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The Story of the Mountain
Mount Saint Mary's College and Seminary

Mary E. Meline & Edward F.X. McSween

Published by the Emmitsburg Chronicle, 1911

Chapter 68  | Chapter Index

Chapter 69: 1893-1894

Gathering up other historic incidents of this year 1893, we find that Dr. Charles Carroll Lee, '56, president of the Medical Society of the County of New York, died in that city. His funeral there was attended by about five hundred physicians, but the manner of Maryland was not observed and there was no sermon, though his brother, Father Thomas S. Lee, ex-'60, said the Mass.

On June 28th the new Mountaineer came out.

An alumni scholarship fund was started, and five thousand dollars being the sum required, Caesar Grasselli, Sc. D., of Cleveland, gave five hundred dollars and offered five hundred more for every forty-five hundred raised by the alumni.

Henry Gallagher, '76, M. D., died in Baltimore, grandson of Joseph Baugher and grandnephew of James Baugher, '39, of Emmitsburg, who was for many years president of the Gettysburg College.

William B. Walker, '32, writes from Fort Wayne to the Emmitsburg Chronicle his last letter on the great needs of society and turns to the place where he " was taught to think aright and to act and speak as he thought."

The chronicler is happy to produce the following letter of Alfred D. V. Watterson, of the Pittsburg Bar, long president of the alumni association. It was addressed to a daily of that city and is dated Pittsburg, July 22, 1893.

Editor Leader: In the interest of fair play I desire to call attention to an alleged interview with President Eliot, of Harvard College, which I have just run across, and which was published lately in the Boston Pilot.

It seems that a short time ago the directors of Harvard passed a resolution declaring in substance that after a certain date no applicant would be received in the law department unless he were the recipient of a degree of arts or had taken a course of study of equal importance in one of about eighty colleges mentioned. This list of colleges comprised institutions in all parts of the country, not one of which, however, was a Catholic college. When this fact was brought to the attention of President Eliot, it is alleged that he at first stated that the omission was purely unintentional, but upon further discussion of the subject he made the remarkable statement that the students taking degrees in Catholic colleges are not so tar advanced as students receiving an equal degree in other institutions, and he then made the still more remarkable statement that "the directors of the Catholic colleges hare generally received only or chiefly the education of priests!"

Where President Eliot received his information is a source of wonder to me, because I have kept myself reasonably well posted upon the course of studies in Catholic colleges in general, and of several of the leading Catholic colleges in particular, and I have not the least hesitation in characterizing his utterances in these respects as wholly incorrect. Comparisons are generally odious and I therefore am sorry to be compelled to individualize, but when a broad claim of that kind is made the sooner its absurdities are shown up the better for all parties concerned.

Not to mention a host of Catholic institutions whose graduates rank in knowledge with any of Harvard's, I will mention only Mount St. Mary's College, Emmitsburg, Maryland; Georgetown, Notre Dame and Fordham, the average graduate of which, from my observation, is equal in any respect to any of Harvard's.

In my class, 1875, at Mount St. Mary's College, there were seven members two of whom after graduating attended the Harvard law school, viz., Messrs. Malone and Stauffer, and out of a class of 200 my recollection is that those gentlemen stood among the first ten. President Eliot has himself in his own possession the means of ascertaining the truth in regard to this statement.

I have noticed, too, that in their knowledge of the classics the Harvard graduates are not to be compared with the graduates of any one of the four institutions I hare named, while in moral philosophy, mathematics, mechanics, English literature, etc., the graduates of these colleges are fully the equals of the Harvard men.

In relation to the averment that the professors in the Catholic colleges "have recejred only the education of priests," I need only say, in addition to the fact that the statement is incorrect, that ordinary observation by any competent and fair-minded individual will prove the nonsense of the assertion.

