Keswick, February 6th, 1864.
My dearest Mary,
A gifted Christian gentleman, only seven years my intimate friend, and doubled with just the wife he ought to have, said to me a day or two ago, "Did you ever in youth pay any attention to geology?" Judge of the flood of recollections that came over me! February 6th, 1806, was the day of a memorable break-down in my geological tuition; still it had lasted six years, and you know under the accomplished President of the Geological Society.
Mary Smedley and her brothers were fellow students with Frances, and she probably knew the incident to which Frances referred Perhaps Mary could have cleared up my confusion.
The Geological Society of London was not founded until 1807, obviously after Frances' tuition ended in 1806. Its co-founder and first president was George Bellas Greenough, succeeded in 1813 by the Honorable Henry Grey Bennet. If Frances meant that her tutor became the society president after her tuition, then who could it have been?
Bennet was a vociferous politician, and for what scientific reason he was invited to join the Society, I cannot say. Greenough who was truly interested in geology and a good speaker, gave annual addresses to the Society. He seems a more likely choice. However, Frances could have been referring to any one of a whole line of Society presidents up until 1864 when she wrote this.
These are the kinds of puzzles that crop up frequently when researching the past.