"Come, dearest child!" said Hester encouragingly, and stretching
out both her arms. "How slow thou art! When hast thou been so
sluggish before now? Here is a friend of mine, who must be thy
friend also. Thou wilt have twice as much love henceforward as
thy mother alone could give thee! Leap across the brook and come
to us. Thou canst leap like a young deer!"
Pearl, without responding in any manner to these honey-sweet
expressions, remained on the other side of the brook. Now she
fixed her bright wild eyes on her mother, now on the minister,
and now included them both in the same glance, as if to detect
and explain to herself the relation which they bore to one
another. For some unaccountable reason, as Arthur Dimmesdale
felt the child's eyes upon himself, his hand--with that gesture
so habitual as to have become involuntary--stole over his heart.
At length, assuming a singular air of authority, Pearl stretched
out her hand, with the small forefinger extended, and pointing
evidently towards her mother's breast. And beneath, in the
mirror of the brook, there was the flower-girdled and sunny
image of little Pearl, pointing her small forefinger too.