There are a few things to bear in mind about Nassau in 1933. First, much of it was still wooded, uncultivated and there were few roads. Second, girls were just as giddy-headed, stubborn and talked back to their mothers as they do now. Third, peasant negroes who lived in the bush, knew better than to go near lost white girls. Fourth, in the 1930s, necks swung from the gallows in a matter of weeks after sentencing. Justice was swift and final in the Bahamas. Once the court’s gavel fell, you barely had time to fix your clothes and eat your last plate of buttery grits, before they marched you up to your appointment with the hangman’s noose. So when a peasant negro man living in a hut, deep in the bushes… okay forests of Cable Beach, saw a scared half-naked white woman near his hut, he knew this was a life and death moment. Not hers. His!

That surprised negro knew he had but two choices, go near and risk the gallows, because there could be no explaining a negro, deep in the forest, talking to a lost, half naked white girl, or he could carefully retrace his steps, get out of the woods, and run like his pants were on fire to the police.

The negro chose the latter. He undoubtedly saw his life and freedom flash before his eyes, and ran as fast as he could, away from the girl.


Heiress Lost

In Bahama Bush–Majorie Drexel Found After Wandering All Night and Day

Nassau, Bahamas, December 23

Miss Majorie Drexel, 17 years old, daughter of the millionaire Mr. and Mrs. Anthony J. Drexel, Philadelphia and Paris, reappeared in Nassau late this afternoon after having disappeared into the bush late yesterday.

When Miss Drexel was located, her clothing was found to be soiled and torn from her wandering through the brush, and she was greatly exhausted. Searching parties had started out to seek her at noon.

Police reported the young debutante’s disappearance this morning. It was said she had left her mother as they were strolling on a road next to Villa Caprice, which the Drexel’s purchased several years ago. Police said that mother and daughter had disagreed on something following which Marjorie walked off by herself.

(The Miami News Sunday December 24, 1933)

The searching party was led to the place where Miss Drexel was found by a charcoal burner who had heard moans, but who has not penetrated the brush to determine their source. Instead he went to the police.

Mrs. Drexel reporter her daughter’s disappearance to police last night, several hours after the girl had wandered from the road into the woods. Villa Caprice is about six miles west of the city of Nassau.

Her clothing was torn and soiled and her face, arms and legs had been lacerated by the brush. She was about a mile and a half from her home and near Lake Kilarney when found.”

(The Philadelphia Inquirer December 24, 1933)
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