IT was the middle of February, and Mr. Burns and Mr. Taylor were again in Shanghai after some weeks' absence. It had been a keen disappointment to them to leave the neighbourhood of Wu-tien where the openings had seemed so promising, and now they had returned from another journey 1{1- This second campaign with Mr. Bums lasted between two and three weeks. They left Shanghai for Sung-kiang Fu on January 28 or 29, returning about February 18, 1856. It was Mr. Taylor's Eleventh Evangelistic Journey since reaching China.}to obtain fresh supplies and go back if possible to that part of the country. But the Lord had other plans in view.

" He was leading us," wrote Mr. Taylor, " by a way that we knew not : but it was none the less His way."

0 Lord, how happy should we be

If we would cast our care on Thee,

If we from self would rest ;

And feel at heart that One above In perfect wisdom, perfect love,

Is working for, the best.

Glad to be once more among fellow-missionaries, Mr. Burns and Mr. Taylor had come up from their boats that wintry night to the prayer-meeting at Dr. Medhurst's near the British Consulate. This weekly gathering was a rendezvous for all in Shanghai who cared about the Lord's work, and on this occasion a Christian captain was present whose vessel had just arrived from Swatow.

His heart was unspeakably burdened with the condition of things in that southern port to which he carried cargo and passengers from time to time. An important and growing centre of commerce, it was the resort of increasing numbers of people greedy of gain and wholly unscrupulous in their ways of obtaining it. The opium trade and the equally iniquitous " coolie traffic " were carried on with shameless activity. Piracy flourished to such an extent that even Chinese merchants had taken to shipping their goods in foreign vessels that they might obtain the protection of British and other flags. Thus, although Swatow was not an open port and foreigners had no business to be there as far as treaty rights were concerned, quite a European settlement had sprung up, connived at by the local authorities. On Double Island, five miles out of Swatow, captains of opium-ships and other foreigners had bought land and built . houses just as they might at Hong-kong, their presence, sad to say, only increasing the vices of this notoriously wicked place. And neither there nor in Swatow itself was there any witness for Christ or any influence that made for righteousness. No missionary, minister, or foreign lady was to be found nearer than Amoy, a hundred and fifty miles away ; and in the absence of family life, as well as the restraints of law and order, the condition of things was as bad as it could be.

From this place Captain Bowers had just come, and he could not but seek prayer on its behalf in the meeting at Dr. Medhurst's. In conversation afterwards, especially with Mr. Burns and Mr. Taylor, he urged the importance of Swatow as a centre for missionary operations. If merchants and traders could live there, of all nationalities, why should not ministers of the Gospel ? But the missionary who would pioneer his way amid such darkness must not be afraid, he said, to cast in his lot with " the off-scourings of Chinese society, congregated there from all the Southern ports." It was Wu-tien truly, but on a more desperate scale.

Silently that evening the friends returned to their boats, thinking of what they had heard. To Hudson Taylor, at any rate, the call of God had come while Captain Bowers was speaking, and he was struggling against rebellion of heart in view of the sacrifice involved.

" Never had I had such a spiritual father as Mr. Burns," he wrote long after ; " never had I known such holy, happy intercourse ; and I said to myself that it could not be God's will that we should separate."

Thus several days passed by, and he could not escape the conviction that Swatow was where the Lord would have him.

" In great unrest of soul," he continued, " I went with Mr. Bums one evening to visit some American friends near the South Gate of Shanghai.1- {' The Rev. and Mrs. Robert Lowrie, of the American Presbyterian Mission.} After tea, Mrs. Lowrie played over to us `The Missionary Call.' I had never heard it before, and it greatly affected me. My heart was almost broken before it was finished, and I said to the Lord in the words that had been sung

And I will go.

I may no longer doubt to give up friends and idol hopes,

And every tie that binds the heart . . .

Henceforth then it matters not if storm or sunshine be my earthly lot, bitter or sweet my cup ;

I only pray, God make me holy, and my spirit nerve for the stern hour of strife.

Upon leaving, I asked Mr. Bums to come to the little house that was still my headquarters, and there with many tears I told him how the Lord had been leading me, and how rebellious I had been, and unwilling to leave him for this new sphere, He listened with a strange look of surprise and pleasure rather than of pain, and replied that he had determined that very night to tell me that he had heard the Lord's call to Swatow, and that his one regret had been the severance of our happy fellowship."

