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THE WRITINGS OF

HENRY DAVID THOREAU

IN TWENTY VOLUMES

VOLUME XVI



MANUSCRIPT EDITION
LIMITED TO SIX HUNDRED COPIES
NUMBER /< ~*



Flowering Dogwood (Cornus florida) (page 442)



NRY DA



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ft. 1858



Nature's Decoration of an Old Pine Stump




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1



THE WRITINGS OF

HENRY DAVID THOREAU

JOURNAL

EDITED BY BRADFORD TORREY
X

AUGUST 8, 1857-JuNE 29, 1858




BOSTON AND NEW YORK

HOUGHTON MIFFLIN AND COMPANY

MDCCCCVI



OF CALIFORNIA
DAVIS



(1CD LIBRARY



COPYRIGHT 1906 BY HOUGHTON, MIFFLIN & CO.

All rights reserved



CONTENTS

CHAPTER I. August, 1857 (Mr. 40) 3

Glow-Worms A Remarkable Fungus Life Jewelry,
False and True A Cuckoo With Austin Bacon in Natick

Emerson at Naushon A Veteran of the Revolution
Ground-Nuts.

CHAPTER II. September, 1857 (J&r. 40) 21

Some Large Yellow Birches A Large Rhus radicans
Prinos lavigatus At Bateman's Pond Larch Trees and a
Tupelo Gathering Pine Cones A Wood Frog A Beau
tiful Pine Grove More Glow-Worms Nabalus Beach
Plums A Dense White Pine Grove A Squirrel burying a
Nut Hardwood Trees under Pines The Blushing of the
Red Maple An Old Grist-Mill Crickets A Virtuous
Red Maple Hawks Poitrine Jaune Grosse Vandalism

A Talk with Minott Wyman and the Crow.

CHAPTER HI. October, 1857. GET. 40) 55

The Changing of the Leaves Old Furniture Employed
as a Mason Building a Wood-Shed Kicked by a Horse
Minott's Peach Tree Story A Red Squirrel The Turning
Foliage Ruskin's "Modem Painters" The Red of a
Maple Swamp Autumn from Fair Haven Hill Entertain
ing Visitors Walden's Brilliant Belt A Rabbit's Living
Tomb An Ulmarium An Irishman digging Mud The
Telltale Smokes Frosty Mornings An Old Grist-Mill A
Distant Elm Autumnal Tints Golden Autumn The
Solvency of Sand-Banks The Fall of the Pine Leaves



vi CONTENTS

Reflections A Great Fall of Leaves Indian Summer
Witch-Hazel The Fallen Pine-Needles The Principal
Stages in the Autumnal Change The Trainers and their
Band Water-Bugs The Creaking of Crickets A Cheery
Old Man Melvin's Nutting The Easterbrooks Country
A Talk with Melvin A Repulsive Eel The Poet's Journal

A Connoisseur in Wood Blue Water The Indian
Arrowhead The Horizon Mountains The Chestnut
Evergreen Ferns Sal Cummings on Kansas Picking Chest
nuts Two Great Birds Moods and Seasons Chipmunks
and Acorns The Reign of Water The Facts of a Poet's
Life The Littleton Giant A Serene, Elysian Light A
Soaring Hen-Hawk The Growth of an Apple The Lit
tle Brown Snake Early Morning Thoughts A Dream
Mountain Amusements The Most Profitable Compan
ion The True Way to crack the Nut of Happiness
Ruskin and Nature Green Ferns The Brave Skunk-
Cabbage.

CHAPTER IV. November, 1857 (2Err. 40) 152

Witch-Hazel Polypody Reflections and Reflections
Pictures and Picture-Frames Nature repairing Damages
Bloom The Sunset from Pine Hill A Talk with Minott
The Polypody again The Point of Interest Brooks Clark's
Reminiscences A Flock of Geese A Carpet of Leaves
The Swamp Pyrus The Boy and the Bound Indian Corn-
Hills Surveying Companions A Boundary Dispute A
Cold Morning A Mouse's Hoard The First Freezing
Day Holden Swamp A Deer Mouse C. Miles Swamp

Desirable Evergreen Trees A Hard-working Irishman
Sympathy with Nature Life under a Stone The Interesting
in Books Native Soil Some Sportive Bullocks A Wood
cock Gowing's Swamp The Andromeda Ponds Writ
ing Poetry November Eat-Heart At Hubbard's Close
A Fox A Story of a Stutterer Minott's House Frosted
Windows Snares for Partridges A Wildcat's Caterwaul
The Colors of the Withered Oak Leaves The Growth of a
Rumor The Air full of Geese.



