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Carbury Rectory

by Teddy Bear 

Posted: 30 January 2004
Word Count: 3993
Summary: Synopsis and 1st chapter of my 1st novel in my Victorian saga spanning forty years

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Carbury Rectory is the first novel in the Carbury series.
Lucinda Parry, daughter of the rector of Carbury, expresses her doubts to her grandmother, Adelaide Parry, regarding her forthcoming wedding to Sir Jonathan Wentworth whom she sees as excellent marriage material. However, Adelaide is unaware of his many vices: he and his friends are gamblers and frequent visitors to some of Soho’s most notorious brothels.
Their wedding outwardly appears enchanting, but on honeymoon his behaviour is anything other than gentlemanly and she soon realises not all marriages are idyllic. Whilst visiting friends, he writes a letter of reconciliation but on his return, is furious to find the bedroom door locked and issues terrifying threats. When she opens the door, he rapes her
Lavinia Parry is beautiful and at sixteen is aware of her attractions. She captivates Peter Bartlett, a lawyer and family friend. Adelaide introduces her to London society, where, at a Christmas ball she meets Jerome Cordell a mysterious widower with a young daughter. He owns of several tin mines in Cornwall and shares in Osbourne’s bank.
Lavinia’s other admirer is Charles Osbourne, son of the bank’s managing director. In his twenties, he is already florid and overweight from days of sedentary banking duties. Throughout winter, she enslaves the three with her beauty and seductive singing.
Tragedy occurs at Carbury Rectory when the Parry’s youngest son, Roger, dies during a fall. His mother, Jane, already in poor health, is weakened by the shock and dies six weeks later.
Lucinda, now pregnant, still suffers the indignities of sexual abuse and becomes increasingly depressed. Despite two eminent doctors attending the birth, she nearly dies and they advise against more children. Outraged by the news, Jonathan seeks comfort in the arms of a courtesan who turns him from a bully into a skilled lover.
Lavinia’s suitors are all pressing her. Peter is frantic, having made several proposals she has skilfully evaded. Charles, due to his parents nagging, becomes engaged to someone else. Jerome, at thirty-eight, is anxious to remarry, following events involving his former mistress. He invites Lavinia and her father to visit Cornwall. Enchanted by his house perched on cliffs above a beautiful beach, she also becomes fond of his daughter, Charlotte. When he proposes, despite uncertainties, his kisses awake her passions and they marry a week later.
They spend Christmas in London and with impending motherhood, Lavinia invites her father to Cornwall again. He meets Joseph Fenton a harsh individual from the North who preaches to the poor and angrily berates the mine owners. He argues that if conditions in Jerome’s mines are acceptable, then Richard should insist on being given a tour of inspection.
Lavinia now deeply in love with Jerome, continually delights him. Her love and the prospect of fatherhood again make him realise life has never been happier. Following persistent requests, he reluctantly takes Richard down Wheal Meradion with disastrous results. An adjacent flooded mine breaks through to the workings they occupy. Seawater plunges through and Jerome drowns, whilst Richard is pulled out unconscious.
Lavinia, totally devastated, hovers between death and consciousness. She loses the baby — a boy. At her bedside when Richard recounts the disaster and admits his blame, grief-stricken and bitter, she asks him to leave. Convinced her life is in ruins, she can see no future for herself and Charlotte.

