16×20″ oil on linen.
Marie and Helen
Born as dicephalic parapagus twins into an aristocratic family boasting dynastic continuity (their fortunes, sadly, had not continued as such) the doctors proclaimed they were an unfortunate result of maternal impression: their mother attended a public hanging while pregnant and surely this was the cause of such bizarre monstrosity. While still infants, their mother tried to cut them apart with shears, but this was futile, it was learned, as the girls shared too many bones. As Marie and Helen grew into beauties, word had spread by pilgrims and curious travelers of the two-headed woman. What better way to renew lost family fortunes than to put it on display? This was under the guise of friendly and social intercourse, as well as economics. Their fame grew, as did their wardrobes and estates. Marriage was proposed many times over, but nothing would come of it, and the twins preferred it as such. They became a glittering showpiece, stars of the stage rather than carnival attraction. They died at the age of 28; physicians theorized it was due to their body containing too little blood for both beings to carry on.