Old Roger Chillingworth, with a smile on his face, whispered
something in the young clergyman's ear. Hester Prynne looked at
the man of skill, and even then, with her fate hanging in the
balance, was startled to perceive what a change had come over
his features--how much uglier they were, how his dark complexion
seemed to have grown duskier, and his figure more
misshapen--since the days when she had familiarly known him. She
met his eyes for an instant, but was immediately constrained to
give all her attention to the scene now going forward.
"This is awful!" cried the Governor, slowly recovering from the
astonishment into which Pearl's response had thrown him. "Here
is a child of three years old, and she cannot tell who made her!
Without question, she is equally in the dark as to her soul, its
present depravity, and future destiny! Methinks, gentlemen, we
need inquire no further."
Hester caught hold of Pearl, and drew her forcibly into her
arms, confronting the old Puritan magistrate with almost a
fierce expression. Alone in the world, cast off by it, and with
this sole treasure to keep her heart alive, she felt that she
possessed indefeasible rights against the world, and was ready
to defend them to the death.