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Susan Fenimore Cooper's School Notebook

A Manuscript
(transcribed by Hugh C. MacDougall)

This manuscript is the property of the Cooper Family; it is transcribed here with the kind permission of Henry S.F. Cooper, Jr., and Dr. Henry F.C. Weil

[may be downloaded and reproduced for personal or instructional use, or by libraries]

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Introduction

By Hugh C. MacDougall
(James Fenimore Cooper Society)

While a schoolgirl in Paris in 1831, Susan Fenimore Cooper (1813-1894) was given a bound blank notebook, presumably to keep class notes in. The book contains about 150 blank pages, approximately 18½ x 14½ cm., and has blue mottled boards and a green suede leather spine. The first approximately eight leaves have been removed by cutting, leaving fragments of text.
     Entries are mostly in ink; those in pencil are indicated by reproducing them in italics. This transcription reproduces the original pagination (separated by a horizontal line) and line endings. Underlining, letters in superscript, and strikethroughs are as in the original, as are spelling, punctuation, abbreviations, etc. Susan seems to have "set up" the notebook by placing subject headings (mostly music and graphic arts) at intervals before using it. Not all these subject headings were used, or used for the topics originally intended.
     There are inevitably places where Susan's notes are illegible or can only be given questionable readings. While we have consulted references in an effort to transcribe Susan's text accurately, we have not done so exhaustively, nor have we annotated our conclusions. Where we do not feel reasonably certain of our reading, we have appended a [?] and/or placed the questionable word or phrase in [square brackets]. Suggested corrections of the text should be sent to the Cooper Society.
     Although begun in Paris, Susan continued to use the notebook after the family's return to Cooperstown. And her father used the back of it (upside down) for a manuscript genealogy of the De Lancey family, evidently made while they were still in Europe -- this will be the subject of a separate transcription.
To facilitate use of this document, we place here a short table of contents of the principal topics covered:
Table of Contents
Advice for Piano Playing (in French) | English poets | Art -- Miniatures (in French) | Jewish History | Art -- Lithography (in French) | Middle East Geography | Literary Quotations | Inserted 1889 list of Episcopal Confirmations | Medieval Popes | Medieval Geography and History | Feudal Customs | Ecclesiastical Chronology | Classical Architecture | Chronology of British Buildings | "Yankeeisms" | Food Plant History
I wish to reiterate my appreciation to the Cooper family for permitting me to transcribe this notebook.

Hugh C. MacDougall (July 2000)


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[Inside Front Cover]

[octagonal printed book dealer's sticker reading:]

Aux Armes de France
DEROIRE
Md Papetier.
Rue St Honoré, N° 372
à Paris.

Tournefort -- Doubdan [?] -- Maundrell--
D'Arvieux-- Heymans [?] & Egmont --
Pallas -- Niebuhr -- Burckhardt -- Châteaubriand

Susan Fenimore Cooper [in pencil, another hand]

S.A.F.C.

Given to me by Mamma
Tuesday Oct. 25th 1831
59 Rue St. Dominique
Paris


Begun at Paris
Finished Cooperstown [in a later hand]

Volume 9th counting the
six cahiers. ---------


[some eight leaves removed]


Conseils pour bien jouer du Piano

Donnés par Madame Frantz dans mes differentes leçons
avec elle, ou le résultat de mes propres observations.

Pour bien jouer du piano il faut avoir un jeu
perlé, martelé, moëlleux, ne donnant à chaque note que sa juste
valeur -- et à chaque passage l'expression qui lui est
propre, ayant à-la-fois une touche très délicate et trés forte
si il est nêcessaire; que votre délicatesse ne soit
pas faiblesse; que votre force soit fermeté -- Ainsi
differents conseils pour obtenir un pareil résultat.

Il faut rendre chaque doigt aussi indépendent
des autres qu'il sera possible de le faire; aussi délié
que vous le pourrez.

Il faut que le mouvement vienne du doigt
seul qui doit tomber sur son bout, ni trop près
de l'ongle, ni trop àplat.

Votre poignet doit être aussi souple que
possible, jamais roïde, que votre force vienne de la main,
le doigt bras ne doit pas du tout s'en ressenter.

