Location: Nightmare Abbey, in Northumberland County, UK
Supposing that I exist, and supposing that other people exist, and supposing that we are not all in an illusion, and that I have not been lied to by all my relations, and that I am not a foundling, and that I was not switched at birth, and that my mother is an honerable woman, and that my father's name is really what he said that it is, and that my mother's name is really what she said that it is, and that my parents are legally married, I am the son of Ferdinand and Gretchen Flosky.
Supposing that I exist, and that other people exist, and that I have not been lied to by my parents on the matter, and that the maid did not lie to them, and that there ever was such a book as Tristram Shandy, and that Laurence Stern really wrote that Tristram appropriated his name the way in which I believe to have seen it written, I appropriated my name after a similar fashion to Tristram Shandy. For I have been told--supposing that I can trust my ears and senses--that our maid was Italian, and, on her way to file my name, forgot it and filed it as Ferdinando instead of Ferdinand. This would have been a very excusable mistake were it not that she had every day for years before known that my father's name was Ferdinand...but the ways of life are, thankfully, mysterious and uncertain. This is the only fact of which we can be sure.
Supposing etc. I grew up in the tiny village of Worstbratz, Germany where my father was a minister. At the age of seven I discovered a volume of Kant's Critique of Pure Reason and read it from cover to cover. A year later I began to blaspheme according to my father and he threw me out of the house with a full purse and a prophecy that I would come to no good. Working at various jobs and gleaning learning from various books as I went, I finally managed to enroll at a prestigious college on the basis that I was a son of my very distant English relation Lord Rakehell. As my mother had once visited this man and nothing is certain, I am as sure to be his son as I am to be the son of Revnd Ferdinand Flosky, therefore I did not, supposing etc. lie. Once at the college, I did very well in poetry, mathmatics, and philosophy.
It was at this college that I met Mr. Glowery, a man very admirable for his gloomy disposition. The most fortunate period of my life commenced upon my visiting Mr. Glowery, but I will say no more of that since it would spoil the mystery so essential to reading my biography, Nightmare Abbey, written by my good friend Thomas Love Peacock.