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The independent. [volume] (Elizabeth City, N.C.) 1908-1936, June 27, 1919, Image 9

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DICE I
DESTINY
Copyright
SYNOPSIS.
iPTER I Senor don Antonio de la
cwio wealthy Spanish ranch owner on
American side of the Mexican border,
the.,fnrmed by his American attorney
1 technical error has been found in
0,81 m The eenor signs a new docu
without reading it..
ru AFTER II Teresa, only grandchild
K1'p nor. finds evidence of a struggle
? !hP iibrarv and her grandfather miss
The belief is that the senor has been
1',ai across the border by Mexican reb
i Hilly Stanway, Teresa's sweetheart,
flups command of the situation and or
ders the servants and vaqueros to arm
themselves.
rAFTER III Stanway, with twenty
starts to pursuit of the rebels. They
-pet Eduardo TRamon Torre, kinsman of
Teresa who has been wounded, he
claims,' by the escaping rebels.
rT, aptER IV Stanway loses the reb-
ic- trail and returns to the hacienda.
Tviva shows him the copy of the new
..mi which she has found and which
leaves all the property to Torre.
CHAPTER V An emissary from the
rebel" arrives with the news that the
Unor is well and is being held for $20,000
ransom. Torre tries to assume authority
as the heir, but Stanway takes command
of the situation.
CHAPTER VI Dempton, the senor's
lawyer, is brought to the hacienda at
Stanwav's order and is accused of having
received pay from Torre for altering the
senor's will.
CHAPTER VII Torre, who has been
detained under guard by Stanway, ad
mits that he is responsible for the senor's
disappearance. Ho demands $20,000 to re
nounce all claim to the estate and to re
turn the senor unharmed. Refusal will
mean the senor's death within 24 hours.
CHAPTER VIII The hacienda is at
tacked in the night on a signal given by
Torre from within. He is foiled in his
attempt to escape.
CHAPTER IX In the confusion, Teresa
Is abducted and several of her attendants
are found wounded. Torre admits he is
responsible for Teresa's disappearance,
and raises his demands to $50,000. Stan
way etarte in search of Teresa.
CHAPTER X.
A Bold Game.
Tob will know, Josefa, if there is
anything missing from the master's
room?"
"Si, senor. I know each little
thing. There has been no change for
many years."
The small, wrinkled, almost black
f.ife of the little old Indian woman
looked up curiously Into Stanway's.
"Then come. Let us hurry."
He led the way. They went through
the drawing room, where dtae of the
house servants was lighting the can
d'es, where Torre was pacing back
and forfh, his restlessness showing
fcr the first time.
Teresa de la Guerra's scream had
fcnndf-il through the house early that
morning at three o'clock. The long
,day had dragged, and now it was
growing dark.
Stttl Torre and Juarez were prison
ers ; still Dempton fretted and fumed
and sulked in the great library.
Torre looked up quickly, his eyes
eager, expectant. Stanway glanced
at him, giving no satisfaction in the
swift turning of his eyes. Torre
frowned and bit at his lip. Juarez
looked to his leader with both ques
tion and criticism in his gaze.
Josefa followed the rancher, and
they passed on through the drawing
roomf The door closed behind them.
"Now, Josefa."
Stanway threw open the door of
the Senor de la Guerra's bedroom.
Josefa, lifting, a very white handker
chief to her very black eyes, 'crossed
herw-lf and stepped over the thresh
old. "Look. Josefa! Is there anything
missing?"
H had the key in his pocket; she
h;.rj n;t seen it. He looked at her in
a moment tense with expectant wait
in?, not sure why he was so eager
for the word she should say. Josef a's
eves, showing again as she folded and
smoothed her handkerchief, roved
about Hie room.
She shook her head slowly, and still
her eye.s went upon their quest.
"There is nothing missing," she
said, upeaking thoughtfully- "Every
thing "
She broke off suddenly, her old fig
tire growing rigid, her eyes brighten-'ng-
Then she ran across the room
to a far corner which was a bit in
shadow as Stanway held his candle
above hiss head.
"It is gone!" she cried, amazement
in her voice. "See where It has been
for twenty years for more than
twenty years! And it is gone!"
"What, Josefa?" Stanway hurried
to his side. "What is it that is gone?"
