Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 20.djvu/723

From Wikisource
Jump to navigation Jump to search
This page has been proofread, but needs to be validated.
703
LITERARY NOTICES.

knowledge no authority outside of matter and the mentality that is coextensive with it, reject faith, and rest content in the nice processes of rationalization; and the third type, in a class between the other two, who, satisfied with neither of the above positions, "are rationalistic in method and in sympathy with every negative result that has been wrought out by the study of the facts, and yet unwilling and unable to rest there. With no fear of science, and all due respect for its wonderful work of revelation, they are conscious of something in them more real in fact, and more satisfactory in recognition, not yet accounted for. Whatever the failure of current Christianity to harmonize these two apparently antagonistic positions, they are not wholly without hope of a possible meeting-ground between faith and fact." To those persons especially, who constitute a large proportion of earnest, thinking people all over the world, the book is directed.

The Land of the White Elephant: Sights and Scenes in Southeastern Asia. A Record of Travel and Adventure in Burma, Siam, Cambodia, and Cochin-China. By Frank Vincent, author of "Through and Through the Tropics," etc. New and enlarged edition. New York: Harper & Brothers. Pp. 375. Price, $3.50.

The present edition is about one half larger than the original work, which was already fairly well known as a most agreeable and life-like account of the countries to which it relates, of their geographical characteristics, people, governments, customs, and antiquities. The most valuable part of the added matter is that included in the third chapter of the supplement respecting Cambodia, of whose ruins, attesting to the former existence of a high civilization, Mr. Vincent's was already the most satisfactory and adequate, and the first account, except a too brief reference in the book of Mrs. Leonowens, that has been published in the United States. Concerning the interest attached to these ruins Mr. Vincent says, in a private note, that "not even the excavations which have shown to us the buried cities of Greece and Cyprus have thrown more light upon the perfection attained by Eastern art than have the splendid and stupendous ruins found in the interior of Indo-China. But, though the degree of Oriental art has thus been made plain, absolutely nothing is known concerning the people to whom the original structures are due." Since he first made known to his countrymen the character of these ruins seven years ago, he has devoted much time and study to the general subject of IndoChinese antiquities, with special reference to the solution of the problems when and by whom the Cambodian cities were built; where the homes of the descendants of their builders are now; and to what form of worship their temples were dedicated; and the results of his researches are set forth, in a condensed form, in the chapter we have mentioned. He assigns a late date (the fourteenth century) to the building of the Nagkon Wat, believes that it was intended for Buddhist worship, and suggests that the Cambodian monuments and those of Yucatan, between which there is some resemblance, may have been contemporaneous, and possibly the work of branches of the same race. Other theories look for a connection between Cambodian and ancient Assyrian works; and it is evident, from what Mr. Vincent says, that, until further and more exact explorations are made, there will be no end to the conjectures for which some plausible support may be found. This only makes it the more desirable that the works should receive immediate scientific attention.

The Honey-Ants of the Garden of the Gods, and the Occident Ants of the American Plains. By Henry C. McCook, D. D., author of "The Agricultural Ant of Texas," "The Mound-Building Ant of the Alleghanies," etc. Illustrated with Thirteen Plates. Philadelphia: J. B. Lippincott & Co. Pp. 188. Price, $2.50.

Dr. McCook started in 1879 to observe the honey-ants in New Mexico, but found them in the Garden of the Gods, in Colorado, and stopped and studied them there, ne is able to extend the territory of their natural habitat, so that it shall include Mexico, New Mexico, and Southern Colorado. The characteristic of the species is that, in one of the castes or worker forms, the abdomen is distended to the size and form of a currant or small grape, and is entirely filled with grape--