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An Epistle,

Dedicatory, Explanatory, and Conciliatory,


WITHOUT doubt, the first question of my reader will be, “Who is Bartholomew Bouverie ?” In this age of auto-biography, Bartholomew shall answer for himself. To begin, then, “ab ovo :" I was hatched at the house of my parents, Jeremiah and Rebecca Bouverie, on the day which was signalized by the victory over the French at Corunna; ; from which event my mother drew omens of my future greatness, probably forgetting that whatever chance of success I might derive from the auspicious circumstances of my birth, was to be shared in common with at least five thousand other children, who had precisely as sufficient grounds for anticipations of prosperity and honour. The first thing that I can remember in my

childhood is, that I early acquired a taste for poetry; and I have still in mind some of my juvenile effusions, which


mother often rewarded with sugar-plums, but my father with birch. My chief delight was in the “Poet's corner” of a newspaper; but I considered a Review by no means contemptible reading. At length, in order to check this propensity to poetry, which


father considered at best a very useless accomplishment, he determined on sending me to school. Long and eloquently did my

mother plead for at least a respite for her dear Bartle (for so was I called for shortness); powerfully did she urge that proper care was not taken of the little darlings; and movingly did she expatiate on the change they must undergo when separated from mamma : to all which my father briefly answered, “ that he hoped I was no chicken,” and ended this part of the dispute by quoting

“Home-keeping youths have ever homely wit:” upon which, my mother, having an infinite respect for the authority of Shakspeare, immediately withdrew her opposition,

The next point, and that of no inconsiderable importance, was, to what school I should be sent : my mother proposed the Charter-house; but whether that I might be in the vicinity of my namesake, the Fair, I will not take upon myself to determine. But my father being resolved that, in his family at least, the Salique law should remain in force, asserted his prerogative, and resolved upon sending me to Eton. Now it so happened, that my mother had a perfect horror of Eton, for the following reasons. In the first place, she had a particular dread of my sleeping in damp sheets, which she thought must be the case in so low a situation. To this, objection the first, my father only answered by an emphatic "Pshaw!” The second objection was against the fagging system ; in discussing which, my mother enlarged upon the tyranny of the upper boys, whom the microscopic mind of Mr. Mortimer, the curate of the parish, had magnified into Neros and Domitians. My father was about to answer this objection, by saying, that it was common to all public schools, when he was interrupted by an exclamation of “Oh, and the water too !" coming from my mother, who was so carried away at the thoughts of this most terrible of terrors, that she could no longer arrange her arguments in systematic order, but, as is usual in cases of hydrophobia, gave vent to what was passing in her mind by convulsive starts and sudden ejaculations: “Oh, and the water too !” cried she. “And the boats !-and the bathing! To bathe-to swim-perchance to drown ! Oh, Bartle ! Bartle!” After the first paroxysm was over, she appeared to be sinking into a state of torpid quiescence, upon which, my father, fearing lest she should faint, imprudently discharged a glass of water in her face: a relapse instantly took place ; the former exclamations were renewed with increased violence for the space of ten minutes, after which time they gradually sunk into an angry expostulation with my father, on the cruelty of exposing his child to the gulphs and whirlpools of the Thames. At length, my father seeing affairs in this state, ended the discussion by leaving the room, and in about two hours, a post-chaise drove up to the door. My mother had by this time learnt resignation, and dismissed me with an injunction, which, in the excess of her affection, differed little from the Irish caution, “ that a man should never go into the water till he can swim." In short, I came to Eton, where I have now continued five years; and, in answer

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