The Great Naiad Discovery of 1909 •Part 4 • Mermay 2019

May 25, 1909

I had to leave my room this morning. Martin came in and fell asleep on the sofa late last night. I don’t know where he was, probably celebrating or taking more of our credit. 

When I arrived at breakfast Dr. D— confronted me. Told me he’d tried to have the article refuted but hadn’t yet had any luck. “You have to talk to your brother. Get him to see sense. We have plenty of proof he wasn’t even here for the discovery of the Jordan Potomoi, tell him it will be less embarrassing for him if he comes clean now rather than waiting.”

I nodded at him and told him I’d talk to Martin before the press conference in a few days. I’d wanted to ask him more about Alaska but didn’t dare, he was so angry. Then I left. I didn’t want to face Martin. I had no idea what I’d say. 

I walked around the city for hours. When I returned to the hotel Martin wasn’t here.

May 27, 1909

I woke up feeling more miserable today than I did yesterday. Dr. D— and I reviewed notes to prepare for the press conference tomorrow.

He asked about Martin and looked frustrated when I told him I hadn’t talked to him yet. I assured him I would. 

I cornered Martin at lunch and tried to tell him to back down. It didn’t go well. 

“Come on, Mable,” he didn’t look me in the eye, “everyone knows we always work together, and Father would be so proud.” 

I left exhausted and not having made any progress. To make matters worse, I had to eat dinner alone with Dr. Flake. I don’t know where the others were, but once Dr. Flake had seen me enter the dining room, I couldn’t leave without being rude. 

He made the same comments about my father as before. In fact, he wouldn’t stop. 

I listened for a while determined not to stir up trouble, but then something inside me shifted. I stood up and looked him in the eye. “You’re jealous. My father beat you to more than one discovery because he’s a better scientist than you. I’ve done the same. You would do better, Dr. Flake, to examine your methods and stop jumping to wild conclusions. Then maybe you wouldn’t have to live in the shadow of other scientists!”

Then walked away. It was great. I wish I knew where Martin had got to. I feel I could do anything now, even stand up to him.

May 28, 1909

Today didn’t start well. I woke up with one of those tight knots in my stomach and couldn’t eat breakfast. I searched everywhere for Martin but when time for the press conference I still hadn’t seen him.

I arrived early, as did Dr. D—. He looked like he wanted to ask me something but paused when he saw the look on my face. He frowned, “You haven’t talked to him.”

It wasn’t a question.

Martin bustled in with Miss Bonnard, and they walked to the podium. I took a breath then walked up and stood beside them. Dr. D— followed.

Miss Bonnard began with our great discovery, then introduced Martin as the leader of our team. People clapped, and he began to step forward, but I jumped up to the podium first. There was an awkward silence, but I ignored it.

“Our team would like to thank Miss Bonnard for her lovely introduction. She has, however, been misinformed…”

At this point, Martin tried to elbow his way back in, but I glared at him. I imagine my face must have appeared much like the big-eyed glare our mother used to give us as kids. Martin backed down.

“My brother Martin is our wonderful press agent. We are grateful to him for arranging this conference. Dr. Densley and I lead the team and are happy to now present our findings.”

The crowd clapped for us, and the rest of the conference went rather well.

Afterward, Martin pulled me aside, “May! what was that all about? You all but cut me out. That’s no way to treat family.”

I took a breath and stood up to my full five-foot-two-inch height. “No Martin, taking credit for work you didn’t do is no way to treat anyone, especially family. I’m ashamed of you. You owe Dr. Densley an apology. His last partner died doing this work, and you tried to steal it.”

Martin looked taken aback, and ashamed, as he should. I hope he does apologize to Dr. D—.

May 29, 1909

I’ve had a great day. I’ve had to give Martin a few more lectures, but I think he knows I’m serious now. Things will be different between us, but I hope better. 

Dr. D— and I ate lunch together, and he brought up Alaska again. I was so relieved because I wanted to ask, but I wasn’t sure how he would react after what happened with Martin. 

He told me he’d enjoyed working with me and hoped we could extend our partnership for another expedition. “After all we’ve made history now. We can’t leave our admirers wondering what happened.” He grinned. 

I agreed with him. A few weeks ago, I felt determined to give up teamwork forever. But, working with someone I could rely on, has been better than I could imagine.

Dr. D— then looked down at his plate and tugged at his ear lobe. “Um, there’s one more question I have.”


“Well, I was wondering if you would join me for dinner tonight?”

“Of course I will. I’ve joined you most nights since we arrived.”

“Yes,” he said, “but I mean, we’d be together. Just us.” 

“Oh!” It’s been ages since any man has wanted to pay me a call. I sat stunned with a startled look on my face for who knows how long. Then I blushed, smiled, pulled myself together, and said yes. 

May 31, 1909

In a few days, we’ll be leaving Salt Lake City for new adventures in Alaska. They have some fascinating species of cold water mermaids there. I’m excited to study them.

Today we said goodbye to the Tippets. As it happens, they saw me and Levi at dinner last night. Mrs. Tippets gave me a wink and nudge and reminded me how she met Mr. Tippets. I wasn’t as embarrassed this time as I had been before.

I haven’t seen Dr. Flake since that day when I told him what I thought of him. I believe he has the potential to be a good scientist if he chooses to be, so I wish him luck.

Dinner went well. Honestly, it wasn’t much different than any other meal Levi, and I have eaten together, but it was different at the same time. I’m looking forward to Alaska.

It might surprise you to know we also invited Martin. Although, not as a fellow beastologist. He will have the job of promoting our interests. After all, that is where his real talents lie. He agreed, and we’ve drawn up a precise contract, to keep him on track.

I’ve enjoyed Salt Lake City and hope to come back someday.

The End

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

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