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From Chambers' Journal.
WHITE LADIES PLACE.
darling child, but a few weeks previous to the time fixed on for her marriage, eloped from a villa at
the sea-side, where she was staying with her sister, Among the reminiscences which a venerable Mrs. Dormer, her companion being a certain Lieufriend often indulged us in narrating, some singular tenant O'Donnel, an Irish cousin, disowned by Mrs. details connected with her early experience may Irwin, the respective families having had deadly not prove uninteresting, given in nearly her own feuds for generations concerning some hereditary words as follows:
claims, which neither of them could now explain After many years of absence, marked by vicissi- satisfactorily. tude and domestic bereavement, I once more became The lieutenant was in the same regiment as an inmate of my father's home. He was a physician Captain Dormer; and the latter-who was as good of note, and much beloved by all classes. About natured and thoughtless a young man as O'Donnel seven miles from the town of L, where we himself, and would have nothing to do, he said, resided, there stood an old mansion, which might “ with stupid old family bickerings”—could see no be seen from the high road. It was surrounded on reason why O'Donnel should not visit him now he three sides by extensive pleasure-grounds and dark was married ; his wife had nothing more to do with woods, but the frontage was comparatively open ; her mother's prejudices, and the “old lady' need shaven green terraces rose one above another, bor- know nothing at all about it. And, indeed, the first dered by monumental-looking urns and funereal she did know on the subject was from O'Donnel, cypresses, and crowned by the square stone house beseeching forgiveness for Josephine and himself, itself. Seen from a distance, it was like a minia- the Dormers not having the courage to communicate ture, frowning and gloomy, set in a sombre frame; the desperate intelligence of the marriage to Mrs. for there was something inexpressibly mournful and Irwin. solemn in the general aspect of White Ladies Place, The mother felt her honor tarnished by her so named from occupying the site of an ancient favorite daughter's imprudent marriage; the conconventual pile.
tract she had entered into with the old Earl of I often passed that way with my father, when being thus shamefully cancelled, and an accompanying him on distant visits, and I used to alliance formed with a hated race : forgiveness, fancy the waving woods were sighing forth a re- therefore, Mrs. Irwin refused to accord. Josequiem for the departed. I pictured to myself Mrs. phine's name was forbidden to be mentioned in her Irwin, the present occupant, (whose ancestral do- presence, and those who transgressed were treated main it was,) in her loneliness and desolation; and by her as enemies. a strange yearning came over me to penetrate those To her son-in-law, Captain Dormer, Mrs. Ir precincts, and to sympathize with the mourner. win's anger also extended for a long time, for she But my father told me that Mrs. Irwin never re- considered him an accomplice in the disgraceful ceived visitors, seeing no one but the minister of transaction. Georgina, she said, “ was a fool” — the parish and himself. The time, however, at she could not blame her-she had been trained to length arrived when he was permitted to introduce implicit obedience, and only transferred it from a me—this, indeed, being at his particular suggestion mother to a husband. Georgina had been a duti—for my father was a privileged favorite. Mrs. ful child, continued Mrs. Irwin, nor should she Irwin had once been noted, not only for beauty and suffer now for her husband's folly by any diminu. grace, but for the pride and imperiousness of her tion of her mother's favor or affection. The earl. character. She was left a widow with two daugh- dom in prospective had doubtless a good deal to ters, the eldest of whom resembled her deceased do with Mrs. Irwin's forbearance ; but-alas parent in a passive, yielding disposition and plain for human foresight and calculations !