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Weekly Mailing List Archives
31st October 2008

Alastair McIntyreElectric Scotland's Weekly Email Newsletter

Electric Scotland - The No.1 Scottish History Site Aois - The Celtic Community
The Electric Scotland Article Service

Dear Friend

It's your Electric Scotland newsletter meaning the weekend is nearly here :-)

You can view what's new this week on Electric Scotland at and you can unsubscribe to this newsletter by clicking on the link at the foot of this newsletter.

See our Calendar of Scottish Events around the world at

Electric Scotland News
The Flag in the Wind
The Scottish Nation
Clan and Family Information
Poetry and Stories
New Statistical Account of Scotland (1845)
Book of Scottish Story
History of Glasgow
The Scottish Historical Review
The Pioneers of Old Ontario
John Witherspoon
The Concise Household Encyclopaedia
Highlander and His Books

Well I'm sorry we were down for so long but our new Internet Provider, Verizon, did not do a very good job for us. We were meant to be back up by 9.30am Monday morning but a repeater went down on the line and they did not have a spare in stock (quite unbelievable) so had to order one which meant it only got installed end of day on Tuesday. Then our router had issues and then there was a wiring fault and so eventually it was mid morning Wednesday before we got back online. Even then it was only with a single T1 and it was later that day before they got the second T1 line working.

And so now we're back up and I hope that Verizon got all the faults behind them and we'll now have reliable service from now on. I have certainly noticed a good increase in speed from the dual T1 so hope that this will give you all a much better service.

Steve will be spending a week or so unpacking and getting settled in to his new home and then he'll be spending time on the site getting some of our new features up and running and tweaking our new site search engine.

So with all the downtime this week not too much has gone onto the site. I did try and post some new items up while I was staying at the Hilton hotel in Chicago but it was so bad that it kept timing out.


I was also away in Chicago at the Scottish North American Leadership conference where I met lots of great people and hopefully some interesting information will be forthcoming from them for the site. I did a wee report on the conference which you can read at


And as we were down for so long I decided to do some more scanning of "The Concise Household Encyclopaedia" and so there will be more pages going up.


I'll be making a start at the book "Reminiscences of Cromar and Canada"
By Donald Robert Farquharson next week.

Some of the stories in here are just parts of a larger story so do check out the site for the full versions. You can always find the link in our "What's New" section at the link at the top of this newsletter or on our site menu.

This weeks Flag is compiled by Jennifer Dunn and she's telling us about the 150 year old Paddy's market and also giving some publicity to Energy Saving Week.

In Peter's cultural section he's telling us about football... the Scottish kind...

Although Scottish football attendances in 2008 fall far short of those of the 1940s and 50s there is still a healthy appetite for the game and every Saturday brings its own share of thrills and spills. As Saturday past proved, an exciting game can cause a change of plans to even the top politician in Scotland! Campaigning in this week’s Glenrothes By-Election First Minister Alex Salmond, accompanied by Scottish National Party candidate for the Westminster seat Councillor Peter Grant, made a third visit to New Bayview, home of East Fife FC, intending to watch only the first half. As ‘real’ football men they found the game, in spite of high winds and pouring rain, so exciting that the stay was extended for another 45 minutes. The game after the first 45 was poised at East Fife 2 Arbroath 2, with The Fife reduced to ten men after a sending off. ‘This game is too exciting to leave’ the First Minister told me in a quick halftime chat. The second half lived up to the first with The Fife suffering a second sending off but resolutely defending and looking dangerous on the break. With five minute to go Bayview exploded as East Fife captain Steven Tweed made it 3-2 in a deserved victory for the 9-man Fife side. ‘That was some game’ commented Alex Salmond as he entered the Bayview Board Room at the conclusion of the 90 minutes and presented the match ball to the match ball sponsors Dawes Cycles.

Whilst wishing Peter Grant best wishes in the by-election, this week’s recipe is in honour of the man who is carrying Scotland forward at Holyrood – I’m sure that Alex would enjoy a plate of Holyrood Pudding.

