Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 45.djvu/433

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417
LITERARY NOTICES.

wherein the unsolved problems of life are dealt with, we are led to a clearer apprehension of what we do not, rather than what we do know concerning the insoluble. This, in the light of certain—to compound a term—scio-dogmatic allegations extant, is at least refreshing, if not entirely novel.

Legends of the Micmacs. By the Rev. Silas Tertius Rand. Wellesley Philological Publications. New York: Longmans, Green & Co. Pp. 452.

These legends, which are published under the direction of the Department of Comparative Philology of Wellesley College, were collected by Dr. Rand during the forty years of his service as a missionary among the Nova Scotia Indians from whom they are derived. The stories were related to him in Micmac, by the native Indians, and were then translated and written down by him in English. The original manuscript is a volume of nine hundred quarto pages. A few of the legends have already been published—in the Dominion Monthly and the American Antiquarian; and some have been used and cited from in Mr. Leland's Algonkin Legends and in Mr. William Elder's article in the North American Review on the Aborigines of Nova Scotia. Dr. Rand is quoted as saying, concerning the origin of these stories and their relationship to European tales and myths: "I have never found more than five or six Indians who could relate these queer stories; and most if not all of these are now gone. Who their original author was, or how old they are, we have no means of knowing. Some of them are evidently of modern date, because they refer to events that have taken place since the advent of the whites. Some of them are so similar to some of the old European 'fairy tales' and 'wizard stories' in our English story books as to lead to the impression that they are really one and the same." Mr. Leland has noticed some curious coincidences between the Norse myths and those of the Wabanaki or northeastern Algonkins, to which branch the Micmacs belong, and inclines toward an explanation of the resemblances by the theory of direct transmission. Dr. Rand's biographer gives him the credit of being the discoverer of Glooscap, a mythological character which Mr. Leland calls "the most Aryan-like of any ever evolved from a savage mind," and with having saved from oblivion the mythological lore of a people that are losing with every generation their hold on customs and manners. Prof. Horsford, of Wellesley College, took a great interest in the publication of this work; and the editing of it for publication has been done by Helen L. Webster.

Alternating Currents: An Analytical and Graphical Treatment for Students and Engineers. By Frederick Bedell, Ph. D., and Albert Cushing Crehore, Ph. D. New York: The W. J. Johnson Company (Limited), 41 Park Row. Pp. 325.

As precluding the necessity for further search after a certain class of handbooks on alternating currents the present work, designed to answer any query from the simplest to the most complex, will amply repay a careful perusal. A thousand and one interesting comparisons recur within its pages, and it abounds with easy solutions to technical problems. It is a consistent application of the modern method of solving things easily, and many of our educational series are wisely adopting a similar course. As the authors suggest, the principles underlying the subject need clear elucidation, more particularly as incessant advances in the utilization of alternating currents and the apparatus employed are, and with pronounced effect, hourly coming to the front. The comparative newness of the theory regarding these currents has attracted the attention of electrical engineers from all quarters, so that any problem one might select has already been fully treated by known writers. Still, nearly the whole bulk of solutions extant, apply in most instances to special cases. From this fact has arisen the desire to have the subject treated generally.

The work is divided into two parts. The first is entirely analytical in its nature, and the second is mainly graphical. Circuits involving resistance and self-induction are minutely considered, and the elementary principles establishing the equation of energy are dealt with as founded upon the experiments of Faraday, Coulomb, Ohm, and Joule. From this it is manifest that no previous knowledge of electricity or magnetism is necessary in order to grasp the solutions