Appuyez aussi également que possible
chaque vos notes, qu'elles n'aient que leur juste valeur.

Placez votre bras de manière à ce que
la main tombe aisément sur les touches sans
courber le poignet.

Que vos doigts ne se levent pas trop des
touches, mais qu'ils puissent le faire sans vous donner la


moindre gêne.

En général que rien ne choque ni dans
la pose du corps ni dans celle des mains, que tout
soit gracieux, sans roideur.

Ne chargez jamais

Ne levez une note que lorsque celle qui la
suit est jouée; qu'un doigt se lève quand l'autre
tombe; c'est-à-dire qu'il n'y ait pas d'intervalle
entre les notes, mais qu'elles ne soient pas confondues
l'une avec l'autre.

Ayez un jeu ferme, pur, net et moëlleux;
pour cela que vos doigts soient entièrement indépendents
l'un de l'autre, sans la moindre roideur.


Pour l'expression

Il faut donner à chaque passage l'intention de
l'auteur. Il faut se pénétrer des sentimens que chaque
passage exprime et tâcher de les représenter dans votres
jeu.

Il faut faire attention au caracatère général du morceau
que vous jouez et l'avoir toujours en vu. S'il est
gai introduisez-y de temps en temps quelques petites
touches de mélancolie seulement pour lui donner du relief.
C'est-à-dire profitez des passages auxquels l'auteur
a donné cette intention pour en tirer tout le parti
possible, sans charger toutesfois; si le morceau est triste
mêlez-y quelque lueur de gaieté de temps en temps,
une note produit quelquefois un si heureux effet
que se répand sur tout le morceau.

De deux notes liées la première doit être appuyée,
la dernière enlevée.

Marquez bien la différence entre les points ronds
et les points longs en enlevaient.

Appuyez toujours une note que va rester pendant
quelque temps, la note pédale; ainsi qu'une note
sensible, ou une note qui marque un changement de
ton.

En fesant une suite d'octaves ou d'accords
ayez le poignet très souple, de même que lorsque vous avez
des basses en accords détachis, ou sautés, mais ne chargez
pas.

Appuyez ou plutôt restez un instant de plus sur
la première note d'une gamme ou d'une fusée.


Faites vos diminuendo et crescendo avec délicatesse
et gout.

Que sons sforzando et senozando déchirent l'âme.

De deux passages pareils que le premier
ait plus de simplicité, le second plus d'intention.
S'il y a quelques notes de différentes le seconde fois faites les remarquer
avec goût.

En général soyez gracieux, agréable au commence-
ment, déchirant en trainant à la fin; mais en ceci
comme en toutes choses ne perdez pas de vue
le caractère du morceau.

Jouez le thèème toujours avec beaucoup d'expression.

Marquez bien le différent caractère de chaque
variation quand il y en a.

Jouez les mineurs avec expression.

Dans les passages liés ayez beaucoup de moëlleux.

En jouant les batteries mettez-y un peu
de crescendo toujours, faites le avec grâce.

Soyez plaintif dans les adagio.

Jouez toujours en mesure exceptez en certains
passages où il faut se laisser diminuer par le
gout et le sentiment, ou ne pas sans charger.


Dans les morceaux à 3/8 ou à 6/8 marquez bien le
temps de valse.

Veillez à la mesure en jouant les contredanses,
ne la sacrifiez pas à l'expression, mais au contraire
faites la toujours sentir quoiqué avec beaucoup de
délicatesse dans certains passages; qu'il n-y ait jamais
de confusion dans les contredanses.

Battez la mesure aussi distinctement que
possible en jouant les valses.

Faites de même avec les galops.

Que vos gammes soient aussi perlées que
possible.

Appuyez toutes les notes de vos accords.

Quand vous avez une note staccata derivée
d'une accord ou d'une note appuyée, faites jouer
le poignet; et faites un peu attendre la dernière sur
laquelle la main doit tomber un peu lourdement.

Faites attention à l'égalité dans les passages
arpégiées, les petites notes, les cadences, & &

Qu'il-y ait du flou du vague dans certains
passages.

Que votre main puisse être ou légère ou
lourde tout-à-fait à votre volonté.


