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Dear Hester,

For seven long years have I hidden a secret from the New Englanders, a
group of Puritans whose sole concern was to ensure that man shall be punished for
his sinful acts, despite being inherently sinful themselves. For seven long, harsh
years I have taught what the ible has so said, paying attention to the regulative
principle of worship, which we shall all must follow, lest our sins consume and
overta!e the remaining goodness in our souls "# I have seen men collapse upon the
ground and beg for mercy, yet I stand there, beside them as if I am their better,
trying to console them, even though I myself should be down upon the earth as
e$ual. %s someone who is continually heralded as someone with so much power
and status, I am no better. Nay, I am not. ut, because of this aw!ward situation, I
have to remain under my collar and under my position, so as to not disrupt the
delicate society in which we live. ut, more importantly, to fuel my cowardice to the
point where there is no return& I cannot let myself reveal our secret, so I resort to
punishing myself, through emotional and physical means.
I have seen your 'carlet (etter, seen its mar! upon you li!e a cattle)s brand,
and push my palm against my heart, because I !now that I am e$ually mar!ed,
albeit not for all to see. *y pain is one of secrecy, one of distrust, for in the slightest
chance someone would discover our secret, our lives could come to a grinding halt.
*y Hester, the decision we made was of ignorance on both of our accounts& we had
not considered the conse$uences, or, if we did, they were not considered to the
degree upon which they were re$uired. +egardless of the past, what is now is now
and I still care for you, still remember the days where *r. ,hillingsworth was
nowhere to be seen, and Pearl was but a scant few months away from blessing our
lives. I want those days to be real again, to relive the moments that are lost
because they were the best of my life, but I reali-e after what we have been through
that none of this will ever become true. *y feelings toward you are simply stuc!,
fro-en in time as the reali-ation of the .%. had done so many years ago. *y
priorities have been altered, shifted, warped until little or nothing remains of usable
love for you and Pearl. I want to love you, but I fear the capability has been lost.
'itting in my little establishment, writing a sermon from the Hebrew te/ts, as
a wee!ly staple of my life, has sorely drained me. How is it that I can teach the
0ord, Hester, one of the very foundations of our church, when I have sinned greater
than the average man could ever understand1 How, Hester, is it that someone li!e
myself is teaching the young ones, giving them hope under the false sense of
security that my !nowledge of language, history, and philosophy gives1 0hy,
Hester, did this have to happen to us1 ,ircumstance, I fear has brought this upon
us, because, for some reason, I believe that maybe, 2ust maybe what has happened
has happened for the greater bene3t of society. *aybe my history and
understanding of sin enables me to be a greater teacher to those who are lost1
*aybe your shame has enabled you to help those who would previously not wanted
help1 I ponder over these implications before I write a sermon, as if to give me
strength to pass more 0ords on the 'abbath. *y strength is inherited from the fear
of forgetting my sin, and I have been forged in the 3re li!e a horseshoe, melted
down and 3nally shaped into an ob2ect of strength and nobility.
Hester, I see you almost daily, wandering the streets on a mission to stitch a
new garment or teach Pearl a new way to be mischievous, and my eyes are drawn
to you. 4he 'carlet (etter, shown in public and in full reminds me of my sin, nay, our
sin, and draws me ever closer to you. 4here are days when I simply want to be with
you, to stand beside you, as if to say, .(oo! here, for I, the righteous minister whom
you worship, is standing beside the 'carlet (etter5. 4hese feelings, this magnetic
pull drew me to the place where the public 3rst laid it)s eye upon you with the
newborn Pearl. 6nder the cover of night, I stole to the platform, clambered to its
top, and called for you. I called for my Hester and my Pearl, my two reminders
amongst dar!ness that there is good in all situations. I called for you, and you came.
(oo!ing bac! once more on what has happened in these years, and what has
not happened, I)m ready to bring this all to a dramatic close. I)m tired of *r.
,hillingsworth)s medicine, tired of the preaching and the worship, and tired of being
under the brand of .%. and the brand of secrecy. Now is the time, Hester, when we
bring this to an end, we leave, and the world lives .happily ever after.. %fter the
Election 'ermon, I am resigning, and I will see you then "# my capability of love shall
have been repaired.
'incerely,
Arthur Dimmesdale