Carbury Rectory
JULY 1876 - APRIL 1877


Lucinda Parry stared blankly at her grandmother as the drawing room door closed. ‘Do you not find it odd grandmamma … it’s the second time this week? I’m becoming a little worried and wonder if Jonathan is sickening for something. With the wedding less than —’
‘Do stop fussing Lucinda!’ Adelaide Parry’s tone was tetchy. ‘He’s a young man for heaven’s sake — you heard what he said, he’s gone to join his friends.’
Lucinda stared at the carpet hoping her resentment might go unnoticed. Having lived here and listened to her opinions for the past eighteen months, there were two people in which grandmamma could see no wrong: her own son and Sir Jonathan Wentworth, the young man to whom she was engaged.
‘I’ll go upstairs now grandmamma if you don’t mind.’ After a hasty peck on the cheek, she made her escape. Remaining in her company now that Aunt Mary had retired would only have had her reiterating what a fine young man Jonathan was and how lucky she was to have been selected as his bride.
Was she lucky? Until recently she would have said yes, despite certain misgivings as far back as their engagement. One of these was Esme, his strange reclusive sister and her obsession with her pack of dogs. How had she reacted towards Jonathan insisting she move into the lodge — a smaller-scale replica of Wentworth Park — after the marriage?
More importantly, did she and Jonathan really know one another? What would it be like living with him day after day? Was his temper as uncertain as she suspected?
She only had to cast her mind back to their betrothal over a year ago and her papa’s refusal of an earlier wedding. When Richard Parry had turned away, believing the subject closed, the fury on Jonathan’s face had been plain for her to see. Then she dismissed it, believing it to be angered passion brought about by his deep love and eagerness to be with her. Now she was no longer sure.
He seemed to spend less time in her company, absenting himself without any real explanations. A chill went down her spine as she recalled meeting some of his friends at his house in Park Lane. Scottdale, whom he referred to as Scottie, was particularly obnoxious.
There was also his drinking: the strange smell on his breath when he kissed her she now recognised as alcohol. Her grandmother who was normally so critical seemed blind to any of his imperfections and Lucinda wondered if her own expectations were perhaps too high.
It was impossible to compare Jonathan to her brother-in-law, Roger Carbury. The two men were different in age and outlook and the real comparison was whether her feelings for her fiancé matched those of Louisa’s for her husband. The answer was obvious: her sister’s marriage was based on deep trust as well as love.
As she undressed, she tried focussing on what they had in common: a love of music and piano playing and of course he could be such fun at times. Was it enough? It had to be. Preparations were well under way and the wedding was now less than six weeks away.
After leaving Cavendish Square and the company of his fiancée, Jonathan Wentworth arrived at his club twenty minutes later and noticed his friends sitting at a table. Scottie, clearly the worse for drink, was talking in an over-loud voice. Glancing up, his stare was already unfocussed. ‘That you Jonny old thing? We’re just having a spot of cards, want to join in?’
Glancing down at the pile of money with disdain, he shook his head. ‘I’ve just left Adelaide’s where I’ve been dining. Quite frankly I’m in need of something a little more entertaining than your wretched cards.’
Jinxie leaned over the table and waving his cigarette beckoned the waiter over. ‘Sit down Jonny and have a drink first. I mean — God! Plenty o’ time yet an’ all that. Let’s all be nice an’ cosy an’ have another drink.’
Judging from his appearance, he was already as inebriated as Scottie — as were some of the others. Reluctantly pulling out a chair, Jonathan joined them.
The drinks arrived and Scottie attempted to eye his friend up and down before almost slumping forward in his seat. ‘Bet you’ll be glad when you’re married to the lovely Lucinda old thing. Can’t be much fun having to be chaperoned constantly by a woman who’s practically in her dotage.’
‘How many times do I have to go over it with you? You already know my late father was a best friend of Lucy’s pa once. Since his death, Adelaide’s been very good to me whenever I’m in town. I mean … if I went around with you lot all the time I’d end up an alcoholic and a compulsive gambler.’
When Scottie sneered, he turned away in distaste, wondering why he bothered with his company. It wasn’t as if he was over-fond of him or Jinxie, but they’d known each other since their days in Eton. Then he’d been a somewhat shy thirteen-year-old and Scottie had selected him to be his fag. Comparing him now to then, in those days he had been quite different and being chosen as his fag, he had suffered much less than many of his fellow pupils. Provided he kept Scottie in a plentiful supply of tobacco and delivered notes to local girls so that he may carry out his clandestine meetings, nothing more had been expected of him.
Despite the difference in their ages, a friendship had eventually developed between them and had resumed when Jonathan later attended university. Meeting up again with him after those days in Eton, he had noticed disturbing changes in Scottie. Already drinking and gambling heavily and pressed by his father, Lord Scottdale, to curb his ways or else, he had developed a somewhat vicious streak. These days, whenever he was in London, he and Jinxie chose to cling to him like limpets to a rock.
He watched the way they were leering and nudging one another and with a final gulp of his drink, rose to his feet. ‘I’m off, you can either join me or remain — it’s immaterial.’
The Madam was all painted smiles as usual and practically grovelling before him. Her hallway bore the usual pervading aromas of stale perfume, tobacco and alcohol. ‘Sir Jonathan, welcome, welcome.’ The smile slipped when she noticed the other two behind him were already the worse for drink. She wagged her finger at them and in a less deferential manner, her cockney accent rose to the fore ‘Listen you two, I don’t want no trouble like last time. My poor Nina — she couldn’t work for days afterwards. Forced ter call in the bleedin’ doctor I was.’
