Dimmesdale says he feared that Pearl's resemblance to him would give away his secret—the narrator says Pearl is a "living hieroglyphic." Yet Pearl refuses to come to her parents when they call. Hester attributes her reluctance to the absence of the scarlet letter on her bosom. Hester puts the letter back on and Pearl accepts her.
Pearl's refusal to return to her mother suggests that sin, the scarlet letter, is a part of her mother's identity and cannot just be thrown away. It can't be run from.
Pearl asks if Dimmesdale will return with them hand in hand to town. Hester says he won't join them in public yet. Dimmesdale kisses Pearl. She runs to the brook to wash off his kiss.