Some books are meant to be read again and again. Margaret Fountaine's Love Among the Butterflies is one of them. I have litterally read it to pieces and have just been over to amazon to order a new copy, this time a hardcover. And once being there, my favorite bookstore which is open early on a Sunday morning, I also ordered Wild and Fearless, Natascha Scott Stokes biography about Margaret Fountaine.
Margaret Fountaine was a country clergyman's daughter, born in 1862. Her father died when she was quite young, and when she inherited some money from a relative she set out on a wild and fearless life which took her all over the world - from the English cathedral towns to Budapest, Turkey, the US, Afrika, India and to the borders of Tibet. Always with her butterfly net in one hand, her diary in the other.
She wrote illustrated diaries all her life. Margaret Fountaine was found dying by the roadside near Mount St. Benedict on the island of Trinidad in the West Indies in 1940. She left a Will, and under its terms there were delivered in November 1940, to the Castle Museum in Norwich, ten mahogany display cases containing the 22,000 butterflies she had collected through her life. With the display cases came also a sealed and padlocked black japanned box. This, said the Will, contained manuscripts, but must not be opened untill April 15 1978. And to tell a fascinating story in just a few words - when opened, the box contained 12 identical volumes in stout matching bindings, each filled with the handwriting of Miss Fountaine. Her diaries, from 1878 when she was about 16, till 1939, just a few months before her death.
Being a lifelong diary scribbler, a traveller by heart and with a fascination for flowers, hiking and butterflies - Love Among the Butterflies is never far from my reading eyes. The traveller in me is getting restless, and next Sunday I wave goodbye to The Blue Garden for a week. With Love Among the Butterflies in my backpack my trails go to England, to Durham and to Lindisfarne. In my backpack you will find my camera, my paintbox and my moleskin, and several books, among them Love Among the Butterflies. And in a special pocket in the backpack I will put The Butterflies of the British Isles, a beautiful, blue hardbound book filled with inkdrawings and colour illustrations from 1906 which I bought during my last visit to UK.