In VN's play Sobytie ("The Event," 1938) Lyubov' calls her lover Ryovshin (who loves to poke his nose into other peoples affairs) Sherlok Kholms iz Barnaula ("a Sherlock Holmes from Barnaul"):


ҧӧ. ѧӧ֧ߧ, ߧڧ֧ԧ ߧ֧? ݧ ӧ-ѧܧ ٧ѧߧݧڧ ݧҧڧ֧ݧܧڧ ܧ?
קӧڧ. ߧ ާ֧ߧ ݧѧ֧... ا... ӧ ا... ٧ߧѧ֧, ...
ҧӧ. ٧ߧѧ, ӧ ҧاѧ֧ ѧ٧ӧݧ֧ܧѧ اڧާ է֧ݧѧާ. ֧ݧ ݧާ ڧ ѧߧѧݧ. (Act Two)


In Chapter Four of VNs novel Dar (The Gift, 1937), Zhizn Chernyshevskogo (The Life of Chernyshevski), the Barnaul craftsman Polzunov is mentioned:


֧ܧݧ ڧѧ֧, ӧ֧ ӧ֧ ԧ֧ߧڧѧݧߧ ֧ߧ֧ӧܧڧ ߧ ާ ҧ ѧӧ֧ ѧܧ, ߧ֧ߧڧ ܧާ ڧ-է, ܧѧ ߧ֧ߧڧ ѧ C ҧѧߧѧݧܧڧ ާѧ֧ӧ ݧ٧ߧ. ѧ ѧܧ (« ާ֧ݧܧڧ ҧا է ާ٧ԧ ܧ֧» ٧ӧ ѧܧߧڧߧ, ߧ ֧֧ӧ֧ԧ ߧ֧ާ֧) ѧ٧ էӧ ݧѧݧ ߧ «٧ѧާ֧ѧ֧ݧߧ» է ֧ߧ֧ӧܧԧ, ߧ ѧӧڧ ߧ էߧ ֧٧ڧ֧ݧߧ ٧ѧާ֧ܧ ߧ ݧ ԧݧѧӧߧԧ ܧߧާڧ֧ܧԧ է «է֧ ԧ֧ ڧ֧ ԧ֧ݧ֧֧» (ܧڧ ӧҧ ѧܧ ߧ اѧݧӧѧ). ֧ߧ֧ӧܧڧ ݧѧڧ ֧ާ ֧ ا.


Steklov is of the opinion that with all his genius, Chernyshevski cannot rank with Marx, in relation to whom he stands as the Barnaul craftsman Polzunov stands to Watt. Marx himself (that petty bourgeois to the marrow of his bones according to the testimony of Bakunin, who could not stand Germans) referred once or twice to the remarkable writings of Chernyshevski, but he left more than one contemptuous note in the margins of the chief work on economics des grossen russischen Gelehrten (Marx in general disliked Russians). Chernyshevski repaid him in like coin.


In the preceding paragraph of his book on Chernyshevski Fyodor (the narrator and main character in VNs novel) quotes Marx and puts a passage from Holy Family into blank verse:


«ڧݧڧ» ֧ߧ֧ӧܧԧ էߧڧާѧ֧ ֧֧ ֧֧ۧҧѧ ߧڧܧݧ֧էڧѧ. էԧ ا ߧ, ڧܧݧѧէߧ ԧ֧ԧ֧ݧڧѧߧӧ, ֧֧ߧߧ ݧ֧ӧ֧, ݧ ֧֧ ԧ ا ֧֧ۧҧѧ ѧܧ, ܧ ӧק «ӧ ֧ާ֧ۧӧ» ӧѧاѧ֧ ѧ:


ާ ҧݧԧ

ߧ ߧѧէҧߧ, ҧ ٧ѧާ֧ڧ ӧ٧

ާ֧اէ ֧ߧ֧ ާѧ֧ڧѧݧڧ٧ާ

ڧاէ֧ߧߧ ܧݧߧߧ էҧ,

ѧӧ֧ߧӧ ҧߧ֧ ݧէܧڧ,

ҧߧ֧, ܧ ҧߧ

٧ӧ ާӧ֧ߧߧާ, ӧݧڧߧ

ߧ ֧ݧӧ֧ܧ ҧ֧ݧ ӧߧ֧ߧڧ,

ӧ֧ާԧ֧ , ӧݧѧ

ڧӧܧ, ӧڧѧߧ, ӧܧ

٧ߧѧ֧ߧڧ ާݧ֧ߧߧ ӧ֧,

ѧӧ ߧѧӧӧ֧ߧߧ ߧ ߧѧݧѧاէ֧ߧ C



֧֧ӧا ڧѧާ, ҧ ߧ ҧݧ ѧ ܧߧ.


