Rumors surface that the authorities are planning to take Pearl from Hester because they fear that Pearl is possessed and dangerous to Hester. And if Pearl isn't possessed, they think she deserves a less sinful mother.
More Puritan hypocrisy. After shunning them for so long, suddenly they care about Hester and Pearls' welfare?
Hester goes to visit Governor Bellingham to inquire about these rumors and to deliver a pair of gloves that she has sewn for him. Children taunt Hester and Pearl on their walk to the Governor's. Pearl fends them off.
Hester serves people who persecute her. Like the scarlet letter, Pearl represents her mother's sin but also her individuality.
They arrive and find the Governor's residence decorated with armor and dark formal portraits, relics from Bellingham's English roots.
Bellingham, a Puritan, lives like an aristocrat. More Puritan hypocrisy.
At one point, Pearl points out Hester's distorted reflection in the breastplate of a suit of armor: Hester appears to be completely hidden behind the scarlet letter. Hester seems to feel Pearl's distance as they gaze in the mirror, and she again suspects that Pearl might be possessed by demons.
The Puritan community's treatment of Hester is beginning to overwhelm her. She now starts to believe the town gossip that Pearl is possessed, an embodiment of sin.
Pearl spots a garden with soil too hard to support the "ornamental gardening" popular in England, but which contains some rose bushes. Pearl begs for a rose just as the Governor approaches with other gentleman.
The garden soil is hard, just like the Puritans. Pearl's request for a rose is a symbolic request that Hester forgive her "sinful" origins.