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SOMETHING ABOUT “UNCLE REMUS”
IT'S all an accident that any of us ever got to» know about Uncle Rem os, Brer Rabbit. Brer Fox. the Tar Baby and all the rest of that delight ful crew. Leastwise, that 1s what Uncle Remus' best friends lays, and he surely ought to know. Where is there a growing boy or girl or grown boy or girl, for that matter, who does hot know the name of Uncle Remus' best friend? It’s Joel Chand »ler Harris, of course; and the story of the accident that ha3 made hil of us more or tesn intimate friends of Uncle Remus, and Uncle Remus* best friend, goes back to a day some months be fore the civil war, when a small, red headed, freckled, blue-eyed boy, curled up on a dilapidated green sofa in the postmaster’s office in little Batunton, Georgia* and deeply engrossed in poring over the columns of newspapers placed In his hands by the friendly official and his attention arrested by an insignificant advertisement, tucked away in the cor ner of a page. “Boy wanted *o learn the printer's trade," it announced, and closed with the name anu address of -the ad vertiser. Joel Chandler Harris was then 12 years old and as shy as a partridge, but his mind was fired with the idea of going to work, especially as he knew that his mother needed help. So, in great fear and trembling, he wrote out his applica tion and mailed it to the advertiser, Joseph A. Turner, a wealthy planter liv ing nine miles fr-.m ISatonton. Mr. Tur ner had determined to bbgin the publica tion of a weekly paper. It was to be call ed the Countryman and modeled after the pipers of Addison, Goldsmith and John son. YYit li no mea mat ms wuci v>wu»v. get him the place, the boy had really numbered the days he was still to add to the years he 'had spent on the old green sofa eagerly devouring the gran dllokuent editorial discussions of the fed eral Union, the Union, the Recorder and the other papers that were loaned him. Great was his surprise therefore, when one day Aft*. Turner himself drove into town for him and took him back, em ployed. Here, during the next six. years, Joel Chandler Harris learned to become a good printer. But he learned a great deal more than that. Hour after hour he sat in his employer's library familiarizing himself with the thoughts and styles of the classical authors of all times. This was after Mr. Turner, who edlteJ Ins own paper, discovered that various para graphs. which had crept Into the paper without his knowledge, had been written by his youthful employe, to whom then was thrown open the written lore of the ages. But, keen as was the lad tc bp in tno company of these master thinkers and writefs, what pleased him most was the great big outdoors all about him. He roamed the woods, and, observant be yond his years, its secrets were re vealed to him. He made fast friends with horses and dogs, the bltds and all living creatures that he could approach or that would approach him. Above all his fancy was ever stirred, his sense of •the humorous tickled by the quaint, and equally quaintly told stories that were •to be heard around the cabin fires of the plantation negrees. So that when the Countryman failed the year after the war, and It became necessary for him to seek employment, elsewhere, Joel Chand ler Harris was “chock full." so to speak, of ante-bellum negro folk lore and tin; ways of many of nature's creatures. Br'er Rabbit, Br er Fox and all the rest. The young printer's first employment after leaving the home of his patron was in Macon, Ga. Next lie was private sec retary to the editor of the Crescent Monthly, which was published in New Orleans. Before it failed he wrote some sketches and paragraphs for it, after its death he became general factotum of the Forsyth (Ga.) Advertiser. The humor in what he wrote for this little sheet got him a place on the Savannah News. That was in 1871, when ho was 23 years old. • Five years later, yellow fever having broken out in Savannah, Mr. Harris took ids wife of three years and their two babies to Atlanta, out of harm’s reach, it was not long before he had secured a place on the stuff of the Constitution. He did such good work that when the noted revivalist, Sam Small, who had been writing a column signed "Old Si," decided to leave the paper, the editor loath to drop so popular a feature, asked Mr. Harris If he could keep it going. Mr. Harris thought a little while, reck oned he could, and then were published , the first of the Uncle Remus stories, i based on the folk tales that the printer's boy had