The story starts out with Mr. Hooper standing in front of the congregation in a small Puritan town.
The people at the church service were shocked to see the pastor had a black veil over the top half of his face and knew that something was wrong. Especially after he gave a sermon about secret sins.
Later after the sermon he attended a funeral of a woman. Before the coffin was removed Mr. Hooper leaned over the body and it looked like he was talking to the dead woman. Due to that people began to gossip about him and the veil and whatever secrets he was hiding.