Thus the Lord not only gave, but gave back, the companionship that meant so much in the life of Hudson Taylor. Together they went next morning to Captain Bowers and told him that the way seemed clear for them both to go to Swatow. So overjoyed was the captain to hear it that he offered them forthwith a free passage on his ship which was returning in a few days. This was gratefully accepted, and on March 6, two years from Mr. Taylor's first arrival in Shanghai, they sailed for their new field of labour.

Anchored in a fog that night off Gutzlaff Island, everything must have recalled to Hudson Taylor the February Sunday when he first reached that spot.{' February 26, 1854.} Then he had never seen the shores of China nor looked into the face of any one belonging to that land. Now how familiar it had grown. Many and varied had been his experiences, transforming the lad fresh from the old country into a useful missionary. At home in two dialects, one of which was the language of four-fifths of China, he was about to learn a third as an incident of his service. Seasoned as a good soldier of the Cross by many a trial and hardship, he was ready to stand alone in a peculiarly difficult sphere. War, with all its horrors, prolonged distress through insufficient supplies, the discipline of indebtedness to others, even for a home, and then of loneliness in his own quarters, sickness, change, uncertainty, and great discomfort as to material surroundings-all these had schooled his heart to quietness and patience, and brought a deeper dependence upon God. And then evangelistic journeys, alone or with other missionaries, had greatly widened his outlook. Eleven such itinerations now lay behind him within these first two years. How much each one had meant, with its necessary exercise of mind and heart, its strain upon endurance, dangers by land and water, " perils in the city, . . . perils of robbers,. . labour and travail," and all its secret springs of faith and prayer.

And now encouragement had come - all the more precious for many a disappointment : some souls brought into endless blessing through his ministry, nearness to the people that made up for all the trial involved in wearing native dress, and a friendship richer and deeper than any he had given up or ever hoped to know. Freedom also as to funds was a new and welcome experience. Friends whom the Lord had raised up now helped so liberally that for a good many months he had not needed to draw at all upon the Letter of Credit from his society. Apart from them, his needs were all supplied in a way that greatly strengthened his faith in God.1-{1 "Faith looks to Jesus," he wrote in April of this year, "and walks the troubled sea in spite of winds and waves. I understand that the funds of the Chinese Evangelisation Society were much reduced a short time ago, on account, I suppose, of the [Crimean) war. It does not affect me, however.... as I have not needed to draw on my Society for the last two quarters, and have now in hand enough for six months to come. Only by last mail a valued friend and devoted servant of Christ who has sent me one hundred pounds since last October, wrote urging me to tell him of any additional way in which he could forward the work by supplying the means. So as you truly say, if we are in the will of God, difficulty or trial as to circumstances cannot hinder us. Nothing can by any means harm us or frustrate His designs."}

In one thing only the years since he came to China seemed to have made no advance : he had still no home, no permanent work, no settled plans ahead. Where or how he was ultimately to labour was no more clear than it had been at the beginning. But the way of faith was clearer, and he had learned to leave the future in the hands of God. One who knew the end from the beginning was guiding and would guide. So a great rest had come about it all, and he was not concerned to make everything fit in. How this visit -to Swatow would eventuate for him personally, how it would affect his life-work he could not tell. He only knew the Lord had set before him this open door, and he was growingly content to walk a step at a time.

And feel at heart that One above

In perfect wisdom, perfect love,

Is working for the best.

" As to Swatow," he wrote just before leaving, " we go looking to the Lord for guidance and blessing.... As we are led, we shall return sooner or later or not at all.... Having no plans, we have none to tell. May the Lord be with us, bless us abundantly, and glorify His own great name.... Pray for us ; pray for us. You little know where or how we may be when you receive this note. Oh, pray that we may be kept from sin and used of God in the conversion of sinners."

Thus in prayer and faith they drew near the great province of Kwang-tung, and on March 12 anchored off Double Island a few miles from their destination. It would have been quite possible to settle here among other Europeans, and from comfortable headquarters to visit the mainland for their missionary operations. But such a plan had no attractions for either William Burns or Hudson Taylor. Avoiding even proximity to the vice and luxury of the Settlement, they went on to Swatow itself, to seek a footing among the people they had come to reach. In this their Chinese dress was of great assistance ; and though at first it seemed that not a corner could be found, prayer was again answered and their faith strengthened by one of those " chance providences " so often prepared for the children of God.

