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Between the Ochils and the Forth
Chapter II. - From Dunfermline to Torryburn

Old and new roads from Dunfermline to the west— Urquhart Cut—Berrylaw Top— Villages of Crossford and Cairney-hill—Conscience Bridge—Village of Torryburn — The Colville family and the estate of Crombie—Torrylurn witches,

In joumeymg from Dunfermline to Alloa, three different ways may be taken—one by Torryburn and Kincardine, a second by Carnock and Comrie village, and a third by rail. We shall commence with the first of these routes, which involves a distance of x6 miles, and which, though two miles longer than the more northern route by Carnock, is, on the whole, the most frequented.

Till within the last hundred years, the access to Dunfermline from the west lay through the domains of Pittencreiff, passing close to the mansion, crossing the Tower burn near Malcolm Canmore's fortress, and entering the town nearly opposite the great west door of the Abbey Church. Here it joined a lane, known as St Catharine's Wynd, which connected the Kirkgate with the road leading through the Pends. The old bridge by which ill crossed the Tower burn, close to Malcolm Canmore's castle, still exists in the same form of two superimposed arches, though the structure of both has been to a great extent remodelled. It was here, doubtless, that the unfortunate solitary sentry placed to guard it on the occupation of the town by the Jacobites in 1715, met his death at the hands of the Government troops, as we are informed by the Master of Sinclair in his narrative already quoted. There was also another road farther south, which entered the town from the west by the Netherton Bridge, and which is still used. The old road through the Pittencreiff grounds seems to have joined this one at what used to be known as the Bridge of Urquhart (from the adjoining farm), and the united road appears then to have proceeded westwards along the hollow by the now drained loch of Keavil, and then, entering the Pitfirrane grounds and passing near the mansion-house of the last - named property, to have abutted on the present road to Torryburn, about half a mile to the cast of the village of Cairneyhill.

After the new bridge over the Tower burn was constructed about i ?o years ago, and the suburb of Pittencreiff erected on the western side of the glen, a new road was formed by a cut through the hill above Urquhart farm, and this is now the chief access to the town from Torryburn and the west. We shall now proceed along it towards the latter place (4^ mi'es distant), leaving Dunfennline by Bridge Street, Chalmers Street, and Pittencreiff Street, and descending the road over the hill, generally known as "Urquhart Cut" As we go down, a beautiful view presents itself of the basin of the Forth from Queensferry to Stirling, taking in both sides of the estuary, whilst- the Kilsyth hills, Ben Lomond, Ben Ledi, and the Perthshire mountains close in the distance on the west. A finely wooded and fertile country, rivalling in beauty the best cultivated districts in England, appears beneath us, stretching away in the direction of Torryburn, Kincardine, and Alloa. It attracted the admiration of William Gobbett when he made his tour through Scotland in the autumn of 1832 and paid a special visit to the farm of Urquhart, a mile from Dunfermline, which we are now passing.

On the crest of a rising ground to the right will be observed a circular plantation, which from its conspicuous position serves as a landmark to the country round, and is known by the name of Berrylaw Top, or vernacularly, "Berrylaw Tap." The name, which is of Gothic origin (burh, Anglo-Saxon for town or fortress, or modern Swedish bcrj, a town, combined with hlatuw, a hill), seems to point to some ancient fortress or city having existed here in former days. Nothing of the kind, however, is visible at the clump of wood itself or its neighbourhood, though I have heard of an ancient village at Berrylaw which was standing till near the end of the last century. I have also heard a strange story repeated, which connects this remote hill-slope with the orgies of the Medmenham Club. Lord Sandwich, a member of this infamous fraternity, had a chlrcarmie who came from Berrylaw, near Dunfermline. How she made his lordship's acquaintance I cannot say, but she is said, as his favourite sultana, to have remembered, like a second Esther, her own people in the far north, however questionable and dubious the position which she herself occupied. Many Dunfermline people, it is reported, received appointments and places under Government through her influence with Lord Sandwich, who was one of the Lords of the Admiralty.

