The dew was still wet as the prisoner was let out into the yard for the last time. The soldiers of the firing detail shuffled out to their usual positions as the guards led the prisoner to the stake at the far end of the paddock. There, he was securely bound as the captain of the guards stepped forward to contend with the final courtesies.
"Blindfold?" he inquired.
"No, thank you," said the condemned.
The captain was a little taken aback at the difficulty and leaned forward so as not to be heard.
"Please," he said, "take the blindfold. It is not an act of cowardice to be spared this spectacle. It makes it MUCH easier for you."
The condemned thought for a moment and relented. The blindfold was tied over his eyes.
"Cigarette?" offered the captain.
"No thanks," said the prisoner, "I don't smoke."
Here again the captain paused and thought of a tactful approach. He leaned in and spoke in a confidential tone.
"No matter. Please take the cigarette. It makes it MUCH easier for the men on the firing squad."
(I don't think it needs to be stated that this might be offensive to smokers.)