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Ile aux Aigrettes is a jewel in the crown of the Mauritian Wildlife Foundation (MWF), who are rightly proud of their achievements.
The heroes with black hair and blue eyes were wearing double dragon belt buckles made from Arctic copper high boots made of unpolished soft fawn calfskin shirts of linen dyed with saffron red ear-lapping fox-fur caps with blue waving aigrettes cloaks made of blue and gold tassels cherkesskas with chest bandoliers of burnished brass rifle cartridges sgians with glass pommels in leather sheaths on gold braid galloons penannular bronze cloakclasps with inlaid affronted writhing beasts T-shirts with big Iggy transfers printed on them and leopard-skin pillbox hats.
A strange light, the likes of which I'd never seen, shone on the cloth, the boxes, the caftans of sultans, swords, the huge pink candles, the wound turbans, pillows embroidered with pearls, gold filigree saddles, diamond-handled scimitars, ruby-handled maces, quilted turbans, turban plumes, curious clocks, ewers and daggers, ivory statues of horses and elephants, narghiles with diamond-studded tops, mother-of-pearl chests of drawers, horse aigrettes, strands of large prayer beads, and helmets adorned with rubies and turquoise.
On her fat, coarse hands more of the biggest diamonds and emeralds, her head a ridiculous mass of diamond necklaces sewn together, a snood of blue and black pompons and black osprey aigrettes.
Wealthy Protestant matrons, on the other hand, debated the cruelty inherent in the fashion of the day; in one of the most interesting chapters of the book, Joselit describes in detail the establishment of the Audubon Society as part of a campaign to protest the destruction of aigrettes, rare birds whose feathers adorned fashionable hats.
This shocked much of middle-class Paris, but it was time for a change and even his designs of aigrettes and pantaloons, reminiscent of harem costumes, were worn in bright colours for the first time.
In 1908, at the age of eighty-two, Eca's mother, Carolina Augusta Eca de Queiroz, descended the Chiado, dressed in grey, with a little dark hat decorated with white aigrettes.
The couple signed up for joint wardership of the idyllic, tiny Ile aux Aigrettes, off Mauritius, but after three months the boyfriend left and Frankie was left in charge of three conservation volunteers and sometimes the whole island for days at a time.
Each single item, from gold cups, gold and silver plate, jewels, pearls, chains, ewers, pendants, rings, cases, flagons, manufactured either in London, the Low Countries, or Valladolid, to hatbands, aigrettes, and crosses set with diamonds, dogs, horses, and firearms was meticulously inventoried and priced.
The magnificent animals are also breeding on the island and tiny babies are regularly taken from Ile aux Aigrettes to the Gerald Durrell Endemic Wildlife Sanctuary GDEWS) in the southwest region of Mauritius, where they are reared until their release back into the wild.
Next day we took a short trip and boat ride to the small island and nature reserve called Ile aux Aigrettes.
These graceful plumes, called aigrettes, were once used as decorations for ladies' hats.
She appeared in an unbelievable get-up, red dress, green shoes and aigrettes on her head.
The next day was the highlight of my time in the south - a trip to Ile aux Aigrettes nature reserve island.
Ile aux Aigrettes - pounds 19 per adult, pounds 10 per child
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