Wednesday, 26 December 2012

Orchids or triffids?

'The buying of orchids always has in it a certain speculative flavour.' Who wrote this? HG Wells.

Not showing off, well maybe a little, my aunt used to work for a Professor Waddington, who was in turn a students of Wells.

Ghostly stories sit well this time of year, and I share with you a little known and deliciously dark tale about orchids.

Indulge yourself with this micro-Gothic tale for the New Year. Read it here. Meanwhile, a small cutting to tempt your tastebuds:

THE FLOWERING OF THE STRANGE ORCHID by H.G.Wells (originally published in the Pall Mall Budget of 2 August, 1894).

'Wedderburn had lost a good deal of blood, but beyond that he had suffered no very great injury. They gave him brandy mixed with some pink extract of meat, and carried him upstairs to bed. His housekeeper told her incredible story in fragments to Dr. Haddon.

"Come to the orchid-house and see," she said. The cold outer air was blowing in through the open door, and the sickly perfume was almost dispelled. Most of the torn aerial rootlets lay already withered amidst a number of dark stains upon the bricks. The stem of the inflorescence was broken by the fall of the plant, and the flowers were growing limp and brown at the edges of the petals. The doctor stooped towards it, then saw that one of the aerial rootlets still stirred feebly, and hesitated.

The next morning the strange orchid still lay there, black now and putrescent. The door banged intermittently in the morning breeze, and all the array of Wedderburn's orchids was shrivelled and prostrate. But Wedderburn himself was bright and garrulous upstairs in the glory of his strange adventure.'