"The key !" she whispered, her
vife suddenly dropping. "See where
t hunjc against the wall. See where
5t hung so long that it left its own
Phane like a picture. But who could
have taken it?"
Stanway, peering above the old
n.an'8 head, the candle held close
to the wall, saw, dimly enough but
j'ainly, the mark which the key,
hngiDg from a little peg, had left.
"What key was It?" he asked eharp-
"The master's. He would allow no
to touch it. He had it kept there
alwayH, where h could see It In the
morning at night when he went to
Dp- And it is gonel"
h."ut " "led Stanway Impatiently,
w hand upon her arm, "what was it
IOr' What did It open?"
Joefa looked at him with wide
K "But the master would be an
V if he knew. He has had it there
thJnht,weDty years much longer, I
B"t' Josefa," Stanway hurried on.
Can" ya thInk what door il Pens?
Refa sness? I must know, Jo-
tW senorI Not here" Josefa
uq her head. "I should know,
I ft , if
I Jackson Gregory ' i
then, l tmia, minor. . uiuev oc
key to "some room in his "beloved
Spain. It Isv for no room, upon the
rancho. Of that I am sure, senor."
What Is this, Josefa r-'
Suddenly he had drawn the great,
heavy key from his pocket, holding it
before her eyes. She stared at it,
then : with a little cry put out her
shaking hands for it.
"That is it, gracias a Dios!" she
muttered. "We shall put it back so
that the master will not be angry
when he returns. Quick, senor! Let
us pot it back. Maybe it's being gone
brought the bad luck. Maybe when
it Is on the wall once more good luck
will .oi!e back to the rancho."
It was not until he had again hung
the key upon the peg that Stanwaj
succeeded In getting the now delight
ed Josefa to leave the room. When
she had gone he closed the door, came
back to the key, and took it again
in his hands.
"That opens the door .behind which
he is a prisoner," he told himself half
angrily. "He and perhaps Teresa. I
have the key, and I can't tell where
the door is. And it is getting dark.
Teresa "
Long and moodily he stared at the
cumbersome' key. Its dull surface
Stared at the Cumbersome Key.
seemed to him to be hiding from him
the things he wanted to . know.
It seeemed to him that suddenly it
had grown cold there In De la Guer
ra's bedroom.
He shivered, and, taking up his
candle, went his way back through
the drawing room, with no word to
Torre, with no glance even, for he
feared that now he could not let his
eyes go to the handsome, evil face
and keep his hand back, and at last
to Pedro's bedside.
Pedro, waiting for him impatiently,
tried to lift himself upon an elbow,
and falling in that turned his bright
black eyes upon the American.
"What did she say, Josefa?" he
asked quickly. "It is the master's
Key?"
"Yes, Pedro," answered Stanway
dispiritedly. "But what is the use?
She does not know what door It
opens."
"But I know!" said Pedro brightly.
"You know!" Stanway laid his
hand on the wounded man's arm.
Tell me. Quick!"
"When the master was young be
lived in Spain, where the old master.
his father, sent him to go to school.
In the home there, builded of stones
like an old castle, senor, was a room
where many times he was locked up
by his tutor because he was wild and
did not fall in love with his books.
I have heard him laugh and tell about
it to the padre from La Panza. When
he came away he brought the key to
that prison room with him. That is
the key you have, senor!"
Stanway looked at the man with
swift suspicion. Pedro seemed ex
cited over the key; a look of great
shrewdness was in his eyes, and the
key unlocked a door In Spain! If he
was becoming delirious
"I am not in a fever, senor," said
Pedro quickly, seeing the thought in
the American's eyes. "But that key
tells me something. Every night be
fore going to my bed I go to the mas
ter's room to see If he wishes any
thing, to take any commands for the
next day. I went last night after il
was late, just before I went to the
senorita's door. It was habit, senor.
I could not have gone to sleep unless
I went there."
"Well?" sharply.
"I heard a little sound. It was th
scratching of a window shade. 1
went, closed the window, and loekee
It tightly. And while looking for tht
sound I saw the key in its place. II
was there at eleven o'clock last night
senor."
"You are sure, Pedro? Yon art
very certain that this key was In th
master's room at eleven o'clock?"
"Very certain, eenor."