heard around the negro cabin fires on the plantation of his first em ployer. Mr. Harris began writing these stories with not the slightest idea that they would create a furore, or make him a name. But first thing he kne\v they were being copied far and wide, and then the editors of big magazines began implor- j ing him to write "Uncle Remus" stories for them. He did write a long series of them for the Century Magazine, and since then wfho in the growing up and grown-up wrorlds has been so neglectful as not to have made friends with Uncle Remus. Br’er Rabbit. Br’er Fox. the Tar Baby, Daddy Jake, and the best friend and boon campauion of.all these quaint characters—Joel Chandler Harris himself? , And because everything happening just so, leal to the writing of the first Uncle Remus stories, their author says that it was an accident that thyy ever came to be written at all. And the old world, lit •tle and big, replies that accident or no accident, it doesn’t see hew it got along so long without knowing dear old Remus and Joel Chandler Harris. its a great treat to ue an lnunmie friend of this very, very s#.v, very robust and rotund, somewhat stooped and de cidedly good-humored man. Uncle Remus —that is what Mr. Harris is called by many people—bubbles over with quiet hu mor at all times, and liis quaint sayings and apparently unintentional jokes are a source i»f never-ending delight to all who hear them. Indeed, Uncle Remus carries his sense of humor so far that lie looks upon Ills own success as a great big^ joke. Consequently, the man or woman who tries to put Unyle Remus upon a pedestal in order to fall down and wor ship him is foredoomed to miserable failure. Once one of Mr. Harris’ friends took him to task for painting the negro of “befoh de -wall” in too glowing colors, and ended with tills parting shot: “Now, honestly. Mr. Harris, wouldn't Uncle Renuis steal chickens If he got a chance?” "Well,” chuckled the author, "if I fol low the old man all day. you can't expect me to know' what he does at night, too.” Even the grim fact that lie and his family were yellow fever refugees in 1870 couldn’t make him lose sight of the humorous in life So he wrote this dowui on an Atlanta hotel register, ”J. C. Har ris, wife and two children and one bil ious nurse.” Long before he was ready to leave the hotel, Mr. Harris’ humor and droll sto ries had served to revive the drooping spirits of his fellow-refugees, and turned the crowded hostelry from a place of gloom into one of- light-hearted laughter. The proprietor was quick to note the cause, and so when Mr. Harris upproach ed him to settle his bill he was informed! that he did not owe him a penny. “Why, sir,” explained the grateful bon ifaee, “we’re indebted to you at least $3.” The stranger seeking out Uncle Remus should not expect to experience any of those Hashes of humor which are a joy to Uncle‘Remus' boon friends. Tile pres ence of strangers—especially of tin* pil grim sort—all but paralyze Mr. Harris into utter speecblessncss. At such times the slight impediment of speech that he has had since boyhood becomes quite pro nounced. and in divers other ways he plainly gives evidence that he is painfully shy. This trait is a continual source of dis tress and merriment to his friends in about equal proportions. They delight in recounting stories of his shyness, but when this characteristic keeps him from accepting their pressing invitations to dtyie out andv to receptions, then meril ment gives way to despair. Two or three years ago the daughter of one of Uncle Remus' most intimate friends and neighbors was to be married. Of course, the Harrises were invited to the dinner, and after much coaxing Mrs. Harris got Mr. Harris to promise that he would surely sit down at the festal board. Mrs. Harris went early to the house, Mr. Harris agreeing to follow. He did. He even got inside the gate of his old-friend's house when the music, the lights and the general air of festivity caused his heart to fail him—and despite the solemn prom ise he had made Mrs. Harris he turned his back on the glowing scene and quick ly made his way home. An equally good story of shyness comes fiom Eatonton.Mr. Harris’ birthplace, in order to be present at a local celebration, Mr. Harris returned to the scenes of his boyhood, and somehow was Inveigled into taking a seat on the platform with the orator of the day, the late Henry W. Gra dy. After this famous silver tongue had finished, some of the celebrants began to call, "Harris, Harris, Harris!" Now, Uncle Remus had never made a speech in his life and the thought of be ing called upon to do so made his soul quail within him. "Harris. Harris!’’ cried the crowd, with increasing vigor. "Harris, Harris, Har ris!" S Up rose Uncle Remus, his old gray hat pulled down over his eyes. "I'm com ing. I’m coining.’’ he shouted, and the next moment stepped off the platform and lost himself in the crowd. Mr. Karris shyness has made all efforts to Induce him to give public reading more than futile. This trait 1s also partly re sponsible for the circumstance that tie rarely leaves home except to visit his married sona <fr to go to the office of the Constitution, on whose staff he was actively engaged for more than 25 years. His love of home Is marked. To him it Is the dearest spot on earth, and ev ery tree, every vine, every flower, every growing and living tiling on it receives his personal care and attention. “The Sign of the Wren’s Nest,” his friends call his home. They were led to apply this picturesque title through a character isteric little act on the part of the twink ling-eyed owner. One morning, some years ago, Mr. Har ris discovered that a pair of wrens were building themselves a home in the letter box on his front gatepost. All that fore noon he neglected Uncle Remus and all his other duties in order to be on hand wflien the postman made his appearance and to warn him not to disturb the feath ered pair in their work of setting up housekeeping. All through the whole summer Mr. Harris kept a fatherly eye on the birds, and not until the young ones were able to fly did he relax his vigil. Then, one day, in an editorial in the Constitution, he told the story of the wrens under the heading 'Sign of the Wren’s Nest.” His friends have so spoken of the Harris home ever since. Just as stories of Mr. Harris’ love for his roses and bis birds could be Hold without number, so. as one who has w'rlt ten at length about him says, stories of his •'‘helpfulness and cheerful praise of others’ work could be almost indefinitely multiplied.” Then Frank L. Stanton, now' of the Con stitution, was writing verses for a llttlg, Georgia newspaper, Uncle Remus, as an editor of the Constitution, was in the habit of elippnig and republishing some of the young poet’s work. ‘Your’e a good one—J. C. H.” Uncle Remus wrote one clipping, and mailed it to Stanton. The poet declares that the first steps lie took toward success were made possible through the helping hand ‘extended by Uncle Remus. Shabby-looking individuals are turned away from the average door without com pution, on the easily applied theory that they are only tramps. Uncle Remus has not tile heart to turn any one away empty handed. One cold, raw day, a par ticularly shabby man appeared a t his door and asked for old clothing. The man was blue from exposure to the weather. “You’re lust the man I've been wait ing for these two months,' said Uncle Remus sympathetically. “I’ve got a coat that will just fit you.’’ Mr. Harris has the undivided love of all Georgia. That he Is loved the world over is proved by the way in which he is sought out by visitors to Atlanta, whether of high or low degree. One of the first things that Jerome K. Jerome did when he reached Atlanta last April wast to ask where Uncle Remus lived. A few weeks before, Mr. Carnegie had made a pilgrimage to “The Sign of the Wren’s Nest,” and when President Roose velt was in Atlanta last October he count ed it a great honor to grasp the hand of the man whose wonderful fr>fk lore stories have given the Roosevelt chil dren many happy hours. “1 read your stories nearly every night of my life to the little folks,' said Mrs. Roosevelt to Mr. Harris, 'and they never tire of the beloved Uncle Remus." Indeed, so interested is Ethel Roosevelt in Uncle Remus and his tales that she has written letters to the author. These are among Ills treasured possessions. It was at the luncheon given him at the Piedmont club that the President paid his glowing tribue to Mr. Harris; In some mysterious way. the latter had been cajoled Into attending. "Now,” began the President, after briefly telling his hosts how glad he was to 'be with them, ‘I am going to very 111 repay the courtesy with which 1 have been greeted by causing for r minute or two acute discomfort to a man of whom 1 am very fond—Uncle Remus. Presi dents may come and Presidents may go, but Uncle Remus stays put. Georgia has done a great many things for’the union, but she has never done more than when she gave Mr. Joel Chandler Harris to American literature. “L suppose ne is one or moso merar> people