About half a mile farther on we reach the prettily situated village of Crossford, with its numerous market-gardens, and then immediately beyond it the mansion and grounds of Keavil (Lawrence Dalgleish, Esq.) and those of Pitfirrane (Sir Arthur Halkett, Bart.) After the Wardlaws the Halketts are the oldest family in this part of the country, having been connected with Pitfirrane at least since 1399. Between this and Cairneyhill the road is very shady and beautiful, though without affording any distant view. On our right a singular-looking stone of blue limestone appears in a field, and is known as the Witch's Stone, the popular legend being that a notable witch in this neighbourhood found it on the seashore, and that after she carried it some distance in her apron, the string of the latter broke, and the stone has since continued to lie in the place where it fell. Science procla:ms it to be a boulder, brought by ice from the upper basin of the Forth, the nearest mountain formation to which it could have belonged and from wb'ch it could have been severed being that of Menteith, in the neighbourhood of Callander. Another theory put forward by Sir James Simpson is that it is of meteoric origin. But there seems little reason to doubt of its having found its way to this place as an ice-borne boulder.

Nearly opposite the Witch's Stone, in a field on the south s-'de of the road, ;s another smaller boulder, of the description known as conglomerate. It is called the Cadger's Stone, from the circumstance of its having formed a landmark for the " cadgers " or tinerant merchants, who were wont to rest themselves and their ponies whilst they deposited for a short while their burdens on the stone. It is close to the old road, which can still be traced through the Pitfirrane grounds to Dunfermline.

The village of Cairneyhill, which we are now approaching, consists of a long street running over a ridge; and having mainly arisen within the last century and a half, with the development of the manufacturing industry in Dunfermline and the west of Fife, it presents little that is attractive to the lover of the picturesque. Formerly it was almost entirely occupied by weavers, who plied their occupation with great success, and became the owners of little pendicles of land in addition to their houses and gardens on the estate of Pitfirrane. The passing of the Reform Bill in 1832 gave many of them votes in the county, and induced a strong interest in politics, with an accompanying intense feeling of independence and self-importance. They were almost all Dissenters, and supported their own meeting-house, a building which stands at the eastern extremity of the village, and has the honour of being the first "Antiburgher" church erected in Scotland on the split taking place in the Secession body as to the lawfulness of taking the burgess oath, which the stricter members deemed contrary to their conscience to take, as involving a recognition of the Established Church. Those who held this view were denominated "Antiburghers," whilst those who believed there was nothing in the oath in question inconsistent with their principles received the appellation of " Burghers." The latter were by far the more numerous body, whilst the Antiburghers were generally credited with being the straiter and more austere sect. So strict were they with regard to terms of communion, that it was no uncommon thing for them to exercise discipline on any member who had been so far left to himself as to worship even with a Burgher congregation. These distinctive appellations are now forgotten, being merged for the most part in the union of various Secession bodies under the comprehensive title of the United Presbyterian Church. But there are still a few outlying congregations which refused to coalesce in the union, first of the Burghers and Antiburghers, and the subsequent junction of these with the Relief Church, and have formed themselves .nto a body known as the Original Associate Synod, which may thus he said still to preserve the rigour of the "Antiburgher" or "Old Light" element.

Cairneyhill is in the parish of Carnock, though situated a considerable distance from the latter village and its church, and affords another instance of the remissness of the Church of Scotland in failing to make provision for the spiritual wants of outlying parishioners, and thus handing them over to Dissenting influences. Up to the middle of last century, however, it is said only to have contained two or three houses. At the west end of the village, where a stream separates the parish of Carnock from that of Torryburn, there is a bridge which has borne from time immemorial the epithet of "Conscience Bridge," from a murderer having, as is alleged, been here overcome with the pangs of remorse and induced to confess his crime. It also bears the reputation of a "wishing" bridge. In the minutes of the town council of Dunfermline, under the year 16to, a bond of caution is entered by the schoolmaster, Mr James Douglas, before the bailies of the burgh, for David Boswell, brother of the Laird of Balmuto, that he shall within a year from the date thereof restore a silver bell now placed in his keeping, " Be resson of the said Davids blak hors wyning the custody and keip-ing therof be rining frae conscience brig to the brig of urquhat i| companie with uther twa hors—viz., ane dapil gray hors belonging to Sr Wm. Monteth of Kers, K.nyt, and the uther ane broun hors belongg to Lues Monteth his brother-german—and wan frae thame the race." The bell was the property of Alexander, Earl of Dunfermline, Chancellor of Scotland, who seems to have taken good care that it should be safely returned, as the cautioner binds himself "that the said David Bosewell sall delyver and produce the said bell in the lyke and als gud state as he now ressaves the same, under the pains of fyve hundret merks mony scots to be payit be said caur. to the said noble erle in case of failyer." The "heat" must have been rather a long one, extending over a distance of fully two miles. Probably enough it was a cross-country ride, like our modern steeplechase, though likely of a much less arduous description than the latter, from the absence in these days of enclosures. In our own time the magistrates of a royal burgh, even in their judicial capacity, would hardly be called on to interpone authority to any transaction connected with racing matters.

