Mary poured Hathaway a cup of tea as they sat in her parlor, which was located behind the Clarion office. She sat on the opposite end of the divan and angled herself to look at him directly. "Now, tell me what happened."
Hathaway took a sip of the tea and set the cup down on the table before him. "Theodore Marcus came to us a month after you last saw us perform. He was exiting one troupe, desiring to join ours because of our emphasis on the poetic dramas. Turns out he's a poet himself."
"Ah," Mary nodded. "Which would explain his apparent interest in Vin Tanner. He must have heard about his poetry."
"Perhaps. But I never introduced them, Mary. I never would have for the reasons I'm about to tell you."
The subject of Vin halted and Mary gestured for Hathaway to proceed. "Well, when Teddy joined, he couldn't have been but ten years older than Robert, but he had been raised in the arena of theater, just like Robert was. Teddy's was a pure talent. Robert was immensely drawn to him more for the relief of having someone new to talk the stage with other than his father. They became close friends in spite of their age difference."
Mary thought of Buck and JD and the difference in their ages, then she thought of Chris and Vin. No one knew for sure how old Vin was, but he looked to be around twenty-five. Chris had to be in his late thirties or early forties. She smiled at James. "Age has no say in friendship, James."
"So true, Mary, but Robert was so young and Teddy, well, he was not na ve to the ways of the world. He would lure Robert into all sorts of unseemly behavior. Wine, women and then Teddy started changing. The applause he always received bolstered his ego. He became arrogant. He even began to look down his nose at Robert. So much so that Robert decided to do something about it. He began to take on Teddy's attitude. He became demanding, argumentative, not the Robert we both once knew. When Teddy drank, Robert drank. When Teddy gambled, Robert gambled. When Teddy took a whore, Robert..." he stopped, noticing Mary's expression. "Forgive me, Mary. It must be hard for you to hear this."
She reached out and took his arm. "Not as hard as it is for you to live with those memories."
He reached over and patted her arm, appreciation in the gesture.
Mary shook her head. "The young are so easily influenced by those they idolize."
"Indeed and it was that worship of Teddy that got Robert killed." Hathaway let out a shaky breath. "A stupid accident and my world as well as Robert's life were destroyed."
"Tell me, James. How did the fire start?"
He looked at her, a friendly gleam in his eyes. "Are you asking as a reporter...or a friend?"
"A friend," she replied, smiling warmly.
He returned the smile and nodded. "It was after the closing performance. As usual Teddy received his applause and standing ovations, and as with all closing performances, we celebrated. Teddy took his celebration a bit too far, though, as did Robert. They became drunk. They started showing off on stage amidst the light of the lanterns. The people had long since gone home and the hall was empty except for us struggling actors. They all participated in the mocking of the plays we did. Teddy could take Shakespeare and create a whole new world within the words. One of the reasons Robert admired him so greatly. He could play Romeo as an ape, or Mercutio as a meek and timid soul. He even once played Juliet as a Texas gunslinger if you can believe that." Hathaway chuckled at the memory. "Complete with guns, accent and all."
Mary laughed with him and for a moment the subject of their conversation was forgotten...for a moment. Suddenly Hathaway sobered and somberness loomed between them. "As prideful as Teddy was the other performers knew he was the reason people came to see us, and they never once had a bad thing to say about his talent. As a person they loathed him, but as an entertainer...they loved him. They told me they could put up with Teddy's arrogance as long as he kept drawing in the crowds. And so, I let him stay on.
"Anyway, the joking continued into the early hours of the morning, and so did the drinking. I had retired to the office to count the ticket sales for that night, so what happened next is vague to me. What Teddy can remember is this...he accidentally knocked a lantern down. It hit the curtain and within seconds the entire stage was an inferno. The other actors ran for their lives out of the building, screaming fire, fire!'. I could smell the smoke and knew we were in trouble, so I grabbed all the money I could and headed for the backstage doors. The town became alerted and the citizens desperately tried to save the hall. It was then that I realized my son was not among the others that had escaped. I searched for Teddy, knowing that if my son would be with anyone, it would be him. But Teddy was lying under a blanket being dowsed with water. I did not know how badly he was burned until later...later when I found out Robert had died in the fire. From what I was told by the other actors, Teddy tried to save Robert, but my son was all ready too far gone to be saved."