Holyrood Pudding

Ingredients: 20 floz (6000ml) milk; 2 oz (50g) semolina; 1 oz (50g) butter; 3 oz (75g) caster sugar; 2 oz (50g) ratafia biscuits; 2 tblspns orange marmalade; 3 eggs, separated

Method: Bring the milk to boiling point in a large saucepan. Stir in the semolina, the sugar and the butter. Allow to simmer gently for about five minutes, stirring constantly. Leave to cool. Beat the egg whites until stiff. Into the slightly cooled mixture add the egg yolks and the marmalade and mix thoroughly. Mix in the ratafia biscuits and lastly, using a metal spoon, fold in the egg whites. Pour the mixture into a large buttered pie dish and bake for 20 to 30 minutes at 350F/180C/ Gas Mark 4. The pudding should be set and golden brown on top.

You can read the Flag, listen to the Scots Language, enjoy the Scots Wit and lots more at

Christina McKelvie MSP's weekly diary for last week arrived late and can be viewed at

The Scottish Nation
My thanks to Lora for transcribing these volumes for us.

We're now onto the T's with Torrance, Traill and Train

An interesting account of Traill which starts...

The Traills of Blebo were an old family in the parish of Kemback, Fifeshire, which produced some eminent members. Among the most distinguished was Walter Traill, who became bishop of St. Andrews in 1385. He studied on the continent, and was a doctor of the civil and canon law, and canon of St. Andrews. According to Fordun, he was “referendarius Papae Clementis septimi,” and was attending that pontiff at Avignon, when a vacancy in the see of St. Andrews took place. So high was the opinion which Clement had of his learning and worth that, by his own authority, without any election, he appointed him to the bishopric, saying to those beside him, “This man deserveth better to be pope than bishop; the place is better provided than the person,” meaning that he was an honour to the place, and not the place to him. IN 1390, he and the bishop of Glasgow assisted at the funeral of Robert II., and the day following he placed the crown on the head of Robert III. IN 1391, he was sent ambassador to France, where he remained a year. He is witness to a charter of King Robert III., confirming former donations to the abbey of Paisley, 6th April, 1396. He died in the year 1401, in the castle of St. Andrews, which had been rebuilt by him, and was buried, among his predecessors, in the cathedral of that city, near the high altar, with this inscription on his monument; “Hic fuit Ecclesiae directa columna, fenestra lucida, thuribulum redolens, campana sonora.”

It is stated by Nisbet (Heraldry, vol. i. p. 212), that the lands of Blebo were purchased by Bishop Traill, in the reign of Robert III., and gifted by him to his nephew, Traill of Blebo. Keith (Catalogue of Scottish Bishops, p. 26) and other writers say that the bishop was the son of the laird of Blebo, In the early part of the reign of Charles I., Blebo was purchased by a gentleman of the name of Kay, but in 1649 it was sold to Mr. Andrew Bethune, a son of Bethune of Balfour, in possession of whose descendants it still remains.

Andrew Traill, a younger brother of the family of Blebo, was a colonel in the Dutch service, in the war of independence against Philip II. of Spain. When he quitted the Netherlands his arrears of pay amounted to £2,700 sterling, for which he had a bond from the city of Bruges and other towns of Flanders. He afterwards served with distinction under the king of Navarre in the civil wars of France. On his return to Britain, he was made a gentleman of Prince Henry’s privy chamber. His son, James, had a small property in the parish of Denino, where he lived. He endeavoured to recover the sum due to his father by the cities of Flanders, and upon a petition to King James, he obtained a warrant to arrest a ship belonging to the city of Bruges at London, but through the influence of the king’s favourite, the duke of Buckingham, was prevented from obtaining possession of her. He never obtained any part of the debt due to his father, and he was obliged to dispose of his estate in Denino. This James had two sons, James and Robert.

You can read the rest of this account at

You can read all these entries at

Clan and Family Information
Clan MacIntyre did a final report from the Gathering and shows how the income and expenses worked out to a modest loss. They also talk about the new Trust that has been setup. You can read this at

Poetry and Stories
Another poem from John Henderson called "A Ballanter Fae Scone" which you can read at

We also have some new poems and articles from Donna, Alastair and others in our Article Service at

Couple of good wee humour stories this week and an interesting observation of the current economic climate that seems to have an upside.

New Statistical Account of Scotland (1845)
We have now added the Parish of Temple to the Edinburgh volume.

