Robert Smith Surtees.

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A-







UNIVERSITY OF CALIFORNIA
AT LOS ANGELES





V




IMKKS (KOlir.KT). "ASK MAMMA": or, Th.- Kirh.-st Ci.inini.inT in I

land, lllus. l.\- .I"hn !.( -li. BVO, orijr. cloth, (a f-\v st:iins). Bradbury.

s & Co. 1872. <! '""

Good, sound copy.



"ASK MAMMA;



on,



THE RICHEST COMMONER IN ENGLAND.



BY T1TR

AUTHOR OF "HANDLEY CROSS," "SPONGE'S SPORTING TOUR,"

KTO. ETC.




WITH ILLUSTRATIONS BY JOHN LEECH.



LONDON :
IMIADBURY, EVANS, & CO., 10, BOUVERIE STREET, B.C.

172.



LONDON :
BRArBDKT, EVANS, AND CO., PRINTERS, WHITEFRIARS.



College
Library



o *

5% a



V



TO

THE HONOURABLE MRS. COVENTRY

ONB OF THE BEST OP MAMMAS.

IWffej Folunu is Enscribrt,

BT HER

OBLIOBD AND FAITHFUL SERVANT,

THE AUTHOR



19G790



PREFACE.

IT may be a recommendation to the lover of light literature
to be told, that the following story does not involve the compli-
cation of a plot. It is a mere continuous narrative of an almost
every day exaggeration, interspersed with sporting scenes and
excellent illustrations by LEECH.

March 31, 1858.



CONTENTS.



FA TV.
OUR HERO AND CO . . 1

A SLEEPING PARTNER . 4

THE ROAD . 6

THE ROAD RESUMED 12

MISS PHEASANT-FEATHERS 16

A GLASS COACH 21

MISS WILLING (en grand costume) 24

THE LADY'S BOUDOIR 27

A DECLARATION 30

THE HAPPT UNITED FAMILT 33

CURTAIN CRESCENT 86

MISS BUTTER FINGERS . . . . 40

THE EARL OF LADTTHORNE 42

MISS DE GLANCET 45

CUB-HUWTING 48

A PUP AT WALK 53

IMPERIAL JOHN 56

JEAN ROUGIER, OR JACK ROGERS 58

THE OPENING HAT 68

THE HUNT BREAKFAST . . 63

THE MORNING FOX 7?

THE AFTERNOON FOX 75

OONB A WAT! 80

THE PRINOLE CORRlWFONDKNrK . 89



viii CONTENTS.

PAGE

MAJOR YAMMERTON'S COACH STOPS THE WAY

THE MAJOR'S MENAGE

OUR HERO ARRIVES AT YAMMERTON GRANGE 1 8

A FAMILY PARTY ....

1 1 f*

A Zee-TLE Contre-tems . . .

