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Malory Towers series by Enid Blyton (Spoilers Included)

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I read the books over and over when I was young and then read them a couple of years ago with Maddie when she was around 11, and she was already getting too mature for them. You're right Kay, Maddie is now 13, nearly 14 and her main interests are current music, boys and going out socialising. Sport is still quite a feature luckily and I'm glad that there was a great emphasis on sport in the books, though I always did feel sorry for the less sporty characters, particularly in the pool!!

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I remember too much about the books (because .. like everyone else who read them in childhood ..I read them until they fell apart ) which means I know the outcome of all these situations and I know what the new girls will turn out like etc etc which in a lot of ways is a pity. I've forgotten some of the smaller incidents though and it's a pleasure to read them and be reminded. Also the pics bring back memories .. I can remember studying them for clues as to what the girls and the teachers looked like. In the last book though .. Mr Young looked completely different on the cover to how he looked inside in the illustrations clearly a later edition.  

 

I'm glad there are at least the smaller incidents that you haven't remembered. Some of the 'tricks' they play seem a bit... silly, but there have been a few gems, too :D Like the 'OY' written in invisible chalk on a chair :D Or was it OI. Anyhow. And the one where someone (I've already forgotten who! Maybe Alicia?) pretended to be deaf... That was funny :D I should look it up, there was one particularly juicy line there, I think!

 

There are no pics in my edition :( I'm sure they've changed a lot. There isn't nearly enough of those to me odd little English words that I would've had to look up in the dictionary or ask you guys about. :( 

 

I'm currently reading book 3 in the series, I've read maybe 70 pages. I really like it that there's the American student in the novel, I think that's great, there being comparing of the two different cultures. It's wunnerful :lol: What I personally don't like about the third novel is Bill and her horses. This is just me, but I don't like horses for a number of reasons and when I first found out they'd be featured in the books I yelled 'if I wanted to read about horses I'd read a horsey book!' :blush: But that's just me. 

 

 

One thing I've been wondering: you guys who are re-reading the books: how long has it been since you read the books? And do the books stand well in time (or how do you say... stand the test of time?)? Are they still as great as you remembered them to be? Of course it's different because you're all adults now etc., but sometimes your favorites are just as great as they used to be, and sometimes they can be god awful! 

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I read the books over and over when I was young and then read them a couple of years ago with Maddie when she was around 11, and she was already getting too mature for them. You're right Kay, Maddie is now 13, nearly 14 and her main interests are current music, boys and going out socialising. Sport is still quite a feature luckily and I'm glad that there was a great emphasis on sport in the books, though I always did feel sorry for the less sporty characters, particularly in the pool!!

 

One thing that struck me was that when I read the books 30 years or so ago, I was always excited by the late night visits to the pool.. Now I am a mother I am horrified by them! Why is the pool not fenced off and locked? What if someone hit their head on the bottom of the pool?

 

 

I wonder if Enid Blyton had a general rule of not just going into boy-girl stuff...? I don't remember there being any crushes or things like that in her other children's books. 

 

I would've been terrified of the pool stuff, not knowing how to swim! I would've been Mary-Lou and everyone would've been mean to me :( 

 

And what are these late night visits to the pool? I don't think I've come across any... Surely I've not already forgotten about them :o

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I definitely remember the girls sneaking off to the pool, on a hot night, I think they went to cool down .. I'm not sure what book it was in though.

 

I didn't think if Darrell as mean at the time, when I was younger, and I did think of Mary Lou as weak, what a shame Enid decided that she would be so extreme with her characters, but then I suppose if every character were nice and sweet the books wouldn't have been so exciting?

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I definitely remember the girls sneaking off to the pool, on a hot night, I think they went to cool down .. I'm not sure what book it was in though.