At the last commencement at Harvard that institution honored the Rt. Rev. John J. Keane, rector of the Catholic University of Washington, by conferring npon him the honorary degree of LL. D., and although this was not the first instance in the history of that institution of conferring honorary degrees upon Catholics, yet it was one of the few rare instances, and tended to show that it proposed to continue to be at least reasonably liberal. This latter action of the directors has taken away the force of the honor conferred upon Bishop Keane, and I regret it exceedingly, more for their own sake and in the interest of that worthy institution, than because of the effect it will have upon the people against whom the resolution is aimed. I feel convinced that the latter are abundantly able to take care of themselves, and that the action of the former will only result in what is very much desired by some of the Catholic colleges having law departments attached to them, particularly Georgetown, viz. the securing of a larger attendance of Catholic graduates, which it most assuredly should do. I feel convinced also that if the directors of Harvard will give the matter the attention it deserves, they will very soon abandon the position they have taken, and I ardently hope that they will go on a tour of inspection among the Catholic colleges and learn something about them. A. V. D. Watterson.

Of Mr. Malone we spoke further back. Mr. Isaac Stauffer was from New Orleans. With reference to this subject the chronicler makes this statement: Monsignor Byrne, Vicar-General of Boston, said, November 23, 1906, that Notre Dame and Georgetown had been on Harvard's list of eighty colleges, but the Jesuits had intimated that Holy Cross, etc., should be entered also as being equal to Georgetown, and Father Byrne himself had spoken for Mount St. Mary's, whereupon President Eliot, being angered also perhaps on account of the accusations of proselytism, etc., dropped all Catholic colleges. There was a controversy later between him and the President of Boston College, S. J. as to the progressiveness of Jesuit education, which the Harvard President aspersed. Dr. Eliot's attack was printed in the Atlantic, but that magazine refused to publish Father Brosnahan's rejoinder which was then printed and circulated as a pamphlet.

A professor of the Mountain published in the New York Sun at that time the statement of Rev. J. Havens Richards S. J., then President of Georgetown, himself a Harvard man, that the average bachelor of arts from Mount St. Mary's or Georgetown was at least equal to one from Harvard, and that even in the matter of success in life, the Catholic graduates were just as successful, or indeed more so.

An idea of the Mountain scholarship existing at this period may be drawn from the translation of

A Choral Ode

From Oedipus Rex

O voice of Jove.' 0 voice, sweet-toned and clear! Why from Delphi's golden-fretted shrine Art come to shining Thebes? In trembling fear Pale. I await thine awe-inspiring sign, O Delian King!

Whether now some portent thou'lt unfold That once again Time's circling round hath brought, Whether portent new, nor yet unrolled To mortal view, revealed to mortal thought,

I pray thee sing, Voice from1 heaven, child of Hope, all-gold!

Athene, deathless maid, thee first of all, And earth-protecting Artemis, High-throned amid the circling mart, I call; And the far-darting Lycian: Ye mighty banishers of woe, Apollo's mystic answer show; If, when the city was harassed by fate, Aided by you did the sorrow abate; Come now again, and with powerful care Lighten the evils I numberless bear.

A curse is on your Theban land, A curse no mortal can withstand, Thought finds no weapon of defence Against the ruthless pestilence, No crop nor far-famed meadow thrives, Nor rise from travail's pangs the wives. But each with others you might see E'en as a bird swift-winged doth flee, Than quenchless flame more fiercely swift As to the western shore they drift.

To gloomy Pluto's dark domain The countless multitudes of slain. And on the deadly plain The hosts unpitied lie, While sadly sounds the strain, The suppliant, prayerful cry Of maids and matrons hoar Who at the altar-stone Their many ills deplore, Their many straits bemoan, And a wailing harmony blendeth As the clear-toned paean ascendeth.

Wherefore, golden child of Zeus, Send blessed help I pray; Force the loudly-shouting Mars His fiery course to stay, Who unarmed of spear and shield My countrymen doth smite; Speed him exiled from the land, Till back he takes his flight To hoary Neptune's mansions deep, And Amphitrite's vast domain Or where the Euxine surges leap On Thrace's rude and barren plain.

And Thou, O father Zeus, The fiery lightning's might, With crushing levin-bolt This god-destructive blight; O Lycian King, thou too, Thine aid all-puissant bring. Thine adamantine darts, Thy golden-twisted string; And Dian' s gleaming splendors, darts that fill Her quiver, as she scours the Lycian hill; And Bacchus golden-crowned To whom this land gave name, And whom in accents loud The Menads wild proclaim; Compel fierce Mars, thou ruddy god of wine To flee disgraced thy flashing torch of pine. William T. Cashman. '93.