CONTENTS vii

CHAPTER V. December, 1857 (jEr. 40) 218

A Red Squirrel in the Tree-Tops The Village Aristocracy
Staples's Prosperity An Anecdote of Mrs. Hoar Finding
an Old Survey Line The Tracks of Mice in the Snow
The Appetite for Sound A Bullfrog on the Ice A Crooked
Stick Surveying.



CHAPTER VI. January, 1858 (JErr. 40) 233

Genuine and Artificial Words The Maine Woods and the
Concord Wood-Lots The Glow of the Andromeda A Load
of Hay in Winter Snowflakes A Flock of Tree Spar
rows Lecturing in Lynn Mr. Buffum's Account of the
Sea-Serpent Nahant The Lynn Quarries The Song of
the White-throated Sparrow A Mild Winter Saw Mill
Brook The Bark of a Fox Improvement and Stagnation
The Fox's Bark again Water-Bugs Poison Sumach
A Book about Buds The Birch Fungus True Life
April Rain A Distant Cloud Minott's Ear for Bird-Notes
Bright-colored Fungi The Pool in Growing's Swamp
Ice-Crystals.



CHAPTER VII. February, 1858 (JET. 40) 271

Sounding Gowing's Swamp Ledum laiifolium Family
History The Heaved-up Pond-Shore The Large Blue
berry Bushes at Goose Pond An Old Sketch of Concord Jail
The Earth's Breath A Canada Lynx A Concord Negro
Slave Barberry Wood Pine Cones.

CHAPTER VIII. March, 1858 (Mr. 40) 288

A Flock of Snow Buntings The Slavery of the Press
Philology and Ethnology An Indian's English Some
Indian Customs The Indian Language A Musquash
Academy Grants in Maine A Rill of Melted Snow The
Note of the First Flicker Arriving Birds A Spring Wind
View from Fair Haven Hill The American Yew Swarms



viii CONTENTS

of Gnats The Seriousness of Life Handsome Willow Cat
kins A Semiriparial Walk A Willow Creel The Spring
Revival of the Fishes and of all Nature Interesting Houses

Gulls and Ducks A Flock of Shore Larks Fox-colored
Sparrows Sheldrakes Hazel Blossoms Spring Gossamer

Painted Tortoises A Large Bird of Prey Croaking
Frogs A Lively Party of Sheldrakes Black Ducks Asleep

The Early Turtles.



CHAPTEB IX. April, 1858 GET. 40) 338

Squirrels' -Nests A Little Snapping Turtle An Hour's
Conversation Two Striped Snakes The Foolishness of the
Wise Philosophers The Purple Finch's Song Rana hale-
cina A Curious Kind of Spawn The Gregariousness of
Men Studying Frogs Boys Fishing Frog-Spawn
The Booming of the Snipe An Old Rats' Nest A Par
tridge on the Railroad Frog-Spawn Hylodes A Near
View of a Mink Hatching Fishes Hatching Tadpoles
The Study of Frogs Geese at Fair Haven Pond A Ver
satile Goldfinch Rice on Lamprey Eels Apron Lichens

Rana palustris Frog-Spawn and Pollywogs A Fish
Hawk Young Fishes The Fish Hawk again Mistaken
Identity.

CHAPTER X. May, 1858 GET. 40) 389

Individuality Rana palustris Fish Hawk and Crows
Frog Hawks Frogs A Fish Talk with Witherell A
Frog in a Firkin The Notes of Rana palustris The
Thinker A Wood Tortoise Stone-Heaps in the Assabet
The Bullfrog's Trump Viola pedata Pickerel in a Ditch

Frog-Spawn and Tadpoles A Large Water Adder
Chestnut Planks Red Squirrel and Maple Keys Thalic-
trum dioicum A Hummingbird in the House A Tree-
climbing Black Snake An Agreeable Rain A Talk with
Puffer A Distant Mountain-Range The Mysteries of
Nature Swallows over the River The Home of a Fox



CONTENTS ix

Family The Old Fox A Cat Owl's Nest Young
Birches To Worcester on the Way to New York Quin-
sigamond Pond The Track of a Thunderbolt New York
and Staten Island A Turtle Dove's Nest Emys meleagris
A Hen-Harrier's Nest A Wild Mouse A Sea-Turn.



