Self-educated naturalist Mary Kingsley made three trips to Africa in the 1890's under the of the British Museum. She became a recognized authority on African fish and insects, as well as one of the most outspoken advocates of fair English colonization policies. After her death, the Royal African Society was founded in her honor, one of many national tributes. The accomplishments of this Victorian spinster were remarkable enough to leave readers wondering about her motivation; but the main clues here lie in quoted passages from her own journal -- passages of lyric beauty which convey some sense of the which Africa held for her. As a biography, this is provocative for what it omits as a travelogue, it is repetitions; as a reminder of the respect possible between black and white, it is a timely contribution.