Basil Elder, brother of Abp. Elder, died in Baltimore, aged 82. He had entered the college in 1825 and stayed several years. He was a healthy, genial son of Maryland to the last. Helena, the only sister of these octogenarian Elder brethren, died at the Convent about this time, aged 88.

A festival was held this fall, 1893, to repair the Old Church on the Hill, which was still in charge of the College clergy, and $800 was raised.

At this period a greater or less number of boys used to stay at the College for the Christmas holidays and amuse themselves with horseback riding or sleigh rides, or musical and literary entertainments or such. The horseback ride to Gettysburg and its battle-field was perhaps the most diverting, owing to the immense variety in the skill of the cavaliers, the ungainliness of the farm-horses, the wretched state of the housings, the occasional severity of the weather, etc., etc. But how try to describe how a dozen boys amuse themselves on horseback? The condition of the poor brutes, however, on being restored to their owners was such that the latter refused to furnish steeds any more, and it became very difficult, or even impossible, to keep the boys in good humor, especially if the weather were disagreeable, while the daily newspapers and letters from companions, and above all, imagination, caused them to picture their friends at home enjoying themselves in a way that the Christmas Carol scarce realizes. It was totally otherwise before the Civil War, when students to a great extent, as well as teachers, stayed at home, that is, at the College, and were provided with all the innocent entertainment that the holy and joyous season demanded, and that the simple manners of the time supplied.

February 16, 1894. To-day an American of the Dakota Tribe applied for private training to the priesthood, one of the most difficult and ill-advised things both for the candidate and for his instructors, which nevertheless this College was occasionally asked to supply. He was placed in the class for which he was found fitted and was treated like the rest, but did not stay long.

The debt was now found to be so low that it seemed safe as well as good policy to introduce needed improvements rather than to pay it all at once.

As a necessary part of their education it was this year decided to pass the plate amongst the boys at Mass, the same as amongst the rest of the congregation.

In a Lenten Pastoral this year Bp. Watterson, of Columbus, '65, ex-President of the College, forbade persons engaged in the liquor business to become officers in Catholic societies of which they were already members, or to be admitted into such societies for the future. An appeal of the most formal kind was made to the Apostolic Delegate Satolli against this extraordinary and most radical legislation, but the bishop was sustained. It was the boldest and most consistent measure affecting the " liquor question" ever taken, at least to the chronicler's best belief, but was a logical inference from the decree No. 263 of the Third Plenary Council, which bids all children of the Church who happen to be engaged in that traffic to "seek a decenter way of making a living." The utterly American character of the College is revealed in this action of this her son and ninth President.

The college received this year, 1894, life-insurance money: $3,000 from ex-President Byrne; $1,132.75 from Father Edward Martin, '68; $1,000 from Father James Duffy, '60; $1,052.68 from Father Martin Fallen, '65.

It was at last decided to build a reservoir at once and introduce water, and also to repair the Old Church on the Hill.

The Catholic University on April 21 informed us that we could obtain the power of conferring the degree of Bachelor of Theology at the end of the third year's study of that science, on certain conditions, one being that the University should appoint a person to preside at the oral examination of candidates.

Commencement exercises began on Sunday, June 24, with a baccalaureate sermon at the solemn High Mass in the Old Church on the Hill. On the days following the seminarians who had been on retreat were ordained priests, several of the students gave scientific lectures, and the prize-speaking contest took place. On Wednesday twenty graduates, a notable number, received the degree of Bachelor of Arts, and one that of Bachelor of Science. Many former graduates were created Masters and several obtained the Doctorate of Laws.

The Cardinal Archbishop presided at the annual meeting and election, at which the same officers were chosen. The question of detaching the parish from the College was discussed, and the Cardinal finally consented to appoint Rev. John B. Manley, who had been teaching with us for a year, to take charge of the parish under supervision of the President, to whom he was to hand all the revenue and from whom he was to receive eight hundred dollars a year and board. It may be interesting here to record that the entire income, all sources included, from the parish did not at last accounting reach the figure of eight hundred dollars. There was great commotion among the people at hearing of the separation, which took place November 27, 1894, they being naturally apprehensive when brought face to face with the prospect of building a church as well as a pastoral residence and supporting their pastor. It is true they had had pastors formerly, but these were identified with the College and resided there. President Alien handed c 7er to the new pastor the latter's salary to Jan. 1,1896, and all moneys collected for repairing the Old Church on the Hill and other purposes, and Father Mauley afterwards taking, with the large-minded Cardinal's permission, a vote of the people, decided to abandon the latter place and build a new church on the pleasant combe below.

