Suggests that J. E. Gray and/or G. R. Waterhouse might be willing to set her butterfly collection. Recommends that her children should collect their own butterflies.
Down Bromley Kent
My dear M
I shall be very glad to be of any sort of use to you in regard to the Beetles. But first let me thank you for your kind note, & offer of specimens to my children: my Boys are all butterfly-hunters, & all young & ardent lepidopterists despise from the bottom of their souls coleopterists.—
The simplest plan for your end & for the good of entomology, I should think,
would be to offer the collection to D
I presume, if you thought of either scheme, Sir Charles Lyell could easily see the gentlemen & arrange it; but if not, I could do so when next I come to town, which however will not be for 3 or 4 weeks.—
With respect to giving your children a taste for Natural History, I will venture one remark, viz that giving them specimens, in my opinion, would tend to destroy such taste. Youngsters must be themselves collectors to acquire a taste; & if I had a collection of English Lepidoptera, I would be systematically most miserly & not give my Boys half-a-dozen butterflies in the year. Your eldest Boy has the brow of an observer, if there be the least truth in phrenology.—
We are all better, but we have been of late, a poor household.—
Pray give my kind remembrances to Colonel Lyell &
believe me, my dear M
- f1 1827.f1For William and George Darwin's interest in Lepidoptera, see Correspondence vol. 5, letter to G. R. Waterhouse, 8 July . In 1859, Francis, Leonard, and Horace Darwin, aged 7, 5, and 4, respectively, reported their collecting activities in the Entomologist's Weekly Intelligencer (see LL 2: 140).
- f2 1827.f2The accessions list of the British Museum (Natural History) does not record any donation by Katharine Murray Lyell (British Museum (Natural History) 1904–6, vol. 2).
- f3 1827.f3George Robert Waterhouse was preparing a monograph on the Coleoptera (Waterhouse 1858).
- f4 1827.f4Leonard Lyell, aged 5.
- f5 1827.f5Katharine Murray Lyell, Mary Lyell's sister, was the wife of Colonel Henry Lyell, the brother of Charles Lyell.