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Origins: Home James and Don't Spare the Horses

tgray70@pioneer.net 03 Nov 97 - 08:14 PM
GUEST,Mallaidh 24 Mar 08 - 03:27 PM
the button 24 Mar 08 - 03:30 PM
Mark Dowding 24 Mar 08 - 05:40 PM
Bonnie Shaljean 24 Mar 08 - 05:48 PM
Joybell 24 Mar 08 - 06:09 PM
Joybell 24 Mar 08 - 07:02 PM
Acme 24 Mar 08 - 07:30 PM
RTim 24 Mar 08 - 07:34 PM
RTim 24 Mar 08 - 07:40 PM
Mrrzy 25 Mar 08 - 09:20 AM
Bernard Quenby 25 Mar 08 - 12:57 PM
Tig 25 Mar 08 - 04:06 PM
the button 25 Mar 08 - 04:19 PM
Tig 25 Mar 08 - 07:08 PM
gnomad 26 Mar 08 - 04:24 AM
GUEST,mallaidh 26 Mar 08 - 09:14 AM
Joe Offer 17 Mar 09 - 03:38 PM
Joe Offer 17 Mar 09 - 04:05 PM
Q (Frank Staplin) 17 Mar 09 - 04:07 PM
Joe Offer 17 Mar 09 - 04:10 PM
Q (Frank Staplin) 17 Mar 09 - 04:23 PM
GUEST,.gargoyle 17 Mar 09 - 04:44 PM
Q (Frank Staplin) 17 Mar 09 - 05:21 PM
Q (Frank Staplin) 17 Mar 09 - 05:54 PM
GUEST,.gargoyle 17 Mar 09 - 06:59 PM
GUEST 19 Aug 09 - 08:12 PM
Q (Frank Staplin) 19 Aug 09 - 09:54 PM
GUEST 20 Aug 09 - 09:19 PM
Barbara 20 Aug 09 - 10:27 PM
MGM·Lion 20 Aug 09 - 10:29 PM
GUEST 04 Feb 11 - 01:50 PM
Rog Peek 05 Feb 11 - 05:54 AM
GUEST,joe 01 Feb 12 - 11:00 AM
JennieG 01 Feb 12 - 04:10 PM
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Subject: Home, James
From: tgray70@pioneer.net
Date: 03 Nov 97 - 08:14 PM

I am looking for the source of the phrase "Home, James" which I have used for years (not age 73). I remember it from some old time radio (comedy) program. I posted to quotations and got two references to "an old song whose chorus begins "Home, James, and don't spare the horses". Can any one come up with a source for me?


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Subject: RE: Home, James
From: GUEST,Mallaidh
Date: 24 Mar 08 - 03:27 PM

I am trying to find the words and verse tune to "Home James" so that I and friends can sing it. All I 'know' is that it was written by Fred Hillebrand (who he?) and recorded by Elsie Carlyle with Ambrose and his Orchestra in 1934 (this courtesy of Denis Norden). I have been searching the 'Net' for several hours now and getting nowhere!
The story concerns a young socialite who goes out to a ball and gets jilted by her beau so she wants to go home.


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Subject: RE: Home, James
From: the button
Date: 24 Mar 08 - 03:30 PM

Haven't got a link for this, but I heard that the origin of the phrase was an aristocratic lady who got a new chauffeur. His name was James Darling. When it came to hometime, she chose to say, "Home, James," for some reason. :-)


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Subject: ADD: Home, James, and Don't Spare the Horses
From: Mark Dowding
Date: 24 Mar 08 - 05:40 PM

This was recorded by Hilary James, Andrew Mathewson and Simon Mayor as "Spredthick" on the album of the same name in 1979

I found these words via a Google


HOME, JAMES, AND DON'T SPARE THE HORSES

(Home James and don't spare the horses)
This night has been ruined for me
(Home James and don't spare the horses)
Oh, I'm ruined as ruined can be

This was in the Gay Nineties
One night, an ace swell affair
She was dressed in her best Sunday bustle
And wore a rat in her hair

Her lover was not tall or handsome
But he was a terrible flirt
He spent the entire evening
Making up to every skirt

Angrily she reproached him
He heeded not at all
So she in her best Sunday bustle
Went flouncing out of the hall

She swept down the steps so majestic
To her footman standing below
And in accent loud and clear
She told him where to go

Oh, home James and don't spare the horses
Drive right through the main part of town
Oh, home James and don't spare the horses
He'll stand up 'cause he can't sit down

