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A Schoolboy's Christmas Eve.



16 It's

The clock in the big hall below was striking twelve, “ Whatever are you up to ?” said Harry. when Hugh started up from an uneasy slumber with Hugh did not answer; he was busy looking for a confused notion that something had taken place. something. Presently he came gliding back and His brain seemed full of flying visions, from which at slipped something into the other's hand. first he could not free his thoughts. He had dreamed "What's this?" said Harry. “Why-why, what that someone had knocked at the bedroom door, and do we want with cricket-balls, man ?" called him by name.

" You'll see in a few moments. Take this too, and Who's there ?” he called out, instinctively. come along.” It was the mallet generally used for But there was no reply; not a sound was to be driving in the cricket-tent pegs. Hugh had someheard except his companion's heavy breathing in the thing weighty in his right hand as he quietly turned bed close to his.

the key and opened the door. What could it have been ? A nightmare, of course! Two voices, gruff and subdued, were audible in the But no; Hugh felt sure it was no mental phantasm hall below, but everything was quiet on the landing that had disturbed him. He had a vague idea that where the two lads stood. Hugh lent over the balusthere was something wrong downstairs.

trades, and then, turning round, saidGetting out of bed, he groped his way quietly to They're hard at work on the lock, and they've the door, and there listened. Nothing strange was to got their backs to us.” be heard : only the regular tick of the big clock, and “Well, man, I tell you we can't do anything, so the wind blowing in dying gusts about the curtained what's it matter? We'd far better make a great window. He was just turning away when a new hullabaloo, and then beat a retreat into our rooms and sound caught his ear. He listened intently. There lock the door. They might go then.” it was again—somebody striking a lucifer match. Hugh grinned from ear to ear, agitated though he Whoever could it be ? Old Barnabas slept over the was. coach-loft at the other end of the house ; it could not " Why, you duffer !" he whispered, “that would be he. Suddenly Hugh caught the sound of two send the maids into hysterics ; and if old Barnabas voices in whispered consultation, and his heart beat did happen to hear it and come out to learn the cause, violently as he stood there shivering in his night-dress he'd get murdered.” with his fingers on the handle of the door.

dreadful !” moaned the other.

" What Noiselessly he stepped across to the bed where are we to do ?” Harry Ernshaw lay in heavy slumber. Taking him Hugh paused for a moment and thought in silence. by the shoulder, he gently shook him, at the same “Look here," he whispered at last ; " we're only time laying his hand on the sleeper's mouth to stifle catching colds and killing ourselves by fright up here; any noise he might make.

let us go down and have a tussle with them. We've " Quick! wake up, old fellow !” he said, in a got weapons and they've nothing but keys and tools. whisper; "there are burglars in the house !" Now screw up your courage and come along; for Harry started up.

goodness' sake let's be plucky for once!" “What ?—what ?—what's that ?” he asked, all in Hugh grasped his weapon--a heavy cricket-bata tremor. “Oh, how you frighten one, Hugh! and prepared to descend. Whatever are you doing there at this time of night?" The men were still at their work, and the scrape, Hugh hurriedly explained.

scrape went on ceaselessly. “ Whatever can we do?'' said his friend, sitting up Hugh's bare foot was on the third stair ; in another in bed, with the fitful moonlight streaming in upon moment he would have turned the corner of the him through the curtains.

winding staircase and rushed down. The next step “ Get up and we'll see.” Hugh crept towards the he took cautiously. What a creak the boards gave! door again and listened.

they fairly groaned. But what was that new sound Scrape, scrape, scrape, snap, scrape, scrape! What that greeted their listening ears? It was a third ever were they doing ?

voice calling out, apparently from the schoolroom“The Doctor's room !" he suddenly ejaculated ; Ob, you rascal !—What are you doing there ?" “they're trying the fastenings.”