who insist that art should have nothing to do with mortals, and will con demn me as a Philistine for not agreeing with them, but I want to say that one cf the great retsons why T like what he hap written is because after rending it 1 rise i*» with the purpose of being a bet ter man, a man w ho Is bound to strive to do what is in him for the cause of de cency ant; for the couse of righteousness. ‘Gentlemen, l feel too strongly to In dulge in any language of mere compli ment, or mere flattery. Where Mr. Harris seems to me to have done one of the greatest services is that he lias written what exalts the couth in the mind of every man who reads it. and yet what lias not even a flavor of the union. “There is not an American anywhere who can read Mr. Harris’ stories—1 am not speaking at the moment of his won derful folk tales, but of his stories—who does not rise up a better citizen for lu^v ing 'head them; who does not rise up with more earnest desire to do his part in l solving American problems aright. “I cannot too strongly express the obli gation J am under to Mr. Harris; and one of these obligations is to feel as a principle that it is my duty (which if 1 have tiansgressed r have not transgress ed knowingly) never as an American to say that could be construed into an at tack upon any portion of our common country.’* Just before his train pulled out of the Atlanta station, the President turning to (Mark Howell, one of his hosts, said with his boyish enthusiasm: “The best fealurc of the day, Mr. How ell. was getting Joel Chandler Harris in to that luncheon. By George, that was great! He Is a wonderful man. 1 regard him as the greatest educator in the south along the lines he writes of. One of the very pleasant memories of> my visit to Atlanta will have 1feen Iny association with him. When Mr. Han Is was pi,<\-.«*rned to the President before the luncheon, he had to remain by the President’s side while (he rest of the guests were presented. And then It was that the President enthusias tically told Mr. Harris of the pleasure he. as well as the children, received from reading the Uncle Remus stories. It is doubtful whether Uncle Remus has yet got over blushing at the many nice things said to him by the President. Tt was in April of this year that Baird of Sklbo made his pilgrimage to the home of Uncle Remus. “Well, yell,” exclaimed Mr. Carnegie, on meeting Mr. Harris, "this is a treat— a genuine joy. How are you?" "Poly," answered Mr. Harris, with a characteristic chuckle. _ "What's the matter?" asked Mr1. <"ar negie, in surprise, taking a step back from the very rotund and robust-looking man before him. "I’m about to lose my livin’," was the reply. "You’ve started this phonetic spell ing and If it goes into effect, everybody will be writing dialect." And then Mr. Carnegie made Uncle Remus blush furiously by exclaiming: "Lord bless you, it's simply a compli ment. Your writing is so good that we are just trying to copy you!" "Everybody who meets Mr. Harris leaves him to sing his praise, apparently." Said Mr. Carnegie, after coming away from the low, rambling, comfortable Har | rls home, surrounded by its luxuriant | bushes, vines and trees: | "My visit to Joel Chandler Harris was a great pleasure, as well as a great prlv j ilege. He is a part of the south's wealth. | He Is known all over the world. He Is as well known In Kngland as he Is right here In his own town. My little girl was sim ply delighted when I told her 1 was go ing to eall on Uncle Remus. She want ed me to look at everything so I could tell her about it when I return. "I am looking for an opportunity to have Uncle Remus as my guest If lie can l>e drawn away from Ms garden spot in Georgia. He has given a helping hand to all the world and brought sunshine into many homes. He has won the hearts of all children, and that is glory enough for any man. He is a genius." That's what most folks declare he is-* a genius. Uncle Remus himself can’t see It that way. He does not think he has done* any thing at all remarkable. It amuses him self when people try to make a great fuss over him and his works. In fact, about everything in this world except suffering appeals strongly to his sense of humor, and that is why his face and eyes are as full of smiles as the stories that are told by dear old Unde Remus himself. Beginning July*?, Uncle Remus will tell one of his inimitable stories a wvek in the comic supplement of this paper. He will undoubtedly give some of the choicest stories to the supplement, and in them will figure such old friends