Bram Stoker was born in Dublin, Ireland on November 8th, 1847. His father was a civil servant in Dublin Castle, and his mother, Charlotte, was a women's lib advocate. They had seven children in nine years; the third of which was Bram. The first seven years of his life he was bedridden with an undiagnosed disease which may have been anything from rheumatic fever, asthma or a form of nonparalytic polio. During these first years of his life as he laid in his bed he listened to stories his mother told him of the cholera epidemic of 1832; people buried alive, and entire families dying in a matter of days. At the age of 12 Bram left his home to attend school at Dublin's Rutland Square under Reverend William Wood. During these years he made up for his childhood sickness by becoming involved in athletics and became an endurance walker. Following his older brothers lead in 1863, at the age of 17, he entered Trinity College in Dublin. Only ten years after he took his first steps he was now six foot two and 175 pounds. He joined several clubs and groups; he became president of the Philosophical Society, auditor of the Historical Society, he played soccer, was unbeatable in his walking marathons, and after two years he became the athletics champion of Trinity. In 1866 Bram took a one year leave of absence from Trinity to work as a clerk in the Registrar of Petty Sessions at Dublin Castle. Later in the year he saw the play The Rivals playing the lead, Captain Absolute, was the British actor Henry Irving, a person who would play a major role in Bram's life. He was so impressed by Irving's performance he wrote: "What I saw, to my amazement and delight , was a patrician figure as real as the person of one's dreams, and endowed with the same poetic grace. A young soldier, handsome, distinguished, self-dependent; compact of grace and slumberous energy. A man of quality who stood out from his surroundings on the stage as a being of another social world.