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vent himself on anybody, and really angry at Gilbert. 'I've just had a most idiotic telegram from a fellow in town. I suppose he regards himself as a practical joker, and thinks it fun to wire disturbing nonsense to a fellow. Wants me to go to London.'

If it's at all important,' said Reginald, 'don't think about the theatricals. We can let them slide easily enough.-Who is it?'

"That ass, Gilbert,' said Val unguardedly. 'It's a thing of no importance.' Just then, a man came racing down the field they had just entered, bearing in one hand a salver, and in the other a buff envelope.

• For me?' asked Reginald.

'No, sir,' gasped the man; 'for Mr Strange.' He placed the envelope on the salver, and handed it to Val, who opened it, read it at a glance, and burst into an execration. 'No chaff in last wire,' ran the message. 'Things really awfully serious. Come up at once.' Val impetuously tore the missive into a hundred pieces. The servant gaped at him open-eyed with wonder.

"What are you standing and staring there for, you impudent scoundrel?' cried Val, catching sight of him suddenly.

Five shillings for porterage, sir,' returned the servant; 'mounted messenger, sir.'

'Hang the five shillings!' shouted Val inconsequently, as he handed to the man, or rather half threw at him, a half-sovereign. Keep the change, confound you!'

'Gentleman's bark ain't very dreadful,' mused the servitor as he departed; and he haven't got a bite in him seemin❜ly.'

'Val,' said Reginald, what is it? Can I be of any use to you?'

"It's nothing,' said Strange, laughing vexedly. 'I ought to be able to take a joke with better temper, however stupid it might be. Come along, and let us have a pot at the bunnies.'

'Of course I know nothing about the matter,' said Reginald; but is there a chance of its not being a joke after all?'

I tell you,' cried Strange pettishly, there's nothing in it. Reginald said no more, and they crossed the fields in silence. Val had no care for sport, and having had two or three chances, and having missed them all, he sat upon a tree-trunk and smoked discontentedly. Fly while you may,' the inward monitor whispered. Fly from this enchantment, lest it madden you.' The whisper never left him. 'Go!' it urged him'go! It is your only safety. Reginald, meeting with better success than his companion, was keenly set upon the pleasure of the hour; and having hallooed once or twice to him, and received no response, wandered wide of where Strange sat.

Mister Reginald!' shouted a panting voice. 'Hillo!' he cried in answer. This way.' A serving-man came bursting through the bushes of a neighbouring spinney. Is Mr Strange along with you, sir?' he panted. 'Here's another telegram, sir.'

youth, grinning broadly. 'Excuse me for laughing, but it's too comic.'

Is it?' said Val sardonically. Again the mythic Browne of 13 Mount Street insisted upon his return: 'Your affairs menaced on all hands. Necessary to consult Boyd at once. Wire answer. Come up by next express. Urgent.' This time, the recipient of the telegram dropped his hands like one resigned.-'Anything for porterage?'

'Yes, sir, the man responded;'five shillings,


Reginald smiled, and lifting his voice on high, called aloud to his friend.

Hillo!' roared the recluse in answer; and guided by his voice, the two made way towards


'Ah!-Have you change, Jolly ?—Thanks.Tell the messenger,' he said to the man, that if any more telegrams come for me to-day, they can wait until the letter-bag is sent up.-Look at that, Rags,' he continued languidly, handing the telegram to him. "That's the third I've had to-day. Isn't it enough to make a man angry?' 'Who's Boyd?' asked Reginald.

'I don't know Boyd from Adam,' Val returned. 'Hillo!' cried Reginald suddenly. Look here, Val. There must be something in it after all. You said it was Gilbert who sent the others. This is from Browne, of No. 13 Mount Street.'

Val blushed a little at this; but answered quietly and wearily: "That, I suppose, is part of the joke. I don't know anybody named Browne. I don't know Mount Street. Where is Mount Street? Who is Browne? Did I say Gilbert? Gilbert East, I meant. Ah, you don't know him.' O Val Strange, Val Strange, that a man once honourable should lie so glibly! But somehow, the atmosphere of the primrose way sets Honour off to sleep, as the air in the Enchanted Grounds did with the Pilgrims in Bunyan's allegory.

