National Geographic : 1948 Jan
The National Geographic Magazine Al Nelson "Laying Mash" and "Turkey Finisher" Shirts Are Carib's Souvenirs of Haiti Flour and feed sacks command a good price all over the West Indies, for they can be made into garments. The skipper (left) and Henry Rigg bought theirs in the native market of Cap Haitien. recollection of places and people: dinner with the Garcins, where we laughed at our attempts with each other's language; lunch with Madame Clement at "Acajou," a two-century old plantation house overlooking the family rum distillery; and a picnic high on the side of Mount Pelee with the Legros family, where our admiration was divided between the scenery and the flow of wonderful food from wicker hampers. Hearn's Martinique of 60 Years Ago One scorching noon in Fort de France the girls working at the Credit Martiniquais gave up their lunch hour to don traditional costumes and promenade in Alivon's garden. From old chests came forth beautiful dresses and jewelry to recreate a scene from the late eighties. Lafcadio Hearn's lines in Two Years in the French West Indies might have described the very girls I was photographing (Plate XVII). "Fantastic, astonishing-a population (out) of the Arabian Nights," he wrote. "Perhaps the most novel impression of all is that pro duced by the . . . brilliancy of the women's costumes. Some of these fashions suggest the Orient: they offer beautiful audacities of color contrast. The full-dress coiffure is most strik ing. It is an immense Madras handkerchief, which is folded about the head with admirable art, like a turban, one bright end being left sticking up like a plume. This turban, always full of bright canary-color, is fastened with golden brooches. "The dress is simple enough-an em broidered chemise with sleeves; a skirt or jupe, very long behind, but caught up and fastened in front and, finally, a foulard or silken kerchief, thrown over the shoulders. These are exquisite in pattern and color bright crimson, yellow, blue, green, lilac, vio let, rose-which vary astonishingly."* The island was hard hit by the war. There * See "Lafcadio Hearn on the Island and Peo ple of Martinique," NATIONAL GEOGRAPHIC MAGAZINE, January, 1902.