During vacation the new reservoir was begun, but President Alien took seriously ill. Father Bradley and Father O'Hara came to the College to assist and care for him, and he recovered.

Water was let into the reservoir Sept. 11, and every one felt that a great step in advance had been taken.

This Fall the Hermitage was removed, St. Vincent's chapel extended southward, the number of students continuing to increase, and the boys no longer went up the Hill, which they had climbed for eighty-six years, but had High Mass at 8.30 a. m. and Vespers at 5 p. m. in the College chapel. This gave them more time for unbroken recreation, and secured them for the first time special preaching. Up to this the preacher was obliged to keep in mind that he had a very mixed auditory, students, seminarians, grown people of the parish, persons of each sex and color and every age. Hence, as we said to the Cardinal when broaching the separation, neither the people nor the boys ever get a sermon suited to their special needs : as for the latter this was made up elsewhere in their sodalities etc., but the pastor's talk rarely took place, or when it did, furnished no edification but rather amusement to the Collegians, and hence was seldom or never had. Moreover professors were much more liable than parish clergy to take cold crossing the mountains on a sick call, or else came late on this account, even if they did not omit class entirely. Leaving other considerations aside, it is healthier in every way for the people to support those from whom they receive the Bread of Life: if "the laborer is worthy of his hire," it is a matter of justice for those benefitted to pay this hire, and without practicing justice they cannot have robust spiritual life.

October 11, 1894. The Barbecue Paper was read after breakfast and occupied an hour and a half, but was listened to with interest by Faculty as well as by students. This year's paper was delicate, tasteful and clever. It was in prose and verse intermingled, and consisted in the main of a romaunt interspersed with quips and cuts and dashes at various companions who had become notable for any assailable peculiarity. A list was hung up, which the boys read after every meal was over, and in which every one found his nickname, often marvelously well-fitting and frequently lasting as long as life. Indeed it was quite common for boys to remember and recognize one another by the nickname to the forgetfulness of the proper one, years and years after they had left College. After the reading the appointed ones dressed each for his role more or less ludicrously, and were hauled by their companions in a chariot borrowed from the farm down to the athletic field, where the costumes were doffed and the sports began.

Among the efforts in verse, the following, dedicated to the disciples of Sir Walter Raleigh, is quoted as a specimen of the typical rhymes in the paper:

The Smoking Alley Band. (Sung at the Centennial Celebration.)

I. Beneath St. Mary's leafy mount there is a lovely spot, Ensconced so snug amid the trees 'twill never be forgot; It is our Alma Mater dear, none fairer in the land, And oft are sung her praises by the Smoking Alley Band

II. They gather at the vesper hour beneath the spreading trees, And oft these sounds of' dull-set' strains are wafted on the breeze: "Kentucky Home," "Down on the Farm," "We're Going Home Tomorrow," And if tobacco you possess, the whole blamed gang will borrow.

III. They argue subjects most abstruse : St. Thomas, Aristotle ; Psychology, cosmology and ethics, too, they throttle. They understand the silver bill, and tariff or protection, No man can make a statement there that doesn't meet objection.

IV. They talk and smoke, and sing and joke. Beneath the trees they snooze, In early June, when wild-bees croon, A shady spot they choose. All thoughts then roam to 'Home, Sweet Home,' Each day seems like an age. They'd like much more the stream or shore Than scanning learning's page.

V. Unto that crowd we feel quite proud These jinglings to indite. Ne'er may you need the fragrant weed, Nor means to strike a light. At set of sun, when day is done, And voices heavenward soar, Oh then may all to mind recall The boys of Ninety-Four.

1894. Prof. Charles Jourdan, who had been away in Mexico for three years and at Seton Hall for two, returned to the College this fall. Many illustrated lectures were delivered this winter.

One of the revivers of the Mountaineer in 1894, a lover of nature whose graceful pen becomes as it were a pencil to picture her beauties, thus describes some of the walks around the Mountain. The old man writes of men, the young one of scenery.