CHAPTER XI. June, 1858 OEr. 40) 452

Ascending Monadnock Pitching Camp Fringitta hye-
malis and its Nest Def acers of Mountain-Tops Night-
hawks Dawn on Monadnock The Plants of the Summit
The Rocks of Monadnock Spawn in a Rock Cistern
The Spruce of the Mountain-Top Lichens on the Mountain
Top Pools and Bogs A Mountain-Top Walk Clouds and
their Shadows The Descent of the Mountain The Chan
ging Form of a Mountain The Walk to Winchendon
Some Handsome White Pines The Effects of a Fire in a
Swamp Evidence against Marauding Birds A Pout and
her Nest Bullfrogs in Full Blast Breams' Nests A
Marsh Hawk A Maryland Yellow-Throat's Nest Turtles'
Eggs Ledum A Song Sparrow's Nest Plants growing
in Circles Boys and Birds' Eggs A Handsome Turtle
More Birds' Eggs A Talk with Mr. Henry Bryant at the
Natural History Rooms A Tanager's Nest A Veery's
Nest More Eggs Young Striped Squirrels Two Wood
Pewees' Nests Bathing.



ILLUSTRATIONS

FLOWERING DOGWOOD (CORNUS FLORIDA)

Carbon photograph (page 442) Frontispiece

NATURE'S DECORATION OF AN OLD PINE

STUMP Colored Plate

IN THE EASTERBROOKS COUNTRY 112

CURLY-PATE HILL, ABOVE BATEMAN ? S POND 154

NATURE'S DECORATION OF AN OLD PINE

STUMP 160

WILLOW CATKINS 310

A TURTLE DOVE'S NEST 444



JOURNAL

VOLUME X



THE JOURNAL OF
HENRY DAVID THOREAU

VOLUME X
I

AUGUST, 1857 (JET. 40)

Aug. 8. Saturday. Get home at 8.30 A. M.

I find that B. M. Watson sent me from Plymouth,
July 20th, six glow-worms, of which two remain, the
rest having escaped. He says they were found by his
family on the evenings of the 18th and 19th of July.
"They are very scarce, these being the only ones we
have found as yet. They were mostly found on the way
from the barn to James's cottage, under the wild cherry
trees on the right hand, in the grass where it was very
dry, and at considerable distance from each other.
We have had no rain for a month."

Examining them by night, they are about three
quarters of an inch long as they crawl. Looking down
on one, it shows two bright dots near together on the
head, and, along the body, nine transverse lines of
light, succeeded by two more bright dots at the other
extremity, wider apart than the first. There is also
a bright dot on each side opposite the transverse lines.
It is a greenish light, growing more green as the worm



4 JOURNAL [Ana. 8

is brought into more light. A slumbering, glowing,
inward light, as if shining for itself inward as much as
outward. The other worm, which was at first curled up
still and emitted a duller light, was one and one twenti
eth inches in length and also showed two dots of light
only on the forward segment. When stretched out, as
you look down on them, they have a square-edged look,
like a row of buns joined together. Such is the ocular
illusion. But whether stretched out or curled up, they
look like some kind of rare and precious gem, so regu
larly marked, far more beautiful than a uniform mass
of light would be.

Examining by day, I found the smallest to be seven
eighths to one inch long, and the body about one sixth
of an inch wide and from one thirteenth to one twelfth
of an inch deep, convex above, pointed at head, broader
at tail; head about one twentieth of an inch wide.
Yet these worms were more nearly linear, or of a uniform
breadth (being perhaps broadest at forward extremity),
than the Lampyre represented in my French book,
which is much the broadest behind and has also two
rows of dots down the back. They have six light-brown
legs within a quarter of an inch of the forward extremity.
The worm is composed of twelve segments or overlap
ping scales, like the abdominal plates of a snake, and
has a slight elastic projection (?) beneath at tail. It
has also six short antennae-like projections from the
head, the two outer on each side the longest, the two
inner very short. The general color above was a pale
brownish yellow or buff; the head small and dark-
brown; the antennae chestnut and white; white or



1857] GLOW-WORMS 5

whitish on sides and beneath. You could see a faint
dorsal line. They were so transparent that you could
see the internal motions when looking down on them.