190
THE MAJOR'S STUD

CARDS FOR A SPREAD I 29

THE GATHERING i3 ^

THE GRAND SPREAD ITSELF i3 ^

A HUNTING MORNING 1*2

UNKENNELING 1*7

SHOWING A HORSE . 149

THE MEET ........ 153

THE WILD BEAST ITSELF 157

A cruel FINISH 162

THE PRINGLE CORRESPONDENCE 169

SIR MOSES MAINCHANCE 176

THE HIT-IM AND HOLD-IM SHIRE HOUNDS 181

THE PANGBURN PARK ESTATE 188

COMMERCE AND AGRICULTURE 195

SIR MOSES'S MANAGE 199

FINE BILLY DEPARTS FROM YAMMERTON GRANGE 204

THE BAD STABLE; OR, "IT'S ONLY FOR ONE NIGHT" 206

CDDDY FLINTOFF AND CO. .210

SIR MOSES'S SPREAD 212

GOING TO COVER WITH THE HOUNDS 220

THE MEET . . . . " . . 226

A BIRD'S EYE VIEW 233

TWO ACCOUNTS OP A RUN; OR LOOK ON THIS PICTURE .... 241

AND ON THIS . 244

THE SICK HORSE AND THE SICK MASTER . 246



CONTENTS. IX

PAGK

A NON-HUNTING DAT ...... . .'-' . . . 254

THE FOX AND HOUNDS HOTEL AT HINTON 255

MH. PRINGLE SUDDENLY BECOMES A MEMBER OF THE HIT-IK AND HOLD-IH

BHIRE HUNT 258

THE HUNT DINNER 262

THE HUNT TEA 268

BUSHKT HEATH AND BABE ACRES ......... 272

MB. OEORDET GALLON 277

SIB MOSES PEBPLEXED 280

THE RENDEZVOUS FOB THE BACE 282

THE LINE OF COUNTRY FOB THE BACE 286

THE BACE IT8ELT 289

UENEREY BROWN AND CO. AGAIN ......... 296

THE PBINGLB CORRESPONDENCE 801

MR. GAITERS 804

A CATASTROPHE 308

A TETE-A-TTE DINNER 310

MONSIEUR BOUGIEB'a MYSTERIOUS LODGINGS 314

THE GIFT HORSE 315

SECOND THOUGHTS ARE BEST 317

THE SHAH DAY . - 318

THE SURPRISE ............ 326

MONEY AND MATRIMONY 834

A NIGHT DRIVE 836

MASTER ANTHONY THOM 342

MR. AND MRS. WOTHERSFOON 348

MR. WOTHBRSPOON'S SEAT 350

MR WOTHERSPOON'S DBJEUNIR A LA FOURCIIKTTB 351

THE COUNCIL OF WAR '81

POOR PUSS AGAIN ! 868

A FINE RUN ! . 368



X CONTENTS.

PAGE

THE MAINCHANCE CORRESPONDENCE ........ 372

THE ANTHONY THOM TRAP " . . . . 375

THE ANTHONY THOM TAKE . . 378

ANOTHER COUNCIL OF WAR . ~. . 385

MB. GALLON AT HOME 337

MR. CARROTY KEBBEL 389

THE HUNT BALL 393

MISS D GLANCEY'S REFLECTIONS 403

LOVE AT SECOND SIGHT 404

CUPID'S SETTLING DAY . . . 406

A STARTLING ANNOUNCEMENT . 409



ENGRAVINGS ON STEEL.

PAOB
THE ANCESTORS OP OUR HERO FrontUpieCt.

MISS DE GLANCEY CAPTIVATES THE EARL 52

THE RICHEST COMMONER'S FIRST JCMP 81

A LEE-TLE COXTRE-TEMS JACK ROGERS AND THE GLOVE . . . . 119

BILLY IS INTRODUCED TO THE MAJOR'S HARRIERS 148

SIR MOSES AND MRS. TUUNBULL 192

JACK ROGERS PUTTING HIS NERVES TO RIGHTS 230

IMPERIAL JOHN'S ATTEMPT TO SHOW THE WAT 240

THE GREAT MATCH BETWEEN MR. FLINTOFF AND JACK ROGERS . . . 289

THE GIFT HORSE !. . ; , f. , '. 315

FINE BILLY QUITE AT HOME ... 351

OLD WOTHERSPOON'S HARE 366

THE HUNT BALL "ASK MAMMA POLKA " 398



ENGRAVINGS ON WOOD.



