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SIMON. Why dost thou send Laine abroad at such a time?

JOAN. Gramercy! have I done ill?

SIMON. The town is aflame with preparation for the Show of Beauty that is to be held in the market-place an hour beyond noon. Beauty! a murrain upon beauty, say I!

JOAN. Nay, if we curse everything we lack, thy shuttle will cease to fly and my sticks to crackle.

SIMON. Aye, but it is harder upon our child that upon us who are waxing old. And to-day there is like to be mockery in the streets, and bitter jesting, at the sight of maid so uncomely as Laine, and a cripple into the bargain.

JOAN (putting on her hood). Holy Saints protect her! I will go forth.

From the distance come the sounds of uproar and mocking laughter.

SIMON. Hark!

JOAN (looking out of the window). A crowd of idle lads and girls.

SIMON. They come nearer!

JOAN. To jeer at thee and me, I trow.

SIMON (fetching his staff). My staff!

JOAN. Let it rest; we are well used to being flouted at for the most toil-bent and broken couple in Mirlemont.

SIMON (at the window). See! they are making fine sport of something in their midst.

JOAN. That impish dwarf, Peppin, is one of them.

SIMON. And that good-for-naught, Jacqueline.

JOAN. There's mischief where she is.

SIMON. Somebody has stumbled — fallen!

JOAN. A girl!

SIMON. They raise her — hurry her hither.

JOAN (with a cry). It is Laine!

LAINE is seen to pass the window accompanied by JACQUELINE.

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