Never Alone At Last

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But it seems probable that Chang and Eng—or other twins joined in the same way—could be readily separated by a skilled surgeon today. The only vital structure observed in their case, the extension of the liver, could be divided and sutured and the operative wound closed, as is done with an abdominal hernia. But during the lifetime of the brothers from Siam, entry into the abdominal cavity frequently produced peritonitis and death.

Following the autopsy in Philadelphia, the twins were repacked in their tin container and shipped back to North Carolina. Soon they would be forgotten as men who had inescapably lived and loved and died together. They had become just two southerners who, leaving behind them numerous American progeny, were sleeping in their tin coffin in the graveyard of a country Baptist church in North Carolina. But the name by which they were called, in screaming banners above the gates of museums of marvels in America and Europe, may remain forever as the description of all xiphopagic twins, those whom God hath, quite literally, joined together. Chang and Eng, who were inseparable when they lived, remain inseparable in recollection forever.