But Pearl, not a whit startled at her mother's threats any more
than mollified by her entreaties, now suddenly burst into a fit
of passion, gesticulating violently, and throwing her small
figure into the most extravagant contortions. She accompanied
this wild outbreak with piercing shrieks, which the woods
reverberated on all sides, so that, alone as she was in her
childish and unreasonable wrath, it seemed as if a hidden
multitude were lending her their sympathy and encouragement.
Seen in the brook once more was the shadowy wrath of Pearl's
image, crowned and girdled with flowers, but stamping its foot,
wildly gesticulating, and, in the midst of all, still pointing
its small forefinger at Hester's bosom.
"I see what ails the child," whispered Hester to the clergyman,
and turning pale in spite of a strong effort to conceal her
trouble and annoyance, "Children will not abide any, the
slightest, change in the accustomed aspect of things that are
daily before their eyes. Pearl misses something that she has
always seen me wear!"
"I pray you," answered the minister, "if thou hast any means of
pacifying the child, do it forthwith! Save it were the cankered
wrath of an old witch like Mistress Hibbins," added he,
attempting to smile, "I know nothing that I would not sooner
encounter than this passion in a child. In Pearl's young beauty,
as in the wrinkled witch, it has a preternatural effect. Pacify
her if thou lovest me!"