‘He’s going to behave himself tonight aren’t you Scottie? He knows if he doesn’t then neither of them will be accompanying me again — at least not at my expense.’
Her smile was as false as her words. ‘Sir Jonathan, always the perfect gentleman.’ She tapped his arm playfully and whispered as though there were just the two of them. ‘’Cept I hears a little different — not always the gentleman when you’re upstairs with my girls now are you?’
His face reddened. ‘Now listen here, I pay good money —’
‘Sir Jonathan — Sir Jonathan, no need to get like that, it’s only me doin’ a bit o’ teasin’. Now come.’
She led them upstairs and on the landing, stopped before a door. ‘Want to see a spot o’ dancin’ first like? Or d’yer want ter get straight ter bed, hmm?’ She cackled lewdly.
‘Dancin’,’ Jinxie murmured.
He’d no sooner said it and she opened a door, revealing four young women lounging around in their underwear. With hands placed on her hips, she issued orders. ‘Right, Sally over to the piano an’ as for you three — get yer clothes off an’ dance fer the gentlemen an’ afterwards … ha! Yer can do what yer likes afterwards.’ With a final cackle, she closed the door, leaving them to the attentions of the girls.
Lindsey Parry wiped the blackboard for the last time. School had closed until September and the children had all gone home. One or two books were still lying around and she placed them neatly on the shelves. Wandering over to the window, she stood nervously waiting, trying to focus her attention on the view of which she normally never tired. Outside stood the most magnificent oak tree; its vast span of leafy branches gave total shade to the play area during the summer months. In the haziness of late afternoon, knats buzzing around the lower half of the trunk shimmered in the heat.
The door to the other classroom opened and Simon Wharton came and stood at her side. For a second or two, the pair of them gazed out. He edged his way closer, longing to touch her, yet afraid. With a sidelong glance, she smiled faintly. Neither of them so far had dared to voice their secret admiration for each other.
He watched intently as she smoothed her hand over the sill and clearing his throat, could wait no longer. ‘I’ll be leaving at first light tomorrow and will remain at my mother’s for two weeks.’
She already knew this — tomorrow being the start of his two-week vacation. She would miss him whilst he was away, but remained unsure and awkward. When she made no comment, he asked, ‘When I return, would you allow me to walk you to the rectory after Sunday school? I — that is — well you don’t have to — but I’d consider it an honour. Yet I would understand — if — if —’
‘Yes,’ came her soft reply. Without looking at him, her response, though quiet, had been very definite.
They turned and faced each other and as he smiled at her, she blushed and lowered her glance.
Being several years older and considering himself of a lower class than that of her family, made him shy and nervous in Lindsey’s company. She was the third daughter of the rector of Carbury, Richard Parry, who was an extremely wealthy man. The family’s banking connections had enabled him to choose a career as a vocation rather than for personal gain. The income derived from his position was of minor significance. His eldest daughter, Louisa, had married Roger Carbury, the squire of the parish, and was now the mother of a baby boy. As though that were not enough, the second girl, Lucinda was soon to marry into the aristocracy. In September, she would become the wife of Sir Jonathan Wentworth of Bath.
Simon had arrived in Carbury in February 1875. The Bishop had selected him to act as an assistant curate and part of his duties had been the running of the village school. He was more than qualified to do this, having obtained a fellowship at Cambridge. The school consisted of just two classrooms: the front or main classroom was for the older children whom he taught, whilst Mrs Turner, wife of the previous curate, had taught the younger children in the smaller room. Last July the poor lady had died during pregnancy and Mr Turner had been so upset he could no longer bear to stay in Carbury. Following her funeral, he and his two small daughters had gone to live with his sister in Windermere.
It was after this event that Simon had been promoted to curate and it was in September of last year that Lindsey had offered her help as assistant teacher.
She loved the work and particularly loved being with her colleague, for whom she had developed a strong liking. Having recently celebrated her eighteenth birthday, Simon was her senior by eight years. He had talked to her occasionally about his background. There was his widowed mother who lived alone and an older sister who had married but then died of typhoid fever.
The family home was in a small Midland’s town close to the city of Birmingham. Mr Wharton had worked very hard to ensure that his gifted son received a university education. In deep gratitude for the sacrifices his parents had made, Simon sent a large portion of his salary to his mother. He had tried to persuade her to come and share his cottage in Carbury, but she was content to remain in the Midlands for the present, caring for an elderly aunt who lived close by.
Each of them was reluctant to make the first farewell and in the end, Simon decided to speak up. ‘I think it’s time we locked up and perhaps we may walk out together?’
He removed the bunch of keys from his pocket and so they left the school behind. When they reached the gate, it was time to part. Carbury Hall lay in the opposite direction to his cottage. He took her hand in farewell, holding it for a considerable time. After they had said their goodbyes Lindsey remained by the entrance, watching until he disappeared from view. With a sigh she turned towards the direction of Carbury Hall.
Louisa was sitting in the garden with a book in her hands, whilst Francis, her baby son, lay fast asleep on a blanket upon the lawn. Lindsey walked across and knelt down beside her baby nephew. The sisters greeted each other in hushed tones so as not to waken him. At three months of age, he was the image of his father. With the same auburn curly hair, already it showed an abundance his father’s had once had. Even his eyes, when opened, were the same shade of blue and the rest of his baby features were like his father’s yet on a smaller scale.