From Cairneyhill a pleasant road of little over a mile conducts us to Torryburn church, on a knoll at the eastern extremity of the village. The lands of Craigflower (Eden Colville, Esq.) are on our left, and those of Torrie (R. G. Erskine Wemyss, Esq.) on our right. A field on the latter estate, coming down to the public road near the church, bears the name of the "tuilzie" or "battle" park, and contains a great standing-stone. Around this are several barrow-like eminences or tumuli, which have been supposed to mark the burial-place of combatants slain in some great engagement here in ancient times—possibly in a conflict between the Scots and an invading army of Northmen.

Just before coming to the church, a declivity known as the Crosshill Brae is descended, with a picturesque hollow on the left through which the Torrie burn flows. This last is crossed at Craigflower Lodge by a bridge leading to the mansion and grounds of Craigflower. An older bridge, situated a little lower down the stream, near the eastern extremity of the garden of Torryburn Manse, has now disappeared. It was built, as Sir Robert Sibbald informs us, by the Rev. Mr Aird, minister of the parish in the latter half of the seventeenth century, and who s recorded by him to have been "a man eminent for his piety and charity to the poor."

Torryburn was formerly a place of some importance, and in the end of the last century there were thirteen vessels belonging to the locality, with an aggregate tonnage of upwards of 1000, and giving employment to about seventy seamen. At Crombie Point, about a mile below the village, two ferry-boats used to be maintained for the transport of passengers and goods to the port of Borrowstounness on the other side of the Forth, w ith which a great traffic was carried on, more especially by the merchants and manufacturers of Dunfermline. These both built the pier at Crombie Point, and owned the larger of the passage-boats by which their manufactures, after being brought down here in carts, were conveyed to Borrowstounness, and thence were shipped to London in vessels from that port. And large quantities of coal, ironstone, and salt used to be exported here in the last century, when the then proprietor of Craigilower was largely engaged in mining and kindred operations, which for a time seemed almost to emulate those of the great Sir George Bruce at Culross nearly two centuries before. But they were not conducted with the same ability or good fortune. The unfortunate speculator became bankrupt, and with his disaster the prosperity of Torryburn came to an end, and has never since been regaiued. There is now no trade of any kind whatever carried on here, and the diminution in size of the village, within living memory even, is very perceptible. Many of the old houses and feus have been bought up and enclosed within the grounds of Craigflower.

The village itself has no special attraction, but its situation is extremely agreeable when viewed either from the water or the town of Culross at the opposite side of the bay. The view, on emerging from Torryburn or its "Ness," or projection of greensward, which forms its western extremity, is such as must strike every traveller, and all the more forcibly that the prospect which there meets his gaze is generally unexpected. After entering the village from the east, he traverses rather a squalid-looking street, at the end of which he suddenly finds himself fronting a noble expanse of land and water, such as charmed the heart of William Cob-bett on his Scottish tour, and will call forth admiration from any spectator. If the tide should be full at the time, the prospect is very much enhanced. The beautiful bay of Culross is seen in all its extent, with its sloping braes crested with woods, and the ancient royal burgh rising on a tongue of land by the water's edge. Away in the distance, on the opposite shore of the Forth, appears the fertile carse of Stirling, behind which rise the Kilsyth hills, whilst farther round to the northeast are the mountains round Ben Lomond and Ben Ledi. Near at hand, in the middle of Culross Bay, rises Preston Island, with its grey buildings, looking like the ruins of an old cathedral or monastery, though in reality these are merely the remains of coal-pits and salt-works. On the shore to the right, and separated from Torryburn by a level tract of greensward, through which the public road passes, is the village of Newmills, picturesquely straggling over a ridge, with a gap in the background through which the heights of the Oehils are visible. The view, too, down the Forth from Torryburn Ness towards Crombie Point by the wooded slopes of Craigflower, with the prospect on the opposite shore of the castle of Blackness and the fine sylvan region about Ilopetoun, is extremely beautiful.

