Summary of Lamb’s essay Dream Children: A Reverie

Lamb begins his essay Dream Children: A Reverie in a familiar tone about children’s love to hear the story of their elders’ childhood days. He fancies that his own children (of course, his dream children) came to him the other day to hear about their great grandmother Mrs.Field. Mrs. Field lived in a big mansion in Norfolk. She was not the actual owner. The real owner gave her the charge of this mansion as he preferred to live in a modern and fashionable apartment in the nearby country-side. She maintained well the house that had a wooden chimney-piece on which was engraved the entire tragic, story of the ballad Children in the Wood.

The children particularly expressed resentment on learning that wooden-piece was replaced subsequently by a marble one with no story on it. Lamb narrated to his dream children Mrs. Field’s good and pious nature. He also talked about her sense of duty and responsibility, her courage and straight-forwardness, despite a bit of superstitious attitude. After her death, a large number of people came to show their respect to her because of her Christian piety and nobility. Of course, after her death, the big mansion that she retained so well, was demolished. In its place, we see the owner’s small modern residence.

Lamb’s next topic of talk to his dream children is about his vacation in his grandmother’s place. She was all kind to her grandchildren and invited them to live with her in their holidays. Lamb told his dream children how his shy and reserve nature preferred to live there all by himself. There he was wandering and watching from room to room, strolling in the vast, almost empty garden. Then he used to visit the fish pond to notice the movements of different kinds of fish. He asserted to his dream children that he never had plucked and ate any fruit of the garden. Their father’s conduct in his boyhood seemed much inspiring to Lamb’s dream children who returned a bunch of grapes, already taken by them for relishing in private.

Lamb further spoke to his dream children of his elder brother John, characterized by him as John L-. He referred to his healthy, handsome figure and spirited, adventurous and loving nature. He attended Lamb affectionately when he was ill and lame-footed. But he became himself lame-footed and had an operation and died. Lamb’s profound sorrow, at the death of his elder brother, was also related to those dream children.

After that at the request of the dream children, Lamb recalled his long courtship with Alice W-n (actually Ann Simmons) But, in the course of his recollection, he perceived suddenly that his dream daughter Alice and wife Alice (rather dream wife Ann Simmons) had merged into one. As his dream children seemed to recede and finally vanished altogether, his dream came to a sudden end. He got up to find himself seated in his bachelor armchair with his sister Mary Bridget by his side.