'I can't conceive,' said Reginald, 'that any man would be such an ass as to send a message like this without a meaning. I should go and see what is the matter. You can catch the one o'clock train, and be back here by three o'clock to-morrow. There might be something in it. There must be something in it!'

Here were accidents urging Val to his salvation, and the inward voice urged him: Go! It is your only safety. Go!' And for the moment it so far triumphed with him that he answered: 'Yes; I think I'll run up, if it's only for the pleasure of horsewhipping Gilbert-East.' The pause was scarcely noticeable; but the baldheaded youth was keen, and there was something in this whole matter which went beyond his penetration for the present, and piqued his curiosity.

'Yes,' he said, with his keen eyes on Val's face, I think I should horsewhip Gilbert-East. Val changed colour ever so little.-What is it?' asked Reginald of himself. 'He is making a mystery of something or other. Well, it's no affair of mine.'

'Come,' said Val, taking up his gun; 'let us go up to the house. I must pack.' He tried to hope that, being once away from the attraction which so strenuously held him, he might be able to stop away altogether. Perhaps he began to find the primrose way already thorny. They went up to the house silently; and Val having ordered his own man to pack his portmanteau, made his excuses to his host, and started.

Reginald drove him to the station. 'Let me

'if it's all right when you get there. I shall be anxious till I hear.'

Strange promised; and in another minute was rolling towards London.



IN taking up the next step of a sugar-planter's duties, the reader must imagine that six months have elapsed, and that the sugar-crop has now come to maturity. The canes bordering the 'traces,' which when we last saw them were only some four feet in height, are now nearer fourteen; and have each projecting from their tops a strawcoloured rod, called the arrow, about four feet long, and as thick as a walking-stick. The canes bloom in the months of October and November, and these arrows are the stalks that bore the lilac-coloured plumes. The flowers have fallen off; but the arrows, although withered, retain their place.

The country looks something like a huge chessboard, checkered with yellow and green; the yellow squares marking the fields where the canes have already been cut and carted, leaving behind only a mixture of cane-tops, leaves, and arrows, which soon withers in the sun, and is then called 'trash,' covering the ground about a foot in depth. The green patches mark where the canes are still standing; for the leaves retain their verdure until the canes are cut. On our way, we pass the cane-field which we saw in course of being planted. From each 'stool' has sprung up some eight or ten canes, now six feet in height, and forming long regular rows. The leaves arch over until their tops meet, completely covering the ground. These canes will not be fit to cut this year, for plant'-canes take fifteen months to arrive at maturity, and crop-time only lasts from January until May. 'Ratoons' can be cut every twelve months.

On our arrival at a cane-piece that is being harvested, we notice that all the lower leaves have been stripped off, leaving each cane, which when ripe is of a pale yellow colour, clean and bare, except for the bunch of leaves and arrow at the top. The cane-cutters, who work by the task, are busily engaged. Their implement is a sharp and heavy cutlass. It requires some practice to become a good cane-cutter. Let us watch this one at work. Seizing with one hand a cane by the middle, with one swift stroke of his cutlass he severs it, close to the ground, from the stool; then bringing the top within reach of his weapon, with another blow he cuts it off just where the hard cane ends, and the soft stem-from which the leaves and arrow spring-begins. This 'canetop,' as it is called, contains no saccharine juice, and forms with its leaves about one-fourth of

the top. They vary from ten to sixteen feet in length, including the 'cane-top;' and there are from sixteen to twenty thousand of them in each acre of land. Every cane-cutter will cut down about half a rood before his day's work is done.

The canes must be carted and made into sugar as soon as possible after they are cut; for if they are left lying in the sun, their juice soon turns sour, and would not crystallise; so the carts are working close behind the cane-cutters. The carting of the canes is superintended by the head-overseer, and a driver who is designated the 'head-carterman;' both being mounted. The mule-carts weigh when empty about nine, and when loaded about eighteen, hundredweight, and unless when going up-hill, are driven at a brisk trot, the carterman sitting on the front rail with his feet on the shafts. These carters are generally the smartest men on the estate, and are well paid, for it requires some skill to handle a team of mules quickly and properly. They are each assisted in loading their carts by a lad called a 'loader,' who remains in the cane-piece while the cart is away, and collects a heap of canes ; so that when the cart returns, no time is lost in again loading and despatching it. Large cattle-carts are also going to and from the manufactory with four oxen yoked to each; and these, although moving much slower, carry a far larger load than the mule-carts.


