The Scarlett Letter

Last night I finished reading The Scarlett Letter for the first time since high school. Is better than I remember. There aren’t really entire passages I want to quote, just these spectacular turns of phrase:

…having given my best years to feed the the hungry dream of knowledge…
…whether tenderness or terror…
…the hall re-echoes, and the armour rang with it —
…that the destinies of nations should be revealed, in these awful hieroglyphics
…since that first moment, it has all been a dark necessity.
…What was it? The complaint of a human heart, sorrow-laden, perchance guilty, telling its secret, whether of guilt or sorrow, to the great heart of mankind…
…gifted with a soul of the sea-fire, that flashes beneath the prow in the night-time.
…the phantom of human merit…
…sin-stained creature of the dust…

And then this, my favorite moment in the novel.

They sat down again, side by side, and hand clasped in hand, on the mossy trunk of the fallen tree. Life had never brought them a gloomier hour; it was the point whither their pathway had so long been tending, and darkening ever, as it stole along; — and yet it inclosed a charm that made them linger upon it, and claim another, and another, and, after all, another moment.

After all, another moment.