When we were at Bahia, an elater or beetle
(Pyrophorus luminosus, Illig.) seemed the most common luminous insect.
It ended as the majority of such jungle encounters end--one of the boasters loses his nerve, and becomes suddenly interested in a blowing leaf, a beetle
, or the lice upon his hairy stomach.
So, as I was saying, I had gone down upon one knee, and was just reaching out a little stick to turn the Beetle over, when I saw a sight that made me draw back hastily and hold my breath, for fear of making any noise and frightening the little creature a way.
Sylvie (I found out her name afterwards) had knelt down, just as I was doing, to help the Beetle; but it needed more than a little stick for her to get it on its legs again; it was as much as she could do, with both arms, to roll the heavy thing over; and all the while she was talking to it, half scolding and half comforting, as a nurse might do with a child that had fallen down.
The Beetle murmured something that sounded like "I did look," and Sylvie went on again.
I think the Beetle must have shuddered at this idea, for Sylvie went on in a graver tone.
"Well, well," I said, "perhaps you have - still I don't see them;" and I handed him the paper without additional remark, not wishing to ruffle his temper; but I was much surprised at the turn affairs had taken; his ill humor puzzled me - and, as for the drawing of the beetle, there were positively no antennæ visible, and the whole did bear a very close resemblance to the ordinary cuts of a death's-head.
"And you think, then, that your master was really bitten by the beetle, and that the bite made him sick?"
I'd rudder not go fer trubble dat bug - you mus git him for your own self." Hereupon Legrand arose, with a grave and stately air, and brought me the beetle from a glass case in which it was enclosed.
For if I should kill another bug or beetle
I should surely cry again, and crying rusts my jaws so that I cannot speak."
Alice couldn't see who was sitting beyond the Beetle
, but a hoarse voice spoke next.
There were beautiful butterflies, moths and strange bugs in the securing of which the scientist evinced great delight, though when one beetle
nipped him firmly and painfully on his thumb his involuntary cry of pain was as real as that of any other person.