Torryburn church is a plain building, erected in 1800 on the site of an older edifice which dated from 1616. It is said that when the estimates of its cost were given in by the competing contractors, the economical heritors chose that which was not only the lowest, but considerably beneath that of any of the other offerers. The individual so selected had no cause to plume hi mself on his good fortune, as it turned out that in making up his calculation of the various items, he had quite forgotten to take into account the roof! Whether he wriggled out of the scrape as easily as contractors have sometimes done under less justifiable circumstances, I am really unable to say. In the churchyard there used to be a tombstone with an inscription which has gained some celebrity, though both have now disappeared. It is thus given by Mr Balfour in the 'Old Statistical Account of Scotland':—

"At anchor now in Death's dark road
Rides honest Captain Hill,
Who served his king and feared his
God With upright heart and will.

In social life sincere and just,
To vice of no kind given;
So that his better part, we trust,
I lath made the port of Heaven."

Dr Rogers in his 'Scottish Monuments and Tombstones ' quotes two inscriptions from Torryburn churchyard ; but I must say that I never heard of them myself, though I have known the locality for more than half a century. They are :—

"In this churchyard lies Eppie Coutts,
Either here or hereabouts;
But whaur it is there's nane can tell,
Till Eppie rise and tell hcrsell."

"Here lieth one below this stone
Who loved to gather gear;
Yet all his life did want a wife,
Of him to take the care.

He won his meat both ear and late
Betwixt Cleish and Craigflower,
And craved this stone might lie upon
Him at his latter hour."

The names of Cleish and Craigflower in the above would seem to 'point to some member of the Colville family, to whom in former times both of these properties belonged, and in whose hands that of Crombie, including Craigflower, is still vested. They are the representatives through females of the Lords Colville of Ochiltree, a peerage which is now extinct, though that of the Lords Colville of Culross, another branch of the same family, still subsists. Both of these branches derive their origin from Sir James Colville of Ochiltree in Ayrshire, who about 1530 exchanged that estate with Sir James Hamilton of Fynnart for the barony of Easter Wemyss and Lochoreshire in Fife. With other offspring he had one legitimate son James, and an illegitimate son Robert. The former, who like his father bore the title of Sir James Colville of Piaster Wemyss, had two sons, James and Alexander, the elder of whom became the third Sir James Colville of Easter Wemyss, and having served with great reputation in France under Henry of Navarre against the Catholic League, was ultimately in the beginning of the seventeenth century raised to the peerage by James VI. with the title of Lord Colville of Culross. His younger brother, Alexander, became at the Reformation commendator of Culross Abbey, and to the family of his son John the Culross peerage in process of time reverted, and is still enjoyed by a descendant.

Robert Colville, natural son of the first Sir James Colville of Easter Wemyss, had a grant from his father in 1537 of the barony of Cleish in Kinross-shire, and having joined the Reformation party, was killed at the siege of Leith in 1560. His only son Robert succeeded to the estate of Cleish, and in 1568 obtained from his uncle Alexander, the commendator, a grant of the bailiary of Culross Abbey, an office which, previous to the Reformation, had been enjoyed by the Earls of Argyll. This conveyance was ratified by a royal charter in the following year.

Another illegitimate son of the first Sir James Colville of Easter Wemyss, who, like his legitimate brother, bore also the name of James, seems to have adhered to the ancient faith; at least we find in April 1560 a charter granted to him by a William Colville, joint " commendator and usufructuar of Culross," with John Colville, its last abbot, of the lands of Crombie, in the county of Fife, belonging to the convent, on the narrative of a sum of money having been paid to Culross monastery by the said James Colville, "for the preservat* )n of the liberty of the Church in those dangerous days of Lutheranism." This charter was confirmed by Queen Mary in 1565.