Mary gripped his arm tighter, the sting of tears in her eyes. "I'm so sorry, James."
James patted her hand again and forced himself to maintain control. "Teddy ended up with a disfigurement that stole his career from him as a result of trying to save my son's life. Where he once would have outshone Apollo, Teddy now resides in the shadows afraid of showing his face. Where once he was pleasing to the female eye, he has now become an object of disgust and fear. But perhaps the most tragic of all...is his mind."
Mary tilted her head. "His mind?"
"Yes. I would advise your Mister Tanner to stay clear of Teddy. For his own sake, Mary. I'm not saying Teddy would harm him, but with all that he's been through, I have noticed Teddy is unstable. Fits of rage are not uncommon with him. The fine line of balance has turned crooked within him. Solitude seems to be his only solace. I would not want the wrath of Chris Larabee to fall on us should anything happen to his friend."
Mary fought to think. This warning had come as a complete surprise to her. She stared at Hathaway blankly. "Is...is Mister Marcus a danger to this town?"
"No, no, Mary, but if people get too close, something could set him off. Someone could scream at his appearance, or laugh at him...he knows the risks and he stays in hiding. He does all he can to keep himself from trouble. I help him as well. It would just be erring on the side of caution to tell Mister Tanner to keep his distance."
Mary nodded, swallowing hard. "Yes, yes of course, you're right."
"I didn't mean to frighten you, Mary. Truly, Teddy is no threat. I will see to that."
Mary smiled at her old friend. "Thank you for telling me this, James. I will inform Mister Larabee and Vin at once."
The clock chimed and they looked over to see that it was half past six. They stood. "I must go and check on my harried flock, Mary, and to make sure all is in readiness for tonight's performance."
"I'll see you to the door." Mary hooked her hand through Hathaway's arm and led him out through the newspaper pressroom to the front door. When she opened the door the bonfires that were lit every night to light the streets were in full blaze and she could see Chris walking down the street to her left. "There he is, now." She reached to the peg on the inside of the door for her shawl and closed the Clarion door behind her. "I'll meet you at the hall tonight, James, I need to talk with Mister Larabee."
"Of course, Mary." Hathaway tipped his hat to her and turned to head down the opposite end of the street.
Mary turned and ran to catch up with Chris. "Mister Larabee? May I speak with you a moment?"
The gunslinger stopped and turned to her. "Mary?" he tipped his hat.
"I'd like to speak to you...about Vin. Is he back yet?"
"Not yet. Why? What about him?"
"Well, I've been given some information about Mister Marcus that you both need to be aware of."
"Oh? What information is that?"
"Well, according to James, Mister Marcus was horribly burned in the fire of Kansas City last year?"
Chris nodded, wondering where Mary was going with this news. "Vin and I know all about it. He told us last night when we met him."
"Yes, well, he...may not be balanced...Mister Larabee. If you understand what I'm trying to tell you?"
Chris gazed at her with a furrowed brow. He thought about the actor that had attacked Sarah, the fact that he had lost his ability to tell the real from the fantasy. But Marcus did not strike Chris as insane, in fact just the opposite. Marcus seemed to be completely at peace with everything that had happened to him, with the exception of the memory plaguing him. It was a feeling that Chris understood all too well. Just because bad memories hold onto a man, didn't make them crazy. "So Hathaway told you all this?"
Mary nodded. "That's right."
"And all you have is his word on it?"
"Yes, of course, but he's been a friend of mine for some time now, Mister Larabee. I would honestly doubt he would lie to me about something so serious. He suggested that Vin stay away from Marcus...for his own safety."
Chris took in a deep breath and looked off down the street to see the tracker himself riding back into town. "It's about time for you to start getting ready for the play isn't it, Mrs. Travis?"
Mary jerked her head back. From Mary' to Mrs. Travis' in a single minute? "I'm sorry if you feel I've interfered, Mister Larabee, but..."
"I'll take into consideration what you've told me, Mrs. Travis. Thank you." He tipped his hat to her again, then headed off toward where Vin was dismounting in front of the jailhouse.
Mary stared off after him, then shook her head in bewilderment. As she returned to her home she wondered if she would ever be able to figure Chris Larabee out. Then she wondered if she should even try.
