National Geographic : 1976 Jan
I STAND AT SUNRISE and listen to a choir of young voices singing Mass beneath the dome of Christophe's rebuilt church at Milot, near Cap Haitien. Beyond the sanctuary stand the ruins of his palace, Sans Souci. A poem in high baroque, the palace is all that remains of Christophe's dream of a black kingdom with a court of grandeur. With consummate elegance twin staircases sweep upward from the ground to roofless halls of state (pages 92-3). My mind's eye sees that other-age Sans Souci: all marble and mosaic floors, polished mahogany walls hung with imported tapestries, and lords and ladies, dukes and duchesses in satins and brocades cultivating the graces of the kind of society their monarch yearned to create. On a nearby mountain peak, like a mon strous stone battleship, Christophe's Citadel is anchored in the sky (pages 94-5), yet an other monument to the energy and endurance of Haitian working people. I ride a tired horse up the rocky, twisting trail. Little ones, naked to the sun, run out to dance to the strains of "Auld Lang Syne," played on tiny bamboo flutes.