It might just be that I've already forgotten. Or maybe I don't think sneaking off to a pool to be such a huge crime as it might have been decades ago? :blush:

 

I didn't think if Darrell as mean at the time, when I was younger, and I did think of Mary Lou as weak, what a shame Enid decided that she would be so extreme with her characters, but then I suppose if every character were nice and sweet the books wouldn't have been so exciting?

Yeah, of course Enid needed a good variety of different sorts of characters, otherwise the books would be a boring read :) And I should remember that the girls are still just girls and they will learn later in life that not everything is so black and white :)

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I wonder if Enid Blyton had a general rule of not just going into boy-girl stuff...? I don't remember there being any crushes or things like that in her other children's books. 

 

I would've been terrified of the pool stuff, not knowing how to swim! I would've been Mary-Lou and everyone would've been mean to me :(

 

And what are these late night visits to the pool? I don't think I've come across any... Surely I've not already forgotten about them :o

Yes .. I don't think Enid would have approved of boys :D She was trying to turn little girl's heads away from boys .. however I know .. that little girl's heads were NOT turned away :D 

I would have been terrified of the pool too .. even though Gwen is an awful goose (:D) .. I still didn't think they should shove her in etc. Beasts! :D As for brave little Mary-Lou .. why they're not fit to breathe the same air :D 

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I definitely remember the girls sneaking off to the pool, on a hot night, I think they went to cool down .. I'm not sure what book it was in though.

 

I didn't think if Darrell as mean at the time, when I was younger, and I did think of Mary Lou as weak, what a shame Enid decided that she would be so extreme with her characters, but then I suppose if every character were nice and sweet the books wouldn't have been so exciting?

I remember thinking Darrell was mean and worrying about Mary-Lou .. I think that's because I was a bit of a (lot of a) Mary-Lou ..but sadly without the brave bits :D Yes .. it's good to have a mix and also quite brave of Enid to choose a heroine who had faults. At least Darrell wasn't boring. I liked Sally a lot more than Darrell though. 

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Some pics from the first book for you frankie :)

 

Aww thanks Kay for posting the pics!! I should've thought to google for them myself but scatter-brain me... :D I really like the illustrations! 

 

Yes .. I don't think Enid would have approved of boys. She was trying to turn little girl's heads away from boys .. however I know .. that little girl's heads were NOT turned away 

I would have been terrified of the pool too .. even though Gwen is an awful goose  .. I still didn't think they should shove her in etc. Beasts! As for brave little Mary-Lou .. why they're not fit to breathe the same air :D 

 

I wonder why Enid was dead set against them boys :D Or the idea of sexes being interested in the other... Was she a prude?? :D Or maybe that was the way with the kids' books in those days? :shrug: 

 

The pool was awful. I would've had a fit if someone had tried to force me in!! 

 

I remember thinking Darrell was mean and worrying about Mary-Lou .. I think that's because I was a bit of a (lot of a) Mary-Lou ..but sadly without the brave bits :D Yes .. it's good to have a mix and also quite brave of Enid to choose a heroine who had faults. At least Darrell wasn't boring. I liked Sally a lot more than Darrell though. 

 

I actually think, personally, that Darrell is a bit boring. I find the other characters more engaging :blush: I like the Irene-Belinda duo :D Although I do think Enid's laying it a bit thick with those two :D 

 

Oh I really like Sally! She's great, such a balanced person. I wish she played a bigger role in the books. 

 

Which leads to another question: who are you guys' favorites and least favorites? 

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I'm glad there are at least the smaller incidents that you haven't remembered. Some of the 'tricks' they play seem a bit... silly, but there have been a few gems, too. Like the 'OY' written in invisible chalk on a chair. Or was it OI. Anyhow. And the one where someone (I've already forgotten who! Maybe Alicia?) pretended to be deaf... That was funny :D I should look it up, there was one particularly juicy line there, I think!

