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Jared Smith




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PostPosted: Sun 11 Jun, 2006 1:59 pm    Post subject: favorite longsword suspension?         Reply with quote

I have been working on another do it yourself (DIY) scabbard for my Albion Sempach.

I should receive leather (for the suspension straps) in about a week, and would like input from the forum on what longsword suspensions people find to be o.k. historically, but also more of a favorite in terms of functionality. I have two questions I am sure someone will have a good answer for.

1) In many cases there were 3 straps (often two straps at mouth/locket area attachment) in longsword suspensions even though there were usually just two attachment points at the waist belt and the scabbard. Is there a functional problem with just 2 straps? So far I am planning on something pretty similar to the Brescia scabbard. http://www.albion-swords.com/swords/johnsson/...bbard.htm.

2) Would adjustable buckles on suspension straps be just plain wrong historically? Christian Fletcher’s web site has an image (ATrim Danish two handed model?) showing an adjustable and detachable suspension concept. This appeals a lot to me since one could switch a favorite suspension between several scabbards. http://www.christianfletcher.com/Catalog/Scab...bards.html

The scabbard is supposed to be my imagined idea of an antique Hospitaller’s scabbard, based on the sword typology (T2) and period activity at the defense of Rhodes. I literally beat the leather with a sledge hammer (while wet and wadded up in a towel) but didn’t get it as distressed as I wanted. It is an inch or so longer than the sword, and a brass nail has been driven through the back side of the “moat sale” chape (cut down shorter than as Albion sold it, and wire brushed to give it a duller worn look.) I kept this one lean, and think I am at the limit of what I can do while incorporating substantial quality wool lining and leather materials.


Finished weight (no straps or belt) ~ 14.5 ounces (.41 kilograms)
Maximum Thickness ~ 1” at mouth, embossed / simulated locket area (wool turned down over mouth to prevent it from coming loose at the mouth opening.
Average Thickness – ¾” (19 mm.)
Breakdown of average thickness;
 Cavity required for blade …. ……………………..¼” (34%)
 Compressed wool (~1/16” wall) lining …………~1/8” (17%)
 Covering (2/3 ounce calf) .................a little under 1/8” (15%)
 Wood (1/8” wall laminated, passed 210 lb “balance beam/step test”) ~1/4” (34%)



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Chad Arnow
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PostPosted: Sun 11 Jun, 2006 3:52 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

I think a scabbard similar to the Brescia's would be too late for the Sempach. All of the clearly identified members of that family that Oakeshott shows date from prior to 1400. There is another example that looks like a similar sword, but the pic makes it hard to determine if the pommel fits the type. That mystery sword dates from 1420. The Brescia is later than that.

Looking at effigies from the turn of the 15th century, many people still wore those wide plaque belts so common in the latter stages of the 14th century. Swords were suspended either directly from those or from a single strand, separate sword belt. Once we get past around 1410, we see fewer plaque belts and more simplr single-strap designs.

Here are some effigies from gothiceye.com:

Circa 1405


Circa 1407


1409


1412


1416


circa 1425

Happy

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Chad Sonderberg




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PostPosted: Sun 11 Jun, 2006 10:06 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

While I can't offer much regarding scabbards, I can touch upon the topic of longsword suspensions with a little bit of confidence.

My personal favorite suspension type can be upon page 87 of "A Knight and His Armor" by Ewart Oakeshott. I've also seen it somewhere upon Albion's website. The picture below is taken from "A Knight and His Armor".



The suspension consists of two seperate main pieces. A simple belt of about 1/2 width with a ring or buckle located at the center of the back and about 6 inches of extra punched lether at the belt end. The second section consists of two strips of leather which are wrapped around the scabbard in two places using a special technique which insures that the scabbard cannot slide, as well as assuring that the "ties" won't come undone. I've used this system with both a longsword and rapier without any problems.

Here is a picture of the suspension upon my MRL Longsword.






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Jared Smith




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PostPosted: Mon 12 Jun, 2006 2:42 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Thank you greatly! I was about to fear it necessary to throw away a decent looking scabbard as being completely out of period.

I have some reservations about the classic effigy portrait thing.

At least one period contemporary stated;
"The Black Prince always came to battle armed with a massive sword. The sword was of uncommon proportions and exceedingly long grip, as were the swords of his three favorite bodyguards." I had the source bookmarked last year, but lost it with a hard drive crash....
His relative John of Gaunt reportedly trained extensively (large amounts of correspondence, mentions of famous masters, and payment records left behind to prove it too..) with him as he grew older..and they were famous for seeking out the latest style of swords, armour and techniques. The entire effigy thing is completely ludicrous in at least this one example. Some effigies even clearly show armour from periods 50 years after the subject died (no telling how long before the effigy was commissioned and completed...) I suppose that with art, we need a large sample from many sources to gain confidence.


