Letters from Alexander Henry Haliday to Hermann Loew July-December 1868
Letter from AHH to Hermann Loew Villa Pisani, Lucca, Italy 18th July 1868
My Dear Dr Loew, You received, I hope, a letter from me, about the 25th of Nov last, enclosing you the notes with which J Bigot  had kindly furnished me on Apistomyia  – what still seemed doubtful, I have referred back to him, in a note I have just written to thank him for his former communication and to give him the good wishes of the season. Pray accept the same;- “a merry Christmas and a happy New year, and many returns of them.” I cannot felicitate myself on this present season so much. The little family circle, which last winter was assembled round the fire in this drawingroom, is now dispersed in four different places, and not very likely to be again all together. My cousin Mm Pisani away at Dublin, in attendance on the probably deathbed of a sister. Sigr Pisani and I lead a sort of convent life here, without the “womankind,” often without even a maid-servant in the house,- silent piano & harp and youthful voices, only the song of the canarybirds & black-caps, to remind us of feminine tastes and accomplishments. And I am still much afflicted for the loss of my excellent friend Dr Sichel . From the first hour that I presented myself to him, at his house in Paris, without introduction, and was received with open arms by him, we have been faith friends, & constant correspondents, prevents by illness of one or other. Latterly his notes to me were dictated from his bed, though often with a line scrawled at close with is own hand, which might have been illegible but that I knew the hand that dictated it. I had indeed misgivings about the result of the formidable operation he had to undergo , on account of his previous state of body,- but that is no consolation to me, now that the fatal event of it is realized. Another eminent name too is lately gone from the entoml. catalogue. Bohemann - I had asked his definitive judgement on a Sicilian species of the family of Cassididae  (monographed by him) – through C.J. Thomson  - the answer was the intelligence of his recent death. It is but two days now, that I need, at last. The affairs of the Italian Entom. Society going on,- whatever the duration of life for it may prove to be;- and that the committee of publication at Florence hope still to bring out the lst part of the Journal in January next. In the uncertainty that latterly prevailed, rather to improbability, I did not think fit to speed labour etc which might be in vain, with a view to it;- and accordingly did not resume the translation from the German of your MS;- nor take any steps, beyond mailing enquiring about a competent engraver, for the plate to accompany the memoir. Now I have acertained that the lithographic artist in Paris, who worked at Nat. Hist. Subjects for Prof. Savi there, is disabled by physical weakenings;- he would have been near enough to be in some measure under my own eye in preparing the engraving. Therefor I have to trust to our friends at Florence, to look after it and have written about it to the more experienced of them in such details the Profr P Stefanelli;- and I will now proceed with the remainder of the translation, as I have leisure; which is a good deal circumscribed by the necessary correspondence, I have to undertake, on the decision taken as to the definitive constitution of the Society. I doubt much, from my own previous experience of the conduct of a scientific periodical, the profibility after all this delay of bringing out the first part so early in the opening quarter of the year as they propose to themselves, but particularily in the cast of any article requiring illustration by figures:- and if I find occasion, I would with your leave hold over the Monograph for the 2nd number.We have an important article ready
Trypeta meridionalis, which precedes that of Carpomya vesuviana, in the Annali Scientifici.[Costa, A. 1854. Fragmenti di entomologia napoletana. Ann. Sci., Naples 1: 69-91]. But I must confess that, with all the diffuse particularity of it, I can find no certain mark of distinction from cognata ….. Tephritis megalocephala is very common in the S.E. part of Sicily; above all _______ Catania plain, near the mouth of the river Simeto  (“la Giaretta”). I have not the material to verify the comparison with truncata etc., nor can I collate the description in your folio monograph, having but lent this to Rondani; but in the description of the Linnean Entomologieae, taken from a single specimen there are some very characteristic marks (as compared with T.punctata for example)to be added; the trans________ depression of the vertex, giving prominence to the stemmatii region; the very minute hairs of the dorsal series, commencing behind the middle suture; the colour of the pleurae, and of the inferior cilia of the fore femora, which is yellow-tawny. The species is even more subject to get greasy, when transfixed with a pin, than ____ etc. so that the true colour easily eludes observation. I have been _____ benching over the desk since 3h 45m this morning to find myself reduced to use______ of stupidity which I ask not __________ on your further.
