"And will he always keep his hand over his heart?" inquired
"Foolish child, what a question is that!" exclaimed her mother.
"Come, and ask his blessing!"
But, whether influenced by the jealousy that seems instinctive
with every petted child towards a dangerous rival, or from
whatever caprice of her freakish nature, Pearl would show no
favour to the clergyman. It was only by an exertion of force
that her mother brought her up to him, hanging back, and
manifesting her reluctance by odd grimaces; of which, ever since
her babyhood, she had possessed a singular variety, and could
transform her mobile physiognomy into a series of different
aspects, with a new mischief in them, each and all. The
minister--painfully embarrassed, but hoping that a kiss might
prove a talisman to admit him into the child's kindlier
regards--bent forward, and impressed one on her brow. Hereupon,
Pearl broke away from her mother, and, running to the brook,
stooped over it, and bathed her forehead, until the unwelcome
kiss was quite washed off and diffused through a long lapse of
the gliding water. She then remained apart, silently watching
Hester and the clergyman; while they talked together and made
such arrangements as were suggested by their new position and
the purposes soon to be fulfilled.