When the moment arrived the king followed his guards out of the hall. As he passed the table on which the axe was laid, he stopped, and turning with a smile, said:
“Ah! the axe, an ingenious device, and well worthy of those who know not what a gentleman is; you frighten me not, executioner’s axe,” added he, touching it with the cane which he held in his hand, “and I strike you now, waiting patiently and Christianly for you to return the blow.”
And shrugging his shoulders with unaffected contempt he passed on.
When he reached the door a stream of people, who had been disappointed in not being able to get into the house and to make amends had collected to see him come out, stood on each side, as he passed, many among them glaring on him with threatening looks.