Yes .. it should've been 'Oi' shouldn't it? :D Watch out for that one when you come and stay ... that'll be chalked on your pants for the whole of Cirencester to see :D 

I'm currently reading book 3 in the series, I've read maybe 70 pages. I really like it that there's the American student in the novel, I think that's great, there being comparing of the two different cultures. It's wunnerful :lol: What I personally don't like about the third novel is Bill and her horses. This is just me, but I don't like horses for a number of reasons and when I first found out they'd be featured in the books I yelled 'if I wanted to read about horses I'd read a horsey book!' :blush: But that's just me.

:DI'm not a big fan of horses either but it didn't worry me too much. I do think though that the pleasure of the books did depend a lot on how much you liked/disliked the new girls. Zerelda (and Lord!! where did Enid come up with that name .. out of her head I suppose) was entertaining to read about.

I've noticed that Enid often mentions something at the start of each book that we're not aware of .. something that was supposed to have happened the term before .. always makes me feel I've missed a book (like in the third .. they're talking about how Gwendoline had been fawning around Mavis the term before .. but we never heard about this .. it was all Gwen and Daphne as far as we knew) .. I guess it's a good way of setting up a story without going into too much detail.

One thing I've been wondering: you guys who are re-reading the books: how long has it been since you read the books? And do the books stand well in time (or how do you say... stand the test of time?)? Are they still as great as you remembered them to be? Of course it's different because you're all adults now etc., but sometimes your favorites are just as great as they used to be, and sometimes they can be god awful!

I still love them for the nostalgia and still feel excited at the start of each book. They are dated .. you can't get away from it .. these girls are a million miles away from girls these days and they were already a world away back in the seventies. I didn't notice it then so much .. it's just I can look back now and know that I wasn't living the lives they were .. but then .. different class for one thing. It's more than forty years since I read them  :o  :D  

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One more thing I forgot in previous posts: as I have a new edition, and I've been really curious about the older editions... Could one of you guys find some particular paragraph that's really thick with the 'old school' English, and tell me which paragraph it is, so I can then copy the excerpt from my edition on here and we could compare notes? You don't have to write the whole thing down, just tell me where to start copying the book. I really don't mind, I love typing! 

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Aww thanks Kay for posting the pics!! I should've thought to google for them myself but scatter-brain me... :D I really like the illustrations! 

 

 

I wonder why Enid was dead set against them boys :D Or the idea of sexes being interested in the other... Was she a prude?? :D Or maybe that was the way with the kids' books in those days? :shrug:

 

The pool was awful. I would've had a fit if someone had tried to force me in!! 

 

 

I actually think, personally, that Darrell is a bit boring. I find the other characters more engaging :blush: I like the Irene-Belinda duo :D Although I do think Enid's laying it a bit thick with those two :D

 

Oh I really like Sally! She's great, such a balanced person. I wish she played a bigger role in the books. 

 

Which leads to another question: who are you guys' favorites and least favorites? 

Darrell does a lot of slapping .. the way she quite writhed around on the floor (was it?) with Ellen .. actually had me in stitches ... and then she came out with the line 'how dare you come to Malory Towers' :D .. very funny. So, in that respect, she's not boring but thinking about it .. she's probably more boring than the rest. Yes .. I agree ... I am a bit fed up of reading about Irene and Belinda .. I like them but stop trying to convince me they're scatterbrains and harum scarum etc .. :D They're almost pantomime.

My fave's are Mary Lou and Sally. 

Least fave's are .. well probably Darrell  :blush2: and Gwen.

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Yes .. it should've been 'Oi' shouldn't it? Watch out for that one when you come and stay ... that'll be chalked on your pants for the whole of Cirencester to see 

Yeah it must've been OI, I just didn't remember which it was. To a non-native English speaker it doesn't make a difference, or sense :giggle2::blush:

 

 

And what do you mean I will have OI in my butt when I come over and visit?!? :o:D You BEAST!!! :D

 

 

I'm not a big fan of horses either but it didn't worry me too much. I do think though that the pleasure of the books did depend a lot on how much you liked/disliked the new girls. Zerelda (and Lord!! where did Enid come up with that name .. out of her head I suppose) was entertaining to read about.

