthur Dimmesdale, in whose eyes a fitful
by her enthusiasm
, flashed up and died away, "thou tellest of running a race to a man whose knees are tottering
beneath him! I must die here! There is not the strength or courage left me to venture into the wide, strange, difficult world, alone!"
It was the last expression of the despondency
of a broken spirit. He lacked energy to grasp the better fortune that seemed within his reach.
He repeated the word.
"Thou shalt not go alone!" answered she, in a deep whisper.
Then, all was spoken!