Chernyshevskis philosophy goes back through Feuerbach, to the Encyclopedists. On the other hand, applied Hegelianism, working gradually left, went through that same Feuerbach to join Marx, who in his Holy Family expresses himself thus:


no great intelligence

Is needed to distinguish a connection

Between the teaching of materialism

Regarding inborn tendency to good;

Equality of mans capacities

Capacities that generally are

Termed mental; the great influence

Exterior circumstances have on man;

Omnipotent experience; sway of habit

And of upbringing; the extreme importance

Of industry; the moral right to pleasure,

And communism.


I have put it into blank verse so it would be less boring.


One of the characters in The Event, Mme Vagabundov (Troshcheykins model) speaks in verse. According to Troshcheykin, Mme Vagabundov is extremely pleased that she is being portrayed in a white dress against the Spanish background:


֧ۧܧڧ. ڧէڧ ݧ, ߧ էݧاߧ ԧ֧, ҧѧ ߧ ߧ֧ԧ ҧݧ֧, ߧ ֧ӧ ٧ѧܧ֧ڧ ҧݧ֧,   ڧߧ ٧ ֧ԧ ڧߧڧܧ. ѧէ ާߧڧ, ڧܧӧ էӧڧا֧ ӧ֧ԧէ ڧ ݧߧ. ԧ, ӧڧէڧ, ا ӧ֧ ֧ݧѧާӧ. ֧, ާѧݧڧ ާߧ ߧѧӧڧ! ݧ : - קߧ ܧѧӧڧߧܧ. ܧѧܧѧ- ӧ٧ ާ֧اէ էѧԧ֧ߧߧާ ܧѧާߧާ  ߧ֧ԧڧߧܧ ܧӧ. ֧ܧڧ  ӧӧӧѧ ӧ֧ "֧ݧݧ". , ѧ. (ާڧ ߧ էԧ ֧.)  ާѧէѧ ѧԧѧҧߧէӧ ֧٧ӧѧۧߧ էӧݧߧ, ڧ ֧ ҧ֧ݧ ݧѧ ߧ ڧѧߧܧ ߧ, ߧ ߧڧާѧ֧, ܧѧܧ ѧߧ ܧا֧ӧߧ ԧ֧... -ѧܧ, ٧ߧѧ֧, ֧ҧ ֧ߧ , ҧ, ѧ٧էҧ ާ ާ, ߧ , ҧ ߧ ҧݧ ҧ֧ԧѧ. (Act One)


In VNs novel Zashchita Luzhina (The Luzhin Defense, 1930) Luzhins bride tells her fianc about painting and says that the gloomiest artist was born in Spain, the country of sunshine:


֧ܧݧܧ ѧ ߧ ӧ֧ݧ ֧ԧ ާ٧֧, ܧѧ٧ѧݧ ֧ާ ݧҧڧާ ӧ ܧѧڧߧ ҧߧڧݧ, ӧ ݧѧߧէڧ, ԧէ ާѧߧ էاէ, էاߧڧܧ ڧ ܧ, ѧߧڧ, ѧߧ ݧߧ, էڧݧ ѧާ ާѧߧ ާѧ֧. ӧڧݧ ߧ ֧, ӧ ԧ ֧ ӧӧ ֧ܧݧߧߧ ӧ֧֧, ݧҧڧ ݧڧݧڧ ߧ֧اߧ ݧڧ, ݧ֧ԧܧ ڧڧ ߧ֧ҧ֧ߧ է, ҧѧѧݧ ֧ԧ ӧߧڧާѧߧڧ ߧ էӧ ҧѧ, -էާѧߧ֧ާ ڧڧ ܧ֧ ٧ܧڧ, ҧ֧էߧ ҧѧߧߧ ݧ «ѧۧߧ ֧֧». اڧ ܧڧӧѧ ڧݧ֧اߧ ڧݧ, ֧ߧ էݧԧ ѧާѧڧӧѧ ԧާߧ ݧߧ, ԧէ էاߧڧ ڧ٧ҧѧ٧ڧ ӧ ާ֧ߧڧ ԧ֧ߧڧܧ ѧէ, C ֧ߧ էҧߧ, ֧ߧ ݧҧߧ. ҧӧѧݧ ߧ ֧ѧ, ݧԧڧ֧ܧ ѧէ, ܧڧߧ֧ާѧԧѧ, ڧ֧ ܧѧ٧ѧݧ, اڧ ߧڧܧԧէ ѧߧ ܧڧߧ֧ާѧԧѧ ߧ ҧӧѧ. ֧ݧ ҧݧ֧ܧ ҧ֧اѧݧ ܧѧڧߧ, , ߧѧܧߧ֧, ݧ ާߧԧڧ ڧܧݧ֧ߧڧ, է ӧ֧ߧݧѧ էߧ է ٧ߧѧާ֧ߧڧ ѧܧڧ ѧߧӧڧݧѧ էӧ֧, ܧާߧѧ, ߧ ӧڧէ ֧, ֧է֧ӧڧ ֧ ڧԧѧ֧ ѧާѧ ӧ֧֧ߧߧ ߧ ڧ٧ާ֧ߧڧӧڧާ ٧ ԧէ էܧ, ӧ֧ߧ էԧ ֧ާ. ֧ާߧ ѧ٧էѧݧ ӧڧ ާ֧ اڧߧ. «ҧݧߧ ߧ֧ӧ٧ާاߧ ݧا֧ߧڧ ڧԧ», C ܧѧ٧ѧ , ߧ , ӧ֧ݧڧܧާ ҧݧ֧ԧ֧ߧڧ ֧ԧ ا֧ߧ, C ӧ ֧֧ާ֧ߧڧݧ, ֧, ӧ֧ݧڧڧӧѧ, ק ߧ ٧ڧ֧ݧߧ ٧ѧ ӧӧ ѧ٧ԧѧݧ, ֧ӧ ѧڧڧݧڧ ԧݧѧ٧, ݧקԧܧ էاѧߧڧ, ֧ߧڧ ݧߧݧ, ֧ ߧ֧ܧ էاѧߧڧ, ާ֧էݧ֧ߧߧ ѧ٧ާܧݧ, էҧ֧ݧ ާڧߧ, ާ֧էݧ֧ߧߧѧ ݧҧܧ ҧ֧ܧߧ֧ߧ ߧ֧اߧ ӧڧݧѧ ߧ ֧ԧ ݧڧ, էݧاѧӧ֧ էاѧ, C ӧ֧է ѧڧ-, ԧէ, ӧ ӧ֧ާ ܧݧ է


Several times she took him to the museum and showed him her favorite pictures and explained that in Flanders, where they had rain and fog, painters used bright colors, while it was in Spain, a country of sunshine, that the gloomiest master of all had been born. She said also that the one over there had a feeling for glass objects, while this one liked lilies and tender faces slightly inflamed by colds caught in heaven, and she directed his attention to two dogs domestically looking for crumbs beneath the narrow, poorly spread table of 'The Last Supper.' Luzhin nodded and slit his eyes conscientiously, and was a very long time examining an enormous canvas on which the artist had depicted all the torments of sinners in hell in great detail, very curiously. They also visited the theater and the zoo, and the movies, at which point it turned out that Luzhin had never been to the movies before. The picture ran on in a white glow and finally, after many adventures, the girl returned now a famous actress to her parents' house, and paused in the doorway, while in the room, not seeing her yet, her grizzled father was playing chess with the doctor, a faithful friend of the family who had remained completely unchanged over the years. In the darkness came the sound of Luzhin laughing abruptly. 'An absolutely impossible position for the pieces,' he said, but at this point, to his wife's relief, everything changed and the father, growing in size, walked toward the spectators and acted his part for all he was worth; his eyes widened, then came a slight trembling, his lashes flapped, there was another bit of trembling, and slowly his wrinkles softened, grew kinder, and a slow smile of infinite tenderness appeared on his face, which continued to tremble and yet, gentlemen, the old man had cursed his daughter in his time.... (chapter XII)