 

I guess I have more of an issue with horses than I thought :blush: Zerelda's definitely interesting to read about, but then I did wonder if Enid tried to make her seem like a 'typical' American. Like a stereotypical American, that is. But then again, Gwendoline was a lot like her, what with her obsession about her hair and appearances and stuff.

 

I've noticed that Enid often mentions something at the start of each book that we're not aware of .. something that was supposed to have happened the term before .. always makes me feel I've missed a book (like in the third .. they're talking about how Gwendoline had been fawning around Mavis the term before .. but we never heard about this .. it was all Gwen and Daphne as far as we knew) .. I guess it's a good way of setting up a story without going into too much detail.

I noticed that, too! There was no mentioned of Mavis in the previous book and all of a sudden she's one of the 'main' characters and someone Gwendoline's been somewhat obsessed about. So weird! I think there was also one other thing but I can't remember what it was at the moment.

 

I still love them for the nostalgia and still feel excited at the start of each book. They are dated .. you can't get away from it .. these girls are a million miles away from girls these days and they were already a world away back in the seventies. I didn't notice it then so much .. it's just I can look back now and know that I wasn't living the lives they were .. but then .. different class for one thing. It's more than forty years since I read them  :o  :D  

Of course the books are dated in that the girls do not really represent the girls today. But one can see the traits of the girls in the girls of the modern society... But I guess what I meant by my question is that do they feel dated to you nowadays or can you sort of escape back into that world and be like you were back in the day and forget what life's like today. If that makes any sense.

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Darrell does a lot of slapping .. the way she quite writhed around on the floor (was it?) with Ellen .. actually had me in stitches ... and then she came out with the line 'how dare you come to Malory Towers' .. very funny. So, in that respect, she's not boring but thinking about it .. she's probably more boring than the rest. Yes .. I agree ... I am a bit fed up of reading about Irene and Belinda .. I like them but stop trying to convince me they're scatterbrains and harum scarum etc .. They're almost pantomime.

My fave's are Mary Lou and Sally. 

Least fave's are .. well probably Darrell   and Gwen.

 

Yes, Darrell with her slapping :D And the episode on the floor :D So yeah sure she made things happen and she's at the center, but somehow I still think she's quite boring compared to the other characters. Even though she has her different sides and traits. 

 

Harum scarum is by the way another expression I've never heard of before :D I'm semi confused about the pronunciation :D I found it funny how Irene was going to get her stockings, but then got her hat and coat instead, and someone asked her if she was going out. But she was in the middle of composing some music and Belinda offered to take her coat and hat back and get her stockings, but then someone (can't remember who, but one of the teachers) stumbled on the coat and hat on the floor, and it was because Belinda had dropped her pen and had left them clothing items on the floor :D It was somewhat comical but on the other hand it was a bit too much :D But I do like that the two scatterbrains became fast friends, no matter how inconvenient a friendship that turned out to be :D :D :D 

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I know the girls definitely fried sausages in one midnight feast .. and they were out by the sea or swimming pool in another. It may have been at St Clare's though. I suppose that means Claire that there ISN'T a midnight feast in the third book .. oh bother!! :D

 

 

Now you've said about the sea I have a recollection that was Malory Towers but I think it might have been later - I seem to remember Darrell's little sister being at one by the swimming pool?

 

If you couldn't tell, I also reread the Malory Towers books repeatedly as a kid :D I only ever read the first three in the St Clare's series though for some reason.

 

I'm plowing on with book 4 now.

 

Yes, I definitely remember a midnight feast by the pool and Felicity and June being part of it, so it must have been a good few books into the series. I also remember LOVING Zerelda Brass and thinking what a marvelous name she had. I think part of my liking for her was that I was a stage kid and kind of understood her need to perform (and it is a NEED!), and also felt sorry for her that her abilities weren't up to her ambition. And she turned out quite nice in the end once she'd calmed down. And then she disappeared and I think never mentioned again - what a shame!