How those lands of Crombie passed to the descendants of James Colville's brother Robert, ancestor of the Lords Colville of Ochiltree, we are not informed, but they certainly were so transferred ; and in after-times we find the Place or Castle of Cleish and the mansion-house at Crombie equally occupied by the family as their residence. Thus we find the death of Lady Colville, wife of the first Lord of Ochiltree, who had been raised to the peerage by Charles II. in 1651, taking place at Cleish in 1655, whilst in 1658 his niece is married at his house of Crombie to the Laird of Skeddoway, and he himself shuffles off this mortal coil also at Crombie in 1662. A curious circumstance recorded in connection with this last event is, that the first Lord Colville was buried at his own request by torchlight on the evening of the same day that he died. A gravestone still marks his memory within the precincts of the old ruined church of Crombie. He was succeeded by his nephew Robert, who died at Cleish in 1671, and the peerage and estates then fell to the latter's son, who died without issue in 1723. One of his sisters married a Sir John Ayton, whose son succeeded to the Crombie and Craigflower estates as Robert Ayton Colville, and from him the present proprietor of these estates is descended. The Cleish estate has long since passed out of the hands of the family.

Another sister of the last Lord Colville of Ochiltree married the Rev. Alan Logan, minister of Torryburn, so famous as an energetic prosecutor of witches, and who ultimately, after being transferred to Culross, succeeded as heir to the estate of Logan in Ayrshire, belonging to his family. In connection with him and Lord Ochiltree, Wodrow tells in his 'Analecta' the following curious ghost-story, which he says was communicated to him by Lord Grange:—

"My Lord Colvil dyed in March last [1723], and about Culros it is very currently believed that he has appeared more than once, and has been seen by severalls. Some say that he appeared to Mr Logan, his brother-in-law, but he does not own it; but two of his servants wer coming to the house, and saw him walking near them, and, if I remember, he called to them just in the same voice and garb he used to be in; but they fled from him, and came in in a great fright. They are persons of credibility and gravity, as I am told."

Crombie formed at one time a separate parish, but was united with Torryburn m the early part of the seventeenth century. Apparently, however, the idea prevailed for some time afterwards of still keeping up the kirk of Crombie, as we find in a minute of the Torryburn kirk-session, dated June 21, 1629, that "the session convened at the kirk of Crombie, appointed ane stent for repairing the k'rk of Crombie, extending to 30 lib., to be paid by parishioners." No such project, however, was ever carried out, and the little church was allowed to continue to decay. The churchyard which surrounds it occupies a picturesque eminence overlooking the sea on the shore-road from Torryburn to Crombie Point.

The other principal estate in the parish of Torryburn is that of Torrie, which in days long gone by belonged to the family of Wardlaw, who appear to have originally come to and settled in the western district of Fife from Dumfriesshire, from an eminence in which they probably derived their name. They are believed, moreover, to have been originally Anglo-Saxon refugees from England, who at the time of the Conquest escaped into Scotland, and received kindness and benefactions from Malcolm Canmore. They rose to great wealth and influence, and at one period seem to have owned almost the whole region from the Cullalo hills and Lochgelly to the western limit of Fifeshire. What was known as Lochoreshire, in the parishes of Ballingry and Auchter-derran, belonged to them; and the castle of Lochore, already described, was one of their principal seats. A junior branch also held the lands of Pitreavie to the south of Dunfermline, which at a later period gave its name to a baronetcy conferred on the family by Charles I. The Wardlaws were likewise proprietors of Logie, of Balmule, and of Luscar; and they are unquestionably the very oldest family belonging to the neighbourhood of Dunfermline. Not an acre of these ancestral domains does any member of the house now retain, though the baronetcy still exists, and is enjoyed by Sir Henry Wardlaw, residing in Tillicoultry. The famous Cardinal Henry Wardlaw, founder of St Andrews University, the earliest in Scotland, was a cadet of the Wardlaws of Torrie, whom we find taking part in all the prominent incidents of the time in which they lived. Thus the 'Cronica Scotise' informs us that among the train of nobles and ladies who accompanied Princess Margaret, daughter of James I., to France in 1435, to be wedded to the Dauphin Louis, son of Charles VII., was " Hen-ricus Wardelau de Torry." And in another record, a " Sir Henry Wardlaw, Lord of Terry, Knight," is mentioned as one of the witnesses to an act of homage by Sir John Kennedy and his son on 2d July 1444.

