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> Because of this I had been enclosing my programs within
> do ... end structures so that I could use local variables at the top level

Local variables at the top level work since Lua 2.2, released in 1995...
> I expect all this is not news to seasoned Lua users, but I thought the
> disassembly listings might entertain. 

Yes, comparing and reading disassembly listings is a good way to see how
the VM (and the parser) works.