Situated on the delta of the Han between two of its principal channels, Swatow has little room to extend save by banking out its water-frontage, an operation in which hundreds of workmen were engaged. Houses were running up as rapidly as possible, for the supply was altogether unequal to the demand ; and meanwhile the missionaries almost despaired of finding quarters.

After two days' fruitless search during which they were thankful for Captain Bowers' continued hospitality, they " happened " to meet a Cantonese merchant whom Mr. Burns addressed in his mother-tongue. Delighted at hearing excellent Cantonese from a foreigner, and a foreigner wearing Chinese dress, this gentleman interested himself on their behalf, and through a relative who " happened " to be the highest official in the town succeeded in securing them a lodging. It was not much of a place, it is true, just a single room over an incense-shop in a crowded quarter, but how glad they were to take possession before Captain Bowers had to sail for Singapore.

That it did not meet with their kind friend's approval is hardly to be wondered at. Great was his love and admiration for Mr. Burns, and he could not bear to leave him in such surroundings. Of his visit to the incense-shop he wrote to a mutual friend, Mrs. Barbour of Bonskeid

Seeking out his wretched lodging in Swatow amongst the degraded of every class, I remarked, "Surely, Mr. Burns, you might find a better place to live in." He laughingly told me that he was more content in the midst of this people than he would be at home surrounded with every comfort. He said his expenses amounted to ten dollars a month.. " Mr. Bums," I exclaimed, " that would not keep me in cigars ! " He said it was sufficient for him.

But to the missionaries themselves, ten dollars a month and a single room, into which they had to climb through an opening in the floor, did not seem so bad. It was in touch with the people, that was the chief thing, and they were very conscious that the Lord was with them. The single room they divided as well as they could into three tiny apartments-two running east to west, and one north and south, which included the hole in the floor.

" My bedroom is on the south," Mr. Taylor explained in his first home-letter. " Mr. Burns takes the north side, and the strip on the west we use as our study. The partitions are made of sheets and a few boards.... We have only just obtained exclusive possession, 1-{1-1 Written on March 29, after they had occupied the room for two weeks.} a passage having been needed for the landlord's family until alterations were made in the house. We are promised a trap-door next week, and then shall have more privacy.

" Our beds are a few deal boards, and our table the lid of a box supported on two bags of books. We may get a better some day, but nothing of that sort is to be bought ready-made in Swatow. So for the present, at an outlay of two hundred and thirty cash [one shilling and a penny], we have completely furnished the house-with two bamboo stools and a bamboo easy-chair."

Here, then, amongst the worst and lowest, the little seed was planted that was to result in the abundant harvest seen to-day. 2-{2- Although in the first five years after Mr. Burns commenced work in Swatow only thirty-nine converts were received into church fellowship, more than 4400 adults have been baptized since that time in connection with the English Presbyterian Mission alone, of whom 2700 are actual communicants to-day (1911). A strong native ministry has been developed which is now entirely supported by the native Church.} Years before, a solitary missionary had laboured there in face of overwhelming odds. Driven from place to place he had widely itinerated in the surrounding country, living a life of Christlike patience and love.3-{8 This devoted servant of God, the Rev. R. Lechler, was sent out by the Basel Missionary Society in 1846, and with the Rev. Th. Hamburg was the first representative of the Society in. China. Mr. Lechler went to Swatow in x848, and did not retire from that difficult field until obliged to do so in 1852. For more than fifty years he was almost continuously at work in China, witnessing the development of a Church which now numbers, by the blessing of God, over 5700 communicants.} But from the time that Mr. Lechler had been driven back to Hong-kong, no one had taken his place, and Swatow had remained without testimony to the Gospel.

His knowledge of Cantonese enabled Mr. Burns to make himself understood from the first, and greatly helped him in acquiring the local speech. For his companion this was a much more serious matter. They had not been long in Swatow, however, before they both felt that so important a centre must never again be left unoccupied, and as the only way to usefulness was to be able to talk freely with the people, Mr. Taylor set himself once more to study.

