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"cut" command not working as expected

I need to get the first two file names from a directory ...
My code

directory=$(ls -r --format=single-column)

works perfect and gives me ...

20030617Jun17.tar.gz 20030616Jun16.tar.gz 20030615Jun15.tar.gz 20030614Jun14.tar.gz 20030613Jun13.tar.gz 20030612Jun12.tar.gz 20030611Jun11.tar.gz 20030610Jun10.tar.gz 20030609Jun09.tar.gz 20030608Jun08.tar.gz 20030607Jun07.tar.gz 20030606Jun06.tar.gz 20030605Jun05.tar.gz 20030604Jun04.tar.gz 20030603Jun03.tar.gz 20030602Jun02.tar.gz 20030601Jun01.tar.gz 20030531May31.tar.gz 20030530May30.tar.gz 20030529May29.tar.gz 20030528May28.tar.gz 20030527May27.tar.gz 20030526May26.tar.gz 20030525May25.tar.gz 20030524May24.tar.gz 20030523May23.tar.gz 20030522May22.tar.gz 20030521May21.tar.gz 20030520May20.tar.gz 20030519May19.tar.gz 20030518May18.tar.gz 20030517May17.tar.gz 20030516May16.tar.gz 20030515May15.tar.gz 20030514May14.tar.gz 20030513May13.tar.gz 20030512May12.tar.gz 20030511May11.tar.gz 20030510May10.tar.gz 20030509May09.tar.gz 20030508May08.tar.gz 20030507May07.tar.gz 20030506May06.tar.gz 20030505May05.tar.gz 20030504May04.tar.gz 20030503May03.tar.gz 20030426Apr26.tar.gz 20030419Apr19.tar.gz 20030412Apr12.tar.gz 20030405Apr05.tar.gz 20030329Mar29.tar.gz 20030322Mar22.tar.gz 20030315Mar15.tar.gz 20030308Mar08.tar.gz 20030301Mar01.tar.gz 20030222Feb22.tar.gz 20030215Feb15.tar.gz 20030208Feb08.tar.gz 20030205Feb05.tar.gz

I want to cut the first two file names from the list ... To my way of thinking this should be easy ...

cut -d' ' -f2 $directory

The xterm goes nuts and ends up in hyroglyphics ! At a guess I would say that the white space between .gz & 200... may not be space but may have a different ascii value. I have not found a utility to display raw ASCII for a file yet to check this out.

I am a relative begginer at learning bash ...

Any suggestions


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