The name Vagabundov seems to hint at the German movie Ein Kind, ein Hund, ein Vagabund (A Child, a Dog, a Tramp). In The Luzhin Defense little Luzhin avidly reads Conan Doyles stories about Sherlock Holmes:


ݧ ܧڧߧ, ֧ ݧԧҧԧ ܧѧӧԧ ާѧݧڧܧ, ߧ ܧӧѧݧ ߧڧܧԧէ. ѧ ҧݧ էӧ ܧߧڧԧ C ҧ, էѧ֧ߧߧ ֧ާ ק֧, C ܧ ݧҧڧ ߧ ӧ اڧ٧ߧ, է֧اѧ ѧާ, ݧӧߧ ӧ֧ݧڧڧ֧ݧߧ ֧ܧݧ, ѧ ѧߧ ֧֧اڧ, ֧֧ էӧѧէѧ ݧ֧, ߧӧ ڧ ֧֧ڧѧ, ӧڧէ֧ ߧڧ ݧܧ ӧѧ ֧֧ܧѧ, ܧѧקߧߧ ڧ٧էѧߧڧ, ܧѧ ҧէ ߧ ѧݧ ԧ ߧ֧ӧڧާԧ, ҧ֧ާ֧ߧԧ ҧѧ٧, ܧ ߧ ߧ֧ ѧӧڧݧ. ߧ اѧاէ էѧݧߧڧ ѧߧӧڧ ٧ѧѧӧݧݧ ֧ԧ ݧ֧էӧѧ ѧ ڧݧ֧ѧ ԧԧ ߧ ֧ҧݧڧӧѧ ܧݧߧߧ ѧڧߧӧ֧ߧߧ ڧܧݧ֧ߧڧ ӧݧ֧ܧݧ ֧ԧ է ߧ ܧ֧-ڧ, ԧէ, ӧߧ ֧ҧ ܧܧѧڧߧ, ާ֧ѧ֧ݧߧ ڧԧѧ ߧ ܧڧܧ էݧԧӧ٧ ڧ ݧڧߧ ڧݧ֧. ݧܧ ԧѧ٧է ٧ا ѧ ֧ҧ ߧڧ, ֧ ѧ ӧݧߧӧѧݧ ֧ԧ էӧ ܧߧڧԧ: ѧӧڧݧߧ ҧ֧٧اѧݧߧ ѧ٧ӧڧӧѧڧۧ ٧, C ڧݧ֧ѧ, ާѧߧ֧ܧ֧ ڧݧڧߧէ, ӧ֧ѧڧ ӧ ݧاߧ ڧ٧ߧ ѧӧէѧߧߧާ ا֧ӧѧާ, ߧ ݧߧ, ܧݧ֧ߧߧ ٧ ާڧݧݧڧ, ߧ էߧ, ܧ ߧاߧ ߧѧݧӧڧߧ ا֧ ߧ ݧڧӧ; ֧ݧ, ڧէѧӧڧ ݧԧڧܧ ֧ݧ֧ ԧק٧, ֧ݧ, ѧӧڧӧڧ ާߧԧѧڧ ֧ݧ ӧ֧ ӧڧէ ڧԧѧ, ڧ ֧ݧ, ܧѧ ѧݧڧާѧߧ, ҧڧѧڧۧ ܧӧ٧ ѧݧߧ ݧѧҧڧڧߧ ӧ٧ާاߧ է֧էܧڧ ֧էڧߧӧ֧ߧߧާ ڧ֧ާ ӧӧէ. ܧߧڧ, ܧԧ ߧ اէ֧ӧ ڧԧݧѧڧݧ ֧ԧ էڧ֧ݧ, ܧѧܧڧ- ҧѧ٧ ݧڧ ֧ҧ ߧ ӧ֧ާ ԧԧ ݧާ, ѧߧߧ ߧѧݧѧاէ֧ߧڧ, ڧѧߧߧ ڧ է֧ߧ, ԧݧѧէڧݧ ӧ ߧ֧ڧߧ, ӧاէѧݧ ӧݧ֧ߧڧ ܧߧڧܧ.