" . . . ' The Pike' is the Regina Viarum of the countryside and a favorite with all students. It is frequented on class days, when time is precious, or on free days when there is no thought of the hour ; and whether it rain or shine, there are surely found along its course occasional bands of student pedestrians. The road runs for a distance of about seven miles between the villages of Emmitsburg and Mechanicstown, Md., and thence on through Frederick to Washington. It boasts of a macadamized surface, but its zigzag course is complete evidence that it little knew of engineering. It wanders right and left through the valley. On it the blue hills, which now stand up to the sky in the heights of Indian Lookout, and now dip down with wavy curves in Achilles' Bow, cast .their shadows. Now it passes by well-kept houses and gardens; now by comfortable looking farms, and at last it climbs over hills, ever unprotected from the wintry blasts or the summer's heat. Two or three streams cross it meanwhile, the most important being Tom's Creek, in whose limpid depths a bed of mountain sand is seen. An old covered bridge carved with many initials of students and wayside tourists crosses over, adding, with its black rafters, a touch of romantic beauty to the scene. Surpassing in interest all other objects are the rail fences, which afford us seats, where we sit and discuss all manner of topics and sing the college songs. Moreover, connected with ' The Pike' are several walks which have admirers. Chief among these are 'Featherbed' and 'Cherry' Lanes. The former would be good enough if cobblestones were down, while the latter is attractive chiefly when the fruit, after which it is named, is ripe on the numerous trees. The home of many happy hours, 'The Pike,' will ever be a fond memory in the hearts of 'Mountaineers.'

"There is another walk very popular. This one, totally different from 'The Pike' in scenery and in location, leads to Indian lookout. Leaving the College by the back terrace-, the pathway leads up the stone steps, by the chapel, winding up the hill by the fence, 'where the honeysuckle twineth,' and thence to the parish church. From the church the road goes on by the feet of tall trees growing on both sides, until it ends at the stone grotto and the chapel of Our Lady. Here we are in a snail clearing, which is beautified by the simple red stones of the grotto and the small white chapel, past which a brook glides down to the valley. A rustic bridge closed with gates and furnished with seats crosses the brook to the grotto, and here the path narrows into a mere footing. Going up this our climbing abilities are tested. Again the way broad oh! Flowers grow on the borders of the path, set off by the dark green leaves of holly and laurel, and through the trees fur vistas please the eye. Trudging steadily on up the mountainside we finally come to the top, and, descending a few yards, find ourselves on a broad, uneven rock; this is Indian Lookout, from which the scout of the Monocacy tribes watched (or the corning south of the fierce Susquehannas, and the fields below are rich in relics of their bloody encounters. The hills go down precipitately, and at their bases the smoke of farmhouses may be seen curling among the trees. Off in the valley that slopes upward to the horizon are the white dwellimgs of contented or at least quiet farmers, and Emmitsburg greets the sight with its red roofs and numerous church spires. The dome of St. Joseph's Convent flashes in the sun, and, gleaming among the trees that line its banks, Tom's Creek winds its way through the fertile meadowlands. All around and in front the hills rise up, giving a sombre touch to the picture. To continue the walk, one must scramble down the face of the rock to the road below, but generally the same way is preferred returning as coming.

"Besides the one to Indian Lookout, the mountains are traversed in all directions by paths that seek many points of interest, as Buzzard's Rock, Carrick's Knob and Devil's Den. 17 But all their features are combined in that one path, which, diverging at the parish church from the path to Indian Lookout, has for its destination the 'Spoke Tree' and the northwestern side of the mountain. This leads up a steep hill behind the graveyard, and plunges then into deep woods. Points here and there offer grand views of the country around Mechanicstown [Thurmont] . About a mile and a half from the church, growing amid moss-covered rocks, is the 'Spoke Tree. 'Its history relates to the late war, when the soldiers piled up the flat stones around it and nailed to its trunk the spokes, whereby they might climb up and take their observations. From the tree the path advances across the top of the mountain, among rocks and blasted trees, until it comes to an end on the side. Especially in spring is this walk taken, for then the arbutus covers the ground with its delicate flowers. One Sunday afternoon in spring I was gathering arbutus here, and after making my bouquet sat down to enjoy the beautiful scene. The sun of the early spring was flooding the treetops on the distant hills with a glorious light. Here and there on the slopes could be seen wandering sheep and cattle. Eyler's Valley lay below, and in the little chapel of the community services were going on. The sounds of the music stole up to me, but suddenly all things were quiet, and then the rich tones of a female voice singing a hymn came to my ears. Everything was heart-thrilling; the soft glow of the sun, the fleecy clouds sailing high in the air, and accompanying these the song of some simple country woman. Such a beautiful experience as this is not offered at all times, but I am sure that the ascending sounds of cowbells, and the voices of ploughmen driving their teams along the valley will in a great measure render the scene as pleasant as when I enjoyed it.