There are two methods of manufacturing sugar from the cane-one known as the 'common process,' by which 'muscovado' or common brown sugar is made; and the other as the 'vacuumpan,' which results in the white sugar or 'crystals.' St Helens is a common-process estate; and the works consist of a long building divided into three parts. At one end is the engine-room, at the other the 'curing-house,' and between these the 'boiling-house-all connected with each other by doors. The engine is a high-pressure one of forty horse-power, which drives the 'mill' that crushes the canes. This 'mill' is composed of three heavy iron rollers, placed horizontally, two below and one above, and known respectively as the first, second, and top rollers. They are about five feet long, and two feet in diameter, and are geared in such a manner that the top roller revolves in an opposite direction to the lower ones. The canes are emptied by the carts in the mill-yard, and are carried by the 'millgang' in bundles on their heads, and thrown by them on to the 'cane-carrier, which is an arrangement of endless chains and laths looking something like a huge ribbon, revolving round two drums, one placed close to and above the rollers, and the other some distance off in the mill-yard. Its use is to convey the canes in a regular supply to the mill. On reaching the mill, the canes fall off the cane-carrier, and are caught between the first and top rollers, which

April 22, 1882.]

and fit for fuel. Some of the megass is also spread in the mill-yard to dry in the sun, but is always taken up before sundown, as the dew would soon saturate it.

The cane-juice when it leaves the rollers is of a dirty drab colour, for it is full of impurities. To get rid of these, 'clarifiers' are used. The clarifiers are square iron tanks of about eight hundred gallons' capacity, with rows of copper tubes at the bottom, into which steam can be admitted. They are placed on a platform erected at one end of the boiling-house; and the juice is conveyed to them by a pump. Let us go up and see how they are used. You see one of the clarifiers has just been filled, and the attendant now turns on the steam; he then proceeds to weigh out a certain quantity of lime, which, after slaking in a bucketful of juice, he pours into the clarifier. Cane-juice, although having a very sweet taste, contains an appreciable amount of citric acid, which without the addition of the alkali (lime) to counteract it, would prevent the crystallisation of the sugar. The lime also aids in purifying the juice. This operation is called 'tempering the liquor. A few minutes after the steam has been turned on to the clarifier and the liquor has got hot, the impurities begin to rise to the surface. Just before it arrives at boiling-point, the steam is turned off; and after the expiration of half an hour or so, the liquor becomes covered with some three inches of a thick puffy scum, which is removed with a skimmer. The juice is next run into another iron tank called a 'subsider,' where it remains about an hour, and where, as its name implies, a subsidence of further impurities takes place.

The liquor is now of a pale amber colour, and is fit to undergo the process of boiling. This is performed in a 'battery' of iron bowl-shaped pans, open at the top, and suspended from walls of masonry in such a manner that the furnace flues pass round and under them. The furnace is placed at one end of the battery, and the fire from it boils all the pans in succession on its way to the chimney. The liquor runs first into the grand,' or pan farthest from the furnace, which holds about six hundred gallons. As it evaporates, it is passed on, by means of ladles, to the next pan, and from it to the next; and so on, getting thicker and more sirupy, until it reaches the tache,' which is the smallest of the pans, and holds one hundred and twenty gallons. The tache is nearly directly over the furnace, and is in a state of furious ebullition until all the water is evaporated from its contents, which is then a mixture of molasses (treacle) and sugar, and rises in large swelling bubbles, from which but little steam issues. This mixture is next ladled from the tache into a wooden spout, which conveys it to large shallow coolers, in which, as it cools, crystallisation takes place, the sugar, however, still remaining mixed up with the molasses. Only a small quantity is put at a time into each cooler, so as to allow it to cool quickly; to assist which end, and also to aid the crystals in forming, it is stirred about with a long wooden instrument like a baker's 'slice.' When a cooler is full, the contents are left for a day or two, and it then looks something like a mass of toffee, and is hard enough to bear a man's

into small pieces, carried into the curing-house, and put into hogsheads. These hogsheads have small holes pierced in their bottoms, to allow the molasses to drain out, which it does in about three weeks, leaving behind the common brown sugar seen in any grocer's shop. The hogsheads are then headed up, have the drainage-holes plugged, and are ready for shipment.