" There is plenty of work to be done," he wrote to his mother soon after their arrival, " but I cannot do it. It is a great trial after being able to speak freely to begin again in a place where one cannot understand a single sentence. But if only we are used here, what a privilege is ours. All my previous experience I find of the greatest value, for one without knowledge of Chinese, dressed as a foreigner, and unaccustomed to living as we do among the people would not be able to stay on at all.... How gracious the Lord is and how wonderful His ways. . Pray for me, and do not be uneasy about me. The Lord will undertake."

If his mother and friends could have realised the conditions under which he was living, they would have felt more concern at this time than probably they did. For Swatow was a dangerous as well as difficult field. Two great evils already mentioned flourished under the protection of foreigners, and made the very sight of a European odious to the people.

" About two hundred boxes of opium are imported monthly," Mr. Taylor stated in the same letter ; " each box contains forty balls of about four pounds in weight. Thus not less than thirty-two thousand pounds weight of opium enter China every month at this port alone, the cost of which is about a quarter of a million sterling. After this you will not be surprised to learn that the people are wretchedly poor, ignorant, and vicious..

" A cruel slave trade also is carried on under the name of the ` coolie traffic.' The men are engaged (nominally) for a certain term of years, but few live to return. A bounty is paid them, and they are told that they are going to make their fortunes, or they are entrapped by worse means. Once on the ship the agent receives so much a head for the poor fellows who soon find themselves in captivity of the most horrible kind. Some jump overboard in their efforts to escape, but they are generally retaken and flogged.' Some ships carry a thousand and others three or four hundred, and very many die before reaching their destination-Cuba, Havanna and Callao. . . . Of one ship with several hundreds on board, I heard the surgeon say that not more than two-thirds would survive the voyage. Poor people ! ONE only is able to help them. Oh, for His blessing ! "

It was little wonder under such circumstances, and with many of the traders of Double Island living lives worse than those of the heathen, that the missionaries endeavouring to obtain a foothold in Swatow should be regarded with hatred, suspicion, and scorn. But it was a painful experience none the less, and as new to Mr. Burns as to Hudson Taylor.

" The people have no love for foreigners," wrote the latter, " and we never go out without being insulted and laughed at. 1- {1 The usual term " Foreign Devil " was here reinforced by more offensive epithets, " Foreign Dog," " Foreign Fig " and worse, hissed out with bitterest scorn.} ... I think I never was in such a wicked place Pray much for us, that we may have grace and patience, and strength of body and mind to pass through all unharmed and even find it a blessing." In towns and villages at a little distance a more friendly spirit was manifested, but the same poverty and degradation prevailed, and the people were so turbulent that those who went amongst them had to face constant danger. In their visits to the country the missionaries were liable to be seized at any moment and held to ransom, and they frequently heard the saying that the whole district was without Emperor, without rulers and without law." One small town in which they were preaching had recently captured a wealthy man belonging to a neighbouring clan. Refusing to pay the exorbitant sum demanded for his release, he had been subjected to cruel tortures, his ankle-bones finally being smashed with a club, after which his tormentors succeeded in obtaining all they desired.

" There was nothing but the protection of God," wrote Hudson Taylor, " between us and the same sort of treatment. The towns were all walled, many of them containing ten or twelve thousand people who might be and frequently were at war with a neighbouring town.. To be kindly received in one place was often a source of danger in the next. But amid such circumstances the preserving care of our God was the more manifest."

Trusting in His unfailing presence, the missionaries were enabled to go on stedfastly through all, embracing many opportunities for bringing light into the darkness. Mr. Burns frequently visited Double Island, holding services in English that were well attended, and Mr. Taylor, whenever he could spare a day from study, joined him in expeditions to the surrounding country.

One such journey together toward the end of March brought them to a busy place called Hwa-wu, where they came across an old farmer who could read intelligently. Failing any other teacher, they were glad to secure his services, and for the local dialect could hardly have wished a better. Talking and reading with him for several hours daily, Mr. Taylor made such rapid progress that by the middle of April he was able to undertake a little work on his own account.

" The country is very beautiful," he wrote. " Fine ranges of hills enclose fertile valleys, watered by many channels through which the Han empties itself into the sea. I have been out to-day (April 17) with my servant for a little air and exercise.... After climbing several hills and getting a good idea of the neighbourhood we went to the first village I have visited alone.. Great is the change that has taken place in three and a half weeks. When we first came into this district, I could understand nothing. Now, by the blessing of God, I am able to talk a little as well as understand a good deal. As we had books with us, I asked if there were a teacher in the village and a school.

