The Great Naiad Discovery of 1909 •Part 3 • Mermay 2019

May 19, 1909

Our discovery has become quite popular. Primarily because of the attention Dr. Densley’s tragedy received a few months ago. The thought of a triumphant and happy ending for his story has reporters teeming from their dens to talk to us. A few have even inferred we are a couple. We’ve done our best to emphasize our business relationship, but I’m unsure if they’ve listened. 

More important, though, is the surprise I had waiting when I returned to the hotel last night. 

Martin has come. I wasn’t excited to see him. 

“I caught the first possible train when I saw the news in the Science Journal.” He said, “South Carolina is dull as January. Not a mermaid in sight. That is, well, I did see a few, have some notes about them somewhere.” 

He pulled a few scribbled papers from his jacket pocket and handed them to me. I’ve looked them over, and it looks like he actually made a few interesting observations. 

He’s really here because it’s where the action is. How do I make him understand he can’t work with Dr. Densley and me? He’s not in the contract. I confess I feel relief at this, as I’ve enjoyed working without him. 

Now, I’m writing from the hotel lobby. Martin said he needed to wash up after his journey. The rooms are all booked, so he’s using mine. 

I should, perhaps, stand up to him on this point because, oh goodness, where is he going to sleep?

May 20, 1909

Martin is up to something.

We traveled down to Utah Lake today. We hope the data we gathered from the Jordan Potamoi will be useful for finding the Bonneville Naiad.

I started the day exhausted after sleeping on my hotel room sofa, and it has only gotten worse from there. The lake is about 45 miles south of Salt Lake City, so we packed our gear and set out early this morning. Martin came with us as well as a reporter named Camille Bernard.

Miss Bernard is a lively, chatty sort of person. I have enjoyed her company, but the ease at which she talks to everyone made me feel a little jealous.

Martin didn’t lose any time toadying to our new reporter friend. During the few hours it took to drive camp, he hinted more than once that he was involved in the discovery of the Jordan Potamoi.

By the time we arrived at our campsite, I was fuming. 

We settled on the lake’s Southwest side. Dr. Flake has set up camp on the North end and the Tippits in the Northwest. We passed a few newcomer camps as well. 

I fumed about Martin well into the evening. 

Just before bed Dr. D— pulled me aside and said: “You should say something to him if you’re so angry.” 

I think he’s disappointed that I don’t better stand my ground with Martin.

May 21, 1909

Today was a better day. Mostly because Dr. D— and I left camp before Martin was awake so he couldn’t stow away with us. We took a small sailboat on the lake to set traps. 

These traps were large enough to hold an eight or ten-foot specimen. They were a bit cumbersome for only two of us, but we didn’t want to ask Martin for help.

Throughout the morning, we kept our conversation on business. Dr. D— seemed angry.  Long awkward silences intruded between talk about water temperatures and habitats.

Once all the traps we’d brought were set, neither of us seemed inclined to return to camp. Finally, I suggested we find the Provo River and see what species we could find there. Dr. D— agreed.

At the river’s inlet, we tied up our boat. It’s full of some pretty fish and a small species of naiad with rainbow scales. When the sun hit them right, it made colorful prisms of light in the water.

We were more comfortable sitting on the riverbank in silence than we had been all day. We ate a light lunch and sailed back to check the traps. I felt more relaxed, and our conversation returned to lighthearted and comfortable. 

Dr. D— mentioned plans to go to Alaska soon and hinted he’d like me as a more permanent business partner!

May 22, 1909

Martin came with us today to check the traps as did everyone from camp. The morning was slow as slugs. Our boat limped around the lake as there wasn’t much wind. Meanwhile, Dr. D— and I watched Martin flirt with Miss Bonnard. It was miserable.

But, when we arrived at our third trap it was occupied!

We were glad to have Martin and Miss Bonnard with us because the Naiad was larger than we imagined, eight feet at least!

The rest of the day has been a frenzy. I’m exhausted. I’ll fill you in on the rest later!

Deseret Evening News

Monday, May 24, 1909, Salt Lake City Utah Fifty-Eighth Year
Ancient Mermaid Species Discovered in Utah Lake
Beastologists calling this the greatest discovery of the century.

Well-known naiadologist Marin Price discovered a new species of naiad in Utah Lake. Beastologists have long suspected the elusive Bonneville Naiad has survived. But, until recently, all available information to support this theory has been inconclusive. 

A few days ago, Price led a small team—consisting of his Sister Maybel Price and Dr. Levi Densley— onto Utah Lake. 

“It could have been dangerous,” Says Price. “Considering Dr. Densley lost his partner in the lake only months ago.” 

The team set traps in strategic places on the lake to capture the creature.  Research gained from the Jordan Potamoi aided the team in knowing where to place the traps.

“That earlier data definitely played a role in our recent success. In an unlikely twist, the naiad is easier to ensnare in the water’s faster moving areas.” Says Price. 

The scientific community is buzzing. We can’t wait to see what new discoveries Price’s team finds next.

May 24, 1909

I’m not a murderer, but if I was, Martin would be dead. He took all the credit for our discovery and Miss Bonnard, she printed it. Now the whole world thinks Martin discovered the Bonneville Naiad, and that Dr D— and I were assistants. Martin also hinted that he was behind our other discoveries!

I’m so embarrassed. I haven’t left my room since I read the paper. I don’t want to know what Dr. D— thinks.

P.s. Miss Bonnard didn’t even spell my name right!

The Great Naiad Discovery is available as a book. Click here to learn more about it.

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