Pearl set forth at a great pace, and as Hester smiled to
perceive, did actually catch the sunshine, and stood laughing in
the midst of it, all brightened by its splendour, and
scintillating with the vivacity excited by rapid motion. The
light lingered about the lonely child, as if glad of such a
playmate, until her mother had drawn almost nigh enough to step
into the magic circle too.
"It will go now," said Pearl, shaking her head.
"See!" answered Hester, smiling; "now I can stretch out my hand
and grasp some of it."
As she attempted to do so, the sunshine vanished; or, to judge
from the bright expression that was dancing on Pearl's features,
her mother could have fancied that the child had absorbed it
into herself, and would give it forth again, with a gleam about
her path, as they should plunge into some gloomier shade. There
was no other attribute that so much impressed her with a sense
of new and untransmitted vigour in Pearl's nature, as this never
failing vivacity of spirits: she had not the disease of sadness,
which almost all children, in these latter days, inherit, with
the scrofula, from the troubles of their ancestors. Perhaps
this, too, was a disease, and but the reflex of the wild energy
with which Hester had fought against her sorrows before Pearl's
birth. It was certainly a doubtful charm, imparting a hard,
metallic lustre to the child's character. She wanted--what some
people want throughout life--a grief that should deeply touch
her, and thus humanise and make her capable of sympathy. But
there was time enough yet for little Pearl.