Struck by this astonishing occurrence, I risked inspecting the antient pages, all fully intact and flexible [thanks to unusually high cloth content by the magicians of 17th century paper-making]. Turning these wonder-filled pages carefully, I came to [of all serendipitous subjects] this knowledge about Meremaids:
" And as for the Meremaids called Nereides, it is no fabulous tale that goeth of them:
for looke how painters draw them, so they are indeed: only their bodie is rough and
skaled all over, even in those parts wherin they resemble a woman. For such a Mere-
maid was seene and beheld plainely upon the same coast neere to the shore: and the in-
habitants dwelling neer, heard it a farre off when it was a dying, to make a pitteous mone
crying and chattering very heavily. Moreover, a lieutenant or governour under Augustus
Casar in Gaule, advertised him by his letters, That many of these Nereides or Meremaids
were seen cast upon the sands, and lying dead. I am able to bring forth for mine authors
divers knights of Rome, right worshipfull persons and of good credite, who testifie that
in the coast of the Spanish Ocean neere unto Gades, they have seen a Mere-man, in every
respect resembling a man as perfectly in all parts of the bodie as might bee. And they
report moreover, that in the night season he would come out of the sea abourd their
ships: but look upon what partsoever he setled, he waied the same down, and if he rested
and continued there any long time, he would sinke it clean."
And that, my friends, should put a stop to all doubt and unseemly speculation.