Dream Children: A Reverie Summary
Children love to listen to stories about their elders when they were children and to stretch their imaginations about them. So, Charles Lamb’s Children sat around him to listen to the stories of their great grandmother, Mrs. Field.
She was the keeper of a great house in Norfolk. The mystery of the house was that upon the chimney was carved out in wood the story of the tragedy of two children who were murdered by the order of their wicked uncle. In course of time, the house came to decay and its decoration was taken away by the owner who pulled down the chimney and replaced it with a marble one.
Great grandmother was not the real owner of the house but her behavior and manners, and her religious devotions were so great that everyone respected her. When she died, her funeral was attended by both poor folks and the rich people. Men from far came to show their respect to her memory. She was indeed a very gentle and pious person.
Lamb also unfolds Mrs. Field’s youth when she was regarded as the best dancer in the country. Unfortunately she was attracted by cancer and that prevented her to continue her dancing. But she never lost her spirits. She continued to be good and religious. She used to sleep alone in that great house. She thought that she saw two spirits 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 dear grandchildren.
Lamb himself spent hours after hours in gazing upon old busts of the Emperors of Rome and used to roam round the silent rooms of that grand house and looked through the worn-out hangings he used to hang about the garden staring at the trees and flowers.
Though Mrs. Field loved all her grand children, yet she showed her fondness to John, the author’s elder brother because he was a spirited, handsome lad. He would ride out on the most spirited horse and roam in the countryside. He loved the great mansion but did not like to confine himself within the house and garden. He grew up to be a healthy, brave and handsome man. He used to carry his brother on his back many miles when he was lame footed. John himself happened to lose his leg in later life but Lamb did not show any kindness to him and when John died, he regretted for it.
The sad story about John made the children to cry. Then the children demanded the author should say something about their dead mother. Lamb started telling them, how for seven years he courted Alice Winterton before marrying. While relating these happy or painful experiences, he suddenly felt that the eyes of the old Alice were gazing from the face of the Little Alice, sitting before him. It seemed to him that she vividly represented the complete feature of her mother.
Lamb stared fixedly and it seemed that the children a gradually grew fainter to his view, receding and receding till he could hear a voiceless speech telling him that they were the dream children who neither belonged to Alice nor to Charles. They were merely dreams. At this juncture Lamb woke up and found himself quietly seated in his bachelor arm-chair where she had fallen asleep with the faithful Bridget unchanged by his side.
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