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Author:  scrabble [ 10 Nov 2018, 10:15 ]
Post subject:  twins

i was thinking about twins, both in fiction and in real life. I went to school with a pair, both totally different, how does fiction portray twins? and does there seem to be a 'natural link' between the twins? for example - the macdonald twins have a special gift. How many twins are there in the CS? Do they get on? What makes them work for a reader? Thanks all, spent most of a sleepless night thinking about this, so I thought i'd ask the experts i.e. you.

Author:  thefrau46 [ 10 Nov 2018, 11:27 ]
Post subject:  Re: twins

The Dawbarn twins are interesting to read about. Both start as naughty Middles. I think it was a good plot choice that EBD left them in Carnbach when the school moved. When they rejoin the school we have to opportunity to see how Priscilla has grown up faster than Prudence, who doesn't live up to her name but still lives up to her reputation. Priscilla does seem to try to influence her twin in a positive way.

Author:  Mel [ 10 Nov 2018, 12:09 ]
Post subject:  Re: twins

EBD seems to favour boy/girl twins or non-identical twins. In other GO books identical twins feature for the possibilities in plots such as EB's O' Sullivan twins and AF's Marlow twins but EBD doesn't seem to be interested. The Macdonalds get their own book then fade away so do the Carters and the Ozannes. There are some adult twins mentioned - Madge and Dick, Jacynth's Auntie (?) Melanie's mother(?) - probably others.
The Dawbarns start about the same age as ML but are still at school when Len is HG being patronising about them.

Author:  jennifer [ 11 Nov 2018, 04:39 ]
Post subject:  Re: twins

I made a list at one point :D

For twins sets at school, and appearance:

Flora & Fiona, Vanna & Nella, Nick and Nat Tredgold (opposite colouring), Alixe & Alison Rutherford (non-identical), Priscilla & Prudence (close to identical), Ghislaine & Lesceline St Georges (identical), Mary & Margaret Anstey, Jean Morrison + twin, the Wylie Twins, Lilli Andres + twin, Anne and Angela Carter, Madge & Bess Herbert (not known)

Madge Bettany, Peggy Bettany, Maeve Bettany, Gay Lambert, Mollie McNab and Felicity Maynard have twin brothers.

A bunch of old girls and mistresses have twins:

Mary Burnett, Biddy O'Ryan (boy/girl), Gay Lambert (2 girls), Elma Conroy (2 girls), Miss Stewart (2 girls), Mollie Maynard (2 girls), Miss Lesley (2 boys), Joey Maynard (Phil & Geoff), Madge Bettany (Kevin and Kester).

Other relatives:
Charlotte & Charles: Gillian Culver's siblings
Donal O'Hara & Kay Hillis: Juliet Carrick's husband and sister in law
Karl & Katchen: : Klara Melnarti's siblings
Richard & Ruhanna Jennings: Lois Bennet's cousins
Mary & ?? Leonard: Jacynth Hardy's mother and aunt
Robin & Dickon Chester
Ted Grantley's brothers
Melanie Lucas's aunt & father
Jane Carew's deceased older siblings
Samantha & Samaris's great grandparents
Leonie de Chaomonel & Melanie Chariot: Solange de Chaomontel's aunts
The Bettany's grandfather was a twin.


It seems to be a real mix of boy/girl and various colourings, but what stands out to me is the number of twins with opposite colours - one fair and one dark - and the relatively few identical twins. Although EBD does like to make families where the kids have wildly different colourings - all three Bettanys have families which range from flaxen fair blue eyed to redheads to black hair and eyes with olive skin.

Author:  scrabble [ 11 Nov 2018, 09:22 ]
Post subject:  Re: twins

Thanks people. Jennifer, that is an amazing list. Must have taken you a long time, appreciate you sharing your listing. So may more than I realised...

Do people get the idea from reading EBD that twins are a reward if she likes a character? There does seem to be so many multiple births within the CS universe - something in the air? featherbeds of cream? (or, perhaps, is The San doing early experimentation in IVF?)

Author:  ivohenry [ 11 Nov 2018, 15:39 ]
Post subject:  Re: twins

Jack and Mollie Maynard are sometimes referred to as twins but sometimes not.

Allegra Atherton has twins, probably only memtioned In La Rochelle series

Interesting to see how few continental twins there are, most are British

Author:  thefrau46 [ 11 Nov 2018, 17:12 ]
Post subject:  Re: twins

scrabble wrote:
Thanks people. Jennifer, that is an amazing list. Must have taken you a long time, appreciate you sharing your listing. So may more than I realised...

Do people get the idea from reading EBD that twins are a reward if she likes a character? There does seem to be so many multiple births within the CS universe - something in the air? featherbeds of cream? (or, perhaps, is The San doing early experimentation in IVF?)

I agree, an amazing list. Many thanks, Jennifer.

Yes, multiple births do seem to be a reward for favourite characters. As for early IVF experimentation ( :lol: ) I remember a very irreverent drabble about a turkey baster - not quite the same thing but like your comment, scrabble, it was very funny.

Author:  jennifer [ 12 Nov 2018, 03:13 ]
Post subject:  Re: twins

Turkey basters, at least, wouldn't give you a higher chance of twins. :D But IUI, or IVF with multiple embryo transfers do (fraternal) and older women tend to have a higher incidence of fraternal twins in the first place.

I think it's not so much twins that area a reward, as excessive fecundity in general, when the female characters have massive families, generally with little effort or hardship. The later part of EJO's abbey series is particularly bad, with Rosamund having two sets of nearly identical twin girls in under a year (with matching names, naturally). Joey is the extreme case in EBD, with her 11 biological children and five wards by the end of the series.