- Captain exterior ; while Josephine, the younger, who was Dormer's noble relation acknowledged a private her mother's idol, more than equalled that mother marriage with his housekeeper, and a numerous in surpassing loveliness, also inheriting the same race of heirs and heiresses came forth from their high spirit and resolute will, dashed, however, with hiding-places. Poor Dormer died, it was said, a spice of levity and flightiness which Mrs. Irwin of disappointment, leaving his wise and six little had never exhibited. Both these young ladies girls wholly dependent on Mrs. Irwin ; Georgina were affianced at an early age to suitors selected did not long survive her husband ; and this band by their mother, for Mrs. Irwin was earnestly de- of tender orphan loves alone were left to tell of sirous of seeing them “ well settled,” according to frustrated hopes and mortal uncertainties. her notions : Captain Dormer, to whom Miss Irwin Mrs. Irwin received tidings about the same pewas speedily united, being the next heir to an earl-riod of Josephine's decease. The unfortunate dom; but Josephine's fair brow was to be adorned runaway had been a widow since the birth of her by a coronet even on the celebration of her nuptials, only child, and had found shelter with a maternal although the intended bridegroom was old and aunt of O'Donnel's, who had espoused a French withered, and Josephine laughed at and disliked gentleman. Monsieur and Madame Duhamel led him. Mrs. Irwin would not listen to her remon- a retired life in a pastoral valley of Languedoc : strances; Josephine must be a countess, and be they were not wealthy, but kindhearted, excellent compelled to obedience. But what words can de- people; and on the rejection of all their overtures scribe the mother's surprise and passion when this on behalf of the child thus left on their hands,
(Mrs. Irwin turning a deaf ear to their represen- discussed, it may be readily supposed that, when tations,) they had no alternative but to bring the my father spoke of introducing me to the interior orphan up with their own children, and the poor of White Ladies Place, I felt some slight degree little thing soon became nearly as dear to them. of curiosity, and perhaps nervousness; but he had
Mrs Irwin betrayed no grief on hearing of her impressed upon me his desire that I might prove youngest daughter's premature death ; she took a cheerful and soothing companion to Mrs. Irwin ; no notice whatever of the announcement; but the the necessity my father saw for such companionhousehold saw that she was a changed woman- ship, in a medical point of view, having made him the iron had entered her soul. Pride supported persist in the attainment of his object, not without her; and neither sigh, nor tear, nor outward dem- exerting much guileless diplomacy and friendly onstration of any kind, warranted the offer of authority. sympathy or condolence. The letter containing Mrs. Irwin received me courteously, and at first the death-message she cast into the fire, and evidently put up with my presence for my valued watched it consuming without sign of emotion ; father's sake; but by and by I flattered myself and none would have suspected the intelligence it that the kindness she evinced towards me was for conveyed, had not the obituary in the public papers my own. She abhorred any display of sorrow, notified the fact.
Like many proud, high-spirited people, her grief Left with her six grandchildren, it was no mat- was silent, and vented alone when no human eye ter of wonder that Mrs. Irwin resolutely shut her could witness it; but I soon felt sure that some self up, and declined receiving visitors, devoting ever-present corroding remembrance was preying all her time and energy to her arduous duties. upon her mind beyond that which the death of her People ceased to talk about her, or to lament and grandchildren might have caused. Sorrow for the wonder at her family misfortunes ; and except when dead, pious and resigned grief, I had already seen, the lovely flock at White Ladies Place were seen when earthly struggles were quieted by heavenly at church, or fitting about the grounds, the towns- aspirations, and the mourner ejaculated, “I shall folk of L and the neighboring hamlets ceased go to them !- they may not return to me!" But to trouble themselves about their concerns. My now I witnessed restless yearning, and a remorse father, indeed, sometimes had questions asked him which the outward self-possession so marvellously about the fair, fragile-looking girls, who clustered displayed by Mrs. Irwin had not the power to 80 fondly around their grandmother ; she seemed conceal from a close observer; and when I imto love them with a love far beyond that she had parted the result of my observations to my father cherished for their mother-her own daughter he listened carnestly to all I said, and impressively Georgina. The "angel band” of White Ladies answered, “I think you are right, Mary; this Place was the epithet often bestowed on these sin- poor lady, you are aware, has a grandchild yet gularly lovely children. There was, indeed, some living.” excuse for it; their exterior attractions and angelic A new light suddenly broke on my mind, but dispositions forcibly reminding the spectator of I did not confide all my thoughts even to this pictures and legends of ecclesiastical love, wherein dear father, fearing for the result of my visionary the holy spirits are represented to our imagination schemes. by pure and dove-like innocents.