I am an average 6' tall (182 cm) person of moderatly heavy build. My leg inseam is pretty average and there is absolutely no plausible way a longsword of classic 36" blade dimension and low slung belt can be worn exactly as shown in those effigy illustrations. I tend to subscribe to the idea of an "Arming sword" (regardless of what they called it) being a different model sword worn publically for dress and on occasions when a knight might spend most of the day on foot in uniform (not a field of combat, but armour on for whatever reason.)

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PostPosted: Mon 12 Jun, 2006 3:11 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Jared Smith wrote:
I have some reservations about the classic effigy portrait thing.

At least one period contemporary stated;
"The Black Prince always came to battle armed with a massive sword. The sword was of uncommon proportions and exceedingly long grip, as were the swords of his three favorite bodyguards." I had the source bookmarked last year, but lost it with a hard drive crash....
His relative John of Gaunt reportedly trained extensively (large amounts of correspondence, mentions of famous masters, and payment records left behind to prove it too..) with him as he grew older..and they were famous for seeking out the latest style of swords, armour and techniques. The entire effigy thing is completely ludicrous in at least this one example. Some effigies even clearly show armour from periods 50 years after the subject died (no telling how long before the effigy was commissioned and completed...) I suppose that with art, we need a large sample from many sources to gain confidence.



My personal opinion is that is not a good idea to so quickly dismiss the entirety of this major source of info. Happy If you look at gothiceye.com, you'll see many more effigies than what I posted: over 150 images of knights just on that website. For that time period, I've never seen anything like the Brescia scabbard suspension, whether on effigies or in other period art. Some effigies, of course, do pre- or post-date the decedent. and some certainly are stylized. That doesn't make them all bunk, though. Happy Contemporary literary sources can be just as unreliable, with all kinds of exaggerations, though.

We can't over-rely on any one source. We also can't totally dismiss any source either.

Happy

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Jared Smith




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PostPosted: Mon 12 Jun, 2006 9:24 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

I admit it is workable to the same degree shown in the effigies Chad. But I need some slant or the chape will drag the ground with the slightest bending of the knees. This seems to be the reality in the effigies, as if many have to stand upon tip toes on a rock to keep the sword tip off the ground.

I noticed Ralph, Lord Stafford c. 1347 really looks to just have his sword slipped through his belt at an angle with no scabbard.

I come at all of this from the perspective of someone who will probably not mount the horse while re-enacting (I will with intent to pen a calf on a well trained quarter horse though.) That could change things a bit tactically (to my way of thinking.)

Is there no possibility of different suspension for different settings? As I said originally, it just needs to be "o.k." historically, but functional.

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Bryce Felperin




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PostPosted: Tue 13 Jun, 2006 11:41 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

I have been contemplating how to comfortably wear longswords on my person for some time as well. I usually only wear them with my group at Renaissance Faires and when doing demo's with my fencing instructor. His recommendation is to wear the sword low on the hip, to the back, and to turn out the hip when drawing. A carry system like the one in Ewart Oakeshott illustration looks to be about right to me, but with the sword a bit more back toward the rear.

After some experimentation I think a three point suspension would work well, but a two point suspension would be all you need really.

I have some unique problems when carrying that historically probably were not a problem. Namely sitting down with a sword on your belt. :-) I find that unless you have the right chair or comfortable bench it doesn't work very well. I get the impression that Medieval and Renaissance men probably didn't sit down that much with swords unless on horses. However we modern people tend to have difficulty standing up for long periods of time...especially if you have had knee issues like I have.

So my ideal suspension system would have ready clips or buckles on the suspension system to "detach" the sword from its belt for those periods of prolonged sitting that come up when in costume at events. It would also be nice to simply clip on or buckle on the appropriate weapon for the appropriate demo using the same belt suspension system too.

I know it isn't period or historically accurate, but then again as much as we can try, we never can fully live in historical times either. External inconveniences (like former 20th century affictions and injuries) do play a part in modifying our intended behaviors when undertaking historical renactments or activities to some greater extent on some of us. Therefore modifying equipment when necessary can be a consideration, even if it isn't historically accurate.