" ` No,' said an elderly man who had just left his work in the fields to join us. `Last year we had one, but now we are too poor. We have scarcely clothes to cover us.' And he pointed to the only garment he was wearing, a very small and scanty pair of trousers.

"`If you would not smoke opium,' I answered, `and spend so much money worshipping dead relatives, and the Queen of Heaven and other idols, you would be far better off than you are at present. You hope to be preserved, enriched, and prospered, but evidently you are disappointed. Your idols have eyes, but do they see ? They have ears, but can they hear when you pray ? They have mouths, but do they speak? Can they preserve you from robbers, from quarrels, sickness, or disaster ? '"' True ! True!' some replied. `They are certainly not much use.'

"I then went on to tell them of the living God, the great Father they ought to worship, who had made heaven, earth, man, and all things, and would forgive their sins, for Jesus' sake, if they would turn to Him. Believing in this precious Saviour, I told them, they would find peace in life or death, and possess a satisfying portion.

" Some thirty or forty people, besides children, listened under the shade of a magnificent banyan tree, and seemed friendly. But very few could read. So that had it not been for junks on the river most of my stock of books would have returned with me."

These visits to the country were helpful and refreshing in spite of attendant danger, especially as the heat of summer came on. Even in May it was intensely hot, and Mr. Taylor wrote that sitting quietly at study he had to keep a towel by him to wipe the perspiration streaming from face and hands. Oh, those little rooms under the naked tiles, how they did glow in the pitiless glare of the sun ! They would have been unbearable during the daytime but that Mr. Taylor rigged up a sort of punkah to stir the air a little and give relief. Mr. Burns, already acclimatised to a southern summer, was able to be out at all hours without danger, but his companion suffered seriously. Still, right on into June, he worked with unremitting diligence, eating hardly anything till evening came, when, with the help of a breeze that usually sprang up, they made their evening meal.

But more distressing than the heat, harder to bear than sleepless nights and all the weariness their work involved, was the sin and suffering that surged around them.

" If ever there were a place needing the blessings of the Gospel," Hudson Taylor wrote to his sister, " it is certainly this place. Men are sunk so low in sin as to have lost all sense of shame, . . . lower even than the beasts that perish. The official classes are as bad as the rest, and instead of restraining evil are governed themselves by opium and love of money. And if it be possible to live worse lives than the heathen, then the sailors and others who frequent Double Island carry off the palm. There may be exceptions, so I had better say at once that there probably are, but I do not know of any save Dr. De la Porte 1-{1- A Christian man, who entertained the warmest friendship for Mr. Taylor and Mr. Burns, and subsequently joined the latter as a medical missionary in Swatow.} who is there just now... .

"Sin does indeed reign here, and, as always, those most to be pitied and whose case seems most hopeless are the women. However low men sink in heathen lands, women sink lower. Looked upon as hardly having` any soul, girls are sold here for wives or slaves, and are left entirely without education. Married women and families are not numerous in proportion to the population, but the number of unfortunate women is very great. I say unfortunate advisedly, for they are bought and brought up for this very purpose. They are the absolute property of their owners, and have no escape from that which many of them abhor. Only a few nights ago I was distressed by heart-rending screams from two female voices, and, on inquiring, was told that they were most likely newly bought women in a house near by, who were being tortured into submission. ` And that,' added my informant, 'is very common here.' The cries went on for about two hours. Poor things 1 poor things !

"This is hardly a fit subject to write to you about, but, unless you know, how can you pity and pray for them ? English women little realise all they owe to the Gospel. And how few have love enough for Christ to come out here and seek to save the perishing. It does mean sacrifice ; but low as they would have to stoop, Jesus stooped lower."

Here, then, amid such surroundings, he quietly endured week after week, month after month, drawing his strength from God. Frequently separated from Mr. Burns for the work's sake he was much alone. Keenly the people watched him coming and going from the incense-shop, and inquired into every detail of his life and doings. It was an open life, lived within sight of his neighbours all day long-a life whose love and purity told on their sad, dark hearts far more than he had any idea. Three years later in London, at the Annual Meeting of the Society to which Mr. Taylor belonged, Dr. De la Porte from Double Island was one of the speakers.