My father went on to say, "I do not doubt that Some ancient folks shook their heads mourn- Mrs. Irwin will soon take you into her confidence, tully, and whispered how much they pitied Mrs. Mary; you have won her regard ; but I must not Irwin, notwithstanding her pride and arrogance ; anticipate. This confidence must be voluntary on for it was easy to see that none of these gentle her part; nor shall I attempt to raise the veil which creatures could be reared—they were too trans- she does not desire to withdraw. I know that you parent and white, too good and gentle ; such chil- have strong nerves, and are not easily startled.” dren, said the ancients, always joined the happy If I had strong nerves, this conversation did not angels ere the innocence of early youth had fled ! tend to strengthen and brace them, for I lived in And it was even as they predicted : one by one the perpetual assurance that some singular mystery the delicate girls drooped and faded away. One overhung Mrs. Irwin's daily life : however, I had attained the age of seventeen ; the others were determined on certain plans; and in putting them „younger as they were severally summoned home. into execution, and in performing numerous active
Everybody felt sincere commiseration for the duties, all foolish fears or nervous trepidations were dereaved grandmother, and it was generally rumored in the true way of being forgotten. that her intellects were affected. But my father I had now been acquainted with Mrs. Irwin for did not corroborate such accounts ; on the contrary, some months : this acquaintance on her part had he spoke of Mrs. Irwin's strength of mind and res- ripened into cordial kindness, I may say friendignation. However, gossips persisted in saying ship; while I, on my part, felt deep sympathy, there was a mystery ; but what it was no one could and interest, and earnest desires to see her mind find out. The domestics were few and attached, at rest. I often remained at White Ladies Place having all been in the service of the family for for days together. During one of these visits, many years, and devoted to Mrs. Irwin, who was on an October evening-how well do I remember much beloved by her retainers.
it!-it was a dim, melancholy October evening Having heard all these particulars frequently --the wind was wailing amid the gray gables and
golden woods—I had been alone all day, for Mrs. ( more rare, and certainly more life-like, mode of Irwin had kept to her own apartments, when she preserving the resemblances of her family? joined me, and mutely seating herself, watched my I found that on the anniversary of each departed rapid stitching of some homely garment. After a child's birth-day, and day of decease, she passed her Jong time, she broke the silence, saying, “ Mary, time among them from morn till night ; she visited this is the anniversary of a sad day : it is the day her rare collection every day ; but on these festivals when the last remaining of my child's children was only the tapers were lit, the fresh flowers culled, taken from me. These anniversaries I always de- and the waxen models decked in their festal robes. vote to them : will you come and view all that is My father was right; for Mrs. Irwin was not mad. left me of these beloved ones?” What could Mrs. Once admitted, I became a frequent visitor to this Irwin mean? Fears indefinable seized me at hear- secret chamber, to which he had long been accusing these words ; but I looked at her intently, and tomed. no wildness in her eyes or excitement of manner By very slow and imperceptible degrees I had gave evidence that her reason was impaired. But hitherto approached the subject with Mrs. Irwin what did she mean?—what was coming ? on which all my hopes and wishes were centred :
She took my arm, and for the first time I found it was dangerous ground to tread, and the full exmyself in that portion of the mansion whose win- tent of woman's delicacy and tact (in the right dows all opened on the solemn woods and sombre sense of that too-often misused term) was required, pine vistas branching off in many directions. We in order not to shipwreck the cause I had at heart. entered a small chamber or ante-room, where we By very slow and imperceptible degrees I had won found Mrs. Irwin's confidential waiting-woman in Mrs. Irwin to speak of the past—of the time when expectation of our visit. Double doors led from both her own daughters were children ; then, as a this ante-room to a saloon beyond ; the ancient matter of course, I carelessly asked if the offspring domestic threw them open ; and emerging from the of both resembled their mother ?. For the first gloom, what a spectacle met my bewildered eyes ! time Maud, the orphan of Josephine, was mentioned The saloon was brilliantly illuminated by wax ta- by her grandmother; and her existence once acpers, and entirely hung with snowy-white drapery, knowledged, the stern restriction was broken : she from the folds of which hung wreaths of freshly- had a living grandchild still, but dead to hergathered flowers. At the head of the apartment,