Phrasez bien ce que vous jouez, quelque fois
en sacrifiant la mesure quand c'est nécessaire,
c'est-à-dire quand le gout le demande.

Marquez bien les notes syncopées.


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English Poets

Cowley 1618, father grocer, prints at 13; politician;
a royalist; bachelor; -- Works: Trees [?], Davideis an
epic. ---------

Denham, 1615 gent; Dublin; royalist; Cooper's Hill.

Milton 1608 father a lawyer; London ----


[3 blank pages]


Observations sur la Miniature

Il faut qu'une miniature soit aussi légère de
couleurs que possible, c'est à dire que les couleurs soient
le moins epaisses possible. Il faut que le trait soit très
légèrement tracé. On doit arriver au ton petit-à-petit
ou commençant par des teintes pâles. Il faut que
les couleurs soient plus liquides que pour l'aquarelle.
Il faut bien se garder d'empater en fisant de la
miniature; en général la miniature demande des pinceaux
plus carrés que l'aquarelle. Il faut se servir
du talon de son pinceau et ne pas trop travailler
sur la pointe, autrement on risque de faire un
ouvrage sablé et pas largement fait. Cette dernière
observation s'applique également à la miniature et
à l'aquarelle.


[1 blank page]


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Soros Greek for Sarcophagus, last Latin word of
time of Pliny -- Intaglios from Egypt, beetle shape
cameos more modern, but one ancient Greek
cameo, that of Thebes -- ancient theatres facing
sea & nat. form of mountain when possible --
Acre very ancient, cel.d by Crusades; Joppa
said antedeln, Noah built ark here says trad.
Gothic architec. said origd fm palm-leaves meeting.
Fountain of Virgin at Nazareth ---
Plain of Esdraelon, fertile & beautiful ---
Mount Thabor isolated; Sisera & Barak; --
Gothic castle of Santorini near anc.t Samaria ---
Naplous anc. Sichem: tombs of Joseph, Eleazar &
Joshua: between Gerizim & Ebal: Jacob's Well &
Jacob's field ---- Jerusalem, Mosque Omar finer
than St. Sophia; no windows lower stories; latticed above.
Tomb of Helena; tombs like Telmessus & Tiberias;
Fountain Siloa; Oak [?] Angel [?]; Isaih sawed [?] in two; ---
Mt. Olives; Solomon's high places, David's exile
view of Dead Sea; -- Bethlehem, David's well.
Terebinthine Vale of Elah, Jesse's sons --- drama [?]
St. George, --- Caesaria built by Herod 10 years ---


[1 blank page]


Observations sur l'Aquarelles

Titus takes temple 10th Aug. 70; anniversary of
dest. of first temp. by Neb. ---- triumph of Ves.
& Titus at Rome. ---- Masada on Dead Sea, gar.
kill each other --- Josephus lives & dies Rome, fav.
of Emp; also Agrippa no issue --- S

Law School Tiberias --- Bareschab false
Messiah --- Trajan builds Rom. city on ruins Jerus.
calls Elia; -- 45 Patriarch of West. Tiberias & Prince
of Captivity at Babylon. 200 rich Jews in China ---
Zenobia Jewish descent --- Sardinia --- Crete ---
Patriarchate West dest. Thedosius 429 --- Jews slave
merchants --- Jews in Arab; Jews km of Homerites
pers.d in Ar-by, Mohamet; agree with Moors in Spain.
Prosp.r und. Charlemagne & Louis le Débonnaire.
Embassy of Isaac to Haroun al Raschid 810.
Jews fininaciers & physicians --- In Spain learned,
Moses Maimonides (in 12th) returns to Egypt --
Prince of Captivity 934 extinct, beheaded,
Jews of Bab. disperse, sons of P. of Cap. to
Spain, house of David --- Massacres at time
of 1st Crusade 1100 --- German cities, orig. of Hep! [?]
Hiersolyma est perdita -- badges blue -- separated
fm Christians -- Popes rather protect them --
1381 Jews expelled for last time fm France
under Charles VI --- Expelled fm England


Cabala precedent. Nishma Comment -- Talmud Tradition,
includes others; ---- Karaïtes red reject all Talmud.


