The Scarlet Letter: Novel Summary: Chapters 16-17

Chapter 16: : Hester learned that the Minister had gone into the woods to visit a friend who lived among the Indians.  She learned when he was expected to return, and when the day came, she and Pearl went into the forest so she could catch him on his return and speak with him in private.  As they enter the forest, Pearl says that she can stand in the sunlight, but the sunlight runs away from Hester.  In response, Hester reaches out to touch the stream of light that flocks around the little elf-child, and it vanishes when her hand comes near.  Pearl then asks her mother for a story about the black man who inhabits the forest, which she over heard a woman the previous evening talking about.  Pearl said that people went into the forest and signed the Black mans book with their blood and that she heard the scarlet letter was the black mans mark on her mother.  They traveled into the deep into the forest and stopped next to a little brook that Pearl began playing around.  After a while, they saw the Reverend Dimmesdale come walking slowly down the path, and Hester tells Pearl to run and play. 
Chapter 17: Hester calls out to the Minister and he instantly straightens up and looks towards her.  He finds out it is she and they inquire on how their lives have been in the last seven years.  They sit down together on a log, and ask each other if they have found peace.  The minister expresses his sadness and how he feels like a hypocrite teaching others to be holy, when he himself has a terrible hidden sin.  Hester tries to help him by talking with him and caring for him.  He thanks her for her friendship.  She then tells him of Roger Chillingsworth, how he is her husband, and out for revenge.  Dimmesdale is horrified but knew that something was wrong with Roger Chillingworth.  Hester could not take the frown that descended upon his face, and asked him if he forgave her.  He has, and she asks if he remembers what they had.  She hints that they once had a great passion and affection for each other.  Hester talks of them leaving together.  Arthur says he has not the strength to travel that far, but with Hester helping him, they thought they could do it.