“ dead to her,” she said, and sighed. in a semicircle, were ranged six figures, clad in I heard the sigh, and I treasured the words. white robes, with veils of filmy texture half con- “And if she were really dead,” suggested I, cealing their features. They looked like young “ would you object, madam, to place her effigy girls attired for the solemn rite of confirmation ; among these?” I almost feared having gone too but how still and mute they were !—fac-similes, far; but Mrs. Irwin answered mildly, after a keen indeed, of the deplored and departed ; but mere gaze, beneath which I looked rather embarrassed. vax-works, fashioned by a skilful artificer. Mrs. “Your question is an odd one, Mary; for I confess Irwin took me up to the figures, one by one, speak- the thought has often struck me, that, in the event of ing in a subdued voice, and telling me their names the girl's death, I should like to possess her resemand the respective ages at which they had been blance, and place Josephine's child with her coustaken from her. From the tallest figure of the ins." Here her voice faltered; I had never heard group she withdrew the veil which shaded the her speak thus before. Presently she added, face, as tenderly and seriously as if the wax-work" But I do not wish her death, poor thing; she had been imbued with spiritual life, whispering has done me no injury, Mary; and had I not made as she did so, “ She was the fairest of them all: a vow never to look upon her, unless she made one of look, is not this an angelic face?" And truly this this mute company, I might perchance yet have had model, taken after death, retained all the attributes the comfort of embracing a living descendant"of life; Jong silken lashes rested on the delicate Mrs. Irwin took my hands, the big round tears cheeks, whereon was a faint ringe of coloring; the coursed down her furrowed cheeks—" of asking lips were parted smilingly, as if about to speak ; her forgiveness, Mary ; Josephine died without the masses of rich dark hair fell in clusters on the mine." This confession from the proud, imperious neck; and the hand was stretched forth, holding a Mrs. Irwin! I could hardly believe my sight and rose; but, alas! not a living rose, as it had been hearing : but the weak moment speedily passed; wont to do in life; the rose, like the figure, was and I almost thought she regretted having said so artificial—it was wax-work too. Presently my much ; at any rate she became more reserved and imagination began to be affected. I thought the stoical for some days after the conversation alluded eyelids moved, and, shuddering, I turned away. to. She had made a vow never to look upon her But soon my tears flowed freely; for it was a grandchild, Maud O'Donnel, unless she made one touching scene to witness Mrs. Irwin fondly con- of the singular company in the white saloon. Ah, templating this singular assemblage--this company it was a wrong and fearful thing to take such a of the dead, as she designated them. And this vow; but once made, it must not be broken! was the mystery—yet my father pronounced her The anniversary came round again, and again sane! But then again, thought I, ought this poor we entered the brilliant saloon. My father, too, Tady to be considered insane merely because, instead was there. But, lo! a seventh figure had been of pictures or sculptured statues, she resorts to this, added to the rest, veiled and robed in white, and
taller than the tallest there! My knees shook, to maintain their ground in respectable numbers. my strength failed, and I turned faint, but my dear Some five or six thousand of them are to be found parent supported me, as Mrs. Irwin darted forward, congregated in Cairo and Alexandria, where, from exclaiming, “What is this ?—who is this?" stop- the presence of the government, they are less liable ping suddenly before the strange guest, who ap- to be annoyed by the populace. It is rare to meet peared motionless like the others. She essayed with them in country towns, although a few are to touch and raise the veil, but her hands trembled ; established both at Rosetta and Damietta. In again she made a bolder effort, and succeeded. Cairo—their chief resort—they occupy a particular Ah, the eyes were not cast down, they were raised quarter, which bears their name, and is considered to her own imploringly; the hands were gently one of the most curious and characteristic in the extended ; there was healthful, mantling bloom on whole city. It constitutes a perfect labyrinth of the cheek, and perfect grace in the proportions of narrow passages, sometimes dignified with the name this animated statue ! A soft voice proceeded of streets. To obtain the best idea of its aspect, from it in pleading accents of deep yearning ten- you must, on leaving the neighborhood of the Khal derness, crying, “ I am here at last, grandmamma, Khaleeleh to return towards the Mooski, keep a a living guest among the company of the dead, and little to the right, instead of making for the new will you not give me a welcome ?"
