“Glorious harmony! Edmund C. Roberts expostulated as Sea Maiden and dolphin circled near his diving apparatus. “Oh, that we could coexist with such ease,” he continued, “and with that in mind, and since it was I who first sighted her, then it is I who shall bestow her Christian name: Xenia!…one who overflows with hospitality…and she is obviously such!” He turned to the others in the crowded bell. The triplets, Sarah, Sue, and Marie were enthralled with the porpoise, while Dr. Maria Gebeaux studied the interaction between the two mammals. “Interesting,” she whispered, “they are so in touch with the other’s spirit. It is as if they were one!”
Edmund C. Roberts also watched with unmasked fascination. Sea Maiden and porpoise glided in ever smaller circles, the two swimming as if oblivious to the other and yet enthralled. It did, however become clear to Madame Gebeaux that Edmund was watching the Sea Maiden with absolute intensity. Closer observation indicated the young man’s point of interest were in fact points of interest, and they were most frustratingly covered. At last he voiced his consternation, if only to himself, “Confounded, bloody locks—move away, curse you! Sway about—swirl aside—anything—just stop blocking the view!” “It is ever thus’” Gebeaux responded unasked, “present a man with the wonders of nature, untold spectacle, previously unobserved phenomena and he will unerringly return to the base, the common, the obvious.” “Whatever you are talking about,” Roberts returned, forcing his eyes away from the Sea Maiden and using equal resolve to focus on his companion’s face.
At last the Sea Maiden and her companion circled out of sight, her modesty in tact, Edmund’s interest lastingly aroused. That evening at dinner, Dr. Gebeaux dressed in a maddeningly provocative manner, an event as unusual as it was dramatic. “You are looking well,” Roberts commented after swearing to himself it would go unnoted. “What I mean to say is, Healthy. Happy. Content.” Gebeaux smiled absently and drew her breath. The result was magnificent. Coincidentally she locked eyes with the young man, defying him to observe. It was a terrible struggle for him; having spent far too much time at sea without his usual coterie of adoring females.
His journal reads:
Incredibly frustrating day! While I observed my 25th Sea Maiden, it was not entirely satisfactory. Further, my naturalist is becoming quite the temptress. Were I stronger I might divert to a monastery. Sea Maiden 25 swimming with a porpoise. From what I was able to observe, most attractive.
May 6, 1913