as Br er Rab bit, Br er Fox and Br’er Wolf. Pictorlal l.v, the stories will be interpreted by J. A. Uonde. The feature will take up a whole page and will be in colors. WITH THE MAGAZINES. The Philistine. The Philistine for July contains an ar ticle entitled f'A Ldttle Journey to the Home of Mary Baker Eddy,” iby Elbert Hubbard. The preachment is written in the editor’s hfpst style and is bound to attract attention. Heme Magazine. What Is said to be the truth about Dowle, is set dbwn for the first time in a feature article in the July number of The Home Magazine. James Osman, who made special Investigation on the spot, unearthed much .heretofore concealed, and interviewed many of the associates of ‘Elijah III," it is a strange story of mingled strength and sham—this tale of a man who landed In America with $100 and in eighteen years made himself dic tator of forty thousand people and mas ter of twenty-five million dollars. I The article Is Illustrated with hitherto I unpublished photographs, including a very interesting one of the “Secret Room." A number of other excellent articles make the magazine interesting. Country Life In America. Contents for July: Contents design— Sailing, A. Radclyffe Dugmoro. Frontis piece—A Garden in Old Kent, Vivian Bur nett. An American Author’s English Ha Ha, Frances Duncan. Some Secrets of Lawn Tennis Skill. J. Family Paret. The Grayling; The Lady of the Streams, photo graphs by A. Radclyffe Dugmore. Dr. James A. Hen shall. Cruising on the Main CouM, William I camber t Rarna.nl. Songs of Nature. Selected by Henry van Dyke. Photographs by Henry Troth. The Coun try Home Reminder. Outdoor News and Discoveries, K. V. Wilcox. Wild Flowers Worth Cultivating. Wilhelm Miller. Wild Foods in July, Dr. II. 11. Rushy. First Principle of Poultry Culture, Thomas F. McGrew. The Truth about “Doctored'’ Rugs. George Iceland Hunter. Lesson in Automobiling: Part 1. Handling Vicious Horses—Photographing a Spruce Part ridge—Feed the Dog Properly—Following | the Trail—My Summer-House—Recent Writing—Pampered Poult iy. Farming. Contents for July: Cover Design—Hay ing. Frontispiece—A Polled Hereford. Months Opportunities. Notes and News. The Truth About Angora Goats, Claude Jl. Miller. Alfalfa—The fYop upon which Western Farming is Based. J. M. West gate. The Possibilities of Dry Farming, John L. Cowan. Cattle In Meadow—Double Page. Getting the Full Value of the Hay Crop, Frederick Bonsteel. Pollod Here fords, H. H. Charles. In the Farm Kitch en, Deahler Welch. Departments: Cattle and Horses—Bees— How to Keep Well—Field Crops—Mar kets and Marketing—Swine—Dairy Notes. The Garden Magazine. Contents for July: The Gardner's Re minder, Quality Lettuces for the Home Garden, L. and E. M. Barron; The Ten der Day-Blooming Water Lilies, Henry S. Conrad; A Round-1*p of the Garden Pep pers. E. I>. Darlington; Raspberries, Blackberries and Dewberries, S. W. 1 Fletcher; A Garden Planted After July i Fourth, I. M. Angell; Important Vege- | tables for July Planting. James T. Scott; I 'Hie Best Hardy Plants of the Health I Family, John Dunbar; Prepare for Fall ! and Winter Vegetables. E. D. Darlington; Spray Grapes Three Times in July. E. M. Sanderson; The Easiest Way to Can, K. M. Barron; Better Stakes or None; An Iris Excursion: Answers to Queries. The World's Work. Contents for July: Full page portrait of Mr. John l*a Farge, frontispiece. The March of Events, an illustrated editorial Interpretation. With full page portraits of the late Carl Schurs, Professor Bel get Muromtaeff, Mr. Foster D. Coburn and Professor E. C. Bumpus. A Wonderful Business Year. Notable Recent Painting and Sculpture. (Illustrated). Florence N. Lovy. Two Leaders in Educational States manship. (With portraits). The New Hope of Farmers. David Fairchild. The Agri cultural Revolution. Dr. Seaman A. Knapp. The Man of Perfect Health. Lu ther II. Gullck, M. D. Is Our Cotton Monopoly Secure? Clarence H. Poe and Charles W. Burkett. The Picturesque Jamestown Fair. (Illustrated). Charles Russell Keiley. A Great American Ca thedral. (Illustrated.) Robert Ellis Jones. What Kind of Boston la Chicago? James Weber Linn. What Makes Socialism? Our First Experiment in Socialism. F. 