Hope this helps

Cheers
Mark


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Subject: RE: Home, James
From: Bonnie Shaljean
Date: 24 Mar 08 - 05:48 PM

www.phrases.org.uk says:

It's a cliche from the movies - "Once around the park and home, James," said to the chauffeur. According to one reference, the original saying was: "Home, James, and don't spare the horses!" said to the coachman. Dates from 1870 if not earlier. There was a song by that title in 1934 that gave the phrase "a popular boost." (From Dictionary of Catch Phrases: American and British from the Sixteenth Century to the Present Day by Eric Partridge, updated and edited by Paul Beal, Scarborough House, Lanham, Md., 1992)


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Subject: RE: Home, James
From: Joybell
Date: 24 Mar 08 - 06:09 PM

Fred Hillebrand? Interesting coincidence. True-Love's father was a Fred Hildebrand. He sang in a dance-band -- Cato's Vagabonds, in the States during the 1930s. They did novelty numbers among other things. Surely True-Love would have said something by now about this song. Anyway I'll put it to him when he gets up.
Cheers,
Joy


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Subject: RE: Home, James
From: Joybell
Date: 24 Mar 08 - 07:02 PM

No, looks like a coincidence. Fred Hillebrand is well documented as an actor.
Cheers, Joy


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Subject: RE: Home, James
From: Acme
Date: 24 Mar 08 - 07:30 PM

That was quite a collection of sources, but what film would that be in? Not just "a film," surely they must have named it ir them. Sounds so familiar.

Hello Joy and Hildebrand with one "L". :)

SRS


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Subject: RE: Home, James
From: RTim
Date: 24 Mar 08 - 07:34 PM

I can remember the band - Spread Think (Hilary James & Simon Meyer(?)) - doing this song splendidly - many many years ago now!

Tim Radford


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Subject: RE: Origins: 'Home, James'
From: RTim
Date: 24 Mar 08 - 07:40 PM

Sorry - fumble fingers at work -
Of course it should be SPREADTHICK!!!!

Tim R


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Subject: RE: Origins: 'Home, James'
From: Mrrzy
Date: 25 Mar 08 - 09:20 AM

I am reminded of a movie where the butler had an interesting name.

Lady: What is your name? (to butler)
Butler: It's Benson, mum
L: Well, Benson...
B: No, madam, it's Bensonmum.
L: How odd!
B: No, that was my father, Howard Bensonmum...


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Subject: RE: Origins: 'Home, James'
From: Bernard Quenby
Date: 25 Mar 08 - 12:57 PM

If you can get hold of a copy there's an excellent version on Spredthick's (sadly) only ever album released in 1979. Imaginatively entitled 'Spredthick' it's an absolute gem!


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Subject: RE: Origins: 'Home, James'
From: Tig
Date: 25 Mar 08 - 04:06 PM

I remembered to ask my dad about this one tonight.

Apparently the lady in question was part of the aristocracy and was one of the first to start driving in a car, which at that time were also known as mechanical horses. One night a new chauffeur picked her up. The conversation went something like this:

"You're new! What's your name"
"James My Lady"
"We call our staff by their surnames - What's your surname?"
"Darling My Lady"
"Home James, and don't spare the horses!"

As soon as this (supposedly genuine) story got out the musical hall picked up on it. Hence the song.


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Subject: RE: Origins: 'Home, James'
From: the button
Date: 25 Mar 08 - 04:19 PM

Yay! Your version is the same as mine. I was starting to think I'd made it up.


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Subject: RE: Origins: 'Home, James'
From: Tig
Date: 25 Mar 08 - 07:08 PM

Since Dad was around at that time and my Grandpa was Roland Wynn's (the big haulage firm)first mechanic and did things like driving the first car up Garrowby Hill (a very steep hill in Yorkshire) at that time things like that would have stuck with them as very funny.


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Subject: RE: Origins: 'Home, James'
From: gnomad
Date: 26 Mar 08 - 04:24 AM

I have childhood memories of (I think) my maternal grandmother singing this one; the plot as I remember it was something like the one given by Mark, but the final verse was as in Mark's verse one.

As "ruined" had a particular meaning to a young lady of that era, and would not be used lightly, I wonder if a bit of the plot has gone missing over the years?

My Grandmother is now long gone, but I will try my Mother, who sometimes has whole songs or recitations tucked away in memory, if supplied with the right question.