Lindsey couldn’t take her eyes from him; he was exquisite in every way. She often called here after school; the rectory was in such close proximity, the temptation to see Louisa’s baby often got the better of her. After these visits, she would hurry home to spend time with her youngest brother and sister, Leonora and Roger who were twins. The boy was named after his godfather, the squire, and at eighteen months old, they were already proving to be a mischievous handful.
Francis, as if knowing he was the object of attention, opened his eyes; they lit up with recognition as he met his aunt’s stare.
With a cry of delight, she leaned closer so that her hair tickled his face. He pulled his legs up and gave a delighted gurgle. Distracted from reading, Louisa placed her book to one side and knelt down with her younger sister. The pair of them looked on in rapt worship, crooning and talking baby nonsense to him. Totally absorbed, they didn’t hear the approach of the baby’s father.
Roger knelt down and scooping him into his arms, began rocking him. ‘What are they doing to my little son then? Are they disturbing him from his beauty sleep?’ Kissing the baby’s head, he held him close to his chest.
Lindsey looked at the family: her sister staring up at her husband in adoration; the squire gazing at his son. They looked at each other and exchanged a special sort of glance. Their deep love was there for all to see and despite being made welcome, she felt like an intruder in their close-knit family.
Rising to her feet, Louisa brushed down the front of her dress. Motherhood suited her and since giving birth, her figure had matured and filled out. Though still slim, with her breasts and hips more prominent her shape was now slightly voluptuous.
‘Time for tea, I think.’ Placing her arm around her husband, she gave him a peck on the cheek, then leaning over her son, she did the same.
Roger’s smile was fond. ‘You know I’m always ready for a cup of tea my love.’
‘Come Lindsey.’ Beckoning her sister, the two young women went into the house.
The ocean was so rough, despite the distance between the cottage and the cliffs, the sounds of the Atlantic breakers crashing against the rocks seemed deafening. Fumbling in the dark, Bella leaned over and lit a candle. Glancing to the other side of the bed, Jerome slept oblivious to the sounds from outside and, she decided, oblivious to her feelings.
The evening had turned chill for late July and sitting up, she shivered in her nakedness. Goose pimples stood out on her breasts and arms. Rising from the bed, she picked up the counterpane and wrapping it round herself, wandered over to the window. Not that there was much to see in the pitch black, just her own reflection and over in the distance, if she peered hard enough, she could just make out the occasional white, angry waves. Turning round, deep in thought, she stared at Jerome’s sleeping form. If she didn’t obtain an answer within a week or two ….
It was well past midnight and time to waken him. Standing by the bed, she was tempted to pull back the covers, lie against his naked body and begin all over again. With a deep breath, she tried to contain her passion, whilst wondering if she could get him to call again in two days.
Shaking him gently, he awoke instantly. It constantly amazed her his ability to be in a deep sleep one moment then be sitting up wide-eyed and alert the next. His smile was sensuous and with his finger, he placed it inside the counterpane and began tracing it round one of her nipples. Watching her colour heighten, he laughed softly. ‘Come back into bed and pleasure me one more time.’
The urge was certainly strong, but she didn’t want the children — especially young Daniel — discovering him. Thoughts of her son strengthened her resolve. ‘It’s late Jerome and time you left, but we need to talk and soon. Will you promise to ride over in two days? Come in the afternoon when the children are absent.’
He rose from the bed and began dressing, already having a good idea what she wanted to discuss. Since the death of her husband, she had nagged him continuously.
He placed his hand on the door. ‘I’m not sure if I’ll be able to, Mr Trescombe —’
‘Damn Mr Trescombe! My needs to talk with you are more urgent than discussions over your wretched mines.’
He found her swearing distasteful. ‘Indeed Bella, I’m not sure that I —’
‘I’m not about to be pushed aside so easily. How long has our little affair been going on for now? And Daniel —’
‘Daniel, Daniel, Daniel, he is all you ever talk of!’
‘And no wonder Jerome. God, you only have to look at the boy to see —’
He stifled her words with a kiss. ‘Leave it for now Bella, or else you may wake the children. I’ll see you in two days.’
Riding back to Meradion, he was determined to absent himself from Cornwall as soon as he was able — a pity because his daughter would miss him dreadfully. Since his wife’s death, Charlotte clung to him more than ever. Sometimes he longed to rid himself of the problem of Bella.
Two hours after his departure, she lay tossing and turning, unable to sleep. Enraged for allowing Jerome to use her, she considered her options, which were few. Their circumstances had been different when her husband Patrick and his wife had been alive. Despite those obstacles having disappeared, she remained nothing more than his mistress.
Already crippled with her late husband’s debts and living in reduced circumstances, where was it all to end, she asked herself? Patrick’s mine had become totally unproductive and already he had been on a slow and steady decline due to his dependence on alcohol. The drink had been the cause of his early demise.
With the mine gone, followed by the lovely house and then Patrick’s death, she was left to bring up three children in a miserable cottage on precious little income. Jerome gave her money, but what did that make her — his mistress perhaps or his prostitute? The answer lay in her son Daniel, if she could only get Jerome to —
At that precise moment, the object of her thoughts cried out and snatching up her dressing gown, she went to his room.