The Wardlaws continued Lairds of Torrie at least down to 1619, but not long after that period they ceased to hold that estate, which passed into the hands of the Bruces, Earls of Kincardine, and in the end of the seventeenth century was purchased from them or their creditors by Colonel William Erskine, son of Lord Car-dross, and brother of Colonel John Erskine of Carnock, who about the same time acquired the Culross estate and other possessions of the Kincardine family. Colonel William Erskine was succeeded in Torrie by his son and grandson, the latter of whom became a baronet under the title of Sir William Erskine, and died in the end of the last century. His three sons who successively succeeded him having all died without issue, the estate went to his grandson, Admiral Wemyss, whose mother was the eldest daughter of Sir William Erskine. The present proprietor is the Admiral's grandson.

Adjoining the Torrie estate on the north is the property of Inzievar (A. V. Smith Sligo, Esq.), with which the estate of Oakley (formerly Annefield) is now incorporated. The original Inzievar forms a beautiful expanse of undulating ground, with a fine southern exposure, and contains some of the best land in the western district of Fife. In old times it belonged to the Black-adders, cadets of the Tulliallan family, and afterwards came into the possession of the Earls of Kincardine.

The earliest reference to Torryburn s the signature at Berwick-on-Tweed of " Richard, persone egh'se de Tony del counte de Fyfe, " to the Ragman Roll, or Act of submission of the Scottish clergy and laity, along with John Ballbl, to Edward I., in August 1296. The village enjoyed anciently an extended reputation for its witches, a circumstance probably attributable to the more energetic prosecutions which seem to have obtained here of those suspected to be members of the sisterhood. Many poor creatures doubtless suffered death on this charge; and id ' Satan's Invisible World Displayed' notice is taken of wizards at Torryburn, and of an anacreontic ditty which one of these taught to a novice, who himself afterwards was burned to death at the stake. But the fame of Torryburn as regards v itchcraft and diablerie rests chiefly on the history of Lllias or Lily Adie, who in 1704 was arrested by the baron bailie of Torryburn, committed to prison, and examined with all solemnity by Mr Logan and his kirk-session. The poor woman, who was evidently the victim of insanity, delusion, and failing health, confessed in the most minute and categorical fashion to a series of interviews which she had had on various occasions with the Prince of Darkness,—one notably in the " I )arn 1 Road," a lonely hollow way leading down to Torryburn from the farm of Cauld-mailin on the Torrie estate; and another at "The Gollet," between Torryburn and Newmills. These arc 1 Dismal, generally written "dern,"  all carefully minuted by the session-clerk; but it is satisfactory to observe that there is no evidence of any torture or other cruelty having been practised to extort a confession. Indeed by this time the claws of inquisitors, clerical or lay, were—ifl Britain at all events—getting pretty well pared, and the civil power was becoming very chary in recognising or countenancing any prosecution for the crime of witchcraft.

Poor Lily did not long survive her committal to prison, but died there, having a short time before her death reasserted solemnly, in the presence of Mr Logan and his elders, the truth of her former statements. As an excommunicated person, she was buried on the seashore within high-water mark; and a large stone still marks the place of sepulture. Lily's bones, however, no longer rest in this spot. About thirty years ago an irreverent curiosity prompted an examination and disinterment. The result has been the dispersion of the remains, which appear to have been as eagerly coveted as the relics of any canonised saint. My friend Dr Dow of Dunfermline has now the skull, which shows a remarkably receding forehead, like that of an idiot. And a relative of mine owns two of Mrs Adie's ribs. The minutes of the kirk-session regarding this extraordinary case were long ago given to the world by that enthusiastic antiquary, John Graham Dalzell. Mr Logan's zeal in these prosecutions does not seem to have been altogether reciprocated by his parishioners, since in 1709 a disrespectful member of the flock, named Helen Kay, is summoned before the kirk-session, and rebuked for saying that the minister was "daft" in stirring up such commotions in the parish about witches. Mrs Kay was probably not very far wrong in her estimate of Mr Logan. On being translated, rather against his will, in 1717 to Culross, he endeavoured to exercise the same watchful 154 torryburn to that he had used in Torryburn in suppressing all sorcery and dealing with evil spirits; but as far as we can learn from the kirk-session records of that parish, he never succeeded in ferreting out anything more alarming than the consulting of a " dumbie " for obtaining the restoration of stolen property, and the employment by a farmer's wife of a charm to ensure a successful churning of butter.

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