“Well said, again!” cried good Mr. Wilson. “I feared the woman had no better thought than to make a mountebank of her child!”
“O, not so!—not so!” continued Mr. Dimmesdale. “She recognizes, believe me, the solemn miracle which God hath wrought, in the existence of that child. And may she feel, too,—what, methinks, is the very truth,—that this boon was meant, above all things else, to keep the mother's soul alive, and to preserve her from blacker depths of sin into which Satan might else have sought to plunge her! Therefore it is good for this poor, sinful woman that she hath an infant immortality, a being capable of eternal joy or sorrow, confided to her care,—to be trained up by her to righteousness,—to remind her, at every moment, of her fall,—but yet to teach her, as it were by the Creator's sacred pledge, that, if she bring the child to heaven, the child also will bring its parent thither! Herein is the sinful mother happier than the sinful father. For Hester Prynne's sake, then, and no less for the poor child's sake, let us leave them as Providence hath seen fit to place them!”
“You speak, my friend, with a strange earnestness,” said old Roger Chillingworth, smiling at him.
“And there is weighty import in what my young brother hath spoken,” added the Reverend Mr. Wilson. “What say you, worshipful Master Bellingham? Hath he not pleaded well for the poor woman?”
“Indeed hath he,” answered the magistrate, “and hath adduced such arguments, that we will even leave the matter as it now stands; so long, at least, as there shall be no further scandal in the woman. Care must be had, nevertheless, to put the child to due and stated examination in the catechism at thy hands or Master Dimmesdale's. Moreover, at a proper season, the tithing-men must take heed that she go both to school and to meeting.”