the grim, grand African forests are like a great library, in which, so far, I can do little more than look at the pictures, although I am now busily learning the alphabet of their language, so that I may some day read what these pictures mean.

— Mary Kingsley

The most astonishing Mary Kingsley quotes that are life-changing and eye-opening

West Africa today is just a quarry of paving stones for Hell, and those stones were cemented in place with

41

It is my melancholy fate to like so many people I profoundly disagree with and often heartily dislike people who agree with me.

35

If you see a thing that looks like a cross between a flying lobster and the figure of Abraxas on a Gnostic gem, do not pay it the least attention, never mind where it is; just keep quiet and hope it will go away - for that's your best chance; you have none in a stand-up fight with a good thorough-going African insect.

20

One immense old lady has a family of lively young crocodiles running over her, evidently playing like a lot of kittens. The heavy musky smell they give off is most repulsive, but we do not rise up and make a row about this, because we feel hopelessly in the wrong in intruding into these family scenes uninvited.

18

It is a generally received opinion that there are too many books in the world already. I cannot, however, subscribe to any Institution that proposes to alter this state of affairs, because I find no consensus of opinion as to which are the superfluous books.

13

Ambas and Bobia Islands are perfect gems of beauty.

Mondoleh I cannot say I admire. It always looks to me exactly like one of those flower-stands full of ferns and plants - the sort you come across in drawing rooms at home, with wire-work legs. I do not mean that Mondoleh has wire-work legs under water, but it looks as if it might have.

1

I most carefully confined myself to facts and arranged those facts on as thin a line of connecting opinion as possible.

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the African leopard is an audacious animal, although it is ungrateful of me to say a word against him, after the way he has let me off personally ... taken as a whole, he is the most lovely animal I have ever seen; only seeing him, in the one way you can gain a full idea of his beauty, namely in his native forest, is not an unmixed joy to a person, like myself, of a nervous disposition.

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There is one distinctive charm about fishing - its fascinations will stand any climate. You may sit crouching on ice over a hole inside the arctic circle, or on a Windsor chair by the side of the River Lea in the so-called temperate zone, or you may squat in a canoe on an equatorial river, with the surrounding atmosphere forty-five percent mosquito, and if you are fishing you will enjoy yourself.

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[Responding to repeated questions about traveling in Africa without a husband:] I am looking for him.

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