In a mood of tenderness that was not usual with her, she drew
down her mother's head, and kissed her brow and both her cheeks.
But then--by a kind of necessity that always impelled this child
to alloy whatever comfort she might chance to give with a throb
of anguish--Pearl put up her mouth and kissed the scarlet
"That was not kind!" said Hester. "When thou hast shown me a
little love, thou mockest me!"
"Why doth the minister sit yonder?" asked Pearl.
"He waits to welcome thee," replied her mother. "Come thou, and
entreat his blessing! He loves thee, my little Pearl, and loves
thy mother, too. Wilt thou not love him? Come he longs to greet
"Doth he love us?" said Pearl, looking up with acute
intelligence into her mother's face. "Will he go back with us,
hand in hand, we three together, into the town?"
"Not now, my child," answered Hester. "But in days to come he
will walk hand in hand with us. We will have a home and fireside
of our own; and thou shalt sit upon his knee; and he will teach
thee many things, and love thee dearly. Thou wilt love him--wilt