"Then But it is Impossible, Pe
dro! You say that you locked tht
windows? All of them?"
"All, senor."
"And the door as you came out?"
"I locked, senor. The key was un
der my bed. I gave it to you Jusi
now. And there is only one key upoi
the rancho only one In the worlt
which will unlock it!"
"But then it is impossible!"
Stanway, restless, upon his feet
strode back and forth, frowning. B
the key had been there last night, il
door and windows had been locked
if they had been locked when he wem
to the room then how could one 01
the men who attacked Pedro hav
had it in his hand at three o'clocl
In the morning?
"You mean," he said slowly, com
Ing back to the bedside, "that the at
tack upon you and Celestino was
made by men who are among tb
house servants or the De la Guern
vaqueros?"
"No, senor." There was no besi
tation the voice was confident. "Th
men wore handkerchiefs about tbobi
faces, but I know that they were no ,
of our men. They were strangers t !
me."
"But," cried Stanway, "how conic
such a ng ? .How could Jhe:
mi w ' sx--c-n ' so wiry- uariter o1 rwtn
Then how coula , they have gotten t
the senorita's room without .some om
of our men seeing them And whj
should they have brought-the key
"The key is heavy, good to strike &
hard blow," replied Pedro. "If a
man had lost his knife and needed a
weapon he might take it. No, senor."
, "Bu how "
Stanway broke off, his eyes ran
from Pedro's face to sweep the room, a
sudden light came into them, and the
blood ran into his face.
"My God," he cried,' "I see it !"
"You are wiser than X, senor." Pe
dro smiled contentedly and closed his
eyes, looking very pale and weak.
"You will let me have news when
there Is anything, senor? I could get
well quickly with good news."
Stanway promised, took: Pedro's
hand quickly, turned and hurried out
of the room. His step was quick, his
eyes very; bright
"I understand now" Torre's signal
on the window," he muttered as he
went "And by heaven, how blind
I was ! I know what he meant when
he said he was taunting a man whom
he did not like ! It's the boldest game
a man ever played !" .
i' CHAPTER XI. 1
"You Have Overplayed Your Hand.
"I am afraid that I have been indis
creet, Senor Stanway." Torre, with
Ms old smile charged now with some
thing of mockery and much of triumph,
held out a little piece of white paper
to Stamway, who, key in hand, had
just come from Pedro on his way to
the master's room. "But I think that
I can plead an altogether unusual po
sition as my excuse. You will pardon
me, senor?"
Stanway took the paper, guessing
what it was, and read it swiftly :
Ml Querido Senor Billy:
To save papa grande, to save me
from all that Is horrible, there is no
way but to do what Torre asks. In
grandfather's room, behind the great
mahogany bed, there is a painting on
the w&ll
There is a spot in the woodwork,
three feet from the floor, ten from the
northwest corner, where you must
press with your finger. It will disclose
the banco. Give him the money for
the sake of
Your Teresa.
"Yon will pardon my having read
itT" again smilingly from Torre.
"Where did you get this thing?"
cried Stanway.
Torre pointed to the window, whose
panes he had broken just before three
o'clock.
v "There. On the floor. Some one
threw It in on the floor while you were
running so giddily across the border.
You see this is very well planned,
senor. Is it not? Even my lieuten
ants "
"If I do not do as she asks?" cut in
Stanway, his low-lidded eyes sharp up
on Torre's.
Torre shrugged.
"Who knows? Perhaps they will
take the trouble to find a priest to give
the senorita in holy matrimony to "
In sudden rage Stanway, his nerves
jangling, his rage reddening his face,
leaped at the man, and as he leaped
struck, struck hard his hard, clenched
fist smashing into the evil smile, cut
ting the lips so that the blood ran
from them, sending Torre! reeling
backward across the room.
"Shut up !" he cried hoarsely. "You
mention the senorita once more and "
His teeth closed with a little omi
nous click. Torre, wiping the blood
from his lips, glared at him with a
boundless, almost speechless, rage. t
"Coward !" he sneered. "Since I am
a prisoner, with a half dozen men
ready to spring upon me, you attack
me"
itry i t ii a ct
"Si, senor!" Gaucho's brown face
brightening, his eyes looking happier
than they had looked for two days.
