At this point, my dear miss Villiers, you thought fit to break off your story, and the wet eyes of your young auditors, seemed to confess that you had succeeded in moving their feelings with your pretty narrative. It now fell by lot to the turn of miss Manners to relate her story, and we were all sufficiently curious to know what so very young an historian had to tell of herself.—I shall continue the narratives for the future in the order in which they followed, without mentioning any of the interruptions which occurred from the asking of questions, or from any other cause, unless materially connected with the stories. I shall also leave out the apologies with which you severally thought fit to preface your stories of yourselves, though they were very seasonable in their place, and proceeded from a proper diffidence, because I must not swell my work to too large a size.
(By Mary Lamb)
My name is Louisa Manners; I was seven years of age last birthday, which was on the first of May. I remember only four birthdays. The day I was four years old is the first that I recollect. On the morning of that day, as soon as I awoke, I crept into mamma’s bed, and said, “Open your eyes, mamma, for it is my birthday. Open your eyes, and look at me!” Then mamma told me I should ride in a post chaise, and see my grandmamma and my sister Sarah. Grandmamma lived at a farm-house in the country, and I had never in all my life been out of London; no, nor had I ever seen a bit of green grass, except in the Drapers’ garden, which is near my papa’s house in Broad-street; nor had I ever rode in a carriage before that happy birthday.
I ran about the house talking of where I was going, and rejoicing so that it was my birthday, that when I got into the chaise I was tired and fell asleep.
When I awoke, I saw the green fields on both sides of the chaise, and the fields were full, quite full, of bright shining yellow flowers, and sheep and young lambs were feeding in them. I jumped, and clapped my hands together for joy, and I cried out This is
“Abroad in the meadows to see the young lambs,”
for I knew many of Watts’s hymns by heart.
The trees and hedges seemed to fly swiftly by us, and one field, and the sheep, and the young lambs, passed away; and then another field came, and that was full of cows; and then another field, and all the pretty sheep returned, and there was no end of these charming sights till we came quite to grandmamma’s house, which stood all alone by itself, no house to be seen at all near it.