It was poor Poll, who had been awakened by the " What's to be done ? If we tried to interfere we heavy-footed intruders, and was showing her resentshould only get knocked on the head for our pains.” ment at the disturbance by a few of the many phrases

" And yet, if we stop here, they'll get the money she had at her command. Hugh recognised her and decamp before morning."

voice in an instant. Not so the two men. There was a “ Yes, that they will; and everybody will call us scuffle in the hall, a noise of falling tools, and a rush cowards for letting them get away.”.

of feet towards the back door. All the alarm-bells in “Well," said Hugh,“the worst of it is they probably the house seemed set ringing, and a broken pane of know that there is no one to fear. Old Barnabas glass fell with a crash on to the doorstep outside. sleeps like a dormouse, and the maids would not "Quick !" cried Hugh, who, having all his wits dare to leave their room.”

about him, took in the situation at once. “ Come “No, that's just it. Oh,I wish Mr.Jellaby was here!" | along; they're making off!”

He was the fifth form master, and much respected All fear and hesitation vanished, and shouting at by the boys as a prodigy of strength and courage. the top of their voices, the two lads rushed downstairs

Hugh did not reply, but, going to his bedside, he and along the hall. quietly slipped into his clothes, bidding his companion Two dark figures were at the back entrance do the same.

dragging at the bolts (they had evidently forced an This done, he went to the cupboard and groped entrance at some other point of the building). about for a few minutes.

“Stand aside !” cried Hugh to Harry Ernshaw,


who was slightly ahead of him, and the next moment longed for morning. The very clock seemed to tick the brand-new cricket-ball whizzed through the air more lazily, and the hours of striking seemed and caught one of the men full on the calf of the leg. monstrously far between. Two, three, four, five !

The fellow dropped with a howl, and lay groaning Would the morning never come ? Six, seven ! on the door-mat, while his more fortunate companion, Gradually a faint grey beam struggled through the who had just wrenched away the last fastening, flung closed shutters, and every object in the old hall open the door, and dashed out across the lawn. became visible. Rushing blindly along down the winding gravel walk, Wearied with the long vigil, the eyes and ears of he came full tilt against the gardener's wheelbarrow, all three were growing dull and sleepy, when rat-tatfell right over it, and, regaining his feet, hurried off, tat came a knock at the front door. What a thrill limping and muttering, till he reached the garden of relief shot through their bodies as they sprang up wall, which he succeeded in scaling, and so made off. to answer it !

The two boys having seen the last of him, turned It was the Doctor, who had taken it into his head to the other man, who still lay on his face, attering to return by the early morning train, and had thus alternate moanings and maledictions, but evidently arrived several hours before the specified time. quite disabled by the pain. Hugh bent over him, It took somewhat over three-quarters of an hour cricket-bat in band, anā laid a hand on his shoulder. for old Barnabas to relate to the Doctor his version The fellow looked up with a scowl and struck fiercely of the incident, after which, Hugh told his narrative at the lad. Hugh quietly stepped aside, and, darting in rather less than eighty seconds, and then went round, secured the arms of his prisoner, and so held upstairs to pack his box ready to start for home. him fast.

It is needless to say that as soon as assistance The next moment there were footsteps on the stair- could be procured, the ball-disabled housebreaker was case, and presently old Barnabas came shuffling transferred to one of Her Majesty's prisons, and along, candle in hand, inquiring with great trepida- passed the rest of that day and many others in the tion the meaning of “all that noise.” One glance quiet seclusion of four stone walls. showed him the present state of affairs, and a few The redoubtable parrot who had contributed so words from Hugh sufficed to explain the cause. largely to the discomfiture of the two thieves natur

By the aid of the new comer, the burglar's arms ally became more of a favourite than ever, and was were securely pinioned ; and, having shut and barred looked upon as a bird-hero, who certainly had not the door, the attacking party sat down and kept watch "shown the white feather” in the hour of danger. and ward, with sleepless eyes, over their prostrate Hugh Culross and Harry Ernshaw went home by captive.

the ten o'clock train that same morning, and found Oh, that night! how interminable it seemed! their holidays none the less enjoyable because of that Never in his whole life had Hugh Culross so ardently memorable Christmas Eve at Pengarvan School.