I kept them in a sod, supplying a fresh one each day.
They were invariably found underneath it by day,
next the floor, still and curled up in a ring, with the
head within or covered by the tail. Were apt to be rest
less on being exposed to the light. One that got away
in the yard was found again ten feet off and down
cellar.

What kind are these ?

In the account of the Glow-worm in Rees's Cyclo
paedia it is said, "The head is small, flat, hard, and
black, and sharp towards the mouth; it has short an
tennae, and six moderately long legs ; the body is flat and
is composed of twelve rings, whereas the body of the
male consists only of five ; it is of a dusky color, with a
streak of white down the back."

Knapp, in " Journal of a Naturalist," speaks of " the
luminous caudal spot" of the Lampyris noctiluca. 1

Speaking with Dr. Reynolds about the phosphor
escence which I saw in Maine, etc., etc., he said that
he had seen the will-o'-the-wisp, a small blue flame,
like burning alcohol, a few inches in diameter, over a
bog, which moved when the bog was shaken.

Aug. 9. Sunday. I see the blackbirds flying in
flocks (which did not when I went away July 20th)
and hear the shrilling of my alder locust.

1 Vide Sept. 16th for an account of another kind. Vide Jan. 15,
1858.



6 JOURNAL [AUG. 10

Aug. 10. Monday. P. M. In Clintonia Swamp I
see a remarkable yellow fungus about the base of some
grass growing in a tuft. It is a jelly, shaped like a
bodkin or a pumpkin's stigma, two inches long, in
vesting the base of the grass blades, a quarter to a half
inch thick, tapering to the grass each way and covered
with a sort of moist meal. It was strong-scented and
disagreeable.

Cat-tail commonly grows in the hollows and boggy
places where peat has been dug.

How meanly and miserably we live for the most part !
We escape fate continually by the skin of our teeth, as
the saying is. We are practically desperate. But as
every man, in respect to material wealth, aims to be
come independent or wealthy, so, in respect to our
spirits and imagination, we should have some spare
capital and superfluous vigor, have some margin and
leeway in which to move. What kind of gift is life
unless we have spirits to enjoy it and taste its true
flavor? if, in respect to spirits, we are to be forever
cramped and in debt ? In our ordinary estate we have
not, so to speak, quite enough air to breathe, and this
poverty qualifies our piety; but we should have more
than enough and breathe it carelessly. Poverty is the
rule. We should first of all be full of vigor like a strong
horse, and beside have the free and adventurous spirit
of his driver; i. e., we should have such a reserve of
elasticity and strength that we may at any time be able
to put ourselves at the top of our speed and go beyond
our ordinary limits, just as the invalid hires a horse.
Have the gods sent us into this world, to this muster,



1857] JEWELRY, FALSE AND TRUE 7

to do chores, hold horses, and the like, and not given
us any spending money ?

The poor and sick man keeps a horse, often a hostler;
but the well man is a horse to himself, is horsed on
himself; he feels his own oats. Look at the other's
shanks. How spindling! like the timber of his gig!
First a sound and healthy life, and then spirits to live
it with.

I hear the neighbors complain sometimes about
the peddlers selling their help false jewelry, as if they
themselves wore true jewelry; but if their help pay
as much for it as they did for theirs, then it is just as
true jewelry as theirs, just as becoming to them and no
more ; for unfortunately it is the cost of the article and
not the merits of the wearer that is considered. The
money is just as well spent, and perhaps better earned.
I don't care how much false jewelry the peddlers sell,
nor how many of the eggs which you steal are rotten.
What, pray, is true jewelry ? The hardened tear of a
diseased clam, murdered in its old age. Is that fair play ?
If not, it is no jewel. The mistress wears this in her
ear, while her help has one made of paste which you
cannot tell from it. False jewelry! Do you know of
any shop where true jewelry can be bought ? I always
look askance at a jeweller and wonder what church he
can belong to.