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Chad Sonderberg




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PostPosted: Tue 13 Jun, 2006 12:40 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Bryce Felperin wrote:
So my ideal suspension system would have ready clips or buckles on the suspension system to "detach" the sword from its belt for those periods of prolonged sitting that come up when in costume at events. It would also be nice to simply clip on or buckle on the appropriate weapon for the appropriate demo using the same belt suspension system too.

Although my post seems to have been ignored, if you look at the first photo of the suspension for my MRL longsword, it is designed to do exactly what you're looking for. The hangers have a "buckle & hook" system which allows the scabbard/hangers to be disconnected from the belt without the need to actually remove the belt. Using a modified hanger style could allow you to use the same concept of "buckle & hook" for attaching several different shapes/styles of swords (but not at the same time, of course). It also has the benefit of being relatively easy to unhook the scabbard/hangers from the belt when sitting down.

As of yet, I have not used this with a triple hanger system, but I plan to redesign it for such for my new A-Trim longsword when I recieve it this fall.

As I've stated before, I'm pretty sure that the design is historically accurate and I've cited the source from Oakeshott's book in my previous post. Somewhere I have another, much better, image showing the same style hanger system in detail, but I've no idea in which book it is hiding. Confused

Added: Albion features this suspension design for their Regent longsword. A link to their images is located below.

http://www.albion-swords.com/swords/albion/ne...abbard.htm

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PostPosted: Tue 13 Jun, 2006 2:22 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Sorry Chad Sonderborg, there are two Chad's in the first responses.

I attempted to thank you, not ignore you, for posting the alternative harness (with a reference and a date that appears to be reasonably close to the range), even if period might be disputable or if it actually was very uncomomon at the time the reference illustration shows.

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PostPosted: Tue 13 Jun, 2006 2:30 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Chad Arrow,

I was wondering if you own and wear any typical longswords (roughly 36" long blade) in a scabbard from time to time. If so, do you actually let it hang pretty straight up and down as shown in the effigies?

I ask because I also figured something that was not really woven through the scabbard covering but had roughly the look of the Albion Solingen scabbard would appear reasonably authentic, but possibly be removable. It might also hang at an angle depending on the specific spacing of front and rear strap points. I placed my lower risers with the idea that I might do a variety of suspensions, and possibly even baldric wear if the suspensions were reasonably easy to change. http://www.albion-swords.com/swords/johnsson/solingenscabbard.htm

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PostPosted: Tue 13 Jun, 2006 2:49 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Jared Smith wrote:
Chad Arrow,

I was wondering if you own and wear any typical longswords (roughly 36" long blade) in a scabbard from time to time. If so, do you actually let it hang pretty straight up and down as shown in the effigies?

I ask because I also figured something that was not really woven through the scabbard covering but had roughly the look of the Albion Solingen scabbard would appear reasonably authentic, but possibly be removable. It might also hang at an angle depending on the specific spacing of front and rear strap points. I placed my lower risers with the idea that I might do a variety of suspensions, and possibly even baldric wear if the suspensions were reasonably easy to change. http://www.albion-swords.com/swords/johnsson/solingenscabbard.htm


Well, it's Arnow, not Arrow, but it's close enough. Happy When I wear a sword (check out my collection gallery, I have 3 longswords including the Sempach. I've bought and sold several others. I've owned a few over the years Happy ) they hang diagonally as most people wear them; hilt leaned forward, tip leaned back. That's about the only way they can be drawn. If you draw the sword from the position seen on effigies, you'll draw the pommel straight into your armpit. Happy Many, many effigies seem to depict the person lying down. If that's the case, the sword would have to be depicted basically straight up and down. People lying down, though, aren't necessarily interested in drawing their swords... Also, with effigies, if the sword was depicted at a wearable angle, the tip would jut down into the tomb lid and the hilt would jut up. Monumental brasses are 2D so it would be hard to depict the sword at a drawable angle unless you show it angled it across the body like in the Trumpington and Setvans brasses, which are much earlier. But, since many of the subjects are lying down, the point about how to draw a sword from that position is largely moot.

With the plaque belts, many times a simple hook hanging down from the belt engaged on a ring on the scabbard (either on the back edge or the back side of the locket. In that case, the sword is hooked on at a single point. and will hang, by virtue of weight distribution, not straight up and down: the hilt will cant forward. When lying down, though, it's possible for it to be flat and in the plane with the body. The scabbard can be easily taken off the hook and set aside with minimal fuss if you have to sit down.