The mill-gang' are all coolies. They throw themselves with much energy into their work, because, before the day is done, they have to supply sufficient cane to the mill to fill twentyfive clarifiers-equivalent to twenty thousand gallons-with juice; and it has been calculated that in doing this, they each lift to their heads and carry a distance of twelve yards, twenty-five tons of cane. Another reason for their activity is the competition existing between them and the cartermen; the cartermen striving to block up the yard with canes, and the mill-gang doing their best to clear it and leave it bare; and then, with huge glee, they blow the engine whistle as a note of triumph, until the carts arrive at full gallop, their drivers in high dudgeon. A shrewd manager takes advantage of this rivalry, which is shared in by the overseers, and so proportions the number of carts and mill-hands, that the emulation is kept up, and the work proceeds at high pressure.

A gang of women and children, under the superintendence of an elderly negro dame, are employed in spreading and turning over the megass that is being dried; something after the manner of hay-making. The old woman rules them with shrill expostulations and lynx-eyed vigilance, allowing them but small opportunities for trifling. The women all wear bright-coloured 'julas-short tight-fitting sleeveless bodicesand quantities of silver jewellery. Some of them are absolutely covered with it on their necks, arms, ankles, ears, in fact wherever a coin or a ring can be carried; and many besides have the additional ornament of a gold-ring dangling from their noses. A coolie's wife is his bank. All his savings are transformed into jewellery, and attached, oftentimes forged on, to some part of her body. This leads to great unpleasantness in the event of a woman's choosing a new partner

a thing which not unfrequently happens, for the men far outnumber the women. The deserted swain declares that the jewellery is his property; while the faithless Helen as stoutly maintains it to have been a free gift from him to her, and besides that, largely composed of her own earnings. Much litigation and perjury is the usual result.

In the matter of jewellery, the men are more moderate than the other sex; a gold piece, usually a United States double eagle, suspended from the neck, generally satisfying them. But some, particularly the younger beaux, rejoice in bracelets and armlets.

Coolie women when young are, as a rule, handsome; but they soon lose their good looks. Outdoor labour and early marriages are no doubt the principal causes of their early fading, many of them being mothers at twelve years of age. They occupy here, however, in relation to the male members of their family, a far higher social position than in their native land; their opinions,

occasion, in a manner that would be very anoma-powdered animal charcoal. This effectually relous in a Bengalee family that had never crossed moves all traces of colour; and when it the Burra Pahnee' (great water). This is owing emerges from the bottom of the filter, it is to their being in such a minority, and also to nearly as clear as water. The liquor is then their position as joint bread-winners with the concentrated to a thin sirup, by means of the head of the family. ordinary open pans, or else by a French invention called a triple effets, which is a combination of three pans; the first of which is boiled by means of steam-pipes supplied from a boiler; the second is made to boil by the steam arising from the liquor in the first; and in its turn, supplies heat in the same manner to the third-thus effecting a great saving of fuel. When of sufficient density, the sirup is pumped into a vacuumpan.

Of the boilermen,' some are Creoles and some coolies. They are superintended by an experienced old negro, who directs the whole process of clarifying and boiling the liquor. He works entirely by rule of thumb. And although he makes a great parade of using a saccharometer, a test-tube, or a thermometer, and insists on being supplied with these articles, he does it merely to impress his subordinates with the profundity of his knowledge, and to convey the idea that 'tempering' liquor and making muscovado is a very recondite business, and that the post of 'head-boilerman' is a most important one. Nevertheless, if left alone, or, in his own words, if 'Massa no a bodder him too much,' he will turn out a very fair quality of sugar by the judicious use of his eyes, nose, and tongue, which perform for him the duty that saccharometer, test-paper, &c., are required to do for 'Massa's' less well-trained senses.

