Hester bade little Pearl run down to the margin of the water,
and play with the shells and tangled sea-weed, until she should
have talked awhile with yonder gatherer of herbs. So the child
flew away like a bird, and, making bare her small white feet
went pattering along the moist margin of the sea. Here and there
she came to a full stop, and peeped curiously into a pool, left
by the retiring tide as a mirror for Pearl to see her face in.
Forth peeped at her, out of the pool, with dark, glistening
curls around her head, and an elf-smile in her eyes, the image
of a little maid whom Pearl, having no other playmate, invited
to take her hand and run a race with her. But the visionary
little maid on her part, beckoned likewise, as if to say--"This
is a better place; come thou into the pool." And Pearl, stepping
in mid-leg deep, beheld her own white feet at the bottom; while,
out of a still lower depth, came the gleam of a kind of
fragmentary smile, floating to and fro in the agitated water.
Meanwhile her mother had accosted the physician. "I would speak
a word with you," said she--"a word that concerns us much."