"Were it not better," said he, "that you use my poor skill to-night? Verily
, dear sir, we must take pains to make you strong and vigorous
for this occasion of the Election discourse. The people look for great things from you; apprehending that another year may come about, and find their pastor gone."
"Yea, to another world," replied the minister, with pious resignation
. "Heaven grant it be a better one; for, in good sooth
, I hardly think to tarry
with my flock through the flitting seasons of another year! But, touching your medicine, kind sir, in my present frame of body, I need it not."
"I joy to hear it," answered the physician. "It may be that my remedies
, so long administered in vain, begin now to take due effect. Happy man were I, and well deserving of New England's gratitude, could I achieve this cure!"
"I thank you from my heart, most watchful
friend," said the Reverend Mr. Dimmesdale, with a solemn smile. "I thank you, and can but requite
your good deeds with my prayers."
"A good man's prayers are golden recompense
!" rejoined old Roger Chillingworth, as he took his leave. "Yea, they are the current gold coin of the New Jerusalem, with the King's own mint
, mark on them!"
Left alone, the minister summoned a servant of the house, and requested food, which, being set before him, he ate with ravenous
appetite. Then, flinging the already written pages of the Election Sermon into the fire, he forthwith began another, which he wrote with such an impulsive
flow of thought and emotion, that he fancied himself inspired; and only wondered that Heaven should see fit to transmit
the grand and solemn music of its oracles
through so foul an organ-pipe as he. However, leaving that mystery to solve itself, or go unsolved for ever, he drove his task onward, with earnest haste and ecstasy. Thus the night fled away, as if it were winged steed, and he careering on it; morning came, and peeped, blushing, through the curtains; and at last sunrise threw a golden beam into the study and laid it right across the minister's bedazzled
eyes. There he was, with the pen still between his fingers, and a vast immeasurable tract
of written space behind him!