'I’. Gates. Prosperity and Business Morals. The Rebound of San Francisoo. (Illus trated.) French Strother. A Comprehen sive View’ of Colleges. Walter H. Page. The New Science of Business. Getting Results by Mail—Handling Office Em ployes. Edward D. Page. Appraisals of New* Books. Among the World’s Workers. A Kansas farmer who refused a United States senatorship. Saving Ships by wire less. Migratory schools. Success. Contents of the July Success Magazine: Miss Murdock. “Special’’ (a story), F. Hopklnson Smith; Thompson and His Hip podrome. Samuel, Merwln; Cupid and the Barber (a story), Benjamin F. Nicholson; The Dummy Director, David Ferguson; Dog Days (a story), Emery Pottle; The Real Debauehers of the Nation. Eugene V. Debs. Remarkable Facts About the Sun Francisco Earthquake, Hosmer Whit field; The Old Durnniflit (a story), Charles L. (Joodell; We Must Know What We Are Eating, The Editors; The Second Gen eration (chapters 8, 9, 10 and 11), David Graham Phillips; The Funniest Stories I’ve Heard. Wallace Irwin; Not on the Programme (a story). George Sanderson; The Spartan Boy. Harriet Prescott Spof ford; The Curious Chemist. Edward Vance Cooke; Holes. Franklin P. Adams; Floating island, Wallace Irwin. The Reader. There Is a distinctly American tone to the July number of The Reuder. from the red. white ami blue cover to the hen pecked husband joke on the Inst page. Arthur Colton contributes the opening article, in which, under the title “The Country God Made,” he travels with pack and staff through the land Just over the Sierras. Bramler Matthews contributes a discus sion of racial characteristic* under the title. “Americans and British.'* “Forestry.” by Thomas R. Shipp, is the title of an Illustrated article In which the work of the government forest service is described. The author Is private sec retary to Senator Beveridge, and lias had unusual opportunities for securing much information that will be new to the gen eral public. William Archer, probably the greatest lingllsh authority on Uenrtk Ibsen and his dramas, tells of "Ibsen as I Knew Him." A charming Whimsical Idea Is the series of ‘ Betters to Herolree," t.wo of which arc in the July Reader. One Is addressed to Marian Devereux, heroine of Meredith Nicholson's "House of a Thousand Can dles." the other being written to Bilv Bart, of Mrs. Wharton’s "House of Mirth. The names* of tile letter-writers arc not given, though it Is said they ars themselves authors of popular novels. For Action, the July Reader has a gen erous Instalment of the mystifying serial. "Blindfolded," and short stories by Om bre Thames, Oral's MaoOowan Cooke and Klizabeth Ilyer Neff. Interesting among the illustrations aro a frontispiece In color tile Illustrations arc a frontispiece In colors by Klhel Franklin Betts, picturing James Whitcomb Riley’s small boy who Insists that* "1 ain't a-goln' to cry no more, no more," and "The Old Fainlliar Facet*," scenes In the lives of four of the best known Dickens' characters. They are by Reginald Birch "Our Own Times" has much that is of interest in both text and illustration; while In tile Reader's Study "The Psy chological Novel" 1s considered by Ario Bates. Iioctor of Betters, and himself a maker of Action. Wives of Stingy Husbands. Mary Stewart Cutting, in Harper's Bazar. I wonder in haw many households this scene takes place as “he" is leaving the breakfast table: She. ‘Til have to ask you for a litth! money before you go. dear. There are some things I've got to buy today.” He. "Why didn’t you speak about it be fore? You know I’m always short at the end of the month.” She (tearfully). ”1 put off asking you Just as long as I could. Henry, but now I really can’t wait any longer.” He (looking at the clock and pulling out bis pocketbook). “How much do you want?” She (nervously). ”1—1 don’t exactly know'. I have to get a pair of shoes—my feet are on the ground—and a hat for Mary, and a tooth-brush, and—” He Con edge). "I’ve got to work. IIow much do you want? Five dollars?” She (hastily). "Oh, more than that.” He (savagely). “Fifty?” Sice (Hushing and confused). “Oh, no, no!” He (taking a bill from his pocketbook). “Well, here’s ten; you’ll have to make thut do this time.” He grubs bis bat and goes, while she sits there trying to overcome the trem bling thut always makes her feel sick after sin* has nerved herself up to ask Henry for money. She really nerded twenty-five, but she could not have said it if her life had depended on It. She will go still longer before she asks for money again, because be always acts as if he hated to give it to her JIMMY-HE CELEBRATES! roorrltfatatf. 1906. by tha AFjarloaa Jcuraal Rxaataar Orca' Brltafa Rights Reserved "".T "'■"'I' 1 " *1 l 1 I " A 1 'TUf " ..1 !■!!!!!Ml YOU TAKE ThiS MOMEY AND r'vpiT * Bll Si-' gggSff feilir- % _I • - 1166 - FIREWORKS [>&»:££■ T: I NOW JIMMY-YOUSE WATCH ME AN'YOU'U. KNOW HOWTO B SET OFT A BI& CRACKER." I J--•"-sj--'