Very truly yours Alex H Haliday
To Dr Loew from AHH
Villa Pisane -Lucca 20 Dec 1868 My Dear Dr Loew I am sorry to learn by your’s rec yesterday, that you also are deprived by circumstance, of much of the pleasure to which one is accustomed to look forward in the family assembled above the hearth at Christmas. One needs a cheerful fireside surrounded by dear familiar faces, to be independent of things outside as to which I have just the same tale to tell as yours, of rain unintermitting. The last time that I deviated from the road, in my walks, was the 16th of this month, which day I found a solitary specimen of Tipula (Pterolachis) birtei Rondani [Note sur un nouveau genre d'insecte Diptère subaptère ( Pterolachis) birtei) - Paris , 1842 Magaz. de Zool. Par M. F. Guérin Méneville. Insect T. 12, n. 106 (con una tav. col.) - Revue zool. pag.243], the last perhaps of the generation. The woods and fields are now so saturated with moisture that I was not tempted to digress any more. With such weather, and such roads, I have not the conscience to encourage Mr Stainton  to come out here to visit me, on his way to Rome; the more so as his wife is with him, and there is no lady here to welcome her. So I intend, instead, to run up to Florence at the beginning of next month, too see him and Dohrn  there and [hear more] of the actual progress of the Journal for the lst quarter, of which there is more than enough MS on hand. Probably therefore there will be noting of mine in the first number, unless the division into essays and miscellaneous notices, should leave a gap in the latter requiring to be filled up: in which case I may put together some recollections of Sicily, entomologically viewed, in that hasty perusal. Costa’s  description of (Tephritis) Carpomyia vesuviana is in the Annuli Scientifici, tom8 fasc.3 p.87. I will copy it for you, along the brief notes I made in a hurried inspection of two specimens, in no good condition, in the Museum of Naples. I copy also a figure and description of another Tephritid or Ortalid, which I came on, in searching out some references for Rondani’s use, who is more conscientious than the Neapolitan writers , in investigating what has been done by others before him, though we differ a good deal as to the results, judged by “rules of nomenclature”. This particular discovery rather mortified me; for it is deplorable in a name so eminent in science, to see such pettiness of mind as J.C. Fabricius  has shown (I afraid not in this instance only) in order to reserve to himself the paternity of a name – His Scat. fasciata he acknowledged to have received from Coquebert  but while he cites the 3rd part, as well as the others, of the “Icones”, and other figures which are in the same plate, he never suffered allusion to appear to Coquebert's indubitable figure and description of that species, as Musca 8 punctata, under which name one cannot doubt he would have sent it to Fabricius, the description having been published too five years earlier, in the Bulletin Philom., ____ 1799 and textually reproduced in Wiedemann’s  Archiv für Zoologie 1800. I send you also the copy of _____________’s figure and description of Timia erythrocephala . I am about to make the experiment of a rather precious dispatch to Central Asia to Fedchenko ; a box of cuttings of the M____________ _________ , as the Director of the Botanic Garden here thinks it by ______, I find nothing in these to add to the elaborate description published by Costa
AHH to Hermann Loew Lucca — 5 Nov 1868
My Dear Dr Loew I resume my pen to notice some more of your communications in your latest of 15th ult., for which I had not time before. I am still awaiting the decision of the friends of the Entom. Society at Florence whether the promises of contributions to the journal are sufficient to encourage them to make a commitment. Profr Targioni  is – or at latest date was not returned, having been detained at Naples, by a catarrh, on his way home from Sicily. Should M. Fedchenko send me the descriptions, as he proposed, of new Italian Diptera, - and should the publication of the Ent. Soc. Journal be further delayed – or the project be abandoned until a more favourable time, I shall probably have his consent to publish them, - supplemented by some of my own notes of some sort, - so that the whole may be less fragmentary, - ________ of the other scientific journals of this country: and as soon as I have information to that effect, I will return your MS and drawings. But I still hope for better things. I had not for a long time “posted up” the European list of Dolichopidae with the new species