under Edward I 1290, property all to king; libraries
convents; number 16,000, return clandestinely
under Cromwell --- Jews expelled fm Spain
by Ferd. & Is. 1492. sufferings in Marocco ---
[new cnty rcd ?] fm Italy or Germany
False Messiah Sabba Thai Sebi, gen.y fol.d living
Turk. dies 1676 in castle near Belgrade ---
Frank another 1750, at Vienna and Brün,
lives in splendor, sect call selves Zoharites,
dies 1791 --- Jews numerous in Poland;
natn law attempted in Eng. 1753 but obd to given up.
Jews exd fm Vienna by Leop. I whose Jew. mist.
shot crossing a bridge -- 5,000,000 at present;
few in Alexandria. in Baddad 5,000 -- most numerous
in Poland


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Miscellaneous

Temples Jupiter always Doric --- Tripod Delphi
Hippodrome at Constantinople, Brazen Horses
at Venice also fm Hippodrome,


[6 blank pages]


Observations sur le dessin

[7 blank pages]


Observations sur la Lithographie

Il faut avoir son crayon taillé comme une
aiguille long et fin, on fait entrer le crayon
dans la pierre à force de repasser dessus
si on restait seulement sur la surface la p'ère
impression enleverait tout. On attaque les
ombres franchement. Il ne faut jamais pointiller
pour la raison déjà donné. On ne peut jamais
effacer, excepté en grattant tout et recommançant.
Quand il y a des épaisseurs de crayon on enlève
ce qu'il y a de trop avec une aiguille. ---


[1 blank page]


The East

Turks and Persians not architects; T. mosques
gen.y 4 minarets, sometimes 6; Pn rarely any --
No public fountains in Persia, very common in
Turkey --- in Armenia houses half subn and of mud;
in Persia mud also; mosques mud also; ancient
Persians not appear to been architects, few ruins ---
No roads, camel tracks, ancient Roman roads
appear lost; --- Naked rocky hills mountains,
Asia Minor, Mesopotamia, Armenia & &
great tracts without trees; plains with grass;
occasionally a castle with towers, a Roman bridge;
--- much in Armenia as in days of Xenophon, mud
sub.n houses --- Lake of Van large; barley & straw
houses; Van sup.d by Samarians; antiquities, caverns
mounds --- Lake of Ourmiah, road near Kehoy,
only 5 feet deep but nearly 50 miles long ----
Persia, barren, ragged mountains; naked
plains, grass, sometimes salt, scarcely any trees
of nat. growth; mud villages, vineyards
river fronts, cream-coloured poplars -- people
lively & false; potatoes & tobacco -- (Maize Asia Minor)


[2 blank pages]


Mt. Demavend 12000 feet high seen 200 miles near
Teheran; peasants more at ease than Turks, [meat ?]
lying; --- few rivers; little water, or rain, irrigation
Hamadan Ecbatana 710 A.C.; fragments of sculp.
& coins -- Kenghevar Concobar [?], ruins temple fm
Extray peak at Bisitoun, perp.r on one side,
blocks of stone & columns at base, inscriptions
Median Gates Tagris Pylae, sing.r pass in mts,
Fire worshippers; Yezidees, devil-worshipers,
pagans in small numbers ---- Soofeism,
Puritans of Mahom.m ---- Desert; ferry of inflated
skins; tombs of Zobeide wife of Haroun al Raschid
15,000 Jews; boats like bowls of skin, since
Herodotus; --- Arbela on artl mound like
many other old towns of Mesopotamia ---
Mossoul Nineveh; tomb of Jonah ---
a year to make a camels-hair shawl.


[2 blank pages]


Extracts ---

Every man of sense is a judge of paintings but a
[common sense ?] ---- Hogarth

If angels were to write books, they would not
write folios --- Goldsmith ---

On voit bien que sans vous efforcez d'être plaisant;
mais ce n'est pas le moyen de l'être.
               Lettre de Racine

-- the minstrel file drew near
And made me prize the listening ear.
                Scotts Bl of Triermain

Where lives the man that has not tried,
How mirth can into folly glide,
     And folly into sin!
               Scotts Triermain

"The promises of princes ought not to be too carefully
          Princes should not
remembered, nor the performance of them exacted
unless it suits their own conveniency," said Marie
de Guise, mother of Mary Q. of Scots.----


Florence

Of all the fairest cities of the Earth
None is so fair as Florence ---------
                                         'Tis the Past
Contending with the Present; and in turn
Each has the mastery.

