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TO THE PUBLIC.

A very unjustifiable paragraph has appeared in some newspapers, to the effect that I have
relinquished the Editorship of this Publication. It is not only unjustifiable because it is
wholly untrue, but because it must be either wilfully or negligently untrue, if any respect be
due to the explicit terms of my repeatedly-published announcement of the present New
Series under my own hand.
CHARLES DICKENS.

WRECKED IN PORT.
A SERIAL STORY BY THE AUTHOR OF "BLACK SHEEP."

CHAPTER I. MORIBUND.

"I SAY! Old Ashurst's going to die!
I heard old Osborne say so. I say, Hawkes,
if Ashurst does die, we shall break up at
once, shan't we?"

"I should think so! But that don't
matter much to me; I'm going to leave
this term."

"Don't I wish I was, that's all! Hawkes,
do you think the governors will give old
Ashurst's place to Joyce?"

"Joyce?—that snob! Not they, indeed!
They'll get a swell from Oxford,
or somewhere, to be head master; and
I should think he'll give Master Joyce the
sack."

Little Sam Baker, left to himself,
turned out the pocket of his trousers,
which he had not yet explored, found a
half-melted acidulated drop sticking in
one corner, removed it, placed it in his
mouth, and enjoyed it with great relish.
This refection finished, he leaned his little
arms over the park-paling of the
cricket-field, where the above-described
colloquy had taken place, and surveyed the
landscape. Immediately beneath him was
a large meadow, from which the hay had
been just removed, and which, looking
brown and bare and closely shorn as the
chin of some retired Indian civilian, remained
yet fragrant from its recent treasure.
The meadow sloped down to a broad,
sluggishly-flowing stream, unnavigated and
unnavigable, where the tall green flags,
standing breast-high, bent and nodded
gracefully, under the influence of the gentle
summer breeze, to the broad-leaved water-
lilies couchant below them. A notion of
scuttling across the meadow and having
"a bathe" in a sequestered part of the
stream, which he well knew, faded out of
little Sam Baker's mind before it was half
formed. Though a determined larker and
leader in mischief among his coevals, he
was too chivalrous to take advantage of the
opportunity which their chief's illness gave
him over his natural enemies, the masters.
Their chief's illness. And little Sam
Baker's eyes were lifted from the river and
fixed themselves on a house about a quarter
of a mile further ona low-roofed, one-
storeyed, red-brick house, with a thatched
roof and little mullioned windows, from
one of which a white blind was fluttering
in the evening breeze.

"That's his room," said little Sam
Baker to himself. "Poor old Ashurst!
He wasn't half a bad old chap; he often
let me off a hundred lines; hepoor
old Ashurst!" And two large tears burst
from the small boy's eyes and rolled down
his cheeks.

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