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Comments by other Members

Dee at 13:06 on 31 January 2004  Report this post

Elaine, you have the makings of a damned good saga here.
I like your dialogue and you’ve captured the atmosphere of the period well but, in my view, this piece needs editing, polishing, pruning and some rewriting. Throughout most of the chapter you’re ‘telling’ rather than ‘showing’. There is too much back-story and too many chunks of information – some of which we don’t need to know at this stage – which slow the pace.

Some of your sentence construction confused me:

Glancing to the other side of the bed, Jerome slept oblivious to the sounds from outside and, she decided, oblivious to her feelings.

This implies that it is Jerome who is glancing to the other side of the bed. You could, in fact, leave out the first phrase without losing any of the meaning.

Their circumstances had been different when her husband Patrick and his wife had been alive.

I had to read this three times before I understood you meant Jerome's wife.

I’m sorry if this is disappointing you. I’m sure it’s not what you want to hear but, if you’re determined to make it as a writer, then I hope you will accept my comments in the spirit in which they are offered.
I see from your website that you’ve written ten novels yet you describe yourself, in your WW profile, as a new writer. Perhaps if you slow down a little and concentrate on polishing this one you will have more success at attracting an agent.

Good luck and welcome to WW.


Jumbo at 23:02 on 04 February 2004  Report this post

First, welcome to WW.

I think Dee is absolutely right,you have the basis of a damn good story here! But you're not making it easy for the reader (or the agent or publisher) to get into it.

A couple of things. At the end of that first chapter I felt I was drowning in information, but, more inportantly, I hadn't managed to get really involved in any one character - and there were plenty to choose from! Four daughters - if I'm right - all whose names begin with L. Now, that may be what they did in those good old days, but it makes it difficult for the reader to follow the plot, especially as you move between your characters quite a lot in thos first few thousand words. You need to lead the reader in, let them settle, hook them in and then - you're off!