A large volume of Pushkin with a picture of a thick-lipped, curly-haired boy on it was never opened. On the other hand there were two books, both given him by his aunt, with which he had fallen in love for his whole life, holding them in his memory as if under a magnifying glass, and experiencing them so intensely that twenty years later, when he read them over again, he saw only a dryish paraphrase, an abridged edition, as if they had been outdistanced by the unrepeatable, immortal image that he had retained. But it was not a thirst for distant peregrinations that forced him to follow on the heels of Phileas Fogg, nor was it a boyish inclination for mysterious adventures that drew him to that house in Baker Street, where the lanky detective with the hawk profile, having given himself an injection of cocaine, would dreamily play the violin. Only much later did he clarify in his own mind what it was that had thrilled him so about these two books; it was that exact and relentlessly unfolding pattern: Phileas, the dummy in the top hat, wending his complex elegant way with its justifiable sacrifices, now on an elephant bought for a million, now on a ship of which half has to be burned for fuel; and Sherlock endowing logic with the glamour of a daydream, Sherlock composing a monograph on the ash of all known sorts of cigars and with this ash as with a talisman progressing through a crystal labyrinth of possible deductions to the one radiant conclusion. The conjuror whom his parents engaged to perform on Christmas day somehow managed to blend in himself briefly both Fogg and Holmes, and the strange pleasure which Luzhin experienced on that day obliterated all the unpleasantness that accompanied the performance. (Chapter II)


At the beginning of The Event the portrait painter Troshcheykin admires his almost finished portrait of the jewelers son and says that the boys black curly hair is particularly good (see a quote above).


Uvelichitelnoe steklo (a magnifying glass) in The Luzhin Defense brings to mind Steklov, Chernyshevskis biographer who is mentioned by Fyodor in Chapter Four of The Gift (see the quote above). Sherlock endowing logic with the glamour of a daydream reminds one of golaya logika (pure logic), a phrase used by Ryovshin in The Event:


קӧڧ. ֧էڧ. ߧڧާѧ֧, ԧݧѧ ݧԧڧܧ.  ݧ ԧէ ܧѧݧ ߧ ӧѧ ڧ-٧ ӧ֧ԧ ѧ ާا֧, ֧֧ ߧ֧ԧ ѧݧ ҧ .

ҧӧ. ҧ֧ߧߧ ӧӧڧէ ԧ, ާ֧ߧ ާѧߧڧ, -- ѧ, ݧ? ܧѧا, ܧѧا ֧ާ , ҧ. (Act One)


Romanchik (a love affair) mentioned by Lyubov brings to mind the Colonels words in VNs play Izobretenie Valsa (The Waltz Invention, 1938):


ݧܧӧߧڧ. , ѧܧӧ اڧ٧ߧ. էڧ ާڧѧ֧, էԧ ӧ֧٧اѧ֧ ӧ֧. ާ֧ߧ ݧڧߧ ӧ֧ԧէ ҧէ ߧѧ֧ߧڧ, ܧѧاէ է֧ߧ ߧӧ ާѧ! (Act One)


According to the Colonel, he every day has novyi roman (a new romance).


In The Waltz Invention the Colonel mentions an unknown dare-devil who fired an air-rifle to assassinate Waltz:


ڧߧڧ. ֧ߧ ݧܧ  ڧ٧ӧ֧ڧݧ... ߧ֧ߧߧ ٧էѧߧڧ֧...  է֧٧ܧ ܧ֧ߧڧ ߧ ӧѧ ҧ... ӧ -- ӧѧ ܧݧ...

ѧݧ. ߧ -- ާ ѧ է֧ݧ, ا ڧߧ ާ֧.
ڧߧڧ. ٧ӧݧ, ٧ӧݧ... ѧܧڧ ާ֧?.. ݧߧ...
ݧܧӧߧڧ. ܧ֧ۧ, ާ էԧ, ާ ߧ֧٧ѧҧӧ֧ߧߧ ߧѧѧݧߧڧ. ѧ ܧ ߧڧ ߧ ԧاѧ֧. ֧ ߧ ݧڧ ҧ֧٧ӧ֧ߧ ާ֧ݧѧ, -- ܧԧ, اѧݧ֧ߧڧ, ֧ ߧ ۧާѧݧ, ߧ ۧާѧ, -- ӧ֧ݧڧ ڧ էӧԧ ا, ӧ... ߧ֧ԧ, ߧ ݧ ѧѧѧݧ ֧ާ ԧݧӧ.
ѧݧ. ѧާ֧: էӧ ا. ߧܧ ӧߧڧާѧߧڧ, ާߧѧ ڧݧܧ. (Act Three)


In The Adventure of the Empty House (1903), by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, Colonel Sebastian Moran fires a specially designed air-rifle to assassinate Sherlock Holmes. Colonel Moran is a cardsharp. In The Waltz Invention Son (in the English version, Trance, the reporter who runs errands for Waltz) mentions a conjuror who deftly slips a card:


ѧݧ. ѧ֧ ާߧ ԧѧէӧѧ?

