… said Paul.
Monsieur Hamelin wasn’t looking for romance, he only had eyes for orchids. That’s what had brought him to Madagascar in 1893, and that’s how, by and by, he ended up with the brother of a local chief as his guide.
Off they went into the rainforest but only Hamelin returned, reported the Liverpool Echo, as his aide was mauled to death by a wild beast.
It’s fair to say the chief was less than impressed with this turn of events, and gave our horticultural hero two options – marry his brother’s grieving widow, or be greased and burnt.
Hamelin didn’t need long to choose life, but added a canny clause to the deal – that his new brother-in-law closed off his kingdom to all other European orchid-seekers.
Thus saving other European orchid-seekers from a potentially similar fate (and keeping the orchids to himself)…