+ + + + + + +
"Vin?" Chris called out as the tracker started going inside the jailhouse. Vin turned to see Chris walk up to him. "Chris. Y'all be needing me to scout tonight?"
Chris shook his head. "You can bed Peso down. No trouble brewing outside of town."
Vin untied his horse's reins and started walking to the livery. Chris fell into step beside him. "Good ride?"
"Always is," Vin nodded. He looked behind him for a second then gestured with his head. "Mary all right?"
"Fine. Worried about you, though."
Vin jerked a furrowed glance at Chris. "What fer?"
"Hathaway seems to think Marcus may be a bit crazy."
Vin smirked. "The man's saner than you are, Larabee."
Chris shrugged. "Well, I've always trusted your judgment, Vin, least ways most of the time, but...we don't know the whole story behind the fire."
Vin shrugged. "Reckon we could ask."
Chris smiled. "Reckon we could."
There was silence between them for a moment. Then Vin spoke, "Ya' think Hathaway's a lyin' snake?"
Chris nodded once. "Complete with forked tongue."
Vin shrugged. "Well, Chris, ya' know I've always trusted your judgment. Least ways most of the time." He cast Chris a playful smile to which the gunslinger chuckled. "Let's bed your horse down and give the town another once over. When the play starts we'll fetch Marcus and judge for ourselves."
Vin shook his head. "He may not wanna come outta hidin'."
Chris shrugged. "You could convince him. Hell, everyone in town is gonna be at the play. Not like anyone'll see him."
"'Cept Dan at the saloon," Vin corrected.
"I think we can handle it."
"We ain't talkin' bout Marcus' sanity anymore...are we." It was a comment, not a question.
Chris smiled. "Talkin' a few drinks with a coupla' friends, Vin."
Vin returned the smile with a grateful one of his own. One thing Vin knew...Chris wasn't the type to take a stranger's word over his ability to judge for himself.
+ + + + + + +
Marcus was back stage listening to the performance of Hamlet. Hiding in the shadows, he rested on a chair and leaned his head back. He closed his one good eye and envisioned himself on the stage reciting the lines of the Bard. It had been a good turn out. Sold out performance, with people buying tickets for the next night. Mostly people had come out tonight to find out who had won the audition contest.
Marcus wondered if Vin had returned yet. The circumstances of Chris discovering Vin's scars weighed heavily on the former actor's heart. He pondered over the obvious depth of friendship between the two men. It was nice to know that someday, with Vin's talent and the friendship he shared with Chris, the young poet would find his place in this world. A talent such as his should not go to waste,' he thought.
Then he heard a psst' coming from his right. He opened his eye and turned in the direction of the sound. Vin was standing there, his hat in his hands. Marcus smiled. He stood and walked over to the young man. "Vin, what are you doing here? Why aren't you out there watching the play?"
Vin looked down. "Rather talk to you."
"Have you seen Chris since you got back?"
"Yeah. Said ya' would be back here."
"Are you all right, Vin?"
Vin looked up. "Fine. Chris and I would like to know if'n ya' be willin' to let us buy y'all a drink?"
Marcus straightened, obviously unprepared for the invitation. "Vin, I can't tell you what that means to me, but to go out like this...I'm afraid the townspeople wouldn't understand."
"Most of em are here, Marcus. I'll watch out fer ya'."
"To go out in public," Marcus seemed lost in the idea. He was seriously considering it. "Mister Tanner, it would be a pleasure. Just let me get my coat and hat." He walked over to a chair and grabbed his black coat, the one Vin had seen the night before. He then put on the scarf and hat that hid his face and head. "They'll be mentioning the winner of the contest at the end of the play. Do you wish to be here for that?"
"Would ya' happen to know who won?"
"I believe it was the youth I met last night."
Vin's eyes widened. "JD? JD won?"
"That was the name I heard talked about, yes."
Vin grinned. "Didn't even know he was tryin' out. Well, hell, if that don't beat all? How much longer till the play winds down?"
"About another two hours. They only just started act one."
"Plenty of time fer us to have a few whiskeys."
Marcus smiled. "I never would have considered going into a public place, Vin. For some reason, though, I don't feel ashamed of my appearance anymore."
Vin's grin turned into a smile. "Glad to hear that, Marcus. But the only other person there will be the barkeep, Dan. Chris'll be meetin' us at the saloon."