Name. - The parish retains its ancient name, derived from an establishment for the
Templars, or Red Friars, founded by King David L of Scotland. [For an account of this ancient religious fraternity, see Spottiswood's Account of Religious Houses, appended lo Keith's Catalogue of Bishops, original edition, p. 265. and Chalmers Caledonia, ii. 767 and 812.]

Extent and Boundaries.- Its extent may be about 9 miles at its greatest length, and its greatest breadth is about 5. Besides this, however, there is another portion, four miles eastward, entirely separated by a section of Borthwick parish, consisting of about 300 acres. It is bounded on the south and south-west, by the parishes of Eddleston and Innerleithen; on the west, by Penicuik; on the north-west and north, by Carrington; on the north-east and east, by Borthwick; and on the south-east, by Heriot.

You can read this account at

The index page for the New Statistical Account of Scotland (1845) can be found at

Book of Scottish Story
Our thanks to John Henderson for sending this in for us.

This week have added...

The Poor Scholar

And here is how it starts...

The vernal weather, that had come so early in the year as to induce a fear that it would not be lasting, seemed, contrary to that foreboding of change, to become every day more mild and genial, and the spirit of beauty, that had at first ventured out over the bosom of the earth with timid footsteps, was now blending itself more boldly with the deep verdure of the ground, and the life of the budding trees. Something in the air, and in the great wide blue bending arch of the unclouded sky, called upon the heart to come forth from the seclusion of parlour or study, and partake of the cheerfulness of nature.

We had made some short excursions together up the lonely glens, and over the moors, and also through the more thickly inhabited field-farms of his parish, and now the old minister proposed that we should pay a visit to a solitary hut near the head of a dell, which, although not very remote from the manse, we had not yet seen; and I was anxious that we should do so, as, from his conversation, I understood that we should see there a family—if so a widow and her one son could be called —that would repay us by the interest we could not fail to feel in their character, for the time and toil spent on reaching their secluded and guarded dwelling.

" The poor widow woman," said the minister, "who lives in the hut called Braehead, has as noble a soul as ever tenanted a human bosom. One earthly hope alone has she now—but I fear it never will be fulfilled. She is the widow of a common cottar, who lived and died in the hut which she and her son now inhabit. Her husband was a man of little education, but intelligent, even ingenious, simple, laborious, and pious. His duties lay all within a narrow circle, and his temptations, it may be said, were few. Such as they were, he discharged the one and withstood the other. Nor is there any reason to think that, had they both been greater, he would have been found wanting. He was contented with meal and water all his days, and so fond of work that he seemed to love the summer chiefly for the length of its labouring days. He had a slight genius for mechanics; and during the long winter evenings he made many articles of curious workmanship, the sale of which added a little to the earnings of his severer toil. The same love of industry excited him from morning to night ; but he had also stronger, tenderer, and dearer motives ; for if his wife and their one pretty boy should outlive him, he hoped that, though left poor, they would not be left in penury, but enabled to lead, without any additional hardships, the usual life, at least, of the widow and the orphans of honest hardworking men. Few thought much about Abraham Blane while he lived, except that he was an industrious and blameless man; but, on his death, it was felt that there had been something far more valuable in his character; and now, I myself, who knew him well, was pleasingly surprised to know that he had left his widow and boy a small independence. Then the memory of his long summer days, and long winter nights, all ceaselessly employed in some kind of manual labour, dignified the lowly and steadfast virtue of the unpretending and conscientious man.

You can read the rest of this at

The other stories can be read at

The History of Glasgow
By Robert Renwick LL.D. and Sir John Lindsay L.D. in 3 volumes (1921)

Now on the second volume of the three and added this week are chapters...

Chapter XXIV
Glasgow under the Covenant

Chapter XXV
Under the Covenant

Chapter XXVI
Under the Commonwealth

Here is how chapter XXV starts...

WHATEVER may have been the quarrel between the Scots and Charles I. on matters of Church government, it was no part of the desire of the people of Scotland to abolish kingly rule. No sooner, therefore, was news of the execution of the king received in Edinburgh than arrangements were made to proclaim his elder son as Charles II. This was done in the capital on 5th February, 1649. [Act. Parl. VI, pt, ii. 157.] In the Glasgow Burgh Records nothing whatever is said of the execution of Charles I., and it is only on 10th February that an entry appears stating that the order for proclamation of Charles II. had been received late on the previous night. Immediately, at eleven o'clock in the forenoon, the whole Council marched two by two to the Cross in "ane comelie maner," and, standing on it uncovered, listened while the proclamation was made "with the gritest solempnitie." Afterwards all the bells of the city were rung till twelve o'clock.