Rogers


[22 blank pages]


Architecture

Arabs great architects; Turks not at all


[3 blank pages]


Armies

160,000 pounds revenue of a rich Roman Senator
15,000 men in each legion at largest nuimber; army gl.
power 400,000 men ---- Justinian conq.d Africa fm ---
Vandals with 15,000; Italy from OsGoths with 7500 ---


[13 blank pages]


Ancient Geog.y

Tyrins in Homer, ruins extant. Mycene do -- --
Joppa very ancient -- Sinope. Milesian ----


[11 blank pages]

[loose slip of paper inserted]

Names of Persons Confirmed
June 17 - 1889.
Ransom Spafard Hooker
Walter Hodge Bunn Jr.
Mrs. Grace Hellene Bunn
Mrs Cassia Moore
Delia Murkly
Lillian Van Nort
Elizabeth Boden
Maud Heath
Wilfred Roselle
DeWitt Hills
Frederick Heams [?] Edick [?]
-------------- 11 persons ---


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Popes

1073 Hildebrand Gregory VII. Soana in Tuscany; he first ob.d that
Pope and other Bishops be no longer elected by clergy and people
of their diocese; but Pope by Card and other Bs by Pope and chapter
Infallibility also -- calls Normans to Rome who burn city -- His
rights disputed by Emps and kings.
115-- Alexander III. Fred Barbarossa -- war of
investitures; Alessandria di Paglia; Guelphs & Ghibellines.
Innocent III 1197-1216 Roman noble Cte di Segni; Fred II inquisition.
Dominicans and Franciscans -- burns paterini & cathari sort of
puritans
-- more religious than temporal power ---
Gregory IX 122-- Frederic II burns paterini and cathari; sort of Puritans ---


Spain
Geography (Middle Ages)

Seville very rich; Ponce de Leon & Guzman feud
spot for auto da fe stone, statues of the Prophets
at corners; observatory, fine, one of first---
Cordova Mosque very old and covers great space
next largest church to St. Peters ---
Rosas a Phocan town; Cadiz i.e. Gades one of
most ancient towns in world; sup.d older than Carthage
or Rome; also Malaga, Ilmeria & &
Sargossa celebrated for martyrs as well as siege. ---
all the pop. was ordered to be killed at one time ---
Tangiers very ancient town --- Marocco founded by
                    after Mahomet ---
Constantinople taken by Latins 1204;
Florence rebuilt about 800; dest.d by Attila. Palazzo Vecchio built 1298 in
time of Dante, also the Loggia, Santa Croce and Sta
Maria del Fiore about same time. The Bronze doors of
Battisteria cast by Andrea di Pisa in 1300; the right to ring tocsin
a privilege g.d to towns by Emperors; bells int.d in churches about 500.
Palazzo Pitti built by Luigi Pitti comy of Cosimo de Medici 1440 by
runaway felons --- Savonarola burnt in Piazza Vecchia.
Pisa took the lead in civilization, remained a long time
a republic connected with Constan.l; Leaning tower, Duomo
and Battisteria built 1063 to 1200, commenced about
time Macbeth reigned in Scotland and Wm Conq.r in
England and Normans in Lower Italy.


Italy Florence destroyed by Attila; rebuilt
under Charlemagne.

Venice commenced 452 in.s of Attila; Rialto chosen as chief
isle in 824; not long after body of St Mark bt from
Alexandria ---

Rome entered by Alaric, k. of Goths in 410; little harm Attila not enter it;
but Vandals under Grassire called in by Antonia widow of Val III dreadful
havoc; Alaric not so much of Bourbon -- Alaric buried in bed of a
river at Cosinga.

