Love among the Butterflies: The Travels and Adventures of a Victorian Lady Paperback – October 28, 1982
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I do feel that the book was not sympathetically edited and we were left wondering how her career and life ended. All in all, an enjoyable read and interesting glimpse into the past.
Certainly interesting for female travellers, travel historians, butterfly collectors (?)...
The two books make up the lifelong journals of Margaret Fountaine, born in England in the 1860s, who spent 60 years of her life traveling the world, collecting butterflies, and becoming recognized as an entomological authority. When she died in 1940, she bequeathed a locked box to the Norfolk Museum, not to be opened until 1978. When opened at that time, the box was found to contain her journals from her teen years until her death. The early years of the journal cover her childish and painful teenage crushes on various unsuitable men, but a fortunate inheritance provides her with the financial means to travel through Europe and discover her strength, independence, and resourcefulness.
This woman is fearless, and will travel anywhere, assured of her safety by her sheer audacity and her complete confidence in the protection guaranteed by her British citizenship. Early in her travels she meets up with a young Syrian man, Khalil Neimy, 15 years her junior, who travels with her for almost 30 years, as friend, lover, and fellow butterfly collector, and he shares his name on the great butterfly collection she bequeathed to the Castle Museum in Norwich, England. The development of an immature young woman, who has ridiculous crushes on entirely unsuitable young men with whom she has never exchanged even a minute of conversation, to an energetic middle-aged/elderly woman who travels for months alone through South America, Africa and Asia, relying on her ability to swear a blue streak when required (to scare off the natives) is inspirational & incredible.