I heard some ladies the other day laughing about
some one of then* help who had helped herself to a real
hoop from off a hogshead for her gown. I laughed too,
but which party do you think I laughed at ? Is n't
hogshead as good a word as crinoline ?



8 JOURNAL [Ana. 11

Aug. 11. Tuesday. Red cohosh berries well ripe in
front of Hunt's, perhaps a week or more, a round,
conical spike, two and a half inches long by one and
three quarters, of about thirty cherry-red berries. The
berries oblong, seven sixteenths of an inch by six six
teenths, with a seam on one side, on slender pedicels
about five eighths of an inch long.

Aug. 13. J. Farmer saw some days ago a black-
headed gull, between a kingfisher and common gull in
size, sailing lightly on Bateman's Pond. It was very
white beneath and bluish-white above. Corallorhiza
multiflora and Desmodium rotundifolium, how long ?

Aug. 15. Lycopodium lucidulum, how long ?

Aug. 16. Myriophyllum ambiguum, apparently var.
limosum, except that it is not nearly linear-leafed but
pectinate, well out how long ?

Aug. 20. Thursday. P. M. To Hubbard's
Close.

The hillside at Clintonia Swamp is in some parts
quite shingled with the rattlesnake-plantain (Good-
yera pubescens) leaves overlapping one another. The
flower is now apparently in its prime. As I stand there,
I hear a peculiar sound which I mistake for a wood
pecker's tapping, but I soon see a cuckoo hopping near
suspiciously or inquisitively, at length within twelve
feet, from time to time uttering a hard, dry note, very
much like a woodpecker tapping a dead dry tree rapidly,



1857] A CUCKOO 9

its full clear white throat and breast toward me, and
slowly lifting its tail from time to time. Though some
what allied to that throttled note it makes by night, it
was quite different from that.

I go along by the hillside footpath in the woods about
Hubbard's Close. The Goodyera repens grows behind
the spring where I used to sit, amid the dead pine leaves.
Its leaves partly concealed in the grass. It is just done
commonly.

Helianthus, strumosus-\ike, at the south end of
Stow's cold pool ; how long ?

Aug. 22. Saturday. Channing has brought me
from Plymouth and Watson Drosera filiformis, just
out of bloom, from Great South Pond, Solidago tenui-
folia in bloom, Sabbatia chloroides, and Coreopsis
rosea.

Edward Hoar shows me Lobelia Kalmii, which he
gathered in flower in Hopkinton about the 18th of July.
(I found the same on the East Branch and the Penob-
scot); staphylea (in fruit) from Northampton, plucked
within a week or so (Bigelow says it grows in Weston) ;
also the leaves of a tree growing in Windsor, Vt., which
they call the pepperidge, quite unlike our tupelo. Is
it not the Celtis crassifolia? He says he found the
Uvularia perfoliata on the Stow road, he thinks within
Concord bounds.

Aug. 23. P. M. To Conantum.
Hear the mole cricket nowadays. Collinsonia (very
little left) not out.



10 JOURNAL [AUG. 24

Aug. 24. A. M. Ride to Austin Bacon's, Na-
tick.

On the left hand, just this side the centre of Wayland,
I measure the largest, or northernmost, of two large
elms standing in front of an old house. At four feet
from the ground, where, looking from one side, is the
smallest place between the ground and the branches, it
is seventeen feet in circumference, but there is a bulge
on the north side for five feet upward. At five feet it
divides to two branches, and each of these soon divides
again.

A. Bacon showed me a drawing apparatus which he
said he invented, very simple and convenient, also micro
scopes and many glasses for them which he made.
Showed me an exotic called "cypress," which he said
had spread from the cemetery over the neighboring
fields. Did not know what it was. Is it not Euphorbia
Cyparissias ? and does it not grow by the north road
side east of Jarvis's ? *

I measured a scarlet oak northeast of his house, on
land of the heirs of John Bacon, which at seven feet
from the ground, or the smallest place below the
branches, was ten feet eight niches in circumference,
at one foot from ground sixteen and one fourth feet in
circumference. It branched at twelve feet into three.
Its trunk tapered or lessened very gradually and regu
larly from the ground to the smallest place, after the
true Eddystone Lighthouse fashion. It has a large and
handsome top, rather high than spreading (spreads
about three and a half rods), but the branches often
1 Also at J. Moore's front yard.



