premise

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In fact, the solemn assembly, a levy of the School, had been held, at which the captain of the School had got up, and after premising that several instances had occurred of matters having been reported to the masters; that this was against public morality and School tradition; that a levy of the sixth had been held on the subject, and they had resolved that the practice must be stopped at once; and given out that any boy, in whatever form, who should thenceforth appeal to a master, without having first gone to some prepostor and laid the case before him, should be thrashed publicly, and sent to Coventry.
The naturalist raised his tablets to the heavens, and disposed himself to read as well as he could, by the dim light they yet shed upon the plain; premising with saying--