Reference > Brewer’s Dictionary > White Ladies [Les Dames Blanches].

 White House.White Lies. 
E. Cobham Brewer 1810–1897. Dictionary of Phrase and Fable. 1898.
White Ladies [Les Dames Blanches].
A species of fée in Normandy. They lurk in ravines, fords, bridges, and other narrow passes, and ask the passenger to dance. If they receive a courteous answer, well; but if a refusal, they seize the churl and fling him into a ditch, where thorns and briars may serve to teach him gentleness of manners.   1
   The most famous of these ladies is La Dame d’Aprigny, who used to occupy the site of the present Rue St. Quentin, at Bayeux, and La Dame Abonde. “Vocant dom’inam Abun’diam pro eo quod dom’ibus, quas frequentant, abundan’tiam bono’rum tempora’lium præsta’re putantur non al’iter tibi sentiendum est neque al’iter quam quemad’modum de illis audivisti.” (William of Auvergne, 1248.) (See BERCHTA.)   2
“One kind of these the Italians Fata name;
The French call Fée; we Sybils, and the same
Others White Dames, and those that them have seen,
Night Ladies some, of which Habundia’s queen.”
Hicrarchie, viii. p. 507.
   The White Lady. The legend says that Bertha promised the workmen of Neuhaus a sweet soup and carp on the completion of the castle. In remembrance thereof, these dainties were given to the poor of Bohemia on Maundy Thursday, but have been discontinued.   3
   The most celebrated in Britain is the White Lady of Avenel’, the creation of Sir Walter Scott.   4
   White Lady of German legend. A being dressed in white, who appears at the castle of German princes to forebode a death. She last appeared, it is said, in 1879, just prior to the death of Prince Waldemar. She carries a bunch of keys at her side, and is always dressed in white. The first instance of this apparition occurred in the sixteenth century, and the name given to the lady is Bertha von Rosenberg (in Bohemia).   5
        Twice, we are told, she has been heard to speak, once in December, 1628, when she said, “I wait for judgment!” and once at the castle of Neuhaus, in Bohemia, when she said to the princes, “’Tis ten o’clock.”
   The White Lady of Ireland. The Banshee.   6

 White House.White Lies. 


Shakespeare · Bible · Strunk · Anatomy · Nonfiction · Quotations · Reference · Fiction · Poetry
© 1993–2015 · [Top 150] · Subjects · Titles · Authors · World Lit.