Charles Lamb’s Dream Children: A Reverie Summary

Charles Lamb's Dream Children: A Reverie Summary

 

Dream Children: A Reverie is taken from The Essays of Elia, the essay is a tender account of bachelor Charles Lamb’s reminiscence of bygone times, a unfulfilled yearning for a happy domesticity. In it the autobiographical note is manifested. Lamb is found to speak here of his boyhood and youth, of his happy days at the big mansion of his grand-mother Mrs. Field, of his delightful attachment to his elder brother John Lamb and of his tender but tragic love with Ann Simons. Here, too, the personal character of the essay is all evident.

Dream Children: A Reverie Summary

Children like to hear about their elders when they were children. So our author’s children sat around him to listen to the stories of childhood of their great grandmother Field. She lived in a great house in Norfolk. The most interesting fact about this house was that the whole story of the Children in the Wood” was carved on wood upon the chimney piece of the great hall. Bat this was replaced by a marble chimney piece by a rich man afterwards. Great grandmother, Field was not the real owner of the house but her behaviour and manners and her religious devotions were so great that she was respected by everyone.

She, however, used the house as if it was her own. But later, the ornaments were taken off from the house to the real owner’s house, which was in the adjoining country. When Mrs. Field died her funeral was attended by both poor folks and the rich. From many miles round, people came to pay their respect for her memory. She was indeed a very gentle-hearted and pious person. She knew the Psaltrey by heart and also a great part of the Testament.

Then Lamb began telling them about their great grandmother’s youth, when she was regarded as the best dancer in the country. But she was attacked by cancer, and that prevented her from dancing any further. Her good spirit, however could not be broken, and she continued to be good and religious. She used to sleep by herself in a desolate chamber of the great house. She thought that she saw two apparitions of infants at midnight, but she was sure that they were good creatures, and would not hurt her. She was also very kind to her grandchildren who went to her during the holidays.

Lamb himself used to spend hours in gazing upon the old busts of the Emperors of Rome. He used to roam around the large silent rooms of the huge house and looked through the worn-out hangings, fluttering-tapestry and the carved oaken panels. He also used to hang about the garden, gazing at the trees and flowers. He was satisfied thus roaming about and preferred this to the sweet flavours of speeches, nectarines and such like common habits of children.

Though the great grandmother loved all her grandchildren, she had a special favour for their uncle John Lamb, because he was a handsome and spirited lad. He was a dashing sort of fellow. While others would have preferred a secluded comer, he used to mount on horse and ride round the country and join the hunters. Their uncle John Lamb was really a brave man, and when he grew up to be a man, he won the admiration of every one. When our author was a lame-footed boy, John, who was a few years senior to him used carry him on his back for miles. In after life, John however became lame-footed.

Lamb now fears that perhaps he had not been considerate enough to bear the impatient pains of John, or to remember his childhood when he was carried by John. But when John died, Lamb came to miss him very much, and remembered his kindness and his crossness, and wished him to be alive again.

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The children then demanded that Lamb should say something about their dead mother. Then Lamb began telling how for seven long years he patiently courted the fair Alice Winterton. As he was relating these experiences of his, he suddenly felt that the eyes of the old Alice were gazing from the face of the little Alice, sitting before him.

As lamb looked and looked, it seemed that the two children, John and Alice, were receding from him. At last just two mournful features were left out of them, and they told him that they were neither of Alice nor of Lamb, that they were not children at all, nor the children of Alice, and Bartrum for their father. So they were merely dreams. At this point, Lamb woke up and found himself sitting in his bachelor’s arm-chair, where he had fallen asleep with the faithful Bridget by his side.

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It is taken from The Essays of Elia, the essay is a tender account of bachelor Charles Lamb’s reminiscence of bygone times, a unfulfilled yearning for a happy domesticity. In it the autobiographical note is manifested. Lamb is found to speak here of his boyhood and youth, of his happy days at the big mansion of his grand-mother Mrs. Field, of his delightful attachment to his elder brother John Lamb and of his tender but tragic love with Ann Simons. Here, too, the personal character of the essay is all evident.

Lethe Lethe is the river of forgetfulness which, according to the Greek mythology a Person has to cross after his death and before going to hell.

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