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17. THE PASTOR AND HIS PARISHIONER (continued)
"Oh, Hester!" cried Arthur Dimmesdale, in whose eyes a fitful light, kindled by her enthusiasm, flashed up and died away, "thou tellest of running a race to a man whose knees are tottering beneath him! I must die here! There is not the strength or courage left me to venture into the wide, strange, difficult world alone!"
It was the last expression of the despondency of a broken spirit. He lacked energy to grasp the better fortune that seemed within his reach.
He repeated the word--"Alone, Hester!"
"Thou shall not go alone!" answered she, in a deep whisper. Then, all was spoken!
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