. , ߧ֧ѧӧڧݧߧ ӧѧ٧ڧݧ. ߧ֧ߧ, ߧѧ֧ק ӧ ߧ ާا֧ ٧ߧѧ, ܧѧܧ ӧѧ ާ֧ ܧѧا, ߧ ӧ ާا֧,  ӧ ܧѧ ܧߧڧ էӧӧѧ֧ ܧݧ٧ܧ ܧѧ塭 ݧӧ, ֧ݧ ӧѧ ֧ ާߧڧܧ, ߧ ѧ էߧ ӧߧڧ ߧѧڧ ܧ֧ѧ, ܧѧܧ ߧܧ ߧѧ٧ߧѧڧ էݧ ӧ٧ӧ,  ѧ ا ӧ էԧӧݧ֧ߧ࡭ ѧ, ݧ? (Act Two)


In Russian son means sleep and dream. The action in The Waltz Invention seems to take place in a dream that Troshcheykins wife Lyubov dreams in the sleep of death (mentioned by Hamlet in his famous monologue). Having learned that Barbashin (the killer of whom Troshcheykin is mortally afraid but with whom Lyubov is still in love) left the city, Lyubov commits suicide on her dead sons fifth birthday (two days after her mothers fiftieth birthday). Like Shakespeares Othello (whom Troshcheykin mentions at the beginning of The Event; see a quote above), Lyubov stabs herself. The name Lyubov means love and brings to mind the lines from Pushkins Eugene Onegin (One: XLVII: 6-7) used by VN as the epigraph to his first novel Mashenka (Mary, 1926):


Vospomnya prezhnikh let romany,

Vospomnya prezhnyuyu lyubov.


Having recalled intrigues of former years,

having recalled a former love.


In EO (Five: XLI: 1-4) Pushkin mentions valsa vikhor shumnyi (the waltzs noisy whirl):


էߧҧѧ٧ߧ ҧ֧٧ާߧ,
ѧ ӧڧ اڧ٧ߧ ާݧէ,
اڧ ӧѧݧ ӧڧ ާߧ;
֧ ާ֧ݧܧѧ֧ ٧ ֧.


Monotonous and mad

like young life's whirl,

the waltz's noisy whirl revolves,

pair after pair flicks by.


The line cheta melkaet za chetoy (pair after pair flicks by) brings to mind i v mire net chety prekrasney (and theres no finer couple in the world), a line in Tyutchevs poem Bliznetsy ("The Twins," 1852):


֧ էԧڧ էӧ ҧݧڧ٧ߧ֧ C
ާڧ ߧ֧ ֧ ֧ܧѧߧ֧,
ҧѧߧ ߧ֧ اѧߧ֧,
֧էѧ֧ԧ ֧է...


But there are two more twins:
and there's no finer couple in the world,
and there's no fascination more fearsome
for mortals surrendering their hearts to it.


According to Tyutchev, the most beautiful couple in the world is Samoubiystvo i Lyubov' (Suicide and Love). Another couple of twins in Tyutchevs poem is Smert i Son (Death and Sleep). While Son is a character in The Waltz Invention, the characters of The Event include the Meshaev twins. It is Meshaev the Second (Antonina Pavlovnas last guest, the occultist who lives in the country and is late for the birthday party) who at the end of the play reads Lyubovs palm and casually says that Barbashin left the city and went abroad forever.


The title Izobretenie Valsa is a pun and can be read as the invention of the waltz. German and Austrian peasants began dancing a dance called Walzer around 1750. Several decades later the dance was introduced among aristocrats. Ivan Polzunov (1728-66), a Russian inventor, and James Watt (1736-1819), a Scottish inventor, lived in the eighteenth century.


Alexey Sklyarenko

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