PAGE

Our Hero and Co 1

Our Hero's Ancestors 7

Quite " Optional " of Course ... 11

The Road Resumed 13

A Glass Coach 21

"Big Ben" 23

On a Service of Delicacy .... 26

The Lady's Boudoir 27

The Happy United Family ... 33

John Properjohn 37

The Earl of Ladythorne .... 42

Cub-hunting 48

" Hie worry ! worry ! " shov.ts Swan . 5*
"Not with Strangers," pouted Miss de

Glancey 55

Billy Pringle 59

" Ah Major 'fammerton I" exclaimed the

Earl . . . . . . .65

The Hunt Breakfast 68

A Bottle of Smoke 72

Gone away I 80

Caught in the Rain 88

Clara, Flora, and Harriet . . . . 96

"Currant-jelly" 102

Mons. Jean Rougier 108

" I sail take in de P.itage de Soup " . 113

" Look at his Boots " 118

" That 'oss should be in Le-le-le-leicester-

shire " 127

Cards for a Spread 129

" Mrs. and Miss Dotherington !" . . 136

Billy Pringle again 144

Showing a Horse . . . . . 151

Mr. Wotherspoon's Snufi-Box . . . 156

Puss has set them a Puzzle . . . 161

Puss waiting to be Asked In . . 166

4 Ah, there's the Dog-Cart, You See" . 180



PAGE

Sir Moses Mainchance .... 187

A Ticket-of-Leave Butler . . . . 199

Our Hero Lost ...... 207

Cuddy Flintoff 219

Billy Pringle and Jack Rogers . . . 221

A Whipper-in 225

The Crumpletin Railway . . .' . 227

" Partant pour la Syrie " . . . . 232

" Give me my Horse, I say " . . . 237

"Datvill do, "said Jack . . . . 243
Old Peter, the Waiter . . . .257

The Hit-im and Hold-im Shire Hunt . 259

The Serpentine 262

The Hunt Tea 268

"Now he's running into him " . . . 270

Mr. Geordy Gallon 279

" There they go 1" 289

The Brook 293

The Dog-Cart 296

" Tally-ho ! " cries Captain Luff . . 321

At Church 333

The I. O. U 346

"Come In!" 347

An Owl in an Ivy -Bush .... 353

Mr. Wotherspoon's Gouty Foot . . . 364

A Fine Run 368

" Look sharp or you'll loss him !" . . 871

Sir Moses Enjoying his Chop . . . 377

" O you dom'd young rascal" . . . 383

The Hunt Ball 393

Swelling Eider-down and Watch-spring

Petticoats 396

The Baronet was booked .... 401

The " Little Gentleman " . . . . 402

A Startling Announcement . . . 409

" The Grey Mare is the better horse " . 411



"ASK MAMMA."



CHAPTER I.

OUR HERO AND CO

ONSIDERING
that Billy Pringla
or Fine Billy, as
his good-natured
friends called him,
was only an un-
derbred chap, he
was as good an
imitation of a
Swell as ever we
saw. He had all
the airy dreami-
ness of an heredi-
tary highflyer,
while his big talk
and off-hand man-
ner strengthened
the delusion It
was only when you
came to close
quarters with him

and found that though he talked in pounds he acted in pence, and
marked his fine dictionary words and laboured expletives, that you came
to the conclusion that he was " painfully gentlemanly." So few people,
however, agree upon what a gentleman is, that Billy was well calculated
to pass muster with the million. Fine shirts, fine ties, fine
talk, fine trinkets, go a long way towards furnishing the charactet
with many. Billy was liberal, not to say prodigal, in all these. The




2 ASK MAMMA.

only infallible rule we know is, that the man who is always talking
about being a gentleman never is one. Just as the man who is always
talking about honour, morality, fine feeling, and so on, never knows
anything of these qualities but the name. Nature had favoured Billy's
pretensions in the lady-killing way. In person he was above the middle
height, five feet eleven or so, slim and well-proportioned, with a finely-
shaped head and face, fair complexion, light brown hair, laughing blue
eyes, with long lashes, good eyebrows, regular pearly teeth and deli-
cately pencilled moustache. Whiskers he did not aspire to. Nor did
Billy abuse the gifts of Nature by disguising himself in any of the vulgar
groomy gamekeepery styles of dress, that so effectually reduce all man-
kind to the level of the labourer, nor adopt any of the " loud " patterns
that have lately figured so conspicuously in our streets. On the con-
trary, he studied the quiet unobtrusive order of costume, and the har-
mony of colours, with a view of producing a perfectly elegant general
effect. Neatly-fitting frock or dress coats, instead of baggy sacks, with
trouser legs for sleeves, quiet-patterned vests and equally quiet-patterned
trowsers. If he could only have been easy in them he would have done
extremely well, but there was always a nervous twitching, and jerking,
and feeling, as if he was wondering what people were thinking or saying
of him. In the dress department he was ably assisted by his mother, a
lady of very considerable taste, who not only fashioned his clothes but
his mind, indeed we might add his person, Billy having taken after
her, as they say ; for his father, though an excellent man and warm,
was rather of the suet-dumpling order of architecture, short, thick, and
round, with a neck that was rather difficult to find. His name, too, was
William, and some, the good-natured ones again of course, used to say that
he might have been called " Fine Billy the first," for under the auspices
of his elegant wife he had assumed a certain indifference to trade ; and
when in the grand strut at Ramsgate or Broadstairs, or any of his
watering-places, if appealed to about any of the things made or dealt in
by any of the concerns in which he was a " Co.," he used to raise his
brows and shrug his shoulders, and say with a very deprecatory sort of air,
' Ton my life, I should say you're right," or " 'Deed I should say it was
eo," just as if he was one of the other Pringles, the Pringles who have
nothing to do with trade, and in noways connected with Pringle & Co.;
Pringle & Potts ; Smith, Sharp & Pringle ; or any of the firms that
the Pringles carried on under the titles of the original founders. He
was neither a tradesman nor a gentleman. The Pringles like the
happy united family we meet upon wheels ; the dove nestling with the
gorged cat, and so on all pulled well together when there was a com-
Jnon victim to plunder ; and kept their hands in by what they called
taking fair advantages of each other, that is to say, cheating each other,
xhen there was not.