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Subject: RE: Origins: 'Home, James'
From: GUEST,mallaidh
Date: 26 Mar 08 - 09:14 AM

Hey, thanks everyone for your contributions. The words aren't quite as I remember them from having heard it yonks ago but blimey they'll do!
Good to hear from Bonnie Shaljean by the way, albeit indirectly, haven't seen you or heard anything for about 30 years girl, hope you're OK. You won't remember me but I was around in Bath UK in the early/mid 70's when you performed somewhere round there with Packie Byrne, bless him!


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Subject: ADD: Home, James, and Don't Spare the Horses
From: Joe Offer
Date: 17 Mar 09 - 03:38 PM

HOME, JAMES, AND DON'T SPARE THE HORSES

It was in the gay nineties
One night at a swell affair
She was dressed in her best Sunday bustle
And wore a rat in her hair.

Her hero was both young and handsome,
But he was a terrible flirt.
He spent the entire evening
Making up to every skirt.

And when she gently reproached him,
He heeded her not at all,
And she, in her best Sunday bustle,
Went flouncing out in the hall,

She swept down the stairs most majestic
To her footman waiting below.
She spoke in accents loud and clear,
And told him where to go.

Home James, and don't spare the horses,
This night has been ruined for me.
Home, James, and don't spare the horses,
As ruined as ruined can be.


It's still in the gay nineties,
In fact the very next day.
Our hero is somewhat remorseful,
And don't know just what to say.

He thinks he'd better do something
To win her again for his own,
For she was his very best sweetheart
She was always good for a loan.

He went right straight to her mansion
And said "Forgive me dear."
But, when he tried to embrace her,
She gave him a boot in the rear.

He swept down the stairs most majestic
And the doorman, he booted him too,
And as he threw him in the street,
She said "Humph to you."

Home, James, and don't spare the horses,
My suitor is just a bit tight,
Home, James and don't spare the horses,
He'll sleep in the stable tonight.





This version was transcribed from the 1938 edition of Song Fest.

I used to hear the phrase "Home, James" when I was a kid in Detroit in the 1950's. I wonder if it came from the song, or vice-versa.
-Joe-


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Subject: RE: Origins: 'Home, James'
From: Joe Offer
Date: 17 Mar 09 - 04:05 PM

Here's a medley that shouldn't get lost:
source: http://lyricsplayground.com/alpha/songs/g/gertiethegirlwiththegongmedley.shtml
(watch for popups if you dare to go ther)


GERTIE, THE GIRL WITH THE GONG (Ray Sonin / Ronnie Munro)
HOME JAMES AND DON'T SPARE THE HORSES (Writer Unknown)
NO! NO! A THOUSAND TIMES NO! ((Al Sherman / Al Lewis / Abner Silver)

Elsie Carlisle (with Ambrose & His Orch.) - 1935



I'm Gertie, the girl with the gong
And I watch your car speed along
If you do more than thirty, then Gertie gets shirty
And tinkles a song on the gong

Oh, beware when you're driving along
For the Law says that you're in the wrong
If I'm dressed as a Cop and I call you to stop
Oh, I'm Gertie, the girl with the gong

(Musical Break)

(Home James and don't spare the horses)
This night has been ruined for me
(Home James and don't spare the horses)
Oh, I'm ruined as ruined can be

This was in the Gay Nineties
One night, an ace swell affair
She was dressed in her best Sunday bustle
And wore a rat in her hair

Her lover was not tall or handsome
But he was a terrible flirt
He spent the entire evening
Making up to every skirt

Angrily she reproached him
He heeded not at all
So she in her best Sunday bustle
Went flouncing out of the hall

She swept down the steps so majestic
To her footman standing below
And in accent loud and clear
She told him where to go

Oh, home James and don't spare the horses
Drive right through the main part of town
Oh, home James and don't spare the horses
He'll stand up 'cause he can't sit down

(Hah-hah-hah-hah, hah-a-hah-a-hah-a-hah-hah-hah)

No! No! A thousand times no!
You cannot buy my caress
No! No! A thousand times no!
I'd rather die than say yes

I am a child of the valley
An innocent maiden you see
He was a desperate Desmond
Who owned all the town property
He would pursue me through hills and through dells
But I was just wise to his game
Each time he would threaten, "You'll wed me or else"
These were the words I'd exclaim

No! No! A thousand times no!
You cannot buy my caress
No! No! A thousand times no!
I'd rather die than say yes

Altogether, Boys

No! No! A thousand times no!
You cannot buy my caress
No! No! A thousand times no!
I'd rather die than say yes


(Transcribed by Mel Priddle - April 2006)

Also see: No x 1000


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Subject: RE: Origins: 'Home, James'
From: Q (Frank Staplin)
Date: 17 Mar 09 - 04:07 PM

The song seems to have been composed by Fred Hillebrand in 1934. Elsie Carlisle recorded it in the 1930s; Hillebrand is credited as author (Allmusic).