Pictish Walls 1st by Agricola [Sep Severno ?], 81; form by from
Clyde to Forth; 2nd by Adrian 120, from Newcastle to
Carlisle ---


Switzerland Zurich; Lucerne; Dissentis; St Gall 623 Clothaire II
Nyon-Noviodunum 158 a Cr -- battle betwn Divichio & Cassius 111 BC
Windish and [Avertius ?] -- vines in Valais 211 -- Christianity in
Zurich and [Solense font.d ?] Henrick Vogelsteller 932.


[1 blank page]


England

Windsor Windlesore; or winding shore -- Richmond Shene
i.e. Shoen ---


[30 blank pages]


Feudal customs. ----

In France those only were barons, peers, strictly speak.
who immediate vassals of Crown before Hugues
Capet -- of these were but three Bourbon, Coucy, & Beaujeu or Beaujolais in Ph. Aug. however
they numb.d 59 ---
Predial servitude existed in some few instances
in Eng. as late Elizabeth ----
Serfs existed in some parts France until Revolution --- About
1450 parle. de Toulouse were required to return some
Catalonian serfs who had fled to France, but decided
Quiconque entre au royaume en criant France
est libre --- The liberty of our kingdom such
says Mezerai that "as air com.s freedm to those
who breathe it and our kings to oug.t to reign
over any but free man" -- (This much in spirit
of Eng. declaimers who have nations of slaves in
East, or Ireland next door) ----
1130 Philippe 1er Roi de France était vassal du
comte de Sancerre pour le vicomté de Bourges et fit
hommage comme tel -- Aboli par Ph. le Bel en 1313.


[45 blank pages]


Ecclesiastical

Holy War in Churches 120-
Fonts instituted 167-
Church-yards consecrated 217-
Cardinals instituted 308-
Council of Nice 325-
Marriage in Lent forbidden 364-
Bells in Churches 606
Clocks and dials 615
Jerusalem taken by Saracens 687-
Surplice introduced 786
Bells first England Croyland Abbey 945-


[4 blank pages]


Architectural

Temples of Jupiter Doric; of Venus gen. Cor.
Most ancient ruins: Temple of Cybele at Sardis
Jupiter Panhellenius, Egina before Trojan war
Tyrins near Argos & Mycene are more ancient
still & Cyclopean, part of walls of Argos,
of [Syrian ?] also, & Crotona in Italy -- Paestum
or Posidonia unknown, but with Jup. Pan.
most perfect Doric in world; sup.r to Parthenon
says artist Lusieri; probably date 1000 years
before Christ


[4 blank pages]


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532 Carisbrooke Castle built --
600 Bells in Churches (invented at Isola 400)
670 Building in stone in England by Bennet a
          monk
696 Churches built in England
854 Church of St. Giles in Edinburgh
945 Bells in Croyland Abbey, Lincolnshire
960 Castleton castle, Isle of Wight
1005 Old Churches rebuilt
Newcastle built by William I 1078
1080 Tower of London
1128 Holyrood Abbey
1136 Cathedral Glasgow
1163 London Bridge Stone


1233 Houses in London, Paris & & thatched with
          straw


[25 blank pages]


Yankeeisms Traced

This was the mede of loving, and guerdon
That Medea received of Duke Jason,
Right for her truth and for her kindnesse,
That loved him better than herself I guesse.

Chaucer

What should I say?

He is so plaguey proud, that the death to hear of it
Cry -- no recovery.

Shakespeare


[5 blank pages]


Botany ---- (Trees

[9 blank pages]


Botany ---- (Flowers

Ice-plant: from Athens, to England about 1700
Carob or Acacia the locust of scripture,
also husks eaten by prodigal son -----
Lemons brought from India to Rome, called
Italian apples --- Cherries. Asia Minor. Lucullus;
Gardening introduced into England 1509; before that
imported vegetables from Low Countries ---
Currants in England from Zante 1533 -- Pears
cultivated and cherries 1550 --- Henry VII lime or
apple cost 1 or two shillings; red apples dearest ----


[12 blank pages]


15 pages used (upside down and in reverse order) by James Fenimore Cooper for genealogy of De Lancey Family [transcribed separately]


[14 blank pages]


[inside rear cover]

Nations are quickly chastened for their vices and crimes, for
them morality is identical with good policy; but individ-
uals, of whose existence we see but the beginning, await
a different retribution.

Sismondi ------


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