"What does this sad little brook say, mother?" inquired she.
"If thou hadst a sorrow of thine own, the brook might tell thee
of it," answered her mother, "even as it is telling me of mine.
But now, Pearl, I hear a footstep along the path, and the noise
of one putting aside the branches. I would have thee betake
thyself to play, and leave me to speak with him that comes
"Is it the Black Man?" asked Pearl.
"Wilt thou go and play, child?" repeated her mother, "But do not
stray far into the wood. And take heed that thou come at my
"Yes, mother," answered Pearl, "But if it be the Black Man, wilt
thou not let me stay a moment, and look at him, with his big
book under his arm?"
"Go, silly child!" said her mother impatiently. "It is no Black
Man! Thou canst see him now, through the trees. It is the
"And so it is!" said the child. "And, mother, he has his hand
over his heart! Is it because, when the minister wrote his name
in the book, the Black Man set his mark in that place? But why
does he not wear it outside his bosom, as thou dost, mother?"