described; so had no notion that the g. Tachytrechus _______ so many. The _____, you indicate, I fancy I know, having taken a small bright-green insect with dark-coloured legs, both in England and Italy, which I supposed might remain with Medeterus until that genus were more strictly circumscribed____ My expectations of receiving even a part of my insect collection from Dublin are waxing faint, I mean for this year. They would require, of course, some care in packing, and my friend Dr Wright , who has had them in his care at the University Museum, is now __ engaged with matters of importance to his future position in the University. And with the publication of part of his botanical collections from the Seychelles Islands (as connected with his claims to the chair of Botany), that I cannot reasonably expect that he can have time to attend to such a troublesome task. I have no materials however which could be of use as to Dolichopidae; my own collection of Diptera scarcely extended beyond the Irish species, - and some of my Unica were sacrificed to the use of the plates of Insecta Britannica . You inquire about Diptera from Spain, which I may have had from Dr Plotz  I never received one from him; but
___________, only more slimy, and the chitinous head distinguishes it. My ________ parasites continue in pupa state; I have three now, but one shrunken, and dead, I imagine.While writing this, I have received two copies, by post, of the Cent. 8th Dipt. Amer. Sept. [Loew, H. 1869 Diptera Americae septentrionalis indigena. Centuria octava. Berl. Ent. Z. 13: 1-52] One of which I will forward in like manner to Rondani, as I presume to be your intention. Thanks for the gift, in his name and my own. What is the new Isis you refer to? The journal of the N.H. Society Isis of Dresden? I seen no N.N. Journals now but what I subscribe to myself. Florence, which I visit very rarely, affords absolutely nothing in this kind. I cannot find in your last a reference (which yet I seem to remember) to a species of Dicraeus taken in N. Italy by M. Fedchenko. I found two such specimens, from the wood of Acerra, near Naples, where he and I collected together, one morning*. I think it is distinct from the O. raptus, which I described from a single specimen (Irish) similarily characteristic but otherwise very like O. pallidiventris.
As that would ________ an imperfection which requires to be qualified. I must add some circumstances in explanation, with which otherwise I should not have thought of troubling you. Dr P. wrote to me some time after his return from Spain desiring to know by what _______ he was to ____ the Diptera which fell to my share. I was at this time, and prolong after, this ____ for corrrespondence by _____ and letter in foreign languages by _______ . I cannot tell how long a time passed, many months certainly, before I was able to open then, nursing a temporary alleviation of illness. I then wrote to Dr P explaining the cause of delay in the access, and indicating the arrangement I had made for the trans___ of the insects, if they remained at my disposal. I never received a reply, and as subsequent period having having inquired from some other of my friends in Germany as to ________, the replies I had, from more than one, ________________ as to my chance of any success from him, that I ceased to think of it. I conclude he was satisfied that the matter ____________ having done his part in writing at first, and that he found some other way of disposing of the specimens, but I should have expected some notice to be taken of my letter to that effect. I must apologise for taking up your time with this tedious detail, but I could sincerely have answered your inquiry without ___ detail, as the simple negative ______ ______ been unfair to the other. I have no information about the Notiphila sp_____ , indicated by Fedchenko:- I presume he will send me the note of it with the others of his Italian captures. Collecting is pretty nearly over here – more from the infavourable weather, which allows ____ early refriguration of the soil, than from the ordinary advances of the season. Yesterday, just before dinner, I took hard by the house, on a Boletus of the _____ , a larva of Keroplatus, and at the foot of same a cocoon looking as if frosted all over – After dinner little more than an hour later, I went to review my captures, and on opening the box the Keroplatus flew out in my face. I secured him however, but the larva was crushed. It was a very brief period for the fly to be disclosed and c_____________ How strong the resemblance of this larva
- Fedchenko at Stazione Zoologica