The manufactory we next visit for the purpose of seeing the vacuum-pan' process, which results in producing white sugar, is a much more imposing structure than the St Helens' sugar-works. Far more sugar, and of a better quality, is made here, than there; for in this 'work' is ground, not the cane of one, but of many estates, which are conveyed to it by tramways. The machinery necessary to make crystals is very costly, and it pays an estate working by itself better to make muscovado and sell it to the British refiners,* than to erect expensive machinery, which would necessarily lie idle half the year. The case is different, however, when several estates belonging to one proprietor are so situated that their canes can be conveniently conveyed to one central factory. Then it is decidedly better to adopt the 'vacuum process,' as it turns out the more valuable product. The machinery for crushing the cane here, differs from that used in the other method only in that it is larger, and can supply greater quantities of juice in a given time. The operations of tempering and clarifying the liquor are also similar to those we have just seen. It is in the treatment of the juice after clarifying, that the divergence from the 'common process takes place. The liquor in leaving the clarifiers is, as we saw, of an amber colour. This is owing to colouring-matter contained in the juice itself, and is in noway to be ascribed to feculent admixture. In making muscovado, this colour of course gets intensified as the water evaporates, until it results in the sugar being of a more or less dark-brown hue. The darkness of the shade is also partly owing to the grains of sugar being but imperfectly free from molasses, which is never completely drained away by 'curing.'

In making crystals, the juice is pumped from the clarifiers to the very top of the building, and is then allowed to filter down through long tubes about four feet in diameter, which contain

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A description of the British method of sugar-refining and of making loaf-sugar, was given in Chambers's Journal, No. 871.

In boiling sugar in open pans, a high temperature is necessary. In the 'tache,' just before it is discharged into the coolers, it rises to two hundred and forty degrees Fahrenheit, which is very injurious to its granulating properties; and it is because of muscovado having such a fine grain, that much of it passes away with the molasses. To obviate this, the vacuum-pan was contrived, Mr Howard, its inventor, realising a large fortune by it. It is a well-known fact that the boiling-point of any liquid depends on the weight of the column of air it supports; or in other words, on the pressure of the atmosphere on its surface. Thus, it will take less heat to make a kettle boil on the top of a mountain, than at its base, because the air gets rarer and lighter the higher we go. So, if we can apply heat to cane-juice in a vessel which contains little or no air, we shall be able to evaporate the water from the sugar, at a very low temperature. This will give us large crystals, and prevent the waste that occurs in boiling the liquor in the open air, where a great heat is required. And this the vacuum-pan enables us to do. The vacuum-pan is a round, air-tight vessel covered with a copper dome. It is heated by means of steam-pipes in its interior, and is provided with an air-pump, driven by a steam-engine, which maintains the vacuum, and removes the vapour as it is generated. Complete evaporation is secured in it by a temperature of one hundred and forty degrees Fahrenheit, and consequently the sugar crystallises in those oblique prisms that look so handsome on our breakfast tables. Each pan is of large capacity, holding from two to four tons of sugar. There are four of them here, which jointly turn out some forty tons of sugar a day.

When the sugar leaves the vacuum-pans, it is still mixed up with the molasses, as in the other process. To separate them without the long and wasteful operation of 'curing,' science again comes to the aid of the sugar-planter. The mixed sugar and molasses are first, as before, run into coolers. When quite cold, they are conveyed to the machines that are to divide one from the other. These are called 'centrifugals,' and are round, open vessels about two feet in diameter, and the same in height. Their sides are made of fine wire-gauze. They revolve on two pivots-one placed under and one above them-are driven by a steam-engine, and make more than one thousand revolutions a minute. Here you see a row of a dozen or more of them with an attendant to each. Let us watch the operation. Two or three

shovelfuls of the mixed sugar and molasses are
put into a centrifugal. It is then started. Off
it sets, whirling with such velocity, that but for
a slight tremor, it would appear motionless; and
its contents, obeying the natural tendency of
all bodies, to fly from a revolving centre by
the law of centrifugal force, in their efforts to
escape, cling tightly to the gauze sides of the
machine. The crystals are too large to get
through; but the molasses finds no difficulty;
and to assist it, a fine spray of water is played
on to the mixture, from a jet placed near the
centre of the centrifugal. This effectually cleanses
the sugar, and as the water also hurries through
gauze, crystals may be said to be washed and
dried by the one and the same operation.
Channels are made in the floor, through which
the molasses finds its way to the tank reserved
for its reception. In a minute or two, the centri-
fugal is stopped, the sugar in it removed; a fresh
charge is put into it, and it is again set whirling.
The crystals are then taken in a small tram
wagon to another apartment, where they are
put into bags ready for shipment.



