In “The Child at the Brookside,” Dimmesdale meets Pearl and Hester in the forest, another one of the many times he has met up with them in secret. Dimmesdale will only meet with them under the cover of night, or in this case the cover of the forest, which also symbolizes darkness. Pearl asks, “Will he go back with us, hand in hand, we three together, into the town?” which Hawthorne uses to symbolize them walking together out of the darkness of secrecy and into the light of the public eye. Pearl, the only one who seems to question the fact that Dimmesdale is always hiding something, also asks “And will he always keep his hand over his heart?” Dimmesdale ends up keeping his secret until he can take it no more, and he dies from the guilt and mental torture of it all. He never takes his hand from his heart, instead choosing to always keep his secret concealed. Hester and Pearl prove to be the strongest characters of the book, surviving and rising above the public humiliation and isolation brought on by Hester being forced to wear her sin on the outside.