In legend, Queen Victoria had a driver named James Darling, and the statement is credited to her. It is doubtful that she would have addressed him by first name.


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Subject: RE: Origins: 'Home, James'
From: Joe Offer
Date: 17 Mar 09 - 04:10 PM

Queen Victoria wouldn't address her servant as "James"? In the Midwest United States, we always addressed the servants by their first names....


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Subject: RE: Origins: 'Home, James'
From: Q (Frank Staplin)
Date: 17 Mar 09 - 04:23 PM

Hear Fred Hillebrand sing "The Drunkard's Song" (Fare Thee Well) on youtube: www.youtube.com/watch?v=TeduFMYp_q0

He also sang some Irving Berlin songs. (My Captain Now Works For Me and one about C-U-B-A; forgot to note full title).


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Subject: RE: Origins: 'Home, James'
From: GUEST,.gargoyle
Date: 17 Mar 09 - 04:44 PM

From International Movie Database

Home, James film 1928 - Love story each pretends to be above the humble shop-girl and the lowley chauffeur. they really are.

ALSO Home, James (1918) short 1minute 37second comedy.

ALSO (1987) by Thames Television

ALSO (2005) television series - Hollywood

ALSO Fred Hillebrand quote: Home James, and dont spare the horses (Song title, 1934)

ALSOThe Oxford Dictionary of Modern Quotations page 8 line 63 Home James, and don't spare the horses. Title of song (1934)

ALSO Home James, Harry James and the Boogie Woogie Trio Super swing music, 78rpm (10")

ALSO Home, James! Ethel Kelley. Knopf, New York 1927

Sincerely,
Gargoyle


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Subject: RE: Origins: 'Home, James'
From: Q (Frank Staplin)
Date: 17 Mar 09 - 05:21 PM

Speculation on the phrase (not song) goes back as far as the 1870s, but I haven't seen any documentation. It seems to be older than the 1934 Hillebrand song, but how much older??

The 1918 date for the short comedy (Gargoyle, above) is the oldest cited for "Home, James," but when did the 'don't spare the horses' appear?

Joe, the English upper classes only used surnames when addressing their servants. (I haven't verified this, either).


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Subject: RE: Origins: 'Home, James'
From: Q (Frank Staplin)
Date: 17 Mar 09 - 05:54 PM

Emperor to page: "...which you will deliver to the Empress (Marie Louise) with your own hands. And above all, don't spare the horses. Go as fast as you can, and fear nothing."
From "The Happy Days of the Empress Marie Louise, ...1834-1900," by Imbert de Saint Amand (a 1912 translation). ebook.
------------------------------

Oxford Dictionary of Modern Quotations:
Song title 1934- Fred Hillebrand, Home James, and don't spare the horses. 8.62

Looks like Hillebrand wins in the home stretch!


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Subject: RE: Origins: 'Home, James'
From: GUEST,.gargoyle
Date: 17 Mar 09 - 06:59 PM

OK - I still cannot post a URL link within a discussion.

You will need to add the http and the www

THIS deffinately confirms a common usage date probably prior to 1920.

SEPTEMBER 26, 1920 dated from:
felix.goldenagecartoons.com/ftcclassicfilms.html

SILENT FILM (appears to be the transition period from "Crazy Cat")
998.15 | ADVENTURES OF FELIX THE CAT - FROLICS AT THE CIRCUS (1:38:50:00 - 1:43:54:00)
Final Frame of Film

From BritishPathe - printed on screen

"Felix makes a lasso. He lassos the elephant and pulls him out of the tree through a knothole. Felix then grabs his trunk and hauls him off. The elephant walks along with Felix sitting on his trunk. "Home James!" he commands. End."

britishpathe.com/images/stills/00000000/00036000/00036582/00000300.jpg

SILENT FILM - newsreel feature September 07, 1931 "Here's one way to beat the heat (if it comes!) discovered by a youngster "over there." reads the introductory intertitle.

