Hester turned again towards Pearl with a crimson blush upon her
cheek, a conscious glance aside clergyman, and then a heavy
sigh, while, even before she had time to speak, the blush
yielded to a deadly pallor.
"Pearl," said she sadly, "look down at thy feet! There!--before
thee!--on the hither side of the brook!"
The child turned her eyes to the point indicated, and there lay
the scarlet letter so close upon the margin of the stream that
the gold embroidery was reflected in it.
"Bring it hither!" said Hester.
"Come thou and take it up!" answered Pearl.
"Was ever such a child!" observed Hester aside to the minister.
"Oh, I have much to tell thee about her! But, in very truth, she
is right as regards this hateful token. I must bear its torture
yet a little longer--only a few days longer--until we shall have
left this region, and look back hither as to a land which we
have dreamed of. The forest cannot hide it! The mid-ocean shall
take it from my hand, and swallow it up for ever!"