BY MRS. E. R. PITMAN, Author of " Mission Life in Grecce and Palestine," Heroines of the Mission Field,Vestina's Martyrdom," ge. AMONG SPANISH BRIGANDS AND BANDITTI. , countless dangers. Of these workers not one has ever

told a more romantic tale than Mr. George Borrow. BIBLE missionary His books teem with adventures, attacks, and imin Spain has to prisonments, until one wonders whether he did not encounter dangers bear a charmed life. His Spanish servants would and face perils of say, when they had escaped any imminent danger, no common type. that their death “was not so written ;" he himself The outlaws, rob- would say, “ My trust was in the name of the Lord, bers and cut-throats who made heaven and earth.” of the country lie The Carlist War was raging during much of the in wait to entrap time that Mr. Borrow was in Spain, and this and murder any circumstance intensified his danger. Soldiers and belated traveller ; peasantry, nobles and Carlists, were arrayed against while the animosity one another, while all were suspicious of Englishmen, of the priests to the and eager to kill them as spies. On one occasion he Bible is such that had to travel through a district so over-run with

no man's life is safe Carlists that the lives of passengers were not deemed who ventures to espouse Bible-work among the lonely safe for an hour. He says, “Had the Carlists fastnesses and mountain districts of the land. succeeded in apprehending me, I should instantly

Some have sealed their labours with their lives ; have been shot, and my body cast on the rocks to others have been spared to accomplish much good feed vultures and wolves." But he escaped without work in the midst of hair-breadth escapes and even the challenge of a Carlist sentry.


Missionary Adventures, Perils, and Escapes.


The following night, and while still in the district that he was really competent for nothing, except to in which war was raging, he had to journey through show the missionary the way. If a question or an a mountain defile, known as the “Black Pass," on observation were addressed to him, he would burst account of the frightful dangers which attended into an uncouth laugh. A feeling of excessive lonetravelling through there. Just as he and his servant liness came over the missionary, and he remembered were about to enter it, a man with his face covered then very keenly that he could place trust in none with blood, rushed out of the Pass, crying, “ Turn but God. back, sir, in the name of God! There are murderers The next day they passed & party of Portuguese in that Pass! They have just robbed me of my mule soldiers, whose villainy nearly put an end at once to and all I possess, and I have hardly escaped with life his life and labours. He says: “Six or seven of from their hands !” But Mr. Borrow was so tired out these soldiers marched a considerable way in front. and depressed that he scarcely felt capable of under. They were villainous-looking ruffians, upon whose standing or avoiding the risk. Ill-health and livid and ghastly countenances were written murder weariness of soul added to his carelessness of conse- and all the other crimes which the Decalogue forbids. quences; and, scarcely knowing what he did, he As I passed by, one of them, with a harsh, croaking, urged his horse on, although it was some fifteen or voice, commenced cursing all foreigners. "There, " twenty minutes after sunset, and darkness was said he, " is this foreigner riding on horseback, with approaching.

a man to take care of him (referring to the idiot), The Pass, indeed, deserved its terrible name; the and all because he is rich ; whilst I, who am a poor rocks were perpendicular, right and left, so that dark- soldier, am compelled to tramp it on foot. I could ness like that of “the valley of the shadow of death" find it in my heart to shoot him dead, for in what surrounded them; and, instead of guiding the horses, respect is he better than I ?" He continued shouting Mr. Borrow and his servant trusted to the instinct of these remarks, until I got about forty yards in adthe animals. In addition to the dangers of this Pass, vance, when bang came two bullets, whizzing past there existed caverns, in which cut-throats lay in my ears. A small river lay just before me. I wait, ready to murder any passenger, and hurl his spurred my animal through it, closely followed by my body down into the torrent which rolled along, terrified guide, and commenced galloping across å splashing and dashing, some hundreds of feet below sandy plain on the other side, and so escaped for my the narrow bridge of planks, along which the tra- life.” vellers had to pass. But no finger was laid upon the After this he engaged a gipsy as a guide, and, brave Bible-agent. Through perils, seen and unseen, in his company, passed through many strange exhe and his servant were borne by the sagacious periences. After travelling together for some days, horses, and landed safely on the other side.

however, his guide discovered that the remaining At one point in his travels he passed the ruins of members of his party had been arrested and executed Vendas Velhas, a former noted haunt of the celebrated as robbers, and made himself scarce, for fear of a robber Sabocha and his forty confederates. This similar fate. This circumstance caused Mr. Borrow wretched man was accustomed to offer unsuspecting to be somewhat chary of engaging gipsy guides. travellers shelter for the night in his inn, which stood Arrived at Madrid, after many mishaps, Mr. by the side of a lonely wood, and then to murder Borrow sought out the Spanish Prime Minister, in and to rob them in the dead of the night. One of order to obtain permission to circulate the Bible in this gang was particularly renowned for the manner Spain. By dint of patience and perseverance, he in which he would transfix a victim, with his long succeeded in getting an audience, but, after an hour's glittering knife. The Government ultimately routed interview, gained little by his application. The out this murderers' nest, and executed all of the band Prime Minister was a bitter enemy of the Bible, and whom they could catch. But at the very time that hated all Evangelical Christians, but eventually Mr. Borrow heard this tale, the ruins were infested listened to the missionary's plea more kindly, saying, by numerous banditti, who were a terror to travellers. “ Yours is not the first application I have had.