"Home, James!" Two boys now ski along behind the cart.

britishpathe.com/thumbnails.php?id=24215

Sincerely,
Gargoyle


    You might be able to post one link without being logged in, but no more than one - and maybe not even one. That's how we've set it up.
    -Joe Offer.


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Subject: RE: ADD/Origins: 'Home, James'
From: GUEST
Date: 19 Aug 09 - 08:12 PM

Interesting Fred Hillebrand citations. But about the "James Darling" just-so stories...

They don't quite ring true to me, in that, common practice in those social circles in that time would have been to call the staff by their first, NOT last name. The public school class called each other by their last names (or a nickname). Thoughts?

Of course, none of that explains the actual origin of the phrase, just that it is unsurprising that the driver is addressed by his first name.

Cheers,

Paul Johnston


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Subject: RE: ADD/Origins: 'Home, James'
From: Q (Frank Staplin)
Date: 19 Aug 09 - 09:54 PM

Fred Hillebrand was American, born in Brooklyn.
The early movies "Home, James," I believe were made in the U. S., and first names would be usual.


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Subject: RE: ADD/Origins: 'Home, James'
From: GUEST
Date: 20 Aug 09 - 09:19 PM

Yes, Hillebrand and those movies were American, but the stories ascribe the origin of the expression to England -- in their most extreme version, to Queen Victoria herself.

Other discussions have suggested that the phrase was already in common usage in Britain by no later than the early years of the 20th century, and it seems to have originated there.

So I'm still unclear on the actual orgin...


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Subject: RE: ADD/Origins: 'Home, James'
From: Barbara
Date: 20 Aug 09 - 10:27 PM

James is also a fairly common last name. There are 8 of them in our local rural phone book of about 10,000 total names. Of course some of them are probably related, but still.
Blessings,
Barbara


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Subject: RE: ADD/Origins: 'Home, James'
From: MGM·Lion
Date: 20 Aug 09 - 10:29 PM

Re naming, and status, of servants in upper·class British households:- Junior servants, up to housemaid, under-gardener, footman &c, would be addressed by first names: it was a mark of seniority — butler, head gardener, parlourmaid, lady's maid, valet, chauffeur — to be addressed by surname; and these would be addressed as "Mr" or "Mrs" [even if unmarried] by the lower servants. The housekeeper would be "Mrs" even to her employers; as would the head cook [tho she might be addressed also as "Cook", which was an honourable title]. These last two, + the butler, would probably have delegated power of dismissal of lower servants: remember the odious Mrs Norris in Jane Austen's Mansfield Park praising the Rushworths' housekeeper for having "turned away two housemaids" for having got above themselves by "wearing white gowns"! This housekeeper was also "quite shocked when I asked if wine was allowed on the second table" - i.e senior and junior servants even dined separately [though the housekeeper would have her dinner taken up to her own room by, probably, the senior housemaid — And ramifications so on ad·inf!...


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Subject: RE: Origins: Home James and Don't Spare the Horses
From: GUEST
Date: 04 Feb 11 - 01:50 PM

I have always remembered it to be "home James, through the park, and don't spare the horses. This night has been ruined for me."
No one remembers "through the park" as being part of the phrase. Where did I get that from ?


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Subject: RE: Origins: Home James and Don't Spare the Horses
From: Rog Peek
Date: 05 Feb 11 - 05:54 AM

Nothing to do with the origin, but I seem to remember the phrase "Home James, through the park!" being used in GI Blues. I'm pretty sure that it was Elvis had the line, but not certain.

I only ever saw the film once, and that was donkey's years ago, funny how the strangest things stick in your mind.

Rog


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Subject: RE: Origins: Home James and Don't Spare the Horses
From: GUEST,joe
Date: 01 Feb 12 - 11:00 AM

isn't it from Jane Austen's Emma. The Stable man who looks after the horses is called James and they are always going on about making sure the horses are looked after.


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Subject: RE: Origins: Home James and Don't Spare the Horses
From: JennieG
Date: 01 Feb 12 - 04:10 PM

The "rat" the lady wore in her hair was a pad of false hair - for some reason it was called a rat. Those Edwardian hairstyles were very puffy and demanded extra padding, so the lady's combs and brushes were cleaned (by her maid, of course) of any loose hair which had shed during grooming, then the loose hair was packed into a small dish and over time grew quite substantially - hence, a matching rat.

Nothing to do with the song, I know, but I thought it might clear up the line in the song, in case you thought she was infested with rodents.

Cheers
JennieG


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