"Do not interfere. Do not let your
men take hand, no matter what hap-'
pens." Then he swung about upon;
Torre. "Do you want to finish it
now?" he said curtly. -J
But Torre was once more himself,;
smiling, at ease, only a fierce hatred
in his eyes.
"Gracias, seuor!" he returned. "I
shall merely make you pay for that,
blow in my own way. And now I ask
another ten thousand dollars as ran
som for the old man and the girl. Ten
thousand dollars for a blow, senor!
Do you care to strike again?"
Stanway shrugged. .
"You have overplayed your hand,
Torre," he said quietly. "This note
from the senorita makes me sure of
what I was beginning to suspect)
Gaucho, come with me." !
With no further word, leaving
Torre's mystified face looking after!
him, he went out, Gaucho at his heels.'
"Gaucho," he said, speaking swiftly
from beyond the closed door, "I want
you to come to the master's room.;
Bring some men with you six, ten
I don't know how many we shall need.!
Let two of them bring axes. Let all'
carry side arms. Bring the picked,
men, Gaucho; the hardest men on the;
rancho. I think that there is going to
be fighting this time."
"The master?" cried Gaucho. "The
senorita? You know"
"I know nothing. But I think
that they have never for a second left
the house! Hurry, Gaucho!" ;
Ant Gaucho hurried, his own face,'
as mystified as Torre's. Stanway went,
quickly to the bedroom.
"Somewhere in these grait thick
walls there is a passageway.- he whis
pered to himself. "It runp from this
room throughout the house and to the
east wing where Teresa's rooms are.
"Somewhere, down below oernaps.
there is a room, a dungeon I thick
that it Is just under the drawtac room ;
I think that that is where De la Qoerra
Is; that many of the things whScb
Torre said were meant to be heard by
the old san that they might taunt and
mock him ; I think that Torre's men
down there heard the crashing glass,
the words which went with it. I think
that we are going to find De la Guerra
and Teresa there."
He studied the walls.
There was nothing to hint at a secret
door.
He moved out the bed, found the
spot which Teresa's note told of, set
his thumb to It, end saw a panel drop
down, shelf wise, showing a great iron
j.4 . . ?Ha iwrm il The safe was
Itic. I tiuutttLH Dat4 l , fct-?atifcTH CITY,
locked, .the key missing. But he knew
that he had found De la Guerra's bank.
He closed the panel swiftly as Gaucho
and his men came, to the door. -
"Que es, senor?" Gaucho asked
quickly. And the black eyes of the
dark-faced men thronging behind him
eager, expectant told as well as
words that Gaucho had -whispered to
his men that the Americano had apian,
that' hope lay -behind it.
"Come in, Gaucho. Shut the door.
How many men?" .
They entered as he spoke. He count
ed as the last man closed the door be
hind him.
"Ten, senor. Five , more are com
ing." nAnd" sternly "you can vouch for
them, for all of them? You can trust
every man to the uttermost, Gaucho V
"To the uttermost, senor," as stern
ly. "To the. death in the service of
the master and" his voice breaking
a little "the senorita."
"And the other fiver ..
"Jhe same."
"Good! This is my plan. Come
close, all of you."
He addressed them in Spanish,
speaking swiftly, his voice lowered so
thatt the men must crane their necks
and lean forward to hear. He told
them of his hope that those they
sought had never been taken out of
the hacienda.
"Now," he ended, "there is no doubt
a passageway running from here to the
senorita's rooms. If we find this end
of it and attack they may escape at
the other end. So we must be ready.
"Gaucho, send two men into the
senorita's rooms. Let them be ready,
armed and watchful. Send two more
.to the stairway. Let Torre and Juarez
he bomd and watched over, by one
man only, a hian whom you can trust
and who will blow their brains out be
fore he lets them escape."
"Let every other man in the house
be armed and ready. Tfien "
"Then, senor?" eagerly.
"Then" with quiet determination
"we shall find where fhe passage is if
we have to tear down the walls. Hurry,
Gaucho !"
Gaucho ran upon his errand, calling
by name the men he wished to go with
him. Stanway, bidding those with him
to be very silent, not knowing what
means the men he sought might have
of overhearing what happened In the
room, began a silent search for some
sign of a passageway in the thick
walls.
