Many are the examples of the thin line between love and horror throughout history. It’s like you can’t have one without the other, especially when an ancient fortress set high atop a cliff is involved. That’s exactly what I found at Fort Napoleon (est. 1867), the French military stronghold that crowns Mt. Mire (elevation: 351 feet) on the tiny island of Terre-de-Haut, Guadeloupe.
As noted here, Fort Napoleon never got to test its mettle in battle. Still, death was no stranger here.
The tale involves a pair of lovers –– a young French woman and a British officer. Their love blossomed in Terre-de-Haut (No surprise as this is a very romantic place!), but before long, the military man had to cast off for duties elsewhere. He promised to return for his true love, of course, but after waiting for a few years the woman lost hope.
In her anguish, she threw herself from the ramparts of Fort Napoleon to her death among the jagged rocks that line the shore below.
Now, you just know that British officer would eventually return to Terre-de-Haut, right? When the officer learned of his lover’s fate, he, in true tragic Shakespearean fashion, followed her example, leaping from Fort Napoleon to his death.
That was more than 100 years ago, but it’s said that the spirits of the lovers continue to haunt the old fort to this day. Joined together in death, their love still blossoms in an island that’s as romantic as any in the West Indies.