Thank God, there was the bushy head of Juba visible on the deck as the ship drifted over us! And near him stood Ala and a half dozen attendants. As one man we shouted, but the sound had not ceased to echo when, out of the horrible tangle about us, rose, with a swift, sinuous motion, a monstrous anacondalike arm, flesh pink in the electric beam, but covered with spike-edged spiracles!
Above us, higher and higher, towered the crater-walls, while we journeyed on across innumerable lava-flows, turning and twisting a devious way among the adamantine billows of a petrified sea. Saw-toothed waves of lava vexed the surface of this weird ocean, while on either hand arose jagged crests and spiracles of fantastic shape.
Larvae, black granulated with white; long white hairs; horns, brown-orange with white tips; on each segment two brown spots. Spiracles well marked with outer circle, brown, then black; white and black dot in the center. Anal segment with brown ribs, the intervals black with white dots; head shining, black with two brown bands on the face, forming a triangle.
Most, however, will have a dim recollection or suggestive instinct as to its size in nature. Nothing striking is revealed by this amount of magnification excepting the existence of breathing pores or spiracles along the scale armor of its body. But there is a trace of structure in the terminal ring of the exo-skeleton which we cannot clearly define, and of which we may desire to know more.
As he does so he exhales the air from his lungs through blow-holes or spiracles at the top of his head; and this warm, moist air, coming thus from his lungs into the cool air, condenses, forming a jet of vapor looking like a fountain, though there is, in fact, no spout of water. "There she blows! B-l-o-o-o-ws! Blo-o-ows!" cries the lookout at this spectacle.
A sudden, furious hissing burst out beneath her, as the compressed-air valves were thrown and the air-cushions formed beneath her thousands of spiracles. Then, with hardly a shudder, easily as a tired gull slips down into the quiet of a still lagoon, the vast air-liner took earth.
The air had a golden look, as if it not merely transmitted, but were stained with sunshine. The sky was spotless, the weather as warm as our mid-June, but without the least languor. The landscape was that broad plain I have mentioned, with Shasta on its verge, intersected by low rolling ridges, and broken by the cones of extinct volcanic spiracles, sometimes grouped, but oftener isolated.
His ribs, his fins, his whalebone, his blubber, the very spiracles through which he spouts a torrent of brine against his origin, and covers me all over with the spray, everything of him and about him is from the throne. Is it for him to question the dispensation of the royal favor?
The great carnivorous water-beetle, the dytiscus, after catching and eating other creatures all day, with two-minute intervals to come up, poke the tips of its wings out of the water and jam some air against its spiracles, before descending once more to its subaqueous hunting-grounds, will rise by night from the surface of the Thames, lift again those horny wing-cases, unfold a broad and beautiful pair of gauzy wings, and whirl off on a visit of love and adventure to some distant pond, on to which it descends like a bullet from the air above.
If you stand on its summit and look at these two f-shaped spout-holes, you would take the whole head for an enormous bass viol, and these spiracles, the apertures in its soundingboard.