On passing it, Mr. Borrow determined to sow some Ever since I have held the reins of government I of the seed of Eternal Truth, leaving the results to have been pestered in this matter by English, calling God. He dismounted and went up to the ruins to themselves Evangelical Christians, who have of late examine them, but saw no human being, only the come flocking over into Spain. Only last week a ashes of a fire and an empty bottle bore testimony hunchbacked fellow found me out, and told me that to the presence of the robbers within a few hours Christ was coming; and now you come, and almost preceding. After looking around, he put a New persuade me to embroil myself with the priests. Testament in Spanish, and some tracts among the What strange infatuation is this which drives you ruins, and hastened on his journey.

over lands and seas with Bibles in your hands ?” Upon several subsequent occasions, when meeting He, however, promised that in a few months, with banditti, he offered them tracts and Testaments. should the country become more tranquil, Mr. Borrow In most cases they were received with politeness. should have permission to print the Scriptures. With

Circumstances arose which made it necessary, at this, he was obliged to depart content. one part of Mr. Borrow's journey, for him to part with One evening, as Mr. Borrow was seated in a coffeehis trusty servant, Antonio. A journey lay before house sipping a cup of coffee, he heard a clamour him of about a hundred miles, through “the most outside, and found that the noise proceeded from a savage and ill-noted district in the whole kingdom." party of soldiers returning from a military expeA lad of nineteen or twenty, who was hideously ugly dition, in which they had come off victorious. and a perfect idiot, was now engaged to serve as Calling for a huge bowl of coffee, they produced a guide, but so ignorant and senseless was this youth, | bleeding hand, cut from some enemy, and stirred up the coffee with it; after which each one drank of the On arriving at Corcuvion, the two prisoners were beverage (!). Mr. Borrow was invited to partake of it, speedily taken before the alcade, who was a wellbut, as we may imagine, he very politely declined, educated man, and after a little conversation with and soon after quitted the coffee-house.

the missionary, in which he expressed his admiration After a hurried journey home to England, to con. of Jeremy Bentham and other English authors, sult with the friends of Bible circulation, Mr. Borrow whose books occupied honourable positions in his returned to Madrid, determined to venture upon library, laughed to scorn the idea of Mr. Borrow printing the New Testament there. The British being Don Carlos. He then offered to make reparaAmbassador spared no kindness or effort to circulate tion for the unjust arrest, and entered into further copies of the Scriptures, but this did not prevent conversation about the Bible and missions to Spain. those dangers to which the missionary had been Mr. Borrow told him that his sole intention in visitsubject, while on his journeys from place to place. ing Finnisterre was to “carry the Book to that wild He, however, engaged guides of different capacities, place.” He then presented a copy to the Alcade as and travelled on, holding little cottage meetings, well as to the Valiente, and received the thanks of where practicable, in different villages. His practice both. The alcade, however, added : “ Yes, I was, after reading a few chapters of the Bible, to remember! I have heard that the English highly give a little explanation and exhortation suitable to prize this eccentric book. How very singular that the class of hearers. These services were valued a countryman of the grand Bentham should set any highly by many of the peasants.

