They receive him, and generally accept him as a betrothed suitor, when he takes up his abode in the house and becomes a kind of domestic, almost a slave, to the family, assisting them in all their labors. In this way they have an opportunity of judging what he is good for. The length of this time of trial is controlled by the degree of hesitation manifested by the young woman; but the waiting has its compensations. She makes it her business to prepare the quids of betel and the cigarettes for her swain. This done, she puts them in a convenient place where he will find them, or she may venture to offer them to him herself. The residence under a common roof is accompanied by corresponding privileges. If the authorized relations are passed, and children are born, they are regarded by the law as legitimate. Betrothed are protected by the same legal sanctions as married women, and the groom has the same right over her as he would have over a wife. The difference between betrothal and marriage is that betrothal is more easily withdrawn from. If the rupture comes from the groom, he has only to go away; if from the young woman, her parents must pay him an indemnity proportional to the services which, he has given during his residence in the house.
To admire the arts of Cambodia we must go back into its past. We can gain some conception of what they were by looking at those immense monuments that confound our Western pride by their dimensions, the beauty of their proportions, and the finish of their details. Angkor Wat, although deserted by the crowds that once gave it life, plundered by the vandalism of conquerors, and disintegrated by time, still bears comparison with the finest of our monuments. The religious sentiment has never conceived anything more elevated or grander. We are forced to believe that when architecture had reached such a height, the other arts must follow it if only at a distance. The two thousand square yards of bas-reliefs which decorate the halls of the pagoda of Angkor, and the hundreds of statues it contains, testify for sculpture. The condition of music and poetry is attested by the airs and songs which we still hear—the same that resounded under the ceilings of the holy places centuries ago. There is no room to doubt that luxury and the arts once flourished in the Khmer country.—Translated for the Popular Science Monthly from the Revue Scientifique.
|THE WHITE-FOOTED MOUSE.|
OFTEN, as early in autumn as the first of October, the abandoned nests of cat-birds and cardinal grosbeaks, and to some extent those of the brown and song thrushes, will be found very frequently to be tenanted by those beautiful little mammals, the white-footed mice (Hesperomys leucopus).