"Come up hither, Hester, thou and little Pearl," said the
Reverend Mr. Dimmesdale. "Ye have both been here before, but I
was not with you. Come up hither once again, and we will stand
all three together."
She silently ascended the steps, and stood on the platform,
holding little Pearl by the hand. The minister felt for the
child's other hand, and took it. The moment that he did so,
there came what seemed a tumultuous rush of new life, other life
than his own pouring like a torrent into his heart, and hurrying
through all his veins, as if the mother and the child were
communicating their vital warmth to his half-torpid system. The
three formed an electric chain.
"Minister!" whispered little Pearl.
"What wouldst thou say, child?" asked Mr. Dimmesdale.
"Wilt thou stand here with mother and me, to-morrow noontide?"
"Nay; not so, my little Pearl," answered the minister; for, with
the new energy of the moment, all the dread of public exposure,
that had so long been the anguish of his life, had returned upon
him; and he was already trembling at the conjunction in
which--with a strange joy, nevertheless--he now found
himself--"not so, my child. I shall, indeed, stand with thy
mother and thee one other day, but not to-morrow."