street to the Citadel. You will thus soon find “ Maud O'Donnel, how came you here ?—who yourself making all sorts of turns at right angles ; has dared to do this?” Passionate and stern was and presently, after traversing a batch of ruined Mrs. Irwin's voice ; but it grew fainter and fainter, houses, you will see before you an alley having and more and more subdued, as Maud knelt at her the most cut-throat appearance imaginable, into feet, and clasped her knees.
which it is necessary, for prudential reasons, to “O, for my mother's sake, take me to your urge your donkey at reduced speed. The walls bosom !” exclaimed Maud ; “forgive her through of the houses on each hand are rarely more than me, and you will die happy, dear grandmamma !" three feet apart, which circumstance would of it
Maud O'Donnel's prayers were not in vain : we self almost account for the obscurity that prevails. heard Mrs. Irwin's agonized sobs; we beheld her In addition, moreover, you must know that every in the arms of her sweet and beautiful living front is covered with a multiplicity of projecting grand-daughter, and then we withdrew, and left windows, which sometimes touch the opposite wall, them alone together.
so that it is only here and there that a few scanty The result of their conference was such as to gleams of light penetrate to the regions below. cause me no regret at having been instrumental in The street I allude to is unusually straight, so bringing it about; for I need only add, that M. that you can see at intervals these little patches of Duhamel's sister was a valued friend and neighbor dim light receding until the last is a mere point. of mine during my residence in Languedoc; she If there be anybody moving along, you know the readily assisted in the perhaps somewhat romantic fact simply by finding your view intercepted, for scheme I had arranged of thus placing Maud in it is impossible to distinguish any form. Some contact with her grandmother—a scheme, however, boldness is required in a perfect stranger to venture fully sanctioned by the kind couple who had brought alone into this cavernous aperture. However, pride her up, for they had no future provision to bestow gets the upper hand, and in we go. on the orphan, having a large family of their own The air becomes at once cold and damp, and the to inherit all they had to leave.
eyes, at first unaccustomed to the darkness, are of We had the happiness of seeing Mrs. Irwin no assistance. You must trust to the sagacity of restored to peace of mind, and dutifully tended by your donkey, for the little boy behind is a mere Josephine's beloved child. She lived to old age ; instrument of impulsion. Presently, however, you and although she still continued to find solace and begin to distinguish that the walls on either hand pleasure in visiting her wax-work company, it was are built of massive stone, but that they have bealways with the blooming Maud, and leaning on gun to give way and lean forward, and exhibit her arm for support.
enormous cracks and crevices. The doors are low, In after years the figures in the white saloon and in general carefully closed. If they be ajar, were carefully preserved ; and long after Maud you can only see a sombre passage, with perhaps became a wife, with children and grandchildren a little pale light coming round a corner; for it of her own, the wax-work was shown to visitors is a rule in all Eastern domestic architecture to as the most interesting relic at White Ladies Place. make the entrance-corridor of a house to turn off
at right angles, in order to prevent the eye of a stranger from penetrating into the court, and ob
taining by chance a glimpse of the harem. Here and CONDITION OF THE JEWS IN EGYPT.
there dark alleys, or rather crevices, branch off, in Egypt has always been a disagreeable dwell- which, though rarely, you may see a few indistinct ing-place for the Jews. In no Eastern country forms of women and children flitting up and down; have they been more ill-treated and oppressed. but there is nothing to tell you that you are travWith the tenacious energy of their race, however, ersing a quarter remarkable for its riches; that they have clung to this land of task-masters, and, within these gloomy, prison-like mansions there in spite of every discouragement, bave managed are courts full of light and sunshine, adorned with
From Chambers' Journal.
