This site uses cookies. By continuing to browse this site you are agreeing to our use of cookies. For more information, see our privacy statement

New Left Review I/223, May-June 1997


Marina Warner

Siren/Hyphen; Or, the Maid Beguiled

‘This female savage’, noted the missionary Jean-Baptiste Labat, in his Nouveau voyage aux îles de l’Amérique, ‘was, I believe, one of the oldest creatures in the world. It is said she was very beautiful at one time. . .’ [1] Jean-Baptiste Labat, Nouveau voyage aux îles de l’Amérique, The Hague 1624; quoted in Peter Hulme and Neil L. Whitehead, Wild Majesty: Encounters with Caribs from Columbus to the Present Day, Oxford 1992, pp. 105–6. He was describing a Carib known as Madame Ouvernard, who, when he met her in Dominica in 1700 , ‘was more than a hundred years old’. She was held in great esteem on account of her age, rather than her past, he writes, though she was also remembered as the wife of the late Sir Thomas Warner, first English governor of St Christopher’s and Nevis, who had been granted the Governorship of those islands by charter of King Charles I in 1625 . ‘She had a lot of children by this Warner’, wrote Père Labat, ‘So that her Carbet, which is very large, was peopled with a marvellous number of sons, grandsons, and great-grandsons.’ [2] Ibid. Among them, one son only has left a strong trace in the records: the former Governor of Dominica, known as ‘Indian’ Warner.

Subscribe for just £36 and get free access to the archive
Please login on the left to read more or buy the article for £3

Username:

Marina Warner, ‘Siren/Hyphen; Or, the Maid Beguiled’, NLR I/223: £3
Password:
 



If you want to create a new NLR account please register here

’My institution subscribes to NLR, why can't I access this article?’

Download a PDF file


See the contents of NLR I/223


Buy a copy of NLR I/223


Subscriptions