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Montag hesitated. "What—was it always like this? The firehouse, our work? I mean, well, once upon a time. . . ." "Once upon a time!" Beatty said. "What kind of talk is that?" Fool, thought Montag to himself, you'll give it away. At the last fire, a book of fairy tales, he'd glanced at a single line. "I mean," he said, "in the old days..."