And now at last fate and the quick
eyes of a vaquero aided him. There
was a little scratch on the redwood o
the wall just opposite the door
through which they had entered, a
fresh white scratch. It was Mendbz
a young Mexican, who saw it; it was
Mendoz who found a mark of a greusv
thumb upon the same panel, some f oui
feet from the floor.
"Aqui, esja!" he muttered. "Senor,
look !"
Stanway's heart beat wildly when he
saw what Mendoz had found.
"The door of the passageway!" he
whispered. "Sh! Be still! Even
take off your boots, companeros. , We
are going to give them no warning.
But first, Mendoz, bring Dempton
here, quick! I think he is going to
talk now."
Mendoz hurried, and presently came
back, he and the immense Vidal, walk
ing at Dempton'srTght and left
"Dempton," whispered Stanway,
meeting him, "make no sound. If he
cries out" to VWal and Mendoz
"if he makes a sound choke the life
out of him. Do you understand,
Dempton?"
Dempton's pale lips opened, but no
words came forth. A little shiver ran
through him.
"We have learned everything, Demp
ton," Stanway went on in his whis
pering voice. "Even to the hiding
place. There is the door." He point
ed to the panel with the thumb-print
upon Jt. "I think that we can send
you to the penitentiary for a long time
with very little trouble. Will you talk
now, Dempton?"
De-mpton hesitated, denial upon his
lips, growing fear in his eyes.
"What do you want to know?" he
asked in a shaking whisper. "I Oh,
my God! This has gone further al
ready "
"I want to know how many men are
with Torre in this thing?"
"There there is Juarez and and
"Don't be a fool as well as a cow
ard, Dempton!" muttered Stanway.
"You are such a petty little thief, that
nobody is going to want to prosecute
you if you help us now. There is
Torre and Juarez and you. Who
else?"
"I I don't know." Dempton licked
his dry lips and swayed between Vidal
and Mendoz as though he were going
to fall. "Oh, I was a fool"
"Granted. But tell what you know
while you have the chance. How
many?"
"Seven, I think," chattered Demp
ton. "Seven besides Torre and Juarez.
Five inside, two outside with the
horses." 1
"Outside?" queried Stanway.
"Yes. To ride away, leading extra
horses, so that it would sound like a
number of riders were racing for the
border. To leave the trail which you
followed south. The other five to do
the work inside."
m
"And .De la Guerra wa9 never to be
taken from the house?"
"No. It seemed safer this way."
"There was every hazard in It
"Simply because you happened to
be at the rancho," returned Dempton
with a little flash of bitterness. "Had
there been only the senorita, it would
have been easy to have worked on her
love for her grandfather."
"And Torre?"
"Killed a man a month ago in San
Antonio Is running away from the
gallows. With the money he expected
to make from this he could buy the
silence of the one man who can iden
tify him as the murderer. It was his
bnly chance."
"Juarez?" '
"Is actually a rebel captain. " Torre
was to give him his share. Then Torre
was to have a commission in the rebel
army. He looked to distinguished fa
vors when the rebels fought their way
Into power. Now
f J, -
I ,"Nowf if . he goes Into. Mexico the
rebels will shoot him : as a; traitor.
That was another chance he was tak
ing. He was to give five thousand dol
lars to the cause. For that they let
him have Juarez -and the other men.
He was to give his life If. he lied to
them, if he tricked them or if h
failed. He could never get across the
border without their , spies finding
him."
Then Gaucho returned with word
that everything was ready. Vidal, ai
He Turned a Corner.
Stanway's command, bound Dempton
securely once more, hand and foot, and
tossed him to the bed as one might
toss a sack of wheat. The men had
kicked off their shoes and boots, and
stood eager and expectant.
Stanway, his revolver in his right
hand, pressed with the left thumb upon
the spot In the paneling where anothet
thumb had pressed.
There was a little click, and the pan
el slid back into the wall, showing a
narrow doorway, a narrow passageway
beyond. There were candles burning
there, their steady flames casting a
clear, yellow light.
"Each man keep three feet behind
the man In front of him," whispered
Stanway. "We must have room.