 

I remember thinking that Darrel was often quite horrid and violent towards other people (that temper of hers!), and I doubt I would have wanted to be her friend. Nor would I have liked Alicia much - she was altogether too in your face and sometimes quite sly. Gwen I would have hated, but Marylou and Sally I probably would have chosen for my own friends. Irene and Belinda would have driven me mad with their scatterbrained-ness - I can't stand being late for anything and I would constantly have been waiting around for them to get their act together!

 

I think I'll go to the library on Friday and see if they have any of the books there. I'm itching to re-read them now!

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There's definitely no mention of boys in any of Enid's children's books - in the Secret Seven the main characters are of both sexes but they're all friends and that's definitely IT!

 

The only thing I would say about the lack of music/popular culture discussion would be that dates books very quickly - was Enid trying to avoid this? They were first published in the 1940s so the music would have been very alien to us - not even realy a recognisable Elvis or Beatles equivalent at that time.

 

We only get one book a year and yet they are in the class for three terms, so I think Enid is trying to give us a sense of what went on in the other two terms with Gwen fawning over Mavis etc. As a kid, I think I would have preferred 18 books ;) That would have made this read a long go on rather long though....!

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There's definitely no mention of boys in any of Enid's children's books - in the Secret Seven the main characters are of both sexes but they're all friends and that's definitely IT!

 

The only thing that I can remember from the Enid books I've read and that has something very remotely to do with boys and girls is little Bets adoring and admiring Fatty (in the Mystery series) but that was still rather far from a real crush, was it not.

 

 

The only thing I would say about the lack of music/popular culture discussion would be that dates books very quickly - was Enid trying to avoid this? They were first published in the 1940s so the music would have been very alien to us - not even realy a recognisable Elvis or Beatles equivalent at that time.

I think you're probably right, it might've been a conscious effort on Enid's part.

 

We only get one book a year and yet they are in the class for three terms, so I think Enid is trying to give us a sense of what went on in the other two terms with Gwen fawning over Mavis etc. As a kid, I think I would have preferred 18 books ;) That would have made this read a long go on rather long though....!

All this talk about terms and years and everything is very confusing to a Finn :blush: There were four terms in a year? And didn't Darrell start her first year in the beginning of the summer? I thought it was so weird. I just don't get the British educational system what with the very different times and periods compared to the Finnish system :blush:

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Sorry my post was a bit convoluted! There are traditionally three terms in a year - although, confusingly, I think Darrell spends four terms in the first form? Which means Alicia must have been in the first form for bloody ages! :giggle2: I was never sure why she started in the summer term either.

 

But we only see them in one of their three terms, which I think is why it ends up quite confusing as they go through the years. To confuse the issue further, there is mention in book 4 that Connie should be in the lower fourth, not the upper. What and where is the lower fourth?!

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Sorry my post was a bit convoluted! There are traditionally three terms in a year - although, confusingly, I think Darrell spends four terms in the first form? Which means Alicia must have been in the first form for bloody ages! :giggle2: I was never sure why she started in the summer term either.

 

But we only see them in one of their three terms, which I think is why it ends up quite confusing as they go through the years. To confuse the issue further, there is mention in book 4 that Connie should be in the lower fourth, not the upper. What and where is the lower fourth?!

 

Oh yes, I thought I'd forgotten something. Form vs term vs year :D Like... whaaaaaat... :D When I was in school, they were called classes. 1st class was for the first year, 2nd class was for 2nd year, etc. And we only had two terms: autumn term and spring term. Clean and simple :D It all changed in junior high... And I bet it's different nowadays. 

