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Medley did this: the symbol names didn't really have a string header and
some symbol names (the "initial symbols" ) had a different place for
storing the actual characters than symbols created later. Unfortunately,
that means that SYMBOL-NAME has to CONS.

It wasn't so much a problem for Interlisp since most of the "string"
functions in Interlisp will take symbols, but in Common Lisp, it is a
performance hit. Poor design, but there's no reason to require SYMBOL-NAME
to return EQ strings. 

In this case, the strings aren't EQ even though the string characters are
shared. (Think of it as strings displaced to a shared area.)