The rig the other Chad posted is historically accurate, but I personally wouldn't pair a rig from the mid-15th century with a sword style popular in Germany and England at least a quarter century earlier, if not more. But that's just my personal preference. If you're looking to portray the early 15th or late 14th centuries, I don't believe that belt rig is the most accurate choice. Functional? Yes. Attractive? Yes. Historically accurate? Yes, but later in the 15th century.

Happy

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PostPosted: Tue 13 Jun, 2006 3:30 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

This seems like the appropriate place to ask a question I have about what the Inner Bailey calls the Swordbelt of the Circle, as seen here on their website http://www.theinnerbailey.com/swordbelts.htm

I have not been able to find the original Flemish painting nor can I comment on the accuracy of the Inner Bailey's reproduction, but I am wondering what anyone knows about this design in general? It seems to be very practical and in the correct time frame for Jared and myself. I am thinking of getting one for my Albion Mercenary home made scabbard project till I get my "real" one from Russ Ellis.
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PostPosted: Tue 13 Jun, 2006 4:49 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Don Calcote wrote:
This seems like the appropriate place to ask a question I have about what the Inner Bailey calls the Swordbelt of the Circle, as seen here on their website http://www.theinnerbailey.com/swordbelts.htm

I have not been able to find the original Flemish painting nor can I comment on the accuracy of the Inner Bailey's reproduction, but I am wondering what anyone knows about this design in general? It seems to be very practical and in the correct time frame for Jared and myself. I am thinking of getting one for my Albion Mercenary home made scabbard project till I get my "real" one from Russ Ellis.


I don't know of the claimed historical source, but I *do* know that the riveted construction and nickel-plated fittings are all wrong. In my opinion, it's just plain ugly and screams of modern-made Ren-faire stuff. At least it's cheap.

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PostPosted: Tue 13 Jun, 2006 5:45 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Nathan Robinson wrote:
Don Calcote wrote:
This seems like the appropriate place to ask a question I have about what the Inner Bailey calls the Swordbelt of the Circle, as seen here on their website http://www.theinnerbailey.com/swordbelts.htm

I have not been able to find the original Flemish painting nor can I comment on the accuracy of the Inner Bailey's reproduction, but I am wondering what anyone knows about this design in general? It seems to be very practical and in the correct time frame for Jared and myself. I am thinking of getting one for my Albion Mercenary home made scabbard project till I get my "real" one from Russ Ellis.


I don't know of the claimed historical source, but I *do* know that the riveted construction and nickel-plated fittings are all wrong. In my opinion, it's just plain ugly and screams of modern-made Ren-faire stuff. At least it's cheap.


It's looks like a solution...though not an optimal one for me either. It all comes down to what you want to have, historical accuracy or convenience. A balance of the two is optimal but not always possible. I think their 15th century belt would be a better choice IMHO.
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PostPosted: Tue 13 Jun, 2006 6:00 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Bryce Felperin wrote:
It's looks like a solution...though not an optimal one for me either. It all comes down to what you want to have, historical accuracy or convenience. A balance of the two is optimal but not always possible. I think their 15th century belt would be a better choice IMHO.

While I fully agree that not everybody desires or needs historical accuracy, I will not agree with you that there are two choices: history or convenience, or that balancing the two is needed. Why would men throughout history wear something not convenient, comfortable, or ergonomic? There are many people that believe that if it's antique, it must not be any of those things. Frankly, when I did my many years of living history and re-enactment, I personally found that the historical solutions for weapon suspension were superior in functionality, comfort, and convenience to any modern-made solutions with which I had experience.

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PostPosted: Tue 13 Jun, 2006 8:25 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Nathan Robinson wrote:
Don Calcote wrote:
This seems like the appropriate place to ask a question I have about what the Inner Bailey calls the Swordbelt of the Circle, as seen here on their website http://www.theinnerbailey.com/swordbelts.htm

I have not been able to find the original Flemish painting nor can I comment on the accuracy of the Inner Bailey's reproduction, but I am wondering what anyone knows about this design in general? It seems to be very practical and in the correct time frame for Jared and myself. I am thinking of getting one for my Albion Mercenary home made scabbard project till I get my "real" one from Russ Ellis.


I don't know of the claimed historical source, but I *do* know that the riveted construction and nickel-plated fittings are all wrong. In my opinion, it's just plain ugly and screams of modern-made Ren-faire stuff. At least it's cheap.


Even I know that much! Seriously though, I was wondering if such a suspension system actually existed 600 years ago. I think this will be my first research project.