The young king was then on the Continent, at The Hague, and commissioners were sent over to offer him the Crown of Scotland on condition that he should accept the National Covenant and Solemn League and Covenant, and give absolute compliance to the will of the Scottish Parliament and the General Assembly. After a year's bargaining, and the forlorn attempt to take the Crown by force of arms which ended in the capture and execution of the Marquess of Montrose, Charles agreed to the terms, and landed near the mouth of the Spey on 16th June, 1650. Meanwhile, within a month of proclaiming Charles II., the Scottish Parliament had handed a protest to the English House of Commons, which presently led to a rupture and war between the two countries. [Act. Parl. VI. pt. ii. 276.]

Glasgow was now to be called upon to stand the brunt of the Civil War, as it had not been called upon to do before, and the story of its fortunes during the three years that followed forms one of the darkest chapters in its annals. These troubles befell the city at a time when it was not too well prepared to meet them, and one can only conclude that it was upheld in the ordeal by a strong sense of the righteousness of the cause in which its blood and its treasure were spent and its other sufferings were incurred. For some previous three years, from 1645 till 1648, it had suffered from an infliction of pestilence which not only cut off many of its citizens and taxed its resources to the utmost, but which induced large numbers of people to leave the city in the hope of escaping the scourge. During those years considerable numbers of the poorer folk, suspected of contact with the disease, had had to be supported in temporary quarters on the Gallowmuir to the east of the city. The patience of the people had also been sorely tried by the requisitions of men for the keeping of a constant watch in all quarters of the burgh for the exclusion of plague-infected persons. At the same time the means and youth of the town had been depleted by the repeated levies of money and troops required for the sending of army after army into England, first to oppose Charles I., and afterwards to rescue him. [Burgh Records, ii. 144, 146, 151.]

You can read the rest of the Preface at

The index page of the book is at

The Scottish Historical Review
I have added a couple more articles from these publications...

A Scottish Charter-Chest
SIR JAMES RAMSAY has laid historical students under another and an unexpected obligation by publishing to the world the large series of deeds and other documents connected with his own estates in Forfarshire and Perthshire, from the early part of the thirteenth to the beginning of the eighteenth century. Apart from their value to the family in possession, the contents of a charter-chest have always more or less of general interest. They often throw curious light on the domestic life of bygone generations, and thus supply fresh data to the historian.

A Biographical Sketch of General Robert Melville of Strathkinness
GENERAL ROBERT MELVILLE was descended from the Melvilles of Carnbee, in the county of Fife, in Scotland, a branch of the antient and noble family of the same name, of which the chief is the Earl of Leven and Melville. The ancestor of the family is held to have been the first Norman who passed into Scotland. He was a person of distinction of Normandy, named De Malville or De Melville, who accompanied William the Conqueror into England, in the autumn of 1066. Meeting, however, with some cause of disgust from William, he, before the close of that year, secretly withdrew to the court of Malcolm Canmore, King of Scotland.

You can read these articles at

The Pioneers of Old Ontario
By W. I. Smith and Illustrations by M. McGillvray (1923)

I really enjoyed this book and hope you will too. There are many illustrations in the book which I think you'll enjoy. I have up several chapters for you to read this week...

Working into the Flat Country
Up Bruce and Huron Way
From Father to Son

Here is how the account starts from "Up Bruce and Huron Way"...


This story, which had its beginning in the neighbourhood of Brockville, was told me one June evening in 1898 by R. McLean Purdy as we sat together, where Eugenia Falls marks the opening of the picturesque valley of the Beaver. Mr. Purdy was boric near Brockville, but in 1.837 the family decided to move to where Lindsay now stands.

