In Chapter 15,
when Pearl asks Hester the meaning of the scarlet letter, it is the first time Hester lies about its meaning. Hawthorne suggests the scarlet letter might be the talisman of a stern and severe, but yet a guardian spirit and that the reason why Hester lies is because the spirit now forsook her, as recognizing that, in spite of strict watch over her heart, some new evil had crept into it, or some old one had never been expelled. (149)
What does this mean?