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JOAN makes her way through the crowd and humbly plucks NICHOLAS by the sleeve.

NICHOLAS. Tut, tut, tut! what is this?

JOAN. Good burgomaster, hast seen aught of Laine, my child?

NICHOLAS. I, woman!

JOAN. Every morn she will stray from my side, and to-day she is long past her hour for home-coming.

NICHOLAS. Tsch! here is the lord Philip that hath lost both his eyes, and he bids us rejoice; yet thou must needs whimper because perchance thy weakling hath fallen into the dyke. Stand aloof, dame.

NICHOLAS enters the town-hall as SIMON, who has returned to his
rags, comes through the crows and approaches
JOAN.

SIMON (who is concealed from the rest by his hood, in a low voice). Joan!

JOAN. Blessed St. Luke! Simon!

SIMON. Wife, I am old again; yea, but vastly older than I was, for I have broken faith with thee, my true friend, which knowledge is heavier upon me than double all my years of want and labour.

JOAN. Where is the stone that gave thee youth?

SIMON. The woman took it from my breast.

JOAN. I thank the Saints.

SIMON. Truly thou art avenged. Whither wouldst have me go?

JOAN. Back to thy loom.

SIMON. And thou?

JOAN. I'll come with thee, and patch and mend for thee whiles thou art spinning.

SIMON. Wife!

JOAN (weeping). Oh, Simon!

Some of the townsfolk gather about them.

THE MATRONLY WOMAN. Why, weaver, where have you been this past week?

JOAN (stoutly). Nay, may not a toiler take holiday once in a score of years? The good man hath been to Zolden, where he courted me ere ever we saw Mirlemont. I did send him with a message to my cousin.

THE SHREWISH GIRL (to SIMON). You know your wench has lost her beauty as quickly as she found it?

JOAN (facing her). Aye, what the Saints bestow, that can they take away. They are not like to give thee aught, sour face, e'en for an hour, save it be a fit o' the spleen.

MIDI symbol

SIMON and JOAN go up the alley. The Shrewish Girl and a few others follow them,
jeering at them. The
DEVIL, again disguised as a friar, comes through the crowd and
stands pulling his beard and looking about him. The town-bells ring out, as

JACQUELINEdressed as she was in the first act, as a poor girlenters, with tottering steps, and knocks against the DEVIL.

JACQ. (dazed). Oh! Pardon, holy father; I can scarce see thee before me.

DEVIL. What ails thee, daughter? Thou art trembling.

JACQ. Aye, all of a shake. Oh, I have had an ill dream, or some evil fellow has put magic upon me.

DEVIL (shocked). Magic!

JACQ. Father, say, is it possible for one to dream a whole week through?

DEVIL. Verily, if thou sleepest for a week unbrokenly.

JACQ. Alack, and I have been wide-awake! (Clutching at his gown in terror.) Father!

DEVIL. Hey?

JACQ. Grant me your blessing! Holy Saints, but I do believe I have been in service, since a week yesterday, to the Devil himself!

DEVIL (pulling his gown away). Daughter!

JACQ. Nay, nay, your blessing! I will be a good girl for evermore! Your blessing!

DEVIL (in horror). A TANTO SCELERE LIBERA NOS DOMINE!

He waves her from him, and she staggers away towards the alley. The two trumpeters come from the town-hall and, standing upon the steps, blow blasts on their trumpets.
The pikemen force the crowd back, as
NICHOLAS returns bowing before PHILIP, who descends the steps with GUNTRAN's aid. The Knights and the Standard-bearer
follow. There is a general movement of sympathy among the crowd.

PHILIP. People of Mirlemont, you are assembled to do me honour, yet are you silent. You will not raise your voices in joyful greeting because, you think, I am blind. Friends, I do declare to you I am blind only with my eyes, and that with my understanding I do see at last all men and women, and the world we dwell in, right clearly. Therefore, for the tardy love I bring you, I do beseech you deny me not your voices.

THE TOWNSFOLK. Philip of Mirlemont! Philip of Mirlemont!

PHILIP. And as earnest of my good resolves toward you that live within my township, have I determined to mate with one that is humblest among you. Yet I take small credit for this act, the maid I worship being the fairest of all I have e'er known — so pure is she in heart and disposition, wherein I now perceive lieth true beauty. Set me a seat here beside my own.

The serving-men place a seat by the throne-chair, and GUNTRAN goes into the town-hall.

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