And to answer your question as to why men would wear something not convenient, comfortable, or ergonomic, I'd give two answers: 1) because it's always been that way; 2) it's cheap.

I see it everyday. Eek!
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PostPosted: Wed 14 Jun, 2006 7:13 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Don Calcote wrote:
Seriously though, I was wondering if such a suspension system actually existed 600 years ago. I think this will be my first research project.

I've never come across any images of suspension designs that look like that. While I'll admit I haven't really made it a point to research suspensions outside of the 13th to 15th century eras, I'm pretty sure I'd remember seeing something like that.

Nathan Robinson wrote:
Frankly, when I did my many years of living history and re-enactment, I personally found that the historical solutions for weapon suspension were superior in functionality, comfort, and convenience to any modern-made solutions with which I had experience.

I agree completely. Of all the various modern suspensions I've seen, none of them seem to have the proper feel and solidity of the original historical designs. While many of the modern versions do offer utility options, such as being interchangable upon different scabbards, I personally prefer the authentic look and durability that the original designs offer.

From my experience, building an historically accurate suspension is cheaper than buying a modernized one. For the design I use, it costs me less than $20 worth of material and about half an hour worth of labor (give or take 5 minutes). By what I've seen of modern suspensions, you'll pay twice that plus shipping. Not very cheap in my opinion. Worried

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PostPosted: Wed 14 Jun, 2006 11:24 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Don Calcote wrote:
This seems like the appropriate place to ask a question I have about what the Inner Bailey calls the Swordbelt of the Circle, as seen here on their website http://www.theinnerbailey.com/swordbelts.htm

I have not been able to find the original Flemish painting nor can I comment on the accuracy of the Inner Bailey's reproduction, but I am wondering what anyone knows about this design in general? It seems to be very practical and in the correct time frame for Jared and myself. I am thinking of getting one for my Albion Mercenary home made scabbard project till I get my "real" one from Russ Ellis.


I've never seen a period suspension (at least not from that period) that looked like that. I have seen "strap distributors" from viking age stuff like this, but I don't think they were used quite the same way.

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PostPosted: Wed 14 Jun, 2006 2:06 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Some of the gothiceye.com funerary depictions seem to show a "double wrap" illustration where a belt goes all of the way around the waist, but the scabbard has straps drooping down lower. With many of the previously posted pictures of integrally woven belt/ scabbard designs (usually just two straps trailing away from the scabbard), it is not obvious to me how this variation would be accomplished unless there were some additional straps or a seperate waist belt involved. If anyone has a home made period version or a good "photo" illustration of something that explains this "period suspension", I would appreciate it.


I covered my scabbards with the intention that I did not really wish to slit the basic covering (weave suspension in and out of the covering.) This may be a fettish that I will have to abandon. The Albion Solingen scabbard picture gave me hope that I could emulate a woven look, without slotting the basic scabbard cover. I also figure, one could criss-cross the top/ mouth suspension strips down the scabbard, toward the lower strap, twice instead of once, to adjust the lower back strap position to a point further down. This would help it hang at an angle better (less tension around waist.)

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PostPosted: Wed 14 Jun, 2006 2:20 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Jared Smith wrote:
Some of the gothiceye.com funerary depictions seem to show a "double wrap" illustration where a belt goes all of the way around the waist, but the scabbard has straps drooping down lower. With many of the previously posted pictures of integrally woven belt/ scabbard designs (usually just two straps trailing away from the scabbard), it is not obvious to me how this variation would be accomplished unless there were some additional straps or a seperate waist belt involved. If anyone has a home made period version or a good "photo" illustration of something that explains this "period suspension", I would appreciate it.



Sometimes they are just a single belt whose weight hangs from the opposite hip from where the sword rests. Albion's integrally woven belt scabbards are like that. I have a similar setup for my ArmArt sword. It's at first weird to not have the belt be tight around your waist, but it is easy to get used to that way of wearing it. In many cases a separate simple belt to hold the surcoat closed was used.

My scabbard for the Sovereign has a belt configuration I hadn't seen before, but that makes a lot of sense. It's in the spirit of the double-wrap concept. Part of the belt is quite wide. It branches off to form both a narrower part that buckles round the waist and a wider part that the sword hangs from. See below:



The upper waist belt and the lower sword straps merge from between my left hip and spine and are a single belt around the back to my right hip, where they again branch off. See below for one end of the split.

Of course, with the Solingen and with my scabbard, based off an effigy from the 1st quarter of the 14th century, are earlier than the Sempach. Happy



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