With these words she advanced to the margin of the brook, took
up the scarlet letter, and fastened it again into her bosom.
Hopefully, but a moment ago, as Hester had spoken of drowning it
in the deep sea, there was a sense of inevitable doom upon her
as she thus received back this deadly symbol from the hand of
fate. She had flung it into infinite space! she had drawn an
hour's free breath! and here again was the scarlet misery
glittering on the old spot! So it ever is, whether thus typified
or no, that an evil deed invests itself with the character of
doom. Hester next gathered up the heavy tresses of her hair and
confined them beneath her cap. As if there were a withering
spell in the sad letter, her beauty, the warmth and richness of
her womanhood, departed like fading sunshine, and a gray shadow
seemed to fall across her.
When the dreary change was wrought, she extended her hand to
"Dost thou know thy mother now, child?", asked she,
reproachfully, but with a subdued tone. "Wilt thou come across
the brook, and own thy mother, now that she has her shame upon
her--now that she is sad?"
"Yes; now I will!" answered the child, bounding across the
brook, and clasping Hester in her arms "Now thou art my mother
indeed! and I am thy little Pearl!"