Author:  Alison H [ 12 Nov 2018, 08:03 ]
Post subject:  Re: twins

Even in the Little Women series, which was years earlier, Meg has twins. They also feature in the Green Gables books. EJO does go to extremes, though :lol: .

Author:  Jennie [ 19 Nov 2018, 22:35 ]
Post subject:  Re: twins

Well, if one is married to an earl, one can afford to hire nannies and nursery maids to do the hard work.

I do hate reading about all these women who boast about having large families when they have other people to do the hard work.

Author:  Alison H [ 19 Nov 2018, 23:13 ]
Post subject:  Re: twins

Frau Pfeifen seems to've had at least 10 children, and she ran a guest house - and I bet she never boasted about how many kids she had!

Author:  Jennie [ 21 Nov 2018, 17:22 ]
Post subject:  Re: twins

And I'm willing to bet that the fictional mothers of large families never had to go through a six-day labour as I did.

Fictional women all seem to produce children without any effort, probably because their writers never had to push out what felt like an eight-pound bowling ball. My children weighed 8lb 13 oz and 8lb 14 oz, and it was damned hard work.

Both obstetricians at my second delivery told me that there must be no more babies as it was too dangerous for me. that's why I can't boast that I've had eleven children.

Sometimes the lack of realism about childbirth really gets to me.

I apologise to all who are offended by my post.

Author:  Alison H [ 21 Nov 2018, 17:36 ]
Post subject:  Re: twins

Madge seems to have a bad time when David's born - EBD doesn't go into detail, but Jo says later that Madge is all right "now", and Jack Maynard seems quite panicky and in a rush to get Jo to the Sonnalpe ASAP, suggesting that they weren't 100% sure that Madge would even pull through. We're also told that Janie Lucy was very ill after Barney was born. But "delicate" Jo produces triplets with no trouble, and Rosamund in the EJO books has two sets of twins in a year with apparently no trouble. Not to mention Jo beating super-fit rugby player Roger Richardson in a swimming race five minutes after producing another set of twins.

Author:  Jennie [ 22 Nov 2018, 14:20 ]
Post subject:  Re: twins

That's because EBD didn't actually know anything about pregnancy and childbirth. Kathie Ferrars' mother died in childbirth, which was quite common in literature.

I suppose it might still be common, but I had injections after giving birth to stop the worst of the bleeding. My backside felt like a pincushion afterwards. In fact, all five of them were ready prepared with the injections, and three of them gave me two each. As if giving birth wasn't bad enough.

Author:  Miriam [ 22 Nov 2018, 14:57 ]
Post subject:  Re: twins

The first term that I was at university the Head of Department was away on maternity leave - with her eleventh child. She got married while she was doing her first degree, and over the intervening period acheived a PhD, and eleven children. Apart from the maternity leave itself (and a very occasional day that she took off if her children were ill) we never heard about the family.

Since we live in the same neighbouhood and have friends in common, I also know that her household help consists of a cleaning lady once a week, and the older children being expected to do their share of the work.

She also researches and writes academic papers about the dynamics of large families - not directly my field, but I've occasionally come across papers where she has been quoted.

Author:  Mrs Redboots [ 24 Nov 2018, 20:00 ]
Post subject:  Re: twins

Dying in childbirth may have been a trope of GO fiction, but it happened in real life - both my mother's grandmothers died in childbirth, at the end of the 19th century. Until antibiotics, too, people who had to give birth in hospital, for whatever reason, were at a much higher risk of dying than those who gave birth at home, because of the dangers of catching an infection (despite modern hygienic practices - look at MRSA).

As for twins, we had a few sets at my school; one lot attended different schools (not quite sure why - the twin I know suggested that it was thought her sister would flourish more in a smaller, less academically rigorous school); the others were always in different forms, although they were in the same House.

Author:  claire [ 24 Nov 2018, 23:28 ]
Post subject:  Re: twins

My son has three sets of twins in his class at school

One of my daughter's friends did work experience in his class and was confused about how to tell them apart - I asked my son if he could tell them apart, he said yes, the two boys one wears a bracelet (these boys are good friends of his and for about two years he called them both 'Travisorfletcher' to the extent that when he accidentally kicked one in the head playing football he wasn't sure which one it was), the two girls have different glasses, I then asked him how he told the other pair apart - he looked at me as if I was stupid and said 'they have different faces' - oops I guess one set are noniidentical - he can't get his head around a set of twins being different genders though

Author:  Alison H [ 24 Nov 2018, 23:33 ]
Post subject:  Re: twins

I was friends with twins at school, and they were in the same form. Another set of twins were in two different forms - one in our form and one in another form in the same year. I assume the school consulted the parents and asked them what they wanted to do, because there obviously wasn't a fixed policy.

I suppose it wasn't really an issue at the CS, because there was only one form at each level (I won't say per year because it was all so confused!), so whether or not twins or triplets were together was based on what their work was like.

Author:  Lotte [ 26 Jan 2019, 21:51 ]
Post subject:  Re: twins

My brother's year had two sets of identical twins - two girls, two boys. Both had sisters called Alicia who were in my year. And there were a pair of male twins in my year, one of whom bullied me.

I know a few people who are twins. Some identical, some not.

Author:  MaryR [ 27 Jan 2019, 14:49 ]
Post subject:  Re: twins

SLOC is a twin - completely non-identical. SLOC is tall like their mum, and even has her features, while his twin is much shorter, like their dad, and is almost a twin of his dad. Added to which, they have very differing characters...

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