To spend a half holiday one could do no better than to tramp around the mountain. The road differs much from those already described, since it combines both climbing and level walking. This, next to "The Pike," is most popular. Leaving that road on the right and passing a collection of houses, the way leads us into the woods. The path at first is grassy and moss-grown. By its side a brook leaps and babbles over its rocky bed, and tall monarchs of the forest look down upon it. We go up hill and down dale past barns adorned with dead hawks and owls, and by the homes of thrifty farmers, some of them perhaps the descendants of the Teutonic mercenaries of the Revolutionary War. Going along we find pastoral scenes, lovely enough for the muse of a Theocritus, and over all these a holy calm is ever reigning and the breezes sweeping along are laden with peace. After tramping three or four miles a little settlement, known as Eyler's Valley, is reached. Here there is a store whose stock ranged from a paper of pins to a coffin, from a stick of candy to a suit of clothes. There are also two high poles which would puzzle the uninitiated. These are witnesses of the great interest the people take in politics; for they are the liberty poles of the parties, and at present on the Democratic pole a broom may be found which sweeps the cobwebs from the political sky of this benighted section, signifying how its adherents won a clean victory while the Democracy was swamped in the outside world. The store is a half-way mark, and as a common thing we sit on the fence-rails near by and look in. Resuming the journey, a little graveyard is seen, where white headstones tell us that here "the rude forefathers of the hamlet sleep." Traveling about three miles more along the glen, we come to many farm-houses and well-kept orchards and fields, and then, having seen the beauties of the mountain, wood and stream, and having been entertained by the sight of the simple people, we pass off the mountain road and complete the circumference at the College gate.

''A tramp almost as long as that around the mountain is that over the Mason and Dixon line to Pennsylvania. Spring and autumn work such changes that this road is entirely different at those seasons, for in the spring time the numerous orchards bordering it are covered with blossoms and redolent of sweet odors, and the alternating Judas trees with their clusters of pink add agreeable variety to the eye, while many watercourses, new born from the melting snow of the hills, leap and murmur, and the simple homes nestling on the adjacent mountainside are bright with flowers and full of the humming of bees that issue from the hives to live again. But in the autumn how different ! The fields lie brown and bare. Stacks of corn, dry and yellow, await the harvesters. Leaves fall from the trees and cover the hard, stony path. The houses that not long ago were so pretty, now gloomy and even black, resemble nothing so much as wind-mills of Dutch paintings, without the softening effect of their attendant landscapes. But about the road itself! This, running along the edge where mountain and valley meet, pursues its way over the hills, ever winding, and hid often in the depressions, but oftener going on through level fields. Among its chief attractions is a little stone schoolhouse. Here is a brook crossed by a small bridge, and sitting on this it is interesting to watch the future great Americans, all unconscious of trousers variegated with many patches, enjoying their simple games. Passing on from here the famous Mason and Dixon line is reached. A large rock is on the line, and nearby is a typical negro cabin, while off in the meadow a lone tree stands bearing the name of the historic slavery border. A mile or so more and the road ends among the hills of Pennsylvania, in the little hamlet of Liberty Mills, called also Zora. It is pleasant to return from this walk in the evening, when the changing effects of light and shade make splendid the distant mountains, and as the farm bells are ringing, calling the laborers home to rest,

"When the bright sunset fills The silver woods with light, the green slope throws Its shadows in the hollows of the hills, And wide the upland glows."

"Besides these described, many other pleasant rambles are to be found in all directions, so that the field of walking is truly enjoyable and extensive. And when we think that the spirits of the many before us pervade these spots, they become doubly dear. Constantly roaming in them, their loveliness ever increases in our souls, so that when under June skies we come to pass the last days of student life at the old alma mater, we find ourselves wedded to those scenes and pledged to their memory forever. 95."

Chapter 70 | Chapter Index


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