"Then we best not keep him waiting." He patted Vin on the back and the two left the darkened back stage to head out into the star lit night.
+ + + + + + +
The bartender jumped back some at the sight of the man coming through the doors following Chris and Vin. The three men headed for the bar and Vin put down two coins. "Bottle of whiskey, Dan, and three glasses if ya' would?"
Dan couldn't help staring at Marcus. The hat and scarf were obviously meant to hide the face, but there were still traces of scars showing. Dan didn't seem to have heard Vin.
Chris reached out and slapped the bartender on the shoulder. "You heard the man. Bottle and three glasses, Dan."
Dan still didn't move.
Vin leaned against the bar. "Dan? Your mama ever tell ya' it ain't polite to stare?"
That started Dan out of his shock. "Uh...right. Bottle of whiskey and three glasses, coming right up." He turned and went to retrieve the objects.
"Perhaps coming here wasn't such a good idea after all," Marcus sighed.
"Marcus, it's like ya' told me, sometimes a man has just got to spread those wings and fly," Vin said. "Let the ignorant folk live with their ignorance. Right now I want to share a drink with my friends."
"You seem in much better spirits, Vin," Marcus observed. "It is good to see."
Dan set the bottle of whiskey and the three glasses down before Vin. "Is there anything else?" he asked.
"That will be all for this evening, thank you," Marcus said to him as he picked up his glass. "Oh, and Dan, were you planning on seeing any of the performances?"
"I...uh...I wanted to this evening, but..."
"Marcus here could give you a reading, Dan," Chris suggested. "Sort of a hint of what they're doing over at the meeting hall."
Dan swallowed. "You...you could do that for me?"
Marcus looked at Chris curiously. The gunslinger shrugged. "What could it hurt, Marcus? I'd like to see some of that talent of yours myself."
"You...you're an actor?" Dan asked in disbelief.
"Yes," Vin replied before Marcus could protest. "He is. One of the best I've ever seen."
"Well, as you can see, the saloon is empty except for you three. I have time on my hands. I'd consider it a pleasure to hear anything you have to recite."
Vin gently slapped Marcus on the back as he poured the whiskey into the glasses. "The stage is yours, Marcus." He and Chris took the glasses and the bottle and went to a nearby table. Sitting down they made themselves comfortable and Marcus removed his coat. The actor hesitated before removing his hat and scarf. He turned to Dan. "I have been the victim of a tragic fire, Dan. Will my scars frighten you?"
Dan swallowed again. "No, sir."
Marcus slowly removed his hat and then his scarf. He turned slowly so that Dan would not see him all at once. When the actor had shown himself to the bartender, Dan's eyes widened. "Lord Almighty." Then he remembered himself and cleared his throat. "I'm sorry, sir. I ain't never seen a man with scars like yours before."
"Quite all right, Dan. I get that reaction a lot."
"Would...would you be doin' somethin' from the play tonight?"
"Well, there is something I could quote, a monologue from the play they are doing tonight. Would that suffice?"
Chris lifted his glass to the actor and inclined his head. "Let's hear it."
Marcus turned his back to them and lowered his head. Silence fell and then Marcus turned to them again. Completely gone was the man named Marcus with half a face full of burn scars. In his place was...Hamlet. "Speak the speech, I pray you, as I pronounced it to you, trippingly on the tongue: but if you mouth it, as many of our players do, I had as lief the town-crier spoke my lines. Nor do not saw the air too much with your hand, thus," at this Marcus waved his hand back and forth in front of him, his tone of voice full of disgust. Chris and Vin exchanged chuckling smiles. Marcus continued; "but all gently. For in the very torrent, tempest, and (as I may say) whirlwind of your passions, you must acquire and beget a temperance, that may give it smoothness. O, it offends me to the soul, to hear a robustious periwig-pated fellow tear a passion to tatters, to very rags, to split the ears of the groundlings; who, for the most part, are capable of nothing but inexplicable dumb shows, and noise." Marcus gestured toward the town meeting hall, eliciting more chuckles from his audience; Dan included. "I would have such a fellow whipped for o'er doing Termagant; it out-herod's Herod. Pray you, avoid it."
