"The Scarlet Letter"
by Nathaniel Hawthorne

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     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 letter, too.

     "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 thee!"

     "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 thou not?"

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