"From Brockville to Cobourg the trip was made in comparative comfort by steamer," Mr. Purdy began, "but after leaving Cobourg it was one trouble after another and each succeeding trouble seemed a little worse than the one just surmounted. Kingston Road appeared to be a bottomless sea of mud—mud which might have served for plastering houses but was a most unsatisfactory material for road-making. The first stop was near Port Hope, and there some of the family belongings, which were too heavy to move further in the then state of the roads, were temporarily stored with a relative. Our second night stop was at Oshawa, which was at that time just being `hatched out.' Next day we drove fifteen miles to Lake Seugog, and the following night people and horses were sheltered in the same building—that is, if the place deserved the name building. Earth formed the floor, there were great open spaces between the logs of which the walls were built, and we could count the stars overhead by looking up through the breaks in the roof. Luckily there was no rain that night. Next day men, women, and horses were once more close companions, all being herded together on a flat-bottomed boat for the voyage over Lake Scugog. Scugog then no more deserved the name of lake than the shelter of the night before deserved the name of house. It was a mass of marsh and grass, the only clear water being that in the channel followed by the scow. Camp was pitched on Washburn Island, and next day we reached our destination at the point where Lindsay is now located. A relative, Wm. Purdy, was living there. His father, Jesse Purdy, had lived on the Hudson before the American Revolution, and was given four hundred acres in return for building the first mill in Lindsay.

"The whole place was a tangled mass of cedar and hardwood; but visions of the future were present, and the remaining two hundred acres forming the townsite of to-day were sold in half acre lots at twenty and thirty dollars with five acre park lots at proportionate prices.

"In 1854, T moved to Meaford, following the route north of Seugog, south of Lake Simcoe, and up through Nottawasaga to what is now Duntroon. Duntroon has been a place of many names. When I first reached there, a man by the name of McNabb was keeping tavern and the place bore his name. Obe Wellings bought the tavern later, and the name of the locality changed with the change in ownership of the hostelry. Altogether there were at least a dozen changes of name before Duntroon was finally hit upon. Continuing on our way we found fairly good sleighing over the Blue Mountains, but when we struck Beaver Valley we were once more in liquid mud. The Parks and Heathcotes had settled in the valley before us and there were a few buildings in Meaford, one of these being occupied as a store by one of my brothers. Living in Meaford then were Wm. Stephens, D. L. Dayton, John Layton, and Philip and Frank Barber. After remaining a short time at Meaford, I pushed on to Eugenia Falls, where I made my permanent home.

"At that time, which was before the Northern Railway had been extended to Collingwood, supplies for Meaford were teamed from Barrie to Willow Creek, and from there they were floated down the Nottawasaga River to its mouth. They were then put on board bateaux, which, waiting for favourable wind, hugged the shore of Georgian Bay to Meaford.

"In the first years of the settlement, incoming settlers provided a sufficient market for the products of those who had arrived earlier. When a surplus was produced we had to team our stuff to Toronto, the journey occupying several days. Wheat disposed of, after all the labour involved in production and marketing, sold for a dollar a bushel. Return loads consisted of such things as salt, bought at from two dollars to two dollars and a half a barrel; calico, at twenty-five cents per yard, and tea, up to one dollar a pound.

"The first Houses in the valley consisted of two rooms, one above and one below, the upper floor being reached by a ladder. Instead of chairs we had benches made of split slabs. Beds and tables were made of the same material.

"A colony of beaver had a dam where Sloan's mill was afterwards built, but these timid animals left soon after white men began to come in. Near where Kimberley afterwards sprang up was a favourite resort for both deer and wolves, the ground frequently being tracked like a cattle-yard. Once, when I had occasion for some reason to retrace my steps, I found that a wolf had been stalking one.

"In the early days of the settlement, the men, after putting in their spring crops in the scanty clearings, went off in twos and threes to earn money in the more advanced settlements at `the front.' Meantime the women remained to keep lonely vigil in the log cabins, while the night wind was pierced by the howling of wolves in the neighbouring forest. Frail in body some of those women may have been, but granite in spirit they all were."

You can read the rest of this chapter at

The rest of the chapters can be read at

John Witherspoon
As John Witherspoon was a signatory to the American Declaration of Independence I thought it would be appropriate to put up a biography of him.

We now have various chapters up...

The Scotch Period

Chapter 1
Early Years and Environment
Chapter II
Chapter III

The American Period

Chapter I
Princeton College

Here is a bit from the final Chapter II of The Scotch Period...