1857] WITH AUSTIN BACON IN NATICK 11

dead at the ends. This has grown considerably since
Emerson measured ; vide his account. Bacon says that
E. pronounced it the largest oak in the State.

Showed us an elm on the north side of the same field,
some ten feet in circumference, which he said was as
large in 1714, his grandmother having remembered it
nearly so long. There was a dead Rhus radicans on it
two inches in diameter.

In the meadow south of this field, we looked for the
Drosera filiformis, which formerly grew there, but could
not find it. Got a specimen of very red clover, said to
be from the field of Waterloo, in front of the house near
the schoolhouse on the hill. Returned eastward over a
bare hill with some walnuts on it, formerly called Pine
Hill, from whence a very good view of the new town
of Natick. On the northeast base of this hill Bacon
pointed out to me what he called Indian corn-hills,
in heavy, moist pasture ground where had been a pine
wood. The hillocks were in irregular rows four feet
apart which ran along the side of the hill, and were much
larger than you would expect after this lapse of time.
I was confident that if Indian, they could not be very
old, perhaps not more than a century or so, for such
could never have been made with the ancient Indian
hoes, clamshells, stones, or the like, but with
the aid of plows and white men's hoes. Also pointed
out to me what he thought the home site of an Indian
squaw marked by a buckthorn bush by the wall.

These hillocks were like tussocks with lichens thick
on them, and B. thought that the rows were not run
ning as a white man['s] with furrow.



12 JOURNAL [Ana. 24

We crossed the road which runs east and west, and,
in the low ground on the south side, saw a white oak
and a red maple, each forty or fifty feet high, which had
fairly grown together for three or more feet upward
from the ground. Also, near by, a large white ash which
though healthy bore a mark or scar where a branch had
been broken off and stripped down the trunk. B. said that
one of his ancestors, perhaps his grandfather, before
the Revolution, went to climb this tree, and reached up
and took hold of this branch, which he stripped down,
and this was the scar!

Under the dead bark of this tree saw several large
crickets of a rare kind. They had a peculiar naked and
tender look, with branched legs and a rounded incurved
front.

Red cohosh grows along a wall in low ground close by.
We ascended a ridge hill northeast of this, or east by
south of Bacon's house, on the north end of which Squaw
Poquet, as well as her father, who was a powwow,
before her, lived. Bacon thought that powwows com
monly withdrew at last to the northeast side of a hill
and lived alone. We saw the remains of apple trees
in the woods, which she had planted. B. thought apple
trees did not now grow so large in New England as
formerly, that they only grew to be one foot in diameter
and then began to decay, whereas they formerly grew
to be two or three and even sometimes four feet in
diameter.

The Corallorhiza multiflora was common in these
woods, and out.

The Galium circcezans leaves taste very much like



1857] WITH AUSTIN BACON IN NATICK 13

licorice and, according to B., produce a great flow of
water, also make you perspire and are good for a cold.

We came down northward to the Boston and Worces
ter turnpike, by the side of which the Malaxis liliifolia
grows, though we did not find it.

We waded into Coos Swamp on the south side the
turnpike to find the ledum, but did not succeed. B. is
sure it grows there. This is a large swamp with a small
pond, or pond-hole, in the midst and the usual variety
of shrubs. I noticed small spruces, high blueberry, the
water andromeda, rhodora, Vaccinium dumosum (hairy)
ripe, Kalmia glauca, Decodon verticillatus, etc. B. says
that the arbor-vitae grows indigenously in pretty large
patches in Needham; that Cochituate Pond is only
between three and four miles long, or five including
the meadows that are flowed, yet it has been called even
ten miles long.

B. gave me a stone with very pretty black markings
like jungermannias, from a blasting on the aqueduct
in Natick. Some refer it to electricity.

According to Guizot at the Montreal meeting the
other day, Mt. Washington is 6285 feet above high-
water mark at Portland.

Aug. 25. Tuesday. P. M. To Hill and meadow.

Plucked a Lilium Canadense at three-ribbed golden-
rod wall, six and eight twelfths feet high, with a pyramid
of seed-vessels fourteen inches long by nine wide, the
first an irregular or diagonal whorl of six, surmounted



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