Chris turned to Vin at the word whipped', but noticed his young friend was entirely engrossed in Marcus' performance to have noticed the reference. He shook off the worry and continued to listen. Marcus turned to Vin and pointed at him with the next line: "Be not too tame neither, but let your own discretion be your tutor. Suit the action to the word, the word to the action; with this special observance, that you o'er step not the modesty of nature. For anything so overdone is from the purpose of playing, whose end, both at the first, and now, was, and is, to hold, as t were, the mirror up to nature; to show virtue her own feature, scorn her own image, and the very age and body of the time, his form and pressure. Now this, overdone, or come tardy off, though it make the unskillful laugh, cannot but make the judicious grieve. The censure of which one, must in your allowance, o'er-weigh a whole theater of others. O, there be players, that I have seen play, and heard others praise, and that highly, not to speak it profanely, that, neither having the accent of Christians, nor the gait of Christian, pagan, nor man, have so strutted, and bellowed, that I have thought some of nature's journeymen had made men, and not made them well, they imitated humanity so abominably." With these last words, Marcus bowed with a sweep of his hand.
Vin and Chris applauded and Vin even let out a whistle.
Dan came out from behind the bar and reached out a hand, his face aglow with delight, "Sir, that was one fine performance. I have read Hamlet before, but I can honestly say you brought the words alive to me. Thank you for that."
Chris and Vin stood and went up to Marcus who smiled with modesty. "It has been a long time, Dan. Thank you for allowing me the opportunity."
"Could you do any more for us?"
"I could, but I am here at the invitation of Mister Tanner and Mister Larabee." He looked at them questioningly.
"Don't pay us no mind, Marcus," Vin said. "Perform all ya' want."
Chris shrugged. "It's a quiet night."
"Well then, I would indeed enjoy entertaining you all."
Dan joined Chris and Vin at the table and Marcus continued to entertain until he looked at his pocket watch and mentioned it was time for the winner to be announced.
Dan looked at the saloon. "I should stay here and set up for when the play lets out."
"Are you certain you cannot leave this place for even a few minutes to see one of your own receive the accolades of his peers?"
"I really can't, Mister Marcus. I'm sure I'll read all about it in the paper."
Marcus smiled and held out his hand, which Dan shook with genuine appreciation. "You are truly a master of the art, Mister Marcus. Thank you for sharing your talent with me tonight."
"Don't mention it, my friend."
"You come by any time. I'll have a glass of whiskey waiting for you."
Vin smiled at Marcus, pleased that Dan had been truly sincere in his acceptance of the scarred man. "I'll do that, Dan. Thank you." Marcus tipped his hat to the bartender and followed Chris and Vin out of the saloon.
Chris clapped Marcus on the back. "Wasn't as bad as you thought it would be, was it?"
"No, Mister Larabee, indeed it was not. I have not felt this welcome in a town in years."
"Y'all deserve it, Marcus. People need to see who ya' really are, not what ya' look like," Vin said.
"Ah, sort of like...I'm not the way they see me. Not who they think I am. I'm just a man', Vin?"
Vin lowered his head, a grin crossing his lips. "Good memory."
"A good memory is a good thing for an actor to have."
Marcus chuckled. "Thank you, my friends. I have not enjoyed such good company in a very long time."
The three reached the back of the meeting hall and entered through the door, leading to the back of the stage. They reached the area behind the backdrop just in time to hear Hathaway call out the winner of the contest. "Will Mister JD Dunne come to the stage and collect his twenty dollars?"
Shouts and applause could be heard by all in the room, but no one shouted harder or louder than Buck Wilmington. Vin and Chris poked their heads out to see the audience on their feet giving the Kid' a standing ovation. Vin smiled with warmth as JD approached Hathaway and took the twenty-dollar bill. The Kid's face was full of astonishment and delight as he waved the bill in the air. "It's poker tonight, fellas!" he yelled out as he shook Hathaway's hand.
More shouts and applause.
Chris chuckled and shook his head. "If that don't beat all."
Vin and Marcus exchanged knowing smiles.
+ + + + + + +
Backstage, when the play was over, Hathaway brought Mary to meet the other actors. Marcus stayed in the shadows. As Mary began to converse with the actors and praise them for a wonderful performance, Hathaway saw the stage manager as he turned a corner into hiding. "Excuse me, Mary. There is something I must attend to. I will leave you in the capable hands of Mister MacLeod and Miss Stewart."
"All right, James," Mary replied and turned to the two actors in front of her. "I was deeply moved by both your performances tonight," she said.
