They approached the door, which was of an arched form, and
flanked on each side by a narrow tower or projection of the
edifice, in both of which were lattice-windows, the wooden
shutters to close over them at need. Lifting the iron hammer
that hung at the portal, Hester Prynne gave a summons, which was
answered by one of the Governor's bond servant--a free-born
Englishman, but now a seven years' slave. During that term he
was to be the property of his master, and as much a commodity of
bargain and sale as an ox, or a joint-stool. The serf wore the
customary garb of serving-men at that period, and long before,
in the old hereditary halls of England.
"Is the worshipful Governor Bellingham within?" inquired Hester.
"Yea, forsooth," replied the bond-servant, staring with
wide-open eyes at the scarlet letter, which, being a new-comer
in the country, he had never before seen. "Yea, his honourable
worship is within. But he hath a godly minister or two with him,
and likewise a leech. Ye may not see his worship now."
"Nevertheless, I will enter," answered Hester Prynne; and the
bond-servant, perhaps judging from the decision of her air, and
the glittering symbol in her bosom, that she was a great lady in
the land, offered no opposition.