Is one of those long streets stretching from Buckingham Palace Road across railway bridges far away to the fog-oppressed 'dark-flowing' Thames, a thoroughfare perplexing in the sameness of its houses-which only differ from each other in the numbers on their doors-and distressing in its dullness and want of expression, stood one night in bleak December,' two years ago, a strange figure. It was a man; but other evidence than that of the eyes was necessary to convince an inquirer of this fact; for the wind was blowing hard, and the snow was falling, or rather rushing down from the dark sky with blinding impetuosity; and the object referred to looked, at first sight, something like an old coat hung upon a spike of area-railing, and fastened thereto by a rude kind of knot at its top; while the sleeves were stretched out on each side, caught, as it were, on other railing spikes; and the legs-if the object had any-were lost to view in the shifting white and black of fresh-fallen and melting snow on the pavement. It had all the appearance, indeed, of a scarecrow, though, upon closer investigation, it proved to be, as I have said,


Drawn close up to the railings, to which he was tightly clinging, as though afraid of being swept away by the cruel wind, and with his face partly thrust between two of the spikes, as if to conceal it from the passers-by, the scarecrow gave the required evidence that it was a man, by singing, in a piping wheezy voice, a song, the burden of which, repeated over and over again, so often that it seemed as if all the song was composed of it alone, was, 'Mother, dear Mother!"

'Mother, dear Mother!' came the words again and again in an ascending scale, until they almost approached a faint scream. Across the area they went, contending with the rushing wind in a competitive attack upon the dining-room window


won a victory in his assault upon the plate-glass guarded fortress; for the blind was pulled up, and a flood of warm light fell upon the pinched and wan face of the singer, whose voice was hushed as Sympathy' looked out upon him. Sympathy' was none other than a beautiful elderly lady. Seated alone she had been, in a low armchair, seeking faces in the fire, and dreaming dreams of early days, of maturer years, of happiness and grief, of storm and sunshine, when her thoughts were arrested by the weary song of the singerMother, dear Mother!' With anxious, softlystepping haste,' she went to the window, and Song' and 'Sympathy'-the latter roused by the former-were face to face.

The bright light of the fire and wax candles revealed to the strange minstrel a face of calm dignity, and almost holy benevolence. A pair of clear kind gray eyes looked out upon the blustering rude night and the tousled old man; and the contrast between the comfortable, peaceful room and the storm-drowned street was not greater than that between the dignified dweller in the former and the poor drenched creature outside.

That boy with the brown locks-he stood before her now! She was no longer in the neighbourhood of Eccleston Square. She was far away in the country, in a bright little drawing-room, gay with flowers. The scents and sounds of summer floated round her, the song of birds and the perfume of roses were wafted in at the windows opening on to a closely shaven lawn. Sunshine streamed into the room, and on a patch of it lay on the floor a favourite collie dog. And the boy a-her boy-in a loose black velvet jacket, stood in one of the windows, and read her a letter telling how one of his pictures then being exhibited at the Royal Academy had been sold. Then turning his bright face to hers, the young artist lifted his straw hat from his head, and, opening his arms, exclaimed: 'Kiss me, mother!'

The vision-for the recollection amounted almost to such-vanished. Gone was the bright day, crumbled away the pretty house, vanished the beautiful face and form of the beloved artist son; and left, a lonely London room, a cruel winter night, and a cracked-voiced old beggar squeaking within a yard or two of the dreamer.

What takes so long to write, hardly occupied minute. The lady, brought back to herself, rang her bell; and soon the street door was opened, and a neat little maid beckoned to the scarecrow to

To some people, the discovery that the singer of a disjointed street song with its ever-recurring cry of 'Mother, dear Mother!' was a toothless old man some seventy odd years of age, would have been a subject for ridicule. It was not so to the lady at the window. Our thoughts are often beyond our control, and, like a horse that takes the bit in its mouth and bolts with its rider, frequently carry us whither we least expect to go. So it was in this case. No one would be able to trace any resemblance between the street singer, the street of which I am speaking, the blusterous dark night, and a beautiful boy with dark curly hair, a lovely cottage embowered with roses deep in the Weald of Surrey, and a hot June afternoon; and yet it was to these last that the thoughts of the lady rushed as she gazed at the singer across the narrow area.

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