The Minister's Black Veil, a Short Story by Nathaniel Hawthorne

As I woke out of my sleep and sat straight, I noticed Esther side of the bed was empty “maybe she went out to greet her mother” I thought, As I rushed out of my bed I almost forgot my morning prayers, as a good puritans I must never forget to say my grace, especially on this great Sunday. “Nathaniel are you there? Can you open the door?” a female voice said. I heard a voice who interrupted my prayers, it must be Esther.

“But why can’t she open the door herself?” I wondered, As I walked up to the door and opened it she was standing there with a basket full of apples. She held the apples tight as she noticed me staring at her. “Why are you carrying all of this apples, we have enough in the kitchen?” I asked, “I know, but this one is big and pretty I couldn’t resist” She replied with an almost shaky voice.

“I wondered why she choose those apples, I know that the best apple tree in the village is near Mr. Hooper house. But she could have just pick some of her mother apples instead.” As I snap out of my thoughts I heard the shower running, Esther must be getting ready for church, and I must too. As Esther and I were getting closer to the Milford meetinghouse, I saw the sexton in the perch of Milford meetinghouse pulling lustily at the bell rope, Stooping along the street were the old people of the village.

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Children with bright faces, tripped merrily beside their parents, while the bachelors look sidelong at the pretty maidens. I respectfully greeted anybody I come across on, “Good day! Mr. and Mrs. Gray” says one of the gentlemen that I greeted.

“Good Day!” Esther quickly replied to him, “But what has good Parson Hooper got upon his face?” cried the sexton in astonishment. As I turned quickly and notice Mr, Hooper making his way toward the meeting house, I saw that he had a black veil upon his face. “Are you sure it’s our parson?” I asked, “Of a certainty it is good Mr, Hooper” the sexton replied to me, “Has he gone mad” I thought to myself. “I don’t like it” muttered the old woman next to me as she hobbled into the meetinghouset “Our parson has gone mad!” I finally said out loud, As Esther and I took a seat in the meetinghouse, I heard some of the unaccountable rumors that was preceded toward Mr. Hooper, I looked at him and trying to figure out why he had such a thing upon his face, but he appeared not to notice the perturbation of his people, As I carefully watched the scene between Mrt Hooper and his oldest»parishioner, it was cleared that the man became conscious out of something in the appearance of his pastor.

Then Mr, Hooper showed himself in the pulpit and face the congregation He went on preaching about secret sins, usually, he is not an energetic one, but this specific sermon was different and powerful, “Those sad mysteries which we hide from our nearest and dearest, and would fain conceal from our own consciousness even forgetting that the omniscient can detect them“ Stated Mr, Hooper. As he said those words I felt Esther trembles a little, since she was seating close to me. As the close of the services, Esther hurried out of the congregation with a confusion yet frightened look. As I tried to follow her, Mr Hooper stopped me for a greeting As much of a hurry I was in, I patiently greeted him before storming out of the rneetinghouse. “You sure it‘s just a headache?” I asked Esther as we both sat alone in the bedroom, “Yes, I sure” she answered me “Well if you said so” I replied back to her as I prepared to leave the room, “I will be going now to the young lady funeral” I said before stepping out.

As I arrived to the funeral late, I took a seat behind an old woman who looked back at me suspiciously, like she just witness something horrific. As I looked away from the old lady, I bow my head down for Mr, Hooper funeral prayers, which was so tender, heart dissolving and full of sorrow. As I was preparing to leave felt something powerful yet spiritual, perhaps it was just the breeze in the room. On the way home I thought about Mr. Hooper sermon, Esther, and especially the veil upon Mr. Hooper face, I have no clue why he decided to put on such a thing across his face, perhaps he is trying to tell us something, As I got home, Esther was preparing to leave.

“Where are you attending?” I asked surprisingly, “The wedding remember? “She said annoyed, I was surprised with the tone she used on me. “I don’t like your tone” I said sternly. She looked at me disturbingly, before stepping out. She never acted this way before, I wonder what changed her attitude, I thought to myself. The next day I heard people still talking about Mr. Hooper veil, it was a topic for discussion between acquaintances meeting in the street, and good women gossiping at their open windows. Weeks passed, Mr, Hooper still have the veil upon his face, after I heard from one of the gossipers that Elizabeth left him he hasn’t been himself I even thought about asking him why he had such a veil upon his face, but 1 never did neither did any of the parishioners, Strangers came long distances to attend service at the meetinghouse, with the mere idle purpose of gazing at his figure, because it was forbidden them to behold his face.

As the years wore on, and Mr. Hooper has come close to his death chamber he still have on the veil. As I stood behind Reverend Mr. Clark, the one who had ridden in haste to pray by the bedside of the expiring minister. With no other thought retained its sober influence, Mr. Hooper showed an awful solicitude lest the black veil should slip aside. Reverend. Mr. Clark approached the bedside. “Venerable Father Hooper”, said Mr. Clark “The moment of your release is at hand. Are you ready for the lifting of the veil that shuts in time from eternity?” He said again. Mr. Hooper at first replied merely by a feeble motion of his head, then apprehensive, perhaps that his meaning be doubtful. As Reverend Mr, Clark bent forward to reveal the mystery of so many years.

Father Hooper struggle to stop Mr. Clark, with his last energy. “Never!” Mr. Hooper cried. “After all this years he still won‘t reveal what’s behind the veil. What a terrible sins have he done, that at the chamber of his death he still won’t take off such a veil upon his face.” I thought to myself. Then I saw Father Hooper slowly grasping forward his hand, raised himself in the bed to speak. I was shocked. He finally started speaking “Why do you tremble at me alone?” he cried “Tremble also at each other! Man avoided me and women showed no pity, children screamed and fled, only for my black veil? …When man doesn’t shrink from the eyes of his creator. Loathsomely Lreasuring up the secret sins, then deem me a monster, for the symbol beneath which I lived and die! I look around me and, lo!

On every visage a Black veil!” Mr. Hooper words run around my head as I walked home, Not only did his death frightened me but also the words that he spoke. As I got home and walked in the bedroom, Esther was there on the bed weeping. “What’s wrong, my dear?” I asked her with a concern “I too have a veil” she stated. I have no clue what she was speaking of, “What veil?” I asked. “I have veil, full of secret sins terrible mistake, I’m sorry” She cried “Please forgive me and Mr. Hooper” she cried again. As I stood there wondering and trying to make sense out of the words she was saying, she was already gone.

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The Minister's Black Veil, a Short Story by Nathaniel Hawthorne. (2023, Apr 20). Retrieved from

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