Vidal. Gaucho, come just behind me."
lie stepptMl through the door into
the two-foot wide hallway which ran
along inside the wall, its trend east
ward and downward. There were no
steps, but the slant led quickly under
the foundations of the great adobe
buildings
Stanway passed the first candle set
into a niche in the rough wood wall
Already he felt that he must be below
the level of the floor when he came to
the second candle. Here the flame
was less steady, a little breath of air
playing with it.
He turned a corner, the hallway
opened up suddenly into a small,
rough-walled room some eight or ten
feet square.
s Across the room was a heavy barred
door; In the center of the floor was a
couch, and- on the couch a man -was
lying upon his back, his hands clasped
betiind his head, a cigarette between
his lips.
Stanway was in the room, noiseless
in his stockinged feet, Vidal at his
side. Gaucho was entering when the
man heard, turned quickly, and savv
them. He sprang to his feet.
But the cry rising to his lips was
choked back in his throat by the hard
hands of the rancher. The struggle
ended almost as soon as it began.
But some sound of the brief scuffle
must have penetrated to the other side
of the oak door. Before the rest of
the vaqueros could crowd into the lit
tle room the door had been jerked
open, a dark, bearded face showed nt
the crack.
There was a snarled curse, the door
slammed shut, and there was the sound
of other bars lifted across it upon the
other side.
"Your axes!" shouted Stanway,
leaping to one side to make room.
"Vidal, you take one. Get it down,
quick!"
But, even to the attack of the great
arms of Vidal and another of the cow
boys, the great thick door stood defiant
as the swift seconds fled by. From
the other side came the sound of quick,
snappier voices, of scurrying feet, the
sound of a cry. which tingled through
Stanway's blood and sent Vidal with
redoubled vigor to the onslaught' on
the door.
At last the door fell. Stanway and
Vidal, side by side, leaped through.
There was another hall, wider than
the first, shorter. At the end of the
hall another door, studded with nails,
barred upon the farther side.
Evidently there had been a second
guard here, evidently In the next room
were the prisoners.
"De la Guerra 1" shouted Stanway.
"Teresa !"
There was no answer, no sound.
"Smash in the door!' he yelled.
"Quick ! Gaucho, go upstairs. Tell
them what has happened. Let them
watch out. Order the first man who
appears to be shot if he makes a move
toward a gun or to escape. Run,
Gaucho !"
Before Gaucho had turned to obey,
before Stanway's echoing words sank
into silence, there came from beyond
the door an exclamation of terror, a
sudden cry, and khe reverberating
crack of a revolver.
Then brief silence again for a mo
ment which seemed long, and the blows
of two axes, ripping and tearing at the
oak planks of the door.
(TO BE CONTINUED NEXT WEEK
Nemesis.
Nemesis was a goddess of justice
and retribution. In Greek mythology
Nemesis was a goddess personifying
allotment, of he divine distribution to
every man of the precise ebare of for
tune, good and bad.
w
Friday and Saturday
Jane 27 and 28
Mr
Joseph
Generally Called
"JOE"
You will all call him that when you know him.
Wants to meet every housewife in the city and talk
over their kitchen troubles. He will show you
how to save gas in cooking also will tell you about
any kitchen eqiupment you may contemplate pur
chasing. We will also serve
FREE! FREE!
Tea and Biscuits at 5
o'clock each afternoon
lie
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v.
lot Wave
Da
; ONLY RELIEF IN SIGHT IS ONE OF THOSE
WESTINGH0USE ELECTRIC FANS 1
Your ironing must be done, don't worry. A
E Westinghouse Iron will save your disposition and 5
E money.
how About your electric bulb?
E Insist on Having , .
1 General Electric Edison 1
1 Mazda Lamps 1
The kind you Will Eventually Buy. ' :
I D. R. Kramer I
1 PHONE 215. COR. MARTIN & MATTHEWS STS. J
il
BEST GOODS AT
Motors, Fans, Lamps
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PICTURES ENLARGED
It is not well known that "Zoeller" does all kinds of
enlarging, but he does, even the Convex pictures, also
carries large line of Convex frames and glass. Let your
next order be a done-at-home job.
M.23-4t
ts m filter &i$fi Gtes& Miiip m m&m m
I TAZ 2irJ I
exm&fnaiii
PAGE NINE
(Ft)
mm
.iiy
D. Taylor
REASONABLE PRICES"
and Storage Batteries.
jmin oiM&uee
Goo
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