Cynthia Stewart took Mary's hand and smiled. "Thank you, Mrs. Travis. It was an exhilarating night, wasn't it?"
Their words faded from Hathaway's ears as he searched the back of the stage for Marcus. "Teddy," he whispered.
Marcus emerged from a stack of crates. "Mister Hathaway?"
"Where the hell were you tonight? You're underlings had to compensate for your absence. You had a job to do and you disappeared. The play would have been ruined."
Marcus lowered his head. "I built the stage, Mister Hathaway, I set up the props. The assistant managers know their job."
"That doesn't excuse the fact that you took off during a performance!" Hathaway had to force himself to keep his voice down. "I will not tolerate such blatant disrespect for this troupe, Teddy. Where did you go? Spending some time with that Tanner boy?" Hathaway's voice took on a sneer. "You going to do to him what you did to Robert? I won't have it, Teddy."
Marcus clenched his fists. "Vin Tanner happens to be a man. Young, yes, but still a man. Robert was na ve even for his age."
"So, that's it, isn't it? You're making friends with Tanner?"
Marcus continued looking down. He hated meeting Hathaway's eyes. They were filled with hatred and disgust. "Now you listen to me, you low-life. You are not to leave this hall for any reason unless I give you permission. Is that perfectly clear? You have a job to do...a debt to pay to me...and I will not tolerate rebellion. Especially from the likes of you, you bastard." Hathaway grabbed Marcus' shirt and brought him to within an inch of his face. "You hearing me?"
Marcus remained calm. He had been subjected to such reprimands before. This was nothing new to him. "I understand, Mister Hathaway."
Hathaway let Marcus go and stepped back, straightening his coat. "We are here at the invitation of Mary Travis. I will not stand to have her insulted by unprofessional behavior."
Marcus said nothing. His gaze remained on the floor.
Hathaway loosened his collar and cleared his throat. "Very well, then. It might behoove you to remember your place, Teddy. Remember it well." He turned and walked back into the mass of actors and put on his air of friendliness once again.
Marcus stayed in the shadows and gazed out at Cynthia Stewart who laughed with delight at a joke Hathaway said. Mary Travis was laughing as well. How he longed to be a part of the laughter again...but Hathaway would see to it he never would. Where Theater was once his world...it was now his prison.
Marcus swallowed. It would do no good to reason with Hathaway. It was no secret to the actor that Hathaway blamed him for the fire that cost the life of his son. Hathaway's first words to him once Marcus had regained consciousness had been; "Why couldn't you have died instead of Robert?" And then there were the other things Hathaway had told him. Things Marcus chose to forget, for he could do nothing about the fire or Robert dying. He could do nothing at all.
If truth were told, Hathaway didn't keep Marcus on because of his sensitivity to the actor's plight...but to hobble him in the metaphorical sense. Hathaway knew Marcus had no place to go; that his world was his art and that acting had been his only trade.
"You think anyone will want you the way you look, Teddy? Do you think you can go through the rest of your life thinking you won't frighten people? It's best you stay with the troupe. You can still work. Maybe not for the pay you got as an actor, but at least it'll be a job and you won't be begging out on the street."
Marcus had been so devastated by the fire and the loss of his friend that Hathaway's words only served to seal the depression in his heart. The prideful actor once known as Theodore Marcus had been humbled, but Hathaway had taken the humbling further than God ever intended it to go. But God has a way of using evil and turning it around for good. If the troupe leader had not kept Marcus on, using guilt and fear as chains to keep his prisoner from bolting, Marcus never would have met Vin Tanner or Chris Larabee. Such meetings could only be ordained from the Creator, and the bitter man before him, who never let Marcus forget his costly error in befriending Robert Hathaway, was another of the foolish things that God uses to confound the wise.
He closed is eyes and thought back to a few hours before, with Vin and Chris and the barkeep Dan. For a few hours he had been given a reprieve and he had savored it. Vin held the key to unlock the door for him. If only he could bury the past and start fresh. Vin gave him hope he could do that. But that hope was short lived as he turned and saw his image in a mirror. He gazed at himself long and hard and suddenly he was back in his prison cell again. "Start fresh," he snickered. "Vin and Chris may accept you," he told his reflection. "But they are only two in this entire world. Enjoy the reprieve...for it won't last long."
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