 

Okay so you don't know why she started in the summer either? I'm bloody glad it's not just me :D I thought perhaps I'd just gotten something wrong :blush:

Edited by frankie

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Yes, I definitely remember a midnight feast by the pool and Felicity and June being part of it, so it must have been a good few books into the series. I also remember LOVING Zerelda Brass and thinking what a marvelous name she had. I think part of my liking for her was that I was a stage kid and kind of understood her need to perform (and it is a NEED!), and also felt sorry for her that her abilities weren't up to her ambition. And she turned out quite nice in the end once she'd calmed down. And then she disappeared and I think never mentioned again - what a shame!

 

I remember thinking that Darrel was often quite horrid and violent towards other people (that temper of hers!), and I doubt I would have wanted to be her friend. Nor would I have liked Alicia much - she was altogether too in your face and sometimes quite sly. Gwen I would have hated, but Marylou and Sally I probably would have chosen for my own friends. Irene and Belinda would have driven me mad with their scatterbrained-ness - I can't stand being late for anything and I would constantly have been waiting around for them to get their act together!

 

I think I'll go to the library on Friday and see if they have any of the books there. I'm itching to re-read them now!

Ahh .. if it involved Felicity it'll be later down the line .. one won't give up hoping just yet then :D

The nice thing about Zerelda was that she didn't take herself too seriously .. though obsessed with her looks etc .. she was much more good natured than Gwen and didn't mind a bit of leg pulling.

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There's definitely no mention of boys in any of Enid's children's books - in the Secret Seven the main characters are of both sexes but they're all friends and that's definitely IT!

 

The only thing I would say about the lack of music/popular culture discussion would be that dates books very quickly - was Enid trying to avoid this? They were first published in the 1940s so the music would have been very alien to us - not even realy a recognisable Elvis or Beatles equivalent at that time.

 

We only get one book a year and yet they are in the class for three terms, so I think Enid is trying to give us a sense of what went on in the other two terms with Gwen fawning over Mavis etc. As a kid, I think I would have preferred 18 books ;) That would have made this read a long go on rather long though....!

There are mentions of the girls listening to the radio and dancing I think. Also singing .. but that turned into a bit of opera so not quite what you'd expect :D

These days .. being on to a good thing .. the Malory Towers books would have got longer and longer. Though would kids back then have wanted to read big books? Probably not .. be a bit daunted I expect. I didn't notice them being short then and that's probably because they weren't .. compared to other children's books (though admittedly .. most of the ones I read were by Enid :D) Ideal as you say for her to have brought out three or four books for each year .. bliss that would've been (though how many slaps would Darrell have dealt out then? :D)

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Ahh .. if it involved Felicity it'll be later down the line .. one won't give up hoping just yet then :D

The nice thing about Zerelda was that she didn't take herself too seriously .. though obsessed with her looks etc .. she was much more good natured than Gwen and didn't mind a bit of leg pulling.

 

Yes, Felicity and June are names I haven't heard of as of yet, and I'm reading the third novel. 

 

I agree re: Zerelda: She wasn't as conceited as precious Gwendoline, and she was definitely more good natured. She even laughed with the girls when they were giving her a hard time about all the wunnerfuls :D 

 

There are mentions of the girls listening to the radio and dancing I think. Also singing .. but that turned into a bit of opera so not quite what you'd expect :D

These days .. being on to a good thing .. the Malory Towers books would have got longer and longer. Though would kids back then have wanted to read big books? Probably not .. be a bit daunted I expect. I didn't notice them being short then and that's probably because they weren't .. compared to other children's books (though admittedly .. most of the ones I read were by Enid :D) Ideal as you say for her to have brought out three or four books for each year .. bliss that would've been (though how many slaps would Darrell have dealt out then? :D)

 

As a kid a 180 page novel is pretty much a standard length so I think one wouldn't have considered the books short. It's when one's adult that one notices just how quickly the pages turn and the last page is there right around the corner. 

 

When I'm reading these books, it's hard to remember or fathom that these girls are teenagers already. I always see them as 2-3 years younger, at least! 

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I think that Enid wanted all the charterers in Maloray Towers completely asexual :lol: !!  

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