value on that old monkish book!" In one of these villages, however, he was roughly Our hero next visited Toledo, and circulated some shaken out of his slumbers one morning, and Bibles and New Testaments, to the annoyance of the arrested on suspicion of being no other than the priests and the wonder of the population. He then veritable Don Carlos himself, the pretender to the returned to Madrid and opened a Bible depôt, as throne of Spain ; while his hunchbacked guide was well as put in circulation three thousand flaming arrested as being Don Sebastian, the nephew of placards, painted on blue, crimson, and yellow paper, Carlos, who also happened to be a hunchback. They giving a brief account of the depôt and its wares. were both taken immediately before the alcade-or He also prepared for the press the Gospel of Luke in mayor-of Finnisterre, and roughly examined by the Spanish Gipsy, and Euscarra languages. In the him; while no word which Mr. Borrow could say in midst of this work he met with many threats and self defence was listened to for one moment. The difficulties. One of the cut-throats of Madrid came mayor was for immediate execution. " It will be up to Mr. Borrow on a dark night, in the street, and well to have these men shot instantly,” said he. “If told him very coolly that unless he discontinued they are not the two pretenders, they are certainly selling Jewish books he should have a knife mailed in two of the factious party.” This recommendation his heart. would have at once been carried out, but that a sailor, Then, the Government prohibited all further sale who had sailed in English ships, ventured to hint of the book, but the adventurous agent was not to be that the gentleman prisoner was certainly more like thus frightened. In spite of being charged with an Englishman than Don Carlos.

witchcraft and sorcery, he continued on his way, and After some bandying of arguments between the presented the Spanish Prime Minister with a copy of alcade and the sailor, and more protestations on the the Gipsy Gospel. The British Ambassador conpart of Mr. Borrow, the latter was spared, and per- tinued Mr. Borrow's firm friend, so that, in spite of mitted to remain under arrest for further magisterial machinations and plots, threats and persecution, the examination ; but the guide was condemned to be Papists were unable to effect his expulsion from shot, and a party of carbineers was told off to lead Spain. the poor fellow forth and shoot him, in front of the But they could annoy him in other ways. Various house. The missionary now interfered again, traps were laid for him, and all copies exposed for though at the risk of his own life, and told them sale by him at the depôt were forthwith confiscated. that if they shot the guide they must shoot him Following this, a warrant was issued for his prompt also ; further pointing out to the alcade the barbarity arrest. This, however, did not dismay our missionary, of killing a poor, half-witted fellow who merely who had passed through too many adventures to be carried out his master's orders. This reasoning easily daunted. He was imprisoned, though most succeeded in procuring the guide's release from death, unjustly, being a British subject, and guilty of no and within an hour the two prisoners were despatched offence. In this prison he was ushered into a to Corcuvion, in charge of the sailor who had spoken furnitureless room, but was permitted to send for on behalf of the Englishman, and who professed to some, or he would have shivered all night, with " love the English.'

neither bed nor chair. The British Ambassador, This sailor had been engaged for nine months in who had already stood Mr. Borrow's good friend, the English navy, and had been on board the demanded his release; and, so conscious were the Victory at the battle of Trafalgar, when Nelson was Spanish authorities of the mistake they had comkilled. As the party tramped along the sands to mitted, that they absolutely implored Don Jorge,” Corcuvion he beguiled the time by detailing bits of as they called the missionary, to leave the prison. his experience of that engagement. It seemed that after about three weeks spent in the prison, amongst he now fulfilled the position of policeman-general to robbers and murderers of the worst dye, he was the village, on the strength of his reputation as the liberated with a written apology from the Govern. “ Valiente " of Finnisterre, which title he had won on ment, with an offer to make good any losses which account of having killed three Frenchmen during a he had suffered through his incarceration. In this battle with the French army under Napoleon. way he regained his liberty.

Missionary Adventures, Perils, and Escapes.



After leaving prison he took a journey into the The Englishman advised the trembling Spaniard country to sell copies of the New Testament, and to to call upon the Lord Jesus for preservation; but itinerate among the villages, The news of the books the latter discharged his gun into the air, and spread like wildfire, and the people would follow the shouted wildly. His horse then sprang forward at agent from place to place, holding the money in their full speed, and Mr. Borrow's followed, leaving the hands and begging for copies. Many peasants who servant and the guide behind. On-on—the animals had no money would bring rabbits, fruit, and grain raced amid the darkness, through unknown and unin exchange, and so obtain Testaments. In this way a seen dangers, with no light save the sparks of fire large number of books were disposed of before the struck from the flints, by the hoofs of the horses as emissaries of the Government had time to interfere. they fled along. Restraint was impossible, but God's

His departure was hastened by a singular warning mercy preserved them, and very soon they arrived at given by an utter stranger, to the effect that evil Vendas Novas, whither the guides soon came up. was being premeditated by secret enemies of Bible Some terrible tales were told by the peasantry of the circulation. Mr. Borrow and his servant packed up doings of robbers in the pass through which they had their books and fled ; but when some distance on so madly galloped ; that no accident had happened their journey were menaced by three robbers, who to the Bible missionary, seemed to them simply lay in wait to shoot them. Halting, the missionary marvellous. cried out, “ Who goes there?

