The age had not so much refinement, that any sense of impropriety restrained the wearers of petticoat and farthingale from stepping forth into the public ways, and wedging their not unsubstantial persons, if occasion were, into the throng nearest to the scaffold at an execution.
With almost a serene deportment, therefore, Hester Prynne passed through this portion of her ordeal, and came to a sort of scaffold, at the western extremity of the market-place.
My king," said Aramis, "they well may raise a scaffold, but they cannot make an executioner.
The scaffold will be ready by to-morrow, but the headsman will be wanting and they will put it off till the day after to-morrow.
It was terrible to see--if any one in that distraction of excitement could have seen--the world of eager eyes, all strained upon the scaffold and the beam.
They entered a large room, so near to the scaffold that the voices of those who stood about it, could be plainly heard: some beseeching the javelin-men to take them out of the crowd: others crying to those behind, to stand back, for they were pressed to death, and suffocating for want of air.
Well, it was noble to see Launcelot and the boys swarm up onto that scaffold
and heave sheriffs and such overboard.
You know something of that, monsieur, -- you, who are one of the Frenchmen whom my unfortunate father found at the foot of his scaffold, on the day of his death, after having found them at his right hand on the day of battle.
When the king your father ascended the scaffold, or rather when he passed from his chamber to the scaffold on a level with his window, everything was prepared for his escape.
A double line of carbineers, placed on each side of the door of the church, reached to the scaffold, and formed a circle around it, leaving a path about ten feet wide, and around the guillotine a space of nearly a hundred feet.
The executioner made a sign, and his two assistants leaped from the scaffold and seized him.
About twenty paces from the scaffold
, where he had stood to hear the sentence, were three posts, fixed in the ground, to which to fasten the criminals (of whom there were several).
He was followed by the executioner, by the soldiers who were to form the guard round the scaffold
, and by some curious hangers-on of the prison.
Then Robin stepped to the edge of the scaffold
, while the people grew still as death; for they desired to hear the last words uttered to the victims.
Workmen in aprons, standing on scaffolds
, were laying bricks, pouring mortar out of vats, and smoothing it with trowels.