He had had the pleasure and honour, he said, of an intimate acquaintance with one of the agents of the Society, labouring at the time in Swatow-a Mr. Hudson Taylor, to whose zeal and devotion he could bear the most cordial testimony.

He had seen that young man come home at the close of the day footsore and weary, his face covered with blisters from the heat of the sun, and throw himself down to rest in a state of utter exhaustion, only to rise again in a few hours to the toil and hardship of another day. It had been very evident that he enjoyed the highest respect from the Chinese, and was doing a great amount of good among them, His influence was like that of a fragrant flower, diffusing the sweetness of true Christianity around him.

Among the bright spots in his life at Swatow this summer were the red-letter days when the mail arrived from home. Always eagerly welcomed it had now an added value, cut off as they were in large measure from the outside world. Some mails even there would come in without any tidings from those he loved, but others made up for the disappointment by spreading before him a feast that made him forget his surroundings. Such for example was the April day on which he wrote to his sister

The mail has just arrived from Shanghai, bringing amongst others your letters of two months, one from Mr. Broomhall, two from mother, and one with an enclosure from Mr. Berger.

All letters of special interest: Those from his mother and sister, as it happened, brought their first comments on his adoption of the native dress, and to his surprise they did not like it. So conscious had he been o£ its advantages, that he had almost forgotten how it might appear to them. They could not bear to think of his shaven head, blue cotton gown, and Chinese appearance.

" I am sorry that the change is disagreeable to you," he wrote in answer, " but you will regret it very little when you learn that without it we could never have gained a footing in this important place....

" A little thought will, I am sure, enable you to realise that if the Chinese costume seems so barbarous to us, our English dress must be no less so to them, and that it cannot but be a hindrance in going amongst them in the friendly way necessary to securing their confidence and affection.... Without it we could not stay on here a single day. That Miss does not like it I am very sorry to hear, but that does not make me regret that I have adopted it. It is one of those matters about which I and my devoted companion, Mr. Burns, thank God almost every day."

But his disappointment over their feeling in this matter was soon lost sight of in the all-important news contained in these letters. Could it be-his own dearest sister and friend, in -a sense going from him to another, a deeper love ? And yet the thought was not new to him, and there was no one to whom he would more gladly have given her. A letter from Mr. Broomhall made it pretty clear that matters would soon be settled between them, and all the far-away brother could do was to write his heartfelt congratulations.

A little later, he learned that they were not only engaged, but thinking of China, and the hope grew strong that they might become his fellow-workers. He had written to Mr. Broomhall several times already on the subject, and now mentioned. it again in a June letter to his sister. The prospect was a delightful one, but knowledge of his own heart taught him how easily they might be misled by natural inclinations.

" I long for you to be working here," he wrote, " not for my sake only, but for Jesus' sake, and for the sake of the poor Chinese. Look to the Lord for guidance, and see your way very clearly as to the will of God before you leave dear mother. If you do come, let it not be to live with or near me. If God grant it we shall be very thankful ; if not we must be submissive. What He is training me for I cannot tell. May it be for His glory. You will not imagine from this that my love to you is in any way lessened. What I do want you to do is-to give up all to the Lord. And the more fully you do that the more He will give you back again, yes, more by far than you ever gave up for Him. May He guide and bless you for Jesus' sake."

To a friend in need of guidance he also wrote in a similar strain Light will no doubt be given you. Do not forget, however, in seeking more, the importance of walking according to the light you have. If you feel called to the work, do not be anxious as to the time and way. He will make it plain.... I desire increasingly to leave all my affairs in the hands of God, who alone can, and who assuredly will, lead us aright if humbly and in faith we seek His aid....

I am sure you will forgive me if I urge on you, as I have on Amelia, the importance of seeking guidance from God for yourself personally, apart from the movements of others. Each one of us has an individual duty and responsibility toward Him. The conduct of others cannot make duty, for me, of that which is not so ; nor can the claims of duty be lessened because of the action, right or wrong, of others. We may and should thank God for all the help He gives us through others in the performance of duty. But let us seek to see our own way clearly in the light of His will, and then in trial and perplexity we shall be " stedfast, unmovable," not having trusted to an arm of flesh. The Lord guide and bless you, and give you ever to lean unshaken on His faithfulness.

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