Nobody knew the ins and outs of the Pringles. If they let their
own right hands know what their left hands did, they took care not to let
anybody else's right hand know In multiplicity of concerns they



ASK MAMMA. 3

rivalled that great man " Co.," who the country-lad coming to London
said seemed to be in partnership with almost everybody. The author
of " Who's Who ? " would be puzzled to post people who are
Brown in one place, Jones in a second, and Robinson in a third.
Still the Pringles were "a most respectable family," mercantile
morality being too often mere matter of moonshine. The only
member of the family who was not exactly " legally honest," legal
honesty being much more elastic than common honesty, was cunning
Jerry, who thought to cover by his piety the omissions of his practice.
He was a fawning, sanctified, smooth-spoken, plausible, plump little
man, who seemed to be swelling with the milk of human kindness,
anxious only to pour it out upon some deserving object. His manner
was so frank and bland, and his front face smile so sweet, that it was
cruel of his side one to contradict the impression and show the cunning
duplicity of his nature. Still he smirked and smiled, and " bless-you,
dear " and " hope-you're-happy,-dear"ed the women, that, being a
bachelor, they all thought it best to put up with his " mistakes," as he
called his peculations, and sought his favour by frequent visits with
appropriate presents to his elegant villa at Peckham Rye. Here
he passed for quite a model man ; twice to church every Sunday, and
to the lecture in the evening, and would not profane the sanctity of the
day by having a hot potato to eat with his cold meat. He was a ripe
rogue, and had been jointly or severally, as the lawyers say, in a good
many little transactions that would not exactly bear inspection ; and these
" mistakes " not tallying with the sanctified character he assumed, he had
been obliged to wriggle out of them as best he could, with the loss of
as few feathers as possible. At first, of course, he always tried the
humbugging system, at which he was a great adept ; that failing, he had
recourse to bullying, at which he was not bad, declaring that the party
complaining was an ill-natured, ill-conditioned, quarrelsome fellow, who
merely wanted a peg to hang a grievance upon, and that Jerry, so far
from defrauding him, had been the best friend he ever had in his life,
and that he would put him through every court in the kingdom before
he would be imposed upon by him. If neither of these answered, and
Jerry found himself pinned in a corner, he feigned madness, when his
solicitor, Mr. Supple, appeared, and by dint of legal threats, and
declaring that if the unmerited persecution was persisted in, it would
infallibly consign hia too sensitive client to a lunatic asylum, he gene-
rally contrived to get Jerry out of the scrape by some means or other
best known to themselves. Then Jerry, of course, being clear, would
inuendo his own version of the story as dexterously as he could, always
taking care to avoid a collision with the party, but more than insinuating
that he (Jerry) had been infamously used, and his well known love of
peace and quietness taken advantage of ; and though men of the world
generally suspect the party who is most anxious to propagate his story
to be in the wrong, yet their number is but small compared to those
who believe anything they are told, and who cannot put " that and that "

t 2



4 ASK MAMMA.

together for themselves. So Jerry went 011 robbing and praying and
passing for a very proper man. Some called him " cunning Jerry,"
to distinguish him from an uncle who was Jerry also ; but as this name
would not do for the family to adopt, he was generally designated by
them as " Want-nothin'-but-what's-right Jerry," that being the form
of words with which he generally prefaced his extortions. In the same
\\ay they distinguished between a fat Joe and a thin one, calling the
thin one merely "Joe," and the fat one " Joe who can't get within half
a yard of the table ; " and between two clerks, each bearing the not
uncommon name of Smith, one being called Smith, the other "Head-
iind-shoulders Smith," the latter, of course, taking his title from his
figure.

