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IT was this man and his friend who pervaded
Arnold's Exercises and other works of
the like nature in my school days, and caused
me to hate them from the first; they were
always putting themselves in out-of-the-way
circumstances, and demanding to have their
position rendered into the finest Latin.

Ego et Balbus were about to take a journey
(with diligence) across the hither Alps; were
on the point of sailing over to Syracuse in a
five-banked galley; were revolving in their
minds a banquet of lampreys to the senators
at a thousand sestertia a head; were puffed
up with what they knew about the freedman
of Caius Gracchus' mother-in-law; were the
unprofessional augurs (and they bored us a
good deal) of everything that was about to
happen in the State of Rome; were the
peculiar oracles of intelligence of all that had
taken place, from the very earliest times, in
the palace and the senate, and in the
proconsulate of the Falkland Isles, and every
other oracle was wrong. Once, and once only,
it happened that Balbus (thank goodness!)
died of a malaria fever that he caught in the
Pontine marshes, and I really began to think
I had got rid of him; but, a few pages
afterwards Ego et Balbus quietly turned up
again, sipping some wine of Cyprus that had
been bottled in the consulship of Plancus,
and setting everybody to rights as usual;
history, public opinion, universal testimony,
the creed of ages, I had to sweep away in a
single sentence of indifferent Latin, with all
the principal words crowded to the end of it,
just as children keep their biggest suck-a-bobs
to the last, and all upon the private authority
of the preposterous Ego et Balbus.

When I left school and became an university
man, I flattered myself that I had done with
these gentlemen, ("whose foible was
omniscience,") altogether. Alas! I then began to
meet Ego et Balbus, for the first time, as a
living firmwhereof Balbus was the Co.;—
the sleeping partner, upon whose credit the
whole concern existed. The momentous
political question which then happened to be
convulsing the Union Society, was, whether
Peter the Great's foster-mother was a
Moravian. One of the junior nobility was kind
enough to rise, with arm extended and gown
folded after the first classical models, and
inform the honourable house, upon his honour
of the actual and not to be doubted fact:

"I waive my hereditary rank," he said,
"and stake my veracitythe veracity of a
private gentlemanupon this matter, for I
had it from my noble father himself."

I need not say that Ego et Balbus carried
it by an overwhelming majority. Balbus,
indeed, is almost always the Mrs. Harris of
assertion, and exists only in the imagination
and for the corroboration of Ego. He is in
very great demand with the party who oppose
themselves systematically to public opinion,
and there is, happily for them, an unlimited
supply of him. The government is, at all
times, under the greatest obligations to
Balbus; Ego is always ready with innumerable
cases which entirely disprove the
assertions of its calumniators, and put things
in quite another view than that which they
appear in to the world in general. He happens
to have a friend (one Balbus) very poor, very
proud, very wise, who has benefitted the country
by his writing for half a century, whom the
prime minister himself called upon in his
garretjust as the Right Honourable Henry
Boyle called upon Addisonand blessed him
in the name of the people of England, and
bestowed upon him three hundred a-year for
life. Ego remembers, as if it were yesterday,
the touching gratitude of a poor deserving
fellow in the war department (one Balbus),
who was made a head clerk, with goodness
knows what salary, purely on account of his
sagacity and diligence. Ego knows an
instance of a tax being remitted in favour of
a penniless patentee (of the name of Balbus),
for a most useful invention, by a committee
of sympathising officials, who paid the money
out of their own pockets. "I could cite,"
says Ego (with perfect truth), "a hundred
other such examples of ready assistance
which government has held forth to talent,
and of munificent reward which it has
bestowed upon humble merit." Balbus's
testimony, too, is by no means confined to the
excellency of the executive of his own
country. He knows, from his own personal
observation, that the abbess and nuns of
Minsk were dealt with rather leniently than
the reverse; and that the late Emperor of
Russia was distinguished for mildness of