p. x: In these latter regions there is indeed but one thing that mars the traveller’s enjoyment. The book of Nature lies freely open to him, but without years of study he cannot read it. It is written in an unknown language. He is confused with the unfamiliarity of the character and the apparently insuperable obstacles it presents. Such at least were my own feelings, although travel in tropic lands was no new thing to me. The few sentences I have deciphered have for the most part, I fear, been already translated by others, and in giving them to my readers I can only express my regret that Nature's volume has not met with a better exponent.