With this outline of the Pringle family, we will proceed to draw out
such of its members as figure more conspicuously in our story



CHAPTER II.

A SLEEPING PAKTNER.

WITH Mrs. William Pringle's (nee Willing) birth, parentage, and
education, we would gladly furnish the readers of this work with some
information, but, unfortunately, it does not lie in our power so to do,
for the simple reason, that we do not know any thing, We first find
her located at that eminent Court milliner and dressmaker's, Madame
Adelaide Banboxeney, in Furbelow Street, Berkeley Square, where
her elegant manners, and obliging disposition, to say nothing of her
taste in torturing ribbons and wreaths, and her talent for making plain
girls into pretty ones, earned for her a very distinguished reputation.
She soon became first-hand, or trier-on, and unfortunately, was after-
wards tempted nto setting-up for herself, when she soon found, that
though fine ladies like to be cheated, it must be done in style, and by
some one, if not with a carriage, at all events with a name ; and that a
bonnet, though beautiful in Bond Street, loses all power of attraction
if it is known to come out of Bloomsbury Miss Willing was, there-
fore, soon sold up ; and Madame Banboxeney (whose real name was
Brown, Jane Brown, wife of John Brown, who was a billiard-table marker,
until his wife's fingers set him up in a gig), Madame Banboxeney, we
say, thinking to profit by Miss Willing's misfortunes, offered her a very
reduced salary to return to her situation ; . but Miss Willing having
tasted the sweets of bed, a thing she very seldom did at Madame
Banboxeney 's, at least not during the season, stood out for more money ;
the consequence of which -was, she lost that chance, and had the benefit



ASK MAMMA. 5

of Madame 's bad word at all the other establishments she afterwards
applied to. In this dilemma, she resolved to turn her hand to lady's-
maid-ism ; and having mastered the science of hair-dressing, she made
the rounds of the accustomed servant-shops, grocers, oilmen, brush
men, and so on, asking if they knew of any one wanting a perfect
lady's-maid.

As usual in almost all the affairs of life, the first attempt was a
failure. She got into what she thoroughly despised, an untitled family,
where she had a great deal more to do than she liked, and was grossly
" put upon " both by the master and missis. She gave the place up,
because, as she said, " the master would come into the missis's room with
nothing but his night-shirt and spectacles on," but, in reality, because
the missis had some of her things made up for the children instead ol
passing them on, as of right they ought to have been, to her. She
deeply regretted ever having demeaned herself by taking such a
situation. Being thus out of place, and finding the many applications
she made for other situations, when she gave a reference to her former
one, always resulted in the ladies declining her services, sometimes on
the plea of being already suited, or of another " young person " having
applied just before her, or of her being too young (they never said too
pretty, though one elderly lady on seeing her shook her head, and said
she " had sons ") ; and, being tired of living on old tea leaves, Miss
Willing resolved to sink her former place, and advertise as if she had
just left Madame Banboxeney's. Accordingly, she drew out a very
specious advertisement, headed " TO THE NOBILITY," offering the services
of a lady's-maid, who thoroughly understood millinery, dress-making,
hair-dressing, and getting up fine linen, with an address to a cheese
shop, and made an arrangement to give Madame Banboxeney a lift
with a heavy wedding order she was busy upon, if she would recom-
mend her as just fresh from her establishment.

This advertisement produced a goodly crop of letters, and Miss
Willing presently closed with the Honourable Mrs. Cavesson, whose
husband was a good deal connected with the turf, enjoying that certain
road to ruin which so many have pursued ; and it says much for Miss
Willing's acuteness, that though she entered Mrs. Cavesson 's service
late in the day, when all the preliminaries fora smash had been perfected,
her fine sensibilities and discrimination enabled her to anticipate the
coming evil, and to deposit her mistress's jewellery in a place of safety
three quarters of an hour before the bailiffs entered. This act of
fidelity greatly enhanced her reputation, and as it was well known that
" poor dear Mrs. Cavesson " would not be able to keep her, there were
several great candidates for this " treasure of a maid." Mist-
Willing had now nothing to do but pick and choose; and, after some
consideration, she selected what she called a high quality family, ono
where there was a regular assessed tax-paper establishment of servants
where the butler sold his lord's wine-custom to the highest bidder,
and the heads of all the departments receivq^l thrir " rcglars " upon



6 ASK MAMMA.

the tradesmen's bills ; the lady never demeaning herself by wearing the
same gloves or "ball-shoes twice, or propitiating the nurse by presents of
raiment that was undoubtedly hers we mean the maid's. She was a
real lady, in the proper acceptation of the term.

