The affair being so satisfactorily concluded, Hester Prynne, with Pearl,
departed from the house. As they descended the steps, it is averred that
the lattice of a chamber-window was thrown open, and forth into the sunny
day was thrust the face of Mistress Hibbins, Governor Bellingham's bitter-tempered
sister, and the same who, a few years later, was executed as a witch.
"Hist, hist!" said she, while her ill-omened physiognomy seemed to
cast a shadow over the cheerful newness of the house. "Wilt thou go with
us to-night? There will be a merry company in the forest; and I wellnigh
promised the Black Man that comely Hester Prynne should make one."
"Make my excuse to him, so please you!" answered Hester, with a triumphant
smile. "I must tarry at home, and keep watch over my little Pearl. Had
they taken her from me, I would willingly have gone with thee into the
forest, and signed my name in the Black Man's book too, and that with mine
"We shall have thee there anon!" said the witch-lady, frowning, as
she drew back her head.
But here--if we suppose this interview betwixt Mistress Hibbins and
Hester Prynne to be authentic, and not a parable--was already an illustration
of the young minister's argument against sundering the relation of a fallen
mother to the offspring of her frailty. Even thus early had the child saved
her from Satan's snare.