But instead you scatter in new names at every opportunity. For example, who is Aunt Mary, suddenly introduced (no mention of her in the synopsis).

Can I also say, again as Dee has said, that you need to tighten up your writing. An example: Remaining in her company now that Aunt Mary had retired would only have had her reiterating what a fine young man Jonathan was and how lucky she was to have been selected as his bride. Who does the second 'her' refer to? Lucinda? Aunt Mary? Grandma? This type of bad-referencing with pronouns jolts the reader of the page - and probably stops the agent/publisher cold!

And it's not the only example. Have a look at the sentence that starts How had she reacted towards Jonathan insisting she move into the lodge ... Which 'she' is moving into the lodge? I wasn't quite sure.

There's a great story buried in here, and it's fighting to get out. I think you need to help it.

Good luck with this


Teddy Bear at 18:31 on 05 February 2004  Report this post
Hi John.

Thanks for reading my work. It might surprise you to know I previously had an agent for this book and the rest of the series. James Rouch – published author - of Author Management, has since had to downsize the agency due to ill health, so I’m looking for new representation.

I’m always glad to be guided by others, but wasn’t sure what you meant about the number of characters appearing. I thought one of the golden rules of writing was to introduce the main characters as early as possible. When I’ve read sagas most tend to chop and change between scenes. It’s interesting because it’s certainly something James never picked up on.



Jumbo at 18:41 on 05 February 2004  Report this post

Most of the authors who put their work up on this do so in order to gain advice on how to to bring it up to a publishable or submittable standard.

I'm sorry. I sort of assumed you were also looking for objective criticsm and feedback on your work.

Best of luck with your writing career


Teddy Bear at 20:01 on 05 February 2004  Report this post
Hi John,

Sorry, I hope you didn’t take my reply the wrong way, it was meant to highlight the dilemma I’ve been in. As James is a published writer you can imagine how I might have been led into believing his comments were valid.

I think perhaps several years ago ie 1992 when his last book was published it might have been a lot easier then. Although in my favour, I know he didn’t accept writers easily.

I did value your comments and when I join this group as a full member I’ll upload chapters from other books I’ve written.

Incidentally, have you come across James Rouch or did you happen to try his agency yourself? Until quite recently he was actively looking for all kinds of authors.

I’d be interested if you have any comments about him.



Dee at 20:32 on 05 February 2004  Report this post
I have to say I've never heard of him and neither he nor his agency are mentioned in WAYB. I'd be interested to hear how you heard about him.

Teddy Bear at 22:17 on 05 February 2004  Report this post

I found him in April 2002 simply by searching in Google for agents accepting submissions. He doesn’t appear to belong to any association. Initially I was rejected but after I followed some of his tips, I re-submitted and he accepted.

He’s had 12 novels published – three WW2 novels and a series of nine books - The Zone series. I’m surprised other members of WW haven’t applied to him, because until his health deteriorated, he was inviting all types of submissions.

I’ve only come across one of his other authors because the guy had his own website. As far as I know James has only retained writers he’d already successfully placed. If anyone knows more I’d be interested to hear.


Becca at 17:22 on 25 February 2004  Report this post
Sorry to butt in here, but have been reading the comments, and stopped for a minute, John, at the idea that most WW writers put work up for criting to get it to publishable or submittable standard. You could well be right of course, but do we actually know that?

Jumbo at 18:01 on 25 February 2004  Report this post

No, we don't actually know that, but for the (very) short time that I have been a member of WW, I assumed that was the case for the majority of the members. I guess I took my lead from the tone of some of the comments and the proliferation of threads that deal directly - and the numbers that deal indirectly - with the problem associated with 'getting published'.

I guess I'm probably wrong in coming to that conclusion, but Elaine clearly is one of those seeking publication. And I felt that my feedback was both positive and constructive. I guess the fact that she has already had some interest from an agent may suggest that my comments were either unnecessary or misguided (or both!)


Becca at 22:50 on 25 February 2004  Report this post
Working on my daughter's Mac, really hard, will connect later. No comment intended on your comments.
B ecca.

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