This was the beautiful, and then newly married, Countess Delacey,
whose exquisite garniture will still live in the recollection of many of
the now bald-headed beaux of that period. For these delightful suc-
cesses, the countess was mainly indebted to our hero's mother, Miss
Willing, whose suggestive genius oft came to the aid of the perplexed and
exhausted milliner. It was to the service of the Countess Delacey
that Miss Willing was indebted for becoming the wife of Mr. Pringle,
afterwards " Fine Billy the first," an event that deserves to be intro-
duced in a separate chapter.



CHAPTER III.

THE ROAD.

IT was on a cold, damp, raw December morning, before the eman-
cipating civilisation of railways, that our hero's father, then returning
from a trading tour, after stamping up and down the damp flags before
the Lion and Unicorn hotel and posting-house at Slopperton, waiting
for the old True Blue Independent coach " comin' hup," for whose
cramped inside he had booked a preference seat, at length found himself
bundled into the straw-bottomed vehicle, to a very different companion
to what he was accustomed to meet in those deplorable conveyances.
Instead of a fusty old farmer, or a crumby basket-encumbered market-
woman, he found himself opposite a smiling, radiant young lady, whose
elegant dress and ring-bedizened hand proclaimed, as indeed was then
generally the case with ladies, that she was travelling in a coach " for
the first time in her life."

This was our fair friend, Miss Willing.

The Earl and Countess Delacey had just received an invitation to
spend the. Christmas at Tiara Castle, where the countess on the
previous year had received if not a defeat, at all events had not
achieved a triumph, in the dressing way, over the Countess of Honiton,
whose maid, Miss Criblace, though now bribed to secrecy with a full
set of very little the worse for wear Chinchilla fur, had kept the fur
and told the secret to Miss Willing, that their ladyships were to meet
again. Miss Willing was now on her way to town, to arrange with the
Countess's milliner for an annihilating series of morning and evening
dresses wherewith to extinguish Lady Honiton, it being utterly
impossible, as our fair friends will avouch, for any lady to appear twice



ASK MAMMA. 7

in the same attire. How thankful men ought to be that the same rule
does not prevail with them !

Miss Willing was extremely well got up ; for being of nearly the
same size as the countess, her ladyship's slightly-worn things passed
on to her with scarcely a perceptible diminution of freshness, it being
remarkable how, in even third and fourth-rate establishments, dresses
that were not fit for the " missus " to be seen in come out quite new
and smart on the maid.

On this occasion Miss Willing ran entirely to the dark colours, just
such as a lady travelling in her own carriage might be expected to




wear. A black terry velvet bonnet with a single ostrich feather, a dark
brown Levantine silk dress, with rich sable cuffs, muff, and boa, and a
pair of well-fitting primrose-coloured kid gloves, which if they ever had
been on before had not suffered by the act.

Billy old Billy that is to say was quite struck in a henp at such
an unwonted apparition, and after the then usual salutations, and
inquiries how she would like to have the window, he popped the old
question, "How far was she going?" with very different feelings to
what it was generally asked, when the traveller wished to calculate how
soon he uiight hope to get rid of his ris-a-vis and lay up his legs on
the seat.



8 ASK MAMMA.

"To town," replied the lady, dimpling her pretty cheeks with a
smile. " And you ? " asked she, thinking to have as good as she gave.

" Ditto," replied the delighted Billy, divesting himself of a great
coarse blue and white worsted comforter, and pulling up his somewhat
dejected gills, abandoning the idea of economising his Lincoln and
Bennett by the substitution of an old Gregory's mixture coloured fur
cap, with its great ears tied over the top, in which he had snoozed and
snored through many a long journey.

Miss Willing then drew from her richly-buckled belt a beautiful
Geneva watch set round with pearls, (her ladyship's, which she wag
taking to town to have repaired), and Billy followed suit with his
substantial gold-repeater, with which he struck the hour. Miss then



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