Chatwins

Karl Miller

  • On the Black Hill by Bruce Chatwin
    Cape, 249 pp, £7.50, September 1982, ISBN 0 224 01980 5

There were reports in the papers two years ago concerning identical twins, Freda and Greta Chaplin, who had been had up at York for making a nuisance of themselves, and who seemed like creatures in a fable. Infatuation with a lorry-driver had turned to hostility, and Hansel and Gretel had been hitting him with their handbags. These siblings were eventually sent to jail for a month: the defence found them inexplicable, and the magistrate found that ‘there is no other way of dealing with you.’ In and out of court, they were given to speaking ‘in unison’: ‘We won’t go, we won’t be separated.’ The press dearly loves a twin, and Neil Lyndon did a good piece on the harassment for the Sunday Times, in which he let us know that the lorry-driver was no oil-painting.

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