WITHERSPOON began his ministry at Paisley in the fullness of his reputation, the recognized leader of the section which stood for orthodoxy and liberty. An ardent and sincere Calvinist, he accepted the Westminster Confession of Faith as his own personal belief. That creed, so far from binding men's consciences and minds, in his opinion liberated them. It has been wittily said by another Scotchman that "Calvinism is a sheep in wolf's clothing." Its doctrine of predestination has been represented as relentless and inescapable fate; foreordination has been supposed to destroy the freedom of the human will. It is not my purpose to discuss these dogmas. A study of Witherspoon's sermons and correspondence, a close following of his career, show that in these teachings, he found for himself, and believed the world would find, the strongest basis for hopefulness in that predestinating love and that foreordaining grace which mark believing men as the children of God and intend them to be transformed into the image of His Son. To the teaching of these doctrines he joyously and earnestly gave his life. His writings and sermons betray strength and sincerity of conviction. He does not search for arguments to bolster a belief, but for the best manner of presenting what are to him necessary and eternal truths. These doctrines are worthless in his opinion unless they produce strong and pure characters. In his controversy with the Moderates he said, "It is dangerous to claim respect for a creed if its teachers are not men of pure Christly life." A year after his transfer to Paisley he was chosen Moderator of the synod. His sermon on retiring from the chair in 1759 is a plea for high character in the minister of Christ. Personal character is worth more than intellectual zeal. "Is any minister more covetous of the fleece than diligent for the welfare of the flock; cold and heartless in his sacred work, but loud and noisy in promiscuous and foolish conversation; covering or palliating the sins of the great because they promote him; making friends and companions of profane persons; though this man's zeal should burn like a flame against antinomianism, and though his own unvaried strain should be the necessity of holiness, I would never take him to be any of its real friends." "If one set apart to the service of Christ in the gospel, manifestly shows his duty to be a burden and does no more work than is barely sufficient to screen him from censure; if he reckons it a piece of improvement how seldom or how short he can preach, and makes his boast how many omissions he has brought a patient and an injured people to endure without complaint; however impossible it may be to ascertain his faults by a libel, he justly merits the detestation of every faithful Christian." "Nothing does more hurt to the interest of religion, than its being loaded with a great number, who, for many obvious reasons, assume the form while they are strangers to the power of it." "As the gospel is allowed on all hands to be a doctrine according to godliness, when differences arise, and each opposite side pretends to have the letter of the law in its favour, the great rule of decision is, which doth most immediately and most certainly, promote piety and holiness in all manner of conversation."

Take these words from a sermon on the sacrifice of Christ. "Make no image of the cross in your houses, but let the remembrance of it be ever in your hearts. One lively view of this great object will cool the flames of unclean lust; one lively view of this great object will make the unjust man quit his hold; one lively view of this tremendous object will make the angry man drop his weapon; nay, one look of mercy from a dying Saviour will make even the covetous man open his hand." He was not a mystic but he had a genuinely devotional spirit. "Idleness and sloth," said this practical preacher, "are as contrary to true religion as either avarice or ambition." And on the other hand he says, "True piety points to one thing as its centre and rest, the knowledge and enjoyment of God." "Man was made for living upon God." Speaking of the temptations that beset humanity he said, "If sin give a man no rest, he should give it no quarter."

You can read the rest of this chapter at

The other chapters can be read at

The Concise Household Encyclopaedia
Have made another start at this publication and I'll be adding more pages over the next several weeks.

This week have added...

Celery, Celery Diseases, Cell in Electricity, Cellar, Cellarette, Cello, Cellulitis, Celluloid, Cellulose, Cement, Centigrade, Centipede, Central Heating, Centre, Centre Punch, Ceramics, Cereal, Cerebro-spinal Meningitis, Cereus.

You can see these at

The index page for this publication is at

Highlander and His Books
A book review by Frank Shaw on the book "Burns Illustrated".

Written in the year 2000, this scarce book is one every Burns scholar, collector, and enthusiast should have in his or her library if they are lucky enough to find a copy! The book is the twenty-fifth anniversary project of the Calgary Burns Club, and I am not exaggerating when I tell you that it is a very special publication. One of the reasons I admire the Calgary club is they do not simply “meet to eat” but they put their money behind great projects that benefit their community and the Burns and Scottish population at large. This book is a fine example of their philanthropic involvement.

You can read this review at

And that's it for now and hope you all have an enjoyable weekend and to our American friends hope you get the President you want :-)


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