National Geographic : 1948 Jan
Carib Cruises the West Indies Mother and Baby Tour St. Kitts Three Days after a Fuzzy Advent Patient donkeys, beloved by children, do a large share of the West Indies' work. This mother wears a cradle for carrying sugar cane. Chaff from harvested stalks litters the field. was a tragic political division, and our naval blockade imposed real hardship. Today trade has been largely reestablished, and prosperity is returning; there are few shortages, but prices are high and the black market flourishes despite rigid currency controls. In the early days of the war the French aircraft carrier Bearn, stationed in Martinique, was a source of concern.* Adm. Georges Robert, in charge of the military forces on the island, chose to follow the orders of the Vichy regime, and many United States officials were perturbed by this loophole in hemisphere defense. A huge majority of the citizens, however, were not in sympathy with Vichy, and many young men made the hazardous passage across to St. Lucia in anything that would float to join the Allied forces. I saw evidence of the bitter rift that existed in Fort de France. In the office of Mr. Em manuel Rimbaud hangs a framed copy of an order dated June 24, 1943, and signed by a Robert minion, which commits him to jail for being "dangerous to the national defense and public security." The room was the secret meeting place for members of the Resistance, and its walls are covered with mementos. One is a flag, torn down and trampled in the garden on the day he was jailed, which was triumphantly hoisted and kissed by 10,000 when he was freed. Many remember Martinique as the birth place of the Empress Josephine, wife of Na poleon. A contemporary of hers, the Sultana of Turkey, was also born there. History has few stranger stories than these two women of humble origin following their destiny from this tiny island to two of the most brilliant courts of the world. We were able to leave only by convincing ourselves that someday we would return. Finally Carib slipped her lines and sailed out * See "Martinique, Caribbean Question Mark," by Edward T. Folliard in the NATIONAL GEOGRAPHIC MAGAZINE, January, 1941.