This is Elizabeth Pain. Actually, it’s her gravestone. Seeing as how she died in 1704, there’s not much left of her. Also seeing as how the graveyards in Boston are mighty old and crowded, it’s highly unlikely that she was buried in that exact spot. That spot being in the King’s Chapel Burying Ground in Boston, where I took the above picture.
Anyhoosie. Note the A in the corner of the gravestone. It’s the point of this story.
There are some that say Elizabeth’s gravestone (not her life…just her gravestone) was the inspiration for Hester Prynne ‘s gravestone in The Scarlet Letter:
So said Hester Prynne, and glanced her sad eyes downward at the scarlet letter. And, after many, many years, a new grave was delved, near an old and sunken one, in that burial–ground beside which King’s Chapel has since been built. It was near that old and sunken grave, yet with a space between, as if the dust of the two sleepers had no right to mingle. Yet one tomb–stone served for both. All around, there were monuments carved with armorial bearings; and on this simple slab of slate—as the curious investigator may still discern, and perplex himself with the purport—there appeared the semblance of an engraved escutcheon. It bore a device, a herald’s wording of which may serve for a motto and brief description of our now concluded legend; so sombre is it, and relieved only by one ever–glowing point of light gloomier than the shadow:— “On a field, sable, the letter A, gules.”
And there are others that say that’s a crock.
Still, it makes for a cool gravestone story.