People of New England! ye, that have loved me!-ye that have deemed me holy!-behold me here, the one sinner of the world! At last!-at last!-I stand upon the spot where, seven years since, I should have stood; here, with this woman...the scarlet letter which Hester wears! Ye have all shuddered at it!... But there stood one in the midst of you, at whose brand of sin and infamy ye have not shuddered!
It was on him! God's eyes behold it! The angels were forever pointing at it! The Devil knew it well, and fretted it continually with the touch of his burning finger! But he hid it cunningly from men, and walked among you with the mien of a spirit, mournful because so pure in a sinful world!-...Now at death hour, he stands up before you! He bids you look again at Hester's scarlet letter...it is but a shadow of what bears on his own breast...Stand any here that question God's judgment on a sinner? Behold! Behold a dreadful witness of it!
Thou hast escaped me! Thou hast escaped me! May God forgive thee! Thou, too, hast deeply sinned! My little Pearl, dear little Pearl wilt thou kiss me now?
Shall we not meet again? Shall we not spend our immortal life together? Surely, surely, we have ransomed one another, with all this woe! Thou lookest far into eternity, with those bright dying eyes! Then tell me what thou seest?
Hush, Hester, hush! The law we broke!—the sin here so awfully revealed!—let these alone be in thy thoughts! I fear! I fear! It may be, that, when we forgot our God,—when we violated our reverence each for the other’s soul,—it was thenceforth vain to hope that we could meet hereafter, in an everlasting and pure reunion. God knows; and He is merciful! He hath proved his mercy, most of all, in my afflictions.
By giving me this burning torture to bear upon my breast! By sending yonder dark and terrible old man, to keep the torture always at red-heat! By bringing me hither, to die this death of triumphant ignominy before the people! Had either of these agonies been wanting, I had been lost forever! Praised be his name! His will be done! Farewell