Yet, in spite of all these obstacles, Mr. Borrow “What is that to you ?" they replied. “Pass on." succeeded in scattering the good seed of the Scrip

The missionary, seeing that their evident intention tures up and down Spain, in lonely hamlets, and was to fire at him from behind as he passed by, village schools, among city crowds, and superstitious refused to do so, and called out, If you do not priests. Only “ the day will declare" the wonderful instantly pass to the right side of the road we will good accomplished by this brave man,-brave, even

to daring, in the cause of righteousness. The robbers were arrant cowards, and obeyed, In many places the seed sown sprang up, and although with a great deal of swearing.

eal of swearing. But they bore immediate fruit; in others, the word lay buried were too cowed to attempt murder at that time. long, only to be revealed in Eternity. Still, Spain is

Mr. Borrow next passed over into Andalusia, not Christianised. Superstition, Popish darkness, determined to sell as many Bibles and Testaments murder, faction, and robbery are still rife in that among the rural population as possible. But here land, and Bible-workers who have trod in Mr. he was travelling in a district infested with robbers Borrow's footsteps have experienced cruel persecuand murderers. Very rarely a mail passed but it tion. Only recently, a story of such persecution has was attacked, the escort murdered, and passengers reached these shores. carried off to the mountains, where they were Two Spanish Christians who had found Christ detained in bondage until an enormous ransom was through reading their Bibles, determined to travel in obtained. The mail which preceded Mr. Borrow's the district of Pampelona, and distribute the Gospels, departure for the district, was attacked at the as well as to hold cottage meetings, wherever practimountain defile of La Rumblar, by six mounted cable, for the expounding of the Word. robbers. The mail was guarded by six soldiers, but They had not been long at work, however, before being surprised unawares, they were almost imme- the animosity of the people was aroused against the diately in the power of the robbers. Two of the truth, and the house in which they were lodging was soldiers escaped to the mountains, but the remaining attacked with stones, guns, and other weapons. four were bound to trees, tortured most cruelly, and The bullets whizzed past the two workers, but did then shot. The courier was stripped and beaten, not touch them, for God mercifully delivered them and was still wandering among the relics of blood out of the hands of their enemies. And seeing their when Mr. Borrow and his party arrived.

bravery, the people of the house said, "Surely this At this scene of massacre and cruelty, a friar, who must be the true religion. Would people dare to accompanied the missionary, became so faint, that brave such imminent danger if it were not so ?" he had to be laid down among the grass.

He told The woman of the house obtained a Bible, and, Mr. Borrow, on coming to himself, that if the robbers under the teaching of the missionaries, learned caught him, they would first make him say mass, about Christ, until she, too, became a Christian. and then blow him up with gunpowder. They, how- Then the ill-will of the mob was turned upon her and ever, passed through this terrific defile without her family. Her house was wrecked, her aged parents molestation, and arrived at Seville in due course, and young children turned into the street, and her. where they found a large demand for Testaments. self obliged to flee for life. Being a widow, she

On one journey they encountered a companion seemed to have no one to protect her from the fury who had been attacked by banditti some five years of the mob; but God raised up friends unexpectedly, previously, but after a prolonged struggle, had suc- so that she and her family were enabled to leave the ceeded in tying two of the robbers' hands behind neighbourhood, although pursued by bullets, even to their backs, and delivering them up to justice. The the railway-station. The missionaries continued encounter had, however, so shaken the nerves of the faithful to their post, and were once and again Spaniard, that upon the approach of night, he shook rescued from death by marvellous interpositions of like an aspen leaf, confessing that he could not bear Providence. the unknown terrors of the darkness. Mr. Borrow Some of the Bibles and Testaments scattered over rode in front, to reassure him, but the horse and Portugual and Spain by Mr. Borrow, bore abundant rider seemed to be seized with a panic, so that they fruit. Although hidden in bye-places and in secret shook in every limb.

corners of the Peninsula, many souls were made

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