As mentioned by James Lloyd, in My Circus Life, 1925. A truly wondrous exhibit being a lady and a gentleman, who, for great novelty, sprang into a glass tank, measuring ten-feet in length by eight-feet in width, and consisting of four-feet of water. The individuals, able to sit and play cards, perform somersaults and even drink milk under water for five minutes, were labelled as ‘The Living Mermaids’. However, this peculiar couple were drunkards about town, and so, unable to find a place to stay, it was arranged for the tank to be drained and the performers to spend the night in the tank (still in their mermaid costumes), which had been bedded down with straw and covered over in rugs which acted as a roof.
After one long and tiresome journey, where the couple had indulged upon a bottle of finest whisky for warmth and fallen asleep, the village the wagon arrived at became one of hysteria. Several people had crowded around the tank, for the spectacle before them was one of mystery and fantasy. Beneath the bed of straw and rugs were two ‘mermaids’ lying peacefully, embraced in slumber. Many local folk were afraid to approach the exhibit for some believed that bears or even monkey’s were housed, whilst an Irishman believed that whatever lay in the tank was dead. A small boy approached the tank, only for a women to scream at him, “Come out of that, ye devil. Do ye want to be eaten alive ?”.
When one of the mer-beings flinched, startled observer almost leapt out of his skin and yelled, “What kind of baste it is at all ?”.
The dozing couple then woke, yawned and stretched themselves, without knowledge of their audience. Wishing to visit the nearest public house, they climbed a ladder, and removed their costumes by the time they had reached the pub. One witness exclaimed to Mr Lloyd, “I have studied natural history. Bedad, I never saw nor read of such animals, for mermaids have tails.”
Mr Lloyd replied, “Yes, but these misbehaved themselves, so I cut their tails off.”
The man replied, “You did right, sor.”
When looking back on the drama caused by the ‘mermaids’, Lloyd wrote, ‘This was the big advertisement for me.’