fountains and creeping plants; and that Israelitish | for fear of consequences, I took to my heels, and taste has fitted up many of the apartments in the escaped with no other disaster than a bruise on most sumptuous style. This you can only learn my forehead, which I owed to my prudent precipiwhen a greater familiarity with the country enables tation. you to make the acquaintance of some shabby- The business portions of this quarter are much looking Jew, who, if you please him, may take more airy and respectable in appearance; but of you home and treat you like a prince. As you ride course the Jews engaged in trade do not all congre along, you imagine you are in a quarter smitten gate. Their shops are dispersed in various parts with poverty and distress; and, not knowing the of the city. The occupations they especially fol internal arrangements of the houses, imagine it low are those of merchants, bankers, money-lend next to impossible that human beings can exist in ers, money-changers, jewellers, goldsmiths, prosuch an unventilated mass of buildings. Now and vision-dealers, butchers, &c. In most mercantile then you are disturbed in your reflections by a houses in Egypt there is a Jew employed to con distant hail, informing you that some other bold duct the small-money transactions. Despite the character is
bad estimation in which they are held both among Sounding on his dark and perilous way
Moslems and Christians, they are rather honest
than otherwise, quite as much so at least as the through the Jewish quarter. This is a warning classes which despise and anathematize them. They
not to be disregarded. It is necessary at once, if return the hatred awarded them with interest, and · you wish to avoid a collision, to find a place where seem really to consider themselves as a race in
the passage is a little wider than elsewhere, and finitely superior in all the attributes of humanity draw your donkey close up against the wall, in to those around them. order to allow the new-comer to squeeze by. Under In personal appearance the Jews of Egypt are the most favorable circumstances, knees and stir- not prepossessing. Their features, it is true, are rups often get entangled during this operation, and often finely formed ; but they are a down-looking, sometimes abrasions and bruises take place. In gloomy tribe, as might be expected from the treat a crowded street in Europe it is not uncommon ment they have so long experienced. Many of for two people in a hurry to meet face to face, them are fairer than the rest of the population, and dance from side to side in the utmost distress which may be accounted for by their Syrian and confusion before they manage to pass by one origin. It has been remarked that they are fre another. In the Jewish quarter of Cairo a scene quently bloated in appearance, and are liable to similar in character may often be witnessed. If sore eyes ; and some attribute the circumstance to both wayfarers hail at the same time, each selects the immoderate use of sesame oil. Whether this at once a place of refuge, and comes to a full stop, be the case or not, certain it is that this pecuand each generally begins to move again at the liarity in their cookery gives their persons a very same time ; so that it is necessary at length 10 unpleasant odor, so that you may know a Jew in scream out at the top of one's voice, and hold the dark. I ought to add, that almost all the a long parley, before a proper understanding is Eastern Jews I have seen are very different in the
Occasionally, in passing through these type of their features from those of Europe ; and unknown places, you stumble upon a woman in that I do not remember to have noticed the real the darkest and narrowest spot. Instead of run- Hebrew nose more than once-namely, on the ning on, they always halt, and try, as it were, to face of a young money-changer in Alexandria, squeeze into the wall. As you cannot turn round whose father rejoiced in a regular pug. Tho and go back, you must force past, driving your women, on the other hand, in as far as I hare knees sometimes into the poor creature's side, been able to ascertain, preserve a very characterhowever much you may feel inclined to do other- istic cast of countenance. They are often handwise. They often implore your forbearance by some and well made. Their mode of life and communicating some particulars as to their state ; character resembles that of the Levantines, be and I used not unfrequently to manage to cross my tween whom and them, however, there exists an legs over the donkey's neck, in order to avoid doing insuperable antipathy. I knew an Almek, or damage.
woman of this race, named Kalah, who gained In some places the thoroughfares, which are by her living by singing. She had a very fine voice, courtesy called streets, are low, covered passages, so that, although she had but one eye, was old, more resembling sewers in appearance than any- and had never been handsome, she was quite ia thing else. Into these, I suppose, few Europeans vogue. As is commonly the case now, however, ever penetrate. I once got off my donkey and she found it necessary to add a knowledge of crept in, in a stooping posture. After one or two dancing to her accomplishments ; and I have often turns, I came to a small, open space, where a num- beheld her with wonder and regret perform feats ber of Jewesses of the poorer class were squatting of agility of which I could not previously believe together, assisting ne another in the duties of the human body capable. But Calah's favorite the toilet, or, in other words, making a reciprocal occupation was singing; and when she called, is examination of heads! A great scream told me passing, at the house where I resided, to ask for a that my intrusion was considered impertinent; so, drink of water, she would often, of her own accord,